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26740: Haiti Progres (news) This Week In Haiti 23:38 11/30/2005 (fwd)
From: Haïti Progrès <email@example.com>
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
newsweekly. For the complete edition with other news in French
and Creole, please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100,
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
November 30 - December 6, 2005
Vol. 23, No. 38
NEW ATTACKS ON CITÉ SOLEIL RESIDENTS BY UN TROOPS
by the Haiti Action Committee
The Haiti Action Committee has received eyewitness reports over the past
four days from Cité Soleil that UN troops have launched a new round of
attacks on the residents there, killing at least three civilians and
gravely wounding others.
According to the preliminary reports, on Wednesday, November 23rd, UN
troops killed one man (who was a maker of kitchen utensils) when they
fired into his shop near his home. Five additional residents were
Over the weekend, UN troops - led by Jordanian soldiers - killed two
more Cité Soleil residents (a husband and wife) and wounded at least
eight more people. Further investigation is required to determine the
total killed and wounded in this attack.
Residents in Cité Soleil once again find themselves trapped and under
siege. A massacre-in-the-making could be underway as we send out this
alert. Unfortunately, UN troops demonstrated on July 6th, 2005, (as well
as on other occasions), they will shoot and kill men, women and children
in their homes, in their beds, and as they go about their daily chores.
Now is the time to act -- to let them know the world is watching and to
demand an end to the killings!
Contact Deputy Director Craig Mokhiber, UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights and demand he intervene to stop the siege on the residents of
Craig G. Mokhiber, Deputy Director, NY Office of the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Ph: 917-367-5208, email@example.com.
As your time permits, also enjoin the following officials to cease
MINUSTAH offensive operations against the residents of Cite Soleil:
Juan Gabriel Valdes, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General
Phone: 011-509-244-9650 or 9660 Fax 011-509 244 3512
Thierry Faggart, Human Rights Chief, UN Mission in Haiti
Ph: 011-509-510-3183 or 3185 - ext. 6360 firstname.lastname@example.org
US Embassy in Haiti
Telephones: 011-509-223-4711.222-0200 or 0354.Fax: 011-509-223-1641 or
Email to Dana Banks, Human Rights Officer: email@example.com
WHO IS JANET SANDERSON, HAITI AMBASSADOR NOMINEE?
by Lyn Duff
In a surprise move Nov. 9, President George W. Bush nominated former
Algerian Ambassador Janet Sanderson to be the new United States
ambassador to Haiti, a position that has been vacant since August.
Little information is available on Sanderson, who is alleged to have
been intimately involved in the illegal detention of two dozen Algerian
nationals at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay in 2002.
Haiti observers are concerned Sanderson would further the dismantling of
Haiti's democracy begun by her predecessor, James B. Foley, who
supported a small group of demobilized soldiers in overthrowing elected
President Jean Bertrand Aristide last year. Foley later appointed Gérard
Latortue, a businessman of Haitian descent from Boca Raton, Florida, as
prime minister of Haiti. Latortue has been criticized internationally
for ordering the illegal detention of his political opponents and
condoning rampant human rights abuse, including the politically
motivated mass rape of woman in impoverished neighborhoods.
The State Department released a terse statement Nov. 9 stating that
Sanderson is a "career diplomat" from Tucson, Arizona. However, public
records show that Sanderson has been a resident of California for three
Sanderson graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1977 with a
bachelor's in government. She completed an honors thesis, "The Arab Oil
Weapon," that year before joining the State Department as a career
diplomat in August 1977. Sanderson was appointed as U.S. vice consul to
Bangladesh in 1978.
Her career followed a typical path for years, say observers. After
leaving Bangladesh, she served for less than two years at the American
embassy in Tel Aviv before returning to Washington to be a desk officer
in the department's Bureau of Near East Affairs and serving as the
petroleum attaché to Kuwait.
During the first Gulf War, Sanderson was working as economic counselor
at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan. She was later appointed economic
minister-counselor at the embassy in Cairo, where she served for almost
four years under Ambassador Edward Walker. In 1997, Sanderson was
promoted to the second highest position in the Cairo embassy: deputy
chief of mission.
