Venezuela Slams Colombia for Provocative Border Occupation

Less than two months ago, on March 31, Colombia security officials were gathered near the Simón Bolívar International Bridge in Cúcuta.

On Sunday, the Government of Venezuela expressed displeasure with what it viewed as an antagonistic stance taken by Colombian security forces, who posted near the Paraguachón region of La Guajira.

RELATED: Despite Police Attacks, Colombia's Civil Strike Continues

Armored combat vehicles occupied space only a few meters from their shared border. The Venezuelan government viewed this as a provocative move on the part of the Colombian State.

According to a statement from the authorities, this is not the first seemingly aggressive action by the Colombians. Less than two months ago, on March 31, Colombia security officials were gathered near the Simón Bolívar International Bridge in Cúcuta.

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The statement also pointed out that, recently, top Colombia officials have made false declarations that migrants from Venezuela to Colombia are committing acts of large-scale violence. "The provocation aims to divert attention from the political and social crisis in the Valle del Cauca, Buenaventura," the statement explained.

The Venezuelan government has warned the international community about the threat to the peace accords signed in 2016. The officials fingered their neighbor's actions as an aim to undermine international peace initiative that contributed to ending a war that had ravaged the region for decades.

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Blair prosecuted for Iraq War? Ex-PM’s legal immunity challenged in court

The first steps towards overturning a legal ban on prosecuting former Prime Minister Tony Blair over the Iraq War will be considered by the High Court on Tuesday.

A private criminal prosecution against the former Labour PM was blocked last year when it was ruled Blair had immunity from any charges related to the Iraq War and that any such case could also “involve details being disclosed under the Official Secrets Act.”

 
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair meets British troops, Iraq, May 29, 2003. © Stefan Rousseau

A more senior judge will consider on Tuesday whether there are sufficient grounds to grant a judicial review of the rejection of the prosecution.

Last year’s private prosecution, brought by a former top Iraqi general now living in exile – General Abdul-Wahid ar-Ribat – wants Blair, his foreign secretary Jack Straw, and Lord Goldsmith, who was attorney-general in the run up to the invasion, to face trial in a British court.

It seeks their conviction for the crime of “aggression” and follows last year’s damning Chilcot report, which found Britain invaded Iraq under the false pretext that deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction.

The High Court judge on Tuesday will consider paper submissions made by lawyers on both sides. There will be no public hearing.

It will also decide whether the government’s top law officer, Attorney-General Jeremy Wright QC, can join the case. Wright wants the ban upheld, believing it is in the public interest that private prosecution be blocked.

“The next stage will be the court considering the papers and making a decision on whether to grant permission for a judicial review,” a spokesperson for Wright told the Guardian.

“The attorney is seeking to intervene to represent the public interest.”

Chilcot reveals Blair's letters to Bush

Wright argues that the case for the crime of aggression does not exist in English law, even though it does in international law.

That argument, however, appears to have been undermined in a document written by Goldsmith himself. In his 2003 memo on the legality of the Iraq War, Goldsmith, who was then attorney-general, wrote: “Aggression is a crime under customary international law which automatically forms part of domestic law.”

READ MORE: Chilcot’s forgotten witnesses – Britain’s Iraqi diaspora (VIDEO)

After the Chilcot Report was released, some families of British service personnel who died fighting in Iraq called for Blair to face criminal charges.

It is not clear when the decision by the High Court will be made public.

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Trump says he had ‘absolute right’ to share data on 'flight safety & terrorism' with Russia

Donald Trump said he wanted to discuss “facts” with Russia, ranging from airline safety to terrorism, during last week’s White House meeting. A Washington Post story has accused him of revealing classified information to Russian officials.

In a tweet, Trump said he had an “absolute right” to discuss these matters with Russia, noting that the conversation was held at an “openly scheduled” White House meeting.

@realDonaldTrump As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining....

The “facts” discussed included terrorism and airline flight safety, according to Trump, who noted that he wants Russia to “greatly step up their fight” against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

@realDonaldTrump ..to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.

Trump sent out the tweets after a Washington Post story accused him of revealing highly classified information to Russian officials during last week’s Oval Office meeting.

