Saturday, March 06, 2010

Friday, March 05, 2010

WHAT DO THE AMERICAN RED CROSS AND ELMER GANTRY HAVE IN COMMON? those touching calls from the American Red Cross for donations to the victims of Haiti's earthquake. Well, they worked and over $255 million was raised.

Uh, unfortunately the organization decided the Haitians only needed $80 million and the rest, well, its gone...elsewhere.

Hey, but not to worry...happens all the time.

Seems to me this sort of thing deserves prosecution under the law, but what do I know.

The following is from the San Francisco Bay View.

The Red Cross collected $255 million for Haiti relief effort but only sent $80 million!
by Ester Goldberg

After the earthquake in Haiti, the American Red Cross became the go-to nonprofit for donating to the Haitian relief effort, since they could be trusted to properly handle your money. Or so we thought.

Now it turns out that of the $255 MILLION the Red Cross collected for the relief effort, only $80 MILLION of it actually made its way to Haiti. That leaves $175 MILLION of YOUR donations unaccounted for.

The obvious question is: Where did it go?

Well, according to the website for the Red Cross, quote, "On those rare occasions when donations exceed Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of OTHER disasters.

"Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of all disasters."

In other words, the Red Cross decided Haiti only needed $80 MILLION. So any money they receive over that amount is being used to pad their general fund. Which isn't such a bad thing. But it's not the first time they've done this:

1) In 1989, the Red Cross raised $50 MILLION for the victims of the San Francisco earthquake. But it's estimated that only $10 MILLION of it was turned over to the actual victims.

2) After September 11th, the Red Cross raised $543 MILLION for the family members of people who died in the attacks. But they held back more than HALF of that money, which eventually led to the dismissal of their president.

3) In 2004, the Red Cross raised $3.21 BILLION to aid the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. But they're still holding onto $500 MILLION of it.

4) And in 2005, the Red Cross raised $1.1 BILLION to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. But they kept $200 MILLION of it to, quote, "prepare for future disasters."

(The Red Cross is a great organization, and the money they raise will eventually be used to help someone in crisis . . . at least we hope. But they're not nearly as forthcoming as you would hope or expect, considering it's YOUR donations that keep them in business.)
Please Note: the above opinion is that of the author of this article, not mine.

(And it's worth mentioning that the Red Cross got $100 MILLION in bailout funds, and that PRESIDENT OBAMA capped the salaries of Red Cross execs at $500,000 a year. Because they'd been earning almost $1 MILLION a year.)

Visit, where this story first appeared. Instead of donating to help Haiti through the Red Cross, donate to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, an organization you can trust to help the people most in need. Go online to or make your check payable to HERF/EBSC and mail it to EBSC, 2362 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94704. It's tax deductible.

NOTHING IS TOO AWFUL FOR BURMA'S JUNTA is pretty sick what has been going on in Burma for years with next to nothing being done about it. The hideous junta ruling the country has been allowed to go about its brutal business while China and the US play political games with each other.

Following a mock trial of the junta two Nobel Laureates who acted as judges along with a number of Burmese activists met with the head of the United Nations and called on that organization's boss to push to have the murderous clique referred to the International Criminal Court.
That is the least United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon could do.

Pictured here is one of thousands who have been
tortured and murdered by the junta in Burma.

The following is from Mizzima.

Burmese junta must be referred to ICC: Nobel Laureates
(Mizzima) - Burma's military government must be brought to justice for crimes against Burmese women including rape, sexual violence and trafficking in addition to physical torture and harassment, ruled judges of a mock international tribunal.

On Thursday, judges of the New York tribunal, where 12 Burmese women victims testified on March 2nd, and rights campaigners met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to push for the Burmese military junta to be referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Tuesday's mock trial on Crimes Against Women of Burma was presided over by Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Jody Williams along with human rights experts Dr. Heisoo Shin of Korea and Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand.

The testimonies were organized into three categories, violence against women (rape, sexual violence, trafficking), civil and political violations (torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, harassment), and social, economic and cultural violations (forced labor, portering, relocation).

"They raped us all without a second thought, until we finally escaped their drunken grasps. News spread quickly throughout my village… The shame I brought to my family, my village, was so difficult to bear," one of the 12 victims said in her testimony to the tribunal.

"I was caned by my teacher in front of the entire school and expelled from my school and community for bringing shame upon it. Left without a home, a school, friends or a family, I was arrested by the police for "defaming" the same soldier that raped me," she added.

The story was only one of the stories of rape, sexual violence, torture, forced labor, imprisonment and forced relocation told to the panel formed by the Nobel Women's Initiative, a group created by six Nobel Peace Laureates, in collaboration with the Women's League of Burma (WLB).

The panel, in their press release on the findings of the tribunal, said violence against women in Burma is often ethnically motivated.

The findings further said Burma's military leader, Senior General Than Shwe, is a war criminal who has reigned terror over the people of Burma for decades. But, continues the findings, the international community has failed to hold him and his cronies criminally responsible, resulting in a state of impunity and leading to even further license in the escalation of violence against the people of Burma.

With crimes against Burmese women continuing, the recommendation calls on the United Nations Security Council to refer Burma to the International Criminal Court and urges members of the UN to fulfill their obligations in exercising universal jurisdiction and to prosecute those responsible through national tribunals.

The conclusions also "Urge the United Nations system to take measures to ensure that the Burmese authorities comply with international human rights standards and international humanitarian law."

Burma is a member state to a number of international conventions and treaties dealing with human rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), but has consistently failed to honor the pledges.

The military-ruled Southeast Asian nation has long been the focus of international pressure for holding about 2,000 political prisoners, including opposition leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The regime, however, has denied having any political prisoners, saying all arrests have been made in relation to criminal acts.

The testimonies presented at the tribunal also said that women in remote areas of Burma, such as Karen, Shan and other ethnic minority enclaves, are frequently subjected to sexual violence and other forms of rights violations, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee to neighboring countries including Thailand, China and India.

According to the Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), a group providing assistance to Burmese refugees along the Thai-Burmese border, there are currently over 140,000 Burmese refugees in nine camps along the border.

While many flee the country and reside in refugee camps, others cast their lot as migrant workers. According to Thailand, there are over 2 million Burmese migrants working in the Kingdom.

The panel, in their statement, implores regional countries and particularly Southeast Asian nations to exercise their influence on the Burmese regime to stop the violations.

A complete list of recommendations made by the panel to the Burmese junta, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations can be viewed at

Mungpi is a special correspondent to Mizzima based in Oklahoma City


Rabbi Mordechai Yitzchok Friedman, who wants to be a tea bagger, is merely a low rent version of the racist, fascist and dead Meir Kahane.

As a Jew, what can I say, but that we've all got our nutbags and scum.

Oy vey!

The following is from The Jewish Daily Forward.

Why Hillary Clinton Broke Her Elbow and Other Tales From a Jewish Tea Party
Letter From Brooklyn
By Gal Beckerman
Rabbi Mordechai Yitzchok Friedman doesn’t care if his audience is listening or not — or even if it’s sentient. The video camera, perched on a tripod and recording his every paranoid thought, is on. That’s what matters.

No Spiel: The Jewish Tea Party movement, convened by Rabbi Mordechai Yitchok Friedman (right), took place on Purim.

