Category Archives: Truth commission

OTP report clears Honduras; attack by Axis of Evil continues

The Office of the Prosecutor in the International Criminal Court (yes, I know that you guys followed this blog from Sept 2009 to Feb 2010) has now released a report on preliminary examination activities in Honduras. In paragraph 61 it says that Porfirio Lobo “instituted a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación) to cover events between 28 June 2009 and 27 January 2010” (CVR is the abbreviation). Here’s the problem: The conflict did not start June 28th, 2009, and the CVR’s mandate does not start with the events June 28th, 2009. As I have reported on this blog, over and over again, the CVR was a condition in the Guaymuras dialogue introduced by interim president Micheletti, and approved by the deposed president Zelaya; it was to cover the events before, during, and after June 28th, 2009. This is important, because every serious legal analysis until date has concluded that it was not a coup d’état; that the label coup d’état is entirely political with no foundation in the legal facts.

The OTP report talks about a “crisis room” that was installed in the presidential palace on July 6th. In fact I proposed the installation of it to Micheletti, and I stayed in contact with it during his entire interim presidency. It was a way of finding out the other side of the story, since virtually all media reporting represented the spin from the chavizta propaganda machine in Venezuela (Telesur being the main source of video footage). The purpose of the crisis room was to counter this massive propaganda machine, but it was still a modest effort: Six persons, against a global network of interconnected media, from news services to satellite TV to state employed bloggers – with messaging controlled by the president and minister of information in a totalitarian dictatorship that wished to take control over Honduras: Venezuela.

The Honduras crisis 2009 was not a “coup d’état”. It was the legitimate defense by one nation against a non-military aggression by another nation, with the intent of annexation. We now know the true intentions of the aggressor nations thanks to an audio recording retrieved from the computer of a Cuban military in 2012. At the meeting they talk about Cuba Grande Socialista, which will start with annexing Venezuela and Nicaragua, and for that reason they have decided to murder Hugo Chávez (which they did in December 2012 and then tried to conceal), and replace him with Maduro who is docile and manageable. From their point of view it was necessary to murder Chávez since he wanted to create Gran Colombia Bolivariana instead of Cuba Grande Socialista, to annex Colombia and Ecuador rather than Nicaragua, and to make himself the leader rather than Fidel.

It’s easy to see why they want Venezuela, the petroleum wealth, but the reason for desiring Nicaragua is more interesting in relation to Honduras: They want an alternative to the Panama Canal, one that they control. In Nicaragua there is an old project, older than the Panama Canal, that still is kept alive: The ECO canal, via Lake Managua, Lake Nicaragua, and San Juan River. It’s main drawback is the aridity of the Lake Managua drainage basin, some years not providing enough water for the necessary sluices to the Pacific Ocean. Another drawback is the shallowness of the San Juan River. Economically it cannot compete with the Panama Canal, but that’s not the point: Cuba wants it for political reasons, if they are shut out from the Panama Canal. In 2012 they were not, so one must ask oneself what were they up to, since they expected to be shut out from the Panama Canal? After the seizure of Cuban military material on a North Korean freighter it does seem, though, as though they may become shut out now…

Over to Honduras. There is a project being promoted there called the “canal seco”, the “dry canal”. It consists of a harbor in each end and either a railroad or a motorway in between, and the purpose is exactly to provide an alternative to the Panama Canal. Who is interested in financing it? China, an ally of Cuba. Nicaragua and Honduras are the only two countries that can offer an alternative to the Panama Canal. Nicaragua is already a dictatorship, and Ortega might not be such an easy nut to crack as the weak Honduran democracy. The newly elected president in Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, has proved to be very amenable to corruption, and that is how the enemy gets his foot in. There are already thousands of Cuban agents in Honduras, disguised as medical personnel, but whose real purpose is psychological operations in preparation for a possible annexation such as the one just being carried out in Venezuela after the assassination of Chávez.

Returning to the OTP report, they conclude: “While there were victims of killings, torture, sexual violence, detentions of longer duration and/or in conditions of a severe nature, or serious injuries, the commission of these crimes did not seem to have occurred in an organized and regular pattern.” This is the same thing that I heard during the crisis from the above-mentioned situation room, or “war room” as we called it at the time since it was in effect an act of aggression against Honduras: There was an accidental shooting of a civilian, there was someone found dead after having been detained and released, there were cases of sexual violence, but none of it was neither ordered nor sanctioned from the top; they did what they could to stop it, since it put them in jeopardy (and the OTP report is proof of that; they have been investigated until now).

In paragraph 74 of the report the “crisis room” is mentioned:

“Although not necessary, given the findings on the lack of either a widespread or systematic attack, the Office also considered whether there was any evidence of a policy to attack opponents of the de facto regime. …the establishment of a “crisis room” designed to plan operations to repress the opposition could also be an indicator of a policy … However … As regards the “crisis room”, it is not clear that emanating from this coordination there was a policy designed to attack, on a widespread and systematic basis, the civilian population…”

Again, let me spell it out: It was my idea to create this situation room, I proposed it to Micheletti through intermediaries, and the purpose was to provide the truth about what was happening to the media, population, and the international community, since the world media were totally dominated by the enemy propaganda (from Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, and other members of the Axis of Evil). Again, the situation room was devised to get the TRUTH out, and to the best of my knowledge all who worked there (six of them) were all communicators, none were involved with security issues. Of course they talked with the heads of security, that’s where they got their information from, but they did not direct security, they only reported the facts. For instance, it was through that channel that I found out how Telesur was staging “news” stories (the Telesur video has been taken down, I guess they didn’t like to get exposed so they reported it for copyright infringement).

The attack by the Axis of Evil against the sovereignty of Honduras continues, however. A week ago Manuel Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, was defeated in the presidential election. The interesting fact is, however, who financed her campaign: Venezuela and Cuba! Since a couple of years Cuba ceased to be the number one threat to Latin America, according to USA. It is now Russia. Russia is for all intents and purposes a Nazi regime, a criminal enterprise, and Cuba is, too; there is no significant difference between the Nazi and the communist ideology as clearly described by this documentary from Latvia (a nation that has suffered both Nazism and Russian communism): The Soviet Story. It’s a very upsetting film, especially the recent events since they show that the Empire of Evil still exists – and it wants to build a navy base in Venezuela, where it already has a significant military presence. Honduras is not out of the woods, and the “canal seco” is surely of high strategic value to the axis of evil.

PS. The Truth Commission was also my idea, so I know very well that the purpose was to cover the before as well as during and after June 28th, 2009. And let me add, I did give advice to Micheletti, but I did so protected by Free Speech – by writing it on this blog – and never accepting any payment for it.

Truth Report in Honduras misses the Big Picture

The CVR report [since that site went dead I have uploaded the report here: CVR report] from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Honduras (Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación) was released July 7, 2011. Their most serious error is in the apparent omission of the Trotskyist Cold War aspect, which has led them to draw erroneous conclusions.

Although the report was released July 7, it is not until today that I have had a chance to read it, since I have been on a well-deserved vacation. So far I have read Chapter 6, “the events of June 28, 2009.” As regards the documental evidence there is nothing new, but the testimonies at the end are new – and interesting – to me, since they reveal just how incompetent the persons pushing for the Constitutional Assembly really are. Take Cesar Ham, who said “Miércoles antes de la cadena nacional y entonces Kike que no hallaba cómo explicar, que no, que mirá, me decía, que no sé qué, que esto, vamos a la consulta o vamos a la consulta le digo” (“Wednesday before the national address and Kike who didn’t find how to explain, that look, he said to me, that this, and that; are we having the poll or having the poll, I asked him”). There is nothing more revealing for who has something on his feet and who hasn’t, than their own declarations in this report. But the real dynamite comes in the omissions in the following chapter.

In Chapter 7 they enter into the territory of analysis of the legality of the events. Although I have only read part of the text, I have already discovered that they have made a serious error of judgment. By failing to take into account the international nature of the conflict, treating it as an internal Honduran affair, they have landed on the completely wrong foot. To exemplify, they consider it wrong by the Honduran Attorney General and Supreme Court to accuse Manuel Zelaya of treason, and that the Honduran Constitution defines treason in way too wide terms. However, nowhere in Chapter 6 did I see any reference to the well-established fact that Zelaya was a quisling for Hugo Chávez, and that Chávez – a president in a foreign nation – was bankrolling not just Zelaya’s efforts to hold the illegal referendum, but also the “civil society organizations” who were pushing Zelaya to go ahead against his own expressed doubts that it was politically possible.

There has been ample denouncements ever since before June 28 that Chávez was behind this, but in Chapter 6 this is only mentioned very casually, by referring to a joint TV appearance of Zelaya and Chávez. Nowhere is it mentioned that the Honduran society was very well aware of the unconstitutional, yes unconstitutional, Constituting Constitutional Assembly that Hugo Chávez had arranged in Venezuela shortly after being elected president in 1999, thus effectively carrying out a self-coup, an autogolpe; and that Chávez had proceeded to bankroll other president’s election campaigns in other Latin American countries, and their unconstitutional Constituting Constitutional Assemblies (e.g., Ecuador, Bolivia).

They knew in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula that the international community, lead by OAS and Insulza, would be most accommodating in welcoming such a coup d’état also in Honduras. They knew that Insulza effectively is a golpista apologist, and that OAS is a threat to democracy, especially after allowing Cuba back in without easing up one inch on their communist dictatorship.

They knew that nobody was going to save democracy if they didn’t do it. It was not a political battle in a country in peace. It was a state of Cold War, exactly the kind of cold war that Adolf Hitler referred to when he coined that term. The play by Hugo Chávez, himself a quisling of Fidel Castro, was as taken from the playbook of the Führer: Take over a foreign sovereign nation without using military force, simply by intimidation, bribes, and lies. But after having used the strategy successfully in a handful of Latin American countries, the Hondurans had taken note that many tracks led into the lion’s lair, but none led out.

Thus it is with sadness that I am forced to conclude that CVR, a commission that I myself promoted in the San José talks, have failed to cast the net large enough to capture the real truth about what happened in Honduras. They have steered clear of the most important issue: The threat that Trotskyist Communism poses to Latin America, and thus to the rest of the world through their methods. These methods include infiltration (taking power in democracies under false flag and then converting them to communist dictatorships), terrorism, and drug violence (spreading chaos and havoc in democracies to make them ripe to fall for their manchurian candidates).

Trotsky clearly promoted lies and crimes in order to take power in all major nations first, and then to introduce communism with all that it entails in the form of getting rid of private ownership. Hugo Chávez is a confessed follower of Trotsky, whose vision is the ultimate tyranny, with absolute world-wide concentration of power. The failure of making this connection by CVR is absolutely devastating for the usefulness of the report’s conclusion in a political context, although in its factual findings it is still relevant and valuable in a narrow context, and for that I congratulate the commission.

Published 2011-07-15 19:34, last edited 2011-07-16 07:52

Truth Report on Honduras

Harvard law professor Noah Feldman has, together with co-authors, written a report to the Honduran Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR from its Spanish name) regarding the constitutionality of the events before, during, and after June 28, 2009, when the president of the republic, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, was removed from office and flown to Costa Rica. Following this blog’s tradition of archiving a copy of all important documents related to that event, the report is duplicated here: Reporte a la Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación de Honduras: Asuntos constitucionales (English version). It is with a special interest that I read this report, since I proposed a truth commission back in July 2009, and Micheletti’s negotiators brought it up in their counter-offer.

After reading the executive summary I find the report to contain exactly what I had expected. First, that a lot of people kept their silence and didn’t reveal what they knew (the fact that CVR requested a meeting with me, whose only involvement has been writing this blog after the fact, amply illustrates that they have grasped at straws for getting to the truth). They have not been able to determine if the secret arrest warrant was issued the day it was dated, or afterwards in a CYA effort. This means that the report does not add any new facts, which is a pity. As for the legal analysis it is as could be expected, given that no new facts came out. Finally, since this is a legal and not a political study, they wisely refrain from evaluating what it means in political terms – something that I don’t have to refrain from here.

They identify three risks to modern democracy, not just in Honduras but generally, all exemplified from Honduras 2009. They are first that the executive office-holder abuses power and usurps powers from the other branches of government (it is clear that they see “modern democracy” as synonymous to “presidential republics”, because this is obviously something that cannot reasonably happen in a parliamentarian democracy). The second is that of an unconstitutional transfer of power, e.g. by military intervention. The third is the lack of clarity as regards the roles that the different institutional actors should assume in a crisis, due to poorly defined constitutions and laws. The report is structured along these three lines of analysis.

Zelaya made an “autogolpe”

In the executive summary they clearly state that president Mel Zelaya violated direct court orders before being deposed, and that the Supreme Court had a constitutional and legal method of deposing him. Having said this, they seem careful not to say that the president was obligated to obey the Supreme Court. In any constitutional democracy it is self-evident that the president is obligated to obey the Supreme Court, so by not stressing that point they are in fact implying that there is something wrong with the constitution of the Republic of Honduras – i.e., that it may give the president a position equivalent to an elected king with a one term limit. This is what I mean with them sticking to the legal and refraining from opinions on the political. Put in plain English: Anyone who is defending Zelaya’s actions and claiming that he should have been restored to power is implying that Honduras is not a constitutional democracy, since if it is a constitutional democracy, then Zelaya de facto made a coup d’état, an “autogolpe”. That is the political conclusion that the legal scholars refrain from expressing, but which can be read between the lines.

When it comes to the act of Congress to depose Zelaya, they stick to their task and discuss only the constitutionality or not thereof. Their conclusion is that Congress most likely did not have that authority, although the Constitution is vague and fails to clearly indicate which institution has what authority in this situation. Therefore it becomes necessary to make a political evaluation of intent, given the basic premise that Honduras is a constitutional democratic republic. At least in the executive resumé they do not consider the fact that Congress is the highest representative of the people between elections, given that Honduras is a representative democracy. In a constitutional crisis where the executive has violated the Constitution and failed to obey the Supreme Court, and there is a lack of clarity in the Constitution and laws of how to proceed, the one and only institution that can act independently is the Congress, since they “are” the people between elections, and all power emanates from the people.

Although the authors do not make this point, they imply it in the recommendation section. An important idea with the commission was to make recommendations of how to avoid a repetition of such a crisis, by strengthening the legal framework of the country. They recommend that the Supreme Court gets a clearer role as arbitrator between the different branches of government, and a stronger position visa-vi the executive. They further suggest that Congress should get an express role in the removal of the President.

It is interesting to note this, since the interim presidency all the time claimed that it already was that way. Here is a philosophical question: Does the relative power have to be set by laws, or can it be set by precedent? In the case of USA it was set by precedent, in 1803 (see “From strengthening institutions to a coup: Explaining the ouster of President Zelaya as an outcome of a game of institutional emergence“). All that it takes for this to become precedent is that it is accepted. To first say “no we don’t accept it because the law is not explicit” and then say “we should change the law so it explicitly becomes that way” is hypocritical. As long as the law is not explicitly forbidding it, it can be established by precedent, as was the case in Honduras 2009.

What will CVR say?

Their report is due any day. They ought to include the political analysis to the legal study. In this blog post I have indicated how I think their analysis should go. But the question is if they have the balls to challenge the entire global community, who called this a coup d’état. Do they dare? Can their careers survive it? That’s the question.

Some quotes

Reading the main text of the analysis, the report appears even more in line with the thinking of the supporters of the interim presidency. Could it be that the executive summary is adopted for political reasons to agree more with the official opinion of OAS and others? If so it is a shame. A truth commission should not look over its shoulder, but be the standard-bearer for independent analysis. In my humble opinion their conclusions are precisely what I have concluded since the very first posts on this blog. But now it is official.

About Zelaya

Concluimos que la utilización del Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas para el propósito previsto en estos decretos fue ilegal bajo las leyes de Honduras.” (We conclude that the use of the National Institute of Statistics for the purpose of these decrees [holding a referendum] was illegal under the laws of Honduras.)
Adicionalmente el Acuerdo 027-2009 violaba la normativa constitucional y legal relacionada a la utilización de la Fuerzas Armadas.” (Additionally the agreement 027-2009 violated the constitutional and legal norms for the use of the armed forces.)
También concluimos que los Decretos Ejecutivos y el Acuerdo llamando a la “consulta” o “encuesta” probablemente no fueron conforme a derecho.” (We also conclude that the executive decrees and agreement calling for the referendum or poll probably were not in agreement with the law.)
Estos artículos parecerían prohibir una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente bajo el orden constitucional actual.” (These [constitutional] articles would seem to forbid a national constitutional assembly under the present constitution.)
Nosotros concluimos que el Presidente Zelaya Rosales ilegalmente incumplió con las órdenes judiciales del Juzgado Contencioso Administrativo.” (We conclude that president Zelaya Rosales illegally disobeyed the judicial orders from the contentious-administrative court.)

About Congress

Al menos algunos de los cargos contra Zelaya Rosales parecen estar bien fundamentados.” (At least some of the accusations against Zelaya Rosales appear to be well founded.) [They exemplify with abuse of authority for disobeying a court order.]
Nuestro análisis aquí concluye que el intento legislativo de destituir a Zelaya Rosales de su cargo probablemente violó la Constitución.” (Our analysis here concludes that the legislative intent to depose Zelaya Rosales probably violated the Constitution.)
Por lo tanto el nombramiento [de Roberto Micheletti Bain] siguió lo establecido en la sucesión constitucional especificad en el artículo 242.” (Therefore the appointment [of Roberto Micheletti Bain] followed the constitutional succession order established in article 242.)

About the Armed Forces

Por lo tanto, los comandantes de las Fuerzas Armadas observaron la ley cuando rehusaron a asistir con la Cuarta Urna.” (Therefore, the commanders of the armed forces were following the law when they refused to assist with holding the [referendum].)
Las Fuerzas Armadas violaron el artículo 102 de la Constitución cuando expatriaron a Zelaya Rosales.” (The armed forces violated article 102 of the constitution when they expatriated Zelaya Rosales.)
También dejamos nota que los oficiales militares fueron exonerados de su acusación penal en enero de 2010. No expresamos ninguna opinión con relación a este caso penal. Nuestro caso está limitado a la discusión de la legalidad de las acciones. La pregunta sobre si los oficiales militares son responsables criminalmente por la expatriación de Zelaya Rosales es distinta a la pregunta de si la expatriación fue legal.” (We also take note that the military officers were exonerated from their criminal accusations in January of 2010. We are not expressing any opinion in relation to this criminal case. Our task is limited to discussing the legality of the actions. The question of whether the military officers are criminally responsible for the expatriation of Zelaya Rosales is a different question from that of whether the expatriation was legal.)

My Comments

After reading the analysis of the constitutionality of the events, it appears to be the conclusion of the authors that president Zelaya Rosales was clearly acting outside the Constitution and the laws, as were the military when they expatriated him, but that the Congress was balancing near the margin of the Constitution (“probably violated”). Note again that this analysis is strictly based on the constitutional legality, and does not include neither a political analysis, nor a criminal analysis.

For a political analysis one has to evaluate the alternatives, and consider what they would likely have led to – in this case, and as a precedent. Failure to stop Manuel Zelaya Rosales would have led to the executive being above the law. He had amply demonstrated that he was not going to accept any order from anyone. There was no other tool at the disposal of Congress and the Courts than the use of force. The report finds that the Supreme Court had the legal right and due cause for having Zelaya arrested, and that the arrest order to the military was constitutional.

The point where the constitutional order was broken (after it was broken by Zelaya) was when the military expatriated him. It left the Congress and the Supreme Court with a very difficult situation to handle, in which both the president, and those charged with arresting the president, were acting unconstitutionally. It was a fundamentally political crisis, not legal, at that point. Consider the alternative to allow Zelaya back as president. He would surely not have agreed to return without having all his adversaries arrested first. The legal case against him would have been dead. The expatriation of him put the entire establishment before a fait accomplis: the military had figuratively burned the ships. From their perspective this was desirable, since they had openly defied him, refused to obey his orders. They knew that if he remained president their careers would be over. They had a personal interest in making sure that there was no chance for Zelaya to survive the crisis in office.

Personally I would not be surprised if they got tacit support from different individuals, within and even outside the country. It is no secret that Zelaya is allied with one of the greatest threats to peace in the Western Hemisphere: Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías. It is furthermore no secret that Chávez Frías has conspired to overthrow a number of democracies using the same unconstitutional method as Zelaya Rosales attempted in Honduras (starting with Venezuela in 1999). In none of the other cases has the democratic checks and balances managed to defend the constitutional order. Although one would have preferred that Honduras’s military officers had stuck to the legal route of actions, one must therefore have a certain sympathy for their reasoning that “attack is the best defense”. There is no guarantee that the law would have prevailed if they had followed it.

Whatever one thinks about the military’s actions they did not assume power, and the actions of Congress are defensible under the circumstances as a precedent for a case not contemplated under the Constitution. That is the bottom line that emerges from a political analysis of this legal report, and that makes it perfectly clear that the deposal of Zelaya Rosales was not a coup d’état. (While the authors of this report have not been able to determine if the secret arrest orders were issued the days they are dated, or created when they were made public in order to cover up a military coup, I am assuming that they were for real, for 3 reasons: First, because they had legal backing and it would be illogical to use extra-legal methods when one has legal methods at ones disposal. Second and third, because I have it from two different sources, who don’t know each other, that they knew about the secret arrest order already June 25 or 26; both are family members of people involved in the events. Of course they could be lying, but what sense would that make when they had the law on their side? Therefore I consider it far fetched to believe that it was a military coup that they were trying to cover up.)

Summing up

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is published, the last chapter of the events of June 28, 2009, will be written. That marks the end of the political events, the final step in the implementation of the Guaymuras-dialogue agreement, the San José-Tegucigalpa Accord. It has been implemented meticulously by first interim president Micheletti, then president Lobo, even though ex-president Zelaya backed away from it when he realized that Congress would not vote him back as president.

What remains is to learn from this event. Honduras has already amended its constitution as regards popular referendum, but as this report points out in its recommendation section, also the new wording is insufficiently clear. The recommendations in this report should be taken very seriously by the Congress in Tegucigalpa, both those regarding crisis solution, regarding the removal of a high office-holder especially the president, those regarding changing the constitution, and those regarding popular referendum. All of those parts were involved in the crisis of 2009, and all of them are important to protect the democracy against the kind of attacks launched by Hugo Chávez and his Cuban allies; their goal is to take over all countries in Latin America, installing Quisling regimes that are beholden to “Socialism of the 21st Century” (i.e., communism).

The strategy of Castro and Chávez is to win democratic elections with the financial backing of the Venezuelan state (oil revenues), and then once in office call for a national constitutional assembly to rewrite the constitution, creating a structure that will enable their Quisling to stay in power indefinitely. Only when the power is secured will they complete the transformation to communism, as they appear to follow Trotsky’s strategy of spreading their power first before consolidating communism. (In fact, in 2007 Chávez himself confessed to being a Trotskyist!)

Honduras was the first major set-back in their plan. The attacks continue unabated, and the war is not yet won. Millions of dollars are still being spent to try to bribe their way in. It is a dangerous and volatile situation, and the more the world punished Honduras economically after the alleged “coup”, the more they pushed Honduras into Castro’s and Chávez’s fold. The wise thing to do now, when this legal report is out, is to acknowledge that Manuel Zelaya Rosales was in clear violation of the Constitution, that he had to be arrested and removed from office to preserve constitutional democracy, and that while a clear error of judgment was made in expatriating him it, it does not change the equation: Zelaya could not be left in office. We have to separate the two issues, the expatriation and the removal from office. We can condemn one while applauding the other. It was, frankly, stupid to expatriate Zelaya Rosales, but the action of Congress can be defended as attempting to find a way out of an impossible situation not contemplated by the Constitution, setting a precedent that can well be codified in a constitutional amendment now, following the recommendations of this report.

Published 13:37 June 9, last updated 07:59 June 10.

The Truth Commission in Honduras

The political crisis in Honduras last year ended in an agreement, the Guaymuras Accord, in which it was stipulated in point 6 that a Truth Commission be formed to investigate what really led up to the crisis, so that the risk of repetition can be minimized. The commission is working since this Spring, and the report is due in early 2011.

The text gives these instructions, in my translation: “With the purpose of clarifying the events occurred before and after June 28, 2009, a Truth Commission will also be created that will identify the acts that led to the present situation, and present to the Honduran people elements to avoid that these acts are repeated in the future.” The Spanish original reads, “Con el fin de esclarecer los hechos ocurridos antes y después del 28 de junio de 2009, se creará también una Comisión de la Verdad que identifique los actos que condujeron a la situación actual, y proporcione al pueblo de Honduras elementos para evitar que estos hechos se repitan en el futuro.

On the website of the Truth Commission, a scheme of inquiry is described.

A work plan for the truth commission could rather look something like what I will describe here. It is based on the scientific method, in which one erects an hypothesis and then tries to prove it wrong.

  1. Erect the hypothesis that the institutions (the courts, the congress, etc.) acted correctly in relation to the deposing of Zelaya, and try to disprove this hypothesis. Note that it would be scientifically wrong to erect the hypothesis that they acted incorrectly, since that hypothesis is virtually impossible to disprove. The burden of proof has to be on the one that claims that they acted wrong, not on the one that claims they acted correctly. Therefore, the null hypothesis must be that they acted correctly.
  2. Establish a paper trail for what happened, gather documents and other evidence and try to verify their veracity.
  3. Evaluate the actions (by Zelaya and others) and the reactions (by the judicial branch) step by step, in chronological order, based on the Honduran Constitution, the Honduran law, and Honduran jurisprudence.
  4. Repeat this procedure for each institution, i.e., the legislative, the prosecutor, the military, the police, and so on.
  5. For every case where someone acted outside the law, verify if the case was dealt with appropriately by the judicial.

If no proof of wrongdoing can be found with this approach, then the hypothesis is retained, and the institutions are found to have acted within the law. If some wrongdoing is found, then one must follow up and see how that wrongdoing was dealt with (point 5). If it was dealt with appropriately, then, too, the institutionality of Honduras shall be deemed to have passed the hypothesis-testing.

Jumping the gun, what it will come down to is the expatriation of Zelaya. We already know that those responsible were prosecuted. The question is rather if Zelaya was held harmless;in other words, if his legal rights were respected the same in the light of his illegal expatriation, as they would have been had he instead been thrown in jail as the arrest warrant ordered. This is of course somewhat of an hypothetical, since he has not returned to Honduras to face justice. The only way to find out if there is justice or not is, really, for him to return and defend himself in court.

If the commission does its work appropriately, we will have authoritative answers to these questions:

  1. Does the Supreme Court have the authority of arrest the president (based on Honduran jurisprudence, of course)?
  2. Did the Supreme Court, on June 26 when the arrest warrant was issued, have due cause for issuing the arrest warrant?
  3. Does the Supreme Court have the authority to relieve the president from office, temporarily or permanently?
  4. Does the Congress have the authority to relieve the president from office, temporarily or permanently?
  5. Who issued the order to expatriate Mel Zelaya?
  6. Has the one(s) who issued the order to expatriate Mel Zelaya been prosecuted according to the laws?
  7. Has Zelaya’s legal rights been safeguarded, before and after he was illegally expatriated?

The more important question may not be if the commission will do its job correctly, but if media will report its conclusions correctly.

The Risks and how to Mitigate them

It seems clear beyond reasonable doubt that there is a concerted attack against Honduras carried out by certain groups, the face of which is Hugo Chavez. The tools of the attack are not military, the goal is not a military victory. Rather, the tools are manipulation of the media story by means of false news and control of the media news cycle, and the goal is to make Honduras ungovernable, so that the smuggling of cocaine to the north can be carried out cheap and safely – relatively speaking. Only the cocaine economy can explain the vast investment that is being made in this attack on Honduras institutions of government. We are talking about tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars “invested” in destroying Honduras. This is a cold war precisely as Adolf Hitler intended when he coined the term.

Understanding their goal we can predict their strategy. There is no doubt in my mind that they will write their story-lines and edit their news coverage in advance of the release of the report from the truth commission. Once the report is out they will quickly scan it for a quote that they can use to “support” their story, and then quickly go out with their version of what the commission actually said. By being quick, they hope that the other media, like AP, AFP, EFE, and Reuters, will run with their version instead of taking the time to actually read the report.

Judging from how those news agencies have acted in the past, I’d predict that the strategy is going to work.

The only ones that can prevent this willful distortion of the commissions report is the commission itself. If they desire for the truth to be known, they have to manage the news themselves.

The most important counter-measure is to remove the possibility for the enemy of Honduras to act. The opportunity for the enemy is in the moment when the report is released. The mitigation must therefore be to not release the report all at once at the end. A range of methods can be used, and some have already started.

Social media: The commission is already using social media to communicate with people, thus gradually diffusing information about the process and gaining confidence.

Radio: They could cooperate with radio shows to discuss subjects on air, taking questions and even discussing with people who call in. This, too, will gradually diffuse their findings and undermine the chances for the enemy to spin the story when the final report comes.

Leaks: By leaking findings in advance, the enemy is denied the chance to spin, or lie, about these facts later.

Galleys: Provide copies of the report to select news outlets about a week in advance of the official release date so that they have time to read it and write their own, accurate, stories.

What is essential here is to understand that some media are not news outlets, but propaganda organizations. They must be treated accordingly. While they pretend to be news outlets and claim to be protected by the rules of journalistic freedom, they really are the enemy in disguise. It is a tricky business to on the one hand not violate their rights, and on the other hand not allow them to play the game they want. It’s like a game of chess, but it’s not a game, what is at stake is human lives. Millions of human lives.

Truth Commission to be installed today

The truth commission, initially proposed by the Micheletti side in the San José talks, will be installed today in Tegucigalpa. The purpose of the commission is specified in the accord signed by Micheletti and Zelaya. It is to bring out the truth of what happened before, during, and after June 28, so that Honduras may learn from the experience and avoid that it happens again.

In short, they must investigate what chain of events led up to the disastrous consequence that no country in the world recognized the Honduran government.

According to the Human Rights Foundation report, the Supreme Court had every right to separate Zelaya from power, since he had engaged in a coup d’état, but the process was not carried out properly, starting with the military acting beyond their orders when they expatriated Zelaya to Costa Rica June 28th.

The truth seems to scare the Zelaya supporters, who have now announced that they will create their very own, partisan, “truth commission” in order to narrowly look at only what happened after June 28th. Among the things that I predict they will cover up is the involvement of Zelaya’s propaganda director in the death of the 19-year old boy at Tegucigalpa Airport July 5th, as I blogged about yesterday.

¿Porqué la Comisión de la Verdad?

Quizás vale la pena finalmente explicar el propósito y los pensamientos atrás la Comisión de la Verdad, propuesto por el lado de Micheletti en San José.

Primero, fue para enviar el mensaje que la constitucionalidad hondureña no tenga nada a esconder.

Segundo, fue para crear un documento de referencia para la comunidad internacional, que pueda servir para limpiar la acusación falsa del imagen de Honduras.

Tercero, fue para abrir los ojos de los grupos en Honduras que creían que fue un golpe de Estado, y lograr la reconciliación con ellos, la gran mayoría de los que demostraban en contra de Micheletti.

Nunca fue para lograr reconciliación con la minoría en la llamada resistencia, porque ellos son verdaderos revolucionarios, insurgentes, que realmente quieren destruir esa republica y crear un nuevo en las cenizas. No habrá nunca reconciliación con los enemigos del Estado.

En mi propuesta una amnistía política fue incluida para ellos que abiertamente declararon sus acciones. En mi juicio fue un error otorgar amnistía ciega como el congreso hizo el 27 de enero este año. Sin embargo, este comisión todavía tiene metas importantes.

Todo esto en conjunto sirviera para aumentar la confianza en la ley y las instituciones legales.

Para lograrlo, transparencia es importantísimo. Todo se tiene que hacer en la luz del día. Reuniones cerradas haría la comisión contra-productiva. Espero que el gobierno de Pepe Lobo entienda la importancia de esto.

Truth Commission in Honduras

The Guatemalan ex vice president Stein, who Pepe Lobo put in charge of forming the Truth Commission that is to investigate what exactly happened in the crisis that started some time in early 2009, culminated on June 25 to 28, and ended either with the November 29 elections or the January 27 inauguration, depending on how you view it.

However, words of caution have been raised today saying that Stein was too close to Zelaya, that he may be a stooge for Insulza in OAS, and that his recent words that the objective of the commission is to propose changes to the Constitution, risks making him appear as little more than a continuation of the “Cuarta Urna”-project. That is the term used for the referendum on creating a Constituting Assembly, something the Supreme Court of Justice in Honduras has found unconstitutional.

Specifically, Stein mentioned that the role of the military in Honduras’s Constitution might need to be looked at. As is well-known, the deposed president, Zelaya, had turned to the military for help with police work, rather than giving the necessary resources to the police for doing their job. This is allowed in Honduras, but Zelaya made it the norm rather than the exception. It is frowned upon internationally, since the military are not trained in the human rights issues that the police must be well versed in. Still, judging from TV footage the military has routinely been more passive than the police in the riots after June 28.

Constitutional Crisis

In fact, in my personal opinion, the passivity of the military may actually be the singular cause of this crisis going international. The Supreme Court impounded the illegal ballots and left them in the custody of the military. On June 26, Zelaya went with a mob to retrieve them, and the military did not offer any resistance.

If the military had done their duty on that occasion, and prevented that the president took the ballots by any means necessary, as they were supposed to, including staring down death if it came to that, then the crisis would have ended very differently.

What actually happened was that Zelaya took the ballots, and his followers distributed them for the illegal referendum on June 28. This forced the Attorney General to request, and the Supreme Court to issue, an arrest warrant for Zelaya. He was arrested at dawn, just after daybreak as can be seen on photos, on June 28. The military as a cautionary action exiled him, which the Supreme Court in January declared justified as an action of national self defence. Congress swore in a new president. This ended the constitutional crisis in Honduras on June 28, but it created an international problem for the country, since the rest of the world declared it a coup and froze the diplomatic relations.

What could have happened if the military stopped them from taking the ballots is that no referendum could have been held, and thus Zelaya would have remained in office, Honduras would have remained recognized internationally, but the constitutional crisis would have continued. Zelaya had already violated the Constitution in such a way that there was ground for his arrest and immediate removal from power, but the U.S. had stated that they would consider any such act a coup, no matter how legal it was under Honduran law. So status quo would have continued, with a bankrupt economy, no budget, and a general election approaching. The fact that there was no budget for the general election was a big concern for all parties.

However, the above hypothetical peaceful scenario is very unlikely. It is well known among people with close insight into the Zelaya presidential palace that they were not preparing to leave power in only 7 months. It is just completely unbelievable that Zelaya and that mob would have left the air force base and the ballots peacefully. There would have been a bloodbath, and Zelaya would have blamed it on the military in an attempt at getting rid of those who did not obey him.

One must not forget that when the present Supreme Court was appointed in early 2009 (they sit for 7 years), Zelaya was not happy with the candidates to the 15 seats. He demanded that he appoint justices, but Micheletti among others refused to give in to his demands – even as he threatened to send out the tanks on the streets. Yes, Zelaya threatened to make a military auto-coup! His most outrageous demand was that the wife of his Minister of the Presidency was made chief justice in the Supreme Court.

The Congress did not yield. If they had, there would have been no way of legally stopping Zelaya’s violations of the Constitution in June, or him dissolving the Constitution and creating a Constituting Assembly with him as president and thus supreme ruler of the country. Of course, he would have used newspeak to describe those actions, since the world apparently only cares about words, not legal realities.

In conclusion, even though it theoretically would have been possible for the military to prevent having to do the action to prevent a coup on June 28, by resisting Zelaya on June 26, a final showdown would probably have been inevitable. From a military strategic perspective they acted correctly, refusing to take the fight on the enemies terms, and instead taking the fight on their terms two days later.

The only way in which things could have been better in this aspect is if the court had left the ballots in the custody of the police instead, and or the police had arrested Zelaya. But this does not require a change of the Constitution.

Diplomatic Crisis

Let us look now at the diplomatic crisis. It started the same day as the constitutional crisis ended, June 28. The reason for it was that the world mistook the action to end the constitutional crisis and the coup attempt by Zelaya for a military coup in itself. The world thus saw a successful white coup when in reality it was an unsuccessful red coup.

Could this have been avoided if the Constitution had been different? Yes, most certainly. Namely if the country would have had a parliamentarian system of government, as is common in Europe. The president in a parliamentarian republic is the head of state, and is thus representing the country internationally, but it is the prime minister who is head of government. In such a system Zelaya as president would not have had the power to create the Constitutional crisis that he created, and as prime minister he could have been dismissed without causing any diplomatic crisis.

If the president in a parliamentarian republic would be thrown out like Zelaya was, it would of course have caused a similar reaction internationally. The key to avoid that from happening, is not to give the president very much authority. If he cannot cause problems there is little reason to depose him. That is the way it is a monarchy such as the Kingdom of Sweden; the King (or Queen) has no power at all. Thus there cannot be any reasonable reason to dethrone him.

I must admit that I still haven’t read the entire Constitution of Honduras (it is quite long and not that well organized), so I don’t know if such a change would be possible. But that’s another story, one that I will probably have reason to return to when the Truth Commission starts working.

Media: Latin America News Dispatch. Statement from the Honduran NGO Pro-Justicia, pointing out biases and concluding that Hondurans have to be alert to defend their democracy and freedom without having confidence in that their government does it, like the previous one did.

The Oxymoronic Discourse on Honduras

Last year Honduras entered its most serious constitutional crisis ever. President Zelaya was pushing for throwing out the Constitution, and create a Constituting Assembly to draft a new one from scratch. Of course he ran afoul of the existing Constitution in so doing, why the checks and balances kicked in, and Zelaya was kicked out.

By the color of the shirts of the people who demonstrated during this crisis, those who are defending the existing democratic constitution have become known as the white, and those who want to overthrow the constitution are called the red.

Regrettably, the world mistook the defence of democracy for a military coup by the white. The reasons have been amply exposed on this blog so I will not repeat them. Suffice it to say that the OAS, USA, and media are all as a minimum guilty of thick-headiness. Hugo Chávez is, on the other hand, a direct culprit; he is the hub that makes the wheel spin.

The remarkable thing is that even though the Honduran crisis is a direct parallel to what has happened in other ALBA countries, this seems to be very hard for media in the non-Spanish-speaking world to understand. Case in point: The Christian Science Monitor yesterday attempted to paint a link between Nicaragua and Honduras. However, they link Ortega’s (who is obviously red) unconstitutional maneuvers with Micheletti’s actions (although he is on the white side). It would be tragicomic if it wasn’t so serious; it is democracy itself that is at stake, and they are not able to tell the attacker from the defender.

The similarity between Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua, and Honduras, is crystal clear, much stronger than what CSMonitor realizes. They just have to compare with Manuel Zelaya, instead of with Roberto Micheletti.

Imagine that the Supreme Court in Managua stops Ortega, and that their Congress deposes him and replaces him with the person who is next in line in the succession order. Now try to figure out, after reading the article in CSMonitor, how that newspaper would present our hypothetical event. Would they present it as a victory for the checks and balances, or as a coup d’état?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what happened in Honduras, and they – still – present it as a coup d’état. A coup d’état committed by the checks and balances, no less. Talk about oxymoron.

Alone against the world

Just like Finland stood alone when the Soviet Union attacked her in WWII, but won against all odds, so has Honduras stood alone against the whole world in this crisis. There are many similarities. Both were small and poor countries, but both had the moral high ground, and they were driven by the willpower of the people to fight for what they knew was right. In both cases it was also a fight between the white and red. Coincidentally, even the flags of the two countries have the same colours: white and blue.

Finland had of course seen a civil war between the red and white back when it was a Grand Duchy in Russia (when I grew up my grandfather used to tell me childhood memories of that conflict). Both countries had strong social tensions, and an upper class of a different ethnicity than the poor majority. There is no doubt that in both cases the red had legitimate grievances, but they were in both cases using very suboptimal methods to achieve their objectives. For many years I have argued for the need for reform in Honduras, but the way the so-called “resistencia” go about it now is completely counterproductive, and must be condemned. The white side has reached out with an olive branch, and anyone who does not take that, but opts for violence, deserves to go to jail.

The foreign minister under Micheletti, Carlos Contreras, said in an interview on January 26, recently published in El Heraldo, that there were countries that recognized that Honduras was acting in defence of democracy, and gave them moral support in secret, but not a single country came out in public and supported them. The diplomats knew that the global public opinion was completely and totally misled into thinking that it was a military coup, why they realized that it would be an uphill battle to try to argue the case.

During the crisis I have heard this myself from third country diplomats. As Contreras says in the interview, diplomacy is about interests, not about what is right and wrong. There was just nobody that had a national interest in defending Honduras, even when they knew she was right.

Other countries were indifferent, and some were openly hostile to Honduras, notably all ALBA countries. One of the many media falsehoods is that the U.S. would have been behind the alleged white coup. Quite the contrary, says Contreras. The U.S. was openly hostile.

This underscores what I have heard from sources with first hand insight into the constitutional crisis that culminated June 25 to 28. Simply put, the Obama administration apparently inadvertently gave Zelaya a green light for bringing to completion the red coup d’état he was executing. What Axel Oxenstierna wrote in 1648, “If you only knew my son, with how little wisdom the world is run”, seems like the understatement of the past millennium.

Pyjamas diplomacy

Given how Zelaya has lied to and manipulated media consistently since June 28, when he changed back to pyjamas before appearing before the TV-cameras in Costa Rica (he left Honduras with clothes, hat, and boots on), his latest actions should come as no surprise. The only surprise is that so much of media doesn’t seem to have seen through the lies yet.

For instance, Zelaya signed the agreement that was worked out in the Guaymuras dialogue. However, he did not live up to a single one of his commitments in that agreement. But rather than being the man for his (infamous) hat, he accused the democratic institutions of Honduras of breaking the deal. Most of the media outside Honduras uncritically reported Zelaya’s version, although it was very easy to find evidence inside Honduras for it being false. If I could find such evidence, surely trained journalists would be able to, right?

Among the things he agreed to was to accept the decision of the Congress; he didn’t. He also signed his name under a promise to support the elections; he didn’t. He further signed on to forming a unity government; he did not cooperate but instead accused the counterpart of having broken that point.

When Oscar Arias made the first draft of the deal that later became the Accord, he had put amnesty into it. Zelaya asked that it be removed, and it was. Zelaya to this day maintains in public that he was against the amnesty that Congress approved in January for his benefit. However, at least two congressmen (Yanny Rosental and Erick Rodriguez) have come out in public and revealed that Zelaya pressured them to vote for the amnesty.

