One year on from the earthquake that devastated Haiti, it may still take a decade just to clear the rubble if work continues at its present pace. Meanwhile the poor suffer, the rich profit, and the show is run by NGOs and other outsiders
by Christophe Wargny
Toussaint Louverture International Airport has returned to good health, clean and almost welcoming. It has escalators and duty-free shops. Jet bridges take you straight from your plane into the terminal, as never happened before the earthquake of 12 January 2010. It gives you hope that reconstruction has begun, or is beginning; the promised billions might have finally hit their first targets. You imagine the bulldozers, the diggers and the site trucks at work: perhaps these explain the traffic snarl-up that the taxi driver immediately tells you is a permanent fixture.
But no: rebuilding the airport is the only project to take shape in almost 12 months, backed by clearing the main urban arteries. Reconstruction has not yet started. Unlike the once solid buildings of now devastated Port-au-Prince, the grip of politicians and notables who have strangled Haiti for two centuries managed to withstand the earthquake. They’ve even stolen the word “reform”, which framed the social movement’s projected rebuilding of the institutions and state structures, and emptied it of meaning. For the moment, “reform” equals “staying just the same”. Continue reading →
As the one-year anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake approaches, a brutally frank account of the plight of its people has been delivered by a highly placed diplomat. Ricardo Seitenfus, the representative to Haiti of the Organization of American States, delivered a hard-hitting assessment of the foreign role in that country in an interview published in the December 20 edition of the Swiss daily Le Temps. iThe interview also appeared in the right-wing, Haitian daily, Le Nouvelliste.
Seitenfus is Brazilian and a graduate of the Institute of Advanced International Studies in Geneva. The truths he pronounced in the now-famous interview are not unique; they have been voiced by many Haitians and their allies abroad. But to hear them uttered by someone of his standing is a sign of the unraveling of a miserably-failed foreign military and political occupation force in Haiti.
The Failings in Haiti
Seitenfus questions the legitimacy and utility of the UN Security Council occupation force known as MINUSTAH. It numbers 13,000 military and police (an increase of 50 per cent since the earthquake) along with several thousand political officers. “Haiti is not an international threat,” he says. “We are not experiencing a civil war.”
He is asked, is it a counter-productive presence?
The answer is, yes. The diplomat traces the 200-year history of foreign subjugation of Haiti. He draws a line of continuity to the present. “The world has never known how to treat Haiti, so it has ignored it.”
He says the country has lived a “low intensity war” since 1986, the year of the overthrow of the Duvalier tyranny. “We want to turn Haiti into a capitalist country, an export platform for the U.S. market, it’s absurd. Haiti must return to what it is, that is to say, a predominantly agricultural country still fundamentally imbued with customary law.” Continue reading →
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — If you ask MC Kash, he’s just speaking the truth. But Kashmir’s breakout rapper’s songs court rebellion and could land him in jail.
Kash calls himself a rebel who uses sharp rhymes and beats instead of stones or guns to protest India’s rule over the mostly Muslim region in the Himalayas.
Kash, 20, whose real name is Roushan Illahi, has won a fan base among Kashmir’s youth, whose summer uprising against Indian rule inspired his local hit “I Protest.”
The lyrics — “Tales from the dark side of a murderous regime, an endless occupation of our land an’ our dreams” — tread dangerously close to sedition in India, where questioning the country’s claim to the disputed region of Kashmir is illegal. Continue reading →
Activists gathered in Delhi to protest the sentencing of Binayak Sen and demand the right to dissent
Arundhati, Swami Agnivesh adds to chorus for Binayak Sen
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, December 27, 2010
Writer Arundhati Roy and social activist Swami Agnivesh joined scores of fellow activists to protest against the “unjust” life imprisonment of rights campaigner Binayak Sen, which they described as a “move to intimidate and silence dissent”. Organised by All India Progressive Women’s Association(AIPWA) and All India Students’ Association (AISA), the protest saw students, academicians and activists shouting slogans against the life sentence to Sen.
“If you are charging Sen with sedition, then slap the same charge against me also. I am with him,” said Agnivesh addressing the protestors at Jantar Mantar, the dharna hotspot of the national capital.
Calling Sen a “dedicated soul,” he added that Sen’s case had “shaken everyone.” Continue reading →
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Ricardo David Jr. meets China's Defense Minister Liang Guanglie (right)
[In pursuit of its emerging imperialist interests and of Asian regional hegemony, post-socialist and now-capitalist China has no problem assisting reactionary regimes like the Philippines in their counter-insurgency campaigns against revolutionary forces.–Frontlines ed.]
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines, a long-time US ally and former colony, said it will sign a logistics supply deal with China to source military equipment to combat domestic security threats, including from Maoist rebels.
General Ricardo David, Chief of Staff of the 130,000-member Armed Forces of the Philippines, will fly on Tuesday to Beijing, where he will meet senior defense and army officials and also tour military facilities, the Philippine military said.
