'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Um ... What Happened to Defending Democracy?

Amy Goodman interviewed Ira Kurzban on her show today. Kurzban is a Miami-based lawyer who's served as the General Counsel of Haiti since 1991. His position on the unfolding crisis is that based on the history of US involvement in Haiti, the identity of the rebels, the types of weapons they are using, and their major demand, the return of a Haitian army, it is likely that the US Defense Intelligence Agency and/or the CIA is deeply involved in the coup. He says that there is hard evidence prima facie, at least, that it is a military operation and that the US knew what was going to happen before it began:

We have analyzed the kinds of weapons that these people have brought from the Dominican Republic, who they are, how they're organized, and they're organized, really, as a military commando strike force that's going from city to city. They're very well organized, and they're armed to the teeth with the kinds of weapons, Amy, that really, no one has ever seen in Haiti, except when Haiti had an army. This notion that somehow, you know, this is kind of a rag-tag group of people who had arms that they got originally from Aristide, which is kind of what's playing in the press generally, is just totally untrue. When we have looked at the weapons that they have, they have M-16's, M-60's. They now have armor piercing weapons they have rocket propelled launchers. They have weapons to shoot down the one helicopter that the government has. They have acted as a pretty tight-knit commando unit, and they're led by, as I think you were pointing out in the introduction -- they're led by people who were former associates of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Jodel Chamblin was the trigger man for FRAPH during the military coup, when FRAPH -- when FRAPH was written was a creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency of the United States. There's enough indications from our point of view, at least from my point of view, that the United States certainly knew what was coming about two weeks before this military operation started. The United States made contingency plans for Guantanamo.

Kurzban believes that the peace plan was just a stalling tactic to give the opposition more time to claim more towns and territory before the international community offers anything more than words. At this point, Aristide has asked for "international assistance", meaning peace-keeping troops -- where is the US? -- as Kurzban states

Secretary [Powell] has said [that the US wants to preserve democracy in Haiti and allow Aristide to complete his term], and we hope that he is sincere in saying that. And we hope that he is going to act on it now, and that the administration is going to act on it. The President of Haiti facing a military coup, has now said, we need international assistance. He said it to the world yesterday. And the question is, will the world act or will they allow a democracy to be destroyed. No one has ever contested that President Aristide's election was not a full, fair election and no one has ever said that Aristide would not have been elected in the year 2000 because of his overwhelming popularity. The question is will the international community stand by and allow a democracy in this hemisphere to be terminated by a brutal military coup of persons who have a very, very sordid history and gross violations of human rights.

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