Monday, April 23, 2012

For those who don't know: Ten Reasons to Throw out your Microwave Oven
From the conclusions of the Swiss, Russian and German scientific clinical studies, we can no longer ignore the microwave oven sitting in our kitchens. Based on this research, we will conclude this article with the following: 1). Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long term - permanent - brain damage by "shorting out" electrical impulses in the brain [de-polarizing or de-magnetizing the brain tissue]. 2). The human body cannot metabolize [break down] the unknown by-products created in microwaved food. 3). Male and female hormone production is shut down and/or altered by continually eating microwaved foods. 4). The effects of microwaved food by-products are residual [long term, permanent] within the human body. 5). Minerals, vitamins, and nutrients of all microwaved food is reduced or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit, or the human body absorbs altered compounds that cannot be broken down. 6). The minerals in vegetables are altered into cancerous free radicals when cooked in microwave ovens. 7). Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous growths [tumors]. This may explain the rapidly increased rate of colon cancer in America. 8). The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells to increase in human blood. 9). Continual ingestion of microwaved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations. 10). Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence. Seize BP Petition button

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Time Magazine names Nigeria's President Jonathan amongst world's most influential

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan has being named as one of the most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine.

The US based magazine named Mr Jonathan in the 2012 edition of its annual publication which comprises of world leaders, breakouts, pioneers and moguls.

According to the citation written by Liberian president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the magazine, President Jonathan “exemplifies the African political renaissance at a time when the people of the continent are starting to reap the fruit of their resources and their hard work.”

Mr Jonathan is described to possess “the qualities needed at this moment of great challenges.”

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf’s citation noted that the Nigeria President emerged the nation’s leader, “at a crucial moment in the history of Nigeria”, and she adds that Nigeria has “grown out of its past of corruption, mismanagement and brutality” but quipped that the “foundation of good governance is still fragile.”

She also claimed that in two short years of serving as the nation’s leader, President Jonathan has shown the same dexterity he demonstrated as the governor of Bayelsa state. “The same ability to find the remedies to the many complexities of running a nascent democracy” she stated.

The president is also said to have spearheaded the fight against corruption and turned Nigeria into an example of good governance.

He also got commendation for his role on the West-African sub-region, where he said to have made significant impact on consolidating peace and security in West Africa.

“From the onset of our own crisis, Liberia has benefited from the support of Nigeria and President Jonathan not only upheld the trend but added to it” stated Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf.

“With leaders like President Jonathan, Africa is sure to move toward prosperity, freedom and dignity for all of its people” concluded the Liberian President.

TIME Magazine notes that the people on the 100 most influential list are “the people who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world.”

Other people that made the 2012 list include, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Tim Cook, the Duchess of Cambridge-Princess Catherine Lionel Messi...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thieving ex-Nigerian governor bags 13-year jail term


By Robert Palmer

Global Witness calls for a thorough investigation into HSBC, Citibank and Abbey National (now owned by Santander) for their roles in the laundering of millions of pounds by James Ibori, former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta State. Ibori pleaded guilty to ten counts of money laundering and fraud in relation to an estimated $250 million of stolen state assets on 27 February; today was the first day of his sentencing hearing.

“By doing business with Ibori and his associates, these banks facilitated his corrupt behaviour and allowed him to spend diverted state assets on a luxury lifestyle, including a private jet and expensive London houses, while many Nigerians continue to live in poverty,” said Robert Palmer, a campaigner with Global Witness.

Today, the prosecution provided an overview of Ibori’s crimes, and in particular any aggravating factors. The details of how Ibori and his accomplices stole government funds and moved them into the UK are only coming out now, as a reporting restriction was in place until his guilty plea. His wife, sister and mistress have already been convicted of money laundering as have a string of professional intermediaries including a lawyer, a fiduciary agent and a corporate financier.

Ibori, who was governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007, inflated government contracts, accepted kickbacks and even directly stole funds from state coffers.

His official salary was £4,000 a year and his formal asset declaration stated that he had no cash or bank accounts outside of Nigeria. Despite this he managed to buy several houses around the world, including one in the UK valued at £2.2 million, luxury cars (a Bentley, Range Rover and Maybach) and a $20 million Challenger private jet.

According to the prosecutor, Sasha Wass QC, Ibori and his associates used multiple accounts at Barclays, HSBC, Citibank and Abbey National to launder funds. Millions of pounds passed through these accounts in total, some of which were used to purchase expensive London property.

In one case US$4.8 million was transferred from a Barclays account belonging to a company of which Ibori was formally a director to another account at Barclays controlled by Ibori’s lawyer, Badhresh Gohil. The funds passed through two Swiss accounts, including one at a branch of Schroders in Zurich, and were used as part payment for the private jet. In another case, Ibori and others were able to cream $37.8 million off from the sale of Delta state shares in the telecoms company V Mobile.

Ibori had numerous Barclays accounts. The prosecutor described how in one case between 1999 and 2006 Ibori deposited £1.5 million in a Knightsbridge branch of Barclays, much of this was in rolls of banknotes.

In America Ibori held two accounts at Citibank and ran up a $920,000 American Express credit bill between 2003 and 2006. He bought a $1.8 million house inHouston, as well as moving at least $500,000 through his lawyer’s client account at the now-defunct AIDT bank in Denver, Colorado.

Banks and lawyers have a legal obligation to identify their customers and carry out ongoing checks to identify any suspicious transactions which they have to report to the authorities. In particular, they are supposed to identify customers who are senior politicians or their family members and close associates, who could potentially represent a corruption risk, and do extra checks on their funds.

