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"No decision has yet been taken, but in French diplomatic circles...they say that there has been talk of a sort of guardianship! as in Kosovo... Even if the United Nations doesn't want this kind of intervention leading to military occupation, this might be inevitable until elections are organized."
Michel Vastel quoted in Haiti-Progres, March 5, 2003.
In the almost nine months since Aristide was overthrown, this piece of 'foreshadowing' by Quebec reporter Michel Vastel has resurfaced many times. Like the desire for genuine democracy in Haiti, it just won't seem to go away.
Recent findings indicate that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is employing suspected war criminals from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in Haiti. The KLA is best known as a terrorist organization with ties to the CIA, US State Department, and narco-trafficking. This news was recently reported on by Flashpoints Radio's Kevin Pina:
"All you have to do is look at their (USAID's) September document, which is published on their website, for the "Office of Transition Initiatives," (OTI) and what you will see in that document is that USAID is paying three consultants to help consult for the integration of the former brutal military into the current Haitian police force. And who are those three consultants? Those three consultants are members of the Kosovo Liberation Army."(Flashpoints interview, November 19, 2004, www.flashpoints.net )
In a separate interview, Pina states that a "source close to the U.S. embassy confirmed that there are three members of the KLA on the ground in Haiti."(1)
That they are employing KLA "training and management specialists" is stated explicitly in the USAID-OTI report cited by Pina:
"OTI continues to work closely with the U.S. Embassy and IOM to develop options for a reintegration program for former combatants. Training and management specialists of the Kosovo Protection Corps, a civilian response unit consisting primarily of former Kosovo Liberation Army members, have been brought to Haiti to assess how the Kosovo model might be applied there. OTI and IOM have also closely followed the negotiations between the former military and the IgoH (Interim Government of Haiti)."
Several news reports have indicated that members of the former army have already begun integration into the Haitian National Police. Other reports have described how former military have been seen collaborating with the United Nations in ex-military controlled areas in Northern Haiti and elsewhere.
The connection between the KLA, the United States - in particular U.S. Ambassador to Haiti James Foley and Haiti's paramilitaries/former military - is not new. In an article published the day Aristide was ousted by the U.S., Canada, and France-backed coup, Ottawa Professor Michel Chossudovsky effectively predicted the scenario that we are now seeing played out today. Chossudovsky first describes the KLA in Kosovo:
"The KLA had been involved in similar targeted political assassinations and killings of civilians, in the months leading up to the 1999 NATO invasion as well as in its aftermath. Following the NATO led invasion and occupation of Kosovo, the KLA was transformed into the Kosovo Protection Force (KPF) under UN auspices. Rather than being disarmed to prevent the massacres of civilians, a terrorist organization with links to organized crime and the Balkans drug trade, was granted a legitimate political status."
Chossudovsky also points out the connection between James Foley (appointed ambassador to Haiti in September, 2003) and the KLA:
"At the time of the Kosovo war, the current ambassador to Haiti James Foley was in charge of State Department briefings, working closely with his NATO counterpart in Brussels, Jamie Shea. Barely two months before the onslaught of the NATO led war on 24 March 1999, James Foley had called for the "transformation" of the KLA into a respectable political organization:
"We want to develop a good relationship with them (the KLA) as they transform themselves into a politically-oriented organization,' ..`(W)e believe that we have a lot of advice and a lot of help that we can provide to them if they become precisely the kind of political actor we would like to see them become... "If we can help them and they want us to help them in that effort of transformation, I think it's nothing that anybody can argue with..' (quoted in the New York Times, 2 February 1999)"
As we consider the connection between this context and that of the paramilitaries-cum-"liberators" in Haiti, led by Guy Philippe and Jodel Chamblain, some further KLA context is essential. Writes Chossudovsky:
"The US State Department's position as conveyed in Foley's statement was that the KLA would "not be allowed to continue as a military force but would have the chance to move forward in their quest for self government under a 'different context'" meaning the inauguration of a de facto "narco-democracy" under NATO protection."
