Posts Tagged ‘Current events’
It Can’t Happen Here – But It is
To millions of Americans, the “end times” seem to be on us. The BP disaster in the Gulf may leave 25% of America virtually uninhabitable, eco-systems destroyed for sure but maybe much more, a destroyed sea floor, toxic gas clouds moving inland and warnings of something worse, a geological disaster of biblical proportions sitting offshore like a ticking time bomb. Millions of American believe the president is a foreign born Muslim, a puppet of the terrorists while millions believe he is working for Israel. Every speech, every state visit, everything done is seen to support one side or another, sometimes both. The destruction of the American presidency is only part of it, part of a program of racial division, fear, hate and a descent into class warfare and violence.
The end result of the disasters, political infighting, religious extremism, the total collapse of trust in America’s system of government and the infiltration of terrorist elements into every institution, America’s military and political core, financial terrorists working to destroy America’s standard of living, its industrial base, its currency and, eventually the last of its freedoms will be the division of America, starting with an apartheid state and ending in “Balkanization” and the world’s largest nuclear arsenal being unleashed on the world. This has been heard before, it is a story that faith based broadcasting has been sending out to the American people for the past thirty years. The biblical flood began when the money disappeared.
The serious side is the economic meltdown. Even with the hundreds of billions Americans borrowed to give to our “banksters” who our “congress critters” decided were too big to allow to fail, we have no banks, simply depositories for stolen money while it waits to be shipped overseas. Money is taken in, none loaned out, not for jobs in America anyway. All the government did was to push the burgeoning debt left us by the Bush/Cheney failures even higher, topping $13 trillion dollars this month, money we owe to pay back money we never got from people who had no right to print it in the first place.
More and more Americans are becoming aware of the fact that our system, the Federal Reserve, is nothing but a racket where foreign bankers, all thinly disguised Rothschilds, sell us our own money while maneuvering us into debt, really a massive mortgage on America’s future, we can never keep up the payments on. America has been systematically destabilized, the most powerful nation in the history of the earth, living on borrowed money and, frankly, borrowed time.
TOO MUCH TO STOMACH, BP BUYING OUR GOVERNMENT AND LIEBERMAN CONTROLLING THE INTERNET
When Americans look at television and see half their politicians crying about BP, a company that laid waste to more of the planet than any in history, they see a world upside down. They know their politicians take money, everyone knows this, but to think they would be brazen enough to scream out “yes, we are crooks, what are you going to do about it?” is more than that. It is an announcement that anyone in government can do anything they want, anything, and never answer for it, not even face reelection problems. The more crooked a politician, the more favorable press he gets, the more the Israel lobby supports him, the more the Tea Baggers support him, the more “heroic” he is portrayed by the pundits and fear mongers.
Things have gotten so bad that Senator Josef Liebermann (I-srael) has introduced a bill that would allow the internet to be closed down in case of “emergency.” Liberman talks about terrorism or espionage but the real problem was that the “corporate press” got caught lying over the Freedom Flotilla massacre and millions of Americans have turned to the internet for the news, news sometimes bizarre, conspiratorial and fringe, often however, much more accurate and truthful than the newspapers and TV networks. His bill, written in Tel Aviv, is designed to make Americans who depend on the internet for news and communication feel helpless, isolated and ready to turn to violence.
Picture yourself going to the computer. Your email is blocked, nothing in, nothing out. You are looking at one screen, the same thing on every computer in the country. The logo, a simply, DHS, Department of Homeland Security. In the middle of the screen is a new search engine, “Safety Friendly Family Approved Searches.” Below that are approved news stories, linking you to ABC, CNN, FOX, CBS, MSNBC, the WSJ, NYT, WP and Family Security Matters.org. Below that is a warning:
“Your microphone and webcam are in active mode. Do not attempt to mute, shield or disable under penalty of law.”
Senator Lieberman is trying to start a civil war, more than just planting the seeds, this is a provocation, a clear and present danger to American freedom.
