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Stephen Lendman: UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism

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    UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism by Stephen Lendman sjlendman.blogspot.com The world community calls them Blue Helmets or peacekeepers, and the UN defines
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2007
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      UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism
      by Stephen Lendman
      sjlendman.blogspot.com


      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
      lendmanstephen @ sbcglobal.net.

      Tune into the Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on The Micro
      Effect.com each Saturday at noon US central time.

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