Venezuela’s Sore Winners: Opposition, Media Blast Maduro Interference in Barinas Election Won by His Opposition

BARINAS, VENEZUELA — In the Venezuelan state of Barinas, the U.S.-backed opposition candidate for governor won an election on Sunday, January 9. Sergio Garrido – who has openly supported the fake “interim” presidency of Juan Guaidó, recognized only by the U.S. and 15 other world governments – defeated the Venezuelan government candidate, Jorge Arreaza, 55% to 41%. The Barinas gubernatorial election on January 9 was actually a rerun. Twenty-three states chose governors on November 21, 2021. Additionally, 335 mayors, 253 regional legislators, and 2,471 local councilors were elected. Overall, the elections were swept by the government. Nineteen of the 23 governorships were won by the Maduro government’s PSUV Party. Barinas, like other states, voted in November. But this election had particular symbolic importance as it took place in the home state of the late President Hugo Chávez, mentor to current President Nicolás Maduro and founder of the political movement that has dominated Venezuelan electoral politics since 1998. Rather than prompt the Western media to challenge Washington’s line that Venezuela is a dictatorship, or ask whether U.S. sanctions interfere in Venezuela’s elections, Garrido’s victory in Barinas had no impact on media coverage that constantly adopts the U.S. government’s perspective. An AP

Yemenis See U-15 Football Victory Over Saudi Arabia as Sign of Things To Come

SANA’A, YEMEN – As the Saudi war against Yemen enters 2022, Yemenis seem more determined than ever to hold victory ceremonies and forge ahead into another year of struggle against the Saudi onslaught – notwithstanding a new scorched-earth campaign launched by the oil-rich kingdom, dubbed Operation Happy Yemen Freedom. “As we did before, surely nothing will prevent us from achieving more victories during 2022, until the eventual liberation of all our homeland,” a fresh-faced teenager said during a sporting event at Althawra Sports City Stadium in Sana’a, where damaged stands could be seen, the result of a recent airstrike. At the start of each new year, public celebrations take place around the world. In Yemen however, the start of 2022 was different. On Wednesday, the Yemeni U-15 football team returned home from Saudi Arabia. Despite the nearly seven years of war that has disabled nearly all aspects of life in their country, including sports, the young boys were crowned the West Asian Football Federation Champions on December 13. The achievement sparked widespread jubilation among Yemenis not seen in many years.  The victory had great symbolism, not only because the win in the regional football tournament was the first in

Deceased Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu Faces Zionist Reputational Firing Squad

JOHANNESBURG – Vilakazi Street in Soweto is perhaps the most famous street in all of Johannesburg, maybe even in all of South Africa. The street is named after Dr. B.W. Vilakazi, who was a South African poet, novelist, and intellectual. He was the first Black South African to teach at the University of the Witwatersrand; though, because they did not allow Black lecturers at the time, he was employed as a language assistant. But that is not why Vilakazi Street is famous. At the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane is the home of Nelson Mandela, known today as the Mandela House. It serves as a sort of museum and memorial to Nelson Mandela. When I was there in 2014, I was given a tour by the very lady who worked for the Mandelas as a housekeeper. Also on Vilakazi Street is the home of the recently deceased Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It is said to be the only street in the world where two Nobel Prize laureates resided, and these were no ordinary laureates even by Nobel Prize standards.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi on the Iran Deal and the Assassination of Soleimani

[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=cHNyM8BHDt0[/embed] VIENNA – World leaders have descended upon Austrian capital Vienna to participate in the ongoing nuclear deal being negotiated primarily between the United States and Iran. Today, MintPress spoke to Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Professor of English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran. Dr. Marandi is currently in Vienna as part of the Iranian delegation. While corporate media often portray Iran as a recalcitrant pariah and the United States as a long-suffering broker in the situation, Dr. Marandi notes that it was actually the Trump administration that unilaterally walked away from the agreement. Furthermore, President Barack Obama refused to live up to his promise to remove financial sanctions against Iran. “Obama, from the very beginning, was violating the deal, the most important element of the deal, because the banking sector sanctions are the most important part of the deal,” Marandi told Mnar Adley today. Relations between the two countries fell to a new low two years ago this month, after the Trump administration carried out a successful drone strike against General and statesman Qassem Soleimani. While then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that Soleimani was on the verge of carrying out an attack