This case raises serious questions about the due diligence that Barclays and the other banks carried out on Ibori and his associates. What checks did these banks do to ensure that the funds they were handling were not the proceeds of corruption?

A 2011 review by the UK bank regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), revealed that British banks were systematically failing to carry out the required anti-money laundering checks – particularly when dealing with senior foreign politicians. The FSA has said that it will take a tougher line in future and will start doing more intensive supervision. For example, last month Coutts bank was fined £8.75 million for failures uncovered during the regulator’s 2011 review. But compared to the £1.9 billion in profits made by Coutts’ parent bank RBS, this fine can be seen as simply a cost of doing business, especially as RBS has been fined more than once in the past for similar failures.

“It’s welcome that the FSA has said it will do more to target banks that fail to tackle financial crime. But unless they issue penalties that really hurt, nothing will change,” said Palmer. “And we now need an investigation into how Ibori was able to move so much money through these British banks for so long and whether or not sufficient checks were carried out.”

The case also shows how money launderers such as Ibori are able to use shell companies spread across different countries to move and conceal their assets. At present it can be incredibly difficult for law enforcement and others to identify the actual person who controls and benefits from a company. Global Witness is calling for all countries to use their company registers to publish details on the real, ‘beneficial’ owner of all companies.

Barclays and HSBC declined to comment on the specific allegations due to client confidentiality. They said they had robust anti-money laundering and anti-corruption policies that applied across their global holdings. Santander declined to comment.

* * * *

Judge Anthony Pitts has sentenced former Governor James Ibori to 13 years in prison for money laundering.

The judge said he “recognizes that there is another side to the man James ibori,” but that he was not “the proper person to judge your achievements and failings as a governor. That is up to the people of Delta State."

Mr. Ibori looked lost and forlorn as Judge Pitts spoke before announcing his jail sentence.

The judge disclosed that, if Mr. Ibori had fought the case, he would be looking at a 24-year jail sentence, but noted that the former governor got a reprieve for pleading guilty. He then sentenced Mr. Ibori to 13 years in prison.

Judge Pitts deducted 645 days that the former governor had already spent in jail, ordering that Mr. Ibori serve the rest of his sentence in a British jail. A legal source in the UK said that Mr. Ibori is bound to spend at least 7 years in a UK prison.

Judge Pitts rose and is expected to reconvene soon to sort out confiscation hearings~~Sahara

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

World Bank: Ocampo Steps Down For Okonjo Iweala

WASHINGTON/BRASILIA (Reuters) - Former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo on Friday withdrew his candidacy for World Bank president, leaving two candidates in a race that he said had turned highly political.

With the World Bank board meeting on Monday to pick a new president, Ocampo said he hoped emerging market nations would rally behind one candidate, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Okonjo-Iweala is now the sole candidate from developing nations in a race against U.S. nominee Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American health expert who appears almost certain to win the post.

Ocampo said his candidacy had been "handicapped" by a lack of support from his own country.

"It is clear that the process is shifting from a strict merit-based competition, in which my candidacy stood on strong grounds, into a more political-oriented exercise," he said in a statement.

"In this process, I stand on weaker grounds due to the lack of open support from the government of my home country, Colombia," he added.

Ocampo said he did not believe the selection process had been fully open, transparent and merit-based, but it had established a strong precedent for future elections.

However, Ocampo's decision to leave the race does not mean all developing countries will support Okonjo-Iweala in a straw poll on Monday when the World Bank board tries to find consensus on a successor to Robert Zoellick, who is departing in June.

Indeed, the promise of a united front from emerging markets evaporated on Friday when Russia said it would support Kim, becoming the first major emerging economy to do so.

"Taking into account Mr. Kim's considerable professional qualities as well as his experience and knowledge, the Russian Federation will support the candidacy of Jim Yong Kim during the voting by the bank's board of directors," the Russian Finance Ministry said in a statement.

With their candidates, emerging market nations are seeking to challenge U.S. leadership at the bank to increase their influence in global economic institutions long controlled by rich nations.

Under a informal agreement, the World Bank has always been headed by an American and the IMF by a European.

While Kim is still the favorite to win the World Bank presidency because of his backing from the United States and European countries, a rigorous challenge from emerging market countries could put them in a stronger position to extract concessions favorable to their interests. It also increases their odds of winning senior jobs in the future.

The final decision could come down to political horse-trading and alliances.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vaccines funded by Bill Gates causing massive paralysis in India

Poisoning with a smile

Aaron Dykes
April 6, 2012

"GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) Blamed for Recommending Untested Polio Vaccines

Expert medical pediatricians in India have criticized the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their illusory promise of polio eradication without noting the devastating side effects its vaccination regiment could inflict.

Numerous problems have surfaced from what Dr. Neetu Vashisht and Dr. Jacob Puliyel of the Department of Paediatrics at St Stephens Hospital in Delhi have termed an “unethical” advocacy that spanned more than a decade. That vaccination program, funded only through an initial series of grants, has saddled the Indian government with health program costs and exposed the public to new risk factors.

As these doctors point out in their criticism, polio while seemingly disappearing, could easily see a sudden return in weaponized form. Since its lab synthesis in 2002, its resurrection is deemed probable and perhaps imminent, rendering the disease, thus, impossible to permanently eradicate and immunization efforts ineffective and costly.

