Jeb Bush's CIA activities in Caracas under closer scrutiny
by Wayne Madsen
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the third member of the Bush family to aspire to the presidency, is under closer scrutiny for his "bank" work in Caracas, Venezuela, less than a year after his father departed Langley, Virginia as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Bush started working as a branch manager and vice president of the Houston-based Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas as President Jimmy Carter's CIA director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, began cleaning hose of many of the cohorts of Bush within the agency's clandestine service. These included a number of Cuban expatriates who carried on their anti-Castro activities as part of a virtual "shadow CIA" established to stymie Turner's reforms.
The shadow CIA included a number of private sector operations, including banking, which financed shadow CIA operations in Latin America by laundering money for the Colombian drug cartels. While he worked for Texas Commerce Bank, Jeb Bush maintained close contacts with the anti-Castro Cuban community in Venezuela, as well as with the right-wing Colombian drug lords who supported their activities with cash and weapons. Jeb Bush's work in Caracas made him steadfast friends in the Miami-based Cuban exile community, including real estate mogul Armando Codina, who Bush would partner with in a number of dubious real estate ventures after leaving Caracas and setting up residence in Miami.
One of the CIA operations Jeb Bush may have played a significant role in was the Latin American support network of Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet for right-wing opponents of Castro. These operations were primarily based in Caracas and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In return for Chilean help, the Cuban exiles provided Chile's intelligence service, DINA, with CIA-trained assassins. This operation of weapons-for-assassins involved CIA/DINA professional assassin Michael Townley, who served a 62-month sentence for the 1976 car bombing assassination of former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier, a bombing that also killed Letelier's American assistant, Roni Moffitt, on Sheridan Circle in downtown Washington, DC. The man believed responsible for authorizing the "hit" on Letelier was the then-head of the CIA, George H. W. Bush, Jeb's father. Townley, who excelled in car bombings, was also charged with the car bombing assassination in 1974 of exiled Chilean General Carlos Prats and his wife in Buenos Aires. Townley's father, John V. Townley, was a CIA veteran who served in Venezuela and Chile. Today, Michael Townley, after providing narrow evidence on DINA's role in Letelier's assassination but not the CIA's involvement, is protected as part of the Federal Witness Program. Townley testified that he hired five anti-Castro Cubans to place a bomb in Letelier's vehicle. Interestingly, Townley was also in Stockholm a week before the 1985 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme.
The Chilean- and CIA-backed anti-Castro operations in Caracas enjoyed the protection of the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP. One of the chief Chilean DINA agents involved with the CIA and anti-Castro Cubans in Caracas was Enrique Arancibia, who, like Jeb Bush, provided "banking services" for the Cubans. In 1977, Arancibia, who was involved in the assassinations of Letelier, Prats, and the 1970 murder in Santiago of Prats's predecessor as Chilean Army chief of staff, General Rene Schneider, traveled to California on "banking business" for DINA and the CIA.
Arancibia answered to Italian fascist and P-2 Masonic lodge operative Stefano Delle Chiaie. The P-2 lodge was a partner for a number of CIA "false flag" terrorist attacks in Italy. Delle Chiaie was arrested in Caracas in 1989 and extradited to Italy for the 1969 false flag terrorist bombing of the Piazza Fontana in Milan, as well as the 1980 bombing of the Bologna train station. Chiaie, an operative of the CIA's Gladio operations in Italy, was acquitted by Italian courts on all the charges. Delle Chiaie also worked closely with Townley on the botched 1975 attempt to assassinate Chilean Christian Democratic leader Bernardo Leighton and his wife in Rome in 1975. The P-2 lodge was closely linked to the activities of the fascist Opus Dei, a radical right wing order within the Roman Catholic Church, which supported Pinochet's and the CIA's Operation Condor assassination operations in Latin America and elsewhere.
Townley also worked closely in Miami and Caracas with Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, two of the primary Cuban culprits behind the terrorist bombing of Cubana Airlines 455 after it took off from Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados in October 1976. George H. W. Bush was CIA director during the Cubana bombing and the Letelier/Moffitt assassinations, both of which involved CIA assets based in Caracas. Just a year later, Jeb Bush was dispatched to Caracas, under obvious CIA non-official cover (NOC), to potentially clean up for his father and help erase the CIA's fingerprints on all Condor, Gladio, DINA/DISIP, and Opus Dei operations in the Venezuelan capital.
