OpSec fail or unspoken threat? Bolton’s ‘5,000 troops’ notepad line ups ante for Venezuela
US national security adviser John Bolton seemed to be broadcasting big plans for the regime-change operation in Venezuela when he was photographed with a yellow legal pad on which he’d scrawled “5,000 troops to Colombia.”
Bolton clutched the notepad during Monday’s White House press briefing, in which the administration announced sanctions against Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA. The mustachioed warmonger opined on the “threats” to the US inherent in President Nicolas Maduro’s closeness with Cuba and couldn’t resist dragging Iran into the matter, vis-à-vis its “interest in Venezuela’s uranium deposits.” But sharp-eyed journalists zeroed in on the notepad immediately.
My eagle-eyed colleague spotted on Bolton’s notepad what sure looks like:“Afghanistan—>welcome the talks. 5,000 troops to Colombia” pic.twitter.com/Al4mCGJIfU— Ned Price (@nedprice) January 28, 2019
Given Bolton’s affection for war, many took the line at face value.
well, a good way to start WW2.5— Akira (@Akiramoemo) January 28, 2019
They’re long overdue for a war. Surprised the Trump admin waited 2 years for its own Grenada.— Landon Hall (@LandonHall) January 28, 2019
You don't hire John Bolton if you want diplomacy— Zoey Rhodes (@znrhodes28) January 28, 2019
But just as many were certain Bolton was tipping his hand on purpose.
Trump's neoconservative, pathologically pro-war Nat Sec Adviser John Bolton holding out a notepad with "5,000 troops to Colombia" on it, for journalists to easily take a photo of, is likely not an accident.This is a threat to Venezuela, without him having to saying it directly. pic.twitter.com/qnut1LzNmm— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) January 28, 2019
I'm almost tempted to believe that he held it that way on purpose to signal Maduro.— Man w/o a Plan (@MidWestMet) January 28, 2019
That seems clearly intended to be picked up in a photo...— Chad Wigmore (@ChadWigmore) January 28, 2019
Obviously staged. He could be wearing a blinking LED light with those same words and still some wouldn't believe it was staged. Wag the dog.— What a clusterf*ck (@dfw_properties) January 28, 2019
Interestingly, Getty Images already had a stock photo of the notepad up for sale shortly after the press conference.
I do enjoy that Getty has a premade close-up option for Bolton's "5,000 troops to Colombia" note. pic.twitter.com/9VS5sRCeKP— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) January 28, 2019
It’s not as if the Trump administration doesn’t have a motive, some pointed out…
"Let's see, how we can distract from all these domestic crises?" "Got it, war with Venezuela (or Iran, or Korea, or whatever)."— Jim Bedford (@bfdeal) January 28, 2019
…while others suggested Colombia might not take too kindly to a visit from Uncle Sam.
i'm sure the people of colombia would love to be invaded by 5,000 american troops. that's sure to not create a chain of reaction throughout the rest of south america (minus brasil)— CAB (@CABtw) January 28, 2019
Asked about the notepad, a White House spokesperson reportedly told CBS, “As the president has said, all options are on the table.”
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