Marines did not fire into any crowds, period
by Lt. Col. Dave Lapan, USMC

Your report on the Flag Day demonstration in Haiti is inflammatory and so riddled with factual errors as to be nearly fictional. As the spokesman for the Multinational Interim Force in Haiti, allow me to correct the record regarding MIF forces and U.S. Marines.

First, Marines did not fire into any crowds, period. Marine forces of the Multinational Interim Force did not fire any bullets - into the air, into the ground or at individuals. No one was killed by U.S. Marines. The Marines did not "take away" any bodies. Marines were indeed on the streets to provide a security presence and to assist the HNP as requested, but contrary to your report, they did not witness any "slaughter." Press accounts here in Haiti are that one person - not nine - was killed during the demonstration. It remains unclear how that person died.

In addition, last week's arrest of Annette Auguste by the Haitian National Police had nothing to do with planned Flag Day activities; instead, she was detained by MIF forces for questioning about threats to our forces and to stability and security in Haiti. She was arrested by the HNP on an outstanding warrant.

If you have information that an American journalist was fired upon by U.S. Marines, as you report, why do you not divulge the name or affiliation of that reporter? Since this event never happened, as no Marines fired their weapons as previously stated, I would be interested in speaking to the journalist to hear from him (or her) what he believed happened.

Finally, in both this report and in your previous story on the arrest of So Ann, you quote me or attribute statements to me even though you have never called to speak to me directly. It is clear from both your methods and your reporting that your publication is interested only in rumors and falsehoods. I find no other way to characterize what you have published on events in Haiti.

If you or your correspondents are interested in the full story of what is happening here, I'd recommend that you contact me directly, as well as the spokesmen for the Haitian National Police and the interim government.

Lt. Col. Lapan is director of the Public Affairs Office, Combined Joint Task Force- Haiti, APO AA 34005, (509) 514-0353/552-2659.
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