Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Massive Fraud and Theft at CPA

A massive story seems to have been lurking underneath all of the talk of Alito and other news of the week. An audit of Coalition Provisional Authority spending in Iraq revealed that book keeping was so poor, there is no way to account for much of the $88 million dollars they scrutinized. According to the New York Times

Agents from the inspector general's office found that the living and working quarters of American occupation officials were awash in shrink-wrapped stacks of $100 bills, colloquially known as bricks.

One official kept $2 million in a bathroom safe, another more than half a million dollars in an unlocked footlocker. One contractor received more than $100,000 to completely refurbish an Olympic pool but only polished the pumps; even so, local American officials certified the work as completed.

In other examples

millions of reconstruction dollars [were] stuffed casually into footlockers and filing cabinets, an American soldier in the Philippines ... gambled away cash belonging to Iraq, and three Iraqis ... plunged to their deaths in a rebuilt hospital elevator that had been improperly certified as safe.

It is important to note that much of this money was not American at all, rather it was seized Iraqi oil money and other Iraqi government assets. The TimesOnline (British) reports
nearly $9 billion (£5 billion) of Iraq’s oil revenue disbursed by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which governed Iraq until mid-2004, cannot be accounted for.

This investigation only focused on $88 million dollars and how it was dispersed. This may be an illustration about how billions of dollars were systematically mishandled by unelected American officials. Of course, there is no way to be sure because there is no paperwork to account for the rest of the money.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls this a "Mark McGuire moment" for George Bush and his war in Iraq.

And Juan Cole pointed out that George Bush and the other architects of this war decided to export kleptocracy (associated with other Republican officials like Jack "Abramoff and his "30 Republicans") to Iraq, rather than the democracy that had been promised before the invasion.

Brian Concannon: Jean Juste is an American resident

In response to my previous post, Brian Concannon responds

Fortunately asylum is the one thing we do not need to worry about right now for Fr. Gerry. He is a legal resident of the U.S., so under US law he can stay as long as he wants, unless he is deported for criminal activity or extradited, neither of which is likely.

Fr. Gerry has said that he wants to return to Haiti to clear his name. I have no doubt that he would do so, even if his lawyers advised him that it was too dangerous. We are hoping to make that unnecessary, by convincing the court of appeals to dismiss the baseless charges.

There’s a broader effort to stop all deportations to Haiti, based on the conditions you mentioned in your blog. For more on that, see Motion to Stop Haitian Deportations on our website.

I hope this answers your questions, let me know if you have more, and thanks for caring about justice in Haiti.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Freedom! Father Jean Juste released for treatment in Miami

After my mother spent hours and dollars faxing government officials in Washington and Port-Au-Prince, banned presidential candidate Father Gerry Jean Juste has been released from Haitian prison where he was being held without charges. Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti published the good news on HaitiAction.net , and the Miami Herald reports that Jean Juste has landed in Miami and arrived at Jackson Memorial Hospital to greetings from Paul Farmer and other doctors who will treat him for pneumonia and leukemia.

Concannon continues that
Fr. Gerry was granted a provisional release, which requires him to return to Haiti after the treatment to face the charges still pending against him. The current charges against him are as baseless as the other charges which have been dismissed. Fr. GerryÂ’s lawyers at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) have filed an appeal, asking for the charges to be dismissed. The appeals court can rule on the appeal without Fr. GerryÂ’s presence, so it is possible that the case will be dismissed without requiring him to return to court. If he is forced to return to court, the BAI lawyers will continue to fight the charges.

