VIDEO: Haiti Charges 10 white christian Americans With Child Abduction

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Ten Americans who tried to take 33 Haitian children out of the country last week without the government’s consent have been charged with child abduction and criminal conspiracy, as Haitian officials sought to reassert judicial control after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The Americans, most of them members of a Baptist congregation from Idaho, had said they intended to rescue Haitian children left parentless in the quake and take them to what they described as an orphanage across the border in the Dominican Republic. But they acknowledged failing to seek approval to remove the children from Haiti, and several of the children have at least one living parent.

The Americans will face a potentially extended legal proceeding in Haiti and could, if convicted, face prison terms of up to 15 years.

In a sign of the cloudy nature of the case, the prosecutor, Mazar Fortil, decided not to pursue what could have been the most serious charge against the group, that of trafficking. The charges will now be considered by an investigative judge, who has up to three months to decide whether to pursue the matter further.

The leader of the group, Laura Silsby, a businesswoman who describes herself as a missionary as well, has also come under scrutiny at home in Idaho, where employees complain of unpaid wages and the state has placed liens on her company bank account.

The lawyer for the group, Edwin Coq, said after a hearing on Thursday that 9 of his 10 clients were “completely innocent,” but that, apparently in a reference to Ms. Silsby, “If the judiciary were to keep one, it could be the leader of the group.”

The Haitian capital lost courthouses, judges, lawyers and its main prison in the earthquake, straining the judiciary along with everything else. Prosecutors said this was the first criminal case to receive a hearing in Port-au-Prince since the natural disaster.

The hearing took place in a hilltop courthouse that had minor cracks in the walls and scores of squatters living outside. A crush of journalists sought access to the defendants on their way into the courthouse, where police officers in riot gear prevented access.

The Americans were transported in two Haitian police vehicles — one labeled “Child Protection Brigade” — from the police station where they have been held since the weekend to Port-au-Prince’s main criminal courthouse. Mr. Coq said beforehand that their immediate release was possible, and the police who transported the detainees took their luggage to the hearing as well in case they were to be freed.

Ms. Silsby, who had helped organize the group’s mission, sounded a hopeful note as she waited to be taken into court, saying, “We’re just trusting God for a positive outcome.”

But during the hearing, Jean Ferge Joseph, a deputy prosecutor, told the Americans that their case was not being dropped and that it would be sent to a judge for further review.

“That judge can free you, but he can also continue to hold you for further proceedings,” the deputy prosecutor said, according to Reuters.

When they received the news, the Americans did not appear distraught, Mr. Coq, their lawyer, said. “They prayed,” he said. “They looked down and prayed.”

Reuters, which had a reporter in the session, said that all 10 of the detainees acknowledged to the prosecutor that they had apparently violated the law when they tried to take the children from Haiti, although they said they were unaware of that until after they were detained.

“We did not have any intention to violate the law, but now we understand it’s a crime,” said Paul Robert Thompson, a pastor who led the group in prayer during a break in the session.

Ms. Silsby asked the prosecutor not only to release the group, whose members range in age from 18 to 55, but also to allow them to continue their work in Haiti.

“We simply wanted to help the children,” she said. “We petition the court not only for our freedom, but also for our ability to continue to help.”

As they were led out of the courthouse one by one for their return to jail, some of the Americans smiled as reporters surrounded them. They left without comment.

The Americans were arrested last Friday as they tried to take the 33 children by bus to the Dominican Republic, where they said they were in the process of leasing or building an orphanage. It is unclear if the group had arranged for someplace to house the children in the Dominican Republic.

A Web site for the group, the New Life Children’s Refuge, said that the Haitian children there would stay in a “loving Christian homelike environment” and be eligible for adoption through agencies in the United States.

The children are being taken care of now at SS Children’s Villages, an Austrian-run orphanage in Port-au-Prince.

The Americans and members of their churches have said that they are innocent of any wrongdoing, and described the case as a misunderstanding. In an interview this week, Ms. Silsby said the group had come to Haiti to rescue children orphaned by the earthquake, and that “our hearts were in the right place.”

