AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by Allan Nairn, an investigative journalist and activist in Haiti during the 1991-94 coup period. He won the George Polk award for stories that proved the direct links between U.S. intelligence agencies and Haitian paramilitary death squads. Among the stories he broke was that the man who launched FRAPH, Emmanuel Toto Constant was on the payroll of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Alan Nairn, welcome to Democracy Now! Let me start by asking, is it proper to say that Constant launched FRAPH, or did US intelligence agencies?
ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Constant did with the support of the DIA and also the CIA.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about that period? Can you talk about the relationship when President Clinton went on the national airwaves and announced that the US Military was going to move in, to go after the murderers, and the thugs, and the rapists, those who were doing this on the ground in Haiti. What was their relationship with the U.S. Government?
ALLAN NAIRN: Well, many of them were on the payroll of the US Government. Historically, the US Had backed oppressive forces in Haiti for centuries. France plundered the wealth of Haiti.
After that, when there wasn’t much left, even though there wasn’t much left to plunder, the US backed a series of repressive regimes, under The Duvaliers through Israel, the US funded massive military and intelligence aid.
And after Baby Doc Duvalier was brought down by a popular uprising, the US continued to back the paramilitary forces.
Starting around 1989, the US Defense Intelligence Agency encouraged the formation of FRAPH, essentially a terrorist group. Colonel Patrick Collins, the defense attache began working with Constant.
And Constant was later placed on the CIA payroll. He received cash payments from John Kambourian, the CIA Station Chief. Also one of the key leaders of the coup that ousted Aristide from his democratically elected presidency, the first time around, Michelle Francois, was also on the payroll according to a CIA — the CIA payroll according to a US State Department official I interviewed.
So, many of the officials whom Clinton was claiming to be fighting, were actually his employees, and if at that time, Clinton had simply caught them off, completely ended their support, the Haitian public itself most likely could have brought down the coup regime without a US occupation.
The price of that US occupation was that before Aristide was brought back, he was essentially forced to agree to abandon the economic program of the popular movement, a program of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor.
Aristide was pressured by Clinton and his National Security Adviser, Anthony Lake, to sign on to a World Bank INF program, which in the words of one of the main authors of that program, would redistribute some wealth from the poor to the rich.
Aristide agreed to that, in part because he saw that while he was in exile in the United States, his people were being killed on the ground by FRAPH and by the people of Francois and the coup regime.
And when Aristide came back under those conditions, in a US helicopter, moving around surrounded by US Special Forces people, cut off, to a great extent, from the popular movement, it was really the beginning of the end of the popular movement in Haiti, and also, I think, the beginning of Aristide’s own corruption, which helped lead to this current crisis.