Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Nigerian Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala Disowns $9.3 Million Arms Funds
Federal Republic of Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Written by Nkechi Onyedika (Abuja) and Emmanuel Ande (Yola)
Nigerian Guardian

NO end in sight yet in the search for the source or owner of the $9.3 million ceased from two Nigerians and an Israeli by the South African Government, as the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says she has no knowledge of the fund.

   Dr. Okonjo-Iweala told newsmen yesterday at the Yola International Airport after flagging off the Presidential Committee’s distribution of relief materials to victims of Boko Haram in Adamawa State that her ministry was not aware of the funds purportedly meant for arms purchase.

   “It is only the Ministry of Defence that can speak on that issue, we in the Ministry of Finance are not in the picture of such money or project, we are not arms project ministry,” she said.

   The minister further blamed government’s silence on its activities on opposition parties for their attack on President Goodluck Jonathan, noting that no administration had performed better than the present one in terms of economic, human and infrastructure development.

   “That the present government is not making noise over its activities does not mean it is not working, this government is doing everything possible to ensure that Nigerians are comfortable,” she maintained.

   Okonjo-Iweala further refuted the alleged political colouration in the distribution of the relief materials, saying the claim was fabricated by those afraid of Jonathan’s scored card.

   “We are here in line with the ‘Safe School Initiative’ of the Federal Government and to see that the relief materials are enough to carter for all victims that are able to find their way into the Yola refugee camp,” she explained.

   Also, the Minister of Youth Development, Mr. Boni Haruna, who was on the entourage, said the Federal Government was packaging some programmes that would empower jobless youths.

   He noted that the military success in Konduga, Borno State, and the killing of several insurgents, including their acclaimed leader, Abubakar Shekau, was a pointer that Jonathan’s government was on top of the security crisis in the region. He urged the region and the entire north to support government’s efforts in the development of the area.

  Meanwhile, a civil group, Citizens Arise Movement of Nigeria (CAMON), has called on the Federal Government to explain the $9.3 million impounded by South Africa.

   It also called for the prosecution of those involved in the deal for brining the image of the country into disrepute.

   Speaking at the launch of the Charter of CAMON on Tuesday in Abuja, former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, alleged black market arms racketeering, money laundering and official corruption, since the Federal Government has claimed ownership of the said money.

   He also called for an independent panel to probe the alleged culpability of the former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sherrif, and the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, in Boko Haram sponsorship.

   More so, Melaye urged the immediate reversal of the death sentence passed on the 12 soldiers accused of mutiny since the case of perceived insensitivity and neglect has been established against the former Brigade Commander.
Nigeria at 54: Any Cause For Celebration?
Nigerian newspapers.
Written by Abiodun Fanoro and Seye Olumide
Nigerian Guardian

TODAY marks 54 years Nigeria got independence from the British colonial rule, however the question on the lips of most Nigerians; especially those that are not at the corridor of power or the vast majority of Nigerians that have neither links nor access to the tiny but very powerful and stinkingly rich and well protected ruling class, is whether there is anything truly worthy to celebrate or whether their lives have been truly fulfilled in the 54 years of the country; to warrant them to roll out the drum to rejoice.

  It is indeed an achievement though nominal to gain self-rule but again the inescapable question again is how this has translated to development, progress and improvement in the lives of the vast majority of Nigerians.

  If human beings are the same all over the world, it un-arguably follows that the prerequisite for survival and a good standard of living is nearly the same if not the same, irrespective of which part of the globe or country they live.

  This is why the world over certain programmes and concept such as basic social infrastructure good governance, security, quality education, affordable and good health services, good road network, electricity and others have become the benchmark to define the responsibilities of a nation to her citizens.

  Some Nigerians who spoke with The Guardian are of the common view that “the only significant thing her citizens could boast of is the fact that the colonial master is no more in power. We now have self-rule”

   Others however have mixed reactions as to how well Nigeria has faired in relation to her peers when they say, “the Nigeria we grew up to know before independence is far better, well organised, disciplined, functioned and united than what is currently happening, where few politicians and those who have access to the corridor of power both at the centre and the state level, have cornered everything.”

  Despite this wobbling and fumbling the post-independence the Nigerian journey has continue to be, there are still some Nigerians who believe that even if today is not rosy there is hope for a better tomorrow.

One of them is elder 88 years old elder statesman

Elder statesman Obafemi Olopade who turned 88years recently is no doubt a patriot to the core who holds the view that notwithstanding the multi-ethnic nature and the increasing diversities of Nigeria, its unity must not be compromised under whatever disguise because of the enormous and exclusive advantages this confers on the country and the citizens.

  He was a member of the Association of Nigerian Students in the United Kingdom that sold the idea of the National Youth Service Corps to the then Military administration of General Yakubu Gowon in a clear demonstration of his unflitching belief in the indissolubility of Nigeria and the need to continue to seek measures to promote its unity,

  Even at nearly age 90, Olopade is more than before committed to the unity and indissolubility of the country, though he admitted that Nigeria at 54 is a complete disappointment as it has failed to meet the aspiration and desire of the founding fathers and the succeeding generations.

Olopade at independence however said despite this failure. Nigerians should increase their faith in the oneness of the country and continue to work for his greatness, expressing the hope that one day, Nigeria would reach the Promised Land. In his view Nigeria has everything to make it great and belong to the first five countries in the world, nothing that this would be attained the moment the right cord between the leadership and the followership is struck.

  His words, “My way forward for Nigeria  as we mark the country’s 54 independence anniversary is unity, a sense of belonging, that you belong to one nation called Nigeria. We have been brought together as members of one family.’

  “We should stay together as member of one family. And make sure that we have the right person at any given time to govern us. Not the person who can throw money around or who can talk loudest. We need an honest, a God fearing, hard working leader, who is prepared to dedicate his life to the good of mankind and to this country. We need them, we have them. Let us not deceive ourselves, you have Nigerians who can help to govern this country in a way that we can raise our heads high in public places.”

  “Nigeria can never break up. There are too many reasons why Nigeria can never break up. We are so interwoven that I have very good friends from the Northern part of the country and the Eastern part where I grow up. Friends that I can tap their doors and enter their house and eat and sleep comfortably, the same thing in the West. Why do you want to break up.”

  “Those saying Nigeria should break up don’t understand what is going on in the minds of the people. Some people who want to build up their names are the people shouting that Nigeria will break up. We cannot compare the defunct Soviet Union with Nigeria today. Look at Ukraine from the old Soviet Union today it is in crisis.”              

  Taking a critical look at Nigeria from independence, although the country gained partial independence from Britain on October 1 1960, it was not totally independent until 1963 when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

  The First Republic was the republican government of Nigeria between 1963 and 1966 governed by the First Republican Constitution.

  From 1963 to 1966, before the military struck and took over power from the civilian administrators, the country never knew political peace.

  The country was split into three geopolitical regions—Western Region, Eastern Region and Northern Region—and its political parties took on the identities and ideologies of each region.

  Each of the political parties represented the interest of their geo-political regions. The Northern People’s Party (NPC) represented the interests of the predominantly Hausa/Fulani Northern region, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC, later renamed National Council of Nigerian Citizens, represented the predominantly Igbo Eastern Region, and the Action Group (AG) dominated the Yoruba Western Region.

  However the consequence of the 1966 coup, which was believed to have been a deliberate attempt by some South Eastern officers in the military to wiped out the northern leaders led to the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967 in which millions of people lost their lives.

 The ensuing Civil War from 1966-1970 after Biafra was overrun and the nation re-unified, military rule continued for another nine years until 1979 when the country returned to civil rule under the Nigerian Second Republic.

  Unfortunately the Second Republic was terminated when the military struck again in 1983 bring an end to the four years democratic rule. The country did not return to civil rule until 20 years after in 1999.

 But reacting on whether there are things to celebrate, a member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Lanre Odubote, who represents Epe Federal Division, said in the midst of the thousands of challenges and setback Nigeria has encountered since she gained independence, there are lot to celebrate.

  According to him, “It is obvious where are not yet there in terms of development and growth, the infrastructure we have are grossly below capacity of the large population it is however expedient to realise the fact that we have, as a nation, overcome some terrible situation that could have turned Nigeria into shreds in the past.

  “One of such challenges was the Civil War and the annulment of the most free and fair election of 1993, where late Chief MKO Abiola was adjudged winner but the military denied him and the people who voted for him that ticket.”

  Odubote also pointed to the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency as a challenge, which only God has helped the country to manage otherwise it could have posed serious danger to the corporate existence of the country.”

