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Usnews venezuela disinformation { October 1 2003 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2003
By: Roy S. Carson
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT skips the light fantastic in regurgitated paranoid claims editor & publisher Roy S. Carson writes: In a frightful anti-Venezuelan diatribe due to be published in the October 6 issue of the Washington-based US News & World Report, editorial writer Linda Robinson has apparently swallowed reams of Venezuelan anti-government disinformation in claims that "In oil-rich Venezuela, a volatile leader befriends bad actors from the Mideast, Colombia, and Cuba."

Robinson attempts to clarify that: The (Colombian) FARC's principal camp in Venezuela is in the Perija mountains near an Indian village called Resumidero, according to maps and testimony from FARC deserters (location: Latitude: N 10` 29'56''; Longitude W72' 44'56'')

She then goes on intemperately to claim that "the oil-rich but politically unstable nation of Venezuela is emerging as a potential hub of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, providing assistance to Islamic radicals from the Middle East and other terrorists." For legal jurisprudence she puts the words in the mouths of unnamed senior US military and intelligence officials adding that Bush administration aides "see this as an unpredictably dangerous mix and are gathering more information about the intentions of a country that sits 1,000 miles south of Florida."

Robinson chatters on undeterred: One thing that's clear is that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is fast becoming America's newest nemesis, (again "US officials say") ... he (Chavez) has forged close ties with Cuba's Fidel Castro and has befriended some of America's other notorious enemies, traveling to Saddam's Iraq and Qadhafi's Libya. Now, after surviving an attempted coup and a nationwide petition demanding his recall, Chavez is flirting with terrorism, and Washington is watching with increasing alarm.

Down the road at US State Department, Roger Noriega, the new assistant secretary of state for Latin America (who else?) is quoted as saying "we (USA) are not disinterested spectators ... any actions that undermine democratic order or threaten the security and well-being of the region are of legitimate concern to all of Venezuela's neighbors."

Ominously Robinson throws in for good measure: US officials are monitoring three sets of developments:

Middle Eastern terrorist groups are operating support cells in Venezuela and other locations in the Andean region. A two-month review by US News, including interviews with dozens of US and Latin American sources, confirms the terrorist activity. In particular, the magazine has learned that thousands of Venezuelan identity documents are being distributed to foreigners from Middle Eastern nations, including Syria, Pakistan, Egypt, and Lebanon.

Venezuela is supporting armed opposition groups from neighboring Colombia; these groups are on the official US list of terrorist organizations and are also tied to drug trafficking. Maps obtained by US News, as well as eyewitness accounts, pinpoint the location of training camps used by Colombian rebels, a top rebel leader, and Venezuelan armed groups.

Cubans are working inside Venezuela's paramilitary and intelligence apparatus. The coordination between Cuba and Venezuela is the latest sign that Venezuelan President Chavez is modeling his government on Castro's Cuba.
Quite naturally, the Venezuelan government denies the unsubstantiated rubbish that's been hyped for quite some time by opposition propagandists at and elsewhere on Venezuela's anti-government looney fringe and while denying that Middle Eastern and Cubans spies are operating inside its intelligence agencies, Venezuela protests the clear evidence that CIA manipulators are treating Venezuela's sovereign territory like it were their own backyard. Besides which Venezuela is bored to tears trying to explain to the Gringos that it adopted a neutral stance on Colombia's domestic problems during the last Caldera Presidency but has worked together with the government in Bogota in attempts to achieve a negotiated solution with the ELN and FARC rebels. No matter!

US News & World Report plows on regardless with an anti-Venezuelan bit between its teeth as well as blinkers ... "Venezuela is providing support ... including identity documents ... that could prove useful to radical Islamic groups (again "say US officials"). Spouting Venezuelan opposition disinformation that we've heard so many times before the US News & World Report says it has learned (Editor's query: an education?) that Chavez' government has issued "thousands of cedulas, the equivalent of Social Security cards, to people from places such as Cuba, Colombia, and Middle Eastern nations that play host to foreign terrorist organizations."

Here it comes again: "An American official" with firsthand knowledge of the ID scheme has seen computer spreadsheets with names of people organized by nationality. "The list easily totaled several thousand ... ("the official says") ... Colombians were the largest group; there were more than a thousand of them. It also included many from Middle Eastern countries of interest like Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon ... ("The official adds:") ... It was shocking to see how extensive the list was."

While we fall off our chairs laughing at the US News & World Report's obvious ignorance of the deplorable state of affairs at ONI-DIEX, where any idea of a spreadsheet of names and numbers is in the realms 22nd Century fantasy, the who half-cocked anti-Venezuelan propaganda blast is, unfortunately, nothing out of the ordinary ... it's just so patently silly that a news magazine of US News & World Report's supposed prestige should have fallen so hook, line and sinker for such deliberate lies.

Robinson, however continues quoting her favorite standby "US officials" in a parting attempt to avoid personal responsibility for the slugfest by saying they have told her they believe that the Venezuelan government is issuing the documents to people who should not be getting them.

SHOCK HORROR: Robinson quotes "US officials" as saying that some of these cedulas were subsequently used to obtain Venezuelan passports and even American visas, which could allow the holder to elude immigration checks and enter the United States ... "US officials" (again!) say that the cedulas are also being used by Colombian subversives and by some Venezuelan officials to travel surreptitiously.

But hey! Doesn't that mean that, if Robinson's slugfest had even a grain of truth, USA border guards aren't doing their jobs properly and perhaps cocky US Ambassador Charles S. Shapiro should take time off from buddy-buddy routines with Venezuela's opposition to order his consular staff to check what the heck they're doing in the bunker on Colinas de Valle Arriba?

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