BUILDING THE MECHANISM OF APOCALYPSE, THE MOVE TO APARTHEID
Let’s talk about “social cohesion.” Israel has shipped their five million Palestinians to Jordan, Lebanon or Gaza to have social cohesion, one country, one race, one religion, no room for outsiders, no matter how long they have been around. America did the same thing with the Indians (Native Americans), eventually wiping most of them out in a series of wars, treaties and resettlement programs. However, America’s problems with social cohesion are far greater than Israel’s or even those of America during the pioneering years. Today, we are a society divided on, not only race and ethnicity but region, religion and, worst of all, extremist political views. The government that is supposed to join us together and the constitution that is meant to guarantee our belief in equal justice for all have been ground into the dust, twisted, bought, obliterated and disfigured.
America is heading for a meltdown. Another civil war is possible, even likely. 40% of states are bankrupt. This means they can’t pay police or teachers or fix roads except with borrowed federal money. It also means their pension plans, all that is meant to keep millions of Americans out of dire poverty in retirement, are gone. The states lost their pension plans in the 2007 collapse. Only federal bail outs, which aren’t going to happen, will cover this massive shortfall. Eventually, workers, hundreds of thousands of families who worked and saved for financial security will be told it isn’t there anymore. This isn’t the future, it happened, its real and it can’t be hidden very long.
There is no federal government to step in and carry the load. Wars have left it drowning and political corruption has crippled America to where it is no more stable than many of the nations of Africa. Hiding behind years of scare tactics, terrorism, tiny countries with nuclear weapons, or the real problem of Mexico’s collapse under the rule of drug lords and the millions flooding into our country, financial criminals have looted America and a worldwide criminal conspiracy of financial criminals, headquartered in Tel Aviv and New York, protected by congress and Mossad death squads traveling the world with German passports. The press, something we generously call either the “mainstream media” or “corporate controlled press” isn’t just a mechanism for censorship, its part of a long term effort to destroy the faith Americans have in their own ability as people to rule themselves and trust, not the criminals presented to vote for in elections, but their own ability to reject the lot of them.
THE MANY FACES OF THE AMERICAN TALIBAN
Radicalization of America has been the goal all along. Who would have ever believed that internet conspiracy theory would end up being, not only more believable, but more fair and certainly more balanced than traditional media sources that have been discredited to such a degree in recent months. A key area of division in America has been religion. For awhile, financed by the Israeli lobby and the “bankster” criminal elements, the “neo-cons” were able to build a bridge uniting Evangelical Christians with Christian Zionists, groups that are, from a scriptural standpoint light years apart. To this, the abortion/women’s rights issue drew many Catholics to abandon their traditional values and join with these groups which had shared little in common with them. Catholics are urban, typically well educated with a Euro-centric culture, while Evangelicals shun higher education for religious instruction.
The first American Taliban may have been the Puritans but they have been eclipsed in American history by the atavism of the Mormon Church, whose beliefs deeply parallel the most frightening and profound heresies of Islam, church over state, no rights for women and an undercurrent of violence unrivaled by any sect seen in a western society since the Albigensians. Mormons, chased across America, seized much of the Southwest and set up a defacto government, one with little in common with the rest of America. As the Mormon regions of America come into conflict with the massive Hispanic Catholic population, the roots of dissolution, border wars, draconian race laws and eventually full apartheid will take hold. It will start in Arizona and spread through the American West.
Perhaps the largest threat is the religious theory of Zionism. Originally a race theory based on Jewish racial superiority and political supremacy, offshoots of Zionism have entered Evangelical Christian belief systems creating the heresy known as Christian Zionism. Original Zionism, a violent and radical offshoot of Judaism is more racial than religious or political in nature. Though a minority of American Jews practice Zionistic beliefs, most are coerced into either financial support or even into sending children into military servitude in Israel in order to avoid social ostracism.
As the result of the founding of Israel in Judea or Palestine, a slow decline in social,cultural and intellectual traditions has infected the Jewish community in America, one known for the advancement of social causes and broad advocacy of American freedoms. With the increased radicalization of America and her economic decline, many Jews have looked to Israel as an anchor, failing to take into account the role Israel has played in the onset of the entropy they fear. This situation could be equated with burning down your home to save your garage.
Christian Zionists have only anecdotal similarities with the Judaic variety. They tend to be rural, poorly educated, envious and resentful, not only of what they call “elites” but many other groups as well but primarily African Americans. The basis of Christian Zionism is hatred of African Americans. All other monikers or descriptions are a subterfuge to escape the labels these same groups had been associated with in the past, Klan, racist or bigot.
