Archive | September 4, 2014

ZMapp Fairs No Better than the Nigerian Treatment of Ebola*

ZMapp Fairs No Better than the Nigerian Treatment of Ebola*

By Lisa Egan

As several countries in West Africa continue to struggle with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, the news worldwide has been flooded with stories about the mysterious and horrifying virus.

Photos of victims with the telltale hemorrhagic rash, bleeding from the eyes, ears, and nose, and stories of the stricken vomiting and coughing up blood add to the terror associated with this deadly virus.

But what exactly IS Ebola, and how does it kill?

Ebola is an infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. So far, only two members of this family of viruses have been identified – Marburgvirus and Ebolavirus. Five subspecies of Ebolavirus have been identified, four of which can cause disease in humans:

  • Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus)
  • Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus)
  • Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus)
  • Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus)

The fifth subspecies, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), is the one that has not caused disease in humans (but it can be fatal in non-human primates). This is the strain that killed dozens of lab monkeys at a research facility in Reston, VA, in 1989. Four workers at that facility tested positive for Ebola. In 1996, nine lab workers were exposed to this strain after handling infected animals. None of those infected developed symptoms or became ill, but they did develop antibodies to the strain. It is possible that the Reston strain can be transmitted via small-particle aerosols (airborne), but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Filovirus infections are transmitted via close personal contact with an infected individual or their bodily fluids (including through contact with contaminated medical equipment).

According to the CDC, “although in the laboratory the viruses display some capability of infection through small-particle aerosols, airborne spread among humans has not been clearly demonstrated.”

A study released last week showed that the strain causing the current outbreak in West Africa has gone through a surprisingly high amount of genetic drift. Those mutations may make treatment and diagnosis harder.

But can those mutations make Ebola virus change enough to become truly airborne, like the flu?

In his article Can Ebola Go Airborne? Dr. Scott Gottlieb said it is possible, but unlikely:

The widespread belief is that the Ebola virus would be very unlikely to change in a way that would allow the individual virus particles to be concentrated, and remain suspended in respiratory secretions — and then infect contacts through inhalation. The Ebola virus is comprised of ribonucleic acid (RNA). Such a structure makes it prone to undergoing rapid genetic changes.

But to become airborne, a lot of unlikely events would need to occur. Ebola’s RNA genome would have to mutate to the point where the coating that surrounds the virus particles (the protein capsid) is no longer susceptible to harsh drying effects of being suspended in air. To be spread through the air, it also generally helps if the virus is concentrated in the lungs of affected patients.

For humans, this is not the case. Ebola generally isn’t an infection of the lungs. The main organ that the virus targets is the liver. That is why patients stricken with Ebola develop very high amounts of the virus in the blood and in the feces, and not in their respiratory secretions.

Regarding the chances of an outbreak occurring in the United States, Dr. Gottlieb had this to say:

We will certainly see cases diagnosed here, and perhaps even experience some isolated clusters of disease. Health-care workers in advanced Western nations maintain infection controls that can curtail the spread of non-airborne diseases like Ebola.

The current outbreak in West Africa is caused by the Zaire ebolavirus. If infection is properly diagnosed quickly, and treatment is given promptly, a full recovery is likely.

However, the very nature of the Ebola virus can make early detection tricky. Early symptoms are similar to those of many far less harmless diseases. Fever, headache, weakness, diarrhea, and vomiting often present in the early stages, and can lead to a misdiagnosis – and delayed treatment.

What is intriguing – and terrifying – about Ebola is that the virus itself doesn’t kill people – the immune system’s reaction to it does.

“The normal job of the immune system is to eliminate infections,” virologist Christopher Basler explained to NPR. “But when it’s activated at extreme levels or it’s out of control, it becomes damaging to the host.”

In his article titled Ebola: A Dangerous Virus, But How Does it Really Kill?, Professor Edward Oparaoji explains how Ebola invades the body and causes the immune system to go into overdrive:

It disguises itself and stealthily evades detection and “arrest” by the “security guard” – dendritic cells and macrophages. Once inside and secured, the virus disarms the “security guard”  rendering them incapable of sending signals for help to the protective “commandoes”  – the antibodies and cytokines, to  eliminate the “suspect” Ebola. As a result, the virus starts to multiply and invade more cells with reckless abandon, unchallenged, causing cells to die and explode. It is at this stage that the (host) immune system suddenly becomes aware that it has been overrun.

He goes on to explain how the immune system responds:

It then begins a belated over the top uncoordinated defense, launching its entire immunological arsenal at once, through massive release of cytokines – the (host) immune system equivalence of “shock and awe” response to the already widely spread virus.  This most extreme immune response, which also signals the terminal phase of the infection, is referred to as the “cytokine storm”- It is this cytokine storm, the host response to the Ebola that kills. During this condition, the (host) immune system turns on itself, attacking every organ in the body, bursting blood vessels and making the infected person bleed both internally and externally, through the orifices (eyes, nose, etc.). This also involves vomits and diarrhoea, causing severe low blood pressure and/or hypotensive shock and subsequently, death.