But some of the children had living parents, and some of those parents said that the Baptists had promised simply to educate the youngsters in the Dominican Republic and to allow them to return to Haiti to visit.

Ms. Silsby had made her intentions known to child protection officials, human rights experts and Dominican authorities in Haiti, all of whom warned her that she could be charged with trafficking if she tried to take children out of the country without proper documentation.

Some Haitian leaders have called the Americans kidnappers, but their case has created divisions. Outside the courthouse on Thursday, one onlooker backed the Americans. “The process they followed was wrong, but they were not stealing kids,” said Béatrice St.-Julien. “They came here to help us.”

Until Thursday, Haitian judicial officials had left open the possibility that the group could be returned to the United States for trial, sparing Haiti’s crippled justice system a high-profile criminal prosecution fraught with diplomatic and political land mines.

American officials have talked with Haitian judicial authorities about the case, but it is unclear exactly how much lobbying Washington is doing behind the scenes to affect the outcome. The State Department has said that whether to pursue charges for any possible violations of Haitian law remains a Haitian decision.

One expert said that by pursuing the case Haitian authorities seemed to be trying to make a point.

“Haiti’s decision to prosecute the Baptist missionaries may be motivated, in part, by the need to show its own people and the world that it is a viable entity that is tackling the grave problem of international child abductions in Haiti,” Christopher J. Schmidt, a lawyer with Bryan Cave L.L.P. in St. Louis who has been involved in multiple cases of international kidnapping, said in a statement.

US Hypocrisy Astonishes the World

Americans have lost their ability for introspection, thereby revealing their astounding hypocrisy to the world.

U.S. War Secretary Robert Gates has condemned the Associated Press and a reporter, Julie Jacobson, embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, for taking and releasing a photo of a U.S. Marine who was wounded in action and died from his injury.

The photographer was on patrol with the Marines when they came under fire. She found the courage and presence of mind to do her job. Her reward is to be condemned by the warmonger Gates as “insensitive.” Gates says her employer, the Associated Press, lacks “judgment and common decency.”

The American Legion jumped in and denounced the Associated Press for a “stunning lack of compassion and common decency.”

To stem opposition to its wars, the War Department hides signs of American casualties from the public. Angry that evidence escaped the censor, the war secretary and the American Legion attacked with politically correct jargon: “insensitive,” “offended,” and the “anguish” and “pain and suffering” inflicted upon the Marine’s family. The War Department sounds like it is preparing a harassment tort.

Isn’t this passing the buck? The Marine lost his life not because of the Associated Press and a photographer, but because of the war criminals – Gates, Bush, Cheney, Obama, and the U.S. Congress that supports wars of naked aggression that serve no American purpose, but which keep campaign coffers filled with contributions from the armaments companies.

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard is dead because the U.S. government and a significant percentage of the U.S. population believe that the U.S. has the right to invade, bomb, and occupy other peoples who have raised no hand against us but are demonized with lies and propaganda.

For the American war secretary it is a photo that is insensitive, not America’s assertion of the right to determine the fate of Afghanistan with bombs and soldiers.

The exceptional “virtuous nation” does not think it is insensitive for America’s bombs to blow innocent villagers to pieces. On Sept. 4, the day before Gates’ outburst over the “insensitive” photo, Agence France Presse reported from Afghanistan that a U.S./NATO air strike had killed large numbers of villagers who had come to get fuel from two tankers that had been hijacked from negligent and inattentive occupation forces:

“’Nobody was in one piece. Hands, legs, and body parts were scattered everywhere. Those who were away from the fuel tanker were badly burnt,’ said 32-year-old Mohammad Daud, depicting a scene from hell. The burned-out shells of the tankers, still smoking in marooned wrecks on the riverbank, were surrounded by the charred-meat remains of villagers from Chahar Dara district in Kunduz province, near the Tajik border. Dr. Farid Rahid, a spokesperson in Kabul for the ministry of health, said up to 250 villagers had been near the tankers when the air strike was called in.”

What does the world think of the United States? The American war secretary and a U.S. military veterans association think a photo of an injured and dying American soldier is insensitive, but not the wipeout of an Afghan village that came to get needed fuel.

