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MIKE WHITNEY: Obama to Teachers: “Drop Dead”

February 22, 2011 Comments off

The following column is reprinted with permission from Mike Whitney.
 

Obama to Teachers: “Drop Dead”
©  Mike Whitney
February 22, 2011

Teachers. These are the people who put Obama in office. They handed out the pamphlets, went from door to door, stuffed the envelopes, and manned the phone banks. They buttonholed people outside grocery stores, waved posters atop freeway overpasses, and organized neighborhood get-togethers. They spread the word, attended the rallies and drew whatever they could from their meager paychecks to support the man who promised change and inspired hope. They did everything a candidate could ask of his supporters and more. And what have they gotten in return? A bigger war in Afghanistan, a renewal of the Patriot Act, a porno-scanning system at the airports, more blank checks for Wall Street, and a lot of empty posturing about Guantanamo.

And when their pay and pensions and their jobs were on the line, Obama was no where to be found.

Poof! The vanishing president.

Name one thing that Obama has done for working people?

Health care? That fetid trillion dollar giveaway to big pharma?

That just doesn’t cut it.

Obama has called for a spending freeze on government workers pay for the next 5 years while renewing the $700 billion Bush tax cuts at the same time. That’s a feat that even Reagan couldn’t have managed without igniting a revolt in the ranks. But smooth-talking Obama pulled it off without a hitch. In fact, his devotees are more ga-ga over him than ever.

Two weeks ago, Obama wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal promising to reduce “burdensome” regulations for his friends in big finance. He figured that the trillions they’d already been given wasn’t quite enough to keep them happy, so he decided he’d find more rules that he could eliminate.

Then he slithered over to the Chamber of Commerce to assure them that he’d do whatever he could to “change the tone” at the White House to help them increase profitability. Just days later, Obama delivered an entirely different message to striking Wisconsin teachers. He told them that everyone would have to “make sacrifices” to make up for state budget shortfalls. Everyone except his rich friends, that is.

Recently, Obama appointed bank tycoon William Daley as his new chief of staff, and GE’s “outsourcing” Jeffrey Immelt to lead his new jobs creation program. Then he finished off the month by throwing his support behind the latest labor-crushing free trade bill, this time with South Korea. According to the Oakland Business Journal: “The proposed trade deal with South Korea would cost 159,000 U.S. jobs over seven years and hurt some of the highest paying industries in the U.S., including motor vehicles and parts, electronics equipment and metal products, according to the Economic Policy Institute.” Big labor is against the bill. Obama is for it. What a surprise?

Obama’s new budget calls for big cuts to government subsidies for home heating oil for needy families, but allocates $5 million to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela via the State Department. What makes this so ironic, is that Hugo Chavez has been providing hundreds of thousands of gallons of free heating oil to needy American families across the U.S. So, while the president of Venezuela is trying to make sure that poor people in America don’t freeze to death in the dark, Obama is doing whatever he can to make sure that they do.

Obama has abandoned any effort to reduce unemployment, lower tuition costs, increase welfare, minimize foreclosures, or decrease homelessness. If you are part of the growing number of working-poor in America, don’t except help from the Obama team. You’re outta luck.

This is from the World Socialist Web Site:

“Two and half years since the eruption of the financial crisis, more than 26 million workers cannot find a full-time job. State governments, under both Democrats and Republicans, are responding to budget deficits by closing schools, libraries, clinics and other public facilities, and carrying out attacks on state and municipal employees.

Meanwhile, Wall Street share values have fully recovered since the crash of 2008 and the corporations and their top executives are richer than ever. President Obama has refused to provide a penny of relief to workers losing their jobs, homes and life savings. Instead he has outlined plans to slash a trillion dollars from vitally needed social services, to pay for the bailout of Wall Street, the extension of the Bush era tax cuts for the rich and the Pentagon war machine. And this is only the beginning…

(In Wisconsin) workers are fighting for their very livelihoods. They cannot live with what amounts to a 20 percent pay cut and devastating cuts in public education and state universities for their children.” (“The struggle of Wisconsin workers enters a new stage“, World Socialist Web Site)

The strike has entered its second week and still no sign of Obama. Thousands of workers and students from across the state have braved the freezing temperatures and joined in the demonstrations while closing down much of the school system.

The entire country is watching. Many people are wondering how the GOP crackdown will affect their own jobs. They’re worried about their future and the future of the country.

Obama could simply fly into Madison, deliver a few words of support for the strikers, and assure himself of a landslide victory in 2012. But he won’t do that, because he’s not the man that people thought he was. He won’t lift a finger to help his friends even when they’re embroiled in the biggest fight of their lives. He won’t support the people who supported him.

Obama’s message to the teachers, “Drop dead!”

[End.]
__________

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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Categories: Mike Whitney, USA, VEN

Overthrowing regimes in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela is a U.S. intelligence priority: analyst

February 20, 2011 Comments off

The following article is reprinted with permission from Russia’s Strategic Culture Foundation.
 

