Recycled Misinformation: Venezuela’s Media as Pentagon Source

A Venezuelan newspaper cited a declassified Pentagon report alleging the Venezuelan government funds Colombian guerrilla groups. One problem: the source in the Pentagon report is that same newspaper

By Eva Golinger - Venezuelafoia.info
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On June 15, 2004, El Universal, one of Venezuela’s largest daily newspapers, printed a story alleging a Colombian wire service had published a declassified Pentagon document proving the Venezuelan government had given $1 million to the ELN and FARC during 2002 (See www.eluniversal.com/2004/06/16/pol_art_16106A.shtml).

The El Universal article included citations from the alleged Pentagon document that detailed how the Chávez administration funneled the money through a company on the border between Colombia and Venezuela that in turn, used the financing for the Colombian guerrilla.

Several things were odd about the June 15 El Universal article. For one, the allegedly declassified Pentagon document was cited but not produced, and additionally, the supposed article in the Colombian press was never named, linked to or subsequently found through numerous searches and attempts. But even more odd than these mishaps is the fact that Venezuelafoia.info obtained the document in question from the Department of Defense just a few days prior to its reference in El Universal. Obviously most important is the fact that the document remained unpublished and had been viewed only by Venezuelafoia.info and had not yet been made available to the public.

How the document made it into the Venezuelan media is unknown. Yet the failure of El Universal to produce the document raises the question of whether or not it was ever in the paper’s possession or ever mentioned in the Colombian media. Only once the document is actually seen and read does it become evident as to why El Universal would not want it published.

The US media picked up the story today in an article in El Nuevo Herald in Miami (www.miami.com/mld/elnuevo/news/nation/8987147.htm). The El Nuevo Herald article went so far as to cite the document as absolute “proof that the Venezuelan government had given $1 million to the FARC.” Again the El Nuevo Herald article refers to a “declassified Pentagon report” leaked to the Colombian press, yet does not reference which press nor where the document can be found.

The mystery is over! Venezuelafoia.info has the document and has made it public (See www.venezuelafoia.info/DoD/USSOUTHCOM/unreliableIntelligence.htm).

El Universal would be wary to publish this Pentagon report precisely because it is an intelligence assessment based on El Universal and other Venezuelan press articles from 2002.  The very same information that El Universal published on June 15, 2004 is taken from a US intelligence report based on information published in El Universal during February – March 2002. Got that? El Universal is recycling its own unsubstantiated allegations two years later and attempting to pass it off as “news.”

The Venezuelan private media have reached an all-time low with this latest revelation. Just goes to show, don’t believe everything you read in the papers – even if it is the second time around!