Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mass Manipulation

Nick Davis, BBC News, Haiti
Relief is finally getting through to some in Port-au-Prince but it's a trickle - not a flood - of the aid needed by the people here.

The US navy is using helicopters to drop supplies of bottled water using soldiers on the ground to keep control. The UN also has distribution points handing out high-energy bars to the hungry.

But demand is outstripping supply - with food and water being taken faster than they can pass it out.


The BBC's Mark Doyle in Leogane, west of Port-au-Prince, described the scene as "apocalyptic", with thousands left homeless and almost every building destroyed.

But in a sign of hope, rescuers pulled a woman alive from rubble on Sunday. Twelve others were rescued on Saturday, the UN said.

There are also security concerns amid reports of looting.

The US Southern Command's Lt-Gen Ken Keen said that while streets were largely calm there had been an increase in violence.

"We are going to have to address the situation of security," he said, quoted by the Associated Press.

"We've had incidents of violence that impede our ability to support the government of Haiti and answer the challenges that this country faces."

AFP news agency quoted one of its photographers as saying police had opened fire on looters in a Port-au-Prince market, killing at least one of them.

It's really mass torture. Starve people, deprive them of water, then start to hand out sustenance in dribs and drabs, adding to the mental anguish, hoping people will fight over things, rather than simply providing enough for everyone right away, as was more than possible. Meanwhile, the obedient media conjure images for the audience for the news elaborating on the Pentagon's key theme "air drops will start riots". Why would air drops of water and food and necessaries incite riots? It's nonsenseical. It's absurd. Unless the audience is prepared - which alas much of it is - with an image to supply to that caption: the image of animals, hungry wolves, starving, maddened, and one bone tossed among them. Of course the audience is envisioning beastly savages and something inadequate, one bone, one bottle, falling from the sky among them, not enough for all. Why? Because that is the law of nature - there is never enough for everyone. There simply can never be. That is how God made the world.

In fact, the least competent Oxfam employee could have directed an operation, with the resources available, which would have completely met at least the nutritional needs of the entire population certainly within 12 hours. Housing, medical and rescue needs of course are more difficult after such a catastrophe, but there was no reason for anyone in Haiti to be hungry and thirsty for even 24 hours. These are tactics of population control and manipulation, by which the occupying power aims to break the will, spirit and solidarity of the population.

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