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Susan Rice is Bad News for Africa

By Glen Ford | Black Agenda Report | December 3, 2008

Barack Obama’s nominee for United Nations Ambassador is a very aggressive woman – militarily speaking. Susan Rice is “more bellicose” than George Bush when it comes to threatening Sudan over the plight of the people of Darfur, “while simultaneously backing a savage U.S.-Ethiopian assault that causes an even larger humanitarian calamity in Somalia.” One is forced to conclude that “Susan Rice’s brand of ‘humanitarian intervention’ is a farce, a pretext to justify military aggression under the guise of preventing human suffering.”

If you believe that Barack Obama will pursue a policy in the Horn of Africa that is substantially different than that of George Bush, you are in for a deep disappointment. Only weeks after Ethiopia’s U.S.-instigated invasion of Somalia almost two years ago, Susan Rice, Obama’s choice for Ambassador to the United Nations, endorsed the aggression – an atrocity that has resulted in the displacement of 1.5 million Somalis and impending starvation of 3.5 million more.
Rice is a proponent of so-called “humanitarian military intervention” – but supports a U.S. Somalia policy that created “Africa’s worst humanitarian crisis,” according to the United Nations.

There is every reason to believe she will counsel the next president to continue George Bush’s policies in the Horn of Africa. In January, 2007, while Ethiopian troops attempted to crush Islamists who had brought a brief period of relative peace and stability to Somalia, and U.S. air and sea forces pounded the countryside with missiles and bombs, Rice revealed herself to be an apostle of George Bush’s War on Somalia (and the so-called War on Terror in general). Rice told the PBS News Hour that U.S. collaboration with the Ethiopian invaders was justified by what she called America’s “counterterrorism imperatives,” which she said “really are real in the context of Somalia.” In Rice’s words, “We have to go after the terrorist cells where we find them.”

The Bush regime gave no estimate of how many persons with ties to Al Qaida were operating on Somali soil, but the number appears to have been very small. The main goal of the Americans and their Ethiopian allies was to crush the government that had been created by Somali Islamists. The Islamic Courts regime, as Abukar Arman writes in the journal Global Politician, operated “schools, hospitals, and for six months before the occupation removed every checkpoint in Mogadishu and brought a semblance of peace.” Two years after the invasion, the Islamists have retaken much of southern and central Somalia, and the Ethiopians appear poised to withdraw – after killing, starving and displacing millions in partnership with the United States.

The “humanitarian” component of Susan Rice’s militarism is quite selective.

She has long been a super-hawk on punishing Sudan for its behavior in Darfur. Back in October, 2006, Rice declared, “It’s time to get tough” with the government in Khartoum.” In a Washington Post column, she advised the Bush regime to give Sudan “an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the U.N. force within one week or face military consequences.”

On Darfur, Rice is more bellicose than Bush. She sees no contradiction in calling for military action against Sudan, supposedly to end a “humanitarian crisis” in Darfur, while simultaneously backing a savage U.S.-Ethiopian assault that causes an even larger humanitarian calamity in Somalia. Rice claims to seek safety for civilians in Darfur, while supporting a total absence of security for Somali civilians. Darfur is a military/political convenience for “real-politic” operatives like Susan Rice. As Bruce Dixon wrote in his November 2007 BAR article, “If stopping genocide in Africa really was on the agenda, why the focus on Sudan with 200,000 to 400,000 dead rather than Congo with five million dead?”

Rice’s behavior in Africa has always been morally inconsistent. She was a member of Bill Clinton’s National Security Council during the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi minority. Later, she “swore” she would go “down in flames” if necessary to prevent future genocides. But after her promotion to Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, she failed to publicly advocate action against U.S. allies Uganda and by then Tutsi-ruled Rwanda – the main perpetrators in an ongoing war that his killed millions

Susan Rice’s brand of “humanitarian intervention” is a farce, a pretext to justify military aggression under the guise of preventing human suffering. She has amply demonstrated that her sole concern is projection of U.S. power by any means – or pretext – that is available.

