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31 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  26th January 2019

    Al Jazeera : Breaking News
    Trump campaign associate Roger Stone arrested in Florida
    “Authorities in the United States have arrested Roger Stone, an associate of President Donald Trump for alleged witness tampering and other crimes.

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Friday said Stone was arrested in Florida by the FBI following a grand jury indictment.

    The special counsel is investigating Russia’s alleged efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. However, the indictment brought by Mueller reportedly does not accuse Stone of coordinating with the Russian government.

    The Associated Press news agency reported that the indictment lays out Stone’s conversations about stolen emails from the Democratic Party posted by WikiLeaks ahead of the election.

    Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.

    Stone has been charged on seven counts, including one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering.

    Stone is scheduled to make a court appearance later on Friday.

    More soon…”

    Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  26th January 2019

    Al JAZEERA
    Venezuela crisis
    Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has called home all Venezuelan diplomats from the United States and closed its embassy and consulates there after the US declared his government “illegitimate”.

    He also ordered all US embassy personnel out of Venezuela by the weekend, but on Thursday Washington refused to comply with a full expulsion, only ordering non-essential staff to leave.

    Venezuela was plunged into uncertainty on Wednesday when Juan Guaido, the 35-year-old head of the National Assembly, proclaimed himself “acting president” – earning a swift endorsement from the US and a dozen regional powers, including Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.

    In a speech broadcast on state television on Thursday, Maduro accused the US of leading a “major provocation against Venezuela”. “They believe they have a colonial hold in Venezuela, where they decide what they want to do,” Maduro said.

    He gave US embassy staff until Sunday to leave the country saying that he had “decided to break diplomatic and political relations with the imperialist government of Donald Trump and expel all his diplomatic and consular staff of Venezuela”.

    But Washington said it was ignoring the order as it no longer recognised Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president. The State Department said it would maintain diplomatic ties with the country “through the government of interim President Guaido”.
    … … … … … …

    TIME

    (Bloomberg) — A standoff is developing at the U.S. Embassy in the Venezuelan capital after a top Socialist Party official threatened to shut off electricity to the complex amid a growing power dispute in the oil-rich nation.

    President Nicolas Maduro quickly severed diplomatic ties with the U.S. on Wednesday after Donald Trump publicly backed the opposition’s Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela and gave U.S. diplomats 72 hours to leave the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to Maduro by saying the U.S. doesn’t recognize his authority and therefore won’t pull its staff, prompting Diosdado Cabello, a close Maduro ally, to make the threatening comments.

    “They say they don’t recognize Nicolas,” Cabello said late Wednesday on state television. “OK. Maybe the electricity will go out in that neighborhood, or the gas won’t arrive. If there are no diplomatic relations, no problems.”

    The deadline Maduro gave for the U.S. to remove its staff would expire in the afternoon on Saturday, Jan. 26. A refusal to evacuate would test Maduro’s reaction and whether he’d be willing to use force to try to expel them from the country which could in turn trigger a strong reaction from the U.S. including tougher sanctions. The U.S. has been preparing possible oil sanctions, and Trump said on Wednesday that he wouldn’t even rule out military options.

    The friction over the hilltop embassy compound punctuated a dramatic week in what was once South America’s richest nation. Guaido, president of the opposition-dominated and powerless National Assembly, said that the nation’s constitution made him president in the absence of a legitimate chief executive. The U.S. publicly backed his claim and opposition supporters filled the streets in the biggest demonstrations since deadly clashes in 2017.

    Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, one of the key brokers to resolve the power struggle, publicly backed Maduro Thursday while welcoming dialogue with other governments to find solutions. During a press conference, he called the latest developments “very dangerous” and denounced a coup attempt by the Guaido-led faction.

    And Russian President Vladimir Putin, a longtime ally and financial backer of socialist Venezuela, spoke to Maduro Thursday to voice his continued support and express his concerns about meddling from the U.S. and the other countries that have backed Guaido. “Destructive external interference severely violates basic norms of international law,” Putin said.

