In a televised Pentagon briefing, the commander of U.S. Africa Command laid out the bottom line for the October Niger ambush that killed four U.S. soldiers: “The responsibility is mine,” Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said.
But the mistakes that led to an outmanned and outgunned convoy of U.S. and Nigerien forces getting overrun last October were widespread, took root before the unit ever deployed, and manifested in local commanders deciding to carry out a capture or kill mission that they never had the authority to do, a 6,300-page investigation has found.
An unclassified eight-page summary was released Thursday.
“The direct cause of the enemy attack in Tongo Tongo is that the enemy achieved tactical surprise there, and our forces were outnumbered approximately three to one. So there’s a series of findings that we have identified from pre-deployment training through the relief in place,” said AFRICOM’s chief of staff, Army Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, who led the investigation.
Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Sgt. La David Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed in the deadly attack.
The ambushed team had been on the ground for about a month. The failed overnight mission that took place Oct. 3-4 was their third since arriving in-country, but the first involving a capture-or-kill of a high-value target.
The team was pursuing Doundou Chefou, an ISIS-connected militant who’d had a role in the kidnapping of American aid worker Jeffery Woodke in Niger in 2016. Despite media reports that Chefou has been apprehended Nigerien forces, he is still at large, Waldhauser said Thursday.
“That particular individual they were after had notorious connections to all kinds of various violent extremist groups in the Mali-Niger area,” Waldhauser said.
Since the ambush, no other capture or kill missions have been approved by any AFRICOM components, Waldhauser said.
The investigation had 23 findings, most of which have not been released. Three involve the ground commanders involved with filing and approving the paperwork for the mission.
However, the investigation does not make recommendations for any type of punishment, instead referring any disciplinary action “to [U.S. Special Operations Command] for appropriate action.”
Only a short, unclassified summary of the investigation has been released so far, but Waldhauser and Cloutier described some of the major factors Thursday.
Mission preparation: The investigation found that the team leader of the 11 U.S. troops who were ambushed had joined the team late in the deployment cycle, limiting time to do left seat/right seat training with the outgoing team.
Moreover, once they were on their own, the new team had not completed necessary mission rehearsals, nor had they done the work to socialize and integrate with the Nigerien partnered forces prior to conducting the mission.
The team “did not meet the appropriate standards for familiarization and integration with the Nigerien partner force prior to conducting the initial mission. … Basic social-level, routine tasks, such as conducting rehearsals, remediate action drills upon enemy contact were not completed,” Waldhauser said.
Action taken: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who approved the investigation’s findings, has directed “Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, and the United States Army to address matters related to organizing, training and equipping of Special Operations personnel for deployments.”
Lack of authority: The team was authorized to perform key leader engagements, training and advising, not capture or kill. The team commander and company-level commander at the forward base handling the mission mischaracterized what the forces would be doing in mission paperwork as “civil military reconnaissance.”
Had the paperwork accurately stated it was a capture or kill mission, a higher level of review would have been required. However the investigation found that the commanders who filed the paperwork were not intentionally deceptive.
“The paperwork that was submitted, the packet was identical to a previous [concept of operations]. So it was done hastily, and there was a lack of attention to detail,” Cloutier said. “It wasn’t a deliberate intent to deceive, it was lack of attention to detail.”
Action taken: AFRICOM directed a comprehensive review of the concept of operations process used by the special operations components to eliminate confusion over proper approval authorities and improve oversight.
Proper equipment: During the ambush, the vehicles were vulnerable, and the team ran out of ammunition. A previous assessment had determined that armored vehicles were not needed, but those teams “should have that option” if the roads can handle them, Waldhauser said.
Action taken: “One of the things that this investigation brought out, and we immediately directed, that armored vehicles be given to those teams as an option. They should have the choice,” Waldhauser said.
In addition, AFRICOM has requested “increased firepower for force protection,” he said, without giving specifics.
