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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
July 31, 2014

U.S. Issues Travel Warning For 3 African Countries Hit By Ebola Outbreak

Source: Huffington Post

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials on Thursday warned Americans not to travel to the three African countries hit by an outbreak of Ebola.

The travel advisory applies to non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The outbreak in those West Africa countries has killed more than 700 people this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the risk of the deadly disease coming to the United States remains small. The last time the federal agency issued such a travel warning was in 2003 because of a SARS outbreak in Asia.

At the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. is looking into Medevac options to bring two American aid workers diagnosed with Ebola back to the U.S. While the U.S. government would facilitate the response, private companies would be used.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/31/us-travel-warning-ebola_n_5638429.html

July 31, 2014

Where's the work?: It’s hard to justify Corbett adviser Ron Tomalis’ high salary

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial)

July 30, 2014 12:00 AM
By the Editorial Board

During the two years that Ron Tomalis was state education secretary, he was one of the most visible members of Gov. Tom Corbett’s Cabinet, running one of the largest departments and serving as the public face of significant administration efforts.

But since his reassignment 14 months ago as the governor’s special adviser on higher education, he has been nearly invisible to the public. Just what tasks Mr. Tomalis has been accomplishing to earn his $139,542 salary aren’t clear either. For an administration that was recently faced with a $1.5 billion deficit, it’s hard to see how such spending can be justified.

Officials in the governor’s office and at the education department weren’t eager to answer questions about Mr. Tomalis until it was obvious that a report by the Post-Gazette’s Mary Niederberger and Bill Schackner was to be published. Their article in Sunday’s editions explained that Mr. Tomalis’ work calendar from June 1, 2013, to June 1, 2014, shows weeks and months with little activity, including 20 weeks that appear to have no work-related appointments. It listed some meetings in which he did not participate.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2014/07/30/Where-s-the-work/stories/201407300027#ixzz393ZmY3gz

July 31, 2014

Henry Siegman, Leading Voice of US Jewry, on Gaza: "A Slaughter of Innocents"


Given his background, what American Jewish leader Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the current assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Siegman’s family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. In the first of our two-part interview, Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories.

"When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis — and should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success," Siegman says. Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman says: "What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life? Couldn’t they have done something that did not require that cost? And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation."
July 30, 2014

Israel's geopolitical profiteering masquerading as "self preservation"

This may be the first overt genocidal/structural systematic takeover of a corner of the globe, for profit, of the modern era. I fear that this is not just the future of Gaza but a possible new normal for any region that has resources that these metanational cartels want access to.

Fairly described as geopolitical profiteering manipulating world opinion. 'Five years ago, Israel invaded Gaza under “Operation Cast Lead”. In the wake of the invasion, Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law.' I wonder if the EU views confiscation of Palestinian gas by Israel as a possibility to divest from Russian gas.The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel’s offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip.

Here is an extremely precise, lengthy article detailing the great lengths Israel has gone to in order to not only block Palestine from receiving any monetary reimbursement for the oil and gas, but to directly confiscate Palestinian gas fields in derogation of international law:

Published On: Thu, Jul 10th, 2014
Geo-Politics / Middle East | By nsnbc
War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

Michel Chossudovsky (CRG) : Five years ago, Israel invaded Gaza under “Operation Cast Lead”. The following article was first published by Global Research in January 2009 at the height of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead.

Gaza Strip_map_Palestine_CRG
In the wake of the invasion, Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law

A year following “Operation Cast Lead”, Tel Aviv announced the discovery of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”
levant-gas-map1-felicity_Israel_Palestine_Gaza_CRG_gas fields

At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i)

What is now unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map to the left).

It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves.
Michel Chossudovsky, January 3, 2014.
War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

Michel Chossudovsky (CRG) :
The December 2008 military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

And another lengthy discussion of this issue from The Guardian
According to Anais Antreasyan in the University of California's Journal of Palestine Studies, the most respected English language journal devoted to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel's stranglehold over Gaza has been designed to make "Palestinian access to the Marine-1 and Marine-2 gas wells impossible." Israel's long-term goal "besides preventing the Palestinians from exploiting their own resources, is to integrate the gas fields off Gaza into the adjacent Israeli offshore installations." This is part of a wider strategy of:

"…. separating the Palestinians from their land and natural resources in order to exploit them, and, as a consequence, blocking Palestinian economic development. Despite all formal agreements to the contrary, Israel continues to manage all the natural resources nominally under the jurisdiction of the PA, from land and water to maritime and hydrocarbon resources
July 28, 2014

What about the possibility of a new vector, i.e, mosquito?

