Disasters are Big Business By William Bowles

21 January, 2010

I am staggered. There are 10,000 ‘NGOs’ (Non-Governmental Organizations) in Haiti, one for every 900 inhabitants and each one of them has no doubt at least one Westerner working within, yet aside from the Cuban health workers, it seems they could do nothing until the gringos arrived with their Blackhawks and nuclear-tipped aircraft carrier and of course, the 82nd Airborne, paying yet another ‘visit’ to this benighted and super-exploited land to ‘secure’ the place for the locust storm of aid to come (too late for too many).

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Haiti: And on the Eighth Day… By William Bowles

19 January, 2010

The Americans have landed, or as they used to say of the GIs in the UK during WWII, ‘they’re overfed, over sexed and over here’. So now, in spite of protestations that air-dropping supplies would cause a riot, on the eighth day of this catastrophe (one that the BBC still continues to call a “humanitarian catastrophe”) the US has decided to act.

Four days ago I came across this email reproduced in the excellent Military Resistance:

15 January, 2010 — From: Mike Howells [New Orleans] via Military Resistance

“The White House Ruled Out Direct Air Drops Today In An Announcement Because ‘It Would Cause Riots And Looting’”

Dwelling upon the horror now unfolding in Haiti I feel compelled to ask the question of why those forces in a position to do so refrain from conducting mass air drops of food, water and basic medicines in the most devastated areas of the country?

It’s abundantly clear that the devastation wrought by the earthquake has produced many obstacles to providing emergency supplies by way of truck, car or foot.

So, why not airdrop emergency supplies en masse in areas of Haiti rendered largely inaccessible except by air? True some supplies would be damaged falling to the ground and some supplies would be monopolized by unscrupulous hoarders.

Still I can’t help but feel that many earthquake survivors would benefit enormously from food and medicine airdrops.

As a Katrina Survivor in New Orleans after the storm I often wondered why authorities refused to conduct food and air drops here at the height of the crisis.

Air drops of food and water would have given me and surely many other survivors on the ground a boost both materially and emotionally.

But then again the welfare of those in crisis zones doesn’t seem to be a matter of much concern to the people who run this country.

So what’s changed? Well nothing, the US would like us to believe that it’s purely for safety reasons and the media has slavishly echoed the ‘line’, that it’s all about ‘security’, or in this benighted land, what they choose to call Health and Safety:

“Parachuting bundles of food and water into Haiti became viable for the first time Monday in part because there are enough troops there to identify a safe place to drop them, according to Air Force officers involved in planning the mission.” — ‘U.S. airdrops 14,000 meals into Haiti’, USA Today, 19 January, 2010

Identify places to land supplies without flattening someone? Gimme a break, what a ludicrous idea! So for eight days, the US held back the biggest and handiest source of aid the world possessed for want of a flat field with nobody on it.

It’s Katrina all over again! It was clear from the first day that the earthquake affected Haiti unlike any other country including those that had experienced even bigger earthquakes. To start with it destroyed an already ineffectual state, so it had no means to mobilize what resources were left to it. Moreover, with literally one-third of its entire population of ten million directly affected, concentrated as they are in one location, it was as if the entire country, including its port, had been wiped out. The image comes to mind of three million people in an instant finding themselves surrounded by rubble and corpses, everything wiped out in the blink of an eye. Horrific.

It doesn’t take eight days to figure this out.

It’s clear from day one that Western concerns have been almost fanatically and single-mindedly occupied with ‘security’. This means getting bodies on the ground (not up in the air looking for a field), and now they’ve got that, the Marines have landed and not for the first time. It’s ludicrous to suggest that the US military don’t know their way around as the USA Today suggests.

And the US are very conscious of not wanting to present the appearance of being an armed invasion (what? with an enormous aircraft carrier, the Vinson anchored off the coast and all kinds of helicopters buzzing around?), but that’s what they are. It echoes the US government’s response to Katrina, where its first act was to send in the troops, not aid.

“Haiti earthquake: US paratroopers sensitive of phrases like ‘occupying force’

“Wear your guns on your back not your front, the American paratroopers waiting around at Port-au-Prince airport said they had been told.” — Daily Telegraph, 19 January, 2010

The United Nations too has been directly complicit in criminal neglect, not only because it has gone along with all the excuses being peddled by the US and others, as to why it has taken so long to mobilize aid, they too, have thousands of troops already occupying the place.

If there was ever country better placed to receive aid, it’s Haiti. But of course those in charge of supplying aid are not interested in how things are on the ground.

The reality is that there is food and water available on the ground, but nobody has any money to buy it. So for want of some cash, people whose lives are now even more shattered than they were before are faced with exactly the same problem, how to stay alive?

