Category: Politics



Canada’s PM To Putin: “I Guess
I’ll Shake Your Hand…” Putin’s
Response “Was Not Positive”
"I have only one thing to say to
you: you need to get out of
Ukraine.”

Canada's PM To Putin: "I Guess I'll Shake Your Hand..." Putin's Response "Was Not Positive"

by Zero Hedge | November 16, 2014

Following last week’s (humiliating for the US) APEC meeting in Beijing, in which the BRIC nations clearly distanced themselves from the “developed world” and the topic of the “Russian invasion of Ukraine” was largely missing as it is clearly not in the interest of the Pacific nations to warmonger when the two key nations, Russia and China are obviously not complying with the western media ‘straight to populism‘ narrative, it was time for another major world summit, this time in the quite “western” Brisbane, Australia.

It was here that the G-7 part of the G-20 nations seized the opportunity to quickly pivot against Moscow and remind Europe that the reason why Europe is in a triple-dip recession (if one removes the GDP “boost” from hookers and blow) is because of Russia’s “take over” of east Ukraine, ignoring the reality that it was the US State Department’s Victoria Nuland that incited the Kiev coup and the west that imposed the “costly” sanctions on Russia which have hurt Germany and Europe just as badly. This was all largely lost on the local, as outside the summit, Ukrainian Australians staged an anti-Putin protest, wearing headbands reading “Putin, Killer”.

It was a full court press from the start: as the NYT reports, “at a speech at a university in Brisbane, Mr. Obama called Russia’s aggression against Ukraine a “threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot down of MH-17, a tragedy that took so many innocent lives, among them your fellow citizens,” a reference to the Australian citizens and residents who were killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 went down in eastern Ukraine.

“As your ally and friend, America shares the grief of these Australian families, and we share the determination of your nation for justice and accountability,” Mr. Obama said.”

StevenHarper_douchebag

This charade was set to continue Sunday, when leaders from the European Union planned to meet with Mr. Obama to discuss Ukraine, among other issues, said Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council. He said the European Union was committed to finding a political solution to the crisis.

“We will continue to use all the diplomatic tools, including sanctions, at our disposal,” he said.

Indeed, as Reuters adds “Western leaders warned Vladimir Putin at a G20 summit on Saturday that he risked more economic sanctions if he failed to end Russian backing for separatist rebels in Ukraine.”

But perhaps the best confirmation that all the G-20 meeting was nothing but a giant populist photo-op comes from Bloomberg which reports that “Russian President Vladimir Putin got a blunt message when he approached Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a handshake at today’s Group of 20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

“I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Harper told Putin, the prime minister’s spokesman Jason MacDonald said in an e-mail.

Putin’s response to the comment wasn’t positive, MacDonald said, without elaborating. Putin and Harper talked briefly, according to Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“Indeed Harper told Putin that Russia should leave Ukraine,” Peskov said by phone today in Brisbane. Putin told him that this is impossible because they are not there.”    Which is the real TRUTH” known by all alternative media station

Asked about the tone of the meeting between the two leaders, Peskov said “it was within the bounds of decency.”

Say no more.

Righteous Russian President Vladimir Putin, right,

walks past Canadian Prime Minister

 Hannibal Cannibal Stephen Harper, left,

during a pompous welcoming ceremony at the

G-20Criminal Cabal Summit in Brisbane.

Yet at the end of the day, captioned photo-op or not, one wonders how much of all the front-page drama is even remotely real when every single time the west goes on the “offensive” against Putin with “costs” just to have a convenient scapegoat for Europe’s ongoing depression, one hears in the back of one head the following exchange:

Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir”

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The Devil’s Bargain: The Illusion of a Trouble-Free Existence in the American Police State
Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public

The Devil’s Bargain: The Illusion of a Trouble-Free Existence in the American Police State

by John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | November 11, 2014

Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.
—Simone Weil, French philosopher and political activist

It’s no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years’ jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public.

Both cases fall under the umbrella of over criminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker. As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.

John Yates, a commercial fisherman, was written up in 2007 by a state fish and wildlife officer who noticed that among Yates’ haul of red grouper, 72 were apparently under the 20-inch minimum legal minimum. Yates, ordered to bring the fish to shore as evidence of his violation of the federal statute on undersized catches, returned to shore with only 69 grouper in the crate designated for evidence. A crew member later confessed that, on orders from Yates, the crew had thrown the undersized grouper overboard and replaced them with larger fish. Unfortunately, they were three fish short. Sensing a bait-and-switch, prosecutors refused to let Yates off the hook quite so easily. Unfortunately, in prosecuting him for the undersized fish under a law aimed at financial crimes, government officials opened up a can of worms.

Arnold Abbott, 90 years old and the founder of a nonprofit that feeds the homeless, is facing a fine of $1000 and up to four months in jail for violating a city ordinance that makes it a crime to feed the homeless in public. Under the city’s ordinance, clearly aimed at discouraging the feeding of the homeless in public, organizations seeking to do so must provide portable toilets, be 500 feet away from each other, 500 feet from residential properties, and are limited to having only one group carry out such a function per city block.  Abbott has been feeding the homeless on a public beach in Ft. Lauderdale every Wednesday evening for the past 23 years. On November 2, 2014, moments after handing out his third meal of the day, police reportedly approached the nonagenarian and ordered him to “‘drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” recalls Abbott. Abbott was arrested and fined. Three days later, Abbott was at it again, and arrested again.

That both of these incidents occurred in Florida is no coincidence. Remember, this is the state that arrested Nicole Gainey for letting her 7-year-old son walk to the park alone, even though it was just a few blocks from their house. If convicted, Gainey could have been made to serve up to five years in jail.

This is also the state that a few years back authorized police raids on barber shops in minority communities, resulting in barbers being handcuffed in front of customers, and their shops searched without warrants. All of this was purportedly done in an effort to make sure that the barbers’ licensing paperwork was up to snuff.

As if criminalizing fishing, charity, parenting decisions, and haircuts wasn’t bad enough, you could also find yourself passing time in a Florida slammer for such inane activities as singing in a public place while wearing a swimsuit, breaking more than three dishes per day, farting in a public place after 6 pm on a Thursday, and skateboarding without a license.

Despite its pristine beaches and balmy temperatures, Florida is no less immune to the problems plaguing the rest of the nation in terms of over criminalization, incarceration rates, bureaucracy, corruption, and police misconduct. In fact, the Sunshine State has become a poster child for how a seemingly idyllic place can be transformed into a police state with very little effort. As such, it is representative of what is happening in every state across the nation, where a steady diet of bread and circuses has given rise to an oblivious, inactive citizenry content to be ruled over by an inflexible and highly bureaucratic regime.

This transformation of the United States from being a beacon of freedom to a locked down nation illustrates perfectly what songwriter Joni Mitchell was referring to when she wrote:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Only in our case, sold on the idea that safety, security and material comforts are preferable to freedom, we’ve allowed the government to pave over the Constitution in order to erect a concentration camp. The problem with these devil’s bargains, however, is that there is always a catch, always a price to pay for whatever it is we valued so highly as to barter away our most precious possessions.

We’ve bartered away our right to self-governance, self-defense, privacy, autonomy and that most important right of all—the right to tell the government to “leave me the hell alone.” In exchange for the promise of safe streets, safe schools, blight-free neighborhoods, lower taxes, lower crime rates, and readily accessible technology, health care, water, food and power, we’ve opened the door to militarized police, government surveillance, asset forfeiture, school zero tolerance policies, license plate readers, red light cameras, SWAT team raids, health care mandates, over criminalization and government corruption.

In the end, such bargains always turn sour.

We asked our lawmakers to be tough on crime, and we’ve been saddled with an abundance of laws that criminalize almost every aspect of our lives. So far, we’re up to 4500 criminal laws and 300,000 criminal regulations that result in average Americans unknowingly engaging in criminal acts at least three times a day. For instance, the family of an 11-year-old girl was issued a $535 fine for violating the Federal Migratory Bird Act after the young girl rescued a baby woodpecker from predatory cats.

We wanted criminals taken off the streets, and we didn’t want to have to pay for their incarceration. What we’ve gotten is a nation that boasts the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 2.3 million people locked up, many of them doing time for relatively minor, nonviolent crimes, and a private prison industry fueling the drive for more inmates, who are forced to provide corporations with cheap labor. A special report by CNBC breaks down the national numbers:

One out of 100 American adults is behind bars — while a stunning one out of 32 is on probation, parole or in prison. This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government spend about $74 billion a year on corrections, and nearly 800,000 people work in the industry.

We wanted law enforcement agencies to have the necessary resources to fight the nation’s wars on terror, crime and drugs. What we got instead were militarized police decked out with M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers, battle tanks and hollow point bullets—gear designed for the battlefield, more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year (many for routine police tasks, resulting in losses of life and property), and profit-driven schemes that add to the government’s largesse such as asset forfeiture, where police seize property from “suspected criminals.”

Justice Department figures indicate that as much as $4.3 billion was seized in asset forfeiture cases in 2012, with the profits split between federal agencies and local police. According to the Washington Post, these funds have been used to buy guns, armored cars, electronic surveillance gear, “luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.” Police seminars advise officers to use their “department wish list when deciding which assets to seize” and, in particular, go after flat screen TVs, cash and nice cars. In Florida, where police are no strangers to asset forfeiture, Florida police have been carrying out “reverse” sting operations, where they pose as drug dealers to lure buyers with promises of cheap cocaine, then bust them, and seize their cash and cars. Over the course of a year, police in one small Florida town seized close to $6 million using these entrapment schemes.

We fell for the government’s promise of safer roads, only to find ourselves caught in a tangle of profit-driven red light cameras, which ticket unsuspecting drivers in the so-called name of road safety while ostensibly fattening the coffers of local and state governments. Despite widespread public opposition, corruption and systemic malfunctions, these cameras—used in 24 states and Washington, DC—are particularly popular with municipalities, which look to them as an easy means of extra cash. One small Florida town, population 8,000, generates a million dollars a year in fines from these cameras. Building on the profit-incentive schemes, the cameras’ manufacturers are also pushing speed cameras and school bus cameras, both of which result in heft fines for violators who speed or try to go around school buses.

This is just a small sampling of the many ways in which the American people continue to get duped, deceived, double-crossed, cheated, lied to, swindled and conned into believing that the government and its army of bureaucrats—the people we appointed to safeguard our freedoms—actually have our best interests at heart.

Yet when all is said and done, who is really to blame when the wool gets pulled over your eyes: you, for believing the con man, or the con man for being true to his nature?

It’s time for a bracing dose of reality, America. Wake up and take a good, hard look around you, and ask yourself if the gussied-up version of America being sold to you—crime free, worry free and devoid of responsibility—is really worth the ticket price: nothing less than your freedoms.


White House Reporter After Ebola Press
Conference: “We’re Screwed”
Hot mic catches journalists making candid comments

by Paul Joseph Watson | October 8, 2014

A hot mic caught reporters expressing their amazement at a White House Ebola press conference, with one journalist remarking, “we’re screwed.”

