Clovis Debunk – tilde – Aug 11

okay, the clovis or llano culture was a group of paleo-indians who first settled in the americas roughly 13k years ago. they are identified by their very unique stone arrowheads that look more like a spade than a triangle. for a very long time, the anthropological community held firm to the “clovis-first” theory, because they were ubiquitous and until that time, the oldest finds that were accurately dated.

the clovis people are most likely from the same group that occupied japan, the northern russian coasts, the ryuku islands, kamchatka, etc. during the glacial retreat about 14k years ago, the open passage included the bering land bridge as you all know, and the clovis people migrated into the americas following the pacific coast on down and slowly disseminating into the east as well. one particular site in vancouver is interesting, it shows lengthy habitation during a period where sceintists figured that a steady migration south would be in the minds of these early people, as the ice age proper had not quite ended.

anyway, this model was the stock and accepted theory of human migration into the americas forever, until a few key sites were accurately dated. in The Great Shit Wastes(archivists note: texas?), a hand axe factory was discovered that predated the clovis peoples by 4k years. the site in the op by 5k. remains of habitation on the west coast from 18k years ago, fire pits, stone tools, bits of really simple bonework. undeniable evidence of human habitation before the clovis people were on this continent. there is a site in brazil that suggests humans were there 30k years ago, outdating the clovis people by nearly 20k years.

when the evidence was first brought to the attention of the scientific community, it was rejected out of hand as faulty dating or bad field work or whatever. then more sites came in. and more. and more.

anyway, the coastal theory of migration. because the land bridge between the bering straights would have been under miles and miles of ice at the time, there was no crossing there. they would have starved and frozen before getting much north of southern kamchatka, so the americas had to have been reached by watercraft.

the aborigines of australia reached their continent via boat. australia was not connected to any landmass at the time of initial human contact. 60-50k years ago, australia was as it is today. a big fuckin island. many of the islands of asia that were populated 40k years ago were also islands then. humans had command of the seas for a very long time.

there are two competing theories and one idiotic bullshit theory. migration via the pacific islands from a jumping off point of papua or the philippines, or a route from one of the seafaring peaople of japans islands up north following the coast of russia, the land bridge, and finally alasks and british columbia. the crazy one is a guy who thinks amerindians come from europe because of a slight similarity in hand axes between the inhabitants of 25k years ago germany and the tool making cultures of pre-clovis societies. no one listens to him.

the reason all this is significant, i mean other than spitting in the face of the entire established anthropological community, is that it means humans made long distance, not just island hopping, sea voyages before we could even plant food or domesticate cattle. human beings are incredible creatures. also, think about this: a group of seafaring nomadic people land on a brand new continent on a fertile western coast, then they trek it through the rockies (in the middle of an ice age, mind you) through the great plains which are little more than a vast grassy desert, through the dense forests of the eastern us, to the coast on the other side.

niel armstrong aint shit. those are the true pioneers.

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AAH Debunk – Tilde – Aug 11

theres a neat way that the louse has taught us about our own anatomical development in the past. the body louse and head louse are very different. the body louse lives mainly on clothes and has adapted thusly, changing away from the head louse, which has stayed the same for a very long time, and when us humans were still covered in hair, they ranged over the whole body. now they are relegated to the head.

researchers have pinned down a rough range of when the head louse adapted into the body louse. about 120k to 80k years ago. the first clothes were warn during this period. humans were becoming less hairy. this is a recent development in the scale of human evolution.

one of the hinges on which the aquatic ape hypothesis rests is that we are relatively hairless and our hair follows water contours. it also hinges on the fat thing, as well. we have more subcutaneous fat because we are a hairless creature that survived a lengthy and devastating ice age not so long ago. the kinds of changes aah would have precipitated would have needed to occur millions of years ago, but millions of years ago, and up to 100k years ago, we were hairy apes. had aah been part of our history, we would have been hairless from 5 millions years ago and on.

we werent. we were hairy up until 100k years ago, and we’re fatty because we’re a) hairless and b) the brain requires an ENORMOUS amount of energy. the best way for an animal with a calorie glutton like the human brain is subcutaneous fat. that’s why humans gain weight much quicker and more easily than other predatory animals when fed a fatty diet. a bear eats nothing but salmon fat for 9 months and gets fat for hibernation, but most of that fat is marbled into the bears muscles. we put our fat in a insulating ring around our innards.

thats why the aah is garbage.

Haiti: The Effortpost, Part II (1991-1994) – HenryKrinkle – Mar 11

This era in Haiti’s history will only be introduced in the OP and then continued in a series of replies I will make in this thread.

Behind the Scenes: Dirty Dealings

Beginning in the mid-1980s, the CIA and DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) cultivated a relationship with key members of Haiti’s military, primarily by making payments in exchange for intelligence. This relationship was disclosed in the New York Timespiece (Weiner 1993a), that contained a defense of the CIA by House Representative Robert G. Torricelli (D-NY) as a necessary method of obtaining information on Haiti’s internal politics.

NYT quoting Torricelli posted:

“The US Government develops relationships with ambitious and bright young men at the beginning of their careers and often follows them through their public service,” he said. “It should not surprise anyone that these include people in sensitive positions in the current situation in Haiti.”

William Blum posted:

This argument, which has often been used to defend CIA bribery, ignores the simple reality […] that payments bring more than information, they bring influence and control; and when one looks at the anti-democratic and cruelty levels of the Haitian military during its period of being bribees, one has to wonder what the CIA’s influence was.

The NYT also disclosed that the CIA in Haiti founded an organization staffed with officers from the Haitian army known as the National Intelligence Service (with the appropriate French acronym SIN) in 1986. While originally founded with the stated purpose of fighting the drug trade, the agency’s members would later be implicated in drug trafficking as well as acts of political terror against Aristide supporters. SIN received anywhere from half a million to a million dollars a year from the CIA. One American Embassy official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described it as a “a military organization that distributed drugs […] It never produced drug intelligence. The agency gave them money under counternarcotics and they used their training to do other things in the political arena.” The agency was also accused by an Aristide administration official in exile of accomplishing “nothing but political repression.” While in office Aristide attempted to have the agency shut down. He was then rebuffed by the CIA, who assured him that the agency would be reformed (Weiner 1993b).

The First Coup

Noam Chomsky, 8 November 2002 posted:

I was there [in Haiti] at the time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such terror; the people were really terrified.

The night of 29 September 2001, a crowd gathered around Aristide’s house. A mutiny that broke out among the army and Port-au-Prince police force that night turned into an all out putsch by the next morning. The military captured the National Palace and arrested Aristide along with most of his administrative officials. This time around, the army was prepared to engage in massive repression in order to enforce its will. Many of the soldiers had been paid up to $5,000 each from prominent Haitian oligarchs to take part in the coup.When they opened fire on the inevitable demonstrations, they did not stop. According to an unnamed monitor of US intelligence operations, the soldiers “ran out of ammunition so fast that it seems the US had to resupply them with night-time helicopter flights from Guantanamo” (quoted in: Hallward 2007, 40). By most conservative estimates, some 300 Haitians were killed in the first night, with the Washington Post reporting 250 dead in Cité Soleil alone.

Brig. Gen. Raul Cédras, having been the provisional Commander-in-Chief of the army since July 3, became the figurehead for the coup government.

NYT quoting Cédras posted:

The armed forces of Haiti insist on reaffirming that it is an apolitical institution at the service of the Haitian people. It will respect constitutional order, guarantee democratic liberty and will not condone any act of pillage and even less so the flaming tire necklace execution.

A report released on 21 October by the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations counted at least 1,000 dead in the first few weeks of the coup. In addition to sacking the homes and offices of Aristide’s cabinet officials and prominent supporters, the coup regime also targeted radio stations that were sympathetic to Aristide. In Mark Danner’s words: “by shutting down the radio stations, they had cut off Aristide’s most potent weapon—his voice.” The US Department of Justice summarized the depth of the political repression when it accused the junta of terrorizing “not only those who work to return Aristide to power but also anyone engaging in even the most basic kinds of political activity, such as mobilizing public opinion or bringing people together in any kind of grass roots organization” (1993, 17).

The coup government sought to create a thin veneer of civilian rule by swearing in Jean-Jacques Honorat, a Duvalierist and bitter Aristide opponent, as prime minister. Interestingly, Honorat was at the time the head of one of many “human rights” organizations that received funds from the National Endowment for Democracy, a private nonprofit that in turn got most of its funding from the US government (Haiti Information Bureau 1994, 208). In the summer of 1992, Honorat would be replaced by none other than Marc Bazin, the ex-World Bank official whose failed 1990 campaign for president was heavily financed by the US government.

In total, around 300,000 Haitians were either displaced or went into internal hiding. Some 60,000 fled the country in makeshift boats only to be captured by the US Coast Guard and either turned back or interned at a de facto concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. Another 25,000 were believed to have crossed the border into the Dominican Republic. The coup government would achieve a death toll of 4,000 to 5,000 during the three years it held power.

US Reaction: Official and Unofficial

US Secretary of State James Baker, 2 October 1991 posted:

By sending a mission from this body to Haiti, led by the Secretary General, we will send an important message to those who have taken power in Haiti and to the Haitian people: This junta is illegitimate. It has no standing in the democratic community. Until President Aristide’s government is restored, this junta will be treated as a pariah throughout this hemisphere—without assistance, without friends, and without a future.

The coup was vocally condemned by the UN General Assembly, the OAS, the US, and France, among many others in the international community. It is worth noting that the only reason Aristide’s life was saved was due to the intervention of the French ambassador. The OAS voted to implement economic sanctions on 7 October and the US signed into law a commercial embargo on 5 November. Despite these outward signs of support for Aristide’s legitimacy, the Bush administration seemed somewhat wary of the ousted Haitian leader. The administration showed clear signs of distancing itself from Aristide not long after James Baker’s unequivocal call for his reinstatement. More than anything, there were concerns that Aristide relied too much on “mob rule” and intimidation during the course of his rule.

The intelligence community, of course, went beyond the White House’s seemingly mixed-feelings towards Aristide. John Kambourian, the CIA station-chief in Haiti, admitted to the Los Angeles Times soon after the coup began that he hoped that the regime would last at least as long as Aristide’s term in office. During the summer of 1992, the CIA sent its National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, Brian Latell, to Haiti to report on the situation. As the CIA’s senior analyst of Latin American affairs, Latell likely was considered a reliable source for many in both the administration and Congress. In a memo later disclosed by the Miami Herald, he gave his “Impressions of Haiti”:

Brian Latell, 21 July 1992 posted:

I do not wish to minimize the role the military plays in intimidating, and occasionally terrorizing real and suspected opponents, but my experiences confirm the community’s view that there is not systematic or frequent lethal violence aimed at civilians (quoted in: Canham-Clyne 1994, 111).

This perception was widely contradicted not only by the human rights community but by the US State Department’s own human rights report, which documented “frequent human rights abuses” against Haitians during 1992 by the coup government (Blum 2003). Latell continued his memo by singing his praises for then prime minister Marc Bazin and coup leader Raoul Cédras:

Brian Latell, 21 July 1992 posted:

These meetings reinforced my view that Bazin and his [civilian] supporters are perhaps the most promising group of Haitian leaders since the Duvalier family dictatorship was deposed in 1986. […] Gen. Cédras impressed me as a conscientious military leader who genuinely wishes to minimize his role in politics, professionalize the armed services and develop a separate and competent civilian police force. I believe he is relatively moderate and uncorrupt (quoted in: Canham-Clyne 1994, 112).

