Thursday, March 04, 2004

Was Aristide Kidnapped?

Aristide says he was kidnapped. The Americans say he wasn't. Who you gonna believe?:

  1. The Bush Administration has not the slightest sliver of credibility on any subject. They have lied through their teeth on every possible subject at every possible opportunity. Colin Powell says that the kidnapping allegations are "absolutely baseless, absurd". Colin Powell is a man who distinguished himself by going before the United Nations and telling a series of lies about Iraq that can only be described as spectacular. He has to go down as one of the biggest liars in history. It is a miracle that people are still prepared to give these people credibility on any subject. Their denials are usually 100% proof of the truth of what they are denying.

  2. Aristide claims that the chief of staff of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti came to his home and told him that he and a lot of Haitians would be killed unless he left. A group of armed soldiers came to escort him to the plane. He calls his removal from power a "modern kidnapping" and a "coup d'etat". He said:

    "Agents were telling me that if I don't leave they would start shooting and killing in a matter of time."

    and, identifying the agents:

    "White American, white military. They came at night ... There were too many, I couldn't count them."

  3. It is not just Aristide's word against the Americans, although that would be good enough. He has lots of corroborating witnesses. Father Michael Graves, an Orthodox missionary from New Jersey, said:

    "I have spoken to many witnesses who said the President was kidnapped. Police officers at the Presidential Palace said that he was escorted out at gunpoint. They forced him to sign something - this evidently is the statement they have that they say is his resignation."

    A senior bodyguard of Mr Aristide, who is in hiding for fear of his life, said that Aristide was forced to leave the country by heavily armed foreign soldiers who were:

    "white, I think American, but to be honest they could have been Canadian. I couldn't really tell the difference. They were in tropical civilian clothes but wearing flak jackets and carrying assault rifles."

    French radio station RTL broadcast an interview with a 'frightened old man' in Aristide's residence who said he was Aristide's caretaker and stated:

    "The American army came to take [Aristide] away at two in the morning . . . The Americans forced him out with weapons."

    Marie-Claude Malboeuf of the Montreal paper La Presse says a source told her "handcuffs had had to be put on the ex-president of Haiti before he took the threats of the diplomats" demanding his resignation "seriously."

  4. The letter of resignation is itself a story. It was circulated to the press not by any Haitian institution, but by the U. S. State Department. It was dictated to Aristide by American officials. Aristide claims the document has been altered in that he signed a letter saying he would leave "if I am obliged to leave". This did not appear in the published version, probably because it contradicts the official American position. Scott McClellan, revealing more than he should have, goes out of his way to say that Aristide drafted and signed the letter.

  5. Aristide's story is given a huge amount of credibility by the fact that what he claims happened is exactly what Hugo Chavez claimed was going to happen to him had the coup in Venezuela succeeded. Hugo Chavez saw an American plane at the prison where he was being held while he was pressured to resign. A resignation forced with threats of violence followed by a quick plane ride is clearly the American modus operandi of a coup. While American mocked the conspiracy theories of Hugo Chavez, the stories of Chavez and Aristide back each other up.

  6. Aristide was being guarded by a privately-owned American security firm called the Steele Foundation. The White House blocked a last-minute attempt by Aristide to bolster this security by preventing reinforcements from the Steele Foundation from going to Haiti. U. S. officials forced a small group of extra bodyguards to delay their flight from the United States to Haiti from before the coup until after the coup. The CEO of the Steele Foundation, Ken Kurtz, when interviewed by Amy Goodman, says 'I cannot comment on that' a lot. Leaders should never rely on American-controlled security (the Saudis ought to be paying close attention to this).

  7. Aristide's Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune, was interviewed by Kevin Pina and Andrea Nicastro, and said (or here):

    "The resignation of the President is not constitutional because he did that under duress and threat."

    After the new interim leader was sworn in Neptune was handed his own resignation letter to read.

  8. If Aristide left of his own free will, why did he not know where he was going until he got there? When the pilot asked him where to go, do you think he said 'surprise me'?

  9. The U. S. State Department and the New York Times claim that Aristide requested asylum in South Africa and the government of South Africa refused to give him asylum. This story is implausible on its face. Why would a black nationalist socialist government refuse to aid a black nationalist socialist leader? In fact, the South African ambassador to the United Nations, Dumisani Kumalo, confirms that Aristide did not request asylum in South Africa. Why would the U. S. State Department lie about this? Because they wanted to make it appear that Aristide had only one country that would take him, and therefore his current incarceration in the Central African Republic is not the doing of the Americans. The Americans may actually have told Aristide that the plane was going to South Africa, knowing that it was headed for the Central African Republic. They wanted to ensure that he could not immediately fly back to lead the resistance.

  10. Officials in the Central African Republic have denied Aristide the use of a telephone, probably to stop him repeating his allegations. He's been whisked away to an obscure place he didn't know he was going to, he had no choice in the matter, he can't leave, he is being held under guard by French and African soldiers, and he can't even use the phone. If this isn't a kidnapping, I don't know the meaning of the word. If the White House isn't behind it, who is?

So who you gonna believe?