The video clip shows the end of a White House press briefing on the Ebola outbreak as officials begin to leave the podium.

“Shit!” exclaims one of the reporters, before another female journalist states, “The most interesting thing is the travel stuff.”

“Yeah, we’re screwed,” remarks another reporter.

“If the DC test comes back positive, I’m doing (inaudible) all weekend,” states the woman.

The male reporter then castigates his “stupid mic,” before commenting, “did you hear that everyone?”

Several patients have been tested for Ebola at Washington-area hospitals, but every case has proven negative so far.

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Should We Just Follow Orders? Rules of Engagement for Resisting the Police State

By John W. Whitehead
October 07, 2014

“Let your motto be resistance! resistance! Resistance! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance.”—Abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet

Should We Just Follow Orders? Rules of Engagement for Resisting the Police State

The perils of resisting the police state grow more costly with each passing day, especially if you hope to escape with your life and property intact. The thing you must remember is that we’ve entered an age of militarized police in which we’re no longer viewed as civilians but as enemy combatants.

Take, for example, Mary Elizabeth VandenBerg who was charged with disturbing the peace, a crime punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, for daring to vocalize her frustrations over a traffic ticket by reading a prepared statement to the court clerk and paying her $145 traffic ticket with 145 one-dollar bills. VandenBerg was also handcuffed, tasered and pepper sprayed for “passively” resisting police by repeatedly stopping and talking to them and stiffening her arms. The incident, filmed by VandenBerg’s brother, is now the subject of a lawsuit.

film-police

Zachary Noel was tasered by police and charged with resisting arrest after he questioned why he was being ordered out of his truck during a traffic stop. “Because I’m telling you to,” the officer replied before repeating his order for Noel to get out of the vehicle and then, without warning, shooting him with a taser through the open window. The encounter, recorded with a cell phone by Noel’s friend in the passenger seat, offers a particularly chilling affirmation of how little recourse Americans really have when it comes to obeying an order from a government official or police officer, even if it’s just to ask a question or assert one’s rights.

Dumbed down to the bone Goon Thug PIGS

Eighteen-year-old Keivon Young was shot seven times by police from behind while urinating outdoors. Young was just zipping up his pants when he heard a commotion behind him and then found himself struck by a hail of bullets from two undercover cops. Despite the fact that the officers mistook Young—5’4,” 135 lbs., and guilty of nothing more than taking a leak outdoors—for a 6’ tall, 200 lb. murder suspect whom they later apprehended, the young man was charged with felony resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a peace officer.

What these incidents make clear is that anything short of compliance will now get you charged with any of the growing number of contempt charges (ranging from resisting arrest and interference to disorderly conduct, obstruction, and failure to obey a police order) that get trotted out anytime a citizen voices discontent with the government or challenges or even questions the authority of the powers that be—and that’s the best case scenario. The worst case scenario involves getting probed, poked, pinched, tasered, tackled, searched, seized, stripped, manhandled, arrested, shot, or killed.

Murder ed in Walmart

So what can you really do when you find yourself at the mercy of law enforcement officers who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect”? In other words, what are the rules of engagement when it comes to interacting with the police?

If you want to play it safe, comply and do whatever a police officer tells you to do. Don’t talk back. Don’t threaten. And don’t walk away. In other words, don’t do anything that even hints at resistance.

Keep in mind, however, that this is not a fail-safe plan, especially not in an age where police officers tend to shoot first and ask questions later, oftentimes based only on their highly subjective “feeling” of being threatened, and are reprimanded with little more than a slap on the wrist. Indeed, the news is riddled with reports of individuals who didn’t resist when confronted by police and still got tasered, tackled or shot simply because they looked at police in a threatening manner or moved in a way that made an officer fear for his safety.

FKNN PIGS

For example, Levar Edward Jones was shot by a South Carolina police officer during a routine traffic stop over a seatbelt violation as he was in the process of reaching for his license and registration. The trooper justified his shooting of the unarmed man by insisting that Jones reached for his license “aggressively.”

If compliance isn’t quite your cup of tea—and we’d be far better off as a nation if we were far less compliant—then you’ve got a few more options ranging from legal-but-sure-to-annoy-an-officer to legal-but-it-could-get-you-arrested to legal-but-it-could-get-you-shot.

Another FKN Killer Pig

If this is war—and a good case could be made for the fact that the government is indeed waging a war on the American citizenry—then the tactics I’m about to outline could be considered nonviolent guerilla warfare, using whatever strategic, legal, creative and nonviolent means are available in order to outmaneuver an opponent—in our case, the American police force—whose language is the language of force.

To begin with, and most importantly, Americans need to know their rights when it comes to interactions with the police, bearing in mind that many law enforcement officials are largely ignorant of the law themselves. In a nutshell, here are your basic rights when it comes to interactions with the police as outlined in the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

Basic Pigs BS as always

You have the right under the First Amendment to ask questions and express yourself. You have the right under the Fourth Amendment to not have your person or your property searched by police or any government agent unless they have a search warrant authorizing them to do so.  You have the right under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.

You have the right under the Sixth Amendment to request an attorney. Depending on which state you live in and whether your encounter with police is consensual as opposed to your being temporarily detained or arrested, you may have the right to refuse to identify yourself. Presently, 26 states do not require citizens to show their ID to an officer (drivers in all states must do so, however).

Knowing your rights is only part of the battle, unfortunately. The hard part comes in when you have to exercise those rights in order to hold government officials accountable to respecting those rights  As a rule of thumb, you should always be sure to clarify in any police encounter whether or not you are being detained, i.e., whether you have the right to walk away.

281013check

That holds true whether it’s a casual “show your ID” request on a boardwalk, a stop-and-frisk search on a city street, or a traffic stop for speeding or just to check your insurance. As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, if you feel like you can’t walk away from a police encounter of your own volition—and more often than not you can’t, especially when you’re being confronted by someone armed to the hilt with all manner of militarized weaponry and gear—then for all intents and purposes, you’re essentially under arrest from the moment a cop stops you.

PepperSpray2w

Still, it doesn’t hurt to clarify that distinction, as Kahler Nygard learned. Nygard was threatened with arrest for failing to comply with an order by TSA agents to undergo additional screening after flying with no incident from Minneapolis to his final destination in Denver. It turns out that Nygard, at one time a vocal critic of the government, had been placed on a special list requiring him to undergo extra airport screening. When airport officials realized that they had failed to carry out the additional screening prior to Nygard’s departure, they attempted to cover their mistake by screening him once he landed. To the annoyance of the government agent, Nygard—who filmed the entire encounter—repeatedly asked the agent whether he was being detained or not. Once he deduced that the TSA had no legal rationale for detaining him, Nygard walked away without incident. The encounter might have ended far differently had a police officer been standing nearby, however.

Bu6A8CHCQAEyRnw.jpg large

Another important takeaway from Nygard’s experience is to record your encounter with police. While technology is always going to be a double-edged sword, with the gadgets that are the most useful to us in our daily lives—GPS devices, cell phones, the internet—being the very tools used by the government to track us, monitor our activities, and generally spy on us, cell phones are particularly useful for recording encounters with the police and have proven to be increasingly powerful reminders to police that they are not all powerful.

No matter what individual police officers might say to the contrary, members of the public have a First Amendment right to record police interactions, as the Justice Department recognized in a 2012 memorandum acknowledging that “recording governmental officers engaged in public duties is a form of speech through which private individuals may gather and disseminate information of public concern, including the conduct of law enforcement officers.”

pittsswat2

That said, there may still be consequences for filming the police, as Fred Marlow learned the hard way. Marlow was charged with interfering and resisting arrest, and fined $5,000 for daring to film a SWAT team raid that took place across the street from his apartment. Marlow was asleep when he heard what sounded like “multiple bombs blasting and glass breaking.” Rushing outside to investigate, Marlow filmed police officers dressed in army green camouflage standing beside an armored vehicle, in the process of carrying out a SWAT team raid to serve a search warrant (more than 80,000 such raids take place every year in the U.S. for such routine police procedures as serving search warrants). Ordered to return inside or face arrest for interference, Marlow explained that he was on his own property and could be outside. He was subsequently arrested.

Im Going to FUCKing Kill You!.

One popular alternative to citizens filming police encounters is having the police wear body cameras, which have been proven to decrease the number of use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints when used properly. Unfortunately, given that they can be turned off as easily as they are turned on, these devices are also ripe for abuse, not to mention the fact that they are privacy-threatening, roving extensions of the surveillance state whose cameras are conveniently pointed at us, not them.

Clearly, the language of freedom is no longer the common tongue spoken by the citizenry and their government. With the government having shifted into a language of force, “we the people” have been reduced to suspects in a surveillance state, criminals in a police state, and enemy combatants in a military empire

Brutality

In such an environment, as every resistor from Martin Luther King Jr. and on down the line has learned, there is always a price to be paid for challenging the status quo. Then again, the price for not challenging the status quo is even worse: outright tyranny, the loss of our freedoms, and a totalitarian regime the likes of which the world has never seen before.

WC: 1834


There Will Be Pestilences:
Why Are So
Many Deadly Diseases Breaking Out All
Over The Globe Right Now?
So why is this happening?

There Will Be Pestilences: Why Are So Many Deadly Diseases Breaking Out All Over The Globe Right Now?

by Michael Snyder | Economic Collapse | October 7, 2014

 

Ebola, Marburg, Enterovirus and Chikungunya – these diseases were not even on the radar of most people coming into 2014, but now each one of them is making headline news.  So why is this happening?  Why are so many deadly diseases breaking out all over the world right now?  Is there some kind of a connection, or is the fact that so many horrible diseases are arising all at once just a giant coincidence?  And this could be just the beginning.  For example, there are now more than a million cases of Chikungunya in Central and South America, and authorities are projecting that there will be millions more in 2015.  The number of Ebola cases continues to grow at an exponential rate, and now an even deadlier virus (Marburg) has broken out in Uganda.  We have gone decades without experiencing a major worldwide pandemic, and many people believed that it could never happen in our day and time.  But now we could potentially see several absolutely devastating diseases all racing across the planet at the same time.

On Monday, we got news that the first confirmed case of Ebola transmission in Europe has happened.  A nurse in Spain that had treated a couple of returning Ebola patients has contracted the disease herself

A nurse’s assistant in Spain is the first person known to have contracted Ebola outside of Africa in the current outbreak.

Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato announced Monday that a test confirmed the assistant has the virus.

The woman helped treat a Spanish missionary and a Spanish priest, both of whom had contracted Ebola in West Africa. Both died after returning to Spain.

Health officials said she developed symptoms on September 30. She was not hospitalized until this week. Her only symptom was a fever.

How many people did she spread the virus to before it was correctly diagnosed?

Meanwhile, Ebola continues to rage out of control in West Africa.  It is being reported that Sierra Leone just added 121 new Ebola deaths to the overall death toll in a single day.  If Ebola continues to spread at an exponential rate, it is inevitable that more people will leave West Africa with the virus and take it to other parts of the globe.

