Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NASA No News Good News?

NASA No News Good News or NO?

PEJ News
- C. L. Cook - Considering the possible magnitude of the Space Shuttle Discovery's predicament, it's receiving amazingly thin coverage in the Corporate media. Yes, there are snippets, almost uniformly covering peripheral factums of the mission, but it seems they're willing to wait silently while the drama unfolds in outer space. The last shuttle mission, flown by Columbia more than two years ago, experienced similar technical problems before its fateful re-entry mishap. Though NASA spoke, in the tech-troubled weeks prior to Discovery's launch this week, of contigencies to avoid the loss of another seven astronauts, the announced "grounding" of the shuttle fleet today seems to rule out rescue should the heat shielding's damage compromise a landing attempt. For now, it's wait and see.

Discovery Scheduled to meet International
Space Station Tomorrow (JY 28)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 – 4 p.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STS-114 MCC Status Report #03

[NASA] - Discovery crewmembers completed a camera survey of the heat shields of the leading edges of the orbiter's wings and its nose cone Wednesday. They also began preparations for Thursday's docking with the International Space Station and the mission’s spacewalks.

Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi, Steve Robinson, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda downlinked imagery taken of the External Tank after launch. The crew also photographed the Orbital Maneuvering System pod tile areas and sent down those files. Most of the heat shield survey, taking a close look at the reinforced carbon-carbon of Discovery's wings and nose was sent down live. The rest was sent down before the crew went to bed about 2:40 p.m. CDT.

The data was gathered by the new Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) laser-scanner. Kelly, Thomas and Camarda, with some help from other crewmembers, operated the Discovery's Canadarm and the 50-foot boom extension at its end for the survey. The OBSS was reberthed and Canadarm and its cameras were used to survey the tile area around the crew cabin.

Preparations for docking included a checkout of rendezvous tools, and the extension of the Orbiter Docking System ring that will make first contact with the Station. The approach will include the first Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, a slow back flip by Discovery about 600 feet below the Station immediately before the 6:18 a.m. CDT docking.

The maneuver will allow Station Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips to photograph Discovery's thermal protection system with 400mm and 800mm lenses. The images, taken through windows in the Station's Zvezda Service Module, are expected to be downlinked before hatches between Discovery and the Station are opened.

Today’s imagery and laser scans will be compiled with other imagery taken during launch, and with data collected by wireless impact sensors in each panel of the wings’ leading edges. Downlink of both preliminary and raw data from the sensors also was completed today. A team of about 200 people across the country are working to analyze imagery from the early part of Discovery's mission, the most photographed Shuttle flight in history.

The crew also completed the checkout of tools and two spacesuits to be used during the mission’s three spacewalks. Two suits were also prepared for delivery to the Station for future Quest airlock spacewalks.

The next STS-114 mission status report will be issued after crew wakeup, or earlier if events warrant.

- end -

Jolly Roger!

Global Eye
Master Plan
By Chris Floyd

July 22, 2005

The United States long ago ceased to be anything like a living, thriving republic. But it retained the legal form of a republic, and that counted for something: As long as the legal form still existed, even as a gutted shell, there was hope it might be filled again one day with substance.

But now the very legal structures of the Republic are being dismantled. The principle of arbitrary rule by an autocratic leader is being openly established, through a series of unchallenged executive orders, perverse Justice Department rulings and court decisions by sycophantic judges who defer to power -- not law -- in their determinations. What we are witnessing is the creation of a "commander-in-chief state," where the form and pressure of law no longer apply to the president and his designated agents. The rights of individuals are no longer inalienable, nor are their persons inviolable; all depends on the good will of the Commander, the military autocrat.

President George W. Bush has granted himself the power to declare anyone on earth -- including any U.S. citizen -- an "enemy combatant," for any reason he sees fit. He can render them up for torture, he can imprison them for life, he can even have them killed, all without charges, with no burden of proof, no standards of evidence, no legislative oversight, no appeal, no judicial process whatsoever except those that he himself deigns to construct, with whatever limitations he cares to impose. Nor can he ever be prosecuted for any order he issues, however criminal; in the new American system laid out by Bush's legal minions, the Commander is sacrosanct, beyond the reach of any law or constitution.

This is not hyperbole. It is simply the reality of the United States today. The principle of unrestricted presidential power is now being codified into law and incorporated into the institutional structures of the state, as the web log Deep Blade Journal reports in a compendium of recent outrages against liberty.

For example, last Friday, a panel of federal judges -- including John Roberts, nominated for the Supreme Court this week -- upheld Bush's claim to dispose of "enemy combatants" any way he pleases, The Washington Post reports. In a chilling decision, the judges ruled that the Commander's arbitrarily designated "enemies" are nonpersons: Neither the Geneva Conventions nor American military and domestic law apply to such garbage. Bush is now free to subject anyone he likes to his self-concocted "military tribunal" system, a brutal sham that retired top U.S. military officials have denounced as a "kangaroo court" that tyrants around the world will cite in order to hide their oppression under U.S. precedent.

The kowtowing court ruling ignores the fact that the Geneva Conventions -- which lay down strict guidelines for the handling of any person detained by military forces, regardless of the captive's status -- have been incorporated into the U.S. legal code, Deep Blade points out. They cannot be abrogated by presidential fiat. And anyone who commits a "grave breach" of the Conventions by facilitating the killing, torture or inhuman treatment of detainees (e.g., stripping them of all legal status and subjecting them to rigged tribunals) is subject to the death penalty under U.S. law.

