Transnationalist Harold Koh Behind Obama Administration’s Honduras Policy

So it comes down to this. The adviser to the State Department, Harold Koh, (whose appointment conservatives so feared and opposed), appears to be the man behind the Obama administration’s bizarre policy against Honduras.

Senator Jim DeMint writes about his recent trip to Honduras in an oped in The WSJ, today:

In a day packed with meetings, we met only one person in Honduras who opposed Mr. Zelaya’s ouster, who wishes his return, and who mystifyingly rejects the legitimacy of the November elections: U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens.

When I asked Ambassador Llorens why the U.S. government insists on labeling what appears to the entire country to be the constitutional removal of Mr. Zelaya a “coup,” he urged me to read the legal opinion drafted by the State Department’s top lawyer, Harold Koh. As it happens, I have asked to see Mr. Koh’s report before and since my trip, but all requests to publicly disclose it have been denied.

On the other hand, the only thorough examination of the facts to date—conducted by a senior analyst at the Law Library of Congress—confirms the legality and constitutionality of Mr. Zelaya’s ouster. (It’s on the Internet here .)

In truth, it was immediately apparent to even the casual observer, that Honduras had acted legally and constitutionally in removing Chavez acolyte, Zelaya from office, but as Andrew McCarthy points out, the constitution of  Honduras doesn’t matter to a “transnationalist” like Harold Koh:

As Ed Whelan and I pointed out when Koh was up for confirmation, the former Yale Law School dean is the nation’s leading transnationalist. He has zero respect for national constitutions (including ours), preferring a post-sovereign order in which international law profs, transnational organizations, and free-lancing judges will be our overlords. What is happening with Honduras is exactly what anyone who familiarized himself with Koh’s record would have predicted. Yet, he was confirmed by a 62-35 margin, with support from the usual GOP suspects:  Lugar, Voinovich, Snowe, Collins, and Martinez.

Will these Republicans who helped foist Koh on us now join others demanding that President Transparency release Koh’s legal opinion on Honduras?

“international law profs, transnational organizations, and free-lancing judges will be our overlords”…..

One particular overlord, and his private transnational organization, OSI, I have posited, has interests in the region.

Hat tip: Hot Air

UPDATE:

Johnathon Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy, says:

Release the Koh Memorandum on Honduras

The Honduran government has made numerous missteps, from forcibly removing Zelaya from the country to restricting press freedoms, but I have yet to see a legal analysis to plausibly explain how Zelaya’s removal from office (as opposed to his forced exile) was illegal or unconstitutional, and I have seen no analysis, legal or otherwise, that explains why the already scheduled November elections should not proceed as planned.   Yet Harold Koh is quite smart — and I readily admit he knows far more about this subject than I ever will.  So if he has an analysis that would support the Administration’s otherwise-implausible position, let’s see it.  If not, then the U.S. government should let Honduras determine the course of their own affairs.

Video: Jim DeMint Details Honduras Trip On Fox

In case you missed it last night, Senator Jim DeMint appeared on the Greta Van Susteren Show to talk about his recent trip to Honduras:

Transcript, here.

His trip followed some dramatic political wrangling which involved Senator Kerry trying to block it:

“No U.S. Senator has yet been to Honduras to assess facts of crisis. [Kerry] & Obama admin using bullying tactics to hide truth,” DeMint, who also sits on the Foreign Relations panel, said on Twitter after he heard the trip would not occur.

“@JohnKerry (Foreign Rel. chair) trying to hide truth to protect Zelaya, blocking our fact-finding trip to Honduras at last minute,” DeMint also tweeted late Thursday afternoon.

DeMint’s office followed with a statement. “These bullying tactics by the Obama administration and Senator Kerry must stop, and we must be allowed to get to the truth in Honduras. Not a single U.S. Senator has traveled to Honduras to learn the facts on the ground.

“While this administration has failed to act decisively in Afghanistan, it is has no problem cracking down on a democratic ally and one of the poorest nations in Latin America,” DeMint added. “Now, President Obama and Democrats’ blind support for this would-be dictator and friend of Hugo Chavez will prevent members of Congress from learning the truth first hand.”

Kerry spokesman Frederick Jones responded Thursday evening that “Senator DeMint’s statement wins an A for ‘audacity.’”

Rachel Maddow, over at PMSNBC, laughably, accused DeMint of treason for going to Honduras on a fact finding mission.

You can see pictures from Senator DeMint’s trip on his website.

PREVIOUSLY:

CRS Report: Honduran “Coup” Was Justified

Report: U.S. To Engage In Joint Military Training Exercises With Venezuela and Nicaragua

Zelaya Claims To Be In Honduras (UPDATE: He’s There)

Video:Democratic Leader Roberto Micheletti tells Greta the truth on the Honduran situation.

Could George Soros Be Behind The Obama Administration’s Disgraceful Treatment Of Honduras?

“Global Healer”, Obama To Cut Off Aid To Poor, Democratic Country

State Dept. Will No Longer Threaten Sanctions On Honduras

Senator Lugar Asks Clinton To Explain Honduras Policy

Video: Glenn Beck On Honduras

Obama Administration Seen As “Villains” By Hondurans

United States Revokes Visas For Four Honduran Officials

Zelaya Steps over Border Into Honduras; Then Promptly Steps Back

Ousted President Zelaya Leads Caravan Back To Honduras

Tens Of Thousands Of Pro-Government Hondurans March In Capital

Honduran “Coup-Mongers” Kick Venezuelan Diplomats Out Of Country (UPDATED)

US Turns Up Pressure On Honduran Interim Government To Restore Zelaya

Zelaya Vows To Return To Honduras; Asks Intl. Community For Help

Honduras Crisis Talks Resume In Costa Rica

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Proposes Reinstating Zelaya

“Final Battle” In Honduras This Weekend?

Report: Sunday’s Violence In Honduras Orchestrated By Chavez

Obama Lies By Omission On Honduras

Clinton To Meet With Zelaya In Washington This Week

Honduran Military Removes Despot From Power

Obama “Stands With Democracy”, Defends Leftist Despot/Thug/Drug Trafficker

Honduran Military Ordered To Turn Back Zelaya’s jet

CRS Report: Honduran “Coup” Was Justified

birds

No damn kidding?

David Freddoso  from The Washington Examiner offers highlights from the Congressional Research Service (click here for the pdf), which  bears out what conservative news outlets and blogs have been saying for many months:

The situation in Honduras should not be a cause for concern in Washington.

The legal arguments made in the report, which was prepared by Senior Foreign Law Specialist Norma Gutierrez, are quite intricate and based in Honduran law. But the bottom line is this:

  • The Honduran Congress appears to have acted properly in deposing President Manuel Zelaya. Unlike in the United States, the Honduran Congress has the last word when it comes to interpreting the Constitution. Although there is no provision in Honduras’s Constitution for impeachment as such, the body does have powers to disapprove of the president’s official acts, and to replace him in the event that he is incapable of performing his duties. Most importantly, the Congress also has the authority to interpret exactly what that means.
  • The Supreme Court was legally entitled to ask the military to arrest Zelaya. The high court, which is the constitutional venue for trials of the president and other high-ranking officials, also recognized the Congress’s ouster of Zelaya when it referred his case back down to a lower court afterward, on the grounds that he was “no longer a high-ranking government official.”
  • The military did not act properly in forcibly expatriating Zelaya. According to the CRS report and other news stories, Honduran authorities are investigating their decision, which the military justified at the time as a means of preventing bloodshed. In fact, Zelaya should have been given a trial, and if convicted of seeking reelection, he would have lost his citizenship. But he is still a citizen now, and the Constitution forbids the expatriation of Honduran citizens by their government.
  • The proper line of succession was followed after Zelaya’s ouster. Because there was no Vice President in office when Zelaya was removed (he had resigned to run for president), Micheletti was the proper successor, as he had been president of the Congress.

“The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded the removal of former President Zelaya was Constitutional, and we must respect that,” Rep. Aaron Schock said today. “It’s unconscionable the administration would attempt to force Honduras to violate its own Constitution by cutting of foreign aid.”

Not to mention the revocation of hundreds of  Honduran public officials’ visas, including interim President Roberto Micheletti’s, who wasn’t able to attend the U.N. General Assembly, in New York this past week because of it.  And perhaps  most disgraceful of all, is the State Department’s threat to de-legitimize that nation’s upcoming November elections.

