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Hugo Chavez blasted the Bush administration in a lengthy interview with Ted Koppel in New York on Nightline last night. It was one of the most devastating attacks on Bush that I have ever seen aired on network TV. Chavez described his attempts to build a solid relationship of mutual respect with the US and his success under the Clinton administration, which he contrasted to the hostile, lawless, and disingenuous behavior of Bush.

One charge was especially explosive. Chavez said that he does in fact possess documentation about a secret US plan to invade Venezuela, codenamed Operation Balboa. He said that an aircraft carrier had been sent to the Caribbean recently to conduct exercises related to Balboa. Koppel interrupted him to confirm that Chavez was claiming to have actual evidence of this plan, and he asked Chavez if he would hand over the evidence to ABC. Chavez said that he would give some of the evidence to Koppel.

Follow me on the flip.

Chavez came across as slightly grandiose at times, but genuinely credible, outraged at his mistreatment by Bush Co., and fairly straightforward and decent as a human being. It's worth reading the transcript in full.

As for Operation Balboa, Chavez first claimed to have evidence about it on July 3, as this Washington Post article indicates. In mid-July a report in a Venezuelan weekly, Las Verdades de Miguel, gave further details. The plan, allegedly dating to May 2001, was drawn up by Southern Command with the goal of removing Chavez but never implemented, according to this story at SF.Indymedia.org. This news probably was lost here in the buzz about Plamegate.

Here is the full text of the exchange on Nightline. Emphasis is mine. Chavez spoke in Spanish with a translator:

KOPPEL: You have spoken in the past of cutting off Venezuelan oil to the United States. You have signed new agreements with China. You have visited India. There is a sense that you want to be able to bring the United States to its knees.

CHAVEZ: It's very difficult for someone to bring the empire to its knees. That is not my pretension. That would be something totally disproportional.

What we do want to do is have both of us on our feet -- both of us standing up or both of us sitting down. Or, if we kneel, let both of us kneel. That would be to pray -- to pray, as we Christians pray.

Now, there's the matter of oil. Look, let me clarify. And I would like to clarify this for the people of the United States. The people of the United States should know that we are the owners in a U.S. territory of a great oil (inaudible) which has eight major refineries. That company has a value in near $10 billion.

We're one of the biggest investors of Latin America. I think we're the prime investor of Latin America in the United States. We are giving employment to more than 2,000 U.S. workers and their families. We are paying taxes to the government of the United States. We cooperate with many cities, with mayoralties, Houston.

And now with Katrina, this awful drama that the United States is living through, from the very first day I ordered a group -- a coordinating a group of support being sent to where one of our refineries is located. We've been helping. And we've been even rescuing people.

Practically no one in the United States knows that we've donated millions of dollars to the governorship of Louisiana, to the New Orleans Red Cross. We're now giving care to more than 5,000 victims, and now we're going to supply gasoline, freely in some cases, and with discounts in other cases, to the poorest of communities, starting with New Orleans and its surroundings.

The people of the United States should know that.

The only time that I have said where Venezuela would not supply oil to the United States, it was no threat. It's rather to respond to a threat, the threat of invasion. We have obtained evidence of something which would be absolutely foolhardy, the invasion of Venezuela. That's where we said that under those circumstances...

KOPPEL: Let me stop you.

CHAVEZ:... there would be no oil.

KOPPEL: Are you saying you have discovered evidence of an invasion plan against Venezuela or are you saying "if" you discovered a plan?

CHAVEZ: I'm telling you that I have evidence that there are plans to invade Venezuela. Furthermore, we have documentation: how many bombers to overfly Venezuela on the day of the invasion, how many trans-Atlantic carriers, how many aircraft carriers need to be sent to (inaudible) even during (inaudible).

Recently, an aircraft carrier went to Curacao (inaudible) the fact that the soldiers were on leave.

That's a lie. They were doing movements. They were doing maneuvers. All on documentation. The plan is called Balboa, where Venezuela is indicated as an objective.

And in the face of that scenario, I said that if that actually happens, the United States should just forget the million and a half barrels of oil. Because everyday since I've been in power for seven years, we haven't missed it even one single day -- just one day, when we were overthrown. We were overthrown by that coup -- oil sabotage -- which was supported by Washington...

KOPPEL: If I may, Mr. President, you say you have documentation of this plan. Can I ask you now, on camera, will you make that documentation available to me?

CHAVEZ: I can send to you -- I can't send it all, but I can make sure I can send part of it to you. I can send it to you.

KOPPEL: Please.

CHAVEZ: I can send you maps and everything, and you can show it to the United States citizens. What I can't tell you his how we got it, to protect the sources, how we got it through military intelligence.

But nobody can deny it, because (inaudible) the Balboa plan. We are coming up with the counter-Balboa plan. That is to say if the government of the United States attempts to commit the foolhardy enterprise of attacking us, it would be embarked on a 100-year war. We are prepared.

They would not manage to control Venezuela, the same way they haven't been able to control Iraq. (inaudible) Venezuela, my impression is that there would be a movement of a resistance in other parts of this continent. Oil could reach $100 or $120 a barrel, among other things.

It's clear that Chavez believes that Bush might try to overthrow him again. It's not yet clear what that documentation for Operation Balboa consists of, but let's hope that Chavez and Koppel both follow through. Chavez's claim that a US carrier recently did exercises near Venezuela under the pretense of taking shore leave (if I understood him correctly) appears to be new. There's little chance that Bush could get away with another invasion of an oil-rich country, but the allegation that he ordered such a plan could be politically damaging to Bush if it gains attention in the US.

<~~~>

Here is another section of the interview (slightly edited for length) in which Chavez charges Bush with engineering the coup against him in 2002, and of harboring terrorists who've threatened him:

CHAVEZ: ...With President Clinton, I sat down just like we are now on at least three occasions. There was no occasion for disrespect on either side.

Now, this administration has truly broken with all protocols of democracy and respect for people. The coup d'etat against Venezuela was manufactured in Washington. My death was ordered. And it was ordered recently.

Reverend Pat Robertson, who is very close to the president, asked for me to be physically eliminated, for me to be killed.

<snip>

KOPPEL: I'm going to perhaps shock you a little, but these are your words. You called President Bush an asshole.

CHAVEZ: I've said various things about him. I don't know if I actually used that word. But I have been really hard on him.

But I have always responded to things that I was termed. I was termed a threat, a threat to the continent. It was said of me that I harbor terrorists.

There have been official reports issued from the State Department. The secretary of state has gone through South America saying publicly that I have to be isolated; that I am a threat; that I am using oil to subvert order in Latin America. Some secretaries of state -- other secretaries of state, that I am allied with drug traffickers -- a series of lies and aggressionists that sometimes I respond to. And sometimes we raise the tone.

We wait to get signals, and we respond to signals we receive from Washington.

KOPPEL: So you haven't got any -- you haven't received any good signals lately?

CHAVEZ: Really good signals? No. You know where right now my medical team is? In the presidential plane, 200 kilometers from here. The government of the United States, in violation of the laws of the United States and conventions, prevented my doctors from coming to New York. Where is the chief of staff of my military detachment and my chief of security? On the plane. They've been locked into the plane, two days. They can't come out of the plane.

<snip>

KOPPEL: I've been told by contacts of mine in the U.S. intelligence community that you have members of Al Qaida, you have members of other terrorist groups who are allowed to operate within Venezuela. Not true?

CHAVEZ: It's absolutely false. And one time someone said that bin Laden -- did anyone ever say bin Laden could be in Venezuela?

KOPPEL: Not to my knowledge.

CHAVEZ: Those are part of the lies that are circulating. So the lies haven't reached that point, but it's absolutely false.

But it's part of the whole chain of rumors in this campaign to even justify my death, because recently Pat Robertson and an ex-CIA agent added that I should already be dead because, since I'm a threat, you have to liquidate the threats, you have to wipe them out, you have to kill them. That would justify any greater (inaudible) aggression against us.

KOPPEL: It was a foolish thing to say, and Pat Robertson admitted later that it was a foolish thing to say. And certainly no one from the government condoned what he said. Why do you take what a private citizen says, foolish as it may have been, and ascribe it to the U.S. government?

CHAVEZ: Well, take a look at this. The U.S. administration has to reject -- should have rejected the term of terrorist that Robertson used. The U.S. administration seriously sinned with respect to international and national laws, because the call to murder a chief of state is, in accordance with international law, terrorism. So this gentleman, Robertson, should be under arrest by the government of the United States -- silence.

Consequently, harboring a terrorist, but not only Robertson -- there have been television channels in Miami, various people, including some Venezuelan terrorists who participated in the coup d'etat and who lived here in the United States freely -- went to request my death, and the government of this country does absolutely nothing.

Chavez appears to exaggerate the closeness of that ninny Robertson to the Bush administration, but his ultimate point is well taken. In the war on terror, Bush believes that his own terrorists get a free pass. Chavez might have added that Bush has all but formally endorsed the use of torture on a permanent basis. Anyhow, the hypocrisy is stunning, and I'm sure Nightline viewers caught a whiff of it. Kudos to Koppel for airing this interview in full.

Originally posted to smintheus on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 12:42 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sounds like ... (4.00)
    ... we need to hammer ABC and Ted Koppel to make sure they do the follow-up.
    •  I'd say we should email Nightline (4.00)
      and praise them for airing this report, and add that we'll be looking for a follow-up report on the invasion plans. The address is: nightline@abcnews.com
      •  Here's link to article in (4.00)
        WaPo re "Balboa" http://tinyurl.com/8j4e9

        Chavez Stokes Confrontation Over U.S. Role in Venezuela

        By Monte Reel
        Washington Post Foreign Service
        Tuesday, July 19, 2005; Page A15

        CARACAS, Venezuela -- After the rumble of tanks died down and the last soldier high-stepped past the spectators' pavilion, President Hugo Chavez told the thousands attending Venezuela's Independence Day parade July 5 that no invading army could match the fighting force that had just marched by, "armed to the teeth."

        The hypothetical invasion he invoked was patently clear: Two days before, Chavez had announced the discovery of evidence that the United States had drawn up blueprints to invade Venezuela, a plan he said was code-named "Operation Balboa."

        more at link

        An unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates

        by crone on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 04:38:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Link to AP story (none)
          I just found the story on Yahoo from the Associated Press.  Chavez: U.S. Plans to Invade Venezuela
        •  Link to story on Paraguy/US (none)

          War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

          by Margot on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 10:32:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Here's details, according to Venezuelan press (none)
          Operation Balboa: NATO war games simulated attack on Venezuela

          The article claims it was a NATO war game which took place between May 3 and May 18, 2001, "a simulated land, air, and sea assault in which US and allied countries, authorized by the United Nations, attacked the western part of Venezuela from bases in Panama and Colombia."