Originally published on Global Research in January 2015
What’s wrong with America is what’s wrong with Big Pharma. And what’s wrong with Big Pharma is what’s wrong with America. This circular reality is aimed to be thoroughly covered in this presentation. This is the story of how Big Pharma seeks enormous profits over the health and well-being of the humans it serves, and how drug companies invasively corrupted the way that the healthcare industry delivers its vital services. This is neither a new nor unique story. In fact, the story of Big Pharma is the exact same story of how Big Government, Big Oil, Big Agri-Chem Giants like Monsanto have come to power. The controlling shareholders of all these major industries are one and the same. Big Money belonging to the global central banking cabal own and operate all the Fortune 500 companies in addition to virtually all national governments on this earth. The Rockefellers privatized healthcare in the United States back in the 1930’s and has financed and largely influenced both healthcare and Big Pharma ever since.
The history of the last several centuries is one in which a handful of these oligarch families, primarily from Europe and the United States, have been controlling governments and wars to ruthlessly consolidate and maximize both power and control over the earth’s most precious resources to promote a New World Order of one totalitarian fascist government exercising absolute power and control over the entire global population. This group of oligarch families have systematically and effectively eliminated competition under the deceptive misnomer of a free enterprise system. Modernization is synonymous with globalization, privatization and militarization. Subsequently, an extremely small number of humans representing a privileged ruling elite has imposed a global caste system that’s hatched its long term diabolical plan to actualize its one world government. Sadly at this tumultuous moment in our human history, it’s never been closer to materialization.
Here in the early stages of the twenty-first century, a ruling elite has manipulated our planet of seven billion people into a global economic system of feudalism. Through pillaging and plundering the earth, setting up a cleverly deceptive financial system that controls the production and flow of fiat paper money using the US dollar as the standard international currency, they have turned the world’s citizens and nations into indentured servants, hopelessly in debt due to their grand theft planet. With Russia and China spearheading a shift away from the US dollar and petrodollar, and many smaller nations following their lead, a major shift in the balance of power is underway between Western and Eastern oligarchs. Thus, by design escalating calamity and crises are in overdrive at the start of 2015.
By examining one aspect of this grand theft planet through the story of Big Pharma, one can accurately recognize and assess Big Pharma’s success in its momentum-gathering power grab. Its story serves as a microcosm perfectly illustrating and paralleling the macrocosm that is today’s oligarch engineered, highly successful New World Order nightmare coming true right before our eyes that we’re all now up against. By understanding how this came to manifest, we will be better able to confront, challenge and oppose it.
Every year a handful of the biggest pharmaceutical corporations are a well-represented fixture amongst the most powerful Fortune 500 companies of the world. The twelve largest drug manufacturers and the eight largest drug delivery companies (or otherwise known as the drug channels companies) that include drug wholesalers, chain pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (so called PBM’s) consist in total only 20 of the top 500 global corporations in the world. Thus, despite making up only 4% of the total Fortune 500 companies in 2014, both Big Pharma’s highly profitable revenues and absolute economic and political power in the United States and world are unprecedented.
The median revenue of the drug channels companies that made 2014’s Fortune 500 from the most recent available 2013 figures was $95.1 billion with a median profit as percentage of assets of 2.9% over the year before. The top 12 drug manufacturing companies held a median revenue of only $17.5 billion but a median profit of assets level of 10.6% over 2012. Though the channels companies like CVS (the top channels company and #12 on Fortune 500), Walgreen (#37) and Rite-Aid (#118) overall maintain higher revenues and positions in the Fortune 500 list, their profit margins are not nearly as immense as the pharmaceutical manufacturers that are almost four times more profitable.
Big Pharma’s top eleven corporations generated net profits in just one decade from 2003 to 2012 of nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars – that’s just net profit alone. The net profit for 2012 amongst those top eleven amounted to $85 billion in just that one year. The majority of these largest pharmaceuticals are headquartered in the US – including the top four, Johnson & Johnson (#39 on Fortune 500 list), Pfizer (#51), Merck (#65) and Eli Lilly (#129) along with Abbott (#152) and Bristol Myers Squibb (#176). The healthcare research company IMS Health projects worldwide sales of Pharma drugs to exceed one trillion dollars by 2014. With that kind of obscenely powerful money to throw around, what Big Pharma wants, Big Pharma nearly always gets.
Just as the oligarchs buy, own and control national governments to do their sleazy bidding, Big Pharma as an extension of those same oligarchs does too. Perhaps what makes Big Pharma unique in the US is that the industry outspends all others in laying down cold hard cash into its lobbying efforts – another word for bribing governments that includes not only US Congress (and parliaments) but its US federal regulator, the bought and sold Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It poured $2.7 billion into its lobbying interests from 1998 to 2013, 42% more than the second most “Gov. Corp.” bribe which happens to be its sister industry insurance.