Rice embraces a policy that causes mass death and starvation in Somalia and ongoing genocide in Congo. Although she’s no blood relative of Condoleezza Rice, on African issues she seems headed in the same direction as the current Secretary of State.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

December 12, 2012 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Syrian rebels set to execute Ukrainian journalist

RT | December 13, 2012

NGOs are urging Syrian rebels to release a Ukrainian journalist, Anhar Kochneva, who is set to be executed Thursday. Meanwhile the group behind the kidnapping warned it would now target all Russians, Ukrainians and Iranians on Syrian soil.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), ARTICLE 19, the International Press Institute and Reporters Without Borders issued a joint statement expressing deep concern about Kochneva’s life and urging the leadership of the Free Syrian Army and of the Syrian Opposition Coalition to ensure that the journalist is safe and set free.

The groups also called on the French, British and US governments, as well as the European Union to work with the Syrian opposition to facilitate her release.

Kochneva, who has reported critically about the Syrian rebels for Russian and Ukrainian news outlets, was captured in the beginning of October near the restive city of Homs. The kidnappers, allegedly members of the Free Syrian Army, threatened to kill her on December 13 if a US$ 50 million ransom is not paid.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian authorities urged Damascus to work more actively to help free the journalist. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Aleksandr Dikusarov said that Kiev expects “concrete results” in attempts to release her.

In response to the Ukrainian demands, Kochneva’s kidnappers posted a video in which they threatened to target the embassies of Ukraine, Russia, as well as all Russians, Ukrainians and Iranians in Syria.

“We urge not to let a single Russian, Ukrainian or Iranian alive out of Syria,” the rebels said in the video, aired by Ukrainian news channel Ukraina.

The rebels label Kochneva a spy, claiming that she was carrying arms and worked as an interpreter for the Russian officers.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry did not issue comment on the latest video, saying its authenticity cannot be verified, according to Ukraina news channel.

A month after the kidnapping, a video message from Kochneva was published online in which she appealed to the Embassies of Ukraine and Russia, as well as the Syrian government, to meet the demands of the kidnappers.

On the 28 November, in the second video, Kochneva read a text in Arabic admitting to having participated in the fighting, working as a military interpreter with Syrian and Russian officers.

CPJ, ARTICLE 19, the International Press Institute and Reporters Without Borders doubt the objectiveness of these videos. “We are deeply concerned that in both video appeals the journalist seems to be speaking under pressure,” they said in their statement released on Wednesday.

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Why to Say No to Susan Rice

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | December 3, 2012

President Barack Obama should ditch the idea of nominating U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to be the next Secretary of State on substantive grounds, not because she may have – knowingly or not – fudged the truth about the attack on the poorly guarded CIA installation in Benghazi, Libya.

Rice’s biggest disqualification is the fact that she has shown little willingness to challenge the frequently wrongheaded conventional wisdom of Official Washington, including on the critical question of invading Iraq in 2003. At that pivotal moment, Rice essentially went with the flow, rather than standing up for the principles of international law or exposing the pro-war deceptions.

In fall 2002, as President George W. Bush and his administration were pounding the drums for war, Rice wasn’t exactly a profile in courage. A senior fellow at the centrist Brookings Institution, she echoed the neoconservative demands for “regime change” in Iraq and doubted the “need [for] a further [U.N. Security] Council resolution before we can enforce this and previous resolutions” on Iraq, according a compilation of her Iraq War comments by the Institute for Public Accuracy.

In an NPR interview on Dec. 20, 2002, Rice joined the bellicose chorus, declaring: “It’s clear that Iraq poses a major threat. It’s clear that its weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with forcefully, and that’s the path we’re on. I think the question becomes whether we can keep the diplomatic balls in the air and not drop any, even as we move forward, as we must, on the military side.”

Rice also was wowed by Secretary of State Colin Powell’s deceptive speech to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003. The next day, again on NPR, Rice said, “I think he has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them, and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.”

After the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, Rice foresaw an open-ended U.S. occupation of Iraq. In a Washington Post online forum, she declared, “To maximize our likelihood of success, the US is going to have to remain committed to and focused on reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq for many years to come. This administration and future ones will need to demonstrate a longer attention span than we have in Afghanistan, and we will have to embrace rather than evade the essential tasks of peacekeeping and nation building.”

Only later, when the Iraq War began going badly and especially after she became an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, did Rice take a less hawkish position. She opposed President Bush’s troop “surge” in 2007, a stance in line with Obama’s anti-Iraq War posture. During Campaign 2008, she also mocked one of Sen. John McCain’s trips to Baghdad as “strolling around the market in a flak jacket.”

