Archive | January 27th, 2016

The US Is Still Manipulating the UN After 70 Years


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Although President Barack Obama said he opposes “endless war” and “America’s combat mission in Afghanistan may be over,” he announced that the 9,800 US troops presently there will remain. Obama had previously stated that he would cut the US force in half, but he has decided to maintain the current troop level until 2017.Seventy years after the founding of the United Nations, armed conflict, especially US wars that violate the UN Charter, continues to plague the world. In 1945, the UN Charter was created “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” It forbids the use of military force except in self-defense after an armed attack by another state or when approved by the Security Council. Yet the three most recent US presidents have violated that command.

Bush, Clinton and Obama Circumvent the UN

In October 2001, George W. Bush led the US to attack Afghanistan, even though Afghanistan had not attacked the United States on 9/11. Nineteen men, 15 of whom came from Saudi Arabia, committed a crime against humanity. Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan did not constitute lawful self-defense and the Security Council did not approve the use of force. The US war on Afghanistan has replaced Vietnam as America’s longest war.

Two years later, before he invaded Iraq and changed its regime, Bush tried mightily to secure the imprimatur of the Security Council. Although the council refused to authorize “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Bush cobbled together prior Security Council resolutions from the first Gulf War in an attempt to legitimize his illegitimate war. Bush’s war on Iraq was a disastrous gift that keeps on giving. It has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, led to the rise of ISIS, and dangerously destabilized the region.

John Bolton, Bush’s temporary UN ambassador (a recess appointment since the Senate would never have confirmed him) infamously declared, “There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that is the United States, when it suits our interest, and when we can get others to go along.” Bolton added, “When the United States leads, the United Nations will follow. When it suits our interest to do so, we will do so.”

Indeed, Bush’s predecessor could have helped prevent the genocide in Rwanda. But instead, Bill Clinton prevented the United Nations from acting to stop the killing of 800,000 people in that country. Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeline Albright, called the UN “a tool of American foreign policy.”

Barack Obama and his counterparts in France and Britain secured a resolution from the Security Council approving a no-fly-zone over Libya in 2011. But the three powers engaged in forcible regime change, ousting Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi. This went far beyond what the resolution authorized. That action has also contributed mightily to the current instability in the region.

The Libya resolution mentioned the emerging doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” This doctrine is contained in the General Assembly’s Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit. It is neither enshrined in an international treaty nor has it ripened into a norm of customary international law. Paragraph 138 of that document says each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Paragraph 139 adds that the international community, through the United Nations, also has “the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the UN Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”

But the United States and its allies have not utilized the Responsibility to Protect doctrine to protect the people of Gaza from massacres by Israel, most recently in the summer of 2014.

An Institution Created to Maintain the Power of WWII Victors

The objective of the victorious powers of World War II in creating the UN system was to make sure they would continue to control post-war international relations. The League of Nations, which the US had refused to join, had failed to prevent fascism and the Second World War.

In 1942, the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and China – four of the permanent members of the Security Council (later joined by France) – had met at Dumbarton Oaks, near Washington DC. They hammered out the framework for the UN. A few months before the founding UN conference, the US, Britain and the Soviet Union met at Yalta in the Crimea and made important decisions about the post-war world, including the structure of the UN.

The United States made certain that the founding conference would be held on US soil, and it took place in San Francisco. In order to ensure that the US choreographed the meeting, the FBI spied on foreign emissaries and even on the US delegates themselves.

Stephen Schlesinger noted, “The US apparently used its surveillance reports to set the agenda of the UN, to control the debate, to pressure nations to agree to its positions and to write the UN Charter mostly according to its own blueprint.”

George Kennan, architect of the US containment strategy against the Soviet Union, didn’t pull any punches: “We have 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population … Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will allow us to maintain this position of disparity … We should cease to talk about the raising of the living standards and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.”

The Veto Power

Without the power to veto decisions of the Security Council, the US and the Soviet Union would not have joined the UN. One of the major sticking points during the conference was the scope of the veto power. Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans described the motivation behind giving the permanent members the power to veto decisions of the Security Council. He stated, “to convince the permanent members that they should adhere to the Charter and the collective security framework embodied therein, a deliberate decision was taken to establish a collective security system which could not be applied to the permanent members themselves.”

The Security Council has 15 members – five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members. The Soviet Union wanted the permanent members to have veto power over all decisions of the Security Council, which would have allowed them to prevent discussion about the peaceful settlement of disputes in which they were involved. A compromise was reached that gives the permanent members a veto only over “substantive” matters; the peaceful settlement of disputes is considered a “procedural” matter.

Religious groups feared the veto would permit the big powers to use their military might against the small nations without accountability. A group of prominent Protestant ministers called it “a mere camouflage for the continuation of imperialistic policies and the exercise of arbitrary power for the domination of other nations.”

