Friday, August 23, 2013

Journalists Under Attack - New World Next Week


Published on Aug 22, 2013

Welcome to -- the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week, James and James try something different as they cover a number of updates and addenda to breaking news stories from across the globe:

CIA Documents Acknowledge Role In Iran's '53 Operation Ajax Coup

NSA Surveillance Said To Be Broader Than Initially Believed - Covers 75% Of Internet

White House Won't Condemn Detention of Glenn Greenwald's Partner

NSA Collects 'Word for Word' Every Domestic Communication, Says Former Analyst

Guardian Editor Says Destruction Of Snowden Data "Won't Harm Our Reporting"

Why The Guardian Destroyed Hard Drives Of Leaked Files

Michael Hastings' Toxicology Reports Twisted Throughout Media

Bradley Manning Gets 35 Years For Leaking Classified Files

Video: Latest Syrian Chemical Attack Follows History of False Flag Provocations

Tank At Crippled Japan Nuclear Plant Leaks Highly Radioactive Water

At The Root Of Egyptian Rage Is A Deepening Resource Crisis

Why Conspiracy Theories Still Haunt Princess Diana

Ground Zero On The CIA's Area 51 "Admissions"

Visit to get previous episodes in various formats to download, burn and share. And as always, stay up-to-date by subscribing to the feeds from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy Thank you.

Previous Episode: Lavabit Shutdown, Mars Mission, Weed TV


One Year in Mission


Published on Dec 12, 2012

Fourteen volunteers from around the world will come to New York for six months to "be the hands and feet of Jesus" and receive evangelism and leadership training that they will implement in their home countries.


God's Urgent Warning to LEAVE The Cities!!! By MMM


Published on Aug 6, 2013

Go Forward!!! A Practical Guide on Following God's Urgent Warning to Leave the Cities.
Please go to:

For More Information Please SEE Our Website:n


NM Court Says Christian Photogs Guilty of Discrimination for Refusing LGBT Weddings

Todd Starnes | Aug 22, 2013

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Christian photographer who declined to photograph a same-sex union violated the state’s Human Rights Act and one justice warned the photographers were “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”

In 2006 Vanessa Willock asked Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, owners of Elane Photography, to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony” in the town of Taos.

Huguenin and her husband declined the job because their Christian beliefs were in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony.

Willock found another photographer at a cheaper price but nevertheless filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission accusing Elane Photography of discrimination based on sexual orientation. She was later found guilty and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

“The Huguenins today can no more turn away customers on the basis of their sexual orientation – photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony – than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims,” Justice Richard Bosson wrote in the court’s unanimous decision.

Bosson said the Christian photographers are now “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”

“Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering,” he wrote. “It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views.”

A recent Rasmussen survey found that 85 percent of Americans support the right of a photographer to refuse participating in a same-sex wedding.

Bosson said the case provokes reflection on what the nation is about.

“At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others,” he wrote.

He said the Constitution protects the rights of the Christian photographers to pray to the God of their choice and following religious teachings, but offered a sobering warning.

“But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life,” the justice wrote. “The Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people.”

Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal firm specializing in religious liberty cases, representing the photographers. Attorney Jordan Lorence said the ruling in effect means gay rights now trump religious rights.

“Government-coerced expression is a feature of dictatorships that has no place in a free country,” Lorence said. “This decision is a blow to our client and every American’s right to live free.”

Lorence said the New Mexico Supreme Court undermined the constitutionally protected freedoms of expression and conscience.

“If Elane Photographer does not have her rights of conscience protected, then basically nobody does,” he told Fox News. “What you have here is the government punishing someone who says, ‘I, in good conscience, cannot communicate the messages of this wedding.’”

Amber Royster, the executive director of Equality New Mexico, called the court decision a big victory.

“What it came down to is this was a case about discrimination,” she told Fox News. “While we certainly believe we are all entitled to our religious beliefs, religious beliefs don’t necessarily make it okay to break the law by discriminating against others.”

Royster said forcing a business that offers services to the public to abide by discrimination laws does not violate the First Amendment – and does not pit gay rights against religious rights.

“It’s about discrimination,” she said. “It’s not religious rights versus gay rights. We have a law on the books that makes it illegal to discriminate against LGBT persons. It makes it illegal for business to do that and this business broke the law by discriminating against this couple.”

Ken Klukowsi, of the Family Research Council, called the ruling profoundly disturbing.

“This decision may bring to Americans’ attention the serious threat to religious liberty posed by overbearing government agencies when it comes to redefining marriage,” he said. “Rather than live and let live, this is forcing religious Americans to violate the basic teachings of their faith or lose their jobs.”

Lorence said they are considering appealing the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This is very coercive, very authoritarian to crush those who do not agree and make public examples of them – and in a free society, that simply should not be,” he said.


OBITER DICTUM : Political correctness or absurdity

By Edward A. Kazanjian
Belmont Citizen-Herald

Posted Aug 21, 2013 @ 10:58 AM

Belmont, Mass. —

I was accused by some at Town Meeting of being politically incorrect when I attempted to keep the word chairman, in lieu of the proposed chairperson or chair, in the Town’s bylaws. My only rationale was that chairman is the proper title and may be genderized if necessary by adding madame or mister. There was no other agenda! I admit that I am not always politically correct BUT that is only because I feel that attempting to be so is not necessary since I know I have no intention of discriminating or alienating anyone. When I coached and said, "let’s go guys!" I was not being sexiest…it was a girls soccer team. I raised two daughters and have a granddaughter and have every reason to want is best for their gender BUT being over politically correct is not the way for that insure that result. Rather, I suggest, taking all the effort put into the absurd issues listed below and do something positive.

