Two Human Rights Investigations
(See also "Exposing the Big Lie of “Operation Baghdad", "Not the Usual Suspects: Making and Breaking Illusions in Haiti and "Alternatives, to the Truth // Alternatives, to Democracy.")
The Comité des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertés Individuelles (CARLI) investigation into the reported "Operation Baghdad," concluded that there was no such operation launched by Lavalas supporters. CARLI leaders noted that the operation supposedly involved the decapitation of two police officers on September 30, 2004, but that Haiti’s interim government never released photos or names of the alleged victims. CARLI concluded that the two officers were decapitated, but that perpetrators were former soldiers and that it occurred on September 29.
CARLI noted that it was only after the proLavalas/proAristide rally on September 30 [when police killed several unarmed protesters] that the government and media blamed the beheadings on Lavalas supporters.1
The media further stirred anti-Lavalas sentiment when reporting on a funeral for five policemen. Although only two had died in actual violence, the government/media portrayed it as a funeral of 5 heroic officers who died in pro-Aristide violence.
Officials of the U.S. Embassy granted interviews [with the University of Miami Law School’s Centre for the Study of Human Rights] on condition their names not be used. The officials were asked if they were aware of all the victims of Haitian police "operations" including public massacre victims, in Port-au-Prince’s poorest neighborhoods. They responded that although the perpetrators may have dressed as police during the massacres, and used the same vehicles that police use, they could not be certain that they were police. They emphasized that police officers had been beheaded in a slum-gang operation called "Operation Baghdad."
In response to inquiries about "Operation Baghdad," the officials stated that they: (i) did not know any names of the beheaded police officers, (ii) were unsure whether it was "gangs" or Prime Minister Latortue who coined the term "Operation Baghdad," (iii) did not know that Haiti’s most widely read daily paper, the pro-government Le Nouvelliste [a member of the anti-Aristide Group of 184’s elitist Association of National Haitian Media] had a regular section called "Operation Baghdad" dedicated to stories about slum violence, and (iv) were unaware of reports from sources, including CARLI, that the beheadings are believed to have involved only two Haitian National Police victims, and that the perpetrators were reported to be former soldiers, not Lavalas supporters.
1. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti noted that before the Sept.-30 rally, Haitian radio stations reported that a police officer was beheaded early that morning in a confrontation with a criminal gang. "Illegal Arrest of Political Leaders," October 8, 2004.
Source: Thomas Griffin, Haiti Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004. Center for the Study of Human Rights, Universiy of Miami Law School, p.23. www.ijdh.org/CSHRhaitireport.pdf
The above article is from Press for Conversion! magazine, Issue
#63 (November 2008)
Previous issues of this
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade publication include:
#62 "Putting the Aid in Aiding and Abetting:
CIDA's Agents of Regime Change in Haiti's 2004 Coup"
#61 "CIDA's Key Role in Haiti's 2004 Coup d’état:
Funding Regime Change, Dictatorship and Human Rights Atrocities, one Haitian 'NGO' at a Time"
#60 "A Very Canadian Coup d’état in Haiti:
The Top 10 Ways that Canada’s Government helped the 2004 Coup and its Reign of Terror"
Subscribe, order a hard copy or back issues