Haiti : Will there be Regime Change in Haiti?

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Ankhur, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    After the disaster relief efforts will new ministers of government be put in place?

    Bill Clinton and Bush Jr., just made a statement on television just now alluding to that effect and that many ministers of government are
    "missing"
     
  2. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Naomi Klien, author of Shock Doctrine/DISASTER CAPITALISM

    « Previous Story | Next Story »
    January 14, 2010


    Naomi Klein Issues Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again
    Journalist and author Naomi Klein spoke in New York last night and addressed the crisis in Haiti: “We have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy—which is part natural, part unnatural—must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interest of our corporations. This is not conspiracy theory. They have done it again and again.” [includes rush transcript]



    MP3 Download

    Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

    Rush ...
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert

    AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to Naomi Klein. We’re going to try that tape again, her commenting on what is going on in Haiti right now and who is profiting already.


    NAOMI KLEIN: But as I write about in The Shock Doctrine, crises are often used now as the pretext for pushing through policies that you cannot push through under times of stability. Countries in periods of extreme crisis are desperate for any kind of aid, any kind of money, and are not in a position to negotiate fairly the terms of that exchange.


    And I just want to pause for a second and read you something, which is pretty extraordinary. I just put this up on my website. The headline is “Haiti: Stop Them Before They Shock Again.” This went up a few hours ago, three hours ago, I believe, on the Heritage Foundation website.


    “Amidst the Suffering, Crisis in Haiti Offers Opportunities to the U.S. In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the image of the United States in the region.” And then goes on.


    Now, I don’t know whether things are improving or not, because it took the Heritage Foundation thirteen days before they issued thirty-two free market solutions for Hurricane Katrina. We put that document up on our website, as well. It was close down the housing projects, turn the Gulf Coast into a tax-free free enterprise zone, get rid of the labor laws that forces contractors to pay a living wage. Yeah, so it took them thirteen days before they did that in the case of Katrina. In the case of Haiti, they didn’t even wait twenty-four hours.


    Now, why I say I don’t know whether it’s improving or not is that two hours ago they took this down. So somebody told them that it wasn’t couth. And then they put up something that was much more delicate. Fortunately, the investigative reporters at Democracy Now! managed to find that earlier document in a Google cache. But what you’ll find now is a much gentler “Things to Remember While Helping Haiti.” And buried down there, it says, “Long-term reforms for Haitian democracy and its economy are also badly overdue.”


    But the point is, we need to make sure that the aid that goes to Haiti is, one, grants, not loans. This is absolutely crucial. This is an already heavily indebted country. This is a disaster that, as Amy said, on the one hand is nature, is, you know, an earthquake; on the other hand is the creation, is worsened by the poverty that our governments have been so complicit in deepening. Crises—natural disasters are so much worse in countries like Haiti, because you have soil erosion because the poverty means people are building in very, very precarious ways, so houses just slide down because they are built in places where they shouldn’t be built. All of this is interconnected. But we have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy, which is part natural, part unnatural, must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti, and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interests of our corporations. And this is not a conspiracy theory. They have done it again and again.

    full article;
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/14/naomi_klein_issues_haiti_disaster_capitalism
     
  3. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    News
    World news
    Haiti

    US accused of annexing airport as squabbling hinders aid effort in HaitiPriority landing for Americans forces flights carrying emergency supplies to divert to Dominican Republic
    Buzz up!
    Digg it
    Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent, and Daniel Nasaw in Washington guardian.co.uk, Sunday 17 January 2010 21.56 GMT larger | smaller Article history
    A police officer disperses people in Port-au-Prince. Photograph: Ramon Espinosa/AP

    The US military's takeover of emergency operations in Haiti has triggered a diplomatic row with countries and aid agencies furious at having flights redirected.

    Brazil and France lodged an official *protest with Washington after US military aircraft were given priority at Port-au-Prince's congested airport, forcing many non-US flights to divert to the Dominican Republic.

    Brasilia warned it would not *relinquish command of UN forces in Haiti, and Paris complained the airport had become a US "annexe", exposing a brewing power struggle amid the global relief effort. The Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières also complained about diverted flights.

