Colombian Spook Yamhure threatens Swedish lives

NORDIC NEWS NETWORK
9 January 2008

Colombian “Diplomat” Threatens Lives
Of Regime Critics and Swedish Journalist

A Swedish journalist with long experience of Latin America is the primary target of thinly veiled death threats from the former head of intelligence at Colombia’s Stockholm embassy.

Writing in the leading Colombian weekly El Espectador , Ernesto Yamhure has accused reporter Dick Emanuelsson of being, among other things, “the FARC guerrillas’ representative in Europe” and “one of FARC’s more important ambassadors in Europe”. Similar accusations have also been aimed at Swedish and Colombian parliamentarians, and two solidarity organizations based in Sweden.

In the past, such accusations have often been followed by the torture and murder of the accused. Over 120 journalists are known to have been murdered in Colombia during the past twenty years, while others have fled into exile, sought safety in self-censorship or switched to less deadly occupations.

“Of course, there is not an ounce of truth in the absurd statements of Yamhure,” says Dick Emanuelsson, whose reporting has been a source of irritation to brutal regimes in Latin America for over a quarter-century. “This is just one more example of the Uribe government and its henchmen attempting to frighten journalists and others into silence.”

The reaction of the Swedish government has not been especially visible or robust, reflecting the transformation that the country has undergone since the assassination of Olof Palme in 1986– from widely respected, independent voice of reason in world affairs to just another vassal-state within the U.S. empire.

Details in PDF document at: http://www.nnn.se/nordic/colombia.pdf

Phillip Agee

CIA whistleblower Phillip Agee dies

modified from the story by
Fred Attewill and agencies
Wednesday January 9, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who became a critic of Washington’s Cuba policy, has died aged 72, Cuban state media reported today.

Bernie Dwyer, a Radio Havana journalist, said Agee had been in hospital since last month, where he died following several operations for perforated ulcers. Dwyer said friends planned a remembrance ceremony for Agee on Sunday at his Havana apartment.

Granma, Cuba’s communist party newspaper, said Agee died on Monday night and described him as “a loyal friend of Cuba and fervent defender of the peoples’ fight for a better world”.

A Brief Biography of Phillip Agee:

Agee quit the CIA in 1969 after 12 years in which he mainly worked in Latin America.

His famous 1975 book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, cited CIA violations against leftist people in the region and included a 22-page list of agency operatives.

In Britain, Agee worked with journalists to list the names of the agents, leading to many spies being sent back to Washington (at least temporarily) with their cover blown.

In comments published last year, Agee explained his decision to expose the CIA: “It was a time in the 70s when the worst imaginable horrors were going on in Latin America. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador – they were military dictatorships with death squads, all with the backing of the CIA and the US government. That was what motivated me to name all the names and work with journalists who were interested in knowing just who the CIA were in their countries.”

His intent to destabilise the organisation’s own disruptive operations by revealing the identities of CIA agents infuriated the right wing US intelligence community.

Agee wanted to settle in Cambridge, England with his partner, Angela, a Brasilian who had been jailed and tortured by the right wing in her own country, and his two young sons by his former wife. He intended to continue exposing the CIA, but he was deported from England in 1978 as a “threat to the security of the state”. Agee thinks that the British prime minister Jim Callaghan acted under the instruction of the US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger. Kissinger’s vengeance was meted out because he believed that Agee’s exposure of CIA activities in Jamaica influenced the Jamaican elections in favour of progressive Michael Manley and against the US’s own preferred right wing politicians.

Agee settled in Germany with his new partner, the ballet dancer Giselle Roberge, and later split his time between Hamburg and Havana. In 1979, his US passport was finally revoked and was never returned.

Though he was punished, Agee had no regrets about his decision to blow the whistle on the CIA. He said: “There was a price to pay. It disrupted the education of my children [Phil and Chris, then teenagers] and I don’t think it was a happy period for them. It also cost me all my money. Everything I made from the book, I had to spend.

“But it made me a stronger person in many ways and it ensured I would never lose interest or go back in the other direction politically. The more they did these dirty things, the more they made me realise what I was doing was important.”

Under the US Freedom of Information Act, Agee was able to discover the CIA had accumulated 18,000 pages of information on him.

Agee was denounced as a traitor by George Bush Sr and was threatened with death by his former colleagues in the CIA.

