Tuesday, January 19, 2010

HAITI REMAINS LARGELY PEACEFUL--and the lack of good media Reporting from Haiti


By Kevin Stoda, Wiesbaden

Greek government leaders listen to Democracy Now and other American alternative media. Why don’t Germans and other European states and statesmen listen and/or watch alternative news?


Earlier this month, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was on Democracy Now (DN) and let listeners know that he, in fact, listened regularly to DN in order to get important news from the USA. I do not recall any other Premier or Western Head of State saying that he listened to a good progressive alternative reporting media source.

I would think that German government officials and other EU leaders and ministers should listen and watch alternative progressive media sources often so as to stay ahead of the curve in the information world in this information age.


Amy Goodman and others at DN are out driving around Haiti this week. They report from the ground where help has not landed on the ground. They show where help needs to be sent.

Only by going out through Haiti, from Carrefoure to other places far from Porto Prince, can aid be distributed properly, but the militarized (led by the USA) groups arriving to aid the poor Haitians are getting stuck at the airport in big tents. Nonetheless, only Amy Goodman and others seem to be doing this sort of fact finding.



Amy Goodman says that most places are unbelievably peaceful. Throughout the region, people have been digging out each other and looking forward to a civilized world helping them out.

Many of these Haitians interviewed by DN were astounded that the United Nations and the USA are more concerned with rioting and violence than helping them help themselves dig out their loved ones.

On Saturday, US forces diverted at least 5 planes filled with physicians and relief supplies to Santo Domingo.

Is this anyway to save Haiti?

One Al-Jazeera reporter called what the USA and others are building at the airport as a big new Green Zone, like in Baghdad.


BLACKLISTED NEWS (BN) reported 3 days ago why the relief effort was beginning to run amok.


“The main actors in America's ‘humanitarian operation’ are the Department of Defense, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (See USAID Speeches: On-The-Record Briefing on the Situation in Haiti, 01/13/10). USAID has also been entrusted in channelling food aid to Haiti, which is distributed by the World Food Program. (See USAID Press Release: USAID to Provide Emergency Food Aid for Haiti Earthquake Victims, January 13, 2010)”
I do not recall the US Army or DOD handling major health and safety related emergencies in Iraq in 2003-2007. I do not find they have done a great job in Afghanistan. (The DOD is better than 20th Century Russian occupiers and 19th Century British would-be occupiers of Afghanistan in terms of offering some humanitarian service.) The idea of putting the DOD in charge of humanitarian affairs has not been working. Why is Obama doing this?

BN continued in its report, “The military component of the US mission, however, tends to overshadow the civilian functions of rescuing a desperate and impoverished population. The overall humanitarian operation is not being led by civilian governmental agencies such as FEMA or USAID, but by the Pentagon. The dominant decision making role has been entrusted to US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). A massive deployment of military hardware personnel is contemplated. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has confirmed that the US will be sending nine to ten thousand troops to Haiti, including 2000 marines. (American Forces Press Service, January 14, 2010)”

Already, the SS Carl Vinsons was off the harbor on the 15th of January. Immediately, the focus for the DOD should have been on saving lives (1) not on building a tent city to-be-mistaken-for-a-Green-Zone at the single major airport and (2) not spreading rumors of riots when people are still helping each other dig themselves out.


Only this evening—7 days after the earthquake shook the Caribbean and destroyed Haiti’s infrastructure—did I hear my first report in German Radio News on the U.S. militarization of relief efforts in Haiti. In the radio report on HR1 (Hessen Radio One) there was only barely a hint of skepticism at what the USA is up to in Haiti.
Danny Glover on Democracy Now today asked the right question: Why were George W. Bush (a war criminal) and Bill Clinton put in charge of the U.S. effort? More importantly, why wasn’t Jimmy Carter brought in at all by Obama?
Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela advised the US to avoid the militarization approach: “Mr. Obama, send field hospitals instead of so many soldiers, so that there are fewer soldiers with machine guns and rifles, and a generous amount of doctors and nurses and medical equipment.”
On January 17th , Anzel Herz of MediaHacker reported something that has since been heard again-and-again in rural Haiti by Amy Goodman:
“More tents have been erected in the roads where Haitians gathered, away from crumbling structures. In the public squares across from the collapsed national palace yesterday, a young couple told me that the yellow tent overhead was given to them by a wealthy Haitian. That area, called Chanmas, strikes me as an ideal place to distribute aid to the thousands of people sitting and sharing food and shelter in orderly fashion. But people said no aid groups had stopped by to give them anything the whole day. Two US Navy helicopters flew overhead in opposite directions while we talked. Earlier in the day, I saw hundreds of American soldiers walking back and forth inside the airport. Dozens of Haitian men organized a digging and rescue operation on a pile of rubble in the suburb Santo. An huge orange Caterpillar bulldozer sat nearby, stationary. Heavy equipment from the Haitian construction company CNE is all over the city.”
In short, I am not happy to hear that the majority of areas in Haiti are not receiving help one week after the earthquake.

