Skip to comments.9/11: Chavez financed Al Qaeda, details of $1M donation emerge
Posted on 12/31/2002 5:25:32 PM PST by shanec
9/11: Chavez financed Al Qaeda, details of $1M donation emerge
Osama Bin Laden:
9/11 made Chavez
High-level military defectors reveal new terrorist links between Al Qaeda and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. The man who control's the largest oil reserves in the Western hemisphere gave $1 million to the world's most wanted terrorist right after the 9/11 attacks.
Hugo Chavez would not admit it publicly, but in private, he was very impressed with Osama Bin Laden's work. The Venezuelan strongman publicly rails against the United States and "neo-liberal capitalism" which, according to him, represents "hell on earth". He has never visited the White House, but has instead been to China, Libya, Iraq, and Havana, Cuba.
The doublespeak of Hugo Chavez served him particularly well in the aftermath of 9/11. When he spoke to the foreign press in the days immediately after, he assured them that he was against terrorism. But locally, in his first TV broadcast, he stated that "The United States brought the attacks upon itself, for their arrogant imperialist foreign policy."
And in private, he went further still; proclaiming admiration for the terrorist attacks.
" - With 9/11, Bin Laden showed the whole world that he was a force to be reckoned with. This impressed Hugo to no end," remembers General Pedro Pereira, the highest-ranking general in the Venezuelan airforce, who was still a Chavez loyalist in 2001.
The day after the attack, September 12, Chavez supporters publicly burned the Stars and Stripes in the main square of Caracas in an outburst of gleeful satisfaction over the attacks.
The organizer of the Plaza Bolivar protest, Lina Ron (a.k.a. "Rosa", born 9/23/59 in Anaco, Anzoátegui state), received public praise from Chavez. Unknown to the press, Lina Ninette Ron Pereira had been on the payroll of Caracas governor Hernan Gruber Odreman, ever since Chavez appointed him head of the Distrito Federal in 1999. She is still employed by Chavez, today working for Caracas borough mayor Freddy Bernal of Chavez's MVR party. There, she is in charge of a "cultural center" which mobilizes masses for pro-Chavez demonstrations and is active in breaking up opposition events.
$1M for Al Qaeda to fight against the United States
But Chavez did not stop at merely praising the attacks and having his support groups burn the American flag. He wanted to do more. He wanted to help Al Qaeda and the Taliban in their coming war against the United States.
Juan Diaz Castillo from Venezuela's Air Force, was given that job.
The private pilot of Hugo Chavez, Major Diaz Castillo has since defected and has started to talk. As the trusted insider who flew the president's Airbus, he was an eye-witness to secret meetings between Chavez and some of the top dictators in the world. He was also in charge of organizing one million dollars worth of assistance from Chavez to Al Qaeda.
" - Chavez trusted me completely. So right after 9/11, when he decided to help Al Qaeda, he turned to Jorge Oropeza and to me. Jorge was my boss in the presidential air support unit, but he is just a political appointee, so I did all the actual work."
The work, as ordered by Chavez, was to help Al Qaeda but to make it look like he was helping the Taliban, using humanitarian grounds as the excuse.
" - Initially, the plan was not to give them money. Instead, I was asked to organize a shipment of food and clothing and send it to the government of Afghanistan."
At that time, the government of Afghanistan was the Taliban. But everyone knew that the Taliban and Al Qaeda were just two sides of the same coin. The Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan had emerged as the breeding ground for terrorists and extremist groups and the largest source of opium productions and illegal flow of narcotics in the world, posing a serious threat to the peace and stability of the whole region.
" - Chavez saw in Afghanistan a mirror of what he was trying to implement in Venezuela, and wanted a more direct opening with the Al Qaeda organization," says the Major. "He had already tried to contact them once before, in Libya, but when he personally visited Tripoli, Col. Muammar Qaddafi told Chavez that there was no direct channel of communications between him and Al Qaeda."
The aid to the Al Qaeda's camps was supposed to open the channel of communications directly. It was a way of telling Osama Bin Laden that he had a friend in Hugo Chavez.
Air Force Major Diaz Castillo started planning the logistics of sending three Hercules C-130 cargo planes from Venezuela to Afghanistan. The effort would require a large investment in time and personnel, with refueling stops on the way. He came to the conclusion that to transport the cargo to the Taliban and Al Qaeda would be more expensive than the cargo itself.
