Friday, March 16, 2007


Meningitis has infected nearly 16,000 people and killed 1,670 in sub-Saharan Africa in the last two months, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The United Nations agency said it was working with Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to contain the outbreak with vaccinations in Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Uganda.

Doctors Without Borders reports there are just 25 million doses of A/C vaccine–the A strain being the most common cause of epidemics–available worldwide. Only 7 million doses have been reserved for epidemic responses. And the future prospects for replenishing the supply are bleak. In May, Sanofi-Pasteur, the sole provider of the A/C vaccine, announced that it was stopping production altogether while it transfers its production to another site.

One major reason for the shortage of vaccine production is that companies have become more interested in producing an expensive type of the vaccine which is used in developed countries than the less expansive one for use in underdeveloped countries.

Doctors Without Borders says it: working with the World Health Organization to find alternative sources of the current vaccine with companies in Brazil and Cuba. There are manufacturers in these countries that are WHO pre-qualified for vaccine production for yellow fever, for instance, but not meningitis. The earliest we can expect any dividends from this effort is for next season. We really need these short-term alternatives until the conjugate vaccine becomes available. Now you can see why no one is interested because there is a solution in five years time. So no one really wants to invest a lot of money in the immediate needs.

One manufacturer, Bio-Manguinhos in Brazil, was identified as the strongest and quickest alternative for scaling-up vaccine supply in the short and medium term. In partnership with the Finlay Institute in Cuba, Bio-Manguinos is working with WHO to ensure a supply of up to 10 million doses of bivalent AC meningitis vaccine by the next epidemic season.

Timely mass vaccinations are the most effective means of limiting the spread of epidemics. However, not surprisingly because of cost the threshold to begin mass vaccination programs is considerably lower in the developed countries than in Africa.

Meanwhile the poor just die!

The following news comes from IRIN.

AFRICA: Fighting meningitis a race against time

OUAGADOUGOU, 16 March (IRIN) - International health specialists worry that a major meningitis epidemic could hit Africa within the next three years, claiming tens of thousands of lives, just as supplies of vaccines for the illness are at an all-time low.

Health officials say the rising number of cases this year is a worrying sign. In Burkina Faso and Sudan alone 1,013 people have died among 14,279 who have been infected, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Burkinabe officials.

Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also experienced meningitis epidemics this year. Other countries with outbreaks include Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Mali, Benin, Ghana, Togo and Guinea.

"All the signs are pointing toward something stronger happening," William Perea, head of the meningitis programme for WHO in Geneva, told IRIN. "Whether this could be a major epidemic like the one we saw in 1997 we don't know. We are doing all that we can to face a crisis should a crisis arrive."

Epidemics across Africa's 'meningitis belt', which stretches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, claimed 25,000 lives among at least 250,000 people who were infected between 1995 and 1997. Semi-arid Sahelian countries are hit each year by outbreaks of meningitis during the dry seasons between December and June when strong, dust-laden winds and cold nights make people more prone to respiratory infections. The meningitis bacteria is transmitted by sneezing or coughing.

Meningitis is an infection of the thin lining around the brain and spinal cord. Typically, five to 10 percent of meningitis patients die within 24 to 48 hours of the first symptoms, while 10 to 20 percent of survivors suffer brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities.

Tipping point

As a result of the 1995-1997 wave of epidemics, WHO helped establish the International Coordination Group on Vaccine Provision for Epidemic Meningitis Control (ICG) to ensure rapid and equal access to low-cost meningitis vaccines and medicine.

The ICG has had a stockpile of about seven million vaccines to respond to meningitis epidemics in Africa this year. An additional four million vaccines are forthcoming. All of the vaccines are produced by Sanofi Pasteur in France, the only pharmaceutical company that continues to produce the bivalent polysaccharide AC vaccine, which is the one most widely used in Africa.

So far the current supply has been sufficient to battle this year's epidemic, but that could change if individual African countries decide to stockpile.

"There won't be any vaccine to respond to an emergency like the one that Burkina Faso and Sudan are facing now," Perea said.

Should a major epidemic occur in the next few years, the estimated vaccine gap could be as much as 52 million doses in a worst-case scenario, according to WHO's weekly epidemiological record released on 9 March.

"An epidemic wave will have an enormous impact on the countries' morbidity and mortality and will add to the already heavy burden placed on their health services," the report said.

Lower production

Sanofi Pasteur usually produces about 20-25 million polysaccharide AC vaccines. A portion is set aside for the ICG following consultations while the remainder is sold at the regular price. But the company's stockpile was depleted in 2006 and 2007 because of a temporary interruption in production.

Other pharmaceutical companies that used to produce the polysaccharide vaccine are instead producing the newer, longer-lasting but more expensive conjugate vaccines.

"Companies are more interested in conjugate vaccines for the developed world rather than polysaccharides for the developing world and that is why today we only have one company working on the polysaccharides," Perea said.

Currently, in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, a dose of the conjugate vaccine sells for the equivalent of US$40, which is more than the monthly earnings of many people. By contrast, the polysaccharides can sell for $14 in the open market while governments get to purchase them at the equivalent of about 50 cents a dose and administer them for free during epidemics.

Although Sanofi Pasteur is currently producing less polysaccharide vaccines than it once did, the company's director general, Jacques Berger, says the company remains committed to Africa.

"We have been present in Africa since 1974. I can assure you that we are planning on staying in Africa with our vaccine as long as may be necessary," he said. "We have no plan to reduce our quantity. We have no plans to stop this vaccine."

Other alternatives

To help shore up meningitis vaccines for the coming years, ICG has been seeking potential new vaccine producers. It has spoken with health authorities in China, Cuba and Brazil where there are pharmaceutical companies that already produce the polysaccharide AC vaccines but not for export.

Perea said ICG is hoping to be able to get these companies to manufacture a vaccine that might be available on the international market by the end of this year.

In addition, development of a new vaccine is underway.

"So far it is showing good results and if things keep going like that by 2009 or 2010 we will have a vaccine on the market and this will be 40 cents a dose," Perea said.

Scientists say the new vaccine would be used preventatively instead of in emergency situations to halt epidemics, which is the current practice. It would also be able to cover more of the population for a longer period of time. The polysaccharide AC vaccine is administered to people over the age of two and only lasts for about three years.

Barring all else, if there are insufficient vaccines, health authorities are exploring the possibility of giving smaller doses to more people by dividing the current tetravalent polysaccharide A,C,Y and W135 doses into fifths.

"We looked into this to see if, in case of a crisis, we could use this [option] as a last resort in case everything goes wrong and we don't have enough vaccine," Perea said. "It is a very last resort."

In the meantime, WHO has called on the ministries of health in the countries that are at risk, their technical and operational partners, vaccine and drug producers and the donor community to take action in order to implement effective and timely interventions to help avert a wave of epidemics that could last for years.


The number of children infected with HIV as a result of a medical scandal in Kazakhstan reached 96 today.

A trial of several doctors involved in the scandal is currently underway. They are charged with negligence, fraud, bribery and embezzlement. The former head of the regional department of healthcare Nursulu Tasmagambetova is among the accused, as well as two of her deputies and chief physicians of several children’s hospitals. According "Ziyadinhan Perniyaz," Tasmagambetova is accused of negligence. The maximum term of punishment for this crime is five years of imprisonment. The same source reports, "However, the public and the journalists in Shymkent doubt that all accused will get a term. The court chairman refused to read out all the names of the accused at the press-conference. He said that media is not allowed into the court building."

Kazakhstan is part of a "new frontier" in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the World Bank estimates that the number of recorded HIV/AIDS cases in the country has doubled each year since 2000, Reuters reports. According to estimates from UNICEF, which has worked in Kazakhstan since 1995, the number of people living with HIV could be three times more than the official total of about 7,000. Although HIV in Kazakhstan is most commonly transmitted through injection drug use, the country's HIV/AIDS problem "sprang to the top of national agenda" after scores of children contracted the virus through contaminated blood transfusions in hospitals in the country's Shymkent region.

"These problems are not just here in Shymkent," Alena Sialchonak, a UNICEF program officer, said, adding, "It affects the whole of Kazakhstan. The problem was created by adults. But it's the children who are paying the price."