Other viral infections like Bird Flu and SARS can cause the immune system to launch an intense attack as well, but not with as much ferocity as it does with Ebola.

Survival requires stopping the cytokine storm and resulting hypotensive shock from occurring. Professor Oparaoji explains how this is done:

This can be accomplished through appropriate timely Anti-Ebola drug (ZMapp) or vaccine treatment, when available, and/or aggressive effective supportive treatment – such as maintenance of oxygenation, fluid and electrolyte therapy, blood pressure control with vasopressors, prevention and treatment of secondary infections, pain control and nutritional support, among others.

He also points out that treatment with the ZMAPP drug and Nigeria’s supportive treatment protocol don’t yield results that are that much different: 33% of people treated with ZMAPP have died, compared to 40% who were treated per Nigeria’s standard supportive treatment.

Medical missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were the first people to use ZMAPP. Both received supportive care at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, and both have fully recovered. Dr. Brantly also received a unit of donated blood from a 14-year-old boy who recovered from Ebola. Similar treatment (via plasma antibodies) was used in an outbreak in 1995, with stunning results: 7 of the 8 treated with blood from convalesced patients survived.

But was their recovery due to the use of ZMAPP or something else?

At this point, we don’t know:

“They are the very first individuals to have ever receive this agent,” Dr. Bruce Ribner, director of Emory’s Infectious Disease Unit, told a news conference. “There is no prior experience with it, and frankly, we do not know whether it helped them, whether it made no difference, or even, theoretically, if it delayed their recovery.”

Doctors who have experience treating Ebola say that early and aggressive supportive care (like the care Professor Oparaoji described) is crucial to recovery. The physical condition of a person infected with Ebola also matters:

“And clearly for any acutely ill patient, nutritional status is extremely important,” Ribner said.

“If you have somebody who’s well-nourished and somebody who is poorly nourished and they suffer the same illness, infectious or otherwise, the person with better nutrition has better survival outlook.”

ZMAPP is one of several Ebola treatments being developed. But, no matter which drug – if any – proves to be a useful treatment, time will be of the essence. It only takes viruses a few days to replicate and spread, and once the damage becomes widespread it can be impossible to reverse.

Regarding treatment with the blood of convalesced patients, well, it has been said that it would take a lot of plasma to make that a viable option. At this point, it doesn’t appear that anyone is seriously pursuing the use of that treatment modality, although there has been some discussion about it.

As with any disease, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


The survivors: A case for the use of convalescent serum or blood in Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

While making hospital rounds a few days ago a colleague stopped me to talk about the Ebola epidemic. He asked: “aren’t there survivors of the disease?” I said: “yes” and he again asked: “why don’t they use the blood from those survivors to treat patients?” “That’s exactly what the Congolese doctors did in the ’95 outbreak!” I exclaimed. “Makes sense, better than palliative care” he concluded with.

In 1995 at the height of the Kikwit Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo as described in the PBS documentary “Ebola-The Plague Fighters”, the Congolese doctors were faced with an unthinkable scenario. Their head nurse had become infected and they could see her rapidly dwindling in front of their eyes. They then decided to do something unprecedented in Ebola treatment; they found Ebola survivors drew their blood, screened it for hepatitis and HIV and transfused it into the nurse and 7 other patients. In the nurse and six patients their symptoms reversed despite initially showing signs of advanced disease and they completely recovered. Out of the 8, one patient suffered a head injury and died. This gave the doctors an 87.5 percent success rate, a rate that has not been matched in any other outbreak and certainly not in the current outbreak. Their scientific findings were later published in the Oxford Journal of Infectious Disease.

Why did this work?

The human body fights against infection with foreign organism like viruses and bacteria by producing antibodies called IgM (acute) and IgG (delayed) that kill the foreign organism. In Ebola most patients cannot mount an adequate response before being killed by the virus. In that outbreak around 20% of the patients mounted a strong enough response to survive. Their blood thus contained large amounts of antibodies which when injected into another patient killed the virus and the patient survived. In West Africa 40% of people are surviving so the potential pool of candidates is quite large.

Recently Newsweek referred to this treatment by the Congolese doctors in reference to Kent Brantly receiving similar treatment in Liberia prior to receiving Zmapp.

The article quotes Heinrich Feldmann head of the National Institute Health’s Laboratory of Virology: “We use this in other infectious diseases, and we can—and should—use that experience and apply it to Ebola,”

This makes me wonder why haven’t the current countries affected reach out to the Congolese doctors for advice? This therapy works and the “magic serum” that was used to treat the American Aid workers is a more expensive and sophisticated form of this simple treatment the Congolese doctors had the vision to use.

