Thursday, January 31, 2019

Last Call For The Drums Of War, Con't

As with the run up to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the "liberal" media is running stories of atrocities in Venezuela that of course will eventually require American regime change through military means in order to stop.

President Nicolás Maduro is facing the biggest challenge to his authoritarian rule yet. Protesters are in the streets, an opposition lawmaker has declared himself the rightful president, a growing number of foreign governments have backed that claim and the Trump administration has intensified the pressure, cutting off Mr. Maduro’s access to oil sales in the United States — a principal source of his government’s cash

In the face of the crisis, Mr. Maduro has hit back hard, sending out security forces to crush dissent in deadly operations that have alarmed even some of the president’s traditional supporters.

But while Venezuela’s armed forces have publicly declared their allegiance to Mr. Maduro, they have not taken the muscular role they have in the past. When months of chaotic demonstrations arose against Mr. Maduro two years ago, it was largely the National Guard that squelched dissent with batons and bullets, with protesters prosecuted in military courts.

But this time, in a potential sign of the strained loyalties inside the military, much of the crackdown has been entrusted to a relatively new national police unit that Mr. Maduro created to conduct raids on gang groups in Venezuela’s slums.

Now the unit appears to have his political opponents in its sights. Known as the Special Actions Force, or FAES, it is being sent to work as Mr. Maduro’s enforcer in the poor neighborhoods that once supported him but have turned against him, according to human rights groups, former government officials and current lawmakers.
At least 40 people have been killed in the latest round of protests against Mr. Maduro, largely in nightly raids in poor neighborhoods involving the special police unit, human rights groups say.

“FAES has become deeply involved in acts of repression,” said Delsa Solórzano, a lawmaker in the opposition-led National Assembly who met with recent victims of the raids.

The involvement of the special police unit is especially worrisome, human rights advocates say, because the unit was created to put down armed gangs or rescue hostages, not to control crowds of protesters in a peaceful manner.

“The consequence when they go in is massacres,” said Keymer Ávila, an investigator with Provea, a Venezuelan human rights organization. “They weren’t made to handle demonstrations.

And so, in a few months or even weeks, we will be told by Donald Trump that American troops will have to be deployed into Venezuela to stop the attacks, and that we must rally around Dear Leader.  We've seen the horrors that Trump has unleashed on America with a robust economy and relative peace.  With a recession looming and war in Venezuela coming in 2019, things will get much worse, and very quickly.

Count on it.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

Let's say you're Russian intelligence under Putin.

You have a world-class disinformation campaign apparatus inside the American political and media machine.  It's good enough to have given you the American president.  You know that Robert Mueller has been appointed to investigate.  You know the American media has been compromised badly and trust in it was at an all-time low.  What's the best way to wreck the Mueller probe?  Disinformation of your own, of course.

No surprise then that when the Russians tried to sabotage and discredit the Mueller probe with false and dangerous information, the Russians overplayed their hand and were laughed at by journalists.

Federal prosecutors said on Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office was subject to a Russian disinformation campaign that intended to discredit his investigation into the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election.

The Kremlin-backed disinformation campaign that targeted Mueller’s office failed to gain any traction, however, as the contents of a fake trove of the special counsel’s files were immediately dismissed as largely fabricated by the reporter and researcher who received them.

The fake documents were sent to ThinkProgress reporter Casey Michel and independent disinformation researcher Josh Russell in November in direct messages from a Twitter account called @HackingRedstone. The messages’ sender claimed to be “anonymous hackers.”

“We are like hundreds of others, but we are the one and only who got the Special Counsel Mueller database,” @HackingRedstone claimed. “You might wonder why we want to share all this information with you. You are the one who can tell people the truth!”

Both Michel and Russell were immediately skeptical of the documents.

“The DM I got was ridiculous, both in terms of its syntax as well as the types of phrases it used,” Michel told NBC News. “It reminded me of the types of language we saw on some of the fake Russian Facebook pages, like when the Russian trolls claimed they were Texas secessionists who were ‘in love with Texas shape!’”

Mueller’s team confirmed some of the documents were legitimate and obtained through the trial’s discovery process. Other documents included in the fake leak, which included screenshots of websites and memes that were not created by the Internet Research Agency, were not collected by Mueller’s team.

The Internet Research Agency is a St. Petersburg-based firm run by a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin whose key executives have been indicted by Mueller on charges of defrauding the United States.

The fake documents were apparently included in the trove to falsely demonstrate that Mueller’s team had incorrectly characterized some American websites as Russian disinformation operations, Michel said.

“Some of the files they sent along did appear legitimate and were some of the things we'd already seen on those fake Twitter or Facebook pages before,” Michel said. “Some of the things were pretty clearly not from the IRA, or at least weren't anything that any other reporters or analysts had ever claimed to be Russian.”

Just plausible enough false information, close enough that it could be true, mixed in with documents that were legitimate, in an effort to get left-leaning websites to bite.  It worked on the right, why not the left, too?

But it didn't.  The false information was apparently a deliberate leak to damage Mueller's case against more than a dozen Russian nationals accused of being spied that Mueller indicted last year.

They seem pretty desperate to pull this, yes?

It's almost like he's got them dead to rights.

Howdy-Do, Neighborino

The strange case of Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul's neighbor ends with a $580,000 award in the senator's favor after being assaulted and his ribs broken last year.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was awarded more than $580,000 in damages and medical expenses on Wednesday in his lawsuit against the neighbor who tackled him and broke several of his ribs in a dispute over lawn maintenance.

A jury in Bowling Green, Kentucky, deliberated less than two hours before delivering the award to the Republican lawmaker who had been attacked while doing yard work at his Kentucky home.

Paul had testified during the three-day trial that he feared for his life as he struggled to breathe after Rene Boucher, an anesthesiologist by trade, slammed into him in their upscale Bowling Green neighborhood in late 2017.

The jury awarded $375,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for pain and suffering, plus $7,834 for medical expenses.

Afterward, Paul said in a statement that he hoped the verdict would send a "clear message that violence is not the answer — anytime, anywhere."

Boucher's attorney, Matt Baker, said they would appeal.

"We all expected that Sen. Paul would get a verdict in his favor," Baker said. "This far exceeds anything that we were expecting."

I mean Rand Paul pisses me off too, but I'd like to think I wouldn't go as far as breaking the guy's ribs.  On the other hand, I'm black, so if I had gotten within five feet of him, I would have been killed and that's that.

I still want to know what the hell Paul did to piss this guy off so much though.  If I ever invent a time machine, I'll drop in and observe.


Related Posts with Thumbnails