Photo by Reuters

Americans arrested taking children out of Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haitian police have arrested 10 U.S. citizens caught trying to take 33 children out of the earthquake-stricken country in a suspected illicit adoption scheme, authorities said on Saturday.

The five men and five women were in custody in the capital, Port-au-Prince after their arrests on Friday night. There are fears that traffickers could try to exploit the chaos and turmoil following Haiti’s January 12 earthquake quake to engage in illegal adoptions.

One of the suspects, who says she is leader of an Idaho-based charity called New Life Children’s Refuge, denied they had done anything wrong.

The suspects were detained at Malpasse, Haiti’s main border crossing with the Dominican Republic, after Haitian police conducted a routine search of their vehicle.

Authorities said the Americans had no documents to prove they had cleared the adoption of the 33 children — aged 2 months to 12 years — through any embassy and no papers showing they were made orphans by the quake in the impoverished Caribbean country.

“This is totally illegal,” said Yves Cristalin, Haiti’s social affairs minister. “No children can leave Haiti without proper authorization and these people did not have that authorization.”

U.S. authorities could not be reached for immediate comment on the arrests.

But Laura Sillsby from the Idaho group told Reuters from a jail cell at Haiti’s Judicial Police headquarters, “We had permission from the Dominican Republic government to bring the children to an orphanage that we have there.”

“We have a Baptist minister here (in Port-au-Prince) whose orphanage totally collapsed and he asked us to take the children to the orphanage in the Dominican Republic,” Sillsby added.

“I was going to come back here to do the paperwork,” Sillsby said. “They accuse us of children trafficking. This is something I would never do. We were not trying to do something wrong.”

In addition to outright trafficking in children, authorities have voiced fears since the quake that legitimate aid groups may have flown earthquake orphans out of the country for adoption before efforts to find their parents had been exhausted.

As a result, the Haitian government halted many types of adoptions earlier this month.

There are no reliable estimates of the number of parentless and lost children at risk in Haiti’s quake-shattered capital.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source Via Uruknet


So sad but true….. as can be seen in the ‘comedy’ news report on the earthquake in Haiti….. S I C K !!


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.

Gazans raise money for Haiti

Gaza – 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.

Head of the Committee to Break the Siege Jamal Al-Khudary said “people may be astonished at our ability to collect donations from our people [in Gaza]; we tell them that this is a humanitarian campaign and our people love life and peace …”

“We are here today supporting the victims of Haiti … we feel for them the most because we were exposed to our own earthquake during Israel’s war on Gaza.”

The Red Cross director was only able to accept financial donations as transferring goods out of the Strip is near impossible, Al-Khudary added.

Source via Uruknet


Fight hypocrisy and Help Haiti and Gaza

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Note: We are back in Palestine now after a successful trip to Italy and
Jordan. Please do come visit us in the canton/ghetto of Bethlehem, which
despite its difficulties remains the birthplace of Jesus.

Journalists struggle to describe the scenes of misery, death, and despair in
language befitting of its tragedy in Haiti.  Over 100 countries mobilized
for aid. Even Israel has mobilized its usual contingent of Israeli doctors
and the mass Zionist media to show how humanitarian it can be (but tiny
Qatar sent far more actual aid). What is little discussed is that the
natural disaster would have claimed far fewer lives had Haiti been allowed
to develop without Western Interference over the past few decades.  There is
a tragic history that stretches from the slave rebellion against the French
“owners” to the US direct occupation of Haiti 1915 to 1934, to the US
support for puppet dictators, to the latest 2004 coup engineered by elements
in the neoconservative movement under the Presidency of George Bush.  The
last government installed was and continues to be corrupt, inept, and
unaccountable. I was shocked that the “President of Haiti” could not even
put sentences together let alone deal with disasters.  It is no surprise
that many people in Haiti have come to believe that anarchy is better.
Meanwhile, Western companies, whose motto is always maximum profits/minimum
costs, strip billions worth of Haitian natural resources.

