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Haitian Rebel leaders financed by CIA

February 2004
www.globalresearch.ca       1  February 2004

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/402A.html


60 MINUTES (7:00 PM ET)

December 03, 1995, Sunday

FRAPH LEADER TOTO CONSTANT WORKED WITH THE CIA AGAINST PRESIDENT CLINTON'S ORDERS WHEN THE US MILITARY WAS IN HAITI

ANCHOR: ED BRADLEY

[Editor's Note: In February 2004, former FRAPH leader Toto Emmanuel Constant leads the rebel paramilitary army, involved in the assassination of civilians. The same people who integrated the CIA sponsored 1991 coup are now involved in an armed insurrection directed against President Aristide.] 

The last time President Clinton sent American troops overseas it was to Haiti, to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency. It succeeded almost flawlessly. But before the American Army moved in, it was touch and go as a little-known Haitian politician pitted himself against the president of the United States. And it looked for a while as if he were going to win.

His name--Toto Constant. And his organization, FRAPH, had managed to turn back a contingent of troops Mr. Clinton had sent to that Caribbean island some months before the US Army restored Aristide to power. President Clinton may know it now, but at the time we're told he had no idea that Toto Constant, his nemesis in Haiti, was in the employ of the CIA.

(Footage of Constant at carnival)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) We first met Toto Constant at carnival in Haiti in 1994, just after he had succeeded in blocking President Clinton's first attempt to restore Aristide to power. The idea that this man might be associated with the CIA in any way never occurred to us then because he was known to everyone as Haiti's most outspoken enemy of US policy.

Mr. EMMANUEL "Toto" CONSTANT (FRAPH Leader): (From file footage) We are calling for a general strike against the Clinton administration, against President Aristide.

(Footage of Constant in Haiti; news photographers)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Back then he was a man on top of his world, campaigning to become president of Haiti, holding court with the news media, a self-appointed spokesman for the opposition to Aristide.

(Excerpt from protest led by Constant, spoken in foreign language)

(Footage of Wicomico County Detention Center; Constant in shackles; Constant and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) And this is where he can be found today, in a county jail in Maryland. After Aristide was returned to power, Constant fled Haiti. When the US secretary of state discovered he was in New York, he declared him to be a terrorist leader who must be deported to stand trial for his alleged crimes. And that's why Constant agreed to talk for the first time about his secret dealings with the CIA.

Wh--why are you telling us now about your CIA involvement?

Mr. CONSTANT: I'm in jail. I've been betrayed. I've been humiliated. And I think it's about time for the world and the American public to know that me, Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, is not what they are saying.

(Footage of Constant)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) What the US officials are saying about Constant today is not flattering, and there's nothing new about it.

(Excerpt from protest led by Constant, spoken in foreign language)

(Footage of protesters in Haiti; Tom Harkin)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) A year and a half ago the US Embassy told us that the terror campaign against Aristide supporters was the work of Constant's political party, FRAPH. To President Clinton's close ally on Haiti, Senator Tom Harkin, FRAPH was an evil that had to be stopped.

Senator TOM HARKIN (Democrat, Iowa): (From file footage) FRAPH is nothing more or less than a modified death squad to intimidate people, to frighten people and, yes, kill people. And they are...

(Footage of Harkin; Constant leading rally in Haiti)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) That was Harkin a year and a half ago. So what does the senator think now after learning that Constant was working with the CIA?

Sen. HARKIN: I--I--I--that's just--that's mind-boggling.

BRADLEY: Gi--give me your best-case explanation of--of--of why the CIA had Constant on the payroll at a time when the US Embassy is accus--accusing FRAPH, his organization, of being responsible for the killings, being responsible for the terror campaign. Why did we keep him on the payroll?

Sen. HARKIN: I--I can't answer that question. I can tell you it's unconscionable, and I can tell you that whoever was in charge of that operation, whoever OK'd that, their heads ought to roll. I mean, they ought to be--they ought to be drummed out of the CIA. They ought...

(Footage of Constant and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Ironically, Constant is now also demanding an explanation from the CIA, which he says used and then abandoned him.

Mr. CONSTANT: I was meeting with the CIA on a regular basis. We had an understanding. We had a--an alliance. So if I'm guilty of those crimes that they're accusing me of, the CIA is also guilty.