Some doctors in Kazakhstan have said that women and children often do not have access to adequate treatment education, and sex education is virtually nonexistent in the country, Reuters Health reports. Local governments in many regions of Kazakhstan have said they are attempting to provide care and treatment to people living with HIV. According to UNAIDS, there are indications that HIV/AIDS prevalence in Central Europe and South Asia has increased by more than 50% since 2004.

A blogger in Kazakhstan said on his blog site KZblog, "Certainly in my experience HIV/AIDS is associated here (as in many places) with drug abuse, prostitution and homosexuals and therefore socially extremely touchy with a prevailing belief that infected people did something wrong."

The following story comes from IRIN.

KAZAKHSTAN: HIV trial spotlights fight against AIDS

SHYMKENT, 6 March 2007 (IRIN) - As the trial continues in Kazakhstan of former health sector staff accused of infecting scores of toddlers with HIV, there are signs that the government is tackling the fight against HIV/AIDS with renewed vigour. Its challenges include rooting out corruption in the healthcare system and combating the stigma against people living with HIV in this Central Asian state.

The crisis that saw 94 children infected with HIV during medical treatment in the southern city of Shymkent has forced the government to take the fight against the disease seriously, said Dr Alexander Kossukhin, Kazakhstan’s United Nations AIDS country officer.

“Now Kazakhstan has become very committed, and I think it has happened largely due to the outbreak in Shymkent,” he told IRIN after an HIV/AIDS symposium in Shymkent on 1 March.

A city court is currently trying 21 former senior doctors and public health officials. They are accused of negligence and corruption, which led to the infection of the children, eight of whom have died. Thirteen mothers were also infected after receiving blood transfusions in Shymkent. The accused deny the charges.

An investigation into the HIV outbreak among the children uncovered serious irregularities in the blood donor system. Prosecutors allege that medical staff traded in blood for profit. Bribery was reportedly rife and disposable syringes were re-used to cover up alleged theft.


Isidora Yerasilova, former head of the National AIDS Centre and whose contract was not renewed after the Shymkent scandal, agrees that corruption is endemic within the medical system, but points to low salaries as the cause. Some junior doctors in Kazakhstan earn little more than US $100 per month while auxiliary staff earn about $50 per month.

“A lot of people extort money,” she said. “Of course it’s a crime, but the one thing generates the other.”

The outbreak led to the firing of the health minister and regional governor, and the government began sweeping inspections of medical institutions nationwide in addition to tests for health workers. They revealed shortcomings across the board in the healthcare system and led to large-scale sackings of doctors. Thousands of medical staff are to receive refresher training.

Deputy health minister Anatoliy Belonog acknowledged in February that there were still widespread infringements in the blood donor system.

Strict rules are now in force at the Regional Children’s Hospital, one of the major sources of the HIV outbreak in Shymkent. “Blood transfusion is now strictly by the book, ”said deputy chief physician Anzhelika Pak.

National strategy

In December, the government adopted a national strategy on HIV/AIDS to 2010. The goals include the government paying a greater share of the costs of combating HIV/AIDS – it will take on 30 per cent of the costs against five per cent previously, rising to 50 per cent in 2008.

Kossukhin of UNAIDS said there are two crucial issues that need to be addressed. “The first issue is prevention, the second is providing proper treatment and support to people living with HIV,” he said.

Twenty-six of the children infected in Shymkent hospitals are receiving antiretroviral drugs, but many HIV positive people in Kazakhstan do not have access to the therapy; UNAIDS figures say just 15 per cent of those living with HIV receive antiretroviral drugs in Kazakhstan.

Knowing the precise number of people living with HIV/AIDS could help Kazakhstan and other Central Asian states tackle the HIV/AIDS issue, said Tilek Meimanaliev, director of the Central Asia AIDS Project (CAAP). The project has US $27m million-worth of funding from the World Bank and UK Department for International Development to combat HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

According to registered figures, AIDS cases in Kazakhstan rose 30 percent year-on-year to total 131 at the end of 2006, while in 2006 the total number of HIV positive people grew by 80 percent year-on-year to total 1,741. Intravenous drug injection is currently the main driving force of infection, UNAIDS said.


Those working to respond to HIV/AIDS agree that sufferers are stigmatised by society.

“Most people think HIV infection happens somewhere else, to third-class people, that this would never happen to them, that prostitutes, homosexuals and drug addicts get it and that they deserve it,” said Tatyana Rodina, director of I Believe, an AIDS prevention NGO in Shymkent.

Asked by IRIN to identify how HIV is transmitted, students at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (KIMEP) in the commercial capital, Almaty, made reference to drug users and commercial sex workers.

The more stigma risk groups suffer, the harder it is to reach them, said Rodina. “The men who have sex with men [category] is dangerous simply because the mentality of our region – a southern region – makes it a very closed group... They are ostracised.”

Outside big cities and in more conservative regions such as southern Kazakhstan, the problem is more pronounced, said Kossukhin. “In southern Kazakhstan [stigma] is rather serious. Unfortunately, the general public cannot understand that it is not dangerous to communicate with people living with HIV.”

As part of public awareness-raising efforts, CAAP works with Muslim leaders in Central Asia, whom Meimanaliev described as “proactive” in the fight against AIDS. The organisation plans to hold an inter-faith conference this year to bring other religious leaders on board.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Due to the simple fact that it is now March Madness time, the OD will be sparce for a while. I realize there are probably more important things in the world than college basketball tournaments, but, hey, whatever.

And in honor of the NCAA tournament, I present you this piece (which can be found at Media Transparency) by former Lawrence, Kansas playground star Bill Berkowitz.

Neil Bush of Saudi Arabia
Bill Berkowitz

During recent visit, President’s brother describes the country as a 'kind of tribal democracy'

In late February, only a few days after Saudi Arabia beheaded four Sri Lankan robbers and then left their headless bodies on public display in the capital of Riyadh, Neil Bush, for the fourth time in the past six years, showed up for the country's Jeddah Economic Forum. The Guardian reported that Human Rights Watch "said the four men had no lawyers during their trial and sentencing, and were denied other basic legal rights." In an interview with Arab News, the Saudi English language paper, Bush described the country as "a kind of tribal democracy."

Neil Mallon Bush, the son of President George H. W. Bush and the brother of President George W. Bush, attended the forum to renew old family friendships and to drum up a little business for his educational software company. "The Jeddah Economic Forum has been very productive," Bush told Arab News. "I have been to this conference four times since 2002. I have seen it develop from the very beginning. There was less participation in the past, now there is more international participation."

These days, Neil Bush is the chairman and CEO of Ignite Learning (website), a company devoted to developing technology-assisted curriculum. Ignite calls it COW: "Curriculum on Wheels." In an interview with Arab News' Siraj Wahab, Bush talked enthusiastically about his company's mission: "We are building a model in the United States for developing curriculum that is engaging to grade-school kids, and our model is to deploy this engaging content through a device. So it is easy for any teacher to use our device through projectors and speakers. The curriculum is loaded on the device. We use animation and video and those kinds of things to light up learning in classrooms for kids. It helps teachers connect with their kids. We are planning to develop an Arabic version of that model."

According to Wikipedia, Ignite was founded in 1999 and has "raised $23 million from U.S. investors, including his parents ... as well as businessmen from Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait, the British Virgin Islands and the United Arab Emirates, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Russian billionaire expatriate Boris Berezovsky (and Berezovsky's partner Badri Patarkatsishvili), Kuwaiti company head Mohammed Al Saddah, and Chinese computer executive Winston Wong are documented investors."

The blog Media Mindfulness recently looked into a COW lesson relating to habeus corpus and found that "the lesson [was] in dire need of some media literacy. It's curious how it repeatedly justifies the suspension of the law":

If you go to Ignite Learning’s Web site and click on the ‘easy-to-use’ button, what you see is a completely closed system. I think ‘cow’ is an appropriate name. Make your students go ‘Moo’! Making education more like television, which this system seems to emulate, is not the answer. It would appear that in the case of COW the teacher is merely a manager of the curriculum, not an engaged, free thinking agent. There is something terribly frightening about making kids watch lessons in TV-like packages and then train them to repeat what they see. My hope is that kids are savvy and smart enough to see through this crap and reject it outright. I hate to say this but this is one situation when truancy might be the best educational strategy.
The Ignite! video makes clear the enervating, rote approach to learning taken by the Bush family. While this may not be an advance in actual education, it does serve to enrich Neil Bush and commodify teachers. In concept it is much like Channel One, whereby Chris Whittle enriched himself forcing millions of primary school students to watch repackaged TV News sandwiched between corporate advertising.