Wish I could call up my old professor and ask about this. As you know, but other DUers may not, In epidemiology, a vector is any agent (person, animal or microorganism) that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism. Right now ebola is considered basically person-to-person, but some research shows pigs to be carriers (cross-species to monkeys). There won't be pigs around the medical care personnel of course, but I'm wondering about mosquitos as well. Any thoughts?

July 28, 2014

Given the precautions Drs. take, I'm concerned it may have gone airborne.

If doctors, and other medical care providers,acting on the belief that Ebola is spread through physical contact, and taking precautions based on that belief, are contracting the disease, then it should be considered that perhaps the disease has mutated to an airborne one.

The first Liberian doctor to die of the disease was identified as Samuel Brisbane. He was working as a consultant with the internal medicine unit at the country’s largest hospital, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia.

Brisbane, who once was a medical adviser to former Liberian President Charles Taylor, was taken to a treatment center on the outskirts of the capital after falling ill with Ebola and died there, said Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant health minister.

He said another doctor who had been working in Liberia’s central Bong County also was being treated for Ebola at the same center where Brisbane died.

Then we have the two Americans working with aid organization, Samaritan's Purse who are receiving intensive care for Ebola
Kent Brantly, 33, an American doctor who has been working in Liberia since October for the North Carolina-based aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, is receiving intensive medical treatment after he was infected with Ebola, according to a spokeswoman for the group.

Melissa Strickland said Brantly, who is married and has two children, was talking with his doctors and working on his computer while being treated.

A second U.S. citizen, Nancy Writebol, also has tested positive for Ebola, Samaritan’s Purse said. Writebol is employed by mission group SIM in Liberia and was helping a joint SIM/Samaritan’s Purse team treating Ebola patients in Monrovia. Writebol is married with two children, the organization said.

On Friday, he said, Samaritan’s Purse staff saw 12 new Ebola cases; of those, eight were medical providers. He is urging the U.S., Canada and the European Union to pour resources into those countries to help them educate health care workers. “If Ebola is not fought and contained in West Africa, it will be fought somewhere else,” he said.

A Ugandan doctor working in Liberia, where an Ebola outbreak has killed 129 people, died earlier this month. The current outbreak has claimed the lives of 319 in Guinea and 224 in Sierra Leone.

Last week, the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders announced that the chief doctor leading the fight against the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Sheik Umar Khan, had contracted the disease. Three nurses who worked in the same Ebola treatment Center as Khan, 39, are believed to have died from the disease.
July 28, 2014

I'd really appreciate a direct link to this photo.

I can find all kinds of links to the quote, but I'd like to email/FB the poster itself.

The man in the picture reminds me so much of an Arab friend who is now deceased.
My dear friend (from grad school days) was a Christian Arab who attended Catholic schools in his native Haifa, Israel, got his first degree from Hebrew University, worked as a social worker in Jerusalem, married a Jewish-American social worker and moved to America. He had an insatiable thirst for education and eventually earned Ph.D.s from Univ. of Pittsburgh, and Univ. of Virginia, in addition to several master's degrees. The fact that the man got a Ph.D. from UVA tells you he was highly intelligent. He had initially wanted to be a physician but, at least at that time - the late 60's, Israel strictly limited admission of Arabs to its medical schools. He told me of having to take his driver's exam SIX TIMES in order to get his license - that was another standard way the Israelis harassed native Palestinians.

Fluent in Hebrew, Arabic and English and comfortable with French, he was an expert on the Middle East and international terrorism and was used to being interviewed by the media. He was a published author on American domestic and foreign policy, affirmative action and women's issues.

Neither black nor a veteran, he had served as adviser and political columnist for Eclipse, the magazine of the National Association of Black Veterans and helped organize a local chapter.

Because of his writings re the Middle East, he was never able to return to his homeland to visit his aging parents for fear that the Israelis would imprison him - a fear his Jewish wife shared. As a professor, he taught extra classes and channeled the added salary into a student fund he endowed at his university to honor his parents. All in all, one of the kindest, gentlest human beings I have ever known. He would be totally devastated at what has happened in Palestine & particularly Gaza in the years since his death.

