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The drumbeat of fear mongering propaganda continues: What are State and the Pentagon plan

by Tamara Pearson and Robert Dreyfuss Sunday, Sep. 13, 2009 at 5:39 AM

"The AUC were a phenomenon that was changed by drug-smuggling....so they looked for cultivation and smuggling zones, so this is what permeated the [border] zone, including today [the phenomenon] is still present in [Venezulean border state] Tachira with [paramilitary group] the Black Eagles." Venezuelan journalist Alberto Nolia, analysing the interview, said, "Its clear the Colombian government was completely involved in the conspiracy...Garcia has linked the government of Uribe with the paramilitaries and with drug smuggling."

The drumbeat of fear mongering propaganda continues: What are State and the Pentagon planning? By Tamara Pearson and Robert Dreyfuss

-----

Links between Colombian Intelligence Organisation and Venezuelan Opposition Uncovered

September 10th 2009, by Tamara Pearson

Ex DAS director of information technology, Rafael Garcia, in the interview with TeleSUR (VTV)

Mérida, September 9th, 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Rafael Garcia, ex director of information technology of Colombia's main intelligence agency, DAS, revealed that the agency had used its links with the paramilitary in Colombia to participate, together with Venezuelan opposition sectors, in a plot against the current Venezuelan government.

TeleSUR interviewed Garcia, who is currently in jail for 18 years, on Monday morning. Garcia described how the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), which is meant to fight terrorism in Colombia, and the Colombian internal affairs ministry, through their links with the Self-defence Units of Colombia (AUC), participated in a plot driven by Venezuelan opposition sectors against the Chavez government.

The AUC was an illegal paramilitary organisation created in 1997, to unite various paramilitary groups, and it declared itself a "counter-insurgency group" to fight the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Both Colombia and the US formally classified the AUC as a terrorist organisation, which, according to the records of one of its leaders, Carlos Castano, was financed by drug trafficking, kidnapping and extorsion.

Garcia explained in the interview that in the lead up to the presidential campaign in 2002, many politicians were supported by the AUC, in its aspiration to have influence in the Congress. Current Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, on being elected, handed out positions, including to some of these "paramilitary-politicians".

"Jorge Noguera [ex DAS director] knew he needed the support of [the North bloc of the AUC] ... and he looked for that support through me, because I participated in their campaigns, I participated in electoral fraud and everything," Garcia said.

Jorge Noguera, director of DAS from 2002-2006, was also head of Uribe's presidential election campaign. He is now in jail over his illegal relationship with the Colombian paramilitary, largely due to testimony by Garcia.

Noguera's arrest was part of what is known in the English world as the Paragate scandal (parapolitica in Spanish- or paramilitary politicians) where, in 2006, several Colombian politicians were arrested for colluding with the AUC. By April 2008, 62 congress members and 33 lawmakers, including Uribe's cousin, were in jail waiting to be tried.

Garcia then described how many of the paramilitary-politicians were present the day after Uribe won the election, in August 2002, and how they asked him to name Noguera for the position of DAS director. The AUC, Garcia explained, wanted influence in DAS, as well as to infiltrate the Attorney General's Office.

"Jorge Noguera, from the start, he said to me.... "Our mission is full collaboration with the AUC"". Garcia also named other people in the DAS who had collaborated with the AUC.

The police had a report pointing to Garcia as a link between Noguera and the AUC, and Noguera told Garcia one day, "Don't worry, because the president and the attorney general are well informed about this and they will protect us when the time comes." Indeed, when the scandal arose, Uribe initially transferred Noguerra to be consul in Milan, Garcia said later on in the interview.

"It's clear that there was a conspiracy plan against the Venezuelan government, in which DAS played a part, as well as the minister Fernando Londoño, who I suppose had friends in Venezuela," Garcia went on.

"Things are being discovered little by little... DAS took ex government employees and put them to work undercover...this is what Jorge Noguera did with Jorge Diaz, they took him from his position of DAS director in Cucuta and they put him to work on clandestine undercover operations in Venezuela."

"He and Jorge Noguera met with Venezuelan military personal. I don't know if these meetings took place here in Colombia or in Venezuela, but I know they took place," Garcia revealed.

In response to the question; do you think the plot you are talking about was initiated by Jorge Noguera and the minister Londoño? Garcia responded, "No, I don't think it was. They were sought after, above all Londoño, was sought after by Venezuelan opposition sectors."

"Over there [in Venezuela] there was an opposition alliance; I think it was called the Democratic Bloc, that had made alliances with factions of the [AUC] in order to conspire against the government of President Chavez."