Responding to a question from the Arab News reporter about the "people who tell him they are not happy with his brother's foreign policy," Bush said: "Don't forget, I am the son of a president who I deeply respect and admire and who is admired a lot in this region. I think my dad has demonstrated in his policy how sensitive he is to culture, how bringing people together and how dialogue and conversation can lead to peace... And even when there is aggression you know you can deal with it in a way that is wise and judicious."

As to the sitting president, Bush said that he thought "people need to be fair about the position my brother is in. My brother is president at a time in history that we have never seen before as Americans. Our country was attacked viciously, and I think everybody in the world recognizes that. The reaction he has had to it in part reflects the deep hurt of the tragedy that struck us on Sept. 11, 2001. He is doing what he thinks is right."

Bush also pointed out that he tries to not get into his brother's political business. "I have a personal policy similar to my dad's policy and that is I don't discuss politics with my brother," Bush said. "He is an elected president. He never appointed me to be his secretary of state. I love my brother as a brother. He has two children; I have six now, so we talk about life in general. We have a lot in common. But he doesn't talk about my business and I don't talk about his. When he retires we will have plenty of good chats."

If you didn't know Neil Bush's back-story, the Arab News interview would be of little help. A few key points: As a member of the board of directors, Bush was involved in the bilking of Silverado Savings and Loan during the 1980s savings and loan crisis; in July 1999, Bush made at least $798,000 on three stock trades in a single day of the Taunton, Massachusetts-based Kopin Corporation, a company where he had been employed as a consultant; in 2002, Bush signed a consulting contract that paid $2 million dollars in stock over five years to work for Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, plus $10,000 for every board meeting he attends; in 2005, Bush accompanied the Rev. Sun Myung Moon (another family patron) on part of his world tour promoting Moon's idea for a Universal Peace Federation.

Then there were the sex romps: Revelations garnered from Bush's divorce deposition became fodder for gossipers across the country when in them he admitted to sexual encounters with high-priced escorts in Thailand and Hong Kong who mysteriously appeared at the doors of his hotel rooms.

The Saudi connection
Neil Bush, like others in the Bush Family, has cultivated a very close relationship with the Saudi Royal Family. As Kevin Phillips wrote in his book "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush" (2004): "Also shaping Middle Eastern relations was the fact that the [Bush] family had cemented unique business and personal ties to the royal families of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the emirates. After he left the White House in 1993, George H. W. Bush made a number of visits. His relationships with the Saudis, in particular, remained so close that the Saudi ambassador in Washington, Prince Bandar, and his wife considered the Bushes 'almost family.'"

As a member of the Carlyle Group's Asian Advisory Board, the senior Bush "made highly compensated speeches and trips on its behalf -- most frequently to Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf -- and helped the group procure well-heeled investors." According to Phillips, "Twelve rich Saudi individuals and families signed up (including the bin Laden family prior to 9/11), as well as the investment offices of Kuwait and Abu Dhabi."

About the time of Neil Bush's first visit to the Jeddah Economic Forum in February 2002 the Washington Post reported that "Saudis close to Prince Sultan, the Saudi defense minister, were encouraged to put money into Carlyle as a favor to the elder Bush." According to Phillips, "By some accounts, Carlyle acted as a gatekeeper for would-be U.S. investors in Saudi Arabia."

In February 2006 the Associated Press reported that donors to President George H. W. Bush's presidential library located at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, included a sheik from the United Arab Emirates, who contributed at least $1 million, the state of Kuwait, the Bandar bin Sultan family, the Sultanate of Oman, and King Hassan II of Morocco.

In 2001, after George W. Bush took the White House, he appointed Texas lawyer Robert Jordan as the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Phillips noted that Jordan "defended" Bush "in the 1990 probe of possible insider trading in the sale of his Harken [Energy] stock, as well as a partner in Baker and Botts, the attorneys for the Carlyle Group."

Phillips observed that in January 2002, Neil Bush "made his fourth trip to the Middle East since" George W. had become president: "Besides meeting with members of the Saudi royal family, he pursued joint ventures with computer software firms in Dubai and contracts with the United Arab Emirates' Ministry of Education."

Over time, Neil Bush has become a big Saudi booster. Asked by Arab News' Siraj Wahab about the so-called "clash of civilizations," Bush said that he "get[s] frustrated when I talk to my American friends about the region in general and particularly about Saudi Arabia. There is this common misperception of the Arab people, of the Muslim faith, about the relationship with Saudi Arabia. I think there needs to be leadership on both sides to help bridge the gap of misunderstanding. A lot of my American friends, a lot of Americans in general, have common misunderstandings and the basic myths that they have in their minds about this region."

Bush explained how he describes the situation in Saudi Arabia to folks back home: "I can explain it very well, but people won't believe me unless and until they come and see it for themselves. For example, I am bringing a delegation today that talks of water-desalination technology -- very amazing technology. They have never been to Saudi Arabia. Obviously they can't help but be impressed by the hospitality and the warmth of the reception and the response of the people that they met regarding their project. They just loved this place. The terrain is interesting to them. You know, romantic and kind of exciting. So there is a lot to be said about coming here and seeing it for yourself."

Bush said it is important to gain "a more balanced perspective" on Saudi Arabia: " If I go by the images of Saudi Arabia portrayed in movies, that of gun-toting mullahs, then I think I will have a very different impression of Saudi Arabia than the one that is balanced and based on reason and facts."

Finally, Bush pointed out that Saudi Arabia is "a kind of tribal democracy that people don't talk about very much," he said. "So it hurts me quite a bit and causes me anguish over the ignorance outside about Saudi Arabia."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I want to thank and credit the blog site Tikun Olam for this rather lengthy but very interesting little diddy.

Note: Many of you don't know Pastor John Hagee. The American Standard recently described him as,"... the author of an incendiary new book purporting to show that the Bible predicts a military confrontation with Iran. By then, Hagee’s book, Jerusalem Countdown, had sold nearly 500,000 copies. It had occupied the No. 1 position on the Wal-Mart inspirational best-seller list, showed up on Wal-Mart’s list of top 10 best sellers for seven weeks, and made the USA Today top 50 best-seller list for six weeks."

The Standard continued, "Hagee, who serves as head pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, hosts his own television program that is seen twice a day on TBN. He argues that the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the release of his book last January, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a lobbying organization intended, he says, to be a Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee. With CUFI, which Hagee has said will cause a “political earthquake,” the televangelist aims to put the political organizing muscle of the conservative evangelical movement behind his grand plan for a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ."

AIPAC’s Pact With the Christian Zionist Devil

Pastor John Hagee is the Father Coughlin of Christian evangelical preachers. He may not be an out and out anti-Semite like Father Coughlin, who after all hated ALL Jews while Hagee only hates liberal Jews–but with friends like Hagee, believe me, Jews need no enemies. How else to describe a man who predicts a new Holocaust against the Jews which will lead to the Second Coming (see below)?

Much has been written about the growing alliance between Israel, her hardline Jewish supporters, and Christian Zionists. I've written here about Rabbis Yechiel Eckstein and Daniel Lapin and their "mission" to the evangelical community. But nowhere has the danger that Christian Zionism poses for Israel been focussed more clearly than in Hagee's speech to the AIPAC's national policy conference. The group's national leadership made yet another terrible error in judgment in inviting him. Oh he gave a stem-winding pro-Israel speech, all right. Full of fire and brimstone toward the "terrorist" enemies of the Israel. Full of red meat for the 4,000 hardline pro-Israel delegates. It earned him multiple standing ovations.

I've transcribed some of the more disturbing portions of the speech (see video). We'll follow that with other deeply troubling passages which Hagee wrote or spoke in other settings which present his views in a far more alarming light:

Ladies and gentlemen of AIPAC, it's a new day in America. The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened. There are 50 million Christians standing up and applauding the State of Israel!