AIPAC Goes PAC and SuperPAC to Cover its Tracks as it Targets Progressives

WASHINGTON – The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the leading organization of the Israel lobby in the United States, launched two political action committees (PACs) last month in a move largely seen as an attempt to retain control amid a political climate becoming increasingly more critical of Israel. One of the newly formed PACs will operate as a traditional PAC in that it can raise a maximum of $5,000 per candidate and must disclose its donors. The Super PAC, however, can spend unlimited amounts of money on candidates and does not need to reveal contributors’ identities. AIPAC elaborated on its decision in a statement published on social media, written by President Betsy Berns Korn and emphasizing the organization would be supporting both Democrats and Republicans: Throughout AIPAC’s history, the Board of Directors has consistently adjusted our political strategy to ensure we could remain successful in an ever-changing Washington.  The D.C. political environment has been undergoing profound change. Hyper-partisanship, high congressional turnover, and the exponential growth in the cost of campaigns now dominate the landscape.  As such, the Board has decided to introduce these two new tools. Marilyn Rosenthal, AIPAC’s progressive engagement director, will lead the regular PAC and AIPAC’s

Rachel Riley Libel Ruling is the Latest Judicial Attack on Political Speech

Assaults on the right to speak, and to think, are coming thick and fast. But the significance – and coordination – of all these developments is being largely missed. Those who try to open up a little space – in politics, academia, and journalism – to think critically about our society and how power is misused are the chief targets. Western establishments have grown increasingly concerned about the expansion of popular freedoms that arrived with social media a decade or so ago, which have allowed us to analyze and critique elite interests and strategies. This has posed a very obvious threat to the establishment’s continuing ability to propagandize us and has led to far more unpredictable and unstable social and political landscapes. Our increased ability to bypass corporate, billionaire-owned media has led to inevitable polarization. We have seen the emergence of three antagonistic tribes, based largely on the way each consumes media. Liberals and the traditional right tend to show little interest in the wealth of new critical information, regarding as authoritative only those outlets that belong to the corporate media. As a result, liberals and the traditional right tend to assume either that the system works relatively well or

J.K. Rowling’s Hypocrisy: The Author who Smeared Jeremy Corbyn Gave Us Books and Films Full of Antisemitic Stereotypes

LONDON – Star author J.K. Rowling has again made headlines, this time after comedian Jon Stewart took her to task for the antisemitic portrayal of goblins in her “Harry Potter” books and movies. Stewart joked that the goblins were indistinguishable from representations of Jews in the infamous conspiracy text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” “Yeah, they look like Jews, but what if the teeth were sharper?” he quipped. The clip went viral after it was picked up by a Newsweek article entitled “Jon Stewart Accuses J.K. Rowling of Antisemitism in ‘Harry Potter’.” Stewart is far from the first to notice that Rowling’s depiction of goblins as a race of greedy, money-obsessed, fundamentally untrustworthy hooked-nosed little subhumans who control the entire banking system is distinctly similar to racist depictions of Jews. In 2020, Saturday Night Live host Pete Davidson performed a monologue on the same topic. “Who controls the banks? Jews, obviously! Little, giant nosed Jew goblins! And I can say that, obviously, because, as you can see, I’m half goblin,” he said, referring to his Jewish father. “If this isn’t a ‘Jews run the banks’ reference, why do they all look exactly like Alan Dershowitz?!” he added.

The Red Hill Disaster: Two Hawaiian Activists Discuss the Latest Episode in Two Centuries of Colonialism

[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=oWL51rqAgWE[/embed] In November, a huge underground naval fuel storage facility at Red Hill near Honolulu burst, leaking 14,000 gallons of jet fuel, contaminating the water supply, poisoning scores of people and driving thousands of Hawaiian families from their homes. The state’s attorney general, David Day, has alleged that the military has essentially no control over the safety of the enormous depot, which holds 250 million gallons of fuel. Day remarked that the state had a “ticking time bomb” on its hands, and that further contamination of its precious water supply was all but inevitable. The tanks sit just feet above the island’s largest aquifer. And this incident is merely the latest in a long list showing the American empire’s callous disregard for the civilian population of Hawaii, as it puts military needs before the people or the environment. Joining Lowkey today are two Hawaiian activists, Ihilani Lasconia and Daniel Kauwila Mahi. Ihilani is an artist, singer and organizer from Waimānalo; Daniel is a musician, rapper and student from Honolulu. The two place the latest disaster in the context of centuries of American imperialism, which sees Hawaii as a strategic location for control over the Pacific. The

