Archive for July, 2009

Democracy Now! Interview on Obama’s Other Racial Profiling Problem, 287(G)

July 29, 2009

Democracy Now!

I think Aarti & I do a duo decent job of walking people thru the complexities-legal & political, ideological and moral-of the Obama Administration’s racist program. Please find a clip below of the very thought-provoking and in-depth 37 minute interview. Full interview available here and full transcript below. Check it out!

Obama Admin Expands Law Enforcement Program 287(g), Criticized for Targeting Immigrants and Increasing Racial Profiling

Police-ice-web

The Obama administration has expanded the controversial 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement agencies to enter into agreements with Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, effectively giving local police the powers of federal immigration agents. The agreements have been widely criticized for increasing racial profiling and singling out immigrants for arrest without suspicion of crime. We speak to Aarti Shahani of Justice Strategies and Roberto Lovato of New America Media. [includes rush transcript]

Guests:

Aarti Shahani, lead author of “Local Democracy on ICE,” a report on the 287(g) program by the nonpartisan criminal justice institute Justice Strategies. She is also a co-founder of Families for Freedom.

Roberto Lovato, contributing associate editor with New America Media and a frequent contributor to The Nation and the Huffington Post. He was previously the executive director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), then the country’s largest immigrant rights organization. He blogs at Of America.

Rush Transcript

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AMY GOODMAN: We begin today with a look at immigration enforcement under the Obama administration. Earlier this month, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the expansion of the controversial 287(g) program to eleven new locations across the country. This program allows local law enforcement agencies to enter into agreements with Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. It effectively gives local police the powers of federal immigration agents.

287(g) agreements have been widely criticized for increasing racial profiling and singling out immigrants for arrest without suspicion of crime. In Napolitano’s home state of Arizona, particularly under Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the 287(g) program is plagued with serious reports of abuse.

The Obama administration has also decided to expand and strengthen implementation of other controversial programs like E-Verify and Secure Communities. E-Verify is an electronic system that checks people’s eligibility to work, and Secure Communities brings ICE agents into local jails to identify and deport undocumented prisoners.

Well, here in New York, a coalition of immigration activists are gathering outside the Council on Foreign Relations today at the time of this broadcast, where Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is giving a speech about terrorism. The activists are protesting Napolitano’s expansion of immigration enforcement programs and calling for an end to abuses by ICE.

For more on this, we’re joined by two guests in the firehouse studio.

Aarti Shahani is the lead author of “Local Democracy on ICE,” a report on the 287(g) program by the nonpartisan criminal justice institute Justice Strategies. She is also co-founder of Families for Freedom.

Roberto Lovato is contributing associate editor with New America Media and a frequent contributor to The Nation and the Huffington Post. He was previously the executive director of the Central American Resource Center, CARECEN, then the country’s largest immigrant rights organization. He blogs at ofamerica.wordpress.com.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now!

AARTI SHAHANI: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: OK, let’s begin with you, Aarti Shahani. 287(g), can you explain more fully what this means?

AARTI SHAHANI: Absolutely. The 287(g) program is essentially the program that turns traffic cops and jail guards into deportation agents. 287(g) refers to a piece of law passed in 1996 under then-President Bill Clinton but turned into an all-out program to recruit law enforcement into the deportation agenda under the Bush administration.

Our understanding, those of us who were watching Obama and had hopes in Obama, was that, under Obama, programs like 287(g) would be terminated, because they are driven off of a desire for racial profiling. Officers that want to be able to have the power to pick up Latinos, brown people, while driving, these are the self-selecting group of people that joined to 287(g). And unfortunately, two weeks ago, Napolitano gave us our first really blatant betrayal when she decided not only not to suspend 287(g), but to expand it around the country.

Notably, she gave this program—she reinitiated the contract with Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. Mind you, Joe Arpaio is currently under federal investigation. The Department of Justice, Eric Holder is investigating his use of the program. Meanwhile, Napolitano is going ahead and handing it off to him.

Among the other participants that were recruited newly into the program—Arpaio is an old participant in it—a new recruit is, for example, Morristown, New Jersey, where the chief of police himself had no idea his own agency was being recruited into 287(g). Last night, Morristown had a community meeting of 150 community members, where people—for example, a woman said, “Listen, imagine if you’re a victim of domestic violence. If we have this program in Morristown, New Jersey, how can you call the police? Because the police will come, they will deport your husband, even if you don’t want that, and they could even deport you.” This was a fear.

There was another anecdote last night about a guy in Morristown, actually a white guy who loves bachata music. He was saying that “I was driving in my convertible the other day, top down, listening to my bachata. The police stopped me.” They don’t even have 287(g) yet. “The police stopped me and said in Spanish, ‘Give me your driver’s license.’ And they spoke worse Spanish than me, and I responded in Spanish, as a white guy, ‘I don’t even’—you know, I gave them the driver’s license, responded in Spanish, and it was so clear that they assumed that I was Latino, because I don’t have blue eyes, because I’m Italian American.” And so, you can see that the places where this program is really coming up are places that want to do racial profiling.

And Napolitano’s decision to go ahead and expand the program, I think, needs to be taken, as those—by those who are watching, as a real misstep. You know, there is right now, for example, even within the Democratic Party, people were pissed at her, in large part because Democrats that have been campaigning for a comprehensive immigration reform want to be able to trade off enforcement for legalization. And so, within the Democratic Party, there was some criticism that, strategically, Napolitano is just handing off enforcement through things like 287(g) and E-Verify, rather than letting them being able to trade it off for legalization down the line. So there’s—on a lot of fronts, she’s disappointed a lot of people.

AMY GOODMAN: How does it work in Maricopa, in Arizona?

AARTI SHAHANI: So, I mean, how it works is a great question, and it really seems to work different ways in different places. The fundamental thing about 287(g) is ICE is marketing it as a program that targets criminal illegal aliens, the worst of the worst. But there’s a baseline fact, which is that police already have the power to arrest people for crimes; that power rests in criminal law. And so, 287(g) comes in precisely when you lack reasonable suspicion of a crime, when you lack evidence, and when you’re trying to hold someone on a civil immigration detainer, because under a civil immigration detainer you don’t have the same constitutional protections as a regular criminal arrest.

So 287(g) basically opens the gateway for sloppy policing. That’s why law enforcement officers like Joe Arpaio—I mean, Joe Arpaio has told me, you know, “287(g) takes the handcuffs off of law enforcement. That’s why we want it.”

The way that it’s worked in Maricopa County is through these, quote-unquote, “crime suppression sweeps,” where really what you have is the sheriff’s deputies and then a volunteer force that includes people that are white nationalists going around the city or going around the county, going into different areas in Mesa and rounding people up. That’s how it’s been working over there.

AMY GOODMAN: This is what, well, at the time, Governor Napolitano presided over? Is it fair to say that? “Presided over”?

AARTI SHAHANI: Napolitano presided—Napolitano actually brokered the first 287(g) program in Arizona and then helped Arpaio to get his.

Now, one real—one way that she’s really speaking out of both sides of her mouth over here is that she is saying that “My administration, Homeland Security under me, is going to clean up the detention system.” We’ve had upwards of a hundred deaths in civil immigration detention. It’s a totally mismanaged system that’s grown from 5,000 in 1994 to over 40,000 today. And she has actually brought in a corrections guru, Dora Schriro, who knows all about managing corrections, to come and clean up the system. So she’s saying, “We’re going to get basic standards in detention. We’re going to manage it properly.” So, that’s one side of her mouth.

On the other side is expanding this program, which is basically a backdoor way to add, you know, anywhere between 2,000 and 10,000 new beds in detention, without calling it that. The fact is, Joe Arpaio isn’t just running a program that picks Latinos off of the streets for being Latino; he’s then throwing these same people into Tent City, a jail that’s not even accredited anymore federally, because its standards are so poor, and holding them there de facto as immigration civil detainees.

So it makes no sense that, on the one hand, Napolitano says we’re going to clean up detention, and, on the other hand, through 287(g), she continues to rely on Joe’s beds.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go to break and come back to this discussion. Aarti Shahani is the lead author in “Local Democracy on ICE,” a report on the 287(g) program by the nonpartisan criminal justice institute. And we’ll be joined by Roberto Lovato. As we speak, a protest is going on outside the Council on Foreign Relations, where Janet Napolitano is speaking about terrorism. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking about immigration policy in this country. Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona, now secretary of Homeland Security, is in New York to address the Council on Foreign Relations; a major protest is going on outside.

Our guests are Aarti Shahani, lead author of “Local Democracy on ICE,” and Roberto Lovato, contributing associate editor with New America Media.

I wanted to turn for a moment to President Obama. President Obama spoke last month about his plans for immigration reform. This is a brief excerpt of what he had to say. Then I’ll get your responses.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think the consensus is that despite the—our inability to get this passed over the last several years, the American people still want to see a solution, in which we are tightening up our borders or cracking down on employers who are using illegal workers in order to drive down wages, and oftentimes mistreat those workers. And we need a effective way to recognize and legalize the status of undocumented workers who are here.

    My administration is fully behind an effort to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. I have asked my secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Janet Napolitano, to lead up a group that is going to be working with a leadership group from both the House and the Senate to start systematically working through these issues. From the congressional leaders and those with the relevant jurisdiction, what we’ve heard is, through a process of regular order, they would like to work through these issues both in the House and in the Senate.

AMY GOODMAN: Roberto Lovato, why don’t we begin with you? Your response to President Obama?

ROBERTO LOVATO: Well, I think we all applaud some form of a reform. And what is proven to be the most decrepit, ill-managed and rotten system, when you talk about the hundred deaths that Aarti mentioned and all the people that aren’t being fed or that are being fed baloney that’s rotten and just really nasty things—

AMY GOODMAN: When you say “fed baloney that’s rotten,” you’re talking about Joseph Arpaio, the—

ROBERTO LOVATO: Joe Arpaio’s jail, feeding people baloney, putting—dressing them in pink. I mean, so there’s a whole system of humiliation, death and disgrace upon the Obama administration that’s not really talked about.

When you have these big meetings with senators or when President Obama goes before, say, the NAACP, as he did on July 15th, or when he’s going to have his couple of beers with Henry Louis Gates and the policeman, you know, in those meetings, we hear a lot about civil rights and about how far we’ve come and how far we need to go. And we even have mention of racial profiling. But then it’s taken back. What’s not taken back is the fact that 287(g), that Aarti described, is one of the most massive racial profiling programs of the federal government in history.

And the announcement of this, Amy, is really interesting. The 287(g) expansion, we were—a lot of people were just expecting it was going to be closed down—that’s why they’re protesting at the Council on Foreign Relations here in New York right now—thought that, you know, with Obama there was a new day in race and racial profiling and 287(g) and Joe Arpaio are done. In fact, they’re expanding that program. And as a result, they’re expanding a program that has been proven to profile, prosecute, persecute and jail and terrorize a lot of people.

It’s funny that Janet Napolitano is talking about terrorism. I’ve been around the country interviewing undocumented immigrants pretty much everywhere, except a few states in the Northeast, and I’ve seen people’s hands shake like they did when I was in El Salvador, or their faces twitch. That’s terror. That’s post-traumatic stress disorder that’s caused by that. So, a lot of activists, I think, are finding a hypocrisy on a historic scale made by a historic new presidency, in terms of them talking about preventing terrorism or being against racial profiling, when, in fact, the 287(g) program and other programs like it foster new and extreme levels of terrorism and racial profiling. So it’s just—there’s a lot of people that aren’t very happy with the Obama administration.

And there’s—and you see the split that Aarti mentioned. There are groups that are more sympathetic and close to the Democrats in Washington, DC, and those groups are very good about talking about legalization. National Council of La Raza, National Immigration Forum and others are more than happy to talk about legalization, and they’ll criticize, on the side, detention. But they won’t make reform of the detention system, abolishing the most racist program, one of the most racist programs, of the federal government a part of comprehensive immigration reform. So, when you hear and when we hear and when your audience hears the words “comprehensive immigration reform,” that’s code for legalization in exchange for even more programs like 287(g), more laws that are going to prosecute, persecute, jail, and probably end up killing more immigrants. And so, comprehensive immigration reform, everybody, is code for more enforcement in exchange for legalization.