In the meantime, Fr. Gerry will be relatively safe, and will have his leukemia treated. Doctors who have examined him are hopeful that his disease is at a stage where it can be successfully treated, but they cannot be certain without more tests"

Adding to thank those like my mom
Today's victory proves the Haitian proverb, "men anpil, chay pa lou": many hands makes the load light. This mobilization has been by far the strongest and most persistent Haiti advocacy effort in the ten years that I have been involved in Haiti work. Everyone who called, faxed, wrote or emailed Haitian and US officials, everyone who signed a petition, everyone who forwarded information about Fr. Gerry to their church, their friends, and their family, should be proud. Close to a dozen human rights groups, over 50 members of the US Congress, and hundreds of religious, political and human rights leaders from all over the world joined together to make this moment possible.

Together we demonstrated that the world does care, that justice is possible, and that collective action does work. No small accomplishment.

Fr. Gerry said in a letter from prison on Friday: "understand that I wish you all to extend your support not only to me but to as many political prisoners as possible wherever on planet earth. Probably, you are aware that there are quite a number of political prisoners around the world. Think of them and keep them in your heartÂ…. I am very grateful to Amnesty International and to all of you for helping fight for the human rights of all political prisoners, here in Haiti and across the world. Let's keep the momentum on for justice, peace, love, and sharing to prevail all over the world as God wants it."

Unfortunately, neither Concannon's reporting norCaribbeanrribeanouletsutlents like the Miami Herald have mentioned asylum for Jean Juste. Why not? I know that the United States is extremely prejudiced against Haitians in the immigration process. I know that the U.S. government supports the coup government holding Jean-Juste hostage so much that dropped the embargo against Haiti as soon as the democratically elected president had been flown to Central Africa. But does Jean Juste have no legal recourse? Don't the reports of summary executions and political violence against the poor matter? Doesn't Jean Juste's status as one of the nations many political prisoners give him some government protection?

Seriously, Bill Quigley and other lawyers and judges out there, help me out. Is this not something important?

Is Jean Juste opposed to protection from deportation to Haitian prisons?

In any case, the illegitimate Haitian government and its U.S. American backers may have spared Jean Juste because of his high profile and the possibility that he would die in jail at any moment, but hundreds if not thousands of other political prisoners remain locked up on trumped up charges or without any judicial charges at all. These include other high profile hostage such as former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and popular folk singer So Anne.

On an interesting aside, Haiti Action reports that shortly before Jean Juste was released, "Reverend Jesse Jackson warned Gerard Latortue that he would be on the next plane to Haiti if the seriously ill Father Gerard Jean Juste was not released immediately for medical care." This was part of a written plea to the coup installed "Interim Prime Minister."

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Update and Letter from Pere Jean Juste: 1.27.06

Update on and Letter from Pere Jean-Juste
by Bill Quigley. Bill is a law professor at
Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans and
assists Mario Joseph of BAI in Haiti as one of Fr.
Jean-Juste's lawyers. Bill's phone number in Haiti is
509. 401.4822. The phone number for Dr. Jennifer
Furin is 509.425.2953 in Haiti and 857.998.1768 in the

Pere Jean-Juste wrote the following letter from
the Pacot Prison in Port au Prince. The Prison is
guarded by Jordanian troops in grey camoflauge. They
have heavy weapons including a big machine gun mounted
on a white UN jeep loaded with belts of big brassy
Fr. Jean-Juste is moist and feverish, occasionally
coughing and sniffling. As he writes mosquitoes
circle his exposed feet arms and neck. There was no
water in the prison last night or this morning.
Despite this, he remains in good spirits as a constant
stream of people visit him. One little girl with
white ribboned hair, bends over him as he writes and
silently and gently kisses his bald head.
Dr. Jennifer Furin of Harvard Medical School
examined him yesterday and pronounced him very ill and
his health deteriorating from leukemia and pneumonia.
After her examination Dr. Furmin went to the US
Embassy to press for Fr. Gerry's release.
The US Embassy says there is little they can do -
this is a matter for the Haitian government. "The US
has no say in the internal affiars of Haiti or any
other sovereign country," the say.
Dr. Furin is very, very worried. She concludes
Fr. Jean-Juste needs immediate hospitalization and
treatment. "We do not have the luxury of time

