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Look what the discredited "miracle laptops" have been used for, recently! They are a Rumsfeld-designed (I am convinced) "black ops" gift that keeps on giving....
Venezuela’s Armed Forces Under Fire by Washington
By EVA GOLINGER, CORREO DEL ORINOCO , January 20th 2012
During an event that included the transfer of mandate of several members of the high military command on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said changes to the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) are important for strengthening democracy.
Chavez was referring specifically to General Henry Rangel Silva, who was sworn in this week as the new Minister of Defense. “May the decent and patriotic officials of our Bolivarian Armed Forces give their full support to our new Minister. Changes in the National Bolivarian Armed Forces are important for our democratic homeland”, declared the President.
Rangel Silva’s designation as the South American nation’s new Minister of Defense has been hyped up and distorted in media outlets throughout Venezuela, Colombia and the United States. In 2008, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a division of the Treasury Department, included Rangel Silva on its list of foreigners allegedly involved in drug trafficking and/or terrorism under the “Kingpin Act”. However, no evidence was presented to support this serious claim.
OFAC also included the head of Venezuela’s military intelligence, General Hugo Carvajal, and then Minister of Interior and Justice, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, on the same list with Rangel Silva, who at the time oversaw Venezuela’s civilian intelligence agency, SEBIN. The inclusion of the three heads of Venezuelan intelligence was largely viewed as an attack against the oil nation’s security apparatus, at a time when the US government was considering placing Venezuela on its list of “state sponsors of terrorism”.
The allegations against Rangel Silva, Carvajal and Rodriguez Chacin, were based on unsubstantiated data from laptop computers acquired by the Colombian government during the March 2008 attack on a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp. Using the laptop content, Washington claimed the three Venezuelan officials had “materially assisted the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC, a narcoterrorist organization”.
INTERPOL later determined the information on the computers could not be authenticated nor could the original source of the data be verified. Colombia’s highest court also ruled that the laptop data could not be used as legal evidence against anyone. Nonetheless, the famous FARC laptops have been used by both the conservative Colombian government, Washington and some media to tarnish Venezuela’s image and accuse it of compliance with drug trafficking and terrorism. The FARC is considered a terrorist group only by Colombia and the United States.
No corroborating evidence has ever been presented to demonstrate Rangel Silva’s or other members of the Venezuelan government’s involvement with the FARC or any illicit activities. President Chavez did hold negotiations with the FARC on several occasions under the direct authorization of the Colombian government. His involvement secured the release of several hostages the FARC had held for years, including Ingrid Betancourt and three US military officers.
On Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland warned “our concerns about Rangel Silva are well known and of long standing”. But those “concerns” have yet to be substantiated by any legally credible evidence. Rangel Silva has adamantly denied the charges against him. No formal complaints have been brought against him within Venezuela or by Colombia, nor has any other independent evidence been presented to link him to any illegal activities.
Rangel Silva has been a close ally and collaborator of President Chavez for over 20 years. He trained with him as a younger soldier and participated in the Chavez-led military rebellion against the murderous and corrupt government of Carlos Andres Perez on February 4, 1992.
The new Minister of Defense has held high-level positions during the Chavez administration, including head of the intelligence agency SEBIN and Commander of the Strategic Operational Command, which oversees all of Venezuela’s Armed Forces operational activities. At the time of his designation as Minister of Defense, he was the highest ranking officer in the country.
(Creative Commons License - my emphasis)
I figure that Rangel Silva, Carvajal and Rodriguez Chacin have just been too good at defeating CIA plots against Chavez and his government and the fascist forces here can't get over their snit about that. There are also the Pentagon's war plans to worry about. They want to regain control of Venezuela's oil (the biggest oil reserves on earth--twice Saudi Arabia's, according to the USGS) and their fascist/corporate allies want to smash all this stuff about universal free medical care and universal free education, and vast reductions in poverty, and high employment rates and decent wages, etc., in Venezuela (info that is only available in the alternative press) and keep these ideas from spreading north. So they truly hate and fear certain developments in South America, such as intelligence sharing among the many Leftist governments, the strong alliances such as between Venezuela and Brazil and Venezuela and Argentina, new institutions for Latin America cooperation and defense (UNASUR, CELAC), and, in particular, Venezuelan savvy on the intelligence, defense, political and economic fronts.
"The U.S. has not changed," as the outgoing president of Brazil said in his last speech in office, after a year of the Obama administration. That they are using the highly discredited and even laughable "miracle laptops"--more than likely a project of Rumsfeld's "Office of Special Plans"--is profoundly disgusting. There are bits and pieces of evidence that the Obama administration doesn't want to be like this--like the Bush Junta--or, shall I say, has mixed feelings about it. (They and Panetta certainly acted to remove the malefactor in Colombia--Alvaro Uribe--but that may have been merely part of coverup of Bush Junta crime in Colombia--Uribe was landed on a silk cushion--and likely also prep for U.S. "free trade for the rich" by cleaning up Colombia's image). When they do shit like this--still trying to "isolate Chavez," just like Bush Jr. and his massively criminal cronies--you can't help but see that the thrust of their policy is the same: war mongering, corporate corrupt.
