HAITIANS SEIZED, ABUSED BY U.S. MARINES
Posted: Fri May 14, 2004 2:06 pm
FROM: THE BLACK COMMENTATOR
ISSUE 90 - MAY 13, 2004
HAITIANS SEIZED, ABUSED BY U.S. MARINES
WOMEN, CHILDREN SUBJECTED TO HOOD TREATMENT
At 12:30 in the morning of May 10, approximately 20 U.S. Marines executed a military assault on the Port-au-Prince home of 69-year-old ANNETTE AUGUSTE, a.k.a. SOEUR ANNE. Auguste1s residence is part of a compound that includes four other apartments that were also invaded by the U.S. military forces.
The troops covered the heads of 11 Haitians with black hoods and then forced them to lay face down on the ground while binding their wrists with plastic manacles behind their backs. The victims of this terrifying U.S. military invasion included five-year-old Chamyr Samedi, 10-year-old Kerlande Philippe, 12-year-old Loubahida Augustine, 14-year-old Luckman Augustine, and seven adults.
The Marines blew up a v
ehicle and a substantial part of Auguste's three-story house, leaving behind c4 and c5 explosives paraphernalia including blasting caps and igniters. Not a single member of the Haitian National Police force (PNH) or the de facto Haitian government was present when the U.S. forces attacked the residence, said the arrestees.
All the detainees except Auguste were released after questioning.
According to Haitian law, as is the norm in any democratic country, no arrest can be made without a proper warrant issued by judicial authorities.
The Haitian Constitution requires that warrants only be executed between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The lack of any legality within the context of Haitian law and the fact this was executed unilaterally by U.S. military forces raises serious questions of national sovereignty and the role of the U.S. military in Haiti today.
Lesly Voltaire, one of the highest ranking LAVALAS officials remaining in Haiti, has consistently condemned the campaign o
f political persecution and arbitrary arrests against his political party. Voltaire stated:
This was an illegal arrest done past midnight. The law does not allow arrests after 6:00 p.m. I strongly condemn this armed assault and believe that the charges against Annette Auguste are unfounded. We are fighting for due process and this was not performed within the context of due process and Haitian law. This is clearly a part of the campaign of persecution against Lavalas. No Haitian police or authorities were present. We must ask what are the rules of engagement for U.S. military authorities in Haiti and what right do they have to do this? Is Haiti still a sovereign nation?"
Ms. Auguste is being held incommunicado at a U.S. military-controlled "special section" of the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. Although the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) claims to have visited her at the prison, this is disputed by her husband, Wilfrid Lavaud, who says the family has no knowledge of any s
uch visit by the New York-based agency.
Lavaud also said that he does not consider NCHR to be a credible human rights organization because they have worked so closely in the past with the Haitian opposition to the constitutional government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
NCHR played a significant role in the media disinformation campaign that preceded the coup against President Aristide (see , October 30, 2003).
International journalists have been denied access to Ms. August. Spokesmen for Gerard Latortue's government claim they are "too busy" to respond to requests to see the prisoner.
Why was Annette Auguste targeted for this military-type assault by U.S. Marines? LAVALAS officials, who had been calling for the end of political persecution against their party, last week announced they would begin demonstrations on May 18 calling for the return of President Aristide.
Annette Auguste was active in supporting the Aristide government, and in helping to build Lavalas
base of support among the poor majority in Haiti.
Many Lavalas activists see the attack against Ms. Auguste as a preemptive strike against their party by the Bush administration - a continuation of the destabilization campaign hatched in the U.S. State Department by Otto Reich and Roger Noriega, that eventually led to the forced departure of President Aristide.
The real question is, what right does a U.S. military assault team have to perform such an action in Haiti? The Haitian media, controlled by the same forces that allied themselves with the Bush administration to forcibly remove President Aristide, allege that Ms. Auguste controlled violent factions associated with the Aristide government. A second accusation, fielded by Radio Metropole, is that Ms. Auguste was organizing a clandestine operation aimed at launching armed assaults against U.S. military personnel in Haiti. As per usual with the elite-controlled media, no corroboration or factual evidence was ever given to back up these claims
, which are typically made by paid surrogates.
Guyler C. Delva, of the Association of Haitian Journalists, has publicly accused many of his colleagues of working as paid informants for the U.S. military in Haiti. These are the same Haitian media that worked hand-in-glove with the campaign that removed President Aristide on February 29.
Annette Auguste, a naturalized U.S. citizen, has been a frequent target of the Haitian elite, due to her close ties with President Aristide. She is the leader of PROP (Pouvwa Rasembleman Organizacion Popile), a popular Lavalas organization. She is also a singer of Haitian folk songs and is open about her practice of voodoo, officially recognized as a national religion for the first time in Haitian history under the Aristide administration. Ms. Auguste's religious beliefs and practices have led to many unfounded, disparaging rumors and a campaign of demonization against her.
In the past, critics such as Yves A. Isidor, professor of Economics at the Univ
ersity of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and Executive Editor of wehaitians.com, and Raymond Joseph of the Haiti Observateur, now the Chief Diplomatic Representative to America for Haiti, have accused Ms. Auguste of things as outrageous as human sacrifice. Isidor authored a January 2, 2001, article that charged Ms. Auguste was President Aristide's "voodoo medium" and that she bathed him in human blood to curse George W. Bush and ensure the election of Vice President Al Gore in 2000. No evidence or witnesses were cited as sources for this information.
Isidor's grotesque article was picked up and embellished by Raymond Joseph. Joseph added details regarding a ceremony where a newborn was sacrificed in a giant mortar with a heavy pestle. Joseph contends that those who question the veracity of this allegation need only find support in the statement, "But who would have thought that men infected with the AIDS virus in South Africa believe that they can be healed by having intercourse with a young virgin!" Joseph
never actually states that Ms. Auguste was involved in the alleged sacrifice, but two paragraphs later, his reference to her as Aristide's "voodoo medium" implies her presence there. Joseph directly accuses Ms. Auguste of holding meetings at her home where criminal activities were planned - the nature of which was never revealed.
In a March 11, 2004, New York Sun article, Joseph lambasted California Congresswoman Maxine Waters for making three trips to Haiti in seven weeks, with the third trip being first-class. Joseph asked, "Do American taxpayers have to pick up the tabs? Or is it the Haitian government robbing from the poor in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere to maintain Waters and company in luxurious style?" Joseph provided no support or explanation for these allegations. He simply sought to discredit Rep. Waters, never even offering the possible explanation that she paid for the tickets herself or upgraded with frequent flier miles. As a reward for his part in the campaign of lies
and misinformation against Aristide and Lavalas, Joseph has been named the Boca Raton regime's highest representative to the United States.
In his current position, Joseph is well placed to direct the U.S. Marines to the doors of people's activists like Annette Auguste. His is the face that smiles when boots trample on hooded, helpless women and children.
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