    In his message on Wednesday, Pompeo directly addressed the Venezuelan armed forces as part of his effort to keep U.S. personnel in the country safe.
    http://time.com/5512374/us-embassy-venezuela-maduro-military-standoff/
    … … …

    This is all getting pretty dangerous-sounding for Venezuelans. Aljazeera tv showed video of another regional army chief and troops pledging support for Maduro, and showed scenes of armed security forces on motorbikes attacking protesters.

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  26th January 2019

      “This is all getting pretty dangerous-sounding for Venezuelans. ”

      Are they in danger of being freed from a totalitarian government that is starving them and causing millions to flee the country? Or some other kind of danger?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  26th January 2019

        Yes, they’re in danger of a civil war breaking out and/or – possibly – given that their dickhead of a President needs a distraction for the public who are hate his now-ample guts for driving hundreds of thousands of his public servants further into debt and poverty, and shutting the public toilets in Yellowstone – the Americans sending in troops (if they pay them) to free them from a totalitarian government and swiftly bring them democracy like they did to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

        Reply
        • Pink David

           /  26th January 2019

          ” the Americans sending in troops (if they pay them) to free them from a totalitarian government and swiftly bring them democracy like they did to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

          Or maybe the Venezuelan’s will free themselves, perhaps just a few more million will flee. The US are not going to invade, except in your imagination.

          ‘shutting the public toilets in Yellowstone ”

          Oh, the humanity! The bears will just have to shit in the woods.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  26th January 2019

            Trump’s already said he won’t rule out military intervention. (Although I doubt they would invade, they might certainly interfere with military support for the opposition.)

            Reply
            • Pink David

               /  26th January 2019

              Of course he’s not going to rule it out, and of course they will provide military support to the opposition.

              He’s Putin’s puppet after all, so he’s never going to do anything to threaten Putin’s ally, Maduro.

          • Gezza

             /  26th January 2019

            Oh, the humanity! The bears will just have to shit in the woods.

            😀 But the problem is some public toilets all over the country are being shut. There’ll be bears shitting everywhere.

            Reply
    • Patzcuaro

       /  26th January 2019

      Venezuela not a socialist state but rather it is a kleptocracy

      “The net worth of late socialist leader Hugo Chávez’s second-oldest daughter is estimated at $4.2 billion, making María Gabriela Chávez the richest woman in Venezuela.

      The 35-year-old, whom embattled President Nicolás Maduro last year appointed an alternate ambassador to the United Nations, apparently holds most of her assets in accounts in the United States and Andorra, where they are not affected by Venezuela’s volatile economy and highly deflationary currency, Diario Las Américas reported.”

      The US should move on the accounts in the US and freeze them as proceeds of crime.

      https://www.latinpost.com/articles/71424/20150812/maria-gabriela-chávez-net-worth-hugo-chávezs-daughter-richest-woman-in-venezuela-worth-4-2-billion.htm

      Ex Treasurer jailed over $1 billion in bribes

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-46357513

      Ex Oil Minister dies in custody

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/jailed-venezuela-oil-minister-nelson-martinez-dies-181213022300514.html

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  26th January 2019

        “Venezuela not a socialist state but rather it is a kleptocracy”

        Hang on a second, when did this change exactly? Venezuela was lauded by the left as socialism working, now it’s actually ‘kleptocracy’?

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  26th January 2019

        ‘Maria ­Gabriela, the eldest, is deputy ambassador to the UN in New York City and according to some in the opposition she is worth billions. ‘

        According to?????

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  26th January 2019

        this is the big time…Bush’s donor ‘Kenny boy’.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron_scandal

        Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  26th January 2019

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  26th January 2019

        Nothing wrong with private military contractors. Some even get to be members of their country’s parliament. 🙃

        Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  26th January 2019

    internal conflict with U.S support imminent.

