2 March 2004
“Tell the world that it’s a coup. That American soldiers abducted (me).”
Jean Bertrand Aristide
“”Aristide would “leave Haiti in a Lear Jet or in a pine box.””
James Foley, US Ambassador to Haiti
No matter that the corporate media have done their best to cover up the outrage that has been committed against the people of Haiti, things have a way of working their way out into the light of day.
The telephone conversation between Randall Robinson of the TransAfrica Forum and Jean Bertrand Aristide has blown the lid of the gangsters game plan. And it might well be that the phone call saved Aristide’s life, as more information about how the abduction took place comes to light.
This is the imperium rampant. The similarity to the Reagan years is striking and given the circumstances, even more dangerous. Like most bullies, the US government behaves this way with small and defenceless countries like Haiti; with contempt and an imperial arrogance just as it did with defenceless Grenada and Panama – (where it firebombed an entire neighbourhood murdering 4 to 5 thousand people).
No matter that the people of Haiti can’t fight back and the only voice they had has been kidnapped at gun point and whisked out of the country incommunicado.
These truly are the actions of a gangster government that feels it can act with impunity simply because nobody has the power to oppose them – except a priest – who frightens the most powerful country on the planet, so much so that they have to smuggle him out of the country in handcuffs. But then that’s bullies for you.
It then lies to the public about the entire outrageous operation, even dragging South Africa into its propaganda operation by asserting that South Africa had refused Aristide’s ‘request for asylum’ when it had in fact never received a request for asylum.
In what has all the hallmarks of ‘Ollie’ North, Michael Ledeen, Otto Reich et al – operations of the 1980s – the US destabilised and finally overthrew the democratically elected government of a sovereign state in a carefully orchestrated operation that was planned well in advance.
“The senior US military official said a small number of US special forces conducted antiterrorism exercises, called Operation Jaded Task, with the Dominican military in February 2003, a program he described as “routine.”
“According to news reports at the time, the exercise apparently came as a surprise to the country’s foreign minister, who publicly denounced the operation. The US official said 20,000 M-16s were provided to the Dominican forces to help the country guard its border with Haiti and that all the weapons could not be accounted for.””
Globe and Mail, 01/03/04
The Game Plan
First, a period of ‘softening up’ with economic sanctions that started in 2001 to further impoverish the island’s already impoverished population, followed by the creation of an ‘opposition’ that grew increasingly demanding and finally violent.
Then the gangsters decided to make their move and in four weeks had brought the country to its knees and forced the only popularly elected leader Haiti has had in 200 years, into ‘exile’ (although ‘elimination’ was probably the objective).
There is no way that the tiny ‘political parties’ and ‘alliances’ eg the Group of 184 and the Democratic Convergence – all creations of the US – could have achieved what they appear to have done, without direct and indirect US support. A handful of US-trained killers and a force of around fifty mercenaries plus a small coterie of local business interests but with millions of dollars to play with. Enough to mount a massive destabilisation campaign and to arm an ‘opposition’.
Without either an army or much of a police force, the state had little to defend itself with against a determined force that knows that it has the full support of Washington DC. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the coup has many similarities to the attempted coup in 2002 in Venezuela.
“President Bush said Aristide resigned. Al Giordano of Narco News notes similarities between Aristide’s “resignation” and the failed coup against Venezuela’s Chavez two years ago: “The press said the president had resigned, when he had been kidnapped,” writes Giordano.”
The apparent leader of the para-military force (or the ‘Cannibal Army’ as it likes to call itself) is Louis Jodel Chamblain, the former number 2 man in the paramilitary death squad FRAPH. Chamblain, along with other leaders of the coup were trained by US Special Forces in Ecuador after Aristide’s election victory in 1990.
“Chamblain was convicted and sentenced in absentia to hard-labor for life in trials for the April 23, 1994 massacre in the pro-democracy region of Raboteau and the September 11, 1993 assassination of democracy-activist Antoine Izméry. Chamblain recently arrived in Gonaives with about 25 other commandos based in the Dominican Republic, where Chamblain has been living since 1994. They were well equipped with rifles, camouflage uniforms, and all-terrain vehicles.
“Among the victims of FRAPH under Chamblain’s leadership was Haitian Justice Minister Guy Malary. He was ambushed and machine-gunned to death with his bodyguard and a driver on Oct. 14, 1993. According to an October 28, 1993 CIA Intelligence Memorandum obtained by the Center for Constitutional Rights “FRAPH members Jodel Chamblain, Emmanuel Constant, and Gabriel Douzable met with an unidentified military officer on the morning of 14 October to discuss plans to kill Malary.” Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, was the founder of FRAPH.”
US is Arming Anti-Aristide Paramilitaries
The attacks carried out over the past few weeks by the above was part of a well-coordinated military campaign contrary to the news reports that have consistently described them merely as ‘rebels’. They are also heavily armed with sophisticated weapons that could have only originated with the US including M-16’s, M-60’s, armor piercing weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
Moving from town to town, the group proceeded to terrorise and murder Aristide supporters. The National Police Force, outgunned and poorly organised and trained, were no match for them. Confronted with this kind of firepower is it any wonder they fled?
Onward to Caracus?
“The [Venezuelan] government…has been incensed since it was recently disclosed that Sumate, an opposition group that helped plan the recall effort, received $53,000 from the United States government. The money came from the National Endowment for Democracy [NED], which had funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups opposed to Mr. Chávez.”
As with Haiti, so too with Venezuela and largely using the same methodologies and channels. Over the past few years, the US has funneled millions of dollars into ‘political opposition’ parties, right wing trade unions and business owner organisations via the NED.
The counter-revolutionary model goes all the way back to the overthrow of Allende in Chile in 1973 where millions of dollars were channeled into ‘opposition’ parties and other structures whose objective was to destabilise the economy and the state, including a strike that immobilised the government and the economy, coupled to a US trade embargo and finally of course, the military coup d’etat.
However, it’s unlikely that Venezuela will be the ‘pushover’ that was Haiti. “Venezuela is not Haiti and Chavez is not Aristide,” says President Chavez. Having already foiled one attempted coup, coordinated strikes and all manner of threats by the US, Venezuela, the fourth biggest economy in Latin America that supplies 1/4 of the US’s oil needs, will require more than fifty mercenaries if Chavez is to be deposed.
But the exposure made possible by Randall Robinson and Rep. Maxine Waters has brought the entire operation out into the open and in spite of the public denials of Colin Powell and others in the Bush administration, it is clear that the US was heavily involved in the coup and in Aristide’s abduction.
Today’s Independent (02/03/04) for example, made much of the abduction (though not on its front page), in stark contrast to its coverage of the ‘rebels’ and Aristide’s “gangsters” in its prior coverage. The events of the past few days is not something that can be swept under the carpet as easily as jetting Aristide out of the country.