Saturday, June 18, 2005


The Bush Administration planned the coup in Venezuela

The US was using destablization tactics such as funneling money to opposition groups and economic pressure. But it is increasingly looking as if the coup that took place was, in effect, orchestrated directly by the Bush Administration. "But the CIA intervention in Venezuela is of the crudest, simplest kind. Top secret documents recently obtained and posted on show that in the weeks prior to the April 2002 coup against President Chavez, the CIA had full knowledge of the events to occur and, in fact, even had the detailed plans in their possession. An April 6, 2002 top secret intelligence brief headlining "Venezuela: Conditions Ripening for Coup Attempt," states "Dissident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chavez, possible as early as this month, [CENSORED]. The level of detail in the reported plans -- [CENSORED] targets Chavez and 10 other senior officers for arrest…" The document further states, "To provoke military action, the plotters may try to exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month…" So the CIA knew that a coup attempt would take place soon after April 6, 2002, and moreover, they knew the plan would include Chavez's arrest and an exploitation of violence in the opposition march. In other words, they knew the plans before the coup occurred and surely they knew the actors involved, many of whose names are probably in the censored parts of the top-secret documents. One could assume that if the CIA had the detailed plans in their possession in the weeks prior to the coup it was because they were associating and conspiring with the coup plotters. I suppose the CIA could have just gotten really lucky and overheard the detailed plans at the local cantina, but somehow it's easier to believe that they had them because they prepared them. The author suggests that the CIA may have assassinated Venezuelan Prosecutor Danilo Anderson. She has posted documents obtained through FOIA here
On Monday morning Scotty McClellen will explain to the press corps that "this is old news, it's all been discussed thoroughly, and the President prefers to look toward the future."

Well, he might if somebody in the press corps actually had the guts to pin him on it.
I think all of this is very new news, shrimplate, Scotty McClellan notwithstanding.

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.
Time to buy your gas at CitGo.
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