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Tag: Venezuela

Venezuelan President Who Accuses U.S. of Overthrow Attempts Seeks Help from FBI

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Venezuelan president who routinely suspects the U.S. is trying to overthrow him is now turning to America – more specifically, the FBI – for help investigating an assassination attempt.

President Nicolás Maduro said he believes the suspects led to Floria, Peru and Columbia, BBC reports

The U.S. said it would cooperate but has yet to indicate whether the FBI would pay a visit with a country that has a tense relationship.

The U.S. increased sanctions on Venezuela after accusing the country of rigging the  presidential election so Maduro would win a second term.

On Saturday, the president shocked many by saying he would work with the U.S. if it agreed to help track down the would-be assassins.

“If the US government offered, or confirmed its offer, of FBI cooperation to investigate, I would accept it,” he said.

Maduro alleges the mastermind behind the attack came from “terrorist” cells in Florida.

Two drones laden with explosives detonated near where the president was delivering a speech on Aug. 4.

The president was unscathed, but seven soldiers were injured.

Venezuela’s First Lady Accuses DEA of Kidnapping Nephews in Drug Arrest

venezuela-mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Venezuela’s first lady said the arrest of her two nephews on drug trafficking charges amounts to kidnapping by the DEA, the Associated Press reports. 

Cilia Flores claims that the U.S. was motivated by revenge and are trying to purge socialists from power.

Flores said the DEA’s operations on Venezuelan soil “violated our sovereignty.”

The DEA arrested two of Flores’ nephews in Haiti in November, and they were charged with conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

“The DEA committed the crime of kidnapping,” Flores said.

DEA Busts 2 Members of Venezuelan President’s Family in Alleged Drug-Smuggling Scheme

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, via Wikipedia.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has busted a drug-smuggling ring that led to the arrest of the Venezuelan president’s family in Haiti, UPI.com reports. 

Arrested were two nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Efrain Antonio Campo Flores and Francisco Flores Freites are accused of trying to smuggle 1,700 pounds of cocaine from Haiti to the U.S.

The nephews tried to claim they had diplomatic immunity, a claim that didn’t work with the DEA.

They were taken to New York awaiting a court hearing today.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-Los Alamos Scientist Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison For Data Breach

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, a former scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico, was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for leaking classified nuclear weapons data to a person he believed to be a Venezuelan government official.

Mascheroni, 79, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Argentina, was sentenced in Albuquerque by U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson. His wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, 71, previously was sentenced in August 2014 to a year and a day of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release for her conviction on conspiracy and false statement charges.

A Justice Department press release stated:

Mascheroni, a Ph.D. physicist, worked as a scientist at LANL from 1979 to 1988 and held a security clearance that allowed him access to certain classified information, including “Restricted Data.” Roxby Mascheroni worked at LANL between 1981 and 2010, where her duties included technical writing and editing. She also held a security clearance at LANL that allowed her access to certain classified information, including “Restricted Data.” As defined under the Atomic Energy Act, “Restricted Data” is classified information concerning the design, manufacture or use of atomic weapons; the production of special nuclear material; or the use of special nuclear material in the production of energy.

Mascheroni and Roxby Mascheroni were indicted in September 2010 and charged with conspiracy to communicate and communicating Restricted Data to an individual with the intent to secure an advantage to a foreign nation, as well as conspiracy to convey and conveying classified information. The indictment also charged Mascheroni with concealing and retaining U.S. records with the intent to convert them to his own use and gain, and both defendants with making false statements.

Mascheroni pleaded guilty in June 2013, to counts seven and eight of the indictment, charging him with conversion of government property and retention of U.S. records, and counts 10 through 15, charging him with making false statements. Mascheroni also pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him with two counts of communication of Restricted Data and one count of retention of national defense information.

