Category: Lies We’ve Been Told

Lies We’ve Been Told

U.S. Promotes “Democracy” (Syria & Arab Springs)

The strategy of the U.S. (on behalf of the transnational elite) has changed from installing puppet dictators1 to a more sophisticated and less obvious strategy of installing so-called “democracies” instead.

True democracy is not their aim of course, just a colorable appearance of same along with a colorable appearance of the protection of minorities within it.  And the “Friends of Syria”, the opposition group they created to oppose the Syrian Government and lead a new Syria 2 isn’t an opposition that’s been up to that appearance task, so now the U.S. is working on creating a new one3 .

This process is part of what William Robinson calls the U.S.’s new policy of “promoting polyarchy” (see his 1996 book of the same title) and by the “U.S.” he means not the United States “acting on behalf of a ‘US’ elite, but playing a leadership role on behalf of an emergent transnational elite”.

Robinson wittily defines “promoting polyarchy” as the promotion of “low-intensity democracies” and notes that:   ‘the U.S. exercised its domination in the post-World War II years chiefly through coercive domination, or the promotion of authoritarian arrangements in the Third World.  The emergence of “democracy promotion” as a new instrument in the 1980’s represented the beginnings of a shift – still underway – in the method through which the core regions of the capitalist world system exercise their domination over peripheral and semi-peripheral regions, from coercive to consensual mechanisms.’  In other words, doing the same thing only with another, more palatable, democratic face for the 21st Century.

And that’s why they’ve instigated these ‘April Spring’ uprisings, toward that very end:

–  “The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects . . . The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush . . in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama . . .” Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-secretly-backed-syrian-opposition-groups-cables-released-by-wikileaks-show/2011/04/14/AF1p9hwD_story.html

– From a New York Times front page story on 4/15/11 entitled

“U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Opposition”:

“[A]s American officials and others look back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring,  they are seeing that  the United States’ democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections.”

Address : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/world/15aid.html

–   See also the English review of a French book entitled “American Arabesque: the Role of the US in the Revolts in the Arab Streets”, not yet available in English, here: http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2011/09/10/smoking-gun-us-role-in-arab-spring/ along with a partial list of the book’s references contributed in a comment to the review.

–  And see Part B here:  http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/lies-weve-been-told/kony-2012-and-the-creation-manipulation-of-protest-movements.

The U.S. wants (as can be seen by its actions, despite its words to the contrary) non-secular “democracies” with the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists playing chief roles to flourish, since they’re capitalists through and through & very happy to play ball and have economies completely acceptable to the transnational elite (not the 99 percent), witness Egypt (again see Part B here:  http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/lies-weve-been-told/kony-2012-and-the-creation-manipulation-of-protest-movements.).

***So, democracy promotion DOES INDEED motivate US foreign policy***, just the hollow kind of democracy.  Setting up fake democracies is a more sophisticated, savvy, and less blatant way to dominate – as Robinson says “from coercive to consensual mechanisms” and the US (on behalf of the transnational elite) together with its media and corporate partners like Google, needs a more sophisticated way to deal with this threat described by Google’s “Chief of Ideas”:

‘more than 50 percent of the world’s population is under the age of thirty and the vast majority of those are characterized as “at risk” either socially, economically, or both – an oversupply of young people susceptible to recruitment by the ideological groups closest to them in identity or proximity.’  (see that same link  again, at Part B, http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/lies-weve-been-told/kony-2012-and-the-creation-manipulation-of-protest-movements).

Our opposition to a more sophisticated domination strategy has to be more sophisticated and savvy too, starting with a clearer understanding of this new strategy.

  1. [1]

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions

    to begin your reading if you weren’t aware that the U.S. did this.

  2. [2] See this excerpt of a NY Times article:  “But as representatives of 60 countries and international organizations converged on Tunisia on Friday in search of a strategy . . . The need to build a united opposition will be the focus of intense discussions at what has been billed as the inaugural meeting of the Friends of Syria. Fostering some semblance of a unified protest movement, possibly under the umbrella of an exile alliance called the Syrian National Council, will be a theme hovering in the background. . . “They will have a seat at the table as a representative of the Syrian people,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And we think it’s important to have Syrians represented. And the consensus opinion by the Arab League and all the others who are working and planning this conference is that the S.N.C. is a credible representative.”

    Source: After a Year, Deep Divisions Hobble Syria’s Opposition
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/world/middleeast/syrian-opposition-is-hobbled-by-deep-divisions.html?ref=global-home

  3. [3] From the NY Times:

    CLINTON SEEKS NEW SYRIAN OPPOSITION:

    Hundreds of opposition figures are gathering in Doha, Qatar, next week to try to form such a group — ostensibly under the auspices of the Arab League but really pushed there by the United States. Mrs. Clinton said she had been heavily involved in planning the meeting, including recommending individuals and organizations to include in any new leadership structure. “We’ve made it clear that the S.N.C. can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition,” Mrs. Clinton said, referring to the Syrian National Council. It can participate, she added, “but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.”  . . . “They are hoping that some new body will emerge that they can work with, that they can recognize and that they can insert inside,” said Amr al-Azm, a Syrian academic in the United States who has long been a critic of the council.

    Source: As Fighting Rages in Syria, Clinton Calls for New Opposition Movement – NYTimes.com
    Address : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/world/middleeast/syrian-air-raids-increase-as-battle-for-strategic-areas-intensifies-rebels-say.html?ref=global-home&pagewanted=print

    From The Washington Post:

    U.S. LOOKS TO BUILD ALTERNATIVE SYRIAN OPPOSITION LEADERSHIP:

    The Obama administration has spent the past several months in secret diplomatic negotiations aimed at building a new Syrian opposition leadership structure . . . Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made official what had been the increasingly obvious U.S. disenchantment with the Syrian National Council, the exile-led organization that the administration has backed for most of the past year as the leading opposition group. . . The SNC, Clinton said, should no longer be considered the “visible leader” of the opposition. . . . a senior U.S. official said that “the new group will have a “political outreach function,” to build “basic credibility” among Syrian fence-sitters and regime supporters . . .”

    Source: U.S. looks to build alternative Syrian opposition leadership – The Washington Post
    Address : http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-looks-to-build-alternative-syrian-opposition-leadership/2012/10/31/ccfc7a40-2388-11e2-8448-81b1ce7d6978_print.html

KONY 2012 and THE CREATION & MANIPULATION OF PROTEST MOVEMENTS

A.    YOU’RE BEING LIED TO IN THE KONY 2012 VIDEO – WHAT THE TRUTH IS & ONE OF THE REASONS WHY YOU’RE BEING LIED TO:

Here is some must reading about Kony 2012, the most popular video on Youtube ever, seen by more than 100 million on the internet.1  The video is actually tricking you into pushing for a solution which will only further harm the people in Africa!  This reading will set you straight and explain why you’re being lied to and manipulated with this video, and their follow-up video, Kony 2012 Part II, released today.

First read an article called “The downside of the Kony 2012 video -What Jason did not tell Gavin and his army of invisible children”, at http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/80787.  In it you will learn about how the brutal government in Uganda used the hunt for Kony and the LRA as an excuse for the atrocities the Uganda government was committing on its own citizens:

“Young adults recall the time from the mid-90s when most rural residents of the three Acholi districts were forcibly interned in camps – the Government claimed it was to ‘protect’ them from the LRA.  But there were allegations of murder, bombing, and burning of entire villages, first to force people into the camps and then to force them to stay put.  By 2005, the camp population grew from a few hundred thousand to over 1.8 million in the entire region – which included Teso and Lango – of which over a million were from the three Acholi districts. Comprising practically the entire rural population of the three Acholi districts, they were expected to live on handouts from relief agencies. According to the Government’s own Ministry of Health, the excess mortality rate in these camps was approximately one thousand persons per week – inviting comparisons to the numbers killed by the LRA even in the worst year.

The article also explains why the Ugandan people themselves do not want what the Kony 2012 video urges – they do not want the U.S. to help the Uganda government with its military:

“[T]he civilian population of the area – trust neither the LRA nor government forces.  Sandwiched between the two, civilians need to be rescued from an ongoing military mobilization and offered the hope of a political process.”

The second must-read about Kony 2012, is a three-paragraph excerpt from an article written by a  Professor who teaches about Uganda in which he discusses these 3 topics:

1) that the video tricks its viewers into thinking that the U.S. military in Uganda is a good thing

2) what the real problems are now in Uganda

3)  what people in the U.S. can do to help the people suffering in Uganda – rather than making their problems worse by seeking continued and further militarization.

Here are those 3 paragraphs:

First, Invisible Children’s campaign [“Invisible Children” are the makers of the Kony videos] is a symptom, not a cause. It is an excuse that the US government has gladly adopted in order to help justify the expansion of their military presence in central Africa.  Invisible Children are “useful idiots,” being used by those in the US government who seek to militarize Africa, to send more weapons and military aid to the continent, and to build the power of states that are US allies. The hunt for Joseph Kony is the perfect excuse for this strategy—how often does the US government find millions of young Americans pleading that they intervene militarily in a place rich in oil and other resources? The US government would be pursuing this militarization with or without Invisible Children—Kony 2012 just makes it a little easier. Therefore, it is the militarization we need to worry about, not Invisible Children.

Second, in northern Uganda, people’s lives will be left untouched by this campaign, even if it were to achieve its stated objectives. This is not because all the problems have been resolved in the years since open fighting ended, but because the most serious problems people face today have little to do with Kony. The most pressing are over land. Land speculators and so-called investors, many foreign, in collaboration with the Ugandan government and military, are grabbing the land of the Acholi people in northern Uganda, land that they were forced off of a decade ago when the government herded them into internment camps. Another serious problem for northern Uganda is so-called “nodding disease”—a deadly illness that has broken out among thousands of children who had the bad luck to be born and grow up in the camps, subsisting on relief aid. Indeed, the problems people face today are the legacy of the camps, where over a million Acholi were forced to live, and die, for years by their own government as part of a counterinsurgency that received essential support from the US and from international aid agencies.

