US Issues New Threats Of War For Oil Against Venezuela

By Eric London

February 04, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –    President Trump, Vice President Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton escalated threats to launch a war against Venezuela, as large pro- and anti-government demonstrations filled Venezuela’s streets on Saturday.

In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” program that aired before the Super Bowl yesterday, Trump reiterated that military intervention “is an option.” Pence assured a crowd of far-right Venezuelan exiles in Miami on Friday that “this is no time for dialogue, it is the moment for action, and the time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship once and for all… Those looking on should know this: all options are on the table.”

Bolton, who helped author the playbook that was used to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq, issued a blunt threat Friday that the US would kill or jail and torture Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro if he did not resign. Comparing Maduro to Nicolae Ceaușescu and Benito Mussolini—both of whom were killed—Bolton told right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt: “The sooner he takes advantage of that [i.e., resignation], the sooner he’s likely to have a nice quiet retirement on a pretty beach rather than being in some other beach area like Guantanamo.”

Self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, the US and their allies in South America and Europe are preparing a new provocation aimed at forcing the Venezuelan military to abandon Maduro, with Guaidó announcing that the US will deliver aid at three locations along the Venezuelan border in the coming days.

While Maduro and the Venezuelan military leadership have said they will refuse the aid, the US hopes that images of crowds gathering to receive food and medication will either provoke the military to defect to the opposition and help distribute the aid or provide valuable propaganda footage justifying the need for a “humanitarian” intervention.

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Over the weekend, hundreds of armed Colombian soldiers dressed in battle fatigues deployed to one of the three “aid distribution” centers, Cúcuta, on the Venezuela-Colombia border. Colombia’s far-right President Iván Duque issued a statement proclaiming, “Few hours remain to the Venezuelan dictatorship.” At a press conference last week announcing Washington’s moves to topple Maduro, Bolton held under his arm a note pad with the words written in plain view: “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

Guaidó also announced that one of the “aid” locations would be on the border with Brazil, which deployed troops to the border last year, while the third would be on an island in the Caribbean.

The stepped-up pressure produced an initial crack in the Venezuelan military, which remains the backbone of the Maduro government. Over the weekend, one Air Force general and a small group of mid-level Air Force officials defected and issued public statements calling on their colleagues to join them.

Germ án Ferrer, a sitting Venezuelan legislator and United Socialist Party member who opposes Maduro, told the CBC that Maduro has disabled combat aircraft for fear the Air Force will turn on the government.

The US is imposing blanket sanctions on Venezuelan oil that amount to a blockade on oil exports. This act of economic war is intended to increase social misery.

Shannon O’Neil of the Council on Foreign Relations told a conference call of bankers, government officials and oil executives last week that the sanctions will lead to “more deprivation, even given the low base we’re at, more among the population.” The sanctions will force thousands to flee the country, she added: “You’re going to see more refugees pouring into countries throughout the hemisphere and elsewhere around the world.”

The Brookings Institution explained that the present stage of the coup operation is aimed at “building an off-ramp for the Maduro regime.” In the parlance of US imperialism, countries whose leaders do not take the “off-ramp” are, like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria, subject to a hailstorm of bombs and missiles from the air and US troops or proxy armies on the ground.

As the Council on Foreign Relations’ O’Neil told the corporate conference call, “If it [sanctions] doesn’t work in dislodging this regime, then there’s not a lot left in the toolkit besides things like military intervention.”

A military intervention in Venezuela—population 30 million—could kill hundreds of thousands or millions of people and transform Latin America into an imperialist slaughterhouse.

The geopolitical intelligence think tank Stratfor recently noted, “A military intervention could quickly snowball into one of the largest worldwide military operations since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

Francisco Toro, a Washington Post columnist and anti-Maduro think tank analyst, told the Council on Foreign Relations gathering that a military intervention would lead to “a kind of Syrian civil war” and confrontation between nuclear-armed powers.

He said: “There is this definite threat that if a military operation takes any amount of time in Venezuela, that other countries then start to move in too. And you can imagine, easily, Brazil moving into the southeast, Colombia into the southwest. You can imagine Russia trying to defend its oil interests, because Russia has big oil investments in Venezuela. You can imagine China doing I don’t know what. And Cuba has already intelligence penetration into the Venezuelan armed forces.”

Maduro’s strategy is three-fold. First, he is seeking to present himself as palatable to US imperialism and open to negotiation with the far-right opposition. Second, he is using the threat of “another Vietnam” as bargaining leverage against a US military intervention. Third, he is violently crushing working class opposition over inflation, poverty and record levels of social inequality.

Maduro rejected the demand of several European imperialist powers that he announce by February 2 the holding of new presidential elections. As the deadline passed, European governments—including the UK, France, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany—officially joined the US in recognizing Guaidó as president.

