On Feb. 6, 2023, the online news and analysis program Redacted, hosted by Natali and Clayton Morris, aired an interview with journalist Dan Cohen, their new Washington, DC correspondent.
Cohen reviews the challenges facing the U.S. and Canada, Haiti’s two principal neo-colonial overlords, in launching a military intervention into a country which is almost universally hostile to it. He also looks at the role of the mainstream media in helping fashion the narrative to sell the designs of Washington and Ottawa.
We present here an edited transcript of the interview.
Clayton Morris: For months now, we here at Redacted have been reporting that an invasion of Haiti is coming. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when it is going to happen. Over the weekend, the invasion appears to be inching closer.
Canada, which has been coordinating its moves with the Biden Administration, deployed military aircraft over Haiti this weekend. It released a statement saying that this is all “to disrupt the activities of gangs.” They put that in their press release.
Joining me now to discuss this is Redacted correspondent Dan Cohen, who is one of the few journalists to report from Haiti and not too long ago returned from Port-au-Prince. Dan welcome to the show. What do you make of this press release and the timing of this?
Dan Cohen: Well, it’s really interesting to see that Canada made this move in a very public way, because, up until this point, it’s been very quiet, very hush-hush, behind the scenes.
When the Biden Administration, including [Secretary of State Anthony] Blinken, [President Joe] Biden himself, and National Security adviser Jake Sullivan went to Mexico last month to meet with their Canadian and Mexican counterparts, Haiti was of course on the agenda. When Sullivan was asked about what’s happening with this Haiti intervention, he was pretty mum. He said, and I quote: “What I don’t want to do is jam anybody, so I want them to be able to have the conversation.” So he really didn’t want to talk about it.
That is in total contrast to this now very public announcement from the Canadian Foreign Ministry, that was pushed out through all of the mainstream media channels.
I think this is about really testing the waters; they are probing to see what the reaction is.
The plane that the Canadians deployed is called a CP-140 Aurora. It’s a long-range patrol aircraft that is used for various types of missions over land and water, according to the Canadian Foreign Ministry’s release. They say that it is used not only for gathering intelligence and surveillance but even has strike capabilities, so this is obviously, I would say, a threat if not a thinly-veiled threat against Haiti.
The main person that this is against is Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, this is figure that the U.S. desperately wants to either arrest, imprison, assassinate, or one way or another to get rid of and smash into a million pieces the armed movement, the “Revolutionary Forces of the G9 Family and Allies” that he leads, which represents a threat to the U.S.-led order in Haiti.
I spoke to Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier late Sunday night [Feb. 5] and got his reaction to this Canadian war plane.
“First, for myself, as the president and spokesman for the Revolutionary Forces of the G9 Family and Allies, as a patriot and someone who loves this country, we’re against any military intervention by any country against the Haitian people,” he said. “Today, they’re using gangs as a pretext to invade the country. We too are aware that there are many violent gangs that are terrorizing the population. They rape people, they kidnap people, and they kill people for no reason. It is the politicians and oligarchs who have put them into the country.”
So Cherizier’s point is that the talk about gangs is really a pretext for military intervention, military invasion, against Haiti, against the Haitian people, against the Haitian masses, and curiously over the last week or so, after months of the mainstream media wanting not approaching Cherizier, they published three interviews. The AP, Al Jazeera, and Sky News all published interviews. They approached Cherizier for interviews, and he granted them, and he is the only so-called gang leader who does that. And they called him a gang leader, and in all of the headlines, he’s a gang leader…
Clayton Morris: So for our audience that doesn’t know, we’ve been trying to educate our audience on this story for the last number of months. The media has totally ignored this story. We were the only news organization covering the story. It’s really remarkable that suddenly now three news organizations within a week -almost as if it’s coordinated, suddenly decide to descend on Haiti to do interviews, and they specifically go after Jimmy Cherizier, and they paint him as a gang leader as a pretext – that’s the way I see it as well – that it’s really a pretext for foreign invasion, painting him as the bad guy, we need to go there and provide peacekeepers and really make sure everyone’s okay a and we’re going to be there to take care of this guy. Who is Jimmy Cherizier? Is he a gang leader or is he a representative of the Haitian people?
Dan Cohen: Well, yeah, exactly. This is manufacturing consent in action, is what we’re seeing. You’re right, Clayton. Jimmy Cherizier is a former cop, who basically got burned by the system after being kind of a straight shooter, straight arrow for a lot of years and trying to do his best within the system. They burned him, they basically needed a sacrificial lamb, and this is what we show in the documentary “Another Vision: Inside Haiti’s Uprising,” which gives the background to the current moment, which I made with Haiti Liberté.
Jimmy Cherizier formed this federation of armed groups called the G9 that is totally opposed to criminal activity, to kidnapping, to extortion of businesses and merchants, to rape, which, you know, sadly, these things are very common, and there are a lot of real gangs, what you could call gangs – criminal armed groups – and these are the groups that are against Jimmy Cherizier and the G9.
