Harsh Reality

A Young girl begs for her leg to not be amputated after doctors concluded that it had to be cut off. Initial reports concluded up to at least 8,000 people lost limbs due to the massive earthquake with most victims not having the option of any anesthetic, reminding us of horrific battle field amputations.


The body of a woman remains trapped under a collapsed hotel in downtown Port-au-Prince. The never-ending mounds of rubble are reminiscent of war torn Iraq or Afghanistan in a country that has been under oppressive foreign policies of Empirical nations for centuries, at the front of the line being the US, Great Britain and France.

Crime? and Punishment

A police officer uses the butt of his rifle on a young girl for the perceived crime of carrying away bags of food and supplies from a collapsed building in the initial aftermath. Situations like this ensued as the US military took control of the airspace and ports denying initial aid supplies of food, water and medicines at the same time denying entry by international aid organizations.

Hell Comes to Haiti

Fires burn in the central downtown market district of Port-au-Prince like a scene out of of some over-budget hollywood style end-of-the-world epic film. Haitians that live here screamed as they ran down the streets that it was the end of the world, which is quite true in their eyes. PHOTO TIMOTHY FADEK / POLARIS FOR TIME

Beyond Sadness

According to Haitian President René Préval, at least 7,000 people have been buried in one of the mass graves spread across the small country with reports of 230,000 dead. Dump trucks and earth moving equipment have been pouring bodies into landfills to stave off disease. PHOTO TIMOTHY FADEK / POLARIS FOR TIME

Donating EMS Ambulances

Ambulances for Haiti

Help Us Get There

Originally our eBay finds of these ambulances were for film studio rentals or political works, but when the 7.0 earthquake changed Haiti, it changed us and we decided to donate and get ours to Haiti.

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New Amputees

Donating Amputee Prosthetics

Help Us Find Prostheses Limb Donations

There are thousands of new Haitian amputees, most of whom whose limbs (legs and arms) were removed without the use of pain medicications due to the dire conditions after the earthquake struck Port-au-Prince.

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Friends Making A Difference

Friends Helping Make This a Reality

Your Support is Needed

This all started out with a couple of used vehicles purchased from firehouses to be used to help raise awareness for other causes around Washington DC and the rest of the nation. Then the earthquake struck - we knew we found a better use for a wonderful people in dire need.

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Medical Equipment Needs

Medical Supplies Are Desperately Needed

So Much More Surgical Equipment Is Needed

Jim connected in person with Haitians and Haitian-Americans in the Miami area, nearly all of whom lost family members as a result of the earthquake. They have collected more than seven pallets of new humanitarian medical supplies (mainly surgical equipment) for use in medical operations.

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Recent Articles

Torture Firm, Risks Incorporated, Tied To Destructive Evictions in Haiti

US Security Firm Caught Training Mexican Police in Torture Techniques Is Working in the Caribbean

A National Policeman tears apart a tarp shelter in the city of Delmas with a dagger.


By Ansel Herz
Special to the Narco News Bulletin

May 29, 2011
Security forces who are tearing down makeshift tent camps inhabited by Haitians displaced in last year’s earthquake were trained by Risks Incorporated, a US private security firm involved in torture trainings in Mexico, a Narco News investigation has found. Three camps in Delmas, a district in central Port-au-Prince, have been destroyed in the past week, sending families fleeing into the street with nowhere to go.

The Delmas Mayor’s Street Control Brigade, also known by the acronym BRICOR, helped carry out the evictions. Risks Incorporated’s Andrew Wilson, who also goes by the names “Orlando” and “Jerry,” confirmed in a telephone interview that he trained them in “use of force.” In 2008, Narco News revealed that Wilson trained Mexican police in torture techniques in videos leaked to the Mexican press.

Videos posted in March 2009 on Risks Inc.’s YouTube page show a man training several dozen Haitian men in the then-partially-constructed city hall of Delmas Mayor Wilson Jeudy. Delmas is the largest municipal commune in Port-au-Prince, with at least 600,000 residents. “Yes, that’s me,” Wilson said by phone from Miami.

The men, wearing T-shirts bearing the Delmas Mayor’s emblem, perform exercises leaping over walls, kicking, and hitting tires on the ground with batons. In one scene, they practice controlling a boisterous demonstration. One group steps forward, jutting out their batons in striking motions, while the other chants in mock protest.

In the Mexico videos, Wilson is seen dragging a police trainee into his own vomit as punishment for an incomplete exercise, placing a man’s head into a dirty hole, and training police to squirt mineral water up the noses, another torture technique.

Mayor Jeudy and Daniel Antoine, the brigade chief, said in interviews last year that BRICOR received training from an American security contractor.

“BRICOR is a service that exists to control the streets, the merchants, and disorderly people. To put them in order,” Jeudy said, sitting in the pristine second floor hallway of the finished, palace-like city hall building. “[The American] was here to train them. . .We knew him from his work training the Haitian National Police.” Jeudy claimed the BRICOR training was done for free.

“The brigade is here to keep the streets clean and prevent merchants from selling in the streets,” Antoine said. “There’s a lot of disorder out there. . .and when foreign tourists come, they say, ‘This is so ugly.’”

A tent camp destroyed on May 25, 2011. DR 2011 Etant Dupain.
He said his men had received training twice, the last time in November of 2009, with Delmas Police Commissioner Carl Henry, who commands the Haitian National Police in Delmas, in attendance.

Henry and Jeudy are reported to have threatened quake victims on the grounds of St. Louis Gonzague, an elite private school in Delmas, with forced expulsion as early as last February, only one month after the quake. Haitian National Police accompanied Jeudy’s forces in this week’s camp demolitions.
Jeudy said BRICOR is a 75-member unarmed force, without batons or guns, and is not authorized to make arrests. Yet they are seen training with batons in the Risks Incorporated videos and this reporter observed BRICOR personnel with handcuffs on their belts last year. The Miami Herald reported this week that security forces descended on a camp “wielding machetes and knives…tearing through the makeshift tents as unsuspecting campers fled for cover or yelled in protest.”

Journalist and organizer Etant Dupain raised the alarm about the evictions on May 23, after posting photos online of hundreds of tents scattered and smashed into the ground that day at Carrefour Aeroport, a prominent intersection. Two days later, another camp was destroyed. Dupain’s photos show the Haitian National Police and bulldozers on the scene, as well as an image of Jeudy with a man in a BRICOR uniform at his side. Another image shows a BRICOR-clad man ripping apart a tarp shelter with a knife.

Dupain believes about 350 families have been displaced. “I saw one family today,” he said by phone. “I know their names, they have three children. They’re in the street, still at Carrefour Aeroport. And it has rained since the camps were torn down.”

Evictions of displaced earthquake victims from private property have been ongoing since the earthquake. With more than 60 percent of camps on private land, more than 47,000 people have already been evicted and 165,977 more are facing possible eviction, according to the International Organization for Migration. In March of 2010 the Inter-Press Service published a story about a camp torn down overnight at the behest of a Catholic priest.

Aid and human rights groups were taken aback by the sheer brazenness of this week’s evictions, which were both violent and directed by officials at highly visible camps. Nigel Fisher, the UN’s top humanitarian official in Haiti, wrote to Haiti’s new President Michel Martelly and his pick for Prime Minister, Daniel Rouzier, on Wednesday asking them to “immediately stop the deportation of those displaced,” unless alternatives for resettlement are found.

Amnesty International and several members of Congress also weighed in this week, urging a stop to the evictions. Jeudy was quoted in the Haitian press saying his obligation is to clear public spaces, not relocate or compensate quake victims.

Wilson said that he has worked closely with Jeudy, although he did not give specifics. The evictions were designed to root out criminals involved in a recent fatal shooting near the airport, Wilson said, and “legitimate” internally displaced camp residents had been relocated.

“A lot of the people with homes are getting food, free benefits, when in reality they have homes to go to. The thing is with the camps, they want to clear them all out, so they know what’s going on,” he said. “A good majority of the people that were in there were trying to scam the system.”

A joint study by City University of New York Professor Mark Schuller and the State University of Haiti found last year that 40 percent of camps did not have reliable access to water, and 30 percent did not have toilets of any kind. General food distributions ended last spring, and 53 members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State Clinton last month, calling on the government to “dedicate significant attention to the critical and urgent task of improving the appalling conditions in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps.”

Rep. Darrel Issa, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee told the head of USAID, “you would be fired” if the recovery efforts had achieved the same results in the United States in a hearing last week.

“It’s not going to look nice for the media but they have to do this,” Wilson said. “I’m sure the police going through knocking down tents is not very politically correct but that’s what they have to do.”

