Haiti gained so much attention when it was hit by a massive earthquake in 2010, but it wasn’t just a natural disaster.
The action of the US military to control inbound flights including those carrying disaster relief materials and personnel raised some hard questions.
It turned out, it was a deliberate atack to force the Haitian government to surrender their hard currency, i.e. gold bullion, from its central bank .
No wonder those hired mercenaries needed to secure an entire airport.
“After the colossal disaster of the January 12, 2010, earthquake in which estimates of over 200,000 Haitians lost their lives, the government of Haiti, instead of setting forth plans to give some modicum of dignity to its people now living in tent cities throughout the land, has decided to act like the restaveks (indentured servants) to Western Corporatists and Haiti’s traditional parasitic “commercial elite” by facilitating wholesale sell offs of Haitian assets and natural resources such as oil, gold, and farmland….The speculations about the natural resources …need to cease. The current Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean Max Bellerive has already admitted publicly that not only is there oil, gold, most likely iridium in Haiti, but that contracts with certain “undisclosed entities” have already been made for exploitation of such natural resources.”
– Haiti for Sale by Pascal Robert for The Huffington Post, May 4, 2010
“It turns out that Clinton’s brother was given a permit to mine for gold in Haiti right after that country was hit by an earthquake and a tsunami that killed over 220,000 people.
Paul Laine from Pentagon intelligence previously told this writer the Haiti tsunami and earthquake had been triggered by nuclear weapons placed on the sea bed. So now we have the motive for that attack: the extortion of gold mining permits. That is the sort of criminal mind that has been running the cesspool in Washington D.C.”
Wall Street and Military Intervention: Citigroup’s Imperial History in Haiti
By Peter James Hudson
Citigroup Inc.’s online timeline commemorating its 200th anniversary says little about the Republic of Haiti — and no wonder. While the anniversary campaign for the global financial services giant presents a story of achievement, progress, and world-uniting vision, Citigroup’s first encounter with Haiti is remembered as both among the most spectacular episodes of U.S. dollar diplomacy in the Caribbean and as an egregious example of Washington working at the behest of Wall Street. It is also marked by military intervention, violations of national sovereignty, and the deaths of thousands.
In the early 20th century, the National City Bank of New York, as Citigroup was then called, embarked on an ambitious and pioneering era of overseas expansion. Haiti emerged as one of National City’s first international projects. In 1909, Speyer and Co. invited National City President Frank A. Vanderlip to join in the purchase of a moribund American-controlled railway concession in Haiti.
Vanderlip agreed and the purchase turned out to be a “small but profitable piece of business” for the bank. But Vanderlip wasn’t interested in the acquisition for its short-term returns. He thought the stock would give National City a “foothold” in the country that could lead to a risk-free and profitable reorganization of the Haitian government’s finances.
The next year, Haiti’s government cancelled the contract of the Banque Nationale d’Haiti, giving Vanderlip the opportunity he sought. Chartered in 1880, the Banque Nationale was owned by France’s Banque de l’Union Parisienne and was contracted by the Haitian government to finance the national debt and handle the fiscal operations of the state. It was continually dogged by scandal. Haitian politicians accused its directors of graft and fiscal malfeasance (at one point its foreign managers were jailed) and local political aspirants saw the bank’s currency reserves as a bounty for winning political office.
When a new contract was drawn up, the U.S. State Department intervened, claiming it placed an unfair burden on the Haitian people while giving too much leeway to the French to intervene in Haiti’s internal affairs. They also argued that the new contract didn’t represent the American interests then gunning for a share of Haiti.
As a result of State Department pressure, a new institution, the Banque Nationale de la République d’Haïti, was chartered. The Banque de l’Union remained the majority shareholder, but National City – alongside a number of other American banks and a German one – was offered a minority interest.
The Banque Nationale’s executive decisions were made by a committee split between the Banque de la Union in Paris and the National City Bank in New York. Chairing the New York committee was Roger Leslie Farnham. Farnham had spent a decade working as alobbyist for the corporate law firm Sullivan and Cromwell before Vanderlip recruited him to National City in 1911. Farnham lobbied Washington on behalf of the bank, and eventually took charge of all of its Caribbean operations, including in Haiti.
With the onset of World War I, French interests in the Banque Nationale receded. Farnham assumed a large role in its direction while National City slowly began buying out its stock. At the same time, Farnham was becoming a major influence on State Department policy in Haiti. In 1914, Farnham, who once described the Haitian people as “nothing but grown up children,” drafted a memorandum for William Jennings Bryan, then U.S. secretary of state arguing for military intervention as a way of protecting American interests in Haiti. Sending troops, insisted Farnham, would not only stabilize the country, but be welcomed by most Haitians.
That summer, Bryan cabled the U.S. Consul in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti’s second city, stating that he “earnestly desired the implementation of Farnham’s plan.”
Meanwhile, Farnham and National City worked to destabilize the Haitian government. They refused to pay government salaries over the summer, and in December they ordered the transfer of $500,000 of the Republic’s gold reserves to National City’s vaults at 55 Wall Street in Manhattan. The gold was packed up by U.S. Marines, marched to Port-au-Prince’s wharfs, and shipped aboard the USS Machias to New York.
