US Congress Rep Ocasio-Cortez: No US Intervention, No Sanctions Against Venezuela

Source:  Chamosaurio

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 2c.jpgLed by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a group of US congress representatives oppose the interventionist and warmongering policies used by the US against Venezuela. 

A group of 16 Democratic representatives including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez sent a letter Thursday to the head of diplomacy Mike Pompeo criticizing the US strategy in the crisis in Venezuela, especially the sanctions imposed by the government of Donald Trump, reported the agency AFP.

“We write to express our deepest concern about the way in which the Trump government is managing relations with Venezuela, especially the insinuations of a military intervention, the imposition of broad unilateral sanctions and the recent recognition of the opposition leader,” indicated the legislators in the letter.

According to the congress representatives, the recent sanctions could “exacerbate the serious economic crisis that the country suffers, causing immense suffering to the most vulnerable who have no responsibility”.

The United States is one of the main supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the head of Parliament who proclaimed himself interim president

Since 2015, Washington has sanctioned dozens of Venezuelan officials and former officials, including Maduro himself, accusing them of violations of human rights, corruption and drug trafficking. In addition, the Trump administration applied an embargo to Venezuela’s oil, which is crucial for the economy, which will take effect on April 28.

“The United States is alone in its decision to impose economic sanctions against the government of Venezuela, which, as they have been implemented, are harming the civilian population,” said the lawmakers who warned that this policy may be “counterproductive.”

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The letter was signed by Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan, Raul Grijalva, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Adriano Espaillat, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Nydia M. Velázquez, José E. Serrano, Tulsi Gabbard, Karen Bass, Danny K. Davis, Jan Schakowsky and Ro Khanna.

Source:  Chamosaurio A group of US congressmen criticize US strategy against Venezuela

Brazil Activists, Politicians React to ‘Barbaric’ Assassination of Marielle Franco

Source:  TeleSUR
March 15 2018

  • Marielle Franco, a Black activist and city councilwoman in Rio de Janeiro, was assassinated on her way home last night.
 Marielle Franco, a Black activist and city councilwoman in Rio de Janeiro,
was assassinated on her way home last night.
| Photo: Twitter / @mariellefranco
Black activist and city councilwoman Marielle Franco was killed, along with her driver, on her way home from an event in central Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil’s Workers’ Party, or PT, of Rio de Janeiro released a public statement condemning the assassination of 38-year-old Black activist and city councilwoman Marielle Franco in central Rio de Janeiro Wednesday night.

RELATED: Brazilian Rights Activist Marielle Franco Assassinated in Rio

The statement said the leftist party “expresses great sorrow for the tragedy” that occurred last night. “Marielle, a combative councilwoman and activist for human rights and social equality, leaves us precariously” within the “struggle in favor of the people and a just, equitable society.”

PT Congressman, Wadih Damous, wrote on his Twitter account that “Marielle was executed. The assassination was consummated today but it’s the result of a plot forged by the barbaric nature that has taken hold of Brazil. Under fascism, extermination groups act in complete freedom. Meanwhile, the military intervention (in Rio de Janeiro state) search book sacks of kids who live in favelas.”

A member of the Socialism and Liberty Party, or PSOL, Franco was returning home from an event called “Young Black People Moving the Structures” in Lapa neighborhood when, according to witnesses, her vehicle was approached by another car. At least nine bullets were fired, killing the councilwoman and her driver. Her advisor, Fernanda Chaves, who was also in the vehicle, survived the attack.

PSOL also released a public statement saying that Franco’s “activities as a councilwoman and human rights activist makes all PSOL militants proud.” It went on to note that the left-wing party demands an “immediate and rigorous” investigation by authorities to discover the culprits and motives involved.

RELATED:  After Rio, Brazil’s Temer Weighs Military ‘Coup’ Intervention in More States

Franco’s assassination comes two weeks after she was named a rapporteur in the special commission established by the city council to monitor the military intervention in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Three days ago she denounced the deaths of two youths during a military police operation in Acari community.

“We must speak loudly so that everybody knows what is happening in Acari right now. The 41st Military Police Battalion of Rio de Janeiro is terrorizing and violating Acari residents. This week two youths were killed and tossed in a ditch. Today, the police walked the streets threatening residents. This has always happened and with the (military) intervention things have gotten worse,” she wrote on her Twitter.