I decided to look into "politically correct" and found that historically, the term was a colloquialism used in the early-to-mid 20th century by Communists and Socialists in political debates, referring pejoratively to the Communist "party line", which provided for "correct" positions on many matters of politics. It has morphed through the efforts of both by liberals and conservatives to its present use, a term that refers to language, ideas, or policies which address discrimination against or alienation of politically, socially or economically disadvantaged groups.

I read recently that the city of Seattle is banning the use of the word "citizen" in favor of resident and banning the use of "brown bag" because it might be considered racist. Citizen is a good word describing someone who lives in a particular town or city…it does not HAVE to mean one who has legal or social benefits or obligations…though it may in certain contexts. Resident on the other hand denotes a particular place not the entire country or city…these words do not mean the same thing.

Don’t even get me started on banning "brown bag"…For heaven’s sake the Greater Boston Food Bank’s Brown Bag program provides supplemental groceries to about 8000 seniors every month with no issues of skin color. Since 1973, Bloomingdale’s has promoted their brown-paper bag system, an elegant design that has retained its elegance and is not racist. I personally brown bagged it to work for forty years…the paper sacks were first introduce in 1852 and since then have been brown in color NOT RACIST. And one of the most successful and largest businesses in the world, UPS, said, "Let Brown DO IT!"...since 2002 and since 2007 has had a new "Whiteboard campaign" introduced due to changes in its business scope, and recently has a new campaign "We love logistics" all very successful and none of it racist!

Read more

A post-Christian Middle East?

By Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland
updated 5:57 PM EDT, Thu August 22, 2013

Christians targeted in Egypt

Christians have been targeted in Egypt, Syria and Libya
Bergen: Egypt's Christians largely supported the coup that overturned Morsy regime
In turn, Christians have been attacked by Islamists over the past week, he says
Bergen: The region has become increasingly hostile to non-Muslims

Editor's note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a director at the New America Foundation and the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden -- From 9/11 to Abbottabad." Jennifer Rowland is a program associate at the New America Foundation.

(CNN) -- There have been Christians in the Middle East since the time of, well, Christ.
Now that two millennium-long history could be in danger.

Islamist thugs have attacked dozens of churches across Egypt in the past few days, burning many of them down.

Peter Bergen

The attacks seemed to be protests against the brutal military government crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that killed many hundreds of Egyptian Islamists over the past week.

Pope Tawadros II, the leader of Egypt's Christian Copts, met publicly with top military officers as they announced the coup that removed President Mohamed Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood government from power in early July.

Christians, who make up 10% of the population, and other minorities had complained that a new constitution that had been passed by the Morsy government infringed on their rights.

For some Islamist militants, now it's payback time. According to one report, 52 churches across Egypt were attacked in 24 hours last week. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights has counted at least 30 churches attacked, along with other Christian facilities.

After Morsy was removed from power, a mob armed with axes hacked a Christian businessman to death near Luxor in southern Egypt and then continued their rampage in the village of Nagaa Hassan, burning dozens of Christian homes and killing three other Christians.

Today there are more than 10 million Christians in the Middle East and they make up an estimated 5% of the Middle East's population.

A century ago they made up an estimated 20%.

Much of this fall can be attributed to factors such as emigration and the high birth rates of many Arab Muslims, but some of it is also attributable to the increasing marginalization and targeting of Christians; a worrying trend being seen not just in Egypt but also in other Arab countries.

Take Syria. Many Syrian Christians have tacitly supported the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which draws much of its strength from the small Shia Alawite sect and therefore has historically favored and protected Syria's other religious minorities.

As a result, the jihadists who have come to dominate a significant portion of the Syrian rebel movement have supplemented their war against the government with attacks that target Christians. On June 27, a suicide bombing in a Christian area of Damascus killed at least four people.

Al Qaeda-affiliated rebels are suspected of killing an Italian priest who had spent most of his life rehabilitating a monastery north of the Syrian capital of Damascus and who disappeared last month. The Rev. Paolo Dall'Oglio had reportedly been trying to secure the release of several hostages in the custody of an al Qaeda-aligned group.

Meanwhile, in March in Benghazi, Libya, where a militant attack on a U.S. government complex left four Americans dead in September 2012, around 60 Christians were rounded up by extremists and handed over to the government on suspicion of immigrating from Egypt illegally. The militants tortured several of their captives, killing one of them.

That bout of vigilantism followed the arrest in February of four Christians accused of proselytizing to Muslim Libyans.

The consequence of such attacks and harassment has been an exodus of Christians from the region.

Residents of northeastern Syria, where Christians have historically been concentrated, estimate that one-third of the Christians there have fled the country during the past two years.

Similarly in Iraq, since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Christian Iraqi population may have dropped by as much as 50%, according to a CIA assessment.

And despite making up only about 3% of the Iraqi population, Christians accounted for half the Iraqis who fled the country in 2010, about 200,000 people.

Egypt's religious tensions have a longer history than the recent clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and Christians. Although then-President Hosni Mubarak kept a tight lid on the country's Islamist extremists, clashes between Muslims and Christians erupted sporadically throughout the '90s.

But since Mubarak's fall, extremist violence against Christians has picked up in Egypt. In early October 2011, Egypt saw its worst instance of sectarian violence in 60 years, when two-dozen Christians died in clashes with the military.

