Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"So why are blood, destruction, poverty, hunger and orphans good for the Jewish State? "

The following article appeared in Maariv, Israel’s second most popular newspaper, and was written by Tamir Haas who identifies himself as a "publicist" and "media consultant." It was translated into English by Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel.

At a time when our country is under media attack on the basis of harsh and anti-Semitic reports, and we are forced to contend with terrorists who have assumed the winning image of victims of war, one could say that the Haiti disaster is the best thing that could have happened to us. So why are blood, destruction, poverty, hunger and orphans good for the Jewish State? First of all because global attention has been drawn elsewhere and the international media have a more interesting story to cover. Second, because every disaster-area needs a hero, and right now we are it. I must admit that I would not be surprised if the image aspect of setting up a hospital in Haiti, as well as the IDF rescue efforts, was given greater weight than humanitarian considerations. If I am right, then finally, someone in the Knesset has done the right thing, deciding to take advantage of the opportunity to prove to the world how kindhearted and capable we are. And if the Foreign Ministry manages to make further use of the Israeli success stories in Haiti and market them to the world, all the better. We can only hope that none of our talented politicians is caught in front of a camera saying “We showed the world. We were really awesome in Haiti,” or something like that – a distinct possibility considering the recent mess with the Turks. Better to be modest.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Conspiracy Praxis: 'Lord' Hutton issues 70-year gag order on David Kelly murder evidence

Evening Standard, 24 Jan 2010:

70-year gag order on David Kelly death evidence

Evidence relating to the death of Government weapons inspector David Kelly is to be kept secret for 70 years, it has been reported.

A highly unusual ruling by Lord Hutton, who chaired the inquiry into Dr Kelly's death, means medical records including the post-mortem report will remain classified until after all those with a direct interest in the case are dead, the Mail on Sunday reported.

And a 30-year secrecy order has been placed on written records provided to Lord Hutton's inquiry which were not produced in evidence.

Headline edited for typos:

Jimmy 'The Duke' Hutton brags: "Yeah, we killed Kelly. Live with it, suckers."

From a Wiki summary of Lord Almighty's stellar career:

The Rt. Hon. The Lord Hutton, QC, PC

Lord Hutton also came to public attention in 1999 during the extradition proceedings of former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet had been arrested in London on torture allegations by request of a Spanish judge. Five Law Lords, the UK's highest court, decided by a 3-2 majority that Pinochet was to be extradited to Spain. The verdict was then overturned by a panel of seven Law Lords, including Lord Hutton[2] on the grounds that Lord Hoffmann, one of the five Law Lords, had links to human rights group Amnesty International which had campaigned for Pinochet's extradition.

In 1978 he defended Britain in the European Court of Human Rights when it was found guilty of torturing internees without trial. He sentenced 10 men to 1,001 years in prison on the word of 'supergrass' informer Robert Quigley who was granted immunity in 1984.

Lord Hutton was appointed by the Blair government to chair the inquiry on the circumstances surrounding the death of the British scientist Dr David Kelly at the heart of the September Dossier controversy. ...

The road to almightiness (short version):

* Mr Brian Hutton (1931–1970)
* Mr Brian Hutton QC (1970–1979)
* Sir Brian Hutton QC (1979–1988)
* The Rt. Hon. Sir Brian Hutton QC (1988–1997)
* The Rt. Hon. The Lord Hutton QC PC (1997–)

I wonder what he did to deserve all those honours.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Maybe Those Mayans Were Right

Il presidente Nobel per la pace e il suo segretario di Stato parlano chiaro: "Any attack on America - from Pentagon hackings and industrial espionage to forced technology transfer and mercantilist weapons like currency manipulation - represents an act of aggression and will not be tolerated" [SGA].

China's war on the U.S. economy.[sic sic sic]

Andy Kershaw: "Stop treating these people like savages."

Why does it take a music broadcaster to speak such plain truths and to show some elementary human decency? It's clear that Kershaw actually knows Haiti. So why hasn't the BBC got him reporting from there, instead of the truly execrable Matt Frei?

Haitians have faced their tragedy with dignity and stoicism – not that you would know it from the way the disaster has been reported


This assumption that there is a security threat has gone completely unchallenged by an army of foreign press, equally unfamiliar with Haiti and the character of the Haitians. Indeed, TV reporters particularly, having exhausted the televisual possibilities of rubble, have been talking up "security", "unrest" and "violence" when all available evidence would indicate anything but.

