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Archive for September 21st, 2009

Honduras Coup, Act IV, Day 1

Posted by Charles II on September 21, 2009

Enough for one day.


I wonder how the electrical cuts around the embassy are being taken by the diplomatic community, which tends to be very insular. There are four embassies, including Italy and Spain that are in the very near vicinity of the Brazilian Embassy, and the US embassy is 100 yards away, across Avenida de Proceres, close to France, Mexico, and Japan. I can bet that diplomatic spouses are going to be talking about that tomorrow morning, when the meet one another while taking the kids to school.

RadioGlobo is talking about the latifundio mediatica (the media plantation). Holy snikes! The government is hereby blaming Zelaya for any bad thing that happens in Honduras. Absolutely no shame! We have become a giant prison cell… They have cut the power around Radio Globo and around the Brazilian embassy. Zelaya gives an interview. He’s easy listening, but he’s not saying anything specific: I am a historical process…the Honduran public wants a good life…we want to participate…we don’t want to return to the age of the apes…. There were some serious moments, but I am always impressed by the capacity of politicians to make us love them without saying anything specific.

Al Giordano was interviewed by KPFA here. It has a 5 minute segment when one can’t hear anything except cheers and screams of joy. Dennis Bernstein of KPFA says that Zelaya’s mysterious companions were UN personnel. Giordano says the coup was a well-planned operation.

Tiempo has a very troubling article saying that Nicaragua’s ambassador to the OAS claimed that Zelaya rejected the “San Jose Accords.” Zelaya has consistently said that he supported them in principle. This looks like disinformation to me.

HondurasCoup2009 has some important reports
Raj has one on media suppression:

Various media have been silenced by having their electrical power cut. Radio Globo reports that Channel 36, Cholusat Sur, has no power and cannot get ENEE, the electric company, to respond to their phone calls. Channel 36 has no backup power. Radio Globo also reports that its power has been cut, but it has backup power for now, and it has put out a call for anyone with a spare generator and fuel to donate to them. In addition, they report that power has been cut to the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa.

ENEE has been taken over by the military according to the person who answered the phone when Radio Globo called.

I was able to watch Channel 36, but at this hour of night, the discussion on Radio Globo is more interesting.

RNS also reports that:

La Prensa reports on facebook that Alfredo SanMartín, director of Aviation, has cancelled all international flights until further notice. This, presumably, is in response to José Miguel Insulza’s announcement that he would travel to Honduras tomorrow. Last time, he came on a US Airforce jet that landed at Toncontin airport.

Callers to Radio Globo report that the military has set up checkpoints at the entrances to the city, and is blocking access to all buses but currently letting cars through.

There’s a presser (called a “camera spray”) with Clinton and Arias, and there’s this classic comment by Arias:

PRESIDENT ARIAS: I think this is the best opportunity, the best time, now that Zelaya is back in his country (inaudible) to sign the San Jose Accord. It’s all we have on the table. There is no B plan. And when we wrote this San Jose Accords, it was after listening to everybody (inaudible).

Perhaps the main difficulty has been for Zelaya to be accepted by the de facto government (inaudible) constitutional president of Honduras. But now that he’s back, we just have to put more pressure (inaudible) the whole world, the Europeans, and (inaudible) the U.S. has been very helpful (inaudible) a lot of pressure on the de facto government, as well as lot of Latin America. But I think it is now the right time for them to sign it.

Update 5:
(From Channel 36, which was forced to broadcast this) Micheletti is standing with the whole coupista establishment to give the whole world a giant finger. Adolfo Facusse, who couldn’t understand why the US would count him as a coupista was standing there. General Vasquez was there, too, so make no mistake: just because the military hasn’t been in the fray doesn’t mean it’s going to stay out. Micheletti: He was removed legally. Zelaya isn’t going to mess with our elections. All these countries aren’t respecting us!

I would say that Micheletti just set his country on the path to civil war. It’s going to be very distracting to try to govern while the real president is giving daily fireside chats.