Which brings up the question that I am constantly asked in the US: “What can we do?” where “we” tends to mean relatively privileged Americans. In response, and as a contribution to the debate going on in the US about Kony 2012, I have a few proposals. The first, perhaps not surprising from a professor, is to learn. The conflict in northern Uganda and central Africa is complicated, yes—but not impossible to understand. For several years, I have taught an undergraduate class on the conflict, and, although it takes some time and effort, the students end up informed enough to be able to come to their own opinions about what can be done. I am more than happy to share the syllabus with anyone interested! In terms of activism, I think the first step is to re-think the question: instead of asking how the US can intervene in order to solve Africa’s conflicts, we need to ask what we are already doing to cause those conflicts in the first place. How are we, as consumers, contributing to land grabbing and to the wars ravaging this region? How are we, as Americans, allowing our government to militarize Africa as part of its War on Terror and its effort to secure oil resources? These are the questions that those of us who represent Kony 2012’s target audience must ask ourselves, because we are indeed responsible for the conflict in northern Uganda—responsible for helping to cause and prolong it. It is not, however, our responsibility, as Invisible Children encourages us to believe, to try to end the conflict by sending in military force. In our desire to ameliorate suffering, we must not be complicit in making it worse.

Source: Adam Branch on Invisible Children
http://www.misr.mak.ac.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=186:adam-branch-on-invisible-children&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50

Here also is an excerpt from the short statement of the “The Association of Concerned Africa Scholars” about Kony 2012, located here http://concernedafricascholars.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ACAS-Central-Africa.pdf :

“[W]e are deeply concerned that the recent campaign in the United States to pursue and arrest Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), could have dangerous unintended consequences.  Expanding U.S. military operations with the Ugandan army to capture Kony could increase the militarization of the region and lead to deaths of civilians who are caught in the crossfire or become targets of retaliatory attacks by the LRA, as has occurred in the past. Indeed, the Ugandan army itself has been guilty of atrocities and abuse of civilians.”

See also this article which links to:

a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.”

Think Twice Before Donating to Kony 2012, the Charitable Meme du Jour
Address : http://jezebel.com/5891269/think-twice-before-donating-to-kony-2012-the-meme-du-jour?popular=true along with it’s follow-up http://jezebel.com/5891605/kony-2012-group-responds-to-increasing-criticism

For more links:

“A special Africa Focus bulletin has pulled together reflections of videos, blog posts, and articles with Ugandan voices and other commentaries.  [See here and here.] This record is important in that it gives a comprehensive list of resources so that young students who are organizing rebuttals can find resources to counter the planned April 20 manifestations to support the call for the US military to intervene in Africa.” 2

B.  WHO IS BEHIND THIS PARTICULAR DECEPTION-MANIPULATION AND    WHY?  WHAT ELSE HAVE THEY BEEN UP TO LATELY?

The United States Government, through its State Department, provided training, as you’ll see, to the Invisible Children filmmakers before they made the Kony 2012 film and they’ve been providing training to activists in other countries too.  For example, let’s turn for a moment to the training and assistance they gave to the Egyptian activists:

“Not long ago, the State Department created its own group on Facebook called “Alliance of Youth Movements,” a coalition of groups from a dozen countries who use Facebook for political organizing. Last month, they brought an international collection of young online political activists, including one from the April 6 group, as well as Facebook executives and representatives from Google and MTV, to New York for a three-day conference. “
Address :  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/magazine/25bloggers-t.html?_r=1&sq=alliance%20farc&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=print

From a New York Times front page story on 4/15/11 entitled

“U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Opposition”:

[A]s American officials and others look back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring, they are seeing that the United States’s democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections.

Address : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/world/15aid.html

From the New York Post discussing the training sessions:

“There was also a panel devoted to “Egypt’s pro-democracy youth movements” and how to advance them with social media. Despite strong US ties with Mubarak, there’s evidence US officials quietly supported the same activists seeking to remove him, the cable shows.  .  .   In 2008, the State Department co-sponsored a youth activist conference that helped organizations use social media to spread opposition across the globe.”

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/us_doubted_dissident_leaks_show_MjpFnjn412RpGo8exlBV7J)

Why, you ask, would the United States Government actually help train Egyptian activists to use Facebook and other social media to help them organize protests to fight for democracy and overthrow a dictator that the United States Government has always supported?  You know they’re not similarly supporting or training activists in the “99 Percent-Occupy Wall Street Movement”, who continue to suffer from unwarranted arrests, violence and harassment at the hands of governmental authorities.  So you know the United States Government isn’t in a position to teach anybody anything about democracy.  Professor Michel Chossudovsky has the answer:

“From Washington’s standpoint, regime replacement no longer requires the installation of authoritarian military rulers, as in the heyday of US imperialism. Regime change can be implemented by co-opting political parties, financing civil society groups, infiltrating the protest movement, and by manipulating national elections.3

The ultimate objective is to sustain the interests of foreign powers and to uphold the “Washington consensus” of the IMF/World Bank economic agenda that has served to impoverish millions throughout the Arab World and beyond.4

Moreover, Western powers have used “Political Islam” –including the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda-affiliated groups– to pursue their hegemonic objectives. Covert operations are launched to weaken the secular state, foment sectarian violence and create social divisions throughout the Arab World.”5

(Source URL: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27884)

But here’s how U.S. State Department describes it in their own press briefing:

“Also, a foundation will be created called the Alliance of Youth Movements. And a hub, an electronic hub, again, anyone will have access to it around the world. Now, this conference – the entire conference will be streamed by MTV and by Howcast. We are – we at the State Department are one partner. In fact, we take a back seat to what the private sector is doing, which is just fabulous. But we’re happy to have gotten this thing started, at any rate. . . We also – you know, we strongly feel that in the world in which we live today, that we as the State Department can be a facilitator or a convener, but we really can’t serve to actually build these groups ourselves. They would have – they would not have very much in the way of credibility. . . .”

“The summit will also put out a field manual that will provide best practices, videos, and steps for building these kinds of movements.”

http://www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2008/November/20081124173327eaifas0.8017237.html

Professor Jack Bratich does a very careful examination of this new phenomena, which he calls “Genetically Modified Grassroots Organizations”, or GMGO’s, where the United States, media, both old (MTV, NBC, CNN) and new (Google, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube), and other corporations collude to create these seemingly “grassroots” movements which they can then work to steer for their own ends.    I urge you to read it here:  http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/tne/pieces/kyber-revolts-egypt-state-friended-media-and-secret-sovereign-networks As Bratich notes in another piece,  “these emergent groups are seeded (and their genetic code altered) to control the direction of the movement.”  You can see a less-than-7-minute video introduction Bratich gives on the topic here.  And for additional details on various corporate and other ties in this project see: “Google’s Revolution Factory” at http://www.infowars.com/googles-revolution-factory/

So, they’ll steer the groups to demand bogus “democracy” rather than to make economic demands, and make sure the replacements to protest targets are friendly to capitalism.  The U.S. State Department, corporations, google, the mass media, etc., are all in the mix of what they call their “counter-radicalization” mission – where they pretend that violence is the radicalization they want to counter, whereas it’s really anti-capitalist radicalism they want to stop.  In former U.S. State Dept./Now Director of Google Ideas’ own words, which I admit take my breath away, they all need to get together and form initiatives to address this:

“With more than 50 percent of the world’s population under the age of thirty and the vast majority of those characterized as “at risk” either socially, economically, or both, an oversupply exists of young people susceptible to recruitment by the extremist religious or ideological group closest to them in identity or proximity. . .

expected to participate in the Summit, along with more than 200 representatives from civil society organizations, academia, technology companies, victims’ and survivors groups, government, media, and the private sector. They represent a wide spectrum of voices and experiences coming from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the United States, and Europe, including Ireland. . . .

The Dublin conference will explore the reasons former extremists turned to and then away from violence.  It will examine ways in which connection technologies—the Internet, mobiles, and tablets—present challenges to stem recruitment and opportunities to tackle the problem of radicalization.

Google Ideas and the Council on Foreign Relations aim to initiate a global conversation on how best to prevent young people from becoming radicalized and how to de-radicalize others who are currently engaged in violent extremism.

The ideas generated at the conference will be included in a study to be published later in the year.  In addition to radicalization, Google Ideas is also focused on the role technology plays in fledgling democracies and fragile states.”

See http://www.thinktankedblog.com/think-tanked/2011/03/cfr-jared-cohen-google-ideas-partner-counter-radicalization.html and http://blogs.cfr.org/lindsay/2011/03/21/guest-post-google-ideas-and-council-on-foreign-relations-team-up-on-counter-radicalization/ (emphasis supplied).

How’s everything working out in Egypt by the way?  Has the U.S.-nurtured, genetically-modified-grassroots revolution been a success?   Depends who you ask.  The United States Government would say yes, while the Egyptian people say no.

As Jack Bratich notes about the Egyptian revolution:

“the post Day of Victory turn against protestors by the [U.S. trained] “youth”, the continued reliance on military power to ensure transition, the efforts to censor subsequent street signs are not just betrayals after the fact – they were likely results from the outset”.

The suffering of the people in Egypt has increased, and it appears that the United States’ “most important Arab ally”, the Muslim Brotherhood, with its “business-friendly emphasis on free markets” will be leading the country.  (Those two phrase quotes from here and here.)

“Why did we have a revolution? We wanted better living standards, social justice and freedom. Instead, we’re suffering.”   The world’s highest youth jobless rate left the Middle East vulnerable to the uprisings that ousted Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and three other leaders in the past year.   It has got worse since then. About 1 million Egyptians lost their jobs in 2011 as the economy shrank for the first time in decades.  Unemployment in Tunisia, where the revolts began, climbed above 18 percent, the central bank said in January. It was 13 percent in 2010.”

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-27/arab-spring-turns-to-economic-winter-on-more-joblessness

Prior to the revolution, the Egyptian government refused to take U.S.-sanctioned IMF loans, which only wreck country economies further.  But now, post “revolution”, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s assistance, there has been an “IMF U-Turn”, as the above linked Businessweek article notes.

