[permaculture] Fwd: Permaculture TV - Warrior permaculture - Extreme Permaculture with Steve Cran

Permaculture Cooperative permaculturecoop at gmail.com
Mon Feb 1 19:15:59 EST 2010

it seems to me that Steve Cran could me a model for many x-military
veterans, instead of becoming Blackwater mercenaries or joining the
corporate workforce, they could become extreme permaculture agents.

its also, something that the US military in Haiti and elsewhere should be
looking at. What kind of sustainability model do they want?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Permaculture.TV free video cooperative <permaculturecoop at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 5:09 AM
Subject: Permaculture TV - Warrior permaculture - Extreme Permaculture with
Steve Cran
To: permaculturecoop at gmail.com

   Permaculture TV - Warrior permaculture - Extreme Permaculture with Steve
Cran <http://permaculture.tv>

Warrior permaculture - Extreme Permaculture with Steve

Posted: 01 Feb 2010 12:53 AM PST

*Hello again from Northern Uganda <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda>. A
lot has happened since my last blog and its hard to believe its been just
over a week. *

[image: steve-field-maps-600]

Im driving the ute at speed through the bush. There’s 4 of us in the cab.
Its getting dark and we’re late. We should have been in camp hours ago. We
were delayed by a series of comical events but now it’s not so funny. *The
guys with me start telling local horror stories. “If the warriors catch you
you will surely perish” one guy says. The other guy adds *” This is the area
they operate.” I press harder on the accelerator! We make it home without

It’s easy to get complacent about security because the people seem so
friendly and always give me a wave. *

The Karamojong <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karamojong> have a fearsome
reputation. They are cattle people.

[image: tank-600]

They love cattle because it is a symbol of wealth, prestige and they *cant
get a wife unless they have at least 200 head.* A “Kjong” as they’re
nicknamed can give a description of a particular cow to another Kjong who
can walk 100 kilometers and pick that exact cow out of a herd of a few

They live and breath cattle. Each Kjong male has a cow whacking stick and a
small wooden seat which he carries everywhere. The guys and the girls have
the same haircut and both wear a king of striped robe. The women wear a neck
full of colored beads and the guys wear a colorful top hat and earrings,
sometimes with colored feathers.

[image: uganda-scene-600]

*The youth are bored. They stand for hours watching their cattle, or
somebody else’s cattle*. Their life is worth nothing until they have cattle.
Where do you get cattle from if you want a wife? You get an AK47 and go on
an organized raid and steel them from “the enemy”. There’s nothing to lose
except a dull life. They even take on the army, a thousand young warriors
itching to get free cattle.

*One of my roles here is to come up with a solution to the “warriors”.*

[image: hut-600]

I go to a Manyatta, a stick fort surrounding a few huts. This is were the
women live permanently while the warriors roam the land looking for fodder
and water with their prize cattle.

They’ve built the manyattas <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/manyatta> for
defense high on the slope of the valley but away from water. The land is
drying up from over grazing, charcoal making, fence building and drying
winds. The soil is starting to blow away. *The women have to carry water a
kilometer from the hand pump in the valley*. I crawl through the entrance on
my hands and knees. No fat people allowed! they wouldn’t fit.

[image: crawl-hole-600]

There’s a narrow hallway of sticks and another crawl hole. Very clever for
defence. Any intruder would be very vulnerable to attack. I make it through
the maze to the cooking hut. I swallow hard. *These people are starving*.
This place reeks of extreme poverty. There’s no maize in the granary. The
kids are slow and have distended bellies (worms).

An old woman is sitting on a dirty cow hide. I shake her rough hand. Her
skin is dusty and looks like leather. I smell rotting flesh. On a stick rack
next to me are *2 giant bush rats *, each the size of a corgi. They have
been gutted and are covered in blue assed flies. They have been dead a

My translator Catherine wrinkles her nose and I point to the carcasses. *“You
hungry?” I ask*. She moves away rapidly. We get the hell out of there and
make our way to the vehicle down in the valley. How can I help these people?
Their village is too far from water. They want to grow food but they can
barely carry the water they need for survival.

The bore pump in the valley has a strong hand pump sticking out of a cement
circle. The girls place the gerry can under the spout and jump up and down
holding the handle. *A group of thirsty cows jostle each other to get at the
flow*. One cows tounge snakes out and slurps at the water going into the
gerry. Slap! A girl whacks the cow on the face. It doesnt care. There’s a
puddle below the cement ring with cow shit, flies and mud all squashed up
into a foul soup.
I see a design in my head.* Animal trough at the outflow. Steel pickets with
barbed wire surrounding a community vegetable garden with a lockable steel
gate. I see the outflow from the trough running into the garden and fruit
trees with heavy duty guards planted around the garden. OK I’ll try that.
Saves the women from carrying more water.

Im in Moroto <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moroto_Town>. It has paved roads!
Ugandas third highest mountain looms over the dusty town. I see a prison. My
driver says there is a farm in there. “Can we go in?” I ask. I thinking of a
story I read about Idi Amin’s <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idi_Amin> prison
system where *inmates were given sledgehammers to execute each other*. The
driver nods and we turn in.

A guard is sitting under a tree. Lazily he puts the barrel of his rifle in
the dirt and pushes himself to his feet. He calls over a tall guy who takes
us on a tour. The prisoners are dressed in yellow shorts and tee shirts.
They look like a soccer team.

Their gardens are pathetic. Only four varieties of hybrids. The same story
everywhere. No diversity. I see these squalid huts and feel sorry for the
prisoners. “that’s where the wardens live” says my guide. Oh dear! *I meet
the head warden. I tell him what I want*.

*I want to improve their gardens in exchange for them becoming a seed bank.
He agrees. *

Most of the 90 men prisoners and Kjong warriors caught in the field. *I want
to work with them so I can understand their culture*. I cant find them in
the bush and its too dangerous to look. Here they are a captive audience.

I can train them and expand the non-hybrid open polinated seeds I am
collecting. *The prisoners can make a business of it. *The warden is
overjoyed. He takes me to meet the governor who gives me the thumbs up.

I’ve always wanted to make a *permaculture prison* and now its in my lap.
The inmates smile and laugh when my translator “Ram” (short for Ramadan)
tells them what the Mazoonga will do.

Im driving all over Karamoja <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karamoja> looking
for strategies that are working so I can put them in the manual I’m writing.
Sometimes I have a military escort which is a ute with 4 armed soldiers
hanging off the back. I’m slowly coming up with a plan.

*These cattle are killing this place. I hear of a farm where ex-warriors are
growing casava and loving it. I’m headed there next week.*

[image: seeds-600]

*My garden at the compound is growing.* An 11 year old boy “Achilla” who I
call Atilla waters it for me. He’s going to be a doctor when he grows up.
This place is growing on me.

Source: Steve Cran, Uganda

View Larger Map<http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=northern+Uganda&ie=UTF8&hl=en&hq=&hnear=Northern+Region,+Uganda&t=h&ll=2.877208,32.717285&spn=5.48415,6.580811&z=7&iwloc=A&source=embed>

Guns or Food? Sustainability vs Sustainment in

Posted: 31 Jan 2010 03:53 PM PST

*“They (the Haitians) are astonishing people. How can they be so calm in the
face of such enormous loss of life and loved ones, and all the physical
damage?”* *Bill Clinton*

[image: clinton-crowd]

“Actually,” Clinton told Frei, “when you think about people who have lost
everything except what they’re carrying on their backs, who not only haven’t
eaten but probably haven’t slept in four days, and when the sun goes down
it’s totally dark and they spend all night long tripping over bodies living
and dead, well, I think they’ve behaved quite well [...].

 *Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)*

The Sustainment Command is a United States Army Logistics Headquarters. The
Sustainment Command’s primary mission is to command the Sustainment Brigades
that provide combat support and combat service support in the areas of
supply, maintenance, transportation, field services and the functional
brigades or battalions that provide medical, general engineering &
construction, smoke generation, biological detection and decontamination
support. The Command is designed to deploy into a theater of operations,
assume command of the logistical units in place and provide oversight and
materiel management.

Source: Wikipedia<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainment_Command_(Expeditionary)>

*Securing Disaster in Haiti*


Nine days after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12,
2010, it’s now clear that the initial phase of the U.S.-led relief operation
has conformed to the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more
general course of the island’s recent history.