As you know, the state of Iran poses a nuclear threat to the State of Israel that promises nothing less than a nuclear Holocaust. I have been saying on national television: "It is 1938, Iran is Germany and Ahmedinejad is the new Hitler." Ladies and gentlemen, we must stop Iran's nuclear threat and stop it now and stand boldly in Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

The only way to win a nuclear war is to make certain it never starts. Iran's president has not limited his maniacal threats to Israel. He has also asked his fellow Iranians to imagine a world without America. This is a clear threat to destroy the United States of America. I have something to say to the president of Iran: "Mr Ahmedinejad, don't threaten America! Do not threaten Israel by saying 'they will pass away in a sudden storm'…"

Mr. Ahmedinejad, threats against Israel have a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. You may well be talking about your own demise when you talk about passing away in a sudden storm. But you are not talking about Israel's future…

Israel was miraculously born May 15, 1948. Israel lives. Shout it from the housetops: Israel lives. Let every Islamic terrorist group hear it: Israel lives. Let every tin horn dictator in the Middle East hear it: Israel lives. Let it be heard in the halls of the UN: Israel lives. Let it echo down the marble halls of the presidential palace in Iran: Israel lives. Let it ? in the terrorist camps of Osama bin Laden: Israel lives…

We cannot change the [Jewish suffering of the] past. But together we can shape the future. Think of our future together. 50 million evangelicals joining in common cause with 5 million Jewish people in America on behalf of Israel is a match made in heaven.

Let the word go forth from Washington, D.C. tonight there is a new beginning in America between Christians and Jews…We have organized Christians United for Israel. We have 13 regional directors. We have 40 state directors. We have 80 city directors and they're growing. We're organizing Congressional district by Congressional district so that as a body we can stand up and speak up for Israel every year in Washington, D.C. And Congress will know that the matter of Israel is no longer just a Jewish issue. It is a Christian-Jewish issue from this day forward.

In closing, I believe 207 [sic] is a year of destiny. America and Israel are at war with a common enemy. It is a war of good versus evil. It is a war of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness versus the culture of death…

Ladies and gentlemen, as Christians and Jews our aim is victory. Victory for Israel. Victory in our time. May God bless Israel. May God bless America. And God bless you.

If this speech isn't bad enough, we should flesh out some of what he alludes to above with earlier quotations, in which he makes those views even more shockingly clear. Here's what Hagee has in mind for Iran according to the Talk2Action website which monitors the Christian Right:

…On July 19, 2006, at a CUFI's Washington DC inaugural event, with GOP Party head Ken Mehlman and US GOP Senators Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, Kay Bailey-Hutchinson and John Cronyn in attendance (President George W. Bush sent recorded greetings to the event ) , Pastor John Hagee declared:

"The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation […] and [the] Second Coming of Christ."

Hagee subsequently wrote, in a Charisma Magazine editorial entitled "The Coming Holy War", that the preemptive attack he advocates should be carried out with nuclear weapons…

Hagee called the 2006 summer Israeli bombing and invasion of Southern Lebanon a "miracle of God"…

Oh, and in case you were wondering–we Jews were responsible for bringing the Holocaust upon ourselves. Not ALL Jews of course. Only the godless, liberal Jews. The ones who build idols and worshiped other gods than the One True God:

"It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day….

How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come…. it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people." ( "Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War", paperback edition, pages 92 and 93 )

The only way Hagee's messiah can come according to his theological understanding is if all Jews return to the Promised Land. And in some perverse way, the Holocaust started the ball rolling on that. God used both the early Zionists AND Nazis (!) to pursue his divine plan for returning all the Jews to their homeland:

The Prophet Jeremiah… paints a vivid picture of the human agents God intended to use to bring the Jewish people back to Israel:

'But now I will send for many fisherman', declares the Lord', 'and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.'

…First, God sent the fisherman to Israel. These were the Zionists, men like Theodore Herzl who called for the Jews of Europe and the World to come to Palestine and establish the Jewish state. The Jews were encouraged to escape while there was still time….

[Then] God sent the hunters. The hunter is one who pursues his target with force and fear. No one could see the horror of the Holocaust coming, but the force and fear of Hitler's Nazis drive the Jewish people back to the only home God ever intended for the Jews to have-Israel…. I am stricken with awe and wonder at his boundless love for Israel and the Jewish people…( "Jerusalem Countdown", paperback edition, pages 132 and 133 )

With boundless love like that who needs who needs real enemies?

And if you're a Jew who detests Hagee's views, well then, you probably would've brought on the Holocaust had you lived a few generations earlier; and you're definitely "poisoned":

In a July 26, 2006 interview with the San Antonio Times, Hagee [said]:

"I think if I could put a dividing line, the Orthodox and Conservatives who have a Torah appreciation give us wholehearted support. The rest who are not driven by the Word of God have a liberal agenda.

And the liberal agenda is they are pro-abortion. They're pro-homosexual. They're pro-gay marriage — they want men to marry men and women to marry women — and their difference with me is not really what I'm doing with Israel. Their hostility to me is poisoned by their liberalism."

Here's some more of Hagee's apocalyptic interpretation of current Mideast developments. It'll make your hair stand on end:

Russia with Arab allies will plot and plan Israel's destruction. That's happening right now. It has been happening for 10 years. Iran's nuclear weapons have been produced with Russian scientists. The Islamic Arabs are using the Roadmap to Peace to get all of the land of Israel they can get. And when Israel finally says, `Enough!' you're going to see the beginning of the implementation of Ezekiel's war in 38:39. The critical point is the church is raptured before this war begins. I am telling you that makes this message one of the most thrilling prophetic messages you've ever heard in your life. You could get raptured out of this building before I get through finished preaching. We are that close to the coming of the Son of Man.–September 18, 2006 interview in WHYY's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross

You will undoubtedly be happy to know that a small remnant will survive "Ezechiel's war." And they'll be Jewish too. But not Jews as you and I would know them. No, they'll be Jews who accept the teaching of that great rabbi, Jesus Christ:

"Who is this remnant [those who will survive] ?

First, it's obvious that all of that remnant is Jewish…..

God promises that by his sovereign grace a "remnant" would be saved by the grace of God, a group of survivors who have the opportunity to receive Messiah, who is a rabbi known to the world as Jesus Christ." (Jerusalem Countdown, paperback edition, pages 192 and 194)

Unfortunately, most of the rest of us Jews will be killed off in that epic battle. One of Hagee's CUFI board members describes the coming Jewish "Holocaust":

As recounted by Terje Langeland, reporting for the Colorado Springs Independent in 2003, one of Pastor John Hagee's CUFI board members, George Morrison, expresses his sense of how Israeli and Israeli Jews will fare in the apocalyptic scenario Hagee and others long for:

…"The European Union, he says, might be the alliance of nations that according to prophecy will join the Arabs to wage war against Israel during the final days.

"Great wars will begin to take place" Morrison says in a matter-of-fact voice. "Those wars are going to involve nukes."

The extent of the destruction will prompt Jesus to return in order to stop it, Morrison believes. Unfortunately, he says, many Jews will be killed.

"It's another Holocaust, if you will" Morrison says. "

Finally, this portion of the Talk2Action critique of Hagee's modus operandi makes clear that Hagee is one smooth operator who has duped AIPAC. He says one message to Jews and quite another to his evangelical friends:

When talking to many Jews and Israelis, Hagee seems stress the need to protect Israel and promises his group's unwavering support for what Hagee calls God's historic covenant with Jews to whom, Hagee believes, God gave the historical lands of Israel for perpetuity.

When talking to the Christian Zionists of CUFI, however, Hagee speaks of other matters : the need for an apocalyptic war in the Mideast that will trigger the "Rapture" of fundamentalist Christians into Heaven but also kill, Hagee believes, most Jews now living. That "necessary" war (necessary to trigger the "Rapture": of Christians, that is ) may even lead, Hagee speculates in "Jerusalem Countdown", to massive nuclear strikes that will destroy America's East and West coasts and kill hundreds of millions and which would amount to, Hagee feels, divine punishment visited, via ICBM, on liberal Americans for insufficient support for the sort of far right, even fringe, Israeli politics Hagee promotes.

