Saturday, July 18, 2015

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet: Bachmann Terror Overdrive

Bachmann Terror Overdrive

by Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque

[Note: This was my column in the May edition of CounterPunch magazine.]

A clutch of headlines over a span of two days in April: US dispatches elite troops to Ukraine. US sends warships to Yemen to join naval blockade. BP taking more oil from Iraq in payments as government coffers dwindle. Saudi bombs boost al Qaeda. Sale of US arms fuels wars in Arab states. Michelle Bachmann says all signs point to the Rapture. For the first time in my life, I agree with Michelle Bachmann.

You remember Bachmann, don't you? She was once considered a serious candidate for the presidency. On the campaign trail, she would describe the road-to-Damascus moment that led her to become a Republican: reading Gore Vidal's "snotty novel," Burr. "If that's what Democrats believe," she said of Vidal's mordant look at the corruption and conniving of our Founding Dads, "then I must be a Republican." (Thank god she didn't read Myra Breckinridge, eh? Who knows what she would have become?)

Anyway, during those busy April days, Bachmann was interviewed on a Christian radio station and declared that the disastrous results of America’s foreign policy were clear harbingers of the coming Rapture: that blessed time when the Lord, like a celestial Mr. Scott, will beam up the saved to the heavenly Enterprise — then destroy the earth and kill billions of people with ravaging fire and photon torpedoes.

(You can see why Bachmann and her literalist ilk don’t worry too much about climate change; why bother to save a planet that’s going up in smoke any day now? And why bother to tend the sick and feed the hungry and all that other jazzmo Jesus talked about, when most of them are going to have their flesh fried and their souls shipped to hell? But oddly enough, the prospect of imminent departure doesn’t seem to stop these pious paragons from padding their portfolios with long-term investments. Well, faith is a mystery, as they say.)

Of course, the apocalyptic foreign policy Bachmann talked about was not Obama’s insane dance along the nuclear tripwire in Ukraine. Nor his brutality in helping impose a naval blockade of Yemen — a nation that imports 90 percent of its food, mostly by sea. The fact that Yemenis were starving and dying and running for their lives under the bludgeoning of American bombs dropped by Saudi aggressors did not trouble Bachmann at all.

Nor was it the fact that the Saudi assault has been a tremendous boon to al Qaeda, who had been stymied by their enemies, the Houthis, but were now free to capture airports and take chunks of territory with the help of their frequent allies, the Americans. (See Syria, Libya, etc.) Nor did she care about Obama’s record-breaking arms sales to some of the most repressive regimes on earth. Her only quibble with any of this would be that it did not go far enough — that there weren’t more troops in Ukraine bellying up to the Russkis, that there weren’t more bombs and starvation in Yemen, doing God’s work in killing heathen Muslims, that there weren’t more arms going to the Islamic extremists in Saudi Arabia so they too could kill more heathen Muslims.

This is not what set Bachmann off. On all these things there is remarkable comity and unity across the breadth and depth of the American political establishment, from the far right wing that Bachmann represents to the, er, not-quite-as-far-right wing that Obama and Hillary Clinton and other system-supporting “progressives” represent. The only “debate” in our militaristic empire is how fast we kill, how many we kill, and with whom we kill at any given time.

No, the great sign of the impending end of the world that Bachmann saw was … a prospective agreement to keep Iran from making nuclear weapons. (Which they have not done, are not doing, and have repeatedly declared they will never do — even though Israel has a vast arsenal of illegal, uninspected nuclear weapons aimed at them.) The slightest chance of a temporary pause in Iran’s eternal punishment for its demonic lèse-majesté — kicking America’s imperial stooge out of their country 36 years ago — is, for Bachmann (and for many others in the political establishment) an abomination unto the Lord, for which He will soon implement the mother of all final solutions.

Now here we come to a splitting of theological hairs. I do agree with Bachmann that there is decidedly something mephitic and end-timesy in the air these days, a blind, reckless — even willful — rush toward catastrophes beyond imagining. And I agree that American policies — foreign and domestic — are, like the Gadarene swine, the main receptacles of the deathly spirit driving us toward the cliff. However, I don’t think the proposed agreement with Iran is a divine blazon of the end. Nor do I think that God’s little sunbeams like Michelle will be plucked away to escape the consequences of our maniacal folly.

