Haiti Newslinks for 18 January, 2010 Part 2

18 January, 2010

Haiti’s elite spared from much of the devastation
Through decades of coups, hurricanes, embargoes and economic collapse, members of the wily and powerful business elite of Haiti have learned the art of survival in one of the most chaotic countries on Earth — and they might come out on top again. There is an extreme, almost feudal divide between rich and poor in Haiti. The gated and privately guarded neighborhoods resemble a Haitian version of Beverly Hills, but with razor wire. Elias Abraham opened the door of his pretty walled compound, a semiautomatic pistol on his right hip and his family…

60 Minutes: Haiti Rescue Efforts
As Haiti continues to struggle through the disastrous earthquake, Byron Pitts reports on the rescue efforts. The devastation on the streets of Port-au-Prince is immense and doctors on the scene are forced to use primitive treatment methods.

Why the US Owes Haiti Billions – The Briefest History
The US has worked for centuries to break Haiti. The US has used Haiti like a plantation. The US helped bleed the country economically since it freed itself, repeatedly invaded the country militarily, supported dictators who abused the people, used the country as a dumping ground for our own economic advantage, ruined their roads and agriculture, and toppled popularly elected officials. The US has even used Haiti like the old plantation owner and slipped over there repeatedly for sexual recreation. Here is the briefest history of some of the ma…

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US "Security" Companies Offer "Services" in Haiti By Jeremy Scahill

18 January, 2010 — Rebel Reports

The Orwellian-named mercenary trade group, the International Peace Operations Association, didn’t waste much time in offering the
“services” of its member companies to swoop down on Haiti for some old fashioned  humanitarian assistance disaster profiteering. Within hours of the massive earthquake in Haiti, the IPOA created a special web page for prospective clients, saying: “In the wake of the tragic events in Haiti, a number of IPOA’s member companies are available and prepared to provide a wide variety of critical relief services to the earthquake’s victims.”

While some of the companies specialize in rapid housing construction, emergency relief shelters and transportation, others are
private security companies that operate in Iraq and Afghanistan like Triple Canopy, the company that took over Blackwater’s massive State Department contract in Iraq. For years, Blackwater played a major role in IPOA until it left the group following the 2007 Nisour Square massacre.

In 2005, while still a leading member of IPOA, Blackwater’s owner Erik Prince deployed his forces in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Far from some sort of generous gift to the suffering people of the US gulf, Blackwater raked in some $70 million in Homeland Security contracts that began with a massive no-bid contract to provide protective services for FEMA. Blackwater billed US taxpayers $950 per man per day.

The current US program under which armed security companies work for the State Department in Iraq—the Worldwide Personal Protection Program—has its roots in Haiti during the Clinton administration. In 1994, private US forces, such as DynCorp, became a staple of US operations in the country following the overthrow of Jean Bertrand Aristide by CIA-backed death squads. When President Bush invaded Iraq, his administration radically expanded that program and turned it into the privatized paramilitary force it is today. At the time of his overthrow in 2004, Aristide was being protected by a San Francisco-based private security firm, the Steele Foundation.

What is unfolding in Haiti seems to be part of what Naomi Klein has labeled the “Shock Doctrine.” Indeed, on the Heritage Foundation blog, opportunity was being found in the crisis with a post titled: “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 public image of the United States in the region,” wrote Heritage fellow Jim Roberts in a post that was subsequently altered to tone down the shock doctrine language. The title was later changed to: “Things to Remember While Helping Haiti.”

URGENT: Never Again For Anyone!

18 January, 2010 — Scottish PSC

1. Scottish PSC Activists in court

2. Never Again for Anyone speaking tour starts this week! – HMD Trust refuses to publicise meeting with Auschwitz survivor

SPSC campaigners facing trumped-up political charges of ‘racism’ Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd of January, 9.30am outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Help us fight the move to criminalise the boycott of Israel. The same British authorities who support the siege of Gaza are working to stifle Israel’s critics here.

Even if you can only be there for 10 minutes to show your support, please meet outside the court at 9.30am on Thursday and Friday, and stay for as little or as long as you can. A court room full of supporters makes a difference. For more information on the case please check SPSC website: http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk

Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd of January, 9.30am

Sheriff Court, Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LB

Map: http://tinyurl.com/EdinburghSheriff-Court

“Anyone who stands up for Palestinians is automatically accused of being ‘anti-Semitic’. I am Jewish and proud to be Honorary President of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an anti-racist group that opposes Israeli apartheid.” Marion Woolfson

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Progress Report on Coordinated Rapid Response to Haiti Earthquake

18 January, 2010 — Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAYWorking Together for Haiti

We have made substantial progress this weekend on finalizing logistics to get supplies and critical medical teams into Haiti and now have three points of entry to Haiti: direct to Jacmel via boat from the Dominican Republic, direct to Port-au-Prince over land from the DR, and to points north of PAP and the capital via Cap-Haitian and Santiago, DR (crossing at Dajabon-Ounaminthe).