The Ambitious Staffer

In other words, Rice fits the mold more of an ambitious staffer – ever mindful of the safe boundaries for permissible thought in Official Washington and eager to serve one’s political patron – than of a courageous foreign policy thinker who can see around the corners to spot the actual threats looming for the United States and the world.

Though Rice’s defenders might say there is nothing unusual in an aspiring foreign policy operative following the consensus or the instructions of a superior, there are plenty of troubling examples of innocent people getting killed when careerism overwhelmed wisdom and judgment. For instance, in 2003, CIA Director George Tenet, a malleable former congressional staffer, helped pave the way for the disastrous Iraq War.

Ironically, Rice’s eagerness to play the Washington game also landed her in the middle of the current “scandal” over her statements regarding the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi which left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

On Sept. 16, Rice appeared on five (count them) Sunday TV shows, adhering closely to the CIA-provided “talking points,” which cited the likelihood of a spontaneous protest preceding the violent assault but which alluded to the tenuousness of the evidence available at the time.

Blinded by the limelight, Rice seems to have blundered into the controversy, giving little thought to the possibility that she was being put out front by then-CIA Director David Petraeus and Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, who is the usual administration spokesman regarding terrorist attacks.  Brennan immediately flew off to Libya on a fact-finding trip, leaving Rice in the unaccustomed role of ‘splaining the attack in Benghazi.

Rice also wasn’t overly curious as to why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begged off on grounds she was “not going to offer any hypothetical explanations.”

Was Ambassador Rice too ambitious and/or too naïve?  For her it is a cruel irony that by letting her vision be blurred by the allure of five sets of klieg lights in one day, and the opportunity to embellish her persona for the top job at State, she has imperiled her own candidacy.

Loyal functionaries like Rice, with a penchant for doing whatever they are told do not expect to be mouse-trapped by their colleagues. But, if you can’t see that kind of thing coming – particularly when folks like Brennan and Petraeus are involved – you should not expect to become Secretary of State.

Understanding Benghazi

It also might have been smart for Rice to have taken the trouble to learn what U.S. officials were doing in Benghazi.  Did she know that, as House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has revealed, the word “consulate” in the draft “talking points” was carefully changed to “mission”?

A prospective Secretary of State should know the difference. A “mission” is a group of officials abroad normally headed by a diplomat while a consulate is headed by a consul who normally handles commercial interests, serves the needs of citizens abroad and issues visas.

The difference between consulate and mission is more than semantic. Consulates, understandably, perform consular duties. Missions can do whatever. As my former CIA analyst colleague, Melvin A. Goodman pointed out in “The Why Behind the Benghazi Attack,” the hidden reality in Benghazi was not the alleged deception by Rice or the inadequate security measures.

The key secret was that the U.S. government had transformed the Benghazi “mission” into an operational CIA base spying on and seeking to neutralize extremist militias operating in eastern Libya. Thus, the “mission” was an inviting target for attack. In a limited sense, one could say the primary security failure was in not adequately anticipating this risk.

The more significant point is that, because of the anger resulting from U.S. policy in the area and the CIA role in implementing it, there is great doubt that “missions” like the one in Benghazi can ever be protected from the kind of organized assault launched on Sept. 11, 2012. And that probably includes gigantic, fortified installations like the U.S. embassies in Baghdad and Kabul.

A month before the U.S. presidential election, House Government Affairs Committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, conducted a public hearing, in an attempt to prove that with adequate security measures the attack on the Benghazi “mission” could have been thwarted and American lives saved.

Issa’s star witness, State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, joined others in bemoaning State’s refusal to provide additional security (partly due to congressional refusal to appropriate all the requested funds).

But Nordstrom shot a wide hole in the notion that more security could have saved the day. A 14-year veteran of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Nordstrom said the kind of attack mounted in Benghazi could not have been prevented.

“Having an extra foot of wall, or an extra half-dozen guards or agents would not have enabled us to respond to that kind of assault,” Nordstrom said. “The ferocity and intensity of the attack was nothing that we had seen in Libya, or that I had seen in my time in the Diplomatic Security Service.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sThe Real Blame for Deaths in Libya.”]

Whether media pundits are conscious of this or not, the interminable focus on what Susan Rice said and when she said it, as well as the inadequate security, divert attention from what the CIA was doing in Benghazi. No Establishment figure or media pundit wants to focus on that. And, as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, recently conceded, no politician wants to risk appearing reluctant to support covert action against “terrorism.”

