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11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]

11.15  The long read:  The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]

11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

11.14 Backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Youth Climate Activists Arrested in Pelosi's Office Demanding Democrats Embrace 'Green New Deal'

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11.12 Planned Parenthood's new president warns of 'state of emergency' for women's health

11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]

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11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]

11.17 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare

11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]

11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]

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11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]

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11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

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11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

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  House Resolution Designates Venezuela a State Sponsor of Terrorism
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COMMENTARY:

House Resolution Designates Venezuela a State Sponsor of Terrorism

by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 4 November 2009

State terrorism designation—if HR 872 passes—would mean halting normal relations, prohibiting US companies from exporting and operating there, and denying America vitally needed Venezuelan oil.

At a time of growing US poverty, hunger, homelessness, and despair, imperial wars without end, and the Obama administration even worse than its predecessor, Venezuela:

  • is a model participatory democracy;
  • holds free, fair and open elections;
  • respects the rule of law, civil liberties, and human rights;
  • doesn't intimidate its neighbors;
  • uses its resources responsibly for the people;
  • provides essential social services for the needy;
  • champions judicial fairness and the rule of law;
  • has a model free and open media;
  • wages no foreign wars;
  • doesn't torture or imprison its adversaries;
  • conducts effective operations to halt illicit drugs trafficking;
  • promotes global peace, solidarity, equality and social justice; and
  • its only threat is its good example that shames its northern neighbor.

In contrast, America:

  • is a serial belligerent and world class bully;
  • spends more on militarism than the rest of the world combined at a time it has no enemies;
  • backs the world's worst dictators and faux democrats like Colombia's Alvaro Uribe, a man closely linked to the country's paramilitary death squads and drug cartels; and
  • through the CIA, has actively engaged in global drugs trafficking since the agency's 1947 founding; it profits hugely from its dealings with local traffickers; so do major US banks and other powerful business and financial interests.

In addition, Washington

  • serves the rich at the public's expense;
  • tolerates corruption at the highest levels;
  • subverts democracy through electoral fraud;
  • has a closed, corrupted dominant media system serving the powerful, not the greater good;
  • incarcerates hundreds of political prisoners;
  • uses torture as official policy; and
  • wages state-sponsored terrorism and global wars.

So consider the hypocrisy. On October 27, Rep. Connie Mack (Rep. FL) introduced HR 872: Calling for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its support of Iran, Hezbollah, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP). Its sole co-sponsor was Rep. Ron Klein (Dem. FL).

Connie Mack is a notorious right-wing ideologue. In an accompanying statement he said:

"The evidence linking Venezuela's Hugo Chavez to the FARC and Hezbollah - two of the most dangerous terrorist organizations, responsible for many bombings, kidnappings, killings and drug trafficking - is overwhelming. Naming Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism will strengthen the stability of the region. The Administration must not turn a blind eye to Chavez's dangerous aggression and must add Venezuela to the state sponsors of terrorism without delay."

Fact Check

Iran hasn't attacked a neighbor in over 200 years, but has defended itself vigorously when attacked, including during the 1980-88 war with Iraq, a conflict the Carter administration triggered in an attempt to destabilize and weaken both countries.

Noted Latin America expert James Petras calls the FARC-EP the "longest standing, largest peasant-based guerrilla movement in the world (that was) founded in 1964 by two dozen peasant activists (to defend) autonomous rural communities from" Colombian military and paramilitary violence.

Hezbollah is no terrorist organization. It's a legitimate resistance group, and, as a political party, is part of Lebanon's elected government. In addition, it's well respected for providing essential social services, including a network of schools, medical clinics, and organized relief after Israeli South Lebanon bombings in 1993, 1996, and 2006.

Also, according to Aijaz Ahmad writing in the Indian magazine, Frontline:

It's "the only entity which has, through armed resistance, forced the Israelis to relinquish any territory that the Jewish state has ever captured" through decades of regional belligerency.

Mack Attack Round Two

HR 872 is round two for Mack. On March 13, 2008, he and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) introduced HR 1049 (with eight co-sponsors) "calling for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism (and) condemn(ing) the Venezuelan government for it support of terrorist organizations," at that time referring to the FARC-EP. The resolution died in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Referred there as well, the new one won't fare better. Otherwise the implications are serious as state terrorism designation means halting normal relations, prohibiting US companies from exporting and operating there, and denying America vitally needed Venezuelan oil. It's the nation's fourth largest supplier after Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

In its "State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview," the US State Department imposes the following sanctions:

  1. "A ban on arms-related exports and sales.
  2. Controls over exports of dual-use items (that may be anything, including oil), requiring 30-day Congressional notification for goods and services that could significantly enhance the terrorist-list country's military capability or ability to support terrorism.
  3. Prohibitions on economic assistance.
  4. Imposition of miscellaneous financial and other restrictions, including:
    • Requiring the United States to oppose loans by the World Bank and other international financial institutions;
    • Lifting diplomatic immunity to allow families of terrorist victims to file civil lawsuits in US courts;
    • Denying companies and individuals tax credits for income earned in terrorist-listed countries;
    • Denial of duty-free treatment of goods exported to the United States;
    • Authority to prohibit any US citizen from engaging in a financial transaction with a terrorist-list government without a Treasury Department license; and
    • Prohibition of Defense Department contracts above $100,000 with companies controlled by terrorist-list states."

In other words, it halts virtually all normal diplomatic, political and business dealings with "terrorist-list states."

Corporate interests won't tolerate it at a time every business opportunity counts. Nor will Venezuela with strong regional support given the political, security and economic implications.

As long as Bolivarianism flourishes, expect new efforts to vilify, isolate, destabilize, and topple Chavez, no more likely to succeed than others, and here's why. According to the Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis (IVAD), his latest approval rating tops 62% after nearly 11 years as president. Governing responsibly keeps him popular compared to Barack Obama's noticeable slippage from his post inaugural high.

According to the November 3 Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, only 28% of voters strongly approve of his performance, 41% strongly disapprove, 46% somewhat approve, 52% somewhat disapprove, and for Congress it's far worse - 15% say its doing a good or excellent job compared to 53% ranking it poor.

Given Washington's inattention to essential needs, watch for even greater erosion compared to Chavez remaining popular by a two-to-one margin - a profile befitting a democrat, not a state-sponsor of terrorism.


Steve Lendman

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on November 4, 2009.
 



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