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1998 - 2003© Copyright From The Wilderness Publications



-- David and Goliath in the Age
of Internet News Reporting

(Lead Essay in the February 28 issue of "From The Wilderness" - only one of 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 AmпїЅrica." 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 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 stories:

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 Mexico.

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 about 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 the 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 Bureau.

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 begins publishing 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 NarcoNews uncovers 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 resigns 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"

A lot of people would like to see Al Giordano go under.

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 when 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 these costs since he lives on rice and beans and his iconoclastic journalist's budget.

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 listed only as "Somewhere in a country called AmпїЅrica," which is how Al signs each one of his stories. And e-mail messages don't constitute "proof of service" for Akin Gump.

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 put the War on Drugs on trial. I have spoken to Al on the phone and I have corresponded with him heavily over the last year. 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 golden opportunity to haul the truth dragging and kicking into the public arena where it cannot be ignored. But it is a 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 write to:

Drug War On Trial c/o Attorney Thomas Lesser Lesser, Newman, Souweine & Nasser 39 Main Street Northampton, MA 01060

-- 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.

Mike Ruppert

(c) COPYRIGHT 2001, From The Wilderness Publications and Michael C. Ruppert at 818-788-8791. All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted under non-profit conditions only as long as proper sourcing appears. Contact

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