In fact, it was being reported on Monday that researchers have concluded that there is “a 50 percent chance” that Ebola could reach the UK by October 24th…

Experts have analyzed the pattern of the spread of the disease, along with airline traffic data, to make the startling prediction Ebola could reach Britain by October 24.

They claim there is a 50 percent chance the virus could hit Britain by that date and a 75 percent chance the it could be imported to France, as the deadliest outbreak in history spreads across the world.

Currently, there is no cure for the disease, which has claimed more than 3,400 lives since March and has a 90 percent fatality rate.

I have written extensively about Ebola, but it is certainly not the only virus making headlines right now.

Down in Uganda, a man has just died from a confirmed case of the Marburg Virus…

A man has died in Uganda’s capital after an outbreak of Marburg, a highly infectious hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, authorities said on Sunday, adding that a total of 80 people who came into contact with him had been put under quarantine.

Marburg starts with a severe headache followed by haemorrhaging and leads to death in 80% or more of cases in about nine days. It is from the same family of viruses as Ebola, which has killed thousands in West Africa in recent months.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the Marburg virus, which is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva and blood or by handling infected wild animals such as monkeys.

The Marburg Virus is an absolutely horrible disease, and many consider it to be even more deadly than Ebola.  But the fact that it kills victims so quickly may keep it from spreading as widely as Ebola.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, a disease that sounds very similar to Ebola and Marburg has popped up in Venezuela and doctors down there do not know what it is…

“We do not know what it is,” admitted Duglas León Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation.

In its initial stages, the disease presents symptoms of fever and spots on the skin, and then produces large blisters and internal and external bleeding, according to data provided week stop by the College of Physicians of the state of Aragua, where the first cases were reported.

Then, very quickly, patients suffer from respiratory failure, liver failure and kidney failure. Venezuelan doctors have not been able to determine what the disease is, much less how to fight it.

Why aren’t we hearing more about this in the mainstream news?

Here in the United States, enterovirus D-68 has sickened hundreds of children all over the country.  So far cases have been confirmed in 43 different states, several children have been paralyzed by it, and one New Jersey boy has died

Parents in New Jersey are concerned after a state medical examiner determined a virus causing severe respiratory illness across the country is responsible for the death of a 4-year-old boy.

Hamilton Township health officer Jeff Plunkett said the Mercer County medical examiner’s office found the death of Eli Waller was the result of enterovirus D-68. Waller, the youngest of a set of triplets, died in his sleep at home on Sept. 25.

The virus has sickened more than 500 people in 43 states and Washington, D.C.— almost all of them children. Waller is the first death in New Jersey directly linked to the virus.

The CDC seems to have no idea how to contain the spread of enterovirus D-68.

So why should we be confident that they will be able to contain the spread of Ebola?

Last but not least, the Chikungunya virus is at pandemic levels all over Central and South America.

We aren’t hearing that much about this disease in the U.S., but at this point more than a million people have already been infected…

An excruciating mosquito-borne illness that arrived less than a year ago in the Americas is raging across the region, leaping from the Caribbean to the Central and South American mainland, and infecting more than 1 million people. Some cases already have emerged in the United States.

The good news is that very few people actually die from this disease.

The bad news is that almost everyone that gets it feels like they are dying.

In a previous article, I wrote about the intense suffering that victims go through.  According to Slate, the name of this virus originally “comes from a Makonde word meaning ‘that which bends up,’ referring to the contortions sufferers put themselves through due to intense joint pain.”

Right now, the number of cases of Chikungunya is absolutely exploding.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent Fox News report

In El Salvador, health officials report nearly 30,000 suspected cases, up from 2,300 at the beginning of August, and hospitals are filled with people with the telltale signs of the illness, including joint pain so severe it can be hard to walk.

“The pain is unbelievable,” said Catalino Castillo, a 39-year-old seeking treatment at a San Salvador hospital. “It’s been 10 days and it won’t let up.”

Venezuelan officials reported at least 1,700 cases as of Friday, and the number is expected to rise. Neighboring Colombia has around 4,800 cases but the health ministry projects there will be nearly 700,000 by early 2015.

So why is this happening?

Why are so many absolutely horrible diseases emerging all at once?

 

 

Some Ebola experts worry virus may spread more easily than assumed

Ebola crisis

Caption Ebola crisis

John Moore / Getty Images

World Health Organization instructors watch as health workers in protective suits take part in a training session in Monrovia, Liberia.

Ebola crisis

Caption Ebola crisis

John Moore / Getty Images

Matua Fallah waits to receive a ration of rice at a makeshift distribution center in Dolo Town, Liberia, in August.

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John Moore / Getty Images

Relatives of a local government official are escorted from the West Point slum of Monrovia, Liberia, in August after unrest erupted in response to a government quarantine.

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Caption Ebola crisis

John Moore / Getty Images

Saah Exco, 10, lies in a back alley of Monrovia’s West Point slum in August. The boy was one of the patients pulled out of a holding center for suspected Ebola patients when the facility was overrun by a mob.

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A resident looks from behind a gate during the Liberian government’s 11-day Ebola quarantine in the West Point district of Monrovia.

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Residents of Monrovia’s West Point slum wait for a food aid distribution during the government-imposed quarantine there.

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A burial team from the Liberian Ministry of Health unloads the bodies of Ebola victims onto a funeral pyre at a crematorium in the town of Marshall.

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Residents in New Kru Town, Liberia, complain they have not received enough disinfection kits being distributed by the aid group Doctors Without Borders.

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Liberians in New Kru Town wait before dawn for disinfection kits being distributed by Doctors Without Borders.

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A health worker speaks with a boy at a center for suspected Ebola patients, formerly the maternity ward at Redemption Hospital in Monrovia.

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A woman carries a disinfection kit distributed by Doctors Without Borders in New Kru Town.

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Residents walk home with disinfection kits distributed in New Kru Town.

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Sanitized gloves and boots hang to dry at a Liberian Ministry of Health center for cremation in Monrovia.

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An Ebola awareness mural is displayed in Monrovia.

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A Liberian Ministry of Health worker speaks to Banu, 4, in a holding center for suspected Ebola patients at Redemption Hospital in Monrovia.

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U.S. Air Force personnel offload a mobile command center from a transport plane outside Monrovia to assist Liberia’s Ebola response.

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A man walks past the residence in Monrovia, Liberia, where Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, had rented a room.

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A health worker watches as a burial team collects the bodies of Ebola victims from a Ministry of Health center for cremation in Monrovia.

By David Willman contact the reporter

NationMedical ResearchAfricaScientific ResearchDiseases and IllnessesEbolaU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ebola researcher says he would not rule out possibility that the virus spreads through air in tight quarters

‘There are too many unknowns here,’ a virologist says of how Ebola may spread

Ebola researcher says he thinks there is a chance asymptomatic people could spread the virus

U.S. officials leading the fight against history’s worst outbreak of Ebola have said they know the ways the virus is spread and how to stop it. They say that unless an air traveler from disease-ravaged West Africa has a fever of at least 101.5 degrees or other symptoms, co-passengers are not at risk.

"At this point there is zero risk of transmission on the flight," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said after a Liberian man who flew through airports in Brussels and Washington was diagnosed with the disease last week in Dallas.

First Ebola infection outside West Africa

Three more were placed under quarantine at Madrid hospital where a Spanish nurse became infected, the first case infection outside of West Africa.

Other public health officials have voiced similar assurances, saying Ebola is spread only through physical contact with a symptomatic individual or their bodily fluids. "Ebola is not transmitted by the air. It is not an airborne infection," said Dr. Edward Goodman of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where the Liberian patient remains in critical condition.

Yet some scientists who have long studied Ebola say such assurances are premature — and they are concerned about what is not known about the strain now on the loose. It is an Ebola outbreak like none seen before, jumping from the bush to urban areas, giving the virus more opportunities to evolve as it passes through multiple human hosts.

Dr. C.J. Peters, who battled a 1989 outbreak of the virus among research monkeys housed in Virginia and who later led the CDC’s most far-reaching study of Ebola’s transmissibility in humans, said he would not rule out the possibility that it spreads through the air in tight quarters.

"We just don’t have the data to exclude it," said Peters, who continues to research viral diseases at the University of Texas in Galveston.

Dr. Philip K. Russell, a virologist who oversaw Ebola research while heading the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Development Command, and who later led the government’s massive stockpiling of smallpox vaccine after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, also said much was still to be learned. "Being dogmatic is, I think, ill-advised, because there are too many unknowns here."

If Ebola were to mutate on its path from human to human, said Russell and other scientists, its virulence might wane — or it might spread in ways not observed during past outbreaks, which were stopped after transmission among just two to three people, before the virus had a greater chance to evolve. The present outbreak in West Africa has killed approximately 3,400 people, and there is no medical cure for Ebola.

"I see the reasons to dampen down public fears," Russell said. "But scientifically, we’re in the middle of the first experiment of multiple, serial passages of Ebola virus in man…. God knows what this virus is going to look like. I don’t."

U.S. To Increase Airport Screening For Ebola

The deteriorating conditions in Africa make it more likely additional cases of Ebola will appear in the United States and officials are pushing for increased screenings at airports.

Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC in Atlanta, said health officials were basing their response to Ebola on what has been learned from battling the virus since its discovery in central Africa in 1976. The CDC remains confident, he said, that Ebola is transmitted principally by direct physical contact with an ill person or their bodily fluids.

Skinner also said the CDC is conducting ongoing lab analyses to assess whether the present strain of Ebola is mutating in ways that would require the government to change its policies on responding to it. The results so far have not provided cause for concern, he said.

The researchers reached in recent days for this article cited grounds to question U.S. officials’ assumptions in three categories.

One issue is whether airport screenings of prospective travelers to the U.S. from West Africa can reliably detect those who might have Ebola. Frieden has said the CDC protocols used at West African airports can be relied on to prevent more infected passengers from coming to the U.S.

"One hundred percent of the individuals getting on planes are screened for fever before they get on the plane," Frieden said Sept. 30. "And if they have a fever, they are pulled out of the line, assessed for Ebola, and don’t fly unless Ebola is ruled out."

Individuals who have flown recently from one or more of the affected countries suggested that travelers could easily subvert the screening procedures — and might have incentive to do so: Compared with the depleted medical resources in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the prospect of hospital care in the U.S. may offer an Ebola-exposed person the only chance to survive.

Ailing in Monrovia, Liberia

Relatives pray over a weak Siata Johnson, 23, outside the Ebola treatment center at a hospital on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia. (John Moore / Getty Images)

A person could pass body temperature checks performed at the airports by taking ibuprofen or any common analgesic. And prospective passengers have much to fear from identifying themselves as sick, said Kim Beer, a resident of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, who is working to get medical supplies into the country to cope with Ebola.

"It is highly unlikely that someone would acknowledge having a fever, or simply feeling unwell," Beer said via email. "Not only will they probably not get on the flight — they may even be taken to/required to go to a ‘holding facility’ where they would have to stay for days until it is confirmed that it is not caused by Ebola. That is just about the last place one would want to go."

