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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 2/6/19

US media trying to drum up a new 'Cold War': Beware the New Venezuelan 'Missile Crisis'

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By Dave Lindorff

A Russian version of this type of shoulder-fired rocket is laughably being called a Cuban Missile Crisis-type threat to the US
A Russian version of this type of shoulder-fired rocket is laughably being called a Cuban Missile Crisis-type threat to the US
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It's not a new or revived Cold War yet between the US and Russia, but not for lack of trying by the corporate US media.

The latest example of absurd fear-mongering was brought to us courtesy of Fox Business News, with anchor Trish Regan darkly warned that "not since 1962 have we had such enemy missiles near our shores." She explained that "for several years" Venezuela has been "amassing" up to 5000 "long-range Russian-made surface to air missiless." Of course, in 1962, the missiles in question were intermediate range nuclear-tipped missiles that the then Soviet Union was installing in Cuba, aimed to counter similar missiles that the US had already based in western Europe and Turkey near Russia's borders. But what was she actually talking about in Venezuela? Shoulder-fired anti-aircraft rockets with a maximum range of four miles. Hmmm. And Venezuela is 1700 miles from the Florida Keys, considerably beyond the range of these little shoulder-fired rockets.

No wonder there hasn't been a mad rush to buy and install bomb shelters in the US, as there was during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The story about these Russian Man Portable Air Defense Systems or MANPADS being supplied to Venezuela first broke in Reuters nearly two years ago, long before Fox decided to repackage it as a new Cuban-style Missile Crisis. In the original story, Reuters was clear that the rockets were simply short-range anti-aircraft weapons. But even the Reuters story was slanted in an anti-Russian manner. It notes that both the US and USSR began deploying such portable front-line weapons in the 1960s, but then states, without a hint of irony, that "The U.S. for years has funded efforts to destroy MANPADS stockpiles in unstable regions as worries have grown about the weapons getting into the hands of militant groups." The article went on to report that "Some missiles unaccounted for in Libya following the 2011 death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi, for example, are believed to have made their way to other parts of the Middle East."

Indeed they did. After the Obama administration launched its air assault on the Gaddafi regime leading to its overthrow, the CIA helped transfer much of the regime's advanced weaponry to Syria, including Russian MANPADs, which were provided to Al Qaeda-linked rebel groups in that country that were seeking to topple the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. So much for US "concern" about such dangerous weapons "getting into the hands of militant groups."

Of course there was no such concern about the proliferation of weapons capable of downing airliners either during the Reagan administration, when hundreds of US MANPADS, known as Stinger missiles, were provided to Iran in a complicated "arms for hostages" deal arranged by Reagan National Security Advisor Col. Oliver North.

But this latest cooked-up Venezuelan "Missile Crisis" of Fox's and Reuters' is just the latest in a string of war-mongering stories to appear in the US mainstream media.

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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