   1. It has adopted military priorities and strategies.
   2. It has sidelined Haiti’s own leaders and government, and ignored the
   needs of the majority of its people.
   3. And it has proceeded in ways that reinforce the already harrowing gap
   between rich and poor.

 *All three tendencies aren’t just connected, they are mutually reinforcing.
These same tendencies will continue to govern the imminent reconstruction
effort as well, unless determined political action is taken to counteract


Haiti is not only one of the poorest countries in the world, it is also one
of the most polarized and unequal in its disparities in wealth and access to
political power.1 A small clique of rich and well-connected families
continues to dominate the country and its economy while more than half the
population, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), survives on
a household income of around 44 U.S. pennies per day.2

Mass destitution has grown far more severe in recent decades. Starting in
the 1970s, internationally imposed neo-liberal “adjustments” and austerity
measures finally succeeded in doing what no Haitian government had managed
to do since winning independence in 1804: in order to set the country on the
road toward “economic development,” they have driven large numbers of small
farmers off their land and into densely crowded urban slums. A small
minority of these internal refugees may be lucky enough to find sweatshop
jobs that pay the lowest wages in the region. These wages currently average
$2 or $3 a day; in real terms they are worth less than a quarter of their
1980 value.

Haiti’s tiny elite owes its privileges to exclusion, exploitation, and
violence, and it is only violence that allows it to retain them. For much of
the last century, Haiti’s military and paramilitary forces (with substantial
amounts of U.S. support) were able to preserve these privileges on their
own. Over the course of the 1980s, however, it started to look as if local
military repression might no longer be up to the job. A massive and
courageous popular mobilization (known as Lavalas) culminated in 1990 with
the landslide election of the liberation theologian Jean-Bertrand Aristide
as president. Large numbers of ordinary people began to participate in the
political system for the first time, and as political scientist Robert
Fatton remembers, “Panic seized the dominant class. It dreaded living in
close proximity to la populace and barricaded itself against Lavalas.”3

Nine months later, the army dealt with this popular threat in the
time-honored way—with a coup d’etat. Over the next three years, around 4,000
Aristide supporters were killed.

However, when the U.S. government eventually allowed Aristide to return in
October 1994, he took a surprising and unprecedented step: he abolished the
army that had deposed him. As human rights lawyer Brian Concannon (director
of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti) observed a few years
later, “It is impossible to overestimate the impact of this accomplishment.
It has been called the greatest human rights development in Haiti since
emancipation, and is wildly popular.”4 In 2000, the Haitian electorate gave
Aristide a second overwhelming mandate when his party (Fanmi Lavalas) won
more than 90% of the seats in parliament.


More than anything else, what has happened in Haiti since 1990 should be
understood as the progressive clarification of this basic
dichotomy—democracy or the army. Unadulterated democracy might one day allow
the interests of the numerical majority to prevail, and thereby challenge
the privileges of the elite. In 2000, such a challenge became a genuine
possibility: the overwhelming victory of Fanmi Lavalas, at all levels of
government, raised the prospect of genuine political change in a context in
which there was no obvious extra-political mechanism—no army—to prevent it.

In order to avoid this outcome, the main strategy of Haiti’s little ruling
class has been to redefine political questions in terms of “stability” and
“security,” and in particular the security of property and investments. Mere
numbers may well win an election or sustain a popular movement but as
everyone knows, only an army is equipped to deal with insecurity. The
well-armed “friend of Haiti” that is the United States knows this better
than anyone.

As soon as Aristide was re-elected, a systematic international campaign to
bankrupt and destabilize his second government set the stage for a
paramilitary insurrection and another coup d’etat. In 2004, thousands of
U.S. troops again invaded Haiti (as they first did back in 1915) to “restore
stability and security” to their “troubled island neighbor.” An expensive
and long-term UN stabilization mission, staffed by 9,000 heavily armed
troops, soon took over the job of helping to pacify the population and
criminalize the resistance. By the end of 2006, thousands more Aristide
supporters had been killed.

Over the course of 2009, a suitably stabilized Haitian government agreed to
persevere with the privatization of the country’s remaining public assets,5
veto a proposal to increase minimum wages to $5 a day, and bar Fanmi Lavalas
(and several other political parties) from participating in the next round
of legislative elections.