Channel 36 says that beginning tomorrow, Micheletti will silence all media. For me it’s already happened. Channel 11 and 36 offline.


Mel returns

(Image from El Heraldo)

Interview with Zelaya on Channel 36. Now Zelaya talking into two telephones. The OAS is meeting. The session is being shown on Channel 36. Micheletti declares a 4PM-7AM curfew. Brazilian rep. backs up whatever Argentina said while the dictatorship was speaking. Venezuela’s ambassador says that before getting into the document, they should ask the dictatorship to guarantee Zelaya’s safety. US ambassador objects to what Argentina proposed; we need to recognize that the situation has changed significantly to bring the factions together [geez, this guy is delusional] because the presidential candidates and the Honduran Civic Union have supported it. Canada proposes to reference both earlier resolutions and San Jose Accords. The main debate seems to center around paragraph 3. The OAS


Radio Progreso is still on the air, reporting on the unfoldingsituation, despite a military attempt to shut them down 1/2 hour ago.The military vehicles were forced away by the masses of people who cameto defend the station. They expect them to return.

The State Dept. non-briefing

RAJ has been busy:
Two of the three cell phone networks have been shut down by the coup, leaving only Claro:

Meanwhile, with the curfew called for mere minutes from now, the real threat is violent repression of the multitudes around the Brazilian embassy.

And with the Armed Forces continuing to show signs of failing to understand the international context, the flyover of the Brazilian embassy earlier today raises a very real fear: will they attempt to storm the sovereign territory of Brazil to capture President Zelaya?

Via RAJ, the top banana republicans are apparently meeting. According to La Tribuna, Pretend-chancellor Carlos López Contreras, Imaginary vice-ministress Martha Lorena Alvarado, the chief malfeasor of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs Romeo Vásquez and the Resident Roberto Micheletti are urgently meeting to decide what the @!$& to do.

Press under attack

Cholusat reports being menaced with a takedown. Radio Globo is runningon backup power, and Adrienne Pine reports that Radio Progreso cited a military convey sent against them was repelled by citizens mobilizingoutside their station.


20 heavily-armed commandos at the home of a Radio Globo reporter

Military was not called out (except for aircraft buzzing Brazilian embassy)

Zelaya interviewed by La Jornada
The interview says Insulza wants to come to start the dialogue.

Update 3: Laura Carlsen has an excellent summary of events today. Al Giordano is liveblogging.

On Radio Globo, Maldonado says television was censored again today; this sounds like confirmation of Giordano’s assertion of streams being blocked. He gets excited by the images on Channel 11, I try to switch and get TV Shopping. Then, Zelaya! Very briefly! Camera panning madly! Then I try to get a screen shot and discover that Channel 11 has means to defeat that. A moment of history missed. Anyway, A press conference is coming up.
Update2: Al Giordano reports that the streams for Radio Globo and Channel 36, as well as cell phones, are being blocked. It could be just the overload of interested people, but the Honduran embassy site is failing to load, Tiempo has been struggling, El Libertador failed to load…. it’s hard to believe that this relatively small surge of interest could cause all of Honduran alternative media to fail without some outside assistance.

On TeleSur, the resistance leadership of San Pedro Sula says that they are going to Tegucigalpa.

I picked up Radio Globo at last, but it fades in and out. Juan Barahona comes up with a great word for the coupistas: Micheletti y su compinches. They are planning to bring the entire Honduran population to Tegucigalpa to squeeze the army out. Zelaya is on the balcony.
Update: Eighty seven days of resistance.

