News Releases

Haiti, Cuba and U.S. Interference

KIM IVES, kives15@gmail.com, @kimives13
    Ives is the English language editor for Haiti Liberté and has recently been interviewed on “Anti-Empire Project” and “Democracy Now!” and other programs following the assassination of Jovenel Moïse.

    The New York Times states: “Haitian Officials Say U.S.-Based Suspect in President’s Killing Was Seeking Power.”

    Ives states that many in Haiti assess that the assassination is linked to wealthy families in Haiti. Ives notes: “Moïse’s government had issued an arrest warrant for Reginald Boulos, perhaps the most prominent member of this sector, and was on the verge of seizing his facilities in Haiti. On top of that, the entire bourgeoisie was panicked” because of the “growing organization of armed groups in Haiti’s impoverished shantytowns. Their leader, former police officer Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier last week declared a ‘revolution’ against the bourgeoisie, saying that the people were preparing to raid their grocery stores, banks, and car dealerships.” See “Suspected Assassins of Haitian President Moïse Trained by US, Linked to Pro-Coup Oligarchy” by Dan Cohen, which quotes Ives. Ives also notes that Boulos hired a D.C. lobbyist two days before the assasination of Moïse.

    Ives also notes: “There had been dozens of protests against Jovenel Moïse over the past months, but they hardly made a blip on the mainstream media’s radar. Contrast that coverage to the hullabaloo being made about one protest in Cuba and you get an idea of how dismissive and downplaying the U.S. scribe press is toward protest against a Washington ally.”

The BBC states: “Cuba protests: Thousands rally against government as economy struggles.”

JAMES EARLY, earlytempos@gmail.com
    Early has visited Cuba many times over 45 years. He is the former Smithsonian Institution assistant secretary for education and public service and was director of its Cultural Heritage Policy Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

    He said today: “First we have to face the material reality inside Cuba — a decades-long U.S. bipartisan economic sanctions war which was intensified by Trump and continued by Biden-Harris. Cuba is especially vulnerable to this because of its dependence on limited natural resources and its own self-critical attempts to rectify its economic policy. The U.S. government economic war, despite U.S. corporate projects desirous of normal economic relations with Cuba, was designed to undermine the economy and compel the people to rise up against their elected officials. And they are elected, though their system is different from others.

    “And prior president Raúl Castro had called for more self-reflection and self-criticism to consolidate the county’s achievements over the past 60 years, and to rectify its errors and failures independent of the U.S. blockade. So, we’re seeing these protests in the U.S. media significantly orchestrated via Cuban dissidents inside and outside Cuba openly funded by the U.S. State Department. What we’re not seeing is that the current president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has said that the Communist Party and the Cuban government are obligated to improve their performance in collaboration with a proactive critical citizenry. Despite the economic woes suffered by all Cubans, there is a refreshing, open critical debate mostly to improve the existing inefficiencies of the economic and political system in Cuba. ….

    “This even includes people calling for a return to corporate capitalism. What’s needed is that the Cuban people have that open debate about their own internal development. They can’t have that with the U.S. government waging an economic war or talking about some sort of interventionist humanitarian salvation. Such claims from the Biden administration are ridiculous given their backing of the brutal Colombian government or the apartheid Israeli government’s constant attacks on the Palestinians.”

    People in the U.S. should “demand that the U.S. government abandon the economic blockade and allow Cuban citizens and their government to address and resolve their own internal disputes within the frameworks and protocols established by the community of nations that overwhelmingly vote against the U. S. blockade.”

    See from UN on June 23: “UN General Assembly calls for U.S. to end Cuba embargo for 29th consecutive year.”

    See in-depth pieces and interviews with Early from The Real News with Early, including on Cuba.

Image source: Wikipedia

Fact: Biden Plans to Continue Bombing Afghanistan

An NBC headline claims: “Biden defends decision to end war in Afghanistan.” Similarly, a recent New York Times headline claims: “Unlikely Coalition of Veterans Backs Biden on Ending Afghan War.”