BRADLEY: Because they knew what you were doing?

Mr. CONSTANT: Because they knew exactly what I was doing. And I was not doing any human rights violation.

(Footage of Constant and Bradley; Constant in Haiti)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) The story Constant told us was of a double life he'd led in Haiti: on the surface, an enemy of what the US government was trying to do--return Aristide as president; but undercover, working as a secret ally of the CIA, whose officers, he says, didn't want Aristide back.

But what you're saying is that the White House had one policy and the CIA had another.

Mr. CONSTANT: Exactly. They had th--their own agenda. I think the--the CIA had the agenda, and the Whites--White House had their own agenda. I--I got caught in the middle. Now I'm caught in the middle.

(Footage of Constant; Raoul Cedras; Bradley and Cedras)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Constant says the CIA first reached out for him in 1991 after he became an adviser to his childhood friend, General Raoul Cedras, who had just ousted Aristide and taken over the country. When we visited Cedras two years ago, we asked about Constant. And his chief of staff pointed to a picture of Constant's father...

Unidentified Man #1: Emmanuel Constant?

BRADLEY: Yes.

Man #1: The same name.

Unidentified Man #2: Same name.

(Footage of Bradley, Cedras and other men looking at a picture; Constant)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) ...the former head of the Haitian army. Constant says it was his close association with these generals that made him an invaluable go-between for the CIA station chief.

How often did you meet?

Mr. CONSTANT: Oh, sometimes when things were very intense and very critical, we used to meet every day.

BRADLEY: Every day?

Mr. CONSTANT: Absolutely every day.

BRADLEY: With the station chief?

Mr. CONSTANT: With the station chief, personally.

(Footage of Bradley and Constant)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) And he described their secret meetings.

Mr. CONSTANT: He would come at a certain time, a certain day, always in the evening. And I would get into his car and we would drive--never in a specific place, never. Always drive.

(Footage of Constant talking on walkie-talkie)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) He said he was given a code name, Gamal, and an agency walkie-talkie so the CIA could summon him at a moment's notice. And he says he went on the payroll at around $ 700 a month.

How did you get paid?

Mr. CONSTANT: US currency--in cash.

BRADLEY: From the station chief?

Mr. CONSTANT: Yeah, from him.

(Footage of Constant)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) And early on he said the CIA encouraged him to provide damaging information about Aristide.

The--the--the CIA did build psychological profile that would suggest that--that President Aristide was mentally unstable. Did you give them copies of some of his medical files?

Mr. CONSTANT: Yes. Yes, I did.

BRADLEY: Were you asked to do that or...

Mr. CONSTANT: I think that was part of my whole strategy to keep Aristide from coming back, so I volunteered that information.

(Footage of Constant; congressional hearing; Capitol building)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) That psychological profile created a firestorm when it was leaked to Congress, as David Martin of CBS News reported at the time.

(Excerpt from news report)

(Footage of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and President Clinton; from rally in Haiti)

Mr. DAVID MARTIN ( CBS News): (Voiceover) Today the debate over which is the real Aristide and whether he deserves American support turned nasty. The CIA profile includes reports Aristide once took lithium, Valium and Haldol, drugs commonly used to treat manic depression.

Senator JESSE HELMS (Republican; North Carolina): This man is a psychopath. And I don't think we have any business whatsoever, Mr. President, risking one life of one soldier...

(End of excerpt)

Mr. CONSTANT: (Voiceover) I knew that the CIA didn't want to have Aristide come back.

And our relationship kept going on that same basis.

(Footage of Constant; US flag; detention center)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Constant gave us the names of the two CIA chiefs he dealt with, but in response to the CIA's concerns about security, we agreed not to reveal their identities.

If--if these two station chiefs were here today, would they be able to deny the things that you're telling us about your relationship with the CIA?

Mr. CONSTANT: Oh, definitely not, not in my presence. And I think the one thing they would say--they would say I was the good buy--good--good guy.

BRADLEY: You were the good guy?

Mr. CONSTANT: Yes.

(Footage of Constant and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) But no one from the CIA is saying anything like that now.

