I’m going to put two of my nine cats in carriers and take them to the vet for booster shots. I am dreading the disapproval. I, however, can come home with my cats. They will be fed and safe tonight. I will have dinner and sleep in a warm bed. Democracy is not a given, a state of being. Peace is not a given.
I really wonder if people too young to have had parents in WWII even grasp that this reality they are experiencing is fragile. People in the U.S. were not attacked in WWII. They only experienced the war on other people’s territory. I think that younger people assume this post-war stability is a given, that it cannot go away. It can.
Elites in this country are dealing with Putin the same way they are dealing with Trump. There is no accountability for the bullies, the authoritarians, the soldiers against justice and democracy. They will not stand up and fight Putin over Ukraine, and they will not stand up and put Trump and his henchmen in jail after a coup.
There was a verdict in the federal hate crimes trial of the three men who hunted down and shot Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia. The three men were convicted of all charges. This trial followed a state trial where the men were convicted of murdering Arbery. Neither trial would have taken place had it not been for Ms. Wanda Cooper-Jones, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother.
After Mr. Arbery was killed in 2020, county officials at all levels attempted to block prosecution of the case which involved a former police officer and investigator for the DA’s office. The DA was one of the first people Greg McMichaels phoned after the killing. It is almost certain that no arrests would have even been made in the case had it not been for a video of the shooting released by Greg McMichaels.
The defense attorney for Greg McMichaels argued in the hate crimes trial that the release of the video proved that the three men didn’t have “consciousness of guilt.” What it in fact proved was that Greg McMichaels and the other two men were such blind racists they actually thought the video would exonerate them. As one of the witnesses for the men said during the state trial, it didn’t work out like they had intended.
When the video of the killing went viral, the state of Georgia stepped in and took the case out of the hands of Glynn County law enforcement officials. A prosecutor for the State of Georgia won the case not because of the local case, but despite it.
At every step of the way, Ms. Wanda Cooper-Jones was pushing and advocating and arguing. It is thanks to her that the case was ever prosecuted.
Then, after winning at the state level, the Department of Justice was to try the three men for perpetrating a hate crime, for murdering Mr. Arbery because he was black. But, secretly, behind the back of the Arbery family, federal prosecutors made a plea deal with the three defendants. The plea deal would have allowed them to spend their sentences in a federal prison instead of the hell hole of state incarceration.
Again, Ms. Wanda Cooper-Jones has to plead, argue, advocate, and in her own words “beg” for the plea agreement to be thrown out. Even after hearing her plead in court with the judge, prosecutors continued with their pressure on the judge to accept the plea agreement. But, Ms. Cooper-Jones prevailed. The judge set the date for the trial.
In the previous state trial, a tactical decision was made to leave any discussion of race out of the case. The hateful social media and personal statements of the three men were not entered into evidence. By securing a trial, however, this evidence was brought out in front of the public and another jury. The men were convicted again, in the deep South, where some people at least understand at a gut level the violence and cruelty and pain such language involves.
But, even after having to fight for two years for the simple dignity of a trial for her son’s killers, Ms. Wanda Cooper-Jones came out of the courtroom thinking about others, others who had not received justice. Standing in front of the Court House, she blasted the DOJ and their prosecutors who deceived her, tried to make a plea deal behind her back and even after hearing her pleas, continued to ignore her. She named names. She was not afraid to remind people just how hard it had been to secure these convictions. And, she was fighting for other families, other families who had been denied justice.
The federal hate crimes trial of the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery began in Georgia today. This trial would never have come about had it not been for the courage of Arbery’s mother. She first demanded that the case be taken out of the hands of local officials in Glynn County, Georgia so that a prosecution for murder could take place. Then, she had to go before a judge and demand that Ahmaud Arbery’s killers not be allowed to take a plea deal for hate crimes and spend the first of their sentence in a federal prison. It is outrageous that Arbery’s mother has had to push through legal action against her son’s killers.
The judge in the case is US. District Court judge Lisa Godey Wood.
