Local Stories, Events
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Books, Films, Arts & Education
07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn
07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]
06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]
07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]
07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]
07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]
07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]
07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]
07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]
07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]
Haiti Post-Quake: Devastation, Depravation, Exploitation, and Oppression
Monday, 29 March 2010
US and MINUSTAH forces are in charge along with repressive Haitian police as brutal as UN paramilitaries. From one day to the next, Haitians aren't sure they'll survive, now more than ever post-quake.
Two and half months post-quake, the major media mostly ignore Haiti, the calamitous conditions on the ground, and the growing desperation of millions forced to largely endure on their own - out of sight, mind, the concern of world leaders, and UN, USAID and other aid organizations diverting most of the $700 million + donated to contractors and profiteering NGOs.
A March 11 New York Times editorial titled, "Haiti, Two Months Later," tried to have it both ways, citing relief effort failures, yet praising the US, UN, foreign countries, and aid organizations for:
Unmentioned was the thousands of US combat troops obstructing aid, getting none to the most impoverished neighborhoods, and amounts to emergency shelters have been woefully inadequate, making calamitous conditions worse.
A March 25 Times editorial titled, "Haiti's Misery," in fact, admitted it, stating:
It's the plight of around 1.3 million with no shelter, proper sanitation, clean water, enough food, or medical care. On March 4, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised concerns about a potential deadly malaria outbreak, besides numerous other diseases now spreading. On March 5, Partners in Health (PIH) called conditions on the ground "shameful....shocking, inhumane and rapidly deteriorating."
Daily they worsen, placing millions of Haitians in grave peril of calamitous depravation, deadly diseases, greater pain and suffering, and potential mass deaths because imperial plans for Haiti are to plunder it for profit and control, not help desperately needy people, many of whom will suffer, then die.
Haiti is open for business. What was no longer exists. Reconstruction will be profit-driven, replacing former neighborhoods with gentrified ones, corporate ventures, and other upscale projects - poor Haitians being dispossessed, exploited, neglected, abandoned, and oppressed if they resist, especially if they interfere with planned plundering of Haiti's oil and other resources.
On March 24, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton visited Port-au-Prince with Rene Preval, feigned concern, and participated in staged refugee camp photo-ops. Haitians reacted angrily, especially at Bush for ousting President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, exiling him to South Africa, and preventing his return, now more than ever when he's needed.
Protestors outside the national palace burned tires and an American flag, shouting: "Return Aristide! Down with Preval! Down with Bush! The Miami Herald described the Champ de Mars refugee camp visit saying:
The trip served two purposes:
Haitians are on their own, women and children most vulnerable, according to Amnesty International (AI). A March 25 report said:
From March 4 - 25, AI assessed conditions in quake struck areas, in particular, human rights abuses affecting women and children. It reported mass displacement, makeshift camps on "every plot of empty land, public or private, and in every space, square and football pitch." Even a golf course and secondary roads were used.
Within the camps, security is non-existant, except for scattered ad hoc efforts, leaving women and girls most vulnerable as well as everyone to theft or assaults that might cost them their lives.
AI visited camps with no emergency shelter, food, sanitation, water or medical care, saying:
The Latin American Solidarity Coalition's (LASC) Assessment on the Ground Pre-Quake
LASC (lasolidarity.org) "is an association of national and local US-based grassroots Latin American and Caribbean solidarity groups (for) a truly progressive Latin America solidarity movement....in support of the people of Latin America struggling for justice and a better future for their countries free of economic, military and cultural imperialism."
From December 28, 2009 - January 7, 2010 (five days before the quake), its 11-member delegation visited Haiti to investigate UN Blue Helmet (MINUSTAH) human rights abuses. On returning, it published a report titled, "Haiti: An Oppressed State," its highlights reviewed below.
LASC met with over 70 individuals and organization representatives in Port-au-Prince and two of its most impoverished neighborhoods, Cite Soleil and Bel Air. It also spent two days in Jacmel visiting sustainable development projects.
Testimonies from MINUSTAH-inflicted violence victims were gotten, including people whose family members were murdered. Virtually everyone:
The story is long, painful and familiar. "For over 200 years (and 300 before that), the US, France, and Western Europe (actively) ble(d) and exploit(ed) Haitians and prevent(ed) the only nation born of a slave revolt from becoming successful." It endured "military invasions, economic embargoes, gunboat blockades, trade barriers, diplomatic quarantines, subsidized armed subversions, US-armed black dictators, and finally, two US-supported coups against" its only beloved leader since liberation, twice democratically elected overwhelmingly, now exiled, and kept from returning.
Repeatedly people said:
Preval was complicit in the 2004 coup, then allied with the Washington-installed interim Latortue government to prevent Aristide's return after a more people-oriented 1996 - 2001 first term.
Post-quake, he's been pathetic, inept, and indifferent to his peoples' plight - largely invisible, out of sight, silent, and on the sidelines when he's most needed. Public anger toward him is palpable. For one Haitian, he's "the devil and we don't want him" any more. His prospects for a third term are likely nil - he himself saying in a radio interview, "I don't do politics, okey?" Former opposition figure, Evans Paul, accused him of "single-handedly show(ing) the Haitian people that he cannot lead them."
MINUSTAH, the Problem, Not the Solution
It was established on June 1, 2004 for an initial six month renewable period to "promote interaction with the Haitian authorities as partners," operating under the following mandate:
In fact, for the first time in UN history, a Blue Helmet force supported a coup d'etat regime, allied with imperial forces, prevented a democratically leader from returning, and systematically committed human rights abuses, including, persecutions, violence, rape, and cold-blooded murder.
Haiti Liberte journalist Yves Pierre Louis said:
Another Cite Soleil resident said "Now that there are no bandits, the UN are the bandits. If they search you and find jewelry, they steal it. They make women take off their clothes to humiliate them."
Other accounts accused UN forces of shooting up a market, killing and wounding people there, Nigerian soldiers beating a man so severely he nearly died, and no investigations conducted of these or other incidents when demanded.
The case of human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine is shocking and disturbing. After announcing his 2007 Senate candidacy and participating in sit-ins denouncing UN human rights violations, he was disappeared without a trace.
Lavalas organizer Rene Civil said "The occupation is killing and humiliating the people. At any time it could explode into a revolt. MINUSTAH has incited the people to be violent. They live and eat well while we are hungry, homeless, and without schools....If not for the UN guns, Haiti would already have its freedom."
Haiti's Dysfunctional Judicial System
LASC investigated four areas:
The most recent April 19, 2009 one to fill 12 open Senate seats was a sham after Haiti's Provisional Election Council (CEP) disqualified Fanmi Lavalas (FL) candidates on procedural grounds. Mass outrage showed up in pre-election polls with only 5% of eligible voters saying they'd participate.
Imagine holding a national election and virtually no one showed up. Because of clear election rigging, FL leaders urged a national boycott. They complied, discrediting the results. LASC testimonies called it a continuation of the 2004 coup, the people given no choice except hand-picked candidates they opposed.
Haiti is called "the Republic of NGOs" for good reason, with over 10,000 in country, according to World Bank estimates, the highest per capital presence worldwide in all sectors of activity and society, many with sizable budgets and very much operating for profit.
LASC repeatedly heard complaints that they "reinforce systems of oppression and exclusion rather than ameliorate the economic and political conditions that lead to poverty and inequality."
Common criticisms were that aid rarely goes for people needs or to grassroots activists who can best use it. In communities like Cite Soleil, residents get nothing - no schools, hospitals, just police stations. Organizations like Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, and many others exploit people they claim to serve, especially after disasters like wars, floods, famine, and earthquakes.
A peasant group complained that CARE International dumped cheap rice in the country that destroyed local agriculture, and ultimately Haiti's ability to feed itself. International aid agencies divert funds for high salaries, luxury living, other business ventures, and according to Rene Civil, to co-opt social movement leaders, leaving little for poor Haitians.
After the quake, NGOs scrambled for their share of donations, over $700 million and rising, a bonanza ripe for plunder, so they're lining up for their share, with plenty more expected to come.
Pre-quake, Haiti was heavily dependent on foreign interests, especially American, at the expense of worker rights, a fair wage, even a job with mass unemployment or underemployed for the Hemisphere's poorest nation, 80% of its population so deeply impoverished that malnutrition is rampant.
The result is a vulnerable population, most on small, subsistence farms, others easily exploited in corporate-run sweatshops, the kinds Bush and Clinton want more of as well as sweeping privatizations, tourism ventures, port development, free trade zones, and deregulatory freedom creating worker hell. Besides unmentioned resource development, the benefits solely for business, not people.
Haitian oligarchs control local agriculture and industry. Cheap imports, privatizations, poor infrastructure, slave wages, too few jobs, and management co-opted unions control Haiti, exploiting people deprived of their rights.
Conditions in Haiti's sweatshops are instructive. They're inhumane workplaces where employees work for starvation wages, few or no benefits, in unsafe, unfavorable, harsh, and/or hazardous environments with no ability to organize for redress.