  While pointing to that and several others, the legislator posited that despite the entire previous and present fracases including the controversial 1999 coup, which consequent was the civil war, the country is gradually growing politically.

  According to him, “We cannot compare our situation with some nation that have disappeared from the world map or those that have been long at war. It is interesting that the democratic institution in Nigeria is growing rapidly. In the last few years there was not a single impeachment in the National Assembly where we are now free to debate any issues relating to the growth and development of the country.

  “Other than the fact that we have cases of insecurity predominantly in the northern region the country is forging ahead and with the way things are I do not share the pessimism that the country is retrogressing.

  Odubote warned those fanning the ember of disintegration to drop such dangerous and callous idea “as it would not do the country any good.”

  The spokesman of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin in his comment noted Nigeria should be celebrating by now given our great endowment “but for the crisis of nationhood, which we have failed to address in the last 54 years.

  “All the issues that are making Nigeria unworkable today have their vertical links with a structure that is not conducive to progress, development and modernisation. Nigeria will not be able to fulfill its potentials until it adopts a true federal arrangement that frees the creative spirits of the different sections of the country.”

  Odumakin, who was a member of the just concluded National Conference said there is great potentials in unity but his emphasies is on the need for the restructuring of the country to true federalism.

  He however urged Nigerians not to loose hope but to continue striving and work in whatever capacity they have towards the progress and development of the country.

  The Presiding Bishop, The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) Dr. Mike Okonkwo said there are many things to celebrate about the country at 54.

  The cleric posited that the nation’s democracy is evolving “for the first time Nigerians could boast of stable democracy for the past 16 years.”

  While lamenting the fact that we are yet to attain the feet necessary, he said there is none of the advanced democracy we are looking up to today that does not went through their turbulent period “Nigeria would not be an exception.”

 To Okonkwo, one of the greatest challenges to the nation’s growth is that the majority of the present politicians are mere seeking after their personal gain and not the interest of the masses. On this premise, he urged Nigerians to use their vote judiciously in the coming 2015 elections “I feel we should not allow any politicians to deceive us with tokens of money or bags of rice and beans.”

  The cleric also warned against the mindset of disintegration “I think this is what any serious Nigerian should never envisage or pray to happen, the consequence would be devastating.”

  But popular views on the street are that as Nigeria marks her 54 anniversary of independence, there really is no tangible or reasonable cause for celebration. What we should be doing is to mark a day of thanksgiving rather than a celebration of our shame as a nation.

 Many respondents agreed Nigeria has a lot of things to thank God for but hardly anything to celebrate. That we are still one country though not a truly united people who trust one another is one miracle and a major reason to give glory to God.

  That the ominously dark cloud of the Boko Haram insurgency, the petroleum subsidy removal riots and others did not turn into ethnic conflict is also a cause to thank God. That despite the corrupt acquisition of the nation’s wealth by unrepentant public officers and political office holders, our economy has not totally collapsed is also a reason to be grateful to God. What really is there to celebrate? It will take a people without a sense of shame or remorse to roll out the drums to celebrate given the level of challenges currently facing the nation.”
Leaders Urge Peace, Unity as Nigeria Turns 54
Federal Republic of Nigeria House of Representatives.
Written by Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Terhemba Daka, Abuja
Nigerian Guardian

AS Nigeria marks its 54th independence anniversary today, leaders have stressed the need for the citizens to promote peace and unity.

  In a goodwill message, Senate President David Mark said that the indivisibility of Nigeria was not negotiable because there was no better place than the country.

   Mark recalled Nigeria’s chequered political history since 1960, during which the country went through a 30-month fratricidal civil war, various ethno-religious conflicts and assured that the crises were surmountable.

  He dismissed as untrue the insinuation in some quarters that Nigeria has not made progress, since independence, saying “let us cast our minds back a little and see the number of road networks, schools, universities, health institutions, telecommunications and a host of others.”

   Mark’s statement which was signed by his special adviser on media, Mr. Kola Ologbodion, and released to journalists in Abuja yesterday reads: “We may not have been where we want to be but we have made appreciable progress and we can do more. All we need to do is to strengthen our unity as one people with one mission and purpose.  The stable democracy has offered us opportunity to harness our abundant resources for good.

  “Nigeria has passed through many challenges in the past and we came out of them. The security challenges; this Boko Haram can be defeated if we unit to fight them.

  “I believe the Boko Haram, terrorism or insurgency is alien to us as a people.  We have the capacity to defeat them and confine them to the dustbin of history.”

   He promised that genuine complaints and agitations among Nigerians arising from the structure of the polity could be addressed by government but was quick to point out that “we cannot correct perceived imbalances by taking up arms against our brothers, sisters and nation.

  “We must therefore continue to shun individuals or groups that encourage, preach and practise division among our people.  We must shun every harbinger of hate and bound together as a people of common interest and destiny.

   “As legislators we will continue to do our part to wit; provide the needed legislative framework for the Executive Arm of government to continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to our people.

  “Let me use this occasion to remind our fellow country men and women that as the 2015 elections approach, we must not lose sight of the fact that election should not be seen as war.  We must play the game according to the rules.”

  To politicians, Mark gave this advice: “As stakeholders, we must therefore restrain ourselves from inflammatory and treasonable statements or actions.  Our collective or individual ambitions are subordinate to the national interest.  We must therefore, always consider the primacy of our national interest.  After all, it is a trite fact that for us to even actualise our various political visions, our nation must first exist.”

   On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, urged Nigerians to work tirelessly to promote the tenets of democracy, good governance and responsible citizenry.

  In a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal appealed to the political elite to moderate their utterances and be mindful of their responsibility to the country.

   He said with elections scheduled for early 2015, all leaders must avoid acts that could heat up the polity. According to him, what is of paramount importance now is for political office holders to approach elections with the intentions to play by the rules.

  The speaker reiterated his earlier calls that the people must isolate and expose all obstacles that hamper the attainment of peace, development, and progress of the nation.

  While congratulating Nigerians on the country’s 54th independence anniversary, Tambuwal restated the commitment of the House of Representatives to uphold the ideals of a united Nigeria which he said would take its rightful place in the comity of nations.
Bernice Dahn And Yah Zolia, Exemplary In The Anti-Ebola Fight

Sun, 09/28/2014 - 22:41
Liberian Daily Observer

How many people would one find who would, without being asked or mandated, would voluntarily give up their freedom and quarantine themselves?

The answer is obvious: not many, especially in Liberia at this time, when the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) is wrecking havoc on this tiny West African country, Liberia, one of the smallest in the entire sub-region.  But to date, our Ebola death rate of probable, suspected or confirmed is 1830, the highest, above Guinea where the virus started, and Sierra Leone.

The thing is so bad that a lot of people are asking, Why Liberia.  When a high official of the  Ministry of Commerce and Industry, while recently  visiting London,  was asked that question by the BBC, he replied, “Let’s leave it there.  We will deal with that question later.”

The poor Liberian official could not answer the question.  For how could he speak his mind on a subject that most people know about.  Liberia has just recently discovered oil.  And how does any big power develop free access to such a commodity in an enlightened population without first placing the country into complete disarray?

Even so, there are some highly conscientious Liberians who are setting the example of patriotism and professionalism in this crisis.  We have two great women to show.  The first is Dr. Bernice Dahn, the nation’s Chief Medical Officer.  When this woman found out that her Special Assistant, Rev. Napoleon Brathwaite, was sick, she bravely went to see him on September 20 at his home in Monrovia’s Bardnersville Estate.  When she suspected, but was not quite sure, that he might have been Ebola-infected, Dr. Dahn immediately distanced herself from Ministry and from her own family.  She went home and quarantined herself from her loving husband and children and anyone else in the home, for the mandatory 21 days.

We consider this an exemplary display of self discipline and medical efficiency.

The other woman was Madam Yah Zolia, another Health and Social Welfare Deputy Minister, for Planning and Development.  She went to her native Nimba County to help her people cope with the rapidly spreading EVD.  When it was time for her to return to her ministerial duties in Monrovia, she asked the local authorities to give her a driver to take her to Monrovia.  And who did they give her?

A driver who had been driving ambulances with Ebola patients and who had himself been affected by the virus, but was in total denial of it.  The two traveled over a 200 mile distance and at each check point the nurses found that this driver’s temperature was  far too high.

The driver was still showing signs of severe illness when they finally arrived in Monrovia and she immediately gave him money to seek medical attention.  He was confirmed to have been Ebola-affected, and died the following day!