Radical Separatism:  Contours of the Conspiracy
©  Nil Nikandrov
Source:  Strategic Culture Foundation
February 20, 2011

Overthrowing the regimes in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela is on Washington’s list of strategic objectives. Separatist leanings spread and radical groups proliferate in the countries with a clear backing from the outside world. No means of undermining the regimes remain unused, separatism – a traditional and proven instrument from the U.S. intelligence community’s arsenal being one of them.

An International Confederation for Regional Freedom and Autonomy (CONFILAR) was created on September 16, 2006 in Guayaquil, Ecuador by the pro-autonomy groups from Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru. The blueprint for the conference which established the confederation is attributed to Alberto Mansueti, vice president of the Rumbo Propio (Our Own Destiny) group based in Maracaibo, the capital of Zulia state. Mansueti is known to have authored CONFILAR’s underlying philosophy, a brand of radical separatism disguised as the demand for civilized autonomy. The extent of autonomy as requested by Mansueti and his brethren is practically tantamount to the abolition of centralized control over the corresponding territories. The radical position largely stems from its proponents’ aversion to the socialist policies pursued by the populist leaders such as H. Chavez, R. Correa, and E. Morales. Mansueti’s version of the autonomy envisages complete absence of economic or political regulation to be exercised by the central authority. The promised benefits of the arrangement are considerably better life quality, exceptional education and health care standards, jobs, higher pensions, and hefty social aid packages for the poor including food stamps, free tuition and medical care, while corruption, for example, is supposed to evaporate. In the past, similar pledges were generously dispensed by Correa’s ferocious critic Jaime Nebot and other leaders from the affluent Manabi province sited on the Pacific shore, which for a decade hosted a U.S. military base. Created with the stated goal of fighting drug trafficking, the base actually gave the U.S. control over the region’s countries. Correa pledged not to renew the base lease as he ran for president – and immediately faced a separatist surge in response upon coming to office. The CIA instigated separatism in Manabi in the hope that reaching an agreement on the base with the separatists should not be a problem, but Washington’s plans for the province failed to materialize. President Correa’s views on the U.S. military presence in Ecuador remain unchanged. In September, 2008 some 70% of the country’s population expressed at a national referendum support for a new constitution upholding the principles of solidarity, justice, and wealth for all. Ecuador acts independently in international politic, opposes the U.S. imperialist aspirations, and backs Latin American integration. In Guayaquil, however, the referendum was won by a relatively narrow margin.

CIA-coordinated separatist movements also rose in Bolivia and Venezuela. A May, 2007 referendum in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz province was won by deep autonomy enthusiasts who promised the population a greater share of the oil and gas revenues. Similar referendums were held in the Beni and Pando provinces in June the same year. Morales did not recognize the outcome citing low turnouts and likely rigging, and his supporters described them as a liberals’ mutiny, an offensive against the country’s new constitution launched by the opponents of socialism, and a step towards the Balkanization of Latin America.

The second CONFILAR forum convened in Santa Cruz in September, 2007 to broadcast solidarity with the Bolivian pro-autonomy groups. Separatist tendencies dominated Bolivia’s political agenda in 2008 and the early 2009, but the elimination by the Bolivian special forces of a group of terrorists sent to the country by the CIA from Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Ireland had a sobering effect on the populations of the defiant Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni, and Pando provinces. It became widely known that the Santa Cruz leadership maintained close ties with the U.S. embassy and that weapons were secretly supplied to separatists from abroad. The computers seized by the Bolivian authorities contained files with a detailed plan of destabilization in Bolivia and the assassination of president Morales. A number of terrorists were arrested and others fled to the U.S.

In Bolivia, as in Ecuador, the constitution serves as the main barrier in the way of separatism. Bolivia’s constitution which entered into force in February, 2009 was the country’s first one to be propped up by a popular vote and to grant the native population a special status. The constitution handed to the state extensive powers in the sphere of economic regulation, and established the autonomy of provinces, municipalities, and Indian communities. It also shuts foreign military bases out of the country and bans the privatization of its energy resources. The opposition predictably reacted to the constitution with a grudge, and recurrences of confrontation with the rightists in Bolivia’s eastern part remain likely.

The CIA, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, and DEA managed to build a separatist stronghold in Venezuela’s Zulia state. For a long time, Zulia used to be run by Chavez’s staunch opponent Manuel Rosales who routinely discussed with U.S. ambassadors Brownfield and Shapiro bilateral deals between Zulia and the U.S., the theme to which Caracas explainably has a thin skin. Normally, the state is not entitled to independent foreign policies, though Brownfield admitted publicly that for him Zulia was “an independent republic” and openly urged the local elites to wrestle with Caracas over unrestricted autonomy.

