EBOLA: Cuba Sees a Crisis, and Sends Docs; The US Sees an Opportunity and Sends Troops

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Different responses to Ebola epidemic: Cuba sends doctors; US sends troops and trainers

By Dave Lindorff, Thiscantbehappening

How’s this for a juxtaposition on how nations respond to a global health catastrophe. Check out these two headlines from yesterday’s news:

Cuba to Send Doctors to Ebola Areas

US to Deploy 3000 Troops as Ebola Crisis Worsens

Reading these stories, which ran in, respectively, the BBC and Reuters, one learns that the Cuban government, which runs a small financially hobbled island nation of 11 million people, with a national budget of $50 billion, Gross Domestic Product of 121 billion and per capita GDP of just over $10,000, is dispatching 165 medical personnel to Africa to regions where there are ebola outbreaks, while the US, the world’s wealthiest nation, with a population of close to 320 million, a national budget of $3.77 trillion, GDP of $17 trillion, and per capita GDP of over $53,000, is sending troops — 3000 of them– to “fight” the ebola epidemic.

Okay, I understand that these troops are supposedly going to be “overseeing” construction of treatment centers, but let’s get serious. With an epidemic raging through Africa, where some of the poorest nations in the world are located, what is needed right now are not new structures. Tent facilities would be fine for treating people in this kind of a crisis. What is needed is medical personnel. The important line in the Reuters article about the US “aid” plan, though is that the US troops will

…”establish a military control center for coordination, U.S. officials told reporters.

“The goal here is to search American expertise, including our military, logistics and command and control expertise, to try and control this outbreak at its source in west Africa,” Lisa Monaco, Obama’s White House counter-terrorism adviser, told MSNBC television on Tuesday ahead of the announcement.

Cuba apparently does not feel that it needs to establish a military control center to dispatch its doctors and nurses, nor does it feel that “military, logistics and command and control expertise” are what are needed.

Anyone who thinks this dispatching of US military personnel to Africa is about combating a plague is living in a fantasy world. This is about projecting US military power further into Africa, which has already been a goal of the Obama administration, anxious to prevent China from gaining control over African mineral resources, and to control them for US exploitation.

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Annan: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey supplied Syrian opposition with money and arms

Vienna, (SANA) Former UN Secretary General and former international envoy to Syria Kofi Annan said Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have supplied the “Syrian opposition” with money and arms.

In an interview with the Austrian Die Presse newspaper, Annan noted that some regional and Western countries rejected the six-point plan which he presented for solving the crisis in Syria because they had differences with the Syrian leadership or with Iran, Russia and China, adding that those countries then formed the so-called “Friends of Syria” group.

He reiterated the need to solve the crisis in Syria by peaceful and political means, expressing his opposition to any form of military intervention.

Annan, who was appointed as UN Special Envoy to Syria in February 2012, highlighted that the Syrian government showed positive reaction to his efforts early in his mission with regard to declaring a limited ceasefire while the other parties rejected that step.

The former international envoy stressed that Iran must be part of the solution in Syria given its great capabilities that allow it to exert an influence in the region and play an objective role to end the crisis, pointing out that Saudi Arabia opposed any Iranian role as it views Tehran as a rival in the regional and international arena.

Annan underscored that what made the US President Barack Obama hesitant to launch any military action against Syria despite pressure by the Pentagon and the US’s Western and Gulf allies was because of the fact that the situation in Syria is totally different from Libya or any other country given its sensitive geopolitical position.

He said that belief matched his visions to end the crisis in Syria peacefully when he told everybody that there could not be a military solution to the “conflict” in Syria, adding that no full agreement on his proposals was reached at the UN Security Council, “and that was why I had to quit my mission as an international envoy to Syria”.

Annan quit his position as an envoy and informed the UN of his intention not to renew his mission, which lasted until August 31 of 2012.

