Monday, May 24, 2010

How to Steal Haiti's Sovereignty and Independence

Left: Sylvester Le Rock - former Warden of Les Cayes Prison where the massacre of at least 10 prisoners occurred. Mr. Le Rock has been promoted and now oversees the National Penitentiary of Port-au-Prince.

Jean Roulin Celestin - Haiti's Prison Commissioner explains the apparent promotion of Mr. Le Rock this way: "a prison is a prison
The Haitian National Police (HNP) are often an instrument of state sponsored terror, violence and oppression. They are used to crush dissent. However, they must be reeling with shock and surprise to find that they are now the subject of an "investigation" by the very entities which to date have been their allies and partners in crime. The New York Times, the UN, USAID, U.S. Embassy, the religious community and most NGOs (one exception: Partner's in Health did one expose on the human rights abuses of the IDB) have stood by and watched the HNP and Haitian justice system operate with impunity in jailing political dissidents, hunting down and killing members of Fanmi Lavalas (President Jean Bertrand Aristides' party and overwhelmingly the most popular Haitian political organization) and a whole barrage of other extra-judicial activities that violate human rights.

It was never a problem up to this point and time that most of Haiti's jails were filled with political dissidents or people who were "detainees," that is, who had never been charged with a crime or seen a judge. In fact, the Global Policy Forum notes that "Since early 2001, Washington had blocked important economic and humanitarian aid to the country. Earlier, it had reneged on police training and on funding for UN human rights and election monitors." Of course, those actions were taken in order to destabilize a Haitian government that the U.S. wanted removed, so they make allowances for the suffering that occurs while enforcing their foreign policy interests.

When will the New York Times investigate MINUSTAH for the massacres in Cite Soley and other violent incursions into the vulnerable shantytowns in Port-au-Prince and other extra-judicial murders they allegedly committed in the process of "securing the peace" and capturing those they term, "gang members" and "Chimeres?" In reality, MINUSTAH's actions were designed for the majority of the time to crush political dissent.

Maurice Geigher -- contractor for USAID. Explains how there were indications that people had been shot in their cells. The families of the dead prisoners were never notified of their death.
This sudden penchant and appetite for investigations into Haiti officials' crimes is surprising, given that the New York Times has refrained up until now from reporting the many acts of brutality committed by the HNP as the UN watched on -- particularly against political dissidents and peaceful protesters. This latest crime investigation follows a story about the disturbing actions of the Mayor of Petionville, Claire Lydie Parent -- who had a cemetery excavated, apparently without notifying the dead's surviving relatives.

It's very interesting that the New York Times, USAID, an American Priest and the UN have now gotten together to condemn the Haitian police and justice system for practicing violence and perpetuating human rights abuses. Do they possibly share culpability for these crimes? Especially those committed during the reign of the puppet regime of Gerard LaTortue?

The timing is questionable. While one can't entirely dismiss the NY Times "concern" for the Haitian populace's human rights, we still have to question their motives because their actions in the past are not matching up with their actions now. Not a peep about human rights violations from most of the U.S. media during the Duvalier dictatorship and the killing of over 50,000 Haitians. The deaths of over 5,000 after the first U.S. sponsored coup in 1991 didn't seem LesCayesPrison_6to make much of an impression either. After another U.S. planned, sponsored, financed coup in 2004, the New York Times called its investigation of the international crime that eventually saw over 8,000 dead and 35,000 raped, by the euphemistic title "Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos."

Investigative reporter Max Blumenthal recorded his criticism of the New York Times "exposé":
"which claimed to expose how the a taxpayer funded Washington non-profit with close ties to the Bush administration, the International Republican Institute, and its Haiti operative, Stanley Lucas, fomented a coup in Haiti that deposed its democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In fact, the story was remarkably similar to a story I wrote nearly two years ago for On January 3, 2005, a New York Times staffer named Ursula Andrews emailed me, asking for help with research. I was excited that the newspaper of record was finally picking up on the story, and complied with their request. When the Times published its story, it contained no citation of my work."
Is the U.S. government laying the groundwork for direct control of Haiti's institutions? This article by the New York Times could be a first salvo in anticipation of the barrage of criticism to be expected from such a move. They perhaps see the need to establish a chain of evidence to solidify their case. Human rights abuses in Haiti was of no particular concern for the U.S. up until now, particularly when their puppet Gerard LaTortue (unfortunate name) ran the show.

