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Pfizer Says COVID Vaccine ‘Safe’ for Kids — But Pfizer Has Lied About Kids and Drugs Before

In 1996, Pfizer’s drug, Trovan, was still in the clinical stage of development when the drugmaker tested it, without parents’ consent, on about 200 children.

By Chelli Stanley | The Defender | September 30, 2021

Pfizer last week told the public and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) its new experimental COVID vaccine is safe for young children.

It’s a familiar story, similar to one the vaccine maker told in the past about another drug it tested on children — a story that had a terrible outcome.

Both stories began with this simple claim: “These drugs are safe for your children.”

In 1996, Pfizer, the transnational multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company, was working to bring a new drug — Trovan — to market. The drug was still in the clinical stage of development, when Pfizer made a decision that reportedly cost the lives of many children, and triggered an international firestorm.

Pfizer took its unlicensed Trovan to Kano, Nigeria, during a meningitis outbreak — though Trovan had never been tested in children or against meningitis.

According to Pfizer whistleblower, Dr. Juan Walterspiel, Pfizer sent unskilled doctors to Kano, who were unlicensed to practice medicine in Nigeria, and who had limited experience treating meningitis in children.

Walterspiel also reported the staff were so unskilled they could not place IV lines, and quickly resorted to orally administering the drug to children.

In the short two weeks Pfizer was in Kano, staff worked with 200 children, and gave 99 of the children unlicensed Trovan, despite the children’s desperate state. Pfizer did this even though Doctors Without Borders was operating in the same Kano hospital, treating children for free, with medicine proven to work well against bacterial meningitis.

Doctors Without Borders realized what Pfizer was doing and in a statement said they “were shocked Pfizer continued the so-called scientific work in the middle of hell.” They “communicated their concerns to both Pfizer and the local authorities.”

Pfizer gave the other 101 children ceftriaxone, which is proven effective for meningitis.  However, many children were “low-dosed,” with only one-third of the recommended amount. Because Pfizer didn’t have enough skilled medical personnel to administer ceftriaxone by IV, staff injected it directly into the children’s butts or thighs.

But “the shots were severely painful, leading to ‘great fear and sometimes dangerous struggles with children.’” So Pfizer lowered the dose significantly to ease the severe pain caused by the shots.

Pfizer said available data indicated the dose remained more than sufficient, but the drug’s manufacturer, Hoffmann-La Roche, said the reductions could have sapped the drug’s strength.

“A high dose is essential,” Mark Kunkel, Hoffmann-La Roche’s medical director, told the Washington Post. “Clinical failures … and perhaps deaths of children could have resulted from the low dosing.”

According to a lawsuit against Pfizer, “five of the children who received Trovan and six of the children who were ‘low-dosed’ with ceftriaxone died, and others treated by Pfizer suffered very serious injuries, including paralysis, deafness and blindness.”

Of the 200 children treated by Pfizer, 181 were gravely injured, and 11 died.

The Washington Post investigated Pfizer’s ethics, stating, “Some medical experts questioned why the company did not switch to the proven pills when it was clear the young patients were approaching death.”

“It could be considered murder,” said Evariste Lodi, the leading Doctors Without Borders physician in Kano, after reading a report that Pfizer kept a child solely on Trovan until the child died.

In a statement about the child’s death, a Pfizer spokeswoman said “researchers had no reason to suspect the experimental medicine was not working.” Pfizer also said Trovan was “at least as effective as the gold standard treatment,” despite it having never been used in children, or for meningitis.

Pfizer designed the clinical trial in Kano “in six weeks, though the risks and complications of such a trial would typically require a year to adequately assess,” The Atlantic reported.

The parents in Kano have maintained they were not notified of an experiment, and that Pfizer did not have their consent to use their children in a drug trial in the middle of a health crisis. They organized to sue the drugmaker, while caring for children injured during the experiment.

Pfizer maintains the Nigerian parents gave full consent for their critically ill children to be used in an experiment, though even Pfizer admits no parent ever signed a consent form.

The lawsuits dragged on for years, as Pfizer refused to admit to any wrongdoing. “We are fed up with this case,” said a father who lost his daughter. “Our children are dead and some are maimed.”

Pfizer said “the trial was conducted appropriately, ethically and with the best interests of patients in mind; and it helped save lives.”

However, even the approval letter Pfizer submitted to the FDA about the Kano trial was exposed by a Nigerian doctor, who “said that his office backdated an approval letter and this may have been written a year after the study had taken place.”

The community of Kano has been profoundly affected — “the experiment shaped public perception of Western drugs in the region. Parents told their children about it. Teachers lectured about Pfizer in classrooms. Pundits spoke of Western physicians seeking human guinea pigs.”

Pfizer acknowledged the severe nature of the meningitis outbreak to a Nigerian investigative committee, then said, “Pfizer’s intervention was therefore strictly a humanitarian gesture aimed at saving lives. It was totally devoid of any commercial undertones.” The company called it “the humanitarian trial.”

“If I had the power, I would take away their medical licenses,” said Lodi.

Pfizer’s Trovan history gets worse

In the initial development of Trovan, Walterspiel reported that Pfizer tried another study and:

“ … the study failed and several patients developed severe post-operative infections and one woman had her uterus removed. Pfizer dispatched risk managers and asked affected patients and relatives to fill out checks for whatever amount they felt right against their signature to keep the payments confidential.”

Pfizer made no such offer in Kano. The families of Kano had to sue Pfizer repeatedly, and received no compensation until nearly 15 years after the incident occurred.