Annan expressed regret that Austria withdrew its forces from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the occupied Syrian Golan, considering that the withdrawal of some Western states’ forces from Golan reflects these countries’ lack of desire and indifference to solve the crisis in Syria.

Source: Sana

Officials: CIA ships weapons to Jordan to arm Syria militants

Washington stationed some one thousand troops in Jordan in early June to operate a training camp for the militants.

The United States has begun shipping weapons to Jordan to arm the militants fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to U.S. media reports.

The Wall Street Journal quoted American officials and diplomats as saying that the Central Intelligence Agency is planning to provide the insurgents with U.S. weapons within a month.

The weapons are being moved to Jordan from a network of warehouses, the report added without giving any explanation about their locations.

The officials who have been briefed by the CIA said that Saudi Arabia and other U.S. regional allies are also contributing to the plan by sending weapons to the militants.

The weaponry includes different types of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, small arms and ammunition. It would take up to three weeks to send all the weapon consignment to Jordan.

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The report also added that the U.S. and its European and Arab allies have plans to train different groups of militants in Jordan on how to use the weapons.

The first groups of U.S.-trained insurgents are expected to arrive in Syria in late July or early August.

According to earlier U.S. media reports, the American military has been secretly training the militants since November last year.

The White House’s open announcement to arm and train the militants comes as the Syrian army has managed to inflict heavy defeats on the foreign–backed insurgents in recent weeks.

Syria has been gripped by a deadly insurgency for more than two years now. Damascus has long been accusing the West of fueling the flames of unrest in the country.

Many of the militants engaged in fighting against Damascus are foreign nationals including a large numbers of Takfiris.

Source: Press TV

Chavez calls on Obama to stop US hegemonic policies

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (file photo)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on his US counterpart Barack Obama to put an end to Washington’s policy of “invading” and “destabilizing” other countries.

Speaking at a Thursday meeting with his cabinet ministers at the Presidential Palace in Caracas, Chavez pointed out that Obama should “forget about invading other nations, destabilizing countries, etc.”

He described the US as socially and economically “fractured” and called on Obama to focus on “governing his own country” instead.

Chavez, who was making the remarks in reaction to Obama’s reelection, said the American “super elite” exploits the rest of the US and manipulates it “through the media.”

During the US presidential campaigns, Chavez said he did not expect either Obama or his Republican rival Mitt Romney to make any change in the relations between the US, Latin America, Venezuela and the rest of the world.

The Venezuelan president has repeatedly challenged the US foreign policy since he took office in 1999. Continue reading

Benghazi Attack. Libya’s Green Resistance Did It… And NATO Powers Are Covering Up

US Ambassador’s Killing Had Nothing to Do With Al Qaeda, Islamist Blowback or Anti-Islamic Video

By Mark Robertson and Finian Cunningham

Global Research, September 20, 2012

The NATO powers and the bureaucrats they installed in Libya want you to think that all 5.6 million Libyans are happy that NATO and its proxy terrorists destroyed Libya, a country which under Gaddafi had the highest standard of living in Africa.

They want you to think that NATO brought “freedom and democracy” to Libya, not chaos and death.

They want you to think that there is no Green Resistance to the NATO imperialists or NATO’s Islamist allies in Benghazi. 

In reality, the Resistance has been increasingly active since shortly after the murder of Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011, as will be shown below. They strike any NATO target they can, and they execute key Libyans who betrayed Gaddafi and sided with NATO. The Benghazi incident was merely their latest blow against what they see as NATO’s illegal occupation of their country.

Everyone in Libya knows about the Green Resistance, whose members are called “Tahloob” (Arabic for “Gaddafi loyalists”). The denial only happens outside of Libya, by the NATO powers and their dutiful Western mainstream media.

Because of this denial, and because most of the world’s people have forgotten about Libya, the internet is filled with blind guesses, unfounded claims, and ridiculous counterclaims regarding the Benghazi incident last week in which US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and at least three other American personnel were killed. And the NATO lie factory is operating at full blast.

