ISRAEL ATTACKS JUSTICE BOAT; KIDNAPS HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS; CONFISCATES MEDICINE, TOYS AND OLIVE TREES

30 June, 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm]

Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”

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Obama's REAL message to Latin America … the coup d'etat in Honduras By Nikolas Kozloff

29 June, 2009 – Counterpunch

Could the diplomatic thaw between Venezuela and the United States be coming to an abrupt end? At the recent Summit of the Americas held in Port of Spain, Barack Obama shook Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ hand and declared that he would pursue a less arrogant foreign policy towards Latin America.

  • Building on that good will, Venezuela and the United States agreed to restore their ambassadors late last week.

Such diplomatic overtures provided a stark contrast to the miserable state of relations during the Bush years: just nine months ago Venezuela expelled the US envoy in a diplomatic tussle. At the time, Chavez said he kicked the US ambassador out to demonstrate solidarity with left ally Bolivia, which had also expelled a top American diplomat after accusing him of blatant political interference in the Andean nation’s internal affairs.

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Coup in Honduras … mass mobilization in the streets and general strike! By Jorge Martin

29 June, 2009 – marxist.com

Marxist.com (Jorge Martin): The coup in Honduras highlights once again that even mild reforms within the capitalist system cannot be tolerated by the local oligarchies in Latin America and their imperialist masters. But Venezuela teaches that if the masses mobilise reaction can be stopped. Now is the time to mobilise the full force of the Honduran workers and poor.

Early in the morning on Sunday, June 28, a group of 200 soldiers surrounded the residence of the Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, and after a 20-minute gun battle with his 10-man personal guard he was arrested. He was then taken by plane to neighbouring Costa Rica where he gave a press conference denouncing a military coup by ‘right-wing oligarchs,’ calling on the people to mobilise in the streets and promising to come back to the country.

The immediate origin of this reactionary military coup was the conflict over plans by Zelaya to call a referendum on the need for a Constituent Assembly, which was opposed by the right wing dominated Congress, the high command of the Army, and the tops of the judiciary.

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Eva Golinger, "US Govt. Confirms It Knew Coup Was Coming in Honduras"

29 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

A New York Times article has just confirmed that the US Government has been ‘working for several days’ with the coup planners in Honduras to halt the illegal overthrow of President Zelaya. While this may indicate nobility on behalf of the Obama Administration, had they merely told the coupsters that the US Government would CUT OFF all economic aid and blockade Honduras in the event of a coup, it’s almost a 100% guarantee that the military and right wing parties and business groups involved in the coup would not have gone through with it.

So, while many make excuses for the Obama Administration’s ‘calculated’ statements, had they been more firm with the coup leaders, instead of ‘negotiating’, the coup may never have happened. Also, the State Department says they believed ‘dialogue’ was the best way to resolve the situation, but their lack of clarity and firm position has caused multiple human rights violations to occur in Honduras and a lot of tension to take place in the region.

And during the April 2002 coup against Chávez in Venezuela, the State Department also claimed it knew of the coup and tried to ‘stop’ it. Later, in my investigations, it was discovered through documents from State and CIA declassified under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that CIA, State and other US agencies, funded, supported, advised and armed the coup leaders. . . .

Here is the NY Times article posted a few hours ago.

And for the documents on the April 2002 in Venezuela, see my first book, The Chávez Code . . . or visit www.venezuelafoia.info.

Eva Golinger is the author of The Chávez Code and Bush vs Chavez. The above text is her blog entry on Monday, June 29, 2009, at 1 AM. Visit her blog Postcards from the Revolution: www.chavezcode.com.

Honduras: Fidel Castro Ruz, "A Suicidal Error"

29 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

In my reflection written last Thursday night, June 25, I said: ‘We do not know what will happen tonight or tomorrow in Honduras, but the brave conduct of Zelaya will go down in history.’

Two paragraphs before I noted: ‘What is happening there will be a test for the OAS and for the current United States administration.’

The prehistoric Inter-American institution had met the other day in Washington and, in a muted, lukewarm resolution, promised to immediately take the pertinent actions to seek harmony between the warring parties. In other words, negotiations between the coup plotters and the constitutional president of Honduras.

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Gabriela Gurvich, "Honduras: Dawn of General Strike"

29 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

There was a curfew until 6 AM.  The city is militarized.  Hondurans remain in the streets, demanding the return of their president, Manuel Zelaya, keeping a vigil all night.