Letter from Fr. Jean-Juste
Pacot Prison Port au Prince, Haiti

Friends, Brothers and Sisters, Compatriots>
Once more I would like to bring you up to date on
my case. My physicians, to whom I remain most
grateful, have done wonders. They checked on me just
time. I was unable to breathe freely due to some
pneumonia the last 4 days. Two good strong
medications from Dr. Paul Farmer and Dr. Jennifer
Furin bring me in better shape today. Health wise,
apart from the leukemia and pneumonia, I am holding
on. A friend visited me today an said his sister
suffered leukemia and with quick treatment she was
able to
live for 3 years. Early medical treatment, not
available in Haiti, may allow me to survive for a
Secondly, on the legal level, we are moving
forward. The investigating judge has dropped two
major charges and now charges me with two leser ones.
I am innocent of all the charges. As elections will
probably take place o February 7, 2006, I am sure
these frivolous charges will be dropped soon. In the
meantime, I will not accept any kind of guilty plea or
kangaroo trial by the de facto government in order to
get released. Forget it. I want fair treatment. I
will fight for my innocence and my principles. If I
die for it, I want everyone to keep fighting.
Thirdly, understand that I wish you all to extend
your support not only to me but to as many political
prisoners as possible wherever on planet earth.
Probably, you are aware that there are quite a number
of political prisoners around the world. Think of
them an keep them in your heart. Amnesty
International has done a wonderful job. I am real
proud of Amnesty from my first years in contact with
them, in the late seventies until now. AI members
have comforted me with more than 4000 letters and
cards. Please know that I am very grateful to AI and
to all of you for helping fight for the human rights
of all political prisoners, here in Haiti and across
the world.
Let's keep the momentum on for justice, peace,
love, and sharing to prevail all over the world as God
wants it.
Sincerely yours,
Gerard Jean/Juste njeranjeri@yahoo.com

Blogging from Death Row: Vernan Evans

The first Death Row Blog has been set up in Maryland by Virginia Simmons on behalf of convicted killer Vernan Evans. Evans is set to be put to death during the week of February 6th by the state of Maryland.

The site excepts letters for Vernan to be answered that can be sent to meetvernan@gmail.com where they will be printed and mailed to the Supermax inmate.

One entry describes the Bloggistan debate around the Meet Vernan Blog, which appears to be an especially hot topic among women. In addition to posts by Talk Left and Fox News Contributer and Oberlin College graduate Michelle Malkin, local Remington blogger Liz (brother of slain Baltimorean Sam Richardson) has just sent a letter to be answered by Vernan.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hace Un Chingo de Años...

Mural on La Tienda Guadalupana in Oventic, Chiapas
Photos Simon Fitzgerald
Please do not reproduce images without asking

Bill Quigley: Fr. Jean Juste dying of Leukemia and pneumonia in Prison

The popular Haitian Catholic priest, liberation theologist and banned Lavalas presidential candidate Father Gerard Jean Juste is dying of pneumonia and leukemia in Prison. He is currently being held without written charges by the government of the recent coup on suspicion of killing a journalist and family friend in Port-Au-Prince. Though Jean-Juste was in Florida during the killing, was attacked by a right wing mob when he returned for the funeral. He was arrested on the scene and has been in deteriorating health ever since.

Loyola of New Orleans law professor Bill Quigley brings us an urgent appeal for action for democracy in Haiti and the life of Fr. Jean Juste.

1) Haiti's Ambassador to the U.S. Ray Joseph (202 332 4090),
2) U.S. State Dept Haiti Desk Officer Daniel Stewart (202 647-4755),
3) and the Human Rights Officer in the US Embassy in Haiti, Dana Banks, (011-509-223-0707 ext, 8270, or 011 509 222 0200), BanksD@state.gov.

