Prosecute the torture.

March 21, 2007

Rick Santorum - Expert on Geopolitics

Did you know there are terrorist training camps in Hugo Chavez' Venezuela?

So sayeth Rick Santorum.

Take a listen to his interview with Fred Honsberger from the other day. About 5 1/2 minutes in he says
There are Hezbollah training camps, yes terrorist training camps in Venezuela.
This might be news to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison who had an Op-Ed recently in the Washington Times. In it she discusses a collaboration between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Left unchecked, Messrs. Ahmadinejad and Chavez could be the Khrushchev-Castro tandem of the early 21st century, funneling arms, money and propaganda to Latin America, and endangering that region's fragile democracies and volatile economies. If these two pariahs succeed, the next terrorist training camp could shift from the Middle East to America's doorstep.
You'd think that an Op-ed in the Washington Times would be the perfect place to announce the existence of terrorist training camps in Venezuela. Yet all she says is "Left unchecked (they) could be..." and "If these two pariahs succeed, the next terrorist training camp could shift...to America's doorstep."

Hardly the present tense that Rick Santorum was using.

Or maybe Newt Gingrich, the twice-divorced, thrice married model of Republican Family Values and possible Presidential Candidate, writing recently at a website called Family Security Matters. Here's his warning about Iran and Venezuela:
To take just two recent examples: Ahmadinejad of Iran has said “[t]o those who doubt, to those who ask is it possible, or those who do not believe, I say accomplishment of a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible.” He has also said that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” Chavez of Venezuela, just last week in a joint appearance with the Iranian leader in Latin America, announced a multi billion dollar fund to help countries willing to fight to end “American imperialism.”
Again, wouldn't that have been the perfect place to drop the news that there are terrorist training camps actually in Venezuela? He's warning America's families about the coming terror threat, for gosh sakes. Is he witholding the information that Rick Santorum's been trying to get to the public?

Indeed as recently as last December, here's what the then-Senator had to say on the Senate Floor about the camps:
They have even closer relationships with the Islamic fascists in Iran. A recent congressional report found that Hezbollah may right now have established bases in Venezuela which have issued thousands of visas to people from places such as Cuba and the Middle East, possibly giving them passports to a vague United States border security.
"...may right now..."?

Here's the report. You'll note, however, that the report was "Prepared by the Majority Staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security" and released a month before the 2006 elections. So, of course, it's completely bias free.

On page 32, it says:
General James Hill, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has warned the UnitedStates faces a growing risk from both Middle Eastern terrorists relocating to LatinAmerica and terror groups originating in the region. General Hill said groups such as Hezbollah had established bases in Latin America. These groups are taking advantage of smuggling hotspots, such as the tri-border area of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, and Venezuela’s Margarita Island, to channel funds to terrorist groups around the world.118
The "118" is a footnote going back to an article in The Financial Times of March 2003. And the bases referred to in the article are smuggling bases, not training camps.

In an article published 4 years ago.

So based on a partisan report prepared in the Republican controlled House of Representatives that footnotes a 4 year old article on terror groups smuggling/funding efforts (one that should have drawn the attention of the Bush administration at the time, were it true), the former Senator from Pennsylvania is able to declare that there are terror training camps in Venezuela.

Strong strong argument, Rick. Real strong.

1 comment:

Shawn said...

Well, yeah, there are Hezbollah training camps in Venezuela. Where do you think those missing WMDs went?