The US is adding another round of ‘lawfare’ to its already vast repertoire of attacks against the government and people of Venezuela in its effort to regain control over one of the last corners of its backyard in Latin America that remains independently minded and governed. In Colombia the latest operation would be called a judicial ‘false positive’, as it appears fabricated out of evidence-free allegations and dubious accusations to prepare the way for more drastic forms of intervention if Venezuela can’t be subdued by other means. No evidence was presented to the court other than the affirmations of an anonymous witness.
Specifically, on Wednesday Federal prosecutors in New York accused a former Venezuelan lawmaker of participating in ‘narco-terrorism’ in an indictment claiming that a cartel headed by government leaders conspired with the ‘terrorist’ groups Hezbollah and Hamas to commit attacks against the U.S.
Presumably it is intended to back up the US’ announcement in March of this year that it is offering a reward of $15 million for information leading to the arrest of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and $10 million for information on other senior figures in the government and armed forces. The flip side is that the US has been offering many of the same people large sums of money and protection if they agree to betray their president and their people and turn their country into yet another US dominion.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan accused Adel El Zabayar of conspiracy to commit narcoterrorist acts, conspiracy to import cocaine, and two weapons-related offences. If found guilty, he could face 10 years to life in prison.
El Zabayar is the president of the Venezuelan Federation of Arab Associations and Entities and was previously a member of the country’s National Assembly.
According to the indictment, El Zabayar is an active member of the Cartel de los Soles, or Cartel of the Suns, a network of officials of the Nicolás Maduro regime involved in drug trafficking. The cartel allegedly includes Maduro himself and his number two, Diosdado Cabello. They were both indicted along with other officials in March on charges of drug trafficking, “narcoterrorism,” corruption, and money laundering.
“We further allege today, for the first time, that the Cartel de los Soles sought to recruit terrorists from [Hezbollah] and Hamas to assist in planning and carrying out attacks on the U.S., and that El Zabayar was instrumental as a go-between,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.
The indictment claims that El Zabayar held several meetings in 2014 with Cabello, who instructed him to travel to Syria and Palestine to obtain weapons and recruit members of Hezbollah and Hamas to train them in Venezuela.
Cabello explained that the purpose was “to create a large terrorist cell capable of attacking United States interests on behalf of the Cartel de los Soles,” the indictment says.
Weapons allegedly obtained by El Zabayar included rocket-propelled grenade launchers, AK-103 assault rifles and sniper rifles.
The prosecution cites the testimony of an unidentified witness who was present at these meetings but presented no further evidence.
The Justice Department declined to comment on El Zabayar’s whereabouts. He reacted on Twitter to the U.S. accusation, at first saying he was surprised, then “daring” the department to pay his “round-trip ticket to the USA” to respond to the accusation “UNDER THE GUARDIANSHIP OF THE UN.”
In other tweets, he referred to the accusation as “infamies”, “lies” and “comedy”. “An honor that the empire HATES ME AS MUCH as the rest of the comrades,” he added.
Reuters also reported that the Department of Justice is considering pressing drug-trafficking charges against Cilia Flores, Maduro’s wife.
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