Rosales’s Un Nuevo Tiempo party refrains from statements that might be regarded as downright calls for divorce with Venezuela, but its separatist agenda is not deeply hidden. As for Rosales, he used to combine separatism as a creed with corruption as a hobby, and eventually had to flee amidst the official probe into his machinations. He took shelter in Peru as a result, but the separatist forces in Zulia are still at work. Currently the Rumbo Propio, a party blessed by Rosales and maintaining divisions in several Venezuelan border states spearheads the activity. One of its leaders Nestor Suares calls the party’s supporters to push for Zulia’s full autonomy and to defy Chavez’s socialist legislation. Another Rumbo Propio key figure – former Venezuelan ambassador to the Dominican Republic Julio Portillo – declared severing all ties with “Chavez’s dictatorship” during the 2002 coup but his reckoning proved wrong as Chavez regained his presidency and Portillo had to turn to “regional patriotism” as a legitimizing concept. This must be the explanation behind his radical separatism and calls for an independence referendum in Zulia. Portillo was among the founders of the Zulia’s People for Constitution Democratic Front which sprang up when vacant lands south of the Maracaibo Lake were allocated to rural cooperatives. Money is poured into Zulia’s separatist groups both by the CIA and the local banks like Banco Occidental de Descuento.

The presence of a Columbian population numbering hundreds of thousands factors into the state’s turbulent situation. Many people sought refuge in Venezuela from Columbia’s internal conflict but are members of rightists paramilitary groups. They tend to be hostile to Chavez, meaning that the CIA and the separatists can count on them as a potential strike force which can help bring about Zulia’s sovereignty.

The Guayaquil – Santa Cruz – Zulia separatist axis will continue to be used to undermine the populist regimes and the regional integration initiatives in Lain America. Separatist groups will be given the key role if Washington opts for the Balkanization of Latin America, as the onset of chaos would make it easier to justify the U.S. intervention in the region. Any moment the U.S. Southern Command is ready to implement Plan Balboa which was put together five years ago.

[End.]

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Categories: BOL, CIA, ECU, GUAT, PER, USA, VEN

Ecuador turmoil delights oil speculators

October 2, 2010 Comments off

The following analysis is reprinted with permission from RIA Novosti, Moscow.

Ecuador turmoil delights oil speculators
©  RIA Novosti
By Vlad Grinkevich
October 1, 2010

Even the slightest political moves made by OPEC countries don’t usually go unnoticed on the world’s fuel markets. It’s no wonder, then, that the recent police revolt in Ecuador sent global oil prices soaring. Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for November on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEO) jumped to $79.97 per barrel in response, while on London’s ICE, the price of Brent Crude Oil hit $82.31.

Analysts cannot rule out the possibility of a protracted political crisis in this oil-rich Latin American country. Should we expect more price spikes in the months ahead?

The latest developments in Ecuador can hardly be called extraordinary. The entire Latin American continent suffered from chronic political instability throughout the 20th century, and revolutionary outbursts there alternated with periods of calm or at least relative calm, when rebel movements braced themselves for future fighting.

Observers in the Soviet Union often described the Latin America of the 1970-1980s as a “continent ablaze.” Indeed, revolutions and counterrevolutions followed one after the other there in those years, and governments had to wage an incessant war against multiple rebel groups. In recent years, passions have subsided somewhat. But, obviously, this latest period of calm could not last forever, as even the most heavy-handed of Latin American dictatorships have so far been unable to completely paralyze the rebel movement in their respective countries.

Speaking of OPEC as a whole, most of the member countries, except perhaps Arab oil monarchies, are in the risk group. Some, like Ecuador or Venezuela, suffer from political instability; others, such as Iran, are in conflict with half the international community; still others are plagued by never-ending civil wars. Nigerian rebel groups, for example, continuously attack oil pipelines run by transnational corporations, reducing the oil the country supplies to foreign commodity markets.

Surprisingly, all those revolutions, coups and civil wars appear unable to derail oil traders. The global fuel market has learned to live with all kinds of political upheavals. It merely factors them into the prices.

So it would be naive to suppose that the recent uprising of military and police units in Ecuador over the pay cuts imposed by the leftist government could spark any serious fluctuations in supply and demand on hydrocarbon markets. However, it would be equally naive to expect market players, who have long been using oil futures as a speculative instrument, not to take advantage of the Ecuadorean unrest and drive oil prices up. Such speculative spikes accompany all the strong statements by the outspoken Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, particularly brazen attacks by Iraqi insurgents, and the latest twists and turns in Iran’s relations with the international community.

This time, however, it was not just Ecuador’s political crisis that made the oil markets go bullish. The crude price spikes were also a response to recent positive trends on the U.S. labor market. The United States is the world’s No. 1 consumer of fossil fuels, and any signs of economic recovery there are carefully monitored by oil traders around the globe. This monitoring has become all the more important now, amid increasingly gloomy forecasts from economics gurus. For example, Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, said the other day that the U.S. and the world economies face terrible prospects, and they are powerless to ward off a new recession.

[End.]
__________

Vlad Grinkevich is RIA Novosti’s economic commentator. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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Eva Golinger: U.S. Interference In Venezuelan Elections

September 9, 2010 Comments off

The following article is reprinted with permission from Eva Golinger. She is the author of “The Chávez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press) and “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press).

