Monday, January 18, 2010


More confirmation of US obstruction in Haiti

by Larry Geller

More confirmation of US military diverting badly needed aid to Haiti. This time, from the New York Times:

The World Food Program finally was able to land flights of food, medicine and water on Saturday, after failing on Thursday and Friday, an official with the agency said. Those flights had been diverted so that the United States could land troops and equipment, and lift Americans and other foreigners to safety.

“There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti,” said Jarry Emmanuel, the air logistics officer for the agency’s Haiti effort. “But most of those flights are for the United States military.

He added: “Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed. We have got to get those priorities in sync.”

The group had originally planned to touch down in Haiti, but the delays at the airport forced them to divert to Santo Domingo, delaying their arrival in Haiti by about 12 hours, said Paul Conneally, a Red Cross spokesman who was traveling with the convoy.

“Every minute counts, I know that, but we cannot be on standby to land at Port-au-Prince because it may not be for two or three days,” he said. “It’s problematic to go across roads, but it’s a small price to pay.”

And from the Guardian (UK):

The US military's takeover of emergency operations in Haiti has triggered a diplomatic row with countries and aid agencies furious at having flights redirected.

Brazil and France lodged an official protest with Washington after US military aircraft were given priority at Port-au-Prince's congested airport, forcing many non-US flights to divert to the Dominican Republic.

Brasilia warned it would not relinquish command of UN forces in Haiti, and Paris complained the airport had become a US "annexe", exposing a brewing power struggle amid the global relief effort. The Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières also complained about diverted flights.

The Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières complained about flights with medical staff and equipment which were redirected to the Dominican Republic. "We are all going crazy," said Nan Buzard, of the American Red Cross.

It has also been hinted by some blogs that the US military is there, in part, to make sure that president Jean-Bertrand Aristide is not allowed to return to his country.

The world takes note

Google reveals several international articles condemning the US reaction. Here is a particularly scathing criticism from the Australian Broadcasting System. Snipping this article does not do it justice, please click and read the original:

Cuba, a socialist state, is well-prepared for natural disaster and few die there in the hurricane season, and rebuilding happens quickly. The United States, a capitalist nation, was ill-prepared for Hurricane Katrina though experts had warned for years of broken dykes, inundation, chaos, disease and looting, and its response was an international joke.

China, a socialist state, handles earthquakes well. Australia, a social democratic state, handles floods and bushfires fairly well. Yet on the US's back doorstep a million people may die soon, thirsting to death under piles of bricks or in those rapidly-spreading diseases that follow earthquake, unhelped by America whose borrowed billions were that day bombing Kandahar not funding ambulance teams in Port-au-Prince.

While you've been reading this three Haitians have died under heaped-up stone unrescued and an AIG executive has earned two hundred dollars for helping wreck the world economy, and he'll earn three thousand more in the next hour while twenty more Haitians die.

Helicopter-gunships have been illegally over-flying Pakistani villages while you've been reading this, and they could have been rescuing buried children in Port au Prince.

(Thanks to the Progressive Review for pointer to one of these articles)

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