[News] CIA Contractor Accused of Terrorism in Venezuela who Claims he was on a Simple Boating Holiday

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Wed Mar 10 10:40:18 EST 2021


https://orinocotribune.com/the-curious-case-of-han-solo-a-cia-contractor-accused-of-terrorism-in-venezuela-who-claims-he-was-on-a-simple-boating-holiday/ 
<https://orinocotribune.com/the-curious-case-of-han-solo-a-cia-contractor-accused-of-terrorism-in-venezuela-who-claims-he-was-on-a-simple-boating-holiday/> 



  The Curious Case of ‘Han Solo’, a CIA Contractor Accused of Terrorism
  in Venezuela who Claims he was on a Simple Boating Holiday

Mar 7, 2021.- This week, from the disturbing CIA operations file, comes 
the case of Matthew John Heath, an American and former Marine accused of 
sabotage, terrorism, trafficking illegal weapons and conspiracy.

You could be forgiven for thinking that an ex-Marine going on trial for 
terrorism charges in Venezuela might meet with the sort of US media 
coverage that the Amanda Knox story attained, but the start of Heath’s 
trial has warranted barely a whisper.

Heath was arrested last September alongside six Venezuelans, including 
some military personnel. The gang were apparently planning attacks on 
oil refineries, a major bridge and possibly military installations, and 
were caught at a roadblock with bricks of American currency, high 
explosives, a satellite phone and a grenade launcher.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has accused Heath of being a spy and 
terrorist working for the US government, while his family maintains his 
innocence. One of several letters smuggled 
<https://newschannel9.com/news/local/mystery-surrounds-former-marines-imprisonment-in-venezuela> out 
of prison and sent to Heath’s relatives reads, /“Don’t WORRY! Han Solo 
always wins!”/  His family have opined that he was either simply an 
American in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that the evidence was 
planted in order to frame him.

*Seeking leverage or deafening silence?*

So, what are we to make of this? Sean McFate of Georgetown 
University suggested 
<https://newschannel9.com/news/local/mystery-surrounds-former-marines-imprisonment-in-venezuela> that 
/“A soldier like Heath, whether or not he’s guilty, is very attractive 
to authoritarian leaders like Maduro seeking leverage with the US.” /

But the US government has had little or no contact with Heath, hasn’t 
moved to negotiate his release, and there is no sign of Maduro using 
‘Han Solo’ as leverage, either with the Trump administration or with the 
new Biden White House.

Instead, the deafening silence of US officials and major media in 
response to Heath going on trial suggests that they want to keep a lid 
on the situation. This is likely due to the implication that this 
self-styled pilot of the Millennium Falcon was working as part of an 
ongoing disruption campaign being waged against Venezuela by the CIA.

Investigative journalist Alan Macleod pursued this angle in a 
recent expose 
<https://www.mintpressnews.com/media-completely-ignore-american-secret-agents-trial-for-terrorism-in-venezuela/275712/>, 
noting Heath’s widely reported background working not just for Marine 
Corps intelligence but also for the CIA, before he joined MVM – an 
intelligence services firm who contract almost exclusively for the US 
government.

RELATED CONTENT: Matthew Heath Part of Covert Terrorist Operations in 
Venezuela 
<https://orinocotribune.com/matthew-heath-part-of-covert-terrorist-operations-in-venezuela/>

Macleod’s article highlights, /“Although MVM is technically a private 
company, it was founded by three former Secret Service agents and 
continues to work closely with Washington…  The only clients listed on 
its website <https://www.mvminc.com/our-services/> are American 
government agencies. “Need a secret agent?” begins its description of 
the company.”/

*The Bay of Piglets: Recycling the Cuba playbook*

In May 2020, two former Green Berets led an amphibious assault on 
Venezuela with the aim of storming the presidential palace 
and installing 
<https://thegrayzone.com/2020/05/10/guaido-mercenary-contract-venezuelas-maduro-us-bounty-death-squad/> Juan 
Guaido – the US’s preferred puppet leader of the country – as the new 
president. As Macleod points out, this event was quickly dubbed the ‘Bay 
of Piglets’ – a reference to the CIA botched coup attempt against the 
Castro government in Cuba in 1961.

In an interview with RT, he added, /“That this could occur without at 
least the knowledge of the State Department seems unlikely, at best.”/

Following the Bay of Pigs, the CIA embarked on an extensive program of 
black operations designed to destabilise the Castro government. One memo 
<https://farm7.static.flickr.com/6063/6072930830_fd0de7f8ea_o.jpg>, 
titled ‘Possible Actions to Provoke, Harass or Disrupt Cuba’, details a 
string of ideas including industrial and military sabotage, economic 
warfare, and spreading misinformation and disinformation.

