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WHO Renews Push for Global Pandemic Treaty, as World Bank Creates $1 Billion Fund for Vaccine Passports

By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | The Defender | August 9, 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) is moving ahead with plans to enact a new or revised international pandemic preparedness treaty, despite encountering setbacks earlier this summer after dozens of countries, primarily outside the Western world, objected to the plan.

A majority of WHO member states on July 21, during a meeting of WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB), agreed to pursue a legally binding pandemic instrument that will contain “both legally binding as well as non-legally binding elements.”

STAT News described the agreement, which would create a new global framework for responding to pandemics, as “the most transformative global health call to action since [the] WHO itself was formed as the first specialized United Nations agency in 1948.”

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum, African Union and World Bank — which created a $1 billion fund for “disease surveillance” and “support against the current as well as future pandemics” — are developing their own pandemic response mechanisms, including new cross-country vaccine passport frameworks.

WHO’s ‘pandemic treaty’: what’s been proposed and what would it mean?

Ongoing talks to formulate a new or revised “pandemic treaty” are building on the existing international framework for global pandemic response, the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR), considered a binding instrument of international law.

On Dec. 1, 2021, in response to calls from various governments for a “strengthened global pandemic strategy” and signaling the urgency with which these entities are acting, the WHO formally launched the process of creating a new treaty or amending the IHR, during Special Session — only the second in the organization’s history.

During the meeting, held May 10-11, WHO’s 194 member countries unanimously agreed to launch the process, which previously had been discussed only informally.

The member countries agreed to:

“Kickstart a global process to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.”

The IHR, a relatively recent development, were first enacted in 2005, in the aftermath of SARS-CoV-1.

The IHR legal framework is one of only two binding treaties the WHO has achieved since its inception, the other being the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The IHR framework already allows the WHO director-general to declare a public health emergency in any country, without the consent of that country’s government, though the framework requires the two sides to first attempt to reach an agreement.

The proposals for a new or revised pandemic treaty, put forth at the special ministerial session of the WHO in May, would “somewhat” strengthen the WHO’s pandemic-related powers, including establishing a “Compliance Committee” that would issue advisory recommendations for states.

However, according to the Daily Sceptic, while the IHR is already legally binding, the amendments proposed in May would not strengthen existing legal obligations or requirements:

“The existing treaty regulations, like all (or most) international law, do not actually compel states to do anything other than talk to the WHO and listen to it, and neither do they specify sanctions for non-compliance; almost all their output is advice.

“The proposed amendments don’t alter that. They don’t allow the WHO unilaterally to impose legally binding measures on or within countries.”

The Daily Sceptic noted one of the risks stemming from the negotiations for a new or updated treaty include the potential codification of “the new lockdown orthodoxy for future pandemics,” which would “replace the sound, science-based, pre-COVID recommendations” previously in place.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, such a treaty would grant the WHO “absolute power over global biosecurity, such as the power to implement digital identities/vaccine passports, mandatory vaccinations, travel restrictions, standardized medical care and more.”

Mercola also questioned a “one-size-fits-all approach to pandemic response,” pointing out that “pandemic threats are not identical in all parts of the world. In his view, he said, “the WHO is not qualified to make global health decisions.”

Similar concerns contributed at least in part to opposition against the proposals presented at the special ministerial session, during which a bloc of mostly non-Western countries, including China, India, Russia and 47 African nations, prevented an agreement from being finalized.

Will opposition fade away?

Although no final agreement was achieved at the May meeting, consensus was reached to organize a new special ministerial session of the WHO later this year, possibly after the WHO’s World Health Assembly, scheduled for Nov. 29 through Dec. 1, Reuters reported.

Mxolisi Nkosi, South Africa’s ambassador to the UN, told the WHO’s annual ministerial assembly the new special session would “consider the benefits for such a convention, agreement or other international instrument.”

Nkosi added:

“Probably the most important lesson COVID-19 has taught us is the need for stronger and more agile collective defences against health threats as well as for building resilience to address future potential pandemics.

“A new pandemic treaty is central to this.”

At the time, the U.K.’s ambassador to the UN, Simon Manley, addressing the lack of an immediate agreement and the consensus to hold a new meeting, tweeted “negotiations may take time, but this is a historic step towards global health security.”

The INB, at its meeting held in Geneva July 18-21, also agreed with this view, reaching a consensus that its members will work on finalizing a new legally binding international pandemic agreement by May 2024.

As part of this process, the INB will meet again in December and will deliver a progress report to the 76th World Health Assembly of the WHO in 2023.

According to the WHO, “Any new agreement, if any when agreed by Member States, is drafted and negotiated by governments themselves, [which] will take any action in line with their sovereignty.”

The WHO further claims that “governments themselves will determine actions under the accord while considering their own national laws and regulations.”

The Biden administration expressed broad support for a new or updated pandemic treaty, with the U.S. heading previous negotiations on this issue, along with the European Commission, via its president Ursula von der Leyen, who, as previously reported by The Defender, is also a strong proponent of vaccine passports and mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.

An analysis by the Alliance for Natural Health International speculated that any final agreement may simply strengthen the existing IHR or, alternatively, may involve an amendment to the WHO’s constitution — or both.

Just two days after the July 21 INB agreement, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, tweeted:

“I’m pleased that alongside the process of negotiating a new [international] accord on pandemic preparedness & response, WHO’s Member States are also considering targeted amendments to the [IHR], incl. ways to improve the process for declaring a [public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC].”

In the same Twitter thread, he also declared the ongoing monkeypox outbreak “a public health emergency of international concern,” one “that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners.”

Notably, the WHO director-general overruled an expert panel that was divided over whether to classify the outbreak as a global public health emergency.

With this declaration, three “global health emergencies” are now in place, as determined by the WHO: COVID-19, monkeypox and polio.

Busy summer for vaccine passport proposals

While the WHO and global governments weigh plans for an updated or new pandemic treaty, other organizations are moving forward on vaccine passport technologies and partnerships.

On July 8, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), composed of many of the world’s industrialized nations, announced it would promote the unification of the different vaccine passport systems currently in use around the world.

Thirty-six countries and international organizations participated in a July meeting with the goal of “creating a multilateral framework for establishing a global vaccine passport regime,” according to Nick Corbishley of Naked Capitalism.

The development is a continuation of efforts involving the WHO to harmonize global vaccine passport regimes.

In February, the WHO selected Germany’s T-Systems as an “industry partner to develop the vaccination validation service,” which would enable “vaccination certificates to be checked across national borders.”

T-Systems, an arm of Deutsche Telekom, was previously instrumental in developing the interoperability of vaccine passport systems in Europe.

Also in July, 21 African governments “quietly embraced” a vaccine passport system, which in turn would also be interlinked with other such systems globally.

On July 8, which is also Africa Integration Day, the African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control launched a digital vaccine passport valid throughout the African Union, describing it as “the e-health backbone” of Africa’s “new health order.”

This follows the development in 2021, of the Trusted Travel platform, now required by several African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Togo and Zimbabwe, and air carriers such as EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways, for both inbound and outbound travel.

