Chavez: Colombia plans ‘aggression’

President Hugo Chavez on Friday accused neighboring Colombia and the United States of plotting a military “aggression” against Venezuela.

“I accuse the government of Colombia of devising a conspiracy, acting as a pawn of the U.S. empire, of devising a military provocation against Venezuela,” Chavez said.

“A military aggression is being prepared from Colombia against Venezuela,” Chavez said, linking the U.S. to the alleged plot. He claimed that Washington aims to “oblige us to respond, and later a war could be set off.”

He cited intelligence reports but did not offer evidence to support his claim.

Venezuela and Colombia have been locked in a diplomatic crisis since November, when Colombian President Alvaro Uribe ended Chavez’s mediation role with Colombia’s leftist rebels in seeking a hostages-for-prisoners swap.

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War pimp alert: Rice meets Uribe, ex-Colombian paramilitaries

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lunched with President Alvaro Uribe at his ranch Friday after meeting with 20 ex-paramilitary fighters to hear about their life stories.

Rice and a delegation of US Democratic Party lawmakers have concluded a two-day visit here aimed at promoting a free-trade deal that is languishing in the Democratic-led US Congress over alleged links between Uribe and paramilitary groups accused of committing atrocities.

On her second day of the visit, Rice also met with union members supportive of a US-Colombian free trade agreement (FTA).

“If we don’t push through the FTA, we will have problems because to exploit mines we need large machinery that does not exist and is not produced in Colombia,” said Jose Palacio, one of the union representatives.

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No oil for US if it meddles: Chavez.

(RTTNews) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez while addressing a mass rally of supporters on Friday has threatened to cut oil exports to the United States, shut down television channels and expel journalists if the December 2 referendum victory he expects is disclaimed and violence starts in this country

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CIA Operation “Pliers” Uncovered in Venezuela

Last night CNN en Español aired the above image, which captions at the bottom “Who Killed him?” by “accident”. The image of President Chavez with the caption about killing him below, which some could say subliminally incites to assassination, was a “production error” mistakenly made in the CNN en Español newsroom. The news anchor had been narrarating a story about the situation between Colombia and Venezuela and then switched to a story about an unsolved homicide but – oops – someone forgot to change the screen image and President Chavez was left with the killing statement below. Today they apologized and admitted it was a rather “unfortunate” and “regrettable” mistake. Yes, it was.

On a scarier note, an internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a very sinister – almost fantastical, were it not true – plan to destabilize Venezuela during the coming days. The plan, titled “OPERATION PLIERS” was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. Steere is stationed at the US Embassy in Caracas under the guise of a Regional Affairs Officer. The internal memorandum, dated November 20, 2007, references the “Advances of the Final Stage of Operation Pliers”, and confirms that the operation is coordinated by the team of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) in Venezuela. The memo summarizes the different scenarios that the CIA has been working on in Venezuela for the upcoming referendum vote on December 2nd. The Electoral Scenario, as it’s phrased, confirms that the voting tendencies will not change substantially before Sunday, December 2nd, and that the SI (YES) vote in favor of the constitutional reform has an advantage of about 10-13 points over the NO vote. The CIA estimates abstention around 60% and states in the memo that this voting tendency is irreversible before the elections.

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Afghanistan’s opium crop at an all-time high

by Jerry Mazza

Global Research, December 9, 2006
Online Journal – 2006-12-07The question is why. Under Taliban rule, which began in the late 1990s, Afghanistan just about kicked the growing habit by 2001. After five years the Taliban is slipping back in, but poppy production has grown by leaps and bounds.

According to the Washington Post, “Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin, broke all records in 2006, reaching a historic high despite ongoing U.S.-sponsored eradication efforts, the Bush administration reported yesterday.

“In addition to a 26 percent production increase over the past year — for a total of 5,644 metric tons — the amount of land under cultivation in opium poppies grew by 61 percent. Cultivation in the two main production provinces, Helmand in the southwest and Oruzgan in central Afghanistan, was up by 132 percent.”

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Exxon seeks deal on Venezuela oil

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Mr Chavez’s government took control of the oil project in May

Exxon Mobil is seeking arbitration over a stand-off with Venezuela about the takeover of its oil assets.The US oil firm made its case to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a group with close ties to the World Bank.

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Is George Bush Restarting Latin America’s ‘Dirty Wars’?

By Benjamin Dangl, AlterNet. Posted August 31, 2007.Signs are emerging of a new wave of U.S.-backed militarism in Latin America.

Two soldiers in Paraguay stand in front of a camera. One of them holds an automatic weapon. John Lennon’s “Imagine” plays in the background. This Orwellian juxtaposition of war and peace is from a new video posted online by U.S. soldiers stationed in Paraguay. The video footage and other military activity in this heart of the continent represent a new wave of U.S.-backed militarism in Latin America.

It’s a reprise of a familiar tune. In the 1970s and 1980s, Paraguay’s longtime dictator, Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, collaborated with the region’s other dictators through Operation Condor, which used kidnapping, torture and murder to squash dissent and political opponents. Stroessner’s human rights record was so bad that even Ronald Reagan distanced himself from the leader. Carrying on this infamous legacy, Paraguay now illustrates four new characteristics of Latin America’s right-wing militarism: joint exercises with the U.S. military in counterinsurgency training, monitoring potential dissidents and social organizations, the use of private mercenaries for security and the criminalization of social protest through “anti-terrorism” tactics and legislation.

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