The Acts of the Democracies

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Aggressor / Perpetrator Country : France

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Generated : 29th June 2017


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Pre-1945

In the early 1920s, France ruled the territory that is now Syria and Lebanon.

Along with the UK, France had promised the Arab populations of the region independence if they fought against the occupying power (the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey) during World War I.

After the War, France occupied Syria and created Lebanon from the coastal strip as a new nation. The population of the new state was roughly 50% Christian and Muslim but power was given to the pro-French Christian population.

France and Algeria

France massacres independence demonstrators in Algeria.

Vietnam

Vietnam had been a French colony before World War II. During the War, the Vietnamese (led by Ho Chi Minh and backed by the USA) had fought against the Japanese. Two million Vietnamese had starved to death while the Japanese fed their own troops.

After Japan surrenders, the Vietnamese declare independence and make Hanoi their capital. They hope for USA support against their former colonisers, basing their new constitution on that of the USA and requesting support and aid from the USA president Harry Truman.

UK troops arrive in Saigon from Burma. They aim to restore French colonial rule. They re-arm the Japanese troops and use them to drive the north Vietnamese government out of Saigon and the south. The French re-establish colonial rule in the south and set up a government in South Vietnam with Bao Dai as emperor.


1946

France and Vietnam

A deal between France and China allows France to re-occupy North Vietnam. France bombs Vietnamese cities.


1948

France in Vietnam

The USA backs French forces attempting to retake Vietnam. Thousands of civilians die in bombing.

France in Madagascar

France crushes independence movement in Madagascar with the loss of thousands of lives. After a difficult war of liberation against Germany only a few years earlier, France took on the role of invader and occupier.


1949

Laos, Cambodia

Former French colonies, Laos and Cambodia are set up as "independent" countries linked to France.


1952

France in Morocco and Algeria

France fights independence movements in Algeria and Morocco.

The USA supports the European powers in their attempts to keep their colonies. These are examples of democratic and free countries denying the same to others.


1953

France and Laos

Laos fights against French rule. Many countries are beginning to demand the freedoms enjoyed by the West. The freedom fighters are labelled as rebels and terrorists in Western media.

France in Morocco, UK in Uganda

The UK exiles King Kabaka Mutesa II of Uganda from his homeland. Sultan Muhammad V is exiled from Morocco by France.

Western countries are unwilling to let go of their colonies, removing leaders and monarchs in order to keep the population leaderless.


1954

End of Vietnam-France War; Beginning of Vietnam-USA War

The French are defeated by Vietnam forces and forced to withdraw. The USA helps France militarily then takes over the French role in Vietnam. The big powers (USA, France, USSR, China) officially agree to partition Vietnam into two separate states regardless of the wishes of the people.

An agreement is proposed to allow for a referendum in 1956 to decide the future of the country. The USA refuses to agree to this knowing that over 80% of the population want reunification with the north.

Between 1945 and 1954, French forces killed over 300,000 Vietnamese.

France in Algeria

The Algerian independence movement against French settlements (colonists) gains momentum.


1955

Algerian War of Independence

France ruthlessly crushes the independence movement in Algeria. Villages are razed to the ground by French troops and settlers are allowed to kill locals at will. France boycotts a United Nations debate on the conflict. France had fought a vicious occupation by the Nazis but now continues to occupy Algeria.

War in South Vietnam

Civil war begins in South Vietnam between factions who support the USA and French backed government and those who want unity with the (communist) north run by Ho Chi Minh. The USA backed Ngo Dinh Diem deposes the French backed Bao Dai.

The USA continue their support of the south. President Dwight Eisenhower, admits that "had elections been held, possibly 80% of the population would have voted for Ho Chi Minh, the communist leader".


1956

UK, France and Israel in Egypt (The Suez Crisis)

In Egypt, President Nasser nationalises the Suez Canal then owned by a joint UK-French company. The canal had been built while Egypt was a colony of the UK.

The UK, France and USA impose economic sanctions on Egypt. Israel invades Egypt taking the Gaza Strip. This is supported by the UK and France, who bomb Egypt from the air.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces massacre 275 people in a refugee camp at Khan Younis. Another 60 people die in Gaza City after the city centre is shelled.

All of the invaders are eventually forced to withdraw by United Nations pressure after 18,000 Egyptians had died. The USA becomes the dominant power in the Middle East after this time and proposes international control of the canal.


1958

France in North Africa

France bombs a village in Tunisia in its attempt to keep Algeria as a French colony.


