The Real News Network – Zelaya just one of millions

23 July, 2009 — Honduran coup

They didn’t overthrow Zelaya when he raised the minimum wage, de facto president Roberto Micheletti even voted with Zelaya in approving the Chavez-sponsored ALBA initiative, but the day he went to ask the people to get involved the military kidnapped and expelled him. Canadian gold miners, US military bases, and the Honduran oligarchy all have something to fear at this time, but it isn’t necessarily the return of Manuel Zelaya. A look at the time-line of the coup shows a pretty conclusive picture of the specter of participatory democracy as the catalyst to the Honduran coup.

Jari Dixon Herrera is a district attorney with the Honduran Attorney Generals office, and the Vice President of the Association of Honduran Government Attorneys (Asocación de Fiscales de Honduras). In 2008, he gained national fame for coordinating a hunger strike by lawyers who work for the Attorney Generals office, to protest widespread corruption inside the legal system.
Marvin Ponce is a member of Honduras’ National Congress, representing the Democratic Union party (UD). He has been a vocal leader of the anti-coup resistance and was selected to speak on behalf of a coalition of organizations in Washington.
Grahame Russell is the Co-Director of Rights Action. A non-governmental organization based in Canada and Guatemala, Rights Action seeks to promote community development along with environmental and human rights through the direct funding of community organizations in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Southern Mexico. It also plays a key role maintaining interested parties informed about the situation on the ground in the communities it partners with. Russell has been logging steady updates about the situation in Honduras on the Rights Action homepage at

Football game or tear gas and bullets? Palestinians put racist ad to test

23 July, 2009 — Palestine Think Tank

The Palestinians put the controversial ad to test. A video recently posted on YouTube has tried to reenact the game in reality, and found that the result could not be further removed from the situation on the ground: when the Palestinians kick the ball to the other side of the Wall, what they get in return is a salvo of tear gas grenades and bullets.

The row over a racist advert of Cellcom – an Israeli mobile phone operator, which shows Israel Occupation Forces soldiers playing football with Palestinians on both sides of the Apartheid Wall, continues.

In the Cellcom advert, IOF soldiers on patrol along the Wall stop their army jeep when it is hit by a soccer ball from the Palestinian side of the Wall. A game ensues, back and forth with the unseen Palestinians after a soldier dials up “reinforcements,” including two smiling women in uniform, to come and play.

The advertisement made by McCann Erickson, part of U.S. Interpublic Group, ends with the upbeat voiceover: “After all, what are we all after? Just a little fun.”

The advert has been extensively criticized for making light of the Palestinian suffering inflicted by the West Bank Apartheid Wall.

Continue reading

Would MLK Back Iran's Protesters? By Rostam Pourzal

16 July, 2009 — Foreign Policy in Focus

Combine Iran’s post-election turmoil with the controversy over the nation’s nuclear advances, and few Americans are likely to be unsympathetic toward the opposition movement there. Some bloggers have even suggested that the reformist-led protests are inspired by the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Several commentators have referred to the wave of anti-theocracy rallies as Iran’s “civil rights movement, perhaps implying that the social conservatives who rule the country resemble Mississippi fundamentalists.

Reese Erlich and others have reported that the insurrection now sweeping Iran spans class divisions. Middle East expert Stephen Zunes, in supporting the Iranian opposition, has written that “[h]istorically individuals and groups with experience in effective mass nonviolent mobilization tend to come from the left.”

Continue reading

Economic History: can we apply the same market principles of the penny press to online news? – Editors Weblog

24 July, 2009 — Editors Weblog

It is a common refrain in the news industry: readers paid for printed news content, so they should pay for the same thing online. To the overwhelmingly majority publishers, this principle appears fair and logical. Thus, the justifications apparently resolved, business managers are now grappling with the choice of payment structures most appropriate for their products.

Yet, according to News Futurist’s, Jeff Sonderman, such convictions ignore the fundamentals of newspaper production and distribution, namely: marginal-cost pricing. Subscriptions to online content are entirely unworkable, largely because the concept is antithetical to the way that newspapers have functioned for the past 180 years.

Continue reading

Honduras Both Sides Say: No Retreat By Reginald Thompson

23 July, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Events in Honduras on the morning of June 28 divided hemispheric public opinion over the question of what constitutes a coup. For some observers, the military’s removal of President José Manuel Zelaya at the behest of the country’s congress and judiciary was classic in that it marked a return to the instability that plagued Latin American political institutions throughout much of the 20th century, especially during the 1980s. Others hailed the ousting of a president who had exhibited what some would describe as authoritarian tendencies, and defined it as marking Chavismo’s first setback in the Americas. With the end of the Cold War, Central American governments had reason to optimistically believe that threats to their constitutional government largely had been eliminated. Zelaya’s unceremonious displacement from the presidency shattered this notion by raising uncomfortable questions about the vitality of regional governments and the challenge to civilian supremacy, as well as the effects of external influences on Honduran politics.

Continue reading

The Contradiction on Cuba, Mutual Respect vs. Conditionality By John McAuliff

17 July, 2009 — The Havana Note


‘Let me be clear: America cannot and should not seek to impose any system of government on any other country, nor would we presume to choose which party or individual should run a country. And we haven’t always done what we should have on that front. Even as we meet here today, America supports now the restoration of the democratically-elected President of Honduras, even though he has strongly opposed American policies. We do so not because we agree with him. We do so because we respect the universal principle that people should choose their own leaders, whether they are leaders we agree with or not.’ — President Obama in Moscow 7/7/09

‘As you know, we are engaged in discussions with the Government of Cuba about matters that we believe are important – migration, for example. But we have made it very clear that we could not do much more in dealing with Cuba unless Cuba changes. The political prisoners need to be released. Free and fair elections need to be held… So we are opening up dialogue with Cuba, but we are very clear that we want to see some fundamental changes within the Cuban regime.’ — Secretary Clinton interview with Globovision 7/7/09

If the President’s words in Moscow are applied to relations with Cuba, and the US manifests the spirit of ‘mutual respect’ he so eloquently advanced in earlier visits to Turkey and France, the conflict between the US and Cuba is all but over.

However, as Secretary Clinton’s interview reflects, some officials seem determined to fly the tattered flag of conditionality. They insisted Cuba respond to authorization of family travel disproportionately by freeing political prisoners and moving toward approved forms of democracy before the US took any other positive steps. They opposed Cuba regaining its seat in the OAS without such internal changes. Nor, they insist, will the embargo be lifted until this happens (a sentiment unfortunately found in Obama’s own campaign oriented language).

Continue reading