Honduran death squads murder 13-year-old girl


This video, in Spanish from Honduras, is about the grandmother of Soad Nicole Ham denouncing the death squad murder of her grandddaughter.

Soad Nicole was three years younger than Anne Frank when Hitler’s nazis killed her

It is not easy to find English language information on this murder on the Internet. Here is some.

By Eric London:

Honduran death squads kill four student protesters, including a 13-year-old

1 April 2015

The remains of 13 year-old Soad Nicole Ham were found in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa last Wednesday after a death squad kidnapped and murdered her for participating in recent student demonstrations against the country’s crumbling education system. A medical examination of the girl’s remains, which were discovered in a plastic bag on the street, revealed signs of brutal torture.

Soad Nicole was the fourth demonstrator to be killed by death squads in Tegucigalpa last week. The bodies of Elvin Antonio López, Darwin Josué Martínez, and Diana Yareli Montoya—all between the ages of 19 and 21 and all actively involved in student protests—were also discovered in various neighborhoods of the city. Yareli Montoya, whose body was riddled with 21 bullets by masked attackers, took two painful days to die.

The victims and the timing of the killings underscore the likely complicity of the rightist government of President Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, with the help of his Education Minister, Marlon Escoto.

In the days prior to the disappearances, thousands of high school and university students were carrying out large demonstrations against the country’s education system. Many of the capital city’s middle schools, high schools and universities were on strike against poor education conditions and a lack of adequate school resources.

Students were further enraged by Education Minister Escoto’s callous proposal for changes to the school schedule, which is divided into morning and afternoon shifts. Under the March 16 proposal, students would be forced to travel to and from school either in the early morning or late evening hours, when darkness makes it easier for the armed gangs who roam the streets to attack them.

According to the non-profit Casa Alianza, 86 students are killed each month on the way to and from school in Honduras—a figure that has doubled since the 2009 US-backed coup that toppled the elected government of President Manuel Zelaya.

Soad Nicole herself was targeted because of a brief statement she made to a Globo-TV news crew at the scene of a demonstration in the days before her death.

As students chanted, “We need school desks and we receive gunshots,” Soad Nicole told reporters, “It’s not possible for us to be seated on the floor like dogs! We don’t even have chairs!”

Addressing the Education Minister, she added: “Man, buy chairs, you son of a bitch!”

It is a testament to the real state of social and political life in Central America that such a statement of justified indignation from a 13-year-old is sufficient to earn her the penalty of death by assassination squad.

The government has responded to the students’ demands by deploying heavily armed soldiers to fire tear gas, flash grenades and water cannon, as well as by placing schools under military lockdown. On March 17, Escoto announced that to suppress the demonstrations, the Honduran military police would begin occupying schools in the capital.

“Beginning this afternoon [March 17], the police will be at the gates to ensure that those students who want to come in to study can do so,” he said, noting further that the government had been “tolerant enough” with the peaceful student protesters.

As the crackdown on protestors continues, Escoto has taken to posting pictures of demonstrators on his Twitter account and publishing their names, sending the message that they too could end up like Soad Nicole Ham.

In the course of the demonstrations, several journalists have reported being harassed by the police, including two who said that a police official approached them, held up a pistol, and provocatively unlocked the gun’s safety mechanism. Many students have also been wounded in clashes with police.

As demonstrations began on the morning of March 16, Escoto’s office issued a statement requesting that teachers provide lists of those students who were participating in demonstrations. According to the Education Ministry, this was being undertaken so that the government could “apply corrective measures” to demonstrators.

Though the government has of course not admitted to carrying out the murders itself, there is every indication that it is precisely such “corrective measures” that were applied to the four young people whose bodies have since been found abandoned in the streets of Tegucigalpa.

Behind the brutal acts of the Lobo administration stands American imperialism, whose role in enforcing police-military terror on the countries of Central America dates back to the 19th century.

The Obama administration backed the military coup of 2009 and has supported all the regimes that followed, including those headed by coup leader Roberto Micheletti and Porfirio Lobo, winner of an election organized by the coup regime, with less than half the population voting.

Hernandez himself was named victor amid charges of vote fraud and violent intimidation by supporters of his opponent, Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro. He ran in the election on a campaign promise of “a soldier on every corner,” and has since made good on his vow to militarize policing in Honduras, despite the prohibition against using troops for this purpose in the country’s constitution.