But the real story is that while polio has statistically disappeared from India, there has been a huge spike in cases of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP)– the very types of crippling problems it was hoped would disappear with polio but which have instead flourished from a new cause.

There were 47,500 cases of non-polio paralysis reported in 2011, the same year India was declared “polio-free,” according to Dr. Vashisht and Dr. Puliyel. Further, the available data shows that the incidents tracked back to areas were doses of the polio vaccine were frequently administered. The national rate of NPAFP in India is 25-35 times the international average.

So did polio vaccines trigger these new cases of paralysis? Related studies in India have already demonstrated that polio vaccines are the leading cause of polio paralysis. Yet the 100-180 cases of paralysis per year in India admittedly linked directly to receiving the polio-vaccine, the recognized development of vaccine-associated polio paralysis (VAPP), pales in comparison to the 47,500 cases of non-polio paralysis.

Further, polio vaccines have been widely blamed for deaths and damages in the neighboring country Pakistan. A government inquiry there confirmed the effects of the polio vaccine, funded under a GAVI program. Its investigation revealed that the GAVI alliance was recommending untested vaccines, and asked that all GAVI-recommended vaccines be suspended until testing showed their safety and efficacy.

Whatever the links in this area, research does confirm that the paralysis rate increased in correlation with vaccine doses administered:

While data from India’s National Polio Surveillance Project showed NPAFP rate increased in proportion to the number of polio vaccine doses received, independent studies showed that children identified with NPAFP “were at more than twice the risk of dying than those with wild polio infection.”

While the human costs are the starkest reminder that bad policy in philanthropy and government alike can damage lives, the economic toll of the vaccination program has also reflected badly on the involvement by the World Health Organization and Gates Foundation, both core partners of GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), which also boasts the Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank and United Nations as partners.

Their recommendations to achieve total vaccine saturation of populations in poorer countries are obscene, if only on the basis of cost alone.

These doctors rightly blast the unethical dilemma Indians face after being advised to make the vaccination campaign a top priority and committing the government into sinking $2.5 billion in expenditures over the span of the program. Yet, the polio campaign was initially funded by only a $2 million dollar grant and its hopeful-sounding mission. “The Indian government finally had to fund this hugely expensive programme, which cost the country 100 times more than the value of the initial grant,” their report stated.

“From India’s perspective the exercise has been extremely costly both in terms of human suffering and in monetary terms. It is tempting to speculate what could have been achieved if the $2.5 billion spent on attempting to eradicate polio, were spent on water and sanitation and routine immunization.”

According to the doctors’ analysis, “the polio eradication programme epitomizes nearly everything that is wrong with donor funded ‘disease specific’ vertical projects at the cost of investments in community-oriented primary health care (horizontal programmes),” also stating, “This is a startling reminder of how initial funding and grants from abroad distort local priorities.”

This kind of unethical partnership between the WHO and private entities is reminiscent of the corruption we saw in the H1N1 Swine Flu Scare where the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, later admittedly elevated on flimsy pretenses to create demand for the vaccine. This was exposed by Council of Europe Health Committee Chairman Wolfgang Wodarg who demonstrated that drug firms collaborated with WHO officials to deliberately create a “campaign of panic” and a ‘false disaster’ over swine flu pandemic fears not proportionate to the real dangers."

Link to story courtesy Aangirfan

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

African Union demands South Sudan withdrawal from Heglig oilfield

A.U demands South Sudan withdrawal from Heglig oilfield

The African Union (AU) has called on Juba to withdraw its troops from the disputed Heglig oilfield in the wake of the violent fighting that has been raging on the border region between Sudan and South Sudan.

The AU said on Wednesday that it is "deeply alarmed" by the ongoing violence and urged both sides to exercise restraint.

Tensions have continued for a second day between Khartoum and Juba after the South seized Heglig oilfield on Tuesday.

Sudan further accused the South of aggression and warned that it will mobilize its army against its neighbor. Earlier on the day, Khartoum also called for a halt to negotiations with Juba that were underway in Addis Ababa over oil and border demarcation with the mediation of the African Union.

South Sudan in turn allegedly blamed Sudan of bombing a village on its side of the border.

The border fighting intensified between the two neighbors last month, the most serious unrest since Juba's independence last July, prompting international fears of a return to all-out war.

South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011 after decades of conflict with Sudan, which claimed the lives of thousands of people.

The oil-rich nation is one of the least developed countries in the world, where one in every seven child dies before the age of five.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chopping Nigeria into bits

Chopping Nigeria into bits

A divided and warring Nigeria ultimately serves the interests of the United States as cited by Zbigniew Brzezinski, top adviser to Barack Obama and leading US foreign policy theoretician.

By Nile Bowie

While the Sahel security crisis continues to deteriorate following Tuareg rebels’ declaration of an independent state in Mali’s troubled northern territory, recent events in Nigeria indicate a potential for increased regional instability. Boko Haram, a Salafist organization seeking to overthrow the secular administration of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has recently killed 38 civilians in a suicide car bomb targeting nearby churches holding Easter services in the northern city of Kaduna. As part of an ongoing campaign of sectarian violence, the group has strived to implement sharia law through the establishment of an Islamic State in northern Nigeria. The group’s belligerent acts of violence claimed more than 500 lives during 2011, prompting President Jonathan to call the current security crisis more dire than that experienced during 1967’s Biafran civil war, adding that jihadi sympathizers have successfully infiltrated his government and security agencies.

