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Chavez Bombshell? - A defector’s testimony links the Venezuelan strongman to international terror ^ | January 8, 2003 | Ivan G. Osorio

Posted on 01/08/2003 11:34:33 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe

On January 5, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's former personal pilot dropped a bombshell that has been ignored by just about every major U.S. news organization: The Venezuelan president, according to the pilot, gave al Qaeda a substantial sum of money following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Venezuelan Air Force Major Juan Diaz Castillo, who is now seeking political asylum in the United States and says his "life and liberty are in danger in Venezuela," says Chavez chose him to conduct the transfer because he trusted him as a close personal assistant. But Díaz, disgusted with Chavez's regime, resigned his post on October 25 — and fled following a December 16 attempt on his life.

At a Miami press conference this past Sunday, Diaz said that shortly following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Chavez commissioned him "to organize, coordinate, and execute a covert operation consisting of delivering financial resources, specifically $1 million, to [Afghanistan's] Taliban government, in order for them to assist the al-Qaeda terrorist organization," while, "making it appear as if humanitarian aid were being extended to the Afghan people."

The first attempt to transfer the money fell through, but in late September 2001 Venezuelan Vice President Diosdado Cabello decided to funnel the money through Venezuela's ambassador in India, one Walter Marquez. The Taliban received the money and publicly acknowledged receipt of $100,000 in "humanitarian aid." "The rest went straight to al Qaeda," claims Díaz Castillo. "That is, $900,000."

There is more. Diaz Castillo said that while in the Venezuelan air force, he saw Chavez's government send pro-Chavez armed groups — named "Bolivarian Circles," after South American independence hero Simón Bolívar — to Cuba for military training and ideological indoctrination, in order "to carry out acts of violence through them" against opponents. Diaz also says that Chavez has supplied money and arms to the Marxist guerrillas in neighboring Colombia that have plunged that country into chaos.

Diaz Castillo's testimony alone should not be taken at face value — but his statements are consistent with other defectors' testimony and Chavez's public behavior.

- General Marcos Ferreira, who resigned as director of Venezuela's border-control service, recently told Insight magazine that Cuba's General Intelligence Directorate (Spanish initials: DGI) has practically taken over Venezuela's ominously named Directorate for Intelligence, Security, and Prevention (DISIP), and that Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin pressured him to cover up the identities of terrorists — many from the Middle East — passing through Venezuela and to deceive U.S. terrorism investigators. "I quit my job when I got tired of doing dirty work for Chavez with the Cubans looking over my shoulder," he said.

- General Nestor Gonzalez Gonzalez, another military dissident, says Chavez has routed weapons and supplies from Cuba through Venezuela to Marxist guerrillas in Colombia. Gonzalez was with Diaz Castillo on December 16 during the failed attempt on Diaz's life. Militares Democraticos, a military dissident coalition, claims that Gonzalez was also targeted and that Chavez's DISIP was behind the attempt.

- In 2001, Chavez paid state visits to — and signed "cooperation agreements" with — Libya, Iraq, and Iran.

Chavez's hatred of the United States and our allies is well known, as is his propensity for violence. On September 12, 2001, Chavez supporters burned an American flag in Caracas's Plaza Bolivar to celebrate the previous day's terrorist attacks. Chavez tried to seize power by force in 1992; and recently his thugs have ransacked television stations and fired on opposition demonstrators. It is not a stretch to believe he would ally himself with anyone trying to do us harm.

The Bush administration must leave no stone unturned in investigating the allegations of Major Juan Diaz Castillo and of other Venezuelans who have fled and will flee Chavez's rule. If the allegations prove true, then the Chavez regime's current course poses a threat to the region's stability. How deeply is Chavez involved with international terror? We and our hemispheric neighbors need to know.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bolivariancircles; farc; latinamericalist; venezuela

1 posted on 01/08/2003 11:34:34 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
My. Could it be that the Stalinist thugs bankroll international terrorism?

After all, they invented terror as a political weapon.

Let's ask Clinton's pals, the Chinese.

2 posted on 01/08/2003 11:45:18 PM PST by Reactionary
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To: Tailgunner Joe
If Chavez is allowed to stay in power, and turns Venezuela into a military dictatorship, I believe the "axis of evil" will have to be expanded to the southern hemisphere.
3 posted on 01/09/2003 12:00:11 AM PST by Russell Scott
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To: Russell Scott

An Axis of Good?

Chavez Plans for Terrorist Regime

4 posted on 01/09/2003 12:08:29 AM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
The Genie is out of the bottle and Chavez can't put it back in.

