I imagine that many of you, like me are feeling angry and demoralized about Biden’s vaccination mandates last week. Many people I know are worried and their number one question is: What can I do? In this episode, I highlight uncanny parallels between the issues we are currently facing and the issues that the founding generation faced when fighting their war of secession from the British Empire. I also fill in the audience on what I am doing locally to fight these mandates and how they can replicate my efforts in their localities if they find them to be useful.
Also, before I get messages from the purest of pure anarchists out there, this is not the only method to resist. We must use every tool at our disposal. Lysander Spooner notwithstanding, a great number of people in this country still purport to believe in the Constitution.
If you want to skip to the concrete action portion of the video, the time stamp is 51:50
Episode 182 of the Liberty Weekly Podcast is Brought to you by:
As the corporate press decries the US evacuation of Afghanistan because of its humanitarian cost and for fear of deteriorating human rights under Taliban rule, I remind the world that those prosecuting the War in Afghanistan don’t give a shit about human rights and never did.
*WARNING THIS EPISODE CONTAINS EXPLICIT IMAGES OF WAR CRIMES* My intent is to educate viewers of the reality of war in Afghanistan for those who live there.
Episode 181 of the Liberty Weekly Podcast is Brought to you by:
Despite Washington’s decision not to deploy Marines to Haiti after the July assassination of Haitian president Jovenelle Moise, the devastation of last Saturday’s 7.2 earthquake has provided U.S. leaders the cloak of humanitarian aid for doing just that.
In an effort reestablished under the 2010 earthquake response moniker “Joint Task-Force Haiti,” a detachment of roughly 200 Marines departed Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for Haiti on Wednesday. The detachment is supported by 420 sailors and several ships and aircraft from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.
The Marines’ mission is to provide security for Joint Task-Force Haiti, who will work to “help find stranded survivors from the disaster, deliver medical supplies, and provide direct medical assistance.”
The Marines will join other U.S. forces already deployed to Haiti, which include U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft, “a 14-person situational awareness team from Special Operations Command South [stationed at] the U.S. Embassy[,]” and the USNS Burlington, a fast transport vessel.
Also deployed are “eight helicopters–three UH-60 Black Hawks, three CH-47 Chinooks, and two HH-60 Pave Hawks from Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras–to provide medical air support. Four of those helicopters have been tasked with moving a  surgical hospital to Les Cayes, per the request of USAID.”
Other forces include the USS Arlington, an amphibious transport dock equipped with a surgical team and landing craft capabilities, and a number of Coast Guard assets including three H-60 Jayhawk helicopters and several cutters.
And yes, these forces will be equipped with plenty of COVID-19 vaccines for Haiti, a country which, until Moïse’s assassination, remained largely free of the Global North’s COVID-19 response.
According to officials, U.S. forces are prepared to remain in Haiti for up to four months or more as needed.
These efforts follow a pre-earthquake deployment of agents and personnel from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI—both ostensible domestic policing agencies—to aid Haitian officials in the investigation of Moïse’s assassination.
While the humanitarian goal of aiding Haiti in the wake of human catastrophe is laudable, humanitarian efforts in Haiti have a disastrous past.
“Haiti is a graveyard of failed NGO projects…perhaps no better a symbol of the crumbling of Haitian sovereignty is the national palace, which [since the 2010 earthquake] has still not been rebuilt.”
Surely, the individual soldiers involved in these deployments act with benevolence in their hearts. Their individual work in providing and conducting direct medical care, aid, and rescue and reconstruction efforts ranks among the very best things the U.S. Military does.
Even so, this effort comes with the caveat that it is funded at the involuntary and inflationary expense of U.S. taxpayers, a country that is nearly 30 trillion dollars in debt.
The unfortunate combined effect of these efforts will be to sink Haiti even deeper into U.S. control and exploitation.
To demonstrate this point, one must look at the orchestrators of the latest US relief efforts. They are the very same forces that pillaged that country in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
Indeed, the newest iteration of Joint Task-Force Haiti is led by USAID, a traditional front of the CIA that is used as the vehicle for regime change operations across the world:
USAID was created in 1961 to help the United States win the ‘hearts and minds’ of citizens in poor countries through civic action, economic aid and humanitarian assistance. As a cold war policy tool, the agency was, at times, used as a front for CIA operations and operatives. Among the most infamous examples was the Office of Public Safety, a USAID training program in the Southern Cone that also trained torturers…
It is when USAID undertakes ‘discreet regime change operations that it runs into trouble. Indeed, its Office of Transition Initiatives now seems to be competing with, or at least complementing, the CIA on hi-tech propaganda and destabilization programs in Cuba, if not elsewhere as well.