Maduro will now participate in large military exercises scheduled to last from February 5 to February 10. His government has also reportedly armed tens of thousands of members of a civilian reserve force with World War Two-era bolt-action rifles in anticipation of a possible invasion.

Key to the government’s strategy is a ferocious military crackdown on working class demonstrations and food riots. While the military and police have maintained a more passive presence at “official” demonstrations held by the right-wing opposition, government forces have murdered dozens of workers and youth participating in demonstrations over lack of access to food, water and other basic necessities.

The Maduro regime has responded to these demonstrations, which largely take place at night in the slum areas, with midnight raids by death squads, “disappearing” working class opponents in an effort to terrorize the areas that once were bastions of support for Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez Frias. The corporate media does not report these crackdowns.

In this way, Maduro is attempting to prove to his opponents in the US and Europe—as well as his backers in Russia and China—that he remains the best option for ending instability and keeping the oil flowing.

At its roots, Washington’s intensifying efforts at regime-change in Venezuela are part of a “pivot to Latin America” aimed at eradicating Chinese and Russian influence and transforming the whole Western Hemisphere into the exclusive cheap-labor and primary resource platform for US imperialism.

In November 2018, when Bolton announced the “Troika of Tyranny”—Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua—he was elaborating the strategic view that the US cannot successfully conduct operations against Russia in Eastern Europe, against China in South Asia, or against both Russia and China in Central Asia, without eliminating their presence in “America’s backyard” and freeing up the region’s resources for the US war machine. The establishment of a US-ruled “Fortress Americas” was a central foreign policy component of the “America First” movement in the early 1940s.

In a March 2018 document published by the US Army War College titled “The Strategic Relevance of Latin America in the US National Security Strategy,” the Army notes that in the aftermath of the fall of the dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s, “most democratic societies in the Western Hemisphere” are “feckless and unconsolidated, thereby representing a threat to the national security of the United States by external actors (such as China and Russia) opposing US interests in the region.”

The strategy document indicated another reason for possible military operations in Venezuela: the need for the US military to test its operating capacities in heavily populated urban areas.

“Latin American megacities are also a laboratory for the US Army in cooperation with its strategic partners in addressing another important issue, or, perhaps, an old issue in the post-Cold War international system: how to fight a conventional war in an unconventional environment,” the document states. “Megacities are the new arena for conflicts in the 21st century. Therefore, the US Government and Army cannot afford to be caught off guard when called upon to exercise and accomplish its mission.”

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==See Also==

The Yankee Plot to Overthrow Nicolás Maduro and Steal Venezuela’s Oil

 

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Cryptocurrency Firm Losses $145 Million After CEO Dies With Only Password

quadrigacx cryptocurrency exchange exit scam

QuadrigaCX, the largest bitcoin exchange in Canada, has claimed to have lost CAD 190 million (nearly USD 145 million) worth of cryptocurrency after the exchange lost access to its cold (offline) storage wallets.

Reason? Unfortunately, the only person with access to the company’s offline wallet, founder of the cryptocurrency exchange, is dead.

Following the sudden death of Gerry Cotten, founder and chief executive officer QuadrigaCX, the Canadian exchange this week filed for legal protection from creditors in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court until it locates and secures access to the lost funds.

In a sworn affidavit filed by Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson and obtained by Coindesk, Robertson said QuadrigaCX owes its customers some CAD 260 million (USD 198 Million) in both cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum, as well as fiat money.

However, Robertson said the cryptocurrency exchange only has smaller amount in a ‘hot wallet’ (USD 286,000), claiming that to protect its users funds from hackers, majority of coins were kept in a ‘cold wallet’—a physical device that is not connected to the internet—by Cotten, who died of Crohn’s disease on December 9 in Jaipur, India.

quadrigacx cryptocurrency exchange

According to the affidavit, the exchange’s offline wallet holds roughly:

  • 26,500 Bitcoin (USD 92.3 million)
  • 11,000 Bitcoin Cash (USD 1.3 million)
  • 11,000 Bitcoin Cash SV (USD 707,000)
  • 35,000 Bitcoin Gold (USD 352,000)
  • 200,000 Litecoin (USD 6.5 million)
  • 430,000 Ether (USD 46 million)

Cotten was the only person who had the private keys to the wallet, according to Robertson, and no other members of the team, including herself, has the password to decrypt it.

“For the past weeks, we have worked extensively to address our liquidity issues, which include attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets, and that are required to satisfy customer cryptocurrency balances on deposit, as well as sourcing a financial institution to accept the bank drafts that are to be transferred to us. Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful,” reads a message posted on the QuadrigaCX website, which is down.

Exit Scam? Researchers Believe QuadrigaCX Never Had $100 Million

Some users and researchers have been doubtful of the exchange’s claims, with a leading cryptocurrency researcher, claiming that QuadrigaCX never had access to such a pool of funds and probably lying about having cold wallet reserves, suggesting the incident could be an exit scam.