Sanderson's career took an interesting turn Feb. 2, 2000, when then
President Bill Clinton nominated her to be the new ambassador to
Algeria. She quickly became embroiled in a human rights controversy when
24 Algerian nationals were interned in Guantanamo Bay.
In November 2001, the Algerians were working for humanitarian
organizations in post-war Bosnia when they were arrested at the behest
of the U.S. government, who accused them of "planning terrorist attacks
on the American and UK embassies in Sarajevo." Two of the men are
computer programmers, while the other 22 held administrative positions
in several different NGOs.
The men were detained without bail for three months before the Bosnian
Supreme Court acquitted them. However, in the early morning hours on the
day they were to be released, the men were hooded, shackled and taken
away to an unknown destination. They wouldn't be located for over a
Soraya Nechla says that representatives of the International Red Cross
finally found her husband, Mohamed Nechla, in an American detention
center at Guantanamo Bay, where he was being held with 23 other
Algerians. She and the other families wrote to the detained men but only
received a short, heavily censored response five months later. Each
letter was identical, reading: "My health is good, do not worry."
For months the families petitioned Sanderson, then U.S. ambassador to
Algeria, for news of the detained aid workers. She refused to meet with
the families, advising them to contact the Algerian authorities, says
Abdelkader Ait Idir, spokesman for the families.
After a year in custody, all 24 Algerian aid workers were released. One,
Mustapha Ait Idir, Abdelkader's 33-year-old brother, is still angry at
Sanderson and other State Department officials for the treatment meted
out in the "Guantanamo Bay cages."
Sanderson has never commented publicly on her role in the arrest and
detention of the Algerian aid workers.
On May 4, 2003, Sanderson was removed from her post as ambassador and
replaced by Richard W. Erdman, who had been advising the state
undersecretary in charge of Near East affairs. The move was widely
commented on by the national press, who called Sanderson "ineffective"
and "strangely silent" on important national and international issues.
Several months later, on Aug. 25, 2003, Sanderson moved to California,
where she worked for a year as diplomat in residence at UC Berkeley,
recruiting students to join the ranks of the State Department and
promoting the correctness of U.S. foreign policy, said a Foreign Service
Haiti observers have expressed concerns about Sanderson's appointment
because of her "dubious" record on combating human rights abuse and
because of her support for the military drawdown program. The Pentagon's
drawdown program transfers unused military equipment, including heavy
weaponry, to American allies.
During a Senate hearing in 2000, Sanderson stated, "The drawdown
program, like the rest of our foreign assistance program, underscores
the importance we attach to [the country we give weapons to] and to our
ongoing political, military and security relationship."
The United States violated its own arms embargo against Haiti repeatedly
during the past two years, transferring weapons to the Haitian National
Police that were later used to kill peaceful protestors and other
innocent civilians, say human rights workers. "We can only imagine how
much worse it's going to get under the new ambassador, Sanderson, if she
has already expressed her support for military drawdowns. Haiti needs a
return to democracy, not more weapons in the hands of human rights
No date has been announced yet for Sanderson's move to Haiti. She would
need to appear before the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee and be
confirmed by the Senate before her appointment is finalized.
Lyn Duff (LynDuff@aol.com) is a reporter currently based in
Port-au-Prince. She first traveled to Haiti in 1995 to help establish a
children's radio station and has since covered Haiti extensively for
Pacifica Radio's Flashpoints, heard on KPFA weekdays at 5 p.m., and
other local and national media.
PROTESTORS SLAM CANADIAN CONNIVANCE IN HAITI COUP
"Haiti for the Haitians - Canada, US out!" and "Canada Sortez d'HaVti"
were two of the chants heard when 350 protestors took to the streets of
Canada's capital November 12. Last weekend's Haiti Solidarity
Demonstration - Ottawa's largest in recent memory - kicked off the
Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN) week of action.
The same day the streets were alive in Ottawa. Fifty people rallied for
a "die-in" outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Headquarters in
Winnipeg. Blood-stained participants fell to the ground with signs
reading: "Victim of RCMP trained death squads." Throughout the week,
movie showings, talks and public leafleting sessions were organized in
cities across the country. Fifty people held a march through downtown
Toronto Nov. 18 and CHAN's actions concluded Nov. 19 with forty people
taking to the streets of Halifax.