1960

Sahara Desert

France tests its Atom Bomb in the Sahara Desert. There is no consultation with local people.

France and Madagascar

Madagascar becomes independent from France. The French keep their hold on trade and finance and retain several bases on the island. The French backed President Tsiranana stays in power with rigged elections until 1972.


1961

Upper Volta

Upper Volta (now Burkina Fasso) gains independence from France. The French had been running a system of forced labour recruitment to supply European owned plantations.


1965

France and Guinea

Guinea severs diplomatic relations with France after the discovery of a French plot to assassinate its president.


1966

Coup in Central Africa (Bokassa)

A military coup brings Bokassa to power in Central Africa. For 13 years he rules brutally. Opponents are publicly clubbed to death in the streets (including 100 children in 1979) and all power is centralised to him and his family who bleed the country's finances.

France supports this regime because of concessions in mining the huge Uranium deposits. South Africa and the USA loan money to the government.

France and Djibuti

Djibouti votes to remain a colony of France after French authorities arrest opposition leaders and expel their followers to Somalia.


1976

South Africa

Over 170 unarmed demonstrators are killed in South Africa. Over 1,000,000 black South Africans are deprived of citizenship in the Transkei.

The USA, France and UK veto a United Nations resolution critical of South Africa's attempts to impose the apartheid system in Namibia.


1977

South Africa (Steven Biko)

Steven Biko is one of many dissidents murdered by police in South Africa. The events surrounding Biko's death are covered in the UK made film Cry Freedom.

The USA, France and UK veto 3 United Nations resolutions condemning the apartheid policies in South Africa.


1979

Central Africa

Over 100 children are killed by police in Central Africa. They had been protesting against having to buy all their school uniforms from shops owned by the president. This country is backed by France and financed by South Africa and USA.

USA, France and UK Vetos in UN

The USA, UK and France veto three United Nations resolutions concerning South Africa. The first calls for an end to all military and nuclear collaboration with the apartheid regime (The vote is 114 to 3). The second strengthens the arms embargo against the country (132 to 3). The third offers assistance to all the oppressed people of South Africa and their liberation movement (134 to 3).

The USA, UK and France veto a United Nations resolution concerning negotiations on disarmament and cessation of the nuclear arms race (120 to 3).

The USA vetoes five United Nations resolutions concerning Israel. The first calls for the return of all inhabitants expelled by Israel (121 to 3: the three are USA, Israel and Australia).

The second demands that Israel desist from human rights violations (111 to 2). The third is a request for a report on the living conditions of Palestinians in occupied Arab countries (120 to 2). The fourth offers assistance to the Palestinian people (112 to 3: the three are USA, Israel and Canada).

The fifth discusses sovereignty over national resources in occupied Arab territories (118 to 2).

The USA vetoes six United Nations resolutions concerning economics, women's rights and nuclear arms.

The first calls for protection of developing counties' exports (vote 111 to 1). The second calls for alternative approaches within the United Nations system for improving the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (136 to 1). The third opposes support for intervention in the internal or external affairs of states (104 to 2). The fourth is for a United Nations Conference on Women (121 to 2). The fifth attempts to include Palestinian women in the United Nations Conference on Women (122 to 2). The sixth safeguards rights of developing countries in multinational trade negotiations (112 to 1).


1980

South Africa

30 protesters are killed in South Africa by police. The USA, UK and France veto a United Nations resolution offering assistance to the oppressed people of South Africa and their national liberation movement. The vote is 137 to 3.

USA, France and UK Vetos in UN

The USA vetoes four United Nations resolutions: The first attempts to establish a New International Economic Order to promote the growth of underdeveloped countries and international economic co-operation. The vote is 134 to 1. The second endorses the Program of Action for Second Half of United Nations Decade for Women. This vote is 132 to 3 with Israel and Canada being the other two countries voting against. The third is a declaration of non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states. The vote is 110 to 2. The fourth emphasises that the development of nations and individuals is a human right (120 to 1).

The USA and UK veto a United Nations resolution calling for the cessation of all nuclear test explosions.

The USA, UK and France veto a United Nations resolution calling for the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

New Hebrides

The New Hebrides gains independence from UK and France after they had attempted to crush this desire militarily.


1985

Nuclear Pacific

France tests nuclear bombs on Mururoa Atoll despite protests by Australia and New Zealand.

The Pacific is declared a nuclear free zone causing the USA to withdraw concessions on military equipment to New Zealand.

Chad

In Chad, the government of President Habré kills hundreds of villagers in the south of the country. Victims are tortured, burned alive or poisoned.

