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.

Exclusive to Rense.com 8-12-14


Source URL: http://www.4thmedia.org/2014/09/the-ebola-breakout-coincided-with-un-vaccine-campaigns/
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.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ghana is Peaceful and Stable for Investment - President Mahama
Mayor of Worcester, MA Joseph Petty welcomes Ghana President
Joseph Petty.
Ghana is the most peaceful and stable country in the West African sub-region for doing fruitful business and investment, President John Dramani Mahama said.

"Ghana is not affected by any security threat, or disease that can deter investment, although we are surrounded by others that are facing some challenges in the sub-region," he said.

President Mahama said this when he addressed members of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce as part of his visit to Boston, Massachusetts, after attending the 69th UN General Assembly in New York.

The members who had expressed interest in investing in Africa and Ghana especially, wanted to have a forum with President Mahama to find out areas of interest for investments.

President Mahama said apart from the oil and gas industry that was receiving massive following, other areas worth partnering with investors were transport, shopping malls, leisure parks, and the hospitality industry.

He said Government was also leveraging investment in agriculture, where more emphasis would be placed on fruits such as mango, pineapple and oranges for processing and for export.

President Mahama said Ghana was endowed with skillful personnel who would bring their expertise to bear to soar the activities of investments in the country and beyond.

"Although Afriica, for some decades ago, was engulfed in coups d'état and other anti-human activities, it has now become the best continent for investment and other business activities," President Mahama said.

Mr Timothy Murray, President of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, said Ghana was one of the seven African countries they had planned to invest in and expressed appreciation to President Mahama for the interaction, which he described as 'very fruitful."
Ghana Movie Star at War Over Allegations for Roles 
Ghana film actor Akwasi Asamoah.
Ghana Daily Graphic
Monday, 29 September 2014 09:18
Mercy Asiedu

Popular Kumawood actor, Akwasi Asamoah, aka Big Akwes has incurred the wrath of movie actresses for daring to claim that producers and other practitioners in the movie industry frequently sleep with actresses before casting them to play in their movies.

The claim has led the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG) to ban Big Akwes from engaging in any filmmaking activity in the country for 24 months.

A statement signed by FIPAG General Secretary, James Aboagye, states that “FIPAG has sanctioned him for a period of twenty four months effective September 23, 2014. Any FIPAG member, Marketer or Distributor who engages his service as an actor or otherwise does so at his or her own risk”.

The statement said “Any film he is engaged in during this period will not be scheduled for release”.

A copy of the statement was sent to associations in the movie industry to ensure its members do not hire the services of the actor.

FIPAG put the two- year ban on the actor for allegations he made on RTV’s Agoro Fie that producers and directors and actors sleep with actresses before assigning them roles.

Speaking in Twi on the said radio discussion programme, Big Akwes said that the act of producers sleeping with actresses had been a common practice that even he, as an actor, has had his share and continues to enjoy that booty.

He went ahead to challenge any producer who claims not to have ever done so, to own up and take an oath.

Even before this ban by FIPAG, the Actresses Association of Ghana led by Kumawoodactress, Mercy Asiedu, had sent Big Akwes a letter asking him to retract his statement within three days or face court action.

Some individual actresses have also responded with indignation at Big Akwes’ claims that actresses normally sleep with movie producers in return for roles.

Actress, Nikki Samonas, for example, has confirmed that indeed some producers ask for sex before casting actresses in their movies.

She told Kwasi Aboagye during his Saturday Entertainment Review programme on Peace FM that, she had been confronted with such a demand before but she turned it down.

Another actress, Roselyn Ngissah, told Showbiz that she believes producers sleeping with actresses before giving them roles is an act of choice.

“I will not allow a producer to sleep with me but someone else would. Under no circumstances will I sleep with a producer before I am given a role. I personally believe that when you are good, the roles will come your way.”