Gaza was a calamity of incredible proportion.  1.5 million people in a small
strip of largely desert land, most of them refugees or displaced people.
Over a period of three weeks, Israeli shelling destroyed over 10,000 homes,
schools, hospitals, food warehouses, and shops. Over 400 children and
hundreds of other civilians were massacred.   This man-made disaster was
accomplished with the blessing of the US and its direct support (military
equipment, shielding Israel from International law etc). But our spirit will
not be broken just like the spirit of Haiti will not be broken (see video)

Hardly any Western reporters bothered to cover the story of the man-made
tragedy in Gaza.  If they did mention it, it was in passing while assigning
blame to Hamas for the home made projectiles the people of Gaza tried to
produce in response to the incessant slaughter.  More importantly, no
flotillas of emergency aid were to arrive in Gaza from any governmental
sources.  Only a few activists managed to bring food and medicines in spite
of official governments positions.  In fact the siege intensified over Gaza
and one year later, there has been no or very little reconstruction.

The US foreign policy, hijacked by a group of wealthy and powerful
individuals utilizing lobbyists as their tools and brainwashing some
individuals to think it is “good for the Jews” have ensured hypocrisy.  It
is hypocrisy to name a fund for helping (Bush Clinton Haiti Fund) run by the
two war criminals that engineered and/or supported calamities in places like
Iraq (1 million killed), Gaza, Afghanistan, Sudan and elsewhere. It is
hypocrisy to send Hilary Clinton who supported the slaughter in Gaza for
photo opportunities in Haiti. It s hypocrisy to pressure the puppet regime
in Egypt to erect a wall to prevent Gaza population from importing foods and
medicine while spending our taxpayer money for USAID with stings attached
(most to guide countries to create policies of oppression in the guise of
humanitarian aid) AND let corporations gain billions from exploitation of
those same countries (e.g. Haliburton, Mobil, Motorolla). A colleague wrote
in Arabic that Jamal Abdel Nasser as a person of high stature built the
Aswan high Dam while Mubarak is building the metal underground low dam!

US interests do not lie in creating more hypocrisy Is it not time to
thoroughly reevaluate the calamitous policies that led us to this? These
policies, while profiting a few individuals in positions of power (Corporate
and Zionist lobbies*), directly harm average citizens in Haiti, the US,
Israel/Palestine and elsewhere. It was hoped that the year 2000 would usher
in a new era of peace and prosperity on humanity.  Is it not time to
investigate why Latin America, Asia and much of Europe is moving in that
direction while the US and Israeli policies have created mayhem and
destruction? Is it not time for the events of September 11, 2001 to receive
full investigation instead of the cover-up in the report issued? Would we
see 2010 as a year of change or would we wait for yet another calamity to
expose more hypocrisy?

ACTION: 1) Donate to Haiti relief through the International Red Cross,
UNICEF, Oxfam, or other non-governmental organizations (see for example

2) Act for Gaza (see for
example this new good website

* See the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins  about the
corporate elites. I think he downplays what the Zionist lobbies have done
which sometimes even won over corporate interests like the military
industries but he makes some very cogent observations from someone who was
on the inside as an economic hitman (and ofcourse many of these corporations
are run by ardent Zionists who like to have a strong Israel as an insurance
policy in case they need to run away from Western Countries).  Here are
videos of a lecture by Perkins:

Part 1
Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAqG51uwzMI
Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l22O33KyWa4


Blackwater before drinking water

by Greg Palast

Chinese search and rescue teams arrived in Port au Prince within 48 hours after the earthquake. Now that the airport is controlled by the U.S. military, aid agencies and other governments trying to bring in relief are furious at being turned back. – Photo: AFP

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. Two hundred thousand 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’”?

4. China deployed rescuers with sniffer dogs within 48 hours. China, Mr. President. China: 8,000 miles distant. Miami: 700 miles close. U.S. 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.

Click to enlarge.

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 10 metric tons of tools and equipment, three tons of water, tents, advanced communication equipment and water purifying capability. They’re from Iceland.9. Gates wouldn’t send in food and water because, he said, there was no “structure … to provide security.” For Gates, appointed by Bush and allowed to hang around by Obama, it’s security first. That was his lesson from Hurricane Katrina. Blackwater before drinking water.

