Stanley Lucas, the Evil Doer. Antonioj Read on!!!

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The other regime change

Secretary of State Colin Powell advised the continuation of Clinton's Haiti policy -- Aristide had eventually "corrected" the election results -- calling for increased international aid, but his diplomatic efforts were stymied by Convergence's rejectionism -- and by a White House that seemed determined to move Haiti policy in an opposite direction.

By 2002, Bush had eliminated the State Department position of special Haiti coordinator and removed the national security advisor from daily involvement with Haiti.

He also appointed Helms' ideological heir, Noriega, first as the U.S. ambassador to the OAS, and later to assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, in turn strengthening the influence of IRI.

Meanwhile, IRI's Lucas began to sabotage the U.S. ambassador, Brian Dean Curran, a career diplomat and Clinton appointee who had evidence that Lucas was undermining diplomatic efforts to resolve Haiti's political crisis.

Seeking to weaken Curran politically, Lucas spread destructive rumors about his personal life, according to a close associate of Curran's who asked to remain anonymous.

A journalist with access to U.S. diplomats in Haiti offered a similar account.

Curran's associate also said that Lucas threatened Curran and another embassy official, claiming they would be fired "as soon as the real U.S. policy is enacted." IRI refused to discuss Lucas' interactions with Curran or embassy officials.

In response to Lucas' freebooting, Curran demanded that USAID block him from participating in IRI's Haiti program.

During a March 10, 2004, Senate hearing on Haiti, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., pressed Noriega for details of Lucas' involvement.

"The approval of this new grant was conditioned on the IRI [Haiti] director, Stanley Lucas, being barred from participating in this program for a period of time because the U.S. ambassador in Haiti had evidence that he was undermining U.S. efforts to encourage Haitian opposition cooperation with the OAS efforts to broker a compromise.

Is that not true as well?" Dodd asked Noriega.

"Yes, sir," Noriega conceded.

Dodd continued: "Is Stanley Lucas still involved?"

"As far as I know, he is still part of the program," Noriega said. According to IRI's Scott, Lucas was barred for only four months by USAID.

Lucas' continued role frustrated Curran; he resigned in July 2003. In his farewell address in Port-au-Prince, Curran remarked, "There were many in Haiti who preferred not to listen to me, the president's representative, but to their own friends in Washington, sirens of extremism or revanchism on the one hand or apologists on the other," Curran said. "They don't hold official positions.

I call then the 'chimeres' [a Haitian slang term for "political thugs"] of Washington."

By the time of Curran's departure, IRI's Haiti program was flush with a $1.2 million grant from USAID for 2003 and 2004. According to IRI's Scott, "roughly $200,000" of that grant was used to junket over 600 Haitian opposition figures to the Dominican Republic and the U.S. to meet with IRI. With IRI's help, they formed a new coalition called Group of 184 representing the "civil society" wing of the opposition.

IRI currently hosts Group of 184's home page on its Haiti policy Web site, which features photos of anti-Aristide demonstrations in Port-au-Prince last March.

And Scott acknowledged that "IRI played an advisory role in Group of 184's formation."

Group of 184's power brokers were divided into two camps: its majority constitutional wing, which emphasized protests and diplomacy as the path to forcing Aristide out, and a hard-line faction quietly determined to oust Aristide by any means necessary.

The constitutionalists were represented by Group of 184's spokesman and most prominent member, Andre Apaid Jr., a Haitian-American of Lebanese descent who controls one of Haiti's oldest and largest sweatshop empires.

The hard-liners were led by Wendell Claude, a politician who was hell-bent on avenging the death of his brother Sylvio, a church minister burned to death by a pro-Aristide mob after the coup in 1991.

While the constitutional wing mounted a series of anti-Aristide street protests through late 2003, provoking increasing unrest, Claude and the hard-liners hatched plans for a coup. They tapped Guy Phillippe, a U.S.-trained former Haitian police chief with a dubious human rights record.

He was to lead a band of insurgents consisting almost entirely of exiled members of FRAPH death squads and former soldiers of the Haitian army, which Aristide had disbanded in 1995. For three years, they camped in Perenal, a border town in the Dominican Republic, using it as a staging point for acts of sabotage against Aristide's government, including a July 2001 hit-and-run attack on the Haitian police academy that killed five and wounded 14.

Lucas appears to have had at least casual contact with the insurgents.

In an interview by cellphone from Haiti, Phillippe said he and Lucas grew up together and that Lucas is a longtime family friend.

And though Phillippe said he met with Lucas late last year in the Dominican Republic, he maintained the meeting was not political: "He [Lucas] was helping organize a democratic opposition.

I really don't know about his job because I never would talk about politics with him."

Others describe more formal ties between IRI and the insurgents.

Jean Michel Caroit, chief correspondent in the Dominican Republic for the French daily Le Monde, says he saw Phillippe's political advisor, Paul Arcelin, at an IRI meeting at Hotel Santo Domingo in December 2003. Caroit, who was having drinks in the lobby with several attendees, said the meeting was convened "quite discreetly." His account dovetailed with that of a Haitian journalist who told Salon on condition of anonymity that Arcelin often attended IRI meetings in Santo Domingo as Convergence's representative to the Dominican Republic.

IRI's Scott fervently denies involvement with the insurgents.

"IRI has never dealt with Guy Phillippe or the leaders of other violent groups," he says. During Senate hearings on Haiti this March, Sen. Dodd probed Secretary Noriega about links between Lucas and Phillippe, and he, too, issued a denial: "I have never heard that [Lucas and Phillippe were associated in any way], and to my knowledge, it wouldn't be the case. It certainly wouldn't be acceptable."

Besides violating its own stated guidelines, IRI also may have broken the rules of its chief funder, USAID, which forbids grantees from working with "undemocratic parties" that do not "eschew the use of violence to overthrow democratic institutions" or "have endorsed or sponsored violence in the past."

Next Page: Asleep in the White House, President Bush was unaware that Aristide was being flown into exile


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Tiba, June 14 2010, 4:04 PM

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