Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for November, 2009

Honduras Coup, Act VI, Day 1

Posted by Charles II on November 30, 2009

Act I: The evil chancellor deposes the rightful ruler of Platania, Commander Cowboy
Act II: The rightful ruler seeks refuge with the Empire of Justness and Freedom and Apple Pie with Whipped Cream and a Cherry. Reassured that “We’re right behind you,” he attempts to return to Platania, but is rebuffed.
Act III: Much toing and froing and diplomatizing and stuff.
Act IV: The Empire of Justness and Freedom and Apple Pie with Whipped Cream and a Cherry declares that it is, too, in favor of Justness and Freedom and Apple Pie with Whipped Cream and a Cherry, just not very much so. It demands that Commander Cowboy continue to diplomatize with the evil chancellor despite the fact that the evil chancellor left the room, like, an hour ago saying he had to wash his hair ’cause it’s Friday and says that he’s half-way responsible if the evil chancellor does something besides washing his hair.
Act V: The evil chancellor sodomizes a dog to celebrate the complete humiliation of Justness and Freedom. The Empire re-christens itself the Empire of Whipped Cream Pie, and declares victory.
Act VI: As after every incident involving the Underpants Gnomes– ???!?

The first question is what the turnout was. Fortunately, RAJ and RNS are on the story, because I’m wrapping Christmas gifts and otherwise, y’know, doing stuff. They say that the Electoral Tribunal is spinning a 60% turnout, while their own exit polling firm projected that turnout was under 50%. So far they’ve produced 1,606,000 actual valid ballots out of what Tiempo says are 4,600,000 voters, or 35% participation.

The State Dept. sets a new record for incoherence. Figure out what this means.

First Valenzuela gives a talk at the OAS on November 23rd in which it sounds like this is important!:

What is at stake with Honduras is nothing less than the credibility of the OAS and its members in living up to the call for the collective defense of democracy enshrined in the Charter. The United States, together with the rest of the Member States, rendered a unanimous verdict in judging that the duly elected president of Honduras, who was approaching the end of his term, had been removed from office by a coup d’état. There is no other word to describe the abrupt and forced exile of a head of state. Moreover, if any citizen, including a head of state, is alleged to have transgressed the law, forceful exile without due process of law is a violation of one of the most basic principles of democratic governance whose origins come to us through the ages from the Magna Carta of 1215. When the de facto government refused to return President Zelaya to office, the United States formed part of the unanimous determination that Honduras should be suspended under the Inter American Democratic Charter as a member of the Organization of American States.

Next, he faces the press today.

QUESTION: Is there any chance that the U.S. will not recognize the results of this election? Because you didn’t say that the U.S. will recognize —
MR. VALENZUELA: I don’t want to get into hypotheticals. What’s – what is clear is that the Honduran people did vote yesterday, and they voted by an ample margin for a gentleman by the name of Pepe Lobo. I – he will be the next president of Honduras For the countries of the hemisphere and for the United States to work towards the restoration of Honduras to the Organization of American States later on, Honduras must do more than just simply this election. It must follow a process of national reconciliation through a government of national unity.(blahblahblah

But the government of national unity has already been formed! It is Micheletti who, in his person, has bound up the nation into one.

Notice that the US has recognized Lobo as President-elect of Honduras, but Valenzuela evades the question about the elections.

QUESTION: …Are you recognizing the results [of the election]?
MR. VALENZUELA: We take note of the results, yes. We recognize that there are results in Honduras for this election. That’s quite clear.

Allow that bit of wisdom to sink in. Next, Valenzuela continues:

We recognize those results, and we commend Mr. Lobo for having won these elections. And as I say, this is an important step to restore the democratic and constitutional order in Honduras.
QUESTION: Do you see —
QUESTION: So is it not a legitimate concern that by recognizing the election, you could be encouraging further coups?

OK! He’s finally admitted that the US has recognized the results of the election!

MR. VALENZUELA: No, because I think that we have to make absolutely clear that any country that encourages a military coup, or if a military coup takes place, they run the risk of actually being suspended from the Organization of American States, of not being recognized by the Organization of American States.

