December 12, 2004


Denounce AP's disinformation campaign, bias and misleading coverage in Haiti

December 10 marks International Human Rights Day, when we commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (signed December 10, 1948, following World War II.) At that time, many in the world hoped that by enshrining respect for human rights in the structure of the United Nations, we would help move the world in a peaceful direction and prevent another world war.

More than fifty years later, the world has once again descended into a global battle for empire, resources, and hegemony. With a second Bush administration, it becomes more important than ever to demand respect for human rights in every country on every continent, including our own, and to demonstrate the power of informed citizen activists to move the world towards peace in a time of war. On this International Human Rights Day let us renew our commitment and strengthen our resolve towards that end.

2004 has been marked by misery in Haiti: the brutal coup was followed by devastating storms, which have been followed by brutal repression. The all-out attack on the supporters of the democratically-elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has escalated since police fired upon a peaceful march on September 30, killing several people. On Wednesday, December 1, a new massacre took place - this time when police officers fired into a crowd of prisoners at the National Penitentiary. At least 7 prisoners were killed, and likely twice that many, or more. (In Haiti -- like in Iraq -- authorities often disappear bodies and refuse to release the names or numbers of victims.) The Associated Press account cynically reported that the prisoners had stabbed each other, parroting the official line of the prison director and the National Coalition for Haitian Rights. (We know this is not true, because the bodies of seven prisoners were viewed at the morgue with gunshot wounds.)

That same day Colin Powell visited interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue in Haiti and declared, "The U.S remains committed to your effort ... We are with you all the way." Latortue reportedly has estimated he will need to kill 25,000 people in the capital of Port-au-Prince alone to pacify Lavalas (the popular party of Aristide). U.S. support for the murderous Latortue regime illustrates the urgent need for all peace-loving people to speak-up this December 10.

Due to the long disinformation campaign against the Aristide government, and the blockade of news about Haiti since the coup, the Haiti Action Committee requests that you send a Letter to the Editor of at least one media source, seeking improved coverage about Haiti and respect for human rights. Our sample letter [see over] focuses on the erroneous Associated Press report from last week and The AP's general lack of reporting on the ongoing human rights abuses. Please feel free to send your letter to as many outlets as possible.

Call the ASSOCIATED PRESS national office in New York and ask for the International Desk: 212-621-1500. A live person always answers!!

Also, contact the San Juan Bureau of the ASSOCIATED PRESS
Phone: 787-793-5833
FAX: 787-783-0427

Contact Haiti Action Committee for more information:
www.haitiaction.org haitiaction@yahoo.com 510.483.7481




To the Associated Press,

I am writing to protest the misinformation spread by reporter Amy Bracken in her December 2 report from Haiti about the murder of prisoners in the National Penitentiary, her incomplete reporting of the crucial events of September 30, as well as her general negligence in reporting the ongoing human rights abuses of the interim government.

Though Bracken correctly identifies September 30, 2004 (the anniversary of the start of the last coup from 1991-4) as a watershed event in the latest round of repression, she fails to mention that police fired into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators, killing several people.

Regarding the December 1 prison murders, Bracken uncritically quotes sources Marie Yolene Gilles (of NCHR) and Jessy Cameau Coicou (PNH spokeswoman), writing, "slain inmates were killed by other inmates" with sharpened toothbrushes. Other reports of this event, (including that by Reuters, whose reporter went to the morgue to view the bodies), indicate that seven prisoners bodies exhibited gunshot wounds.

In her report from December 7, Bracken repeats the vague charge, "Latortue has accused Aristide of orchestrating the violence" at the end of a lengthy account of violence in popular neighborhoods. Nowhere in her account does she examine the fundamental role of the former military, police and interim authorities in perpetrating violence.

Ms. Bracken is one of the few international reporters remaining in Haiti. Because AP distributes her stories widely, it's critically important that they be accurate. I strongly protest her unquestioning acceptance of lies from members of the interim government. I demand AP provide unbiased and accurate information about Haiti, including stories concerning the repression of the Lavalas movement and the U.S. involvement in the February 29 coup. Now that would be a scoop.

Sincerely yours,



Phone #__________________ )

Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership
"Men anpil chay pa lou" is Kreyol for - "Many hands make light a heavy load."
See, The Haitian Leadership Networks' 7 "men anpil chay pa
lou" campaigns to help restore Haiti's independence, the will of the mass electorate and the rule of law. See, http://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaigns.html
and http://www.margueritelaurent.com/law/lawpress.html .
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Denounce Canada's role in Haiti: Canadian officials Contact Infomation

Urge the Caribbean Community to stand firm in not recognizing the illegal Latortue regime:

Selected CARICOM Contacts
zilibutton Slide Show at the July 27, 2004 Haiti Forum Press Conference during the DNC in Boston honoring those who stand firm for Haiti and democracy; those who tell the truth about Haiti; Presenting the Haiti Resolution, and; remembering Haiti's revolutionary legacy in 2004 and all those who have lost life or liberty fighting against the Feb. 29, 2004 Coup d'etat and its consequences
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