Monday, April 21, 2014

Pandemic Drugs Found to Be Almost Useless

Ribavirin remains the ONLY antiviral that is known to slow replication of corona viruses

NEW EASTERN OUTLOOK
By Janet Phelan
04/15/2014

The joint announcement by the British Medical Journal and the Cochrane Foundation that the two influenza drugs being stockpiled in the event of a pandemic are, in fact, little better than acetaminophen, raises some serious questions as to preparedness should a pandemic strike
 
 
Coronavirus
The announcement from BMJ and Cochrane, released on April 10, states: “Tamiflu (the antiviral drug oseltamivir) shortens symptoms of influenza by half a day, but there is no good evidence to support claims that it reduces admissions to hospital or complications of influenza.” The press release goes on to state: “Claims about the effectiveness of Tamiflu against complications were a key factor in decisions made by governments around the world to stockpile these drugs in case of a pandemic. 
 
 
The US has spent more than 1.3 billion buying a strategic reserve of antivirals, while in the UK the government has spent almost £424 million for a stockpile of about 40 million doses*.

Concerns are also raised as to the lack of transparency in the trial data of the drugs. Dr David Tovey, Editor-in-Chief at Cochrane, said: “We now have the most robust, comprehensive review on neuraminidase inhibitors that exists. Initially thought to reduce hospitalisations and serious complications from influenza, the review highlights that Tamiflu is not proven to do this, and it also seems to lead to harmful effects that were not fully reported in the original publications. This shows the importance of ensuring that trial data are transparent and accessible.” Which was not the case with the Tamiflu and Relenza trials. 
 
 
MERS
The announcement by BMJ and Cochrane comes at a time that a number of government insiders have warned that a pandemic or biological weapons attack is imminent.

Following the US anthrax attacks of 2001, the US government began pumping billions of dollars into a biodefense program, over $70 billion according to recent accountings. The number of BSL (Biosafety Labs) Levels 3 and 4 have skyrocketed since 2001.


The BSLs are number coded to indicate their level of security and the danger level of the agents they may work with. For example, a BSL1 is typified as appropriate for work with agents that are not known to cause disease, while a BSL3 is suited for work with anthrax. BSL4s may handle the most dangerous bugs known to man, those with no known cure. Ebola and Marburg are on the list of select agents that may only be handled in BSL4s.

There are now over 1350 BSL3s within the United States. However, you wouldn’t know this to talk to the CDC. The CDC insisted to this reporter that the number of BSL3s is around 350 and has not increased since 2001, a statement called into question by documents filed in a court action, entered into the record by none other than the US Department of Justice and revealing over four times the number of BSL3s cited by the CDC. The number of BSL4s in the official CDC count is also in question. 
 
 
Anthrax
The activities taking place within these labs further ramps up concerns. 
 
The now defunct Sunshine Project detailed case after case in which the work going on in these labs lacked mandated supervision. Also of concern is the dual use issue.


Dual use works like this—in order to create a countermeasure, ie, a drug to treat a specific bug, one must first have the disease agent itself. As the oversight as to the goings on in these labs is sparse, and given the dismal results of the considerable amount of money pumped into these labs in the last decade, one might question the nature of the ongoing work.

For example, fourteen years after the anthrax attacks, no second generation anthrax vaccine has been developed. The first anthrax vaccine has been thought to create Gulf War Syndrome. This vaccine continues to be stockpiled by the US government under Project Bioshield.

The money going into Project Bioshield, which was originally funded in 2004 and was renewed just last year, is difficult to justify, given the results. In 2001, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the countermeasure program was “full of leaks, choke points and dead ends.” The allocation of money into the Bioshield Program has not spurred industry into the activity that was projected. According to the National Journal, “Others have said the original $5.6 billion tranche was simply not enough to attract interest from major drugmakers in turning their work toward the anti-WMD goal.”

An apparent interest evidenced by the US government in creating genetic specific weapons also raises questions as to the intentionality of this very secret and expensive biodefense program. The possibility for international oversight of the BSLs was derailed just months before the 2001 anthrax by none other than the US government, which boycotted the international proposal hammered out by a working group with the Biological Weapons Convention. Due to this, the BWC remains a paper tiger, with no verification or enforcement protocol.