Protests have been organized in the cities of Recife, Belem, Salvador, Natal, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Juiz de Fora, Porto Alegre, Florianopolis, Curitiba and elsewhere to condemn Franco’s killing.

Imperialism Obama Style: 800 Military Bases Around the World

Source:  Cuba- Network in Defense of Humanity
July 4 2016

by Sarah Lazare

Sec. of State Kerry brags we are “involved” in more countries than ever, as Obama becomes first president to serve two terms always at war.

obama 12cimperialism obama style.jpeg

Turmoil and strife

Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival on June 28, Secretary of State John Kerry sought to ease anxiety over an ever-rising global “turmoil and strife” by pointing to an eyebrow-raising fact. “I state unabashedly to every single one of you: The United States of America is more engaged in more places with greater impact today than at any time in American history,” he reassured the audience. “And that is simply documentable and undeniable.”Kerry made it clear that when he talks about “engagement,” war is a key part of the equation.

Libya, Afghanistan and Ukraine

“We’ve been working with countries to support a new Government of National Accord in Libya,” he said, referencing a dubious state that the U.S. is moving to heavily arm. “I was recently in the United Arab Emirates. I think we’ve come to a common understanding of how to strengthen that government and go after Daesh in Libya. We’re supporting Afghanistan in its fight against extremists and support a sovereign and democratic Ukraine.”

The United States “probably has more foreign military bases than any other people, nation, or empire in history” … David Vine

Kerry’s observation of unprecedented engagement may, in  fact, be an understatement. As David Vine, the author of the book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, noted in 2015, the United States “probably has more foreign military bases than any other people, nation, or empire in history.” The roughly 800 U.S. military bases around the world compare to a grand total of zero free-standing foreign bases on U.S. soil, Vine reported.

Special operations forces deployed to 135 countries

Meanwhile, Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command, told journalist Nick Turse that, by the 9th month of 2015, special operations forces had already deployed to 135 countries—or 70 percent of all the nations on the planet. This compares to about 60 countries under the George W. Bush years. The Government Accountability Office concluded that special operations funding has ballooned from $3 billion in 2001 to just under $10 billion in 2014.

In recent years the U.S. military has, in fact, developed a remarkably extensive network of more than 60 outposts and access points in Africa

And then there is the steady creep of AFRICOM. Journalist Nick Turse wrote in November 2015, “in recent years the U.S. military has, in fact, developed a remarkably extensive network of more than 60 outposts and access points in Africa. Some are currently being utilized, some are held in reserve, and some may be shuttered. These bases, camps, compounds, port facilities, fuel bunkers, and other sites can be found in at least 34 countries—more than 60% of the nations on the continent—many of them corrupt, repressive states with poor human rights records.”

The Pentagon even runs an estimated 170 golf courses around the world.

Tallying up the list of U.S. direct or proxy wars is no simple task. In a May 2013 article published in the journal Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Linda J. Bilmes and Michael D. Intriligator noted:

U.S. military operations are involved in all the five continents

Today U.S. military operations are involved in scores of countries across all the five continents. The U.S. military is the world’s largest landlord, with significant military facilities in nations around the world, and with a significant presence in Bahrain, Djibouti, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to long-established bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and the UK. Some of these are vast, such as the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command, which has recently been expanded to accommodate up to 10,000 troops and 120 aircraft.

Militarized intervention drives the greatest crises of human strife and displacement since World War II

The authors ultimately concluded that the U.S. was directly or indirectly involved in wars in 74 countries at the time.

As recently as May 2016, New York Times reporter Mark Landler observed that Obama is the “only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.”

Kerry is certainly correct to point out that U.S. engagement in vaster than it ever has been before. But as militarized intervention drives the greatest crises of human strife and displacement since World War II, this observation is no comfort at all.

U.S. Sets Stage for Libya-Like Regime Change in Eritrea

Source:  Black Agenda Report
June 15 2016

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S. is moving towards war against Eritrea, a fiercely independent African nation of only six million people. Washington has deployed its UN “human rights” proxies to justify another “humanitarian” military intervention, remarkably like the UN-sanctioned aggression against Libya, in 2011. The UN panel charges Eritrea with “enslaving” and murdering its own people – a pack of imperial lies. Obama is set to add another war to his bloody legacy.