You also gotta wonder if they aren't planning to restore mafioso Uribe to power. The "miracle laptops" were his "WMDs in Iraq"--i.e., lying bullshit excuse for warmongering against Venezuela--or at least paving the way for Bush Junta II to do so and for Oil War II to begin, in this hemisphere. Bill Clinton paved the way for Bush Jr in Iraq. Are Obama/Clinton/Panetta paving the way for Jeb in Venezuela?
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sun Jan 22, 2012, 10:59 AM (3 replies)
Venezuela GDP Grows 4% in 2011, Predicts Strong 2012
By BUSINESS RECORDER - 1/2/2012
CARACAS: Venezuela's economy grew by an estimated 4 percent in 2011 and will maintain strong growth in 2012, the central bank said Friday, expansion that may help President Hugo Chavez's bid for reelection next year.
But the country's inflation rate remained stubbornly high at 27.6 percent, based on preliminary statistics, the bank said, signaling rising prices will remain a key concern in the OPEC member nation as government spending shows no signs of abating in the run-up to the October vote.
"The recent performance of the economy demonstrates the reactivation of productive sectors, which affirms the expectation that the rhythm of growth will be maintained next year," the bank said in a statement.
Growth was driven by an 11.2 percent expansion in the financial sector, 6.6 percent growth in commerce, and 5.5 percent growth in utilities such as electricity and water.
Government outlays in areas including education and health rose 5.3 percent, the bank said.
The 4 percent growth - double the original estimate of 2 percent - contrasts with a 1.5 percent contraction in 2010 for Venezuela, which was one of only a few countries in the region whose economies shrank that year.
Increased investment in the electricity sector, which suffered rationing in 2010, as well as greater spending on home construction following floods that destroyed houses around the country, also helped spur expansion.
The country this year benefited from higher crude prices that helped its vital oil industry, with the average price of Venezuelan oil reaching a record $101 per barrel in 2011.
That helped the country post a current account surplus of $31.5 billion, but it also reported a capital account deficit of $32.6 billion linked to increased government deposits abroad.
The government's budget estimates 2012 growth at 5 percent with inflation between 22 and 23 percent.
Chavez's high-profile announcements of new housing projects and social spending programs signal the government plans to ramp up outlays in the coming months to shore up complaints among supporters about unemployment and the lack of affordable housing.
Critics say Chavez's campaign of nationalizations and frequent confrontation with businesses, hallmark traits of his "21st century socialism," have scared off private investment and left the country dependent on state spending.
His supporters point to rising standards of living and increased investment in basic services including health and education, which have helped the former soldier win repeated elections over the last 13 years.
(original-NOTE: This is a Rotters article) http://www.brecorder.com/world/global-business-a-economy/40780-venezuela-gdp-grows-4pc-in-2011-sees-strong-2012-.html
(found it at) http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/6716
(Creative Commons License - my emphases.)
At least this article--though it originated with the Reuters' rotten corporate 'news' service--balances its "his critics say..." assertion with "his supporters point to...," in the final paragraphs. Rotters, the Associated Pukes and the rest of the Corporate Press often promulgate the first ("his critics say" and leave out the second (why he has huge support--what his supporters say), making it a complete mystery (and keeping their 'news' consumers ignorant of) why the Chavez government is so popular.
The article, however, contains the usual Wall Street cant about inflation. Wall Street fanatical anti-inflationary ideology and opposition to government spending are what are keeping our own economy in deep recession, aka, depression.
Further, the use of anonymous sources--"his critics say"--is lousy journalism and is easily and often abused to promote the corporate agenda of the 'news' organization's masters, and to hide the sources in the misty back alleys where CIA "talking points" get passed, like old dollar bills, from hand to hand, accumulating germs and graffiti along the way.
I have to laugh at the Rotters' assertion that the Chavez government's spending is tied to the upcoming election. The Chavez government has consistently spent the oil revenues for social programs and other development throughout its tenure. That is WHY it has been elected and re-elected, by big margins. The implication, of course, is that Chavez is "buying votes." But what if the people of Venezuela WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO SPEND MONEY ON THEM? Is doing the will of the people "buying" them? What crazy illogic!
As for Chavez's intention "to shore up complaints among supporters about unemployment and the lack of affordable housing"--aside from the obvious illogic of the sentence ("shoring up complaints"??)--this is a goddamned lie. Venezuela has one of the highest employment rates in the region and was recently designated as "THE most equal country in Latin America" on income distribution by the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean. Venezuelans also rate their country one of the highest in the world on their own financial welfare and future prospects. This is more back alley 'journalism'--finding (paying off?) some disgruntled layabout who can't keep a job or just making it up out of whole cloth. "...shoring up complaints among supporters" is utter bullshit in every sense. It makes no sense and it is not supported with quotation or any kind of attribution.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Wed Jan 4, 2012, 09:52 PM (2 replies)
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