You are hereHaiti
Defense launches online system to coordinate Haiti relief efforts
By Bob Brewin | Next Gov | Jan. 15, 2010
As personnel representing hundreds of government and nongovernment agencies from around the world rush to the aid of earthquake-devastated Haiti, the Defense Information Systems Agency has launched a Web portal with multiple social networking tools to aid in coordinating their efforts.
On Monday, 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. 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. It is designed to facilitate multilateral collaboration between federal and nongovernmental agencies.
Demay said that since DISA set up a Haiti Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Community of Interest on APAN on Wednesday, almost 500 organizations and individuals have joined, including a range of Defense units and various nongovernmental organizations and relief groups. Read more.
If everything the United States does appears to be related to its imperial mission, that's because it's true. The “U.S. policy of putting the military in charge of, not only disaster relief, but foreign assistance in general, is an outgrowth of the collapse of the Soviet Union.” The attitude is, “If they want American aid, they'll have to accept the U.S. military presence.”
“U.S. governments regard masses of Black people, first, as potential threats to security, and only second as fellow human beings deserving of assistance.”
It is understandable that many African Americans are making comparisons between the militarized character of the U.S. intervention in Haiti’s earthquake disaster and the federal government’s largely military response to the Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans, four and a half years ago. It is quite reasonable to conclude that the U.S. government is more concerned about law and order issues than in attending to the immediate needs of desperate disaster victims – especially when the victims are Black. History tells us that U.S. governments regard masses of Black people, first, as potential threats to security, and only second as fellow human beings deserving of assistance. Nevertheless, the heavy-handed militarization of U.S. disaster aid to Haiti should be seen in a larger context. As a matter of established American policy, the military has been assigned prime responsibility for U.S. foreign disaster relief, worldwide. Read more, listen to more commentary on this at Black Agenda Radio.
Breaking: Haiti Capital Hit By Earthquake Measuring 6.0 - According to ABC News Bulletin Banner - More Info Soon
A strong earthquake struck Haiti on Wednesday morning, shaking buildings and sending screaming people running into the streets only eight days after the country's capital was devastated by a previous quake.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the 6.1 magnitude quake hit at 6:03 a.m. (1103 GMT) about 35 miles northwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince. It struck at a depth of 13.7 miles but was located too far inland to generate any tidal waves in the Caribbean.
Wails of terror rose Wednesday from frightened survivors of the apocalyptic quake that struck eight days ago as people as people poured out of unstable buildings. Read more.
By Cynthia McKinney
President Obama's response to the tragedy in Haiti has been robust in military deployment and puny in what the Haitians need most: food; first responders and their specialized equipment; doctors and medical facilities and equipment; and engineers, heavy equipment, and heavy movers. Sadly, President Obama is dispatching Presidents Bush and Clinton, and thousands of Marines and U.S. soldiers. By contrast, Cuba has over 400 doctors on the ground and is sending in more; Cubans, Argentinians, Icelanders, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and many others are already on the ground working--saving lives and treating the injured. Senegal has offered land to Haitians willing to relocate to Africa.
By Larry Rousseau
As the Haitian people slowly trail from graveyards to facing everyday challenges of survival and reconstruction, I wonder about the strategic interests of the Haitian nation. How did Haiti get to where it is today, where even without the earthquake the country was basically a basket case, trying desperately to climb out of lethargic if not paralytic crisis?
U.S. Air Force drops 55,000 pounds of food, water into Haiti
By Larry Shaughnessy | CNN
Bypassing the gridlock of Haiti's main airport and congestion of roadways in the earthquake-ravaged country, the U.S. military delivered badly needed food and water on Monday by parachute.
A C-17 cargo plane left Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina shortly after noon, and three hours later dropped 40 pallets -- or "bundles" as the Air Force refers to them as -- holding bottled water and Meals, Ready-to-Eat, or MREs, on a field just north of the Port-au-Prince airport in Haiti.
It was the first airdrop of humanitarian supplies by the U.S. military into Haiti since the deadly earthquake there nearly a week ago. Read more.
ABOARD THE U.S.S. CARL VINSON--Seven earthquake victims from Haiti, including a newborn baby, were being treated Saturday evening in a state-of-the-art, 50-bed medical clinic aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Carl Vinson--the first non-American victims believed to be treated since the carrier's arrival Friday morning.
Lack of medical facilities and doctors for tens of thousands of injured people in the decimated Haitian capital is one of the major problems facing aid efforts in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake. U.S. Naval officials said earlier Saturday that the Vinson nevertheless didn't plan to take on care of earthquake victims, and was awaiting arrival of a ship with more operating rooms to arrive Sunday or Monday and a hospital ship to arrive a few days later on Thursday.
