Dennis Bernstein: Kevin, before we get into the story that we’re going to break here, remind people what happened Saturday.
Kevin Pina: Saturday [February 19th], apparently, a truckload with six masked gunmen came to the national penitentiary, there was apparently no resistance from the armed guards within. They began to release the prisoners, and as you heard Mr. Quigley say [see www.flashpoints.net, Feb. 25th, interview preceding this one], 490 prisoners still unaccounted for are loose. People within the prison, two of the gunmen within the prison had forced the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior, Yvon Neptune and Jocelerme Privert, out into the street, then, apparently, they turned their backs as two other people then took the two of them and forced them into a car. We now know that the man who forced them into the car was a man named Arnold Bellizere, who I spoke with briefly this afternoon to confirm his version of events. And basically what Mr. Bellizere is saying is that there was $150,000 that was paid to people within the Prime Ministers office to use this attack as cover to release certain individuals who were on drug charges within the penitentiary, but that also, part of this plot was to cover an assassination plot against the Prime Minister, because Arneld Bellizere is now saying that he was indeed hired to take the Prime Minister to that private residence that Bill Quigley referred to when he described what happened, and he was supposed to have shot the Prime Minister there.
Apparently he changed his mind, his conscience got the better of him; he then allowed the Prime Minister to make phone calls, which ultimately led to him turning himself in to the United Nations. Dennis, I’ve got to say one other thing here before we go on here. If I seem a little shook up its because I just received word from out Haiti Information Project crew, on the ground in Port au Prince, that just today again, the United Nations and the Haitian National Police conducted a massive operation in the poor neighbourhood of Bel Air and 12 people, we’ve confirmed that twelve people were shot in cold blood by the Haitian National Police in the neighbourhood of Bel Air...We have photographic evidence; my crew has been interviewing victims on the ground in Village de Deux; yesterday eight people were brutally slaughtered by the Haitian National Police, again with the United Nations standing by. I have to mention that only because you can tell from how Bill Quigley described this and now this story as told by Bellizere, that quickly, that the situation is quickly unravelling in Haiti, despite the attempts of the Bush administration, despite the attempts of the United Nations to try to pretend that this is a normal situation, that the situation is normalizing; it’s clear that it’s anything but at this moment.
Bernstein: I want to come back to that story, very important story, and obviously the people who supported the U.S. coup and who were implanted by that coup are getting nervous because we’re coming up on that exact one year since the taking out of Aristide, so people were anticipating protests and I guess that this is proactive attempt to shut down by force and intimidation any kind of resistance. But let’s just restate this story now. Arneld Bellizere, a former military man, was inside the prison when the break occurred. Is that correct?
Pina: That’s correct. And he had communication knowing when the gunmen were going to go into the prison. His job was to take the Prime Minister, take him into the car, drive him to an undisclosed location, in Canapé Vert, which Bill Quigley described as a friends house, a fellow prisoners house, and to kill him, to assassinate him.
Bernstein: And what role was he supposed to play?
Pina: He was supposed to be the gunman.
Bernstein: When they say [this was an] inside job, inside prison job, was he the insider that we’re talking about?
Pina: According to him, it was already prearranged, that he knew when the attack was going to happen on the prison, and that his job was to whisk the Prime Minister away, and to kill him, to assassinate him. But according to him, he changed his mind and he decided that he couldn’t go through with it, and now he wants to go public and let everyone know that this was an inside job that was created, that was orchestrated by certain individuals within the U.S. installed Prime Ministers office.
Bernstein: When did you speak with him?
Pina: This afternoon.
Bernstein: And why exactly is he going public...?
Pina: He says his conscience got the better of him, that he’s a man of god, he made the comment that he feels the worst crime he ever committed was when he joined the rebellion against Aristide, interestingly enough.
Bernstein: When he joined the resistance against Aristide?
Bernstein: Where is he now? Is he still in Haiti?
Pina: He’s in hiding in Port au Prince.
Bernstein: Kevin, [talk] more about the killing, were there people killed yesterday or just wounded from the gunfire.
Pina: No, killed, murdered, brutally murdered by the police, with the UN standing by. Now what’s interesting is that these are the same two neighbourhoods where previous massacres have occurred. And what’s going on is that you’re absolutely right, as the one year anniversary of the coup...and by the way Lavalas has announced, the majority political party of now exiled President Jean Bertrand Aristide, has announced that there are going to be massive demonstrations on February 27th and 28th. We know that this is the reaction of the United Nations, of U.S. foreign policy, and of their proxies, the U.S. installed government.
Bernstein: Just to be clear, so the idea, in sort of a parallel structure, is that at one point you try and cut the head of the leadership off as in the Prime Minister, the Interior Minister, who are with Aristide, and then you go into the community and you try and knock off the community leaders, and intimidate the rest of the family.
Pina: Absolutely, it’s a classic technique Dennis; we’ve seen it time and time again, used time and time again in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in Africa.
Bernstein: Do we know some of the names of the dead?
Pina: We will have them shortly. It was a very excited call that I received, just moments before you called. We’ll have more than names, we’ll have photographs very shortly.
Bernstein: The armed National Police did the killing?
Pina: Yes, the Haitian National Police.
Bernstein: Were they hooded?
Pina: they were hooded, and there were United Nations MINUSTAH forces present, and apparently...
Bernstein: How close, present? What do you mean [by] present?
Pina: Present meaning within visual distance, that they watched as this happened, they did nothing as this happened.
Bernstein: Kevin, maybe you want to very quickly comment on the fact that Prime Minister Neptune and the Interior Minister are now being transported and we don’t know where they are; what’s your concern?
Pina: I would urge people, I think that there’s going to be an urgent action alert that’s going to go out on www.haitiaction.net. It means that people are really going to have to pull together to put tremendous pressure on the United Nations, to put tremendous pressure on the U.S. backed government, to put tremendous pressure on the Bush Administration, to guarantee the safety and the lives of Yvon Neptune and Jocelerme Privert this evening because as Bill Quigley said we simply do not know where they are. We know that they are in transit and we know that there is a high likelihood, given that there was already a plot to kill them, that we know came from the Prime Minister’s office, where it’s being asserted by Mr. Bellizere that it came from the Prime Minister’s office, we can only assume that their lives are in grave danger this evening.
Bernstein: And of course it is no surprise that Bill Quigley and those lawyers working for justice for the Haitians are having their offices broken into, their computers stolen, and their files rifled.
Pina: No, of course, and it’s going to continue Dennis.
Dennis Bernstein is a regular contributor to Pacifica's Democracy Now, and Associate Producer of Pacific News Service. He is currently cohost of KPFA's Flashpoints News Magazine, and is a frequent commentator on WBAI airwaves.
Please check the Satya Center Dennis Bernstein Archive for more articles.