Doctor's report TODAY 1.26.06: "marked deterioration of his condition since I last saw him two weeks ago." "his health has steadily deteriorated. Over the last four days he has had a fever and cough, and was diagnosed with pneumonia. His blood cell counts have dropped markedly due to the leukemia, and he appears extremely pale, fatigued, and with visible skin bruises due to his rapidly advancing disease.", "Father Jean-Juste requires immediate hospital-level care for this deteriorating condition. Further, given his precipitously low blood cell counts, significantly worse than two weeks ago, it is imperative that he also receives immediate treatment for his leukemia. Without this treatment he will die in prison."

26 January 2006
Mr. Brian Concannon
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
P.O. Box 745
Joseph, OR 97846
Fax: +1-541-432-0264

Re: Health of Gerard Jean-Juste
Dear Mr. Concannon,

I am writing because I am deeply concerned about the health of Father Gerard Jean-Juste. I am currently in Port-au-Prince, where I have just examined Father Jean-Juste and am alarmed at the marked deterioration of his condition since I last saw him two weeks ago.

As you know, Father Jean-Juste was diagnosed with leukemia a few weeks ago. This diagnosis was confirmed by Haitian physicians two weeks ago. Since that time, his health has steadily deteriorated. Over the last four days he has had a fever and cough, and was diagnosed with pneumonia. His blood cell counts have dropped markedly due to the leukemia, and he appears extremely pale, fatigued, and with visible skin bruises due to his rapidly advancing disease.

While he has received some antibiotics in prison for the pneumonia, Father Jean-Juste requires immediate hospital-level care for this deteriorating condition. Further, given his precipitously low blood cell count, significantly worse than two weeks ago, it is imperative that he also receives immediate treatment for his leukemia. Without this treatment he will die in prison. There is no time to waste.
Thank you for any assistance you can provide for Father Jean-Juste.

Jennifer Furin, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School

call 1) Haiti's Ambassador to the U.S. Ray Joseph (202 332 4090),
2) U.S. State Dept Haiti Desk Officer Daniel Stewart (202 647-4755),
3) and the Human Rights Officer in the US Embassy in Haiti, Dana Banks, (011-509-223-0707 ext, 8270, or 011 509 222 0200), BanksD@state.gov.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

UCLA update

The story about McCarthyism has continued to get wide coverage on CBS News, NPR and many other local media outlets. Unfortunately, much of this coverage, including the news on these two sources, has been of a very low quality. CBS had very little research on background and very few hard questions to ask the players in this drama such as UCLAprofs.com creator Andrew Jones and his ideological model David Horowitz. They did not even get any good commentary from the UCLAprofs.com Advisory Board members who quit. NPR was similarly lacking in its discussion of the Republican Party role in this attack.

I wrote an letter to the LA Times based on the analysis of my last Blog update. While my column was not published, they did run a letter from targeted UCLA professor Saree Makdisi ("Witch Hunt at UCLA"). Makdisi has the best analysis I have seen yet. Pointing out that the purpose of this attack and those seen in Senate Bill SB6 (crafted by UCLAprofs.com Advisory Board member State Senator Bob Morrow),
The intention is presumably to force "liberal" faculty to teach "conservative" materials, as though a university education functions according to the same degraded logic as the Bill O'Reilly show. But the bill could also force a professor teaching the Holocaust to teach the views of Holocaust deniers ("dissenting sources").

She also more concretely discusses the link between Horowitz and Jones saying
Horowitz last week criticized Jones, whom he said he'd once fired for pressuring students to file false reports about their professors.
This not only casts suspicion on Jones' integrity, but it demonstrate who is paying Jones salary if "donations do not" cover it as a quote of Jones in the LA Times suggests.

The LA Times will be running a follow up story because of the resignations and continued interest. It remains to be seen of Makdisi or Aunt Ellen will be given a substantive opportunity to comment.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

McCarthyism at UCLA, the California Republican Party and the "Student Bill of Rights"

As I commented on January 14th and as the Los Angeles Times picked up on January 18th, a unofficial alumni group at the University of California at Los Angeles headed by a former member of the local College Republicans chapter has recently started a campaign to "target" professors with a perceived left-wing bias. The LA Times piece was better researched than my own, but I think they failed to talk about this in the context of California politics against perceived left-wing academics.