But in her own ignorant, horse’s-ass way, I think Bachmann has, as through a glass darkly, touched on the pulse of our times. For this is indeed the Age of Rapture — a word taken from the Latin, meaning “seizure, rape, a snatching away.” The sense of what is best in us — most human, most real and connected — is being brutally violated and snatched away. But there will be no transporter to save us; we are all, right now, in hell.

Tsipras Takes Out the Long Knives: Austerity Deal Critics Booted from Syriza Cabinet

Tsipras expels critics of EU austerity deal from Greek cabinet

by Alex Lantier - WSWS

18 July 2015

Late Friday night, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a cabinet reshuffle, expelling critics of the new, devastating European Union (EU) austerity package that Syriza is imposing as it negotiates a third memorandum with the EU on a bailout of the Greek state.

The reshuffle came after 32 of the 149 deputies from the Left Platform within Tsipras’ Syriza party voted against the EU austerity package in the Greek parliament on Wednesday. The new cabinet is due to be sworn in at noon today.

Nine ministerial portfolios changed hands in the reshuffle. One full minister and three deputy ministers were expelled from their posts. These included Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, a leading Left Platform member, deputy Labor Minister Dimitris Stratoulis and deputy Defense Minister Costas Isichos—all three of whom voted against the €13 billion EU austerity package in parliament.

Labor Minister Panos Skourletis, a close ally of Tsipras, has replaced Lafazanis at the energy ministry, where he will oversee the numerous privatizations of utilities and other Greek state assets dictated by the EU. Stratoulis was replaced by Pavlos Chaikalis, a comic actor from Syriza’s far-right coalition partners, the Independent Greeks (Anel).

Former alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani, who resigned just ahead of Wednesday’s vote on EU, was replaced by Tryfon Alexiadis, the head of the Athens and Piraeus tax inspectors’ union.

Tsipras chose replacements from within the existing governing coalition of Syriza and Anel, quashing speculation that he would bring members of pro-EU opposition parties, such as New Democracy (ND), To Potami (The River) and the social-democratic PASOK, into his cabinet.

Nonetheless, Tsipras already effectively finds himself at the head of a national unity government, regrouping Syriza with parties dedicated to imposing more austerity, in direct violation of the landslide “no” vote in the July 5 referendum. Having lost support from the Left Platform deputies, Tsipras was forced to rely on the pro-EU opposition parties to secure passage of the new austerity package on Wednesday.

Tsipras’ cabinet reshuffle sends a signal that he will tolerate no criticism of the reactionary policies Syriza has agreed upon with the Berlin and the EU. It came just after the German parliament voted yesterday to approve the new EU austerity package, which was largely drawn up by German officials and contains deep cuts in pensions, public sector wages, and fuel subsidies, as well as dictating an extensive privatization program.

The Left Platform’s opposition to the deal had a cynical, symbolic character. Its members remained inside the government for months after it was clear that Syriza was repudiating its electoral pledge to end the EU austerity memorandum that brought it to power in January. They issued no more than pro forma criticisms of Syriza’s decisions to continue the EU memorandum in February, to loot billions of euros from universities and local administrations to pay off Greece’s creditors in the spring, and to implement devastating austerity this month, after the money ran out.

Nonetheless, after Syriza’s brazen and monumental betrayal of the “no” vote in the Greek referendum on EU austerity, Tsipras was clearly concerned that even such symbolic opposition, aimed at providing window dressing for Syriza’s abject capitulation, could destabilize his government.

On Wednesday, after Valavani’s resignation, some 109 of the 201 members of Syriza’s Central Committee (CC) signed a joint declaration denouncing Tsipras’ deal with the EU as a “coup.” Their statement declared,

“The agreement with the institutions was the result of a threat of an immediate financial strangling and is a new memorandum, with unbearable and humiliating conditions of oversight, which is catastrophic for our country and our people.”

The statement did not threaten the Syriza government’s pursuit of austerity, as few of the CC members who signed the declaration were members of parliament. Nonetheless, Tsipras is moving to whip these forces into line, at least while negotiations on a new memorandum proceed.

While Tsipras has ruled out immediate early elections before a deal with the EU is agreed, Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis has said that Syriza might call new elections in September or October.