Mr. CONSTANT: I feel like that beautiful woman that everybody wants to go to bed with at night, but not in--during the daytime. They don't want nobody to find out, you know. For everybody, she's beautiful, but they still don't want nobody to know that they have--they're in contact with her.

BRADLEY: So you're saying they were in bed with you before?

Mr. CONSTANT: They definitely were in bed many times, many nights, but never during the day.

(Footage of CIA building; CIA emblem on floor; Warren Christopher and Sam Donaldson on "This Week With David Brinkley")

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) The CIA refused our request for an interview and would not confirm or deny a relationship with Toto Constant. But when the question was put to the secretary of state on ABC News, he offered a tacit acknowledgement.

(Excerpt from "This Week With David Brinkley")

Mr. SAM DONALDSON (ABC News): Mr. Secretary, does it disturb you that it now appears that Mr. Constant, who was the leader of FRAPH in Haiti, was on the CIA payroll during that period?

Secretary of State WARREN CHRISTOPHER (United States): Well, over the years, the United States has frequently tried to get information from some people who we wouldn't want to be partners with, and I think that's in that category.

(End of excerpt)

BRADLEY: In--in fairness to the agency, is there any truth to their argument that you don't hire Mother Teresa to go get information on the bad guys?

Sen. HARKIN: I don't mind dealing with bad guys. I mean, if you're gaining information in unsavory situations, sometimes you've got to deal with unsavory people. That's not the point. The CIA went way beyond that. They went way beyond just paying someone for information.

(Footage of politicians; President Clinton; USS Harlan County; soldiers; protesters in Haiti)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) What Senator Harkin and others charge is that in Haiti, the CIA appears to have subverted the president's policy. The incident which triggers that accusation centers on this ship, the USS Harlan County. On October 3rd, 1993, President Clinton sent this troop carrier to Haiti with 400 American and Canadian soldiers on board, part of a UN peacekeeping effort scheduled to return Aristide two weeks later. There were only about 40 protesters on the docks, but to everyone's surprise, President Clinton ordered the Harlan County to turn back. The CIA and the Pentagon had warned the president that these men posed a threat to American lives, but it turns out that they were all sent there by none other than Toto Constant.

(Excerpt of protest led by Constant, spoken in foreign language)

(Footage of USS Harlan County; Lawrence Pezzullo; protesters)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) The president's decision made no sense to Mr. Clinton's special ambassador on Haiti, Lawrence Pezzullo, because his representatives on the docks that day all insisted there was never a serious threat; that it was all being done for the cameras. And that was the argument Ambassador Pezzullo says he made at the White House.

Mr. LAWRENCE PEZZULLO (Special Ambassador to Haiti): What I said at the meeting when the--when the decision was taken is that, 'We're having--we're facing theater, and if--we shouldn't be deterred by theater.'

(Footage of Pezzullo)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) But he says the CIA's warnings carried the day.

In--in essence, the CIA exaggerated the danger or...

Mr. PEZZULLO: I think so.

BRADLEY: ...created a danger that didn't really exist?

Mr. PEZZULLO: I think so.

(Footage of protesters; Constant in Haiti; Constant)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) And that's why Pezzullo was shocked to learn that the man who organized the demonstration was not only on the CIA payroll, but that he had briefed the station chief in advance and assured him that no American lives would be in danger.

Did the s--the CIA station chief say to you, 'I think this is a bad idea. Don't...'

Mr. CONSTANT: No.

BRADLEY: '...call this demonstration'?

Mr. CONSTANT: Absolutely not. He never told me anything like that.

BRADLEY: W--was there any concern--did anyone express concern about a threat to American lives?

Mr. CONSTANT: No. I guarantee him that the demonstration was simply a media frenzy that I wanted to create. That has nothing to do--no life was threatened.

Mr. PEZZULLO: You know, in this case, if we knew--and I knew and I think the people in that room knew that Constants was on the payroll--and he had said, 'No carm--harm will come to the Americans who come in here,' I think the decision on Harlan County would have been otherwise.

BRADLEY: Mm-hmm. And what happened in Haiti would have been dramatically different.

Mr. PEZZULLO: It would have been--it would have been a greater success for the administration by a long shot.

(Footage of protesters; US soldiers and equipment in Haiti; President Clinton)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) And that raises the question of whether the US military intervention a year later--which has cost $ 2 billion so far, and which President Clinton celebrated here in Washington last October--whether that military intervention would have been necessary had it not been for the man on the CIA's payroll.