The bank argued that they owned the gold contractually and were bound to protect it from possible theft. The Haitians saw it as robbery, pure and simple, and indicative of a growing threat to the Republic’s sovereignty.
Threat turned to fact on July 28, 1915. On that day, U.S. Marines landed in Haiti and initiated a period of military rule that would last 19 years. The immediate justifications for intervention included fears of encroaching German influence and a desire to protect American life and property – especially after a spate of factional violence that included the dismemberment of the Haitian president in response to a massacre of his political opponents.
Once the occupation began, it was rationalized as a necessary measure to teach Haitians, citizens of a backward Negro republic, the arts of self-government. Sanitation reforms were enacted, education was promised, public-works projects were planned, and a national guard, later mobilized by François Duvalier to maintain control of the country, was established. In the short term, however, the most pronounced labor of the Marines was counter-insurgency. They waged a “pacification” campaign through the Haitian countryside to suppress an uprising against the occupation led by the cacos, peasant guerillas. It left thousands dead, and countless others tortured, maimed or homeless, while caco leader Charlemagne Peralte was assassinated.
For National City, the occupation provided ideal conditions for business, offering the bank the authority to reorganize Haitian finances just as Vanderlip had envisioned in 1909. By 1922, National City had secured complete control of the Banque Nationale and floated a $16 million loan refinancing Haiti’s internal and external debts. Amortization payments were effectively guaranteed from Haiti’s customs revenue and the loan contract was backed up by the U.S. State Department.
Haiti proved a lucrative piece of business for National City during the twenties. Yet by the beginning of the next decade, they began to reconsider their ownership of the Banque Nationale. Following protests that pressured the State Department to disentangle itself from Haiti, the Marines departed in 1934. National City soon followed. Fearful of losing the State Department’s protection, and wary of public criticism of their activities, the bank’s executives sold the Banque Nationale de la République d’Haïti to the Haitian government in 1935 – reluctantly closing a profitable chapter of Citigroup’s imperial history.
Peter James Hudson is an assistant professor of history at Vanderbilt University. An earlier version of this essay appeared on Echoes, the business history blog of Bloomberg.com edited by Stephen Mihm.
World Should Deliver Strong Military Blow to U.S.
These are the desperate words of one American author and foreign policy expert William Blum.
In his latest book, he considers “democracy” as America’s deadliest export commodity and we could not agree more.
Each dictatorship that they nurtured beforehand and then try to remove for democracy’s sake is replaced with sectarian violence addicted for more military hardware.
Posted: 05/24/2015 10:05 pm EDT Updated: 05/25/2015 10:59 am EDT
Memorial Day is, by federal law, a day of prayer for permanent peace. But is it possible to honestly pray for peace while our country is far and away number one in the world in waging war, military presence, military spending and the sale of weapons around the world?
Since 1980 the U.S. has engaged in aggressive military action in 14 countries in the Islamic world alone, according to research published in the Washington Post: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-present), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-present), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-present), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-prsent), Pakistan (2004-present) and now Syria. In this hemisphere, U.S. military forces invaded Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989) and landed 20,000 military forces in Haiti (1994).
U.S. Global War Machine
The U.S. has 1.3 million people in the military, and another 1 million serve in the military reserves. The U.S. has over 700 military bases in 63 countries across the world, deploying over 255,000 U.S. military personnel there. The Department of Defense officially manages over 555,000 buildings on 4,400 properties inside the U.S., and on over 700 properties across the globe. The U.S. has over 1,500 strategic nuclear warheads; over 13,000 military aircraft; dozens of submarines, many of which carry nuclear weapons; and 88 destroyer warships.
Nearly 7,000 U.S. military people died as a result of the wars waged by the U.S. since 9/11. Just as important, in Iraq over 216,000 combatants, most of them civilians, have died since the 2003 invasion. Some estimates of Iraq casualties are double that. No one even counted civilian deaths in Afghanistan for the first five years of our war there. Our drone attacks have murdered hundreds of children and civilian adults in Pakistan, and dozens more in Yemen.
World Leader in War Spending
U.S. military spending is about the same as the total of military spending by the next eight largest countries combined — that is, more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, India and Germany combined.
Since 9/11 U.S. spending on our military cost well over $3 trillion. Direct combat and reconstruction costs for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11 have officially cost U.S. taxpayers $1.6 trillion dollars, according to the Congressional Research Service. Additional trillions have been spent on growing the Pentagon budget, and for present and future increased health and disability benefits for veterans.
The U.S. military captures 55 percent of our national discretionary spending, and spending on veterans benefits is another 6 percent. Since 9/11 military spending has increased by 50 percent, while spending on other discretionary domestic spending increased by 13 percent, according to the National Priorities Project.
Corporate War Profiteers
With these trillions being spent on war, there are legions of corporations profiting.
