Letters/press releases to the editor
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|Posted October 31, 2003|
|IRA P. Lowenhal, Aristide has made a mockery of constitutional rule in Haiti|
The Oct. 27 column by U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee and John Conyers, Avert constitutional crisis, reads as though it were penned by one of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's lobbyists. There is no constitutional crisis pending in Haiti, nor could there be. Aristide has seen to it that he, his cronies and henchmen have trampled every basic constitutional precept protecting this suffering nation from the reemergence of one-man rule, kleptocracy and repression.
Peaceful protest has been stifled by Aristide's armed thugs, whose operations recall those of the dreaded Tonton Macoutes and paramilitary forces that supported Haitian dictators.
Journalists are harassed, forced into exile or assassinated. Jurists and other officials have fled the country rather than execute Aristide's personal directives. Political and civic leaders who oppose Aristide's march to supremacy are targeted for elimination -- along with their families. Even the president's minions are starting to defect.
By making an example of one of them about a month ago -- a provincial gang leader assassinated with two bullets to the eyes, presumably for having seen too much -- Aristide may have finally overstepped the bounds of politically acceptable behavior in Haiti. The nation is erupting in protest. Violence is the regime's response.
Yet Lee and Conyers counsel Haitian democrats to put ''political interests aside'' and move toward ''successful'' elections under Aristide's unchallenged stewardship. Disingenuous? Perhaps. Self-serving? Surely. For there is nothing more alluring to Congressional Black Caucus members than standing along with Aristide on Jan. 1, 2004 -- the 200th anniversary of Haitian independence.
Yet Haiti's leading artists, intellectuals and writers recently circulated a petition asking the world to boycott the commemoration of this signal achievement.
Founding board member, Haiti Democracy Project, Miami
Reprinted from The Miami Herald of October 31, 2003.
|Posted October 31, 2003|
|Attacks and threats force two radio stations off the air|
|October 30th, 2003|
Reporters Without Borders today condemned a shooting attack on an independent radio station in the Haitian capital on 28 October and the threats that forced a provincial radio station off the air the day before, and the organisation called on the government to protect journalists and carry out investigations to establish who was responsible for the violence.
"Once again we ask the Haitian authorities to put an end to the impunity enjoyed by those who attack the news media," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said.
"It is especially worrying that this latest violence follows verbal attacks on the press by government officials and supporters," he said. In the attack on privately-owned Radio Caraïbes in Port-au-Prince on 28 October, gunmen used automatic weapons to fire on the outside of the building, causing considerable damage to its facade and to the car of the stations sports reporter, Harold Domond. No one was hurt, however.
Witnesses said the gunmen came in a car with official plates. News editor Jean-Elie Moléus told AFP yesterday that Radio Caraïbes often received threats. The station suspended its broadcast briefly after the attack.
Radio Maxima, a privately-owned station in the northern city of Cap-Haitien, suspended its news programming on 27 October after receiving threats from government supporters, its management said. The stations director, Jean Robert Lalanne, is a local leader of the opposition, which has been calling for President Aristides departure for the past year.
A report posted on the website of the independent Radio Métropole on 22 October said government criticism of the press has been mounting in the past few weeks. The report quoted remarks made the previous day by Prime Minister Yvon Neptune implying that the press did not report the news accurately.
In a ranking of 166 countries worldwide according to respect for press freedom, published by Reporters Without Borders on 20 October, Haiti was placed in 100th position, among the lowest in the western hemisphere. Journalists working for independent news media are often threatened or physically attacked.
Since 2000, some 30 journalists have gone into exile and two have been killed : Jean Dominique, the director of Radio Haïti Inter (on 3 April 2000) and Brignol Lindor of Radio Echo 2000 (on 3 December 2001).
|Posted October 18, 2003|
|Important request for a professor at UMass Boston|
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003
Dear Peace and Justice Activists,
We in the Boston area have a crucial case before us, one which reflects the attempts of the Bush administration to silence protest against its foreign and domestic policies, one which is part of the increasing attacks and repression against people of color at home and abroad. Please sign the petition, send it to your friends, and do all you can to help.
A message from the Boston area United for Justice with Peace Coalition
DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST PROFESSOR TONY VAN DER MEER NOW!
On April 3rd, 2003, Professor Tony Van Der Meer of the Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston, was assaulted and arrested by campus police for questioning a National Guard Army recruiter.