A report from Amnesty International states:

"According to survivors, some of the most common forms of torture were electric shocks, near-asphyxia, cigarette burns and having gas squirted into the eyes. Sometimes, the torturers would place the exhaust pipe of a vehicle in their victim's mouth, then start the engine. Some detainees were placed in a room with decomposing bodies, other suspended by their hands or feet, others bound hand and foot. Two other common techniques consisted of gripping the victim's head between two small sticks joined by cords, which were twisted progressively, and leaving the detainees to starve."

This regime is supported, trained and financed by France and the USA.


1986

France and Ecology

France sinks the Rainbow Warrior, a boat used to publicise ecological issues.

Haiti

In Haiti, the USA backed ruler, Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, flees angry mobs for asylum in France.

He leaves with a fortune estimated at $ 400,000,000. Under Baby Doc's rule 40,000 people were killed by his death squads.

USA Vetos in UN

The USA vetoes 8 United Nations resolutions against the wishes of the majority of the world.

To set up a zone of peace and cooperation in the South Atlantic (voted by 124 to 1); To eliminate existing imbalances in the information and communications fields (148 to 1); Strengthening of international security (126 to 1); Dialogue to improve the international situation (117 to 1); Establishment of a comprehensive system of international peace and security (102 to 2 with France); Declaration on the right to development (146 to 1); Measures to improve the situation and ensure the human rights and dignity of all migrant workers (148 to 1); Protection against products harmful to health and the environment (146 to 1).


1987

USA, France and UK Vetos in UN

The USA vetoes 4 United Nations resolutions supported only by Israel:

Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (votes are 153 to 2); Calling for compliance in the International Court of Justice concerning military and paramilitary activities against Nicaragua (94 to 2); Ending the trade embargo against Nicaragua (94 to 2); Measures to prevent international terrorism, study the underlying political and economic causes of terrorism, convene a conference to define terrorism and to differentiate it from the struggle of people from national liberation (153 to 2).

The USA vetoes 2 United Nations resolutions supported only by France and / or the UK:

Calling for a comprehensive test ban (143 to 2); Calling for a halt to all nuclear explosions (137 to 3).

The USA vetoes 6 United Nations resolutions as the only country to vote against:

Financing the training of journalists and strengthening communications services in the underdeveloped world (140 to 1); Furthering international cooperation regarding the external debt problems (154 to 1); Preparation for a United Nations conference on Trade and Development (131 to 1); Opposing the build up of weapons in space (154 to 1); Opposition to the development of new weapons of mass destruction (135 to 1); Proposal to set up a South Atlantic Zone of Peace (124 to 1).

The following resolution: "A call for a convention on the rights of the child" is passed with 150 votes for, 0 votes against. The USA abstains.

The USA is the only country to boycott a United Nations conference considering how the reduction of armaments might release funds to help economic development of poorer countries.

Little of the USA's voting patterns in the United Nations is revealed in the Western media.


1988

Burma

Student demonstrations against the military government in Burma are brutally suppressed by troops. 10,000 people are killed, including many students and Buddhist monks. Thousands are arrested and tortured. Many female students are gang raped by riot police. Protesters are drowned at Inya Lake in Rangoon. 41 students die of suffocation after being crammed into a police van. Troops fire at the hospital killing doctors, nurses and the injured. Journalists are shot while filming.

Many bodies are thrown into the crematorium; some still alive. Many more bodies are buried in mass graves; some still alive.

Europe and the UK have special trade agreements with the regime.

The USA oil company, Unocal and the French oil company Total are both involved with the military government, especially in areas inhabited by the Karen, many of which are being dispossessed and killed.

The USA company Pepsi continues to trade in the country.


1989

USA and Panama

The USA invades Panama to capture Manuel Noriega, the former USA backed president whom they accuse of drug trafficking. Over 4000 Panamanians are killed in the operation with unknown numbers buried in mass graves or incinerated. Of the invaders, 23 Americans die. The USA, UK and France veto a United Nations resolution condemning the invasion.

During the invasion, residential areas are attacked by helicopters. A tank destroys a bus killing 26 people. Houses are burnt and buldozed. Over 15,000 people lose their homes. Troops shoot at ambulances killing many wounded. Access to the Red Cross is denied by the USA military.

The village of Pacora is sprayed with a gas that causes peoples' skin to burn and gives the villagers diarrhea.

