Securing Disaster in Haiti By Peter Hallward

24 January, 2010 — MRZine-Monthly Review

Nine days after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010, it’s now clear that the initial phase of the U.S.-led relief operation has conformed to the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more general course of the island’s recent history.  It has adopted military priorities and strategies.  It has sidelined Haiti’s own leaders and government, and ignored the needs of the majority of its people.  And it has proceeded in ways that reinforce the already harrowing gap between rich and poor.  All three tendencies aren’t just connected, they are mutually reinforcing.  These same tendencies will continue to govern the imminent reconstruction effort as well, unless determined political action is taken to counteract them.


Haiti is not only one of the poorest countries in the world, it is also one of the most polarised and unequal in its disparities in wealth and access to political power.[1]  A small clique of rich and well-connected families continues to dominate the country and its economy while more than half the population, according to the IMF, survive on a household income of around 44 US pennies per day.[2]

Mass destitution has grown far more severe in recent decades.  Starting in the 1970s, internationally imposed neo-liberal ‘adjustments’ and austerity measures finally succeeded in doing what no Haitian government had managed to do since winning independence in 1804: in order to set the country on the road towards ‘economic development’, they have driven large numbers of small farmers off their land and into densely crowded urban slums.  A small minority of these internal refugees may be lucky enough to find sweatshop jobs that pay the lowest wages in the region.  These wages currently average $2 or $3 a day; in real terms they are worth less than a quarter of their 1980 value.

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“Gaza Freedom Marcher Missing” By Max Ajl

24 January, 2010 — MRZine-Monthly Review

Shannon-HughesSome bad news. Via e-mail: I have urgent news to report back to everyone…unfortunately it’s not good news.

Today I spoke with Kristen Coughlin Carr, the aunt of one of our dear GFMers, Shannon Hughes (who was staying at Select Hotel). She informed me that Shannon is missing in Egypt. It has been reported to the US embassy, and they have declared her ‘missing or abducted’ and described the situation as ‘dire’. Here’s the details she shared with me:

Shannon was last in Jerusalem. She was traveling with a friend. Her friend returned home to the US. Shannon had planned on being on a flight from Cairo to NY today, Friday January 22, 2010. She did not get on that flight.

Earlier this week, Shannon called home. She told her mother: ‘I need money, I can’t talk.’ Her family sent her $200 US. That was in Taba, Egypt. She had planned on taking a bus from Taba back to Cairo to fly home. The next thing her family heard from her were a series of weird emails in which she said she was taking a cab to Dahab. Shannon began withdrawing money from her bank account in small increments in Taba, and the bank has her taking the last of the money from her account in Dahab.

Her family has contacted the US embassy in Egypt. The US embassy has declared Shannon missing or abducted after seeing the emails she sent. They were advised not to deposit any more money in her bank account and hope that she will soon call home for more. They have not heard from her in 3 days.

Kristen Coughlin Carr, her aunt, has asked that anyone who is still in Egypt, or who might know anyone still in Egypt, contact her via Facebook, by adding her as a friend. They are hoping that Facebook/Twitter will greatly increase the chances of finding her. She can be contacted directly through email I have attached a recent photo Kristen shared of Shannon. Please spread the word, especially to any media contacts in Egypt. The media was so good to us in Egypt, there is no reason why they wouldn’t help us now.

Our prayers are with Shannon and her family for her safe return home!

Max Ajl blogs on climate change and Israel-Palestine at He is one of the core organizers of the Gaza Freedom March. This article was first published in his blog Jewbonics on 23 January 2010; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.

Haiti Newslinks 23-24 January, 2010

24 January, 2010

Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua says US using relief in Haiti as cover up for …
The Bolivian president Evo Morales will soon request a meeting with the UN to stop the invasion. He also called it a “military takeover”. …

Latin American leaders to meet on Haiti
Press TV
Bolivia and Nicaragua are also members of ALBA. Venezuela and Bolivia have criticized the United States for its response to the January 12 quake that…

USS Gunston Hall Diverted from West Africa to Haiti – US AFRICOM News
U.S. Naval Forces Africa is the maritime component of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Martin Cuaron) …

Russian Report: US weapon against Iran caused Haiti earthquake
The weapons test was originally supposed to be used against Iran but caused the cataclysmic earthquake in the Caribbean country. …

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Russian Report: Did U.S. weapon against Iran cause Haiti earthquake? By Andrew Moran

23 January, 2010 — Digital Journal

An unconfirmed report by the Russian Northern Fleets suggests that the devastating Haiti earthquake was caused by a United States Navy ‘earthquake weapons’ test, which was intended to be used against Iran.