On 4 February 1992, the Bush administration gave a further indication of its priorities when it announced plans to “fine-tune” the embargo by allowing US manufacturing firms to resume assembly operations in Haiti. On 24 May, President Bush signed an executive order known as the “Kennebunkport Order” that gave the US Coast Guard the authority to forcibly return all Haitian refugees interdicted on makeshift boats escaping the country without first processing their asylum claims. The order was quickly condemned by human rights groups and Bush stood accused of violating a UN convention on refugees that the US was a signatory to. Then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton condemned the order as “another sad example of the administration’s callous response to a terrible human tragedy.” He then made the assertion that he would grant temporary asylum to all credible political refugees if he were elected president. This position would be quickly reverseddays before Clinton’s first day in office amidst (unfounded) fears of a massive exodus of Haitian boat-people seeking asylum in the US.

NYT quoting Clinton posted:

“The practice of returning those who flee Haiti by boat will continue, for the time being, after I become President,” Mr. Clinton said in the broadcast. “Those who leave Haiti by boat for the United States will be intercepted and returned to Haiti by the US Coast Guard. Leaving by boat is not the route to freedom.”

Throughout the crisis, a number of diplomatic processes were initiated in which Aristide and his close associates (now living in exile in the US) and representatives from the coup regime were brought together by the international community in order to attempt a compromise. The results were predictable and disheartening. Little common ground could be found between the two parties and what agreements could be made were later reneged upon by the junta.

The first such attempt was made from 21 to 23 November 1991.Two groups, one with Aristide and his advisers and another with members from both houses of Haitian parliament, met in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia to discuss the terms on which constitutional government could be returned to Haiti. While both parties agreed with the vague notion that constitutionality should eventually be returned to the country, the parliamentarians would not even agree to put Aristide’s name in the final communiqué. A UN special rapporteur later reported that the meeting “produced no positive practical results, even though it had the merit of bringing at least two of the parties to the conflict together at the same table for the first time since the coup d’état” (Bruni Celli 1993, 26).

To Be Continued: Hopefully by next week I will have a post together going into greater detail on the repression of Haiti’s popular movements and the deft diplomacy on the part of Aristide’s team that eventually lead to his government being restored.

SOURCES
Blum, William. 2003. “Haiti, 1986-1994: Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?” in Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.

Bruni Celli, Marco Tulio. 1992. Report on the situation of human rights in Haiti (E/CN.4/1992/50). UN Commission on Human Rights, 31 January.

Canham-Clyne, John. 1994. “Selling out Democracy.” In The Haiti Files: Decoding the Crisis, ed. James Ridgeway. Washington, DC: Essential Information Books,

Haitian Information Bureau. 1994. “Events in Haiti, October 15, 1990-May 11, 1994.” In The Haiti Files: Decoding the Crisis, ed. James Ridgeway. Washington, DC: Essential Information Books, 205-240.

Hallward, Peter. 2007. Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment. New York: Verso.

US Department of Justice. 1993. Profile Series: Haiti. Washington, DC: INS Resource Information Center.

Weiner, Tim. 1993a. “Key Haiti leaders said to have been in the C.I.A.’s pay.” New York Times 1 November.

Weiner, Tim. 1993b. “C.I.A. formed Haitian unit later tied to narcotics trade.” New York Times 14 November.

Greetings from Pine Ridge – Eugene V. Debs – Jan 11


Mitakuye Oyasin, comrades. As some of you know, I live in the occupied Lakotah soverign Oyate. Ever since 1877, when Tȟašúŋke Witkó was forced to surrender, the Lakotah people have lived in poverty and deprivation the likes of which you cannot even imagine. The statistics are truly disturbing.

MORTALITY:
Lakotah men have a life expectancy of less than 44 years, lowest of any country in the World (excluding AIDS) including Haiti.
Lakotah death rate is the highest in the United States.
The Lakotah infant mortality rate is 300% more than the U.S. Average.
One out of every four Lakotah children born are fostered or adopted out to non-Indian homes.
Diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, etc. are present. Cancer is now at epidemic proportions!
Teenage suicide rate is 150% higher than the U.S national average for this group.
DISEASE:
The Tuberculosis rate on Lakotah reservations is approx. 800% higher than the U.S national average.
Cervical cancer is 500% higher than the U.S national average.
The rate of diabetes is 800% higher than the U.S national average.
Federal Commodity Food Program provides high sugar foods that kill Native people through diabetes and heart disease.
POVERTY:
Median income is approximately $2,600 to $3,500 per year.
97% of our Lakotah people live below the poverty line.
Many families cannot afford heating oil, wood or propane and many residents use ovens to heat their homes.
UNEMPLOYMENT:
Unemployment rates on our reservations are 80% or higher.
Government funding for job creation is lost through cronyism and corruption.
HOUSING:
Hundreds of elderly and children die each winter from hypothermia (freezing).
1/3 of the homes lack basic clean water and sewage while 40% lack electricity.
60% of Reservation families have no telephone.
60% of housing is infected with potentially fatal black molds.
There is an estimated average of 17 people living in each family home (many only have two to three rooms). Some homes, built for 6 to 8 people, have up to 30 people living in them.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL:
More than half the Reservation’s adults battle addiction and disease.
Alcoholism affects 9 in 10 families.
9 known methamphetamine labs allowed to continue operation.
INCARCERATION:
Indian children incarceration rate 40% higher than whites.
In South Dakota, 21 percent of state prisoners are American Indians, yet they only make up 2% of the population.
Indians have the second largest state prison incarceration rate in the nation.
Most Indians live on federal reservations. Less than 2% of Indians live where the state has jurisdiction!
THREATENED CULTURE:
Only 14% of the Lakotah population can speak the Lakotah language.
The language is not being shared inter-generationally. Today, the average age of a fluent Lakotah speaker is 65 years.
Our Lakotah language is an Endangered Language, on the verge of extinction.
Our Lakotah language is not allowed to be taught in the U.S. Government schools.

