Battle Flags, Etc.

... From A to Z ... Australia to Zimbabwe ... U.S. troops were sent to 100 nations in '97.

July 97

Efforts to eliminate or ignore the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
WASHINGTON, DC -- Feel threatened by Iceland? Don't worry -- the U.S. military has troops stationed in the tiny island nation to protect us from danger.

And just to be on the safe side, we also sent some troops to Qatar...and Madagascar...and Sri Lanka.

And Ghana, and Mozambique, and Kazakhstan, and Burma, and Namibia -- and 91 other countries that most Americans can't pronounce, much less locate on a map, the Libertarian Party noted today.

"In all, our government sent troops to 100 nations over the past 90 days," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national chairman. "From A to Z -- Australia to Zimbabwe -- American soldiers are roaming the world, doing everything but defending our country."

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Army boasted about reaching a "new milestone," with troops deployed in 100 nations around the world, according to a press release issued by the Army's Public Affairs office in Washington, DC.

"In other words, American soldiers were deployed in more than half the countries on the globe -- 100 of the world's 197 nations, according to Army figures," said Dasbach. "That isn't a national defense -- it's a national offense. It's an offense against U.S. taxpayers, who are paying huge amounts of money for a global case of military mission creep."

The number of countries with a U.S. military presence has fallen slightly this week, to only 92 countries. Over the past 30 days, more than 26,778 U.S. troops were deployed somewhere around the world.

And in most of those 92 countries, the deployments had nothing whatsoever to do with U.S. security, noted Dasbach.

"Our armed forces have become the world's referee, all-purpose handyman, and heavily armed Good Samaritan," he said. For example, American troops were sent to...

* Haiti -- to dig water wells.

* Congo -- to evacuate 57 people and one dog.

* Morocco -- to supervise a civil war cease-fire.

* Cambodia and Laos -- to clear land mines.

* Micronesia -- to build a warehouse.

* Egypt -- to monitor the Israel/Egypt demilitarized zone.

* Belize -- to renovate schools and roads.

* Ecuador and Peru -- to monitor a disputed border region.

But it gets worse, said Dasbach: "In order to keep our soldiers busy, politicians have decided to make American troops the world's environmental police."

For example, the government is now planning to send U.S. troops to 32 Latin American and Caribbean nations -- to guard rain forests in Brazil, protect endangered species in Venezuela, and build nature parks in Colombia.

"Can Americans sleep better at night because our soldiers are guarding a South American rain forest?" asked Dasbach. "Is this why Americans each pay $1,000 a year in military taxes?"

The solution, said Dasbach, is to change that 100-nation deployment into a one-nation deployment: The United States of America.

"Libertarians have a message for politicians and military leaders," he said. "Bring our boys back from Bahrain. Return them from Romania. Pull out of Poland. Withdraw from West Samoa. Depart from Djibouti. Retire from Rwanda. Exit from Ecuador. Vacate Vietnam. Leave Luxembourg. And bid farewell to France.

"It's time we stopped sending troops to an alphabet-soup collection of obscure nations around the world. It's time that American troops just defended the USA -- and that doesn't stand for the Ukraine, Singapore, & Australia."

AP Corrects Southern Command Story.
US military: We don't do rain forests.

6/25/97 10:19 PM

.c The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) - The Associated Press reported erroneously June 5 that the Southern Command was considering training soldiers in Latin American and Caribbean nations for environmental missions such as guarding rain forests and protecting endangered species.

Gen. Wesley K. Clark, head of SouthCom, said Wednesday that the U.S. military has no plans to train soldiers from those nations for such purposes.

``We have no intention of expanding U.S. missions to include those types of ecological efforts,'' Clark said. SouthCom is in charge of U.S. strategic interests in this hemisphere.

The original story was based on remarks made at an environmental conference sponsored by SouthCom and the U.S. State Department. The event was attended by generals and admirals from 32 countries.

Clark said SouthCom never intended to perform any such training. ``We may exchange information on currently assigned military missions, and those countries may have military guarding trees in the rain forest,'' he said. ``But the United States doesn't do that.''

AP-NY-06-26-97 0115EDT

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From Australia to Zimbabwe, U.S. troops went to 100 nations in '97.
US Military assists Puerto Rican military in warrantless searches, anti-drug, anti-crime ops
US military systematically search for and seize weapons in Haiti

Battle Flags, Etc.