This is why the Bush Faction labored so mightily to advance the absurd fiction that the Geneva Conventions are somehow voluntary -- while simultaneously promulgating the sinister Fuhrerprinzip of unlimited presidential authority. The fiction was a temporary sop to the crumbling legal form of the Republic, a cynical perversion of existing law to keep justice at bay until the Fuhrerprinzip could be firmly established as the new foundation of the state.

It doesn't matter anymore if the president's orders to suspend the Conventions, construct a worldwide gulag, torture captives, spy on Americans, fabricate intelligence and wage aggressive war are illegal under the "quaint" strictures of the old dispensation; the courts, packed with Bushist cadres, are now affirming the new order, the "critical authority" of the Commander, beyond law and morality, on the higher plane of what Bush calls "the path of action."

This phrase -- with its remarkable Mussolinian echoes -- was incorporated into the official "National Security Strategy of the United States," promulgated by Bush in September 2002. That document in turn was drawn largely from a manifesto issued in September 2000 by a Bush Faction group whose members included Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeb Bush. Their detailed plan envisioned the transformation of America into a militarized state: planting "military footprints" throughout Central Asia and the Middle East, invading Iraq, expanding the nuclear arsenal, massively increasing the defense budget -- and predicating all these "revolutionary" changes on the hopes for "a new Pearl Harbor" that would "catalyze" the lazy American public into supporting their militarist agenda.

This agenda is designed, the group said, to establish "full spectrum dominance" over geopolitical affairs, assuring control of world energy resources and precluding the rise of "any potential global rival" that might threaten the unchecked wealth and privilege of the U.S. elite. The rule of law could only be a hindrance to such a scheme, hence its replacement by the Fuhrerprinzip and the "path of action."

There has been virtually no institutional resistance to this open coup d'etat. It's now clear that the American Establishment -- and a significant portion of the American people -- have given up on the democratic experiment. They no longer wish to govern themselves; they want to be ruled by "strong leaders" who will "do whatever it takes" to protect them from harm and keep them in clover. They have sold their golden birthright of American liberty for a mess of coward's pottage.


Court Rules Military Panels to Try Detainees
Washington Post, July 16, 2005

Domination by Detention
Deep Blade Journaly, July 16, 2005

Dark Passage: The Bush Faction's Blueprint for Empire
Excerpt from the book, Empire Burlesque

Ruling Lets U.S. Restart Trials at Guantanamo
New York Times, July 16, 2005

Alberto Gonzales' Tortured Arguments for Reigning Above the Law
LA Weekly, Jan. 14-20, 2005

Torture Treaty Doesn't Bar `Cruel, Inhuman' Tactics, Gonzales Says
Knight-Ridder, Jan. 26, 2005

Bush Has Widened Authority of CIA to Kill Terrorists
New York Times, Dec. 15, 2002

Special Ops Get OK to Initiate Its Own Missions
Washington Times, Jan. 8, 2003

Coward's War in Yemen
Spiked, Nov. 11, 2002

Drones of Death
The Guardian, Nov. 6, 2002

Monday, July 25, 2005

Pig's Revenge

China's hitherto fame as the breeding ground of the killer "bird flu virus," now introduces another species crossing horror, something so far described by experts as a form of Streptococcus that's symptoms more resemble ebola. - ape

BEIJING, July 26 -- The mysterious deaths of 19 farmers in Southwest China's Sichuan Province were caused by Streptococcus suis, a bacteria carried by pigs, the Ministry of Health said yesterday.

By noon on Sunday, 80 cases, 67 confirmed and 13 suspected, had been reported, according to a ministry statement.

Since the disease was found in humans about one month ago, the bacteria has killed 19. At the moment 17 patients are in a critical condition in hospital.

After an emergency investigation, a group of experts organized by the ministries of health and agriculture confirmed the epidemic was caused by the bacteria which can be passed to humans from pigs.

Experts found that the farmers infected had all slaughtered or processed infected pigs.

The official investigation result dispels concerns that the outbreak was avian influenza or SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

The cases were scattered among 75 villages in four districts of Ziyang and Neijiang cities.

No human-to-human infection has been found, the ministry statement said, adding that the disease has a latency period of two to three days.

Those infected develop acute symptoms such as high fever, listlessness, vomiting and bleeding from vessels beneath the skin.

About half of patients also go into severe shock, and the death rate of the disease is quite high, investigating experts said.

Four people infected during the current outbreak have recovered and been released from hospitals.

Central and local government officials are working on an epidemic analysis, identifying patients, destroying infected pigs, eradicating contagious channels and treating patients.

Farmers have been forbidden from slaughtering and processing infected pigs.

In normal practice, meat-processing factories examine pigs from big farms or single households before they buy them. When they refuse a pig because it is infected, sometimes the farmer will take it home and process it for consumption by his own family.

It is rare for the bacteria to infect a human being. The first ever recorded case was in Denmark in 1968, the ministry said.

Records show that at least 200 human cases of the infection have been reported, mainly in countries and regions breeding pigs and eating pork in Northern Europe and Southern Asia.