Adding to this, very rich reserves of uranium have recently been found on sovereign Lakotah territory, and despite huge opposition by the Lakotah people, the state government is going ahead with hydraulic mining operations anyway. These, of course, are the same operations which have lead to contaminated ground water and cancer epidemics nearly everywhere they have been done, but the lives of the Lakotah people are cheap in the eyes of the oppressors.

Corruption is an epidemic. Most Lakotah lack the means to vote (They are consistently denied absentee ballots, as well, despite numerous court cases) and even out of those that do, the options are slim. Any money for social programs is embezzled quickly, and political opponents of the wealthy families end up mysteriously dead on a regular basis.

The police are terribly undermanned, with only 6 police in an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. The judicial system is so overloaded that rapists and violent criminals are allowed to walk free because the tribe lacks the resources for speedy trial. This is, of course, assuming they are even caught by the sparse and incredibly corrupt police, who openly take bribes.

There have been resistance movements in the past, most notably the American Indian Movement (AIM) but they were utterly crushed by the FBI and their death squads, who’s reign of terror is still remembered by any Lakotah lucky enough to survive it. The Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONs) were trained by the FBI in Nicaragua, armed with military grade weapons and given carte blanche to do whatever they wanted, so long as it hurt the AIM.

They operated like latter day mongols, filling their pickups with as much beer and ammo as they could, then cruised around, raping, murdering and beating thousands and burning what little infrastructure the reservation had.

Now, crushed and demoralized, the Lakotah people exist in a suicidal spiral of poverty, substance abuse and extreme deprivation. They see their situation as hopeless, as the state continues to cast them aside like garbage.

This is your legacy, white america.

Haiti: The Effortpost, Part I (1492-1991) – HenryKrinkle – Jan 11

Colonization and Revolution

The term “Haiti” comes from the indigenous Arawaks’ term for their own country “Ayiti,” which means “land of the mountains.” Despite their warm reception of Columbus’ crew and their peaceful ways, the Arawaks were genocided by Spanish colonists over the next 100 years. After exhausting its resources, the Spanish moved on to other colonies, creating a vaccum that allowed French settlers to step in. The French and Spanish eventually clashed over control of the island, until the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 split it in two. The French got the Western half of the island, which they named Saint Domingue (current-day Haiti), and the Spanish eastern half was named Santo Domingo (current-day Dominican Republic).

Over the next 100 years, Saint Domingue was turned by the French into the most profitable colony in the world, creating “more revenue than all thirteen North American colonies combined” in the words of Dr. Paul Farmer. The savage exploitation of the black slave majority by the white settler minority is what made this possible. William Robinson has called the treatment of black slaves in the French-governed territory “perhaps the most extreme and arbitrary terror in modern history” (Hallward 2006, 9).

Have they not hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars? Have they not forced them to eat shit? And, having flayed them with the lash, have they not cast them alive to be devoured by worms, or onto anthills, or lashed them to stakes in the swamp to be devoured by mosquitoes? Have they not thrown them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup? Have they not put men and women inside barrels studded with spikes and rolled them down mountainsides into the abyss? Have they not consigned these miserable blacks to man eating-dogs until the latter, sated by human flesh, left the mangled victims to be finished off with bayonet and poniard? – Former Slave (Quoted in Heinl and Heinl 1995, 25)

The social order consisted of three main groups: the blancs (white colonists), affranchis (free blacks, some of whom actually owned their own slaves), and the slaves. As early as the 1850s, roving bands of former slaves and affranchis launched raids against slave plantations (Scott 2004). A massive black-led revolt began in August 1791, soon after the French Revolution, under the leadership of the legendary Toussaint L’Ouverture.

The rebellion quickly destroyed the white-owned plantations in northern Saint Domingue and continued with an assault on the port city of Cap Français. White residents of the city manged to beat back the tens of thousands of black rebels despite being vastly outnumbered. This intitial rebellion ended with some 10,000 blacks dead, 2,000 whites dead, and 1,000 plantations looted and destroyed.

The French Republic eventually decided to grant the affranchis equal rights and in 1792 sent over commissioners to pledge their support for the empowerment of free blacks. White slave-owners subsequently pledged their loyalty to the Bourbons while L’Ouverture and his men pledged loyalty to Republican France. French Commission Léger-Félicité Sonthonax formally abolished slavery in Saint Domingue in August 1793. Meanwhile, admist the chaotic situation that existed in the colony, the British and Spanish hatched a plot to invade and gain control of the French possession for themselves, with the British taking the south and the Spanish taking the north. L’Ouverture soon found himself up against former allies as various black and mullato groups aligned themselves with these new foreign invaders. He successfully routed every adversary he went up against.

L’Ouverture would gain full control of the colony by the end of the century and in 1801 was declared to be Governor-general-for-life under the new Constitution. France, now under the rule of Napoléon Bonaparte, sent over an expedition of between 16,000 and 20,000 men to take back the colony. These forces landed on the northern coast in January 1802. Utilizing alliances of convenience with various black and mullato groups, the French were able to get L’Ouverture to surrender on 5 May 1802. A month later the French abducted him and shipped him off to a prison in Fort de Joux in the Jura Mountains where he died from horrid conditions on 7 April 1803.

Incensed by the betrayal of L’Ouverture and the reinstitution of slavery, the black and mullato groups turned against the French once again. This time they kicked them out for good. The black republic of Haiti finally declared its independence in 1804 under the leadership of Jean-Jacques Dessalines.

And so began independent Haiti’s bitter 200-year-long struggle with internal strife and foreign meddling.

Unrecognized Sovereignty

The existence of a Negro people in arms, occupying country it has soiled by the most criminal acts is a horrible specter for all white nations – Letter from French FM Charles Talleyrand to U.S. Secretary of State James Madison, 1805 (Quoted in Hallward 2007, 14).

Dessalines would himself be assassinated by some of his own subordinates in 1806 and Haiti was subsequently divided into two states, a kingdom in the north and a republic in the south. The two regions would eventually be reunited as one country in 1820.

