Welcome to the Narco News Archives

Narco News published original investigative journalism & analysis for 19 years (2000 - 2019) on the "war on drugs" from Latin America, and on social movements, community organizing, nonviolent resistance and election campaigns throughout the world.

In 2001, Narco News won the landmark New York Supreme Court case, Banco Nacional de Mexico vs. Al Giordano, Mario Menendez and Narco News; this case extended First Amendment rights to the Internet and journalists who publish on it.

The independent online newspaper did not accept advertising but “cut a wide swath” (Boston Globe), with "hard-hitting reporting" (Fairness & Accuracy in Media), that "broke a string of scoops" (The Guardian), that were "on the mark and well documented" (Washington Post).

"The new, independent journalists of the Internet, as personified by Al Giordano" (Electronic Frontier Foundation), who "actually makes things happen" (Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004), invented "the platinum standard in Authentic Journalism" (Barry Crimmins, 1953-2018).

You can read more of what the critics have said at www.narconews.com/mediacritics1.html.

Here, free to the public, you will find two decades of reports in seven languages, including major drug war scoops by Bill Conroy, the censored San Jose Mercury-News "Dark Alliance" series by Gary Webb, early viral videos from Narco News TV, translations to English of Latin American and other international news stories otherwise unreported in the United States, in-depth reporting on the Obama presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008 by Al Giordano, "the prophet of the Obama paradigm shift" (Vanity Fair), and original reporting by hundreds of journalists from almost every corner of the planet.

The nonprofit Fund for Authentic Journalism is currently rebuilding the Narco News site to fix broken links and graphics that too often on the Internet get disappeared forever as the technology of web platforms becomes regularly replaced and must be updated to preserve the history of early online journalism.

We beg your patience as we complete this kind of archeological dig and repair of these vital reports and stories.

Please consider supporting the preservation of real reporting through the nonprofit Fund for Authentic Journalism, via the donate links at our website: authenticjournalism.org.

If you have tech skills and can volunteer to help repair and update this important historical record, please contact Al Giordano at al@organizeandwin.com.

Thank you for your readership and participation in 19 years of journalism history — and for your support as we continue to support authentic journalism in the present and future.

The Fund for Authentic Journalism

Free Email List for Alerts of New Reports

Narco News '02

Authentic Journalism on the "War on Drugs" in Latin America

"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simón Bolívar

What the Critics

Are Saying...

The Authentic Journalism

Renaissance in Their Words

"Smart and thorough political reporting."

-- Jenn Shreve, Salon.com

"Aided by a handful of brave online journalists and the power of a population who had no desire to return to a military dictatorship, the democratically elected government of President Hugo Chavez managed to survive both a coup attempt and the failure of the world's elite news media to accurately report what was happening in Venezuela… Despite a total media blackout in Venezuela and disinformation in the U.S. news media, somehow the truth got out about what was happening... Al Giordano's Narco News website -- an excellent source of information on Central and South America -- along with the Independent Media Center helped to break the media blockade."

-- Randolph T. Holhut
The Albion Monitor

"Happy Birthday Narco News! Two years old and setting the platinum standard for authentic journalism. Al Giordano's White Paper on the aborted Venezuelan Coup: Three Days That Shook the Media, is just the most recent monumental achievement by the founder of the little website that packs a worldwide wallop!"

-- Barry Crimmins
Political Humorist & Columnist
April 18, 2002

"Even as the Times was propping up Carmona, Narconews.com was posting a portrait of a blindfolded and gagged Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century hero who liberated Venezuela from Spain... Giordano, a dogged critic of the Times, was vindicated the next day when an international outcry led to Chávez's reinstatement and a virtual front-page correction in the Times."

-- Cynthia Cotts, Press Clips
The Village Voice
April 16, 2002

"This beautiful new trade paperback edition (of Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book) features introductions by two of today's most important activists, Lisa Fithian and Al Giordano, both of whom worked with Abbie during the 1980s. They provide historical context and personal anecdotes that bring new readers up to speed on Hoffman's unique brand of political wit and humor, his inimitable sense of theater, and his legacy as a voice of spirited defiance in a time of overwhelming uncertainty."

-- Four Walls Eight Windows Press
Spring 2002

“In a little over a year, Narco News has broken a string of scoops focusing on the war on drugs. It exposed a conflict-of-interest scandal surrounding a series of Associated Press articles about Bolivian politics, which led to the resignation of AP's Bolivia correspondent, Peter McFarren. It also broke the news that the president of Uruguay Jorge Batlle has recently begun calling for the legalisation of drugs.”

