• Written by John Helmer
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Russia's Rosneft Dog in Venezuela Fight

Russia's Stake in Venezuela

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears


February 17, 2019

Moscow - No ambition in Russia runs wider and higher than that of Igor Sechin, 58, chief executive of Rosneft. To help fill the Venezuelan treasury, deter attacks on President Nicolas Maduro, reinforce his army, and show the world he’s the Russian who can defeat both types of war the US is waging against the world – sanctions war and regime-change war – no bill would be too expensive for Sechin to pay.

And if he can do that, he will show that he’s the natural successor of President Vladimir Putin.

In point of cost for Rosneft, the Venezuelan strategy is relatively cheap. For the Russian military, who have created the most powerful army in South America (also a match for Canada ), with a decade of deliveries of air and ground weapons, the Venezuelan front is a fresh tester of American warmaking at low money cost and little risk of Russian casualties.

The combination of Sechin and the Russian General Staff to defend Venezuela is a potent weapon to demonstrate to the world that US threats are bluff.

So, win or lose on the battleground of Venezuela, at home Sechin is showing his Russian allies that he’s their winner in the presidential power contest ahead.

Not everyone agrees.

“Yes, the presidency is a matter of Sechin’s ambition; it’s also a condition for his survival,” comments a source who has known Sechin well.
“As to who his allies are, I am not able to tell because he has managed to come into conflict with everyone around Putin. But if Sechin becomes the Kremlin’s lead on Venezuela, then Sechin will lose his battle for the Kremlin.”


In wartime it can’t be expected that Venezuela and Russia are going to reveal publicly the balance-sheet of the debts between Caracas and Moscow; certainly not how the two plan to evade the sanctions imposed on arms deliveries, introduced by the European Union in November 2017, or the US sanctions and asset seizures which the US (and the Bank of England) introduced on January 28, 2019.

The Russian Finance Ministry refuses to say exactly how much Venezuela currently owes Russia. However, on January 29, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak (right) confirmed that semi-annual interest  payments of $100 million on sovereign debt of $3.15 billion were agreed in November 2017 , and are continuing; repayment of the principal is postponed until 2023.

“We have payments due in September [30] and March [30]. There are no overdue amounts. The last time the amount [paid] was more than $100 million; the upcoming payment, the same. We have a fixed interest rate.

“When the loan repayment period begins [in 2023], along with interest, part of the debt is extinguished, this is a classic scheme of repayment of the state debt.” 


Storchak conceded that following the escalation of US sanctions last month, “there will probably be problems. Everything now depends on the army, on the servicemen, how true they will be to their duty and oath. Another assessment is difficult to give — impossible.”

Russian reporters have been claiming that Venezuelan debts to Russia currently total $17 billion. This is guesswork; it started last year in reports by the Reuters news agency in Caracas.

The officially agreed numbers comprise the debt between Rosneft and Venezuela’s state oil company group, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) of about $5 billion; about $4 billion owed for Russian arms deliveries; $1.5 billion in loan collateral which Rosneft holds in CITGO, the US refinery and retail gasoline subsidiary of PDVSA; and $5.8 billion in obligations which the Maduro Government began negotiating with the Paris Club of government creditors starting last June.

These numbers don’t add up to $17 billion, and the Paris Club number isn’t broken down by creditor country claims. It’s known that the Paris Club aggregate includes $263 million owed to Brazil. How much of the balance — $5.573 billion — is owed to Russia and to China is not reported by the Paris Club. Nor are details of the off-budget financing of some Russian arms deliveries which may make the debt to Russia larger.

Rosneft was asked to clarify how much money it has paid out in loans to the PDVSA group, investments in joint oilfield development projects, and cash advances for future deliveries of Venezuelan oil. The company refuses to answer.

 

[For complete article, please see link here.]

 

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin (left) presents a sword to President 
Nicolas Maduro (right) in Caracas on July 26, 2016.
 
  • Written by Chris Cook
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, John Helmer February 14, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


February 14th, 2019

What do any of us really know?