Liberian officials said last week that the patient hospitalized in Dallas, Thomas Eric Duncan, did not report to airport screeners that he had had previous contact with an Ebola-stricken woman. It is not known whether Duncan knew she suffered from Ebola; her family told neighbors it was malaria.

The potential disincentive for passengers to reveal their own symptoms was echoed by Sheka Forna, a dual citizen of Sierra Leone and Britain who manages a communications firm in Freetown. Forna said he considered it "very possible" that people with fever would medicate themselves to appear asymptomatic.

It would be perilous to admit even nonspecific symptoms at the airport, Forna said in a telephone interview. "You’d be confined to wards with people with full-blown disease."

On Monday, the White House announced that a review was underway of existing airport procedures. Frieden and President Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counter-terrorism, Lisa Monaco, said Friday that closing the U.S. to passengers from the Ebola-affected countries would risk obstructing relief efforts.

CDC officials also say that asymptomatic patients cannot spread Ebola. This assumption is crucial for assessing how many people are at risk of getting the disease. Yet diagnosing a symptom can depend on subjective understandings of what constitutes a symptom, and some may not be easily recognizable. Is a person mildly fatigued because of short sleep the night before a flight — or because of the early onset of disease?

Moreover, said some public health specialists, there is no proof that a person infected — but who lacks symptoms — could not spread the virus to others.

"It’s really unclear," said Michael Osterholm, a public health scientist at the University of Minnesota who recently served on the U.S. government’s National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. "None of us know."

Russell, who oversaw the Army’s research on Ebola, said he found the epidemiological data unconvincing.

"The definition of ‘symptomatic’ is a little difficult to deal with," he said. "It may be generally true that patients aren’t excreting very much virus until they become ill, but to say that we know the course of [the virus’ entry into the bloodstream] and the course of when a virus appears in the various secretions, I think, is premature."

The CDC’s Skinner said that while officials remained confident that Ebola can be spread only by the overtly sick, the ongoing studies would assess whether mutations that might occur could increase the potential for asymptomatic patients to spread it.

Finally, some also question the official assertion that Ebola cannot be transmitted through the air. In late 1989, virus researcher Charles L. Bailey supervised the government’s response to an outbreak of Ebola among several dozen rhesus monkeys housed for research in Reston, Va., a suburb of Washington.

What Bailey learned from the episode informs his suspicion that the current strain of Ebola afflicting humans might be spread through tiny liquid droplets propelled into the air by coughing or sneezing.

"We know for a fact that the virus occurs in sputum and no one has ever done a study [disproving that] coughing or sneezing is a viable means of transmitting," he said. Unqualified assurances that Ebola is not spread through the air, Bailey said, are "misleading."

Peters, whose CDC team studied cases from 27 households that emerged during a 1995 Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, said that while most could be attributed to contact with infected late-stage patients or their bodily fluids, "some" infections may have occurred via "aerosol transmission."

Ashoka Mukpo

Ebola patient Ashoka Mukpo is loaded into an ambulance after arriving in Omaha. The American photojournalist became ill while working in Liberia and was taken to Nebraska Medical Center, where he will be kept in isolation. (James R. Burnett / World-Herald)

Skinner of the CDC, who cited the Peters-led study as the most extensive of Ebola’s transmissibility, said that while the evidence "is really overwhelming" that people are most at risk when they touch either those who are sick or such a person’s vomit, blood or diarrhea, "we can never say never" about spread through close-range coughing or sneezing.

"I’m not going to sit here and say that if a person who is highly viremic … were to sneeze or cough right in the face of somebody who wasn’t protected, that we wouldn’t have a transmission," Skinner said.

Peters, Russell and Bailey, who in 1989 was deputy commander for research of the Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, in Frederick, Md., said the primates in Reston had appeared to spread Ebola to other monkeys through their breath.

The Ebola strain found in the monkeys did not infect their human handlers. Bailey, who now directs a biocontainment lab at George Mason University in Virginia, said he was seeking to research the genetic differences between the Ebola found in the Reston monkeys and the strain currently circulating in West Africa.

Though he acknowledged that the means of disease transmission among the animals would not guarantee the same result among humans, Bailey said the outcome may hold lessons for the present Ebola epidemic.

"Those monkeys were dying in a pattern that was certainly suggestive of coughing and sneezing — some sort of aerosol movement," Bailey said. "They were dying and spreading it so quickly from cage to cage. We finally came to the conclusion that the best action was to euthanize them all."

david.willman@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Washington’s Web of Lies and Deception


Washington’s Secret Agendas
The public continues to fall for the lies

Washington’s Secret Agendas

by Paul Craig Roberts | Infowars.com | September 29, 2014

One might think that by now even Americans would have caught on to the constant stream of false alarms that Washington sounds in order to deceive the Washington people into supporting its hidden agendas.

The public fell for the lie that the Taliban in Afghanistan are terrorists allied with al Qaeda. Americans fought a war for 13 years that enriched Dick Cheney’s firm, Halliburton, and other private interests only to end in another Washington failure.

The public fell for the lie that Saddam Hussein in Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” that were a threat to America and that if the US did not invade Iraq Americans risked a “mushroom cloud going up over an American city.” With the rise of ISIS, this long war apparently is far from over. Billions of dollars more in profits will pour into the coffers of the US military security complex as Washington fights those who are redrawing the false Middle East boundaries created by the British and French after WW I when the British and French seized territories of the former Ottoman Empire.

The American public fell for the lies told about Gaddafi in Libya. The formerly stable and prosperous country is now in chaos.

The American public fell for the lie that Iran has, or is building, nuclear weapons. Sanctioned and reviled by the West, Iran has shifted toward an Eastern orientation, thereby removing a principal oil producer from Western influence.

The public fell for the lie that Assad of Syria used “chemical weapons against his own people.” The jihadists that Washington sent to overthrow Assad have turned out to be, according to Washington’s propaganda, a threat to America.

The greatest threat to the world is Washington’s insistence on its hegemony. The ideology of a handful of neoconservatives is the basis for this insistence. We face the situation in which a handful of American neoconservative psychopaths claim to determine the fate of countries.

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Many still believe Washington’s lies, but increasingly the world sees Washington as the greatest threat to peace and life on earth. The claim that America is “exceptional and indispensable” is used to justify Washington’s right to dictate to other countries.

The casualties of Washington’s bombings are invariably civilians, and the deaths will produce more recruits for ISIS. Already there are calls for Washington to reintroduce “boots on the ground” in Iraq. Otherwise, Western civilization is doomed, and our heads will be cut off. The newly created propaganda of a “Russian threat” requires more NATO spending and more military bases on Russia’s borders. A “quick reaction force” is being created to respond to a nonexistent threat of a Russian invasion of the Baltics, Poland, and Europe.

Usually it takes the American public a year, or two, three, or four to realize that it has been deceived by lies and propaganda, but by that time the public has swallowed a new set of lies and propaganda and is all concerned about the latest “threat.” The American public seems incapable of understanding that just as the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth, threat was a hoax, so is the sixth threat, and so will be the seventh, eighth, and ninth.

Moreover, none of these American military attacks on other countries has resulted in a better situation, as Vladimir Putin honestly states. Yet, the public and its representatives in Congress support each new military adventure despite the record of deception and failure.

Perhaps if Americans were taught their true history in place of idealistic fairy tales, they would be less gullible and less susceptible to government propaganda. I have recommended Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s The Untold History of the US, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the US, and now I recommend Stephen Kinzer’s The Brothers, the story of the long rule of John Foster and Allen Dulles over the State Department and CIA and their demonization of reformist governments that they often succeeded in overthrowing. Kinzer’s history of the Dulles brothers’ plots to overthrow six governments provides insight into how Washington operates today.

In 1953 the Dulles brothers overthrew Iran’s elected leader, Mossadegh and imposed the Shah, thus poisoning American-Iranian relations through the present day. Americans might yet be led into a costly and pointless war with Iran, because of the Dulles brothers poisoning of relations in 1953.

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The Dulles brothers overthrew Guatemala’s popular president Arbenz, because his land reform threatened the interest of the Dulles brothers’ Sullivan & Cromwell law firm’s United Fruit Company client. The brothers launched an amazing disinformation campaign depicting Arbenz as a dangerous communist who was a threat to Western civilization. The brothers enlisted dictators such as Somoza in Nicaragua and Batista in Cuba against Arbenz. The CIA organized air strikes and an invasion force. But nothing could happen until Arbenz’s strong support among the people in Guatemala could be shattered. The brothers arranged this through Cardinal Spellman, who enlisted Archbishop Rossell y Arellano. “A pastoral letter was read on April 9, 1954 in all Guatemalan churches.”

A masterpiece of propaganda, the pastoral letter misrepresented Arbenz as a dangerous communist who was the enemy of all Guatemalans. False radio broadcasts produced a fake reality of freedom fighter victories and army defections. Arbenz asked the UN to send fact finders, but Washington prevented that from happening. American journalists, with the exception of James Reston, supported the lies. Washington threatened and bought off Guatemala’s senior military commanders, who forced Arbenz to resign. The CIA’s chosen and well paid “liberator,” Col. Castillo Armas, was installed as Arbenz’s successor.

We recently witnessed a similar operation in Ukraine.

President Eisenhower thanked the CIA for averting “a Communist beachhead in our hemisphere,” and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles gave a national TV and radio address in which he declared that the events in Guatemala “expose the evil purpose of the Kremlin.” This despite the uncontested fact that the only outside power operating in Guatemala was the Dulles brothers.

What had really happened is that a democratic and reformist government was overthrown because it compensated United Fruit Company for the nationalization of the company’s fallow land at a value listed by the company on its tax returns. America’s leading law firm or perhaps more accurately, America’s foreign policy-maker, Sullivan & Cromwell, had no intention of permitting a democratic government to prevail over the interests of the law firm’s client, especially when senior partners of the firm controlled both overt and covert US foreign policy. The two brothers, whose family members were invested in the United Fruit Company, simply applied the resources of the CIA, State Department, and US media to the protection of their private interests. The extraordinary gullibility of the American people, the corrupt American media, and the indoctrinated and impotent Congress allowed the Dulles brothers to succeed in overthrowing a democracy.

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Keep in mind that this use of the US government in behalf of private interests occurred 60 years ago long before the corrupt Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes. And no doubt in earlier times as well.

The Dulles brothers next intended victim was Ho Chi Minh. Ho, a nationalist leader, asked for America’s help in freeing Vietnam from French colonial rule. But John Foster Dulles, a self-righteous anti-communist, miscast Ho as a Communist Threat who was springing the domino theory on the Western innocents. Nationalism and anti-colonialism, Foster declared, were merely a cloak for communist subversion.

Paul Kattenburg, the State Department desk officer for Vietnam suggested that instead of war, the US should give Ho $500 million in reconstruction aid to rebuild the country from war and French misrule, which would free Ho from dependence on Russian and Chinese support, and, thereby, influence. Ho appealed to Washington several times, but the demonic inflexibility of the Dulles brothers prevented any sensible response. Instead, the hysteria whipped-up over the “communist threat” by the Dulles brothers landed the United States in the long, costly, fiasco known as the Vietnam War. Kattenburg later wrote that it was suicidal for the US “to cut out its eyes and ears, to castrate its analytic capacity, to shut itself off from the truth because of blind prejudice.” Unfortunately for Americans and the world, castrated analytic capacity is Washington’s strongest suit.