Beyond Africa, Indonesia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20, is conducting “pilot projects” that would bring about the interoperability of the various digital vaccine passport systems currently in use globally. The project is expected to be completed by November, in time for the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

Naked Capitalism highlighted the role of South African company Cassava Fintech in the efforts to develop an interoperable vaccine passport for all of Africa.

A subsidiary of African telecommunication company Econet, Cassava initially developed the “Sasail” app, which the company described as Africa’s first “global super app” that combines “social payments” with the ability to send and receive money and pay bills, chat with others and play games.

Cassava and Econet entered into a strategic partnership with Mastercard, “to advance digital inclusion across Africa and collaborate on a range of initiatives, including expansion of the Africa CDC TravelPass.”

As previously reported by The Defender, Mastercard supports the Good Health Pass vaccine passport initiative that is also backed by the ID2020 alliance and endorsed by embattled former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair.

Mastercard has also promoted technology that can be embedded into the DO Card, a credit/debit card that keeps track of one’s “personal carbon allowance.”

ID2020, founded in 2016, claims to support “ethical, privacy-protecting approaches to digital ID.” Its founding partners include Microsoft, the Rockefeller Foundation, Accenture, GAVI-The Vaccine Alliance (itself a core partner of the WHO), UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.

Mastercard’s top two stockholders are Vanguard and BlackRock, which hold significant stakes in dozens of companies that supported the development of vaccine passports or implemented vaccine mandates for their employees. The two investment firms also hold large stakes in vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Mastercard provides funding for the World Bank’s Identity for Development (ID4D) Program, which “focuses on promoting digital identification systems to improve development outcomes while maintaining trust and privacy.”

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York School of Law recently described the ID4D program, which touts its alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) , as one which could pave the way to a “digital road to hell.”

According to the center, this would occur through the prioritization of “economic identity” and the use of an infrastructure that has “been linked to severe and large-scale human rights violations” in several countries.

Mastercard is also active in Africa through its joint initiative with another fintech (financial technology) company, Paycode, to “increase access to financial services and government assistance for remote communities across Africa” via a biometric identity system containing the data of 30 million individuals.

World Bank, WHO promote ‘pandemic preparedness’ and vaccine passports

The World Bank in late June announced the creation of a fund that will “finance investments in strengthening the fight against pandemics” and “support prevention, preparedness and response … with a focus on low- and middle-income countries.”

The fund was developed under the lead of the U.S., Italy and current G20 president Indonesia, “with broad support from the G20,” and will be active later this year.

It will provide more than $1 billion in funding for areas such as “disease surveillance” and “support against the current as well as future pandemics.”

The WHO is also a “stakeholder” in the project and will provide “technical expertise,” according to WHO’s director-general.

The agreement follows a 2019 strategic partnership between the UN and the World Economic Forum, to “accelerate” the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.

Although the agreement has recently circulated on social media, it was announced in June 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It encompasses six areas of focus, including “health” and “digital cooperation.”

In terms of health, the agreement purports that it will “support countries [sic] achieve good health and well-being for all, within the context of the 2030 Agenda, focusing on key emerging global health threats that require stronger multistakeholder partnership and action.”

In turn, the “digital cooperation” promoted by the agreement will purportedly “meet the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution while seeking to advance global analysis, dialogue and standards for digital governance and digital inclusiveness.”

However, despite rhetoric preaching “inclusiveness,” individuals and entities that have refused to go along with applications such as vaccine passports have faced repercussions in their personal and professional lives.

Such was the example of a Canadian doctor who was fined $6,255 in June over her refusal to use the country’s ArriveCAN health information app — which is being investigated over privacy concerns — to enter the country.

Dr. Ann Gillies said she was fined when re-entering Canada after attending a conference in the U.S.

Andrew Bud, the CEO of biometric ID company iProove, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security contractor, described vaccine certificates as driving “the whole field of digital ID in the future,” adding they are “not just about COVID [but] about something even bigger” and that “once adopted for COVID [they] will be rapidly used for everything else.”


Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., is an independent journalist and researcher based in Athens, Greece.

© 2022 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.

August 10, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia calls for reform of UN Security Council

Samizdat | August 3, 2022

The United Nations is in dire need of reform and the Security council must be “democratized” by expanding its representation, Russian foreign ministry official Alexey Drobinin has written in a keynote article published on Wednesday.

Drobinin, the Director of the Department of Foreign Policy Planning, commented on the current state of international relations and came to the conclusion that “more conscious effort and imagination is needed” to reform the UN.

He pointed out that the organization’s current agenda, which is primarily fueled by the West, is not necessarily in line with the interests of the majority of its international members.

Drobinin suggested that for most UN members the most important issues are things like access to cheap energy sources rather than the transition to “green” technologies, socio-economic development rather than human rights “in an ultra-liberal interpretation,” and security and sovereign equality rather than the artificial imposition of electoral democracy according to Western patterns.

He added that another topic that has once-again become relevant is the process of decolonization and ending the neo-colonial practices by transnational corporations in regards to the development of natural resources in developing countries.

However, international organizations such as the UN have essentially been “privatized” by the West, Drobinin points out. He suggests that the UN Secretariat and the offices of special envoys and special representatives of the Secretary General have all been saturated with the West’s own “tested” personnel, and that this also extended to non-UN organizations as well, such as the OPCW.

“The saddest thing is that this rust is eating away at the ‘holy of holies’ of the UN system – the Security Council,” Drobinin writes. “It devalues the meaning of the right of veto, which the founding fathers endowed to the permanent members of the Security Council with one single purpose: to prevent the interests of any of the great powers from being infringed, and thus save the world from a direct clash between them, which in the nuclear age is fraught with catastrophic consequences.”

While there are no “clear and simple recipes for correcting the situation here,” the diplomat continues, “clearly more conscious effort and imagination is needed when it comes to UN reform.” He goes on to suggest that the Security Council needs to be “democratized,” first of all by expanding the representation of African, Asian and Latin American countries.

Drobinin suggests that whatever the fate of international organizations such as the UN, WTO, IMF, World Bank or G20 is, the divisive policies of the West makes it “an absolute imperative for the coming years to form a new infrastructure of international relations.”

“After their frankly perfidious decisions and actions against Russia, its citizens and tangible assets, we simply cannot afford the luxury of not thinking about alternatives. Especially since many of our friends who have lost faith in Western benevolence and decency are thinking about the same thing,” the diplomat surmised.

August 3, 2022 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Lockdown Advocacy of Devi Sridhar

By Jeffrey A. Tucker | Brownstone Institute | June 20, 2022

The Covid era gave rise not only to popular mania but also to astonishing intellectual pretension. The experts were everywhere. They had all the answers. They knew for certain that a path never tried in anyone’s lifetimes was the certain way to go in order to control a virus. And this fanatical attachment to one goal caused all other considerations to be pushed aside.

The end of the story was baked in from the start. The experts were proven to have massively exaggerated their prowess and understanding of events. On point after point, their models blew up. The epidemic would end the way they always have, through acquired immunity and endemicity. Nowhere did the methods of the vaunted experts achieve the goal; at best they delayed the end point and created tremendous destruction along the way.

Now there is a problem: how to dial it all back without admitting profound error. This is a particular problem for those who wrote books before the story was complete. And by complete I am referring especially to the tremendous waves of infections that came 20 months after lockdowns were first imposed.