Many of the companies profiting from the abuse and exploitation of Haitian workers are among the largest and most successful US corporations: Disney, Wal-Mart, Kmart, JC Penney, Sears, Hanes/Sara Lee and Kellwood.
In a 1990s report (still relevant now), the National Labor Committee (NLC) explained the dark, "pernicious...US corporate presence in Haiti: that many of the companies profiting from the abuse and exploitation of Haitian workers are among the largest and most successful US corporations: Disney, Wal-Mart, Kmart, JC Penney, Sears, Hanes/Sara Lee and Kellwood," among the many.
NLC asked why can't manufacturers and retailers pay a living wage? Why won't they give independent human rights monitors access to their contractors' plants? Why do they extract the most work for starvation wages? Why is the air heavy with dust and lint with no ventilation to speak of? Why are factories hot, dimly lit and crowded? Why do workers have sad, tired faces?
Why are they forced to work seven days a week (with no overtime pay) to accommodate company order schedules? Why must they work 70 hours a week during the year's hottest season under stifling hot conditions? Why are they treated more like slaves than human beings? Why is none of this reported publicly so consumers can decide whether or not to support these practices by buying or boycotting sweatshop products?
Haitians Explain MINUSTAH violence
An unnamed man said a neighborhood youth disappeared. Many were killed. There's shooting every day. People can't conduct their daily activities safely. They're threatened by MINUSTAH. They enter the area, shoot in the air or randomly at people, terrifying everyone.
Azy Jean Delanio mentioned an August 8, 2005 incident. He was visiting another home when UN soldiers "started shooting and people were just going crazy everywhere so I didn't want to just run because I could get face to face with them and it would be worse for me."
Outside, a soldier pushed him down and shot him in the neck. His partner wanted to get him to a hospital. At first, she couldn't when beaten. Finally, he was treated, asked a lawyer for help, but nothing happened. Since the incident, the bullet is still in his body. He can't walk, care for himself, or afford surgery to correct the problem. He's like many others, victimized by a brutal occupier.
Bernard Maudler discussed a June 22, 2009 incident involving UN forces. They shot him in the legs and feet. He still can't move his toe. He has iron in his leg to fix the bone. He needs medical help to remove it because it's painful. But it's too close to his spine for Doctors Without Borders. They don't have the proper equipment. The bullet entered his stomach causing him cramps.
Jean-Baptist Ristil explained a July 6, 2005 incident. He was sleeping, heard shooting, and went outside to check. Jordanian and Brazilian soldiers were in the street. They had tanks, an MPV, and a helicopter overhead. He heard screams. They were shooting everywhere. He saw a man struck. His mouth was paralyzed. Others were hit. Dead bodies were on the street.
It was a reprisal raid. MINUSTAH later blamed gangs for the incident.
Marie Therese Gazie discussed a July 6, 2005 incident from 3AM until 12:30 PM. Gangs had nothing to do with it. A "cannon bullet" hit the side of her house and smashed it. Her husband inside was killed. She's now a single mother on her own with three children. She can't afford to send them to school, pay rent, or feed them properly.
Lenene Morice described a December 22, 2006 incident. There was a lot of shooting in the neighborhood. Everyone was screaming. She was by herself, went outside, and was shot in the stomach. With help, she was taken to the hospital, was in pain, spent a month there, couldn't get food down, and thought she wouldn't survive. She was told if she got pregnant again she'd die because of the bullet's location.
Edline Pierre Louis discussed a July 6, 2006 incident. She was sleeping when struck with a bullet in her stomach. At the time, she was seven months pregnant. The baby was prematurely delivered but died. She was the only one hurt. Her other children were screaming but not hit.
Pierre Jean Bernard described a July 6, 2005 incident when MINUSTAH shot and killed his brother. He wasn't a bandit, had no gun, and never owned one. He was a domestic worker, played casino in the streets, but wasn't involved with gangs. Soldiers claimed they were after bandits, but only hurt civilians going about their activities peacefully.
His brother had four children. They can't go to school or have the basics for daily life. They're victims like their father.
Lumane Etienne discussed a June 7, 2007 incident. Two of her children were going to visit a cousin, were shot in the street and killed. Five others survive, but life is very hard for her with everything going on in Haiti.
Cine Mirlande spoke about two incidents - on October 5 and 15, 2008. On October 5, UN soldiers killed her father. Then on October 15, they killed her eight-year-old son en route to school. The pretext again was going after bandits.
The above incidents describe daily life for poor Haitians, especially in the most impoverished areas. US and MINUSTAH forces are in charge along with repressive Haitian police as brutal as UN paramilitaries. From one day to the next, Haitians aren't sure they'll survive, now more than ever post-quake.
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Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on March 29, 2010.