For the most part, our understanding of reality is based on what we've been told; told by parents, teachers, friends, and the media. And who told them?

There is though another path to discovery. Go to the places where things are happening; talk to the people making them happen, then decide what's true.

But, and it's a vitally big but; be careful what you ask, for you could find out more than it's safe to know.

As the first cracks of the Soviet Empire's eroding iron facade opened, Australian-born author, political essayist, professor of political science, and policy advisor to presidents and prime ministers, John Helmer headed for Moscow, determined to establish what was to become the longest continuously operating foreign press bureau in the capital.

Listen. Hear.

From his position as an independent of single-national, or commercial sponsorship reporter, he ventured into the country's unpredictable, and often precarious economic transition period; a time that would see coup attempts, the undoing of international political superstar, Mikhail Gorbachev, and fall of Russia's communist system itself. It would too usher in the tempestuous Age of the Oligarchs.

Some of John Helmer's book titles include: 'The Deadly Simple Mechanics of Society', 'Drugs and Minority Oppression', (with Claudia Wright) 'The Jackal's Wedding - American Power, Arab Revolt', 'Grand Strategy for Small Countries, Case Studies in Transforming Weakness into Power,' (and with Ajay Goyal) 'Uncovering Russia'. His latest book is the newly out political and personal memoir, 'The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia'.

John Helmer and a special, Gorilla Radio double-yolker, getting to know too much about Russia.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time contributor to Gorilla Radio, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the three-quarter mark, bringing us up to speed with some of what's good to do in and around our town in the coming week. But first, the man who knew too much, John Helmer. 

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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Making Up Minds Through Media Manipulation: Case Study, Venezuela

How the Media Manufactures Consent for Regime Change in Venezuela

by Alan MacLeod - VenezuelAnalysis

 
February 10, 2019
 

The latest extraordinary chapter in the bizarre world of Venezuelan politics is playing out before our eyes. After winning the 2018 presidential elections, Nicolás Maduro was inaugurated in January, only for the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó -- a man whom, at the time, less than 20 percent of the country had even heard of -- to declare himself President.

Guaidó was immediately backed by the governments of the U.S. and U.K., with Vice President Mike Pence stating, "Nicolás Maduro is a dictator with no legitimate claim to power. He has never won the presidency in a free and fair election, and has maintained his grip of power by imprisoning anyone who dares to oppose him."

I've previously cataloged how the media has been quick to echo the idea that Maduro is completely illegitimate and has been eager to position America's stance towards Venezuelan politics as one of a neutral arbiter.

 

Juan Guaido swore himself in as "interim 

president" on January 23 (EFE photo)
 

 

  • Written by Chris Cook
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Daniel Kovalik, Denis Halliday, Christopher Black, Janine Bandcroft February 7th, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


February 7th, 2019

The Lima Group met Monday in Ottawa to make official its determination to overthrow the government of Venezuela, as detailed in its 'Ottawa Declaration'.

An offshoot of the Organization of American States, the Lima Group formed following the OAS's failure to agree on the forced removal of president Nicolas Maduro.

In addition to hosting the meeting, and adding its capital's name to the Group's declaration, Canada's foreign minister promised 53 million Canadian dollars in "humanitarian and development aid" to be delivered to what Chrystia Freeland termed, its "trusted partners" in the embattled South American nation.

Listen. Hear.

Daniel Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer, essayist, and author of the critically-acclaimed books, ‘The Plot to Scapegoat Russia’, and ‘The Plot to Attack Iran’. The third in his “plot to” trilogy, ‘The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World’ is newly out and couldn’t be more timely. Dan has too served as an election observor multiple times in Venezuela, and other Latin American countries, and is just returned from Caracas.

Dan Kovalik in the first half.

And; despite a gruesome colonial past, and more recent history of supporting dictatorships, Canada still gets a lot of mileage out of its "democracy-loving" reputation. It scores a solid six on The Economist's annual rating of global democratic performance, and does almost as well on international justice indices.