About the upcoming Egyptian presidential election:

“On Sunday, speaking on condition of standard diplomatic anonymity, State Department officials said they were untroubled and even optimistic about the Muslim Brotherhood’s reversal of its pledge not to seek the presidency. The Brotherhood’s candidate, Khairat el-Shater, a millionaire businessman considered the most formative influence on the group’s policies, is well known . . . Mr. Shater has met with almost all the senior State Department officials and American lawmakers visiting Cairo.   He is in regular contact with the American ambassador, Anne Patterson, as well as the executives of many American companies here.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/world/middleeast/attacking-the-west-islamist-gains-in-egypt-presidential-bid.html?pagewanted=1

Shater is meanwhile “lobbying hard for support of ultraconservative Muslim clerics, promising them a say over legislation in the future to ensure it is in line with Islamic law, as he tries to rally the divided Islamist vote behind him. . . .Giving Muslim clerics a direct say over legislation would be unprecedented in Egypt.  . . . But any clerical role would certainly raise a backlash from liberal and moderate Egyptians who already fear Islamists will sharply restrict civil rights as they gain political power after the fall last year of President Hosni Mubarak. . . . Leading clerics with their trademark long, bushy beards and robes have become regular guests on TV talk shows and issue fatwas or religious edicts attacking secularists, saying Christians and women can’t run for president, and calling for greater segregation of the sexes.  Al-Shater met for four hours Tuesday night with a panel of Salafi scholars and clerics, called the Jurisprudence Commission for Rights and Reform, trying to win their support.  The discussion focused on “the shape of the state and the implementation of Sharia,” the commission said on its Facebook page Wednesday. . . .The promise resembled an item in a 2007 political platform by the Brotherhood, when it was still a banned opposition movement. It called for parliament to consult with a body of clerics on legislation to ensure it aligns with Sharia. The proposal was met with a storm of condemnation at the time, and the Brotherhood backed off of it. . . “

http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/egypt/brotherhood-hopeful-promises-clerics-a-role.html

So what does all this have to do with Kony 2012 again???  Well, the Invisible Children “grassroots” filmmakers were also students of the U.S. State Departments’ training, so we’ll more accurately call them a ‘genetically modified grassroots organization’. You can see the Invisible Children organization right on the website the U.S. Government created for this whole ongoing project, which they brazenly chose to call “The Alliance of Youth Movements” at www.movements.org, here at http://www.movements.org/blog/entry/featured-case-study-invisible-children/.

And so what is it about the Kony 2012 film that has the fingerprints of the U.S. State Department’s project on it?  Jack Bratich notes that:

“the mobilization for action is one already determined as an instrument for someone else’s goals . . . Youth are dissuaded from seeing in their own neighborhoods and local organizations the opportunity to get involved in street activism and direct action in which they also shape the goals.  Instead, they are routed into a heavily pre-organized package, complete with easy heroes/enemies and a game-like scenario. . . Eventually, all public Kony 2012 action is to result in a deferral of action to proper authorities (the NGO Invisible Children, the governments of the US and Uganda).  This should come as no surprise, as Invisible Children was one of the first (and highly touted) participants in the US State-Department-facilitated Alliance of Youth Movements, even discussed in State Department staffer [now] Google Ideas executive Jared Cohen’s press conference announcing the Alliance of Youth Movements”.

Source: My Little Kony, Address : http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/13/my-little-kony/print

The Invisible Children Kony filmmakers also received training while in College designed by and for –  wait for it – the U.S. military.  (On the ‘military’, you’ll recall this quote earlier:

“Invisible Children are “useful idiots,” being used by those in the US government who seek to militarize Africa, to send more weapons and military aid to the continent, and to build the power of states that are US allies. The hunt for Joseph Kony is the perfect excuse for this strategy—how often does the US government find millions of young Americans pleading that they intervene militarily in a place rich in oil and other resources? The US government would be pursuing this militarization with or without Invisible Children—Kony 2012 just makes it a little easier.”)

This U.S. Military college training is discussed in the section below.

C.    WHAT’S ANOTHER REASON FOR THE KONY 2012 DECEPTION?

“[O]ne of the objectives of this Kony 2012 video is to experiment with alternatives to the growing political consciousness of the youth in the United States as manifest in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.”

The quote above is from Professor Horace Campbell’s piece “Kony 2012: Militarization And Disinformation Blowback” at
http://www.eurasiareview.com/22032012-kony-2012-militarization-and-disinformation-blowback-oped/

Here are some more excerpts from it:

“I think that it is important to examine the wider context of the ‘invisible hand’ behind the production of Kony2012 and the current campaign calling for a day of Action on April 20. . . [P]lanners of the military information operations have been studying social media and information warfare in order to neutralize the growing opposition to militarism in the United States. This social media event must be examined thoroughly because the Kony2012 video broke records to become the fastest-spreading online video in history. This fact of the breaking of records alone requires deeper understanding. I will argue that the barrage of media coverage which ensured this record was not accidental. The massive promotion of this on-line can now be understood in the wider context of full spectrum warfare in which combat operations are reserved for the last resort. Psychological warfare and disinformation operations are crucial to weaken populations both at home and in ‘enemy’ territory. I am contending that the Kony2012 was a test to intercept the social media capabilities of the youths in the USA in this revolutionary moment. . . [O]ne of the objectives of this Kony 2012 video is to experiment with alternatives to the growing political consciousness of the youth in the United States as manifest in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Jason Russell, the public face of this ‘non-profit’ organization, Invisible Children, had been trained in the US military sponsored information warfare center at the University of Southern California (USC) called the Institute for Creative technologies (ICT). . . The web site of ICT said explicitly,

“At USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), high-tech tools and classic storytelling come together to pioneer new ways to teach and to train.” . . .ICT was established in 1999 with a multi-year contract from the US Army to explore a powerful question: What would happen if leading technologists in artificial intelligence, graphics, and immersion joined forces with the creative talents of Hollywood and the game industry?“ . . . The University of Southern California nestled close to Hollywood with access to ‘inventive combinations’ has been one of the most successful in this competition for defense dollars and contracts such as that of ICT. . .”

Here’s an excerpt from ICT’s own press release about it:

“Sept.1, 2011 – The Department of Defense announced this week that the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) has been given a contract extension through 2014.  The extension allows the Army to fund up to an additional $135 million dollars of research and prototype development over the next three years. . . “ICT brings USC’s computer scientists together with artists, writers and cinematographers, creating compelling and immersive training systems. . . . “This extension is a strong endorsement of the institute’s success in developing immersive technologies that have led to effective prototypes for training, leader development and physical rehabilitation.  And the impact has gone beyond the military to society at large.” . . . ICT was founded with an initial five-year contract in 1999 . . .“ICT will be a joint effort of the Army, the entertainment industry and academe – an innovative team to advance dazzling new media and ultimately benefit training and education for everyone in America,” said then-Secretary of the United States Army, Louis Caldera, at the time. . . . “This combination of scientists and storytellers is what makes ICT so unique,” said John Hart, program manager at the U.S. Army’s Simulation and Training Technology Center, which oversees ICT’s Army contract. “We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with USC.”

Source: USC Institute for Creative Technologies Receives $135 Million Contract Extension From U.S. Army | USC Institute for Creative Technologies  Address : http://ict.usc.edu/news/item/usc_institute_for_creative_technologies_receives_135_million_contract_exten/

And back to Campbell’s piece:

“Now, the defense planners have upped the ante in an effort to entangle the minds of the young in the United States by the skillful use of social media tools to harness support for US military operations in Central Africa. In the case of the video Invisible Children, we can see the sophisticated interplay of artificial intelligence, graphics and the exploration of new mind games. My own students from the Newhouse School have alerted me to the sophisticated techniques which were being experimented in this video, Kony 2012. Some of the experts in this field of 21st century communications and journalism call this technique ‘flashpublics’. . .

After the successful use of social media by the Obama campaign in 2007-2008 and the impressive networks refined by the April 6 movement of Egypt, long term planners had to experiment with new tools of information warfare. This information ploy against the youth had failed when the Save Darfur campaign was discredited.  Books by Mahmood Mamdani such as Saviors and Survivors exposed the real mission of the planners of the Save Darfur Movement.”

[Note that Mahmood Mamdani is also the author of the very first must-read article about the lies in Kony 2012 which I mention at the beginning of this webpage (article at http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/80787 )]

And back again to Campbell:

“Jeremy Keenan exposed the fabrication of terrorism in the Sahara in his book, Dark Sahara.   Abdi Samatar has exposed the fabrication of terrorism in Somalia.   Peace activists have exposed the role of AFRICOM in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the covert operations now underway. All of these forms of militaristic interventions must be exposed.

It was said then (during the Save Darfur Campaign), as it is being said now, Africa does not need saviors. Africa needs solidarity and for this the peace movement in the USA ought to be at the forefront of exposing the real intent of the manipulation of this video and campaign.  .  .

Jason Russell in his own words has described his journey from the Institute for Creative Technologies to the formation of the Invisible Children NGO. It is this training that gave this organization the expertise to use film, creativity and social action to mobilize youths in support of the US military in Uganda. . .

With the new uprisings in Africa and the birth of global movements for change, the Invisible Children initiative was an attempt to halt the radicalization of the youth. It is an effort to blunt the growing and deepening anti-war sentiments in the society. In this climate, creating images of white supremacy and saving African lives was meant to harness the energies of millions. . . .

The 20 celebrities and 12 officials who have been targeted by Invisible Children can now make their position clear on the realities of the mindset of the violence which has engulfed Africans at home and abroad. There have been many who have been seduced by the campaigns of the US military. Now, the peace and progressive forces are being called upon to develop another type of storytelling and video game which can assist in the healing of humans.

In this way, there will be a global movement calling for the dismantling of the US Africa command and another force in world politics to channel the energies of the youth away from mind control and subliminal messages.

Horace Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University.”

Source: Kony 2012: Militarization And Disinformation Blowback – OpEd
Address : http://www.eurasiareview.com/22032012-kony-2012-militarization-and-disinformation-blowback-oped/

D.        HOW CAN WE AVOID BEING DECEIVED WITH SOPHISTICATED AND SLICKLY CREATED STUFF LIKE THIS KONY VIDEO?  HOW CAN PROTEST MOVEMENTS AVOID BEING MANIPULATED BY THE POWERS-THAT-BE?

How can we avoid being deceived with sophisticated and slickly created stuff like these Kony videos?

We can separate the good from the bad.  In the good department, this video, for example, reminds others to care about people in the whole world, not just those in their own country.   (From the first Kony 2012 video: “We are living in a new world, Facebook world, where 750 million people share ideas, not thinking in borders. It’s a global community, bigger than the U.S.” and from the Kony Part II video released today:  “It’s the idea we’re a global community, protecting each other.”)  I try to do the same thing on my website’s homepage with my Dr. Martin Luther King Challenge: (Can you take to heart the following words he spoke just four days before he was gunned down?  “First, we are challenged to develop a world perspective . . .” at http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/about-this-website/dr-kings-sermon-are-we-listening).

The Kony 2012 video also seemingly empowers others to work for a better world, that it’s not impossible:  “It’s always been, that the decisions made by the few with the money and the power, dictated the priorities of their government, and the stories in the media. They determined the lives and opportunities of their citizens. But now, there’s something bigger than that. The people of the world see each other. And can protect each other. It’s turning the system upside down, and it changes everything.”

The bad is the characterization of the problems and their solutions, so in the same way that we instinctively judge the credibility of something an acquaintance tells us, we must always be critical readers/viewers/researchers/participants of information in the press and from strangers, always looking for answers to the following questions:

Who is making this statement?

Who is he or she making it for?

Why is this statement being made here, now?

Whom does this statement benefit?

Whom does it harm?

