Stolen Haitian Relief Money

Stephen Lendman

Following Haiti's catastrophic January 12, 2010 earthquake, billions of dollars in relief aid were raised. Suffering Haitians got virtually none of it. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless. A cholera emergency still exists.

On June 19, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent said:

"There is a significant probability of a major cholera emergency in Haiti in the coming months but resources have been severely diminished."

Increased numbers of cases were reported in the Artibonite, Nord-Ouest, Nord-Est, Ouest, Gonave island, and homeless camps in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) estimates another 170,000 new cases by end of 2012. Haiti's problems are severe. Deep poverty, deprivation, and unemployment torment millions. Earthquake devastation compounded them. Little relief came. It was stolen for commercial development. It's common practice to divert relief aid to private developers.

“The Third Degree,” from Police Interrogation and American Justice, by Richard A. Leo

The Salvador Option

Police Interrogation and American Justice, by Richard A. Leo. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2008, pp. 41-77.

Police Interrogation and American Justice is a detailed analysis of modern police interrogation methodology in the United States. Although the book primarily addresses the constitutional implications of domestic law enforcement interrogation practices, the chapter on the origin and development of police torture in the US, entitled “The Third Degree,” provides important information about the evolution of American attitudes toward torture and sheds light on some of the salient characteristics of the interrogation system that would later be exported around the world by US military and police advisors during the first three decades of the Cold War.

Professor Leo defines the third degree as:

…not simply the infliction of pain or suffering to extract incriminating information but the creation of an environment in which police could inflict punishment and terror virtually without restraint. Its characteristic features are that it occurs during custodial detention, involves use of physical force or psychological duress, and is primarily intended to extort admissions and confessions.

For the first half century of law enforcement in the United States, police officers regularly employed the third degree in custodial interrogations, and criminal suspects were routinely convicted on the basis of confessions that had been extracted through physical or psychological coercion. Individual police departments across America developed their own third degree techniques and traditions, and they did so in the absence of any meaningful oversight from prosecutors or judges, who themselves were often willing participants in various aspects of their local third degree systems.

By the first decades of the 20th century, coercive interrogation techniques appeared to be an inherent part of American law enforcement and many police officials argued that it would be impossible to solve crimes without full resort to such practices. By this time, however, the public had begun question the morality and efficacy of police torture in the United States. Juries began to reject confessions they believed had been obtained through torture, and they increasingly questioned the veracity of testimony by law enforcement officers who denied that they had employed the third degree in the questioning of the defendant.

Did Reagan Know about Baby Thefts?

Robert Parry

General & Dictator Jorge Rafaél Videla

Consortium News Exclusive: Many Americans adore President Reagan for lifting their spirits after the discouraging 1970s. Yet, in secret, he collaborated with some of the Western Hemisphere’s most brutal neo-Nazis, including Argentine generals just convicted in a grotesque baby harvesting scheme, reports Robert Parry.

An Argentine court has convicted two of the nation’s former right-wing dictators, Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, in a scheme to murder leftist mothers and give their infants to military personnel often complicit in the killings, a shocking process known to the Reagan administration even as it worked closely with the bloody regime.

Testimony at the trial included a videoconference from Washington with Elliott Abrams, then-Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, who said he urged Bignone to reveal the babies’ identities as Argentina began a transition to democracy in 1983.

Abrams said the Reagan administration “knew that it wasn’t just one or two children,” indicating that U.S. officials believed there was a high-level “plan because there were many people who were being murdered or jailed.” Estimates of the Argentines murdered in the so-called Dirty War range from 13,000 to about 30,000, with many victims “disappeared,” buried in mass graves or dumped from planes over the Atlantic.

A human rights group, Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, says as many as 500 babies were stolen by the military during the repression from 1976 to 1983. Some of the pregnant mothers were kept alive long enough to give birth and then were chained together with other prisoners and pushed out of the planes into the ocean to drown.

Despite U.S. government awareness of the grisly actions of the Argentine junta, which had drawn public condemnation from the Carter administration in the 1970s, these Argentine neo-Nazis were warmly supported by Ronald Reagan, both as a political commentator in the late 1970s and as President once he took office in 1981.

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