    Nice distraction for Trump.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  26th January 2019

      How many foreign ministers from other countries, when told by a foreign government their diplomats are now persona non grata and to leave the country have the arrogance to say “No, we’re not leaving”?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  26th January 2019

        ‘As the international community splits along governments who continue to back embattled Venezuelan ruler Nicolas Maduro and governments, led by the US, who have officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate head of state, Reuters reported that a group of Russian mercenaries with ties to the Kremlin have been sent to Venezuela to provide security for Maduro as he struggles with the biggest threat to his rule in his six years in power.’


        The contractors are believed to be from the Wagner Group, a group of private contractors who have performed secret missions on behalf of the government, including fighting in Syria and the Ukraine (which brings to mind this incident from last February when US-backed forces killed 100 Russian mercenaries in what was the closest thing to a direct proxy conflict between Russia and the US in Syria). It’s unclear when the contractors arrived, or when they intend to leave. Russia has offered to mediate the conflict between Maduro and Guaido, while joining with China to criticize the US for interfering in Venezuelan affairs.

        Russia, which has invested billions of dollars in the Maduro regime, pledged to stand by the embattled socialist leader this week. Yevgeny Shabayev, leader of a local chapter of a paramilitary group told Reuters he had heard the number of security contractors in Venezuela is roughly 400. Russia’s defense ministry and Venezuela’s information ministry haven’t responded to requests for comment. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said we have “no such information” when asked about the contractors’


        The contractors traveled to Venezuela on private chartered flights that first landed in Cuba. The contractors have been charged with stopping opposition sympathizers or members of Maduro’s own forces from detaining him.

        “Our people are there directly for his protection,” Shabayev said, in light of the attempted revolt staged by rogue military officers earlier this week.’

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  26th January 2019

          Ah … Al Jazeera’s reporter in Москва, Rory Challands, who always seems very well informed on what the Russians are up to, speculated that precisely this situation would happen a couple of nights ago.

          Reply
  4. Corky

     /  26th January 2019

    That’s a mighty fine embassy for such a tin-pot country. Probably half is taken up by the CIA’s South American desk.

    Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  26th January 2019

    Anthony Scaramucci, who had a brief but explosive stint as communications director under President Donald Trump, says the White House is “blowing the lead” it had built up over the last two years with the stalemate in negotiations over the U.S. government shutdown.

    The hedge fund manager and political consultant, nicknamed ‘The Mooch,’ said he would tell Trump’s staff to “knock it off.” The president is currently understaffed and has been surrounded by “disloyal” people, said Scaramucci, who was fired after 10 days in the White House in July 2017 following what he called “a mistake.”

    “You’ve got to cut a deal because what you’re doing is you’re disrupting the U.S. economy and you’re disrupting the global economy due to your egos,” Scaramucci said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Tom Keene and Francine Lacqua from Davos. “I think it’s very, very stupid.”

    The economy is going to slow down, said the founder of investment firm SkyBridge Capital. The record-long partial government shutdown has entered into its second month as Trump continues to demand $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall, which is opposed by Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi.

    People are “going to start doing what the president does not want them to do, they’re going to start conserving capital, slowing down their investments into capital infrastructure for their companies etc, and hoarding cash again,” Scaramucci said.

    The problem is that both the White House and the Democrats “can’t save face” anymore, Scaramucci said. “They’re both sitting there and they can’t come up with a strategy where one blinks. They can’t do that because that hurts their fundraising, that hurts their base.”
    https://nz.yahoo.com/finance/news/scaramucci-sees-trump-blowing-lead-095732575.html

    Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  26th January 2019

    Reply
  7. Joe Bloggs

     /  26th January 2019

    And there it is, bubbling away below the surface… WikiLeaks appears as an unindicted co-conspirator in both the Stone and the GRU indictments

    Reply
  8. High Flying Duck

     /  26th January 2019

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  26th January 2019

      Reply
  9. Reply
  10. Another blink from Trump.

    Reply
  11. Joe Bloggs

     /  26th January 2019

    A 35 day shut-down and what did trump achieve? Absolutely nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.

    What a fucking jerk.

    Reply

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