|English | Español||May 23, 2013 | Issue #56|
We’ve Published 225 Reports So Far on a Shoestring in 2009 and Need Your Help to Continue
Celebrate Nine Years of Narco News with Your Donation, and Attend Our April 22 Anniversary Celebration in New York City
By Al Giordano
Since January 1, Narco News has published 225 original stories, including translations of important reports in Spanish and other languages to English. More than 150 of them were newsworthy on the beat of democracy and the drug war from Latin America and we put them on our front page. Most of the rest are from my coverage of politics and policy in the United States, via The Field, during this change in administrations.
We did that on less than $10,000 over three months – for about $44 per original report – from the funds that readers donated back in December.
Now we ask for your help again. Here’s the short pitch:
Please contribute whatever you can to The Fund for Authentic Journalism, which was formed by Narco News readers to support our work. It’s a 501c3 nonprofit organization which means your donations are tax deductible.
You can make your contribution right now, online, at this link.
Or you can send your check to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 241
Natick, MA 01760 USA
If you contribute $100 or more, you’ll be invited to our Ninth Anniversary celebration on Wednesday, April 22, on the island of Manhattan in New York City. To reserve your place there, email me at email@example.com. And stay tuned for more about that exciting event.
Now, on to the full pitch:
If we didn’t love this work so much it would be obscene that we produce such quality authentic journalism for an average of just $44 per story. But what we don’t make, as individuals, in dollars, we get back many times over in knowing that this work is widely read, free of the usual corporate media censorship and imposed distortions, and that, day in, day out, it’s making a difference on so many fronts in this hemisphere.
At this hour when the drug war in Mexico is suddenly big news for US media and politicians, but still poorly reported by them, Kristin Bricker, reporting from Mexican territory, and Bill Conroy, monitoring the US-Mexico border and the official mishaps and corruption in US agencies, have put the false pretenses of “Plan Mexico” in a pincer grip between the true facts on both ends: that the Plan (also known as the “Mérida Initiative,” a $1.4 billion dollar US gift to corrupted Mexican police agencies and military to escalate the violence of the war on drugs) isn’t working and is making a bad and violent situation worse and even more harmful.
Just this past weekend, Conroy published a bombshell of a story that demonstrated how most of the high-caliber weapons that get into the hands of organized crime in Mexico don’t come from “gun shows” or mom-and-pop sellers, but, rather, from US government approved sales by weapons manufacturers to Mexico. Conroy reported:
Following is a sample of the types of arms shipments approved for export to Mexico through the DCS program during fiscal years 2006 and 2007 alone:
- $3.3 million worth of ammunition and explosives, including ammunition-manufacturing equipment;
- 13,000 nonautomatic and semiautomatic firearms, pistols and revolvers at a total value of $11.6 million;
- 42 grenade launchers valued at $518,531;
- 3,578 explosive projectiles, including grenades, valued at $78,251;
- Various night-vision equipment valued at $963,201.
How much is a story like that worth? A lot more than $44 dollars, that’s for sure.
Or how about Bricker’s March 9 report on the much publicized “narco protests” in Northern Mexico, which showed how a duplicitous state benefited from the manufactured demonstrations “against” it.
Also from Mexico, author Nancy Davies has continued her commentaries from Oaxaca, its Popular Assembly (APPO, in its Spanish initials) and the continued struggle against the repressive regime of Governor Ulises Ruiz. And Bricker continues to track the cover-ups and false charges from that state in the case of the 2006 assassination of independent journalist Brad Will.
Last week, we also broke an important story, leading all other English-language media to it: the possibility that the controversial “shock doctor” Carlos Pascual may be named the next US Ambassador to Mexico.
Over these first three months of 2009, we’ve continued our big picture analysis of the so-called “war on drugs” and the advances and setbacks at each step of efforts to reform such counter-productive and harmful policies as a new administration enters in Washington.
And while virtually all the media in the United States ignore certain changes in US policy – such as the State Department’s February acknowledgement that Venezuela’s referendum was an “internal matter” for that nation – we’ve been there, sifting through the official words and deeds to provide you the most accurate and up-to-date information that allows you to monitor the shifting relationships between countries in this hemisphere.
During these 90 days, we sent authentic journalist Erin Rosa to Bolivia where she was your eyes and ears on the historic referendum that approved a new Constitution for that South American nation. And Dan Feder, in Bogotá, interviewed Colombian Senator Jorge Robledo, the leading voice against the US-Colombia trade deal.
We’ve reported from the El Salvador elections, where the center-left finally triumphed, and continued our groundbreaking reports on the “House of Death” case and official connections to suspicious cocaine planes. Whistleblowers from inside US law enforcement agencies involved in the border drug war continue to leak documents and information to Narco News more than to all other media organizations put together, because they know from experience they can trust us to protect our sources. We covered the recent Zapatista gathering in Mexico and reviewed John Gibler’s “Mexico Unconquered” as well as interviewed the author.
I could go on and on and on to show you the bang for your buck that contributors to this project get back again and again. But I think you get the point: Where would this hemisphere be right now if these hundreds of reports hadn’t come out just in the past three months?
We haven’t stopped there either. With your help, we’ve now sponsored six scholarships in journalism and organizing for the upcoming April 24-26 conference in Rowe, Massachusetts.
And readers of The Field – where I report and comment on events north of the border – already know its importance to the transition in the United States, news cycle after news cycle, separating so much spin from fact.
Each of these 225 reports has legs of its own. We never know in advance how far they will reach or for how long. But sometimes – as in recent weeks when the national press in France discovered our 2000 reports implicating the boss of BANAMEX in drug trafficking, after President Sarkozy was discovered to be a guest at his properties in Mexico – a story continues to live and grow nine years later.
We’ve been doing this work now for nine years, since Narco News began publishing on April 18, 2000. We’ve watched so many other publications – both commercial and independent – come and go during that time and we’re still publishing without ever having depended on advertising and without having had to charge you to read it.
And we think that’s something to celebrate.
Thus, if you donate $100 or more, you’ll be invited to our Ninth Anniversary celebration on Wednesday, April 22, in New York City. Reserve your attendance with an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show your appreciation for what we give to everyone free of charge. Please donate today online at The Fund for Authentic Journalism website.
Or send your contribution – tax deductible inside the US - to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 241
Natick, MA 01760 USA
The truth is that we barely made it these three months on the $10,000 you donated in December, and the workload has become so heavy that today we are setting a more ambitious and more necessary goal of $15,000 by April 22. We’re frankly not certain we can meet it in just three weeks but then, again, we’re going to struggle and try as we think, “Yes, we can.”
From somewhere in a country called América,
Publisher, Narco News
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism