Tuesday, 09 March 2010

Inflicting Aristide — and More Pain — on Haiti

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By the beginning of March, government officials and humanitarian aid workers on the ground in Haiti were estimating that the death toll from the catastrophic earthquake that struck the island nation on January 12 might soon climb to 300,000 ... or higher. The initial quake and the dozens of aftershocks have destroyed much of the nation's buildings and infrastructure, including government buildings, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, hotels, radio and television stations, seaport facilities, and commercial factories, as well as hundreds of thousands of homes. Over a million Haitians have been left homeless, existing under the most wretched conditions, and hundreds of thousands are injured.

As if the people of Haiti have not suffered enough tragedy, radical activists in the United States have stepped up their years-long campaign to impose a political "solution" on the country that would inflict even more suffering upon these hapless victims of man and nature. They are using the devastation unleashed by the deadly temblor as a pretext to call for the return of exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the only man, they say, who has the overwhelming support of "the people." Actor Danny Glover, a longtime friend and supporter of Aristide, recently visited the former Haitian president in South Africa and has been appearing (see videos here and here) on radio and television programs to plead Aristide's cause.

Aristide, an ordained priest, was expelled from the Salesian order of Roman Catholic priests in 1988 for desecration of the sacraments and the continuous abuse of his priestly office to incite hatred and violence in the service of his political agenda, in spite of repeated orders by his superiors to cease and desist, and repeated promises by Aristide to comply with those orders. An admirer of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, he is also exponent of Marxist "liberation theology" ... liberally laced with Voodoo. The glowing testimonials of his swooning fans in the media, Hollywood, and the Congressional Black Caucus notwithstanding, it is a fact that the "saintly" Aristide adopted the grisly weapon of the communist-terrorist African National Congress, the "necklace," as the sacred standard of his political movement. His machete-wielding mobs, known as the Lavalas (Creole for "flood" or "torrent") used necklacing, i.e. placing gasoline-soaked tires around the necks of their victims and setting them ablaze, to sweep Aristide to electoral victory.

Saintly myth, demonic reality
This information, naturally, flies in the face of the pious image of Aristide as the beloved messiah, which is not surprising, since the liberal-left, corporate "mainstream media" continue to ignore and cover up Aristide's sordid, gory record, the same as they've covered for him over the past two decades. That is the reason this writer wrote an expose in 1994 entitled, "The Real Bertrand Aristide."

As we noted there, this is what Aristide told his supporters in Port-au-Prince on September 27, 1991, in a speech that was captured on videotape:

A faker who pretends to be one of our supporters, just grab him; make sure he gets what he deserves with the tool you now have in your hands [referring to the tire "necklaces"]. The burning tire — what a beautiful tool! What a beautiful instrument! It's fashionable. It smells good. And wherever you go, you want to smell it.

"The Real Bertrand Aristide," also revealed the damning evidence about a painting Aristide proudly displayed on the wall of his presidential office. The portrait depicts Aristide smiling down on a crowd brandishing automobile tire "necklaces," along with bottles of gasoline and matches. On the painting, in Creole, are these words: "If our power is threatened, Little Aristide, if you have a problem, command us to march and solve them with necklacing." Senator Jesse Helms (R- N.C) exposed these and other unpleasant facts on the floor of the U.S. Senate on October 20 and 21, 1993, but few in the media were willing to listen.

What about charges that "Father" Aristide had been expelled from his religious order because of his radical activities? Surely that is something any enterprising journalist could verify. Very few seemed interested. Your humble correspondent was able to dig up some very important corroboration with relatively easy spadework: just a few telephone calls and a couple of hours of persistence. Here, again from the 1994 article, "The Real Bertrand Aristide," is what The New American exclusively revealed, from a spokesman for the Salesian order:

These same media mavens studiously ignore the unpleasant information on Father Aristide available from the religious order to which he once belonged, the Salesian Missions. Fr. Edward Cappelletti, director of the Salesian Missions in New Rochelle, New York, could tell them a great deal that runs counter to the popular myth. Father Aristide "was asked to leave the Salesian Society because of his continued involvement in politics," Father Cappelletti told THE NEW AMERICAN. "For two years we were after him to drop his political activism. We told him it's either one or the other. He chose politics."

Not just any politics, mind you. "He was using the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a vehicle for violence," the Salesian director explained. "At the Offertory of the Mass, for instance, he would have his followers come up and 'offer' their machetes, lay their machetes on the altar. Then he would name the enemies who were to be killed and send his people out with their machetes and 'necklaces' to kill them."

What about Aristide's much-praised commitment to the poor? Fr. Cappelletti explains that there are 40,000 Salesian priests, brothers, nuns, and lay missionaries "working with the poorest of the poor" in 114 countries, operating 365 trade schools and 200 orphanages. "But we've never confused our work or the Gospel with Marxism and liberation theology, as some others have." ...

Moreover, says the Salesian director, "Father Aristide didn't really work with the poor, as is usually told. He did work at one of our trade schools for a while, but he stayed away from the really poor shanty town areas. His supporters claim he runs an orphanage, but it is really a front, it hasn't done anything that amounts to anything for the children."

Then there are the claims that Aristide is mentally unbalanced. Senator Jesse Helms was roundly criticized for describing him as a "psychopath," but that description was spot-on. Again, from "The Real Bertrand Aristide":

"He has been described as a psychopath, and that is true, he really is one," Fr. Edward told THE NEW AMERICAN. "He's definitely had serious psychological problems. There were reports recently in the media that investigators went to Port-au-Prince and could find no psychiatrists who could verify the charges. Well, no one is going to talk now, for fear of losing his life.... Father Aristide is like a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. We sent six superior generals down there to see him. Each time he would humbly agree to change his ways, but as soon as they were gone he would go his own way again .... He is usually very disarmingly mild and soft-spoken, but when he gets up to deliver one of his tirades he is transformed into something entirely different."

Does Aristide use voodoo to further his revolutionary political agenda? Most definitely, says Fr. Edward, noting the common expression that Haiti is "85 percent illiterate, 80 percent Catholic, and 110 percent voodoo." Haitians are very superstitious and voodoo permeates their entire society and culture. "Every night, as soon as it gets dark, the voodoo drums start .... If you look at the symbol of Aristide's campaign, you'll see that it is the cock, which is a powerful symbol in voodoo. He is using voodoo to build up his own cult following just like Papa Doc [Duvalier]."

Drugs, corruption, brutality
Aristide, or "Tidid," as he is affectionately called by his adoring cadres, quickly proved as corrupt as Haiti's previous rulers, and is accused by Haiti's General Accounting Office of looting hundreds of millions of dollars from the public treasury, including much of the international aid that flowed into his country. But the avaricious Aristide went further. Contrary to his carefully contrived image as a kindly and ascetical St. Francis serving the poorest of the poor, President Aristide ran Haiti like a mafia don, extorting money from the business community and turning his country into the principal drug trafficking conduit for the Colombian cocaine cartel, a profitable venture that brought in many millions of narco-dollars. Haitian drug lord Jacques Beaudouin Ketant, who was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to 27 years in U.S. federal prison, stated that he had paid off Aristide for years and that Aristide controlled 85 percent of the cocaine traffic coming through Haiti.

Through a series of "elections," coups, and counter-coups between 1991 and 2004 "Father Aristide" served as Haiti's president during three periods (February-September, 1991; October, 1994-February, 1996; February, 2001-February, 2004). After failing a non-confidence vote by Parliament in September, 1991, Aristide was deposed while outside the country (during a trip to the United Nations in New York). In 1994, President Bill Clinton re-installed "Tidid" as ruler of Haiti — at gunpoint, using the United States Army and Marines. After six months, the U.S. military forces turned the operation over to the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH), which was still composed, primarily, of U.S. troops.

By 2000, Aristide's brutal and corrupt dictatorship had alienated even most of his erstwhile supporters. The widespread fear and loathing of his regime was apparent in the incredibly low voter turnout — barely ten percent — for the 2000 presidential election. "Tidid" enthusiasts still claim he won with an "overwhelming" majority, neglecting to mention that that is no great feat when 90 percent of the voting public is too frightened and/or disgusted to come to the polls. The 2004 rebellion that forced Aristide to flee the country was no "right-wing coup," as Aristide's partisans now claim, but a broad-based revolt composed of virtually all socio-economic classes and political groupings, including many of his former allies on the far left. Knowing that if he stayed he might well face the same gruesome end he had imposed on many of his opponents, Aristide accepted the invitation of the U.S. government to be flown to safe exile in the Central African Republic. He then moved on to South Africa, where he has been the guest of the Thabo Mbeki and the African National Congress (ANC).

Aristide and his attorney, Ira Kurzban, a radical law professor and pro-Castro activist with the communist National Lawyers Guild (NLG), came up with story that Aristide — the great liberator, the wildly popular peoples' choice — had been deposed and "kidnapped" by the United States and forced into exile. This is the line that has been retailed for the past five and a half years by Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and the radical Castroite lobby in the U.S., as represented especially by the National Lawyers Guild, TransAfrica Forum, the Congressional Black Caucus, Pastors for Peace, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Democracy Now! tv/radio network, and the militant Maoist-communist groups A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and International Action Center. Leaders from the forgoing groups provide much of the leadership for a network of organizations that claim to speak for Haitian people and are frequently quoted in the major media without identifying their extremist positions. The radical Haitian network includes: the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH); the Haiti Information Project (HIP); the Haiti Action Committee (HAC); the Haiti Solidarity Network (HSN); and the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN).

The leadership of the National Lawyer's Guild in the pro-Aristide U.S.-Haitian network, is especially significant. Long recognized as a subversive organization, the NLG was described in 1950 by the House Committee on Un-American Activities as "the foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party." In 1953 Attorney General Herbert Brownell denounced the Guild as "the legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party." One of the founders of the NLG was Victor Rabinowitz, a longtime member of the Communist Party and senior member of Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, a New York law firm notorious as Fidel Castro's sole legal representative in the United States, and defenders of communists, terrorists, spies, and subversives. Rabinowitz' law partner Michael Krinsky represented Aristide before fellow NLG member Ira Kurzban took over Aristide's legal matters.

Prominent NLG members lead regular pilgrimages of the hate-America radical-left activists to Havana, Caracas, and Tehran. The NLG's role in the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) is all too typical of the hardcore Marxist influence it exerts in various groups fronting for Aristide. The IJDH's Director, Brian Concannon, is an NLG member. IJDH's Board of Directors includes the aforementioned lawyer for Aristide, Prof. Ira Kurzban is not only a longtime NLG activist, but a member of the NLG's Haiti Subcommittee. Other NLG veterans on the Board include Professors Bryan Stevenson and Irwin Stotzky. You can be sure that when these individuals (or IJDG reports and press releases) are quoted by the major media — as in, for instance, say, CNN, the New York Times, or the Huffington Post — the NLG ultra-left pedigree is never mentioned. Absent that vital information, the "news" consumer is left with the impression that he is receiving objective, unbiased reporting.

Another oft-quoted and profiled Aristide champion is Dr. Paul Farmer, the physician and Harvard University professor whom former President Bill Clinton appointed last August to be United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti. Clinton was able to do that because UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had named Clinton to be the UN's Special Envoy to Haiti. Dr. Farmer is a longtime personal friend of, and apologist for, Aristide, as well as a self proclaimed advocate of liberation theology. Farmer also happens to be a board member of the Aristide Foundation for Democracy, which critics charge has been funded with millions of dollars from illicit drug profits and funds Aristide absconded with from Haiti's Treasury. He is also listed as a "Notable Member" of the Clinton Global Initiative, President Clinton's multi-billion-dollar foundation that has become the de facto funnel through which the international aid is being channeled to Haiti. And not to belabor the point, but Farmer also sits on the board of the aforementioned IJDH, dominated by the National Lawyers Guild.

Splits on the Left
However, all is not rosy unanimity on the Left. While the hardcore Marxist ideologues continue ardently to push the cause for Aristide's return, it's still unclear whether his former supporters on the Establishment Left, as represented by, for instance, Bill Clinton, George Soros, and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), will continue to do so. Aristide was brought to prominence by the CFR journal, Foreign Affairs, and CFR members who touted his cause in the major media. And he received the CFR Establishment's benediction when he journeyed to the Council's headquarters in New York, on September 25, 1991, to deliver a speech entitled "Haiti: The New Approach to Democracy."

Like many another totalitarian miscreant who has enjoyed the fond embrace and lavish support of the CFR foreign policy establishment, it could be that "Tidid" has served his usefulness, and now is to be discarded, as was the case with Panama's Manuel Noriega, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe — and many others. The hardcore believers on the left are charging that Clinton, Soros, the United Nations, and many of Aristide's former supporters have abandoned, and are betraying, Aristide. That may be the case, as the top-level Insiders at the CFR have no ideological loyalties to Marxist dictators; they are merely happy to use them, insofar as the dictatorships serve the CFR game plan for centralizing and concentrating money and power, toward the ultimate objective of a centralized global government. However, it may be too early to write Aristide's political epitaph; surface appearances are often misleading. He still enjoys support among some of the Establishment globalists, and even many of those who now appear to have distanced themselves from him may reverse themselves, if the Establishment's political calculus and party line suddenly changes and Aristide is presented as the only man who can bring "stability" and "credibility" to Haiti. Such things have happened before.

Photo: Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristde after a press conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan. 15, 2010: AP Images

Related article:

The Real Bertrand Aristide