Once he is wound up, Friedman, who has convened this inaugural meeting of what he describes as the “Jewish Tea Party” movement, never deviates from a few central points: Almost everyone is an antisemite, even most of the “so-called Jews” you know; the “Jewish way” to solve Israel’s problems is mass murder; all blacks in America want to see Jews dead; oh, and a revolution must take place in Israel so that it can fulfill its true promise and become a theocracy. It is his unified theory of Jews and their place in the world.

None of this rhetoric is new, of course. Friedman is simply a latter-day Kahane — albeit a significantly less charismatic imitation. But what caught my eye and led me to the basement of a synagogue in the Madison section of Brooklyn on a recent Sunday afternoon, was Friedman’s attempt to link up with the culture at large by claiming to be part of the ubiquitous Tea Party movement. A day after the angry network of right-wing activists celebrated the year anniversary of their first protests, Friedman held what he called the “founding convention” of the Jewish Tea Party. He even handed out membership cards. The event took place on Purim, but this was no joke.

The unheated, yellow-walled basement of the Madison Jewish Community Center was filled with a strong smell of baking cholent; a soup kitchen is run from the building. Friedman, who is also president of the American Board of Rabbis (a much less official organization than it sounds — basically a microphone for Friedman), also has a show on Queens public access television, and he had set himself behind a long table stacked with fliers.

When I arrived, there were about 12 people. The group never exceeded 15. One man, who told me his name was Heshy, wore a Purim costume — or what I believed to be a costume: a black-and-white caftan and a blue beanie that had the words “Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman,” the mantra of a quirky Hasidic sect, printed across the top in Hebrew A woman came with her Ukrainian Holocaust survivor mother, whose head was wrapped tight in a shawl.

Once Friedman set up the camera, he began enumerating the reasons why Jews should be storming the White House. To start, Obama had insulted the memory of the Holocaust in his Cairo speech, Friedman said, the kind of denigration that could come only “from a someone who grew up in his formative years as a Muslim.” Since “all of Islam is fascism,” there is no reason to try to listen to this Muslim president who demands that Israel negotiate with the Palestinians, he said.

“Is everyone aware of what he did last week?” he asked. “He insulted every Jew in the world.”

The rabbi was referring to the administration’s condemnation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his designation of two religious sites in the West Bank as Israeli landmarks. This brought Friedman to a discussion of “the witch,” Hillary Rodham Clinton. Friedman said he had placed a “hex” on her. Why else would she have slipped and broken her elbow? “Curses of rabbis do come to fruition,” he warned.

But Friedman’s diatribe took an even more extreme turn, if that were possible, when he began describing what he thought was the racial dynamic at work in Obama’s administration. All black people, he said, hate white America. But rather than turn against the majority, they prefer to scapegoat a minority: the Jews.

“When Obama’s ancestors were swinging from the trees in Africa, ours were kings and prophets,” Friedman said — one of his many racist apercus.

It seemed the only politician who Friedman didn’t consider an antisemite was — surprise, surprise — Sarah Palin. He had arrived at this conclusion because he had heard that she had an Israeli flag in her office when she was governor of Alaska.

As small as the room was, the group seemed worked up, nodding and yelling out. One man said that “normal life” was in peril. “Obama is destroying everything.”

Apart from his anti-Obama rhetoric and his strange embrace of Palin, it’s hard to see what Friedman had in common with the various Tea Party manifestos blooming around the country. There was no cry against the increasing role of the federal government, a regular refrain of the tea partiers. Friedman did say something about how elderly people are going to be stripped of their health care coverage — but there was nothing else about the big debate roiling Washington.

But inasmuch as the new movement has become a receptacle for rage of all sorts, Friedman fits right in. His racism might be more pronounced, and his violence more articulated, but his platform is one of anger, which seems to be the common denominator among all the other protesters.

There was something laughable, almost pathetic, about this attempt to jump on the swerving bandwagon of the tea partiers — some of whom, it should be said, would not be happy to have Jews on board (but that’s another story). But this didn’t take away from how chilling it was to hear such delusional and violent views coming out of the mouth of a man who calls himself a rabbi.

“Judaism’s answer to antisemitism is, ‘Murder first he who comes to murder you,’” Friedman loudly proclaimed in that echo chamber of a basement. “That’s the Jewish way of doing things. That’s Judaism.”
Contact Gal Beckerman at

Thursday, March 04, 2010


It's not exactly "get along month" at the University of California Davis.

Let's see. Several swastikas have been found recently around the campus. The Gay and Lesbian Center has been vandalized. Eleven Muslim students were arrested protesting an Israeli ambassador's speech.

Jewish and Muslim students protested each ...other.

Hundreds of demonstrators converged Tuesday on the administration building at the University of California, Irvine in support of 11 students who were arrested for disrupting the speech by Israel's U.S. ambassador. They were objecting to what they claim is the "conflating" of the Irvine incident with other recent acts of racism at California campuses, including the carving of a swastika into the dorm room door of a Jewish student at UC Davis and the recent discovery of a noose in the library at UC San Diego.

Outside forces also joined in the fun.

The local Jewish Federation called for the prosecutions of the pro-Palestinian students, while the National Lawyers Guild and the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded they charges be dropped. Republican Assemblyman Chuck DeVore of Irvine sent a letter to UCI Chancellor Michael Drake requesting that the Muslim Student Union be banned from campus. Salam Al-Marayati, who heads the Muslim Public Affairs Council, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post titled, "Free 11 Muslim Students Representing America's Conscience."

Meanwhile, yesterday students demonstrated to decry bigotry on campus, while other students quickly moved to repair the defacement of the Gay and Lesbian Center.

And that's just at the Irvine campus....

The following is from

March 4 Day of Action: Healing the University of California

On the morning of California's largest statewide strike and Day of Action for Public Education to date, University of California campuses continue to be plagued by a slew of racist, homophobic, Anti-semitic and transphobic actions.

Hate Round-up:
LGBT Resource Center Vandalized at UC Davis

The word Fag is spray-painted over the LGBT resource center sign.

This was discovered Saturday morning. There are responses from the LGBT Resource Center and from the Co-Chair of the State UCLGBTQIA Association.

Swastika Carved into Jewish Student's Door at UC Davis
The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

Compton Cookout at UC San Diego
Several weeks ago, UC San Diego students threw a "ghetto-themed" party with a long, racist description of costume requirements:
"For girls: For those of you who are unfamiliar with ghetto chicks-Ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes [...] They also have short, nappy hair, and usually wear cheap weave, usually in bad colors, such as purple or bright red. They look and act similar to Shenaynay, and speak very loudly, while rolling their neck, and waving their finger in your face. Ghetto chicks have a very limited vocabulary, and attempt to make up for it, by forming new words, such as "constipulated", or simply cursing persistently, or using other types of vulgarities, and making noises, such as "hmmg!", or smacking their lips, and making other angry noises, grunts, and faces. The objective is for all you lovely ladies to look, act, and essentially take on these "respectable" qualities throughout the day."
UC San Diego Student Radio Station hurls racist slurs
Students from the station called protesters of the Compton Cookout "ungrateful n*****s" on air. A note with the words "Compton Lynching" was found on the ground.

Noose hung at UC San Diego library
Noose hung over a light fixture.
The student who confessed to hanging the noose maintains she had no racial motivation, and that she simply found a piece of rope while with friends, her friend tied it, brought it with her to the library, and left it there by accident. A note was found saying, "More Nooses to Come."