10. Previous U.S. presidents have acted far more swiftly in getting troops on the ground on that island. Haiti is the right half of the island of Hispaniola. It’s treated like the right testicle of Hell. The Dominican Republic the left. In 1965, when Dominicans demanded the return of Juan Bosch, their elected president, deposed by a junta, Lyndon Johnson reacted to this crisis rapidly, landing 45,000 U.S. Marines on the beaches to prevent the return of the elected president.

11. How did Haiti end up so economically weakened, with infrastructure, from hospitals to water systems, busted or non-existent – there are two fire stations in the entire nation – and infrastructure so frail that the nation was simply waiting for “nature” to finish it off?

Don’t blame Mother Nature for all this death and destruction. That dishonor goes to Papa Doc and Baby Doc, the Duvalier dictatorship, which looted the nation for 28 years. Papa and his Baby put an estimated 80 percent of world aid into their own pockets – with the complicity of the U.S. government happy to have the Duvaliers and their militia, Tonton Macoutes, as allies in the Cold War. (The war was easily won: the Duvaliers’ death squads murdered as many as 60,000 opponents of the regime.)

12. What Papa and Baby didn’t run off with, the IMF finished off through its “austerity” plans. An austerity plan is orchestrated by economists with an irrational belief that cutting government services will somehow help a nation prosper.

13. In 1991, five years after the murderous Baby fled, Haitians elected a priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who resisted the IMF’s austerity diktats. Within months, the military, to the applause of Papa George H.W. Bush, deposed him. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. The farce was George W. Bush. In 2004, after the priest Aristide was re-elected president, he was kidnapped [by U.S. Marines – ed.] and removed again, to the applause of Baby Bush.

14. Haiti was once a wealthy nation, the wealthiest in the hemisphere, worth more, wrote Voltaire in the 18th century, than that rocky, cold colony known as New England. Haiti’s wealth was in black gold: enslaved Africans. But then they rebelled – and have been paying for it ever since.

From 1825 to 1947, France forced Haiti to pay an annual fee to reimburse the profits lost by French slaveholders caused by their slaves’ successful uprising. Rather than enslave individual Haitians, France thought it more efficient to simply enslave the entire nation.

15. Secretary Gates tells us, “There are just some certain facts of life that affect how quickly you can do some of these things.” The Navy’s hospital boat will be there in, oh, a week or so. Heckuva job, Brownie!

16. Note just received from my friend. Her sister was found, dead; and her other sister had to bury her. Her father needs his anti-seizure medicines. That’s a fact of life too, Mr. President.

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.



Haiti: getting the picture

By Richard Seymour

So, if we can summarise. Haiti is a country which is subject to “progress-resistant cultural influences”, such as:

the influence of the voodoo religion, which spreads the message that life is capricious and planning futile. There are high levels of social mistrust. Responsibility is often not internalized. Child-rearing practices often involve neglect in the early years and harsh retribution when kids hit 9 or 10.

This (rather than this), says neoconservative David Brooks, explains why Haiti is so poor. The appropriate response is imperial disdain for Haitian culture, and paternalistic intervention. Such a culturalist reading of social institutions and political economies is not exclusive to neoconservatives, but it is their preferred variant of the liberal defence of murder. As you would expect ftom the savages described by Brooks, though, they have responded to the disaster of the quake by looting and building roadblocks from the dead. The security situation (a phrase worth unpacking) is… what, you tell me – ‘deteriorating’? ‘Testing’? ‘Tricky’? ‘Challenging’? What is the bromide of choice these days? At any rate, the state of affairs arising from said “progress-resistant cultural influences” is so baleful that it is compelling the US to use its military power to obstruct the delivery of aid, because delivering aid will – so Obama’s defence secretary tells us – lead to riots.