At the time of the coup, a US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the New York Times that the State Department spoke to “military officials and opposition leaders” about “how they might remove [former president Manuel Zelaya] from office, how he could be arrested, on whose authority they could do that.”

By 2011, the Pentagon had increased military spending to the Honduran police and military by 71 percent, to $53.8 million, while providing $1.3 billion for US military electronics to the Honduran regime. In 2012, Defense Department contracts increased to $67.4 million—tripling the total from 2002. It costs the Obama administration $89 million per year to house 600 US troops at the Soto Cano air force, which was recently expanded to the tune of an additional $25 million.

Recently, the US has announced the deployment at Soto Cano of a new Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-South, or SPMAGTF-South, consisting of 250 Marine special operations troops who are charged with rapid intervention wherever in the region Washington sees fit.

The status of Honduras as the “murder capital of the world” and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere is the product of over a century of oppression by US imperialism. Washington invaded the country seven times in the first two decades of the 20th century to defend the interests of United Fruit Company, making Honduras the first country to be branded a “banana republic.”

The CIA used the country as a staging ground both for its 1954 coup that overthrew Guatemala’s democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, and for the Nicaraguan Contra forces who carried out a bloody campaign against the Sandinistas and the Nicaraguan peasantry in the 1980s. During this latter campaign, the Honduran military, with the aid of the CIA, utilized its own death squads to hunt down and murder trade unionists, leftists and students.

The recent events in Honduras underscore the fact that cold-blooded murder at the hands of the state is becoming an increasingly common element of everyday life for young people all over the world. The events in Honduras closely parallel last September’s government-backed killing of 43 student teachers in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. In both cases, the killings were carried out in response to widespread opposition to social inequality, poverty, and lack of quality social programs and education. In Honduras, as in Mexico, what follows will be a government cover-up with the full backing of the United States.

A Ferguson demonstrator speaks


Michael Brown memorial in Ferguson, USA

From boingboing.net in the USA:

Ferguson protestor describes traumatic nights following Mike Brown’s death

By Caroline Siede at 8:15 am Tue, Mar 31, 2015

St. Louis native Johnetta “Netta” Elzie has been one of the most active voices in the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that sprang up in response to the killing of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO.

In a new article for Ebony, Elzie describes the first few traumatic nights in Ferguson following Brown’s death—when the city saw massive police militarization—and the motivation she’s found to continue leading the movement:

The next day [after Mike Brown’s death], a few hundred people gathered in front of the Ferguson Police Department‘s new million dollar headquarters to peacefully protest. The crowd was filled with people from all walks of life. We marched on the station’s grounds, past officers and into and out of the building yelling phrases like “HANDS UP! DON’T SHOOT!” I could feel the tension in the air. Everyone was angry. I was angry. Being among such a large group of people—some strangers and others, familiar faces—I was not afraid of standing with them. The anxiety and fear grew inside of me as more and more police officers arrived to the station from different municipalities, including the K-9 unit.

We were all there for the same reason: to demand answers, to know why an unarmed Black teenage boy was gunned down. Mothers among the protesters gave testimonies to anyone who would listen about how the men in their family, or their sons (and even themselves) have experienced a form of police brutality. This was the first time I had ever seen police dogs ready for attack in real life. I felt as if time was rewinding back and showing me scenes from Selma, Alabama in the 1960’s instead of Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. I never imagined that this would be my reality as a young adult in America in the 21st century. I tried to remain as calm as possible in such a volatile situation but seeing those police dogs snarling at young Black children filled me with anger and rage.

I became less of a peaceful protester and more of an active one. Using my voice to chant loudly along with other protesters seemed to be enough but it wasn’t. Instead, I decided to yell directly at the police. I decided to dare the police to look at the faces of the babies and children their dogs were so ready to chase down. As more people began to look directly at the police and yell their grievances, the more aggravated they became.

Read the full article on Ebony and follow Elzie on Twitter to learn more about her activism.

