Wednesday, March 22, 2017

After Aristide Court Appearance, Police Fire on Cortege, Wounding Two

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)



On Mar. 20, Haitian police fired on partisans accompanying the vehicle of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, after he had responded to the summons of an investigating judge in a money-laundering case against one of his former security chiefs.

            Several hundred supporters were escorting the three vehicles returning Aristide, accompanied by his party’s former presidential candidate Maryse Narcisse, back to his home in Tabarre, just outside of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

            At the bottom of Avenue John Brown (known as Lalue), rocks began to fly, many in the direction of a unit of the Haitian National Police’s Motorized Intervention Brigade (BIM), which was observing the march from a distance. There are conflicting reports as to whether Aristide’s partisans initiated or were responding to stone-throwing.

            The police began firing many rounds at the demonstrators, also hitting the SUV carrying Aristide.

            "The motorcade came under fire, and this is tantamount to an assassination attempt," said Mario Joseph, one of Aristide’s lawyers.

            A police bullet passed through the arm of one of Aristide’s partisans, Jackson Noel, who was later treated and filmed at a hospital. A second unidentified person was also reported wounded.

            Aristide, 63, was unharmed.

            The former president had testified for more than two hours before Judge Jean Wilner Morin as part of an investigation into money-laundering charges against Jean Anthony Nazaire, who used to act as Aristide’s security chief.

            Deputy Police Commissioner Jean Alix Pierre-Louis claims the BIM policemen acted in self-defense and that Aristide’s partisans also fired guns. There was "a lot of shooting from different directions," he said.

            A widely diffused video of the confrontation, however, clearly shows the police shooting with leveled weapons. There are no images of Aristide’s retinue firing or even carrying weapons.


Eluding Tricks and Raids, Guy Philippe Bargained for a Lighter Sentence, U.S. Says

He Wasn’t Immune or Mistreated, It Adds

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)



For eleven years, the U.S. attempted all manner of ruses, persuasion, negotiations, and ambushes in an attempt to capture paramilitary leader Guy Philippe after a Miami grand jury issued a November 2005 indictment against him for drug trafficking and money laundering. But it was all unsuccessful until he left the rural, seaside Haitian town where he was holed up and ventured into the capital.

            Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg enumerated the efforts of Haitian and U.S. authorities to apprehend Philippe, 49, in a Mar. 10 response to his lawyer’s motions to dismiss the charges against him because too much time had elapsed between the indictment and his Jan. 5, 2017 arrest by Haitian police. Philippe, through his attorney Zeljka Bozanic, also claimed he was unaware that he was being pursued, a contention the U.S. calls “patently false.”

            Greenberg also refuted Philippe’s assertion that he enjoys parliamentary immunity and that he was mistreated after his arrest.

            Interestingly, however, Greenberg did not contest Philippe’s claim that in April 2006 he visited the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, where they made no effort to arrest him. Furthermore, the U.S. State Department has not responded to Haïti Liberté’s inquiries about the veracity of Philippe’s claim.

            In early 2006, the U.S. gave Philippe “a travel authorization letter” to “lure [him] to the United States,” but “that travel did not occur,” Greenberg wrote. It is not clear how the letter was given to Philippe or if it was delivered to him at the U.S. Embassy.

            Greenberg also outlined a “highly publicized” July 2007 raid on Pestel “involving multiple helicopters,” followed by another on Mar. 28, 2008. Authorities then laid siege to the area for about a week, setting up “checkpoints” and offering “payment for information leading to [Philippe’s] arrest.”

            Another armed raid was attempted on May 14, 2009, involving a “foot chase” where Philippe “absconded into an area of dense vegetation.” Another “extensive search” took place around Pestel from Jun. 26-29, 2009, but again it failed.

            A fourth raid was attempted on Jun. 22, 2015, according to Greenberg, but “agents came upon a roadblock and were forced to abort the mission.”

            Nonetheless, the pursuit had apparently rattled Philippe. In August 2007, Philippe’s attorney contacted the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to say he “would surrender... if the United States agreed in writing that he would serve less than three years in prison and that the money laundering charges would be dropped,” Greenberg wrote.

            Philippe spoke directly to a DEA agent on Apr. 9, 2008, asking “how he would depart [Haiti] if he surrendered at the United States Embassy,” the U.S. Attorney explained. The next day, Philippe’s wife spoke to the agent, asking about Philippe’s “potential sentence and location of incarceration if found guilty.” Philippe again spoke to a DEA agent on Apr. 17, 2008, the U.S. Attorney wrote, saying “he was going to surrender himself to the United States Embassy as soon as his wife was prepared to go” and proclaiming “I am a man of my word.” He said he needed “a week or two,” and then in August 2008 told the DEA “he was ready to surrender in a few days. He did not.”

