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One of the documents released by Wikileaks has established that as of July 24th, 2009, approximately one month after the coup, Ambassador Hugo Llorens had established that there was no basis for the removal of President Manuel Zelaya and that it was an illegal military coup. This is significant because:

  1. As a Cuban exile, Ambassador Llorens was in no way sympathetic to left-leaning governments.
  1. The cable was addressed to Legal Advisor Harold Koh, among others. Koh has been regarded as one of the "good guys" at State. This places his reputation in danger. In addition, Legal Advisor Joan Donoghue, an addressee, was elevated to the International Court of Justice and should be obliged to step down.
  1. The Millennium Foundation Challenge Corporation, for which Hillary Clinton was Chairman of the Board, continued to deliver aid, contrary to US law.  
  1. This analysis went to the White House, meaning that the Administration thereafter participated in what it knew to be an illegal dictatorship.

On July 24, 2009, US Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens, cabled Assistant Secretary Tom Shannon, NSC Advisor Dan Restrepo, Legal Adviser Harold Koh, and Legal Advisor Joan Donoghue to advise them of his analysis of the coup that had taken place a little less than one month earlier.

Llorens was blunt, headlining the memo: OPEN AND SHUT: THE CASE OF THE HONDURAN COUP.He stated plainly that:

The Embassy perspective is that there is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch... There is equally no doubt from our perspective that Roberto Micheletti's assumption of power was illegitimate.

Acknowledging that Zelaya may have overstepped his bounds, it firmly refutes the legal basis for removing Zelaya on the basis of his calling for a non-binding referendum on a Constitutional Convention, stating:

Many other Honduran officials, including presidents,going back to the first elected government under the 1982 Constitution, have proposed allowing presidential reelection, and they were never deemed to have been automatically removed from their positions as a result.

  1. (C) It further warrants mention that Micheletti himself should be forced to resign following the logic of the 239 argument, since as President of Congress he considered legislation to have a fourth ballot box ("cuarta urna") at the November elections to seek voter approval for a

constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. Any member of Congress who discussed the proposal should also be required to resign, and National Party presidential candidate Pepe Lobo, who endorsed the idea, should be ineligible to hold public office for 10 years.

And it plainly stated these important points:

-- the military had no authority to remove Zelaya from the
country;

-- Congress has no constitutional authority to remove a
Honduran president;

-- Congress and the judiciary removed Zelaya on the basis
of a hasty, ad-hoc, extralegal, secret, 48-hour process;

-- the purported "resignation" letter was a fabrication and
was not even the basis for Congress's action of June 28;
and

-- Zelaya's arrest and forced removal from the country
violated multiple constitutional guarantees, including the
prohibition on expatriation, presumption of innocence and
right to due process.

I analyzed the coup in a five part series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

The judgment of that series, that the United States Government participated in a military coup and the establishment of a dictatorship, has now been largely vindicated by the words of Ambassador Llorens. What remains is to establish the role of the United States in the run-up to the coup and, in particular, to understand how President Zelaya was flown out through a US (co)-operated air field during his kidnapping.  There are 153 cables in the time period of May 1st, 2009-July 31st, 2009, and I hope to read them all.

I'm pressed for time now, but look forward to posting later. See you in the threads, Cadejo04.

PS: Thanks to pico for the correction on the name of Millenium Challenge Corporation.
PPS:  Cable ID 217920. Thanks m16eib.
PPPS: Should have credited Quotha, which picked up the El Pais posting first, and which is a blog everyone who cares about Honduras should be reading. Also, NYT now has the document.
PPPPS: Zelaya has responded. A loose translation:  "This document will allow us in attending the International Criminal Court and of Human Rights to denounce the United States.  As a State violating human rights, it took no precautionary steps against the Coup D'Etat. The revelation from Wikileaks compromises them deeply because, knowing of the crime, they covered it up."  He directly accused US intelligence of foreknowledge and support for the coup.
_____________________________________________________________
Added, 11/30/10. As happens so often when Americans who love their country try to keep it from a self-destructive path, a comment below attacks my loyalty to this country rather than answer the serious issues raised by the Llorens cable. I leave it to the DK community to show posters that McCarthyism is not acceptable among a free people: I will not debate with a scoundrel.

I will, however, correct a piece of disinformation being peddled on these boards. The National Democratic Institute was not accredited to observe the Honduran election. Normally, it works with NGOs to ensure that they meet the conditions for accreditation s election observers. Astoundingly, in the Honduran election, it chose to work with Hagamos Democracia, even though it conceded that neither the delegation it dispatched nor the "observers" on the ground met the conditions necessary to be recognized as election observers-- as indeed the world did not. Their observers were so impartial that they accepted money from the Honduran government. They also mobbed, intimidated, and verbally attacked Laura Carlsen, the well-respected director of the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy. Why, the NDI itself was so "impartial" that it failed to note the falsification of turnout figures by the Honduran "election" officials, not to mention the atmosphere of violence and intimidation that caused the whole world to discredit the elections as mostly American propaganda theater.

Why anyone would think that any real American-- a person who believes in the principles of informed self-determination enunciated in the Constitution --would support this sort of transparent fraud is absolutely beyond me. No, the path of reflexive support for foreign policy blunders is what is leading to the destruction of the United States as a power in this world.

Originally posted to CharlesII on Sun Nov 28, 2010 at 05:48 PM PST.

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