Jeb Bush's conversion to Catholicism from Episcopalianism in 1995 after a legacy of supporting Cuban, Chilean, Venezuelan, and Italian figures identified as members of Opus Dei and the P-2 lodge deserves much more scrutiny than it is receiving from the corporate media.
Just after Jeb Bush's November 5, 1977 marriage to Columba Bush, the young couple moved to Caracas at a time when the Venezuelan capital was a hot bed of anti-Castro CIA activity.
While he was Vice President, George H. W. Bush championed the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada in order to eliminate the Cuban and Soviet "threat" to the island. The invasion came after the overthrow and execution by "extreme Marxists" of the popular prime minister, Maurice Bishop. However, Grenada was once an outpost for Pinochet's anti-Castro activities. While Jeb Bush was in Caracas, Chilean Navy ships began transporting weapons for anti-Castro Cubans to the port of St. George's in Grenada. Grenada's prime minister Eric Gairy, who was eventually ousted by Bishop, was one of Pinochet's closest allies in the Western Hemisphere. Gairy championed Pinochet at the United Nations while also calling for the world body to recognize the threat posed by unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
The Chilean weapons shipped to Grenada were marked as "medical supplies," which is noteworthy since the Reagan-Bush administration used the "danger" posed to American medical students on Grenada to justify the 1983 invasion. The Grenada medical school was also linked to CIA activities in Jonestown, Guyana. In 1978, one-time CIA asset Jim Jones presided over a mass suicide at the Jonestown religious commune after his followers assassinated California Democratic Representative Leo Ryan and members of his investigative team. Jones waited to take any hostile action against Ryan or his flock until he was notified that Richard Dwyer, the CIA station chief at the U.S. embassy in Georgetown, Guyana, was safely exfiltrated from Jonestown.
Dwyer, a veteran CIA officer from the time that George H. W. Bush was a low-level operative in Houston involved in the Bay of Pigs affair, had been stationed as a CIA official cover officer in Cairo and Damascus. Dwyer's first stop after departing Jonestown was Grenada. There were credible reports at the time, including intelligence collected by Bishop, that the St. George's University Medical School provided cover for CIA mind control experiments after Dr. Sidney Gottlieb was ordered to shut down Operations MK-ULTRA and MK-DELTA.
Ironically, the experiments at the medical school were overseen by the school's chancellor, Sir Geoffrey H. Bourne, whose son, Peter Bourne, received a doctorate in medicine in 1962 and a master's degree in anthropology in 1969 and served as President Jimmy Carter's drug czar. Peter Bourne was also a U.S. Army Special Forces psychiatric research doctor in Vietnam and at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. Peter Bourne later became a vice chancellor at St. George's University Medical School, where his father also worked. Peter Bourne was married to Mary King, the Deputy Director of Action programs for the Peace Corps in the Carter administration. It was King who helped Jim Jones acquire the land in Guyana that became Jonestown. It is also very evident that author Robert Ludlum did not develop his Jason Bourne mind-controlled assassin character out of thin air.
The Chilean medical supplies from the Pinochet regime were off-loaded from Chilean Navy ships docked in St. George's during the night and no trucks were ever seen transporting the supplies to any Grenadian medical centers. In fact, the crates contained weapons, which were then re-transported to Cuban exiles in Caracas and Santo Domingo. These operations took place beginning in November 1977, the same month Jeb Bush took up residence in Caracas and married his Spanish-speaking Mexican wife Columba, while ostensibly working for a Houston-based bank owned by the family of close Bush friend James Baker. Jeb remained in Caracas during 1978 and 1979, during the time frame that Caracas served as a major CIA station responsible for smaller stations in Georgetown, St. George's, Bridgetown, Kingston, Paramaribo, Cayenne, and Willemstad. It is time for Jeb Bush to come clean about his obscure activities in Caracas during some of the CIA's most egregious activities in the Caribbean region.