A Month Without Zelaya: The Honduran Crisis Deepens, No Quick Solutions on the Horizon

7 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

  • Although the de facto Micheletti regime has stated that it supports the San Jose Accord, events on the ground indicate that it is not pushing for the reinstatement of Zelaya.
  • -Zelaya’s return is complicated by an entrenched interim government; a restoration of the deposed leader would only be possible through extreme international pressure.
  • Zelaya’s border spectacle aimed at keeping the deposed president in the headlines, since his visibility is somewhat fading.

As Honduras marks a month since Zelaya’s removal from power, the prospects for a negotiated settlement to the Honduran crisis further dim. Although the tiny and very poor nation has managed to capture the world’s attention for a few brief days in late June, both sides have since entrenched their positions, rendering dialogue all but an impossible proposition. Normality has returned in most of the country and, apart from several road closures by Zelaya supporters, there appears to be little of the street violence which marked the days immediately following Zelaya’s ousting. Honduras is not out of the woods yet, however. Supporters of the deposed president have carried out a series of both peaceful and violent protests in the capital, and some of these demonstrations have been broken up by the National Police. While the initial raw furor over Zelaya’s removal may have subsided, the months ahead most likely will prove to be extremely difficult ones for the Honduran people to endure.

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Venezuela – Colombia Relations in Limbo: Will Chávez burn the bridge? – Council on Hemispheric Affairs

7 August, 2009 — Council on Hemispheric Affairs

In response to Colombian charges that weapons found in a FARC arms cache were supplied by Venezuela, Hugo Chávez withdrew his ambassador from Bogotá and once again froze Venezuela – Colombia relations. According to reports by the Uribe Administration, three Swedish AT-4 rocket launchers which formed part of a shipment sold in the 1980s to the Venezuelan army were recovered during a raid of a FARC guerrilla camp in the remote southeastern section of Colombia. A Swedish Foreign Ministry official publicly confirmed that the anti-tank weapons had been exported to Venezuela over twenty years ago, and the Swedish government has demanded an explanation for what appears to be a clear violation of end-user licenses. ‘We are not going to accept this irresponsibility,’ Chávez told a televised cabinet meeting. ‘We will freeze relations with Colombia.’

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Iraqis speak of random killings committed by private Blackwater guards

6 August, 2009 — Times Online

blackwater-iraq.jpgSuhad Abul-Ameer, mother of Ali Husamaldeen, who was killed by members of Blackwater, carries his picture as she prays at her house in Baghdad

Baghdad — Guards employed by Blackwater, the US security company, shot Iraqis and killed victims in allegedly unprovoked and random attacks, it was claimed yesterday.

A Virginia court also received sworn statements from former Blackwater employees yesterday alleging that Erik Prince, the company’s founder, ‘views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe’.

They also accused the company of following a policy of deliberate killings and arms dealing and of employing people unfit or improperly trained to handle lethal weaponry.

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How Calderon Lost 15% of the Plan Mexico Funds . . . and Why He Must Lose the Rest By Scott Campbell

6 August, 2009 — MRZine – Monthly Review

It’s been a busy and interesting week regarding developments in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the U.S.

First, there were reports in the Mexican media on July 29 that an investigation by officials from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police into the murder of U.S. independent journalist Brad Will affirmed the conclusions drawn by the Mexican Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) regarding his death.  The PGR, contrary to all available evidence, claims Will, shot in Oaxaca in 2006, was killed at close range by an anti-government protester.  The media reports raised more questions than they answered.  For example, why was the RCMP investigating this, and why, as evident from the reports, did they carry out such a clearly laughable investigation?

These questions and more were answered when Brad Will’s family released a statement soundly debunking the so-called RCMP report.  As it turns out, there was no official RCMP investigation.  It was merely three retired RCMP officers who did an “investigation,” which the Mexican government then presented to the media as an official RCMP report.  Today, Physicians for Human Rights — a group that actually did investigate Brad’s murder — issued a press release that similarly called into question the veracity of the ex-RCMPers report.  James Stephen, Phil Ziegler, and Gary Buerk certainly have some serious rebutting to do if they don’t want to be exposed as integrity-free hacks-for-hire (though I’m sure there’s always a market for those types).

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Israeli troops ‘ill-treat kids’

Israel arrested 9,000 Palestinians last year, 700 of them children

A former Israeli military commander has told the BBC that Palestinian youngsters are routinely ill-treated by Israeli soldiers while in custody, reports the BBC’ s Katya Adler from Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“You take the kid, you blindfold him, you handcuff him, he’s really shaking… Sometimes you cuff his legs too. Sometimes it cuts off the circulation.

“He doesn’t understand a word of what’s going on around him. He doesn’t know what you’re going to do with him. He just knows we are soldiers with guns. That we kill people. Maybe they think we’re going to kill him.”

“They dragged me from my home by the scruff of the neck. The more I cried the more they choked me… They pulled me along on my stomach. My knees were bleeding. They beat me with their guns and kicked me all the way to the jeep.”


"A lot of the time they're peeing their pants, just sit there peeing their pants, crying. But usually they're very quiet.'' Mohammad Khawaja, 13

Eran Efrati is a former commander in Israel’s army. He served in the occupied West Bank.

In a discreet park in Jerusalem we meet to discuss allegations that soldiers like him often mistreat Palestinian minors, suspected of throwing stones.

Mr Efrati – who left the army five months ago – says the allegations are true:

”I never arrested anyone younger than nine or 10, but 14, 13, 11 for me, they’re still kids. But they’re arrested like adults.

“Every soldier who was in the Occupied Territories can tell you the same story. The first months after I left the army I dreamed about kids all the time. Jewish kids. Arab kids. Screaming.

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Book Review: Ecology and Socialism: Inseparable Revolutions

6 August, 2009 — Climate and Capitalism

The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace with the Planet, by John Bellamy Foster. Monthly Review Press, 2009. Reviewed by Simon Butler

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels famously urged the world’s workers to unite because they had a world to win, and nothing to lose but their chains. Today, the reality of climate change and worsening environmental breakdowns globally adds a further vital dimension to this strident vision of human liberation. We still have a world to win – but we also have a world to lose.

With books such as Marx’s Ecology and The Vulnerable Planet, John Bellamy Foster, editor of the US-based socialist journal Monthly Review, has earned a reputation as one of the English-speaking world’s most persuasive voices arguing for fundamental social change to tackle the looming ecological catastrophe.

His new book, The Ecological Revolution, could not have been published at a more timely moment. It argues a solution to the ecological crisis ‘is now either revolutionary or it is false.’ It is a call for urgent action and an intervention into the debates about the kind of action needed to win this ‘race’ for the future.

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Who Wants Sanctions on Iran? By Hamid Dabashi

6 August, 2009 — CNN

In a recent congressional hearing, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman called the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act “a sword of Damocles over the Iranians” that will soon come down if President Obama’s diplomatic overture did not show signs of success by the fall.

That sword is no mere metaphor and might kill more than the president’s diplomatic overture.

Hamid Dabashi at the “Hunger Strike” for Iran, New York City, 25 July 2009

The hearing came as demonstrators around the globe joined Iranians protesting the brutal crackdown of the uprising against the beleaguered regime and as a kangaroo court began the trial of the leading reformists while the contested second-term presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was about to be summarily inaugurated.

Of the six invited panelists at this hearing, three — Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Orde Kittrie of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute — maintained that the United States should impose more severe economic sanctions on Iran.

Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution and Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace were counseling that Congress wait until “the dust has settled” over the current crisis before imposing such sanctions.

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The Ecocide of Palestine

7 August, 2009 — Jewbonics

It is a long-standing Israeli practice to destroy Palestinian agriculture. In 2005, 25 dunums of Palestinian land in Qaffin were confiscated by Israeli settlers under the aegis of the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 2005, Jewish settlers have set thousands of acres of orange, almond, and olive trees aflame. Olive trees bear fruit in the Mediterranean littoral for hundreds of years. Palestinian farmers can trace the lineage of their trees to the planter and the year planted. Apart from the commercial losses entailed in this destruction, the destruction of the olive trees is like the erasure of communal memory.

5500 dunums of Qaffin’s land is either behind the apartheid wall or buried underneath it. 1100 dunums of Akkaba’s land is separated from its population or devastated by the wall. This amounts to 25 percent of the villages’ land, the same percentage of the West Bank’s total agricultural land that the Wall appropriates. Qaffin and Akkaba are microcosms of Palestinian agriculture. Farmers in the West Bank are everywhere separated from their land by a sinuous barrier of concrete, motion-sensors, razor-wire, guard-posts, and guns. 12.4 percent of the Palestinian population is separated from the arable land it ostensibly owns and attempts to farm.

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Via Campesina, "August 11, 2009: Global Action Day for Honduras"

7 August, 2009 — Via Campesina

To the sisters and brothers of all the regions of Via Campesina
To the sisters and brothers of all social movements
To all the people of the world

Since the military coup — after more than 38 days of untiring efforts by thousands of farmers, women, indigenous people, teachers, students, unionists, and ordinary citizens of the cities and the countryside to reverse it and to recover democracy and dignity — the repression by the coup participants has not notched the fighting spirit of the heroic Honduran people.

This struggle has now entered a crucial phase as the farmers movement and the National Front of Resistance Against the Coup d’Etat have summoned the social, union, and democratic movements to a National March that begins on the 5th of August and will culminate on the 11th of August in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.

In support of this National March and our sister and brother farmers and all the Honduran people, Via Campesina calls on you to participate in a ‘Global Day of Action for Honduras,’ which will take place on the 11th of August of this year. We seek to mount strong solidarity efforts carrying out political and cultural mobilization, concrete actions, and political pressure and lobbying, as well as any and all possible activities that help advance the Honduran popular resistance in defeating this military coup.

We ask you to inform us about your plans of action and work for the ‘Day of Global Action for Honduras’ as soon as possible.


Write to Via Campesina Honduras:
Wendy Cruz: wendycruzsanchez@yahoo.ca
Mabel Marquez: mabelmarquez07@gmail.com

Henry Saragih
International Coordinator of Via Campesina

En Espanol

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