- See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/entertainment/showbiz-news/31353-movie-actresses-at-war-over-sex-for-roles-claim.html#sthash.ljgetKlY.dpuf
‘Ghana Would Not Repeat Past Mistakes in Engagement With IMF’
Republic of Ghana President John Dramani Mahama.
By  Kwame Asare Boadu
Monday, 29 September 2014 12:57 
Ghana Daily Graphic

President John Dramani Mahama has said Ghana has learnt from its past mistakes in the engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In the past, the IMF’s assistance came with conditions. Among them was the institution of various Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) that required the government to cut public spending, eliminate subsidies on food and agriculture, cut jobs, reduce the government’s spending on medical care and education, and raise interest rates.

But delivering a lecture at the Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA last Friday, the President said, "The Ghana that I find myself governing today is not the same Ghana that, in 1983, approached the IMF for assistance.

"We have learned so much from our past mistakes. We are also using the lessons of the past mistakes that have been made by others to guide us."

Besides, he said, the IMF today was a totally different institution, having broadened its vision and adopted a more holistic approach to the assistance it offered.

"In the most fundamental ways, this has the potential to be an auspicious partnership," he said.

The lecture, delivered at the Kennedy School of Government at the Institute of Politics at Harvard, was part of the John F. Kennedy Jnr Forum.

His topic was, 'Economic Governance in Unchartered Waters."

Hard costs

The President mentioned the cost associated with the scrapping of subsidies to farmers and opening Ghanaian markets to international competition.

This is happening at the time developed economies such as the United States continue to subsidise their farmers, so currently, US rice imports are the staple in Ghana.

"In 2013 alone, it cost us $467.2 million to import rice; $217.2 million to import sugar; and $234.4 million to import vegetable cooking oil.

And this is a country in the tropics with a comparative advantage for producing these items,” the President said.

Economic situation

In spite of the economic challenges Ghana was going through, the President said the future looked bright.

"This is an exciting time for Ghana. We are in the midst of a transformation, a metamorphosis from a low middle-income country into a full-fledged middle-income nation," he said.

But, in his view, the path being chartered, like all changes, could at times be tough. Nevertheless, with determination, the rough edges would be shaped.

He quoted one of the famous statements of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first President,  “We face neither East nor West; we face forward,” and said although Dr Nkrumah spoke those words about Ghana as a newly liberated nation, the statement accurately described where Ghana found herself today.

Answering a question about advancing decentralisation in Ghana, President Mahama said the government believed in taking power to the people.

That was why the process to amend the Constitution to make the position of District Chief Executive elected was being given all the necessary support.

In an answer to another question as to whether Africa did not have a solution to her own problems,

Mr Mahama stated that in the real world, that was impossible, especially looking at the unfairness in the global marketplace.

The Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Institute of Politics, Professor David T. Ellwood, commended the President for the tremendous efforts to lead Ghana to economic progress.

He said the school was proud to have Mr Mahama speak at the forum, one of the most important events at the Harvard University.

- See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/31362-ghana-would-not-repeat-past-mistakes-in-engagement-with-imf.html#sthash.3NCu5AYa.dpuf
Somalia President is Pushing a Motion Against Prime Minister
Somalia government members with AU delegation.
September 29, 2014

The Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has acknowledged that “ there is a rift” between him and his prime minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, and that their differences would be settled at the Somali Federal Parliament.

This is a codeword for pushing a motion of no confidence against the prime minister. Why is Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed facing the wrath of Damul-jadiid, president Hassan Sheikh’s inner circle? Hand-picked by Damuljadiid (DM) associates, Abdiweli Sheikh refused to play a second fiddle to president Hassan when it comes to running the government in Mogadishu. The president wants to treat Abdilweli as a sacrificial PM whenever the going gets tough for his DM associates .

What Abdiweli Sheikh’s government has achieved in 10 months has become stumbling-block to president Hassan Sheikh’s stratagems to make the Somali Federal Government (SFG) a Damul-jadiid business.