It was at that point that Yah Zolia, a molecular biologist, immediately decided to quarantine herself for 21 days.  By the grace of God, she was miraculously delivered from the virus, and has since returned to work.

The purpose of this Editorial is to commend these two outstanding and principled Liberian women for their exemplary demonstration of medical and professional discipline and integrity.  They knew that they had both come into direct contact with Ebola-affected individuals, and without being asked, went ahead and voluntarily quarantined themselves from not only their offices but their families as well.

We submit that if this had been the behavior of other people all over Liberia, this deadly virus would not have spread so quickly and so fast in our country.  But too many people have been too irresponsible, too deceitful and downright dishonest about their condition, and have therefore spread the virus among the own loved ones.  For this reason, several  families, households and even villages have been wiped out!

Thank Dr. Dahn and Madam Zolia, for your great example.  We pray that others throughout Liberia will do as you have done to save lives from this deadly menace, the real source of which is still a complete mystery to us.  

The BBC question stemmed from the reality that Liberia is the worst hit of all the Ebola-affected West African nations.  Of all the over 2500 who have perished from this deadly  Liberia exceeds 1,500.

Who knows the answer?
Liberian Senator Says Ebola Exposes Government Incompetence
Liberian Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff has criticized the
government's response to the second outbreak of the Ebola
Virus Disease.
Tue, 09/30/2014 - 19:53
Liberian Daily Observer
By Keith Morris

The second wave of the killer Ebola virus, in Liberia, “has shown to the world the incompetence and backwardness of our government’s health sector,” Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff has declared.

The Ebola outbreak surged in Liberia for the second time last July and has since caused the highest number of deaths in the country than in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone which are also battling the spread of the disease.

Speaking during the launch of Montserrado County District #10 Ebola Response Task Force over the weekend, Senator Doe-Sheriff pointed out that even though the virus attack caught Liberians unaware, the country’s health sector was already completely broken down to the extent that Liberians are now dying from curable disease.

“Ebola has exposed the inefficiency of our health sector and we need to take every necessary action to address that. How effective and proactive our hospitals and health facilities should be in combating the spread of the virus ought to be of major importance. We have to exert every effort to contain the spread of the virus because Ebola has overwhelmed us,” the Montserrado County lawmaker asserted.

She maintained that the state of affairs at the moment, tells everyone that Ebola does not come in search of tribe, political parties or officials of government, and as such, the message of breaking interpersonal transmission must be forcefully communicated to families at home.

“Liberians are kind and peace loving people that embrace even our enemies. What this sickness has done to us now is that we have become self-protecting and now watch our relatives and friends die without intervening, something we’re not used to as Liberians,” she said.

Also speaking, Montserrado County Superintendent Madam Florence Brandy described the launch of a Task Force as “a cardinal and critical tool to combating the spread of the virus.”

She urged residents to stop living in a state of denial and rise up to the challenge to make their community Ebola free.

“In the midst of Ebola, our health sector is not working because our health workers are afraid.

“This is a county initiative and we’re pleased that this is done in the spirit of unity. The President and the county leadership are fully prepared to support this fight. This is the most difficult period in our country’s history where brothers turn their back on brothers, mothers turn their back on their children and other such painful actions,” Madam Brandy noted.

In remarks, the organizer of the event Representative Julius F. Berrian described the formation of the Task Force as a huge step towards containing the Ebola spread.

“This task force has a role to play in the district and we urge our people to fully corporate. The team will be responsible to respond to emergency cases from the communities and connect them with health workers for redress.

 The necessary gear and equipment will be provided in order to protect the Task Force members and those of the various communities,” Berrian said.
UNMEER: A Welcome New UN Agency To Fight Ebola—But Why So Late?
Liberians protest outside a hospital in June 2014. President Ellen
Johnson-Sirleaf was visiting the facility.
Wed, 09/24/2014 - 22:15
Liberian Daily Observer

The United Nations Security Council last Thursday unanimously adopted a   resolution declaring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a threat to international peace and security.  The Council mandated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to establish the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).  

A day later the 193-member UN General Assembly adopted its own resolution approving the Security Council’s on UNMEER’s establishment. The Assembly called upon all Member States to fully support the new UN Agency.

The President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa,  warned that “Without quick and decisive action, the trail of devastation this outbreak leaves behind will reach far beyond the portions of West Africa most affected up to now.”

The Secretary General has already announced the establishment of the UNMEER to stop the outbreak, treat the infected, ensure essential services, preserve stability and prevent further outbreaks.
UNMEER will be headquartered in Accra, Ghana, with offices in the three most affected countries.

Accra’s Kotoko International Airport is to be used as the “vital air-bridge” for the receiving and transshipment of Ebola-related equipment and supplies to the affected nations.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, has declared that UNMEER is likely to be “the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced.”

The UN System Senior Coordinator for Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, will provide strategic guidance to the Mission. The Secretary-General meanwhile plans to appoint a Special Representative to head UNMEER and accelerate support to the countries and people most affected by the Ebola crisis.

“The Mission will rely on the support of the entire UN system, in particular the critical technical expertise of the World Health Organization (WHO), and will work closely with Member States, regional organizations, civil society and the private sector.”

We believe that UNMEER’s  establishment is great news, even though it may seem to have come almost too late.  That was the same assessment which American journalist Laurie Garrett gave the United States’ intervention, through which it is sending in 3000 troops to fight the deadly Ebola virus in the three most affected West African countries—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Yes, we do not know why it took the world so long to respond to this catastrophe.  People are now comparing this belated response to President George W. Bush and the United States government’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans and killed hundreds.  Some blamed it on racism, since New Orleans is predominantly black.

The WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, has herself called the Ebola outbreak “. . . not just a public health crisis.  This is a social crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an economic crisis and a threat to national security well beyond the outbreak zones.”

Dr. Chan is not new to this massive health crisis.  While  serving as Director of Health in her native Hong Kong in 1997, she confronted the first human outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza. She also successfully defeated the spate of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong in 2003; and launched new services to prevent disease and promote better health.

Yet it has taken the WHO, under her leadership, a full six months to respond in a serious way to this Ebola crisis.  The world, in particular the people of West Africa, need to know what happened.

We are not here criticizing Dr. Chan or her organization, WHO.  However, people need to know why it took them so long to give a speedy and decisive response to this terrible health crisis that beginning day one last March  caused people to start dropping dead first in Guinea, then in Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Now, by the time everyone is rushing in to “help,” a staggering 2500 lives have been lost.

Also, the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other expert organizations have predicted that the Ebola virus could mutate (change) and spread, affecting and killing more people in its catastrophic path.

We hope that the new UN Agency, UNMEER, together with the efforts of the 3000-strong American military contingent, will make a quick difference and stop this terrible and tragic virus in its tracks.
Government of Liberia Reaches Deal With Healthcare Workers
Deputy Health Minister Matthew Flomo, Finance Minister Amara
Konneh and Dr. John Mulbah of the Liberian Medical and Dental
Council (LMDC) in Monrovia the capital of the West African state.
Tue, 09/30/2014 - 22:01
Liberian Daily Observer

-Announces ‘Bumper’ Hazard Pay, Death Benefits

By George D. Kennedy

The Liberian government has announced a bumper hazard pay and death benefits for public healthcare workers in the country. The deal which will cost the government about US$30 million over a six months period beginning September,  is intended to ensure that health workers who have abandoned health facilities return to work to fight the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the country.

 “We have reached an agreement that the government will cover hazard pay and death benefits for all public healthcare and non-healthcare workers to enhance GOL’s Ebola response,” an elated healthcare worker said.

The Ebola virus has already killed about 79 healthcare workers in Liberia and infected over 80 others who are undergoing treatment at several Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in the capital, Monrovia. Hazard pay is additional pay above the regular salary and benefits of a person for performing hazardous (dangerous) duty.

The government’s unprecedented hazard pay and death benefits announcement came during a press conference in Monrovia Tuesday, September 30, minutes after a closed door meeting with the healthcare workers at the Liberia Medical and Dental Counsel’s office.

Under the agreement, the government will pay a US$5,000 flat death benefit to the survivors of each healthcare worker, who lost his/her life to Ebola.

The agreement also includes hazard pay for healthcare workers engaged directly in fighting Ebola and those that are not on the frontline.

Those directly involved in fighting the Ebola epidemic will receive monthly hazard pay as follows: Ebola Treatment Unit supervisors will receive US$850, medical doctors US$825, nurses US$435, Lab technicians US$435 while ETU managers and general practitioners will receive US$450 each.

