By Dave Lindorff
Seriously? Venezuela is a "national security threat"?
That is what President Obama has reportedly declared today in a new executive order.
And how exactly is poor Venezuela, a nation of 29 million, with a small military upon which it spends just 1% of GDP, one of the lowest rates in the world (the US spends 4.5% of GDP on its own bloated military), a threat to the US?
Well, according to the new executive order, some of Venezuela's leading officials have "criminalized political dissent" and are corrupt. That's about it. There's nothing in there about Venezuela threatening military action against the US, or promoting terrorism, or threatening Americans.
But hold on. I remember reading in documents obtained through Freedom of Information petitions by the Partnership for Civil Justice from the FBI, Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security, that back in the fall of 2011, during the Occupy movement that swept the nation, the US national security apparatus, including the NSA and the 72 so-called Fusion Centers that had been set up to link federal, state and local intelligence organizations in all major US cities devoted most of its domestic intelligence and police resources to spying on, infiltrating, and ultimately crushing a purely peaceful wave of political protest against the rampant corruption of the political class and the banking industry.
And what about the National Security Agency, which Edward Snowden and others have exposed as being focused, in its unprecedented monitoring of all possible forms of communication among the American people, not as claimed on preventing terrorism but on simply gathering dossiers on millions of law-abiding citizens?
What about the FBI and other national intelligence agencies, which have been labeling anti-war activists, environmental activists and even animal rights activists as "terrorists" in their files?