The claims in the Washington Post have been refuted by multiple White House officials, including National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

US President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov © Russian Foreign Ministry

The story – which cited unverifiable sources and unnamed current and former officials – claimed that Trump disclosed “code-word information” related to IS during the May 10 meeting.

The information was allegedly disclosed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

The report claims the information had been obtained from “a US partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement,” and was not authorized to be shared with Russia, the US’ allies, or even within much of the US government.

Trump and his staffers have been repeatedly accused of having ties to Russia, allegations which the White House denies.

Later on Tuesday, the Kremlin dismissed the Washington Post allegations, saying the story included nothing worth discussing.

“This is not a topic for us. It’s nonsense," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “We do not want to have anything to do with this nonsense. This is utter nonsense and it is not something to either confirm or deny,” Peskov said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the report as part of a coordinated effort to put pressure on the Trump administration.

"This is another attempt to exert pressure on the new US administration and make deals related to various political appointments and lobbying. We can’t even say now that the media are biased because they are openly carrying out a political order," the diplomat told Kommersant FM.

Senate investigators are currently looking into the alleged ties, though Trump's critics are calling for an independent investigation into supposed communications between Moscow and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

Trump sacked FBI Director James Comey last week, admitting that "this Russia thing" was on his mind when he made the decision. Comey had been leading an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump's advisers and Russian officials when he was abruptly fired.

 

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Argentines protest Supreme Court ruling on Dirty War sentences

Tens of thousands of Argentines protested on Wednesday against a Supreme Court ruling that could decrease jail time for those convicted of human rights abuses during the country’s 1976 – 1983 military dictatorship that killed as many as 30,000 people.

The ruling was widely criticized, including by President Mauricio Macri, and Congress passed a law earlier on Wednesday to block future reductions of sentences for killings, torture, kidnappings and other human rights violations during the so-called Dirty War. “Judges: Never again. No free genocidists,” read banners in the Plaza de Mayo of Buenos Aires.

The Supreme Court’s May 3 decision ruled in favor of Luis Muiña, who was sentenced in 2011 to 13 years in jail for kidnapping and torturing five people during the dictatorship. The court said a law known locally as “two for one” that allows every day spent in jail before a final sentence to count for two days when more than two years have been served, could apply for human rights cases.

“I would like to congratulate the Congress for the speed at which it resolved the legal vacuum left by this unfortunate 2-for-1 law,” Macri said in a press conference earlier on Wednesday. “I am against any tool that is in favor of impunity, more so when this tool is applied to crimes against humanity.”

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No secret message: Lavrov didn’t deliver anything from Putin to Trump, says presidential aide

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not exchange any messages through Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov when he met Trump in Washington DC, the Russian presidential aide Ushakov confirmed.

Yury Ushakov on Thursday addressed journalists, rejecting earlier reports about Lavrov passing on a message.

 
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017. © Reuters

During his three-day visit to Washington Lavrov held talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump. Moscow has welcomed the results of the talks, but noted that it is “too early to draw any conclusions” as huge work is still ahead, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

“Of course, the fact that the conversation is being held is rather positive. The presidents have already talked three times by phone and further to this dialogue at the highest level, Mr. Tillerson was hosted in Moscow and Lavrov was hosted in Washington. That is why these facts are certainty positive,” Peskov said. He added that there should be “cautious optimism” speaking about any thaw in the relations between the two countries.

Speaking about the possibility of Putin and Trump meeting face to face, the Kremlin spokesperson noted that this may happen during the G20 summit, which will take place in Hamburg in July.

Lavrov’s visit is one of the highest-level contacts between the Russian and the US governments since Trump took office in January. The sides agreed to continue cooperation to solve international problems, including the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, despite any difficulties in bilateral relations.

READ MORE: Lavrov trolls NBC before Trump meeting as US media, Democrats lose it over Russia

Prior to the meeting with Trump, Lavrov held talks with Tillerson, in which the two diplomats discussed progress in the fulfillment of the Minsk peace agreements and touched upon crisis in Syria.

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Kadima! En Marche!