I could list off a whole bunch of them. There’s Vitelhomme Innocent, who just killed several cops in Haiti just in the past couple weeks. There is Izo, the leader of the Five Seconds Gang in Village de Dieu, who is a regular kidnapper. There’s the 400 Mawozo, which kidnapped 17 North American missionaries in 2021. None of them are under sanctions yet Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier is. And none of them ever are approached for interviews, because they are real gang leaders…
Clayton Morris: Remarkable! And, of course, the Western media, and Canada, the United Nations, the United States aren’t interested in those people, the actual gangs. They’re interested in the ones that are representing the people, who would want to push Western influence out of Haiti. Isn’t that funny how that works?
Dan Cohen: Exactly. They never approach those guys for an interview, for a nice sit-down interview, because you can’t. It’s too dangerous. They’ll kidnap you, they’ll demand millions of dollars from your family or whatever. That’s why none of these correspondents go to meet and sit down with any of these real gangsters, who are hardened criminals. They only go to Cherizier, who continues to say: “Yeah, I’ll sit down with you, and I’ll show you the neighborhood I live in. I’ll show you the slums of Port-au-Prince, and you can see the crushing poverty, and you can communicate that to your audience because we want the international community to treat Haiti as a normal country and not treat it as a piggy bank, as a place to just exploit and take wealth from.” But no, he’s called a gang leader and that’s all about manufacturing consent for this imminent invasion.
I think basically the United States is in a difficult spot with Haiti because it knows that if it goes into Haiti – or Canada does – with a full force and just invades, it’s going to spark an uprising. The Haitian masses do not want foreign intervention. They will wholly reject it, and that will rally people around Jimmy Cherizier, which is the last thing that the U.S. wants to do.
So it’s in this tight spot. On one hand, we want to take this guy out but we have to do it with a very soft touch so there’s all this negotiation behind the scenes and deploying this warplane is all about figuring out how they’re going to do it and how they’re going to basically get an element inside the Haitian National Police – which is an anemic force – to be able to carry out this hit.
So there have been a number of training sessions going on. The U.S. has been seeking to train like a SWAT team, a so-called anti-gang SWAT team, inside the Haitian National Police, and that was pushed very hard by the former U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti, Dan Foote, whom I interviewed in September. He told me that this is all happening so it’s a matter of time.
Clayton Morris: It literally is like an assassination training camp right now that the United States is preparing in order to take out Jimmy Cherizier.
Dan Cohen: Exactly.
Clayton Morris: This is unbelievable, and I guess I should ask you: what is the agenda, what is the hope from the United States and Canada in all of this? What do they hope to accomplish in Haiti? Is it is it to continue to just pillage all of their natural resources and keep them in total poverty?
Dan Cohen: Exactly. When you go to Haiti, when you go to the slums, you go to Cité Soleil and other ones, the conditions are unreal.
So there are a few aspects to it. You have the sweatshops, where foreign corporations make enormous amounts of money. You have the sort of geopolitical consideration, that they don’t want Haiti to again set an example, because it has always served as an example of freedom for the world. It had the only successful slave revolution and took part in freedom movements throughout the Western Hemisphere.
You also have one aspect that doesn’t get talked about: the biopharma industry loves to use Haiti to test its products, to basically go into these slums and say “oh, there’s sewage everywhere, and people are getting cholera and this disease and that.” Instead of actually fixing the conditions, which frankly would not be very difficult, they say “we’re going to test drugs on you,” so that’s another aspect of it.
So they just want to keep the status quo of poverty and exploitation in Haiti. That’s the whole game.
Clayton Morris: Well, we will continue to follow the story and hold their feet to the fire covering this story. It’s incredibly important. I just find the timing that… Don’t you find it so interesting that these three news organizations – the Associated Press, Sky News, and Al Jazeera – it’s like they’re handed something from the deep state, it’s like they’re handed something from the intelligence community, here’s a story you might want to go and cover this. We actually encourage you to go and cover this. And they all fall in line. Almost within a day, they’re down there covering the story, seeking an interview with him.
Dan Cohen: It’s crazy. All have the same headline saying: “this is gang leader, the most feared gang leader.” It’s it’s so predictable it’s trite… I want to challenge those guys. Why don’t you go to Izo, why don’t you go to Ti Lapli, why don’t you go to any of the real criminal gangsters?…
Actually Cherizier declined their request at first, and you know what they did? They just showed up at his neighborhood, in his neighborhood, uninvited. And Cherizier was gracious about it. He said: “Okay, I’ll do the interview with you.”
They should go to other neighborhoods where the leader is not going to guarantee your safety, where you’re likely to get kidnapped and maybe killed, and see what happens. So it’s just shameful.
Clayton Morris: It absolutely is. Well, we will continue to cover this story and hopefully bring light and shed light on it, and hopefully Americans who are watching this story can share it and realize that there is another side to this story, not the one they’re being fed by the mainstream media.