Tag Archives: military

Russia’s global ambitions

Take a good look at the map below. It shows Russia’s existing and planned Navy Bases as of 2008, mapped together with wars and border conflicts in 2015. In 2008 Putin announced plans for navy bases in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela. The first three had to be aborted due to the Arab Spring. Civil war erupted in Syria, and later in Libya and Yemen as well. Russia entered into an agreement with Iran to use one of their navy bases instead. Iran is supposedly helping the Houthi rebels in Yemen. A connection? And is there a similar link with the anti-US rebels in Libya? The other week top level Russian militaries visited Venezuela, a country dependent on Russian military expertise for its defense. In late May the regime publicly claimed sea areas off the disputed part of Guyana, and shortly after Putin appeared with dictator Maduro saying that Russia is defending Venezuela in case of an attack. The final hot spot on the map are some Japanese islands that Russia has occupied since WWII.

Russia aims to have a global naval presence by 2020, but after losing access to several countries where they had planned to build the necessary overseas navy bases, civil war broke out in those countries. What a coincidence! Black marks Russia and its closest allies.
Russia aims to have a global naval presence by 2020, but after losing access to several countries where they had planned to build the necessary overseas navy bases, civil war broke out in those countries. What a coincidence! Black marks Russia and its closest allies.

Apart from this Russian navy plan, China is also building up a global navy, with its own territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea. They have already completely covered 8 km2 of coral reefs with sand in order to create military bases in what the Philippines consider their waters, in the Spratly Islands. As was the case in the past millennia, at stake is the control over the trade routes on the seas.

Militaries exonerated in Honduras

The military leadership in Honduras was today exonerated by the Supreme Court of Justice, for having allowed the deposed president, Zelaya, to leave the country. Their orders, issued by the same court, had been to arrest him. The chief justice, Rivera, accepted the defense argument that they had acted in a “situation of real danger in Honduras” and under a threat of an “institutional collapse of the state.”

The defense had presented evidence that there were about 950 armed foreigners in Honduras on June 28, who presented a clear and present danger to the country.

Six militaries were prosecuted, and all of them were exonerated of all charges.

With this trial, all remaining doubt about the legality of the deposing of Zelaya is gone. This is a complete vindication for president Micheletti, who is serving his last day in office today. Tomorrow the newly elected president, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, will be sworn in.

Lobo’s first act, already before becoming president, was to sign an agreement with the Dominican president, in which Pepe promised to give Zelaya free passage from the Brazilian embassy, where he has been since September 21, to Dominica. He will do this immediately after taking office tomorrow. Pepe has been harshly criticized in Honduras for this act, and it is still not clear that it will be considered legal, partly because it does not adhere to the convention dealing with political asylum.

Also today, the national congress is debating an amnesty for Zelaya and others for the events around June 28, when Zelaya was de facto attempting a coup d’état. Pepe claims that people want an amnesty, but what I hear is just a giant roar from all quarters that nobody wants amnesty for criminals. Many consider Zelaya a gigantic criminal, but foreign press tends to spin it such that it is Micheletti who needs amnesty for a “coup d’état” – even though it was no coup d’état. Luckily, justice is made in courts and not in newspapers.

The real problem is that international media will take an amnesty bill, if passed, as the Congress confessing to being guilty of doing a coup d’état. Based on the comments from the congressional leaders, they seem completely oblivious to this. Don’t they have Internet in Honduras? Don’t they have a War Room with staff who follow international media’s reporting???

Media: BBC, NY Times, and a thorough blog on the subject, La Gringas Blogicito.

Honduran Militaries to be Sentenced Tuesday

In the case against the joint chiefs of staff in Honduras for having flown Zelaya to Costa Rica rather than thrown him in jail, a sentence is expected Tuesday January 26. One day before the inauguration of the new president. It is probably on purpose, since the security risks are considered very high on Wednesday, why it must be clear that those in command have complete authority under the constitution.

This case has been deemed the pivoting point for the entire issue of legality of the deposing of Manuel Zelaya on June 28, 2009. Not just in the first post on this blog, but also by Freedom House and their annual report on the state of freedom in the world. In the 2009 report they removed Honduras from the list of countries with an elected leader, but with the comment that if the military had been prosecuted, the country would have remained on the list.

Unfortunately the prosecutor did not have his case ready for indictment until January 6, too late for last year’s report. But now that they have been prosecuted, the case has to be declared closed, regardless of what the sentence will be: There was no military coup in Honduras.

With this case it has been proven that the democratic form of government in Honduras is unbroken. The world has punished the poor country for almost seven months without cause. The Micheletti government fought against wind and tide for half a year, opposed by not just the international community, but also by a small but vocal part of the population, which was fooled by the international community into thinking that their head of state was a coupster – although he was the legitimate president all along.