          The information about Operation Balboa is described as coming from classified documents which the Venezuelan government gained access to, detailing the Air Force portion of the war exercise.

          "The Operation Balboa plans then go into great detail about how the Blue forces (United States) are deployed, and how they conduct the war. The oil facilities are to be protected at all costs. The goal is to "destroy the enemy air force's potential, support the ground troops, occupy the northwest part of the Purple country (Venezuela) to recover the (petroleum) capital, blockade the main ports in the occupied territory, and secure land communications to maintain logistic flow and military control of the area."

          Eleven months later, in April 2002, the unsuccessful coup to remove Chavez took place, with alleged support of the United States.  

    •  never called Bush an asshole (none)
      I have tried to dispell this story but I guess Ted never got the message. He has called Bush a fool, in espanol, which can also be translated as an ass, but this term has nothing to do with the anus. My impression of the interview was that Chavez came across as a Christian, and sort of showed Bush up in that regard.

      Be a Carville, not a Colmes

      by seesdifferent on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 06:46:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  History repeats itself (4.00)
    Bush Sr. did the same thing in Panama--invaded it, killed off or imprisoned its leaders, and regained ownership for the US, after Carter had negotiated independence for Panama.  That secured the Panama Canal for us.  Invading and seizing Venezula would give us immense supplies of oil.  These guys don't think small.  They want the whole world for themselves and the rest of us as slaves.
    •  The US does not own the Panama Canal (none)
      As ridiculous as Bush's little Panama adventure was, I hope no readers are left with the misimpression that the invasion resulted in reversing the ceding of the Panama Canal back to Panama.  Panama is now in control of the canal, on the timetable that Carter set.
      •  But but but (none)
        the USA is back in control of Panama.
        •  No. (none)
          We don't own Panama. We don't even run the canal. We haven't for years. It reverted to the Panamanians in the 90s, if not earlier.
          •  There's a big difference (none)
            between ownership and control.  We don't own Panama outright, but the Panamanian leadership knows better than to cross us.
          •  but do we flex our muscle there? (none)
            do we use our juice?
            •  No. (none)
              There's no reason. The canal can't take big ships, can't take big tankers, can't take big container ships.
              •  That's not necessarily the point (none)
                It doesn't follow that since the Canal is no longer of great use to us that we wouldn't exert control/influence over it and its nation.

                Control, in this sense, means not only having the power to exploit something for yourself, but equally having the power to deny access to others.

                Consider the Bush National Security Doctrine (publicly available, yet apparently unread by anyone at a news desk).  One of the main points of the Doctrine regarding the Middle East is that we have to remain the dominant outside power, and keep other regional and national powers (i.e., EU and China) from gaining influence or control.  In other words, when they want oil, we've got our hand on the spigot.

                The same applies to the Canal, and many other examples.  A successful empire is never so shortsighted as to not understand this dual aspect of control.

                "While there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal element, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free." - Eugene Debs

                by matthewc on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 06:40:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  control of Venezuela's oil (none)
                  It's interesting to apply this notion of control to Venezuela's oil resources - Chavez can most certainly deny them to the US should he choose to do so - and the US is, in parallel, utterly unable to deny Chavez control of the fiscal opportunities that they represent.

                  Now, one could argue that a "successful" empire understands the limits of its power and acts judiciously to maintain good relations with those upon whom it depends. I don't think that there is much evidence of the Bush administration understanding that in relation to Chavez. Whilst the Bush administration has plenty of "hard" power at its disposal, its "soft" power resources have been catastrophically depleted in recent years. And if there is one lesson from Iraq it is that soft power trumps hard power just about every time.

      •  Ridiculous (none)
        And let's remember that his adventure was not ridiculous ... Noriega was taken out of commission for a reason. Remember, this was a guy with CIA connections and very strong ties to the Reagan and Bush I administration through all of their hapless, destructive and violent Central America policies of the 1980s. When it looked like he turning, he had to go. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noriega I ain't making these things up. This is very well documented stuff.

        "When you starve the beast, you starve the people. And the bathtub was a reference to New Orleans." -- bink

        by bink on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 03:32:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Panama invasion "rediculous"? (none)
        Not 23 U.S. dead or to the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Panamanians who died.

        From globalsecurity.org:

        The United Nations (UN) put the civilian death toll at 500; the Central American Human Rights Defense Commission (CODEHUCA) and the Peace and Justice Service of Panama both claimed between 2,000 to 3000; the Panamanian National Human Rights Commission and an independent inquiry by former Attorney- General Ramsey Clark claimed over 4,000. Thousands were injured.

        Rediculous?

  •  I should have added (4.00)
    that (according the WaPo article I cited) the Bush administration asserts that Chavez's claims about Operation Balboa are a 'fiction'. They also deny any connection to the coup attempt.
    •  Bush is a proven LIAR (4.00)
      So anything he says should be doubted.  The whole pack of Bushite scum are liars, they are dead set on ruining the world in the next three years- or will Bush just stay as "President for life"?
    •  Denying involvement in the coup attempt... (4.00)
      ...is such a blatant lie that anything said by the administration within 3 days of such a claim should also be regarded as a lie.  
    •  Watch for US activity in Cental or South America (4.00)
      Excellent diary.

      The thing I would watch for now is US military activity in the region as a whole.  Just as there were huge shifts of pre-positioned military equipment and personnel in 2001 and 2002 in preparation for the Iraqi invasion, watch for any changes in US bases, troop levels, and activity in general in the region, particularly on the Caribbean or Central America.

      We would be looking for a hub from which to launch an invasion. For the Iraqi invasion, that hub became Qatar and Bahrain. We moved bases, headquarters, men and machinery into those countries all throughout the 2001-2002 period in anticipation of the invasion. We should be watching for the same thing now. That would telegraph Bushco's intentions more than anything said by Chavez or Bush.

      For my money, I'd be watching El Salvador or possibly Honduras, both would be excellent staging areas from which a US invasion could be orchestrated.(and both were members of the coalition of the coerced)
       

      •  Particulary watch the Red Horse (4.00)
        Watch for any deployments of USAF "Red Horse" engineering squadrons.  These are the guys who build the bases and airstrips. They're rapid deployment, combat trained constuction sqads, similar to SEABEES that can build huge airbases and landing strips at breakneck speed.  If they are moved into the region under any pretext, it can be assured they are there to start building the infrastucture for invasion.
        •  asdf (none)
          Where would we build the bases?  It seems unlikely that Argentina or Chile would willingly endorse an act of military aggression against Venezuela.  Or even if we offered them some substantial takings from the exercise, Iraq may suggest that even the great American empire can't always deliver.  

          Maybe we can ask Castro.  

          Tom DeLay's GOP: cheating America in a time of war.

          by Tom Frank on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 03:58:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Colombia. See below. n/t (none)

            Support IWT
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            The Alternative to the Corporate Media

            by Cool Blue Reason on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 04:00:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  loss of power (none)
            Considering the reaction of the OAS states to the 2002 coup attempt and the subsequent solidarity that has been shown by the key South American states wrt to Venezuela, it is clear that there are few, if any, allies left to the Bush administration for military aggression against other OAS member states. Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador are all in the hands of the democratic left; Bolivia is set to follow suit. Colombia is beset by civil war and is unlikely to be of any practical use.

            If Mexico takes its anticipated turn to the left next year then the Bush administration will have the uncomfortable sensation of watching the "Central American" dominoes falling leftwards at a rate of knots, and the political realignment of El Sur will start entering its final phase - and there is not a gret deal the Bush administration can do about any of this.

            The last 2 years have shown that the Bush administration is becoming progressively isolated at the OAS and there is nothing on the short-term horizon that suggests this momentum will reverse.

            The reality is that the Bush administration has nothing to offer beyond the old neo-liberal privatisation/free-trade 90's Washington consensus, that monumentally failed to address the actual needs of Central/South American peoples.

            •  who would have thought (none)
              That it was the solidarity of leftist, democratically elected Latin Americans governments that would be a stop on the power of an increasingly totalitarian US regime "elected" through questionable tactics like minority voter suppression.  I'm thinking about immigrating to Belize </snark?>

              They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety -- Ben Franklin

              by TheGryphon on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 08:11:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Venezuelan international affairs (4.00)
          analyst, Alberto Garrido says both opposition and pro-government military officers are right in affirming that any conflict between Venezuela and the USA will come via a border conflict with Colombia.

          snip

          A border conflict could be set up against Venezuela seeking an excuse to implement the Inter American System Democratic Charter and bolstered by a press campaign accusing Venezuela of supporting Colombian rebels.
          In his analysis, Garrido contends that Colombia President Alvaro Uribe is waiting for his re-election before moving, while Donald Rumsfeld has started the countdown before 100,000 Kalashikov rifles from Russia reach Venezuela

          http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=45951

          An unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates

          by crone on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 05:06:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  More likely Colombia... (4.00)
        ...since the US already operates there with impunity.  It's likely going to be more difficult to track a build-up in this case, however, since military assets can be positioned within striking distance inside the United States (and Puerto Rico).

        Support IWT
        Independent World Television
        The Alternative to the Corporate Media

        by Cool Blue Reason on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 03:54:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also, (4.00)
          It should be relatively easy for the administration to conceal spending for expanded operations in Colombia within the huge "War on Drugs" expenditures on direct miltary assistance and foreign aid.

          Support IWT
          Independent World Television
          The Alternative to the Corporate Media

          by Cool Blue Reason on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 03:59:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  BINGO (none)
            There's one good guess. Columbia would be an excellent choice. You're quite right about the "war on Drugs" smokescreen. Just as Bush used Afghanistan as a smokescreen to build up a huge military infrastructure prior to Iraq, they could do the same now and no one would be the wiser. No one really noticed what we were doing in Qatar in 2002 either.. it was just part of the "war on terror"
          •  From yesterday's Financial Times (4.00)
            US says Venezuela fails to combat drug trafficking
            By Andy Webb-Vidal in Caracas


            The US on Thursday struck Venezuela off its list of countries deemed to be co-operating in the war on drugs, injecting a new source of tension into deteriorating relations between Washington and Caracas.