Ambulance drivers will receive monthly hazard pay of US$350, Ebola case investigators and social workers US$350, hygienist and logisticians US$300 while janitors, contact tracers and security personnel will receive US$250, respectively.

Also benefiting from the government’s monthly hazard pay program are doctors, nurses and other health practitioners who are not dealing with Ebola related cases.

According to the agreement, medical doctors in this category will each receive US$350 while nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, midwives and lab technicians will be paid US$300 each.

Making remarks after the meeting, the Acting Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara M. Konneh, praised the health workers for the sacrifices they are making on the frontline fighting Ebola.

“When Ebola struck our country, it was our healthcare workers that were hurt the most. These men and women are the soldiers on the frontline of this fight and so we must appreciate the sacrifices they are making,” he said.

Mr. Konneh observed that Ebola made some of the health workers retreat and regroup and they were now ready to engage the enemy. He contended that it was in everyone’s interest for the healthcare workers to retreat.

“We don’t want any more of our nurses and doctors to die,” Konneh said as he appealed to health authorities to reopen the hospitals. From all indications, government will begin reopening public health centers by Monday, October 6.  Konneh, however, hinted to reporters that reopening the hospitals will be done gradually. Most of the hospitals including the country’s largest referral hospital, John F. Kennedy (JFK) Memorial Center in Sinkor are currently closed.

The Acting Finance Minister has meanwhile called on healthcare workers who are not in government’s direct deposit program to proceed to the bank and open their accounts, advising that the hazard benefits will only be paid by direct deposit.

As for healthcare workers in non-banking communities, he said the government will deploy strong teams in those areas to issue payments, but warned that anyone who engages in malpractice will face prosecution.

For his part, the chairman of the Liberia Medical and Dental Counsel, Dr. John Mulbah, noted that the process leading to the signing of the agreement with the government was transparent.

“The government drafted the proposal and brought it to us and at the same time allowed us sufficient time to study the agreement. We discussed it among ourselves as healthcare workers and derived at the benefit pay rates,” said Dr. Mulbah.

He thanked President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for seeking the welfare of healthcare workers in the country. “Yes, our healthcare workers died, but we took an oath to save lives,” Mulbah added in an apparent appeal to his colleagues to return to work. “We have many people dying from sicknesses that are not Ebola related,” he said.

According to the LMDC boss, absorbing healthcare workers who were not on government payroll is a bold step taken by the government. He pledged his institution’s commitment to ensuring that transparency becomes the order of the day regarding the payment of healthcare workers.
In brief remarks, Deputy Health Minister for Administration Matthew T. K. Flomo thanked the health workers for accepting the government’s proposal and assured them of the Ministry’s support.
'A Disease That Comes to Kill': Fear Hinders Ebola Efforts in Africa

Inside the Ebola Hot Zone in Liberia

NBC News

The girl was loaded into a wheelbarrow to be admitted to the Ebola holding unit. Just 17, she was with her mother and appeared to be on the brink of death.

But in a blink, her eyes opened. She jumped up and started to run away.

In a scene that is becoming sadly familiar in Liberia, the suspected Ebola patient was chased down by people nearby who held her until an ambulance could arrive. The girl, named Jane Doe, had feet bloodied from running away — too afraid of the stigma, the isolation, the death that come with the rapidly spreading diagnosis to seek treatment.

“Those patients come with frightful eyes,” Dr. John Sankoh, medical director at Redemption Hospital, told NBC News. “It is a disease that is beyond boundaries. It is a disease that is irrespective of who you are. It is a disease that comes to kill.”

Resistance to treatment and quarantine is one of the problems that plagues doctors trying to contain the outbreak here. Earlier this month, a man who escaped a quarantine center fended off vigilantes with rocks and a stick before a medical team caught up with him.

Redemption Hospital, a government-run facility in Liberia's capital city of Monrovia, is where a doctor and several nurses became infected with Ebola and died as the outbreak began. Fear and empty beds have followed, as patients afraid of the virus stay away.

While NBC News visited on Tuesday, a young man in his 20s was carried out of an ambulance over his friend’s shoulder, crying for his mother. Health care workers kept a safe distance of a meter or more as they shouted directions, and he was bundled into another ambulance and taken away.

Jane Doe, the 17-year-old girl, was held until an ambulance came and returned her to Redemption. She was admitted and put on an IV solution — part of the supportive care doctors think has been most effective in helping people recover from Ebola.

Her mother now waits for an update on the girl’s battle against an outbreak that has already killed more than 3,000 people. The mother, too, must remain in quarantine for fear that the virus has spread.
Nearly 500 United States Troops Heading to Africa In Response to Ebola Outbreak
Healthcare workers in West Africa on the frontline against Ebola.
By David Burge / El Paso Times
09/30/2014 03:29:10 PM MDT

Nearly 500 service members from Fort Bliss will be deploying to Africa as part of the U.S. effort to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, according to a statement issued by U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, on Tuesday.

Fort Bliss officials confirmed that the installation and the 1st Armored Division will be providing soldiers, helicopters and support equipment associated with what is being called Operation United Assistance.

They will be part of a contingent of 3,000 service members who are being sent to West Africa, according to O'Rourke's statement.

Fort Bliss officials said family members of soldiers who will be deploying are being notified, but the exact number of troops, the unit or units affected, location, length and date of the deployment to West Africa haven't been determined. Pentagon officials said during a press briefing earlier on Wednesday that troops would be going to Liberia sometime in October.

The mission of Fort Bliss troops will be to "provide logistical and transportation support to U.S. personnel and international health-care workers," according to the statement from the post.

O'Rourke called this an "important humanitarian mission" that will save lives in Africa and by stopping the spread of the virus, could potentially save lives in the United States as well.

"It's another reason we're grateful for and proud of our Fort Bliss service members," O'Rourke said.

"Our thoughts, prayers and gratitude follow" these troops, he added.

Lt. Col. Lee Peters, a spokesman for Fort Bliss, said commanding general Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Twitty has named as his top priority having a force that is well trained and ready to deploy at a moment's notice.

"This is a prime example of that," Peters said.

The 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky., will serve as the higher headquarters during this mission to Africa.

At a briefing at the Pentagon Tuesday that focused in part on the military response to the Ebola outbreak, Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby was asked about protection for the soldiers being sent.

"All the troops that are going are getting trained on personnel protective equipment and on the disease itself. As we've said before, I mean, (Defense) Secretary (Chuck) Hagel has no higher priority than force protection and making sure that the threat down there is the disease, it's not an armed threat, and so just like any other threat, we take it very, very seriously, and we'll make sure that they've got the protection that they need," Kirby said.

When asked about the length of the West Africa mission, he said, "in general we're looking at least six months, but it could go longer than that, depending on the needs of the mission."
US Law Enforcement Challenges Apple and Google's Data Encryption
National Security Agency headquarters.
US Attorney General Eric Holder hopes the technology industry is willing to cooperate with law enforcement in the future with companies like Apple and Google pushing for data locks

US law enforcement challenges Apple and Google’s data encryption

By Josh Durso on September 30, 2014

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may have submitted his letter of resignation last week, but that doesn’t mean he’s mailing in the rest of his time in office.

He urged technology companies to continue granting law enforcement access to smartphone data. In his prepared remarks, Tuesday, he responded to new privacy features from technology giants like Google, and Apple, that could potentially challenge investigations into matters of child sex abuse.

He isn’t the only individual in law enforcement with concerns regarding Google and Apple’s new privacy features. Others have argued that the new features will make it difficult, or stymie investigations into crimes like drug trafficking, child sex abuse, and terrorism.

While law enforcement isn’t trying to take all information, this comes at a time when consumers are ultra-sensitive to anyone trying to take pieces and bits of their data, or personal information. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children.”

Some have argued that these new privacy features will do just that – prevent law enforcement from doing their job. The new features that are being talked about is greater encryption on mobile devices that have been the latest security feature pushed out by Google and Apple. Eric Holder is the highest ranking member of law enforcement to take such a stand against the new features and the tech giants.

The Justice Department is looking into the matter and they’re trying to figure out how the new systems, and encryption put forward by Google and Apple work and how the companies could possibly alter their encryption to make it accessible when its court ordered.

While Holder remarked on the matter, he didn’t say how exactly the Justice Department would change the companies’ minds because he did make clear in his remarks that he wanted a joint effort to occur and that it shouldn’t be a forced matter. In his view, it should be a matter that is done willfully, and that tech companies like Google and Apple should be eager to cooperate with the government.

However, while Apple and Google have also made it clear that they don’t want to protect the identity or crimes of criminals like sexual predators, they do however want to protect customer data from hackers, as well as the government.