The continued disinterest by the US in supporting a verification protocol was echoed most recently by Hillary Clinton, in her capacity as Secretary of State under President Obama. This stance, coupled with the alteration of the US’s domestic biological weapons statute, right after the attacks of September, 2001, would make anyone queasy. This alteration, which took place in Section 817 of the USA PATRIOT Act, gave the US government immunity against violating its own biological weapons statute.

Given all these questions surrounding the efficacy of the US’s biodefense program added to the ramped up activity in these labs, one might well wonder what in the world is going on. The recent disclosures that our best defense against a pandemic flu is really quite useless only adds to these concerns.

Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 

Toxics Across America : 120 Hazardous, Unregulated Chemicals In The U.S.

Unleashed by Bush criminals and enabled by Obama and Congress, corporations sneer at environmental regulations, pollute at record rates

GLOBAL RESEARCH
By Alissa Sasso
04/20/2014

Recent spills in West Virginia and North Carolina cast a spotlight on toxic hazards in our midst. But as bad as they are, these acute incidents pale in scope compared to the chronic flow of hazardous chemicals coursing through our lives each day with little notice and minimal regulation. 
 
 
Chemical spill in West Virginia
A new report by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Toxics Across America, tallies billions of pounds of chemicals in the American marketplace that are known or strongly suspected to cause increasingly common disorders, including certain cancers, developmental disabilities and infertility.

While it’s no secret that modern society consumes huge amounts of chemicals, many of them dangerous, it is surprisingly difficult to get a handle on the actual numbers. 
 
 
And under current law it’s harder still to find out where and how these substances are used, though we know enough to establish that a sizeable share of them end up in one form or another in the places where we live and work. 
 
 
 

The new report looks at 120 chemicals that have been identified by multiple federal, state and international officials as known or suspected health hazards.
 
 
Using the latest—albeit limited—data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the report identifies which of these chemicals are in commerce in the U.S.; in what amounts they are being made; which companies are producing or importing them; where they are being produced or imported; and how they are being used. 
 
 
An interactive online map accompanying the report lets the user access the report’s data and search by chemical, by company, by state and by site location.

Among the findings:

At least 81 of the chemicals on the list are produced or imported to the U.S. annually in amounts of 1 million pounds or more.

At least 14 chemicals exceed 1 billion pounds produced or imported annually, including carcinogens such as formaldehyde and benzene, and the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A—or BPA.

More than 90 chemicals on the list are found in consumer and commercial products. At least eight chemicals are used in children’s products
 
 
BP's Deep Water Horizon destroyed an entire ecosystem
While the report shows how deeply toxic chemicals are embedded in U.S. commerce, the chemicals identified represent just part of the story. Companies making or importing up to 12-and-a-half tons of a chemical at a given site do not need to report at all. Others claim their chemical data is confidential business information, masking it from public disclosure. 
 
 
The EPA only collects the data every four years, and chemical companies often don’t know and aren’t required to find out where or how the chemicals they make are being used.
 
 
Coal ash spill, West Virginia
Most Americans assume that somebody is regulating these chemicals to make sure we’re safe. 
 
In fact, thanks to gaping loopholes in federal law, officials are virtually powerless to limit even chemicals—such as those featured in the report—we know or have good reason to suspect are dangerous. 
 
 
 
Because none of us has the power to avoid them on our own, we need stronger safeguards that protect us from the biggest risks and give companies that use these chemicals a reason to look for better alternatives.

The good news is that Congress is working on bipartisan legislation that—if done right—would require greater evidence of safety for both chemicals already in use and new chemicals before they enter the market. And by driving development of and access to more chemical safety data, it would give not only government but also product makers and consumers much more of the information they need to identify and avoid dangerous chemicals, and strengthen incentives to develop safer alternatives.





