Sunday, June 26, 2005

On the Lighter Side

Here is a cartoon i published when news came from the Vatican before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


Friday, June 24, 2005

The exit of Bernard Gouse: The Release of Yvon Neptune

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti has a good article on the resignation of the Justice Minister for the coup government Bernard Gousse. Gousse had been very aggressive in keeping Lavalas activists in jail and thwarting legal challanges to free them.

Now reports are coming out, in the wake of this resignation, that a magistrate has ordered the release of Yvon Neptune.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Jim Lobe from Inter Press Service has a good article about how the disaster in Haiti is yet another painful and powerful example of the failure and moral corruption of the United States' government policies violently promoting foreign "Regime Change." The beginning is excerpted below

Haiti: Another Regime Change in Trouble
"While the violence in Iraq continues unabated, the situation in Haiti, where the George W. Bush administration also played a key role in engineering regime change, is going from bad to desperate, according to increasingly worried analysts here..."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Salvador Style Death Squads in Iraq

In January, American media started talking about Pentagon's plans to exercise a "Salvadoran Option" in the Iraq counter-insurgency fight. Since then, this concept has at once been accepted as true in some way and also been forgotten. Meanwhile, Iraqi commentators like riverbend in Iraq have commented on the increasing paramilitary style operations in Iraq targetting clerics who are openly against the occupation. Riverbend is quoted below:

"Almost every Iraqi family can give the name of a friend or relative who is in one of the many American prisons for no particular reason. They aren’t allowed to see lawyers or have visitors and stories of torture have become commonplace. Both Sunni and Shia clerics who are in opposition to the occupation are particularly prone to attacks by “Liwa il Theeb” or the special Iraqi forces Wolf Brigade. They are often tortured during interrogation and some of them are found dead."

Max Fuller of the Centre for Research on Globalization has pointed also out that the recent discovery of mass graves have been in areas where the new Police Commando Units in the Iraqi Army are located. It is unclear to me if these are the same units that Riverbend calls the special operations "Wolf Brigade" of the Iraqi Army.

From Max Fuller's article
"

In the last few weeks, with the discovery of several mass graves in and around Baghdad, evidence of multiple extra-judicial killings has started to become much more visible, but, in fact, even a cursory review of such archives as the one compiled by Iraq Body Count (http://www.iraqbodycount.net /) reveals that mass executions have been taking place commonly in Iraq over at least the last six months. What is particularly striking is that many of those killings have taken place since the Police Commandos became operationally active and often correspond with areas where they have been deployed.

The clearest correlation is in Mosul, where the Police Commandos began operating in late October"

This analysis is not exactly scientific, but it is a bad sound, and i doubt it will be the last we hear about these "commando units" in the same paragraph as the words "death squads."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The ambassador for Haiti's coup on CSPAN

I was told that the ambassador for the coup government in Haiti was on CSPAN yesterday. I have not seen it yet, but it was described to me in the following manner:

"Ugh. Haiti's so-called ambssador to the US, Raymond Joseph, was on the
last 1/2 hour (9:30-10:00 am EDT) segment of CSPAN this morning. I
missed the first 10 minutes, but here is what I got from it:

-On 3 or 4 occasions he said that President Aristide had created
numerous factions in poor neighborhoods and he referred to these
factions as "the Sadam Hussein Army , Red Army, Cannibal Army" -- it
was pathetic because he kept repeating it like a mantra

-He said that Haiti would welcome the US Marines and when asked how many
Marines might be needed in Haiti, he said that since Haiti has about the
same number of people as NYC, Haiti should get the same number of
Marines as NYC has police -- 50,000. (I'm going to check on this figure
when the videotape is posted).

-When the interviewer raised the story about the 10 Democratic members
of Congress who signed the letter to Condi Rice saying that the
US-backed interim gov't. in Haiti was an "instrument of repression,"
Joseph responded that he was glad "it was only 10" democratic members of
Congress. He said that the Democrats have not been particularly
supportive of Haiti.

The people who got through on the phone focused on things such as
adoption and travel to Haiti.

Probably within a day or two you can go to the C-SPAN site:
www.c-span.org and click on Washington Journal for Sunday, June 12 and
see the videotape of the show."

The story about Aristide's hideously named army factions is obviously invented. He might as well have called Aristide "Skeletor." It is still the same story line as the one that the Haitian government and media were spreading about "Operation Baghdad" in which thugs in the slums were said to be turning to Iraqi tactics of kidnappings and beheadings. This language was picked up by the AP and the BBC and has sinced been used by Haitian government officials. However, Haitian protesters and the Lavalas party have repeatedly said that the "operation" was an invention of the interim governemnt or the pro-coup media. It is a blantant campaign of lies to manipulate international opinion against the elected government and Haitian democracy.

This government official should be held accountable for such deception. Do we really want to send more American Marines to do the dirty work for the CIA, based on such blantant lies as those above?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Murder in Uzbekistan

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Bush administration's allied government in Uzbekistan was involved in murdering hundreds of protesters after a jail break of what the Uzbeki government calls "islamic extremist." The killing appears to have continued during separate incidents for days after the initial "massacre" (as Human Rights Watch calls it).

A report on the Human Rights Watch analysis.

According to BBC, Uzbekistan "s still the springboard for US operations in Afghanistan, while a group of U.S. senators headed by John McCain has demanded an investigation, I have been unable to find any White House comment.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Update: Targetting media misrepresentations of Haiti and seige of Cite Soleil

The bloddy seige of Haiti's slums has begun. BBC reports that the terror tactics of the former death squads including killing those in the streets and burning houses, though BBC is calling these "gang raids."

Haiti News Watch has just published two articles discussing systematic misrepresentations of the situation in Haiti by the BBC and the Associated Press.

HNW says that "The BBC, for unknown reasons, ignored important key observations of the report and provided readers with a condensed "interpretation" that blamed Haiti's violence solely on politically motivated "warring gangs." The BBC utterly ignores the report's assessment of the role of politically non-aligned groups such as drug traffickers and the violence of the Haitian police. "

The question is... ¿How do we publish these facts in a way that makes the BBC defensive and self critical about being truthful in its coverage? ¿Is that possible?

I have been emailing BBC with similar complaints about their coverage. I just sent the following letter to newsonline@bbc.co.uk
----------------------
Esteemed editor,
I came across the following story on BBC's coverage of the recent report on Haiti. I think the Haiti News Watch is right on, but i thought i would ask for BBC's response before i made up my mind.
http://www.haitiaction.net/News/HNW/6_1_5/6_1_5.html

this is in response to the BBC article here
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4599369.stm
from June 1

thank you in advance for your accountability
Simon Fitzgerald
---------------------

Friday, June 03, 2005

Democracy for Cuba

"Of course, the great question Americans have about Cuba is “what is going to happen to Cuba when Castro dies.” While there is still hope that Castro’s government will offer a clear plan of transition, this has not yet happened. Most Cubans seem to think that a military regime will then be headed by Fidel’s brother Raul Castro, currently the Minister of the Interior. This position is in some ways equivalent to the U.S. position of Director of Intelligence that is held by John Negroponte as it oversees the Cuban equivalents of the CIA and FBI. Raul does not command respect or admiration as Fidel does, and I got the sense that Cubans saw him much as they see George W. Bush (a slow, inarticulate individual with a “alcoholic personality” from a politically connected family)."

The above passage is quoted from
Democracy For Cuba
published by Roig San Martín in March of 2005