Tag Archives: Venezuela

Creative Associates International (CAI): It’s Not Exactly the CIA, But Close Enough

While mercenary armies like Blackwater have at least been subject to inquiry, making the company’s name infamous around the world, Creative Associates International has largely flown under the radar — exactly where the organization’s board wants it to be.

By Alan Macleod   Published 8-13-2021 by MintPress News

Graphic by Antonio Cabrera

You have likely not heard of them, but Creative Associates International (CAI) is one of the largest and most powerful non-governmental organizations operating anywhere in the world. A pillar of soft U.S. power, the group has been an architect in privatizing the Iraqi education system, designed messenger apps meant to overthrow the government of Cuba, served as a front group for the infamous Blackwater mercenary force (now rebranded as Academi), and liaised with Contra death squads in Nicaragua. As such, it has functioned as “both as an instrument of foreign policy and as a manifestation of a broader imperial project,” in the words of Professor Kenneth Saltman of the University of Illinois, Chicago. Continue reading

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2020 Ends as It Began: With the Looming Threat of a US War With Iran

2020 began and ended with high-profile assassinations of Iranians, a buildup of the US military on Iran’s borders, and fears of another major war in the Middle East.

By Alan Macleod. Published 12-28-2020 by MintPress News

The guided-missile submarine USS Georgia transits the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, Dec. 21, 2020. Screenshot: YouTube

Amid increasing hostility towards Tehran, the United States is building up its military presence on Iran’s borders. In the past three weeks alone, the U.S. has flown in a squadron of fighter jets and extra B-52 bombers while deploying the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier (with its strike group) and a large submarine to the Persian Gulf. This comes on top of the 2,500 troops it sent to Saudi Arabia earlier in the year, the first build-up of forces in the country in 17 years. The nuclear powered Nimitz is home to nine squadrons of fighting aircraft and has also long been rumored to carry nuclear weapons.

The military insists that all the new measures are purely “in the name of deterrence.” However, the few journalists who have paid attention to the news appear skeptical. “That’s provocation!” wrote Rania Khalek. “You’re sending this shit thousands of miles away from your border to try to provoke Iran and then playing the victim.” Continue reading

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Trump lost the election, but he won the online disinformation war

Social media platforms have allowed US conservatives to delegitimise the election and sow mistrust of democracy.

By Peter Geoghegan. Published 11-9-2020 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: WNCT

In late August, roughly five weeks before Americans went to the polls, a story appeared in The New York Times reporting new data about the reach of fringe US conservative outlets on Facebook. The numbers were staggering.

Posts by far-right news site Breitbart had been shared three times as often as posts from the official pages of every Democratic member of the US senate combined in the previous 30 days. Conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro had chalked up 56 million interactions, more than the main pages of ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR put together. Continue reading

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How to stop a coup in America

Here are ten ways to make sure democracy is respected in the US Presidential Election.

By    Published 9-18-2020 by Waging Nonviolence

Photo: Ted Eytan./flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0.

We have a president who has openly said he might not respect the outcome of our election. We have to be ready if he claims victory before votes are counted, tries to stop counting, or refuses to accept a loss.

Some days I feel confident it will happen. A poll showed over 75% of Democrats think this is possible—and a shocking 30% of Republicans do too! Continue reading

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Further Escalating Tensions, Trump Administration Seizes Alleged Iranian Fuel Bound for Venezuela

Iran’s ambassador to Venezuela, Hojad Soltani, said that neither the ships nor their owners are Iranian but did not address whether the gasoline came from his country.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-14-2020

The U.S. government seized the cargo of four ships, including the Bella, the U.S. Justice Department confirmed Friday. (Photo: DOJ)

In an escalation of President Donald Trump’s sanction regimes against Iran and Venezuela, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the U.S. has for the first time confiscated cargo from four ships that federal prosecutors allege were transporting 1.1 million barrels of Iranian gasoline to the South American country.

The seizure, confirmed Friday by the U.S. Justice Department, comes after federal prosecutors filed a civil-forfeiture complaint in July claiming that the sale was set up Mahmoud Madanipour, an Iranian businessman with supposed ties to his country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which last year the Trump administration designated a foreign terrorist organization. Continue reading

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Disbelief as Trump Appoints Disgraced Iran-Contra Criminal Elliott Abrams as Iran Envoy

Activists, the UN, and even mainstream news outlets expressed dismay at the Trump administration’s decision to appoint regime-change champion Elliot Abrahams to the role of Special Representative for Iran.