One source of the young nation’s early challenges was the pointed refusal of the white nations of Western Europe and North America to recognize its independence and grant it any trading rights. France requested a payment of 150 million francs (later reduced to 60 million francs in 1838) as “compensation” for the loss of its slaves in exchange for normalized relations and the U.S. would only grant it recognition following its own domestic confrontation with the issue of slavery in 1862. The financial arrangement with France essentially forced Haiti take out loans from European banks that it would not succeed in completely paying off until 1948, effectively destroying its prospects for economic sovereignty.

Now, the era between Jean-Pierre Boyer’s overthrow in 1843 and the start of the U.S. occupation in 1915 is worth skimming over in brief. Haiti in this time period was generally in a state of chaos and instability with constant changes in leadership.

Of the twenty-two heads of state between 1843 and 1915, only one served out his prescribed term of office, three died while serving, one was blown up with his palace, one presumably poisoned, one hacked to pieces by a mob, one resigned. The other fourteen were deposed by revolution after incumbencies ranging in length from three months to twelve years – James G. Leyburn (Quoted in Federal Research Division 1989, Chapter 6: “Decades of Instability”)

For the purposes of this effortpost, it really is not worth getting into the specifics of this time period. The country was wracked with rivalries between mulattoes and blacks on one hand and elitists and populists on the other. It was also frequently victimized by incursions from foreign powers, such as France and Germany. The penetrative economic power of the German community in Haiti (about 200 people in 1910) was what originally raised Uncle Sam’s eyebrows. The Germans “controlled about 80 percent of the country’s international commerce; they also owned and operated utilities in Cap Haïtien and Port-au-Prince, the main wharf and a tramway in the capital, and a railroad in the north” (Ibid). At a time when the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary had deep influence on U.S. foreign policy, such European meddling in the region was increasingly seen as a pretext for the U.S. to start interfering on its own terms.

The First U.S. Occupation

Dear me, think of it! Niggers speaking French – U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, 1912 (Quoted in Schmidt 1972, 48).

The experience of Liberia and Haiti show that the African race are devoid of any capacity for political organization and lack genius for government. Unquestionably there is in them an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilization which are irksome to their physical nature. Of course there are many exceptions to this racial weakness but it is true of the mass, as we know from experience in this country. It is this which makes the negro problem practically unsolvable – U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing, 30 January 1918 (Quoted in Schmidt 1972, 62-3).

The pretext for the U.S. invasion Haiti came on 27 July 1915, when president Vilbrun Guillaume Sam executed 167 political prisoners and was subsequently hacked to pieces by an angry mob. The specter of such anarchy was successfully utilized to justify the placement of U.S. sailors and marines in Port-au-Prince (Haiti’s capital) the very next day. The U.S. gained full control of Haiti’s custom houses and administrative institutions within six weeks. It would maintain a presence in Haiti for the next 19 years.

The American military regime proceeded to implement a kind of structural adjustment program avant la lettre: they abolished an “undemocratic” clause in the constitution that had barred foreigners from owning property in Haiti, took over the National Bank, reorganized the economy to ensure more regular payments of foreign debt, expropriated land to create new plantations, and trained a brutal military force designed to fight one and only one enemy—Haiti’s own domestic population. – Peter Hallward 2007, 14

Indeed, the effects of the U.S. establishment of the Gendarmerie d’Haïti, Haiti’s first professional military force, are still felt by Haitians to this very day.

By the time the last U.S. Marines left the country in August 1934, some 15,000 to 30,000 Haitians were dead as a result of the brutal responses to various uprisings. It was also clear that the occupation’s main beneficiary was the U.S. business community. While infrastructural improvements were made, these were largely done to facilitate the movement of the U.S. military throughout the country as well as the penetration of U.S. capital. The terms of trade had also been adjusted in the U.S.’ favor. But most importantly, the Haitian state’s security apparatus was now both centralized and professionalized. The consequences of this were especially visible in the 1950 military coup against president Dumarsais Estimé. Estimé was originally chosen by the National Assembly in 1946, partly because of the perception from the military that he was the “safest candidate.” He turned out to be an anti-elitist who showed great enthusiasm for social welfare initiatives. Among other things, he expanded access to public education, assisted the founding of rurul cooperatives and gave civil servants a pay raise. He angered the elite by empowering labor unions, enacting Haiti’s first ever income tax, and improving the representation of the lower and middle classes in the public sector. When he attempted to alter the constitution so as to extend his term his office, he provoked enough of a backlash that the army eventually forced his resignation on 10 May 1950.

That same year, Presidential Guard commander Major Paul E. Magloire won the presidency in an election which was designed to favor both the elite and the military. Magloire’s administration restored the economic influence of the elite and took corruption to unprecedented levels. The combination of popular outrage and concern over his attempts to maintain power past his term in office led him to flee the country, leaving the army in charge once again.

Papa Doc and Baby Doc Dvualier

Amidst a campaign of military repression (lead by army men who were trained by U.S. Marines in the 1930s), a man named François Duvalier won the presidential election in September 1957.

A former medical doctor who appealed to noirisme (black nationalism), Duveiler promised to rule in favor of the black-skinned majority and to remove the lighter-skinned mulatto elites from their societal pedestal. However, once “Papa Doc” Duvalier was in office, he ruled mostly in favor the old elites as well as his closest cronies. He established a crazed private security force that was officially called the Volunteers for National Security but were popularly known as the Tonton Macoutes.

[N]amed after the frightening bogeyman of folklore who stole children and put them in his basket, [t]he Macoutes made it clear that nobody was immune from state terror. Women, children, the elderly, state officials–all were vulnerable to indiscriminate attack at any time – Helen Scott, 2004

Despite a cut off of aid from the Kennedy administration and official wariness towards his noirisme, Duvalier still largely relied on the U.S. for supporting his regime. This was because he granted favorable terms to U.S. corporations and engaged in a massive repression against communist and leftist dissidents.