            In January and February 2009, there was another flurry of unfruitful contacts and negotiations between Philippe and the DEA, according to Greenberg. On May 26, 2009, Philippe even allegedly contacted an “FBI agent directly” to say that “he was willing to turn himself in as long as he was treated respectfully.”

            Guy Philippe postured as a defiant nationalist, a mythic Zorro-like character, but he “personally reached out to various [U.S.] agents over the course of the last eleven years to discuss his surrender to the United States,” Greenberg wrote. Philippe never made a deal because he “wanted to avoid prosecution.”

            The U.S. Attorney also dismissed Philippe’s claim that he enjoyed parliamentary immunity, saying that the former police chief and “rebel” leader “misrepresents his status as a Haitian senator” being merely “a Senator-elect waiting to assume office” and thus “not entitled to immunity under the Constitution of Haiti.”

            As for Philippe’s claims that one of his security guards was wounded by two bullets during the arrest, the U.S. contends that “no injuries were reported by anyone.” Furthermore, contrary to Philippe’s assertions, he “was not hooded at any time” and “was transported in an air-conditioned Chevrolet Suburban” for most of the six hours between his arrest around 4 p.m. and being put on a U.S. plane to Florida around 10 p.m..

            In her Feb. 28 motion, lawyer Bozanic had claimed that Philippe had been “forced to sit on a very hot floor of the vehicle as the engine was right underneath him [sic]... without any food or water.”

            In response, Greenberg said “Chevrolet Suburbans have the engines at the front of the vehicle, not beneath the floor,” and that when Philippe said he was hungry, “the defendant was given water and a granola bar,” saying “he was okay” and “joking around” with U.S. agents.

            The U.S. also completely rejected Philippe’s claims that he was targeted for death and mistreated with “outrageous” conduct as “unsubstantiated.”

            Guy Philippe, originally a soldier in the disbanded Haitian Armed Forces, became a prominent police chief who fled Haiti after he was discovered to be planning a coup d’état against former president René Préval in 2000. Based in the Dominican Republic from 2001, he led a few hundred “rebels” in launching deadly attacks in Haiti for three years to oust former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, whom the U.S. Embassy, backed by a Navy SEAL team, forced into exile on Feb. 29, 2004. Philippe ran for president in 2006, receiving less than 2% of the vote. But he won a Senate seat in an anemic 2016 election, where less than 20% of the electorate turned out.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Haiti Action Committee: Attempted Assassination of Aristide Marks a New Stage of Terror in Haiti

Yesterday, there was an assassination attempt against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president. President Aristide had been summoned to appear as a witness in a court case.
While returning from court, his motorcade was attacked by armed Haitian police. A number of people were injured in the attack. Mass protests against the police broke out immediately.
This attack on President Aristide signals a new stage of terror in Haiti.
In the wake of the electoral coup which installed Jovenal Moise, a right-wing protégé of former President Michel Martelly, as Haiti’s new president, there has been a marked increase in repression directed against grassroots activists.
This attack on President Aristide signals a new stage of terror in Haiti. It harkens back to the days of the Duvalier dictatorships. Human rights activists and all supporters of democracy in Haiti need to condemn this attempted assassination and demand that those who committed this act be brought to justice.
Contact the Haiti Action Committee at www.haitisolidarity.net, on Facebook at Haiti Action Committee, on Twitter @HaitiAction1or by email at action.haiti@gmail.com.

Haïti : le capitalisme des paramilitaires

 Jeb Sprague-Silgado -  América Latina en movimiento 

Cet article examine l’évolution et la flexibilisation des forces paramilitaires en Haïti, ainsi que les stratégies hégémoniques des élites transnationales. Dans ce contexte, la « flexibilisation » désigne la façon dont les opérations ou les composantes d’un processus sont modifiées pour répondre aux besoins d’une forme plus avancée de reproduction sociale et matérielle qui augmente ou diminue, et qui se redéploie et se réaffecte plus facilement. Je prête ici une attention particulière à la phase la plus récente du paramilitarisme en Haïti moderne, par rapport à la restructuration politique et économique d’Haïti à l’ère de la globalisation [1]. Tout au long de l’histoire du capitalism mondial, les groupes dominants ont développé des moyens d’atteindre l’hégémonie pour maintenir et projeter leur domination de classe. À l’ère du capitalisme global, une grande variété de moyens recyclés, modifiés et nouveaux pour atteindre l'hégémonie a émergé, y compris dans le bassin des Caraïbes.  

