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The GATS and South Africa's National Health Act: A Cautionary Tale


This (2005) study shows how South Africa’s flagship health legislation conflicts with binding commitments the former apartheid regime negotiated under the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). This trade treaty conflict threatens to undermine the much-needed legislation and, if left unresolved, would make meeting the health needs of the majority of the population far more difficult. The study explores several options that South Africa has for resolving this conflict in favour of its health policy imperatives, but each entails risk. South Africa’s dilemma should serve as a world-wide warning that health policy-makers, governments and citizens need to be far more attentive to negotiations that are now underway in Geneva to expand the reach of the GATS.

The current (2005) WTO talks are now entering the final phase of negotiations. If the deadlock in agriculture is broken, there will be massive pressure on governments, especially developing country governments, to make substantial new GATS commitments. Lost in all this brinksmanship is careful consideration of the actual impacts of trade-in-services commitments on development policies.

The study provides concrete evidence of the problems WTO services commitments can cause for redistributive health policies worldwide. It also explores options for South Africa to resolve the conflict between its GATS treaty commitments and its health policies. The study includes an executive summary and a foreword by David Sanders, Professor and Director, School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape.

The document can be downloaded free of charge here

Published by PolicyAlternatives/CCPA (Canada)

http://www.policyalternatives.ca .

Note: A hard-copy version of this study will be published in South Africa by the South African Municipal Workers Union and the Municipal Services Project in March 2006.

“Sinclair shows how the outgoing apartheid regime, cynically or carelessly, sold South Africa’s sovereignty and the right of its citizens to a more equitable health dispensation by signing up to the GATS. By laying bare the maze of bewildering legalese embedded in the articles of the GATS he shows how this trade treaty both threatens to further commercialize South Africa’s already highly skewed health care system and also to undermine the redistributional thrust of the long-awaited National Health Act passed in 2004.”

—From the foreword by David Sanders.

"Be careful … Genocide finding could commit U.S.G. to actually 'do something.'"


"Declassified U.S. documents show the Clinton administration refused to label the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda as a genocide. One State Department document read: "Be careful … Genocide finding could commit U.S.G. to actually 'do something.'" At a press briefing in 1994, Reuters correspondent Alan Elsner asked: "How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?" State Department spokesperson Christine Shelley responded, "Alan, that’s just not a question that I’m in a position to answer." Samantha Power, who is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, described the U.S. inaction in her 2001 article, "Bystanders to Genocide." She wrote, "The United States did much more than fail to send troops. It led a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorization of UN reinforcements." We speak to Emily Willard of the National Security Archive, and University of Wisconsin, Madison, Professor Scott Straus, author of "The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda."

The fall of the Berlin Wall - 25 Anniversary - Declassified Documents tell the incredible story!


Washington, DC, November 9, 2014 – The iconic fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago today shocked international leaders from Washington to Moscow, London to Warsaw, as East German crowds took advantage of Communist Party fumbles to break down the Cold War's most symbolic barrier, according to formerly secret documents from Soviet, German, U.S., Czechoslovak and Hungarian files posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).

The historic events of the night of November 9, 1989 came about from accident and contingency, rather than conspiracy or strategy, according to the documents. Crowds of East Berliners, already conditioned by months of refugee flights to the West and weeks of peaceful mass protests in cities like Leipzig, seized on media reports of immediate changes in travel restrictions — based on a bumbled briefing by a Politburo member, Günter Schabowski — and inundated the Wall's checkpoints demanding passage. Television coverage of the first crossing that yielded to the self-fulfilling media prophecy then created a multiplier effect and more crowds came, ultimately to dance on the Wall.

Why did Bill Clinton decide to ignore Rwandan genocide? Would Hillary do likewise?

Lets assume the country, like Rwanda, has no oil or other conspicuously valuable extractables.


The US and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: Evidence of Inaction


"Despite overwhelming evidence of genocide and knowledge as to its perpetrators, United States officials decided against taking a leading role in confronting the slaughter in Rwanda. Rather, US officials confined themselves to public statements, diplomatic demarches, initiatives for a ceasefire, and attempts to contact both the interim government perpetrating the killing and the RPF. The US did use its influence, however, at the United Nations, but did so to discourage a robust UN response (Document 4 and Document 13). In late July, however, with the evidence of genocide littering the ground in Rwanda, the US did launch substantial operations—again, in a supporting role—to assist humanitarian relief efforts for those displaced by the genocide."

See also:

The Shroud Over Rwanda's Nightmare
By Michael Dobbs, The New York Times, January 9, 2014

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: The Assassination of the Presidents and the Beginning of the "Apocalypse"
April 7, 2004 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB119/

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: Information, Intelligence and the U.S. Response
March 4, 2004 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB117/

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: Evidence of Inaction
August 20, 2001 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB53/



US chose to ignore Rwandan genocide: Classified papers show Clinton was aware of 'final solution' to eliminate Tutsis

Rory Carroll in Johannesburg

Wednesday 31 March 2004 10.59 EST
Last modified on Thursday 1 April 2004 10.59 EST

President Bill Clinton's administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, according to classified documents made available for the first time.

Senior officials privately used the word genocide within 16 days of the start of the killings, but chose not to do so publicly because the president had already decided not to intervene.

Intelligence reports obtained using the US Freedom of Information Act show the cabinet and almost certainly the president had been told of a planned "final solution to eliminate all Tutsis" before the slaughter reached its peak.

It took Hutu death squads three months from April 6 to murder an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus and at each stage accurate, detailed reports were reaching Washington's top policymakers.

The documents undermine claims by Mr Clinton and his senior officials that they did not fully appreciate the scale and speed of the killings.

