Giving Honduras the Haiti Treatment By Glen Ford

30 June, 2009 – Black Agenda Report

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to this BA Radio commentary.

President Obama has joined all of Latin American in denouncing the coup in Honduras. But Washington’s words should always be taken ‘with whole spoonfuls of salt.’ Obama could restore democracy to Haiti immediately, if he chose to, by allowing the return of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but instead shuts Aristide’s party out of recent Senatorial elections. President Zalaya ‘was aligning himself with Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador and other left-led nations…. It is inconceivable that the U.S. looks forward’ to his return.

‘The kidnapping was somewhat reminiscent of the seizure of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, by U.S. troops back in February, 2004.’

With the overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya, Honduras has fallen under military rule of the kind that dominated the Central American nation from 1963 to 1981. The man named by Honduras’s Congress to serve out the remainder of Zelaya’s term, Robert Micheletti, will of course claim that civilians are still in charge. But when soldiers oust a sitting president and decide who his successor will be, it is the soldiers that rule.

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Covering (up) the coup in Honduras – the BBC does its bit for the Empire By William Bowles

1 July, 2009

The devil lives in the small print, the devil in this case being the BBC in its coverage of the coup d’etat that ousted President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras on 27 June, 2009.

Take the following para from a BBC piece titled ‘US treads careful path on Honduras’ (30 June, 2009)

“So while Washington’s reaction has been strong and swift, when it comes to statements, its actions have so far been measured.

Now you may wonder why the BBC chose the word ‘measured’ to describe the US’ response to the military coup d’etat? Not only why but how? The following para explains,

“This is a signal that Washington is not keen to use its clout to help Mr Zelaya return to power, shying away from any action that could be seen as interventionism in a region where the US has a long, complex history.”

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Shmuel Amir – Two Speeches: Obama in Conflict with Netanyahu?

17 June, 2009 – Hagada Hasmalit, Translated from Hebrew by George Malent

Netanyahu’s speech [of 14 June 2009] was perceived in Israel and the world as a reply to Obama’s speech in Cairo, and as such it has provoked a great deal of interest.

The content of the speech itself was fairly typical of those given by previous prime ministers, its primary purpose being to explain to the world, Israelis included, that it is impossible to put an end to the occupation and settlement. The reason for this is not “God forbid!” that Israel wants to continue the occupation and settlement. The reason is that the perfidious Palestinians make it impossible for Israel to do so. At Camp David almost ten years ago, Ehud Barak announced that he wanted to return nearly everything to the Palestinians but was stymied by the fact that he had no partner. True, he added, we too have some conditions for achieving peace and ending the occupation, but our demands are only for the annexation of a minimum of Palestinian lands needed to preserve our “security.”

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UK: Israel kidnaps 21 human rights workers – contact your representatives now

Please email NOW to David Miliband ( and send a copy to your MP (

Dear Foreign Secretary,
I was extremely concerned to hear the news today that the Israeli Navy illegally intercepted and boarded the Free Gaza ship ‘Spirit of Humanity’, whilst it was in international waters. It appears they have kidnapped the 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including UK citizens Ishmahil Blagrove, Alex Harrison, Denis Healey, Fathi Jaouadi, Theresa McDermott and Adnan Mormesh, and taken the boat to an Israeli port.

The boat holds medicine, toys, and other much needed humanitarian relief for the Palestinians living in Gaza under siege. Its cargo was searched and it received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before departure.

As the International Committee of the Red Cross said in their report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

I urge you to insist that the Israeli Government immediately release the Spirit of Humanity and all its passengers, and take all the necessary steps to ensure it can complete its humanitarian mission in safety. I also urge you to act to ensure that the Israeli government does not commit any further acts of piracy and kidnapping of boats and their crew in international waters.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Tel:   020 7700 6192
Fax:  020 7609 7779

Mark Weisbrot, "Was the Iranian Election Stolen? Does It Matter?"

30 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

Since the Iranian presidential election of June 12, allegations that the announced winner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory was stolen have played an important role in the demonstrations, political conflict, and media reporting on events there. Some say that it does not matter whether the elections were stolen or not, since the government has responded to peaceful protests with violence and arrests. These actions are indeed abhorrent and inexcusable, and the world’s outrage is justified. So, too, is the widespread concern for the civil liberties of Iranians who have chosen to exercise their rights to peacefully protest.

At the same time, the issue of whether the election was stolen will remain relevant, both to our understanding of the situation and to U.S.-Iranian relations, for reasons explained below. It is therefore worth looking at whether this allegation is plausible.

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UK: MPs continue to speak out in police- journalist relations

30 June, 2009 – Editors Weblog


Members of the UK Parliament have spoken out against the police force’s’dismissive’ treatment of journalists covering protests. They issued a reminder that the police should adhere to the guidelines of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) which outlines how the forces should treat registered members of the press.

The study of police-journalist relations was contained in a report investigating policing methods used to contain protesters outside the G20 meeting in London last April. The report was released today by the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

The report maintains that while the police did not deliberately target reporters covering the protests, there were efforts to hinder journalists from passing through police cordons. MPs disagreed with the arguments presented by Met Police commander Robert Broadhurst that ‘when there is a disorderly situation they [journalists] have no more right than the ordinary citizen to come through all our cordons’.

MPs affirmed that this statement was an ‘apparent contradiction’ of ACPO guidelines which state ‘We [the police] should actively help them carry out their responsibilities provided they do not interfere with our’.

The report condemned the use of the Public Order Act to disperse journalists without justification. It warns that the misuse of Section 14 ‘sends out completely the wrong signal of the police’s intentions and does not help the police build strong relationships with the media.’

Equally, the report advised that reporters, particularly freelance journalists should receive more comprehensive briefing before they are to cover large demonstrations. To clarify and ‘codify’ the relationship between police and journalists, it suggested that the briefings given to ‘media members before public protest be published on the website of the police and the National Union of Journalists prior to the event.’

The NUJ has been campaigning for months for senior figures to address the malpractices of front line police officers in their treatment of members of the media. NUJ Legal Officer Roy Mincoff supports the committee’s findings, expressing on the website: ‘This report sends a clear signal to the police that they must address our concerns.’ He made it clear however, that reports and discussion must produce serious changes: ‘If improvements can’t be made then ministerial intervention must be made to ensure the guidelines on dealing with the media are properly implemented.’

The relationship between journalists and the police has been awarded a considerable amount of time in the Commons over past months. It appears that MPs concerned to bring the issue to the board are in favour of furthering the protection of journalists’ rights in face of the security services. The cementing of existing legislation and the clarification of relationships should in theory facilitate the work of reporters covering public disturbances and other acts of investigative journalism.

Sources : Press Gazette
National Union of Journalists