The group has claimed responsibility for the August 2011 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and its adoption of sophisticated tactics indicate that Boko Haram is receiving arms and training from abroad. Mainstream outlets can now be seen readying public opinion for an increased presence in Africa under the Right to Protect Doctrine (R2P) by warning of increased terrorist attacks in Europe, following shifts in Islamist activity away from Iraq and Afghanistan, to the "ungoverned spaces" of the Sahel. While the ongoing War on Terror provides the needed justification for the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) to expand its base of operations throughout the Sahel and the troubled regions of east and central Africa, the modus operandi of Boko Haram indicates foreign nurturing in numerous mediums.

The Nigerian Tribune has reported that Boko Haram receives funding from different groups from Saudi Arabia and the UK, specifically from the Al-Muntada Trust Fund, headquartered in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s Islamic World Society. During an interview conducted by Al-Jazeera with Abu Mousab Abdel Wadoud, the AQIM leader states that Algeria-based organizations have provided arms to Nigeria's Boko Haram movement "to defend Muslims in Nigeria and stop the advance of a minority of Crusaders". It remains highly documented that members of Al-Qaeda (AQIM) and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who fought among the Libyan rebels directly received arms and logistical support from NATO bloc countries during the Libyan conflict in 2011. While top AFRICOM General Carter Ham claims terrorist networks pose a "real challenge" to the United States, warning of the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and the stock of chemical weapons they obtained after raiding Gaddafi’s weapons bunker, the confirmed reports accusing the US of arming and training Islamist terrorist groups remain safely neglected in official Pentagon press statements.

While NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Admiral James Stavridis openly acknowledged the presence of Al-Qaeda fighters among Libya’s rebels, the New Yorker has recently confirmed that the US has trained members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahideen-e-Khalq in Nevada, a US State Department listed terrorist organization responsible for the recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. As the UN warns that weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades and explosives from Libya may reach Boko Haram, armed Tuareg fighters in northern Mali have been seen operating in army issue Toyota Hi-Lux technical trucks, armed with mortars, machine guns, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons originally belonging to the LIFG, al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan rebels. UN reports also disclose that Boko Haram members from Nigeria and Chad had received training at Al-Qaeda camps in Mali in 2011.

Nigerian recruits were reportedly trained in an earlier incarnation of AQIM, referred to as the Algerian Groupe Salafiste pour la PrĂ©dication et le Combat (GSPC), and superficial aspects of Boko Haram’s operations reflect Nigeria’s 1982 Maitatsine uprisings, a fundamentalism movement countering perceived government oppression. As sectarian violence continues unimpeded, the prospects for a civil war between Nigeria’s economically dominant Christians in the South and marginalized Muslims in the North remains ever present. Although most Nigerians find themselves less divided by religious differences and more victimized by the nations notoriously corrupt political institutions, outside forces funding Boko Haram’s deplorable campaign of violence are bent on exploiting tension between Nigeria’s two largest religious groups.

A divided and warring Nigeria ultimately serves the interests of the United States as cited by Zbigniew Brzezinski, top adviser to Barack Obama and leading US foreign policy theoretician. Brzezinski, who co-founded the Trilateral Commission and openly credits himself with the creation of the Afghan Mujahideen, has influenced policy that encourages the division of existing nation-states by the succession and emergence of microstates, based on all cultural, ethnic and religious peculiarities. Author and historian Dr. Webster G. Tarpley writes, “For Africa, Brzezinski recommends the so-called ‘micro-nationalities’ concept, which means that national boundaries established in the 19th century should be swept aside in favor of a crazy quilt of petty tribal entities, each one so small that it could not hope to resist even a medium-sized oil multinational”.

Following the mass exodus of Chinese business interests during the Libyan conflict, a shattered Nigeria would ultimately create conditions where China’s growing cooperation with Abuja can be challenged and ultimately, disrupted. China has provided extensive economic, military and political support to Nigeria, an important source of oil and petroleum for Beijing. In addition to sponsoring Nigeria for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, China has invested in Africa’s booming telecommunications market by building and launching a geostationary commercial satellite, owned by Nigeria and operated in Abuja, as a gesture of increased partnership between the two nations. In 2010, China and Nigeria signed a $23 billion deal to construct three fuel refineries in Nigeria, adding an extra 750,000 barrels per day of domestic refining capacity.

While Algerian intelligence confirms a direct link between Boko Haram and western-financed AQIM, Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa claims to have visited Mecca with Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, where the group received financial and technical support from Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia (AQAP). While US officials acknowledge the presence of Al-Qaeda within the militant Syrian opposition, the Saudi Arabian Monarchy and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have created a multimillion-dollar fund to pay salaries to members of the rebel Free Syrian Army, to encourage soldiers to defect from the Syrian military and join opposition ranks, as part of an ongoing regime change program. A recently released subcommittee report issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security entitled “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the US Homeland” further indicates the long-term objectives of counter terrorism operations in the region. The document reiterates the importance of sensitive resources within the Niger Delta region, and calls for using extrajudicial assassinations and unmanned aerial drone bombardments to combat the growing threat of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.

The United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania conducted a series of African war game scenarios in preparation for the Pentagon’s expansion of AFRICOM under the Obama Administration. One scenario tested the US Africa Command’s capacity to respond to a disintegrating Nigeria on the verge of collapse amidst civil war, by sending 20,000 US troops to battle vying rebel factions seeking to control the Niger Delta oil fields. At a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, former AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward stated that AFRICOM would operate under the theatre-goal of “combating terrorism” to prioritize the issue of America’s growing dependence on African oil. At an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared the guiding principle of AFRICOM is to protect “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests.

