* Greg Palast: $300 Mllion From Chavez To Farc A Fake

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Richard Moore

Mar 13, 2008, 6:07:59 AM3/13/08
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$300 Mllion From Chavez To Farc A Fake

Here¹s the written evidence
Š and - please say it ain¹t so! - Obama and Hillary attack Ecuador
By Greg Palast
Do you believe this?

This past weekend, Colombia invaded Ecuador, killed a guerrilla chief in the jungle, opened his laptop ­ and what did the Colombians find? A message to Hugo Chavez that he¹s sent the FARC guerrillas $300 million ­ which they¹re using to obtain uranium to make a dirty bomb!

That¹s what George Bush tells us. And he got that from his buddy, the strange right-wing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe.

So: After the fact, Colombia justifies its attempt to provoke a border war as a to stop the threat of WMDs! Uh, where have we heard that before?

The US press snorted up this line about Chavez¹ $300 million to ³terrorists² quicker than the young Bush inhaling Colombia¹s powdered export.

What the US press did not do is look at the evidence, the email in the magic laptop. (Presumably, the FARC leader¹s last words were, ³Listen, my password is Š.²)

I read them. While you can read it all in español, here is, in translation, the one and only mention of the alleged $300 million from Chavez is this:

³Š With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call ³dossier,² efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo [slang term for Œcripple¹], which I will explain in a separate note. Let¹s call the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto.²

Got that? Where is Hugo? Where¹s 300 million? And 300 what? Indeed, in context, the note is all about the hostage exchange with the FARC that Chavez was working on at the time (December 23, 2007) at the request of the Colombian government.

Indeed, the entire remainder of the email is all about the mechanism of the hostage exchange. Here¹s the next line:

³To receive the three freed ones, Chavez proposes three options: Plan A. Do it to via of a Œhumanitarian caravan¹; one that will involve Venezuela, France, the Vatican[?], Switzerland, European Union, democrats [civil society], Argentina, Red Cross, etc.²

As to the 300, I must note that the FARC¹s previous prisoner exchange involved 300 prisoners. Is that what the Œ300¹ refers to? ¿Quien sabe? Unlike Uribe, Bush and the US press, I won¹t guess or make up a phastasmogoric story about Chavez spending money he doesn¹t even have.

To bolster their case, the Colombians claim, with no evidence whatsoever, that the mysterious ³Angel² is the code name for Chavez. But in the memo, Chavez goes by the code name Š Chavez.

Well, so what? This is what.

Colombia¹s invasion into Ecuador is a rank violation of international law, condemned by every single Latin member of the Organization of American States. And George Bush just loved it. He called Uribe to back Colombia, against, ³the continuing assault by narco-terrorists as well as the provocative maneuvers by the regime in Venezuela.²

Well, our President may have gotten the facts ass-backward, but he Bush knows what he¹s doing: shoring up his last, faltering ally in South America, Uribe, a desperate man in deep political trouble.

Uribe¹s claims he is going to bring charges against Chavez before the International Criminal Court. If Uribe goes there in person, I suggest he take a toothbrush: it was just discovered that right-wing death squads held murder-planning sessions at Uribe¹s ranch. Uribe¹s associates have been called before the nation¹s Supreme Court and may face prison.

In other words, it¹s a good time for a desperate Uribe to use that old politico¹s wheeze, the threat of war, to drown out accusations of his own criminality. Furthermore, Uribe¹s attack literally killed negotiations with FARC by killing FARC¹s negotiator, Raul Reyes. Reyes was in talks with both Ecuador and Chavez about another prisoner exchange. Uribe authorized the negotiations, however, he knew, should those talks have succeeded in obtaining the release of those kidnapped by the FARC, credit would have been heaped on Ecuador and Chavez, and discredit heaped on Uribe.

Luckily for a hemisphere the verge of flames, the President of Ecuador, Raphael Correa, is one of the most level-headed, thoughtful men I¹ve ever encountered.

Correa is now flying from Quito to Brazilia to Caracas to keep the region from blowing sky high. While moving troops to his border ­ no chief of state can permit foreign tanks on their sovereign soil ­ Correa also refuses sanctuary to the FARC . Indeed, Ecuador has routed out 47 FARC bases, a better track record than Colombia¹s own, corrupt military.

For his cool, peaceable handling of the crisis, I will forgive Correa for apologizing for his calling Bush, ³a dimwitted President who has done great damage to his country and the world.²

Amateur Hour in Blue

We can trust Correa to keep the peace South of the Border. But can we trust our Presidents-to-be?

The current man in the Oval Office, George Bush, simply can¹t help himself: an outlaw invasion by a right-wing death-squad promoter is just fine with him.

But guess who couldn¹t wait to parrot the Bush line? Hillary Clinton, still explaining that her vote to invade Iraq was not a vote to invade Iraq, issued a statement nearly identical to Bush¹s, blessing the invasion of Ecuador as Colombia¹s ³right to defend itself.² And she added, ³Hugo Chávez must stop these provoking actions.² Huh?

I assumed that Obama wouldn¹t jump on this landmine ­ especially after he was blasted as a foreign policy amateur for suggesting he would invade across Pakistan¹s border to hunt terrorists.

It¹s embarrassing that Barack repeated Hillary¹s line nearly verbatim, announcing, ³the Colombian government has every right to defend itself.²

(I¹m sure Hillary¹s position wasn¹t influenced by the loan of a campaign jet to her by Frank Giustra. Giustra has given over a hundred million dollars to Bill Clinton projects. Last year, Bill introduced Giustra to Colombia¹s Uribe. On the spot, Giustra cut a lucrative deal with Uribe for Colombian oil.)

Then there¹s Mr. War Hero. John McCain weighed in with his own idiocies, announcing that, ³Hugo Chavez is establish[ing] a dictatorship,² presumably because, unlike George Bush, Chavez counts all the votes in Venezuelan elections.

But now our story gets tricky and icky.

The wise media critic Jeff Cohen told me to watch for the press naming McCain as a foreign policy expert and labeling the Democrats as amateurs. Sure enough, the New York Times, on the news pages Wednesday, called McCain, ³a national security pro.²

McCain is the ³pro² who said the war in Iraq would cost nearly nothing in lives or treasury dollars.

But, on the Colombian invasion of Ecuador, McCain said, ³I hope that tensions will be relaxed, President Chavez will remove those troops from the borders - as well as the Ecuadorians - and relations continue to improve between the two.²

It¹s not quite English, but it¹s definitely not Bush. And weirdly, it¹s definitely not Obama and Clinton cheerleading Colombia¹s war on Ecuador.

Democrats, are you listening? The only thing worse than the media attacking Obama and Clinton as amateurs is the Democratic candidates¹ frightening desire to prove them right.


Watch Greg Palast¹s reports from Venezuela and Ecuador for BBC Television Newsnight and Democracy Now! Compiled on the DVD, ³The Assassination of Hugo Chavez," pick it up at http://www.PalastInvestigativeFund.org

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