Venezuela and Stone

Grind for January 26th, 2019
“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.”

– Stephen Hawking

It’s About Time

The Headline

Venezuela: The revolution begins with Juan Guaido

The Grind

Politician Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela’s opposition-led Congress, on Wednesday declared himself “acting president” following President Nicolas Maduro’s contested swearing in to a second term two weeks ago.

The announcement was made on the 61st anniversary of the coup d’etat that overthrew dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez. This year, tens of thousands turned out to demand Maduro’s resignation. At least seven people were killed in the chaos.

President Trump recognized Guaido as the true president of Venezuela just minutes after his announcement.

“In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant,” explained Trump. “The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law.”

Other nations to back Guaido include: Canada, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile.

The Details

Maduro responded to Trump’s announcement by giving US envoys in Venezuela three days to leave the country, but US officials say he doesn’t have the legal authority to do that.

“The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime,” confirmed Sec. of State Mike Pompeo. The US “does not consider [Maduro] to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the US or to declare our diplomats persona non grata.”

Pompeo assured Guaido he would have full US support as he establishes a transitional government and prepares for democratic elections.

“The Venezuelan people have suffered long enough under Nicolas Maduro’s disastrous dictatorship,” continued Pompeo, referring to the economic collapse which caused food and medicine shortages, triple-digit inflation, high crime rates, and the exodus of three million people.

Starting Wednesday, the United States will refuse any transactions with the Maduro regime. This will lead to a host of consequences for Venezuela and could give Guaido’s fledgling government a chance to take control of oil revenue.

US involvement is also expected to cause global tensions.

“This is going to escalate nationally and internationally with the Maduro regime doing everything it can to marshal support from Beijing and Moscow,” warns research consultant Michael McCarthy. “Those actors might not support Maduro’s style or leadership, but they’re there to push back against the US and they’re not going to walk away quickly.”

In the meantime, Maduro can expect support from Russia, Turkey, China, his military, and roughly one-third of Venezuela’s remaining population.

Guaido will be under constant threat of arrest until the situation changes.

Another One Bites The Dust

The Headline

Roger Stone indicted as part of Mueller investigation

The Grind

Longtime Trump adviser and InfoWars contributor Roger Stone was arrested Friday on charges of lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks in 2016.

The charge – which is the latest indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation – also includes seven counts of obstructing official proceeding and witness tampering.

Stone appeared in court Friday in Fort Lauderdale and was released on $250,000 bond after pleading “not guilty.”

The Details

During two separate testimonies in 2017, Stone told lawmakers he had no documents relevant to the Russia investigation.

Later, investigators found him to be in possession of several emails and text messages pertaining to the website WikiLeaks – which US officials claim was the primary channel used to publish information stolen by Russia.

As described in the 24-page indictment:

After WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the DNC, an unnamed Trump campaign official was “directed to contact” Stone about further releases and to learn if the site possessed and other “damaging information” about the Clinton campaign.

On October 3rd, 2016, Stone sent an email to a Trump campaign supporter which read, “Spoke to my friend in London last night. The payload is still coming.”

The following day, he responded to an email from Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon confirming WikiLeaks would publish “a load every week going forward.”

The charges against Stone follow two testimonies from Jerome Corsi – a conservative author who was fired from InfoWars last summer.

Corsi says he told Stone about WikiLeaks’ plans to release emails hacked from the account of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. He also claims Stone asked him to contact WikiLeaks about releasing the emails ASAP following the Access Hollywood tape that revealed Trump’s “locker room” comments about women.

Stone continues to insist that he had no knowledge about the content or source of any WikiLeaks material published in 2016.

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