The U.S. government is like a criminal who accuses the police of his crime when he is arrested or a sociopathic abuser who blames the victim. It is a known fact that the CIA has violated U.S. law and international law with its assassinations, kidnappings, and torture. But it is not this criminal agency that will be held accountable. Instead, those who will be punished will be those moral beings who, appalled at the illegality and inhumanity of the CIA, leaked the evidence of the agency’s crimes. The CIA has asked the U.S. Justice (sic) Department to investigate what the CIA alleges is the “criminal disclosure” of its secret program to murder suspected foreign terrorist leaders abroad. As we learned from Gitmo, those suspected by America are overwhelmingly innocent.

The CIA program is so indefensible that when CIA director Leon Panetta found out about it six months after being in office, he cancelled the program (assuming those running the program obeyed) and informed Congress.

Yet, the CIA wants the person who revealed its crime to be punished for revealing secret information. A secret agency this unmoored from moral and legal standards is a greater threat to our country than are terrorists. Who knows what false flag operation it will pull off in order to provide justification and support for its agenda. An agency that is more liability than benefit should be abolished.

The agency’s program of assassinating terrorist leaders is itself fraught with contradictions and dangers. The hatred created by the U.S. and Israel is independent of any leader. If one is killed, others take his place. The most likely outcome of the CIA assassination program is that the agency will be manipulated by rivals, just as the FBI was used by one mafia family to eliminate another. In order to establish credibility with groups that they are attempting to penetrate, CIA agents will be drawn into participating in violent acts against the U.S. and its allies.

Accusing the truthteller instead of the evildoer is the position that the neoconservatives took against the New York Times when after one year’s delay, which gave George W. Bush time to get reelected, the Times published the NSA leak that revealed that the Bush administration was committing felonies by violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The neocons, especially those associated with Commentary magazine, wanted the New York Times indicted for treason. To the evil neocon mind, anything that interferes with their diabolical agenda is treason.

This is the way many Americans think. America über alles! No one counts but us (and Israel). The deaths we inflict and the pain and suffering we bring to others are merely collateral damage on the bloody path to American hegemony.

The attitude of the “freedom and democracy” U.S. government is that anyone who complains of illegality or immorality or inhumanity is a traitor. The Republican Sen. Christopher S. Bond is a recent example. Bond got on his high horse about “irreparable damage” to the CIA from the disclosures of its criminal activities. Bond wants those “back stabbers” who revealed the CIA’s wrongdoings to be held accountable. Bond is unable to grasp that it is the criminal activities, not their disclosure, that is the source of the problem. Obviously, the Whistleblower Protection Act has no support from Sen. Bond, who sees it as just another law to plough under.

This is where the U.S. government stands today: Ignoring and covering up government crimes is the patriotic thing to do. To reveal the government’s crimes is an act of treason. Many Americans on both sides of the aisle agree.

Yet, they still think that they are The Virtuous Nation, the exceptional nation, the salt of the earth.

Ref: Antiwar.com

McNamara: From the Tokyo Firestorm to the World Bank

Robert McNamara, who died yesterday, July 6, served as Kennedy’s , then as Johnson’s defense secretary. He contributed more than most to the slaughter of 3.4 million Vietnamese (his own estimate). He went on to run the World Bank, where he presided over the impoverishment, eviction from their lands and death of many millions more round the world.

Just as George Kennan, one of the architects of the Cold War, helped bolt together the ramshackle scaffolding of bogus claims that provided the rationalization for Harry Truman’s great “arms scare” in 1948, launching the postwar arms race, McNamara tugged his forelock and said “Aye, aye, Sir” when Kennedy, campaigning against Nxon in the late 1950s attacked the Eisenhower/Nixon administration for having allowed a “missile gap” to develop that had now delivered America naked and helpless into the grip of the Soviet Union.