David will sign a defense logistics deal with his counterpart in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with talks expected to cover regional security concerns, including tensions in the Korean peninsula and the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea, where Beijing and Manila have competing claims. Continue reading →
[Many have noted that the US government’s attacks and threats against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are turning attention away from government misdeeds, deceptions, and war crimes by “attacking the messenger.” This essay pursues a different point–that the messenger may be a significant and useful historic actor, but those who believe Wikileaks has the method and the script for effective solution to government misdeeds, deceptions, and war crimes are mistaken, as shown by the collaborative “embedding” of WikiLeaks (and their joint redacting of information) with the New York Times and The Guardian. –Frontlines ed.]
by Saroj Giri
Corporate media most likely tries to buy you off only if you pose a real danger – radical and subversive to ‘power’. While attacking Wikileaks for corporate collusion, therefore, its original radical potential cannot be overlooked.
Wikileaks’ close collaboration with big corporate media (including The New York Times and Guardian) and the ‘redactions’ raise serious doubts over whether information is actually flowing freely (Michel Chossudovsky, ‘Who is Behind Wikileaks?’ Dec 13, 2010, Global Research). And yet the Wikileaks’ intervention cannot be cast away in a cynical manner – the only way to welcome it however is by saving it from Wikileaks itself, in particular from its liberal slide. Let us problematise the kind of politics or the ‘attacks on power’ which Wikileaks represents, even as stories circulate about corporate-funding and CIA-backing. Indeed one gets deeply suspicious when for example The Guardian reports that, for the hackers, ‘the first global cyber-war has begun’, ‘the first sustained clash between the established order and the organic, grassroots culture of the net’. On the other hand, for someone like Jemima Khan typical of a whole swathe of liberal supporters, Wikileaks stands for something far less dramatic. In her already apologetic piece, ‘Why did I back Assange?’, she states that it is only about ‘a new type of investigative journalism’, about freedom of information and so on. What is it really? Continue reading →
[Video features Palestinian children’s drawings depicting their fears of the Palestinian Israeli conflicts. The total collection of artwork by the Palestinian children is available for a gallery or museum show. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org]
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this video goes beyond that. It contains powerful drawings, created by children in Gaza, expressing the horrors they experienced during Operation Cast Lead, which of course began nearly two years ago. These children share the painful physical and emotional devastation caused by Israel’s actions. Many of these young artists will never escape the hell they lived through.
This video is part of a larger project, the traveling art exhibit, “A Child’s View from Gaza,” developed by Joyce Ravitz and myself after we visited Gaza in June 2009. Having seen drawings in an art therapy class, we felt an exhibit of similar drawings should be developed and shown in the US. “A Child’s View from Gaza.” was born! Continue reading →
By Trini Velasco, ABS-CBN News Northern Mindanao | 12/26/2010
SURIGAO, Philippines – Members and supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the Caraga region celebrated their 42nd founding anniversary in Surigao del Sur province on Sunday.
Thousands of communist rebels and their sympathizers from all over region joined the celebration held in Barangay Pang-on, San Agustin town.
The National Democratic Front’s (NDF) Northeastern Mindanao group led the festivities.
Around 40 local and international journalists witnessed the event.
The CCP boasted that they have established 42 guerilla units in Northeastern Mindanao and conducted 250 tactical offensive operations and confiscated 200 high powered firearms from the government troops.
Despite of the upcoming peace talks between rebels and the government, NDF Northeastern Mindanao spokesperson George “Ka Oris” Madlos said they stand firm in their ideology and have no plans to go back to fold of the law.
Indian Army Base in Abujhmad, Bastar to become operational soon
Supriya Sharma, TNN, Dec 14, 2010
RAIPUR: The Indian army is moving into the conflict theatre of Bastar, arriving at the doorsteps of what is arguably the strongest military base of the CPI Maoist – not for combat, as yet, but ostensibly for training. “Manoeuvre ranges have been finalised in Narayanpur district where training will be given to our troops,” confirmed a highly placed official in the army.Significantly, the hundred square kilometres identified for training lie in the foothills of Abujhmad, a thickly forested plateau, straddling both Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, one of the only regions of India unsurveyed by the government, considered out of bound for the administration, entirely controlled by insurgents, and often described as a Maoist liberated zone.
While the army sought to emphasise that its plans are limited to training, and there will be no active troop deployment against the Maoist insurgency, sources in the security establishment said any training facility would necessitate logistical support. “This means the army would first secure the Kondagaon-Narayanpur axis, placing a large number of troops in a series of camps, before it moves inwards for the purpose of training, somewhere near Orcha in the foothills of Abujhmad” explained a senior official. Continue reading →
[The DEA has, as revealed and documented in the last Wikileaks release, become one important method of maintaining US hegemonic controls throughout the world. Cultivating corrupt relations as well as ensuring privileged investment and trade over entire economies or selected industries, requires a broad range of controls, from World Bank and IMF to World Court and DEA—instruments which have been organized and wielded systematically since the end of the 2d World War. Drug enforcement concerns one area of particularly lucrative and perilous capitalist investment and production, which has grown exponentially and globally when many other capitalist industries have not.–Frontlines ed.]