    The row prompted Haiti's president, René Préval, to call for calm. "This is an extremely difficult situation," he told AP. "We must keep our cool to co-ordinate and not throw accusations at each other."

    The squabbling came amid signs that aid was reaching some of the hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need of water, food and medicine six days after a magnitude 7 earthquake levelled the capital, killing more than 100,000, according to Haitian authorities.

    The UN was feeding 40,000 and hoped to increase that to 1 million within a fortnight, said the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, as he arrived in Port-au-Prince yesterday. "I am here with a message of hope that help is on the way," he said, speaking outside the severely damaged national palace. He also acknowledged "that many people are frustrated and they are losing their patience."

    Ban said he has three priorities in Haiti: saving as many lives as possible, stepping up humanitarian assistance and ensuring the co-ordination of aid coming into the country. "We should not waste even a single item, a dollar," he said.

    The plight of 80 elderly people at a partially collapsed municipal hospice just a mile from the airport, now a huge aid hub, showed the desperate need. The body of a dead 70-year-old man rotted on a mattress, nearly indistinguishable from the exhausted, hungry and thirsty people around him. "Others won't live until tonight," an administrator, Jean Emmanuel, told the Associated Press.

    The Haitian government has established 14 food distribution points and aid groups have opened five emergency health centres. Water-purification units – a priority to avert disease and dehydration – were arriving.

    But with aftershocks jolting the ruins, bloated bodies in the street and severe shortages of water and food many survivors had had enough: an exodus trekked on foot out of the city to rural areas.

    The security situation worsened, with some looters fighting with rocks and clubs for rice, clothing and other goods scavenged from debris. In places the embryonic aid machine did not even try to organise distribution. Aid workers tossed out food packets to crowds and US helicopters took off as soon as they offloaded supplies, prompting scrambles in which the fittest and strongest prevailed.

    "They are not identifying the people who need the water. The sick and the old have no chance," Estime Pierre Deny, *hoping to fill a plastic container with water amid a scrum of people, told Reuters.

    Frustration over aid bottlenecks among donors became tinged by national rivalry as it became clear the US was taking ownership of the crisis. A vanguard of more than 1,000 US troops was on the ground and 12,000 were expected in the region by today, including marines aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson which anchored offshore as a "floating airport".

    The Haitian government, paralysed by the destruction of the presidential palace and ministries, signed a memorandum of understanding formally transferring control of Toussaint L'Ouverture airport to the US. Former president Bill Clinton said he will travel to Haiti today to meet with government officials and deliver much-needed emergency supplies.

    The UN mission, which had a 9,000-strong peacekeeping force in Haiti before the quake, seemed too stunned by its own losses to take control. Its dead include its Tunisian head, Hédi Annabi, his Brazilian deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa, and the acting police commissioner, Doug Coates, a Canadian.

    Flights seeking permission to land continuously circle the airport, which is damaged and has only a single runway, rankling several governments and aid agencies. "There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti," Jarry Emmanuel, air logistics officer for the UN's World Food Programme, told the New York Times. "But most flights are for the US military. Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed. We have got to get those priorities in sync."

    France, which as the former *colonial power expects a prominent role, *protested when an emergency field hospital was turned back. The foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said the airport was not for the international community but "an annexe of Washington", according to France's ambassador to Haiti, Didier Le Bret.

    Brazil, which saw its leadership of the UN peacekeeping mission as a calling card of its burgeoning influence, was also indignant when three flights were not allowed to land. The foreign ministry reportedly asked Hillary Clinton to grant Brazil priority over chartered flights. Nelson Jobim, the defence minister, said Brazil would not relinquish command duties and suggested it, not Washington, would continue to lead UN forces. Analysts said it was vital command issues be resolved.

    The Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières complained about flights with medical staff and equipment which were redirected to the Dominican Republic. "We are all going crazy," said Nan Buzard, of the American Red Cross.

    The Obama administration has enlisted former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton to spearhead relief efforts. In a series of interviews both men deflected right-wing accusations that the White House was seeking political advantage from the disaster. "I'd say now is not the time to focus on politics," Bush said, as he sat beside his predecessor. "You've got children who've lost parents. People wondering where they're going to be able to drink water."
     