Brooks is not alone in hoping that American power can be used to discipline the hapless natives. As Obama sends in the marines and the 82nd Airborne, precisely to deal with the above-mentioned “security situation”, the American Enterprise Institute insists that such forces are used to “ensure that Haiti’s gangs—particularly those loyal to ousted President Jean‐Bertrand Aristide—are suppressed.” The worry about the prospect of a return of the elected president, Aristide, which “can only create further mischief”. The AEI, I would confidently wager, has no reason to fret over this particular exercise in humanitarian intervention. Obama is committed to maintaining the coup government, the sweatshop oligarchy and the phoney elections. The troops are there because the Haitian population is seen not merely as pathetic supplicants but as a threat. The very sophisticated networks of community and solidarity that have been developed in Haiti under dictatorship and terror, and which are best placed to deliver assistance to those in need of it, are precisely the problem as far as the US government is concerned. It is they, the ‘gangs’ who refuse to assimilate to America’s benevolent programme of racial uplift, whom successive US governments have attempted to destroy, whether through the IMF or the Tonton Macoutes. It cannot be long before the marines find themselves gunning down some restless ingrates, and there is certainly no prospect that the Obama administration will allow Aristide to return to his country.

Just as well, then, that we have been apprised of all these horror stories about bodies doubling as road-blocks (as if people in need of aid would actually try to block the roads), machete wielding ‘looters’, security breakdowns, gang violence, etc. Otherwise we might have been inclined to misunderstand the situation, and wonder whether in sending trained killers into a disaster area the Obama administration isn’t hijacking a catastrophe according to a premeditated plan, a pre-conceived set of priorities, and a prefabricated story.

Source via Uruknet


Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Haiti: opportunity knocks

Richard Seymour

You want to hear about chutzpah? You want to hear about sheer gravity-defying audacity? Well, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, prepare to catch your lower jaw. Forget Limbaugh’s racist anxieties. Forget about Pat Robertson drooling about Haiti’s ‘pact with the devil’. He’s a senile old bigot, and his sick provocations are familiar by now. This is the Heritage Foundation on the Haiti earthquake, which is estimated to have killed 100,000 people:

Amidst the Suffering, Crisis in Haiti Offers Opportunities to the U.S.

In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in 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…

While on the ground in Haiti, the U.S. military can also interrupt the nightly flights of cocaine to Haiti and the Dominican Republic from the Venezuelan coast and counter the ongoing efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to destabilize the island of Hispaniola. This U.S. military presence, which should also include a large contingent of U.S. Coast Guard assets, can also prevent any large-scale movement by Haitians to take to the sea in rickety watercraft to try to enter the U.S. illegally.

Meanwhile, the U.S. must be prepared to insist that the Haiti government work closely with the U.S. to insure that corruption does not infect the humanitarian assistance flowing to Haiti. Long-term reforms for Haitian democracy and its economy are also badly overdue.

While you’re letting that sink in, let me lay this on you. It is, or ought to be, widely enough understood that the category of ‘natural disaster’ is increasingly redundant. Whether it’s an earthquake, a storm, a flood or a crop failure, the truly shocking and baleful consequences of ecological events are generally caused by their interaction with existing political economies. Ashley Smith

therefore asks the right questions:

Why were 60 percent of the buildings in Port-au-Prince shoddily constructed and unsafe in normal circumstances, according to the city’s mayor? Why are there no building regulations in a city that sits on a fault line? Why has Port-au-Prince swelled from a small town of 50,000 in the 1950s to a population of 2 million desperately poor people today? Why was the state completely overwhelmed by the disaster?

Well, quite. The wretched subjugation of Haiti by the ‘international community’, particularly since the multilateral anti-Lavalas coup in 2004, is angrily and movingly described by Peter Hallward in today’s Guardian, and there is more here (the Tomb’s coverage of the coup is here). The coup was promoted to advance the process of neoliberal capital accumulation, break the left and the unions, and break Famni Lavalas and the civil society organisations sustaining resistance. For years, UN ‘peacekeepers’ have slaughtered thousands of Haitians, and the residents have been put through rigged election procedures. Lavalas members, priests, and activists have been subject to political imprisonment and murder, some of them characterised as ‘gang’ members. This is all for the aid of sweatshop bosses such as Andy Apaid, and the multinationals principally based in the US and Canada that benefit enormously from the exploitation of Haitian labour. This process of capital accumulation is what has driven Haitians out of a devastated rural economy and into impoverished slums with a tinpot infrastructure, and left them vulnerable to this extraordinary catastrophe. There are a tremendous number of NGOs operating in Haiti, but there is hardly a public service infrastructure capable of a response. What support systems were available have themselves suffered terribly in the quake.