            In a statement released by the White House, President George W. Bush said Venezuela, as well as Burma, had "failed demonstrably" to adhere to their international counternarcotics obligations during the past year.

            Venezuela's "decertification", as the measure is called, had been expected in the wake of a decision by President Hugo Chávez last month to suspend a co-operation agreement with the US Drug Enforcement Administration. While Mr Chávez has accused the DEA's officials of "spying", US officials have alleged elements within the Venezuelan authorities have become complicit with drugs-trafficking groups.

            As much as a third of the cocaine smuggled from Colombia, the world's top producer, to the US and Europe passes through Venezuela, drugs experts calculate - a volume equivalent to about 165 tonnes.

            Jose Vicente Rangel, vice-president, said Venezuela was unruffled by the decision. "We could also propose the decertification of the United States in its war against drugs-trafficking," he said.

            Despite the decertification, unusually the Bush administration has decided to continue some assistance, much of which is likely to be aimed at opposition-linked civil groups.

            John Walters, director of US National Drug Control Policy, said: "While Venezuela will be subject to sanctions, the president determined it is in the vital national interests of the US to continue selected US assistance."

            It is possible selective sanctions might include an obligation on the US to vote against advancing loans to Venezuela in multinational lending agencies, such as the Inter-American Development Bank. But in practice some observers had suggested that economic sanctions on Venezuela as a result of decertification would have come to less than $1m, a negligible amount for oil-rich Venezuela.

            Venezuela continues to maintain bilateral counter-narcotics agreements with the principal countries of Europe.

        •  most likely not at all (none)
          Well, the US operates with impunity in the sections of Columbia that the government controls - there are large swathes under control of rebels that are effectively off-limits.

          Whilst a pacified, united Columbia might be a potential launching point for an invasion of Venezuela, no such entity currently exists. It would be damned hard to keep massive military build-ups secret, and the troops mustering in Columbia would become interesting targets of opportunity for FARC. It would also contribute to the further destabilisation of Columbia - let's face it, many Columbians would feel obliged to come off the fence on this.

          At any rate - whilst plans may exist, all this talk is rendered moot by the fact that the US simply doesn't have 150,000+ troops lying around twiddling their thumbs waiting for their next military deployment - the US military is already hopelessly over-extended, not to mention the treasury ( invading Venezuela would not be a cheap and cheerful adventure, where invading troops could be assured of dancing Venezuelans showering them with sweets and flowers! ).

          And I seriously doubt that the base of the US military pyramid would greet such a proposition with anything other than a resounding no; Iraq has already set the conditions for military mutiny, Venezuela would seal the deal.

          •  I suspect the concept would be different (none)
            The US already has significant numbers of mercs in Colombia and can and has increased their numbers without much comment. For this war, I almost guarantee you they'd do it with mercs (not least because Congress still has a restriction on the number of US military advisors allowed in Colombia). And Rummy, idiot that he is, probably imagines he can send some Rambo types across the border and get people to rise up against Chavez. Which, in execution, would look more like a bunch of ragtag rambo types hung out to dry, because I don't imagine large numbers in Venezuela would rise up against Chavez in any case.

            One thing they WOULD do--and would be a good tip-off--would be to take down the mobil phone networks. Mobil phones were crucial to Chavez calling out mobs after the coup. If he didn't have that kind of communication network to pull out his mobs, I think some rambo types might be able to make some progress.

            This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

            by emptywheel on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 07:38:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  laughable (none)
              Well, how many mercs will it take to conquer a nation of 25 million? What logistics, air, naval, communications and intel support would they require, who would provide it, how much would it cost and who would pay for it all? And who's going to run the diplomatic interference and foreign policy angle on all of this for them?

              I don't think it's possible to assemble a fully kitted out "army""navy""airforce" of about 150,000 mercenaries for less than a cool $150 billion these days. That's a cost of 3-5 years of Venezuelan oil production at current prices - and if the plan goes wrong, and the mercenaries are stuck for a couple of years, well, they ain't going to be happy when the paychecks get cut off, I can tell ya.

              There may be plenty of US funded mercenaries in Colombia these days, but they don't seem to be able to reconquer Farcland or bring stability to the country as is; I doubt that they could bring much to the party wrt to Venezuela!

              •  I don't doubt that--I agree it's laughable (none)
                But remember, Rummy believed he could do Iraq with only 10,000 troops.

                My point being, you really overestimate this administration if you think they'll avoid making a stupid mistake like this. You don't overestimate their chances of success. But with BushCo at the helm, there is a HUGE difference between likely events and likely outcomes.

                This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

                by emptywheel on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 08:27:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Bush administration past its peak of power (none)
                  It's not a question of over or under estimating the Bush administration - but I think that it's clear that the invasion of Iraq was the high-point of Bush administration power, and that the downwards slide has been sharp, steep and rapid.

                  Given the multiplying problems of Iraq, high oil prices, dodgy finances, haemmoraghing domestic support, low international regard and now Katrina, the Bush administration is on the ropes and taking, quite literally, one hell of a beating. The Bush administration can take as many rhetorical potshots at Chavez, Iran, Castro etc. as it likes - but the energy required to actually initiate action or garner the requisite support for "bold initiatives" has been dissipating since 2004. I doubt that Congress would approve anyway.

                  I don't doubt their capacity for making more mistakes - but I doubt that anyone in the administration could sell a Venezuelan invasion package after the Iraq debacle. And I doubt that the military units that would be tasked with actually doing something like this would approach the project with much enthusiasm. Frankly, a lot of people would probably just say no, resign, leak the plans. I guess you should ask any military buddies/contacts you might have about this and see what the reaction is.

      •  Paraguay (none)
        While I don't think it has any direct bearing on plans against Venezuela, there have been increasing reports of US military preparations in Paraguay. Paraguay would serve as a base to (allegedly) launch a coup when the progressives win in Bolivia and to pressure Lula. The indirect bearing this has on Venezueula, however, is that is suggests BushCo is prepared to take military action to prevent the spread of progressive governments in the South--the spread of which Chavez and Lula are seen as the main proselytizers of.

        Don't know how effective Paraguay can be as a base, though. It's not like you're going to get a bunch of big ships into Paraguay or even planes without Brazil and or Argentina getting miffed.

        This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

        by emptywheel on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 07:45:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps Equadaor (none)
          The link you provided perhaps holds the key:

          "The Pentagon used this same language when describing its actions in Manta, Ecuador, now the home of an $80 million U.S. military base. First they said the facility was an archaic "dirt strip" which would be used for weather monitoring and would not permanently house U.S. personnel. Days later, the Pentagon stated that Manta was to serve as a major military base tasked with a variety of security-related missions"

          That "nothing but a dirt strip" later turned into a major military base is exactly how Al Udeid air base in Qatar was described in 2002.

      •  Columbia, Paraguay, Dom. R, or Central America (4.00)
        These are the right-wing bases in Latin America right now.  Columbia seems to be the most likely point for aggression against Venezuela, and likely already is.  I imagine there are thousands of special ops in Columbia that could care less about the drug trade and are instead focused on Venezuela.  

        The Dominican Republic (remember they are included in CAFTA) was the launching point for the overthrow of democratically-elected Aristide in Haiti.  The other Central-American CAFTA countries with Banana Republic governments are also pretty solidly in the pockets of the administration.  One thing to watch is how the upcoming elections in Mexico play out.  I imagine Bushco will be doing a lot of underhanded things to keep the left-leaning former mayor of Mexico City from winning there.  

        Paraguay is becoming important to them because all the other Conosur countries have elected left-wing leaders (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and most  recently, Uruguay).  It is interesting to note that the two right-wing countries in South America (Columbia and Paraguay) are also, by far, the most corrupt and crime-ridden.  Let me just say, it's not a coincidence.    

  •  Chavez address to the U.N. (4.00)
    received a standing ovation. Read the full text (in a rather clumsy translation) at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10315.htm

    Quote (snip)

    In just seven years of Bolivarian Revolution, the people of Venezuela can claim important social and economic advances. 

    One million four hundred and six thousand Venezuelans learned to read and write". We are 25 million total. And the country will-in a few days- be declared illiteracy-free territory. And *three million Venezuelans, who had always been excluded because of poverty, are now part of primary, secondary and higher studies.

    Seventeen million Venezuelans-almost 70% of the population- are receiving, and for the first time, universal healthcare, including the medicine, and in a few years, all Venezuelans will have free access to an excellent healthcare service. More thatn a million seven hundred tons of food are channeled to over 12 million people at subsidized prices, almost half the population. One million gets them completely free, as they are in a transition period. More than 700 thousand new jobs have been created, thus reducing unemployment by 9 points. All of this amid internal and external aggressions, including a coup d'etat and an oil industry shutdown organized by Washington. Regardless of the conspiracies, the lies spread by powerful media outlets, and the permanent threat of the empire and its allies, they even call for the assassination of a president. The only country where a person is able to call for the assassination of a head of state is the United States. Such was the case of a Reverend called Pat Robertson, very close to the White House: He called for my assassination and he is a free person. That is international terrorism! 

    We will fight for Venezuela, for Latin American integration and the world. We reaffirm our infinite faith in humankind. We are thirsty for peace and justice in order to survive as species. Simón Bolívar, founding father of our country and guide of our revolution swore to never allow his hands to be idle or his soul to rest until he had broken the shackles which bound us to the empire. Now is the time to not allow our hands to be idle or our souls to rest until we save humanity.

  •  Oh no we have a plan! (3.66)
    I expect the Penatagon has a plan to invade Great Britain. That is what the Pentagon is supposed to do.

    I am sure that the Administration hates Chavez for not allowing oil companies to keep all their profits and using the money to (sic) help people, but the fact there is a plan is nothing special.

    The leader of the free world shoud be able to button his shirt properly.

    by Tomtech on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 01:01:07 PM PDT

    •  The fact that there is a NEW plan (4.00)
      is something special. The Pentagon of course has stacks of plans that are never consulted. But it would be news if Bush ordered Southern Command to draw up a new plan a few months into his term. Also, it will be interesting to see if ABC can confirm that the unnamed aircraft carrier was performing exercises in the area. That would suggest that the plan is not a dead letter.
      •  sorta (4.00)
        The fact that there is a NEW plan is something special.

        I don't think so. I seem to remember Rumsfeld was drawing up ALL new plans once he came in office and especially after 9/11.