In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham commented on AFRICOM’s strategic objectives of "protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment." As covertly supporting terrorist organizations to achieve foreign policy aims appears to be the commanding prerequisite of foreign policy operations under the Obama Administration, Boko Haram exists as a separate arm of the US destabilization apparatus, aimed at shattering Africa’s most populous nation and biggest potential market. As Russia and China continue to assert themselves in the UNSC against calls to intervene on behalf of Syria’s militant opposition, the international community must adequately investigate the sources responsible for orchestrating insurgent activity in the Sahel and reprimand those parties accordingly.

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Monsanto Suicides

The Monsanto Suicides

In what has been called the single largest wave of recorded suicides in human history, Indian farmers are now killing themselves in record numbers. It has been extensively reported, even in mainstream news, but nothing has been done about the issue. The cause? Monsanto’s cost-inflated and ineffective seeds have been driving farmers to suicide, and is considered to be one of the largest — if not the largest — cause of the quarter of a million farmer suicides over the past 16 years.

According to the most recent figures (provided by the New York University School of Law), 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009 — about one death every 30 minutes. In 2008, the Daily Mail labeled the continual and disturbing suicide spree as ‘The GM (genetically modified) Genocide’. Due to failing harvests and inflated prices that bankrupt the poor farmers, struggling Indian farmers began to kill themselves. Oftentimes, they would commit the act by drinking the very same insecticide that Monsanto supplied them with — a gruesome testament to the extent in which Monsanto has wrecked the lives of independent and traditional farmers.

To further add backing to the tragedy, the rate of Indian farmer suicides massively increased since the introduction of Monsanto’s Bt cotton in 2002. It is no wonder that a large percentage of farmers who take their own lives are cotton farmers, the demographic that is thought to be among the most impacted. Dr. Mercola, an osteopathic doctor that has been educating the world about natural health for many years, recently saw the destruction of traditional Indian farmers first hand. Dr. Mercola found out about the notorious ‘suicide belt’ of India, where 4,238 farmer suicides took place in 2007 alone.

Many families are now ruined thanks to the mass suicides, and are left to economic ruin and must struggle to fight off starvation:

"We are ruined now," said one dead man’s 38-year-old wife. "We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide."

In India, around 60 percent of the population (currently standing at 1.1 billion) are directly or indirectly reliant on agriculture. Monsanto’s intrusion into India’s traditional and sustainable farming community is not only concerning for health and wellness reasons, but it is now clear that the issue is much more serious.

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The UK government apologizes to whistle blower Dotun Oloko

The UK Government apologizes to whistle blower Dotun Oloko

"Despite previous assurances to the contrary, it is now clear that DfID was indeed responsible for breaching the anonymity of my constituent after he came forward to raise serious concerns about CDC-backed investments in Nigeria. As a result, Mr Oloko has been subjected to covert surveillance by a private investigator hired by Emerging Capital Partners, one of the private equity firms involved in the case. The fact that this anti-corruption campaigner was unable to blow the whistle without impunity on UK soil is completely outrageous."~~MP, Caroline Lucas

A whistleblower whose identity was disclosed to a private equity firm he accused of corruption has been offered an unreserved apology by the government.

British-born Nigerian campaigner Dotun Oloko, who lives in Brighton, provided the Department for International Development (DfID) with information concerning the alleged misuse of aid cash in 2009.

Femi Falana, Hon. Bart Staes, member of the European Parliament and UK-based Nigerian activist, Dotun Oloko, at a joint Press Conference at the European Parliament Building, Brussels, Belgium last week on the alleged involvement of European Financial Institutions in promoting corruption in Nigeria. Photo credit

Despite securing guarantees that the source of the complaints would not be revealed, documents that allowed his real name to be identified were passed on to the firm by officials.

As a result he was targeted by private investigators employed and told BBC2's Newsnight that he feared "retribution" if he returned to Nigeria.

A review has been launched by the international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, in a bid to prevent a repeat.

Mitchell said: "This happened under the last government but it is vital that whistleblowers should be able to report their concerns with impunity.

"In this case it has come to light that in 2009, while investigating this individual's claims, DfID inadvertently sent on an electronic document without being aware that the individual's name could be found in that document's electronic properties."

The document was first sent on to the government-owned development fund CDC, which then forwarded it to the firm concerned for comment.

"While I am confident DfID acted in good faith to protect his identity, this should not have happened. We apologise unreservedly and are very sorry for any distress caused," he said.

"The coalition government has a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and places the highest priority on efforts to tackle it.

"I have immediately ordered a review of departmental processes to learn the lessons of this case and ensure that whistleblowers who wish to remain anonymous will always be afforded the protection they deserve."

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An Open letter to the President of the United States

An Open letter to the President of the United States

By Dotun Oloko

Dear Mr. President: I am writing to express my deep concern that the U.S. government, through its development finance agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), supports financial intermediaries that stand accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering through investments in a number of Nigerian companies and banks that have been reported to be “fronts” for the alleged laundering of money said to have been obtained corruptly by the former Governor of Nigeria’s oil rich Delta State, James Ibori. OPIC sponsored US based Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), through the Africa Fund II, has been making investments alongside close associates of James Ibori. Ibori has since pleaded guilty to money laundering and corruption charges in the UK. ECP has strongly denied all allegations and consequently OPIC has absolved ECP of any wrongdoing despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

History has shown repeatedly, for example in the Nixon-Watergate scandal that in instances of high level corruption or wrongdoing the subsequent cover-up tends to generate graver consequences than the preceding transgression. History appears to be repeating itself in the case of OPIC because OPIC’s handling of the allegations levelled against ECP has generated graver accusations of wrongdoing on the part of OPIC itself and is in danger of damaging the reputation of the US in the process.