Experts are researching how the bacteria spreads from pigs to humans, said ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an.

Mao said he doubted reports that the bacteria can be spread through mosquito bites.

"If so, there would be many more people infected with the disease," Mao told China Daily.

Hong Kong and Macao health authorities have warned residents to be careful of mosquito bites if they go to Sichuan.

(Source: China Daily)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Strategy of Tension Tautens in Egypt

Sharm el-Sheik and the Strategy of Tension
Sunday July 24th 2005, 9:36 am

“Officials believe the mastermind behind [the Sharm el-Sheik] attacks could be linked to the attacks in October on resorts in the Sinai Peninsula resorts. The deadly tally in those attacks that entailed three explosions that destroyed hotels in Taba and two other Sinai resorts: 34 people, most of them Israelis,” writes Joe Gandelman in a news round-up. It is said the Abdullah Azzam Brigades of al-Qaeda in Syria and Egypt claimed responsibility for the Taba and Ras Shitan bombings.

Abdullah Azzam’s name rings a bell. A Palestinian university professor and member of the CIA-penetrated Muslim Brotherhood, Azzam set up the Services Office (Maktab al-Khadamat) a CIA- and Saudi-sponsored support organization for the mujahideen (through Prince Turki of Saudi intelligence) fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, providing a network infrastructure based in Peshawar, Pakistan, that would later form the basis for al Qaeda, itself a CIA-ISI contrivance (see Gerecht, Atlantic Monthly, July 2001).

In short, the Sharm el-Sheik operation smells of CIA (in the current context, “CIA” translates into cooperation between several intelligence agencies—CIA, U.S. and British military intelligence, and Mossad—and “black” covert ops such as the bombings at Sharm el-Sheik are entirely off the books and use long-groomed assets such as al-Qaeda and other “Islamic terror” groups spawned by the long-compromised Muslim Brotherhood).

Soon after the Sharm el-Sheik bombings, NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer chimed in with an obligatory statement: the bombings “demonstrate that people of all nations and of all faiths are victims of the indiscriminate threat of terrorism. They also confirm the need for the international community to stand together to defend against this threat.” It is, to say the least, disingenuous of NATO to make such a proclamation, considering it provided financial and military support to al-Qaeda in Kosovo and Bosnia (a well-documented fact although never mentioned here in the United States—see Isabel Vincent, U.S. supported al-Qaeda cells during Balkan Wars). In short, we should take note when a terrorist-funding organization such as NATO issues statements in the wake of terrorist events. In addition to funding and supporting al-Qaeda in the Balkans, NATO worked closely with British intelligence agents and the CIA to create Operation Gladio (the Italian variant of a wide-ranging series of fascist, anti-communist covert paramilitaries)

As Daniele Ganser writes, Gladio-like operations spanned across Europe and beyond: “…in Belgium, the secret NATO army was code-named SDRA8, in Denmark Absalon, in Germany TD BDJ, in Greece LOK, in Luxemburg Stay-Behind, in the Netherlands I&O, in Norway ROC, in Portugal Aginter, in Switzerland P26, in Turkey Counter-Guerrilla, and in Austria OWSGV. However, the code names of the secret armies in France, Finland, Spain, and Sweden remain unknown… In order to guarantee a solid anti-communist ideology of its recruits, the CIA and MI6 generally relied on men of the conservative political Right. At times, former Nazis and right-wing terrorists were also recruited, and eventually these “right-wing terrorists” engaged in bombings and assassinations subsequently blamed on the left, part of a “strategy of tension” (from 1969 to 1974). Ganser writes:

In this age of global concern about terrorism, in which secret services are thought of as part of the solution and not as part of the problem, it is greatly upsetting to discover that Western Europe and the United States collaborated in establishing secret armed networks which in the majority of countries are suspected of having had links to acts of terrorism. In the United States, such nations have been called rogue states and are the object of hostility and sanction. Can it be that the United States itself, potentially in alliance with Great Britain and other NATO members, should be on the list of states sponsoring terrorism, together with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran? Or, alternatively, is it plausible to assume the secret NATO armies operated for years beyond the control of legitimate political authorities?

For Ms. Ganser, this may be upsetting, but for many of us it is all too typical of the way the fascist and neolib (and neocon faction) state does business. Islamic terrorism, created in large part by the state (as amply documented), is a new (or extended) Gladio black op on steroids.

“Throughout history governments have used terrorism against their own people and created paper tiger enemies as a means of obtaining and retaining the trust of the masses in the process of gradually enslaving them,” write Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones. “The Anglo-American establishment that controls the military-industrial complex of the West has been caught over a hundred times carrying out bombings and other terrorist attacks around the world to further their corporate aims and to blame their enemies… How many of the family members of the London subway bombing victims are aware of the fact that in a 2000 investigation the Italian Senate concluded that the 1980 Bologna train bombing [a Gladio op] that killed 85 people was carried out by ‘men inside Italian state institutions and … men linked to the structures of United States intelligence’?”

