Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Killing Hope: The Murder of Esterne Bruner

Mr. Esterne Bruner, father of 6 children, coordinator of the Grand Ravine Community Human Rights Council (CHRC-GR), was assassinated Thursday morning after he returned from a meeting at AUMOHD concerning the Grand Ravine Massacre. He advocated for the human rights of the most poor. The assassinations continue in Grand Ravine and Port-au-Prince. Please visit the HURAH
website and support his family and the grassroots Human Rights Community that he cared so much about and took part in. Tom Luce writes that, "Bruner Esterne was a victim of Grand Ravine #1--house burned--and #2--house burned and shot in the arm. And now he has paid the ultimate price for serving his people. He was a known man of peace, a community organizer, a loving father."

Amnesty International has called on the Haitian government to investigate the killing.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

$449,965 in NED/State Department funding for ACILS 'Solidarity Center' Program with Batay Ouvriye.

See this article on


Z Magazine
. For a list of articles on ACILS' foreign policy programs, by authors such as Kim Scipes, Fred Hirsch, Lee Sustar, and Diana Barahona, see the Worker to Worker website.

Monday, 18 September 2006

Further Notes on the Lancet, NCHR and HSG

For an investigative piece into the Lancet controversy by myself and Canadian writer Joe Emersberger see the Haiti Action website.
I did an interview discussing this article on Berkley's Flashpoints (KPFA) on
September 14. Also, read
some other related issues not mentioned in the Counterpunch piece.

1


Christian Aid's Anna Williams will not divulge how much money her organization provides to the Haiti Support Group (HSG). She writes to the coauthor of the counterpunch article, Joe Emersberger, "Thanks for your message. I am afraid in this instance; I am not able to supply you with such specific information about the funds we provide to one of our partners. Should you need any further information, please do let me know. Kind regards, Anna Williams"

Charles Arthur of the Haiti Support Group finally speaks after a few days of not answering email or calls. Calls to the Haiti Support Group went unanswered and we were finally told by a representative that Charles Arthur was not taking calls. At the same time he was constantly being quoted across the corporate press. But now he posts immediately following the publication of our counterpunch article on haitiforever.com denying that he circulated contact information of Athena Lyn-Duff Kolbe.

On a UK based Website Arthur posts the address of a church that Kolbe and her parents attend, while denouncing the scientific study as "Lavalas Family Propaganda". We will soon release a copy of the flier allegedly distributed around.

Pierre Esperance's former "NCHR" (now RNDDH - Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains) is still circulating inacurate reports that fail to document violence against the poor in Haiti. Back in 2004 he acknowledged to a Let Haiti Live delegation that his human rights organization was not sending investigators into the poor communities. He still has the funding to maintain the appearance of a well-run, "quality" organization with a website in French, English, and Kreyol. M. Deibert of "Notes From The Last Testament" posts on the Haitiforever forum, that our Counter Punch article is "potentially libelous".

PAPDA's demand for the resignation of Jean-Bertrand Aristide was translated by the 'Haiti Support Group'. The letter was signed by Marc Arthur Fils-Aime, Camille Chalmers Yves, and Andre Wainright. Wainright later was appointed environment Minister under the interim Latortue government. PAPDA has numerous connections with CIDA as well as quasi-government financed orgs according to Canadian researchers Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton.

Another package arrived last week attempting to silence the Lancet study authors. The package was made to look like a bomb. In response a local K9 unit of the Detroit City bomb squad was called out to investigate the package. Postal authorities are taking the threats very seriously.

Engler and Fenton provide futher information on NCHR's financing: "Pierre Esperance, a well-connected Haitian human rights activist was, at least until shortly after the coup, treasurer of the POHDH. Esperance is also the director of the controversial NCHR, later renamed RNDDH, human rights organization. Shortly after the 2004 coup, NCHR entered a funding arrangement with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). NCHR has received at least three payments of $100,000. This funding was established, in part, by Philippe Vixamar, a CIDA employee based in Haiti who, soon thereafter, would become Deputy Minister of Justice under Bernard Gousse, Minister of Justice in Haiti's Interim Government. NCHR would later lead the call for the arrest of Prime Minister Yvon Neptune on the basis of a claim of purported 'genocide,' while Gousse and Vixamar would secure Neptune's status as Haiti's most prominent political prisoner for the next two-plus years..."

