Covering (up) the coup in Honduras – the BBC does its bit for the Empire by William Bowles

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By William Bowles
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
1 July 2009

The devil lives in the small print, the devil in this case being the BBC in its coverage of the coup d’etat that ousted President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras on 27 June, 2009.

Take the following para from a BBC piece titled ‘US treads careful path on Honduras’ (30 June, 2009)

“So while Washington’s reaction has been strong and swift, when it comes to statements, its actions have so far been measured.

Now you may wonder why the BBC chose the word ‘measured’ to describe the US’ response to the military coup d’etat? Not only why but how? The following para explains,

“This is a signal that Washington is not keen to use its clout to help Mr Zelaya return to power, shying away from any action that could be seen as interventionism in a region where the US has a long, complex history.”

But ‘measured’ is not a word that describes the US administration’s response. Obama simply stated that the Honduras coup is “not legal”. And note that the US interventions, both direct military and covert over the years, for example, US support for the Contras in Nicaragua, the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile, the attempted overthrow of Chavez in 2002, are described by the dissembling BBC as “long [and] complex [sic], which is the BBC’s standard method of covering up the crimes of Empire.

In a related BBC piece with the title of ‘’Mistimed coup’ in Honduras?’ we read,

“Recent events in Tegucigalpa, with hundreds of protesters chanting the president’s name have proved that he has his fanatical supporters.”

Why does the BBC choose to use the word “fanatical”? Here we have a legally elected leader of a country ousted in a coup that it is alleged the US knew about in advance [see ‘US Govt. Confirms It Knew Coup Was Coming in Honduras’], bundled onto a plane and flown to Costa Rica, describing Zelaya’s supporters as “fanatics”! What does this tell us about the BBC’s alleged impartiality and objectivity?

Clearly, any leader of any country who the BBC describes as “leftist” have been tarred with an extremist brush in the eyes of a misinformed public, hence the description of his supporters as “fanatics”. And why call the coup ‘mistimed’? Does the BBC know something the rest of us don’t, like when is the ‘right time’ to stage a coup d’etat? Inquiring minds want to Auntie Beeb.

The really important aspect of the BBC’s manipulation of language has to be seen in the larger context of the BBC’s mandate to control our perceptions of reality. So for example, its use of the programme ‘Masterchef’ to boost the UK’s illegal invasion of Iraq by promoting ‘our boys’, when the fact is, the great majority of Brits opposed the invasion of Iraq, so they’re not ‘our boys’ but the Empire’s.

In the piece ‘US treads careful path on Honduras’, the BBC lets us know why it uses such potent words,

“But Mr Zelaya, who came to power in 2006 as a centre-right leader, turned into a supporter of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez halfway through his term.

“He then joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a leftist alliance led by Venezuela.”

There we have it, Zelaya did an about turn and joined forces with that other thorn in the side of the Empire, Hugo Chavéz and his “leftist alliance”. So it’s not Zelaya’s actual policies that troubles the BBC but the fact that he’s sided with the “leftists” (with the assistance no doubt of his “fanatical supporters”).

The term “leftist” is loaded with hidden meaning for Western readers, it’s way beyond ‘left-wing’ which may well describe a handful of Labour MPs who consider themselves as such.

Even the title of the piece reveals much about the relationship between the BBC and the USUK state, after all what does ‘US treads careful path on Honduras’ really mean? Careful not to reveal their role in the coup? Careful to make it look like the US supports actual democracy as opposed to fake ones, eg Iraq and Afghanistan? Careful not to let the cat out of the bag is closer to the truth, that the US is more than happy to see Zelaya removed but makes all the right noises in public. Any actual steps to restore Zelaya to his rightful position eg, cutting off the military aid the US ‘gives’ to Honduras is noticeable by its absence.

And in an not unrelated piece on the ‘sovereignty’ that Iraq is alleged to have gotten with the relocation of US forces outside Iraq’s cities and towns (but close enough to be moved whenever their overwhelming firepower is required), the BBC quotes the US ambassador to Iraq at length,

“Yes, we think Iraq is ready and Iraq thinks Iraq is ready. We have spent a lot of time working very closely with Iraqi security services… and I think there is an understanding that now it is the time.”

“Mr Hill stressed that there would still be “a lot of US combat capabilities in Iraq for months to come”.

“After 30 June, with US combat forces out of cities and villages, localities, we’ll still be in Iraq,

“We will still have a very robust number of US troops in Iraq and, in fact, those troops will not begin to withdraw from Iraq until probably several months from now.” ‘US soldiers leave Iraq’s cities’, 30 June, 2009

So how can the BBC say that Iraq has achieved sovereignty when the country is occupied by over 130,000 troops as well as omitting the fact of the vast airpower that the US still lords over the country it bombed back into the Stone Age.

My thesaurus tells me that sovereign means ‘independent’, ‘autonomous’ or ‘self-ruling’ and clearly Iraq meets none of these definitions.

The other key word is ‘probably’, in other words it’s just as probable that the US won’t withdraw completely by 2011. The BBC piece offers us no alternative explanations, the US view is the preferred one, so that’s what we get for our extorted license fee.


Honduras-The CIA Never Quits by Gary Sudborough

The US and the Honduran coup by Alex Lantier

Kucinich: Troop movement should not be confused with a troop withdrawal from Iraq

Clashes continue after the coup in Honduras

The Honduran coup: another US destabilization operation