Activist's In-Custody Death Reignites Police Violence Furore

Texas prison death highlights police violence in America

by Andre Damon - WSWS

18 July 2015

On the week marking the one-year anniversary of the killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island, and nearing the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, yet another case of police violence has emerged that is in some respects even more troubling.

Twenty eight-year-old Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County, Texas jail cell Monday after being pulled over for changing lanes without using a traffic signal three days earlier. The police and local medical examiner claim that Bland, who was a vocal opponent of police violence, had hung herself with a trash bag.

Bystander video released Wednesday shows police violently arresting Bland, who complains that the officers are slamming her head to the ground. Another policeman demands that a bystander stop filming the incident. Bland was charged with “assaulting a public servant.” The police claim that force was justified in her arrest because she was “uncooperative.”

Prior to her suspicious death, Bland had participated in demonstrations against police violence and made statements on the Internet critical of the police. “In the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed,” Bland wrote in an eerily prophetic Facebook post prior to her death.

While the media refuses to raise the issue directly, the question arises whether, as an activist and participant in demonstrations against police violence, Bland may have been targeted for harassment and ultimately murder by the police.

Family members and friends have cast doubt on the official police story, saying they had no indication that Bland would consider killing herself.

“I talked to her Friday and she was in good spirits,” Bland’s friend LaVaughn Mosely told a local news station. 
 She added “Although she was incarcerated, she was in good spirits. She was looking forward to posting bond Saturday and getting out. So you don’t go from that to hanging yourself.”
Mosley added, “I can’t understand how somebody from a routine traffic stop can end up in jail and dead three days later.”

In a letter sent Thursday to the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas State Senator Royce West called the death of Bland “suspicious.”

He wrote, “My unconfirmed information is that Ms. Bland... was followed some distance by a DPS trooper and stopped her vehicle.”

He noted that, “the person who recorded the video was told by one of the officers to stop doing so, although it does not appear that he was in any way interfering with the officers in the execution of the traffic stop and appeared to be recording from a reasonable distance.”

West concluded his letter by requesting the release of any audio or visual recordings of Bland’s arrest and subsequent detainment. On Friday, USA Today reported that the FBI had joined in the investigation of Bland’s death.

That same day, the Texas Department of Public Safety said that Bland’s arrest “violated the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department's courtesy policy.” The officer who pulled her over has been put on desk duty.

The violent arrest and suspicious death of Sandra Bland come amid a string of nationwide revelations of police violence and murder.

  • On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the release of dashboard camera footage of the police killing of Ricardo Diaz Zeferino in 2013 in southern California. The video shows officers shooting an unarmed and defenseless Zeferino, who did nothing to threaten officers.

  • Last weekend, four hundred people protested the killing of Jonathan Sanders, an unarmed Mississippi man who was killed after being put in a 20-minute chokehold, according to witnesses.
  • On July 11, 35-year-old Anthony Ware died in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after being pepper-sprayed and handcuffed by police. Despite police claims that he had a gun, no weapon was found near his body.
  • On July 9, a woman in Etowah County, Alabama filed a lawsuit alleging that a police officer fired a Taser at her daughter three times while she was having a seizure, causing her to lose consciousness.

630 people have been killed by police so far this year, according to, or more than three per day. In this month alone, 72 people have been killed by police officers.

Police forces around the US are increasingly asserting their own interests against both the public and elected authorities. Last week, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake acquiesced to police pressure to fire Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. His removal came after the Baltimore police union released a report condemning his response to demonstrations last April as being insufficiently repressive.

This followed the virtual mutiny of police officers in New York City late last year after Mayor Bill De Blasio made statements the police considered to be critical. De Blasio responded to displays of insubordination by officers and police officials by calling for an end to protests against police violence and announcing the expansion of the police department, including the hiring of 300 officers for a new unit equipped with “long rifles” and “machine guns” and “designed for dealing with events like our recent protests,” as Police Commissioner William Bratton put it.

Against this backdrop, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the ten US cities with the largest police departments have made payouts totaling in the millions of dollars to hush up civil cases of police violence and murder. These cities paid out some $248.7 million in settlements related to police violence in 2013, up 48 percent from $168.3 million in 2010.