And it’s this unholy trinity of the medical establishment (personified by the American Medical Association), embedded insurance industry that wrote Obamacare into law and Big Pharma that makes the United States the most costly, broken, corrupt, destructive healthcare system in the entire world. The structured system is designed and layered with built in incentives at every tier to make and keep people sick, chronically dependent on their drugs for survival that merely mask and smother symptoms rather than cure or eradicate the root cause of disease.
Plenty of empirical evidence exists that confirm concerted diabolical efforts have been made to ruin the lives ofpioneering heroes who have come up with possible cures for cancer, AIDS and other terminal illnesses. Obviously their work poses a serious threat to medical status quo. Hence, their treatments have all been effectively suppressed by conventional medicine. Bottom line, if humans are healthy, the healthcare industry does not survive. Thus, it’s in its own inherently self-serving interest to promote illness in the name of wellness.
Also because natural healing substances cannot be patented, Big Pharma has done its sinister best to squelch any and all knowledge and information that come from the far more affordable means of alternative health sources that explore ancient traditional cultures’ medicinal use of hemp along with thousands of other plants and roots that could threaten drug profits and power of Big Pharma and modern medicine as they’re currently practiced and monopolized.
Another cold hard reality is pharmaceutical drugs especially when consumed to manage chronic disease and symptoms cause severe side effects that also damage, harm and kill. The most prescribed drugs of all are painkillers that typically are highly addictive. Big Pharma with the help of their global army of doctors have purposely and calculatingly turned a large percentage of us especially in the United States into hardcore drug addicts, both physically and psychologically addicted to artificial synthetic substances that are detrimental to our health and well-being. More than three quarters of US citizens over 50 are currently taking prescribed medication. One in four women in their 40’s and 50’s is taking antidepressants. Though the US contains just 5% of the world population, it consumes over half of all prescribed medication and a phenomenal 80% of the world’s supply of painkillers. Those who admit to taking prescription drugs on average take four different prescription drugs daily. Taking massive amounts of prescription drugs has caused an epidemic that’s part of a sinister plan to squeeze yet more profit out of a system designed to keep humans chronically unhealthy.
Even more alarming is the fact that death by medical error at near a quarter million people annually has become thethird largest killer of US citizens behind heart disease and cancer. Other more recent studies have estimated upwards of up to 440,000 have died yearly from preventable mistakes at hospitals. Blind obedience to Big Pharma and a conventional medical system too dependent on surgery and technology has inflicted more harm than good on the U.S. population.
Because doctors now are forced to rely so heavily on drug companies for information about what they prescribe, they’re ill equipped and ill-informed in their lack of adequate knowledge and training to understand what all the interactive drugs are doing to toxically harm their human guinea pigs they call patients. We are finding out that thecumulative and synergistic effects of poly-prescription drug use is frequently a lethal cocktail to millions of human beings on this planet. Combine that with the negative effects of our air, water, food and alcohol/illicit drugs, and the health dangers increase dramatically.
Look at the current damage done by over-prescribing antibiotics. Studies have learned that too much antibiotics cause trans-generational permanent DNA damage. The 20,000 times a year in the US alone that antibiotics are prescribed are highly toxic and damaging to the nervous system. On top of that, they simply don’t work anymore. The epidemic of trans-mutated bacterial infection and parasites that invade and infest the digestive tract in particular killing good bacteria and spread to other internal organs have become highly resistive to overuse of antibiotics. Big Pharma and doctors know all this yet they are responsible for antibiotic overconsumption by uninformed Americans.
Then look at what we are now learning about Big Pharma vaccines and the wanton reckless endangerment of children and pregnant mothers with toxic levels of mercury causing increased rates of autism, brain damage and even death. The criminal cover-up by Big Gov. and Big Pharma is egregious. Flu vaccines have recently been exposed that are totally ineffective along with the horrific damage being done to humans worldwide. Instead of preventing and decreasing illness, vaccines too often have had the opposite effect, exponentially increasing illness, causing irreversible damage and even death to thousands of unsuspecting victims mostly living in Third World nations. India’s Supreme Court is currently looking into charging Bill Gates with criminal harm to many of its citizens especially children injured or killed by his global vaccine program.
