Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 12, 2015

US AID And The Ebola Scare Scam - $1.4 Billion For Unused Treatment Centers

Last years Ebola scare was ineffectively answered by the U.S. government by showering $1.4 billion, without any significant results, on some military contractors.

Empty Ebola Clinics in Liberia Are Seen as Misstep in U.S. Relief Effort

[A]fter spending hundreds of millions of dollars and deploying nearly 3,000 troops to build Ebola treatment centers, the United States ended up creating facilities that have largely sat empty: Only 28 Ebola patients have been treated at the 11 treatment units built by the United States military, American officials now say.

Nine centers have never had a single Ebola patient.

This was predictable and predicted:

“I warned them, ‘The only thing you’ll show is an empty E.T.U.,’ ” [Dr. Hans Rosling, a Swedish public health expert who advised Liberia’s health ministry,] added. “ ‘Don’t do it.’ ”

US AID and the U.S. military did it anyway. They played dumb if only to spend all the allocated money:

“Our initial expectation, based on some of the models and some of the experiences and precedents from past Ebola outbreaks, was that the way you would beat this would be to get enough E.T.U. beds,” [Jeremy Konyndyk, who headed the Ebola response for the United States Agency for International Development, which was in charge of the American campaign] said.

Bullshit. Epidemics are not fought and beaten by treatment but by reducing infection rates. That is well known and what we wrote about the Ebola scare turned therefore out to be true:

The means of infection are well known, in general body fluids of all kinds from an infected person will carry the virus. That knowledge alone will help enough to decrease the number of newly infected people as more are warned and protect themselves when caring for an infected person. The epidemic will thereby die out within a few weeks.

That is exactly what happened:

The emphasis on constructing treatment centers — so widely championed last year — ended up having much less impact than the inexpensive, nimble measures taken by residents to halt the outbreak, many officials say.
...
“Communities taking responsibility for their own future — not waiting for us, not waiting for the government, not waiting for the international partners, but starting to organize themselves,” said Peter Graaff, the leader of the United Nations intervention in Liberia.

In the neighborhood where the outbreak in Monrovia started in June, a 200-volunteer task force formed in July, with residents buying chlorine and buckets to put in public places and donating two vehicles so volunteers could monitor the sick.

Lowering the infection rates by teaching precaution and isolating infected cases is the only reasonable way to stop any epidemic. No overdose of Vitamin C or other crazy measures some commentators here suggested would help.

If and how those who are already infected get treated is solely a question of human dignity. One can, as was done in old times, completely isolate infected persons and just let them die. Or one can build expensive treatment units and give them full care. Neither alternative will make any real difference in the number of newly infected patients and only that number decides about the total epidemic trend.

All this is well known and practiced and thereby enabled this blogger to predict the way this scare was going to go.

That the US AID people thought differently will have one of two reasons:

  • They are completely ignorant about epidemics
  • They were in on the scam to shuffle some $1.4 billion to some contractors

They should be fired in either case.

As the Ebola scare is now over no money will be allocated to keep those empty treatment centers up and going. The will get looted, turned to scrap or go down by other means. There will be no constant if small flow of money to the health systems of the affected countries which would help them to prepare for the next epidemic crisis. Only when that comes and a new scare can be raised will again money flow and again be scammed away from those who really need it.

Posted by b on April 12, 2015 at 14:07 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Great report, b. I vote "in on the scam."

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 12 2015 14:13 utc | 1

"That the US AID people thought differently will have one of two reasons:

They are completely ignorant about epidemics
They were in on the scam to shuffle some $1.4 billion to some contractors


Two reasons, only? Way too simple
How about whip up the fear to justify a very profitable, but largely unnecessary ebola vaccine?

Posted by: Penny | Apr 12 2015 14:45 utc | 2

I imagine that if 3000 went over not all 3000 came home. I think it was a cynical operation to enlarge their military footprint in West Africa.

I still wonder if it wasn't escapes from the US' biowarfare lab that weren't responsible for the outbreak to begin with. Not new! improved! GMO ebola, just ordinary ebola raised with US tender, loving care that got out into the wild.

The Cubans did all the heavy lifting. The US, always obsessed with its own perceived self-interest, is worse than worthless in situations like this.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 12 2015 14:46 utc | 3

That was a good article b wrote on Oct 12 of last year. By August it was clear that rate of increase in new ebola infections was declining and by September the number of new cases had begun to decline somewhat.That is a sign that the epidemic is ending (though there were still hundreds of new cases in October. This peak in the epidemic was also a sign that the ebola virus had not changed its behavior or infections routes. That is always a legitimate fear when there is a re-occurrence of any infectious epidemic

What was weird was just when the crisis had began to subside the hysteria in the west had yet to peak. As was clear from those Oct 12 comments misinformation was widespread here as well.

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 12 2015 15:07 utc | 4

"Bullshit. Epidemics are not fought and beaten by treatment but by reducing infection rates. That is well known and what we wrote about the Ebola scare turned therefore out to be true:"

Nicely put. Carlos Finlay and Walter Reed established that in Cuba and later during the Panama Canal project when they determined the transmission vectors and how to interrupt the chain of contagion..

Posted by: a pols | Apr 12 2015 15:16 utc | 5

so the US government is aware of cutting infection vectors one asks why give a Billion (hilariously i almost typed a million) bucks on medical suppliers?

Posted by: heath | Apr 12 2015 15:35 utc | 6

Correction to my #3. The rate of increase in new cases peaked in September and it wasn't until November that the number of new cases began to decline. b's optimism on Oct 12 was not really warranted by the numbers then. Wonder what the basis of this prediction was?

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 12 2015 15:48 utc | 7

nice post and call b... i doubt anyone will take you up on your conclusion regarding anyone in the us aid program though.. it is one of the (many) sacred cows of the usa, lol..

Posted by: james | Apr 12 2015 15:55 utc | 8

Initiatives like treatment centers in Africa are all part of the US scare-hype about Bio Warfare (anthrax etc.) and the need for Gvmt control with camps, hospitals, special areas, movement of population (controls, barriers, no travel, etc.), isolation, etc.

The US MSM TV was filled with the sad victims of Ebola, the need for more ‘modern’ medecine, and the glory of some brave docs who set up ‘treatment centers’, blessed with charitable hearts and their superior knowledge (the victims are poor blacks) to ‘save lives.’

….besides earning a pile of money…sure...

Telegraph, 3 mins, emphasis on God, 100% staged, total BS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAjhVpJ3ljA

41 mins, abc.

Africans (black) eat bush meat they *crave* it, that is the cause, disgusting and unsanitary, the situation is desperate, doctors are the bravest, death from Ebola is horrific, the disease is propagated by bats, everyone dies, borders are closed. A heap of incoherent hysterical rubbish…(+ many staged scenes.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaZqfwFVjgQ

The images are geared to promote acceptance of invisible, undefined dangers, submission to medical authority, the military, anyone with a white mask or a black gun or both - being herded around, etc. Note the many references to religion as a potential life-line or savior.

The statement 26 million in ppl in lockdown to prevent the spread of the killer disease is telling.

We need to understand, according to abc, that black ppl in Africa are poorly educated, scared, mistrusful, misguided, aka stupid beasts: Aid workers are attacked, horrors. The US Gvmt. response with Bill Gates is fantastic, wonderful, etc. US Blacks are made to understand they are more up-to-date / civilized etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 12 2015 16:56 utc | 9

Good call B. Apologies for the over the top comment on the 10/12 thread-Thanks for all your good work.


Posted by: Nana2007 | Apr 12 2015 18:44 utc | 10

“Communities taking responsibility for their own future — not waiting for us, not waiting for the government, not waiting for the international partners, but starting to organize themselves,” said Peter Graaff, the leader of the United Nations intervention in Liberia."

That's a good prescription for viruses of all kinds- Ebola, Creutzfeldt-Jacob, Late Capitalism.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Apr 12 2015 18:44 utc | 11

ad #10.

...Obama-itis, Bankster-itis, Exceptionalism-itis.

Totalitarian Capitalism works in not-so-mysterious (trickle-up) ways...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 12 2015 20:02 utc | 12

Posted by: Noirette @8

Excellent analysis. You've really out your finger on it there.

Posted by: Benu | Apr 12 2015 21:01 utc | 13

@b

They are completely ignorant about epidemics

They were in on the scam to shuffle some $1.4 billion to some contractors

They should be fired in either case.