In fact, Canada's "rule of law" bona fides is wielded more and more by the prime minister, even as the country diverges further and further from it.

Christopher Black is a Toronto-based criminal lawyer best known for his involvement in a number of high-profile, international war crimes cases. He’s also a poet, essayist, and novelist who’s latest book is, ‘Beneath the Clouds’. Black’s articles on international law, politics and World events appear at New Eastern Outlook among other places, and his latest, ‘The Lima Group: International Outlaws’ serves as indictment of a gang of nations gone rogue.

Christopher Black and declaring Ottawa outlaws in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to around our town in the coming week. But first, Dan Kovalik and vultures kettling over Caracas.

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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  • Written by Bill Henderson
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Trudeau Must Go: Changing Canada's Climate Position

Trudeau Must Resign

by Bill Henderson - Pacific Free Press


February 4, 2019

 

"Real climate leadership means rejecting permits for new pipelines, saying no to more leasing or fossil fuel extraction, and putting policies in place to wind down this industry and encourage a just transition." - OilChange International 

 

Prime Minister Trudeau promised to be a climate leader. There is no issue more important to Canadians than protecting a safe climate. But subsequent to pretending leadership at the COP in Paris, Justin Trudeau has failed miserably at emission reduction. The Liberal's Pan-Canadian Framework mitigation plan is in tatters; the puny, ineffectual carbon pricing proposed turned into a tool for dividing Canadians.

Canada will not meet its Paris 2030 target - which was the old Harper-era too low by half measure to stay even below 2°C target. Canada must reduce GHG emissions by half (at least) by 2030, but instead we dither, wasting very precious time.

 

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  • Written by Christopher Black
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Outlaw Lima Group Conspirators Meet in Ottawa

The Lima Group: International Outlaws

by Christopher Black - NEO


February 4, 2019

The covert and overt interventions taking place against Venezuela by the United States and its allies are a form of aggression and a violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter making the nations involved international outlaws.

The attempted coup against President Maduro may have failed so far but the jackals that instigated it have not given up their objective of forcing the majority benefiting from the Bolivarian revolution begun by President Chavez back to the misery the revolution is trying to save them from.

The United States and its allied governments and media, working with American military and civilian intelligence services, are pumping out a constant flow of propaganda about the start of affairs in Venezuela to mislead and manipulate their own peoples so that they support their aggression and to undermine Venezuelans support for their revolution.

We have seen this type of propaganda before, the fake stories about “human rights” abuses, economic conditions, the cries of “democracy,” the propaganda about an “authoritarian” leader, a “tyrant,” “dictator”, all labels they have used before against leaders of nations that they have later murdered; President Arbenz, Allende, Torrijos, Habyarimana, Milosevic, Hussein, Ghaddafi are examples that come quickly to mind, so that the same threats against Maduro are not just propaganda but direct physical threats.

 

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  • Written by Yves Engler
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A Gathering of Vultures: The Lima Gang Descend on Ottawa

What the mainstream media doesn’t tell you about Venezuela

by Yves Engler


February 3, 2019

 



The corporate media is wholeheartedly behind the federal government’s push for regime change in Venezuela. The propaganda is thick and, as per usual, it is as much about what they don’t, as what they do, report. Here are some important developments that have largely been ignored by Canada’s dominant media:

At the Organization of American States meeting called by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 25 the Canadian-backed interventionist resolution was defeated 18-16.

The “Lima Group” of governments opposed to Venezuela’s elected president was established 18 months ago after Washington, Ottawa and others failed to garner the votes necessary to censure Venezuela at the OAS (despite the head of the OAS’s extreme hostility to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro).

Most of the world’s countries, with most of the world’s population, have failed to support the US/Canada push torecognize National Assembly head Juan Guaidóas president of Venezuela.

The UN and OAS charters preclude unilateral sanctions and interfering in other countries’ affairs.

UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur for sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, recently condemned US/Canadian sanctions on Venezuela.