Smaller countries, including Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Switzerland, Italy and the Vatican felt the proposed voting structure was not consistent with the sovereign equality of states and would place the permanent members above the law.

Interestingly, the word “veto” does not appear in the UN Charter. Article 27 says that decisions on procedural matters “shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members.” One permanent member can therefore exercise veto power by withholding a concurring vote.

Tensions With Latin American Countries

The US, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and China, as the sponsoring powers of the conference, issued formal invitations. Fifty countries, primarily from the industrialized North, were represented at San Francisco. They comprised fewer than one-quarter of the countries of the world. About 35 were aligned with the US, five were allied with the Soviet Union, and 10 were non-aligned. At the time, most of the developing countries were colonies or semi-colonies.

During the conference, conflicts erupted between the big powers and countries in the South. The Latin American contingent was made up of 19 countries that had been non-belligerents during the War. But since they had declared war on the Axis countries by the deadline, they were allowed to join the UN.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) had a warm relationship with Latin America, stemming from his Good Neighbor Policy in the 1930’s. It provided for non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of the countries of Latin America. In return, the United States expected sweet trade agreements and the reassertion of US influence in the region. FDR died 13 days before the San Francisco conference, leaving Harry Truman to represent the US in negotiations over the UN Charter.

Although the Latin American countries proposed the inclusion of Brazil as the sixth permanent Security Council member, the US successfully prevented it.

The Latin bloc sought to establish its own regional security system apart from the UN. The Act of Chapultepec, which was developed at a prior Inter-American conference in Mexico City, said that an attack on one state in the region was an attack on all, which would result in immediate collective consultation and possible military action.

Objecting to a provision in the UN Charter that would give the permanent members the power to veto any action by a regional organization, the Latin countries advocated the principles of Chapultepec. The final draft of Article 51 of the UN Charter protects “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense.” In deference to the Latin bloc, “collective” is a reference to Chapultepec.

The US Opposes the Use of “International Law”

Article 2 provides, “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”

The original proposal stated that international law would determine what is “solely within the domestic jurisdiction” of a state. When the US Congress demanded that the words “international law” be removed, they were deleted.

Since then, not surprisingly, the United States has repeatedly violated international law in both the use of armed force and the killing of civilians, most recently in Obama’s drone war.

The US Dilutes the Jurisdiction of the World Court

The UN Charter established the International Court of Justice, or the World Court, as the judicial arm of the UN system. Would states have to submit to its jurisdiction? Truman said that if “we are going to have a court, it ought to be a court that would work with compulsory jurisdiction.” But after Secretary of State Edward Stettinius convinced Truman that the US Senate would never ratify an International Court of Justice statute with that provision, Truman relented. The court only has contentious jurisdiction over states that consent to its jurisdiction.

Indeed, when the International Court of Justice ruled in 1986 that the US had violated international law by mining Nicaragua’s harbors and supporting the Contras in their insurrection against the Nicaraguan government, the US thumbed its nose at the court, saying it was not bound by the ruling.

Whither the UN Charter?

For 45 years during the Cold War, the veto power paralyzed the Security Council. But after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the veto ironically turned the Security Council into a countervailing power to the US, as the council is the only international body that can legitimately authorize the use of military force.

And as stated above, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have circumvented or manipulated the Security Council, in violation of the UN Charter.

The United Nations has succeeded in some instances in slowing down an immediate resort to military force, although it has failed to broker a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or develop a treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons.

Nevertheless, the US government feels compelled to try to obtain the Security Council’s blessing for its military interventions. And although the US often uses armed force without Security Council approval, it is increasingly apparent to the countries of the world that the United States is a notorious lawbreaker.

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Mudafar Al-Nawab – مظفر النواب


Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr


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40 Years On, the Vietnam War Continues for Victims of Agent Orange


Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

By: Marjorie Cohn

Hong Tu, 5 months old, with Encephalocele — a rare neural tube defect characterised by sac-like protrusions of the brain and the membranes that cover it through openings in the skull. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODO

The war in Vietnam resulted in the deaths of more than 58,000 Americans and more than 3 million Vietnamese. Twenty years ago, the United States and Vietnam normalized diplomatic relations in an effort to put the terrible legacy of the war behind them. But for the survivors—both Vietnamese and American—the war continues. About 5 million Vietnamese and many U.S. and allied soldiers were exposed to the toxic chemical dioxin from the spraying of Agent Orange. Many of them and their progeny continue to suffer its poisonous effects.Agent Orange was a chemical, herbicidal weapon sprayed over 12 percent of Vietnam by the U.S. military from 1961 to 1971. The dioxin present in Agent Orange is one of the most toxic chemicals known to humanity.Those exposed to Agent Orange during the war often have children and grandchildren with serious illnesses and disabilities. The international scientific community has identified an association between exposure to Agent Orange and some forms of cancers, reproductive abnormalities, immune and endocrine deficiencies and nervous system damage. Second- and third-generation victims continue to be born in Vietnam as well as to U.S. veterans and Vietnamese-Americans in this country.There are 28 “hot spots” in Vietnam still contaminated by dioxin. These hot spots still affect the people who live there and eat the crops, land animals and fish.

On April 29, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee introduced HR 2114, the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2015. This bill would go a long way toward remedying the humanitarian crisis among both the Vietnamese and U.S. victims of Agent Orange.

Representatives of the Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) have arrived in the U.S. to mark the official launch of HR 2114 on Thursday. VAVA is an organization of more than 365,000 Agent Orange victims and activists that works to achieve justice for the victims throughout the world.

One member of the VAVA delegation is Tran Thi Hoàn. Her mother was exposed to Agent Orange from a barrel of the chemical buried in her land during the war. Born without legs and with a seriously atrophied hand, Hoàn grew up in Peace Village II, the Agent Orange center at Tu Du Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City. Hoàn is a college graduate and currently works as a computer science professional at the hospital.

In the U.S., VAVA’s sister organization, the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC), is educating the public about the ongoing problems caused by spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam and working to pass legislation to remedy these problems. VAORRC believes that the U.S. and chemical manufacturers such as Dow and Monsanto must take responsibility for the use of these chemicals to redress the harm they have caused and to heal the wounds of war. VAVA advocates for and provides assistance to victims in Vietnam, but Agent Orange victims need even more help. Through the work of activists in the U.S., Vietnam and internationally, the U.S. government has allocated some money for the cleanup of one hot spot, but has done little to alleviate the suffering of Agent Orange victims in Vietnam or to clean up the remaining 27 hot spots.

The use of Agent Orange in Vietnam constituted prohibited chemical warfare, amounting to a war crime. Yet the U.S. is still using chemical weapons, including white phosphorus gas, in its wars abroad. In addition to taking responsibility for and rendering assistance to Agent Orange victims, the U.S. government must also provide compensation to victims of recent and current wars who suffer from exposure to chemicals used by its military.

HR 2114, which has 14 co-sponsors, would:

  • Provide health care and social services for affected Vietnamese, including medical and chronic care services, nursing services, vocational employment training, medicines and medical equipment, custodial and home care, daycare programs, training programs for caregivers, physical and vocational rehabilitation and counseling and reconstructive surgery.
  • Provide medical assistance and disability benefits to affected children of U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War. The veterans fought for and won benefits for their Agent-Orange-related health conditions, but only the children of female veterans were covered for most conditions. This bill will equalize benefits to the children of both male and female American veterans.
  • Provide health assessment, counseling and treatment for affected Vietnamese-Americans and their offspring through the establishment of health and treatment centers in Vietnamese-American communities.
  • Clean up the lands and restore ecosystems contaminated by Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam.
  • Conduct research into the health effects of Agent Orange/dioxin in the U.S. and Vietnam.

HR 2114 should be enacted into law. The refusal of the U.S. government to compensate the Vietnamese and U.S. victims of its chemical warfare would set a negative precedent for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who need similar help.

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Naziyahu tells the UN: ‘There is no excuse for terrorism’

Global Research
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In response to world condemnation of his decision to authorise yet more illegal houses for Zionist on Palestinian land, Netanyahu strikes out against the severe criticism by the UN Secretary General.

We agree about acts against civilian life. That is why the original terrorist act that murdered 92 people in the bombing of the King David Hotel in  Jerusalem in 1946 by Irgun Zvai Leumi, the militant group to which a certain Benzion Netanyahu was closely associated, was such a heinous act which tragically established such a terrible precedent for the Middle East and the world.

The current Likud Party is the direct political successor of the Irgun terrorists of 1946.

It is unfortunate that certain traits appear to run in families, particularly in respect of political allegiances.

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Haiti: Longstanding US Colony. Rigging of Elections

Global Research

Haiti is no stranger to adversity, anguish and overwhelming human misery.

It endured over 500 years of severe repression, slavery, despotism, colonization, reparations, embargoes, sanctions, deep poverty, starvation, unrepayable debt, overwhelming human suffering and destructive natural disasters.

Democracy is pure fantasy – Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s tenure the exception to the longstanding rule.

Elections when held are farcical, populist candidates excluded or marginalized to insignificance. Brazen disenfranchisement, ballot box stuffing, massive state-sponsored fraud and other irregularities are standard practice.