USAID involvement in Haiti dates to at least the early 1990s. After populist candidate Jean-Bertrand Aristide became the first democratically-elected leader of that country in 1991, USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy (“NED”), and the American Institute of Free Labor Development (“AIFLD”) began pouring money into the country in an effort that was “specifically designed to fund those sectors of the Haitian political spectrum where opposition to the Aristide government could be encouraged.”
Soon after, in 1991, Aristide was overthrown by the U.S. in a coup d’etat. He would later tell two U.S. congressmen that he was “kidnapped by US troops” after being told to leave the country “to avoid bloodshed.”
In the wake of the 2010 earthquake, much of the work of coordinating the foreign recovery effort fell to Cheryl Mills, the head of the Clinton State Department’s “Haiti Task Force” and to Rajiv Shah, the then-newly-appointed head of USAID, neither of which had any disaster response experience. The result was “dysfunction…like nothing else [reconstruction officials had] ever seen.”
USAID was utterly incapable of coordinating foreign aid groups with local and national Haitian government, who were either incompetent, corrupt, or completely overhelmed. Reconstruction efforts lacked any clear strategy. “The ‘Action Plan,’ while laying out the core priorities for Haiti’s recovery, didn’t go into many specifics. That left Haiti’s ministries to devise their own plans.”
Five years and 13.5 billion dollars later (1.5 billion direct from USAID) and Haiti had cleared rubble from the streets, but had not accomplished much else. Adding insult to injury, the country was now suffering from a cholera outbreak caused by occupying U.N. military forces. Cholera is a disease that is effectively prevented with clean drinking water–something recovery groups were clearly unable to provide.
USAID and other foreign recovery officials were quick to place the blame on the Haitian people and the Haitian government.
The Haitian government—like the U.S. State Department (and all governments for that matter)—suffers from the same fundamental issue economist Ludwig von Mises illustrated in “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.” When the “bases of economic calculation are removed by the exclusion of exchange and the pricing mechanism [a] hopeless chaos” is the expected result.
That being said, it is no mystery why the Haitian Government did not mesh well with the USAID plan—it was not their plan!
Immediately after the quake, in fact, Bill Clinton was not only talking about Haiti’s reconstruction but was casting the tragedy as an opportunity for the country to “re-imagine” itself, using a modified version of the Collier plan that had already been endorsed by both the US and Haitian governments. “Is this going to be hard? Yes,” Clinton said in a teary-eyed interview with The Miami Herald. “Do I think we can do it? Absolutely, I do.” Around the same time, Hillary Clinton met in Montreal with representatives from a long list of donor countries and financial institutions to begin to plan for Haiti’s reconstruction. Bill Clinton, meanwhile, attended the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he appealed to private-sector leaders to invest in Haiti as part of what Clinton and others would call a new “Marshall Plan.” A 56-page document, known as the “Action Plan for National Recovery and Development,” was released in March 2010. Its author was Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, a European-educated technocrat, well liked by the international donors, with support from officials at the World Bank and the UN. The vision represented a radically overhauled Haiti: a country bursting with mango-processing plants, fish farms, solar-powered irrigation facilities, industrial parks and duty-free zones, financed, to a large degree, by the private sector. “The plan suggests social engineering on a vast scale,” noted The Washington Post, “which would involve levels of public and private investment in Haiti never really imagined before.”
“Behind closed doors, the feeling of the Haitian government was this was just another foreign group they’d given permission to come in and take over their country,” says a senior international aid official. “But what could they do? The Haitian government knew it didn’t have the capacity to tackle this reconstruction on its own.”
So, as the devastation of the 2010 earthquake plays out once more in real time, USAID should not be trusted to once again coordinate the relief efforts of NGOs and the U.S. Military.
Of course, this conclusion begs the question: if not the U.S. military and international NGOs—who will provide desperately-needed relief efforts?
Individual Hatian communities must define their own priorities in coordination with local aid groups.
As the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) reports, there already exists a robust network of local humanitarian groups run by long-time Haitian professionals. These groups are trusted by their local communities and provide the most efficient help on the ground. Over and above organizations like the Red Cross, these local aid groups are worthy of support. Here is a current list.
For NGOs that do intend on providing aid, NACLA has established these minimum standards for aid in response to harmful pitfalls from 2010:
Stop disaster porn
Portray Haitian people with dignity
Invest in Haitian capacity
Support locally identified priorities
Specify the project, local partners, and relationship
Coordinate with or notify the relevant government ministry and local officials
Register with OCHA, which works in direct support of the Haitian Directorate Civil Protection (DPC) and COUN (National Emergency Coordination Center), and let them know what the NGO is planning on doing.