Crypto Medication, a researcher and data analyzer, performed in-depth blockchain analysis of the QuadrigaCX’s Bitcoin Holdings by examining TX IDs, addresses, and coin movements, and concluded that “there is no identifiable cold wallet reserves for QuadrigaCX.”

“The number of bitcoins in QuadrigaCX’s possession is substantially less than what was reported in Jennifer Robertson’s affidavit, submitted to the Canadian courts on January 31st, 2019,” the researcher wrote.

“At least some of the delays in delivering crypto withdrawals to customers were due to the fact that QuadrigaCX simply did not have the funds on hand at the time. In some cases, QuadrigaCX was forced to wait for enough customer deposits to be made on the exchange before processing crypto withdrawal requests by their customers.”

Some other people are also reporting that moving of some of the funds in question after the case was publicized and the strange circumstances of Cotten’s death suggest that his death is either faked or the pretext for an exit scam by parties with access to the funds, according to CCN.

“The people trying to pull off a QuadrigaCX exit scam could actually be the family and other employees, by hiding the fact that the cold wallet keys are known,” bitcoin analyst Peter Todd said. “Not saying this is happening, but need to consider all possibilities fairly in the investigation.”

A bankruptcy hearing for the cryptocurrency exchange is scheduled for February 5 at Nova Scotia Supreme Court, with international accounting firm Ernst and Young Inc. to be appointed as an independent monitor.

However, if the exchange has indeed placed its cryptocurrency in a now-inaccessible physical device, it is likely that thousands of its users would never be able to recover their funds and investments.

First Hacker Convicted of ‘SIM Swapping’ Attack Gets 10 Years in Prison

sim swapping attack hacking
A 20-year-old college student who stole cryptocurrency worth more than $5 million by hijacking victims’ phone numbers has pleaded guilty and accepted a sentence of 10 years in prison.

Ortiz was arrested last year on charges of siphoning millions of dollars in cryptocurrency from around 40 victims using a method commonly known as “SIM swapping,” which typically involves fraudulently porting of the same number to a new SIM card belonging to the attacker.

In SIM swapping, attackers social engineer a victim’s mobile phone provider by making a phony call posing as their target and claiming that their SIM card has been lost and that they would like to request a SIM swap.

The attackers attempt to convince the target’s telecommunications company that they are the actual owner of the phone number they want to swap by providing required personal information on the target, like their SSNs and addresses, eventually tricking the telecoms to port the target’s phone number over to a SIM card belonging to the attackers.

Once successful, the attackers essentially gained access to their target’s mobile phone number using which they can obtain one-time passwords, verification codes, and two-factor authentication in order to reset passwords for and gain access to target’s social media, email, bank, and cryptocurrency accounts.

SIM swapping has grown increasingly popular among cybercriminals over the past year and Joel Ortiz, a California man, is the first person to receive jail time for this crime, after pleading guilty to stealing more than $5 million in cryptocurrency from 40 victims, according to Motherboard.

Rather than facing trials and severe consequences imposed by the jury, Ortiz chose to accept a plea deal for 10 years last week, according to Deputy District Director Eric West of Santa Clara County, California.

However, the official sentencing of Ortiz is set to take place on March 14th.

There are more pending cases in court wherein defendants stole millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency using SIM swapping.

One of the defendants named Dawson Bakies, accused of stealing the identities of and funds from more than 50 victims in the United States through SIM swapping has been indicted by Manhattan’s District Attorney (DA).

The 20-year-old Ohio man has been arrested and charged with identity theft, grand larceny, computer tampering and scheme to defraud, among other charges.

Over the past year, federal authorities around the world have begun a crackdown on cryptocurrency related crime. A year ago, feds arrested a group of nuclear engineers in Russiaafter they were caught using supercomputers to mine Bitcoin.

A newly Discovered Moth With Yellow Hair, Tiny Penis Is Named Neopalpa DonaldTrumpi

LOL!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of Neopalpa donaldtrumpi

In 2018, US politics and Science intersected when an evolutionary biologist made an awesome discovery of a species, previously unknown to mankind with attributes similar to the republican US President Donald Trump with its yellowish hair and unusually small penis. The biologist Vazrick Nazari made sure his new discovery would never be forgotten by naming it “Neopalpa donaldtrumpi.”

As per Wikipedia, Neopalpa donaldtrumpi is a moth species of the genus  Neopalpa occurring in Southern California and Northern Mexico. It was described in 2017 by Canadian scientist Vazrick Nazari. Known for its yellowish-white head scales being reminiscent of Donald Trump‘s hair, the moth was given its name because Nazari stated that he wanted “to bring wider public attention to the need to continue protecting fragile habitats in the US that still contain many undescribed species.”

Here’s the rest of the story…

Around April 2018,  Indy100 published the following report, “Scientists…

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