Friday, July 10, 2009

US Media Erroneously Justifies Coup in Honduras

There can be no dispute that Honduras has undergone a coup. But the event is barely reported by the US press and broadcast media. Neither are the arrests and deportations of ministers of Zelaya’s government, the closures of local media outlets sympathetic to the ousted president, the arrests of foreign journalists and shutdown of US-based outlets such as CNN, and the imposition of a de facto state of siege, including a dusk-to-dawn curfew and the mobilization of thousands of Honduran troops in every major city.

From "Tehran and Tegucigalpa: A Tale of Two Capitals " By Barry Grey

Anyway the US media is still ignoring the facts in the case of the Honduran Coup D'Etat and claim the coup was necessary to protect "liberty" and democratic institutions in Honduras.This is not surprising as I have mentioned before the US has consistently backed right wing military coups in Latin America. In fact most Coups took place with the help of the US government, the CIA and the US Embassy staff in the respective countries. The US media & a large segment of the US citizenry have never seen anything wrong with the US meddling in the internal affairs of another country if they believed it was in someway in America's interest no matter how violent or repressive the newly installed regime might be. The problem is that America sees itself as an exceptional nation with a mandate from Heaven & God or as the moral arbitrator for the entire globe. So Americans often are able to come up with various reasons for overthrowing a democratically elected government if they don't like their policies.

CIA :101

During the Cold War America used the excuse of the threat of communism to overthrow governments. First they might pay off people in government or the military to openly oppose the government. The CIA would then meddle with the Free Press in order to begin a Propaganda campaign against the government & through misinformation & outright lies undermine the support for the government. Another tactic used by the CIA would be to pay people in the respective country to stage large anti-government demonstrations & protests. Classic cases of these tactics were used in the coups in Iran , Guatemala & Chile. In each case thousands of people were murdered or jailed tortured or disappeared all supposedly in the name of defeating Communism or merely as a means for US corporations to rob the country in question of its natural resources and /or to use and abuse its labor force in order to increase profits for the various corporations. The odd thing about this is that the US government & CIA believe it is their duty to defend US owned corporations while ignoring the abuses of these corporations whether they are actively & wantonly destroying the environment or that they deny basic rights to their workers . A corporation can set up shop in a third world country pay out bribes to members of the government & military while paying their workers below subsistence wages with no benefits such as overtime or sick leave or job security & if they dare to try to form a labor union the CIA sends out the Death Squads to deal with such "troublemakers or "outside agitators". This we are told is the way in which a free market place is allowed to operate. Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Dissent, Freedom of Association, Freedom to go on strike , to join a union, Freedom to bare arms, Freedom to peacefully protest, Freedom to choose one own form of government are not considered freedoms which the people in these third world countries have a right to. These people are often deprived of equal & fair access to education to Health Care, to affordable housing or the right to work. In the end the only ones who's rights & freedom's are guaranteed are the Rich & Powerful & their upper middle class enablers.

Barry Grey in his article compares how the US media has been covering the so called Iranian popular uprising as a move towards democracy while condemning the popular uprising of the Honduran people against the military coup which ousted democratically elected President Zelaya. The US media has been very critical of the government in Tehran for taking action against the Free Press & limiting the use of the internet & outlawing public protests & demonstration along with the arrests of the so called leaders of the opposition & yet the same thing is happening in Honduras & the Mainstream Media is playing it down or just ignoring it while claiming erroneously that the Honduran coup is actually a defense of democracy.
The basic attitude or common thread here is that in both cases the legal governing powers were not liked by the US media & the US government so in both cases these leaders were demonized & the US government & the US media are out to destroy both regimes that is the regime of Zelaya & that of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.

