Venezuela’s acting President warns about U.S. led assassination attempt on political rival

Nicolas Maduro says that Pentagon and CIA plan to assassinate Capriles

By DANIEL WALLIS | REUTERS | MARCH 18, 2013

Venezuela’s acting president urged U.S. leader Barack Obama to stop what he called a plot by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency to kill his opposition rival and trigger a coup before an April 14 election.

Nicolas Maduro said the plan was to blame his opponent’s murder on the OPEC nation’s government and to “fill Venezuelans with hate” as they prepare to go to vote following the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

Maduro first mentioned a plot against his rival, Henrique Capriles, last week, blaming it on former Bush administration officials Roger Noriega and Otto Reich. Both rejected the allegations as untrue, outrageous and defamatory.

“I call on President Obama – Roger Noriega, Otto Reich, officials at the Pentagon and at the CIA are behind a plan to assassinate the right-wing presidential candidate to create chaos,” Maduro said in a TV interview broadcast on Sunday.

Maduro, who is Chavez’s preferred successor, said the purpose of the plot was to set off a coup and that his information came from “a very good source.”

During his 14 years in power, the charismatic but divisive Chavez, who died March 5 after a two-year battle with cancer, often denounced U.S. plots against him and his “revolution.” Critics dismissed those claims as a smokescreen to keep voters focused on a sense of “imperialist” threat.

In kicking off the opposition’s campaign in the provinces on Saturday, Capriles said Maduro would be to blame if anything happened to him.

READ FULL ARTICLE…

Assassinating Americans is ‘legal’, ‘wise’ and ‘ethical’

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 6, 2013

The Law Office of the White House has established that it is legal to kill a U.S. citizen overseas “if a senior government member” ensures that the target to kill is someone who poses an “imminent threat to the country” and his capture is not possible. The White House has made that decision clear through spokesman, Jay Carney. “The president is very careful when conducting the war against terrorism in accordance to Constitution and the laws, ” Carney said.

The license to kill which has given the Obama administration permission to end the lives of Americans abroad was exposed after a 16 page document issued by the American Justice Department was made public. The document alleges that murdering Americans does not violate the U.S. Constitution or the rights of citizens.

The memorandum extends the concept of “imminent attack” and grants the U.S. Government the authority, should it have ‘concrete evidence’ of a conspiracy to seek, target and kill Americans which the administration considers dangerous for American interests. Although the document describes potential suspects as members of Al Qaeda, or people who are in charge of terrorist operations, the truth is that other documents such as military manuals portray Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, gun owners and veterans as domestic threats who can also be targeted for assassination. In fact, in 2012, the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress approved the National Defense Authorization Act, which also allows the president to target and murder Americans on U.S. soil.

The paper obtained by NBC news is part of a legal memorandum from 2011 that was passed to some members of the Justice and Intelligence committees of the Senate. This report was written months before drone attacks were launched in Yemen, in a supposed attempt to prevent imminent terror attacks on the U.S. or its interests in the region. One of those attacks was used to murder a U.S. born citizen — Anwar Al Awlaki — who allegedly was a member of Al-Qaeda, but who also dined at the Pentagon with top members of the Department of Defense. In addition to al-Awlaki, three other Americans were killed in the attack, including the 16-year-old son of the cleric.

According to human rights organizations in the U.S., Awlaki suffered an extrajudicial killing and therefore they presented grievances against the government demanding to know what had been the legal basis for this action. Awlaki was an American citizen even if he liked to preach jihad and took refuge in Yemen, which made him subject of detention and a fair legal process that included a trial and chance of appeal.

The Obama Administration, supported by various court rulings – rejected repeatedly any request from lawmakers, civil rights groups and various media organizations to publicize the memorandum and other information on extrajudicial events. The administration also refused to recognize or acknowledged its existence.

“These drone attacks are legal, are ethical and intelligent”, replied the White House spokesman. Now that the memorandum has been made public, Washington will have its hands full over a scandal that it did not expect to deal with until NBC made the memo public.

The administration “is very careful” when deciding who and when to attack, Carney noted.