-- Sean Dodson
The Guardian of London
June 25, 2001

“Al Giordano's NarcoNews is known for its hard-hitting reporting, especially when it comes to exposing the myths of the drug war and government and corporate involvement in drug trafficking.”

-- Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
April 13, 2001

“Giordano’s reporting on the serious conflicts of an AP reporter in Bolivia was right on the mark and well documented in my view. The AP was slow to acknowledge Giordano’s basic point — that its reporter could not lobby the Bolivian legislature and continue to function as a journalist — but the wire service ultimately distanced itself from its former correspondent, thus underscoring that Giordano hit the bull’s-eye.”

-- Howard Kurtz, Media Critic, The Washington Post
Interview with the Boston Phoenix, April 13, 2001

“Narco News has broken important stories on the drug war.”

-- Editorial by The Nation
January 28, 2002

"Top notch reporting on Al Giordano's Narco News from the conflicts in Colombia and other conflict zones in Latin America."

-- Danny Schechter ("The News Dissector")
Former Producer, ABC News
Editor, The Media Channel
March 30, 2002

“Four years ago, veteran journalist Al Giordano moved for security reasons to an undisclosed location in Mexico to write firsthand on the drug war… Giordano, an investigative journalist who used to work for The Boston Phoenix, moved to Mexico to expose what he believes is the complicity between some legitimate businesses and government officials and the drug traffickers

-- Alexandra Marks
Christian Science Monitor
July 24, 2001

“Many of the most-respected media critics in the country have noted (the lawsuit) aimed at chilling the free speech of Narco News. Every one of these respected journalists has found only ethical and truthful practice of journalism by the defendants being sued by your powerful clients… Mr. Giordano is a respected journalist telling the truth from Latin America about the war on drugs, espousing concerns with which you are familiar. Mr. Giordano documents events of concern to Americans on whose behalf the drug war is being waged in Latin America, at risk to his own safety.”

-- U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia)
Letter to Robert Strauss of Akin Gump
August 3, 2001

“Banamex didn't know with whom it was picking a fight… It occurred to Giordano that he could also effect social change through journalism. For the next eight years he worked as a political reporter, ending up at the Phoenix, where he still occasionally publishes… Unhappy with what he saw as the decline of journalism in the U.S., he wrote an essay to that effect called ‘The Medium Is the Middleman,’ which his friend the late Jeff Buckley adapted into a song called ‘The Sky Is a Landfill,’ (it appears on Buckley's posthumous 1998 record ‘Sketches for My Sweetheart, the Drunk'). Shortly after that, Giordano moved to Mexico.”

-- Mim Udovitch
Rolling Stone
August 30, 2001
(In story that named Al Giordano as “Hot Muckraker” for 2001)

“Nonetheless, Jeff (Buckley), (Tom) Verlaine, and the band managed to nail preliminary versions of four songs. One of them, an anthemic wall-toppler called ‘The Sky Is a Landfill,’ was inspired by ‘The Medium Is the Middleman: For a Revolution Against Media,’ an anti-media tract by writer Al Giordano.”

-- David Browne
from the book Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley, (HarperEntertainment, 2001)

“We at the Phoenix knew we had something special on our hands when, more than two years ago, we published a major exposé by Al Giordano on the alleged drug-trafficking activities of one of Mexico’s richest and most powerful bankers (see ‘Clinton’s Mexican Narco-Pals,’ News, May 14, 1999). What we didn’t know was that the story and its aftermath would turn Giordano into an international cause célèbre.”

-- Editorial, The Boston Phoenix
August 16, 2001

“The new independent journalists of the Internet, as personified by Al Giordano, play a crucial role in preserving the democratic aspirations of First Amendment protection.”

-- Electronic Frontier Foundation
Amicus Brief to the New York Supreme Court
July 2001

"Al Giordano said he would put the drug war on trial, and after a July 20 hearing in a New York City courtroom, few doubters remain."

-- Editorial by The Razor Wire
Publication distributed to U.S. prisoners
Summer Issue, 2001

“Make no mistake, Narco News posts a style of writing you won't find landing in your typical American driveway or on the major wire services. The slant is opinionated, left-wing and activist. But that doesn't undermine its legitimacy, especially on the Web… Last fall Giordano gained media attention when an Associated Press correspondent in Bolivia resigned after Narco News reported that the AP writer had lobbied the government there on a water project.”

