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UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Friday, 16 February 2007 15:28
UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism

Stephen Lendman ~
Blue Helmets are supposed to help in various ways including monitoring the withdrawal of combatants, building confidence, enforcing power-sharing agreements, providing electoral support, aiding reconstruction, upholding the rule of law, maintaining order, and helping efforts toward economic and social development.  Above all, "peacekeeping" missions are supposed to be benevolent interventions.

sjlendman.blogspot.com

UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism

Stephen Lendman


The world community calls them "Blue Helmets" or
"peacekeepers," and the UN defines their mission as "a
way to help countries torn by conflict create
conditions for sustainable peace" by implementing and
monitoring post-conflict peace processes former
combatants have agreed to under provisions of the UN
Charter.  The Charter empowers the Security Council to
take collective action to maintain international peace
and security that includes authorizing peacekeeping
operations provided a host country agrees to have them
 under Rules of Engagement developed and approved by
all parties.  At that point, the UN Department of
Peacekeeping Operations enlists member nations to
provide force contingents to be deployed once the
Security Council gives final approval.

Once in place, Blue Helmets are supposed to help in
various ways including monitoring the withdrawal of
combatants, building confidence, enforcing
power-sharing agreements, providing electoral support,
aiding reconstruction, upholding the rule of law,
maintaining order, and helping efforts toward economic
and social development.  Above all, "peacekeeping"
missions are supposed to be benevolent interventions.
They're sent to conflict areas to restore order,
maintain peace and security and provide for the needs
of people during a transitional period until a local
government takes over on its own.

Far too often, however, things don't turn out that
way, and Blue Helmets end up either creating more
conflict than its resolution or being
counterproductive or ineffective.  In the first
instance, peacekeepers become paramilitary enforcers
for an outside authority. In the second, they do more
harm than good because they've done nothing to
ameliorate conditions or improve the situation on the
ground and end up more a hindrance than a help.  This
article focuses mostly on the former using Haiti as
the primary case study example after reviewing
peacekeeping operations briefly in six other
countries.  In each case, the examples chosen show
people on the ground as helpless victims of imperial
exploitation (usually US-directed) with UN Blue
Helmets used by outside powers for social control and
domination, not keeping the peace.

First, a brief account of other failed "peacekeeping"
missions is reviewed after an overview of the UN, its
founding purpose and how the US dominates and
undermines the world body for its own interests.

The UN - Its Founding Purpose and Mission

The UN was established in 1945 after WW II when 50
original member countries signed its Charter in San
Francisco.  Today 192 nations are member states.  Its
founding Charter states its purpose and mandate is:
"to save succeeding generations from the scourge of
war....reaffirm faith in fundamental human
rights....(support) equal rights of men and
women....of nations large and small....establish
conditions under which justice....can be
maintained....promote social progress....practice
tolerance and live in peace (and promote) economic and
social advancement of all peoples."  From its founding
date till now, the world body failed on all counts
even though some of its agencies (like UNICEF, WFP,
UNHCR and UNESCO) have a history of providing
important services in areas of health, education, food
assistance, aiding refugees, social development and
more.

Nonetheless, the UN is hamstrung by a serious
obstacle.  Its dominant member is the US that
undermines the world body's authority and
effectiveness for its own imperial interests.  It does
it through its Security Council veto power, by
withholding dues, disengaging from UN activities or
just muscling or bribing member states to get its way.
 It gets away with it by being the world's leading
economic, political and military superpower beholden
to no interests but its own.  It takes full advantage,
and for over half a century used the UN as its foreign
policy instrument or rendered it ineffective by
inaction or obstruction.  If allowed to be a voice for
all member states, the UN could be a powerful one for
global democratic governance and promotion of social
equity and equal justice.  Instead one dominant
nation's veto power trumped the will of all others
causing a shameful history of UN failure and
ineffectiveness.  As long as a single nation's monkey
wrench can jam its works, the UN will never fulfill
its founding purpose.

It's apparent in its Charter-mandated peacekeeping
role.   If the UN functioned as a neutral
international body pursuing its founding mission, it
would always act to establish and maintain peace in
every conflict area.  It doesn't because its dominant
member won't let it.  So it failed to act when
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 slaughtering
hundreds of thousands in a secretly US-authorized
aggression including the arming and supporting of
Indonesian military TNI forces.  It stood by again
after the East Timorese voted by referendum for
independence in 1999 after which TNI forces attacked
and slaughtered thousands more.

The UN did nothing during South Africa's border wars
and invasion of Namibia in the 1960s and 70s and
allowed a 36 year civil war to go on in Guatemala
following the CIA fomented coup in 1954 ousting the
country's democratically elected leader Jacobo Arbenz
Guzman.  It ignored a succession of oppressive
military and civilian governments still ruling the
country.  It allowed them to compile the hemisphere's
worst human rights record even after the UN brokered a
Peace Accord formally ending the civil conflict mainly
against the country's indigenous Mayan majority
slaughtering 200,000 of them.  It still ignores the
government's shameless human rights abuses in a
country Amnesty International calls a "land of
injustice."  But it happens to be one the US considers
a close ally, and that's all that counts as Washington
has the final say on most everything at the UN.

These are a few of the many examples of UN failures to
address injustice throughout the world on every
continent.  It belies discredited former UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's standing up for the
Security Council claiming it has primary
responsibility for maintaining international peace and
security.  It can't even prevent human rights abuses
because it's mostly a talking shop, and the world body
overall is a wholly owned subsidiary of the nation
where its headquartered.  It uses it to pursue its
imperial agenda knowing no nation will dare try
stopping it most often.  And when the threat arises,
Washington ignores it to do what it pleases like
attacking Iraq without required Security Council
approval and threatening now to extend the conflict to
Iran on blatantly false cooked up charges that smell
as bad as the WMD ones about its occupied neighbor.

UN Peacekeeping Operations

UN peacekeeping operations began in 1948 with its
first one ever UNTSO mission to monitor the
Arab-Israeli first of two brief failed truces in
Israel's "War of Independence" beginning in June,
1948.  The operation is still ongoing, peace was never
achieved, the UN plays no active role, and UNTSO
wastes money and takes up space observing and
reporting what it wishes selectively while Israeli
Defense Forces (IDF) have total control of everything
on the ground.  UNTSO ineffectiveness shows in the way
the IDF continues repressing and  assaulting
defenseless Palestinians while the UN gets out of
their way functioning as little more than worthless
window dressing.  In 2006 it had a meager staff of 371
military and civilian observers and a budget of $30
million, all of which could have been better spent
elsewhere on a real mission for a real purpose if
there are any.

That inauspicious start was symbolic of what lay ahead
in 61 total peacekeeping missions undertaken to date
ignoring all the other conflicts it should have
intervened in but didn't.  Currently 16 missions are
ongoing as of year end 2006 plus two other small
special political and/or peacebuilding ones with 113
countries contributing 99,817 military troops,
observers, police and civilians budgeted for the 12
months through June, 2007 at $4.75 billion under names
like UNIFIL in Lebanon created in 1978 for the same
purpose it's still there for and now enlarged
following Israel's withdrawal from the country last
summer after its horrific invasion and assault weeks
earlier.

UNIFIL Blue Helmets in Lebanon

Israel attacked and invaded Lebanon last July 12
following Hezbollah's cross-border incursion that was
used as a pretext to ignite pre-planned aggression
against the country and its people.  The result was
mass killing, crippling destruction, and a huge
refugee problem all without Israel achieving its
planned aim - to destroy Hezbollah resistance in South
Lebanon.  It proved too much for the world's fifth
most powerful military equipped with state-of-the-art
weaponry courtesy of the most powerful
Washington-based one.

UNIFIL was established to restore and maintain peace
in South Lebanon one week after Israel's invasion of
the country in March, 1978.  It's been there since
including throughout the period from 1982 when Israel
again invaded and remained until withdrawing its
forces in May, 2000.  Despite its mandate, UNIFIL
never established peace and security and did little
more than take up space allowing the IDF free reign to
control  everything on the ground along with its proxy
Christian South Lebanon Army acting as paramilitary
enforcer thugs of a largely Shia Muslim population.

"Proxy" describes UNIFIL's current role in Lebanon
that has little to do with keeping peace and
everything to do with being NATO's Israel enforcer.
In that role, it can engage Hezbollah in confrontation
if it chooses and do Israel's fighting and dying for
it.  It also represents a continuation of nearly three
decades of "peacekeeping" failure in South Lebanon.
The current one won't work any better than all efforts
preceding it because UNIFIL is beholden to Israel, the
US and NATO and will follow their mandate having
nothing to do with peace and stability and everything
to do with imperial control and dominance.  The people
of South Lebanon know all about UNIFIL's "benefits,"
but you won't hear them say thank you.

