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US let its citizens die rather than accept Cuban aid

Hurricane Harvey brings to mind the devastation of predecessors like Katrina, whose death toll would have been reduced had the Bush administration accepted Cuban doctors.

Shane Quinn

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Of the many stories written about Hurricane Katrina in autumn 2005, and its devastating consequences, one crucial element is virtually overlooked. During the all-important hours after the tropical cyclone laid waste to sections of south-eastern United States, the Bush administration ignored the aid of its Cuban neighbour.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro offered to ship over 1,600 doctors and dozens of tons of medical supplies to the US’s affected areas. Considering the decades-long terrorist attacks perpetrated against Cuba by US governments, in addition to a crippling embargo, it was a noble gesture by the Castro government.

A gesture largely erased from the record too – it wouldn’t do for the powers-that-be to raise Cuba’s profile while questioning the leader of the free world. Castro’s remarkable offer was not altogether surprising if one looks at the record.

Scant coverage is given to the fact that since the early 1960s Castro sent thousands of Cuban doctors to some of the earth’s most neglected areas – from Pakistan to Ethiopia to Guatemala. By 2007, Cuba had shipped more medical personnel to the developing world than the US, Canada, Britain, Germany and France combined. That tells something about the global priorities of the Western powers.

After the 2005 Kashmir earthquake that mostly affected Pakistan, killing tens of thousands of people, Cuba sent over 2,400 doctors and medical staff to the region. This horrific natural disaster occurred just six weeks after Hurricane Katrina, incidentally. Following the Kashmir earthquake Cuban medical personnel treated over a million people in the damaged areas, conducting hundreds of life-saving operations.

Pakistan’s Major-General Abdul Qadir Usmani, overseeing the medical situation in the region, said “the Cuban doctors have won the hearts of the Pakistani nation… We have no words to describe your services for the earthquake victims, but we will remember it for a long time to come”.

Unsurprisingly, such humanitarianism has led to close Pakistani-Cuban relations. Last year, with Cuba enduring its worst drought in over a century, Pakistan shipped 15,000 tons of rice to Cuba. Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said of the crucial lifeline, “We recognise Cuba as a proven friend that has stayed by our side in tough times”, and reflecting on Cuba’s assistance during the earthquake, Sharif continued, “that example of sincerity, care and friendship towards Pakistan has few parallels in modern history”.

Surely Cuba’s vital aid to Pakistan (and others) in its hour of need did not go unnoticed by US President George W. Bush. However, it had already been deemed more important by his administration to preserve the superpower’s prestige rather than protect its own citizens. Over 1,800 Americans died from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, with New Orleans suffering widespread devastation, but many would surely have been saved with Cuban assistance.

Cuba has one of the finest health care systems in the world, with the lowest infant mortality rate in the Western hemisphere. The average Cuban life expectancy is 79 years, one of the highest in the region and greater than that of the US, the most powerful nation on earth.

In the affected areas in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the greatest problem was a lack of medical needs – “only a small portion of those seeking medical assistance were receiving care due to a shortage of medical personnel and supplies”. The world’s richest country did not have enough doctors when it mattered most.

Later, a bemused Castro responded to the rejection of his offer by saying that, “the American government’s pride dictated that their own citizens had to die on the roofs of their houses, or on the roofs of hospitals from which no-one evacuated them, or in stadiums, or in nursing homes where some of them were given euthanasia in order to prevent a horrible death by drowning. That’s the country that portrays itself as ‘a defender of human rights’.”

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by President Bush’s rejection of badly needed foreign assistance, especially when examining his own record on human rights – not just in far-flung places like Afghanistan and Iraq, but within the borders of the US.

At the end of Bush’s second term, the number of poor in the US increased by 8.2 million people, much of this decline in living standards occurring before the 2008 economic meltdown. The number of children living in poverty rose by over 20% during the Bush years (to 14.1 million), while the total of medically uninsured Americans stood at 46.3 million people, again a more than 20% rise. The list goes on.