This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 



The International Monetary Fund Might Not Live To See Anniversary

Satanic criminal organization pauperized developing world, robbed sovereign treasuries,  murdered millions through starvation and deprivation

STRATEGIC CULTURE FOUNDATION
By Valentin Katasonov
04/19/2014

The latest meeting of the ministers of finance and central bank governors of the G20 countries took place April 10-11, 2014 in Washington. A key issue was the reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 
 
 
Lagarde shoots self in head, headed for prison
2014 marks 70 years since the Bretton-Woods Conference, at which the main parameters of the post-war world currency and financial system were defined and the decision to create the International Monetary Fund was made. The most important elements of this system were fixed exchange rates for the currencies of participant countries, the pegging of all currencies to gold (gold parity), and the free convertibility of dollars to gold by the U.S. Treasury for the monetary authorities of other countries. 
 
 
The Fund's main function was defined as extending credit to member countries if they have a deficit balance of payments and there is a danger that the currency's exchange rate could deviate from the established fixed rate and from gold parity.

The IMF survived a serious crisis in the 1970s when the Bretton-Woods system collapsed. It all began August 15, 1971, when U.S. President R. Nixon announced that the U.S. Treasury was terminating the convertibility of dollars to gold. The final dismantling of the system occurred at the Jamaica Conference in 1976, when amendments were made to the IMF Charter. From that time on, floating exchange rates were enacted and the pegging of the dollar and other currencies to gold was terminated. Of course, it wasn't clear what the IMF was going to do in these new circumstances. After all, now it was no longer necessary to support payment balances using credit from the Fund. There were even proposals to close the Fund. However, in the 1980s the IMF found its niche. It became the main tool for implementing the so-called Washington Consensus - a set of principles for financial globalization and economic liberalization. The Fund began to extend credit in exchange for political and social concessions from the countries obtaining loans (privatization of state property, liberalization of capital movement, state nonintervention in the economy, etc.). Currently the IMF includes 188 countries, and 2500 people from 133 countries work there.

The Need to Reform the Fund

Over the course of many decades, the United States has had a «controlling interest» in the IMF. The number of votes each participant country has is determined by its share in the capital. 15% of the votes are needed to block any decision at Fund meetings. The number of votes held by the U.S. has always been substantially higher than this threshold figure. And in order to push through the decisions it needed, the U.S. had no particular trouble in recruiting Great Britain and France, which after the war held the second and third largest shares in the Fund's capital, to its side. Periodically the shares of countries in the capital and their votes were adjusted in accordance with changes in the countries' positions in the world economy. Sometimes the decision was made to increase the Fund's capital, but such adjustments did not hinder the United States from maintaining a «controlling interest» and using the Fund as a tool of its global policy. 
 
 
The test of the Fund's ability to resolve complex problems connected with maintaining the stability of the international currency system was the world financial crisis of 2007-2009. The Fund was not equal to the challenge, to put it mildly. First, the crisis revealed the insufficiency of the Fund's equity capital. 
 
 
Second, it was the countries of the periphery of world capitalism that were deprived of their fair share during the crisis; this was to a great degree because such countries did not have enough votes for the adoption of the decisions they needed. Since then, the largest of the countries which considered themselves «deprived» have begun to actively use the mechanism of G20 meetings in order to spur the process of IMF reform. The main movers of this process are the BRICS countries.

The G20 meeting in Seoul in 2010 played a special role. There an agreement was reached on the fourteenth and latest review of countries' quotas in the Fund's capital. But besides this, two strategic decisions were made: to develop a new, fairer formula for determining quotas; and to double the Fund's capital from 238.4 billion SDRs to 476.8 SDRs (Special Drawing Rights, a non-cash monetary unit issued by the IMF). It was expected that in 2012 the new quotas based on the 14th review would be put into effect, and by January 2014 the new formula would be developed. A 15th review of quotas based on the new formula was planned for January 2014.

As a result of the 14th quota review, over 6% of quotas were to be redistributed from developed countries to developing ones. If the 14th review is put into effect, China's quota will become the third largest among IMF member states, and Brazil, India, China and Russia will be among the fund's 10 largest stockholders.

