Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Things I've not blogged on

I'm conscious that I've not had the time or inclination to blog on some rather important events. I don't feel too bad about this, I'm not a newspaper and don't feel obliged to cover everything. However, I thought it might be good to point towards a few posts and articles on those things that I might have blogged on if I'd had the time or the energy.

First I hear reports that the National Union of Students (NUS) NEC has decided to disaffiliate from the Stop the War Coalition. Don't know their reasons as yet.

Secondly, the coup in Honduras. Bizarrely The Independent has come out in favour of it!

There's a good piece in the Latin America News Review on the resistance to the coup. Grace Livingstone in the Guardian has an interesting piece called 'An end to backyard imperialism?'

A few lefties jumped in straight away to attack Obama (?) on the coup as if they'd be waiting months for the opportunity and were desperate to be first in. The condemnations rather fizzled out when Obama made a very clear and strong statement opposing the coup and recognising no other leader than the elected President Zelaya.

It does make me despair a little when people are so quick to confirm their own prejudices before finding out what's actually going on. I guess that's the problem when you have an axe to grind - everything becomes an opportunity to grind it, so facts and real analysis of the subject in hand can get in the way so they're ignored.
Then there's Iran. Obviously I have posted on this, but not recently and things have continued to boil.

Bob from Brockley has been posting round ups which are pretty useful, like this one. You might also like to monitor the Hopi news from Iran blog for up to date information. It includes details of a meeting on Saturday in London if you're interested.

Meanwhile Iran Body Count remembers those protesters killed by security forces. Sobering stuff that helps remind us of how serious the stakes are in Iran right now.
And lastly with the hot weather the fact that four dogs have died in cars today should be a good reminder to look after yourselves and your pets. Don't lock kids or dogs in cars for any length of time in this scorching heat - and don't be an arse generally. Thank you!


bob said...

Thanks for the link Jim.

I like what you say about the coup in Honduras. I am utterly ignorant about Honduras, so I haven't said anything about it, but a similar ignorance doesn't seem to stop lots of other lefties jumping in.

weggis said...

"the National Union of Students (NUS) NEC has decided to disaffiliate from the Stop the War Coalition."

Do tell, when you find out why - my friend Judith [the life of Brian] would really like to know.

Strategist said...

I am one of those utterly ignorant about Honduras, but here I go, jumping in anyway...

(I console myself that I am not as utterly clueless as the leader writer of the Indie)

1. Nobody in Honduras launches a coup without the AOK from the CIA (surely).

2. Obama and Hillary have quickly condemned the coup.

So -

are we seeing evidence of right wing elements in the US secret state acting on their own initiative without clearance from Mr President?

This could be quite big shit. There may in fact be a major battle raging behind closed doors in Washington.

Or possibly it's just Obama is being duplicitous.

ModernityBlog said...

ahh the CIA, I thought they were busy in Iran, ops, no, that's just what I read on SU blog.

Alternatively, why not find someone from Honduras and ask them?

There are plenty of Spanish lingo forums, and a lot of people from that part of the region will speak enough English if you ask nicely.

That's the smarter way, and it leads to less cock-eyed assumptions.

Jim Jay said...

Strategist: There certainly are examples from Latin America where the CIA have been getting up to tricks whilst the Presidency has no knowledge of their activities.

However, I don't think it's reasonable to say that a coup could not take place without the CIA say so. I think that's giving the CIA ore credit that they deserve.

If there's evidence of CIA involvement I'd be very keen on seeing it - that would be interesting - but I guess one of my concerns is that there is a gun jumping tendancy on the left claiming the the US is involved without feeling the need to see any evidence of it.

I doubt it's evidence of Obama's duplicitousness (although that's always possible). As it goes I think his big international plan is to try and calm everything down and rebuild bridges, coups and the like would actually cut against that - in my opinion.

Strategist said...

Your words are wise, Jim, but your words are just dumb, ModernityBlog:

"ahh the CIA, I thought they were busy in Iran"

How ridiculous to imagine that an organisation with a $44bn annual budget doesn't have its finger in a number of pies at any one time.

I have posted this elsewhere in the hope of hearing from some Honduras experts, but I think it would be foolish to underestimate the extent to which USA calls the shots in this small country which is little more than a plantation economy for US agribusiness.

ModernityBlog said...

"I have posted this elsewhere in the hope of hearing from some Honduras experts"

Well, I have suggested a fairly fool proof method, talk to Latin Americans, go ahead it is easy, then use Google translate to help out, they'll know and be able to provide background.

Sure enough the CIA did and does a LOT of nasty things, but all of this Cui Bono reasoning, without evidence or the involvement of Latin Americans is not terribly productive and gives the impression that British Lefties shoot their mouths off without evidence and based on age old judgements.