Pfizer did not let these mere setbacks of death, maiming and international scandals deter the company. Within a few short years, the drugmaker brought Trovan to market in both the United States and Europe.

Expecting to reap financial windfalls, Pfizer aggressively marketed Trovan — until it discovered the public in both the EU and U.S. was reeling from liver damage, liver failure and death as a result of taking Trovan.

Reports of adverse reactions grew until Europe took Trovan off the market completely, and the FDA severely restricted the public’s access in the U.S.

New York Times article detailed how Trovan’s serious side effects became known only after it was given to the public. “The case showed how a new drug, marketed by an expert like Pfizer, could be swiftly prescribed to thousands of patients before all the side effects were known. Pfizer said its tests of Trovan had not revealed any serious problems.”

In 2000, William C. Steere Jr., then chairman of Pfizer, acknowledged some side effects only become known after a drug is approved, saying, ”You put the drug in the general population, and then everyone is taking it. We just hold our breath and wait to see if there is something unique with the drug.”

‘If I had an enemy, I would not let him take their drugs’

Pfizer was repeatedly sued in Nigeria and the U.S. for its actions in Kano. In 2009, Pfizer agreed to pay $75 million, despite initially being sued for $8.5 billion.

The company got involved in several more scandals that exploded when Wikileaks published several U.S. Embassy cables detailing Pfizer’s communications.

A Pfizer lawyer described in the cables that “Pfizer has worked closely with former Nigerian Head of State Yakubu Gowon. Gowan spoke with Kano State Governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, who directed the Kano AG to reduce the settlement demand from $150 million to $75 million.”

In another cable, a top Pfizer representative in Nigeria said:

“Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to Federal Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. Pfizer’s investigators were passing this information to local media. A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa’s ‘alleged’ corruption ties were published in February and March.”

A cable showed a Pfizer representative commenting that “Doctors Without Borders administered Trovan to other children during the 1996 meningitis epidemic, and the Nigerian government has taken no action.”

The accusation prompted Doctors Without Borders to publish a strongly worded press release stating that they did not give anyone Trovan, and were in fact the first to speak out about Pfizer’s unethical actions.

Finally, the cables showed that “Pfizer was not happy settling the case, but had come to the conclusion that the $75 million figure was reasonable because the suits had been ongoing for many years, costing Pfizer more than $15 million a year in legal and investigative fees.”

The original lawsuit also sought prison terms for Pfizer officials.

Scandals continued even after the case was settled, when Pfizer demanded that anyone collecting the money give a sample of their DNA. Several people refused, distrusting what Pfizer may do with their DNA. They were not allowed to get compensation as a result.

Pfizer said it “always acted in the best interest of the children involved, using the best medical knowledge available.”

Najib Ibrahim of Kano said of Pfizer, “If I had an enemy, I would not let him take their drugs.”  Abdul Murtala said, “Pfizer reminds me of recklessness with human lives.”

The pattern continues, with 12-year-old injured during Pfizer COVID trial

Maddie de Garay was 12 when she voluntarily participated in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial for 12- to 15-year-olds in Ohio. After she took the second dose on January 20, 2021, her life changed.

Her mother, Stephanie de Garay, spoke at press conference in June, held by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), during which she described the maiming of her child and Pfizer’s disregard towards Maddie and the family — despite Maddie being part of the trial in order to determine whether Pfizer’s covid vaccine is safe for children.

Stephanie said:

“All we want is for Maddie to be seen, heard, and believed, because she hasn’t been.  And we want her to get the care that she desperately needs so that she can go back to normal. She was totally fine before this. They’re not helping her.”

Stephanie said within 24 hours of the second dose, Maddie “developed severe abdominal and chest pain. She had painful electrical shocks down her neck and spine that forced her to walk hunched over. She had extreme pain in her fingers and toes.”

Maddie went to the ER immediately, as instructed by Pfizer’s vaccine trial administrator. After doctors ran few tests, she was sent home with a diagnosis: “Adverse effect of vaccine initial encounter.”

In the first five months after getting her second dose, Maddie would return to the ER eight more times.

According to Stephanie:

“Over the next 2.5 months, her abdominal, muscle and nerve pain became unbearable.  She developed additional symptoms that included gastroparesis, nausea and vomiting, erratic blood pressure and heart rate, memory loss, brain fog, headaches, dizziness, fainting, and then seizures.

“She developed verbal and motor tics, she had loss of feeling from the waist down and muscle weakness, drastic changes in her vision, urinary retention and loss of bladder control, severely irregular and heavy menstrual cycles, and eventually she had to have an NG tube put in to get nutrition. All of these symptoms are still here today. Some days are worse than others.”

Maddie’s doctors began to suggest she had “functional neurological disorder due to anxiety” and even tried to admit her to a mental hospital. Her family fought it.

It took five months for Maddie to get an MRI of her brain and appropriate blood tests, which she got when her family went elsewhere for medical advice after talking to others who were adversely affected by the COVID vaccines.

Stephanie said:

“What I want to ask is: Maddie volunteered for the Pfizer trial. Why aren’t they researching her to figure out why this happened so other people don’t have to go through this? Instead, they’re just saying it’s ‘mental.’”

The de Garay family has joined with emerging grassroots advocacy groups whose members’ lives suddenly changed after they got a COVID vaccine. They are asking the CDC and FDA to recognize their injuries, the medical community to believe and help them, the media to share their stories, for the public to know about these injuries as part of informed consent, and for their injuries to be studied so that solutions can be found.

