Showing posts from August, 2009

Millions in USAID funding still flowing to Honduras

Perhaps if and when the U.S. government finally determines that the Honduran regime change was a military coup more U.S. aid will be cut off but as this article indicates some may flow even if this happens. Note too that some of the companies that coup leaders and other important figures are involved in--such as the Liberal presidential candidate Santos--are receiving benefits through this aid. Imagine there is all sorts of money being sent to fund elections! One might think that countries such as Honduras and Afghanistan might be a bit worried that there election costs were being partially funded by the United States! The Millenium Challenge Corporation has Hilary Clinton as Chair and Timothy Geithner as Vice-Chair!

Millions of dollars in USAID funding still flowing to Honduras
Posted by Bill Conroy - August 27, 2009 at 9:59 pm
Agency bankrolling “good governance” programs to ensure the “rule of law in the country”

The taxpayer-funded Millennium Challenge Corporation has continued to mov…

Japan's Liberal Democrats lose to Democratic Party.

The new Japanese government will try to establish a certain degree of independence from U.S. policy. Although the party sounds more progressive than the Liberal Democrats, the Japanese bureaucracy will likely be a force in preventing any radical change. Interesting that 5.7 unemployment in Japan is considered quite unacceptable. In the U.S. now that would look good!

Japanese election upends long-ruling party
By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer Eric Talmadge, Associated Press Writer 22 mins ago
TOKYO – Japan's ruling party conceded a crushing defeat Sunday after 54 years of nearly unbroken rule as voters were poised to hand the opposition a landslide victory in nationwide elections, driven by economic anxiety and a powerful desire for change.
The left-of-center Democratic Party of Japan was set to win 300 or more of the 480 seats in the lower house of parliament, ousting the Liberal Democrats, who have governed Japan for all but 11 months since 1955, according to exit polls by al…

Japanese elections tomorrow!

It seems the ruling party is going to lose after decades of being in power:

""A general election on Sunday August 30th should change all that. Opinion polls suggest that when voters go to the polls for the powerful lower house of the Diet (parliament), the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), will trounce the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), thus ending over 50 years of nearly continuous rule.
The magnitude of the defeat facing Taro Aso, the prime minister and LDP leader, is startling. A poll in Thursday's Asahi Shimbun suggests that the LDP’s representation in the Diet could be more than halved to about 100 seats. The DPJ could take as many as 320 of the chamber’s 480 seats.""""

The DPJ may change policy with respect to the US and is also against neoliberal policies:

""Whether the DPJ, an unknown quantity, can make a better fist of running the economy is open to question. Mr Hatoyama railed against American-led “market fundamentalism” pre…

Noam Chomsky meets with Chavez in Venezuela

Interesting idea that there should be a peace zone in Latin America where foreign militaries are not allowed to operate. Chomsky is correct to notice that very timid response to the coup in Honduras even though the coup leaders have rejected out of hand the carefully crafted U.S. and OAS negotiated solution. I still am surprised at the coup leaders unyielding position. No doubt they think that there is enough right wing support in the US and Latin America to help them weather any storm the Obama administration might have in store.

Noam Chomsky Meets with Chavez in Venezuela

August 28th 2009, by James Suggett

Mérida, August 27th 2009 ( -- U.S. author, dissident intellectual, and Professor of Linguistics at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology Noam Chomsky met for the first time with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas and analyzed hemispheric politics during a nationally televised forum on Monday.
Chomsky is well known in Venezuela for his critiques of U.…

U.S. Prepares further sanctions against Honduras coup leaders

The U.S. after all this time has not yet determined that the coup was a military coup. Suddenly when nothing is going right in terms of the Arias plans it seems as if suddenly it may turn out to be a military coup. If that is the case much more aid will be cut that has been freely flowing up to now especially from the U.S. Millenium Challenge Corporation chaired by one Hilary Clinton!