Hiding behind tortured and obscure biblical references and using bizarre stories of disaster and apocalypse, stories oddly well supported by current times, these simple rural people unable to grasp much of the complex modern world. They have been melded into a political front serving the interests of Israel, a state they understand poorly, and the class of economic criminals, many associated with Israel but also with the movement in America called “conservatism.” Their political role has been to serve as a vocal and sometimes violent front for the economic oligarchy, a very real monied elite, that has assumed broad control over America’s policitcal and social life.
THE DOOM SO MANY PRAYED SO HARD FOR IS HERE
America’s security has been tied, for 65 years, to NATO. Today, our newspaper and TV gurus are telling us to dissolve NATO. With the breakdown of the alliance between Israel and Turkey, Israel, who controls 444 members of congress and 50% of America’s wealth has demanded that America either throw Turkey out of NATO or leave herself. As yet, Israel is allowing the United States to remain in the United Nations because America’s security council veto, used hundreds of times to save Israel from sanctions for war crimes or nuclear proliferation violations, is vital to the welare of Israel.
This week, Israel was discovered on the verge of bombing Iran. Little real damage would have been done. Iran has no nuclear infrastructure tied to weapons manufacture. The intent would be, as Israel had planned it, to enter Iran from the north where there are few defenses, bomb useless and remote targets, safe targets so all planes could return and claim a major victory, destroying that which did not exist. As Saudi Arabia has already been set up as the fall guy, said to have allowed the attack in advance, something the Saudis deny, they would become hated among Muslim nations.
Israel’s plan is to force Iran to attack Saudi Arabia, close the Straits of Hormuz and push America and Western Europe into total collapse. With 60% of the world’s oil supply eliminated, world financial and currency markets would collapse and the world’s armaments industry would explode with orders. Israel is the third largest exporter of weapons. Israel prides itself as the inventor of “game theory,” the method of strategic planning making use of deception, manipulation, “false flag attacks,” assassinations, bribery and blackmail in a complex chess match meant to bring the world to a chaotic state subject to their mathematical models. Israel is filled with Nobel Prize winners. This is what they work on.
The apolcalypse that Christian Zionists prayed for, the “end times” though to begin with a series of natural disasters has been hurried along. Pushing for a nuclear war has always been a part of it but the possiblity, not yet proven, that the BP disaster in the Gulf could eventually turn the Gulf Stream and leave Europe uninhabitable is a continual subject of discussion with America’s religious broadcast community.
HOW DESTABILIZATION BECOMES APARTHEID
With collapse in the trust in America’s institutions, a Supreme Court with five neo-Fascist judges, congress with 444 “Israeli-firsters,” and millions of Americans believing the president is the Anti-Christ, one more economic disaster, the one Israel is attempting to stage right now, would make the 2007 collapse seem like a joke. With the broadcast media having worked the country into fear, distrust and ready to pick up weapons to use against their neighbors, all carefully staged, the scripts have been passed out.
You will know when you see the face of Sarah Palin on every network, perhaps in a pantsuit with a miltiary cut. Do you think she will be wearing a beret? There will be a flag behind her and the Star Spangled Banker will fade to silence as she makes the announcements.
Nuclear arsenals will be seized by patriotic groups from within our military, led by Israeli commandos and helped by our armies of private defense contractors. Those secret “FEMA/UN” prisons will suddenly turn out to be real, with local police in riot gear, American flags on their cars and uniforms, hunting down journalists, activists and, eventually, the educated.
Senator Lieberman will pull the plug on the internet. Private logins will carry arrest lists.
After the educated classes and politially progressive groups are rounded up, then the African Americans and Hispanics will be cataloged, given travel restrictions. Pass laws will be enacted.
Then, surprise of surprises, they will start rounding up Jews.
Welcome to the hell of your own making.
* Gordon Duff is senior editor of Veterans Today.
Recently discovered this excellent video deconstructing Shakira’s sudden burst of activism. Carlos has investigated her past affiliations and allegiances and found them quite troubling. Thanks to Carlos for his excellent videos and blog!