The Making of Lina Hidalgo: From Democratic Party Nursery to Omicron Hysteria Queen

HOUSTON — On the afternoon of December 20, Harris County, Texas’s top elected official, Judge Lina Hidalgo held a press conference to announce what she claimed was the county’s first death from the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It was a moment in the national spotlight for the 30-year-old Democrat, who, since her teenage years, has been rising through elite institutions and forging ties with the national security state. Those connections, and her close ties to a highly-sophisticated billionaire influence operation, revealed in detail in this investigation, would prove to be vital in shaping Hidalgo’s formulation of COVID-19 and other policies. “We just had our first Omicron related death,” she announced as groans and gasps erupted from behind masks. Hidalgo then declared she was once again raising Harris County’s COVID Threat Level – a color-coded system borrowed from the Bush-era Terror Alert Warning System – to Orange, the second highest level of alarm. Despite Omicron’s mild symptoms, Hidalgo urged the public to get booster shots, portraying them as the only way to prevent a surge of hospitalizations that would break the back of the healthcare system. “We don’t know how many of those breakthrough cases will end up turning into hospitalizations. We

The Making of Lina Hidalgo: From Democratic Party Nursery to Omicron Hysteria Queen

HOUSTON — On the afternoon of December 20, Harris County, Texas’s top elected official, Judge Lina Hidalgo held a press conference to announce what she claimed was the county’s first death from the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It was a moment in the national spotlight for the 30-year-old Democrat, who, since her teenage years, has been rising through elite institutions and forging ties with the national security state. Those connections, and her close ties to a highly-sophisticated billionaire influence operation, revealed in detail in this investigation, would prove to be vital in shaping Hidalgo’s formulation of COVID-19 and other policies. “We just had our first Omicron related death,” she announced as groans and gasps erupted from behind masks. Hidalgo then declared she was once again raising Harris County’s COVID Threat Level – a color-coded system borrowed from the Bush-era Terror Alert Warning System – to Orange, the second highest level of alarm. Despite Omicron’s mild symptoms, Hidalgo urged the public to get booster shots, portraying them as the only way to prevent a surge of hospitalizations that would break the back of the healthcare system. “We don’t know how many of those breakthrough cases will end up turning into hospitalizations. We

The Lesson of Covid: When People Are Anxious, Isolated and Hopeless, They’re Less Ready To Think Critically

When I criticize meddling in Syria by Britain and America, or their backing of groups there that elsewhere are considered terrorists, it does not follow that I am, therefore, a cheerleader for the dictatorship of Bashar Assad or that I think that Syrians should be denied a better political system. Similarly, when I criticize Joe Biden or the Democratic party, it does not necessarily follow that I think Donald Trump would have made a better president. A major goal of critical thinking is to stand outside tribal debates, where people are heavily invested in particular outcomes, and examine the ways debates have been framed. This is important because one of the main ways power expresses itself in our societies is through the construction of official narratives – usually through the billionaire-owned media – and the control and shaping of public debate. If you look only at the substance of a debate and not at other issues, such as its timing, why the debate is taking place or why it has been allowed, what is not being mentioned or has been obscured, what is being emphasized, and what is being treated as dangerous or abhorrent. In that case, you are almost

Closer Scrutiny Reveals How Close To State Power Sacha Baron Cohen Really Is

MINNEAPOLIS – Sacha Baron Cohen is widely hailed as a comedic genius, using his sheer audacity to mock the absurdity of his targets. The creator of Ali G, Borat and Brüno has become one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities. Yet his outrageous stunts often belie his agenda and his own proximity to state power. Baron Cohen is often reluctant to make direct political statements. But a close examination of the comedian’s background and views suggests that much of his work is pro-Israel, pro-Western propaganda masquerading as satire. For example, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Department of Defense was involved in the production of the 2009 mockumentary “Brüno,” wherein Baron Cohen plays a flamboyantly gay Austrian reporter traveling the world. In his quest to become more heterosexual, Brüno visits a military base in Alabama. The scenes on the base feel rather staged, with the officers setting him up for a glut of witty one liners. Download the PDF file . The production company’s version of events is that they lied to the National Guard in order to gain filming permission and that, after suspecting the military smelled a rat, they hastily fled the base in their

