-- David and Goliath
in the Age
of Internet News Reporting
Essay in the February
28 issue of "From The Wilderness" - only one
five stories in the issue.)
by Michael C. Ruppert
FTW -- A meritless
New York libel suit, already
thrown out of Mexican courts, is more than a mega-Goliath
vs. defiant-David epic. It is also more than a case study
of the brutality of unlimited criminal wealth tyrannizing
unyielding truth. It is a story that, while clearly demonstrating
the swelling power of Internet journalism, threatens to
further erode and intimidate a not-so-free press at a time
when any kind of diversity is instantly targeted for a "final
solution." At the heart of it all is a forty-something
veteran journalist named Al Giordano, an iconoclast, bi-lingual,
former Bostonian political-beat reporter who prefers a laptop,
the Mexican heartland, tortillas and cerveza, along with
the company of the "real people" of Latin America
to the consumerized, pre-packaged, flavorless thought stream
of gringos in the north.
What did Al do to deserve
the leading role
in a Bogartesque tragedy? Well, after cornering U.S. Ambassador
to Mexico, Jeffrey Davidow with documentation of his role
in aiding the brutal 1970s coup and subsequent murderous
regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, he left The Boston
Phoenix and headed south for a place he now describes only
as, "somewhere in a country called Amˇrica." In
April 2000, armed only with his computer, some connections
in Mexico, a few pesos and his deep scorn for sacred cows,
Giordano set up NarcoNews, an internet clearinghouse for
that rarest contraband of all - truth about the drug war.
The NarcoNews web site at www.NarcoNews.com now averages
80,000 hits a month. But it will all end soon if the deep
pockets paying the seventh largest law firm in the US to
kill Al's dream have their way.
Like notches on a six-gun Al Giordano has
an incredible record of journalistic coups. These are just
a few of NarcoNews' accomplishments in the ten months of
rapid fire journalism that have produced more than two hundred
April, 2000 - NarcoNews exposes how the Mexican
national paper Excelsior has cut 29 paragraphs out of an
L.A. Times story about a PRI Presidential candidate in Mexico.
Instead of telling the truth, which was that the candidate
was directly connected to drug traffickers, the edited story
makes him look like a hero. Giordano's report incites a
scandal throughout the Mexican press and this kind of deception
has not happened since.
May, 2000 - Mexico City's Police Commissioner
Alejandro Gertz calls for a Holland-style decriminalization
of drugs. US controlled and censored media ignores this.
Giordano translates and publishes these remarks which are
circulated around the globe from his web site. Gertz is
subsequently appointed to the top public safety post by
newly elected Mexican President Vicente Fox.
May, 2000 - NarcoNews exposes unethical conduct
by New York Times Mexico City Bureau Chief Sam Dillon in
failing to disclose that President Clinton, while having
February 1999 meetings with Mexican President Zedillo, is
staying at the home of Roberto Hernandez Ramirez (No. 289
on the Forbes list of the world's richest men). Conveniently
omitted from New York Times coverage, or any coverage for
that matter, is the fact that Hernandez, who is hosting
the meeting, aside from being President of Mexico's largest
bank, Banco Nacional de Mexico (Banamex), is widely known
as being one of if not the largest drug trafficker in the
As noted in a February
15, 2001 story supporting
Giordano from the conservative Internet news giant World
Net Daily, writer Tom Flocco observes, "Reuters...
reported on August 8, 1998, that the Mexican newspaper Reforma
said nearly a third of the illegal drugs that pass through
the Caribbean from South America to the United States enter
Mexico near the popular resort of Cancun." Hernandez's
properties run on the beach for 30 km south of Cancun.
Translating and following
up on an original
1996 investigation by the Mexican paper Por Esto, Giordano
not only publishes dozens of incriminating photographs
Hernandez's trafficking but he expands the story. He also,
forms a de facto partnership with Por Esto Publisher Mario
Menendez and makes the English speaking world aware of
connections between Hernandez and both Bill Clinton and
George W. Bush. He also reports that Mexican courts have
thrown out a Hernandez/Banamex suit against Por Esto because
the original stories were " based upon solid fact." Shortly
after Giordano confronts Dillon in print the Times
transfers both Dillon and his wife out of the Mexico City
May, 2000 - NarcoNews reprints FTW's lead
story from our April issue entitled The Democratic Party's
Presidential Drug Money Pipeline. Giordano translates the
story into Spanish and from there he sees to it that the
Mexican national glossy news magazine La Crisis runs the
story as a two-part series. The story which describes how
former DNC Chairman Charles Manatt, (connected by FTW and
author Dan Hopsicker to drug smuggler Barry Seal), has formed
a partnership under Gore Campaign Chair Tony Coelho to funnel
drug money via his post as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican
Republic, into Gore campaign coffers. The FTW story is subsequently
also picked up by the British Magazine, Year Zero. Coelho,
under pressure from many fronts, quits suddenly in June
and is replaced by William Daley just months before the
US presidential election.