But a source with excellent access, so to speak, to former CIA Director David Petraeus, his biographer/mistress Paula Broadwell, said publicly on Oct. 26 that the CIA was interrogating prisoners in Benghazi and that this may have been the reason the CIA base was so brutally attacked. More bizarre still, her comments were corroborated by Fox News!

If Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham were genuinely interested in what happened in Benghazi and why, would they not wish to look into that?

A C-Minus on Substance

President Obama has defended Rice against those who would “besmirch” her reputation, saying she “has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill, professionalism, and toughness, and grace.”

Obama also said she had “nothing to do with Benghazi.” However, this does not appear to be entirely accurate. It is an open secret that Susan Rice, together with Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power, now ensconced at Obama’s National Security Council, were big promoters of the so-called “responsibility to protect” and thus acted as prime movers behind the U.S. excellent adventure in Libya.

The charitable explanation is that last year, with a thoroughly naïve “Gaddafi-bad-guys-vs.-maybe-good-guys” approach, blissfully unaware of which elements they might be “protecting” or “liberating” in Benghazi, and with little planning regarding who might replace Gaddafi, they made their mark on Libya.

Are we to believe that they gave not a thought to the imperative felt by key NATO partners to exploit the fledgling “Libyan Arab spring” to ensure the continuing flow of high-grade crude? And did none of them take any lessons from the excellent adventure of going into Iraq with no serious plan for what might come next?

As for Ambassador Rice, as some have suggested, her judgment may be compromised by well-deserved guilt at having done nothing to stop the killing of 800,000 Rwandans in 1994 when she was White House referent for African affairs at the NSC under President Bill Clinton and acquiesced in his reluctance to call genocide “genocide.”

This presumably was why, when President Bill Clinton nominated Susan Rice to be Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 1997, the Congressional Black Caucus objected to the nomination, citing her membership in “Washington’s assimilationist black elite.”

The caucus got that right. Susan Rice has moved up the ladder by demonstrating an uncanny ability to ignore the interests of the oppressed – black or brown – whether in Rwanda or in Gaza. Her selective judgment on when to intervene in a foreign crisis normally follows the conventional wisdom of Official Washington, such as with Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011.

Ignoring Palestine’s Plight

Thus, her empathy for the “good guys” (whoever they may be) in Libya does not extend to the Palestinians. Like other myopic policymakers and spokespersons, Rice ignores the misery in Gaza and the West Bank because to do otherwise would cast her outside Official Washington’s perceived wisdom, which holds that no smart politician or pundit confronts Israel too directly or too frequently.

However, the fact that last Thursday the United States could muster only eight votes (beside its own), from the 193 member states of the General Assembly, to oppose giving Palestine the status of non-member observer state is surely a harbinger of defeats to come on this key issue.

Rice’s one-sided defense of Israel as it pummeled the defenseless Gazans last month was not only unconscionable, but in the long run counterproductive – not only for the U.S. but for Israel. Granted, Rice was speaking for the Obama administration but there are no indications that she has used her influence with the President to reshape U.S. policy significantly.

Her failure to dissent, which would surely undo her careful construction of a Washington career, continues even as Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yashai has acknowledged that Israel’s goal was to “send Gaza back to the Middle Ages” and other Israeli officials casually liken their periodic bloodletting in Gaza to “mowing the grass.” [See Consortiumnews.com’sLikening Palestinians to Blades of Grass.”]

Washington’s public support for the carnage no doubt has left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a sense of invulnerability even in the face of the stinging vote in the U.N. Thus, he retaliated for the U.N.’s affront by authoring 3,000 new homes for Jewish settlers and plans for thousands more in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

On Friday, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor replied lamely, “We reiterate our longstanding opposition to settlement activity and East Jerusalem construction and announcements.”

As the Biblical advice states: By their fruits shall you know them. So look at the fruits of Rice’s policy making, including her one-sided defense of Israel before a world audience increasingly aware of U.S. hypocrisy, particularly on the key issue of Palestine.

It can surely be assumed that Susan Rice is intelligent enough to understand the moral depravity of U.S. policy on Palestine. Then why does she fall so easily in with extreme pro-Israel hawks and neocons on such issues? Presumably, she understands that such positioning is how to get ahead.

