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24963: Hermantin (News)Bolton's role in giving guns to policea coup (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Posted on Tue, May. 03, 2005
Bolton's role in giving guns to police
BY IRA KURZBAN
On Dec. 14, 2004, in the predawn hours, a large convoy of U.N. troops
entered the Port-au-Prince slum of Cite Soleil. They began firing. Esterlin
Marie Carmelle was in bed with her 2-year-old son, Herlens. Her husband got
out of bed to get ready for work. The shooting intensified, and she remained
in bed beside her child. According to a Harvard Law School report the
following occurred: 'Ms. Carmelle recalled, she `felt something warm' on her
arm and said to her husband, 'I feel like I got hit with a bullet.' She told
us that she realized that 'it wasn't me who had been shot,' as her boy lay
limp and lifeless beside her, his 'blood and brain matter were sliding down
my arm.' Though Ms. Carmelle said that she then passed out, her husband told
us that a stray bullet had entered their shack with such force that it had
removed part of their child's head, leaving Herlens to die in his mother's
When U.N. troops are not engaged in these kinds of incursions, they can
usually be found providing support for the Haitian National Police as they
execute peaceful demonstrators demanding the return of their democratically
elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Just last week, five Haitians were killed by the Haitian National Police
while U.N. troops stood by watching. The Haitians' crime was that they were
peacefully demonstrating for the release of political prisoners in Haiti. On
Feb. 28, 2005, demonstrators met the same fate and were executed by the
Haitian National Police while peacefully protesting. Amnesty International
has also reported ''incidents in which individuals dressed in black . . .
and traveling in cars with Haitian National Police markings have cost the
lives of at least 11 people.''.'' Just this week, Amnesty condemned the
Haitian police for their ''use of lethal and indiscriminate violence'' to
``disperse and repress demonstrators.''
The Bush administration's response has been to place more weapons in the
hands of these police. During Haiti's democratic administrations, the U.S.
government imposed a full-scale arms embargo on nonlethal as well as lethal
weapons to the Haitian Police. They could not even buy bullet-proof vests or
tear gas to disperse crowds. In November 2004, however, John Bolton, as
under secretary for arms control in the Department of State, signed off on
providing the current police, under a nondemocratic government, more than
3,635 M14 rifles, 1,100 Mini Galils, several thousand assorted 0.38-caliber
pistols, 3,700 MP5s and approximately one million rounds of ammunition,
according to the Small Arms Survey, an authoritative resource published by
the Graduate Institute of International Studies, located in Geneva.
It is no surprise that Bolton is at the center of this controversy as well.
He has been one of the hard-liners in the State Department who sought the
overthrow of Aristide and who bullied intelligence analysts on Haiti who
were trying to provide a more-balanced picture. Even his cohort in
overthrowing Aristide, Otto Reich, was quoted as stating that they both
rightfully went after an intelligence analyst who gave the ''benefit of the
doubt'' to Aristide as the democratically elected president.
Perhaps Bolton can explain to members of the Senate when they reconvene why
he would place more weapons in the hands of thugs and murderers whose police
work is composed largely of executing peaceful demonstrators who are
demanding the return of democracy to Haiti.
Ira Kurzban is the former attorney for the government of Haiti.