UNAMIR in Rwanda

UNAMIR was set up to help implement the Arusha Accords
in 1993 to ease tensions, secure the capital, and
monitor a ceasefire and security agreement prior to
the outbreak of ethnic slaughter that began after CIA
surface-to-air missiles shot down the aircraft
carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and
Burundi President Cyprien Ntaryamira in April, 1994.
That "unfortunate" plane accident made way for
US-trained Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) Major-General
Paul Kagame to take power so Washington could use the
country as a base to pursue its greater prize in
resource-rich Congo (DRC).  It didn't matter that
hundreds of thousands died and millions in Congo where
war subsided, but instability remains because warring
sides and Western interests still contest for control
of the country's immense resources.

Canadian General Romeo Dallaire led a UN 400 troop
contingent in Rwanda, got no additional force help,
mostly stood aside as thousands were slaughtered, and
was only authorized to act in self-defense meaning his
orders were do nothing.  He left the country in
August, 1994 followed by the departure of his
replacements when UNAMIR's mandate ended in 1996 long
after the damage was done.  The result - a dismal
mission failure in UN peacekeeping with hundreds of
thousands dead because Blue Helmets were told to
ignore it.

UNIMIK in Kosovo

UNMIK was created in 1999 for war-torn Kosovo as an
interim civilian administration to remain in place
until the Serbian province's fate is decided.  Its
stated mission includes maintaining the rule of law,
protecting human rights, coordinating humanitarian and
disaster relief, supporting reconstruction efforts,
and assuring refugees and displaced persons can return
to their homes.  As always, stated goals are noble,
but results shameful - another mission failure staying
longer will just exacerbate, not ameliorate.

The mission language hides the grim history of the
1990s Balkan wars.  They destroyed a nation making its
new pieces easy pickings for US and Western imperial
exploitation and control.  It had nothing to do with
removing a "bad guy" Serbian leader and everything to
do with installing new leadership more responsive to
Western interests - meaning unconditional surrender to
imperial authority. The US-led 1999 NATO assault was
called an humanitarian intervention.  It's real aim
was to finish breaking one nation into six more easily
handled ones plus deciding the fate of Serbia's Kosovo
province to be dealt with later.

In Kosovo, Washington and NATO collaborated with
Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) paramilitary thugs
ignoring their connection to organized crime.  They
got free reign to commit terrorist attacks including
ethnic cleansing of Serbs and other minorities in the
province.  The US-led war caused massive population
displacement, not the other way around as news reports
claimed.   Nor did the war bring Kosovo peace and
stability.  Far from it.  The province is part of
Serbia, and Serbs want to keep it that way.  But it
looks like they won't as Albanians in the majority
have other ideas with assurance their US ally will
help them.

After the war, the former Serbian province got
semi-autonomy as a UN protectorate with its final
status nearly decided by the world body intending to
make Kosovo semi-independent because the US wants it
that way.  It doesn't matter what Serbs want for
territory they're about to lose.  The scheme was
unveiled on January 26 to the six-member contact group
of major powers including the US, UK, France, Germany,
Italy and Russia all of whom approve except Russia
that remains skeptical enough to try to scuttle the
plan.  It supports Serbia that rejects the deal but
has little power to stop it unless Russia vetoes it in
the Security Council with final say on the matter.

That verdict isn't in yet, but some things are clear.
Whatever Kosovo's nominal disposition, Serbs will be
losers and US and Western imperial control will
continue by virtue of a proxy repressive UNIMIK/NATO
Blue Helmet contingent remaining in place for an
indefinite  time likely to be lengthy.  It's how
imperial management works.  People lose out so
hegemons can win, and when it involves the US the
price paid is big and painful.

MONUC in the Democratic Republic of Congo

MONUC began its operations in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo (DRC) in 1999 and is the largest
peacekeeping force now in place but one hardly
adequate (if it mattered) for a country the size of
Western Europe.  MONUC was authorized to monitor a
ceasefire agreement between waring sides as well as be
involved in the usual kinds of things peacekeeping
entails.  After years of unresolved conflict, few
places anywhere need peace and stability more than DRC
in the wake of the country's long-running war taking 4
million or more lives causing immeasurable human
misery and harm.