It is impossible to ignore (unless you get your news exclusively from Fox) the links between Islamic terrorism and “structures of United States [and British and Italian] intelligence.” It makes absolutely no sense for “al-Qaeda” (and its variants) to kill innocent civilians at Sharm el-Sheik or in the subways of London—unless we are to presume, as the state and its various corporate media propaganda ministries would have us believe, that Muslims simply embrace an “evil ideology” and engage in senseless and pointless violence without logical political objectives. It should be obvious this violence benefits the United States and its collaborators in a well-orchestrated effort to build a military and police super-state (a “New World Order,” for lack of a better term). Sharm el-Sheik is but another step in a global strategy of tension (and terror) designed to build a frightened and thus illogical consensus for repressive police state tactics.

11 Comments so far
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I am pleased to be the first that can comment on this, as usual, excellent piece. Thank you Kurt for mentioning the destruction brought to Bosnia and Kosovo which means in essence to the Serbs as an entire people, just like it’s happening with the people in Iraq. In an interview with Saddam Hussein from a few years ago, I did read a very interesting thing: “Kuwait has always been an Iraqi-settled land and we went in there to secure it from foreign domination”. Knowing that Bosnia has been a Serb land since time immemorial (at least 910!) and that Kosovo is the very cradle of the 8000-year-old Serbian civilization, I think I have estabilished a link between two genocides as the West, ignorant of the history of other people as always, first goes around the world to grab lands from older civilizations and then at home, it keeps the public tense, scared and frightened. For example, those 200 pounds for an ID card must be terribly good for the UK state coffers. All Western nations live beyond their means and Peak Oil is here so any money they can make from the common working people is like gold! I fully agree on both political sides (left and right) in this country (Italy) being for this “war” and being part of the larger machinery. I also fully agree with Italy being directly linked with all the other spy agencies Kurt mentioned. The Bologna bombing is a perfect example as my relatives are saying, taking the train in this country right now isn’t a comforting thought if you are going on vacation. The shocking thing is you listed 15 European countries with stay-behind NATO armies! I had read that article, by the way but just re-reading it is sobering because you realize that safety in Europe is a hoax. In closing, thank you for the link to that perfectly truthful article on the Yugoslav wars against the Serbs. A truth that must be told and repeated since that scheme is simply a set-up genocide from which the West has engineered a pattern that can be used for all these acts of state-sponsored terrorism. I will be glad to see what you think of my comment and once more Kurt, congratulations, great work!

Comment by Marco 07.24.05 @ 9:51 am

More good links [gladio], just google … links to are a warranty of high-level articles
[ links to Kurt’s articles by the way]

** The Provocateur State: Is the CIA Behind the Iraqi
“Insurgents”–and Global Terrorism? Frank Morales,

** The Pentagon’s ‘NATO Option’, Lila Rajiva,

** NATO*s secret armies linked to terrorism? Daniele

** Coup d’*tat in Disguise: Washington’s New World Order
“Democratization” Template, Jonathan Mowat,

Gorilla Radio for Monday, July 25th, '05

Gorilla Radio for Monday, July 25th, 2005

This week on GR, Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness on their campaign to aid the people of Iraq and other places where oppression persists.

And, Jean Saint-Vil on the horror that is Haiti today, and Canada's complicity in the misery of the people there.

And, Janine Bandcroft, brings us up to speed with all that's good to do in and around Victoria this week.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor at the progressive web news site:

You can check out the GR blog at:

Gorilla Radio for July 25th, 2005

by Ape

How far would you be willing to go in defying an injustice so grotesque it would allow for the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent children? How many of us would risk imprisonment defying a government determined to continue such policies?

Kathy Kelly is the founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a group that worked tirelessly to end the U.S./U.N. sanctions against Iraq, and opposed the invasion and subsequent occupation of that benighted country. She’s a three-time Nobel peace prize nominee, and multiple offender in the eyes of American Justice.

She’s the author of the book detailing her experiences, ‘Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison’

She and Voices in the Wilderness recently were in court, again to answer to charges of breaking the U.S./U.N sanctions against Iraq by personally delivering medicines there. She’s just back form Switzerland, where she participated in a 15 day fast in front of the offices of the United Nations.

Kathy Kelly and fast action on Iraq in the first half.

And; few Canadians are aware of the great injustice being perpetrated in their name. In February of 2004, the Canadian government, in collusion with the administrations of France and the United States, staged a coup d’etat against the democratically elected government of Haitian president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Aristide was spirited out of the country by U.S. military personnel and taken to the Central African Republic. In his stead, Gerard Latortue, a known gangster and murderer was installed. His gangs now run rough-shod over the rights of the people, terrorizing especially the slums.

But they are not alone in their marauding; the United Nations too has joined the killing.

In the wee hours of July 6th, several hundred U.N. troops assaulted the Cite Soleil neighbourhood in the Haitian capital, killing at least two dozen people, and wounding many more. Though the U.N. denies a massacre occurred that day, much of the aftermath was caught on tape and aired by Democracy Now! Calls of “massacre” are yet being denied by the U.N.

Jean Saint-Vil is an Ottawa-based activist and journalist and member of Haiti Solidarity Committee. He also hosts Rendez-Vous Haitien on CKCU FM.

Jean Saint-Vil and Haiti’s long dark night in the second half.

And; Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with all that’s good to do in and around Victoria this week. But first, sanctions buster, Kathy Kelly.

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the mainstream media.