So, see. If you form a dictatorship, you won’t get a key to the men’s washroom at the OAS. Or at least maybe you won’t. That’ll show ’em!

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Posted in Honduras, Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act VI, Day 1

Stick A Fork In Mike Huckabee

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 29, 2009

He’s done:

Washington authorities are seeking Maurice Clemmons, 37, for questioning in the slaying of four Washington police officers. Clemmons is wanted in Arkansas, where he has an extensive criminal record…

My source says the man wanted for questioning is believed to be the same Maurice Clemmons as an Arkansas ex-con with an extensive record of armed robbery who became a subject of some controversy for political reasons. That Maurice Clemmons was among those who became controversial for having received a commuted sentence from then-Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000 (of a 35-year armed robbery sentence), then went on to commit other crimes. This has the potential of making Wayne Dumond look like a small-timer…

To refresh your memory, Wayne Dumond is the guy who savagely raped a cousin of then-President Bill Clinton’s. The far-right get-Clinton crowd, just because they wanted to make Clinton suffer (and didn’t give a rat’s ass about Dumond’s victims), started pretending he was innocent and Huckabee, playing along, paroled Dumond — who then went out and murdered a woman.

The Fundies had no problem with Huckabee’s pardoning a violent rapist as a way to tick off Bill Clinton. But they will have a problem with another of the Huckster’s clemency recipients going out and killing four cops. Sarah Palin must already be dancing for joy here — Huckabee was the main obstacle to her Hoovering up the Fundie contingent for 2012.

Posted in Bill Clinton, Fundies, Mike Huckabee, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, Sarah Palin | 2 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 40

Posted by Charles II on November 29, 2009

Update2: Since the election is irrelevant, the spin adopted by the Western media is probably what matters. It looks to me as if they will ignore the police riot in San Pedro Sula and other examples of human rights violations. They’re ignoring turnout so far. For what it’s worth, Scoop says:

Despite protestations to the contrary by the international corporate media, there is a wealth of photographic and first hand accounts from the polls – including documents shown to international observers by polling booth staff – that the turnout was considerably less than 50%, and in the northern part of the country, less than 20%.

CNN is outright lying, claiming that turnout is “high”:

Zelaya had called for a boycott of Sunday’s vote, but electoral observers said a turnout of more than 60 percent was expected.

Let’s just say, I don’t think so. In the last election 46% showed up. In this election, I would guesstimate at least 30% abstention, and a turnout of maybe half the remainder, or roughly 35% overall. If they achieve 40% with all the threats they’ve issued, they can call it a victory. As much as forty percent of the population too stupid to realize what they’re getting into or too scared to fight back would amaze me. But 30% turnout would sound more plausible: the Greenburg-Quinlan-Rosner poll said 42% regarded any elections under Micheletti as illegitimate.Turn out 2/3 of the remainder and you still only get 38% turnout.

Anyway, I’ve worked enough on this for today. Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully a better one.
______________________________________________________________________
Update: BlueButterfly at The Seminal links to an article on VoltaireNet saying (correctly as it turns out) that Colonel Richard A. Juergens is the Commander at Soto Cano. It further says that he was involved in kidnapping Aristide, which I haven’t verified. I’ve seen this before, but never found solid sourcing for the story. I found a source that I will be reading closely. It comes from the website of CEDOH, and sources to Observatorio de Medios UTPBA which includes Amy Goodman on its masthead. It looks to be worth a look.

TeleSur: Tear gas and beatings in San Pedro Sula. Turnout is light nationally (TeleSur shows a completely empty voting site. At another, there might have been half a dozen people). The report on the police riot in San Pedro Sula is here. The protestors marched to the Cathedral, sang the national anthem, and were promptly tear-gassed. Don’t want to vote? No problem! The Supreme Electoral Court will extend the voting time until you do want to vote!

Radio Globo is still off the air.

HONDURAS: EL PAIS EN DONDE NO PASA NADA
Translation of reports on human rights violations on Vos El Soberano (in process):

MONITORING OF THE REPRESSION: Denunciations, Alerts, and reports of everything in the country

Saturday, 28th of Novermber, 15:21

Today

12:00 M.

12.00 Cobra Soldiers [i.e., militarized police] are ready to repress demonstrators of the National Popular Front (FRNP) who began a peaceful march through Pedro Sula and are found around the market.