When it comes to providing stability, today’s UN troops are clearly a big
improvement over the old national forces. If things get so unstable that
even the ground begins to shake, however, there’s still nothing that can
beat the world’s leading provider of security—the U.S. Armed Forces.


In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake that struck on Jan. 12, 2010,
it might have seemed hard to counter arguments in favor of allowing the U.S.
military, with its “unrivalled logistical capability,” to take de facto
control of such a massive relief operation. Weary of bad press in Iraq and
Afghanistan, U.S. commanders also seemed glad of this unexpected opportunity
to rebrand their armed forces as angels of mercy.

That was before U.S. commanders actively began—the day after the earthquake
struck—to divert aid away from the disaster zone.

As soon as the U.S. Air Force took control of Haitian airspace, on
Wednesday, Jan. 13, it explicitly prioritized military over humanitarian
flights. Although most reports from Port-au-Prince emphasized remarkable
levels of patience and solidarity on the streets, U.S. commanders made fears
of popular unrest and insecurity their number-one concern. Their first
priority was to avoid what the U.S. Air Force Special Command Public Affairs
spokesman (Ty Foster) called another “Somalia effort”6—presumably, a
situation in which a humiliated U.S. Army might once again risk losing
military control of a “humanitarian” mission.

As many observers predicted, the determination of U.S. commanders to
forestall this risk by privileging guns and soldiers over doctors and food
has actually provoked some outbreaks of the very unrest they set out to
contain. To amass a large number of soldiers and military equipment “on the
ground,” the U.S. Air Force diverted plane after plane packed with emergency
supplies away from Port-au-Prince. Among many others, World Food Program
flights were turned away by U.S. commanders on Thursday and Friday, the New
York Times reported, “so that the United States could land troops and
equipment, and lift Americans and other foreigners to safety.”7

Many other aid flights met a similar fate, right through to the end of the
week. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) alone has so far had to watch at least
five planeloads of its medical supplies be turned away.8 On Saturday, Jan.
16, for instance, “Despite guarantees given by the United Nations and the
U.S. Defense Department, an MSF cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical
hospital was blocked from landing in Port-au-Prince and re-routed to Samana,
in Dominican Republic,” delaying its arrival by an additional 24 hours.9
Late on Monday, Jan. 18, MSF complained that “One of its cargo planes
carrying 12 tons of medical equipment had been turned away three times from
Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday,” despite receiving repeated assurances
they could land. By that stage, one group of MSF doctors in Port-au-Prince
had been “forced to buy a saw in the market to continue the amputations”
upon which the lives of their patients depended.10

While U.S. commanders set about restoring security by assembling a force of
some 14,000 Marines and soldiers, residents in some less secure parts of
Port-au-Prince soon started to run out of food and water. On Jan. 20, people
sleeping in one of the largest and most easily accessed of the many
temporary refugee camps in central Port-au-Prince (in Champs Mars) told
writer Tim Schwartz, author of the 2008 book Travesty in Haiti, that “no
relief has arrived; it is all being delivered on other side of town, by the
U.S. Embassy.”11

Telesur reporter Reed Lindsay confirmed on Jan. 20—a full eight days after
the quake—that the impoverished southwestern Port-au-Prince suburb closest
to the earthquake’s epicenter, Carrefour, still hadn’t received any food,
aid, or medical help.12

The BBC’s Mark Doyle found the same thing in an eastern (and less badly
affected) suburb. “Their houses are destroyed, they have no running water,
food prices have doubled, and they haven’t seen a single government official
or foreign aid worker since the earthquake struck.” Overall, Doyle observed,
“The international response has been quite pathetic. Some of the aid
agencies are working very hard, but there are two ways of reporting this
kind of thing. One is to hang around with the aid agencies and hang around
with the American spokespeople at the airport, and you’ll hear all sorts of
stories about what’s happening. Another way is to drive almost at random
with ordinary people and go and see what’s happening in ordinary places. In
virtually every area I’ve driven to, ordinary people say that I was the
first foreigner that they’d met.”13

It was only a full week after the earthquake that emergency food supplies
began the slow journey from the heavily guarded airport to 14 “secure
distribution points” in various parts of the city.14 By that stage, tens of
thousands of Port-au-Prince residents had finally come to the conclusion
that no aid would be forthcoming, and began to abandon the capital for
villages in the countryside.

