- Carly Simon's theme song from the 1977 James Bond film
"The Spy Who Loved Me" says it all about The New York Times'
agitprop skill - "Nobody Does It Better" nor have others in the
media been at it longer. Most important is The Times influence and reach
and what media critic Norman Solomon says about its front page. He calls
it "the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA."
It's read by government, business leaders and opinion-makers everywhere
and for that reason is hugely important.
- Hugo Chavez is its frequent target, and Simon Romero
has the assignment as The Times' man in Caracas. His latest March 30 offering
is headlined "Files Suggest Venezuela Bid to Aid Columbia Rebels,"
and it relates to the spurious claim that captured FARC-EP computers contained
potentially smoking-gun evidence "t(ying) Venezuela's government to
efforts to secure arms for Colombia's largest insurgency" and is aiding
its efforts through funding and other means to destabilize the Uribe government.
- Romero states: "Officials taking part in Columbia's
investigation....provided (NYT) with copies of more than 20 files, some
of which also showed contributions from the rebels to the 2006 campaign
of Ecuador's leftist president, Rafael Correa." One piece of correspondence
from November 21, 2006 "describes a $100,000 donation to (Correa's)
campaign." Alvaro Uribe noted it and others but so far hasn't released
them. For his part, Correa vigorously denies the charge and said the files
lacked "technical and legal" validity.
- Romero stops short of claiming the files are legitimate,
but refuses to suggest they're not. He also ignores Chavez's mediating
role to secure prisoner releases on both sides. He does, however, quite
suggestively accuse Chavez and Correa of links to the FARC-EP "which
the United States says is a terrorist group and has fought to overthrow
Colombia's government for four decades."
- Romero, like his mainstream colleagues, never lets facts
interfere with his mission. Here he claims "Colombian officials who
provided the computer files adamantly vouched for them (and they) contained
touches that suggested authenticity:....revolutionary jargon, passages
in numerical code, missives about American policy in Latin America and
even brief personal reflections" by FARC-EP commanders. Moreover,
"files made public so far only scratched the surface of the captured
archives" without a hint from him that they're simple to fake (or
invent) and Washington and Bogota have every incentive to do it as a way
to vilify FARC-EP and Chavez as part of their imperial project.
- Romero quotes Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos saying
Colombia retrieved more than 16,000 files from three computers belonging
to Luis Edgar Devia Silva, aka FARC-EP commander Raul Reyes who was killed
in the Ecuadorean cross-border incursion. In addition, claims of two other
hard drives captured were also made. Santos said "Everything has been
accessed and everything is being validated by Interpol (that's pretty closely
tied to western interests and functions to serve them as called on). According
to Santos, "a great deal of information" was gotten "that
is extremely valuable and important."
- He further claimed (plausible or not) that the computers
survived the bombing raid intact "because they were in metal casing"
and emphasized that he didn't regret a thing about Colombia's aggression
against its neighbor.
- For his part, Chavez responded and Romero at least quoted
him, no doubt because it was from a meeting with foreign journalists who
did as well. Chavez mocked the supposed evidence saying: "The main
weapon they have now is the computer, the supposed computer of Paul Reyes.
This computer is like a la carte service, giving you whatever you want.
You want steak? or fried fish? How would you like it prepared? You'll get
it however the empire decides."
- "Desert" may have been a January 25, 2007 letter
by Ivan Marquez, a member of the FARC-EP's seven-member secretariat discussing
a meeting with a Venezuelan official named "Carvajal," apparently
referring to General Hugo Carvajal, Venezuela's military intelligence director.
Its contents were claimed to state a "pledge (to bring FARC-EP) an
arms dealer from Panama."
- Still another offering was correspondence from January
18, 2007 suggesting Chavez would provide a $250 million loan to buy arms
and would be repaid "when we take power."
- Romero then attacks the FARC-EP with familiar innuendoes
that appear throughout the major media to smear it unjustly. He also suggests
the possibility of Washington designating Venezuela a state sponsor of
terrorism but considers it unlikely because of its importance as a major
US oil supplier.
- Even so, California Republican Darrell Issa (and 22 co-sponsors)
introduced House Resolution (HR) 965 in February condemning Venezuela as
a state sponsor of terrorism, and Florida Republicans Connie Mack and Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen (and 8 co-sponsors) introduced a similar HR 1049 in March
that "condemned the Venezuelan government for its support of terrorist
organizations" with direct reference to the FARC-EP. These efforts
won't likely get far, and for now at least, view them as politics as usual
in a year when all House members are up for reelection and need to rev
up their constituencies for support. It makes Chavez a favorite target
with a complicit media going along.
- In sum, Romero and others like him in the mainstream,
keep at their appointed mission - attacking the most model democracy in
the region with a clear and purposeful aim - to destabilize, destroy and
transform Venezuela into the alternate model Uribe represents: uncompromising
hard right; hugely repressive; linked to Colombia's death squads and drug
cartels; a supporter of state terrorism; a government riddled with corruption
and scandal; and George Bush's favorite Latin America leader because of
all of the above.
- Expect lots more Romero commentaries like this one that
are part of what Eva Golinger calls America's "asymmetric - 4th Generation
War - against President Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution." The
dark forces Romero represents won't quit so more enlightened ones like
Golinger and others must keep exposing their schemes to protect Venezuela's
glorious experiment that's working.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to The Global Research News Hour on Republic Broadcasting.org Mondays
from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting edge discussions with distinguished