Journal: America’s Debt to–and Incapacitation of–Haiti

07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, Cultural Intelligence, History, IO Sense-Making
Chuck Spinney

How easily we forget the balance books of history.   Below are two pieces, one from the colonial era written in 2006, the other from the recent “neo-colonia” era in which the author examines the specifics of the Clinton Administration’s policies toward Haiti.  Chuck

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America’s Historic Debt to Haiti

By Robert Parry  February 10, 2006

As Haiti intrudes again on the U.S. consciousness with a new round of troubled elections, Americans see a violent, backward, poverty-stricken country run by descendants of African slaves. There are feelings of condescension mixed with a touch of racism.

But what few Americans know is that they owe this Caribbean nation a profound historical debt. Indeed, perhaps no nation has done more for the United States than Haiti and been treated as badly in return.

If not for Haiti – which in the 1700s rivaled the American colonies as the most valuable European possession in the Western Hemisphere – the course of U.S. history would have been very different. It is possible that the United States might never have expanded much beyond the Appalachian Mountains.

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Before and After the Quake

The Incapacitation of Haiti

By ASHLEY SMITH   January 14, 2010

Why were 60 percent of the buildings in Port-au-Prince shoddily constructed and unsafe in normal circumstances, according to the city’s mayor? Why are there no building regulations in a city that sits on a fault line? Why has Port-au-Prince swelled from a small town of 50,000 in the 1950s to a population of 2 million desperately poor people today? Why was the state completely overwhelmed by the disaster?

To understand these facts, we have to look at a second fault line–U.S. imperial policy toward Haiti. The U.S. government, the UN, and other powers have aided the Haitian elite in subjecting the country to neoliberal economic plans that have impoverished the masses, deforested the land, wrecked the infrastructure and incapacitated the government.

The fault line of U.S. imperialism interacted with the geological one to turn the natural disaster into a social catastrophe.

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Journal: Second Amendment versus “Police Pirvacy”

07 Other Atrocities, 09 Justice, 11 Society, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Law Enforcement, Peace Intelligence, Real Time
Rodney King Video Wiki Page

Police fight cellphone recordings: Witnesses taking audio of officers arrested, charged with illegal surveillance

Crooked cops in Boston arresting citizens for recording misconduct with cellphones

Don't Tase Me Bro Wiki

Phi Beta Iota: The police will not only lose this one, we anticipate that one day the Second Amendment will apply to radar detectors and other forms of defense against state excesses.  Certainly the public needs to take its right to be armed–both with weapons and with hip-pocket recording devices, with the utmost seriousness.

Three observations:

1.  Society has forgotten how to be civil at the same time that government has forgotten how to govern (satisfy most of the people most of the time, deal humanely with the rest).

2.  Police have become increasingly militarized and the 9/11 pork has made them more so, at the same time that the FBI and similar forms of authority have forgotten how to do arrests without a SWAT team crashing through the door first.

3.  If you tell the truth and act according to the truth, such counter-surveillance is utlimately beneficial to the truth teller rather than the abuser.

Ultimately, in our view, public use of public technologies to create public intelligence about police abuse and government waste and corporate externalizations of cost (Taiwan now pays for citizen cell recordings of pollution discharges), will be a beneficial means of restoring the public’s power over “it’s” police forces.

Journal: Haiti–Ready for a Rapid-Response Open-Source-Intelligence-Driven Inter-Agency Multinational Multifunctional Stabilization & Reconstruction Mission…

01 Brazil, 01 Poverty, 02 Infectious Disease, 03 Environmental Degradation, 07 Other Atrocities, 07 Venezuela, 08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, 11 Society, 12 Water, Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Methods & Process, Mobile, Real Time
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AP: Injured Haitians plead for help after quake

Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after the strongest earthquake hit the poor Caribbean nation in more than 200 years crushed thousands of structures, from humble shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped.

Destroyed communications made it impossible to tell the extent of destruction from Tuesday afternoon’s 7.0-magnitude tremor, or to estimate how many were dead among the collapsed buildings in Haiti’s capital of about 2 million people.

France’s foreign minister said the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was apparently among the dead.

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Phi Beta Iota: This is precisely what was briefed recently to the DIA Multinational Intelligence Fellows and earlier in Tampa to the Coalition Coordination Center (CCC) and unnoticed by DIA as well as declined by CENTCOM as a transition model toward a Multinational Decision Support Center.  The US Government does well enough with little things that can be handled by one agency, or one thing that must be handled by multiple agencies, but it does not do well as all with many things that must be handled by many players on a no-notice basis.  The reason: a C4I system that is high-side unilateral expensive and largely useless past one big contingency.  The solution: a global grid that is unclassified (commercial-level security) and open to everyone.  DIA has enormous potential as a hub for Multinational Engagement and defense-rooted open source exploitation that also impacts on the QDR and acquisition while providing Combatant Commanders with relevant unclassified intelligence for COIN and other challenges.

