Tuesday, March 11, 2008

US Goverment to Designate Venezuela as a State Sponsor of Terrorism?

You may remember from one of my earlier posts that I wrote that US experts were looking into the emails that were discovered on laptops belonging to the murdered members of the FARC. This seemed particularly suspicious at the time as Colombia is a well known proxy for the US in South America, and Venezuela has long been in their sights. It has now emerged that US attorneys are looking into the possibility of labelling Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism. From United Press International:

WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- A government official said the White House asked attorneys to look into requirements for placing Venezuela on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The inquiry follows allegations that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's ties with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas ran deeper than originally thought, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

The legal review follows Colombia's seizing four computers belonging to a FARC guerrilla leader in a March 1 raid. In them, it was hinted that the Venezuelan government was in the process of providing $300 million in assistance FARC, which officials in the United States and Colombia call a "narco-terrorist" group but Chavez considers a legitimate insurgency.

The U.S. official -- speaking anonymously to the Herald -- wouldn't predict if the discoveries would lead to sanctions, saying the documents' veracity must be corroborated.

If the documents are shown to be true, then "I think it will beg the question of whether or not Venezuela, given Chavez's interactions with the FARC, has ... crossed the threshold of state sponsor of terror," the official said.

Of course, it will be the United States who will determine the veracity of these documents in what will be an entirely self-serving 'investigation'. And the documents themselves?? Well, Greg Palast has discovered that, what a surprise, they are cooked up. From his website:

The US press snorted up this line about Chavez’ $300 million to “terrorists” quicker than the young Bush inhaling Colombia’s powdered export.

What the US press did not do is look at the evidence, the email in the magic laptop. (Presumably, the FARC leader’s last words were, “Listen, my password is ….”)

I read them. (
You can read them here) While you can read it all in español, here is, in translation, the one and only mention of the alleged $300 million from Chavez:

“… With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call “dossier,” efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo [slang term for ‘cripple’], which I will explain in a separate note. Let’s call the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto.”

Got that? Where is Hugo? Where’s 300 million? And 300 what? Indeed, in context, the note is all about the hostage exchange with the FARC that Chavez was working on at the time (December 23, 2007) at the request of the Colombian government.

Indeed, the entire remainder of the email is all about the mechanism of the hostage exchange. Here’s the next line:

“To receive the three freed ones, Chavez proposes three options: Plan A. Do it to via of a ‘humanitarian caravan’; one that will involve Venezuela, France, the Vatican[?], Switzerland, European Union, democrats [civil society], Argentina, Red Cross, etc.”

Now we await the results of this investigation. If Bush has his way, Venezuela could be next to join the infamous 'axis of evil'. A dream come true for many in the establishment who have become disturbed by the recent rise in populist leaders throughout the region. This could lead to increased attempts to destabilise Venezuela and increased support for Chavez's opponents in the country. Just one question. If it only takes a few dubious emails to class Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism, how much more evidence is required to prove that President Uribe runs a terrorist state?