Amy Goodman ended her report by noting:
“They [the rural Haitians] are getting almost no help. We went from one family to another, and they said, continually, their lives are in the hands of God. The UN itself made the statement about security. And we wanted to know what was it they were referring to. We walk freely from one place to another. The people desperate, but certainly peaceful.”
Goodman added, “You know, Juan, what it looks like, where people are, they have formed—and it’s remarkable. As Sister Mary Finnick said to us, where—in Port-au-Prince at a place called Matthew 25, it was a hospitality house that has now become a house of hospitality for over a thousand people on the soccer field next door. There are camps, refugee camps, all over. In Léogâne, some are smaller, some are larger. We would look behind cars, and people had erected with sheets and with anything that could protect them from the sun. You would look inside, and there would be many women, children, men laying on sheets on the ground—if they were lucky, they had been able to drag out mattresses—on chairs, on car seats. And they’re there, wherever you go. And in the main plaza, you have more than a thousand people who are gathered. And all they ask for, they ask for food, they ask for water. They ask for search and rescue equipment, although, of course, at this point it is hard to imagine that people could survive.”
Goodman praises the Haiti spirit, but if no help arrives soon she fears what will happen soon.

Dr. Evan Lyon of Partners in Health reported from the General Hospital in Port-Au-Prince in Haiti, where 1,000 people are in need of operations. He criticized the many delays caused by the fact that militarization has taken place over the past few days—while at the same time continuing to praise the Haitian spirit in the midst of the worst of catastrophes in an already underdeveloped and poor land.
“I think, you know, the singing …, I know, is clear to many, certainly anyone who has followed Haiti and cared about this special country. One thing that I think is really important for people to understand is that misinformation and rumors and, I think at the bottom of the issue, racism has slowed the recovery efforts of this hospital. Security issues over the last forty-eight hours have been our—quote “security issues” over the last forty-eight hours have been our leading concern. And there are no security issues. I’ve been with my Haitian colleagues. I’m staying at a friend’s house in Port-au-Prince. We’re working for the Ministry of Public Health for the direction of this hospital as volunteers. But I’m living and moving with friends. We’ve been circulating throughout the city until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning every night, evacuating patients, moving materials. There’s no UN guards. There’s no US military presence. There’s no Haitian police presence. And there’s also no violence. There is no insecurity.”

Well, there is certainly some violence in Haiti, but not as much violence as the UN and USA leadership are claiming to-date. YET, GERMAN MEDIA BIASES THE REPORTS FROM HAITI TO THE CONTRARY.

Why? Are the German media expecting America to give them something for toeing the official USA government line about security as being the major problem—not the slowness of aid to most of Haiti a full week after the Earthquake.

“But we don’t need soldiers, as such, you know? There’s no war here” is what Haitians are saying.


Germans, Europeans, ( Americans) and the UN need to get the focus in Haiti back on saving lives and rescue—not on saving property and security which is being hawked to us by hawks, who love to make war and do not have good records on relief (like W. Bush and Clinton in Haiti over the past two decades or the DOD in Iraq).


ALTERNATIVE VOICES IN NEWS ON HAIT, http://www.pitt.edu/~ttwiss/irtf/haiti.html



Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

Sharif reports Haitians are growing increasingly frustrated by how the United Nations is working with survivors of the earthquake. “They’re not interacting with people in the community,” he said. “They’re not interacting with people who can distribute aid effectively in the neighborhoods around Port-au-Prince.”

“Haiti is Like Gaza”: Sharif Abdel Kouddous on Haiti a Week After the Earthquake

Listen here:


11:21 PM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...


Check out this link for a big picture to the military led delays in Haiti

“Journalist and author Naomi Klein spoke in New York last night and addressed the crisis in Haiti: ‘We have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy—which is part natural, part unnatural—must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interest of our corporations. This is not conspiracy theory. They have done it again and again.’”

or check out what is said about the parallel between Haiti/Earthquake and Katherine/New Orleans


11:28 PM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports Haitians are growing increasingly frustrated by how the United Nations is working with survivors of the earthquake. “They’re not interacting with people in the community,” he said. “They’re not interacting with people who can distribute aid effectively in the neighborhoods around Port-au-Prince.”

“Haiti is Like Gaza”: Sharif Abdel Kouddous on Haiti a Week After the Earthquake

Listen here:


11:28 PM  

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