Lt. Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy 4th Fleet, the headquarters responsible for naval actions in Haiti, said Saturday afternoon that the Vinson's primary mission is using its 19 helicopters to ferry supplies onshore. Using the carrier as a floating hospital, he said, "would completely change the mission of the carrier. That could potentially impact the [carrier's current] mission."...
Cmdr. Alfred Shwayhat, the senior medical officer who is an endocrinologist, said he had a plan to "treat 1,000 Haitians if necessary," when interviewed aboard the ship on Saturday. But he had received no orders to do so. "If the captain authorizes it, I will take anyone," he said. The Vinson's facility, he said, "exceeds anything in the civilian sector, bar none." Read more.
The people living in Gaza are barely surviving after the blitzkrieg of a year ago….. but whatever they have they are willing to share with the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
Palestinians in Gaza set off for the Red Cross headquarters on Monday to offer donations and financial support for the victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake on Tuesday.
Relatives of Palestinian prisoners also participated in the drive, with many offering financial donations and goods including blankets and covers, as well as food and milk for children....
The Red Cross director was only able to accept financial donations as transferring goods out of the Strip is near impossible, Al-Khudary added. Read more.
US Security Company Offers to Perform "High Threat Terminations" and to Confront "Worker Unrest" in Haiti
US Security Company Offers to Perform "High Threat Terminations" and to Confront "Worker Unrest" in Haiti
Here we go: New Orleans 2.0
By Jeremy Scahill | Rebel Reports
We saw this type of Iraq-style disaster profiteering in New Orleans and you can expect to see a lot more of this in Haiti over the coming days, weeks and months. Private security companies are seeing big dollar signs in Haiti thanks in no small part to the media hype about “looters.” After Katrina, the number of private security companies registered (and unregistered) multiplied overnight. Banks, wealthy individuals, the US government all hired private security. I even encountered Israeli mercenaries operating an armed check-point outside of an elite gated community in New Orleans. They worked for a company called Instinctive Shooting International. (That is not a joke).
Now, it is kicking into full gear in Haiti. As we know, the member companies of the Orwellian-named mercenary trade association, the International Peace Operations Association, are offering their services in Haiti. But look for more stories like this one:
On January 15, a Florida based company called All Pro Legal Investigations registered the URL Haiti-Security.com. It is basically a copy of the company’s existing US website but is now targeted for business in Haiti, claiming the “purpose of this site is to act as a clearinghouse for information seekers on the state of security in Haiti.” Read more.
Medical Assistance Continues Arriving in Haiti from Cuba | Cuban News Agency
Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
Cuban aircraft carrying tons of medical equipment and supplies as well as health specialists in emergency situations continue arriving in Port-au-Prince.
On Saturday, a team of 37 doctors and three additional surgical teams arrived in Haiti to reinforce the work of the island’s Henry Reeve medical brigade for emergency situations that is currently proving medical services in the Haitian capital.
The 37 doctors are Haitian graduates from the Caribbean School of Medicine in Santiago de Cuba who immediately began providing health care in parks, concentration points and shelters for people who lost their homes.
The specialists are providing primary health care and implementing preventive measures against infections while more complex cases are sent to hospitals.
More than 500 Haitian doctors have graduated in Cuba and 200 of them are currently working in their country and training to become specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine.
Cuba has had over 400 doctors stationed in most Haitian communities for years offering free medical services. Cuban doctors were first on the scene in Port-au-Prince, setting up a tent hospital to serve the wounded adjacent to the collapsed 700-bed national hospital. Cuban medical staff has done the same in small towns and communities near the Haitian capital.
US accused of 'occupying' Haiti as troops flood in
France accused the US of "occupying" Haiti on Monday as thousands of American troops flooded into the country to take charge of aid efforts and security.
By Aislinn Laing and Tom Leonard | Telegraph.co.UK
The French minister in charge of humanitarian relief called on the UN to "clarify" the American role amid claims the military build up was hampering aid efforts.
Alain Joyandet admitted he had been involved in a scuffle with a US commander in the airport's control tower over the flight plan for a French evacuation flight.
"This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," Mr Joyandet said.
Geneva-based charity Medecins Sans Frontieres backed his calls saying hundreds of lives were being put at risk as planes carrying vital medical supplies were being turned away by American air traffic controllers.
But US commanders insisted their forces' focus was on humanitarian work and last night agreed to prioritise aid arrivals to the airport over military flights, after the intervention of the UN.
The diplomatic row came amid heightened frustrations that hundreds of tons of aid was still not getting through. Charities reported violence was also worsening as desperate Haitians took matters into their own hands....