After having successively elected an agent of the CIA and an employee of the emirs of the Gulf to the Presidency of the French Republic, the French have been ripped off a third time, this time by an Israeli product. They believe that they have chased away the spectre of fascism by voting for a candidate supported by NATO, the Rothschilds, all the companies of the CAC40 and the unanimous Press. Far from understanding their mistake, they are still in a trance, and will probably not wake up before the end of the general elections.

As soon as his victory was announced, democratically elected President Emmanuel Macron defined a distance between himself and the People. Refusing to mingle with the crowd, he took a long, solitary walk across the courtyard of the Louvre where his supporters were gathered.

The team of elected French President Emmanuel Macron has managed to hypnotise the French nation. They managed to fabricate the election of their protégé with two thirds of the votes cast – a young man, only 39 years old, whose party was created on the Internet just one year ago, and who had until then never stood in any election.

Steele & Holt

This exploit was realised by the team of Steele & Holt, a mysterious company whose name refers to the TV series Remington Steele, a police procedural in which the director of a detective agency asks a thief (Pierce Brosnan) to play the rôle of her boss in order to serve as her cover.

Don’t bother trying to find out who is hiding behind this company – you’ll find nothing. Except for the fact that its two main clients are AXA and the Rothschild family. Everyone knows that Emmanuel Macron worked for the Rothschilds, but it’s a well-guarded secret that they organised his party. As for the insurance company AXA, it is presided by Henri de La Croix, fifth Duke of Castries, who is also president of the NATO think-tank (the Bilderberg group), the Bosphorus Institute (Turkey’s think-tank) and, in France, the Institut Montaigne (a right-wing think-tank).

Henry Kissinger also incidentally invited Macron to the annual meeting of the Bilderberg group in 2014, along with François Baroin and Christine Lagarde.

The Bosphorus Institute made it possible to identify and corrupt various personalities from the right and the left who lent their support to Macron.

The first meetings of the new party were held in the offices of the Institut Montaigne, whose headquarters were declared as the personal address of the Institut’s director.

Kadima !

The name of the new party - En Marche !, was chosen in order to have the same initials as its candidate. Otherwise, it would have been called En Avant ! In Hebrew - Kadima ! When it was pointed out to general Ariel Sharon that the name of his new party evoked the name of Mussolini’s party - Avanti ! - he retorted that that was not the case at all. En Avant ! was the order he gave to each of his special teams, for example when he invaded Beirut against the advice of his military staff.

Kadima ! and En Marche ! are centrist parties assembling personalities from the right and the left. Ariel Sharon was a well-known « centrist » who created his party in order to break away from Benjamin Netanyahu. Sharon was a colonialist who wanted to create a Palestinian state on the model of the South African Bantustans. For him, apartheid was the only way to preserve Israël. On the other hand, Netanyahu is a Talmudist. He refuses to accept the idea of sharing Palestine with the goyim. For him, they must be expelled, if they can’t be exterminated.

We will no doubt learn later why Macron wanted to break with the Socialist Prime Minister, Manuel Valls. For the moment, it’s enough to note the insistance with which Valls attempted to join En Marche ! and the flippancy with which Macron rejected him, to see that there is a serious conflict between them.

Fascism En Marche

In order to launch Macron, Steele & Holt – in other words NATO and the Rothschilds – relied on the old pro-US network of the Fondation Saint-Simon. Together, they staged the « peril Le Pen », so that many electors who are strongly opposed to Macron nonetheless voted for him for fear of a possible victory by the « foul beast ». Since there was little for which they could blame Marine Le Pen, they accused her of the crimes of her father... and many others.

This manipulation shows that in our « showbiz society », form is more important than content. Indeed, what are the characteristics of fascism ? The end of the class struggle, thanks to corporatism, which unites bosses and workers in the same organisations, the end of the right-left dialectic thanks to a unique party, and consequently, the end of all opposition by the use of force.