US Military assists Puerto Rican military in warrantless searches,
anti-drug, anti-crime operation

5 Oct 94.

Efforts to eliminate or ignore the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Puerto Ricans strongly support the National Guard's assistance to local police fighting drug-related crime, the island's governor says. But some civil libertarians accuse the Guard of abuse and racism in Puerto Rico.

Abuses have included searching apartments in public housing projects without warrants, excessive force and a National Guardsman killing one youth without cause, Nkechi Taifa, legislative counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, charged at a congressional hearing Wednesday.

Searches have extended to children's school bags and lunch boxes, and even babies' diapers, Taifa told the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, which took a look at using the National Guard in the war against neighborhood violence.

``National Guard assistance in local law enforcement in Puerto Rico is ... based on color and class,'' she said. ``It's a situation bound to generate violence.''

In addition to Taifa, similar allegations have been made by Judith Berkan, chair of the Puerto Rico Bar Association's Human and Constitutional Rights Committee, and Hector Perez, an ACLU official in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello said the National Guard has been a ``tremendous asset'' in police operations aimed at fighting crime on the island, a U.S. commonwealth. He said the Guard's participation, which has been narrowly circumscribed, has received ``overwhelming public support.''

The National Guard, which is part of the U.S. military, also has assisted local police fighting drug crime in Sumter, S.C., and Phoenix.

The joint operations ``have been remarkably successful,'' said Rep. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., the subcommittee's chairman.

``The gravity of the crisis on our streets ... makes it appropriate for us to explore today situations in which the National Guard may be able to fight crime without endangering democracy or its primary purpose of military preparedness,'' said Schumer.

But he acknowledged that ``the very power of the military dictates caution in its use'' in law enforcement.

The United States has a constitutional tradition of keeping the military and civilian authorities separate, and the use of federal troops to enforce civil laws is limited under the law. National Guard troops who took part in the local crime fighting operations did not make arrests and carried no automatic weapons, the local officials testified.

``The National Guard was a savior to our city. With their help we controlled crime and saw a significant drop in crime,'' said Harold Johnson, the police chief in Sumter, discussing ``Operation Crackdown,'' a five-day anti-drug operation in December 1992.

Mark Richard, deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said, ``We should approach this with great caution and look for (crime fighting) alternatives before we ultimately settle on it.''

Maj. Gen. John R. D'Araujo, director of the Army National Guard, said the Guard's use by local authorities should be limited to support functions that do not involve coercive activities such as arrests, searches, seizures and jailings.

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From Australia to Zimbabwe, U.S. troops went to 100 nations in '97.
US Military assists Puerto Rican military in warrantless searches, anti-drug, anti-crime ops
US military systematically search for and seize weapons in Haiti

Battle Flags, Etc.

US military systematically search for and seize weapons in Haiti

12 Oct 94.

Efforts to eliminate or ignore the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
WASHINGTON (Reuter) - Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said Wednesday he expected a ``beautiful'' day Saturday when he returns after three years in exile but called for continued disarming of ``thugs'' to avoid violence.

``In 1991, Haiti was celebrating peace and democracy; it was a beautiful day,'' Aristide told reporters, referring to the seven-month period when he served as president. ``... The same way, Saturday will be beautiful.''

He said later he was ``confident'' concerns about his personal security could be addressed, but did not elaborate.

Later, in an interview on the MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour television program, Aristide said the biggest problem he faces on return was disarming ``thugs'' and called for continuation of disarmament by U.S. troops.

``If we continue this process of disarming the thugs peacefully, we'll see how beautiful the Haitian people will answer,'' Aristide said.''

He said if the weapons stay in opponents' hands, there will be violence and insisted Haiti is a non-violent country. Earlier, in his talk with reporters, Aristide had kind words for U.S. troops now policing Haiti with forces of the deposed military regime headed by Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras.

``It's clear what the troops are doing there, they are disarming people, preventing people from moving to violence and with them we will continue creating that kind of peace,'' he said.

``Clearly that means no to violence, no to vengeance, moving toward reconciliation ... (and) establishing a judicial system.''

Aristide's comments were made at a news conference at which he accepted the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award on behalf of the Haitian people.

The award was given to honor Guy Malary, who was Haiti's justice minister when he was assassinated on October 14, 1993.

The award, a bust of the late Robert F. Kennedy, was presented by Kennedy's widow, Ethel, and her daughter, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- American GIs may not have been happy to come to Haiti, but now many don't want to leave. And no wonder: They have been greeted as conquering heroes, hailed and cheered wherever they go.


US Mission: disarm dissenters and everyone in general.

The commander of U.S. forces in Haiti has opposed an early, congressionally mandated deadline. ``There's no plan to leave this job half done,'' Lt. Gen. Hugh Shelton said Friday.

One reason Shelton's troops may agree is that the mission, which was murky in its first days, has become clearer. American patrols have spread through the capital and leapfrogged about the countryside, reassuring Haitians, attempting (with limited success) to round up weapons, and arresting some of the more brazen attaches.

They also have made clear that they will not stand idly by and permit brutality by Haitian soldiers or police. In recent days, the Americans say they have experienced few problems with the Haitian military.

"Routine arms search in the residential quarter..."

PETIONVILLE, Haiti (AP) -- Helicopters whirred overhead and thousands of poor Haitians cheered from both sides of the dry gulch. At the bottom of a tiny corn field, the Americans had just arrested the terror of the neighborhood.

``Kill him!'' some shouted, picking up rocks. ``He won't kill anymore!''

U.S. soldiers Wednesday had been on a routine arms search in the residential quarter of Nerette, where houses of the relatively well-off line the ridge road above the cinderblock houses of squatters.

But the people demanded they arrest ``Ti-Samuel,'' the Creole name for Samuel Chery, who had ridden night patrols with police since the army ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in September 1991.

They told horror stories of the beatings he administered in this predominantly pro-Aristide neighborhood.

``If they don't get him, he'll kill us,'' said Eliseo Cyprian, 30, a parliament building security guard who lives in the area.

Soldiers captured the 35-year-old Chery in front of his house without a fight. He denied the charges, saying of his neighbors, ``They're all a bunch of lying thieves.''

But residents told another story.

In October 1993, before the failure of a U.N.-brokered plan to bring Aristide back, Chery dressed in a cast-off army uniform and, armed with grenades and assault weapons, drove hundreds of his neighbors to seek refuge in the provinces.

``He has killed a lot of people. He has got to be judged,'' Benito Max, 37, a neighborhood delegate of the pro-Aristide National Front for Change and Democracy, told The Associated Press. On June 24, 1992, Chery and seven other police auxiliaries had arrested Max and beat him with cudgels.

``He said he was beating me because we Aristide supporters had made his people lose power,'' said Max.

``Ti-Samuel'' used to taxi people up and down the road by motorcycle, sounding out his passengers for pro-Aristide sentiment. Often he stopped in the middle of the road to beat up a pedestrian.

Before U.S. soldiers landed Sept. 19, he publicly said he would kill any Aristide supporters he found in his way.

On Wednesday, Chery claimed he had handed in his rifle and pistol to the local police Monday and had only a machete left. But U.S. soldiers, with the help of specially trained dogs, found several grenades buried in his yard, and arrested him.

``There are a lot of happy Haitians today,'' said Lt. Col. Ed Sullivan, who led the operation. He wouldn't say where Chery was to be detained.

As Chery was shoved into a Humvee and driven up the slope, hundreds of cheering Haitians clapped and waved green branches. Some hugged and kissed the Americans they called their ``liberators.''

After the soldiers left, the people ransacked Chery's house and destroyed all the property inside.

Chery is one of four notorious army-allied civilian attaches in Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, and the first to be arrested. There are thousands of attaches nationwide.

Also Wednesday, 25 Army Special Forces troops raided the isolated northeastern village of Fort-Liberte, where townspeople had said many army-backed gunmen had fled in recent weeks.

The soldiers descended before dawn in a Humvee and a white truck commandeered from the Haitian army and took over the crumbling military barracks without firing a shot. They found 50 to 60 rifles, mostly semi-automatic and in bad repair.

Townspeople stood at each end of the paved block, cheering and beating on yellow plastic buckets.

There were signs the American arrival was not a surprise. Reporters were told Tuesday that there were 60 to 70 soldiers in the town, but only 17 were present when U.S. troops arrived.

Officers said they had intelligence information about Belgian and Israeli assault rifles being stored in the village, but didn't find any.

Searches of houses of allegedly armed military attaches during the early hours of the operation turned up just one knife, and only six people were detained.