AMY GOODMAN: Aarti Shahani?

AARTI SHAHANI: I echo what Roberto says, and I think that there’s another point to keep in mind about programs like 287(g). Right now, there is space to reconsider what is going to happen with our immigration system. Under Bush, we were set back. Immigration, for the first time in history, became institutionalized as a homeland security issue. Back in 2002, 2003, there were people who were saying immigration does not belong in Homeland Security. It is not a counterterrorism issue. If anything, it’s a labor issue, it’s an international relations issue; put it in the State Department, so on and so forth. So, right now, given that we’re not touching comprehensive immigration reform until healthcare, which could be four months or four years—who knows, right?—given that we’re not touching it until then, now is the time for the Obama administration and the people who are watching the Obama administration to really flag a few issues.

One is that we need to turn away from the Bush policy of attrition. OK? What Janet Napolitano is calling “partnerships” with local law enforcement agencies—she keeps on talking about this great word of “partnerships”—that’s in fact a war of attrition. When you go ahead and you enlist and deputize, you know, what could be thousands of agencies to start basically being deportation agents, you’re bringing the border to the interior. That’s not policy that makes sense. That is Bush-era policy, and that is bringing a reign of terror into communities that are, at this point, hands trembling, afraid to leave. People have already left Morristown, New Jersey, before 287(g) has even gotten there, because of fear. These are things that we can’t afford to allow to happen.

I think the other thing is that there is a real struggle right now in terms of the controlling this debate. You know, and you had, for example—under the Bush administration, you had the Police Foundation, whose president is Hubert Williams, testifying against programs like 287(g), saying, “This is a terrible idea. Police don’t want to engage in racial profiling.” Now the danger is that because we have a Democratic administration, Democratic leaders are not going to speak out against these same policies. There has been no substantive change in 287(g). In fact, the program may have worsened between Bush and Obama. But suddenly, Democrats are afraid to call out Democrats on this. This is something that we have to keep very aware of, because it’s now harder to be indignant about the same injustices that are happening.

AMY GOODMAN: Aarti Shahani, in addition to your report, “Democracy on ICE,” the Benjamin Cardozo Law School just put out a report on abuses by ICE officers here in this area, in Staten Island, in New Jersey. Can you talk about the significance of their findings?

AARTI SHAHANI: Yes. Cardozo School of Law Immigration Clinic put out a phenomenal report actually called “Constitution on ICE.” It seems like a lot of things are on ICE these days. But “Constitution on ICE” really deals with the abuse of immigration detainers. OK, I mentioned this a little bit earlier. But this report, what it does is document that ICE has been conducting home raids exponentially more and more since about 2002.

For these home raids, ICE issues for itself a warrant to go ahead into somebody’s home when they’re trying to apprehend—apprehend people that they call absconders, fugitive aliens, people with old deportation orders or possibly people with old criminal convictions. OK? ICE goes into homes, and what Cardozo documented, through FOIA requests and through getting information, forcing it out, was that consistently ICE was violating the terms of the warrants that they issue for themselves. They were physically breaking into homes. They were doing collateral arrests. So, “We’re here looking for Juan Diego. Oh, Juan Diego is here? Well, we’ll take him, Ana Diego and Pablo Diego and whoever else happens to be.” There were plenty of Pakistanis among [inaudible] issues, as well. So what Cardozo School of Law did was document what basically people have known anecdotally, which is that ICE is not abiding by the terms of the detainer. They’re going ahead and, you know, rapidly abusing the detainer.

And again, to tie this back to 287(g), you know, if Cardozo School of Law has documented that ICE is abusing detainers, 287(g) gives regular criminal law enforcement the power to also issue and abuse detainers. ICE can’t manage its own detainer system. How is it going to oversee other officers doing it? I don’t know.

AMY GOODMAN: And the way they go into these houses, shotguns…

AARTI SHAHANI: I mean, it’s crazy. You’re talking about, you know, SWAT teams of seven to ten officers, bulletproof vests, shotguns. They recently—or under the Bush administration, they changed up their jackets that used to say “ICE”; now it says “ICE Police.” Technically, ICE isn’t supposed to be police. They’re not criminal law enforcement officials; they’re civil authorities, at least the ones that are going in for these raids.

I mean, you have people, like I know, for example, a family in Brooklyn. They’re members of Families—I’m sorry, in the Bronx, members of Families for Freedom, where an eleven-year-old girl had to basically answer the door as 6:00 a.m. to a team of eight ICE officers busting in, looking for her father—her father was in the shower getting cleaned up for work—taking her father and then taking her uncle, who wasn’t even listed on their warrant. So this is the way that detainers are basically being used and abused, under the Obama administration, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see this changing at all?

AARTI SHAHANI: It changes if we say it, right? It changes if we talk about it and expose it. There’s a deep concern right now that—there has never been a more important moment, I think, politically, and an opportunity, frankly, to call out what’s happening for the sake of redefining the agenda. The fact is, the Obama administration should stop treating immigration as a counterterrorism project. They should stop this war of attrition, this devolution of immigration authority. They should stop this rapid use of detainers, this expansive use of detainers. It’s probably in violation of the detainer laws.

And mind you, everything I’ve listed is administratively what they can do. Short of comprehensive immigration reform, there is so much that the Obama administration could be doing right now, but it seems like what they could be doing is in direct opposite—is directly opposite to what they are doing.

AMY GOODMAN: And final recommendations from your report, from “Democracy on ICE,” beyond what you’ve just described?

AARTI SHAHANI: I mean, we recommended in “Local Democracy on ICE” that you terminate the 287(g) program entirely, because it does not serve a public safety function. We also recommended that there be—that we create real reporting requirements for ICE to continue to receive funding. We are in a moment of economic crisis. ICE’s budget continues to grow. It’s over $6 billion today, which is larger than the budget of all of Haiti. It’s over $6 billion today. It’s continuing to grow. It’s continuing to get money from appropriations. And while our appropriators in Congress are pumping money into ICE, our Democratic appropriators are pumping money into ICE, they’re not creating any real reporting requirements so we can assess the effectiveness of the agency. So those are some basic recommendations we have.

AMY GOODMAN: Roberto Lovato, comment on that. And then I want to ask you about Honduras, a recent interview you did with a leading labor activist with the ongoing coup there.

ROBERTO LOVATO: Well, you know, Aarti laid out very comprehensively a system that people like scholars at Lewis and Clark University, Juliet Stumpf, call “crimmigration.” It’s basically a system of interlacing laws and enforcement practices that lead to profiling, prosecuting and jailing exponential numbers of Latinos, in much the same way, for example, that drug laws prosecuted, jailed African Americans, Latinos and other poor people in exponential numbers. So there’s a new industry afoot, the kind of migration-industrial complex that’s driven by things like what some call “crimmigration.”

And the Obama administration seems more than willing to entertain it. If a report by Syracuse University is right, that tracks immigration prosecution and detention, it shows that we’re now reaching, quote, “levels seen during the Bush administration,” the highest levels during the Bush administration. And so, if you’re concerned about civil rights, immigrant rights, Latino issues, African American, poor people’s issues, and you’ve been thinking about breaking with Barack Obama, you may want to join people over at the Council on Foreign Relations and other cities around the United States, where now I think the Obama administration, Janet Napolitano and President Obama, are going to be targeted by groups that are fed up with the jailing, prosecuting, racial profiling, terror and death of it all.

AMY GOODMAN: Honduras, very quickly, Roberto Lovato?

ROBERTO LOVATO: I interviewed Bertha Oliva, a preeminent, world-recognized human rights activist, head of the Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared. And I was basically interviewing her about Secretary Clinton’s comments last week about the entrance of President Zelaya into Honduras as being, quote, “reckless.”

AMY GOODMAN: The fact that he went to the—the fact that he went to the border in Nicaragua.

ROBERTO LOVATO: Right, yeah. She said that it was “reckless.” And I asked Miss Oliva what she thought. And she thought that Secretary Clinton was being, quote, “reckless.” And she said, “Well, right now, we just had a bombing yesterday. And unfortunately—fortunately, there was nobody killed by the bombing, because everybody from that union that was bombed was over at the funeral of one of the victims, the latest victims, of the death squad killings,” which would give you some sense of the situation that Bertha Oliva believes that Secretary Clinton and President Obama are actually enabling, which is, you know, what are they communicating to people that are bombing unions, killing people, disappearing people, doing things that many of us remember and tremble at the thought of returning right now? And so, when she hears Secretary Clinton saying this, she’s outraged, like many people I’ve spoken to, about the lack of support for democracy, as we hear voiced in the case of Iran.

AMY GOODMAN: And we will certainly continue to follow developments in the coup in Honduras. This is Democracy Now! I want to thank you both for being with us. Roberto Lovato, contributing associate editor at New America Media, previously executive director of CARECEN, the Central American Resource Center. And Aarti Shahani, thank you for being with us, lead author on “Local Democracy on ICE,” a report on 287(g) program by the nonpartisan criminal justice institute Justice Strategies.

Historic Obama Presidency Pushing Racial Profiling Hypocrisy of Historic Proportions?

July 29, 2009

AlterNet

Can a president who is, by any measure, far more forthright and lyrical than his predecessors about the pernicious effects of racism simultaneously promote and expand the racist policies of past administrations? This is the question vexing many in immigrants rights, Latino, civil rights and other circles following what feels to them like the contradictory messages about racial profiling coming from the Obama Administration in recent weeks.

On the one hand, many observers applauded Obama’s July 15th speech to the NAACP convention and last week’s statements about the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. Some found reassurance in statements like the one Obama made about the Gates incident last week: “…what we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that’s just a fact.”

But when they heard the crushing sound of new reports documenting the effects of the Obama Administration’s treatment of immigrants, the president’s MLK-like cadences on racial profiling rang hollow; A recently released report by Syracuse University concluded that “immigration enforcement under the Obama Administration is returning to the unusually high levels that were reached under President Bush.” Critics say that thousands of immigrants — and hundreds of U.S. citizens– continue to be prosecuted, jailed and deported by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in no small part because of racial profiling.

That was the case of Brian Lyttle. In one of the hundreds of cases involving U.S. citizens, 31 year-old Lyttle, a North Carolinian who has no Mexican ancestry, speaks no Spanish and suffers from mental illness, was deported by ICE to Mexico last April.

Another damning report released last week by the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University analyzed the immigration raids of homes and workplaces conducted by ICE.

According to the report, the raids, which have continued under the Obama Administration, have resulted in the kinds of Constitutional violations and routine racial profiling exemplified most clearly by the fact that “approximately 90 percent of the collateral arrest records reviewed, where ICE officers did not note any basis for seizing and questioning the individual, were of Latino men and women – though Latinos represented only 66% of target arrests.” Both citizens and non-citizens have been arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or what ICE calls “collateral arrests” – arrests of people who are with or near someone who was ICE’s original “target.”

Virtually all advocates agree that the legal and policy foundations for such practices were laid by both the Clinton and Bush administrations. the result has been the creation of what legal scholar Juliet Stumpf calls the “crimmigration” system. Stumpf and others continue to decry an immigration system that, they believe, leads to the disproportionate profiling and incarceration (Latinos are now the largest group in federal prisons) of mostly poor immigrants in much the same way that harsh drug laws have lead to the disproportionate profiling of blacks, Latinos and other poor people that help make the united states home to the world’s most massive prison system. Coming from the Obama administration, one that created great expectations of change, the continuation and expansion of programs that systematically violate rights are beginning to wear thin the goodwill of immigrant defenders like Maria Muentes of the New York-based Families for Freedom.

“The nice speeches on race clash with the fact immigration enforcement is actually up under Obama; The levels of those incarcerated for immigration-related offenses look like they did during the Bush Administration,” said Muentes, whose organization advocates on behalf of detained immigrants. “Obama’s speeches on racial profiling seem to leave out a lot of people,” she lamented. “They exclude many immigrants, people for whom every aspect of their life is subject to racial profiling; people who are stopped while riding trains, people persecuted at work, people stopped while driving and all those families whose homes are terrorized by raids,” said Muentes.