U.S. Interference In Venezuelan Elections
©  Eva Golinger
September 9, 2010

[Ver este artículo en español aquí]

In 2002, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) arrived in Venezuela with a mission: Remove Hugo Chávez from power

A report commissioned by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and published in May 2010 by the Spanish Foundation for International Relations and Foreign Dialogue (FRIDE) revealed that this year alone, international agencies are investing between $40-50 million in anti-Chávez groups in Venezuela. A large part of those funds have been channeled to the opposition coalition, Democratic Unity (MUD), and its campaign for the upcoming legislative elections on September 26.

A majority of funding comes from U.S. agencies, particularly USAID, which has maintained a presence in Venezuela since 2002 with the sole intention of aiding in President Chávez’s removal from power. For the past eight years, USAID has channeled millions into political parties, organizations and private media entities linked to the opposition, helping them to grow and unify, and providing strategic advice, support and resources for their political campaigns.

Unlike in other nations, USAID has no formal agreement or authorization from the Venezuelan government to operate in the country. As an oil-wealthy nation, Venezuela does not qualify for economic aid from the United States. Nonetheless, USAID has been operating in Venezuela unauthorized through its political office during eight years, funding and helping to design and plan anti-Chávez campaigns and feeding an internal conflict with millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

USAID’s Beginnings In Venezuela

In a confidential memorandum dated January 22, 2002, Russell Porter, head of USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), revealed how and why USAID set up shop in Venezuela. “OTI was asked to consider a program in Venezuela by the State Department’s Office of Andean Affairs on January 4… it became clear there is growing concern about the political health of the country. OTI was asked if it could offer programs and assistance in order to strengthen the democratic elements that are under increasing fire from the Chávez government”.

The Office of Transition Initiatives is a division of USAID that works exclusively with political matters to further U.S. government objectives abroad. OTI provides short-term, rapid and flexible assistance to aid “political transitions and stabilization efforts” in countries of strategic importance to Washington.

Porter visited Venezuela on January 18, 2002 and held nine meetings in Caracas with representatives from opposition political parties and organizations. “There is a belief among nearly everyone I spoke with that Chávez will not finish out the year as president”, wrote OTI’s chief, noting, “Rumors of a coup are pervasive… The next election is four years away. Given the situation now, Chávez will not likely be around to participate in it”.

To ensure Venezuela’s political destiny would be favorable to U.S. interests, Porter commented, “For democracy to have any chance of being preserved, immediate support is needed for independent media and the civil society sector… One of the large weaknesses in Venezuela is the lack of a vibrant civil society… The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has a $900,000 program in Venezuela that works with NDI, IRI and the Solidarity Center to strengthen political parties and the Unions… This program is useful, but not nearly sufficient. It is not flexible enough, nor does it work with enough new or non-traditional groups. It also lacks a media component”.

“Civil society needs to be strengthened in order to reduce social conflict and begin to rebuild the democratic infrastructure. While OTI is not the right office to rebuild long-term democratic infrastructure, it is the office that can best reduce social conflict by working with the media and civil society. In addition, with no USAID Mission in Venezuela, OTI is the natural office to start a high-impact program quickly. Success, however, is far from guaranteed. No matter how good the program, anti-democratic forces may well overrun democracy, but then OTI will need to be there to pick up the pieces and strengthen those democratic elements that remain”, elaborated Porter, evidencing the extent of U.S. intervention. He concluded, “I recommend OTI send an assessment team to Venezuela as soon as possible with a prejudice toward starting an active program to support civil society and the media”.

Electoral Intervention: Recall Referendum

After the failed coup d’etat against President Chávez in April 2002, OTI formally established its office in Caracas with a clear objective: facilitate a recall referendum against the Venezuelan President.

Another confidential memo dated October 2003 from OTI outlined the strategy: “The most immediate program objective… is the realization of a successful referendum, followed by the restoration of stable democratic governance”.

USAID defined its strategy with “two distinct, but closely interrelated components”.”The first of these is the faciliation of a successful and legitimate recall referendum process… The second component is support for fostering an inclusive reconciliation process”. First, they would have to recall Chávez’s mandate, and then, implement a “transition and reconciliation government”.

To achieve the first objective, USAID channeled more than $750,000 to a “public information campaign” in Venezuelan media. “The purpose of this assistance… will be to help the population better understand the procedure and what is at stake…”

Through USAID and NED support, Sumate, a Venezuelan organization, was created to provide “domestic observation/quick count” and “electoral education campaigns”, all of which were directed against President Chávez. From that time on, Sumate has maintained the same role in all subsequent electoral campaigns. Sumate’s founder, Maria Corina Machado, met personally with President George W. Bush in the White House in May 2005 as a sign of support for the Venezuelan opposition. Today, she is a candidate in the upcoming National Assembly elections.

For the recall referendum process, USAID additionally invested $1.3 million into opposition “political party strengthening” to aid in “campaign organization and structure, message development and grassroots campaigning”.

As evidence to the close relationship maintained between U.S. agencies and opposition groups in Venezuela, the confidential memo revealed, “OTI will hold regular coordinating meetings with the grantees funded directly through USAID in both Caracas and Washington to ensure… implementing partners are achieving the objectives of the program”.

