US Gov. Meddling Machine Boasts of ‘Laying the Groundwork for Insurrection’ in Nicaragua

As Nicaraguan student protest leaders meet with neoconservatives in Washington, DC, a publication funded by the US government’s regime change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), boasts of spending millions of dollars “laying the groundwork for insurrection” against Daniel Ortega

By Max Blumenthal

While some corporate media outlets have portrayed the violent protest movement gripping Nicaragua as a progressive grassroots upswell, the country’s own student leaders have suggested otherwise.

In early June, Nicaragua’s leading young activists went on a junket to Washington, DC, on the dime of the US government-funded right-wing advocacy group Freedom House. The Nicaraguan student leaders were there to beseech Donald Trump and other right-wing US government officials to help them in their fight against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

On the excursion to the US capital, the young activists posed for photo-ops with some of the most notorious neoconservatives in the US Congress: Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The Nicaraguan student leaders were also shepherded to meetings with top officials from the State Department and the US government soft power organization USAID. There, they were reassured that they would have Washington’s full-throated support.

A month before the student protesters’ meetings with ultra-conservative lawmakers in Washington, a publication funded by the US government’s regime change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), bluntly asserted that organizations backed by the NED have spent years and millions of dollars “laying the groundwork for insurrection” in Nicaragua.

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Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

US Ambassador Confirms Billions Spent on Regime Change in Syria, Debunking ‘Obama Did Nothing’ Myth

The US government spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, former ambassador Robert Ford disclosed in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

By Ben Norton

The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country.

This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011.

This striking figure provides a further glimpse of the exorbitant sums of money the U.S. spent trying to topple the government in Damascus. It also bluntly contradicts claims by Syrian opposition supporters that the former administration of President Barack Obama “did nothing” in Syria, or that it supposedly did not seek regime change fervently enough.

Former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford disclosed this information in written testimony prepared for a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on February 6.

“The cost of US military operations in Syria between FY 2014 and the end of FY 2017 was between $3 and $4 billion,” Ford said. “In addition to the cost of those military operations, the FY 2017 budget request included $430 [million] to build local security forces and the FY 2018 request was for $500 million.”

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Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.