On Sunday Jan. 17, Al-Jazeera’s correspondent summarized what many other
journalists had been saying all week. “Most Haitians have seen little
humanitarian aid so far. What they have seen is guns, and lots of them.
Armored personnel carriers cruise the streets and inside the well-guarded
perimeter [of the airport], the United States has taken control. It looks
more like the Green Zone in Baghdad than a center for aid distribution.”15

Later on the same day, the World Food Program’s air logistics officer Jarry
Emmanuel confirmed that most of the 200 flights going in and out of the
airport each day were still being reserved for the U.S. military: “… their
priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed.”16 By Monday, Jan.
18, no matter how many U.S. Embassy or military spokesman insisted that “we
are here to help” rather than invade, governments as diverse as those of
France and Venezuela had begun to accuse the U.S. government of effectively
“occupying” the country.17


The U.S. decision to privilege military over humanitarian traffic at the
airport sealed the fate of many thousands of people abandoned in the rubble
of lower Port-au-Prince and Léogane. In countries all over the world, search
and rescue teams were ready to leave for Haiti within 12 hours of the
disaster. Only a few were able to arrive without fatal delays, mainly
teams—like those from Venezuela, Iceland, and China—that managed to land
while Haitian staff still retained control of their airport. Some subsequent
arrivals, including a team from the UK, were prevented from landing with
their heavy lending equipment. Others, like Canada’s several Heavy Urban
Search Rescue Teams, were immediately readied but never sent; the teams were
told to stand down, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon
eventually explained, because “the government had opted to send Canadian
Armed Forces instead.”18

USAID announced on Jan. 19 that international search and rescue teams, over
the course of the first week after the disaster, had managed to save a grand
total of 70 people.19 The majority of these people were rescued in specific
locations and circumstances. “Search-and-rescue operations,” observed the
Washington Post on Jan. 18, “have been intensely focused on buildings with
international aid workers, such as the crushed UN headquarters, and on large
hotels with international clientele.”20

Tim Schwartz spent much of the first post-quake week as a translator with
rescue workers, and was struck by the fact that most of their work was
confined to certain places—the UN’s Hotel Christophe, the Montana Hotel, the
Caribe supermarket—that were not only frequented by foreigners but that
could be snugly enclosed within “secure perimeters.” Elsewhere, he observed,
UN “peacekeepers” seemed intent on convincing rescue workers to treat
onlooking crowds as a source of potential danger, rather than assistance.21

Until the residents of devastated places like Léogane and Carrefour are
somehow able to reassure foreign troops that they can feel “secure” when
visiting their neighborhoods, UN and U.S. commanders clearly prefer to let
them die on their own.

Exactly the same logic has condemned yet more people to death in and around
Port-au-Prince’s hospitals. In one of the most illuminating reports yet
filed from the city, on Jan. 20 Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman spoke with Dr.
Evan Lyon of Partners in Health/Zamni Lasante from the General Hospital—the
most important medical center in the country.

Lyon acknowledged there was a need for “crowd control, so that the patients
are not kept from having access,” but insisted that “there’s no insecurity
[...]. I don’t know if you guys were out late last night, but you can hear a
pin drop in this city. It’s a peaceful place. There is no war. There is no
crisis except the suffering that’s ongoing [...]. The first thing that
[your] listeners need to understand is that there is no insecurity here.
There has not been, and I expect there will not be.”

On the contrary, Lyon explained, “This question of security and the rumors
of security and the racism behind the idea of security has been our major
block to getting aid in. The U.S. military has promised us for several days
to bring in machinery, but they’ve been listening to this idea that things
are insecure, and so we don’t have supplies.”

As of Jan. 20, the hospital still hadn’t received the supplies and medicines
needed to treat many hundreds of dying patients.

“In terms of aid relief the response has been incredibly slow. There are
teams of surgeons that have been sent to places that were, quote, ‘more
secure,’ that have 10 or 20 doctors and 10 patients. We have a thousand
people on this campus who are triaged and ready for surgery, but we only
have four working operating rooms, without anesthesia and without pain

In post-quake Haiti it seems that anyone or anything that cannot be enclosed
in a “secure perimeter” isn’t worth saving.

