Bush Administration 'Broke its own embargo to sell arms to Haiti police'

Published at: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=630156

by Andrew Buncombe in Washington, April 17, 2005


The Bush administration has been accused of ignoring its own arms embargo and overseeing the sale of $7m-worth (£3.7m) of weapons to the Haitian government to equip its police force.

Human rights groups say the police carry out routine executions of dissidents and weapons are often illegally funnelled to armed militia.

Robert Muggah of the Swiss-based Small Arms Survey, a non-profit group, said that last year the US effected the sale of thousands of weapons to the interim government headed by Gerard Latortue, despite a 13-year arms embargo. "They are meant to brace up a shaky security force, but the reality is they could actually undermine security by jeopardising an innovative disarmament effort just getting under way," said Mr Muggah, who has spent several months in Haiti interviewing diplomats and UN officials for a report.

The embargo was established after a coup that ousted the elected president Jean-Betrand Aristide, who was forced into exile for a second time last year. Washington, which had long under-mined his presidency, refused to help him. The weapons embargo remains in place.

Mr Latortue, installed following negotiations involving the US, France and Canada, complained the ban prevented him equipping the police.

But according to Mr Muggah, despite Mr Latortue's public protestations, a number of arms sales have gone ahead. His report says 5,435 "military-style weapons", including M-14 and other semi-automatic guns and 4,433 handguns worth $6.95m, were provided from the US.

Haiti is already awash with guns and violence. Human rights groups say supporters of Mr Aristide's political party, Lavalas, have been subjected to violence and oppression. The Haitian National Police (HNP) is also accused of carrying out a campaign of violence in the slums of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Brian Concannon, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which has links to the former government, said: "It is well-documented that the Haitian police routinely execute political dissidents and suspected criminals, so with them the guns are already in the wrong hands.

"But many officers - especially those illegally integrated from the rebel army - funnel arms to paramilitary groups that are even more brutal."

A recent report by the human rights programme at Harvard Law School said HNP members were "perceived variously as crooked, politicised, ineffective and violators of human rights".

It added that the UN stabilisation mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was not only complicit in HNP abuses, but that there were "credible allegations of human rights abuses perpetrated by MINUSTAH itself".

Media reports have identified several Haitian Americans allegedly involved in an arms sale, raising suggestions that the deal was privately organised and sanctioned by the US, rather than an official sale of weapons by Washington.

One of these, Joel Deeb, a self-styled "freedom fighter", told The Independent on Sunday he had been approached by Mr Latortue's nephew, Youri, and given $500,000 to buy arms.

"I was given half a million dollars in the form of a letter of credit," he said. "But there is an embargo. There has not been any deal yet. The money is frozen. Everybody is saying I have done something with the money, but it is still there."

A State Department spokesman said restrictions on arms sales remained. He said the US would not sell arms to Haiti but would consider lifting the embargo on a case-by-case basis to allow third parties to make the sales "to be helpful" to the interim government.

16 April 2005 23:38
Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.

Drugs, Weapons and Death Squads in Haiti

Flashpoints Radio
April 8, 2005

Drugs, Weapons and Death Squads in Haiti
Source of transcript: Haiti Action Committee
http://www.haitiaction.net/Download Radio Program [.mp3 10.4 MB]:

Today on Flashpoints: [Excerpt] New evidence on how the United States
government is secretly and illegally arming the US-installed coup
government of Haiti.

[1 minute into broadcast] Drugs, Weapons and Death Squads in Haiti
Kevin Pina, Flashpoints Special Haiti Correspondent

Dennis Bernstein of Flashpoints Interviews Kevin Pina
Friday, April 8th, 2005

Dennis Bernstein: Two weeks ago Flashpoints Radio broke the story of
the United States government secretly and illegally arming the U.S.
installed coup government of Haiti. Since that time more details have
surfaced in terms of the extent of the illegal arms flow, and how
these back door deals are working. Indeed, as we reported, the United
States has quietly begun to ship these arms to Haiti's interim
government, despite a 13-year arms embargo on the Caribbean nation.

The new arms are meant to brace up a shaky security force, so they
say, but the reality is that they could actually undermine security
and fuel the actions by the death squad national police and a whole
bunch of drug dealers running around the streets....[Kevin Pina,]
first of all bring it back to where it started and then give us some
more information.