In playing for support from her fellow hawks, Rice remains the ambitious staffer more than the wise diplomat. And like an ambitious staffer, she senses that hawkishness is usually a safer career path than thoughtful diplomacy. This is not the kind of person anyone should want as Secretary of State.

Ray McGovern served as an Army officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

December 12, 2012 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Why Is Cuba’s Health Care System the Best Model for Poor Countries?

By Don Fitz – Black Agenda Report – 12/12/2012

Furious though it may be, the current debate over health care in the US is largely irrelevant to charting a path for poor countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Islands. That is because the US squanders perhaps 10 to 20 times what is needed for a good, affordable medical system. The waste is far more than 30% overhead by private insurance companies. It includes an enormous amount of over-treatment, making the poor sicker by refusing them treatment, creation of illnesses, exposure to contagion through over-hospitalization, and disease-focused instead of prevention-focused research. [1]

Poor countries simply cannot afford such a health system. Well over 100 countries are looking to the example of Cuba, which has the same 78-year life expectancy of the US while spending 4% per person annually of what the US does. [2]

The most revolutionary idea of the Cuban system is doctors living in the neighborhoods they serve. A doctor-nurse team is part of the community and know their patients well because they live at (or near) the consultorio (doctors’ office) where they work. Consultorios are backed up by policlínicos which provide services during off-hours and offer a wide variety of specialists. Policlínicos coordinate community health delivery and link nationally designed health initiatives with their local implementation.

Cubans call their system medicina general integral (MGI, comprehensive general medicine). Its programs focus on preventing people from getting diseases rather than curing them after they are sick

This has made Cuba extremely effective in control of everyday health issues. Having doctors’ offices in every neighborhood has brought the Cuban infant mortality rate below that of the US and less than half that of US Blacks. [3] Cuba has a record unmatched in dealing with chronic and infectious diseases with amazingly limited resources. These include (with date eradicated): polio (1962), malaria (1967), neonatal tetanus (1972), diphtheria (1979), congenital rubella syndrome (1989), post-mumps meningitis (1989), measles (1993), rubella (1995), and TB meningitis (1997). [4]

The MGI integration of neighborhood doctors’ offices with area clinics and a national hospital system also means the country responds well to emergencies. It has the ability to evacuate entire cities during a hurricane largely because consultorio staff know everyone in their neighborhood and who to call for help getting disabled residents out of harms way. At the same time New York City (roughly the same population as Cuba) had 43,000 cases of AIDS, Cuba had 200 AIDS patients. [5] More recent emergencies such as outbreaks of dengue fever are quickly followed by national mobilizations. [6]

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of Cuban medicine is that, despite its being a poor country itself, Cuba has sent over 124,000 health care professionals to provide care to 154 countries. [7] In addition to providing preventive medicine Cuba sends response teams following emergencies (such as earthquakes and hurricanes) and has over 20,000 students from other countries studying to be doctors at its Latin American School of Medicine in Havana (ELAM, Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina). [8]

In a recent Monthly Review article, I gave in-depth descriptions of ELAM students participating in Cuban medical efforts in Haiti, Ghana and Peru. [9] What follows are 10 generalizations from Cuba’s extensive experience in developing medical science and sharing its approach with poor countries throughout the world. The concepts form the basis of the New Global Medicine and summarize what many authors have observed in dozens of articles and books.

First, it is not necessary to focus on expensive technology as the initial approach to medical care. Cuban doctors use machines that are available, but they have an amazing ability to treat disaster victims with field surgery. They are very aware that most lives are saved through preventive medicine such as nutrition and hygiene and that traditional cultures have their own healing wisdom. This is in direct contrast to Western medicine, especially as is dominant in the US, which uses costly diagnostic and treatment techniques as the first approach and is contemptuous of natural and alternative approaches.

Second, doctors must be part of the communities where they are working. This could mean living in the same neighborhood as a Peruvian consultorio. It could mean living in a Venezuelan community that is much more violent than a Cuban one. Or it could mean living in emergency tents adjacent to where victims are housed as Cuban medical brigades did after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Or staying in a village guesthouse in Ghana. Cuban-trained doctors know their patients by knowing their patients’ communities. This differs sharply from US doctors, who receive zero training on how to assess homes of their patients.