Political offices, newspaper offices and radio stations are searched and looted; opposition and union leaders are detained. The office of the Panamanian publishing company ERSA (which owns three newspapers) are occupied by USA security forces who turn it over to a member of the ruling elite who had favoured USA intervention in Panama. The editor of the newspaper La Republica, which had opposed USA intervention and had reported casualty figures, is arrested by the USA military, held for six weeks and imprisoned without trial or charge.

Staff from the Embassy of Cuba are detained. Loud music is blared at the Embassy of the Vatican City after Noriega takes refuge there.

The residence of the ambassador of Nicaragua is ransacked by USA troops in violation of the Geneva Convention. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the violation of diplomatic privilege; the UK abstains. This was not reported in the USA media.

Noriega is eventually arrested and imprisoned in the USA after having worked for the CIA since the early 1950s. He had spied on fellow students, instructors and officers at the Military Acadamy for the CIA and had monitored union activity against the USA company United Fruit. During the 1980s he had been receiving $ 200,000 per year from the USA for his activities.

The Panamanian military is put under the leadership of Colonel Eduardo Herrera Hassan. The USA newspaper, The New York Times writes that Hassan "most energetically shot, gassed, beat and tortured civilian protestors during the wave of demonstrations against Gereral Noriega that erupted [in Panama] in the summer of 1987" but is "a favorite of the American and diplomatic establishment here."

Money laundering and drug trafficking continues in the new regime with USA soldiers implicated.

The news agency, Associated Press, reports that the USA Congress passes a resolution (389-26) "commending [President George] Bush for his handling of the invasion and expressing sadness over the loss of 23 American lives".

Little mention is made of Panama's civilian casualties in the USA media and no compensation has ever been paid to the thousands of homeless living in refugee camps. The poor neighbourhood of El Chorillo, flattened by the USA action, is to be redeveloped into a posh area as business opponents of Noriega had long desired.

All foreign media is banned by the USA during the invasion.

The USA president, George Bush, is asked if the capture of Noriega was worth the death toll: "I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it".

The USA author Noam Chomsky later writes:

"A few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the USA invaded Panama, killing hundreds or thousands of people, vetoing two [United Nations] Security Council resolutions, and kidnapping a thug who was jailed in the USA for crimes that he had mostly committed while on the CIA payroll before committing the only one that mattered: disobedience. The pattern of events was familiar enough, but there were some differences. One was pointed out by Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty to crimes committed when he was a State Department official during the Reagan years, and has now been appointed Human Rights specialist at the [USA] National Security Council. At the time of the invasion, he commented, astutely, that for the first time in many years the USA could resort to force with no concern about Russian reactions. There were also new pretexts: the intervention was in defense against Hispanic narcotraffickers, not the Russians who were mobilizing in Managua, two days march from Harlingen, Texas."

Elliot Abrams observed that "[USA President] Bush probably is going to be increasingly willing to use force [now that] developments in Moscow have lessened the prospect for a small operation to escalate into a superpower conflict".

Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader to the military regime in Burma, is placed under house arrest. Over 3000 opposition party workers are arrested and 100 are sentenced to death.


1994

Rwanda

At least 500,000 people die after genocidal killings in Rwanda. The world refuses to help and France continues supporting the government while the massacres take place.

Rwanda Massacre
In Ntarama 5000 people are killed in six hours.

Rwanda Orphans
Three war orphans.
Rwanda Orphans
War orphans in Nyamata. Many were babies when their parents died;
others were abandoned after their mothers were raped.


1995

France Nuclear Testing

France explodes nuclear bombs on Pacific islands disregarding local and world opinion.

World Trade Organisation

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is founded by 134 countries to negotiate and enforce trade agreements between nations.

Up to this time the West (the richer countries) had forced low wages and high pollution onto Third World countries (the poorer countries) which had weak or bought-off governments.

The real agenda of the WTO is to weaken all governments and agencies that might defend workers, consumers, or the environment, not only in the Third World, but everywhere; to remove any efforts to limit trade due to its labour implications, ecology implications, social or cultural implications, or development implications, leaving as the only criteria whether there are immediate, short term profits to be made.

If regional, national or local laws impede trade (e.g. an environmental, health law, or a labour law) the WTO adjudicates, and its verdict is binding.

The net effect is that the WTO over-rules governments and populations on behalf of corporate profits.

Another WTO agenda is the privatisation of education, health, social security (welfare), council (public or social) housing, and transport. This will eventually lead to the long tradition of European welfare states based on solidarity through community risk-pooling and publicly accountable services being slowly dismantled.

The USA trade delegation states:

"The United States is of the view that commercial opportunities exist along the entire spectrum of health and social care facilities, including hospitals, outpatient facilities, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living arrangements, and services provided in the home."