[Duvalier’s government] physically eliminated, imprisoned, or forced into exile hundreds of progressive intellectuals, writers, professors, journalists, and union and peasant leaders. The vast majority of these people had no contact with the [Haitian Communist Party] or with any other political organization. In ideological terms, most of the victims were barely what U.S. nomenclature would describe as left of center. But that was all it took.… Duvalier used the proven existence of a few armed communists to push the legislature into voting a legal monstrosity, the Anti-Communist Law of April 1969. Every “profession of communist belief, verbal or written, public or private” was declared a crime against national security and made its perpetrator into an “outlaw eligible for the death penalty meted out by a permanent military court” – Michel-Rolph Trouillot (Quoted in Scott 2004).

Upon the death of “Papa Doc” in 1971, rule over Haiti was passed on to his 19 year-old son, “Baby Doc” Jean-Claude Duvalier. “Baby Doc” was considerably more favorable to U.S. interests than and his father, and for this was rewarded with the reinstatement of U.S. aid to Haiti the same year he took power. His kleptocratic ways arguably surpassed that of his father as he soon became notorious for skimming hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Tobacco Administration and other assorted government-owned businesses. During the 1980s he was more than willing to abide by IMF and World Bank funded structural adjustment programs. He provided U.S. business interests with an investment climate consisting of minimal taxation, a low-wage workforce, and 100% profit repatriation.

The period of the Duvaliers’ rule was also one of increased international “aid,” largely in the form of loans from the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the North American and Western European governments. The corrupt regime siphoned off much of the money for personal gain and very little was invested in development. Between 1973 and 1980 Haiti’s debt increased from $53 million to $366 million, while the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty increased from 48 percent in 1976 to 81 percent 1985. Loans were contingent on an economic orientation on agricultural exports and the assembly industry–”The American Plan”–which ruined Haiti’s peasant farmers while benefiting only U.S. and Haitian corporate elites. The American plan proved an economic disaster. Official unemployment increased from 22 to 30 percent between 1980 and 1986, and in the same period economic growth showed an annual 2.5 percent decline. – Helen Scott

Neoliberalism had also succeeded at driving much of the Haitian peasantry off their traditional farming lands and into crowded slums such as Cité Soleil, where more than 200,000 of them dwelt in poorly built shacks lacking electricty, running water, and a sewage system.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, admist a scare over African Swine Fever (ASF) in Dominican Pigs, the U.S. successfully convinced Duvalier to wipe out the entire population of black Creole pigs and replace them with pigs supplied by the U.S. and international organizations. The peasantry complained that these new foreign pigs required a special treatment that they could not afford. They also claimed that compensation from the government was either insufficient or non-existent. The episode contributed to the downword spiral of poverty the Haitian people were going through and demonstrated the sheer lack of concern shown by both Haiti’s leaders and U.S. patrons.

By the mid-1980s, it was clear that the Haitian people had had enough. Informal groups called organisations populaires (OP’s) became increasingly popular by defending their communities from incursions by the security forces and Macoutes as well as providing much needed social programs that the government neglected to even consider. Small liberation theology based church groups known as ti legliz were also deeply influential. One priest in particular, Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, became very well known for his eloquently-worded and passionate sermons against Duveiler, the oligarchy, and the military.

Alone we are weak, together we are strong, together we are the flood [Lavalas]. Let the flood descend, the flood of poor peasants and poor soldiers, the flood of the poor jobless multitudes … And then God will descend and put down the mighty and send them away, and He will raise the lowly and place them on high – Sermon by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, 22 November 1988 (Quoted in Hallward 2007, 21).

In October 1985, there were street protests and raids on food distribution centers. By January 1986, the uprising had spread to six other cities. This worried the military brass, the U.S., and the business community enough to convince them that Duveiler had to leave office if any stability was to be preserved. The military officially forced Duveiler out of office on 7 February 1986. It was a period of shortlived rejoicing for the Haitian people, who were about to find out that the military had no real intentions of enacting popular reform.

The National Council of Government

Lieutenant General Henri Namphy and Colonel Williams Regala, who both led the military plot against Duvalier, ruled Haiti through the National Council of Government (CNG). The CNG actually managed to kill more Haitians in its first year in power than the Duvalier regime had managed to in the previous 15 years. Although the Tonton Macoutes were officially dismantled, many of its former members were subsequently absorbed into the army and other security forces. When journalist Mark Danner (1987) asked a group of Haitians working on mud removal for their opinion on the situtation, they responded by saying that “Duvalier is gone, but the Duvalierists are still here… The Duvalierist system was not uprooted, only the top of its head was cut off.”

The process of neoliberal restructuring was significantly accelerated under the CNG as well. The April 1986 appointment of Leslie Delatour as Minister of Finance was a sign of this. A “Chicago Boy” economist with experience at the World Bank, Delatour believed that the best way to end the legacy of Duvalierist corruption was to reduce the interference of the state in economic affairs. He closed state-owned companies and slashed tariffs on imports and exports, moves that sent many Haitians into unemployment and ruined much of what remained of Haiti’s peasantry.

As Aristide denounced both the remnants of Duvalierism and the neoliberal “death plan” for his country’s economy, his movement increasingly became the target of state-sanctioned atrocities. Popular demonstrations were with ended by army-initiated massacres and incursions into impoverished areas of Port-au-Prince became common. The CNG presided over a system often referred to as “Duvalierism without Duvalier,” and for this it alienated the U.S. foreign policy establishment and liberal sectors of the Haitian elite.