This Monday morning began in Honduras with people demanding the return of democracy, ready for struggle.  There was a curfew until 6 AM.  The city is militarized, but Hondurans remain in the streets, demanding the return of their president, Manuel Zelaya.

People held an all-night vigil at the gates of the presidential palace, which is occupied by soldiers.  Zelaya supporters are trying to talk to soldiers, pleading them not to betray their country.  Adriana Sívori, a TeleSur correspondent, said that soldiers have been deployed and that they have fenced the area with cars and tanks.

The protesters vow that if the de facto president, Roberto Micheletti, tries to enter the presidential palace, they will not allow it, because it is the home of their legitimate president.

A bonfire is burning about 500 meters from the government palace, and both the youth of the Democratic Unification Party and other organizations opposed to the coup have set up barricades on the main access roads to the zone of protests.

“We Want Mel” and “No to the Coup d’État” are some of the slogans chanted by the speakers, audible all the way up to the government palace, occupied by the perpetrators of the coup.

On Sunday, political and social organizations formed the Popular Resistance Front, which called on the public to go on a general strike of citizens, and trade unions, peasant organizations, and student groups will be participating, beginning this Monday.

Marches and rallies across the country to be held on Monday have been announced as well.

The presidential palace remains surrounded by military tanks, while people hang in there to protest.

Sívori reported that at the international airport foreigners and visitors are trying to leave the country before militarization.


The original article “Honduras amaneció de paro general” was published by YVKE Mundial on 29 June 2009, at 8:51 AM.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.

GazaFriends 30 June, 2009 – “All We Want is to Reach Gaza. We do not Seek a Confrontation.”

30 June 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Activists aboard Gaza justice boat demand they be allowed to visit their friends & family in besieged Gaza, and deliver their cargo of medical supplies, children’s toys, and reconstruction kits. They invite the world to join them.

(At Sea, 60km off the coast of the Gaza Strip) – Human Rights activists aboard the Free Gaza ship, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, today demanded that the Israeli Navy immediately stop threatening them.

“This aid is desperately needed by the people of Gaza,” said Mairead Maguire, winner of the Noble Peace Prize and Pacem in Terris Award for her work in Northern Ireland. “President Obama has called upon the Palestinians to abandon violence but Israel is denying them the right to non-violently resist the siege of Gaza.”

The unarmed justice ship departed Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7:30am Monday with its crew of 21 human rights activists, humanitarian workers and journalists from 11 different countries, including Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The boat, a converted ferry, hopes to arrive in Gaza Tuesday afternoon, following a grueling 30 hour sea voyage.

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The death of Michael Jackson, as covered by the press By Christie Silk

29 June, 2009 – Editors Weblog

The media coverage of the shock death of Michael Jackson has served to highlight press dynamics, raising interesting questions concerning the nature of breaking news reporting, the cult of the celebrity and the relationship between newspapers and their online news rivals. Has the fact that most newspapers were delayed in the initial reporting of the death emphasised the widening gulf between print and digital channels of breaking news? Conversely, has the death been exploited by the printed press as a facile, reader guaranteeing hit?

The news of the performer’s death, in terms of rumour, confirmation and reaction has been overwhelmingly ‘digital’ in expression. The scoop belonged to the Los Angeles based celebrity website, TMZ, which confirmed the death an hour after it aired whispers of a suspected heart attack. The reporting was rapid fire: time of death: 2.26pm, LA time, time of update: 2.44pm.

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Gaza Friends 30 June, 2009: UPDATE from the Spirit; unarmed ship still being threatened by Israeli Navy

Dear Friends,

We just spoke again with our people aboard the Spirit of Humanity. The Israeli Navy is continuing to try and intimidate the ship, and is actively jamming its radar, GPS, and navigation systems in direct violation of international maritime law. This jamming is extremely dangerous and directly threatens the welfare and safety of everyone aboard our civilian ship.

Because their instrumentation is being jammed, they are using compass & paper to attempt to navigate. They are in international waters & they believe their location is approximately 110km off of the town of Hadera. Everyone is tired but determined. They are not being deterred by the Israeli aggression & are continuing toward Gaza. Please help them.