Astonishingly, among these TV dramatists, I am sorry to say, is the BBC's Matt Frei. An incongruously ample figure around Port-au-Prince, Frei has been working himself up all week into what is now a state of near hysteria about "security" and the almost non-existent "violence".

Over the weekend we saw him anticipating an outbreak of unrest, standing before a crowd of thousands of hungry, humiliated Haitians as they waited, patiently and quietly, to be given rations by UN soldiers. Their dignity and stoicism seemed to escape Frei who was, in any case, looking away from them while ranting about the inevitability of looming bloodshed – conspicuously unlikely, judging from the evidence of his own report. (When he is not almost tumescent about violence, Frei speculates and pontificates pompously to camera, or booms at earthquake victims in French. Most Haitians don't speak French. They speak Creole).

Frei's reluctance to recognise the amazing self-control of these desperate people, and instead to amplify the hysteria about violence for which he has scant evidence, has brought him at times worryingly close to calling the Haitians savages.

Disgracefully, on Monday's Newsnight, Frei had the audacity – and again, anything but the evidence – to declare: "The dignity of Haiti's past is long forgotten." [...]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trending: Slow Genocide

Israel has opened the floodgates of one of its dams in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, flooding Palestinian houses and causing severe damage.

The Israeli authorities opened the dam's floodgates without any prior warning or coordination with local authorities in Gaza, stunning the residents of the area, the Press TV correspondent in Gaza reported late on Monday.

There has been heavy rain in the region over the past 24 hours. It seems the Israeli authorities could not handle the huge amount of rainwater and decided to open the floodgates without prior warning.

Because Gaza is located in a low-lying area and the elevation decreases on the way to the Mediterranean Sea, water gushed into the area, flooding two Palestinian villages and displacing a hundred Gazan families.

The locals say Israel intentionally caused the floods, the Press TV correspondent said.
The waters from the dam, called the Valley of Gaza, flooded houses in Johr al-Deek village, which is southeast of Gaza City, and Nusirat in the eastern part of the territory, where the Al-Nusirat refugee camp is also located.

The Valley of Gaza is about 8 kilometers long. It starts on the eastern Gaza border with Israel and ends in the Mediterranean.

The houses of many Palestinians have been flooded and a number of people are trapped inside or on their roofs, while many have also gone missing, the Press TV correspondent said.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"no UN. no police. no US marines and no violence or chaos or anything. just people helping each other."

Sent on January 17, 2010, 3:34AM by Dr. Evan Lyon of PIH

can't get through much now but beyond the horror, one very striking reality is that things are totally peaceful. we circulated in PAP in the middle of everything until just now. everywhere. no UN. no police. no US marines and no violence or chaos or anything. just people helping each other. drove past the main central park in PAP where at least 50K people must be sleeping and it was almost silent.

people cooking, talking, some singing and crying. people are kind, calm, generous to us and others. even with hundreds lying on the ground, open fractures, massive injuries of all kinds.

there are few dead bodies on the street. stench is everywhere. the city is changed forever.

we had a late day opportunity to evacuate 4 patients to the US. these may be the first haitian nationals allowed to leave for the US. but martinique has taken over 200. the DR has taken many many more. so we circulated in PAP looking for urgent cases. found hundreds but picked up the 4 to get out, hopefully to philadelphia. open fractures, gangrene, one 4 year old boy with a leg broken in 3 places, a minor head wound, and now 4 days of sleeping outside with IV fluid and maybe some pain meds. probably none.

at the airport, we drove onto the tarmac to meet the air ambulance. surrounded by marines and UN, massive weapons. a humvee with a gunner turret at the top drove by. the noise from the large transport planes was deafening. us citizens and haitian american citizens leaving by the hundreds on US planes. and our small team of haitian and american docs evacuating a drop in the bucket. my ears are still ringing from the noise of it all.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"More Like the Green Zone in Iraq Than A Humanitarian Aid Distribution Centre" - Al Jazeera in Haiti

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.


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? (...) 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 US Marines on the beaches to prevent the return of the elected president.

CARICOM Refused Entry Into Haiti by US Occupation Forces

THE CARIBBEAN Community's emergency aid mission to Haiti, comprising Heads of Government and leading technical officials, failed to secure permission Friday to land at that devasted country's aiport, now under the control of the United States.