Except for the Aristide years, last October’s first-round presidential vote was no different from earlier ones – fraudulent, illegitimate by any standard.

Current president Michel Martelly won the same way, governing illegitimately. Hillary Clinton as Obama’s Secretary of State rigged things to install him.

October 2015 elections produced no majority winner. The December 27 runoff between ruling Farmers’ Response Party candidate Jovenel Moise and Jude Celestin was indefinitely postponed.

On January 1, Martelly announced it would be held on January 17, days later changing the date to January 24.

On January 20, Celestin pulled out, saying whoever “participates in this (runoff) is a traitor to the nation.”

Last Sunday’s process was again postponed, Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) president Pierre-Louis Opont duplicitously called the decision “an effort to protect the life of voter, of the CEP personnel, the institution itself, particularly school buildings placed at the disposal of the CEP.”

No new runoff date was set. Haitians began protesting massive electoral fraud last year, highlighting their subjugation under US dominance, given no say on how their country is run, exclusively serving US, Canadian, other Western and local monied interests.

On Sunday, former anti-Aristide coup leader, fugitive drugs trafficker Guy Philippe endorsed the US-supported regime candidate, threatening war to “divide the country,” saying:

“We are ready for war. I call on my supporters and my soldiers across the country to get ready.”

Last weekend, thousands of Haitians protested in Port-au-Prince, demanding Martelly and prime minister Evans Paul resign, an interim government replacing them.

Things remain in flux. Washington controls Haiti’s political process, assuring business as usual always wins.

On January 26, New York Times editors headlined “Democracy on Hold in Haiti,” knowing none exists, supporting indefinite postponement of its runoff instead of explaining its rigged electoral process.

A January 24 State Department statement lied, saying “(t)he United States reaffirms its support for credible, transparent and secure elections that reflect the will of the Haitian people.”

Martelly rules by decree. The terms of most so-called elected officials expired long ago. His term ends February 7.

Nothing in prospect suggests relief for long-suffering Haitians.



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Ahead of Syria “Peace Talks”, Russian Airforce Wipes Out 484 Terrorist Sites, Islamic State (ISIS) Retreats and Redeploys

Global Research

The Russian air grouping in Syria carried out 169 sorties and hit over 484 terrorist targets in the last three days, the Russian General Staff reported on January 25. 18 combat sorties were carried out by Russian Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers. Since the Russian airstrike began in September 30, 2015 in Syria, the Russian warplanes made nearly 6000 sorties destroying significant terrorist positions and their assets.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) reportedly took full control of the Arbid Al-Judaydah district located near Kweiris Airbase in the northern province of Aleppo. The liberation of the district came after the SAA and the NDF liberated the strategic villages of Qatar and Tal Hattabat late last week. The Syrian troops are reportedly preparing a massive attack on al-Nusra militants in the coming days to break the siege of the Shiite-populated towns of al-Zahra and Nubl in northwestern Aleppo.

In the West Ghouta region of rural Damascus, the SAA and the NDF liberated the last road controlled by the terrorists of Ajnad Al-Sham and Al-Nusra. The road links the two towns of Al-Mo’adhimiyah and Darayya. Folowing a series of clashes, the militants retreated west towards Mo’adhimiyah’s southeastern district.

Having lost their advantage in western parts of the country, ISIS command has now decided to concentrate its forces on trying to seize the city of Deir ez-Zor, the largest city in the eastern part of Syria. According to the intelligence sources, up to 2,000 heavily armed militants have been redeployed by ISIS to the region.

On Jan. 26, ISIS militants stormed the SAA’s defenses at Al-Jazeera University, Al-Firat Hotel, and the Al-Rawad Hill, striking from several flanks to find a weakness in the Al-Baghayliyah District’s southern sector. 2 suicide bombers were used by ISIS near Al-Jazeera University. The SAA repel these attacks. However, heavy clashes are continuing.


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Nazi Continues to Sow the Seeds of Discontent

Global Research
The Palestine Papers: Israel’s peacemakers unmasked

Israel, it seems, has found a new weapon against Palestinian attacks – the humble cucumber seed.

Soldiers have been handing out seeds at checkpoints with advice to Palestinians – a nation of farmers until their lands were swallowed up by Jewish settlements – to stop their recent knife attacks on Israelis and invest in a peaceful future.

Palestinians were not fooled. The seeds, the packets revealed, were produced by the very settlements that corralled them into their urban enclaves.

Israel’s image-laundering is directed at western nations that have propped up the occupation – economically and diplomatically – for decades. As ever, Israel hopes to persuade outsiders that the occupation is benevolent.

The futility of its PR, however, is highlighted by the latest initiative of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

New legislation is designed to intimidate and silence Israeli human rights organisations – the international community’s eyes and ears in the occupied territories. These groups are to be defined as “moles”, or agents of foreign governments. Justice minister Ayelet Shaked warned that such foreign intervention “endangers democracy”.

The problem is that the governments funding the human rights activity are not Israel’s enemies, but some of its staunchest supporters – European states.

Israel treats Europe’s support for human rights as malign interference, but it welcomes the vast sums channelled its way via the European Union’s special trade agreement and the billions in US military aid. It is this kind of foreign intervention that sustains the occupation.

The new legislation, however, risks leaving the EU and US exposed. Removing the minimal restraints imposed on the Israeli army by monitoring activity, the crimes of occupation – and western complicity in them – will be all the starker.

Western governments have made a show of their retaliation. They warn that, without a two-state solution, Israel is hurtling towards a binational reality and comparisons with apartheid.

Seeking to bolster the EU’s recent feeble move to recommend labelling settlement products, its foreign ministers passed a resolution last week requiring all agreements with Israel to exclude the settlements.

Europe has hinted that other penalties are in the pipeline.

The United States echoes Europe. Its ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, last week broke with US protocol and admitted that Israel has two standards of law in the West Bank, distinguishing between Palestinians and Jewish settlers.

It was the nearest Washington has dared to suggest that Israel already enforces an apartheid system in the territories.

Unused to having the US wash its dirty linen in public, Israel fumed. One of Netanyahu’s former aides even hurled an anti-Semitic insult at Shapiro, calling him a “little Jewboy”.

Israeli officials are reported to believe that the US and Europe are acting in concert to arm-twist Israel back into negotiations. Europe, they argue, is carrying out Washington’s “dirty work”.

They may not be far off the mark. A report last week by Human Rights Watch, a US group with ties to the State Department, added to the pressure, warning companies in the occupied territories that they are violating international law.

Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian co-founder of the movement to boycott Israel, called the report “ground-breaking”. It floated the idea that the US and Europe should deduct funding to Israel “equivalent to its expenditures on settlements and related infrastructure in the West Bank”.

As Barghouti noted, that skates close to calling for western sanctions against Israel.

Netanyahu did not sound alarmed at Sunday’s cabinet meeting by the various admonishments. He focused instead on praising “courageous” settlers who had evicted Palestinian families next to the flashpoint of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of Hebron.

This week, the first new plans for settlement-building in 18 months were announced.

Netanyahu knows that the likelihood of the US, or Europe, truly penalising Israel is still far off.

The terrible truth for those who support the Palestinian cause is that these last months of the Obama administration are likely to be as bad as it gets for Israel. Whoever follows – whether Hillary Clinton or any of the current crop of Republicans – will almost certainly tone down Washington’s criticisms, and rein in Europe.

Last year, one of Obama’s Middle East aides promised that Washington would “always have Israel’s back”. Illustrating that commitment, US officials due in Israel this week are expected to offer new weapons systems as a reward for Israel’s silence on Iran.

The struggle for two states appears finished. As Netanyahu averred recently, Israel would prefer to “live forever by the sword” than concede territory to the Palestinians. The message of the dovish opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, is softer but the same. At the weekend he told the French president, Francois Hollande: “Now is not the time for a Palestinian state.”

The US and EU can keep chasing the chimera of a two-state solution. But Israel is busy cultivating – not cucumbers, but the fruits of an occupation without a visible end.

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Big Pharma and Big Profits: The Multibillion Dollar Vaccine Market

New Report says “Vaccine Market” Worth $61 Billion by 2020
Global Research

The business of vaccines is soon to become a major source of profits for the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations. A press release (Business Wire, January 21st 2016) published by says that Technavio, one of the leading technology research and advisory companies in the world predicts that pharmaceutical corporations who produce vaccines will reach an estimated $61 billion in profits by 2020.

Today the vaccine market is worth close to $24 billion. The report titled ‘Global Human Vaccines Market 2016-2020’ gives an “in-depth analysis” of the possible revenues and “emerging market trends” globally. According to the Press Release:

The report study indicates that the introduction of new products is fueling the growth of the market. Moreover, the significant expansion of the current product offerings is also expected to boost the market growth. Due to the increasing prevalence rates of various infectious diseases such as diphtheria, influenza, hepatitis, pneumococcal diseases, and meningococcal diseases, there has been a notable increase in the use of vaccines across the globe

What is interesting about the report is that Pharmaceutical corporations are targeting Latin America and the Caribbean with its new vaccines soon to be on the market. Merck & Co, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are expected to dominate Latin America and the Caribbean (Puerto Rico currently operates as a manufacturing hub for Merck, Pfizer and Abbott Laboratories):