Third, the MGI model outlines relationships between people that go beyond a set of facts. Instead of memorizing mountains of information unlikely to be used in community health, which US students must do to pass medical board exams, Cuban students learn what is necessary to relate to people in consultorios, polyclínicos, field hospitals and remote villages. Far from being nuisance courses, studies in how people are bio-psycho-social beings are critical for the everyday practice of Cuban medicine.

Fourth, the MGI model is not static but is evolving and unique for each community. Western medicine searches for the correct pill for a given disease. In its rigid approach, a major reason for research is to discover a new pill after “side effects” of the first pill surface. Since traditional medicine is based on the culture where it has existed for centuries, the MGI model avoids the futility of seeking to impose a Western mindset on other societies.

Fifth, it is necessary to adapt medical aid to the political climate of the host country. This means using whatever resources the host government is able and willing to offer and living with restrictions. Those hosting a Cuban medical brigade may be friendly as in Venezuela and Ghana, hostile as is the Brazilian Medical Association, become increasingly hostile as occurred after the 2009 coup in Honduras, or change from hostile to friendly as occurred in Peru with the 2011 election of Ollanta Humala. This is quite different from US medical aide which, like its food aide, is part of an overall effort to dominate the receiving country and push it into adopting a Western model.

Sixth, the MGI model creates the basis for dramatic health effects. Preventive community health training, a desire to understand traditional healers, the ability to respond quickly to emergencies, and an appreciation of political limitations give Cuban medical teams astounding success. During the first 18 months of Cuba’s work in Honduras following Hurricane Mitch, infant mortality dropped from 80.3 to 30.9 per 1000 live births. When Cuban health professionals intervened in Gambia, malaria decreased from 600,000 cases in 2002 to 200,000 two years later. And Cuban/Venezuelan collaboration resulted in 1.5 million vision corrections by 2009. Kirk and Erisman conclude that “almost 2 million people throughout the world … owe their very lives to the availability of Cuban medical services.” [7]

Seventh, the New Global Medicine can become reality only if medical staff put healing above personal wealth. In Cuba, being a doctor, nurse or support staff and going on a mission to another country is one of the most fulfilling activities a person can do. The program continues to find an increasing number of volunteers despite the low salaries that Cuban health professionals earn. There is definitely a minority of US doctors who focus their practice in low income communities which have the greatest need. But there is no political leadership which makes a concerted effort to get physicians to do anything other than follow the money.

Eighth, dedication to the New Global Medicine is now being transferred to the next generation. When students at Cuban schools learn to be doctors, dentists or nurses their instructors tell them of their own participation in health brigades in Angola, Peru, Haiti, Honduras and dozens of other countries. Venezuela has already developed its own approach of MIC (medicina integral communitaria, comprehensive community medicine) which builds upon but is distinct from Cuban MGI. [10] Many ELAM students who work in Ghana as the Yaa Asantewaa Brigade are from the US. They learn approaches of traditional healers so they can compliment Ghanaian techniques with Cuban medical knowledge.

Ninth, the Cuban model is remaking medicine across the globe. Though best-known for its successes in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, Cuba has also provided assistance in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Cuba provided relief to the Ukraine after the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, Sri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami, and Pakistan after its 2005 earthquake. Many of the countries hosting Cuban medical brigades are eager for them to help redesign their own health care systems. Rather than attempting to make expensive Western techniques available to everyone, the Cuban MGI model helps re-conceptualize how healing systems can meet the needs of a country’s poor.

Tenth, the new global medicine is a microcosm of how a few thousand revolutionaries can change the world. They do not need vast riches, expensive technology, or a massive increase in personal possessions to improve the quality of people’s lives. If dedicated to helping people while learning from those they help, they can prefigure a new world by carefully utilizing the resources in front of them. [...]

Discussions of global health in the West typically bemoan the indisputable fact that poor countries still suffer from chronic and infectious diseases that rich countries have controlled for decades. International health organizations wring their hands over the high infant mortality rates and lack of resources to cope with natural disasters in much of the world. [3]

But they ignore the one health system that actually functions in a poor country, providing health care to all of its citizens as well as millions of others around the world. The conspiracy of silence surrounding the resounding success of Cuba’s health system proves the absolute unconcern by those who piously claim to be the most concerned.

How should progressives respond to this feigned ignorance of a meaningful solution to global health problems? A rational response must begin with spreading the word of Cuba’s New Global Medicine through every source of alternative media available. The message needs to be: Good health care is not more expensive — revolutionary medicine is far more cost effective than corporate controlled medicine.