In the latest of these settlements, New York City paid $5.9 million to settle charges related to the killing of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by officer Daniel Pantaleo last June, then denied emergency medical aid. The killing of Garner triggered mass protests against police violence, which gained strength following the August killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

These multi-million-dollar settlements are an attempt to continue the cover-up of police murder and violence. In the case of Eric Garner, the city sought to prevent any public discussion of the fraudulent grand jury proceeding that exonerated his killer. Last month, the New York Times reported that during the secretive grand jury proceeding, the prosecutor coached witnesses to not speak of police using a “chokehold,” despite clear medical evidence that choking contributed to Garner’s death.

The total settlements paid out by the cities covered by the Wall Street Journal report amount to more than $1 billion over the past five years. The enormous growth in such payouts is an expression of the virtual institutionalization of police violence and murder, and the unlimited lengths to which the state will go to defend the police.

The increasingly ubiquitous role of police violence in the United States is the reflection of far deeper social processes--the growth of social inequality, the ceaseless assault on the living standards of the working class, and the dismantling of democratic forms of rule.

The de facto immunity given to the police shows the buildup of the forces of the state aimed at intimidating and suppressing political opposition to militarism, economic inequality and social injustice.

Solar Boat's Salish Sea Tour Hits Victoria

Salish Sea Tour hits Victoria as Nexen Spill Rocks Alberta

by Wilderness Committee

 Communities visited during solar-powered tour echo call to stop Kinder Morgan

VICTORIAAn interactive tour connecting Salish Sea residents against the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline and tanker proposal arrives in Victoria tomorrow. The team of activists leading the 2015 Salish Sea Tour left Vancouver on July 4th on a solar-powered catamaran called Aerial Sea, and visited several communities along the Kinder Morgan tanker route.

The two-week tour wraps up tomorrow in Victoria, where the Aerial Sea will be docked at Ship Point in the Inner Harbour from noon until 4 p.m. Meanwhile, one of the largest oil spills in Canada’s history has just taken place along a new Nexen pipeline in northern Alberta, close to Fort McMurray.

While the focus of the Salish Sea Tour has been on positive solutions to climate change around the region, organizers are also highlighting the fact that dangerous projects like Kinder Morgan’s have no place in a healthy future here.

“The Salish Sea is one of the best places to live in the world – it’s not a sacrifice zone for Big Oil,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. 
“In every corner of this region, we’ve heard from communities that Kinder Morgan has absolutely no place in our future.”

The Tour has made stops in Vancouver, Steveston, Salt Spring Island and Pender Island – all places directly threatened by the heightened oil spill risk and intensified climate change that Kinder Morgan’s proposed project would bring to the region.

“The Nexen spill is yet another reminder of the dangers of oil transport. We are doing this tour to highlight the fact that there are better alternatives that we should be embracing. We don’t need to take all the risk of new oil pipelines and increased tanker traffic. We could be on a path to reduced consumption today,” said Ben West, Executive Director of Tanker Free BC. 

Saturday’s afternoon event on the Aerial Sea will be followed by an evening gathering (7-9 p.m.) at Solstice Café featuring film, speakers and musical acts including Luke Wallace, a Vancouver-based folk artist and co-organizer of the tour.

“As the Salish Sea Tour comes to a close, we have had a successful couple weeks visiting communities all along the Kinder Morgan tanker route. Our tour has been capped off dramatically with a massive spill in Alberta,” said Wallace. 
“We are inviting everyone to come down and join us at the public dock and at our event in the evening, to celebrate what is possible as an alternative to more pipelines and tankers.” 

As a spin-off event the following day, the Wilderness Committee is organizing a tour of the T’sou-ke Solar Community – an innovative First Nation’s solar project just outside Victoria – to show that solutions to dirty energy projects like the Kinder Morgan pipeline are here and thriving.

The Salish Sea Tour is organized by the Wilderness Committee, Tanker Free BC, Salish Sea Keepers and Luke Wallace. More details at


For Immediate Release - July 17, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

Succoring the Coupsters: Clinton's Independent Agenda on Honduras

Emails Show Secretary Clinton Disobeyed Obama Policy and Continued Funding for Honduras Coup Regime

by Bill Conroy - NarcoNews

Clinton Asked Lanny Davis, Longtime Clinton Operative and Lobbyist for Pro-Coup Honduran Businesses, to Arrange Phone Meeting with Coup Dictator

Buried in the latest trove of Hillary Clinton emails made public last week are some missives that shed new light on the former Secretary of State’s role in seemingly undermining President Barack Obama’s policy in dealing with the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras.

