It Just Keeps Going

 I gotta’ tell ya’, I didn’t think the story about the Venezuela – Iran flight detained in Argentina, along with the crew, would have legs like this. It’s like the Energizer bunny… it just keeps going…and going…and going. I guess you could say that about most things Venezuela- related… humanitarian crisis, the Human Rights abuses, the migrant crisis…and so on. Here’s today’s smattering of stories…

 BA Times reports that the Argentina spy chief, Augustin Rossi, (the guy that backed up Argentina’s Security Minister’s now discredited statement that the Iranian crew member on the detained Venezuela-owned plane simply had the same name as the guy with ties to Iran’s Quds Force) has shot himself in the foot again.He now says this shady flight was nothing more than an Iranian training class…Anybody buying this one?

 Also from BA Times we have Argentina President Fernandez, not to be outdone by the ridiculous claim of his spy chief, that the shady flight of the Venezuela-owned cargo plane was an Iranian training class, says the plane was grounded due to refueling difficulties, not because of any crew member’s alleged ties to Quds Force. Does he even know that Paraguay’s intelligence chief has confirmed the identity of Iranian crew member, Ghasemi Abbas, as the same man tied to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s foreign operation arm, Quds Force. He also says he has information on 7 crew members aboard the plane with ties to Quds Force.

 Then we have Algemeiner telling us that the detention of the Venezuelan – Iranian Boeing 747 in Argentina has exposed even more than we thought (allegedly). The headline read : “Iran and Argentina Bolster a Dangerous Alliance”. The Iran – Venezuela alliance has enabled Iran to resume “aeroterrorist” flights to Latin America whereby Iran can transport illicit goods and terrorists using aircraft operated by allied nations.

 Aside from everything we already know about this suspicious flight and crew and ties to Quds Force (that provided material support to the Taliban), it has been reported in Iranian media that Ghasemi Abbas (remember, he’s not just a guy with the same name as the guy with ties to Quds Force…he really is the guy…photographic evidence and everything) was involved in at least one Iranian arms transfer to Lebanon’s Hezbollah (Iran’s terrorism proxy, operating freely in Venezuela and expanding it’s presence in Latin America)

 The confidential report also shed light on the plane’s trip to Paraguay a few weeks ago before the detention in Argentina. The aircraft flew to the Tri-Border area of Paraguay (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay) and took consignment of 80 tons of cigarettes, then flew to Aruba. Not overtly suspicious, right? The Paraguayan- made cigarettes were from Tabacalera del Este S.A. , a major supplier of the illicit cigarette trade in the Western Hemisphere.

 This is where it gets interesting…The company is owned by former Paraguayan President, Horacio Cartes, who enabled Hezbollah to smuggle his cigarettes into the region. Cartes’ bank has been investigated for money laundering activities and used by Hezbollah fund raisers like, Mohammed Fayez Barakat. The illicit tobacco trade has become a key revenue source for Hezbollah (to add to their traditional specialties of drug trafficking and money laundering) particularly in Latin America.

 We also have intelligence sources saying that for years Venezuela has cooperated with Iran in the scheme the US Drug Enforcement Administration calls “aeroterror” whereby flights that were supposedly carrying tourists would leave Caracas, not carrying tourists but loaded with narcotics and cash and return from Iran and Syria with guns, Islamic Republican Guard, Hezbollah, and Hamas operatives. Are we really supposed to believe the regimes in Tehran and Caracas are interested in promoting tourism? (aside from the fact that there’s no tourism market to travel to Iran or Venezuela)

 We seem to be somewhere between “Smuggler’s Blues”, “The Wizard of Oz”, and “The Outlaw Josey Wales”…We have “lots of shady characters, lots of dirty deals” and “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” and “don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining”. Need I say more?

 And Media Line tells us that Argentina President Fernandez still says the Venezuela “mystery flight” is not linked to Quds Force, despite evidence to the contrary. (Who ya’ gonna’ believe? Me or your lying eyes?)

 And Merco Press says that the Argentina President insists his political rivals are trying to make the Venezuela ‘mystery flight’ “something it’s not”. (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain)

 And in a follow-up on the fallout from this whole Venezuela – Iran flight detention situation, Merco Press tells us that the Argentina Ambassador to Bolivia announced Argentina will allow BoA (Bolivian Airline) to fly the 190 Conviasa (Venezuela government- owned airline) passengers stranded in Bolivia to Buenos Aires, their original destination. (remember, they were stranded there when Maduro ordered the flight diverted from Buenos Aires to Bolivia citing concerns the plane would be detained by Argentinian authorities)

 Then we have Jerusalem Post with a piece on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s concern over the Iran – Venezuela alliance. They cite a Wall Street Journal article from 2019 on the shipment of 73 tons of gold shipped from Caracas to the Middle East via Entebbe, Uganda where African Gold Refinery processed the gold causing the loss of trace of origin. Wiesenthal Center contends the shipment may have included ingots of “Zahngold” made from the fillings of the teeth of Holocaust victims. (before you think they’re over-reacting, remember, nobody is as good at tracing things as the guys that tracked down Adolph Eichmann) They are also concerned with Iran’s arms sales to the Maduro regime in return for uranium.

 Moving on…We have Caracas Chronicles telling us that the Chavista Comptroller General announced an investigation into Guatire mayor-ship in Miranda, requested by Maduro’s National Assembly. They declared the mayor politically responsible for forced eviction (whatever that means?). Guatire matters because it’s another way to work around electoral results and political office where Chavistas lost elections. Remember, Maduro said he would discontinue the practice (unconstitutional) of appointing a “protector of the people” to usurp power from duly elected opposition governors, although he has stated publicly that  his decision to discontinue the practice wasn’t necessarily permanent.

 And we have the Laboratorio de Desarollo Humano warning that the maternal mortality rate in Lara state was up 26% in 2021 and there were 144 babies out of every 100,000 that died.

 And the Frente Amplio coordinator assures that pensioners and retirees will continue to protest until pension and benefit demands are met.(they take issue with the fact that when Maduro “raised” pensions, to the level of extreme poverty we might add of $30 a month, he eliminated their benefits)

 And in a follow up to the attack on opposition leader, Juan Guaido, we have the San Carlos Municipal Chamber suspending Chavista councilman, Orlando Martinez, and Cojedes Legislative Council suspending regional deputy, Kerine Rojas, for participating in the attack on Guaido. Diosdado Cablello, Chavismo’s number two man (some say number one) is threatening to take them to court over the suspensions.

 That will do it for this week. We’ll be back Monday and who knows…we may even have more on the Venezuela – Iran “mystery flight”.

 Have a great weekend everybody!!!!

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