An example of that was Iran, part way thru the protests some people on SU blog were arguing that it was mostly or all down to the CIA, the idea that Iranians could do anything independent of the CIA wasn't even considered, so it is with Honduras.

Better to base your reasoning on evidence rather than a stream of hunches, or that's the way to end up as a 9/11 truther :)

Strategist said...

Did I say that "it was all down to the CIA"? I said I'd be surprised if they didn't clear it with the CIA before acting.

Who is using "all this cui bono reasoning"? Who is talking about Iran? Not I.

You're an intellectual shambles, man.

What on earth is wrong with speculation when flagged as purely such?

ModernityBlog said...


From the outset your comments on Honduras was speculation still worse you then posited a conclusion, not based on evidence or based on any available facts as we know it, but rather on the supposition that the CIA probably did something and Obama/Clinton didn't know about it.

Which finally leads you to the conclusion that "Or possibly it's just Obama is being duplicitous."

Idle guess-work that's all it is, and that's the problem with a lot of modern day thinking on the political left in Britain, as my example of Iran should have shown.

But as you didn't get that, I'll elaborate, on SU blog threads, which discussed the recent fraudulent election in the Iran. Periodically, posters would comment on the CIA to explain away some inconsistency, or use it to denigrate the protestors.

It wasn't done on any evidence or facts, just idle political speculation and malice, which took on a life of its own.

So what I'm pointing out is, that with the benefit of the Internet, instant communication, the possibility of reading Spanish language forums via google's translation services and even perusing periodicals in Honduras, there is little need for ill informed and idle speculation.

Rather it would have been better to do a little research and then comment.

It's a method, you either base your views on the voices in your head, or on evidence and fact based reasoning, your choice really :)

Strategist said...

Modernity Blog, are you Oliver Kamm in a bad disguise?

Jim asks us "not to make a mess", so I'll try to be restrained, but really you get my goat here.

You argue that it is "idle", "malicious" to dare to venture the view that someone somewhere in the whole CIA could have been asked by the coup plotters whether a coup would be OK with them.

All this flagged as a speculation, not an assertion, given the (obviously inevitable) non-availability of evidence about the secret activities of a secret service.

What the hell is wrong with that?

Jim has the view that likely the coup plotters (who were trained by the CIA as young men) probably wouldn't check with them.

I would argue that anyone with any knowledge of Honduras's history would at least count it a probability.

It is certainly a possibility we shouldn't discount a priori, as you would have us do.

What my post was actually about was the speculation that if the CIA have had knowledge of something, and not told Hillary & Obama, then the shit must really be hitting the fan behind closed doors in Washington.

Something interesting, with (say) a 50% probability of being true.

All something you would disallow on the basis that you can't posit any hypothesis without evidence (which in this case is impossible to gather).

A stance that is just plain wrong, which you dress up in a load of badly written, half-arsed pedantry from which you presume to patronise others, too thick to understand the weakness of your own argument.

With nasty undertones, both personal ("the voices in your head") and ideological. Ugly.

ModernityBlog said...


So what have your discussions with Latin Americans revealed?

Any hard facts yet?
Or did they simply ignore your condescending middle class mannerisms?

Please, do enlighten us

Strategist said...

"...your condescending middle class mannerisms?
Please, do enlighten us"

That's a cracker.

Here's this from Victor Figueroa-Clark and Pablo Navarrete at http://www.redpepper.org.uk/Honduras-A-coup-with-no-future

Pretty much a definitive statement of what it is possible to say at the moment, including this:

"While there is little direct evidence of US interference in Honduras’ coup, Eva Golinger has indicated certain similarities between the US-supported coup that briefly removed Hugo Chavez from power in Venezuela in 2002, and the current situation in Honduras. Golinger points out that a New York Times article states that the US government was working for ‘several days’ with the Honduran coup planners in order to ‘prevent’ the coup. Given that around 70 per cent of Honduras’ trade is with the US, its army is heavily backed by Washington, and the Pentagon maintains a military base in the country, equipped with approximately 500 troops and numerous air force combat planes and helicopters, it would seem na├»ve not to believe that if the US government had expressed their firm opposition to the coup, it would never have occurred. Furthermore, the US track record of undermining and supporting and participating in the overthrow of democratically elected government in Latin America cannot be overlooked."

More backstory on the coup leaders' links with the CIA's School of the Americas and the CIA's history in Honduras at


A truly horrible history. Death squads are a terrible thing to fund.

Just as a matter of interest, who here thinks that the CIA didn't have advanced knowledge of, and approve, the 2002 coup attempt on Chavez?

ModernityBlog said...

thanks, that's what I wanted to know.