Does the statement and its conclusions make sense, and do they stand up to scrutiny, to your own and others’ research?

I found all the various critiques on Kony 2012 cited above by conducting a search on the internet, something we can do before accepting and passing on, or acting on something.

Of course, be suspicious of statements from the-powers-that-be, be suspicious when the war mongering U.S. government says it’s seeking peace, or when the U.S. government,  whose two political parties both support just the 1%, says its promoting democracy.   Be suspicious of genetically modified grassroots organizations – which the corporate mainstream press will advise are “spontaneous” and “from the people”, and knowing this, will remind you to check on the true nature of their “grassroots” bona fides and their proclaimed goals.

Look at the actions and past history, not just the words, to judge anyone or anything, and their past credibility or lack thereof (whether it be a news report, a Government statement, or a video from regular guys).

Remember fake opposition, the infiltration of opposition-protest and other movements, has been and will always be a tactic of the powers-that-be & certainly they will use and even create and promote social media and other technologies to assist with it.  It doesn’t mean we can’t use their tools to fight them.  Let them be the tools of their own destruction.

  1. [1] http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/12/kony-2012-documentary-becomes-most-viral-video-in-history
  2. [2] Source: Kony 2012: Militarization And Disinformation Blowback – OpEd
    Address : http://www.eurasiareview.com/22032012-kony-2012-militarization-and-disinformation-blowback-oped
  3. [3] The authoritarian military rulers themselves are catching on to this and have recently been banning U.S. ‘civil society groups’ in their countries.  See for example Why Do Some Foreign Countries Hate American NGOs So Much?
  4. [4] For info about the IMF/World Bank economic agenda see this and this from my website.
  5. [5] For a quick example of this, see discussion farther down this page about the U.S. supporting a Muslim Brotherhood candidate for the Egyptian presidency.  You know the old adage, “divide and conquer”, and religious fundamentalists in power is a very effective divider, among other things.

Statistical Accuracy?

You Are STILL Being Lied To

About How Many People Live And Die in This World and of What Causes

(The Lie Which Keeps Huge Segments of Humanity Locked in the Dark Ages)

 

If the truth be known, and the truth should be known, the powers-that-be don’t think humanity is worth counting, and so they don’t count it.  They give lots of lip service to improving the state of humanity and reducing unnecessary death and poverty, etc., but deliberately don’t measure it, as you’ll see below, so any efforts to alleviate what ails huge segments of humanity can never be properly evaluated and may even harm those intended to be helped.   The VERY FIRST STEP in solving any problem is, of course, to understand the true scope and nature of it.  If you don’t know what you’re up against, how can you address it?  How can you be sure you’re targeting the right areas or measure the effectiveness of your efforts if you don’t have a good baseline to measure success or failure?  When it comes to the very development of humanity, we still can’t.

“Accurate and timely data on deaths and causes of death are essential. . . But for more than a quarter of the world’s population – largely in Africa, South-East Asia and the Middle East – there are no recent data available. . .The quality of the information suffers as proper systems for death registration operate in only 29 of 115 countries that report such statistics to WHO.  These systems represent less than 13 % of the world population.  In the remaining countries, mortality statistics suffer from incomplete registration of births and deaths, and incorrect reporting of the cause of death and age.”  (World Health Organization, 10/05/07 1)

“Millions of poor people are missing from national statistics.  Living in informal settlements, they are simply not counted.” (UN’s Human Development Report 2006, page 372.)

“Even the most basic life indicators, such as births and deaths, are not directly registered in the poorest countries. Within this decade, only one African country (Mauritius) registers such events according to UN standards. Without reliable vital registration systems to track even the existence of births or deaths, naturally the data for the medical circumstances of those births or deaths—or the lives in between—are unreliable.” 3

Because the powers-that-be haven’t seen fit to accurately count life and death despite the technology and resources available to do so (as demonstrated below), they instead use non-empirical ‘guess‑timates’ and what is called statistical “modeling” based on the little real world data we do have, and engage in mumbo jumbo like this, beyond the reach of the average lay person, let alone reporter, to follow, verify, or credit:

“For neonatal mortality and incidence of diarrhoea, a standard logit model was used. Logit estimations are used when the outcome variable has two possible values (thus logits are often referred to as binary models). . .  Formally, in the logit model the dependant variable Yi is assumed to follow a Bernoulli distribution conditional on the vector of explanatory variable Xi. The probability of success is written as P (Yi = 1 | xi (L) = xi ) and P (bYi = 0 | xi ) . . .” (from p. 403 of the UN’s Human Development Report 2006. 4

Any time you are advised of world statistics about poverty, hunger, disease, etc., on television, in magazines, newspapers, or in requests for your donation dollars, you’re not informed that the numbers are not real and are not based on actual surveys conducted around the world.  They don’t tell you that even in 2008 the world hasn’t seen fit to determine how many people live and die, and of what causes, and that because we don’t have this essential information even well intentioned relief efforts could be a complete waste, or worse even hurt the people intended to be helped.  Only rarely does this truth break through.  Here are some  examples:

“[F]aced with UNAids’ warning in the nineties that their teachers were about to be decimated by AIDS, several African governments responded by training armies of replacements. The result, according to UK researcher Paul Bennell, is millions wasted and a glut of unemployed teacher trainees in countries like Botswana and Swaziland.  Meanwhile, the poor continue to die of ordinary diseases that could be cured for a few cents if medicines were available.” 5[1]

“The United Nations’ AIDS-fighting agency plans to issue a report today acknowledging that it overestimated the size of the epidemic . . . Some epidemiologists have criticized for years the way estimates were made, and new surveys of thousands of households in several countries have borne them out. . .” 6

“In the two decades since AIDS began sweeping the globe, it has often been labeled as the biggest threat to international health.  But with revised numbers downsizing the pandemic . . . AIDS experts are now wondering if it might be wise to shift some of the billions of dollars of AIDS money to basic health problems like clean water, family planning or diarrhea. . . The world invests about $8 billion to $10 billion in AIDS every year, more than 100 times what it spends on water projects in developing countries. Yet more than 2 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation, and about 1 billion lack clean water.” 7

The following are excerpts from the LA Times’ extensive investigation8 whose results were written up in a 12/16/07 article entitled “Unintended Victims of Gates Foundation Generosity9:

Mathibeli is grateful to the Global Fund for its AIDS grants but said the fund was out of touch. “They have their computers in nice offices and are comfortable,” she said, nervous about speaking bluntly. But “they are not coming down to our level. We’ve got to tell the truth so something will be done. . . .

 

Giving a patient medicine without food is like washing your hands and drying them in the dirt,” said Dr. Jennifer Furin, the Lesotho director for Partners in Health, a Boston-based NGO.

 

Health delivery systems in Africa are now weaker and more fragmented than they were 10 years ago,” said a 2006 report commissioned by the Global Fund and the World Bank. The weakening has been “exacerbated as the Global Fund and other programs now promote universal access to [AIDS] treatment.

 

Pregnancy-related deaths often have been the highest in nations where most aid has gone to treat AIDS, TB and malaria, said Dr. Francis Omaswa, special advisor for human resources at the WHO.

Not only can specific relief efforts be counterproductive, as just demonstrated, because we don’t yet have sufficiently basic, real life statistics about huge segments of humanity and what really ails them, this lack of knowledge of our lack of knowledge makes us vulnerable to being duped by promises and programs whose stated aims are to change the dismal state of humanity as it exists today.

The United Nations calls their current big promises to help humanity “The Millenium Development Goals” or “MDG’s”, which are supposed to be met in the new Millenium, specifically by the year 2015.  To get a flavor for them, here are just two of the MDG’s:

“Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger” and “Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.” 10 (For a discussion on the morality, or lack thereof, of goals which seek to save only half of the people that can be saved, with evidence that all indeed can be saved, see the author’s website at www.WhatNewsShouldBe.org.)

One may wonder about the seriousness of promises fashioned  so that no one can ever determine whether the promises have been met, particularly when the promises have no accompanying provisions to measure their success.  As professor/scientist/lawyer Amir Attaran points out:

Probably the most useful discussion the United Nations could plan . . . would be one that asked world leaders to endorse new goals against which they could truly measure progress.  This is feasible . . . For instance, dozens of demographic surveillance sites could be set up in the poorest countries to document births, deaths, illnesses and social services.  This has already been done in countries like Tanzania and Ghana.  How disappointing it is that the United Nations leadership went to great lengths to ensure that no such discussion could happen . . . the United Nations deputy secretary general instructed the organization’s scientists that she didn’t want the summit meeting being “distracted by arguments over the measurement of the Millennium Development Goals,” and ordered that they refrain from proposing any refinements to the goals.  By putting that discussion off limits, and pretending the Millennium Development Goals are meaningful as they now stand, the United Nations has . . . sabotaged its own vital mission to help the world’s most unfortunate and needy people.” 11

In reply, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the U.N. Millennium Project does not deny that our data is insufficient:

“Of course the data on the world’s extremely poor people are weak . . . We need better measurements.” He argues though, that “contrary to Mr. Attaran’s claims, experts from the United Nations, the World Bank and academia have been working hard to improve the data. It has not been easy, particularly with so much foot-dragging and backtracking by governments of some of the rich and powerful countries.” 12

But as Attaran notes in his response to Sachs’ reply:

“we would not be having this debate if it were about rich people.  Imagine if the U.S. president set a Millennium Unemployment Goal to halve the number of people without jobs by 2015.  Then suppose some years later, an academic asked the government:  “So, how much unemployment is there?”  If the government’s answer were, “We never measured that, and you’re right that we don’t know, but shame on you for blaming us”, the public outcry would be huge.  So would the realization that the government was unaccountable and disdainful of the people it is meant to protect.  This is exactly where the UN finds itself today over several of its most important MDGs:  it pushed for goals that its own scientists knew it could not measure.  Largely it gets away with that because world’s poorest people are seldom in a position to complain. . . Setting measurable goals, measuring them to guarantee progress, and celebrating the progress as it happens – not just celebrating the goals because they are comforting – is the proper way to dignify and protect the lives of the world’s neediest citizens.” MDGs Must Not Be Political Playthings for World Leaders, by Amir Attaran, published in Science and Development Network13.  (Amir Attaran is Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health, and Global Development Policy, University of Ottawa, Canada.)

In addition to the failure to obtain real world data on humanity, there has also been misuse of the little real data that does exist, good data intentionally ignored, unnecessary and unhelpful duplication of those rare data collection efforts as well as disorganization of data, all to such an extent that it appears to involve nothing less than intentional incompetence.

