Preparing Haiti for Exploitation and Plunder

Stephen Lendman

This photo provided by Carel Pedre shows people running
past rubble of a damaged building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
Jan. 12, 2010. The largest earthquake ever recorded in the
area shook Haiti also collapsed this hospital where people
ran screaming for help. (AP Photo/Carel Pedre)

Over 15 weeks post-quake, Haiti's imperial takeover is proceeding. It began straightaway after the calamity, Haitians victimized by denied aid, appalling repression, and now dispossession of their land, homes, and communities. More on that below.

On April 16, The New York Times carried Reuters and AP reports stating Haiti's parliament approved the participation of foreign investors to rebuild the country, meaning, of course, seize, occupy, own, control, and colonize it for profit, using Haitians as exploited serfs.

AP stated:

"Haiti's soon-to-expire parliament has approved the creation of (an Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission - IHRC) co-chaired by former US President Bill Clinton to oversee billions in post-quake reconstruction aid, the Ministry of Communications said Friday (April 16)."

The vote also extended Haiti's state of emergency for 18 months, leaving the Rene Preval-Jean-Max Bellerive government in charge, effectively a dictatorship like Preval instituted in 1999 by not renewing parliament and ruling by decree pending new elections.

Reuters explained that a March 31 "donors" conference established the IHRC to oversee their investment, Preval to have nominal veto power over commission decisions. In fact, he'll rubber stamp what Washington and corporate interests dictate, supervised by the World Bank, a longstanding imperial tool.

Preval asked, "Do we lose our sovereignty because of the creation of this commission? I think the answer is no."

Except for the Aristide years (1991, 1994 - 96, and 2001 -2004), early in Preval's first term (1996 - 2001), and its brief 1804 liberation, Haiti lacked sovereignty throughout its history. Post-quake, it has even less, its people more than ever in jeopardy with imperial plans to gravely harm them, perhaps exterminate hundreds of thousands through neglect or other means.

The White Woman’s Burden

Sharell Cook

Sharell Cook lives in Mumbai and writes on travel.
Photo: Aliefya Vahanvaty

When she goes out with her Indian husband, she’s taken to be a foreign prostitute. When they holiday in Goa, they’re busted for drugs. Yet neighbours line up to meet her, coolly ignoring her husband. The curiosity of what it means to be a white woman married to a brown man.

If you saw me walking down the street in Mumbai, based on my skin colour it’s likely that you’d think I was just another foreigner here in India. Perhaps a foreigner on a well paying contract, or the wife of a foreigner on a well paying contract.

What you wouldn’t expect is for me to be married to an Indian guy—a guy who’s shorter than me, and dare I say it, doesn’t come from a wealthy upper class family. Then, when you found out, you’d probably find it hard to comprehend.

How foreigners are regarded in India is a curious matter. Our white skin, and the belief that we have power and money, unwittingly elevates us to the top of the social hierarchy. Doors will open for me in India, while at the same time remaining closed for many Indians. Shop assistants will beckon for my attention,while ignoring other potential customers. Everyone wants to have a foreigner for a friend. I’ve lost count of how many times my neighbours have knocked on my door, asking me to meet every relative who visits them. They’re not interested in my husband, though.

However, actually having a relationship with a foreigner creates a completely different scenario. Again, perceptions come into play. A whole complex range of them. Foreigners don’t take marriage seriously. Foreigners don’t have good values. Foreigners can’t cook and manage a house. Foreigners could never adapt to the Indian culture. And then there are the perceptions about the relationship itself. Love marriage is improper. Love marriage with a foreigner is even more objectionable. What will the community think? Our family will lose respect. Our family will be brought into disrepute. The marriage prospects of our other children will be ruined.

Thus, having a relationship with a foreigner is strongly discouraged in Indian society.

European MPs and Ministers Assess Gaza Today

Stephen Lendman

During a recent visit, a 50-person European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG) assessed conditions on the ground firsthand, one year after Operation Cast Lead:

"to collect and document the facts, and then return to our respective countries and the European Parliament to push for actions that will bring immediate humanitarian relief and an end to the siege, as well as peace and justice to the Palestinian people," what they've long been denied under a repressive occupation.