The Dulles brothers’ next targets were President Sukarno of Indonesia, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of Congo, and Fidel Castro. The plot against Castro was such a disastrous failure that it cost Allen Dulles his job. President Kennedy lost confidence in the agency and told his brother Bobby that after his reelection he was going to break the CIA into a thousand pieces. When President Kennedy removed Allen Dulles, the CIA understood the threat and struck first.

Warren Nutter, my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, later Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, taught his students that for the US government to maintain the people’s trust, which democracy requires, the government’s policies must be affirmations of our principles and be openly communicated to the people. Hidden agendas, such as those of the Dulles brothers and the Clinton, Bush and Obama regimes, must rely on secrecy and manipulation and, thereby, arouse the distrust of the people. If Americans are too brainwashed to notice, many foreign nationals are not.

The US government’s secret agendas have cost Americans and many peoples in the world tremendously. Essentially, the Foster brothers created the Cold War with their secret agendas and anti-communist hysteria. Secret agendas committed Americans to long, costly, and unnecessary wars in Vietnam and the Middle East. Secret CIA and military agendas intending regime change in Cuba were blocked by President John F. Kennedy and resulted in the assassination of a president, who, for all his faults, was likely to have ended the Cold War twenty years before Ronald Reagan seized the opportunity.

Secret agendas have prevailed for so long that the American people themselves are now corrupted. As the saying goes, “a fish rots from the head.” The rot in Washington now permeates the country.

Paul Craig Roberts


Inside the Ebola quarantine in Liberia

Monday, August 25, 2014

A man lies under a car after being put there in detention by the Liberian army on the second day of the government’s Ebola quarantine on their neighbourhood of West Point on August 21, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. An army officer said that he was showing symptoms of Ebola and was caught trying to escape from West Point. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Listen

The quarantine in the slum of West Point is driving street prices sky high, making an already bad situation worse. But the government says its necessary in its attempts to get ahead of the Ebola outbreak. Today we get an insiders look at West Point, and talk about the ethical implications of sealing 75,000 people in a cramped area that’s rife with the deadly Ebola virus.

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A West Point resident looks on from closed gates on the second day of the government’s Ebola quarantine in Monrovia, Liberia. The government delivered bags of rice, beans & cooking oil to residents. (John Moore/Getty Images)

"The government love their people and they want to see their people doing well and to stay healthy and to make sure that this disease is serious."

Meata Flowers, West Point Commissioner

Last week, Liberian authorities implemented a nation-wide curfew and put the entire West Point district under quarantine. That’s roughly 75,000 people, sealed into a densely-packed slum. No one gets in. No one gets out.

Ebola outbreak: Why Liberia’s quarantine in West Point slum will fail — CBC News

Since the outbreak was identified in March, Ebola has taken more than 1,400 lives in the West African countries of Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. But Liberia has been hardest hit, with at least 1,000 cases and 624 deaths recorded so far.

The few images that are emerging from quarantined West Point are especially harrowing. They show a frightened, confused population trapped with little access to food and water. This forced containment suggests that Liberia is becoming increasingly desperate in its effort to limit the spread of Ebola — a disease that, while difficult to get, is fatal up to ninety per cent of the time, according to the World Health Organization.

John Moore is a staff photographer with Getty Images who’s had rare access to the community of West Point since the quarantine has been put in effect. The pictures he’s taken there show the raw emotion of the situation. John Moore joined us earlier, on the line in Monrovia.

Putting entire neighborhoods under quarantine may seem like a drastic measure, but as the Ebola outbreak continues to devastate Liberia and the region, finding a solution to the spread is paramount. A key part of that solution is reaching out to those communities most affected, urban and rural.

Aphaluck Bhatiasevi is with the World Health Organization. She works with communities to determine the best way to fight against Ebola, and how people can best help each other with information and resources. We reached her in Montrovia, Liberia.

Health professionals around the world are watching the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and how local authorities deal with it. Dr. Kamran Khan is a scientist and physician who specializes in infectious diseases. He has been a policy advisor for the Canadian government, the World Health Organization and the US Centres for Disease Control.

Have thoughts you want to share on this discussion?

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Or e-mail us through our website. Find us on Facebook. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

This segment was produced by The Current’s Naheed Mustafa and Howard Goldenthal.

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Ebola Outbreak: Why this time is different

Monday, August 18, 2014

  

Workers prepare the new Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Ebola treatment centre near Monrovia, Liberia. The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 1,000 people in four African countries, and Liberia now has had more deaths than any other country. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Listen

Experts say the Ebola outbreak is potentially more dangerous then ever before because it’s in countries that have never seen this. Now the outbreak is seriously depleting health care resources. We’re heading to the front lines in Liberia today.

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Hanah Siafa lies with her daughter Josephine, 10, while hoping to enter the new Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Ebola treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia. The facility initially has 120 beds, making it the largest such facility for Ebola treatment and isolation in history,

and MSF plans to expand it to a 350-bed capacity. (John Moore/Getty Images)

"The disease is not contained and it is out of control in West Africa. The international response to the disease has been a failure."

Ken Isaacs, the Vice President of the Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse testifying at a US congressional hearing earlier this month

    The much-dreaded and deadly Ebola virus is back with a vengeance. Over the weekend the World Health Organization reported over 150 new cases of the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

    Here’s a little background about the health crisis threatening Africa today:

  • The Ebola virus first appeared in 1976 in simultaneous outbreaks — in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

  • It’s not known for certain but fruit bats are the most likely host of the virus.

  • Researchers believe that the first case of Ebola in the current outbreak was that of a 2-year-old boy in Guinea who died early last December.

  • Over the next few days his mother, sister and grandmother all died as well.

  • The infection was carried by two mourners at the grandmother’s funeral to another village, where a health worker picked it up.

  • People who come into close contact with a patient — like family, friends and health care workers are most likely to be infected.

  • Ebola is transmitted through direct contact of broken skin or mucus membranes with bodily fluids.

  • It takes Ebola between 2 and 21 days to develop.

  • Symptoms are typically a rapid onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and sore throat.

  • It can progress to vomiting and diarrhea, organ failure and in some cases both internal and external bleeding.

  • Ebola is fatal in up to 90% of cases.

"It is like a war time. General fear. All over. And they need help. They need leadership, co-ordination … they will not be able to over come this by themselves."

Dr. Joanne Liu, head of Medicines Sans Frontier

    On Friday, Joanne Liu, the head of Medicines Sans Frontier said the key to bringing the outbreak under control is to limit and reduce its spread in Liberia. That country had its first outbreak of Ebola in April and in June it resurfaced. What little healthcare resources Liberia has are being seriously depleted fighting the outbreak.

    The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that this Ebola outbreak is on track to infect more people than every other Ebola outbreak combined. A grim forecast.

    To understand how and why this outbreak is different, we spoke to three people.

  • Tarnue Karbbar is program unit manager for Plan International in North and Western Liberia. He’s been working in Lofa in northern Liberia since January and now he’s helping co-ordinate the government and international response to the Ebola outbreak.

  • Nyka Alexander is the WHO’s Outbreak Coordination Center’s spokesperson. In July, the World Health Organization set up the Sub-regional Outbreak Coordination Centre in Conakry, Guinea. It functions as a hub for coordinating technical support and mobilizing resources needed by field staff in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

  • Tara Smith is an Epidemiologist at Kent State University.

    Have thoughts you want to share?

    Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Or e-mail us through our website. Find us on Facebook. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

    This segment was produced by The Current’s Gord Westmacott, Naheed Mustafa and Sujata Berry.

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      Why is West Africa’s Ebola outbreak so hard to contain?

      Friday, August 1, 2014

      The head of the WHO has planned to meet with leaders of several West African nations in Guinea to launch a $100-million campaign to help fight the Ebola outbreak. (Reuters/Tommy Trenchard)

      Listen

      As the Ebola virus continues to spread, it’s becoming clear that a lack of knowledge about the disease and cultural factors are hindering treatment and containment.

      Tomorrow, the head of the WHO meets with leaders of several West African nations in Guinea to launch a $100-million campaign to help fight the Ebola outbreak. The WHO says that the scale of the outbreak and its continued growth make it necessary to take the fight to a new level.

      Dr. Kent Brantly was flown back to the U.S. for treatment after contracting the virus while helping patients in Liberia.

      If even the doctors who take elaborate precautions still manage to catch the lethal disease, it’s no wonder many Ebola patients and their families fear hospitals. Health workers say it’s often hard to convince patients infected with Ebola to seek treatment, and many are suspicious of health workers who show up during an outbreak.

      And the oubreak spreads across West Africa, many wonder if it can remain there. We asked Dr. Jay Keystone, a Senior Staff Physician at Toronto General Hospital’s Tropical Disease Unit, if Canadians should worry.

"Certainly if you look at the news media, and the pictures, I would be afraid, but my answer is no…in terms of spread to the community, and in Canada, it’s highly highly unlikely."

Dr. Jay Keystone

To find out more, we were joined by three guests:

– Jean-Pierre Taschereau is the Head Emergency Operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He returns to West Africa next week.

– Reine Lebel is a psychologist who worked with Ebola patients and their families in Dikidou, Guinea.

Melissa Leach is Director of the Institute of Development Studies and the Leader of the Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium.

Have thoughts you want to share?

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Or e-mail us through our website. Find us on Facebook. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

This segment was produced by The Current’s Sujata Berry, Catherine Kalbfleisch and intern Wanyee Li.

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Are drugs the best way to curb the Ebola outbreak?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

As health care officials remind us, there is no proven cure for Ebola. But the WHO has ruled that experimental treatments should be made available to those who are suffering.(Reuters/Thomas Peter)

Listen

The World Health Organization has ruled that experimental drugs should be made available to countries dealing with the outbreak. We look at the science and ethics of using an unproven Ebola treatment, and if focusing on drugs is the best way to curb the outbreak.

"Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own. Our collective health security depends on support for containment operations in these countries.

Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization

More than 1000 people have now died during this outbreak, and that number is growing.

This morning, a Spanish priest with the Ebola virus has died. He had received an experimental drug called Zmapp — the same drug used to treat two American relief workers who contracted Ebola in recent days. They are now in the United States recovering.

As health care officials remind us, there is no proven cure for Ebola. But some say that if the West has therapies that might work, it should move to mass produce the experimental treatment and get it to those who are suffering. Others caution that rushing ahead with unproven treatments is a serious mistake.

To discuss the ethics and effectiveness of using drugs to curb the outbreak, we were joined by two guests:

Dr. Michael Osterholm is the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

Ubaka Ogbogu is the Katz Research Fellow in Health Law at the University of Alberta.

What do you think?

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Or e-mail us through our website. Find us on Facebook. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

This segment was produced by The Current’s Idella Sturino, Naheed Mustafa and intern Wanyee Li.