Sadly, as the next few weeks play out, the U.S. Military and international NGOs will likely repeat the “Fatal Assistance” of 2010. Regardless, the Haitian people must be given the respect and dignity to control their own destiny. Haitians and nonInterventionists everywhere must insist on it.
Despite Washington’s decision not to deploy Marines to Haiti after the July assassination of Haitian president Jovenelle Moise, the devastation of last Saturday’s 7.2 earthquake has provided US leaders the cloak of humanitarian aid for doing just that. These Marines will be operating at the behest of USAID, a CIA cutout that disastrously coordinated humanitarian relief efforts after the 2010 earthquake. Haitian recovery emphatically needs a Haitian solution.
The hosts of Conflicts of Interest, Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter join me to discuss the unfolding events in Afghanistan. We discuss myriad topics, including what a Taliban government might look like, why Afghanistan fell so quickly, what the war’s legacy could be, and how the close of the war relates to Biden’s larger cold war footing with China.
Episode 179 of the Liberty Weekly Podcast is Brought to you by:
The subject of killing in war has largely been unexplored by the libertarian community, at the very least in its relation to the morality of war. Most who have studied the topic in depth are military or working with the military.
This week’s episode is an introduction to what will be a major area of inquiry for the podcast going forward. We will explore this resistance to killing and its relationship to moral injury. We will also attempt to answer the question: does the immorality of a particular increase the rate of moral injury suffered in that war?
Returning guest Scott Spaulding joins us the first episode in a planned four-part series to discuss his deployment experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this episode, Scott recounts his entire first deployment as a Civil Affairs Marine, Which began with preparations for the Second Battle of Fallujah in the late summer and Fall of 2004. Scott fought in the second Battle of Falluja and then participated in humanitarian efforts to rebuild the city and support the civilian population.
In 1996 Lt. Col. Dave Grossman authored “On Killing,” a seminal study on “the psychological cost of learning to killing in war and society.” In it, Grossman documents the unheralded history of man’s inherent resistance to taking fellow human life. This history is so concealed that some, such as philosopher-psychologist Peter Martin have called it “a massive unconscious cover-up.”1
Indeed, despite the near universal glorification of combat across human society, the threads of this hidden truth are everywhere.
For instance, Grossman recites a well-documented study of Prussian infantry accuracy and firing rates. This study found that, using smoothbore muskets, Prussian infantry scored “25 percent hits at 225 yards, 40 percent hits at 150 yards, and 60 percent hits at 75 yards when firing at a 100-foot by 6-foot target.”
[t]hus, at 75 yards, a 200-man regiment should be able to hit as many as 120 enemy soldiers in the first volley. If four shots were fired each minute, a regiment could potentially kill or wound as many as 480 enemy soldiers in the first minute.2
With these established accuracy numbers, casualty rates in that era should have been near one hundred percent, given that, for instance, the average American Civil War engagement took place at “thirty yards.” Conversely, death rates in that war were as low as “one to two men per minute.” Engagements lasted for hours.3 An examination of accuracy rates across a number of contemporary conflicts corroborates these results.4
Evidence suggests that instead of shooting the enemy, most men busied themselves with other tasks, such as tending the wounded, loading weapons (sometimes repeatedly without firing), shouting orders, wandering around, and even finding a discreet place to lay down. Those “few” who did fire their weapons purposely missed their targets. A very select few shot to kill.5
Sources suggest this “problem” existed during World War I as well:
Colonel Milton Mater served as an infantry company commander in WWII…Mater provides us with several instances in which World War I veterans warned him to expect that there would be many nonfirers in combat.