Five of the richest countries have the most votes in the WTO: USA, UK, France, Germany, and Japan.

WTO delegates are drawn from trade ministries and confer regularly with corporate lobbyists and advisors. As a result, the WTO has become, as an anonymous delegate told the UK newspaper, the Financial Times: "a place where governments can collude against their citizens." Large multinational companies use governments to bring cases before the WTO. This way they can win battles they have lost in the domestic political arena.

Cases are heard before a tribunal of trade lawyers, who, under WTO rules, are required to make their ruling with a presumption in favour of free trade. The WTO puts the burden on governments to justify any trade restrictions. There are no observers, and no public record of the deliberations, which are held behind closed doors.

The WTO has ruled against Europe for banning beef treated with hormones and against Japan for banning pesticide laden apples.


1998

Burma

In the Tavoy region of Burma, the military government uses slave and forced labour to build roads and railways. Even pregnant women and children are used. Villages are destroyed if the people refuse to work.

The country is being opened up for an oil pipeline to be built by the French company Total Oil in a deal worth $400 million a year for 30 years. The Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi (who won the annulled elections of 1990) has supplied Total Oil with evidence of the use of slave labour in Burma which has been ignored.

Other companies trading with Burma include Unocal, Texaco, Johnson & Johnson, and Federal Express (USA), Premier Oil (UK), Nippon Oil, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Honda and Nippon Steel (Japan), Fritz Werner and Siemens (Germany), Phillips (Netherlands), Dragon Oil (Ireland). The Australian beer company Fosters has advertising posters that hide military watch towers provided by Australian company Intrepid.

Nearly 70% of the finances received by the Burmese military have been from Western oil companies. Over 5000 troops guard Total Oil's personnel. Some 60,000 people are forced into slave labour working on Burma's roads and railways every day.

The UK is the largest investor in Burma with an annual total of $634 million.


2001

Sudan

In Sudan, several oil companies from Canada, Sweden, France, Holland, Italy, Austria (as well as Qatar, China and Malaysia) continue to be involved in the systematic depopulation of large areas of the south and atrocities against civilians, tens of thousands of whom have been killed and displaced from the areas around the oil fields.

The companies are protected by government forces and allow their airstrips and roads to be used by the military, while the revenues from oil are funding expansion of the war. The news agency, Reuters, has reported that some local security forces used as private contractors by the oil companies use child soldiers.

According to Amnesty International, government forces have used ground attacks, helicopter gunship and indiscriminate high-altitude bombardment to clear the local population from oil-rich areas. Many atrocities have been committed. Male villagers are killed in mass executions; women and children have been nailed to trees with iron spikes. In the villages of Bentiu, Guk and Rik soldiers slit the throats of children and kill male prisoners who had been interrogated by hammering nails into their foreheads. In Panyejier, people are crushed by tanks and shot at by helicopter gunship. Many women are raped and abducted while houses are burned and destroyed.

Since 1983 nearly 2 million people are estimated to have been killed. More than 4.5 million people are internal refugees while a million are in exile.


2002

Dam in Turkey

French company, Spie (partially owned by UK company, Amec), applies to government of France for help to build a dam in Turkey.

The dam (called Ilisu II) would displace 15,000 people (mainly Georgians) and destroy habitats of endangered species (including brown bears) near the town of Yusufeli). 15,000 others will be affected by losing their economic and cultural centre. 17 villages would be flooded and the water supply to Georgia would be affected.

UK bank, Barclays, and French bank BNP Paribas have offered to finance the project.

Local people have been consulted only to a limited degree.


2003

Nuclear Energy

The European Committee of Radiation Risk, an international body composed of 30 independent scientists, publishes a report about nuclear energy. It states that pollution from energy programs and weapons testing has accounted for 65 million deaths worldwide up to 1989.

The report asserts that the global cancer epidemic (breast cancer, childhood leukaemia) is caused by pollution from atomic energy establishments and from fallout from the nuclear weapons testing that peaked between 1957 and 1963.

Very little publicity is given to this report by Western media.


2004

Regime Change in Haiti

USA forces kidnap the elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide after destabilising the country and strangling the economy with sanctions and supporting an insurgency. When asked by Eliott C. McLaughlin of Associated Press, if he left Haiti voluntarily, Aristade's reply was:

"No. I was forced to leave. Agents were telling me that if I don't leave they would start shooting and killing in a matter of time."

The USA says it escorted the president out of the country. At the airport he handed a letter of resignation to Luis Moreno, the deputy chief of the USA embassy.