June, 2000 - NarcoNews
that GOP media consultant Rob Allyn, a close insider of
the Bush campaign is also assisting unnamed Mexican politicians
and is "meddling in Mexican politics. A week after
the July 2 election in which Vicente Fox topples the PRI
to become Mexico's new President, Allyn reveals that he
has been an unpaid consultant to Fox for more than three
years. Allyn remains a close adviser to Bush who is now
advocating open borders for Mexican trucks and an end to
the annual certification process stating that Mexico is
actually doing something to combat illegal drugs.
July, 2000 - NarcoNews reports that the first
place Mexican President-elect Fox goes after his election
victory is to visit his friend Roberto Hernandez in Yucatan.
In fact, he goes the day after the election. Giordano is
the only English language publication to report this.
October, 2000 - After
damning evidence of his lobbying of the Bolivian Senate
on behalf of the owners of a $78 million water project,
Bolivian Associated Press correspondent Peter McFarren
his post. In an October 24 Washington Post story reporter
Howard Kurtz writes, "McFarren's extracurricular efforts
were disclosed by journalist Al Giordano, a former Boston
Phoenix writer who recently launched NarcoNews.com."
A lot of people would like to see Al Giordano
In August of last year
Roberto Hernandez and
Banamex hired the Washington law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss,
Hauer & Feld to sue both Menendez's Por Esto (the third
largest daily in the Mexico) and NarcoNews for unspecified
damages in New York City charging libel, slander and damage
to Banamex business. Akin Gump is the seventh largest law
firm in the US, and was until recently headed by Clinton
crony Vernon Jordan. Aikin Gump is also one of the primary
lobbying firms for Plan Colombia and represents, according
to The Washington Post, Caribbean interests allegedly connected
to big time money laundering.
This suit filed by
Aikin Gump is the same
one that has already been rejected by three Mexican courts.
Its intent is unmistakably clear: Use truckloads of money
in New York to compel Menendez and Giordano to default
they can't meet expenses and thus win a "Summary Judgement."
As Giordano recently told FTW, "In a United States
civil lawsuit, transcripts of depositions cost $500 each.
If they must be translated officially from Spanish, the
cost doubles. Court translators cost $300 a day. Giordano
is in a far less viable position than Por Esto to bear
costs since he lives on rice and beans and his iconoclastic
NarcoNews is in grave danger.
Al Giordano could have
beaten this. No one
knows his physical address to serve him with a subpoena.
And Aikin Gump can't send certified mail to an address
only as "Somewhere in a country called Amˇrica,"
which is how Al signs each one of his stories. And e-mail
messages don't constitute "proof of service" for
True to form, like
a Western hero, a man of
honor, or a dagblasted idiot, Giordano insists, however,
on doing the right thing. He has decided not to leave Menendez
alone in the battle and he has just voluntarily "waived
service" in the lawsuit. Nobly, gallantly, perhaps
quixotically, he is deciding to force the issue and to
the War on Drugs on trial. I have spoken to Al on the phone
and I have corresponded with him heavily over the last
He has, as should any leader, a sense of the dramatic to
accompany his passion for justice. What is less apparent
though is his judgement regarding money. The suit is a
opportunity to haul the truth dragging and kicking into
the public arena where it cannot be ignored. But it is
huge risk .
A default in this case for lack of money would
label Al Giordano technically guilty of libel and no paper
would hire him again. Cancel that, FTW would take him in
a heartbeat. A loss might also have a chilling effect on
Internet journalism. But a victory could produce a huge
crack in the oh-so-profitable edifice of prohibition and
slow down the corruption of organized criminal behavior
which is fast becoming the universal operating model of
world government in the 21st century. It is a gamble that
I might take myself were I in Al's position.
Al Giordano needs a miracle. This should be
a movie. Every now and again a good guy has to win one so
that the world and the spiritual essence of the universe
retains its balance between good and evil. This should be
the part where the Red Sea parts at C.B. DeMille's command
or where Steve Spielberg or Steve Soderbergh shows up with
money for screen rights to save truth, freedom and the deserving
romantic hero. But it may instead be the part where Bogart
makes the ultimate sacrifice and goes down in flames. It
is not all that clear that the world wants to be saved and
it is not at all certain that Al Giordano will survive this.
If it does happen it will have to be up to us and I have
already sent off my $100 pittance to show support. Now we
pray for miracles.
If you want to send money, or if you know
of any miracle workers with time on their hands, have them
Drug War On Trial c/o
Attorney Thomas Lesser
Lesser, Newman, Souweine & Nasser 39 Main Street Northampton,
-- Oh yes, there's one other thing I need
to thank Al for. He has published two great independent
stories by High Times senior Editor Peter Gorman. One detailed,
in-depth, the recent CIA sponsored overthrow of Peru's Alberto
Fujimori to guarantee Peruvian support for the coming war
in Colombia. The other, brand new and reprinted with permission
in this issue, is proof of the Vietnam paradigm in Colombia
and confirms all the indicators that we are rushing at breakneck
speed to a bloody and horrible conflagration in South America.
(c) COPYRIGHT 2001, From The Wilderness
Publications and Michael C. Ruppert at www.copvcia.com 818-788-8791.
All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted under non-profit conditions
only as long as proper sourcing appears. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.