  4. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti: Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?


    By Michel Chossudovsky

    Global Research, January 15, 2010


    Haiti has a longstanding history of US military intervention and occupation going back to the beginning of the 20th Century. US interventionism has contributed to the destruction of Haiti's national economy and the impoverishment of its population.

    The devastating earthquake is presented to World public opinion as the sole cause of the country's predicament.

    A country has been destroyed, its infrastructure demolished. Its people precipitated into abysmal poverty and despair.

    Haiti's history, its colonial past have been erased.

    The US military has come to the rescue of an impoverished Nation. What is its Mandate?

    Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?

    The main actors in America's "humanitarian operation" are the Department of Defense, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (See USAID Speeches: On-The-Record Briefing on the Situation in Haiti, 01/13/10). USAID has also been entrusted in channelling food aid to Haiti, which is distributed by the World Food Program. (See USAID Press Release: USAID to Provide Emergency Food Aid for Haiti Earthquake Victims, January 13, 2010)

    The military component of the US mission, however, tends to overshadow the civilian functions of rescuing a desperate and impoverished population. The overall humanitarian operation is not being led by civilian governmental agencies such as FEMA or USAID, but by the Pentagon.

    The dominant decision making role has been entrusted to US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

    A massive deployment of military hardware and personnel is contemplated. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has confirmed that the US will be sending nine to ten thousand troops to Haiti, including 2000 marines. (American Forces Press Service, January 14, 2010)

    Aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson and its complement of supporting ships has already arrived in Port au Prince. (January 15, 2010). The 2,000-member Marine Amphibious Unit as well as and soldiers from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne division "are trained in a wide variety of missions including security and riot-control in addition to humanitarian tasks."

    In contrast to rescue and relief teams dispatched by various civilian teams and organizations, the humanitarian mandate of the US military is not clearly defined:

    “Marines are definitely warriors first, and that is what the world knows the Marines for,... [but] we’re equally as compassionate when we need to be, and this is a role that we’d like to show -- that compassionate warrior, reaching out with a helping hand for those who need it. We are very excited about this.” (Marines' Spokesman, Marines Embark on Haiti Response Mission, Army Forces Press Services, January 14, 2010)

    While presidents Obama and Préval spoke on the phone, there were no reports of negotiations between the two governments regarding the entry and deployment of US troops on Haitian soil. The decision was taken and imposed unilaterally by Washington. The total lack of a functioning government in Haiti was used to legitimize, on humanitarian grounds, the sending in of a powerful military force, which has de facto taken over several governmental functions.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TABLE 1

    US Military Assets to be Sent to Haiti. (according to official announcements)

    The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and amphibious dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50).

    A 2,000-member Marine Amphibious Unit from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and soldiers from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne division. 900 soldiers are slated to arrive in Haiti by January 15th.

    Aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson and its complement of supporting ships. (arrived in Port au Prince on January 15, 2010): USS Carl Vinson CVN 70

    The hospital ship USNS Comfort

    Several U.S. Coast Guard vessels and helicopters




    USS Carl Vinson

    The three amphibious ships will join aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy and guided-missile frigate USS Underwood.



    USS Normandy


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Leading Role of US Southern Command

    US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) with headquarters in Miami is the "lead agency" in Haiti. Its mandate as a regional military command is to carry out modern warfare. Its stated mission in Latin America and the Caribbean is "to conduct military operations and promote security cooperation to achieve U.S. strategic objectives." (Our Mission - U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) The commanding officers are trained to oversee theater operations, military policing as well "counterinsurgency" in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the recent establishment of new US military bases in Colombia, within proximity of the Venezuelan border.

    General Douglas Fraser, commander of U.S. Southern Command has defined the Haiti emergency operation as a Command, Control, Communications operation (C3). US Southern Command is to oversee a massive deployment of military hardware, including several warships, an aircraft carrier, airborne combat divisions, etc:

    "So we're focused on getting command and control and communications there so that we can really get a better understanding of what's going on. MINUSTAH [United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti], as their headquarters partially collapsed, lost a lot of their communication, and so we're looking to robust that communication, also.