Nick Mottern in “Biden Betrays Another Campaign Pledge — Admits that U.S. Will Continue to Bomb Afghanistan” scrutinizes comments Biden made on July 4: “When the President refers to ‘over-the-horizon capacity that we can be value added,’ he is referring to a plan, that appears might cost $10 billion, to fly drones and manned attack aircraft from bases as far away as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.”

Similarly, David Swanson in “Biden Defends Ending a War He’s Not Fully Ending” notes that Biden’s remarks on Thursday referred to “counterterrorism over-the-horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on any direct threats to the United States in the region, and act quickly and decisively if needed.”

On July 6, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby was asked for examples of continued military operations. He responded: “the way you’ve seen it being conducted in the past, through — through airstrikes.”

Late last month a petition was launched: “To: President Joe Biden — No More U.S. Air Attacks in Afghanistan” to forestall such continued war-making. See June 29 IPA news release: “Former State Dept. Officials Call on Biden to Bar ‘Over the Horizon’ Drone Attacks in Afghanistan.”

Signers of the petition include:

Matthew Hoh – Former U.S. Marine officer and resigned U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan

Kathy Kelly – Peace activist who has made 30 trips to Afghanistan and co-coordinator BanKillerDrones.org

Media contact: Nick Mottern — nickmottern@gmail.com

Haiti and the Disaster Foreign Manipulation Has Wrought

The Miami Herald reports in “Haiti President Jovenel Moïse assassinated in middle-of-the-night attack at his home“: “The assailants apparently claimed to be agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to videos taken by people in the area of the president’s home. Moïse, 53, lived in Pelerin 5, a neighborhood just above the hills in the capital.

“On the videos, someone with an American accent is heard yelling in English over a megaphone, ‘DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.'”

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “These reports are absolutely false.”

See Wednesday Institute for Public Accuracy news release on Haiti. Also see Twitter list on Haiti.

AMY WILENTZ, awilentz@uci.edu@amywilentz
Wilentz is author of numerous books on Haiti including The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier and Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti. She can talk about the history of Haiti and how U.S. interventions have “inspired enmity and disgust” among the Haitian people.

See Twitter thread on U.S. interventions in Haiti.

CHRIS BERNADEL, cbernadel@protonmail.com@Blacks4Peace
Bernadel is on the Haiti Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace; both of his parents are Haitian immigrants. See the group’s statement from Wednesday: “Will the Biden administration and other political players use this moment as the pretext for military intervention, as was done in 1915? Will interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph attempt to consolidate power under the pretext of the current state of siege? Will the Core Group find a new willing puppet, more pliable than Moïse, to bring ‘stability?'”

EMMANUELA DOUYON, [in Haiti] emmanuela.douyon@gmail.com@emmadouyon
Douyon testified in March before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on what Biden administration policy on Haiti should be. She said today: “Since last June, with the collective of activists, NOU PAP DOMI (We Will Not Sleep), I have been actively denouncing the increase in violence in Haiti and urging the authorities to act accordingly. A friend and fellow activist, Netty Duclaire, was killed less than a week ago along with 18 other Haitian citizens. I am mourning and now comes this terrible news.

“Never would I have imagined that the head of the country would be assassinated. If he can be assassinated in his home, who is safe in this country? Whose life matters in this country? How are we supposed to keep going and keep burying our loved ones?

“We, young activists, Petrochallengers, tried to warn the international community with the hashtag #freeHaiti but it was to no avail. We are not receiving the kind of support we need whether it’s from the UN or other countries and organizations. This partly explains why the situation keeps getting worse and we can’t see the impact of all the aid received, not to mention that because of corruption there is at least one notable case of mismanagement of aid money: the Petrocaribe scandal.

“I am shocked by the news of the assassination of former president Jovenel Moïse. This shows the extent to which violence reigns in Haiti. Justice must be served. We, the Haitian people, must stop the current political crisis and end the vicious cycle of violence.”