KKK Hood Placed on Statue at UC San Diego

Tuesday, Dr. Seuss's birthday, his statue was adorned with a KKK hood and a rose was placed in his fingers.
Noose Drawn at UC Santa Cruz

The words San Diego and Lynch are separated by a hand-drawn noose on a bathroom stall.

Administrators found this in a UC Santa Cruz restroom. The word "Visionary" is written below it.

The "Irvine 11" at UC Irvine

A flyer says 'Stand with the Eleven' with a picture of two men, arms raised in protest.

Eleven students at UC Irvine protested the visit of Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, and were arrested because their choice to exercise free speech happened to concern Israel. Faculty have battled over whether their protest or their arrest was the "true" act of prejudice. The students were removed from the event one by one, by police officers, and now as a collective group, are being threatened with expulsion. Their punishment is inordinate because of the subject matter they were protesting.

Two LGBTQ-identified UC Riverside students attacked
This hate crime occurred on February 10. Two UCR students, holding hands, were attacked by 3 assailants, who beat them while shouting anti-gay epithets in an area directly located off of the campus.

Noose Drawn on Black figure at UC Berkeley residence
This month, a UC Berkeley cooperative student housing facility had a mural defaced with a noose drawn around a black figure. It was cleaned up.


I grew up blocks from UC Davis. I spent last Christmas with my partner in Riverside, where we couldn't hold hands because we felt it was an unsafe environment. We were right. My childhood friends attend Santa Cruz, I attend UC Berkeley, and I was at UC San Diego with hundreds of other students for the Students of Color Conference last November. The University of California system is hurting, and emergency townhalls are being called across the state, especially in the LGBT and black communities. It's a scary time to be queer, a person of color, or both in California today. Luckily, some students respond intelligently.

Tuesday, UC Davis held a queer townhall and UC Santa Barbara planned a townhall for next week. Wednesday, UC Berkeley held a queer townhall, as well as a teach-in in preparation for tomorrow's statewide Day of Action for Public Education. But as we Berkeley organizers gathered Tuesday night to plan the queer townhall, debating for hours whether to create a space for healing or a space for action, we realized that we ourselves had not yet processed the blows dealt to our communities. Presented with dozens of images of hate on the Berkeley campus and systemwide, students embraced a new slogan: "Real pain, real action."

The UC Berkeley Black Recruitment and Retention Center held a "Black-out" Monday, where around 200 members dressed entirely in black and silently blocked the entrance to Sather Gate, the most prominent walkway on campus, to represent the invisibility of black students on UC campuses.

Hundreds of black students dressed in black, with faces covered, block a gate.

At Monday night's Emergency Black Townhall at Berkeley, a student leader explained the reason for limiting this action to black students only: after the Compton Cook-out and the noose found at UC San Diego, it was necessary to unify the scattered and wounded black community and "Get from -1 to zero." Then, with the help of allies, Berkeley can move "From zero to 1."

March 4 will be a statewide success, with marches, protests, picket lines and strikes, rallies, sit-ins, occupations, legislative lobbying, and impressive action on the magnitude of K-12, community college, state university, and University of California involvement. We might wake up and see fire on the news. But just as the budget cuts, fee hikes, police brutality, and violent response to student occupations deteriorate the UC system, so do the racist, transphobic, and homophobic actions across the state. Chancellors will send out emails praising police actions, and these hateful incidents will be ignored for a day as administrative buildings are locked or shut down statewide.

pictures of protesters and the words march 4 strike from diego to the bay- day of action for public education.

But it's no coincidence that the students targeted by these hateful incidents, black students, LGBTQ students, and all underrepresented or minority students, are among those driven away from higher education by tuition increases. Tomorrow, the students on the front lines will be fighting not only for the right to step foot on a college campus, but to feel safe when we arrive. California students, staff, parents, and faculty will unite today for higher education, but we all have some healing to do first.

Keep track of March 4 events at the UC Student Regent's blog, or twitter.
University of California Walkout Today
Police Brutality against CA Protesters for Higher Education


Why does it seem that it is so often indigenous people who are being flooded away in these dam project? When was the last time you heard there was a dam being built and twenty thousand middle class (let alone upper class0 white folks were going to be moved because their homes were going to be flooded? In the Philippines, tribal folks are fighting for their homes and fighting to save the ecosystem.

The following is from Bulatlat.

Tribal Folk Oppose Laiban Dam Project, Slams ‘Connivance’ Between MWSS, San Miguel

Katribu accused the MWSS and San Miguel of drumbeating a “water crisis” to justify the dam construction. “It misleads the public into thinking that the solution to the water crisis is to build a large dam. In doing so, it places indigenous peoples in a vulnerable position,” the group said.?
By LYN V. RAMO [1]
MANILA — Indigenous peoples’ groups and rights advocates demonstrated again their opposition to the P52-billion Laiban dam project [2], which entails the construction of a 113-meter high water reservoir to “augment the water supply in the metropolitan area.”

San Miguel and MWSS were told to stop the project (Photo courtesy of Katribu Partylist)
Since Jan. 19, a group of Dumagats from Tanay, Rizal, has been camping out in front of the office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources along Visayas Avenue.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, the indigenous peoples’ groups held a dialogue with Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Diosdado Jose Allado. The MWSS is tasked to implement the project in partnership with San Miguel Corporation.

“We want to register our opposition to the Laiban Dam project and to know the status of the negotiations between MWSS and San Miguel,” Joan Jaime of the Network Opposed to Laiban Dam (NO to Laiban Dam) said at the start of the two-hour dialogue with Allado and five other officers and members of the MWSS board of trustees.

Jaime is national coordinator of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Kamp), which is the national alliance of several indigenous peoples’ organizations across the country.

With Kamp and indigenous peoples’ leaders of affected communities in Tanay, Rizal, were representatives of the Katribu Partylist, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Kalikasan-Philippine Network for the Environment, CARE Foundation, Kalingap and members of the Catholic clergy.

Tribal groups believe the dam project would damage their communities. (Photo courtesy of Katribu Partylist)
These groups have been clamoring for a dialogue with government officials directly involved in the impending contract-signing for one month already.

“It is not true that there are no protesters to the dam project in Laiban,” said Nelson Mallari, Katribu Partylist third nominee.
MWSS officials admitted that “the dam project is not yet canceled and, in fact, is being processed.” The environmental compliance certificateremains pending with the DENR. The free, prior informed consent as required by the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act is yet to be obtained from the concerned Dumagat villages.
MWSS deputy administrator Isaias Bongar said that once evaluated by the consultant, the proposal for the Laiban dam goes to the technical working group. It passes the joint venture selection committee, which would recommend subsequent action to the board of trustees. Bongar heads the committee.

“Aside from utterly destroying the ecosystems in the Sierra Madre, the Laiban Dam will also displace more than 20,000 indigenous peoples and peasants.” Mallari said. The large dam will submerge eight villages of mostly indigenous peoples in Tanay, Rizal and Gen. Nakar, Quezon.

Mallari pointed out that the opposition to the dam stems from the imminent displacement of indigenous culture which, he said, is deeply rooted in the utilization of the land and its resources, including bodies of water.

“The building of structures near bodies of water is restricted in our culture as indigenous peoples,” Mallari told the MWSS executives. He added that it would be desecration to build a dam that would stop the river from flowing and would trap precious water behind, inundating villages and farms.

Fr. Alfredo Albor of the CARE Foundation said the building of the dam would also endanger the marine ecosystem at the mouth of both Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay. It would destroy valuable mangroves, a fish spawning sanctuary and the 3,000-hectare Marikina watershed, said Albor.

