Sunday 20th of September 2020

USAID in cahoot with the CIA...


An uncovered US Agency for International Development (USAID) document lays out a blueprint for regime change in Nicaragua. An expert told Sputnik the playbook shines a new light on the 2018 protests in Nicaragua as well as similar operations in other countries targeted by the US, such as Venezuela.

A new report by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) has revealed a guide to regime change in Nicaragua by USAID. The document, which dates to March-April of this year, describes in frank terms how the agency, which maintains close ties with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), could create or exploit a variety of scenarios to remove democratically-elected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his FSLN party from power in or around the upcoming 2021 elections.

Jill Clark-Gollub, assistant editor and translator at COHA, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Wednesday that many of the tactics outlined in the USAID document can be observed in the demonstrations that rocked Nicaragua in the summer of 2018.

‘Code-Speak for a Coup’

“It’s a contract hiring coup plotters - a ‘coup-plotters for hire’-type contract. And it’s really astounding how the whole document is based on the premise that we can impose a better version of democracy for the Nicaraguan people. It talks about a crisis and a transition, and all of this is code-speak for basically bringing about a coup.”

“It talks about three scenarios in which the transition can take place, and it says a transition could take place if our candidate wins the election, but other parts of the document make it clear that they don’t expect their pro-US candidate to win the election. They don’t even have a candidate. Then they talk about creating a crisis for a sudden transition - another code-speak for a coup - and then it talks about a delayed transition in which the FSLN party, the Sandinista Front for National Liberation, wins. And it’s even a free and fair election, and it’s recognized internationally, so it takes a longer time to get them out of there.”

“If you really hadn’t been paying attention at all, you would think there’s this country in crisis and that the US would be doing them a favor to get rid of that government and put in somebody else.”

US Officials Admit to Venezuela ‘Coup’

The news comes amid statements before a Senate committee on Tuesday in which US Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) frankly admitted to having attempted to engineer a coup d’etat against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro beginning in January 2019.

“Our Venezuela policy over the last year and a half has been an unmitigated disaster,” Murphy told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We have to admit that our big play, recognizing [Juan] Guaidó right out of the gate, and then moving quickly to implement sanctions just didn't work … First, we thought that getting Guaidó to declare himself president would be enough to topple the regime. Then we thought putting aid on the border would be enough. Then we tried to sort of construct a kind of coup in April of last year, and it blew up in our face when all the generals that were supposed to break with Maduro decided to stick with him in the end.”

Josh Hodges, the senior deputy assistant administrator in USAID's Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), told the panel USAID support has been instrumental in helping Guaidó’s movement to function.

“We are using development assistance to support the interim government and the National Assembly with technical training, staffing support, equipment and communication efforts,” Hodges said. “USAID’s support bolsters the interim government’s ability to effectively operate and interact with constituents, despite the increased repression from the illegitimate regime. Our assistance has enabled increased participation with legitimate officials.”

Manufacturing Crises via ‘Psychological Warfare’

Clark-Gollub told Sputnik that USAID being directly involved in plotting a coup was “interesting,” because “this in the past, I believe, would have been done by the CIA. Now it’s being done by USAID, and as I said, it’s advertised on LinkedIn. It’s like they have no shame anymore.”

“USAID has been funding Nicaraguan opposition and media groups for years,” she said, noting the 2018 civil disturbances were a case study in what the document describes. “You just need to go back two years and look at this document and all of this doublespeak and understand what I mean.”

“It’s almost embarrassing for the people who are allowing themselves to be used for this. The document talks about how they’re going to use NGOs and opposition parties and the media kind of to corral them to do what they need to do for this plot. So it reveals a lot of stuff that we’ve known, and it brings it out in the open. We have known the media is paid by the US; this is recognition that they’re directed by the US. And the shameful thing for people outside of Nicaragua is that our mass media just parrots what the self-serving Nicaraguan opposition media publishes in Nicaragua.”

She further noted the US was “trying to use the [COVID-19] pandemic for this crisis” mentioned in the document as a possible regime change scenario. “They even created their own citizens’ observatory with mysterious ‘scientific experts’ who they would never say who they were, who were publishing their own statistics on the number of infected and dying people in Nicaragua from the pandemic.”

Instead, Nicaragua’s health system, which the FSLN government has spent 13 years rebuilding and expanding, did not collapse on itself under the weight of the pandemic, as the US embassy in Managua predicted it would, but instead has weathered the storm well, with the lowest COVID-19 case fatality rate in Central America and a very low per capita fatality rate.

Clark-Gollub said use of these tactics “amounts to psychological warfare. They are just going to keep trying to build up, dig up things to make things into a crisis, and it’s terrible,” noting Nicaraguans are being “bombarded” with “fake news” about mass deaths and burials that are actually occurring in other countries.