A photo from Haiti on Risks Inc.’s Facebook page shows a man wearing a “Mayor of Delmas in Action” shirt. The men who destroyed tent camps were seen wearing the same shirts, according to witnesses.
President Martelly, a right-wing former singer who took office on May 14, plans to dismantle Port-au-Prince’s six largest tent camps in his first hundred days in office. On Thursday he distanced himself from Jeudy, saying he had “nothing to do with these operations,” stopping short of condemning them and repeating the Mayor’s assertion that armed criminals lived in the camps, Agence Haitïenne de Presse reported.

“Of course there’s violence in these areas, but if there were criminals in the camp they’d have found machetes, guns, or weapons,” Dupain said. “They didn’t find anything. They didn’t find people with machetes. That’s not a reason to destroy the camp. This is a pretext they’re using to justify what they’re doing.”

Jeudy has said that BRICOR, acting as a municipal police force, is authorized by Haiti’s constitution. Patrick Elie, who served as a security advisor to Haitian Presidents Aristide and Preval, says that is patently false.

“It’s definitely illegal. The constitution specifically says that there are only two armed public forces in Haiti, which are the Haitian army and the Haitian police,” Elie said, noting that he personally believed that someday Haiti should have municipal police forces.

Elie said the rise of private security companies in Haiti, domestic and foreign, began during the military regime following Jean Claude Duvalier’s ouster in 1987. “Those private security companies were introduced, almost without the knowledge of the Haitian people,” Elie said. “Who is to say if this mayor or the next one won’t start arming them and then have them start acting has his own Praetorian guard?”

Elie said the private security sector was experiencing “mission creep,” with companies doing everything from guarding homes to transporting funds to guarding VIPs in armed escorts. Risks Inc. advertises that it can provide services like these in Haiti and other countries, and the company’s blog says it has an office in Port-au-Prince.

Wilson said he provided security to an Al Jazeera English crew in the immediate aftermath of last year’s earthquake in Haiti. He identifies himself as veteran of the British Army who served in Northern Ireland. On his blog, he offers instructions on weapons usage and points out what he calls “fuck ups” by security forces in news articles.

In one post, he links to an article on drug violence in Jamaica and writes “They know they can kill the cops but if the cops hurt them it’s a human rights violation. I think the Western world has gone too soft. The powers that be do [not] seem to comprehend that violence is all that some understand!”

“It amazes me that the U.S. and Western Europe have got to stage where they no longer have the balls to confront and deal with those that want to kill and eliminate their cultures,” Wilson wrote in an entry last year.

Source: http://www.haitian-truth.org/torture-firm-risks-incorporated-tied-to-destructive-evictions-in-haiti-us-security-firm-caught-training-mexican-police-in-torture-techniques-is-working-in-the-caribbean-added-commentary-by-haitian-tr/

Haitian Mayor Wilson Jeudi Launches Violent Campaign to Destroy Refugee Camps

Written by Beverly Bell
Friday, 27 May 2011 10:59
Result of effort to "clean" public space. Photo by Ben Depp
Result of effort to “clean” public space. Photo by Ben Depp

On May 23 and 25, police in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince destroyed camps where people homeless since the January 2010 earthquake have taken up shelter. During the raids, police and other municipal workers arrested and beat some of those living within the camps. The mayor of Delmas announced that this is part of a new campaign to evict internally displaced persons [IDPs] from public spaces.

Those whose lodging was destroyed were amongst the million-plus people who have lived for 16 months under tents, lean-to’s of shredded tarps, or whatever repurposed materials they could scrounge, from blankets to tin. Neither the Haitian government nor the international community has offered any large-scale resettlement options.

Camps Destroyed
On the morning of May 23, two truckloads of police from Delmas, a self-governed district within the metropolitan capital, plus other armed men wearing T-shirts reading “the Delmas mayor’s office in action,” arrived at three camps rimming the intersection of Delmas Road and Airport Road. The security forces and two bulldozers smashed an estimated 100 to 200 families’ tents and all their contents, creating heaps of detritus. Trucks from the mayor’s office hauled away the remains of the disaster survivors’ only possessions.

As many as six truckloads of men participated in the destruction of IDP camps in Delmas Photo by Gaetantguevara

During the offensive, the Delmas employees arrested three camp residents and beat three community activists who tried to protect the camps, according to eyewitnesses.

On May 25, police turned out at two other IDP camps on Delmas routes 3 and 5 and destroyed tents and belongings there.

Immediately after the destruction, Patrice Florvilus, an attorney with the non-profit group Defenders of the Oppressed, and Reyneld Sanon, an organizer with the right-to-housing coalition Force for Reflection and Action on Housing [FRAKKA] and the U.S.-based economic justice group Other Worlds, held a press conference on the scene. Delmas police and workers from the district’s garbage collection office came at the two men with shovels, machetes, and knives. Camp residents formed a security cordon and successfully protected Florvilus and Sanon.

Mayoral Campaign to “Clean” Public Spaces
In an interview with the newspaper Le Nouvelliste after the May 23 operation, Mayor Wilson Jeudi of Delmas said, “This is a public place… It can’t remain privatized by a group of people.” In the context of a hyper-concentrated city, much of it still uninhabitable due to rubble from the earthquake, with desperate survivors lodging themselves in virtually any open space, Jeudi offered a new definition of “privatize.” He went on to announce that all public spaces are going to be emptied of residents, leaving them “clean.”

Jeudi called the camps “disorderly” and claimed that many of those in the tents did not actually live there. “They just come to do their commercial activities [thievery and prostitution] and go back to their homes in the evening.”

The mayor said that no compensation would be offered to those ousted from their temporary shelter. “We were all victims of the earthquake,” he added.

Protest over Illegal Evictions Grows
In Washington on May 25, four U.S. representatives expressed alarm at the illegal expulsions. “Facing hostile conditions, including adverse weather, violence, and disease, shelter and work are the priorities for every displaced Haitian and must not be compromised,” said a statement by Representatives Donald M. Payne, Yvette Clark, Fredericka Wilson, and Maxine Waters.

They used Knives and Machetes to take down Shelters of Homeless Earthquake Survivors

In Haiti, grassroots organizations and camp committees are sponsoring a week of actions to support IDP’s right to permanent housing and to protection from eviction. The coalition will sponsor a sit-in in front of the national parliament today, May 27, to denounce Mayor Jeudi. On May 30, they will hold a press conference, and on May 31 they will file a legal complaint against the expulsions with the Ministry of Justice. On June 1, the group will hold a demonstration to demand rights for those living in temporary shelter.

Two days before the Delmas camp demolitions began, several hundred displaced people rallied against evictions in Camp Karade. The event was part of the International Forum on the Housing Crisis, held May 19 – 21 and attended by hundreds. More than 40 grassroots and Haitian non-governmental organizations from throughout the capital region and five other towns, as well as 35 displacement camp committees, were represented. In the first broad-based gathering led by impacted people since last year’s disaster, Haitians strategized with each other and with housing activists from elsewhere in the Americas about how to win their guaranteed right to housing.

Sanon from FRAKKA, the main organizing group of the forum, said in the opening address, “The right to housing is a debt that the government has toward the poor for the responsibility it never took on housing that caused so many people to die.” The toll from the earthquake, an estimated 225,000 to 300,000, was in large part this high because so many inferior quality houses collapsed.

The final declaration of the forum read in part, “We ask: [1] for the authorities to stop the violence that is accompanying evictions…; [2] for the authorities to arrest and bring to justice all those engaged in violence against those living in camps; [and 3] for them to take all measures to help people find permanent housing so they can relocate out of camps.”

Marie Hélène René, a participant of the forum who lost her home in the earthquake and now lives in a camp, said, “We’re so vulnerable. We don’t have anything to stop the flooding now [that the rainy season has arrived]. We don’t know what to do. We congratulate all those who are looking for housing, because we’re really desperate.”

Protection from Eviction a Legal Right
Displaced persons are protected by both Haitian and international law. Article 22 of the 1987 Haitian constitution guarantees “decent housing” for everyone. Article 25 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees every individual a “standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including… housing.” Many sections of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs declare protection from displacement, notably for victims of disasters. In a ruling last November, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights directed the Haitian government to stop evicting IDPs unless it provided them safe alternative shelter.

Interviewed by phone on May 26, attorney Florvilus said, “The president [Michel Martelly] who just came to power must take up his historic responsibility. He promised people [in his inaugural address] he would take them out of the tents in the camps in six months. He must now clarify if this was the formula he had in mind for accomplishing that end. Was the mayor the only one behind this attack?”

Florvilus said, “The government will have to face the nation and the justice system, if not today, then tomorrow.”

