More War provocations against Russia and Venezuela

In his Dec. 18 column at, Nino Pagliccia  asks: ‘Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?

He first notes that on Dec. 12 at an international media conference Nicolas Maduro had announced that his security and intel services had learned of plans to further destabilize Venezuela.

“That in itself is major news but it is noticeable that his denunciation only two days after the well-publicized landing of Russian military aircrafts at Venezuela’s international Simon Bolivar airport of Maiquetía as part of Russia-Venezuela joint military exercises and training. This is not the first occurrence of military cooperation between Russia and Venezuela but this seems to be the first time such news has had enough impact on Washington to prompt a strong and undiplomatic reaction from the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo who referred to the two countries as “two corrupt governments squandering public funds” in a tweet.”

Answering his title’s question he writes:

“It appears to be so, and certainly Venezuela is quite a wide door in geopolitical terms capable of countering the political reversals of some countries in the region surrendering to neoliberal ideology.”

The second reason, he writes, is that both VZ and Russia have been slapped with sanctions (I’d add ‘endlessly, and illegally by way of international law’), but that military threats against VZ are even more menacing, therefore Russia’s ‘balancing’ military help is welcome, as would be the Islamic Republic of Iran having announced that will soon send warships to Venezuela as a sign of strategic partnership.

Pagliccia adds that the timing of the arrival of the assistance is important, as Maduro is to be sworn in for another six-year term as President again on Jan. 10, and given the rumors of ‘disruption’, Russia is signaling its support for Maduro.  He chronicles the threats against Maduro:

“However, the official position is that these are not just rumors and the disruptions may include violent and terrorist tactics. To that effect president Maduro stated at the media conference: “Today I come again to denounce the plot that from the White House is being prepared to violate Venezuelan democracy, to assassinate me and to impose a dictatorial government in Venezuela.” Then he added more pointedly, “Mr. John Bolton has been appointed again, as head of the plot to turn Venezuela to violence and to seek a foreign military intervention, a coup, to assassinate President Maduro and impose what they call a ‘transitional government council’. I’m saying this to you to unveil their plans. ”

John Bolton is the National Security Advisor of the United States with the reputation of coining the term “troika of tyranny” in reference to the democratically elected, progressive governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Maduro’s statements are perfectly credible mainly based on specific details he provided.”

He then names the paramilitary groups and commando groups, their numbers and locations in Colombia, with one based in Florida, which specificity convinces Pagliccia is actual intel.  The deployment of the Russian war planes to VZ came just one week after Maduro’s recent visit to Moscow, and he names ‘…the deployment consists of two TU-160 long-range bombers with nuclear capability, an An-124 heavy military transport plane and an II-62 long-haul plane of the Russian aerospace forces’, but a hundred pilot trainers had also come with them, but yes, still ‘modest in comparison to the 22 US military bases in Latin America’.

However, the message that the action sends must be seen as a strong deterrent to any military intervention in Venezuela especially coming from Colombia.

Venezuela Minister of defense, Vladimir Padrino explained, “We must tell the people of Venezuela and the entire world that … we are also preparing to defend Venezuela to the last extent when necessary.” [snip]

Russia practices a remarkable two-prong approach in its foreign policy that combines a responsible non-hegemonic military strength with careful maintenance of balance of forces in particularly conflictive areas. This is precisely what is needed in Latin America in order to preserve peace, as opposed to the divide-and-rule approach used by U.S. foreign policy.

More broadly, Russia and Venezuela share a common view of a multipolar world cooperating in social, military and economic areas of interest that replaces the hegemonic unipolar strangling financial world dominated by the U.S.”

Also from venezuelanalysis: ‘WaPo: Trump Needs to Destroy Venezuela to Save It; “Propaganda works primarily through repetition” analyses Joe Emersberger of  It’s a long, but illuminating in exposing the constant agitprop against VZ, especially by the compromised NGO Human Rights Watch; a few paragraphs:

“Tamara Taraciuk Broner of Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Johns Hopkins professor Kathleen Page took to the pages of the Washington Post (11/26/18) to whitewash Donald Trump’s successful efforts to make Venezuela’s economic crisis much worse.  Appropriately enough, at the end of the piece, the Post recommended four other articles (11/23/18, 9/11/18, 6/20/18,8/21/18) that either attacked Venezuela’s government or stayed conspicuously silent about the impact of US economic sanctions.