Most disturbing to Muentes and other immigrant rights and Latino activists, many of whom have been ardent Obama supporters, was a very low-key announcement made on a late Friday afternoon just days after the President’s NAACP speech on racial profiling- by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: that the Obama Administration would not just continue, but actually expand what advocates say is one of the fastest-growing, most troubling racial profiling programs of the federal government, the 287(G) program. The initiative, which essentially deputizes state and local law enforcement officials to act as enforcers of federal immigration law, has been strongly criticized by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and research institutes like Justice Strategies, which concluded that the Bush-era program is “driven more by racial animus than by concerns about public safety”.

Among the most demoralizing and irksome consequences of Obama Administration’s expansion of 287(G) is that the controversial program’s greatest benefactor, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, still has a federally sanctioned license to pursue and jail massive numbers of mostly Latino immigrants, as well as some citizens. Many law enforcement officials have also denounced 287(g) because it diverts policing resources from more traditional law enforcement functions. In 2008, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, noting that while Arpaio’s department was focused almost obsessively on locking up unauthorized immigrants 48,000 violent felons were at large in Maricopa County, moved to block a grant that helped fund the sheriff’s efforts.

More recently, anger at Obama’s expansion of 287(G) sparked an unprecedented and very direct denunciation by immigrant advocates from across the country, many of whom hadn’t previously criticized the Administration. A “Statement Condemning Obama Administration’s Expansion of DHS’s failed 287(g) Program” was signed by more than 25 groups from across the country including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Immigration Law Center and the Detention Watch Network.

Like many in the immigrants’ rights community who have generally been supportive of the Obama Administration, Jaqueline Esposito of the Detention Watch Network, one of the groups issuing the strongly-worded statement, finds her organization caught in the conflict between the spirit and the letter of policies promoting racial profiling.

“Detention Watch Network applauds the Obama Administration’s recent statements about racial profiling,” said Esposito. “But we are concerned because the Department of Homeland Security’s expansion of the 287(G) program is a direct contravention of the President’s statements. 287g has been widely criticized by government officials, immigrant rights advocates and many others, for undermining community safety and for racial profiling.”

For her part, Muentes fears that when it comes to racial profiling, Obama’s historic presidency may end up engendering hypocrisy of historic new proportions. “Some people thought that because he (Obama) is African American, it automatically means he will be more aware or critical of racial profiling against immigrants or others in the larger criminal justice system”, she continued. “That might not be the case.”

Honduran Human Rights Leader: Clinton “Reckless,” U.S. Silent About “Terrorismo”

July 29, 2009

When finally reached by telephone, the very hard-to-reach Bertha Oliva was in the middle of a typically tragic day in post-coup Honduras. “ [The military and paramilitary operatives] just bombed a nearby labor union,” she said. Oliva leads the Tegucigalpa-based Committee for the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH), which is recognized worldwide as her country’s leading non-governmental human rights organization. “Fortunately,” she said, “all of the members of the union were at the burial of one of the boys the death squads killed on Saturday near El Paraiso [The Paradise], and no one was killed this time.”

“They are following our every move,” Oliva added. “They’re surveilling our offices and we’ve received threatening phone calls. And they make it extremely difficult or impossible to take water, medicine and food to all the people they’ve detained,” she said.

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, while making camp at the Nicaragua-Honduras border last Friday, called for new protests in Honduras. This prompted U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to declare: “’President Zelaya’s effort to reach the border is reckless. It does not contribute to the broader effort to restore democracy and constitutional order in the Honduras crisis.”

When asked about Clinton’s statement, Oliva quickly responded, “Bombs are going off, people are being detained without due process, young men’s bodies are found with signs of torture and 45 stab wounds. [Clinton’s] declarations and her silence about human rights are strengthening criminals and signaling to those committing crimes against humanity that they can keep on doing it. Isn’t that ‘reckless?’”

“Instead of disqualifying Zelaya,” she continued, “Secretary Clinton should take actions in favor of democracy, in favor of constitutional order. That can really help us, that would be a great contribution.”

If a recent report by COFADEH is any indicator, there has been an exponential rise in the number of human rights violations since the June 28 coup. The report documented over 1,100 cases of arbitrary detentions, attacks on the media, killings and other human rights violations.

“Why don’t Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration say anything about this, this ……terrorismo that the [de facto Honduran President] Micheletti and the coup backers are committing?” asked Oliva.

The questions and concerns raised by Oliva about the Obama administration’s policy towards the Honduran coup reflects what many fear is a growing distance between the Administration and the democracy movements backing the reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted my the Honduran military on June 28th. Oliva and others fear that the Obama Administration’s handling of the coup may reflect the same willingness to overlook human rights violations that has characterized previous U.S. administrations.

Observers around the world question, for example, why the United States has chosen not to declare the Honduran putsch a “coup” in the legal sense, which would require stronger actions including a complete cutoff of military and other aid, withdrawing the ambassador and other measures the Obama Administration has refused to take.

Instead, critics both inside and outside Honduras, say Clinton and Obama have chosen a ‘good cop-bad cop’ strategy in which Obama gets to perform symbolic actions like declaring the coup “illegal” while Clinton gets to deliver the bad policy news to the media and the world about how the Administration has chosen not to designate the situation a “coup.”

In his own increasingly pointed responses, Zelaya noted that the possibility that the Obama administration may actually be enabling and strengthening the hand of those perpetrating the killings, torture and other human rights violations documented by Oliva and COFADEH. “The position of secretary Clinton at the beginning was firm,” Zelaya declared, “….now I feel that she’s not really denouncing (the coup) and she’s not acting firmly against the repression that Honduras is suffering.”

Oliva, Gilda Rivera of the Center for Women’s Rights, José Luis Galdamez, a journalist with Radio Globo and others fear that the Obama administration’s handling of the coup may reflect the same willingness to overlook human rights violations that has characterized previous U.S. administrations.

As she looks at the numbers and as she visits killing fields, prisons, private homes and other sites where human rights violations are taking place, Oliva said she couldn’t help but be reminded of the past.

She and her family founded COFADEH along with 12 other families that, like hers, had lost a family member disappeared by death squads linked to the U.S.-trained Honduran military. Her husband is still “disappeared,” she noted. “Some of the same businesspeople and military officials involved in the disappearances and killings of the 1980’s are the same people behind the coup today,” said Oliva. “And as happened back then, the United States government seems willing to back them politically by sponsoring talks that make the coup leaders look like legitimate partners to negotiate with.”

Oliva saved her most impassioned pleas for Hillary Clinton. “As a Honduran that has worked for justice her entire life, I ask Mrs. Clinton to listen to her heart and formally declare this a coup so that [coup leaders] know that her country stands for human rights,” she said. “As someone who has sought the truth, I ask you, Mrs. Clinton not to hide the truth about what’s happening here. And, finally, as a creator of life, as a mother, I plead with you to put yourself in the shoes of so many mothers whose sons are victims of repression by the government. I know [the coup leaders] will listen to you. With God as my witness, I know it.”

Honduras: ¿quién le paga a Lanny Davis?

July 26, 2009
Lanny Davis
“Si quiere comprender quién es el poder verdadero detrás del golpe de estado” [hondureño], dice Robert White, presidente del Centro de Política Internacional con sede en Washington D.C., en una reciente entrevista, “halle quién le paga a Lanny Davis”.

Davis, un aliado de la familia Clinton mejor conocido como el abogado que defendió a Bill durante los procedimientos de enjuiciamiento presidencial, se presento recientemente en Capitol Hill para cabildear entre miembros del Congreso y prestar testimonio en el Comité de Relaciones Exteriores de la Cámara de Representantes contra el exiliado presidente Manuel Zelaya. White –quien sirvió previamente como embajador de Estados Unidos en El Salvador– creía que esa información sobre quienes eran los clientes de Davis sería “muy dificil de encontrar”.

Pero fue facil. Davis, un socio del bufete de abogados Orrick, Herring, & Sutcliffe, los nombró abiertamente. Sus clientes son los mismos poderosos detrás del golpe de estado militar. “Mis clientes representan CEAL, la sección hondureña del Concejo Empresarial de América Latina”, dijo Davis el jueves pasado en su oficina. “Y no represento al gobierno ni hablo con el presidente [Roberto] Micheletti. Mis principales contactos con Camilo Atala y Jorge Canahuati. Me siento orgulloso de representar a empresarios comprometidos al gobierno de la ley”, dijo Davis. Atala, Canahuati y otras familias con intereses corporativos y que son representados por Davis y la CEAL se hallan en la cúspide de una pirámide económica en la que el 62% de la poblacion vive en la pobreza, de acuerdo con el Banco Mundial.

Jorge Canahuati

Jorge Canahuati

Para muchos hondureños y observadores de Honduras, la confirmación de que Lanny Davis trabaja para familias poderosas y establecidas en Honduras es significativa. Para ellos, demuestra que Davis está al servicio de los intereses empresariales que administraron, reprimieron y pusieron en la ruina a Honduras en las décadas previas al viraje hacia la izquierda del gobierno de Zelaya.

“Los golpes de estado no suceden porque un buen día a algunos militares y políticos se les ocurre una buena idea”, dijo White cuando se enteró para quién trabaja Davis. “Los golpes de estado ocurren porque hay gente muy muy rica que quiere que sucedan y ayudan a que sucedan. Es gente acostumbrada a considerar el pais como una máquina de hacer dinero para ellos y para quienes toda legislación social que beneficie a los pobres como una amenaza sus intereses. El salario medio de un trabajador en zonas libres de impuestos es de 77 centavos la hora”.

“La tragedia es”, agrega White, “que los Canahuatis y los Atalas y otros grandes empresarios no comprenden que es para su beneficio ayudar a que la gente gane decentemente, se reduzca la cesantía y se aumente el salario mínimo”.

Davis no está de acuerdo. Cree que la tragedia de Honduras radica en Zelaya y que el presidente causó el golpe. “Es innegable que Zelaya violó la Constitución. Mi deber es aclarar los hechos”.

Al preguntársele si le molesta representar a empresarios vinculados con gobiernos golpistas denunciados e irreconocidos por Naciones Unidas, la Organización de Estados Americanos y muchos países en todo el mundo, incluyendo Estados Unidos, Davis responde que “hay hechos referentes a Zelaya que el mundo no conoce. Me enorgullece representar clientes que apoyan la decisión de la secretaria de Estado Hillary Clinton de apoyar la mediación del presidente Arias en el conflicto. Pero mi principal preocupación es la seguridad de la gente de Honduras”.

Davis no es el único preocupado con la seguridad de la gente de Honduras. El Comité de Familias de Detenidos-Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH), una ONG de derechos humanos, publicó la semana pasada un informe que documenta más de 1.100 violaciones a los derechos humanos, desde detenciones arbitrarias, ataques físicos, asesinatos y ataques contra los medios de comunicación por parte del gobierno y elementos clandestinos afines a éste. Todos ocurrieron después del golpe del 28 de junio.

COFADEH responsabiliza del golpe y el terror que causó de manera directa a muchos de los fundadores de la Alianza para el Progreso y Desarrollo de Honduras (APROH), un predecesor de CEAL. Aunque ya no existe, APROH unió en sí a varios de los mismos intereses empresariales y militares que componen el núcleo político y económico de la extrema derecha hondureña, incluyendo a los Canahuatis, los Atalas y otras familias y negocios de CEAL representados por Davis.

El prontuario de cumplimiento de los derechos humanos por parte del predecesor de CEAL es menos que estelar. En 1983, el diario hondureño El Tiempo filtró un documento de APROH que recomienda una solución militar para los problemas de Honduras y el resto de Centroamérica, a la Comisión Kissinger de Ronald Reagan, un comité bipartidario que estaba encargado en aquel entonces de formular la política estadounidense en la región. Más revelador aún, APROH es considerado por COFADEH y otras organizaciones de derechos humanos como la eminencia gris detrás de las ejecuciones de los escuadrones de la muerte conocidos como el infame Batallón 316 durante los años ochenta.

Enterado de las declaraciones de Davis, José Luis Galdamez, un periodista de Radio Globo, ríe: “Davis, o ignora Honduras o a sabiendas ensangrenta su nombre y el de los Clinton a cambio de mucho dinero”, dice. Galdamez tuvo que bajar a la clandestinidad recientemente después de que miembros de las fuerzas armadas y elementos paramilitares le agredieron a él y a sus colegas. Los militares cayeron sobre la estación de radio, golpearon a los empleados y les amenazaron por trabajar en uno de los pocos medios de comunicación dispuesto a “informar lo que realmente sucede en Honduras”, dice Galdamez.