To its credit the U. S. is leading the global anti-corruption war with its robust laws and prosecutions. As a Nigerian, I can vouch for the positive impact that U. S. prosecutions such as Jefferson, Siemens, Halliburton and Willbros have had on the anti-corruption battle in Nigeria. While acknowledging the U.S.’s support and contribution to development in Nigeria, I am nevertheless troubled by these serious allegations given that high level corruption has been universally acknowledged to be the single biggest impediment to growth and development in Nigeria.

It is therefore a matter of deep concern that OPIC has absolved ECP of any wrongdoing, in staggering ignorance of or disregard for its own policies, recommendations, US laws and international agreements. In reaching its decision OPIC appears to have relied exclusively on the unsubstantiated self certification and assurances provided by ECP while dismissing the evidence of public and private records provided to OPIC.

To give just one example out of many, the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) produced an affidavit on the 30th October 2007 which at section 16xxix refers to an OPIC investee company, Oando as one of the companies through which Mr Henry Imasekha, a known Ibori associate and fugitive was moving funds for his principal, Mr Ibori. Yet in its defence, ECP falsely claimed that:

“The EFCC affidavit was not made public until many months after ECP’s first investment in Oando which occurred in November 2007. Therefore ECP was not in a position to have known about the affidavit or its content at the time it invested in Oando.”

This statement by ECP is self-evidently false. The 30th October 2007 affidavit was reported on and available in print and electronic formats from 31st October 2007 onwards, e.g. by (amongst others):

• Sahara Reporters on October 31 2007.
• This Day a prominent Nigerian newspaper in its 31st October 2007 edition
• Africa News a prominent Nigerian news website on 31st October 2007
• Tell, a prominent Nigerian weekly in its November 23rd 2007 edition.

ECP had the requisite knowledge and knew or ought to have known about the connection with fraud. Also, both the investment and the subsequent attempt at a cover-up were acts or omissions, including a misrepresentation that knowingly or recklessly misled, or attempts to mislead, either to obtain a benefit or to avoid an obligation, i.e. a fraudulent practice.

ECP was either aware or should have been aware of the allegations surrounding its investee company Oando before investments were made. Poor due diligence is no excuse for making investments that ECP should be expected not to have made if they were aware of the allegations.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Who is Kofi Annan???

Who is Kofi Annan???

By Thierry Meyssan

Kofi Annan: Black skin, white masks.

Former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize, Kofi Annan, has been designated by Ban Ki-moon and Nabil El Arabi as joint special envoy to negotiate a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis. With Annan’s extraordinary experience and shiny brand image, his appointment was welcomed by all.

What does this top international official really represent? Who propelled him to the highest-ranking positions? What were his political choices, and what are his current commitments? These questions are met with a discreet silence, as if his previous functions were in themselves a guarantee of neutrality.

Handpicked and trained by the Ford Foundation and the CIA

His former colleagues praise him for his thoughtfulness, his intelligence and subtlety. A very charismatic personality, Kofi Annan left a strong imprint behind him because he did not behave simply as the "secretary" of the UN, but more like its "general," by taking initiatives that revivified an organization that was mired in bureaucracy. All that is known and has been repeated ad nauseam. His exceptional professional qualities earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, although this honor in theory should have been bestowed for personal political commitment, not a management career.

Kofi and his twin sister Efua Atta were born on 8 April 1938, into an aristocratic family of the British colony of the Gold Coast. His father was the tribal chief of the Fante people and the elected governor of Asante province. Although he opposed British rule, he was a faithful servant of the Crown. With other notables, he took part in the first decolonization movement, but looked upon the revolutionary fervor of Kwame Nkrumah with suspicion and anxiety.

In any event, Nkrumah’s efforts led to the independence of the country in 1957 under the name of Ghana. Kofi was then 19 years old. Though not involved in the revolution, he became vice-president of the new National Student Association. It was then that he was spotted by a headhunter from the Ford Foundation who incorporated him into a program for "young leaders." From there, he was invited to follow a summer course at Harvard University. Having noticed his enthusiasm for the United States, the Ford Foundation offered to sponsor his complete studies, first in economics at Macalester College in Minnesota, followed by international relations at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

After the Second World War, the Ford Foundation, created by famous industrialist Henry Ford, became an unofficial instrument of U.S. foreign policy, providing a respectable facade for the activities of the CIA.

Kofi Annan’s overseas study period (1959-1961) coincided with the most difficult years of the African-American civil rights movement (the start of Martin Luther King’s Birmingham campaign). He saw it as an extension of the decolonization he had witnessed in Ghana, but once again did not get involved.

Impressed with Annan’s academic achievements and political discretion, his U.S. mentors opened for him the doors of the World Health Organization, where he landed his first job. After three years at WHO headquarters in Geneva, he was appointed to the Economic Commission for Africa based in Addis Ababa. However, not sufficiently qualified to pursue a career at the UN, he returned to the United States to take up management studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1971-1972). He then attempted a comeback in his home country as director of tourism development, but found himself perpetually at odds with the military government of General Acheampong; he gave up and returned to the United Nations in 1976.