As noted before, the Bruin Alumni Association (not to be confused with the older, larger, university-affiliated UCLA Alumni Association) has published profiles of over thirty professors on UCLAprofs.com "targeted" for talking about "President Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the Republican Party or about any other ideological issue" where they come out to the left of right-wing ideology. Jones gives you an idea of how he judges the political spectrum by referring to MoveOn.Org as "rabid" and by calling Fox's Bill O'Reilly not a "conservative."

The website urges students to take surveillance on the listed professors, and offers to buy tape recordings, notes on professors and classroom materials. As the Times noted, school officials pointed out that this activity would break the student honor code as well as copyright law.

Those targeted as "radical" leftists are concentrated in the departments of English, Law, History, Political Science and Ethnic Studies.

While David Horowitz appears to be the ideological driving force behind the website's creation, this seems to be a Republican Party project based on the actors within the Bruin Alumni Association. First there is President of the BAA, Andrew Jones who is former Chair of the Bruin Republicans and founder of the conservative campus paper the Criterion. Mr. Jones is also the sole author of content on the website unless otherwise noted. Flattering quotes about Mr. Jones can be found on the page he created entitled "Praise for Bruin Alumni Association President
Andrew Jones."
Jones has ignored questions since identifying himself as the author of all of the profiles.

The Bruin Alumni Association, whose sole activities right now seem to revolve around the UCLAprofs.org project, also publishes the names of an "Advisory Board" that includes many UCLA graduates. Jones does not specify the role of these advisors, who include "President BushÂ’s one-time nominee for Labor Secretary" Linda Chavez, former Republican Congressman and "House Manager in the successful impeachment of President Bill Clinton" Jim Rogan (a UCLA graduate), Republican State Senator Bill Morrow, resident scholar at the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute John Lott, the previous chairman of the California Republican Party and co-founder of the Governer Gray Davis recall campaign Shawn Steel, Executive Director of the Monterey County Republican Party Amy Thoma, and President of the California Republican Assembly Mike Spence.

Despite the presence of a couple of Libertarians, this group appears to be closely affiliated with the Republican Party and Republican California politicians. In that light, the initiative targeting professors perceived as "left wing" seems like a simple politically motivated blacklist or smear campaign rather than an issue of academic freedom" or political "bias" that are often used to justify recent attacks on "radical" academics.

As the Times reported, several members of the advisory board have resigned their position with Jones' alumni association since this story broke including Harvard historian Stephan Thernstrom and professor emeritus of English Jascha Kessler. Since the Times article ran former congressman James Rogan has also resigned according to the Associated Press. As of the early hours of Thursday morning Eastern Time Jones had not take Rogan's name off of the Advisory Board Webpage, though Kessler and Thernstrom are no longer linked from the page. The sites home page also no longer links directly to the advisors' page.

Jones uses unusual candor in his attack on over 30 UCLA academics, avoiding the misleading buzzwords like "bias," "fairness," or "academic freedom" characterizing much of the discussion of similar initiatives. Such straight talk illustrates the true reason for recent campaigns targeting "radicals" in academia that include Senate Bill SB 6 introduced in December of 2004 by... you guessed it... State Senator Bill Morrow from the Bruin Alumni Association advisory board.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Partial Building Collapse in Baltimore Closes Howard Street and Light Rail

Baltimore- Sunday January 15th -
Part of the ornamental facade of an abandoned building on Howard Street collapsed today near Clay Street, falling three stories and nearly hitting commuters waiting at the northbound Lexington Market light rail stop. According to witnesses there were no casualties, but light rail service was shut down for about an hour.

