At the only hospital in the capital of this tiny West African nation, a 3-year-old AIDS patient named Suleiman receives his daily dose of medication -- a murky brown concoction of seven herbs and spices served out of a bottle that once contained pancake syrup.
The boy is told a spoonful a day will make him better. His mother, Fatuma, takes the same concoction, as do several dozen other AIDS and HIV patients here. Adults take two spoonfuls.
"It's amazing," Fatuma says. "Two weeks ago, I was very ill, weak and couldn't eat without vomiting."
This has become the treatment for HIV/AIDS patients here since early January, when Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announced he had discovered a cure for the disease that has wreaked havoc across Africa. He made that announcement in front of a group of foreign diplomats, telling them the treatment was revealed to him by his ancestors in a dream.
His concoction has stirred controversy and anger among health officials who say the president's claims will bring false hope to the nation's more than 20,000 HIV/AIDS patients. They are also afraid that it could cause patients to stop taking the anti-retroviral drugs that have been proven to prolong life and improve quality of living.
One critic was Fadzai Gwaradzimba, the U.N. envoy to Gambia. She was abruptly kicked out of the country after saying on February 9 that patients should continue their normal treatment and that Jammeh's concoction be "assessed by an international team of experts."
So, you may be wondering how the Mahdi Army is doing, now that The Surge is on. You may be concerned about their well-being. Fret not, habeebi. 700 of their thugs are receiving the finest care and hospitality in the custody of the US military. They get 3 hots and a cot, and you get to pay for it. When The Surge eventually fizzles, they’ll be back on the street. It's a terrorist catch-and-release program. Why are we even taking prisoners?
Petraeus: “We’re going slowly there [in Sadr City]. We just want to keep nudging this forward in the constructive way that it has gone forward.” Don’t worry, you have all the time in the world. Just ask the Democratic Congress.
Patton (remember him?) didn't have much patience with "Hold and Clear":
“I don’t want to get any messages saying, “I am holding my position.” We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!”
Members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said Friday, in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said "parents and children have nothing to fear."And the FBI is sure about that, right?
Asked about the alert notice, the FBI's Rich Kolko said "there are no threats, no plots and no history leading us to believe there is any reason for concern," although law enforcement agencies around the country were asked to watch out for kids' safety.
The bulletin, parts of which were read to The Associated Press, did not say how often foreign extremists have sought to acquire licenses to drive school buses, or where. It was sent Friday as part of what officials said was a routine FBI and Homeland Security Department advisory to local law enforcement.
It noted "recent suspicious activity" by foreigners who either drive school buses or are licensed to drive them, according to a counterterror official who read parts of the document to The Associated Press.
Foreigners under recent investigation include "some with ties to extremist groups" who have been able to "purchase buses and acquire licenses," the bulletin says.
But Homeland Security and the FBI "have no information indicating these individuals are involved in a terrorist plot against the homeland," it says. The memo also notes: "Most attempts by foreign nationals in the United States to acquire school bus licenses to drive them are legitimate."
Kolko said the bulletin was sent merely as an educational tool to help local police identify and respond to any suspicious activity.
It was not immediately clear whether the extremists intended to do with the school buses. One counterterror official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said it was likely that the foreigners investigated were merely employed as bus drivers, and did not intend to use them as part of any terror plot.