Especially in 2018, the opposition was “on top of social media,” which the document also urges as a tactic. “We know that in 2018, there had been 2,000 young Nicaraguans recruited, mostly through the Catholic Church, to be social media influencers. And these were the ones putting out ‘color revolution’ type posts,” such as urging painting national colors over FSLN symbols. She also noted they would announce police violence at an event before it had happened, which created confusion and drove demonstrations about events that never occurred.

She recalled that former US national security adviser John Bolton called Nicaragua and Venezuela, along with Cuba, a “troika of tyranny,” writing in his recently released memoir that if one of the three falls, so will the others.

“These three countries are working toward a multipolar world, and the US does not want to see that succeed,” she noted. 

“The Nicaraguan people got a big education in 2018; they understand that they’re under attack. It’s not as easy for them to be duped again about fake news that comes out, especially on social media. But that said, this does not mean this is not wearing on people, this psychological warfare … I think that the Nicaraguan people are standing firm and are going to continue to build their country.”


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twittered censorship of 'state-affiliated’ media accounts...


From Neil Clark


Twitter’s labelling of Sputnik and RT as ‘Russia state-affiliated media’, while other state-linked or state-funded western media escapes such branding shows us there’s a geopolitical agenda at play here.

Every time you think the propaganda war against Russia has relented a little, something else happens to remind you that the powers that be simply won’t let it rest. On Thursday, Twitter bowed to pressure from the Russophobes and started to add the words ‘Russia state-affiliated media’ to tweets from Sputnik, and RT. Not only that, in a blog post, the American micro-blogging and social networking site warned that it will no longer show tweets from so-called ‘state-affiliated’ media accounts on the home screen, notifications or search, thus reducing the ‘reach‘ of these accounts.

This is two-fold discrimination. Firstly it is putting ‘state-affiliated’ media into a separate category that requires a ‘warning’ and backdoor censorship. Then within that category, further discrimination is deployed. 

It’s very revealing to see which ‘state-affiliated’ media accounts have received the designation, and which have not. Twitter say they are focusing on members of the United Nations Security Council first. RT and Sputnik have it. So too does China’s CCTV. But The Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and France 24 do not.

Let’s look at these and see if the phrase ‘state-affiliated’ should apply.

On the Library of Congress website, it states Voice of America (VOA) is a ‘United States government-funded multimedia news source and the official external broadcasting institution of the United States’

The VOA own website says that it was created in 1942 to ‘combat Nazi propaganda’.

While on its ‘Missions and Values’ page it states:  ‘VOA is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the government agency that oversees all non-military, U.S. international broadcasting. It is funded by the U.S. Congress.’

So there you have it. VOA is part of a ‘government agency’ - yet it doesn’t receive the designation of ‘state-affiliated media’ that RT and Sputnik now has.

It’s a similar story with RFE/RL. It too is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Its website says its editorial independence is protected by US law, but it is also funded through US Congress. ‘State-affiliated’? You decide. 

France-24, a 24-7 news channel, is the French equivalent of RT, but it doesn’t get called ‘state-affiliated media’ even though it is state-owned! The close links between the channel and the French state could be seen in 2016 when the then French President Francois Hollande announced that France-24 would be launching a Spanish language channel the following later. The head of the state-owned holding company (France Médias Monde), which runs France-24, was appointed by the French government. France-24 receives funding through a licence fee and a subsidy from the French state. ‘State-affiliated media‘?  Well, not according to Twitter.  How come?

You really don’t have to be a hardcore Russian nationalist to think that Russia is being singled out here.

In fact, a propaganda war has been waged against Russian media operating lawfully in western countries for a number of years now. Those behind it would ideally like to see Sputnik and RT banned but failing that they push for maximum de-legitimisation. They say it’s because Russian media operating in the west peddles ‘disinformation’ and ‘fake news’ but strangely when challenged they can never seem to come up with any concrete examples. In fact, he great ‘crime’ of Russian media is not that it’s promoting ’fake news’, but that it provides a platform to a much wider range of views that are normally seen on the established western channels. Just look at the columnists on the Sputnik website for instance. Jon Gaunt, Tommy Sheridan, Finian Cunningham, Erik van de Beek and myself encompass a very broad spectrum of opinion. In fact, you’ll probably struggle to find anything that Jon and Tommy agree on, unlike some media outlets where the differences of the columnists are the width of a cigarette paper. 

RT is similarly diverse. There you can watch interviews with self-proclaimed communists, free-market ‘Austrian school’ economists, ‘Greens’, climate-change sceptics, Europhiles and Brexiteers, Scottish Nationalists, and committed Unionists- and the same applies for the website. In fact, part of the appeal of Russian media channels is that they have handed the microphone over to people who simply aren’t given any- or anywhere near enough- airtime these days on other channels.  It’s this very liberal promotion of a genuinely wide range of opinions which explains why Russian media is targeted by the extremely illiberal New McCarthyites, who only really want us to hear one side of the story. The issue of Syria is particularly important in this regard.