A paradigmatic case is Devi Sridhar, professor and chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. During the pandemic, she became a ubiquitous presence on television for two years both in the UK and the US. Her main message was to advocate and defend lockdowns, masking, mandates, and the entire apparatus of compulsion that characterized the pandemic response in nearly every country in the world. Her message was always geared toward what is called eliminationism or zero Covid.

As a Rhodes scholar in a high prestige position, she was well positioned to be this messenger. She has a compelling way and presents well in the medium. Plus, the message she delivered was the one that earned an official stamp of approval from all mainstream media. She was also a pro at delivering an attitude of disdain toward anyone who dared question the zero Covid story.

Now she has a book out that further elaborates on her point of view. It has the right title: Preventable: How a Pandemic Changed the World and How to Prevent the Next One. It’s a pretentious title, presuming that she knows for certain that the pandemic was preventable and therefore she should be trusted to tell us what to do next time.

What’s striking is the contrast between the certitude of the body of the book in which she is an unapologetic defender of China-style lockdowns and the afterword, which must have been written only days before the book went to print. Here we have a very different tone, discussed toward the end of this review.

Sadly for her, the book came out just before a wave of new lockdowns came to China that wrecked the lives and liberties of hundreds of millions of people and made an enormous mess of the entire economic mission of the country. She must not have had time to revise the manuscript.

Of China, her book says:

The way China set about eliminating SARS-CoV-2 could be described as draconian. It undertook house-to-house testing and removed individuals to quarantine facilities if they tested positive (sometimes against their will); it used tracking technology to trace 99–100 per cent of those who had had contact with the infected; it locked down entire buildings so individuals could not leave their flats or have free movement; and it constructed completely new hospitals within days…

The Chinese government understood well that the virus moves when people move. So it stopped people moving internally…

The efforts to contain the spread within Wuhan were effective and focused on reducing the R number…

These measures to contain spread worked

[China showed that] containment strategies (however draconian) could be effective at stopping this respiratory pathogen…

The evidence in February 2020 showed that containment was successful

Within the span of three months, China had eliminated the virus fully within its borders

This is the same message she delivered to millions day after day for two years.

We could just stop this review here, observing that none of the above turns out to be true. Currently, China faces an enormous problem. If we are to believe the data, vast swaths of China’s population still lack acquired immunity to Covid. Millions or billions need the exposure, and, as with all places in the world, the result for nearly everyone moderately healthy and not elderly will be recovery. This will happen with or without lockdowns.

President Xi Jinping, however, became convinced either by virtue of his ego or his circle of sycophants that his lockdowns two and a half years ago were his greatest achievement. He was celebrated by the World Health Organization and nearly every country in the world copied his brutal methods of virus suppression. He regarded it then as evidence that the CCP was destined to rule the future, by virtue of its masterful social, economic, and now medical management of society.

So of course the CCP cannot turn back now. He has stated repeatedly that there will be no compromise of the zero Covid stance that both he and Dr. Sridhar have long advocated. He must now either continue to threaten and enact lockdowns or figure out some clever way to back away from the position without admitting past error. He may in fact figure it out at some point.

After all, nearly every other government in the world has finally figured it out. Even under the best of assumptions that lockdowns offer some contribution to mitigate the ill-effects of a pathogen, the costs far outweigh those benefits. And those costs not only include economic, educational, and nutritional ones but also costs in terms of deaths from overdoses, despair, and self-harm from the inevitable demoralization from being treated like a prisoner or lab rat.

So I did read Dr. Sridhar’s book in search of some insight as to why she could have made such a profound error. All I found was a relentless and single-minded attachment to a zero Covid agenda, or some version of it, a genuine belief that the right deployment of human force could somehow make a virus go away. It truly boggles the mind.

The rest of the narrative is utterly predictable.

Countries that locked down are good, especially New Zealand and Australia. Countries that did not are bad, especially Sweden but also the UK and the US after reopening. Countries that kept lockdowns longer are good. Countries that opened up too soon are corrupt and rejecting “the science.” The Great Barrington Declaration is bad. Ramdesivir is good while Ivermectin is bad. And so on.

Her hard-core bias extends even to a rousing defense of Rebekah Jones, the low-level data employee in Florida who wrongly accused the Governor’s office of manipulating data in a case that was later tossed out.

The book is so partisan that she sometimes lets her politics even race ahead of her epidemiological position. For example, and this probably won’t surprise you, she comes to the defense of the George Floyd protests even in the midst of lockdowns:

In late May 2020, I was asked whether protesters were wrong to take to the streets. I replied that racism is also a pandemic, and one that Black Americans feel can’t be swept under the carpet any longer. While clearly mass gatherings during a pandemic are risky, I could understand that people were willing to take this risk in order to effect change for their children and the children of their children. This is how the civil rights movement has attempted to progress racial equality over decades.

In any case, you get the point here. She has a tribe and she wants to be its messenger. Still, I struggled through the entire text to see if I could find insight. This one jumped out at me:

While WHO was at the forefront of press briefings and leading technical and normative guidance to the pandemic, the World Bank had the financial power to help governments respond with key policies, whether through building up health systems and testing, putting in place economic packages to support lockdown measures, or in acquiring and distributing vaccines.

There we go: the World Bank subsidized lockdowns. Fascinating. That I did not know. This is a serious problem that needs to be fixed. How many millions face malnutrition as a result?

So much for the body of the book.

Probably the most telling part of the book is the afterword, written January 2022. Here our author jumps in with the latest information, namely that China had not in fact eradicated the virus and now keeps locking down, which she says is due to inferior vaccines. Within a few paragraphs, she – for the first time in the book – recognizes that even the best vaccines do not stop infection and do not stop the spread..

Whoops. Is she willing to rewrite the entire book in light of this last-minute realization that lockdown eliminationism and even mass vaccination cannot achieve the goal? No. Is she willing to rethink? Perhaps a bit but not enough.

While some say we should adapt normal social relations and mixing for the foreseeable future, I struggle with this line of thought. Humans are social: we need to hug, talk, dance, sing, kiss and be around others. We’re not bears or rhinos or other solitary creatures. We like seeing each other’s faces. And we know that a sense of community and connection are vital to wellbeing too. A holistic approach to public health is vital, and this includes not just people’s mental health but also their ability to pay rent, feed their family, stay warm through the winter and have a meaningful role in society, be that going to church or being part of a glee club. For a certain period of time, altering these made sense, so that we could avoid preventable illness and deaths; allow vaccines to be created, trialled and distributed in 2020 and into 2021; allow clinicians to better understand how to treat COVID-19; and allow a better understanding of transmission and risk.

Again, very interesting, especially because the change in tone from the rest of the book is so sharp. She doesn’t come close to repudiating her entire book – and she still believes that totalitarian measures somehow make sense for a “period of time” – but she does say that she is tired and exhausted and perhaps ready for some rethinking.

“I’ve taken a step back from media work… I’ve been testing several times a week, and, while I cautiously avoid crowded spaces, and wear masks on public transport and in shops, I continue to go to the gym and to hot yoga and to see friends outside or in small groups. I’ve found a sustainable way to live alongside COVID-19 for now… You’ve heard enough from me.

