Yesterday morning, Caracas awoke to the news in the Venezuelan daily paper, 2001, that US intelligence sources had reported the existence of a secret agreement between Iran and Venezuela whereby Iran will be sending nuclear weapons to Venezuela and Cuba.
Michael Fox of Venezuelanalysis.com sheds light on Tuesday’s headlines in his article A U.S. Intelligence Hoax on Venezuela?
Curiously, yesterday’s 2001 article, which caused the stir, is no longer available online. In its place is an article on the Minister’s reaction. A reaction, which has been covered by over 80 media outlets around the world. But according to the AP, which reported only a tiny blurb on the piece, “other papers did not carry the [original] report and the newspaper did not give any details about how it obtained the information.”
Given recent announcements that the Pentagon is stepping up its Info-wars in the foreign press, it’s hard not to see this as a black propaganda campaign designed to resonate throughout Latin America & to blow-back through the US media, planting a blatantly false accusation in the underbelly of America’s memory. No matter that there’s no evidence that Iran has its own nukes, let alone ones to ship abroad.
Fox locates a shady source for the article’s assertions:
A deeper investigation, however, reveals an uncanny similarity between yesterday morning’s 2001 article and the information found in an article by former self-proclaimed criminal and current US law-enforcement collaborator Kenneth Rijock.
While the orginal report is vaporised, the denials resonate & repeat, lending some vague credibility to the charge, which is one way propaganda works.
Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Relations, Ali Rodriguez Araque, was up before the Caracas morning traffic had begun, denying the claim as “absurd” in an interview with Venezuelan Television. “It tops a chain of absurdities that have been unloaded on Venezuela in recent years,” Rodriguez continued. “We have no arms deal with Iran, and the country’s military relations are totally clear and public.”
He indicated that Venezuela believes in the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the world, although he added that any country should have the right to use nuclear energy with peaceful goals. He went on to condemn the intense US propaganda campaign to portray Iran as a “dark beast.”
Fox details unacknowledged Kenneth Rijock’s background in the piece:
According to Washington Technology, “Kenneth Rijock [was a] former banking lawyer and money-launderer in Miami in the 1980s, who spent two years in jail for his crimes and is now teaching law enforcement how financial criminals work and think.”
In 2000, he proudly testified before the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions, that he is “a veteran of over one hundred domestic and international bulk cash smuggling operations.” [snip]
Rijock’s article is entitled “Chavez Assists Castro In Moving Offensive Weapons Into Cuba,” and is found on Ryan Mauro’s worldthreats.com. Although the page cites petroleumworld.com as the primary source for the article, Petroleum World editors have confirmed that they have never published a Rijock article by that name. Which is not surprising, considering that this does not seem to be the only sourcing problem the website has. Rijock’s article is undated. There also appears to be a Spanish version of the article, published under a different title, at La Nueva Cuba on March 13.
Yesterday morning’s article in 2001 was written by veteran journalist Jesus Eduardo Brando, and entitled “Iranian Missiles for Venezuela.” Beyond talk of the Venezuelan delegation that visited Tehran last week, for the “Third International Conference in Support for the Rights of the Palestinian People” and a brief explanation of the Iranian nuclear program, the bulk and most tantalizing meat of this article is the nearly top-secret information that it claims that US intelligence agencies have reported.
However, with a close comparison of the Rijock and Brando articles, it becomes impossible to negate the fact that not only does all of the supposed “US intelligence” information from the Brando article come directly from Rijock’s piece—even down to an off-hand reference to the Chernobyl disaster—but, moreover, that Brando is actually referring to the Rijock article when he cites “sources of US intelligence.”
In the opening paragraph of yesterday’s 2001 article, Brando writes:
“US Intelligence agencies report…. Nuclear weapons would be transported in oil tankers in order to evade satellites and spy planes. This would enormously increment the offensive capacity of the Cuban regime and of true threat to the security of the United States.”
Rijock writes in “Chavez Assists Castro In Moving Offensive Weapons Into Cuba”:
“It is believed that Venezuelan oil tankers will be the method of shipment, thereby concealing the cargo from any prying overhead spy satellites or American aircraft. These missiles will give the Castro regime an offensive capability that, in essence, will affect the balance of power in the Caribbean, and pose a threat to the US.”
Towards the end of his article, Brando writes:
“The reports add that this would constitute a nightmare for the Western Hemisphere that should be seriously considered. They warn against the danger of accidental detonation or the release of radioactive material as occurred at the Russian plant Chernobyl.”