The article again asks:

“Why are we still scrambling for an Ebola treatment 20 years later? The answer is that it has been essentially impossible to test. Why? Because Ebola only pops up occasionally, infects a relative few, and kills most. There’s no way, says Feldmann, to get enough plasma during an outbreak to treat others involved in that same outbreak. “Of course if you are collecting plasma now for the next outbreak, then you will have the time to do it,” Feldmann adds, though he is unaware of anyone collecting plasma during the current West African outbreak.”

Well now there’s more than enough potential plasma for anyone who wants it, in Sierra Leone alone there are at least 161 survivors according to official statistics, that’s more than enough donors to conclusively demonstrate that this therapy works. The Kikwit outbreak had a 20% survival rate, we have a 45% survival rate so there’s obviously enough circulating antibodies to handle Ebola.

What’s your deal?

People will ask aren’t you the guy who petitioned the FDA, why are you advocating this? Yes, I’ve recently petitioned the FDA to fast track all Ebola drug and vaccine research. In fact last Thursday the FDA partially released the hold on one of the drugs currently in research development named TKM-Ebola by Tekmira pharmaceuticals. Although this was a positive development the reality of widespread availability of medication in this Ebola epidemic seems unlikely. This is based on the fact that TKM-Ebola was only in phase 1 trials and we’re yet to determine if it’s effective in diseased individuals. Even if clinical field trials were started today, I doubt there’d be a large enough quantity to use in this epidemic. Zmapp had never been used in humans prior to 2 weeks ago and has many practical short term hurdles for widespread use. Fast tracking is to ensure we have drugs for the next Ebola epidemic not necessarily this one.

Debunking the “magic serum” myth

This may be a little hard to follow but stay with me here. According to media reports Dr. Brantly was diagnosed with Ebola on July 25th, the same day Nancy Writebol was diagnosed according to media reports. Dr. Brantly was treated with convalescent blood from a 14 yr. old survivor before receiving a single dose of Zmapp at least 5 hours later than Writebol who received 2 doses. In the glare of cameras on arrival at Emory Hospital Dr. Brantly walked in to the hospital while 2 days later Writebol was wheeled in on a stretcher. The point I’m making is that Dr. Brantly received convalescent blood, one fewer dose of Zmapp and is doing much better according to media reports. The conclusion I draw is that he benefited from convalescent blood most likely more than from Zmapp. Some people may argue that Dr. Brantly is younger but we’ve seen that survival of Ebola is age independent.

OK, so why isn’t it being used?

The opposing arguments I’ve met are that the sample size of the Kikwit paper is too small. Heck, it’s four times larger than the Zmapp sample size. Some doctors on the ground I’ve spoken to are hesitant to use blood transfusions due to the risk of transfusion transmissible infections (TTI’s). To that I say the 60-90 % mortality risk greatly outweighs the 1-5% TTI risk (where’s when you need them?).

Final thoughts

The world is facing a public health emergency, populations have started panicking and desperation is setting in. Currently a patient diagnosed with Ebola has two choices: a) Go to an isolation ward, receive non curative supportive care and most likely die alone or b) die anyway but in the comfort of your own home and with your loved ones, transmission of disease be damned. Unfortunately too many people are choosing the latter option that is leading to the continued spread of the disease. The family of the unfortunate nurse in Nigeria is currently on the run, emphasizing point b).

At this point, populations have to be offered some treatment that can improve their survival; we can’t wait on scarce experimental therapy that has obviously been prioritized for use in the western hemisphere. The confidence of infected people in medical institutions has to be increased so that they’ll seek medical care immediately and lessen exposure to the community. This will hopefully reduce the rate of spread and stabilize the outbreak which continues to grow exponentially as we speak.

In 1995 Doctors in the Congo were faced with a similar dilemma and took the bold step of passive immunotherapy. Personally I would demand this treatment if in a position to require it and will demand it for anyone I know personally afflicted with Ebola. I exhort medical professionals in Sierra Leone to implement this therapy, desperate times require desperate measures. In this case the Sierra Leone government should obtain blood screening, type and cross matching equipment in the Ebola afflicted regions and implement this therapy immediately. We can’t wait for the international bureaucrats to fiddle while the world burns from Ebola.

Related Topics:

Ebola Casualties Reduced Down to One in Nigeria with the Help of Naturopathic Treatment*

ZMapp Doesn’t Save Congolese Doctor from Ebola*

CDC Admits MMR Vaccine Increases Autism Risk, Particularly in African American Boys.

The Depletion of your Nutritional Food Content is Intentional*

Ironic that a Leading Expert In Ebola Died On Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight*

Israel a Slave to its Shadow Self Breaks Ceasefire Again…

Israel a Slave to its Shadow Self Breaks Ceasefire Again…

Israeli forces opened fire at fishermen off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, in apparent violation of the ceasefire agreement reached with Palestinian factions a week ago, fishermen said.