Capt. Mike Gallante told the Haitian troops, who stood in formation outside their barracks, ``The goal is to get the Haitian military to work with the people and for the people.''

He told them the Americans would work with the army to make it more professional and sensitive to civil rights. The Americans then left.

About an hour later, a squad of blue-uniformed Haitian police appeared on the scene and began rounding up citizens. The policemen left when U.S. soldiers returned.

Those aligned against UN choice for Haiti gov't are disarmed.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- A demoralized Haitian army, trained to fight U.S. troops to the death, is rapidly disintegrating and struggling to respond to humiliation by American troops.


The first weekend, U.S. Marines in Cap-Haitien opened fire on Haitian soldiers, killing 10. One of the Haitians had made a ``threatening gesture'' during an anti-army demonstration in front of a police station, Washington said.


Haitian police could not even fire a parting salute to the dead men; they had already been disarmed.

The Americans also disarmed Haiti's navy and arrested several key private militia leaders allied to Haiti's army.

And they handcuffed Haitian police outside a militia headquarters on Monday, taping their mouths shut and keeping their faces to the ground as thousands of ordinary Haitians taunted them.

UN troops alarmed that forces unfriendly to UN chosen gov't are armed

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- With one coup leader in exile, ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide appears a step closer to returning to power.

Aristide pledged in a speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday to return by Oct. 15 and called for reconciliation among Haitians.

``We say yes to reconciliation, no to violence, no to vengeance ... yes to justice,'' said Aristide, a Roman Catholic priest who is Haiti's first democratically elected president. He was ousted in a 1991 coup.


In what could be another promising sign, a feared paramilitary leader Tuesday claimed a conversion to pacifism.

Emmanuel Constant, leader of the paramilitary group the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, which has tortured and killed pro-democracy activists, urged Haitians ``on every side'' to put down their weapons and renounce violence.

But Constant's sincerity was in doubt: FRAPH is considered responsible for much of the terror waged in Haiti over the past year. And violence on Tuesday showed Aristide's peaceful resumption of power is far from assured.


On Monday, U.S. troops stormed the FRAPH headquarters in downtown Port-au-Prince and arrested more than two dozen members.

But with thousands of weapons still reportedly in the hands of FRAPH members and other extremists and some Haitians thirsting for revenge, the potential for violence remains high.


Inside police headquarters, Francois' temporary replacement, Maj. Marc Kernizan, met with former New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who will be leading a 1,000-member group of international police force to train and monitor the Haitian police force.

US Military disarms Hatian citizens,
conducts house to house searches

6 Oct 94.

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuter) - Alan Francillon loaded a 12-gauge pump shotgun, eyed the crowd of hungry Haitians gathering outside his food warehouse and said he was baffled why American soldiers were not protecting private property from looters.

``If they come again, I'll shoot to kill,'' he said. ``I'll die here if necessary, but I'm not going to lose any more goods.''

As the military state that protected them crumbles, members of Haiti's wealthy elite have taken up arms themselves to defend their wealth from the angry poor masses emboldened by the presence of U.S. troops.

Francillon, 34, a business graduate of Boston's Northeastern Univeristy, opened fire on a crowd that advanced on his food import business Thursday before dawn, killing one person and wounded four others.

After looters smashed through a wall Monday and dragged off thousands of dollars worth of sugar and powdered milk, Francillon put on a bandolier of ammunition and barricaded himself inside the depot with relatives and employees armed with nine millimeter pistols and six 12-gauge shotguns.

Frenzied crowds have pillaged neighboring food warehouses since American forces landed in the hemisphere's poorest nation over two weeks ago to restore democracy and reinstate exiled president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Last week, private security guards at his uncle Rudy Chemaly's food depot near the Cite Soleil shanty town open fire on a crowd of slum dwellers that begun climbing the walls, injuring nine people including three children.

As the angry crowd turned to exchange friendly waves with U.S. soldiers who drove by in a convoy of jeeps and tanks, a nervous Francillon said American military police had inspected his warehouse for illegal guns and then left.

``Americans feel that Haiti's elite is morally repugnant and they don't care too much what happens to us,'' said Francillon's cousin Greg Batroni. ``Some of us have really worked for our money, but the Americans think that anyone with money here is a dirt bag.''

Wealthy Haitians see Aristide, a Catholic priest loved by Haiti's poor, as a vindictive rabble rouser who will stir up violence against them when he returns October 15, three years after he was deposed in a military coup.