Mon, Dec 27, 2010
NEW YORK: The US Drug Enforcement Administration , an agency tasked with the job of tracking drug traffickers around the world, has over the years transformed into a global intelligence organisation with its tentacles extending far beyond narcotics, according to secret American diplomatic cables .
The organisation has an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, the New York Times reported on Sunday, quoting a cache of cables published by WikiLeaks . The body’s vast network of informants also had on its roll David Headley, an accused in the Mumbai attacks case, who worked as a double agent for the DEA.
In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments, the report said. Continue reading →
Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old Army private accused of leaking classified information to Wikileaks, has been held in the brig at Quantico Marine Corp Base for five months in inhumane conditions, with severe restrictions on his ability to exercise, communicate, or even sleep. Manning has not been convicted of any crime. Nor is there a date certain for any court hearing.
The conditions of Bradley Manning’s confinement became a top issue in the press last week as bloggers traded blows with US officials over allegations that Manning endures inhumane treatment at the Quantico, VA detainment facility. In the midst of this rush by the Defense Department to contextualize Manning’s confinement, I traveled to see the man himself at the Marine Corps detainment facility in Quantico, VA. Continue reading →
December 23, 2010: Students and supporters in Puerto Rico demonstrated against police presence in the UPR and against the $ 800 fee the UPR administration wants to impose on the students. In the evening a concert took place in support of students from the UPR.
UPR supporters swell the ranks of fee protest
December 24, 2010
by Juan A. Hernandez
University of Puerto Rico students once again received the support of thousands of people in their struggle to avert the imposition next semester of the $800 Special Fiscal Stabilization Fee.
A crowd of several thousand people demonstrated Thursday along with UPR students in a picket line that extended from the main gate of the Río Piedras campus to the intersection of Ponce de León and Gándara avenues.
“We are here with our sons and daughters to defend their education and our university,” said an unidentified woman marching among the students. “We are not troublemakers; we are parents.”
During a press conference Wednesday, labor and community leaders had called for the demonstration in support of the student struggle against the $800 special fee and the presence of police detachments on campus. Community leaders from Villa Sin Miedo (San Juan), Villas del Sol (Toa Baja), Sonadora (Aguas Buenas) and others came to express their support. At the same time, labor leaders from General Workers Union, the Puerto Rico Workers Syndicate, the Puerto Rico Workers Federation, the Electric and Irrigation Industry Workers Union, known as UTIER, and the Puerto Rico Teachers Association and Federation, among many others, also turned out to express their support. Continue reading →
December 24, 2010 – Dr Sen to appeal against the Raipur court verdict which holds him guilty of sedition.
By Sujeet Kumar
RAIPUR | Fri Dec 24, 2010
(Reuters) – A court sentenced a doctor accused of links with Maoist rebels to life in prison on Friday, a high-profile case involving appeals by Nobel laureates for the world’s biggest democracy to uphold human rights.
Binayak Sen, 60, was arrested in 2007 in Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh on accusations he passed on notes from an imprisoned Maoist leader he was treating. Sen denies any wrongdoing. Continue reading →
Protesters in Chicago call for an end to a government witch hunt of anti-war and solidarity activists, 6 December. (Maureen Clare Murphy)
22 December 2010
As The Electronic Intifada reported in November, international solidarity and anti-war activists are facing a new wave of repression in the United States.
Since 24 September, two dozen activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and other cities across the country have been handed subpoenas by the FBI to appear before a grand jury.
Yesterday, Maureen Clare Murphy, an organizer with the Palestine Solidarity Group in Chicago, and managing editor of The Electronic Intifada, became one of the latest to be subpoenaed by the federal government.
In a press release issued by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Murphy stated, “Along with several others, I am being summoned to appear before the Grand Jury on Tuesday, January 25th, in the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. We are being targeted for the work we do to end US funding of the Israeli occupation, ending the war in Afghanistan and ending the occupation of Iraq. What is at stake for all of us is our right to dissent and organize to change harmful US foreign policy” (“FBI delivers subpoenas to four more anti-war, solidarity activists,” 21 December 2010).
So far, all those who have previously been summoned have refused to appear before the grand jury. No one has been arrested or charged with any crime, nor has the government specified any alleged crimes that it might be investigating. Continue reading →
[New structures of repressive power are fashioned every day, built on tissues of lies, fabrications, suppositions, and profiles fed by cultural fears, contempt and hostility. The words are familiar: “illegals”, “terrorists”, “gangs”, “outsiders”, “Muslims”–because they have drummed them until the words, without relation to any reality, cause many people to embrace the police state. Yet the growing numbers who are victimized by this repressive onslaught are learning to unite and resist–something that is more urgent than anything else. Here, the Washington Post describes the repressive moves in largely approving yet cautious terms, concerned that their unclear focus may bring failure.–Frontlines ed.]
Monday, December 20, 2010; 1:40 AM
Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.
The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States. Continue reading →