July 28, 2014

Netanyahu’s ‘Telegenically Dead’ Comment Is Grotesque but Not Original

(Note, this column refers to Netanyahu's comments on July 20.)

Benjamin Netanyahu, yesterday, on CNN, addressing worldwide sympathy for the civilian victims of Israeli violence in Gaza: "They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better."

Joseph Goebbels, November 16, 1941, essay in Das Reich, addressing Germany sympathy for German Jews forced to wear yellow stars: "The Jews gradually are having to depend more and more on themselves, and have recently found a new trick. They knew the good-natured German Michael in us, always ready to shed sentimental tears for the injustice done to them. One suddenly has the impression that the Berlin Jewish population consists only of little babies whose childish helplessness might move us, or else fragile old ladies. The Jews send out the pitiable. They may confuse some harmless souls for a while, but not us. We know exactly what the situation is.

One can say many things about a military operation that results in more than 75 percent of the dead being civilians, many of them children, aimed at a population trapped in a tiny area with no escape. The claim that there is no intent to kill civilians but rather an intent to protect them is most assuredly not among them. Even stalwart Israel supporter Thomas Friedman has previously acknowledged that Israeli assaults on Lebanon, and possibly in Gaza, are intended ”to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties” because “the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians” (which, to the extent it exists, is the classic definition of “terrorism”). The most generous claim one can make about what Israel is now doing in Gaza is that it is driven by complete recklessness toward the civilian population it is massacring, a form of intent under centuries of well-settled western law.
* * * * *

American journalism is frequently criticized with great justification, but there are a number of American journalists in Gaza, along with non-western ones, in order to tell the world about what is happening there. That reporting is incredibly brave and difficult, and those who are doing it merit the highest respect. Their work, along with the prevalence of social media and internet technology that allows Gazans themselves to document what is happening, has changed the way Israeli aggression is seen and understood this time around.
July 26, 2014

Israeli paper confirms Israeli drones can identify precisely who is being targeted.

It is difficult to believe Israel lacks the ability to avoid excessive civilian casualties. Amira Hass reports one example that confirms Israel's ability to identify, with precision, what and who, is being targeted. Miss Hass is the columnist for the Israeli daily paper Ha'aretz. Born in 1956 in Jerusalem, both of her parents were Holocaust survivors and her mother spent 9 months in the Bergen-Belsen camp during World War II. She attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she studied history, but dropped out and went to work for an Israeli newspaper. She covered the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from Gaza and has received both criticism and praise for her critical attitude towards the Israeli government.
She writes:

"The armed Hamas operatives who emerged from the tunnel shaft on Kibbutz Nir Am on Monday were dressed as Israeli soldiers. Haaretz's Amos Harel writes that in the first moments, the field commanders were not sure whether they were soldiers or terrorists.

"'Finally, thanks to an aerial photograph taken by a drone, they were found to be Hamas operatives,' writes Harel. 'They were carrying Kalashnikov rifles, which the Israeli army does not use.' So the photographs taken by the drone can be very precise when its operators wish. It can discern whether there are children on the seashore or on the roof -- children who, even for the legal acrobats in the Justice Ministry and the army, are not a justifiable target for our bombs.

"The drone can also discern that a rescue team has arrived to pull out wounded people, that families are fleeing their homes. All this can be shown in a close-up photograph taken by a drone, at high enough resolution that the operators of the bombs and the shells have no reason to press the 'kill' button on their keyboards.

"But for some reason, the eye of the drone that can tell the difference between various makes of rifles cannot tell that this figure over here is a child, and that is a mother or a grandmother. Instead, all are given a death sentence."

July 26, 2014

Hitler called it "propagandistic casus belli".

For months before the 1939 invasion, German newspapers and politicians, including Adolf Hitler, accused Polish authorities of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans living in Poland.

On the day following the Gleiwitz attack, 1 September 1939, Germany launched the Fall Weiss operation — the invasion of Poland — initiating World War II in Europe. On the same day, in a speech in the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler cited the border incidents, with three of them called very serious, as justification for Germany's invasion of Poland.[7] Just a few days earlier, on 22 August, he had told his generals, "I will provide a propagandistic casus belli. Its credibility doesn't matter. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth.

from Wikipedia link above.

Casus belli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Casus belli is a Latin expression meaning "An act or event that provokes or is used to justify war"

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