The United States is not happy with “chaos” in its client states. It’s bad for control, it’s bad for business, it’s unpredictable who will come out on top, perhaps another Fidel Castro. It was the danger of “massive internal uprisings” that induced the United States to inform Jean-Claude Duvalier that it was time for him to venture a life of struggle on the French Riviera, and a similar chaotic situation that led the US Ambassador to suggest to Avril [leader of Haiti from September 1988 to March 1989] that it was an apt moment to retire; transportation into exile for the good general was once again courtesy of Uncle Sam. Thus it was that the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince pressured the Haitian officer corps to allow a new election. – William Blum 2003, 371

Despite his own extreme reluctance to do so, Aristide was convinced by his own supporters to run in the December 1990 elections under a broad coalition of OP’s and liberal reformists. The U.S.’ most obvious pick for the candidacy was former World Bank official Marc Bazin, who received about $36 million from the U.S. to run his campaign.

Aristide’s First Presidency

After much violence and intimidation from ex-Macoutes and other assorted thugs, Aristide won the December 16 presidential elections with 67% of the vote. His victory was a source of great jubilation for the Haitian masses, who flocked to his February 7 inauguration.

The radical priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, draped in a red and blue sash presented by a peasant woman and four homeless boys, was sworn in yesterday as Haiti’s first democratically elected president. He promptly challenged the army to retire six conservative officers. Thousands of Haitians poured into the streets, singing and dancing, after Aristide’s inauguration, televised live from the Chamber of Deputies of the Legislative Palace. It came five years to the day after the fall of the 29-year Duvalier family dictatorship. […] In his first speech as president, Aristide accused the army of perpetrating violence and appealed for reconciliation. “If I could, I would come down and wash your feet” of blood, he told army chiefs gathered with him outside the National Palace. “Not one drop of blood should flow in this country again.” He asked Lt. Gen. Herard Abraham, the chief of staff, to retire six of the eight members of the Army High Command and replace them. “If these changes were made today the army would be happy, the Haitian people would be happy, the whole world would be happy, because all of you who served would enjoy a fine retirement with honor and respect,” Aristide said. […] As the newly elected president emerged from the Legislative Palace surrounded by security men, he was mobbed by well-wishers who sang and shouted his nickname, “Titid,” the Creole diminutive for “Aristide.” “The country is with you!” they shouted. “You can govern as you wish” – Associated Press, 8 February 1991 (Hayword 1991).

Even before the inauguration, the prospect of an Aristide presidency was too much for many of the Duvalierists and oligarchs to bear. On 7 January, former Macoute militia chief Roger Lafontant attempted to pre-empt Aristide by seizing power in a coup. A few reactionary sectors of the army and Presidential Guard took part in the coup by seizing control of the National Palace, which they only occupied for a couple of hours. Haiti’s ambassador to Washingon responded with assurance that the coup would fail and that Lafontant had only a small portion of the army behind him. His prediction was proven correct when the residents of Port-au-Prince’s teeming slums erupted in fury and formed a massive demonstrations of tens of thousands outside the National Palace that very same day. The soldiers proved reluctant to shoot into the crowds. After Lafontant tried to declare martial law, moderate elements within the army stormed the Palace early next morning and arrested the coup plotters with barely any resistance.

During and after the coup, large mobs of angry Haitians seeking retaliation took out their anger on multiple targets including the headquarters of Lafontant’s Duvalierist political party as well as elements of the conservative church hierchy such as the Haitian Roman Catholic Bishops Conference and the home of the Papal Nuncio. Around 40 to 50 people died in violence, with 20 to 30 of them thought to be Macoutes. Such incidents of popular reprisal would later be used to demonize Aristide’s movement as nothing more than an unruly mob of thugs who relied on violence and coercion to maintain power. Such a view, which would later became popular on the American right, ignored the overwhelmingly non-violent nature of Aristide’s rhetoric and followers in contrast to the opponents’ bloody history and ferocious campaigns of intimidation.

Once in office, Aristide worked toward his “social revolution” on gradualist terms. He improved tax collection, increased the minimum wage, initiated literacy programs, and began a modest land reform effort. On issues concerning human rights and security, Aristide was infinitely better than previous administrations. He immediately purged the military brass of its most rabid reactionaries, began replacing the hated section chief system with a democratized and apolitical police force, ended most forms of political repression, and appointed a commission to investigate state-sanctioned killings since 1986. By August, the New York Times could credibly report that “six months after his inauguration, the 38-year-old leader’s calls for change have given way to an unanticipated degree of moderation in many areas that has pleasantly surprised some skeptics while disappointing some supporters.” Such an approach, although relatively restrained, were enough to spook the economic and military elites. Aristide was making it hard for them to demonize him as a crazed radical who was remaking Haitian society in his own image. In many ways, this made him even more of a threat to their power and prestige. Since the international community ultimately saw him as a legitimately elected leader and a good democrat, any attempts to undermine him would immediately be condemned.

Naturally, there were a couple of incidents where Aristide clashed with the old guard and Haiti’s foreign tormentors. When he had the nerve to criticize the Dominican Republic for its barbaric and racist treatment of migrant Haitian plantation workers, the DR responded by deporting at least 10,000 of them back to Haiti. In August, the parliament threatened to demand the resignation of Aristide’s prime minister, René Préval. This prompted large demonstrations and media statements accusing the parliament of being riddled with vestiges of the old regime. Chamer Deputy Robert Monde in particular is accused of being a former Macoute. The protests also focused on the fact that both houses of parliament refused to vote on 97 out of 100 laws proposed since Aristide’s inauguration (Haitian Information Bureau 1994, 206).

What probably frightened Haiti’s establishment the most was Aristide’s famous “Pe Lebrun” Speech, given on 27 September 1991. It is worth quoting in its entirety:

Brothers and sisters who are born in the bourgeoisie in Haiti and who would not like to see the bourgeoisie fighting the people, and you the people who would not like to fight the bourgeoisie, but who know that the bourgeoisie must conform (play) according to the rules of the democratic game, today it’s in the name of this people, I come to tell you: Y O U who have money yet who would not like to go live outside this country of Haiti, you who would like to live in the country, when you die, you won’t take the money with you.

