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Haiti: Flawed intervention of aid distribution = slow genocide

bull**** detector | 20.01.2010 15:30 | Social Struggles

In Haiti, the western media continue to report that tens of thousands of people in Haiti continue to go without food, water and most significantly, vital medical supplies for those with undoubtably infected injuries. Aside from the undoubted logistical complexity and scale of the crisis which is franly overwhelming, the also exists overwhelming evidence that the distribution of aid has been woefully coordinated. The manner of the United States intervention with respect to distribution in combination with the ineffectiveness of the UN has hinted at an underlying sinister agenda. Has a bureacratic red-tape inertia at the top effectively caused slow genocide here?

Alain Joyandet, French co-operation minister, told reporters at the airport he had protested to Washington via the US ambassador about the US military’s management of the airport where he said a French medical aid flight had been turned away.

From The Guardian (Monday 18th Jan):
John O'Shea , the head of the Irish medical charity, Goal: "You have the US military doing their thing at the airport. You have the United Nations saying we're in control of food distribution but the United Nations is not taking the pro-active role that they should be taking."

Ban Ki Moon previously stated that all aid to Haiti should be coordinated with the UN. If so, why are Médecins Sans Frontières complaining that vital medical supplies are still not being distributed? Médecins Sans Frontières have recently revealed that they even had to buy vital equipment for amputation on the black market in Haiti to carry out vital operations on people needing urgent medical treatment.

What the US role is achieving, as the only global power with the military power to intervene on this scale, is to continue it's tendency for being useful idiots - making too slow progress in providing distribution of aid (they could have been parachuting aid into affected areas as soon as the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier arrived off the coast of Haiti on Jan 15th), and doing so in a flawed manner. However, the manner of their intervention in combination with the ineffectiveness of the UN also hints at an underlying sinister agenda. Has a bureacratic red-tape inertia at the top effectively caused slow genocide here? Why were people even living in camps next to the airport still without food and water 5 days after the quake when aid planes had been coming in for 2 days? The whole lack of effective urgency in relation to the monumental scale of tragedy reeks of racist expediance of a forlorn people not valued by the white skinned rich world, and in particular, the global governance hierachy including a few establishment NGOs.

Venzuela's Chavez criticised the US' military intervention as being imperialist. I wonder why Venezuela didn't just send troops over to intervene themselves in some way (ie insist on assisting securing the airport along with Brazil who head the UN task force in Haiti at the moment).


Haiti aid agencies warn chaotic effort is costing lives

Operations delayed as vital supplies fail to get through at Port-au-Prince airport

International aid agencies have warned that Haitians are dying needlessly amid "utter chaos" in the organisation of relief efforts after last week's devastating ­earthquake. Some have called for the US to take direct control over the rescue ­operation, while others have said the Americans are part of the problem.

A week into the disaster, aid has failed to reach most Haitians amid logistical confusion and disputes over priorities as the population grows ever more desperate.

Médecins sans Frontières says confusion over who is running the relief effort – the US which controls the main airport, or the UN which says it is overseeing distribution – may have led to hundreds of avoidable deaths because it has not been able to get essential supplies in to the country. "The co-ordination ... is not existing or not functioning at this stage," said Benoit Leduc, MSF's operations manager in Port-au-Prince. "I don't really know who is in charge. Between the two systems (the US and the UN) I don't think there is smooth liaison [over] who decides what."

John O'Shea , the head of the Irish medical charity, Goal, echoed the criticism. He said the Haitian earthquake was one of the most difficult disasters his agency had dealt with but at least there were no political obstacles to aid deliveries, as in Burma and Sudan.

"That means there is only one thing stopping a massive and prodigious aid effort being rolled out and that is leadership and co-ordination. You have neither in Haiti at the moment," he said.

"You have the US military doing their thing at the airport. You have the United Nations saying we're in control of food distribution but the United Nations is not taking the pro-active role that they should be taking.

"And you have a Haitian president saying he's in charge and the Americans being politically correct and saying they will work under him. This is all going to lead to a situation of utter chaos. I can't get all my trucks in from the Dominican Republic because I have no guarantee that the people driving them are not going to be macheted to death on the way down. I can't let my doctors and nurses out on the street of Port-au-Prince."

Aid agencies say the US and the UN pay lip service to being under the authority of the Haitian government but President René Préval has little real control.

Préval's role has largely been limited to appealing for assistance and meeting visitors such as the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the UN's secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. He has yet to visit the refugee camps packed with his ­desperate compatriots.

The Haitian prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, told the Washington Post the government was "overwhelmed" by the crisis.

That is widely recognised by aid agencies. O'Shea called on the Americans to take charge of the whole operation.

"Obama has to say: I'm in charge lads. Everybody would row in behind him. Like or lump the Americans, they're people who have the ability to get a job done. Somebody, somewhere has to grab this thing by the balls," he said.

A major US aid agency, which declined to be named for political reasons, said it agreed with O'Shea. "It's quite apparent that the Haitian system can't handle this and I don't think there's a lot of confidence in the UN to provide security. It's clear the Americans are the ones to do this. There are of course political sensitivities but I think we're beyond that at the moment. Look at the reaction of ordinary Haitians. They are welcoming the Americans with open arms," said an official with the agency.

Others were more sceptical, saying the oversight of aid operations belongs with the UN. On Monday, France's cooperation minister, Alain Joyandet, criticised the US by saying that aid efforts were supposed to be about helping Haiti, not "occupying" it.

But there is general agreement that someone needs to take charge.

The US has about 1,000 troops in Haiti and another 2,000 are on their way. There are also 9,000 UN peacekeepers and international police officers in the country.

There has been criticism from some aid agencies of the Americans for giving priority to military flights at the airport while planes carrying relief supplies are unable to land. MSF has had five planes turned back from the airport in recent days, three carrying essential medical supplies and two with expert surgical personnel.

"We lost 48 hours because of these access problems," said Leduc. "Of course it is a small airport, but this is clearly a matter of defining priorities."

Asked how many avoidable deaths had been caused by the delays, he said that hundreds of critical lifesaving operations had been delayed by two days.

"We are talking about septicaemia. The morgues in the hospitals are full," he said.

The World Food Programme said todaythat agreement had been reached that its flights would receive priority landing at Port-au-Prince airport.

Greg Barrow, a WFP spokesman, said the organisation has only been able to distribute with protection from US or UN troops. "We do need security to carry out distributions," he said.

But Barrow said the more immediate obstacle to delivering aid was the logistical difficulty of getting large amounts of food to Haiti because its main airport is small and main port severely damaged. "What we're looking at the moment is opening up as many air, land and sea corridors as possible even to the point of chartering landing vessels and trucks can just drive off on to the beach, a sort of roll-on roll-off mechanism," he said. US officials have made contingency plans to deal with refugees from Haiti although they say there is no sign that a seaborne exodus is imminent.

The homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, appealed to Haitians to remain at home.

"Please: If any Haitians are watching, there may be an impulse to leave the island and to come here," she said. "This is a very dangerous crossing. Lives are lost every time people try to make this crossing. Please do not have us divert our necessary rescue and relief efforts that are going into Haiti by trying to leave at this point."

Thousands of Haitians have fled their country and tens of thousands more have been rescued at sea by the US coast guard over the past 20 years.

Bill Clinton, the former president, visited Haiti today in response to a request from Obama for help in fundraising.


The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti

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?

An extract …….

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 -, 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 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 -, 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.

by Michel Chossudovsky
IGlobal Research

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