After answering questions from the White House press, Carney was questioned about whether the 16 year-old boy who was killed by the drone attack that killed Awlaki, also posed a threat to the United States. “For a president who opposes torture and who considers waterboarding as such, is it not a violation of human rights to kill an American citizen without trial?

Tomorrow, the first hearing will be held to confirm the man chosen by President Obama to head the CIA. John Brennan, one of the promoters of the strategy of drone attacks and current counter terrorism adviser to Obama will face questions regarding government policy before his confirmation is completed. In fact, 11 senators have already asked Obama to reveal the assumptions used to approve drone attacks when it comes to U.S. citizens.

The letter implied the toughest warning made to date against that strategy and senators agreed to oppose to any nominations for the Pentagon and the CIA unless the memos were made public. Therefore, Brennan’s confirmation will not be easy.

A document issued by the advocacy group Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) claimed that at least 54 countries collaborated “actively” with the secret program of illegal detention of suspected terrorists developed by the CIA after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Today, we have officially learned that this list includes infamous U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.

The report is over 200 pages and states that the administration of George W. Bush embraced the “dark side” to combat international terrorism. According to the study, the Republican administration authorized numerous violations of human rights without regard for U.S. or international laws.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.

Macedonia convicted of aiding CIA with torture of prisoners

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | DECEMBER 14, 2012

On Thursday Macedonia became the first European country to be found guilty for collaborating with the U.S. in the so-called secret CIA flights and for hosting secret CIA torture sites. The Strasbourg Court said the country was guilty for aiding the CIA to torture a German citizen of Lebanese descent who was mistaken as a terrorist.

The European Court of Human Rights has established that Khaled el Masri was tortured after his arrest on December 31, 2003 and before being delivered 23 days later to the CIA, which sent him to a prison camp in Afghanistan where he remained for 6 months.

Macedonia broke up four articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, according to the Court, which places special emphasis on the third article, which prohibits torture and therefore condemns the country to pay the complainant € 60,000 in damages.

The country also violated the right to liberty and security, respect for private and family life and the right to an effective remedy, according to the judgment. Macedonia not only practiced torture with El Masri but gave him to the CIA knowing that he risked further torture, said the ruling.

“This sentence deserves to be described as historic: it is the first conviction in an international court of the practice of illegal transportation of detainees and the CIA’s secret detention,” said the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Jean-Claude Mignon.

This pan-European body, which brings together 47 States of the Old Continent, whipped these shady practices that emerged after the attacks of September 11, 2001, in a report by Swiss senator Dick Marty in 2006, in which he detailed that 14 European countries collaborated in these illegal practices.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, saw the ruling as “a milestone in the fight against impunity” and a first step to convict other countries who also collaborated with the CIA.

The Human Rights Court validated the testimony of El Masri, born in 1963 and living in the German city of Ulm, who said he was mistaken for a terrorist when he arrived in Skopje on December 31, 2003 for sightseeing.

There he was arrested by the Macedonian authorities, who took him to a hotel room, There, he was held for 23 days without any legal help, interrogated in English  — a language he did not speak properly — and isolated from all external contact. This, he says put him in a permanent a state of distress.

But his ordeal had just begun, because 23 days later he was handcuffed, hooded and taken to the airport, where he waited a group of CIA agents who subjected him to harsh torture while in custody of Macedonian authorities. “The Macedonian government’s responsibility is accepted in regard to acts committed on its territory by agents of a foreign state,” said the statement issued by the Court.

El-Masri was beaten, stripped and sodomized with an object, reads the statement. These forms of torture “were used with premeditation in order to provoke El-Masri severe pain and suffering to obtain information from him. The Court considers that torture,” say the judges.

While the Court issued this statement, in the United States, the Senate intelligence committee has officially concluded that CIA interrogations were ineffective. “The report is the most detailed independent examination to date of the agency’s efforts to “break” dozens of detainees through physical and psychological duress, a period of CIA history that has become a source of renewed controversy,” reports the Washington Post.

In the case of El-Masri, he was sedated and placed in an aircraft. After a stopover in Baghdad, the plane landed in Afghanistan, where El-Masri was detained in a detention center and kept in a small concrete cell. They suffered further torture and made two hunger strikes before May 28, 2004, five months after his arrest, when he was transferred to Germany.

Visibly affected by torture, and weighing 18 kilos less than before, El Masri filed a complaint that year and since then has struggled to make European and U.S. authorities recognize the mistake made by the CIA.
One of the most important elements in the trial of Macedonia as an accomplice of the CIA was the testimony of the country’s Interior Minister at the time of the facts, who confirmed the arrest of El-Masri and his surrender to the CIA.

In a similar case, the British government settled a case with Sami al Saadi, a Libyan dissident by paying him 2.2 million pounds (2.7 million euros) after he was secretly handed over to the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in 2004. The Libyan was captured with the help of the British intelligence service MI6. Saadi claimed he was tricked by MI6 and the CIA, taken to Libya and tortured while he was there.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.

American Military and black operations: Where is the red line?

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | DECEMBER 11, 2012

Just as public and corporate partnerships have merged over the past two decades, so has the connection between the worlds most corrupt terrorist agency – the CIA – and the United States Department of Defense. Given the unsuccessful operations in Iraq and Afghanistan after declaring war on both nations to hunt those ghost organizations that the United States itself created and managed, the White House agreed to give the CIA even more power to carry out so-called anti-terrorist operations abroad, which are terrorist operations against non-aligned regimes.

Recent examples of these terror operations are the actions taken by the CIA previous and during the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya and now in Syria, where western forces including NATO and CIA operatives launched attacks from Turkey into the kingdom of Bashar al-Assad. The new powers given to the CIA include enhancing its operations with the latest surveillance technology, for example unmanned armed remotely controlled drones which are operated by the Pentagon under CIA direction.

It is not a surprise that the U.S. Government decided to switch the head of the CIA and the commander of military operations in the Middle East last year in an attempt to homogenize the operations of both government organizations. The White House has also increased the spy network that works directly with the Pentagon to exercise a greater control over terrorist plots in the Arab Peninsula, Africa and Asia.

The move to inadvertently combine the power of both the CIA and the Pentagon began more actively under the George W. Bush administration, but rapidly accelerated under the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. The CIA has grown its operations over territories supposedly taken over yihadists, but not to combat their operations.

The U.S. Government managed to buy off terrorists groups as it did in Afghanistan back in the 1970s with a group known today as al-Qaeda. The flow of drug money and other funds laundered by large banking corporations fuel the bribery system that allows the CIA to keep certain key terrorist groups working for them, as supposed to against U.S. Interest in some of the most volatile regions of the planet.

The merge of the CIA and the Pentagon was completed after the 2011 summer directive issued by Barack H. Obama to have the then CIA Director, Leon Panetta, take over the United States Department of Defense, while David Petraeus, the most influential ground operations commander in Iraq and Afghanistan was named the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

General David Petraeus left the CIA last november after he allegedly admitted to have had an extramarital affair with his biographer. Of course, it is unlikely such an affair was the real reason Petraeus left the spy agency. Former intelligence insiders believe it was Petraeus opposition to America’s way of conducting military and intelligence operations what made him leave his post as the top spy chief.

Petraeus is not the first top General to exit U.S. military entities. Two or three other strong men inside the military were fired or asked to be relieved of their duties due to their disagreements with the way combat missions were being conducted.

There is an increased trend from the part of the CIA and the U.S. military to use remotely controlled drones to carry out attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and other regions and a diminishing trend to use heavy military power. The new way to wage war includes the use of special operations commandos as well as special forces which carry out attacks from land and sea positions.

Both of these operational groups rely more often than not on CIA assets in the region along with a higher number of military analysts”, explains professor Paul Rogers, a specialist on international security from Bradford University. “I think we won’t see the U.S. Government sending large numbers of troops to war-torn regions as it happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. Long are the days when the Army needed to send 100,000 soldiers to the battlefield,” he adds.

The so-called presidential kill list has never been more relevant, as the CIA becomes more militarized with its own drone flotilla and presidential authorization to people who the president believes represent a threat to the United States. Who and why are on that list is known by just a few people. In September 2011, the U.S. government carried out a terrorist attack on a former CIA asset, Anwar al-Awlaki, who had dined at the Pentagon weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks on New York and Washington.

After al-Awlaki, the U.S. has carried out even more drone attacks against targets who are thought to be heads of terrorist organizations that intend to attack America or its interests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. However, neither the Pentagon nor the CIA have shown proof that such a threat exists. Anwar al-Awlaki’s involvement with al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organizations was never proven while the U.S. government always denied he had ever dined with members of the Pentagon’s leadership. Al-Awlaki was a United States citizen.

Besides the kill list in the hands of the CIA, the U.S. Army also has its own note pad full of names of people who need to be put down. This list is updated on a weekly basis in a meeting held by military analysts. Those analysts supposedly make recommendations to the president to add or remove names from the list during an intelligence briefing known as “terror Tuesday”.

Attacks such as the one that killed Awlaki are carried out by unmanned drones which are controlled by trained assassins in various military based around the world. Since 2002, the U.S. military and the CIA have launched almost 500 kill missions in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Many of those attacks raised tensions last year between the U.S. and Pakistan who in several occasions asked the U.S. to vacate bases on Pakistani soil and to stop killing its citizens.

The person directly responsible for the drone attacks is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, whomever this person may be. Barack H. Obama himself has authorized attacks on both Yemen and Somalia, but according to intelligence officials Obama is kept in the dark about most drone attacks launched in Pakistan. The U.S. military also employs drone attacks against supposed targets in Afghanistan, even after major murder operations concluded.

Those attacks which are not supposedly authorized by Obama, are jointly organized and managed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command. Although the White House denies the existence of an official military program where drones are used, it is well-known that both the CIA and the Department of Defense carry out continuous surveillance operations both inside and outside the United States.

Despite the secrecy, which the American government justifies with the classic “it is a matter of national security” many of the attacks are known to be based on false intelligence. “They don’t know what they’re doing,” says Professor Clive Stafford, the head of REPRIEVE, a Human Rights organization. “For example, in the case of the information provided by Pakistani sources, such intelligence information comes from people who are paid to seek and pass the information. But this same people are also paid by sources on the other side to provide false information to the Americans. That is why the CIA has now asked the U.S. government to support the recruitment of 1,600 new intelligence assets, which according to the spook agency will help improve the quality of the information received by the military and the CIA itself.

Another problem with the terrorist air attacks, says Stafford, is that the attacks always take the lives of people who have nothing to do with the supposed terrorists. But both for the military and the CIA, these casualties of war are worthwhile if it means that their operations will continue to have funding from the U.S. tax payers and drug money with which a terrorist organization such as the CIA finances most of its operations.

The Real Agenda encourages the sharing of its original content ONLY through the tools provided at the bottom of every article. Please DON’T copy articles from The Real Agenda and redistribute by email or post to the web.

Former MK-ULTRA Expert Murdered by the CIA, say relatives

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER | AP | NOVEMBER 29, 2012

The CIA had a program in the 1950s and `60s called MK-ULTRA, which involved brainwashing and administering experimental drugs like LSD to unsuspecting individuals. The project was investigated by Congress in the 1970s.

Olson consumed a drink laced with LSD by CIA agents on Nov. 19, 1953, the suit says. Later that month, after being taken to New York City purportedly for a “psychiatric” consultation, Olson plunged to his death.

At the time – when Eric and Nils Olson were 9 and 5 years old, respectively – the CIA said he died in an accident and did not divulge to his family that Olsen had been given LSD.

But in 1975, a commission headed by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller released a report on CIA abuses that included a reference to an Army scientist who had jumped from a New York hotel days after being slipped LSD in 1953. Family members threatened to sue, but President Gerald Ford invited the family to the White House, assuring them they would be given all the government’s information. CIA Director William Colby handed over documents and the family accepted a $750,000 settlement to avert a lawsuit.

In an email, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said that while the agency doesn’t comment on matters before U.S. courts, “CIA activities related to MK-ULTRA have been thoroughly investigated over the years, and the agency cooperated with each of those investigations.” She noted that tens of thousands of pages related to the program have been released to the public.

Read Full Article →