Israel’s New Air Force Head Talks Scared and Tough on Iran: He Has Little Reason to be Either

JERUSALEM – As 2021 came to a close, Israel had raised the so-called “Iran Threat” issue to a whole new level. Upon his promotion in December to Commander of the Israeli Air Force, General Tomer Bar was asked by the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot (Ynet), “Are you able to attack Iran tomorrow?” His answer was “Yes!” He was then asked, “Will you be able to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities?” His reply: “There is no scenario where we act over there, and I don’t return and say ‘mission accomplished.’” In the summer of 2020, The Times of Israel reported that Israel had what it called a “Strategy and Third-Circle Directorate,” which focuses principally on “Israel’s fight against Iran.” The wording, “Israel’s fight against Iran,” is particularly apt: though more often than not it is described as “Iran’s fight against Israel,” it is, in fact, Israel that is a threat to Iran and not the other way around. Returning to the interview with the Israeli Air-Force commander, it is as though Israel cannot wait for the opportunity to attack, and indeed, the Ynet reporter who interviewed General Bar was eager. “Bar,” the story continues, “who will be tasked with carrying out a

Photo-Shopped History: Editing Out Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Support for Palestine

On January 1, 2022 – as South Africa buried one of its most illustrious sons and anti-apartheid icons, Archbishop Desmond Tutu – the hypocrisy of the corporate media was on full display. Reuters described him as “Africa’s ‘moral compass’.” Al Jazeera referred to him as “South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon.” CNN published articles referring to him as the “voice of justice.” and South Africa’s national conscience.” South Africa’s largest media outlet, SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) took the cake with an article titled: “Dalai Lama’s representative at Tutu’s funeral urges the world to think about China-Dalai Lama issue.” While corporate media outlets literally trampled each other while competing to give the most glowing tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, they all shamelessly omitted his public and unwavering support to the people of Palestine and their daily struggle against the grip of Israeli occupation. Anyone with basic knowledge about the history of the Bishop would have expected his solidarity with Palestine to feature in any report on his life. There is simply no journalist or historian, worth their salt, who can talk about the Bishop and fail to mention his energetic and almost lifelong support of the Palestinian cause. Desmond Tutu’s views and

Biden’s “Diplomacy Is Back” Falls Flat as 2021 Middle East Policy a Miserable Flop

Despite President Joe Biden having claimed earlier this year that “diplomacy is back” and that he would end the war in Yemen, revive the Iran Nuclear Deal and settle several other issues, in reality his Middle East foreign policy has been just as detrimental to the region as was that of his predecessor. “This war has to end…we’re ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales,” Biden said in early February during his first address to the U.S. public on his administration’s foreign policy approach. It was a speech that saw him showered with the praise of his supporters, yet we are now in late December and the war has only intensified, with UN experts estimating that the total death toll by the end of the year will be 377,000. To make things even worse, as Saudi Arabia’s bombs target urban centers in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, including the country’s primary airport and a maternity hospital, the U.S. just approved another $650 million weapons sale to Riyadh. Instead of withdrawing their support for the Saudis’ “offensive actions” and ending weapons sales, the Biden administration has done the exact opposite – and took no

American Gulag: Inside the U.S.’ Massive Prison System, with Chris Hedges

 For a supposedly developed, democratic nation, the United States locks up an extraordinary number of its citizens. Close to one quarter of the world’s prison population is in the United States. Even on a per capita basis, only El Salvador and Turkmenistan come close to America’s preponderance for incarceration. In a country with a rising population and a falling demand for labor, the government decided to solve this problem by simply locking up millions of its poorest citizens, in the process allowing corporate America to make billions from their suffering. The prison industry is booming: between 1990 and 2005, the U.S. built, on average, a new prison every ten days. Joining Lowkey to discuss how prisons became big business is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. Chris spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Balkans, and the Middle East for The New York Times and currently hosts the show On Contact on RT. His latest book, “Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison,” was published in October. “The entire system works to railroad primarily poor people and disproportionately poor people of color into this system,” he told Lowkey. “Almost no one