While the first of these three characteristics might have been applied to the vision of Jean-Marie Le Pen, none of them are valid for his daughter – however, the first two are applicable to the vision of Emmanuel Macron. He is supported by all the major bosses of the CAC40, as well as by the CGT. He does not question the capacity of the right- and left-wing parties to defend the values to which they claim to adhere, but calls their leaders to join him in his party to defend their common interests. There can be no doubt that if the general elections go the way Macron hopes, the destruction of the opposition will begin. Indeed, the unanimous support of the written Press for candidate Macron, and the campaign against dissenting Internet sites, give us a taste of things to come.

History repeats itself – in 1940, the French supported Philippe Petain in order to preserve themselves from Nazism, but it was Petain who installed fascism. In 2017, they voted for Macron in order to preserve themselves from fascism, yet he will be the one who installs it.

A hijacked campaign

It’s true that some electors were disturbed both by the unusual personality of the candidates and by a wealth of propaganda methods which have never been used in Europe since the Second World War.

At the age of 15, Emmanuel Macron had a sexual relation with his drama teacher, who was 23 years older, moved in with her, and then married her 15 years later. Marine Le Pen inherited the presidency of her party from her father – she first of all cleaned it up, and then excluded him from it. In psychoanalytical terms, Macron married his mother, and Le Pen killed her father.

Above all, Emmanuel Macron’s team did not hesitate to accuse his rivals of the worst forms of treason, without any logic, certain that the local and national Press – which it already controls in its entirety – would not dare to express the slightest criticism. The right-wing candidate, François Fillon, is now perceived as a thief, although not one of the accusations levelled against him has been verified. Marine Le Pen is considered to be the incarnation of fascism, although she has never supported the positions with which she is charged.

A solitary victory

As soon as his election was announced, President Macron gave a short speech from his campaign headquarters – a string of platitudes pronounced with the ponderous demeanour of a man who has suddenly felt the weight of his responsibilities descend upon his fragile shoulders. Then he offered himself a new moment of theatre with his supporters in the courtyard of the Louvre. He crossed Paris in a procession of limousines with tinted windows. He took a long, solitary, inaccessible walk across the courtyard of the Louvre to climb onto the podium which had been built in his honour. There, at the base of the pyramid, like Bonaparte, he delivered a new speech, once again consisting of verbiage, but this time in a frenzied tone - a man who has never seen combat. Finally, he gathered together with his family and a few militants to sing La Marseillaise.

Contrary to all his predecessors, at no time during this evening did he shake any hands. No-one was ever allowed to approach him. He allowed none of the political personalities who had supported him to appear alongside him and share his victory. They will only be able to collect the bounty of the betrayal of their respective parties by betraying them again and supporting him during the general elections in June.

It will only be when President Macron has a firm grasp on all the reins of power that he will allow France to wake up. It will be too late.

Forward, march !

Turkey warns US against arming Syrian Kurd ‘terrorists,’ ponders end of ‘strategic partnership’

Ankara expressed disappointment with the US decision to send heavy weapons to Kurdish militants, while the Kurds praised Washington’s decision as a “historic” move that greatly expands the group’s capabilities to “fight terrorism.”

The Turkish government has asked the US to reverse its decision to broaden support for Syria’s Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (YPG), stating that it is unacceptable for a NATO ally to support “terrorist groups.”

 

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) head a convoy of U.S military vehicles in the town of Darbasiya next to the Turkish border, Syria April 28, 2017. © Reuters

The decision to supply arms to Kurds would have “consequences” and a potentially “negative result” for Washington, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warned on Wednesday.

“We cannot imagine [the US] making a choice between our strategic-level partnership and a terrorist organization,” Yildirim said, as quoted by the Sabah daily. “The US administration still has a chance to consider Turkey's sensitivities of highest level on the PKK. If the decision is taken otherwise, this will surely have consequences and will yield a negative result for the US as well.”

Every weapon given to the YPG represents a threat to Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavushoglu told reporters on Wednesday.

“If we support the territorial integrity of Syria, we should take lessons from the mistakes we made in Iraq and abstain from making any wrong moves. YPG and PKK are the same entity, there’s no difference between them,” Cavushoglu said, according to NTV broadcaster. “Every weapon which gets into their hands represents a threat to Turkey.”