Palestinian fishermen told Ma’an that Israeli warships used machine guns to fire at their boats while they were sailing within the agreed-upon six-nautical-mile limit near Rafah.

No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said fishermen “deviated from the designated fishing zone,” and that navy soldiers fired warning shots into the air.

The fishermen then “backed away,” the spokeswoman said.

Asked how far the fishermen were sailing from shore, the spokeswoman said she did not know the exact distance, but that it was further than six nautical miles.

Prior the recent agreement, Israeli forces maintained a limit of three nautical miles on all Gaza fishermen, opening fire at fishermen who strayed further, despite earlier Israeli agreements which had settled on a 20-mile limit. The restrictions crippled Gaza’s fishing industry and impoverished local fishermen.

A ceasefire agreement reached on Aug. 26 stipulated that Israel would immediately expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing fishermen to sail as many as six nautical miles from shore, and would continue to expand the area gradually. Under the terms of the deal, Israel also agreed to ease its siege on the coastal enclave.

Other unresolved issues such as the construction of a seaport and airport, the release of prisoners, and the demilitarization of factions in Gaza were to be negotiated a month later in Cairo.

Israel’s assault on Gaza lasted seven weeks, left over 2,100 Palestinians dead and over 11,000 injured, the vast majority of them civilians. Some 71 Israelis also died in the fighting, 66 of them soldiers.


Israel Demolishes Bedouin Homes

By Patrick Strickland

Israeli authorities demolished several Palestinian homes in the Naqab (Negev) region on Wednesday.

During the early hours of the morning, Israeli bulldozers razed three buildings in Um Beten and additional structures on the outskirts of Hura, villages located in the northern part of the Naqab region, the Arabs48 website reported later that day.

The southern Naqab region is home to approximately 160,000 Palestinian Bedouins, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s estimates. As part of the estimated 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, they face more than fifty discriminatory laws that limit their access to state resources and stifle political expression, the Haifa-based Adalah Legal Center reports.

Demolitions continue

Yet in addition to these hardships, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel also notes that around 80,000 Palestinians in the Naqab live in communities that Israel refers to as “unrecognized villages,” where they “are denied basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water.” Many of these communities predate the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Israeli policy aims to push Bedouins off their land and into ghetto-like planned communities. The Prawer Plan, a program approved by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, intended to displace tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Naqab, according to Adalah’s estimates.

After sparking outrage and widespread protests among Palestinians, Israel announced the cancellation of the Prawer Plan in December la Arabs48 reports that “demolitions are still continuing” unabated in Hura and Um Beten, among other villages.  Such demolitions have also continued without pause across the entire region and, to a lesser extent, have also occurred in Palestinian communities in the northern part of present-day Israel.

A video of Wednesday’s demolitions was published on YouTube:

“No improvements”

Though Israel claims “unrecognized villages” must seek state recognition in order to receive better treatment and services, a 2013 Adalah briefing paper found that more than a dozen villages that were retroactively recognized by Israel in 2003 were still being denied basic services a decade later.

The thirteen villages — known as the “Abu Basma” villages — “have seen little-to-no improvements” and “are still no better off than unrecognized villages a decade after receiving recognition,” according to the briefing paper.

Eleven of the villages were still being denied water services, twelve had no paved roads, and only one was connected to the national electricity grid and received sewage treatment services.

Meanwhile, neighboring Jewish Israeli communities in the Naqab enjoy heavy state subsidization.

The Adalah briefing paper added that “the infant mortality rate among the Bedouin in the Naqab was 150 percent higher than the overall rate among Arab citizens of Israel, and 375 percent higher than the rate among Jewish citizens of Israel” between 2007 and 2009.

Learning in the dark

When children in present-day Israel began the school year on 1 September, many elementary schools in Bedouin villages of the Naqab were still not hooked up to the national electricity grid.

An Adalah press release published on 1 September explained Israel’s continuing denial of basic services for Bedouin students in the Naqab:

The electricity company and the education ministry have repeatedly refused to connect the schools to the national grid. In July 2013, Adalah filed a petition to the supreme court [Israel’s high court] to demand their connection, representing parents of students from seven Arab Bedouin schools (with a combined total of over 3,000 students) that still operate on private generators. These generators provide limited electricity that can be disrupted for several hours, therefore hindering the use and operation of computers, Internet services, air conditioners, and other necessities.

Israel justified its denial of basic services to these areas by pointing to their lack of bomb shelters and protected areas to shield them from rockets fired by Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“The [electricity] company claimed that its work required additional construction work due to new plans to build roads in those areas, and that this would take many months,” the Adalah press release states. “The company also stated that it received orders from the Israeli military to refrain from conducting construction work in open areas that do not have shelters and safe places to protect them from bombing.”