Since being injured by new vaccines still in phase 3 trials, they have been subjected to stonewalling, cover-ups, bullying, refusal to collect the data and blanket denials.

Pfizer has not commented publicly on Maddie’s case.

At the September FDA advisory meeting on Pfizer COVID boosters in the U.S., Steve Kirsch, executive director of the COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund, said Pfizer did not record Maddie’s extensive injuries in its clinical trial results. Kirsch also noted Pfizer marked the entirety of Maddie’s injuries as “abdominal pain.”

Kirsch reported Pfizer’s fraud to FDA acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, but no investigation has been launched into Pfizer for allegedly erasing Maddie’s extensive injuries from its trial data for children.

© 2021 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nigeria cleric Zakzaky, wife acquitted of all charges, freed from jail

Press TV – July 28, 2021

A court in Nigeria’s central state of Kaduna has acquitted Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, and his wife of all the charges levelled against the duo.

The trial at the Kaduna State High Court started on May 15, 2018 and dragged on for over three years. The high court issued its final verdict on Wednesday, Ishaq Adam Ishaq, their lawyer, said in a statement.

They were released from detention following the ruling, he added.

“At last, we defeated them. we won,” hailed the legal representative, adding, “They have gained their freedom. They are now freed and with us.”

Zakzaky and his wife, Mallimah Zeenat, were standing trial in the court on an eight-count charge of alleged culpable homicide, disruption of public peace and unlawful assembly among others levelled against them by the Kaduna state government.

They had pleaded not guitly.

In December 2015, Nigeria’s military launched a crackdown as part of a deadly state-ordered escalation targeting the movement that Abuja has branded as illegal.

The campaign saw the troops attacking Zakzaky’s residence in the town of Zaria in Kaduna, afflicting him and his wife with serious injuries that reportedly caused the cleric to lose his left eye.

During the crackdown, the military also attacked the movement’s members as they were holding religious processions, with the government alleging that the Muslims had blocked a convoy of the country’s defense minister.

The movement has categorically rejected the allegation, and said the convoy had intentionally crossed paths with the IMN’s members to whip up an excuse to attack them.

The violence led to the death of three of Zakzaky’s sons and more than 300 of his followers.

The couple were kept in custody despite a 2016 ruling by Nigeria’s federal high court that ordered their release from prison.

Amid the long-drawn-out jail term, the couple were allowed to leave for India for medical purposes. Their stay was, however, reportedly plagued by the state’s interference aimed at preventing them from receiving proper medical treatment.

The couple’s freedom came following tireless activism on the part of Nigeria’s Shia faithful and repeated damning reports about their situation by international human rights bodies.

July 28, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

UN official blasts Nigeria’s use of ‘lethal force’ on Muslims

Press TV – September 3, 2019

A United Nations rapporteur strongly condemns Abuja’s application of deadly violence against the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, made the remarks in a report in the country’s capital on Monday. She was presenting her findings after a 12-day-long investigation.

The official deplored the “arbitrary deprivation of life” and the excessive use of lethal force in the case of processions held by the IMN back in 2015, Reuters reported.

Nigeria’s military attacked the movement’s members that year as they were holding religious processions, with Abuja alleging that the Muslims had blocked a convoy of the country’s defense minister. The movement has categorically rejected the allegation, and said the convoy had intentionally crossed paths with the IMN’s members to whip up an excuse for attacking them.

The military also raided the house of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaki, the movement’s leader, at the time.

During the escalation, the 66-year-old was beaten and lost his left eye. His wife sustained serious wounds, and three of his sons and more than 300 of his followers were killed.

Callamard said a move by the government to ban the group appeared be based on what the authorities thought the IMN could become rather than its actions. She said she had not been presented with any evidence to suggest the group was weaponized and posed a threat to the country.

On a general note, the official cautioned that Nigeria’s multiple security problems had come to create a crisis that required urgent attention and could lead to instability in other African countries.

Callamard said the police and military had resorted to an excessive use of deadly force across the West African country which, combined with a lack of effective investigations and meaningful prosecution, had caused a lack of accountability.

“The overall situation I have found is one of extreme concern,” she said, and finally warned that the country had turned into a “pressure cooker of internal conflict.”

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | , | Leave a comment

How Big Water Projects Helped Trigger Africa’s Migrant Crisis

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | April 1, 2018

Following up the Lake Chad post, this is a highly relevant contribution by science writer, Fred Pearce, in Yale 360 last October:

image

The Hadejia-Nguru wetland was once a large green smudge on the edge of the Sahara in northeast Nigeria. More than 1.5 million people lived by fishing its waters, grazing their cattle on its wet pastures, and irrigating their crops from its complex network of natural channels and lakes. Then, in the 1990s, the Nigerian government completed two dams that together captured 80 percent of the water that flowed into the wetland.

The aim was to provide water for Kano, the biggest city in northern Nigeria. But the two dams dried up four-fifths of the wetland, destroying its natural bounty and the way of life that went with it. Today, many of the people who lost their livelihoods have either headed for Kano, joined the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram that is terrorizing northeast Nigeria – or paid human-smugglers to take them to Europe.

For the past three years, Europe has been convulsed by a crisis of migrants, some from Syria and the war-torn Middle East, but also hundreds of thousands coming from the arid Sahel region of Africa, including Nigeria, Mali, and Senegal. They are fleeing poverty and social breakdown caused by insurgent groups such as Boko Haram. But environmentalists and others in the region say that behind this social chaos lies serious water mismanagement in the drought-prone region.

