Tuesday, May 03, 2011

NY Times De-Gays Murdered
Ex-Pinochet Assassin

On Saturday afternoon I read the recycled tree edition of the New York Times and the story about the stabbing murder of Chilean Enrique Arancibia in Buenos Aires stood out because of a single word used to report who found his body: partner. Let's step back a bit for some of the historic details on the dead man, pictured above.

In the 1970s, Arancibia assassinated opponents of Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Eventually convicted of murder by Argentine courts for killings committed on Argentine soil, he was released from prison by judges who said the statute of limitations had passed. He was living in unofficial exile at the time of his death.

The pertinent passage from the Times, my bolding:  

His body, with 10 to 12 stab wounds to his chest and back, was discovered by his partner late Thursday night, according to an Argentine official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Use of partner set off my gaydar, because it's often used as code for gay. Sure enough, Googling for Arancibia and homosexual references turned up sources from South American news outlets, stating as fact that he was gay. Once the news of his murder broke, Spanish-language press outlets included the gay angle, and since then more details about the alleged attacker have emerged.

From Radio uChile's report on Sunday, as roughly translated by Google:

The first police investigation Argentina realize that the former DINA agent would have been the victim of a crime of passion, not a political vendetta.  And the man who for years was a favorite of spies dictatorship . . . murdered at his home ended up probably by a motorcycle-boy, as he calls young homosexuals are rented online.

The spy who met Argentine prisons in the late 70's . . .  frequented a number of gay Internet sites and kept an alleged relationship with a boy, which the press has accused bonarense as a 19-year-old in the first instance is identified as "godson" Arancibia Clavel, but later acknowledged to be his lover.

I sent emails to the two Times reporters responsible for the gay omission, Charles Newbery and Alexei Barrionuevo, and to the foreign desk on Sunday afternoon but have not heard back from them. I'd like to know why the homosexuality of Arancibia, his partner and the alleged attacker were omitted.

Yes, I know the NY Times' foreign editors have been quite busy keeping up with the murder of Osama bin Laden and its aftermath, but I believe the South American-based reporters should offer up an explanation regarding their omissions. Readers should have been fully informed of the many gay aspects to the killing of Arancibia.


moosecat said...

what's the relevance of the man's sexual orientation?

Michael said...

it's a known fact he was gay, which is why the south american press have reported it. the should simply have noted that arancibia was gay and that his body was found by a gay male partner.

Jum said...

moosecat, are you serious? It's not only relevant, it probably central to the case. Arancibia's sexual orientation is relevant because:
1) it might be the motive for the murder;
2) assuming it is a sex-related murder (and it likely is, and I'll tell you why below) knowing it enables investigators to quickly reject incorrect theories (political vengeance, robbery, etc.) and discover the actual motive, which permits earlier focus on the actual suspect;
3) it can point toward a particular suspect very quickly, because homosexual murders (which are predominantly by stabbing) almost always are by someone who has had at least one sexual encounter with the victim, whether male prostitutes or longtime partner.

Here I'd say that Arancibia's sexual orientation completely changes the nature of the investigation. Absent his homosexuality, I'd begin working the case with the idea that it was political: an assassin for Pinochet gets whacked, I'm gonna look right away at the Chilean expat community in BA. But wait - he's gay? And if he was stabbed to death, and with the classic gay overkill (I'm just the messenger - check the data) of many, many stab wounds in various parts of the body, that's a strong lead. If a knife was used in a political murder (which is rare indeed) I would expect to find that death was by a single, certain strike, usually by slitting the throat with one motion. Numerous stab wounds, on the other hand, is so classic I'm surprised it needs explaining.

So I'd say his homosexuality. and the fact he frequently used male prostitutes he found online, form the heart of the case. Which makes the NYT's politically correct erasure of the victim's sexual orientation all the more reprehensible.

The very idea that the NYT's management has decreed there are certain "protected" classes about whom embarrassing details are not revealed unless absolutely necessary is simply astonishing. It's dishonest at heart. And gays aren't the only protected class at the NYT: the parry affiliation of Democrats who are involved in some bit of embarrassment is often not even mentioned, or if it is, is buried deep in the article. The race of suspects in crimes has also long been deleted from NYT stories, apparently on the grounds that certain disconcerting patterns might emerge were it otherwise.

So this gay protection racket is just one more in a long line of similar instances which demonstrate that the NYT's famous front-page motto has long been a cynical and sad joke.