No protection

Protests in 2013 against Israel’s Prawer Plan, which aimed to forcibly displace tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins. (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Palestinian villages across the Naqab have sought bomb shelters for years, but the government has systematically denied their requests, as Rania Khalek reported in July for The Electronic Intifada.

Talab Abu Arar, a Palestinian parliamentarian in Israel’s Knesset, said Israel’s policy of demolishing homes can be observed in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza and in present-day Israel.

“After the ceasefire that ended the war of demolishing homes in Gaza, Israeli authorities renewed the demolition of Arab homes in the Naqab and Arab villages and placed signs on the property of residents in Wadi al-Naam claiming that they are on state property,” Abu Arar told Arabs48.

Abu Arar, a member of the Islamic Movement in present-day, said Israel also denied locals “support and help during the war [on Gaza in July and August], and while rockets landed on Arab villages in the Naqab families were not given shelter and didn’t have roofs over their heads.”

Related Topics:

Gaza: Terms of the Ceasefire Deal*

Former Israeli Attorney: Israel Staged the Ceasefire Breach*

Gaza School Year Adjourned ‘Indefinitely’*

Israel Prevents Release of Palestinian Tax Revenues*

Pathological Israeli Security Forces Spray Raw Sewage on Palestinian Homes

Israel Laying Claim to the West Bank*

The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and How to Fix It*

Calls to Prosecute Foreigners Who Volunteered for Operation Protective Edge*

Pro-boycott Israel Call for World Action*

Hold Your Breath as the Living in Gaza Celebrate Ceasefire*

Who is backing who: US Coca-Cola (Monsanto) boycott Glasgow for Supporting Gaza*

Not in our Name: 225 Jewish Survivors of Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel*

The Khazars and Zionists are One: The Re-invasion of the Ukraine*

Operation Protective Edge: Life without Water and Electricity*

ISIL Barbarism and their Propaganda Machine*

ISIL Barbarism and their Propaganda Machine*

Their propaganda machine has served the NATO war machine very well…

By Wassim Nasr and Djamel Belayachi

The savagery of ISIS jihadists rampaging through Syria and Iraq is well known. But dozens of photos circulating on social media networks and the media claiming to show the barbaric acts of the Islamist group are, in fact, fake.

While ISIS has claimed responsibility for multiple acts of horrific violence, many of the shocking images published online and attributed to the jihadist group have actually been taken out of context and falsely labelled.

The jihadists that fight under the banner of ISIS are spreading terror in Syria and Iraq. In areas they control, they have massacred prisoners and stoned women to death. Recently, the jihadist organisation has forced thousands of Yazidis and Christians to flee after taking control of Mosul and Sinjar in the north of Iraq.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for multiple acts of terrifying barbarism. Online and in the media, it’s possible to find dozens of horrifying images attributed to the jihadist group. Yet many of these are not what has been claimed.

Photos of ‘summary executions of Yazidis’

On Monday several media outlets posted online photos that claimed to show the mass execution of civilians belonging to the Yazidi religious minority [WARNING: These images are shocking]. The jihadist organisation posted these same photos on social media networks on Saturday, pointing out that they had been taken in Syria. These photos show the execution of a group of men from the ‘Chouïtat’ clan who rebelled against ISIS in Deir-Ezzor.

Execution in Syria presented as the massacre of Yezidis in Iraq

Photos of women allegedly sold as slaves

Citing an Iraqi parliamentarian, several websites claimed that hundreds of women from the Yazidi community had been sold as slaves after the capture of Sinjar at the beginning of August. One photo showing women chained and veiled spread on social networks and was taken as proof of the claim. It turns out that this image was taken during a Shiite procession in the town of Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon, in 2013.

A fake photo of ‘enslaved women in Mosul’ circulating on social media networks.

Already at this time, the same photo had been published online by websites claiming it showed the jihadist organisation’s treatment of women in Syria.

‘Group marriage’ in Mosul

Several media outlets broadcast a video of a group marriage in July in Mosul, Iraq. These women were allegedly forced to marry jihadists

In reality, the video shows the marriage ceremony of an Islamist fighter in Syria. In the video, the master of ceremonies says [at 0:20] “I congratulate our brother and friend the groom…” showing that the marriage is for one man only. The original video was published in June 2013, well before the arrival of ISIS in Iraq.

The original marriage video dates from June 2013.

A ‘fatwa’ on genital mutilation
At the end of July, a representative of the United Nations in Iraq claimed that ISIS had ordered the genital mutilation of all the women and young girls living in the Mosul region. The claim was founded on the basis of a ‘fake fatwa’ that had been circulating online for several months and which references the cities of Aleppo and Azaz in Syria.