All along, the UN was inept, counterproductive and out
of the loop.  It was more part of the problem than its
solution.  It knew all about legal and illegal arms
trading  fueling conflict but didn't stop it because
its controlling members did the selling like they
always do in war zones everywhere.  In addition, Blue
Helmets weren't  where most needed and didn't help
when able because  direct orders said not to.  Kofi
Annan was part of the problem as he was as UN head of
peacekeeping in 1994 allowing Rwandans to be
slaughtered when his efforts at least might have
ameliorated conditions. Instead, he kept his mouth
shut and head down, refusing to act as he later did as
Secretary-General serving imperial interests he was
beholden to.  That meant ignoring desperate people in
Congo and all other warring regions.

The DRC is a major one even though things are mostly
quieted down - for now.  The country's cursed by being
the likely most resource-rich piece of real estate in
the world (except for not having large oil reserves).
That makes it a key target for imperial exploitation
and control with Congo's people suffering just by
being there.  Sending Blue Helmets to keep peace is
just a fig leaf hiding the dark side of the conflict
and who stands to gain with US interests always
topping the list and acting as guarantor nothing
interferes with what Washington has in mind.

So all parties ignore the situation on the ground, and
Blue Helmets just make it worse.  The evidence shows
UN forces engaged in sex trafficking, using children
as prostitutes.  They abused young girls and got away
with it because MONUC officials took no preventive
action in spite of pious claims decrying it.  What's
common in Congo happens everywhere with so-called
"peacekeepers" acting as thuggish enforcers for
imperial powers.  Their mission is "keeping the rabble
in line" with free reign to do it harshly as long as
it's kept under wraps.  What happens in Congo goes on
in Kosovo, Liberia, Sudan (discussed below) and Haiti
also discussed in detail shortly.  It's an ugly story
of crackdown, repression or indifference hidden under
the cover of "peacekeeping."

UNMIS in Sudan

UNMIS was established in 2005 to implement the
January, 2005 Comprehensive Peace Treaty between the
Sudanese government and Sudan People's Liberation
Movement/Army.  It ended the protracted North-South 22
year civil war killing and uprooting millions in one
of the continent's most costly wars, but not freeing
the nation from conflict still ongoing in Darfur.
UNMIS has authority to administer there once
hostilities subside, waring sides allow them entry and
agree to cooperate, and Sudanese President Omar
al-Bashir decides if he's willing to risk a regional
occupying force hostile to his interests.  Currently a
7,000 force African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS)
operates in Darfur that's pathetically slim for an
area the size of France in a country the size of
Western Europe.

The Sudanese government is justifiably reluctant for
Blue Helmets to come knowing how they behave
elsewhere.  It also knows what fuels the conflict and
what interests the US and West in the area.  Like most
everywhere, it's about valuable resources, and in
Darfur it's mainly oil as it is in Somalia where
Washington is involved in another proxy war with US
supportive air and ground involvement this time using
an Ethiopian force to be supplemented or replaced by
other regional country contingent "peacekeepers."

The Darfur conflict is falsely portrayed in Western
media reports as atrocities committed by Arab Jan
jawid militias supported by the Khartoum government
against black African people.  The truth is all
parties involved are indigenous Arabic-speaking black
Sunni Muslims involved in intertribal fighting over
increasingly scare water and grazing rights in an area
hard hit by draught and famine.  If Blue Helmets come
in, they'll make things worse because they'll be sent
for imperial control further harming the people
enduring more than they can already handle.

MINUSTAH in Haiti - Our Main Focus

Since European settlers first arrived in Haiti 500
years ago, this nation experienced an almost
unparalleled legacy of colonial violence and
exploitation.  Even when the country gained freedom
from France on January 1, 1804, it lay in ruins.  Its
plantations and sugar works were burned and large
parts of its cities were rubble from many years of
conflict.  It cost the nation half its population of
former slaves on top of its indigenous population
nearly exterminated by Spanish Conquistadors beginning
with the arrival of Columbus.

Things got no better when Spain kept the Eastern
two-thirds of the island in what's now the Dominican
Republic leaving the Western third for French
colonization beginning in the early 1600s.  France
brought over black African slaves controlling it till
after the 1789 French Revolution that inspired
Haitians to wage theirs for the same freedoms French
people got briefly.  Led by Toussaint L'Overture, they
prevailed establishing the first free independent
black republic anywhere on their New Years liberation
day in 1804.