Read and listen to Andrew S. Natsios of Georgetown University and Mark L. Schneider of the International Crisis Group's testimonies to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The statements from Natsios and Schneider were not surprising -- just the usual U.S. propaganda lines about Haiti, with no perspective on how Haiti was brought to this state by the interventions, occupation, trade policies and paternalistic actions of the U.S. government and their active arms in Haiti - USAID, UN and NGOs. No question, they had help from the Morally Repugnant Elite (MRE), but the strategy and planning was evidently done by the internationals. One surprise however, was Sean Penn going so far as saying that Haiti is not ready to be independent. Haiti, said Mr. Penn, should not be "prematurely" independent -- that would be "murder by another name."

In Mr. Natsios' testimony, he makes mention of the ouster of President Aristide, stating that Aristide during his time in office had, "..simply replaced one tyranny with another."

Mr. Natsios, did not however present evidence to back his unsubstantiated claim about President Aristide. He also did not find the U.S. to have any culpability for their sponsorship of the two coups that brought chaos and violence to Haiti.

Natsios does concede that "...US and UN Security Council Sanctions in the 1990s contributed to the end of the hope of industrialization and economic growth." He does however place the blame for Haiti's condition squarely on the shoulders of the governing class, "gang violence" and poverty :
"This tragedy was not simply a natural disaster; it was a man-made disaster stemming from a failed Haitian state characterized by widespread patrimonialism, corruption, and critically ineffective service delivery. Despite $5.3 billion in foreign aid invested by bilateral and multilateral donors from 1990 to 2005 (approximately $1.5 billion of which came from the U.S.), Haiti persists as one of the poorest and worst governed countries in the hemisphere, if not the world.

Much of this US government assistance has been humanitarian rather than nation building assistance, and has kept people alive through repeated political crisis [emphasis added]. The Government of Haiti has been characterized as autocratic and unstable. To ensure loyalty within a society that has been riddled with gang violence and plagued by abject poverty for decades, elites have created patronage networks to employ their supporters, provided selective public services to them, all funded by rent-seeking and limits on the creation of legitimate institutions which might challenge their monopoly control over the society."
All seem to be looking to the newly formed Interim Commission for Haiti Reconstruction to save Haiti from itself. The Commission cedes Haiti's independence and makes the Chair, Bill Clinton, the new Viceroy in charge of dispensing donor funds for Haiti's reconstruction.

Natsios mentions that "The composition of the Action Plan‘s proposed Interim Commission for Haitian Reconstruction has been called into question by Transparency International‘s Senior Consultant Roslyn Hees: ―the majority of the commission would be made up of international agencies and a minority would be made up of Haitian representatives. Even within the Haitian representation, there is no one from civil society, except a representative of Haitian unions, who cover a minuscule proportion of the Haitian workforce since most of the workforce is informal and not unionized."

Natsios dismisses the criticism with double speak: "Although it is essential that the Haitian government assume ownership in the agenda-building process, it is critical that the U.S. contributes only to a long-term development plan that is both inclusive and transformational."


Thank you New York Times for exposing this injustice to the prisoners of Les Cayes. Thoughts and prayers are with the surviving families members of these prisoners, who have suffered this devastating bereavement. Those who perpetuated this crime against humanity at Les Cayes Prison must be brought to justice and held accountable. However, the New York Times should understand the skepticism they incur regarding the intent behind their sudden concern over human rights abuses by officials in Haiti.

See the video at the New York Times website.

UPDATE 05.26.10
The Bellingham Herald reports that "President Rene Preval has asked the United Nations for help in forming an independent commission to investigate allegations that dozens of prisoners were shot by Haitian police during a jail riot in the southern city of Les Cayes a week after the Jan. 12 earthquake."


Anonymous said...

Stay tuned for the next sequel...

thezenhaitian said...

There is a push to deny Haiti it's sovereignty and independence. This is not new. It's been a goal of the "international community," as represented by the same countries that comprise the UN Security Council today, since Haiti declared its independence in 1804.

Now those who are marking their time for the planned takeover of Haiti and it's resources are doubly motivated by the lure of its natural resources. The media recently "broke" the "news" that Haiti has that dreaded coveted commodity: OIL.

Of course, the fact that Haiti has oil is not news to USAID, for one. They knew of the oil in Haiti back in the 1960s. So sure was USAID of Haiti's oil deposits that they guaranteed a deal that American businessman Charles C. Valentine made with the Haitian government to import, export and sell all petroleum products, refined or crude. It's an interesting story that can be read online: "Fayed's Forgotten Years: The Conman, the Dictator and the CIA Files."

