Take physic, pomp

Bagua: Twobreakfasts’ fancy new propaganda technique is to make shit up about Amnesty International

(click to enlarge)

A pair of simply excellent posts over at Gran Combo Club here and here, with the first link the key article. All Spanish speakers should forget the rest of this post and hightail it over to Rendon’s GCC right now to see how it all unfolded, but for our purposes here’s how the action went down:

1) On Friday 10th July, Peru’s state-run ‘Andina’ news agency published a story in both Spanish and English about how Amnesty International had apologized for using false information in their coverage of the Bagua massare of June 5th. Here on this link the English-language version of the story and above is the screenshot of the page in question. If you want the Spanish page it’s on Rendon’s original post.

2) Immediately the story was picked up from the government wires by the Peruvian lapdog media and splashed around the country. In the space of an hour, versions of the “Amnesty Wrong, Alan Right” story had been run by these mainstream outlets that clearly hadn’t bothered to check the veracity of the story and just added fuel to the fire

El Comercio 1,
El Comercio 2,
Radio Nacional,
La República,
Dirección de Educación de Lima Metropolitana,

3) Peru’s newspaper of record, the lamentable El Comercio, was the worst. In its print edition the next day (see screenshot on right) and under the title “Amnesty Intenational of Spain Apologizes”, it published an editorial that finished with the following dark and threatening words for those people that support the cause of the indigenous against that of the government (my translation):

“Those that stay silent will show that their flag is not that of ‘human rights for all’, but that of ‘political interests for some’.”

People, that’s creepy shit to read in a South American newspaper of supposed gravity and reminded me (and Rendon in fact) of the stuff that used to be printed in Argentine and Chilean newspapers about subversives in the 1970s….who then disappeared.

4) However, inquiring minds were also on the case. Silvio Rendon at Gran Combo Club immediately smelled a rat with the whole story and pointed out four glaring discrepancies in the original Andina story. The note that had been so willingly reprinted and rehashed in media all over Peru was, according to Rendon, “an unlikely news story with gross errors”. Or in other words, a humble blogger worked out something that the editor of El Comercio either couldn’t be bothered to do or just deliberately ignored: THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT NEWSWIRE OF PERU, RUN BY THE ALAN GARCIA ADMINISTRATION, IS MAKING SHIT UP ABOUT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SO THAT ITS POSITION OVER BAGUA LOOKS STRONGER.

5) And sure enough, the bullshit lies have been discovered and thrown back in the faces of Twobreakfasts and company. In this note entitled “Amnesty International And the Government of Peru“, Amnesty makes it clear that the person who wrote the letter to the Peruvian Embassy in Spain is not a member of Amnesty but simply someone on their mailing list. Here’s the paragraph (my translation):

Amnesty International would like to make it clear that Sr. Herranz belongs to a network of people all over the world that receives information from Amnesty International but is not a member of the organization. Therefore the two letters that he sent to the Peruvian Embassy in Madrid were sent as personal correspondence and their contents do not reflect the position of Amnesty International.

The article by Amnesty then goes on to explain that even speaking as a private citizen, he got Amnesty’s position wrong and that they did in fact know about and acknowledge the police deaths in the Bagua massacre, that Amnesty insists on an imparcial investigative body into Bagua etc etc. Or in other words Herranz was making shit up, too.

So what we have is a whole network of lapdog media in Peru that will accept at face value the lies and spin of the Twobreakfasts government without so much as a second thought or the most basic of fact-checking. So the only question left is to wonder whether El Comercio will have the guts to apologize for its bullshit lies, because there’s no point in asking the Twobreakfasts and his band of mini-Goebbels at the Andina propaganda outlet.

Serious kudos for your work, Rendon. Bloggers 1, Liars and Lapdogs 0.

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