“Me gustaría que Davis viniese aqui, donde estoy escondiéndome, para mostrarle cómo se siente estar amenazado, no solamente por [el presidente de facto] Micheletti y el ejército, sino por los Canahuatis y otros grupos de poder que él representa”, dice Galdamez.

Galdamez, así como Gilda Rivera del Centro para Derechos de la Mujer y otros entrevistados para esta historia temen que al contratar al aliado de Clinton Davis, Canahuati, Atala y CEAL utilicen el brillo liberal del partido Demócrata de Estados Unidos para desviar la atención de la historia detrás del actual golpe de estado en Honduras.

Camilo Atala

Camilo Atala

“Los ricos simplemente envían a matarte y matan con impunidad. Jamás investigan quién mató a quién, porque los grupos en el poder controlan los medios de comunicación, el poder judicial y ahora tienen nuevamente el control del gobierno”, dijo Galdamez. “Davis trata de legitimizar a gente que utiliza la violencia y la intimidación psicológica. Representa los intereses de un estado terrorista”.

En una reciente declaración en la que condenaba el golpe, COFADEH describió a sus seguidores como “el mismo grupo que durante los ochenta era conocido como la Alianza para el Progreso y el Desarrollo de Honduras, que mantiene el terror a través de escuadrones de la muerte”. El informe de COFADEH contiene documentos sobre cuatro casos de asesinatos extra judiciales, incluyendo la muerte a tiros, el 5 de julio, del joven Isis Obed Murillo de 19 años, que fue expuesta posteriormente en un vídeo explícito colocado en YouTube.

En cuanto a las violaciones de los derechos humanos cometidas por el gobierno de Micheletti, Davis nuevamente culpa de la crisis a Zelaya. “He investigado los hechos de lo que ocurrió durante la presidencia de Zelaya. El condujo la violencia de la turba y eso se puede ver en un video de YouTube”.

Cuando insisto acerca de la toma estremecedora de la muerte de Isis Murillo, Davis responde: “¿Se ve en el video a quien disparó? Hay que conocer los hechos”. Agrega: “Si me demuestran en los hechos que mis clientes están implicados en violaciones de libertades civiles, renunciaré”.

(Este artículo fue inicialmente publicado en The American Prospect. Gracias a Gabriel Lerner y nuestros amigo(a)s de HispanicLA por su exitosa traduccion del articulo.)

ALERTA: Zelaya, International Observers, Honduran People Try to Enter Honduras

July 24, 2009

– watch live http://www.telesurtv.net/solotexto/senal_vivo.ph

Please distribute and watch courage of the Honduran people.

Act Now to Stop the Obama Administration’s Racist 287G Immigration Policy

July 24, 2009

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Groups across the country are mobilizing to put pressure on Department
of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and President Obama to
end the devastation caused by the Obama Administration’s 287G program.

Denounced by l(some) police chiefs, several government officials and
many, many community groups, 287G is the program that allows local and
state law enforcement officials act as enforcers of federal
immigration law and provides the legal means for the racial profiling,
mass and arrests and other violations of the most basic civil and
human rights. The program enables the widespread and illegal practices
of notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Join the increasing numbers of Latinos, civil and immigrant rights
groups and others who are growing impatient about what they consider
the hypocrisy and duplicity of President Obama with regard to racial
profiling. In light of the massive amount of racial profiling taking
place under his recently expanded 287G program-a program Obama and
Napolitano recently expanded- many find lees-than-credible President
Obama’s statements concern about how the recent arrest Professor
Louis Gates reflects “a long history in this country of
African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement
disproportionately.”

The current target of what will be a series of actions to pressure the
Obama Administration is tonight’s appearance by Secretary Napolitano
on the Bill Maher show. Community groups are asking Maher to raise
racial profiling and other 287G issues during his interview

You can take several actions including:

Contact the Bill Maher Show on Facebook and ask them to raise the
issues with Napolitano- http://www.facebook.com/Maher?ref=t

And on twitter here: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23billmaher

Press release for the action (complete with lots of hyperlinks) is
here: http://jornaleronews.ndlon.org/?p=349

And those of you in Los Angeles can join the protest and press
conference at Bill Maher’s studio tonight (more information below_

For Immediate Release // Excuse Cross Postings // Please Forward

Contact (Engish y Español): Loyda Alvarado, (323) 434- 8115
What: Press Conference, Rally, and Demonstration
Why: To Urge Bill Maher to Ask Secretary Napolitano about DHS
Racial Profiling Practices, 287(g), Joe Arpaio
Where: 7800 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (Near corner of Beverly
and Fairfax)
When: Friday, July 24, 2009
Time: 5:30 to 7 pm

(Los Angeles) Immigrant, civil, and labor rights advocates will hold
a rally and press conference outside the taping of Real Time with Bill
Maher on Friday at 5:30 pm. Protestors will urge Mr. Maher to ask
tough questions of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano about her
relationship with the notorious Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
Specifically, Secretary Napolitano should be asked why DHS has not
severed its contract with Arpaio (Napolitano’s hometown sheriff), and
why DHS opted last week to expand a failed experimental Bush
immigration enforcement policy that has demonstrably resulted in mass
racial profiling.

During his press conference yesterday, President Obama used very
strong language to denounce racial profiling practices by local
police. However, last week week, Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the expansion of the
widely-criticized 287(g) program, which outsources federal
immigration enforcement authority to local sheriffs. In recent
years, Joe Arpaio has become a symbol of the program’s failure, as his
use of 287g has resulted widespread allegations of racial profiling.
The Department of Justice recently launched a high-profile
investigation of Arpaio’s practices. Indeed, Sheriff Arpaio’s
relationship with neo-nazi’s has been noted by Phoenix Mayor Phil
Gordon; Arpaio himself has said it’s an honor to be called KKK; and he
has even posed for photos with high-profile neo-nazi’s. The New
York Times has published several editorials calling for the
termination of the 287(g) program in general and Arpaio’s contract in
particular. Those editorials are available here, here, here, and
most recently, here.

Salvador Reza, a community leader in Phoenix, issued the following
statement: “Secretary Napolitano has the legal authority and the
moral obligation to end Arpaio’s reign of terror in her hometown of
Phoenix. Instead, she is expanding the 287(g) program and intends to
make the country look like Maricopa County. We hope Bill Maher has
the courage to ask hard questions of Secretary Napolitano.”
###

Our Man In Honduras

July 22, 2009

Our Man In Honduras

war

“If you want to understand who the real power behind the [Honduran] coup is” says Robert White, president of the Washington-based Center for International Policy, during a recent interview, “you need to find out who’s paying Lanny Davis.”

Davis, an ally of the Clinton family who is best known as the lawyer who defended Bill during the presidential impeachment proceedings, was recently on Capitol Hill lobbying members of Congress and testifying against exiled President Manuel Zelaya before the House Foreign Relations Committee. White, who previously served as the United States ambassador to El Salvador, thought that such information about Davis’ clients would be “very difficult to find.”

But the answer proved easy to find. Davis, a partner at the law firm Orrick, Herring, & Sutcliffe, openly named them — and his clients are the same powerful Hondurans behind the military coup.

“My clients represent the CEAL, the [Honduras Chapter of] Business Council of Latin America” said Davis when reached at his office last Thursday. “I do not represent the government and do not talk to President [Roberto] Micheletti. My main contacts are Camilo Atala and Jorge Canahuati. I’m proud to represent businessmen who are committed to the rule of law,” said Davis. Atala, Canahuati, and other families that own the corporate interests represented by Davis and the CEAL are at the top of an economic pyramid in which 62 percent of the population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank.

For many Hondurans and Honduras watchers, the confirmation that Davis is working with powerful, old Honduran families like the Atalas and Canahuatis is telling: To them, it proves that Davis serves the powerful business interests that ran, repressed and ruined Honduras during the decades prior to the leftward turn of the Zelaya presidency.

“No coup just happens because some politicians and military men decide one day to simply take over” says White upon hearing who Davis is working for “Coups happen because very wealthy people want them and help to make them happen, people who are used to seeing the country as a money machine and suddenly see social legislation on behalf of the poor as a threat to their interests. The average wage of a worker in free trade zones is 77 cents per hour.”

“The tragedy” adds White, “is that the Canahuatis and the Atalas and the other big businesspeople don’t understand that it’s in their best interest to help to do things like help people make a decent living, reduce unemployment and raise the minimum wage.”

Davis disagrees. He believes that the tragedy of Honduras lies with Zelaya and that the president brought the coup upon himself. “It is an undisputed fact that Mr. Zelaya has violated the constitution. It’s my job to get the facts out.”

Asked if he had qualms about representing business people linked to a coup government denounced and unrecognized by the United Nations, the Organization of American States and many countries across the globe (including the United States), Davis responded, “There are facts about Mr. Zelaya that the world community may not be aware of. I’m proud to represent clients who support the decision of Secretary of State Clinton to back the mediation of President Arias in the conflict [between Zelaya and coup leaders]. But my biggest concern is safety and security of the Honduran people.”

Davis is not the only one concerned about the safety and security the Honduran people. The Committee of Families of Disappeared-Detainees in Honduras (COFADEH), a non-governmental human rights organization, released a report last week documenting over 1,100 human rights violations — arbitrary detentions, physical assaults, murders, and attacks on the media by the government and affiliated clandestine forces — that have occurred since the coup began on June 28.

COFADEH has also placed responsibility for the coup and the terror it has wrought directly on many of the founders of the Alliance for Progress and Development of Honduras (APROH), a predecessor of CEAL. Though now defunct, APROH brought together some of the same business and military interests that compose the political and economic hub of Honduran’s radical right, including the Canahuatis, Atalas and other CEAL families and businesses represented by Davis.

The CEAL predecessor’s track record on human rights has been less than stellar. In 1983, Honduras’ El Tiempo newspaper leaked an internal APROH document that recommended a military solution to problems in Honduras — and the rest of Central America — to Ronald Reagan’s Kissinger Commission, a bipartisan committee charged with formulating U.S. policy in the region. Perhaps more damning, APROH is considered by COFADEH and other human rights organizations as the eminence grise behind the death squad killings conducted by the infamous “Batallion 316” in the 1980s.

Upon hearing Davis’ statements, Jose Luis Galdamez, a journalist for Radio Globo, laughs. “Mr. Davis is either ignorant of Honduras or is knowingly bloodying his name and that of the Clintons for lots of money,” he says. Galdamez recently went into hiding after members of the armed forces and paramilitary organizations harassed him and his colleagues. The military raided his radio station, beat workers there and threatened them for working at one of the few independent media outlets willing to “report about what’s actually happening in Honduras,” says Galdamez.

“I wish Mr. Davis would come here where I’m hiding so I can show him what it’s like to feel threatened not just by [de facto Honduran President] Micheletti and the military, but by the Canahautis and other groups of power he represents,” says Galdamez.

Galdamez, Gilda Rivera of the Center for Women’s Rights, and others interviewed for this story fear that, in hiring Clinton ally Davis, Canahuati, Atala and CEAL are using the liberal sheen of the Democratic party to divert attention from the dark history behind the current Honduran coup.

“The rich simply send you out to kill you and then kill with impunity. They never investigate into who killed who because the groups in power control the media, control the judiciary and now control the government again,” says Galdamez. “Mr. Davis is trying to legitimize people who use psychological intimidation and violence. He’s representing the interests of state terror.”

In a recent statement denouncing the coup, COFADEH described its backers as “the same group that in the 1980s was known as Alliance for Progress and Development of Honduras, which maintains its terror thru death squads.” The COFADEH report documents four cases of extra-judicial killings, including the July 5 shooting of 19 year-old Isis Obed Murillo, captured in a graphic video subsequently posted on YouTube.

Asked about human rights violations by the Micheletti government, Davis again places the onus for the current crisis on Zelaya. “I researched the facts on what occurred during the presidency of Mr. Zelaya. Mr. Zelaya led mob violence and you can see that on a YouTube video.”