The US right wing repeatedly blamed Agee for the death of Richard Welch, the CIA station chief in Athens who was assassinated in 1975. Explained Agee, “George Bush’s father [George Bush Sr] came in as CIA director in the month after the assassination and he intensified the campaign, spreading the lie that I was the cause of the assassination. His wife, Barbara, published her memoirs and she repeated the same lie, and this time I sued and won, in the sense that she was required to send me a letter in which she apologised and recognised what she wrote about me was false. They’ve tried to make this story stick for years. I never know what government hand or neocon hand is behind the allegations, and I don’t pay too much attention, but I know I haven’t been forgotten.” While the Bush family tried to hang the Athens CIA chief’s death on Agee’s work to counter state terrorism, George Bush Jr. outed CIA agent Valerie Plame when the politics suited the right wing’s interests.

Agee was a great supporter of Cuba’s progressive policies providing universal healthcare and education, and he regarded the current US president, George W. Bush, as the “antithesis” of those achievements.

Writing in the Guardian last year, he said: “All Cuba’s achievements have been in defiance of US efforts to isolate Cuba. Every dirty method has been used, including infiltration, sabotage, terrorism, assassination, economic and biological warfare and incessant lies in the media of many countries.”

Agee denied claims from a former Cuban intelligence officer he had received $1m from Cuban intelligence.

Despite the long-running bitterness between him and the US authorities, Agee was allowed to return to the US many times without being arrested and was allowed back into Britain under John Major’s government.

In the 1990s, Agee set up a company to bring visitors to Cuba. Many travellers came from the US, even though Americans are forbidden by law from visiting the country.

Until his death, Agee remained committed to exposing the repressive operations of the CIA. Last year, he was working on a book about the CIA’s activities in Venezuela.

The Kingdom of Spain

It’s just diversionary propaganda, interpersonal conflict accessible to know-nothing Communications Professionals, but as far as Chavez and the King of Spain go:

Juan Carlos, the King of Spain betrayed the Spanish military fascists by surprise transferring his royal imprimatur to liberal democracy when Franco died. So the fascists in Spain hate Juan Carlos and he’s had to live with that.

Since Spain has been a liberal democracy since 1975, the Left has increasingly called for an end to monarchy. You could interpret that as ingratitude–if you were a liberalista.

Now Chavez calls Aznar a fascist. As we all should know, fascism is the authoritarian, militaristic, business-friendly liberal opposite of social democracy. Fascism is an extreme within capitalism. Nixon said of the fascist Franco, “General Franco was a loyal friend and ally of the United States” (New York Times. “Nixon Asserts Franco Won Respect for Spain.” November 21, 1975, Friday, page 16). Today the fascist-liberal US supports Musharref in Pakistan, among many, many other tyrannical military dictators over the years.

Why should Chavez owe Aznar or Juan Carlos dissembling deference? Juan Carlos isn’t the arbiter of progress. At a certain historic point, after decades in which Franco had forcibly secured capitalism in Spain, Juan Carlos enabled a more moderate form of liberalism than fascism. That did take leadership at that time. But, sorry Fukuyama, history’s not over. More moderate liberalism does not under many global political-economic conditions, oppose fascism.

His self-righteousness and inherited privilege inflamed by capitalist consensus, Juan Carlos recently had a diplomatic meltdown, and I can understand why. A liberal monarch in Spain today is under a lot of pressure from both Right and Left. Que sera sera. At least Juan Carlos can console himself with the caviar, fine wines, cars, servants, estates, etc.

Venezuelan Media

“On April 12 (2002), Venezuelans awoke to television personality Napoleon Bravo, host of Venevision’s ’24 Horas’ morning show, declaring ‘Good morning Venezuela–we have a new president!’ During this extraordinary television moment, the guests thanked the private media channels for their integral role in making the coup happen and explained in detail the plans leading up to the coup. They specifically underlined the key role of the private media in broadcasting the images that justified the coup…Later on that same program, bravo hosted Rear Admiral Carlos Molino Tomayo, Leopold Lopez, Victor Manuel Garcia, and other coup participants who gave an in-depth account of the coup plotting and plans.”

Gollinger, Eva. “The Chavez Code 73”. Cited in Monthly Review 59(3) 2007: 142.

Note to CIA: When attempting to overthrow democratically elected presidents outside of US, (1) make sure they don’t have functional military connections, and (2) stifle the boorish braying of the local elite co-conspirators. Just in case you assholes fail.