These are hopeful signs. It’s possible that even Devi Sridhar might eventually come to see the error of her ways. Or perhaps like most of the exalted experts who assisted in driving the world into the greatest calamity of the modern era, she will quietly disappear from the op-ed pages and television screens and go back to her prior life as a public health professor with degrees in anthropology. At some point, too, she will get Covid and discover with millions of others that it is part of the human experience to get sick and get well and become stronger as a result.

We will wait in vain for any sort of extended literary mea culpas. Not even the pensive afterword comes close. After all, when the next great health crisis presents itself, the WHO pushes for lockdowns again, and the major media empires need some great excuse to order people back home to be glued to the screen, the expertise of these compelling pundits – now with real media experience – will need to be called upon again.

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown.

June 23, 2022 Posted by | Book Review, Civil Liberties, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

African Governments to Western Eco-Imperialists Who Tell Them Not to Drill Their Own Oil and Gas – Get Lost

By Chris Morrison | The Daily Sceptic | May 5, 2022

It was never going to work. Telling African countries to stop developing their economies by banning cheap, reliable fossil fuel is little more than an eco-imperialist dream. Writing in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni lauded the discovery of oil in Lake Albert, but noted it was a battleground for the green NGOs and activists who claim that Armageddon is nigh at every opportunity.

“We are accustomed to these lectures, but we are tired of hearing them,” he added.

For the last decade, the West through the IMF and the World Bank has imposed a moratorium on support for African fossil fuel development – initially coal and more recently oil and gas as well. Museveni notes that in Africa the population is set to double by 2050, “and it is becoming increasingly clear that our energy needs cannot be met with a sudden shift to more expensive and less reliable solar and wind alone”.

Rich Western eco elites, of course, argue that the world must rid itself of fossil fuel as soon as possible. They believe the world is facing climate breakdown, although as articles in the Daily Sceptic show on a regular basis, that belief is backed by surprisingly few scientific facts. These Western elites effectively seek a command-and-control economy based on Net Zero, and a neo-pagan return to ancient Gaia goddess worship that elevates nature as sacred and denigrates humanity as destructive of it.

It might all play better in Africa if so-called global warming could be detected.

Atmospheric warming over the last 40 years has been more pronounced over the northern hemisphere, despite regular scare stories appearing about equatorial regions becoming uninhabitable. The GISS temperature database is run by NASA, and as with similar datasets it has been subject to considerable recent modifications, with the past cooled and later results warmed. Without these retrospective data adjustments, global recorded warming ran out of steam nearly two decades ago. Nevertheless, the contrast between the north, painted in fiery red, and most of Africa is clear from the GISS map (above).

The Lake Albert project is going ahead following a $10bn investment from the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Total Energies of France. It includes the building of a 900 mile pipeline to the port of Tanga. According to Real Clear Energy, the project will provide $48.5m in annual payments to Ugandan employees living in one of the least developed countries in the world. But opposition is fierce. Writing in the New York Times the local green agitator Vanessa Nakate of StopEACOP said the project would bring “poverty and destruction to the people of Africa”. It is claimed by her activist group that building the East African crude oil pipeline would tip the world closer to “full blown climate catastrophe”.

It is comments such as these which mostly surface in mainstream media, rather than those of the President of Uganda. It might also be thought that most Africans are less impressed with other solutions advanced in the West to solve any problems caused by growing populations. Sir David Attenborough is on record as stating humans are a plague on the Earth, and it was “barmy” to send food to Ethiopia to solve the famine crisis. In Attenborough’s view, sending flour bags to under-developed countries was pointless.

In public in the West, many  African politicians pay lip service to the aims of COP, not least because plenty of aid cash is on offer. Others take a more challenging and outspoken view. N.J. Ayuk is the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and he recently called the idea that you could develop Africa with handouts, “preposterous and sickening”.

He continued: “You cannot take people of any colour and exempt them from the requirements of civilisation – including work, free markets, behavioural standards, personal responsibility, fossil fuels, financial literacy and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain – without ruinous consequences to them and society at large.”

In his view, no country has ever been developed by fancy wind and green hydrogen. Africans see oil and gas as a path to success and a solution to their problems. “The demonisation of oil and gas companies will not work,” he added.

Writing in 2015, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson commented that something deep inside the human psyche makes it receptive to apocalyptic warnings. By a cruel irony, he said, too many climate scientists and their hangers-on have become the high priests of a new age of unreason. Asking developing countries to abandon the cheapest available sources of energy is, at the very least, asking them to delay the conquest of malnutrition, to perpetuate the incidence of preventable diseases and to increase the number of premature deaths.

“Global warming orthodoxy is not merely irrational. It is wicked,” he concluded.

May 6, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular | , , | 4 Comments

Ukraine requests $50bn in aid

Samizdat | April 17, 2022

Ukrainian economic adviser Oleh Ustenko has requested $50 billion in financial support from the G7 countries to cover the budget deficit created by the military conflict with Russia in a television address on Sunday. He said Kiev is also considering issuing 0% coupon bonds to bridge the fiscal gap.

In the meantime, the World Bank is preparing a $1.5 billion support package for Ukraine. The loan will include a $1-billion payment from the development lender’s fund for the poorest countries. The funding comes on top of about $923 million in fast-disbursing financing approved by the World Bank last month.

The US and NATO have also been sending billions of dollars Ukraine’s way, although in the form of military aid rather than cash. The Biden administration just this week approved yet another $800 million in weapons, ammunition, and other military assistance including artillery systems, rounds, armored personnel carriers, and helicopters. It comes less than a month after the Biden administration sent an $800 million bundle of anti-aircraft systems, firearms, ammo, and body armor Kiev’s way on March 16.

Washington’s contribution has been matched by that of the European Union and several individual member states, including Germany and Sweden, some of which have violated their own long-standing policies of not supplying lethal aid to countries at war by flooding Ukraine with anti-tank weapons, Stinger missiles, and armored vehicles, among other military equipment.

However, even amid a constant stream of military aid by the US and NATO allies, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted a video calling for the rest of the world to #ArmUkraineNow – complete with a very specific grocery list of desired equipment. Should countries fail to deliver, the Ukrainian leader claimed, Poland, Moldova, Romania, and the Baltic states would quickly fall under the tank treads of the Russian army.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

Russia has repeatedly stated it has no plans to even occupy Ukraine, let alone invade neighboring nations, but the talking point has become a favorite for Zelensky. The president has likened the invasion of his country to various events in World War II, including Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust, as well as the September 11th terror attacks in his efforts to convince the rest of the world to open their hearts as well as their bank accounts to the plight of his country.

April 17, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 4 Comments

Africans Deflect Biden’s Demand To End Fossil Fuel Use

By Duggan Flanakin ~ PA Pundits – International ~ April 17, 2021

As the merger of climate change and COVID panic materializes in front of our eyes, “global leaders” have found plenty developing world voices to join the crusade to “save the planet” from carbon (dioxide) “pollution.” But like their Chinese and Indian counterparts, many Africans, from heads of state to captains of industry and beyond, intend to expand, not shrink, reliance on fossil fuels to build their economies.

According to Oxford University researcher Galina Alova, “Africa’s electricity demand is set to increase significantly as the continent strives to industrialise and improve the well-being of its people,” but those who hope for rapid decarbonization in Africa will likely be disappointed.