    We're also sending in assessment teams in conjunction with USAID, supporting their efforts, as well as putting in some of our own to support their efforts.

    We're moving various ships that we had in the region -- they're small ships, Coast Guard cutters, destroyers -- in that direction, to provide whatever immediate assistance that we can on the ground.

    We also have a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, moving in that direction. It was at sea off of Norfolk, and so it's going to take a couple of days for it to get there. We need to also just resupply it and give it the provisions it needs to support the effort as we look at Haiti. And then we're looking across the international agencies to figure out how we support their efforts as well as our efforts.

    We also are looking at a large-deck amphibious ship with an embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit on it that will be a couple of days behind the USS Vinson.

    And that gives us a broader range of capability to move supplies around, to have lift capability to help support the effort there also.

    So bottom line to it is, we don't have a clear assessment right now of what the situation on the ground is, what the needs within Port-au-Prince are, how extensive the situation is.

    We also, finally, have a team that's headed in to the airport. From my understanding -- because my deputy commander just happened to be in Haiti when this situation happened, on a previously scheduled visit. He has been to the airport. He says the runway is functional but the tower doesn't have communications capability. The passenger terminal -- has structural damage to it, so we don't know what the status of it is.

    So we have a group going in to make sure we can gain and secure the airfield and operate from it, because that's one of those locations we think we're going to have a lot of the immediate effort from an international basis going into.

    And then we're out conducting all the other assessments that you would consider appropriate as we go in and work this effort.

    We're also coordinating on the ground with MINUSTAH, with the folks who are there. The commander for MINUSTAH happened to be in Miami when this situation happened, so he's right now traveling back through and should be arriving in Port-au-Prince any time now. So that will help us coordinate our efforts there also, because again, obviously the United Nations suffered a significant loss there with the collapse -- at least partial collapse of their headquarters.

    So that's -- those are the initial efforts that we have ongoing And as we get the assessments of what's coming next, then we'll adjust as required.

    The secretary of Defense, the president, have all stipulated that this is a significant effort, and we're corralling all the resources within the Department of Defense to support this effort." (Defense.gov News Transcript: DOD News Briefing with Gen. Fraser from the Pentagon, January 13, 2010)

    A Heritage Foundation report summarizes the substance of America's mission in Haiti: "The earthquake has both humanitarian and U.S. national security implications [requiring] a rapid response that is not only bold but decisive, mobilizing U.S. military, governmental, and civilian capabilities for both a short-term rescue and relief effort and a longer-term recovery and reform program in Haiti." (James M. Roberts and Ray Walser, American Leadership Necessary to Assist Haiti After Devastating Earthquake, Heritage Foundation, January 14, 2010).

    At the outset, the military mission will be involved in first aid and emergency as well as public security and police activities.

    US Air Force Controls the Airport

    The US Air Force has taken over air traffic control functions as well as the management of Port au Prince airport. In other words, the US military regulates the flow of emergency aid and relief supplies which are being brought into the country in civilian planes. The US Air Force is not working under the instructions of Haitian Airport officials. These officials have been displaced. The airport is run by the US Military (Interview with Haitian Ambassador to the US R. Joseph, PBS News, January 15, 2010)


    "The FAA's team is working with DOD combat controllers to improve the flow of air traffic moving in and out of the airport. The US Air Force reopened the airport on 14 January, and on 15 January its contingency response group was granted senior airfield authority ... Senior airfield authority enables the Air Force to prioritise, schedule and control the airspace at the airport, ..." (flightglobal.com, January 16, 2010, emphasis added)

    The 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort, which includes more than 1,000 medical and support personnel has been sent to Haiti under the jurisdiction of Southern Command. (See Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds readies for Haiti quake relief, Digital Journal, January 14, 2010). There were, at the time of the Earthquake, some 7100 military personnel and over 2000 police, namely a foreign force of over 9000. In contrast, the international civilian personnel of MINUSTAH is less than 500. MINUSTAH Facts and Figures - United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TABLE 2

    United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)


    Current strength (30 November 2009)