In their occasional forays outside such perimeters, meanwhile, some Western
journalists seemed able to find plenty of reasons for retreating behind
them. Lurid stories of looting and gangs soon began to lend “security
experts” like the London-based Stuart Page23 an aura of apparent authority,
when he explained to the BBC’s gullible “security correspondent” Frank
Gardner that “all the security gains made in Haiti in the last few years
could now be reversed [...]. The criminal gangs, totaling some 3,000, are
going to exploit the current humanitarian crisis, to the maximum degree.”24

Another seasoned BBC correspondent, Matt Frei, had a similar story to tell
on Jan. 18, when he found a few scavengers sifting through the remains of a
central shopping district. “Looting is now the only industry here. Anything
will do as a weapon. Everything is now run by rival armed groups of thugs.”
If Haiti is to avoid anarchy, Frei concluded, “What may be needed is a full
scale military occupation.”25

Not even former U.S. President (and former Haiti occupier) Bill Clinton was
prepared to go that far. “Actually,” Clinton told Frei, “when you think
about people who have lost everything except what they’re carrying on their
backs, who not only haven’t eaten but probably haven’t slept in four days,
and when the sun goes down it’s totally dark and they spend all night long
tripping over bodies living and dead, well, I think they’ve behaved quite
well [...]. They are astonishing people. How can they be so calm in the face
of such enormous loss of life and loved ones, and all the physical

Reporters able to tell the difference between occasional and highly
localized incidents of foraging, and a full-scale “descent into anarchy”
made much the same point all week, as did dozens of indignant Haitian
correspondents. On Jan. 17, for instance, Ciné Institute Director David
Belle tried to counter international misrepresentation. “I have been told
that much U.S. media coverage paints Haiti as a tinderbox ready to explode.
I’m told that lead stories in major media are of looting, violence, and
chaos. There could be nothing further from the truth. I have travelled the
entire city daily since my arrival. The extent of the damage is absolutely
staggering [but...] NOT ONCE have we witnessed a single act of aggression or
violence [...]. A crippled city of two million awaits help, medicine, food,
and water. Most haven’t received any. Haiti can be proud of its survivors.
Their dignity and decency in the face of this tragedy is itself

But it seems that to some, dignity and decency are no substitute for
security. No amount of weapons will ever suffice to reassure those
“fortunate few,” whose fortunes isolate them from the people they exploit.
As far as the vast majority of people are concerned, “security is not the
issue,” explains Haiti Liberté’s Kim Ives.

“We see throughout Haiti the population organizing themselves into popular
committees to clean up, to pull out the bodies from the rubble, to build
refugee camps, to set up their security for the refugee camps. This is a
population that is self-sufficient, and it has been self-sufficient for many

While the people who have lost what little they had have done their best to
cope and regroup, the soldiers sent to “restore order” treat them as
potential combatants. “It’s just the same way they reacted after Katrina,”
concludes Ives. “The victims are what’s scary. They’re black people who, you
know, had the only successful slave revolution in history. What could be
more threatening?”

“According to everyone I spoke with in the center of the city,” wrote
Schwarz on Jan. 21, “the violence and gang stuff is pure BS.”

The relentless obsession with security, agrees Andy Kershaw, is clear proof
of the fact that most foreign soldiers and NGO workers “haven’t a clue about
the country and its people.”29 True to form, within hours of the earthquake
most of the panicked staff in the U.S. Embassy had already been evacuated,
and at least one prominent foreign contractor in the garment sector (the
Canadian firm Gildan Activewear) announced that it would be shifting
production to alternative sewing facilities in neighboring countries.30

The price to be paid for such priorities will not be evenly distributed. Up
in the higher, wealthier, and mostly undamaged parts of Pétionville everyone
already knows that it’s the local residents “who through their government
connections, trading companies, and interconnected family businesses” will
once again pocket the lion’s share of international aid and reconstruction

To help keep less well-connected families where they belong, the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security has taken “unprecedented” emergency measures
to secure the homeland this past week. Operation “Vigilant Sentry” will make
use of the large naval flotilla the U.S. government has assembled around

“As well as providing emergency supplies and medical aid,” notes The Daily
Telegraph, “the USS Carl Vinson, along with a ring of other Navy and Coast
Guard vessels, is acting as a deterrent to Haitians who might be driven to
make the 681-mile sea crossing to Miami.”

While Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade offered “voluntary repatriation to
any Haitian that wants to return to [the land of] their origin,” American
officials confirmed that they would continue to apply their long-standing
(and illegal) policy with respect to all Haitian refugees and asylum
seekers—to intercept and repatriate them automatically, regardless of the

Ever since the quake struck, the U.S. Air Force has taken the additional
precaution of flying a radio-transmitting cargo plane for five hours a day
over large parts of the country, so as to broadcast a recorded message from
Haiti’s ambassador in Washington. “Don’t rush on boats to leave the
country,” the message says. “If you think you will reach the United States
and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case. They
will intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came

Not even life-threatening injuries are enough to entitle Haitians to a
welcome in the United States. When the dean of medicine at the University of
Miami arrived to help set up a field hospital by the airport in
Port-au-Prince, he was outraged to find that most seriously injured people
in the city were being denied visas to be transferred to Florida for surgery
and treatment. As of Jan. 19, the State Department had authorized a total of
23 exceptions to its restrictive immigrant and refugee policies.

“It’s beyond insane,” O’Neill complained. “It’s bureaucracy at its worst.”33


This is the fourth time the United States has invaded Haiti since 1915.
Although each invasion has taken a different form and responded to a
different pretext, all four have been expressly designed to restore
“stability” and “security” to the island. In the wake of the earthquake,
thousands more foreign security personnel are already on their way, to guard
the teams of foreign reconstruction and privatization consultants who in the
coming months are likely to usurp what remains of Haitian sovereignty.

Perhaps some of these guards and consultants will help their elite clients
achieve another long-cherished dream: the restoration of the Haitian Army.
And perhaps then, for a short while at least, the inexhaustible source of
“instability” in Haiti—the ever-nagging threat of popular political
participation and empowerment—may be securely buried in the rubble of its

 Peter Hallward is a Canadian political philosopher. He is currently a
professor of Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University. He is the
author of Damning the

Source: Americas Program <http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6665>

End Notes

1. See Pål Sletten and Willy Egset, Poverty in Haiti (FAFO, 2004), 9.

2. IMF, Haiti: Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (November 2006), 7.

3. Robert Fatton, Haiti’s Predatory Republic (Boulder: Lynne Rienner
Publishers, 2002), 86-87, 83.

4. Brian Concannon, “Lave Men, Siye Atè: Taking Human Rights Seriously,” in
Melinda Miles and Eugenia Charles, eds., Let Haiti LIVE: Unjust U.S.
Policies Toward its Oldest Neighbor (Coconut Creek FL: Educa Vision, 2004),

5. See for instance Jeb Sprague, “Haiti’s Classquake,” HaitiAnalysis,
January 19, 2010.

6. BBC Radio 4 News, January 16, 2010, 22:00GMT.

7. Ginger Thompson and Damien Cave, “Officials Strain to Distribute Aid to
Haiti as Violence Rises,” New York Times, January 17, 2010.

8. “Médecins Sans Frontières says its Plane Turned Away from U.S.-run
Airport,” Daily Telegraph, January 19, 2010.

9. “Doctors Without Borders Cargo Plane with Full Hospital and Staff Blocked
from Landing in Port-au-Prince,” January 18, 2010, .

10. “America Sends Paratroopers to Haiti to Help Secure Aid Lines,” The
Times, January 20, 2010.

11. Email from Tim Schwartz, January 20, 2010.

12. “No aid [in Carrefour]. In the morning at UN base they said they would
distribute there, but it didn’t happen” (Reed Lindsay, Honor and Respect
Foundation Newsletter), January 20, 2010,http://www.hrfhaiti.org/earthquake/).
Cf. Luis Felipe Lopez, “Town at Epicenter of Quake Stays in Isolation,” The
Miami Herald, January 17, 2010.

13. BBC Radio 4, News at Ten, January 18, 2010.

14. Ed Pilkington, “We’re Not Here to Fight, U.S. Troops Insist,” The
Guardian, January 18, 2010.

15. “Disputes Emerge over Haiti Aid Control,” Al Jazeera, January 17, 2010.

16. Ginger Thompson and Damien Cave, “Officials Strain to Distribute Aid to
Haiti as Violence Rises,” New York Times, January 17, 2010.