Put people to work. You must invest your money any old way, so that more people can find work, for: if you don’t do it, I am sorry for you! It’s not my fault, you understand!?

That money in your possession, it is not really yours. You earned it in thievery, you carried it through bad choices you made, under an evil regime, an evil system, and in all other unsavory ways. Today, seven months after February 7th, in this day ending with the numeral 7, I give you a chance, because you won’t get two, nor three chances. it’s only one chance that you’ll get, Otherwise, things won’t be good for you! (Shriek from people).

If I speak to you in that way, it’s because I’ve given you seven months to conform, and the seven months are up to the day. If I speak to you in that way, it’s not because I have forgotten that in days of justice (free wheeling justice), they could have put all these thieves to rout and grab whatever they now have, and which isn’t theirs anyway. If you don’t understand what I meant I invite you to understand. It’s Creole that I am speaking, Creole should be understood.

Now, whenever you are hungry, turn your eyes in the direction of those people who aren’t hungry. Whenever you are out of work, turn your eyes in the direction of those who can put people to work. Ask them why not? What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for the sea to dry up (He actually made a play on words, rhyming “Tann” with “Pwa Tann” which means waiting for tender beans to mature). Why don’t you start? It’s time for you to start, because the country needs you, the country needs us economically, so that we can do better, twice as much.

Whenever you feel the heat of unemployment, whenever the heat of the pavement begins to make you feel awful, whenever you feel revolt inside you, turn your eyes to the direction of those with the means. Ask them why not? What are you waiting for? Why this long wait? Are you waiting for the seas to dry up (the same allusion as above)?

And if you catch a cat (the slang in Creole for thief), if you catch a thief, if you catch a false, Lavalassian (followers of the President), if you catch a false…(he stopped right in the middle of the word), if you catch one who shouldn’t be there, don’t he-si-tate – to – give – him – what – he – deserves (staccato for effect and repeated twice, and his voice rising in a crescendo).

Your tool in hand, your instrument in hand, your constitution in hand! Don’t he – si-tate – to – give – him – what – he – deserves.

Your equipment in hand, your trowel in hand, your pencil in hand, your Constitution in hand, don’t he-si-tate – to – give – him – what – he – deserves.

The 291 (Article of the Constitution banning the Tontons Macoutes from political life for 10 years) is in the middle of the head where there is no hair (an allusion to Roger Lafontant), and says: Macoute isn’t in the game. Macoute isn’t in the game. Don’t he-si-tate – to – give – him – what – he – deserves. Three days and three nights watching in front of the National Penitentiary, if one escapes, don’t he-si-tate – to – give – him – what – he – deserves. (Repeated twice)

Everywhere, in the four corners, we are watching, we are praying, we are watching, we are praying, when you catch one, don’t he-si-tate – to – give – him – what – he – de-serves.
What a beautiful tool! What a beautiful instrument! What a beautiful piece of equipment! It’s beautiful, yes it’s beautiful, it’s cute, it’s pretty, it has a good smell, wherever you go you want to inhale it. Since the law of the country says Macoute isn’t in the game, whatever happens to him he deserves, he came looking for trouble.

Again, under this flag of pride, under this flag of dignity, under this same flag of solidarity, hand in hand, one encouraging the other, one holding the other’s hand so that from this day forward, each one will pick up this message of respect that I share with you, this message of justice that I share with you, so that the word ceases to be the word and becomes action. With other actions in the economic field, I throw the ball to you, you dribble it, you shoot, shoot from before the penalty box, shoot on the goal adroitly, because if the people don’t find this ball to hold it in the net, well, as I told you, it’s not my fault, it’s you who will find what – you – de-serve, according to what the Mother Law of the country declares.

One alone, we are weak,
Together we are strong. Together together,
We are the flood. (Frenzy … !)
Do you feel proud!) (yeah … !)
Do you feel proud! (yeah … !)

It has been alleged by many right-wingers demonizing Aristide that this speech was a call for mobs of his supporters to “necklace” his political opponents by putting tires around their necks and lighting them on fire. However, it is more likely that what Aristide was referring to was an article in the Haitian Constitution that banned Macoutes from taking part in national politics. This is especially likely when one considers that not a single necklacing had took place since Aristide had been in office. Instances of necklacing only occurred in response to provocative actions taken by the Macoutes and other various right-wing thugs before Aristide was even inaugurated.

Either way, the stage had now been set for Aristide’s first overthrow. The Haitian elite and foreign sweatshop investors knew now they were dealing with a man who would be the biggest threat their power and privilege would ever face in a lifetime.

– This efforpost was put to paper by the Something Awful poster “HenryKrinkle“.
You can follow HenryKrinkle’s highly informative Twitter stream by clicking this link.

SOURCES

Blum, William. 2003. “Haiti, 1986-1994: Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?” in Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.

Danner, Mark D. 1987. “The Struggle for a Democratic Haiti.” New York Times Magazine, 21 June.

Federal Research Division. 1989. Haiti: A Country Study. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.

French, Howard W. 1991a. “Former chief of Duvalier’s militia claims power after coup in Haiti.” New York Times, 7 January.

French, Howard W. 1991b. “Troops, storming palace, capture plotters and free president.” New York Times, 7 January.

Haitian Information Bureau. 1994. “Events in Haiti, October 15, 1990-May 11, 1994.” In The Haiti Files: Decoding the Crisis, ed. James Ridgeway. Washington, DC: Essential Information Books, 205-240.

Hallward, Peter. 2007. Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment. New York: Verso.

Hayword, Susana. 1991. “Aristide sworn in as leader of Haiti.” Associated Press, 8 February.

Heinl, Robert Debs and Nancy Gordon Heinl. 1995. Written in Blood: The History of the Haitian People. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Schmidt, Hans. 1972. The United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Scott, Helen. 2004. “200 years of U.S. imperialism: Haiti under siege.” International Socialist Review 35(May-June).