La question qui se pose ici est celle des enjeux de cette nouvelle ère du capitalisme global du point de vue du paramilitarisme, en particulier dans le cas d’Haïti. Est-il vrai, comme je tâcherai de le montrer, que le paramilitarisme n’a pas disparu à l’ère de la globalisation, mais a été modifié et fait partie des stratégies changeantes des élites (et surtout des élites transnationales) ?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Exposing the "real" mission of Christian zealots in Haiti

Reza Aslan - Religion Dispatches
After the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, the popular televangelist Pat Robertson went on his flagship TV program, the 700 Club, and made an extraordinary claim. The earthquake, he said, was just one consequence of a pact with the devil made by Haiti’s revolutionary founders. 
“[The Haitians] were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so, the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’”
Most people – including most Christians – who heard Robertson’s statement were aghast. But for a small group of evangelicals who adhere to a fairly new Christian movement called Spiritual Mapping, Robertson was preaching the gospel truth. 

7 Years After Haiti’s Earthquake, Millions Still Need Aid

On Jan. 12, 2010, a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti, claiming up to 316,000 lives and displacing more than 1.5 million people. Today ― seven years later ― 2.5 million Haitians are still in need of humanitarian aid, according to a new report from the United Nations.
The quake tore a catastrophic path of destruction through the ailing island nation, leaving Haitians with a herculean recovery mission. In the years that followed, a string of devastating natural disasters have fueled ongoing famine and poverty crises, given rise to a deadly cholera epidemic, and quashed Haiti’s continued efforts to rebuild.
“Haitians continue to suffer years after the earthquake,” U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Mourad Wahba, who has worked in the country for two years, told The WorldPost. “People lost their friends and family. I see the pain in their faces when they talk about it now. It’s a very long healing process.”

Having Helped Washington Overthrow Aristide, Guy Philippe Knows “Too Much” and Is a “Danger” to U.S., Lawyer Claims

Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte
What goes around, comes around,” says the proverb, and former Haitian “rebel” leader Guy Philippe must be pondering this karmic truth as he languishes in his Miami, FL jail cell.
In February 2004, he played a key role in helping U.S. Special Forces kidnap then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti and whisk him off to a seven year exile in Africa. Today, Philippe claims, through his lawyer, that U.S. government agents illegally kidnapped him from Haiti on Jan. 5, 2017 and, with “shocking and outrageous” conduct, flew him to Florida to stand trial because he has “too much information” about Washington’s overthrow of Aristide.
In November 2005 (21 months after the coup against Aristide), a U.S. grand jury issued a three count indictment against Philippe for drug trafficking and money laundering between 1997 and 2001. After his arrest in Haiti and transport to Miami, Philippe pled not guilty to the charges through his Hollywood, FL-based lawyer, Zeljka Bozanic. On Feb. 28, 2017, she  filed with U.S. District Court in Miami two motions to dismiss and one motion to abate (temporarily suspend) the case against Philippe.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

1943-2017: René Préval: Who He Was and What He Represented

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

In 2009, former U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson called him “Haiti’s indispensable man,” who was “capable of imposing his will on Haiti - if so inclined.” Another diplomat recently dubbed him one of Haiti’s “three kings,” along with former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Duvalierists.

            They were referring to former Haitian president René Préval, who died of a heart attack on Mar. 3 in the capital’s mountain suburb of Laboule at the age of 74. Over the past 30 years, he had played one of the most important and contradictory roles of any politician in helping to briefly free Haiti from the political grips of Washington and the Duvalierists, nostalgic for the three decade (1957-1986) dictatorship of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier, only to lead the country back into their clutches by acquiescing to neo-liberal privatization campaigns, sovereignty-stripping international accords, minimum wage suppression, two foreign military occupations, and an “electoral coup d’état” a year after the 2010 earthquake.

            Préval was laid-back and personable, but low-key and retiring. He shunned the trappings of power and trumpeting his accomplishments, unlike his successor Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, a ribald, flamboyant konpa music star. For example, Préval was so prone to informality that he scandalized some Haitians by wearing a white guayabera in the group photo at a hemispheric conference where all the other heads of state wore suits.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Female witness speaks out about 2002-2004 crimes of Guy Philippe & his henchmen


By: Jafrikayiti Jean Elissaint Saint-Vil

 In this interview (in Haitian Creole), a native daughter of Lascahobas, Haiti, courageously describes several crimes committed by Guy Philippe and his paramilitary henchmen against unarmed Haitian women, men and children between 2002 and 2004.

 Philippe went on a rampage, armed, trained and protected by the CIA and the government of neighbouring Dominican Republic, on a mission to overthrow Haiti's legitimate democratically-elected goverment, led by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

No one has ever faced trial for the crimes described by this witness. Neither Philippe, nor his powerful criminal sponsors within Haiti, the U.S., Canada or Europe. For more see Jeb Sprague's excellent book "Paramilitarism: The assault on democracy in Haiti"

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