Aristide Confirms He Was Kidnapped By US Military
ARISTIDE CONFIRMS HE WAS KIDNAPPED BY US MILITARY
From The NY Transfer News Collective
March 1, 2004
Democracy Now! has revealed that President Jean Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped early Sunday morning by the US military, contrary to widespread reports that he resigned. Speaking on the syndicated national radio program this morning, both Rep. Maxine Waters and Randall Robinson said that Aristide has confirmed to them that he was kidnapped by the USmilitary.
According to Robinson, Aristide says that he was taken by force by US military, given no opportunity to contact anyone, and was forced onto a plane. They were not told where they were going, they landed on Antigua first, then flew for another 6 hours and landed somewhere else where they stayed for 3 hours.
When Aristide asked where they were, the US soldiers refused to tell him and would now allow him to raise the shades on the airplane to look outside. They then took off again, and landed in their current location, which they were told was in the Central African Republic. They are "being held" in a place called the "Palace of Renaissance" there.
For more information, see Democracy Now's website at http://www.democracynow.org
The NY Transfer News Collective, one of few services distributing this suppressed and denied news, asks:
"When, we wonder, will the mainstream press start to eat their words? What will the Bush administration do now? Claim they were 'just trying to protect Aristide?' What WERE they thinking? Did they fear making Aristide a martyr by manipulating some Haitian into assassinating him, a la Maurice Bishop? Did they think that somehow they could keep this a secret, and that Aristide could just be disappeared and made to look like a cowardly traitor, running away after swearing he never would?"
Canadian economist Michel Chossudovsky provides some relevant background:
"The armed insurrection which contributed to unseating President Aristide on February 29th 2004 was the result of a carefully staged military intelligence operation.
"The Rebel paramilitary army crossed the border from the Dominican Republic in early February. It constitutes a well armed, trained and equipped paramilitary unit integrated by former members of Le Front pour l'avancement et le progrhs d'Haiti (FRAPH), the "plain clothes" death squadrons, involved in mass killings of civilians and political assassinations during the CIA sponsored 1991 military coup, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide The self-proclaimed Front pour la Libiration et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN) (National Liberation and Reconstruction Front) is led by Guy Philippe, a former member of the Haitian Armed Forces and Police Chief. Philippe had been trained during the 1991 coup years by US Special Forces in Ecuador, together with a dozen other Haitian Army officers. (See Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News, 24 February 2004).
"The two other rebel commanders and associates of Guy Philippe, who led the attacks on Gonaives and Cap Haitien are Emmanuel Constant, nicknamed "Toto" and Jodel Chamblain, both of whom are former Tonton Macoute and leaders of FRAPH."
On Feb. 24, 2004, the New York Times reported:
"As Haiti's crisis lurches toward civil war, a tangled web of alliances, some of them accidental, has emerged. It has linked the interests of a political opposition movement that has embraced nonviolence to a group of insurgents that includes a former leader of death squads accused of killing thousands, a former police chief accused of plotting a coup and a ruthless gang once aligned with Mr. Aristide that has now turned against him. Given their varied origins, those arrayed against Mr. Aristide are hardly unified, though they all share an ardent wish to see him removed from power."
There was apparently nothing spontaneous or "accidental" in the rebel attacks or the "alliance" between the leader of the death squadrons Guy Philippe and Andy Apaid, owner of the largest industrial sweatshop in Haiti and leader of the G-184.
According to El ejircito dominicano on Feb. 27:
The armed rebellion was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation. The Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic had detected guerilla training camps inside the Dominican Republic on the Northeast Haitian-Dominican border.
Both the armed rebels and their civilian "non-violent" counterparts were involved in the plot to unseat the president. G-184 leader Andre Apaid was in touch with Colin Powell in the weeks leading up to Aristide's overthrow. Rebel Commander Guy Philippe and "Toto" Emmanuel Constant have links to the CIA.
There are indications that Philippe and the political leader of the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front, Winter Etienne, were in liaison with US officials. (BBC, 27 Feb 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3496690.stm).
While the US had repeatedly stated that it will uphold Constitutional government, the replacement of Aristide was always part of the Bush agenda. On Feb. 20, US Ambassador James Foley called in a team of four military experts from the US Southern Command, based in Miami. Officially their mandate was "to assess threats to the embassy and its personnel." (Seattle Times, 20 Feb 2004).
For week, three US naval vessels have been on standby to go to Haiti as a "precautionary measure." The Saipan is equipped with Vertical takeoff Harrier fighters and attack helicopters. The other two vessels are the Oak Hill and Trenton. Some 2200 U.S. Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, at Camp Lejeune, N.C. could be deployed to Haiti at short notice, according to Washington.
Despite Aristide's kidnapping, Washington is making no effort to disarm its proxy rebel paramilitary army, which is slated to play a role in the "transition." In other words, the Bush administration will not prevent the killing Lavalas and Aristide supporters in the wake of the president's removal.
In covering the crisis, the Western media has ignored the historical background and the role played by the CIA. "Rebel leaders" who were commanders in the FRAPH death squadrons in the 1990s are now being recognized as legitimate opposition spokesmen.
Aristide's legitimacy was questioned because he was considered responsible for "a worsening economic and social situation." Sounds a bit like the run up to the recent California recall movement that replaced Grey Davis with the GOP's Terminator.
But the economic and crisis was largely caused by devastating economic reforms imposed by the IMF since the 1980s. Aristide's return to Haiti in 1994, after a coup in 1991, was conditioned upon acceptance of the IMF economic therapy. Aristide complied with IMF demands, but was "blacklisted" and demonized by Washington anyway.
Michel Chossudovsky writes:
"Washington seeks to reinstate Haiti as a full-fledged US colony, with all the appearances of a functioning democracy. The objective is to impose a puppet regime in Port-au-Prince and establish a permanent US military presence in Haiti. The US Administration ultimately seeks to militarize the Caribbean basin."
And what would be some of the motives?
Hispaniola (the island that contains Haiti and the Dominican Republic) is a gateway to the Caribbean basin, strategically located between Cuba to the North West and Venezuela to the South. US military forces on the island will act as political pressure on Cuba and Venezuela, and become part of a larger regional operation.
As I reported about Venezuela last week, the US is preparing for what intelligence operatives call "a second bite at the cherry."
Venezuelan nationals, recruited with promises of fast-track US citizenship, have been training at the US Army School of Americas (SOA), renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). From there, they are relocated to training camps at Iquitos in the northern jungles of Peru, under the direction of the US Southern Command.
As in Haiti, It' a matter of waiting for the correct pretext, most likely to be provided by opposition-inspired violence. US Air Force and Navy contingents on Aruba (Dutch Antilles) are preparing to provide logistic and material back-up. A US Navy hospital ship is reportedly on standby to take a position off the northern coast at first signal of "the balloon going up."