See the earlier report: Israeli Navy Illegally Jamming Radio; Preventing Navigation Systems from Working

Please CALL or FAX Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy at:

Tel + 972 5 781 86248 or +972 3737 7777 or +972 3737 6242Fax +972 3737 6123 or +972 3737 7175

CALL Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at:
Tel +972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il

CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
Tel +972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
mediasar@mod.gov.il

—–

Free Gaza Movement
357 99 081 767
www.freegaza.org
www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/

29th June 2009 Video Free Gaza SPECIAL EDITION DEPARTING

The Spirit of Humanity left Cyprus on the 29th June at 7:30am. Will arrive in Gaza on 30th afternoon.

You can see their latest position by clicking on the following link :
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&h…,33.8294&ll=33.3474,33.8294&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

update at 8.30pm 29th June:

Dear Friends,We’ve just heard from everyone on board the Spirit of Humanity. They are almost halfway to Gaza, a little over 100 kilometers off the coast of the Lebanon/Israel border. They’re a bit tired, but everyone is in good spirits and determined to reach Gaza. So far they have not seen any Israeli warships or had any radio contact with the IDF. From aboard the Spirit, Free Gaza organizer Lubna Masarwa stated that,”We’re intent and unworried – we’re sailing on. We will go to Gaza, in solidarity with the people. We want to break the Israeli siege in a practical way, and not just with words. Our message to Gaza – from all the Palestinians in ’48 and in the West Bank, and from all the good people inthe world is – You are not alone!”


http://widgets.vodpod.com/w/video_embed/Groupvideo.2842361

Images by Greta Berlin
the song “Free Gaza” by Anis Hamadeh

more about “29th June 2009 Video Free Gaza SPECIA…“, posted with vodpod

Honduran president overthrown, new leader voted in

29 June, 2009 – Spacewar.com

honduras.jpgHonduran soldiers remain standing guard at the presidential palace following a coup d’etat that saw Honduran President Manuel Zelaya ousted, in Tegucigalpa on June 28, 2009. The Honduran National Congress has assigned president of congress, Roberto Micheletti, as the new Honduran head of state, having taken the decision unanimousily due to Zelaya’s ‘irregular conduct’ and ‘repeated violations to the Constitution’. Zelaya insisted from exile in Costa Rica that he remains the rightful leader of Honduras, after being deposed by his country’s military. Photo courtesy AFP.

New Honduran leader says there was no coup

The newly-appointed leader of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, denied Sunday there had been a coup d’etat, saying President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a legal process. ‘I came to the presidency not by a coup d’etat but by a completely legal process as set out in our laws,’ Micheletti said after being sworn in by Congress. ‘What we have done here is an act of democracy, because our army has complied with the order of the court, prosecutors and judges,’ Micheletti said, winning loud applause from lawmakers. ‘Our national army… complied with the constitution,’ added Micheletti, who is also from Zelaya’s Liberal Party. Honduran troops ousted Zelaya Sunday and flew him out of the country to Costa Rica, ending a bitter power struggle with the military as parliament swiftly voted in a new leader. The Supreme Court said Sunday that it had ordered the president’s ouster in order to protect law and order in the nation of some seven million people. As Congress approved speaker Micheletti as the new interim president, it said it had voted unanimously to remove Zelaya from office for his ‘apparent misconduct’ and for ‘repeated violations of the constitution and the law and disregard of orders and judgments of the institutions.’ Micheletti promised to govern with ‘transparency and honesty’ and ‘work tirelessly to restore peace and tranquility that we have lost.’ He will stay in office until January 27, 2010, when the new president elected in November elections is due to take over. Zelaya, who was elected in November 2005 to a non-renewable four-year term, had sought to revise the constitution through a referendum to allow him to run again in the next elections. The Supreme Court had ruled such a referendum illegal, but Zelaya had tried to press ahead with a vote on Sunday anyway.
By Staff Writers

Tegucigalpa (AFP) June 28, 2009
Honduran troops ousted President Manuel Zelaya Sunday and flew him out of the country, ending a bitter power struggle with the military as parliament swiftly voted in a new leader.

Zelaya insisted as he arrived in regional neighbor Costa Rica that he remained the president of his Central American nation, but just hours later the Congress voted in the parliamentary speaker as the country’s new leader.

The first such major upheaval in several decades in the impoverished country was triggered by a tense political standoff between Zelaya and the country’s military and legal institutions over his bid to secure a second term.

‘I will never give up since I was elected the president by the people,’ Zelaya said from San Jose, accusing Honduran troops of kidnapping him and denouncing what he called a ‘political conspiracy.’