-- Amy Langfield
Online Journalism Review
July 29, 2001

“With more than two decades of experience as a journalist and activist, Alberto Giordano, the editor-founder of Narco News - one of the most widely-read web pages by analysts of organized crime and narco-politics - has confronted a lawsuit in the U.S. courts due to the attack by one of the magnates of Salinism, Roberto Hernández… In a way it could be said that Giordano's tribune is that of David. Tenacious, stubborn, obstinate, this obsessive smoker who follows the path of Subcomandante Marcos in utilizing the Internet to declare war against injustice, recognizes that, in effect, the founding of Narco News is an idealistic, but realistic, project. His web page is ultra-recognized throughout the entire world. Giordano knows that the power of the word can be lethal and that, at the core, was intuited by Roberto Hernández who has engaged in all legal subterfuges to try to flatten his critics… A boxing analogy could be made about the fight between Hernández with the editor of Narco News. The Banamex magnate appears as a heavyweight but with a clumsy manner, while in the other corner is a middleweight, light, agile, ready to battle to the ultimate consequences.”

-- José Martínez M.
Nationally syndicated columnist, Mexico
Author of The Professor’s Teachings: The Investigation of Carlos Hank González (2000, Oceano Press)


"David slew Goliath with a stone, and similarly on December 5, 2001 in a New York courtroom, tiny NarcoNews.com cut down the giant Banamex, humbling billionaire narcotraffickers and money launderers, and setting a big precedent for the First Amendment rights of online journalists."

-- Chuck Armsbury
Senior Editor, The Razor Wire
(Most Widely Read Newspaper in the U.S. Prison System)
March 21, 2002

"Sean launched into a story about how Al had helped put his boss, a regional DEA chief who trafficked cocaine, behind bars. Sean also said Al had called him 'The dirtiest DEA agent in the US' on his (1990s) radio show - a claim Sean said was off base. But instead of being angry at Al, Sean had the utmost respect for him."

-- Peter Gorman
Journalist, Iquitos, Peru
September 2001

“Al Giordano recognizes that since this matter of the lawsuit began he has spent hours and hours preparing his defense and has been obligated to leave things that before seemed fundamental on the side. But not even that seems to deter his steel will to mount his defense with all the moral authority that he has earned through an impeccable journalistic career.”

-- Beatriz Fregoso
La Crisis (Mexican national newsweekly)
January 16, 2001

“They can grit their teeth and suffer Al's reporting, day after aggravating day, as he exposes the ugly underside of this endless war on drugs - and actually makes things happen, like real journalists are supposed to do.”

-- Gary Webb
Pulitzer prize winning journalist
Author of Dark Alliance (Seven Stories Press)
April 2001

“The AP confirmed yesterday… that McFarren has resigned. McFarren's extracurricular efforts were disclosed by journalist Al Giordano, a former Boston Phoenix writer who recently launched NarcoNews.com.

-- Howard Kurtz
The Washington Post
October 24, 2000

“Giordano, a former political reporter for the Boston Phoenix, has never been sued for libel before; indeed, he's usually the one making the accusations. This past October, an AP correspondent resigned after Narco News caught the reporter lobbying the Bolivian government on behalf of a private company.”

-- Cynthia Cotts
Media Critic, The Village Voice
December 20, 2000

“The task of Giordano and the web site www.narconews.com has been important. Details have been revealed there about the falsification of information about drug trafficking and accusations have been made about US hypocrisy in the war on drugs.”

-- Carlos Ramirez (Mexico’s most widely-read newspaper columnist)
El Universal and 24 other dailies
January 8, 2001


“For much of the '80s and '90s, Al Giordano cut a wide swath among Massachusetts journalists and political junkies.”

-- Mark Jurkowitz
The Boston Globe
April 4, 2001

"I suspect that silencing Giordano himself would be an utter impossibility."

-- Dan Kennedy
Media Critic, www.dankennedy.net
(Giordano's former editor at the Phoenix)
The Boston Phoenix, April 13, 2001

“Authentic journalism has a first and last name: Alberto Giordano.”

-- Editorial by the daily Por Esto!
Mérida, Yucatán (Mexico’s third largest daily newspaper)
December 16, 2001

“In little more than a year of existence, NarcoNews has scooped or shed new light on many a drug war-related story that the American media has overlooked.”

-- Mark K. Anderson
May 8, 2001

"Narco News, its website, and the writers who post information, are entitled to all the First Amendment protections accorded a newspaper-magazine or journalist... Furthermore, the nature of the articles printed on the website and Mr. Giordano's statements at Columbia University constitute matters of public concern because the information disseminated relates to the drug trade and its affect on people living in this hemisphere..."

-- Supreme Court of the State of New York
December 5, 2001

Send Press Clips, Reviews

(we don't always see them) to:


For More Narco News, Click Here

Subscribe for Alerts of New Reports

We Have Only Just Begun to Fight