It happened before. It can happen again.

For some strange reason, I find this news item very disturbing. See if you can tell me why…

Military maneuvers in the Caribbean are being carried out by the US, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and countries from the hemisphere — excluding Cuba and Venezuela, which are the potential objectives of this demonstration of force.

The USS George Washington Aircraft Carrier Strike Group is leading the “Partnership of the Americas” air and naval exercises.

Along with the carrier will participate a destroyer, the USS Stout; a guided-missile frigate, the USS Underwood; possibly two nuclear submarines, and some 6,500 sailors, reported Prensa Latina news agency.

According to public statements, the objectives are to “strengthen military relations between the US Navy and countries in the region” and to “join forces to fight drug trafficking and terrorism.”

Nonetheless, regional analysts think that this air, sea and ground reconnaissance could be aimed at evaluating the potential of an attack by the US against Venezuela.

Future exercises will involve roughly 4,000 soldiers from the US, Holland, Belgium, Canada and France, who are scheduled to participate in a maneuver being dubbed the “Joint Caribbean Lion,” to take place between May 23 and June 15 in Curacao and Guadeloupe.

This military exercise will be one of the largest organized in the last several years and will have its headquarters at the Hato Rey naval base in Curacao.

Meanwhile, the United States and the United Kingdom have recently concluded the “Trade Winds” military exercises in Jamaica, which included ground, air and sea operations.

And now, a blast from the past:

Wayne Madsen, a former intelligence officer with the US navy, told the Guardian yesterday that American military attaches had been in touch with members of the Venezuelan military to examine the possibility of a coup.

“I first heard of Lieutenant Colonel James Rogers [the assistant military attache now based at the US embassy in Caracas] going down there last June to set the ground,” Mr Madsen, an intelligence analyst, said yesterday. “Some of our counter-narcotics agents were also involved.”

He said that the navy was in the area for operations unconnected to the coup, but that he understood they had assisted with signals intelligence as the coup was played out.

Mr Madsen also said that the navy helped with communications jamming support to the Venezuelan military, focusing on communications to and from the diplomatic missions in Caracas belonging to Cuba, Libya, Iran and Iraq – the four countries which had expressed support for Mr Chavez.

Navy vessels on a training exercise in the area were supposedly put on stand-by in case evacuation of US citizens in Venezuela was required.

In Caracas, a congressman has accused the US ambassador to Venezuela, Charles Shapiro, and two US embassy military attaches of involvement in the coup.

“Stand-by in case evacuation was required”, my ass. They were probably only on standby in case Fuerte Tiuna was retaken by the Chavistas (which, in fact it was–and so was Miraflores Palace.) More likely, the vessel served as an alternate command post.

There’s a reason why I’m putting this up here today. Scroll down a bit and see if you can tell me what it is.

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