Venezuelan opposition plans to defeat the Chavez government

"There were concrete plans, this group, the Democratic bloc, I don't remember the exact name, had a plan with three components. [Firstly,] the sabotage of productive apparatus in Venezuela, and as a result of this there was the [oil] strike in 2002 that caused a lot of damage to productive apparatus."

"[The second component of the plan was] media attacks, that is, putting the media against the Chavez government, and [thirdly] they looked at assassinating representatives in order to cause unease in Venezuelan society. In those plans, I know that President Chavez, Jose Vincent Rangel, the minister of justice and internal affairs, Jesse Chacon, and the attorney general, Isaías Rodriguez were included."

Next, Garcia talked about the assassination of Danilo Anderson in November 2004. Anderson was a Venezuelan environmental state prosecutor investigating over 400 people accused of crimes against the state and the Venezuelan people in the failed April 2002 Coup. He was killed by an explosive in his car.

"I didn't know that Danilo Anderson was included in this [list of people to assassinate], never the less it's very likely, given the way he was killed. A lot of explosives were passed on by DAS workers via the border post of Paraguachon, in my presence, I saw it."

The interviewer also asked about the over 100 presumed paramilitaries who have been detained in Venezuela. Garcia responded that, "The border [between Venezuela and Colombia] is imaginary when it comes to the [AUC] appropriating land or intimidating the population."

Garcia then gave the example of one romantic relationship that existed, and how this was used to help get paramilitaries into Venezuela. The woman involved in the relationship lent the AUC a large farm, El Hatillo, where they were later discovered by Venezuelan police.

"I know that in Zulia [state in Venezuela, bordering Colombia] there were a lot of people who collaborated, not just in these activities, but also in drug-smuggling though Venezuela... there was a time when [Noguera] was the authority, just as [he] was in Colombian cities, he was in Maracaibo [capital of Zulia state]."

"The AUC were a phenomenon that was changed by drug-smuggling....so they looked for cultivation and smuggling zones, so this is what permeated the [border] zone, including today [the phenomenon] is still present in [Venezulean border state] Tachira with [paramilitary group] the Black Eagles."

Venezuelan journalist Alberto Nolia, analysing the interview, said, "Its clear the Colombian government was completely involved in the conspiracy...Garcia has linked the government of Uribe with the paramilitaries and with drug smuggling."

The revelations of links between the Colombian government and its institutions with the paramilitary and the Venezuelan opposition's attempts to defeat the Chavez government come at a time when Colombia has just accepted a U.S. military presence on seven of its bases, something Chavez sees as paramount to "talking about war."

On Tuesday the Colombian Supreme Court annulled charges against Noguera, for aggravated murder, bribery and misappropriation, but the charge of coordinating crime remains.

See also:

0. 14/08/2006: Combating the Colombian Paramilitaries in Venezuela

0. 31/08/2009: Venezuela Tells UNASUR Meeting, U.S. “Talking about War”

0. 17/08/2009: Uribe Apologises, Venezuela Says Repaired Relations Impossible

Tags: Colombia-Venezuela Relations | opposition | Paramilitaries

-----

WTOP Yellow Journalism on Iran-Venezuela

September 11th 2009, by Robert Dreyfuss - The Nation

Earlier this week, I lambasted Robert Morgenthau for his alarmist, fear-mongering speech at the Brookings Institution and op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, in which he suggested darkly that Iran and Venezuela were engaged in cooperation on nuclear weapons and that the two countries were secretly building ominous factories in remote areas of Venezuela. He seemed to imply a 2009 version of the Cuban missile crisis is in the works, and like some modern-day Paul Revere, he's riding to the rescue.

In the blog entry, I mentioned that Morgenthau's thesis was transmitted, in even more simplistic and alarmist form, over WTOP radio in Washington, D.C., by J.J. Green, the station's national security correspondent. After seeing my blog posting, Green helpfully sent me an audio of the broadcast, which I've transcribed below. In my mind, it's a stunning example of bad journalism. As you will see, if you bother to read it, not once do Green or the WTOP anchors express an ounce of skepticism about Morgenthau's thesis, nor do they raise an single question about it. They simply regurgitate what Morgenthau said, as if the Manhattan D.A.'s tendentious and ideologically driven analysis is the Word of God. The transcript, in italics, follows below, along with my comments:

ANCHOR 1: There's an East-West connection that's raising alarm bells in the US because of who the players are and what they might be up to. It's about Iran and Venezuela, two countries with half a century of diplomatic ties, but now those ties appear to be morphing into something more cohesive, more directed, and more threatening.

Notice how the anchor says, right up front, that the Iran-Venezuela ties are "threatening," not even bothering to mention that it's Morgenthau's opinion, not fact.