In entering his guilty plea, Mascheroni admitted that in November 2008 and July 2009, he unlawfully communicated Restricted Data to another individual with reason to believe that the data would be utilized to secure an advantage to Venezuela. He also admitted unlawfully converting Department of Energy information to his own use and selling the information in November 2008 and July 2009, and failing to deliver classified information relating to the United States’ national defense to appropriate authorities and instead unlawfully retaining the information in his home. Finally, Mascheroni admitted making materially false statements to the FBI when he was interviewed in October 2009.

Roxby Mascheroni pleaded guilty in June 2014, to count six of the indictment, charging her with conspiracy, and counts 16 through 22, charging her with making false statements. She also pleaded guilty to a felony information charging her with conspiracy to communicate Restricted Data. Roxby Mascheroni admitted that between October 2007 and October 2009, she conspired with Mascheroni to convey Restricted Data belonging to the United States to another person with reason to believe that the information would be used to secure an advantage to Venezuela. She also admitted making materially false statements to the FBI when she was interviewed in October 2009.

The indictment in this case did not allege that the government of Venezuela or anyone acting on its behalf sought or was passed any classified information, nor did it charge any Venezuelan government officials or anyone acting on their behalf with wrongdoing. The indictment also did not allege any wrongdoing by other individuals working at LANL.

 

Drug Seizures Double Since Venezuela Kicked Out the DEA in 2005

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Venezuelan authorities are seizing far more drugs every year since the government broke ties with the DEA in 2005, the Venezuelan Analysis reports.

Since 2005, the Venezuelan government has seized 462 tons of illegal drugs – or twice the amount seized under a partnership with the country in the seven years prior to the severed relationship, the Venezuelan Analysis reported.

“Members of the FANB [Bolivarian National Armed Forces] have made a sustained effort on the front to fight drug trafficking,” Vladimir Padrino, head of the Strategic Operational Command of Venezuelan armed forces, said according to state news agency AVN.

Drug seizures peaked in the year before the Venezuelan government gave the boot to the DEA.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

WikiLeaks Hints That NSA Leaker Snowden Is on Verge of Being Granted Asylum

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NSA leaker Edward Snowden may soon be granted asylum, and the “obvious choice” is Venezuela, WikiLeaks hinted Wednesday, the USA Today reports.

If true, that would end weeks of an international stalemate that left Snowden in legal limbo at a Moscow airport.

WikiLeaks, which has advocated for Snowden’s asylum, tweeted on Wednesday: “The first phase of Edward Snowden’s ‘Flight of Liberty’ campaign will be launched.”

Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who revealed NSA’s widespread surveillance following meetings with Snowden, said the leaker’s best chances for asylum are Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

Russia: NSA Leaker Snowden May Be Down to ‘Last Chance’ As Venezuela Gets Involved

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Venezuela appears to be NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s last hope of gaining asylum, an influential member of Parliament said, USA Today reports.

Alexei Pushkov, head of the Parliament’s international affairs committee, wrote on Twitter: “Venezuela is waiting for an answer from Snowden. This, perhaps, is his last chance to receive political asylum.”

Still, Venezuelan officials haven’t been in touch with Snowden, who is believed to be stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Those officials plan to speak with Russian officials today about the situation, according to the USA Today.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Former Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice “Singing His Heart Out” to DEA on Corruption in Chavez Gov.

Eladio Aponte photo correodelorinoco.gob.ve

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

U.S. officials report a break-through in tackling drug trafficking from South America, according to the Associated Press.

A former Venezuelan Supreme Court justice Eladio Aponte may be seeking permanent refuge in the U.S. for himself and his family in exchange for evidence linking Venezuelan officials to drug trafficking and corruption, and linking Venezuela with Colombian rebel group FARC. His accusations could lead to “tougher U.S. action against purported drug trafficking networks” AP reports.

The former judge fled to the U.S. a month ago after being expelled from the court by the Venezuelan National Assembly for allegedly helping a drug trafficker. It remains to be seen if he’s seeking immunity for his participation in the drug trade, or simply wants protection for his family. If proven, Aponte’s accusations would discredit the anti-U.S. Chavez government and, most likely, illicit its wrath.

To read more click here.