US Prepares Further Sanctions Against Honduras Coup Leaders
By David Gollust Washington27 August 2009
The State Department signaled Thursday the Obama administration is ready to take tougher action against the defacto leadership in Honduras because of the political impasse over President Manuel Zelaya's ouster in June. An Organization of American States diplomatic mission to Tegucigalpa this week returned empty-handed.
Officials here say Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to make a formal determination as early as Friday that the ouster of Mr. Zelaya was an extra-legal coup, action that would…

U.S. copter opens fire on Afghan Medical Clinic

One wonders how the U.S. authorities were able to establish that the clinic was free of civilians before attacking the facility. It is also interesting that if the commander took refuge in the clinic to be treated then it loses its immunity from attack! Whatever, the official excuses, in propaganda terms shooting up a clinic will not likely be a way to win minds and hearts over to the occupation cause.

US Copter Opens Fire on Afghan Medical Clinic
Posted By Jason Ditz On August 27, 2009 US and Afghan forces, backed by a US Apache helicopter attacked a medical clinic in the Paktika Province of Afghanistan yesterday after receiving reports that a wounded Taliban commander had “sought treatment” at the facility.
The attack sparked a gunbattle which according to provincial officials left at least 12 militants and two policemen killed. The US denied that anyone had died in the attack but claimed to have injured their target, though since he was already injured in the first place it’s probably…

OAS chief still has hope Honduran settlement.

Given that the Honduran Supreme Court has declared that Zelaya will face arrest and criminal charges if he returns and Micheletti has said that Zelaya cannot return under any conditions it is difficult to understand why Insulza, the OAS chief, still has some optimism. The key may be that the military, some in the Roman Catholic hierarchy and Chambers of Commerce favor a solution along the lines of the Arias accords. They all met together the other day but nevertheless so far their comrades coup supporters are unmoved! If Obama got serious and starting freezing assets of coup leaders in the US and cut off all US aid--much is still flowing partly through a fund that Hillary Clinton chairs, then things might change rather quickly.
Zelaya has of late said nothing about returning. Has he been told to shut up by the U.S. and wait patiently for his return as a lame duck president for a few months!

OAS chief still has hope for Honduran settlement
OAS chief still has hope for compromise to …

The myth of Afghanistan as a safe haven for terorrists.

Stephen Walt on Afghanistan as a safe haven for Al Qaeda from which they would attack the U.S.

It should be pointed out that the Taliban actually co-operated with the U.S. for some time and were even commended for trying to curb the drug trade by the U.S. Colin Powell even gave them some US aid! Of course they did harbour training camps for Al Qaeda but these were mostly destroyed by attacks. They also harboured Bin Laden but before terms for handing him over for trial were reached the U.S. led Operation Enduring Freedom was begun which allowed the US and the Northern Alliance to turf out the Taliban government.
As Walt points out the Taliban are interested in the Pashtun having more power and ending foreign involvement in Afghanistan not in the broader goals of Al Qaeda. They are only interested in attacking Americans as long as they are in Afghanistan. None of the 9/11 terrorists were Taliban.
Having experienced all the trouble that harbouring Al Qaeda brought them before the Taliban a…

Will the Coup Leaders finally agree to Arias Accords.

Apparently Catholic Church, Military, and Chambers of Commerce are all meeting in downtown Tegucigalpa as of now. They all accept the Arias accords so it will be interesting to see if Micheletti can snub God, The Military, and the Chambers of Commerce! So far both Micheletti and the Supreme Court have completely rejected the return of Zelaya under any conditions.

""Update II: Radio Globo reporter Eduardo Maldonado is reporting, live, his eye-witness account of members of the Honduran military brass and the top chiefs of the National Police who recently arrived a building near Morazan Boulevard in Tegucigalpa and are meeting inside "on the third floor." The radio is also reporting that the Catholic Church hierarchy and various Chambers of Commerce have determined to back the San José solution of reinstating Zelaya to the presidency "regardless of the stance of the Micheletti government." Looks like the visa suspension is peeling away some inner layers of th…

Obama and Holder: Perils of the middle road..

