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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 01:39 PM
Original message
USAID, the CIA, and the Coup in Haiti
USAID, the CIA, and the Coup in Haiti
Neil Elliott

The first democratic government of Haiti appears to be in its death throes. To add vicious insult to continuing injury, the American mainstream media continue to present Haitian affairs as the sorry result of the dismal leadership of one man, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, despite the best efforts of the United States. The headline that graced the Star Tribunes front page on February 18th USA, France reluctant to intervene in Haiti would be laughably absurd if the reality it obscured were not so dreadful.

One doesnt have to wander far from the Associated Press wires to find abundant information about the United States enthusiastic long-term intervention in Haiti. The so-called democratic convergence that has dogged Aristides elected government is, in fact, a tiny group of malcontents who are working with elements of the Bush administration to turn Haiti into one vast sweatshop zone.

Having been soundly rejected in every election in which theyve run against Aristides grass-roots Lavalas party, theyve used millions of USA tax dollars to organize street demonstrations, buy up radio and television stations, and, most recently, field a vicious army of thugs, styling themselves the Cannibal Army, who have attacked police stations and set about occupying Haitian cities.

All this has been funded from the USA Agency for International Development (USAID), under the guise of its falsely so-called Democracy Enhancement program. USAID has long been notorious for channeling money to the tiny pro-business elite and its armed goons. It was USAID money that helped a CIA agent persuade Emmanuel Toto Constant to organize the murderous FRAPH in 1991. That terrorist organization was responsible for some 5,000 murders in the wake of the military coup that removed Aristide from his first term as elected president. Constant now lives as a real estate agent in Brooklyn, thanks to the protection of the USA State and Justice departments.


Despite a small mistake about the Cannibal Army, (the FRAPH and former army is the biggest and most dangerous component of the terrorists) this article is correct. The blackmail that involved the withholding of loans and aid so long as Aristide refused to surrender power to the unelected should also be mentioned as part of this intervention. That the opposition refused to negotiate and refused anything other than a total surrender of power by Aristide. France said that it plans to release money only if a coup happens. This is yet more proof of the criminal interventions taking place now.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. Here's one that explains why this is good news for US businesses
Paulaine Saint-Fleur..received 55 gourdes a day when she started..Now she makes 110 gourdes..but the wage increase has had little impact. "Now the cost of living is so much higher," she said, "that 110 gourdes is basically the same as 55 gourdes was."..she has no children, she makes more than most people at the factory, she lives in her mother's house, she lives close to the factory, and she has an uncle who helps out with expenses...she spends 95 gourdes per day on transportation and food for herself.

Last April, the Haitian government raised the national minimum wage from 36 gourdes a day ($2.40 when it was passed in 1994) to 70 gourdes per day (about $1.70 today). But even this paltry sum, lower than the cost of living for the frugal, is often overlooked even by the government itself.

"At the same time that President Aristide was campaigning for increased wages, he was ousted..."he was committed to raising the minimum wage to 72 gourdes" in 1994, "but after lengthy dialogue with the labor unions, domestic and foreign employers," etc., "the bill that finally went before Parliament raised the wage to 36 gourdes a day," from 15. The explanation continued...The president wanted to raise it to 72 gourdes this year, but was pressured to settle at 70 gourdes.

Even Marie-Claude Baillard, the president of the Association of Haitian Industries, acknowledges that the current minimum wage is too low, "in a sense, in terms of the cost of living." But "at the level of the enterprises, there is ferocious competition and the salaries must be competitive," she added. "It's not the most desirable situation," she said, but insisted that the salaries must be kept low in order to create more jobs in Haiti.
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mmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. Once again the US heaps suffering on those who already suffer too much
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stldemocrat Donating Member (296 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Democracy
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 02:13 PM by stldemocrat
It is appalling that a democratically elected leader in our own hemisphere is treated this way. Has anyone called for the UN to restore Aristide? I assume that Kennedy/Dodd/Kerry or someone will try to introduce a measure to allow for refugees to come here.
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buycitgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. this is just the tip of a very big, fat, smelly iceberg
reeking of rotting chickens coming home to roost some day

how's that for mixing metaphors?

but what's a meta for, anyway?
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. very informative post, thanks n/t
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. I am currently listening to the 3 hour special KPFT is doing on Haiti
This is very eyeopening and disturbing. I just heard that the coup is being lead by an American citizen!
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Name? I read something like that earlier but lost it. Name please ?
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. He said it was the leader of the "resistance"
I am not familiar with the names and did not catch it, but the radio reporter said the leader of the coup was born in NY and has been living in Haiti. The news keeps reporting this man has dual citizenship, but Haiti does not recognize dual citizenship. Last year the coup leader refused to give up his American citizenship when renewing his Haiti passport, so he is an American, not Haitian.
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Andy Apaid
Says he has 'dual citizenship'. Haiti does not allow that, ergo he is not legally a Haitian citizen. He's a US one.

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buycitgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. group 184, andy apaid

.....When asked at a business conference in Miami soon after the coup in 1991 what he would do if President Aristide returned to Haiti, Apaid replied vehemently, Id strangle him!......

Last December, after a powwow with the International Republican Institute in Santo Domingo, the Haitian opposition returned to Port-au-Prince to establish the Group of 184, a supposedly broad front of civil society organizations modeled on similar anti-government coalitions in Chavezs Venezuela and Allendes Chile.

The head of the 184" today is Andr Andy Apaid, Jr., also head of Alpha Industries, one of the oldest and largest assembly factories in Haiti.

On Nov. 11, Haitis Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert confirmed that Apaid is indeed a U.S. citizen, a rumor which had been circulating since the industrialists emergence on the political scene. According to Privert, Apaid was born to Haitian parents in the U.S. and came to Haiti in 1976 as a foreign businessman on a visitors visa.

After five years, any foreigner can obtain Haitian nationality by naturalization under the Constitutions Article 12, but Andy Apaid has never done this, according to the government.

Andy is following in the political footsteps of his father. As founder of Alpha Sewing in the 1970s, Andr senior was a close to dictator Jean-Claude Baby Doc Duvalier and remains a notorious Duvalierist, according to Eric Verhoogen in the Multinational Monitor (April 1996). Apaid senior headed up the civil society (read: bourgeoisie) campaign to support the 1991-1994 military coup against President Aristide, which successfully eased U.S. sanctions on the export of goods from Haitis assembly sweat-shops.......

At the time, Apaid was heading up the United States Agency for International Develop-ments (USAIDs) PROMINEX business promotion project, a $12.7 million program to encourage U.S. and Canadian firms to move their businesses to Haiti.
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buycitgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. "Who is the Opposition?"
Like the so-called opposition to the Chavez government of Venezuela, Haitis opposition represents only a small minority (8 percent of the population according to a 2000 poll). With no chance of winning through democratic elections, they rely instead on armed violence to foment a political crisis that will lead to the fall of the government. Using their international business connections, especially ties to the corporate media, the opposition has manufactured an image of itself as the true champion of democracy in Haiti.

The gangs that have placed thousands of Haitians under siege are reportedly armed with US-made M-16s, recently sent by the US to the government of the Dominican Republic.

The gangs are directly linked to two groups financed by the Bush Administration: the right-wing Convergence for Democracy and the pro-business Group of 184.

The Convergence is a coalition of about two dozen groups, ranging from neo-Duvalierists (named for the Duvaliers dictatorship that ruled Haiti from 1957-1986) to former Aristide supporters. These groups have little in common except their desire to see Aristide overthrown.

According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, the oppositions only policy goal seems to be reconstituting the army and the implementation of rigorous Structural Adjustment Programs.

The Convergence is led by former FRAPH paramilitary leaders (including Louis Chamblain, Guy Phillipe and Jean Pierre Baptiste) who carried out the bloody 1991 coup detat, in which the CIA-trained and -funded FRAPH overthrew Aristide, killed 5,000 civilians and terrorized Haiti for four years.

The Convergence is supported by the Haitian elite and the leadership of the US Republican Party (through the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute).

The Group of 184 is represented by Andy Apaid, a Duvalier supporter and US citizen who obtained a Haitian passport by fraudulently claiming to have been born in Haiti. Apaid owns 15 factories in Haiti and was the main foe of Aristides 2003 campaign to raise the minimum wage (which, at $1.60 a day, was lower than what it had been 10 years earlier).