OTI field offices usually do not extend beyond a time period of 2-3 years. However, in the case of Venezuela, USAID anticipated an exception. “The U.S. objective in Venezuela is the continuation of a stable, free market-oriented democracy. Regardless of the result of the referendum process, given the continued potential for conflict and volatility, the OTI program should probably continue into FY ’05… If instability and volatility continue, the eventual restoration of stability in Venezuela is important enough to USG interests for consideration of reintroducing a longer-term USAID program”.

After the recall referendum was won victoriously by the Chávez camp, USAID opted for a greater investment and expansion of the agency’s interventionist activities in Venezuela.

Intervention In Legislative Elections – 2005/2010

A declassified cable sent in April 2005 from then U.S. Ambassador in Caracas, William Brownfield, to the Secretary of State and the National Security Council outlined the work the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) were pursuing “to facilitate the renovation/transformation of Venezuela’s political parties”. “They are working with opposition parties to help them focus on their survival as relevant political institutions”, revealed the cable.

“In January 2005, NDI began implementation of a year-long $500,000 project focusing on party transformation… Of primary importance will be the mobilization and engagement of reformist forces (e.g. young leaders, women, civil society) so that necessary change does indeed occur” in the legislative elections.

Brownfield indicated how “experienced trainers/political consultants” were brought from the U.S. to aid opposition parties in the “development of strategies and messages that address the aspirations of low-income voters”, which the U.S. Ambassador considered a “high priority”, considering it’s the base of hard-core Chávez supporters. And although opposition parties AD and COPEI appeared as principal beneficiaries of these programs, the cable also revealed support to Primero Justicia for “modern techniques of message development and diffusion”.

In January 2005, IRI also received $500,000 to continue its program of “campaign schools” for opposition candidates. According to the document, “Topics to be covered in the campaign schools include: campaign strategy and organization, message development, outreach, fundraising, public relations, get-out-the-vote techniques, and candidate selection”. Not only were U.S. agencies funding and training opposition candidates, but they were involved in selecting them as well.

In the end, the opposition chose to boycott the legislative elections instead of facing a severe defeat at the polls.

2010

Five years later, the funds opposition parties are receiving have multiplied by the millions, as have the hundreds of new anti-Chávez organizations created in Venezuela under the façade of NGOs.

In 2003, USAID funded 66 programs in Venezuela. Today, this figure has grown to 623 with more than $20 million. USAID’s original objective of “strengthening civil society” has been achieved.

There remains no doubt the Venezuelan opposition – in all its manifestations – is product of the U.S. government. U.S. agencies fund and design their campaigns, train and build their parties, organize their NGOs, develop their messages, select their candidates and feed them with dollars to ensure survival.

Until USAID achieves its principal objective – Hugo Chávez’s ouster – their work will continue.

Note: In the U.S., foreign funding for political campaigns or political parties is strictly prohibited. Organizations that receive foreign funding for other non-campaign related political or media activities must register as Foreign Agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). In Venezuela, while the law does prohibit foreign funding of political parties and campaigns, recipients of these funds, and their foreign funders, have cried political persecution and accused the government of repression when attempting to impose the law.

[End.]
__________

Eva Golinger is a Venezuelan-American attorney from New York. Her website is http://www.chavezcode.com.

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Chavez: U.S. and Colombia plan to attack Venezuela

July 24, 2010 Comments off

The following article is reprinted with permission from Eva Golinger. She is the author of “The Chávez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press) and “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press).

Chávez:  U.S. and Colombia plan to attack Venezuela
©  Eva Golinger
July 24, 2010

CARACAS – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez denounced this Saturday U.S. plans to attack his country and overthrow his government. During a ceremony celebrating the 227th birthday of Independence hero Simon Bolivar, Chávez read from a secret memo he had been sent from an unnamed source inside the United States.

“Old friend, I haven’t seen you in years. As I said to you in my three prior letters, the idea remains the generation of a conflict on your western border”, read Chávez from the secret missive.

“The latest events confirm all, or almost all, of what those here discussed as well as other information that I have obtained from above”, the letter continued.

“The preparation phase in the international community, with the help of Colombia, is in plain execution”, manifested the text, referring to last Thursday’s session in the Organization of American States (OAS), during which the Colombian government accused Venezuela of harboring “terrorists” and “terrorist training camps” and gave the Chávez government a “30-day ultimatum” to allow for international intervention.

The letter continued with more details, “I told you before that the events wouldn’t begin before the 26th, but for some reason they have moved forward several actions that were supposed to be executed afterward”.

“In the United States, the execution phase is accelerating, together with a contention force, as they call it, towards Costa Rica with the pretext of fighting drug trafficking”.

On July 1, the Costa Rican government authorized 46 U.S. war ships and 7,000 marines into their maritime and land territory. The true objective of this military mobilization, said the letter, is to “support military operations” against Venezuela.