On Thursday, Digital Journal reported that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused the United States of causing the Haiti earthquake, which killed more than 100,000 people, through a tectonic weapon. Chavez also accused the US of trying to use the deadly earthquake to occupy Haiti.

According to an unconfirmed report by the Russian Northern Fleets, the tragic earthquake in Haiti was caused by a US navy earthquake weapon that went ‘horribly wrong,’ reports Press TV. The weapons test was originally supposed to be used against Iran but caused the cataclysmic earthquake in the Caribbean country.

The purpose of the earthquake weapon being used against Iran, according to the Russian report, was to topple the current Islamic system in the country.

Vive TV reports that the unconfirmed Russian report also suggests that the US instigated the 6.5 magnitude earthquake in the Pacific Ocean earlier this month. That earthquake did not cause any deaths or injuries but did damage many residential and commercial buildings.

The report further states that the system carrying out these tests is the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). The data also coincides with a previous report that associates the 2008 7.8 magnitude earthquake in China with HAARP.

Although Russia has accused the US of holding such a type of weapon, a Georgia Green Party leader claimed that Moscow, allegedly possessing similar weapons, caused an earthquake on Georgian territory several years ago.

The Russian Northern Fleets report has not been confirmed or verified by official sources.

See: Hugo Chavez Did Not Accuse the U.S. of Causing the Haitian Earthquake

MERCY-NARY: My appearance January 21 on The Rachel Maddow Show By Jeremy Scahill

21 January, 2010 — Rebel Reports

MERCY-NARY: My appearance January 21 on The Rachel Maddow Show, discussing how US mercenary companies are looking to cash in on the earthquake in Haiti.

more about “MERCY-NARY: My appearance January 21 …“, posted with vodpod

Disaster Capitalism in Haiti By Stephen Lendman

24 January, 2010 — Atlantic Free Press – Hard Truths for Hard Times

In her book, ‘The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,’ Naomi Klein explores the myth of free market democracy, explaining how neoliberalism dominates the world with America its main exponent exploiting security threats, terror attacks, economic meltdowns, competing ideologies, tectonic political or economic shifts, and natural disasters to impose its will everywhere.

As a result, wars are waged, social services cut, public ones privatized, and freedom sacrificed when people are too distracted, cowed or in duress to object. Disaster capitalism is triumphant everywhere from post-Soviet Russia to post-apartheid South Africa, occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, Honduras before and after the US-instigated coup, post-tsunami Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia, New Orleans post-Katrina, and now heading to Haiti full-throttle after its greatest ever catastrophe. The same scheme always repeats, exploiting people for profits, the prevailing neoliberal idea that ‘there is no alternative’ so grab all you can.

On Her web site, Klein headlines a ‘Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again,’ then quotes the extremist Heritage Foundation saying:

‘In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the US response to the tragic 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.’

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Haiti needs emergency relief, not military intervention — add your name to open letter

21 January 2010 — Green Left

The ‘open letter’ published below has been initiated by the Canada Haiti Action Network. CHAN is calling for individuals and organisations to add their names to the statement, You can add your name here

21 January 2010

We, the undersigned, are outraged by the scandalous delays in distributing essential aid to victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Since the US Air Force seized unilateral control of the airport in Port-au-Prince, it has privileged military over civilian humanitarian flights. As a result, untold numbers of people have died needlessly in the rubble of Port-au-Prince, Leogane and other abandoned towns.

If aid continues to be withheld, many more preventable deaths will follow. We demand that US commanders immediately restore executive control of the relief effort to Haiti’s leaders, and to help rather than replace the local officials they claim to support.