It was short-lived as France regained control holding
it till America took over later solidifying its
regional lock when Woodrow Wilson sent in Marines in
1915 to protect US investments, doing it in typical US
fashion - at the barrel of a gun.  Nineteen years of
brutal exploitation followed with massacres like the
kinds seen  in Haiti today.  The worst of them was in
1929 when US Marines slaughtered 264 protesting
peasants in Les Cayes.  There were also smaller
incursions, forced labor, and aerial bombing years
before the Nazis' infamous attack on Spain's
Republican government at Guernica supporting
opposition fascist dictator, Francisco Franco.

Except for a decade of relief under Jean-Bertand
Aristide and Rene Preval, nothing improved for
Haitians after US occupiers left in 1934.  Aristide
and Preval brought hope in spite of great Western
constraint imposed on them. It didn't last courtesy of
US Marines again ending a brief grace period of relief
and deliverance for people having precious little of
it for 500 years.

In its wake, MINUSTAH was established by UN Security
Council vote on April 30, 2004 two months after the
US-led coup ousted President Aristide now in forced
exile in South Africa.  From inception, it's mission
was flawed as it had no right being there in the first
place.  Blue Helmets, in principle, are deployed for
peace and stability even though they seldom bring it.
In this case, peacekeepers have may been illegally
sent for the first time ever supporting and enforcing
a coup d'etat against a democratically elected
president instead of staying out of it or coming to
back his right to office.

The US runs everything in Haiti, and MINUSTAH became
its repressive arm against Haitian people wanting
their President back and their freedoms under him
restored.  The result is no surprise.  MINUSTAH's
mission is disastrous, disgraceful and in violation of
the rule of law including UN's own Charter as
explained below.

Before it began, the UN lied claiming Aristide was
less than democratically reelected in 2000 with under
10% of Haitians participating.  UN officials further
implied his Fanmi Lavalas party manipulated results
allowing him to win.  The truth was otherwise showing
Aristide won with a 92% majority and a turnout of
around 62% of eligible voters or a figure exceeding
that in most US elections.  The International
Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) suggested
turnout was even higher, but mainstream reporting
never lets facts conflict with official US government
versions of truth that hide it when it isn't the kind
it wants.

The line on Haiti came from the US State Department's
affiliated Agency for International Development
(USAID) claiming the opposition boycotted the election
and Aristide won by default with a low voter turnout.
This got reported as anti-Aristide black propaganda
contradicting mass-Haitian support for a beloved
leader twice elected the country's President.
Haitians demand his return but won't get it as long as
the US remains in charge.  Washington will ignite a
firestorm if he tries coming setting off the kind of
ugliness leading to what happened in February, 2004
that repeated similar events in September, 1991 after
Aristide's first election.  The result for Haitians is
nightmarish courtesy of the Bush administration with
complicit Security Council support in the form of Blue
Helmet "peacekeepers" enforcing their kind of peace.

They're on the ground along with mobilized death
squads, otherwise known as the hated Haitian National
Police (PNH), acting as a main duel proxy force
serving their masters in Washington.  They've done it
by destroying all democratic freedoms in a country
subjugated for 500 years under outside authority or
one imposed on them from within.  In 1990, Haitians
hoped it ended when they elected Jean-Bertrand
Aristide President with 67% of the vote.  He took
office in February, 1991, but his tenure was
short-lived.  It ended in September by the first of
two US-instigated coups removing him from office for a
more compliant military ruler beholden to Washington
and its capital interests.

Aristide returned to Haiti in 1994 regaining nominal
power through a deal Clinton officials arranged. It
included a largely US-led UN peacekeeping force
remaining until 1999 to assure political and economic
continuity by IMF-imposed neoliberal structural
adjustment policy diktats of privatizations, debt
serving and cuts in vitally needed social services.
Under these conditions and with little financial
support when he tried going around them, Aristide
governed like a social democrat compiling an
impressive record given the constraints on him.  Under
Haitian law, he was unable to succeed himself in 1996,
but his ally Rene Preval ran for President and won
with an 88% majority.  Aristide then ran again in 2000
winning big as explained above.

From then until 2004, Aristide instituted a host of
important programs in areas of health, education,
justice and human rights.  He did it by maneuvering
around the kinds of harsh dictates imposed on him out
of Washington.  It led to his second ouster
reinstituting a US-directed reign of terror with
MINUSTAH Blue Helmet proxies in the lead implementing
harsh repression still ongoing and unaddressed by a
world community mindful of conditions but turning a
blind eye or playing a supportive role.  Blue Helmets
do this everywhere, but it gets no worse than in
Haiti.  It's the poorest country in the hemisphere,
conditions continue getting worse, people are
suffering, and MINUSTAH is there to keep it that way,
not bring peace, security, stability or freedom to
people desperately needing it.