" Tehran and Tegucigalpa: A Tale of Two Capitals " By Barry Grey via Information Clearing House

July 09, 2009 "WSWS" -- In Tehran, demonstrations called by the defeated US-backed presidential candidate are given non-stop, wall-to-wall coverage by the American media. The charges of former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi of a stolen election and a “coup d’etat” are embraced uncritically and reported as fact by the New York Times, the Washington Post and other “authoritative” newspapers, without any independent investigation or substantiation. A media propaganda campaign ensues aimed at isolating and destabilizing the ruling faction in Iran headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The protests are dominated by better-off sections of the urban middle class, who largely voted for Mousavi and support his right-wing program of closer ties to American and European imperialism and a rapid introduction of pro-market policies. The working class, seeing nothing to support in the faction of “reformists” headed by Mousavi and the billionaire former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, abstains from the protests.

The media dispenses with any pretence of objectivity and proclaims the protest movement and its leaders the spearhead of a “green revolution” for democracy. Every act of repression by the Iranian regime is given headline coverage, and rumors of hundreds of deaths are reported as fact. The US media focuses its wrath in particular on the regime’s efforts to block Internet and mobile phone communication.

Two weeks later, the US-trained and equipped military of Honduras breaks into the home of the elected president, bundles him onto a plane and flies him out of the country at gunpoint. The basic crime of the deposed president, Manuel Zelaya, is aligning his government with Washington’s nemeses in Latin America, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and carrying out modest popular reforms within Honduras, such as raising the minimum wage.

There can be no dispute that Honduras has undergone a coup. But the event is barely reported by the US press and broadcast media. Neither are the arrests and deportations of ministers of Zelaya’s government, the closures of local media outlets sympathetic to the ousted president, the arrests of foreign journalists and shutdown of US-based outlets such as CNN, and the imposition of a de facto state of siege, including a dusk-to-dawn curfew and the mobilization of thousands of Honduran troops in every major city.

The coup regime, which is backed by the Honduran business elite, the Congress, the courts and the Church, seeks to halt Internet and cell phone communication—evoking no protest from the US media.

Demonstrations in support of the coup staged by the new regime are dominated by the wealthy middle class of the capital, Tegucigalpa.

In the teeth of state repression, the Honduran teachers union launches a 60,000-strong strike that closes the schools, and thousands demonstrate in Tegucigalpa. The demonstrations are dominated by trade unionists, workers, the unemployed and the rural poor. This working class resistance to the coup barely gets a mention in the US media.

James Petras argues in his article about Honduras & Iran etc. that the Obama administration is backing the wrong side in both Honduras & Iran. He also claims that the US media has played a big part in these on going crisis . The media for example ignore the 400 million or more spent by the Bush Regime & use of covert operations in Iran to destabilize the Iranian regime. Obama is merely carrying on with this policy in Iran. Obama is also he argues may have given the Green Light for the Coup in Honduras & is now trying to control the message being received by US public via the Media. So the US Media & the Obama Administration ignoring the facts & the situation on the ground in Honduras claim the mass uprising in Honduras does not represent the Honduran people. So one can only conclude that the US media & the Obama administration believe that the only opinions that matter are of those who are members of the elite in Honduras .

"Obama’s Rollback Strategy:Honduras, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan (and the Boomerang Effect)"By James Petras July 09, 2009 "Information Clearing House"

Obama’s roll back of critical elected regimes to impose pliant clients found further expression in the recent military coup in Honduras. The use of the high command in the Honduras military and Washington’s long-standing ties with the local oligarchy, who control the Congress and Supreme Court, facilitated the process and obviated the need for direct US intervention—as was the case in other recent coup efforts. Unlike Haiti where the US marines intervened to oust democratically elected Bertrand Aristide, only a decade ago,and openly backed the failed coup against President Chavez in 2002, and more recently, funded the botched coup against the President-elect Evo Morales in September 2008, the circumstances of US involvement in Honduras were more discrete in order to allow for ‘credible denial’.

The ‘structural presence’ and motives of the US with regard to ousted President Zelaya are readily identifiable. Historically the US has trained and socialized almost the entire Honduran officer corps and maintained deep penetration at all senior levels through daily consultation and common strategic planning. Through its military base in Honduras, the Pentagon’s military intelligence operatives have intimate contacts to pursue policies as well as to keep track of all polical moves by all political actors. Because Honduras is so heavily colonized, it has served as an important base for US military intervention in the region: In 1954 the successful US-backed coup against the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz was launched from Honduras. In 1961 the US-orchestrated Cuban exile invasion of Cuba was launched from Honduras. From 1981-1989, the US financed and trained over 20,000 ‘Contra’ mercenaries in Honduras which comprised the army of death squads to attack the democratically elected Nicaraguan Sandinista government. During the first seven years of the Chavez government, Honduran regimes were staunchly allied with Washington against the populist Caracas regime.

...Latin American governments from the left to the right condemned the coup and called for the re-instatement of the legally-elected President. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, not willing to disown their clients, condemned unspecified ‘violence’ and called for ‘negotiations’ between the powerful usurpers and the weakened exile President – a clear recognition of the legitimate role of the Honduran generals as interlocutors.

...Obama’s Honduran coup and the US-funded destabilization effort in Iran have much in common. Both take place against electoral processes in which critics of US policies defeated pro-Washington social forces. Having lost the ‘electoral option’ Obama’s roll-back looks to extra-parliamentary ‘mass politics’ to legitimize elite effort to seize power: In Iran by dissident clerics and in Honduras by the generals and oligarchs.

In both Honduras and Iran, Washington’s foreign policy goals were the same: To roll-back regimes whose leaders rejected US tutelage. In Honduras, the coup serves as a ‘lesson’ to intimidate other Central American and Caribbean countries who exit from the US camp and join Venezuelan-led economic integration programs.Obama’s message is clear: such moves will result in US orchestrated sabotage and retaliation.

And further condemnation of the Honduran Coup:

"Latin America Experts Call on Clinton to Oppose Early Elections Option in Honduras ;Anything Less Than the Urgent Restoration of Zelaya to Office "Would be an usurpation of the will of the Honduran people" They State in Open Letter "Via

WASHINGTON - July 9 - Over 35 scholars and experts on Latin America sent an open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today urging against the idea of early elections in Honduras as a possible resolution of the current crisis resulting from the June 28 military coup d'etat. Stating that "Anything less than the urgent restoration of President Manuel Zelaya to office would be an usurpation of the will of the Honduran people," the signers urged Clinton to enact forceful sanctions on the coup regime to ensure Zelaya's prompt reinstatement. The signers include Harvard emeritus professor John Womack; scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker Saul Landau; Central America expert Hector Perla, and authors and Central America experts Greg Grandin and Dana Frank, among others.

"It's supremely important that we not make any concessions to those who have perpetrated military coups. By doing so, we establish a dangerous precedent," said Dana Frank, Honduras expert and professor of history at U.C. Santa Cruz.

The letter also notes that the coup regime has suspended civil liberties, thus eliminating conditions under which free and fair elections could take place in the near future. The signers also debunk the pretext for the coup - Zelaya's supposed plans for reelection - by pointing out that it would be almost impossible for Zelaya to be reelected before his successor assumes office next year, and that Zelaya stated before June 28 that he did not seek reelection.

Honduras Coup & the School of The Americas

US Human Rights Activists Stand Vigil in front of the United States Embassy in Honduras from School of the Americas Watch, at CommonDreams, July 9, 2009

While applauding the fact that the Obama administration initially used the term "coup" to define the overthrow of Honduras' democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya, recent statements from high ranking State Department officials have backed away from describing it as such.

The delegation will call upon the U.S. government to:

1. Join the international community and call for the unconditional return of President Manuel Zelaya to his rightful position as president
2. Withdraw the U.S. ambassador from Honduras
3. Suspend all U.S. aid that could be channeled towards supporting the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti.
4. Withdraw all U.S. troops in the Soto Cano/Palmerola base and all other military bases (over 600 troops).
5. Close down the School of the Americas (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) in Ft. Benning, Georgia.

The military coup was lead by graduates of the School of the Americas: Chief of Staff Commander General Romeo Vasquez and Air Force Commander General Luis Javier Prince. Several SOA graduates have been appointed to positions in the coup regime: Nelson Willy Mejia, Director of Immigration; Hernan Banegas, Minister of FHIS, and Billy Fernando Joya Améndola, Ministry Assessor.

and so it goes,

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