A growing number of critics believe Gates’ true aim is to eugenically reduce the world population from seven billion down to a “more manageable” size of half to one billion people. With the precedent of a well-documented history of horrifying eugenics practiced on the poor and most vulnerable in the US up till the 1980’s, oligarchs have been scheming to kill most of us on the planet for a long time now. With last year’s West African outbreak of the most deadly Ebola virus ever, and it being patented as bio-warfare, and mounting evidence that it was purposely started by a joint US military-university research team in Sierra Leone causing its global spread, more people than ever have perished and a growing segment of the population suspect that it is being used as a weapon of mass destruction to effectively depopulate the earth. We can largely thank the demonic partnership between Big Pharma and US Empire for that.
To further control the global health system, Big Pharma has largely dictated what’s been taught in medical schools throughout North America, heavily subsidizing them as a means of dictating the conventional dogma that’s standard curriculum down to even the textbooks. Several years ago a revolt at Harvard amongst med students and faculty went public. For a long time now doctors have been educated primarily to treat their patients with drugs, in effect becoming drug pushing, pharmaceutical whores, mere foot soldiers in Big Pharma’s war on health. Starting in the final year of med school, Big Pharma insidiously hones in on young med students, seductively wining and dining prospective physicians, showering them with money in the form of educational handouts, gifts, trips and perks galore to recruit its legions of loyal, thoroughly indoctrinated drug peddlers around the world. Thousands of doctors in the US are on Big Pharma payrolls. Typically early on in their careers physicians are unwittingly co-opted into this corrupt malaise of an irreparable system that’s owned and operated by Big Pharma.
And here’s why the drug companies control the global healthcare empire. Since 1990 Big Pharma has been pumping at least $150 million that we know about (and no doubt lots more we don’t know about) buying off politicians who no longer represent the interests of their voting public. Thanks to Big Law via last spring’s Supreme Court decision, current campaign financing laws permit unlimited, carte blanche bribery power for America’s most wealthy and powerful to fill the pockets of corrupt politicians with absolutely no oversight. Though the corporate buyoff of other nations around the globe may not appear quite so extreme and blatantly criminal as in the United States, international drug companies make certain that every national government allows full access and flow of their prescription drugs into each nation, including rubber stamped approval by each nation’s regulatory body to ensure global maximization of record setting profit. But because far more money is spent on the healthcare industry in the US, twice as much as the next nation Canada and equal to the next ten combined, it’s no surprise that hapless Americans end up having to pay far higher exorbitant costs for their made-in-the-USA drugs than anyone else on the planet. The average US citizen spends about $1000 on pharmaceutical drugs each year, 40% higher than Canadians.
Big Pharma also invests more dollars into advertising than any other industry in America, transmitting its seductively deceptive message direct to its consumers, explicitly giving them marching orders to request specific drugs from their doctors. In 2012 alone, pharmaceutical corporations paid nearly $3.5 billion to market their drugson television, radio, internet, magazines, saturating every media outlet. Their message – pleasure, relief, peace of mind, joy, love and happiness are all just a pill away. No problem or pain in life can’t be conquered by a quick fix – compliments of Big Pharma.
Much of Big Pharma’s success over the last couple decades has been the result of specifically targeting special new populations to con and win over, resorting to creating new diseases and maladies to entice troubled, stressed out, gullible individuals into believing there’s something abnormally wrong with them, that they are among always a growing segment of our population who quietly suffer from whatever discomforting symptoms, deficits, dysfunctions, ailments, syndromes and disorders that enterprising Big Pharma connives to slyly invent, promote, package and sell. This unethical practice has been called “disease mongering.” Drug companies today operate no different from the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear. Saturating the market with their alluring, promising ads, check out any half hour of national network news on television targeting the baby boomer and geriatric crowd and you’ll notice 95% of the commercials are all brought to you by none other than Big Pharma. Of course they pay big bucks for slick ad marketing campaigns that shrewdly target the oldsters most apt to suffer health problems in addition to being virtually the only Americans left still watching the nightly network news. Three out of four people under 65 in the US today recognize that mainstream news media is nothing less than pure Gov. Corp. propaganda.
