Southern Command Goes to War

25 April 2021 — Internationalist 360°

Jorge Elbaum

Coando Sur

Last week, the head of the Pentagon’s Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, concluded his farewell tour in the Dominican Republic, participating in the Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC) together with military leaders from countries committed to Washington’s objectives of isolating Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, and at the same time hindering and/or restricting the cooperation links of China and Russia with the region.

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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.

I

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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A Haiti Disaster Relief Scenario Was Envisaged by the US Military One Day Before the Earthquake by Michel Chossudovsky

21 January, 2010 — Global Research

A Haiti disaster relief scenario had been envisaged at the headquarters of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami one day prior to the earthquake.

The holding of pre-disaster simulations pertained to the impacts of a hurricane in Haiti. They were held on January 11. (Bob Brewin,  Defense launches online system to coordinate Haiti relief efforts (1/15/10) — GovExec.com, complete text of article is contained in Annex)

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DoD), was involved in organizing these scenarios on behalf of US Southern Command.(SOUTHCOM).

Defined as a “Combat Support Agency”, DISA has a mandate to provide IT and telecommunications, systems, logistics services in support of the US military. (See DISA website: Defense Information Systems Agency).

On the day prior to the earthquake, “on Monday [January 11, 2010], Jean Demay, DISA’s technical manager for the agency’s Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, happened to be at the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami preparing for a test of the system in a scenario that involved providing relief to Haiti in the wake of a hurricane.” (Bob Brewin, op cit, emphasis added)

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Haiti Newslinks 20-21 January, 2010

21 January, 2010

US to increase troops in Haiti by a third as rescue teams pull back 21 Jan 2010
The US is to send another 4,000 troops to Haiti to assist the earthquake relief effort in its third troop surge to the devastated country. The move, which will increase the number of US troops involved in the huge aid effort to 16,000, will mean diverting Marines who were to be deployed in the Gulf and Africa. The surge will comprise a three-ship unit of 1,700 sailors and 2,300 Marines, the US Defence Department announced today, joining the 12,000 troops already there.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6996246.ece

US to send 4,000 extra troops to Haiti 20 Jan 2010
The US is sending another 4,000 sailors and marines to Haiti for the earthquake relief effort, diverting them from deployments in the Gulf and Africa. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group would “significantly” increase the ability to quickly provide aid, the navy said. The move will increase the number of US troops involved to about 16,000.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8471460.stm

Haiti: Schoolgirl killed by police for [alleged] looting 21 Jan 2010
While the images of survivors being pulled alive brought joy and hope, there was further heartbreak on the capital’s streets after a girl of 15 was shot dead as a suspected looter. Fabienne Geismar had survived the quake which devastated the family home but died in its aftermath, lying face down in her own blood beside the rubble and the worthless pictures she was said to have been stealing. Her father Osam, sister Samantha and brother Jeff had watched helpless as she was cut down by a bullet… It is unclear whether police deliberately aimed at looters who had targeted properties destroyed in the earthquake, or had been firing warning shots over their heads.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1244660/Haiti-earthquake-Schoolgirl-looter-Fabienne-Geismar-killed-bullet-head.html

Crisis of the one million Haitian orphans as Unicef warns the devastation has jumped to ‘unbearable proportions’ 19 Jan 2010
The first of Haiti’s evacuated orphans have arrived in the US to begin new lives, according to reports. However aid groups fear as many as one million more on the island have been left without one or both parents following the last week’s devastating earthquake. Just 26 children who cleared the process before the disaster struck have been taken out of the country – but Unicef has warned the scale of the crisis has jumped to ‘unbearable proportions’.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1244339/Crisis-million-Haitian-orphans–emerges-26-left-island-earthquake-claimed-200-000-lives.html

SOUTHCOM ‘went live’ with disaster drill for Haiti when earthquake hit 15 Jan 2010
On Monday, Jean Demay, DISA’s [Defense Information Systems Agency] technical manager for the agency’s Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, happened to be at the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami preparing for a test of the system in a scenario that involved providing relief to Haiti in the wake of a hurricane. After the earthquake hit on Tuesday, Demay said SOUTHCOM decided to go live with the system. On Wednesday, DISA opened up its All Partners Access Network, supported by the Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, to any organization supporting Haiti relief efforts. The information sharing project, developed with backing from both SOUTHCOM and the Defense Department’s European Command, has been in development for three years.
www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20100115_9940.php

US to send 4,000 extra troops to Haiti 20 Jan 2010
The US is sending another 4,000 sailors and marines to Haiti for the earthquake relief effort, diverting them from deployments in the Gulf and Africa. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group would “significantly” increase the ability to quickly provide aid, the navy said. The move will increase the number of US troops involved to about 16,000. 
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8471460.stm

Rescue Teams Pull Back as Haiti Aid Flows In
New York Times
By REUTERS PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – The search for survivors of Haiti’s killer earthquake has started to wind down as international rescue teams begin …
www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/01/21/world/international-us-quake-haiti.html

Vows to Move Fast for Haitian Immigrants in US
New York Times
Deleranaeis Dolvin waited to speak with a counselor on Wednesday at the Notre Dame d’Haiti church in Miami. By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. MIAMI — Clutching their …
www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/us/21immig.html
See all stories on this topic:

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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…
salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=F1BpqJYyzPJfuWustb1HAfv8wt9i9Y7h

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.
salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=xMjEGi6e35LkUafd8Qd3SrSWVtLE62Ir

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…
salsa.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=v180RPlSfwxjiuaAXn5uGvv8wt9i9Y7h

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

15 January, 2010 — Global Research

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 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).

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