This was the biggest lie in the history of threat inflation and remains so to this day. At the moment when Kennedy, McNamara at his elbow, was flaying the Eisenhower administration for the infamous “gap”, the U.S. government from its spy planes that the Soviet Union had precisely one missile silo with an untested missile in it. The Russians knew that the US knew this, because they were fully primed about about the U-2 spy-plane overflights, most dramatically when U-2 pilot Gary Powers crashed near Sverdlovsk and told all to his captors

So when President Kennedy and Defense Secretary McNamara, took power in 1961, became privy to all intelligence from the spy flights, and announced that the U.S. was going to build 1000 ICBMs the Russians concluded that the US planned to wipe out the Soviet Union and immediately began a missile-building program of their own. So McNamara played a crucial, enabling role in the arms race in nuclear missiles. Before the “missile gap” it has been a “bomber race”.

It was entirely appropriate and logical that he began his services to the military working in Japan as a civilian analyst for Curt LeMay, the psychopathic Air Force general who ordered the raid that produced the Tokyo firestorm and who went on to become head of the Strategic Air Command and who boasted to Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis that his missiles and B-52s were ready, willing and able to reduce the Soviet Union to a “smoldering, irradiated ruin in three hours”, a deed he was eager to accomplish.

LeMay was expert in guiding bright young systems analysts like McNamara into giving him the ex post facto intellectual rationales for enterprises on which he had long since set his mind. McNamara was an early member of the “defense intellectuals”, including Roberta and Albert Wohlstetter and Herman Kahn, who developed the whole argot of “controlled escalation”, “nuclear exchanges” and “mutual assured destruction” that kept the nuclear weapons plants, aerospace factories and nuclear labs at Los Alamos and Livermore and Oak Ridge humming along, decade after decade. McNamara liked to claim later, as he did to Errol Morris, that it was he who advised LeMay to send in his planes at lower altitude, the better to incinerate Japanese cities, but the historical record does not give him this dignity. He was a small player in LeMay’s murderous game.

He faded comfortably away. The last time we saw him vividly was in 2004 as the star of Morris’s wildly over-praised, documentary The Fog of War, talking comfortably about the millions of people he’s helped to kill.

Time and again, McNamara got away with it in that film, cowering in the shadow of baroque monsters like LeMay or LBJ, choking up about his choice of Kennedy’s gravesite in Arlington, sniffling at the memory of Johnson giving him the Medal of Freedom, spouting nonsense about how Kennedy would have pulled out of Vietnam, muffling himself in the ever- useful camouflage of the “fog of war.”

Now, the “fog of war” is a tag usually attributed to von Clausewitz, though the great German philosopher and theorist of war never actually used the phrase. Eugenia Kiesling argued a couple of years ago in Military Review that the idea of fog–unreliable information–wasn’t a central preoccupation of Clausewitz. “Eliminating fog”, Kiesling wrote, “gives us a clearer and more useful understanding of Clausewitz’s friction. It restores uncertainty and the intangible stresses of military command to their rightful centrality in ‘On War’. It allows us to replace the simplistic message that war intelligence is important with the reminder that Clausewitz constantly emphasizes moral forces in war.”

As presented by McNamara, through Morris, “the fog of war” usefully deflects attention from clear and unpleasant facts entirely unobscured by fog. Roberta Wohlstetter was a pioneer in this fogging technique back in the 1950s with her heavily subsidized Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, which deployed the idea of distracting “noise” as the phenomenon that prevented US commanders, ultimately Roosevelt, from comprehending the information that the Japanese were about to launch a surprise attack. Wohlstetterian “noise” thus obscured the fact that FDR wanted a Japanese provocation, knew the attack was coming, though not probably not its scale and destructiveness.

When McNamara looked back down memory lane there were no real shadows, just the sunlight of moral self-satisfaction: “I don’t fault Truman for dropping the bomb”; “I never saw Kennedy more shocked” (after the murder of Ngo Dinh Diem); “never would I have authorized an illegal action” (after the Tonkin Gulf fakery); “I’m very proud of my accomplishments and I’m very sorry I made errors” (his life). Slabs of instructive history, like “the missile gap”, were entirely missing from Morris’s film. In his later years he offered homilies about the menace of nuclear Armageddon, just like Kennan. It was cost-free for both men to say to say such things, grazing peacefully on the tranquil mountain pastures of their senior years. Why did they not encourage weapons designers in Los Alamos to mutiny, to resign? Or say that the atom spies in Los Alamos in the 1940s were right to try to level nuclear terror to some sort of balance? Why did they not extol the Berrigans and their comrades who served or are serving decades in prison for physically attacking nuclear missiles, beating the decks of the Sea Wolf nuclear submarine with their hammers.

