I just finished reading a story by Narco News publisher Al Giordano titled, "A Contrast in Discourses: Sicilia and the Peace Caravan in Oaxaca". Go read it. Then, you should check out a take-down of Giordano's piece by one Scott Campbell, here.
Now, I don't pretend to be familiar enough with the Mexican activist scene to really have an opinion on the question if there is indeed a controversy between what Giordano calls "The Annihilating Language of the Left" and the "Language of Humanity of Drug War Victims", or if Giordano is just creating divisiveness, but I am all too familiar with Giordano's tactics of smear and mudslinging.
One can always count on Giordano to deliver those who lost their livelihoods or their lives, or family members, another kick in the balls. Smearing a filmmaker who was shot to death, chastising a man who lost his wife for not being emotional enough when he gave a speech - there's really no depth to which he won't sink:
During the twelve-minute speech, in contrast with so many talks given by so many family members of Mexicans assassinated or disappeared along the caravan routes, Esparza said nothing about his late wife, who she was, what she did, how they lived, how he felt about her loss, choosing instead to offer a boilerplate political speech of the sort that gets made at so many other political meetings and protests.
How dare Esparza not keep in line with those many others and Giordano's noble savage fantasies where the locals - those with the humane voices of approved victims, that is - are supposed to burst into tears and publicly talk about their assassinated wives in front of an audience that includes, after all, none less than the Supreme Organizer himself!
It gets even worse when he starts blaming foreign activists coming down to Mexico, including a filmmaker who got shot and thus can't defend himself any more:
The truth is that one of the main causes of the downfall of the APPO movement in 2006 was the virtual invasion by foreign "anti globalization" activists - the summit-hopping types with enough money for travel fare to anyplace on earth where they can revel in being "at the barricades" - who seemed to think that the Popular Assembly movement was more about street battles with cops than, say, governing in a popular way, by, say, assembly. They came with money, and some local organizations literally fought with each other over which would house and host them, as these visitors also became a source of income in a poverty-stricken state. The October 2006 murder of Indymedia filmmaker Brad Will in Oaxaca became the pretext for the Mexican national government to send in federal police and crush the movement by force.
Someone about whom he initially wrote "Goodbye, old friend. Your sacrifice will not be in vain", is now swept on the heap of what Giordano calls "summit-hopping types" who have money - the same money he wants them and you to donate to his project.
The irony of he himself being just another gringo with no skin in the game being down there telling others not just how to act, but also ordering the natives how to express their feelings of grief and loss, of course fully escapes him, busy as he is with his subsidized export business of questionable non-violent protest theory and being an overall North American insensitive pompous arse. For all his talk about "authentic", his only visible interest when he writes pieces like these is not if he's right, but if he can get away with it. He doesn't make an argument; he spins prosecutor courtroom theories - also evidenced by the fact that he never ever will readdress a subject when time, or others, have proven him wrong. In other words, he, much like televised Wall Street analysts, will take the upside of his writings - donations, subsidies, travel, the occasional speaking gig - but never accept any downside when it turns out that for all the mud slinging and admonishing, what he said was simply nonsense.
Like when he defended tooth and nail each and every decision and appointment by the new Obama administration and would simply vilify anyone who questioned such figures as Eric Holder being appointed, while ridiculing those who would even think that Hillary Clinton stood any chance of being appointed Secretary of State. Today, drug policy hasn't changed a bit, we have secret assassination lists, more secrecy than ever, unlimited detention, and we're in the middle of the biggest show trial of the decade against a whistleblower in old-fashioned Soviet style - but about the last we heard from Giordano about Holder was that he is "the best friend of the Bill of Rights at Justice since Ramsey Clark". And let no one contradict him!
Or when he, not even that long ago, went through great lengths ridiculing those who would even suggest that maybe the Egyptian army was not really the friend of the people as he was proclaiming:
A couple of North American participants in that gathering raised what they thought was the “most important issue” for Egyptians: “What about the Army? It helped the CIA imprison and torture people after 9/11.” I stepped in and replied in a voice heavily laced with sarcasm, “That’s right Noha! It’s not enough that you have taken on the entire national police! The sacrifices you have made are insufficient! You’re not politically correct unless you also take on the entire Armed Forces too!” Noha, as I’ve learned is her nature, responded soft-spokenly to the question about the Egyptian Army. She said, “In Egypt the police are our repressors, but the Army is of the people and is the people’s friend.” That was in February of 2010, and her statement left a number of our participants from the Western Hemisphere – where Armed Forces have historically been the worst repressors against popular movements – scratching their heads, unable to comprehend such a statement. (...)
The tactic worked for the most part. While peoples of other lands might have jumped immediately to the presumption that this would mean a futile street battle with heavily armed soldiers, the young Egyptian resistance strategists’ decision to respond in the most optimistic way possible made their hopes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And that is classic, old school, text book nonviolent resistance strategy that carried the day.
Well, look at Egypt now, and how friendly the army treats the citizens. What was basically a military coup masquerading as support for the resistance turned violently against those people anyway, just a bit later, and without as much as a whisper from its Mexico based gringo apologist whose "sarcasm-laden voice" had still come booming down from his ivory pyramid only little over a year earlier to bully those people who actually had it right.
I used to contribute to Narco News, but abandoned it when yet another time Giordano found it necessary to call me a "DEA snitch" when he lost an argument about the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" which he tried to spin as somehow being a "great victory" for progressives, admonishing them for not being more grateful to Obama about it. It's the kind of mudslinging he resorts to even without there being a factual basis for it (I've never done anything for the DEA, and less so snitching) and that seems to be an integral part of his brand of journalism. It's sickeningly dishonest, really.
(Cross-posted from Ornstein.org)