Beverly Bell has worked with Haitian social movements for over 30 years. She is also author of the book Walking on Fire: Haitian Women’s Stories of Survival and Resistance. She coordinates Other Worlds, www.otherworldsarepossible.org, which promotes social and economic alternatives. She is also associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies

Members of Congress Outraged Over Camp Destructions by Haiti’s Not So Finest

Haitian Mayor’s Office of Wilson Jeudy Launches Violent Campaign to Destroy Refugee Camps

Posted on May 26, 2011

Looks like Delmas mayor, Wilson Jeudy, got tired of earthquake survivors occupying precious space and asked the Haitian National Police for help in clearing the area. During the 2004 – 2006 reign of Haiti’s illegal, unconstitutional government installed by the US, the Police were famous for extra-judicial killings, incarcerating inividuals without charge, and feeding live bodies to death squads. Can you imagine how the camp dwellers felt when the Police destroyed their tents and belongings and then beat the people? Seems alot like 2004 – 2006.

Members of Congress Outraged Over Camp Destructions by Haitian Police
Washington, DC — On Wednesday, May 25, 2011, Rep. Donald M. Payne (NJ), Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL), and Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) made a joint statement in response to the eviction and destruction of camps on public property in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince:

“On Monday, May 23, 2011, our offices were alarmed at the startling news that three camps of internally displaced persons in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince were effectively destroyed. This included the park at the intersection of Delmas Road and Airport Road which was destroyed at the hands of the Haitian police, under direction of Mayor Wilson Jeudy. This camp is home to several hundred people and is a microcosm of the over 800,000 officially-recognized displaced persons in Haiti. It is even more disturbing that this incident occurred during the day while many Haitian women and men were out in search of employment.

Those who stayed behind witnessed the destruction of their belongings while some were violently beaten with batons by police.
“During the same time, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster sent correspondence about the cancellation of this week’s cluster meeting, as well as the agenda for the next meeting which includes a discussion on the Martelly Administration’s ‘Return and Relocation’ pilot program. However, there was no acknowledgement about the violent obliteration of camps in Port-au-Prince. This is of great concern, and as United States Members of Congress, we will thoroughly look into this matter.

“It is mind-boggling that any government official would condone or ignore such actions during a time when Haiti is seeking to recover from the crisis stemming from the January 2010 earthquake and the subsequent sluggish rebuilding process. Facing hostile conditions, including adverse weather, violence, and disease, shelter and work are the priorities for every displaced Haitian and must not be compromised.

During President Martelly’s visit to the United States, we were all encouraged by his assertion that Haiti will face a new day—a new beginning. We extended, and continue to extend, our arms to assist and support the people of Haiti and its government as it transitions upward. We will not, however, idly stand by and hear such reports of evictions, without seeking an explanation or taking action.
“We understand that the land issues are extremely complex in Haiti and that there is an urgent need to create the appearance of progress.

However, this cannot be done by evicting people off of public land with no place to go. There must be an accelerated effort to remove the rubble and repair livable buildings, and build permanent shelter. As representatives who have historically supported the advancement and prosperity of Haiti and its Diaspora, it is our hope that President Martelly, the United States and the international community are aware of these forced evictions and are taking adequate steps to address this issue.” Camp D

Source: http://hcvanalysis.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/members-of-congress-outraged-over-camp-destructions-by-haitis-not-so-finest/

Lawyers Denounce Shortcomings in Conduct of Duvalier Prosecution


The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) continue to express their outrage at the cavalier manner in which the prosecution of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier is being conducted, and their concern over the investigating judge’s apparent lack of interest to pursue this case in accordance with the law. This prosecution presents a historic opportunity to end the impunity that has torn the social fabric of Haiti for many decades and has prevented the establishment of a democratic constitutional state.

The day after charges were filed against the former dictator, the judge charged with investigating the case paid a courtesy visit to Mr. Duvalier in the hotel where he was staying, in violation of Article 49 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The judge also failed to follow proper procedure when he issued a preliminary indictment against the defendant without first having questioned him, constituting a violation of Haitian law.

The judge’s blatant disregard of the Code of Criminal Procedure, despite his knowledge of the law, demonstrates an apparent bias in favor of the accused and serves as a slap in the face of the victims who have come forth to seek justice through the law. Moreover, by issuing a preliminary indictment fraught with these procedural errors, the judge is effectively giving the defense the ability to overturn the indictment on appeal based on technicalities. This seriously calls into question the judge’s commitment to see justice served in this case. We demand that the judge immediately recuse himself from the case to prevent the entire process from being irreparably tainted.

The integrity of the process has been further undermined by Jean-Claude Duvalier’s failure to appear in court. Each time he is called in for questioning, Mr. Duvalier falls ill and visits the hospital. Despite the suspicious timing of Mr. Duvalier’s hospital visits, the judge does not call him back to court once he is released from the hospital.

Meanwhile, Mr. Duvalier routinely defies an order placing him under house arrest and travels the country as if he were a candidate in an electoral campaign, adding insult to injury to the countless victims who suffered human rights abuses under his regime. Mr. Duvalier’s free movement around the country suggests that the Haitian justice system is not yet willing to break with Hai¨ti’s history of impunity.

The BAI and IJDH ask all to mobilize and to remain vigilant until justice is served and impunity is ended. This will be achieved when Duvalier is properly tried and convicted. Therefore, we call on victims of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s brutal regime to continue to come forward and file complaints against him and all complainants to immediately seek the removal of the judge from this case.

The BAI and IJDH ask the victims and supporters of the rule of law to multiply their efforts to stand up against impunity in Haiti. We remind everyone that justice for crimes committed by dictators and their agents will require persistent efforts. In Latin America, dictators’ crimes have commonly been justified by the adoption of emergency laws by their governments. But the perseverance, courage and audacity of the people of those countries have allowed them to overcome barriers to justice. We must arm ourselves with these attributes so that we may finish the crusade against impunity in the Americas and bring this last dictator to justice.


Download copy: Lawyers Denounce Shortcomings in Conduct of Duvalier Prosecution Press Release

May 17, 2011
Joan Drake
2532 Q Street NW, Apt. 1
Washington, DC 20007

Port-au-Prince, May 10, 2011

Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, mario@ijdh.org, +509-3701-9879 (Haiti; Creole, French);
Brian Concannon Jr., Esq., Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Brian@ijdh.org, 617-652-0876 (U.S.), 541-263-0029 (U.S. cell)

US Southern Command to Build Humanitarian Projects in Haiti: Sinking Teeth Deeper into the Country?

Courtesy Story
LES CAYES, Haiti - U.S. Southern Command broke ground, May 9, in Les Cayes, Haiti to mark the beginning of construction of 58 projects that are part of the SOUTHCOM Humanitarian Assistance Program. The projects are located throughout Haiti to assist the country in preparing for any future natural disasters.

The ceremony took place at the site of two contracts. The first consists of a 4,000-square foot Emergency Operations Center and a 4,800-square foot Disaster Relief Warehouse that will provide the Regional Department of Civil Protection the ability to coordinate and effectively respond to emergencies and provide necessary relief to the Haitian people. The lead contractor is GDG Benton & Construction from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The second contract is a community cluster which consists of an eight-classroom school, community center, medical clinic and water well. The community cluster provides much needed facilities to the local population but will also function as evacuation centers in the case of hurricanes or other natural disaster. The lead contractor is Palgag Building Technologies from Kibutz Gaash, Israel.

"Through the construction of these emergency operations centers and disaster relief warehouses, the U.S. Government seeks to strengthen the capacity of the Haitian Government to protect its people, and in doing so, reduce Haiti's vulnerability to natural disasters," said the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth H. Merten.

The two projects commenced during the groundbreaking total $2.9 million and are scheduled to be completed in November and September 2011, respectively.

Participants in the groundbreaking ceremony were The Honorable Kenneth H. Merten, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti; Antoine Bien Aime, Minister of Interior, Government of Haiti; Kevenor Estinvil, Departmental Delegate, Government of Haiti; Cmdr. John Reed, Senior Defense Official, U.S. Embassy; Yvon Cherry, Mayor of Les Cayes; Lt. Cmdr. Luis Holkon, resident officer in charge of Construction Haiti, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast; Yoav Zilber, Regional Manager, Palgag Building Technologies, Ltd.; and Sony Gay, Vice President, GDG Benton & Construction, S.A.

Overall, the $31 million SOUTHCOM HAP projects will construct an EOC and DRW in each of the 10 Haitian departments (analogous to States); 10 fire stations; and eight community clusters throughout Haiti. Construction of the Haiti HAP projects are expected to continue until the end of fiscal year 2012.

ROICC Haiti was established by NAVFAC Southeast in November 2010 as a forward-deployed field office to administer the Haiti HAP construction projects. They currently manage eight multi-project contracts in Haiti, with an additional 10 contracts to be awarded prior to September 2011. Besides ROICC Haiti, a robust team of Project Managers, Architects/Engineers, Contract Specialists and others diligently support the Haiti HAP projects back at NAVFAC's Facilities Engineering Command in Jacksonville, Fla.

