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6437: Re: 6273. Driver on "the simplification of history" (fwd)

From: "Tom F. Driver" <tfd3@columbia.edu>

I was surprised, not to say astonished, by Greg Chamberlain's riposte to
Greg Bryant:

> Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 17:32:05 -0600 (CST)
> From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
> Greg Bryant wrote:
> > There is some credible documentary evidence
> > that the US trained the leaders of the coup that
> > overthrew Aristide, and perhaps even helped
> > organize and finance the coup itself.
> May we know what that is, or is this assertion
> the familiar fruit of the simplification of history
> with hindsight?
>         Greg Chamberlain

Maggie Steber was on the right track in her reply:

> Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 20:53:13 -0600 (CST)
> from Maggie Steber:  msteber@herald.com:  actually, i remember it being
> reported on the front page of the new york times and the washington
> post, too, i believe, ran the story, that the cia was directly linked to
> supporting cedras and others who were involved in the coup of '91.  i'll
> doublecheck some other sources if i have a chance.  all the best, Maggie
> Steber

The effort to suppress historical information when it does not fit into
dominant or "establishment" views is a remarkable thing.  I recently had
a direct experience of it with The New York Times.  Some may remember
that I circulated to this list a letter from me that the Times published
on Dec. 6 this year.  What I did not then tell the list, but am now
prompted to do by Greg's barbed question, is the way in which the Times
censored my letter, and the reasons it gave me for doing so.  It's an
interesting story about how the news media filter the news.

In the original version of my letter I had written:  "...  some parts of
our [i.e. the U.S.] government gave aid and support to his [Aristide's]
enemies during the crucial years 1991-94 when he was driven into exile."
The Times asked me if I had some backup for this sentence.  I did, and
faxed them a story by Allan Nairn published in The Nation magazine
("Haiti Under the Gun," January 8/15, 1996).  Upon receipt of the fax,
the Times called me to say they couldn't accept that source as evidence.
"Why not?" Because, they said, The Nation is "a leftist paper." I
pointed out that Allan Nairn is a highly respected investigative
journalist who has more than once been called to give testimony to
Congressional committees, but I could not move them.  If I wanted the
letter published, I had to cut that sentence.  "Well," I finally had to
say, "It's your newspaper."

Their newspaper itself, as Maggie Stever was remembering, has given
numerous hints over the years pointing to the same truth they now did
not want me to state. I told them this could be researched, but they
said there was no time for that.  I have since done a little digging and
can refer readers to the following articles that appeared in the NY

Oct. 23, 1993.  "Administration Appears to Be Fighting Itself on Haiti
Policy."  This story details the attack upon Aristide's emotional health
spearheaded by Brian Latell, identified here as "a leading C.I.A.
analyst for Latin America."  This campaign, which involved "briefings"
of members of Congress, was without doubt an instrument of aid and
support to Aristide's enemies, who were at the time trying to head off
his imminent return to Haiti.  Then came the following revelation:

Nov. 1, 1993.  "Key Haiti Leaders Said to Have Been in the C.I.A.'s
Pay."  "... a Government official familiar with the payments said that
'several of the principal players in the present situation were
compensated by the U.S. Government.'"

Dec. 13, 1993.  Regular columnist Anthony Lewis wrote:  "Young Haitian
officers have often attended U.S. military training schools.  In fact,
at least 10 are known to have taken training courses here after the 1991
coup, although the Pentagon said it had sent them all home.  The C.I.A.
has also had close connections with the Haitian military. ... In sum,
there is a long recod of closeness between U.S. military and
intelligence agencies and Haitians who have turned out to be the
country's tyrants and plunderers."

Apr. 10, 1994.  In an Op-Ed piece called "Abandoning Democracy," another
Times' regular columnist, Bob Herbert, wrote:  "... the Clinton
Administration -- in its actions if not its words -- has abandoned
Father Aristide and his followers and sided with the murderous enemies
of democracy in Haiti."

Sep. 21, 1994.  Soon after U.S. troops landed in Haiti, Bob Herbert
again wrote: "In a betrayal of everything this country stands for, the
United States is openly forging an alliance with the fiendish,
grotesquely sadistic enemies of human rights and democracy in Haiti."

Oct. 8, 1994.  "US officials link CIA to Toto Constant."  Constant, of
course, had organized and run the murderous paramilitary group FRAPH
under the eye of the CIA.  It was most active in the year following the
Governor's Island agreement in July, 1993, and played the key role in
turning back the Harlan County in Oct. 1993, the U.S. ship that carried
troops intended to prepare the way for Aristide's return at the end of
that month.

There's a lot more that could be dug out, I'm sure.  The record suggests
that it is Greg Chamberlain who, along with the editors of letters to
The NY Times, is engaging in "the simplification of history."

Tom Driver

Tom F. Driver
New York City