“For example, the world’s best dataset on the extent of malaria was published free in Nature this year and had been offered to the World Health Organization (WHO) for free (Nature 434, 214).  But for a long time the WHO spurned the data.  Then, just a day after the Nature paper was published, the WHO rushed out its in-house malaria figures in draft form.  Not only did the WHO reject an offer of free, reliable, peer-reviewed data, but it wasted its scarce money duplicating that work.” (Amir Attaran in link above.)

Further “even within the UN, different agencies jostle counterproductively for data.  For example, in 2002, the WHO launched a new World Health Survey in over 70 countries to compete with the longer-running DHS and MICS.  Justified as a “sound basis for evaluating progress towards the millennium development goals”, instead the WHO’s new survey tied up the few qualified statistical staff in the poorest countries.  Three years later (at the time of going to press), the new project has yet to publish a single dataset.  (Ironically, the WHO has since created a new project called the Health Metrics Network, for “reducing overlap and duplication” caused by a “plethora of separate and often overlapping [data] systems”.  One cannot yet say whether the Health Metrics Network will succeed at this important goal, or add a further layer to the problem.) Attaran, 9/13/05.  14.

A website news search reveals that the “Health Metric Network” referred to by Attaran above was officially launched two years after his article, on October 28, 2007.  As the UN News Centre notes15:

“The programme was launched today by the Health Metrics Network, a global, WHO-hosted partnership established to address the lack of reliable health information in developing countries.

The lack of civil registration systems – by which governments keep track of births, deaths and marital status of their citizens – means that every year, almost 40 per cent – or 48 million – of 128 million births worldwide go unregistered.

The situation is even worse for death registration: globally, two-thirds – or 38 million – of 57 million deaths a year are not registered. In addition, WHO receives reliable cause-of-death statistics from only 31 of its 193 Member States.

According to WHO, governments cannot design effective public health policies or measure their impact when deaths go uncounted and the causes of death are not documented.”

So, what has the Health Metric Network done to launch their program to improve this dismal state of affairs?  As the UN News Centre continues to report:

The drive to encourage countries to improve civil registration is launched today with a series of papers published in the medical journal The Lancet, entitled “Who counts?” The papers show that most developing countries have rudimentary or non-existent civil registration systems. They also underscore the challenges of establishing civil registration, including new legislation and governance structures.

The Health Metrics Network has already started working with Cambodia, Sierra Leone and Syria to improve their civil registration systems, and three other countries are expected to be identified for assistance by the end of the year.

 

So, the Health Metric Network published papers showing humanity needs to be counted . . . and have started working with 3 countries.   This is simply . . . under whelming.

Given the absolutely shameful state that vital global statistics are in, it is surprising that those in charge of gathering data on the state of humanity actually CELEBRATE THEIR SUCCESS.  Last year, no joke, they had their 60th Anniversary Celebration.  Here’s what the Director of the UN’s Statistical Division had to say on this momentous occasion16:

 

“The Statistics Division, or affectionately and more popularly known as UNSD, has, over the years, diligently facilitated the functioning of the Commission and dutifully implemented the tasks assigned.”

(That’s what the author affectionately calls the Statistics Division too – when she’s not thinking about their failure to count  the inconsequential stuff, like the life and death of humanity, that is).

Continuing, the celebrating UN’s Statistics Director notes that:

“In the past 60 years, we have seen real progress in the establishment of the global statistical system, of which the Commission has firmly established itself as the apex entity.”

Real progress?  Of a GLOBAL statistical system?  Again, there aren’t even valid statistics on the most significant number affecting humanity, you know, it’s actual life and death.

The patience of those involved in gathering vital statistical data is truly off the charts.  See, for example, how patient Mr. Pali Lehohla, the head of statistics in South Africa is.  He’s willing to wait 51 (fifty-one) years for accurate statistics about the people residing on the African continent.  Here’s the quote from his speech last year, also made on the momentous occasion of the 60th anniversary celebration of the UN’s Statistical Commission, which does not appear to have been made tongue in cheek:

“We have initiated the Africa Symposium for Statistical Development, an initiative that will see the 53 African countries each hosting the symposia. Two such events have been hosted, one in Cape Town, South Africa in 2006 and the other one in Kigali, Rwanda in 2007. The next one is scheduled to be held in Ghana in 2008. So, in the next 51 years we should see the development of statistics on the African continent grow from strength to strength and when we convene in South Africa in 51 years from now in 2058 we should proudly say “mission accomplished”. 17

The World Bank also advises people to be patient.   It advises that “Building statistical systems is a long-term process” 18. The World Bank continues “So is our commitment.”  Umm, right.  Below, you’ll see that  the World Bank charges money for those who want access to the Bank’s data on the development of humanity.  You want to know how humanity is developing?  The World Bank says you’ve got to pay to see that data.

But first, let’s examine the argument that we can’t afford to measure humanity.

What is the approximate cost of being able to gather RELIABLE data on the scope of global poverty and the needless death and types of suffering it causes, and what does the failure to have already expended such relatively paltry sums to measure it say about the genuineness of the philanthropists and UN Millennium Development participants’ efforts when they have already been made aware of this failure?   Okay, the second question is really rhetorical but the first – how much would it cost to get accurate statistics – the author has only seen one estimate in her reading and searching thus far, that it would cost $40 million dollars annually to obtain reliable data, this from Amir Attaran’s follow-up19 to his article entitled “An Immeasurable Crisis?  A Criticism of the Millennium Development Goals and Why They Cannot Be Measured”:

“Why is measurement of the MDGs so generally poor? According to Sachs and colleagues, it is money. They write that “developing countries and the international system”, which presumably includes the UN, “lack the resources to measure” the MDGs.

However, this belief too contradicts the evidence. Concerning the health MDGs, my paper recommended to expand the network of Demographic Surveillance Sites (DSS) as the single most efficient way to obtain timely, accurate measurements. According to a recent study of DSS in Tanzania, this costs $0.01 per person, per year.  Thus to institute DSS and good quality MDG measurements for the 4 billion poorest people worldwide would cost perhaps $40 million annually.

In that context, for Sachs and colleagues to argue that the “international system lacks the resources” to effectively measure the health MDGs is without credibility. The sum of $40 million is under 0.1% of the global foreign aid budget.”

Humanity needs to be counted, and again it’s been estimated that this counting would cost under 0.1% of the global foreign aid budget.  This must hit the front page of our newspapers as does news revealing the lie that we now have valid data to assist us in deciding how that global foreign aid budget is best spent because we simply don’t have such valid data.   If the international system continues to refuse to spend 0.1% of the global foreign aid budget on accurate data so we’ll know where the foreign aid should really be going to help the most people the fastest, we can find other ways to get this money, some of which are discussed on the author’s website. 20

The results of existing data collection efforts should also be made available to the public at no cost.  Some organizations that collect basic data on the very state of humanity, however, don’t think it should be provided to the world free of charge.  Yeah, it’s about the state of the development of humanity and all that, the most important thing to humanity, but hey, they’ve decided to charge humanity to get access to such data.

“Looking for accurate, up-to-date data on development issues? World Development Indicators, the World Bank’s respected statistical publication presents the most current and accurate information on global development on both a national level and aggregated globally”.  BUT IT’S NOT FREE, BABY.  THEY CHARGE YOU TO GET ACCESS TO THE MOST CURRENT AND ACCURATE STUFF.   They only make their publication’s chapter introductions available for free on its website.  The author learned this while trying to access the data herself.  For an individual user, they charge $200 for a one-year subscription to these World Development Indicators (WDI’s for short) on-line, or $275 for a cd-rom of same. 21  For institutions, it all depends on how many of their patrons might access it.  After giving them the relevant factors and asking how much they would charge the New York Public Library to subscribe to the on-line version, the author was advised they would charge the library $4,500 a year.   You can also “try before you buy” by accessing information from a limited database with limited queries available so you can see how a paid subscription to WDI- online will work22.  Also, don’t worry, if you are from a war-torn destitute country like Afghanistan, the World Bank will cut you a break and give you a 75 percent discount, so you can get your on-line subscription for $50.  If you live in Mexico, they’ll give you a 35 percent discount.  You can’t make this stuff up!  To see the Country list so you can see how much it would cost you, see http://publications.worldbank.org/discounts. (Note to all USA residents:  no discount).   When data on the very development of humanity is already in databases which are website accessible, there is no legitimate excuse for not making it accessible to anyone lucky enough to have a computer and internet connection.  No password should be required.  Only shame is for those who make it so.

They say the truth will set us free.  Maybe the truth that we still need to gather and disseminate information about the real state of humanity will actually improve it for everyone.  Knowledge is power.  Certainly this continuing lie that we have meaningful data on the state of humanity only serves to keep huge segments of it in the dark, the dark ages, that is.


[1]

  1. [1] http://www.who.int/research/cod_info_quality_20071005.pdf
  2. [2] http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr06-complete.pdf
  3. [3] Attaran A (2005) An Immeasurable Crisis? A Criticism of the Millennium Development Goals and Why They Cannot Be Measured. PLoS Med 2(10): e318 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020318 .

  4. [4] http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr06-complete.pdf.
  5. [5] Journalist Rian Milan on AIDS, February 2007, at http://tinyurl.com/yqgapv and see P. Bennell, The Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on Schooling in Sub-Saharan Africa at  http://www.eldis.org/fulltext/impactofaidsonschooling.pdf.  
  6. [6] McNeil, Donald G., Jr., “U.N. to Say It Overstated H.I.V. Cases by Millions”, New York Times, 11/20/07 at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/20/world/20aids.html
  7. [7] Cheng, Maria, “Experts Call for Rethinking AIDS Money”, Washington Post, 1/18/08, now at http://fairfoundation.org/news_letter/2008/01march/rethinking_AIDS_money.pdf.
  8. [8] To see how extensive, read http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gatesabout16dec16,0,1359361.story
  9. [9] http://tinyurl.com/2sy635.   
  10. [10] http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
  11. [11] Attaran, A., “Necessary Measures”, op ed, The New York Times, 9/13/05, at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/opinion/13attaran.html
  12. [12] Sachs, Jeffrey D., Letter to the Editor, “U.N. Goals: Poor’s Best Hope”, The New York Times, 9/14/05, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B07E2DC1131F937A2575AC0A9639C8B63
  13. [13] http://www.scidev.net/Opinions/index.cfm?fuseaction=readopinions&itemid=430&language=1.   
  14. [14] http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1201695.    
  15. [15] http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=24455&Cr=health&Cr1=systems.  
  16. [16] http://unstats.un.org/unsd/newsletter/speeches/statement%20on%2060th-2007.pdf.
  17. [17] http://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/doc07/Speech_South%20Africa.pdf
  18. [18] Page V of their preface at

    http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/WDI07frontmatter.pdf

  19. [19] http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=read-response&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020318&ct=1
  20. [20] www.WhatNewsShouldBe.org
  21. [21] http://go.worldbank.org/3JU2HA60D0 and http://go.worldbank.org/6HAYAHG8H0
  22. [22] http://ddp-ext.worldbank.org/ext/DDPQQ/member.do?method=getMembers&userid=1&queryId=135

Current Bullshit Promises

The United Nations calls their current phony bullshit promises “The Millennium Development Goals” or “MDG’s” (see http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/goals.html

These promises were made in the year 2000 (thus the “Millennium” title) and they gave themselves 15 years to meet them, by the year 2015.   These promises are actually morally repugnant on their face.  Despite there being enough to go around for EVERYONE, these promises only seek to give FRACTIONS of humanity what they need to sustain human life, yes fractions.  For example,  one of their promises is to:

“By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water”

http://tinyurl.com/33dejy

 

Half?  HALF?  And 15 years for HALF the people without clean water to get it?  You’ve got to be joking!  No, not only are they not joking, they say they are not even going to be able to keep this disgusting promise.  As it stands now, in their own words (copied from page 57 of theHuman Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity:  Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis at http://tinyurl.com/2sgcul

 

-for water the Arab States are 27 years off track

 

-the water target will be missed by 234 million people, with 55 countries off track

 

-The sanitation target will be missed by 430 million people, with 74 countries off track.