In terms of geography, the Americas dominated the global human vaccines market in 2015, accounting for about 45% of the total revenue. The US was the largest revenue contributor to this region in the same year, capturing a significant portion of the global market. The Americas will continue to dominate the human vaccines market during the forecast period because of the increase in the prevalence of infectious diseases and cancers. In addition, increase in strategic alliances with expected entry of novel vaccines, is also expected to propel the growth of the market in this region

The report also says that there are two types of human vaccines, Therapeutic (cancer, metabolic disorders, chronic illnesses, and infectious diseases) and Preventable human vaccines markets (pediatric vaccinations) that are estimated to reach $55 billion worldwide. The Atlantic magazine published an article in 2015 titled ‘Vaccines Are Profitable, So What?’ Author Bourree Lam says:

While the main fixation of anti-vaccine groups is an old, discredited study linking vaccination to autism, another is a conspiracy theory circulated online that both doctors and pharmaceutical companies stand to profit financially from vaccination—which supposedly leads to perverse incentives in advocating for the public to vaccinate.

But that argument is historically unfounded. Not only do pediatricians and doctors often lose money on vaccine administration, it wasn’t too long ago that the vaccine industry was struggling with slim profit margins and shortages. The Economist wrote that “for decades vaccines were a neglected corner of the drugs business, with old technology, little investment and abysmal profit margins. Many firms sold their vaccine divisions to concentrate on more profitable drugs”

Maybe it was true at some point in time that manufacturing vaccines were unprofitable, but in today’s world, it’s all profits. What motivated pharmaceutical corporations to focus on the vaccine market in the last decade or so according to The Atlantic?

Since 2000, the Gavi Alliance has provided vaccination for 500 million children in poor countries, preventing an estimated 7 million deaths. GlaxoSmithKline reported that 80 percent of the vaccine doses they manufactured in 2013 went to developing countries. Additionally, vaccines that could turn a profit in high-income countries—constituting 82 percent of global vaccine sales in terms of value, according to the World Health Organization—hit the market

Lam also wrote that there were “two “blockbuster” vaccines also hit the market: pneumococcal conjugate for meningitis and other bacteria infections, and a vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV). The industry grew”.

Merck is the only pharmaceutical giant licensed to produce and sell the measles vaccine called Prodquad and theMMR II (also used for the measles, mumps and rubella) and Varivax, a vaccine for the chicken pox. According to Lam, all three vaccines combined amounted to more than $1.4 billion in sales profits for Merck in 2014. The controversialHPV vaccine, Gardasil also brought in $1.7 billion in profits for Merck. “While a spokesperson for Merck told The Atlantic that vaccines remained one of its key areas of focus—it generated $5.3 billion in sales in 2014—she did not comment on the profit margins” Lam wrote. Of course the Merck spokesperson would not comment on the profitability of vaccines because Merck would expose itself to more controversy. Analysts say that the profit margin is“between 10 to over 40 percent.” Lam also says that “while the vaccine industry is likely more profitable now than in the 1970s or 1980s, this is the result of global market forces”. Lam forgot to mention that billionaire couple Bill and Melina Gates pledged at least $10 billion for worldwide vaccination programs supposedly to combat polio and the measles, this is where Merck & Co profit. It is also well known that Bill Gates appointed the former president and CEO of Merck, Raymond Gilmartin to the board of directors of Microsoft which lasted for more than 11 years before he announced his retirement in 2012.

Are pharmaceutical corporations motivated by profits? “Profits from vaccine production aren’t a valid argument against vaccinations—the most important question is whether vaccines are safe and effective, and the answer is unambiguously yes” wrote Lam. In 2015, Former Merck Employee and whistleblower Brandy Vaughan Spoke out against the state of California’s vaccination mandate bill SB277 and said:

The U.S. gives more vaccines than any other country in the world. Our childhood schedule for under the age of one has twice as many vaccines as other developed countries. What else do we have? The highest infant mortality rate of any developed nation. Finland has the lowest. They only give 11 by age six. Mississippi has the highest rate of vaccination in the U.S.–highest infant mortality rate. These numbers do not lie. But you will not hear that on the media, and that is not what Senator Pan will tell you.

What we have with vaccines is the highest profit margin pharmaceutical drug on the market. Drug companies make more money off vaccines than they do any other pharmaceutical drug, in terms of profit margin. There is a lack of rigorous safety studies. And they don’t have the incentive to do them because they have no liability.