As a result of these kinds of attacks, by one estimate, around 100,000 Christians left Egypt in 2011.

This kind of homogenization has happened before in the Middle East, which boasted a sizable Jewish population in the '50s. But with the creation of the state of Israel and the rise of Arab nationalism and then Islamism, the region has become more hostile to non-Muslims.

Around World War II there were 100,000 Jews in Egypt, a community that had existed in Egypt since the time of the pharaohs.

Now, there are a handful of synagogues operating in Cairo. They are heavily guarded and generally empty as they cater only to the few dozen elderly Jews who are still left in Egypt.

One can only hope that this is not to be the fate of the Christians of the Middle East.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Churches In Egypt Cancel Sunday Masses For the First Time in Over 1500 Years

 Daniel Doherty | Aug 22, 2013

The persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt has become so bad and so violent in recent weeks that churches in the northern part of the country have cancelled Sunday masses and prayer services for the first time in nearly two millennia. The Times of Israel reported this story a few days ago:

Amid escalating violence against Egypt’s Copts, churches in Minya, located in upper Egypt, cancelled Sunday Mass for the first time in 1,600 years. Other churches in Minya also didn’t hold prayer services.

“We did not hold prayers in the monastery on Sunday for the first time in 1,600 years,” Priest Selwanes Lotfy of the Virgin Mary and Priest Ibram Monastery in Degla, just south of Minya, told the al-Masry al-Youm daily.

He said supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi destroyed the monastery, which includes three churches, one of which is an archaeological site. “One of the extremists wrote on the monastery’s wall, ‘donate [this] to the martyrs’ mosque,’” Lotfy added.

Copts, the largest indigenous Christian minority in the Middle East and North Africa, make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s total population of some 90 million people. One of the world’s oldest Christian communities, they have generally kept a low-profile, but have become more politically active since Mubarak was ousted and sought to ensure fair treatment in the aftermath. They regularly face violence and discrimination within Egyptian society.

The Times further points out that over 58 Coptic churches in Egypt have been desecrated since last Sunday and hundreds more have been killed. The reason is because many radical Islamists contend that Coptic Christians are principally responsible for the ousting of their Dear Leader, former Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamad Morsi, and therefore must be punished accordingly. Recall earlier this month that an innocent, ten-year-old Christian girl was murdered in cold blood. Why? Because she had the audacity to walk home from Bible Study class…

Meanwhile, the military pledged last week to rebuild every Coptic church Islamists have burned, looted, and destroyed:

The Egyptian defense minister has ordered the repair and reconstruction of all churches that suffered damage in the country’s violent demonstrations since the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from power last month.

Defense minister Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi intends to fix the damage to Coptic churches at Rabaa Adaweya and Nahda squares, according to a report by the Mid-East Christian News.

Dozens of churches were attacked and burned in riots after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities to demand the end of what they call military rule, following the removal of Morsi on July 3. Many of Morsi's supporters have voiced criticism at Egypt's Christian minority for largely supporting the military's decision to oust him from office.

“The Egyptian defense minister ordered the engineering department of the armed forces to swiftly repair all the affected churches, in recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers,” read a statement that aired on Egyptian television.

Perhaps the Egyptian military’s resources could be better spent on -- oh, I don’t know -- protecting its people. After all, if they don’t, I see no compelling reason why we should continue sending them foreign aid.


As popular culture overflows with vampires and zombies, are we forgetting to be scared of evil?

By Thomas Fleming

PUBLISHED: 10:22 EST, 4 June 2012 | UPDATED: 10:22 EST, 4 June 2012

Rudy Eugene, 31, pictured in an old police mugshot, was shot dead by police in Miami after attacking a man and eating chunks of his face

In 'Eating People is Wrong,' Malcolm Bradbury's genial satire on 1950's leftism, it was still possible to take certain European prejudices for granted. Eating our fellows, as one non-European character in the novel learned, was wrong. Even today most of us probably regard it as not very nice. Nonetheless, the media in every form are ablaze with true stories of cannibalism.

A Haitian-American in Miami attacked a homeless man and ate three fourths of his face, a white mother in Texas drowned her baby and ate bits of it, and the son of a Kenyan college professor in Maryland killed and consumed parts of a 37-year-old Ghanaian boarding in his parents' house. In New Jersey, a man stabbed himself 50 times and pelted the police with some of his intestines. Most bizarre of all, perhaps, is the unconfirmed story of a Canadian homosexual porn actor on the lam for allegedly eating his Chinese boyfriend.

The internet - an electronic petri dish created to culture conspiracy theories - offers the usual zany ideas. It's all voodoo or environmental pollution, and we are on the verge of a zombie apocalypse. It is the tweet twittered round the world.

Amateur philosophers and pop culture critics are in a rush to ascend their cracker barrels and deliver their explanations for the hysteria. People are worried about the economy, see, and project their own fears onto the cannibals. Zombies, so they argue, are our worst nightmare because they have no redeeming virtues. Vampires are romantic - or have been made to seem so in cheap fiction - and even werewolves are tragic figures. But flesh-eating zombies? Why now?

Bogeymen and mythical demons are, as a sociologist would say, "socially constructed" by the stories we are told, the films we see, the religious traditions we accept. As we go mad, we are inclined to pattern our obsessions and delusions according to the myths that dominate our culture. A schizophrenic Christian or even cultural Christian has visions of Christ and the saints, while an ancient Greek in his dreams would receive admonitions from tall handsome people, whether gods or dead relatives.