It's also important to note how Ambassador Foley is perceived by Haitians. A Haitian lawyer who "asked not to be named" told the Ecumenical Program in Central America and the Caribbean's delegation
"What I see now is we're going right into a dictatorship. U.S. Ambassador Foley is the real President of Haiti! Each day I get more and more scared. It's the rewriting of 1915."(2)
The closest visible emulation of the "Kosovo Model' in Haiti, then, has been through formation of Guy Philippe's political party, National Reconstruction Front (FRN). Philippe has stated that his main priority if elected president would be to officially reconstitute the Haitian army: "This would be a professional army , not the one we had," he says, reasoning that "(y)ou can't have foreigners invest without security." USAID, in their most recent October report , provide some early campaigning for Philippe when they state "Many Haitians feel U.N. peacekeepers are doing little to halt the violence and want the interim government to formally reinstate the army Aristide disbanded ten years ago." Never mind that this statement contradicts the internationally recognized consensus in Haiti that Aristide's disbanding of the military was universally supported.(3)
Philippe, it has been thoroughly established, has strong ties to the "political opposition" Democratic Convergence, who "boycotted" the 2000 presidential elections that elected Aristide in a landslide and proceeded - with the assistance of the National Endowment for Democracy financed International Republican Institute - to destabilize Aristide and his Lavalas government. One of the strongest established links has been that between Philippe and self-styled "intellectual author" of the February coup, Paul Arcelin, former Montreal Professor and brother-in-law of former Canadian Member of Parliament Nicole Roy-Arcelin. Arcelin also has ties to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew.
Arcelin admitted (Montreal Gazette, March 9th, 2004) days after the coup that he and Philippe had spent at least two years trying to overthrow Aristide. Arcelin was the Democratic Convergence's Dominican Republic liaison. The Dominican Republic provided the staging ground for the eventual CIA-led coup d'etat by housing, training, and clothing the paramilitaries. Between October 2000 and February 2004, Philippe and fellow paramilitaries staged several armed incursions into the Haitian countryside and areas along the Haiti-DR border, killing several, but always managing to escape authorities. Chossudovsky succinctly draws the KLA-Philippe connection, "For the CIA and the State Department the FLRN and Guy Philippe are to Haiti what the KLA and Hashim Thaci are to Kosovo."
The way to apply the USAID/Ottawa Initiative on Haiti idea of the "Kosovo Model" was described by Chossudovsky:
"In other words, Washington's design is "regime change": topple the Lavalas administration and install a compliant US puppet regime...What is at stake is an eventual power sharing arrangement between the various Opposition groups and the CIA supported Rebels...A bogus (symbolic) disarmament of the Rebels may be contemplated under international supervision, as occurred with the KLA in Kosovo in 2000. The "former terrorists" could then be integrated into the civilian police as well as into the task of "rebuilding" the Haitian Armed forces under US (or UN/RCMP) supervision. What this scenario suggests, is that the Duvalier-era terrorist structures have been restored. A program of civilian killings and political assassinations directed against Lavalas supporter is in fact already underway."
There has not been, aside from extensive lip service paid to the idea, any disarmament.(4) 'Sweeps' of poor neighborhoods known to be the heart of Aristide support in Port au Prince (such as Bel Air, La Saline, Martissant), have yielded hundreds of arbitrary arrests but few arms, as the pro-Aristide resistance has strengthened. Members of the resistance movement have stated that "we will no longer just stand like zombies and let them kill us. We will continue to demand the return of our elected president and we will defend ourselves against them when they come to kill us. We are not animals, we are not bandits and we did not start this killing . They did."
The killing began the moment Aristide was carted away on the American airplane. The National Lawyers Guild reported that an estimated 1,000 bodies, as according to the director of the State Morgue, had been buried in mass graves within one month of the coup. Several other human rights organizations have detailed and documented the targeting of Lavalas supporters, and several of the Lavalas leadership remain imprisoned on groundless (if any) charges. The resistance fighter cited above may be referring specifically to the new wave of violence that began on September 30th, when Haitian police fired into unarmed crowds of demonstrators, killing at least two according to admissions made later by puppet PM Gerard Latortue.
Only two weeks later, Pina reported that
"The General Hospital had to call the Ministry of Health today in order to demand emergency vehicles to remove the more than 600 corpses that have been stockpiled there, that have been coming in from the killing over the last two weeks alone. That's how much killing that has been going on here in the streets of Haiti that has not been/being reported and has not talked about."
Meanwhile, mainstream outlets cannot seem to get their numbers straight, frequently omitting officially acknowledged numbers such as those reported on by Pina, and even those reported on by USAID-funded "human rights groups" such as the NCHR. Some mainstream outlets have reported the following :
"At least 170 people have been killed by gunfire in recent violence in Haiti, most of them from slum strongholds of supporters of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a human rights group said on Friday....Another 241 people have been wounded by gunshots in violence from Sept. 1 to Oct. 26..."
These numbers alone demonstrate that Aristide supporters are being targeted, with over 400 acknowledged gunshot victims in eight weeks.
As is made clear in the epigraph, talk of reconstituting Haiti's army along the lines of Kosovo was first leaked out of official circles after the January 2003 Ottawa Initiative on Haiti meeting, hosted by Canada's secretary of state for Latin America, Denis Paradis.