By Alan Macleod.  Published 8-7-2020 by MintPress News

Elliott Abrams speaking at the 2012 CPAC in Washington, D.C. Photo:Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

The Trump administration has appointed disgraced neoconservative hawk Elliott Abrams to the new position of chief advisor on Iran after former insider Brian Hook handed in his resignation earlier this week. “Special Representative Hook has been my point person on Iran for over two years and he has achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday, “Following a transition period with Brian Hook, Elliott Abrams will assume the position of Special Representative for Iran, in addition to his responsibilities as Special Representative for Venezuela.” Continue reading

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American Weapons Manufacturers Are Thriving Even as the US Economy Suffers

Washington has made it a priority to radically overhaul the military in double time, designating weapons manufacturers as “essential” services during the pandemic.

By Alan Macleod.  Published 5-13-2020 by MintPress News

Photo: U.S. Air Force/Brad Fallin)

The economy has crashed. A nationwide pandemic that has (officially) claimed some 84,000 Americans has also resulted in an estimated 36 million filing for unemployment insurance and millions frequenting food banks for the first time. Yet business is booming for one unlikely industry; weapons manufacturers are busier than ever and are even advertising for tens of thousands of more workers.

Northrop Grumman announced that it was planning to hire up to 10,000 more employees this year. Airlines are being hit particularly hard, as the number of people flying on commercial planes has cratered. Raytheon, who supplies parts to civilian aircraft manufacturers, has lost a great deal of business. Yet it is still advertising 2,000 new jobs in the military wing of its business. Boeing, who endured a torrid 2019, with multiple high-profile crashes of its 737 MAX-8 airliner, is preparing to lay off ten percent of its staff as airlines predict a long and sustained drop in air travel. Nevertheless, it is looking to add hundreds of new workers in its defense, intelligence, and cybersecurity departments. Continue reading

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With a Quarter of the World’s Population Under US Sanctions, Countries Appeal to UN to Intervene

Eight countries, representing around one-quarter of all humanity, say that Washington’s actions are undermining their response to the COVID–19 pandemic sweeping the planet.

By Alan Macleod. Published 3-27-2020 by MintPress News

The governments of China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela – all under sanctions from the United States – sent a joint statement to the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Director-General of the World Health Organization calling for an end to the unilateral American economic blockade, as they are, “illegal and blatantly violate international law and the charter of the United Nations.”

The eight countries, representing around one-quarter of humanity, say that Washington’s actions are undermining their response to the COVID–19 pandemic sweeping the planet. “The destructive impact of said measures at the national level, plus their extraterritorial implication, together with the phenomenon of over-compliance and the fear for ‘secondary sanctions,’ hinder the ability of national governments” in procuring even basic medical equipment and supplies, including coronavirus test kits and medicine. It is a “hard if not impossible deed for those countries who are currently facing the application of unilateral coercive measures,” to cope, they conclude. Continue reading

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US Clearing Anti-War Voices Off Social Media in Vast Censorship Operation

The Trump administration is ramping up its information war by suspending accounts and removing content.

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 1-14-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

Instagram and its parent company Facebook are removing posts that appear to be in support of the late Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in order to comply with U.S. sanctions, a company spokesperson recently told CNN.

We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the IRGC and its leadership,” the spokesperson said in a statement. Continue reading

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Pro-Coup Venezuelan Soldiers Who Fled to the US Now Locked Up in ICE Detention Center

In an ironic twist worthy of an Alanis Morissette song, participants in U.S.-backed coup are now in an ICE detention camp.

By Alan Macleod. Published 12-27-2019 by MintPress News

Screenshot: NBC News

 

The Venezuelan soldiers who participated in the U.S.-backed coup attempt in April of this year and subsequently fled to the U.S. have been incarcerated in ICE detention camps ever since. Telemundoa subsidiary of NBCUniversal, secured an interview with Major Hugo Parra, the highest-ranking of the handful of soldiers who answered self-declared President Juan Guaidó’s call to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro. After the coup ended in spectacular failure, Parra revealed that he fled the country, ending up in the United States on April 11, where he expected to be given a hero’s welcome for his part in the Trump-approved insurrection.

Instead, he was immediately detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), first kept in a facility in Texas, then later transferred to the Winn Correctional Center in Louisiana. He has been refused all requests for bail or appointments to see a judge, one of nearly 42,000 people, most of them from Latin America, currently locked up in ICE prisons. Continue reading

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