If zombies and cannibals are coming out of the woodwork to stir our imaginations, it is partly the fault of a very sick popular culture that dotes on the perverse movies of George Romero, Anne Rice's novelistic gushings over vampires, and the teen-exploitation books, movies, and TV shows in which ghouls, werewolves, and vampires are basically not bad creatures who just need a little understanding. We are teaching ourselves not just to celebrate evil but to elevate it. Good people trying to muddle through in a difficult world are boring: Evil is way cool.

There are very few people, any more, who even know that the zombies of legend are not flesh-eating corpses but soulless voodoo slaves, exploited by their masters. For a real zombie movie, watch the Jacques Tourneur/Val Luten movie - beautifully filmed - I Walked With a Zombie. Then watch one of Romero's Night of the Living Dead cannibal-fests and you will begin to understand what has become of our poor world.

The appeal of the old pre-Romero zombie films, and of movies like Don Siegel's The Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Ionesco's play, the Rhinoceros or, even earlier, Karl Capek's R.U.R. and The War With the Newts was the fear of dehumanization. The forces of capitalism and Marxism, as well as mass media and commercialism, were turning out a breed of men and women who seemed less and less rational, less compassionate, less humane and, indeed, less human. People, in other words, like George Romero, Ann Rice, and their admirers.

We no longer fear dehumanization, because too many of us have already lost so much of our humanity. Rape, mutilation, cannibalism - it's all in a day's work for a TV scriptwriter. Someone with a DVD player and a Netflix account can feed his imagination all day long on comic book evil. It is our religion. The Greeks had Zeus and Apollo and Athena; we have Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Buffy and Spike, and the entire cast of Twillight.

Human societies have always had their share of misfits, creeps, and sociopaths, but they also had a moral, aesthetic, and spiritual framework in which to understand the outlaw Grendel or monsters living under volcanos. The great lyric poet Pindar contrasts the lawless rage of Mt. Aetna's Typhon with the serene and beautiful order imposed by the music of Apollo.

Today, such popular art as we have tends to side with Typhon, and there is hardly an undergraduate reader of Milton who does not think Satan is the hero. It is, of course, easy enough to turn off the TV set and throw away the pulp fiction celebrations of vampires and ghouls, but one still has to wonder what the neighbours are reading and watching.

The wildly popular Twilight films are full of romanticised evil-doers, notably vampires and werewolves

Unfortunately, anyone who takes up this theme will be put down as paranoiac or puritanical. Don Siegel is always described as a rabid McCarthyist, which he was not, and anyone who ventures to criticise vampirism will be dismissed as homophobic - "You see, it's an obvious metaphor."

Anyone halfway sane in the 21st century must feel like Dr. Miles Bennell (played by Kevin McCarthy character in Don Siegel's film). Before your very eyes, human beings are turning into pod people - soulless aliens without a trace of compassion.

"Look you fools, you're in danger! Can't you see? They're after you. They're after all of us! Our wives...our children...they're here already! You're next!"

Yes, it's over the top and not the ending Siegel wanted, but it's no less true. A stupefied fascination with monstruous evil is obviously contagious. A few cannibals or zombies, more or less, is nothing to worry about, it is worth thinking about a global population of deracinated consumers who tease their imaginations with real and fictional tales of such depravity.

As they used to say at the end of cheap horror movies, "They're coming to your town. Perhaps they are sitting next to you in the theater." If you are watching Zombie Apocalypse, they probably are - or, rather, they have to worry about sitting next to you.



Beauty and beer: Monks' outreach is part of new evangelization

VATICAN LETTER Aug-21-2013 (970 words) Backgrounder. With photos. xxxi

Benedictine Brother Francis Davoren, left, head "brewmonk" or brewmaster, and Benedictine Father Benedict Nivakoff, director of Birra Nursia, toast with their blond brew at the brewery of St. Benedict's Monastery in Norcia, Italy. (CNS/Henry Daggett)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Even before retired Pope Benedict XVI set up a pontifical council for new evangelization and convoked a world Synod of Bishops on the theme, a new group of Benedictine monks was using Latin and liturgy to reach out to those whose faith was weak or nonexistent.

Now they've added beer to the blend, and people are flocking to the monastery in Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict, about 70 miles northeast of Rome in the Umbrian countryside.

But for the 18 members of St. Benedict's monastery, life is still about prayer.

"If the prayer doesn't come first, the beer is going to suffer," said Father Benedict Nivakoff, director of the Birra Nursia brewery and subprior of the monastery.

The monks in Norcia initially were known for their liturgical ministry, particularly sharing their chanted prayers in Latin online-- -- with people around the world.

But following the Rule of St. Benedict means both prayer and manual labor, with a strong emphasis on the monks earning their own keep.

After just a year of brewing and selling their beer in the monastery gift shop and through restaurants in Norcia, financial self-sufficiency seems within reach, and the monks are talking expansion.

"We didn't expect it to be so enormously successful," said Father Cassian Folsom, the U.S. Benedictine who founded the community in 1998 and serves as its prior. "There's been a huge response, and our production can't keep up with the demand and the demand continues to grow."

But even with the talk of expanding the brewery, and perhaps exporting some of the brew to the United States, the Mass and the liturgical hours are still the centerpiece of the monks' lives.