Prime Minsinter Abdiweli has come to an office over which corruption accusations were hovering. How he addressed corruption allegations is a good example about promoting transparency within the SFG. “Somalia is cancelling or renegotiating a series of high-profile contracts ranging from oil exploration to port operations as the country struggles to stave off donors’ concerns about government corruption,” reported the Financial Times. “The contracts – nine multi-million-dollars deals – include a contentious agreement with Shulman Rogers, a US law firm, and an oil exploration deal with Soma Oil and Gas, a new UK company headed by the former leader of the Conservative party, Michael Howard.”

The president commissioned Shulman Rogers to trace Somali assets and channel recovered assets through a account in Abu Dhabi. This act was a violation of an agreement signed in London 2012 to ensure all Somali assets and assistance from donor countries will be channeled through a joint account managed by Somalia and donor countries. Abdilweli Sheikh’s anti-corruption drive has touched a raw nerve Damuljadiid’s. The second cause for rift between the president and the prime minister is the sacking of the head of Somali intelligence service who is a close associate of president Hassan Sheikh. The former head of the intelligence service, Sanbaloolshe, was disrespectful to top cabinet members who tried to intervene when he ordered the arrest of an MP. Sanbaloolshe was sacked for professional misconduct following a vote by SFG cabinet members. President Hassan Sheikh was initially reluctant to accept the decision of the cabinet but at last he gave in.

The Somali Federal Government is now more transparent and less cliquish than it was one year ago. Proposing a vote of confidence against prime minister Abdiweli is the last political card Damuljadiid group members want to use to recapture the Somali government.

SOMALIA: CPJ Welcomes the Release of German-American Journalist Michael Scott

September 24, 2014

Mogadishu (RBC) The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of German-American journalist Michael Scott Moore, who was kidnapped by Somali pirates in the city of Galkayo in January 2012. Moore’s abduction was not previously reported by most media outlets at the request of those seeking his release.

The German magazine Spiegel Online reported that a crisis team from the German Foreign Ministry worked with U.S. officials to secure Moore’s release. The journalist arrived in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, today and was taken for a health checkup, according to news reports.

An Associated Press report citing Bile Hussein, a pirate commander in the Somali town of Hobyo, said that some of Moore’s abductors “reached a deal with negotiators after ransom was paid.”

The German Foreign Ministry did not immediately disclose any details on whether a ransom was paid.

“In these dark times when around 20 journalists are still missing in Syria and journalists are being targeted for financial or political gain, we are delighted that Michael Scott Moore has been released,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Sue Valentine. “We wish him a speedy and safe return to his family and loved ones.”

Moore had traveled to Somalia in early January 2012 after receiving a Pulitzer grant to report for The Atlantic magazine on piracy in Somalia. He was kidnapped on the road to the local airport by Somali pirates on January 21, news reports said.

The journalist’s abductors initially demanded a ransom of US$20 million and periodically released photos and videos of Moore throughout his captivity, according to a May 2012 report by the Kenya-based news website Somalia Report. In one video, Moore can be seen saying that his kidnappers were threatening to sell him to Al-Shabaab if the ransom was not paid. That demand was not met.
Somalia Will Be United by 2016, President Tells UN General Assembly
Somalia Federal Government President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
26 September 2014 – Somalia is at a critical juncture in its efforts to achieve security and stability, the country’s President told the United Nations General Assembly calling for continued support to strengthen Somalia as a security and ideological “firewall.”

Addressing the 69th high-level debate of the UN General Assembly, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said that Somalia will meet the world’s aspirations for a better future, “We have a country that is beginning to unite as a nation, behind a vision that will see a federal and united Somalia in 2016.”

He noted that his Federal Government is taking concrete steps to engage all Somalis, including women and minority groups, in the political process of nation-building.

“Our success requires the support of our international partners, but most of all it demands the ownership and commitment of the Somali people,” he said.

The President’s address follows a high-level meeting on Somalia held earlier this week on the margins of the General Assembly’s opening high-level session.

During the event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the Somali peace process is “gathering momentum” but warned that there is “much work still ahead” for the Horn of Africa country.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr. Ban voiced optimism that the country was on track to achieving political and national stability through the Somali Federal Government’s “Vision 2016” plan for a political transformation, to which Mr. Mohamud alluded in his speech.