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. Ah yes, our Middle-Eastern business class / very pro-Duvalier
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 03:50 PM by Tinoire

They came to Haiti decades ago and set up businesses that thrived. Very important in commerce. Often pro Duvalier because he didn't make anyone pay taxes and you just greased your way if you had enough seed money to start a business. The entire business class hated Aristide... Imagine the audacity of asking them to pay taxes or a decent wage.

D'origine libanaise, "Andy" Apaid appartient l'lite la peau claire, minoritaire et jalous dans la premire rpublique noire. Autre handicap : son pre, Andr Apaid Sr, a t l'un des principaux financiers de Marc Bazin, le candidat de la bourgeoisie battu par Jean-Bertrand Aristide lors de l'lection prsidentielle de 1990. A ce titre, il n'avait pas vu d'un mauvais il le coup d'Etat militaire contre le cur des bidonvilles, qui incarnait alors l'espoir de changement aprs trente ans de dictature.

((Of Lebanese origin, Andy Aipad belongs to the light-skinned elite which is a minority & jeloused in the first Black Republic; his fater, Andre Aipad Sr. was one of the principal financiers of Marc Bazin, the candidate of the bourgeoisie who was beaten by Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the 1990 election. As such, he was not against the military coup d'etat against the priest from the slums who incarnated the hope of change after 30 years of dictatorship. ))

Opposition leader Andy Apaid Jr., citizen of both the U.S. and Haiti, cannot be president without a consitutional amendment.

Its most outspoken leader, but unlikely messiah, is Andy Apaid Jr. A factory owner born in the United States, his family fled under Francois Duvalier, or "Papa Doc," who ruled from 1957 to 1971.

With pressed pastel shirts and gold-rimmed glasses, Apaid looks more like a Miami businessman than a political activist in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. Without a constitutional amendment, he will never become president because of his dual nationality.


Andy Apaid is the public face of a coalition that includes some 300 groups from the public and private sectors.

Andy Apaid, 51, a spokesman for Group 184, an alliance of nongovernment organizations and institutions that started with 184 members and now has about 300, said his group no longer favors negotiations toward a compromise with Aristide.

''For three years, we have been in a different position than the opposition, as a civil society movement asking for a reasonable compromise with Aristide remaining as president to give hope to the democratic process,'' said the wealthy U.S.-born businessman.

``Throughout those three years, President Aristide refused to make the necessary concessions at the level to ensure good elections. He always maintained his concessions below the limit where he felt he could take back what he gave. He never went over the bar of assurance.''

Apaid said that with the deterioration of human rights and freedom of expression, the persecution of journalists and restrictions on the right to assemble, Aristide ``broke the camel's back, so civil society joined the position that he should leave.''

The Group of 184 is represented by Andy Apaid, a Duvalier supporter and US citizen who obtained a Haitian passport by fraudulently claiming to have been born in Haiti. Apaid owns 15 factories in Haiti and was the main foe of Aristide's 2003 campaign to raise the minimum wage (which, at $1.60 a day, was lower than what it had been 10 years earlier).

By demanding that the opposition be included in any resolution of Haiti's political impasse, the US has greatly empowered these forces. While the opposition perpetuates Haiti's political deadlock, the US embargo (see below) guarantees the island's economic strangulation. Aristide's opponents hope that these combined tactics will achieve what they cannot win through democratic elections: the ouster of Aristide.

Why is it so hard to get a clear picture of what's happening in Haiti? Media Manipulation

-> One reason is that the opposition has succeeded in mobilizing the mainstream media to create an image of Aristide as a tyrant and the opposition as democratic freedom fighters. For example, international media have run several stories comparing the opposition to the movement to overthrow Haiti's long-time Duvalier dictatorship. Although the Haitian government has condemned attacks by its supporters on opposition forces, mainstream media did not report the condemnations

-> Most international coverage of the crisis in Haiti comes from the large wire services, Reuters and the Associated Press. These wire services rely almost exclusively on Haiti's elite-owned media (Radio Metropole, Tele-Haiti, Radio Caraibe, Radio Vision 2000 and Radio Kiskeya) for their stories. The outlets are owned and operated by the opposition. For example, Andy Apaid, spokesman for the Group of 184, is the founder of Tele-Haiti.

:puke: :puke:
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. More on Andy Aipad
He runs Agacorp, an apparel manufacturer that employs 4,200 people. Not sure if 4,200 is the grand total because it seems he owns multiple factories. Still digging.