After you scuttled the president's plan to restore Aristide to power, does the CIA start to distance itself from you?

Mr. CONSTANT: No, absolutely not. That's when I--I picked up more power, more political clout.

(Footage of dead people in Haiti)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) If true, that's surprising, given the epidemic of violence that broke out on the streets after the Harlan County, violence which, despite Constant's denials, the US Embassy publicly attributed to his party, FRAPH.

BRADLEY: A--at the time that--that you and your organization, FRAPH, were--were being accused of--of murdering, terrorizing Aristide supporters, did the CIA station chief ever confront you with any of these accusations?

Mr. CONSTANT: Never.

BRADLEY: But everybody's saying FRAPH's...

Mr. CONSTANT: Mm-hmm.

BRADLEY: ...a bunch of thugs and killers.

Mr. CONSTANT: Mm-hmm.

BRADLEY: Everybody was saying that.

Mr. CONSTANT: Mm-hmm.

BRADLEY: He never said, 'Do...'

Mr. CONSTANT: Never.

BRADLEY: '...you have your hand in any of this'?

Mr. CONSTANT: Never. Absolutely never.

(Footage of Constant)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) And instead of reining him in, Constant says the CIA made him feel they were grooming him for the presidency of Haiti.

Mr. CONSTANT: They always praised my quality as a leader and the possibility for me to maybe be a successor to Aristide.

(Footage of Constant; Constant and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) But all of this ended abruptly, he says, in April of '94 just after the White House watched him make this boast on 60 MINUTES.

(Excerpt from 60 MINUTES, April, 1994)

BRADLEY: Did--did you think that day that you were standing up to President Clinton?

Mr. CONSTANT: Yeah, because he's the one that gave the order directly to the Harlan County to move and come to Haiti. So, in fact, there was something between Clinton and me.

BRADLEY: Mm-hmm.

(End of excerpt)

(Footage of President Clinton)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) It was only after this broadcast, we're told, that the White House investigated and discovered Constant's ties to the CIA.

Mr. CONSTANT: The station chief called me, and he told me that he had to put me on ice on orders of the White House.

BRADLEY: Why did he have to put you on ice?

Mr. CONSTANT: Because I accepted an interview with 60 MINUTES.

(Footage of soldiers arriving in Haiti; Constant in Haiti)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) And he says the CIA didn't get back in touch with him until six months later, the week the US Army descended on Haiti, when the station chief called and urged him to make this startling about-face.

Mr. CONSTANT: (From file footage) I want all to know that if President Aristide returns, he will have the support of FRAPH.

(Footage of soldiers and protesters; Constant in Haiti; Constant and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) No one failed to notice that it was only these US combat troops that prevented this angry mob of Aristide supporters from attacking Constant. To him, it was a signal that the CIA was still with him. It was only after he ended up here in this prison that he realized he'd been abandoned.

Wh--why do you think they're not standing up for you now?

Mr. CONSTANT: Maybe they're scared.

BRADLEY: Of?

Mr. CONSTANT: Maybe they're scared to--after all these things that have been said about me, maybe the White House doesn't want them to get in touch with me.

(Footage of Constant; Constant in Haiti leading rally)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Remembering Constant's analogy to feeling like the beautiful woman scorned, we asked him if he were to find himself back in Haiti and the CIA were to call, would he sign on again?

Mr. CONSTANT: Now I need it on paper and openly. What I would like is--in--instead of being that girl that they--they go to bed with every night in--secretly, I want--this time I want a date. I want everybody to know that we are dating.

BRADLEY: Last week the Haitian government demanded the return of more than 150,000 documents seized by US soldiers from FRAPH and the Haitian army. The Aristide government says they may reveal the CIA's dealings with Constant and are needed for prosecution of him and other FRAPH members. Meanwhile, Constant says he's decided to stop fighting deportation, to return to Haiti and run for president. And just two days ago we finally got a faxed comment from the CIA. It says, 'The CIA collects and analyzes intelligence. It does not make policy. Any suggestion that the CIA misrepresented intelligence it collected regarding the arrival of the USS Harlan County in Haiti is false.'


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