See Also:

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Journal: 2010–Welcome to Orwell’s World

04 Education, 07 Other Atrocities, Collective Intelligence, Communities of Practice, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics
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In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell described a superstate called Oceania, whose language of war inverted lies that “passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’, ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’.”

Barack Obama is the leader of a contemporary Oceania. In two speeches at the close of the decade, the Nobel Peace Prize winner affirmed that peace was no longer peace, but rather a permanent war that “extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan” to “disorderly regions and diffuse enemies”. He called this “global security” and invited our gratitude. To the people of Afghanistan, which America has invaded and occupied, he said wittily: “We have no interest in occupying your country.”

In Oceania, truth and lies are indivisible.

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Journal: Evaluating the Gaza Confrontation

04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 06 Genocide, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, 11 Society, Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Government, Military, Peace Intelligence
Chuck Spinney

The American strategist and military reformer Colonel John Boyd argued that nations and groups should shape their domestic policies, foreign policies, and military strategies so that they:

  • pump up one’s own resolve and increase one’s own solidarity,
  • drain away the resolve of one’s adversaries and weaken their internal cohesion,
  • reinforce the commitments of allies to one’s own cause and make them empathetic to one’s success
  • attract the uncommitted to our cause or makes them empathetic to one’s success
  • end conflicts on favorable terms that do not sow the seeds for future conflicts

These criteria are the essence of grand strategy and can be thought of as guidelines for evaluating the wisdom of specific policies or actions. And while they make sense logically and intuitively, the difficulty of defining policies that simultaneously conform to and strengthen to all these criteria is equally obvious. The latter challenge is particularly difficult for the unilateral military strategies and the coercive foreign policies like those preferred by Israel or the United States. Military operations and political coercion are often destructive in the short term, and these destructive strategic effects can be in natural tension with the aims of grand strategy, which should be constructive over the long term.

Moreover, the more powerful a country, the harder it becomes to harmonize the often conflicting criteria for a sensible grand strategy. Overwhelming power breeds hubris and arrogance which, in turn, carry a temptation to use that power coercively and excessively. But lording over or dictating one’s will to others breeds resentment. Thus, possession of overwhelming power increases the risk of going astray grand strategically.

That risk is particularly dangerous when aggressive external actions, policies, and rhetoric are designed to prop up or increase internal cohesion for domestic political reasons. Very often, the effects or military strategies or coercive foreign policies that are perceived as useful in terms of domestic political cohesion backfire at the grand-strategic level, because they strengthen our adversaries’ will to resist, push our allies into a neutral or even an adversarial corner, or drive away the uncommitted … which together, can set the stage for continuing conflict.

With these general thoughts about grand strategy in mind, read the following article by Uri Avnery and ask yourself if Israel’s most recent war in Gaza made sense at the tactical level of conflict?, the strategic level of conflict? … and most importantly, at the grand strategic level of conflict?

Chuck Spinney

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Cast Lead 2

December 28, 2009

Did we win? Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Gaza War, alias Operation Cast Lead, and this question fills the public space.

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Journal: Pakistan-Afghanistan War

04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 05 Energy, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Terrorism, 10 Security, Government, Military, Peace Intelligence, Strategy

Phi Beta Iota: Zbigniew Brzezinski is doing an enormous amount of damage in his hidden counsel to the White House; if John Hamre replaces Bob Gates in January as has been discussed, this will get worse, not better.  Below are a few odds and ends from various contributing editors, consolidated here to avoid beating a dead horse with too many postings.   We have not sought to reconcile contradictory points of view, only to honor the importance of listening to diverse points of view.   The London Telegraph piece is reproduced in full as it has disappeared from online view.

Chuck Spinney Sends on Religious Fundamentalism and the Rise of the Corporate State on What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy? on Soldiers’ Complaints of Shoddy Gear Spur Inquiry by House Democrats

Webster Tarpley Sends on Obama’s War Against Pakistan on End the War Rally Videos on  No Wind of Change After Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

Obama’s West Point speech of December 1 represents far more than the obvious brutal escalation in Afghanistan — it is nothing less than a declaration of all-out war by the United States against Pakistan.

Victor Davis Hansen on  Obama’s Wheel of Fortune: The president’s luck has changed — and he doesn’t seem to have noticed

Marcus Aurelius Sends:  Special Forces Unite To Destroy Taliban Leaders London Sunday Telegraph  December 13, 2009  Pg. 2 By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent

British and US special forces are set to open a new front in southern Afghanistan in a bid to “break the back” of the Taliban insurgency.

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