So, one must ask, when John Hagee tells us of the blessed event of his rapture-seeking evangelicals joining together with AIPAC and its supporters to create a Christian-Jewish uber-lobby for Israel that will lead to a Holocaust that will kill millions of Jews–is this the kind of support that Israel can afford??


Eco activists took to the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria to demand inclusion of Bulgarian areas in the NATURA 2000 Program.

Earlier European Green Party (EGP) MEPs sent 17 questions to the European Commission (EC) about the Bulgarian Government’s omissions from the list of sites proposed for inclusion in the Natura 2000 ecological network, the Bulgarian Green Party (BGP) said in a media statement on March 1.

Natura 2000 is a European network of protected sites which represent areas of the highest value for natural habitats and species of plants and animals which are rare, endangered or vulnerable in the European Community.

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) says that in Bulgaria almost half of the most important sites identified by scientists, including nearly the entire Black Sea coast, have been removed from the list due to "investors" interests.

“We expected the government to cut some sites from its list of proposals for the Natura 2000 network, but what remains has been seriously compromised in terms of both quantity and quality,” said Vesselina Kavrakova, Bulgaria country manager for the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme.

With its decision, the Bulgarian government has officially introduced "investment interests" as criteria for defining the network.

Many local people have expressed their support for Natura 2000 sites in their area, including the town of Assenovgrad in the Rhodope Mountains, the village of Skrino for the Skrino Gorge site and the town of Zemen for the Zemen Gorge site. In January, WWF and NGO partners delivered a petition with 50,000 signatures that called for urgent action to stop illegal construction in protected areas in a number of areas on the Black Sea coast and in the mountains.

The following article comes directly from an English version of The Sofia Weekly.

Flash Mob of Bulgarian Eco-Activists Throws "Good Morning" Rally

Organizers of the postponed standing protest of Bulgarian eco-activists, who demand that more territories be included in the NATURA 2000 program, greeted country's ministers on Wednesday when the state officials entered the Council of Ministers building.

Several people ambushed the ministers at the entrance of the Council of Ministers building to say them "good morning" at 9:30 on their way to work before the regular sitting of the Council. The activists carried maps of Bulgaria, made of Styrofoam and concrete and other signs to imply what exactly they went there for. Every minister who entered the building was greeted with a warm "good morning".

The concrete Bulgarias, one big for the government and three smaller for every of the parties in the ruling coalition were to be handed to the state officials.

"We are actually not protesting. We're here to give our modest presents to the rulers - they are he builders of our future concrete Bulgaria and it is most proper to give them an award," one of the participants explained.

Eco-activists put off their termless protest, which was fixed to start on March 13, because they did not agree upon the areas for the event, proposed by Sofia Municipality.

The protesters demanded their remonstration to take place in front of the Presidency and the Council of Ministers building, but Sofia Mayor Boyko Borissov issued an order and sent them to protest in the Central Public Bath garden.

This makes the whole protest pointless, eco-activists complained. The event is connected with the non-included in the list of protected areas territories. Some weeks ago the same people threw another extravagant rally, which consisted of people dressed in pyjamas walking on the streets of Sofia.

This morning greeting, which will be held every morning from now on, is a symbolic gestured with which the protesters will demonstrate their intentions' consistency to save Bulgaria's nature, organizers said.

This makes the whole protest pointless, eco-activists complained.

This morning greeting, which will be held every morning from now on, is a symbolic gestured with which the protesters will demonstrate their intentions' consistency to save Bulgaria's nature, organizers said.


We got the bad news a few weeks ago. It is likely that your fashion bargain is trimmed in dog fur. Even if it says it's fake.

Today the HSUS has filed a legal challenge to the mislabeling of fur.

Fur and faux fur actually are obtained from members of the dog family: racoon dogs (typically stomped, clubbed and skinned alive), wolves, and dogs. Items labeled as fake fur are often made of coyote fur, sometimes domestic cat fur.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) said it purchased coats from reputable outlets, such as upscale Nordstrom, with designer labels — Andrew Marc, Tommy Hilfiger, for example — and found them trimmed with fur from domestic dogs, even though the fur was advertised as fake.

"It's an industrywide deception," said Kristin Leppert, the head of the Humane Society's anti-fur campaign.

The investigation began after the society got a tip from a consumer who bought a coat with trim labeled as faux fur that felt real. Leppert and her team began buying coats from popular retailers and then had the coats tested by mass spectrometry, which measures the mass and sequence of proteins, to determine what species of animal the fur came from.

Of the 25 coats tested, 24 were mislabeled or misadvertised.

Voices for Dogs points out the fur trade does not deny that it deals in dog and cat skins and it is quite legal for products made from this fur to be sold in Britain and Europe. Fur products do not have to be labelled by species. One cat fur coat alone requires the killing of up to 24 cats. 12 to 15 adult dogs are killed to manufacture each coat made from dog fur - and an horrific 40 or more if puppies or kittens are used.

This slaughter is so unconscionable that the industry has tried to obscure the truth with purposely misleading labels. Dog and cat products are rarely labeled as such. Many companies and individuals involved in the trade of dog and cat fur use fraudulent terms and deliberate mislabeling, or use made up names of creatures that dont exist such as Sobaki and Gaewolf. Or no name at all, or dyed in bright colours to appear to be "faux fur" or dyed to appear to be fur from other species to disguise the true identity of their products. As dog and cat fur is much cheaper it is sometimes labelled as 'fake' fur. In fact, fur manufacturers in China will sew any label onto dog and cat garments to make them more marketable - the importer of the fur garments or items usually chooses how the product is to be labelled and presumably will do so to reflect acceptability to the customer.

Fur trim on budget fashion items often are labeled fake rather than genuine. The likelihood is that it will be cat or dog because it's cheaper to use. Also, fox fur has become so cheap that it has replaced the artificial article. Most of the fur from foxes on fur farms is not used as coats but as fur trim. This indicates partly how the fur trade has managed to survive the dramatic drop in sales of fur coats, many people are not aware that the fur collar or glove linings are made of real fur which is obtained through the same atrocious process as fur coats.

The HSUS says the following retailers and designers have taken insufficient action to protect consumers and animals:

Andrew Marc
Bergdorf Goodman
Foot Locker
J.C. Penney
Lord & Taylor
Macy's (Federated Department Stores)
Michael Kors
Neiman Marcus
Baby Phat

The following was taken from the web site of the Humane Society of the United States.

The HSUS Files Legal Challenge on Fur Labeling

In order to protect animals and consumers from widespread abuses in the apparel industry, The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition [PDF] with the Federal Trade Commission today seeking to enforce the Fur Products Labeling Act against 14 major retailers and designers concerning false advertising and false labeling of fur garments.

Of the fur-trimmed jackets HSUS tested by mass spectrometry, 96 percent were reported as deriving [PDF] from raccoon dog, domestic dog, or wolf, and 100 percent were either falsely advertised (some as faux), falsely labeled, not labeled at all, or had a combination of problems. One jacket was correctly labeled as coyote but was advertised as "faux."

Domestic dogs and raccoon dogs are killed in brutal ways for their fur in China. The raccoon dog is a wild member of the dog (Canidae) family with markings resembling those of a raccoon. They are known to be skinned alive for fur in China, where they are caged and killed in large numbers.

In response to the investigation, many retailers and designers took positive action to put customers and animals first, but a disappointing number did not.


Monday, March 19
Lawrence, KS
Fourth Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq March…
On Monday March 19th (the first weekday of KU's Spring Break), the fourth anniversary of the occupation of Iraq, people opposed to the war will converge at Veteran's Park (19th and Louisiana). We will meet at noon for a march to the Military Recruitment Centers at 23rd and Louisiana and then a rally that will be attended by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and others involved in ending the occupation of Iraq. The event is being sponsored by Kansas Mutual Aid, the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, KC Iraq Task Force and others.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has sued the federal Homeland Security Department in an effort to bring a Bolivian professor to the state.

The university filed the lawsuit Friday in federal court. It states that immigration officials should consider the visa petition of Waskar Ari. Ari was hired in June 2005 by UNL to teach courses on Latin American history. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln lawsuit claims the Homeland Security Department has not offered an explanation for why it did not grant Ari's request for an H1-B form -- a visa that allows foreign non-immigrants with bachelor's degrees or higher to work for U.S. institutions.

