Oh gawd, now the GERMAN media is in on it too…

Someone please tell the Burschen at Der Spiegel that their story was kaputt long before it came out. They’re recycling a piece of pure horseshit under the laughable title of “The Colombian Connection: How Hugo Chavez Courted FARC”:

They called him “Angel.” He was the highest-ranking outside contact for the Colombian guerilla organization FARC. More and more details are now emerging that demonstrate the close relationship between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the jungle terrorists.

He already had a photo of himself posing with Vietnamese general and revolutionary hero Vo Nguyen Giap, and he also planned to suggest to Cuban leader Fidel Castro that he don his combat uniform once again for a joint photo, “Angel” told FARC commander Ivan Marquez. All that was missing in his collection, he said, was a photo with “J.E.”

“Angel” was FARC’s code name for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and “J.E.” was Manuel Marulanda, a.k.a. “Tirofijo” (“Sure Shot”), the legendary leader of Latin America’s oldest guerilla organization.

What a shame. Such a provocative lede, and already we know it’s all wrong. How? Oh, here. Let Greg Palast school you on how not to read shit into an e-mail:


While you can read it all in español, here is, in translation, the one and only mention of the alleged $300 million from Chavez:

"… With relation to the 300, which from now on we will call “dossier,” efforts are now going forward at the instructions of the boss to the cojo [slang term for ‘cripple’], which I will explain in a separate note. Let’s call the boss Ángel, and the cripple Ernesto."

Got that? Where is Hugo? Where’s 300 million? And 300 what? Indeed, in context, the note is all about the hostage exchange with the FARC that Chavez was working on at the time (December 23, 2007) at the request of the Colombian government.

Indeed, the entire remainder of the email is all about the mechanism of the hostage exchange. Here’s the next line:

"To receive the three freed ones, Chavez proposes three options: Plan A. Do it to via of a ‘humanitarian caravan’; one that will involve Venezuela, France, the Vatican[?], Switzerland, European Union, democrats [civil society], Argentina, Red Cross, etc."

As to the 300, I must note that the FARC’s previous prisoner exchange involved 300 prisoners. Is that what the ‘300’ refers to? ¿Quien sabe? Unlike Uribe, Bush and the US press, I won’t guess or make up a phastasmogoric story about Chavez mailing checks to the jungle.

To bolster their case, the Colombians claim, with no evidence whatsoever, that the mysterious "Angel" is the code name for Chavez. But in the memo, Chavez goes by the code name … Chavez.

Whoever “Angel” may be, one thing is certain: He’s not Chavez. It is kind of funny that Chavez would be referred to by both his real name and a pseudonym in the same document, no?

I would tear apart the rest of the article, but what’s the point? It’s already blown itself to shit by making an opening assumption that is patently untrue. If the lede is wrong, you have no story.

Period.

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4 Responses to Oh gawd, now the GERMAN media is in on it too…

  1. Jule says:

    Hi Sabina,
    well the ‘Spiegel’ is always good for nasty stories. Long time ago it was a really good news magazine, whose founder once said: ‘Im Zweifel links’ (by doubts leftside – translation??), but now it’s an ugly, neoliberal crap magazine and they hate the southamerican left, especially Hugo… I sometimes take a look at SpiegelOnline for a good laugh, stopped bying it long time ago. It’s sad, but the german press is mostly on a way down.
    Btw, like your blog,
    Jule

  2. Bina says:

    Vielen Dank, Jule…and yeah, they used to be so much better. I remember that too…back when my grandmothers used to buy them. (They’re both gone now; my mom’s mother died a year or so ago, age 90; my dad’s mother died ten years ago, age 85. I miss them.)
    I think the saying best translates to “When in doubt, go left”–a good saying for me, even if Der Spiegel is now schmutzig as all get-out. I guess they think that if they suck up to the right, they’ll get more money out of it–stimmt’s?

  3. Jule says:

    Sabina, I’m sorry because of your grandmothers, they both were from Germany? I guess, that’s why you speak german, right?
    I don’t think The Spiegel changes so much because of the money, they’re just a part of the gang who wants to destroy the welfare state Germany once was. It’s an ideology behind it, and of course money plays a role, but I doubt they sell much more magazines because of their neoliberal view. It’s more about influence, another society etc. I remember the last elections and the way the mainstream media wrote for the governing coalition they wanted, it was awful (they didn’t got exactly what they wanted, but it makes no difference –
    the social democrats (SPD) are as terrible as the parties from the right).
    Have a nice weekend 🙂

  4. Bina says:

    No need to be sorry, they both lived long, full lives and became great-grandmothers–but yes, that’s why I speak German. My parents are both German (immigrants), and I’m Canadian (born). German was my first language, but not by much. I grew up speaking German at home and English everywhere.
    I don’t think selling more magazines (or newspapers) is the real reason these publlications all swung to the right over the last 20 or so years–I think they’re doing it to attract lucrative advertising, and a sense of power and influence, and all the perks that go along with being propaganda organs to the interests of the powerful. So I guess we agree on that!
    But why they would be so hellbent on demolishing a society that has benefited them as much as anyone else is a mystery to me. If they honestly believe they will benefit more under a system where everything is privatized, they should take a hard look at Iraq or New Orleans right now, because that’s where it’s all going…but then again, maybe they HAVE seen it and just don’t care. In which case, they have the government they deserve. One that does nothing except cave in to capitalistic demands and otherwise just sits there criticizing uppity Latin American leaders for going the other way.
    Hope your weekend’s great too!

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