American military commanders have repeatedly stressed that they are not entering the country as an occupying force.
US soldiers in Port-au-Prince said they had been told to be discreet about how they carry their M4 assault rifles.
A paratrooper sergeant said they were authorised to use "deadly force" if they see anyone's life in danger but only as a "last resort". Read more.
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."
Heritage notes "Things to Remember While Helping Haiti," itemized briefly below:
- be bold and decisive;
- mobilize US civilian and military capabilities "for short-term rescue and relief and long-term recovery and reform;"
- US military forces should play an active role interdicting "cocaine to Haiti and Dominican Republic from the Venezuelan coast and counter ongoing efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to destabilize the island of Hispaniola;"
- US Coast Guard vessels should stop Haitians from trying "to enter the US illegally;"
- Congress should authorize "assistance, trade and reconstruction efforts;" and
- US diplomacy should "counter the negative propaganda certain to emanate from the Castro-Chavez camp (to) demonstrate that the US's involvement in the Caribbean remains a powerful force for good in the Americas and around the globe."
Tensions are rising on the streets of Haiti as the bulk of earthquake survivors continue to go without food, medicine or proper shelter.
Aid organisations continued to struggle to reach them with supplies on Sunday, six nights after the devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
A bottleneck at the capital's small airport – the main entry point for the massive assistance pledged by world leaders following the disaster – means little help has reached the many people waiting for help in makeshift camps on streets strewn with debris and decomposing bodies.
Some aid agencies have complained about a lack of co-ordination at the Port-au-Prince airport, where the US military has taken over operations.
Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, (MSF) said an aircraft carrying a mobile hospital was denied permission to land at the airport on Saturday and diverted to neighbouring Dominican Republic, where it would take a further 24 hours to deliver supplies by road.
"Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying lifesaving equipment and medical personnel," MSF said in a statement. Read more.
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?
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)....
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).
A massive deployment of military hardware and personnel is contemplated. Read more.
By David Swanson
If a group of dedicated scholars, attorneys, journalists, and activists had tried to generate a comprehensive list of impeachable offenses committed by George W. Bush as president, and only 35 of them had been introduced into Congress, one of the many discarded ones, in rough and overly detailed form, might have read something like this:
Aid plane turned away from Haiti airport, says medical charity
Médecins sans Frontières cargo plane carrying inflatable hospital blocked from landing at Port-au-Prince airport
By Mark Tran | Guardian.co.UK
A medical group today said one of its planes was turned away from Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, despite guarantees given by the UN and the US defence department.
Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) received no explanation as to why the cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical hospital was blocked from landing yesterday and re-routed to Samana, in the Dominican Republic.
All material from the cargo is now being sent by truck from Samana, but this has added a 24-hour delay. A second MSF plane is on its way and scheduled to land today in Port- au-Prince at around 10am local time (3pm GMT) with additional lifesaving medical material and the rest of the equipment for the hospital.
If this plane is also rerouted the installation of the hospital will be further delayed, in a situation where thousands of wounded are still in need of life-saving treatment, the group said.
"Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying life-saving equipment and medical personnel," a spokesperson said.
The inflatable hospital includes two operating theatres, an intensive care unit, 100-bed capacity, an emergency room and all the necessary equipment needed for sterilising material.
MSF teams are working around the clock in five hospitals in Port-au-Prince, but only two operating threatres are fully functional, while a third has been improvised for minor surgery due to the massive influx of wounded.
MSF doctors say they have never seen so many serious injuries as those sustained by victims of Haiti's earthquake. Read more.
If you shared my pain you would not continue to make me suffer, to torture me, to deny me my dignity and my rights, especially my rights to self-determination and self-expression.
Six years ago you sent your Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to perform an action illegal under the laws of your country, my country and of the international community of nations.
It was an act so outrageous, so bestially vile and wicked that your journalists and news agencies, your diplomats and politicians to this day cannot bring themselves to truthfully describe or own up to the crime that was committed when US Ambassador James Foley, a career diplomat, arrived at the house of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide with a bunch of CIA thugs and US Marines to kidnap the president of Haiti and his wife.
The Aristides were stowed aboard a CIA plane normally used for 'renditions' of suspected terrorists to the worldwide US gulag of dungeons and torture chambers.
The plane, on which the Aristides are listed as "cargo", flew to Antigua - an hour away - and remained on the ground in Antigua while Colin Powell's State Department and the CIA tried to blackmail and bribe various African countries to accept ("give asylum to") the kidnapped president and his wife. Read more.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says that the United States has taken advantage of the massive quake in Haiti and deployed troops in the country.