Jaime also reminded Allado of the 28,000 hectares of arable and residential lands that would be inundated by the dam reservoir that would displace some 21,000 residents Dumagats and Remontados of Rizal and Quezon provinces.

“We will oppose the building of the dam to the end,” Mallari warned, citing economic displacement as well. “The river is our market. Even if we do not have money, we can get bountiful food daily,” he added.
On Friday, indigenous tribes of Dumagat and Remontado marched to the office of San Miguel Corp., demanding that the corporation pull out from the dam project.

The group said San Miguel has been lying to the Laiban-affected Dumagats. “We picketed this very office last year, and a representative assured us that they will not pursue the Laiban Dam Project. Yet, an official from the MWSS revealed that San Miguel is an active participant in the Laiban Dam negotiations and funding.” Mallari said.

Tribal groups believe the dam project would damage their communities. (Photo courtesy of Katribu Partylist)
Katribu accused the MWSS and San Miguel of connivance in drumbeating a “water crisis” to justify the dam construction. “It misleads the public into thinking that the solution to the water crisis is to build a large dam. In doing so, it places indigenous peoples in a vulnerable position,” Mallari said.

“The Laiban Dam Project will not ensure us affordable and reliable water service as San Miguel and MWSS claim. Because water has become private, profit comes before service,” Mallari said. “Affordable water will remain an elusive dream.”

The group warned against the impending “monopoly” of San Miguel of vital industries such as power and mining. “After dominating the food and beverage business, they have expanded to mining, such as in Mindoro. They also have a large share in Meralco. Now that they have their eyes on the water utilities, we could see an encroachment of a single family in all major industries,” Mallari said.

“We are strengthening our ranks and uniting with other sectors that would bear the adverse effects of a large dam,” Mallari said. (With a report from Ronalyn V. Olea /

Article printed from Bulatlat:
URL to article:
URLs in this post:
[2] Laiban dam project:

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


I'm well aware of all those who say giving Fred Phelps and his band of neo-nutzis any publicity is playing into their hands. I don't buy it. I also don't buy the recommendations not to counter protest them. I don't even care if they get off on it. I don't care about them at all.

I care about all of us standing up for what WE believe in.

Anyway, you don't hear much about the group anti-Jewish hatred. Hell, they hate so many people there is hardly time for everyone they consider agents of hell to be mentioned. This article delves into their Jew hatred just a little.

The following is from The Collegian at the University of Richmond.

Anti-gay, anti-Semitic church members protest in Richmond
By Nick Mider
Collegian Staff

Four members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, including an 11-year-old boy, stood in front of the Weinstein JCC, carrying signs that read messages such as "God Hates Jews" and "Israel Is Doomed."

The WBC protesters arrived around 1:30 p.m. at the Weinstein JCC, where they encountered roughly (me thinks some words are missing here) the counter-protesters.

pennies in protest28 by kindnessgirl.

A couple of counter-protesters shows up Phelps as the clown he is

"What these people are saying is really not right," said Nick Trevino, a sophomore at the University of Richmond who attended the protest. "And I think a lot of people in this community don't really approve of it. It's very hateful speech."

The Weinstein JCC values diversity and welcoming spirit, said Jordan Shenker, executive director of the JCC.

"While we are disappointed that hatred and bigotry still exists in our world, we are gratified by the unanimous positive response that serves as a strong reminder that those who value and respect others far outnumber those who promote hate," Shenker said in an official public statement.

Richmond alumni Carole and Marcus Weinstein founded the JCC, which University of Richmond Hillel often uses for programs and events.

Members of the JCC were urged not to protest, Shenker said.

WBC is an independent Baptist church based in Topeka, Kan., and known for its anti-gay protests, claiming that many of the world's disasters and catastrophic events are God's punishment for societies that tolerate homosexuality.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of the church's founder, Fred Phelps, was one of the members who protested in Richmond on Thursday.

"The reason we're here, at this spot, at this Hillel is because the Jews have got a particular comeuppance, a final indignation, it's called," Phelps-Roper said.

She went on to say that this final indignation would make Jewish catastrophes such as the Holocaust, Babylonian Captivity and Great Destruction of Jerusalem of 70 A.D. look like a tea party.

Concerning Jews, the WBC writes on its Web site: "As the Apostle Paul (who himself was a Jew) teaches in this verse, the only true Jews are Christians. The rest of the people who claim to be Jews aren't, and they are nothing more than typical, impenitent sinners, who have no Lamb."

The WBC also runs another Web site called, which is devoted to the group's views on Jews.

Concerning the group's visit to the JCC, which was referred to as the University of Richmond Hillel, the WBC wrote on its picket schedule: "[The WBC] needs to have a few words with these young people because all of the people who ever had any influence over them – LIED! … they must find out for themselves … So, here we come – behave yourselves appropriately, keep your mouths shut, your eyes and ears open … You will perish with the other Jews if you do not heed those simple, yet complex words."

The Weinstein JCC was the third of four stops in the Richmond area for the members of the WBC.

After going to the Weinstein JCC, the WBC members protested in front of Hermitage High School in Henrico County, where they encountered approximately 200 counter-protesters, according to reports.

At 11:45 a.m., Weinstein WBC members protested in front of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in downtown Richmond. They encountered more than 300 counter-protesters, including the museum's executive director, Jay M. Ipson, according to earlier reports.

At 12:40 p.m., WBC members protested in front of the Jerusalem Connection, a Jewish cultural organization near Midlothian Turnpike in South Richmond. They encountered about 25 counter-protesters, according to earlier reports.

Police were at each location where protests took place to make sure everything remained peaceful.

Virginia Commonwealth University students held an anti-hate rally on the school's campus as an alternative to counter protesting.

With the exception of the Jewish Holocaust Museum, which promoted a silent protest against the WBC members, the three other sites urged its members and members of the Richmond community not to protest.

But that did not stop many people from coming out to show their opposition of the WBC.

"I'm really impressed by the youth solidarity that we saw today," said Amy Newsock, a junior at the University of Richmond who attended the protest. "I thought it was very cool that there was so small a number of a hate group yet everyone who supports love and acceptance of everybody else was out here."

Contact staff writer Nick Mider at


In April of 1970, the national guard was sent into Lawrence, Kansas (home of the University of Kansas), a state of emergency and a curfew was declared. A large group of people in the neighborhood in which I lived confronted police at the very time the curfew first went into affect. During the action that followed I was... arrested for allegedly throwing a rock at a cop. I lived to tell about it. Apparently, in Iran today that wouldn't the case.

The following is from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.


Protestor in Danger of Execution as Iran Flouts Human Rights Standards
International Community's Inaction a Green Light for Hanging Protestors

(4 March 2010) An Iranian protestor, prosecuted in a post-Ashura trials on charges of Moharebeh, or "enmity against God", is in danger of imminent execution, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.

The identity of the protestor sentenced to death is not yet certain as the Iranian Judiciary is purposefully refusing to provide accurate information regarding ongoing prosecutions and sentencing. On 9 February 2010, the Iranian Judiciary announced that nine post-election protestors had been convicted: one sentenced to execution and the other eight protestors sentenced to prison.

The news website reported that an appeals court has upheld a death sentence for 20-year old Iranian student Mohammad Amin Valian, who was convicted of the charge of Moharebeh, or "enmity against God" on the basis of photographs showing him throwing rocks during a demonstration.