Notes

1. Fitz, D. (December 9, 2010). Eight reasons US healthcare costs 96% more
than Cuba’s—With the same results.
http://www.alternet.org/health/149090/eight_reasons_us_healthcare_costs_96%25_more_than_cuba%27s–with_the_same_results
2. Dresang, L.T., Brebick, L., Murray, D., Shallue, A. & Sullivan-Vedder, L. (July-August, 2005). Family medicine in Cuba: Community-Oriented Primary Care and Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 18 no. 4: 297-303.
3. Cooper, R.S., Kennelly, J.F. & Orduñez-Garcia, P. (2006). Health in Cuba, International Journal of Epidemiology, 35: 817–824.
4. Pérez, J. (May 15, 2012). Gender and HIV Prevention. Slide presentation at the Pedro Kouri Institute of Topical Medicine, Havana, Cuba.
5. Whiteford, L.M. & Branch, L.G. (2008). Primary Health Care in Cuba: The Other Revolution. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
6. Fitz, D. (February 14, 2012). Med School Classes Cancelled in Havana.
http://blackagendareport.com/content/med-school-classes-cancelled-havana
7. Kirk, J.M. & Erisman, M.H. (2009). Cuban Medical Internationalism: Origins, Evolution and Goals. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
8. Fitz, D. (March, 2011). The Latin American School of Medicine Today: ELAM. Monthly Review 62 no. 10: 50–62.
9. Fitz, D. (September, 2012). Cuba: The New Global Medicine. Monthly Review 64 no. 4: 37–46.
10. Brouwer, S. (2011). Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conceptualization of Health Care. New York, Monthly Review Press.

Don Fitz can be contacted via fitzdon@aol.com

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Susan Rice and American Evil

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | December 12, 2012

Why does it matter if Susan Rice serves as secretary of state?

That is a trick question, because in fact, it doesn’t matter at all. American foreign policy will be unchanged regardless of who the next secretary may be. The full force of imperialism will be brought to bear against the people of the world under the Obama administration. The democratic president has made real the goals of the neo-con Project for a New American Century, a 21st century version of Manifest Destiny, the belief that the United States should rule the world and do so with a vengeance.

Rice’s nomination is a non-issue but is treated as an important one for many black people because of the words of right wing racists. The sight of the embittered sore loser John McCain calling Rice “unqualified” and “not very smart” reminds black people of the slights they are personally subjected to in their lives every day. It is especially galling for the insult to come from McCain, the quintessential entitlement baby. He was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy because his father and grandfather were admirals. The legacy leg up didn’t help much because the mediocre young McCain still graduated at the bottom of his class. McCain’s insistence that the obviously sub-par Sarah Palin was a qualified vice presidential candidate makes the racist slaps at Rice all the more offensive.

The yearning to see a black face in one of the highest and most rarefied places is a very deep one and not to be easily dismissed, but it is crucial to note that Rice is no different from John McCain in her beliefs of how the United States should conduct itself in the world. The facts against Rice and her predecessors are obscured by a corporate media which hides all the atrocities committed by the United States government, making the Rice story appear like nothing more than that of a high achieving black woman being slandered by evil racists.

The case against Rice or whomever is nominated by the president should be a case made against United States foreign policy and all of the people who now or ever were in charge of carrying it out. The presidents, secretaries of state, United Nations ambassadors, national security advisers and their ilk are held up as paragons of virtue, intelligence and moral rectitude. They emerge from elite institutions and are held up as the “best and the brightest” the country has to offer.

A secretary of state not only has a prestigious position, but is considered an elder statesman or woman for life. Of course, he or she also can walk into positions of great wealth after their public service has ended. Corporate speeches, book deals and lucrative board positions await every living secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Condoleezza Rice.

The true horror is that the people who hold these supposedly august positions are in fact no better than criminal enforcers in organized crime families. American secretaries of state have plotted invasions and assassinations, occupied countries, destroyed economies, fomented coups and in a myriad of other ways laid waste to sovereign nations. Countries which try to bring about their own democracies are thwarted if their plans are seen as a threat to American interests.

No secretary of state should be lionized and there is nothing wonderful about black people having the right to perform the evil acts which were once the reserve of whites.The Dulleses and Kissingers and their predecessors and successors made wars on huge swaths of the planet and did in fact crush attempts at democracy so that American businesses might be able to harvest bananas at cheap prices.