Absolute Corruption

The citation for the NYTimes story on the limited, censored release of CIA FoI documents in 2007, RE: the CIA attempts to assassinate Castro, as well as domestic spying, torture, and CIA-mafia connections, from the 1960s and early 1970s:

Mazzetti, Mark and Tim Weiner. 2007. “Files on illegal spying show C.I.A. skeletons from Cold War.” The New York Times, June 27.

Chavez ousts US missionary

Because of their alleged connections to the CIA, US Christian evangelical missionary group New Tribes Mission has recently been ousted from Venezuela. “They will leave,” Chavez announced. “No more colonialism!”

While Mr. Chavez’s oppositions to Washington manoeuvers are generally portrayed by American elites in politics and the media as aggressive and instrumentally designed to appeal to what is depicted as the Latin American mob, the Venezuelan President appears not to have cornered the market on either aggression or demogoguery.

The CIA was complicit in a failed coup against Mr Chavez in 2002. An investigation by The Observer that year indicated that Washington had sanctioned the attempted overthrow. Sparring between Caracas and Washington intensified this year when Republican US spokesman Pat Robertson advocated that Mr Chavez be assassinated. Last month Chavez told ABC News’ Ted Koppel that he had seen evidence of US plans to invade Venezuela.

Also last month, a ruling by a US immigration judge in Texas to block the deportation of Luis Posada Carriles prompted fierce condemnation from Mr Chavez. Posada had been a lifelong right wing operative, often employed by the CIA. He is wanted in Venezuela for trial, as he had been a terrorist in a Cuban airliner bombing that killed 73 people in 1976. The Texan judge, William Abbott, explained his decision to protect the right wing terrorist, claiming that Posada faced the threat of “torture” in Venezuela. Chavez responded by drawing attention to verified, actually-existing US human rights violations and torture at Guantanamo Bay.

At the UN summit in New York recently, Mr Chavez delivered an unflinchingly critical speech against Bush’s imperial administration.

Reported with an imperial Anglo-American slant as “Chavez bans missionary group” in The Guardian News Blog, Friday, October 17, 2005.

Chavez staying true to pledge for U.S. poor

Edited from the article by Estanislao Oziewicz:

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on the weekend that he was going to open the taps on subsidized heating oil for poor folks in the United States, many assumed it was a drive-by comment aimed at raising the ire of his frequent critics in Washington.
But, as it turns out, Mr. Chavez is a man of his word.
Officials at Citgo Petroleum Corp. — the Houston-based company that is wholly owned by Venezuela’s state-owned energy company — say they are scrambling to put the fine points on Mr. Chavez’s promise to supply some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the United States with cheap heating oil this winter.
“The idea is to work with communities in need, with schools, and we’ll have to work through not-for-profit organizations that will serve as intermediaries,” public affairs manager Fernando Garay said.
The Venezuelan leader’s program is scheduled to begin next month in the Mexican-American community in Chicago, followed by the South Bronx, and then Boston.
Bradford University scholar Julia Buxton said Mr. Chavez’s action is “quite unprecedented but consistent with the influence the oil has in the world economy.”
“When Mr. Chavez first came to power nearly seven years ago, oil was at $9 a barrel and it’s now above $60. That’s given him huge fiscal leverage.”
That is clearly not lost on Mr. Chavez’s foes in the U.S. administration. Only days before Mr. Chavez took his message directly to Americans after speaking at the United Nations, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice complained — hypocritically, in the eyes of many Venezuelans — that oil was “warping” international politics. “It gives certain power and leverage to certain countries and not to others,” she said in a meeting with The New York Times editorial board. “We’re experiencing it with Venezuela, for instance, where the oil profits are being put to use across the region to, you know, push forward Chavez’s particular view of the world.”
One thing that sticks sharply in Washington’s craw is Mr. Chavez’s close collaboration with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Under Chavez, Venezuela has been moving toward social democracy.
Venezuela is the fifth-largest oil exporter in the world and the fourth-largest supplier of oil to the United States after Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Last year, PDVSA accounted for nearly 12 per cent of U.S. imports. Citgo has eight petroleum refineries in the United States as well as nearly 14,000 gas stations.
Ms. Buxton said that Mr. Chavez’s U.S. foray was borne of pragmatism and ideology. “He’s been deeply, deeply frustrated by coverage in the U.S. media and the attitude of the U.S. government, and he’s trying to counter a very Republican-directed vendetta,” she said, a vendetta that included a call by U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson for his assassination.
“He clearly needed to build constructive alliances with more liberal sections of American society and open a way to insulate himself against Washington enemies.”
On the weekend, Mr. Chavez, of mixed African and native Indian ancestry, toured the heavily black and Latino-populated Bronx and was treated like a rock star.
Ms. Buxton said Mr. Chavez’s pledge to help poor Americans may have been ad hoc but follows a recent pattern to provide subsidized oil to 13 Caribbean countries — including Cuba, in exchange for the long-term loan of about 20,000 Cuban health workers.
“He does have an interest in providing oil to the poorest in the Americas, including North America,” she said.