So far, at least 13 protestors have been sentenced to execution, of whom two have been already executed. The defendants have had no access to internationally recognized standards of justice and due process. They have been denied the right of access to their lawyers. In the cases of the two defendants already executed, Arash Rahmani and Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, the men were executed in secret without their family or lawyers being notified. The courts are also handing out lengthy prison sentences, up to 15 years in prison, for students, activists, and journalists, following unfair trials.

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the rulings show how the international community's limp reaction to such egregious violations has emboldened the abuse of Iranian citizens, and a bid by Iran to join the UN Human Rights Council. The Council has shown virtually no inclination to confront Iran about its violent crackdown on human rights. The Council will hold elections in May 2010, and Iran is reportedly seeking election from the Asia regional block, where four seats are open for five contenders.

"We see a direct relationship between the failure of the international community, particularly the UN Human Rights Council, to hold Iran accountable, and such a sentence," stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

"Iran has received a clear message:  Your atrocities will neither  arouse any serious response from the Human Rights Council, nor block your bid for membership in the Human Rights Council," he said.

The Campaign is calling for the head of Iran's Judiciary to investigate the case, given that the actions by Valian in no way justify the charge of Moharebeh or his death sentence.

More than 100 Iranian students are apparently in detention for their political activity, while scores of others have been arrested, mistreated, and blocked from further education.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization is supporting the introduction of transgenic, or genetically modified, crops in Mexico and other developing nation. They've also decided that it would be fun to meet in Mexico to promote this scheme...a nation where the planting and the growing of maize  is a part of the national heritage.

Greenpeace in Mexico points out, "...more than $900,000 will be spent on a conference "to whitewash the image" of a technology that "contaminates (native crop varieties), increases the use of pesticides and, through patents, eliminates traditional agriculture."

It takes a total disconnect with reality or a total lack of respect for the people of Mexico to think the plan and the meeting place is a good idea.

Naturally, the conference on biotechnology is facing protests in Mexico; and, interestingly enough, a conference steering committee member has resigned in protest of what he calls a bias towards genetically modified crops.

The following is from  La Via Campesina.  

 It is an Act of Aggression for the FAO to Meet in Mexico to Promote GMOs

Guadalajara, 1 March 2010.  La Via Campesina groups together organizations of peasants, family farmers, indigenous peoples, farm workers, women and rural youth from some 70 countries worldwide, representing about 500 million families of women and men of the land. We are those who produce the majority of the food consumed in this world, despite facing ever worse conditions for our work, while the conditions allowing for unimpeded profits by a few transnational corporations are ever more favorable, without any regard for the impacts on people or on the Mother Earth.

We take it as an act of aggression, as a profound lack of respect, and as an affront, that the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has decided to meet in Mexico with governments and the private sector, under the false argument that "biotechnology can benefit peasants in poor countries" - as stated today in a deceptive official press release (

They use the word "biotechnology," an intentionally vague and broad term, when we all know that the real purpose is to promote genetically modified (GM) crops, which have never benefitted farmer families, and never will.  It is an act of aggression against, and a provocation of, the Mexican people and the peasant and indigenous families of the world, to come to Mexico to promote GMOs, when it is precisely in Mexico that there is an intense struggle to stop the contamination of our ancestral maize varieties with GM pollen. This contamination puts the center of origin and center of biodiversity of a crop that is so important to our culture and to humanity, at risk.

Coming here with a pro GMO message, just when the Mexican organizations and people are trying to defend their maize from the "Monsanto Law" and the authorization of open-field experimental plantings of GM maize, makes it absolutely clear to all of society that the FAO serves the interests of Monsanto, a corporate criminal, and the interests of the bad government, rather than the interests of our peoples.  We repeat, it is an act of aggression to come here and takes sides in this conflict here in Mexico.

How is it possible that an international conference "for the benefit of peasants" has only invited and credentialed one single representative of La Via Campesina, and he only with the status of "observer"?   If the desire to benefit peasants is real, why not have met instead with peasant and indigenous peoples' organizations, to find out from us what we want in order to be better able to carry out our role in society, which is to grow food and protect the Mother Earth?  If they did that, we would tell them in no uncertain terms that GM maize is one thing we definitely do NOT want.  But they are not interested in knowing what we think, we do not interest them, we are of no importance to them, and therefore we reject them.

The world today is in crisis, a financial, food, climate, energy, environmental, political and spiritual crisis.  The crisis is the product of the greed that is inherent in the capitalist system. In the face of this crisis, we are witnessing a worldwide conflict between two models of food and agriculture.  The "model of death," of industrial monocultures, agrochemicals and GMOs, feeds financial speculation and feeds automobiles - via agrofuels -- rather than feeding people, who face ever worsening hunger.

It is no coincidence that in recent years we have seen the confluence of record levels of hunger - despite record harvests - with record levels of corporate profits for the transnationals of death, like Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill, ADM, Maseca and Walmart.  This model diminishes and privatizes the genetic biodiversity of our crops, just when the world needs more genetic biodiversity, and it constitutes the theft of our heritage as rural peoples, which is our seeds.

We defend the other model of food production, the model of sustainable peasant, indigenous and family farm agriculture, that conserves and augments biodiversity, and that protects the Mother Earth.  Multiple scientific studies prove that this "model of life" is more productive than industrial agriculture, and as part of food sovereignty, is more than capable of feeding the world without threatening human health or the environment.

While one model worsens the various faces of the crisis, like climate change (by releasing greenhouse gasses), and also financial speculation - which together with corporate hoarding of food stocks is a fundamental cause of the food crisis -- the other models offers solutions.  Food sovereignty based on sustainable peasant and family farm agriculture takes food out of the circuits of speculation and free trade, and drastically reduces climate impacts.  We must expel transnational corporations from our food system, and put food back under the control of our peoples.
Our food, produced by peasants, family farmers and indigenous people using ancestral knowledge and the principles of agroecology, is healthy, while an ever  greater number of scientific studies demonstrate the multiple risks to human health posed by GMOs.

GMOs have no place whatsoever in our vision of agriculture.  GMO maize is NOT equivalent to native maize, in any sense, regardless of what the FAO may say.  GMOs are a way to privatize life, and they put our native varieties at risk of genomic degradation when they are contaminated by transgenes.  In our view, GMOs are a fundamental part of a global campaign against peasant, indigenous and family farm seeds.  More and more neoliberal laws prohibit the exchange of non-certified seeds, while only corporations can certify, and a range of technologies from hybrid seeds to Terminator are designed to make it impossible for us to save our own seed for future planting. The corporations, with the complicity of the FAO and governments, want to make us completely dependent upon them.

We can only conclude that, rather than feeding the hungry, they are only interested in feeding their own greed.  But as Gandhi said, "the Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed."

For us farmers, the act of planting our native maize, and defending it, is an act of resistance, and an act of rebellion against an unjust system.  But is also an act of hope.  Hope because we know that solutions to the crisis are to be found in food sovereignty and sustainable peasant, indigenous and family farm agriculture, and we know that these seeds of rebellion that we plant, are also the seeds of that other and better world we want.

We reject the promotion of GMOs by the FAO.
No to GM maize!  Monsanto Out!
Food Sovereignty Now!