This report includes progress made on transporting teams and supplies into Haiti, the latest summary assessment for Jacmel from the UN in PAP and details of our headquarters and operations in Santo Domingo.


BY AIR: We finally have the first team from a partner group landing in Jacmel this afternoon. Karen Carr is traveling with the team coordinated by her organization, Community Coalition for Haiti. After efforts by many to get clearance to land a plane directly in Jacmel, Karen’s team went with plan B and traveled to Santiago, Dominican Republic. From there they crossed the border at Dajabon-Ouanaminthe and spent the night in Pignon. From Pignon they will fly with the Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF). They should arrive mid-afternoon and will be met by KONPAY’s Joe Duplan and Guerda Lexima of Fondasyon Limyè Lavi who met with local authorities and the MINUSTAH in Jacmel to prepare for the team’s arrival. The team will be provided with security and Joe and Guerda will coordinate their intervention on the ground.

BY SEA: On Sunday we received two excellent connections for sending supplies and emergency teams to Jacmel by boat. Through Nestor Sanchez at The Nature Conservancy in Santo Domingo we were able to connect with Marino Jose, heading up efforts to ship supplies to Jacmel for the Dominican Republic Red Cross. He has a first load going to Jacmel on a DR Navy ship this morning. He will be able to take our supplies to Guerda and Joe in Jacmel, and may also be able to transport medical teams.

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The Morning After: Haiti Earthquake Victims Can Only Rely on Each Other – Ansel Herz Dispatch 2

17 January, 2010 — Mediahacker

This dispatch begins at 10pm the night of the earthquake, and resumes the following morning after I caught some sleep in an open bus abandoned in a downtown Port-Au-Prince street. The second of several video dispatches filed by lone journalist Ansel Herz from Haiti.


more about “The Morning After: Haiti Earthquake V…“, posted with vodpod

Ansel Herz: Earthquake Immediate Aftermath On the Ground

18 January, 2010 — Mediahacker

This video is from the immediate aftermath – 3 to 20 minutes after the tremors on January 12 – in the neighborhood of Jacquet in Port-au-Prince where I lived since September. I really wish I could have got this up on the web sooner, but Internet connections are difficult to sustain.


more about “Ansel Herz: Earthquake Immediate Afte…“, posted with vodpod

Go home US military: Haiti doesn't need anymore pain! By Ezili Danto

17 January, 2010 — HLLN

The media called, Part 3: Haitians need Emergency Rescue and Relief not Military Invasion I say, by Ezili Dantò/HLLN

We’ve beaten back the elite’s rabid rage before. We know the game and Haitians will do everything to force them to retreat. The US is not hiding its imperialism behind the UN anymore. Its come out into the light. Right now you need State Department clearance to land in Haiti. Don’t despair my people. The issue is not emergency rescue anymore. Emergency is immediate, it’s within 48 hours. That’s over. The people who could have been saved under the rubble and metal have mostly died. Now it’s about medical relief, healing and rebuilding. Haitians can do that by themselves with the help of the world that wants to send monies to Haiti for the earthquake victims.

International assistance has never helped Haiti’s poor and it’s not helping the bulk of the earthquake survivors right now. Mostly the more privilege classes, as per usual:

“search-and-rescue operations have been intensely focused on buildings with international aid workers, such as the crushed U.N. headquarters, and on large hotels with international clientele. Some international rescue workers said they are being sent to find foreign nationals first…For better or worse, it will likely be the residents of Petionville who through their government connections, trading companies and interconnected family businesses will receive a large portion of U.S. and international aid and reconstruction money… They only give the aid money to the same big families, over and over. So I ask, what is the point? They have given money to these families to help Haiti for 50 years, and look at Haiti. I say the Americans need to make up a new list.” (Haiti’ elite spared from much of the devastation )

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CARICOM BLOCKED…as US takes control of airport – It's not just Haitian doctors and nurses who are being blocked

17 January, 2010 — Trinidad Express

haiti-woman.jpgIN DIRE NEED: A woman reacts in a street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, yesterday. Relief groups and officials are focused on moving aid flowing into Haiti to survivors of the powerful 7.0 earthquake that hit the country on Tuesday. -Photo: AP

THE CARIBBEAN Community’s emergency aid mission to Haiti, comprising Heads of Government and leading technical officials, failed to secure permission Friday to land at that devastated country’s airport, now under the control of the United States.