ANDY APAID, 52, factory owner

Port-au-Prince -- Part of Haiti's tiny elite, Andy Apaid's family runs several textile mills that employ more than 4,000 people, making them one of Haiti's largest employers.

"We pay our workers 2 1/2 times the minimum wage," he said, an amount that equals about $4.50 per day. "It's small but it's an opportunity. Haiti is in dire need of jobs."

In recent months, Apaid has organized a campaign to change Haiti's history of woeful political failure by demanding that politicians of all stripes agree to basic principles: honest, efficient government; respect for political adversaries; transparency in all public enterprises. ((oh cough, cough))

But Apaid has since abandoned his nonpartisan stance, leading marches demanding that President Aristide resign.

"He's treating people with the same repressive ways, making the same mistakes of the past," Apaid said.

Other portraits also:


It looks like U.S. imperialism is up to its old dirty tricks once again -- this time in Haiti. In April 2002, the Bush regime and the CIA tried to overthrow the popularly elected government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. They failed abysmally. The working people of Venezuela poured out into the streets in their hundreds of thousands to defend their hero and their populist government, and the right-wing, upper class coup that had been scripted in Foggy Bottom, Langley Va., and Miami was rolled back. It doesnt take much reading between the lines of the news stories in the U.S. media to see that the scenario in Haiti is pretty much the same: The Haitian opposition has declared a strike (really a business lock-out) against the government and is aided and abetted by a propaganda onslaught launched by the privately-owned, right-wing media, the same strategy used against Chavez in Venezuela. The privileged class basis of much of the opposition is equally clear. Two of the oppositions leaders, Andre Apaid, Jr. and Charles Henri Baker, are sweatshop owners, for Christs sake. Should we trust sweatshop owners to do the right thing? In the opposition coalitions Group of 184" are many more business owners and members of the Haitian professional elite. Their rhetoric may be about democracy and human rights. Apaid who was once a supporter of the bloody Duvalier dictatorships now claims with a straight face to be a Gandhian advocate of non-violence. But what many are really upset about are the efforts of the Aristide government to raise the minimum wage for the workers and to make the rich pay up on their tax obligations.


The United States has also played its own despicable role in keeping Haiti impoverished. The slaveowners and their political allies who dominated the U.S. before the Civil War were scared shitless that the example of an independent country of self-emancipated Africans, if allowed to be successful, would inspire slave rebellions here. Trade with Haiti was restricted at the insistence of that eloquent friend of liberty and equality (for whites only), slaveowner Thomas Jefferson, when he was President, so that Haitian ships could not come to U.S. ports bringing with them the possible contagion of liberty for blacks. The U.S. refused to recognize Haiti until Abe Lincoln finally did so in 1862. In 1915, the U.S. invaded Haiti and occupied it until 1934. It took over the Haitian customs offices and funneled receipts to U.S. banks. It rewrote the Haitian constitution so that Haitian land could be sold off to foreigners. Later, in the years of the repressive Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier regimes from 1957 to 1986, the U.S. largely turned a blind eye to the enormous number of human rights violations there as those regimes opened the doors of Haiti to U.S. investors. They appreciated a dirt-cheap workforce kept intimidated by the regimes vicious terrorist organization, the Tonton Macoutes. In the 1980s, Haiti was a victim of one of those U.S.-supported IMF and World Bank Structural Adjustment Programs that lowered wages and government spending on education and social programs in the holy name of "comparative advantages" and "free trade". As elsewhere, this has only served to bring greater riches for a handful of foreigners and Haitian compradors and greater suffering to the masses of the people.



Some opposition leaders made no secret of their desire to see Washington play a more active role in hastening the 50-year-old Aristide's exit. " We have asked him to leave because too much is too much," said Andy Apaid, a U.S.-born businessman who heads a collection of anti-Aristide organizations and community leaders known as the Group of 184. " nothing gets done without Washington."

Apaid and other leaders of the government's so-called democratic opposition have been accused of having links to the motley crew of gang members and ex-soldiers who now control many of the principal towns and cities north of Port-au-Prince. At least 70 people have been killedincluding an estimated 40 policemenin fighting since the rebellion erupted in the seaport of Gonaives on Feb. 5.


