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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 2, 2010

BENEATH THE SURFACE IN HAITI

F. William Engdahl, Global Research - Haiti, and the larger island of Hispaniola of which it is a part, has the geological fate that it straddles one of the world's most active geological zones, where the deepwater plates of three huge structures relentlessly rub against one another - the intersection of the North American, South American and Caribbean tectonic plates. Below the ocean and the waters of the Caribbean, these plates consist of an oceanic crust some 3 to 6 miles thick, floating atop an adjacent mantle. Haiti also lies at the edge of the region known as the Bermuda Triangle, a vast area in the Caribbean subject to bizarre and unexplained disturbances.

This vast mass of underwater plates are in constant motion, rubbing against each other along lines analogous to cracks in a broken porcelain vase that has been reglued. The earth's tectonic plates typically move at a rate 50 to 100 mm annually in relation to one another, and are the origin of earthquakes and of volcanoes. The regions of convergence of such plates are also areas where vast volumes of oil and gas can be pushed upwards from the Earth's mantle. The geophysics surrounding the convergence of the three plates that run more or less directly beneath Port-au-Prince make the region prone to earthquakes such as the one that struck Haiti with devastating ferocity on January 12. . .

Aside from being prone to violent earthquakes, Haiti also happens to lie in a zone that, due to the unusual geographical intersection of its three tectonic plates, might well be straddling one of the world's largest unexplored zones of oil and gas, as well as of valuable rare strategic minerals.

The vast oil reserves of the Persian Gulf and of the region from the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden are at a similar convergence zone of large tectonic plates, as are such oil-rich zones as Indonesia and the waters off the coast of California. In short, in terms of the physics of the earth, precisely such intersections of tectonic masses as run directly beneath Haiti have a remarkable tendency to be the sites of vast treasures of minerals, as well as oil and gas, throughout the world.

Notably, in 2005, a year after the Bush-Cheney Administration de facto deposed the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Baptiste Aristide, a team of geologists from the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas began an ambitious and thorough two-phase mapping of all geological data of the Caribbean Basins. The project is due to be completed in 2011. Directed by Dr. Paul Mann, it is called - Caribbean Basins, Tectonics and Hydrocarbons. - It is all about determining as precisely as possible the relation between tectonic plates in the Caribbean and the potential for hydrocarbons -oil and gas.

Notably, the sponsors of the multi-million dollar research project under Mann are the world s largest oil companies, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, the Anglo-Dutch Shell and BHP Billiton. Curiously enough, the project is the first comprehensive geological mapping of a region that, one would have thought, would have been a priority decades ago for the US oil majors. . .

Evidence that the US Administration may well have more in mind for Haiti than the improvement of the lot of the devastated Haitian people can be found in nearby waters off Cuba, directly across from Port-au-Prince. In October 2008 a consortium of oil companies led by Spain's Repsol, together with Cuba's state oil company, Cubapetroleo, announced discovery of one of the world's largest oilfields in the deep water off Cuba. It is what oil geologists call a 'Super-giant' field. Estimates are that the Cuban field contains as much as 20 billion barrels of oil, making it the twelfth Super-giant oilfield discovered since 1996. The discovery also likely makes Cuba a new high-priority target for Pentagon destabilization and other nasty operations. . .

A US military occupation of Haiti under the guise of earthquake disaster relief' would give Washington and private business interests tied to it a geopolitical prize of the first order. Prior to the January 12 quake, the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince was the fifth largest US embassy in the world, comparable to its embassies in such geopolitically strategic places as Berlin and Beijing. With huge new oil finds off Cuba being exploited by Russian companies, with clear indications that Haiti contains similar vast untapped oil as well as gold, copper, uranium and iridium, with Hugo Chavez Venezuela as a neighbor to the south of Haiti, a return of Aristide or any popular leader committed to developing the resources for the people of Haiti, -- the poorest nation in the Americas -- would constitute a devastating blow to the world's sole superpower. The fact that in the aftermath of the earthquake, UN Haiti Special Envoy Bill Clinton joined forces with Aristide foe George W. Bush to create something called the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund ought to give everyone pause.


1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clever of those ruthless Capitalist Exploiters to ensure Haiti was sitting right on the fault line so they could trigger the earthquake on cue.

February 4, 2010 12:39 PM  

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