When he first joined the service in 1933, Mater asked his uncle, a veteran of World War I, about his combat experience. “I was amazed to find that the experience foremost in his mind was ‘draftees who wouldn’t shoot.’ He expressed it something like this: ‘They thought if they didn’t shoot at the Germans, the Germans wouldn’t shoot back at them.’”6
Citing a host of other historical examples,7 Grossman concludes:
There is ample indication of the existence of the Resistance to killing and that it appears to have existed at least since the black powder era. This lack of enthusiasm for killing the enemy causes many soldiers to posture, submit, or flee, rather than fight; It presents a powerful psychological force on the battlefield; And it is a force that is discernible throughout the history of man. The application and understanding of this force can lend new insight to military history, the nature of war, and the nature of man.8
In fact, according to Grossman’s theory, a crucial element in the success of dominant military forces throughout history is the degree to which their natural resistance to killing was suppressed, intentionally or unintentionally. Nearly all these factors involve decreasing the amount of empathy individual soldiers feel for the enemy.9
One of the first crew served weapons was the chariot. Usually manned by a crew of two—a driver and an archer—the moral responsibility for killing was divested enough to increase its combat effectiveness over regular infantry and cavalry. Chariots were usually manned by aristocracy—the difference in social strata also helped eased the lethality of its operators. Because of these elements, the chariot was a dominate force on the battlefields of antiquity.10
For Alexander the Great, it was the use of the phalanx that allowed diffusion of moral culpability from individual soldiers to the killing unit. What moral culpability remained was spread amongst the tightly packed blocks of soldiers. Close surveillance by unit leaders and comrades assured against eleventh-hour conscientious objection. Long pikes and spears lengthened the intimate killing distance, thus making the killing act more palatable. These factors combined with the synchronized combat movements of the phalanx to “effectively turn the unit into a crew served weapon.” It was highly effective in its time.11
In a similar effort to increase the range of combat, Roman infantry used the pilum, a type of javelin which was hurled at the enemy before close engagements. The purpose of the pilum was twofold, first to weigh down the shields of enemy infantry and second to shock the enemy during a charge by impaling its soldiers with long wooden spears.12
When early Roman battles were all but lost, Roman Triarii, the most wealthy and veteran infantry, replicated the Greeks by forming a phalanx of spears. Assembled in this formation, they became a de-facto crew served weapon. These hardened soldiers were efficient killers.13
By all accounts, the majority of killing on ancient and modern battlefields occurs when the enemy routs. When the enemy has its back turned, the pursing and victorious soldiers need not look the enemy in the eye while slaughtering them.
In modern warfare, the introduction of artillery and squad machine gunning gave soldiers the same diffusion of responsibility as the chariot and phalanx. Eventually the use of high-altitude bombing runs and long-distance artillery allowed soldiers to kill on an industrial scale. This was achieved by combining the crew served weapon with the extended combat distance.
In 1945, this psychology allowed bombers to obliterate Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two single acts that slaughtered a combined 129,000-226,000 civilians.
Despite the horrific killing that took place in both World Wars, it wasn’t until after World War Two that the U.S. military consciously recognized the issue the Romans found and treated centuries before: its soldiers were hesitant to kill.14
This, as Grossman recounts, was apparently a serious problem for the Romans. Roman tactician and historian Vegetius “emphasized this point at length in a section entitled ‘Not to Cut, but to Thrust with the Sword:’”
They were likewise taught not to cut but to thrust with their swords. For the Romans not only made jest of those who fought with the edge of that weapon, but always found them an easy conquest. A stroke with the edges, though made with ever so much force, seldom kills, as the vital parts of the body are defended by the bones and armor. On the contrary, a stab, though it penetrates but two inches, is generally fatal.15
After World War Two, the U.S. military became acutely aware of man’s inherent resistance to killing. It at once looked to replicate the methods used across military history to overcome this resistance.
General S.L.A. Marshall’s now infamous study published in “Men Against Fire” concluded that “[o]f every hundred men along the line of fire during the period of an encounter, an average of only ‘15 to 20 would take any part with their weapons.’ This was consistently true ‘whether the action was spread over a day, or two days or three.’”16
Some have disputed the results of Marshall’s study, concluding that it did not muster sufficient scientific rigor.
To this, Grossman writes:
Marshall was the U.S. Army historian in the Pacific theater during World War Two and later became the official U.S. historian of the European theater of operations. He had a team of historians working for him, and they based their findings on individual and mass interviews with thousands of soldiers in more than 400 infantry companies, in Europe and in the Pacific, immediately after they had been in close combat with German or Japanese troops. The results were consistently the same: only 15 to 20% of the American Rifleman in combat during World War Two would fire at the enemy. Those who would not fire did not run or hide in many cases they were willing to risk great danger to rescue comrades, get ammunition, or run messages, but they simply would not fire their weapons at the enemy even when faced with repeated waves of Banzai charges.17
This resistance to killing is clearly not an issue of courage.
Regardless of whether Marshall’s study withstands strenuous scientific rigor, the U.S. military clearly took it seriously.
To combat these low firing rates, U.S. Military introduced Pavlovian and Skinnerian conditioning.18 The primary methods for achieving this end were reflexive fire training and desensitization exercises.
Instead of benign circular targets, the U.S. Military began using targets shaped like human silhouettes. Grunts are now trained to kill these targets within the first milliseconds they pop up on the range. Once hit, the targets fall to the ground, providing realistic feedback. Sometimes the targets are even filled with red paint to more accurately simulate the kill. Grunts with good firing rates receive positive reinforcement by way of praise, marksmanship badges, three-day passes, and other rewards.