CLAIMS, COUNTER-CLAIMS AND DISINFORMATION

The Obama regime says “protesters” irate over an anti-Islam video did it.

The NATO-installed bureaucrats in Libya say that “foreign extremists” did it. Continue reading

Obama Sends More Drones, Marines to Libya, But Did They Ever Leave?

Apparently, there is nothing so permanent as a temporary US war

by John Glaser (Source: Antiwar)
The Obama administration has ordered military reinforcements to Libya following the attack on the US consulate building this week, but the truth is drones had never left Libya’s skies and US Marines have been carrying out missions on the ground since the end of NATO’s war there last year.

The US suspects al-Qaeda affiliates were involved in starting the attack on the US consulate in Libya, which killed the American ambassador and three others, and has not only started an FBI investigation into the incident, but has ordered more drones to surveil Libya, as well as up to 50 additional US Marines and US warships equipped with Tomahawk missiles off the northern coast.

But the Defense Department toldWired‘s Danger Room that the drones never left, despite the fact that the NATO air war in Libya came to an end almost a year ago.

“Yes, we have been flying CAPs [combat air patrols] since the war ended,” said Army Lt. Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. These have apparently been done for surveillance purposes with the consent of the new Libyan government. Continue reading

Time for Regime Change in the USA

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By Soren Dreier, Zen Haven

With breath-taking arrogance, the USA is opposing the presence of Iran at the discussions about Syria in Geneva.

Turkey – now openly playing the sectarian card and deliberately causing a Phantom jet to fly in fast and low in order to provoke a reaction and so involve NATO – can be present. The USA – supplying arms to al-Qaeda; organizing Salafists, Wahhabists and death squads; broadcasting lying propaganda – can be present. Russia and China can be present. But not Iran.

Yet Iran has political, religious and cultural links with the Alawite (Shia sect) government of Syria. Iran is the one country – not the USA, not Russia, not China, not Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar – which can have frank talks with Syria.

Iran is the one country which Syria can trust as understanding its situation. And Iran is the only country which can give hope of avoiding a civil war bloodbath, at the very least, or a probable decade-long regional war.

But Iran is not to be at Geneva because the USA, riddled with bigotry and an example of Ancient Greek hubris if there ever was one, hates any country which wants to be independent. It particularly hates Iran. Indeed, so extreme is the hatred that anything (including war) can be done to achieve regime change in Tehran.

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Gaddafi placed $97 Billion to free Africa from imperialism

Source: Libya SOS
“I dream of a united Africa.” -Muammar Gaddafi
What the US-NATO-EU hopes to achieve is to eliminate the half-reliable partner Gaddafi and replace him with a neo-liberal oriented government that will do their bidding: sign in on AFRICOM, kick China out, reverse the government central bank to a BIS private enterprise, continue using dollars of course, and have the lackey leaders join in their permanent war age throughout the Middle East and Africa.
New neo-liberal socio-economic policies would eliminate what the Gaddafi government has provided the entire population through state subsidies funded with oil export sales: the highest standard of living in Africa with free,universal health and education care, and the possibility of studying abroad at state expense$50,000 for each new married couple to get started with; non-interest state loanssubsidized prices of cars much lower than in Europe; the cheapest gasoline and bread prices in the world (similar to Venezuela); no taxes for those working in agriculture.
The Central Bank also financed Africa’s first communication satellite with $300 million of the $377 cost. It started up for all Africa, December 26, 2007, thus saving the 45-African nations an annual fee of $500 million pocketed by Europe for use of its satellites and this means much less cost for telephones and other communication systems. Continue reading

FROM LIBYA TO SYRIA: “WAR IS A RACKET. IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN”

By James Corbett

“War is a racket. It always has been.” These words are as true now as they were when Major General Smedley Butler first delivered them in a series of speeches in the 1930s. And he should have known. As one of the most decorated and celebrated marines in the history of the Corps, Butler drew on his own experiences around the globe to rail against the business interests that use the U.S. military as muscle men to protect their racket from perceived threats. From National City Bank interests in Haiti to United Fruit plantations in Honduras, from Standard Oil access to China to Brown Brothers operations in Nicaragua, Butler pointed out how intervention after intervention served the business interests of the well-connected even as American taxpayer money went to foot the bill for these adventures. The names and places may have changed, but the old adage holds: the more things change, the more they stay the same.