Jurors were questioned outside the courtroom where reporters and the public were allowed to listen.
After this questioning, the judge dismissed nine of the panelists leaving 16 remaining in the jury pool.
I cannot for the life of me understand why the media continues to call the neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, using his nickname.
One of the potential jurors was dismissed after telling the judge that she had known Bryan and that she felt “sorry for him.”
The prosecutors in the state murder trial almost completely left race out of the discussion.
If you are at all interested in the build up of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine, you should listen to the podcast “Ukraine World.” It is by far the most intelligent discussion of the situation.
The following are notes from several of the Ukraine World podcasts.
Ukrainian president Zelensky came to office arguing that more negotiation was needed with Russia and that the previous administration in Ukraine had done a bad job of negotiating. Two years later, halfway through Zelensky’s term, he has come to the conclusion that Putin cannot be negotiated with and does not want peace.
Even though the situation on the border is extremely serious, Zelensky seems to be also fighting major battles domestically. As one commentator phrased it, Zelensky seems to be “waging a war against everybody else in Ukrainian politics.” These “internal turbulences” are creating an unstable situation inside Ukraine.
It is unclear whether Zelensky is battling against powerful domestic players and interests for reasons of his own, or is being manipulated by others. Who these others might be was not explained.
The rhetoric coming out of Russia seems to be intended to prepare the Russian population for war. As one commentator said, Putin is almost promising that Russia will invade Ukraine. Another commentator stated: Putin is “preparing the Russian public to the fact that the war is inevitable.”
It also seems clear that the West is unwilling to engage in a full-fledged war with Russia over Ukraine. Russia perceives the West as withdrawing.
After the feckless and disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration is almost certain not to involve itself in another war.
Even though the Biden administration has made clear that there will be sanctions if Russia invades, many point out that Russia has already invaded Ukraine. Sanctions have already been applied to Russia and the Russians have not withdrawn.
The Russian government has been taking steps to make the economy sanction proof, or at least more sanction proof so that sanctions are unlikely to have a significant impact.
In addition, meaningful sanctions would affect powerful economic interests and are unlikely to be implemented no matter how much they are touted by the Biden administration.
There is extensive ideological work going on in Russia preparing the population for war. Even on popular talk shows on television, there is discussion about Ukraine having plans to militarily take back the territories. Russia is distributing Russian passports to Russian-speakers in occupied territories.
There is a distinct advantage in exporting chaos. Conflicts rouse nationalistic fervor in Russia and help distract people from their stalled economy and decreased standard of living.
The underlying narrative is that there are serious external threats but also victories against those threats (such as in Crimea). The taking of territory is a success, so don’t complain about how you are living.
The west was reluctant to encourage Ukraine to become a separate country after the fall of the Soviet Union. George Bush, Sr. went to Kiev in 1991 in an attempt to calm down the Ukrainians and persuade them not to leave the Soviet Union. The west is afraid of a breakup of the Soviet Union. The narrative inside Russia, however, is completely different.
There, the Zelensky administration is portrayed as being a puppet of the West. And, there are dire warnings that just as the U.S. left Afghanistan, it will leave Ukraine.
The Ukrainians in fact helped support U.S. troops in the withdrawal from Afghanistan. At a time when it was too dangerous politically to risk U.S. soldiers leaving the airport in Kabul, Ukrainian troops went into Kabul and helped people get to safety at the airport. Ukraine was anxious to demonstrate that it could be a helpful ally, a country that could help as well as ask for assistance.
Internal polling inside Ukraine indicates that if a presidential election were held today, Zelensky would get approximately 24% of the vote, but there are three parties opposing him. Two of them are pro-Russian.
The Zelensky administration is being drained by the conflict on the border. And Zelensky’s own conflicts domestically are fracturing the country.
Ukrainians are understandably distrustful of their politicians. Hopes for Zelensky when he was elected were extremely high. Calmer souls warned that Zelensky could not possibly deliver on the promises he was making. Now, disenchantment has set in.