    9,065 total uniformed personnel
    7,031 troops
    2,034 police 488 international civilian personnel
    1,212 local civilian staff
    214 United Nations Volunteers

    MINUSTAH Facts and Figures - United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti

    Estimated combined SOUTHCOM and MINUSTAH forces; 19,095*

    *Excluding commitments by France (unconfirmed) and Canada (confirmed 800 troops). The US, France and Canada were "partners" in the February 29, 2004 Coup d'État.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Haiti has been under foreign military occupation since the US instigated February 2004 Coup d'Etat. The contingent of US forces under SOUTHCOM combined with those of MINUSTAH brings foreign military presence in Haiti to close to 20,000 in a country of 9 million people. In comparison in Afghanistan, prior to Obama's military surge, combined US and NATO forces were of the order of 70,000 for a population of 28 million. In other words, on a per capita basis there will be more troops in Haiti than in Afghanistan.
    Recent US Military Interventions in Haiti

    There have been several US sponsored military interventions in recent history. In 1994, following three years of military rule, a force of 20,000 occupation troops and "peace-keepers" was sent to Haiti. The 1994 US military intervention "was not intended to restore democracy. Quite the contrary: it was carried out to prevent a popular insurrection against the military Junta and its neoliberal cohorts." (Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Haiti, Global Research, February 28, 2004)

    US and allied troops remained in the country until 1999. The Haitian armed forces were disbanded and the US State Department hired a mercenary company DynCorp to provide "technical advice" in restructuring the Haitian National Police (HNP). (Ibid).

    The February 2004 Coup d'État

    In the months leading up to the 2004 Coup d'Etat, US special forces and the CIA were training death squadrons composed of the former tonton macoute of the Duvalier era. The Rebel paramilitary army crossed the border from the Dominican Republic in early February 2004. "It was a well armed, trained and equipped paramilitary unit integrated by former members of Le Front pour l'avancement et le progrès d'Haiti (FRAPH), the "plain clothes" death squadrons, involved in mass killings of civilians and political assassinations during the CIA sponsored 1991 military coup, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide." (see Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Haiti: Global Research. February 28, 2004)

    Foreign troops were sent into Haiti. MINUSTAH was set up in the wake of the US sponsored coup d'Etat in February 2004 and the kidnapping and deportation of the democratically elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide. The coup was instigated by the US with the support of France and Canada.

    The FRAPH units subsequently integrated the country's police force, which was under the supervision of MINUSTAH. In the political and social disarray triggered by the earthquake, the former armed militia and Ton Ton macoute will be playing a new role.

    Hidden Agenda

    The unspoken mission of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) with headquarters in Miami and US military installations throughout Latin America is to ensure the maintenance of subservient national regimes, namely US proxy governments, committed to the Washington Consensus and the neoliberal policy agenda. While US military personnel will at the outset be actively involved in emergency and disaster relief, this renewed US military presence in Haiti will be used to establish a foothold in the country as well pursue America's strategic and geopolitical objectives in the Caribbean basin, which are largely directed against Cuba and Venezuela.

    The objective is not to work towards the rehabilitation of the national government, the presidency, the parliament, all of which has been decimated by the earthquake. Since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, America's design has been to gradually dismantle the Haitian State, restore colonial patterns and obstruct the functioning of a democratic government. In the present context, the objective is not only to do away with the government but also to revamp the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), of which the headquarters have been destroyed.

    "The role of heading the relief effort and managing the crisis quickly fell to the United States, for lack -- in the short term, at least -- of any other capable entity." ( US Takes Charge in Haiti _ With Troops, Rescue Aid - NYTimes.com, January 14, 2009)

    Prior to the earthquake, there were, according to US military sources, some 60 US military personnel in Haiti. From one day to the next, an outright military surge has occurred: 10,000 troops, marines, special forces, intelligence operatives, etc., not to mention private mercenary forces on contract to the Pentagon.

    In all likelihood the humanitarian operation will be used as a pretext and justification to establish a more permanent US military presence in Haiti.

    We are dealing with a massive deployment, a "surge" of military personnel assigned to emergency relief.