The resisters of the National Front are posted around the market in peaceful action, without weapons. While the soldiers are there with provocative attitudes spoiling for repression.

11:00 AM We have been informed that in the community on Tall Grass Island, the population of 800 families have been obliged to vote by armed subjects dressed as civilians. 24 leaders of the community are being persecuted by the army, which has engaged in home invasions and terror reigns in the communities.

10: 00 A.M. Persecution in Gualala. In Gualala, Santa Bárbara, the opponents of the de facto government are being pursued and harassed. Leonel Arturo Enamorado, Carlos Antonio Bulnes, Kelin Dario Trejo and Alexander Trejo, the latter part of FIAN Honduras and assigned to comply with the tasks of human rights procurator, were seen fleeing from the police who pursued them without justification. Yesterday, their houses were raided and their relatives threatened. The police and members of the army have sowed panic in the population with their constant patrols with the obvious aim of frightening people.

9:00 A.M. Police beat Fausto Arrazola with excessive force, who gave out flyers with the emblem “No to the Elections” in the voting centers of the Republic of Peru school, located in the colonia El Pedregal de Comayagüela. After being beaten severely, he was taken at 8:25 Am in vehicle number 543 of HONDUTEL, with plates 08720. His whereabouts are unknown.

8:00 A.M. Another bomb exploded in the school Perfecto H. Bobadía, located in Chamelecón, San Pedro Sula. Thi school is another strong voting center.

There are also reports of electric power flow cuts in the interior of the country, specifically in the town of El Paraíso, [in the state of] El Paraíso.

The young man, Gencis Mario Orlando Umanzor Gutiérrez, was held this morning in the colonia Centroamericana de Comayagüela, around 2:30 AM.

He was detained by soldiers and later transferred to Patrol M03-03, in which he was taken.

Other media monitoring the situation in real time.
Honduras en Resistencia: http://www.hondurasenresistencia.com

Following the journal of the Popular Resistance.
La Haine.org http://www.lahaine.org/index.php?p=3177
……………………………………
Allegations through 8 AM, 11/29

Ana María Ríos, president of the union of San Pedro Sula threatened employees with firing if they didn’t vote for her, she being a candidate in the elections.

In the Minerva school, the people tending the ballot boxes aren’t civilians. They’re soldiers.

In El Progreso, nor in San Pedro Sula, there’s no public transport.

The vecinos [a word that is often applied to indigenous people, though it means “neighbors”] stay home in observance of the call of the resistance.

In the school, Lizandro Quezada of the central flock, the members of the Liberal Party did not appear at their table.

There are around 200-300 soldiers approaching Guadalupe Carney in the community of Jerico and in the Hacienda of Henri Osorto.

STIBYS (the beverage workers union) was occupied militarily last night. 200 soldiers attacked the union site. This morning they have a tank guarding it.

The employees of EMBOSA denounces that the bottler has threatened the employees that don’t go to vote. Jorge Canahuati, owner of Emobosa is a financier of the coup.
……………..
Detentions.
Source: Centro de Prevencion, Tratamiento y Rehabilitacion de las Vcitimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares

3:00 A.M. Gusts of shots and explosions in the exit of Olancho, at the peak of the Cerro Grande. Explosions are reported in the airport area.

2:30 A.M.

The young man Gencis Mario Orlando Umanzor Gutiérrez, was detained this morning in the colonia Centroamericana de Comayagüela, around 2:30 AM. He was detained by soldiers and later transferred to the Patrol M03-03, in which they took him.

1:00 A.M. Shots and explosions were heard in the Pedregal area, Airpory and San Francisco of Tegucigalpa.

Marcos Cortés and Gustavo Adolfo Cortés arrested in Cortes. People have also been arrested in Copán.

28 November

11:00 P.M. – 12:00 A.M. Reports of persecution, home invasions, and arrests in various parts of the country….

Home invasions and detentions continue in Tegucigalpa On Radio Gualcho, vecinos of the Reparto denounce home invasions seeking young men, shooting [down] the door and firing shots. Sunday 12:05 AM

In Danli, they invaded the home of Victor Corrales, which Andres Pavón confirmed on Radio Gualcho: they knocked down the door, fired shots, took captive the son and others… there is a recording of the deed because from within the house, they talked with him before being taken prisoner. They are members of the resistance.