Carlos in DC blog
- CARLOS A. QUIROZ
- WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES
- Writer, video blogger, online activist, artist painter living in Washington, DC. I believe in equality, life, human rights, environmental and social justice. I’m a progressive thinker. I was born in Peru, I’m proud to be gay and Indigenous. I write three blogs: Carlos in DC, Peruanista and Two Spirits One. My articles have been posted in 11 countries. I love Peruvian food, sports, reading and traveling. / Escritor, bloguero de videos, activista de internet, artista pintor, vivo en Washington, DC. Creo en la igualdad, la vida, los derechos humanos, la justicia ambiental y social. Soy un pensador progresista. Nací en Perú, me siento orgulloso de ser gay e indígena. Escribo tres blogs: Carlos in DC, Peruanista y Two Spirits One. Mis artículos han sido publicados en 11 países. Me gusta la comida peruana, deportes, leer y viajar.
BOYCOTT everything ARIZONA
Here is a partial list of Arizona based companies to boycott until they put pressure on the state to repeal their racist immigration bill.
Boycott: Ambient Weather; Boycott: Best Western International, Inc; Boycott: Cable ONE ; Boycott: Clear Channel Outdoor; Boycott: P. F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc; Boycott: PetSmart, Inc; Boycott: Ramada; Boycott: Sky Mall; Boycott: TriWest Healthcare Alliance; Boycott: U-Haul International, Inc; Boycott:The Dial Corporation; Boycott: Discount Tire Company; Boycott: Fender Musical Instruments Corporation; Boycott: Kona Grill; Boycott: Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill; Boycott: Surf City Squeeze; Boycott: Taco Time; Boycott: Circle K; Boycott: LifeLock, Inc; Boycott: US Airways Group Inc.
Even though Arizona Jeans (JC Penney) and Arizona Iced Tea aren’t based in the state, they should be boycotted also. Every company using Arizona in their product line needs to get the message: NO to RACISM, NO to RIGHT WING coups, NO to FASCIST POLICE STATES.
Another Kristallnacht in Palestine: Village Mosque Torched by Settlers
Little Kids Talk About Seeing Their Mother and Father Die “They took the most precious and beloved of my heart, Mama and Papa”
An interview with Nancy Kamal Taher Hamdiya, 28, of Jenin
Tributes to Maasa and Jamaa
On May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, 2010, 200,000 people took to the streets in Athens in a general strike.
First, the background, then the May 5th update…
After the Greek Riots
A few bullets fired by a cop and a kid lying dead on the street. Cities burn for weeks. For the spectacle-hungry media machine, the story begins and ends here. All else, before and after, is void.
Follow the corporate media and the Greek revolt died a long, long time ago. What’s happening in Greece at the moment? What’s the revolt’s legacy, where did all that energy go? Why should you care, screams the media machine, haven’t you heard? The revolt has died. And, even more importantly, The King is dead!
Back on the ground, of course, the revolt is far from dead. Its legacy is very much alive, getting inscribed deeper day after day. The police, having ridden itself from the burden of neutrality, can openly cooperate with fascist thugs, who feel confident enough to throw molotov cocktails against demonstrators in solidarity with undocumented migrants (Athens, July 8). Undocumented migrants, in turn, are explicitly the aim of the most recent wave of state repression: “First we’ll go for the migrants, then for the anarchists”, as the minister of public order so eloquently put it. Even he seems to be unable to catch up with the events: the only December demonstrator still in prison is held (still without trial) precisely because he is an anarchist and therefore consists “a threat to democracy” (wording of the court of misdemeanours, Athens, July 8).
The greek state seems conscious in that it cannot take another revolt of the size of December’s – and determined in not allowing this to happen.
Under this wave of repression, solidarity links are more important than ever. Armed with the experience of December, with the certainty that the return to normality is not option. Armed with a belief in a more just world – and not much else. Democracy has chosen its enemies: The migrants, the anarchists, all the outsiders unable or unwilling to fall back in line.
Having reported on December’s revolt and its immediate aftermath, this blog will now go on to cover everyday life in Greece as it is today. Expect eye-witness reports from everyday struggles, from the demonstrations in Athens (mostly) and in other cities across the country. Reports on the hunger strike of Thodoros Iliopoulos, the last prisoner of the revolt.