4 Questions for Supporters of a Strike Against Syria

Washington’s Blog
September 8, 2013

Ask anyone still thinking of supporting an attack on Syria to explain why the U.S. started supporting the Syrian opposition years before any uprising had occurred there.

And ask them to explain why 4-Star General Wesley Clark was told – right after 9/11 – that Pentagon officials planned to attack 7 countries in 5 years … including Iraq, Libya and Syria:

I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September.

***

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

And ask them why this planning of regime change in Syria and 6 other countries started by 1991 at the latest:

It came back to me … a 1991 meeting I had with Paul Wolfowitz.

***

In 1991, he was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy – the number 3 position at the Pentagon. And I had gone to see him when I was a 1-Star General commanding the National Training Center.

***

And I said, “Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.”

And he said: “Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”

(Skip to 3:07 in the following video)

And ask them why the US and British governments considered using a false flag attack 50 years ago to topple the Syrian regime.

There are many other good questions as well, such as:

– Why would we attack when bombing Syria will only strengthen the hardliners … and harmAmerica’s national security?

– Why attack when the top U.S. military commander says that an attack would be both risky and expensive, and he can’t even say why we’d go to war with Syria?

– Why attack when everyone from troops and military officers to Pentagon war planners all oppose an attack on Syria ?

– Why attack when Congress members who have seen the classified intelligence aren’t even convincedthat the Syrian government used chemical weapons?

– Why attack when the U.S. and Britain have used chemical weapons in the last 10 years … and the U.S. supported the largest chemical weapons attack in history?

– Why attack when the attack itself would be a larger war crime even than chemical weapons use (here, here and here)?

**********************

Alex Jones on Fox News: Rebels More Likely to be Behind Chemical Weapons Attack

Infowars.com
September 8, 2013

Alex appears on Geraldo at Large to discuss Syria.

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The West Dethroned

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Paul Craig Roberts
Infowars.com
September 8, 2013

“The European race’s last three hundred years of evolutionary progress have all come down to nothing but four words: selfishness, slaughter, shamelessness and corruption.”
Yan Fu

It only took the rest of the world 300 years to catch on to the evil that masquerades as “western civilization,” or perhaps it only took the rise of new powers with the confidence to state the obvious. Anyone doubtful of America’s responsibility for the evil needs to read The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick.

The “New American Century” proclaimed by the neoconservatives came to an abrupt end on September 6 at the G20 meeting in Russia. The leaders of most of the world’s peoples told Obama that they do not believe him and that it is a violation of international law if the US government attacks Syria without UN authorization.

Putin told the assembled world leaders that the chemical weapons attack was “a provocation on behalf of the armed insurgents in hope of the help from the outside, from the countries which supported them from day one.” In other words, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Washington–the axis of evil.

China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, and Argentina joined Putin in affirming that a leader who commits military aggression without the approval of the UN Security Council puts himself “outside of law.”

In other words, if you defy the world, Obama, you are a war criminal.

The entire world is waiting to see if the Israel Lobby can push Obama into the role of war criminal. Many are betting that Israel will prevail over the weak American president, a cipher devoid of all principle. A couple of decades ago before the advent of the American sheeple, one of the last tough Americans, Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly declared that “no US president can stand up to Israel.” America’s highest ranking military officer could not get an honest investigation of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.

We are yet to see an American president who can stand up to Israel. Or, for that matter, a Congress that can. Or a media.

The Obama regime tried to counter its smashing defeat at the G20 Summit by forcing its puppet states to sign a joint statement condemning Syria. However the puppet states qualified their position by stating that they opposed military action and awaited the UN report.

Most of Obama’s bought-and-paid-for “supporters” are impotent, powerless. For example Obama counts the UK as a supporting country because of the personal support of the discredited UK prime minister, David Cameron, despite the fact that Cameron was repudiated by the British Parliament in a vote that prohibits British participation in another of Washington’s war crimes. So, although Cameron cannot bring the British people and the British government with him, Obama counts the UK as a supporter of Obama’s attack on Syria. Clearly, this is a desperate count of “supporting countries.”

The Turkish puppet government, which has been shooting its peacefully demonstrating citizens down in the streets, with no protest from Obama or the Israel Lobby, supports “holding Syria accountable,” but not itself, of course, or Washington.

The puppet states of Canada and Australia, powerless countries, neither of which carry one ounce of world influence, have lined up to do the bidding of their Washington master. The entire point of having the top government job in Canada and Australia is the payoff from Washington.

The Obama cipher also claims the support of Japan and the Republic of Korea, another two countries devoid of all diplomatic influence and power of any kind. Helpless Japan is on the verge of being destroyed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, for which it has no solution. As the radiation leaks spread into the aquifer upon which Tokyo and surrounding areas rely, Japan is faced with the possibility of having to relocate 40 million people.

Saudi Arabia, implicated in the transfer to al-Nusra rebels of the chemical weapons used in the attack, supports Washington, knowing that otherwise its tyranny is toast. Even the neoconservatives headed by Obama’s shrill National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, want to overthrow the Saudis.

Obama claims also to have support from France and Germany. However both Hollande and Merkel have stated clearly that a diplomatic solution, not war, is their first choice and that the outcome rests on the UN.

As for Italy and Spain’s support, both governments are hoping to be rewarded with the Federal Reserve printing enough dollars to bail out their indebted economies so that both governments are not overthrown in the streets for their acquiescence to the looting of their countries by international banksters. Like so many Western governments, those of Italy and Spain, and, of course, Greece, support the international banksters, not their own citizens.

The president of the European Commission has declared that the European Union, the central overlord over Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, does not support a military solution to the Syrian Crisis. “The European Union is certain that the efforts should be aimed at a political settlement,” Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters at the G20 meeting. The EU has the power to issue arrest warrants for the heads of EU governments that participate in war crimes.

What this reveals is that the support behind the liar Obama is feeble and limited. The ability of the Western countries to dominate international politics came to an end at the G20 meeting. The moral authority of the West is completely gone, shattered and eroded by countless lies and shameless acts of aggression based on nothing but lies and self-interests. Nothing remains of the West’s “moral authority,” which was never anything but a cover for self-interest, murder, and genocide.

The West has been destroyed by its own governments, who have told too many self-serving lies, and by its capitalist corporations, who offshored the West’s jobs and technology to China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil, depriving the Western governments of a tax base and the support of its citizens.

It is difficult to know whether citizens in the West hate their corrupt governments any less than do Muslims, whose lives and countries have been devastated by Western aggression, or than do citizens of third world countries who have been impoverished by being looted by predatory First World financial organizations.

The idiot Western governments have pissed away their clout. There is no prospect whatsoever of the neoconservative fantasy of US hegemony being exercised over Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, South America, Iran. These countries can establish their own system of international payments and finance and leave the dollar standard whenever they wish. One wonders why they wait. The US dollar is being printed in unbelievable quantities and is no longer qualified to be the world reserve currency. The US dollar is on the verge of total worthlessness.

The G20 Summit made it clear that the world is no longer willing to go along with the West’s lies and murderous ways. The world has caught on to the West. Every country now understands that the bailouts offered by the West are merely mechanisms for looting the bailed-out countries and impoverishing the people.

In the 21st century Washington has treated its own citizens the way it treats citizens of third world countries. Untold trillions of dollars have been lavished on a handful of banks, while the banks threw millions of Americans out of their homes and seized any remaining assets of the broken families.

US corporations had their taxes cut to practically nothing, with few paying any taxes at all, while the corporations gave the jobs and careers of millions of Americans to the Chinese and Indians. With those jobs went US GDP, tax base, and economic power, leaving Americans with massive budget deficits, a debased currency, and bankrupt cities, such as Detroit, which once was the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

How long before Washington shoots down its own homeless, hungry, and protesting citizens in the streets?

Washington represents Israel and a handful of powerful organized private interests. Washington represents no one else. Washington is a plague upon the American people and a plague upon the world.

*****************************

Congress Members Who Have Seen Classified Evidence About Syria Say It Fails to Prove Anything

Classified Syria Intelligence Fails to Prove Assad Used Chemical Weapons

Washington’s Blog
September 8, 2013

The administration’s public case for chemical weapons use by the Syrian government is extremely weak, and former high-level intelligence officers say that publicly-available information proves that the Syrian government likely did not carry out the chemical weapons attacks.

The Obama administration claims that classified intelligence proves that it was the Assad government which carried out the attacks.

But numerous congressional members who have seen the classified intelligence information say that it is no better than the public war brief … and doesn’t prove anything.

Congressman Justin Amash said last week:

What I heard in Obama admn briefing actually makes me more skeptical of certain significant aspects of Pres’s case for attacking

He noted yesterday, after attending another classified briefing and reviewing more classified materials:

Attended another classified briefing on #Syria & reviewed add’l materials. Now more skeptical than ever. Can’t believe Pres is pushing war.

And today, Amash wrote:

If Americans could read classified docs, they’d be even more against #Syria action. Obama admn’s public statements are misleading at best.

Congressman Tom Harkin said:

I have just attended a classified Congressional briefing on Syria that quite frankly raised more questions than it answered. I found the evidence presented by Administration officials to be circumstantial.

Congressman Michael Burgess said:

Yes, I saw the classified documents. They were pretty thin.

Yahoo News reports:

New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, for instance, left Thursday’s classified hearing and said she was opposed to the effort “now so more than ever.”

“I think there’s a long way to go for the president to make the case,” she said after the briefing. “It does seem there is a high degree of concern and leaning no.”

Senator Joe Manchin announced he was voting “no” for a Syria strike right after hearing a classified intelligence brieifng.

Congressman Alan Grayson points out in the New York Times:

The documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion. [I.e. it was no more impressive than the 4-page public version.]

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

The Syria chemical weapons summaries are based on several hundred underlying elements of intelligence information. The unclassified summary cites intercepted telephone calls, “social media” postings and the like, but not one of these is actually quoted or attached — not even clips from YouTube. (As to whether the classified summary is the same, I couldn’t possibly comment, but again, draw your own conclusion.)

***

And yet we members are supposed to accept, without question, that the proponents of a strike on Syria have accurately depicted the underlying evidence, even though the proponents refuse to show any of it to us or to the American public.

In fact, even gaining access to just the classified summary involves a series of unreasonably high hurdles.

We have to descend into the bowels of the Capitol Visitors Center, to a room four levels underground. Per the instructions of the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, note-taking is not allowed.

Once we leave, we are not permitted to discuss the classified summary with the public, the media, our constituents or even other members. Nor are we allowed to do anything to verify the validity of the information that has been provided.

And this is just the classified summary. It is my understanding that the House Intelligence Committee made a formal request for the underlying intelligence reports several days ago. I haven’t heard an answer yet. And frankly, I don’t expect one.

***

By refusing to disclose the underlying data even to members of Congress, the administration is making it impossible for anyone to judge, independently, whether that statement is correct.

The rush to war based upon skewed intelligence is very similar to Iraq.