Also in recent years Big Pharma has become deceitfully masterful at repackaging and rebranding old meds at higher prices ever in search of expanded consumers. It’s a lot easier and far less money to engage in this unethical industry-wide practice of recycling an old pill than to manufacture a new one. Prozac became the biggest drug sold until it was learned that it caused so many people to kill themselves or others, especially adolescents. Then Eli Lilly deceptively repackaged and relabeled it under the less threatening name Sarafem at a much higher price tailored to target unsuspecting women seeking relief from menstrual pain. Like Prozac as another Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor antidepressant, Paxil was suddenly repackaged as the cure-all for shyness under the guise of treating social anxiety. Taking full advantage of knowing that millions of humans feel unsure of themselves dealing with strangers and groups, Big Pharma to the rescue exploiting people’s nervousness by clinically labeling it as social anxiety and reintroducing the antidepressant pink pill as their panacea to personal happiness, lifelong self-confidence and success in life. This most prevalent industry pattern of reusing the same old drugs all dressed up with new custom designed names for new purposes on new custom designed populations for yet more price gouging is nothing less than resorting to a predatory practice of criminal false advertising.
Perhaps as sinister as any aspect of the drug business is how Big Pharma has completely taken over the FDA. A recent Harvard study slammed the FDA making the accusation that it simply “cannot be trusted” because it’s owned and operated by Big Pharma. With complete autonomy and control, now pharmaceutical companies knowingly market drugs that carry high risk dangers for consumers. But because they so tightly control its supposed regulatory gatekeeper, drugs are commonly mass marketed and before the evidence of potential harm becomes overwhelming, by design when the slow bureaucratic wheels turn issuing a drug recall, billions in profit have already been unscrupulously reaped at the deadly expense of its victims. Additionally, doctors, pharmacists and patients rarely even hear about important recalls due to dangerous side effects or contamination. Yet hundreds of Big Pharma drugsare recalled every year. Many FDA approved drugs like FenPhen, Vioxx, Zohydro and Celebrex kill hundreds before they’re finally removed from the shelf. This withholding the truth from the professionals and public consumers is yet more evidence that Big Pharma protects its profits more than people.
This evil practice that keeps repeating itself is proof that Big Pharma is a criminal racket. It no longer needs outside independent research demonstrating a drug’s efficacy to be FDA approved. Currently research is conducted and compiled by the pharmaceutical industry itself to fraudulently show positive results from methodologically flawed drug trials when in reality a drug proves either ill effective at doing what it’s purported to do or downright harmful. Research outcomes only need to show that the drug outperforms a placebo, not other older drugs already available on the market that have proven to be effective at lower cost.
Similar to shady personnel moving seamlessly in and out of governmental public service to think tanks to universities to private law to corporations to lobbyists, the same applies to heads of the FDA moving to and from Big Pharma. Unfortunately this is how our government has been taken over by special interests. Yet this rampant conflict of interest goes unchecked.
Because Big Pharma sometimes outright owns and largely controls today’s most prominent medical journals, spreading false propaganda, disinformation and lies about the so called miracle effects of a given drug is yet another common practice that is malevolent to the core. 98% of the advertising revenue of medical journals is paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. Shoddy and false claims based on shoddy and false research all controlled by Big Pharma often get published in so called reputable journals giving the green light to questionable drugs that are either ineffective or worse yet even harmful. Yet they regularly pass peer and FDA muster with rave reviews.
But because Big Pharma’s never held accountable for its evildoing, it continues to literally get away with murder, not unlike the militant police, the CIA, Monsanto and the US Empire that willfully and methodically commit mass murder on a global scale or through false flag terrorism having its mercenary Moslem allies kill innocent people as on 9/11 and France’s recent “9/11.” Since all serve the interests of their oligarch puppet masters toward grand theft planet and New World Order with total impunity, the world continues to suffer and be victimized.
Nearly five years ago the Justice Department filed and won a huge criminal lawsuit against Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world employing 116,000 employees and boasting an annual revenue of more than $50 billion ($53.8 in 2013). Fined $2.3 billion to pay off civil and criminal charges for illegally promoting the use of four of its drugs, the unprecedented settlement became the largest case of healthcare fraud in history. The crux of the case centered on Pfizer’s illegal practice of marketing drugs for purposes other than what the FDA originally approved. While the law permits a wide leeway for physicians to prescribe drugs for multiple purposes, Pharma manufacturers are restricted to selling their drugs only for the expressed purposes given them by FDA approval.
