CIA 'helped to set up terror group' in Haiti

THE CIA faces new embarrassment - and Washington possible new complications in its Haiti policy - after reports that the US intelligence agency helped set up FRAPH, the paramilitary group that has played a key role in persecuting and murdering supporters of President Jean- Bertrand Aristide.

According to an article in this week's issue of the liberal magazine Nation, FRAPH leader Emmanuel Constant was a former employee of the CIA. Largely at the CIA's wishes, the organisation was set up in 1993 to counter the pro-democracy movement backing Mr Aristide.

In Port-au-Prince yesterday, a US embassy spokesman refused to comment on the allegations, which had already surfaced in less direct guise in a Haitian newspaper. Prompted by Mr Constant's press conference on Tuesday, arranged by the Americans just hours after US troops had sacked FRAPH's headquarters, Le Nouvelliste asked whether the US government was working 'hand-in-hand' with a man who had been one of the most feared and powerful in the country.

The Nation quotes Mr Constant as saying that he was contacted by a US intelligence officer named Colonel Patrick Collins, who pressed him to set up a group to 'balance' pro-Aristide forces and to spy on 'extremists'. At the time, Mr Constant claimed he was working with CIA operatives in Haiti.

Despite the official silence here, and the lack of corroboration of the magazine's account, the charges can only reinforce criticism of the CIA's performance in Haiti, and compound wider doubts over the agency's future after the Aldrich Ames affair, the worst espionage scandal in CIA history.

Despite demands from the Aristide camp, Mr Constant was not arrested when his group was broken up. The CIA's hostility to Mr Aristide has been in the public domain ever since the leak of an internal report suggesting he was mentally ill. The doctor said to have provided the evidence supporting that claim was later shown not to exist.

Nor will the new accusations help quell Mr Aristide's lingering mistrust of US commitment to his cause. To try and allay these suspicions, visiting South African President Nelson Mandela was holding talks with Mr Aristide yesterday, at the urging of the administration.

President Bill Clinton, meanwhile, moved to still public anxiety that Haiti would turn into a quagmire. Boarding an aircraft carrier at the Norfolk, Virginia, naval base yesterday, Mr Clinton told crew members that the mission would soon be turned over to the United Nations: 'We're going to complete it and bring our people home.' Congress, too, is pressing for an early withdrawal.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
life
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower