This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Al Giordano of Narco News may have a Credibility Problem

He didn't appreciate my last entry. He took the time to make a comment. Here it is with my response. There is also a blogger TLNL who is the type Al needs to worry about. When I first informed him of Giordano's ties to military, CIA, and fake peace activists, he said as far as he knew, Al Giordano and Narco News were solid. Within minutes, TLNL knew there was something to this. He had seen it before. He only didn't know that Giordano and Narco News has a strong connection to it. I will cross-post his stuff from the-last-blog-left.blogspot. You see good people, Al wants folks to think this is all nothing, just more tinfoil. It isn't. Not even close. I don't deal with aluminum products. When one has been academically trained and is intellectually honest, there is no need to run from any controversy. I make no money from blogging and speak truth to power. Al Giordano appears to be tied to some deep doodoo.

Al Giordano Frothed and I Responded. Al's words are in italics. My responses are in bold.

Wow. These are some paranoid ravings.

Can you be more specific? It appears a raw nerve has been hit. What from the above entry do you dispute or can show are "paranoid ravings?"

We've done more work exposing and denouncing the CIA the past ten years on Narco News than trolls like the ones cited here have ever done or will ever do.

As I asked a second ago, what parts of this entry do you contend are false? Who is a troll and why? Are you aware of Markos Moulitsas' claims from a 2006 Commonwealth Club interview? He said the CIA is a liberal institution he'd have no problem working for. He said he applied for a six-month process in 2001. He said he decided to work for the Dean campaign instead of taking an offer to be a clandestine spy. How does a six-month process start in 2001 and end in 2003? You have had glowing words for Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. Kos has been running interference for the CIA's activities in El Salvador. He speaks of having to step over dead bodies killed by guerrillas. He has never mentioned the right wing death squads once. Your support for Markos Moulitsas Zuniga doesn't make yourself look sincere in regards to covering the CIA.

The suggestion that contributions to our work (and especially one that is matched by hundreds of small donors that support authentic journalism) would in any way change what we do is absurd (and the writer hasn't offered a shred of evidence anyway).

So you have no qualms taking money from people affiliated with the military and CIA. Your defense is that they do not influence your journalism. That is tough to accept. I admit that I don't know much about your work. I'm not a troll. But if you think these ties to Duvall, Ackerman, Moulitsas, and Woolsey aren't disturbing, you're being incredibly naive.

I invite all two or three readers here to check out our work:

That's an odd comment. If there are only two or three readers of this blog, then why did you bother to respond, and why haven't you offered barely more than ad hominems as your defense? You're going to tell the world that peace activists with ties to the military and CIA shouldn't raise eyebrows?

And if there are only two or three readers, then you make three or four. You must be perusing those search engines quite often or someone is giving you the heads up whenever something critical is written about you. I have provided some specifics in my post here. We shall see if you have the gonads to address Moulitsas' man crush for the CIA. We'll see if you can explain further how taking matching funds from CIA and military affiliated people is normal operating procedure for groups devoted to promoting authentic world peace.

Then you can judge for yourself who are the authentic workers against imperialism and injustice, and who are merely the leftier-than-thou posers.


Al Giordano
Publisher, Narco News

Thanks for posting. I have comments on moderation, but I won't censor you. I only do that to keep out spam. Thanks for verifying that those ties are factual. Regards to Duvall, Ackerman, Moulitsas, and their CIA buddy Woolsey. I am a true peacenik nobody. I would never support the CIA. Maybe you are a good guy and will figure out that this doesn't look right. You are proud of denouncing and exposing the CIA, yet these awkward ties that can be made between yourself and the CIA are unsettling. Are you unaware of Moulitsas' ties to the CIA? What about the Arlington Institute being co-founded by Duvall and the former head of the CIA? I'd be able to take you more at face value if you admitted this looks pretty bad on the surface, etc. and so forth. But noooooo, you went the evoking of authority and ad hominem route. We're talking about the former head of the CIA! Talk about a conflict of interest. This is like Reagan making deals with Iran to benefit the Contras. You accept funds that can be tied to the group you are so proud of having denounced and exposed.

I like to post at a place called the-last-blog-left.blogspot. Myself and TLNL have shared interests and perspectives on internet personalities such as Mike Rivero, Tinoire, and BradBlog. We are also regular dude lefties. We are the kind of"leftier-than-thou posers" Al Giordano is referring to. But here's the deal. When I first informed TLNL of my new find, he said hold up, that Al and Narco News is good stuff. But then he looked into it. Al needs to settle the fock down and realise he certainly does now have a credibility problem. The rest of this entry was originally posted at TLBL. Most of the following was written by The Last Name Left. What isn't written by him will show my username instead.

socrates: TLNL, this dude Al from Narco News showed up at DFQ2. I think I done good. If you're into it, you might have an opportunity to ask a semi-famous/important internet journalist some questions. Or maybe he will run away liked a scared, little baby. I was in rare form in responding to him. :)

TLNL: Al Giordano? Narco news Network?

SFAIK he's cool. He took a few "liberal" US journos in venezuelans to task for posing as liberals whilst seemingly being close to the business/upper class elites and passing off disinfo against Chavez.