Especially since the NSA spy revelations have been looming over customer data, and a recent iCloud breach, which resulted in private celebrity photos being leaked onto the internet.

Clearly, there is some middle ground that needs to be reached in the data protection world, and this is only the beginning of that debate.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Canadian Warplanes Set to Bomb Rebels They Supported in Libya
Libyan imperialist-imposed chaos since 2011.
September 30, 2014 11:13 PM EDT

As the Conservative government contemplates sending CF-18 fighter jets into Iraq, Canadian pilots may soon be bombing some of the same gunmen their actions supported several years ago elsewhere.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, includes a large number of volunteers from Libya who fought in the 2011 CIA-Pentagon-NATO war of regime-change that overthrew Pan-Africanist leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

Extremist organizations such as Ansar al Sharia Libya, a jihadist group that formed during the imperialist-backed uprising against Gadhafi, has provided trained fighters for ISIL.

The Royal Canadian Air Force played a key role in the NATO bombing campaign against Gadhafi’s forces. Those airstrikes destroyed large parts of Libya’s military and are credited with allowing the group of rag-tag militias and assorted armed groups to eventually seize control of the country.

“Certainly some of the players in ISIL are going to be the same people who fought Gadhafi,” said Martin Shadwick, a defence analyst with York University. “The ability of these forces to move across borders, to fight in each other’s battles, is something that should be looked at more closely in the future.”

The Conservative government is currently considering options for further military action in Iraq against ISIL. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday a decision will be made “in the coming days.”

At the time of the Libyan counter-revolution, NATO leader U.S. Adm. James Stavridis acknowledged some of the rebels benefiting from the airstrikes could be linked to Islamic extremists. But he said in general the opposition forces were made up of “responsible men and women.”

Since Gadhafi’s overthrow, however, Libya has been thrown into chaos, with various groups such as Ansar al Sharia Libya now controlling portions of the country.

Last year, ISIL praised a top Libyan jihadist who had fought with the group in Iraq and Syria before being killed in an ambush. The man had also played a role in the 2011 uprising against Gadhafi.

The Shura Council of Shabaab al-Islam (Youth of Islam), a jihadi group based in Derna, Libya, has also voiced its support for ISIL, reports the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors global terrorism.

Harper recently defended Canada’s role in Libya, suggesting that neither it nor NATO can be held responsible for the chaos that has since engulfed that country.

“One can quarrel with it or not quarrel with it, but the mission was we would provide air cover for those that were initially subject to Gadhafi’s attacks and ultimately became his overthrowers,” Harper explained during a visit in early September to London, England.

“The decision was made at the outset that we were not going to go into Libya (on the ground) per se. It was going to be up to the Libyans to then make the best of the situation.”

The Canadian military is now looking at fielding an Iraq force similar to the one it sent to fight in Libya. That could involve CF-18s and Aurora aircraft for surveillance.

The Middle East is still feeling the effects of Gadhafi’s removal from power, said former diplomat Robert Fowler, who was held by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, after being kidnapped in 2008.

Large quantities of arms and ammunition stolen from Libyan stockpiles during the uprising have found their way into the hands of AQIM and other Islamic extremist groups in the region, Fowler said.

“If you’re asking me if (NATO’s) campaign in Libya was a success, I’d say: ‘Hell, no,’ ” added Fowler.

The lawlessness in Libya has in fact raised concerns that ISIL may next expand into that country. Fowler noted that elements of ISIL already appear to be operating in Libya.

The Conservative government, however, considers the 2011 Libyan mission a victory for Canada. Shortly after Gadhafi’s brutal lynching at the hands of rebels, the government held an $850,000 victory parade in downtown Ottawa, featuring flyovers by CF-18s and Aurora aircraft.

“Canada is proud to have played a leading role in the UN-sanctioned NATO mission that helped protect civilians during the liberation of Libya,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has noted.
South Carolina Cop Shootings Mount
Earnest Satterwhite was killed by police in South
By Jeffrey Collins
Associated Press
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 8:25 AM

NORTH AUGUSTA — Ernest Satterwhite was a laid-back former mechanic with some habits, including ignoring police officers who tried to pull him over.

The last time he did that, the 68-year-old black great-grandfather got killed — shot to death after a slow-speed chase as he parked in his own driveway, by a 25-year-old white police officer.

Investigators determined that North Augusta Public Safety Officer Justin Craven broke the law. A prosecutor, in a rare action against a police officer, sought to charge him with voluntary manslaughter, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. But the grand jury disagreed, indicting him on a misdemeanor.

Satterwhite’s death highlights the increasing number of police shootings in South Carolina, and how uncommon it is for the officers involved to face criminal charges.

Dashboard cameras can make a big difference.

In a shooting last week, video from a dashboard camera showed how in just a few seconds Trooper Sean Groubert went from asking motorist Levar Jones for his license for a supposed seat belt violation to shooting at him repeatedly without provocation, even as Jones put his hands in the air.

Jones was hit once and is recovering.

State Public Safety Director Leroy Smith called the shooting “disturbing,” and Groubert was promptly fired and charged with felony assault.

Sometimes, the video can exonerate officers: In August, a prosecutor refused to file criminal charges against a York County deputy who wounded a 70-year-old man after mistaking his cane for a shotgun during an after-dark traffic stop. Using video, the sheriff showed how the cane’s shaft could be mistaken for a gun barrel in the dim light.

So far, 35 people were shot by police in South Carolina this year; 16 of them were killed. That puts the state on pace to surpass last year’s total of 42 people shot by police.

While the video in Jones’ shooting brought national attention, most police shootings, like Satterwhite’s killing in February, make only local headlines and just for a day or two.

In Satterwhite’s case, prosecutors won’t say why they sought a felony charge against Craven, who chased Satterwhite for 9 miles, beyond city limits and into Edgefield County. Experts say it’s the first time an officer was charged in a fatal shooting in roughly a decade. But the grand jury opted for “misconduct in office,” a charge used for sheriffs who make inmates do their personal work, or officers who ask for bribes. Their single-page indictment, returned in August, contains no details other than accusing Craven of “using excessive force and failing to follow and use proper procedures.”

Black leaders were astonished that an officially unjustified shooting of an unarmed man should merit such a light charge.

“It diminishes the nature of the violation — of the death. This man’s life is only worth a misdemeanor?” said state Rep. Joe Neal, a Democrat who has spent decades speaking out against racism in law enforcement and demanding accountability through data and police cameras.

Neal, who is black, also wants authorities to release evidence more quickly in police-involved shootings. Authorities often say doing so could taint potential jurors. Neal says that doesn’t give people enough credit.

The State Law Enforcement Division denied requests filed by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act to learn what evidence was gathered against Craven. Solicitor Donnie Myers, who is handling the case, didn’t return phone calls. North Augusta Police, the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office and Craven’s lawyer, Jack Swerling, declined to comment.

The few details released raised concerns among law enforcement experts. In the likely 10 to 15 minutes he trailed Satterwhite, Craven should have had time to learn he was headed home and had no violent incidents on his criminal record, said University of South Carolina criminology professor Geoffrey Alpert.

Police records show Satterwhite had been arrested more than a dozen times for traffic violations, most of them for driving under suspension or under the influence. Most of the charges led to convictions. He also was charged at least three times for failing to stop as officers tried to pull him over. But his record shows no evidence he ever physically fought with an officer.

Edgefield County deputies who joined in the chase reported that Craven ran up to Satterwhite’s parked car and fired several shots into the driver’s side door, telling the other officers that Satterwhite tried to grab his gun. The other officers couldn’t get Satterwhite’s door open, so they broke the passenger side window, unlocked that door and dragged him out.

“Why would he run up to the car like that?” asked Alpert. “Why would he put himself in a situation to use deadly force? Why would he put his gun close enough for him to grab it?”

Satterwhite, who worked for years as a mechanic, liked to fish and was remembered by his family as a laid back man who kept to himself, left behind six children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Seven months after the funeral, and eight days after his indictment, Craven was put on administrative leave — with pay.

Satterwhite’s family then sued the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, Edgefield County and its sheriff’s office.

The lawsuit alleges Craven ignored the Edgefield deputies’ orders to stop and let them manage the chase when it entered their county, about 2 miles from Satterwhite’s home. It alleges Satterwhite never tried to grab the officer’s gun when Craven fired five times, hitting him with four bullets — two in the chest.

The family says the officers yanked the mortally wounded man out of the car, restrained him and left him on the ground unattended until paramedics arrived.

Their lawyer, Carter Elliott, hopes to force authorities to release any video and other evidence.