Please don’t expect any “impartial” reports (as if these could ever exist). This is an anarchist take on the situation in the country. A democracy that wages war on migrants and anarchists; a democracy armed with fascist thugs, with molotov cocktails and hand grenades; a democracy producing the silent death of the concentration camp (a silence reproduced and amplified by the media machine) is a democracy worth fighting against. Let’s make some noise.
(below is the “about” section of this blog as it went live on December 8, 2008 – two days after Alexis’ assassination).
On the night of December 6th, police shot 15-year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in cold blood in the Eksarhia district of Athens. Since that night, Athens and tens of other greek cities have been burning.
On the same night, up to 10,000 people took the streets of Athens on a spontaneous demonstration, burning and smashing banks, ministries and multinational shops. Ever since, tension has been increasingly escalating: universities are occupied, as are most of the high schools in the country. Barricades are being put up around Athens; clashes with the police are constant.
On Tuesday, 9.12, the funeral of Alexandros is taking place and a general strike is called for Wednesday the 10th – a day both sides are building up for.
The purpose of this blog is to provide up-to-date information on the Greek riots, directly from the streets. Authors are contributing from the Greek cities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras.
The updates will be irregular and as frequent as permitted, given the circumstances. The updates will be mostly text-based. Confirmed reports will be presented as such – and so will rumours. We are not journalists and we are not objective; we chose sides in the social war a while ago.
In memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos.
The struggle of humanity against authority, as always, continues.
May 6, 2010 update
The statement below was issued a few hours ago by the anarchist squat of Skaramanga and Patision in Athens.
The murderers “mourn” their victims
(Regarding today’s tragic death of 3 people)
The enormous strike demonstration which took place today, 5th of May turned into a social outflow of rage. At least 200,000 people of all ages took to the streets (employees and unemployed, in the public and private sector, locals and migrants) attempting, over many hours and in consecutive waves, to surround and to take over the Parliament. The forces of repression came out in full force, to play their familiar role – that is, of the protection of the political and financial authorities. The clashes were hours long and extensive. The political system and its institutions reached a nadir.
However, in the midst of all this, a tragic event that no words can possibly describe took place: 3 people died from infusions at the branch of Marfin Bank on Stadiou Avenue, which was set ablaze.
The state and the entire journalistic riff-raff, without any shame toward the dead or their close ones, spoke from the very first moment about some “murderer-hooded up youths”, trying to take advantage of the event, in order to calm the wave of social rage that had erupted and to recover their authority that had been torn apart; to impose once again a police occupation of the streets, to wipe out sources of social resistance and disobedience against state terrorism and capitalist barbarity. For this reason, during the last few hours the police forces have been marching through the center of Athens, they have conducted hundreds of detentions and they raided – with shootings and stun-grenades – the anarchist occupation “space of united multiform action” on Zaimi street and the “migrant haunt” on Tsamadou Street, causing extensive damage (both these places are in the Exarcheia neighbourhood of Athens). At the same time the threat of a violent police eviction is hanging over the rest of the self-organised spaces (occupations and haunts) after the Prime-ministerial speech which referred to soon-to-come raids for the arrest of the “murderers”.
The governors, governmental officials, their political personnel, the TV-mouthpieces and the salaried hack writers attempt in this way to purify their regime and the criminalise the anarchists and every unpatronised voice of struggle. As if there would ever be the slightest of chances that whoever attacked the bank (provided the official scenario stands) would possibly know there were people inside, and that they would torch it alight regardless. They seem to confuse the people in struggle for themselves: them who without any hesitation hand over the entire society to the deepest pillage and enslaving, who order their praetorians to attack without hesitation and to aim and shoot to kill, them who have lead three people to suicide in the past week alone, due to financial debts. [NOTE: THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POINT. Politicos and corporate CEOs think everyone is like they are: willing to kill for an agenda…. Theirs is the lowest motive possible: avarice. They simply cannot imagine anyone risking their lives or livelihoods for an altruistic goal, such as peace or justice].