Honduras has made tremendous economical losses, and even losses in human life, due to this mistake on part of the international community. Who will pay for that?

There is no place where to send the invoice. The moral of the story is for the Hondurans that they cannot count on anybody but themselves. The only compensation that they will have, is that they have learned a lesson: If you stand alone any gust of wind can bring you down on your knees, but if you stand arm in arm and support each other, you can face the storm standing tall.

Honduras is a re-born country because of this. “Yes we can!” has replaced “What’s the point?”

From what I hear, the feeling is that the lesson was worth the price, even though it was a very high price. If future governments live by it, the people who died – regardless of political opinion – will not have died in vain, but died for the country. Whether they supported Micheletti or the resistance, if they died in the passion of the struggle, they died for their country.

The Honduran military leadership will be prosecuted

The Supreme Court of Justice convened today at 15:00 local time in Tegucigalpa to consider the case brought before it by the Attorney General. They decided to take the case, and appointed the president of the court as the justice to handle the case, according to information that came out a couple of minutes ago.

Footnote. It appears that the decision to prosecute the military top brass has indeed convinced Micheletti’s detractors that the removal of Mr. Zelaya was no coup. Not even the left-leaning New York Times is using the word coup any longer, when reporting about Honduras.

The entire military leadership of Honduras may get arrested

Original post 20:35 ET: Today an arrest order was requested for the entire military leadership in Honduras, including joint chiefs of staff general Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, the head of the air force, Venancio Cervantes, the comander of the navy, Luis Javier Prince, and the head of the army, general Garcia Padgett. As I have reported here previously (see Spanish interview; Miami Herald had an English translation of the interview with colonel Inestroza, page now expired), they exiled Zelaya from the country knowing it was a crime. They did so under the justification of national self-defense, similar to when the crew on a ship commits mutiny to save the ship from an incompetent captain.

To commit mutiny under such circumstances is not a crime, as is illustrated by the Danish court’s dealings with the mutiny on the Danish ships Christianus Quintus and Fridericus Quartus on March 4th, 1710, off present day Costa Rica. They let all the slaves free (their descendants can be found in Bluefields, Nicaragua, today) to prevent them all from dying of starvation. I have read the ships’ logs and the court proceedings in the Danish national archives, and in spite of everyone admitting to having committed mutiny, the court found it justifiable.

The Honduran generals will present themselves willingly to be judged, because they are equally convinced that they did the right thing. They fully expect to be exonerated by the court (source).

Some have insisted on calling the deposing of then president Zelaya on June 28 last year a military coup, and the interim president Roberto Micheletti a coupster ruling under the aegis of the military. It will be interesting to see what spin they will invent now to discount this development, or if they will do the honorable thing and admit that they have been wrong.

As regards media my bet is that they will ignore this rather than admitting that they have been wrong for half a year.

Update 22:35 ET: An hour after posting the above, CNN International has a story that still calls it a coup even though they some paragraphs down write that the military acted on orders from the Supreme Court. Newspeak indeed.

Update 23:00 ET: The Costarican newspaper nacion.com writes that Manuel Zelaya calls the prosecution of the military leadership a “trick”, and states that the Attorney General of Honduras has more responsibility for his deposing on June 28th than the militaries have. So… then it was not a coup, right?

Clarification: The Attorney General has asked the Supreme Court of Justice to decide within 3 days whether to take the case and issue an arrest warrant, or dismiss the case. It is probably of relevance that the National Congress will debate the issue of a political asylum on Monday, as I blogged about earlier today.

PS. Although I have no official reaction from the Micheletti administration, I have been told unofficially repeatedly since July or August that they wanted this to happen, so that the world would see that Honduras is a land of law. At the same time the separation of powers have prevented them from getting involved, why they have kept a low profile in public about it.

Swedish newspapers publish the same text from TT, which says that the Attorney General prosecutes the military leadership for abuse of power “during the coup that deposed president Manuel Zelaya”, and that “The Supreme Court as well as the Congress and the Civil Society leadership supported the coup against Zelaya.” Can anyone please explain why they call it a coup?

Prosecution of Honduran military

On July 3rd, army attorney Col. Inestroza confessed that it was the military top brass themselves who had decided to send ex president Manuel Zelaya to Costa Rica on June 28th, even though they knew it violated the Constitution. Their justification was that it was necessary. He also said that an investigation had been initiated and that they expected to be prosecuted.

Since nothing more has come out I asked a press spokesperson at the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa for an update. They were unaware of it but asked the judicial authorities. Due to it being an ongoing investigation they would not give any details, other than confirming that the investigation is indeed proceeding, and that the matter is taken seriously.

There seems to be little disagreement that the military violated the law, though. When more details come out I will for sure report it here. It should perhaps be mentioned that Zelaya was no longer considered to be president at the time, and that the military had order from the Supreme Court to arrest the man.