The modern grunt is further desensitized through basic training by being made to yell and sing grotesque slogans such as:
Blood makes the green grass grow
Kill, kill, kill
oh ahh, I wanna slap your momma, ooh ahh, I wanna slap your daddy, beat ‘em with a stick, beat ‘em with a stick, oh ahh19
I wanna Rape, Kill, Pillage n’ Burn, annnnn’ eat dead Baaa-bies, I wanna Rape, Kill, Pillage n’ Burn…20
As absurd and comical as some of these efforts may seem, they are nonetheless effective. Firing rates in the Korean War jumped to fifty-five percent. In the Vietnam War firing rates climbed to ninety-five percent.21 Nonfiring in combat is no longer an observed issue in the U.S. Military.22
The subject of killing in war has largely been unexplored by the libertarian community, at the very least in its relation to the morality of war. Most who have studied the topic in depth are military or working with the military.23 To the writer, their inquiry seems to be threefold: (1) “Why Can’t Johnny Kill,”24 (2) “How can we make Johnny Kill,” and (3) “how do we put Johnny back together again after killing (and get him back to the front)?”
A focus on these objectives leaves major gaps in more important inquiry like:
How do we prevent moral injury?
What is the relationship between this resistance to killing and moral injury?
Where does this resistance come from?
What does the presence of this resistance say about the nature of war itself?
Does the morality of a particular conflict affect the rate of moral injury amongst those waging it, and, if so, what does an increase of moral injury in a specific conflict say about that conflict?
“In its most simple and profound sense, moral injury is a jagged disconnect from our understanding of who we are and what we and others ought to do and ought not to do.”25 This disconnect occurs when we inflict, witness, or fail to prevent willful violence on another human being or beings. These experiences change our common understanding about the world—that it is generally a good place where good things are supposed to happen to us and to others. Although moral injury is not unique to the occurrence of war, the exceptional horror of war produces moral injury in abundance. By many accounts, the Terror Wars of the 21st Century produce moral injury in exceptional abundance.
It is a persistent myth that the condition of “war” is a unique circumstance where ordinary morality and legality no longer apply—where it is permissible for ninety per cent of drone strikes to kill bystanders, where killing a child can be justified, and where young men are sent to kill and die by far-removed politicians and an indifferent and apathetic public.
The evidence presented in Grossman’s On Killing suggests there is a strong psychological basis for the proposition that killing is fundamentally wrong no matter the circumstances.26
Indeed, the bounds of moral injury are not limited to the study of psychology.27 Its cumulative study encompasses, inter alia, the fields of psychiatry, theology, philosophy, ethics, and art—all of which definitively evidence the fundamental human aversion to taking human life.
In many ways, this conclusion is self-evident—redundant even. Yet, the killing continues and its trauma ripples across the pond of human experience.
For antiwar veterans and activists alike, the study of moral injury and what Dave Grossman dubs Killology will find ample support, not for enabling men to kill, but for insisting that humanity should embrace its own nature.
1 Grossman, Dave, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War andSociety, Back Bay Books, 1996, pp. 35-36.
18 Ibid., 35; As Grossman notes, it is entirely possible that no one intentionally sat down to use operant conditioning or behavior modification to develop a reflexive killing action. He notes in his decades of military experience, he did not hear any drill instructor or officer explicitly state reflexive fire training constituted conscious conditioning.
23 For instance, although Grossman professes to be alarmed by the prevalence of violence in society, he leads a consulting firm he calls Killology. The purpose of this firm is to train law enforcement and military how to kill when required.
25 Wood, David, What Have We Done, The Moral Injury of America’s Longest Wars, Little Brown and Company, 2016, p. 8.
26 Although the writer would argue that violence and even killing in self-defense is morally and legally justified, physical revulsion has been observed even in justified killings. A larger discussion is warranted regarding the morality of killing in self-defense and killing in self-defense as an unjust participant in an aggressive war; McMahan, Jeff, Killing in War, Oxford University Press, 2011. All soldiers react to killing differently. For many, a pattern may be observed wherein exhilaration and enjoyment are followed by regret and revulsion. For many soldiers, the revulsion concerns their enjoyment of the killing act. Some soldiers do not have a reaction to killing. The psychological reaction patterns to killing are beyond the scope of this piece.
27 Meagher, Robert Emmet, Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War, 2014, pp. 3-4.
Connor Freeman is a writer at the Libertarian Institute, where he covers issues in noninterventionist foreign policy, focusing on the middle east and America’s new cold war footing against Russia and China. His writing has also appeared at antiwar.com. Find all of his work here.
