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E-mail to Rory Carroll, Guardian Reader's Editor and Editor

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David Sketchley

Joined: 09 Jun 2005
Posts: 85

Post Post subject: E-mail to Rory Carroll, Guardian Reader's Editor and Editor Reply with quote

fecha 11 de marzo de 2009 13:41
asunto Cocaine production surge unleashes wave of violence in Latin America
enviado por


Talking about cocaine production, Mr. Carroll states "Across the whole of South America [drug production] has spiked 16%, thanks to increases in supply from Bolivia and Peru. Defenders of the drug war point out that the military-led strategy clawed back territory from armed groups and stabilised Colombia."

Of course this is dishonest rubbish and he knows it.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had this to say on the 16% spike: "The total area of land under coca cultivation in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru in 2007 was 181,600 hectares, a 16% increase over 2006, and the highest level since 2001 (although well below figures from the 1990s). The increase was driven by a 27% rise in Colombia (for a total of 99,000 hectares), and smaller increases of 5% and 4% respectively in Bolivia and Peru....The increase in coca cultivation in Colombia is a surprise and shock: a surprise because it comes at a time when the Colombian government is trying so hard to eradicate coca; a shock because of the magnitude of cultivation", said the Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa."

Mr. Carroll's previous record shows it would be too much to expect a rectification from him directly. Perhaps the Reader's Editor can take some action to curtail his dishonest reporting and issue an erratum? Does the Guardian Editor not find it scandalous that one of his reporters is so dishonest?

Yours Sincerely
David Sketchley

A survey of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru
Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:47 pm
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David Sketchley

Joined: 09 Jun 2005
Posts: 85

Post Post subject: Success! Guardian correction Reply with quote

The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Friday March 13 2009

We reported that production of cocaine had increased by 16% across the whole of South America and said that was due to increases in supply from Bolivia and Peru. In fact the regional increase, recorded in a UN survey released last year, was due primarily to a 27% increase in coca production in Colombia. Much smaller increases of 5% in Bolivia and 4% in Peru were recorded (Cocaine production surge unleashes wave of violence in Latin America, 9 March, page 1).

Thanks to Joe Emersberger we now have this non-excuse from Butterworth for the original 'mistake':

"With regard to the Rory Carroll piece - this was corrected on 13 March. He has explained to me that the error was introduced when the story he filed was edited into two separate articles. The correction is appended to the top of the online article which you can find here:"
Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:03 pm
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David Sketchley

Joined: 09 Jun 2005
Posts: 85

Post Post subject: What does he mean, that Rory Carroll? Reply with quote,,,


In his latest missive on Peru, Carroll wrote the following sentence: "The violence plunged the government into crisis and left a question mark over the fate of billion-dollar deals with foreign multinationals, including the Anglo-French oil company Perenco, to develop the rainforest."

My question is about the use of the word "develop". Which meaning of the word did Mr Carroll have in mind considering that in fact opening up rainforests to oil exploration actually degrades and pollutes?

transitive verb

1 a: to set forth or make clear by degrees or in detail : expound b: to make visible or manifest c: to treat (as in dyeing) with an agent to cause the appearance of color d: to subject (exposed photograph material) especially to chemicals in order to produce a visible image ; also : to make visible by such a method e: to elaborate (a musical idea) by the working out of rhythmic and harmonic changes in the theme

2 a: to work out the possibilities of b: to create or produce especially by deliberate effort over time

3 a: to make active or promote the growth of b (1): to make available or usable (2): to make suitable for commercial or residential purposes c: to move (as a chess piece) from the original position to one providing more opportunity for effective use

4 a: to cause to unfold gradually b: to expand by a process of growth c: to cause to grow and differentiate along lines natural to its kind d: to become infected or affected by

5: to acquire gradually

intransitive verb

1 a: to go through a process of natural growth, differentiation, or evolution by successive changes b: to acquire secondary sex characteristics

2: to become gradually manifest

3: to come into being gradually ; also : turn out 2a

For the life of me I can't find a definition that fits Carroll's use of the word. Perhaps the Ombudsman could help or Mr Carroll could actually answer an e-mail for a change as it appears he believes he is not answerable to his readers.
Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:34 pm
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David Sketchley

Joined: 09 Jun 2005
Posts: 85

Post Post subject: Another letter to Carroll Reply with quote

Mr Carroll proves he would be better employed as a court stenographer! Once again he regurgitates the coup leaders' propaganda without any attempt to analyse whether it is true or not.

"Rival crowds have demonstrated for and against the exile in recent days, underlining deep polarisation." While basically correct, Mr Carroll doesn't analyse who and how many are supporting each side. Why not? According to Al Giordano "Employees of pro-coup businesses were forced to attend, and bussed in. Anyone who saw it on TV could tell it was not grassroots, but Astroturf: they had clean little Honduran flags and very few homemade signs. And compare the lily white gang on that stage with any other photo of the Honduran population!"

"Earlier this week, violent clashes left dozens injured. A semblance of normality has returned to Tegucigalpa, but the authorities have restricted civil liberties, muzzled the media and imposed a nightly curfew." Normality? Is Mr Carroll in Tegucigalpa? I think not. Then how on earth can he report this as fact? And what about San Pedro Sula? Further the coup leaders have not only restricted civil liberties, they've suspended that part of the constitution that protects civil liberties. Muzzled the media? The army has shutdown TV and radio stations.