Operations were carried out to /“create unrest and dissension among the 
Cuban people” /and to encourage the view that Castro’s /“value to the 
revolutionary cause has diminished to the point that plans are being 
made for his removal.”/ Plans were even made, under the codename 
Operation Dirty Trick <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuUoDR-VTu8>, so 
that if the first manned spaceflight were to fail, they would 
manufacture evidence to /“provide irrevocable proof… that the fault lies 
with the Communists.”/

Fast forward to today, and it appears that the CIA have simply recycled 
their 60s playbook and used it as a manual for targeting the Venezuelan 
government and people.  In between regular failed coup attempts, the US 
government is deploying regular economic warfare, sabotage and 
disinformation tactics to try to erode domestic support for Maduro and 
‘soften’ the country’s resistance to the corporate empire.

Macleod summarised, /“For two decades now, there has not been a day that 
has gone by that the US government was not working in some way to 
overthrow the government of Venezuela. They have tried organizing coups 
and protest movements as well as longer term strategies like funding 
political and social organizations, as well as levying sanctions on the 
country. There have also been many mysterious incidents in Venezuela 
that the government alleges were the work of unknown saboteurs.”/

RELATED CONTENT: Who is the US Mercenary John Matthew Heath and What 
About MVM Inc.? 
<https://orinocotribune.com/who-is-the-us-mercenary-john-matthew-heath-and-what-about-mvm-inc/>

*A blank space in a book*

If Heath, a.k.a. ‘Han Solo’, was indeed working as part of a CIA black 
operation, which seems likely given the evidence compiled by MacLeod and 
the general pattern of events in Venezuela in recent years, then he is 
probably a NOC – a non-official cover operative.

As outlined by Al Pacino’s character in the film ‘The Recruit’ – which 
was originally written by the CIA’s Hollywood liaison – most CIA 
officers working out of embassies around the world enjoy official cover 
and diplomatic immunity, but some become NOCs.

Pacino’s character says: /“The NOC is the truest practitioner of 
espionage – always out there, always alone, unprotected. If you are 
caught, you will most likely be tortured, shot, and/or hanged. And 
here’s the best part – no one will ever hear about it. You will become a 
star on a wall, a blank space in a book.”/

Macleod commented on the increased contracting out of NOC activities, 
saying, /“Much of Washington’s actual dirty work has been outsourced to 
third parties, however, through organizations like USAID (United States 
Agency for International Development) and the NED (National Endowment 
for Democracy).”/

Back in the bad old days in Cuba, NOCs and other disposable assets came 
in the form of Cuban exiles and mafia lieutenants, but today, proxy war 
has been corporatised and NOCs work for three letter abbreviations like 
MVM, blowing up bridges and firing grenades at oil refiners. Or at 
least, trying to.

*The world’s weirdest holiday?*

The CIA has remained predictably silent about Heath, while the State 
Department’s only comment on the case came in the form of a tweet by a 
spokesman asking for a fair trial.

Neither the Trump nor Biden White Houses have had anything to say about 
Heath, suggesting that there is an official policy of not commenting on 
this politically controversial case.

If Heath is, as he claims, an innocent civilian with a military record 
and a penchant for ‘Star Wars’, who went to Venezuela during a global 
pandemic to gain <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNyZy1jXNqc>/“more 
boating experience,”/ then the State Department would be advocating for 
him. If this were the travesty of justice that Heath will no doubt make 
out it is when the trial moves to the defence phase, then the US media 
should be screaming blue murder.

Instead, the American government and major media response to this 
innocent man on the world’s weirdest holiday has been to politely ignore 
him, as though getting caught with high explosives, surveillance photos 
and machine guns is regular behaviour for Americans on nautical vacations.

*Han Solo: A Matthew Heath story*

As Joshua Goodman, an American journalist, observed 
<https://newschannel9.com/news/local/mystery-surrounds-former-marines-imprisonment-in-venezuela>, 
/“Heath’s reputation for discretion, background in signals intelligence 
for the Marines and past work as a US government contractor in Iraq and 
Afghanistan seemed straight out of a Tom Clancy novel.” /

The Clancy parallels are apt, especially given the latest adaptation of 
his work – Amazon’s ‘Jack Ryan’ – focused its entire second season on 
glamourising an off-the-books CIA coup against the Venezuelan 
government, including storming the presidential palace. The show, which 
is supported by both <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HHE2JTNwsE> the 
CIA and the Pentagon, went to great efforts to project Venezuela back 
into the public consciousness as a desperate threat to US national 
security and in need of extreme prejudice.

Macleod commented, /“Unfortunately, many of the plot lines of shows like 
Jack Ryan have a tendency to come true. This is because the writers are 
in close contact with government agents who help them craft realistic 
scenarios for their plots based on actual events or plans.”/

Despite this, I wouldn’t expect ‘Han Solo: A Matthew Heath Story’ to be 
coming to a theatre near you anytime soon.

/Featured image: © Getty Images / Konstantin Trubavin/

(RT 
<https://www.rt.com/op-ed/517343-cia-contractor-terrorism-venezuela/>) 
by Tom Secker

<https://orinocotribune.com/author/yullma/>

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