North Augusta’s Public Safety Department has refused to release any details about Craven’s history. City officials didn’t make him available for interviews, and he didn’t respond to emails.

Police agencies often hurt their own credibility when they withhold information in these shootings, allowing rumors and speculation to fill the void, Alpert said.

“They work for us — the public,” Alpert said. “You need to put as much accurate information out there as you can to get in front of the issue and create your own story.”
The Ebola Breakout Coincided With UN Vaccine Campaigns

by Yoichi Shimatsu
September 16, 2014 5:58 pm

The ebola pandemic began in late February in the former French colony of Guinea while UN agencies were conducting nationwide vaccine campaigns for three other diseases in rural districts. The simultaneous eruptions of this filovirus virus in widely separated zones strongly suggests that the virulent Zaire ebola strain (ZEBOV) was deliberately introduced to test an antidote in secret trials on unsuspecting humans.

The cross-border escape of ebola into neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia indicates something went terribly wrong during the illegal clinical trials by a major pharmaceutical company. Through the lens darkly, the release of ebola may well have been an act of biowarfare in the post-colonial struggle to control mineral-rich West Africa.

Earlier this year, rural residents eagerly stood in line to receive vaccinations from foreign-funded medical programs. Since the cover-up of the initial outbreak, however, panicked West Africans rural folk are terrified of any treatment from international aid programs for fear of a rumored genocide campaign. The mass hysteria is also fueled in a region traditionally targeted by Western pedophiles by the fact that filovirus survives longer in semen than in other body fluids, a point that resulted in murderous attacks on young men believed  to be homosexuals. Ebola detonated fear and loathing, and perhaps that is exactly the intended objective of a destabilization strategy.

This ongoing series of investigative journalism reports on the ebola crisis exposes how West Africans are largely justified in their distrust of the Western aid agencies that unleashed, whether by mistake or deliberate intent, the most virulent virus known to man.

Guilt Without Doubt

A pair of earlier articles by this writer examined the British and American roles in developing ebola into a biological weapon and its antidotes into commercial products. This third essay examines the strange coincidence of the earliest breakout in Guinea with three major vaccine campaigns conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN children’s agency UNICEF. At least two of the vaccination programs were implemented by Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders), while some of those vaccines were produced by Sanofi Pasteur, a French pharmaceutical whose major shareholder is the Rothschild Group. This report uncovers the French connection to the African ebola pandemic.

Human Guinea Pigs

The guinea pig used in laboratory testing of new drugs is neither a pig nor from Guinea, since its natural habitat is on another continent, specifically the Andes. The test subjects at the time of the very first ebola outbreaks in Guinea were not rodents or pigs; they were humans.

The mystery at the heart of the ebola outbreak is how the 1995 Zaire (ZEBOV) strain, which originated in Central Africa some 4,000 km to the east in Congolese (Zairean) provinces of Central Africa, managed to suddenly resurface now a decade later in Guinea, West Africa. Since no evidence of ebola infections in transit has been detected at airports, ports or highways, the initial infections must have come from one of either two alternative routes:

- First, the possibility of an anonymous “Patient A”, a survivor of the devastating 1995 Zaire pandemic, perhaps a doctor or medical worker who was a carrier of the dormant virus into Guinea. An example of a Patient A is Patrick Sawyer, the infected American resident of Liberia who first transmitted ebola to Nigeria. No attempt has been made by the national health ministry or international agencies to trace and identify the original ebola case in Guinea. So far, not a shred of evidence has surfaced to indicate&nbs p;the very first victim to be a foreigner or a Guinean who had traveled abroad.

- Second, the absence of a Patient A leaves the prospect of an unauthorized test in humans of a new antidote for ebola in rural Guinea, done under the cover of a vaccination program for another disease. Whether the covert clinical trial’s purpose was civilian health or military use of an antibody-based antidote cannot be determined as of yet.

The reason for suspecting a vaccine campaign rather than an individual carrier is due to the fact that the ebola contagion did not start at a single geographic center and then spread outward along the roads. Instead. simultaneous outbreaks of multiple cases occurred in widely separated parts of rural Guinea, indicating a highly organized effort to infect residents in different locations in the same time-frame.

The ebola outbreak in early March coincided with three separate vaccination campaigns countrywide: a cholera oral vaccine effort by Medicins Sans Frontieres under the WHO; and UNICEF-funded prevention programs against meningitis and polio:

- The MSF-WHO project administered the anti-cholera vaccine Shanchol. The drug producer Shanta Biotechnics in Hyderabad, India, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanofi Pasteur based in Lyon, France. Formerly known as Sanofi Aventis, the pharmaceutical controlled by major shareholders L’Oreal and the Rothschild Group.

- The oral polio vaccine (OPV) drive funded by UNICEF was based on a pathogen seed strain developed by Sanofi Pasteur, which operates the world’s largest polio vaccine production facility.

- The meningitis vaccine MenAfrVac, was produced by the Serum Institute of India, owned by tycoon Cyrus Poonawalla, under development funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2013, a UNICEF drive in Chad with the same drug resulted in 40 child deaths from vaccine-linked symptom. MSF participated in the West African anti-meningitis project.

Medicins Sanofi Frontieres

While focused on the French role, it would be unjust not to shed light on the American chief of the UN children’s agency. UNICEF executive directory Anthony Lake has an ideal career background for the post of protector of children worldwide. Tony Lake was National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton responsible for US military interventions, including: the Bosnia-Herzegovina war against the Yugoslav federation; the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia better known as “Blackhawk Down”; and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. An ardent& nbsp;Zionist convert to Judaism, he is the perfect boss to dispense risky vaccines in Muslim-majority Guinea.

One of Lake’s closest international allies during the Balkans war, who shares his policy of “expansionist democracy” and “humanitarian intervention” is French-Jewish hero Bernard Kouchner. The co-founder of Medicins Sans Frontier, the leftist politician-doctor was appointed Foreign Minister under neoconservative President Nicholas Sarkozy. Before succumbing to the temptation of shouting “Physician heal thyself!”, let’s turn back to tracking ebola.

MSF, which translates into English as Doctors Without Borders, promotes itself as a brave band of selfless physicians who spend their time and own savings on helping the poor in global hot spots. Many of the volunteers, to their individual credit and moral goodness, actually exemplify the public-relations image, never realizing that MSF corporate sponsors include the Bill Gates-founded behemoth Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, BlackRock, Bloomberg and the French advertising giant Havas.

A rogue’s gallery of corporate predators, if ever there was, the donor list is notably absent  of major pharmaceuticals, since it would be a conflict of interest to charitably dispense vaccines from a drug company while being paid for the free advertising. To avoid appearances of ethical impropriety on a global scale, the UN through its agencies WHO and UNICEF foots the bill, the major pharms get the profits, and MSF executives with their horde of bright-eyed volunteers dispense the low-end vaccines on the suffering masses.

Not to discourage idealist doctors from a worthy cause, there is the undeniable attraction of safari fever and Orientalist exoticism for a surgeon from Pittsburg or Strasbourg to take part in this hybrid of “Amazing Race” and Club Med. Now off with the kid gloves: While posturing as principled ethical “witnesses” to human misery, the functional role of MSF role is as a conveyor belt dumping vaccines from major pharmaceuticals onto low-income and poorly educated populations of the developing world.

Repeated dosages of potent toxins on populations with poor health, which no public-health agency in the Western world dares attempt inside its own borders, can have harmful side effects, especially on children. The casualties of vaccination have gone unreported by the media and buried under official cover-ups. Even worse, vaccine programs could well have been used to conceal human testing of antibodies that originated in biological warfare labs for the purpose of mass murder of entire nations.

Best Laid Plans

Doctors Without Frontiers (MSF), once based in Paris and now in Geneva, comes under a dark cloud of suspicion because its distribution of a two-step anti-cholera vaccine. The dosages must be taken a fortnight apart, and this repeat procedure likely provided the pretext for an ebola-testing team to insert the ebola virus into the victims’ bodies and later return to dispense the antidote of monoclonal antibodies (Mab).

(This is not to say that MSF was knowingly involved as an organization but that its “federation” style of management leaves a lot of maneuvering space for an unethical doctor to infiltrate a country program on behalf a client pharmaceutical.)

After exposure to the ebola virus, a patient shows symptoms of high fever, vomiting and diarrhea, no less than 8 days later and likelier after two weeks. Re-arriving on schedule, the covert drug-testing team administers the anti-ebola antibodies as “the second dose of cholera vaccine”. The perfect crime of illegal human testing should have gone off without a hitch.