The truth is that the real murderer, the real instigator of today’s tragic death of 3 people is “mister” Vgenopoulos, who used the usual employers’ blackmailing (the threat of sacking) and forced his employees to work in the branches of his bank during a day of strike – and even in a branch like the one of Stadiou Avenue, where the strike’s demonstration would pass through. Such blackmailing is known only too well by anyone experiencing the terrorism of salaried slavery on an everyday level. We are awaiting to see what excuses Vgenopoulos will come up with for the relatives of the victims and for the society as a whole – this ultra-capitalist now hinted by some centers of power as the next prime minister in a future “national unity government” that could follow the expected, complete collapse of the political system.
If an unprecedented strike can ever be a murderer…
If an unprecedented demonstration, in an unprecedented crisis, can ever be a murderer…
If open social spaces that are alive and public can ever be murderers…
If the state can impose a curfew and attack demonstrators under the pretext of arresting murderers…
If Vgenopoulos can detain his employees inside a bank – that is, a primary social enemy and target for demonstrators…
…it is because authority, this serial murderer, wants to slaughter upon its birth a revolt which questions the supposed solution of an even harsher attack on society, of an even larger pillage by capital, of an even thirstier sucking of our blood.
…it is because the future of the revolt does not include politicians and bosses, police and mass media.
… it is because behind their much-advertised “only” solution, there is a solution that does not speak of development rates and unemployment but rather, it speaks of solidarity, self-organising and human relationships.
When asking who are the murderers of life, of freedom, of dignity, the ferments of authority and capital, they and their tuft hunters only need to take a look at their own selves. Today and every day.
HANDS OFF FREE SOCIAL SPACES
IT IS THE STATE AND THE CAPITALISTS WHO ARE THE MURDERERS, TERRORISTS AND CRIMINALS
EVERYONE TO THE STREETS
from the open assembly of the evening of 5/5/2010
______________________ China Rose’s Comment _____________________
No one involved in the general strike action wanted to kill bystanders. The purpose of anarchism is to take actions to save lives by fighting for social change. The bank management knew that. They also knew that the bank should have been shut down, and that if their employees got hurt, anarchists would be blamed. Can anyone doubt that they are capable of deliberately putting their employees in harm’s way, of being willing to sacrifice their employees lives? Particularly for a political message? EMPLOYERS do this EVERY DAY. This is the nature of capitalism.
Two examples: Look at Massey Energy and BP in the US.
Massey Energy was cited for mine safety violations continuously. They sneered at the regulations, and refused to put safety controls in place. They didn’t give a DAMN about the lives of their faithful employees. Now, over 30 miners are dead, suffocated or burned to death underground.
BP operated an offshore drilling rig without adhering to safety standards or preparing for the possibility of an oil spill. When the rig blew up, their employees were blown to bits. People’s lives throughout the entire Gulf region have been ruined, along with a precious ecosystem and all its animals. The suffering caused by this massive oil spill is beyond measure.
These corporations — and ALL corporations — refuse to even protect their own employees. They are victimizing entire regions for ugly profit. Every day. They lie, cheat, connive, manipulate, steal and kill — for profit. They are the world’s greatest criminal syndicates, and banks enable them to thrive. Banks are parasites that feed off the work and sweat of everyday people. They will do anything to stop journalists, whistleblowers or activists who are becoming too effective. They murder with impunity — regularly. That is what corporations DO. That’s what the state does.
The state’s job is to protect and defend corporations. They’ll dispatch police and military by the tens of thousands to enforce corporate rape and plunder. They’ll rob and kill their owns citizens to perpetuate corporate dominance and murder innocent people in other countries by the millions to expand their empires.
BANKS AND CORPORATIONS — and their GOVERNMENT FLUNKIES AND WHORES KILLED THOSE 3 BANK EMPLOYEES. They will continue to kill UNLESS STOPPED.
Haiti: A Creditor, Not a Debtor
By Naomi Klein, The Nation, February 11, 2010
If we are to believe the G-7 finance ministers, Haiti is on its way to getting something it has deserved for a very long time: full “forgiveness” of its foreign debt. In Port-au-Prince, Haitian economist Camille Chalmers has been watching these developments with cautious optimism. Debt cancellation is a good start, he told Al Jazeera English, but “It’s time to go much further. We have to talk about reparations and restitution for the devastating consequences of debt.” In this telling, the whole idea that Haiti is a debtor needs to be abandoned. Haiti, he argues, is a creditor—and it is we, in the West, who are deeply in arrears.