The number-one war profiteer is Lockheed Martin, according to USA Today, with annual arms sales of $36 billion. Not surprisingly, Lockheed Martin spends over $14 million a year on lobbying the people who make the decisions about how much money is spent on weapons and which weapons will be purchased. Their CEO is paid over $15 million, according to their 2015 shareholder report, and on their board is James Ellis, a former admiral and commander in chief of U.S. Strategic Air Command, who gets paid over $277,000 for the part-time work, and James Loy, former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, who gets over $260,000 for his part-time work. Lockheed receives substantial government contracts, amounting, by one calculation, to over $260 from each taxpaying household in the U.S. They are so entitled that a 2014 special investigation by the U.S. Department of Energy found that Lockheed used taxpayer funds to lobby for more taxpayer funds.
The number-two war profiteer is Boeing, with annual arms sales of $31 billion. Boeings spends over $16 million a year on lobbying. The rest of the top ten corporations profiting from war include BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Raytheon, EADS, Finmeccanica, L-3 Communications, and United Technologies. You can track their corporate contributions to members of Congress, especially the politicians on the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate, on Open Secrets.
While most of the lobbying money has gone to Republicans, all the arms merchants hire lobbyists who can influence Democrats and Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
And these war profiteers do not just sell to the U.S. government. The U.S. sold more than $26 billion in weapons to foreign nations and has been number one for a long time, though recently that title has been going back and forth with Russia.
What to Do
On April 4, 1967, in his famous Riverside Church address, Martin Luther King Jr. said the U.S. government was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. In response, he called for a true revolution of values. This revolution calls us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies, including war and the contrast of wealth and poverty in our own country and across the world.
As he left office, former U.S. President and General Dwight Eisenhower warned citizens of the growing military-industrial complex. He saw the influence of the war machine and urged all citizens to be alert and force “the huge industrial and military machinery of defense” to respond to democracy and the peoples’ desires for peace.
What must we do?
First, we must learn the facts and face the truth that the U.S. is the biggest war maker in the world. Second, we must commit ourselves and organize others to a true revolution of values and confront the corporations and politicians who continue to push our nation into war and inflate the military budget with the hot air of permanent fear mongering. Third, we must admit what our country has been doing wrong, and we must make amends for the violence that the U.S. has waged on countries all over our world. Fourth, we must withdraw our military from all other countries, dramatically downsize our military, disarm our nuclear weapons, and truly stick to defending our own country. Fifth, we must work for peaceful, just solutions to conflict here at home and across our world. Only when we work for the day when the U.S. is no longer the world leader in war will we have the right to pray for peace on Memorial Day.
The United States’ foreign policy is all about “world domination” and not the spread of democracy as US leaders claim, according to American author and foreign policy analyst William Blum.
In his latest book, “America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy,” Blum dislodges the US government’s narrative of spreading democracy, arguing that such discourse is used by Washington to forward a self-interested and self-serving foreign policy.
Blum worked for the State Department in the 1960s, and despite long-held dreams of becoming a Foreign Policy Officer, he left the agency in 1967 after growing disillusioned with the United States’ intervention in Vietnam. Since then, Blum has dedicated his career to exposing the consequences of the US’s interventionist foreign policy.
He contends Washington has in fact not only played a part in supporting brutal dictatorships abroad, but additionally played an active role in ensuring their survival.
Giving the examples of key US allies such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Egypt, and Qatar, the author notes “it would be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship…that was not supported by the United States.”
More specifically, according to Blum, the US’ foreign policy which ostensibly seeks to promote democracy has in fact resulted in the birth of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS).
“IS would not exist if not for the US,” he said.
Washington has successfully eliminated the secular governments needed by the people in the Middle East that are currently suffering the most from Islamic extremism, Blum argued.
Afghanistan, he noted, was ruled under a “relatively progressive” secular government in the 1970s and much of the 1980s. That was until the “United States overthrew it, allowing the Taliban to come to power.”
Then came Iraq, which Blum posited was “another secular society, under Saddam Hussein,” until the US’ invasion in 2033. “Now,” he said, “The country is overrun by crazed and bloody jihadists and fundamentalists of all kinds.”
Washington continued to play its hand in regional politics through its involvement in the 2010-2011 Arab Spring, Blum noted. He pointed out that Libya had the highest standard of living among countries in Africa under Muammar Gaddafi who, “like Saddam Hussein, had a tyrant side to him, but could in important ways be benevolent and do marvelous things for Libya.”
Following the NATO-led coalition air strikes on Libya and Gaddafi’s death in 2011, however, Blum said now the country has been reduced to a “failed state.”
The same can be seen in the conflict in Syria, where Washington has “been doing its best to overthrow the secular government,” as the country turns into “a playground and battleground for all manner of crazed and bloody jihadists and fundamentalists, including everyone’s new favorite, the Islamic State.”
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, according to the author, is another example in which Washington’s involvement has only served to deteriorate the situation.
Asked about his views on the EU’s involvement there, Blum did not mince words: “The EU has been used by Washington in its new cold war against Russia,” he said, suggesting that the Union needs more “backbone to stand up to the US.”
“The US has to lose its obsession with world domination,” Blum said. “There’s nothing the rest of the world can do except join together and deliver a strong military blow to the US.”
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