When pressed about the grisly footage of the shooting of 19 year-old Isis Murillo, Davis responded, “Is there a video of the shooters? We need to know the facts.” He added, “If you can show me facts proving that my clients are involved in violations of civil liberties, I’ll resign.”

(This article appeared originally in the American Prospect, http://www.prospect.org)

Honduran Women at Forefront of Resistance to Coup

July 22, 2009

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Honduran Women at Forefront of Resistance to Coup

New America Media, Interview, Roberto Lovato, Posted: Jul 22, 2009

Editor’s Note: For more than a week, Honduran women’s groups backed by more than 5,000 other activists led a takeover of the National Institute of Women (INMU) to protesting the appointment of a coup supporter as director of the organization. NAM contributing editor Roberto Lovato spoke by phone to Gilda Rivera, one of the leaders of the uprising, about the role of women and women’s organizations in the Honduran crisis. Rivera is the director of the Honduran Center for Women’s Rights (CDM).

Q: What motivated you and other women to take over the INMU?

At the center of the coup crisis here in Honduras is fundamentalism – fundamentalist religion, fundamentalist military and fundamentalist business. These are the powers behind the coup, and they also represent the greatest threat to women and women’s rights. They want to cut any and all advances made by women.

This threat is being made concrete by the appointment of coup supporter Maria Martha Díaz Velásquez to head the INMU. We’ve taken this building because we cannot allow the illegitimate government to start pushing its program on women. And we have solidarity of many other sectors that have joined us.

Q: What role are women playing in the opposition to the coup and why don’t we hear more about this participation?

From the very beginning, women have been protagonists in the opposition (to the coup). The main sources of information in the country are owned and run by the backers of the coup.

Of course, you don’t see this in the media reports because the media will only show right wing women in a positive way. If they are depicted at all, before and after the coup women acting on behalf of women in Honduras are depicted in the most negative way as communists, as haters of family.

Q: What is the current situation facing women in opposition to the coup?

Repression increases. Our organization and others have documented more than 1,000 human rights violations in the weeks since the coup started. The [Roberto] Micheletti government and the military are chasing people and going into their homes, including many women’s – they’re restricting movement [of people].

Q: Is your organization being affected and if so, how?

Our offices are being surveilled. Members of our organization have been threatened. The radio show of our organization was taken off the air because it’s considered a threat. Other women’s organizations have also been attacked.

Q: And how is this impacting women in general?

These represent attacks not just on us, but on women in general. Fundamentalist Christian and Catholic church leaders are frontal enemies of women. For years, evangelicals like Vice Chancellor Marta Lorena Alvarado have pushed to oppress women. They have stopped birth control and AIDS prevention programs, closed sex education programs and generally promote a very traditional role for women at home and at work. And in a country run by the military and the oligarchs, who benefits from keeping women in a subservient role?

Q: What should women in the United States know about the situation you and other women in Honduras face?

Women and men in the United States should know that we women in Honduras are standing strong. They should know that we do not think your government or any other government should recognize or deal with illegitimate governments like this one. Nobody should be negotiating with coup leaders. Your government plays a key role and must do more to isolate the coup government. And conservative religious and business groups from here are trying to build support for the coup among their peers in your country.

Q: How are you planning to follow up on the INMU action?

We took over the INMU in order to show that women are angry and active about what is taking place in our country, and we’re still angry. We’re going to continue taking to the streets and will continue resisting until President Zelaya, the democratically elected of the country, is reinstated.

We do not dialogue with sectors supporting the coup. We will continue mobilizations. We are launching national forums to discuss and debate about the coup. Our organization and others are monitoring human rights violations. Many groups are considering a general strike.

Thousands of women have taken to the streets and participated in acts of denunciation. Women have contributed and will continue to contribute to the democratic process of Honduras.

Honduras’ El Libertador Puts Faces-and Names- on “Los Golpistas”, coup ring leaders: BIG BUSINESS

July 21, 2009

El Libertador

image

Considering the repressive conditions under which it was published, this statement by El Libertador demonstrates courage on a scale little known to most. In it, the editors name the names and show the faces of those they believe are the true power behind the coup-powered Micheletti regime in Honduras.

As the Obama Administration starts considering its next steps inl ight of the impending failure of its Arias-led negotiations, some are already calling for tougher measures, measures applied to other regimes, measures like denying the visas and freezing the bank accounts of those found to be both financing and benefiting from state terror as if the government aparatus is some kind of repressive slot machine. Some will probably see the Libertador’s list as a list of whose bank accounts to start freezing, whose visas to revoke.

You can read the statement in its entirety below.

These are the Coup Leaders, They Will be Judged!

(Editorial by the daily El Libertador of Honduras)

These are the coup leaders: 1) Carlos Flores Facussé; 2) Rafael Leonardo Callejas; 3) Cardenal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez; 4) Adolfo Facussé; 5) Armida de López Contreras; 6) Schucry Kafie; 7) Elvin Santos; 8) Emilio Larach; 9) Enrique Ortez Colindres; 10) Pastor Evelio Reyes; 11) Felícito Ávila; 12) José Alfredo Saavedra; 13) Jorge Canahuati; 14) Jorge Yllescas; 15) Juan Ferrera; 16) Juan Ramón Martínez; 17) Carlos López Contreras; 18) Billy Joya; 19) Ana Abarca; 20) Rafael Ferrari; 21) Juan José Pineda; 22) Vilma Morales; 23) Marcia Villeda; 24) Renato Álvarez; 25) Ramón Custodio; 26) Rafael Pineda Ponce; 27) Olban Valladares; 28) Pastor Oswaldo Canales; 29) Ricardo Maduro; 30) Romeo Vásquez Velásquez; 31) Porfirio Lobo Sosa; 32) Ricardo Álvarez; 33) Antonio Rivera; 34) Guillermo Pérez Cadalso; 35) Mauricio Villeda; 36) María Martha Díaz; 37) Antonio Tavel Otero; 38) Luis Rubí; 39) Toribio Aguilera; 40) Ramón Velásquez Nassar; 41) Elán Reyes Pineda; 42) Luz Ernestina Mejía; 43) Martha Lorena Casco; 44) Rodolfo Irías Navas; 45) Rigoberto Chang Castillo; 46) Mirna Castro; 47) Gabriela Núñez; 48) Hugo Llorens.

1. All of these people used their positions to plot, cause, or finance the breakdown of constitutional order with the kidnapping and extradition of President Zelaya, which culminated in the coup.

2.  They are directly responsible for the deaths, injuries, imprisonment, and the unease imposed upon Honduran society; they have destroyed democracy and ruined Honduras’ image nationally and internationally.

3.  The coup leaders reactivated the anti-terrorist and anti-communist organization called the Alliance for Honduras’ Progress (APROH), which operated in the 1980s.  Their greed and lack of culture prevented them from understanding that the people are free to choose the political and ideological system that will offer them security and well-being.

Tegucigapla.  This time their names and faces will go down in history, and Hondurans and citizens of the world will remember them.  They will be judged by society and by national and international courts.

The coup plotters utilized variations on the mechanisms that the Alliance for Honduras’ Progress (APROH) used in the 1980s.  Under the guise of a business organization, it hid clear political doctrine of “low-intensity war against those who opposed the repression of the Sandinista government and against social discontent in Honduras.  United States intelligence financed the organization through the Moon sect.”

“Industrious Businessmen”

Nothing particularly “suspicious” is written in the APROH’s statutes.  A group of businessmen got together to study their problems, with a project to assist other sectors.  The economic model that the associates defended was clear: they advocated laissez faire policies with few mechanisms of control and with many mechanisms to maximize profits.

The associates were required to “guard the confidentiality of the documents and information that they acquired through their participation in APROH activities and that divulging this information could cause harm to its members. [sic]

In the beginning of 1983, soon after its founding, APROH didn’t draw attention to itself.  It was seen as a new attempt to bring together Honduras’ most conservative sectors.  In November of that year, the newspaper “Tiempo” published one of those confidential “documents:” APROH was recommending to the Kissinger Commission, through a personal friend and aid to Kissinger, a military solution for Central America.

Yesterday and Today’s Truth

Military fascism found its place in APROH–then in Gen. Alvarez, the president of that organization, and now [Gen.] Romeo Vasquez.  As now, it was comprised of the country’s far-right business class, although in reality more than being ideological they are corrupt businessmen who have gotten rich because they determine what happens or not in the country.  They are the eternal scroungers who live off financial subsidies, they are the ones who obtain concessions and million-dollar debt forgiveness from the state.  They are the ones who finance and control the political parties and use their influence to have power in the National Congress and in the courts. In short, they are the ones who have the country trapped and don’t allow the advancement of other businessmen and marginalize the people because for them it’s business as usual that they remain ignorant and hungry.  It’s easy for them to manipulate them with the corporate media, as they are doing with this coup.

At the end of 1983, [there was] a rumor that the United States embassy was concerned about what it saw as the consolidation of a pressure group within the country that was very conservative and very vulnerable to criticism, as is the case now.  The coup leaders are once again a problem for the United States.  Then, the APROH was dormant for many years, but it awoke on the morning of June 28, 2009, to carry out its work: overthrow the President, manipulate through the corporate media, extra-judicial executions that no one will know about, repression, and psychological war in order to confuse people.

Who Were the Members?

Gen. Gustavo Alvares was the boss, the man in charge of APROH.  Rafael Leonardo Callejas admitted that when he was the APROH’s Secretary of Student and Worker Affairs–which hoists the flag of anti-communism–he worked so that Osawlado Ramos Soto would be the rector of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH).

The Moon Sect, a well-known religious organization, collaborated with this organization.

The APROH was created by Álvarez Martínez during the Roberto Suazo Córdova administration as the precursor to the Security Doctrine and responsible for dozens of political assassinations and disappearances in the country.  José Rafael Ferrari, Miguel Facussé, Fernando Casanova, Rigoberto Espinal Irías, Benjamín Villanueva and ex-union leaders Andrés Víctor Artiles and Mariano González were also members.

Osmond Maduro, brother of the ex-president and coup leader Ricardo Maduro Joest, was also a member, [as well as] national and international bankers; textile and chemical industry, agribusiness, and television barons; and the technocrats.  All of them were represented in the APROH.

Now look on this page at the coup leaders; they are members of the new APROH.  There is no difference between them and those of the past.  Some of them are even the same: Miguel Facussé, Rafael Leonardo Callejas y José Rafael Ferrari.

_________________________________________


Know the “Brainwashing Codewords” the Coup Leaders Use to Manipulate Hondurans

The coup leaders’ fierce psychological war waged through their corporate media, which are the driving force behind media in this country, reproduces codes of mass manipulation of the population’s mind.  For example, it is legal to kidnap the President, because he is Chavez’s friend.  Micheletti is good, because he hates Fidel and Daniel and Chavez.

by El Libertador

Tegucigalpa.  The brainwashing the coup leaders use as its prototype of Honduran democracy can be decoded as seeing what’s bad as good, illegal as legal, and the usurper as necessary because he loves the country.

The coup as a “constitutional succession” and the hatred of Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and Fidel Castro justifies a breakdown of the rule of law and the soldiers’ savagery against protesters who demand a return to constitutional order.  Those who seek the path of a country where the law is respected are rabble-rousers and vandals, and those who support the dictatorship dress in white because they are pure. They are patriots because they sing the national anthem and demand democracy, which is the same as defending Micheletti because he shares the desire for peace and harmony in Honduras.  Many are incapable of understanding that this is how the masses are manipulated by means of the method known as “fool catchers.”  Others who have weak minds belong to families that have gotten rich off of the misery of the majority of the population.

The Democracy Code According to the Coup Leaders:

Democracy = no Chavez-no Fidel-no Ortega;

Democracy = the rich are innocent, the poor are guilty;

Democracy = Yes to he who breaks the law for our own good, no to Mel who breaks the law for the good. [sic]

Democracy = I support Micheletti and I am a peacemaker, you support Mel and you break windows;

Democracy = I love the Cardinal, you forget our father (and you offend the cardinal);

Democracy = corrupt, more or Zelaya [sic], but hate Chavez and hate Fidel [sic]

Democracy = Kidnapping Mel is good, opposition’s bloodshed is good and repression is good, communism is bad.  Mel is a communist.  The coup leaders don’t respect life nor the law because the protect us from bad.