It's all about the rules of imperial management
Washington forces on all nations but especially ones
with strategically important resources, markets or in
the case of Haiti cheap labor.  Haiti has lots of it,
and it's some of the cheapest in the world.  It's an
offshore US manufacturer's paradise where many garment
and other workers earn as little as 12 cents an hour
or near-slave wages.  It's far below the poverty level
even in Haiti, and after transportation and other
expenses an average Haitian worker earns around $6 a
week for those able to get any work in a country
plagued by high unemployment running as high as 50%
and at times much higher.  During his tenure,
President Aristide  alleviated this and much more in
spite of great constraints on him.  He did it with
scant outside help in spite of overwhelming pressures
from Washington not to do anything affecting capital
interests.

With him gone and reelected President Rene Preval
hamstrung under foreign occupation masquerading as
"peacekeepers," Haitians have lost everything.
Conditions have never been worse, and it goes on daily
in Haiti's bloodstained streets patrolled by MINUSTAH,
PNH and militarized gangs of enforcers with license to
kill and brutalize freely.  The Western media ignore
it in a country the US controls as a de facto colony
using violence for social control just like in Iraq
with its own and proxy Iraqi forces.

Guatemalan UN Special Envoy Edmond Mulet calls it
needing to "liberate" neighborhoods from "thugs,
criminals, gangs (and) drug dealers."  He
characterizes indiscriminate killing of unarmed
civilians as "collateral damage" with UN forces coming
"under attack (from gangs in Cite Soleil)."  What he
won't address is MINUSTAH'S role as enforcer to make
Haiti safe for predatory capitalism with harsh
repression the method of choice to do it.  It's aim is
to destroy all vestiges of democratic Lavalas and
Jean-Bertrand Aristide's influence, but it resulted in
mass-people resistance on the streets protesting their
plight and demanding restitution of their rights as
free people.  Their answer is armed attacks and
regular assaults.

It goes on daily with punishing effects against
helpless people.  They're led by Blue Helmet thugs
attacking Haitians in impoverished areas like Cite
Soleil, Bel Air, Solino and elsewhere indiscriminately
killing men, women and children.  They work with PNH
enforcers incarcerating or murdering Aristide
supporters and advocates for freedom and justice,
forcing many others  underground or to flee the
country even after Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party was
effectively destroyed.

Before Preval's reelection last February, MINUSTAH
helped reinstitute Haiti's brutal and hated former
military that Aristide disbanded and put Haiti again
at the mercy of predatory international lending
agencies.  It also worked with the so-called Interim
Government of Haiti (IGH) under US-installed puppet
prime minister Gerard Latortue ending Aristide's
social programs and returning the country to capital
interests with lots of infused cash ending up in the
pockets of the interim government Transparency
International (TI) called the most corrupt in the
world, but not enough to bother its US boss looking
the other way and ignoring it.  The IGH even locked up
dissenters and emptied prisons of real criminals for
service in the PNH.  It also reconstituted Haiti's
military and allowed private paramilitary gangs to
operate as brutish enforcers of their own defenseless
people.

It's gone on since the 2004 coup in splendid fashion
through bloody street crackdowns including massacres
against people protesting their plight in a country
returned to serfdom under repressive overlords.  Haiti
is short on law, order, justice and freedom and long
on paramilitary thuggishness keeping things that way
including the private paramilitary ones like the
Little Machete Army that was implicated in the July 6,
2006 Grand Ravine massacre of more than 20 people
along with burning scores of houses in an act of pure
savagery.  It was after the August 21, 2005 slaughter
in a Grand Ravine soccer field in front of 5000 fans
when as many as 50 people were shot or hacked to death
with machetes by PNH thugs and red-shirted killers.

A recent horrific incident happened in the early
morning hours of December 22, 2006 in Cite Soleil when
UN Blue Helmets assaulted the community killing more
than 30 people with some reports claiming much higher
numbers.  It happened in random mass shooting striking
people everywhere including in their homes with
bullets easily penetrating paper-thin walls.  The UN
claimed it was after a young man named Belony,
supposedly the head of a kidnapping gang, but the
story is pure "baloney" like all other MINUSTAH ones.
It's UN's way to justify repression and killings
saying it's targeting bandits that are really ordinary
Haitians protesting their misery or who happen to be
in the line of fire that's deliberately indiscriminate
as an added form of terror.