Other extravagant claims have been circulating online: ISIS has reportedly, for example, ordered farmers to hide cows’ udders because they’re deemed ‘indecent’. The news hasn’t been confirmed, and so far no image of hidden udders has been published. The rumour has, however, given rise to all kinds of mocking photomontages on social networks.

On the territories that it controls, ISIS applies an extreme interpretation of shari’ah law. Those who drink alcohol or smoke are whipped, and those who consume drugs are executed. ISIS has, moreover, claimed responsibility for several massacres. On June 13, 1700 Shiite prisoners belonging to the Iraqi army were executed in Tikrit. At the beginning of August, an American media outlet published pictures of several decapitated Syrian soldiers, the heads of whom were fixed to posts in the town of al Raqqa, the jihadist group’s self-proclaimed capital. In this same town, two women accused of adultery were stoned in mid-July. And in September 2013, the islamists attacked and ransacked two churches, under the pretext that the bell chiming disturbed them during prayer time.

The fighters belonging to ISIS have the taken the habit of posting photos of their actions and of bragging on social media networks. Lately, an Australian jihadist – Khaled Sharrouf posted on his Twitter feed a frightening photo in which his 7-year-old son held up the head of a decapitated soldier in Raqqa, with the caption: “That’s my boy.”

David Rigourt-Roze is a researcher with the French Institute of Strategic Analysis whose work focuses on Islamists. He says that ISIS doesn’t try to hide its acts, which it sees as following a strict interpretation of the Koran.

“When the fighters from ISIS carry out their acts, in general they don’t try to hide them. On the contrary, they claim responsibility for them because that forms part of their communication strategy. They don’t hesitate to post videos on social media networks where we see their enemies decapitated and their heads fixed to posts. That’s notably the case with Syrian and Iraqi soldiers and Shiites who refuse to convert, that aims to terrorise and demoralise the enemy.

Their ‘publicists’ are probably professionals: they have very good mastery of image production. We can notice, for example, in one execution video in Salah Eddine where they killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers lined up on the ground. These images recall the ‘Holocaust by bullets’ during the Second World War.

The jihadist organisation has elaborated a genuine communication strategy. They’re very adept on social media networks and even publish magazines, where they show in particular how they set up kamikaze operations.

This strategy is completely coherent with their reasoning because they consider Christians and Shiites to be ‘associators’ [A type of polytheism, according to the Koran]. As soon as they take control of a region, they order them to pay a Jizya [a tax imposed on non-Muslims] or push them into exile. As for the Yazidis, they’re considered to be idolators of the devil and could end up exterminated, because – for them – it is lawful to kill them.”


Related Topics:

Steven Sotloff Another ISIS-U.S. False Flag to Whip Up the Blood-Feast*

Saudi Prepares to Remove Prophet’s Tomb*

Israel Laying Claim to the West Bank*

Sunni Clerics Declare Collaborating with ISIL Prohibited under Shari’ah*

A Wounded ISIL Fighter Meets his Benefactor, Netanyahu in Golan Heights*

Iraq Forces Converge on Amreli to Break ISIL Siege*

Playing Chess with the Region: Next Step Syria*

Iraqi Play Challenges the Assumed Authority of ISIL*

U.S. Changes its Mind on Seizing Kurdish Iraqi Crude Oil*

Iraqi and Kurdish Forces Retrieve Mosul Dam from ISIL*

NATO Preparing for the Banksters WWIII*

From MK-Ultra to Google*

Syrian Army Makes Major Advances on ISIL*

Iraqi Military Operations Force ISIL Leaders to Flee*

With a Profile in Iraq and Afghanistan what is a “High Threat Team” Doing in Ferguson?*

Former Israeli Soldier Echoes the ISIS-Zionist Threat*

MOSSAD Agent – ‘We Did the London Bombing’

The Khazars and Zionists are One: The Re-invasion of the Ukraine*

Sweden Recycles 99per cent of Its Waste*

Sweden Recycles 99per cent of Its Waste*

By April McCarthy

There’s a revolution happening in Sweden right now. Dubbed the “recycling revolution,” the Scandinavian country now recycles 99% of their garbage, edging closer to a zero-waste lifestyle, nationwide.

Wouldn’t it be great if no household waste was wasted? If each and every item of refuse was turned into something else — new products, raw materials, gas or at least heat?

Sweden is almost there. More than 99% of all household waste is recycled in one way or another. This means that the country has gone through something of a recycling revolution in the last decades, considering that only 38% of household waste was recycled in 1975.

Sweden already imports roughly 800,000 tonnes of garbage per year from the U.K., Italy, Norway, and Ireland to generate electricity and heating for the country’s 32 waste-to-energy (WTE) plants.

Today, recycling stations are no more than 300 metres from any residential area so Swedes can make their own drop-offs.

In addition to environmental benefits, recycling also has plenty of fiscal incentives, says Swedish Waste Management communications director Anna-Carin Gripwell, in an interview with the Huffington Post. Garbage has already become a commodity, and it may someday be common practice to purchase waste as fuel for power generation plants and vehicles.