The American Historical Association weighed in earlier in February:

On February 13, 2006, the American Historical Association (AHA) sent a letter to the Departments of State and Homeland Security expressing concern over the plight of Dr. Waskar Ari, a member of the Aymara indigenous people of Bolivia and an authority on religious beliefs and political activism among indigenous Bolivians, who has been prevented from taking up his post as assistant professor of History and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because he has been placed on a list of individuals under “conspicuous revision”—that is, he is being subjected to extensive background checks due to alleged security concerns.

The AHA is committed to fostering historical research and instruction unencumbered by government restrictions that could infringe on academic freedom and intellectual exchange. While recognizing that there may be individuals who pose a genuine security risk and for whom there are legitimate reasons to delay the granting of an H-1B visa, the association notes that in Dr. Ari’s case that there are no perceptible grounds for such treatment. Under such circumstances, a fine scholar whose only apparent offense is his indigenous identity could be permanently excluded from U.S. academia. The AHA appealed to the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider the decision to subject Dr. Ari to conspicuous revision, and asked that he be granted the visa requested by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Dr. Ari earned his Ph.D. in history at Georgetown University in the fall of 2004. He has served as a consultant on social and economic issues confronting the Aymara community with various organizations (the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank) in the Washington area, and has also been a visiting assistant professor at Western Michigan University and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas. Upon completion of his doctoral degree, he was offered the position in History and Ethnic Studies at Nebraska, so that he could begin teaching in the fall of 2005.

“It would have to be unimaginable circumstances for someone from Bolivia to be classified as a security risk,” says Barbara Weinstein, the president-elect of the American Historical Association. “It seems, on the face of it, to be absurd ... they should either give us the facts or give him a visa.”

Peter Levitov, the associate dean of international affairs and the university’s special counsel on immigration, has repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to learn the reason for the delay. The silence leads him to believe the hold-up is security related.

“We can’t do anything about it now except wait,” Levitov said last month. “The more time passes, the more it becomes clear he’s not going to be able to come here.

“That’s very disappointing to the university and surely very disappointing to him.”

A letter from the American Association of University Professors stated:

We see a troubling pattern emerging in which foreign scholars offered appointments at American universities or invited to attend academic conferences are prevented from entering the United States because of their perceived political beliefs or associations. Professor Ari's case and earlier ones—they include the 2004 case of Professor Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who was appointed to a faculty position at the University of Notre Dame, and in the same year the case of 65 Cuban scholars who had been scheduled to participate in an international conference sponsored by the Latin American Studies Association that was held in Las Vegas -- point to a disturbing disregard on the part of the Bush administration for our society's commitment to academic freedom.

Meanwhile, Ari, who has also taught at Georgetown University and Western Michigan University, has been waiting in Bolivia, hoping his application will be accepted. He has taken a job as a realtor in the meantime to pay for his bills.

"I came to Bolivia for about 10 days, and I am waiting almost two years [now]," Ari said in an email.

The following comes from the Progressive web site.

University of Nebraska Sues Chertoff
By Matthew Rothschild

You may have heard about Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan being banned from the University of Notre Dame by the Bush Administration. Well, here’s another example of the Bush Administration’s hostility to the First Amendment and xenophobia about foreign scholars.

Waskar Ari is a Bolivian historian who got his doctorate at Georgetown.

A scholar of indigenous people, Ari came to the attention of the University of Nebraska, which has a specialty in this subject. The university decided to hire him as an assistant professor in the departments of history and ethnic studies, and he was supposed to teach there from August 15, 2005, to May 16, 2008.

But he’s never taught a single class because the Department of Homeland Security has sat on the paperwork needed for his visa.

On June 13, 2005, the University of Nebraska filed a petition that Ari would need before he himself could apply for a visa. That petition, called an “H-1B,” is standard for employers who want to hire a foreign professional. The university also applied for expedited processing, and submitted the $1,000 fee, which entitled the university to a response within 15 days.

The university is still waiting, 22 months later.

On March 31, 2006, more than 9 months after filing the petition, the university received a letter from the Nebraska office of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services. The office, it said, “is unable to meet the 15-day requirement,” which was quite obvious by then. Its explanation: “The referenced case is undergoing security checks and is awaiting review and clearance.” (The office returned the $1,000 check.)

Almost a year later and with still no decision, the University of Nebraska on March 2 filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and its head, Michael Chertoff, along with Emilio T. Gonzalez, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and F. Gerard Heinauer, who is in charge of the Nebraska office.

The university is not seeking monetary damages. All it wants is Homeland Security to stop “unlawfully withholding or unreasonably delaying action” on its petition for Waskar Ari.

The suit says that the stalling on this petition “prevents Dr. Ari from teaching and speaking within the United States and, most importantly, prevents United States citizens and residents—including students and academic colleagues—from attending classes taught by Dr. Ari or otherwise meeting with Dr. Ari to engage in discussion and hear his views, in violation of these citizens’ and residents’ First Amendment rights.”

Marilu Cabrera, is a spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. “We do not comment on pending litigation,” she says. But she adds: “I’m familiar with the case. We are currently processing it. We’re working on responding to any outstanding issues.”

The lawsuit argues that Homeland Security has no authority to investigate security allegations during the employer’s petition stage. In any event, Waskar Ari on August 14, 2006, sent a statement to the department of Homeland Security addressing any perceived security issues.

Here’s what Ari wrote: “I have never had any connection with terrorism, terrorist organizations, or organizations that support terrorism in any way, and I am adamantly opposed to terrorism and terrorists no matter what.”

The University of Nebraska remains anxious for Ari to get clearance.

“We want him to come,” says Peter Levitov, the associate dean of international affairs for the University of Nebraska. “We’ve waited two full academic years for him. And if we thought he would not eligible to enter the United States, we would not have offered him the position. Nothing has come to our attention since we offered it that would make us withdraw it.”

Ari still is eager to teach at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. “I very much want to take my job at UNL,” he writes me by e-mail. “I am fighting against my permanent exclusion from U.S. academia.”

He says this episode with Homeland Security has broadened his field of vision.

“I had to assimilate this long delay,” he writes, “and I think I have a larger mission to work on in life. I should work more in promoting international understanding.”


The following below was sent to me by a friend. After that you will find a communique concerning the encampment from the EZLN.

Why Should we Be Part of the Cucapa Encampment?

1. The Cucapa Camp is an Essential Part of La Otra Campaña: The aim of La Otra Campaña is no more and no less than TO TAKE MEXICO BACK peacefully--- through a democratic process of building a (trans) national horizontal network connecting up all the grassroots local struggles, together developing a new social agenda, social contract or constitution and at a strategic moment, in the near future, taking national coordinated action, like a national strike that is peaceful but massive. The ideal is that Chican@s and Mexican@s and all their relations be part of that strategy--not just supportive of, but and integral part of every stage of this strategy.

2. A Profound Structural Democratic Transformation In Mexico Means Movement Towards a Profound Structural Democratic Transformation In the U.S.: When the bottom left takes back Mexico, the U.S. undemocratic system will be seriously ill and weakened. Neoliberal Mexico is politically an important extension of the U.S., and the U.S. depends on Mexico economically. When civil society takes Mexico away from the capitalists, it will be a serious amputation of one the U.S.'s major limbs. Such an amputation will cut deep into current U.S.'s geographic, political and imperialist psychological domains.

3. La Otra Campaña is the Most Correct Immigration Policy: The Mexican Nation-Peoples (as oppossed to the Mex. Nation state) includes about 30-35 million people of Mexican descent that have been economically expelled from Mexico and now live in the U.S., who under an other (real democratic) Mexico wouldl have a right to return and the right of return of land. There will be no more economic need to cross the border under life and death pressure.

4. La Otra Campaña Necessarily Entails a Transnational Strategy: La Otra Campaña, although at the moment, is focused on taking back the territory of the current Mexican Nation State, is about taking it for and by the Mexican Nation Peoples and inspiring others to do the same wherever they are. La Otra Campaña is a struggle of a Nation Peoples living and struggling on both sides of an arbitrary and capitalist based nation-state border line. La Otra Campaña is a National Struggle carried out by Trans-National Peoples.