“That nightmare should make all of us in the Western Hemisphere wake up in the middle of the night, but there is another alternative threat to consider…. Will there be an accidental detonation… that would make the Chernobyl disaster seem tame.”
In his last paragraph, Brando writes:
“[The reports] suggest that Washington take a moment of attention, in the middle of its focus on Iraq to ‘insure that those missiles never get to Venezuela.’ At the same time they ask questions about whether it is once again time to toughen positions against Cuba including the possibility of a new blockade and “action against Venezuela and Señor Chavez.”
Rijock writes in one of his last paragraphs:
“The real issue is whether the United States will take a moment from its focus on Iraq and insure that those missiles never get to Venezuela…. Is it time for a hard look at another blockade of Cuba? Other alternatives include external action against Venezuela, so Senor Chavez’ tenure as President of his country could soon to come to an end.”
The comparison can be made for the entire article, but it is probably not necessary. It is fairly clear that the so-called “US intelligence agencies”, “sources of US intelligence” and “US intelligence reports” all refer to Rijock’s article from worldthreats.com
This leads us to the question of whether Rijock is on the take from the US government. Rijock’s history of work with US Law Enforcement after his time in jail is adequately documented, so it wouldn’t be out of the question. But considering his outrageous reports, undocumented claims, and criminal history, it is most likely he is being paid to disseminate misinformation, disinformation, and lies, and not to actually collect “intelligence.” As VEA director Garcia Ponce responded last month to Rijock’s accusations against him, “such lies are part of the US drive to destabilize the Chavez administration.”
As for veteran journalist Jesus Eduardo Brando, it is hard to believe that he was unaware that Rijock’s article was not in-fact “a US intelligence report.” Even given the benefit of the doubt, the use of unconfirmed information written by a self-proclaimed criminal at best results in an absolute disregard for journalistic ethics and at worst; misinformation, manipulation and outright lies.
Stephen Lendman’s article today, The U.S. Now Planning A Fourth Attempt To Oust Hugo Chavez analyzes the current campaign to demonize Chavez, after starting with a rant against the corporate media:
Does any reader of online progressive web sites still watch, listen to or read anything from the corporate media? . . .
The mind manipulation and thought control comes at us from all directions in print and on the airwaves. In the US (and really the world) the newspaper known as the “Gray Lady” and referred to as “the newspaper of record” leads the way – the New York Times. I call them a US “Pravda.” They’re the closest thing we have in this country to an official ministry of information and propaganda. They’ve been going at it for over 150 years, and nobody does it better or with more influence.
Once that’s off his chest, he gets into his “case study” in the form of a response to a “Mr X”:
Of course, there’s been a steady drumbeat of anti-Chavez rhetoric in the corporate media that even includes language comparing him to Hitler. When you hear that and lots more, you know things have gotten very serious and likely to be followed by big time mischief against the person named. I’ve quoted lots of anti-Chavez invective in other articles I’ve written from various high officials like Donald Rumsfeld. Now there’s a credible source. [snip]
I then explained that based on the best available estimates Venezuela ranks number one in the world in total oil reserves even ahead of Saudi Arabia if their extra-heavy reserves are added to their “light sweet” or conventional ones. The latter are easily refined while the former must be substantially upgraded before refining is possible. If both types are counted, the best estimates of total oil reserves in the world are: Venezuela – about 350 billion barrels (by some estimates it’s much higher than that), Saudi Arabia – 262 billion, Canada – 179 billion (mostly extra-heavy), Iran – 126 billion (all “light sweet”) and Iraq – 115 billion (also all the good stuff). I asked Mr. X if the fog was beginning to lift and if he really thought the US would ever settle for less than total control of those combined reserves and those of every other key oil producing country as well. It’s called “resource wars”, the stakes are very high, and we’re playing for keeps including waging war on the world to get it. It’ not about getting all the oil we need (as long as it lasts), it’s about controlling it all to decide who else gets it, how much and at what price. Along with rising world tension, a big reason the price is high today (nearing $70 a barrel as I write) is because we want it to be high to enrich our big oil mafia buddies – you know, the Exxon-Mobils of the world. Unless you understand “the way things really are” you’ll be victimized like Mr. X and believe everything you hear or read in the corporate media.
Heavy crude is economical to process once iol prices rise above $50/barrel, which will allow Venezuela to refigure its reserves, & thus pumping capacity. The US is desperately engaged in “supporting democracy.”