Our debt to Haiti stems from four main sources: slavery, the US occupation, dictatorship and climate change. These claims are not fantastical, nor are they merely rhetorical. They rest on multiple violations of legal norms and agreements. Here, far too briefly, are highlights of the Haiti case.
§ The Slavery Debt. When Haitians won their independence from France in 1804, they would have had every right to claim reparations from the powers that had profited from three centuries of stolen labor. France, however, was convinced that it was Haitians who had stolen the property of slave owners by refusing to work for free. So in 1825, with a flotilla of war ships stationed off the Haitian coast threatening to re-enslave the former colony, King Charles X came to collect: 90 million gold francs–ten times Haiti’s annual revenue at the time. With no way to refuse, and no way to pay, the young nation was shackled to a debt that would take 122 years to pay off.
In 2003, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, facing a crippling economic embargo, announced that Haiti would sue the French government over that long-ago heist. “Our argument,” Aristide’s former lawyer Ira Kurzban told me, “was that the contract was an invalid agreement because it was based on the threat of re-enslavement at a time when the international community regarded slavery as an evil.” The French government was sufficiently concerned that it sent a mediator to Port-au-Prince to keep the case out of court. In the end, however, its problem was eliminated: while trial preparations were under way, Aristide was toppled from power. The lawsuit disappeared, but for many Haitians the reparations claim lives on.
§ The Dictatorship Debt. From 1957 to 1986, Haiti was ruled by the defiantly kleptocratic Duvalier regime. Unlike the French debt, the case against the Duvaliers made it into several courts, which traced Haitian funds to an elaborate network of Swiss bank accounts and lavish properties. In 1988 Kurzban won a landmark suit against Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier when a US District Court in Miami found that the deposed ruler had “misappropriated more than $504,000,000 from public monies.”
Haitians, of course, are still waiting for their payback–but that was only the beginning of their losses. For more than two decades, the country’s creditors insisted that Haitians honor the huge debts incurred by the Duvaliers, estimated at $844 million, much of it owed to institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. In debt service alone, Haitians have paid out tens of millions every year.
Was it legal for foreign lenders to collect on the Duvalier debts when so much of it was never spent in Haiti? Very likely not. As Cephas Lumina, the United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt, put it to me, “the case of Haiti is one of the best examples of odious debt in the world. On that basis alone the debt should be unconditionally canceled.”
But even if Haiti does see full debt cancellation (a big if), that does not extinguish its right to be compensated for illegal debts already collected.
§ The Climate Debt. Championed by several developing countries at the climate summit in Copenhagen, the case for climate debt is straightforward. Wealthy countries that have so spectacularly failed to address the climate crisis they caused owe a debt to the developing countries that have done little to cause the crisis but are disproportionately facing its effects. In short: the polluter pays. Haiti has a particularly compelling claim. Its contribution to climate change has been negligible; Haiti’s per capita CO2 emissions are just 1 percent of US emissions. Yet Haiti is among the hardest hit countries—according to one index, only Somalia is more vulnerable to climate change.
Haiti’s vulnerability to climate change is not only—or even mostly—because of geography. Yes, it faces increasingly heavy storms. But it is Haiti’s weak infrastructure that turns challenges into disasters and disasters into full-fledged catastrophes. The earthquake, though not linked to climate change, is a prime example. And this is where all those illegal debt payments may yet extract their most devastating cost. Each payment to a foreign creditor was money not spent on a road, a school, an electrical line. And that same illegitimate debt empowered the IMF and World Bank to attach onerous conditions to each new loan, requiring Haiti to deregulate its economy and slash its public sector still further. Failure to comply was met with a punishing aid embargo from 2001 to ’04, the death knell to Haiti’s public sphere.
This history needs to be confronted now, because it threatens to repeat itself. Haiti’s creditors are already using the desperate need for earthquake aid to push for a fivefold increase in garment-sector production, some of the most exploitative jobs in the country. Haitians have no status in these talks, because they are regarded as passive recipients of aid, not full and dignified participants in a process of redress and restitution.
A reckoning with the debts the world owes to Haiti would radically change this poisonous dynamic. This is where the real road to repair begins: by recognizing the right of Haitians to reparations.
[And we’re not even mentioning HAARP here…]
Haiti: The Politics of Rebuilding