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How to screw the pooch, authentically

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Oh yes, little Chihuahua perrito. Once more, you are so fucked! And this time, by a news source I used to trust, at least as far as Mexico went. But no longer. As usual, my amigo Slave Revolt has called it correctly, saying NarcoNews was corrupted. I took my time coming around to his POV, but now I understand and agree. Alas, even the purveyors of "authentic journalism" can screw the pooch. And here's how they do it, in a step-by-step breakdown...so you can recognize further dog-fuckery in the future:

1. Publish, unedited and uncriticized, one press release from CONAIE, one of several indigenous people's NGOs in Ecuador.

2. Comment on it in hysterical, smear-mongering hyperbole, questioning none of its premises:

Note by Al Giordano: During Thursday's coverage of events in Ecuador, we accepted on face value that it was an attempted coup d'etat and saw the same international forces behind the 2009 Honduras coup involved in these events. Now that the immediate dangers have subsided is the moment to reflect more deeply as to what occurred and why.

We also defended Ecuador's most important coalition of social movements, the Federation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE, in its Spanish initials) from a vicious smear and innuendo campaign against it by North Americans like Eva Golinger, Jean-Guy Allard, and on her Twitter feed, Naomi Klein (see correction down below) who recklessly accused the indigenous women and men of the CONAIE of being agents of imperialism and recipients of funds from US AID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

In subsequent days, waving extremely flimsy and half-stated "evidence," Golinger and Allard have pressed their crusade to discredit the CONAIE further in a series of articles high on rhetoric and rumor and low on factual content or proof. If this is to become a duel of credibility and honesty between these gringo and Canadian voices and the dignified ones of the CONAIE, we give far more benefit of the doubt to those Ecuadorean voices who have proved for two decades that they hold the interests of their own country and their own peoples high and proud and who have effectively organized and struggled and continue to win real results.

We furthermore consider the efforts by Golinger et al against the good people of the CONAIE to themselves be a form of North American imperialism and view it necessary to call it what it is: dishonesty based on the imperatives of political expediency and worship at the altar of State power. McCarthyism and Stalinism were always two faces on the same coin, after all. Each make their lists, invent false charges, distort the whole truth, as they seek to purge, destroy and silence debate and dissent.

3. ...while disregarding the fact that CONAIE is, in fact, very much a recipient of USAID funding, and has been for several years, just like the worst racist and fascist opponents of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Which kind of puts a crimp in the whole "CONAIE good people" spin.

It's not as though indigenous people can't be misled by gringos with mucho dinero, either. Happens more often than you think in Ecuador; Philip Agee could have told you as much, back when he was still alive. He was with the CIA when they fomented political coups during the 1960s, after all, and one of them (his first assignment, in fact) was in Ecuador. And how did the CIA do it? By cultivating conservative, strongly Catholic indigenous groups, among others. And yes, plenty of US money changed hands then, too. CONAIE did not yet exist, but the pattern of CIA subversion of non-governmental organizations in Ecuador was established during Agee's time there. It was later carried out under USAID and the NED--to give the whole putschist enterprise the appropriate "democratic" gloss. Scratch the veneer a bit, though, and you'll see the CIA still very much at work underneath it all.

4. But I guess it's easier to smear Eva Golinger, absurdly, as a "Stalinist" (never mind that Joe Stalin is long dead) than it is to take a good hard look at CONAIE's strange assertions:

We energetically announce that there never was any attempted coup d'etat, much less a kidnapping, but an event that responded to the uncertain political management of the government that causes popular discontent through permanent aggression, discrimination and violations of human rights consecrated in the Constitution.

We do not recognize this dictatorial "democracy" because of its lack of freedom of speech, the kidnapping of all the powers of the state by the executive branch in its political system of one government, that does not generate spaces to debate the projects, and laws elaborated from the indigenous movement and other social sectors.

We categorically refute claims that the CONAIE, the Pachakutik Political Movement, the peoples and nationalities have any relationship at all with the organism known as USAID, previously NED, not today nor ever. To the contrary, we know that this organization finances the "social programs" of this government like the forest partnership and that, yes, is condemnable.

We demand the constitutional suspension of the National Congress for its failure to comply with the constitutional mandate that it legislate much less audit as it is well known that all laws are approved by the president's legal minister.

We condemn the usurpation of press freedom when on September 30 all media not allied with the government was forced to broadcast government news in "cadena nacional," a means by which all access to information is controlled and manipulated with a version of the facts that does not inform about the real dimensions of the situation on that day in the country.

