Friday, 10 October 2014

Company Stops Ebola, While Obama and the UN Fail

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As the Obama administration and the United Nations send military troops and massive amounts of resources in a thus far totally ineffective bid to supposedly combat the deadly Ebola virus, one private company has already “stopped Ebola in its tracks” with exactly zero soldiers, according to National Public Radio. Indeed, using standard medical techniques to control the disease that it found through Google searches, Firestone Natural Rubber Company, which operates a giant rubber-tree farm in Ebola-stricken Liberia, has become what the Wall Street Journal described as a “sanctuary of health in a country where cases are doubling every three weeks.”

As of last week, there were no more known Ebola infections on the 185-square-mile farm among the company’s 8,500 employees and their 71,500 dependents, according to news reports. Meanwhile, all around Firestone’s rubber plantation, despite a massive government effort that has included the use of troops to quarantine whole towns at gunpoint, the deadly disease continues to wreak havoc. “There are villages here that are getting wiped out,” explained Ed Garcia, the Philippines-born director of Firestone’s Ebola-free tree farm. Nearby Liberians quoted in news reports complained that they were not allowed into the farm.

Speaking to the Journal, Garcia explained how Firestone succeeded where governments and the UN continue to fail. When the first Ebola patient arrived at the rubber plantation, farm managers searched for “Ebola” online. Armed with information, they set up an “Ebola War Room” to strategize. “It was like flying an airplane and reading the manual at the same time,” Garcia told the Journal’s reporter in Liberia. Speaking to NPR, he added: “None of us had any Ebola experience.” Soon, though, they were ready to combat the virus.

First they built isolation clinics using shipping containers and plastic wrap. Company trucks were turned into makeshift ambulances. Protective suits used to clean up chemical spills became medical gear to protect those who may be exposed to an infected patient. Meanwhile, company janitors were trained in how to properly bury the bodies of Ebola victims, company police were deployed to enforce a “no visitors” rule, and teachers at the company’s schools visited each home to teach farm workers and their families about the disease — something especially crucial as rumors about Ebola continue to spread like wildfire among the population.

Unlike the Liberian government’s measures — coordinated with the controversial World Health Organization — Firestone’s plan worked. The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team in Liberia, Dr. Brendan Flannery, praised Firestone’s efforts to combat Ebola as “resourceful, innovative and effective,” NPR reported. When asked what was needed to turn the tide, Flannery responded: “More Firestones.” Instead, in a widely criticized move that was not authorized by Congress, Obama is sending thousands of U.S. troops to the area.

Of course, Ebola could resurface on the rubber farm, or, more likely, it could be reintroduced by an outsider. But for now, there are no more known cases, according to the Journal. In a separate article, NPR cited three remaining patients, all of whom came from the outside but were treated using the company’s resources. If the disease strikes again, Firestone is ready for it, giving employees and their relatives confidence and security that outbreaks will be dealt with appropriately.

At the same time, Liberians not fortunate enough to work for Firestone are trying to get in to the farm, with some complaining that the company has turned away ambulances and potentially sick patients. “We are surrounded by hot spots,” Garcia explained. “And they’re crossing into our farm.” The Journal reported that the farm recently accepted a family of 16 at the company’s hospital, with some of them being quarantined.

While managers want to help, they are struggling with tough decisions about whether to take in outsiders, and how many to admit — especially to avoid overwhelming their own preparations and resources. The schools, closed by government order, have been transformed into quarantine centers. The only new reported cases on the farm since March were people who came in from the outside, according to NPR.

By all accounts, Firestone’s huge farm — apparently the largest contiguous rubber-tree farm on Earth — is a paradise compared with the destitution and havoc across the rest of war-torn Liberia. “In a country where children walk to school over muddy paths, high-school students here board big yellow school buses, winding over country roads,” the Journal reported. “Electricity flows from a private dam. Water towers, telephone poles, speed-limit signs and brick homes — all exceedingly rare in tropical Africa — stare out over mowed hillsides that resemble the landscape outside Nashville, Tenn., where Firestone’s head office is based.”

While the company has met with success so far, the far more costly and totalitarian schemes being pursued by the Obama administration, African governments, and the UN appear to be failing miserably. Across the rest of Liberia and West Africa, for example, the number of Ebola cases is reportedly doubling every three weeks. Estimates suggest well over 3,500 people have already died from the virus — probably far more as many die in remote and isolated villages. And many more Africans will undoubtedly succumb to the diseases before it is all over, with some experts suggesting that millions could eventually perish from it.

Even in the Western world, Ebola is spreading, with “patient zero,” a Liberian, dying at a hospital in Dallas this week amid furious criticism aimed at “President Obola.” Surveys suggest Americans want authorities to stop flights from Ebola-stricken nations while the epidemic rages. Lawmakers in both parties have joined the push, blasting the UN WHO as “an organization of unelected bureaucrats and political appointees of foreign countries” that “has no duty to protect the lives and well-being of Americans.” Some 200 airline workers, meanwhile, walked off the job in New York to protest. Doctors are increasingly speaking out as well.

The Obama administration, however, has resisted those calls, even as illegal immigrants continue pouring across the southern border — at least some of them from Ebola-stricken nations such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Instead, the federal government has vowed to take some passengers’ temperatures to supposedly prevent the further spread of the disease.

New cases of Ebola are also being discovered across Europe, including a Spanish nurse who became the first known person to have contracted the disease outside of Africa. The UN’s WHO, which recently selected the communist dictatorship ruling Cuba to lead its decision-making body, warned that more cases across the European continent were “quite unavoidable” in light of the extensive travel between Europe and the affected nations.

As The New American has reported previously, critics are concerned over the potentially tyrannical measures the Obama administration and the WHO have said they are prepared to take. Especially troubling to many doctors and experts is the fact that U.S. borders essentially remain wide open even as Washington, D.C., purports to possess wild powers on everything from quarantining healthy people with no symptoms to locking down entire cities and enforcing coercive “treatment” such as forced vaccination. A vaccine for Ebola is reportedly being developed.  

Government officials on both sides of the Atlantic have urged the public to remain calm, saying the likelihood of a full-blown outbreak in the United States or Europe remains small. Authorities have also said they know how to stop the virus and prevent it from spreading. Still, public fears continue to grow about the potential spread of Ebola outside of Africa. And considering governments’ track records when it comes to honesty, caution is always wise.

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

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