Alova’s research found that Africa is likely to double its electricity generation by 2030, with fossil fuels providing two-thirds of the total, hydroelectric another 18 percent, and non-hydro renewables providing less than 10 percent.

Such an energy mix flies in the face of the firm commitment from the fledgling Biden Administration to demand an end to all international financing of fossil fuel based energy projects. Biden climate envoy John Kerry won a strong endorsement from 450 organizations worldwide after telling World Economic Forum members of the “plan for ending international finance of fossil fuel projects with public money.”

The Biden plan, which comports with the Paris climate agreement, echos the call by European Union foreign ministers for an end to financing fossil fuel projects abroad (which means in Africa). Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained that “development finance is a powerful tool for addressing the climate crisis” that the U.S. will use to “help drive investment toward climate solutions.” [Translation: “We intend to ram decarbonization down their throats!”]

Many Africans feel the need to placate their self-appointed betters and accept the climate change tenets.

World Bank veteran Ede Ijjasz and Africa Growth Initiative Director Aloysius Ordu claim that Africans must take advantage of the COVID pandemic to initiate a “great reset” of Africa’s economies according to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the Paris agreement. The world, they claim, cannot afford to give Africa a pass on decarbonization (though China and India get a pass).

Others prefer a more temperate approach.

In late March, investment professional Tariye Gbadegesin challenged President Biden to prioritize African nations as part of his global climate initiative. While admitting that Africa’s urban centers are swelling, “threatening more emissions,” she asserted that striking a balance between this ongoing development and its climate impact must be a global priority. For example, Nigeria could build a hybrid grid using plentiful natural gas and solar energy. But, Gbadegesin implied, such a hybrid grid would not meet the Biden-EU financing guidelines.

In early April, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Global Center for Adaptation, and the Africa Adaptation Initiative held a virtual Leaders Dialogue in response to the State of the Climate in Africa 2019 report. Over 30 heads of state and other global leaders committed to prioritize actions that will help African countries both adapt to the presumed impacts of “climate change” and overcome widespread energy poverty. African Union chair Felix Tshisekedi listed “nature-based solutions, energy transition, an enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer, and climate finance” as critical areas for adaptation.

During the meeting, AfDB president Dr. Akinwumi Adesina noted the group intends to mobilize $25 billion in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program. “It is time,” he affirmed, “for developed countries to meet their promise of providing $100 billion annually for climate finance. And a greater share of this should go to climate adaptation.”

This African response to the Biden-EU decarbonization initiative – relying on adaptation and balance, not prohibition and eternal poverty, to achieve sustainability — reflects on the 1987 Brundtland Commission report, “Our Common Future.” In the report, the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development” as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Commission Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland acknowledged that, “A world in which poverty is endemic will always be prone to ecological and other catastrophe.” In her view, “Meeting essential needs requires not only a new era of economic growth for nations in which the majority are poor, but an assurance that those poor get their fair share of the resources required to sustain that growth.”

Sadly, U.S. and EU (and the UN) climate “monarchs” have long ignored Brundtland’s promises. The UN’s 20-year assessment of the document did not even mention “poverty” or “Africa.” CFACT reported that year that sub-Saharan Africa was “in very short supply of energy and power, especially electricity, and overland trade [was] greatly hindered by an almost total lack of infrastructure.” Worse. curable diseases ran rampant as people relied on toxic dung and wood for heating and cooking.

At the 2011 UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa, nuclear physicist (and CFACT advisor) Kelvin Kemm reported that the African representatives were not happy. “Their general feeling,” he recounted, “was that the First World is trying to push Africa around, bully African countries into accepting its opinions, and, even worse, adopting its supposed ‘solutions’.”

That feeling remains. Responding to the Biden-EU renewables-only energy financing plan, W. Gyude Moore, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and former Liberian minister of public works, mused that, “There’s this idea that because Africa is lacking in legacy infrastructure, it’s a good canvas to paint the energy future. But no African country has volunteered itself for that.”

With nearly 600 million Africans lacking access to electricity, Moore added, “it seems immoral to restrict options for energy sources” for the world’s poorest continent. Later, Moore, with Vijaya Ramachandran of The Breakthrough Institute, wrote that a ban on oil and gas projects in Africa would stifle economic growth and thus make poor populations even more vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Moore and Ramachandran explained that the top priority in most African countries is economic growth, first in agriculture, then in industry and services. For most Africans, worries of an increased carbon footprint generated from economic growth are a weak second to worries that growth may not happen at all. In their view, people in poverty don’t just need to power a single lightbulb at home; they need abundant, affordable energy at work too.

Overall, Moore and Ramachandran noted, Africa’s needs are too great to be met solely with current green energy technologies. Its finances too stretched to be able to afford the cost of carbon-neutral energy. Keeping Africa poor to fight climate change will do nothing to help the people most affected by it. But President Biden, his EU allies, and the “green 450” disagree.

This arrogance makes it quite clear that “Our Common Future” is still in the future, if at all.

The difference is that, today, Africans are no longer waiting for the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, or even the African Development Bank to finally invest in sorely needed African infrastructure.

By hook or by crook, Africans are committed to using available resources to do the job.

Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundations, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas.

April 18, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

World Bank approves $250m loan to Morocco

MEMO | December 16, 2020

The World Bank has agreed to grant Morocco $250 million to support local agricultural, as part of a joint operation with the French Development Agency.

This came in a statement issued by the World Bank on Wednesday, after its executive board approved the loan on Tuesday.

The loan aims to support the Generation Green programme, a government strategy for developing agriculture.

The statement announced: “The funding will also support the country’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The loan will finance entrepreneurship and training programmes for villages’ youth, with a view to attracting private investments into the agricultural food products sector, and removing regulatory and financing obstacles to stimulate the creation of job opportunities.

According to official statistics, the agricultural sector contributes about 14 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). It presents an important source of employment for 75 per cent of the country’s villagers.

December 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Sorry, Google and World Bank, but Middle Eastern Crops Keep Thriving

By H. Sterling Burnett | ClimateRealism | November 4, 2020

Google News today is promoting articles (see the Google-promoted PhysOrg article here, for example) about a speculative World Bank “study” claiming climate change is threatening crop production in the Middle East. The World Bank study is full of speculation but short on facts. Real-world data show crop yields per acre and total crop production are consistently and dramatically rising in each of the Middle East countries examined by the World Bank study.

In its study, titled “Water in the Balance,” the World Bank says, “[w]hile information about water scarcity at present and in the future is available there is little knowledge of what this increasing scarcity means for Middle Eastern … food security. Agriculture will suffer because of climate change and water scarcity….”

In particular the World Bank asserts water scarcity caused by climate change will reduce farm production in Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. The available evidence strongly suggests that will not happen.

Had the study’s authors examined real-world data concerning crop production in the Middle Eastern countries, they would have found, even amidst substantial strife in the region, crop yields and overall production have increased dramatically. More food is being produced even as thousands of acres of agricultural lands have been abandoned during regional conflicts.

Data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization show during the period of modest warming since 1989:

It is clearly good news – and not a climate crisis – that Middle Eastern countries have increased crop production despite the fact that many of them have been embroiled in internal political strife, outright civil warfare, and external conflicts. That good news is ignored in the World Bank’s doom-and-gloom report.