Read more

Opus Dei and Jesuits

Opus Dei : A Dialogue Between Friend and Foe 

ADDENDUM: OPUS OBEDIENCE IS JESUIT OBEDIENCE (and also "openness of conscience" to the superior)

I hope to show here that there's no substantial difference between those 2 conceptions of religious obedience and so that you cannot avoid the conclusion that classical Jesuits are Fascists (It's obvious if we follow your FAQ at "6.2 Liberty"). Still more, If you read The Way 614-629 on Obedience, you'll see that it goes LESS FAR than St Ignatius, who's talking, YES, and explicitly, of BLIND OBEDIENCE.
True, those are only principles, and they don't prove that in practice misuses don't occur, or that the practice of Opus is not different from that of Ignatius. But for the moment you were talking about principles....

First, here's a cut of our exchange:

it is very common among classical Jesuits to talk about the "surrender of one's own will" and to see the will of the Father superior as the will of God, not in all instances perhaps, but as an ascetic technique for self-detachment.

>i can understand how that kind of obedience can help to increase spirituality. but it is a dangerous thing.. especially when it becomes a principle that they want to apply to society as a whole.

maybe i cut&paste a piece i have written about "obedience" to another person here:
>obedience is a difficult topic. on order to investigate its usefulness to society i tried to discuss it with an other person.. here is what i wrote to him:

when we talk about obedience than we have to distinguish between several forms of obedience.
first we can distinguish it by the target that is subject of the obedience.

there is

*) outward obedience. but you would still have your free will and would be able to think what you want...

*) intellectual & spiritual obedience. you would be obedient in what you believe and think. you would be obedient even if you know something is wrong because you do not have to "know" something yourself. you accept that your leader knows better than you..

then we can distinguish between a temporary obedience and a permanent obedience.

then we can distinguish between normal obedience and blind obedience. blind obedience is when you either thrust your leader so much that you do not question his commandments or if you are in a position where you have not enough information so that you could judge about a commandment.

finally it is important to also see by whom the obedience is demanded: a leader, a spiritual director, God, your conscience, the law, etc..

well, so much for the definition of terminology. the obedience that the opus dei demands in in this diction an obedience that is both outward and intellectual & spiritual side (with an emphasis on the i& s side). it is a permanent and most of all a blind obedience. they tell people that the obedience is demanded by God, but the leaders of the opus dei take out the right for themselves to decide what the will of God is and to demand obedience in his name. so the primary leader is the opus dei and not God.

now for the big questions: is obedience founded in the scripture? in other catholic orders? if yes: what type of obedience? (according to the above terminology) to whom is the obedience directed? etc..etc.. well i hope you people have answers to some of it. iwould especially be interested in how you think about the kind of obedience the opus dei demands.

my own view about that topic goes like this:
when we look at the kind of obedience that is demanded by other orders than i think (i am not an expert here) it is mostly outward obedience. (you have a strict plan on how you have to spend your day in the monastery, are not allowed to talk at certain hours etc etc.. but you are completely free in your mind). i guess this kind of outward obedience might help some people to develop more freedom on their inside and help them in spiritual growth.
you may argue that this obedience was a worldly one and that obedience to the church is different. well, if people would have been disobedient to the pope than maybe we would not have had the crusades or the burning of witches... etc..
the only "permanent blind intellectual & spiritual obedience" that you can sell me is if it is obedience to God. as long as there is no one that has the right to tell me what God wants from me but scripture and most of all conscience.

--The Jesuit obedience is internal, permanent and blind. Before Opus, it was the only order like this, cause obedience is the center of their constitution, simply because, like Opus, It's an ACTIVE, apostolic order. So obedience comes from PRACTICAL purposes.

Those are quotations of 2 books by serious Jesuits:

- for him, the "elimination of the inapts" candidates was an essential part of government of the company

- One saw in him the soldier of God (...). Military man, Ignatius, they say, has created an army, with more or less secret instructions, with strict discipline (...) waging war to Satan

- War imagery (...) in the Spiritual Exercices all times.

- After the soldier has been recruited by taking the miliraty oath, has joined his commander camp and courageously decided to win a victory over the enemy, he must now begin to fight.

- a human group linked like that (...)by absolute obedience - that order uttered in Rome by the black pope being blindly followed everywhere, is likely to become powerful, if not glorious.

- this renouncement to one's own will , which is found in all mystical experiences...

- "complete indifference" is end of any asceticism of the will...
His disciple must not have any other inclination than to obey

- absolute obedience (...) do the sacrifice of they liberty in the hands of the Society Superiors.

- "The mind must be directed towards God (...) for the love of whom we obey to a man (...). All the energies must be put on that virtue, that is obedience, toward first the Pope, then to the Superior of the order (...). Everybody, on a word of the leader , as if it were from Christ himself (...) will renounce any occupation, even to write an alphabet letter that he has begun to write(...). All orders must be good to us . For our part we will renounce all other way to see things and all other opinion, in a kind of BLIND OBEDIENCE , and that in all what is not a sin. Everybody must be convinced that anybody who live in obedience must let himself be guided and lead by divine Providence, through his superiors, as if he was a corpse which we can move everywhere and treat in any way , or as if he was an old man's stick which is useful everywhere and for whatever purpose(...)
One must see Christ in him "

- the corpse image comes from St Francis, who received it from an ancient tradition
it is necessary that the subordinate love the order and that he understand and approve it.
the duty of the subordinate, all explanations having been made, is to obey: he will put the issue in the hands of the Lord.