Thus wouldn’t it have made sense to shower the place with money if the West is so concerned with the ‘plight’ of the Haitian people?

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to us that what those who’ve been exploiting the island and its people, and left them in such dire straights, the same people allegedly coming to its rescue, should care anymore about the people of Haiti now than they did before.

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil By William Bowles

15 November 2007

AIDS, truly the white man’s burden

It’s taken decades to unmask the story of how AIDS came to be, and far from being an ‘act of nature’, the real story of its origins is one of ruthless ambition and professional rivalries, entrenched interests, racism and the arrogance and the indifference of the ‘master race’ toward their fellow humans and to our closest relative, the chimpanzee, hundreds of whom were needlessly slaughtered allegedly in the cause of ‘science’ and our well-being.

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The media’s complicity in suppressing the reality that is Haiti today By William Bowles

15 May 2005

“I only saw three murdered (homeless) children between 1995 and the beginning of 2004,” says one missionary who works with homeless children and asked that her name not be used. “Since Feb. 29, I have seen or heard of over 150 murders of street children and have personally witnessed the attacks on more than a dozen occasions.” – ‘Too Tired to Cry’ by Lyn Duff, January 12, 2005

Whilst the world rushed to the aid of the victims of the Tsunami and the leaders of the ‘free world’ pontificated on how humanitarian they are, children, in all likelihood, hundreds of children are being exterminated by death squads, aided and abetted by US/UN occupation forces in Haiti. But if you wanted to find out about this outrage in the corporate or state-run media, you’ll look in vain as it’s yet another example of how the media fails to report events that will disturb the carefully constructed illusion that surrounds the armed overthrow of the first and only democratically elected leader, Jean Bertrand Aristide, Haiti has ever had.

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Haiti as a ‘Failed State’ and the US programme of ‘destructive engagement’ By William Bowles

8 March 2004

The overthrow of the democratically elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti is the latest example of the power of the corporate media to influence – through its presentation of events – the outcome. Over the past several weeks, Aristide and his supporters have been consistently portrayed as ‘gangsters”, drug dealers, out-of-control mobs and to have generally degenerated to the level of the previous decades of Haitian dictators (all propped up by the US of course).

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Haiti: Confusion in the Ranks By William Bowles

3 March 2004

In a piece in Dissident Voice, the author proposes that Aristide may not have been abducted and forcibly deported by the US Marines. Instead it says:

“After making spirited verbal comments about how he would stay and fight the rebels to the end, Aristide, now safely in the CAR, had to put forth some face saving story for his supporters about his departure, while taking the opportunity to make a claim that would embarrass the Bush regime and possibly lead to international pressure for his reinstatement. So he contacts his most ardent supporters in the US, and now the Bushites are on the defensive.”
‘Aristide – Not Kidnapped?’

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Haiti: Gangster (F)RAP(H) By William Bowles

2 March 2004

“Tell the world that it’s a coup. That American soldiers abducted (me).”
Jean Bertrand Aristide

“”Aristide would “leave Haiti in a Lear Jet or in a pine box.””
James Foley, US Ambassador to Haiti

No matter that the corporate media have done their best to cover up the outrage that has been committed against the people of Haiti, things have a way of working their way out into the light of day.

The telephone conversation between Randall Robinson of the TransAfrica Forum and Jean Bertrand Aristide has blown the lid of the gangsters game plan. And it might well be that the phone call saved Aristide’s life, as more information about how the abduction took place comes to light.

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HAITI: ‘Textbook’ Imperialism By William Bowles

1 March 2004

The tragedy that is Haiti unfolds once more in this, the 35th? coup since the world’s first black republic was founded in 1804 and once more the US role in the removal of Jean Bertrand Aristide is patently obvious to anyone who cares to dig deeper than the headlines that have flooded out of ‘propaganda central’ (see “BRINGING HELL TO HAITI – PART 1“).

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National Endowment for Democracy: At It Again in Haiti! By William Bowles

19 February 2004

The National Endowment for Democracy that ‘celebrated’ its 20th anniversary this year has a long and less than illustrious past. It’s dead hand has descended on a number of countries over the past two decades including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Venezuela (currently also on-going) and of course Haiti.

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Media Dumps on Aristide By William Bowles

17 February 2004

Haiti, yet another US foreign policy disaster area, Western press coverage has been predictably less than forthcoming over the deteriorating situation. Indeed, trying to find out anything meaningful at all about the current situation has proved to be extremely difficult. Aside that is from what has become a de facto methodology of reportage of events on the island (or indeed in any country that can be called ‘un-developed’ and yet another ‘failed’ state).

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