But Congress said it voted unanimously to remove him from office for his ‘apparent misconduct’ and for ‘repeated violations of the constitution and the law and disregard of orders and judgments of the institutions.’

In his place they appointed speaker Roberto Micheletti as the new leader to serve out the rest of the term, which ends in January. New general elections are planned for November 29.

Zelaya, elected to a non-renewal four-year term in 2005, had planned a vote Sunday asking Hondurans to sanction a future referendum to allow him to run for reelection in the November polls.

The planned referendum had been ruled illegal by the country’s top court and was opposed by the military, but the president said he planned to press ahead with it anyway and ballot boxes had already been distributed.

The Supreme Court said Sunday that it had ordered the president’s ouster in order to protect law and order in the nation of some seven million people.

‘Today’s events originate from a court order by a competent judge,’ the country’s highest court said in a statement read by spokesman Danilo Izaguirre.

The drama unfolded just about dawn on Sunday when some 200 troops swooped on Zelaya’s home. He was bundled away in his pyjamas and flown out of the country.

A leading government official, Armando Sarmiento, told AFP that at least eight cabinet members were also detained including Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas.

As planes and helicopters overflew the capital, several hundred Zelaya supporters ignored warnings to stay home and flooded onto the streets of Tegucigalpa shouting out, ‘We want Mel,’ the president’s nickname.

But the demonstration was halted in front of the presidential palace when the way was barred by a cordon of troops and armored vehicles.

US President Barack Obama said he was deeply concerned about the events in Honduras, as US officials said they recognized Zelaya as the country’s legitimate president.

‘We recognize Zelaya as the duly elected and constitutional president of Honduras. We see no other,’ the Obama administration official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he wanted Zelaya to be reinstated and human rights in the country to be fully respected.

‘The Secretary-General… expresses his strong support for the country’s democratic institutions and condemns the arrest today of the constitutional President of the Republic,’ a UN statement said.

Sunday’s dramatic events were the culmination of a tense political standoff over the past several days.

Last week Zelaya sacked the country’s top military chief, General Romeo Vasquez and also accepted the resignation of Defense Minister Edmundo Orellana, after military commanders refused to distribute ballot boxes for Sunday’s vote.

The heads of the army, marines and air force also resigned.

The Honduran Supreme Court then unanimously voted Thursday to reinstate Vasquez and hundreds of troops massed late last week in the capital Tegucigalpa.

Zelaya, who was elected as a conservative, has shifted dramatically to the left during his presidency.

He is the latest in a long list of Latin American leaders, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to seek constitutional changes to expand presidential powers and also ease term limits.

Chavez also denounced Sunday’s arrest as a ‘coup d’etat’ and alleged that the United States had a hand in Zelaya’s overthrow.

And he warned that if Venezuela’s envoys to Honduras were harmed he would be prepared to intervene militarily. Cuba’s ambassador to Honduras, Juan Carlos Hernandez, said he had been briefly detained and hit by troops.”

GUEST MEDIA LENS ALERT: Turning Children Into Consumers By Sharon Beder

29 June, 2009 – MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

Introduction

Sharon Beder, visiting professor at the University of Wollongong, Australia, is one of our favourite political analysts. Her book ‘Global Spin’ (Green Books, 1997), is a devastating exposé of corporate, including corporate media, manipulation of politics and culture. Like Mark Curtis’s ‘The Ambiguities of Power,’ it is a book that defies attempts to underline the interesting bits – it’s all interesting!

The title of Beder’s new book is self-explanatory: ‘This Little Kiddy Went To Market – The Corporate Capture Of Childhood.’ (Pluto Press, 2009) Once again, this is a must-read analysis explaining how people and planet are being systematically subordinated to profit. We were so impressed by the second chapter, ‘Turning Children Into Consumers,’ that even before finishing the book we wrote to Beder asking if we could use some of it in a guest media alert. She has very kindly agreed. You can order a copy of ‘This Little Kiddy Went To Market’ at a specially discounted price from Pluto Press here:

www.plutobooks.com/beder/

Sincere thanks to Sharon Beder and Pluto Press for letting us publish this tremendous material. We invite you to imagine a world in which Beder’s work was “on every school curriculum”, as John Pilger recommends. Imagine if children were provided with tools of intellectual self-defence to counter the relentless campaigns of corporate manipulation. It is simultaneously depressing and heartening to consider how much happier, healthier, more compassionate our society would be as a result.

David Edwards and David Cromwell
Media Lens


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