Propaganda works primarily through repetition. The vilification of Venezuela’s government in the Western media has been relentless for the past 17 years, as Alan MacLeod pointed out in his book Bad News From Venezuela.” [snip]

“The idea that “most sanctions” have “no impact on the Venezuelan economy” is appalling nonsense (, 3/22/18).  Trump has extended Obama’s cynically declared  “national emergency” over Venezuela, and escalated by directly threatening holders of Venezuelan government bonds, making it it impossible for Venezuela to “roll over” any bonds governed under US law (i.e., borrow to pay off principal when a bond comes due, as governments usually do). In January, a Torino Capital report on Venezuela’s economy stated that “all foreign-currency bonds are denominated in dollars, and all are governed by New York law.” Trump also prohibited the Venezuelan government–owned CITGO corporation, based in Texas, from sending any profits or dividends back to Venezuela.

The US allies Taraciuk and Page mentioned mainly provide propaganda cover for a US-led assault. Bear in mind that the United States, Canada and other countries within the European Union are supplying weapons and other essential military support to Saudi Arabia, even as it inflicts famine on Yemen. Why do you suppose governments barbaric enough to arm Saudi Arabia also target Venezuela with economic sanctions? Does concern over human rights and corruption, which Taraciuk and Page uncritically cited as a rationale, pass the laugh test?”

Let’s jump now to the other hot spot trying to provoke the Russian Bear into war: the Kerch Strait between the Azov Sea and the Black Sea.

Finian Cunningham writing at RT on Dec. 21 posits ‘Why Trump’s peace signal in Syria could see US clash with Russia in Ukraine

Now others such as Patrick Lawrence make a case that there won’t actually be a draw down of troops for various reasons, as does Vladamir Putin.  But never mind; Bibi says Israel will ‘fill in the void’.

“Nevertheless, President Vladimir Putin noted in his annual press conference this week that it remains to be seen if the planned US withdrawal actually materializes. Only a couple of months ago, national security advisor John Bolton declared US forces would be in Syria for as long as Iranian forces were present.” [snip]

“Earlier this week, Kurt Volker, the Trump administration’s envoy to Ukraine, told a forum in Brussels that $250 million worth of military equipment was on its way to the US-backed regime in Kiev.

That latest installment is in addition to the $1 billion of military assistance Washington has provided the Kiev regime since it seized power in February 2014 with the US-backed coup. It was the Trump administration that broke new ground from former president Obama when it signed off on $47 million in “lethal military supply” to the Kiev regime this year in the form of anti-tank javelin missiles.

Also this week, some 41 US senators signed a resolution calling for “freedom of navigation” exercises in the Black Sea and for more lethal military assistance “to defend Ukraine from Russian aggression”. Among those senators is Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of the most hawkish anti-Russia lawmakers. Ominously for US-Russia relations, Cotton is tipped in media reports as taking over from Mattis as the next Secretary of Defense.” [snip]

“There are serious portents that the Kiev regime is planning to launch more provocations against Russia in the same vein as the Kerch Strait incident on November 25. A senior Kiev official, Alexander Turchinov, almost bragged to the BBC this week that more naval incursions were imminent. He also indicated that NATO vessels could be joining future Ukrainian attempted forays through the Kerch Strait.”

READ MORE: Ukraine plans another incursion into Kerch Strait, hopes NATO ships will join in – top official  [It also comes several days after the UN General Assembly passed a Ukrainian resolution, condemning the presence of the Russian military in the Crimean Peninsula and the surrounding waters of the Black Sea and the Azov Sea. 66 countries supported the non-binding resolution but 72 abstained from voting altogether.]  Back to F. Cunningham:

“It has to be borne in mind that the politically unstable Neo-Nazi regime in Kiev is itching for a confrontation with Russia. The regime, which honors Nazi figures like Stepan Bandera who collaborated with the German Third Reich’s exterminatory policy against Russia, is motivated by rabid Russophobia; and, secondly, by a desperate desire to save its decrepit state by inciting a war with Russia and getting NATO to ride to its rescue.

American and European Atlanticist politicians are so inebriated with anti-Russian propaganda and ideology that they have bought into the Kiev narrative of “Russian aggression.” Reports of increasing NATO trainers present among the Kiev regime’s forces building up against ethnic Russian people in the breakaway Donbas eastern region of Ukraine, as well as suspicions of Western coaching of provocations against Russia – all indicate a grave risk of war breaking out.”

And holy crow from the Kyiv Post Dec. 22, via Reuters

“BELBEK, Crimea (Reuters) – More than a dozen SU-27 and SU-30 fighter jets which Russia is deploying to boost its air force, amid heightened tensions with Ukraine, arrived in Crimea on Saturday.

