COLUMN EIGHTY-SIX, MARCH 1, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
THE WAR ON DRUGS?
BUSH BACKS COLOMBIAN TIED TO DRUG DEALERS
DEFENSE SECRETARY RUMSFELD ESCORTS PRESIDENT URIBE INTO PENTAGON
NEW YORK -- Colombian journalist Ignacio Gomez told a roomful of America's most influential journalists Tuesday how Washington-supported Colombian president Alvaro Uribe is connected to drug traffickers and how U.S. military trainers helped organize a massacre in his country.
the 1,000 guests at the Committee to Protect Journalists' annual dinner at
40, has twice gone into exile after death threats. The media "stars"
applauded him for his courage. But did they put
his revelations into print or on
As they do every year at the CPJ event, "leading" U.S. journalists lauded the courage of people
report this story?
chancing death for telling
the truth, but continue to pull punches in their own news organizations for fear
of endangering their multi-million-dollar salaries.
more of what Gomez unveiled for colleagues.
he investigated a 1997 massacre in Mapiripan, in which 67 people were
decapitated, Gomez reported in 2000 that the Colombian military officer accused
of masterminding the crime had been accompanied "at all times" by a
dozen U.S. military trainers. He also linked the massacre to paramilitary leader
has written frequently about the role of Colombian military and paramilitary in
massacres though Washington downplays their connection. Several months after the
report was published in the Bogota daily El Espectator, Gomez was almost
kidnapped while entering a taxi. He was forced into exile.
year, as director of investigations for a public affairs television show Noticias
Uno, he reported that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had
discovered an airplane belonging to then-presidential candidate Alvaro Uribe and
his brother at a drug lab belonging to the Medellin cartel.
eschewing peace talks in favor of a military response to Colombian rebels---
something the Bush administration wants---suffered no Washington displeasure.
But Gomez and the station news director got death threats, and Uribe declared
ominously that "a free press is one thing, and a press at the service of
... shady deals is something else."
he accepted the CPJ award, Gomez told the audience that "Colombian
journalists first exposed the corruption of the war on drugs, but because of an
information monopoly tied to the current government, truth is dying in Colombia.
We are no longer allowed to be heard."
said that one of the two national papers and 23 TV news shows had been shut
picture of war," Gomez said, "is getting blurry---and Americans, whose
taxes and whose drug consumption fuel this war, should be concerned."
said that seeing the audience, he felt Colombians were not alone, that they
could "still prevail against the powerful forces who want to keep us
Rather, Isaacson and other media chiefs readily showed up, in black tie, to
support the CPJ fundraiser, and their conscience money is needed. But their
commitment might be taken more seriously if they stopped being "mute"
in print and on air about stories---by Gomez and others---that challenge U.S.
policy and actions in Colombia.
(Copyright 2003 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.) ##
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