**************************

US: The Indispensable (Bombing) Nation

Pepe Escobar
Asia Times Online
Yes We Scan. Yes We Drone. And Yes We Bomb. The White House’s propaganda blitzkrieg to sell the Tomahawking of Syria to the US Congress is already reaching pre-bombing maximum spin – gleefully reproduced by US corporate media.
And yes, all parallels to Iraq 2.0 duly came to fruition when US Secretary of State John Kerry pontificated that Bashar al-Assad "now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein" as an evil monster. Why is Cambodia’s Pol Pot never mentioned? Oh yes, because the US supported him.
Every single tumbleweed in the Nevada desert knows who’s itching for war on Syria; vast sectors of the industrial-military complex; Israel; the House of Saud; the "socialist" Francois Hollande in France, who has wet dreams with Sykes-Picot. Virtually nobody is lobbying Congress NOT to go to war.
And all the frantic war lobbying may even be superfluous; Nobel Peace Prize winner and prospective bomber Barack Obama has already implied – via hardcore hedging of the "I have decided that the United States should take military action" kind – that he’s bent on attacking Syria no matter what Congress says.
Obama’s self-inflicted "red line" is a mutant virus; from "a shot across the bow" it morphed into a "slap on the wrist" and now seems to be "I’m the Bomb Decider". Speculation about his real motives is idle. His Hail Mary pass of resorting to an extremely unpopular Congress packed with certified morons may be a cry for help (save me from my stupid "red line"); or – considering the humanitarian imperialists of the Susan Rice kind who surround him – he’s hell bent on entering another war for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the House of Saud lobby under the cover of "moral high ground". Part of the spin is that "Israel must be protected". But the fact is Israel is already over-protected by an AIPAC remote-controlled United States Congress. [1]
What about the evidence?
The former "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" are doing their part, enthusiastically supporting the White House "evidence" with a dodgy report of their own, largely based on YouTube intel. [2]
Even Fox News admitted that the US electronic intel essentially came from the 8200 unit of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) – their version of the NSA. [3] Here, former UK ambassador Craig Murray convincingly debunks the Israeli intercepted intel scam.
The most startling counterpunch to the White House spin remains the Mint Press News report by AP correspondent Dale Gavlak on the spot, in Ghouta, Damascus, with anti-Assad residents stressing that "certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the gas attack”.
I had a jolt when I first read it – as I have been stressing the role of Bandar Bush as the dark arts mastermind behind the new Syria war strategy (See Bandar Bush, ‘liberator’ of Syria, Asia Times Online, August 13, 2013).
Then there’s the fact that Syrian Army commandos, on August 24, raiding "rebel" tunnels in the Damascus suburb of Jobar, seized a warehouse crammed with chemicals required for mixing "kitchen sarin". The commando was hit by some form of nerve agent and sent samples for analysis in Russia. This evidence certainly is part of President Vladimir Putin’s assessment of the White House claims as totally unconvincing.
On August 27, Saleh Muslim, head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Reuters the attack was "aimed at framing Assad”. And in case the UN inspectors found the "rebels" did it, "everybody would forget it". The clincher; "Are they are going to punish the Emir of Qatar or the King of Saudi Arabia, or Mr Erdogan of Turkey?"
So, in a nutshell, no matter how it happened, the locals in Ghouta said Jabhat al-Nusra did it; and Syrian Kurds believe this was a false flag to frame Damascus.
By now, any decent lawyer would be asking cui bono? What would be Assad’s motive – to cross the "red line" and launch a chemical weapons attack on the day UN inspectors arrive in Damascus, just 15 kilometers away from their hotel?
This is the same US government who sold the world the narrative of a bunch of unskilled Arabs armed with box cutters hijacking passenger jets and turning them into missiles smack in the middle of the most protected airspace on the planet, on behalf of an evil transnational organization.
So now this same evil organization is incapable of launching a rudimentary chemical weapons attack with DIY rockets – a scenario I first outlined even before Gavlak’s report. [4] Here is a good round-up of the "rebels" dabbling with chemical weapons. Additionally, in late May, Turkish security forces had already found sarin gas held by hardcore Jabhat al-Nusra jihadis.
So why not ask Bandar Bush?
We need to keep coming back over and over again to that fateful meeting in Moscow barely four weeks ago between Putin and Bandar Bush. [5]
Bandar was brazen enough to tell Putin he would "protect" the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He was brazen enough to say he controls all Chechens jihadis from the Caucasus to Syria. All they needed was a Saudi green light to go crazy in Russia’s underbelly.
He even telegraphed his next move; "There is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate. We believe that the Geneva II Conference will be very difficult in light of this raging situation."
That’s a monster understatement – because the Saudis never wanted Geneva II in the first place. Under the House of Saud’s ultra-sectarian agenda of fomenting the Sunni-Shi’ite divide everywhere, the only thing that matters is to break the alliance between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah by all means necessary.
The House of Saud’s spin du jour is that the world must "prevent aggression against the Syrian people". But if "the Syrian people" agrees to be bombed by the US, the House of Saud also agrees. [6]
Compared to this absurdity, Muqtada al-Sadr’s reaction in Iraq stands as the voice of reason. Muqtada supports the "rebels" in Syria – unlike most Shi’ites in Iraq; in fact he supports the non-armed opposition, stressing the best solution is free and fair elections. He rejects sectarianism – as fomented by the House of Saud. And as he knows what an American military occupation is all about, he also totally rejects any US bombing.
The Bandar Bush-AIPAC strategic alliance will take no prisoners to get its war. In Israel, Obama is predictably being scorned for his "betrayal and cowardice" in the face of "evil". The Israeli PR avalanche on congress centers on the threat of a unilateral strike on Iran if the US government does not attack Syria. As a matter of fact congress would gleefully vote for both. Their collective IQ may be sub-moronic, but some may be led to conclude that the only way to "punish" the Assad government is to have the US doing the heavy work as the Air Force for the myriad "rebels" and of course jihadis – in the way the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, the Kurdish peshmerga in Iraq and the anti-Gaddafi mercenaries in Libya duly profited.
So here, in a nutshell, we have the indispensable nation that drenched North Vietnam with napalm and agent orange, showered Fallujah with white phosphorus and large swathes of Iraq with depleted uranium getting ready to unleash a "limited", "kinetic" whatever against a country that has not attacked it, or any US allies, and everything based on extremely dodgy evidence and taking the "moral high-ground".
Anyone who believes the White House spin that this will be just about a few Tomahawks landing on some deserted military barracks should rent a condo in Alice in Wonderland. The draft already circulating in Capitol Hill is positively scary. [7]
And even if this turns out to be a "limited", "kinetic" whatever, it will only perpetuate the chaos. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has referred to it as "controlled chaos". Not really; the Empire of Chaos is now totally out of control.

**************************

Depravity Redefined: Selling US Slaughter in Syria

Tony Cartalucci
Infowars.com
September 8, 2013

The corporate interests driving the United States, its resources, and policy, have invoked dead children in the latest and grisliest propaganda campaign yet, directed at the American public to build support for an otherwise unjustified and universally unwanted war with Syria.

Image: The Summer of 1939, after staging border incidents to frame Poland for unwarranted aggression, Hitler orders the Nazi invasion of Poland. This would not be the first or last time a Western nation used a manufactured “casus belli” to start a war of aggression, now considered a Nuremberg offense and a crime against world peace.

The headline of CNN’s “First on CNN: Videos show glimpse into evidence for Syria intervention,” suggests that by watching the grotesque videos, some sort of evidence exists to justify an assault on Syria. Instead, the videos only show yet again, the crime, and only the crime – a crime which no one, including the Syrian government, denies occurred. What is missing, as has been the case since the US leveled accusations against the Syrian government on August 21, 2013, is any evidence at all as to who actually committed this crime.

Even upon reading the US’ own assessments of the incident reveal there is no evidence. The best the US can say is [emphasis added]:

The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013.

Assessing with “high confidence” is not enough to execute a single criminal within the US justice system, yet somehow is enough to justify a military assault on a sovereign nation on the other side of the planet, whichposes no threat to the United States, and will inevitably lead to the death of Syrian soldiers and civilians, while assisting sectarian extremists, many of whom openly pledge allegiance to Al Qaeda. At face value, the US has no case against Syria, and no credibility after habitually using equally tenuous evidence as justification for military assaults against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and beyond.

That CNN is using dead children as “evidence” indicates that the dubious media outlet is attempting to manipulate the American public on the most visceral emotional level possible to sell a war the corporate interests CNN represents desires.

CNN and other Western outlets, have been caught overtly fabricating stories throughout the subversion of Syria, starting in 2011 when they disingenuously portrayed the flooding of Syria with armed extremists as the “Arab Spring,” up to and including featured interviews with “Syria Danny,” who was later revealed to be staging gun fire in the background of theatrical (and fabricated) casualty reports given to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Exploiting dead children to manipulate the public emotionally enables the US to circumvent not only its absolute lack of evidence, but hopefully the myriad of logical conclusions an otherwise rational, intelligent person might draw.

Regarding US Claims

US Claim #1: The Syrian “Regime” Used Chemical Weapons in a Desperate Bid to Save Damascus.

Reality: The US claims in its assessment that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in a desperate struggle for Damascus:

The Syrian regime has initiated an effort to rid the Damascus suburbs of opposition forces using the area as a base to stage attacks against regime targets in the capital. The regime has failed to clear dozens of Damascus neighborhoods of opposition elements, including neighborhoods targeted on August 21, despite employing nearly all of its conventional weapons systems. We assess that the regime’s frustration with its inability to secure large portions of Damascus may have contributed to its decision to use chemical weapons on August 21.

Yet it appears that mostly women and children were the victims of the attack – apparently killed in the middle of the night while they slept.

The US and its collaborators expect the world to believe: that the Syrian government risked using chemical weapons in Damascus, under the nose of UN inspectors, to clear out stalwart “opposition” fighters, and only managed to mass murder women and children in the process while giving the West a long-desired justification for military intervention. And despite “employing nearly all of its conventional weapons systems” and allegedly also sarin nerve gas, the Ghouta area was still under terrorist control after the attack.

It should be noted that Ghouta is on the very edge of Damascus, facing open country that stretches to the Al Qaeda infested Syrian-Iraqi border and the extremist hotbed of Al Anbar province in Iraq – implicating another, and the most likely culprit, Al Qaeda.

US Claim #2: The “Opposition” Lacks the Capabilities to Carry Out Such an Attack.

Reality: The US, in its assessment states:

We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely. The body of information used to make this assessment includes intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition.

The “opposition” in Syria is Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda allegedly carried out the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, destroying three (including Building 7) World Trade Center towers in New York City and striking at the very heart of America’s trillion dollar military might, the Pentagon itself – killing in a single day nearly 3,000 using nothing more than box-cutters, pepper spray, and 4 commandeered aircraft.

The US State Department since the very beginning of the violence has acknowledged that the most prominent fighting group operating inside Syria is Al Qaeda, more specifically, the al Nusra front. The US State Department’s official press statement titled, “Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa’ida in Iraq,” states explicitly that:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

It is also confirmed that many fighters joining al Nusra come from abroad, including from the recently decimated Libya, where a significant arsenal of chemical weapons have fallen into the hands of a sectarian extremist government which is openly funding and arming terrorists in Syria.