It's time for Chavez to reap what he is sowing.
5 posted on 01/09/2003 12:24:04 AM PST by Balata
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To: Russell Scott
"...expanded to the southern hemisphere."

    "This will be a different kind of conflict against a different kind of enemy. This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible.

    "Yet they are mistaken. They will be exposed, and they will discover what others in the past have learned: Those who make war against the United States have chosen their own destruction."

    -- President George W. Bush (radio address)

6 posted on 01/09/2003 12:58:16 AM PST by Bonaparte
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Great article!

Last night Brit Hume covered the Major and the Chavez/al Queda connection on "Special Edition."


7 posted on 01/09/2003 1:33:53 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Tailgunner Joe; All
Chávez must yield to election calls*** After being the fastest-growing economy on record between 1920 and 1980, Venezuela experienced an extraordinary reversal of fortune in the following two decades, with income per capita falling by half. Disappointed with their lot, Venezuelans voted for a candidate who blamed corruption and privilege - not lack of growth - for their miseries and who offered a political agenda centred on constitutional reform. Since Mr Chávez took power four years ago, income per capita has fallen by another 20 per cent, in spite of high oil prices. The constitutional reform approved in 1999 did away with a 40-year-old constitution that had generated enough political stability to ensure the transfer of power to nine elected presidents, seven of them running from the opposition. Enough checks and balances were put into the system and sufficient institutional space was created for political parties so that all constituencies found it in their interest to play by the rules and to search for consensus.

The new constitution, through design and circumstance, ended up concentrating power in the presidency and eliminating most checks and balances. It was drafted by a constituent assembly elected through a rule that gave Mr Chávez 92 per cent of the seats with just over 50 per cent of the vote, essentially disenfranchising the opposition. This winner-take-all assembly dissolved the elected Congress and appointed loyal supporters to the Supreme Court, the attorney-general and the comptroller-general without following constitutional procedures. In addition, the new constitution extended the presidential period, allowed for a one-time re-election and substituted a two-chamber congress with a one-chamber national assembly, in order to lessen the burden of consensus-building. This concentration of power has allowed the government to get away with murder, misuse public funds, arm violent gangs and disarm opposition local police.***

8 posted on 01/09/2003 1:55:54 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Reactionary
Hmmmm......Marxists = Islam......??

Same goals, same methods. Could "Islam" be the proletariat's Trojan Horse of the 21st century?

9 posted on 01/09/2003 4:03:58 AM PST by Victor
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To: Free the USA; B4Ranch; Tancredo Fan; Marine Inspector; Ajnin; agitator; Tancred; backhoe; ...
10 posted on 01/09/2003 6:10:34 AM PST by madfly
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To: ME4W
11 posted on 01/09/2003 6:15:33 AM PST by madfly
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To: *Latin_America_List
12 posted on 01/09/2003 8:24:37 AM PST by Free the USA
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To: madfly
While Tailgunner Joe along with Cincinatus' Wife have done well tracking this, the first FR article on Castillo I am aware of came from shanec on Dec. 31st with other followups to
Chavez financed Al Qaeda, details of $1M donation emerge.

Good to see some media are catching on now.

13 posted on 01/09/2003 9:57:27 AM PST by flamefront
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To: flamefront; shanec
yes, those were excellent threads and I was so suprised to see this today. I've sent it to all the foxnews guys, as I did with the other two articles.
14 posted on 01/09/2003 11:03:25 AM PST by madfly
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To: madfly; Carry_Okie; livius; cocopuff; HAL9000; Cincinatus' Wife; Tailgunner Joe; ...
You might want to give the media (and anybody in govt) a heads-up about this here, too...

Chavez $1M Support for Al Qaeda Confirmed

Chavez: Likes to talk, but suddenly
silent on $1M Al Qaeda payment

Following the money trail
In the world of terrorist financing, bank records naturally do not tell the true origin nor destination of funds. That's why no one will ever be able to find a check signed by Hugo Chavez with the payee's name as Osama Bin Laden.

But there are other ways to get to the truth. The best is to talk to those who were involved. Therefore, investigators rely heavily on the testimony of the insiders who carried out the operations and those who were material witnesses to the transactions.

Today in Venezuela, many of the men who were closest to Hugo Chavez in the 9/11 aftermath have now turned away from him. And they are talking.
Are they telling the truth?
Here are some questions that the world needs to know the answers to:

For the Chavez government, to determine the veracity of the claim that funds were sent to Al Qaeda after 9/11:

  • Did you or did you not arrange for Walter Marquez to give $1M to the Taliban post-9/11?

