An investigation by The New York Times found that several trucks carrying so-called humanitarian aid that were set ablaze during a showdown at the Colombia-Venezuela border last month were not caused by President Nicolás Maduro’s forces, as was widely reported at the time by both the media and Trump administration officials. National security adviser John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Marco Rubio and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately condemned Maduro for the incident, using it to heighten calls for his removal. But a new analysis from the Times refutes this version of events and says instead it is likely that a Molotov cocktail thrown by an anti-government protester started the fire.
Some were quick to point out that witnesses and independent journalists had already been countering the U.S. government narrative. Writing for The Intercept, journalist Glenn Greenwald called out mainstream media outlets for republishing the false claims. He wrote, “Every major U.S. war of the last several decades has begun the same way: the U.S. Government fabricates an inflammatory, emotionally provocative lie which large U.S. media outlets uncritically treat as truth while refusing to air questioning or dissent, thus inflaming primal anger against the country the U.S. wants to attack.”