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Ethiopia – More on Senator Chris Coons – Ultimatums to Addis Ababa, Big Pharma’s Point Man on opposing lifting patent restrictions on COVID-19

May 10, 2021

Now it appears, that when Coons is not working with the Administration to destabilize Ethiopia, he’s defending the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying effort to prevent the Biden Administration from ending unethical COVID-19 vaccine hoarding which has led to “vaccine apartheid” to the disadvantage of the Global South. Worried – as usual – more about profiting off its control of the vaccine than addressing the global Coronavirus spread, the pharmaceutical lobby in Washington has gone all out to prevent any Administration lifting of patent control. Leading the change putting drug company profits before people – and in this case overwhelming non-White peoples of the Third World (including Ethiopia) is, Chris Coons!

When Joe Biden wanted to send a special emissary to Ethiopia to give the government of Ethiopia an ultimatum 1. to permit so-called unhindered humanitarian aid (meaning the U.S. and allies could go into Tigray Province with no supervision from the Ethiopia government 2. To postpone umcoming national elections or, again, to permit unsupervised, international observers 3. To demand that Ethiopian troops “withdraw” from their own territory after putting down an insurrection spearheaded by the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front which the Addis Ababa government crushed 4. to press the Abiy Ahmed government to negotiate with the defeated insurrectionists with an eye on getting them one way or another back in power – When Joe Biden wanted to do all that, he sent his good friend and former U.S. Senate member, Chris Coons to Ethiopia. This was in mid March, 2021.

It was not a “fact finding” mission as it was presented by the State Department and the media in the U.S. but more of an imperial politican delivering an ultimatum. The visit was preceded by what was – against Ethiopia – anyhow, nothing short of an unprecedented (American) misinformation campaign with growing calls from different well-lobbied members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives for the United States to do what it does worldwide when it doesn’t know what else to do: slap Ethiopia with sanctions to pressure it to bend to Washington’s will. Unsubstantiated claims that the Addis Ababa government and its Eritrean allies were committing war crimes in Tigray province – broadly accepted now in Western government and media circles – harken to the kind of fabrications, exaggerations that preceded the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq (weapons of mass destruction) and the 2011 U.S. inspired (they “led from behind” as they called it) NATO invasion of Libya, the pretexts for the failed mercenary driven proxy war against Syria.

Indeed, all the signs are that Washington has opened up a new front of hybrid warfare against the Ethiopian state following a pattern that extends from Yugoslavia through Iraq, Libya, Syria – add Myanmar to the list…and now Ethiopia. A number of factors enter into Washington’s new hard line over Ethiopia. It’s hard to tell which is more primary – whether it’s Washington’s onesided support for Egypt’s attempt to stop the completion of Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Dam or Washington’s anxiety about the inroads that China is making in Africa, including Ethiopia, or Washington’s manic drive to win and corner control of rare earth (and other) minerals some of whcih are found in Ethiopia, or some combination thereof. Regardless of whatever it is that driving U.S. Ethopia policy the goal is clear enough: either to keep the country so politically weak so that it is more vulnerable to foreign influence or, should that not work, to actually work to partition the country, either de jure or de facto.

Whatever, Chris Coons is a key Biden Administration in this Ethiopia destabilization campaign which continues.

Hybrid warfare – that is modern warfare in which actual military confrontation takes a back seat to disinformation, sanctions, destabilization – now includes weaponizing the COVID-19 vaccines to suit global political ends and competition.

Now it appears, that when Coons is not working with the Administration to destabilize Ethiopia, he’s defending the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying effort to prevent the Biden Administration from ending unethical COVID-19 vaccine hoarding which has led to “vaccine apartheid” to the disadvantage of the Global South. Worried – as usual – more about profiting off its control of the vaccine than addressing the global Coronavirus spread, the pharmaceutical lobby in Washington has gone all out to prevent any Administration lifting of patent control. Leading the change putting drug company profits before people – and in this case overwhelming non-White peoples of the Third World (including Ethiopia) is, Chris Coons!

As noted in a recent article in Jacobin, Coons’ defended the pharmaceutical industry’s effort to continue to control their patents on COVID-19 vaccine using old Cold War logic. “Many political and business leaders are defending unethical vaccine patent hoarding. But Sen. Chris Coons recently achieved new levels of repulsiveness, invoking Red Scare rhetoric, the Capitol riot, and the Constitution to justify protecting Big Pharma’s profits.” Here are his remarks at an April 22 event sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Let me close by being optimistic about our ability to invest in innovation, science, and competitiveness here in the United States. If we look back at what happened when the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite, it was a moment that was a genuine wakeup call for the American people. And as a result, Congress and the administration invested in STEM education, invested in research, and in fundamental and applied science, and the benefits of that lasted for two generations.

January 6 was a moment that was challenging, divisive, difficult for all of us here in Congress, and it was a wakeup call that our country is badly divided [my emphasis]. And the ways in which China has become a peer competitor in investing in R&D, in the number of patents issued, the number of research papers published, and the ways in which they are now trying to take the lead in standard essential — standard-setting bodies — that recent campaign to put a Chinese national at the head of the WIPO, where the PTO director, Andrei Iancu, was — did yeoman’s work to make sure that someone committed to a strong intellectual property system globally instead became the head of the WIPO — all of this is a wakeup call for us that we need to have another Sputnik-like moment of reinvestment in American innovation and competitiveness. A central part of being successful in this competition is continuing with our constitutionally created protected property right of a patent, something I’ve long believed in.

https://jacobinmag.com/2021/05/senator-chris-coons-vaccine-patent-remarks-csis-cold-war-red-scare?fbclid=IwAR3Ei2s-3whwVsclM4XIG2G2H6VUNpaccA_dU0SAQtPyH5HKpFZ9GgaHnzo

As Luke Savage, the author of this piece notes, the way the Coons “one of Big Pharma’s most reliable tribunes in Washington” phrases the issue “transforms a question of global public health into one of naked imperial self-interest,” an approach Savage refers to as “as grotesque and immoral as any argument for patent hoarding made yet.”

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