Involved in the plan was Diosdado Cabello, at the time Chavez's Chief of Staff, the foreign minister and the defense minister. They had a number of meetings, among others with the director of Civil Defense. After hearing from Diaz Castillo of the difficulties with the C-130's, Diosdado Cabello then decided to instead send $1M in cash to Venezuela's ambassador for the region, Dr Walter Marquez. He would then be entrusted with bringing it to Afghanistan.
The doctor - a sinister, wheelchair-bound figure - operates out of an office located at N-114, Panchshila Park, New Delhi, in India. He received the cash in the last week of September, 2001.
When asked at the time about his involvement, Marquez confirmed that he was in charge. " - Venezuela does not have diplomatic representation in Pakistan or Afghanistan but it is within my purview."
On October 3, 2001, a representative of the Venezuelan government then contacted Kris Janowski of the UNHCR in Pakistan. The purpose: To create a cover story of humanitarian help for the Taliban, so that there would be plausible deniability in case anyone asked about the Al Qaeda money.
According to the plan, Walter Marquez would buy and transport food from New Delhi (India) or Teheran (Iran) where Venezuela has embassies.
False identities for terrorist operatives
After Walter Marquez completed his mission, the million-dollar financing bore fruit. A line of communication to Caracas opened up.
" - The handling was then taken over by Carlos Otaiza [brother of Army Captain Elieza Otaiza Castillo, former head of Chavez's DISIP secret service.] So after that, I no longer dealt with them," says Major Diaz Castillo. But from his vantage point in the presidential palace, he still saw a lot of what was going on:
" - In the last few months of 2001, and all throughout 2002, more and more Arabs started arriving. They were always given special treatment by Chavez, Otaiza and Ramon Rodriguez Chacin". Rodriguez Chacin a Chavez-government cabinet member, and headed the Interior and Justice Ministry until the press proved that he operated with multiple identities. He is currently a party boss in the Chavez political machine.
The "special treatment" afforded to visiting Arabs even extended to fugitives. As documented by General Marcos Ferreira former head of the Onidex passport and ID-card administration and now a member of the country's pro-democracy resistance movement, Chavez-minister Rodriguez Chacin ordered him to provide false ID's to named members of foreign terrorist organizations listed by the FBI.
Now, these facts are coming out, and the military resisters are in danger. Major Juan Diaz Castillo and fellow pro-democracy resister General Nestor Gonzalez Gonzalez were the victims of a trap set by Chavez DISIP (Secret Service) agents on December 21, 2002, on the freeway between Valencia and Caracas, near the town of Guacara.
Immediately following the attempt on his life, Juan Diaz Castillo went underground. Friends in the resistence movement smuggled him out of the country the night before Christmas, in the hull of a fishing boat leaving Venezuela for Curazao, in the Dutch Antilles. There, he stayed until he could arrange safe passage to the United States. Today, safely out of reach of the Chavez death squads, he can now talk freely.
" - I must warn America about Chavez. He is a danger, not just to his own people but to the whole region," says Diaz Castillo.
Hugo Chavez is growing increasingly desperate in his hold on power, in Venezuela where a month-long general strike has cut off oil exports and his source of income.
He refuses to hold free and democratic elections, and has publicly vowed to stay in power until "at least 2021". To Chavez, it matters not what his people think:
" - Referendum to remove me? That is not possible, don't waste time. I will not go in a referendum, I say that to the country and the world. It's like this: I won't go," Hugo Chavez said in November.
" - Ah, no, no, forget about fairytales."
" - Not even if we suppose that they hold that referendum and get 90% of the votes, I will not leave. Forget it. I will not leave."
This, all, from the man who personally visited Saddam Hussein in Iraq, hugged him, and called him "my brother," and then gave one million dollars to Al Qaeda right after 9/11.
More information: MilitaresDemocraticos.com
Note: Juan Diaz Castillo, who is quoted in this article, just arrived in the United States. He can be contacted at aguila@MilitaresDemocraticos.com
December 31, 2002
More on why what happens in Venezuela should matter to us here in the USA, well beyond just stable oil supplies, here at these recent FR posts of articles direct from more top Chavez military officers who recently left him...
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