 

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  • Written by Chris Cook
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Astra Taylor, John Helmer, Janine Bandcroft January 31st, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


January 31, 2019

From the barricades of France's Gilets Jaunes and America's Black Lives Matter marches, to Venezuela's Bolivarian reactionary mobilizations, and the "coloured revolutions" manifesting around the globe, it's clear: we're living in an age of political upheaval. But are scenes of the People taking to the streets an ominous precursor of chaos and civilization's end to come, or hopeful sign of civic renewal and democratic vibrancy?

Astra Taylor is a political activist, organizer, and co-founder of Debt Collective, a "community of debtors... working to build a new economy." She is too an award-winning filmmaker, whose credits include, 'Examined Life', 'Zizek!', and her most recent, 'What Is Democracy?', featured at the upcoming Victoria Film Festival.

Listen. Hear.

Astra's also the American Book Award-winning author of, 'The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age', and an essayist whose writing has appeared at The New York Times, London Review of Books, and The Walrus among other places. Her new book, 'Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone' is due out any day.

Astra Taylor in the first half.

And; the long-running fiasco that has become Great Britain's political reality may prove H.L. Menken's maxim: "Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right."

John Helmer is a journalist, former academic, government policy advisor, author, and broadcaster. He's the longest-serving Russia-based foreign correspondent, and sole western journalist directing his own news bureau, independent of any single national or commercial encumbrance, and principal behind the news website, Dances with Bears, where his recent article, 'Novichok Full O'Nuts - In the Case of Sergei Skripal Police Commissioner Angus MacPherson Lifts the Lid' is one of a series chronicling the continuing inability, or unwillingness, of the May government to provide a consistent narrative surrounding the case that strained Anglo-Russian relations to breaking point.

John Helmer's titles include, (with Max van der Werff) 'The Lie That Shot Down MH17 - The True Story of Who Did', Grand Strategy for Small Countries, Case Studies in Transforming Weakness into Power,' Russian State Strategy on the Cheap,' among others. His latest, newly released book is his political memoir, 'The Man Who Knows Too Much About Russia'.

John Helmer and clearing finally the malodorous May miasma shrouding the mysterious Skripal affair in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in the coming week. But first, Astra Taylor asking, "Just What Is Democracy?"

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

 

 

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  • Written by Craig Murray
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Venezuela's Porcine Revolt

The Vultures of Caracas

by Craig Murray


January 26, 2019

We are frequently told that people in Venezuela have no food, clothing or toilet paper, and that popular discontent with the left wing government is driven by real hunger. There are elements of truth in this story, though the causes of economic dislocation are far more complex than the media would have us believe. But I ask you to look at this photo of supporters of CIA poster-boy, the West’s puppet unelected “President” Juan Guaido, taken at a Guaido rally in Caracas two days ago and published yesterday in security services house journal The Guardian. Please take a really close look at the photo. Blow it up as big as you can. Scan individual people in the crowd, one by one. 

Click Image to Enlarge


These are not the poor and most certainly not the starving. As it chances I have a great deal of life experience working amongst seriously deprived, hungry and despairing people. I know the gaunt face of want and the desperate glance of need. Look at these Guaido supporters, one by one by one. This designer bespectacled, well-coiffed, elegantly dressed, sleekly jowled group does not know hunger. This group does not know want.


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  • Written by Chris Cook
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A Falling Apple of Legitimacy: Pierre and Justin Trudeau, Canadian Democrats and Citizens of the World

The Falling Apple of Legitimacy: Pierre and Justin Trudeau, Canadian Democrats and Citizens of the World

by C. L. Cook - Pacific Free Press


January 25, 2019

Canadian hipster and fashion plate, Justin Trudeau hit the curl of the pro-Venezuela coup meme now sweeping the Globe early. Addressing a St. Catharines, Ontario crowd, crammed into the gym at Brock University last week,1 the shirt-sleeved PM mustered to the marrow his democracy-defending indignation, damning the South American country's leader as a "dictator" not possessing electoral legitimacy.