1 March 2010, Guadalajara, Mexico

Delegation (Mexico, United States, Canada) of La Via Campesina, North America Region, upon the inauguration of the FAO Conference on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries

For more information:
Jessica Roe:
Jesus Andrade: +52-1-967-114-7282 (Español)
Peter Rosset: +52-1-967-118-5093 (English)


Fur coats and dead fish, hmm. Whats that all about?

The following is from Bite Back.

received anonymously:
"Activists The Stinky Bandits visited the 'Frock Me' vintage fur and clothing fair at the Corn Exchange in Brighton, England yesterday.
This fair sells dead animal's skins openly claiming it to be fashion!

Many, many of the fur coats, hats, gloves etc were ruined with dead fish in the pockets and linings by the bandits. Under the hot lamps of the fair this would be smelling properly terrible by now.

Who would want to buy them now?

Brighton will soon be fur free!"


My friend Bill Berkowitz has written a piece that ought to scare the socks off you...or, at least, make you wonder if we are all entering the Twilight Zone. This is an analysis of of something called the New Apostolic Reformation, of which I confess, I've never heard mention. As Bill writes, "Imagine a religious movement that makes geographic maps of where demons reside and claims among its adherents the Republican Party's most recent vice presidential nominee and whose leaders have presided over prayer sessions (one aimed at putting the kibosh on health-care reform) with a host of leading GOP figures."

Sound like a bunch of wackos...well, read on, my friends, read on. They may be wacked, but they've got a plan...and it's already underway and doing fine.

The following is from AlterNet. 

Heads Up: Prayer Warriors and Sarah Palin Are Organizing Spiritual Warfare to Take Over America
By Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet

Imagine a religious movement that makes geographic maps of where demons reside and claims among its adherents the Republican Party's most recent vice presidential nominee and whose leaders have presided over prayer sessions (one aimed at putting the kibosh on health-care reform) with a host of leading GOP figures.

It's a movement whose followers played a significant role in the battle over Proposition 8, California's anti-same-sex marriage initiative, and Uganda's infamous proposed Anti-Homosexuality Law, more commonly associated with the Family, a religious network of elites drawn from the ranks of business and government throughout the world. But the movement we're imagining encompasses the humble and the elite alike, supporting a network of "prayer warriors" in all 50 states, within the ranks of the U.S. military, and at the far reaches of the globe -- all guided by an entire genre of books, texts, videos and other media.

Imagine that, and you've just dreamed up the New Apostolic Reformation, the largest religious movement you've never heard of.

NAR's videos, according to researcher Rachel Tabachnick, "demonstrate the taking control of communities and nations through large networks of 'prayer warriors' whose spiritual warfare is used to expel and destroy the demons that cause societal ills. Once the territorial demons, witches, and generational curses are removed, the 'born-again' Christians in the videos take control of society."

The movement's notion of "spiritual warfare" has spread from the California suburbs to an East-Coast inner city, and has impacted policy decisions in the developing world. Movement operatives are well-connected enough to have testified before Congress and to have received millions of dollars in government abstinence-only sex-education grants, and bizarre enough to maintain that in its prototype communities, the movement has healed AIDS, purified polluted streams and even grown huge vegetables. Leaders in the NAR movement refer to themselves as "apostles."

In the days leading up to the historic vote on health-care reform in the Senate, Apostle Lou Engle led the Family Research Council's "Prayercast" against health-care reform, a Webcast featuring Republican Senators Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Sam Brownback (Kans.), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.). Earlier in the year, Engle, who leads the group TheCall, prayed over Newt Gingrich at a Virginia event called Rediscovering God in America. In 2008, Engle, at an event he staged at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, advocated acts of Christian martyrdom to end abortion and same-sex marriage. This "apostle" claims LGBT people are possessed by demons. And Engle is not the only NAR apostle with political connections.

Presidential campaign watchers got their first taste of the New Apostolic Reformation when it was revealed that Sarah Palin, while mayor of Wasilla, had been prayed over in a laying-on-of-hands by Rev. Thomas Muthee of Kenya, director of the NAR East Africa Spiritual Warfare Network, in a ceremony designed to protect Palin from witches and demons. Muthee, it turns out, is famous in his native land for driving out of town a woman he deemed a witch, a charge that had her neighbors calling for her stoning.

Palin, according to Alaskan Apostle Mary Glazier, became part of her prayer network at the age of 24. Wasilla is no stranger to wandering NAR leaders. Last June, Apostle Lance Wallnau stopped through in the course of his world travels, promoting the movement's Reclaiming the Seven Mountains of Culture campaign at Wasilla Alaska Assembly of God Church -- the very church at which Muthee laid hands on Palin. (The "seven mountains" are the realms of business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.) Other NAR luminaries dropping by Wasilla last year include leading international Apostles Naomi Dowdy and Dutch Sheets.

Apostle Samuel Rodriguez heads an organization of 15 millions Hispanic evangelicals (the Sacramento, Calif.-based National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference) and was courted by both Democratic and Republican candidates during the 2008 presidential election.

In 2006, former Senator Rick Santorum, R-Penn., who appears to be positioning himself for a run at the presidency, took the stage with Apostle Alistair Petrie at a NAR "Transformation Summit" in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.

The International Transformations Network conferences led by Apostle Ed Silvoso have featured Hawaii's Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona (who is currently running for governor) and Uganda First Lady Janet Museveni. Silvoso has been hosted abroad by heads of state, including Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni and Gloria Arroyo, president of the Philippines.

Apostle Julius Oyet was recognized by the Ugandan Parliament for the draconian anti-gay bill recently introduced in that country, and is a star in one of the movement's Transformation movies. An influential Guatemalan pastor, Apostle Harold Caballeros, made a quixotic run for the presidency of that country in 2007.

Christian publishing magnate Stephen Strang is an apostle, as well as a director for John Hagee's Christians United for Israel, while Apostle Tom Hess hosts the annual Christian Government Leaders Conference in the Israeli Knesset.

Outside the realm of politics, Apostle Jim Ammerman, as head of a pentecostal chaplains' organization, accounts for more than 270 chaplains, including U.S. military and civilian chaplains. "Ammerman is a former military chaplain whose Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches was approved in 1984 by the Department of Defense as an endorsing agency to place chaplains in the United States Military," writes Rachel Tabachnick.

Apostle Bernard Wilks, in conjunction with Apostle Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network, has assigned a "prayer warrior" to almost every single street in Newark, New Jersey, to pray for "transformation" of the city.

The movement has emerged from the largest single block of Protestant Christianity on the globe -- sometimes called charismatic, neo-charismatic or neo-Pentecostal -- one often overlooked since its adherents do not comprise a single denomination, and often belong to churches characterized as "non-denominational."

Charismatic Christians are born-again believers who have a secondary conversion experience, one they claim gives them supernatural gifts, such as speaking in tongues, casting out demons, faith healing, and other "signs and wonders" they believe will help to evangelize the world in preparation for the end times. Charismatics are typically Protestant, but there is also a movement of charismatic Catholics.

At the top of the New Apostolic Reformation authority structure is Presiding Apostle C. Peter Wagner, a longtime Christian educator (who recently enjoyed a brief blip of fame when he was revealed as the graduate school mentor of Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church in California). Wagner partnered with Ted Haggard, then pastor of the New Life Christian Church in Colorado Springs, to build the initial nerve center of the movement in that town. (Haggard went on to become president of the National Association of Evangelicals, but resigned both that post and pastorship of his megachurch in 2006 when he was famously disgraced by revelations of a gay affair and drug use.)