Global warming lengthens growing seasons, reduces frost events, and makes more land suitable for crop production. Also, carbon dioxide is an aerial fertilizer for plant life. In addition, crops also use water more efficiently under conditions of higher carbon dioxide, losing less water to transpiration. The latter fact should have allayed the World Bank’s concern about climate change induced water shortages leading to crop failure.

The benefits of more atmospheric carbon dioxide and a modestly warming world have resulted in 17 percent more food being available per person today than there was 30 years ago, even as the number of people has grown by billions. Indeed, the last 20 years have seen the largest decline in hunger, malnutrition, and starvation in human history.

Sorry, World Bank, Google, and PhysOrg, but that does not equate to a climate crisis.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute. Burnett worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis for 18 years, most recently as a senior fellow in charge of NCPA’s environmental policy program. He has held various positions in professional and public policy organizations, including serving as a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Task Force in the Texas Comptroller’s e-Texas commission.

November 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Wall Street Behind the Delay in Declaring the Coronavirus Outbreak a “Pandemic”?

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | February 26, 2020

A little known specialized bond created in 2017 by the World Bank may hold the answer as to why U.S. and global health authorities have declined to label the global spread of the novel coronavirus a “pandemic.” Those bonds, now often referred to as “pandemic bonds,” were ostensibly intended to transfer the risk of potential pandemics in low-income nations to financial markets.

Yet, in light of the growing coronavirus outbreak, the investors who purchased those products could lose millions if global health authorities were to use that label in relation to the surge in global coronavirus cases.

On Tuesday, federal health officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they are preparing for a “potential pandemic” of the novel coronavirus that first appeared in China late last year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that an estimated 80,000 worldwide have contracted the disease, most of them in China, while more than 2,700 have died.

However, some have argued that the CDC’s concerns about a likely pandemic have come too late and that action should have been taken much earlier. For instance, in early February, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, had told the New York Times that the novel coronavirus is “very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” while former CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden had echoed those concerns at the time, stating that it is “increasingly unlikely that the virus can be contained.”

Despite those warnings, among many others, the CDC waited to announce its concerns that the virus could spread throughout the United States. Their Tuesday announcement riled markets, wiping out $1.7 trillion in stock market value in just two days. The CDC’s warning has reportedly angered President Trump, who accused the agency of needlessly spooking financial markets.

Notably, WHO officials have taken an even more cautious approach than the CDC in their recent comments, stating that it is still “too early” to declare the coronavirus outbreak a “pandemic” while also asserting that “it is time to do everything you would do in preparing for a pandemic.”

The refusal to label the outbreak a pandemic is odd, since it refers to an epidemic or actively spreading disease that affects two or more regions worldwide. This currently describes the geographical spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus, which has now resulted in significant clusters of cases far from China, namely in Italy and Iran. Countries closer to China, like South Korea, have also recently experienced an explosion in novel coronavirus infections.

It is possible that concerns over using the word “pandemic” could upset global markets and lead to economic turmoil, similar to what happened to the U.S. stock market following the CDC announcement on Tuesday. Though such concerns are valid, there is also evidence that a particular class of bonds issued by the World Bank that are closely related to official declarations of pandemics may also be responsible for having steered WHO and CDC officials away from using this term, even though the consequences of doing so could negatively impact global public health.

Pandemic Bonds: a “scheme like no other”

In June 2017, the World Bank announced the creation of “specialized bonds” that would be used to fund the previously created Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) in the event of an officially-recognized (i.e. WHO-recognized) pandemic.

They were essentially sold under the premise that those who invested in the bonds would lose their money if any of six deadly pandemics hit, including coronavirus. Yet, if a pandemic did not occur before the bonds mature on July 15, 2020, investors would receive what they had originally paid for the bonds back in addition to interest and premium payments on those bonds that they recieve between the date of purchase and the bond’s maturation date.

The PEF, which these pandemic bonds fund, was created by the World Bank “to channel surge funding to developing countries facing the risk of a pandemic” and the creation of these so-called “pandemic bonds” was intended to transfer pandemic risk in low-income countries to global financial markets. According to a World Bank press release on the launch of the bonds, WHO backed the World Bank’s initiative.

However, there is much more to these “pandemic bonds” than meets the eye. For example, PEF has a “unique financing structure [that] combines funding from the bonds issued today with over-the-counter derivatives that transfer pandemic outbreak risk to derivative counterparties.” The World Bank asserted that this structure was used in order “to attract a wider, more diverse set of investors.”

Critics, however, have called the unnecessarily convoluted system “World-Bank-enabled looting” that enriches intermediaries and investors instead of the funds intended targets, in this case low-income countries struggling to fight a pandemic. These critics have asked why not merely give these funds to a body like the Contingency Fund for Emergencies at the World Health Organization (WHO), where the funds could go directly to affected countries in need.

Notably, WHO determines if a pandemic meets the criteria that would see investors’ money be funneled into PEF as opposed to their own pockets, which would take place if no pandemic is declared between now and when the bonds are set to mature this upcoming July.

In 2017, the news site Quartz described the mechanism of “pandemic bonds” as follows:

Investors buy the bonds and receive regular coupons payments in return. If there is an outbreak of disease, the investors don’t get their initial money back. There are two varieties of debt, both scheduled to mature in July 2020.

The first bond raised $225 million and features an interest rate of around 7%. Payout on the bond is suspended if there is an outbreak of new influenza viruses or coronaviridae (SARS, MERS). The second, riskier bond raised $95 million at an interest rate of more than 11%. This bond keeps investors’ money if there is an outbreak of Filovirus, Coronavirus, Lassa Fever, Rift Valley Fever, and/or Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever. The World Bank also issued $105 million in swap derivatives that work in a similar way. (emphasis added)”

In 2017, the World Bank issued $425 million in these “pandemic bonds” and the bond sale was reported to have been 200 percent oversubscribed, “with investors eager to get their hands on the high-yield returns on offer,” according to reports. The premiums bondholders have received thus far were largely funded by the governments of Japan and Germany, who are also the top nation-state funders of WHO behind the United States and United Kingdom. Reports have claimed that most of the bondholders are firms and individuals based in Europe.

Some analysts have argued that these pandemic bonds were never intended to aid low-income pandemic-stricken countries, but instead to enrich Wall Street investors. For instance, American economic forecaster Martin Armstrong has called the World Bank’s pandemic bonds “a giant gamble in the global financial casino” and a “scheme like no other,” recently arguing that these bonds could present a “a structured derivative time bomb” that could upend financial markets if a pandemic is declared by WHO. Armstrong went on to say that it is in WHO’s interest to declare the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, but noted that, in doing so, they would cause bondholders to take significant losses.

Even establishment economists like former World Bank chief economist and Secretary of Treasury Larry Summers have criticized the World Bank’s program, dismissing the PEF as “financial goofiness.” Bodo Ellmers, the director of the Global Policy Forum’s sustainable development finance program, has similarly called pandemic bonds “useless,” while Olga Jonas, who worked at the World Bank as an economist for over 30 years, said the program was “designed to fail” because the bonds were crafted in order “to reduce the probability of payout.”