A Reuters witness saw the jets land at Belbek air base in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014 after Moscow-leaning Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich fled Kiev following street clashes and violent protests.”
Tensions between Moscow and Kiev have risen in the past weeks after Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and their crews on Nov. 25 in an incident which Moscow and Kiev have blamed on each other.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has alleged Ukraine was preparing “a provocation” near Crimea before the end of the year.”

From Interfax confirms it, although I’d wondered if it might have been Reuters + bellingcat agitprop again.:

“The announcement came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview that Ukraine was preparing an “armed provocation with Russia on the border with Crimea during the last ten days of December.”

The state-run TASS news agency quoted Lavrov as saying that Moscow would not allow the Ukrainian government to act on those plans and “they will regret it.”

The top Russian diplomat also said that his country “will not wage war against Ukraine,” and accused Kiev of having “Nazi characteristics.”

We are not fighting the Ukrainian regime,” Lavrov said. “It is Ukrainian citizens living in Donbass who are fighting against the Ukrainian regime, which has full Nazi and neo-Nazi characteristics.

Russia’s latest naval attack continues years of aggression in Black Sea’, Veronika Melkozerova, Kyiv Post, De. 22

“The forces are far from equal. Ukraine lost 80 percent of its navy and coast guard fleet when Russia occupied Crimea. Now Ukraine protects itself in the sea with some 70 small motor boats of the coast guard, eight armored motor boats, three warships and 20 non-combatant navy vessels.

By comparison, Russia has more than 10 navy warships and several dozens of motorboats in the Black Sea and some 120 armored boats in the Azov Sea in addition to several dozens of Federal Security Service Coast Guard boats.

To compensate for that inequality, the U.S. and the U.K. deployed their navy vessels to the Black Sea in order to monitor the situation. On Dec. 19, the U.K. warship HMS Echo docked in Odesa.

Russia intends to dominate the Black Sea and in effect is already doing so, according to Glen Grant, a security and defense expert at the Kyiv-based think tank Ukrainian Institute.

Russia is at war with everyone. But other countries are still too frightened or blind to show this openly,” Grant said.”

‘Pentagon Planet’, anthony freda

Coming soon: Great Power Conflicts with: China.

(cross-posted at


9 responses to “More War provocations against Russia and Venezuela

  1. thierry meyssan fleshed out (and widened) maduro’s intelligence claims a bit in his ‘The United States Is Preparing a War between Latin-American States , John Bolton is working overtime to foment war on Venezuela by newly the minted far-right government of Colombia and Brazil, published at mint press news dec. 19

    “In any case, during a press conference on 12 December 2018, President Maduro revealed that US National Security Advisor John Bolton was handling the coordination between the teams of Colombian President Iván Duque and those of the Brazilian Vice-President. A group of 734 mercenaries is currently being trained in Tona (Colombia) in order to perpetuate a false flag attack, allegedly by Venezuela, against Colombia – thereby justifying a Colombian war against Venezuela. The war would be under the command of Colonel Oswaldo Valentín García Palomo, who is today in hiding after the attempted assassination by drone of President Maduro during the anniversary of the National Guard on 4 August 2018. These mercenaries are supported by Special Forces stationed on US military bases in Tolemaida (Colombia) and Eglin (Florida). The US plan is to take over, from the beginning of the conflict, the three Venezuelan Libertador military bases of Palo Negro, Puerto Cabello and Barcelona.”

    i’d incorrectly remembered it was a bomb, but maybe the drone dropped a bomb or two? but msm portrayed it as a false flag by maduro loyalists to earn sympathy. (?)

    “The US National Security Council is attempting to convince various states not to recognize Nicolás Maduro’s second mandate (he was re-elected last May, but will assume power with the New Year). This is why the states of the Lima Group contested the Presidential ballot even before it took place, and illegally forbade Venezuelan consulates from organizing it. Furthermore, the migration crisis turns out to be just one more manipulation – many of the Venezuelans who fled the monetary crisis believing that they would easily find work in another Latin-American country are today trying to return home. But the Lima Group prevents them from doing so, forbidding Venezuelan planes who are attempting to repatriate them to use their airspace, as well as interdicting the buses which have come to help them cross the borders.