        HOWEVER, the significance of it having a name and indications of it progressing to troops in the area under whatever cover would be VERY significant.

      •  You think BUSH ordered (4.00)
        Southern Command to put together the plan?

        I dunno.  That implies that Bush knows that Venezuela is somewhere in South America.

        "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

        by Pesto on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 05:49:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You're right. Making contingency plans (3.87)
      "just in case" is standard practice. Somewhere on a shelf in the Pentagon, I'm sure there is also a plan for invading Canada.

      Canada still remains reasonably confident that plan will never be dusted off and used. Venezuela doesn't have that level of assurance; Bush has already shown his admin is willing to sponsor a military coup in their country. By publicly identifying the code name and some details of the plan, I think Chavez is hoping that at the very least it will send the Pentagon planners back to the drawing boards, which will buy him some time.

      Now, you and I both understand that invading Venezuela would be every bit as stupid as invading Canada. But I don't have any confidence at all in the common sense of this administration. To them, everything looks like a nail -- and they've already smashed a number of crystal vases.

      Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

      by Canadian Reader on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 01:33:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the other hand (3.00)
        I suppose the documentation that Chavez has could be from the same government department that produced the TANG memos for Rather.

        Beware those who claim to be "The Chosen", for they have already led themselves astray and seek to lead you down the same path. There are no "Chosen."

        by sxwarren on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 02:53:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Rather memos... (none)
          I've asked so many times I think I'm going nuts ... but ... can anyone anywhere show me just one piece of verified evidence that these memos were fakes? I can't find anything!!! This seems to have been a brilliantly executed WH spin. everyone believe they are fake, but there's not a skerrick of evidence!

          "a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable"
          - George W. Bush, State of the Union, Feb 2, 2005.

          by icerat on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 02:06:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  All I'm saying is that (none)
            whether or not the TANG memos that were the basis of Rathergate were falsified or real memos that had been doctored to appear fake, Rather got played by the dirty tricksters in BushCo.  I would no put it past them to have someone "leak" secret invasion plans, hoping that Chavez would make a big deal out of them, so that they could subsequently portray him as gullible, paranoid, etc.

            Beware those who claim to be "The Chosen", for they have already led themselves astray and seek to lead you down the same path. There are no "Chosen."

            by sxwarren on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 08:18:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What was doctored???? (none)
              I'm not aware of anything in them that appeared doctored. The only problem i'm aware of was the source had some issues. Everything else that was screamed about was BS. Heck, I was using a typewriter with those fonts in the 70s, so I know that was BS. AFAIK all of the other "fake" claims have also been discredited, but the media hid it's tail in shame under the republican onslaught. I'm of the opionion they were most likely completely authentic. Unfortunately we'll probably never know.

              "a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable"
              - George W. Bush, State of the Union, Feb 2, 2005.

              by icerat on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 09:08:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  War Plan Red (4.00)
        In the 1920s, the US developed a plan to invade Canada, called War Plan Red.

        Ironically, in 1919 Woodrow Wilson threatened to fire any military planners who worked on a plan to invade Germany (War Plan Black), because of isolationist feelings in the US. So, when WWII rolled around, the US had a detailed plan for invading Canada, but none for invading Germany.

        The plan was withdrawn in 1939.

        http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mcanadawar.html
        http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v12/v12p121_HNAC.html
        http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/War-Plan-Red

      •  Plan for invading Canada (none)
        ceased to be updated a while ago.

        1937, to be precise, iirc.

        News that we have a plan for invading Venezuela does, well, sugges taht perhaps there are some waste positions in the Potomac Puzzle Palace.

    •  It's Pretty Clear There Are Multiple Pentagons (none)
      There is government and then there is government.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 05:43:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't forget Venezuela's huge natural gas resevoir (4.00)
    Venezuela's 77 billion barrels of oil (vs. the 29 billion U.S. supply) is one thing; but did you know Venezuela sits on about 149 trillion cubic feet of natural gas? And don't I seem to remember George fretting about running short on natural gas just recently? Hmmmm.
  •  This reads like a spy novel (4.00)
    Why am I not surprised that this could be true?  But what I AM surprised at is the lack of media attention the interview and his claims seem to be receiving.... I suppose before any tangible evidence is presented, the media has to sit on it.... but thanks for posting this, I missed that interview...

    An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind--Ghandi

    by hopefulcanadian on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 01:04:36 PM PDT

  •  In a time (4.00)
    where the powers of Western Europe are either backing the Bush madness fully or playing weak-sister politics (thanks for nothing, France and Germany), the world needs a person like Chavez.  His power is greater now than ever due to high oil prices, and he could very well be the new hero of Social Democracy in the Western Hemisphere.

    Visit me at: http://myrrander.blogspot.com or http://moderateresponse.joeuser.com

    by Myrrander on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM PDT

  •  Highly recommended (4.00)
    FP this mofo!

    Shrub must be taken to task for continued provocation.

    Do it GREEN, know what I mean?

    by SonofFunk on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 01:14:34 PM PDT

  •  I don't know Chavez from Adam, but... (4.00)
    at this point I would probably trust pretty much anything he said over what BushCo says.
  •  I'm still mad at Hugo (none)
    He was supposed to come to my campus yesterday afternoon. I was all excited, and then he had to go and cancel at the last minute. Douche.

    This is fascinating stuff. I don't know whether I believe it, but I'm glad there's someone out there in our hemisphere willing to take Bush to task.

  •  I Can't Post What I Know About This Without (4.00)
    sounding like a nut myself, but here goes.

    About 4 or 5 months ago I ran into a man in his 50's at the post office who was talking about just returning from Iraq with the clerk.  My interest sparked so I joined in, no-one else was waiting.  He served as a civilian contractor in Iraq, but he quickly revealed that he was actually part of a covert operation and had actually been in the region trying to track down Sadam's WMD since before hostilities began and he was still hot on their trail.

    Mixed in the conversation were references to Ollie North and the Iran Contra affair.  He insisted that Ollie was a hero, he knew because he was part of Ollie's team and he has continually carried out similar operations, even though underfunded during the Clinton administration.

    Now back to the WMD trail.  Apparently there was no luck finding the WMD in Iraq, so somehow this covert group had decided that they were shipped to Venezuela.  My friend claimed that this was his next assignment and in fact there was already a small base established in the area with 200 marines and the convert operations team.  He was in the Post Office giving the clerk his change of address info.

    I left shaking my head, but a couple of days later I saw a story where Chavez was claiming that Bush was going to claim that he had WMD to discredit him and not long after I saw another story where Chavez was complaining about 200 Marines being station on an island close to Venezuela.  Who knows.

    •  With this gang anything is possible (4.00)
      We heard just the other day that Bush Co. was asking lawyers in the Justice Dept. if they had any evidence that environmentalists had obstructed the Army Corps of Engineers' levee projects in any way. Today we hear that the GOP has begun to accuse environmentalists of causing the NOLA disaster. I'm not ready to put trust in wingnuts met in the PO, but the fact that a plan seems impossible in practical terms does not mean that the Bushies aren't seriously at work on it.
    •  weird, though (none)
      Why would someone like that tell you something like that, is what I'm wondering...
      •  Some people are compulsive liars, (4.00)
        and others are compulsive braggarts.  
        •  true but (none)
          they don't usually hire compulsive braggarts for covert actions, though.
          •  True, but (none)
            if the poster is right and everything the guy said was subsequently confirmed, then it really sounds like he was dealing with a compulsive braggart.

            Hey, accidents do happen.  Even when hiring covert agents.

          •  Dead giveaway (none)
            Professional special operations people are incredibly closemouthed about what they do. Even with their own families and spouses.

            Wondering how people end up being unceremoniously thrown out of the SEALs or Delta Force? All that it takes is for it become known that someone ran their mouth in a public place to random uncleared individuals.

            My assessment concurs with yours: this guy was a Walter Mitty type fantasizing about mowing down ranks of ragheads, with Ollie North blasting away at his side. He probably had never been any closer to Iraq than the post office in which he was standing.

            •  Then How Did He Know (none)
              about the WMD claim or the 200 marines, neither had been reported in the press at the time.
            •  You give these boneheads too much credit. (4.00)
              Check out the details of the Italian kidnapping operation, for one. Currently 18 US undercover operators have arrest warrants pending in Italy over that one - under their real names, and sent to their real addresses in the US.
              Special ops people are like mafia people - not as competent as the movies make them out to be.
              And then consider the last few years of FBI blunders. I wouldn't at all be surprised that the post office guy was a mercenary in on just that kind of operation. That's the type of people that are attracted to that kind of crap.

              We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC)

              by AWhitneyBrown on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 02:58:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Those agents (none)
                were under the impression that they had legal cover from the Italian Government, so they weren't worried about being captured.

                (Although using cell-phones registered in their own names was still damn stupid. Haven't they ever read any Tom Clancy novels?  *grin*)

            •  True professionals are few (4.00)
              and far between, especially among civilian subcontractors these days.  The stories published out of Iraq about extremely unprofessional behavior among these people are too numerous to list. And, personally, I've been shocked more than a few times by people like this guy alluding to operations the existence of which should never even be mentioned in public.  I find it highly plausible that this guy would be exaggerating his role in something that was real.  Without any of the discipline that might be acquired through successful rigorous military training, macho posturing trumps common sense and professional constraints every time.

              Beware those who claim to be "The Chosen", for they have already led themselves astray and seek to lead you down the same path. There are no "Chosen."

              by sxwarren on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 03:07:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  At the highest levels of secrecy (none)
              things STAY secret, just like you said.

              I have a relative who was a civilian contractor (electrical engineer) who worked on government projects for several years. He decided he wanted to do unclassified work, and he couldn't get a job because his previous employer wouldn't say anything about him except that he was employed there. They wouldn't give job title, type of work done, anything. He ended up going back to school to learn programming.

              And now, even 20 years later, he doesn't talk about what he did. The most he's ever said is about the level of security. (Needed to have someone go with him to the dentist.  Had to drive at least 50 miles if he wanted to mail a postcard to family while he was working out of town, etc.)

              •  In January 2003... (none)
                just before the Iraq campaign, you might remember Bush constantly stating how his (so-called) "mind" had not been made up as to whether or not he would invade. I was on a plane with sitting next to a young Airman who worked in A/V communications. She had been doing presentations to big brass and wing commanders regarding Iraq. I won't say which AFB this was as I don't want to get the Airman in trouble. But she knew the "bombing would start in March" and a few other choice tidbits regarding the invasion. She knew it was a done deal. The bombing did indeed begin in March.

