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Focus on Haiti: Washington's Militarized Takeover

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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On December 22, 2006, Blue Helmets assaulted Cite Soleil (one of Port-au-Prince's most impoverished communities), randomly shot and killed 30 or more people, supposedly to capture a gang member, but in fact to terrorize.

In an earlier July 6, 2005 incident, hundreds of heavily armed troops attacked Cite Soleil with an array of powerful weapons - high-powered assault ones atop armored personnel carriers, precision rifles for assassinations, and a type of gattling gun firing depleted uranium tipped armor-piercing bullets. Thousands of rounds were indiscriminately fired. About 70 people were murdered, and many were left unattended to bleed to death on streets or in their homes.

On January 23, 2007, MINUSTAH forces were back, open fired randomly for hours, and used helicopters to reign death from the skies, killing dozens, then removing the dead to prevent a body count.

From February 2004 - December 2005 alone, Wayne State University School of Social Work researchers estimated that 8,000 people were murdered and 35,000 women sexually assaulted in the greater Port-au-Prince area - attributed to MINUSTAH, the Haitian National Police (PNH), Haitian demobilized army members, and anti-Aristide paramilitary gangs enlisted to commit terror. Also reported were documented kidnappings, extrajudicial detentions, assaults other than rape, death threats, physical threats, and threats of sexual violence against helpless people. The report concluded that "crime and systematic abuse and human rights were common in Port-au-Prince" involving criminals but also "political actors and UN soldiers."

Today, similar abuses crush resistance, prevent the restoration of democracy, and keep Haitians cowed, abused and exploited. Washington decides their fate, and now the Marines are back along with thousands of combat paratroupers and naval forces (an authorized 20,000 force mostly arrived), not to provide aid, to deny it and perhaps let hundreds of thousands perish - a crime of genocidal proportions, a US specialty, honed and perfected from decades of ritual slaughter, especially against people of color, deemed inferior to American "exceptionalism" and "moral superiority."

Marines came earlier in 1915, stayed 20 years, ravaged the country, destroyed Haitian society and institutions, and committed horrendous crimes against humanity. Most notorious was the infamous 1929 slaughter of 264 peasants protesting in Les Cayes. In addition, corvee or forced labor was employed, brutally exploited, and new weapons tested like today, including aerial bombing years before the Nazis did it against Guernica (in April 1937) in support of Spanish fascists in the country's civil war.

Haiti's Catastrophic Tragedy

After its worst catastrophe in nearly 170 years, millions in the country need everything, not Marines - food, water, medical care, shelter, and deep compassion at their greatest time of need.

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Instead, the country is occupied, militarized, denied aid, and taken over for greater exploitation. General Ken Keen, in charge of forces, says US troops will "be here as long as needed," signaling an open-ended commitment for years.

On her January 16 photo-op visit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton practically announced an emergency decree, suspension of the rule of law, and authorization of curfews and martial law under Pentagon control. She said:

"The decree would give the government an enormous amount of authority, which in practice they would delegate to us," omitting that its choice was do it or else.

Despite the calm and lack of disorder, it's now official under Pentagon command enforcing a state of emergency and martial law. US troops control Port-au-Prince's airport and port facilities, blocking and slowing aid, including relief flights from France, Brazil, Italy and other countries, diverting them to the neighboring Dominican Republic, hours from Port-au-Prince on bad roads. In addition, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders report aid flights can't land for fast access to treat the injured, ill and dying. Pentagon troops obstruct them, willfully letting people suffer, die, and be ethnically cleaned from Port-au-Prince areas wanted for new development. More on that below.

According to General Keen:

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"If an air traffic controller doesn't know what's on an incoming plane, then he doesn't know what priority to give it."

Military flights in and ones out with US citizens and foreign nationals have top priority. Saving lives don't matter. They're just Haitians, poor, black, unimportant, to be removed, using the earthquake as a pretext to do it, dead or alive.

In natural disasters, immediate aid is critical. After that, casualties multiply fast and in Haiti they're exploding, from a lack of medical supplies and equipment, vital surgeries, infections, diseases, extreme trauma, and inadequate essential to life supplies not let in or delayed. Three million or more Haitians need help. A fraction of that number are getting it. As a result, thousands are dying daily.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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