Hurricane Katrina was a signal to everyone in the US that climate change was an issue no longer to be ignored. Still, the Bush administration didn’t lift a finger to tackle one of the great problems of our time – the US, along with China, is the main contributor to rising carbon emissions.

In fact Bush and company made efforts to, “manipulate the work of federal climate scientists and exercise strict control over which scientists are allowed to talk to the media, and which scientific results are communicated to the public”.

Over the past week, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey is another reminder to Americans of the frightening effects of climate change. This follows on from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which inflicted enormous damage on Cuba and much of North America – and was by diameter the largest Atlantic hurricane on record.

Harvey, meanwhile, was the strongest storm to hit Texas in over half a century, killing dozens of people – a year’s worth of rain fell in just a few days over the vulnerable city of Houston, breaking previous rainfall records. Texas Governor Greg Abbott estimates the damage at up to $180 billion, far more costly than the infrastructural outlay following either Hurricane Katrina or Sandy.

The US’s inertia in curbing climate change is now being greatly felt. Yet the Republican Party continues to do nothing – rather, they want to further aggravate the problem by increasing the burning of fossil fuels like coal. As the US is the world’s second largest contributor to greenhouse emissions, these policies are having serious implications for the rest of the planet.

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Dennis Morrisseau
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This is the most discouraging and saddening…..and I must say MADDENING ….thing about our past and present so-called “leadership” in the US. THIS UP TIGHT GRIM LACK OF WARMTH AND HUMANITY…
Who are these goddamned ROBOTS and why are they still in charge of my country?

Dennis Morrisseau
US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR

Lieutenant Morrisseau’s Rebellion
FIRECONGRESS.org
Second Vermont Republic
POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
[email protected]
802 645 9727

Dot
Guest
Dot

The reason they’re still in charge of your country is because there is no real penalty for their very real crimes. Also, there are no real men to take to the streets with pitchforks and rope as in the old days. Gonna wait for the crooked legal system to fix it?, or would it be better to do the job right by doing it yourself?

Ray Comeau
Guest
Ray Comeau

Dennis. I wish that millions of people with your mind set would speak up, and get rid of whom ever is behind the ‘deep state’ and free the USA from the hands of these murderers!

Thank you for being brave enough to stand up for what you believe. I believe in you .

Dwain Fletcher
Guest
Dwain Fletcher

Look no further than the Zionist Bankers. When they say jump our bought and paid for minions say when and how far!.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

The US has to be the most anti social, selfish, arrogant nation on this planet. I don’t see why so many people are in awe of a country that is so lacking morality, integrity, honesty. There are only two things that matter in the US: money and me.

Nofearorfavor
Guest
Nofearorfavor

Yes Vera– unfortunately you are hundred percent correct. All over the world this nation continues wreaking devastation and turning lesser nations’ land into a blood bath, poisoning their soil with DU and leaving it polluted with dumped live munitions. Millions upon millions of civilian lives lost– their countries decimated and yet somehow, these shattered people, despite their unbearable pain and grief, have had the courage to pick up the pieces and start over… how incredible is that! Most people in the US don’t have the foggiest of what their mindless government has brought to bear on nations who never threatened… Read more »

Punisher 1
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Punisher 1

Its important to remember that Cuba has quite a few hurricanes strike there. But their “people protection” system is so good that there are very few deaths in those disasters (usually none). While you hear from their neighboring nations about many deaths during those same hurricanes. That pretty much says it all.

cap960
Guest
cap960

They refused Canadian help, now this. In time as such pride has its limits and refusing help is a sign of arrogance.

louis robert
Guest
louis robert

“… the US is the world’s second largest contributor to greenhouse emissions,”

Please adjust the perspective.

1. It takes 3 Chinese citizens to pollute as much as 1 American …

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/31/world-carbon-dioxide-emissions-country-data-co2

2. Those 3 Chinese are citizens of the world’s largest producer of manufactured goods, and a major supplier to that American world champion polluter.

samo war
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samo war

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

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