                She was basically nobody who had classified info and she divulged it to me, a complete stranger on an airplane. The point is, there are LOTS of people who have access at different levels of security who aren't as careful as they should be. The gentleman metioned above might be as he claims or something else entirely. I believe it.

          •  But This Guy Was Part Of Ollie's Team (4.00)
            a group which has never been given much credit for a particularily well designed plan, it was leaks that revealed the operation in the first place.
          •  Damn government contractors (none)
            Maybe contracting out covops wasn't such a hot idea afterall... ;-)
        •  The fact of the matter is.... (none)
          these folks are just plain dangerous. No matter how many people die in their little chess games, they just keep on keeping on.

          Frightful!!

      •  I Couldn't Figure That Out Either (none)
        But I do suspect that I managed to ruffle his feathers a little by what I knew about background on the WMD issue.  He was basically one of the grunts in the operation and he impressed me as being of average intelligence but above average in patriotic fevor.  It was basically a Jack Nicholson, you can't handle the truth (A Few Good Men), moment.
    •  hmmm (none)
      Reminds me, I think it was in late 2004, that the Venezuelan inteligence service and the military found 200 or some Colombian mercenaries who were stationed in a ranch. They had stolen Venezuelan army uniforms and a weapons cache.
    •  That sounds like (none)
      Richard K. Morgan's Market Forces.  You should read it.
  •  More evidence (4.00)
    that proves to me how absolutely important it is to actually have SMART people in charge of your country...Bush is SO stupid...even more stupid than I ever thought before.

    I'd like to know who actually thought that we could "take over" Venezuela...and how in the world they thought they could ever get support for such an invasion.

    Chavez is a genius to get on tv with this...an absolute genius.

    •  They'd put in people like Chalabi's buddies (4.00)
      That's who the US supporters in Central America have always been - that top 5% of rich white European-descended locals, who live in gated communities with security guards and drive bulletproof cars and don't give a damn that this all comes from the misery of the people living in tar-paper shacks outside Rio or Managua or wherever.

      "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

      by bellatrys on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 05:22:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did anyone catch the opening? (4.00)
    Where Chavez, fairly elected with an overwhelming majority in his country, was nonetheless referred to disingenuously by Chris Bury, as a "leftist strongman"? Now who do you think of when someone says "leftist strongman"? I think of butchers like Stalin, Mao and Kim Jong Il

    How can Chavez be a "leftist strongman" if he was fairly elected? Does that mean the questionably elected Bush should be now referred to as a "right-wing strongman"? Eg: "The right-wing strongman looked through his aircraft window at the unbeleivable devastation..."

    Bury also said (paraphrasing from memory): "Imagine if Fidel Castro owned some of the largest reserves of natural gas..." after stating that Chavez was not a Communist. The media is so desperate to couple Chavez with Communism. Message to MSM: the dangerous Communists are on the other side of the world in a  country called "China", and are, incidentally, some of Bush's and Walmart's best friends.

    Then there were the lead-in graphics of Chavez, coming in from the commercial break: Chavez wiith Castro, Chaez with Saddam, Chavez with the Iranian Leader. Why not Chavez with Chirac? Or would that take away from the whole "leftist strongman" lie?

    The people in power in this country, the corporatists who really run our country through their govt. and corp. offices, hate this man with a passion because he thumbs his nose in their face everytime and won't give in to their demands.

    "I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality." ~ George Washington

    by assyrian64 on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 01:54:26 PM PDT

    •  I came into the program a few minutes late (none)
      just before Koppel started the interview, so I didn't see any of the sensationalization. Koppel started his interview giving Chavez a chance to establish his poor background and early admiration for the US. So I took Koppel's later questions about Chavez's friendly relations with Cuba, Libya, and Iran as an attempt to sound like a tough interviewer rather than a genuine attempt to paint Chavez as a danger to the US.
      •  I thought Koppel was fair, (none)
        my complaint is specifically with Bury's intro, which was laced with the typical tiresome, propagandistic bullshit about Hugo Chavez. Straight from the dark rooms at the Hudson Institute.

        "I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality." ~ George Washington

        by assyrian64 on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 02:14:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I caught it all. Chris Bury's intro was ... (4.00)
        ... antiChavez propaganda, as stated above, although it was blessedly short. I was concerned that Koppel would follow thru with the same tone, but, thankfully, he gave a fair interview.

        The "bush/asshole" part was a hoot ... At least he didnt turn it into a Diane Sawyer to Dixie Chick moment ... after moment ...

        I was very glad Koppel did this. My thought was that it added onto the public's negative viewing of Bush's Katrina bullshit and the Iraq problems (lies) and his falling ratings. So this should be not so hard to swallow, the claims Chavez made about the dastardly behavior of BushCo.

        Particularly good was that he emphatically stated how he met several times with Clinton and was treated with respect, that he is treated with respect everywhere but here with Bush.

        Again, the public can see how Clinton was responsible with his FEMA management, and hitch this on to international policy as well ... it gets some wind at its sails. By contrast, Bush looks like the incompetent, maladroit bastard he is. He lied to us about Saddam, he will lie to us about Chavez, who, of course, is a far different and better person and leader than Saddam. BushCo's propaganda powers have a much harder time of it with antiChavez sentiment, and in starting trouble there, if indeed they plan to try to do so, and this interview helped weaken their smear campaign further.

        Should a liberal Dem blog be driven into "safe zones" by a tame party, or should it drive a tame party to break out?

        by NYCee on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 02:44:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It Was Absolutely Outrageous So I Turned it Off (none)
      'Strongman' really turned my stomach.

      He said Chavez wants to be the next Castro. He was ousted in a coup but several days later "he was back." No indication of the mechanism but the inference many will make is that he "strongmanned" his way back into dictatorship.

      Given the hour of day it runs, that opening will be the bulk of what gets remembered.

      Very, very outrageous.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 05:41:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  excellent analysis of the MSM spin on Chavez (none)
      Chavez is telling it like it is, and Bush & Co. hate the truth.  

      And you are right to use the term "corporatists" to refer to the rulers of the U.S.  The politicians are hired hands of the corporatists, with some exceptions.  

      May all beings be free from fear.

      by shakti on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:45:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes... (none)
        And you are right to use the term "corporatists" to refer to the rulers of the U.S.  The politicians are hired hands of the corporatists, with some exceptions

        Watching Bush and his plutocratic Republican gang riding on their hideous merry-go-round from govt. to lucrative private sector jobs and back again is bad enough. It is really sad is to see how many Dems have followed the same corporate favoritism route - eg, Bill Clinton with his disastrous support of NAFTA and the Telecom Act.

        The exceptions to this are well-known on Daily Kos: Rep. Bernie Sanders, Rep. John Conyers, DNC Chair Howard Dean, the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sens. Boxer and Feingold and others. Its vitally important we continue supporting and rewarding these politicians who serve We the People, instead of the corporate oligarchs.

        "I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality." ~ George Washington

        by assyrian64 on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 01:18:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  how soon we forget (none)
      CNN) -- In 1976, President Ford issued Executive Order 11905 to clarify U.S. foreign intelligence activities. The order was enacted in response to the post-Watergate revelations that the CIA had staged multiple attempts on the life of Cuban President Fidel Castro.
      http://cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/2002/LAW/11/04/us.assassination.policy/

      "Since 1976, every U.S. president has upheld Ford's prohibition on assassinations. In 1978 President Carter issued an executive order with the chief purpose of reshaping the intelligence structure. In Section 2-305 of that order, Carter reaffirmed the U.S. prohibition on assassination..."
        "In 1981, President Reagan, through Executive Order 12333, reiterated the assassination prohibition. Reagan was the last president to address the topic of political assassination. Because no subsequent executive order or piece of legislation has repealed the prohibition, it remains in effect."

      Chavez is right to be very afraid of us. Iran/Contra had to be an end-run around the constitution because of the Boland amendment, and the same basic crew is running things now, with their penchant for just doing it, their way. All the resolutions in the world won't stop a bullet, and Robertson is too well known and influential to go saying things like that.

      ...learn something new every day...

      by nhwriter on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 08:39:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course Bush wanted to invade! (4.00)
    Obviously, Venezuela has oil!

    Er...wait...did I say oil? I didn't mean that...you goddamn liberals misquoted me. I really said they have WMD! Venezuela was involved in 9/11! Venezuelan cows produce anthrax! Venezuelan agents were caught at a secret meeting in Cuba, plotting with terrorists to unleash hurricanes on the Gulf Coast! Chavez tried to kill my father!

    </snark>

    Who knew that Wag the Dog would turn out to be so prophetic, if slightly off about the cause of the scandal?

    Thwarting the forces of conservatism since 1978.

    by wiscmass on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 01:59:41 PM PDT

    •  It's not directly about the oil (none)
      They hate him because he is actually helping the people, sharing the wealth that lives under their shoe-less feet, giving them education and healthcare.

      How DARE he?
      Now all the Central and South Americans are going to get all uppity and demand a share of the wealth.

      And they have all that oil that we can only control if we can bribe and control the usual right-wing strongmen that runs things in that world.

  •  Heard this too on NPR (none)
    at least the MSP is becoming alittle more proactive - and Kos is here to magnify it. Please recommend this diary...
  •  Bush/FEMA Supported Robertson after Katrina (4.00)
    Evidence of Bush's criminal support for terrorist Robertson was made clear when the FEMA website listed The Red Cross and Pat Robertson's "Operation Blessing" as places to send hurricane Katrina donations.  It would be bad enough if Bush just ignored Robertson's comment, but it is absolutely inexcusable that he would then solicit contributions for Robertson's cause in the name of disaster relief.  
  •  asshole (none)

    KOPPEL: I'm going to perhaps shock you a little, but these are your words. You called President Bush an asshole.

    Am I the only one who has a hard time imagining Ted Koppel saying the word "asshole"?

    "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

    by CaptUnderpants on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 02:26:48 PM PDT

  •  Is this corroboration for Chavez? (4.00)
    I have to say I am not a big fan of Chavez, but I wonder if this is corroboration for what he has to say.

    You may recall this quote from Robertson.  "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," said Robertson, who founded the Christian Coalition. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9053644/site/newsweek/

    I remember thinking at the time, who the heck is talking about starting a war with Venezuala?  I thought at the time, maybe Robertson knows something we don't and heard from his right-wing cronies but thought even Bush wouldn't be crazy enough to try that bs.  Where would he get the troops?  Invade on what pretext?  I figured it was just more loony bin Robertson stuff.  Lord knows he spouts a lot of crazy stuff.