 

-Sub-Saharan Africa will miss the water target by a full generation and the sanitation target by more than two generations.

 

This is unconscionable. And that’s the way it is and continues to be.

 

What else is unconscionable? They made a promise to also cut hunger in half. But guess what? HUNGER JUST KEEPS INCREASING.

 

“Despite the promise made by Member States to halve hunger in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals, the shocking news is that globally, hunger is continuing to increase. . . In fact, it appears that hunger has increased every year since the World Food Summit in 1996 (FAO, 2004), even though the world is richer than ever before and can already produce enough food to feed more than double the world’s population.”

-Statement by Jean Ziegler, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food on the Occasion of World Food Day, 16 October 2005 at http://tinyurl.com/yt8o9e

 

Do you see now why I call these Millennium Development Goals bullshit promises? I’ve been asked NOT to use the term “bullshit” on my website by people who think it will detract from or discredit the seriousness of the information on this site, but I just can’t think of a synonym that so clearly captures what I’m trying to convey. If you’ve got one, contact me.

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“BILLIONS Earmarked For Relief Go Unspent As People DIE”

 

Here is an example of the seriousness (ha, ha) with which the powers-that-be treat their promises to the dying and suffering humanity. It’s about the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  And you’ll note that, yep, the same people are still in charge of it, but they promise to do better.  Gee, that’s a load of worry off my shoulders.  Do these people realize they’re dealing in life and death?  In the most benign view, they do not.  Copied below are excerpts from 3 different news stories about these unspent billions below.  Links to the full stories also follow.

From the New York Times, “U.S. Agency’s Slow Pace Endangers Foreign Aid” on 12/7/07 athttp://tinyurl.com/2vkt4n

“The agency, a rare Bush administration proposal to be enacted with bipartisan support, has spent only $155 million of the $4.8 billion it has approved for ambitious projects in 15 countries in Africa, Central America and other regions. . . Eyeing the unspent billions, the Senate has proposed that Congress provide no more than half the money up front for future five-year projects, which typically come with a price tag of $250 million to $700 million. Such projects are now fully financed at the start to make sure countries have the wherewithal to finish what they start.”

Also, “MCC budget cut – how would it affectGhana?” at http://tinyurl.com/2zgwub

“Critics of the agency in Congress are concerned that it has spent only $155 million on development projects out of $4.8 billion approved for funding.”

And, “Don’t count the chickens yet” athttp://tinyurl.com/yphtar

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) set up some four years ago to aid developing countries has spent only 3% of its US$4.8bil (RM15.8bil) funds for approved projects, frustrating poor communities and tempting a re-channelling of the money to the Iraq war.

Back to the Times article again, so you can feel reassured:

But the agency itself must also shoulder some of the blame for the slow progress, Ms. Herrling said. Its decision-making has been too focused on putting together the projects, rather than on carrying them out. “It shouldn’t have taken so long,” she said. “The agency needs to figure it out this year. They are part of the problem.”  John J. Danilovich, the businessman and former ambassador who has led the agency for two years, recently reorganized it to concentrate on results with what he called “laser focus.”  “We need to do better and we will do better,” he said in an interview.

Yeah, I feel much better now.

 

——————————————

 

Guess what doesn’t even warrant a phony bullshit Millennium Development Goal promise? Although 1 out of every 4 human beings on this planet is forced to live without electricity (see this page), getting electricity to those who need it didn’t even make the list of UN Millennium Goals.    In their own words:

Unfortunately the international community has not taken this issue serious enough to establish a specific target for energy services in the framework of the MDGs.” Seehttp://tinyurl.com/2uc5hb

Finally, to show the INSINCERITY inherent in Millenium Development Goals, one only has to note that the goals selected are those for which progress in meeting them CANNOT be measured, and provisions to measure progress were not included with the goals.   See my page on Statistical Accuracy here for complete details.

Global Warming is Fake Catastrophe

Global Warming is a Weapon of Mass DISTRACTION, a very dangerous one at that.

Let’s be scientific about GLOBAL WARMING THEORY.  Let’s look beyond the hype, you know, let’s actually look at the facts on the ground and in the air and oceans.  Copied in full below is a recent BBC News article and other sources, including the New York Times, on how this theory & the climate computer models which predicted catastrophe have not held up to real world data. ***The earth has NOT been warming for 11 years now even thought C02 has been increasing.  [2013 UPDATE – It’s been 4 years since this was written, 4 more NON-WARMING years, so it’s a total of 15 years now that the warming has been missing from global warming.  Here’s a link to the 2013 update which includes mainstream news media’s admissions of this critical fact.]  The global warming theory has been proven false. The mainstream news media is only now reluctantly coming to grips with this. The New York Times, for example, tells us we won’t know for sure whether there’s any global warming danger for another few years (quote below) but the writing is on the wall with the most recent data indicating we’re at the beginning of a global COOLING period, citations and quotes below.

This global warming theory is a crock and a dangerous one at that because it is giving those who get to decide how the resources of the globe are currently spent an excuse to waste our resources on more expensive forms of energy when cheaper forms are not, in fact, causing any global warming.   Instead of creating expensive new forms of energy, our efforts should be targeted to getting energy to the 25 percent of humanity still forced to live without electricity as quickly (and by necessity as cheaply) as we can.  That’s because the lack of electricity is not just an inconvenience for ¼ of us, it kills 5,400 people each day (see http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/front-page-news/electricity-still-missing-for-22-of-humanity )  Those without electricity have no choice but to live like cavemen, burning stuff in their unventilated homes for light and to cook, and breathing in all the resulting smoke kills 5,400 people, mostly women and children, each day.  You know, TODAY, not 50 years from now but TODAY, AND EVERY DAY.  So, while well meaning people worry and work to save the world from a future speculative threat now shown to be bogus (global warming), the well meaning do nothing to stop a CURRENT, REAL environmental pollution threat that kills 5,400 daily and are actually making it more difficult for those desperate for electricity by trying to force more expensive energies on those who can least afford them – and all for a reason that is now proving to be scientifically unsound.

——————————–

What happened to global warming?

By Paul Hudson

Climate correspondent, BBC News

10/9/09

This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any

increase in global temperatures.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

So what on Earth is going on?

Climate change sceptics, who passionately and consistently argue that man’s influence on our climate is overstated, say they saw it coming.

They argue that there are natural cycles, over which we have no

control, that dictate how warm the planet is. But what is the evidence for this?

During the last few decades of the 20th Century, our planet did warm quickly.

Sceptics argue that the warming we observed was down to the energy from the Sun increasing. After all 98% of the Earth’s warmth comes from the Sun.

But research conducted two years ago, and published by the Royal Society, seemed to rule out solar influences.

The scientists’ main approach was simple: to look at solar output and cosmic ray intensity over the last 30-40 years, and compare those trends with the graph for global average surface temperature.

And the results were clear. “Warming in the last 20 to 40 years can’t have been caused by solar activity,” said Dr Piers Forster from Leeds University, a leading contributor to this year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But one solar scientist Piers Corbyn from Weatheraction, a company specialising in long range weather forecasting, disagrees.

He claims that solar charged particles impact us far more than is

currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures.

He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month.

If proved correct, this could revolutionise the whole subject.

Ocean cycles

What is really interesting at the moment is what is happening to our oceans. They are the Earth’s great heat stores.

“ In the last few years [the Pacific Ocean] has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down ”

According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated.

The oceans, he says, have a cycle in which they warm and cool

cyclically. The most important one is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO).

For much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was in a positive cycle, that

means warmer than average. And observations have revealed that global temperatures were warm too.

But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has

recently started to cool down.

These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years.

So could global temperatures follow? The global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles.

Professor Easterbrook says: “The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling.”

So what does it all mean? Climate change sceptics argue that this is evidence that they have been right all along.

They say there are so many other natural causes for warming and cooling, that even if man is warming the planet, it is a small part compared with nature.

But those scientists who are equally passionate about man’s influence on global warming argue that their science is solid.

The UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre, responsible for future climate

predictions, says it incorporates solar variation and ocean cycles into its climate models, and that they are nothing new.

In fact, the centre says they are just two of the whole host of known factors that influence global temperatures – all of which are accounted for by its models.

In addition, say Met Office scientists, temperatures have never

increased in a straight line, and there will always be periods of

slower warming, or even temporary cooling.

What is crucial, they say, is the long-term trend in global

temperatures. And that, according to the Met office data, is clearly up.

To confuse the issue even further, last month Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says that we may indeed be in a period of cooling worldwide temperatures that could last another 10-20 years.

Professor Latif is based at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany and is one of the world’s top climate modellers.

But he makes it clear that he has not become a sceptic; he believes that this cooling will be temporary, before the overwhelming force of man-made global warming reasserts itself.

So what can we expect in the next few years?

Both sides have very different forecasts. The Met Office says that warming is set to resume quickly and strongly.

It predicts that from 2010 to 2015 at least half the years will be

hotter than the current hottest year on record (1998).

Sceptics disagree. They insist it is unlikely that temperatures will reach the dizzy heights of 1998 until 2030 at the earliest. It is

possible, they say, that because of ocean and solar cycles a period of global cooling is more likely.

