JFP 12/7: Honduras Election Turnout Claims Debunked

Just Foreign Policy News
December 7, 2009

The Real News: Honduras 62% Turnout Stat Has No Basis
The widely reported figure of 62% turnout has no basis in reality, the Real News reports. Only the Honduran organization Hagamos Democracia collected significant election data. HD was supported by the National Democratic Institute, which is funded by the US government and affiliated with the Democratic Party. HD found a 47.6 percent participation rate over its sample of 1,000 voting tables. But instead of blowing the whistle, the NDI neglected to mention this 15 percent discrepancy in their preliminary report on the election. They declared the elections to be orderly and peaceful, also making no mention of the brutal attack on peaceful protesters by security forces in downtown San Pedro Sula, an event that two NDI delegation members were witnesses to.

Feingold/McGovern/Jones: Don't Deploy More Troops Until Congress Has Voted

We Need a Clean Vote Now on Afghanistan Escalation

Novel concept: Congress should debate and vote on sending more troops to Afghanistan _before_ they are deployed. And it should be a clean, up-or-down vote, not linked to flood relief for farmers or the extension of unemployment benefits.

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We Need a Clean Vote Now on Afghanistan Escalation

Under our constitutional democracy, Congress has the power and the responsibility to establish a policy on President Obama's plans to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, and, if Congress opposes sending more troops, to try to block or alter this policy. The question now is whether Congress will act before the policy is implemented, and whether it will do so in a "clean" vote - an up or down vote solely on the question of sending more troops, unentangled with unrelated issues like flood relief for farmers or extending unemployment benefits.

If Congress does not act quickly, the President's proposal may become an accomplished fact. Already, President Obama has ordered Marine units to be deployed later this month. If Congress waits for months to debate the issue, most of the new troops may already be in place.

Anti-war Representatives are pressing for an early vote on funding for more troops so President Obama's policy will be judged by Congress before thousands of additional troops are sent into combat, the Politico reports. "Let us have this debate before he moves forward," Rep. Jim McGovern [D-MA] said. "I'd like it to be before we escalate one single American troop over there."

JFP 11/30: Honduran Elections Marred by Police Violence, Censorship, Non-Recognition

Just Foreign Policy News
November 30, 2009

[The Just Foreign Policy News may be intermittent in the next week, as the editor is traveling. The regular schedule will resume on December 7.]

CEPR: Honduran Elections Marred by Police Violence, Censorship, International Non-Recognition, CEPR Co-Director Says

Elections Won't Resolve Political Crisis; Democracy Must Be Restored Before Free Elections Can Be Held

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U.S./Top News
1) President Obama plans to lay out a "time frame" for winding down US involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision to send more forces, the New York Times reports. But officials said it would not be "as firm as the current schedule for withdrawing troops in Iraq."

2) Election observers said about 500 people marching peacefully in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula were repressed by tear gas and water cannons as a presidential election was held, Nica Times reports. Juan Barahona, who leads a resistance group critical of the de facto government and the elections, had told followers not to protest on the day of elections for fear of military repression but left it up to local chapters to decide.


Grijalva letter to Obama on Honduran elections

In a letter to President Obama on November 25, Rep. Grijalva urged reconsideration of U.S. support for elections in Honduras under the coup regime.

Upcoming Exit Ramp? What Was Wrong With This One?

Recent press reports suggest that President Obama is likely to try to sugarcoat his announcement next week of a major military escalation in Afghanistan with talk of "exit ramps": opportunities in the future to evaluate and possibly reduce the U.S. military commitment. That's supposed to make opponents of military escalation feel better, the media suggests. The New York Times reports:

The troops will be dispatched in phases, and Mr. Obama is likely to declare that he will review the deployment next year, to evaluate its progress.

"That gives him the flexibility to tell the Democrats that his commitment is limited," the Times says.

But it's hard to see why this should be at all reassuring. After all, we just had such an evaluation, which, despite the widespread view that the present policy has failed, resulted in the policy choice of sending 50% more troops that the President is about to announce. Why should we expect the next evaluation by the same actors to be substantially different from the one that just took place, if the data is the same?

Indeed, just as the President plans to assure us that we don't have an open-ended commitment, so he plans to reassure the governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and our European allies that we do, in fact, have an open-ended commitment. Which President Obama should be believed?

Supposedly, we have to tell Pakistan that we are not leaving because if they think that we are leaving, they will hedge their bets and back and protect their ally Mullah Omar, in order to protect their influence and what they perceive to be their national interests in Afghansitan.

Mark Weisbrot: Valenzuela Speech Suggests U.S. Will Blame Zelaya

Commenting on Arturo Valenzuela's recent speech to the OAS (a link to the speech follows Mark's comment), Mark Weisbrot writes:

Yesterday, President Obama's new top State Department official for Latin America, Arturo Valenzuela, delivered a speech about Honduras at the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States. The speech provides some important information about the State Department's strategy going forward. As before, this strategy is oriented toward legitimizing the coup government.

It appears that the State Department is still clinging to the October 30th "accord," and not just the "elections" to legitimize the government. So perhaps they still have hopes of reaching a deal with Zelaya after the election, or they are just pretending that they have such hopes, but one of these two things is the implication in this speech. When Zelaya refuses to be part of the farce, the implication here is that Washington will blame Zelaya for rejecting the implementation of the "accord."  (This of course is despite the fact that Micheletti torpedoed the accord immediately by declaring himself head of the "unity government.") I would think that they Obama administration could also win Republican support for this position, even people like Senator DeMint, thus closing the gap that some of the administration seems to worried about on the domestic front.

Their problem remains that practically no other country in the world is buying their line.

Valenzuela's speech is here.


JFP 11/20: Sen. Specter: "We ought not to add troops to Afghanistan"

Just Foreign Policy News
November 20, 2009

[The Just Foreign Policy News may be intermittent in the next few weeks, as the editor will be traveling. The normal schedule will resume on December 7.]

Monday: Call the White House Against Escalation in Afghanistan
There will be a national call-in day to the White House Monday against military esclalation in Afghanistan. The White House Comment Line is 202-456-1111.

Mark Weisbrot: Letter to the Wall Street Journal
Mark Weisbrot gives Jose de Cordoba of the Wall Street Journal a hand by sending him a "translation" of a recent article about Honduras.

Will the National Democratic Institute Back the Coup in Honduras?
The US-funded National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute want to send observers to the Nov. 29 elections in Honduras - a step towards recognizing the elections of the coup regime, which would put the U.S. at odds with most of Latin America. Ask your Represenative to oppose funding for observers of the Nov. 29 election unless President Zelaya is reinstated.

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U.S./Top News


Mark Weisbrot: Letter to the Wall Street Journal

Mark Weisbrot sent the following letter to José de Cordoba, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, in response to the article which is posted at the end.


List of organizations co-sponsoring national call-in day to the White House, Monday 11/23

United for Peace and Justice
American Friends Service Committee
Peace Action
Just Foreign Policy
Voters for Peace
Pax Christi
Historians Against War
Institute for Policy Studies
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Rep. Lee anti-escalation event in Oakland Monday 11/23

Representative Barbara Lee, whose bill HR 3699 would prohibit an increase in US forces deployed to Afghanistan, is having an event on 3699 and an exit strategy for Afghanistan in Oakland Monday, at the Dellums Federal Building, at noon.

The flyer is here.

Please spread this information around to contacts in the Bay area and the California press. Perhaps this event can have some impact on other Members of the California delegation...