    Now with Chavez saying this tto, and supposedly having documents, one wonders.

    (I suppose Bush could do the Iran trick again as was done with Mossadeq.  Have our cronies overthrow the elected government and "invite" us in to help them)

    "Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings." Heinrich Heine, from his play Almansor (1821)

    by egrass on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 02:48:33 PM PDT

    •  You could be right (none)
      that's an interesting thought. I'd never heard any discussion of WHY Robertson was talking about Chavez in the first place. Fortunately, Chavez has completely wrongfooted Bush in the aftermath.
    •  been there and failed already (none)
      The only problem with the "Mossadeq" trick is that they tried it in April 2002 and failed; they tried again with the recall election in 2004 and failed some more.

      The reality is that there is simply no way to unseat Chavez from the inside - the only way that the Venezuelan opposition can do it is to actually win the next election - and that would mean coming up with a coherent political programme that will satisfy the needs and aspirations of the Venezuelan electorate; to date there is absolutely no sign of that happening as the Venezuelan opposition is in significant disarray, and has no programme beyond whatever Chavez is for ( the secret of his success ), we're against it. What the opposition has failed to grasp is that it is no longer possible to go back to the pre-Chavez era.

      I think that Chavez has been seriously underestimated - he's profoundly changed the mould of Venezuelan politics, and has seized the historical moment of rapidly increasing and sustained oil prices to engage in the ground floor development that his country needs - education, healthcare, housing and social welfare. At the same time there has been little of the "ugly", class-war side of socialist expropriation or curbs on the private commercial sector. Chavez may well be a mate of Castro's, but he is not a doctrinaire socialist.

  •  WTF??? (none)
    I was going to say "do they really they can get away with invading Venezuela?" But then I remembered who they are.

    I loved this part:

    KOPPEL: I'm going to perhaps shock you a little, but these are your words. You called President Bush an asshole.

    CHAVEZ: I've said various things about him. I don't know if I actually used that word. But I have been really hard on him.

    Maybe not that word. But other words. Yes various things like "jackass" and "bastard. Oh, and "lying mother f-er."

    Great bass - Lesh filling.

    by Glic on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 02:53:33 PM PDT

  •  Cool post (4.00)
    I hope the Bush administration is not serious about trying to invade Venezuela.

    Isn't it absurd that President Bush, (whose approval rating stands at 40%), would not only complain about democracy in Venezuela, but also contemplate an invasion? Especially when you consider the fact that President Chavez, enjoys the approval of 70% or so of Venezuelans.  

    Also, what is up with naming an operation after a Spanish conquistador?

    Curacao is a Dutch possession, would use of naval bases there fall under any NATO agreements?

    •  Hmmm.... Here's a theory.... (4.00)
      Curacao, you say?  Just off the coast of Venezuela, like ARUBA, another Dutch possession?  Maybe all of this media coverage of Natalee Holloway ad infinitum, is really just a bored MSM, who has been PREPOSITIONED there in the region to cover the fireworks, whenever they start in Venezuela!

      I know, I know: kinda kooky, but haven't stranger and more convoluted plots become the norm over the past five years or so?  Hmmm....

      •  All kidding aside, folks.... (4.00)
        Here's an interesting read, an eye-opener, to say the least, regarding the goings-on and very active machinations within the region by BushCo:

        http://www.vermontguardian.com/global/0904/Paraguay.shtml

        Apparently we already have an $80 million base in Manta, Equador, which human rights groups have linked to the 2002 coup against Chavez.  Bolivia, a country with enormous gas reserves, is also rife with civil unrest; a U.S. base in the region allows for rapid intervention to protect existing corporate interests, and to smash-and-grab-up new ones....

        The U.S. is currently building a new base and engaging in secretive operations in Paraguay, near the triple-border region between this country and Argentina and Brazil, ostensibly to support the WOT, as this area is said to host an AQ training base.

        According to New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Goldberg, the region is "one of the most lawless places in the world... also the center of Middle Eastern terrorism in South America."  Caveat:  Goldberg previously linked AQ to Saddam in the run-up to the Iraqi War, a claim, among others, of course, cited by BushCo in the justification for the invasion.

        The U.S. has since been sending in experts and advisors (sound familiar?!) from the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, an institution comparable to the infamous School of the Americas....    

        •  Iguazu Falls (none)
          I know folks from that area, from Brazil and Argentina. They say the claims of AQ havign a base there is one giant load of horse puckey.

          This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

          by emptywheel on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 07:53:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  USS Bataan in Curacao in late August (4.00)
    I remember reading this at the time and thinking the U.S. was trying to pressure Chavez.
    •  Good catch (4.00)
      this very likely is the incident Chavez referred to. The article says:

      According to US Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, the Venezuelan Defense Ministry was duly informed about the arrival of the USS Dallas and USS Bataan for a bit of RR for servicemen taking part in joint exercised. 

      It goes on to say the Venezuelan navy remained on alert while the USS Dallas and Bataan were in Curacao. Chavez mentioned to Koppel that he did not believe the claim that the sailors and marines were on R&R.

  •  Unfortunately (4.00)
      Too many Democrats have bought into the anti-Chavez propaganda, whether because they are tapped into the same disintelligence network (intelligence manipulated to produce disinformation) or because they want to burnish their anti-left credentials, I don't know.  But we heard the same tired hate-Chavez rhetoric from John Kerry during the campaign, with no more justification than from the Bush side.
  •  Chavez acts like he has a pair. (4.00)
    He clearly cares about his people.
    He isn't afraid of President Bush.

    I admire him for that.

    So...if he can manage to not be assasinated by Operation Blessing...maybe things will continue to progress in a positive manner.

    If we attack Venezuela (to me it seems a ridiculous notion...but who knows) ...I don't know what I would do. I don't want to be a member of the schoolyard bully nation that beats up other nations and takes their stuff without any provocation.

    What's that? I already AM a member of the schoolyard bully nation.

    Hmmm. I read a nice comment earlier about Scotland and their wonderful national health care.

    Suppose I should acquire a taste for haggis. Yummy.

    •  A Pair of Cerebral Hemispheres (none)
      BTW I don't think Scotland is very open. Canada however is definitely an immigrant country and has both national health and all the haggis you can eat. Some we knew Scots back east in the U.S. used to smuggle in Canadian haggis every January.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 05:51:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Socialist who pays attention to christ (4.00)
    Chavez: One of the greatest rebels, who I really admire: Christ. He was a rebel. He ended up being crucified. He was a great rebel. He rebelled against the established power that subjugated. That is what rebellion is; it's rebellion out of love for human beings. In truth, that is the cause, the cause of love: love for every human being, for every women, for every child, for every man, for every brother.
    Pat Robertson and Hugo Chavez read the same Bible and pray to the same God.

    Peculiar... A socialist who interprets the Bible to reaffirm his socialist beliefs -- and trust me, if a person refers to the word "revolution" as much as he does, they're pretty hard-lined socialists. I just find it interesting, especially with the hijacked Christianity in this country.

    •  Pat Robertson isn't a Christian (4.00)
      He just plays one on tv.

      I've heard he's a devout worshipper of Mammon though. Like many so called "Christians".

      "I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas." -Winston Churchill

      by Johannes on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 06:04:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  my mother explained this to me ... (none)
      ... when I was very young.  I asked her what "communism" was, and she explained it by refering to the fishes and loaves story, when Jesus multiplied the fishes and loaves to feed all the people.  I grew up thinking that Jesus was a Jewish socialist.    Which, in a sense, is exactly what he was.  

      If you research many of the early U.S. Christian communes, you will find many similarities.  Mutual aid, an emphasis on loving one's neighbor, living close to nature and God's creation.  

      I've never seen much of a conflict between the teachings of Jesus and the basic tenants of socialism (other than the God thing).

      :)

      May all beings be free from fear.

      by shakti on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:57:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I got somewhat the same from my mother (none)
        It was pretty interesting to hear her take on how we could apply this in America. She thought it would be Christian and practical to give every person a certain amount of money per year, flat out, so no one would go hungry. She had lived through the Dustbowl and the Depression, and thought it was our obligation to help each other. I must say I think so too.

        War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

        by Margot on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 09:00:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The delusions never cease (4.00)
      How do they expect to man this and maintain a presence in the Middle East and rebuild the Delta?  Oh, that's right we are about to be invaded by Venezuela.  Conscription is now justified.  While we are at it, let's take the Monroe Doctrine to its ultimate conclusion and just take over all the rest of the Western Hemiphere.  The we won't have to worry about ME oil (for a while). It will only take every single able bodied male between 19 and 40 to impose martial law on South America.  This admin is truly insane.  Why can't we impeach on the grouds of insanity?  And my take is that Chavez' version of Jesus is actually rather more historically accurate the Pat Robertson's. Palestine was occupied by an Imperial power, ya know.
  •  apologies (none)
      Bad editing, several typos but I think you'll get the meanings.
  •  Great conversation (4.00)
    smintheus, I don't know if you heard the NPR Market Place segment on Venezuela and Big Oil, a few weeks back. The segment had a very snotty tone, I found. There were interviews with U.S. oil industry representatives, who complained about Chavez upping the royalties his country gets for its oil from 1% to 17%!! I vividly remember this creepy snot saying "We put up with this nonsense" (paraphrasing now) because we're still making so much money that the damage to our profits is negligible". Ugh. Arrogant bastards. If you ask me, Chavez is a modern day reincarnation of Robin Hood, and that is why he is so popular throughout Latin America. At the same time, he isn't an extreme nationalist but a true internationalist, who is seeking to create a wide coalition of non-Western countries.
       For a fascinating inside account of U.S. meddling in Latin America, I recommend "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1576753018/102-3990645-6574566?v=glance
       Having read it, I am frankly astounded that Chavez has managed to build such a wall of support around him in Latin America, such that all attempts by the Bush administration to isolate him politically have failed (as witness Condi's pathetic failed tour of the region a short while ago). This, and the massive support he enjoys from his own people, who basically defeated the coup by spontaneously marching en masse on the Presidential palace and demanding the release of their President, is the only reason  he is still alive.
    •  Didn't hear that segment (4.00)
      but like you, I'm somewhat surprised that Chavez has managed to last this long while taking on the powerful in his own country and overseas oil dynasts. He doesn't back down from confrontations with Bush, and I'm a bit afraid they will take advantage of that by provoking some sort of confrontation and baiting him. You can be 100% in the right and still find the rug pulled out from under you by schemers (I speak with some experience ruefully).
      •  Chavez has friends... (none)
        ...in Brazil.   He's also a paratrooper.   He'll be a hrad nut to crack.  Also the attacks on Chavez indicate that the US is not sincere about democracy.    It will mean that the Us pays a heavy price very soon.  
        •  Not just Brazil (none)
          There are a number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are appalled with the US treatment of Venezuela.  The US is having a lot of trouble isolating Chavez  because other countries in the hemisphere are also refusing to play ball.  