In his address, the President also noted the humanitarian threat facing Somalia with around 3.2 million people in need of life-saving or livelihood saving aid.

A $933 million humanitarian appeal for the country remains “severely underfunded” with only 32 per cent of the amount received.
Somaliland President: We Will Never Re-unite With the Rest of Somalia
Somaliland President Mohamed Mohamud Silaanyo.
September 29, 2014

RBC Radio: The break away Somali state of Somaliland president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silaanyo has assured Somali president Hassan Shiekh Mohamud , that his administration will only work towards gaining independence and International recognition and will never re-unite with the rest of Somalia.

Silaanyo speaking at a graduation ceremony held for students graduating from Hargaisa University said that Somaliland is independent country and Somalia president Mohamud  is in a deep dream as far as Somali unity is concerned.

He stated that the people of Somaliland are reaping their independence from the rest of Somalia and they will only work towards getting recognition from the world.

Amid addressing graduates of Hargaisa University, Silanyo indicated that Somalia unity has failed and Somaliland will never again re-unite with the rest of Somalia.

Silanyo added that, the people of Somaliland will fight anyone who tries to intervene their territory.

He finally highlighted that Somalia president Hassan Shiekh Mohamud is not willing to continue talks with Somalialnd, and called him on talks which he said will be discussed on Somaliland’s Independence.

This came after Somalia president Hassan Shiekh Mohamud addressed the international community in the United Nations General Assembly in New York and assured them Somalia will be United in 2016.
US Judge Holds Argentina in Contempt Over Bond Orders
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez
de Kirchner.
New York judge holds Argentina in contempt of court over its defiance of his bond orders

The Associated Press

A judge, calling civil contempt a rarity, ruled that Argentina was in contempt of court on Monday for its open defiance of his orders requiring that U.S. hedge funds holding Argentine bonds be paid the roughly $1.5 billion they are owed if the majority of the South American nation's bondholders are paid interest on their bonds.

U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa made the announcement after a lawyer for U.S. hedge funds led by billionaire hedge fund investor Paul Singer's NML Capital Ltd. argued that Argentina has openly defied Griesa's court orders for more than a year. The judge reserved decision on sanctions pending further proceedings.

"What we are talking about is proposals and changes and actions that come from the executive branch of the Republic of Argentina," the judge said.

He said repeated efforts to avoid paying U.S. bondholders after their bonds unlike more than 90 percent of outstanding Argentina bonds were not traded for lesser-valued bonds in 2005 and 2010 was illegal conduct that could no longer be ignored.

"The republic in various ways has sought to avoid, to not attend to, almost to ignore this basic part of its financial obligations," the judge said.

He said Argentina had recently taken steps to attempt to remove a New York bank as the custodian for bonds held by many of its bondholders and transfer the financial obligations to a new trustee based in Argentina.

New York-based lawyer Carmine Boccuzzi, representing Argentina, had argued that a contempt finding was premature, saying Argentina bondholders who accepted swaps for lesser-valued bonds after the country defaulted on $100 billion of debt in 2001 had not been paid interest, just as the judge intended.

Boccuzzi said the U.S. bondholders "want to punish Argentina. But that's not appropriate."

"The republic did act responsibly," he said.

But he said paying the U.S. bondholders would require Argentina to pay about $20 billion to other bondholders who were not part of the litigation.

"We're hamstrung," he said.

As he left the courtroom, he declined to comment.

A lawyer for the U.S. bondholders, Robert Cohen, urged the judge to make the contempt finding and impose a $50,000 daily penalty on Argentina. He said penalties should be stiff enough that Argentina realizes it needs to change its behavior.

"It's hard to imagine how it could get worse," he said.

Before the hearing, lawyers for Argentina forwarded to the judge a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying the request for a contempt-of-court finding was "completely absurd." Argentina said such an order would be unlawful by international standards.