A few minutes ago, it was reported from Gualala, Santa Bàrbara comrades in Resistance were found sheltering from the latent threats of the repressive forces against them and their families.

The siege of the Guadalupe Carney community continues.

Things explode various places in San Pedro Sula.

9:20 P.M. Comrades in the colonias Kennedy and El Pedregal denounce: the police arrest people WITHOUT WARRANTS thanks to the “state of emergency.” They are taking people who are stopped [to somewhere].

8:30 P.M. Radio Globo says that over 200 soldiers are approaching the farming community Guadalupe Carnegie [Carney?], in Colón. This community has remained permanently in resistance.

7:00 P.M. A joint force of the army and police surround the house of Prof. Martha Silva dwelling in sector 3 of the Colonia El Sitio in front of the roundabout. The professor is a leader of the resistance in Conia and luckily was not present there.

It was learned that half an hour ago, the computer center SELCON was invaded by the police, property of the Treasurer of the Joint National Directorate of the UD, Gregorio Baca, with the pretext of seeking material that could be used to boycott the elections of tomorrow. Humberto Castillo, a disabled person who is an employee of this business, was detained. If anyone has better information, please send it to this address.

6:00 P.M. COFADEH reports the home invasion of households of members of people’s organizations in Santa Bárbara

In Gualala, state of Santa Bárbara, the homes of the young men Alexander Trejo and Leonel Arturo Enamorado, leaders of the Organización Democrática Popular de Gualala, have been raided today without a judicial order by the Policía Nacional Preventiva and of investigation who have intimidated and threatened their families; their homes are watched. This action has obliged more than 20 young men of the youth group to depart their community. (Complete note is below) [Continues here]
_________________________________________________________________________________
Part 3 of Whom the gods would destroy is up.

Radio Globo is down. Channel 36 is down. The El Libertador journalists are in hiding. Tiempo is trimming its coverage (or is simply unable to get reporters out to what is going on) so that the coup doesn’t shut it down. El Progreso is playing bouncy music; no news, since they aren’t genuinely a national radio station. This is the free press under which free and fair elections are being held.

Tamar Sharabi, with NarcoNews, snagged a memo showing that the head of the civil service ordered all employees without exception to attend the closing event of the Liberal Party.

Tiempo does snarkily say that Honduras will be the only country to have three presidents: the one elected today, the one in the Brazilian embassy, and the one imposed by the military.

Radio Progreso is memorializing martyrs of Latin America and of the coup.

According to Amnesty, the shooting at the military roadblock hospitalized Angel Salgado with a head wound. Salgado crashed into a woman, who was also shot.

I was wrong about which borders got closed yesterday. According to ChinaView, it was Nicaragua and El Salvador. Guatemala’s apparently remained open.

RAJ corrects my puzzled reporting: “the Honduran military chose today to attack the peaceful development project RED COMAL in SiguatepequeAdrienne has a report from Patrick on this Quaker project:

Red Comal and the campesino training center ECOSOL,an NGO working with marketing farming goods started by Trinidad Sanchez and Mary Mc Cann when they were with AFSC was raided this afternoon by over 50 soldiers, some of them hooded. Although Red Comal had condemned the coup and has been part of the resistance in Siguatepeque, it has always been pacifist in true Quaker fashion. The military is accusing them of harboring guerrilleros, storing arms and of having a printing press printing anti-election propaganda. This could not be further from the truth. The military has smashed down doors, taken computers and even money. If this is the way the regime is going to conduct elections, God help us.

At Adrienne’s, Oscar says:

The fight to come will be prolonged, just as the crisis will be profound. The government put in place next January will have three alternatives: a new military coup with a barefaced repression that will make these five months look like child’s play; ungovernability leading to its overthrow by the people; and a National Constituent Assembly to establish a new social pact that will bring calm to national political life.

Via Adrienne, Jeremy Kryt has an article at In These Times.

Also via Adrienne, on The Real News, Jesse Freeston has a video piece. Watch it here. The key points reinforce what Oscar said, that the dictatorship has been gathering names in order to conduct a repression once the international community’s eyes are turned away. Gladis Espinado, a teacher, was murdered. The Army has deputized thousands of “reservists,” which is only permitted during times of war.

Amazingly, George Vickers of George Soros’s Open Society has a piece on Foreign Policy:

This election is taking place in a political environment contaminated by repression, violence, and fear. If the U.S. government recognizes the vote, it will grant the de facto regime led by former parliamentary head Roberto Micheletti a legitimacy it does not deserve; it will needlessly lengthen a crisis that is hurting Honduras, its people, and its prospects for real democracy; and it will harm the U.S. image in the region. Most importantly, there is an alternative to this “see no evil” strategy.

TeleSur is carrying a lot of Honduras coverage. The resistance spokespeople are saying that most resistance leaders are in hiding. “Camisas blancas” are going door to door demanding to know whether people have voted, and to see their fingers to make sure they have been marked and threatening them with prosecution. There are home invasions, arrests, helicopters buzzing Tegucigalpa, and other repressive measures. I tried to jot down the incidents but only got a couple: home invasion Francisco Morazan Professor Flores. Home invasion Santa Barbara two youths seized, 20 youths fled the community and no one knows where they are. The Pedregal, a Mr. Barbales captured? killed? Home invasion 2:30 AM a Mr. Gutierrez. A UD man is talking about non-voting. A Demonstration in front of the US embassy. Adriana Sivori

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 40

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 39

Posted by Charles II on November 28, 2009


(Image from Honduras Resists via HondurasOye)
_________________________________________________________________________________
Update: I missed this. Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle has a piece, The joke and the jokers: Old Hawk Diplomacy and Multilateralism, in which he speaks frankly.

He calls out the game that the US has played:

Someone has to say it to the American people. The people of Honduras feel betrayed by the United States government and resent the bad joke played by American diplomats at its expense. We were led to believe first that the US government sympathized with our plight, only to discover gradually that it is willing to back and whitewash the dictatorship imposed on us. It is not a personal impression; the jokers have names and faces, which we will take note of and remember. Nor is it a matter only of declarations. The facts that speak for themselves, and are of, as yet, unknown but almost certainly terrible consequences

Radio Globo: A soldier died in a truck accident. Military established a cordon around Gijuatepeque (sp?) (El Paraiso?) searching for election materials and arms. They invaded the center of a resistance group. They didn’t present an order, so it was illegal.

__________________________________________________________________________________
Radio Globo has a long interview with a colonel regarding youths who were injured, but I’m pretty busy and can’t follow it well. Popular groups from El Salvador and Guatemala (Aguacaliente) have seized the highway and customs posts to block traffic to or from their countries in sympathy with the resistance. Luis Galdamez: the bloodbath at the checkpoint is a “verguenza” for the people. Three youths who didn’t respond to the police order to stop have been injured and are in the Hospital Escuela (the first report was of deaths) in the Sector Sor (?). Zelaya says the society has reverted to the law of the jungle, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and that the resistance must not stain its hands by supporting the dictatorship by voting. Zelaya mentions a letter by British politicians urging the US not to recognize the elections. The people must stay in state. Then the interview moves over to STIBYS (the Beverage Workers). Now an Amnesty International Report by Javier Zuniga: There are people dead, people wounded, and people jailed. But there are other violations: Freedom expression, movement, association.Threats and menacing. The atmosphere is not propitious for an election. We have had access to some official documents showing purchases of gas grenades and have seen the grenades. They can cause death at short range. Tanks which dispense high pressure water can injure people. The announcer says that that the “observers” are from the Chamber of Commerce and private enterprise, but no observers from governments.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 38 Comments »

This is where Republicans get their news

Posted by Charles II on November 28, 2009

A Fox news graphic
(From Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture)

Posted in Fox Noise, Just for fun | 2 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 38

Posted by Charles II on November 27, 2009

A very telling photo that Brother John brought to attention:

Micheletti at mass. Image is from WSJ.

(Image is from Wall Street Journal. Notice the woman’s heavily bruised leg ).  
_________________________________________________________________________________________
Update2: RadioGlobo is now off the air, as is Channel 36.

Tracy Wilkinson has a good article in the LAT (via HondurasCoup2009)

Amnesty reports that:

Luis Galdámez, a male journalist freelancing for an independent radio
station in Honduras, has been receiving death threats as a result of his
broadcasting work and comments in support of the country’s ousted
president, Manuel Zelaya.

The pro-coup El Heraldo says that the Millennium Challenge Corp is eager to start spending again. (via HondurasCoup2009)
_________________________________________________________________________________________
Update: Costa Rica is apparently going to recognize the dictatorship “if the vote is fair”

Bloomberg:

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama’s backing of an election in Honduras widely seen by Latin American allies as illegitimate leaves the U.S. isolated regionally and has increased tensions with Brazil.

Most countries in Latin America, except Panama and Costa Rica, have said deposed President Manuel Zelaya must be returned to office before a vote and have cited Zelaya’s restoration as a prerequisite for their recognition of the election results.

In the past three weeks, the U.S. backed off that demand, prompting warnings from Zelaya and analysts that the tolerance of his removal may invite coups elsewhere.

“The clumsy handling of this issue when they had the backing of the entire hemisphere is simply an embarrassment,” said Robert White, a former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador under President Jimmy Carter who heads the Center for International Policy in Washington.

Tamar Sharabi has a new article on holding elections under repression.

Radio Globo is up. Channel 36 is broadcasting an SOS: a Communication that it has been hindered from broadcasting and subjected to terroristic attacks since the coup. Back to Globo: Zelaya is on. I’ve never heard it so clear. I guess the dictatorship pulled its electronic measures from the embassy. But the announcer says that there’s interference in Tegucigalpa. Now talking with a lawyer. They are threatening government employees with losing their jobs if their fingers aren’t stained to prove they voted. But the Constitution says the vote is secret. People are getting paid 1000 lempiras ($20) to vote

__________________________________________________________________________________________
Ian Kelly on tape loop:

The United States remains committed to help restore the democratic and constitutional order in Honduras in the wake of the June 28 coup d’état that removed President Zelaya and led to the suspension of Honduras from the Organization of American States. As part of that effort, we expect the parties in Honduras to implement the measures they agreed to in the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, including steps toward national reconciliation and the December 2 Congressional consideration of President Zelaya’s restitution. We look forward to the Congressional deliberations getting underway as announced.

The November 29 national elections are another critical step in the restoration of the democratic and constitutional order in Honduras. The electoral process — launched well before June 28 and involving legitimate candidates representing parties with longstanding democratic traditions from a broad ideological spectrum — is conducted under the stewardship of the multi-party and autonomous Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which was also selected before the coup [actually, they’re being held under martial law, i.e., under the stewardship of the multi-branch and autonomous Honduran military]. The electoral renewal of presidential, congressional and mayoral mandates, enshrined in the Honduran constitution, is an inalienable expression of the sovereign will of the citizens of Honduras. We wish the Honduran people well as they choose their new leaders on Sunday, and we urge all sides to exercise their rights peacefully.

The holding of a free, fair and transparent election is necessary but not sufficient for Honduras to reestablish the democratic and constitutional order. In order to help achieve that objective, we will continue, along with others in the Americas, to support the step-by-step implementation of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord as a democratic way forward for the Honduran people. The president-elect who emerges from an election deemed free and fair will have a unique opportunity to promote that vital mission.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 3 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on November 27, 2009

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging, Lady Lightfoot | 2 Comments »

The strange fruit of the Bush presidency

Posted by Charles II on November 27, 2009

Robert Koehler, SC:

In the cradle of civilization, young women have become terrified about having children.

This is the news I take with me into Thanksgiving and the season of gratitude and family togetherness: that doctors in Fallujah, the Iraqi city we devastated in two military assaults in 2004, have begun documenting a startling rise in birth defects — about 15 times the pre-invasion occurrence of early-life cancers and brain and nervous-system abnormalities, according to the U.K.’s Guardian.