Senior officials from the State Department explained the termination of assistance, the revocation of visas, and their position that the Obama administration “would not be able to support the outcome of scheduled elections”  during a teleconference call with newspaper reporters on September 3rd. The justification for their actions were cited as thus:

President Obama has made very clear, the Secretary has made very clear, the international community has been very clear this is about the restoration and the defense of – the collective defense of democracy in the Western Hemisphere. And the San Jose Accord – the second point here is the San Jose Accord, one of the key attributes of that – of the process that President Arias laid out is that it addresses not only the events of June 28th, but also those conditions that contributed to the events of June 28th, and allows a restoration of democratic and constitutional order in a way that addresses the concerns of all involved.
So this really is about our efforts to join with the other countries in the Western Hemisphere in defense of the principles laid out in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. And it has never been about any particular individual, but rather, the duly elected president of a country, and the restoration of democratic order, part of which is his return for the balance of his constitutional term, which ends on January 27, 2010.

The “international community” in that region includes the likes of Venezuela’s Chavez, Cuba’s Castro, Nicaragua’s  Ortega, and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. Not exactly a reputable crowd to be in agreement with.

As yet another report concludes that Honduras acted constitutionally, will the State Department please stop repeating the demonstrably false assertion that it is interested in the “restoration of democratic and constitutional order”? Because that’s not what this is about, at all.

Hat tip: American Thinker

Previously:

Report: U.S. To Engage In Joint Military Training Exercises With Venezuela and Nicaragua

Zelaya Claims To Be In Honduras (UPDATE: He’s There)

Video:Democratic Leader Roberto Micheletti tells Greta the truth on the Honduran situation.

Could George Soros Be Behind The Obama Administration’s Disgraceful Treatment Of Honduras?

“Global Healer”, Obama To Cut Off Aid To Poor, Democratic Country

State Dept. Will No Longer Threaten Sanctions On Honduras

Senator Lugar Asks Clinton To Explain Honduras Policy

Video: Glenn Beck On Honduras

Obama Administration Seen As “Villains” By Hondurans

United States Revokes Visas For Four Honduran Officials

Zelaya Steps over Border Into Honduras; Then Promptly Steps Back

Ousted President Zelaya Leads Caravan Back To Honduras

Tens Of Thousands Of Pro-Government Hondurans March In Capital

Honduran “Coup-Mongers” Kick Venezuelan Diplomats Out Of Country (UPDATED)

US Turns Up Pressure On Honduran Interim Government To Restore Zelaya

Zelaya Vows To Return To Honduras; Asks Intl. Community For Help

Honduras Crisis Talks Resume In Costa Rica

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Proposes Reinstating Zelaya

“Final Battle” In Honduras This Weekend?

Report: Sunday’s Violence In Honduras Orchestrated By Chavez

Obama Lies By Omission On Honduras

Clinton To Meet With Zelaya In Washington This Week

Honduran Military Removes Despot From Power

Obama “Stands With Democracy”, Defends Leftist Despot/Thug/Drug Trafficker

Honduran Military Ordered To Turn Back Zelaya’s jet

Report: U.S. To Engage In Joint Military Training Exercises With Venezuela and Nicaragua

Honduran blogger, Gerardo Paredes tipped me to this story in a Nicaraguan newspaper, La Prensa, today:

Translated:

The Parliament today authorized the entrance of troops, ships and airships of the Armed Forces of the United States and Venezuela, to participate in an interchange of experience in this country with humanitarian aims, informed legislative sources today. The entrance of the American and Venezuelan military was proposed by the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, with character urgent, and approved today in the plenary session by 63 of the 92 deputies before the National Assembly, needed the president the Legislative one, the sandinista René Núñez.

The Congress authorized the entrance of the 10 military of the special forces of the United States to participate in a joint training with the commando of special operations of the Army of Nicaragua of the 1 of October to the 31 of next December, indicated by its side the first secretary of the Assembly, the liberal Navarrese Wilfredo opponent. Also it ratified the entrance of ship USWEST of the Navy of the United States to participate in an interchange of training with personnel of the Naval Force of the Army, from the 5 to the 30 of next November, indicated. Also, it authorized the entrance of the five military of the naval school of the United States to participate in a training interchange. The Parliament also authorized the entrance, of rotating form, of the 30 military, ships and airships of the Air Force of the Army of Venezuela to participate in an exercise of training interchange in operations of humanitarian aid with personnel of the Army of Nicaragua of the 1 of November from 2009 to the 10 of April of 2010.