Where Denis Paradis would later deny having planned "regime change" in Haiti, this is really only a matter of semantics, as he frequently employed the term 'responsibility to protect' in the context of what needed to be done in Haiti. This doctrine, established by Jean Chretien at the request of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (5), is tantamount to an official reformalization of imperialism, and is merely a new way to state what in 1902 John Atkinson Hobson described as "trusteeship" as a means of managing the problem of the "lower races." According to Hobson, "The real issue is whether, and under what circumstances, it is justifiable for Western nations to use compulsory government for the control and education in the arts of industrial and political civilization of the inhabitants of tropical countries and other so-called lower races."
Hobson, like Paradis, was thinking of Haiti when pontificating towards the most efficient and justifiable means of subjugating peoples deemed inferior to the white race:
"If we look to the native social systems of the tropical East, the primitive savagery of Central Africa...or the black republic of Hayti in the present...the lesson seems everywhere the same; it is that there will be no development of the resources of the tropics under native government." (6)
Equally, both Hobson and Paradis would argue that the "care and education of a "lower race" as a trust" is based on the "friendly motives" of imperial countries.
Where the Kosovo style trusteeship for Haiti was only theoretical in January 2003, it is reaching real fruition by virtue of the most horrific crimes perpetrated against Haiti's poor majority. Even the mainstream has reported on the more than 30 execution-style killings of Haitian youths, including women caught in the crossfire of UN-supported PNH incursions into poor neighborhoods in recent weeks. With seasoned putschists and terrorists such as USAID and KLA helping the increasingly militarised and UN/RCMP backed Haitian police pacify supporters of democratic principles in Haiti, the world is getting a look at the future of "humanitarian intervention."
It's fitting that the Miami Herald has recently opined that "As Haiti descends deeper each day into anarchy, the time has come to consider some form of international protectorate to take temporary control of that beleaguered Caribbean country." Don Bohning further posits that "As unpalatable as it may be for the vast majority of Haitians, who spent 1915 to 1934 under a U.S. Marine occupation, ceding temporary sovereignty to an international body is one option slowly gathering momentum." This article as much as any indicates the level of fascistic pontification that will increasingly be allowable, buttressed no doubt by George Bush's re-election. Haiti's "protectorate status" would be overseen by "a Brazilian-led regional coalition."
Obviously Bohning is in denial over the fact that the "anarchy" to which he refers was brought about largely by an internationally imposed economic embargo combined with other tried and true destabilization efforts (eg. The EU's funding the opposition, NED and IRI's funding, training the paramilitaries, the ownership of private media by the opposition, etc.) Haiti's "failure" has always had ready-made justification in the eyes of "white supremacist terrorists" as against the "necessity" of colonial occupation.
These recent discoveries make it clear that when James Foley came to Haiti last September, the CIA's wheels were in serious motion, and Aristide and democracy's days were numbered in Haiti. It should surprise no one that Foley should enlist the efforts of his war criminal KLA friends, who proved themselves so valuable to the NATO-led "coalition of the killing" in 1999.(7)
With all of the "trustees" that it can handle, now as much as ever Haiti needs a massive outpouring of international solidarity.
(1) With the author, November 20, 2004.
(2) From the cover of "A People's Fact Finding Investigation to Haiti."
(3) "An internationally sponsored public opinion poll taken in March 1995 found that 72 percent of the sample approved the government's purges of the army," in Robert Maguire's "Demilitarising Public Order in a Predatory State: The Case of Haiti," North-South Agenda Papers, 1995, p. 12.
(4) In the section "Strengthening the operational capacity of the PNH," the World Bank/European Commission convened Haiti Interim Cooperation Framework calls for the expansion of the PNH from the current strength of 3000 "to 6000 in 2006...and to 20,000 in 2015." (p. 14, "republic of Haiti: Interim Cooperation Framework, 2004-2006, Summary Report) In the meantime, some 25,000 former military, termed "beneficiaries" will have been "provided assistance" with ICF funding. See: http://haiticci.undg.org/index.cfm?Module=ActiveWeb&Page=WebPage&s=introduction&NewLanguageID=en .
(5) This report is about the so-called "right of humanitarian intervention": the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate for states for take coercive - and in particular military - action, against another state for the purpose of protecting people at risk in that other state. See: http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/iciss-ciise/report-en.asp .
(6) Cited in Philip D. Curtin's "Imperialism," p. 319-337. (7) On the KLA, see Chossudovsky's Kosovo "Freedom Fighters" Financed by Organized Crime" .
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