Originally: Disturbing Revelations of Human Sacrifice

Disturbing Revelations of Human Sacrifice

By Raymond A. Joseph, The Observer 58

        In the wake of several defections from the embattled Haitian regime, some disturbing revelations about alleged human sacrifice have thrown a new light on the ruling authorities in Haiti.

        Various executions early in the year 2000, prior to the fraudulent elections of that summer and fall were intended to ensure the comeback of Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency he had reluctantly relinquished in February 1996. So said Johnny Occilius, a member of the mayoralty of Cite Soleil, who defected last month.

        Among the most scandalous of his disclosures was the gruesome sacrifice of the first baby of a young mother, Nanoune Myrthil. The date was important, Mr. Occilius said, in an interview. It was February 29, the last day in a month that will recur in four years. And “the lamb” must have been a first born baby. Thus, the Myrthil baby was “at the right place at the wrong time,” Mr. Occilius said. The administrator of the   State University Hospital in Port-au-Prince, also known as Geeral Hospital, Marie-Antoinette Gauthier, made possible the snatching of the baby only 72 hours after birth.

        Somewhere in the countryside north of the capital, the sacrifice took place that same night. The live baby was crushed in a mortar with a heavy pestle. Officiating was Voodoo sorcerer Henri Antoine from St. Marc, the same thug who founded the pro-Aristide so-called  popular organization “Bale Wouze,”  or “Clean Sweep”  in English.

        The bestial crime boggles the mind, and some people question the veracity of Mr. Occilius’s revelations. But who would have thought that men infected with the AIDS virus in South Africa believe that they can be healed by having intercourse with a young virgin! Anyway, Mr. Occilius, now in exile in Miami, has gained credibility with the American authorities. When the young man described what happened at the government-sponsored attack on the civil society “Group 184” at Cite Soleil on July 12, American Ambassador Brian Dean Curran said his information concurred with that of the embassy’s own investigation.

        Meanwhile, Jean Michel Mercier, assistant mayor of Port-au-Prince, from 1995 to 2000, confirmed the disclosures of Mr. Occilius and added that the execution last year of a powerful leader of a “popular organization” was connected to the baby crime. Felix Bien-Aime disappeared after he had threatened to spill the beans on the sacrifice of the baby. At one time, Mr. Bien-Aime controlled the major cemetery in Port-au-Prince, a source of cash that he lost following a fallout with the regime. When he tried to blackmail some of his former associates with information about the baby, Mr. Bien-Aime was invited with two aides to the main police station in Port-au-Prince. Only his partly burned car was found near Ti Tanyen, a killing field about 15 miles north of the Haitian capital.

        Now in exile, Mr. Mercier also calls for the interrogation of Harold Severe, a former member of the mayor’s office in Port-au-Prince, an ex-employee at the presidential palace and now an asistant to the contested new police chief. In writing, Mr. Mercier says he had seen Mr. Severe and at least three other men in a white pick-up near the crime scene of eminent journalist Jean Leopold Dominique on the morning of April 3, 2000. The “murderous bent” of Harold Severe, he contends, was a determining factor in his flight from Haiti. He adds that he was pressured to join the government again, but he couldn’t take it anymore.

        Mr. Mercier provides a list of key individuals who attended meetings at Mr. Aristide’s Voodoo medium, Annette Auguste, a naturalized American citizen nicknamed “Sister Anne.” Usually the meetings dealt with activities aimed at consolidating the regime’s power. Two of the characters at the sessions — Jocelerme Privert and Bell Angelot * are now Nos. 1 and 2 respectively at the Ministry of the Interior, in charge of internal security. Others, like former police chief Jean-Robert Faveur, police spokesman Jean Dady Simeon and judiciary police chief Jeannot Francois, are now in exile in America or in Canada.

        The latest defection, Charles Jean Panel of the Delmas 33 police precinct in Port-au-Prince, prepared a cassette that has been widely used by radio stations in and out of Haiti. He accuses the regime of infiltrating the police with armed  civilian thugs that  have been issued identification cards by Minister of the Interior Privert.  The new version of the old “attaches” and the gestapo-like “Tontons Macoute” of yore operate at the precinct with the consent of  the police commander, Emmanuel Mompremier. This  corrupt officer lives in a $400,000 mansion, although his official monthly salary is about $300.

        The “attaches” operate mostly at night, from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. They are empowered to use the “zero tolerance” doctrine — or execution on the spot — publicly expounded by President Aristide. Mr. Panel said the armed civilians “torture people in a special cell at the precinct before leading some to the Place Cazeau [north of the capital] where they are executed.”

        Judie Roy, a former Aristide loyalist who has turned opponent, was recently arrested and tortured at the Delmas 33 police inferno. Despite worldwide entreaties, even from Amnesty International, regarding Mrs. Roy, she has not been released. She is accused of being sympathetic to rebels operating in Haiti’s central highlands.

        How can the Bush administration  ignore such barbarism so close to America, while it dispatches soldiers to far away places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Liberia to oust murderous dictators? Must the savagery spill in the streets and cause thousands of refugees to southern Florida before causing a stir in Washington?

        Perhaps we are getting there. On Wednesday there was an ugly confrontation between heavily armed policemen, technically under the command of Hermione Leonard,  and the palace police detail that accompanied the president’s two young daughters. The ugly scene took place near the Port-au-Prince airport, prompting all kinds of rumors. Is it true that the girls were going to visit their grandparents in Miami?  Who ordered their car blocked? Is it true that President Aristide opposed the trip of the children, although his American wife is adamant that the children leave? Who  ordered the jailing at the palace of about a dozen policemen of the Western Department involved in the confrontation Wednesday? Who summoned Commander Leonard of the Western Department to the palace for interrogation?

        Whatever the answers, it’s clear that a breakdown exists at the higher echelons of the “criminal enterprise” that passes for government in Haiti. It behooves the authorities in Washington to attend to the Haitian crisis expeditiously.