So with the opposition knowing they haven’t a chance in December, they’ve begun their latest anti-Chavez demonization campaign. They’re trying to blame him for the kidnappings and brutal murders of three children of a wealthy Venezuelan/Canadian family and other social disturbances being hyped in the corporate controlled media to stir up the public, scare them and try to make them want a change in government to protect them better. It’s just a new version of the same dirty business they’ve pulled before that failed. It won’t work this time either. Chavez supporters (Chavistas) at least must suspect the US is orchestrating this mischief and has no compunction about carrying out kidnappings and brutal murders themselves or finding lots of local takers at the right price to do it for them. This isolated violence on the Venezuelan streets is just a minuscule version of what’s going on now in Iraq under the US led and directed “Salvador death squad option” using Iraqi proxies to carry out car bombings, mosqe attacks and lots more to foment a civil war, try to divide the country and supposedly make it easier to rule. It won’t work there either where the situation is out of control, the war is lost and we know it, and in British journalist Robert Fisk’s words (who I quoted earlier above): the US “must leave, can’t leave and will leave.”
Let me spell out what’s happening now as the US with 100% certainty is heading toward a fourth showdown confrontational attempt to oust Hugo Chavez and possibly try to assassinate him this time. For those of you, like Mr. X, who believe what they read in the (corporate) papers or see on the evening news, let me do a little defogging and lay the truth on you. I know the playbook very well. I should, I’ve seen it played out enough times before and watch it every day now in Iraq in its most extreme form. It’s not Hugo Chavez or his supporters creating social unrest on the streets. This is classic CIA, National Endowment of Democracy (NED), USAID and IRI (International Republican Institute) mischief likely carried out by their complicit anti-Chavez Venezuelan proxies. These are the ones with the most to gain if Chavez is no longer president and one of their own is. I’m talking about the rich and well off, the same ones who tried it before and failed.
US attorney and author Eva Golinger closely monitors Bush administration activities to subvert the Chavez government. She uncovered top secret CIA documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests revealing US involvement through CIA, NED and USAID complicity to overthrow Hugo Chavez in the two day aborted 2002 coup. In an interview published by Ultimas Noticias on April 10 she revealed she now has documents proving the US bankrolls the Venezuelan opposition and has tried to work with Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Austria and Spain to form an anti-Chavez alliance. Her information comes from a report published April 5 by the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, an agency of the US Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs. The report details US efforts to fund and build Venezuelan opposition political parties. Golinger noted different strategies being planned to oust Hugo Chavez including by possible US military invasion and mentioned the presence of US military baes in the region where 40,000 troops are now stationed. She also uncovered increased US financial support for “supposed NGOs” and communications with opposition politicians on subjects like assassination and torture. Finally, Golinger explained there’s a link between the FBI and police officials in the Caracas municipalities of Chacao and Baruta, both run by mayors opposed to Hugo Chavez.
Want more evidence about what may be in the works. It’s come to light that the US has plans called “Operation Bilbao” that look like, walk like and make sounds like a plan to forcibly overthrow the Chavez government. Want more? I briefly mentioned an ongoing close by US military exercise above. The US Navy sent an aircraft carrier strike group of four ships, 60 aircraft and 6,500 marines to the Caribbean and South American waters for a “major” training exercise. It’s holding it now about 50 kilometers from Venezuelan territory (about 30 miles). All four ships are capable of launching cruise missiles that may be armed with nuclear warheads. I told Mr. X this is a deliberately provocative and hostile act and to imagine the reaction here if China or Russia were doing this 30 miles off the California coast. I added I could include more examples of how the US is stepping up its efforts against Hugo Chavez but hoped what I detailed above was enough. I also explained that I hope I’ve provided enough documnted proof that once again the US government is improperly and illegally acting to subvert a foreign leader and his government and, in this case, doing it to a twice democratically elected leader loved by the great majority of his people.
Forgive the long quotes, but hopefully by now you’ve got the picture. Lendman again:
The very sophisticated folks who run the dominant media can even make a lot of seemingly intelligent people beliee almost anything made up out of whole cloth. That media and its PR cousins have honed their craft and are now so expert at it that if the best of their past counterparts were still alive, like Nazi Joseph Goebbels, he and they would be aghast to see how amateurish they were compared to the “geniuses” now doing it — to Mr. X and all the others like him out there with their minds thoroughly fogged and programmed.