Black Agenda Report Eritrea.jpgU.S. Sets Stage for Libya-Like Regime Change in Eritrea

“Eritrea’s fierce independence has put it in imperialism’s crosshairs.”

The United States is methodically setting the stage for a so-called “humanitarian” military intervention against the small northeast African nation of Eritrea, under legal pretexts much like those used to justify NATO’s war of regime change against Libya, in 2011. As in Libya, the U.S. has hijacked the United Nations human rights apparatus to claim a “responsibility to protect” (R2P) Eritrea’s citizens from alleged abuses by their own government. War and regime change are the intended result.

Telling lies

Washington engineered UN sanctions against Eritrea, beginning in 2009, on the patently bogus charge that Eritrea’s determinedly secular government provided “political, financial and logistical support” to Islamist Shabaab fighters in Somalia. Islamic jihadism is anathema to Eritrea, whose population of six million on the shores of the Red Sea is about evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. But few people in the United States knew Eritrea existed, much less its secular revolutionary history and politics. The lies stuck, as did the sanctions, even after the UN Human Rights Council conceded there was no further evidence of Eritrean aid to the Shabaab.

A three-person UN panel now alleges that Eritrea is a lawless state that has committed “crimes against humanity,” enslaving up to 400,000 people and engaging in murder, forced disappearances, rape and torture. Mark Smith, the Australian chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, demands that Eritrea be put on trial before the International Criminal Court, a body that has indicted only Africans – and only those that were on the wrong side of U.S. foreign policy – since its creation in 2002. Smith laid the legal groundwork for the overthrow of the Eritrean government:

“There is no genuine prospect of the Eritrean judicial system holding perpetrators to account in a fair and transparent manner. The perpetrators of these crimes must face justice and the victims’ voices must be heard. The international community should now take steps, including using the International Criminal Court [ICC], national courts and other available mechanisms, to ensure there is accountability for the atrocities being committed in Eritrea.”

“The UN commission demands that Eritrea be put on trial before the International Criminal Court, a body that has indicted only Africans.”

Two Big Lies

In February of 2011, the United Nations Security Council, led by the U.S., Britain and France, referred the case against Libya to the ICC, to provide a criminal justice rationale for the military assault that was already underway against Muammar Gaddafi’s government. This time, Washington has instructed its UN proxies to give “humanitarian” legal cover in advance for an attack on Eritrea. The demonization campaign is built around two Big Lies: one, that Eritrea’s system of national service – a form of draft, which is the right of all nations – amounts to “slavery”; and two, that domestic oppression in Eritrea is a prime source of African refugees to Europe, with the tiny nation allegedly accounting for more cross-continental emigration than every other country except war-ravaged Syria.

National service in Eritrea, as in many other countries, includes not only military duty on the front lines with Ethiopia – which still occupies parts of Eritrea in clear violation of an international arbitration agreement – but also labor in public works projects as well as service in health and education infrastructures. (Most teachers in Eritrea, for example, are national service workers.) Lots of folks would call that socialism or nation-building – which is how the Eritreans see it.

Eritrea rejects foreign “aid”

The Eritreans defend extended national service on grounds of necessity, citing an existential threat from the Ethiopian military, backed to the hilt by Washington. Economic sanctions have also necessitated that Eritrea mobilize the population to develop its own national resources. However, self-reliance is also a cornerstone of Eritrean domestic development policy, and seen as central to maintaining true national sovereignty and independence. Eritrea rejects foreign “aid” and entanglements with structures of international capital, and is one of only two nations in Africa that has no relationship with AFRICOM, the U.S. military command on the continent (Zimbabwe is the other).

“It is insane to believe that little Eritrea, with only six million people, has set more people to flight than neighboring Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, with a population 15 times greater.”