Kevin Pina:
Last week we reported that the U.S. installed Prime
Minister, Mr. Gerard Latortue, was making noises inside of Haiti,
asking that the 13-year old arms embargo against Haiti be lifted.
What we pointed out last week was that there had already been deals
made, had already been cut, that arms had already been delivered to
Haiti. So his calling for the U.S. embargo to be lifted was actually
just a cover for the fact that there had already been arms sent into
Haiti, that there had already been deals made. What we have learned,
and several names have surfaced that have made this story even more
interesting for us...we understand that almost six months ago there
was a cheque for $1 million that was cut from the Prime Minister's
office, that brokered one of the first shipments of arms that went
into Haiti. The arms shipment was [allegedly] brokered by a figure
associated with the Republican Party in Florida, a Haitian-American
woman named Lucy Orlando. http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/1302

Apparently, one of the other brokers is a man named Joel Deeb. Now
Joel Deeb is a very interesting figure because Joel Deeb, of course,
was arrested by the Duvalier dictatorship (the son, Jean-claude
Duvalier), because he was involved in several bombings
http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/1300 in the capital, and the illegal
importation of arms. Mr. Deeb is also interesting because his name
surfaced with regard to Pablo Escobar and the fact that Pablo Escobar
may have been hiding in Haiti http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/1300
at one time. Apparently, Mr. Deeb had participated in a ruse with
Pablo Escobar in order to mislead the DEA into thinking that Escobar
was in Haiti when actually he was trying to change his location
within Columbia itself.

Dennis Bernstein: And Escobar, of course, was head of the Medelin

Kevin Pina:
Exactly. So we've got this person who is attached to the
Republican Party in Florida, this Haitian-American woman Lucy
Orlando; we have Joel Deeb, a nefarious figure who was helping to
broker the arms deal. And, apparently, Condoleeza Rice was well aware
that this arms deal was happening six months ago; she was well aware
that the Haitian government had cut a $1 million check from its
treasury in order to pay for this arms shipment, and apparently that
deal was brokered for arms that were held by the Pentagon in Panama,
in what they call refurbished, recycled arms. These are arms that
apparently had been captured by so-called "enemy forces," which we
can only assume would be people like al-Qaeda, other armies, possibly
the FARC in Columbia, captured armaments that were then shipped to
Panama and now apparently are up for sale by the Pentagon to
so-called "friendly nations" within Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dennis Bernstein: Say a little bit more about the Florida connection
and Condoleeza Rice. How do you know that there's an official from
the Republican Party in Florida involved, and how do you know
Condoleeza Rice was involved?

Kevin Pina: She [Orlando] is not an official as much as she is a
darling of the Republican Party in Florida; she is [apparently],very
close to Jeb Bush. Lucy Orlando is a woman who worked for George
Bush's re-election campaign; she's a woman who is well-known in those
circles and this information is coming from someone else within those
circles, who said that Lucy Orlando is very close to Youri Latortue,
who of course is the nephew of Gerard Latortue, the U.S. installed
Prime Minister of Haiti, and that it's Youri Latortue along with Lucy
Orlando who are working on the Haitian side along with Joel Deeb
actually acting as the intermediary with the Pentagon. And,
apparently, there was a conversation that someone who was in Florida
had heard, where there was a conference call where Condoleeza Rice
had participated and that she has been well-aware for quite some
time, since before becoming Secretary of State - when she was
National Security Advisor for the Bush administration - that the
Pentagon was selling arms to the U.S. installed government in
violation of that 13-year arms embargo.

Dennis Bernstein: And of course it's not easy to get these arms that
have been seized by so-called terrorist countries and anti-terrorist
operations by the United States Government. These are arms that are
controlled by the U.S. government so it would take a high official in
the Pentagon or in the NSC to make these weapons available. Now let's
be clear: this is in violation of a 13 year arms embargo. Why was
that embargo first put on?

Kevin Pina: That came after the 1991 coup, when the former brutal
military, which we know is now being transformed into the brutal
Haitian police force, PNH...after that coup the United States
instituted this embargo and it's been in place ever since. It's a
remnant of the Clinton Administration, basically.

Dennis Bernstein: Now, the other part of this that is so troubling
is, we have seen in recent days and weeks, we've reported extensively
with you Kevin, on the attacks, the open attacks on peaceful
demonstrations, on Father Gerard Jean Juste, on pro-democracy
activists by the so-called "new" National Police of Haiti. If you put
weapons in their hands, and more heavily arm...you're arming death
squads, and aren't you also arming in a way, the drug trafficking
structure there?