AlterNet turned to Rachel Tabachnick for insight on the New Apostolic Reformation and its political impact. Tabachnick is a nationally recognized researcher and writer on the religious right and its "end-times" narratives.

Bill Berkowitz: Most people are unaware of the New Apostolic Reformation. Tell us what we should know.

Rachel Tabachnick: Imagine for a moment that a large block of the evangelical world decided to re-organize themselves in a hierarchy somewhat resembling the Roman Catholic Church, with leaders in authority over each nation and region. And additionally imagine that every person -- from the individual congregants to the top leaders -- would have someone to whom they are accountable. It seems unthinkable, but this is exactly what the "apostles" and "prophets" [of the New Apostolic Reformation] are doing.

C. Peter Wagner streamlined the ideology and named it the New Apostolic Reformation. Wagner serves as the presiding apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) which includes several hundred apostles across the U.S. and about 40 nations, international training centers and prayer warrior communication networks in all 50 states and worldwide. Those in the top tier of Wagner's network each have apostolic authority over other ministries, sometimes hundreds or even thousands. (See Talk2Action's Resource Directory for the New Apostolic Reformation.)

This is not just a church movement. [Those called] market apostles work in business, finance, communications, media and also lead the Reclaiming the Seven Mountains of Culture mandate. Bruce Wilson [a co-founder of Talk2Action] and I have both written about this campaign encouraging Christians to take dominion over seven spheres of government and society.

Enterprises known as "kingdom businesses" play an important role: A Toronto apostle's ministry includes an oil and gas company; two ICA apostles head Markets Unlocked, a business matchmaking system that connects kingdom business customers and suppliers, and claims exclusive agreements for over a half billion dollars of products and services. Trained intercessors are now paid to pray for businesses, and ICA apostles work closely with the International Christian Chamber of Commerce.

Apostles are also active providing social services, which Wagner describes as a method for accessing government and society. Apostle Doug Stringer, who is a former fitness instructor, is now listed as a policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, and claims to have distributed $30 million of gifts and donations during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He has expanded operations to Fiji, Poland and Southeast Asia.

Wagner teachers that there will soon be a "great transfer of wealth" from the ungodly to the godly and has set up structures in preparation. The Wagner Leadership Institute teaches courses in prophecy as well as foreign currency exchange.

BB: How is the movement structured, and how has it grown so rapidly?

RT: Church growth is the key concept. Other Christian dominionist movements propose austere biblical law but Wagner explained in his 2008 book that he believes rapid growth of the movement will allow Christians to take dominion inside a democratic framework.

Wagner, who will be 80 this year, was a professor of church growth for 30 years at Fuller Theological Seminary, and promoted explosive mega-church growth. He has mainstreamed the concept of cell church structures, a strategy which began in Asia and South America and has resulted in congregations of tens of thousands. Cell churches are organized like a pyramid marketing scheme with small groups, usually with no more than 12, tasked with spinning off new cell groups and growing the church. This also resembles a military structure: Each cell group has a leader and lower level leaders answer to and are accountable to their superiors, on up the chain.

Such "spiritual accountability" schemes used to be called shepherding, but because of bad press and reports of coercive and abusive practices, it has been rebranded as "discipling." Lay people in cell groups perform many of the functions that would normally be carried out by pastors, and pastors become like corporate CEOs. This is how many of today's megachurches function. In his role as a church growth specialist, Wagner was able to repackage radical shepherding and cell structures as mainstream concepts for church growth.

These authoritarian strategies were further sanitized by Wagner's most famous student, Saddleback Church 's Rick Warren. Recently, while commenting about Uganda's proposed draconian anti-gay legislation, Warren denied that Wagner was his dissertation adviser. However, I have a copy of the dissertation which lists Wagner as "mentor," and also explains Warren's desire to rid churches of voting, boards, and democratic structure. In Wagner's 1999 book Churchquake: How the New Apostolic Reformation is Shaking up the Church as We Know It, Wagner describes this radical re-structuring: "The traditional concept is that the congregation owns the church and that they hire the pastor to do their ministry for them. New apostolic churches, like Rick Warren's, turn this around 180 degrees…"

The New Apostolics are now trying to apply shepherding to entire communities and even nations. Sara Diamond, a pioneer in the field of dominion theology, warned in 1989 that charismatic shepherding was becoming a "masterpiece of political strategy." Some of the very same religious right strategists that Diamond wrote about in 1989 are now apostles in the ICA.

BB: What do the terms 'spiritual mapping' and 'spiritual warfare' mean and how do they function?

RT: Spiritual warfare is not a new concept; it can mean something as benign as a person's internal struggle to resist evil. These days, the New Apostolics have co-opted the term.

During the 1990s, in a frenzied effort to evangelize the world before 2000, Wagner proposed that instead of winning souls one by one, entire geographic areas and "people groups" could be targeted, therefore speeding up the process.

These new strategies include "Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare" and "spiritual mapping," designed to win territory. This is accomplished by doing battle with demons or principalities that they believe cause entire ethnicities, religions, and geographic areas to resist conversion. After expelling the demons, the evangelized population can take "dominion" over local government and culture. Then the community supposedly experiences a foretaste of "God's Kingdom on earth." These mini-utopias are advertised as having reduced poverty, corruption, disease, and even healing the environment. This is the ultimate faith-based initiative: remove the demons and society will be healed.

Spiritual mapping is the reconnaissance mission for spiritual warfare and involves the literal mapping of neighborhoods and cities to determine where the demons are. This includes generational curses, or those things in a city's history that allowed demons to take hold of the entire populis. Spiritual mapping is the ideological foundation for the now popular "prayer walking" and the formation of many city-wide prayer groups.

Wagner, George Otis, Jr., Ed Silvoso, Ted Haggard, John Dawson of Youth With a Mission, and others created an entire genre of books, texts, videos and other media teaching spiritual mapping and strategic level spiritual warfare. Their access to the interdenominational world missions' movement in the 1990s helped them spread these techniques rapidly around the globe.

The Transformations movies produced by Otis, Jr. are promotional "documentaries" showing prototypes of this process in which supernatural transformation of a community takes place including the healing of AIDS, instantaneous purifying of polluted streams, and even growth of huge vegetables. These movies have been shown to millions globally, and Transformations organizations worldwide are attempting to replicate these prototypes in their local communities.

Uganda is featured in several of the series of Transformations movies, which include top political, military and religious leaders. Bruce Wilson's recent video, Transforming Uganda, documents Silvoso's claim that his International Transformation Network is "discipling" every region of Uganda and 14,000 churches across th at country.

It is important to note, however, that this supernatural warfare isn't limited to faraway places and underdeveloped countries. The Transformations ideology originated from Western evangelicals -- witch-hunting and all -- and the prototypes have included cities like Hemet, California. Ugandan Julius Oyet, who starred in one of the Transformations movies is a key figure in the recent proposed draconian anti-gay legislation in that country.

BB: How are these strategies put into practice? Where have they been tried successfully? Where have they failed?

RT: Although many of the claims made in the Transformations movie can be easily disproved, the movement's advancement appears to be partially due to the promotion of the Transformations prototypes.

Supernatural healings of AIDS, spontaneous destruction of property of other belief systems, and even claims that the prayers of the movement have killed other humans are featured in films shown worldwide, including to mainline Protestant churches and renewal groups which have subsequently broken from their parent denominations.