A successful career despite tragic failures

There, he held various positions, initially within UNEF II (the peacekeeping emergency force established to supervise the cease fire between Egypt and Israel at the end of the October 1973 war), then as Director of personnel at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It was at this time that he met and married Nane Lagergren Master, his second wife. The Swedish lawyer is the niece of Raoul Wallenberg, Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest during World War II. Wallenberg is famous for having saved hundreds of persecuted Jews by issuing them protective passports. He also worked for the OSS (forerunner of today’s CIA) as a liaison with the Hungarian resistance. He disappeared at the end of the war, when the Soviets allegedly captured him to stem US influence in the country. In any event, Kofi Annan’s successful marriage opened the doors that he could not have passed through on his own, especially those of Jewish organizations.

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar chose Kofi Annan as Assistant Secretary-General in charge of human resources management and staff safety and security (1987-90). With the annexation of Kuwait by Iraq, 900 UN employees remained stranded in that country. Kofi Annan was able to negotiate their release with Saddam Hussein, a feat that boosted his prestige within the Organization. He was then successively put in charge of the budget (1990-92) and peacekeeping operations under Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (1993-96), with a brief interlude as a special envoy for Yugoslavia.

According to Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda, Kofi Annan failed to respond to his many appeals and carries the primary responsibility for UN inaction during the genocide (800,000 dead, mainly Tutsis, but also Hutu opponents}.

A similar scenario was repeated in Bosnia, where 400 peacekeepers were taken hostage by Bosnian Serb forces. Kofi Annan remained deaf to the calls of General Bernard Janvier and allowed the perpetration of predictable massacres.

In late 1996, the United States vetoed the reappointment of the Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali as Secretary General, regarded as dangerously Francophile. They succeeded in imposing their candidate: a senior official from within the international organization itself, Kofi Annan. Far from playing against him, his failures in Rwanda and Bosnia blossomed into assets after he candidly confessed to them and promised to reform the system so that they wouldn’t recur. He was elected on this basis and took office on 1 January 1997.

United Nations Secretary General

Kofi Annan immediately set up an annual two-day seminar behind closed doors for fifteen UN ambassadors. This "retreat" (sic) was generously hosted by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at the Pocantico Conference Center (upstate New York). There, outside the official framework of the United Nations, the Secretary General discussed the reform of the Organization with the representatives of the States whose support he knew he could count on.

In this context, he reallocated the expenditures of the UN in line with political priorities and significantly reduced the budget of the General Secretariat. He reorganized the administrative functioning around four objectives (peace and security, development, economic and social affairs, humanitarian affairs). He created a post of deputy secretary-general to stand in for him and endowed himself with a real cabinet capable of acting promptly on the decisions of the Security Council and General Assembly.

Kofi Annan’s landmark initiative was the Global Compact, the mobilization of civil society for a better world. On the basis of a voluntary dialogue, businesses, unions and NGOs were brought together to discuss and commit to respect human rights, labor standards and the environment.

In practice, the Global Compact did not yield the desired effect on the ground. On the contrary, it deeply distorted the nature of the UN by playing down the power of nation-states and emphasizing that of transnational corporations and of associations which are "non-governmental" only in name and which are covertly funded by the great powers. By promoting lobbies as partners of the United Nations, Kofi Annan buried the spirit of the San Francisco Charter. It is no longer a question of saving mankind from the scourge of war by recognizing the legal equality of nations large and small, but of improving the human condition by supporting the convergence between private interests.

The Global Compact is a deviation from the nearly universally accepted logic that international law serves the common good, to a logic embraced only by the Anglo-Americans for whom the common good is a chimera and good governance consists in bringing together the largest number of special interests. Ultimately, the Global Compact has had the same effect as the charity galas in the U.S.: to give oneself a good conscience by launching high-profile initiatives while condoning structural injustices.

In that sense, the terms of Kofi Annan (1997-2006) reflect the reality of the historical period, that of a unipolar world subjected to the globalization of U.S. hegemony at the expense of nation-states and the peoples that they represent.

This strategy is in line with the device set up by Washington in the 1980’s involving the National Endowment for Democracy, an agency that, contrary to its title, aims to carry forward the subversive action of the CIA by manipulating the democratic process. The NED subsidizes, legally or not, employers’ organizations, labor unions and associations of all kinds. In return, the beneficiaries participate in the Global Compact, thereby bending the positions of the Nation-States which lack the means to fund their own lobbies. Peace has stopped being a concern for the UN since the unipolar world has its own policeman, the U.S.; thus the organization can concentrate instead on absorbing all forms of protest to better corroborate the global disorder and justify the progressive global expansion of U.S. hegemony.

The soothing rhetoric of Kofi Annan reached its zenith at the Millennium Summit. 147 heads of state and government pledged to eradicate poverty and solve major health problems worldwide, including AIDS, in fifteen years. Universal happiness can dispense with political reform, provided everyone makes an effort and chips in. Why didn’t anyone think of this earlier? But alas, the Millennium remained wishful thinking; injustice was not eradicated and continues to nurture war and misery.

In the same vein, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s 20 September 1999 speech to the General Assembly outlined what has been termed the "Annan doctrine." Using his own impotence in Rwanda and Bosnia as an excuse, he argued that in both cases the States had failed in their duty to protect their own people. He therefore concluded that the sovereignty of States, guiding principle of the UN Charter, constitutes an obstacle to human rights protection. The African Union adopted this view under the name of "Responsibility to Protect;" the UN followed suit in 2005 during the World Summit responsible for the follow-up of the Millennium Summit. The Annan doctrine is nothing more than the reincarnation of the right to intervene invoked by the British to wage war against the Ottoman Empire and, more recently, updated by Bernard Kouchner. The new concept will be used explicitly for the first time in 2011 to legalize the colonial operation against Libya.