Connor joins me to discuss his most recent piece “Faux Populists Shill for the Permanent War State.” We also cover America’s New Cold War and those who are selling it. this is what appears to be a coordinated campaign involving prominent “alternative” voices, some of whom are beloved by libertarians. We also send a tough love wakeup call to fellow libertarians who spend more time talking about messaging, strategy, and drama than performing substantive work.
I was glad to be joined by Etienne de la Boetie² to discuss how he, with the help of others, was able to organize civil disobedience during the height of the COVID lockdowns. We also discuss his book, “‘Government’ The Biggest Scam in History” and hit on a number of the most eye raising revelations therein.
Episode 175 of the Liberty Weekly Podcast is Brought to you by:
Last Wednesday, Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in the middle of the night. The last time a Haitian president was assassinated, the United States invaded Haiti and occupied it for two decades. U.S. pundits are already calling for the US, OAS, and UN to invade and occupy that country. Since the U.S. has been intimately involved in Haiti’s domestic affairs for over a century, is it any wonder Haiti is one of the most politically unstable and impoverished countries in the world?
Episode 174 of the Liberty Weekly Podcast is Brought to you by:
During the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 7, 2021, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home by a team of gunmen. His first lady, Martin Moïse, was critically injured. She was airlifted to Florida for treatment where she remains in critical condition.
Moïse was elected president of Haiti on February 7, 2017. According to Moïse’s opposition, his four-year term was to end on February 7, 2021. Moïse refused to step down on that date, arguing the Haitian constitution entitled him a five-year term. He has since remained in office, spurring months of opposition protests and rising crime rates that some outlets blame on Moïse himself.
The aftermath of the assassination was filmed by the late president’s neighbors. According to the Maimi Herald, a man can be heard in one of the videos yelling in English over a megaphone: “DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.”
Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the U.S., stated the attack “was carried out by foreign mercenaries and professional killers,” that it was “well-orchestrated,” and that the attackers were “masquerading as agents of the DEA.” He asked the U.S. government for assistance with the investigation.
Haitian officials claim at least twenty-eight people were involved in the assassination plot including twenty-six Colombian citizens and two Haitian-Americans. On July 8, Haitian national police chief Leon Charles confirmed that fifteen Colombians and the two Haitian Americans had been taken into custody. Three others were killed in a firefight with authorities. The two Haitian-Americans were identified as thirty-five-year-old James Solages and fifty-five-year-old Joseph Vincent.
Solages has been circumstantially linked to Haitian oligarchs Reginald Boulos and Dimitri Vorbe. Although Boulos and Vorbe were initially friendly to Moïse, they later became his outspoken critics, leading many Haitians to believe they are involved with the killing.
The day before the assassination, president Moïse nominated Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon, to replace Joseph as prime minister. Henry was slated to be sworn in to the position on the afternoon of the killing, Wednesday, July 7. Following the assassination, Moïse’s interim prime minister, Claude Joseph, assumed a tenuous control of the Haitian government over Ariel Henry. As of the writing of this article, Joseph remains in power, though questions persist regarding the proper succession of presidential authority.
Joseph declared a state of martial law immediately following news of the assassination. Fearing unrest, the Dominican Republic closed its border with Haiti and the Port-au-Prince-Toussaint Louverture International Airport was shuttered, with all arriving planes being rerouted.
Despite Joseph’s declaration of martial law, the political situation appears relatively stable, at least for the moment. Nonetheless, the assassination has the potential to exacerbate an already turbulent political state of affairs—one to which the U.S. and other international influences not innocent third parties.
The U.S. and the O.A.S. Have Controlled the Haitian Presidency Since at Least 2011
If the current Haitian political arrangement appears chaotic, the U.S. and the U.S.-led Organization of American States (“O.A.S.”) own a lion’s share of the blame:
In April, 2009, the [U.S.] State Department, under the leadership of Hillary Clinton, decided to completely change the nature of the U.S. cooperation with Haiti.
Apparently tired with the lack of concrete results of U.S. aid, Hillary decided to align the policies of the State Department with the “smart power” doctrine proposed by the Clinton Foundation. From that moment on, following trends in philanthropy, the solutions of U.S. assistance would be based solely on “evidence.” The idea, according to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, “was that if we’re putting in the assistance, we need to know what the outcomes are going to be.”
The January 2010 earthquake was the long awaited opportunity to test this new policy.
The idea was to transform Haiti into a Taiwan of the Caribbean, with maquiladoras, an apparel industry, tourism, and call centers. These would be the niche sectors that would guide the new cooperation framework.
In this plan, the particularities of Haiti itself didn’t matter much.
To set this plan in motion, Clinton selected Cheryl Mills to head the U.S. State Department’s Haiti Task force despite the fact that Mills had neither training nor experience in international development.