The Argentine Foreign Ministry said the judge's decision has no practical effect "besides providing new elements to the defamatory political and media campaign being carried out against Argentina by the vulture funds." Argentine officials regularly refer to the U.S. hedge funds that didn't swap their Argentine bonds at a discount as vultures.
Federal Judge Says Detroiters Have No Right to Water
Detroit Freedom Friday demonstration during the summer of 2014.
Robert Snell and Steve Pardo, The Detroit News 12:10 p.m. EDT September 29, 2014

Detroit — U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can't afford to lose the revenue.

Rhodes's order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service.

"There is no such right or law," Rhodes said.

A six-month ban on water shut-offs would boost the rate of customer defaults and threaten Detroit's revenue, the judge added.

"The last thing (Detroit) needs is this hit to its revenues," the judge said.

Rhodes issued his ruling after two days of hearings last week and said he lacked the power to issue a water shut-off moratorium. Regardless, a lawyer for 10 residents failed to convince him there was justification for such a drastic step, he said.

Rhodes said residents do not have a right to receive water service "let alone service based on an ability to pay."

Alice Jennings, an attorney representing the 10 residents fighting water shutoffs, said she was "disappointed but not surprised" by the judge's ruling. Rhodes, she said, missed the issue of safety and underscored the irreparable harm that comes with the shutoffs.

"We will be looking at an appeal," Jennings said. "We believe there is a right to water and there is a right to affordable water."

The city's policy of shutting off water to residents in one of the nation's poorest cities briefly overshadowed the city's historic bankruptcy case and debt-cutting plan, which hinges on spinning off the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to suburban counties.

The city started a more vigorous shut-off campaign in the spring compared to other years in an effort to get more people to pay their outstanding bills or get on a payment plan. Rhodes on Monday called the efforts a "bold, commendable and necessarily aggressive plan."

About 24,000 city water accounts have been shut off this year. A month-long moratorium halting shutoffs ended in August and crews are now back to shutting off water to up to 400 accounts a day, DWSD officials said last week.

Residents, civic groups, and "The Avengers" actor Mark Ruffalo participated in mass protests in recent months fighting the city's treatment of delinquent water customers. A pocket of protesters lined West Lafayette Boulevard outside federal court Monday.

Ten residents requested the moratorium, saying it would give the city time to establish a plan to better help those who can't afford to pay their water bills. Lawyers for Detroit say such an order would encourage further delinquency, cause the department to lose revenues and lead to higher rates.

During closing arguments, Jennings argued the "hodgepodge" of programs designed to aid a limited group of residents facing water shut-offs isn't good enough for the city plagued by widespread poverty.

Jennings told the judge that a "very brief" stop to shut-offs would give the city more time to craft a cohesive program.

Tom O'Brien, an attorney for the water department, has countered that a 10-point plan to educate and assist low-income residents wasn't constructed overnight.

"It was developed," he said, and "was intended to be practical."

O'Brien also played up a fund outlined in the plan, and a separate pot of annual aid money called for in a proposed Great Lakes Water Authority.

"That's significant money, it goes a long way," he said.

Detroit's bankruptcy trial, meanwhile, resumes Monday, five days after City Council members reclaimed power over city government while agreeing to keep Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in place for bankruptcy-related duties.

The deal means council will resume control over city departments, contracts and other day-to-day matters. Orr's official removal will be effective if the city's debt-cutting bankruptcy plan is confirmed.

Orr is expected to testify soon about the debt-cutting plan.


(313) 222-2028
Federal Bankruptcy Judge Upholds Massive Water Shut-offs in Detroit
Thousands protested in solidarity with Detroit on July 18, 2014.
Matt Helms, Detroit Free Press 10:41 a.m. EDT September 29, 2014

Detroit's bankruptcy judge today said he lacked the authority to issue a restraining order to stop water shutoffs over delinquent bills, saying that there is no constitutional right to water and a moratorium would be a financial hit to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

"Chapter 9 strictly limits the courts' power in a bankruptcy case," U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said as he read a ruling from the bench this morning.

While Rhodes' ruling made it clear he understood the scope of the problem of water shutoffs in a city with deep poverty, he said the plaintiffs in the case — advocates including Moratorium Now, the Peoples Water Board and the National Action Network — did not make the case that a six-month moratorium was necessary or within his powers.