I haven't read your link yet, but I imagine he's a possible candidate to gain some interest and traction with.......

Hmm. Interesting.


There's been plenty of reports about the US destablisation campaign in Venezuela........a lot of it leading back to presidential candidate John McCain, via IRI, NED, USAID, etc.

And Freedom House. Which is Peter Ackerman, seemingly close associate of Duvall.......seeming funder for Al Giordano and NarcoNews.

Crikey! I don't think that's a trail that can be simply shrugged off.

Here's a little bit about Freedom House, IRI, NED, USAID connections: is not well known that Freedom House is a major recipient of U.S. government funding—directly from USAID or through the government-funded NED.

Relying almost exclusively on government funding for its overseas operations, Freedom House says it works "directly with democratic reformers on the front lines in their own countries" in Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, the former Soviet Union, and the Balkans. According to Freedom House, its overseas activity "acts as a catalyst for freedom by strengthening civil society, promoting open government, defending human rights, and facilitating the free flow of information."

With USAID funding, Freedom House sponsors a "Human Rights Defenders" program in Venezuela that it promotes as "facilitat[ing] the interaction of Venezuelan civil society with counterparts in Latin America to help them improve domestic human rights reporting and to expand protections for human rights." The "longer-term goal," says Freedom House, is "to assist groups who will strive to safeguard and improve the functioning of democratic institutions in Venezuela."

In May 2007, Eva Golinger, Venezuelan-American author of The Chávez Code and a prominent critic of U.S. aid programs in Venezuela, accused Freedom House and other U.S. organizations receiving U.S. government funding of orchestrating a "destabilization plan" (see, May 26, 2007). Golinger claimed Freedom House was designing a campaign of nonviolent resistance to the Chávez government.

---I looked into all this whilst arguing about Venezuelan coup and all that. There's a whole slew of interesting connections - an alphabet soup of those supposedly working "to enhance democracy" whilst being in the pay of groups led by people such as John "the socialist" McCain!

Might be worth me digging it up again..... :)

Anyway - see if I have this straight?

Al Giordano/Narco News have a revenue stream from the Paul Ackerman funded ICNC......

Ackerman is a major dude at Freedom House.....which has been accused of working to undermine Venezuela's Chavez regime through funding by US State Department, USAID, NED, IRI, etc.......the same nexus behind the dubious "colour revolutions" in Ukraine, Serbia etc.

Hmmm. Hardly paranoid to find that "interesting". :)

TLNL: So........ok.....Giordano isn't denying the connections, he is just saying any money NarcoNews receives from such connections has no influence on what Giordano and NarcoNews write and publish?

Good defence - how in hell could anyone prove the money influenced Giordano and NArcoNews?

But it is hardly whiter-than-white, is it?

Whilst the money might come from the ICNC, which claims to receive no government funding etc, their money has all come from Ackerman whom is running around as chief of Freedom House which is funded by USAID, NED, etc.

Those are the hallmarks of a political money-laundering scheme - where the funding is "cleaned" via third parties.

This is the known tactic and method used by NED, USAID, IRI......

I'd ask him if he doesn't feel uncomfortable about it. It's surely the sort of thing NarcoNews would find interesting and somewhat questionable about not about NarcoNews? ......

TLNL: Earlier this year Al Giordano wrote about the 'new' Obama stance on Venezuela -

This newly-stated respect for Venezuela's internal governance marks a clear break from previous US policy that regularly sought to meddle in the country's democratic affairs.

But semingly NarcoNews has a source of funding which is itself entirely provided by a bigwig in the same organisations which were accused of the "meddling in Venezuela's democratic affairs" which Giordano references.

There certainly seems to be potential for conflict of interest there.

And certainly a relevant one, considering Giordano's own subject matter. For example, this stuff about Eric Ekvall, and reporter Phil Gunson which I referred to earlier.


TLNL: This is from some dude who wrote a book about use of agencies promoting democracy as being pro-capitalist fronts to maintain status quo, further imperialism, undermine democracy etc:

it explains the method and rationale..... but also clearly suggests why it's troublesome that Al Giordano should be getting funding from Freedom House connections.

US political intervention under the banner of “democracy promotion” is aimed at undermining authentic democracy, gaining control over popular movements for democratisation, keeping a lid on popular democracy movements, and limiting any change that may be brought about by mass democratisation movements so that the outcomes of democracy struggles do not threaten the elite order and integration into global capitalism.

If democracy means the power of the people, mass participation in the vital decisions of society, and democratic distribution of material and cultural resources, then democracy is a profound threat to global capitalist interests and must be mercilessly opposed and suppressed by US and transnational elites.

What is new about the strategy of “democracy promotion” is that this opposition and suppression is now conducted under the rhetorical banner of promoting democracy and through sophisticated new instruments and modalities of political intervention.