Following from the above, such disasters are generally exploited by states and companies in the vicious and predatory way that Naomi Klein outlines in The Shock Doctrine. Perhaps a lesser known example of this is the way in which in the wake of the tsunami in late 2004, the Indonesian military took the opportunity to ramp up repression in Aceh. A more obvious example is the depraved way in which the Bush administration (and the local Democratic party) effectively ethnically cleansed New Orleans and turned it into a haven for developers and construction firms after Katrina. So, what depraved agenda is going to be more forcefully thrust on Haiti in the middle of this catastrophe? Obviously, there is no danger of Obama allowing any impoverished immigrants into the US on the back of some rickety boats. You might recall that after last year’s hurricanes, his administration continued to deport people, even in the middle of urgent legal appeals. So what is the plan? Back to Ashley Smith, who writes:

In close collaboration with the new UN Special Envoy to Haiti, former President Bill Clinton, Obama has pushed for an economic program familiar to much of the rest of the Caribbean–tourism, textile sweatshops and weakening of state control of the economy through privatization and deregulation.

In particular, Clinton has orchestrated a plan for turning the north of Haiti into a tourist playground, as far away as possible from the teeming slums of Port-au-Prince. Clinton lured Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines into investing $55 million to build a pier along the coastline of Labadee, which it has leased until 2050.

From there, Haiti’s tourist industry hopes to lead expeditions to the mountaintop fortress Citadelle and the Palace of Sans Souci, both built by Henri Christophe, one of the leaders of Haiti’s slave revolution. According to the Miami Herald:

The $40 million plan involved transforming the now quaint town of Milot, home to the Citadelle and Palace of Sans Souci ruin, into a vibrant tourist village, with arts and crafts markets, restaurants and stoned streets. Guests would be ferried past a congested Cap-Haïtien to a bay, then transported by bus past peasant plantations. Once in Milot, they would either hike or horseback to the Citadelle…named a world heritage site in 1982…

Eco-tourism, archaeological exploration and voyeuristic visits to Vodou rituals are all being touted by Haiti’s struggling boutique tourism industry, as Royal Caribbean plans to bring the world largest cruise ship here, sparking the need for excursions.

So while Pat Robertson denounces Haiti’s great slave revolution as a pact with the devil, Clinton is helping to reduce it to a tourist trap.

At the same time, Clinton’s plans for Haiti include an expansion of the sweatshop industry to take advantage of cheap labor available from the urban masses. The U.S. granted duty-free treatment for Haitian apparel exports to make it easy for sweatshops to return to Haiti.

Clinton celebrated the possibilities of sweatshop development during a whirlwind tour of a textile plant owned and operated by the infamous Cintas Corp. He announced that George Soros had offered $50 million for a new industrial park of sweatshops that could create 25,000 jobs in the garment industry. Clinton explained at a press conference that Haiti’s government could create “more jobs by lowering the cost of doing business, including the cost of rent.”

As TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson told Democracy Now! “That isn’t the kind of investment that Haiti needs. It needs capital investment. It needs investment so that it can be self-sufficient. It needs investment so that it can feed itself.”

One of the reasons why Clinton could be so unabashed in celebrating sweatshops is that the U.S.-backed coup repressed any and all resistance. It got rid of Aristide and his troublesome habit of raising the minimum wage. It banished him from the country, terrorized his remaining allies and barred his political party, Fanmi Lavalas, the most popular in the country, from running for office. The coup regime also attacked union organizers within the sweatshops themselves.

As a result, Clinton could state to business leaders: “Your political risk in Haiti is lower than it has ever been in my lifetime.”

Would those who sycophantically defended Clinton, particularly over his Haiti policy, care to comment? Do the ‘progressives for Obama’ have anything to say at this point?

Source Via Uruknet