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COHA Responds, Retracts Attack on Zapatistas

COHA Responds to Narco News, Retracts Attack on Zapatistas

July 29, 2005
Gary Webb - Presente
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Three weeks after we published "COHA Libels the Zapatistas.", COHA (the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, based in Washington DC) responds, noting the "large volume of criticism" it received and taking back some of its scurrilous claims (thank you very much) and also testily objecting to (what they characterize as) some of my characterizations of those claims.

The new COHA statement begins with an interesting prologue:

"As Federico Lozano, author of the July 6 press memorandum, “Zapatistas Issue a General Red Alert: Resurfacing Unwanted Memories in Mexico” has since left COHA, research associate Teddy Chestnut, COHA’s ombudsman has been designated to respond to the large volume of criticism the organization has received since publishing that report. His letter speaks on behalf of COHA and its staff of over thirty researchers and five senior research fellows."

(This business that Lozano "has since left COHA" conjurs images of him being kidnapped by some armed group that must be holding him now with Sam Dillon and Peter McFarren in that place where people who "have left" publications without explanation as to how or why they left go... Let's cut to the quick: Was he fired because of his libel against the Zapatistas or not?)

Narco News congratulates COHA on its retractions, its staff changes, and welcomes the dialogue.

That said, it's not the most graceful admission of error we've ever seen. COHA testily defends itself from our critique of their work with terms like "outlandish accusations," "selective and mean-spirited interpretation," "shameless... slanderous... baseless distortion," and "skewers" from this "noisy and intemperate fellow" (aw shucks! but tell us how you *really* feel after having your Narco News moment, Señor!).

Anyway, retractions and dialogues are always great fun, especially when they get all huffy and indignant, which invites mystery and intrigue and wondering aloud whether the apology is sincere or merely is a matter of "damage control" after conciences have been pricked and the jig has been exposed.

Today we post a link to "Revisiting Chiapas: An Open Letter to COHA's Readers" and, considering it a kind of letter-to-the-editor, we also publish it in full on The Narcosphere:

I've already offered some responses to COHA's response in the comments section (about what it is to be a critic and also be willing to take criticism, and about liberal America's fantasy that there is such a thing as being a "non-racist"), and will offer more later tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, another fallen simulator "has left" the colisseum, and journalistic zapatismo marches on.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano
The Narco News Bulletin

© Scoop Media

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