Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Honduran dictatorship, day 263

Posted by Charles II on September 29, 2010

I have simply been too busy to aggregate Honduran news. However, this is such a serious development that it demands comment. Some of the people who have been targeted were (among many other causes) involved in opposing the Honduran dictatorship.

It was inevitable that if we Americans did nothing to confront the repression in Honduras and elsewhere, the repression would visit our shores. The recent FBI raid on anti-war/social justice activists does not appear to be substantiated by any genuine threat to the security and safety of American citizens. It is laughable to imagine that these people could be supplying to terrorists actual material support—guns, ammunition, explosives—though they may have talked to or even advised people from FARC or Hamas. If that’s what this raid is based on, it’s an abuse of the term “material support.” A suspicious mind might guess that a more likely motive for the raid is that a number of these people protested at the 2008 RNC.

Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley:

Well, I can’t really detail all of the legal factors that have changed since 9/11, but there simply has been a sea change. For instance, when I taught constitutional rights in the FBI, one of the main top priorities was First Amendment rights. And while this is not the first time that you’ve seen this Orwellian turn of the war on terror onto domestic peace groups and social justice groups—actually, we had that begin very quickly after 9/11, and there were legal opinions, Office of Legal Counsel opinions, that said the First Amendment no longer controls the war on terror—but even so, this is shocking and alarming that at this point we have the, you know, humanitarian advocacy now being treated as somehow material support to terrorists.

We’ve also just seen, ironically, four days before this national raid, we saw the Department of Justice Inspector General issue a report that soundly criticized the FBI for four years of targeting domestic groups such as Greenpeace, the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, different antiwar rallies, even involving a finding that the FBI director had given them a falsehood to Congress as to the justification for the FBI to monitor a peace group.

Listen to Coleen Rowley. No question that FARC and HAMAS earned their place on the State Department list. If anyone sends them weapons or gives them money in amounts that allows them to buy weapons, that deserves punishment. But just as clearly, Americans cannot both be afraid to speak to foreigners and have a democracy. In the old Soviet Union, the excuse for keeping people from talking to foreigners was that they might be spies. Maybe some of them were. But the consequences of instilling fear for speaking are far more serious than any consequence of the speech itself.

Meanwhile in Honduras, the abuses pile up. Via Adrienne, according to reporting by Jesse Freeston, the police attacked a peaceful demonstration in San Pedro Sula. One of their main targets was the instruments of the musicians playing at the rally.

This is the sort of “freedom” we are defending by propping up the dictatorship: the freedom of the police to shut people up.

One Response to “Honduran dictatorship, day 263”

  1. Exactly. But it’s been hard to get even progressive groups to pay attention.

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