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Thursday, October 26, 2006 

Texas Lt Gov and The Intelligence Business

Here in Texas, Lt Gov is the office you if you want to run Texas Gov, even though on the books it considered the second-highest office in Texas. It is considered the most powerful post because the Lt Gov controls the work of the Texas Senate and controls the budgeting process as a leader of the Legislative Budget Board. The Lt Gov is elected separately from the Gov, rather than on the same ticket; so it is unusual to have the Gov and the Lt Gov to be from different political parties.

David Dewhurst, who was elected Lt Gov in 2002, is running for re-election. Dewhurst will face Democrat Maria Luisa Alvarado, a veteran's issues research analyst and the winner of the April 11 runoff primary, in the November general election. However, one of most mysterious Republican candidates is Dewhurst.

So far, Dewhurst has raised more than $3.4 million against his much-underfunded opponent. That still doesn’t mean it is a cake-wake. Recently, I have been noticing he has been coming out with his televisions ads, which makes you wonder in Alvarado has been stomping on some his cakes. It was reported that he only has $905,000 left. Most of his money has gone towards his $4 million television ads for the closing weeks of the campaign.

Dewhurst was at the forefront of implementing and defending the GOP's radical re-redistricting assault on democracy. Other than that, it is tough to say what he has really been doing. So who is Dewhurst?

His biography states was born and raised in Houston attended the University of Arizona, enlisted and served as an officer in the Air Force, and was "CIA agent" that spoke fluent Spanish and was stationed in Latin America while with "the agency". This information is not based on some wild "conspiracy theory," one can even find his information on his website.
Dewhurst began his business career in the mid-1970s after serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. State Department. He founded Falcon Seaboard, a Texas-based diversified energy and investments company. An early developer in the mid-1980s in the electric cogeneration business, he has earned a reputation as an innovative and successful businessman.
He worked as a CIA agent in Latin America from 1970-73 from there, he worked with the state Department. It's not hard to figure out, given the fact his bio states that he founded Falcon Seaboard in the mid-eighties. Therefore, it is safe to assume right after the CIA he worked for the State Department. Dewhurst has always downplayed his role in Bolivia, claiming he was nothing more than a glorified clerk who read newspapers and wrote reports for the CIA. That is what makes Dewhurst secretive nature unusual.

It was during this time as a CIA agent and a government man, the countries in what is known as the Southern Cone of South America underwent one of the worst human rights violations that region has ever seen. These were the days of the infamous Operation Condor, led by Chile and included Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Condor represented a striking new level of coordinated repression among the anticommunist militaries in the region led by the US. Condor allowed the Latin American military states to share information and to track down, seize, and execute political opponents in combined operations across borders. It has also been reported that top US officials and agencies, including the State Department, the CIA, and the Defense Department, were fully aware of Condor and its operations from the time it was established.

During Dewhurst's time in Bolivia, Bolivian President Juan José Torres was overthrown by Gen. Hugo "El Petiso" Banzer in a bloody coup d'état soon after Torres nationalized Gulf Oil properties and tin mines owned by US interests and expelled the Peace Corps. It has reported that Air Force Major Robert Lundin provided Banzer's forces with communications equipment.
Banzer plotted a comeback. According to a report in The Washington Post [Aug. 29, 1971], Banzer crossed back into Bolivia frequently during his exile to confer with U.S. Air Force Major Robert Lundin. That August, Banzer led a second coup attempt, which Lundin aided. When Banzer's communications broke down, Lundin made available the U.S. Air Force radio system and the coup-makers won.
The right-wing revolt coincidentally took place four months after Dewhurst's arrived in Bolivia. It is widely known that General Hugo Banzer was trained at the notorious School of the Americas (SOA) - the paramilitary school in Fort Benning, Georgia, that trained future Latin American dictators and strongmen how to torture civilians and overthrow democratically elected governments, all paid for by American tax dollars. The SOA was conveniently renamed to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC or WHINSEC) in 2001. WHINSEC was re-opened on January 17, 2001, after Congress officially closed the SOA in December 2000.

Back in Oct 2001, when David Dewhurst was Texas Land Commissioner and a candidate for Lt Gov, Gov Rick Perry appointed him as chair of the Governor's Task Force on Homeland Security. Perry (Subscription required) told reporters he choose Dewhurst because of his "experience as a former CIA agent, former State Department official and former Air Force officer."
"The experience speaks for itself," the governor said. "I know no one in state government who has his background relative to this specific issue." (Houston Chronicle, 10/02/2001)
Soon after his appointment and starting his campaign for lieutenant governor, Dewhurst purchased a full-color, four-page advertisement in Texas Monthly magazine touting about his new role as Texas' homeland security chief. The ad ended up raising many eyebrows. The ad depicted a military officer standing in front of an American flag, with the caption:
"As chairman of the Governor's Task Force on Homeland Security, David Dewhurst encourages you to support President Bush and the brave men and woman of our Armed Forces as they fight to eliminate terrorism and work to restore confidence in our economy."
What made it worse, the military officer pictured in front the American flag in the Texas Monthly ad was a German Luftwaffe officer. The Dewhurst campaign was quick to call it an "accident" and confirmed that it was a German, which the graphic artist and had been "dealt with appropriately." CIA talk, perhaps? Although his critics accused him of trying to use his position in the security task force as a way to improve his image as a candidate for lieutenant governor, one does have to question how much of it had to do with his role a CIA "case officer."

During his time in Bolivia, while the coup was occurring, Gen. Banzer was receiving advice from a former Nazi SS and Gestapo Klaus Barbie, the war criminal vastly known as the "Butcher of Lyon." Barbie was wanted for the torture and brutal killing of more than 4,000 Jews, many of them children, between 1942 and 1944 when he was Gestapo chief in Lyon. Barbie's presence in Bolivia and his work with the Bolivian government are part of our nation's dirty little secret.

In 1983, in an investigation conducted by US State Department's Allan A. Ryan, it was revealed that US intelligence officers had smuggled Barbie out of France and into Bolivia in 1951 through a "rat line." US Army intelligence had used and protected Barbie and other known Nazi war criminals in return for their help in the Cold War. Once in Bolivia, Barbie was employed by the US Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) because of his "police skills" and anti-Communist zeal was a valuable asset in protecting Cold War West Germany. While he was living in Bolivia, Barbie went under the assumed name of "Klaus Altmann."

Dewhurst's only comment for being in Bolivia has always been that he was there to promote democracy. Where have we heard that line before? When Banzer came to power in 1971, he relied on Barbie's expertise to maintain his unpopular rightist regime. That year, Banzer
"gave total powers to Klaus Altmann [Barbie] to concentrate on the creation of internment camps for his [Banzer's] political opponents ... torture and executions were common in those camps." Many of Banzer's enemies were Communists and Barbie probably saw no discontinuity between his activities in Lyons and La Paz." (Le Monde, May 16, 1987)
Are these the types of people we spend our time and money to put into power?

Back in November of 2001, Michael King of the Austin Chronicle had asked Dewhurst what were his views about the Banzer government, but in typical CIA fashion, Dewhurst replied:
"The Banzer government replaced the Torres government, which was considered a thorn in the side of the U.S. I left Bolivia in 1973. I have no informed opinion of President Banzer's [administration], other than that during the late 1970s, the U.S. State Department and international banking interests applauded Bolivia's strengthening economy. That apparent accomplishment has been clouded by numerous and repeated allegations of human rights violations."
Let's review. Dewhurst was in Bolivia between 1971 and 1973; he founded Falcon Seaboard in 1981, therefore, he had to be working with the State Department from 1973 to 1981. We also know that the State Department was consistently involved in Operation Condor.

On March 6, 2001, the New York Times reported on a recently declassified State Department document revealing that the US was part of the classified program known as Operation Condor. The report was among the 16,000 State, CIA, White House, Defense and Justice Department records released in November 2000 on Washington's role during Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile.

Dewhurst may downplay his short-term career at the CIA, but it is obvious it has left an impression on him. In 1994, former Senator Bob Dole appointed him to serve on Clinton'spresidential commission to reorganize the intelligence community. The same commission former CIA Director Porter Goss served on.
These distinguished Americans will join the eight members appointed by the leadership of the 103rd Congress. They are Tony Coelho, David Dewhurst, Representative Norm Dicks, Senator James Exon, former Senator Wyche Fowler, Representative Porter Goss, General Robert Pursley and Senator John Warner.
According the bio, it cites that Dewhurst "was recently elected to the National Board of Directors of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs," the same pro-Israeli think tank whose board includes Vice President Dick Cheney and former CIA director Admiral James Woolsey.

This is not the first time Dewhurst's past has been raised; this issue came up back in 1998 while he was campaigning for land commissioner and during the 2002 Lt. Gov election. In 1998, Dewhurst told the Houston Chronicle that he was not involved and reiterated that he was not a spy. It is hard to obscure the facts, when there is a paper trial. Recently, there has been a surge in interest in privacy. Generally, when people talk of privacy, they oftentimes express they would prefer to keep their information about them from being available to others. The fact is, we are at a juncture where there is more information at our fingertips than any generation before. Dewhurst may have been able to dance around the issue, but as more information becomes available, it becomes easier to connect the dots.

Dewhurst is running for re-election, the most powerful position in Texas. It is no secret he has his eye for Texas' top spot - Gov. It was easy for him to avoid his past in the last two elections. However, the accessibility of the news back then is not same as it is now. Questions regarding his role in Bolivia will be brought up eventually.

Unfortunately, people have written this race off because his challenger is practically an unknown, Maria Luisa Alvarado. She may not be a well-seasoned politician; however, she did win the Democratic nomination over Ben Grant, a former state representative who also served as justice of the Sixth Court of Appeals. It would be wrong to assume Alvarado won because us "stupid Hispanics" chose her because she was one of our own. Currently, she has no major endorsements from any major publication and it must be noted, during this campaign season, Texas Democrats have solely been focusing their attention on electing Chris Bell, while leaving Ms. Alvarado to fend for herself.

When Dewhurst ran the fist time for Lt Gov, he too was though of being "inexperience" and had a "lack of political savvy." He showed his critics wrong. If provided a chance, Ms. Alvarado can rise to the level of expectations.

In state where the GOP has been destructive, we need transparency in our government, not covert undertakings and secret work histories.


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  • From Tejas, United States
  • Un Xicano who is tired of the current status quo.
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