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US Military Blocks Relief Efforts In Haiti

From the World Socialist Website:

US military operations block relief efforts in Haiti

By Alex Lantier
21 January 2010

The US military intervention in Haiti, after the January 12 earthquake that killed an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people, continues to block arrival of critical supplies to the devastated country. Quake victims—including hundreds of thousands of wounded and an estimated three million Haitians made homeless—lack access to food, water, and life-saving medical equipment…

US forces who have taken over the Port-au-Prince airport are denying humanitarian flights permission to land. US helicopters also landed troops yesterday, who took over the ruins of Haiti’s Presidential Palace. Roughly 10,000 US troops will be in place in Haiti in the coming days.

In response to protests by Doctors Without Borders that “hundreds of lives were lost” because one of its flights was denied landing rights at Port-au-Prince, US military spokesman Captain John Kirby said: “It’s a question of physics. The airport is the only way in, it has only one runway, and there are literally hundreds of flights trying to make it in.”

Publicly, US officials are taking the absurd position that they do not know the contents of humanitarian aid flights and cannot decide whether they deserve priority to land. Citing discussions with US General Ken Keen, commanding operations in Haiti, the Washington Post wrote, “if an air traffic controller doesn’t know what’s on an incoming plane, then he doesn’t know what priority to give it.” Apparently, priority goes to US military flights. Keen said: “If the young airman [controlling air traffic] has three planes coming in and he knows what’s on one of them, he’s going to land that one.”

Doctors Without Borders issued a statement yesterday protesting the US military’s continuing refusal to allow its planes to land at the Port-au-Prince airport. It quoted Loris De Filippi, the coordinator at Choscal hospital in the Cité Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince: “they are begging us there in front of the hospital. It’s a very unacceptable situation. What we are trying to do is to expand our capacity to answer these calls. But we need supplies to get to the airport—and we don’t know why the planes are being redirected.”

Joint UN-US efforts to deliver food and water to the millions of homeless Haitians are grossly insufficient. Nancy Exilos, of the UN’s World Food Program, said: “We go to a site, where the first assessment is there are 100 people [in need of help]. We bring enough [supplies] for 100 people but when we arrive we find there are 2,000 people.” The UN was hoping to provide water and food for 200,000 people in Haiti yesterday…

The US build-up is proceeding, citing as justification fears of possible “looting” by Haitians desperate for food and water—with the New York Times writing that “the threat of mass looting seems to increase by the day.” However, there have been no reports of violence against aid personnel. In fact, General Keen commented, “The level of violence we see now is below pre-earthquake levels.”

Teams of Cuban doctors have traveled to Haiti and are treating earthquake victims without armed guards.

US forces nonetheless refuse to move shipments out of the airport without massive guards, further delaying rescue attempts. Gilberto Castro, emergency response director of transport company Deutsche Post DHL, told the Wall Street Journal: “Twenty containers go out, but you have to have about 100 heavily armed soldiers” to escort them.

The most tragic costs of US military interference with relief efforts will be borne by the Haitian masses. Debarati Guha-Sapir, professor of epidemiology at the University of Louvain in Belgium, said that normally most earthquake deaths take place in the 2 days after an earthquake. However, she added: “Haiti, I think, is going to be different. They will not die simply because there is no care. … They will die of lack of surgical care. They will die of simple trauma that in almost any other country would not lead to death.” …

There are reports of growing anger at the US puppet regime led by President René Préval, who was installed through a coup against elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. The Times of London wrote: “Haitians complain that their government has been silent. President Préval is himself camped out at the airport … and aid distribution has been either totally absent or at best haphazard.” It noted that water bottles sell for $6 on the black market in Port-au-Prince.

Since it is clear that our efforts to help in Haiti are being using as a propaganda tool against us, we must stop our relief operations immediately.

After all, isn’t that the logic behind shutting down the detainee facility at Guantanamo?

  Update!

An update from the same World Socialist Website:

Haitians dying by the thousands as US escalates military intervention

By Bill Van Auken
22 January 2010

Thousands of Haitians are dying every day for lack of medical care and supplies, according to a leading humanitarian aid group. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has announced that it is expanding the US military presence in the country, maintaining Washington’s priority of troops over humanitarian aid.

The US-based medical aid group Partners in Health has warned that as many as 20,000 Haitians may be dying daily due to infections such as gangrene and sepsis that have set in, as the majority of the injured receive no medical care or are treated in facilities that lack the most basic supplies…

CNN’s Karl Penhaul reported from Port-au-Prince General Hospital, where US paratroopers have taken up positions. He said that Haitians questioned why so many US troops were pouring into the country. “They say they need more food and water and fewer guys with guns,” he reported.