"What is happening in Haiti seriously concerns me as US troops have already taken control of the airport," Ortega said on Saturday.
The Pentagon says it has deployed more than 10,000 soldiers in Haiti to help victims of Tuesday's earthquake.
This is while US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took control of the main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince on Friday three days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought death and misery to the impoverished nation.
The leftist Nicaraguan president denounced Washington's move in deploying military forces in Haiti, saying "It seems that the bases (on Latin America) are not sufficient." Read more.
The Right Testicle of Hell: History of a Haitian Holocaust | By Greg Palast
1. Bless the President for having rescue teams in the air almost immediately. That was President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland. On Wednesday, the AP reported that the President of the United States promised, "The initial contingent of 2,000 Marines could be deployed to the quake-ravaged country within the next few days." "In a few days," Mr. Obama?
2. There's no such thing as a 'natural' disaster. 200,000 Haitians have been slaughtered by slum housing and IMF "austerity" plans.
3. A friend of mine called. Do I know a journalist who could get medicine to her father? And she added, trying to hold her voice together, "My sister, she's under the rubble. Is anyone going who can help, anyone?" Should I tell her, "Obama will have Marines there in 'a few days'"? Note: Through our journalism network, we are trying to get my friend's medicines to her father. If any reader does have someone getting into or near Port-au-Prince, please contact Haiti@GregPalast.com immediately.
4. China deployed rescuers with sniffer dogs within 48 hours. China, Mr. President. China: 8,000 miles distant. Miami: 700 miles close. US bases in Puerto Rico: right there.
5. Obama's Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "I don't know how this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has." We know Gates doesn't know.
6. From my own work in the field, I know that FEMA has access to ready-to-go potable water, generators, mobile medical equipment and more for hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast. It's all still there. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as the task force commander for emergency response after Hurricane Katrina, told the Christian Science Monitor, "I thought we had learned that from Katrina, take food and water and start evacuating people." Maybe we learned but, apparently, Gates and the Defense Department missed school that day.
7. Send in the Marines. That's America's response. That's what we're good at. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson finally showed up after three days. With what? It was dramatically deployed — without any emergency relief supplies. It has sidewinder missiles and 19 helicopters.
8. But don't worry, the International Search and Rescue Team, fully equipped and self-sufficient for up to seven days in the field, deployed immediately with ten metric tons of tools and equipment, three tons of water, tents, advanced communication equipment and water purifying capability. They're from Iceland.
“Bush Was Responsible for Destroying Haitian Democracy”–Randall Robinson on Obama Tapping Bush to Co-Chair US Relief Efforts
We speak with TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson, author of An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President. On President Obama tapping former President Bill Clinton and former President George W Bush to co-chair US relief efforts in Haiti, Robinson says, “Bush was responsible for destroying Haitian democracy…Clinton has largely sponsored a program of economic development that supports the idea of sweatshops… but that is not what we should focus on now. We should focus on saving lives.” [includes rush transcript]
With all their woes, the last thing Haitians needed was the calamitous earthquake (the most severe in the region in over 200 years) that struck Port-au-Prince, surrounding areas, and other parts of the country on January 12 at about 5PM (2200 GMT), devastating the capital, possibly killing hundreds of thousands, injuring many more, and disrupting the lives of millions of people already overwhelmed by other crushing hardships.
An AP report said "journalists found the damage staggering even for a country long accustomed to tragedy and disaster." Many hundreds of thousands lost everything, including loved ones.
Tremors were felt across the country and throughout the region. Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, however, are in shambles. Rubble is strewed everywhere. Roads are impassable. One to Delmas collapsed down a mountain burying many homes underneath. The airport closed, then reopened so relief flights in began. Fires were burning across the city. The National Cathedral and Palace of Justice, Haiti's Supreme Court, collapsed. So did the Presidential Palace, UN headquarters, hotels, other municipal buildings, business structures, schools, hospitals, churches, everything in an event of biblical proportions.
A magnitude 7.3 earthuake hit the impoverished country of Haiti on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The epicenter of the quake, which was initially reported a magnitude 7.0 off the coast, was located inland, six miles west of Carrefour, and just 10 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince.
An AFP correspondent in the nearby town of Petionville said one three-story building had been toppled, and a tractor was already at the scene trying to dig out victims as people fled onto the streets in panic.
A hospital collapsed near the epicentre, and cries of people within the structure were reported by witnesses.
The quake prompted a tsunami watch for Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, the Pacific Tsunami Center said.
A major earthquake, of magnitude 7 or higher, is capable of causing widespread and heavy damage. There was no immediate report of casualties.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Raw footage video below the fold. Click "Read more." WARNING! Graphic footage.