Haiti: US, UN beef up troop strength

The US is sending another 4,000 sailors and marines to Haiti for the earthquake relief mission, diverting them from deployments in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and three-ship USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group would “significantly” increase the ability to quickly provide aid, the Navy said. The move will increase the number of US troops involved to about 16,000. (BBC News, Jan. 20)

The United Nations also said it would send an additional 3,500 troops and police to Haiti to beef up its 9,000-strong force there. Brazilian UN peacekeepers helped Haitian police recapture some of the 4,000 prison inmates who escaped from a collapsed jail after the quake. Canada has also deployed 2,000 troops, although the Haitian government rejected an offer from the neighboring Dominican Republic to send 800 troops.

However, while military escorts were needed to deliver relief, the UN said security problems were mainly restricted to areas already considered “high risk” before the disaster. “I have seen no indications that lead me to believe that the security situation is deteriorating,” said General Floriano Peixoto, chief of the Brazilian UN peacekeeping contingent which leads the UN mission in Haiti. (AlJazeera, Jan. 20)

See our last posts on Haiti.

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  1. Internet conspiranoids: US caused earthquake
    The relentless conspiranoids at Citizens for Legitimate Government note a Jan. 15 report from Nextgov.com that Jean Demay, technical manager for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), “happened to be at the headquarters of the US Southern Command in Miami preparing for a test of the system in a scenario that involved providing relief to Haiti in the wake of a hurricane. After the earthquake hit on Tuesday, Demay said SOUTHCOM decided to go live with the system. On Wednesday, DISA opened up its All Partners Access Network, supported by the Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, to any organization supporting Haiti relief efforts. The information sharing project, developed with backing from both SOUTHCOM and the Defense Department’s European Command, has been in development for three years.” CLG adds an editorial “Holy HAARP, Batman!”—implying that the earthquake was intentionally caused by the Pentagon’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program.

    The San Francisco Chronicle’s SF Gate blog did note Jan. 19 that Guatemala, Venezuela and Argentina all experienced earthquakes in the days after the Haiti quake. Um…

    1. Did he or didn’t he?
      The pro-Chávez blogs Abiding in Bolivia, BoRev.net and Rebelion are claiming that the wacky speculation did not issue from El Presidente himself, but began as a reader comment on the website of Venezuela’s state-controlled ViVe TV. Fox News turns the reader comment into a ViVe TV “press release,” while the conservative Spanish newspaper ABC went one better by turning it into an actual Chávez quote! We do hope that Hugo will weigh in and clear the air on this.

      Meanwhile, the anti-Chávez Z-Word Blog (for Zionism, we presume) accuses Señor Presidente of hypocrisy if not wackiness:

      Chavez Attacks US, Holds Haiti to Ransom
      The bêtes noires of the far left – the US and Israel – have rushed to bring aid to earthquake-devastated Haiti. So it won’t come as a surprise to learn that the counter-attack against these imperialist dogs has begun, led by Hugo Chavez.

      Speaking on his weekly television rant, “Alo Presidente,” Chavez claimed that the real goal of the US was the military occupation of Haiti. Addressing President Obama with the racist pejorative “chico” – “boy” – he issued the following instruction: “Obama, send doctors, boy. Do you understand me? Send doctors, rescue workers, medicine, water, instead of sending soldiers.” […]

      One pressing matter which Chavez didn’t address is the punishing debt of $167 million which Haiti owes to Venezuela. Last July, the Paris Club agreed to cancel $214 million of Haitian debt, but no similar announcement has been forthcoming from Caracas, even after the earthquake. Perhaps Chavez has earmarked those funds for Hamas.

      “Chico” is actually more of a diminutive than a pejorative, although that still doesn’t make it kosher…