He also indicated that American doctors at the hospital seemed mystified by the military presence. “They say there has never been a security problem here at the hospital, but there is a problem of getting supplies in.” He added, “They can get nine helicopters of troops in, but some of the doctors here say if they can do that, then why can’t they also bring with them IV fluids and other much needed supplies.”

While media reports claim that ever-growing amounts of material aid are coming into the country, reporters on the ground have said that there is still no sign that it is getting into the hands of the overwhelming majority of those who need it.

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported Thursday, “Correspondents say the aid that has thus far arrived at the port is being driven for 45 minutes across the city to the airport, where it is piling up and not being distributed to those who need it.”

The BBC continued, “The US and UN World Food Programme insist the distribution of food and water is well under way, but the BBC’s Adam Mynott in Port-au-Prince says many people have still seen no international relief at all.”

Aid organizations have charged that since establishing its unilateral control over the Port-au-Prince airport and the city’s port facilities, and assuming essential governmental powers in Haiti, the US military has given the beefing up of its presence in the country priority over the provision of aid. Doctors Without Borders, for example, has protested that military air traffic controllers have since January 14 refused permission to land to five of its planes carrying 85 tons of medical supplies.

With the Haitian catastrophe now in its 10th day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the response of the Obama administration and the Pentagon, which have made military occupation of the Caribbean nation its first objective, has deepened the immense suffering of millions of injured, homeless and hungry people.

The Pentagon has announced that it is sending 4,000 more troops to Haiti, which will boost the US military occupation force to 16,000. For the first time, a unit that had been slated for deployment by the US Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is being diverted to the Caribbean nation.

Meanwhile, a naval encirclement of Haiti’s coastline is growing. The Miami Herald reported Thursday that the US military has also prepared a detention camp at the Guantánamo Bay Navy Base in Cuba—site of the infamous prison where detainees were tortured—to hold up to 1,000 Haitians should they manage to elude the US warships.

By using Guantánamo as a holding pen for refugees fleeing the horrific conditions of Haiti, the US government will insist that they have no legal rights and cannot appeal their deportation back to their homeland. This same procedure was used in 1991, when thousands of Haitians fled the country following a violent military coup.

The claim that this military “surge” into Haiti is an indispensable prerequisite for delivering aid to the Haitian people is a lie. Relief agencies operating in the country insist that they have not been threatened by the Haitian people, but rather hindered by the attempt to impose war zone-style security over their efforts

In other words, Washington is exploiting the tragedy that has been inflicted upon the people of Haiti to assert colonial-style control over the country. Its aim is to reaffirm US imperialist hegemony in the broader region and to suppress any social revolt by the Haitian masses.

It is only a matter of time before the horrendous death toll caused by the January 12 earthquake will be augmented by victims shot to death by US occupation forces.

Which just prove the old adage:

No good deed ever goes un-propagandized by the radical left.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, January 22nd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “US Military Blocks Relief Efforts In Haiti”

  1. canary

    De je vu from Indonesia’s lack of any appreciation of American help after Tsunami.

    Notice the Marines when Bush visited compared to Obama’s visit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIHz5tevLAw

  2. proreason

    I don’t see an iota of difference between this preposterous lie and the 100 lies that Obamy spits out every day.

  3. U NO HOO

    I’ll say it again, send the Haitians to Quebec, they already know the language.

  4. Please note that the buck appears to have stopped at “The US military”, and not the Commander in Chief. Had a Republican been in the White House, is there any doubt that these stories would be about (fill in nefarious Republican plot here).

    And in either case, the President’s role in disasters like this is mostly to say “Yeah, that sounds good. Do it.” Keep up the good work over there guys, and ignore the whining socialists. We do.

    • GL0120

      The buck will not be allowed to reach the top.
      The Chosen One has never accepted responsibility for anything in the past year, why would he star now?
      Of course, once the relief effort has ended, he’ll be praised by the media for his role in saving all those poor Haitians affected by the quake. You know, all those poor Haitians who’ve been relocated to Florida and will vote the democrat ticket in the next election.

  5. canary

    After all of Obama’s statements of ‘we need our U.S. military at home’ he never should have sent U.S. soldiers there in the first place. Let the missionaries do their work, and what will be will be.

    Next thing Obama will be trying U.S. soldiers in courts for stopping looters with guns. Obama got his “great opportunity” and to show the “U.S.’s power in the world”. Indonesia still hates us, and so will Haiti.




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