Weine Wiqvist, CEO of the Swedish Waste Management and Recycling Association still thinks Swedes can do more, considering that about half of all household waste is burnt, that is, turned into energy. He explains that reusing materials or products means using less energy to create a product, than burning one and making another from scratch.

‘We are trying to “move up the refuse ladder”, as we say, from burning to material recycling, by promoting recycling and working with authorities’, he says.

Meanwhile, Swedish households keep separating their newspapers, plastic, metal, glass, electric appliances, light bulbs and batteries. Many municipalities also encourage consumers to separate food waste. And all of this is reused, recycled or composted.

Newspapers are turned into paper mass, bottles are reused or melted into new items, plastic containers become plastic raw material; food is composted and becomes soil or biogas through a complex chemical process. Rubbish trucks are often run on recycled electricity or biogas. Wasted water is purified to the extent of being potable. Special rubbish trucks go around cities and pick up electronics and hazardous waste such as chemicals. Pharmacists accept leftover medicine. Swedes take their larger waste, such as a used TV or broken furniture, to recycling centres on the outskirts of the cities.

Corporations are also held accountable to encourage and enable recycling for the public. Producers are required by Swedish law to handle all costs relevant to the collection, recycling, or appropriate disposal of their products. So if a beverage is sold in bottles, the financial responsibility is on the producer of the product to pay for all costs related to recycling or bottle disposal.

Trash-burning facilities in the United States handle only a small portion of U.S. waste, and most of the burned trash ends up in landfills, according to The New York Times.

In just one example of U.S. waste, Americans throw away nearly half of their food, costing roughly $165 billion per year, according to a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Each of Us Can Promote Sustainability

Each of us can promote sustainability and justice at multiple levels: as an individual, as a teacher or parent, a community member, a national citizen, and as a global citizen. As Annie says in the film, “the good thing about such an all pervasive problem is that there are so many points of intervention.” That means that there are lots and lots of places to plug in, to get involved, and to make a difference. There is no single simple thing to do, because the set of problems we’re addressing just isn’t simple. But everyone can make a difference, but the bigger your action the bigger the difference you’ll make. Here are some ideas:

  1. Power down! A great deal of the resources we use and the waste we create is in the energy we consume. Look for opportunities in your life to significantly reduce energy use: drive less, fly less, turn off lights, buy local seasonal food (food takes energy to grow, package, store and transport), wear a sweater instead of turning up the heat, use a clothesline instead of a dryer, vacation closer to home, buy used or borrow things before buying new, recycle. All these things save energy and save you money. And, if you can switch to alternative energy by supporting a company that sells green energy to the grid or by installing solar panels on your home, bravo!
  2. Waste less. Per capita waste production in the U.S. just keeps growing. There are hundreds of opportunities each day to nurture a Zero Waste culture in your home, school, workplace, church, community. This takes developing new habits which soon become second nature. Use both sides of the paper, carry your own mugs and shopping bags, get printer cartridges refilled instead of replaced, compost food scraps, avoid bottled water and other over packaged products, upgrade computers rather than buying new ones, repair and mend rather than replace….the list is endless! The more we visibly engage in re-use over wasting, the more we cultivate a new cultural norm, or actually, reclaim an old one!
  3. Talk to everyone about these issues. At school, your neighbors, in line at the supermarket, on the bus…A student once asked Cesar Chavez how he organized. He said, “First, I talk to one person. Then I talk to another person.” “No,” said the student, “how do you organize?” Chavez answered, “First I talk to one person. Then I talk to another person.” You get the point. Talking about these issues raises awareness, builds community and can inspire others to action.
  4. Make Your Voice Heard. Write letters to the editor and submit articles to local press. In the last two years, and especially with Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the media has been forced to write about Climate Change. As individuals, we can influence the media to better represent other important issues as well. Letters to the editor are a great way to help newspaper readers make connections they might not make without your help. Also local papers are often willing to print book and film reviews, interviews and articles by community members. Let’s get the issues we care about in the news.
  5. DeTox your body, DeTox your home, and DeTox the Economy. Many of today’s consumer products — from children’s pajamas to lipstick — contain toxic chemical additives that simply aren’t necessary. Research online (for example, before you buy to be sure you’re not inadvertently introducing toxics into your home and body. Then tell your friends about toxics in consumer products. Together, ask the businesses why they’re using toxic chemicals without any warning labels. And ask your elected officials why they are permitting this practice. The European Union has adopted strong policies that require toxics to be removed from many products. So, while our electronic gadgets and cosmetics have toxics in them, people in Europe can buy the same things toxics-free. Let’s demand the same thing here. Getting the toxics out of production at the source is the best way to ensure they don’t get into any home and body.
  6. Unplug (the TV and internet) and Plug In (the community). The average person in the U.S. watches T.V. over 4 hours a day. Four hours per day filled with messages about stuff we should buy. That is four hours a day that could be spent with family, friends and in our community. On-line activism is a good start, but spending time in face-to-face civic or community activities strengthens the community and many studies show that a stronger community is a source of social and logistical support, greater security and happiness. A strong community is also critical to having a strong, active democracy.
  7. Park your car and walk…and when necessary MARCH! Car-centric land use policies and life styles lead to more greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel extraction, conversion of agricultural and wildlands to roads and parking lots. Driving less and walking more is good for the climate, the planet, your health, and your wallet. But sometimes we don’t have an option to leave the car home because of inadequate bike lanes or public transportation options. Then, we may need to march, to join with others to demand sustainable transportation options. Throughout U.S. history, peaceful non-violent marches have played a powerful role in raising awareness about issues, mobilizing people, and sending messages to decision makers.
  8. Change your lightbulbs…and then, change your paradigm. Changing lightbulbs is quick and easy. Energy efficient lightbulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than conventional ones. That’s a no-brainer. But changing lightbulbs is just tinkering at the margins of a fundamentally flawed system unless we also change our paradigm. A paradigm is a collection of assumptions, concepts, believes and values that together make up a community’s way of viewing reality. Our current paradigm dictates that more stuff is better, that infinite economic growth is desirable and possible, and that pollution is the price of progress. To really turn things around, we need to nurture a different paradigm based on the values of sustainability, justice, health, and community.
  9. Recycle your trash…and, recycle your elected officials. Recycling saves energy and reduces both waste and the pressure to harvest and mine new stuff. Unfortunately, many cities still don’t have adequate recycling systems in place. In that case you can usually find some recycling options in the phone book to start recycling while you’re pressuring your local government to support recycling city-wide. Also, many products — for example, most electronics – are designed not to be recycled or contain toxics so recycling is hazardous. In these cases, we need to lobby government to prohibit toxics in consumer products and to enact Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws, as is happening in Europe. EPR is a policy which holds producers responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products, so that electronics company who use toxics in their products, have to take them back. That is a great incentive for them to get the toxics out!
  10. Buy Green, Buy Fair, Buy Local, Buy Used, and most importantly, Buy Less. Shopping is not the solution to the environmental problems we currently face because the real changes we need just aren’t for sale in even the greenest shop. But, when we do shop, we should ensure our dollars support businesses that protect the environment and worker rights. Look beyond vague claims on packages like “all natural” to find hard facts. Is it organic? Is it free of super-toxic PVC plastic? When you can, buy local products from local stores, which keeps more of our hard earned money in the community. Buying used items keeps them out of the trash and avoids the upstream waste created during extraction and production. But, buying less may be the best option of all. Less pollution. Less Waste. Less time working to pay for the stuff. Sometimes, less really is more.


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Nigerian Students Discover One Litre of Urine Produces One Hour of Electricity*

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Undocumented Israeli Livestock Trying to Enter Europe*

Undocumented Israeli Livestock Trying to Enter Europe*

The European Union has given Israel a one-month notice to clarify the place of origin of livestock products intended for exportation to the EU.

Products without the proper documentation on their place of origin and manufacture will be banned from entering into EU member states, in line with the EU decision to boycott products from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported on Tuesday that the EU has reiterated its request for Israel to institute a sufficiently effective mechanism that differentiates the produce that originates in the occupied areas beyond the 1967 Green Line.

Since the beginning of 2014, the EU has rejected trade dealings with factories and farms located in Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The EU boycott of settlement products is based on a 2004 ruling by the International Criminal Court at The Hague that Israeli settlements established on West Bank territory are illegal and a violation of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its civilian population to the territory it occupies.

In mid August, Israeli ministries and state institutions expressed concern about a decline in Israeli exports to EU countries after the European Commission ratified a decision banning the exportation of dairy products produced in Israel’s settlements in the West Bank. Prior to that decision, the EU only required Israel to label dairy products that came from settlements, but without imposing any ban on their importation by EU countries.

Media reports stated on 15 August that 80 Israeli factories specialised in producing milk and dairy products are facing the threat of closure as a result of the EU ban, which is expected to cost those factories $30 million in losses, according to Anadolu.

Campaigns calling for the boycott of Israeli settlements and their products have gained momentum after the latest Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and sparked a wave of international condemnation and protests across Europe.

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid had stated earlier this year that the boycott has already cost Israel around NIS 20 billion in losses (about $5.6 billion), with the Israeli market losing immediately around 9,800 jobs.

Israel’s trade deficit in goods for the first half of 2014 totalled NIS 6.6 billion (about $1.85 billion), according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.


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Pathological Israeli Security Forces Spray Raw Sewage on Palestinian Homes