Source: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/70223/groundbreaking-marks-beginning-haiti-construction-program

Haiti: Just When You Think It Can't Get Worse

Funeral of Samuel Georges, 18-year-old who died eight hours after contracting cholera. Cholera is on the rise in Haiti. Photo: Ben Depp, www.bendepp.com
by: Beverly Bell, Other Worlds
We may soon look back on this per­iod in Haiti with great­er apprecia­tion. Amidst the world-historic levels of death and suf­fer­ing from last January’s earthquake, citizens have at least been spared the scale of govern­ment viol­ence that has mar­ked much of their nation’s past (not­withstand­ing at­tacks against in­ter­nal­ly dis­placed per­sons dur­ing for­ced evi­c­tions, and oc­casional­ly against street pro­test­ers.)

This may chan­ge under Mic­hel Mar­tel­ly, the in­com­ing pre­sident. For start­ers, he wants to bring back the army that form­er pre­sident Jean-Bertrand Aris­tide dis­mantled in 1995. Since Haiti al­ready has a police force to main­tain pub­lic order and the co­unt­ry is not ex­pec­ted to go to war, Mar­tel­ly can have only one aim for re­introduc­ing armed for­ces: to re­claim the tool that past pre­sidents have used to shore up their power by means of violent re­press­ion of dis­sent and com­peti­tion.

For­ces are al­ready rea­dy­ing for viol­ence, which will li­ke­ly be ex­er­ted both through the army and through gangs. Jour­nal­ist Isabeau Doucet filed this eyewit­ness re­port last month: “For over a year, on a hillside south of Port-au-Prince, around 100 form­er sol­di­ers and young re­cruits train three times a week. They claim to have a net­work of camps all over the co­unt­ry where Haitian men meet and ex­erc­ise, learn milita­ry pro­tocol and mar­ti­al arts and re­ceive basic train­ing... The black-and-red flag of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s party hangs in their tar­paulin dress­ing room… Some­body is pay­ing for this, even though they claim that it’s all-volunteer, and the cur­rent govern­ment is turn­ing a blind eye, if not giv­ing tacit sup­port.” 

Just how the for­ces of viol­ence may ally with vari­ous back­ers - some com­bina­tion of Mar­tel­ly and those sur­round­ing the re­tur­ned form­er di­ctator Jean-Claude Duvali­er - is one ques­tion. An­oth­er is how much they may tyrann­ize a citizens’ move­ment which is de­mand­ing sol­u­tions to widespread homeless­ness, un­employ­ment, and ex­treme pover­ty. Two U.S.-based groups sup­port­ing com­mun­ity or­ganiz­ing in Haiti are al­ready pre­par­ing em­er­gen­cy re­spon­ses in case sig­nificant polit­ical viol­ence should erupt.

Be­yond Mar­telly’s plans for an army, his past as­socia­tions raise con­cerns about what poli­cies he may bring to of­fice. Mar­tel­ly was pub­lic in his sup­port for the death squad-friendly re­gimes that re­ig­ned after coups d’état against Aris­tide (1991 and 2004). More re­cent­ly, Mar­tel­ly has made such pub­lic state­ments as "I would kill Aris­tide to? stick a dick up his ass."

Mar­tel­ly won in a run-off in which less than one in four re­gis­tered vot­ers bot­hered to turn out, mean­ing he was end­or­sed by 16.7% of all re­gis­tered vot­ers. If this sounds ab­ys­mal­ly low for a man­date, it is lofty com­pared to the 4.6% who are be­lieved to have sup­por­ted Mar­tel­ly in the first round. No one knows the figure for sure, be­cause that round was so fraudulent that even the government’s Pro­vision­al Elec­tor­al Co­un­cil re­fused to rat­ify it with a major­ity vote. While legal­ly, this should have nul­lified the first round, the Or­ganiza­tion of American States and the U.S. govern­ment in­ten­sive­ly pre­ssured the Haitian govern­ment to approve the elec­tions and send Mar­tel­ly to the run-offs. Sec­reta­ry of State Hil­la­ry Clin­ton even traveled to Haiti to en­sure these out­comes.

After Mar­tel­ly was de­clared pre­sident, Clin­ton said, “Now he has a chan­ce to lead and we are be­hind him. He is com­mit­ted to re­sults. He wants to de­liv­er for the Haitian peo­ple. And we are com­mit­ted to help­ing him do so.” 

Other bad news dogs Haiti. The lives of those left dis­placed from the earthquake are grow­ing more, not less, vul­ner­able, contra­ry to what one might ex­pect with the pass­ing of time and the many bi­ll­ions of aid dol­lars cir­culat­ing.

A prima­ry risk is cholera, which is due to spike once the im­minent rainy season hits, be­cause the near-daily storms will leave stand­ing water and mud in most camps. The camps are al­ready the per­fect breed­ing ground for this dis­ease of pover­ty, with their de­nse­ly con­centrated popula­tions who are frequent­ly weak and ill, often lack water – not just drink­ing water but often any water at all – and suf­f­er from a de­arth of hy­giene opt­ions and med­ical care. A re­cent study in the med­ical journ­al The Lan­cet pre­dic­ted 779,000 cases and 11,100 de­aths from cholera by the end of Novemb­er.

With all humanitarian and in­ter­nation­al agen­cies in Haiti aware of the dire risk of this il­l­ness, which can re­sult in death only a few hours after in­fec­tion, 39% of ‘trans­ition­al shelt­ers’ still do not re­ceive water or basic sanita­tion ser­vices. Mic­helle Karshan, an American ad­vocate en­gaged in anti-cholera ef­forts, re­por­ted: “There is a de­ad­ly shor­tage of avail­able cholera pre­ven­tion and treat­ment sup­pl­ies. And the most im­por­tant pre­ven­tion of cholera trans­miss­ion – crea­tion of a water sys­tem in­frastruc­ture mak­ing treated water wide­ly avail­able – is still not off the ground, while dis­tribu­tion of water con­tinues to reach only a minus­cule numb­er of camps. The major­ity of the resource-poor camps are left to fend for them­selves." [1] The U.N. Cholera Ap­pe­al for Haiti has only re­ceived 45% of the funds it needs. 

The de­ep­er worry is why, with up to 1.5 mill­ion peo­ple still homeless after 16 months, water purifica­tion tab­lets and port-o-potties are being dis­cus­sed as a sol­u­tion. The only way to make peo­ple safe from this dis­ease is to re­settle them into de­cent hous­ing. Yet still neith­er the in­ter­nation­al com­mun­ity nor the Haitian govern­ment has any work­able plans. The govern­ment has yet to in­voke its con­stitution­al right to de­clare em­inent domain and claim large plots of un­used private land in order to re­locate peo­ple. In­ter­nation­al aid has yet to be sig­nificant­ly em­ployed in clear­ing rubble, 80% of which re­mains, re­nder­ing much of Port-au-Prince uni­nhabit­able.

An­oth­er hazard that in­ter­nal­ly dis­placed per­sons (IDPs) face is being for­ced out of their camps, left in even great­er pre­carious­ness. Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­nation­al Or­ganiza­tion for Mig­ra­tion, 820,000 of the origin­al set of IDPs dwell­ers – more than half - have left the camps, but not be­cause they have found a bet­t­er situa­tion. Only 4.7% have gone to new or re­paired hous­ing. The re­maind­er, as re­por­ted by the In­ter­nation­al Or­ganiza­tion for Mig­ra­tion and sub­stan­tiated by many com­mun­ity watchdog groups in Haiti, have fled for two rea­sons. One is an anywhere-but-here re­spon­se, in which famil­ies have es­caped to dan­gerous­ly earthquake-damaged struc­tures, ravines, crow­ded rooms, or whatev­er they can find. Oth­ers have been evi­cted in a grow­ing wave of ex­puls­ions – some violent, many il­leg­al - by both govern­ment in­stitu­tions and private lan­down­ers.

As they have since the earthquake, co­ali­tions of pro­gres­sive NGOs, com­mun­ity groups, and camp com­mit­tees are try­ing to mount pre­ssure to win gains in a broad-based agen­da which in­cludes de­moc­ratic par­ticipa­tion and socio-economic rights. Pre­dominant strateg­ies in­clude popular educa­tion, legal sup­port for camp re­sidents, poli­cy ad­voca­cy, and grassroots mobiliza­tion. A snapshot of some of the groups’ ac­tivit­ies in the three-week per­iod sur­round­ing this ar­ticle in­cludes: a three-day May Day mobiliza­tion for work­ers’ rights; a three-day sym­posium critiqu­ing dis­ast­er capital­ism, “What Fin­anc­ing for What Re­construc­tion?”, and a three-day ex­chan­ge to strength­en ef­forts to force re­settle­ment of IDPs, “In­ter­nation­al Forum for the Right to Hous­ing.”