Consequently, the Caricom ’assessment mission’, that was to determine priority humanitarian needs resulting from the mind-boggling earthquake disaster of Haiti last Tuesday, had to travel back from Jamaica to their respective home destinations..

On Friday afternoon the US State Department confirmed signing two ’Memoranda of Understanding’ with the Government of Haiti that made ’official that the United Stateas is in charge of all inbound and outbound flights and aid off-loading…’

Further, according to the agreements signed, US medical personnel ’now have the authority to operate on Haitian citizens and otherwise render medical assistance without having to wait for licences from Haiti’s government…’

Prior to the US taking control of Haiti’s airport, a batch of some 30 Cuban doctors had left Havana, following Wednesday’s earthquake, to join more than 300 of their colleagues who have been working there for more than a year.

Last evening the frustration suffered by the Caricom mission to get landing permission was expected to be raised in a scheduled meeting at Jamaica’s Norman Manley International Airport with US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.

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Haiti: That “Looting”

15 January, 2010 — BagNews


I think media has got to be very careful in using the term “looting” in the midst of an overwhelming humanitarian crisis, especially given how much that term calls to mind generations of violent protests and riots over civil rights. (One of The BAG’s most widely circulated posts — Outside the Crawfish Shak — had to do with exactly this, as media headed down the same path in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.)

Compare these two paragraphs from the same AP story, “Struggle to aid Haitians as fears of unrest rise,” dated Friday, for example. The article’s second paragraph is followed by the eighth:

Pockets of looting flared across the capital. Small bands of young men and teenagers with machetes roaming downtown streets helped themselves to whatever they could find in wrecked homes.

“People who have not been eating or drinking for almost 50 hours and are already in a very poor situation,” U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva. “If they see a truck with something, or if they see a supermarket which has collapsed, they just rush to get something to eat.”

Looking at this photo and caption from MSNBC (which specifically states that the “looters” are fighting over food), what I’m wondering is:

Is it “looting” if people are starving and desperate, and have no other recourse but to “steal” food? And then, what are the racial dynamics of using the term “looting” — instead of “stealing,” or just “taking” — particularly when the photo specifically features young black men?

(Photo: Olivier Laban Mattei / AFP – Getty Images caption: Haitian looters fight for food in a street of Port-au-Prince. US military leaders said, they would pour 10,000 troops in earthquake-battered Haiti in the coming days, warning that it was urgent to bring water and food to prevent deaths and unrest.)

Women’s Rights, Population and Climate Change: A Debate

17 January, 2010 — Climate and Capitalism

Should supporters of women’s rights campaign for population reduction? Two very different feminists perspectives …


The articles below were originally published in the Fall 2009 issue of On the Issues: The Progressive Women’s Magazine. They are reproduced here by permission.

* Betsy Hartmann, author of ‘The ‘New’ Population Control Craze: Retro, Racist, Wrong Way to Go,’ is the director of the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College. She is the author of Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control (South End Press, 1995).
* Laurie Mazur, author of ‘Population & Environment: A Progressive, Feminist Approach’ is the director of the Population Justice Project. She is the editor of A Pivotal Moment: Population, Justice and the Environmental Challenge (Island Press, 2009)

Climate and Capitalism will soon publish a commentary on some of the issues discussed in this exchange.



by Betsy Hartmann

It’s back to the bad old days of the population bomb. That was the title of an alarmist book by Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich that appeared in 1968. He suggested that world catastrophe would ensue unless women in poor parts of the world were prevented from having too many children.

This fall’s junk mail carried an alarmist appeal from Population Connection, using its former name of Zero Population Growth (ZPG). According to ZPG, you can blame just about everything on population growth, from traffic congestion, overcrowded schools and childhood asthma to poverty, famine and global warming.

Retro racism and sexism are back in vogue, but now with a bit of a faux feminist twist. Along with the bad news that women’s fertility is destroying the planet comes the good news that family planning is the solution. In other words, you don’t have to feel guilty about blaming poor women for the world’s problems because you can help them improve their lives by having fewer babies.

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Taliban Assault on Kabul Updated

18 January, 2010 — Stratfor

The Taliban attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul is reportedly winding down. The assault began around 9:35 a.m. local time Jan. 18 (the day the new cabinet was being sworn in) when reports of rocket fire and explosions were heard in the Afghan capital near several government buildings.

Just 23 minutes later, reports emerged that the Taliban had claimed the attack in a message to Afghan Islamic Press. In the claim, Taliban spokesman Zabihollah Mojahed has said 20 suicide assailants were attacking the Presidential Palace, the Central Bank and the Ministries of Finance, Justice and Mines and Industries. The Serena Hotel, Defense Ministry and Afghan Telecom had also reportedly come under attack.