Democracy = Mel is dangerous because of Chavez, Daniel, and Fidel.  Micheletti only seeks the good for everyone.  Micheletti is good, Mel is bad.

Democracy = Chavez and Fidel want to impose strange ideologies on Hondurans.  Mel is Chavez and Fidel’s friend, to loathe Mel, Chavez, and Fidel is good because we are Hondurans.

Source: Popol Nah Foundation for Local Development

¡Estos son los golpistas, el soberano juzgará!

Estos son los golpistas: 1) Carlos Flores Facussé; 2) Rafael Leonardo Callejas; 3) Cardenal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez; 4) Adolfo Facussé; 5) Armida de López Contreras; 6) Schucry Kafie; 7) Elvin Santos; 8) Emilio Larach; 9) Enrique Ortez Colindres; 10) Pastor Evelio Reyes; 11) Felícito Ávila; 12) José Alfredo Saavedra; 13) Jorge Canahuati; 14) Jorge Yllescas; 15) Juan Ferrera; 16) Juan Ramón Martínez; 17) Carlos López Contreras; 18) Billy Joya; 19) Ana Abarca; 20) Rafael Ferrari; 21) Juan José Pineda; 22) Vilma Morales; 23) Marcia Villeda; 24) Renato Álvarez; 25) Ramón Custodio; 26) Rafael Pineda Ponce; 27) Olban Valladares; 28) Pastor Oswaldo Canales; 29) Ricardo Maduro; 30) Romeo Vásquez Velásquez; 31) Porfirio Lobo Sosa; 32) Ricardo Álvarez; 33) Antonio Rivera; 34) Guillermo Pérez Cadalso; 35) Mauricio Villeda; 36) María Martha Díaz; 37) Antonio Tavel Otero; 38) Luis Rubí; 39) Toribio Aguilera; 40) Ramón Velásquez Nassar; 41) Elán Reyes Pineda; 42) Luz Ernestina Mejía; 43) Martha Lorena Casco; 44) Rodolfo Irías Navas; 45) Rigoberto Chang Castillo; 46) Mirna Castro; 47) Gabriela Núñez; 48) Hugo Llorens.

1 Cada una de estas personas desde su posición maquinó, motivó o financió la ruptura del orden constitucional con el secuestro y extradición del Presidente Zelaya, consumando así el golpe de Estado.

2 Son responsables directos de los muertos, heridos, encarcelados y de la zozobra impuesta a la sociedad hondureña; son los que destruyeron la democracia y la imagen del país en el ámbito nacional e internacional.

3 Los golpistas reactivaron la organización antiterrorista y anticomunista que funcionó en la década de 1980 llamada Alianza para el Progreso de Honduras (APROH). La falta de cultura y avaricia les impide razonar que los pueblos son libres de elegir el sistema político e ideológico que le ofrezca seguridad y bienestar.

Redacción / EL LIBERTADOR

Tegucigalpa. Esta vez los nombres y los rostros quedarán para siempre para que la historia y los hondureños y el mundo los conozca, y sean llevados al juzgado de la sanción moral de los ciudadanos y a los tribunales de justicia nacionales e internacionales.

Los urdidores del golpe de Estado contra Zelaya pusieron en marcha una variante de la maquinaria que en la década de 1980 utilizó la Alianza para el Progreso de Honduras (APROH) que bajo un disfraz aparentemente empresarial, pero debajo escondía líneas políticas doctrinarias claras de “guerra de baja intensidad contra los opositores a la represión contra el gobierno sandinista y el descontento social en Honduras. El financiamiento de la organización lo trasladaba la inteligencia de Estados Unidos a través de la secta Moon”.

“EMPRESARIOS LABORIOSOS”

En los estatutos de APROH no aparece nada especialmente “sospechoso”. Un grupo de empresarios se asocian para estudiar sus problemas, con una proyección asistencial hacia otros sectores. El modelo económico que defendían asociados era claro: presionar por políticas de libre empresa con escasos mecanismos de control y con múltiples mecanismos para maximizar la ganancia.

A los socios se les exigía “guardar la debida confidencialidad sobre los documentos o informaciones que conocieran mediante su participación en las actividades de APROH y que la divulgación pudiera causarles perjuicios a sus miembros.

Recién creada, en el primer semestre de 1983, APROH no llamó la atención de nadie. Se veía como un nuevo intento de cohesionar a los sectores más conservadores de Honduras. En noviembre de ese año, diario “Tiempo” publicó uno de esos “documentos” de uso interno: APROH recomendaba a la Comisión Kissinger, a través de un amigo personal y asesor de éste, la solución militar para Centroamérica.

LA VERDAD DE AYER Y HOY

Rata.gifEn APROH se reúnen el fascismo militar que representaba en aquel entonces el general Álvarez -presidente de la Asociación y, ahora Romeo Vásquez. Estaba integrada como ahora por la ultraderecha empresarial del país, aunque en verdad más que ideología son empresarios corruptos enriquecidos porque lo se hace o no en el país lo determinan ellos. Son los eternos vividores de prebendas fiscales, son los que obtienen concesiones y perdones de deudas millonarias con el Estado. Son los que financian y controlan a los partidos políticos e influyen para colocar sus cuadros en el Congreso Nacional y en el Poder Judicial. En suma, son los que tienen atrapado el país y niegan la superación a otros empresarios y marginan al pueblo porque para ellos es negocio que siga ignorante y con hambre, así les resulta fácil manipularlo con sus medios de comunicación como pasa en este momento con el golpe de Estado.

A fines de 1983, los rumores sobre la preocupación con que la embajada de Estados Unidos veía el consolidamiento de un grupo de presión tan conservador y tan vulnerable a la crítica al interior del país, igual que ahora, los golpistas se han vuelto un problema para los mismos Estados Unidos. Entonces la APROH fue dormida por muchos años, pero la despertaron en la madrugada del 28 de junio de 2009 para consumar su trabajo: botar al Presidente, manipular a través de los medios de comunicación, ejecuciones extra judiciales que nadie sabrá, represión a propios y extraños y guerra sicológica para confundir al pueblo.

¿QUIÉNES ERAN LOS MIEMBROS?

El general Gustavo Alvares era el jefe, el hombre a la cabeza de la APROH, Rafael Leonardo Callejas reconoció que cuando era secretario de asuntos obreros y estudiantiles de la Aproh –que enarbolaba la bandera del anticomunismo, se impulsó a Oswaldo Ramos Soto para que llegara a la rectoría de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH).

Es de señalar que la APROH fue creada en el gobierno de Roberto Suazo Córdova por Álvarez Martínez, máximo precursor de la Doctrina de Seguridad y responsable de decenas de asesinatos y desapariciones políticas en el país.

Esta organización contaba con la colaboración de la “Secta Moon”, una organización religiosa conocida en todo el mundo.

Es de señalar que la Aproh fue creada en el gobierno de Roberto Suazo Córdova por Álvarez Martínez, máximo precursor de la Doctrina de Seguridad y responsable de decenas de asesinatos y desapariciones políticas en el país. En la Aproh también estaban José Rafael Ferrari, Miguel Facussé, Fernando Casanova, Rigoberto Espinal Irías, Benjamín Villanueva y los ex dirigentes sindicales Andrés Víctor Artiles y Mariano González.

Esta organización también tenía entre sus miembros a Osmond Maduro, hermano del ex Presidente y golpista Ricardo Maduro Joest. Los personajes de la banca nacional y extranjera, los de las industrias química y textil, los de la agroindustria y la televisión y los de la tecnocracia. Todos estaban representados en APROH.

Ahora usted mire en esta página a los golpistas más representativos, son los miembros de la nueva APROH. No hay diferencia con los del pasado, es más, algunos son los mismos: Miguel Facussé, Rafael Leonardo Callejas y José Rafael Ferrari.

****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Conozca el “código de palabras lava cerebros”

de golpistas para manipular a los hondureños

La feroz guerra sicológica de los golpistas a través de sus medios de comunicación, que son la mayor fuerza mediática del país, reproduce en la mente de la población códigos de manipulación de masa, por ejemplo, es legal secuestrar al Presidente, porque es amigo de Chávez; y micheletti es bueno, porque odia a Fidel a Daniel y a Chávez.

Redacción / EL LIBERTADOR

Tegucigalpa. El prototipo de la democracia hondureña en clave que los golpistas reproducen el cerebro de los hondureños, se descifra como ver lo malo como bueno. Al ilegal como legal, al usurpador como necesario porque ama el país.

El golpe de Estado como “sucesión constitucional”, el odio contra Hugo Chávez, Daniel Ortega y Fidel Castro justifica el rompimiento del Estado de Derecho y el salvajismo de los militares contra los protestantes que reclaman la vuelta al orden constitucional. Los que buscan el camino de un país donde se respeten las leyes son chusma y vándalos, y los que apoyan la dictadura se visten de blanco porque son puros, son patriotas porque cantan el Himno Nacional y claman democracia, eso es igual a defender a Micheletti porque comparte el deseo de paz y armonía en Honduras, pero para muchos la incapacidad de entender que así se manipula a las masas mediante la técnica conocida como “atrapabobos” y otros igual de mentes débiles pertenecen a familias que se han lucrado con la miseria de mayor parte de la población.

LA DEMOCRACIA EN CLAVE DE LOS GOLPISTAS:

Democracia = no Chávez-no Fidel-no Ortega;

Democracia = Rico inocente, Pobre culpable;

Democracia = Sí al que viola la Ley por nuestro bien, no a Mel que viola la Ley por el bien.

Democracia = Yo por Micheletti soy conciliador, tú, por Mel rompes vidrios;

Democracia = yo amo al Cardenal, tú, olvidas el padre nuestro (y ofendes al Cardenal);

Democracia = corrupto, mayor o que Mel, pero odia a Chávez y odia a Fidel;

Democracia = El secuestro de Mel es bueno, el derrame de sangre de los opositores es bueno y la represión es buena, el comunismo es malo: Mel es comunista; los golpistas NO respetan la vida ni la ley porque nos protegen del mal.

Democracia= Mel es peligroso por Chávez, Daniel y Fidel, Micheletti sólo busca el bien de todos; Micheletti es bueno, Mel es malo.

Democracia= Chávez y Fidel quieren imponernos ideologías extrañas a los hondureños; Mel es amigo de Chávez y Fidel; aborrecer a Mel, a Chávez y a Fidel es bueno porque somos hondureños.

Fuente: Fundacion Popol Nah Tun Para el Desarrollo Local

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Aline Flores, ha jugado un papel vital

antes y después del golpe de Estado

A La Cámara de Comercio e Industrias de Tegucigalpa (CCIT), cuya presidenta es la empresaria Aline Flores, admite que los empresarios han obligado a su personal a marchar de blanco contra el Presidente Zelaya.

B El gobierno de Zelaya le dio un golpe bajo a la empresa Corporación Flores (representante exclusiva de la marca Toyota en Honduras), propiedad del padre de Aline Flores, y donde ella es la gerente general, al descubrir y demandarla ante los tribunales por la venta de automóviles con dispensas falsificadas el caso sólo lo publicó este periódico con el título “Toyotazo”.

C El padre de Aline Flores, Alan Flores, enfrenta un juicio desde hace más de dos décadas por parte del hermano menor Valentín Flores, que lo acusado de haberse apropiado de manera indebida de la participación accionaria que el papá le dejó y que la influencia de Aline y Alan en el sistema judicial y medios tradicionales de comunicación ha impedido que hasta hoy se haya emitido sentencia final.

Redacción EL LIBERTADOR

ALINE.gifTegucigalpa. La Cámara de Comercio e Industria de Tegucigalpa ha jugado un papel importante antes y después del golpe de Estado. Esta cámara es una versión de federación de cámaras hondureñas. Dos días antes del secuestro del Presidente Zelaya, la presidenta de la cámara, Aline Flores, envió esta nota a personajes de dinero solicitando un apoyo que iba de 1,000 a 3,000 dólares y les dijo: “es necesario que el sector privado de Honduras, tome acciones urgentes encaminadas a apoyar la defensa de la democracia y de las libertades sociales y económicas”.

