Accuracy in Media

It wasn’t a big story when John Kerry said that he would have risked U.S. lives to maintain Marxist Jean-Bertrand Aristide in power in Haiti. And except for columnist Robert Novak, there hasn’t been any discussion of why Kerry chose such a controversial course of action. Novak noted evidence of “Aristide’s gold-plated U.S. connections.” He explained, “He is close to Kerry’s influential friends, the Kennedy family of Massachusetts, and is the unconditional favorite of the Congressional Black Caucus.”

Novak noted that Aristide spent millions on U.S. lobbyists and lawyers, and that, “Powerful American politicians sit on the board of Fusion Telecommunications International, which Aristide granted an exclusive concession over the country’s lucrative long-distance market.”

That was documented years ago by the Wall Street Journal, which noted that former Rep. Joseph Kennedy had surfaced as a member of the board of Fusion, and that Fusion’s CEO is Marvin Rosen, the finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 Clinton fund-raising scandals. Another board member is Thomas F. McLarty, Clinton’s former chief of staff.

Steve Miller of the Washington Times reported on March 5th that Aristide’s regime had spent $7.3 million between 1997 and 2002 lobbying in Washington, D.C. Lynn Garrison’s book, Voodoo Politics, said reports of contacts between Aristide and Bill Clinton date back to 1992, before the start of the first Clinton term, when Jesse Jackson was a contact between the two men. Garrison said the Clinton administration refused to bring a drug-trafficking indictment of Aristide because of his political and financial connections to the Democratic Party. Aristide, who was alleged to be profiting from the cocaine trade through Haiti, is said to have hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts.

Aristide had established an “Aristide Foundation for Democracy” with a board of advisors that included Kennedy, former Representative Michael Barnes, and many members of the Congressional Black Caucus. A July 17, 2000, Insight magazine article by Catherine Edwards reported allegations by a Haitian political figure that the foundation was “a front for illegal money laundering.” Barnes, a Congressman from Maryland, was reportedly paid $55,000 a month in 1993 to lobby for U.S. action to reinstate Aristide. His campaign to restore Aristide to power was assisted by Randall Robinson of TransAfrica. Former Black Caucus member Ron Dellums became a paid foreign agent of the Aristide regime.

The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson finds it disturbing that the Congressional Black Caucus was backing such a corrupt and brutal man like Aristide. He is urging a full-blown investigation of financial connections between Aristide and the Black Caucus. If the media weren’t so liberal, they would be conducting such a probe, while asking Bill Clinton why he restored this madman to power, and asking John Kerry why he wanted U.S. troops to risk their lives to keep him there. This scandal alone could sink Kerry’s campaign for president, which may explain why journalists are ignoring it.

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