Really, Al are you going to let THAT pass unchallenged? You call THAT "authentic"?

I call bullshit. On several points. Let's take them down one by one:

(a) "We energetically announce that there never was any attempted coup d'etat, much less a kidnapping, but an event that responded to the uncertain political management of the government that causes popular discontent through permanent aggression, discrimination and violations of human rights consecrated in the Constitution."

This is the first bald-faced CONAIE lie. What happened in Ecuador on September 20 WAS, unequivocally, a coup. Eyewitnesses who were at the hospital where Rafael Correa was held prisoner that day say that yes, he WAS kidnapped and held there against his will. One of them, Dr. Paula Vernimmen, actually tweeted the events as they went down. I followed her on Twitter that day, almost literally biting my nails in fear for Correa's life. My fear was well justified; Dr. Vernimmen later tweeted some pictures that prove that yes, there was a coup. Mere protesters against alleged human-rights violations don't fire big live ammo at an armored van containing a president, after all.

As for the "violations of human rights consecrated in the Constitution", I seem to recall Rafael Correa convening a constituent assembly to rewrite Ecuador's old, fusty gringo-imperialist era one. Why would he violate his own rules? Makes no sense, and doesn't explain his high popularity in the days and weeks immediately following the coup attempt, either. Consistently over 70% in the polls since the coup, people. And this popularity comes even as Quito remains under an indefinite state of emergency!

It also doesn't explain the fact that the general public strongly supports the army, which was instrumental in rescuing Correa, and condemns the police for revolting.

So yes, as you may have guessed, this too is CONAIE talking out its collective buttocks. One might think that if they really valued democracy, they would at least have the decency to condemn putschist tactics, but oh nooooo. To the contrary, they endorse them. Read on...

(b) "We do not recognize this dictatorial 'democracy' because of its lack of freedom of speech, the kidnapping of all the powers of the state by the executive branch in its political system of one government, that does not generate spaces to debate the projects, and laws elaborated from the indigenous movement and other social sectors."

"Dictatorial democracy"? Now there's an oxymoron if ever I heard one. Correa is popularly elected (and re-elected). With a margin of victory that leaves no doubt. He even won his second term on the first round, in a region all too known for its two-round elections of less-popular, more conservative candidates. What could be more "dictatorial"? Well, maybe if Correa had abolished the entire Ecuadorian parliament, CONAIE's absurd claim of "kidnapping all of the powers of the state" might hold water. But last I looked, the country still had one, and it was still running, albeit not always in CONAIE's favor. So it's not as though there are no "spaces to debate the projects, and laws elaborated from the indigenous movement and other social sectors." Actually, it looks more as if the democratic debate works just fine, and if CONAIE comes out the loser, well, too bad. Nobody elected THEM to a majority in the assembly, or to the presidency. (Maybe they'd be more popular if they cut the USAID purse strings!)

(c) "We categorically refute claims that the CONAIE, the Pachakutik Political Movement, the peoples and nationalities have any relationship at all with the organism known as USAID, previously NED, not today nor ever. To the contrary, we know that this organization finances the 'social programs' of this government like the forest partnership and that, yes, is condemnable."

Whoa, whoa, whoa...USAID finances Correa? Now that's just plain crazy talk. Why would they finance a man who's on the same side as another president they've been trying to topple since he came to office more than a decade ago? I'm talking here about Chavecito, to whom Correa is often (and not wrongly) compared. USAID, like the CIA, wants Correa dead; their lackeys in the Ecuadorian federal police made that abundantly clear.

Plus, that "categorically refute" thing has already been shot down by Eva Golinger's documented proof of the exact opposite. They may deny, but they CAN'T refute what she has found--hard documentation proving that yes, there is a long-standing relationship between CONAIE and USAID and the NED.

(d) "We demand the constitutional suspension of the National Congress for its failure to comply with the constitutional mandate that it legislate much less audit as it is well known that all laws are approved by the president's legal minister."

They demand WHAT? Suspension of an elected parliament? That sounds awfully putschist and dictatorial. Who are these people to condemn democracy as "dictatorial" when what they are doing is worse?

And as you may have guessed, they're also not telling the truth about the assembly's failure to "legislate much less audit". What's very strange is that their legislative arm, Pachakutic, originally voted to support Correa's constitution. When did they turn against him, and what turned them? Questions, questions--don't expect honest answers from them or Al Giordano, though.

