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Do Your Tax Dollars Fund Honduran Death Squads?

7:24 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Look at what Lanny Davis’ efforts on behalf of his golpista clients have wrought:

An important new investigative report from the Associated Press’ Alberto Arce describes the apparent ongoing activities of death squads within the Honduran police, reporting that:

In the last three years, the AP has learned, Honduran prosecutors have received as many as 150 formal complaints about death squad-style killings in the capital of Tegucigalpa, and at least 50 more in the economic hub of San Pedro Sula. The country’s National Autonomous University, citing police reports, has counted 149 civilians killed by police in the last two years, including 25 members of the 18th street gang.

The AP report also describes a now-infamous and disturbing video (posted here) that appears to show the extrajudicial, cold-blooded murders of two young men in city streets “by masked gunmen with AK-47s who pulled up in a large SUV” – consistent with the police death squad modus operandi as described in the article.

Arce writes that “Even the country’s top police chief has been charged with being complicit,” going on to summarize charges against Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, now the National Chief of Police, for involvement in extrajudicial killings and disappearances back in 2002. Arce notes that “Last year, Bonilla was chosen to lead the national police force despite unanswered questions about his past. The U.S. Congress decided to withhold State Department funding to the police while they investigated the 2002 internal affairs report.”

So El Tigre’s so vile, even the Bush team knew better than to publicly embrace him? That’s pretty vile.

Yet now he’s the “top cop” in all of Honduras, and what do we do? We give him $16.3 million to use as he sees fit. And then Obama’s State Department tries and fails to cover up the stench of dead bodies.

(H/T to my co-blogger Charles over at Mercury Rising.)

Is Obama White House Finally Admitting Lanny Davis and Jim DeMint Duped Them WRT Honduras?

9:13 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Nearly three years after Lanny Davis — who was in the pay of the golpistas, or coup leaders — talked his old friend (and now Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton into talking President Obama into reversing course and tacitly backing the right-wing corporate coup in Honduras (and with archconservative modern-day plantation fantasist Jim DeMint backing up Davis by holding up various Obama nominations), we are starting to see some truth creep into the US establishment media about the murderous cauldron of hell Honduras has become as the golpistas work to slaughter all democratic opposition:

In Honduras, a Mess Made in the U.S.

[...]

The current government of President Lobo won power in a November 2009 election managed by the same figures who had initiated the coup. Most opposition candidates withdrew in protest, and all major international observers boycotted the election, except for the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, which are financed by the United States.

President Obama quickly recognized Mr. Lobo’s victory, even when most of Latin America would not. Mr. Lobo’s government is, in fact, a child of the coup. It retains most of the military figures who perpetrated the coup, and no one has gone to jail for starting it.

This chain of events — a coup that the United States didn’t stop, a fraudulent election that it accepted — has now allowed corruption to mushroom. The judicial system hardly functions. Impunity reigns. At least 34 members of the opposition have disappeared or been killed, and more than 300 people have been killed by state security forces since the coup, according to the leading human rights organization Cofadeh. At least 13 journalists have been killed since Mr. Lobo took office, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

I can’t see how such words could have made it into the New York Times, the ultimate upholder of the neoliberal concensus mindset that is dictated to Americans, unless the Timesmen felt it was finally safe to allow these words onto their timidly-establishment pages. And by “safe” I mean “without fear of retribution from those who backed the coup”.

Of course, those of us not buddy-buddy with Lanny Davis, Jim DeMint, or the t-shirt and other companies backing the coup (and who didn’t want to pay their workers a living wage) are quite familiar with all of this and have been since the start of the coup nearly three years ago.

Wikileaks on the Honduran Coup

8:37 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

So far, the most interesting non-Iran/Saudi-related material to come out of the Wikileaks cable dump has had to do with the US State Department’s original attitude, prior to coup hireling and lobbyist (and Clinton friend) Lanny Davis butting his nose into the matter.

Seems that pre-Lanny-Davis, the State Department, and Honduran ambassador Hugo Llorens in particular, knew full well that the golpistas’ ousting of President Manuel Zelaya was illegal as hell. Adrienne Pine of Quotha brings to our attention an El Pais article that contains the text of a cable sent by Llorens, wherein he states the following:

14. (C) Regardless of the merits of Zelaya’s alleged constitutional violations, it is clear from even a cursory reading that his removal by military means was illegal, and even the most zealous of coup defenders have been unable to make convincing arguments to bridge the intellectual gulf between “Zelaya broke the law” to “therefore, he was packed off to Costa Rica by the military without a trial.”

– Although coup supporters allege the court issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya for disobeying its order to desist from the opinion poll, the warrant, made public days later, was for him to be arrested and brought before the competent authority, not removed from the county;

– Even if the court had ordered Zelaya to be removed from the country, that order would have been unconstitutional; Article 81 states that all Hondurans have the right to remain in the national territory, subject to certain narrow exceptions spelled out in Article 187, which may be invoked only by the President of the Republic with the agreement of the Council of Ministers; Article 102 states that no Honduran may be expatriated;

– The armed forces have no/no competency to execute judicial orders; originally, Article 272 said the armed forces had the responsibility to “maintain peace, public order and the ‘dominion’ of the constitution,” but that language was excised in 1998; under the current text, only the police are authorized to uphold the law and execute court orders (Art. 293);

– Accounts of Zelaya’s abduction by the military indicate he was never legally “served” with a warrant; the soldiers forced their way in by shooting out the locks and essentially kidnapped the President.

There’s much more there, and one can see that even as Llorens tries to pretend that the rich businessmen golpistas’ claims against Zelaya (who they hated because he raised the minimum wage, among other things) aren’t totally specious, he cannot find any justification for the golpistas’ illegal takeover of the country.

But then the golpistas’ paid lobbyists got to work, and suddenly views like these were consigned to oblivion — until now.