This article was reproduced in the rad-green news listserve. The original article can be found at:

EZ23/International/Idx
Globe and Mail Friday, September 23, 2005 Page A22

Bolivian Workers Defeating Multinational Capital

For 5 years Bolivians workers have been protesting neoliberal globalization, to good effect. They have increasingly discouraged the predatory advancements of international “investment.” Indigenous and labor groups want the government to nationalize the multinationals’ assets without compensation. Usually capital is granted national assets for free to scandalously cheap under liberalizing regimes. “They believe multinationals have beeen plundering Bolivia’s riches for years,” and they want it to end (New York Times. 2005. “Foreign gas companies in Bolivia face sharply higher taxes.” May 17, 2005: A 10.)

The President Carlos Mesa has tried to engineer compromises between the organized working class and multinational capital, including allowing a bill to increase taxes on foreign oil companies to proceed in Congress. Foreign capital is outraged, but working Bolivians are extremely well organized, and they have gradually elected governments that do not unleash the military on them.

Dionisio Nunex, a congressman with Movement to Socialism, said that “the marches have to continue because in Congress, not all the senators and deputies defend the people. Sometimes they defend the multinationals.”

telesur

In Venezuela, the war for the hearts and minds of its citizens is now in full swing. With the imminent launching of the government-sponsored Televisora del Sur (Telesur), network control of the country’s existing media, including Univisión and CNN en Español, might sorely be put to the test. According to plans, the network will start transmitting in late June or early July and will offer news and opinion programming 24 hours a day. For journalists now being recruited by Telesur, the creation of the network is long overdue. “Telesur’s reason for being is the need to see Latin America with Latin American eyes,” said Aram Aharonian, its new director. “It’s our right to have our own vision of what happens in Latin America, and not what Europeans or Americans, or whoever, tell us about how we are, who we are.”

It is hardly surprising that this new project is being launched by the Hugo Chávez administration. The Venezuelan leader has been particularly concerned with increasing his country’s political and cultural independence from Washington.

J Edgar Hoover Syndrome II

Paul Schafer, former Nazi Luftwaffe medic turned “Guru of Sadism,” was finally arrested in March (2005) in the cult town he founded with German emigres, Villa Baviera in Chile. Called Colonia Dignidad until Pinochet’s dictatorship fell in 1990, Villa Baviera was the home for Schafer’s secret, paramilitary religious group.

Pinochet’s regime turned over some of its leftist victims to Schafer and his cultists. The prisoners were tortured and murdered in the catacombs built under Villa Baviera, as the colony’s choir sang for the entertainment of Pinochet’s wife Lucia in an auditorium in the town above. The town maintained a “hospital” where anyone who displeased Schafer was drugged and tortured. The patriarch Schafer, called “The Permanent Uncle” by followers, controlled every aspect of the cultists’ personal lives, including whom should marry and when. And for much of the twentieth century, Schafer chose boys between the ages of 8 and 12 to sexually abuse.

After decades of protection by Chilean military elites, in 1998 Schafer was finally charged with sodomy and pedophilia against 26 neighboring peasant boys, whose families complained. Schafer dropped out of sight, and Villa Baviera was controlled by his proteges, who threatened cultists with his return to keep order.

Now that Schafer is 85 and in prison, residents of Villa Baviera take refuge in silence and denial, refusing to discuss the human rights atrocities carried out by their community, and only blaming Schafer for the molestation of their own boys. They are comforted by the wealth the colony has accumulated.

Explaining the effects of the right-wing, Christian, authoritarian terror that reigned over and through the community, psychiatrist Luis Peebles (a former political prisoner and victim of Villa Baviera) said, “These people are accomplices to horrendous crimes, yes, but they have been programmed like robots and were treated as slaves, robbed of their own human rights.” The new leaders of the colony, men in their 40s and 30s, were almost without exception sexually molested by the Permanent Uncle.

From the New York Times, May 16, 2005, page A4.