5. The Cucapa Encampment Signals Out the Central Role of the Indigenous Struggles: The Cucapa encampment is the first step of the second phase of La Otra Campaña and it initiates, introduces and further develops the pivotal role of the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, whose wisdom and courage is the back bone of the left and the bottom. The Cucapa Encampment embodies all the typical genocidal policies of neoliberal capitalism. Stripped of their natural sources of food because of the dams, the Cucapa today depend on selling their labor at super exploitive rates and fishing in the mouth of the Colorado River Delta which is now being prohibited. The encampment is to shed global light on this genocide. So important is this particular struggle to the general and long term that La Comision 6xta of the Zapatista will also be part of the campers.

6. The particpation of Chican@s and "naturalized" Mexican@s is key: We as natural bridges and links to local struggles on both sides. We can bring key resources both to the particular Cucapa struggle as well as to the general and long term Otra Campaña democratic struggle. We can also camp out with the Cucapa to witness the applied policies of neoliberal capitalism. As such, our role as Chican@s and Mexican@s (or of progressives on this side of the border) is not one of support or solidarity work but one of carrying out our part of a regional and in this case transnational strategy.

How Can We Be Part of the Cucupa Encampment and the Overall Otra Campaña?

1. Visit and/or Camp-out: Organize a Caravan to the Cucapa Encampment: We call on all progressive individuals to participate by visiting the camp, and if possible camping out. We expect people from all over Mexico, the U.S. and other countries to participate. We are encouraging all students and student organizations such as MEChA to take group spring breaks at the encampment. The same goes for

2. Fundraising: Individual donations, fundraisers, raffles, t-shirt sales, silent auctions and more ways that you can be part

3. Outreach: Get the information out to others. We especially want to reach out to our multicultural grassroots friends and families.

4. Meetings: Banda Martes, which is dedicated to working as part of La Otra here in Los Angeles, has regular meetings at the Eastside Cafe on Tuesdays at 8:00 pm. The ESC is located at 5469 Huntington Drive North (corner w/Maycrest) in El Sereno, Los Angeles 90032.


International Invitation to Peace Encampments on Zapatista and Cucapá Territory
To Be Installed February 26 in El Mayor, Baja California; March 13 in Huitepec, Near San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas

By Subcomandante Marcos, EZLN
Translated by Narco News
February 22, 2007


FEBRUARY 20, 2007


The indigenous Cucapá people, the indigenous Quilihua people, the Other Campaign in Baja California, the Independent Francisco Villa Popular Front – UNOPII, the Party of Communists, Socialist and Worker Unity – UNIOS, the Good Government Council of the Chiapas Highlands and through its Sixth Commission, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation…


The Indigenous National Congress, the Other Campaign on both sides of the northern border, the Zezta International, the national and international community in defense of indigenous culture and peace with justice and dignity for the original peoples, the civil organizations and environmental groups of the five continents, the peoples of Mexico and the world, and the alternative media to organize and participate directly or through representatives in…



Cucapás, Quilihuas and Zapatistas united
In defense of the original peoples and Mother Earth





In Baja California, in the Cucapá indigenous community of El Mayor, the peace encampment will have the mission of accompanying the Cucapá and Quilihua indigenous peoples of the Northwest of Mexico. It will be formally installed on February 26, 2007, at 9:30 a.m., with a traditional ceremony by the indigenous Cucapás. The encampment will be maintained during the months of February, March, April and May of this year of 2007 during the fishing season. The Sixth Commission of the EZLN will be present with one of its Zapatista indigenous delegations of maximum authority beginning in mid-March 2007 until the end of fishing season. The regulations and conditions for participation and attendance in this place will be determined by the Cucapá people. For this encampment we exhort all people who are going to attend to resolve the conditions of their food and lodging by their own means in a manner that does not burden the hard life conditions of the Cucapá and Quilihua peoples. Those peoples and other originals and migrants located in the northwest of our country will offer food and original crafts at fair prices to the participants of the encampment. The regulations for the encampment, decided by the Cucapá and Quilihua, will be able to be consulted in the Internet page of the Sixth Commission of the EZLN (

In Chiapas, on Huitepec Hill, outside of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in the ecological reserve under the protection of the Zapatista Good Government Council of the Chiapas Highlands, the encampment will have the mission of protecting an important forest region in danger of being looted by international soft-drink and paper manufacturers. This encampment will be made known, in time, by the Good Government Council of the Chiapas Highlands and will be able to be consulted in the Internet page

We invite the alternative and free media to be present and, with their knowledge and abilities, link both encampments and contribute that way to the defense of nature and its original guardians, the Indian peoples, and the unity of the Northwest and Southwest of the Mexico from below.

We invite the national and international press to report and broadcast, first hand, the life conditions and history of the Indian peoples of the Northwest of Mexico for whom the evil governments only have disrespect and oblivion.



From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
México, February of 2007


The Korean Alliance Against the Korea-U.S. FTA report a mass rally was held on Saturday in protest of the Korea-USA FTA talks. Police violence was heavy, but the protesters stood strong until the end, even was police clubbed them and opened up water cannons. Several were arrested.

The 8th round of talks is to be the last because an agreement must be reached by the end of March. The agreement then would be submitted to the U.S. Congress for an up or down vote by the end of June when Bush’s trade promotion authority expires. For South Korea, the 8th round of talks, which ends today, has been especially troubling.

On the morning of March 10, about five-thousand farmers, workers, students, and activists, marched from various locations, first gathering together near Ewha Woman’s University. Then the marchers regrouped near the U.S. Embassy in Jongno. It was here that the police that the police assaulted the marchers.

Strong actions are being planned by the group until early April. A relay hunger strike begins today, and by the end of the month, a thousand are expected to participate. South Korea has not seen a hunger strike at this scale since the protest against the National Security Law in 2003.

The orean Alliance against the KorUS FTA(KoA) is an alliance of 282 trade unions, political parties, peasant organizations, NGOs and social movement organizations.

The following short story is from Asia Pulse.

S. Korean Activists Go on Hunger Strike to Protest US Fta Talks

SEOUL, March 12 Asia Pulse - A group of 20 local activists said Monday they have started a hunger strike to oppose the South Korea-U.S. free trade talks underway here, adding about 1,000 more people will join them later this month.
Top negotiators from Seoul and Washington are engaged in the final day of talks aimed at concluding a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two governments. South Korean farmers and workers say such an accord would threaten their livelihoods because of cheaper agricultural goods and harsher working conditions such as lower wages.

The five-day talks, the eighth since last June, are believed to be the last round, as an end-of-March deadline approaches for the submission of a deal to the U.S. Congress for a straight yes-or-no vote without amendments under the Trade Promotion Authority, which expires July 1.

The 20 officials of the Korean Alliance Against the Korea-U.S. FTA said they are planning a massive hunger strike by about 1,000 protesters on March 26. They did not specify how long the hunger strike would last.

The two countries did US$74 billion in two-way trade in 2006. Some studies show that an FTA would increase their trade volume by 20 per cent, while opponents argue the deal would only deepen economic disparities.

The free trade deal, if agreed upon, is also subject to approval by South Korea's 299-seat National Assembly, where supporters outnumber opponents.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Maybe a couple of dozen nazi oafs marched near the University of Missouri campus yesterday. They were met by hundreds of everyday folks and anti-racists who gave them a piece of their mind.

"This is a community that has always thrived on diversity, and where so many different cultures have come together. And I just, the idea of having the neo-Nazis in town is very repugnant," Sarah Myers told KOMU TV.

In two skirmishes, police in riot gear warned they'd use pepper spray and they did. Police arrested those who took a more militant attitude toward the nazis.

An eyewitness report from the scene found on IMC reported:
Initially met with little resistance, the neo-Nazis appeared to have embarked on a march free of obstacles. After a period of no more than ten minutes, however, the environment had drastically changed.

Despite being guarded by local, county, state, and SWAT police, the Nazis encountered resistance ranging from physical harm to public embarrassment. Nazi posters displaying slogans such as “Missouri is a White State, not Brown” and “Rise Against Jew Communism” were clearly targeted.