Kevin Pina: With the Haitian National Police, there's very little
difference between them and those people who are involved in drug
trafficking today in Haiti. But one thing I also want to add is that
this question of the arms shipment and the U.S. violating the 13-year
old embargo also came out on the 7th, yesterday, by Robert Muggah,
who wrote an article that came out in the Globe and Mail in Canada,
http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/1303 in which he has said that the
United States and the Pentagon have actually sold the U.S. regime $7
million worth of arms recently. What we're talking about [with] this
first $1 million arms shipment is what opened up the pipelines six
months ago, and apparently according to Robert Muggah and his
organization, called the Small Arms Survey,
http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/publications/occasional.htm in the
Globe and Mail yesterday, that the Pentagon and the Bush
administration have sold at least $7 million worth of arms to the
current U.S. installed regime in Haiti.

Dennis Bernstein: And where are they getting the money to pay for
these weapons when the amount of poverty, the extraordinary
malnutrition, the AIDS pandemic, where does this $7 million come from?
Kevin Pina: Well, it's as good a question to ask, where does the $26
million that they're using to buy off the former military in order to
get them to lay down their arms to join the Haitian police force,
where is that $26 million coming from? Nobody knows. Nobody knows
where this $7 million for these arms shipments is coming from either.

Dennis Bernstein: What else do we need to know about this illegal
support of this weapons operation by the U.S. Government and the

Kevin Pina: Well of course it's not just disgusting given the current
situation, that this amount of money is being spent on these arms,
but we've also got to remember what these arms are being used for.

These arms are being used to arm a repressive police apparatus that
today is involved in a systematic campaign to physically eliminate
the majority political party, Jean Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas party.

At the same time we know that this must be happening with the
collusion, certainly with the knowledge of the United Nations, who,
after all, is being put in place and being told that they have to
deal with the outcome of all of this, of these arms coming in. It's
got to be the United Nations. So we have to also ask, are they in the
loop? Are they aware that these arms shipments have happened? If they
are, given that it's already been shown that they cannot control the
Haitian police; we know that they've fired on unarmed demonstrators
several times, we know that they've been involved in massacres in
poor neighborhoods where calls continue for the return of Jean
Bertrand Aristide. What is the UN's relationship to these arms deals?
What is their position about this since, again, they are the ones on
the ground who are going to have to deal with the outcome?

Dennis Bernstein: Kevin, this came out in the Associated Press on
Monday, it's called "Fiery Priest May Seek Haiti's Presidency,"

it's from Port au Prince, Stevenson Jacobs. Now listen to this, this
is how it starts:

"Supporters call him Haiti's Martin Luther King Jr., a fiery Roman
Catholic priest who electrifies the masses with populist sermons
urging social equality and non-violent protest. The U.S.-backed
interim government recently accused him of inciting violence and
hiding gunmen loyal to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
jailing him for weeks before freeing him because of a lack of

This article seems rather provocative and a set-up. You want to talk
about it Kevin?

Kevin Pina: This seems to be another one of AP's disinformation
pieces for the State Department. I don't exactly know who Stevenson
Jacobs believes he's working for but this, to me, seems like an
absolute set up. On the one hand there is this sort of sensationalist
approach to describing Jean Juste, but really where the article goes
is in saying that there is the possibility that Father Jean Juste
will run for the presidency. Of course, as soon as you give that
impression, that makes him vulnerable to attacks again, that makes
him fair game to his enemies within the Haitian National Police
force, within the United Nations, and certainly within the former
brutal military who already see him as a threat because Jean-Juste
has already made it clear, he's not interested in running for the
Presidency, he has already made it clear that Lavalas will not
participate in those October elections; he's also made it clear that
before there can be any real negotiations, about elections and the
participation of Lavalas, that, one, President Jean Bertrand Aristide
must be returned to Haiti, allowed to return to Haiti, and that, two,
political prisoners be released, the thousands of political prisoners
in Haiti be released from the jails, and that, third, and most
important of all that there be freedom of expression and freedom to
campaign, freedom of speech, because obviously no one could
participate or call those elections free or fair without those three
prerequisites. So this article really is a set up in a lot of ways
because what its doing is portraying Father Jean Juste as someone who
might be willing to participate in this set of elections despite the
fact that he has categorically rejected any sort of rumour that says
he is planning a run for the presidency. This is a set-up, a classic
disinformation set-up, by the Associated Press.


Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network
Men Anpil Chaj Pa Lou!!!
- is Kreyol for "Many hands make light a heavy load."


Here is what you can do to help us help the people of Haiti:
HLLN - Action Requested from Haiti solidarity groups and
Haitian activists for justice and democracy:

Subscribe to and circulate the Ezili Danto mailings and
posts to your mailing lists and e-mail contacts. Subscribe or unsubscribe by writing to: Erzilidanto@yahoo..com

Adopt and circulate the Haiti Resolution (updated below) from the Haitian Lawyers
Leadership Network

Circulate the human rights reports, especially the latest Miami Law Center report

Do Press Work: Join our letter writing campaigns to help free the political prisoners in Haiti, to stop the persecution of Haiti's most popular political party and democratic movement and to restore Constitutional rule. Write a letter, call the media, fax, - See our Press Work page for sample letters and for contact information.

Volunteer to help us maintain our Contact Information Sheet by sending us updated or new phone numbers and addresses to put on our Contact Information Sheet pages

Virtual interns and volunteers are also needed to help us translate selected materials into French, Kreyol, or Spanish to reach a wider audience. Volunteers with some research and computer skills are likewise needed to help us update our "List of Victims" and "Personal Testimonies" pages under Campaign One. (We have the information, what we don't have we know where to extrapolate them, but need help to put it together and in the format on our website page.)

More Network volunteer also needed to concentrate as primary coordinators/contributors to one of our seven campaigns

One internet savvy volunteer needed who is interested in logging and archiving, for our new Ezili Danto blog, (not yet unveiled) the regular Erzilidanto posts we send out so that those who only want to see these at their leisure, or, who cannot receive daily mailings, will have alternative access to these materials and posts, in an archived format.

Fundraise for the work of HLLN. Donate to our projects. Or, earn money, save lives and spread meaning and value by becoming an HLLN Marketing Associate trained to train other HLLN Associates and licensed to use our logo and HLLN materials to sponsor a "To Tell The Truth about Haiti Forum and Teach-In." Proceeds from such courses and teach ins will go to pay the Associate and to continue the work of HLLN projects, such as, our partnership with AUMOHD, the young human rights lawyers in Haiti who are defending the defenseless poor whose only crime is that they voted for Lavalas, supported Constitutional rule or are resisting a return of the bloody U.S.-trained Haitian army and US-sponsored dictatorship. For information on AUMOHD, go to: http://www.april6vt.org/

The Haiti Resolution:
1. Support the return of constitutional rule to Haiti by restoring all elected officials of all parties to their offices throughout the country until the end of their mandates and another election is held, as mandated by Haiti's Constitution;

2. Condemn the killings, illegal imprisonment and confiscation of the property of supporters of Haiti's constitutional government and insist that Haiti's illegitimate "interim government" immediately cease its own persecution and put a stop to persecution by the thugs and murderers from sectors in their police force,
from the paramilitaries, gangs and former soldiers;

3. Insist on the immediate release of all political prisoners in Haitian jails, including Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, other constitutional government officials and folksinger-activist Sò Ann;

4. Insist on the disarmament of the thugs, death squad leaders and convicted human rights violators and their prosecution for all crimes committed during the attack on Haiti's elected government and help rebuild Haiti's police force, ensuring that it excludes anyone who helped to overthrow the democratically elected
government or who participated in other human rights violations;

5. Stop the indefinite detention and automatic repatriation of Haitian refugees and immediately grant Temporary Protected Status to all Haitian refugees presently in the United States until democracy is restored to Haiti; and

6. Support the calls by the OAS, CARICOM and the African Union for an investigation into the circumstances of President Aristide's removal. Support the enactment of Congresswoman Barbara Lee's T.R.U.T.H Act (HR 3919) which calls for a U.S. Congressional investigation of the forcible removal of the democratically elected President and government of Haiti.




Denounce Canada's role in Haiti: Canadian officials Contact Infomation

Urge the Caribbean Community to stand firm in not recognizing the illegal Latortue regime:

Selected CARICOM Contacts
zilibutton Slide Show at the July 27, 2004 Haiti Forum Press Conference during the DNC in Boston honoring those who stand firm for Haiti and democracy; those who tell the truth about Haiti; Presenting the Haiti Resolution, and; remembering Haiti's revolutionary legacy in 2004 and all those who have lost life or liberty fighting against the Feb. 29, 2004 Coup d'etat and its consequences
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