Haiti Archives 1995-1996
04/02/96 The C.I.A. Has Again Infiltrated Haiti

The Nation Author: Allan Nairn Date: February 4, 1996

[ADVANCE COPY – THIS IS NOT A FINAL VERSION. THE FULL AND FINAL VERSION WILL BE PUBLISHED IN NEXT WEEK’S NATION MAGAZINE].

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The C.I.A. has placed agents inside the rebuilt Haitian National Police, where, according to the transition chief for president-elect Rene Preval, they operate outside the control of the legal Haitian government.

In an interview nine days before Preval’s scheduled inauguration, the transition chief, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, told The Nation:

“The C.I.A. is present within the police. It is present in all parts. But what their plan is, I don’t have it”

His statement has been confirmed by U.S. officials familiar with the operation who say that much of the C.I.A. recruitment took place during the F.B.I.’s International Criminal Investigations Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) police training, which was done last year at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, at the insistence of the Clinton White House and over initial objections from the Aristide government.

The disclosure comes as Washington is pressing on at least two fronts to prevent further revelations about its secret work in Haiti. On one, the United States has privately been in touch with jailed terror leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, who has been threatening to tell all he knows about U.S. support for the hit squad known as FRAPH [see Nairn, The Nation, Dates]. The United States, according to a December 11 internal government memo and interviews with informed officials, has made a special arrangement with Constant, a longtime C.I.A. asset, to deport him back to Haiti eventually, and if that occurs, according to the memo, to do so in a U.S. government plane complete with “V.I.P.” security and “no advance notice”for the Haitian government.

Regular Haitian airport workers are to be kept away from Constant’s plane (ground services to be provided by Brown & Root, the Pentagon contractor), and Haitian Customs will be required to “process him at an isolated location.” Constant is then to be the beneficiary of a program of “crowd control” and a “public affairs strategy” designed to urge Haitians “to remain calm despite the intensity of anti-FRAP and anti-Constant sentiment.” These extraordinary arrangements for Constant were finalized four days after he called me on December 7 from an I.N.S. prison in Maryland and offered to reveal “everything” about the United States and FRAPH. When I tried to follow up, though (he insisted on a face-to-face meeting), the I.N.S. denied me access, explaining that Constant had had a change of heart and no longer wanted to talk.

On Washington’s other front, the State Department is pressing Haiti to surrender its sovereignty over documents seized from FRAPH and the Haitian armed forces by U.S. troops. The documents, taken in highly publicized raids during the occupation’s opening weeks, include at least 150,000 pages of written text, plus videos, cassettes and “trophy photos” of FRAPH victims that U.S. Army Capt. J.B. Shattuck described as “bodies, all mutilated.” Although the documents belong to Haiti, as the U.S. Congressional Research Service recently reaffirmed, the Clinton Administration has been withholding them from Haiti’s legal government and from Haitian prosecutors seeking to try Constant on nine counts of murder, attempted murder and torture.

This week the State Department said that Haiti could have some of the documents, but only the “non-sensitive “ones, with the rest to be kept by Washington “until the issue…is resolved.” The State Department, led on this matter by Under-Secretary Strobe Talbot, has been pressing Haiti to sign an eight-point “Memorandum of Under- standing, “ which would place detailed restrictions on its right to use the documents. The memorandum includes no assurance that the United States will give back all the materials, and prohibits Haiti from making public “or otherwise disseminaing” any it does get if there is “a reasonable likelihood “that there is a “risk “of causing “unlawful repercussions or abuses” (a definition that would include sit-ins or other acts of civil disobedience).

The Haitian government must further refrain from using the documents for its own policy purposes if these go beyond “law enforcement, “”legal action “or human rights investigations (these in turn, to be limited to abuses during the coup regime). Probes of, say, the U.S. backing of FRAPH and Constant (or, for that matter, a possible U.S. role in the 1991 coup) would, under the State Department’s conditions, be considered out of bounds. Haiti would also be obliged to keep – and share – detailed records on those who see the documents, and accept Washington’s right to edit the materials as it wishes.

When asked to comment on the Constant case, transition chief Jean-Baptiste (who is in line to become Cabinet chief of staff) said, “”It’s fine to judge Toto Constant, but that’s not going to solve the problem. The problem is the gunmen of FRAPH, the attaches, the Ton Ton Macoutes,” “who he said were still at large and creating “a fear that is enormous.” Still worse, he said, there are “Macoute elements within the police,” and “the C.I.A. is in place [there], just as they were in the armed forces.”

Asked whether Haiti would try to investigate thoroughly and expose the U.S. role in its affairs, Jean-Baptiste said, “”I don’t know what that would serve” “claiming it would be futile. He said that for now the main concern is simply figuring out how to establish authority over the National Police, a unit slated to become the main legal armed corps in Haiti. “The government has to control the police. The important thing is to have a police in the service of the Haitian government.

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