The 2003 lawsuit would never even have been filed had it not been for whistleblowing sales rep John Kopchinski who forced authorities to investigate what’s been a common Big Pharma practice, selling drugs for off-label uses. While back in 2001 the FDA had approved a 10 mg dosage of Bextra for arthritis patients and for menstrual cramps, Pfizer sent Kopchinski out with instructions to give complimentary 20 mg samples of Bextra to doctors, thus willfully and illegally endangering patient lives, particularly because in 2005 Bextra was taken off the market due toincreased risk of heart attacks and stroke. The truth is Big Pharma will do anything to boost its money making big profits, including killing innocent people.
But the story doesn’t end here. This legal case potently illustrates how the US federal government has been co-opted and conspires with Big Pharma to knowingly do harm to American citizens. When the story broke in the fall of 2009 of this record fine levied against Pfizer, assistant director Kevin Perkins of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division touted how the feds mean business going after lawbreakers within the pharmaceutical industry, boasting that “it sends a clear message.” But it turns out that that false bravado was an all-for-show facade.
The truth is the US government will knuckle under to Big Pharma, Wall Street and Big Banks every single time, even when it knows these “too big to fail” criminals repeatedly violate laws intended to protect the public. And constantly bailing them out at overburdened taxpayer expense only causes them to become more brazenly criminal, knowing they will always be protected by their co-conspirators the feds.
Back in November 2001 the FDA had stated that Bextra was unsafe for patients at risk of heart disease and stroke, rejecting its use especially at higher than 10mg doses on patients suffering from post-surgery pain. Yet Pfizer went ahead anyway marketing its product for any doctor who “used a scalpel for a living” as one district manager testified. It was learned that Pfizer deployed multimillions of dollars to its well-paid army of hundreds of doctors to go around “educating” other MD’s on the miracle benefits of Bextra. Again, misusing doctors as pitchmen to sell inflated false claims is employing the medical profession as Big Pharma’s industry whores.
By the time Bextra was finally taken off the market in April 2005, after killing a number of at risk patients that never should have been prescribed the painkiller, Pfizer had already made its cool $1.7 billion off the drug being illegally sold for purposes the FDA had expressly forbidden. Here’s where Big Pharma rules over Big Gov. Because by law any company that’s found guilty of fraud is prohibited from continuing as a Medicare and Medicaid contractor, which of course Pfizer is and was, the feds under the morally bankrupt excuse that Big Pharma’s also “too big to fail” made a dirty little secret deal with Pfizer in the backroom law offices of the federal government.
Just like US Empire uses the “national security” card, so do the banksters, Wall Street and Big Pharma use their “too big to fail” trump card to get away with their own crimes against humanity. It’s a rigged world where an elitist cabal of cheats and thugs mistreat fellow humans as owned commodities and indentured expendables. Money and power mean everything while human life means nothing to them. So the secret deal was cut where on paper only the fake Pfizer subsidiary Pharmacia and Upjohn that never sold a single drug would be found criminally guilty so the conveniently contrived loophole would spare Big Pharma Pfizer’s from its alleged death. Records show that on the very same day in 2007 that the feds worked out this sweetheart deal with Pfizer, this hollowed out shell company as Pfizer’s backdoor nonentity was born. How convenient as Big Gov. and Big Pharma got to live happily ever after together in criminal conspiracy against their own people they’re supposed to serve and protect, kind of like the way police forces across this nation are “serving and protecting” citizens.
Then with drug profits so obscenely high, even with a slap on the hand penalty fee of $2.3 billion, Big Pharma’s net profit for just one quarter easily can pay it off. Three years later in July 2012 the Justice Department handed down yet an even bigger fine of $3 billion to UK’s global healthcare giant GlaxoSmithKline for the same exact crimes. As long as Big Pharma continues raking in such enormous profits, fines into the billions mean nothing since they’re paid off in a few months’ time. Not until CEO’s and top executives of Big Banks, Big Wall Street and Big Pharma start going to jail to serve long term sentences for their crimes, it’ll conveniently remain business as usual. And as long as Big Pharma owns Big Gov. Corp., just like the oligarchs own everything there is to earthly own, nothing will ever change for the better unless we as citizens of the world demand accountability and justice that punishment rightly fit the corporate crime.
