News Release

* Ousting Guatemalan President * Icebreaker Gap? * Denali and Native Names



ALLAN NAIRN, [in Guatemala City] allan.nairn at

CNN is reporting: “Guatemala’s Congress voted Tuesday to strip President Otto Pérez Molina of his immunity. It’s a key step that paves the way for Pérez Molina’s possible prosecution as part of a corruption investigation that has shaken his government and sparked protests calling for his resignation.”

Currently in Guatemala, Nairn is a noted investigative reporter who has worked on Guatemala for decades. He is tweeting at @AllanNairn14.

He appeared on Democracy Now Wednesday morning and stated that by possibly prosecuting a sitting president, Guatemala was being an “example for the world.” Nairn argued that while corruption has opened the door, now that he’s been stripped of immunity, Molina could face other charges, including for killings he oversaw in the 1980s. In his recent interview  “Guatemala President Faces Arrest as Business Interests and U.S. Scramble to Contain Uprising,” Nairn said: “If the movement develops further, if it spreads more fully to the Mayan heartland of the country, then the issue could move from corruption to justice, because the reason the Guatemalan elite, like General Pérez Molina and Vice President Baldetti [who was forced to resign and is now being held on fraud charges], have been able to loot the treasury to the tune of more than $100 million, been able to steal for themselves cash which was used for Jaguar cars, plantations, villas, yachts, airplanes, helicopters, was because they took and have maintained themselves in power through mass murder. Pérez Molina was a commander in the northwest highlands during the ’80s. He personally helped implement the Ríos Montt program of mass murder — effectively, genocide — against the Mayan population. And that’s what the Guatemalan system has been built on.” Nairn has interviewed both Molina and the former dictator Montt.

GILBERT DOCTOROW, gdoctorow at
Politico just headlined a story “Russia has 40 powerful ships to clear lanes through crucial Arctic waters. America is down to 2.” Doctorow is a noted “Russia watcher,” a Brussels-based journalists and founder of the European office of the Committee on East-West Accord. For 25 years he worked for U.S. and European multinationals in marketing and general management with regional responsibility. Now Doctorow regularly publishes analytical articles about international affairs on the portal of the Belgian daily La Libre Belgique and has recently been a contributor of op-ed articles on U.S.-Russian relations to the English-language Moscow Times. He is a research fellow at the American University in Moscow.

See: “U.S. Leads World in Credulous Reports of ‘Lagging Behind’ Russia” by Adam Johnson for the media watch group FAIR, which states: “On the issue of the U.S.’s legitimacy of having a military presence in the Arctic, one critical point is obscured: Russia has roughly 14 times the Arctic coastline the United states does, 1,760 km vs. 24,140 km. A fact cartoonishly ignored in the New York Times‘ misleading graphic.”

JIM LOEWEN, jloewen at
Life Sciences writes: “North America’s tallest mountain peak just got a new name. Or, more accurately, the mountain formerly known as Mount McKinley just got its old name back. On Sunday (Aug. 30), during a trip to Alaska, President Obama said the name of the state’s 20,237-foot (6,168 meters) mountain would officially be changed to Denali, which is what many Alaskans have called the peak all along.”

Loewen is the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong and Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong.

He just wrote the piece “The Tallest Mountain — The Silliest Naming” — or actually just revised that piece about Denali, which originally appeared in Lies Across America. He states that just as Confederate names are being reconsidered, so too should names that stripped away Native names.

Loewen writes: “Replacing Native American names with those of European Americans is a form of cultural imperialism. The practice declares that the new rulers of the landscape can afford to ignore what Native names mean and connote in favor of new names that typically have no resonance with what is named. …

“Native groups do want to change other names all across the American landscape. American Indians are winning some of these battles. Memphis renamed DeSoto Bluff ‘Chickasaw Heritage State Park.’ ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ is now ‘The Little Bighorn Battlefield.’ The U.S. Board on Geographic Names adopted a policy in 1990 to favor names derived from American Indian, Inuit, and Polynesian languages.”