Some past guests include: M. Junaid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, David Cromwell, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Susan George, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Diana Johnstone, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Wayne Madsen, Stephen Marshall, Linda McQuaig, George Monbiot, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, William Rivers Pitt, Sheldon Rampton, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Norman Solomon, Starhawk, Grant Wakefield, Bernard Weiner, Mickey Z., Dave Zirin, and many others.

Haiti's Canada-backed coup: Interview with Jean Saint-Vil
Submitted by Anthony on July 3, 2005 - 12:45pm.
A&S News Wire

Haiti's Canada-backed coup: An Interview with Haiti solidarity activist Jean Saint-Vil
New Socialist

On February 29th, 2004 progressive and popular Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide was ousted from power in a military coup that was (and remains) actively assisted by the US, France and Canada. Kevin Skerrett interviewed Jean Saint-Vil about the current situation in Haiti and Canada's involvement.

KS: Recent human rights reports describe a very grim situation in post-coup Haiti. Independent investigative reports from the University of Miami and Harvard, and now Amnesty International and United Nations (UN) investigators, all are concluding that the human rights situation in the country is a disaster. The Harvard report describes a campaign of terror by the Haitian National Police against the residents of poor neighbourhoods known for supporting President Aristide and the Lavalas movement the mass movement to which Aristide's party belongs —NS. Can you update us on the current picture?

JSV: Well it is still a situation of terror. There have been many attempts to have demonstrations in Haiti demanding the return of the President and constitutional government. Every time there is a demonstration, there is a high likelihood that people are going to get killed. So the repression is continuing.

And the UN is participating in this. During the daytime, you do not see UN forces actually shooting at people. You have the Haitian police doing the shooting and the UN forces providing back-up.

KS: You mention the role of the UN as problematic. My sense is that at times it has played a positive role, protecting demonstrations, but other times it has blocked demonstrations or even stood by while Haitian police carry out attacks. It’s almost like there's a struggle going on over what the UN forces are going to do.

JSV: There has been a struggle like this from the beginning. There’d be statements from the UN commander that he is receiving significant pressure from Canada and the US to use more violence, and then next thing you know there’s an escalation in violence. Then, when the University of Miami and Harvard reports came out, the UN forces worked to reduce violence by demanding that the Haitian National Police stay away from demonstrations. With UN protection, demonstrations happened without anyone being shot. Because of this, the UN was even being applauded by people in the poor neighbourhoods. But this honeymoon lasted about a week and then the UN returned to their previous role.

KS: Let's talk about Canada’s involvement. A lot of Canadian money is being sent to support the coup. What muddies the situation is that this aid is being channeled through development agencies and NGOs that are otherwise very progressive and part of the anti-war movement. These groups are linked in Haiti to individuals and groups on the ground who supported the coup. They see themselves supporting a unanimous social and popular movement of opposition to Aristide who had lost all of his support. How would you explain this drastic mis-reading of the situation?

JSV: It's amazing to me that these groups don't understand what’s happening in Haiti, given that a very similar thing happened in Venezuela, where the US worked to foment opposition to Chavez by working through NGOs. Haiti is seeing the same kind of infiltration by NGOs we saw in Venezuela. The model of US imperialism is no longer what it was in 1980, where the military just goes in, conducts the coup and then gets out. Imperialism today is conducted behind the illusion of humanitarianism, and that’s why NGOs are important and why imperialists have infiltrated them.

The involvement of NGOs and development agencies in the imperialist agenda is partly explained by how Aristide was represented in the media. Aristide was portrayed as someone who climbed to power because of his personal charisma and ability to manipulate the public. This played into racist and classist perspectives that see the Haitian people as unintelligent and easily duped. It also hid the fact that the coup involved not only the overthrow of the President, but also of seven thousand other elected officials.

KS: And that's seven thousand officials whose election was never questioned even by the OAS (Organization of American States) and pro-US international observer groups.

JSV: No. Supporters of the coup have been claiming that the election that put Aristide’s people in power was never legitimate to begin with. But we may reply that if Aristide had stolen the election in 2000, who did he steal it from? There’s no figure emerging in the post-coup situation, no political party, nothing. People knew that if Aristide was forced out of power there would be chaos in Haiti because it would create a complete vacuum. All you have now are people from the "Republic of Port-au-Prince" claiming to represent people who don’t see them as their representatives: essentially petty bourgeois politicians, all Port-au-Prince based, without connections with the peasantry claiming to represent the majority of the population in the inner country or in the poor urban areas, like Bel-Air and Cite Soleil.

In Haiti, there is very little connection between the peasantry, the middle class and the rich. People are basically in their different corners. Lavalas, back in 1990, had clear connections between the peasantry and the middle class, and even some people like Jean Dominique, who were actually part of the rich class.

KS: It was a multi-class movement at that point?

JSV: Absolutely. And it had a future, if it wasn't for the military coup of 1991.

KS: So you're saying what was once a multi-class coalition in the early Aristide period was abandoned by the middle class and bourgeois elements, leaving Lavalas and Aristide with a political movement which was narrowed to the peasant class and the poor (which of course still constitutes a huge percentage of the population)?

JSV: Yes, Aristide's social base became that huge percentage of the population comprised of peasants and the poor. But it is a population that doesn’t have access to state power. Those who left Aristide blamed him for indirectly orchestrating that shift by relying increasingly on mob violence or whatever — views that express strong class biases. When the coup took place, some in the poor neighbourhoods managed to get guns from the police who were abandoning their posts. With guns in their hands, these people were defending themselves. Now, we can say that they are not supposed to be using violence, but this is a case of self-defense.

KS: We just had May 18, Haiti's Flag Day, marked by coordinated political demonstrations across Canada and the US in solidarity with the people of Haiti. I wonder if you can update us on the state of the solidarity movement — where its going, how it can intervene, and what kind of demands it can articulate?

JSV: The solidarity movement can do a lot, because while the conflict has a national dimension, its international dimension is even more important. Haiti's national budget is utterly dependent on IMF/WB loans and grants, so Haiti remains incredibly dependent on the US, Canada, France, EU, etc.

I think the movement outside Haiti is significant because one of the key things that has to happen if Haiti is to get out of this hell is the complete cancellation of Haiti’s $1 billion-plus (US) foreign debt. This debt has to go, given that most of it is leftover from the thirty-year Duvalier dictatorship. Organizations representing the interests of international capital keep the people poor while claiming to advance the fight against corruption.

KS: This connects to my next question. Elections are planned for October, November and December. There is a risk that we’ll see another sham exercise, as we have seen to different degrees in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is a pattern of setting up internationally-monitored elections in places where regime change has taken place, as a way to legitimize and sanction that change. How can solidarity activists intervene?

JSV: The main thing we need to do is focus on certain principles. Until we get a legitimate leadership elected in Haiti, until we get Haiti in the hands of Haitians — not the sham we have now where you have the US, Canada and France running the country through a puppet — you are going to have violence. You cannot be talking about real elections when Yvon Neptune, Aristide's Prime Minister — the only legitimate one — is in jail. The fact that he has been detained for almost a year without charges, shows that he should be released.

Of course, the Haitian bourgeoisie doesn’t want real elections, because if they take place the Lavalas candidate is going to win. And since the demographic of Haiti isn’t going to change, there's no way around the problem. The only option for the bourgeoisie is to try to institute a dictatorship. But if there’s a move in that direction, I can guarantee you there’s going to be a fight from the population.

KS: Because it will be a class dictatorship, a coalition of the very wealthy, with some elements of the middle class.

JSV: Yes, and unfortunately there have been recent signals that the US, Canada and France want to prop up the Haitian elite.
And you know, there's also a racial undertone to this that’s very dangerous. A lot of the members of this Haitian elite are not of African origin. 97% or 98% of the population is of African origin, so the elites are playing with fire. What do you think is going to happen if you keep pitting this one group of Haitians against the vast majority who happen to be impoverished, who happen to be blacker than the group who is enjoying power?

We have to make sure that international solidarity activists are well-informed to influence the politicians to do the right thing. If we don't learn from what happened in Haiti, and if organizations such as the NGOs, peace activists, the labour movement and the NDP don’t get their act together, we will find ourselves in a situation where coups led by the US against countries like Cuba or Venezuela will take place with Canadian complicity again.

Resources on the current situation in Haiti: and

To subscribe to the email info-list for the Canada-Haiti Action Network (CHAN), email Kevin Skerrett at

Kevin Skerrett is an activist with the Ottawa anti-war group Nowar-Paix, and the Ottawa Haiti Solidarity Committee (Kozayiti).

Jean Saint-Vil is an Ottawa-Gatineau based activist and journalist, a member of the Ottawa Haiti Solidarity Committee (Kozayiti) and L'association Canado-Haitien pour sauvegarder la souverainete d'Haiti (Lachasausha). He has been a featured political analyst on CBC television's (now cancelled) Counterspin, CPAC’s Talk Politics, and CBC Radio's The Current. He is also the host of CKCU-FM's "Rendez-Vous Haitien" and CHUO-FM's "Bouyon-Rasin."

The Other Occupation: Haiti Under the Guns

Latest Update on the case of Pere Jean-Juste
Voices in the Wilderness
July 22, 2005

Latest Update on the case of Pere Jean-Juste, now incarcerated in the National Penitentiary, in Haiti

Several hours after receiving Bill Quigley’s latest update, below, word arrived that Haitian human rights advocate Fr. Jean-Juste is in a one-person cell at the National Penitentiary in Haiti. Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek’s office has asked for a U.S. civilian officer to be at the site where Fr. Jean-Juste is jailed to make sure that his civil rights are not violated. Please continue building pressure to demand protection for Fr. Jean Juste.

Long time friend and lawyer for Voices in the Wilderness, Bill Quigley, sends us this urgent message asking you to call your Senators and Representatives (Find contact information for your congress persons) and ask them to do all they can to protect Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste. There are more suggested actions given at the end of this update.

Notes from Bill Quigley, professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.
A half an hour ago, over a dozen masked police officers with machine guns forced a handcuffed Fr. Jean-Juste into a police van and sped away.

As he was being put into the police wagon he yelled to the officers and the onlookers “Where is the justice in Haiti? I am a priest. Why do you treat people like this? Vive Aristide!”

No one yet knows where Fr. Jean-Juste has been taken. No written charges have been made against him.

Earlier this afternoon Fr. Jean-Juste was still in Petionville jail, where he shared a single toilet with over 40 prisoners. There were no beds and no running water.

He then had a quick hearing with a justice of the peace, who refused to wait until Mario Joseph, his Haitian lawyer, could be present. No written charges were shared - again questions were: What party do you belong to? Can you explain your presence at the funeral of Jacques Roche? Do you know why the bandits killed him? Do you visit the poor neighborhood of Bel-Air frequently?

At the conclusion of the meeting with the justice of the peace, we took a harrowing ride with police bearing machine guns downtown to the prosecutor’s office where no questions were asked and no conversation was held. Papers were signed and Fr. Jean-Juste was placed in handcuffs, as described above, and taken away.

Mario Joseph (of the Institute of Justice and Democracy in Haiti) and I will continue to try to find out where Fr. Jean-Juste is over the weekend and will report what we know.
The only thing we know for certain is the answer to Fr. Jean-Juste’s cry to the soldiers, “Where is justice in Haiti?” If there is to be justice in Haiti, it rests with those who are willing to struggle for human rights for all.

Freedom is coming, but only if we keep up the pressure.

Haitian Priest Assaulted by Mob at Funeral and Arrested for Murder
By Bill Quigley, in Port au Prince.

[Bill is a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and is co-counsel with Mario Joseph and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Mario Joseph can be reached at 509.554.4284. Bill can be reached in Haiti at 509.401.4822 and in U.S. at 504.861.2709.
Please note: Bill Quigley urges all who receive this letter to contact their elected representatives and urge them to assure protection for Fr. Jean-Juste.]

On Thursday July 21, 2005, Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste went to St. Pierre’s Catholic Church to be one of the priests participating in the funeral of Haitian journalist Jacques Roche. Fr. Jean-Juste is a cousin of the Roche family and members of the Roche family protected him from a mob earlier in his life. He went to express spiritual comfort and reconciliation to the family.
The tragic kidnapping and death of Jacques Roche has been taken up as a cause by those opposed to the Lavalas party. Jacques Roche was identified as a supporter of the people calling themselves the group of 184, who overthrew by force the democratically elected government of President Aristide, the leader of the Lavalas party, in February 2004.

Opponents of Aristide say that, because the body of Jacques Roche was found in a poor neighborhood, he was executed by the Lavalas party, which is very strong in the poorest neighborhoods. For those of us in the US, this is much like blaming John Kerry for inner city deaths because most of the people in the inner city vote democratic.

Fr. Jean-Juste went to the funeral expressly to pay his respects to the family and express his open remorse and opposition to any killing of anyone, no matter their political affiliation.
Jacques Roche’s coffin was in the chapel next to the sacristy and main area of the church. At 10 o’clock the bishop and about seven priests robed in white with purple stoles or sashes paraded out of the sacristy of the church to the chapel next to the main area of the church to say blessings over the coffin of Jacques Roche.

When Fr. Jean-Juste walked out, people started yelling at him in the chapel. They called him “assassin” and “criminal” and yelled out to “arrest and kill the rat.”

Fr. Jean-Juste has been publicly accused in the last several days of “a plot against the security of the state,” of smuggling money and guns into the country, and of being behind all the kidnappings. All clearly false charges but widely reported by unfriendly press.

People knew Fr. Jean-Juste was coming to the funeral because that was printed on the front page of a conservative paper the day before.

As the well-dressed people continued yelling at Fr. Jean-Juste, the prayer service nearly turned into a riot. The other priests turned to leave and a well-dressed crowd of screaming people surrounded him.

I went out to be by his side. Some plainclothes security people and a few priests surrounded us and helped push us through the increasingly hostile crowd back into the church sacristy.
The other priests then persuaded Fr. Jean-Juste not to continue in the funeral service. So we stood aside as the priests and the funeral crowd filed past us into the main church.

Well-dressed men and women continued to scream and threaten Fr. Gerry as they moved by us into the church. Then a crowd of 15 or 20 or more young men, not dressed at all for the funeral came into the sacristy and the mood turned uglier and more menacing.

At that point, the security forces melted away.

The young men continued the screaming started by the well-dressed people and then started pushing and hitting Pere Jean-Juste. At that point a young woman came out of the funeral crowd and embraced Fr. Jean-Juste, shielding him with her body from the blows and the increasingly loud and angry young men. She started praying loudly and saying “mon pere, mon pere.”

A man in a suit, who identified himself as head of security for the funeral, rushed back in from the church area - only a few feet away and in plain view -and told Fr. Gerry these people were going to kill him there in the sacristy unless he fled. Fr. Jean-Juste knelt to pray and the woman and I knelt with him in the middle of the growing crowd.

At that point people started slapping Fr. Jean-Juste on the head and face and spitting on him and the other two of us. Something then hit Fr. Jean-Juste in the head. Someone punched him in the eye. We stood up and a few UN CIVPOL officers showed up to help us leave the sacristy of the church. As we tried to get to the stairs people continued pushing and screaming and shouting threats. They continued to call out “assassin,” “criminal,” and “kill the rat.” The crowd now overwhelmed the police. More people spit on us and hit Fr. Gerry, even in the face, while others were grabbing his church vestments trying to drag him off the church steps.

The CIVPOL were trying to hold back the crowd but were still well outnumbered and were not able to halt the mob. We moved up the steps into a narrow dark corridor while the crowd pushed and shoved and spit and hit. We then retreated into a smaller corridor and finally to a dead end that contained two small concrete toilet stalls.

The three of us were pushed into the stalls as the crowd banged on the walls and doors of the stalls and continued screaming. The woman held the door closed and prayed loudly as the people outside roared and the CIVPOL called for reinforcements.

After a few minutes, reinforcements arrived and the hallway was finally cleared of all but us and the authorities. A man in a suit identifying himself as secretary for security for Haiti told us that he was going to have to arrest Fr. Jean-Juste because public clamor had identified him as the assassin of journalist Jacques Roche. The police would bring him to the police station for his own safety. Fr. Jean-Juste told the man that he was in Florida when the journalist was killed and he wanted to return to St. Claire’s, his parish. The man left escorting out the woman who helped us.
In a few minutes, CIVPOL police, including troops from Jordan, surrounded Fr. Jean-Juste and me and ran us out of the church to a police truck. The truck with police with machine guns sped away from the church and took us not to Fr. Gerry’s parish but to the police station in Petionville.

For the next seven or eight hours we were kept in a room while the UN forces and the Haitian forces negotiated about what to do. Fr. Gerry read his prayer book while we waited. We were told informally that the UN wanted to escort Fr. Jean-Juste back to his parish but the Haitian government was insisting that he be arrested.

The attackers were allowed to go free and not arrested, but they wanted to arrest the victim!

Fr. Gerry told me “This is all a part of the death sentence called down upon me on the radio in Miami. The searches at the airport, the visits to the police stations, the mandate to appear before a criminal judge yesterday, and now this. It is all part of the effort to silence my voice for democracy.”

At about 6pm, several Haitian officers came into our room and ordered Fr. Gerry and me and Haitian attorney Mario Joseph to come with them.

The officers held out a piece of paper that they said was an official complaint against Fr. Gerry, accusing him of being the assassin of Jacques Roche. The complaint was based on “public clamor” at the funeral identifying him as the murderer. They refused to let Fr. Jean-Juste or the lawyers see this paper. It was their obligation, they said, to investigate this public clamor identifying him as the murderer. If Fr. Jean-Juste chose not to talk with them, they would put him in jail immediately.

Fr. Jean-Juste agreed to the interrogation and it went on for over three hours. He was growing increasingly sore and tired from the beating he took, but was not bleeding externally. When the lawyers argued with the police, Fr. Gerry read his prayer book.

The police already knew that Fr. Jean-Juste had been in Florida at the time of the kidnapping and death of the journalist, because the police had already interviewed him several times in the last few days in connection with the other false allegations against him, but asked him many questions anyway. How many cell phones did he have? What was his exact relation to Jacques Roche? Why had he gone to the funeral? Could he prove he was in Florida? Since he’d been on the news in Florida could he provide a copy of the news tape showing he was in Florida? When Aristide was president was he provided with armed security? What happened to the pistols that his security had? Could he find out and have any pistols returned to the government? Why had he gone to the funeral? Did Lavalas promise Aristide to execute someone from the group of 184 in retaliation for them taking power? When was the last time he’d been in the US? Had the Catholic sisters in Bel-Air been with him when he went to demonstrations there?… and on and on.

After over three hours, the interrogation ended.

With great solemnity the police told Fr. Jean-Juste that he was being charged with participating in the death of Jacques Roche and not returning state property. They said the law ordered that he would be brought before a judge within 48 hours for further decision.

At exactly 10pm, Fr. Gerry handed me his keys and church vestments and was locked into the jail cell at Petionville with many, many others. He was holding a pink plastic rosary, his prayer book and a roll of toilet paper.

He flashed a tired smile and told me: “Now you see what we are up against in Haiti. If they treat me like this, think how they treat the poor people. Tell everyone that with the help of God and everyone else I will keep up the good fight. Everyone else should continue to fight for democracy as well. The truth will come out. I am innocent of all charges. I will be free soon. Freedom for Haiti is coming. The struggle continues.”

As I left him, a very tired Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste was being greeted by all the prisoners in the very crowded jail cell as “mon pere!”

Action: Write or fax UN Special Representative
Juan Gabriel Valdés, urging him to release MINUSTAH’s
prison report immediately, and to resist pressure from
the Haitian police to minimize the number of
casualties presented in that report. Mr. Valdés
speaks English, French and Spanish. His fax number is
(dial 011 first from the US for an international line)
509 244 3512.

Mr. Juan Gabriel Valdés
Special Representative of the Secretary-General
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
387, avenue John Brown
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Contact Information:
U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, James B. Foley
United States Embassy
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephones: 011-509-223-4711, or 222-0200 or 0354
Fax: 011-509-223-1641 or 9038
Email to Dana Banks, Human Rights Officer:

Canadian Ambassador to Haiti, Claude Boucher
Embassy of Canada
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: 011-509- 249-9000
Fax: 011-509-249-9920

Ambassador of France in Haiti, M. Yves GAUDEUL
Embassy of France
51 place des Héros de l’Indépendance - BP 312
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: 011-509-222-0952
Fax : 011-509-223 5675

Haiti Authorities:
Fax. No. 011-509-245-0474
Me. Henri Dorléans
Ministre de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique
Ministère de la Justice
19 Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Haiti