A problem arises, however, when many of the test subjects fall sick in less than two weeks and are unable to walk dozens of kilometers to the vaccine centers. With much of the original cohort of human test subjects absent for the antidote, and ebola out of control in the hinterland, the secret clinical trial free-falls toward a pit of liability and legal action. Disappointed operations managers for the sponsoring pharmaceutical order the exfiltration of their medical agents out of Guinea, leaving hundreds of victims to die  in excruciating pain as the contagion spreads. Does anyone in Paris or Geneva really care? Don’t choke in laughter.

The Guinea outbreak was not reported by WHO until 6 weeks after the initial round of infections in February, which is quite odd considering the armies of medical workers afield in the countryside during those three vaccine campaigns. By contrast, the MSF office in next-door Senegal knew about the Guinean ebola contagion less than a month after outbreak.

Inside and Outside the Death Zones

On the map of Africa, the Republic of Guinea (not to be confused with Equatorial Guinea on the coast of Central Africa) is shaped like a reversed letter C, looping off the Atlantic shore and curving southeast into the interior. The Niger River cuts across the country from east to west; two separate regions along its banks were the centers of the initial ebola outbreak.

The earliest infections were concentrated in the inland prefectures of Guecedo and Macenta on the interior borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia. The second-most affected region was closer to the Atlantic coast in the districts of Boffa and Telimele and the nearby island-capital of Conakry. The deaths in Conakry were concentrated at Donka Hospital, the prime treatment center.

What is striking about the Red Cross-Red Crescent Society map of the outbreak zones was the lack of infections over a wide swath along the border with Senegal, where MSF keeps its regional headquarters with a 300-member staff, which includes 80 foreigners. The reason can be attributed to the drier climate of Senegal, yet to the contrary ebola infections were reported near Guinea’s northern border with arid Mali, which is in the Sahara Desert.

On first reports of the outbreak, the Pasteur Institute branch in Dakar, Senegal, dispatched a mobile microbiology laboratory to Conakry at the request of the Guinean Ministry of Health. Meanwhile, the German-funded Bernhard-Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine office in Ghana cooperated with WHO to set up a mobile lab in Gueckedou Prefecture.

MSF staffers inside Guinea cooperated with the government’s Ministry of Health effort to set up isolation rooms in local clinics and hospitals along with blood-sample collection centers. Despite assurances from WHO and CDC that ebola is not transmitted through water or air, more than 100 nurses and doctors, including Sierra Leone’s top ebola expert, have died so far. Misinformation about ebola transmission is inexcusable when the 1995 Zaire outbreak was first spread by the washing of corpses.

Turning Panic Into Profit

Another appalling surprise came in June with the “second wave” of apparently more virulent ebola infections across Sierra Leone, even after the pandemic was coming under control in Guinea. This second breakout could be related to a mutation caused by the introduction of monoclonal antibodies during the covert antidote tests. Confronted by Mab-activated immune responses in humans, the virus could be expected to adapt by increasing the velocity of its docking with unprotected human blood cells. If mutation is confirmed, then all Mab-based&n bsp;serums should be banned due to the potential emergence of the unstoppable “super-virus”, a modified strain of ebola on steroids.

News media have focused on two potential cures for ebola issued by biotech companies ZMapp and Tekmira, both of them essentially business fronts for patent-sharing consortia. Whichever company gains approval from an FDA, ready to overlook the possibility of driving mutations, will be sure to win huge supplier contracts from the WHO and the US Department of Defense.

The dark horse in the foot race to profit from the ebola panic is France-based Sanofi Pasteur. The world’s third-largest pharmaceutical, under CEO Serge Weinberg, has earned a reputation for come-from-behind success in the final rounds of clinical trials in humans. Weinberg scored a coup in wooing his new chief scientist Gary Nabel from his position as head of viral immunology research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Sanofi strategy for ebola is being kept under wraps by its biotech partner Sutro Biopharma based in San Francisco. Sutro managing director John Freund, MD, is a former Morgan Stanley executive who built its health-care portfolio. The Sutro-Sanofi-Nabel monoclonal antibody (Mab) strategy, using tumor antigen Mabs, is listed for purposes “undisclosed”. The use of antibodies from abnormal or cancerous cells is the same as the cell-fusion method used by their now better-known competitor ZMapp.

For the unethical executive, it is tempting to conduct drug tests in humans without wasting years on monkey trials, as was done by wartime Japan’s Unit 731 and by Dr. Joseph Mengele. In 2008, Sanofi was accused of conducting secret trials of an untested H5N1 vaccine on 350 homeless people in Poland, killing at least 21 and causing the hospitalization of 200 others, according to the Telegraph of London.

The cold-blooded spread of a hemorrhagic fever cannot be attributed solely to corporate greed, since biodefense security is also a motive. The West African outbreak was likely linked to a dual-use experiment, for application in tropical health and as a biowarfare shield, as shown in the two earlier essays in this series.

On the List of Suspects

While a signatory of the Biological Weapons Convention, France did not sign aboard until 1984, providing sufficient time to guise its biowarfare research under civilian lab coats. The nation that produced brilliant scientists like Louis Pasteur, the pioneer discoverer of vaccines, France was one of the leading research centers in biological warfare, weaponizing anthrax, salmonella, chorela and rindepest, toxins that resonate with the French passion for cuisine.

The postwar French military had none of the ability to commandeer Germany’s formidable bioweapons technology, as did Britain, the US and Soviet Union. Instead of focusing on the German passion for “germ” warfare, French medical researchers skipped ahead by concentrating on molecular biology, in which viruses are of intense interest for their interactions with the proteins in cell membranes and nucleic acids.

Due to their high-tech sophistication, it is rare for French research centers to be caught red-handed, as happened when the Pasteur Institute in Iran was discovered to be crafting aflatoxin for the Shah’s military.

French biologists moreover have had deep experience in tropical pathogens from their own African colonies and the Belgian Congo. The nation’s most notable achievement in recent years was Luc Montagnier’s isolation of the HIV, which notably he claims was not of African origin, indicating the Pasteur Institute’s vast library of biological agents.

The French are masters of ambiguity and dissimulation, and so there is no chance for a French military attache to be seen strutting around Guinea or Sierra Leone like a Jean Reno. The CDC in Liberia, in contrast, with its 50-member forward squad marching in protective gear stands out like a sore thumb.

Therefore, don’t forget to put the Elysee Palace on the suspect list if ebola is found out to be a biowarfare attack to destabilize West Africa and redraw the geopolitical boundaries. The French Army is largest foreign force on the continent. To borrow Churchill’s metaphor of nesting dolls, antibodies are a riddle wrapped in the mystery of ebola inside an enigma of biological warfare.

The other Sanofi project in Guinea involving a polio vaccine campaign could have enabled the follow-up work of checking on the success rate of the secret antibody tests. If so, it was a miserable failure or perhaps a wild success. In either case, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries will have profited handsomely from the ebola crisis when biodefense-research generals, high civil servants and UN bureaucrats sheepishly sign multimillion-euro R&D contracts.

Feverish Africa

After rural West Africans realized that vaccination programs coincided with the outbreak of Zaire ebola, foreign-funded medical staffers were assaulted by angry mobs and an ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone was burned to the ground. When medicine is exposed to be the problem and not a solution, the military has to be called in to quell public rebellion. The boundaries of every country in the region are now sealed by troops, and so the truth behind this epidemic will probably be buried with the victims.

As for MSF, UNICEF, WHO, CDC, NIH, USAMRIID and the rest of the alphabet soup of the hypocritical oafs of pharmaco-witchcraft, the herd instinct for self-preservation prevents any honest disclosure. As each day passes and casualties mount, the onus for the crime weighs heavier. A trustworthy investigation into this fast-spreading pandemic and prosecution of the perpetrators in a court of law have all the chances of snowfall in Zaire.

Yoichi Shimatsu, a Thailand-based science writer, organized public-health seminars by leading microbiologists and herbalists during the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong and the avian influenza crisis across Southeast Asia.

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Critical Thinking the Essence of True Leadership
Zimbabwe liberation movement leaders Robert Mugabe and
Joshua Nkomo.
September 30, 2014 Features, Opinion & Analysis
Dr Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu Special Correspondent
Zimbabwe Herald

IN any society there are men and women of critical thinking, reason, and principles. Some are of expedience, shallow values, and instant gratification personal aggrandisement or gormandisers. Principles come from reason and reason comes from critical thinking. Critical thinking is important. Internationally, there is a National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. Richard Panul, author of several books on critical thinking, became director of the Centre for Critical Thinking and chair of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking. He gave lectures at various universities in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Amsterdam as well as Harvard as indicated in his book “Critical Thinking”.