The National Transitional Council that is nominally in charge of what is left of Libya announced this week that they’re beginning a probe of foreign oil contracts brokered during Gaddafi’s reign by his son, Saif al-Islam. Libya is sitting on the largest oil reserves in Africa, and it is no coincidence that within weeks of the start of the NATO campaign last year the rebels had already secured the country’s oil ports and refineries on the Gulf of Sidra and established their own national oil company for negotiating contracts with the invading forces. Although the oil contract probes are supposedly meant to show the transparency of the new “government” and their willingness to root out the graft and kickbacks inherent in the old regime, it’s quietly acknowledged that the process will be used to reward the nations that most visibly supported last year’s invasions and punish those who were more reticent.


Surprising, then, that the first companies on the block are Italy’s Eni and France’s Total. Both countries fostered close ties with the NTC last year and France was the first country to officially recognize them as the government of Libya. But now Libya’s general prosecutor is reviewing documents related to these companies for possible financial irregularities. The SEC is getting in on the act, too, requesting documents relating to both companies’ Libyan operations to check for suspected violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The potential blow to the European giants’ share in the Libyan market is especially painful in light of the upcoming Iranian oil embargo that threatens to squeeze the crude imports of Greece, Italy and Spain. Now, as Libya ramps up oil production to pre-war levels the obvious potential winners in the probe are the American and British majors, who could end up eating up some of Eni and Total’s share in Libya’s oil production should the investigation lead to charges.


China may also have reason to be wary of their standing with the new government. Chinese-Libyan ties were increasingly close in the years leading up to Gaddafi’s ouster, with trade volume having reached $6.6 billion in 2010. In 2007, as the US was beginning to put AFRICOM together and the competitive scramble for African resources was heating up, Gaddafi delivered an address to the students of Oxford University where he praised China’s hands-off approach to investment in Africa. At the time, Gaddafi suggested that Beijing was winning the hearts and minds of Africans with its reluctance to interfere in local politics, while Washington was alienating the population with their heavy-handed interventions. In the wake of the NATO bombing the would-be government of Libya is singing a different tune and relations with China have cooled down. Last August a senior NTC official suggested that China would be punished when it came time to award reconstruction contracts in Libya because of their initial reluctance to support the rebels. Although the statement was downplayed, it was revealed earlier this month that Chinese companies are still waiting to begin negotiations on losses to frozen and outstanding contracts worth $18.8 billion. Relations are still cordial, though, and the Libyan government is assuring China that the contracting companies  will be in a better position to resume negotiations after national elections in June.


These latest moves from Tripoli may be as much about projecting the idea that the NTC is actually functioning as a government than anything else, though. Armed militias are still waging violent turf wars throughout the country, with 26 people dying in fighting between rivals in the western town of Zwara earlier this month and 150 dying in skirmishes last month in the southern city of Sabha. One militia stormed a hotel in Tripoli and opened fire, then beat and kidnapped the manager after he told a militia member to pay an outstanding room bill. Last week hundreds marched in Benghazi to call for an end to the violence between the armed gangs. The country is deeply divided along tribal lines and armed militias still occupy government buildings and openly flaunt the pronouncements of the erstwhile government. The idea that the NTC is actually functioning as a government is a pipe dream at this point, but as long as they keep the oil pumping and the victors of last year’s humanitarian love bombing get their spoils, there’s hardly a peep out of Washington, Paris, or London. Smedley Butler wouldn’t be surprised.

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