Many US organisations are involved in Venezuela -- including the National Endowment of Democracy and its sub-foundations, the International Republican Institute, the Centre for international Private Enterprise, and the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Centre; the NDI and IRI have offices in Caracas. These groups -- along with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and a private company on contract from USAID called Development Alternatives International -- are funding Venezuela’s political opposition.


socrates: Just look at Moulitsas. He has portrayed himself as a leading progressive. There is next to nothing on his history. But then it slipped out that he respects the CIA and almost became a spy. Just that little opening made the difference. Al Giordano needs to come clean. This is a pivotal moment in his life. I am not turning this into drama. It is what it is. He's protraying himself and Narco News as being at the forefront of exposing the CIA. Yet one of Duvall's partners was the head of the CIA. An analogy could be with Friedman and Kimberlin, who are small potatoes compared to guys like Ackerman and then it gets into Chavez and the coloured revolution concept as a guise for continued imperialism. Yikes, I'm definitely rambling. But I'm saying Giordano could be Friedman while Ackerman would be Kimberlin. We will never see the big cheeses behind the productions show up on our humble blogs. We won't find them available at places like Huffington and the Guardian. But guys like Friedman and Giordano are there. Then there's that lower tier protecting Friedman like Agent99 and Big Dan. And then there are the few like us who are saying wait a minute. Anyway, I am willing to give Al Giordano the benefit of the doubt, but it's very difficult to do so now, not after what he wrote. I smell fear. He's acting like he's like Gandhi being a vegetarian who wears leather shoes, that he doesn't eat the meat, but he wants warm feet. If Giordano can't address these connections, if he can't be real and admit they must look dodgy on the surface, I'm not sure how anyone can trust his motives. Or maybe he is just protecting his career and is in some kind of self-enforced cognitive dissonance. Hey, we are at the low rung of the blogging pecking order, but we still take the time to be devil advocates of ourselves. I'd rather face the truth if I make a big blunder. It's not that easy, however to do so, when I get banned from so many places or trolled on and get isolated and have no one watching my back. But for real, I think the bulk of work people like us do must enable the objective reader to understand we aren't making stuff up, that we're not simply pulling lint out of our belly buttons. People can track down our links, check out screenshots, read our attempts at clarifying to the best of our abilities. I want to see that same effort out of Al from Narco News. If he's just going to pass me off as having two or three readers and I'm paranoid, well, he might as well have never written to my blog.

TLNL: "Freedom House - the grandfather of neo-conservative 'democracy promoting' organisations"

it is not surprising that most of ICNC’s principals of nonviolence were trained within the heart of the military-industrial complex: ICNC Vice-chair Berel Rodal, was formerly Director-General of the Policy Secretariat in the Department of National Defence; ICNC Manager of Educational Initiatives, Dr. Maria J. Stephan, has worked “at the U.S. Department of Defense and with the international staff at NATO Headquarters in Brussels”; and Shaazka Beyerle (former vice-president turned Senior Advisor of ICNC), is a founding Vice President of the European Institute.

The European Institute’s most interesting affliates include: board member Dr R. Michael Gadbaw, who is a director of the NED/USIP funded Partners for Democratic Change; Director Emeriti, Robert B. Zoellick, who was a signatory of the January 26, 1998 Project for the New American Century letter sent to President Clinton; and Advisory Board member, Ambassador Robert E. Hunter, who is also Chairman of the Council for a Community of Democracies and acts as a Senior International Consultant to the largest arms manufacturer in the world, Lockheed Martin. [11]



NED - IRI - USAID - John McCain - Venezuela - "promoting democracy"

I have a load of stuff on ties between NED and IRI backed groups leading right up to Carmona who was installed as "president" in the Ven coup.

I don't remember Ackerman or Duvall showing up in it, but, how far away from it can they be? Everything suggests they would be wrapped up in....and Al Giordano is taking money from them (sometimes?).



i was reminded of something whilst looking for old stuff on this --

isn't it amazing that all these groups (promoting "capitalism" and "freemarkets" and US imperialism etc) are all funded by the US taxpayer?


they might at least pay for capitalist agitation out of their own money rather than bilking the state and taxpayers for it!

They charge the taxpayer for funds so that they can roll-back the state? y - right. Nothing wrong in state subsidies for rightwing pressure groups......? lol

socrates: There was some kind of glitch going on with the comments at DFQ2. But I think it's now solved, knock on wood. What I'll do is copy and paste your material and anything else you come up with to a new entry. I'll put up Al's comment and my response. I want to make sure Giordano doesn't get away with his shallow cover story. If he can't at least admit it looks bad, how can he be trusted? It'd be like if Obama had been accepting contributions from Karl Rove and other Republicans. Or if a group formed to fight domestic terrorism was started by someone who had set bombs leading to a man's suicide. Oh, wait a second. Yikers. Or Crikey. Or whatever the word is.

1 comment:

socrates said...

This is a completely new milieu to me. I'm not one into reinventing the wheel. Here are a couple links which may help folks get a further grasp on what exactly is going on here. Giordano has made his bed and now has to sleep in it. It's pretty sad that Giordano's defense against folks spelling out his deep ties to right wingers posing as peace activists is that such people are mere trolls.

Reply to Al Giordano re "Toppling a Coup, Part I: Dilemmas for the Honduras Regime"

Michael James Barker’s Weblog: ICNC