The US and its collaborators expect the world to believe: that despite Al Qaeda having struck at the very heart of US military might, after circumventing a trillion dollar defense system of unprecedented capabilities, it is now somehow incapable of obtaining and using against civilians, chemical weapons – a scenario the US has warned the world of and in fact, used as justification for invading Iraq in 2003. Either we’ve been lied to about the official explanation regarding 9/11, or we’ve been lied to about the capabilities of Al Qaeda in Syria – or more likely, both.

Conclusion

Clearly, at face value, none of what the US proposes regarding the alleged chemical attacks in Syria is rational. The propaganda rolled out against Syria is poorly retreaded lies from the illegal, abhorrent Iraq invasion and occupation and the more recent NATO atrocities committed against the Libyan people who are still suffering from NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” there.

What does it mean when the combined, multi-trillion dollar defense and intelligence resources of the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others are categorically incapable of providing a single shred of credible evidence to make their case? That evidence does not exist? Or that it does, but simply points the finger unfavorably in another direction?

Without actual evidence of who committed the crimes showcased on CNN, the first and most important question that must be answered is “cui bono?” – or – to whose benefit? Clearly, the chemical attacks carried out under the nose of UN inspectors, leaving shocking images of dead women and children used to manipulate the public on an emotional level, benefits the special interests driving US, British, European, and Arab policy. These are the same interests who in 2007 openly conspired to initiate a sectarian bloodbath to drown Lebanon, Syria, and Iran – a documented conspiracy being realized in full, beginning in 2011.

The danger of a Syrian government surviving the insidious machinations of Western special interests and restoring order in a unified Syria is an unacceptable outcome for Washington, London, Paris, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv. The unprecedented impetus behind this unpopular, universally opposed war with Syria reeks of desperation and a corporate-financier axis that has used and abused all of its tricks one too many times.

Whatever the outcome in Syria may be, these corporate-financier interests have exposed themselves and have long-since resigned their legitimacy. All that they do now, they do in the open, against the will of the world, amidst growing dissent, and against the background of a socio-technological paradigm shift undermining their institutions and international rackets permanently. However vigorously these interests appear to be digging their grave, it is still, ultimately a grave.

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No law will stop Obama’s democracy-bombs over Syria

Nile Bowie is a political analyst and photographer currently residing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Published time: September 05, 2013 13:47

US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)

US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)

Regardless of how Congress votes, Obama is going to attack Syria. The president is doing his best to avoid constructive dialogue when the focus should be international law, not ‘international norms’ as defined by Washington.

As world leaders descend on the Russian city of St. Petersburg to discuss global tax regimes and international trade, this year’s G20 Summit is really a G20+1, with an extra seat allocated for the massive elephant in the room.

Many of the leaders attending have brought along their foreign ministers, as the summit will also informally serve as a global platform to discuss the sorry state of affairs in Syria. One can only speculate as to the substance of any exchanges between President Putin and his American counterpart and forced smiles will be in no short supply.

“He is lying and knows he is lying. It’s sad,” said Putin, of John Kerry’s address to the US Congress. That about sums it up – the lies and deceit of the Obama administration are so breathtaking, so innumerable, and they’re being trumpeted knowingly and shamelessly. Want a taste of highly moral and ethical narrative being championed in favor of “the Syrian people?” Look no further than the New York Times, with its recent headline “Bomb Syria, Even If It Is Illegal,” which argues that Obama and his poodles should “declare that international law has evolved and that they don’t need Security Council approval to intervene in Syria."

The establishment press is calling for blood, and they’re claiming the moral high ground while doing it – slightly pathological? You bet. The insane are really running the asylum on this one.

The Russians have been pushing for Geneva II with focused perseverance, but Barry and his flesh-eating rebels aren’t going to let that happen – not without a substantial sprinkling of Tomahawk cruise missiles over Damascus at the very least. The trigger-happy White House, with the most sophisticated military arsenal in the history of man, has demonstrated that it is unwilling to acknowledge any evidence that contradicts its cooker-cutter narrative – it is not open to reasoned arguments, and so the world yet again faces a dangerous precedent due to US intransigence.

To the surprise of many, the British parliament made clear that it would not drink the Cameron kool-aid, and even Ban Ki-moon chimed in to remind the Commander-in-Chief that the use of force is only legal in self-defense or with Security Council authorization.

Members of CodePink, Tighe Barry (L) and Medea Benjamin (2nd L) protest as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) arrives at a hearing on "Syria: Weighing the Obama Administration's Response" before the House Foreign Affairs Committee September 4, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP )

Members of CodePink, Tighe Barry (L) and Medea Benjamin (2nd L) protest as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) arrives at a hearing on "Syria: Weighing the Obama Administration’s Response" before the House Foreign Affairs Committee September 4, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP )

Air Force One flies above the law

International law? Pssh! Obama knows his bombs-for-peace program isn’t going to get past Russia and China, and in the absence of a unified coalition of the willing, he’s been forced to seek approval from Congress to maintain the façade of legitimacy.

When reading in-between the lines, it’s clear that the Obama administration will proceed with an attack on Syria whether Congress gives the green light or not – in all likelihood, Congress will vote ‘Yes’. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has broken its silence on Syria, and called for war.

Unfortunately, Congress can be bought and be sure that lobbyist dollars are being dealt out faster than you can say ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’ to seal the vote. “Emperor” Obama insists that he is not required to consult Congress to seek approval for his Syrian adventure, but did so anyway after receiving a letter from more than 160 members of the House of Representatives reminding him that to take the country to war without congressional approval is an impeachable offense, which doesn’t exactly bode well for his credentials as a constitutional lawyer.

And what about the evidence? The US government insists that it has “high confidence” that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, and that the evidence is so compelling that Washington is willing to go to war – before the UN team of chemical weapon experts have yet to make a determination. If you question this narrative, you are a conspiracy theorist. But what about the UN’s commission of inquiry led by Carla Del Ponte that implicated the rebels with using chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal? What about the Russian reports that claim the projectiles were crudely produced and clearly not military grade or consistent with the weapons in Assad’s stockpiles? What about reports that rebel forces were caught with cylinders of sarin nerve gas in southern Turkey near the Syrian border? As far as Obama is concerned, all of that has already been sent down the memory hole. It’s not the media’s job to present this information in a balanced and unbiased way, its only function is to sell war and educate the public about the benefits of twerking, as displayed by Miley Cyrus last week, stealing the headlines on CNN as US warships amassed in the Mediterranean.

A picture downloaded on September 4, 2013 from the US Navy website and taken on September 3, 2013 shows an F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the Blue Diamonds of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 launching off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Red Sea. (AFP Photo)

A picture downloaded on September 4, 2013 from the US Navy website and taken on September 3, 2013 shows an F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the Blue Diamonds of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 launching off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Red Sea. (AFP Photo)

Nobody believes the “limited strike” assurances

Just as in Iraq, the war on Syria is being sold as “limited strike” designed to hasten the rebel advance, but the original draft resolution for military intervention that Congress is set to vote on suggests otherwise. The wording of the text is so broad that Obama could virtually get away with anything he pleases. For example, the phrase “The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate” is deliberately vague. The intentional legal ambiguousness of the text raised eyebrows in Congress (clearly the executive branch was trying to pull a fast one) so much so that Kerry was forced to prohibit "boots on the ground," which he argued against on the grounds of Obama having options if Syria "imploded".

If there is a real danger of Syria imploding, which it very well might under a sustained campaign of US aggression, then the limited strike rhetoric should be seen as what is it – empty assurances designed to rubber stamp the war as quickly as possible.

The drive to military intervention in Syria is transparently a move to topple the legal authorities in Damascus. If that happens, it would create a power vacuum that would immediately destabilize the country and pit dozens of warring factions against one another as they vie for power – Syria explodes. Al-Qaeda and other jihadi militias will declare caliphates all over Syria while persecuting Alawite minorities and Assad loyalists. The instability could lead to the fracturing of Syria under ethnic and sectarian lines into several smaller states, and the chaos would swallow the currently war-torn and destabilized Iraq.

The toppling of Assad is a transparent declaration of war against Hezbollah and Iran and could lead to a major regional conflict that would kill large numbers of people. In essence, nothing about this situation indicates that it will be limited. Moreover, the United States has few strategic benefits here, while Saudi Arabia and Israel are dragging Washington by the nose into this conflict. When Kerry recently testified in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he divulged that the House of Saud and Qatar even offered to bankroll the whole US operation in Syria – tough bargain for cash-strapped Washington hawks to pass up!

A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network on July 29, 2013, shows an aerial view of destruction in the al-Khalidiyah neighbourhood of the central Syrian city of Homs. (AFP Photo/Shaam News Network)

A handout image released by the Syrian opposition’s Shaam News Network on July 29, 2013, shows an aerial view of destruction in the al-Khalidiyah neighbourhood of the central Syrian city of Homs. (AFP Photo/Shaam News Network)

Obama wears rainbow suspenders

Few have speculated about the recent “joint” missile launch conducted by the US and Israel, which was first denied, then classified as an atmospheric rocket for scientific research purposes, and finally it was admitted to be a test launch of a military rocket.

Nobody, not even NATO, was informed about it and the sketchy cover story only heightens suspicions. The Pentagon eventually admitted that the launch was carried out with technical support from the US Defense Department. This incident was probably not a legitimate Israeli missile defense system test – a launch during the incredibly tense situation in the region suggests a quality of psychological warfare and panic creation, but ultimately the Americans were measuring the preparedness and response of the Syrians to an unannounced missile launch.

Either way, the move was entirely reckless, but nothing else can be expected from Washington and Tel Aviv. As Putin said, the US is lying and it knows it’s lying. The US has fueled the Syrian conflict from the beginning under the euphemistic guise of “democracy promotion” – first by training and financing anti-Assad activists, and once they built momentum in Syria, arms and foreign fighters began pouring in.

The Syrian conflict could not have reached this point without a steady influx of aid from the US, via its stooges in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar. Is it really worth it to pass the point of no return by setting off a powder keg in the region? The human losses thus far could pale in comparison to what would follow in a wider regional war. The further destruction of lives, of culture, and even of the Syrian state as it exists is what will follow.

If Washington was serious about peace, it would have called off the rebels and channeled all of its diplomatic muscle into Geneva II, and it would cooperate with Russia, the other largest stakeholder in this conflict. Obama could have met with Putin during this G20 Summit to bridge the differences and put effort behind a political solution, but no.

Obama will use his trip to Russia to meet with gay activists, a childish gesture that is entirely political – a weak attempt to stick it to Putin for his stance on various issues. Meeting with activists and members of civil society is not wrong in and of itself, but the fact that Obama chose to meet with LBGT activists at a time when his cooperation with Putin is most needed on Syria is a move that speaks volumes. Obama is demonstrably doing everything possible to avoid any attempts to make peace through dialogue.

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