It’s true that when he was head of the Ford Division of the Ford Motor Company in the mid- 1950s, McNamara did push for safety options–seat belts and padded instrument panels. Ford dealer brochures for the ’56 models featured photos of how Ford and GM models fared in actual crashes, to GM’s disadvantage. But as Ralph Nader describes it, in December, 1955, a top GM executive called Ford’s vice president for sales and said Ford’s safety campaign had to stop. These Ford executives, many of them formerly from GM, had a saying, Chevy could drop its price $25 to bankrupt Chrysler, $50 to bankrupt Ford. Ford ran up the white flag. The safety sales campaign stopped. McNamara took a long vacation in Florida, his career in Detroit in the balance, and came back a team player. Safety went through the windscreen and lay in a coma for years.

McNamara had very dirty hands, however hard he and admirers like Morris scrubbed them. Why did Defense Secretary McNamara overrule all expert review and procurement recommendations and insist that General Dynamics rather than Boeing make the disastrous F-111, at that time one of the largest procurement contracts in the Pentagon’s history? Could it be that Henry Crown of Chicago was calling in some chits for his role in fixing the 1960 JFK vote in Cook County, Illinois? Crown, of Chicago Sand and Gravel, had $300 million of the mob’s money in GD debentures, and after the disaster of the Convair, GD needed the F-111 to avoid going belly- up, taking the mob’s $300 million with it. McNamara misled Congressional investigators about this for years afterward.

To interviewers McNamara paid great stress on JFK’s “shock”, just a few weeks before he himself was killed, at the assassination of South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother. He also promoted the view that Kennedy was planning to withdraw from Vietnam. He oversaw the fakery of the Gulf of Tonkin “attack” that prompted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, whereby Congress gave LBJ legal authority to prosecute and escalate the war in Vietnam. He was a career “front man” for the Kennedys, called even to Chappaquiddick to help Ted Kennedy figure out what to say about it.

The Six Day War? Just before this ’67 war the Israelis were ready to attack and knew they were going to win but couldn’t get a clear go- ahead from the Johnson Administration. As the BBC documentary The 50 Years War narrates, Meir Amit, head of Israel’s Mossad, flew to Washington. The crucial OK came from McNamara, thus launching Israel’s long-planned, aggressive war on Egypt, Jordan and Syria, which led to present disasters. It was McNamara, after Israel’s deliberate attack on the US ship Liberty during that war (with thirty-four US sailors dead and 174 wounded), who supervised the cover- up.

McNamara had a 13-year stint running the World Bank, whither he was dispatched by LBJ, Medal of Freedom in hand. McNamara liked to brandish his Bank years as his moral redemption and all too often his claim is accepted by those who have no knowledge of the actual, ghastly record. In fact the McNamara of the World Bank evolved naturally, organically, from the McNamara of Vietnam. The one was prolegomenon to the other, the McNamara-sponsored horrors in Vietnam perhaps on a narrower and more vivid scale, but ultimately lesser in dimension and consequence. No worthwhile portrayal of McNamara could possibly avoid McNamara’s performance at the World Bank because there, within the overall constraints of the capitalist system he served, he was his own man. There was no LeMay, no LBJ issuing orders. And as his own man, McNamara amplified the ghastly blunders, corruptions and lethal cruelties of American power as inflicted upon Vietnam to a planetary scale. The best terse account of the McNamara years is in Bruce Rich’s excellent history of the Bank, Mortgaging the Earth, published in 1994.

When McNamara took over the Bank, “development” loans (which were already outstripped by repayments) stood at $953 million and when he left, at $12.4 billion, which, discounting inflation, amounted to slightly more than a 6- fold increase. Just as he multiplied the troops in Vietnam, he ballooned the Bank’s staff from 1,574 to 5,201. The Bank’s shadow lengthened steadily over the Third World. Forests, in the Amazon, in Cameroon, in Malaysia, in Thailand, fell under the axe of “modernization”. Peasants were forced from their lands. Dictators like Pinochet and Ceausescu were nourished with loans.