Using excessive force, police apprehended a total of seven demonstrators during the march, consisting of six men and one woman. Despite the arrests those actively participating in the resistance, a majority of which were anarchists and communists, succeeded in driving off the Nazis in less than 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, at a nearby park, a thousand folks gathered at a peace demonstration by those who argue that it's best to just ignore the nazis, a tactic I could never quite fathom.

The following is from the Columbia, Missouri Tribune.

Spectators crowd neo-Nazis

Seven people were arrested, and police used pepper spray to separate antagonistic groups, but the scheduled march of a group of neo-Nazis took place yesterday without significant injury or damage to downtown Columbia.

About two dozen members of the Minneapolis-based National Socialist Movement marched for about 45 minutes, much shorter than the five hours allowed by a city parade permit. The neo-Nazis said they were protesting Marxism at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Police said 300 to 400 spectators watched the demonstration, mostly concentrated at the intersection of Ninth and Elm streets.

Police presence was heavy, though commanders declined to say how many officers were on hand. Officers dressed in tactical gear escorted the group on its march while other officers monitored from nearby buildings and a Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter circled overhead.

Columbia police Capt. Zim Schwartze expressed relief that the event, which created a buzz throughout the city for more than a week, was over.

"I’m happy there were only a handful of people arrested for minor charges and no one was injured," Schwartze said. "That was our main goal: to ensure public safety."

Of seven people arrested, two are Columbia residents: Jason T. Funk, 22, and Perry J. Mace, 43, were arrested on suspicion of obstructing government operations and trespassing, respectively.

Police also arrested Christopher B. Scheets, 22, of Kirksville and Robert P. Ivers, 19, of St. Louis, each on suspicion of resisting arrest and unlawful assembly; Anna T. Ialeggio, 23, of Middlebury, Vt., on suspicion of resisting arrest and assaulting an officer; Joseph K. Black, 28, of St. Louis on suspicion of peace disturbance; and Nathan A. Tinglof, 20, of Valparaiso, Ind., on suspicion of peace disturbance and resisting arrest.

Mace was issued a summons. Black and Funk were released from the Boone County Jail after posting $500 bond each; Scheets, Ialeggio, Tinglof and Ivers were released from jail after posting $1,000 bond each.

"It appears to be an organized group that travels around to protest neo-Nazis," Schwartze said, referring to suspects from outside Columbia. "Four of those five we believe to be in that group, but that is unsubstantiated," Schwartze said.

Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman learned of the arrests while attending a community picnic in Douglass Park. "If only seven people were arrested, I think we should be proud of ourselves," he said.

By noon, spectators were gathering along the parade route, mostly at the corner of Ninth and Elm. At about 1 p.m., chants of "white power" echoed from inside MU’s Hitt Street parking garage, and about a dozen members dressed in brown shirts with swastika armbands emerged. They were led by two men using bullhorns. Another dozen or so members were behind them carrying signs that read, "White man stand up" and "Missouri is a white state not brown."

Marchers also carried flags, including a Missouri state flag and a Nazi banner. As the march began at Watson Place and Elm, a man in a brown uniform ripped a flag of Mexico in half.

The marchers followed Elm to Hitt, turned onto University Avenue, then Ninth to Elm. The route was shorter than the group’s intended parade route.

They were escorted on either side by police officers. A pack of reporters and photographers as well as counterdemonstrators walked beside, behind and in front of them.

During the marchers’ second circuit of the route, a Columbia police officer used pepper spray during a pushing-and-shoving confrontation on Watson near Woodson Way. Those hit by the spray included a Tribune photographer.

"What we were trying to do is make sure everyone was safe because we did have quite a few people agitated and getting in close proximity to them," Schwartze said.

MU student Ryan Blake and Scott Melton, a recent MU graduate, said they were nearby when the pepper spray was used. They said people started pushing against the marchers and then law enforcement used Mace.

Schwartze said police would review the incident as a use of force.

Another volatile moment occurred after police arrested a few people along Ninth. As officers restrained them, some spectators yelled to let them go. The chants became profane, as spectators called officers "pigs."

Allison Mang, an MU senior, held her fingers in a peace sign as the marchers passed. She said she wanted to "defend humanity" from the neo-Nazi message.

"I was shocked" that the marchers picked Columbia, Mang said. "Their goal is to terrorize everyone and spread their message, but it’s not going to work because everyone here abhors their message."

Jeff Pasley of Columbia brought his 7-year-old son, Owen, to see the march. Pasley said Owen had been reading about World War II and was curious about the topic. He said Owen wanted to "stand up to Nazis in real life as well as on the playground."

Spectator Joe Johnson, 21, said he was interested in the group’s message.

"Columbia is such a liberal town, and the university is so liberal. I thought it was great somebody was going to stand up to their liberal ways," Johnson said. "But then I saw the Nazi symbol, and I thought, ‘Idiots, you don’t win sympathy wearing Nazi symbols.’ "

Robert Cone of Columbia said he attended out of curiosity. "I’ve never seen a neo-Nazi group before. I’m 50 years old. I thought, ‘What the heck, let’s go down and check them out,’ " he said.

He said he wanted to see some "action," such as people getting arrested. "There was more hype about it than actually happened."

Columbia police used mounted, motorcycle and vehicle patrols to control the crowd. The Boone County and Cole County sheriff’s departments, the highway patrol and the MU Police Department also assisted with security.

Schwartze said it was better to have more police than too few. "I don’t think we can ever overreact to any group such as this, and I’d like to say that we were prepared for various situations," she said.


Camp Sovereignty supporters yesterday gathered in King’s Domain in Melbourne to celebrate the anniversary of the successful 60 day occupation held there in 2006.

Police and members of the Koori community scuffled during a commemoration.

One eye witness reported, "After a beautiful long night of celebration and recollection, all of the supporters gathered around the fire to put it out in the proper way. The authorities weren't happy with that and barged through the crowd to put it out themselves, in complete disrespect to the Fire and all those around it."

According to another supporter, "The camp was never a protest against the Commonwealth games. Its intent was far wider than reported by the media.

The camp was a representation that aboriginal people were still in existence, that they had rights and that their cause - regardless of right-wing opinion to the contrary - was just. The intent was to raise awareness of Aboriginal issues in Australia, and to bring the face of Aboriginal Australia to the world’s media. The Commonwealth Games provided such an opportunity.

Koori spokesman David Dryden says the gathering will become an annual event.

"You know there is a sacred site here, not just something that happened 12 months ago, but there's Aboriginal remains there, my ancestors' bones, skeletal remains in that rock, underneath that rock over there in a mass grave," he said.

"If it's not sacred to us, I don't know what is."

For more on Camp Soverignty go to

The following is from the Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Aboriginal fire protest rekindled

ABORIGINAL activists have vowed to return to Melbourne's Kings Domain each year despite clashing with police today at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of their protest.

About 200 people took advantage of Labour Day celebrations to gather in the city park that was commandeered by Aboriginal protesters for two months early last year.

The protest, dubbed Camp Sovereignty, was eventually disbanded after a Supreme Court injunction ordered the demonstrators out.

Today a contingent returned to the park, lighting a fire to mark the “sacred flame” that burned at the protest a year ago.

Police and Melbourne City Council officers moved in and had to extinguish the fire three times before the crowd eventually dispersed.

The first time they were heckled by protesters, some yelling “Shame, shame” in a rough confrontation.

Camp Sovereignty spokesman Robbie Thorpe said the group had police permission to burn a campfire at the site until 8pm (AEDT). But police denied the claim, saying they had no jurisdiction to grant such permission.

Senior Constable Adam West said police informed Mr Thorpe that he would have to get permission from Parks Victoria to light the fire.

“We basically had no jurisdiction to make an arrangement or anything like that,” he said.

Mr Thorpe is undeterred.

He said the group would return again each year on the anniversary of Campy Sovereignty to spread the message of Aboriginal genocide, treaty and sovereignty.

“It's been 12 months since the fire commenced and we're still trying to get the message across,” Mr Thorpe said.

“The Aboriginal people's situation hasn't changed any, it's got worse and we're going to continue to do that (light the fire).

“It's an annual event now to get our message out that this is our land and our laws apply.”