17. “Haiti Aid Agencies Warn: Chaotic and Confusing Relief Effort is Costing
Lives,” The Guardian, January 18, 2010, .

18. Don Peat, “HUSAR Not up to Task, Feds Say: Search and Rescue Team Told
to Stand Down,” Toronto Sun, January 17, 2010.

19. USAID, http://www.usaid.gov/helphaiti/index.html, accessed on January
20, 2010.

20. William Booth, “Haiti’s Elite Spared from Much of the Devastation,”
Washington Post, January 18, 2010.

21. Tim Schwarz, phone call with the author, January 18, 2010; cf. Tim
Schwartz, “Is this Anarchy? Outsiders Believe this Island Nation is a Land
of Bandits. Blame the NGOs for the ‘Looting,’” NOW Toronto, January 21,

22. “With Foreign Aid Still at a Trickle, Devastated Port-au-Prince General
Hospital Struggles to Meet Overwhelming Need,” Democracy Now! January 20,

23. Stuart Page is chairman of Page Group,

24. Gardner then explained that, with the police weakened by the quake,
“Thousands of escaped criminals have returned to areas they once terrorized,
like the slum district of Cité Soleil [...]. Unless the armed criminals are
re-arrested, Haiti’s security problems risk being every bit as bad as they
were in 2004″ (BBC Radio 4, Six O’clock News, January 18, 2010). In fact,
when some of these ex-prisoners tried to re-establish themselves in Cité
Soleil in the week after the quake, local residents promptly chased them out
of the district on their own (see Ed Pilkington and Tom Phillips, “Haiti
Escaped Prisoners Chased out of Notorious Slum,” The Guardian, January 20,
2010; Tom Leonard, “Scenes of Devastation Outside Port-au-Prince ‘Even
Worse,’” Daily Telegraph, January 21, 2010).

25. BBC television, Ten O’clock News, January 18, 2010.

26. BBC Radio 4, News at Ten, January 18, 2010. It sounds as if Clinton, in
his role as UN special envoy to Haiti, may be learning a few things from his
deputy—Zanmi Lasante’s Dr. Paul Farmer.

27. David Belle, January 17, 2010.

28. “Journalist Kim Ives on How Western Domination Has Undermined Haiti’s
Ability to Recover from Natural Devastation,” Democracy Now! January 21,
2010 . Ives illustrates the way such community organizations work with an
example from the Delmas 33 neighborhood where he’s staying. “A truckload of
food came in in the middle of the night unannounced. It could have been a
melee. The local popular organization was contacted. They immediately
mobilized their members [...]. They lined up about 600 people who were
staying on the soccer field behind the [Matthew 25] house, which is also a
hospital, and they distributed the food in an orderly, equitable fashion.
They were totally sufficient. They didn’t need Marines. They didn’t need the
UN. [...] These are things that people can do for themselves and are doing
for themselves.” Kershaw makes the same point: “This self-imposed blockade
by bureaucracy is a scandal but could be easily overcome. The NGOs and the
military should recognize the hysteria over ’security’ for what it is and
make use of Haiti’s best resource and its most efficient distribution
network: the Haitians themselves. Stop treating them as children. Or worse.
Hand over to them immediately what they need at the airport. They will find
the means to collect it. Fill up their trucks and cars with free fuel. Any
further restriction on, and control of, the supply of aid is not only
patronizing but it is in that control and restriction where any ’security
issues’ will really lurk. And it is the Haitians who best know where the aid
is needed” (Andy Kershaw, “Stop Treating these People Like Savages,” The
Independent, January 21, 2010).

29. Andy Kershaw, “Stop Treating these People Like Savages,” The
Independent, January 21, 2010.

30. Ross Marowits, “Gildan Shifting T-shirt Production Outside Haiti to
Ensure Adequate Supply,” The Canadian Press, January 13, 2010.

31. William Booth, “Haiti’s Elite Spared from Much of the Devastation,”
Washington Post, January 18, 2010.

32. Bruno Waterfield, “U.S. Ships Blockade Coast to Thwart Exodus to
America,” Daily Telegraph, January 19, 2010; “Senegal Offers Land to
Haitians,” BBC News January 17, 2010.

33. James C. Mckinley Jr., “Homeless Haitians Told not to Flee to United
States,” New York Times, January 19, 2010.
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