The U.S. Blocks Reform of the Fund


Four years have passed since the adoption of the decision in Seoul, but the decisions remain purely on paper. The process is being blocked by the main «stockholder» in the IMF, the U.S. With a quota of 17.69% of SDRs and 16.75% of votes, which gives it veto power with regard to key decisions of the fund requiring an 85% majority of the votes, the U.S. has not yet ratified the quota review. Washington is worried that the IMF might get out from under its control in the near future. After all, the 15th quota review is just around the corner, and it is supposed to be based on a new formula which will most likely take the interests of the countries of the periphery of world capitalism into account more fully. The U.S., on the other hand, will have to contribute about 60 billion dollars to replenish the IMF's capital if it is ratified. 
 
 
 

The previous meeting of G20 finance ministers and bank governors took place in Sydney in February 2014. By then it had become clear to everyone that the IMF has no money. Russian finance minister A. Siluanov said so publicly. At that time the following appeared on the site of the Russian Ministry of Finance: "...Currently the IMF has practically exhausted its own resources, and the fund's existing programs are essentially financed through General Arrangements to Borrow". This means that the Fund extends credit not on the basis of its own capital, but on the basis of re-lending resources it receives from individual member countries. But such resources may be offered to the Fund on very specific conditions (say, to give loans to a specific country for specific purposes). And re-lending means that the interest on the loans for the end recipients will be substantially higher than that which the IMF charges when lending from its own capital. In Sydney the question of what kind of assistance the IMF can give to Ukraine was discussed. In the opinion of the majority of meeting participants - none. The most recent negotiations on the possibility of the International Monetary Fund offering a multibillion dollar loan to the current regime in Kiev were simply a charade. Both parties in the negotiations are nearly bankrupt.

In Sydney the G20 finance ministers spent a lot of time trying to convince the U.S. to resolve the issue of ratifying the 2010 decisions. The communiqué from the meeting stated: «Our highest priority remains ratifying the 2010 reforms, and we urge the US to do so before our next meeting in April». Alas, these urgings were not heeded by Washington.

The IMF Is Doomed. What Now?

Through their inaction on the issue of reforming the IMF, the United States first and foremost is discrediting itself. And second, the Fund. Third, the G20. The Fund's reputation is plummeting especially fast considering that in recent years China has been giving «third world» countries loans similar in size to those offered by the IMF and the IBRD. But Beijing, unlike the IMF, does not set political conditions in the spirit of the Washington Consensus.

According to the Rand Corporation, in 2001 the total volume of aid promised by China to foreign partners equaled 1.7 billion dollars. A decade later this figure had reached 190 billion dollars. The total volume of aid promised over 10 years was around 800 billion dollars, and the aid given was over 70 billion. The difference is explained by the fact that preparations for the projects in which the Chinese participate take an average of six years. Among recipient regions, Latin America occupies first place, followed by Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Eastern Europe. The largest aid recipient is Pakistan (89 billion dollars). Among the purposes for which money is allocated, extraction and processing of natural resources predominate (42 percent), followed by infrastructure projects (40 percent) and humanitarian aid (18 percent). All assistance is divided into concessional loans, interest-free loans and direct non-refundable grants. The first category is provided by state banks, while the other two go directly through the budget of the PRC. The overwhelming majority of recipients of Chinese assistance are unable to obtain loans on the open market. However, the average interest rate on concessional loans is only 2.3% per annum, which is significantly lower than on the IMF's stabilization loans.

If the decisions of the G20 and the IMF have not been being implemented for four years, that is a serious blow to the reputation of these international organizations. Incidentally, this is not the first time that the U.S. has blocked the reform of the Fund. A glaring example is the decision on the 13th quota review, made by the Fund in 2001. The U.S. dragged out its ratification until 2009; only at the very height of the financial crisis did Congress confirm it. The majority of Western European countries, although they ratified the 2010 review, were secretly pleased by Washington's inaction, as the enactment of the 14th review would have resulted in a decrease in their share of votes.

Many American congressmen believe that they have more important matters than returning to the issue of reforming the IMF. If one is to believe their statements, the next time this issue will be heard in Congress will only be in November 2014. However, many IMF member countries are running out of patience. Especially China, which has provided its own funds many times to the Fund on the basis of General Arrangements to Borrow. There are not that many options for getting out of the dead end.

Some believe that a kind of revolution could soon occur in the IMF: a decision on reforming the fund will have to be made without U.S. participation... But formally the Fund's charter in the form it has had since the Jamaica Conference in 1976 will not permit this. Such a revolution will in fact mean not a reformation of the IMF, but the creation of a new organization with a new charter on its foundation - and without the U.S.