- The expression Jesuit General is liked by those who see in the society a powerful and disciplined army (...)
The General (...) is a monarch . The fact that this monarchy is elective must not give illusions: (...)the electorate is not elected but designated by the General

- The society organization looks heavily centralised. Nothing is outside the General's control. . From top to bottom a unique power is manifesting, through intermediaries , its sovereign authority.
This elective monarchy can become all-powerful only by relying on an aristocracy , that of the apti ad gubernationem.

- St Ignatius was of a very quick temper


- the essential point, the fundamental consideration, in the ignatian doctrine of obedience, is that the superior is the interpret of the divine will(...)
"But for the purity and perfection of obedience, for the true renouncement to our will and the self-denial of our judgment , I want earnestly (...) that those in this society distinguish themselves from others"

- he is very rigorous with some (...); that happen mostly when some don't want to obey or abandon one's own judgment against what is ordered

- "Perfect obedience to superiors, who hold the place of Christ..."

- Ignatius taught that obedience is an offering of all one's being : behavior , will , intellect ; an holocaust
- "If you want to remember that Master Salmeron is in authority and that God (...) is cooperating with him by a more special light (...) you will conclude that your own judgment may more easily be in error than his and that it is preferable, after having explained yourself, to submit your judgment to his"
... This doctrine is completely natural. If the subordinate must (...) obey to the authority's decisions, it is normal that the divine wisdom assist the superior by special graces.

- We must believe (...) that divine wisdom will guide all superiors for the best

- "A prudence of a lesser degree in the superior (...) is not a reason for disobedience (...) because he represent the person who is the infallible wisdom, and that one will compensate for what is lacking in his minister"

- When we enter the society, "one must put everything in to the hands of the superior, as the one who's taking place of Christ"

The representation of the subordinate must not be seen from a governmental point of view, but on the level of inspiration
"It seems to me that obedience want to be BLIND . I call it BLIND in 2 ways: the first one, that is the inferior -where there's no sin - must submit his judgment and follow the order given; the second one, that is the inferior (...) must tell with humility to the superior reasons against the order or inconveniences (...), without being attracted to one party or the other, so that "
"Once that indifference is present in the candidates , must consider the talents and natural inclination, when he will distribute the responsibilities"
"It is important to the utmost that the subordinates be entirely known from the superiors"
To this end, he has instituted what he calls the account of conscience. This (...) ask everybody to tell the superior, at set times , what concern their INNER and exterior life

- " open his conscience to the superior with a lot of humility, sincerity and charity (...);he will not hide anything concerning himself"
The practice of the account of conscience is in direct link with religious obedience(...)
In the account of conscience, obedience is able to deploy itself in an ideal fashion

- thus the account of conscience is the meeting of 2 charities, inside 2 submissions: that of the subordinate to his leader, that of the superior to divine will over the subordinate and the society


--Isn't that impressive? I have 2 other facts to add. Like opus, Society of Jesus has grades: brothers, and above all 2 level of priests: professed (profes) and coadjutors, of which only professed can be superiors. Opus has 3 levels of membership, plus cooperators.

The last fact is that Jesuits were always the target of the same kind of attacks than Opus: Glick, Foreword to Estruch p. XV:
"secretiveness, greed for corporate wealth and power, elitism, and propensity for manipulation".

Isn't it interesting? That alone is not a proof, but at the very least it casts suspicion about the criticisms.

Now, some comments about obedience. In both cases it is rooted in faith, and supernatural; being a member implies that you think that God is there whatever the superior may be. The constitutions are approved, so it`s a part of the church, and everybody is free to follow this vocation, as a part of the tradition (no need of it being explicitly in the scriptures, for a catholic).
In both cases there are some external checks against abuse: scriptures, catechism, papal teachings, the pope himself, who can eliminate Opus. There are internal checks: consultations, written books, explanations with superiors (I think we can see it, or deduce it from Tapia's experience).
Now, differences: Jesuits didn't recruit the same way, but nevertheless were doing recruiting; as you know, the ignatian exercices are highly motivational, and you have to choose your vocation, and there is hell possibly at the end of life, etc... A lot of psychology in those 7 or 30 days in silence... Exercices were proposed to young men just at the end of high school...
Before final vows, a Jesuit wait and study 10 years, so he knows exactly what it's all about when he surrender his liberty. For Opus, it is 5-6 years, but there is no vows, just contracts.
The most important thing is that Opus is for lay people, and from that come the problems; it seems that the conflict, or the difference between the inside and the outside is much more acute, because members are in the lay world, with, let's say, all the temptations, all the objections or ideas, all other people. A good guess would be that they need a reinforced defense system, more than Jesuits do. And so when a clash arises between the inside and the outside of opus in a candidate's mind, there's a strong perception of the will being forced. It's just an hypothesis that i'm giving you here.
You can well say that opus use authority in a different and bad way. We have to check that. But from the texts one can see that St Ignatius obedience was more Fascist. So if we keep the word, we must distinguish between good and bad fascism. Or each time we use "fascist" we must add the Jesuits and Ignatius. And if somebody doesn't do so, we must suspect there are hidden reasons for this...

In "short", this is my argument is this addendum.

Better would be to address the only real issue, beyond "fascism" and "reaction": just say that they are over-authoritarian and that authority is misused. Then we will have to address the real facts and their interpretations. But then the question remains: are the Jesuits over-authoritarian? I'm afraid the answer is not as easy as you may have thought first...