Fire department crews tore down the rest of the old collapsing woodwork and cleared the debris from the tracks and the adjacent sidewalk. Meanwhile, Maryland Transit Police closed Howard Street to all vehicular traffic between West Saratoga Street and West Lexington Street.

The abandoned building is located in an economically depressed area only blocks from the Lexington Market, the Hippodrome Theatre, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

While Westside redevelopment efforts have restored many area buildings for luxury condos, upscale business and the Hippodrome building itself, much of the rest of the neighborhood is boarded up, while landlords presumably sit on the properties waiting for higher prices. Half a century ago, the area was the center of Baltimore's West Downtown shopping district, though renters have steadily been leaving for decades. The construction of the light rail, taking up two of the three former lanes of traffic, coincided with a further neglect of the street from the Lexington Market area north to Maryland General Hospital.

Photos courtesy of Nate Conn. Do not reproduce without permission. simonen26(nospam)yahoo.com

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Neo-McCarthyism at UCLA "targets" Aunt Ellen

Friends and associates familiar with the Morgan Hubbard-Ward Churchill fraud controversy will know that I have written previously about the right-wing witch hunt in academia and have been personally involved by such accusations.

Well, a new group called the Bruin Alumni (not to be confused with the UCLA Alumni Association) has stepped up McCarthyist activities in West Los Angeles and have "targeted" my aunt Ellen Carol DuBois. She is being "targeted" for being a "radical" "feminist" and a model of the "modern female academic" according to the groups profile of her available online. This profile of professor DuBois is one of many available on the group's website UCLAprofs.com, designed as a blacklist created at the end of December 2005.

They are however, advertising that they will pay UCLA students to tape record the "targeted" professors, take notes on them, and pass classroom materials to the organization in an attempt to "expose" the teachers talking about "President Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the Republican Party or about any other ideological issue" where they come out to the left of right wing ideology.

I have written a letter to the group asking for the identity of the author of the piece on DuBois, for what it is worth. It would be more interesting to find out the source of their funding. Are the books of non-profits required to be open? Who is paying for this operation? What are their ties to the Republican Party or the College Republicans? How many other schools is this going on in?

Another interesting side-note is that of the 23 professors specially targeted by the group, the most common department is Chicano Studies (followed by Sociology and History. One wonders why more Labor Studies professors are not mentioned, as this is a favorite target of California McCarthyists. It must be a small department). This fact reinforces Emma Perez's argument that the attack on Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado was merely the beginning of a nationwide campaign to attack academics as "radicals" especially those in "Ethnic Studies."

A version of this piece is available on the Blogger News Network.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Urgent Action asked for Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste

The inspiring priest, social activist, and banned candidate for the Haitian presidency, Fr. Jean-Juste has been held for over a year without charges in Port-Au-Prince, where Harvard physician (and anti-capitalist super-hero) Paul Farmer has diagnosed him with early to mid-stage leukemia.

He must be released. The 400 year battle for Haitian independence and freedom needs no more martyrs. Read more about the situation here.

BUT ACT NOW!!! Here Its easy.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Chiapas, New Orleans and Haiti

Today was a big news day with regard to the three biggest issues on my blog.

Chiapas: "Mexico lost a fighter we're going to miss, and she left us with a hole in our hearts."

Comandante Ramona of the EZLN died yesterday, cutting short Subcomandante Marcos' tour of Mexico as part of the "Other Campaign." Ramona is one of the most famous comandante's. She has been sick for some time, and apparently she became extremely ill yesterday, and died on the way to San Cristobal for treatment. She first became famous for her trip across Mexico as a representative of the EZLN while the government was trying to portray the Zapatistas as a violent and frightening organization. The trip allowed her to get better treatment for her nagging kidney problems and also made the government look foolish for portraying the 5 foot Ramona as a menace to Mexican society. This irony prompted chants of "Ramona es Chingona" as she made her way across the country.