Responding to a question from the floor, Trudeau incanted furiously,

"Anyone who contends they are a friend to the Venezuelan people should be very clear in standing up and condemning the Maduro government, that has been responsible for terrible oppression, for terrible marginalization, for a humanitarian crisis the likes of which South America has not seen in a long time, leading to mass exodus, [and] tremendous number of refugees fleeing all across South America.

"ALL because of an illegitimate dictator named Maduro, who is continuing to not respect their constitution, the rule of law, and the principles of what is fair and true for the future."


Quite a mouthful, and surprising in its vehemence, coming as it did from the man thought the ideal personification of Canada's renowned temperance and earnest-to-a-fault devotion to compromise and negotiated international diplomatic contretemps solution-finding. Disheartening too for those sharing the prime minister's and El Gran Norte Blanco's avowed dedication to "the principles of what is fair and true" is Canada's ready recognition of coups, (past and present) across South and Central America and the terrible oppression, marginalization, and tremendous number of fleeing refugees they engender.2

 

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  • Written by John Helmer
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Skripal Case Coroner Unconvinced Yet

WILTSHIRE CORONER CANNOT RULE NOVICHOK AS CAUSE OF DEATH – THERESA MAY’S SKRIPAL STORY FAILS BOTTLE TEST

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears


January 24, 2019

Moscow - The Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley admitted this week that he held a 14-minute hearing into the death of Dawn Sturgess, alleged victim of a Russian Novichok attack last July, but after six months of further investigations by police, military, intelligence and toxicology experts, he still cannot hold a formal inquest and decide what caused her death.

This admission by the coroner, the scheduling of a new coroner’s court hearing on April 15, and the likelihood that this too will be adjourned, now threaten the British Government’s narrative that a Russian-produced nerve agent, sprayed on to a door handle last March, was an attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal, and that four months later, a bottle containing the same poison killed Sturgess.

The admissions from Coroner Ridley on Monday were made as the European Union, prodded by the British Government, has announced new travel bans against the Russian military intelligence agency accused of the nerve agent attacks.

 

“Today’s new sanctions,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday, “deliver on our vow to take tough action against the reckless and irresponsible activities of the Russian military intelligence organisation, the GRU, which put innocent British citizens in serious danger in Salisbury last year.”
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  • Written by Chris Cook
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dahr Jamail, Andy Worthington, Janine Bandcroft January 24th, 2019

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com


January 24, 2019

It doesn't matter who or what is to blame; or even if laying blame is appropriate. The fact is, the planet is changing, and that change is quickening. The predicted emerging climate is favourable to neither us, nor most of the rest of nature.

In short, whether recognized or not, humanity is headed for an extinction whose eventuality is not a matter of "if", but "when". So then, how do we go on from here?

Dahr Jamail is a journalist and author who has, as staff writer at Truthout, been writing about climate change for the past decade or more. His book, 'The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Destruction' is newly released and a firsthand account of visiting and revisiting places on an extincting planet.

 

Listen. Hear.

But lest you despair, consider what End of Ice reviewer, David Swanson observes,

 

"There is no preventing utter disaster. Yet there is urgency. The need is to work to slow the collapse and to mitigate its impacts and provide aid to each other as it washes over us."


Dahr Jamail in the first half.

And; as the Earth is an island, isolated from the rest of creation by that unfathomable ocean, the frigid vacuum of space, it too contains within it islands unreachable. One such place is Guantánamo Bay, Cuba where reside the prisoners of the forever Global War on Terror in the infamous mother of America's Black Site gulags.

Andy Worthington is an investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. A recognized authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror”, Andy is co-founder of Close Guantánamo, and We Stand With Shaker, campaigns dedicated to bringing justice for inmates of there past and present. The London-based Worthington is also a singer, songwriter, founding member of the band, The Four Fathers and urban photographer.

Andy Worthington and renewing resistance to Guantánamo in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and long-time Gorilla Radio contributor, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin of some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Dahr Jamail and End of Ice the end of us?

 

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
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