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What does Obama have planned next for Latin America?

Wayne Madsen Report
July 23, 2010

President Obama’s Latin American policy resembles more Richard Nixon’s Operation Condor and its assassinations and covert operations than President Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress and its advancement of economic progress and democracy. Obama’s reactionary Latin American policies appear to be aimed more at currying favor with south Florida’s emigré right-wing exiles from Cuba, Venezuela, and Central America than in advancing democracy in the region.

Obama’s recent decision to deploy thousands of Marines and dozens of Coast Guard vessels to Costa Rica, while opening up more military bases in Colombia and Honduras, where he authorized a coup against democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, is even more threatening to Latin America’s progressive governments than the benign neglect bestowed by George W. Bush on the region after the failed 2002 coup attempt against Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez.

In a throwback to the Nixon and Henry Kissinger era, there are increasing reports of political assassinations, as well as the illegal detention of opposition figures and journalists by U.S.-backed regimes in Colombia, Panama, and Honduras. Even more tellilng is the fact that Pinochet supporters who are members of the Chilean Senate recently were charged by Venezuela with gross interference in upcoming elections in Venezuela. Under President Sebastian Pinera, a Chilean billionaire who is obviously more to the liking of Obama than Latin America’s populist leaders, Chile has become, along with Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica, a U.S. base to destabilize progressive-led governments in Latin America.

As far as Kissinger, America’s oldest living war criminal, is concerned, he serves as Obama’s “special envoy” to the Kremlin. Since Obama places so much stock in Kissinger’s advice, it is important to take a look back on the CIA doctrine for destabilization of Latin America tht was adopted for the 1954 overthrow of the Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala and used in successive U.S.-led coups in Latin America ever since. The doctrine was refined by the CIA and Pentagon during both the Nixon and Reagan administrations.

Much of the CIA’s and Pentagon’s current doctrine on Latin America destabilization is found in the declassified CIA manuals for “PBSuccess,” the operation to overthrow Arbenz, who, himself died mysteriously in a bathtub in 1971, while in exile in Mexico City. Refined by the Nixon and Reagan administrations by both the CIA and Pentagon Special Operations forces, the manual for assassinations and destabilization includes the use of murder of individuals with blows to the head by blunt or sharp instruments; falls on to hard surfaces from buildings from at least 75 feet; falls from bridges on to hard surfaces but not water, elevator shafts, and stair wells; staged automobile accidents — expanded after 1954 to include airplane crashes; poisoning to induce heart attacks and incurable diseases such as cancer; and, for false flag propaganda purposes, assassinations by rifles, machine guns, handguns, and explosions.

Brazil’s leftist President Joao Goulart, overthrown by the Brazilian military in a 1964 coup, died from an alleged heart attack while living in exile in Argentina in 1976. Goulart’s body was never autopsied and there is no official cause of his death documented. In 2000, the former governor of the Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul and Rio de Janeiro, Leonel Brizola alleged that both Goulart and former Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek were both victims of Kissinger’s Operation Condor. Kubitschek died in a suspicious car accident. Later, a member of Uruguay’s intelligence service stated that Goulart was poisoned and Kubitschek killed in a staged car accident near Resende, Brazil on the orders of Brazilian dictator Ernesto Geisel, a close ally of Kissinger and Nixon. Kubitschek and Goulart were reportedly assassinated within five months of one another in 1976. Brazil’s progressive president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s only progressive leader since Goulart, will see the end of his term on January 1, 2011. Given his popularity in Latin America and around the world, Lula may receive the same treatment as his predecessors given America’s new aggressive covert activities in Latin America.

Chile’s President before Allende, Eduardo Frei Montalva, an original supporter of Pinochet who later turned against him, is suspected of being poisoned to death by toxins in 1982. His son, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, narrowly lost last year’s election to Pinochet loyalist Pinera. Medical experts, including those at the FBI, concluded that tissue samples from Frei Montalva’s body contained deadly toxins. Frei Ruiz-Tagle also believes Chile’s DINA intelligence service, which cooperated closely with the CIA in Operation Condor, was responsible for his father’s assassination.

PBSuccess’s “Study of Assassination” contains explanations of the pluses and minuses of several assassination plots, including the stabbing murder of French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat in his bathtub, as well as the gunning down of Abraham Lincoln, Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the ice axe assassination of Leon Trotsky, and the conference room explosion aimed at assassinating Adolf Hitler.

The CIA favored the machine gun method for killing the maximum number of people inside a room. It states, “The sub-machine gun is especially adapted to indoor work when more than one subject is to be assassinated. An effective technique has been devised for the use of a pair of sub-machine gunners, by which a room containing as many as a dozen subjects can be ‘purified’ in about twenty seconds with little or no risk to the gunners.”

The machine gun option appears to have been used to kill Chilean President Salvador Allende and his bodyguards in the CIA’s 1973 coup that brought Pinochet to power. Afterwards, Kissinger employed Operation Condor to use fascist governments in Latin America to track and hunt down and kill opponents of Allende and other left-wing activists.

In Honduras, Panama, Mexico, Chile, and Colombia, a renewed low-key Operation Condor appears to have taken shape under Obama. The machine gun tactic also appears to have been employed by the CIA and India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in the regicide of Nepal’s royal family on June 1, 2001.

The 470th Military Intelligence Brigade refined PBSuccess procedures in 1987 in a series of training manuals used at the School of the Americas in Georgia to train Latin American military operatives in destabilization tactics. Among the techniques recommended was the creation of blacklists of “enemy agents,” “subversive persons,” hostile political leaders, and known or suspected collaborators and sympathizers of enemies of the government. To give the CIA and Army “plausible deniability,” covert destabilization operations are carried out by “associate” foreign services in order to minimize U.S. requirements for “committing communications to paper.”

For Obama, whose Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was a top officer in the armed forces of General Suharto, who carried out the CIA’s 1965-66 coup against President Sukarno and the Indonesian Communist Party, which saw almost one million accused Communists, as well as ethnic Chinese, systematically genocided, such re-imposition of covert activities in Latin America presents no moral dilemma to Obama, who first witnessed the CIA’s repression as an impressionable young boy of 7 and 8 years old while living in Jakarta. Soetoro was still a senior officer in Suharto’s army when Soetoro enrolled Barack Obama in 1967 as Barry Soetoro in Jakarta’s Fransiskus Assisi Catholic school. In 1967, the Indonesian army and its CIA handlers were still mopping up Indonesia’s left-wing opposition forces. Obama has studiously refrained from mentioning Indonesia’s CIA coup and has twice canceled presidential visits to the country.

Given the similarities of the U.S.-led coups against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002, the coup against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, and the 2009 coup against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, the CIA and Pentagon appear to have added a less lethal practice to their bag of covert tricks — kidnapping Latin American presidents at gun point and flying them to other nations against their will.

And Obama’s decision not to rescind George W. Bush’s re-establishment of the U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet as part of the US Southern Command means that the United States can always resort to its old “gunboat diplomacy” to enforce its military might and will in Latin America.

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