    Everything is, therefore, happening as if we were watching a remake of the events which bloodied the Greater Middle East after the attacks of 11 September 2001. The main point is not the military actions, but the appearance of disorder that the events present. First of all, it’s intended to confuse people into making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear [5]. In the space of five years, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which used to enjoy a positive image abroad, are now being wrongly described as “failed states”. While the history of the Sandinistas and their struggle against the Somoza dictatorship has not yet been re-written, it is taken for granted that Hugo Chávez Frías was a “Communist dictator” (sic), despite the fact that his country experienced a massive economic and political leap forward during his Presidency. It will soon become possible to destroy these states without anyone complaining. ”

    Gavin Williamson: UK ship in Ukraine ‘sends message to Russia’, 22 December 2018, bbc news

    “A Royal Navy warship which has been sent to Ukraine will send a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the UK’s defence secretary says.

    HMS Echo was sent into the Black Sea earlier this month, after Russia seized three ships belonging to Ukraine’s navy and their crews. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has visited the ship in the port of Odessa.

    He said the presence of the British ship shows support for Ukraine in the face of increased Russian aggression. It will be followed by other warships as part of a more constant British presence, he said.

    Nato has recently stepped up its operations in the Black Sea with increased warship patrols.”

  2. What increased Russian aggression? The comments on Ukraine made by Putin at his press conference were quite peaceful ones in that he was happy no lives were lost in the first confrontation, and in general that both Russia and Ukraine shared a history that makes such provocations on the part of the current Kiev regime seem more and more an attempt to heighten tensions that don’t apply to the country of Ukraine as a whole.

    To me he seemed to be indicating that regime might be in trouble from its own dissatisfied citizenry, not from Russia.

    • That was a response to the Grant quote, wendye, not to your post in general. (And by the way, Michael Hudson has a pertinent description of think tanks in his latest economics post at NC. He thinks, and I wholeheartedly agree, that their sole purpose is to propagandize for the 1%).

    • i’d put it up in burgundy ink as it was ‘the kyiv post’, as in: ukraine post. i liked lavrov’s from press tv confirming the fighter jets going to crimea: “The top Russian diplomat also said that his country “will not wage war against Ukraine,” and accused Kiev of having “Nazi characteristics.”

      “We are not fighting the Ukrainian regime,” Lavrov said. “It is Ukrainian citizens living in Donbass who are fighting against the Ukrainian regime, which has full Nazi and neo-Nazi characteristics.“

      there was another piece at the kyiv post that specified that the news was by way of bellingcat, although explaining who elliot higgins and friends in that ‘online investigative service’ in the UK would take more energy than i have to explain.

      i’d pretty much agree w/ hudson at first blush, but even more, or equally damaging to me are the compromised human rights organizations: HRW and amnesty international…most of the time…who bat for the Empire.

  3. It’s good to be comparing the two countries, Ukraine and Venezuela. The US cannot and should not think of the latter as comparably ‘our backyard’, the way Russia can think of Ukraine. We delve into US history in that region to our peril. Siblings we are not.

    • absolutely correct, juliania. but our backyard is courtesy of the monroe docrine in all its hubristic exceptionalism.

      thanks for coming, hope you were able to buy your flour. tomorrow’s 3-loaves-of-bread day for me. oh, and mr.wd had his first cataract surgery w/ a new lens put in…he can sure see better now as it heals, but egad: he can see how old and wrinkled i yam now! ;-) truth is: himself, as well.

      • Yes indeed, flour is got! I aim to make scones, lured by currants on proffer at Natural Grocers – but I have to say, ’twas my local Walmart that saved the day with organic flour when other venues had been stripped of their supply. (Good news all around; folk are waking up.)

        Nah, wendye – I bet you’ll always be gorgeous to Mr. W. And as we age, we generously leave the stage to our younger imitators (knowing they can’t achieve our former glory, heh heh. They wish!)

        Christmas music is so beautiful. “I wonder as I wander…” my fave. Happy just past solstice time to all! Someone should write something beautiful about that…

        • “The Planets” maybe? I’m partial to that too.

        • scones with currants; yum. buttermilk to rise them? anyhoo, glad you found your flour. but eeek, mr. wd’s having his second eye surgery on jan. 2, another week to heal and see better… but nah, he’s more flipped out about his own face, really.

          if you mean solstice songs, here’s a youtube page of them.

          i like ‘i wonder as i wander’, too; can’t say which is my favorite right now, but often it’s how a song’s performed that makes one a fave. so many decades we went caroling in a big group, we even rehearsed1 (at least some of us.) shucks, we’re so out of it we haven’t played even one xmas record or dvd. did manage to put up a tree and lotsa fairly lights w/ special shapes; they do cheer me up some.

          bonnie sent me some wonderful yuletide photos; what a treat! and good christmas to you, juliania. let there be peace on earth? sigh.

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