In order for the Haitian People to accept Clinton and Mills’ technocratic agenda, it had to be window dressed as democratic consensus. This first required the breaking of the country’s deadlocked presidential race, which had been pushed from April 28, 2010 to November 28, 2010 in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. After the November vote, the election became deadlocked when none of the candidates received the required 50 percent of the vote.
According to the Haitian election commission, the candidates who received the two highest November vote totals were Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady, and Jude Célestin, the candidate backed by the then-outgoing president, René Préval. The two candidates were scheduled to compete in a final run-off election March 28, 2011.
Despite the Haitian election commission’s findings, Clinton and the O.A.S. conducted their own audit of the November vote totals. This audit found popular Haitian singer Michael “Sweet Micky” Martelly had actually placed second and not Célestin. Incidentally, Martelly was the preferred candidate of the O.A.S.
To assure the Haitian people did not make the wrong choice, Hillary Clinton met with then-outgoing president René Préval on January 30, 2011. In this meeting, Clinton muscled Préval into breaking the electoral stalemate between the front running candidates:
Towards the end of the meeting, she asked Préval to make a last gesture in favor of harmony and understanding. It was to be a gesture that would lead him, once and for all, to a special place in the pantheon of Haiti’s history and the struggle for democracy in the continent. Préval replied with an emotive, albeit enigmatic smile. It was only him who knew that the crisis had reached its epilogue at that moment.
As she was leaving the house, Hillary invited Bellerive to accompany her. The [then-]prime minister asked Préval for authorization to do so and placed himself between the two women inside the armored truck that left in a convoy to the airport. Confident that she had obtained what she wanted, Hillary was concerned now with the result of the second round. Bellerive removed all traces of apprehension when he informed her that Michel Martelly was going to win easily. And so he did.
As she was heading toward the plane, Hillary made a comment to Bellerive about his family relationship with Martelly. He confirmed that they were distant cousins. Since they were both educated individuals and the game was already over, the secretary of state allowed herself to make a joke and asked: “You are relatives, but you don’t sing?” Bellerive replied, humorously: “Neither does he.”
Hillary confessed having heard Martelly sing some songs and could not agree more with Bellerive. Then, smiling, she left Haiti.
Martelly proved to be a heavy-handed leader who was subservient to international interests. During his presidency, NGOs and the U.S. State Department poured 12.9 billion dollars into Haiti (ironically, under the slogan “Building Back Better”). One central planner in the U.S. State Department’s Haiti Task Force called the program a “Petrie dish” for technocratic central planning.
Despite the investment, Haiti remained in an appalling state of ruin, raising questions of how exactly that money was used.
In 2015, Martelly’s term expired and elections were again delayed. Eventually, Moïse, Martelley’s hand-picked successor, won the presidency. Several observers deemed this election provably fraudulent, pointing to undue influence from E.U. and O.A.S. observers. The fraud allegations became so prevalent that the Haitian electoral commission formally called for the election’s annulment. Nevertheless, the U.S. and O.A.S. supported the results, leading directly to Moïse’s presidency.
Under the platform“Haiti is Open for Business,” among other efforts, the presidencies of Martelly and Moïse propped the door open for foreign states and N.G.O.s to pillage that country. Furthermore, the presidents also demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with O.A.S.’ meddlesome plans for other Central and South American Nations.
The U.S. Has an Extensive Record of Intervention in Haiti
Indeed, U.S. intervention in Haiti is nothing new. Most notably, the last time a Haitian president was assassinated, the U.S. invaded that country and occupied it for the next nineteen years.
The extended record of U.S. meddling in Haiti is voluminous, as retold by Ted Snider:
America and its allies have a long history of coups and interference that have caused Haiti to struggle to attain stability. Haiti’s democratic wishes have long been snuffed out by the U.S., and the people of Haiti have never had much say in whom they want to lead their country. In 1959, when a small group of Haitians tried to overthrow the savage U.S. backed dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier, the U.S. military, which was in Haiti to train Duvalier’s brutal forces, not only helped locate the rebels but took part in the fighting that squashed them.
A quarter of a century later, when the people of Haiti longed to elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power, the C.I.A., with the authorization of President Reagan, funded candidates to oppose him, according to William Blum in Killing Hope. When the people of Haiti surmounted American obstructions and elected Aristide, the U.S., sometimes with the help of Canada and France, took him out: twice!
C.I.A. expert John Prados says that the “chief thug” amongst the groups of thugs and militia behind the coup was a C.I.A. asset. Tim Weiner, the author of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the C.I.A., agrees. Weiner says that several of the leaders of the junta that took out Aristide “had been on the C.I.A.’s payroll for years.”