Last word: your last paragraph is incomplete: your must add holy tradition, that is dogmatic doctrine, and scriptures as interpreted by the church and his authentic magisterium. I agree, however, that all depends on the word "Blind". Our strict obedience is not the same as the blind obedience that is a particular Jesuistic-opusian thing.
You're right, obedience to supernatural church is different than that to state, because state matters are much more contingent. Crusades and heresy crimes punished by prison or death have few things to do with faith matters, since they concern political defense of some territories and relations between criminal law, canon law, and common good in this or that historical circumstances. Opus obedience seems at first sight 90% spiritual.


The constitutions of the Jesuits

Aug 10 2013 | PDS |

"The ravens have ascended to the nests of the nightingales." ` Persian Proverb: Tempore patet Occulta malum…Exsecrabile vaticinium. (Time brings to light hidden evil…The cursed prophecy, come true").

"Cannot discover," wrote the French famous lawyer la Chalotais, -himself educated by the Jesuits- "that the Constitutions of the Jesuits have ever been seen or examined by any tribunal whatsoever, secular or ecclesiastic; by any sovereign – not even by the Court of Chancery of Prague, when permission was asked to print them….. They have taken all sorts of precautions to keep them a secret." {Report on the Constitutions of the Jesuits}.

The most well-known Jesuit motto is Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam.{Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (A.M.D.G.)} This phrase one Jesuit says recurs some 259 times in the constitutions penned by Loyola. {James Brodrick, S. J., The Origin of the Jesuits}. Another Jesuit, the biographer of Ignatius Loyola, Dominique Bouhours, called the Constitutions a revelation from God, and an "inspiration of the Holy Spirit." Thus, the Constitutions came to be seen by the Jesuits as having absolute authority over every member of the Order. This secret document is, in a manner of speaking, the Mission Statement of the Society of Jesus.

But now, reader, suppose we were to ask them to see these Constitutions, to look inside? They will not produce it. In Regulae Societatis Jesu, vol. 2, 1827, paragraph 26 we read: "No one can tell to persons outside what is done or to be done in the house [the noviatel]; nobody can show them the Constitutions or other documents of that kind, or any other written material about the Rules or Privileges of the Society without permission by the Superior."

Thankfully, we now know what it contains. And what principles do we find therein? What Godly virtues do they contain? Dear reader, of this monstrousity of the Jesuits none should be ignorant. It was aptly described by the French Parliament as a "Collection of 'dangerous and pernicious' teachings and precepts taught by the Jesuits with the approbation of their Superiors," and of every pope since 1540.

The Constitutions provide for a highly centralised form of authority with life tenure for the head of the Order, who the Jesuits call the 'Grey Eminence,' or the "Black Pope." Hence the Jesuits are referred to as the "Black Militia" – for reasons that will soon become apparent. The Constitutions places particular emphasis on the virtues of obedience to Superiors, and special obedience to the pope. One of its cardinal motto (as given by Ignatius) is perinde acsi cadaver esset – "to have no mind of one's own, but to be like a dead body" in the service, of the General – or "Black Pope." {Jean Lacouture, Jesuits: A Multibiography}.

William Russell writes, the Jesuits are, "as chosen soldiers [of the pope]… under the command of a general…this general or head of the order was invested with despotic authority over its members…" and he adds, they are, "required [by the Constitutions and the Secreta Monita] to attend to the transactions of the great of the world, to study the dispositions of persons in power, and to cultivate their friendship." {M. de Monclar}.

Like the Monita, the Constitutions require "Every Jesuit" "to regard the interest of the order as his principal object, to which all other considerations were to be sacrificed… as it was for the honour and advantage of the society [i.e. the Order], that its members should possess as ascendant over persons of rank and power…{M. de Monclar}. James Brodrick comments, "in the Constitutions of his Order, St. Ignatius laid it down that each of his sons {The sons of Loyola} ought to" have "a keen eye for the unconsidered trifles of life." {James Brodrick}.

The Constitutions gave the General immense power. The French lawyer La Chalotais gives us insight into the ultra-fascist nature of the Society of Jesus and the power of its General: "The General of the Jesuit Order is invested with control over every aspect of the government and regulation of the colleges of the society. From his orders there is no appeal – not even the Pope himself can rescind the General's interdict. Not only is he able to release from vows, he is also empowered to examine, by every means, into the consciences of the members of the society. In Short, the General is the Society." {Chalotais}.

To ensure utmost secrecy, the Constitutions of the Sons of Loyola direct that the provincials and superiors shall write to the society's General in cipher. "Such precautions" being "taken against enemies," says the French lawyer M. de La Chalotais. Who are their "enemies," and why the need to write in cipher?

Before sketching in outline – which is all that space would allow-of how the Constitutions came to be discovered by their "enemies," it is instructive to read the words of an impartial commentator. Referring to these sons of Ignatius Loyola, Professor S.F.B. Morse wrote:

And who are these agents? They are …the…Jesuits, an ecclesiastical order proverbial through the world for cunning, duplicity, and total want of moral principle: an order so skilled in all the arts of deception that even in Catholic countries, in Italy itself, it became intolerable…{Samuel Morse}.

Why did Professor Morse-famous inventor of Morse code, and a close friend of President Lincoln-speak so balefully of the Jesuits? To answer this question we must return to the cause of Father La Valette's undoing- the aforementioned French lawsuit against the Jesuits.