Big dams intended to bring economic development to the Sahel are having the opposite effect. By blocking rivers, they are drying out lakes, river floodplains, and wetlands on which many of the poorest in the region depend. The end result has been to push more and more young people to risk their lives to leave the region.

The Manantali Dam is estimated to have caused the loss of 90 percent of fisheries and up to 618,000 acres previously covered by water.

Last year, I traveled with Wetlands International, a Dutch-based environmental NGO, along the valley of the River Senegal, which forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania. Farmers, herders, and fishermen told of their battles against the ecological breakdown that has followed the building of the Manantali Dam, which is located upstream in Mali and was completed in 1987. The dam holds back a large part of the river’s seasonal flood flow to generate hydroelectricity for cities and provide irrigation water for some farmers. But there have been more losers than winners.

Seydou Ibrahima Ly, a teacher in the bankside village of Donaye Taredji in Podor district, said that when he was young, “the river had a flood that watered wetlands where fish grew.” But “now there is no flood because of the dam… Compared to the past, there aren’t many fish. Our grandparents did a lot of fishing, but we don’t.” With their livelihoods gone, more than 100 people had left his village, he said. “In some villages, they are almost all gone.”

“The migrants know the boats [traveling to Europe] are dangerous, but they have a determination to go and find a better life,” said Oumar Cire Ly, deputy chief of neighbouring Donaye village, which has also seen an exodus of its young people.

Farmers once planted their crops in the wet soils as the waters receded. Pastoralists grazed their animals where forests and wildlife flourished. But the dam and its related projects are estimated to have resulted in the loss of 90 percent of the fisheries and up to 618,000 acres of fields that were previously covered by water from the rising river during the wet season, a system of natural irrigation known as flood-recession agriculture.

The Senegal River Basin Development Organization – the intergovernmental agency that is responsible for the dam project and is known by its French acronym, OMVS – conceded in 2014 that eliminating the river’s annual flood “has made flood-recession crops and fishing on the floodplain more precarious, which makes the rural production systems of the middle valley less diversified, and therefore more vulnerable.”

This is clearly at odds with the organization’s mandate to “ensure food security for all people within the river basin and region.” But Amadou Lamine Ndiaye, the OMVS’s director of environment and sustainable development, told me his agency regarded wetlands such as river floodplains primarily as a source of revenue for tourists, rather than as a lifeline for rural communities.

As many as a million Nigerians have lost livelihoods because of dams that once fed a wetland that flowed into Lake Chad.

Worse still is the crisis affecting the region around Lake Chad, which until half a century ago was Africa’s fourth largest lake, straddling the border between Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. The lake has lost more than 90 percent of its surface area since then. Initially, this was largely due to persistent droughts in the Sahel that often dried up the rivers supplying it with water. Since 2002, rainfall has improved markedly, but Lake Chad has not recovered.

That is because of dams on the rivers flowing into the lake from the wetter south, mainly in Cameroon and Nigeria. The Maga Dam in Cameroon has diverted 70 percent of the flow of the Logone river to rice farms. This has both dried up part of the floodplain pastures that once supported 130,000 people, and dramatically reduced inflow to Lake Chad.

In northern Nigeria, up to 1 million people have lost livelihoods because of dams on the River Yobe that once fed the Hadejia-Nguru wetland and flowed on into Lake Chad. In both cases, says Edward Barbier, an environmental economist at Colorado State University, the dams have had an overall negative effect on local economies, as losses to fishermen, pastoralists, and others exceeded gains from irrigation agriculture.

The major wetlands and water basins of the Sahel region in Africa. Wetlands International

https://e360.yale.edu/assets/site/SahelWetlands_WetlandsInternational.jpg

The poverty is driving social breakdown and conflict all around the lake. Mana Boukary, an official of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, an intergovernmental body, told Duetsche Welle two years ago: “Youths in the Lake Chad Basin are joining Boko Haram because of lack of jobs and difficult economic conditions resulting from the drying up of the lake.”

The UN humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel region, Toby Lanzer, told a European Union-Africa summit that it was also fueling migration: “Asylum seeking, the refugee crisis, the environmental crisis, the instability that extremists sow — all of those issues converge in the Lake Chad basin.”

A Nigerian government audit of the lake basin in 2015 agreed. It concluded that “uncoordinated upstream water impounding and withdrawal” were among factors that had “created high competition for scarce water, resulting into [sic] conflicts and forced migration.” More than 2.6 million people have left the Lake Chad region since mid-2013, according to the International Organization for Migration.

At their greatest extent, wetlands cover one-tenth of the Sahel, the arid region stretching for 3,400 miles across northern Africa, immediately south of the Sahara desert. They are wildlife havens, especially notable for their birdlife. The Inner Niger Delta in Mali, for instance, is one of the world’s most important seasonal stops for migrating birds, hosting about 4 million waterbirds from Europe each winter. In addition, these wetlands are a source of sustenance for the region’s poor and the main sources of the region’s economic productivity outside the short wet season from June to September.

Dried-up wetlands are often blamed on climate change when the real cause often is more human interference in river flows.

Yet the decline of the wetlands and the resulting social and economic consequences remains a largely untold story. That is partly because dried-up wetlands are routinely, and often incorrectly, blamed on climate change, when the real cause is often more direct human interference in river flows. It is also partly because many development agencies still mostly think of dams as infrastructure development that furthers economic activity and wealth – and partly because many environmental groups concentrate on the ecological impacts of dried wetlands, while ignoring the human consequences.