More Foreign Intervention Will Not Fix the Errors of Past Foreign Intervention
After the assassination, it took only thirteen hours for the editorial board of the Washington Post to clamor for the U.S., other foreign states, and international NGOs to swoop in with “[s]wift and muscular intervention.” Others, like Colombian president Ivan Duque have also urged for military intervention.
Despite the fact that Moïse’s presidency itself was due in large part to U.S. meddling, the Washington Postlaments his poor track record, using it to support its case for more intervention.
The prime directive of said intervention, according to the Washington Post, would be yet another round of elections to “produce a government that would be seen as legitimate in the eyes of most Haitians.” If this new round of elections is anything like the last three, the same international interests will ram through yet another authoritarian lapdog.
To achieve these elections, the Washington Post advocates yet another international peacekeeping force occupy Haiti, much like the 2004-2017 U.N. Stabilization Mission. This is an occupation they conceded introduced a cholera epidemic to Haiti, received many “credible allegations of rape and sexual abuse,” and “fathered hundreds of babies born to impoverished local women and girls.”
You see, the Washington Post argues, the problem is not that nation-building does not work. Instead, the problem with the last U.N. Stabilization Mission was that it constituted troops from Nepal, Brazil, and Uruguay—not from other western leaders. Furthermore, the Washington Post argues the above unintended consequences were worth it, because the “U.N. force did manage to bring a modicum (emphasis added) of stability to the 2004 uprising.”
Of course, the Washington Post fails to mention the U.S.’ instrumental role in causing the 2004 uprising that to begin with.
The ostensible solution to the above unintended consequences is to commit U.N. soldiers from other member countries like the U.S., France, Canada, and additional O.A.S. member states. This proposed U.S. led occupation comes as the Biden Administration is failing to deliver a complete U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a country the U.S. and other western countries have unsuccessfully occupied for the last two decades, to disastrous effect.
Circumstantial Evidence of U.S. Involvement in the Assassination
Given the Washington Post’s deep ties to the C.I.A., its “editorial board’s” urgent advocacy for U.S. intervention is suspicious. Especially as circumstantial evidence points to some degree of U.S. State Department involvement in the assassination.
For instance, cables released by Wikileaks have linked prime minister Claude Joseph with the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. State Department’s engine for regime change operations across the world. Furthermore, the U.S. military has a long history of training and arming the Colombian military, whose veterans composed the majority of the Assassination squad. At least one prominent member of the team, Manuel Antonio Grosso Guarín received direct training from the U.S. Military.
Suspicions of U.S. involvement aside, it is infinitely plausible that a very unpopular president was assassinated by purely domestic opposition.
U.S. and U.N. Intervention is Not Warranted Even If Haitian Officials Request It
On Saturday, interim Prime minister Claude Joseph asked the U.S. and U.N. to “deploy troops to protect key infrastructure” to aid the country as it prepares for elections. Mathias Pierre, Haiti’s elections minister, expressed support for Joseph’s request.
On Saturday “a senior Biden administration official said the U.S. has no plans to provide military assistance at this time.” However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also noted that agents from the U.S. domestic Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security would be dispatched to Port-au-Prince “as soon as possible.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Biden have both reportedly “promised to help Haiti.”
Even if Haitian officials ask for assistance, the U.S. and U.N. should not provide it.
If a U.S. business magnate had orchestrated an assassination of the U.S. president and the vice president requested foreign soldiers to secure key infrastructure across the U.S., Americans would likely see these foreigners as an occupying army. In fact, foreign occupation was a large reason the U.S. colonists fought their war for independence. Many American officials at that time had also asked for British occupation.
Many Haitians are equally tired of foreign intervention in their domestic affairs. Journalist Kim Ives, Editor of the English Section of the newspaper Haiti Liberte, told Dan Cohen of Behind the Headlines:
Essentially, we have a U.S. Puppet [Claude Joseph] asking his puppeteer to invade Haiti for the fourth time in just over a century…But in both the region and, above all, the Haitian people are sick and tired of U.S. military interventions, which are largely responsible for the nation’s current debilitated, critical state both economically and politically. Much of the most oppressed neighborhoods are now heavily armed and have already announced a revolution similar to that which emerged against the U.S. marines in 1915 and U.N. ‘peace-keepers’ in 2004, only more ferocious.
Regardless of the outcome of the latest interventionist snafu in Haiti, and regardless of how bad the situation becomes, foreign intervention will not solve the myriad problems caused by foreign intervention. After over a century of ill-fated international involvement in Haiti, it is high time for a radical concept: that Haiti should be left for Haitians to govern themselves.
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