The US army helped the Venezuelan military to launch a coup against the country's democratically elected government earlier this month. A Mexican newspaper confirmed last week that US army officer James Rogers helped to lead the coup against the government of Hugo Chavez. The military operations were supported politically by a group of senior White House officials, all veterans of working with Latin American death squads in the 1980s.
The group includes Otto Reich. Among the Venezuelan leaders Reich entertained at the White House just a week before the coup was Pedro Carmona. Carmona is the top business leader who was briefly installed as leader by the military coup.
On the day of the coup Reich summoned ambassadors to his office to tell them the coup did not 'rupture democracy', and that the US supported Carmona. As revealed in Socialist Worker (December 2001), Reich was made US ambassador to Venezuela in 1987 after he was found guilty of illegally funding Colonel Oliver North's military operations in Nicaragua.
Another US official described by the Observer as 'crucial around the coup' was Elliot Abrams, director of the National Security Council for 'democracy, human rights and international operations'. He was also convicted of illegally funding North's Contra guerillas, but was pardoned by George Bush Sr.
These plotters saw their plans defeated by a mass popular uprising in Venezuela. The US government is desperately trying to explain why it alone rushed to recognise the military government as legitimate. It may also like to explain away a US-registered plane spotted on the island where Chavez was held, and the presence of US troops during the attempted coup.
This Tory plot keeps thickening
What is it about Tory novelists? Jeffrey Archer could be joined in prison by fellow former Tory MP and spy writer Rupert Allason. Allason, who uses the pseudonym Nigel West, failed to comply with a court order to disclose his assets.
He was pictured lying on a cruise liner in the Caribbean when he should have been complying. He faces contempt of court charges following a failed court case last year in which he was ordered to pay £200,000 indemnity costs to publishers.
The spy writer falsely claimed he wrote the manuscript for the Enigma book. After the case Mr Justice Laddie said, 'I have come to the clearest possible conclusion that Mr Allason has told me untruth after untruth in pursuit of this claim.' You couldn't make it up.
George W Bush labelled North Korea part of the 'axis of evil', saying it was 'arming to threaten the peace of the world'. North Korea is being provided with equipment for its nuclear power stations by engineering firm ABB.
US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld was on the board of ABB. He only resigned in February after the contract with North Korea was safely in the bag.
Bush's gaffes off the record
George W Bush is rewriting history. The president is having his verbal blunders removed from official records. Officials from the White House are editing his speeches and note-takers routinely 'tidy up' the president's words.
They hope to ensure that there is no record of Bush calling on 'Americans to volunteer for 4,000 years of public service' rather than '4,000 hours'. History will have no record of him calling for 'making the death tax permanent' instead of 'death tax repeals'.
Bush will not be remembered for saying, 'It's clearly a budget, it's got lots of numbers in it.' Supporters put his verbal blunders down to election campaign nerves. Now he is firmly installed in the White House, his slips of the tongue have continued. Even Bush admits, 'In my sentences I go where no man has gone before.'
Children as young as three are being branded as yobs by New Labour. Home secretary David Blunkett told a parenting conference that primary schools should try to spot 'anti-social' toddlers.
He called for 'early intervention' by nursery school teachers. Blunkett also told the conference that 'dysfunctional families' were a major problem in poor communities. He offered no new resources or initiatives and just heaped more blame on the victims of poverty and deprivation.
Lying about Libya
The Sunday Telegraph has been forced to admit in court that it lied. It had had to make a public apology to the son of Colonel Gadaffi. The Telegraph's chief foreign correspondent wrote a piece under the headline 'Like Father Like Son'.
The 1995 article accused the Libyan leader's son of trying to do a deal that would flood Iran with huge amounts of counterfeit currency. Last Thursday a court heard that the newspaper accepted that 'not only was there no truth to these allegations but there is no evidence to suggest there was any truth in them.'
The article quoted a 'British banking official'. It was revealed in pre-trial hearings that this official was actually from a 'Western government security agency'. The court heard that part of the job of the British intelligence agency MI6 was to 'spread black propaganda'.
Former Daily Telegraph columnist Sion Simon is settling in nicely as a New Labour MP. Simon was asked in an interview for the Fabian Society journal what his specialist policies are.
Simon replied, 'I don't have any. I am deliberately not focusing on anything. 'It's not really me, so I am writing a fiction book, and I'm planning a political book.'
Killers back on job
Two jailed soldiers who carried out a murder have been given a go-ahead to rejoin the army. The convicted murderers shot 18 year old Peter McBride in the back in 1992 as he ran away from an army patrol that had searched his home.
At their trial the court was told the soldiers 'had deliberately lied as part of their defence and had not come under any threat before firing on Mr McBride'. The two soldiers were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 1995. All the soldiers convicted of murder in Northern Ireland have been allowed to return to the army.
Things they say
'We're trying to win the council back from the Tories, and the voters think we run it.'
LABOUR MP canvassing in Yorkshire
'How this can happen is a mystery to us. My understanding is that there was no hostile activity in the area that would have created this incident.'
Canadian chief of staff RAY HENAULT on the killing of four Canadian soldiers by US fighter pilots in Afghanistan
'Schools are small businesses. They have got their budget and management, and they have their bills to pay. Managing an institution is what the private sector does.'
Education secretary ESTELLE MORRIS on a scheme to replace school governors with private managers
'Latin Americans are so characterised by sheer incompetence that they won't be able to make up their minds.'
US AMBASSADOR to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons breaks his promise to appoint a Latin American director to replace the ousted Jose Bustani
'Humanity is missing from the government's approach.'
Union leader BILL MORRIS on plans to ban refugee children from schools
'Darling, you just don't know what a shedload I am being paid these days.'
ANJI HUNTER, former close aide to Blair, brags about her salary from new employer BP
'They can keep the free weekend. We want the money.'
SECRETARY at Tory central office as staff boycotted a 'work-in weekend' after being told the party was too skint to give them a pay rise