Assassination and Overthrow

“There is an agreement between Colombia and the U.S. with two objectives: one is Mauricio and the other is the overthrow of the government”, revealed the document. President Chávez explained that “Mauricio” is a pseudynom used in these communications.

“The military operation is going to happen”, warned the text, “and those from the north will do it, but not directly in Caracas. They will hunt ‘Mauricio’ down outside Caracas, this is very important, I repeat, this is very important”.

President Chávez revealed that he had received similar letters from the same source alerting him to dangerous threats. He received one right before the capture of more than 100 Colombian paramilitaries in the outskirts of Caracas that were part of an assassination plan against the Venezuelan head of state, and another in 2002, just days before the coup d’etat that briefly ousted him from power. “The letter warned of snipers and the coup”, explained Chávez, “and it was right, the information was true, but we were unable to act to prevent it”.

U.S. Military Expansion

This information comes on the heels of the decision last Thursday to break relations between Colombia and Venezuela, made by President Chávez after Colombia’s “show” in the OAS.

“Uribe is capable of anything”, warned Chávez, announcing that the country was on maximum altert and the borders were being reinforced.

Last October, Colombia and the U.S. signed a military agreement permitting the U.S. to occupy seven Colombian bases and to use all Colombian territory as needed to complete missions. One of the bases in the agreement, Palanquero, was cited in May 2009 U.S. Air Force documents as necessary to “conduct full spectrum military operations” in South America and combat the threat of “anti-U.S. governments” in the region.

Palanquero was also signaled as critical to the Pentagon’s Global Mobility Strategy, as outlined in the February 2009 White Paper: Air Mobility Command Global En Route Strategy, “USSOUTHCOM has identified Palanquero, Colombia (German Olano Airfield SKPQ), as a cooperative security location (CSL). From this location nearly half of the continent can be covered by a C-17 without refueling”.

The 2010 Pentagon budget included a $46 million USD request to improve the installations at Palanquero, in order to support the Command Combatant’s “Theater Posture Strategy” and “provide for a unique opportunity for full spectrum operations in a critical sub region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from narcotics-funded terrorist insurgencies, anti-U.S. governments, endemic poverty and recurring natural disasters”.

The May 2009 Air Force document further added that Palanquero would be used to “increase our capacity to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), improve global reach… and expand expeditionary warfare capability”.

In February 2010, the U.S. National Directorate of Intelligence (NDI) classified Venezuela as “Anti-U.S. Leader” in the region in its annual threat assessment.

The U.S. also maintains forward operation locations (small military bases) in Aruba and Curazao, just miles off the Venezuelan coast. In recent months, the Venezuelan government has denounced unauthorized incursions of drone planes and other military aircraft into Venezuelan territory, originating from the U.S. bases.

These latest revelations are evidence that a serious, and unjustified conflict is brewing fast against Venezuela, a country with a vibrant democracy and the largest oil reserves in the world.

[End.]
__________

Eva Golinger is a Venezuelan-American attorney from New York. Her website is http://www.chavezcode.com.

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Categories: COL, USA, VEN

What is the CIA trying to hide in Colombia?

July 3, 2010 Comments off

The following analysis is from Russia’s Strategic Culture Foundation.

What is CIA trying to hide in Colombia?
©  Nil Nikandrov
Source:  Strategic Culture Foundation
July 3, 2010

A group of intelligence agents who worked at Makyhelados ice-cream factory undercover for Colombian DAS were arrested in the town of Barinitas in Venezuela in April. The group was headed by Luis Carlos Cossio, who has dual Colombian-Canadian citizenship. Transportation of goods to the most distant areas of the country offered him unique opportunities for espionage.

Cossio was arrested by the Venezuelan police after he had been seen taking photographs of electricity substations, transmission systems and highways. Frequent cases of sabotage resulted in tight security measures at the country’s energy infrastructure. The police searched Cossio’s house and discovered some 100,000 digital photos which are said to have been transmitted to Colombia via satellite and were addressed to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

There is hardly anyone in Colombia who has never heard about DAS. The Administrative Department of Security is controlled personally by the president. Under Alvaro Uribe, DAS has more than once been at the center of political and criminal scandals. In fact, DAS agents obeyed the CIA and helped the U.S. implement its ‘plan Colombia’.

The U.S.-funded ‘plan Colombia’ aims at curbing drug smuggling and combating a left-wing insurgency (FARC and ELN rebel groups). Washington expected prompt results and thus allowed its ally to play a game without rules. How could President Uribe be criticized in any way since he was loyal and reliable and used the most effective means to fight ‘enemies of democracy and freedom’?

Under George W. Bush, Uribe’s bloody policies were taken as something natural. They thought the main thing was to achieve good results, even at the cost of victims among civilians. That is why the U.S. administration turned a blind eye on numerous reports by human rights organizations about genocide and thousands of victims of state terrorism in Colombia. Neither had they unveiled any details on links between DAS and ultra-right militants from the AUC (the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia).