Is it standard procedure for the U.S. military to conduct military operations in countries that are hostile to the United States? Is this an ominous sign for Honduras, and Columbia?

Someone with military knowledge please clue me in.

Chavez recently boasted of the Russian missiles it has procured from Russia:

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has announced that the country will soon take delivery of Russian missiles with a range of 300km (185 miles).

Returning from a 10-day tour of Africa, Asia and Europe, including Russia, Mr Chavez is also planning to buy Russian T-72 and T-90 tanks.

“Soon some little rockets are going to be arriving… and they don’t fail,” he announced at the presidential palace.

***

Venezuela is involved in a long-running diplomatic stand-off with neighbouring Colombia, over the latter’s plans to allow US troops greater access to its military bases.

A year ago,  September 2008, Moscow sent ships to the Caribbean to engage in joint exercises with the Venezuelan Navy, which was seen as “one of Russia’s most provocative exercises in the Western Hemisphere since the Soviet Union supported Marxist guerrillas in Nicaragua and El Salvador”.

In his weekly television address, President Chavez of Venezuela said: “Russia’s naval fleet is welcome here. If it’s possible, we’ll stage an exercise in our Caribbean waters.” Anticipating criticism from Washington, he taunted his northern neighbor, saying, “Go ahead and squeal, Yankees.”

Despite Mr. Chavez’s tough rhetoric, the Venezuelan leader has suffered some setbacks in the last year, among them the weakening of the FARC, the Colombian Marxist rebel group that Mr. Chavez has supported.

Nonetheless, the Venezuelan government, flush with cash from its petroleum exports, has indicated that it is seeking to purchase Russian submarines.

The announcement of the military exercises comes as the Bush administration is navigating its response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia, a former Soviet republic that hosts a small American military base.

Over the weekend, Vice President Cheney had particularly harsh words for Russia, calling the recent invasion an “affront to the standards of the civilized world.”

Now we’re conducting military exercises with Chavez and Ortega? Like Obama said in his UN speech, we’re forming new coalitions…

RELATED?

Paraguay rejects U.S. military co-operation deal

UPDATE:

A friend who is former Air Force  emails:

my own prelim assessment is, yes, the US does participate in some exercises with just about all the countries of the S. Hemisphere. in fact we just finished PANAMAX 2009 – which is our annual protect-the-canal ex with about 21 countries. very interestingly, this year’s total was officially 20. guess who was uninvited?  and here is a curious slam on Honduras from the extremely Leftist COHA group:

the more ominous aspect is that the Nicaraguan press release (i assume its from Nic?) mentions two separate things:  first there will be 10 SF ops allowed in (thats an A-team!) for “training” ahead of an unknown US navy ship later (there is no “USWEST” ship) during the joint Venezuelan “humanitarian” training ex.  THAT is what is very bad mojo.
MORE:
My source says responses to his request for opinions in the military community are mostly of the “nothing to see here move along”  variety.

However  his own opinion is that this might be a sort of “gunboat diplomacy against Honduras”.

I don’t know. Having no background with the military, myself, it seemed strange that we would be conducting military exercises with anti-American countries.

Zelaya Claims To Be In Honduras (UPDATE: He’s There)

honduranpresidentx-topper-medium

By Orlando Sierra, AFP/Getty Images

Supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya celebrate his return to the county in front of the United Nations offices on Monday.

Strange…those red flags don’t look like Honduran flags, do they?

The latest hi-jinks from Chavez and Zelaya:

“He traveled for two days, through rivers and mountains and risking his life,” Mr. Chavez said.

Initial news reports placed Mr. Zelaya and his wife in a U.N. building in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, although Mr. Zelaya later confirmed reports he was at the Brazilian embassy.

“I’m here in the Honduran capital,” Mr. Zelaya told Telesur. “I’m here to initiate dialogue,” he added. Television images showed hundreds of Zelaya supporters gathering in front of a U.N. building in Tegucigalpa to celebrate his return, while riot police tried to control the crowd.

Roberto Micheletti, acting Honduran president, meanwhile, denied that Mr. Zelaya had returned to the capital.

If he’s actually there, and Honduran authorities find him, he may wind up “initiating dialogue” from jail.