"Congress, the supreme court, the army and the president's own party approved the overthrow in response to the leftist leader's attempt to change the constitution to extend term limits, a strategy pioneered by his ally and mentor, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez." This a crude lie and here Mr Carroll is just repeating the coup leader's propaganda.

Its quite outrageous that Carroll can get away with sort of nonsense.

As Counterpunch explains it is "the Honduran Supreme Court of Justice, Attorney General, National Congress, Armed Forces and Supreme Electoral Tribunal that have all falsely accused Manuel Zelaya of attempting a referendum to extend his term in office.

According to Honduran law, this attempt would be illegal. Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution clearly states that persons, who have served as presidents, cannot be presidential candidates again. The same article also states that public officials who breach this article, as well as those that help them, directly or indirectly, will automatically lose their immunity and are subject to persecution by law. Additionally, articles 374 and 5 of the Honduran Constitution of 1982 (with amendments of 2005), clearly state that: “it is not possible to reform the Constitution regarding matters about the form of government, presidential periods, re-election and Honduran territory”, and that “reforms to article 374 of this Constitution are not subject to referendum.”

Nevertheless, this is far from what President Zelaya attempted to do in Honduras the past Sunday and which the Honduran political/military elites disliked so much. President Zelaya intended to perform a non-binding public consultation, about the conformation of an elected National Constituent Assembly. To do this, he invoked article 5 of the Honduran “Civil Participation Act” of 2006. According to this act, all public functionaries can perform non-binding public consultations to inquire what the population thinks about policy measures. This act was approved by the National Congress and it was not contested by the Supreme Court of Justice, when it was published in the Official Paper of 2006. That is, until the president of the republic employed it in a manner that was not amicable to the interests of the members of these institutions.

Furthermore, the Honduran Constitution says nothing against the conformation of an elected National Constituent Assembly, with the mandate to draw up a completely new constitution, which the Honduran public would need to approve. Such a popular participatory process would bypass the current liberal democratic one specified in article 373 of the current constitution, in which the National Congress has to approve with 2/3 of the votes, any reform to the 1982 Constitution, excluding reforms to articles 239 and 374. This means that a perfectly legal National Constituent Assembly would have a greater mandate and fewer limitations than the National Congress, because such a National Constituent Assembly would not be reforming the Constitution, but re-writing it. The National Constituent Assembly’s mandate would come directly from the Honduran people, who would have to approve the new draft for a constitution, unlike constitutional amendments that only need 2/3 of the votes in Congress. This popular constitution would be more democratic and it would contrast with the current 1982 Constitution, which was the product of a context characterized by counter-insurgency policies supported by the US-government, civil façade military governments and undemocratic policies. In opposition to other legal systems in the Central American region that (directly or indirectly) participated in the civil wars of the 1980s, the Honduran one has not been deeply affected by peace agreements and a subsequent reformation of the role played by the Armed Forces.

Recalling these observations, we can once again take a look at the widespread assumption that Zelaya was ousted as president after he tried to carry out a non-binding referendum to extend his term in office.

The poll was certainly non-binding, and therefore also not subject to prohibition. However it was not a referendum, as such public consultations are generally understood. Even if it had been, the objective was not to extend Zelaya’s term in office. In this sense, it is important to point out that Zelaya’s term concludes in January 2010. In line with article 239 of the Honduran Constitution of 1982, Zelaya is not participating in the presidential elections of November 2009, meaning that he could have not been reelected. Moreover, it is completely uncertain what the probable National Constituent Assembly would have suggested concerning matters of presidential periods and re-elections. These suggestions would have to be approved by all Hondurans and this would have happened at a time when Zelaya would have concluded his term. Likewise, even if the Honduran public had decided that earlier presidents could become presidential candidates again, this disposition would form a part of a completely new constitution. Therefore, it cannot be regarded as an amendment to the 1982 Constitution and it would not be in violation of articles 5, 239 and 374. The National Constituent Assembly, with a mandate from the people, would derogate the previous constitution before approving the new one. The people, not president Zelaya, who by that time would be ex-president Zelaya, would decide.
It is evident that the opposition had no legal case against President Zelaya. All they had was speculation about perfectly legal scenarios which they strongly disliked. Otherwise, they could have followed a legal procedure sheltered in article 205 nr. 22 of the 1982 Constitution, which states that public officials that are suspected to violate the law are subject to impeachment by the National Congress."

"There are glimmers of compromise. Zelaya said this week he would not seek another term when his presidency expires in January 2010, but would instead retire to his ranch." This implies that the coup made Zelaya change his mind. Not so. Zelaya had categorically denied seeking another term in an El Pais interview 2 days before the coup.

"He was popular with many poor Hondurans for social programmes, but his approval ratings had fallen to 30% just before the coup." What opinion poll is Carroll referring to here? Why can't we the reader know? In all probability he was referring to the CID_Gallup poll from October 2008 - it was the last one there is any mention of anywhere. We are in June 2009 and October 2008 can hardly be called 'just before the coup'. Further CID-Gallup's operations in Honduras have been called into question before.

It is interesting to note that Mr Carroll makes no mention either of the fact that the coup "President" has installed his nephew as "Mayor" of Hunduras' second city, San Pedro Sula.

All in all, another desperately poor performance from Carroll.
Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:37 pm
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