Report of the Emergency Haiti Observation Mission, March 2004, http://www.quixote.org/hr/campaigns/lhl/ob-miss-mar04.php:
"When the team asked if the NCHR planned to investigate the alleged killings in Bel Air by U.S. Marines, Esperance responded, “You must understand that just before Aristide left, he and his government armed a lot of people in the population. Almost the entire country was armed.”

He did admit that, “there is a rumor of an attack against the occupation forces in Bel Air. They said a lot of people [Haitians] died.” But he came back to blaming the Haitian victims, and continued, “Bel Air totally supports Aristide and there are a lot of weapons there.” Esperance explained, “You have to understand that the multinational forces are trigger-happy. A lot of people have suffered and we are clear that must end.” The first step to ending the terror campaign is investigating the events. However, the NCHR will not investigate in Bel Air: “Even though we are a human rights organization, that area is not accessible to us, so we just hear the reports... Haiti has areas that are inaccessible to certain human rights organizations. People the former government exploited [the people in Bel Air], in their misery, so they could believe those human rights organizations are opponents. They believe we are their adversaries. It is a long process to explain that we are neutral.” When the team members asked Esperance if there were other places that are inaccessible to the NCHR, he listed some of the most impoverished and highly targeted neighborhoods in Port-au- Prince: Maritssant, Bois Neuf and Cite Soleil.
[...]
The NCHR may proclaim it is impartial, but the people most in need of a human rights advocate do not believe it. We found that NCHR has a clear bias. We interviewed Esperance in the NCHR conference room, where a “WANTED” poster hangs behind the conference table. The first name on the poster is Jean-Bertrand Aristide and is followed by other high-ranking members of the Fanmi Lavalas party. No supporters of Aristide or Fanmi Lavalas would feel safe or protected in the offices of the NCHR.
[...]
From NLG, 'Summary Report of Haiti Human Rights Delegation March 29 to April 5, 2004, from p. 6:
-NCHR is a well-funded and equipped “human rights” agency that purports to take all cases, regardless of political affiliation.
-NCHR however, could not name a single case in which a Lavalas supporter was a victim.
-NCHR took the delegation into a large meeting room where the wall was adorned with a large “wanted” poster featuring Aristide and his cabinet, in small photos, across the top. It named Aristide a “dictator” guilty of human rights abuses. Among a long list of other charges, it condemned him for the murder of John Dominique and included a large photo of Dominique’s dead body. The poster calls for the arrest and imprisonment of Aristide and his associates.
-The Delegation suggested that NCHR’s neutrality and inclusiveness might be better expressed with additional posters condemning, for example, FRAPH, Jodel Chamblain, Jean “Tatoune” Baptiste, Ti Kenley, etc. While the Director and the staff acknowledged the existence of all of those named, they laughed at the suggestion of adding other wanted posters to the office.
-The Delegation noted that many of the newsletters, “open letters,” and advisories available in the NCHR waiting room refer to Aristide as a “dictator” and that none of them concern abuses against supporters of the elected government or Lavalas.
-NCHR was asked if they would investigate the 1000 bodies dumped and buried by the morgue during the last few weeks at Titanyen, and the alleged malfunctioning of the refrigeration at the morgue. The director and his staff denied ever knowing about these events, laughed, and said none of it was true.
-NCHR was asked if it would investigate the dumped bodies at Piste D’Aviation. The director and his staff laughed and denied that it was true. The Delegation then showed NCHR the photographs we had taken of the ashes and fresh human skeletons. In response, the NCHR director told us that the General Hospital routinely dumps bodies at the Piste D’Aviation.
www.nlg.org/programs/international/Haiti_delegation_report1.pdf
and...
[...]
NLG Haiti Delegation Report, Phase II "We condemn the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) in Haiti for not maintaining its impartiality as a human rights organization."
www.nlg.org/programs/international/Haiti_delegation_report_phaseII.pdf"

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Preval

For a good piece placing some context around Preval's recent election, see Peter Hallward's august article in Radical Philosophy. See some new photos by Jean Ristil below. The initial Lespwa platform has a lot of good intentions but the room it has to maneuver is miniscule.