The official emails recently made public by the State Department —more than 3,000 pages worth — were sent or received primarily in 2009 through Clinton’s private email account — via an email server set up outside the government’s system and used to conduct official business.

One email exchange discovered in the recently released batch of State Department communications reveals that Clinton personally signed off on continuing the flow of US funds to the putsch regime in Honduras in the fall of 2009 — even as the White House was telling the world that such aid had been suspended.

Another email exchange involving Clinton shows that she turned to a lobbyist employed by Honduran business interests suspected of orchestrating the coup to get access to the Roberto Micheletti, the “de facto” president of the putsch regime. Micheletti assumed power after the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was removed from office at gunpoint on June 28, 2009.
The lobbyist Clinton favored in her dealings with Micheletti was Lanny Davis — a long-time friend whom she had met while at Yale Law School and a former White House Counsel to Bill Clinton [as well as a consummate shill for the Clinton agenda].

Davis also is a lawyer and lobbyist and in the latter capacity was retained in July 2009 by the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL) to hawk for the Honduran coup regime, including Micheletti’s illegal administration.

In an Oct. 22, 2009, email sent by one of her top aides, with the subject line, “Re: Lanny Davis,” Clinton asks: “Can he [Lanny Davis] help me talk w Micheletti?

Although there is not enough context in the email trail to determine precisely why Clinton wanted to speak with Micheletti, or why she felt a need to go through Davis to do so, the date on the email offers a clue as to what might have been going on at the time.

Late October of 2009 is around the time that the US, in particular the State Department, was pressing the coup government in Honduras to accept the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord, which, among other things, called for a unity government, a truth commission and the return of Zelaya to the president’s office to finish the final few months of his term. It was essentially a deal designed to end the political crisis sparked by the coup d’état and to also create an air of legitimacy for the fall 2009 elections in Honduras.

The accord ultimately fell apart, with Davis penning an op/ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he blamed its demise on Zelaya. The November 2009 elections went forward under the terror imposed by the coup government, with less than 50 percent voter turnout, and Clinton’s State Department was quick to claim a victory for democracy in Honduras in the wake of the ballot.

The man ultimately elected to replace Micheletti as president, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa of the conservative National Party, was himself one of the backers of the coup and ultimately granted amnesty to all those involved in planning the putsch. His administration then proceeded to hire Davis’ firm, Lanny J. Davis & Associates, to help with the task of putting a PR shine on the new Lobo government.

But as Davis attempted to orchestrate his magic spin over the last half of 2009, he and his Honduran employers had to confront the harsh reality of an Obama White House that had declared that the coup regime was not legitimate. Consequently, the White House had taken the draconian step of suspending all US aid to Honduras that legally had to be terminated in the event of a military coup d’état — as mandated under Section 7008 of the U.S. Foreign Operations Appropriations Law.

That White House-invoked aid suspension, which was supposed to apply to all programs implicated under Section 7008, should also have included any funds being provided to Honduras through a US-backed aid agency known as the Millennium Challenge Corporation. MCC is funded by taxpayers and overseen by a board that is chaired by the Secretary of State. But despite the White House policy on aid suspension to Honduras, the MCC continued to send millions of dollars monthly to the putsch regime in Honduras.

In fact, a Narco News investigation at the time showed the MCC delivered $10.7 million to Honduras in the two months following the June 28 coup and had another $100 million or so in contractually committed funds in the pipeline to be delivered in 2010. As chair of the MCC, Clinton should have been well aware of this flow of dollars to a regime deemed illegitimate by her boss, President Obama, but proof of that direct knowledge could not be verified previously.

The State Department email trail recently made public, however, shows for the first time that Clinton did know that MCC funding was continuing to pour into Honduras — even as publicly the White House, as well as the State Department, were telling the nation that such US aid had been suspended.

In an Aug. 29, 2009, email exchange involving Clinton and one of her top aides, Clinton is made aware of a looming deadline related to a report the MCC was required to make to Congress. The communication made clear that Clinton had to let Congress know by Sept. 10, 2009 — during the heat of the Honduran-putsch crisis — whether the MCC board planned to prohibit Honduras from receiving further funds because its legitimate head of government had been deposed by a military coup.

Further, Clinton herself was being asked to weigh in on that funding decision, according to the email exchange — which included the following analysis from a State Department legal advisor:

The Millennium Challenge Act of 2003 requires the submission of a report to Congress and publication in the Federal Register of a list of countries that are candidate countries for MCC assistance, and countries that would be candidate countries but for "specified legal prohibitions on assistance."

Honduras is a candidate country. If Honduras is subject to the restrictions in section 7008 [of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Law], it would be listed in that section of the report that identifies countries that would be candidate countries but for legal prohibitions that prohibit assistance. The report would also provide an explanation of the legal prohibition (in fact, other coup restricted countries, such as Cote d'Ivoire, Madagascar, Mauritania, and Sudan, are on the prohibited list and section 7008 is explicitly mentioned).

The list must be approved by the Board of the MCC, of which the Secretary [Hillary Clinton] is the chair, and is due on 9/10. It is our understanding that an action memo will be presented to the Secretary, perhaps as early as next week, so that she can approve submission of the report. The action memo will require the Secretary to decide whether Honduras is a country without a "specified legal prohibition" or whether such a prohibition has in fact attached. [Emphasis added.]

It’s worth noting again, that in July and August of 2009 alone, seemingly in direct opposition to the Obama administration’s wishes, the MCC funneled nearly $11 million to the coup regime in Honduras. Among the Honduran companies benefiting from the MCC aid in 2009, in the form of a $7.5 million road-improvement contract, was Santos y Compañia, whose CEO, Elvin Santos, was a former vice president of Honduras, a 2009 presidential candidate and a key supporter of the putsch that drove Zelaya from power.

Now, with a report due to Congress, MCC and Clinton could no longer continue propping up the putsch government’s finances in the shadows. Congress wanted an official report.

If Clinton listed Honduras as a prohibited country in terms of Section 7008, the balance of the $100 million in MCC funds slated for the Honduran regime would be suspended. If not, the aid would continue to flow.

As important, the wording of the email from the State Department legal advisor makes clear that the MCC funding did fall into the category of US aid that would be suspended under a Section 7008 trigger event, such as a “military coup.” And the Obama administration’s position at the time was to suspend immediately all aid to Honduras that is subject to Section 7008, whether it was officially triggered or not.

Regardless, Clinton did not act to prohibit Honduras from receiving the MCC funding. A copy of the Sept. 16, 2009, Federal Register shows the report the MCC board sent to Congress includes Honduras as a nation still eligible to receive assistance.

And so, over the balance of 2009 and through most of 2010, MCC funds continued to flow into the coffers of the Honduran coup regime and its successor government, which was empowered by the suspect November 2009 elections and embraced by pro-putsch lobbyist Lanny Davis and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In early September 2010, the five-year MCC funding program in Honduras, known as a compact, came to an end marked by these words from Secretary Clinton:

“The Millennium Challenge Corporation compact is a crucial part of our commitment to work as partners with the people and Government of Honduras to reduce poverty and promote effective, sustainable development throughout the country and across Central America. … The MCC compact has helped lay the foundation for a brighter future for all Hondurans.”

But not everyone agrees that “brighter future” has materialized in the wake of the Honduran coup regime, which the MCC funding arguably helped to empower.

Dana Frank, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an expert on human rights and U.S. policy in Honduras, told Narco News previously that the “2009 military coup that deposed democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya … opened the door to a free-for-all of criminality in Honduras.”

“Since then,” she added, “organized crime, drug traffickers and gangs have flourished, worming their way ever-higher within the Honduran governme

Likewise Joy Olson, executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America, a nongovernmental organization focused on human rights, democracy and social justice, said the coup did have a major destabilizing influence on the institutions in Honduras that were already very weak, “and criminal elements took advantage of that space.”

Honduras as of 2014 had the highest murder rate in the world, United Nations data shows. And both the police and military have been implicated in extrajudicial murders in Honduras, according to a 2013 State Department human rights report.