From Vietnam to the planet: The language of American idealism and high purpose was just the same. McNamara blared his mission of high purpose in 1973 in Nairobi, initiating the World Bank’s crusade on poverty. “The powerful have a moral obligation to assist the poor and the weak.” The result was disaster, draped, as in Vietnam with obsessive secrecy, empty claims of success and mostly successful efforts to extinguish internal dissent. And as with Vietnam, McNamara’s obsession with statistics, produced a situation, (according to S. Shaheed Husain, then the Bank’s vice president in charge of Operations) where, “without knowing it, McNamara manufactured data. If there was a gap in the numbers, he would ask staff to fill it, and others made it up for him.”

At McNamara’s direction the Bank would prepare five year “master country lending plans”, set forth in “country programming papers. “In some cases, Rich writes, “even ministers of a nation’s cabinet could not obtain access to these documents, which in smaller, poor countries, were viewed as international decrees on their economic fate.”

These same “decrees” were drawn up by technocrats (in Vietnam they were the “advisers”) often on the basis of a few short weeks in the target country. Corruption seethed. Most aid vanished into the hands of local elites who very often used the money to steal the resources–pasture, forest, water, of the very poor whom the Bank was professedly seeking to help. In Vietnam, Agent Orange and napalm.

Across the third world, the Bank underwrote “Green Revolution” technologies that the poorest peasants couldn’t afford and that drenched land in pesticides and fertilizer. Vast infrastructural projects such as dams and kindred irrigation projects once again drove the poor from their lands, from in Brazil to India. It was the malign parable of “modernization” written across the face of the third world, with one catatrophe after another catastrophes prompted by the destruction of traditional subsistence rural economies.

The appropriation of smaller farms and common areas, Rich aptly comments, “resembled in some respects the enclosure of open lands in Britain prior to the Industrial Revolution–only this time on a global scale, intensified by Green Revolution agricultural technology.” As an agent of methodical planetary destruction, McNamara should be ranked in the top tier of earth-wreckers of all time.

“Management”, McNamara declared in 1967 “is the gate through which social and economic and political change, indeed change in every direction, is diffused through society.” The managerial ideal for McNamara was managerial dictatorship. World Bank loans surged to Pinochet’s Chile after Allende’s overthrow, to Uruguay, to Argentina, to Brazil after the military coup, to the Philippines, to Suharto after the ’65 coup in Indonesia.

And to the Romania of Ceausescu. McNamara poured money–$2.36 billion between 1974 and 1982–into the tyrant’s hands. In 1980 Romania was the Bank’s eighth biggest borrower. As McNamara crowed delightedly about his “faith in the financial morality of socialist countries” Ceausescu razed whole villages, turned hundreds of square miles of prime farm land into open- pit mines, polluted the air with coal and lignite, turned Rumania into one vast prison, applauded by the Bank in an amazing 1979 economic study as being a fine advertisement for the “Importance of Centralized Economic Control”. Another section of that same 1979 report, titled “Development of Human Resources”, featured these chilling words: “To improve the standards of living of the population as a beneficiary of the development process, the government has pursued policies to make better use of the population as a factor of production… An essential feature of the overall manpower policy has been … to stimulate an increase in birth rates.” Ceausescu forbade abortions, and cut off disrtribution of contraceptives. Result: ten of thousand of abandoned children, dumped in orphanages, another sacrificial hecatomb in McNamara’s lethal hubris.

In his later years, McNamara never offered any reflection on the social system that produced and promoted him, a perfectly nice, well- spoken war criminal. As his inflation of his role in the foe- bombing of Japan showed, he could go so far as to falsely though complacently indict himself, while still shirking bigger, more terrifying and certainly more useful reflections on the system that blessed him and mercilessly killed millions upon millions under FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon.

Like Speer, he got away with it, never having to hang his head or drop through a trap door with a rope around his neck, as he richly deserved.

Ref: counterpunch