Can you believe that much of the world media keeps repeating the words of such a hypocrite as the unquestionable truth? You know why? The reason is that he was “thrown out in pyjamas,” that’s why their minds are closed. Sokrates’ logic may be ever so perfect, but if those forming the public opinion do not use it, what hope does the truth have? The symbol of the pyjamas trumps all logic. Maybe Ortega, if it one morning becomes his turn, should claim that he sleeps naked. That outta get the world’s attention, right?

Finally, the Accord contains a provision for a Truth Commission, which was suggested by the Micheletti side. It is to be formed the first half of this year, and its task shall be to investigate what happened before and after the culmination of the constitutional crisis on June 28, as well as to propose how to prevent that something like that ever happens again. Personally I feel that this is a very important task, and one that should be carried out mainly by Hondurans, but with advising experts who could be foreigners (as long as they understand Spanish, of course). As mentioned, Zelaya signed on to the entire deal, including this point.

However, many are worried about the implementation of it. The white (who supported Micheletti) are worried that the new president, Pepe Lobo, is giving in to international pressure to let OAS and USA influence the commission so that it can whitewash their respective guilt in the crisis. At the same time, the red (who supported Zelaya and who now profess to be for a militant strategy for overthrowing the constitution), through their coordinator Juan Barahona says that they think the commission was created for whitewashing what they call a “coup d’état”, i.e., the white anti-coup against Zelaya’s red coup.

The third part

What may make this confusing, admittedly, for international media is that there are not two sides in this conflict, but three. There is the red side of Zelaya supporters, who call themselves the “resistance” but who actually are the ones fueling the crisis. According to media friendly to them they openly declare that they are insurgents and that they have decided to go militant. It may be relevant that Honduran arms smugglers were arrested in Florida yesterday in a sting operation when they tried to buy machine guns; they have apparently already smuggled hundreds of weapons to their country. The red boycotted the election campaign, but their understanding of what “boycott” means was wholly unique; it included sabotage of infrastructure, bombing buses, shooting RPGs in cities, and other terrorist acts.

There is also the white side of Union Civica Democratica, who wants peace, democracy, and the rule of law. It is a group formed in opposition to Zelaya, by women, and whose mass actions may well have given the democratic institutions the spine to stand up to the president’s abuse of power.

The third part is not Honduran. It is the Joker in the game. It is a foreign power and its diplomats. It is the United States of America.

Most international media, almost without exception, has taken the side of the red, and has erroneously assumed that the U.S. has been on the side of the white. As mentioned, the U.S. has, however, consistently been hostile to the white. In fact, they have – probably by incompetence – helped the attempted coup by Zelaya. This has left Obama in a spot where he cannot tell the truth without acknowledging being an idiot. Instead he sticks to the “oxymoroniccoup d’état committed by the checks and balances.

And so the tale lives on in media, with falsehoods proliferating, and the truth being all but missing in action. That is exactly why a functioning Truth Commission is needed. It was unfortunate that amnesty was granted, not because the Truth Commission now becomes redundant, but because it may make it much harder for it to succeed. Perhaps that is exactly why the U.S. pushed so hard for the amnesty?

As is well-known from media reports, OAS supported Zelaya’s coup, and OAS is now lending technical support to the Truth Commission. Furthermore, it seems like Jimmy Carter’s center will form a part of it. It thus remains to be seen if OAS and the U.S. somehow can manage to castrate the Truth Commission.

But even if they do, not all is lost. You can rest assured that also the work of the Truth Commission will be among the things that will be scrutinized in the future. There are other cards to play, but I am not at liberty to blog about it yet. All I can say is, the Honduran people will not allow the truth to be buried, no matter what.

The “Moment of Truth” for Pepe

The time has come for Pepe Lobo to form a Truth Commission in Honduras, as stipulated in point 6 of the Guaymuras dialogue (Spanish original, Swedish summary). This is the original text:

Con el fin de esclarecer los hechos ocurridos antes y después del 28 de junio de 2009, se creará también una Comisión de la Verdad que identifique los actos que condujeron a la situación actual, y proporcione al pueblo de Honduras elementos para evitar que estos hechos se repitan en el futuro.

Esta Comisión de Diálogo recomienda que el próximo Gobierno, en el marco de un consenso nacional, constituya dicha Comisión de la Verdad en el primer semestre del año 2010.

The agreement does not stipulate how the commission should be created, just what its purpose is and when it shall be created (the first half of 2010). The purpose is to “identify the acts that led to the present situation, and to propose to the people of Honduras elements to avoid that these deeds will be repeated in the future.”

From what has transpired so far, it seems clear, though, that OAS was actively involved in the events that led up to the violation of the constitution by the executive; and so was the U.S. of A. It thus seems rather self-evident that those two have a vested interest in getting a seat in the Truth Commission in order to prevent it from getting to the truth. The OAS and the U.S. therefore ought to be excluded even from consideration. The same goes for all allies of Venezuela, and even Costa Rica, since Oscar Arias obviously must have been an accomplice in the mediatic pyjamas charade.

In spite of this, the new president Pepe Lobo seems to be contemplating granting OAS a role in the commission. If he wants to make sure it fails, that would be a good strategy. If he, on the other hand, really wants to promote democracy and the defense of the republic, he is shooting himself in the foot.

To me, having followed this closely for 7 months, there seems to be some pretty obvious conclusions to draw from this. However, any conclusion I may have drawn is only tentative, as I have not been able to interview anyone in any official way, only off the record and on condition of anonymity. That is why I proposed the Truth Commission in the context of the San José talks, where it was subsequently introduced by the Micheletti side.

Let me repeat that: The Truth Commission was proposed by the side representing the democratic institutions of Honduras.

It is therefore with apprehension I see this spectacle unfold, by which the OAS – surely supported by the U.S. – apparently tries to bury the whole enterprise, truth and all.

The Truth Commission as I envisioned it should be composed of Hondurans, and if there were to be any foreigners involved, it would have to be people that did not in any way, shape, or form take part in what happened before or during June 28.

If Pepe Lobo undermines this effort, then I would urge the truly democratic forces of Honduras to set up a non-governmental, independent truth commission, that can closely follow and constructively criticize the official one. This week is the “moment of truth” for Pepe Lobo.