He also noted that Detroit and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are in the process of approving a new Great Lakes Water Authority under which Detroit would maintain ownership of the region's water and sewer system but lease the pipes that largely serve the suburbs, in exchange for $50 million a year for 40 years dedicated to fixing aging water and sewer lines.

Given that Detroit is in bankruptcy and under intense pressure to make every operation in the city as cost-effective and efficient as possible, "the last thing it needs is this hit to its revenues," Rhodes said.

Hundreds participate in a march and rally calling for a moratorium on water shutoffs from Cobo Center to Hart Plaza in Detroit on July 18, 2014.(Photo: Kathleen Galligan/Detroit Free Press)
Alice Jennings, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs who sought a moratorium on water shutoffs, said she is disappointed in Rhodes' ruling and will look to appeal his decision.

"No one ever said the water had to be free," Jennings said. "Our position is the water had to be affordable. We're still looking for affordable water."

Jennings said the most important part of Rhodes' ruling was his admission cutting off water service causes irreparable harm. Jennings pointed out the city does not have specific data on how often water has been cut off at homes with children or disabled people.

Jennings said federal mediators and the state came up with a plan to save art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Why not a plan to save people without access to affordable water, she asked.

"We need to evaluate how many people are without water and the safety and health risks involved," she said. "Come up with the grand bargain to save the health and safety of the children and seniors."

The testimony came this morning in the hearings on Detroit's bid to get out of bankruptcy.

Rhodes also is likely to hear updates from city lawyers about the agreement reached last week to keep emergency manager Kevyn Orr on the job until the bankruptcy exit strategy is approved, yet restore power to run city government to Mayor Mike Duggan and the City Council.

During a meeting of the city's financial advisory board on Friday, Orr outlined the arrangement that will keep him in charge of shepherding Detroit through the final stages of its bankruptcy.

Orr will technically remain emergency manager until the plan of adjustment is confirmed, but he relinquished control of city government back to elected officials in a deal announced Thursday. Without the powers of emergency manager, he told the board, it wasn't clear he'd have the authority to conclude bond deals crucial to the city emerging from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Orr said he expects testimony to last only a couple more weeks.

"Hopefully sometime between the end of the trial and Thanksgiving we'll have a final ruling," Orr told the board.

Orr is among the next four witnesses Jones Day lawyers for the city plan to call this week. An amended witness list the city filed last week said that, before Orr appears on the stand — for what's likely to be some of the most critical testimony of the case — the city plans to call:

■ Gaurav Malhotra, a managing partner at the accounting firm Ernst & Young's Chicago office, who has been a key financial adviser to the city.

■ Ken Buckfire of Miller Buckfire, the investment banker who has been advising Detroit on matters like creation of a regional water authority.

■ James Doak, a managing director at Miller Buckfire.

Rhodes said last week, after a day and a half of testimony on the water shutoffs, that he would issue a ruling this morning.

Advocacy groups who sought a moratorium on shutoffs testified last week that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department's policies of mass shutoffs — 19,000 in recent months — are leaving low-income households with seniors and children without water service.

They asked Rhodes to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the shutoffs until the city can come up with a better way to address the unaffordability of water service in a city where more than half of households live at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.

Also last week, Rhodes agreed to hear an appeal from labor activist Robert Davis. He asked the judge for permission to file a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court on allegations that the Detroit council illegally met in closed session to debate the agreement that keeps Orr on to manage the bankruptcy.

Contact Matt Helms: 313-222-1450 or mhelms@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthelms.
Philippines, U.S. Begin Military Exercises Near Disputed Seas
1:00am EDT

MANILA (Reuters) - Thousands of Philippine and American soldiers began annual war games on Monday near disputed waters in the South China Sea, testing the readiness of the two oldest security allies in the southeast Asian region to respond to any emergency.