We note that obsessive foreign concerns with ‘security’ and ‘looting’ are largely refuted by actual levels of patience and solidarity on the streets of Port-au-Prince. The decision to avoid what US commanders have called ‘another Somalia-type situation’ by prioritizing security and military control is likely to succeed only in provoking the very kinds of unrest they condemn.

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Haiti: A history of exploitation and struggle By Amanda Zivcic

23 January 2010 – Green Left

Since the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, there has been a global outpouring of support. Many people, horrified by the scenes of sheer devastation, the astronomical death toll and the struggle of survivors to gain access to medicines, food and shelter, are left wondering: why so many?

The oft-repeated tag of Haiti being ‘the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere’ is true but this did not just happen. It is the result of a history of colonialism, slavery, imperialism, foreign military intervention, foreign-imposed dictatorships and unjust debt.

The Caribbean nation’s indigenous people were all but wiped out by 1520 due to the disease and exploitation that came with the arrival of the Spaniards in 1492. After France and Spain divided the island of Hispaniola into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, French and Spanish settlers arrived.

The colonisers brought enslaved Africans with them to establish tobacco, sugar and coffee plantations.

The slave plantations began Haiti’s environmental destruction, the destabilisation of its soils, helping make natural disasters, such as landslides, much more destructive.

After a successful slave revolt, Haiti became the world’s first post-colonial black state.

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Haiti: US military occupation worsens suffering, blocks aid By Tony Iltis

23 January 2010 — Green Left

Right-wing columnist David Brooks began his January 15 New York Times piece by reminding his readers that when, in October 1989, the San Francisco Bay Area was hit by an earthquake similar in magnitude to the one that devastated Haiti on January 12, the death toll was 63.

The death toll in Haiti is estimated to be 200,000 and is still rising.

Brooks used crude racism to blame ‘a complex web of progress-resistant cultural influences [including] the influence of the voodoo religion’.

Most media coverage of Haiti’s latest tragedy lacks Brooks’ crudeness, but the same assumptions dominate. This racist narrative is being used as a smokescreen, behind which the US is cynically using the earthquake to increase its military, political and economic control of Haiti. (Actively hampering relief efforts in the process.)

US President Barack Obama immediately responded to the tragedy with trademark lofty rhetoric, declaring: ‘I have directed my administration to respond with a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives.

‘The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble, and to deliver the humanitarian relief — the food, water and medicine — that Haitians will need in the coming days.’

Unfortunately, he lied.

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Just like a Waving Flag

23 January, 2010 — Climate & Capitalism

K’naan sang this powerful song on the Hope for Haiti telethon on Canadian television last night ….By coincidence, I heard Wavin’ Flag for the first time earlier this week, and haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. Somalia born K’naan moved to Canada in 1991, when he was 13. Much of his music is about Africa and Somalia. This song appears on his most recent album, Troubadour. A version of Wavin’ Flag (same chorus, different verses) has been chosen as the official song for the Africa leg of the 2010 FIFA World Cup trophy tour.

more about “Just like a Waving Flag“, posted with vodpod

Rabbinic Text or Call to Terror? By Daniel Estrin

20 January 20, 2010 — Jewish Forward

Jerusalem — The marble-patterned, hardcover book embossed with gold Hebrew letters looks like any other religious commentary you’d find in an Orthodox Judaica bookstore — but reads like a rabbinic instruction manual outlining acceptable scenarios for killing non-Jewish babies, children and adults.

“The prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’” applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew,” write Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them “curb their evil inclination,” while babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”

“The King’s Torah (Torat Hamelech), Part One: Laws of Life and Death between Israel and the Nations,” a 230-page compendium of Halacha, or Jewish religious law, published by the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Yitzhar, garnered a front-page exposé in the Israeli tabloid Ma’ariv, which called it the stuff of “Jewish terror.”

Now, the yeshiva is in the news again, with a January 18 raid on Yitzhar by more than 100 Israeli security officials who forcibly entered Od Yosef Chai and arrested 10 Jewish settlers. The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, suspects five of those arrested were involved in the torching and vandalizing of a Palestinian mosque last month in the neighboring Palestinian village of Yasuf. The arson provoked an international outcry and condemnation by Israeli religious figures, including Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who visited the village to personally voice his regret.

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