(Image: Memorial to Michael Brown, Jamelle Bouie, CC-BY)

Saudi Arabia’s refugee-killing bombs in Yemen


This video says about itsdelf:

Many dead in ‘air strike on north Yemen refugee camp

30 March 2015

At least 40 people have been killed in an attack on a camp for internally displaced people in north Yemen, as a Saudi-led coalition continued to strike Houthi targets around the country for a fifth day. Al Jazeera‘s Kim Vinnell reports.

By Niles Williamson:

Dozens of refugees killed in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen

31 March 2015

The International Organization for Migration reported on Monday that an airstrike on the Al Mazraq refugee camp in Yemen’s Hajjah Province killed at least forty people and injured two hundred others. The attack occurred on the fifth consecutive day of airstrikes carried out by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by intelligence and logistical support from the United States.

According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at least five hundred families had entered the camp in recent days to escape airstrikes in northern Yemen being carried out by Saudi Arabia and its allies with the support of the United States.

MSF reported that its doctors treated 34 people wounded in the airstrike at its hospital in the nearby town Haradh. The group also reported that women and children were among 29 people dead on arrival at the facility.

The camp, which currently houses approximately 5,000 people in crude tent shelters, was established in 2001 to house people displaced by fighting between the Yemeni government and Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi militia in the northern provinces. “People in Al Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions since 2009, and now they have suffered the consequences of an airstrike on the camp,” Pablo Marco, MSF operational manager for Yemen, said in a statement released on Monday.

The MSF also reported that it has treated more than 500 patients at its emergency surgical unit in the southern port city of Aden …

Saudi-led airstrikes over the weekend destroyed power plants in Houthi stronghold Saada, knocking out power to most of the province. Jet fighters also hit targets throughout the capital of Sanaa for a fifth straight day Monday. Bombs rained down on the presidential palace as well as air defense systems, missile launch pads and jet fighters. Sanaa has been under the control of the Houthis since last September.

In less than a week, the Saudi-led campaign of unrelenting airstrikes has reportedly destroyed a significant portion of Yemen’s air force and anti-aircraft defenses. Military bases and arms depots throughout the country have also come under attack.

The Houthi rebels have continued their assault on Aden, where Hadi had rallied loyal military forces before he fled the country for Saudi Arabia last week. Houthi forces that made an assault against Aden’s northeastern suburbs Monday were met with heavy rocket and artillery fire from Egyptian warships.

Saudi and Yemeni officials have asserted that military operations will continue until the Houthi militias are militarily defeated and Hadi is in a position to reassert control over the entire country. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud promised that his country would continue its military operations “until stability is returned” to Yemen.

Speaking at the Arab League meeting in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday, ousted Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin rejected the prospect of a negotiated settlement with the Houthis. “The operation will end when Yemen is safe and secure. But we will only negotiate with those who are willing to disarm,” he stated. “We won’t negotiate with [the Houthis] because they carried out a coup. They used the state’s weakness to take over.”

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both close US allies, have backed the expanding campaign of air strikes with the threat of an imminent ground invasion to push back the Houthis. Saudi Arabia has mobilized as many as 150,000 soldiers and has positioned heavy artillery on its southern border with Yemen. Egypt has reportedly stationed troop ships off the coast of Yemen in preparation for an amphibious assault.

A delegation headed by Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaj Asif and foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz will be in Saudi Arabia today, where they are expected to officially announce Pakistan’s decision to send troops to take part in the military assault in Yemen.

A senior Pakistani official told Reuters on Monday that his government was planning on dispatching a contingent of soldiers to Saudi Arabia to support military operations. “We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” the official stated.

The open participation of Sunni majority Pakistan, which shares a border with Iran, in a ground invasion spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and Egypt and backed by the United States would mark a significant escalation in the conflict. What began as a proxy war between the Shiite Houthis backed by majority Shiite Iran and the Yemeni government backed by the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia could rapidly devolve into an open sectarian conflict drawing in countries from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

Mumia Abu-Jamal in prison hospital


This video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

Mumia Supporters Challenge Wall Street Journal

28 February 2014

Supporters of wrongfully imprisoned Mumia Abu-Jamal try to deliver letter to Wall Street Journal Editorial Features Editor, Mark Lasswell, correcting their published opinion article by Pat Toomey, Republican senator from Pennsylvania, and Rufus Seth Williams, Philadelphia district attorney, that attacked Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile as Justice Department’s top civil rights official, claiming he defended “a notorious cop killer” when as chief of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund he helped get Mumia off Death Row.

Clearly, Mumia did not kill a cop! Mumia tried to offer assistance to police officer Daniel Faulkner, who had already been shot and downed, who responded by shooting him. The WSJ piece repeats the DA’s bogus claim that 3 cops heard Mumia from his hospital bed confess to the killing when both the attending physician and policeman assigned to watch Mumia as he laid in critical condition maintained he said nothing, AND the 3 cops didn’t come up with that story until 60 days later!

After being advised by building security they could not enter the building to present their letter to the OpEd editor unless they first make an appointment, they try to make an appointment with a cel phone, and when that fails they are directed to the messenger entrance around the corner to deliver their letter, where they first read the letter aloud. Along the way they develop a friendly relationship with NYPD Community Affairs Officer Michael Dugan who agrees to watch a pro-Mumia video with an open mind if they send him one. That suggests the possibility New York City’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio and his new Police Chief Bratton might help get pro-Mumia videos shown at NYC Police Stations. The videos thoroughly set the record straight that Mumia was framed and mistried for a crime he did not commit.

Video by Joe Friendly.

From the International Action Center in the USA today:

Mumia in the hospital! Call prison to demand that his family see him!!

At 1 PM today, Mumia Abu-Jamal had a medical emergency and was taken to Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, PA. He is in the ICU. Mumia‘s spouse is not being allowed to see him. The only information we are receiving now is that he’s receiving an insulin drip for his diabetes.

YOUR HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED NOW!

Call these numbers now to demand hospital visitation rights for Mumia‘s family, including his brother Keith:

Richard Ellers
Director, PA Department of Corrections Health Care Services
rellers@pa.gov
(717) 728-5311

John Wetzel
Secretary, PA Department of Corrections
(717) 728-4109
Schuylkill Medical Center
420 S Jackson St, Pottsville, PA
(570) 621-4000

SCI Mahanoy
Superindendent John Kerestes
(570) 773-2158 x8102

Say you are calling about prisoner WESLEY COOK, #AM8335.

More alerts will follow as we receive them.

THIS MAN WRONGLY SERVED ON DEATH ROW FOR 30 YEARS And a judge ruled he should not receive any restitution. [Kim Bellware, HuffPost]

Journalists arrested in Ferguson, USA sue police


This video from the USA says about itself:

Ferguson Cop Who Arrested Journalists Allegedly Hogtied Child

26 August 2014

A Ferguson cop who arrested journalists inside a McDonald’s during protests has allegedly also once hogtied a 12 year old child in the kid’s own driveway while he was getting the mail.

By JIM SUHR, Associated Press in the USA:

4 journalists arrested during Ferguson protests sue police

3:30 PM, Mar 30, 2015

ST. LOUIS — Four journalists arrested during last summer’s protests over the Ferguson shooting death of Michael Brown are suing St. Louis County’s police department for civil rights violations and unlawful detention.

The lawsuit filed Monday in St. Louis also names 20 unidentified St. Louis County officers.

Plaintiffs include two journalists who were covering last August’s protests for German publications, as well as a freelance reporter and a journalist for an online investigative publication. The suit describes them as U.S. citizens.

The lawsuit alleges that the journalists’ arrests for failing to disperse when ordered by police was unjustified and was an infringement of constitutionally protected freedom of the press.

A St. Louis County police spokesmen referred questions Monday to the county counselor, who did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Four journalists arrested while covering racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, last year filed a lawsuit Monday claiming they were battered and falsely arrested by police trying to hinder their ability to cover the protests. The journalists claim in their lawsuit that police officers used excessive force and intimidation tactics, including shooting at them with rubber bullets, to try to stop the journalists from recording police activity: here.

An Intercept reporter is suing the St. Louis County Police Department after he was shot with rubber bullets and arrested while reporting on protests in the suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown last August. The Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux is joined in the civil rights suit, filed today in federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri, by three German journalists who were also arrested. They allege that the police department, St. Louis County, and 20 unidentified officers violated their First Amendment rights of freedom of press and freedom of speech, used excessive force against them, and arrested them without probable cause. (The complaint is embedded below.): here.