Además, esa cámara repartió panfletos entre sus afiliados exhortándolos a acudir a un “gran plantón” contra Zelaya, quien según ellos “atenta contra tu libertad”. El panfleto dice: “Esperamos que las empresas se hagan presentes con todo su personal”.

LA CAMARA, ANTES DEL GOLPE

Diferentes dirigentes sociales y otras fuentes privadas en contra del golpe denunciaron que muchas de las marchas realizadas en oposición a Manuel Zelaya antes y después del golpe de Estado han estado llenas de empleados a quienes se les obligaba a marchar, con la amenaza latente que de no hacerlo serán despedidos.
Esta versión, desestimada por la prensa tradicional hondureña y algunos medios internacionales, en realidad es muy fácil de confirmar: La Cámara de Comercio e Industria de Tegucigalpa (CCIT), lo confirma en su grupo de contactos en línea por Facebook.

En Facebook hallamos un panfleto que convoca a los empresarios afiliados a un “gran plantón” el 26 de junio (dos días antes del golpe de Estado) en contra de la encuesta promovida por el Presidente Manuel Zelaya, donde dice: “Participa con tu personal en defensa de la democracia”.

LA CAMARA, DESPUÉS DEL GOLPE

Después del golpe de Estado, la Cámara de Comercio de Tegucigalpa llamó de nuevo “a todos los empresarios y empresarias afiliadas: se les invita a participar en el Gran Plantón a realizarse el día Martes 30 de Junio de 2009 a las 10:00 a.m. en el Parque Central de la Ciudad Capital” en apoyo al gobierno dictatorial de Roberto Micheletti. En el mismo, indican: “esperamos que las empresas se hagan presentes con todo su personal“.
Estas protestas fueron mostradas por los medios locales y las cadenas internacionales como una muestra del “respaldo popular” que supuestamente tenía el gobierno golpista de Micheletti.

What Next For Honduras After Failed Negotiations? GRITtv Interview With Laura Flanders

July 20, 2009

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This interview with Laura Flanders is chock full of information and analysis of the current situation, something abysmally lacking in the reporting in the mainstream media. Joining Laura and me is Democracy Now’s Andres Thomas Conteris who just returned from Honduras, lived there for many years and is one of the more knowledgeable people about the current situation that I know.

Of special note is a preview of an article I’m writing that will appear in the American Prospect later this week. The article explores the little known business interests that have hired Clinton ally Lanny Davis to both lobby on their behalf and to attack exiled Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya. The article includes one of the first and only interviews with Davis about the matter. And, as always, the informed and insightful questions from host Laura Flanders provide a fluid foundation for serious inquiry. If you like the clip below,the rest of the 16 minute interview can be found here.

Immigrant Rights Leaders Issue Unprecedented Statement “Condemning the Obama Administration’s Expansion” of Racist 287G Policy

July 17, 2009

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More groups and individuals going against the “Washington Consensus” -legalization in exchange for even more enforcement-on immigration.

Please distribute this far and wide as President Obama and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano are trying to cover their political a..ses by announcing their continuation and expansion of the radical and racist 287G policy below the clouds-and some fog- of excitement around the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. Rather than announce it at a time when it would draw attention to iteself, the Obama Administration chose to announce it last Friday, as the country and media buzz prepared for this week’s Sotomayor hearings. The Obama Administration would prefer we gaze at the smiling visage of soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor instead of the scowling face of the greatest benefactor to date of the infamous 287g program: rabidly racist, anti-immigrant Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

This statement by a host of groups including the Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and many others, (see list below) “Condemning the Obama Administration’s Expansion” is the clearest statement to date of the growing disapproval of Obama’s willingness to support racist, dangerous and ultimately failed immigration policy. That some of these groups have not previously made statements against Obama and that they waste no time using language still unheard of in the echo chamber of Washington (ie;”Condemning”) provides, I think, an interesting preview of where and how Obama’s credibility may rapidly drop in immigrants rights and Latino communities. It also indicates that, more and more, the monopoly of groups sanctioned and bankrolled by powerful liberal interests- the big Democratic party, big foundations, big media and, in some cases, big corporate interests- to be the official Latino and immigrant “voice” is starting to crumble.

Contrary to what you may or may not be hearing from your Latino aides and others of a more institutionally pliant bent in Washington, there are, Mr. Obama, limits to how much deadly garbage policy some of us are willing to swallow silently. You’re committing a strategic error if you believe that you can count on our unconditional support in the name of both giving you cover and securing legalization for the most desperate among us.

Our failure to follow Detention Watch Network and other groups in their condemnation will communicate that we too are willing to go along with what his recent actions-continuing racist control policies like those institutionalized by 287g while waving the affirmative action flag embodied by the nomination of centrists of color like former corporate lawyer and prosecutor, Sonia Sotomayor-do. And that President Obama then goes on to deliver what the reliably uncritical MSM calls a “stirring” civil rights speech to the NAACP says much about 2 things: the analytical and political abyss we inhabit and how utterly commodified conceptions of civil rights have become.

So, again, please do distribute this important statement by these courageous groups, as the media and those with access to the mainstream will do nothing to
echo this important statement by so many important groups. Having run an organization like those making the statement, I can tell you that it’s not easy to make such statements when you have to worry about alienating Democratic Congress members, big foundations and others who can hurt you by cutting your funding, politically isolating you and other repressive measures taken by the powerful of a more liberal bent.

R

ADVOCATES ISSUE STATEMENT CONDEMNING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S

EXPANSION OF DHS’S FAILED 287(g) PROGRAM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 17, 2009

Media Contacts:

Adela de la Torre, Communication Specialist, National Immigration Law
Center, 213.674.2832 (office), 213.400.7822 (cell)

Andrea Black, Coordinator, Detention Watch Network, 202-393-1044 ext.
227 (office), 520-240-3726 (cell)

Judith Greene, Director, Justice Strategies, 718-857-3316,
jgreene@justicestrategies.net

Civil rights and community groups across the country denounce
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano’s
plans to expand the highly criticized 287(g) program to eleven new
jurisdictions around the country. The program, authorized in 1996 and
widely implemented under the Bush Administration, relinquishes, with
no meaningful oversight, immigration enforcement power to local law
enforcement and corrections agencies.

Since its inception the program has drawn sharp criticism from federal
officials, law enforcement, advocates and local community groups. A
February 2009 report by Justice Strategies, a nonpartisan research
firm, found widespread use of pretextual traffic stops, racially
motivated questioning, and unconstitutional searches and seizures by
local law enforcement agencies granted 287(g) powers. Justice
Strategies recommended the program be suspended. “We found evidence
that growth of the 287(g) program has been driven more by racial
animus than by concerns about public safety. The expansion of this
deeply flawed program cannot be justified before a thorough test of
corrective actions shows solid proof that they have been effective,”
reports Judy Greene, Director of Justice Strategies. A March 2009
Government Accountability Agency (GAO) report, criticized DHS for
insufficient oversight of the controversial program.

Also in March, the United States Department of Justice launched an
investigation into Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, to
determine whether Arpaio is using his 287(g) power to target Latinos
and Spanish-speaking people. In Davidson County, Tennessee, the
Sheriff’s Office has used its 287(g) power to apprehend undocumented
immigrants driving to work, standing at day labor sites, or while
fishing off piers. One pregnant woman—charged with driving without a
license—was forced to give birth while shackled to her bed during
labor. Preliminary data indicate that in some jurisdictions the
majority of individuals arrested under 287(g) are accused of public
nuisance or traffic offenses: driving without a seatbelt, driving
without a license, broken taillights, and similar offences. Such a
pattern of arrests suggest that local sheriff’s deputies are
improperly using their 287(g) powers to rid their counties of
immigrants, by making pretextual arrests that are then used to
forcefully deport people. “We need only look at the example of
Maricopa County to understand the devastating effects the increased
287(g) program will have on our communities,” said Chris Newman, Legal
Programs Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
“The Obama administration must recognize that the 287(g) program is
predatory and ripe for corruption and profiling that will harm
community stability and safety for everyone.”

The Police Foundation, the International Association of Chiefs of
Police, and the Major Chiefs Association have expressed concerns that
deputizing local law enforcement officers to enforce civil federal
immigration law undermine the trust and cooperation of immigrant
communities, overburdens cities’ already reduced resources, and leaves
cities vulnerable to civil liability claims. “When victims and
witnesses of crime are afraid to contact police for fear of being
jailed or deported, public safety suffers,” said Marielena Hincapie,
Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center.

Napolitano’s July 10 announcement that DHS has granted 11 new
jurisdictions 287(g) powers stunned advocates who had been expecting a
major overhaul of – or end to – this failed program. “DHS is fully
aware that the abusive misuse of the 287(g) program by its current
slate of agencies has rendered it not only ineffective, but dangerous
to community safety. It is surprising Napolitano did not simply shut
this program down. Expanding this failed program is not in line with
the reform the administration has promised,” said Andrea Black,
Coordinator of the Detention Watch Network.

Signatory Organizations:

A Better Way Foundation, New Haven, CT

All of Us or None, San Francisco, CA

Border Action Network, Tucson, AZ

Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, NY

Center for Media Justice, Oakland, CA

Detention Watch Network, Washington, DC

Families for Freedom, New York, NY

Florida Immigrant Coalition, Miami, FL

Grassroots Leadership, Austin, Texas

Homies Unidos, Los Angeles, CA

Immigrant Defense Project, New York, NY

Immigrant Justice Network

Immigration Law Clinic, UC Davis School of Law, Davis, CA

Immigrant Legal Resource Center, San Francisco, CA

Judson Memorial Church, New York, NY

Justice Strategies, New York, NY

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, San Francisco, CA

Main Street Project, Minneapolis, MN

Media Action Grassroots Network, Oakland, CA

National Day Laborer Organizing Network

National Immigration Law Center, Los Angeles, CA

National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Boston, MA

Partnership for Safety and Justice, Portland, Oregon

Project Rethink

Southern Center for Human Rights, Atlanta, GA

A Voice of Reason & Courage in the Wilderness of Immigration Reform: Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO)

July 16, 2009

Amidst a toxic, confusing climate of a Washington on the verge of “immigration reform”, a climate in which some “immigration reformers” find themselves pondering the possibility of supporting national identification cards, increased enforcement and very punitive approaches to legalization, the voice of Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) sounds, well,…. strange. This is the same climate in which President Obama and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano just announced the “Si Se Puede” of their continued and increased support for one of the most heinous Bush-era immigration policies: 287G, the program that facilitates the racism, humiliation, profiling and generalized injustice of local law enforcement officials like Arizona’s nototorious Joe Arpaio.

Announced in the late Friday haze and buzz preceding the confirmation hearings of centrist former corporate lawyer and ex-prosecutor Sonia Sotomayor, the Obama Administration’s continuation of the dreaded program heard nary a complaint from most immigration reformers. Such silence around programs that will jail more migrants provide an empty echo chamber amplifying the voice of Polis. A member of Congress calling for the reform of an immigration detention system that’s killing, sickening and unjustly jailing tens upon tens of thousands of people? Yes, it’s true. See for your self

Polis should be commended-commended loudly for his courage in saying things most of his Congressional peers, most “reformers” and the Obama Administration are unwilling to include as part of the the legalization and enforcement-centric approaches that some call “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” There are tens of thousands of detainees for whom CIR will only mean more crowded, filthy and deadly living conditions as even more and more enforcement measures are added to a immigration system that has caused the exponential rise in Latino detention, to the point where the number of Latinos-mostly immigrant Latinos- has surpassed the number of African Americans in federal prison:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/us/19immig.html

So, given the lack of political will do anything around detention except support a CIR that will jail even MORE migrants,Polis’ John the
Baptist-like lonely voice in the wilderness of Washington is refreshing. His gumption and character are to be commended. Visiting detention facilities should be mandatory for any and all “reformers”. I think that if we could have some people become “detainees for a day” as part of their in service training, some would push as vociferously for real detention reform as they do for legalization and the increased enforcement that will jail more of those families, more of those children that Polis is concerned about.

If you appreciate Polis’ courage and honesty with regard to immigration reform, please show that appreciation by calling his office:

202-225-2161

Gracias!

Live Discussion of Honduras Coup on Youn Turks

July 14, 2009

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Tune in here at 8:20 pm EST (5:20PST)!

