July 18, 2009

Huffington Post bites on the pro-Zelaya lie

I knew The Lie would be picked up and spread around the internet. Little did I know that such a big fish would bite.

The Huffington Post fell for The Lie.

On July 16, Jules Siegel of the Huffington Post reported:

"UPDATE July 16, 2009 7:24 am

Honduran prosecutor's house machine-gunned after he denounces coup on CNN

The family of Honduran public prosecutor Jari Dixon Herrera were attacked by police on Tuesday shortly after he made statements to CNN en Español and other international media in Washington denouncing the recent military coup in Honduras. Dixon's mother's house, located in the town of Talanga, was first shot at repeatedly by police agents with automatic weapons. The agents then broke the door of the house down and entered the residence, beat Dixon's mother and arrested and took away his brother."

The source for his information? Newsroom-I.net (July 16, 6:17 a.m.).

Newsroom-I credits their article to Roz Dzelzitis of "May I Speak Freely, media for social change". The About section states that Ms. Dzelzitis is Executive Director/Producer and involved in 'human rights'. Her bio goes on to say, "....and works as a consultant to nonprofits, helping to create strategies for how to use media in intercultural dialogues, public education efforts and campaigns for social change." Hmmm, are we getting the picture here? (italics are mine)

May I Speak Freely states that the article was re-posted from CISPES, which I originally thought was Sandra Cuffe's site Honduras Solidarity, the source of the misinformation that I wrote about two days ago. Sandra Cuff is, of course, another 'human rights advocate'. Thanks to Sandra's clarification, I know know that CISPES is separate site, a sort of socialist/communist organization involved with El Salvador in some way, and that Sandra merely plagiarized copied their article without giving them proper credit via a link...though after extensive searching I did not find the article on CISPES site, so who knows.

Using creative strategies in a campaign for social change, Ms. Cuffe's original title (Honduran prosecutors family attacked after he denounces military coup on CNN) was changed to this one:

Honduran prosecutor’s house machine-gunned after he denounces coup on CNN

...which is the subheading that the Huffington Post used. Four other minor English-language blogs picked up the story as well. It was also mentioned at a 'Democratic' forum as coming from SOA Watch (School of Americas). I'm surprised it wasn't picked up more, but the shortened version which was apparently given by Jari Dixon during the press conference is all over the internet in Spanish. As of noon on July 18, I have found no retractions.

The Huffington Post did post a reference to the Spanish-language La Prensa article a day later:

UPDATE July 17, 2009 12:06 PM

Madre de Jari Dixon descarta atentado
Jari Dixon's mother denies attack

In brief: She told La Prensa that police responded to a household violence call involving Dixon's son and daughter-in-law. I wrote to him about it and have not yet received an answer.

That explanation only addresses the reason for the police visit and implies that the person who apparently told the falsehood to start with will be relied upon rather than the Honduran newspaper report.

El Heraldo and La Prensa had follow-up articles on July 17 after Human Rights fiscales had an interview with the mother as a result of Jari's CNN interview.

By the way, if you didn't read my original article, Pro-Zelaya people caught in another lie, Jari Dixon's mother said that her daughter-in-law filed a domestic violence complaint against her other son, Orlin. She stated that the police did not threaten her and no guns were fired.

The police merely went to arrest him, but his mother wouldn't let them in, despite the warrant, so they forced the door open. Orlin rushed out and attacked the police with his fists. No harm was done to the mother and no shots were fired. If Talanga is like any other small Honduran town, I'm sure there were 20-30 witnesses to the event.

The facts were verified to me by a neighbor who filled in some other details: Lisa, the daughter-in-law, took her children and fled to her parents' house without even a change of clothes because she was afraid of violence from her husband. Orlin, her husband, came to her mother's house on Tuesday and attacked her and her 15-year-old brother who tried to protect his sister. The mother of three suffered a broken leg, two cracked ribs, and was choked by Jari Dixon's brother. She filed a complaint against him. The above altercation with the police happened later in the day on Tuesday when they went to arrest Orlin.

Two police officers accompanied Lisa the following day (Wednesday, July 15) to get her and her children's clothes. The mother-in-law refused to let them in and also refused to give Lisa her medicine even though Lisa has no money to buy more or to buy food or clothes for her children. The neighbor is assisting them financially. Lisa is now afraid that Orlin will kill her when he gets out of jail.

Lisa is someone who could use some human rights protection.
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