Father Michael Graves, a USA born preacher who has worked in Haiti for 18 years contradicted this account, saying that the president was escorted out of the country at gunpoint after being forced to sign his resignation: "I am outraged that the US has stepped into a sovereign country, a fledgling democracy, and forced out a leader who was elected."

Aristide's concierge, Joseph Pierre, confirmed that: "White Americans came by helicopter to get him. They also took his bodyguards. It was around two o'clock in the morning. He didn't want to leave. The American soldiers forced him to. Because they were pointing guns at him, he had to follow them. The Americans are second only to God in terms of strength".

The USA ensured that $ 500 million in emergency humanitarian aid from the USA, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund was suspended.

Several of the paramilitary leaders of the insurgency are men who were behind the previous USA-backed coup and its aftermath (1991 to 1994). Louis Jodel Chamblain is a former member of the paramilitary death squads from that period.

The USA controlled the president's security until USA Secretary of State, Colin Powell informed Aristide that the USA would not protect him. In other words, resign and leave or be killed. After a 20 hour flight Aristide found himself in a French military base in the Central African Republic.

The coup occurs after the USA had been destabilising the country and strangling the economy with sanctions and supporting a rebel insurgency since 2001. The new government is recognised by the USA and France. The USA and its media describes Aristide's exile as "a voluntary departure" which allowed the "restoration of democracy". In 2002, the USA had commissioned a report into the elections in the country which had verified them. The report was supressed by the USA government.

The USA ensured that $ 500 million in emergency humanitarian aid from the USA, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund was suspended.

Since 2001, human rights activists and humanitarian workers in Haiti had documented numerous killings of government officials and bystanders in attacks on health clinics, police stations and government vehicles. None of these killings had been condemned by the USA government. The rebel gangs responsible are linked to two groups financed by the USA: the Convergence for Democracy (supported by George W Bush and his party) and the pro-business Group of 184 (represented by Andy Apaid, a supporter of the former Duvalier dictatorship and now a USA citizen).

France backed USA calls for the president to resign. Aristide was accused by the USA of becoming dictatorial even though he had abolished the (USA created) army in 1995. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union call for a formal investigation into Aristide's removal. This is unreported by the Western media which barely covers the events in the country.

Haiti is the poorest country in the "Western Hemisphere" and the fourth poorest country in the world. 50% of the country's wealth is owned by 1% of the population. Life expectancy is 52 years for women and 48 for men. Unemployment is about 70%. About 85% of the population live on less than $1 per day.

60% of the country's trade is with the USA. The manufacture of baseballs, textiles, cheap electronics, and toys, the country's sugar, bauxite and sisal are all controlled by USA companies. As an example, the USA entertainment company, Disney, has used sweatshops in Haiti to produce Pocahontas pajamas, among other items, at the rate of $0.11 per hour. Aristide had attempted to raise the minimum wage.

The country has a debt of $1,134,000 million. About 40% of this debt stems from loans from the USA to the brutal Duvalier dictators who had been backed by the USA. Little of this money had actually benefited the population. In July 2003, Haiti had to send over 90% of its foreign reserves to the USA to pay off some of the debt.

Foreign companies receive vast incentives to set up plants in Haiti but returns to the Haitian economy are minimal. Working and living standards of the local people have steadily declined.

Tom Driver, a frequent visitor to Haiti describes the country after the exile of the president:

"the National Palace ... the building is mostly occupied by U.S. Marines, who also patrol the streets and the airport, and fly helicopters almost constantly over the poorer parts of Port-au-Prince night and day. U.S. forces have made many night-time raids into some of the poorest quarters, particularly the one called Belair. In these raids they have killed an uncertain number of people, estimates going as high as 70. Occasionally the foreign soldiers venture into middle class neighborhoods, but never threaten the houses on the hills where the wealthy live."

A school of medicine established by Aristide is closed by the USA military and the building used as a barracks.

The USA military do not arrest the rebels who had taken up arms against the legitimate government as this is "not part of the mission of the U.S. forces", according to USA embassy staff. Force is used, however, against militants in the slums who are loyal to Aristide.

The new Prime Minister is Gerard Latortue, who had lived in Florida (USA) for 14 years. He had been a member of the previous government of 1988 (also installed by coup). Another minister, Herard Abraham, is a former general who intends to re-form the army. Most of the new Cabinet are exiles who have worked for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Business leaders praise the new government.

The day after the coup, 34 union members at the Ouanaminthe garment assembly factory are fired. When the workforce decides to strike, a group of armed men attack the strikers. The workers are forced back inside the factory.

