[News] Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 12 10:42:37 EST 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Washington increases Clandestine Ops against Venezuela
By Eva Golinger
Millions of dollars are being channeled to
opposition groups in Venezuela via USAID, while
the Pentagon has established a new PSYOP program
directed at Venezuela, including a 5-day a week
television program in Spanish broadcast in Venezuela during 2011
2010 annual report of the Office of Transition
Initiatives (OTI), a division of the US Agency
for International Development (USAID), regarding
its operations in Venezuela, evidences that at
least $9.29 million USD was invested this year in
efforts to support US foreign policy
and promote democracy in the South
American nation. This amount represents an
increase of almost $2 million over last years
$7.45 million distributed through this office to
fund anti-Chávez political activities in the country.
The OTI is a department of USAID dedicated to
supporting US foreign policy objectives by
helping local partners advance democracy in
priority countries in crisis. OTI works on the
ground to provide, fast, flexible short-term
assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs.
Although OTI is traditionally used as a
short-term strategy to filter millions of
dollars in liquid funds to political groups and
activities that promote US agenda in
strategically important nations, the case of
Venezuela has been different. OTI opened its
office in 2002, right after the failed coup
detat against President Hugo Chavez - backed by
Washington - and has remained ever since. The OTI
in Venezuela is the longest standing office of this type in USAIDs history.
OTIS CLANDESTINE OPS
a confidencial memo dated January 22, 2002,
Russell Porter, head of OTI, revealed how and why
USAID set up shop in Venezuela. OTI was asked to
consider a program in Venezuela by the State
Departments Office of Andean Affairs on January
OTI was asked if it could offer programs and
assistance in order to strengthen the democratic
elements that are under increasing fire from the Chavez government.
Porter visited Venezuela on January 18, 2002 and
For democracy to have any chance of being
preserved, immediate support is needed for
independent media and the civil society
One of the large weaknesses in Venezuela
is the lack of a vibrant civil society
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has a
$900,000 program in Venezuela that works with
NDI, IRI and the Solidarity Center to strengthen
political parties and the Unions
This program is
useful, but not nearly sufficient. It is not
flexible enough, nor does it work with enough new
or non-traditional groups. It also lacks a media component.
Since then OTI has been present in Venezuela,
channeling millions of dollars each year to feed
the political conflict in the country. According
to the 2010 annual report, OTI is now operating
out of the US Embassy and is part of a larger US
diplomatic effort to promote democracy in Venezuela.
The principal investment of the $9.29 million in
US taxpayer dollars in 2010 went to the
oppositions campaign for the legislative
elections, held last September 26 in Venezuela.
USAID works with several implementing partners
drawn from the spectrum of civil society
technical assistance to political parties
supporting efforts to strengthen civil society.
In Venezuela, its widely known that the term
civil society refers to the anti-Chavez opposition.
A SECRET FLOW OF FUNDS
Despite revealing its overall budget, the actual
flow of funds from USAID/OTI to groups in
Venezuela remains secret. When OTI opened its
offices in 2002, it contracted a private US
company, Development Alternatives Inc (DAI), one
of the State Departments largest contractors
worldwide. DAI ran an office out of El Rosal
the Wall Street of Caracas distributing
millions of dollars annually in small grants of
no more than $100,000 to hundreds of mainly
unknown Venezuelan organizations.
From 2002 to 2010, more than 600 of these small
grants were channeled out of DAIs office to
anti-Chavez groups, journalists and private, opposition media campaigns.
In December 2009, DAI began to have severe
problems with its operations in Afghanistan, when
five of its employees were killed by alleged
Taliban militants during an attack on their
office December 15 in Gardez. Just days earlier,
another DAI employee, Alan Gross, had been
detained in Cuba and accused of subversion for
illegally distributing advanced satellite equipment to dissidents.
When an article written by this author titled
Agents assassinated in Afghanistan worked for
"contractor" active in Venezuela, Cuba,
published December 30, 2009 on the web, evidenced
the link between DAIs operations in Afghanistan,
Cuba and Venezuela, and their suspicious nature,
the CEO of DAI, Jim Boomgard, was alarmed. Days
later, he attempted to coerce me into a private
meeting in Washington to discuss my article.
When I refused, he threatened me by claiming that
my writing was placing all DAI employees
worldwide in danger. In other words, if anything
happened to DAI employees, I would be personalIy responsible.
But Boomgard, who claimed little knowledge of his
companys operations in Venezuela, understood
that what DAI was doing in Venezuela was nowhere
near as important (to his company) as what DAI
was doing in Afghanistan and other countries in
conflict. Weeks later, DAI abruptly closed its office in Caracas.
Nonetheless, OTI continues its operations in
Venezuela, and although it has other US
partners managing a portion of its annual
multimillion-dollar budget, such as IRI, NDI,
Freedom House and the Pan American Development
Foundation (PADF), there is zero transparency
regarding funding to Venezuelan groups.
report published in May 2010 by the Spanish think
tank FRIDE assessing democracy assistance to
Venezuela revealed that a significant part of the
more than $50 million annually in political
funding from international agencies to
anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela was entering
illicitly. According to the report, in order to
avoid Venezuelas strict currency control laws,
US and European agencies bring the monies in
dollars or euros into the country and then change
them on the black market to increase value. This
method also avoids leaving a financial record or
trace of the funds coming in to illegally finance political activities.
If DAI is no longer operating in Venezuela and
distributing small grants to Venezuelan groups,
then how are USAIDs multimillion-dollar funds
reaching their recipients? According to USAID,
they now operate from the US Embassy. Is the US
Embassy illegally dishing out funds directly to Venezuelans?
OTIs 2010 report also reveals the agencys
ongoing intentions to continue supporting and
funding Venezuelan counterparts. In the section
marked Upcoming Events, OTI makes clear where
energies will be directed, December 2012 Presidential elections.
USAID isnt the only US agency intervening in
Venezuelas affairs. In the Pentagons 2011
budget, a new request for a psychological
operations program for the Southern Command
(USSOUTHCOM), which coordinates all US military
missions in Latin America, is included.
Specifically, the request refers to the
establishment of a PSYOP voice program for USSOUTHCOM.
PYSOP are, planned operations to convey selected
information and indicators to foreign audiences
to influence their emotions, motives, objective
reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign
governments, organizations, groups and
individuals. The execution of PSYOP includes
conducting research on various foreign audiences;
developing, producing and disseminating products
to influence these audiences; and conducting
evaluations to determine the effectiveness of the
PSYOP activities. These activities may include
the management of various websites and monitoring
print and electronic media. Or, as the 2011
request indicates, running a radio or audio
program into a foreign nation to promote US agenda.
USSOUTHCOMs new PSYOP program in Latin America
will complement a new State Department initiative
run out of the Board of Broadcasting Governors
(BBG), which manages US propaganda worldwide.
whopping 2011 budget of $768.8 million includes
a 30-minute, five-day-a-week VOA [Voice of
America] Spanish television program for Venezuela.
This increase in PSYOP and pro-US propaganda
directed at Venezuela evidences an escalation in
US aggression towards the region.
And the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence (DNI) is still running a special
intelligence mission on Venezuela and Cuba, set
up in 2006. Only four of these country-specific
mission management teams exist: Iran, North
Korea, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Venezuela/Cuba.
These missions receive an important part of
DNIs $80 billion annual budget and operate in complete secrecy.
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