19 September 2007
On 11 September 2001, on the executive floor of a major Venezuelan bank located on Margarita Island in the Caribbean, eyewitnesses reported that the champagne was flowing freely. Why? Because of the terrorist attacks on the World-Trade Centre and Pentagon that day. The bankers, who were engaged in funneling cash to known terrorist groups in the Middle East, were morbidly toasting the "success" of Al-Qaeda on that deadly day. The bank's overt actions, supporting terrorist organisations through financing their activities, has never resulted in either OFAC sanctions, or any other punitive action from the United States. Why is America reluctant to confront Hamas, Hizballah, ETA and their financiers in the Western Hemisphere? Is it as Allan Greenspan states, all about oil? Is the US afraid that the Chavez government will turn off the petrol tap?
Let us examine what else has been studiously ignored by the US government since 2001:
- Al-Qaeda theoretician Mustaphah Setmarian Nasar (UID 45641) lived openly in Venezuela whilst he was wanted by Interpol. Believed to be the intellectual author of the Madrid Train bombings, and holding both Syrian and Spanish citizenship, Nasar was escorted daily to Caracas' principal mosque by armed government bodyguards driving black Hummers. He was seen in Margarita Island, and also at a port facility where freighters bearing Panamanian registry ship out for Iran regularly. Were they transporting Uranium for Iran's nuclear programme? We cannot say, but Nasar has been linked to Carlos Rafael Lanz Rodriguez [UID 248222] , the ex-career terrorist* is currently the president of Venezuela's state-owned national aluminium company, Alcasa, which is believed by mining engineers to be mining and trafficking in Uranium.
- The emergence of Hamas and Hizballah operatives in the Western Hemisphere. They are raising money through drug trafficking, arms sales, human smuggling, and sundry other illicit activities, all of which eventually results in the shipment of the proceeds of these crimes to their Middle Eastern commanders.
- The wholesale issuance of Venezuelan identity documents (Cedulas and Venezuelan passports) to Arab radicals who are allowed to enter the country. the Venezuelan Consulate in Maicao, Colombia has reportedly performing these services for large numbers of people in transit from the Middle East to parts unknown. The next time you meet a Venezuelan who doesn't speak Spanish, you may have seen a terrorist in the flesh.
- ETA terrorists wanted in Spain have found safe harbour in Venezuela, who actually pays them $600 per week in living expenses. They do not earn this stipend in any way, it is paid purely to sustain them whilst they live freely in the country. Spain this week announced its intention to hunt down these terrorists.
- Venezuela has long served as both a jumping-off point for terrorists entering the United States, and a refuge for terrorist suspects fleeing this country after having aroused law enforcement interest. This includes persons of interest to the FBI, who are believed to be connected with the World Trade Centre bombing.
- Hizballah continues to work openly in the country, through its local affiliate, Hizballah Venezuela.
Kenneth Rijock can give many other examples, but the above should be sufficient to show clearly that the US obsession with the conflict in Iraq has caused America to totally ignore terrorist threats much closer to home. These are clear and present dangers that need attention, lest they mature into actual terrorist operations within the United States.
Why does Kenneth Rijock and I get the feeling that nobody's paying attention in Washington? Perhaps it is because there has not been a significant arrest of an important terrorist agent by the United States in all of Latin America in the last six years. We hope that the present administration will now be shamed into finally assuming a proactive role in countering the growth of terrorism in Latin America.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________ * Lanz is known to be a hard-core terrorist who once kidnapped and held a prominent American businessman, William Niehaus,for ransom for several years. He has been linked to Venezuela's expanding relationship with Iran.