Corruption remains a serious problem and hopes that Zelensky could do anything about this ingrained corruption were probably misplaced.
Elie Mystal, of the Nation Magazine, is a national treasure.
He is like a breath of fresh air in the middle of the stale, phony, self-serving, power and celebrity worshiping hosts and commentators appearing regularly on corporate news.
One, just one of the reasons I love him is that he rolls his eyes on national television. Another reason I love him is that he tells the truth and talks like a regular person. He doesn’t use ten words with one will do, and he doesn’t surround every statement he makes with a boat load of qualifying phrases.
He rolls his eyes, he tells the truth, he doesn’t obfuscate because (unlike almost every other person appearing on corporate news) he is not afraid.
The right is not afraid of stealing Supreme Court seats, lying, cheating, rigging elections, subverting justice and a whole host of other things. The center, however, is a culture of people who are afraid. They are afraid to see the truth right in front of their faces, afraid to confront depressing and distressing facts, afraid of the very possibility of offending somebody, afraid of being inconvenienced, afraid of not perhaps, maybe not getting some job they haven’t even thought of yet.
I spent almost a decade out of the country. When I returned, I was astounded to hear a student tell me she couldn’t take an internship at World Wildlife (World Wildlife, not the Communist Party) because she might someday want to apply for a job with the State Department. This is who we have become. The right, the Republican party is fighting 24-hours-a-day to establish a Christo-fascist authoritarian government and those in the center are afraid of their shadows.
On Thursday, Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC, spent an entire segment of her program listening to people lionize the members of the January 6 Commission for considering, considering referring Steven Bannon to the Justice Department for criminal contempt. But, as Eli Mystal pointed out on CNN this morning, the whole process of the referrals to the Justice Department is nothing but theatre.
What every news program and every host should have been pointing out is that the Committee has (but is not using) the right of inherent contempt. Using this right, the Congress can jail people who don’t abide by subpoenas until they do abide. They don’t have to refer the matter to the Justice Department and wait for Biden’s (wimp noodle) hatchet man, Merrick Garland to act.
In addition, inherent contempt means that people like Bannon will be jailed and stay jailed until they provide the information that was subpoenaed. Going down the criminal contempt path and referring to the Justice Department, assuming Garland will prosecute (which he will not) and assuming a conviction, only punishes the offender for not cooperating. It does not secure the information needed.
So, the House Commission investigating the coup attempt should be shamed and criticized for not taking the path designed to get the information we need. Instead, they are heralded as heroes, patriots, courageous public servants. The Nicolle Wallace program last night became a virtual campaign ad for Benie Thompson and the other members. Not once, did Wallace or any of the members of the panel she assembled tell the American people that what the Commission was doing was a sleight of hand maneuver to look like they were doing something and not doing it.
Similarly, the Commission Biden appointed to study the Supreme Court expansion was “designed to fail.” As Mystal wrote in April when the commission was formed: “Biden’s choices confirm the worst fears court reformers had about the president: He doesn’t want a solution; he wants an excuse to do nothing.”
Quoting from Eli Mystal’s article IN APRIL:
“Instead of creating a commission of high-minded reformers or bare-knuckle politicos, Biden has created the quintessential government committee that is purposefully designed to accomplish nothing. The “Commission on the Supreme Court” isn’t even allowed to make policy recommendations on what to do about the Supreme Court. It is merely supposed to “study” the issue, which is like hiring a chef to draw pictures of food instead of cooking a meal. When Republicans take power, they don’t commission a book report on what they should do with the courts. They show up to Washington prepared to reshape the judiciary from day one. Biden showed up prepared to read a law review article.”
“Perhaps even more troubling, instead of balancing some of the center-left people on the commission with more, or any, outspoken advocates of court reform, Biden went the other way and put Federalist Society scholars and judges in there to drag the whole thing to the right. I cannot recall the last time a Republican president bothered even to consult a Democratic voice, never mind a genuinely left voice, on how to proceed with a matter related to the Supreme Court. But Democrats continue to act like they need a hall pass from Republicans before they take any action.”