A group of British and Iraqi doctors have petitioned the United Nations to investigate the situation, which is clearly related to the U.S. invasion and occupation. According to their letter: “In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 newborn babies, 24 percent of whom were dead within the first seven days (and) a staggering 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed.” In comparison, the letter said, in August 2002 — before the invasion — 530 babies were born; six of them died within the first week, with a single birth defect reported.

Young women in Fallujah, the doctors wrote, “are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs.”

What might be causing this nightmare? The most likely factors are chemical or radiation poisoning, according to the Nov. 14 Guardian article, which noted: “Abnormal clusters of infant tumors have also been repeatedly cited in Basra and Najaf — areas that have in the past also been intense battle zones where modern munitions have been heavily used.”

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, Iraq war | 1 Comment »

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 37,

Posted by Charles II on November 26, 2009

Update:

Honduras Resists: 7am – Thurs 11/26 – University students have taken over the National Autonomous University and reached an agreement with the rector for there to be no more classes. The University was to be a center for voting and is now under control of the Resistance.
_______________________________________________________________________
In my long campaign of arguing with God over the terrible things that happen in this world, I am engaging in a partial fast for Thanksgiving.

The weapon on the left is a Colt 5.56 mm Sub-Compact. The young lady, presumably a “camisa blanca” (coup supporter) is from a photo at La Jornada.

The coup has declared that ballpoint pens are lethal weapons, and is forbidding their entry into the Brazilian embassy. Books, paper, fruit: very dangerous. Ironically, the Rottweiler they were using to sniff food died of stress, presumably from the sound weapon.

(Via a commenter at Narconews) The New Yorker has an article about Honduras. It’s behind a paywall, and there’s nothing much that MR readers don’t already know. It was written before the agreement fell apart. But it has some interesting confirmations. It says that the closest the resistance came to violence was over the burning of Popeye’s, which the resistance claims was done by the regime. This is an important point. Coup supporters claim that the resistance is responsible for the violence. But I cannot find the slightest evidence for this claim. Most of the non-regime sponsored violence seems top be drug- and crime-related, not to mention personal vendettas.

Radio Globo is up, but parts are impossible to follow. Congresswoman Sylvia Ayala. The Supreme Court has Marcelo Chimirri of Hondutel on trial for abuse of office and fraud. He is the nephew of Manuel Zelaya. The police are confiscating everything from machetes to scissors as weapons?! Ambassador to the OAS from Honduras Carlos Sosa Coello has returned to Honduras (see EFE). The Carter Center will not send observers for the election. Italy is not taking a position on the elections (meaning that they will probably recognize them)

Via Adrienne, the Latin American Working Group:

Basic conditions do not exist for free, fair, and transparent elections in Honduras. A cloud
of intimidation and restrictions on assembly and free speech affect the climate in which
these elections take place.

Also from Adrienne, Oscar says:

The campaign of terror carried out by the dictatorship agaist the popular sectors is going forth just as Andrés Pavón, president of CODEH, stated it would a couple weeks ago. The attack perpetrated using military arms against the politician and businessman from Olancho, Ulisis Sarmiento, was just the beginning.

Today the body of professor Gradis Espinal, teacher with the resistance, is buried in the south of the country. His body was discovered yesterday, hands bound and executed…

In the city of El Progreso, the police carried out intensive operations in the houses of the Resistance leaders and claim to have found a small arsenal of weapons … Among the weapons confiscated were various pounds of nails that according to the spokesman can be used to make “miguelitos” or traps that can be laid down on a road to puncture the tires…

In the city of Danlí, several youths were kidnapped by the army …

Tonight Milton Jimenes Puerto, close collaborator, ex-minister and friend of Zelaya’s who has been in hiding since June 28th, was arrested….

…(the regime announces with pleasure the arrival of the insignificant association [Phyllis Schlafly!] Concerned Women of America which comes, together with the “State” of Taiwan, as observers and witnesses …

…. the journey to national liberation, toward the refounding of Honduras, has begun.

HondurasOye reminds me of an important interview of Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, which I will be writing about.

Also via HondurasOye, the UN will not be involved in the Honduras elections.