          Bush: Always Wrong and Never in Doubt

          by Delilah on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 11:47:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, it's because Bush is a moron... (none)
      The only claim Bush has to power is that he's President of the US.  He has no leadership or diplomatic qualities.  This is why Chavez, Osama bin Laden, and basically any other opponents who he has or will have, will be able to run circles around him.  Bush can bully, but that's just about it.  The strength of the United States was never in our military might, but rather in our alliances and Bush has pissed it all away.  

      In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

      by Asak on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 06:28:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Democracy Now! has featured Perkins quite a bit (none)
      Here's a link to the most recent airing of an interview with John Perkins. It's fascinating to listen to.
    •  NPR MarketPlace (none)
      is just corporate porn (except for the occasional word-in-edgewise by Robert Reich), just as NPR's weekend programming is lifestyle porn (cooking programs, for Christ's sake!).

      And during the week we get scrupulously right-of-middle-of-road news (Juan Williams, anyone?), after the hourly reading of the AP Wire.

      NPR died long ago.  Long live National Republican Radio.

    •  I second your recommendation Barcelona (4.00)
      As soon as I started reading this diary, I thought about Perkin's Economic Hitman book. I kept reading through all of the comments thinking someone has got to mention this excellent book as it ties together all of the Bush Admin actions regarding Venezuala - and all of the dKos comments - perfectly.  

      I really wonder what is going through Perkin's mind about everything that is happening with Chavez. I pray he stays strong and avoids the jackals.  What a true modern day hero Hugo Chavez is.

      •  Thanks for highlighting the book... (none)
        I had read Barcelona's comment, but yours made me revisit it and I have ordered the book.
      •  The jackals only work (none)
        In countries without oil. Chavez has very assiduously been paying down Venezuela's debt even while expanding social services to the poor. That's why he's so untouchable--they're losing their debt handcuffs over the country AND a progressive is proving that you CAN improve the life of the poor.

        Further, Argentina's recent history almost un-did the entire structure on which the jackals rely. Kirchner COULD HAVE--but didn't--refuse to honor all his country's debts. Argentina is/was at such a bad point, there was very little anymore that the jackals could do to force him to pay. And if he had defaulted on everything, it would have been at least as bad (probably much much worse) as the Mexican debt crisis of the mid-90s. What's more, the Argentines have put together their own self-ownership programs that, again, threaten the claims of capitalism to be a more efficient system.

        In short, all over Latin America, different kinds of progressives are experimenting with solutions that, in the short term, look to be significantly more effective than the World Bank options. The more this goes on, the more power the US loses. So they're desperate to halt this wave of intelligent progressivism in its tracks.

        May the good guys win this fight...

        This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

        by emptywheel on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 08:03:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stay Safe Hugo n/t (none)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 05:52:56 PM PDT

  •  For once (none)
    I feel a little more doubtful of Chavez...why didn't he give Koppel what documents he could give, right then and there, if what he is claming is true?

    I am going to take a wait and see attitude...wait and see if Hugo backs up his latest claim.

    Yes, I do know about the previous coup attempt by the US and I believe the Bullshit Administration is nuts enough to try anything...but I am still going to be all wait and see on this one.  Sounds like a war of words to me.

    •  yeah... (none)
      ...literacy drives and medical care! where will it end? we probably ought to invade and get rid of this delusional madman.  As if we would ever bump off an elected South American leader.  He's not to be trusted I tell you!
      •  Here I am, replying to a very old comment (none)
        but I am not going to let shit like this stand.
        I have spent 30 years putting up with smartassed shit from the Right. I am not going to put up with it from "my" side.

        You sound just as mindless as a Bush supporter.  Anybody who is even nominally on "our" side is not to be questioned, ever.  That is the meaning I get from your shitty comment.

        Well, guess what.  I do think for my  self and I don't automatically believe anything until I get something to back it up.

        Deal with it.

    •  He was in NY for the UN meeting (4.00)
      I don't see how he can be expected to have those documents on his person.
    •  One possible reason: (4.00)
      Revealing the documents would have exposed Chavez's source.  Why should he tip his hand just to make you and Chimpie happy?
      •  Me and Chimpie? (none)
        Don't you fucking ever insinuate that I would be on that murderous lying bastard's side about anything!

        Just because I am willing to have doubts about a "leftist" leader does not make me want for B*sh's happiness at any time.

        I come over here and everybody brags about how fucking smart they are and how reality based they are, but all anybody has to do is say something bad about B*sh and they're a fucking saint who never could do any wrong.

        Well screw that.  I want this administration that is fucking over this country to go down as  bad as anybody, but I want even more to see a people who put value on truthfulness and evidence.

        All I am saying is I want to see what Chavez has to back this up.  I am not saying he is lying.  But I need evidence.  That is really being reality based.

    •  Why didn't he hand Koppel the proof already? (none)
      Because Iran/Contra proved we are the shredder capitol of the world?

         Ted can wait for Chavez's people to fax him the copies, then we can argue about that for a while instead of investigating the actual crime. (oops, wrong controversy. Wait, I'm getting confoozed. Then again, if it worked once, these guys'll apply the same strategery again!)

      ...learn something new every day...

      by nhwriter on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 09:12:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  While we're on the subject of the UN meeting (none)
    The Observer has a fascinating article on what really happened this week to scupper the arms-non-proliferation megotiations. Guess who sabotaged the consensus?

    Summit Failure Blamed on the U.S.

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1572824,00.html?gusrc=rss

  •  I don't know much about this region (2.00)
    but my gut tells me to take this guy with a "pound" of salt.  He is a borderline dictator who may be using the USA as a way to enhance his position with his own folk, just as Bush used Iraq to enhance his position with the wingnuts.

    I just think we should be careful before singing this guy's praises.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 07:28:39 PM PDT

    •  "Borderline dictator"? Get real... (none)
      Or maybe the world needs more "borderline dictators"  who feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

      By the way,  how many "borderline dictators"  voluntarily submit to a recall referendum,  like Mr. Chavez did?

    •  Bordeline dictator (4.00)
      You know, I am getting really sick of this gratuitous use of the term "dictator" in relation to Chavez.  He's been democratically elected twice, survived a coup d'etat attempt, and a recall referendum.  If ever there was someone who has shown that popular support of the people of the country he/she rule is on his/her side, it is Chavez.  So can we please drop the "dictator" bullshit?  

      Bush: Always Wrong and Never in Doubt

      by Delilah on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 11:52:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  George Bush was elected this last time (none)
        and do you doubt that he is trying to make himself a "borderline dictator"? You can fool most of the people most of the time.

         

        "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

        by adigal on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 05:08:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  borderline dictator... (4.00)
          Let's see...Chavez has not started two bloody and expensive wars, nor has he depleted Venezuela's treasury with tax cuts for the super rich, nor has he passed any draconian laws, to my knowledge, like the USA PATRIOT Act-that excessively empowers the Executive branch.

          What else... the Venezuelan military does not run awful prisons like the ones we have in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Abu Ghraib, Iraq. Nor does Chavez have the authority to detain Venezuelans indefinitely, unlike President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who have the authority to detain Americans indefinitely.

          People who live in fragile glass houses should not throw stones.

          •  What fragile glass house might I live in?? (none)
            What are you talking about?? I think perhaps you have the blinders on, and that anyone who opposed Bush is good, regardless of what they may have done.

            "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

            by adigal on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 07:27:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Ah but (none)
          Observors of Chavez' election only found fault with the US-funded exit polling that said Chavez was at risk. The rest of the election, Jimmy Carter said, was well-conducted.

          Whether or not you think fraud occurred last year, there have been numerous independent reviewers who found fault with the conduct of the 2004 election (to say nothing of the Bush v. Gore SCOTUS decision).

          This is the way democracy ends Not with a bomb But with a gavel -Max Baucus

          by emptywheel on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 08:11:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree that funny business went on in (none)
            2004 in the US - BUT, until the Democratic party cares about this as much as we do, I refuse to get upset/activist/moral over this.

            "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

            by adigal on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 01:45:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your remarks are so vaporous and strange (none)
              I can't make head or tail of you. Do you have a real beef, one that you can spit out for all to see and discuss--or are you just being contrary for its own sake?

              Is nothing secular?

              by aitchdee on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 02:43:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  OH, me, I'm just vaporous (none)
                as opposed to vacuous.  My beef is that if one expresses a view here contrary to the liberal view of the day, people call you stupid, "vaporous," and say fuck to you.

                I have not even tried to have a serious discussion here after the fuck comment.

                "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

                by adigal on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 04:49:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Just scanned a couple of your diaries (none)
                  You're far from stupid or vacuous or vaporous or anything else like that. I'm sorry for adding to the upset. You're very smart and you have a lot to contribute. My advice?

                  Next time you find yourself in disagreement with the majority opinion, state your case, submit the facts, and hold fast. Don't back off 'cause someone says fuck (or whatever else). Hang in there and elucidate your position. I need to hear your POV and how you arrived there. You might be the only person who could sway me to your side. If you allow yourself to get discouraged and shut down, you end up short changing me and yourself and everyone else here. For all I know you had something incredibly vital to add to the discussion--but now we'll never know it. It's a shame.

                  best,
                  aitch

                  Is nothing secular?

                  by aitchdee on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 09:07:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  borderline dictator... (none)
      If winning free and fair elections by healthy majorities and working democratically to address the inequality in Venezuelan society makes one a "borderline dictator" then I (and the rest of the English-speaking world) have an incorrect understanding of the term "dictator".
  •  US Just Signed Air Base Agreement with Paraguay (4.00)
    Within the last 24 hours there was an article on AP Breaking News (I think) about opposition in Paraguay to an agreement recently signed by Paraguay and US providing for US use of a big air base US has built in Paraguay.