Consequently, the Caricom 'assessment mission', that was to determine priority humanitarian needs resulting from the mind-boggling earthquake disaster of Haiti last Tuesday, had to travel back from Jamaica to their respective home destinations..

On Friday afternoon the US State Department confirmed signing two 'Memoranda of Understanding' with the Government of Haiti that made 'official that the United Stateas is in charge of all inbound and outbound flights and aid off-loading...'

Further, according to the agreements signed, US medical personnel 'now have the authority to operate on Haitian citizens and otherwise render medical assistance without having to wait for licences from Haiti's government...'

Prior to the US taking control of Haiti's airport, a batch of some 30 Cuban doctors had left Havana, following Wednesday's earthquake, to join more than 300 of their colleagues who have been working there for more than a year.

Last evening the frustration suffered by the Caricom mission to get landing permission was expected to be raised in a scheduled meeting at Jamaica's Norman Manley International Airport with US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.


Asked whether the difficuties encountered by the Caricom mission may be related to reports that US authorities were not anxious to facilitate landing of aircraft from Cuba and Venezuela, Prime Minister Golding said he could 'only hope that there is no truth to such immature thinking in the face of the horrific scale of Haiti's tragedy...'

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ten Things the US Can and Should Do for Haiti

Ten Things the US Can and Should Do for Haiti
by Bill Quigley

One. Allow all Haitians in the US to work. The number one source of money for poor people in Haiti is the money sent from family and workers in the US back home. Haitians will continue to help themselves if given a chance. Haitians in the US will continue to help when the world community moves on to other problems.

Two. Do not allow US military in Haiti to point their guns at Haitians. Hungry Haitians are not the enemy. Decisions have already been made which will militarize the humanitarian relief - but do not allow the victims to be cast as criminals. Do not demonize the people.

Three. Give Haiti grants as help, not loans. Haiti does not need any more debt. Make sure that the relief given helps Haiti rebuild its public sector so the country can provide its own citizens with basic public services.

Four. Prioritize humanitarian aid to help women, children and the elderly. They are always moved to the back of the line. If they are moved to the back of the line, start at the back.

Five. President Obama can enact Temporary Protected Status for Haitians with the stroke of a pen. Do it. The US has already done it for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan and Somalia. President Obama should do it on Martin Luther King Day.

Six. Respect Human Rights from Day One. The UN has enacted Guiding Principles for Internally Displaced People. Make them required reading for every official and non-governmental person and organization. Non governmental organizations like charities and international aid groups are extremely powerful in Haiti - they too must respect the human dignity and human rights of all people.

Seven. Apologize to the Haitian people everywhere for Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh.

Eight. Release all Haitians in US jails who are not accused of any crimes. Thirty thousand people are facing deportations. No one will be deported to Haiti for years to come. Release them on Martin Luther King day.

Nine. Require that all the non-governmental organizations which raise money in the US be transparent about what they raise, where the money goes, and insist that they be legally accountable to the people of Haiti.

Ten. Treat all Haitians as we ourselves would want to be treated.

The Security Situation III

The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005.

...The rhetoric from Washington has been very different during these two disasters, but the outcome may be much the same. In both cases very little aid arrived at the time it was most needed and, in the case of Port-au-Prince, when people trapped under collapsed buildings were still alive. When foreign rescue teams with heavy lifting gear does come it will be too late. No wonder enraged Haitians are building roadblocks out of rocks and dead bodies.

In New Orleans and Port-au-Prince there is the same official terror of looting by local people, so the first outside help to arrive is in the shape of armed troops. The US currently has 3,500 soldiers, 2,200 marines and 300 medical personnel on their way to Haiti.

Patrick Cockburn in the Independent, which also reports:

Haitian authorities are rounding up troublemakers to prevent sporadic looting from turning into wider violence in the aftermath of the Caribbean nation's devastating earthquake, a senior security official said.

"There have been some attempts to make trouble. There are thieves coming out," Haitian police inspector-general Jean-Yonel Trecile told Reuters late yesterday.

"To make sure this does not spread, we have taken a number of these people off the streets. We have arrested about 50 people. I hope now we will stay peaceful."

Shooting has broken out several times in downtown Port-au-Prince, witnesses say, since Tuesday's earthquake, killing tens of thousands of people.

Some refugees, in makeshift camps all over the coastal capital, say thieves are preying on their meager possessions, while looters have been carrying goods out of a few shops.