Congresswoman Maxine Waters: I believe that the opposition in Haiti is trying to foment a coup d'etat. They claim that they are staging peaceful protests, but that is not what they are actually doing. It is my impression that the opposition, led by Andy Apaid, is simply involved in a power grab. They want to place a council of their choosing in charge of the government and the country, instead of accepting the will of the people and respecting Haiti's democratically elected president. And they want to make sure that the governing council represents only their interests as members of Haiti's bourgeoisie. They want their group, the elite, to totally control Haiti. The oppositions protests are becoming increasingly violent and the United States Government, my government, is not providing the required leadership. It is not meeting its responsibility to help de-escalate the crisis in Haiti. The situation there is serious. The Congresswoman wants the US to get tough, with the Haitian Opposition.

In all the negotiations over the years the Opposition has simply refused to have any dealings with the countrys lawfully elected President Aristide who has a much better title to his office than President George Bush.

The leader of this Opposition, Andr Apaid, is a millionaire businessman of Middle Eastern extraction whose family has been in Haiti for decades. He is the leader of the elites, the unreconstructed class of light-skinned and white Haitians who have never forgiven the blacks for defeating France, Spain and Britain on their way to independence. They were extreme racists 200 years ago, and some of them still are today, although one imagines that like the elites in Jamaica, many would have accommodated themselves to reality.

Democracy Now: "The leader of the 'opposition' is an American citizen named Andy Apaid. He was born in New York. Haitian law does not allow dual-nationality and he has not renounced his US citizenship. In a recent statement, Congressmember Maxine Waters blasted Apaid and his opposition front, saying she believes 'Apaid is attempting to instigate a bloodbath in Haiti and then blame the government for the resulting disaster in the belief that the United States will aid the so-called protestors against President Aristide and his government'."


According to some businessmen, cheap labour is Haitis only resource.

Opposition leader Apaid owns several factories of the free-zone kind maquiladoiras in which Haitians work for low wages. In 1997 the American anti-sweatshop NGO the National Labour Committee described his operation:

Alpha Sewing produces industrial gloves for Ansell Edmont of Coshocton, Ohio, which is owned by Ansell International of Lilburn, Georgia, which in turn is owned by Pacific Dunlop Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia. Ansell Edmont boasts in its promotional literature that it is the world's largest manufacturer of safety gloves and protective clothing, but the workers at Alpha Sewing do not have even the most basic safety protection. They produce Ansell Edmont's "Vinyl-Impregnated Super-Flexible STD" gloves with bare hands; Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), the chemical that toughens the glove, also takes off layers of skin. And the dust from the production of the "Vinyl-Coated Super Comfort Seams-Rite" gloves gives many workers respiratory problems. Hours at the plant are from 6 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Saturday, and often from 6 am to 3:30 pm on Sunday as well--a 78-hour work week. Approximately 75% of the workers make less than the minimum wage. In April, 1995, a worker who refused to work on Sunday so that he could go to church was fired. When he returned to pick up his severance pay, the manager called the UN police and reported a burglar on the premises. The UN police arrived and promptly handcuffed the worker. After protests from the other employees, the UN police finally let the worker go. The next day, management began firing, three at a time, four at a time, all those workers who had protested the arrest."

According to the National Labour Committee " Apaid is a notorious Duvalierist. When asked at a business conference in Miami soon after the coup in 1991 what he would do if President Aristide returned to Haiti, Apaid replied vehemently, 'I'd strangle him!' At the time, Apaid was heading up USAID's PROMINEX business promotion project, a $12.7 million program to encourage US. and Canadian firms to move their businesses to Haiti.

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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Also, the legal counsel to Aristade reported
that even Aristide's body guards do not know where Aristide is. The counsel said he talked to Aristide last night and Aristide was adamant about staying and fighting and had no intention of leaving. The counsel said he believes Aristide was kidnapped, and he believes the kidnapper is the US.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-04 04:48 AM
Response to Reply #10
17. Kick for wider dissemination
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robertarctor Donating Member (831 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
12. Andy Apaid is to Haiti what Ahmed Chalabi is to Iraq
Another thief functioning as a BFEE puppet.

I.e., scum.
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buycitgo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. robert arctor from TT?
check your personal messages in a minute!
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