(Image from Brazilian government; this may be obsolete, since it does not resemble images on TeleSur)

TeleSur is broadcasting Micheletti denying that anything is happening. Then wild street scenes of celebration. Difficult to understand the broadcaster. Some thoughts: the fact that Zelaya returned makes the government look impotent and incompetent, and it reinforces the point that Zelaya is not afraid of judicial process: the coup is. Ian Kelly (Dept. State) makes another mealymouthed statement about speaking to both sides about avoiding violence. There are no soldiers or police evident in the TeleSur pictures. This is a very important signal IMO. People are dancing and giving abrazos. One leader tells TeleSur that this shows that “before divine justice, nothing is impossible.” Now TeleSur is saying that he’s in the Brazilian embassy. From the interview of him, it sounded like he arrived two hours before the announcement, or roughly 10AM Eastern. How is the army reacting? Unknown. But now the cops are beating people up. Footage from Channel 6. Helicopters overhead. Zelaya gives an interview, but of course he’s not being very specific. Dialogue.

The Brazilian embassy is in the northeastern suburb of Colonia LaraReforma, according to Google. The UN building is a little to the southwest of that in Colonia Palmira. Both are north of Bulevar Morazan.

Enrique Flores Lanza of the presidential office tells Tiempo that Zelaya’s return was an internationally-coordinated operation; Hugo Chavez said that Zelaya “crossed mountains and rivers” “risking his life” with four (unstated) companions. Tiempo also says that Channel 36 has talked to Zelaya.

Confirmed by TeleSur

Does this mean I can get my life back?

I don’t know if it’s true. They won’t say where he is, but Radio Globo is dead serious. And, predictably, the stream crashes. Over on Channel 36, there is a mass with Father Tamayo. No indication that they have this news. I milk out a few words from Radio Globo before it crashes, and it sounds as if he is in a building, presumably in the capital or a major city, and Radio Globo is calling for citizens to surround the building and protect him. OK: they say it’s a UN building and that this was done with a plan by the UN. TeleSur has no video, but Hugo Chavez is talking to Zelaya and apparently Dona Xiomara. God bless, a kiss, and for the kids, among the things he says to Dona Xiomara. And now what, Mel? Si. No. All those are your soldiers. The kids are going to applaud you (kids dutifully applaud). He tells a wildly heroic (and improbable) (and probably technically accurate) tale of Zelaya crossing mountains etc to arrive in Tegucigalpa. The embassy is at your service. All of us are at your service. . The announcer says that he took a two-day overland trip to arrive. Patricia Rodas speaks. I switch to Channel 36, get a brief moment to see that they’re carrying the same signal as TeleSur, and then that crashes. I can’t get even TeleSur to load. CNN en Espanol is talking about the price of fruit. And we wonder why we’re losing influence in the world. So frustrating to have waited so long for this day and to be unable to hear or see what’s happening. Radio Progreso is playing bouncy music; no news. Channel 11: soap opera. Cadejo04 has a diary on DK.

Oy! Vos el Soberano is reporting that, on an interview on Univision, Obama has refused to rule out recognizing the winner of the pretend-elections, saying that support for the Arias plan is enough to validate the process.

Frente spokesman Jose Luis Baquedano stated that members of the Israeli army are training soldiers and policement of the coup. The training is supposedly taking place in Gymnasium #1 in the Olympic Village. They are planning to create chaos and disorder in the marches in order to justify repression, he says. The Frente has, the article says, previously denounced supporters of Tegucigalpa mayor Ricardo Alvarez for serving as agents provocateur. They have handed over people possessing firearms and construction explosives. Baquedano is a congressional candidate for PINU-SD.

The Louisiana Association of Hispanic Journalists and Writers has supported Channel 11 against the assault. Isn’t there any other journalistic association that thinks that sending masked paramilitaries to rip down antennas is not a good thing?

Posted in Latin America | 12 Comments »

A Ruling for Democracy

Posted by MEC on September 21, 2009

The Indiana Court of Appeals has struck down that state’s law requiring voters to show photo IDs to be allowed to vote. The ruling says that the law violates Indiana’s constitution by not treating all voters impartially.

The article briefly mentions other states that have imposed this 21st-century poll tax on impoverished and elderly voters. Specifically, Mississippi Republicans are leading a campaign to collect signatures for a petition to put voter ID on the 2010 Mississippi ballot. Assuming that only registered voters are eligible to sign such a petition, I wonder whether the people collecting the signatures require signers to show government-issued picture ID before signing.

Posted in voting rights | 3 Comments »

House Moves To Extend Unemployment Benefits

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 21, 2009

A wise move:

A bill offered by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and expected to pass easily would provide 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits for more than 300,000 jobless people who live in states with unemployment rates of at least 8.5 percent and who are scheduled to run out of benefits by the end of September.

The 13-week extension would supplement the 26 weeks of benefits most states offer and the federally funded extensions of up to 53 weeks that Congress approved in legislation last year and in the stimulus bill enacted last February.

People from North Carolina to California “have been calling my office to tell me they still cannot find work a year or more after becoming unemployed, and they need some additional help to keep their heads above water,” McDermott said.

Oh, and the bill won’t add to the deficit as it extends for a year the federal unemployment tax of $14 per employee per year that employers have been paying for more than 30 years. It also requires better reporting on newly hired employees to reduce unemployment insurance overpayments.

Posted in Democrats, Democrats with spines, doing the right thing, financial crisis, Good Things | Comments Off on House Moves To Extend Unemployment Benefits

Was Key Nuclear Evidence Against Iran Fabricated?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 21, 2009

This piece by Gareth Porter for the Asia Times makes a strong case for it:

IAEA Safeguard Department chief Olli Heinonen signaled his de facto acceptance of the “alleged studies” documents when he presented an organizational chart of the purported secret nuclear weapons project based on the documents at a February 2008 “technical briefing” for member states.

Meanwhile, the IAEA has portrayed Iran as failing to respond adequately to the “substance” of the documents, asserting that it has focused only on their “style and format of presentation”.

In fact, however, Iran has submitted serious evidence that the documents are fraudulent. Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Vienna, Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told IPS. He said he had pointed out to a team of IAEA officials in a meeting on the documents in Tehran in early 2008 that none of the supposedly top-secret military documents had any security markings of any kind, and that purported letters from Defense Ministry officials lacked Iranian government seals.

Soltanieh recalled that he had made the same point “many times” in meetings of the Board of Governors since then. “No one ever challenged me,” said the ambassador.

The IAEA has never publicly acknowledged the problem of lack of security markings or official seals in the documents, omitting mention of the Iranian complaint on that issue from its reports. Its May 2008 report said only that Iran had “stated, inter alia, that the documents were not complete and that their structure varied”.

But a senior official of the agency familiar with the Iran investigation, who spoke with IPS on condition that he would not be identified, confirmed that Soltanieh had indeed pointed out the lack of any security classification markings, and that he had been correct in doing so.

As Porter points out, the lack of similar markings on the Niger “yellowcake” forgeries are what caused the IAEA to swiftly expose them as such.

There’s more:

Iran has also provided the IAEA with evidence that the handwritten notes on a May 2003 letter, which supposedly link a private Iranian contractor to the “alleged studies”, were forged by an outside agency. The letter was from an engineering firm to the private company Kimia Maadan, which other documents in the collection identify as responsible for part of the alleged covert nuclear weapons program called the “green salt project”.

The letter itself has nothing to do with any “green salt” project, but handwritten notes on the copy of the letter given to the IAEA by an unidentified government referred to individuals who are named in other intelligence documents as participants in the “alleged studies”, according to the latest IAEA report.

But the original letter, which Iran has provided to the IAEA, has no handwritten notes on it. Ambassador Soltanieh recalled that he showed that original letter to an IAEA team led by the deputy director of IAEA’s Safeguards Department, Herman Nackaerts, in Tehran from January 22 to 23, 2008.

But of course this doesn’t fit the neocon “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” dream-wish, so you won’t hear about in any US news media outside of blogs like this one.

Posted in hissy kabuki, Iran, nukes | Comments Off on Was Key Nuclear Evidence Against Iran Fabricated?

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