In this climate of ignorance, more wetlands are under threat. The next victim is likely to be the Inner Niger Delta, a wetland in northern Mali that covers an area the size of Belgium. The delta forms where West Africa’s largest river, the Niger, spreads out across flat desert near the ancient city of Timbuktu.

The delta is a magnet for migrating European waterbirds. It is also currently one of the most productive areas in one of the world’s poorest countries. It provides 80 percent of Mali’s fish and pasture for 60 percent of the country’s cattle, and it delivers 8 percent of Mali’s GDP and sustains 2 million people, 14 percent of the population, says Dutch hydrologist Leo Zwarts. Its fish are exported across West Africa from Mopti, a market town on the shores of the delta.

In recent years the Mali government has been diverting water from the River Niger at the Markala barrage just upstream of the delta, to irrigate desert fields of thirsty crops such as rice and cotton. These diversions have cut the area of delta flooded annually by up to 7 percent, says Zwarts, causing declines in forests, fisheries, and grazing grasses. Some people have left the delta as a result, though it is unclear whether they have been among the Malians regularly reported to be in migrant boats heading from Libya to Italy.

The Markala Barrage in Mali, which diverts water from the River Niger for irrigating crops such as rice and cotton.  Fred Pearce/Yale e360

But this trickle of people from the delta could soon become a flood. In July this year, Mali’s upstream neighbour, Guinea, announced the go-ahead for Chinese firms to build a giant new hydroelectric dam, the Fomi Dam, in the river’s headwaters. Construction could begin as soon as December.

The Fomi Dam’s operation will replace the annual flood pulse that sustains the wetland’s fecundity with a more regular flow that the Mali government intends to tap for a long-planned tripling of its irrigation along the river. Wetlands International estimates that the combined impact of the dam and irrigation schemes could cut fish catches and pastures in the delta by 30 percent.

“Less water flowing into the delta means a lower flood level and a smaller flood extent”, says Karounga Keïta of Wetlands International in Mali. “This will have a direct impact on food production, including fish, livestock, and floating rice.” He fears that the inevitable outcome will be further human migrations from the wetland.

The links in the chain from water management through wetland health to social breakdown and international migration are complex. Wetland loss is certainly not the only reason for the human exodus from the Sahel. And migration is a long-standing coping strategy for people living in a region of extreme climate variability.

But the parlous state of the wetlands of the Sahel is changing the region. In the past, wetlands were refuges in times of drought or conflict. They were safe, and the water persisted even in the worst droughts. But today, with their waters diminished, these wetlands have become sources of outmigration. Now, migrations that were once temporary and local are becoming permanent and intercontinental.

https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-africas-big-water-projects-helped-trigger-the-migrant-crisis

Note his comment that “dried-up wetlands are often blamed on climate change when the real cause often is more human interference in river flows. “.

And that “since 2002, rainfall has improved markedly, but Lake Chad has not recovered.”

I have every sympathy for countries like Nigeria and Cameroon. They are between the proverbial rock and hard place,

They have growing populations, with ever growing expectations. For this they need, among other things, food and water supplies. On the other hand, these very things impact on the environment which ultimately sustains them.

There are no easy answers.

But blaming it all on climate change does nobody any favours.

April 1, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Media: Simple Tricks to Provide Distorted Picture of Political Reality

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.04.2017

How biased are the US media, really? This is a frequently asked question. The answer is – they are biased very much and they know how to instill the vision of things in a quiet and unobtrusive way. Here is an example to prove the point.

«Defense Secretary Mattis Arrives at Only US Base in Africa» reads the Voice of America’s headline on April 23. «Only US Base in Africa»? It’s hard to believe one’s eyes but that’s what it says. This is a good example of what is called «inaccurate reporting», to put it mildly. Probably, some people will call it outright distortion because anyone who knows the first thing about military matters knows it has nothing to do with reality.

Suffice it to take a cursory look at the US military presence on the continent. Guess who is spending $100 million to build a new drone base in Niger? What about a “cooperative security location” in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which provides surveillance and intelligence over the entire Sahel?

In recent years, the US Army has rolled out an extensive network of over 60 outposts and access points in at least 34 African countries – more than 60 percent of the nations on the continent. To compare, the US has only 50 diplomatic missions in Africa.

In his 2015 article for TomDispatch.com, Nick Turse, disclosed the existence of an «America’s empire» comprising dozens of US military installations in Africa, besides Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. These numerous cooperative security locations (CSLs), forward operating locations (FOLs) and other outposts have been built by the US in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda. The US military also has had access to locations in Algeria, Botswana, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Zambia and other countries.

According to a rough guide of foreign bases in Africa, the US military uses Garoua airport in northern Cameroon as a drone base for operations in northeastern Nigeria. It houses Predator drones and some 300 US soldiers. Predator and Reaper drones are based in Ndjamena, the capital of Chad. In Kenia, the military uses Camp Simba in Manda Bay as a base for naval personnel and Green Berets. It also houses armed drones for operations in Somalia and Yemen. In Niger, the American armed forces use Agadez, capable of handling large transport aircraft and armed Reaper drones. The base covers the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. US special operations forces (SOF) use compounds in Kismayo and Baledogle in Somalia. A drone base is operated on the island of Victoria, the Seychelles. PC-12 surveillance aircraft operate from Entebbe airport, Uganda.