For instance, the Transformations movies claim there have been thousands of cases of miraculous curing of AIDS in Uganda. Conversely, medical leaders are warning that claims of miraculous healing are interfering with the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Since altering their AIDS programs to abstinence-only programming promoted by U.S. evangelicals, Uganda has had an increase, not decrease of new AIDS cases.

To give you an idea of how deeply entrenched the New Apostolics are in this policy consider this example of one of the most celebrated abstinence-only programs in the U.S. Recapturing the Vision and Vessels of Honor are names for abstinence-only programs headed by Jacqueline del Rosario, who testified for renewal of Title V abstinence-based funding in Congressional hearings in 2002. Since 2001, her Miami organizations have been the recipient of $3,147,589 of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant money, and significant sums from other public sources, despite the fact that her organization was one of four in a long-term federally funded study which show ed no measurable results.

Del Rosario was a speaker, along with Wagner and other top apostles, at a conference in January, where she was described as an apostle in the promotional literature. Her relationship with the apostles is not new, however. She incorporated her organizations in the mid 1990s with leading Florida apostle Diane Buker, head of Battle Axe ministries, and Cindy Trimm, described as a "general in the art of strategic warfare." Buker is the author of God's Power to Multiply for Wealth and her Battle Axe Brigade ministry Web site features virulent attacks on Catholicism and other faiths. It certainly makes you question what is being taught in faith-based programming [financed] with millions of our tax dollars.

Another political area in which New Apostolics are deeply entrenched is John Hagee's Christians United for Israel. Hagee is still teaching that the Rapture may happen any moment, but many of his directors and leadership are New Apostolics who teach that they must take "dominion" over the earth, including Israel, before Jesus can return. These include ICA Apostle Stephen Strang who heads the Strang charismatic publishing empire, and regional director Robert Stearns, who publishes another leading New Apostolic journal titled Kairos. Stearns also leads the largest single international Christian Zionist event, which involves 200,000 churches worldwide -- and his ministry has been endorsed by the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus and by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

BB: Are there politicians involved with NAR?

RT: The Transformations movies show access to many political figures from Fiji to South America to Africa. Uganda is a prime example and the movies are corroborated in this respect by active participation of political leaders in Transformation organizations.Transformation Hawaii has the full participation of Lt. Governor James "Duke" Aiona, who has spoken at conferences and even written for the movement. Lou Engle, a prophet in Wagner"s inner circle, has recently been on the news leading an anti-health care reform Prayercast with Republican Senators Jim DeMint and Sam Brownback, and Rep. Michelle Bachmann, among others. In May, Engle led another televised event in which he prayed over Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee.

The New Apostolic movement more closely resembles a political campaign than a denomination. PrayforNewark is a citywide prayer project in which every precinct has been mapped out and every street assigned to a volunteer. PrayforNewark is part of Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network (ITN), the same operation that is "transforming" Uganda, and promoting the belief that homosexuals are possessed by literal demons. Silvoso's ITN is also active in numerous other locations in the U.S. and worldwide.

BB: Where does Sarah Palin fit into all this?

RT: The movement made early inroads in Alaska through an ICA apostle named Mary Glazier, who claims that a 24-year-old Palin joined her spiritual warfare network. These communication networks allow apostles to disseminate new prophecy to their "prayer warriors." During the presidential election this included prophecies about Palin, including one in which Glazier described a vision that Palin would take the "mantle" of leadership after a period of national mourning, apparently following John McCain's demise.

The first Transformation film so impressed pastors in Wasilla, Alaska, that they contacted some of the religious leaders featured in the movie including Thomas Muthee, who was shown driving a witch out of Kiambu, Kenya. Wasilla Assembly of God developed an ongoing relationship with Muthee and a 2005 church video shows him anointing Palin. Unfortunately the press picked up on the witch part of the story, and not the more important fact that Palin has ties to top leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation.

BB: Why should the American people be concerned about the New Apostolic Reformation?

RT: I believe this movement's threat to separation of church and state is greater than some of the more overtly theocratic movements of the religious right. The inclusion of women and all races in leadership roles, and their enthusiastic sponsorship of social services conflicts with a popular notion about religious fundamentalism. Despite their radical strategies, leaders in the movement have been labeled in the press as moderate, including Apostle Samuel Rodriguez -- president of the Sacramento, Calif.-based National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference -- who has been described as a "new evangelical."

Unsuspecting people are certainly becoming involved in New Apostolic activities without understanding its agenda. For example, the Global Day of Prayer sounds benign but was founded by Graham Power, head of the Africa division of Silvoso's International Transformation Network. Numerous citywide prayer efforts and pastors' networks are under the auspices of Wagner's apostles. Charities, social services, and "reconciliation" events appear to welcome all, but are designed as stealth evangelism to advance the "Kingdom."

In June, Lance Wallnau, an ICA apostle and motivational speaker for the Seven Mountain campaign, spoke on stealth evangelism at Wasilla Assembly of God. In Guatemalan jails, according to Wallnau, New Apostolics teach prisoners a secularized version of "Kingdom" worldview for a full year before making any attempt to convert them to "born-again" Christianity. Wallnau encouraged the congregation to follow this example for infiltrating the seven spheres of society.

Peter Wagner's ideas have spread widely into mainstream of evangelicalism, to little public notice. Ted Haggard, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, partnered with Wagner in founding the New Apostolic Reformation and building its early headquarters, the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs. Despite the fact that Haggard has written books on New Apostolic strategies, his participation in promoting this radical reformation of both church and society is so little known, it could be described as "Haggard's other secret."

Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering right-wing groups and movements. Rachel Tabachnick has provided research on the religious right to political campaigns and regularly contributes to, Political Research Associates' The Public Eye, and the Jewish Daily Forward's Zeek.


Cops will be cops, I suppose. How about some prisoners dying in China. Police said one guy died drinking boiling water. Uh, huh. Well, no one believed that and other stories, complaints were made, some action maybe was taken.

The following is from the China Daily.

Last year, a criminal suspect in Yunnan province reportedly died while playing duo mao mao, or hide-and-seek.
Now another suspect in Henan province was announced dead after allegedly "drinking plain boiled water" in police custody. 

We wonder if local police chiefs can convince themselves that the causes of the mysterious deaths at detention facilities were just. For us common folk, drinking a glass of plain boiled water is, just like playing hide-and-seek, perfectly safe. That is why the official explanation for the death of the Henan suspect has stirred up another round of online ridicule. 

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Criticism is exactly what the authorities deserve - the excuses they have concocted are too porous for anyone with some common sense to believe. What's more, there is evidence of bodily harm on the dead suspect so with or without the whole truth as well as a credible account by the higher authorities, it's easy to tell that torture was involved.

To our great relief, the higher authorities in Henan did not challenge us to test the lethal potentials of plain boiled water. Instead, they shared our suspicion, dismissed the deputy police chief involved, and ordered the chief to resign. And they have promised a thorough and complete investigation. 

With high-profile intervention by higher authorities, the case may be sealed shortly afterward. And chances are most of the questions raised will get an answer. But a more important question is how to prevent this from being repeated in the future. 

We have heard rumors of police officers resorting to torture for confessions. We have seen them corroborate evidence in detention houses. And we have witnessed vows of commitment to eradicate torture, and to so-called "civilized law-enforcement." The latest death in police custody, however, showed something rather barbaric.

This case might be too extreme and thus viewed as an isolated case, but we would rather see authorities not take it that way.