Back in around 2012/13 just about the only news stations reporting on the links between Western-sponsored ‘rebels’ and extremist terrorists were the Russian ones. The Syrian regime-change lobby and the anti-Russian media lobby are basically one and the same. Or put another way, Russian media is being punished by reporting things we weren’t meant to know about in Syria.

If you try to find links to RT and Sputnik reporting or articles on Syria, or anything else for that matter, on Wikipedia, you won’t find them. As part of the de-legitimisation campaign, the mysterious Wikipedia editor Philip Cross and his alter ego ‘NomDeA’, have spent countless hours removing links to RT and Sputnik articles from the online encyclopedia on the grounds they are not ‘RS’, a ‘reliable source’.  

The very fact that certain agenda-driven individuals spend so much time and effort in trying to stop you from finding or looking at Russian media reports or articles online, should make you ask: ‘What are they so worried about’? ‘Why are they so terrified that I might read this?’

When people try so hard to censor others, then nine times out of ten it’s not because the person or organisation is peddling disinformation, but because they are telling the truth. Or, as the very wise old saying goes, when you point one finger at someone else there are three more pointing back at you.



Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66 and @MightyMagyar

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rubio is no solomon...

US senator Marco Rubio (Republican, Florida) is the Acting Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Co-Chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China and a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He wrote an article in Nikkei Asian Review titled India should ignore Putin's offer to broker accord with China. He is trying to convince India that Putin is incapable of helping India, and he cannot be a mediator because he will not be neutral and will be tilted toward China. What  Rubio is trying to tell India is that Russia can no longer be a capable and a reliable friend of India and India should ally with America to confront and fight China. Basically, he wants India to give up its most time tested and trust worthy friend for a country that has always treated India as a potential adversary.

Rubio reminds of the story about King Solomon when he was able to find out who was the real mother of a child whom two women claimed to be theirs. King Solomon ordered that the baby should be cut in two pieces and divided between the two women. While the fake mother said that this was a good idea, the real mother said that the baby should not be cut into pieces and the other woman can have it. Russia is trying to save India from fighting a war with China that can prove disastrous for both countries. America wants India to fight China so that America can kill two birds with one stone; weaken its biggest adversary as well as its potential adversary. Russia sincerely wants to help India, a long time friend. We can look at the history of India-Russia and India-America relations since India's independence and this will become clear that who is India's true friend.

We can look at the voting pattern in the UN and this will become clear who stood up for India and who introduced resolutions against India. India and Russia have voted on the same side about 90% of the time, whereas India and America have voted on opposite sides most of the time. Russia had to veto anti India resolutions supported by America. Even today, about 60% of the heavy weaponry of the Indian army is of the Russian origin. Russia has always provided India with its latest and most advanced military technology. Whereas America has been very stringent as far as transfer of such technology is concerned.

America sent its seventh fleet against India during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. It was the Soviet Union that came in to help India. We should not forget the lessons of history, otherwise we will not be able to decide who are our time tested and trust worthy friends.

Some may argue that past history has become irrelevant  and now there is a convergence of American and Indian interests. However, even today, there is a fundamental difference in the American and the Indian interests. America wants to preserve the unipolar world order that is dominated by the only superpower in the world, America. Whereas both India and Russia want to change the present world order to a multipolar world, where no one country dominates the whole world.

True friendship can only exist among equals. America considers itself superior to others. This superiority is practiced under different names such as American exceptionalism and America first. I have no qualms about accepting that America is a great country. However, I feel uncomfortable when some Americans insist that America is the greatest. When you subscribe to the philosophy that America is superior to the others, then you cannot qualify to be a true friend because you are promoting inequality. Russia has never considered itself superior to the countries that it considers its friends. Russia has always considered India its friend.

India should listen to a true friend. India should recognize the gravity of the situation. The stakes are much higher than the 1962 war. India's survival as a country is at stake. We need all the sincere advice we can get. Instead of ignoring Putin, we should listen carefully to him and see what he has to offer. President Putin wants a trilateral meeting of the Indian Prime Minister Modi, the Russian President Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 meeting in October. We should never shut our doors to a diplomatic solution.

Whereas President Putin, as a sincere friend of India, wants India to have a realistic understanding of its conflict with China; America and the western countries, with ulterior motives, want India to overestimate its strength and underestimate China's strength. This approach can prove very dangerous for India because it increases the likelihood of a war between the two countries that the western countries will like to see. With this purpose in mind, America and the western countries have been engaged in the propaganda that India's economy is growing at much faster rate than China and is soon going to overtake China. This may happen, but it is going to take a long time.

At present, China's economy is about five times bigger than India's. According to some military experts, the difference in the military budget is even bigger. They feel that  China spends much more in real terms than the available figures. Therefore, at present, the two countries are not exactly equal in their strength. However, in terms of importance they are equal. China understands that America is its main adversary and a conflict with India will only strengthen its main opponent. Therefore, China wants an amicable settlement with India. President Putin is in a position to help both India and China. Russia, India and China share a common interest: to transform the present unipolar world into a multipolar world.   

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