    The first mission of SOUTHCOM will be to take control of what remains of the country's communications, transport and energy infrastructure. Already, the airport is under de facto US control. In all likelihood, the activities of MINUSTAH which from the outset in 2004 have served US foreign policy interests, will be coordinated with those of SOUTHCOM, namely the UN mission will be put under de facto control of the US military.

    The Militarization of Civil Society Relief Organizations

    The US military in Haiti seeks to oversee the activities of approved humanitarian organizations. It also purports to encroach upon the humanitarian activities of Venezuela and Cuba:

    "The government under President René Préval is weak and literally now in shambles. Cuba and Venezuela, already intent on minimizing U.S. influence in the region, are likely to seize this opportunity to raise their profile and influence..." (James M. Roberts and Ray Walser, American Leadership Necessary to Assist Haiti After Devastating Earthquake, Heritage Foundation, January 14, 2010).

    In the US, the militarization of emergency relief operations was instigated during the Katrina crisis, when the US military was called in to play a lead role.

    The model of emergency intervention for SOUTHCOM is patterned on the role of NORTHCOM, which was granted a mandate as "the lead agency" in US domestic emergency procedures.

    During Hurricane Rita in 2005, the detailed groundwork for the "militarization of emergency relief" involving a leading role for NORTHCOM was established. In this regard, Bush had hinted to the central role of the military in emergency relief: "Is there a natural disaster--of a certain size--that would then enable the Defense Department to become the lead agency in coordinating and leading the response effort? That's going to be a very important consideration for Congress to think about." (Statement of President Bush at a press conference, Bush Urges Shift in Relief Responsibilities - washingtonpost.com, September 26, 2005).

    "The response to the national disaster is not being coordinated by the civilian government out of Texas, but from a remote location and in accordance with military criteria. US Northern Command Headquarters will directly control the movement of military personnel and hardware in the Gulf of Mexico. As in the case of Katrina, it will override the actions of civilian bodies. Yet in this case, the entire operation is under the jurisdiction of the military rather than under that of FEMA." (Michel Chossudovsky, US Northern Command and Hurricane Rita, Global Research, September 24, 2005)

    Concluding Remarks

    Haiti is a country under military occupation since the US instigated Coup d'Etat of February 2004.

    The entry of ten thousand heavily armed US troops, coupled with the activities of local militia could potentially precipitate the country into social chaos.

    These foreign forces have entered the country to reinforce MINUSTAH "peacekeepers" and Haitian police forces (integrated by former Tonton Macoute), which since 2004, have been responsible for war crimes directed against the Haitian people, including the indiscriminate killing of civilians.

    These troups reinforce the existing occupation forces under UN mandate.

    Twenty thousand foreign troops under SOUTHCOM and MINUSTAH commands will be present in the country. In all likelihood, there will be an integration or coordination of the command structures of SOUTHCOM and MINUSTAH.

    The Haitian people have exhibited a high degree of solidarity, courage and social commitment.

    Helping one another and acting with consciousness: under very difficult conditions, in the immediate wake of the disaster, citizens rescue teams were set up spontaneously.

    The militarization of relief operations will weaken the organizational capabilities of Haitians to rebuild and reinstate the institutions of civilian government which have been destroyed. It will also encroach upon the efforts of the international medical teams and civilian relief organisations.

    It is absolutely essential that the Haitian people continue to forcefully oppose the presence of foreign troops in their country, particularly in public security operations.

    full article;
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17000
     
  5. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    U.S. Troops Heading for Haiti to Boost Security, Aid
    Text size
    Justin Blum and Chris Dolmetsch
    Bloomberg
    January 18, 2010


    A d v e r t i s e m e n t

    More U.S. troops are arriving in Haiti today after the American commander on the ground said that security must be improved to ensure aid reaches survivors of last week’s earthquake.

    “We need a safe and secure environment to be successful,” U.S. Southern Command Lieutenant General Ken Keen, who is overseeing relief efforts, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There is increasing incidents of security and we are going to have to deal with it as we go forward.”

    Aid workers are battling street violence and shortages of food, medical supplies after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck on Jan. 12, killing more than 100,000 people. Keen said on ABC’s “This Week” an estimate that between 150,000 and 200,000 people may have been killed is “a start point.” The quake affected 3 million people and left 300,000 homeless in Port-au-Prince, according to the United Nations.