The Philippines has territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea, which is said to be rich in energy deposits and carries about $5 billion in ship-borne trade every year. The Spratlys in the South China Sea are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Nearly 5,000 U.S. and Filipino troops will participate in the 11-day annual exercise, to be held in the Philippines' western island of Palawan, near the Spratlys, and in the northwest province of Zambales on the main island of Luzon, just 100 miles (160 km) off Scarborough Shoal.

The joint air and marine exercises "Philippine Bilateral Exercises," or Phiblex, will focus more closely on maritime security and territorial defense operations as China continues to step up its presence and activities in the region.

"We're hoping to gain new techniques from the U.S. marine corps," Captain Reyson Talingdan, head of the public affairs of the Philippines' 3rd Marine Brigade in Palawan, told reporters.

"If they have new doctrines, we'll be able to learn from them."

Two U.S. amphibious ships, USS Peleliu and USS Germantown, are participating in the exercises. Besides simulating boat raids and beach assaults, they will feature aerial live fire, mechanized armor maneuvers and parachute drops.

"The field training exercises will provide the Philippines and U.S marine units multiple opportunities to continue to improve their skills while sharing best practices and enhancing an already high level of cohesion," the U.S. embassy said in a statement.

The military reported Beijing continued its reclamation work in four areas in the Spratlys despite the southwest monsoon.

China has expanded its territory in the Gaven, Johnson South, Cuarteron and Chigua reefs in the Spratlys, reclaiming land to build islands to assert its claims.

The Philippines has monitored the presence of more than 120 Chinese warships and fishing boats in the Spratlys in the first half of 2014, establishing firm control over disputed areas.

China seized control of Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop north of the Spratlys, in June 2012 after a three-month standoff with the Philippines, denying Filipino fishermen access to the rich fishing ground.

In the Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines has also reported the presence of an increasing number of ships, from 11 in the last quarter of 2013 to 34 in the first quarter this year.

The annual drills between Philippine and U.S. forces are being held under the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT), part of a web of security alliances the United States built in the Asia-Pacific region during the Cold War.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Resources Are Required to Tackle Ebola, But Also to Ensure the Development of Africa
Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.
Speech by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, at the high-level meeting on the outbreak of Ebola, as part of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, September 25, 2014, "Year 56 of the Revolution"


Firstly, I wish to congratulate the Secretary-General of the United Nations for taking the initiative to call this meeting, which forms part of the essential efforts to join forces and develop joint actions of cooperation in the fight against the Ebola epidemic ravaging Western Africa and in order to stop its spread.

Cuba, who from the very beginning and in response to the calls of the Secretary-General and Dr. Margaret Chan, has been present in this battle, believes that the coordination by the United Nations and the guidance of the World Health Organization are key to guaranteeing a collective, coordinated and effective intervention.

In this context, we commend the establishment of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response and the designation of a senior coordinator of the United Nations for the Ebola virus disease.

The General Assembly’s unanimous approval of Resolution A/RES/69/1 on September 19, is a clear demonstration of a universal awareness of the need to provide an immediate response to this disaster using all necessary resources, in order to prevent it from becoming a humanitarian crisis with unpredictable consequences for a continent which has been historically ignored and in which presents serious social problems and underdevelopment which have allowed for the emergence and spread of the disease.

Human, material and financial resources are required to tackle Ebola, but also to ensure the development of Africa.

The attitude of Cuba faced with this new crisis forms part of our spirit of solidarity with Africa, which has been a priority for over five decades. Over the past 55 years more than 76,000 Cubans have worked in 39 countries of the continent and over 4,000 health workers are currently providing services in 32 African countries. Cuba has trained 3,392 doctors free of charge, from 45 African countries.

It is within this same spirit that Cuba, as has already been announced, has decided to send brigades made up of healthcare workers specialized in confronting disasters and epidemics to the affected countries, and decided to increase collaboration efforts with those countries of the region which remain unaffected and in which Cuban health workers are present, in order to aid prevention of the disease.

Finally, I reiterate our conviction that given a collective response, including contributions from all countries, especially those with greater resources, we will be successful in confronting this serious challenge.

Thank you very much. (Applause)