Disturbingly, President Rene Preval apparently
approved the December 22 operation and now has blood
on his hands to answer for.  He likely knew it's
purpose was to punish an impoverished community that
put 10,000 people on the streets a few days earlier
demonstrating for the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide
and condemning a US-directed militarized occupation of
their country.  Video footage and eye witnesses
captured and verified the retaliatory response on the
streets with unarmed civilians shot by random gunfire
including from helicopter gunships.  At first the UN
denied it but finally admitted what video footage and
digital photos showed conclusively.  They also showed
wounded and dying with no medical help on the scene
and people left to bleed to death on the streets or in
their homes.

This assault was like an earlier one against Cite
Soleil on July 6, 2005 when UN forces attacked the
city with hundreds of heavily armed troops using M-50s
and 60s mounted on armored personnel vehicles.  It
also used high-powered telescopic rifles for accuracy
in singling out targeted dissenters for assassination
and a type of gattling gun firing armor-piercing
bullets believed to be depleted uranium tipped to
slice through metal like butter.  This time about 70
people were shot indiscriminately from thousands of
rounds of ammunition fired.  Again those hit were left
to bleed to death unattended on the streets or in
their homes.

A more recent documented incident happened in Cite
Soleil on January 23, 2007 with MINUSTAH forces again
randomly shooting for hours including from helicopters
while people ran for their lives or were gunned down
indiscriminately as they did.  No accurate count of
casualties is known so far, and the number killed may
never be known as Blue Helmets often remove bodies to
conceal the extent of their handiwork.  Another attack
followed on January 24 with MINUSTAH acknowledging it
killed six people and wounded others in the same
targeted community.  Haitians won't ever be free of
this until peacekeepers leave, Blue Helmet terrorism
ends and people can choose their own leaders, free
from outside control, or not live under ones imposed
on them.

For now, that seems light years away, and all reports
out of Haiti are grim including a January 23 one by
the National Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission
(JILAP), a human rights commission of Haiti's Roman
Catholic church.  It reported at least 539 people died
violently in Port-au-Prince alone in the three month
period ending December 31, 2006 with the true number
likely higher as it only counted dead bodies on the
streets.  Most of the victims were in impoverished
communities like Cite Soleil, Grand Ravine, Martissant
and Bolosse, and the main cause of death was from
gunshot wounds.  JILAP also attributed most of the
violence to MINUSTAH and PNH with most deaths just
local residents in targeted areas.  Other violence was
blamed on street gangs like the one led by the Little
Machete Army that may have murdered Haitian
independent journalist Jean Remy Badiau in Martissant
because he "dared practice journalism in a country
where the press (today) is never free."

Sadly, Haitians have no freedom because the extent of
occupation-led terror is greater than Haiti's ever had
in its 200 year history as a sovereign state.  It
amounts to collective punishment of an impoverished
people living under US-imposed police state type daily
killings, massacres, rapes, arbitrary arrests, mass
incarcerations, beatings and horrific immiseration of
millions of people defenseless against it.  It also
includes human trafficking of women and children for
forced prostitution and men and women for forced labor
amounting to chattel slavery.  Additional thousands of
men have been forcibly taken to the Dominican Republic
and other regional countries to work for wages so low
they're called "sugar slaves."

Still more abuse came out in the September, 2006
Lancet reported study conducted by Wayne State
University, School of Social Work researchers Athena
Kolbe and Dr. Royce Hutson.  They exposed and
documented massive human rights violations in Haiti
under the puppet Latortue government using random
Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinate sampling of
1260 households and 5720 individuals.  90.7% of them
were interviewed using a structured questionnaire by
trained interviewers to learn about their experiences
since Aristide's ouster.

The study findings estimated 8,000 people were
murdered and about 35,000 women (over half under
18)sexually assaulted in the greater Port-au-Prince
area between February, 2004 and December, 2005.  21%
of killings were attributed to the PNH, 13% to the
demobilized army and another 13% to anti-Aristide
paramilitary gangs like the Little Machete Army.
Known criminals were the worst sex offenders, but
officers from the HNP accounted for 13.8% of assaults
and armed anti-Lavalas groups another 10.6%. The
report also documented kidnappings, extrajudicial
detentions, physical assaults other than rape, death
threats, physical threats and threats of sexual
violence against helpless people.