  • Did he or did he not carry out the mission succesfully?

  • Do you deny that those involved, first Juan Diaz Castillo, and then Walter Marquez, were given clear instructions by Diosdado Cabello that $100,000 of the money should be left with the Taliban but that the Taliban should then arrange for the remaining $900,000 to reach Al Qaeda?

  • Did you or did you not claim publically, on Venezuelan TV and to the local press at the time, that the money was for UNHCR relief efforts?

For UNHCR, to determine the veracity of the claim that the Venezuelan government concocted a cover story to hide the true destination of the $1M Al Qaeda support:

  • Were you contacted by Venezuela post-9/11 and told that you would receive humanitarian aid for Afghanistan?

  • Did you ever see any of the $1M from Venezuela?
Straight questions demand straight answers. If Chavez will not talk, others will.

By Johan Freitas, in Caracas

A Venezuelan army intelligence officer has come forward with testimony and documentation which confirms the recent accusations of a $1M donation from Hugo Chavez to Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization.

" - What Major Juan Diaz Castillo says is completely true. I know it, and Hugo Chavez knows it," states the intelligence officer who is in active service in the Venezuelan Army and holds the rank of Coronel.

He has in his possession intelligence files detailing Chavez connections to a total of five different terrorist organizations, four of which are classified as such by the FBI. The documents were made available to Militares Democraticos, a military resistance movement formed by a group of former Chavez loyalists from the armed forces who are today calling for free and democratic elections in their country.

The coronel is currently still in Venezuela, and fears for his life after two other whistleblowers suffered assasination attempts by the Chavez secret service on the freeway between Caracas and Valencia Dec 16.
He has made plans to go underground and asked Militares Democraticos for safe passage out of the country so he can go public with his accusations.

" - Chavez is using Venezuelan oil billions to sponsor international terrorism, and the world needs to know that," says the coronel who is prepared to fully confirm the previous statements made by presidential pilot Juan Diaz Castillo as soon as he is safely out of the country and no longer within the reach of Chavez Death Squads.

Meanwhile, Venezuelans are asking why Chavez has not publicly denied the Al Qaeda accusions. They made front page news in the country, but Chavez kept his silence. They were lead-in stories for news shows in Europe, the U.S. and even neighboring Colombia. Still, Chavez would not comment.

If the accusations were not true, political commentators ask, why not just say so?

Brigadier General Nestor Gonzalez Gonzalez, who knows Chavez well but is today a member of the opposition, explains the reason:
" - Chavez can't deny the story. If he does, he will be lying. This, a public lie, could trigger more desertations of current Chavez-loyalists. People who did his dirty work, but will not be part of a cover-up because they know that too many others are aware of the true facts. And they know that the details of the Al Qaeda financing have begun to emerge. Chavez can not risk that."

It is telling that Chavez has not publicly denied the recent Al Qaeda accusions. His current tactic of not commenting on the scandal may seem strange, considering that it has been frontpage news all over Venezuela.
" - But to Chavez, silence is the safest strategy for him," thinks Gonzalez.
" - Because if he denies it, more and more whistleblowers will come forward and documents like the ones that the army intelligence colonel has will start to appear. Remember that Chavez has a weakness: he likes to talk. So a lot of people who used to work in the Miraflores presidential palace around September and October 2001 know what really happened."

Background briefings on the Chavez - Al Qaeda connection:

January 09, 2003

Invite any in media or govt to contact me to arrange a debriefing and/or interviews with this Colonel next week.-Shane

15 posted on 01/09/2003 11:29:22 AM PST by shanec
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Just much do we give Venezxuela in Foreign Aid? And does this mean they used our Foreign Aid money to fund....this little contribution?
16 posted on 01/09/2003 12:39:55 PM PST by holyscroller
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To: shanec
17 posted on 01/09/2003 5:42:57 PM PST by madfly
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To: shanec
18 posted on 01/10/2003 12:37:41 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Tailgunner Joe
But ..... but ........ but ........ NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN haven't metioned anything about this. Not to mention The Washington Post, New York Times nor the L.A. Times. So how could it be true? I just know they wouldn't keep the truth from us.
19 posted on 01/10/2003 12:52:47 AM PST by fella
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20 posted on 01/10/2003 12:59:49 AM PST by Mo1 (Join the DC Chapter at the Patriots Rally III on 1/18/03)
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To: fella
21 posted on 01/19/2003 12:08:07 PM PST by madfly
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