Globalization and Terror: Inspector Clouseau meets Ocean’s 11


The Pink Panther’s Inspector Clouseau has a new rival. Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble’s recent performance for Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s narco-terror regime was an autopilot sub-routine derived from Colin Powell’s 2003 UN farrago justifying the attack on Iraq. Noble has form for this genre. Back in 1998 he justified giving evasive testimony (1) to the grand jury investigating allegations against Bill Clinton. At the time, Noble was one of Clinton‘s security team. British civil servants call it being "economical with the truth".

Colombia had asked Interpol to check out some computer gadgetry allegedly recovered from Colombia‘s illegal attack on Ecuadoran territory on March 1st this year. Over twenty people were murdered in the attack including members of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), four Mexican students and an Ecuadoran. The Uribe gangster regime and its US and European allies mounted a vicious propaganda campaign alleging the computer hardware contained proof of financial and material support for the FARC from Venezuela and Ecuador.

Both the Ecuadoran and Venezuelan governments contemptuously dismiss the allegations. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa recently said his government has reason to believe some of the hardware may already have been in the Colombian army’s possession long before the March 1st attack.(2) Some incoherence between the cut-and-dried presentation of Noble’s media conference and the somewhat more circumspect content of Interpol’s report (3) confirm the legitimacy of scepticism about an affair that makes President Uribe’s crisis-ridden regime look even more shifty and unconvincing than it did before.

Noble’s media conference was reported by some European media as containing solid grounds for accusing the Venezuelan government, especially, of materially aiding the FARC. The UK Guardian’s report (4) seems to have been typical. Rory Carroll and Sibylla Brodzinsky reported Noble’s presentation of the report without noting that Noble’s presentation was in part made less categorical by the report itself, which explicitly defines its limited technical remit.

The Guardian report does exactly what a group of academics and writers specializing  on Latin America feared such skewed journalism might when they wrote an open letter to the media on the affair. (5) They noted, "The Colombian interpretation has already proven so weak that OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric Affairs on April 10, stated unequivocally that there is "no evidence" linking Venezuela to the Colombian rebels, yet Insulza’s statement has gone virtually unreported in the English language press."

The open letter perhaps puts misplaced faith in the Western Bloc propaganda media’s ability to challenge their own side. The Western Bloc ancien regime’s current relative decline leaves little margin now for ill-timed media stabs at objectivity, but plenty of room for lop-sided "balance". For example, the Interpol report consistently refers to the computer hardware as having been captured during the illegal raid into Ecuador. Few if any media outlets have questioned that.

But the only basis for making that assumption is to trust the Colombian government. This is a government whose narco-terror President currently faces an institutional crisis with dozens of his political associates, deputies and senators, either indicted or in jail. Uribe is desperate to internationalize his internal difficulties against an opposed and armed rival political project, just as another US puppet, Fouad Siniora is trying to do in Lebanon.

Carroll and Brodzinsky report "Ronald Noble, the Interpol secretary general, said internationally accepted methods for handling computers were not always followed, but Bogot� had not modified, altered or created files." However, Noble can hardly make that claim when not only the provenance of the hardware is completely in doubt but when, as numerous commentators have noted, the detail of the Interpol report itself is much more nuanced than Noble’s presentation.

Conclusion 2 of the report notes that the computer hardware was managed incorrectly for two days between March 1st and March 3rd. Paragraphs 77 to 90 of the report explain how Interpol found thousands of system and user files activated or accessed between March 1st and March 3rd. Conclusion 3 of the report states that the Interpol analysts did not find any sign that any user files were modified during that period.

The report does not say the files were not altered, only that no sign of any modification as a result of meddling was found. So one is invited to take on trust that the Interpol analysts are smarter than possible interlopers. One wonders who might pay for the best help. Would that be Interpol? Or the CIA and the narco-dollar backed Uribe regime?

While Ronald Noble’s upside-down-Clouseau style – "we don’t suspect no one…. and we don’t suspect, everyone!" – mobilised underpaid, overworked Interpol geeks to footle about poking at bits and bytes of meaningless computer data. Alvaro "Ocean’s 11" Uribe and his goons probably had a good laugh behind Noble-Clouseau’s back after having slipped him the long pre-fabricated goods. The whole object of the exercise has been to create a sound bite for King Juan Carlos W.Bush, or whichever plutocrat-anointed dauphin may succeed him as US President, so as to justify US government support for an eventual proxy military attack by Colombia on Venezuela.

It is no surprise that Western bloc propaganda media like the Guardian preferred to make a biased report of Noble’s humdrum media presentation than give a fair account of the startling extradition of 14 of Uribe’s paramilitary allies to the United States on narcotics charges.(5) The Uribe regime’s move conveniently eliminates the possibility of those paramilitaries giving chapter and verse to the Colombian courts on Uribe’s links to paramilitary massacres and narcotics deals.

The laptop story falls into the long standing, weary pattern of Western Bloc propaganda media manipulation, ommission and outright deceit. Following the Interpol presentation, the Organization of American States Secretary General, Chilean Jose Miguel Insulza said, "I respect Interpol very much but the report issued was a technical opinion and does not refer to the production or to the content of the documents procured."(6) Insulza was speaking in Lima, Peru where he was attending the European Union-Latin America Summit.

The important story as regards Colombia in Latin America is that by now not even the pusillanimous Organization of American States is any longer prepared to give President Uribe credence. Colombia is isolated, regarded by most of Latin America as a problem state whose civil war and narcotics industry have irredeemably corrupted its political processes. Mexico is headed in the same direction.

That story is not one you will read in the Western Bloc propaganda media. They are irretrievably tied to their countries’ trade, aid and debt hypocrisy and to their leaders’ sadistic, militarist imperialism. Rather than reporting Latin America faithfully, those media are busy manufacturing material to attack the redistributive, humanitarian, solidarity-based trade and cooperation model being worked out by the ALBA countries – Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and others including very likely soon, Ecuador.

The upshot of the Interpol affair is that ALBA’s enemies have got one of the sound bites they need for war. Tendentious, weak and dishonest as it is, that makes no difference for the purposes of deceiving people in the US or in Europe. It will suffice in the near future should the US and its allies decide on military aggression against Venezuela in tandem with a strike on Iran. One can just hear Dick Cheney and the Washington corridors echoing Rumsfeld, "Go massive…sweep it all up……."

toni solo writes for tortillaconsal.com

Notes
1. "Informe de Interpol sobre la computadora m�gica", Luis Britto, Rebeli�n, 18-05-2008.
2. (VIDEO) Correa asegura que computadores no estaban en campamento de las FARC Aporrea, TeleSUR, 17/05/08
3. Interpol Report on computer hardware allegedly seized in Ecuador
4. "Laptop emails link Venezuela to Colombian guerrillas", Rory Carroll & Sibylla Brodzinsky, guardian.co.uk, May 16 2008
5. "An Open Letter to the Media: Interpol Analysis of FARC Laptop Authenticity Will Not “Prove” Links Between Venezuela, Rebels", many authors, ZNet, April 27th 2008.
6. "Extradition of Paramilitary Chiefs – a Blow to Truth", Constanza Vieira, IPS,  May 13th 2008
7. "El informe de Interpol, s�lo "una opini�n t�cnica": Insulza", AFP, La Jornada, 16/05/2008

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