The recruiter had threatened a student who was passing out anti-war fliers, which called for two minutes of silence to honor Dr. King on the 35th anniversary of his assassination.
Professor Van Der Meer had objected to the National Guardsman for his inflammatory remarks that this student should be Oshot in the head, too¹, like Dr. King, for passing out fliers honoring Dr. King and advocating peace instead of war. A campus security guard intervened in the verbal disagreement and pushed Professor Van Der Meer to the ground, cuffed and arrested him. The District Attorney¹s office then charged the professor with assaulting a police officer, when in fact Professor Van Der Meer was the victim of the assault. Professor Van Der Meer faces felony charges for assaulting a police officer and if convicted, could be sentenced to five years in prison.
This outrageous attack on peace and justice activist Tony Van Der Meer is an unmitigated expression of the policies of the Bush Administration¹s Department of Homeland Security and the PATRIOT ACT which curtail the rights of US citizens to speak out against Bush¹s foreign policy and the occupation of Iraq. This outrageous attack is about racism, an attack on African Americans and other people of color who are being hurt more than ever today.
Here is what we can do to help!!
SIGN THE PETITION! to District Attorney Daniel F. Conley: ³Drop the Charges Against Professor Tony Van Der Meer²!
WRITE TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY DA/Daniel F. Conley
One Bullfinch Place Boston, MA 02114
WRITE OR E-MAIL GOVERNOR ROMNEY to ask him why he has not spoken out against the National Guardsman¹s incendiary threat.
E-mail GOffice@state.ma.us State House Office of the Governor Room 360 Boston, MA 02133 Phone: (617) 725-4005 FAX: (617) 727-9725 TTY: (617) 727-3666
COME TO PROFESSOR VAN DER MEER¹S PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE HEARING!!!
November 6th, Dorchester Municipal Court 510 Washington Street, Dorchester
For recorded directions call: 617-288-9500
Please check the www.justicewithpeace.org and http://firstname.lastname@example.org websites for the latest court information.
CONTRIBUTE MONEY to Professor Van Der Meer's Support Committee:
Tony Van Der Meer Support Committee P.O. Box 1014-02117 Boston, MA. 02117
For more information, see http://email@example.com
To organize a forum and bring speakers to your schools, religious institutions, union halls or community organizations to speak about the Campaign, Free Speech, Racism, Poverty, Militarism, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, Social and Economic Justice, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can reach UJP at 617-338-1197, email@example.com
|Posted October 16, 2003|
|GOUSSE VS. LAPD-RAMPART DIVISION|
|RACIAL PROFILING TRIAL STARTS MONDAY|
Los Angeles, CA. (October 16, 2003) - A lawsuit involving allegations of racial profiling will begin trial on Monday, October 20, 2003 at 9:30 AM in Los Angeles Superior Court before the Hon. Elizabeth A. Grimes. Urological reconstructive surgeon Dr. Angelo E. Gousse sued the Los Angeles Police Department, the City of Los Angeles, and Budget Rent-A-Car Corporation on June 21, 2001 for violation of his civil rights and negligence. He alleges that police misconduct during a traffic stop and later, at the Rampart Police Station, caused permanent injuries to his left arm and wrist. The trial is expected to last two weeks. Dr. Gousse is represented by Browne Greene with the Santa Monica, CA. law firm of Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, LLP and Sheldon J. Schlesinger of Fort Lauderdale, FL. Gousse vs. City of Los Angeles, Case No. BC 252804.
On February 9, 2001, Dr. Gousse, a black man of Haitian descent, flew from his Miami, FL. home to Los Angeles to lecture at a UCLA-sponsored medical conference. He rented a Red Ford Taurus from Budget Rent-A-Car's Los Angeles International Airport location. He did not know that Budget had purchased the car in May 2000, along with a Gold Ford Taurus, and that the license plates on the two cars had been switched; or that on July 4, 2000 Budget had reported the Gold Ford Taurus stolen.
On February 11, 2001 at approximately 2:00 AM, Dr. Gousse was driving the Red Ford Taurus Budget Rent-A-Car westbound on Interstate 10 (Santa Monica Freeway) near the Arlington Avenue exit when he was pulled over by Rampart Division LAPD Officers Mario Rojas and Javier Mora. Several back-up units and a police helicopter were called to the scene. An officer with a bullhorn ordered Dr. Gousse to throw his keys out on the ground and then exit the vehicle.
