Saturday, June 18, 2005
The Bush Administration planned the coup in Venezuela
Well, he might if somebody in the press corps actually had the guts to pin him on it.
The usual view of the CIA is simplistic and there's a much more complicated story, both good and bad. Prior to 1976, the CIA engaged in assassinations and coups, running drugs and guns and otherwise doing things that had very long-term, serious, adverse consequences to the United States.
Unfortunately, many of the "cowboys" still don't understand that they weren't as smart as they thought they were. In the OSS days, the agency had enough sense to bring in culturally savvy people, but that just vanished when it became the CIA. It became a white man's club with no sense of how the rest of the world sees us. Without going into details, their mistakes in choosing the wrong side have cost a lot of American lives and treasure.
The Church Commission and Philip Agee exposed a lot of the misdeeds, and for some years the Agency was on a much shorter leash. They were certainly involved in covert ops, like stirring the pot in Afghanistan. But they were not directing coups. They were just providing gasoline and matches to indigenous movements. Iran-Contra let them off the leash and they again committed serious misdeeds of the sort that would have led to long trials and short nooses but for the dominant power the United States holds at present.
And then, after 1986, they got back on track doing what intelligence agencies are supposed to do: give the nation adequate warning of threats or challenges of all kinds. Ray McGovern is an excellent example of an analyst who knows what he is talking about, is working to bring out the truth and not just a story that is convenient to those in power, and actually understands that American interests are served when we don't meddle in other country's politics.
Now, I am not an absolutist or naive. All great powers play rough. The US record is mixed, with some good actions and some bad. But the coup against Venezuela is really, really bad. Here was a popular, elected government. For all the talk, Chavez was engaged in mildly redistributive policies that were extremely popular with the poor and seem to have had a positive economic effect. Chavez was no wise a communist, not that that should make a difference as long as free and fair elections are being held.
The coup was an incredibly stupid move. But it's a huge difference if it was done with US connivance or by US command. Because it is looking more and more like it was done on US command, I predict it will be the primary catalyst for a realignment of South America away from the American economy and with the Asian economy. Actual direction of a coup is the sign of a reversion from the post-Iran Contra CIA to the pre-Church Commission CIA. No Latin American government will trust us ever again.
So, sorry Scotty. It's news.
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