Through its agents, DAS transmitted information on guerrillas and their aides among the locals to AUC chiefs. Punitive measures did not take long to follow. Scorched earth policy was used against the local population so that guerrillas had no support there. Those measures repeated schemes used by the CIA against left-wing insurgents in Central America in 1960-1980s. AUC brigades were sponsored by cocaine lords, which was a well-known fact for both CIA agents and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Bogota.

When Mr. Bush was expected to leave his post, Washington focused on DAS reforming and steps to abolish AUC. Since the Democrats were the most likely winners in the presidential elections in U.S., it was important to ‘settle all issues’. To encourage the Colombian authorities to cooperate on such a delicate matter, the White House issued an ultimatum: no more subsidies to DAS until it undergoes required reforms! Washington saw no chances for achieving a bilateral free trade agreement unless AUC was abolished and DAS transformed into a modern special task force, employees with criminal past banned from joining in.

President Uribe had to organize a ‘show’ with demobilization of AUC militants, who, watched with television cameras, ‘surrendered’ and ‘returned to normal life’. Later it turned out that most of them did not give up criminal activities – murdering, drug trafficking and racketeering. They are still active and strong enough to boost insurgency in neighboring countries, first of all in Venezuela.

The fact that Colombian paramilitares have moved (as refugees) to the states bordering Venezuela makes the Bolivarian special task services think that CIA and the U.S. military intelligence have been preparing to topple the Venezuelan government. Militants are being recruited secretly to be later used in campaigns aimed at undermining the regime and combating Socialist activists, union leaders and law-enforcement officers.

It is easy to guess what ideology these ‘refugees’ have. During the recent presidential elections in Colombia, election commissions attached to consulates gained overwhelming support to an ultra-right candidate Manuel Santos from members of this ‘refugee camp’. Do they all comprise a ‘fifth column’ waiting for the time to act?

Local political analysts keep on discussing this phenomenon. The Bolivarian government has done everything to help ‘Colombian brothers and sisters’, who escaped repressions, to comfortably settle in Venezuela and even get national ID cards there. But paradoxically, the ‘refugees’ who gained such overwhelming support, cast their ballots for Santos, a successor to Uribe. It was Santos who ordered to bomb a FARC camp in Ecuador, cooperate with AUC chiefs and, above all this, is an influential man in DAS circles. These ‘suspicious refugees’ could hardly be trusted since chances that they will fire at the backs of Bolivarians are too high.

‘Demobilization’ of troops and their dislocation to Venezuela was enough to settle the problem with AUC. But DAS reforming turned out to be a really difficult task. Plans to reform the Administrative Department of Security were first unveiled by President Uribe in 2006, when details on assassination of Hugo Chavez and his closest allies leaked to the media. Then the scandal was hushed up, and the Venezuelan leader accused of ‘paranoid fear for his life’.

But reports on illegal DAS activities in the sphere of drug trafficking, political murders and terror attacks involving FARC and ELN militants, continued to appear in the media. DAS agents stood behind explosions in cafes, night clubs and on buses, while pro-American journalists said ‘Marxists-terrorists’ were to blame. The CIA knew about the DAS-led operations beforehand but would not prevent them, and even initiated some of them. Unstable situation in Colombia had always been used to justify the U.S. military presence in the region, fight ‘populist regimes’, mount pressure on Brazil, and prevent Chinese and Russian expansion in Latin America.

Experts think the DAS reform will allow withdrawal of discreditable CIA materials covering the 2000-2009 period. What are U.S. intelligence agents trying to hide? Involvement in mass killings of guerillas in Colombia, or cooperation with DAS agents to carry out attacks all across Latin America? Or, maybe, their active role in inciting hostility between Colombia and its neighbors – Ecuador and Venezuela? Statistics show that in the past 10 years 60% of union leader’ killings took place in Colombia!

Currently, DAS employs some 6,000 people, more than 2,000 of them taking part in strategic operations. They possess equipment which allows them to tap about 1,700 telephone lines. DAS archives contain data on 28 million Colombians and 700,000 foreigners. The DAS annual budget is $1.6 million.

Current DAS director Felipe Muñoz is responsible for the reform. He is a well-known expert on international finances, and has been in close cooperation with oligarch Santos and his family. Muñoz is also Uribe’s friend, and that was he who once persuaded him to head DAS. Muñoz is a welcome guest at the U.S. embassy. He has already been instructed by the CIA on how to handle the reform and what decision to make. U.S. experts were given access to some of the DAS archives and have been studying them “for human rights purposes”.

Muñoz says he is overloaded with work. 150 officials have been fired on corruption charges, another 100 are being interrogated. A probe has been launched into the use of chuzadas (bugging devices) to tap phones owned by prominent journalists, judges, opposition leaders, etc. A group of experts have been examining DAS guides on how to discredit potential critics of the governemnt, who are accused of having links to FARC and Chavez’s Cabinet, as well as standing behind so-called ‘sex traps’.

Muñoz expects the U.S. to help Colombia create a ‘renewed intelligence organization’ – Agencia Central de Inteligencia – The Central Intelligence Agency of Colombia.

[End.]