These move­ments cur­rent­ly lack fund­ing and co­hes­ion. At many points in Haitian his­to­ry, howev­er, pre­ssure from below has pro­v­en to be the crit­ical vari­able in forc­ing chan­ge. Given the dis­ap­point­ing track re­cord of the in­ter­nation­al com­mun­ity and de­velop­ment in­dust­ry, and the omin­ous pro­spects of Mar­telly’s pre­siden­cy, they may be Haiti’s best hope. 

[1] Email from Mic­helle Karshan to Be­ver­ly Bell, April 27, 2011. 

We ex­tend our gratitude to the or­ganiza­tions in the Haiti Re­spon­se Co­ali­tion for their care­ful ob­ser­va­tion and steady stream of vital in­for­ma­tion. We send speci­al thanks to the Cent­er for Economic and Poli­cy Re­search and to Just Foreign Poli­cy for their con­sis­tent­ly ex­cel­lent re­search. Once again, many thanks for Ben Depp for the gift of his photog­raphs. 

Be­ver­ly Bell has wor­ked with Haitian soci­al move­ments for over 30 years. She is also aut­hor of the book Walk­ing on Fire: Haitian Women's Sto­ries of Sur­viv­al and Re­sis­tance. She co­or­dinates Other Worlds, www.ot­herworldsarepos­sible.org, which pro­motes soci­al and economic al­ter­natives. She is also as­sociate fel­low of the In­stitute for Poli­cy Stud­ies.

Beverly Bell

Beverly Bell first went to Haiti as a teenager. Since then she has dedicated most of her life to working for democracy, women’s rights, and economic justice in that country. She founded or co-founded six organizations and networks dedicated exclusively to supporting the Haitian people, including the Lambi Fund of Haiti. She worked for both presidents Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Rene Preval and wrote Walking on Fire: Haitian Women’s Stories of Survival and Resistance  (Cornell University Press, 2001). Today she is associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and runs the economic justice group Other Worlds.

Haiti Cholera Death Toll Tops 4,000

The death toll from Haiti's cholera epidemic has risen to at least 4,030 more than three months after the disease broke out in the country's Artibonite Valley, the health ministry said.

The number of cholera cases in Haiti totalled 209,034 as of January 24, the ministry said.

The severity of the epidemic has diminished over time, but the ministry's figures show that Haitians are still dying from the bacterial infection, which can strike swiftly with intense diarrhoea and vomiting leading to dehydration and sometimes death.

In the latest twist in the evolution of the epidemic, Haitian and international health officials are investigating a cluster of cases of paralysis in recovering cholera patients within days of them being discharged from a treatment centre.

"Experts, including toxicologists, are investigating possible contamination at a hospital or at home from medication, food, or another source as the cause of death in these cases," the Pan American Health Organisation said.

Another possible cause is polio, it said, but officials believe that is highly unlikely because polio is rarely lethal and three of the four patients who suffered paralysis died.

The health crisis broke out in mid-October as Haiti was struggling to recover from a 7.0-magnitude quake that killed more than 220,000 people, left 1.3 million homeless, and the capital in ruins.

While the epidemic is subsiding in Haiti, Venezuelan authorities announced emergency measures on Thursday after 452 Venezuelans were exposed to cholera at a wedding on Saturday in the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti.

There were at least 37 confirmed cholera cases among Venezuelans returning from the wedding, and officials in Caracas were trying to track down more than 400 others known to have attended the event.


Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/28/3123904.htm

Authorities Search and Copy U.S. Journalist’s Notes, Computer and Cameras After Returning from Haiti

Brandon Jourdon reporting on G20 in Queenspark

Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan recently returned from Haiti after being on assignment documenting the rebuilding of schools in the earthquake-devastated country. However, when he returned to the United States, he was immediately detained after deboarding the plane by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. He was questioned about his travels and had all of his documents, computer, phone and camera flash drives searched and copied. This is the seventh time Jourdan says he has been subjected to lengthy searches in five years, and has been told by officials that he is “on a list.” Jourdan joins us in our studio. Catherine Crump, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, says that Jourdan is not the only one facing such treatment by the Obama administration. Crump says many journalists and lawyers who often work abroad have also experienced similar interrogations—and the ACLU believes the First and Fourth Amendments must be honored within U.S. airports. [includes rush transcript]


Brandon Jourdan, Independent journalist subjected to repeated searches and interrogations by U.S. customs at airports during his international travels. Jourdan most recently worked for Democracy Now! as a videographer covering the G-20 protests in Canada.
Catherine Crump, Staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who focuses on free speech and privacy rights.

AMY GOODMAN: U.S. citizens returning home from foreign travel can be searched by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents just like anyone else. But our next guest is an independent journalist who estimates he’s been subjected to lengthy searches at least seven times in the last five years.

Brandon Jourdan most recently worked as a videographer for Democracy Now! covering the G-20 protests in Canada. This past weekend, Brandon was returning to New York from Haiti when ICE subjected him to a five-hour search and copied the contents of his laptop, along with his external hard drive and phone.

Brandon Jourdan joins me here in New York. We’re also joined by Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, specializing in free speech and privacy issues.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Brandon, talk about what happened to you when you flew into JFK Airport from Port-au-Prince.

BRANDON JOURDAN: When I flew into New York from Haiti, after I’d worked for two weeks covering rebuilding projects on schools in Haiti, I had first heard on the intercom that they wanted everyone to have their passports out. I pulled my passport out. When I walked out onto the skyway, two Immigration and Customers Enforcement officers took me by the arm and led me to a Homeland Security room.

AMY GOODMAN: Wait, so are saying that they told everyone to have their passports out because actually they were looking for you?

BRANDON JOURDAN: They were looking for me.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, how do you know, once you left, that they didn’t go through everyone else’s passports on the plane?

BRANDON JOURDAN: They left with me. They didn’t continue—they didn’t continue looking at passports.

AMY GOODMAN: And what did they do? Where did they take you?

BRANDON JOURDAN: They took me to, I guess, a Homeland Security office within the JFK airport. At that point, they began looking through all of my clothes, everything. I strategically put a copy of the First and Fourth Amendment in my bags, because this has happened before, and also on my computer and my smartphone and on my hard drives. They took my journal, all my business cards, all that. They said they were going to photocopy them all. They took—

AMY GOODMAN: Did they explain why they were doing this?

BRANDON JOURDAN: I asked them, “Why are you doing this?” They basically said, “You’re on a list. We don’t know why. These are orders"—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re on a list?

BRANDON JOURDAN: Yeah. And “These are orders from Washington.” And they copied my hard drive. They copied my laptop. They copied every single one of my compact flash cards that I use for my camera, which is absurd to me, because I was documenting people building schools and a country devastated by an earthquake.

AMY GOODMAN: And then they gave everything back, after many hours?

BRANDON JOURDAN: I think, if I’m correct, around 6:30, I left the airport. I mean, around 6:30, I left the plane, and it was 10:30, 11:00 before I left, which is about medium for what I have to go through.

AMY GOODMAN: Catherine Crump, you’re with the ACLU. What rights does a passenger have coming into the airport?

CATHERINE CRUMP: The ACLU believes that people have a First and Fourth Amendment right not to have the materials they bring with them, specifically their expressive materials—their laptops, their cell phones, their papers—searched unless the government has a reasonable suspicion that they have engaged in wrongdoing. Unfortunately, the Obama administration, like the Bush administration, has taken the view that it can search people’s electronic devices at the border for any reason or no reason at all. So they think they don’t have to have any suspicion that the laptop contains evidence of a crime before they search it.

AMY GOODMAN: The Obama administration?

CATHERINE CRUMP: The Obama administration believes that. And we filed a lawsuit challenging that policy, because we think that the Constitution says otherwise.

AMY GOODMAN: Brandon Jourdan, this isn’t the first time.


AMY GOODMAN: What happened before this?

BRANDON JOURDAN: OK, well, for instance, on November 7, 2010, I had just got back from seeing my girlfriend, now my fiancée, who is a professor at the University of Leiden. Before I got on the plane—

AMY GOODMAN: And this was in the plane where?

BRANDON JOURDAN: This was in Amsterdam at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Before I even got on the plane, ICE approached me and questioned me.

AMY GOODMAN: American authorities.

BRANDON JOURDAN: American authorities in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, ICE, questioned me. They asked what I had been doing. I said, “I went and saw my girlfriend, Marianne Maeckelbergh. She’s a professor,” which I thought was really weird. I mean, why do they care? And then they asked me, “You sure you didn’t go anywhere else in Europe?” And if I had of went somewhere else in Europe, there’s nothing criminal about that.

Then I got back. I got back to the United States. I was pulled off the plane. This time they announced my name over the intercom. They said, “Everyone have their passports out. William Jourdan,”—William is my first name—“report to the cabin crew.” I reported to them. Once again, everything was photocopied. My computer, everything was copied. I was held for, I think, approximately about six hours. I was tired. I was jet-lagged. I just wanted to go home. I hadn’t done anything wrong. My work as a journalist is protected, or should be protected.