Hat tip: Drew from AoSHQ

UPDATE:

Oh, he’s there all right…taking refuge at the Brazilian Embassy:

zelaya

(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Reuters:

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya returned to Honduras on Monday almost three months after he was toppled in a coup, and took refuge in the Brazilian embassy in the capital to avoid arrest.

Reuters photographer Edgar Garrido saw Zelaya with aides and his wife in the embassy, and the leftist president gave media interviews from inside the building.

Well, I hope he’s comfortable. He may be hanging out there for awhile.

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit

MORE:

Congressman Mike Pence condemned the Obama administration’s Honduras policy in this statement issued, today:

Since the dawn of the American experiment, the American cause has been freedom and in that cause America has never been silent.

In light of our proud national tradition of supporting the spread of freedom, rule of law and democratic institutions around the world, I am disappointed that the President and his Secretary of State have devoted so much effort to undermining democracy in Honduras.  The President should be supporting the legitimate authorities in Honduras as they work to preserve self-determination in their country rather than aligning himself with virulently anti-American foreign leaders like Hugo Chavez, the Castro brothers and Daniel Ortega.

Not only has the U.S. State Department announced that it will not recognize the upcoming elections in Honduras over the objections of the four leading presidential candidates, but it revoked the visas of Honduran government officials who were invited by Members of Congress to come and brief them on the ongoing situation in Honduras.

These policies do not measure up to the best traditions of our democracy and send precisely the wrong message to those who are fighting for freedom in Honduras and around the world.

I urge the Secretary of State to reverse this harmful course of action, drop the insistence on restoring Zelaya to power despite his unconstitutional efforts to seek a second term, restore the visas of Honduran government officials, and support those officials working for free and fair elections in Honduras.

Previously:

Video:Democratic Leader Roberto Micheletti tells Greta the truth on the Honduran situation.

Could George Soros Be Behind The Obama Administration’s Disgraceful Treatment Of Honduras?

“Global Healer”, Obama To Cut Off Aid To Poor, Democratic Country

State Dept. Will No Longer Threaten Sanctions On Honduras

Senator Lugar Asks Clinton To Explain Honduras Policy

Video: Glenn Beck On Honduras

Obama Administration Seen As “Villains” By Hondurans

United States Revokes Visas For Four Honduran Officials

Zelaya Steps over Border Into Honduras; Then Promptly Steps Back

Ousted President Zelaya Leads Caravan Back To Honduras

Tens Of Thousands Of Pro-Government Hondurans March In Capital

Honduran “Coup-Mongers” Kick Venezuelan Diplomats Out Of Country (UPDATED)

US Turns Up Pressure On Honduran Interim Government To Restore Zelaya

Zelaya Vows To Return To Honduras; Asks Intl. Community For Help

Honduras Crisis Talks Resume In Costa Rica

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Proposes Reinstating Zelaya

“Final Battle” In Honduras This Weekend?

Report: Sunday’s Violence In Honduras Orchestrated By Chavez

Obama Lies By Omission On Honduras

Clinton To Meet With Zelaya In Washington This Week

Honduran Military Removes Despot From Power

Obama “Stands With Democracy”, Defends Leftist Despot/Thug/Drug Trafficker

Honduran Military Ordered To Turn Back Zelaya’s jet

World’s Thugs To Convene In New York For Opening Of UN General Assembly

colorful cast of characters

*Pictured (L-R): Iran’s Ahmadenijad, Venezuela’s Chavez, President Obama, Libya’s Gadaffi and Zimbabwe’s Mugabe.

Baldilocks calls them a “colorful cast of characters” as she frets about Obama presiding over the meeting of the Security Council on the 24th, the first time in the history that a US President has done so.

I shudder to think what might be on his agenda for that meeting.

As the U.S. rolls out the welcome mat for this motley crew, one  Latin American leader is compelled to stay home because the Obama State Dept. took away his visa:

The United States has attacked Honduran autonomy with bullying tactics. Washington recently stood by as Honduras was hectored out of the United Nations Human Rights Council by Cuba and Nicaragua, and current Honduran President Roberto Micheletti said he would not attempt to travel to New York to attend the upcoming meeting of the U.N. General Assembly because his U.S. visa was revoked. All the while, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – who heads a government that is among the world’s most odious human rights abusers – is being welcomed to the city to spread his message of hope and change.

Absolutely shameful.

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The Anchoress eats cake and misses Bush.