"It's powerful proof that they knew," said Alison des Forges, a Human Rights Watch researcher and authority on the genocide.

The National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute based in Washington DC, went to court to obtain the material.

It discovered that the CIA's national intelligence daily, a secret briefing circulated to Mr Clinton, the then vice-president, Al Gore, and hundreds of senior officials, included almost daily reports on Rwanda. One, dated April 23, said rebels would continue fighting to "stop the genocide, which ... is spreading south".

Three days later the state department's intelligence briefing for former secretary of state Warren Christopher and other officials noted "genocide and partition" and reported declarations of a "final solution to eliminate all Tutsis".

However, the administration did not publicly use the word genocide until May 25 and even then diluted its impact by saying "acts of genocide".

Ms Des Forges said: "They feared this word would generate public opinion which would demand some sort of action and they didn't want to act. It was a very pragmatic determination."

The administration did not want to repeat the fiasco of US intervention in Somalia, where US troops became sucked into fighting. It also felt the US had no interests in Rwanda, a small central African country with no minerals or strategic value.

William Ferroggiaro, of the National Security Archive, said the system had worked. "Diplomats, intelligence agencies, defence and military officials - even aid workers - provided timely information up the chain," he said.

"That the Clinton administration decided against intervention at any level was not for lack of knowledge of what was happening in Rwanda."

Many analysts and historians fault Washington and other western capitals not just for failing to support the token force of overwhelmed UN peacekeepers but for failing to speak out more forcefully during the slaughter.

Some of the Hutu extremists orchestrating events might have heeded such warnings, they have suggested.

Mr Clinton has apologised for those failures but the declassified documents undermine his defence of ignorance. "The level of US intelligence is really amazing," said Mr Ferroggiaro. "A vast array of information was available."

On a visit to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, in 1998 Mr Clinton apologised for not acting quickly enough or immediately calling the crimes genocide.

In what was widely seen as an attempt to diminish his responsibility, he said: "It may seem strange to you here, especially the many of you who lost members of your family, but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."

A spokesperson for the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation in New York said the allegations would be relayed to the former president


Ethics Daily: Bill Clinton's Failure to Confront Rwandan Genocide as Genocide


US chose to ignore Rwandan genocide Classified papers show Clinton was aware of 'final solution' to

US chose to ignore Rwandan genocide: Classified papers show Clinton was aware of 'final solution' to eliminate Tutsis


See also:

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: The Assassination of the Presidents and the Beginning of the "Apocalypse"
April 7, 2004 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB119/

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: Information, Intelligence and the U.S. Response

March 4, 2004 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB117/

The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994: Evidence of Inaction
August 20, 2001 : http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB53/

The Rwanda "Genocide Fax": What We Know Now
New Documentation Paints Complex Picture of Informant and his Warnings


First Publication of "#Rwanda20yrs" project by U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Security Archive
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 452

The lack of women in tech is more than a pipeline problem


"I have a radical proposition: women who want to study, work in, and lead businesses in science and technology have much to add and should be proactively empowered to do so.

At first glance, it’s easy to characterize the lack of women in technology and entrepreneurship as a pipeline problem.

The statistics are tellingly bleak — Girls Who Code reports that about 74 percent of young girls express interest in STEM fields and computer science. And yet, by the time they make decisions about what to study and where to start their careers, something happens.

Only 18 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees and 26 percent of computing jobs are held by women. It’s worse at the top of the corporate world — just 5 percent of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women."

The GATS and South Africa's National Health Act | Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives


A One Party System is Unacceptable for This Nation, its Unacceptable to Go On Like We Are Now Too

So what should be done. Its clear that the Clinton era ushered in a new dishonesty in the form of so called "triangulation" where the Democratic and now Republican Parties attempt to distinguish themselves from one another by various tricks, not policy, and as such its a contemptible dragging of our nation through their dirt.

Frankly, this nation has enough problems as it is and the selfishness and dishonesty of this gaming has crossed some kind of line. It needs to be rejected by a bipartisan alliance of Americans who wish to see democracy restored without gaming.

Perhaps the solution is a shift to a multiple choice voting system where people can vote for a first and second and third choice candidate, or simply vote for one if they do not want to vote for a second choice. We also should encourage parties based on issues and not people. So that way when people went off the edge of a parties platform, they would be on their own and there would be no implied expectation that either the party or any particular people would follow them.

I vote for the Democratic Party in its pre-Clintonian state - a hope that we could get back to being the party of people and common sense has been keeping me here, but I feel that with her soliciting of GOP support Clinton has abandoned us. I do not feel comfortable giving my vote to a neoliberal neocon who is a de-facto militarist and supporter of intolerable policies which turn the Party into an oligarchy.

Also, Hillary's much vaunted health care plan was a cover up of negotiations on a contemporaneous scheme to make affordable health care impossible forever with a little known allegedly irreversible world services deal. Which has largely worked to BLOCK needed changes in policy there and also in education and innumerable other services. It is a defacto preemptive war on the future policy space of the entire human race for corporations benefit only.

Which the Party is hiding for her, leading to decades of dysfunction and a lot of needless deaths. (Nobody should trust her or the Democratic OR Republican Parties for BOTH hiding that.)

If this is the Democratic Party now, it should be left to sink or swim on its own. If it doesn't care about Americans or the core values that made it a great party in the past, it doesn't need our votes, and we don't need it.

We would be smarter voting for somebody who does.

Despite Gains Trump is Still Losing Against Both "D" Identified Candidates.

This is the Huffington Post tracking poll

Trump vs. Clinton

Trump v. Sanders

Market Spiral Pricing of Cancer Drugs

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