Sarah Stephens, Director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas says that the US should not recognize the elections:

It’s within this atmosphere of murder, fear, reprisals and recrimination that the de facto government is readying for elections on Sunday…. I am concerned about what type of precedent the United States government would set if it recognizes the winner of an election designed, in part, to erase a bloody and unjust military coup. If our government blesses this election, and the majority of governments in our hemisphere do not, we will be divided from our allies and our credibility as advocates for democracy will be compromised once again.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | 2 Comments »

Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 36

Posted by Charles II on November 25, 2009

Update. The pooch has been well and truly screwed. Reuters:

Honduras’ Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that ousted President Manuel Zelaya cannot legally return to office, dimming the possibility of his reinstatement after a June coup, court sources said.

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There are now two parts of my work on Honduras up at Daily Kos:

Antecedents.
The Timetable and Motives behind the Honduras Coup

Radio Globo up, Channel 36 not. The dictatorship has admitted jamming Channel 36 (via HondurasCoup2009)

Brother John has a nice piece up titled Seeing the Poor.

Via Adrienne, Professor Luis Gradis Espinal, the southern coordinator for the Frente, has been murdered, apparently by police.

Adrienne met with “Mr. Christopher Webster (Director, Office of Central American Affairs), and his silent yet opinionated protégé, Gabriela Zambrano (Honduras Desk Officer).” Setting aside the fact that they sound like they could use a lesson in manners, there’s a lot of information in the article. It sounds as if pressure (both from the additional workload and not-so-happy US citizens) on State is taking a toll. They have (or at least Webster has) retreated into what Adrienne calls “magical realism,” and I would call fantasy. They claim that the resistance is doing violence, even though there’s no evidence for that. They claim that the resistance exaggerates the violence it suffers, even though outside groups have come in and documented what has happened. They are unaware that 300 candidates have withdrawn. In short, there’s evidence that State has become everything that bad government can achieve: small people, scared for their jobs, uninformed but afraid to learn something new because it would mean that they might have to do something. Webster expresses a fourth grader’s concept of how to do diplomacy. For example, TINA (There is No Alternative to elections) so we have to go along. I guess State imagines that elections are like a heartbeat: if democracy stops, have an election! Nowhere does Adrienne describe any awareness by Webster of what the human beings in Honduras are going through.

Al Giordano has news of the latest Decrees:

Decree PCM-M-029-2009

“Due to growing internal threats,” the Armed Forces will be deployed, in support of the National Police, to guard polling places, the custody and transport of ballots (before and after they are utilized by voters), and 5,000 members of the military reserve were deputized beginning on November 13.

Decree PCM-M-030-2009

This decree declares a “State of Emergency” nationwide, and places the regime’s “Secretary of State” inside the military command to oversee all activities related to the November 29 “elections.” This decree pretty much erases the previous order that the quasi-independent Supreme Electoral Tribunal would exclusively be in command of the Armed Forces in the month prior to the “election.” In other words, not even the window dressing added to give the vote a gloss of pseudo-independence could be tolerated by regime leader Roberto Micheletti, who has now placed a member of his Simian Council at that helm.

Decree PCM-M-031-2009

The November 29 “elections are under threat by groups that try to block their development with threats of all kinds, creating fear and disorder in the general population.” Therefore, says the decree, a nationwide ban on bearing all types of firearms went into effect on Monday, November 23, “until ordered otherwise.” (Memo to self: Make sure to write the National Rifle Association about Senator Jim DeMint’s efforts in Honduras.)

Peru will recognize the elections. Paraguay will not. Grenades from an RPG-7 launcher exploded in two government buildings, without injuring anyone. For some reason, the attackers keep leaving their launchers around. 50 candidates from PINU and UD withdrew; among them, Israel Salinas.

BoRev had way too much fun for it to be legal with Mary Anastasia’s O’Grady’s slurs against Evo Morales. Here are excerpts of MAOG:

dictatorship end of what’s left of Bolivian liberty narco-dictatorship Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad controls voters Morales’s rule power grab policy of terror Hard-left violent protests coca growers’ movement duress legal patina for an illegal coup. terrorism persecute thugs killed remnants of democratic capitalism dictator ideological communist fear. mob boss coca business cocaine production and trafficking hate the U.S. and freedom

They should cut her pay. At least 50% of this column has been recycled from her slurs against Manuel Zelaya.

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras Coup, Act V, Day 36

 
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