One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing

global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8299079.stm

Published: 2009/10/09 15:22:46 GMT

Other sources:

Here are some other links where the mainstream news media is starting to admit (sometimes very reluctantly) that global warming is not happening, some rather Orwellian too:

“The world leaders who met at the United Nations to discuss climate change on Tuesday are faced with an intricate challenge: building momentum for an international climate treaty at a time when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years.” Source: Stable Global Temperatures Could Stifle Action on Climate – NYTimes.com Address : http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/science/earth/23cool.html?hp=&pagew

“Warming might be on hold, study finds – Discovery.com- msnbc.com” –

“[a]ccording to a new study, global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades.” . . .  Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat.”

Saturday, March 07, 2009 9:10:06 PM http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29469287/

“An average of all 38 available standard runs from the IPCC shows that models expect a temperature increase in this decade of about 0.2C.   But this is not at all what we have seen. And this is true for all surface temperature measures, and even more so for both satellite measures. Temperatures in this decade have not been worse than expected; in fact, they have not even been increasing. They have actually decreased by between 0.01 and 0.1C per decade. . .Likewise, and arguably much more importantly, the heat content of the world’s oceans has been dropping for the past four years where we have measurements. . . . over the last two years, sea levels have not increased at all – actually, they show a slight drop.over the last two years”  Source: Let the data speak for itself, Björn Lomborg:

guardian.co.uk,

Address : http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/14/climatechange-scienceofclimatechange

“A clearer view of whether the recent temperature plateau undermines arguments for dangerous climate change in the long run should come in a few years, as the predictions made by the British climate researchers are tested. Their paper appeared in a supplement to an August issue of The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.  While the authors concluded that there was a 1 in 8 chance of having a decade-long pause in warming like the current plateau, even with rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, the odds of a 15-year pause, they wrote, are only 5 in 100. As a result, the next few years of observations could tip the balance toward further concern or greater optimism.”

Source: Stable Global Temperatures Could Stifle Action on Climate – NYTimes.com

Address : http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/science/earth/23cool.html?hp=&pagew

NATURE magazine:

(Keenlyside et al. 2008

(http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7191/abs/nature06921.html ).

“we make the following forecast: over the next decade, the current Atlantic meridional overturning circulation will weaken to its long-term mean; moreover, North Atlantic SST and European and North American surface temperatures will cool slightly, whereas tropical Pacific SST will remain almost unchanged. Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade”

Source: Access : Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector : Nature

Address : http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7191/full/nature06921.html

See also “Next decade may see no Warming”  (5/1/08)

Source: BBC NEWS |

Science/Nature | Address : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7376301.stm

My favorite of the Orwellian stuff:

From the NY Times Science – Dot Earth Blog, the title of a recent blog:

“A Cooler Year on a Warming Planet” at

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/a-cooler-year-on-a-warmi

And also from the New York Times is a very telling caption which appeared underneath a photo in a story about the global warming debate:

“Discordant findings aside, the theory of rising human influence on climate endures. “

That’s actually a very good summary of how the news media has covered this global warming theory for years – generally ignoring all discordant findings, and these findings just keep adding up until there is nothing left to the global warming myth.

(Caption to photograph appeared accompanying this article: “Climate Experts Tussle Over Details. Public Gets Whiplash at

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/science/earth/29clim.html )

Oh, and here’s a good article about how bad the computer modeling  – and that’s the whole factual basis of the global Computer modelling of temperatures – in the Antarctic have proved wildly inaccurate, scientists have admitted

Source: Antarctic ‘not as warm as feared’ – Telegraph

Address : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/05/08/eatemp108.xml

DVD’S ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING YOU SHOULD SEE:

Before sending me any emails expressing your disagreement with me about the nature of the so-called “global warming threat”, please do the following:

See (for free on the internet) the movie which exposed Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” as a scam.  It’s called “The Great Global Warming Swindle” and it aired on British television.  If you can’t locate it on the internet, let me know.  See also the just released documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong – The True Cost of Global Warming Hysteria”.  It was already shown for free on the internet so you can download it from torrent sites.  You’re not afraid of seeing if your hard-fast beliefs can survive challenges based on facts and logic, are you?  If not, you should see these movies.  Each helps explain how so many got it so wrong.

Contact Angie

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Why There Are No AIDS Statistics On My Site

There are several reasons why I’ve decided NOT to include any AIDS related statistics on my site.  For the first three reasons, I’ll show you the proof.  The fourth & last reason doesn’t come with any proof, it’s just my gut reactions, those of a non-doctor/scientist, which increase my wariness in putting forth information I’m not in a position to confirm myself.

REASONS WITH PROOF

Reason # 1 :  AIDS statistics are notoriously unreliable.

From the New York Times article of 11/20/07 entitled “U.N. to Say It Overstated H.I.V. Cases by Millions” athttp://tinyurl.com/3bqza9 :

 

“The United Nations’ AIDS-fighting agency plans to issue a report today acknowledging that it overestimated the size of the epidemic . . . Some epidemiologists have criticized for years the way estimates were made, and new surveys of thousands of households in several countries have borne them out. . . ‘This is not a surprise,’ said Daniel Halperin, an expert on H.I.V. infection rates at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of an article published three years ago arguing that estimates of infection rates were too high.  ‘The writing was on the wall years ago,’ he said. . . In the past, global health officials have treated the epidemic as a cyclone spiraling ever upward with no end to new infections in sight.  But better surveys . . . have driven the figures down.”

From the Washington Post article of the same date entitled: “U.N. to Cut Estimate Of AIDS Epidemic – Population With Virus Overstated by Millions” at http://tinyurl.com/32yu27

“The United Nations‘ top AIDS scientists plan to acknowledge this week that they have long overestimated both the size and the course of the epidemic, which they now believe has been slowing for nearly a decade, according to U.N. documents prepared for the announcement. . . But the far-reaching revisions amount to at least a partial acknowledgment of criticisms long leveled by outside researchers who disputed the U.N. portrayal of an ever-expanding global epidemic.”

From two Boston Globe articles 3 years earlier, in 2004:

The first is from a 6/7/04 story about a UN report released a week in advance of the 15th International AIDS Conference to be held in  Bangkok, entitled AIDS numbers rise around worldat http://tinyurl.com/2d4v3o :

“Many AIDS specialists outside the UN have been sharply critical of the past estimates, suggesting that the figures have been inflated by 25 to 50 percent.” . . . Jim Chin, an epidemiologist who helped devise WHO’s original models for estimating HIV prevalence, criticized UNAIDS and WHO for not emphasizing more positive trends in the report.  ”The words ‘peak’ and ‘leveling off’ are not in their vocabulary,” Chin said by telephone fromCalifornia. ”They are still doing this very fancy soft-shoe dance around the numbers. Outside of Africa, it seems they are not admitting to any serious reduction to the estimates anyplace else. It’s just not consistent with the epidemiology. Maybe it doesn’t suit them to say it beforeBangkok, where they are beating the drums of a gathering storm.”

The second Boston Globe article, from 6/20/04, is entitled “Estimates On HIV Called Too High – New Data Cut Rates For Many Nations” at http://tinyurl.com/ypo3k4 :

“Estimates of the number of people with the AIDS virus have been dramatically overstated in many countries because of errors in statistical models and a possible undetected decline in the pandemic, according to new data and specialists on the disease.  In many nations, analysts are cutting the estimates of HIV prevalence by half or more. . . A significant downward revision in AIDS and HIV numbers calls into question many of the lessons on fighting AIDS that are based on prior estimates. It also is likely to affect future budgets and cause many countries to consider revising strategies on how to prevent and treat the disease.  “It is fundamental that we have accurate information of what we’re up against,” said Robert R. Redfield, cofounder of the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology and a leading AIDS specialist. “If you are overestimating the epidemic, you may attribute positive impacts to things that have nothing to do with it.” . . .“Chin said he thinks the global rate is inflated by 25 percent to 40 percent, while two US health officials working on AIDS said they think the global numbers may be 50 percent inflated. The two spoke on condition of anonymity.”

See also this 2003 article from Rian Malan “Africa Isn’t Dying of Aids” at http://tinyurl.com/36ztky which has details on the specific computer modeling used and how it varied greatly from real, on-the-ground data.  His 2007 update to that article is linked to below, at the bottom of reason #2.

Reason # 2:  Those seeking funding for AIDS related efforts have been shown to intentionally misrepresent the science and hype it.  Why should they be trusted now?

See, for example, this Pulitzer Prize winning article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “AIDS Fight Is Skewed By Federal Campaign Exaggerating Risks” athttp://www.pulitzer.org/year/1997/national-reporting/works/2.html :  The article demonstrated that heterosexuals are very unlikely to get AIDS, but a public relations campaign intentionally convinced everyone of the exact opposite, that AIDS could hit anybody.

 

“The emphasis on the broad reach of the disease has virtually ensured that precious funds won’t go where they are most needed” . . . “I don’t see that much downside in slightly exaggerating [AIDS risk]” says John Ward, chief of the CDC branch that keeps track of AIDS cases. “Maybe they’ll wear a condom. Maybe they won’t sleep with someone they don’t know.”

 

Journalist Rian Milan asks in his February 2007 update athttp://tinyurl.com/yqgapv :

 

“What’s wrong with a bit of fibbing, if that’s what it takes to raise money for a good cause? Well, apart from conning donors who might have spent their money better elsewhere, on the scale we’re talking about, it seriously distorts social priorities and government planning. Told that they face appalling problems, governments have diverted pitifully scarce resources from other needs to combating an Aids threat that in several instances has turned out to have been grossly exaggerated. An example: faced with UNAids’ warning in the nineties that their teachers were about to be decimated by Aids, several African governments responded by training armies of replacements. The result, according to UK researcher Paul Bennell, is millions wasted and a glut of unemployed teacher trainees in countries like Botswana and Swaziland. Meanwhile, the poor continue to die of ordinary diseases that could be cured for a few cents if medicines were available.”

 

(See, P. Bennell, The Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on Schooling in Sub-Saharan Africa at http://www.eldis.org/fulltext/impactofaidsonschooling.pdf)

 

That example, of limited funds squandered due to inaccurate AIDS statistics and projections, leads us to Reason # 3.

Reason # 3:  More importantly, the focus of relief efforts on AIDS has actually hindered efforts to provide people with THE BASIC NECESSITIES of life.  It can actually do more harm than good!

When people are dying, relief efforts should produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people, not relief just for the squeakiest wheel.  AIDS is the squeakiest wheel due to the public relations campaign just briefly touched upon in the Wall Street Journal article above.  As you’ll see below, AIDS relief actually appears to be doing more harm than good!