Their inclusion—again, at the expense of some of the individuals who have been actively fighting these people and their conservative takeover of the courts—is insulting.
It’s also a giant waste of time. Donald Trump appointed 226 fire-breathing conservative judges to the federal bench in just four years; we are 20 months away from a midterm election during which Democrats might lose their tenuous grip on power; yet Biden’s committee on studying whether we should maybe, possibly try to fix the court will spend 180 days dickering with Federalist Society people about what Thomas Jefferson would do.”
This report did exactly what it was intended to do, provide cover for Biden who doesn’t have the stomach to expand the Supreme Court (or get rid of the filibuster for that matter). As Mystal pointed out, the commission itself was composed of people who make their living arguing before the Supreme Court. Appointing a commission like that is like appointing the sharks to supervise water safety.
In addition, the commission had nothing to say, nothing, about ethics and the Supreme Court. The Supreme court is the only judicial body in the country with absolutely no ethics regulations. There is no requirement for members of the Supreme Court to recuse themselves from cases in which they might have an interest. There is nothing to prevent the wife of a sitting Supreme court Justice to participate in a coup attempt to overthrow the government. Ethics complaints filed against Bret Kavanaugh were summarily buried after his appointment to the Supreme Court.
But, the Biden administration, so widely hailed on corporate news spins its wheels, claims the high ground and does nothing.
It started last night and then in a totally predictable way, Joe Scarborough amplified and continued it this morning. “It” is the newly minted narrative about the difference between Manchin and Sinema. Both are holding up essential legislation to maintain a half-decent society. But, one is doing so as a statesman and the other is a crazy bitch.
The spinning out of this narrative started (for me at least) on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night where there was a general male circle-jerk session including Lawrence, John Heileman, and (surprisingly) Adam Jentleson. There was no end of stereotypical criticism of Sinema.
Now, before I get started on this I want to make perfectly clear, I despise Sinema and everything she stands for. Likewise, I despise Joe Manchin. They are both mercenary, self centered hacks pretending to be public servants (which makes them not much worse than the most of the congress). They are both without conscience, decency or integrity. But, the narrative of Statesman vs. Crazy Bitch is just so infuriating and sexist I cannot even discuss it without having my blood pressure rise.
Just take a wild guess at who was being described in these quotes?
“works 24 hours a day”
Maintains a “constant line of communication” (on his houseboat)
“A pro at the game”
…has “no problem using leverage.”
“a predictable force”
“a predictable actor”
“too cute by half”
“too clever by half”
“Infuriating the white House”
…has “played this game”
“very frustrating to all sides”
“continuing this game”
“mysterious and irrational” (John Heileman)
Mysterious and irrational is my personal favorite.
I might add that none of these “journalists” bothered to point out the vested financial interests both Manchin and Sinema have in holding up a vote for needed programs for the rest of the country. This is why it is not only useless to watch the corporate media (MSNBC and CNN) it is dangerous.
Despite several Twitter friends who repeatedly tell me to stop torturing myself by watching the corporate news channels, I can’t help myself.
The corporate news has spent weeks and untold hours of air time fretting about the right-wing rally today in Washington. It’s almost 2 PM, and there are not more than a handful of people at the rally. What an enormous waste of time and energy and money. In addition, what a diversion from covering some of the more serious issues that confront the society.
I am not minimizing the seriousness of this right-wing, authoritarian movement, but there was no need to spend hours and hours of valuable media time with people talking about what MIGHT happen today. In addition, because of all the hype, the low turn-out crowd makes it seem as if the media is blowing the threat out of proportion. The threat is not taken seriously enough, not talked about seriously enough, but the coverage of what might happen in one rally is overblown.
We have a house full of sick cats and Wednesday night I spent sleeping on the floor downstairs so I could hear if one of them needed something. Needless to say, I did not sleep, but spent most of the night listening to podcasts.
