CIA anti-Venezeula “pincers” memo bogus?

This from Larry Johnson, ex-CIA, terrorism expert, and political progressive (check his blogroll)

As the official bubble burster let me state for the record, this is patent nonsense. State Department officers do not write memos to Hayden. Particularly mid-level Foreign Service Officers. A CIA officer under diplomatic cover sends his communications to headquarters via an encoded message. We call these messages cables, harkening back to the days of telegraphs and telegrams.

This, in my judgment, is the work–very clumsy work at that–of the Venezuelan intelligence service eager to build on the truth that the United States has sought to oust Chavez. All of this is quite convenient with Venezuelan elections on the horizon. It may be hamhanded, but for internal Venezuelan consumption, this is brilliant psyops and should help Chavez further demonize the equally clumsy Americans.

Indeed, why would CIA leave a document like that lying around and not send it encrypted? Or even write it down at all? Sounds like a battle between dumb and dumber here.

Tip: Russell King.


  1. It sounds like something more sinister to me.

  2. The memo is most likely bogus. But that’s almost beside the point.

    It serves the purpose of making public the idea that the US is trying to intervene in Venezuela. This idea alone generates huge popular resentment towards Bushco, which is, of course, precisely how Chavez wants Venezuelans to feel about Bushco.

    We have all seen the power of creating bogeymen here in the US (first “commies”, then “terrorists”). Well, in VZ the bogeymen are “neo-liberalists” and the American government. And using the bogeyman to rally the public is just as effective there as it has been here. Bush and Cheney in particular, are especially easy to make Bogeymen out of – it’s almost like they were pulled out from Central Casting for the role. Chavez would not miss such an easy target to rally popular emotion against.

    That being said, like any dis-information worth even a cursory look, it is based on the probably true idea that Bushco probably does desire someone besides Chavez in charge in VZ, and they probably are looking at covert actions that would facilitate undermining or replacing him.

    The bogus memo could then be seen as a pre-emptive psy-ops strike against Bushco. They guess, based on the past, that Bushco is going to come after them covertly, So the try to raise public awareness about that BEFORE it happens.

    Arguably, this is an effective counter tactic based on the idea that if the public is informed, they become harder targets to get to by propaganda and psy-ops.

    IMHO, there are two reasons for Chavez wanting to be perpetual President and exercise an inordinate amount of executive authority in VZ, and in my estimation, they are similar to the motivations for establishing a unitary executive here in the US, and the same purposes that Musharraf has in Pakistan (yes, I do see similarities between all these political animals).

    1. They lust after the level of power it gives them. Let’s not fool ourselves about that.

    2. They are such true believers in their agenda, and they sense that no one else besides them would be able to institute the kinds of changes they believe must be made for their countries.

    I think Chavez, the neocons, and Musharraf all deeply believe they are the last hope for their nations, and therefore taking extreme measures to forward their agendas is necessary.

    The multinational corporations, private contractors et al come into play in two ways – 1. the owners of these big banks, contractors and corporations (particularly Big Oil, but there are others), are some of the same people who deeply believe in these agndas, and 2. the money to be made (billions and billions) is nothing to be sniffed at.

    Like most political battles, this isn’t a clash of good vs evil, but a clash of true believers/power seekers, each of whom is willing to do unethical, illegal, and sometimes murderous things to further their cause.

  3. On the one hand, we are entitled to have every suspicion as to the authenticity of the memo. In particular, its purported classification — “Confidential” — seems rather weak for a document of this sort.

    Likewise, its provenance is, as of now, completely unclear. Of course, it is most certainly not an “encrypted cable”; it isn’t remotely conceivable that the Venezuelans could intercept and decrypt such a message. But a draft floating around the Caracas embassy? Cherchez la cleaning lady!

    On the other hand, a reading of the published summary would indicate that the author(s) had a perfect command of English-language burocratese. Its organization is polished and coherent. It lacks any of the blunders, exaggerations and improbabilities of a crude forgery. Is the Venezuelan secret service capable of such expertise in disinformation? If so, it deserves at least an A for effort!

    The fact that it has only just surfaced can be interpreted in two ways. First, that it is indeed designed to fan anti-American sentiment in the runup to tomorrow’s vote. But then, this is precisely the moment at which the CIA might most logically be acting to influence or destabilize the Venezuelan political process.

    It is likewise interesting that the alleged author has been named. While scant, publicly-available information indicates that this purported individual does exist, is a US resident and is linked to the CIA (and not the State Department). Why not ask him about it?

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