KIEV, UKRAINE (THE GRAYZONE) — Craig Lang, a US Army veteran accused by US authorities of carrying out murders on American soil as well as torture and other war crimes in Ukraine, allegedly joined a band of insurgents armed by the Colombian police to overthrow the Venezuelan government.
An FBI affidavit against Lang states that he was in Colombia with an Army pal when the country’s national police provided him with weapons to attack Venezuela.
Lang’s history tracks closely with that of Paul Gray, a fellow US military veteran and white nationalist also fighting in Ukraine. According to new revelations by a former compatriot of US-backed Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó, Gray was also involved in a scheme to attack Venezuela from Colombian territory.
The startling disclosure by Guaidó’s former associate was prompted by a May 31, 2022 report by The Grayzone which exposed Lang and Gray’s exploits in Ukraine, and identified Lang as having participated in a failed mission to destabilize Venezuela’s government from Colombian territory.
But before Lang arrived on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, at the site of a regime change operation managed by top-level US and Colombian officials, he helped execute a heinous robbery and murder in Florida to finance his trip.
SOURCE: Wanted murderer “able to obtain firearms from law enforcement in Bogota” for Venezuela regime change plot
Back in 2016, Lang met a fellow army veteran named Alex Zweiefelhofer who shared his hunger for combat and international adventurism. They were in Ukraine at the time, fighting in the ultra-nationalist Right Sector battalion, which was integrated into the Ukrainian military to do battle with pro-Russian separatists.
As the low-intensity war dragged on, Lang and Zweiefelhofer grew restless. In a search for action, they tried and failed to insert themselves into the US-backed Somalian army’s fight against Al-Shabaab insurgents, but were deported upon arrival. It was then that they decided to head south in hopes of killing “communists” in Venezuela.
On April 9, 2018, according to the FBI affidavit, Zweiefelhofer said Lang murdered a couple in Florida and robbed them of $3000 to finance their trip to the Colombian border with Venezuela.
But Zweiefelhofer was arrested before he could leave the US and indicted for murder, for which he pled not guilty. A year later, another associate of Lang – a former army buddy identified only as “M.S.M.” in the FBI criminal complaint – came forward to law enforcement with details of their exploits together on the Colombian-Venezuelan border.
According to the FBI affidavit, “Lang told M.S.M. that Lang was going to join combat forces opposed to the Venezuelan government. M.S.M. advised that Lang was going to join a Venezuelan resistance group.”
In his interview with the FBI, M.S.M. claimed he hesitated on the mission because he “did not want to kill people.” He said Lang left alone to the border town of Cucuta, where he linked up with right-wing insurgents.
According to the FBI’s timeline, which was informed by Homeland Security Investigations, Lang arrived in Bogota on September 25, 2018 and “thereafter departed from Colombia on November 23, 2018.”
The affidavit pegged the Colombian government as a key supplier of the regime change mission against Venezuela:
“M.S.M. told detectives the resistance group Lang joined was able to obtain firearms from law enforcement in Bogota. M.S.M. advised that the resistance group had a safe house in the mountains of Cucuta, Colombia. The group planned to cross into Venezuela and fight the Venezuelan government.”
Lang’s alleged arming by Colombian authorities adds a new layer to Bogota’s well-documented role in US-directed destabilization operations against the Venezuelan government. In fact, the foreign fighter’s brief adventure in Colombia began one month after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro survived an assassination attempt in which commercial drones were strapped with explosives and hovered over his head during a military parade.
Following the failed attack on Maduro, the Venezuelan president immediately blamed Colombian authorities, while US media regurgitated Colombia’s denials. Then-National Security Advisor John Bolton suggested the whole televised incident was a false flag orchestrated by Maduro.
Several participants in the assassination plot were soon arrested, and some were later exchanged for prisoners held by Colombia. One of the ringleaders, Juan Requesens, a leader of the US-funded, Venezuelan Primero Justicia party, confessed to collaborating with a Colombian immigration official to kill Maduro.
In a CNN interview with a perpetrator of the attack “somewhere in Colombia,” one of the attackers admitted to three meetings with American officials following the failed assassination plot. (CNN did not disclose the location where the interview was conducted or where the explosives were made).
In a stroke of absurdity, the FBI affidavit against Lang flatly states: “The United States is at peace with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”
Guaidó defector claims Paul Gray was involved in Operation Gideon plot against Venezuela
One day after The Grayzone’s report on the exploits of wanted murderer Craig Lang and white nationalist Paul Gray in Ukraine, an unnamed former associate of Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó came forward with a major revelation.
In an interview with the Venezuelan public TV network TeleSUR, the former Guaidó associate stated that he recognized Paul Gray from planning meetings held for Operation Gideon, a disastrously failed invasion of Venezuela conducted by 60 anti-government insurgents led by US mercenaries.
The source told TeleSUR correspondent Madelein Garcia that like Craig Lang, Gray was in Cucuta as a member of a “group of around 10 or 12 American mercenaries” planning Operation Gideon in February 2019.
That same month, the United States Agency for International Development staged an invasion of Venezuelan territory under cover of a caravan of trucks filled with supposed aid. Complimented by a Live Aid concert organized by British billionaire Richard Branson in Cucuta, the stunt ended in ignominy, as hooligans associated with the US-backed Venezuelan opposition torched USAID’s aid deliveries and attempted to blame their destruction on Maduro. USAID later admitted the entire operation was little more than a regime change ploy.
Like the drone attack and the supposed aid caravan, Operation Gideon was a disaster for everyone involved. According to one key member of the insurgent team, Yacsy Álvarez, the operation was backed by the US with a major assist from Colombian intelligence.
Some 60 Venezuelan insurgents and private mercenaries with the now-disgraced Silvercorp USA company attempted to enter Venezuela by boat, overtake an airport, and eventually capture President Maduro. But government officials had embedded within the group and easily wrapped up what has since been dubbed “The Bay of Piglets.”
The former Guaidó insider told Telesur that he first encountered Paul Gray, the US white nationalist, at a farm belonging to Don Pedro Barrigas, a Colombian businessman, accused paramilitary leader, and ally of Álvaro Uribe Vélez. Barrigas’ brother also happens to be a senator.
According to the source, Gray went by the name “Snake” during the Gideon planning meetings.
“Paul Gray was sitting there, three seats from me,” the Guaidó defector asserted.
The involvement of an infamous activist who has belonged to four US-based neo-Nazi groups, served in the Georgian National Legion in Ukraine, which is led by a US asset welcomed by members of Congress, and the new revelations of his alleged involvement in Operation Gideon raise serious questions about whether he and Lang are just ideologically-motivated war tourists or whether they are, in fact, imperial shock troops traversing a US intelligence ratline from one operation to the next.
Feature photo | MintPress News
Alexander Rubinstein is a former staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He writes about police, prisons, and protests in the United States. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.