Monday, September 12, 2005

Kevin Pina and Jean Ristil released; Delilah on the new Brownie (A Scrivener's Lament)

Zach e-mails to note Justin Felux's "American Journalist Arrested in Haiti: Free Kevin Pina!" (CounterPunch):

Getting accurate information about what is going on in the impoverished and embattled country of Haiti is next to impossible. The mainstream U.S. reporters stationed in Haiti don't even keep up the pretense of objectivity, printing outright lies from government officials, corrupt police, and fascist business leaders. Often times they simply parrot the distortions of the local media, which is largely owned by right-wing elites. However, there has been one voice that for years has been bringing some semblance of sanity and balance to American audiences about this country, all while facing numerous threats and attempts on his life: Kevin Pina. Kevin's courageous journalism is often times the sole source of information for those of us who seek to inform others about reality in Haiti. But as of around 5:00 PM last Friday, Kevin Pina has been languishing in a Haitian prison, his life in the hands of murderous thugs masquerading as the law.
As far as we know, this is how events unfolded. The Haitian police are currently holding Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, a prominent progressive leader, on trumped up charges. It is alleged, among other things, that he returned from a trip to Florida with an arsenal of weapons to foment some sort of insurrection. The charges are ridiculous, and Amnesty International has labeled him a "prisoner of conscience." On Friday, Haitian police showed up at Father Jean-Juste's presbytery and began searching and ransacking the building. As is often the case, the policemen were wearing black masks, and intimidating the people in the church, which included a group of children.
Once local journalists received word of the raid, they showed up at the church to record what was going on. Kevin Pina was among them. He began questioning the police, who said something to the effect of, "We are tired of you California troublemakers." Soon after, Pina and Haitian journalist Jean Ristil were arrested. Pina has been accused of striking the judge who accompanied the police on their raid, a charge which he denies. In all likelihood, the police went to the church to plant some sort of incriminating evidence against Father Jean-Juste, which they would later claim they "discovered" in a search of his presbytery.

And I'll note this Alfred de Montesquiou's "Haiti Judge Orders Release of Journalists" (Associated Press):

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A judge Monday ordered the release of a Haitian and an American journalist who were arrested as they covered a police search of the church of a jailed priest who is a potential presidential candidate.
Kevin Pina was reporting for a U.S. radio program and Haitian Jean Ristil was working for The Associated Press. After spending the weekend in jail, they were freed without being charged by the judge who had ordered their arrest at the church of the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste.
"I thank all the media for the formidable solidarity they showed," Pina told reporters outside the jail.
"I'm very happy to be out," Ristil said.
Pina, of Oakland, Calif., was detained after filming the police as they searched the church. Ristil was taken into custody as he tried to photograph the arrest of the American.

[. . .]
The journalists and a few others went to the St. Claire church in a poor neighborhood of Port-au-Prince on Friday after learning that police were searching the building. Officials refused to disclose reason for the operation, but police at the scene said they were looking for weapons.
[. . .]

While questioning the journalists Monday, the judge repeated his charge that Pina had hit him and threatened to lock both men up in Haiti's National Penitentiary unless they apologized. He later made them sign a written transcript of the five-hour interrogation before freeing them.
[. . .]

Jean-Juste, a supporter of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has been held since July on suspicion of involvement in the slaying of a well-known journalist, Jacques Roche. Jean-Juste, who has not been charged, denies the allegations.

And we'll note Delilah's "Duct Tape & Plastic Guy Replaces FEMA's Brown!" (A Scrivener's Lament):

You simply can't make this stuff up!Not only did George W. Duck 'N Cover NOT KNOW today that Michael Brown had resigned, he obviously has no idea that whoever's in charge hired Duct Tape & Plastic Guy to replace "Brownie."

David Paulison named as "FEMA Acting Head" - AP
4:57pm 09/12/05

Remember this?
Duct tape sales rise amid terror fears

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Americans have apparently heeded the U.S. government's advice to prepare for terror attacks, emptying hardware store shelves of duct tape.
On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after U.S. Fire Administrator David Paulison described a list of useful items, stores in the greater Washington, D.C. area reported a surge in sales of plastic sheeting, duct tape, and other emergency items.
These items, Paulison said, can be helpful after a biological, chemical or radiological attack.
A Lowe's hardware store in Alexandria, Virginia, said every roll of duct tape has been sold. Another Alexandria Home Depot store reported sales of duct tape tripled overnight.

Delilah's done her usual incredible job and reminds us that, though hard to believe, you can do worse than "Brownie." Bully Boy, with his administration that repeatedly fails upward.

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