What Kind of “Hope” is Obama Offering Honduras and Latin America?

July 10, 2009

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For a U.S. audience, to watch as the wet, pinkish-red jelly — the brains of Isis Odem Murillo, the young man killed last Sunday by the U.S.-trained Honduran military — spill onto those who carried the Christ-like victim was to watch another tragedy unfold in a far off land.

But for those of us familiar with countries in the region like Honduras and El Salvador, where in 1989 U.S.-trained troops literally shot out the brains of six Jesuit priests, their maid and her young daughter, we see reminders of the possible return of the terror that takes friends, family and colleagues.

Such traumatic memories inform the sense of the past in the Americas, the same past that President Barack Obama recently told his hemispheric audience that he wants to break with. We see this, for example, in repeated references to the “past” Obama made during his important speech before the Summit of the Americas meeting in April (“To move forward, we cannot let ourselves be prisoners of past disagreements.” Or: “I didn’t come here to debate the past — I came here to deal with the future.”)

Noticeably absent in the forward-looking Obama’s messages to Latin America is one of the two words we all identify him and his presidency with: hope.

Whatever the reasons for this omission, Obama would do well to remember that, in the bloodied streets of Honduras, and throughout the Americas, there exists a powerful political tradition in which esperanza (Spanish for “hope”) is often defined by overcoming the pro-military policies of the country that took as its own the name given to the entire continent — “America.”

Regardless of the outcome of negotiations to end the standoff in Honduras between the de facto military government and the only recognized leader of the country, President Manuel Zelaya, Obama must view the Honduran crisis as an opportunity to support and negotiate with the forces of esperanza on the continent.

He must do so if he is to overcome the past and move forward as he said in his summit speech: “We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. But I pledge to you that we seek an equal partnership.”

In the insurgent region of Central America, tiny Honduras is nothing less than ground zero for the first encounter in the hemisphere between the tradition of esperanza and Obama’s still-untested notions of “hope.”

Contrasted against Obama’s still-being-formulated-as-we-speak notions of “hope” and “change” in the region, the movements flying the ancient banner of esperanza have delivered historic shifts across the Americas, as can be seen in the leaders elected in recent years, leaders with no less startling and inspiring stories as Obama’s. Indigenous leaders such as Bolivia’s Evo Morales; socialist single mothers, and former torture victims, like Chile’s Michelle Bachelet; and former steelworkers like Brazil’s “Lula” — Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

In times of great crisis, times in which Obama has yet to consolidate a sense of “hope” about the U.S. system in terms of things like health care, banking and jobs, the U.S. president has little to offer Latin America in the way of an alternative to the strides toward universal health care as in Venezuela and Cuba, the nationalization oil and other wealth redistribution programs of Bolivia or the democratization efforts of the deposed Zelaya in Honduras.

Until “hope” has some heft besides military heft to back it up, “esperanza” of Latin America will reign supreme — and be defended ferociously.

Once called “America’s Backyard” by Obama’s predecessors, América the continent has torn down the fences of what political scientists call the “unipolar” power of the United States in the region as the forces of esperanza usher in a new, more multipolar moment.

For example, many Latin Americans were not just united in calling for an end to Obama’s continuation of the $42.5 million in economic and military aid for Honduras in 2009. (Obama’s just-announced cuts in Honduran military aid can be viewed as either the victory of esperanza or the negotiation between esperanza and hope). Polls show that Latin Americans are also fairly unified with regard to their skepticism about U.S. motives in the hemisphere.

According to a widely quoted poll by the respected Latinobarometro Corp. in November, Latin Americans have a more favorable opinion of Spain, Japan and the European Union than they do of the United States — an unprecedented development — and two-thirds of all Latin Americans say they “don’t believe that the change of leadership in that country (the U.S.) will change the attitude of that country towards the region (of Latin America).”

China, whose foreign aid is mostly non-military (U.S. foreign aid varies between about one-third to two-thirds mostly military aid, as in the case of Colombia), which makes it one of the most important providers of foreign assistance to the region, is tied with the U.S in popularity ratings (58 percent favorable rating) — and trending upward.

He Li, a political scientist at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., the rising popularity of China reflects a resurgent Latin American sovereignty and independence of action. Writing in the North American Congress on Latin America magazine, Li stated, “the Beijing consensus (in Latin America) represents an attractive alternative to its Washington counterpart, largely because Beijing respects the sovereignty of Latin American nations, not meddling in their affairs and certainly not dictating their policies.”

Plus, when compared with the fact that Latin American families who live and work in the U.S. send $50 billion to their families at home — exponentially more than what the U.S. government gives in aid — the fountain of U.S.-led “hope” in the Americas appears to have dried up in Washington.

In the land of esperanza, Obama must recognize that talk of “hope” that is accompanied by continued military funding for governments like those of Honduras or Colombia rings as hollow. And are as increasingly vapid as the political slogans, such as “Si Se Puede” (Yes We Can), deployed by politicians and corporations pilfering beer, burgers and bad foreign policy.

Although the diplomatic dance between the Obama administration and Latin America has just begun, the initial steps in tiny Honduras may not be taken to the tune of “hope,” but to that of esperanza.

(This article appeared originally in Alternet http://www.alternet.org)

Honduran, Latin American & U.S. Activists Prevail: Obama Cuts Military Aid to Honduran Government Obama

July 9, 2009

This report from Reuters confirms that the Obama Administration will cut military aid to the Honduran government. The announcement represents a major victory for activists in Honduras, Latin America and the U.S., who have demanded such action by the Obama Administration since the coup began in June 28th.

Though the aid represents a small amount- $16.5 million-, the political value of this shift in U.S. policy is enormous. Some will try to interpret the Administration’s acquiesence to popular demands (elites never admit to responding to pressure) thru the foggy lens bureaucratic process. But anyone with any political sense knows that the cutoff of military aid would not have happened without the actions-phone calls, letter writing, protests, marches and other pressures-applied directly and indirectly by individuals, organizations and some governments throughout the hemisphere.

While President Zelaya has not yet been reinstated (negotiations begin today), those of us opposed to the coup, those who are helping the Obama Administration do the right thing, should take at least a brief moment to breathe in a deep appreciation of our work. Despite a media blackout, despite opposing the policies of an extremely popular president, the workings of popular hemispheric power continue. And though we should continue actions, we should should continue them in the knowledge that these actions have an impact. Yes We Will.

Are Obama, Democrats and National Immigration Groups Preparing to Push a National Identification Card System?

July 8, 2009

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This important article from the Washington Post provides an outline & sense of the tone of issues discussed -and possibly proposed- by Obama’s Immigration reform task force, which includes some influential Latinos like the SEIU’s Eliseo Medina and Raul Yzaguirre of National Council of La Raza:

– Placing a priority on “national security concerns,”

” – “strict quotas on work-based immigrant visas to maintain its scientific, technological and military edge,”

– “must include expanding temporary-worker programs.” (McCain) – “earned legalization, not amnesty” –

And, of course, this: ” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, chairman of a Senate immigration subcommittee that is taking the lead on reform legislation, said the recommendations track his plans for the bill, particularly the “biometric” document verification system. “Their basic principles are similar to ours,” Schumer said in a statement, “. . . but there are lots of details that must be filled in.”

What I’d like to know-and what I think we ALL need to know- is if Eliseo Medina & the SEIU & Raul Yzaguirre & NCLR and the groups in Washington DC are on board with including proposals for National ID Card as part of immigration reform-or any other reform, for that matter.

The ACLU, one of the country’s leading lights on matters of state surveillance denounced the national ID idea the day it was brought up by Schumer .

I’ve tried to interview some-NCLR, America’s Voice, others- in DC about the National ID Card & all I get are evasive or no responses. One person who did actually respond to the National ID question when asked on GRITTV said “It’s perfectly reasonable that the American people to expect that the borders will be controlled, that we’ll know who’s here and that we’ll have a process going forward where enforcement works.”

In all frankness, I see no difference between this message and the message of right wingers-except the messenger.

I truly and honestly implore those of you in DC to do the right thing on the National ID Card idea: Repudiate and denounce it immediately as the ACLU and even libertarian and right wing groups have done. Your failure to come out against national identification card proposals needlessly moves the discussion away from the nuts and bolts disagreements about what constitutes “real immigration reform” and into questions about your commitment to civil liberties and I, for one, really think that we all lose in that wasteful discussion. While I’ve questioned and differed on matters of immigration policy, you’ve never given me a reason to question your commitment to civil liberties. I really hope the National ID card does not become that occasion.

And, this just in from our friends at the Department of Homeland Security: President Obama and DHS head Napolitano back strengthening E-verify.

Can’t say I look forward to discussing and debating this stuff in larger forums.

Respectfully,

R

Alerta: Clinton to meet Zelaya today. call State Dept. to demand cutoof aid, reinstatement of Zelaya http://www.cispes.org/

July 7, 2009

Alerta: Clinton to meet Zelaya today. call State Dept. to demand cutoof aid, reinstatement of Zelaya http://www.cispes.org/

Honduras Action: Clinton to meet with Zelaya today; tell Obama Cut aid to illegal Honduras gov.

Tuesday, 07 July 2009
Call the State Department to demand that the Obama administration comply with U.S. law by immediately suspending aid to the de facto government of Honduras.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to meet with Zelaya TODAY – CALL Clinton’s Chief of Staff at 202-647-5548. Call script below

oas_honduras2.jpgDemocratically elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup on June 28th, and the de facto government has categorically refused to allow his return to power, threatening instead to arrest him if he sets foot on Honduran soil. Zelaya attempted to return to his country on Sunday, but his plane was unable to land after the Honduran military placed vehicles on the runways of the international airport. Meanwhile, at least two peaceful protestors have been killed and others injured, civil liberties have been suspended, and journalists have been harassed and detained by the current authorities.

In a notable break from past administrations’ policies, the U.S. has denounced the coup and called for Zelaya’s reinstatement. However, President Obama has not cut aid to the illegal government that assumed power following the early morning kidnapping of President Zelaya ten days ago.

Read more…

Stand in Solidarity with the People of Honduras – LASC alert and demands
Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Military Coup in Honduras – Stand in Solidarity with the People of Hondurasprotest_honduras.jpg

The Latin America Solidarity Coalition (LASC) condemns the military coup against the democratically elected Honduran President Zelaya. The Honduran social movements, who are courageously resisting the military take-over through protests, occupations and strikes, are calling on the international community to speak up in defense of real and direct democracy, for life, justice, liberty, dignity and peace.

Call the State Department and the White House and ask for actions, not merely words, including:

1. A cut off of all US aid (as required by US law) until Zelaya is safely returned to office.
2. Financial sanctions against the coup plotters
3. An investigation into what signals U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens gave to coup plotters before the coup.

State Department: 202-647-4000 or 1-800-877-8339
White House: Comments: 202-456-1111
Click here to send a message to President Barack Obama

Background: A military coup took place in Honduras on Sunday, June 28, led by SOA graduate Romeo Vasquez. In the early hours of the day, members of the Honduran military surrounded the presidential palace and forced the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, into custody. He was immediately flown to Costa Rica.

Read more…

Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out US Assholes

July 7, 2009

I predict that this video from our friends at the Onion will go viral. Chistosisimo!!! (Those of you who don’t speak Spanish can go to the Onion site to view the version with subtitles (they didn’t provide this version or I couldn’t figure out how to post it -or I’d have posted it)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Mexico Builds Border Wall To Keep Out…“, posted with vodpod

Latin América’s Neda: Video of Killing of Isis Oved Murillo

July 6, 2009

The parallels -mass protest against military governments, military killing non-English-speaking millenials, worldwide denunciation-could not be greater. But the differences between coverage and official treatment here in the U.S. of the situation in Iran and the situation in Honduras couldn’t be starker. Why? I am working through a piece on this for later. In the meantime, check out this video and see for yourself what most U.S. media and many elected officials in the U.S. are mum about (Warning: this video is extremely graphic, gut wrenchingly so):

“NUESTRO NEDA”: PIC OF HONDURAN YOUTH KILLED BY US-FUNDED MILITARY

July 6, 2009

Picture of our Neda: boy killed by Honduran military with bullets and M-16’s paid for by the U.S. government.