AMY GOODMAN: And what did they say to you then, why they were doing this?

BRANDON JOURDAN: I, honestly—they didn’t really respond at all. They were more forthcoming with information this time than they had in the past. All they’ve usually said in the past is like, “You’re on a list,” or “We don’t know.”

AMY GOODMAN: When did this all start?

BRANDON JOURDAN: Well, I worked in 2008 in the Gaza Strip. I was working—I was commissioned by a nonprofit called the Council for National Interest, which is a bunch of former State Department people, whatnot, who basically collect information on what’s happening in the Middle East. Now, during that time, we interviewed a lot of people, for instance, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry—the former Egyptian Foreign Minister, the U.S. embassies. And we went into the Gaza Strip, and we interviewed people from the U.N., and we also interviewed Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, a controversial figure, but the work I was doing was documenting something and something that I feel serves a public good.

AMY GOODMAN: So, after Gaza, what happened?

BRANDON JOURDAN: After Gaza—the first time, I don’t think they pulled me from the plane. The first time, I just went through. When I was going through the regular customs thing, they pulled me aside, and then they questioned me. They photocopied all my journal. They photocopied all my business cards. They were really interested in anything that was in Arabic. And that’s when it began.

And then, the same summer, within—I flew back to New York. I finished up some work in Washington, as well, and then I flew to Japan, where I was invited to speak at the G-8 protests that were happening, not at the protest, but at some universities while it was going on. I did a lot of work on the movement against corporate globalization. And when I came back, that was when they really started pulling me from the plane. And that was when I realized that the way I travel was forever altered, that I’m on a list, and this is the way—this is a routine now. This is protocol for how they handle me.

AMY GOODMAN: When you came back from Haiti, you had a camera?


AMY GOODMAN: They took the camera?

BRANDON JOURDAN: They took my camera. They took anything—anything that had media that they could copy, they copied it. And when I worked for the—

AMY GOODMAN: They know how to work the camera?

BRANDON JOURDAN: They took the flash card. They didn’t really need the camera. Now, when I came back from—when I worked for Democracy Now! at the G-20 protests, they asked me how to use my camera. They took my tapes.

AMY GOODMAN: And then they said?

BRANDON JOURDAN: They said, you know, “How do we turn this on?”

AMY GOODMAN: Catherine Crump?

CATHERINE CRUMP: This is a distressingly common scenario. One of the plaintiffs in our ongoing lawsuit is the National Press Photographers Association. Their members have been searched previously, just like you’ve been searched. And of course, journalists have a special interest in not having their expressive materials searched. Many people speak to confidential sources and often become very concerned that their sources overseas aren’t going to be able to trust them anymore, if they know that talking to a journalist means that when you cross the border, the U.S. government may access the journalist’s notes or pictures and so forth. So it’s a real problem.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, a journalist then becomes an agent of the state, because they are just gathering information that is then collected by the state when they return.

CATHERINE CRUMP: That’s right. And the problem even goes beyond journalists. It certainly affects journalists, but lawyers who are defending people have the same problem. Many people who have defended Guantánamo detainees have had to go overseas to gather evidence. And the idea that they would be gathering evidence to defend someone who’s being prosecuted by the U.S. government and then, by crossing the border, turned all of that over to the U.S. government is something that really threatens a lawyer’s ability to do their job, just like it threatens journalists’ ability to do their jobs. But, you know, even people who aren’t part of the professions often have very sensitive information on their computers. When you think about it, people have their financial records, their family photographs, their personal diaries. And the idea that we, as Americans, should have to show all of that stuff to the government just because we travel internationally is really contrary to our basic values.

AMY GOODMAN: Brandon, did you have journals?

BRANDON JOURDAN: I mean, after this situation started, I quit writing down certain details. If I have to, I find another way to get it home. I’m also very cognitive of the fact that I can jeopardize the subjects that I’m trying to record. And so, I take—and Amy, I have to go through this all the time. I mean, I just had to do a deposition for some footage that I shot at the inauguration in 2005. And I willingly did that, because it was actually for activists, and I didn’t mind going forward because it helped their case.

AMY GOODMAN: How does this make you feel when you go through this?

BRANDON JOURDAN: It makes me paranoid. It makes me angry. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Will you sue?

BRANDON JOURDAN: Of course. As soon as I find a lawyer to do it, I will sue everyone until I can be removed from this list, until I can get justice. And I’m not an individualist. I’m doing this because—out of principle, because if I’m getting searched, I guarantee you there are a whole bunch of people that have a similar experience.

AMY GOODMAN: Catherine Crump, who are you representing in your suit?

CATHERINE CRUMP: We represent two organizations and an individual. We represent the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Press Photographers Association and a man named Pascal Abidor. He is a U.S. citizen who’s studying in Canada. And when he was coming across the border on the train, a border agent stopped him, asked what he studied—he said he studied Islamic studies—and asked where he’d been—and he had been to Jordan and Lebanon—and on that basis, hauled him to the cafe car, opened up his laptop, and proceeded to require him to turn over his passport and—password to his laptop, and then searched the contents. I don’t believe that the mere fact that someone chooses to study Islamic studies means that the government has a good reason to go through their laptop.

AMY GOODMAN: Catherine, do passengers have any rights to privacy under the Obama administration?

CATHERINE CRUMP: Unfortunately, the Obama administration has taken a very anti-privacy view here. The policy is extremely broad. It’s not just that the government can search the contents of your laptop.

AMY GOODMAN: We have just ten seconds.

CATHERINE CRUMP: They can copy it. They can even detain it for, they say, as long as they need to make sure that you’re not carrying anything criminal. And we think they need reasonable suspicion in order to do so.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both very much for being with us.

BRANDON JOURDAN: Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the ACLU, and Brandon Jourdan, an independent journalist who has been searched repeatedly by federal authorities when he comes into airports here in the United States and even outside.

Source: http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/15/exclusive_authorities_search_and_copy_us

Why is Former Congressman/CIA Bob Barr Advising Baby Doc Duvalier?

It is unclear why former U.S. congressman Bob Barr would be interested in assisting a monstrous individual like Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier but, his actions certainly warrant an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Oh,  "former" CIA - that might answer it.

Duvalier Advised by Ex-Congressman Barr as He Seeks Swiss Funds

Bob Barr, a former U.S. congressman, is advising Jean-Claude Duvalier as the Haitian ex-dictator seeks to unlock frozen funds left in Swiss banks after he fled to Paris exile amid a 1986 rebellion.

Duvalier “is very interested in trying to get those funds freed up, not for himself, but so they can be used to help the situation in Haiti,” Barr said by phone from Port-au-Prince yesterday. Barr, 62, was a Republican representative from Georgia in 1995-2003 and ran for president in 2008 on the Libertarian Party ticket.

Barr accompanied Duvalier Jan. 21 as the former dictator made his first public comments since his Jan. 16 return to his homeland from a 25-year exile. Also accompanying Duvalier were two other American lawyers, Ed Marger of Jasper, Georgia, and Mike Puglise of Snellville, Georgia, according to a statement issued by Barr’s office.

The 59-year-old Duvalier, also known as “Baby Doc,” apologized to victims of abuses during his government, vowed to help the quake-ravaged nation rebuild and said he expected to face “persecution” upon his return. Haitian authorities opened a corruption case against him two days after his return.

The former dictator said his desire to help Haiti rebuild from last year’s quake that killed more than 300,000 “far outweighs any harassment I could face,” according to a video of his speech posted on the website of the daily Nouvelliste.

Charges Against Duvalier
Haitian authorities accused Duvalier of criminal conspiracy, embezzlement and corruption, prosecutor Aristidas Auguste told Radio Metropole. Duvalier allegedly stole public funds during his rule and hid them in Swiss bank accounts, Enrico Monfrini, a Switzerland-based lawyer representing the Haitian government, told Metropole.

A new Swiss law set to take effect Feb. 1 may allow authorities to return to Haiti as much as $7.3 million frozen in Duvalier’s accounts, said Jenny Piaget, a spokeswoman for the Swiss foreign affairs department.

Duvalier’s 15-year rule began in 1971 when his father, Francois Duvalier, known as “Papa Doc,” appointed him president for life. The Duvaliers oversaw the killings of 20,000 to 30,000 civilians, many at the hands of the Tonton Macoutes secret police, according to Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International, which has pressed for Duvalier to be tried for crimes against humanity, said the corruption case is “a positive step, but it is not enough,” according to a Jan. 18 statement.

When asked about the crimes against humanity charges, Barr, who is advising Duvalier and not representing him as a lawyer, said “allegations are the cheapest commodity on the market.”

Election Standoff
Duvalier returned amid a political standoff over disputed presidential elections held Nov. 28 in which opposition accused the ruling party of President Rene Preval of rigging the vote.

