Thursday 1 May 2003

American Navy 'helped Venezuelan coup'

The UK daily broadsheet, The Guardian's investigative reporter Duncan Campbell ... reporting from Los Angeles ... says that the United States of America had been considering a coup d'etat to overthrow the elected Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez Frias since June 2001, according to former US intelligence officer Wayne Madsen.

Campbell's report, originally published a year ago but given very little play in the opposition-controlled Venezuelan print & broadcast media, also highlights allegations that that the US Navy aided the abortive Venezuelan coup on April 11 with intelligence from its vessels in the Caribbean ... Campbell says "evidence is also emerging of US financial backing for key participants in the coup."

Madsen, an intelligence analyst, told The Guardian that American military attaches had been in touch with members of the Venezuelan military to examine the possibility of a coup. "I first heard of Lieutenant Colonel James Rogers (the assistant military attache based at the US embassy in Caracas) going down there in June 2001 to set the ground ... some of our counter-narcotics agents were also involved."

The US navy was in the area for operations unconnected to the coup d'etat, but that Madsen understood that "they had assisted with signals intelligence as the coup was played out ... the US Navy helped with communications jamming support to the Venezuelan military, focusing on communications to and from the Cuba, Libya, Iran and Iraq diplomatic missions in Caracas ... four countries which had expressed support for Mr. Chavez."

Navy vessels on a training exercise in the area were supposedly put on stand-by in case evacuation of US citizens in Venezuela was required. In Caracas, a congressman has accused the US Ambassador to Venezuela, Charles Shapiro, and two US embassy military attaches of involvement in the coup. Roger Rondon claimed that the military officers, whom he named as (James) Rogers and (Ronald) MacCammon, had been at the Fuerte Tiuna military headquarters with the coup leaders during the night of April 11-12.

Referring to Ambassador Shapiro, Rondon said: "We saw him leaving Miraflores Palace, all smiles and embraces, with the Dictator Pedro Carmona Estanga (who was installed by the military for a day) ... (his) satisfaction was obvious ... Shapiro's participation in the coup d'etat in Venezuela is evident."

Full story...

April 11 coup d'etat linked to US President George W. Bush 'dirty wars' team