Eritrea’s fierce independence has put it in imperialism’s crosshairs. Eritrea is “Africa’s Cuba” – and the United States treats it as such in a striking variety of ways. Indeed, the other Big Lie against Eritrea – that it is the second largest contributor to the waves of refugees risking life and limb to reach Europe – is directly related to European immigration policies, urged on them by the U.S., that put Eritrea in much the same bind as U.S. policy towards Cuba.

It is insane to believe that little Eritrea, with only six million people, has set more people to flight than neighboring Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, now in the throes of a devastating drought, with a population 15 times greater; or neighboring Sudan, also desperately poor and afflicted by multiple wars, with 40 million people; or nearby Somalia, a nation without a state, inhabited by 10 million people.

Indeed, economic, political and war refugees from all across Africa claim to be Eritrean because, unlike citizens of any other African country, Eritrean refugees are afforded special status on arrival in Europe as presumptive political refugees who might face torture if returned home. As with U.S. Cuba policy, the Eritrean exception was designed to weaken and destabilize the country through a brain and human resource drain. Inevitably, however, the policy has made Eritrean identification papers the hottest selling documents on the streets of Khartoum and other refugee gathering points. Europe is awash, as is Israel, with fake Eritreans fleeing various military, political and economic catastrophes – most of them rooted in Euro-American foreign destabilization policies and the global capitalist Race to the Bottom.

If Latin Americans could pass for Cubans, the populations of U.S. “Little Havanas” would number in the tens of millions, full of Hondurans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Mexicans.

“Economic, political and war refugees from all across Africa claim to be Eritrean.”

Ethiopians pass most easily as Eritreans, since millions of them share the same ethnic background. About half of Eritreans are Tigrayan, the ethnic group that is the fourth largest in Ethiopia and dominates the ruling party in Addis Ababa. The Austrian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Andreas Melan, last year estimated that “among the thousands of Eritrean migrants in Europe, 30 to 40 percent are Ethiopians.” That may be an underestimate. And many more “Eritreans” actually hail from as far away as West Africa.

Ethiopians pretending to be Eritreans to get visas

The Eritrean ambassador to Israel believes that Ethiopians account for half of the purported Eritreans seeking refugee status in that country. “They know the Eritreans automatically receive a six-month visa, so they pretend to be Eritrean,” said the ambassador.

The Eritrean refugee scam is an open secret all across Europe, and is well known to the American and European governments. The Big Lie is maintained to serve imperial purposes, and will now be deployed to justify an armed assault on Eritrea as an alleged mass enslaver and rogue nation. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea will submit its manufactured findings to the Human Rights Council on June 21, setting the imperial lynch mob in motion.

Eritrea cannot expect a fair hearing from the UN

Eritrea cannot expect a fair hearing from a UN apparatus that is puppeteered from Washington. As the Eritrean government stated in its preliminary response to the UN commission’s charges:

“The purposes of national service in Eritrea are clearly stated in a legal proclamation of 1994 and are three-fold: national defense, economic and social development and national integration.  The service is not indefinite although for a time and in certain cases it has been prolonged due the already explained existential threat of war.”

The commission based its findings on the testimony of about 800 (alleged) Eritreans interviewed in various foreign cities, while ignoring the 42,000 Eritrean expatriates that have petitioned the world body to lift sanctions against their home country.

The UN panel is ignoring what is “effectively a continuing state of war with Ethiopia, the illegal occupation of Eritrean territory which constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights, repeated armed aggression, sanctions and mistaken policies that consider almost all Eritreans asylum-seekers,” said Eritrean government spokesperson Yemane Gebreab. That’s a diplomatic way of putting it. By referring the case to the International Criminal Court, and implicitly threatening military action against Eritrea, the commission has become a warmonger.

On Monday, the New York Times reported that thousands of Ethiopian and Eritrean troops were rushing towards the disputed border, the site of heavy artillery duels. The Times quoted an Eritrean dissident living in Sweden as their expert of the moment. “If there is a war, or the rumor of a war, it could be a way for the Eritrean government to get support and divert attention,” said the dissident. The newspaper also relayed a Twitter message from an Eritrean American in his homeland’s capital. “Here in Asmara, it’s peaceful despite #EthiopianAttacks against #Eritrea on the Tsorona front. And you wonder why there’s national service?”

President Obama seems intent on adding War #8 to his imperial legacy.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com