Sunday, December 24, 2006

New UN massacres in Haiti.

The guys in the blue helmets and ungainly halos have committed another massacre in Cite Soleil. This report is raised by the activist Joe Emersberger:

More than twenty (20) people were killed by MINUSTAH TROOPS in the Drouillard-Bois Neuf section of Cite Soleil on Friday morning, Dec. 22, 2006 according to our Community Human Rights Council (CHRC) reps on the ground in Cite Soleil. In addition the private middle school, Diecee, owned by Mr. Perancy LAURISTAL, a spokesperson for our CHRC, was completely demolished during this military operation. The school was vacant for the holidays. We have the names of some of those killed, Ti Bos, Johnny, Gerald, Kesnel, Ti Rasta and Vieux Tirus. St. Catherine hospital, operated by Doctors Without Borders, has been overwhelmed by the victims brought there. Atty. Evel Fanfan has issued a call to the international community for help in this latest incursion into this poor neighborhood by MINUSTAH troops.

More on that one from Jeb Sprague via Chabert.

And last night, at least five people were killed and thirty wounded in Port-au-Prince, in what is described as a crackdown on "gangs". The BBC blandly notes of this massacre that "Opposition to the UN peacekeepers is growing amongst slum dwellers".

The UN occupation has already seen 8,000 murders, and the rape of 35,000 women and girls. You have to tell or imply a story about this that doesn't redound to the discredit of the US-organised putsch, and so political insurgency is repeatedly conflated with criminal activity. Military repression is described as policing. But that's the message for us - the rubes. There's an entirely different message going out to Haitians.

Have a little read of Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber's excellent 1996 polemic 'Toxic Sludge is Good For You'. Make it a Christmas present to yourself, it's only £6.99. Their website is here, and the report, with video footage, of this year's fake news is here. Discussing the undermining of democracy by corporate propaganda, generally known as PR, the book has a lot of useful information about the means used by companies and states to condition the public mind. For instance, it was pointed out by human rights groups operating in Colombia in the 1990s that the government had hired one of the many PR outifts that provide flack for fascism, in this case Sawyer Miller. These guys were charged with the same task as Ivy Lee's PR outfit was when it worked for Nazi Germany - to "clarify the American mind". Sawyer Miller recommended that the Colombian government, widely seen as repressive and corrupt, reposition itself as a victim of the 'drugs war'. Then, it should be seen to be leading a heroic fightback against the growers. And then, it should be seen as a crucial ally in the 'war on drugs'. One artefact of this propaganda campaign was a bifurcate strategy for handling the little excesses that the police and army got up to. If a body was found that had been tied up, cut to pieces, doused in petrol and set alight, that was 'suicide'. Other such deaths were 'unsolved'. Internationally, the Colombian government wept crocodile tears for the deaths and vowed to catch the FARC terrorists etc. Internally, the message was that the government could kill you with impunity and would only need to offer the most contemptuous of excuses when the body showed up.

We would be foolish to think that UN-led occupations don't make use of such services, since they have the most need for 'legitimacy' in what they do. If there is a PR firm like Burston-Marsteller operating in Haiti with the MINUSTAH leadership, they will have given the UN advice something like this: whenever you're going to carry out a crackdown that may end up with a great number of bodies on the street, make sure it's widely understood that Haiti is a chaotic, highly criminalised society. Best if you don't say it in the voice of MINUSTAH. Get UNICEF to condemn child kidnappings with the implication that the "gangs" you are targeting are somehow responsible, on the day that you carry out your operation. In this way, an increase in child slavery widely understood to result from the overthrow of the elected government will become an alibi for the occupation regime. Because they're the real victims here.