President NicolÃ¡s Maduro said his government had captured two American â€œmercenariesâ€ Monday in a murky operation allegedly intended to infiltrate Venezuela, incite rebellion and apprehend its leaders, adding a fresh complication to escalating tensions between Washington and Caracas. The socialist leader said the plan was to kill him.
In a lengthy speech Monday night, Maduro decried an ongoing â€œterroristâ€ assault on Venezuela that he said had led him to dispatch 25,000 reservists to the coasts. He displayed images that apparently depicted the two apprehended Americans in a lineup, one of them forced to lower his head by a captor.
U.S. officials and the mainstream Venezuelan opposition headed by Juan GuaidÃ³ have strongly denied any connection with the operation, which allegedly involved several dozen men, most of them defectors from the Venezuelan military who had been living hand-to-mouth in camps in Colombia. Former Venezuelan National Guard officer Javier Nieto Quintero and former U.S. Army Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, head of a Florida company that says it offers paid strategic security services, released a video Sunday announcing the start of â€œOperation Gideonâ€ and calling on Venezuelan soldiers to join them.
Goudreau, in an interview with The Washington Post, confirmed that two Americans in what he says was a force of about 60 men were captured Monday along with six Venezuelans. He identified the Americans as Airan Berry and Luke Denman. Also captured was one of the operationâ€™s leaders, former Capt. Antonio Sequea.
The Americans, Goudreau said, were fellow former Special Forces members he had known for years who had joined the operation as â€œsupervisors.â€ He said he has engaged a lawyer in Venezuela and was reaching out to the State Department to try to secure their release.
President Trump says it wasn't him:
President Trump denied any U.S. involvement in the incident, saying that â€œit has nothing to do with our government.â€
The State Department said that it could not comment on the reported arrests, citing privacy considerations, but added that â€œthere is a major disinformation campaign underway by the Maduro regime, making it difficult to separate facts from propaganda.â€
The two men were captured, along with six others, on Monday when the small boat they were traveling in attempted to land along Venezuelaâ€™s coastline, only to be met by Venezuelan military and police forces. On Sunday, eight others, apparently Venezuelans, were killed and two were captured in a separate landing attempt, according to Venezuelan reports.
At least these chaps had no air cover. It's always a dead giveaway if the US air force is overhead at moments like these.
This has all the feel of mercenary incompetence. A bit like the blokes who thought Simon Mann would make their fortunes by plundering Equatorial Guinea.
I haven't yet looked on Google. I might, depending on how the day goes - lots to do today. - but the focus is "two Americans in what he says was a force of about 60 men were captured Monday along with six Venezuelans. He identified the Americans as Airan Berry and Luke Denman. Also captured was one of the operationâ€™s leaders, former Capt. Antonio Sequea. The Americans, Goudreau said, were fellow former Special Forces members he had known for years who had joined the operation as â€œsupervisors"", if anyone would like a go.
Supervisors. A very intelligence agency word, supervisors.
In an interview with my colleagues on Monday, Goudreau said the two captured Americans â€” identified as Airan Berry and Luke Denman â€” had been in a boat off Venezuelaâ€™s Caribbean coast late Sunday, hoping for extraction, before they were seized by Maduroâ€™s forces. Now, he wants U.S. officials to â€œengage and try to get these guys back,â€ Goudreau told The Washington Post. â€œThey are Americans. They are ex-Green Berets. Come on.â€
Someone, somewhere, is paying for this story to be publicized. This is from the website blurb at Silvercorp:
Very few individuals are experts in handling crisis situations. Inexperienced leaders can make rash decisions, react too quickly to the situation, or worse, not react at all in hopes that the situation will work itself out. Nowadays, with the way information travels instantaneously, crisis situations typically do not â€œjust work themselves out.â€ You need to intervene before the situation escalates. If you are looking for help managing a crisis, Silvercorp USA is highly experienced in handling the whole spectrum of crisis situations.
which sounds a lot like the storytelling that just started up. The events themselves go back several months, so the flurry this week is deliberate. https://apnews.com/79346b4e428676424c0e5669c80fc310?utm_campaign=wp_todays_worldview&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_todayworld came out five days ago and carries a lot of the background.