Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 31st, 2010

Honduran dictatorship, day 64

Posted by Charles II on March 31, 2010

A few more links to update the approximately weekly post:

Journalist José Alemán , a correspondent for Radio America and Tiempo collaborator, has fled Honduras after being attacked by two men. They entered his apartment, firing wildly. Not finding him in, they stalked him on the street. The police told him they couldn’t provide any security.

Peter Lackowski (Upside Down World) reports that Rafael Alegria says that on June 28th, the Resistance is going to “hold a great poll of our people which is going to express our judgment… in favor of a democratic and participatory constitutional constituent assembly in our country,”

Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrenshas has a review in NACLA of developments this year. The role of the US is most clearly seen in how it has financially sustained the bankrupt dictatorship:

On March 9, the International Monetary Fund recognized Porfirio Lobo’s regime, releasing $160 million in loans that had been frozen following the coup and providing an additional $90 million in new loans. The IMF is directing a mission to Honduras to evaluate the economy and will conclude its work on March 25. The World Bank had already recognized the Lobo government in February, restoring $270 million in loans and providing an additional $120 million in new loans. The Inter-American Development Bank was the last hold out. It restored lending just a few days ago, on March 16.

Revistazo reports that a group of businessmen warned a Congressman, Juan Orlando Hernández, that they had overthrown one president and could do the same to Lobo. He passed this on to the president and both of them took it, not surprisingly, as a threat.

Honduras Solidarity features a piece by Dr. Juan Almendares about the Military-Mining-Agroindustrial complex. He sees a connection between the militarization of the war on drugs, the growth of agribusiness as small farmers are displaced from their land, and the use of food as a means of controlling populations.

A young teacher, Denia Mejia, has received death threats and rape threats of a significant enough nature that the case has been taken on by Defensores en Linea. Her apartment was searched and sacked, and a laptop and camera stolen.

Eleven labor leaders were released from what is euphemistically called “preventive detention” (more honestly called “state-sponsored kidnapping”). They will have to sign in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but will face judgment as free people.

Breny Mendoza asks a very good question: what is so important about tiny Honduras that the US has staked so much on suffocating democracy there? Was it over tilapia, of which Honduras is the second-largest exporter to the US?

Posted in Honduras, Latin America | Comments Off on Honduran dictatorship, day 64

The Banana Republicans

Posted by Charles II on March 31, 2010

Bob Parry has an interesting piece on how the GOP has turned a propaganda apparatus used to destabilize Latin American countries against the US:

Having covered CIA destabilization campaigns in Third World countries, particularly Nicaragua, I was struck by the similarities [to the assault on Clinton]. In the 1980s, the Reagan-Bush-41 administrations destroyed Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista revolution by systematically making the country ungovernable via a combination of economic dislocations, political/media propaganda, and paramilitary activities.

Finally, in 1990, Nicaraguan voters – faced with a choice of electing the U.S.-financed candidate Violeta Chamorro or suffering a continued U.S. economic embargo and a resumption of attacks by U.S.-supported contra rebels – opted to accede to Washington’s desires and voted for Chamorro.

By the second year of the Clinton administration, it seemed something similar was occurring in the United States, in part, because the Reagan-Bush-41 administrations had left behind not only a capacity for “information warfare” in the Third World but a domestic version of that propaganda infrastructure.

Documentary evidence from Reagan’s presidential library now shows that the overseas and domestic propaganda machines were built simultaneously as Reagan’s CIA Director William Casey recruited conservative foundation executives like Richard Mellon Scaife to help finance these activities.

Casey also put a senior CIA propagandist, Walter Raymond Jr., into Reagan’s National Security Council to create an inter-agency propaganda bureaucracy and to oversee its operation. [See’s “How Reagan’s Propaganda Succeeded.”]

Another major accomplishment of the Reagan administration was the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy, which on the surface was intended to finance pro-U.S. political/media entities around the globe.

But NED had another side. Since many of the NED-funded organizations were based in Washington – and since the NED bureaucracy was dominated by neoconservatives – NED, in effect, became a permanent funding mechanism for the neocon community in the U.S. capital.

Ironically, NED, which currently has a $100 million annual budget, may have done more to influence the course of the United States than any of the countries it has targeted for “democratization.” NED funding explains why Washington’s neocons have remained so influential despite their involvement in so many policy disasters, such as the Iraq War.

Even when the neocons find themselves adrift during brief periods out of power, many of them remain afloat with the help of NED grant money. They can hang onto a financial life-preserver tossed from some institute that benefits from the federal funding.

That way, the neocons can continue writing op-eds and books, while weighing in on TV talk shows and at conferences that shape U.S. government policies.

These political/media mechanisms dating back to the Reagan years may have been originally designed to protect the political flanks of a Republican administration, but it turned out they could be put to use just as effectively for offense as for defense.

Let’s see…
economic dislocations: check
political/media propaganda: check
paramilitary activities: check

Posted in Latin America, propaganda, Republicans acting badly, terrorism, totalitarianism | 3 Comments »

My Hypocrisy Meter Just Exploded

Posted by MEC on March 31, 2010

Every Republican in Congress voted against the health insurance reform bill. Every one of them, both houses, without exception.

Immediately upon passage, the Republicans began clamoring for repeal. Republican state attorneys general filed suit to stop it.


John Cornyn is advising Republican Senate candidates to claim the credit for health care reform.

Posted in Republicans acting badly | 3 Comments »

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