ANCHOR 2: And joining us with insights into Iran's connections in Latin America, WTOP's National Security Correspondent, J.J. Green. And J.J., this issue got a lot of attention because yesterday, Manhattan's legendary district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, talked about it in a speech at the Brookings Institution. What is he suggesting here?

A nice touch, that "legendary." Meaning, don't question what he says.

JJ GREEN: He's suggesting that we should not sleep on Iran and Venezuela. We shouldn't think that they're just exercising their geopolitical rights to get together and talk business and make business and make deals. What he's saying is, that Iran and Venezuela hate the U.S., the U.S. needs to look very carefully at their financial connections, and even more carefully at what's going on out in the remote areas of Venezuela, where there've been construction projects that no one seems to really know what's going on, and he's also saying that we need to keep an eye on what's happening between Iran and Venezuela when it comes to nuclear weapons technology and things that are used to facilitate that.

Amazing. All innuendo. They "hate" the US, there are construction projects where no one knows what's going on, and it could involve "nuclear weapons technology"! Green ignores the fact that neither Iran nor Venezuela have nuclear "weapons" technology, although Iran does have a carefully monitored nuclear enrichment program that produced low-enriched uranium fuel.

ANCHOR 1: Well, in fact, Morgenthau says that he thinks that Venezuela is helping to finance and bankroll Iran secretly to help them get the money to help them continue develop nuclear weapons.

This point is especially absurd. Iran has lots of oil revenue, more than Venezuela in fact, and it certainly doesn't need Caracas' money to "develop nuclear weapons," if indeed it wanted to. Worse, the anchor says that Iran is building nuclear weapons as if it's a fact, when even the US intelligence community said that Iran halted its weapons program in 2003. Responding to this assertion, Green answers, inexplicably, with an utter non sequitur about "narco-trafficking.".

JJGREEN: Narco-trafficking is the key. Within the next couple of weeks I can guarantee that you will hear a lot more about this whole problem in Latin America. Now the big problem in Latin America is its connection to the FARC, Colombia's, uh, guerrilla movement. Uh, and there is evidence in a number of places, and Mr. Morgenthau points this out in his speech, including evidence in the GAO, that Venezuela has pretty close relations with the FARC, including giving them weapons, etc. This money is being used in part, is being laundered by banks that Iran has set up in that country, banks that can't be monitored, banks that we know have had suspicious ties to other financial dealings around the world, but it all goes back to Tehran. So what he's saying, very clearly, is that this is no time to pretend that Iran and Venezuela are not haters of the U.S.

A pastiche of complete nonsense. Green implies that laundered drug money is helping Iran build a nuclear bomb? That is so stupid and wrong that it boggles the mind.

ANCHOR 2: Do we have any indication of what the U.S. is doing to perhaps monitor the situation and try to stop some of this stuff from going on?

JJ GREEN Well, the Israelis are doing a lot. And as you can almost imagine, there's been a lot of angst and anxiety in Israel because of Iran's nuclear weapons program. And they are talking regularly about what to do about Iran. Let's make no mistake about it: Venezuela does not want a confrontation with the United States. Iran does not want one with the U.S. But together they feel like there's strength in numbers and maybe they'll find a way to beat up on the U.S. The bottom line on this is, the U.S. and its allies showing these countries that, look, we're watching you, we're keeping our eyes on you, and we have options that may include attacks, options that may include some of your neighbors turning a cold shoulder to you, and the world financial community shutting you out. And don't discount these possibilities.

Where to begin? Yes, we know there is "angst and anxiety" in Israel over Iran's nuclear program. But Green seems to relish delivering his dark warning that the US might "attack" Iran and Venezuela ("options that may include attacks") while simultaneously suggesting that Israel may take care of it for us. All of this without a shred of evidence that there is anything to this story at all! Does Green bother to call any experts on Iran or Venezuela or the nuclear issue to get a qualified or contrary or dissenting view about Morgenthau's evidence-free assertions? No. Does he raise any doubts about any of this? No--he treats it as gospel. Does Green bother to note the catastrophic consequences of an attack on Iran, involving the US in a third war in between the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan? Of course not.

ANCHOR 1: All right, J.J. I'm sure we'll be checking in on you again on this.

God forbid.

Walter Cronkite must be spinning in his grave. Unless, that is, he is secretly buried in some remote area of Venezuela's rain forest.

See also:

0. 05/07/2009: Venezuela & Iran: Whither the revolutions?

0. 11/03/2005: Venezuela’s Chavez Defends Iran’s Right to Atomic Energy

0. 11/07/2007: Chavez: Western Media Try To Demonize Iran and Other Muslim Countries

Source: The Nation

Tags: Iran | Venezuela-U.S. Relations

-----

Keep hope Alive. Counter the disinformation regarding Venezuela. Please spread widely. General Joe

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