Assange Case: British Court Grants Biden Limited Appeal to Continue Attack on WikiLeaks Founder

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin@shadowproof.com, @kgosztola

Managing editor of Shadowproof, Gosztola has extensively covered the legal proceedings regarding Assange.

He just wrote the piece “Assange Extradition: British High Court Grants U.S. a Limited Appeal” for The Dissenter which reports: “The High Court of Justice rejected U.S. efforts to ‘second guess’ factual findings made about medical and expert evidence.”

Gosztola notes that he has “reviewed the appeal submissions, which are not publicly available” and gives a breakdown of the arguments in his just-published article.

He reports: “’It comes as no surprise that the U.K. High Court will consider the U.S. government’s appeal, but Julian Assange should not be in this position in the first place,’ stated Reporters Without Borders director of international campaigns Rebecca Vincent. ‘He has been targeted for his contributions to public interest reporting, and his prosecution in the U.S. would have severe and long-lasting implications for journalism and press freedom around the world.’

‘”We call again for [President Joe Biden’s] administration to drop the appeal and close the case, and for the U.K. to immediately release Assange from prison, where his mental and physical health remain at high risk,’ Vincent added.

“‘[Stella] Moris [Assange’s partner] asserted, [Attorney General] Merrick Garland has egg on his face because of the decision to use a witness that perjured himself in order to try to imprison Julian and keep him imprisoned.'” See IPA news release from a week ago: “Key Witness Against Assange Admits Fabrication.”

Gosztola wrote in January: “British Judge Keeps Assange In Prison, Despite Ruling Against Extradition.”

Haiti: Assassination

Al Jazeera reports: “Haiti’s President [Jovenel] Moïse was assassinated by unidentified gunmen at his home, says the PM. Moïse had been ruling Haiti by decree after delaying elections, sparking protests that he illegally stayed past his term. The country is also facing growing poverty and gang violence.”

BRIAN CONCANNON, beconcannon@gmail.com@HaitiJustice

A longtime Haiti specialist, Concannon wrote the piece “Is the White House greenlighting Haiti’s descent into dictatorship?” for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He said today that much of Haitian civil society had concluded that Moïse’s presidency was not legitimate.

CHRIS BERNADEL, cbernadel@protonmail.com

Bernadel is on the Haiti Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace; both of his parents are Haitian immigrants. See the group’s statement, issued Tuesday, which quotes Bernadel: “Black Alliance for Peace Condemns Increasing Human Rights Violence in Haiti and the Continued U.S./OAS/UN Support for Unconstitutional Actions by Haiti’s Illegitimate Government.”

JAKE JOHNSTON, johnston@cepr.net@jakobjohnston
Just back in the U.S. from Haiti, Johnston is senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He had just written the piece “Biden Continues Trump’s Policy in Haiti Despite Bipartisan Congressional Pushback” published on Tuesday.

Supreme Court “Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act”

MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal@gmail.com@marjoriecohn
Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, recently wrote the piece “Supreme Court Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act.”

She writes: “Divided strictly along ideological lines, the Supreme Court construed what was left of the historic Voting Rights Act (VRA) to uphold two Arizona voter suppression laws that civil rights organizations had challenged for disproportionately burdening voters of color. This decision sends a dangerous signal to states that the courts are likely to uphold their voter suppression laws that make it harder for people of color to vote.

“In Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the Court’s six right-wingers ruled, over the dissent of the three liberals, that Arizona’s ‘out of precinct policy’ and ‘ballot harvesting’ provision did not violate Section 2 of the VRA. Section 2 forbids any voting procedure that ‘results in a denial or abridgment of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race.’ …

“’In recent months, State after State has taken up or enacted legislation erecting new barriers to voting,’ [Elena] Kagan wrote. ‘Those laws shorten the time polls are open, both on Election Day and before. They impose new prerequisites to voting by mail, and shorten the windows to apply for and return mail ballots. They make it harder to register to vote, and easier to purge voters from the rolls. Two laws even ban handing out food or water to voters standing in line.’

“The ball is in Congress’s court. Two federal voter protection bills are pending, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. In addition, the Judiciary Act of 2021 would increase the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to 13. That could provide an opportunity to dilute the right-wing agenda of the current six members of the Court who voted to open the floodgates of voter suppression legislation.”

“The Terrible Origins of July 4th”

MARGARET KIMBERLEY, margaret.kimberley@blackagendareport.com@freedomrideblog
Kimberley is author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents which was published last year.

She just wrote the piece “The Terrible Origins of July 4th,” which notes that among the grievances toward the British monarch outlined in the Declaration of Independence were: “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

Kimberley explains the context: “The men who every school child is taught to think of as ‘patriots’ had two concerns which pushed them to declare independence. First, in 1763 the British emerged victorious after the end of a conflict against France. It was known in Europe as the Seven Years War and in America as the French and Indian War. The American moniker existed precisely because the French allied themselves with indigenous nations against the British. British victory brought them French held territory west of the Appalachians in the region now comprising midwestern states, but they knew they could not easily end indigenous wars if settlers along the eastern seaboard were allowed to go further west.

“Because of continued resistance from leaders such as Pontiac of the Ottawa nation, King George III issued the Proclamation of 1763, which forbade settlement west of the Appalachian mountains. One of the speculators poised to become a wealthier man if settlements were permitted to move westward was George Washington.

“He was not alone in his wish to conquer the entire continent and to get rich doing it. Property claims had already been made in these regions, and neither he nor the rest of his cohort were going to let British treaties with indigenous people stand in their way. They largely ignored the edict and went wherever they wanted to go.

“Their second concern was whether the British were committed to continuing the previously unfettered right to slave holding. In 1769 an enslaved man named James Somerset was purchased in Virginia and brought to England. He eventually escaped but was recaptured and was in the process of being sold to Jamaica. But Somerset had friends who went to court on his behalf. In 1772 a judge ruled that enslaved people could not be forcibly removed from England.

“The ruling didn’t end slavery in British territories and in fact it lasted in those regions for 50 more years. But even this narrow decision was too much for white Americans who feared that the crown might undermine or even end their right to slaveholding.”

Kimberley blogs at Freedom Rider and is editor and senior columnist at Black Agenda Report.

The Case for a National Infrastructure Bank

ALPHECCA MUTTARDY, via Angela Vullo, avullo@nibcoalition.com
Muttardy is with the Coalition for the National Infrastructure Bank and recently released a statement: “In the final weeks of June, 2021, the Biden administration has negotiated with a bipartisan group of Senators on the terms of a package to provide $973 billion for infrastructure projects over five years ($579 billion in new spending, plus $394 in re-authorization of existing spending). Finalizing the Bi-Partisan Plan (BPP) will still depend on reaching agreement on how to pay for it, as well as on the terms of a second, companion package — The American Family Plan — moving through Congress under reconciliation rules.

“Even if approved, the BPP will not be enough to cover the full infrastructure financing gap identified by the American Society of Civil Engineers. ASCE estimates that $2.6 trillion is needed over 10 years, far greater than the $579 billion of new money over five years suggested under the BPP.” The group states that currently, “nothing is allocated under the BPP to cover high speed rail, schools, dams and levees, public parks, affordable housing, or new water delivery projects for drought stricken areas in the U.S. And the amount assigned to water infrastructure is a fraction of what is needed, according to ASCE.

“A fully funded, public, National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), as set out in HR 3339, would finance up to $5 trillion to cover all of the infrastructure projects listed above, in every single jurisdiction in the country. Passage of the Bill would guarantee complete funding over a ten-year period, without the need to re-negotiate again in five years or beyond. Moreover, the NIB would pay its own way, offer low-cost loans, mobilize for economic growth and development, all without adding to federal taxes or deficits.”

Muttardy is a macroeconomist and was with the International Monetary Fund for 25 years, now retired. She has also been involved with Our Revolution, as chair of economic policy for the group in northern Virginia.

* Key Witness Against Assange Admits Fabrication * China Whistleblower

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin@shadowproof.com, @kgosztola

Managing editor of Shadowproof, Gosztola has extensively covered the legal proceedings regarding Assange. He highlights the reporting of the Icelandic outlet Stundin, which reports: “A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder. The witness, who has a documented history with sociopathy and has received several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud, made the admission in a newly published interview in Stundin where he also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution.”

Added Gosztola: “What [the witness, Sigurdur Ingi] Thordarson recanted, contradicted, or clarified about Assange for Stundin shows why cross-appeal is priority for Assange and his legal team. Though extradition was denied, they never had [a] fair opportunity to impeach witness testimony after [a] third indictment was sprung on them.”

Since the charges against Assange have to do with helping expose U.S. war crimes and not with Russiagate, Gosztola noted: “More than two years later and Respectable Elite Pundits still have no clue what the U.S. case is against Assange. They just know why they hate him and damn the consequences to freedom and democracy if he’s ever actually brought before a U.S. court.”

Gosztola also just wrote the piece: “Pentagon whistleblower under investigation after warning about risks of war with China over Taiwan,” which states: “Pentagon whistleblower Franz Gayl has been part of the United States Marine Corps for over four decades. He spent the last months trying to warn U.S. government officials and the public of the threat of becoming entangled in a war with China over Taiwan.

“Yet instead of seriously considering his perspective, Gayl faces a counterintelligence investigation into articles he wrote and early retirement.

“He published an open letter to President Joe Biden on LinkedIn on June 22 in a last-ditch effort to reach the White House and communicate his concerns over the increased potential for an ‘ill-advised foreign war.’

“Gayl warned, ‘Taiwan’s own watershed “Gulf of Tonkin” event is only a matter of time, probably through an accident or miscalculation. Sensing the urgency, I submitted numerous op-eds to U.S. newspaper and electronic media outlets, but each was rejected.’

“’As a last resort, I contacted the [People’s Republic of China’s] own Global Times, which published my op-eds in April and May.’

“The publications spurred an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). His security clearances were revoked on June 1. …”

Former State Dept. Officials Call on Biden to Bar “Over the Horizon” Drone Attacks in Afghanistan

Retired Army Colonel Ann Wright and former Marine Captain Matthew Hoh, both of whom resigned from the State Department because of their opposition to U.S. war policies in Afghanistan, are among peace and justice leaders and policy analysts who have signed an online petition calling on President Joe Biden “to pledge that there will be no further U.S. air attacks on the Afghan people and that the U.S. will discontinue drone surveillance there as well.”

The petition is being circulated in response to press reports and officials statements that the U.S. is planning “over the horizon” air missions against Al Qaeda and ISIS in Afghanistan while not foreclosing the possibility of U.S. air attacks against the Taliban, should it be on the verge of taking over Afghanistan’s central government. These missions would be flown from the system of U.S. bases in Qatar, the United Arab Republic, and Kuwait; the U.S. Air Force is seeking $10 billion to support this system, according to a June 8, 2021 report in Defense One, referencing the “over the horizon” planning.

The 10-point petition notes that the “over the horizon” operation will reportedly depend heavily on the use of attack and surveillance drones, which, the petition says “amounts to an effort to further occupy Afghanistan from the sky, and represents a bid for U.S. influence in events on the ground through the veto power of assassination and ability to target attacks by manned aircraft.”

The petition, drafted by BanKillerDrones.org, expresses concern that U.S. air operations will hasten the introduction into Afghanistan of drones and other high-tech weaponry by China, Turkey, Russia, and other nations, prolonging the civil war, as has happened in Libya.

Early signers of the petition include:

Ann Wright – Col. U.S. Army (Retired), resigned U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan and member of the CODEPINK anti-drone war delegation to Pakistan in 2012

Matthew Hoh – Former U.S. Marine officer and resigned U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan

Kathy Kelly – Peace activist who has made 30 trips to Afghanistan and co-coordinator of BanKillerDrones.org

Brian Terrell – Peace activist who has made multiple trips to Afghanistan and board member of BanKilerDrones.org

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