New Orleans: Stakes is high in Lower Ninth Ward

The city of New Orleans has escalated its fight to condemn the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood that had been devastated by the flood. Despite a court injunction against demolitions until January 6th, the city brought in bulldozers to start the job early on the 5th. The Common Ground Collective along with other local activists and lawyers forced the city to back down for the day, as lawyers argued for an extension on the injunction. I have been unable to find out the outcome of that judicial process. Common Ground's Brandon Darby reports that "In response, the City has announced that they will be closing access to the Lower Ninth Ward to everyone but residents and contractors." Common Ground is moving some operations into the Lower Ninth Ward (from the Upper Ninth Ward) so that "human rights observers" can be present to witness the city's actions. I am surprised not to find any news on this from the Times-Picayune.

The Big News is in Haiti

Two big stories are coming out of Haiti. A couple of days ago, the AP announced that it was cutting off association with a freelance reporter who had been their source of information on Haiti because it was revealed that the reporter was employed by the CIA affiliated National Endowment for Democracy. This group has been heavily involved in the intellectual and policy support for the coup and dictatorship that overthrew the first democratically elected president of Haiti (twice) Jean Bertrand Aristide. This relationship helps underline why international reporting on Haiti is of such a poor quality and skewed analysis. Now I wonder if the BBC and other news groups will take a more critical look at their own reporting in light of this information. Probably Not, unless we are loud enough to make them.

Second. The bigger story today is that the head of the United Nations' mission in Haiti Gen Urano Teixeira Da Matta Bacellar was found dead in his Port-Au-Prince hotel room of an apparent suicide. This raises a big question. Assuming this was indeed a suicide, why did it happen? It seems to me that this is awfully similar to the suicides of New Orleans' police officials in the aftermath of Katrina (though in addition to being at the top of a corrupt and violent police force in an out-of-control situations, the New Orleanians had lost about everything that they had owned).

As the Haitian Information Project has been reporting, the UN forces have been involved in repeated arbitrary extrajudicial murder and human rights abuses in Haiti. They have played a supportive role to the police despite brazen murders and massacres that should have immediately called into question the credibility of the police force as a legitimate representative of law and order. I wonder if this man as so ashamed of his role in the subjugation of the Haitian people and the brutal suppression of democracy by the UN that he took his own life.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year for Haiti

Haiti's struggle under the tyranny of its coup government continues into this new year. The elections have been repeatedly postponed, supreme court judges that did not adequately follow the will of the unelected executive were fired, and political prisoners whither in jail while political violence continues on the streets.

Recently, Harvard physician (and anti-capitalist superhero) Paul Farmer diagnosed the banned Lavalas party presidential candidate Fr. Jean-Juste with life-threatening Leukemia. While this is obviously bad news (Jean-Juste has been a tireless fighter for justice as a Catholic priest), it has sparked renewed disgust in the hypocrisy of the Haitian government. US lawmakers, worldwide newspaper editorials, and a growing group of clergy have continued to call for Jean-Juste's release. Now is the time to turn up the pressure with protests like those recently held in Miami, renewed write-in campaigns to newspapers and lawmakers, and increased discussion of Haiti's plight.

As I have discussed before, the recent coup in Haiti is another deadly flare-up of anti-democratic neo-colonial intervention by the CIA, the US military and State Department as well as the governments of Canada and France. Haiti's coup was even less about democracy than the invasion of Iraq, but these two nations' fate remained linked insofar as the ideology of imperialism rationalizes and justifies the extraordinary violence necessary to maintain global inequality.

Indeed, just as the US' use of torture in Iraq can expose the duplicity and dishonesty of the logic of imperialism, the desire to incarcerate without adequate care a nonviolent priest and politician betrays the cruelty and brazen totalitarianism of the Haitian coup.

It is the perfect time to say what you know to be true. The emperor is naked, and a unified movement for peace and justice has the power to topple the entire empire that he claims to own.