I agree with the two premises, disagree with the conclusion, as it will target low-level bureaucrats, leaving those responsible for the Ebola outbreak untouched. An apparent sense of “justice-has-been-done” will settle the issue, case closed. What really needs to be done is to investigate where those $1.4 billion ended, and what was the real purpose for that money. Further, the weaponization of Ebola should be investigated now, so we don’t have to wait more than half a century for belated apologies, as it was the case with Guatemala and experimentation with STD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BPpag5ik5M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVrxUXTl4sk

http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20141009/193837038.html

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 12 2015 22:35 utc | 14

@8

Yes. Prepping the people for 'upcoming' outbreaks of the plague that will seriously depopulate 'backward, undeveloped', resource-rich areas of the world. They're in the lab, hard at work. Unplumbable depravity.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 12 2015 22:38 utc | 15

@b

They are completely ignorant about epidemics

They were in on the scam to shuffle some $1.4 billion to some contractors

They should be fired in either case.

I agree with the two premises, disagree with the conclusion, as it will target low-level bureaucrats, leaving those responsible for the Ebola outbreak untouched. An apparent sense of “justice-has-been-done” will settle the issue, case closed. What really needs to be done is to investigate where those $1.4 billion ended, and what was the real purpose for that money. Further, the weaponization of Ebola should be investigated now, so we don’t have to wait more than half a century for belated apologies, as it was the case with Guatemala and experimentation with STD.

Francis Boyle Weaponization of Ebola

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 12 2015 23:05 utc | 17

So you mean this Ted Cru sponsored military boondoggle is... bullshit?

Sen. Cruz Bill to Aid Military Heroes Fighting Ebola Introduced in the House

http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1985

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today announced that the Operation United Assistance Tax Exclusion Act, which provides that members of the Armed Forces performing hazardous humanitarian services to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa shall be entitled to appropriate tax benefits, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thanks for all of your monitoring those empty medical units, heroes. Here's your Republican(TM) sponsored tax cut.

I guess that makes all of this kind of drek B.S. too, huh?

Ebola 2014: Let us praise the doctors, nurses, military, fighting a viral enemy

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/12/30/ebola-2014-let-us-praise-doctors-nurses-military-fighting-viral-enemy/


U.S. Military Arrive Within Ebola Hot Zone – A Prayer For Our Soldiers….

http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2014/10/10/u-s-military-arrive-within-ebola-hot-zone-a-prayer-for-our-soldiers/

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 13 2015 0:43 utc | 18

@15

Thanks for the link.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2015 3:38 utc | 19

I would guess that "treatment centers" were glorified detention camps, which is realistically the best thing to do in the case of epidemic like Ebola. But it is hard to make those camps properly, Ebola is a terrifying disease and the personal treating the patients has to be isolated from the patients, not easy even in USA, so by the time the plans were drawn and redrawn, all supplies selected, personal to do the work found (not easy with the huge and justified scare not to travel to the region) and finally the work accomplished, the epidemic was receding so much that there was no need for additional treatment/detention beds.

So I do not see the reason to suspect foul play or severe incompetence, just the usual case of accomplishing a task much slower than the situation require (hardly a surprise). And it is not like it was an easy thing to do, In the hindsight, it was probably a wrong plan, USA should just financially aid existing effort. Previous Ebola epidemics were quite short, the disease is quite contagious but also rapidly developing with terrifying symptoms, so victims are quite quickly isolated. The newest mutation had a slower development and thus was transmitted more effectively, so the epidemic took longer.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 13 2015 9:48 utc | 20

@18

The difference in the US and Cuban reactions tell the whole story. The big, rich nation that's been trying to crush the little poor nation for 50 years is shown to be uncaring, incompetent - perhaps responsible for the outbreak to being with; the little, poor nation that has survived 50 years' abuse by the big rich nation is shown to be genuinely caring, competent, and certainly the savior of many of those infected - perhaps 'inadvertantly' by the big, rich nation's ongoing biowarfare program.

The differences between the two could not be more boldly delineated.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 13 2015 11:46 utc | 21

@jfl,2

Spot on! Before the Ebola scam, there was KONY 2012 scam. The invasion of Africa is being spearheaded by the commander-in-chief whose father was African. Cry beloved continent!

Posted by: Guest | Apr 13 2015 14:53 utc | 22

@17,22

I transcribed Boyle's interview on Ebola for anyone interested. The middle section ~[05:30 - 13:50] is the most interesting to me. The whole thing's only about 15 minutes long.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 14 2015 6:47 utc | 23

b,
Was it definitely a scam? What if those treatment centers had been needed?
Mark

Posted by: Mark Gaughan | Apr 14 2015 16:43 utc | 24

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