The appearance of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as part of the Bush administration foreign policy team ended the white monopoly on American state terror. Colin Powell went to the United Nations with his power point presentation full of lies in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. He also removed Jean Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s democratically elected president, from office. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice covered up her own incompetence and the still murky facts which brought the September 11th terrorist attacks onto American soil.

It was during the Bush administration that the black face in the high place joined in committing the worst kinds of dirty work to be carried out by the United States around the globe. It was also the first time that black Americans began to look the other way and excuse their government’s inhumanity. Defending Colin and Condi became substitutes for analysis and the ideology that once made black Americans the group least supportive of their government’s acts of aggression.

The ascendancy of Barack Obama to the presidency accelerated this grotesque delusion of racial uplift. Not only are NDAA, kill lists, and naked imperialism to be overlooked, but the black man who destroyed Libya and Somalia and who is on the road to destroying Syria will have another terrorist of color by his side. In a perverse way this terrible duo will increase the joy of a people who a mere five years ago recoiled at the very behavior which Obama and Rice have exhibited toward the rest of the world.

America is and will continue to pose terrible threats to the rest of the world, whether the next secretary of state if Susan Rice or John Kerry or an unknown player to be named later. That should be the crux of any debates about who should serve in these positions. Anything else is just drama playing out while the world burns because the United States keeps lighting the match.

Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Palestinians aren’t getting “one cent,” says Israel

Al Akhbar | December 12, 2012

Israel says Palestinians will not get tax revenues before at least March, after having already confiscated the Palestinian Authority’s December funds. The decision comes as part of Palestine’s “punishment” for last month’s United Nations bid.

“The Palestinians can forget about getting even one cent in the coming four months, and in four months’ time we will decide how to proceed,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a peremptory speech on Tuesday night.

Under the current peace deal, Israel collects US$100 million each month in duties on the PA’s behalf in occupied West Bank. These funds are generally used to pay public sector salaries.

Israel has responded viciously to the PA’s UN upgrade to non-member statehood, accusing the PA of sidestepping stalled negotiations, through a UN bid.

“Israel is not prepared to accept unilateral steps by the Palestinian side, and anyone who thinks they will achieve concessions and gains this way is wrong,” he said.

Before confiscating funds in December, Israel announced settlement plans in the E1 sensitive area that would destroy all possibility for a two-state solution, inciting international condemnation.

While making it clear that these steps are a form of retribution, an Israeli iron-fist response meant to instil fear in those that make decisions without permission – “unilateral steps” – Israelis mentioned that Palestinians have debts to pay off with Israel Electric Corporation and the Israel Water Authority.

The European Union criticized Israel Monday, saying, “Contractual obligations … regarding full, timely, predictable and transparent transfer of tax and custom revenues have to be respected.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday that Paris will host a donors’ conference early next year to raise funds for the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

(Al-Akhbar, Ma’an)

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

North Korea hails rocket launch as a success

Press TV – December 12, 2012

North Korea says it has test-fired a long-range rocket and has successfully placed a satellite into orbit.

“The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Center… on December 12 was successful,” the official Korean Central News Agency said on Wednesday.

The agency added that the satellite has entered the orbit “as planned.”

The (North) Korean Committee of Space Technology had originally announced that Pyongyang would launch its Unha-3 rocket between December 10 and 22, but on Monday, it extended the date by a week due to a “technical deficiency.”

A previous launch in April failed when the rocket disintegrated in the air soon after blastoff and fell into the ocean.

Meanwhile according to an unnamed Western diplomat, the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet at the request of the US and Japan later on Wednesday to discuss the launch of the rocket.

“The Japanese and the Americans have requested a Security Council meeting, which will take place late Wednesday morning” around 11:00 a.m. (1700 GMT), the diplomat stated.

Reports say Tokyo, Washington and Seoul have agreed to request the UN Security Council to reinforce Pyongyang’s embargoes.

On December 3, Russia and China urged North Korea not to go ahead with the plan.

Russia said North Korea had been warned not to ignore a UN Security Council resolution which “unambiguously prohibits (it) from launching rockets using ballistic technology.”

On December 4, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “seriously concerned” about the launch and asked North Korea to “reconsider its decision and to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program.”

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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