Endorsed by an impressive list of groups including the Canadian Labour
Congress, Cuba solidarity groups, and the Canadian Peace Alliance, the
week of actions had the following demands - delivered on a large plaque
to the Prime Minister's office in Ottawa:
* Withdraw the support of elections Canada and all other bodies from any
elections held under current conditions of repression, which include
hundreds of political prisoners, police killings and terror, and the
exclusion of the poor from participation;
* Demand the immediate release of Amnesty International prisoner of
conscience Father Gérard Jean-Juste, former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune,
the folksinger Annette "Sb Ann" Auguste, and all other political
* Discontinue all RCMP training and logistical support for the human
rights-abusing Haitian National Police, and withdraw all Canadian
logistical support for the UN "peacekeeping" mission-turned repression
* Announce Canada's support for the position of the governments of the
Caribbean community countries (CARICOM) and the African Union, both of
which are demanding an investigation into the circumstances of President
* Withdraw and withhold recognition of Haiti's coup government until
President Aristide is returned to oversee the holding of fair elections
Recent solidarity activities come on the heels of a 25-city book tour by
Anthony Fenton and Yves Engler, the authors of Canada in Haiti: Waging
War on the Poor Majority. In October, Haiti-based U.S journalist, Kevin
Pina, brought his gripping documentary, Haiti: The UNtold Story to eight
Canadian cities and the powerful new film, Aristide and the Endless
Revolution, has been screened on a number of occasions in Vancouver and
Montreal. The film and book tours brought out more than 2500 people and
generated significant media attention.
Dozens of activists helped organize these events. Many more people have
been plastering their communities with "Canada Out of Haiti" stickers
(119,000 printed) and writing material for CHAN's online forums. CHAN's
capacity - ten active chapters and counting - has grown substantially
with recent efforts. There are now enough knowledgeable and motivated
Haiti solidarity activists - combined with a good communication
network - to have a presence at Haiti related events everywhere in the
country. CHAN members have made sure to ask critical questions at recent
conferences sympathetic to Canadian policy in Haiti, such as a Montreal
NGO Alternatives' panel; "Haiti: A Democracy to Build" or the Waterloo
Centre for International Governance Innovation's gathering titled
'Canada in Haiti: Considering the 3-D Approach.' Protestors have also
been pestering Liberal cabinet ministers, especially Foreign Affairs
Minister Pierre Pettigrew, wherever he speaks.
Some high-placed officials are beginning to listen to Canadian
activists, who listen to grassroots groups in Haiti. Thierry Faggart,
director of the human rights section for the occupying UN mission in
Haiti, recently admitted that the post-coup human rights situation is
"catastrophic." (Duplicitously, he focused on Haitian police misdeeds,
failing to mention the UN's role in massacring at least 23 civilians on
July 6th or a number of lesser UN crimes.)
While the UN distances itself from the well-documented brutality of the
Haitian police, Pierre Pettigrew, continues to boast about Canada's role
in training and assisting the new police force, which is largely a
reconstitution of the brutal Haitian army (created by the U.S during its
1915-34 occupation). Jean Bertrand Aristide disbanded it in 1995.
Pettigrew responded to repeated interruptions of a speech in Montreal
last week by saying he is "proud" of Canada's police training and
support for the de facto government.
Pettigrew and Paul Martin's uncritical support for the murderous
installed regime of Gérard Latortue should be justification enough for
toppling the minority Liberal government. Their role in destabilizing
Haiti's elected government, planning the coup and sending Canadian
soldiers to help oust the elected president makes the Liberal's
intervention in Haiti even more scandalous.
Canadian intrusion in Haiti has been so disastrous that we should begin
to talk about taking Pettigrew and Martin to the International Criminal
Court. The people organizing the Canadian segment of the International
Tribunal on Haiti, which screened video footage of police attachés
chopping people to death in broad daylight during its second session in
Boston on Saturday, Nov. 19, will hopefully help that process along.
Canadian policy in Haiti must change and the Liberals need to pay a
political price for their crimes against Haiti. With Haiti's sham
elections planned for January 8 and federal elections looming here, the
time is nigh. Get involved!
To contribute financially to the Canada Haiti Action Network or join the
list-serve e-mail Kevin Skerett at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yves Engler is the author of two books: Canada in Haiti: Waging War on
the Poor Majority (with Anthony Fenton) and Playing Left Wing; From Rink
Rat to Student Radical. Both books are published by Fernwood and
available at http://infoshopdirect.com/redpublishing/ or www.turning.ca
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