It is correct to say some rulers and leaders in politics, business or religion-based religious philosophy and theologism are principled critical thinkers. Others are noisy empty vessels without principles. There are men and women of passion who usually act on expedience and emotion.

They act for their immediate needs, personal social fulfilment and personal aggrandisement. In politics such people can easily turn to selloutism at the expense of national interest and sacrifice for the people. Kwame Nkrumah in the book “Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah” stressed the importance of principles in political leadership rather than leadership based on expedience. This requires critical thinking reason and political consciousness.

Critical thinking and principles have guided true political leadership as shown by Cde Robert Mugabe and Dr Joshua Nkomo. Having worked and been detained with Dr Nkomo for several years and in the liberation struggle and having worked and known Cde Mugabe since the NDP days of 1960 I talk about their qualities authoritat- ively.

Dr Joshua Nkomo and Cde Mugabe guided the nation to liberation selflessly and running the Government of the people of Zimbabwe by the people of Zimbabwe for the people of Zimbabwe.

In some meetings or Politburo most of the time President Mugabe remains quiet and listening while some members speak and others even passionately shout at each other or lose tempers which no one can find for them.

In the end he summarises and concludes with a solution or way forward. A critical thinker does not shout or sing and only make empty slogans without thinking when important decisions are to be taken.

Wisdom and knowledge come from critical thinking recollected in tranquillity. A thinker is a living person, in Latin it is said that “corgito ergo sum”, “I think there for I am or I exist”.
Critical thinking is an existential philosophy.

The issue of principled leadership is critical at this time of political external and internal threats as we prepare for our elective congress. We have some people aspiring for various leadership positions. Men and women of reason and those of passion and expedience jostle for positions. In IsiNdebele we say “uzinuke amakhwapha”- “kuzviwongorora”.

A principled critical rational person understands the political dynamics involved the need for personal sacrifice in serving the people, the need for a dependable and reliable calibre to work with all people and to protect the nation. When the security of the nation is at stake and an enemy dangles a carrot is he or she ready to throw it away. Does that leader have leadership principles with the heart of a lion and tenacity of an elephant?

We enjoy a free nation borne out of the sweat and blood of our comrades who are buried at Nampundu Freedom Camp, Mukushi, Mboroma, Chimoio, and Nyadzonia and at our borders with Zambia and Mozambique and within Zimbabwe and man and women in Zimbabwe who supported the fighters.

Is the aspiring leadership committed to the principle of unity not only between the two former political Parties PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF but also among all the people of Zimbabwe to maintain peace, development and prosperity of our people?

Let us have critical thinking, reason and principles be the cornerstone of our political leaderships.

Dr Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu ( Dip. Social Work, BA Sociology, Master of Public Administration, and Doctor of Education (Ed.D) 1976) is a veteran nationalist and educationist, and former Deputy Minister Higher and Tertiary Education, former Minister of information and Publicity. He is the incumbent National Secretary for Education in the Politburo.
Mare Engages Women Prisoners
Zimbabwe musician Cynthia Mare.
September 30, 2014
Cynthia Tawanda Marwizi Arts Correspondent
Zimbabwe Herald

Afro fusion diva Cynthia Mare will collaborate with female prisoners for a song that will be released next month. Mare was one of the musicians who toured prisons last week.

The musician said she wanted to visit the place for the second time and talk to the prisoners.

“I want to first have their deepest desires so that we can have a song that explores what they wish,” she said.

She said she was encouraged by the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services’ rehabilitation programme.

“They need to be supported and one way we can do that is to have songs that give courage to the prisoners,” she said.

During the tour she sampled a song “Moto Wako Ngaubvire” that gave hope to all female prisoners.

In the song the musician urged women to be courageous in whatever they do.

“I am happy that the song gave prisoners hope that as women we must be courageous despite facing challenges in life,” she said.

ZPCS chief prison officer and deputy public relations officer Pricilla Mthembo said it was a good idea for artistes to have collaborations with prisoners.

“This is so encouraging and important for ZPCS rehabilitation process and it is a positive move towards the process when artistes offer this help,” she said.

“It is also a way of imparting skills to the female prisoners and they may use the skills after their jail terms expire,” she said.

Mare will join other musicians like Leonard Zhakata and Blessing Shumba who have worked with prisoners on their albums.
Who is Truly Caring About Livelihood in Africa
Zimbabwe President Mugabe and First Lady arrive in China on
Aug. 27, 2014.
September 30, 2014 Features, Opinion & Analysis
Cheng Tao Correspondent

DURING the first-ever US-Africa Leaders Summit hosted in Washington DC, a number of sessions and panels on livelihood fields such as health, food security, and infrastructure were held to show the US’ care about Africa’s livelihood. President Obama said at the summit that the US wanted to build genuine partnerships creating jobs and opportunities for all the peoples and unleashing the next era of African growth.

As American leaders kept bashing China from time-to-time, we feel obliged to make some responses. At the time of the US-Africa Summit, Ebola was rampant in western Africa, with the death toll and number of infected people surging every day.

African countries are in a shortage of medical staff and medicine. Coupled with their less-developed medical infrastructure, they are at a critical moment in need of help from the international community. African leaders feel excruciated, and their people live in the shadow of scare. At such a moment, the attitude and practice of the US is really lamentable. 340 US volunteers were withdrawn from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, countries most seriously affected by the disease.

Japan also followed suit by withdrawing its staff of the Japan International Cooperation Agency from the epidemic areas. Deserting the ship instead of offering needed help when the African people’s lives are at peril? The “support to Africa’s health area” and “care for the African people’s lives” are empty talks only?

Let us have a look at China’s deeds. After the outbreak of Ebola, the Chinese government offered as early as in April one million Yuan worth of aid for disease prevention and control to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau each.

On August 7, the Chinese government decided to offer 30 million Yuan worth of emergency humanitarian aid material to western African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

On September 12, the Chinese government provided another 200 million Yuan worth of aid to these countries and 2 million USD of cash for the WHO and the AU respectively. China has also sent 174 medical experts and workers to epidemic countries in western Africa to fight Ebola. The Chinese medical teams in these countries are also staying there, helping to tackle the disease. I don’t know what the US side would like to say about this. President Obama “advised” that “African countries should ensure that the infrastructure of roads and bridges built by China are not just used to connect the mineral fields to the ports used for exporting the minerals to Shanghai, but good for long-term development of Africa”.

Hasn’t his spin doctors told him that infrastructure built by China not only includes roads and bridges, but also 68 hospitals, 132 schools and stadiums able to seat 800 000 people, all of which are closely related to the livelihood of the African people. Even the roads and bridges are not just for the transportation of mineral resources to China. The world-famous Tanzara Railway was built by China in support of the African people’s fight for national liberation and against apartheid regime. The AU Conference Centre built with Chinese assistance gives a strong support to the efforts of the African countries to strengthen themselves through unity.

Don’t they know that China has sent 20,000 medical staff to 51 African countries, curing hundreds of millions of patients and trained tens of thousands of medical professionals for Africa? There are still Chinese medical teams stationed even now in 41 African countries. Food self-sufficiency is still to be achieved in the Continent of Africa, and half of its people live on imported food.

Most of the American food aid to Africa is in the form of direct provision of food, including genetically modified food which the African people clearly reject. Africa has favourable natural conditions for crop growing. China tries to address Africa’s food security by tackling both root causes and symptoms, “teaching people how to fish instead of giving fish to them”.

China has now built 22 agricultural technology demonstration centres in Africa, and by jointly carrying out production demonstration and technical application with African countries, sending agricultural technical groups and agricultural vocational training and educational teaching groups, helped African countries to increase agricultural production and productivity and boost Africa’s ability to ensure their own food security.

Employment is one of the livelihood issues top on the minds of the African people. When the US is merely talking about creating jobs for Africa, China has already effectively promoted Africa’s employment through localization. Among the 21,400 employees of CNPC in Africa, 17 600 are local which accounts for 82 percent.

Huajian Group sets up a footwear company in Ethiopia, hiring over 3000 local people but having only 150 Chinese employees. It has promoted local export and employment, and helped to train a large number of technicians and professionals on leather processing for Ethiopia.

China has done a lot for Africa in improving livelihood. Sometimes due to the lack of publicity, the outside does not know enough. However, the feeling of the African people themselves counts more than anything else.

Cheng Tao, Director of African Research Centre, China Foundation for International Studies.