But Haiti's feared gangs do not appear to be terrorizing the streets as they have in the past, locals say. The desperation of the homeless and hungry also has so far not turned into mass protests or ransackings, although many worry that may still happen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Security Situation II


By Roger Annis

January 15--Evidence of monstrous neglect of the Haitian people is mounting following the catastrophic earthquake three days ago. As life-saving medical supplies, food, water purification chemicals and vehicles pile up at the airport in Port au Prince, and as news networks report a massive international effort to deliver emergency aid, the people in the shattered city are wondering when they will see help.

BBC World Service reports that Haitian officials now fear the death toll could rise to 140,000. Three million people are homeless.

BBC reporter Andy Gallagher told an 8 pm (Pacific Time) broadcast tonight that he had traveled “extensively” in Port au Prince during the day and saw little sign of aid delivery. He said he was shown nothing but courtesy by the Haitians he encountered. Everywhere he went he was taken by residents to see what had happened to their neighbourhood, their homes and their lives. Then they asked, “Where is the help?”

“When the Rescue teams arrive,” Gallagher said, “they will be welcomed with open arms.”

CBC Radio One’s As It Happens broadcast an interview this evening with a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said he spent the morning touring one of the hardest hit areas of the city (the district was not named), in the hills that rise from the flat plain on which sits historic Port au Prince. “In three hours, I didn’t see a single rescue team.”

The BBC report contrasts starkly with warnings of looting and violence that fill the airwaves of news channels such as CNN and are being voiced by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He was asked by media in Washington why relief supplies were not being delivered by air. He answered, “It seems to me that air drops will simply lead to riots.”

Gates says that “security” concerns are impeding the delivery of aid.

So the US military has gone in, got control of all the aid supplies, and is witholding them to maximise the death toll and suffering, and hoping to provoke something that will provide 5 seconds of film that looks like "unrest". The White House pursues this tactic unabashedly despite widespread awareness - this time, unlike in New Orleans or Iraq - of their chicanery, their pre-meditated machinations and their aims.


BBC Headline: Security fears stalk Haiti as quake survivors await aid:

There are mounting security concerns in Haiti's earthquake-hit capital as distribution problems continue to hamper getting aid to survivors.

Days after the quake devastated Port-au-Prince, killing tens of thousands, there are some reports of gangs preying on residents and looting.

Official say thousands of prisoners are unaccounted for after the main prison was destroyed.

Relief has been arriving, but little has moved beyond the jammed airport.

In a highlight box on the BBC website it says:

Andy Gallacher, Port-au-Prince

The airport here in Haiti has now become the central hub for the huge aid operation that is now finally under way.

The Haitian government has handed over control of the entire facility to the American military, who are here in large numbers.

US soldiers have started the tricky operation of controlling the massive amount of air traffic that is now flooding in, and aid agencies from across the globe are arriving minute by minute.

But the fact remains that much of the aid - tents, blankets and medical supplies - is still sitting on the runway in Port-Au-Prince.

Well you know how "institutions" are, not very competent...

A link directs to the story, with the headline Chaos in Haiti as aid arrives...

Despite concerns about security Haitians are showing incredible patience but it is now being severely tested as the hours pass.

Chaos, fear, stalking. Patience waning. Tricky operation of controlling massive air traffic? Someone wrote that with a straight face. The assumption is that the audience is brain damaged from the barrage of film and television and has no longer any sense of plausibility.

"The Security Situation"

Rebecca Solnit's book A Paradise Built In Hell is timely. It reminds us that people are always cooperative and altrustic in times of crisis, and that elites always "panic", defame, aggressively repress and terrorise the victims of calamities like this. As Naomi Klein's hit book also stressed memorably, elites are every day better prepared to exploit situations like the one created by the earthquake that rocked Haiti; think tanks are full of experts hired to do nothing but prepare plans to be put into effect when opportunity knocks. Those plans include the preparation of propaganda and pr tactics to be rolled out in the ways which plentiful research has proven most effective. PR, publicity and journalism professionals know what they are doing, how to telegraph, seed, introduce and develop a story, themes and motifs, how to spin, select and manipulate reality as it is processed into spectacle. They are proactive not re-active; they have experience; foreseeable events do not take them by surprise.

