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Carly Simon's theme song from the 1977 James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me" says it all about The New York Times' agitprop skill - "Nobody Does It Better" nor have others in the media been at it longer. Most important is The Times influence and reach and what media critic Norman Solomon says about its front page. He calls it "the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA." It's read by government, business leaders and opinion-makers everywhere and for that reason is hugely important.
Hugo Chavez is its frequent target, and Simon Romero has the assignment as The Times' man in Caracas. His latest March 30 offering is headlined "Files Suggest Venezuela Bid to Aid Columbia Rebels," and it relates to the spurious claim that captured FARC-EP computers contained potentially smoking-gun evidence "t(ying) Venezuela's government to efforts to secure arms for Colombia's largest insurgency" and is aiding its efforts through funding and other means to destabilize the Uribe government.
Romero states: "Officials taking part in Columbia's investigation....provided (NYT) with copies of more than 20 files, some of which also showed contributions from the rebels to the 2006 campaign of Ecuador's leftist president, Rafael Correa." One piece of correspondence from November 21, 2006 "describes a $100,000 donation to (Correa's) campaign." Alvaro Uribe noted it and others but so far hasn't released them. For his part, Correa vigorously denies the charge and said the files lacked "technical and legal" validity.
Romero stops short of claiming the files are legitimate, but refuses to suggest they're not. He also ignores Chavez's mediating role to secure prisoner releases on both sides. He does, however, quite suggestively accuse Chavez and Correa of links to the FARC-EP "which the United States says is a terrorist group and has fought to overthrow Colombia's government for four decades."
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