Haitian Government Urged to Reopen Probe Into Killing of Jean Dominique
And in Haiti, the group Reporters Without Borders is urging the Haitian government to reopen an investigation into the killing of the pioneering radio journalist Jean Dominique. He was gunned down in the courtyard of Radio Haiti Inter on April 3rd 2000. Dominique was profiled in Jonathan Demme' documentary The Agronomist two years ago.
That's from Democracy Now! and I didn't know the name Jean Dominique.
This is from Haitia Progres, April 2000, "The Assassination of Jean Dominique: Is it part of Washington's offensive?"
At 6:15 a.m. on Apr. 3, a gunman entered the courtyard of Radio Haiti Inter and shot to death pioneering radio journalist Jean Dominique, 69, as well as the station's caretaker, Jean-Claude Louissaint. Dominique, who was just arriving by car to prepare for his hugely popular 7:00 a.m. daily news roundup, was struck by one bullet in the head and two in the neck. He was loaded with Louissaint into an ambulance, but both men were pronounced dead on arrival at the nearby Haitian Community Hospital in Pétionville.
In recent weeks, Dominique had been sharply critical of the U.S. government's heavy-handed meddling in Haitian elections and bullying of Haitian President René Préval, to whom Dominique was a close friend and advisor.
Are agents of Washington behind Jean Dominique's brutal murder? Is this just the opening salvo of a more violent stage in the wide-ranging campaign to intimidate the Haitian government and people into following Washington's directives?
That is the suspicion voiced by Haitians on radio call-in shows and street corners since the killing. For them, this is just the latest act of aggression in an escalating war which Washington is waging to see that its neoliberal agenda eventually goes through in Haiti. Vilifying articles in the mainstream press, warnings from diplomats, hold-backs of international assistance, and killings by the "forces of darkness" have all been part of a growing offensive to block the return to power of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his party in what has become known as the "electoral coup d'état."
I also googled "Democracy Now" and "Jean Dominique" and found this:
"Haian Journalist Michele Montas Discusses Haiti and the Unsolved Murder Of Her Husband:""
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go for a minute to a tape one of the last interviews that Jean Dominique did. Dan Coughlin, now head of the Pacifica network, was in Haiti a few weeks before Jean Dominique was killed. This was Jean Dominique's last interview broadcast in the United States.
JEAN DOMINIQUE: Throughout Haiti now, more and more poor citizens are asking questions. What questions? There has been with President Preval many attempts to put in practice what the constitution calls “decentralization”. What does that mean? That means that the small communities are actually able to take their own offers in their hands. That's power to the local government. That's decentralization. Contrary to the Haitian tradition of centralization, everything in the national palace. Now, every community has a chance to put in their hands their business, the business of the community, which is a fantastic step for democracy, actually. And because of this decentralization process, actually in process, the poor citizens are saying that we are the masters of our destiny. We can now start taking care of ourselves. And they are saying if we have to vote for the local government we have to participate, because those people will be our people. We are going to hire them the same way we can in four years fire them. So, the sense of citizenship is actually emerging and spreading. That's a wonderful step in the process of democracy in Haiti. Maybe our masters don't like this process. Maybe in the paradise of our big brothers, they don't like that those poor, desperate, illiterate, dirty people can take their destiny in their hands. But I think that they're wrong. They are wrong with their own principle, because a town meeting in the United States is not a revolutionary, is it? When a citizen goes to a town meeting to discuss things about his town, his city, he's a normal citizen. We want our democracy based on town meetings. We want our democracy based on the Jefferson principles. Is Jefferson contrary to Washington D.C. now?
AMY GOODMAN: Jean Dominique, one of his last interviews before he was assassinated April 3, 2000. Interesting last comment, is Jefferson contrary to Washington now? When I interviewed him as well, he was talking very much what Washington’s interests were in Haiti. Who assassinated your husband?
MICHELE MONTAS: I don't know, but from investigation that has lasted three years, three long years, I can say that so far, all of the available evidence leads to the party in power, to the La Velas party.
AMY GOODMAN: At the time the murder stunned the country, Haiti's president declared three days of mourning and ordered the national palace draped in black.
MICHELE MONTAS: Yes, indeed. There was a great deal of pain and suffering on the part of the Haitians when it happened. Jean was a symbol of Haitian democracy because of his long fight since the Duvalier years against dictatorship and for the participation of the majority of Haitians to the affairs of the country. As he said it earlier in his interview. And the question is to be asked, why was Jean Dominique killed? More and more, you're asking yourself whether it was not because of this democratic agenda that he was killed. A very good extent Jean supported, you know, whole movement for democracy in the 1986, 1987, and way before that also, and supported the La Velas movement as a whole in 1990, very strongly so. And in 1994. However, there were a number of trends which Jean found disturbing when the La Velas movement became the La Velas party. The former La Velas. When Jean identified the fact that a number of people within the group were not particularly democratic people. The way that the candidates of the party were chosen for the 2000 elections did not represent a real democratic aspirations.
You might have already known about him. I didn't and I'm not embarrassed to admit that.
Betty's not posting tonight. She's got her chapter ready and just wanted to do a read over it and "fine tune" it some. But Blogger was a problem tonight and she said she needs to get to bed because she's got to take two of her children to the doctor's early tomorrow morning. I told her not to worry about it and that I'd note it here and I'd pass it on to C.I. later so C.I. could give a heads up at The Common Ills tomorrow.
Betty did ask me if I could note this from C.I. Betty wanted to work that in but when Blogger went down, she couldn't get in to work some more on her chapter. She's been working on this chapter every day since Friday. She puts in a lot of work on everyone. I just look around the news and see what's something I want to talk about or what's something I don't know about.
I think of her and Wally as the community humorists. But Wally would be the first to tell you that the longest he ever has to ponder a post is an hour. Betty spends hours thinking before she writes one word.
So maybe you learned about someone new, like I did, or maybe you just got a review but I'm going to wrap up here.
I will note that I listened to Law and Disorder this week because between "Ruth's Public Radio Report" Mike's "Rummy, Conid, Dave Zirin and Law and Disorder", I knew I better get off my lazy rear and check out the show they both can't stop talking about.
WBAI archives and the Law and Disorder website are two places you can listen to it.
Besides the beeper bumper Mike wrote about, the first story really grabbed me. (I enjoyed it all.) This was about Scalia and how he should have recused himself from the Guantanamo prisoners' case. If you missed that story, you should listen to the program.
And if you need another reason to listen, Michael Ratner, one of the hosts, wrote this
("ABOVE THE LAW: Bush claims the right to spy on everything, including attorney-client conversations"):
And now it turns out that Bush's eavesdropping program is not only in criminal violation of FISA, but an end-run around one of the most basic pillars of our system of law: the constitutional right to counsel and the confidentiality of attorney-client conversations necessary to protect that right.
As an attorney for CCR, which has brought many of the most important legal challenges to the Bush administration since Sept. 11, I thought, when the NSA program was revealed, that we could be among the targets of the spying. We represent hundreds of Guantánamo detainees and high-profile victims of torture and kidnapping; we were winning cases against the government and successfully challenging their illegal actions in court. I had ample reason to believe that our conversations with our clients, witnesses and colleagues would be overheard, and even our families' phone lines would be tapped. Now, with the admission by the government that it has not "excluded" listening in to attorneys' conversations, I feel sure that this once absolute boundary has been crossed.
The attorney-client privilege is more than a legal nicety. It is central to the American idea of justice that all clients be able to speak in confidence with those who represent them. It is fundamental to an honest defense that attorneys have access to their clients without surveillance. In the past, when wiretaps picked up attorneys talking with clients, the statutes required turning off the tap as long as the attorney was on the line. But these basic rules have apparently been cast aside by the president.