The propaganda is starting already to imply the criminality and dangerousness of the victim population,setting the stage for the wild scary stories to come with which the imperialists will jusify the escalated militarisation of Haiti. The US ruling class and its comprador Haitian elites will be looking to make a lot of militants and leftists disappear under cover of this mass death, and to fix the boot even more firmly down on a population with a long tradition of revolutionary commitment, courage and perseverance. Our credulity is being counted on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spirit Of The Times

The ferociously hostile comments in reply to Peter Hallward's obvious, uncontroversial, unobjectionable remarks on Haiti in the Guardian read like they were all excerpted from Zizek's First as Tragedy, Then as Farce:


...we white Leftist men and women are free to leave behind the politically correct process of endless self-torturing guilt. Although Pascal Bruckner's critique of the contemporary Left often approaches the absurd, this does not prevent him from occasionally generating pertinent insights-one cannot but agree with him when he detects in European politically correct selfflagellation an inverted form of clinging to one's superiority. Whenever the West is attacked, its first reaction is not aggressive defense but selfprobing: what did we do to deserve it? We are ultimately to be blamed for the evils of the world; Third World catastrophes and terrorist violence are merely reactions to our crimes. The positive form of the White Man's Burden (his responsibility for civilizing the colonized barbarians) is thus merely replaced by its negative form (the burden of the white man's guilt) : if we can no longer be the benevolent masters of the Third World, we can at least be the privileged source of evil, patronizingly depriving others of responsibility for their fate (when a Third World country engages in terrible crimes, it is never fully its own responsibility, but always an after-effect of colonization: they are merely imitating what their colonial masters used to do, and so on) :

We need our miserabilist cliches about Africa, Asia, Latin America, in order to confirm the cliche of a predatory, deadly West. Our noisy stigmatizations only serve to mask the wounded self-love: we no longer make the law. Other cultures know it, and they continue to culpabilize us only to escape our judgments on them.

…"The West is not detested for its real faults, but for its attempt to amend them, because it was one of the first to try to tear itself out of its own bestiality, inviting the rest of the world to follow it." The Western legacy is effectively not just that of (post)colonial imperialist domination, but also that of the self-critical examination of the violence and exploitation the West itself
brought to the Third World. The French colonized Haiti, but the French Revolution also provided the ideological foundation for the rebellion which liberated the slaves and established an independent Haiti; the process of decolonization was set in motion when the colonized nations demanded for themselves the same rights that the West took for itself. In short, one should never forget that the West supplied the very standards by which it (and its critics) measures its own criminal past…

…Someone who cannot be accused of softness towards the colonizers is Frantz Fanon: his thoughts on the emancipatory power of violence are an embarrassment for many politically correct postcolonial theorists. However, as a perspicuous thinker trained in psychoanalysis, he also, back in 1952, provided the most poignant expression of the refusal to capitalize on the guilt of the colonizers:

I am a man, and what I have to recapture is the whole past of the world. I am not responsible solely for the slave revolt in Santo Domingo. Every time a man has contributed to the victory of the dignity of the spirit, every time a man has said no to an attempt to subjugate his fellows, I have felt solidarity with his act. In no way does my basic vocation have to be drawn from the past of peoples of color. In no way do I have to dedicate myself to reviving a black civilization unjustly ignored. I will not make myself the man of any past. . . . My black skin is not a repository for specific values . . . . Haven't I got better things to do on this earth than avenge the Blacks of the seventeenth century? . . . I as a man of color do not have the right to hope that in the white man there will be a crystallization of guilt toward the past of my race. I as a man of color do not have the right to seek ways of stamping down the pride of my former master. I have neither the right nor the duty to demand reparations for my subjugated ancestors.

13 Jan 2010, 10:34PM

If we are serious about helping we need to stop ­trying to control Haiti's government, to pacify its citizens, and to exploit its economy. And then we need to start paying for at least some of the damage we've already done.

It's the Guardian 'we' again - you don't get it in any other newspaper.

I'm sure many people have seen some of the horrific footage by now and want to contribute something in emergency aid, but is it not enough that they be allowed to do it out of compassion rather than guilt? Why does there always have to be some misery vulture gleefully finger-wagging and apportioning blame before the bodies are even cold? And what do the foreign policy decisions of Western governments in places such as Haiti have to do with their citizens anyway? Did Americans vote to keep them subjugated? Was it anyone's manifesto pledge? If they were all smiley Fairtrade farmers like on the back of your bag of coffee beans, would the earthquake never have happened? Isn't a force 7 quake pretty damn devastating wherever it hits? How will you contrive to make 'us' all responsible when Tokyo finally gets flattened?