    The airport is much bigger than that in Paraguay's capitol, and there are plenty of out buildings for stationing of troops.  A "status of forces" agreement is in force, protecting US soldiers from International Criminal Court proceedings.

    It would definitely make a convenient staging area for invasion of Venezuela.

    I've read documentation that the Bush Administration was openly funding anti-Chavez groups through the International Republican Institute and other sub-agencies. I'm sure there were hidden funds as well.

    Within hours of the anti-Chavez coup, Bush recognized the new extremely un-democratic usurpers. Chavez supporters put him back in office within 48 hours.  

    Then, Bush funded the anti-Chavez opposition in the recall campaign. Chavez won by a large margin in what was internationally recognized as an honest election. So coup and recall didn't work. That leaves....assassination or invasion.

    Bush ousted the democratically elected Aristide from Haiti because he wouldn't toe the US line, there is no question that Venezuela is an even bigger target for devastation:  they have oil!

  •  Bush-Robertson ties not exaggerated (none)
    Bush is giving Pat Robertson kickbacks for his comments calling for the illegal assassination of a foreign head of state. Bush has to assuage his base.
  •  Bushco are insane (none)
    They are already failing in Iraq and now they want to invade another country - a country that will resist openly. This would become a guerilla war and the US tends to lose those.

    And where will they get the manpower, the money, the international and national support for such a stunt? It's 26 million people defending their country, their beloved, nice and democratically elected government against foreign invaders that just want their oil.

    Venezuela has way more resources than Iraq and Afghanistan... this is a war the US has not much chance of winning...  

    Does no one is the administration the common sense...

    Wait... The US can win this one.

    Can someone link us to the "pre-emptive nuclear strikes" plans that have circulating lately in the higher up government?

    Well, Hugo,  say goodbye to Merida, to Valencia, to Barcelona,     Trujillo, San Cristobal and Caracas. Say hello to Hiroshima.

    I wish I could say I am wearing my tinfoil hat, but if they actually plan on winning a war with Venezuela then nukes are their only option. And they know it.

  •  AP is reporting it (none)
    I posted this above but it was in a bad spot...

    The AP is now reporting this. Chavez: U.S. Plans to Invade Venezuela

  •  Chavez' reforms... (4.00)
    have been grossly misrepresented by Bushies, for reasons they don't talk about and never have to answer.

    Sergio Pareja, Law Professor at U New Mexico penned an article several weeks ago describing his 1st hand experience observing Venzualan reforms.

    Partial excerpt:


    I have traveled to Venezuela to visit family all my life. During my most recent trip, I could not avoid hearing about the "evils" of Chavez from the well-off, many of whom are convinced that he will turn Venezuela into a socialist dictatorship. Although this group recognizes that Chavez has done some good things for Venezuela, they think the bad greatly outweighs the good.
        The huge lower class, on the other hand, adores Chavez and can point to countless positive developments during his presidency.
        While in Venezuela this past June and July, I made it my personal quest to determine why Venezuela's upper classes hate Chavez. "He's a socialist," was a common response. Another common response was that he provokes the United States with his anti-imperialist rhetoric.
        Other responses I received had more to do with guilt by association: Chavez hangs out with Fidel Castro and even visited Saddam Hussein at least once. Finally, I was commonly told that he is usurping patriotism for his political advantage and that he is trying to pack the courts with judges who think like he does. Sound familiar?
        "But what is Chavez doing that you hate so much?" I asked. "What, specifically, are his governing policies?" The answers I received, while purely anecdotal, were telling. In general, the wealthy criticize his taxes and social programs, many of which are remarkably similar to U.S. social programs.
        I discovered that, for the first time in Venezuela's history, the government is truly enforcing its tax laws. What does this mean from a leader who claims to be a "21st century socialist"? I asked my cousin, a successful orthopedic surgeon, what he now must pay in income taxes under Chavez. "10 percent to 15 percent of my income," was the response-- not quite the wealth redistribution I'd envisioned.
        I also learned that one of the biggest complaints about Chavez is that he has raised the national minimum wage from about $25 a week to about $40 a week. For live-in household servants, the rate increased from about $15 a week to about $25 a week.
        To put this in context, this is what it costs to have somebody work for you from before sunrise until after dinner. Servants cook, clean, do laundry, watch your children, and basically do anything you ask them to do.
        What else has Chavez done? In exchange for oil to Cuba, Castro has sent teams of Cuban physicians to Venezuela. Chavez then sends them into poor neighborhoods to provide free health care for people who have never seen a doctor in their lives.
        In addition, he has built vocational schools in poor neighborhoods so poor people can learn skills that will allow them to earn more. The wealthy view this as raising the cost of labor.
        What else has Chavez done? The Chavez government uses its oil wealth to hire workers to engage in public works projects, such as fixing potholes in roads, keeping parks clean, and improving public buildings. For example, the government is building the first-ever public subway system in Valencia. People of means complain that "only poor people will use it."

    (article continues)

    It brings to mind recent interview w/Aristide, where he described Bushie's incessant message of "privatize, privatize, privatize" which confirms the impression the rethugs supported ex-contra mercenary's coup for reasons other than best of interest of Haiti.

    It's always the same with these fuckers.

    "My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted." -- Steven Wright

    by jdmckay on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 10:12:28 PM PDT

  •  Over/Under (none)
    What's the over/under on Ted Koppel disappearing?
  •  A man for the people (none)
    I've been blogging for over a month on different sites, and through search and seek mode, i discovered Dkos. i'm an American living in Spain, and been connecting through cyberspace with my brothers and sisters in the states and in other parts of the world.

    Regarding Pres Hugo Chavez, my feelings are that he is one of the few elected leaders that embodies the credo of: By the people/For the People. Chavez is the revenge of the poor on a society that has never seemed to care about them. Many of the country's people living in abject poverty believe Venezuela's brand of corrupt capitalism is the reason for the impoverished condition in which they live. Chavez is their symbol of hope. The wealthy elite in that country abhor the changes that Chavez has thus far rendered. Chavez is a leader who actually walks his walk, and talks his talk. Taking care of the poor is not a crime, but to the wealthy elite and corporate junkies it is a crime.

    Hugo Chavez maybe an intimidating character to some, and perhaps it is because he is from a family of peasants, and his heart and soul is emblazened by helping his people, and stamping out poverty in his country. The fact that he has won reelection in a landslide victory, and survived a coup d'etat, is going to have an affect on our gov'ts next step.

    So far, the CIA has, of course, in the past, covertly engineered coups--"regime change"-- against democratically elected leaders, including in Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Chile (1973), and for decades, the CIA had repeatedly tried to assassinate Cuban president Fidel Castro.

    After 9.11, Bush officials proclaimed the US' right to topple governments and remove leaders in order to counter terrorism. Chavez is at the top of the spin list as a threat to America as a harborer of "terrorists" -- an image so well hammered these days in the civilized/uncivilized rhetoric the US.

    The Rove Machine is already spinning its propaganda to the nation through controlled media with lies, and spreading evocative, distorted human-interest stories to stir up anti-Chavez sentiment.

    How can we avoid another Iraq, when the US' dependency on oil is at stake, and it seems as always, the Corporate Junkies want control of the reserves in Venezuela. For the first time in my life, i feel that no matter how much i yell, and no matter who i vote for, things ain't going to change for a long time to come. My heart is filled with activism, and my mind is saying, but who will lead us out of this chaos, and how? I would follow someone like Chavez in a heartbeat, and maybe that's a romantic notion for having not believed in a leader since JFK.

    So, here i am, looking for relative answers.

  •  *Chavez vows to help U.S. poor* (none)
    To thunderous applause and chants in Spanish of "Chavez, friend, the people are with you," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez strode into the United Methodist Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew yesterday on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

    (snip)

    "I felt a love for the Bronx and New York starting with my visit today," he said as he patted his heart under his red shirt, a symbol of the Bolivarian revolution, during the forum on "Poverty and Justice in a Globalized World."

    A capacity crowd of more than 1,100 from New York, Washington, Chicago and Miami fanned themselves in the sweltering heat inside the church as they waited to hear Chavez and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Outside, hundreds more waited through three hours of tight security checks in hopes of gaining entry.

    (snip)

    Also in the audience were actor Danny Glover, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, union leaders and senior Venezuelan and Cuban government officials.

    (snip)

    Chavez said that by selling heating oil directly to poor communities in the United States, he could save schools, senior centers, hospitals and apartment buildings in poor communities at least a dollar per gallon.

    Venezuela owns Citgo Petroleum Corp., which has 14,000 gas stations and owns eight oil refineries in the United States, none of which were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Chavez, in his more-than-two-hour speech, said he could afford to sharply reduce Citgo's prices by "cutting out the middle man."

    http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050918/NEWS02/509180305/1019/NEWS03

    •  I'm liking Chavez more & more BUT (none)
      he's getting way too much love here in the States; sentiments like these can't help but throw the Bush presidency's mean-spiritedness into stark, stark relief. How that must infuriate them. Especially now.

      And this -
      Chavez said that by selling heating oil directly to poor communities in the United States, he could save schools, senior centers, hospitals and apartment buildings in poor communities at least a dollar per gallon.

      ... Chavez ... said he could afford to sharply reduce Citgo's prices by "cutting out the middle man."

      Good grief, what temerity, what intolerable meddling from this crazy, terrorist harboring, drug trafficking, blustering "leftist strongman" dictator. It won't be countenanced.

      I'm afraid he's a marked man.

      .

      Is nothing secular?

      by aitchdee on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 08:56:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (none)
    That war games are being conducted doesn't necessarily imply that military operations are imminent, but I'm sure it remains an option for the current administration.

    The Bolivarian revolution threatens US political, banking and business "interests" -- a successful socialist democratic model that resists Washington's demands for privatization and "free trade," while using its natural resources wealth to promote land reform, free education and medical care, as well as subsidized food for the poor will not be tolerated in this hemisphere.

    Regime change has been the US agenda under both Bill Clinton & George Bush, under the auspices of programs run by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Agency for International Development (AID). Philip Agee (yes, that  PA), in a 3 part article, details how US taxpayer funds have been used to destabilize Venezuela under Chavez and to influence its elections, tactics which were directed at Nicaragua under Reagan. Both the political parties are directly involved in this effort as is the AFL-CIO and the US Chamber of Commerce.

    Also worth looking at is Eva Gollinger's work on CIA complicity on the 2002 coup.

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