The new government releases from prison the former general, Prosper Avril. He had seized power in September 1988 (until March 1990). Victims of torture under his regime were awarded $41 million in compensation. These victims included opposition politicians, union leaders, scholars, even a doctor trying to practise community medicine. Three of his torture victims were shown on television after being tortured. He suspended 37 articles of the constitution.

During March 2004, 1000 political murders take place and dozens are killed by USA marines.

In the Summer of 2004, several tropical storms kill more than 3,000 in Haiti. The large number of deaths is attributed to lack of infrastructure and deforestation. This began in 1915 when the USA invaded the country and USA corporations were given ownership of the most fertile lands. Thousands of acres were cleared for rubber production, sugar plantations, and produce for export. The clearing of the original forest has left the country with little top soil so it is susceptible to flooding.

In December a report from the human rights group, Comit� des Avocats pour le Respect des Libert�s Individuelles (CARLI), reports hundreds of cases of rape by the USA backed military, Forces Armee d'Haiti or FADH:

"In the month of August, for example, more than 50 cases of rape by former military were reported to our hot line."

"In the three months, July to September, 81 women - all under the age of 30 - were admitted to health centres run by GHESKIO (Groupe Ha�tien d'Etude du Sarcome de Kaposi et des Infections Opportunistes) for treatment and counselling following sexual assaults. The majority of assaults took place in the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince. According to GHESKIO, 54% of rapes are committed by armed men in the victim's home."

A UNICEF team deployed to the city of Gona�ves from 20 October to 2 November reported a "problem of rape of teenage girls".

According to Michael Brewer, who runs an organization called Haitian Street Kids, street children are frequently killed by soldiers and former soldiers. He describes one such attack:

"At approximately 7pm in the evening, a carload of these ex-military members drove by the park [Place Boyer in Petionville] and stopped where 20 to 30 children were sleeping. The ones that were not asleep alerted the others, and they all began to run. Three were caught by the men: one 7-year old by the name of Linxson, one 12-year-old and a 15-year-old. The boys were first beaten severely. Black bags were then put over their heads and tied around their necks, and then they were shot and killed. The bodies were placed in the trunk of the car and taken away from the scene."

"One week earlier, a nine-year-old named Emmanuel was running from a group of these men after he refused to come to them when they called him. They shot him in the leg with an assault rifle to stop him. Three of the men casually walked up to where the child was lying on the ground and crying. They ridiculed him, then shot him again with pistols and a shotgun, for a total of 4 more times. One of my children, a 14 year old boy named Makinzi, was murdered as he was walking down the side of the road about three weeks ago..."

None of these events is reported in the Western media.

Human rights organisations report that poorer neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince continue to be targeted by death squads. Bodies are often found in an area called Titanyen long a favorite dumping spot of bodies by FADH and paramilitary killing squads. According to Melinda Miles, a USA citizen living in Haiti:

"In Haiti today we are not thankful for the pillage of our natural resources, and the sweatshops that suck the life out of young mothers in the cities. We are not thankful for the overfilled slums of Port-au-Prince and the rocky, hostile land where once there was fertile soil. We are not thankful for the violence of poverty."

Equatorial Guinea

In 1979, Teodoro Obiang Nguema took power in Equatorial Guinea by overthrowing his uncle and shooting him. He remained in power by filling the government with relatives, rigging elections, intimidating the media and torturing opponents. Tortures include hanging up victims in a way designed to break their bones.

The country remained obscure until the mid-1990s when oil was discovered. Western companies like ExxonMobile (USA) have invested nearly $ 6,000 million in the country since then. Since the discovery of oil, France has set up a mobile phone network and the Netherlands airline company KLM, named one of its planes after Obiang.

The USA re-opened its embassy after closing it for eight years due to the poor human rights record of the country. Western criticism of the regime and its human rights violations decreased with the increase in investment.

More than 3000 USA technicians work in the country. 350,000 barrels of oil are pumped per day. The country has become the third largest exporter of oil in Africa. Up to $ 700 million is earned by Equatorial Guinea each year. Most of the money disappears into foreign bank accounts, most controlled by the president. Very little of the wealth reaches the people of the country. The majority of the country's half million population live on less than $2 per day.

Global Witness, a human rights group, say that little has changed for the people and that corruption is endemic in the government. In addition many officials from the country are involved in drug smuggling.

A coup attempt by a number of South African mercenaries is foiled when their aircraft lands in Zimbabwe to buy arms. Warships from Spain are rumoured to have been in the region at the time and moved away when the plot failed.