There is one more possible option. It is already fairly well worked out and has every chance of success. This is the Currency Pool (Currency Reserves Pool) and the Development Bank of the BRICS countries. The main decision to create these organizations was made at the meeting of BRICS countries on the eve of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg in September 2013. The BRICS Currency Pool and Development Bank will have capitalization of 100 billion dollars each. Operation is planned to start in 2015. Currently such questions as the schedule of capital formation, the shares (quotas) of individual countries, and the location of the headquarters of both organizations are being decided. These international organizations of the BRICS countries could become crystallization points which attract other countries to themselves. Who knows: maybe in time they could become financial organization which could replace the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

As we can see, in both options for getting out of the current dead end, the International Monetary Fund has no place in the new world financial order.

Financial G20 Members Decisive

Part of the communiqué published after the meeting of the G20 finance ministers in Washington April 10-11, 2014 was devoted to reform of the IMF. «We are deeply disappointed with the continued delay in progressing the IMF quota and governance reforms agreed to in 2010», states the document. "We reaffirm the importance of the IMF as a quota based institution. The implementation of the 2010 reforms remains our highest priority and we urge the US to ratify these reforms at the earliest opportunity", the statement reads. «If the 2010 reforms are not ratified by year-end, we will call on the IMF to build on its existing work and develop options for next steps and we will work with the IMFC (the International Monetary and Financial Committee, a structure within the International Monetary Fund - V. K.) to schedule a discussion of these options», the G20 document emphasizes.

Behind the scenes, Russian Minister of Finance A. Siluanov commented on the decisions of the financial summit in Washington as follows: "It was decided that if this year amendments in the IMF Charter are not ratified, then at the end of this year other alternative mechanisms will be proposed which would take into account the increased share of emerging markets in the world economy". He recalled that today the IMF operates on the principles of using borrowed funds, where the opinions of countries which have increased their share in the world economy are not fully taken into account. "Other measures for taking countries' interests into account in questions of the fund's policy will be proposed», he concluded. By all appearances, the reform of the IMF could be a «quiet revolution".


Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 

Saudi Woman Defies Driving Ban, Husband Fined : Report

Saudi Arabian women will be major beneficiaries of the downfall of Apostate "royals"

DECCAN CHRONICLE
04/20/2014

RIYADH -

A Saudi woman defied the kingdom's ban on female driving, getting behind the wheel of her husband's car before police detained the couple and fined the man, a newspaper said on Sunday.


Saudi women soon to be freed from despotic,  hypocrite males
The 23-year-old woman was caught driving on Thursday in the Qatif district in Eastern Province, the Saudi Gazette said, adding police forced the couple to sign a pledge not to repeat the offence.
     
They were released on bail and the traffic department fined her 28-year-old husband 900 riyals ($240) and impounded his car seven for days, it said.
     
The woman also received a penalty for driving without a license, a permit that she cannot apply for in the ultra-conservative 
kingdom because of its ban on
 female driving.

   
Women's rights activists make frequent calls to challenge the ban, the only one of its kind in the world.
     
Some of those who do challenge the ban post videos of themselves driving online. Few have been arrested.
     
In addition to not being allowed to drive, Saudi women must cover themselves from head to toe and need permission from a male guardian to travel, work and marry.



Nothing like a double standard for "royals" and their prostitutes




This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 

Ukraine Unrest : Russian Outrage At Fatal Sloviansk Shooting

Obama's CIA engineered and financed coup in Ukraine racks up more deaths; BBC, Western "mainstream media" propagandists continue to screech for WWIII

BBC
04/20/2014

Russia has expressed outrage at a fatal shooting in eastern Ukraine which it blamed on Ukrainian nationalists.
 
 
Russian state media reported that five people had been killed in a gun attack on a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian activists near the town of Sloviansk.

A Ukrainian official said it may have been a shootout between criminals. Nationalists have denied involvement.

The incident comes as pro-Russian groups continue to occupy government buildings defying a deal to leave.