14 Jan 2010, 7:28AM

Ever since the US invaded and occupied the country in 1915, every serious political attempt to allow Haiti's people to move (in former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's phrase) "from absolute misery to a dignified poverty" has been violently and deliberately blocked by the US government and some of its allies.

Would you please refrain from voicing these ridiculous Chomsyite conspiracy theories, at least until this present crisis has been resolved?

I notice there's not a single mention of Papa Doc Duvalier or his equally charming son in your article... do you think that maybe, just maybe, having a pair of violent, corrupt dictatorial thugs in power for a period of 30 straight years might have something to do with Hati's current wretched state? Oh, of course you don't. According to the Marxist school of international relations, the problems suffered by the developing world are exclusively attributable to the wicked west- poor countries don't have any responsibility whatsoever for the state they're in.

Cuba has escaped the worst effects of neoliberal "reform", and its government retains a capacity to defend its people from disaster.

But not from famine caused by their economic system. That's why Castro had to introduce rationing of food after the USSR collapsed.

If we are serious about helping Haiti through this latest crisis then we should take this comparative point on board.

Yes, by emulating the Cuban model, the Haitians may be able to advance from being the poorest country in the Western hemisphere to being like Cuba ... which is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

And then we need to start paying for at least some of the damage we've already done.

"We" didn't do the damage. The earthquake did. "We're" trying to provide aid. Even in the "black is white" world of the radical left, that should be obvious.

13 Jan 2010, 8:43PM
There may be a problem with neoconservative economics but you have to ask yourself what we're getting for it. The people are oppressed and exploited, that's true. What's less clear is how we're doing it -- that's we, the ordinary people.

It would be more constructive to not try to pin blame on us, to try to make us feel guilty just because we have food and they don't. We should recognize that this is an extreme example of the kind of society unbridled capitalism brings. Its a total free-for-all economy with the government powerless and the people voiceless. The vision we're sold is of an idealistic state where everyone's free to be prosperous but Haiti is the reality.

13 Jan 2010, 8:52PM

This poverty is the direct legacy of perhaps the most brutal system of colonial exploitation in world history,

Total rubbish. In fact yesterday Mr Monboit was accusing the Spanish of the most brutal colonial exploitation using dubious figures in relation to the Spanish exploitation of South America.

I would also suggest that you look at the disgraceful behaviour of the Belgians in the Congo as the yardstick for brutal colonial exploitation.

As for Cuba, get a bloody grip man.

The only thing true about your article is that nearly all Western nations have blood on there hands due to colonial expansion policies, but the same is true of countries from Africa, Asia, Americas and the Middle East.

Tip: try for balance when attempting to use awful natural disasters as a smokescreen for attacking nations that you obviously do not like.

13 Jan 2010, 9:00PM

Ever since the US invaded and occupied the country in 1915, every serious political attempt to allow Haiti's people to move (in former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's phrase) "from absolute misery to a dignified poverty" has been violently and deliberately blocked by the US government and some of its allies.

You can't bring history into this. That was then, this is now. I stayed up half the night watching the news about this, and I'm not interested in what the US government of yesteryear did. I want to know what I can do to help now, even if it's a small and relatively insignificant contribution to a disaster fund.

I have to add, I was sickened at the way the Sky News presenter (the woman on at around 11pm last night) asked the most stupid and inane questions in her attempt to keep the audience engaged ("this is apocalyptic... what can be done for the people who are now screaming under the rubble?", or words to that effect).

Sometimes, I hate these so-called news channels. The BBC, to give them credit, presented the facts in a sober and measured manner.

13 Jan 2010, 9:23PM
Haiti has been a basket case for years.

Nobody is exploiting Haiti because there is nothing in Haiti worth exploiting.

To blame 100% of Haiti's problems on outside ( i.e. US) interference, as Mr Hallword suggests, is a ridiculous oversimplication of the situation.

Having said that, Haitians desperately need foreign assistance following this tragedy. Let's all hope that corruption in Haiti does not result in this foreign aid being wasted.

13 Jan 2010, 10:03PM
Haiti has been independent since 1804.
It's problems are not our fault.
Now, can we get them some emergency aid, please.

13 Jan 2010, 9:31PM
I look forward to pasty white boy Hallward telling the 45,000 American citizens that live their, most vastly darker than he, that they are no longer needed or wanted.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Monday, January 04, 2010