Economic and business analyst and host of the podcast “Quoth the Raven” Chris Irons told MintPress News that, with respect to the pandemic bonds, “What’s important is to focus on who stands to benefit from this not being declared a pandemic,” a difficult task given that the identity of most bondholders are not currently publicly available.

Irons also noted that, in his opinion, “WHO and the CDC have been caught a little flat-footed here” and that some governments that fund WHO, particularly the Trump administration, appear “more concerned with the stock market than giving people information that may be necessary and vital.” He added that behind-closed-doors pressure on WHO by those who stand to lose financially from an official declaration of a pandemic would be “unsurprising.”

How to trigger a payout

As the coronavirus outbreak grows, concern has grown among those invested in pandemic bonds that payout to countries affected by coronavirus will be triggered, despite the clear delay by WHO in declaring the outbreak as a pandemic. While WHO could theoretically alter the criteria that would trigger payout and cause bondholders to lose big, some recent reports have claimed that bondholders are seeking to rid themselves of the bonds prior to their July maturation date.

German media outlet Deutsche-Welle noted that the trigger for the first class of pandemic bonds, valued at $225 million, would normally have already been met due to the criterion of more than 2,500 deaths in a “developing country.” However, WHO has said this does not meet said criterion because it does not consider China to be a developing country, even though the World Bank’s own criteria do consider China to be a developing country.

For the second and riskier category of pandemic bonds, those bonds are triggered when the disease in question crosses an international border and causes more than 20 deaths in the second country. At the time of publication of this article, Iran has recorded at least 50 deaths, which should have triggered this second category of pandemic bonds, valued at $95 million. Yet, WHO has yet to comment on how this criterion for the second category bonds has been met.

The WHO’s decision to refuse to use the “p-word” may be the result of several factors, though the pandemic bonds loom large as a $425 million incentive for not doing so. While avoiding the use of the term may please pandemic bondholders, it is set to have major negative consequences for global public health, particularly given the fact that early action against epidemic and pandemic outbreaks is widely considered to be an imperative.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

February 26, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Sudan to Compensate Families of USS Cole Victims

teleSUR | February 13, 2020

The new Sudanese government has agreed to compensate the families of sailors killed in an Al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole warship 20 years ago, state news agency SUNA said on Thursday, part of government efforts to remove the country from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The report said the settlement had been signed on Feb. 7. It did not mention the amount paid in compensation, but a source with knowledge of the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Sudan had agreed to settle the case for $30 million.

The 17 sailors were killed, and dozens of others injured, in the attack on Oct. 12, 2000, when two men in a small boat detonated explosives alongside the Navy guided missile destroyer as it was refueling in the southern Yemeni port of Aden.

Khartoum agreed to settle “only for the purpose of fulfilling the condition set by the U.S. administration to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism”, SUNA said, citing the justice ministry.

Being designated as a state sponsor of terrorism makes Sudan ineligible for desperately needed debt relief and financing from lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Removal from the list potentially opens the door for foreign investment.

“The government of Sudan would like to point out that the settlement agreement explicitly affirmed that the government was not responsible for this incident or any terrorist act,” the justice ministry said in its statement, cited by SUNA said.

The announcement comes two days after Khartoum and rebel groups agreed that all those wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and genocide in the Darfur region should appear before the tribunal. The list includes Sudan’s ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

The U.S. sailors’ relatives had sued Sudan under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which generally bars suits against foreign countries except those designated by the United States as a sponsor of terrorism, as Sudan has been since 1993.

Sudan did not defend against the claims in court. In 2014, a trial judge found that Sudan’s aid to al Qaeda “led to the murders” of the 17 Americans and awarded the families about $35 million, including $14 million in punitive damages.

Sudan then tried to void the judgment, arguing the lawsuit was not properly served on its foreign minister, violating notification requirements under U.S. and international law.

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the bid by the families last year.

February 13, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Nicaragua’s Sandinista Achievements Baffle World Bank, IMF

teleSUR | August 31, 2017

No one can take at face value any report, governmental or quasi non-governmental, coming out of the imperialist bureaucracy in Washington. Ideological bias and institutional self-justification prevent these reports from giving a true account of virtually anything.

The latest World Bank report on Nicaragua is no exception.

The implicit but unstated truth in this report is that President Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista National Liberation Front have achieved an unprecedented economic turnaround in just seven years, starting in 2010.

Reading the report, it is impossible to ignore the tension between latent ideological and political imperatives and the obligation to report the facts. Put another way, mild conflict clearly prevails between the World Bank’s Washington head office and its reality based local officials. From Washington, the tendency is both to minimize Ortega’s achievement and also to cover up the World Bank’s own lamentable history in Nicaragua. On the other hand, in Nicaragua, local World Bank staff dutifully report the facts as they see them.

A total of 71 people contributed to the report. Supposing those 71 people each worked for a month to prepare the research and say their average salary was about US$80,000, then pro rata a month’s work by that team cost over US$500,000, a very conservative guess. Even so, in summary, that money bought policy recommendations for Nicaragua’s development amounting to little more than better infrastructure; better basic services; more private business investment; more efficient government; better targeted social policies. That’s it, for US$500,000 or more.

In general, the report recognizes Nicaragua’s achievements in reducing poverty and inequality, raising productivity, diversifying economic activity and promoting security and stability. The report’s 130 or so pages include, among the economic and sociological analysis, many self-confessed guesses to fill in “knowledge gaps” and much gerrymandered history to cover up what Harold Pinter in his 2005 Nobel prize winning address justly called “the tragedy of Nicaragua.”

Pinter himself might have remarked the report is almost witty in its audacious, glib omissions. It acknowledges the catastrophic destructive effects of the 1980s war in Nicaragua, but carefully omits the U.S. government’s deliberate role in that destruction, now repeated against Syria and Venezuela.

The report talks about a “democratic transition” starting in 1990. In fact, the Sandinistas organized the first free and fair democratic elections ever in Nicaragua in 1984, but the U.S. government ordered the main Nicaraguan opposition to boycott them. Despite the war, Ortega and the Sandinistas won with 67 percent of the vote, very similar to the most recent presidential elections in 2016.

The heavy ideological bias also explains the World Bank’s curious dating of when Nicaragua’s economic turnaround began, placing it firmly in the neoliberal era prior to 2007. But at just that time, the World Bank was cutting back the public sector as much as they could, pushing, for example, to privatize Nicaragua’s public water utility and its education system.

Back then, Nicaragua’s neglected electrical system collapsed through 2005 and 2006, incapable of generating even 400 megawatts a day, plunging swathes of Nicaragua back into 19th-century darkness for 10 to 12 hours at a time, day after day. That was the World Bank and IMF’s gift to Nicaragua after 17 years of so-called “democratic transition.” That period included Hurricane Mitch, devastating Nicaragua to the tune of 20 percent of its GDP, only for the corrupt neoliberal government at the time to misuse hundreds of millions of dollars in disaster relief. The only structurally significant economic achievement of the neoliberal era in Nicaragua was substantial foreign debt relief.

When Ortega took office in January 2007, he faced four years of domestic crisis with an opposition controlled legislature persistently sabotaging his government’s programs. From 2007 to 2008, Nicaragua and the whole region struggled in vain to contain a balance of payment deficits against oil prices reaching US$147 a barrel in 2008.

