International

U.S. State Department Report: Scientific, It Is Not

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Late Friday night, a report commissioned by the U.S. State Department was leaked to the AFP. The report presented itself as a scientific analysis of data that would suggest widely accepted earthquake figures of 17 months had been significantly offset.

The report claims the death toll from the January 12 2010 earthquake is not on the order of 250,000 to 300,000, as most had come to believe, but was at about 66,000. The numbers of displaced persons was also challenged, going from 680,000 to as low as 5% of that figure.

Commissioned by the U.S. State Department, dated May 13 (or March 13), and entitled, "Building Assessments and Rubble Removal in Quake-Affected Neighborhoods in Haiti", the report, although well presented, lacked the scientific integrity needed to make such claims.

The lack of integrity, comes from the authors of the report, Timothy Schwartz, Eric Calpas and a Dr. Yves-Francois Pierre. It's writer Schwartz has a record of bias that should have discounted his participation on its face. The contributors Calpas and Pierre, are compromised by very notable conflicts of interests that span from disarming Haiti to selling off its land to corporations.

The original article, written by Emily Troutman, listed the names of the authors (4th to the last paragraph) but since the first release, the names of the authors had been omitted, as the original article was modified .

Defend Haiti documents and maintains records of the Haitian culture, its experience and the way it is portrayed. Following the modifications and upon further research, it is again reaffirmed that the record keeping is for good reason.

Authors of the Report

A writer at Open Salon, a website that provides space for people to publish their opinion pieces, in March of 2011, Timothy Schwartz posted a chapter of a book that he is writing. A chapter entitled "Rape, murder and voodoo on the Island of the Damned."

Schwartz's chapter talks about his experience in Haiti after the earthquake, where he helped U.S. soldiers of the 82nd airborne load thick, heavy metal plates into the back of a pickup truck. These plates were body armor. Schwartz and the rescuers were apparently anticipating a "break down in society." Schwartz also noted that "all foreign embassy personnel and their families had to leave the island" as he was arriving with the 82nd, "the US's most elite fighting forces."

The writer at Open Salon is especially concerned with anticipating violence and chaos in Haiti. He calls the first reaction of the press on January 13, "an appropriate one," as he begins to make notice of articles written.Schwartz quotes, "machete-wielding young men who roam the streets, their faces hidden by bandanas", "survivors making barricades out of bodies" and "violence has been increasing."

Perhaps the most interesting of Schwartz quotes were "providing humanitarian aid requires a safe and secure environment." An interesting take as, if there is a safe and secure environment, chances are humanitarian aid is not needed in the first place. This was the justification for tons, upon tons of aid sitting in the Haitian airports as the citizens of Haiti, were made to wait by the gates, in long lines, with growing impatience after an apocalyptic disaster.

Other writings by Schwartz include titles such as:

"Short Note on Misrepresentation of Gender in Haiti." In this piece Schwartz discredits the hardship of women in Haiti.

"Development and Decline of Social Science: Haiti Case." This composition is part of a book Schwartz wrote entitled "Fewer Men More Babies: Sex, Family and Fertility in Haiti." The over arching opinion that Schwartz hopes to make is that Haitians engage in polygamy, which can be seen by another title of another post that he calls "Gender in Haiti: the Case of Polygyny."

The other two contributors to the U.S. State Department report turn up questions as well.

Eric Calpas, is part of the United Nations Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (UNDDR) organization who is aiming for the disarmament of Haiti. His organization, although for the disarmament of Haitians, does not question the arms of MINUSTAH and other foreign forces.

The second of the two contributors to the report is Dr. Yves-Francois Pierre, Haitian and the only person with academic credentials to be a research and analyst but his current and previous work is not above reproach. Dr. Pierre is a consultant for the Gonave Development Corporation and currently holds this position. The GDC as it is called has been working with the Former President, Rene Preval, administration for some time in an effort to buy the island of La Gonave for foreign corporations. This may also the coincidental publishing of the State Department's report, May 13, the day before the inauguration of the new President Michel Martelly.

Scientific, this report is not.

It is befuddling that the State Department would commission a scientific report, dealing with numbers, data and their analysis critical for a neighboring nation's development, from a writer of opinions and contributors that present significant conflicts of interest.

It has been a year and half since the devastating earthquake of January 12 took the lives of a quarter-million people and left nearly a million homeless. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Head of the United Nations Envoy to Haiti has been working on the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission of Haiti charged with planning the disbursement of billions of dollars. Many people find it hard to believe that these international groups, the Former President and the United Nations would not have had a better grasp of the specifications before getting involved.

One side is lying. Either it is the international community that now wants to lead off the reconstruction of Haiti, without participation or representation of the Haitian people, or it is the State Department and the writers of their report who also have their own gains and interests, that do not regard the Haitian people.

It seems as there is conflict amongst themselves.


Supplemental: BARR Survey Final Report LTL Strategies by T. Schwartz, Y. Pierre and E. Calpas
Related 05.27.2011: U.S. State Department Recalculating Haiti Earthquake Numbers
Related 05.24.2011: Poll Shows Americans' Overwhelming Support for the United Nations
Related 05.19.2011: "Se yon master brain ki fe plan pou nou ka batay antre nou" - Robert St Fleur [VIDEO]
Related 05.11.2011: Republicans Tell USAID Admin: "Efforts in Haiti have been a failure"
Related 05.10.2011: Democrats, Republicans Call Obama for an Accounting of Haiti
Related 04.21.2011: It Wouldn't Hurt to Have a Plan B
Source: This is a DH original.


Book reviews

Haiti Noir

Book Review

The anthology edited by Edwidge Danticat puts a uniquely Haitian spin on the crime genre

"Danticat has succeeded in assembling a group portrait of Haitian culture and resilience that is cause for celebration." - Publishers Weekly