“We cannot accept the presence of terrorist organizations that would threaten the future of the Turkish state,” Turkish Deputy PM Nurettin Canikli told broadcaster A Haber on Wednesday. “We hope the US will put a stop to this wrong and back down from it. This policy will not be beneficial to anyone; you can’t be in the same sack as terrorist organizations.”

While the YPG is a US ally in Syria, Ankara perceives it as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group in both Turkey and the US. 

As the decision to supply heavier weapons was announced, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the US “reassures the people and the government of Turkey that the US is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally.”

 

Damaged vehicles that belonged to Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) are transported from their headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria April 25, 2017. © Rodi Said

 

The US responded to the comments by the senior Turkish officials, with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis promising to “work out” concerns over arming the YPG fighters.

“We will work very closely with Turkey in support of their security on their southern border. It's Europe's southern border, and we’ll stay closely connected,” Mattis said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The YPG militia praised the US’ decision, stating that it would boost the group’s capability to “fight terrorism.”

“We believe that from now on and after this historic decision, (the YPG) will play a stronger, more influential and more decisive role in combating terrorism at a fast pace,” Reuters cited YPG spokesman Redur Xelil as saying in a written statement.

The decision to supply weapons to YPG militia came amid recent tensions between the US and Turkey after Ankara’s strikes on Kurdish-held areas in Syria and Iraq late in April. The aerial bombing and artillery shelling killed a number of YPG militants and Iraqi Peshmerga fighters. Several civilians also perished in the strikes on Syria, according to the militia groups’ statements. Turkey, however, claimed that it had targeted solely PKK “terrorists.” Iraqi Kurds acknowledged a PKK presence in the targeted areas, but the YPG did not.

After the incident US troops arrived to the targeted locations to inspect the damage The demonstration of American military presence in the region met a harsh reaction in Ankara.

President Erdogan’s senior aide Ilnur Cevik said the US forces in Syria could be “accidentally” hit by Turkish strikes, as their presence wouldn’t shield “PKK terrorists” from Turkey’s forces.

Cevik, however, later somewhat softened his stance, stating that “has never and will never hit its allies anywhere and that includes the US in Syria,” while adding that “no one should allow our US allies to become a shield for them.” 

Erdogan threatens more strikes on US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria

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Putin says WW2 started due to disunity of world’s leading countries, calls on world to unite

The Nazis were able to start World War II because of the disunity of the world’s leading countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated during a Victory Day parade at Moscow’s Red Square, adding that the lessons of the past should not be ignored.

 
© Grigory Sisoev

“This horrific tragedy could not be prevented, first and foremost, because of the connivance of the criminal ideology of racial superiority, because of the disunity of the world’s leading countries. This allowed the Nazis to appropriate themselves the right to decide the fate of other peoples, to unleash the most brutal, bloody war, to enslave almost all European countries, putting them at the service of their deadly targets,” the Russian leader said, speaking during the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945.

According to Putin, the greatness of Victory Day is “defined by the people, by their unprecedented heroic act of saving the Fatherland, and a decisive contribution to the defeat of Nazism.”

The triumphant victory over this terrible totalitarian force will remain in human history forever as the highest point of the triumph of life and mind over death and barbarity,” he stressed.

“We must remember that the victory was won at the cost of huge, irreplaceable fatalities, that the war took millions of lives,” Putin concluded.

In order to effectively combat terrorism, extremism, and neo-Nazism today, the entire world community should unite, the Russian president noted.

 

“The lessons of the past war urge us to be vigilant, and the Russian Armed Forces are capable of repelling any potential aggression,” the Russian president said, stressing that “nowadays, life itself requires raising our defense potential.”

“But to effectively combat terrorism, extremism, neo-Nazism, and other threats, consolidation of the entire international community is necessary,” Putin said.

“We are open for such cooperation, and Russia will always be on the side of forces for peace, with those who choose the path of equal partnership, who deny wars as contrary to the very essence of life and human nature.”

The Victory Day parade has concluded on Moscow’s Red Square, where some 10,000 people took part and 114 military vehicles were on display. After attending the festive event, Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beside the Kremlin walls to honor the fallen soldiers of World War II. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, and other top Russian officials attended the ceremony.

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