A little after noon local time, militants began to lay siege on two major shopping centers, including a mall called the Grand Afghan Shopping Center near the Justice Ministry. Eyewitness reported militants carrying rocket-propelled grenades entered the second and third floors of the mall. A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) reportedly detonated outside one of the shopping centers, killing several security forces.

A major Taliban attack began on Kabul Jan. 18. The fighting is being reported by both American and Taliban sources. According to one American source, reports of an imminent attack began circulating Jan. 17. Heavy fighting is being reported at multiple locations, apparently focused around the Serena Hotel. The hotel, which is frequented by foreign journalists and government officials, has been attacked in the past. According to the Taliban, 20 suicide bombers are taking part in the attack. They claim the Presidential Palace, Ministries of Justice, Finance, Mines and Industry are among the targets. There reports of casualties, but numbers and locations are unclear.

The attack is still in progress, with Taliban forces reportedly fighting Afghan security forces. Explosions, gunfire and rocket fire have been reported along with the suicide bombers. It is unclear as to whether this assault will prove larger than attacks carried out last February.

Early reports in a situation like this tend to be inaccurate, and it will be a while before we get a clear sense of what has happened. However, it is clear that this is a major assault.

Relief Efforts in the Shadow of Past “Help”: Moving from crimes-as-charity to actual support for Haiti

17 January, 2010 — Socialist Project | The Bullet

‘Thus far…the rescue teams cluster at the high profile and safer walled sites and were literally afraid to enter the barrios. They gravitated to the sites where they had secure compounds and big buildings.

‘Meanwhile, the neighbourhoods where the damage appears to be much wider, and anywhere there were loose crowds, they avoided. In the large sites, and in the nice neighbourhoods, and where the press can be found, there would be teams from every country imaginable. Dogs and extraction units with more arriving, yet with 90% or more of them just sitting around.’

‘Meanwhile, in the poor neighbourhoods, awash in rubble, there was not a foreigner in sight.” — Canada Haiti Action Network

Relief Efforts in the Shadow of Past ‘Help’: Moving from crimes-as-charity to actual support for Haiti

Dan Freeman-Maloy

Over the course of the past decade, Canada’s leading officials and most prestigious commentators have learned how to approach Haiti in the spirit of cynical power politics and racist condescension (or worse) while maintaining a posture of national self-flattery. With attention again riveted on Haiti following the horrific tragedy inflicted by Tuesday’s earthquake, this ugly mixture is once again on display. The need for emergency aid is, without question, urgent [see below for links]. But established patterns of ‘help’ for Haiti need to be overcome if the destructive impact of this catastrophe is to be somehow limited.

Scattered self-congratulations can already be heard in Canada’s mainstream press (a willing partner, for the most part, in recent Canadian government crimes against Haiti). On Thursday, papers across the country ran editorials on Canadian policy and the relief effort. Under the title ‘Helping Haiti,’ the Calgary Herald editorialized that ‘Canada’s response is not only appropriate, but one to be proud of. … Once again, Canada’s humanitarianism and compassion shines brightly.’ The Montreal Gazette concurred: ‘Canadians have, to their credit, been involved in helping Haiti help itself for years.’ For its part, the Globe and Mail yet again cast Haiti as the ‘basket case of the Western hemisphere,’ the editorial headline promising that ‘Today’s rescue is just the beginning.’

In previous years, such benevolent rhetoric has been to Western policy in Haiti what anti-terrorist slogans have been to Western policy in the Middle East. It was under the cover of such declared benevolence that the elected Haitian government was overthrown in 2004 by means of U.S., French and Canadian involvement; it was amidst similar rhetoric that Haitian movements resisting this outrage were decimated in the ensuing years with the ‘security assistance’ of foreign powers.

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Haiti Newslinks 17-18 January, 2010

18 January, 2010

US Troops to Help Haiti’s Security; Aid Flows In
New York Times
By REUTERS PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – The United States was to send more troops on Monday to aid in Haiti’s rescue as tens of thousands of hungry,…

Experts Wonder About US Role in Haiti After the Cameras Leave
New York Times
More Photos By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER WASHINGTON — President Obama’s aggressive response to the deadly earthquake in Haiti has led to criticism …

Obama order taps reserves to support Haiti relief
Washington Post
… has issued an order allowing selected members of the military’s reserves to be called up to support earthquake relief and recovery operations in Haiti. …

Haiti provides a lesson in King’s relevance
Kansas City Star
Mother Nature shook Haiti. But the country’s teeming poverty is killing now. Poverty in a foreign land is an apt topic today as people gather to honor …

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