Anonymous said...

What Haiti needs is to improve the conditions in the prisons and training for the police on how to relate to the community without the use of violence.

Anonymous said...

Haiti: Facts and Foreign Occupation by Stanley Lucas
There has always been much debate surrounding the idea of "foreign occupation" in Haiti. Haitians, of course, are opposed to this. And some Haitian leaders capitalize on this opposition by distorting the facts and not taking the responsibility for requesting this support – or, more importantly, contributing the environment where such a need becomes imperative. The fact is that from 1990 to present, the United Nations has deployed at the request of the Haitian government 15 missions to Haiti:

Technical assistance requested by president Ertha Pascale Trouillot in 1989 to support the 1990 elections
Request for an economic embargo against Haiti by Jean Bertrand Aristide in 1992
Aristide request for MICIVIH February 1993 – May 1998
U.S. Military intervention requested by Aristide in 1994
UNMIH September 1993 – June 1996 requested by Aristide
UNSMIH July 1996 – July 1997
UNTMIH August 1997 – November 1997
MIPONUH December 1997 – March 2000
MICAH March 2000 – Feb. 2001
Aristide request to the Clinton Administration for military intervention in 2000
Aristide request to the Bush Administration for military intervention January 2004
Aristide request to the United Nations in January 2004: MINUSTAH April 2004 – Présent
Aristide request to OAS 2000 – 2007
Aristide request to CARICOM 2001 – 2004

Anonymous said...

Prisons, and training police are now what Haiti needs. Interesting ......

thezenhaitian said...

@Mr. Lucas

What is your point about these requests? There is no denying or debating that the U.S. planned, sponsored and executed at least two coups in Haiti.

Are you saying that the Aristide government requested for the U.S. to oust the democratically elected government? Or that because aid was requested, the request somehow entitled the U.S. to engage in criminal activities against the democratically elected sovereign government of Haiti?

As for the observation about prisons and training -- it is fairly obvious that the police do not relate well to the community and that the prisons are in terrible shape. It doesn't mean that Haiti needs more and bigger prisons, just better conditions in the prisons and a better class of personnel. There are plenty of good, upstanding men and women in Haiti that can fill those positions; who will pledge to "protect and serve," rather than oppress and terrorize the community.

The evidence uncovered by investigative reporters like Max Blumenthal show that you participated in the 2004 coup.

Mr. Lucas, when you are brought to justice, you may arrive in time to see improvements come to fruition to existing prison facilities in Haiti. Improvements will make conditions a lot better for you then it was for Frére Gerard Jean-Juste and a host of other Fanmi Lavalas political prisoners.

It's a great injustice that criminals like you, Guy Phillipe and Louis Jordel-Chamblain are walking around freely in Haiti, in light of your crimes and traitorous activities against the Haitian government and people.

thezenhaitian said...

The Bellingham Herald reports that "President Rene Preval has asked the United Nations for help in forming an independent commission to investigate allegations that dozens of prisoners were shot by Haitian police during a jail riot in the southern city of Les Cayes a week after the Jan. 12 earthquake."

thezenhaitian said...

Copying a comment from Ezilidanto of HLLN here:

Haitianblogger, Good article and very timely.

On December 1, 2004 at the National Penitentiary in Haiti, it is reported that from 60 to 107 prisoners where executed. From 60 to 107 prisoners where EXECUTED, some while in their cells with UN troops less than 100 yards away. Where was the New York Times at that time? Ezili's HLLN was one of the few who reported on this prison massacre. We remember it well because Colin Powell had flown into Haiti that very day. New York Times was there. So what's the reason for this sudden New York Times interests in human rights abuse in Haiti? Could it be that USAID and UN/US need to justify their existence in Haiti now with all the limelight on Haiti by showing Haiti police force needs more human rights training? OK, but weren't both the UN and USAID in Haiti on December 1, 2004? Where is that investigation? The results of the US/UN/Private military contractor police training that’s been taking place since then? What happen to all that millions upon millions allocated and spent in the name of building prisons in Haiti, allocating for prisoner humane treatment and due process if 70% to 80% of the prisoners in Haiti are still simply poor folks, or mostly folks deemed to be ‘Lavalas” supporters – meaning anti-coup detat, anti-Bush regime change and UN/US occupation - who are warehoused in UN occupied Haiti, without ever being convicted, getting a hearing, seeing a judge?

Where is the investigation for the July 6, 2005 massacre by UN troops in Site Soley? The Dec. 22, 2004 massacre by UN troops in Haiti? The Abu Ghraib treatment by US Marines of Haiti children with the dead-of-night arrest of Annette August, a 70-year old grandmother and one of Haiti’s well-renowned folk singers? US Marines arrested the 70-year old grandmother in the dead of night, put black plastic bags and handcuffs on all 11 occupants in the home, even on her 5-year-old grandson who was asleep and transported them to the barracks for questioning. Annette August like Haiti's Prime Minister stayed in prison, for over two years until the charges where dropped before being released. Where was the New York Times then? Where was the New York Times when the US Marines turned a University into military barracks and closed down the school and stop Haitians from training needed doctors for Haiti? Where was the New York Times during the March 13, 2004 Bel Air massacre by the US Marines in Haiti and the various other US troop massacres in 2004 where US forces brought their own ambulances to take away the bodies and cover up the number who had been killed? Where was the New York Times when Brazilian Troops entered the funeral march of father Gerald Jean Juste and shot at the marchers killing one mourner? (The shooting was caught on video – see Ezili Dantò at UN provoke mourners, gun down unarmed, blames it on victims and

Where was the New York Times reporting when on November 8, 2005, Jordanian soldiers, with their mounted-cannon tanks, fired indiscriminately at the unarmed people of Site Soley as they were getting water in a military attempt to take over the only water tower that provides life to the 300,000 to 450,000 people of Site Soley. The Haitian women and men protected the water tower with their very bodies and refused to allow the soldiers to take it over. Dozens were reported shot, by our direct from Haiti, on-the-streets, Ezili Dantò Witness Project correspondents, at point-blank and virtually execution-style directly by the UN soldiers who wouldn't let go of the macabre operation, until the Black blood flowed, and flowed.


thezenhaitian said...

Comment Cont'd

Where was the New York Times when 110 UN soldiers where accused of rape, molestation, prostitution and exchanging sex for food or for less than $1 with young Haitian children, where is that investigation? Why is the New York Times suddenly NOW interested in pointing to Haitian government wrongdoing and UN/USAID as "investigative" arms for human rights in Haiti? The UN has been in Haiti for over 6-years and in control of prisons where 70 to 80% of the prisoners have never been charged of a crime, never had a hearing, seen a judge or been convicted. Yet, remain indefinitely imprison for years with UN overseeing the system, US and USAID training the Haitian guards, police at a tune for the UN of over 600million a year. More Haitians have been warehouse in jail, put there by UN soldiers who've rounded them up then any Haitian policemen.... Why are only Haitian policemen being investigated and not the UN mission's human rights track record in Haiti and USAID's involvement? ...This is just off the top of my head, but I could go on for pages.

I’m re-MEMBERing The Cite Soleil (Site Soley) Massacre Declassification Project - where the US Ambassador to Haiti cabled Washington to say that I was spreading rumors on the Internet, but the declassified reports verified what we knew at the time was just a fraction of the abuses – we said 330 UN soldiers had entered Site Soley shooting at the people while they slept, but in fact the declassified reports indicated MORE. There were 440 UN soldiers who entered Site Soley, 1,000 surrounded Site Soley – a civilian population not at war and the UN fired 22,000 rounds of ammunition in the operations.

And, just as the Haitian police who are today involved in the Les Cayes prison killings are saying the killings was done by “gang” members, blaming it on the victims by criminalizing them to dehumanize them, well so has that been the UN explanation for July 6 and every other time unarmed civilians where found shot by UN or US bullets in Haiti since 2004.

Who, if not USAID’s private military contractors, US Special Forces the Pentagon reps and UN “experts” trained and armed the new Haitian police force that are involved in the Les Cayes episode?

And where was the UN troops while the shootings where occurring? Why didn’t they step in to stop the Haitian police? Who will investigate that? Uhmmm, the UN and USAID? Oh, the vipers’ pit we dwell in? This Haitian reality is more tragic than any Shakespearean tragedy, it’s Machiavellian and would be comical if it wasn’t so heart wrenching horrifying, sad and ironic. For, pray tell, who trained the Guy Phillip/Louis Jodel Chamblain and Lame Timanchet death squads in Haiti that roam free under the UN/US occupation since 2004, even with the power to arrest and warehouse their political opponents under cover of UN/US firepower?????? Answer that question New York Times!

Nou la! Nou pap bay legen. Ezili Danto of HLLN

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