Chris Hedges: PEN America and the Betrayal of Julian Assange

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (Scheerpost) — Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, is one of the very few establishment figures to denounce the judicial lynching of Julian Assange. Melzer’s integrity and courage, for which he has been mercilessly attacked, stand in stark contrast to the widespread complicity of many human rights and press organizations, including PEN America, which has become a de facto subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee. Those in power, as Noam Chomsky points out, divide the world into “worthy” and “unworthy” victims. They weep crocodile tears over the plight of Uyghur Muslims persecuted in China while demonizing and slaughtering Muslims in the Middle East. They decry press censorship in hostile states and collude with the press censorship and algorithms emanating from Silicon Valley in the United States. It is an old and insidious game, one practiced not to promote human rights or press freedom but to envelop these courtiers to power in a sanctimonious and cloying self-righteousness. PEN America can’t say the words “Belarus,” “Myanmar” or the Chinese tennis star “Peng Shuai” fast enough, while all but ignoring the most egregious assault on press freedom in our lifetime. PEN America only stopped accepting funding from the Israeli government,

Israel Freaks Out as Gabriel Boric’s Elections Signals New Direction for Chile

SANTIAGO, CHILE – If its media is any indication, Israel is freaking out over the election results in Chile. “Anti-Zionist Gabriel Boric’s presidential win leaves Chile’s Jews worried,” ran The Jerusalem Post’s headline, going on to explain that the 35-year-old president-elect called Israel a “murderous state” and has the firm backing of the country’s Palestinian community. Only in the final section of the article did it allude to the fact that Boric’s far-right opponent, Jose Antonio Kast, was the son of a Nazi war criminal who escaped justice by fleeing to South America. The Times of Israel had a similar reaction to the news. “Chile’s new president is bitter Israel critic, whose win has many local Jews worried,” its headline read. It, too, glossed over Kast’s background, describing him merely as a “right-wing, pro-Israel politician” whose father was only “likely” a Nazi. In reality, as The Times of Israel itself had reported only weeks previously, the elder Kast voluntarily joined the Nazi Party and was a senior lieutenant in Hitler’s war machine. Haaretz was at least more open about who Kast was. However, it treated Boric’s opposition to Israeli Apartheid as similarly problematic, seemingly equating supporting Palestine to perpetrating the

Israeli State Violence Intensifying as 2021 Proves Deadliest for Palestinians Since 2014

NABLUS, OCCUPIED WEST BANK — On December 10, Jamil Abu Ayyash, 31, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers during anti-settlement demonstrations in Beita, a village south of Nablus in the Occupied West Bank. Abu Ayyash succumbed to his injuries. Three days later, the Israeli army fatally shot Jamil al-Kayyal, also 31, in the head during an early-morning raid in Nablus. And the beginning of December was marked by two other killings within two days of each other. On December 4, Israeli Border Police shot and killed Mohammed Shawkat Salameh, 23, after he stabbed an Israeli man at Damascus Gate. And on December 6, Israeli security guards fatally shot 16-year-old Mohammad Nidal Younis after he rammed his car into the Kafriat military checkpoint in the West Bank. The latest string of killings by Israeli forces follows the same predictable pattern of Israeli state violence against Palestinians, but with one significant distinction. Israel’s violence is intensifying, as 2021 is proving to be the deadliest for Palestinians since 2014.   Israeli forces escalating violence In its latest Protection of Civilians report, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that more than 70 Palestinians have been killed

Balhaf: The Oil Port Where UAE Loots Yemen and Imprisons and Tortures Yemenis

BALHAF, SHABWA, YEMEN – Al-Shabwani, a resident from Ateq city in Shabwa province who requested that only his nickname be used, told MintPress News that he was detained for months and tortured in a secret prison inside Balhaf. Since 2016, when the UAE first entered Yemen’s most productive oil and gas areas in Shabwa, Abu Dhabi has carved out Balhaf as its personal fiefdom and turned the former gas facility into a military camp and secret prison. “Balhaf should be a lifeline for us in this difficult time, not a military camp and secret prison,” al-Shabwani said. “It’s time to kick the UAE forces and their mercenaries out.” Shabwa province is located in the center of Yemen’s southern coastline and, out of all the country’s provinces, served as a beacon of hope to all Yemenis for a better life, given its wealth of natural gas and geographical location. Today, the major gas and oil facilities in the province instead represent the theft of an entire people’s future. A case in point is Balhaf, a Yemeni industrial port town and the largest investment project in the country, thanks to its export of liquefied natural gas. For six years, the UAE has