Ertogrul Apakan, who heads the special mission of the Organisation for Co-operation and Security in Europe in Kiev, said his deputy would be in Donetsk to try to get them to comply with an agreement reached on Thursday to ease the crisis.

Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US agreed during talks in Geneva on Thursday that illegal military groups in Ukraine must be dissolved, and that those occupying government premises must be disarmed and leave. 
 
 
Obama's military provocations in Poland voided Geneva agreement before ink was dry on document

But the separatists' spokesman in the city of Donetsk said that the Kiev government was "illegal", and vowed they would not go until it stepped down.

TV pictures showed what was described as the aftermath of an attack on a pro-Russian checkpoint at about 01:00 local time (22:00 on Saturday GMT), including the body of a man under a cover. 
 
 
Fox News' O'Reilly spends Easter shilling for WWIII
The BBC is unable to verify the footage. However, a Reuters journalist at the scene reported seeing two bodies in a truck.

Daylight Reuters TV footage of the scene shows several burnt-out vehicles.

The Russian foreign ministry said the Ukrainian far-right group Right Sector was behind the attack. 
 
 
 
A business card with the name of its leader Dmytro Yarosh appeared in the unverified Russian TV pictures.

"Russia is indignant about this provocation by gunmen, which testifies to the lack of will on the part of the Kiev authorities to rein in and disarm nationalists and extremists," it said in a statement.

Right Sector said in a statement on its Facebook page that it had nothing to do with the events in Sloviansk, which bore the hallmarks of a provocation by Russia's Federal Security Service.
 
 
Western "mainstream media" continues to parrot White House propaganda word for word
 
Viktoriya Siumar, deputy head of Ukraine's National Security Council, told the BBC that the shooting was being investigated, but said there were indications that it was "an argument between local criminal groups".

"The level of criminality in eastern Ukraine increased substantially recently," he added. 
 
 
CIA mass murderer Brennan calls the tune for Ukraine fascists
This is the first fatal incident in the region since Thursday's agreement, prompting Sloviansk rebel leader and self-proclaimed mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev to call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to send peacekeepers. 
 
He also asked for food and weapons. 
 


Mr Ponomarev added that a "people's army of Donbass" was being set up. Donbass (Don river basin) is the industrial area of eastern Ukraine made up of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The BBC's James Reynolds in Donetsk says that the Geneva deal is already in trouble and events in Sloviansk will do little to change that.
'Threat to the globe'

Meanwhile in an interview for NBC's Meet the Press aired on Sunday, Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to "restore the Soviet Union".

"It's crystal clear that for today, Russia is the threat to the globe, and the threat to the European Union, and a real threat to Ukraine," Mr Yatsenyuk said. 
 
 
Obama, Kerry, NATO have lost to Putin, Russia
Ukraine has been in crisis since President Viktor Yanukovych was toppled in February.

Russia then annexed Crimea following a regional referendum that approved joining the Russian federation. The annexation provoked international outrage.

Pro-Russian activists then occupied buildings in several eastern Ukrainian cities, many calling on Moscow to support them. 
 
 

Ukraine has said that operations against the pro-Russian militants have been suspended over Easter. 
 
 
A desperate Obama now uses Biden as human shield in Ukraine
Ukraine's interim authorities have appealed for national unity and promised to meet some of the demands of pro-Russian protesters.

These include the decentralisation of power and guarantees for the status of the Russian language. 
 
 


But the US has warned the next few days will be pivotal and has threatened more sanctions against Russia if it fails to abide by the agreement.

US Vice-President Joe Biden is set to visit Kiev on Tuesday.




Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The 5th Estate.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 


U.S. Drone Attack In Yemen Kills 30

Obama's murdering CIA continues to rain death in undeveloped countries; New War Crimes Tribunal will be backed up for a decade prosecuting White House criminals

PRESS TV
04/20/2014

The death toll from a US drone strike in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan has reached 30, tribal sources say. 
 
 
Obama stomped by Putin; bombs innocents in retaliation
The deadly attack was carried out on Sunday in the town of al-Mahfad.

An earlier toll said that five people lost their lives in the assault which also injured many others.

The airstrike was also confirmed by Tribal leaders who said it has killed suspected al-Qaeda militants.

A similar attack on Saturday left around 20 people dead in the province of Baida. 
 
 
 
 
 

The United States is the only country that operates drones in Yemen. It has come under harsh criticism from rights groups over the move.

Over the past years, Washington has regularly used the unmanned aerial vehicles for attacks and spying in several Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. 
 
 
Obama's favorite target:  Wedding parties
The US administration claims that the unmanned US aircraft attacks target al-Qaeda militants, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the non-UN-sanctioned airstrikes.

On December 15, 2013, the Yemeni parliament strongly condemned the US drone strikes inside the country. 
 
 
The legislature also passed a law banning the attacks.

Last October, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said US killer drone strikes in Yemen have led to the death of many civilians over the past years in a blatant violation of international law. 
 
 
Americans are next
 
In a 28-page report released on February 19, the HRW called on Washington to investigate a fatal drone strike on a wedding ceremony in Yemen in December.

According to the report, dubbed “A Wedding That Became a Funeral: US Drone Attack on Marriage Procession in Yemen,” the December 12, 2013 attack killed a dozen men and wounded at least 15 others, including the bride.

MR/PR/SL




This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 

Saudi Arabia : Preparations For Regime Change

Obama opened gates to Mecca for the radical fundamentalists

NEW EASTERN OUTLOOK
By Viktor Mikhin
04/17/2014

A sequence of important events that occurred in Saudi Arabia, simultaneously with the recent visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to that country, have roused close attention and numerous comments of analysts around the world. First of all, this is because the kingdom is one of the leading oil producers and exporters in the world. Moreover, not only is Saudi Arabia the leader of the so-called Sunni Arab bloc, but it also plays a major role throughout the Arab world. In addition, if we consider just these two roles, it is natural that any change in the leadership of this country would be cause for close attention of the world community.


These days... are over
The visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Saudi Arabia, so widely touted in the West, has led to very disastrous results. Western, and especially American media, which greatly discussed this event on the eve of the visit, after the completion of the American president’s mission, is now keeping silent. The formal reports were so brief that they produced the impression that this was a visit to some third-rate country, rather than a visit to the current leader of the Arab world, which is being asked to play a decisive role in the global arena.


After the talks with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Barack Obama said, trying to make the best of bad situation, that “despite their differences, both countries continue their friendship and cooperation”. Thus, we can say that the optimistic plans of the Saudi rulers, that the Americans would pull their Middle East chestnuts out of the fire, have failed. As usual, the United States is only pursuing its selfish goals and plans, regardless of the opinions even of its old allies. This apparently explains the fact that the official statements on the visit of Barack Obama to Saudi Arabia were indecently chary.


Saudis now face a "succession" they never planned for
As the saying goes, if there is nothing good to be said, it is better to keep silent.

Indeed, as the events show, the Saudi king and his entourage are deeply disappointed by Washington’s deviation from the previous strategic course, which has bound together both countries for 70 years – and where Riyadh has always played the role of errand boy for the Americans.



We should recall that on February 14, 1945, a historical meeting took place aboard the U.S. Navy ship USS Quincy in the Suez Canal.


The U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Rahman bin Saud Al Saud (Ibn Saud).

Under this agreement, the U.S. guaranteed continued support for the Saudi royal family and the Aramco Oil Company, while they would provide an uninterrupted supply of the black gold. These relationships have been maintained almost until the last day, despite many ups and downs in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However now, Washington, being guided by its selfish reasons, is gradually beginning to depart from its unconditional support of Riyadh.


Truman with Ibn Saud
Nevertheless, one theme of Saudi-US negotiations, as diplomatic sources have noted, has been kept fully secret. This concerned the transfer of power in Saudi Arabia, given that the current King Abdullah is 90 years old, the Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz is 79, the governance of the country, in most cases, is being carried out by other people, but of course these are members of the Saud family.


On this occasion, a well-informed Arabic newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, citing Saudi sources, wrote: “King Abdullah has learned his lesson from the change of power in Qatar, but still has not determined the time to transfer the crown and throne to his brother Salman bin Abdulaziz.” It is well known that Crown Prince Salman, just like King Abdullah, has physical disabilities. Some persons close to the supreme authority of the kingdom claim that given the poor state of his health, Prince Salman apparently will refuse to accept the throne.

This is confirmed by the fact that Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was appointed as the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He has the potential to become the Crown Prince and King, in the case of death of any of the Saudi patriarchs, according to the TV channel Al Arabiya. Experts of the channel believe that this appointment reduces tensions around the question of succession to the throne in Saudi Arabia. The 70-year-old Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the youngest son of the founding father of the kingdom, is considered one of the main contenders for the Saudi throne. Since 2005, he has headed the country’s intelligence services, and also served as the second Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. “The 70-year-old Muqrin, stepbrother of the monarch,” wrote the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, “will inherit the throne upon the death, or refusal to take power, of the current Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, whose health may not allow him to take ascent the throne.”

The Saudi king also appointed his eldest son Mutaib, third heir in line to the throne, according to Saudi media. Prince Mutaib, the eldest son of the present King, will respectively, follow Prince Muqrin, who is second in line to the throne. As King Abdullah says, the health of the 79-year-old Crown Prince Salman is a major concern, and he may in the future refuse to lead the country. The Saudi monarch intends to call the so-called Allegiance Council, consisting of 34 representatives of the ruling Saudi family, to approve of his will. In accordance with the rules for succession of power in the Saudi Kingdom, the throne is passed inside the ruling family from brother to brother, by seniority. The Allegiance Council was created in 2006 to regulate the transition of power by the right of succession. In case of the death of the king, this council enthrones the successor and appoints the next crown prince.

The thing is that Abdul Rahman bin Saud Al Saud (Ibn Saud), who founded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, left a testament to his sons, which stipulated the transfer of power from one son to another. Ibn Saud was a very amorous Bedouin, who only officially was married to 19 women, not counting the so-called temporary, brief marriages. Annually, for almost 10 years, Ibn Saud went to a Saudi Arabian city for one day, visiting during a local Muslim holiday. There, he formally married one of the women, spent the night with her, and in the morning got divorced and returned to Riyadh. The following year, that woman would show him the child that was born during that year and the whole procedure was repeated. However, neither these women nor their children were considered as legitimate family for Ibn Saud. His official wives gave birth to 21 daughters and 45 sons, or perhaps more, as the special committee, which was created to find the heirs of Ibn Saud, keeps working hard and is always giving different figures. In other words, there are very many contenders to the royal throne, but Ibn Saud, who died in 1953, apparently did not anticipate that the issue of succession would be very relevant after 80 years. Today, the total number of members of the family of Saud reaches 25,000 people, including more than 200 princes.

It should be noted that the influence of the members of the royal family is primarily determined by their belonging to a particular family clan, whose members are connected to each other with close kinship relations (usually brothers and uncles on their mother’s side). In their activities, the princes have to confine themselves to the position, occupied by their clan. However, they make wide use of solidarity within the clans, and provide mutual support in obtaining government positions and consolidating their positions in state structures. The most important family clan is the Al Sudairi. The “core” of the clan was constituted by seven sons of King Abdulaziz from Hassa bint Ahmed Al Sudairi. The “second generation” of princes, the clan support, is mainly represented by the sons of the “Seven Sudairi”.

A certain counterbalance to the influence of the Sudairi clan in the ruling family and the state is created by the Sunaiyan clan of eight brothers – the sons of former King Faisal. The most prominent of them is the Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. According to some accounts, the Sunaiyan clan is patronized by King Abdullah, who is, on his mother’s side, the representative of a less influential clan than Sudairi – the Shammar clan.

Enormous changes are brewing in Saudi Arabia now, and a change of generations may occur, as King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman are not just old, but seriously ill. Tensions are increasing and contradictions are spreading in the ruling Saud family, because the younger generation no longer wants to live by the standards of the 18th century Wahhabis. The protests of the Shiite minority, living in the country’s main oil production areas, are also growing. The shortsighted policy of involving the kingdom in conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Iraq has damaged the country. Hostility towards Iran, which is quickly coming out from Western isolation is artificially fomented. Everything seems to indicate that these changes will happen very soon, and they will affect not only the country, but also the entire Arab world. These will have an impact on the overall global policy.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, exclusively for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.



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