A second-round runoff vote set for Jan. 16 was postponed after the Organization of American States recommended that ruling party candidate Jude Celestin withdraw from the contest to replace Preval based on an analysis by foreign observers. Haiti’s electoral council is considering the report and hasn’t reset a date for a runoff.

Barr, who led the push to impeach former U.S. president Bill Clinton in 1998, said Duvalier’s return is not political.

“I don’t sense that politics is part of his agenda at this point,” Barr said.

Robert Pastor, who served as former President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser for Latin America, said in an e-mail that it’s likely Duvalier’s motive for returning was “reconstruction of his image, which was worse than Port-au- Prince after the earthquake.”

Source: http://redactednews.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-is-former-congressmancia-bob-barr.html


An elderly cholera victim is transferred from Villard to Saint-Marc, the epicentre of Haiti's cholera outbreak where thousands have been treated.

(Toronto Star) - By Jennifer Wells

DROUIN -At 6:15 on a weekday morning Lovely Avelus is not yet in her cherry red school attire, but rather the pale brown dress in which she slept.

An adolescent boy named Venecen — a shy recent addition to the family compound — carries her past the one-bunny rabbit cage to a semi-hidden patch of ground in order to provide some privacy for her morning toilet.

After a long, patient wait, Venecen tears a piece of frond from a plantain tree and hands it to Lovely so she may clean her bottom. Then off she scampers to continue playing peek-a-boo behind the curtain of her one-room home, which is dank and cold on this morning.

In the lone bed in this single room lies Lina, the 25-year-old daughter of Lovely’s uncle, Delius Elistin. Lina, who has a wet, rattling cough, gave birth to a baby boy two days before. She has not yet received any medical care.

It is simply too much.

Here in the land of earthquakes and here in the land of hurricanes and here in the land of abject poverty, Lovely’s family can now claim residence here in the land of cholera where, as of Friday, 330 have died and 4,714 cases have been confirmed.

Lovely’s extended family, none of whom has experienced an outbreak before, has some notion of what it means to play host to the latest disease to colonize Haiti. “We put two or three drops of bleach,” says Elistin, when asked what preventive treatments are applied to the water drawn from a nearby cistern. “We’re not putting much.”

Elistin says he has heard radio advisories recommending that the onset of diarrhea be treated by adding lemon juice to the water. It is true that lemon lowers the ph of water, thus making it an effective disinfectant against vibrio cholerae. If only it were so simple. “These days we cannot find lemons,” he says of his recent market searches. It’s hardly lemon weather.

Lovely’s mother, Rosemene, is cleaning out a small plastic container with a leaf. She is asked what special precautions she takes in preparing food, to which she responds that she washes the lettuce before consumption.

At Lovely’s home in Fermathe, at some remove from the squalor of the tent cities of Port-au-Prince, messages of prevention are half received and only partially executed. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control advises eight drops of bleach per gallon of water, which must be stored in clean, covered containers. Wash your hands after defecating is a steady reminder throughout the country. Lettuce? Verboten. “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it,” is a simple CDC catchphrase which authorities here would do well to adopt.

It is as if the family lies in wait, just as the world lies in wait. Will the epidemic catch in the capital among the more than one million displaced in the fetid tent cities?

Cholera plays no obvious game. There are no stated rules.

It pops up one day in Drouin, and then Villard. And now there’s Petite Rivière and unconfirmed reports in Arcahaie. It is as if the epidemic were toying with the international and Haitian health communities, as if the bacteria too were playing a grim version of peek-a-boo.

It is unwise to think one has seen the worst of Haiti, or to imagine I had seen the worst of Haiti.

To observe the cholera outbreak in its full deathly flourish, one must travel to the Artibonite lowland, and so we chose the coastal route north from Port-au-Prince to Saint-Marc and from there northeast to Pont Sondé where the highway meets the Artibonite River. With luck, if the rains held, we would trace the river’s journey from Pont Sondé north again to Villard and then west to Drouin and on to Grande Saline where the Artibonite empties into the Gulf of Gonaives.

The coastal highway is often treacherous, not so much due to the state of the road, which is quite good, at least as far as Pont Sondé, but the quality of the driving. We observed four accidents on our way. The legless body of a trucker lies supine on the road, innards spilling outward, his head wrapped in a ragged bit of blue cloth, someone’s effort at a makeshift bandage.

At Pont Sondé it is market day and it is madness. Throngs of what must be thousands: farmers who have brought their haulage of sweet potatoes; women tending sacks of Haitian rice; split-open storage bags heaping with pyramids of rough salt brought from the coast. The fresh produce, agricultural bounty, is brought in by the tonnage and shipped out to larger cities: Gonaives to the north; Port-au-Prince to the south.

Across the span of the bridge, a serious line of women hustlers sells dry goods: ribbons and sparkly sandals and cosmetics. Below lies the river.

The river. The Artibonite is a historic irrigation artery for the country, albeit one that was dammed in the far east of the country by the U.S. in 1956, flooding part of the central plateau and displacing farmers there.

Here in the lowland — so rare in such a mountainous country — rice fields spread out square upon square, as if someone kicked a giant coil of sod and it rolled itself out to carpet the land.

The rains this season have been flooding and relentless. The area has been more or less under water since July, informs one aid worker. Women have come through deep water to get to market early.

The invasion of cheap, white American rice has economically devastated the rice farmers. Still, impoverished Haitian workers migrate here during the rice harvest, eager even for the 125 gourdes a day pay.

On Monday, as the death toll rose to 259 and the number of cases to 3,342, the United Nations Office for the Co-Ordination of Humanitarian Affairs echoed Haitian health ministry officials in citing cholera’s toll among the poorest of the poor. “Assessments show the majority of cases involve people from rural areas where rice growing is prevalent,” said the OCHA in a release.

Many deaths have been seasonal labourers. How ironic that doctors informing ill patients of the trademark characteristics of cholera describe the bacterial-ridden stool of victims as emerging “like rice water.”

Not all the victims are farm workers. Beyond Pont Sondé, just before the village of Villard, Maculèz Axelis dusts her aged feet though her small amount of un-hulled rice that she sells by the road. Her 14-year-old niece, Ti Madanm, died last night. She says the villagers have been asking that at least a clinic be built. If their requests had been heard, she says, the children would not have died. Simple rehydration salts often work wonders.

From the blacktop road at Villard, the journey turns to rougher stone and very quickly time evaporates. “Blanc!” cries a young boy outside a collection of the tin-roofed mud and straw huts that the rice farmers call home. That would be me, blanc. The outsider. Bonjour, blanc.

The villages spread either side of the Artibonite, which flows not more than 10 feet from the road. Great patches of drying rice trim the road: on one side the river, and on the other the rice.

Forty minutes later we arrive at the clinic at Drouin, serving the region of Grande Saline — with a population of about 45,000 — and the same named village that anchors it. The clinic was hit hard by the outbreak a week ago. “It was chaos. There were bodies everywhere,” says Dr. Rashid al Badi, who leads the clinical day shift.

Al Badi is wearing a red Humedica vest. The German aid agency is working in concert with a team of Cuban doctors. There are two tiny cholera victims hooked to IVs a few feet away. By midweek the clinic had recorded 40 deaths. I tell him I have heard that a patient passed away moments ago.

“He came alone,” al Badi says.

The patient was rehydrated. A single dose of the antibiotic Doxycycline was administered. “He was fully hydrated, we were trying really hard,” says al Badi. “Late morning he went into cardiac arrest.” Attempts at resuscitation failed.

He estimates the patient’s age at about 30, but who knows?

“The villagers didn’t recognize him.”

Perhaps he was a seasonal worker. “They are drinking water from the river directly,” al Badi informs. Of course they are. They have for centuries.

“Even after death we don’t know who to contact. We’re waiting for someone to come.”

On a narrow passageway between the clinic and a cement wall, the body of the unknown cholera victim has been placed. On this day, Wednesday, the death count will rise to 284.

The body has been covered with a blue tarp. Small thin pieces of wood have been placed on the edges of the tarp. The winds in the late afternoon can get quite spirited. I wonder if the wood will be blown away.

When the winds come up the rains cannot be far behind.

The village of Grande Saline cannot be reached, we are told. Access is flooded. Boats have been used to retrieve the ill. And a helicopter. And so, as they say in Creole, “nou fè bak.”

In doing so we trace the journey of the stricken seeking medical care to the road back to Villard where it meets the highway, returning via Saint-Marc and on to Port-au-Prince.

It’s a mistake to become oblivious to the noise and chaos and horn blaring. The Toyota pickup on our tail appeared to be any other impatient Haitian, the words “Merci Jesus” painted on the front of his truck. He was in a great hurry. Isn’t everyone? Until I noted a hand holding an IV bag rising from the back of the truck, and let the truck pass and studied the despairing look of a young man keeping the arm of a limp old man aloft, the old man’s lean form spread across two laps in the back of the pickup.