In addition, Kofi Annan’s terms as UN Secretary-General were marked by the "Oil-for-Food" programme which was devised by the Security Council in 1991, but was effective only from 1996 to 2003. It was originally intended to ensure that Iraq’s oil revenues would be used exclusively to meet the needs of the Iraqi people and not to finance new military adventures. However, in the context of the international embargo and under the personal supervision of Kofi Annan, this program became an instrument in the hands of the U.S. and the UK to bleed Iraq while they occupied the "no-fly zone" (which corresponds roughly to the current autonomous Kurdistan region) until the outbreak of the aggression against and destruction of the country. For years, the population was undernourished and deprived of life-saving medicines. Several international officials who were in charge of that program qualified it as a "war crime" and even resigned after refusing to apply it. Among them, the UN Assistant Secretary-General Hans von Sponeck and UN Humanitarian Coordinator Denis Halliday considered that this program brought about the genocide of 1.5 million Iraqis, including at least 500,000 children.

It was not until the invasion and destruction of Iraq that Kofi Annan finally rebelled and denounced those who had paid for his education, propelled his rise to Secretary-General of the UN, and awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize. He described the attack on Iraq as illegal and voiced public concern that this precedent would eviscerate International Law. Washington responded brutally with a spying operation against Kofi Annan, his cabinet, his family and even against his friends. The Secretary-General’s son, Kojo Annan, was accused of embezzling "oil for food" program funds with his father’s blessing. The prosecution did not manage to convince UN member states and, on the contrary, consolidated the authority of the Secretary-General. However, during the last two years of his mandate, Kofi Annan was paralyzed and forced to toe the line.

Back to square one

After 10 years as Secretary-General, Kofi Annan continued his career in several more or less private foundations.

In December 2007, elections in Kenya degenerated into conflict. President Mwai Kibaki appeared to have defeated the candidate backed by Washington, Raila Odinga, reportedly a cousin of then-Senator Barack Obama. U.S. Senator John McCain challenged the election results and called for revolution as waves of anonymous SMS exacerbated inter-ethnic differences. Within days, riots left more than 1,000 dead and 300,000 displaced. Madeleine Albright proposed the mediation of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. The institute sent two mediators: former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, both members of the Board of Administration.

As a result of that "mediation," President Kibaki was forced to bow to U.S. wishes. He was able to stay in office, but first had to accept a constitutional reform that stripped him of his powers in favor of the Prime Minister and to agree to the choice of Odinga as Prime Minister. In his role as wise old African, Kofi Annan helped to give a veneer of legitimacy to a regime change imposed by Washington.

Kofi Annan currently exercises two key responsibilities. First, he chairs the Africa Progress Panel, an organization created by Tony Blair after the G8 summit held in Gleeneagles for the purpose of ensuring media coverage of the actions of the British Ministry of Cooperation (DFID). Unfortunately, like the Millennium Summit, the G8 promises were not fulfilled and the activity of the Africa Progress Panel is negligible.

He also serves as chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which aims to solve the food problems of the black continent through biotechnology. In fact, AGRA is a lobby funded by the Bill Gates and Rockefeller Foundations to promote the dissemination of GMO’s produced by Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Syngenta and others. Most independent experts agree that, beyond the issue of their environmental impact, the use of non-reproductible GMO crops keeps farmers under the thumb of their suppliers and introduces a new form of human exploitation.

Kofi Annan in Syria

So what has this former high-ranking international official come to Syria for? In the first place, his appointment suggests that the current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, whose image has been tarnished by his kowtowing to the United States and by a string of corruption scandals was not up to the task, while Kofi Annan, despite his balance sheet, still enjoys a positive image.

Secondly, a mediator can succeed only to the extent that he has been selected by the parts in the conflict. But this is not the case. Kofi Annan represents the Secretary-General of the UN and his Arab League counterpart. He defends the honor and reputation of both institutions in the absence of clear political instructions.

If the appointment of Mr Annan was approved de facto by the members of the Security Council and those of the Arab League, it is because it satisfies conflicting expectations. For some, the joint special envoy is not intended to broker peace, but to clad a peace that has already been negotiated between the great powers so that everyone can stand tall. Others expect him to repeat the Kenyan script and bring about regime change without further violence.

Over the past three weeks, the action of Kofi Annan has been to present his own plan, an amended version of the one developed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In doing so, he has rendered the plan palatable for Washington and its allies. In addition, Mr. Annan has intentionally introduced an element of confusion by suggesting that he had convinced President al-Assad to appoint one of his vice presidents, Farouk al-Shara, to negotiate with the opposition. This is portrayed as a concession made by Syria to the Gulf Cooperation Council. In fact, Vice President al-Shara has been in charge of these negotiations for a year and the demand made by Saudi Arabia and Qatar is totally different: that President al-Assad should step down because he is an Alawite and that power be transferred to the Vice President for being a Sunni. It would thus seem that the joint special envoy is engineering a way out for those states that have attacked Syria and invented the fable of a democratic revolution crushed in blood.

However, the doublespeak of Kofi Annan, who when in Damascus was satisfied with his meeting with President al-Assad but expressed disappointed once back in Geneva, has not raised any questions about his true intentions.

About Thierry Meyssan: French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.

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