With the guns of at least six police officers guns pointed at his head and the helicopter roaring above him, Dr. Gousse was ordered to lie down on the ground. One officer jammed his leg into Dr. Gousse's back. Dr. Gousse was handcuffed in violation of LAPD procedure, which requires the police to check for tightness and to "double lock" the handcuffs to prevent them from getting tighter. The Rampart officers began directing racial remarks at him such as being told: "Hey, Boy, you're in Los Angeles now." Officers Clinton Achziger and Marco Oropeza and Sergeants Robert Hamilton and William Arellano were also present.
At the scene, Dr. Gousse tried to tell the Rampart police that he was a doctor in town for a medical conference and that the rental documents for the car were in the glove compartment. The police refused to listen. They made no effort to look at his identification, or to retrieve the exculpatory documents.
The LAPD arrested Dr. Gousse without telling him why. Then, with alleged excessive force and violence, they pulled him up from the ground by his arms in violation of LAPD procedures, put him in a squad car and took him to the Rampart police station. In the back seat of the car, Dr. Gousse complained that the handcuffs were too tight and were hurting his hands. The police ignored his requests to loosen the cuffs. He was told that if he continued to move around, the handcuffs would only get tighter, evidence that the handcuffs had not been double locked. The barrage of racial and verbal abuse that had begun from the onset of the traffic stop continued.
The LAPD's policy in Grand Theft Auto investigations includes: (1) obtaining ownership documents from the vehicle, (2) running the Vehicle Identification Number on the Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) to determine if the vehicle is stolen, and (3) checking the suspect's identification. The LAPD officers deposed in this lawsuit admitted that these steps would have taken only a few minutes to complete at the scene, and that it was LAPD policy to do so. They also admitted that they failed to take any of these steps before taking Dr. Gousse to the Rampart station.
At the Rampart station, Dr. Gousse finally learned that he had been arrested for the alleged theft of Budget's car. He was never read his Miranda rights. By this time, the handcuffs had tightened on his wrists to the point where his hands had gone numb. The handcuffs were removed, but only after the police put Dr. Gousse in a jail cell. Dr. Gousse had never been arrested or even gotten a traffic ticket. He was a law abiding citizen who had come to the United States to study medicine and went on to become one of the leading surgeons in his field.
While in custody, Dr. Gousse was questioned by Sergeants Daniel Charles Bunch and Michael Gerard Daly. After the officers conducted an investigation at the station, they learned via an MDT transmission that the "rental company screwed up" and that Dr. Gousse's arrest was improper. Instead of letting him go, the police began running a tape recorder and making self-serving statements. They asked Dr. Gousse leading questions in an attempt to "cover up" the police officers' misconduct, but he did not succumb to this ruse.
Dr. Gousse was in custody for almost two-hours. He was never offered even the weakest of apologies when he was finally allowed to leave. The rental car was impounded and he was driven back to his hotel by a police officer who, as Dr. Gousse recalled in his deposition, told him: "You know, you should think about sending us a thank you card." Dr. Gousse replied, "A thank you card?" And the officer then said, "Yeah, we didn't treat you that badly. . . it's incredible that we got you in and you were not booked. That's very unusual."
Before the incident, Dr. Gousse was a successful urological surgeon working as an associate professor for the University of Miami School of Medicine. He was on the verge of launching his own private practice, specializing in reconstructive surgery. As a result of the LAPD's misconduct, Dr. Gousse has been diagnosed with a radial sensory nerve injury and a brachial plexus injury. He is now severely limited in the duration and types of surgeries that he can perform, and is often relegated to acting in a supervisory role in the surgical suite.
As Browne Greene explained: "Dr. Gousse was 'guilty' of only one thing: Driving While Black. Had he been a white man, the LAPD's Rampart officers would have looked at Dr. Gousse's identification, would have retrieved the exculpatory rental documents that were in the glove compartment, and probably never would have handcuffed or arrested him. Instead, and with utter disregard of Dr. Gousse's civil rights and of the very laws that they swore to uphold, the police acted like brutes intent on doing all that they could to hurt and debase Dr. Gousse."
"Budget Rent-A-Car's negligence set the stage," added Browne Greene, "and they bear some responsibility here, but it was the actions of the LAPD's Rampart officers that turned Dr. Gousse's American dream into a Gothic nightmare. In one moment, he was just another person driving along the freeway, and in the next moment, he became the victim of racial hatred and physical violence. The police have ruined Dr. Gousse's career and his peace of mind forever. What the police did to Dr. Gousse is criminal, and that's why we'll do everything possible to see that justice is served."
"The events of February 11, 2001 have made me a changed man. I am haunted every time that I hear the sound of a helicopter or see a police car pass by. My dreams are more often than not nightmares. I had never been in trouble with the law before this horrendous incident, nor had I ever been arrested before. It was humiliating to have to beg the Rampart police to stop the pain caused by the handcuffs and to have my requests ignored all because I am a black man. I yearn to do the work that was my life's passion, but they have robbed me of that. As a physician, I know that I can't be made whole and this only exacerbates my feelings of frustration and hopelessness. "
"Racial profiling is an evil upon this land," commented Dr. Gousse, "and none of us can truly be free until we are rid of it. And, that is why I intend to make it my goal to raise my voice and speak out against this injustice until it becomes a thing of the past."
# # #
Editor's Note #1:
Angelo E. Gousse, age 40, immigrated to the United States from Haiti in 1982. He is a Phi Beta Kappa.Valedictorian of York College, City University of New York. He received his medical degree with highest honors from Yale University School of Medicine, and was a recipient of the Jonas Salk Scholarship for the Study of Medicine. Dr. Gousse completed his residency at Baylor College of Medicine and his fellowship in urology at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is married and has two children. His wife, Marie May Gousse (age 36 and a pharmacist) is a co-plaintiff is this case.
Edtior's Note #2:
Plaintiffs are represented by Browne Greene and Mark Quigley with Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, LLP (www.gbpwlaw.com); <http://www.gbpwlaw.com/> Tel: 310.576.1200; and Sheldon J. Schlesinger of Fort Lauderdale, FL.; Tel: 954.467.8800.
Defendant City of Los Angeles is represented by Cory Brente and Christian Bojorquez with the City Attorney's Office; Tel: 213 978 7027. Defendant Budget Rent-A-Car is represented by James B. Hardin with Call, Jensen & Ferrell; Tel: 949.717.3000.
Editor's Note #3:
Please contact Kathy Pinckert for copies of the pleadings at:
Dial: 310 562 0691 Email: Kpinckert@gbpwlaw.com
Press Contact: Kathy Pinckert
Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, LLP
Tel: 310 562 0691
Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler LLP
100 Wilshire Boulevard, 21st Floor
P.O. Box 2131
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2131
Tel: (310) 576-1200
Fax: (310) 576-1220
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|Clinton's so-called restoration of democracy in Haiti|
I am an American Citizen and I am proud to day of my fellow Americans in this country, after hearing that the polls about our position in Iraq was exactly what it should be, and that is: We support the Bush Administration in leading America and our young man and women in a fight which is probably one of the most important fight that we Americans should be facing, and we must all stand together and express our pride in having a government that has not faltered in the face of a great deal of criticism by many whose opinion about Iraq is only based on their political ambitions.
After all, we know that these very same people who are calling Iraq a failure, are responsible for the biggest failure of all :. ( The return of solaced DEMOCRACY in Haiti by the Clinton administration.) ( enclosed PICTURE OF THE DEMOCRACY THAT THE CLINTON'S GAVE HAITI)
We all understand that their agenda was their personal and political; gain in Haiti, but once that was obtained they choose to leave Haiti in CHAOS, that is why the US is viewed by many country of running away from their engagements, and that is why:
Today we are facing many obstacles from France and Germany who by the way Have their own agenda? I am not surprised by the stand taken today by my fellow Americans even when confronted on a daily basis by the negativity of people who by now we know to well (DEMOCRATS) This is why they are not leading the country today thanks to GOD.
The democrats are no more today and that is why we could be so successful in accomplishing our goals in Iraq, which can be seen by all :; THE BUTCHER OF BAGHDAD IS NO MORE: and is replaced by people learning on a daily basis what FREEDOM is all about.: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Now we can see the Iraqis expressing themselves, their views and feeling which we sometimes take for granted.
Until we look at Haiti and the voodoo Priest not only using new born infants as his means of sacrifice by offering them in voodoo ceremonies, and making sure that people who try to speak out or manifesting pacifically their outrage are being silenced on a daily basis.
People all over Haiti are now asking for ARISTIDE to resign, unless the United States take a stand openly the country is on the verge of a Civil War.
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