This year marked the 116th anniversary of the U.S. armed forces’ invasion of the island of Puerto Rico. Since the time of Christopher Columbus, Puerto Rico has remained under direct foreign domination–first under Spain and then under the U.S. Puerto Rico is one of the last colonies in the world today.
U.S. and Puerto Rican rulers maintain the fiction that the island’s political status results from a 1952 bilateral pact called the Estado Libre Asociado (ELA, Free Associated State, I know it makes no sense) between two sovereign governments. Still, the U.S. government reserves complete and unilateral control over the island. The U.S. Congress holds an absolute veto power over local legislation. The only legal form of currency is the U.S. dollar. All defense matters are deferred to the U.S. military, and all eligible males can be drafted. Although the island has a National Guard, it, like the National Guards of the fifty states of the U.S., falls under the jurisdiction of the Pentagon. Federal law enforcement is handled by the FBI. The federal courts carry out their functions strictly in the English language, despite the fact that roughly 80 percent of the population speaks only Spanish. In what is a hotly contested issue, the current official languages of the country are Spanish and English.
Puerto Ricans have been American citizens since the U.S. Congress imposed citizenship on all island residents in 1917. While residing in any state of the union, Puerto Ricans can exercise the same rights as any other citizen. But those living on the island are not allowed to vote in presidential elections or to elect senators or representatives to Congress. Additionally, the level of federal funds allocated to the island is frequently below that of any state in similar circumstances. Clearly, the relationship of Puerto Rico to the U.S. is that of a colony to its overlord. But since the word “colony” carries negative connotations, U.S. government documents refer to the island as the “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.”
In the last post Puerto Rico “US LAB” I showed you part of this great relation between the two countries, now let see what else we can dig out:
The original intentions that the United States had with the island were what they called “Project 2020”. Amazingly, there is very little documentation about this, but it is a plan that they have had for the island since the early 1900’s! It consisted of converting the island into a large military installation. Although this was never fulfill, 13% of the land on the 35 x 100 mile island is occupied by U.S. military bases.
The U.S. Congress retains power to legislate for Puerto Rico *without* the consent of its people. Puerto Ricans on the island are not permitted to vote for the President or their congressional representatives.
– In 1917, the Jones Act *forced citizenship** on the Puerto Rican people, along with the draft and World War I. Puerto Ricans have been forced to serve in all subsequent U.S. wars, yet they are not allowed to vote?
And talking on the subject of war, while Puerto Rican have endure racism, here are some interesting facts
On March 21, 1915, the first shots by the United States in World War I were fired by the Puerto Rico Regiment of Infantry from El Morro Castle at a German ship in San Juan Bay.
The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed bills that will grant the 65th Infantry Regiment “Borinqueneers,” the Congressional Gold Medal.
This is an honor that is duly deserved. These men went through incredible hardships with no recognition or appreciation of their efforts,” Gomez said.
Much like their fellow soldiers of color, the Tuskegee Airmen and the Navajo Code Talkers, the Borinqueneers were members of a segregated infantry regiment, established in 1899 with members serving in World War I and World War II as well as in Korea. The infantry regiment was disbanded in 1959.
Currently, the Borinqueneers is the only segregated military infantry unit to have not been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
The Puerto Ricans forming the ranks of the gallant 65th Infantry on the battlefields of Korea … are writing a brilliant record of achievement in battle and I am proud indeed to have them in this command. I wish that we might have many more like them.
General Douglas MacArthur
The existence of a global system for intercepting private and commercial communications (the
ECHELON interception system)
A. whereas the existence of a global system for intercepting communications, operating by
means of cooperation proportionate to their capabilities among the USA, the UK, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand under the UKUSA Agreement, is no longer in doubt; whereas
it seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very
wide range of individuals and organizations, including American sources, that its name is
in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail,
B. whereas there can now be no doubt that the purpose of the system is to intercept, at the
very least, private and commercial communications, and not military communications,
although the analysis carried out in the report has revealed that the technical capabilities of
the system are probably not nearly as extensive as some sections of the media had
C. whereas, therefore, it is surprising, not to say worrying, that many senior Community
figures, including European Commissioners, who gave evidence to the Temporary
Committee claimed to be unaware of this phenomenon.
The radar station was to be placed in the western lands where the navy in one of its few acts of conservation and stimulation of the Vieques economy had planted a grove of mahogany trees. The facility would include 34 transmitting towers with an average height of about 100 feet.
Vieques protesters picketed the public hearings on the ROTHR facility that took place at the Alcaldía. They expressed concerns about the health risks of electromagnetic radiation, the fact that the ROTHR complex would consume 50% of the electricity supply of the Municipality of Vieques and the military use of lands, which the citizens hoped would some day be used for ecologically sensitive development.
The ROTHR project served to unite the community with even former staunch supporters of the navy joining in with anti navy protesters in voicing their opposition to the installation.
“In a startling development, in July 1994, the board of Directors of the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust (VCHT) announced their unanimous opposition to the navy’s ROTHR station. The VCHT was the pet project of a number of wealthy North American seasonal residents, and it claimed to focus on preserving Vieques’ environment, particularly its unique bioluminescent bay, but over the years it had alienated itself from sympathetic Viequenses because of its refusal to oppose the naval bombing exercises. The VCHT maintained that speaking out against the bombing would be an exercise in politics and that it wished to engage in environmental preservation, not political controversy.
“In reality most VCHT members, who were often Navy League members as well, were strongly supportive of the military presence on Vieques and were not willing to compromise their loyalties, even in the face of this apparent conflict of interest. Thus, activists were surprised when the VCHT issued a strongly worded statement declaring its unequivocal opposition to the radar station, which aside from representing a visual blight on ‘one of the loveliest unspoiled islands of the Caribbean’ and a potential health threat to island residents, would almost certainly adversely affect the island’s environment, in particular the bioluminescent bay. For the first time, the interests of anti navy activists and those of a locally based North American organization had converged.”
According to the Associated Press, Blackwater trained and was used as base to carry out missions to Latin America in Puerto Rico with the consent of the Puerto Rican government till 2004. This was thru a shell company named E & J Holdings, a real estate firm based in Puerto Rico. E & J stands for Erick and Joanne Prince. Erick Prince is the founder of Blackwater Worldwide.
After the success of the preliminary Boston trials for the Pill in 1954 and 1955, John Rock and Gregory Pincus were confident they had honed in on an oral contraceptive. But without large-scale human trials, the drug would never receive the FDA approval necessary to bring the drug to market. Given the strong legal, cultural and religious opposition to birth control in America in the 1950s, the prospects for this crucial next step appeared dim.
A Perfect Location
In the summer of 1955, Gregory Pincus visited Puerto Rico, and discovered it would be the perfect location for the human trials. The island, a U.S. territory, was one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and officials supported birth control as a form of population control in the hopes that it would stem Puerto Rico’s endemic poverty. There were no anti-birth control laws on the books, and Pincus was impressed with the extensive network of birth control clinics already in place on the island. There were 67 clinics dispensing existing methods of birth control and a large group of women used their services.
Poor, Uneducated Women
For Pincus, the island offered a pool of motivated candidates, and a stationary population that could be easily monitored over the course of the trials. Pincus also knew that if he could demonstrate that the poor, uneducated, women of Puerto Rico could follow the Pill regimen, then women anywhere in the world could too. Pincus hoped that by showing Puerto Rican women could successfully use oral contraceptives, he could quiet critics’ concerns that oral contraceptives would be too “complicated” for women in developing nations and American inner cities to use.
The base for the first trial was a clinic at Rio Piedras, a brand new housing project complete with running water and sunny balconies just outside of San Juan. The worst slum on the island, El Fangito (“the little mud hole”), had been razed to build clean, white seven-story buildings, and the new residents were eager to continue to improve their standard of living. Many American companies were building factories on the island, and plenty of factory jobs were available for local women.
Many Trial Subjects
Puerto Rico Trials The Rio Piedras trials quickly got off the ground in April 1956. In no time, the trial was filled to capacity, and they expanded the trials to additional locations on the island. Although Puerto Rico was a predominantly Catholic island, people were far more concerned with the struggles of daily life than Church dogma, and did not follow Rome on matters of birth control. At the time, most women relied on sterilization or abortion to limit their family size, and the Pill was a welcome alternative.
The pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle provided the pills for the trial. Rock selected a high dose of Enovid, the company’s brand name for their synthetic oral progesterone, to ensure that no pregnancies would occur while test subjects were on the drug. Later, after discovering Enovid worked better with small amounts of synthetic estrogen, that active ingredient was added to the Pill as well.
Dr. Edris Rice-Wray, a faculty member of the Puerto Rico Medical School and medical director of the Puerto Rico Family Planning Association, was in charge of the trials. After a year of tests, Dr. Rice-Wray reported good news to Pincus. The Pill was 100% effective when taken properly. She also informed him that 17% of the women in the study complained of nausea, dizziness, headaches, stomach pain and vomiting. So serious and sustained were the reactions that Rice-Wray told Pincus that a 10-milligram dose of Enovid caused “too many side reactions to be generally acceptable.”
Dismissing Side Effects
Rock and Pincus quickly dismissed Rice-Wray’s conclusions. Their patients in Boston had experienced far fewer negative reactions, and they believed many of the complaints were psychosomatic. The men also felt that problems such as bloating and nausea were minor compared to the contraceptive benefits of the drug. Although three women died while participating in the trials, no investigation was conducted to see if the Pill had caused the young women’s deaths. Confident in the safety of the Pill, Pincus and Rock took no action to assess the root cause of the side effects.
Deceit and Exploitation?
In later years, Pincus’s team would be accused of deceit, colonialism and the exploitation of poor women of color. The women had only been told that they were taking a drug that prevented pregnancy, not that this was a clinical trial, that the Pill was experimental or that there was a chance of potentially dangerous side effects. Pincus and Rock, however, believed they were following the appropriate ethical standards of the time. In the 1950s, research involving human subjects was much less regulated than it is today. Informed consent standards were minimal and only the most basic toxicity tests were required for human trials.
To this day, questions linger over whether Pincus and Rock overlooked serious side effects from the original high dosage Pill during trials, in their rush to bring an effective pill to market. The dosage of the Pill has since been dramatically lowered and the incidence of serious side effects has been greatly reduced. Still, the Puerto Rico pill trials remain a controversial episode in the history of the Pill’s development.
The Department of Defense has identified 110 sites in the United States that could serve as bases for military unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones. A new report to Congress lists each of the 110 sites “and the UAS likely to fly at that location.” See “Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability,” Department of Defense, April 2012 (pp. 9-12).
The newly disclosed DoD report was first reported by InsideDefense.com.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ron Zechman, a predator sensor operator, and Maj. Jeff Bright, a predator pilot and detachment commander of the 432nd Wing out of Creech Air Force Base, Nev., go over pre-flight check lists for an RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle at Aeropuerto Rafael Hernandez outside Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Jan. 28, 2010, but has been going on since 2002.
Radiation test in (El Verde) El Yunque Rainforest
An Arboretum of more than 100 tropical tree species is established in the EYNF/LEF.
UPR scientists from the Puerto Rico Nuclear Research Center test the effects of gamma radiation on tropical forests in the El Verde sector of the EYNF. These tests were accomplished to provide scientific evaluation of whether nuclear energy should be used to carve-out a proposed inter-ocean waterway through Central America, to replace the Panama Canal.
Nuclear Bomb In Vieques?
In 1995 NOTICENTRO 4 (channel 4 news) DENOUNCED IN AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT THE COMPLICATED SITUATION LIVED BY THE PEOPLE OF VIEQUES DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF THE NAVY AND THE MILITARY MANEUVERS ON THE ISLAND. DURING THE SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, “RED ALERT”, IT WAS ALSO DENOUNCED THAT AN INCIDENT WITH A NUCLEAR BOMB HAD OCCURRED IN VIEQUES DURING THE MID 60’S.
THE HIGH COMMAND OF THE NAVY IN PUERTO RICO CATEGORICALLY DENIED IN 1995 THAT SUCH AN INCIDENT EVER OCCURRED AND COMMENCED A CAMPAIGN TO SUPPRESS AND HARRASS THIS TV STATION AND OUR REPORTER. NOW, AFTER FIVE YEARS OF INVESTIGATIONS, NOTICENTRO HAS FOUND NEW EVIDENCE THAT CONFIRMS THE OCCURRENCE OF THE NUCLEAR INCIDENT AND ITS COVER-UP.
To be continued …