The report concluded that "crime and systematic abuse
of human rights were common in Port-au-Prince"
involving criminals but also "political actors and UN
(Blue Helmet) soldiers."  It also stressed an
overwhelming need on the ground for attention to
"legal, medical, psychological, and economic
consequences of widespread human rights abuses and
crime."

The study ended in December, 2005, but the same abuses
go on daily in Haitian communities around
Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in the country.  It's a
picture of UN failure and its top officials and
Secretary-General corrupted and criminally complicit
with its authorized missions' worst crimes and abuses
going on everywhere. It also shows the world body as a
servant of power, defiling its founding mandate and
damning the poor and weak to pay for its failure to
protect them.  Nowhere are things worse than in Haiti,
and nowhere are UN representatives more culpable
starting at the top where the buck stops with its
former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.  His tenure ended
in December as it began - in disgrace but whose record
went unreported because he served power interests well
who'll now reward him in his new endeavors.

Haitians hoped things might not be this way last
February 7 when they reelected Rene Preval their
President in an electoral process orchestrated,
controlled and rigged by the US-installed puppet
government but not enough to override the will of the
people.  For the first time in two years, desperate
Haitians had reason to celebrate with a leader again
in charge who once served their needs as President.
But nothing is ever simple in Haiti, and long knives
in Washington were out to undermine and destabilize
Preval's rule from its outset or simply work around
him and ignore it.  The result to date is capital
rules the country, and Rene Preval has little to show
for his first  year in office.  Haitians continue
suffering, and 9,000 repressive Blue Helmets, PNH and
other paramilitaries are on the ground keeping it that
way.

It affects the lives of helpless people in ways beyond
brute force and economic depravation.  Blue Helmet
attacks in Cite Soleil severely damaged the
community's public water system as random gunfire hit
pipelines and a water tower.  It forced area residents
to walk long distances with heavy buckets for what's
unavailable close by while private speculators truck
in drinking water  for sale at prices Cite Soleil's
half million residents can't afford.  It's one more
part of marketplace rule leaving most Haitians out of
it with no resources to participate.

The UN peacekeeping mandate expires on February 15,
but Haitians won't see the end of it.  The Security
Council is about to extend the mission with
disagreement over its length that comes up for review
every six months.  Before leaving office, Kofi Annan
recommended a year's extension, but unanimity hasn't
yet been reached by Security Council members.  When it
is, it won't reflect the peoples' will demanding Blue
Helmets leave that's loudly heard on the streets and
ignored as it always is.

Protests and demonstrations are on the capital's
streets  all the time, but a major one happened on
February 7 as well as in six other Haitian cities and
many around the world in solidarity.  They
dramatically dispelled the UN's false assertions that
Lavalas is dead.  It lives, it's vibrant, and it puts
a lie to UN Envoy Edmond Mulet's claim that "the issue
of former President Aristide is not present
anymore....in Haiti....and his (Fanmi Lavalas)
movement is very much divided, weakened."

The date marked the 16th anniversary of Jean-Bertrand
Aristide's first inauguration as Haiti's first elected
President in 1991 and 21st anniversary of the end of
the hated Duvalier father-son dictatorship in 1986.
Tens of thousands of Fanmi Lavalas supporters took to
the streets peacefully to protest their occupation and
violence from it.  They called for the release of all
political prisoners and demanded return of those in
forced exile starting with their former President
deposed  on February 29, 2004.  Protestors joined with
them in solidarity in 53 cities around the world on
five continents against Blue Helmet massacres in an
"International Day in Solidarity with the Haitian
People."  On the same day, protesters went to Haiti's
UN heavily guarded Port-au-Prince military
headquarters demanding Aristide's return and
confronting soldiers with shouts of "Down with the
UN."  Hundreds were back the following day repeating
their chants and risking the kind of retaliation
they've come to expect before.

They got their answer on February 9 when hundreds of
UN peacekeepers again raided Cite Soleil before dawn
continuing their ritualized crackdown and retaliation
against courageous people resistance.  It's made Blue
Helmets a hated symbol of imperial repression and all
the terror from it.  For Haitian people, it's just the
latest chapter in their 500 year struggle never losing
hope one day they'll be free at last.  No people
deserve it more than do Haitians.


Stephen Lendman
lives in Chicago and can be reached at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
tune in online to hear The Steve Lendman News and
Information Hour on The Micro Effect.com each Saturday
at noon US central time.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 February 2007 15:28
 

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