One of the very best was an interview of Kathleen Belew about right-wing movements.
Belew pointed out that the coup attempt on January 6, was intended as a recruiting tool, not a violent insurrection. Far from a failure, the right widely considered Jan. 6 a stunning success. I would guess that they view September 18 as something similar, a fake out of the corporate media and a demonstration of how they can make fools of the establishment.
The podcast is Spy Talk, part of the Deep State Radio group.
Just a note: MSNBC has its anchors sitting outside on a platform as if they are covering Macy’s Parade. There is nothing, just nothing that corporate media can’t cheapen. A deeply serious challenge to democracy itself turned into a spectator sport.
During the past few weeks the corporate news media has been studiously ignoring the disastrous military and humanitarian crisis shaping up in Afghanistan. They have been doing so, I think, because the crisis makes Biden look feckless, ruthless, and incompetent.
For so long, there was almost nothing on the corporate news, but every day it was possible to read about astonishing advances by the Taliban. Every day estimates of how much of Afghanistan was controlled by the Taliban increased, and estimates of how long it would be until the Taliban took over Kabul decreased.
I am no foreign policy expert, but even I could see that the Biden withdrawal of forces in Afghanistan was accelerating a Taliban takeover of the country.
The negotiated “peace plan” was non-existent. I never understood what was being “negotiated” with the Taliban in the first place either by the Trump or the Biden administration. One reporter late this week said that the “negotiated” peace process was not only on hold, it was in the basement with the door locked.
And who had the bright idea that the Taliban could be negotiated with in the first place? The group is defined by a suicidal religious refusal to compromise or negotiate with the modern world.
Let me be clear, I did not support the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq but even I acknowledge that once you have invaded and occupied a country you can’t just walk out and leave everyone who has fought with you at the mercy of the enemy. You cannot just withdraw without considering the implications for the population you are leaving behind.
But this is precisely what the Biden administration seems to have done. They either didn’t consider the implications for the population, or they didn’t care. I’m not sure which is worse.
Reports today (Friday) are that members of the Biden administration knew that this disaster was coming. The Joint Chiefs warned them. But the Biden administration decided that the disaster was inevitable (although they have denied this reality). One official was quoted by Peter Baker as saying: It’s a tragedy, but it’s not our tragedy. Who would say something this crass and unfeeling? There is not even much of a pretense of having any empathy with the abandoned population.
And in an effort to make the chaotic, precipitous, and disastrous withdrawal look better, the Biden administration has blamed everyone in sight – except themselves.
Evidently, the defense department that costs us trillions every fifteen minutes, just couldn’t manage to plan a withdrawal from a country they had occupied that didn’t create a humanitarian crisis. How can that be?
Gen. John Kirby, in a painful press conference today, said the Afghanis had every conceivable advantage in the war. A reporter asked Kirby how the Afghanis could have every conceivable advantage and still be losing. Kirby balked at the rudeness of the question, then evaded answering it. He went on to list all the advantages the Afghanis had (airplanes, an air force, more soldiers, etc.). So, according to Kirby, the Afghanis have all these advantages and it’s just a great fucking mystery why they are losing.
The people of this country are told repeatedly that we have the greatest military in the history of the world, but that military just can’t figure out how after twenty years of supplying and training and fighting, to get the Afghanis in a position to hold their own against the opposing force.
Earlier this week I listened to a podcast where the panel was pointing out that supply lines were a problem in Afghanistan. Supply lines? Twenty years and they haven’t figured out how to secure supply lines? Even my cat knows not to go further away from the door than he can safely run back should there be a threat. And they can’t figure out secure supply lines? I just find this preposterous. What the bleeding devil have they been doing for twenty years?
A lot of the feedback on Twitter consists of people arguing that the very fact that we have been in Afghanistan for twenty years legitimates the withdrawal. But, nobody is objecting to the withdrawal, it’s the way the withdrawal is carried out.
As Paul Riekhoff said on Nicolle Wallace’s show the other night, this was a “reckless” withdrawal. Riekhoff’s honesty about the situation made me wonder if the producers on MSNBC knew what he was going to say. (The next night I don’t think Wallace even talked about Afghanistan). Riekhoff lambasted the Biden administration’s withdrawal. And Riekhoff, like Kevin Baron from Defense One, stated flatly that the administration was not “leveling” with the American people.
The refusal to “level” was painfully obvious in the Pentagon presser this afternoon with Gen. John Kirby. Kirby couldn’t even bullshit with any talent the obfuscation was so blatant. Kirby stood at the podium and spewed nonsense. He looked like a man experiencing a severe attack of piles as he fielded questions from reporters.
He was fine with questions like that from MSNBC’s Pentagon correspondent. After a day when every conceivable TV pundit repeated like a parrot: “The administration was not surprised with what happened but at the speed with which it happened” she asked if the administration was surprised at the speed with which the take over had happened. Seriously?
Another reporter doggedly tried to get Kirby to say that Kabul was “isolated.” “Would you say Kabul was isolated?” He asked repeatedly. Kirby verbally danced all over the universe refusing to say that Kabul was “isolated.” We all fucking know that Kabul is “isolated.” What is the purpose of a journalist taking up valuable time trying to get Kirby to say the word? Kirby said everything under the sun else except that Kabul was “isolated.” What goddamn difference does it make if he uses the word?
I don’t think I have seen such a blatantly pathetic Pentagon press conference since Vietnam, and even then the brass talked the bullshit with some panache. Kirby just seemed to be desperate to finish, desperately uncomfortable, resentful of meaningful questions. John Kirby is a bad liar and bullshitter. If they are going to try to pass off this level of (do you believe me or your lying eyes) bullshit, they need to get another spokesperson.
And, it seems that we should have learned (with the best military in the history of the world) that the solution to a badly thought-out war is not (or should not be) a badly thought-out withdrawal. Evidently not.
But the thing that keeps sticking in my craw and going through my mind for the past few days is why? How could the Biden administration be so inept as to create this situation? Who was this precipitous withdrawal designed to please? I just can’t think of anybody placated or pleased with this hair-brained withdrawal. Why, after breezing through the deadline in May that the Trump administration had set, did Biden rush headlong into this withdrawal that seems so badly planned.
I will give just one example. On another podcast about Afghanistan the commentators were pointing out that the Taliban ratchets up fighting in the Spring and then makes a big push over the summer. Then, I suppose because of the weather, they retreat to bases in Pakistan in the fall and fighting dies down. The panel members were pointing out that if Biden had just waited over the summer and pulled out most of the troops in the fall, it would have helped immensely. So, what was the problem with that small change?
And there another thing that keeps going through my mind. This is in response to a comment made on the Majority Report (a great podcast). The guest was saying that there are many competing factions represented within the Biden administration – progressives (damn few), conservatives, moderates, hawks. When some policy or appointment comes up that sparks strong opposition among these groups, they fight it out vociferously. Fine. But when all this fighting and debate occurs, when positions are entrenched, Biden evidently does not step in and make a decision so everybody can go on. Biden refuses to take make a decision that might alienate somebody and so everybody retreats to their respective corners. The result is that nothing gets done. The example that was being talked about was an appointment that had remained vacant for months.
I can’t keep from wondering if something like that happened here. There was such strong disagreement about what to do, everybody was fighting and pushing and Biden just walked away (sort of like he’s doing in Afghanistan) and nothing got done. The withdrawal just ticked on without Biden taking control. It was easier to do nothing than to make a decision. Now, the administration is facing not only a humanitarian crisis, but a political disaster.
I have watched Fox News, OANN, and that other channel of Steve Bannon’s in the past two days. You can bet they are making hay over this situation. And, to my great discomfort and consternation, I agree with some of the commentary.
A final thing that makes me uncomfortable about this situation is how similar it is to the way Democrats are handling the serious threat Republicans pose to the continuation of democracy.
Democrats are so engorged with hubris, so convinced that the world is the way they want it to be, they are leading us into disaster at every turn.
I fear that they are going to do with Republicans exactly what they are doing with the Taliban – negotiate without reason, rely on the good intentions of murderous men determined to assume power at all costs and then when these men pull off a religious based authoritarian take over, wring their hands and say it was not the outcome they had anticipated.
The corporate media no longer finds it necessary to cover international stories. We are treated to video after video of Biden boarding a plane to go somewhere, but the assassination of the President of Haiti is barely mentioned.
The assassination of Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moise, was barely covered last week.
From what I have read, this is some of what we know.
During an attack early in the morning of July 7, President Jovenel Moise, was killed and his wife wounded in their private residence on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. The wife was flown to Miami.
The attack has been described by the NYT as “well-planned.” And there were reports that many of the attackers were foreigners who spoke Spanish.
A great many questions are left unanswered about how Moise, President of the country, who usually traveled with more than a dozen armored cars and police guards could be so easily targeted.
The NYT reports that Moise had over 100 officers from the presidential guard around his home. Nevertheless, Moise was found lying on the floor at the foot of his bed “bathed in blood.”
There were 12 bullet holes visible in the body according to a Haitian Justice of the Peace, Carl Henry Destin, who was on the scene.
The house had been ransacked. The servants had been tied up.
There are two Americans among the 20 people who have been detained so far. They were described as Florida residents of Haitian descent. Other members of the hit squad were described as Colombians. Mr. Edmond described the men as “well-trained professionals, killers, commandos.”
The Americans told authorities that they were merely translators and had not been in the room where Moise was killed.
Clement Noel, a judge involved in the investigation said that the two Americans had met with other members of the hit squad at a suburban hotel to plan the attack. They said that the attack had been planned over the course of a month. The two American men maintained that the goal was not to kill Moise (the body had 12 gunshot wounds), but to bring him to the national palace.
It has not been reported when the American men entered Haiti, or what connection they had with the other hit men before the assassination.
Judge Noel said that it was one of the Americas Solages who can be heard on audio of the attack, yelling out that the attackers were DEA agents. Solages had previously worked as a security guard at the Canadian Embassy in Haiti and there had been no evidence reported that indicates there was any DEA connection. Why this particular claim was made aloud at the beginning of the attack is not known.
Haiti’s interim prime minister, Claude Joseph, put the country under martial law after the assassination. It is not clear whether he has the legal authority to do so. In fact, most of what is going on in Haiti at the moment is of dubious legal basis.
Days before his death, Moise, had appointed a new prime minister, Ariel Henry. Henry says he should be in charge of the government.
There is no clear designation of authority in the executive branch and there is no functioning Parliament in Haiti. There are only 10 sitting senators out of 30. The terms of the other 20 have expired. The entire lower house is no longer sitting because their terms expired last year. The head of the Supreme Court died of Covid.
Haitian government officials told the NYT that they had asked the U.S. to provide troops to protect infrastructure.
According to a BBC podcast (7/7/21), Moise had become increasingly autocratic during his tenure as president. He was pushing through a referendum which would have changed the constitution so he would stay in power longer.
The former Prime Minister is Laurent Lamothe.
Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S. Bocchit Edmond.
Claude Joseph is Haiti’s interim prime minister.
The two American men were identified as Joseph Vincent and James J. Solages.
Former President, Michael Martelly, left office in an electoral crisis in 2016. He was able to use his political power, however, to see his supporter, Moise, elevated to the presidency. Protestors were in the streets demanding Martelly’s ouster in 2016. He left office formally giving presidential power to the leader of the National Assembly.
Martelly (like Moise) was criticized for not holding elections during his years. Martelly was accused of surrounding himself with “cronies, some of them criminals.” NYT (2016)
When Martelly was elected, the process was said by critics to be riddled with fraud.
Former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier was ousted in 1986.