2005

Sudan

A brutal ethnic war in the Dafur region of Sudan is being armed by several countries including Russia and Ukraine, according to a report published by human rights organisation, Amnesty International.

A UK company brokers an arms deal between Ukraine and the Sudan government, which uses an armed militia to ethnically cleanse Darfur. Russia (and China, another country selling arms to the region) has consistantly opposed sanctions against Sudan. France has sent bombs, grenades and ammunition worth over $ 400,000 to Sudan.

Several Western companies have financed the arms sales in return for oil concessions. These include Siemens AG (Germany), Alcatal SA (France), ABB Limited (Switzerland) and Tatneft (Russia).

2 million people have been driven from their homes in the conflict.

Haiti One Year After USA-Sponsored Regime Change

The UK newspaper, The Independent, publishes a report one year after the elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was removed by rebels armed and financed by the USA.

The United Nations is planning elections but senior members of Aristide's political party, Lavalas, have been imprisoned by the "interim government", appointed by the USA, France and Canada. The police perform executions in the poorer areas of the country where most of Lavalas' support reside. Bodies lie in the streets being eaten by dogs and pigs. Rape is used as a weapon of political violence: human rights and political activists are made to watch while wives and daughters are raped.

Poverty is so rampant that people are forced to bake biscuits made from mud. Free hospitals no longer exist. Supporters of the exiled President face a life of repression, violence, imprisonment and death. The USA is blamed for the departure of their President. According to Emanuel Exantes, a market trader:

"It was not the Haitian people who made him go. It was the Americans. They want to kill Haiti. When Aristade was in power they did not give him any money. Now this new person [the USA appointed Prime Minster], they're giving him money all the time... because he is their man. Aristide was not theirs. Aristide was elected for five years but they never wanted him to finish his term. You could not do that in America."

The 6000 United Nations soldiers have been accused of standing during police raids and attacks on civilians. Police victims include street children.

In April the USA sells $7 million worth of arms to the new regime for the police, even though it has an embargo on the country.

According to UK journalist, Andrew Buncombe, the people of Haiti have been "crushed by the dark hand of US foreign policy".

Isabel Macdonald, a Canadian journalist conducting interviews with laid off workers in Haiti wrote that �Following the coup, more than 12,000 public sector employees, who had been hired under the Aristide government, were immediately fired without compensation�.


2006

War in Congo

By the middle of 2006, over 4 million people had died in a war raging in the Congo. The main causes of this mainly unreported war are access and control of minerals like gold, diamonds, cassiterite and coltan. Coltan is used to manufacture electronic gadgets like remote controls, laptop computers and mobile phones. 80% of the world's supply of coltan is in Congo.

Congo is a diverse country created by Belgium at the beginning of the 20th century in a colonial war that killed 13 million people. the country was looted to the detriment of the indigenous people and society. When Congo became independent in 1960 the first elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, was killed by Belgium and the USA. A pro-West tyrant, Mobutu Sese Soko, was installed. The country's resources continued to flow to the richer countries.

In 1998, Sese Soko waa deposed by another warlord at which point surrounding countries attempted to seize the mineral wealth of the country. Apart from local militia, armies from Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola are fighting in the conflict. Each is backed and armed by Western countries who continue to buy the looted minerals.

Many Western companies are involved in this illegal trade including Anglo-American PLC, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and De Beers. One UK company, AngloGold Ashanti was found to have links with militias involved with attrocities. The UK government has ignored reports from the United Nations concerning the activities of their companies in the conflict.

The mining of coltan is done by mainly slave labour including children. People are forced to work in dangerous conditions at gunpoint by militias. The ores make their way to the richer countries via Rwanda and other neighbouring countries. The use of coltan in Sony PlayStations drove up the price of the mineral and intensified the war. According the UK MP, Oona King, "kids in Congo are being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms".

Apart from the people killed and enslaved, there are reports of thousands women and girls being raped. Some 10% of the rape victims are then mutilated by having their legs or vaginas shot. According to Dr Dennis Mukwege of Panzi Hospital "It destroys the morale of the men to rape their women. Crippling their women cripples their society". The United Nations estimates that 45,000 females have been raped in one small province called South Kivu.


2011

Tunisia

Popular demonstrations in Tunisia force out the president, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, the leader of the regime that has ruled the country for 30 years.

France considers sending troops to protect the dictatorship. The United Kingdom calls for "free and fair elections" for the first time in 30 years.

© 2017, KryssTal


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