Vaccines are the only products in the U.S. that do not have liability. You cannot sue for injuries or death. But that is only in the U.S. Around the world, there are law suits because of serious injuries and deaths because from vaccines. In Spain over Gardasil. In Japan over Gardasil. The flu shot was taken off the market for under five in Australia after deaths and injury. Prevnar was banned in China. Pfizer’s vaccination program was kicked out of the country. France just pulled Rotavirus off their schedule after infant deaths and injuries

With a forecast of $61 billion in projected sales, rest assured new vaccines will be developed for almost anything. Actor and comedian Jim Carrey did say that “150 people die every year from being hit by falling coconuts. Not to worry, drug makers are developing a vaccine”. With 271 vaccines in production, Jim Carrey’s comments, which were criticized by the mainstream media, may not be so farfetched after all.

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Saudi Arabia Is Killing Civilians With U.S. Bombs

Global Research

Saudi Arabia is bombing civilians with U.S.-made bombs, which violates both U.S. and international law. Saudi Arabia has engaged in war crimes, and the United States is aiding and abetting them by providing the Saudis with military assistance. In September 2015, Saudi aircraft killed 135 wedding celebrants in Yemen. The air strikes have killed 2,800 civilians, including 500 children. Human Rights Watch charges that these bombings “have indiscriminately killed and injured civilians.”

This conflict is part of a regional power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are bombing Yemen in order to defeat the Houthi rebels, who have been resisting government repression for a long time. Iran has been accused of supporting the Houthis, although Iran denies this. Yemen is strategically located on a narrow waterway that links the Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea. Much of the world’s oil passes through this waterway.

A United Nations panel of experts concluded in October 2015 that the Saudi-led coalition had committed “grave violations” of civilians’ human rights. They include indiscriminate attacks; targeting markets, a camp for displaced Yemenis, and humanitarian aid warehouses; and intentionally preventing the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The panel was also concerned that the coalition considered civilian neighborhoods, including Marra and Sadah, as legitimate strike zones. The International Committee of the Red Cross documented 100 attacks on hospitals.

Yemen has become one of the worldYemen has become one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises following the Saudi-led intervention in 2015. | Photo: EFE

Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions prohibits the targeting of civilians. It provides that parties to a conflict “shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.”

Saudi Arabia is also engaging in serious individual human rights violations.

In January 2016, the Saudi government executed 47 people, including a prominent pacifist Shia cleric, who had been a leader of the 2011 Arab Spring in Yemen. Many of those executed were tortured during their detention and denied due process. Most were beheaded. This horrifies us when ISIS does it. Yet State Department spokesman John Kirby protested weakly, “We believe that diplomatic engagement and direct conversations remain essential in working through differences.”

Also in January 2016, Palestinian artist and poet Ashraf Fayadh, a Saudi citizen whose family is from Gaza, was sentenced to death by beheading. His alleged crimes: “apostasy,” or renouncing Islam, and photographing women. “Throughout this whole process,” Amnesty International UK found, “Ashraf was denied access to a lawyer – a clear violation of international human rights law.”

Both Saudi Arabia and the United States are parties to the Geneva Conventions, which define as grave breaches willful killing, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and torture or inhuman treatment. Grave breaches are considered war crimes. Also prohibited are “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

Although neither the United States nor Saudi Arabia are parties to the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, that statute sets forth standard aider and abettor liability provisions. It says that an individual can be convicted of war crimes if he or she “aids, abets or otherwise assists” in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, “including providing the means for its commission.”

The U.S. government is the primary supplier of Saudi weapons. In November 2015, the U.S. sold $1.29 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. It included more than 10,000 bombs, munitions, and weapons parts manufactured by Raytheon and Boeing, as well as bunker busters, and laser-guided and “general purpose” bombs. A month earlier, the United States had approved a $11.25 billion sale of combat ships to Saudi Arabia. The U.S. also provides intelligence and logistical support to the coalition. During the past five years, the U.S. government has sold the Saudis $100 billion worth of arms. These sales have greatly enriched U.S. defense contractors.

Why has the United States “usually looked the other way or issued carefully calibrated warnings in human rights reports as the Saudi royal family cracked down on dissent and free speech and allowed its elite to fund Islamic extremists,” in the words of New York Times’ David Sanger? “In return,” Sanger writes, “Saudi Arabia became America’s most dependable filling station, a regular supplier of intelligence, and a valuable counterweight to Iran.” Saudi Arabia, and close U.S. ally Israel, opposed the Iran nuclear deal.

In April 2015, the U.S. government prevented nine Iranian ships loaded with relief supplies from reaching Yemen. President Barack Obama also sent an aircraft carrier to the area to enforce the Saudi embargo on outside supplies. According to UN estimates, 21 million people lack basic services, and over 1.5 million have been displaced. UNICEF notes that six million people don’t have enough food.