Categories: CIA, COL, USA, VEN

Eva Golinger: U.S. Arrests 10 “Russian Spies”, A U.S. Journalist Among Them

June 29, 2010 Comments off

[The following article is reprinted with permission from Eva Golinger. She is the author of “The Chávez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press) and “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press).]

U.S. Arrests 10 “Russian Spies”, A U.S. Journalist Among Them
Vicky Peláez caught in U.S. dragnet
©  Eva Golinger
June 28, 2010

Intro

Vicky Peláez was the only Spanish language journalist in New York worth a damn. So naturally something had to be done about her. She and her husband are the sore thumbs in this story and you have to wonder if the mighty U.S. Justice Department wasn’t running a twofer (or in this case a ten-fer) that swept Vicky off the press desk at El Diario/La Prensa so that even if she is ultimately exonerated, her career will be destroyed. Eva Golinger has the story.

BREAKING NEWS:  United States Arrests Ten Supposed “Russian Spies”, a Journalist Among Them – español

Eva Golinger
English translation:  Machetera (thanks!!)

Caracas, June 28, 2010 – Last week, President Barack Obama shared a typical “American” meal with the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitri Medvedev. Between hamburgers and Coca-Colas, the two heads of state smiled and proclaimed their relationship “stable” and “better than ever.” Medvedev even sent photos via Twitter of his pleasant meal with his U.S. counterpart. He didn’t expect that just a few days later, the Cold War would be resuscitated.

Today the U.S. Justice Department announced the arrest of ten presumed “Russian Spies,” the majority of whom are U.S. citizens accused of receiving financing from the Russian government to carry out “intelligence” operations. Their main violation is that of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), which regulates and monitors every citizen or U.S. resident who receives financing from a foreign government for political or propagandistic ends within the country.

Until now, the 10 under arrest have not been accused of espionage, but of having “conspired to act as foreign agents without being registered under the FARA law.” Among those detained is a journalist in New York, of Peruvian origin. Vicky Peláez wrote for El Diario/La Prensa, the most widely read Spanish language newspaper in the Big Apple. She was one of the few Hispanic journalists to criticize Washington’s policies toward Latin America, and who sought balance in her reports on Venezuela and other countries of the region that are normally extremely criticized in the U.S. press.

Until today, no international organization that defends journalists and freedom of expression, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA – English/SIP – Spanish), or Reporters Without Borders (RSF – French/Spanish) has made a statement about her arrest.

Peláez was arrested along with her husband, Juan Lázaro, a Uruguayan native, on Sunday in their house in Yonkers, on the outskirts of New York City. According to the Department of Justice, Peláez is accused of having received money from a representative of the Russian government on January 14, 2000, while she was in a South American country. Presumably, her spouse received another packet of money from a Russian agent on August 25, 2007. According to the warrant, “just days after returning to New York, almost $8,000 in taxes owed to the U.S. government were paid.”

So, money was received from Russia to pay taxes in the United States?

The warrant delivered by the Justice Department reveals that the head of Russian intelligence in Moscow had sent a message to two of the detainees. The message said that their main mission was to “search and develop ties in policymaking circles in the U.S.” and “send reports” later on. High level espionage?

FBI agents arrested Richard and Cynthia Murphy at their home in Montclair, New Jersey, last Sunday. Anna Chapman was arrested in Manhattan, Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills in Arlington, Virginia; Mikhail Semenko in Alexandria, Virginia; and Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley in their house in Boston. Christopher R. Metsos is another suspect who has apparently escaped. Nine of the 10 arrested were charged with “money laundering.”

Last week a document published with financing from a U.S. agency, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) revealed that between $40 and $50 million dollars in financing went to political groups in Venezuela who oppose the government of President Hugo Chávez. According to reports declassified since 2002, various U.S. and European agencies such as USAID, NED, Freedom House, the State Department, the European Commission and others, have financed political parties and groups in Venezuela to “end the Chávez government,” including an attempted coup d’etat in April, 2002.

Nevertheless, when the Venezuelan government has accused (not arrested) groups and individuals receiving these funds of being “foreign agents,” the U.S. government and international human rights “defenders” accuse it of being “dictatorial,” “repressive,” and a “violator” of basic rights.

Last week, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales also accused USAID of financing destabilization activities in his country, alerting Washington that its embassy could be expelled from the Andean nation.

In Cuba, Alan Gross, an employee of a USAID contractor, Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), was arrested in December 2009 and accused of espionage and subversion. He brought satellite and other high technology equipment to the Caribbean country to be delivered to counter-revolutionary groups.

In Venezuela, international agencies appear to be involved in huge money laundering networks, along with their Venezuelan “associates.” Millions of dollars in cash are brought into the country without being reported, in order to avoid Venezuelan controls on foreign currency exchange which exist to prevent illegal activities and capital flight.

Venezuela’s electoral laws prohibit the external financing of political campaigns in the country. Nevertheless, Washington violates the same laws that it insists be respected on its own territory.

[End.]
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Eva Golinger is a Venezuelan-American attorney from New York. Her website is http://www.chavezcode.com.

Categories: RUS, USA, VEN