That’s a big charge. Here’s evidence to support it, both from admissions of AID relief foundations themselves and in the results of an extensive Los Angeles Times investigation, whose results were written up in a 12/16/07 article entitled “Unintended Victims of Gates Foundation Generosity” athttp://tinyurl.com/2sy635 , where there are also links to photographs and video. Below I’ve copied relevant and telling excerpts. But first, here is the LA Times explaining what their investigation entailed (at http://tinyurl.com/3532s4 ):

“This story, the latest installment in an 18-month investigation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is based in part on a review of hundreds of foundation grant descriptions, policies, evaluation reports and tax returns.  Reporting included more than 130 interviews with patients, medical professionals and administrators in Lesotho, Rwanda and other African nations and with global health experts in Europe, Africa and the United States.  More than 240 scholarly articles, books and studies on health conditions in Africa were reviewed, along with thousands of pages of financial and performance data, reports and evaluations from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the GAVI Alliance and other financing groups and aid organizations.  Statistical data on health conditions in Africa were obtained from the World Health Organization, the World Bank and UNICEF, as well as national ministries of health and nongovernmental organizations.”

 

And now, some of the investigation’s results:

 

. . . because of the priorities of global health groups, including GAVI and the Global Fund (Gates’ funded) – key measures of societal health have stalled at appalling levels or worsened.”  Dr. Peter Poore, a pediatrician who has worked in Africa for three decades, is a former Global Fund board member and consultant to GAVI (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization). He says they and other donors provide crucial help but overstate the impact of their programs. “They can also do dangerous things,” he said. “They can be very disruptive to health systems — the very things they claim they are trying to improve.” . . .Joe McCannon, vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a U.S.-based nongovernmental aid organization, or NGO, with operations in Africa, said, “You have to ask: ‘Net, are we having a positive effect?’ It’s a haunting question.” . . .

 

A “haunting question”, whether their relief efforts actually help or hurt!  What is he talking about?   How can they hurt? He’s talking about things like what the LA Times refers to as the “Brain Drain”:

 

Sub-Saharan African nations face desperate shortages of doctors and nurses. . . The narrow approach of the Global Fund and other aid groups compounds the problem, according to global health experts and African officials. . . .The Global Fund pays for salary increases for clinicians who provide antiretroviral drug therapy, known as ART, for HIV/AIDS patients. Doctors and nurses move into AIDS care to receive these raises, creating a brain drain.  “All over the country, people are furious about incentives for ART staff,” said Rachel M. Cohen, mission chief in Lesotho for Doctors Without Borders, which operates health facilities in partnership with the government.  Because of the brain drain, responsibilities for education, triage and low-level nursing pass down to lay people, particularly in rural areas that rarely if ever see a clinician. In much of Africa, task-shifting is the key response to staff shortages.  “But there are limits,” Cohen said. “Some things shouldn’t be done by lay people.”  The situation is as bad or worse elsewhere inAfrica. . . Florence Mukakabano, head nurse at the Central Hospital of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, said she loses many of her staff nurses to United Nations agencies, NGOs and the hospital’s own Global Fund-supported AIDS program.

These Gates’ funded foundations understand the ‘brain drain’ effects of their efforts, but they simply don’t care:

In some cases, salary increases targeted to certain types of care “may have had a distorting effect,” Kazatchkine acknowledged. But the AIDS crisis justifies such dislocations, he said. “We are a global fund for AIDS, TB and malaria. We are not a global fund that funds local health.”

Kazatchkine is the director of the Gates’ funded Global Fund).

The LA Times indicates that the country of “Botswana offers an example of how a special Gates initiative, narrowly applied to a specific disease, may have disrupted other healthcare.” :

In 2000, the Gates Foundation joined with the drug firm Merck & Co. and chose Botswana as a test case for a $100-million effort to prove that mass AIDS treatment and prevention could succeed in Africa. Botswana is a well-governed, stable democracy with a small population and a relatively high living standard, but one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. By 2005, health expenditures per capita in Botswana, boosted by the Gates donations, were six times the average for Africa and 21 times the amount spent in Rwanda. Deaths from AIDS fell sharply. . . But AIDS prevention largely failed. HIV continued to spread at an alarming pace. . . Meanwhile, the rate of pregnancy-related maternal deaths nearly quadrupled and the child mortality rate rose dramatically. Despite improvements in AIDS treatment, life expectancy in Botswana rose just marginally, from 41.1 years in 2000 to 41.5 years in 2005. Dean Jamison, a health economist who was editor of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, a Gates Foundation-funded reference book . . . added thatthe Gates Foundation effort, with its tight focus on the epidemic, may have contributed to the broader health crisis by drawing the nation’s top clinicians away from primary care and child health. “They have an opportunity to double or triple their salaries by working on AIDS,” Jamison said. “Maybe the health ministry replaces them, maybe not. “But if so, it is usually with less competent people.”

These AIDS only relief-ers are ignoring the fundamentals: “In recent interviews in Lesotho and Rwanda, many patients described hunger so brutal that nausea prevented them from keeping their anti-AIDS pills down.” Please read aloud the words of one of the nurses interviewed by the LA Times and hear her:

Eyes brimming with tears of frustration, Majubilee Mathibeli, the nurse at Queen II hospital who gives Moleko her pills, said four out of five of her patients ate fewer than three meals a day. “Most of them,” she said, “are dying of hunger.” . . . Mathibeli is grateful to the Global Fund for its AIDS grants but said the fund was out of touch. “They have their computers in nice offices and are comfortable,” she said, nervous about speaking bluntly. But “they are not coming down to our level. We’ve got to tell the truth so something will be done.”

The LA Times’ investigation continues:

When the food runs out, the hunger returns. At that point, said Epiphanie Nizane, a lay counselor in Rwinkwavu, a village in eastern Rwanda, many women with AIDS turn to prostitution. (Did you catch that? Starving aids patients turning to prostitution so they can buy food, prostitution which can spread AIDS.) “The Haitians have a saying: Giving a patient medicine without food is like washing your hands and drying them in the dirt,” said Dr. Jennifer Furin, the Lesotho director for Partners in Health, a Boston-based NGO.

MORE ADMISSIONS QUOTED IN THE LA TIMES INVESTIGATION:

WHAT GOT WORSE:

“Health delivery systems in Africa are now weaker and more fragmented than they were 10 years ago,” said a 2006 report commissioned by the Global Fund and the World Bank. The weakening has been “exacerbated as the Global Fund and other programs now promote universal access to [AIDS] treatment.” . . .

Pregnancy-related deaths often have been the highest in nations where most aid has gone to treat AIDS, TB and malaria, said Dr. Francis Omaswa, special advisor for human resources at the WHO.

The 2006 Global Fund-World Bank report the LA Times quoted from above can be read in full here: http://www.eldis.org/go/display&type=Document&id=33897)

and it also notes that:

“Recent studies of global health programs, while acknowledging their many contributions, conclude that “their collective impact has created or exacerbated a series of problems at the country level . . .The cumulative effect of these problems is to risk undermining the sustainability of national development plans, distorting national priorities, diverting scarce human resources and/or establishing uncoordinated service delivery structures. This is a most serious indictment. . . . The disease-specific interests of external donors have further drained domestic resources from the funding of health systems maintenance, family planning, child health and other broader health requirements. . .It is entirely likely that lives of AIDS patients saved through expensive anti-retroviral drug treatments, to say nothing of the millions of other sick people neglected by the diversion of funding to stand-alone disease programs, may be lost to diarrhea or other health problems which are easily prevented by a functioning basic health delivery system.”

WHAT STAYED THE SAME AND WAS NOT IMPROVED:

Using the most authoritative available data, maternal and child mortality and life expectancy show no statistical relationship — for better or worse — to Global Fund grants or to overall Gates Foundation spending in Africa. Key health measures in countries that received less money per capita have been just as likely to improve or decline as in countries that received more money, according to data from the World Health Organization, World Bank and UNICEF.

Concluding quotes from the LA Times article:
Donations “could be five times more beneficial,” Omaswa (Special advisor for human resources at the WHO) said, if they better supported health systems.

“Who chose the human right of universal treatment of AIDS over other human rights?” asked economist William Easterly, co-director of the New York University Development Research Institute, in his book “The White Man’s Burden.” He added: “A nonutopian approach would make the tough choices to spend foreign aid resources in a way that reached the most people with their most urgent needs.”

So that’s why I’ve decided not to put AIDS statistics on my site.

And now I’ll just ramble a bit:

ADDITIONAL REASON TO BE WARY BASED ONLY ON GUT FEELINGS

Reason # 4

In the first couple of decades, it seemed to me that AIDS was an easy way for those like us (who have the basic ingredients to sustain life like food, water, shelter, electricity, etc.), to dismiss outright the mind boggling death occurring in the ‘Third World’ with the mistaken idea that all that unfortunate death was really caused by an incurable disease, forgetting that so many in the Third World lacked the very basic necessities of life. The diagnosis, to this non-doctor, also seemed a suspicious catch-all. AIDS is a disease you can’t scientifically test, you can only test for “antibodies” to HIV. You don’t die of AIDS per se, but of an opportunistic infection like tuberculosis, meningitis, pneumonia, Kaposi’s sarcoma, etc. The World Health Organization’s definition didn’t even require an HIV test. In ‘third world’ countries they instead merely looked for a list of signs and symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, and fever, you know, things that people without food and clean water will also experience. And AIDS is a disease which could take years or decades before it manifests any symptoms. All of this non-traditional disease classification stuff combined with the distraction it provided to well-intentioned others from the facts that huge chunks of humanity still don’t have the very basics needed to sustain life made me wary. Additionally, now that medication has been created for AIDS patients, my general distrust of profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies, which have been shown time and again to put ineffective and even harmful drugs on the market, combined with the notion that it seems counterintuitive to give people who have compromised immune systems toxic drugs leads me not to champion something I’m not absolutely sure is actually helpful. (See for one example, this article in the New York Times“ questioning a possible effect of AIDS medications: Worrisome New Link: AIDS Drugs and Leprosy” from 10/24/06 at

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/24/health/24lepr.html )

I am absolutely sure, though, that people need food and water to live, and that indoor plumbing prevents disease, and I champion only what I am certain. Shouldn’t relief efforts do likewise, deal with what we are certain of and start with the basics? It really isn’t rocket science, you know. It’s FIRST THINGS FIRST. As shown above, relief efforts which ignore the basics – like the Gates’ Foundations AID relief efforts, can actually harm the people they say they are intended to help, so those efforts and their faulty statistics will not be trumpeted here.

For another example of relief efforts hurting the people we were told they’d help, see the page on Hunger – “A Shame on Humanity”.