The truck pulled up to Saint Nicolas Hospital in Saint-Marc. Earlier in the day I had revisited the clinic, my third trip in. By Wednesday at the latest a cholera treatment centre was supposed to be in place, taking the victims out of the general hospital population.

“But they had to stop construction because people didn’t want them to build this centre near their homes,” says Dr. Mayette Yfto, the hospital’s chief administrator. He’s very polite, Dr. Yfto. The locals threatened to burn the thing down.

Instead the centre will be constructed in Pont Sondé.

The good news: the number of admissions at Saint Nicolas has slowed, says Patrick Almazor, the Partners in Health director for the Artibonite region. PIH has had a long-term working alliance at Saint Nicolas and its doctors and nurses have been key to handling the crisis. Sixty-five deaths have been recorded at the hospital. More than half of those victims died before being carried through the hospital gate.

On Tuesday, Almazor saw a body on the road to Petite Rivière. “After three or four days they dump them into the river,” he says. The nameless ones.

From Saint-Marc the medical geography of Haiti’s cholera epidemic splits in two.

On Thursday, there were reports of 174 cases further south along the coastal highway at Arcahaie. The name may mean little today but there was a time when the beach strip from, roughly, Montrouis to Arcahaie featured a Club Med and other Caribbean-style getaways and there was a time when a cholera epidemic in Haiti would have been measured in lost dollars in tourism and trade.

No more. The local news reports the small street vendors are suffering some.

On the northern side of the mountains that split the lowlands from the coast, cases have been reported at Verettes and Mirebalais.

For more than a week the mayor of Mirebalais has blamed the deaths in his community on a Nepalese-staffed United Nations base situated on the Meille River, a tributary of the Artibonite.

The UN has repeatedly insisted that none of the 700 on base has tested positive for cholera and that suggestions in some media reports that uncontained excrement has leeched from latrines are not true. The seepage, says UN spokesperson Vincenzo Pugliese, can be sourced to overflowing “soak pits” containing shower and kitchen waters.

“For sure it’s about migration. For sure,” says Mayette Yfto, meaning that the epidemic has been imported from lands abroad. It is as if Haiti is desperate to prove that this one horror, this one catastrophe, is not of its own making.

There may never be an absolute answer. Even genetic markers may ultimately fail to prove the epidemic’s source.

In a news conference Friday, Gabriel Timothee, director general of the ministry of health, said “patient zero” had yet to be identified. Eight deaths have been recorded in the Artibonite since Thursday.

As the media drifted away, Michel Thieren, head of the Pan American Health Organization in Haiti, offered the simplest assessment. “This is an epidemic that will settle over months,” he said gently.

What is clear is that cholera is now an endemic part of Lovely’s Haiti. And that the Artibonite River has proved a welcoming host.

Source: http://www.thestar.com/article/883229--death-and-dirty-water-cholera-s-grim-march-through-haiti

Congresswoman Waters Opposes Plot to Control Haiti


January 18, 2011
Contact: Sean Bartlett
For Immediate Release

Phone: (202) 225-2201

Congresswoman Waters Opposes Plot to Control Haiti

Urges Prosecution of Duvalier for Human Rights Violations and New Elections that Respect the Will of the Haitian People

Washington - Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) issued the following statement today, upon learning that Haiti's former dictator, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, returned to Haiti after 25 years of exile in France:

The plot to control Haiti has gone from the absurd to the ridiculous.  The return of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier to Haiti in the midst of a flawed election is truly shocking.  The Duvalier dictatorship was absolutely brutal, and there is extensive documentation of the human rights violations suffered by the Haitian people during his reign.  I was pleased to hear that the authorities had taken him into custody, and I urge that he be tried for his crimes.  Nevertheless, Duvalier's return raises serious questions about who in Haiti facilitated his return and what his supporters expect to gain by bringing him back.

Duvalier's return comes in the midst of a desperate attempt by President Rene Préval to maintain control of Haiti by ensuring the election of Jude Celestin, his chosen successor.  President Préval did this by appointing a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) that was biased in his favor, which refused to allow candidates from over a dozen political parties to participate in the elections.  Among those excluded was Lavalas, Haiti's largest political party and the party most popular among Haiti's poor.  The result was a deeply flawed election that generated widespread and sometimes violent protests among the Haitian people.

Had the elections truly been inclusive, the most likely result would have been the election of a President who represented the impoverished majority of the Haitian people.  This would have been contrary to the interests of the rich and powerful business elites of Haiti, whose main goal has always been the exploitation of the Haitian people as cheap labor.  It is these wealthy Haitian elites who benefited under the reign of the Duvalier regime and who would no doubt benefit if he were to return to power.

Additional confusion was created by the Organization of American States (OAS), which attempted to salvage these flawedelections by issuing a report based on flawed methodology.  The OAS did not conduct a full recount, but instead examined a sample of only 919 of the 11,181 tally sheets from voting booths across Haiti, threw out 234 of these tally sheets, and then concluded that Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly should advance to a runoff, along with Mirlande Manigat, in place of Jude Celestin.  The OAS report concluded that Martelly defeated Celestin by a margin of only 0.3 percent of the votes reported on those tally sheets that the OAS chose to count.  This would mean Préval's candidate,  the candidate who is most likely to be trusted by the elites, would be eliminated.

However, according to an analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), tally sheets were either missing or were discounted for irregularities at 1,326 voting booths or 11.9 percent of the total.  The proportion of discounted votes and other irregularities is more than sufficient to cast doubt upon the entire process, especially when the difference between the number of votes counted for Celestin and Martelly is so small.  The recommendation of the  OAS to change the names of the candidates included in the runoff election is an  ill-advised and sloppy attempt to fix an election that should be scrapped entirely.

In any case, it is now clear that no runoff can be held this month as previously planned, and no successor will be elected prior to February 7th, the last day of President Préval's term in office under the constitution.  Consequently, there is the possibility that Haiti could find itself with no President, thus creating a void and the opportunity for a dictator.

I was shocked to learn that OAS officials discussed forcing President Préval to leave the country on board a plane - much the way that former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced to leave the country in a coup d'état in 2004.  Ricardo Seitanfus, the former OAS Special Representative to Haiti, recently revealed that at a meeting of United Nations, OAS and donor country officials, some representatives suggested that President Préval should leave the country and an airplane should be provided for that purpose.

The OAS and other international agencies have no right to dictate the outcome of the election and no right to plot the exile of the current President of Haiti.  Despite President Préval's role in these failed and fraudulent elections, the OAS cannot be a part of a plan to try to determine the outcome of the elections.

It is absurd and outrageous that anyone would even think to take advantage of this situation to facilitate Baby Doc Duvalier's return to Haiti.  Unfortunately, he has returned, and it is important to ask why.  Who assisted Duvalier in his return?  Where did he get the money to pay for his return?  Were any officials of the U.S. Government aware of his plans to return?  Was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) aware?  If so, was any action taken to stop him from returning or to ensure that he would be arrested and prosecuted for his crimes and not allowed to usurp power if he did return?

I am deeply concerned that the wealthy elites of Haiti who supported the Duvalier regime in the past, along with the assistance of international agencies, may have encouraged Duvalier to return in the hope that the flawed elections will create a power vacuum that could allow him to take power once again.  I am even more concerned that OAS officials may be wittingly or unwittingly helping to create precisely the type of power vacuum that would enable him to do so.

It is important that we determine what role U.S. officials played, if any, in facilitating Duvalier's return.  It is even more important that we determine what role the U.S. Government will play moving forward.

The U.S. Government promised to help Haiti recover from last year's earthquake and develop its economy.  I introduced legislation to forgive Haiti its foreign debt, and allow the country to secure additional aid in the form of grants so that it wouldn't incur further debt.  I was very pleased that Congress passed the legislation in a bipartisan manner, and that President Obama signed it into law just three months after the earthquake.  President Obama also requested and Congress appropriated almost $3 billion in funds for humanitarian assistance and long-term reconstruction and development for Haiti.  Meanwhile, donor countries committed more than $9 billion in aid for Haiti's reconstruction at an international donors' conference last March.

Haiti's next government will be called upon to make difficult decisions regarding the allocation of these resources.  If these decisions are not made by a credible and legitimately-elected government, billions in U.S. taxpayer funds could be wasted and many donors may refuse to distribute the funds that were promised.  Meanwhile, Haiti's recovery could be delayed for decades and the Haitian people will continue to suffer.

I believe the only recourse is for Haiti to organize new elections that will be free and fair, inclusive of all eligible political parties and candidates, and open to participation by all Haitian voters.  The U.S. Government should demand a clear statement to that effect by both the OAS and President Préval, and the U.S. should stand ready to assist Haiti in organizing new elections.

Only through free, fair and inclusive elections will the people of Haiti be empowered to create a better future for themselves and their children.