At least 1,700 special operations forces (SOF) are deployed across 33 African nations at any given time supported by planes and drones. In 2006, just 1% of commandos sent overseas were deployed in the US Africa Command area of operations. In 2016, 17.26% of all US SOF – Navy SEALs and Green Berets among them deployed abroad were sent to Africa. They utilize nearly 20 different programs and activities – from training exercises to security cooperation engagements – these included Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, among others.

Drone warfare is a special case as the vehicles are carrying out combat missions in peacetime. The full scope of the US unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) program has long been shrouded from view. Only sketchy details emerge off and on about individual drone strikes. The US African Unified Command (AFRICOM) is known to operate at least nine UAV bases in Africa located in Djibouti, the Seychelles, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger, Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

Housing 4,000 military and civilian personnel, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, is the hub of a network of American drone bases in Africa. It is used for aerial strikes at insurgents in Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia, as well as exercising control over the Bab-el-Mandeb strait – a strategic maritime waterway linking the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean through the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea. In 2014, America signed a new 20-year lease on the base with the Djiboutian government, and committed over $1.4 billion to modernize and expand the facility in the years to come.

Unlike other installations, the Djibouti base is called a permanent facility. Not the only facility on the continent but the only «permanent» base. The US military uses the terms Main Operating Base (MOB), Forward Operating Site (FOS) and Cooperative Security Location (CSL). Camp Lemonnier is a MOB. The difference is the size of the presence and the scale of operations a facility is designed for. The terms used do not change the essence – the US uses a vast array of military installations in Africa and the presence keeps on growing. Temporary and permanent facilities are hard to distinguish – you sign an agreement and operate a facility as long as you need it. It’s just a play of words without any effect on substance. For instance, US forces are reported to be deployed in Europe on «rotational basis» or temporarily under the pretext of participation in exercises. Every army unit has an operational cycle, which inevitably includes various stages in training. From time to time, they leave home bases and rotate, moving from one location to another. All military career paths presuppose rotation. Using this or that term does not change the reality – US forces are constantly stationed near Russia’s borders on whatever «basis» it takes place.

It’s not only the increasing number military facilities in Africa and elsewhere. The Donald Trump administration is considering a military proposal that would designate various undeclared battlefields worldwide to be «temporary areas of active hostility». If approved, the measure would give military commanders the same latitude to launch strikes, raids and campaigns against enemy forces for up to six months that they possess in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. No top level permission will be required anymore. The authority could be pre-delegated to Defense Secretary James Mattis on extremely sensitive operations. It could be pushed down all the way down to the head of the Joint Special Operations Command for raids or drone strikes against pre-approved targets. If a high-value target is spotted, a force can move into action without wasting time.

How all these activities jibe with the pre-election promise «A Trump administration will never ever put the interest of a foreign country before the interest of our country. From now on, it’s going to be America first» is an open question. Looks like the whole «black continent» has become an area of vital interests for the United States. But reading the media headlines one gets the impression that it’s just «one base» on the huge continent. Not a big thing from point of view of expenditure and the extent of dangerous involvement in faraway conflicts that have no relation whatsoever to the national security, a reader may say. The lesson is – take what the media tell you with a grain of salt, never at face value. It would stand everyone in good stead.

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

European companies export highly-polluted fuel to West Africa: Report

Press TV – September 16, 2016

European companies are accused of taking advantage of weak fuel standards in African countries to export highly-polluted fuel to West Africa, a new report says.

The report, from the Swiss watchdog group of Public Eye, said major European oil companies and commodity traders take crude oil from African countries, blend it with highly-polluted additives, and then sell it back to them.

“Many West African countries that export high grade crude oil to Europe receive toxic low quality fuel in return,” it wrote.

Toxic products that the companies add to make the so-called “African Quality” fuels are far higher than those allowed in Europe, according to Public Eye.

“Their business model relies on an illegitimate strategy of deliberately lowering the quality of fuels in order to increase their profits,” the report read.

It said companies, among them the Swiss commodity traders Trafigura and Vito, increased their profits at the expense of Africans’ health.

While the European Union (EU) has allowed ten parts per millions (ppm) of sulfur in diesel in the continent, the legal limit on sulfur petrol in some African countries like Nigeria is 3,000 ppm.

After burning, the sulfur is released into the atmosphere as sulfur dioxide and other particulates that provide a major contributor to respiratory symptoms such as bronchitis and asthma.

According to the report, 20 million people in the Nigerian state of Lagos breathe 13 times more particulate matter than people in London, with dirty fuel being the main reason.

This is while Nigeria and some other West African countries produce petroleum with the world’s lowest sulfur levels. They do not have refining capabilities, however, and have to import fuel from Europe.

“Africa could prevent 25,000 premature deaths in 2030 and almost 100,000 premature deaths in 2050” if the export of low-quality fuel is stopped, Public Eye said.

It called on African governments “to protect the health of their urban population, reduce car maintenance costs, and spend their health budgets on other pressing health issues.”

“If left unchanged, their practices will kill more and more people across the continent,” the report warned.

In response to the allegations, the report said, three of the companies denied any wrongdoing, arguing that they meet the regulatory requirements of the market.

Public Eye, however, said that the companies adjusted their blends with no increased costs when Ghana lowered its sulfur content level in 2014.

September 16, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

‘UK trains armies on its own human rights blacklist’

Press TV – May 23, 2016

The British government is providing military training to the majority of nations it has blacklisted for human rights violations, a new report reveals.

In a report published on Sunday, the Independent revealed that 16 of the 30 countries on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)’s “human rights priority” watchlist are receiving military support from the UK despite being accused by London itself of issues ranging from internal repression to the use of sexual violence in armed conflicts.