    Read entire article on Bloomberg
     
  6. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Published on Monday, January 18, 2010 by The Nation
    IMF to Haiti: Freeze Public Wages
    by Richard Kim

    Since a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti on Tuesday--killing tens of thousands of people--there's been a lot of well-intentioned chatter and twitter about how to help Haiti. Folks have been donating millions of dollars to Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti (by texting "YELE" to 501501) or to the Red Cross (by texting "HAITI" to 90999) or to Paul Farmer's extraordinary Partners in Health [1], among other organizations. I hope these donations continue to pour in, along with more money, food, water, medicine, equipment and doctors and nurses from nations around the world. The Obama administration has pledged at least $100 million in aid and has already sent thousands of soldiers and relief workers. That's a decent start.

    But it's also time to stop having a conversation about charity and start having a conversation about justice--about recovery, responsibility and fairness. What the world should be pondering instead is: What is Haiti owed?

    Haiti's vulnerability to natural disasters, its food shortages, poverty, deforestation and lack of infrastructure, are not accidental. To say that it is the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere is to miss the point; Haiti was made poor--by France, the United States, Great Britain, other Western powers and by the IMF and the World Bank.

    Now, in its attempts to help Haiti, the IMF is pursuing the same kinds of policies that made Haiti a geography of precariousness even before the quake. To great fanfare, the IMF announced a new $100 million loan [2] to Haiti on Thursday. In one crucial way, the loan is a good thing; Haiti is in dire straits and needs a massive cash infusion. But the new loan was made through the IMF's extended credit facility, to which Haiti already has $165 million in debt. Debt relief activists tell me that these loans came with conditions, including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage and keeping inflation low. They say that the new loans would impose these same conditions. In other words, in the face of this latest tragedy, the IMF is still using crisis and debt as leverage to compel neoliberal reforms.

    For Haiti, this is history repeated. As historians have documented, the impoverishment of Haiti began in the earliest decades of its independence, when Haiti's slaves and free gens de couleur rallied to liberate the country from the French in 1804. But by 1825, Haiti was living under a new kind of bondage--external debt. In order to keep the French and other Western powers from enforcing an embargo, it agreed to pay 150 million francs in reparations to French slave owners (yes, that's right, freed slaves were forced to compensate their former masters for their liberty). In order to do that, they borrowed millions from French banks and then from the US and Germany. As Alex von Tunzelmann pointed out [3], "by 1900, it [Haiti] was spending 80 percent of its national budget on repayments."

    It took Haiti 122 years, but in 1947 the nation paid off about 60 percent, or 90 million francs, of this debt (it was able to negotiate a reduction in 1838). In 2003, then-President Aristide called on France [4] to pay restitution for this sum--valued in 2003 dollars at over $21 billion. A few months later, he was ousted in a coup d'etat; he claims he left the country under armed pressure from the US.

    Then of course there are the structural adjustment policies imposed by the IMF and World Bank in the 1990s. In 1995, for example, the IMF forced Haiti to cut its rice tariff from 35 percent to 3 percent, leading to a massive increase in rice-dumping, the vast majority of which came from the United States. As a 2008 Jubilee USA report notes [5], although the country had once been a net exporter of rice, "by 2005, three out of every four plates of rice eaten in Haiti came from the US." During this period, USAID invested heavily in Haiti, but this "charity" came not in the form of grants to develop Haiti's agricultural infrastructure, but in direct food aid, furthering Haiti's dependence on foreign assistance while also funneling money back to US agribusiness.

    A 2008 report from the Center for International Policy [6] points out that in 2003, Haiti spent $57.4 million to service its debt, while total foreign assistance for education, health care and other services was a mere $39.21 million. In other words, under a system of putative benevolence, Haiti paid back more than it received. As Paul Farmer noted in our pages [7] after hurricanes whipped the country in 2008, Haiti is "a veritable graveyard of development projects."

    So what can activists do in addition to donating to a charity? One long-term objective is to get the IMF to forgive all $265 million of Haiti's debt (that's the $165 million outstanding, plus the $100 million issued this week). In the short term, Haiti's IMF loans could be restructured to come from the IMF's rapid credit facility, which doesn't impose conditions like keeping wages and inflation down.

    Indeed, debt relief is essential to Haiti's future. It recently had about $1.2 billion in debt canceled, but it still owes about $891 million, all of which was lent to the country from 2004 onward. $429 million of that debt is held by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to whom Haiti is scheduled to make $10 million in payments next year. Obviously, that's money better spent on saving Haitian lives and rebuilding the country in the months ahead; the cancellation of the entire sum would free up precious capital. The US controls about 30 percent of the bank's shares; Latin American and Caribbean countries hold just over 50 percent. Notably, the IDB's loans come from its fund for special operations (i.e. the IDB's donor nations and funds from loans that have been paid back), not from IDB's bonds. Hence, the total amount could be forgiven without impacting the IDB's triple-A credit rating.

    Finally, although the Obama administration temporarily halted deportations to Haiti, it hasn't granted Haitians temporary protected status (TPS), which would save them from being deported back to the scene of a disaster for as long as 18 months, allow them to work in the US and, crucially, send money back to relatives in Haiti. In the past, TPS has been given to countries like Honduras and Nicaragua in 1998 after Hurrican Mitch, but it has never been extended to Haitians, even after the 2008 storms, presumably

    full article;
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/01/18-3
     
  7. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    January 19, 2010


    US Accused of Militarizing Relief Effort in Haiti
    The US military has taken control of the only airport in Port-au-Prince and is facing criticism for diverting some aid planes. Doctors Without Borders says five of its planes carrying surgical teams and equipment weren’t allowed to land and were diverted to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. US forces also turned back a French aid plane carrying a field hospital. Al Jazeera English aired this report on Sunday. [includes rush transcript]

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    JUAN GONZALEZ: We are trying to connect to Amy Goodman and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who are in Haiti. We’re having some problems. As soon as we get them on, we will start their account of what they’ve seeing for the past few days.


    But meanwhile, as criticisms mount over the militarization of US and UN aid efforts, I want to turn to a report from Al Jazeera English on disputes over who controls the aid to Haiti.


    SEBASTIAN WALKER: The most visible face of the international aid effort here in Port-au-Prince. Most Haitians here have seen little humanitarian aid so far. What they have seen is guns, and lots of them. Armored personnel carriers cruise the streets. UN soldiers aren’t here to help pull people out of the rubble; they’re here, they say, to enforce the law. This is what much of the UN presence actually looks like on the streets of Port-au-Prince: men in uniform, racing around in vehicles, carrying weapons.


    At the entrance to the city’s airport, where most of the aid is coming in, there’s anger and frustration. Much needed supplies of water and food are inside. Haitians are locked out.


    HAITIAN MAN: [translated] These weapons they bring, they are instruments of death. We don’t want them. We don’t need them. We are a traumatized people. What we want from the international community is technical help—action, not words.


    SEBASTIAN WALKER: And beyond the well guarded perimeter, there’s something else going on. Here, the United States has taken control. It looks more like the Green Zone in Baghdad than a center for aid distribution. Heavily armed US forces patrol the entrances. Even within the airport, these soldiers are never without weapons. There are several thousand on the ground already, and that number is expected to grow.


    America now decides who lands in Haiti, and there’s a constant stream of US aircraft arriving with thousands of US boots on the ground. Meanwhile, aid flights from other nations are being turned back. Two Mexican aircraft with vital life-saving equipment were told they couldn’t land on Saturday.


    PATRICK ELIE: But we don’t need soldiers, as such, you know? There’s no war here.


    SEBASTIAN WALKER: Patrice Ali is the former Haitian defense minister. He’s concerned with the way the Americans have taken over the relief efforts.


    PATRICK ELIE: The choice of what lands and what doesn’t land should—you know, the priorities of the flight should be determined by the Haitians. So, otherwise, it’s a takeover. And what might happen is that the need of Haitians are not taken into account, but only either the way a foreign country defines the need of Haiti or try to push its own agenda

    full article;
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/19/us_accused_of_militarizing_relief_effort
     
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