That disaster was compounded by the collapse of the Western financial system in late 2008 to 2009, a year when Nicaragua’s economy suffered a 3 percent contraction. Only in 2010, did the Nicaraguan government finally enjoy domestic and international conditions stable enough to be able to consolidate and improve its social programs, improve infrastructure investment, democratize and diversify the economy, extend basic services, and attract foreign investment, among other things.

If that sounds suddenly familiar, it should. It is exactly the development recipe offered up by this latest World Bank report, essentially an embellished review of policies the Nicaraguan government has already been implementing for a decade. Put positively, the government’s National Human Development Plan and other relevant documents suggest that the World Bank’s engagement with the Nicaraguan government has been one of mutual learning. So much so, that the current country program is likely to continue and may even expand.

The political opposition in Nicaragua has seized on parts of the report to try and discredit the Sandinista government’s outstanding achievements. In fact, for 17 years under neoliberal governments implementing World Bank and IMF policies, areas criticized like, for example, access to drinking water and adequate sanitation, or education, suffered chronic lack of investment, compounded by egregious waste and corruption. Now, the World Bank hypocritically criticizes Nicaragua’s government for intractable policy difficulties the IMF and the World Bank themselves originally provoked.

Similarly, when the World Bank report criticizes the targeting of social programs, they omit the unquestionable success of the government’s Zero Usury micro credit program and the Zero Hunger rural family support program, both prioritizing women. These programs have lifted tens of thousands of families out of poverty and, along with unprecedented support for Nicaragua’s cooperative sector, radically democratized Nicaragua’s economy, especially for previously excluded rural families and women. That supremely important national process is entirely absent from the World Bank report.

In its discussions of almost all these issues, the report makes more or less detailed contributions, mostly already identified by the government itself. In every case, the underlying cause of problems or lack of progress, for example, on land titling or social security, has been the legacy of neoliberal governments between 1990 and 2007, that reinstated elite privilege, rolled back the revolutionary gains of the 1980s and failed to guarantee necessary investment.

The World Bank and the IMF were enthusiastic ideological partners in that endeavor. They would have continued their ideological offensive had not Ortega and his government dug in their heels in 2007 and 2008, backed by investment support for social and productive programs from Venezuela as part of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas.

Since then, the World Bank, as this report suggests, seems, at least for the moment, to have learned two key lessons from the Sandinistas. In a world dominated by corporate elite globalization, their report implicitly recognizes the importance, firstly, of a mixed economy under a strong central government and, secondly, the crucial role of broad dialogue and consensus, across all sectors of society, to promote and sustain national stability. Essentially, the World Bank has acknowledged the undeniable success of the Sandinista Revolution’s socialist inspired, solidarity based policies, decisively prioritizing the needs of people over corporate profit and demonstrating the systemic inability of capitalism to meet those needs.

September 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian NGO statement on the World Bank-sponsored Red-Dead Sea Canal

Palestine Center for Human Rights | November 1, 2013

The undersigned Palestinian NGOs call on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to halt all forms of cooperation with the World Bank-sponsored Red Sea – Dead Sea Conveyance Project (RSDSCP) and to take an unequivocal public stance of rejection to the project.

It has become clear beyond doubt that the project is an unacceptable attempt to force the Palestinian population to consent to their own dispossession and to compromise on their own rights.

Any lack of a clear position by the Palestinian leadership on this outrageous project, any stand of ambiguity or positive criticism towards it, contributes to the impunity that for far too long has allowed Israel to appropriate Palestinian water and deny Palestinians their rights.

Five reasons why the RSDSCP must be rejected:

1. The project undermines Palestinian water rights and legitimizes Palestinian dispossession from the Jordan River. Israel unilaterally controls the flow from the upper Jordan River and prevents Palestinians from making use of their rightful share of the lower river’s water. This is the sole cause for the gradual disappearance of the Dead Sea. Instead of addressing Israel’s water theft, the project aims to maintain the unjust status-quo of the river and allegedly “save” the Dead Sea through large scale Red Sea water transfer.

2. The project attempts to replace the river’s natural fresh water appropriated by Israel from the upper Jordan River with desalinated Red Sea water sold at high costs to severely water-dispossessed Palestinians and at pitiful quantities. Even these sales remain merely an “option” and the World Bank studies plan to ‘supply’ only Jericho, which is currently the only water-rich place in the occupied West Bank. With every drop of water that Palestinians purchase, they capitulate to their own deprivation.

3. Neither the World Bank’s Feasibility Study (FS) nor its Environmental & Social Assessment study (ESA) address the grave damage to the West Bank Eastern Aquifer, currently the only source Palestinians have for water supply and development. The Eastern aquifer is rapidly depleting, and its water table is dropping at an alarming rate – both as a direct result of the shrinking Dead Sea. Consenting to the project entails closing an eye to the rapid destruction of the only other water resource in the Eastern West Bank. Instead, Israel should be held accountable for the damage it caused to this vital resource on which over 1 million Palestinians currently depend.

4. Far from “saving the Dead Sea”, the RSDSCP will actually destroy the unique features of the Dead Sea and its ecosystem. Under the project, the Dead Sea is slated to turn into a dead, engineered pool of Red Sea water and desal brines, destroying this Palestinian and world heritage site.

5. Both Red-Dead studies (FS & ESA) and the entire conduct of the World Bank lack credibility and transparency, and make a mockery of the alleged consultation and participation process. Throughout the process, the Bank has systematically turned a blind eye to Israeli violations of Palestinian water rights.

The Bank repeatedly and deliberately ignored key concerns expressed by Palestinians since the project’s inception and during the “consultation” meetings in severe breach of its very own Code of Conduct, as well as the project’s Terms of Reference.

In addition, the Bank management has so far refused to make public the results of the Feasibility and ESA studies. The World Bank’s actions are tantamount to a cover-up.

Palestinian civil society organizations reiterate their rejection of the Red Sea – Dead Sea Conveyance Project and invite Palestinians of all walks to demand that the PLO and the PNA honor their aspirations for self-determination and justice by voicing a clear, loud and unequivocal “No!” to the Red-Dead Sea scam.

This project can only result in further damaging and undermining Palestinian water rights and all cooperation with it should cease immediately. Reparation and compensation for past damages and respect for Palestinian water rights are long overdue and the only way forward.

Endorsing organizations and individuals:

1. Palestinian Environment NGO Network (PENGON)
2. MAAN Development Center
3. Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group (PalWEG)
4. Stop the Wall
5. Palestinian Farmers Union
6. Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)
7. Land Research Center
8. Media Environmental Center
9. Palestine Hydrology Group (PHG)
10. Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
11. Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UWAC)
12. Environmental Education Center (EEC)
13. Institute of Environmental and Water Studies – Birziet University
14. Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
15. Palestinian Environment Friends (PEF)
16. Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
17. Earth and Human Center for Research and Studies (EHCRS)
18. Palestinian Farmers Association
19. The Arab Agronomists Association (AAA)
20. Prof. Dr. Hilmi S. Salem, Palestine Technical University – Kadoorie (PTUK)
21. Clemens Messerschmid, Hydrologist
22. Prof. Dr. Samir Afifi, Environmental & Earth Sciences Department, Islamic University of Gaza

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment