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Dave Granlund | US Foreign Ties / CagleCartoons.com

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WikiLeaks Honduras: State Department Busted on Support of Coup

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  • Why does this matter now?
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  • First, the constitutional and political crisis in Honduras is ongoing, and the failure of the US to take immediate, decisive action in response to the coup was a significant cause of the ongoing crisis.
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  • Second, the relationship of actual US policy - as opposed to rhetorical pronouncements - to democracy in the region is very much a live issue from Haiti to Bolivia.
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Robert Naiman, t r u t h o u t

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The streets of Honduras following a coup in July 2009. (Photo: codepinkhq)

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By July 24, 2009, the US government was totally clear about the basic facts of what took place in Honduras on June 28, 2009. The US embassy in Tegucigalpa sent a cable to Washington with the subject, "Open and Shut: The Case of the Honduran Coup," asserting that "there is no doubt" that the events of June 28 "constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup." The embassy listed arguments being made by supporters of the coup to claim its legality, and dismissed them thus: "None ... has any substantive validity under the Honduran constitution." The Honduran military clearly had no legal authority to remove President Manuel Zelaya from office or from Honduras, the embassy said, and their action - the embassy described it as an "abduction" and "kidnapping" - was clearly unconstitutional.

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It is inconceivable that any top US official responsible for US policy in Honduras was not familiar with the contents of the July 24 cable, which summarized the assessment of the US embassy in Honduras on key facts that were politically disputed by supporters of the coup regime. The cable was addressed to Tom Shannon, then assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs; Harold Koh, the State Department's legal adviser; and Dan Restrepo, senior director for western hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council. The cable was sent to the White House and to Secretary of State Clinton.

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Cancun or Bust

This year's UN talks could be our last chance to slow climate change. So will world leaders finally get it right?

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Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones

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Wikimedia

The hope—and hype—surrounding the climate negotiations in Copenhagen last December was hard to miss. Even though the possibility of securing a new global climate pact was scaled back significantly in the weeks ahead of the summit, the level of engagement was unprecedented.

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President Obama and more than 60 other heads of state from around the world flew in for the brutal final days of the summit, and in the closing hours a deal of sorts was finally hashed out.

But a year later, there's almost no build-up to the sixteenth Conference of the Parties, the annual climate negotiation hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The two-week negotiating session starts on Nov. 29 in Cancun, Mexico. And while it's happening much more quietly this year, the 2010 meeting could make or break the future of global negotiations. There could be an opportunity south of the border to reinforce commitments and establish new frameworks for cooperation—but if there's no real agreement on what comes next, the summit could leave the path forward somewhat treacherous.

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Countries vote to accept execution of gays

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  • The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.
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  • A major step backward. As Western nations decline due to their own economic bumbling their political influence declines too, and democratic thought on social issues go under attack too.
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Tris Reid-Smith, PinkPaper.com

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.

For the last 10 years sexual orientation has been included in a list of discriminatory grounds for executions – gay rights activists say the vote to remove that listing is “dangerous and disturbing.”

The UN resolution urges countries to protect the right to life of all people, calling on them to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. Sexual orientation was previously listed as one of these forms of discrimination, alongside ethnicity, religious belief and linguistic minorities.

Others protected by the resolution were human rights defenders (like journalists, lawyers and demonstrators), street children and members of indigenous communities.

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New Afghan War Plans Could Cost US Taxpayers an Extra $125 Billion

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  • US war planners have been signaling that troop withdrawals set to begin in 2011 will be mostly symbolic and that the handover to Afghan forces in 2014 is “aspirational.”
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  • A Shift in US Deadlines
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  • Higher war costs could hurt the base defense budget [and] the rest of the discretionary budget.
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  • I want my president back
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Ben Arnoldy, Christian Science Monitor

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

At a time when corporations are buying up elections – not to mention the 24-hour-news cycle – help ensure that a source for truly independent journalism lives on. Support Evergreene Digest today by using the donation button in the above right-hand corner.

In this Sept. 29 photo, a girl walks past a US Marine, as he patrols through a field in Marjah, southern Afghanistan. As leaders at the NATO summit in Lisbon meet this weekend to discuss strategy in Afghanistan, President Obama pushes to soften troop withdrawal deadlines. Todd Pitman/AP/File

As leaders at the NATO summit in Lisbon meet this weekend to discuss strategy in Afghanistan, US war planners have been signaling that troop withdrawals set to begin in 2011 will be mostly symbolic and that the handover to Afghan forces in 2014 is “aspirational.”

Such could cost American taxpayers handsomely at a time when deficit cutting has gripped Washington. According to one estimate, softening those deadlines could add at least $125 billion in war spending – not including long-term costs like debt servicing and health care for veterans.

“I don’t think anyone is seriously talking about cutting war funding as a way of handling the deficit,” says Todd Harrison, a defense funding expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. But higher war costs “could hurt the base defense budget [and] the rest of the discretionary budget.”

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Related:

I want my president back, Nita Chaudhary, MoveOn.org Political Action

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  • New Afghan War Plans Could Cost US Taxpayers an Extra $125 Billion
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  • Now more than ever, we need the Barack Obama we elected in 2008—the smart, tough, hopeful progressive champion who inspired millions of us—to stand up and say "no".
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  • Can you record and share a video message to President Obama today? Read here to get started.
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