….. Agape is the kind of love that Jesus commands us to show to our neighbor. It’s the love that never fails in 1 Corinthians 13. When 1 John 4:8 tells us God is love, he means agape.
We are called to ascend to agape love of God. But we must remember this is only possible because God first descended to us and first showed agape love towards as. This is how the Gospel of John introduces the word agape to us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16)
But agape love is a commitment without regard to the object’s worth. Unlike eros, agape is rooted not in our emotions but in our volition; it is “the love that commits.” And unlike eros, it loves unworthy objects. This is how God loves us (Rom.5:6, 8, 10), even though we were helpless sinners and enemies. In fact, while eros love admires an object because of its value, agape redeems (creates value in) its object because of its love.
The old word for agape in English was ‘charity.’ Unfortunately, that word now means to most people simply handouts to beggars or the needy among us. But the word ‘love’ may not be an accurate translation of agape. For ‘love’ means to most people either sexual love (eros) or a feeling of affection (storge), or a vague love in general. To solve this translation problem, it may be necessary to insist on using the Greek word agape instead of any of the misleading English translations, so that we do not confuse this most important thing in the world with something else in our minds, and consequently risk missing it in our lives. There is enormous misunderstanding and confusion about love today. They include the following:
Agape is being confused with a feeling. Our feelings are precious, but agape is infinitely more precious, because our feelings are not infinite but agape is. Feelings come from us, but agape comes from God as its ultimate source. Feelings also come to us, passively. They are “passions.” Agape comes from God and is accepted actively by our free choice. Thomas Aquinas defines it as “willing the good of the other”, which is the simplest definition of love. Agape is an act of the will, not the feelings. That is why we are responsible for it, and commanded to do it, to choose it. We are not responsible for our feelings. Feelings can be “disordered,” but sins can come from acting on them. We are responsible for our agape or lack of it, for agape comes from our free will, our deliberate choice, while feelings come from wind, weather, hormones, advertisements, and digestion. Real love (agape) comes from the center of the soul, which Scripture calls the ‘heart’. Liking is a feeling. But love (agape) is more than strong liking. God does not merely like us; He saves us, He dies for us. Agape is a deed. Love is “the works of love”. Jesus had different feelings toward different people. But he loved them all equally and absolutely. We fall in love but we do not fall in agape. We rise in agape.
Since God is agape and agape is not feeling, God is not feeling. That does not make Him cold. Coldness is a feeling just as much as heat (passion). That also does not make Him abstract: a principle or an ideal rather than a Three-Person. Agape is not a feeling, not because it is less than a feeling but because it is so much more. God is agape itself, the essence of love, while feeling is only the little dribbles of love, little echoes of love, received into the medium of our emotions, our passions, our passivity. Love “overcomes” us or “comes over us,” but nothing can overcome or come over God. God cannot fall in love for the same reason water cannot get wet: it is wet. It is wetness itself. Love Itself cannot receive love as passivity. It can only spread it as an activity. God is love-in-action, not love-in-dreams. Feelings are like dreams: easy, passive, spontaneous. Agape is hard and precious like a diamond.
The object of Agape’s is always the concrete individual, not some abstraction called humanity. Love of humanity is easy because humanity does not surprise you with inconvenient demands. Humanity is an idea that occupies the mind. Jesus commands us to love our neighbor, the real individuals we meet, just as He did. He died for you and for me. not for “humanity.” The Cross has our names written on it, not the name humanity. When the nails pierced His hands, the blood spelled out “John” and “Peter” and “Mary,” not “humanity.” When Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd, He said He “calls His own sheep by name” (John 10:3). One of the saints says that Jesus would have done everything He did and suffered everything He suffered even if you were the only person who had sinned. He would have done all that just for you.
Love is being confused with kindness, which is only one of its attributes. Kindness is the sympathy with and the desire to relieve another’s suffering. But love (agape) is the willing of another’s good. The more we love someone, the more our love goes beyond kindness…….
Readers’ comments are welcome.