Moreover, the U.S. government seeks to prevent scrutiny of Saudi human rights abuses in Yemen. In October 2015, the United States blocked a UN Security Council sanctions committee proposal that would have required the committee’s chair to contact “all relevant parties to the conflict and stress their responsibility to respect and uphold international humanitarian law and human rights law.”

The U.S. government is also violating domestic law by providing the Saudis with military aid. The Leahy Law prohibits U.S. assistance to foreign security forces or military officers “if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), for whom the law was named, told Foreign Policy: “The reports of civilian casualties from Saudi air attacks in densely populated areas [in Yemen] compel us to ask if these operations, supported by the United States, violate” the Leahy Law.

Furthermore, 22 U.S.C. section 2304 provides that “no security assistance may be provided to any government which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

The Arms Trade Treaty obligates member states to monitor exports of weapons and make sure they do not end up being used to commit human rights abuses. Although the U.S. has not ratified the treaty, we have signed it. Under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a signatory is prohibited from taking action inconsistent with the object and purpose of the treaty.

The U.S. government should immediately halt arms transfers and military support to Saudi Arabia and support an independent investigation into U.S. arms transfers and war crimes in Yemen. The United States must stop participating in and call for an end to the de facto blockade so that humanitarian assistance can reach those in need, engage in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.

In an interesting twist, the Saudis contributed $10 million to the Clinton Foundation before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. In 2011, the year after the State Department had documented myriad serious human rights violations by Saudi Arabia, Hillary oversaw a $29 billion sale of advanced fighter jets to the Saudis, declaring it was in our national interest. The deal was “a top priority” for Hillary, according to Andrew Shapiro, an assistant secretary of state. Two months before the deal was clinched, Boeing, manufacturer of one of the fighter jets the Saudis sought to acquire, contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Hillary now says the U.S should pursue “closer strategic cooperation” with Saudi Arabia.

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Did Wall Street Banks Create the Oil Crash?

Global Research
wall street

From June 2008 to the depth of the Wall Street financial crash in early 2009, U.S. domestic crude oil lost 70 percent of its value, falling from over $140 to the low $40s. But then a strange thing happened. Despite weak global economic growth, oil went back to over $100 by 2011 and traded between the $80s and a little over $100 until June 2014. Since then, it has plunged by 72 percent – a bigger crash than when Wall Street was collapsing.

The chart of crude oil has the distinct feel of a pump and dump scheme, a technique that Wall Street has turned into an art form in the past. Think limited partnerships priced at par on client statements as they disintegrated in price in the real world; rigged research leading to the bust and a $4 trillion stock wipeout; and the securitization of AAA-rated toxic waste creating the subprime mortgage meltdown that cratered the U.S. housing market along with century-old firms on Wall Street.

Pretty much everything that’s done on Wall Street is some variation of pump and dump. Here’s why we’re particularly suspicious of the oil price action.

Price of West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil Before and After the 2008 CrashPrice of West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil Before and After the 2008 Crash

Americans know far too little about what was actually happening on Wall Street leading up to the crash of 2008. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission released its detailed final report in January 2011. But by July 2013, Senator Sherrod Brown, Chair of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection had learned that Wall Street banks had amassed unprecedented amounts of physical crude oil, metals and other commodity assets in the period leading up to the crash. This came as a complete shock to Congress despite endless hearings that had been held on the crash.

On July 23, 2013, Senator Brown opened a hearing on this opaque perversion of banking law, comparing today’s Wall Street banks to the Wall Street trusts that had a stranglehold on the country in the early 1900s. Senator Brown remarked:

There has been little public awareness of or debate about the massive expansion of our largest financial institutions into new areas of the economy. That is in part because regulators, our regulators, have been less than transparent about basic facts, about their regulatory philosophy, about their future plans in regards to these entities.

Most of the information that we have has been acquired by combing through company statements in SEC filings, news reports, and direct conversations with industry. It is also because these institutions are so complex, so dense, so opaque that they are impossible to fully understand. The six largest U.S. bank holding companies have 14,420 subsidiaries, only 19 of which are traditional banks.

Their physical commodities activities are not comprehensively or understandably reported. They are very deep within various subsidiaries, like their fixed-income currency and commodities units, Asset Management Divisions, and other business lines. Their specific activities are not transparent. They are not subject to transparency in any way. They are often buried in arcane regulatory filings.

Taxpayers have a right to know what is happening and to have a say in our financial system because taxpayers, as we know, are the ones who will be asked to rescue these mega banks yet again, possibly as a result of activities that are unrelated to banking.

The findings of this hearing were so troubling that the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations commenced an in-depth investigation. The Subcommittee, then chaired by Senator Carl Levin, held a two-day hearing on the matter in November  2014, which included a 400-page report of hair-raising findings.

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