According to the UK Ministry of Defense, since 2014, British armed forces have provided “either security or armed forces personnel” to the military forces of Saudi Arabia , Bahrain, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Burundi, China, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Britain is a major provider of weapons and equipment such as cluster bombs and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia in its year-long military aggression against Yemen that has killed nearly 9,400 people, among them over 2,230 children.

Since the conflict began in March 2015, the British government has licensed the sale of nearly $4 billion worth of weaponry to the Saudi kingdom.

British commandos also train Bahraini soldiers in using sniper rifles, despite allegations that the Persian Gulf monarchy uses such specialist forces to suppress a years-long pro-democracy uprising in the country.

Bahraini forces visited the Infantry Battle School in Wales last week, accompanied by troops from Nigeria, the Defense Ministry said.

Nigeria’s top military generals are accused by Amnesty International of committing war crimes by causing the deaths of 8,000 people through murder, starvation, suffocation and torture during security operations against the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorists, according to the report.

Andrew Smith, with the Campaign Against Arms Trade, said Britain should not be “colluding” with countries known for being “some of the most authoritarian states in the world.”

May 23, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nigerian president doesn’t want Cameron corruption apology… just all the country’s money back

RT | May 11, 2016

Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari used a keynote speech at a major anti-corruption conference in London to blast Prime Minister David Cameron for calling the African country “fantastically corrupt.”

The conference, which is currently underway, was meant to address global corruption, but a shadow was cast when Cameron was caught on camera calling Afghanistan and Nigeria “fantastically corrupt” in a conversation with the Queen and Speaker of the House John Bercow.

“What would I do with an apology? I need something tangible,” Buhari said.

“I am not going to demand any apology from anyone. What I am demanding is a return of assets.”

Buhari freely admitted before his address that his country had a graft problem and is thought to have been referring to major assets stashed in the UK by corrupt Nigerian figures.

In April 2016 a group of leading figures from Nigerian civil society raised a similar issue in an open letter, demanding Britain end its role as a “safe haven” for white-collar criminals who steal Nigeria’s wealth and resources for personal gain.

The letter’s signatories stressed the devastating effect corruption can have on ordinary citizens, stunting economic growth and exacerbating violent conflict and mass migration in its wake.

“Our Nigeria is one of those countries that has most bitterly suffered the impact. Despite the blessings of nature, which endowed us with abundant oil wealth, our infrastructure is deplorable,” the letter said.

The conference, a pet project of the PM’s, is likely to see Cameron file a motion to create a global anti-corruption body.

However, his plans have been attacked by critics on the basis the organization would have no meaningful powers of enforcement, instead relying on national and international policing agencies to intervene.

The summit comes only weeks after Cameron himself was caught up in a scandal relating to his father’s offshore company, Blairmore Holdings.

Following the Panama Papers leak that showed Cameron had profited from offshore tax schemes, the parliamentary standards committee said the PM would not be investigated. It gave no reason why.

May 11, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Bodies of Shias killed by Nigeria army must be exhumed: Activists

Press TV – April 29, 2016

Rights activists have called for the bodies of hundreds of Shia Muslims massacred by the Nigerian army last December to be exhumed for further investigation into the exact number of victims.

Residents in the northern city of Kaduna, where the carnage took place, have rejected the official death toll and said a local inquiry into the incident suggests the government figures may be a gross underestimation.

On December 12, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him.

A day later, Nigerian forces raided the home of Sheikh Ibhrahim al- Zakzaky, who leads the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), and arrested him after killing those attempting to protect him. Both incidents led to the deaths of hundreds of members of the religious community.

Rights groups say there is evidence Nigerian military had secretly buried hundreds of bodies in mass graves.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Mustapha and Nura Adam, two eye-witnesses, have also painted a horrific picture of the massacre.

Referring to a mass grave outside Kaduna, Mustapha said the local “government claimed they buried 347 people here but we know the actual number is far more than that.”

Mustapha also recalled how earth-moving equipment was brought into the cemetery near the Nigerian Defense Academy in the troubled region on December 14 to dig a pit for the burial.

He also noted that at about 11:00 p.m. (2200 GMT) armed forces cordoned off the narrow path leading to the burial ground shortly before trucks filled with bodies arrived.

“I counted six huge trucks and several military vans laden with dead bodies driving into the cemetery for the mass burial which residents were not allowed to witness,” said Adam.

“It took them five hours to finish the burial, which was an indication that the bodies were more than 347 because it doesn’t take that long to thrown in such a number of bodies into a pit,” he added.

Adam also said the bodies should be exhumed to confirm the exact number of the dead, adding that the world would be “shocked by the true number of those buried.”

However, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, counsel to the Kaduna state commission of inquiry probing the incident, has said local public officials do not have any authority to force the central government in Abuja to take action over the massacre.

“This is an investigative committee. It doesn’t have powers to issue orders,” said Mustapha, adding, “It is going to make its recommendations to the government on what it believes are the best ways to resolve the problem based on its findings.”

Last week, Amnesty International said in a report titled “Unearthing the truth: unlawful killings and mass cover-up in Zaria,” on April 22 that the Nigerian army killed over 350 supporters of Zakzaky and tried to meticulously destroy evidence of the crime by burying the victims in mass graves.

The report also blames Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for failing to probe army crimes against civilians.