(e) "We condemn the usurpation of press freedom when on September 30 all media not allied with the government was forced to broadcast government news in 'cadena nacional,' a means by which all access to information is controlled and manipulated with a version of the facts that does not inform about the real dimensions of the situation on that day in the country."

This is the same bullshit the Venezuelan opposition spouts all the time, freely and in their own private media, whenever Chavecito uses his legal right to broadcast an important announcement on all channels. It is also a legally enshrined right in Ecuador. And public service announcements by the federal government are also a fact of life here in North America, although we don't have cadenas per se. So this is another silly complaint that doesn't hold water. It does, however, smell very much of USAID's media-manipulating hand.

As to the claim that "all access to information is controlled and manipulated with a version of the facts that does not inform about the real dimensions of the situation on that day in the country", that's an absurd projection. Not to mention false. CNN's Spanish channel was unaffected, and transmitted nonstop lies, pro-US crapaganda and just plain bullshit throughout the cadena. It was so bad, and so utterly wrong, that the local CNN correspondent, Rodolfo Muñoz, resigned--in a move eerily reminiscent of what Andrés Izarra, formerly news director of Venezuela's oldest private channel, RCTV, did when his bosses told him to allow "nothing pro-Chávez on screen".

And that's not even touching the fact that Ecuador's private TV channels are all very right-wing--and bitterly opposed to Rafael Correa, who has often complained of their biased coverage. The idea that they were "manipulated" by the president into misinforming the people is laughable on the face of it. They were, if anything, for once made to report the truth. And you can bet that they are bitter...

Yes, CONAIE is lying. It and Pachakutic are lying in support of a fascist coup, one that would only hurt the indigenous peoples of Ecuador if it had succeeded. It would have put the treacherous Lucio "Sucio" Gutiérrez back in power, reinstated all the old corruption, led to murderous riots and repressions, and prevented the rainforest cleanup (by Chevron, among others) that Correa was pushing for--a move that would have directly benefited the indigenous! If anyone is manipulated here, it is clearly CONAIE and Pachakutic, who are touting, by strange coincidence, the exact same line as the US State Dept. would have them do. That line is the lie.

And Al Giordano accepts the lie at face value, with no further investigation, simply because his loopy anti-statist views dictate that he must denounce anyone favorable to a LatAm head of state, even someone as diligent as Eva Golinger, as "Stalinist". And that this is somehow "authentic journalism", to present a crazy, downright libelous press release, merely translated and not analyzed, as "the truth". Maybe because serious analysis would reveal him, embarrassingly, to be a hack, fronting for the same awful policies as CONAIE--policies that would only hurt their own people in the long run, and actively hinder plurinational participation in Ecuador's future.

Shame on him.

Comments

Tue first tip-off the guy is an egomaniacal fake is his unwillingness to engage thinkers such as Chomsky or John Perkins--with respect to US imperialism and the way propaganda works. Second, though he has been involved in LA, he still idolizes many mainstream US liberals, like KOS. Third, his sporadic and contradictory analysis of events in LA. Fourth, why isn't all the funding and expenses open for all to see?

Hmmm...

Also take into account his habitual propensity to censor comments, and engage in bullying character attacks. His Obama worship and his palpable hatred and smears of Golinger. The anti-bolivarian, anti-Chavez funders of his journalism school, and the mini-revolt of the Telesur associated folk at that school.

Why did he pop into Honduras with a Serb guy that took funding from the US to destabilize that socialist government ( see Diana Johnstone's work back in the 90's). They came to preach non-violent resistance DURING the coup. Strange.

The guy is truely compromised. Seems like an abuser type, a coke-head. Just my impressions. Definately not sincere, nor an intellectual that has boned up on political history and contemporary thought. One of his star journalists once quipped on his blog that anyone that mentions Chomsky during a political discussion is a wack-job-- Al didn't even comment.

US left progressives are pathologically naive, and Al seems to prey and exploit this.

Don't think that he is straight CIA-- but his lust for money puts him in association with folks that support the goals of US imperialism.

He constantly swipes at the US left, while becoming complicit with US imperialist goons and the lame Democrat party.

Overall, his political analysis and insight is quite shallow. His grandstanding is egregious and, frankly, embarassing.

The term "opprotunist" comes to mind.

Journalistic authenticity would entail a more horizontal structure and democratic participation as to the function and the goals of the project. Al would and should become superfluous as this project develops.

But he remains the censorious big prick in charge.

I am sure he has wealthy Democrat donors that subsidize his project, hence the weird lack of criticism of Obama.

Digg deeper, you will find much, much more-- and he will hate you more than Golinger.

The info that point up the incongruities is out there, I am consumed by our farming projects, or I would have researched and exposed the ineptitude and the corruption of this entire Narco project.

Fortunately for me, I don't pay much attention to Narco News, except maybe the odd item about Mexico. I think the last thing I referenced from there had to do with the battle going on in Oaxaca, which was a couple of years ago. I only used NN tangentially for that. But you're right, the coverage of even that is incoherent and lacking depth. I got a lot more hard info on Mexico out of Richard Grabman's site, The Mex Files, and his book, Gods, Gachupines and Gringos. Stuff that, incidentally, takes a fairly critical line on Big Al...and his "authentic" scribbling.

What's truly hilarious is the "Stalinist" smear against Eva Golinger. She's pro-Chávez, sure...but that man's democratic leftist credentials are tried and true! He could hardly be less of a Stalinist himself, and so for anyone who associates with Bolivarianism to be called Stalinist is just laughably ignorant. And if anyone is going to go calling others a Stalinist, I'd say he should first look in his own mirror, because from what you describe and from what I've seen, his site is definitely a Stalinesque cult of personality!

And yeah, how about those wishy-washy gringo liberals. They keep conceding to the right in order not to look like Stalinist commies? They refuse to hear what the State Dept. is STILL doing, change of Oval Office occupants notwithstanding? They should bear in mind that the KGB outlasted Stalin. Also that Stalin's main targets for purging and sending to Siberia WERE commies. That is, the true Left Communists, the ones who were most democratic and most horizontally organized--Stalin HATED those. The ones who had something important in common with Chavecito, too: they believed that the best solution to poverty was to give power to the poor. Funny how little sympathy for that viewpoint I've seen there at Big Al's. He seems to have a positive contempt for democracy and power-to-the-people. Opting out from the formal exercise of power seems to be his biggest utopian "innovation". Unfortunately, all the opted-out people he praises are as poor and powerless as ever, if not more so. And the corrupt Mexican government and narcoterror gangs have made a shooting gallery of them. But hey, at least he's there to "authentically" document the slaughter, right?

They guy called Obama's deplorable healthcare program the greatest advance since the new deal.

He is big on strutting around and posing as big Al, but short on actual compelling journalism. John Ross is one of the best journalists covering Mexico, and he fell out with Al long ago. Al is really keen on attending gathering where the big poo-bahs yuck it up and throw back libations.

Your will note from his blog that he posts photos of his younger self as some sort of tough street guy. The patriarchy is dripping.

Sad.

Like the wizard in the land of oz, during the Honduras coup he beseeched his followers to focus on the little people on the streets challenging the coup-- and he became enraged when folks would point up Obama's complicity. He acted as though Hillary was acting with Lanny Davis on her own. Pathetic.

My friend in Honduras met with Al and the Serb. He now thinks that this show was a way of identifying and co-opting the resistance.

The guy is a creepy bastard, and his delusions of grandure are crashing down with his reputation.

His entire project works to divert young people from more authentic left, anti-imperialist projects. That is why rich liberals fund it.

John Ross is widely cited as the go-to guy on Mexico's left, so I'll probably be picking up his book next time I get a hankering to read all about it. (DemocracyNow reguarly cites him, and we know THEY are reliable.)

Ross is the real deal. He is getting older, and has endured health problems, but he has deep knowledge and ties with Mexico's culture and contemporary politics.

I have accessed his work at CounterPunch. As well as KPFA.

The guy is simply the real deal-- an superlative journalist and a decent human. The difference between his and Al's work is vast.

Al leaves in his wake a lot of ill-will and sensationalist journalism. The deeper analysis of events, as well as timely and competent follow up of events is missing. Rarely does he cite other's work and engage in macro analysis.

By the way, indeed you are not a follower, or your rebuke would have been much sooner. As well, review the comments and understand that many don't get past his censorship.

He played his hand with that particular post.

The goalis to milk naive, affluent liberals of some of their cash. Nice gig on the peso. Indeed, he will ramp up his posting a year from now, as Obama begins his campaign again.

Al tells the true believers what they want to hear. Not much more complicated than that.

By the way, my vituperativeness is rooted on the fact that I sent money to support NN.

When I succumb to chump status, Slave gets pissed off. That money could have been better gifted. Word.