ECESG ( calls itself:

"an umbrella body of non-governmental organizations across Europe that advocates (for) the fundamental right of the Palestinian people in Gaza to live in peace and dignity without being subjected to any form of collective punishment....ECESG supports the restoration of (Gazans') inalienable rights....and lobbies for pressure to be exerted on (Israel) to lift its siege and end the human tragedy there."

Meetings were held with Palestinian Legislative Council members, Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, and UNRWA Director of Operations, John Ging.

Areas toured were most affected, including Izbet Abet Rabu, the Al-Fakhoura School, and the Al-Salam neighborhood. Delegates also met with Al-Samouni family survivors who lost 23 members during the war.

They saw firsthand what human rights and various international organizations documented, including the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Goldstone Commission's damning indictment of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity after its extensive 2009 fact finding mission.

The combination of destructive war, siege, and humanitarian crisis has been well reported. Nonetheless, ECESG's report is important because it's current and by 50 European parliamentarians and ministers, able to reach other high level officials at home, perhaps with enough clout for action - if not now, toward it happening sooner.

Israel's edifice is weakening. It's just a matter of time until it's effectively pierced. The ECESG, Judge Goldstone, the Global BDS movement, and other committed activists will realize it by relentlessly hammering for peace, equality and justice. Nothing less must be accepted or tolerated.

Syria’s scuds, “Israel’s” security and one big smokescreen

Ali Jawad

by Faris Garabet-Al Rayah newspaper-Qatar

In the self-sensationalising world of modern media, some truths are better witnessed than told. Over the past fortnight, major media outlets have converged on Syria’s alleged delivery of scud missiles to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah. By examining how the story first came to limelight, as well as the manner in which media sources have uncritically covered the story, one can begin to notice the vastly degenerated state of today’s media and its deeply polarising effects.

On 11th April, Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai Al-Aam broke the ‘scud missiles’ story. Relying solely on American sources, the author Husain Abdul-Husain claimed that both western and Israeli intelligence had uncovered the training of Hezbollah resistance fighters in Syria in the use of scud and surface-to-air missiles. This, we are told, occurred some time during last summer. Subsequent to the alleged discovery, the article adds, Israel threatened Syria through official Turkish and Qatari channels warning against the transfer of either of the two armaments to Hezbollah.

Western coverage of the story has been an unquestioned regurgitation of the original claims made in the Al-Rai Al-Aam article. Further signified by an overriding infatuation with Israel’s security, political commentators have even sought to draw parallels between Saddam and the alleged Syrian scud missiles delivery. Amidst the suffocating miasma of yellow journalism redolent in western reporting, the parallel was not lost on Lebanese prime minister. Speaking to a group of Lebanese citizens in Rome, Saad Hariri noted: “All this is similar to what was said previously about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that were never found.”

Hidden toll of US wars: 18 veterans commit suicide daily

Bill Van Auken

An average of 18 US military veterans are taking their lives every day as the Obama administration and the Pentagon grow increasingly defensive about the epidemic of suicides driven by Washington’s wars of aggression.

The stunning figure was reported last week by the Army Times, citing officials in the US Veterans Affairs Department.

The department estimates that there are 950 suicide attempts every month by veterans who are receiving treatment from the department. Of these, 7 percent succeed in taking their own lives, while 11 percent try to kill themselves again within nine months.

The greatest growth in suicides has taken place among veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who accounted for 1,868 suicide attempts in fiscal 2009, which ended on September 30. Of these, nearly 100 succeeded in killing themselves.

The connection between the “surge” in military suicides and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is undeniable. The suicide rate within the military doubled between 2001 and 2006, even as it remained flat among the comparable (adjusted for age and gender) civilian population. And the numbers continue to rise steadily. In 2009, 160 active-duty military personnel killed themselves, compared to 140 in 2008 and 77 in 2003.

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