Despite Buhari’s pledge to investigate the war crimes, “to date no concrete steps have been taken to end endemic impunity for such crimes,” it pointed out.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also slammed the carnage and said Nigerian forces committed several instances of bloodshed against the country’s Shia community in mid-December 2015.

The Nigerian army had also targeted Shias in August 2014 as people were holding a demonstration to condemn Israeli attacks on the Palestinians.

April 29, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Calls mount for immediate release of Nigerian cleric

Press TV – April 6, 2016

A Nigerian human rights lawyer has called for the immediate and unconditional release of senior Shia cleric and leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky.

In a Tuesday letter to the director general of the Department of State Services (DSS), Femi Falana said that Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat should be freed from “illegal detention” within 24 hours.

Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since December last year.

The clergyman is said to have been charged with “criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances.”

Falana said “even though our clients have not been told that they breached any law, they have been denied access to their lawyers, personal physicians, and family members for over three months.”

“Our clients were only permitted to meet with us last Friday after several requests made by us had been turned down without any legal basis,” he added.

Falana further noted that Zakzaky had lost his left eye due to the brutal attacks during his arrest, and that the doctors “are currently battling to save the right” eye.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission also called for the immediate and unconditional release of Zakzaky.

The London-based NGO slammed the persecution of Sheikh Zakzaky and his Islamic Movement in Nigeria as an affront to all civilized and democratic values.

It also urged the Nigerian government to bring to justice all those responsible for the unprovoked attacks on Zakzaky and his supporters.

On December 12, 2015, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the city of Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him.

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Nigeria: Soldiers committing extrajudicial killings, citizens disappearing after arrest

American Herald Tribune | February 21, 2016

It seems that Nigerians have to fear not only the extremist group Boko Haram, but also official soldiers who have proved to carry out extrajudicial killings, where the soldiers act as merciless as insurgents that have been spreading death and destruction in the African country.

According to the Associated Press, farmers and villagers across Nigeria are being arrested upon allegations that they belong to the extremist group Boko haram. The stunning part of the story is that many of these detained people disappear and do not return.

According to the source, Nigerian soldiers detained a teacher and two middle-aged farmers in Duhu village. Some residents, who knew the men, insisted they did not belong to the extremist group, and marched to a nearby military base to demand their release.

The military denied detaining elementary school teacher Habu Bello and farmers Idrisa Dele and Umaru Hammankadi even though several villagers told the news agency they watched as the men were taken away by uniformed soldiers.

“If you have a problem with someone, you can influence the military to pick them up and then you will never hear about them again,” human rights lawyer Sunday Joshua Wugira told AP from his offices in the northeastern city of Yola, where police are investigating the January killings of three brothers from the Fulani tribe.

In one act of terror, AP reported that a teenager said she was captured last year by Boko Haram fighters who attacked her village and killed her father.

“Soldiers arrived to hunt down extremists, but interrogated my three brothers instead. Vigilantes then seized and killed them,” she said.

The girl did not only suffer from Boko Haram’s terror, but even worse from the terror of the Nigerian soldiers as well. The 16-year old girl was kidnapped by Boko Haram at 16 and raped in captivity; she was freed in November when soldiers attacked the extremist camp where she was being held. She tried to return to her home village, but had to flee again because vigilantes threatened to kill her unborn child, calling it a “terrorist baby,” she said.

“I don’t have any figures, but I can confirm to you that there have been a series of complaints about extrajudicial killings,” Duhu district leader Mustapha Sanusi said.

Since 2011, the military has been responsible for the deaths of some 8,000 detainees who were shot, starved or tortured, which counts more than a third of the estimated 20,000 people killed during the 6-year-old insurgency.

The AP report also said that refugees panicked in January when they found the trussed-up body of a refugee with his head bashed in at the Shettima Ali Monguno Teachers Village camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

“We now fear more for our safety because we cannot tell who is good or bad among us,” said one young refugee, insisting on anonymity for safety. “Our camp is well fenced and secured, yet one of us was murdered over the night.”

“People are living in fear and believe that at the end of the day they will never get justice,” said lawyer Wugira, who underlined that he has been offering free services yet due to this fear most disappearances go unchallenged.

February 22, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Over 700 Shias missing after Nigeria army raids: Shia group

Press TV – January 14, 2016

A Nigerian Shia group says more than 700 of its members are still unaccounted for a month after the deadly attacks by Nigerian forces against Shia Muslims in the northern city of Zaria.

In a statement released on Thursday, Ibrahim Musa, the spokesman for the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), whose leader Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky is in police custody, said about 730 people have gone missing since December 12, 2015.

“These missing people were either killed by the army or are in detention” but their “whereabouts are still unknown and undisclosed,” Musa said.

He further noted that some 220 IMN members were in a prison, located in the city of Kaduna, the capital of the state with the same name, while others were in military custody elsewhere across the African state.

On December 12 last year, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the northern city of Zaria, accusing them of blocking the convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him. The Shias have categorically denied the allegations.

The following day, Nigerian forces also raided Zakzaky’s home and arrested him after reportedly killing those attempting to protect him, including one of the IMN’s senior leaders and its spokesman.

Both incidents led to the deaths of hundreds of members of the religious community, including three of Zakzaky’s sons. There has been no official death toll in the violence, but rights activists have put the number at over 1,000.

Musa said no Nigerian family had received a body for burial in the weeks since the Zaria violence.

The Shia cleric is said to have been charged with “criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances.”

The IMN has called for Zakzaky’s unconditional release and for Abuja to respond to the “unjustifiable atrocities committed by the army.”

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment