[Ppnews] Politico’s join in smear campaign against Vicky Peláez

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 30 10:34:57 EDT 2010

Politico’s Ben Smith and Left Business Observer’s 
Doug Henwood join in smear campaign against Vicky Peláez

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 01:03 PM PDT


When the FBI arrested ten Cubans in Miami in 
1998, accusing them of espionage and failing to 
register under the Foreign Agent Registration 
Act, Miami’s media immediately went into action, 
with headlines that screamed “Spies Among Us” and 
“Experts Claim That Cuba Sells Information 
Gathered by Spies.”  When the accused finally 
went to trial in the late fall of 2000 and early 
2001, Miami’s rocket scientists had added another 
charge to the original indictment – that of 
conspiracy to commit murder – in relation to 
Cuba’s shootdown of the Brothers to the Rescue 
aircraft who had defied every warning from both 
U.S. and Cuban governments in order to repeatedly 
trespass into Cuban airspace.  For the court 
case, the media went into overdrive.

Univision‘s Channel 23 assigned its art 
department to come up with the subliminal 
visuals: a sinister looking man peering out from 
a shadowy Cuban flag, while reporters and anchors 
performed their assigned roles of holding 
microphones before the tearful relatives of the 
downed fliers.  It was such a media tour de force 
that it resulted in what the Atlanta Circuit 
Court of Appeals would later call a “perfect 
storm of prejudice” that landed five of the men 
in maximum security prisons, one of them, Gerardo 
Hernández, under a double life sentence plus 15 
years.  The government even tried to withdraw the 
charge against Hernández at the last minute, 
worried that the lack of evidence would sink its 
entire case, but the jury, well-dosed by the 
surrounding media and community hysteria found 
the lack of evidence no barrier to a conviction.

Five years would pass before the truth behind the 
media’s “perfect storm” would begin to emerge, 
which was that the U.S. Government was paying 
these journalists for their performances.  Some 
worked for the U.S. Government funded anti-Cuban 
Radio and TV Martí, at the same time they worked 
for Univision and other media outlets.  Leonard 
Weinglass says that this “evidence of the 
government’s manipulations of attitudes within 
the community
violated Gerardo’s constitutional 
right to a fair trial” and is the substance of 
filed federal habeas corpus appeal.

When the FBI went after another ten people in the 
Northeast this last weekend, accusing them of 
being Russian agents, it might not have been able 
to count on the same tsunami of coverage that it 
enjoyed in Miami, but then again, we’ve only just 
gotten started.  Already there is a sleazy 
snippet circulating on the internet about Vicky 
Peláez, thanks to a website housed in suburban 
Arlington, Virginia, and a somewhat obscure 
newsletter, Left Business Observer (LBO), housed 
in Brooklyn.   Doug Henwood who edits LBO, calls 
Peláez a “nut” and Ben Smith, who writes for the 
website Politico, calls her a “fabricator” for 
including information in an article she wrote on 
the U.S. prison industrial complex that she said 
sourced from LBO, when Henwood claims that it didn’t.

Henwood has had years to make this claim, yet he 
has not said a word until now.  Despite whatever 
claims he might make to being technologically 
challenged – and I’m only guessing at these based 
on the dismal appearance and general uselessness 
of Left Business Observer‘s website – the quote 
“According to the Left Business Observer, the 
federal prison industry produces 100% of all 
military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof 
vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and 
canteens” has been freely available on the 
internet for years.  All you have to do is Google 
“According to the Left Business Observer,” 
period, and the quote will magically appear.

Is it a coincidence that Henwood suddenly notices 
this, decides it is a problem, and moves himself 
to speak about it when Vicky Peláez is not in a 
position to defend herself?  I’m not saying that 
Henwood and Smith are being paid by the U.S. 
government – if true, it would take years to 
ferret out anyway – but there’s no question that 
their efforts are helpful in the government’s quest to destroy Peláez’s career.

This morning 
Goodman interviewed John Pilger on Democracy Now 
about the current war on journalists and the 
difference between journalists who serve as 
apologists for that war, and those who serve 
their country by being honest reporters, like 
Rolling Stone‘s Michael Hastings, and I would 
add, El Diario-La Prensa‘s Vicky Peláez.  I 
suggest Smith and Henwood have a look and see if 
they can figure out which side they’re on.

Editor’s Note: Not fifteen minutes after 
publishing this, I received the following note 
from Henwood, who is as apparently charming as he 
is technologically challenged:

You’re obviously a fucking idiot. How am I 
smearing someone to say she attributed something to me that was totally false?

I dunno, this smells of Workers World or something.

I do not have any association with Workers World.

Machetera is a member of 
<http://www.tlaxcala.es/>Tlaxcala, the 
international network of translators for 
linguistic diversity. This article may be 
reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the author is cited.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

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