Their worst fears are a return to the months of ransacking and house burnings that followed the fall of Jean-Claude ``Baby Doc'' Duvalier, who fled a popular uprising in 1986, ending a 37-year family dictatorship.

``There was a lot of looting...our depots were ransacked and we lost our businesses,'' Batroni said. ``We won't let it happen this time.''

Some like Francillon are perplexed that the world's champion of capitalism, instead of protecting Haitian businessmen, has sent troops with sniffer dogs to search their homes for weapons caches and raided the offices of Haiti's main paramilitary group, the FRAPH, arresting more than 100 of its members.

Elite members complained that U.S. soldiers had publicly humiliated Haiti's uniformed police by disarming officers at gunpoint, forcing them to the ground and detaining them gagged and handcuffed to the cheers of Aristide supporters.

They believe the police is in disarray and can no longer control Haiti's masses, so American soldiers should protect them.

Port-au-Prince's feared police chief, Colonel Michel Francois, blamed for running a network of armed gunmen known as ``attaches'' responsible for many of the 3,000 deaths under the military government, fled across the border to the Dominican Republic Tuesday.

``A lot of people are very frightened of the mob,'' said a flower planter whose business of exporting anthuriums to New York has been paralyzed by a U.N.-sanctioned embargo against Haiti's outgoing military regime.

He said looting would snowball if Aristide failed to control his supporters when he returns next week.

``From Day One, Aristide has to pacify the country and reassure people, or else Haiti will slip over the precipice of violence,'' said the businessman, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.

``In Haiti, people believe authority is a gun.''

US military seizing weapons in Haiti, disarming everyone

13 Oct 94.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuter) - Factions of Haiti's paramilitary network are likely to persist in their resistance to democracy, and some elements are in hiding, the commander of U.S. forces in Haiti said Thursday.

``I still am concerned that there are various elements, several factions that don't necessarily want to see democracy succeed,'' Lt. Gen. Hugh Shelton said in an interview.

Those elements, he said, ``will continue for an interim period of time -- until we can get a professionalized police force established -- to attempt to interfere with the functioning of the government.''

He also said he did not believe there was a ``substantial collective threat'' to the 19,000 American troops in Haiti. ''But I can't make light of the fact that this country has a lot of weapons in it,'' he said.

Haiti's repressive military regime, which ended with the resignation Monday of army commander Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, operated through a network of paramilitary supporters and a police force controlled by the army.

In addition to the U.S. forcing of Cedras's resignation and his subsequent flight into exile Thursday, the U.S. military operation in Haiti has broken up the leadership of the paramilitary organization FRAPH (Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti) and confiscated or bought back more than 6,000 weapons.

Shelton said some Haitian police, which have operated under military control, had fled into hiding in outlying areas of the country, particularly in the second largest city of Cap Haitien and the southern coastal town of Les Cayes.

``(Haitian defense force) police basically fled, or have gone into hiding,'' in those areas, he said.

That has left the U.S. military as the only provider of security in some places. The military and international police monitoring team are both attempting to increase their presence in the abandoned areas, he said.

Despite the concerns, Shelton said he was confident exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide would return in safety to Haiti Saturday.

``I think we're in good shape to bring him back right now,'' Shelton said. Thousands of American and Haitian army troops -- virtually every soldier in the Port-au-Prince area, would take part in the security effort, he said.

The army's acting commander-in-chief, Maj. Gen. Jean- Claude Duperval, had given promising indications of a desire to reshape the army, Shelton said.

He said Duperval indicated in his speech upon taking over Monday that human rights abuses and crimes would not be tolerated.

Deperval, he said, is very much aware that the army ``has been associated with this in the past and very much wants to change that image'' and change its actions.

Shelton said he anticipated Haiti will eventually ask the United States or United Nations for assistance in retraining the army. ``I would think that just like we're helping train the police force, ultimately someone -- either the United Nations or maybe the U.S. as a part of the United Nations, would provide some assistance in that regard,'' he said.

He said it was unclear whether any assistance for weapons procurement would be requested or granted.

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From Australia to Zimbabwe, U.S. troops went to 100 nations in '97.
US Military assists Puerto Rican military in warrantless searches, anti-drug, anti-crime ops
US military systematically search for and seize weapons in Haiti