A propaganda-video against the democratic government of Honduras has been uploaded to the Internet today. Here it is:
I am the first to criticize the police when they use unnecessary force, which some of them clearly did, e.g. outside the stadium after the football (soccer) game in July. Those acts must be investigated and prosecuted to the maximum extent possible, to establish an example.
However, the raw footage often shows the police and – especially – the military exercising admirable restraint in the face of violent demonstrators, who are using potentially deadly weapons by throwing heavy rocks at them. They should get credit for that, and the demonstrators – or rather, rioters – should be criticized for their violence, too. But the video is completely biased in that respect. Not a critical word against those who disturbed the public order.
The voice also makes a number of factually incorrect statements. First of all that it was a coup; the removal of Zelaya from office was in response to him attempting a coup, as I have shown in this blog, e.g. here. Also the number of people who showed up at the airport is exaggerated, by a factor 100 or so (5,000 was mentioned as recently as 3 days ago in international pro-Zelaya media, but the video says 500,000). The images shown seem to be from another occasion.
Towards the end the voice falsely accuses the police and military of having taken the universities. In reality, rioters gathered outside the university, and ran into it when the police came, while wantonly destroying private property, such as a car and a fast food restaurant. The video is practicing Orwellian newspeak.
A lot of the footage doesn’t tell much of a story at all, but there is one interesting part early on: From the airport, when Zelaya and Chávez tried to create a martyr. A man who is interviewed in the video says that the soldiers had blanks (the military say they had rubber bullets), and that only the officers had live ammunition. He therefore concludes that the young man who was killed by a bullet in his neck was shot by an officer.
However, it is interesting to listen to the sound from the video, where they were throwing stones (7 minutes in). There are many explosive sounds that appear to be from somewhat distant gunfire, judging from the suppression of the high frequency part of the spectrum. However, at about 7:50, 7:59, 8:02 etc there are explosions with the high frequency part of the spectrum preserved, indicating an origin quite close to the microphone. Moreover, the 7:50 explosion clearly has an echo. An acoustic analysis might be able to indicate where the presumed shooter was standing.
Just for the heck of it, I analyzed the sound in a computer program. The delay of the audible echo is 0.19 to 0.20 seconds. The air temperature on that afternoon was about 25ºC, so the sound velocity would have been ca 346 m/s. This translates to a distance of 66 to 69 meters. This is the distance by which the path gun – echo-object – microphone is longer than the path gun – microphone. Since we can see from the image where the cameraman is standing (at 7:30 he is in the median outside the Popeye restaurant, moving south), we can guess that the echo is from the buildings on that side of the street.
However, when looking at the sound waveform it turns out that there is also a strong echo after only 0.059 seconds, corresponding to 20 m. Taking that into consideration, my guess is that the shooter was in front of the camera in the picture below, some ten meters off the wall, among the rioters marked with a yellow oval.
Of course, one would have to do a test shot and record the sound at that location, to determine with certainty where the shooter was standing. But, it seems highly unlikely that those three shots were fired by the military inside the airfield. This of course opens for the possibility that the young man who was shot dead died from a bullet fired outside the airport, by a rioter. If so, Chávez got what he wanted.
PS. Also the Amnesty International report is very thin on facts, the shooting mentioned in this video (just after the incident above, and allegedly with the producer of the video carrying the victim) being one of about 4. Actually, AI fails to mention any case that has already been solved. That, and the fact that they call it a coup without any attempt at justification, shows that it is a biased report. Much of the text is irrelevant since it does not relate to the political reality on the ground in Honduras. AI would be well advised to focus on how best to contribute to a better human rights situation, rather than to play politics and alienate those they are trying to influence. The report seems written to appease donors rather than to actually contribute to human rights.