Tuesday, July 26, 2005


International news briefs: Haiti, Italy, Lebanon

AI finally gets around to noticing that something might be wrong in Haiti: Haiti: Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience: Gérard Jean-Juste (m), aged 59, Catholic priest ... Catholic priest Gérard Jean-Juste was taken into custody at a police station "for his own protection" on 21 July, after he was assaulted, but while he was at the police station he was accused of murder. He was abroad at the time of the murder of which he has been accused, but he is a prominent opponent of the government. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience, detained solely because he has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression. He risks spending a long time in custody awaiting trial on apparently trumped-up charges. Someday they might notice the senseless shootings of civilians by troops under Brazilian command in Cite Soleil. Even the Miami Herald, so skilled at ignoring injustices, managed to print this excellent piece by novelist Edwidge Danticat : On July 28, 1915, U.S. forces invaded Haiti, launching an occupation that would last 19 years....Wilson's administration...shut down the press, installed a lame-duck government, rewrote the constitution to give foreigners land-owning rights, took charge of Haiti's banks and customs and instituted a system of compulsory labor for poor Haitians. Those who resisted the occupation -- among them a militant peasant-run group called Cacos -- were crushed. In 1919, U.S. Marines in blackface ambushed and killed the Cacos' fearless leader, Charlemagne Peralte, mutilated his corpse and displayed it in a public square for days. By the end of the occupation, more than 15,000 Haitians had lost their lives. A Haitian gendarmerie was trained to replace the U.S. Marines, then proceeded to form juntas, organize coups and terrorize Haitians for decades. (via Info Clearing House) Meanwhile reconstruction in Iraq going wonderfully According to the LA Times, the Italian opera bouffant on pretending to arrest CIA agents is in Act II An Italian appeals court ordered the arrest of six additional CIA operatives Monday in connection with the disappearance of a radical Muslim cleric who was snatched from the streets of Milan two years ago, a prosecutor said. The arrest warrants bring to 19 the number of operatives being sought by Italian justice officials. None is believed to be in Italy currently, and no one has been arrested in connection with the case. But there have been serious, serious repercussions: Although most of the names used were probably aliases, the identity of the former CIA station chief in Milan was exposed and has been printed widely in the Italian press and some American press. He no longer works for the agency and has vanished from a retirement home he purchased near Turin. (via Truthout Unlike Valerie Plame, the identities of CIA station chiefs are often a thinly-held secret. But watch for the righties to denounce this outing. And Lebanese politics returns to normal after Syrian withdrawal At least one person has been killed and several others wounded in clashes that broke out in Beirut after the Lebanese parliament granted former militia leader Samir Geagea amnesty.The violence began when sticks and rocks were used in fighting between members of the Shia Amal movement and Christian Maronite supporters of Geagea. I can't wait to see what Robert Fisk and Juan Cole, who were much more optimistic than I about the consequences of Syrian withdrawal have to say about this development.
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