Cheney apparently has never heard that many ethicists are quite critical of the principle that the end justifies the means. The principle is obviously in contradiction with the view that America will never torture and will always treat captured enemies humanely and in accord with International Law. If violating these values protects American lives than I guess it is just fine. Take any of the rhetorically inflated key US values and then note that if violating them saves American lives it will be OK to do so. What crapola that passes for argument without even a hint of dissension. The critics simply say: Oh but there is no proof that the methods did save American lives. Nevertheless even if Cheney is right as he very well could be surely it does not settle whether the methods are justifiable.
I wonder how closely Holder is co-ordinating his decisions with what Obama wants. If this article is correct then neither the right nor the left will be happy with the process and Obama will pr…

The Teacher's Strike and Protests in Honduras

The mainstream press simply does not cover the protests in Honduras. You would never know that the teachers are on strike or that there are protests of the type described here. Obama's silence on the repression in Honduras is also of note. It remains to be seen if the OAS representatives will achieve anything. I expect not unless the U.S. is a lot more active in convincing the coup leaders that they will pay dearly for their refusal to allow Zelaya to return.

The Learning Curve of the Teachers vs. the Honduras Coup
Posted by Al Giordano - August 23, 2009 at 12:00 pm
By Al Giordano
AUGUST 23, 2009, SABA, HONDURAS: The classrooms were empty but the assembly hall was full. Last Thursday afternoon, more than two hundred striking schoolteachers and other members of the civil resistance from the northeastern state of Colón gathered at the city high school to chart their next steps.
“Compañeros, are you tired?” a speaker called out.
“Are you going to go home?”
“Are we going to win?”

NPA demands release of comrades before peace talks with govt.

It seems the government has not kept its part of the preconditions for beginning of talks. No doubt some in the AFP or others objected to the whole idea of peace talks and are trying to sabotage them. Or perhaps the US is putting pressure on Arroyo for negotiating with terrorists. It is because of refusal of the Philippine govt. to ask the US and Europe to take the NPA to be taken off the terror list that the original talks broke off. NPA means New People's Army who are Maoist insurgents operating in quite a few areas of the Philippines mainly rural.

Philippine rebels demand release of comrades
(AFP) – 2 days ago
MANILA — Philippine communist rebels said on Saturday they would not resume talks with the government unless detained comrades were freed.
The government has "rendered extremely difficult or even impossible the resumption of formal talks" because it has failed to release 14 senior communist leaders detained on various charges, said Jose Maria Sison, the Netherlands-…

Joe Bageant on the Health Insurance Racket etc.

Although the author takes on the persona of a redneck he seems to have some idea of Frankfurt School ideas about ideology! The article is entertaining enough in its own right. Perhaps this guy should be competing with popular right wing talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, O'Reilly or Beck!
There certainly is an element of truth in Bageant's description of our media as entertainment that indoctrinates us into the ideology.

The Health Insurance Racket Is Manufacturing Entertainment Value from Pulling the Plug on Grandma
By Joe Bageant, JoeBageant.comPosted on August 22, 2009, Printed on August 24, 2009
Every day I get letters asking me to weigh in on the health care fracas. As if a redneck writer armed with a keyboard, a pack of smokes and all the misinformation and vitriol available on the Internet could contribute anything to the crap storm already in progress.
Besides that, my unreasoned but noisy take on this issue is often about as welc…

Chronicle of the Honduran Coup

I do not know anything about the group whose website this is taken from nor about the author but certainly the article is filled with fascinating details about how different groups and companies were involved in promoting the coup and trying to discredit Zelaya. Zelaya's real sin is to have passed some modest reforms and upset the elite as well by joining with ALBA and getting cheap oil from Venezuela. From the first Obama's responses have been fishy but Obama's opponents have been most vocal in support of the coup and have opposed even his timid attempts to try to look less as if the U.S. will always support right wing changes in Latin America. Many Americans apparently are not at all abashed at openly supporting reaction.

Chronicle of a planned coup
Friday, August 21, 2009 By: Sam Holguin
On June 28, the capitalist and U.S. imperialist-backed Honduran military embarked on a new chapter in the long line of military coups in Latin America. In response to news of the coup, Pre…