Meet Timothy Tracy, the American detained by the Venezuelan government

Late last week, the Venezuelan government detained Timothy Tracy, a 35-year-old American filmmaker, on charges of attempting to foment unrest in Venezuela following its contested April 14 presidential election. Given the Venezuelan government's long history of lobbing absurd accusations at the United States -- most recently alleging that American "imperialists" had infected the late Hugo Chávez with cancer -- Tracy's arrest carries a whiff of Chávez-era paranoia, and a hint of cold political calculation to direct deep dissatisfaction over the election result at Venezuela's primary political enemy: the United States. Tracy was arrested at the airport trying to leave the country.

So who is Timothy Tracy? The New York Times describes him as a somewhat naive Hollywood producer with only rudimentary Spanish and no knowledge of Venezuela who was working on a documentary about the country's political divisions. "He seemed like a man on a lark," the Times writes. According to his LinkedIn profile, Tracy graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, the prestigious New England prep school, and Georgetown before taking on a series of producing gigs in Los Angeles. 

What's particularly baffling about the case is that Tracy's film and television experience is far from what one would expect from a documentary filmmaker exploring one of the world's most dangerous countries.

Tracy describes himself as the creator and producer of Madhouse, a History Channel show about stock car racing in North Carolina. Check out the trailer below, which appears to be something of a parody of the American South and NASCAR culture.

He also claims to have served as a production manager on Poliwood, a documentary about the intersection of American politics and Hollywood:

And he served as a co-producer and story consultant on American Harmony, a documentary about a barber shop singing competition. It looks as delightfully bad as you'd expect: 

Not exactly the credits you'd expect from someone the Venezuelan government insists -- with no proof so far -- is a spy.


North Korea reflects on the last two months: America is a 'reckless' nation

With the Foal Eagle joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea drawing to a close, North Korea took a moment to reflect on the last two months -- a period in which it declared a "state of war," voided its existing non-aggression pacts, and threatened a nuclear strike on the U.S. mainland. "All facts go to prove that the U.S. is the provocateur," the Tuesday edition of the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper concluded.

The paper's defiant editorial reviewed a period following North Korea's third nuclear test in which international sanctions gave way to a series of belligerent threats by Pyongyang that worried allies China and Cuba and sparked a U.S. escalation of the annual Foal Eagle exercises. The DPRK's official outlets offered a unified history lesson.

"The U.S. persistent military provocations would result in escalating the political and military tough measures of the DPRK to cope with them," Rodong Sinmun explained.

Another editorial, featured in a Korean Central News Agency report, offered a similar reflection. "Foal Eagle was of very dangerous nature as it was staged against the backdrop of extreme anti-DPRK provocation campaign of the U.S. and the south Korean puppet forces," read the editorial. "Foal Eagle staged against the backdrop of the dangerous military moves which can be seen only on the eve of a war clearly suggested its alarming danger.'"

It continued. "At the prodding of the U.S. these forces recklessly cried out for meting out 'punishment' and 'making strikes at bases of provocation and commanding force.'"

To be sure, the United States didn't exactly turn the other cheek as Pyongyang's threats piled up. The two-month-long drill involved a dazzling array of U.S. military hardware including a nuclear submarine, B-2 stealth bombers, F-22 fighter jets, and B-52 bombers -- and about 10,000 U.S. troops and up to 200,000 South Korean soldiers.

But rather than add to the tough talk, U.S. Forces Korea marked the end of the exercises Tuesday with an innocuous statement on its Facebook page saying the exercise provided "valuable military training based on realistic requirements and missions, and [is] designed to improve the alliance's readiness to defend the Republic of Korea."

Well, until next time!