As stated earlier, Jesuit Father Père Antoine La Valetter had borrowed heavily from businessmen in France but his ambitious commercial venture failed at sea. Being unable to pay the debt he had incurred, La Valette's creditors sued him and the Jesuit order in the French courts, and won. Their victory, some would say, was an act of God-Digitus Dei {the finger of God} – in that, the wide-ranging geo-political plans of the Society of Jesus were, for the first time, brought before the eyes of men. Now the world had some light and proof of the true purpose of this Great Secret Society. All of France was stunned! The reputation of the Society was left in tatters, destroyed; the Jesuits were brought to disgrace and lost their case.

But watch closely how this drama unfolded. Having lost the argument in the provincial court in the Paris lawsuit, of 1760, the lawyer for the Society of Jesus appealed to the French Parliament. After much argument back and forth, the Jesuits having made several pleas-all of which they were later forced to abandon as hopeless-they prayed in aid one final desperate defence: that the Order could not be held liable for La Valette's actions, as he was a 'renegade,' because, according to the defence, all Jesuits were positively prohibited from engaging in commercial ventures. In this they committed a most serious blunder- they made reference to their Constitutions as the source of this prohibition.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Syrian army blamed as hundreds die in chemical weapons attacks

From: The Australian
August 22, 2013 12:00AM

Syrians inspect victims of the chemical attacks. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

MORE than 1000 people were killed yesterday when the Syrian army reportedly bombarded Damascus suburbs with chemical weapons, sparking opposition declarations of a "massacre" and calls for international intervention.

The claim, which could not be independently verified, was vehemently denied by the Syrian regime, saying it was intended to hinder the mission of UN chemical weapons inspectors now in the country.

Video footage showed medics attending to suffocating children and hospitals being overwhelmed. The opposition Syrian National Coalition said last night: "Over 650 confirmed dead result of deadly chemical weapon attack in Syria."

Later reports put the death toll at more than 1000.

French President Francois Hollande called on UN inspectors to examine the site of the alleged attack outside Damascus. During a cabinet session, Mr Hollande "announced his intention to ask the UN to visit the site of the attack and to proceed with an investigation so that all light can be shed" on the incident, a government spokeswoman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said yesterday.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his country would refer the opposition charges of a massive chemical weapons strike to the UN Security Council.

He was "deeply concerned" by the reports and said if they were proved, they would mark a "shocking escalation" in Syria's war, which the UN says has claimed more than 100,000 lives in 29 months.

The war has morphed from a protest movement demanding Bashar al-Assad's fall into a complex civil war. Violence has been so fierce in recent days that about 30,000 Syrians, mostly Kurds, have fled to neighbouring Iraq, the UN said on Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said at least 100 people were killed in yesterday's air raids and shelling that struck several rebel areas east and southwest of Damascus.

"This figure will surely go up," said the Observatory, which gathers its information from activists and medics.

"The raids and bombardment are continuing."

It did not comment on the allegations that the army had used chemical arms in its assault on the densely populated Ghouta suburbs, where rebels have been holding out against government forces.

State news agency Sana said: "Reports on the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta are totally false. It's an attempt to prevent the UN commission of inquiry from carrying out its mission."

The Syrian army said: "These allegations by the terrorist groups and the satellite channels that support them are just a desperate bid to conceal their failures on the battlefield and reflect the state of hysteria and collapse that these (rebel) groups are in.

"The army will continue on its national mission, by facing terrorism across Syrian territory ... to protect the nation from these armed terrorist groups," the army added, in reference to the regime's bid to crush the rebellion.

Throughout the morning, activists reported chemical attacks in several rebel areas east and southwest of Damascus.

The Local Co-ordination Committees, a network of activists, reported hundreds of casualties in the "brutal use of toxic gas by the criminal regime".

In videos posted on YouTube, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, another activist group, showed what it called "a terrible massacre committed by regime forces with toxic gas."

The attack "led to suffocation of the children and overcrowding of field hospitals with hundreds of casualties amid extreme shortage of medical supplies to rescue the victims, particularly Atropine," the LCC said.

Eastern Ghouta "was also shelled by warplanes following the chemical attack that is still ongoing, which led to hundreds of casualties and victims, among them entire families," it said. In one video, children are seen being given first aid in a field hospital, notably oxygen to help them breathe. Doctors appear to be trying to resuscitate unconscious children, who showed no signs of bleeding.

A nurse at a Duma medical facility, Bayan Baker, told Reuters: "Many of the casualties are women and children. They arrived with their pupils dilated, cold limbs and foam in their mouths."

Activist Abu Jihad said: "People working in the field hospital are overwhelmed and unable to do anything for the wounded. There is a severe lack of medicines. The wounded are being treated using water and onions. This regime considers children in liberated areas to be its enemies."

Footage showed dozens of people laid out on the ground, among them many children, some of them covered in white sheets. "Genocide! Genocide in the town of Moadamiyet al-Sham (southwest of Damascus) using chemical weapons," cries the man behind the camera. His voice trembling with fear, he adds: "Where are my parents? Where is my father? My mother?"

The authenticity of the videos could not immediately be verified.

In July last year, the Syrian government implicitly admitted that it had stockpiles of chemical weapons. Experts believe these consist of mustard gas and sarin nerve agent.

Syria's rebels called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting.

"I call on the Security Council to convene urgently," coalition leader Ahmad Jarba told Al-Arabiya television, condemning what he called a massacre.

Saudi Arabia urged the UN Security Council and EU ministers to immediately address Syria's "massacre".

"It is time for the UN Security Council to assume responsibility ... by convening immediately to reach a clear deterrent decision that ends the humanitarian tragedy," said Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. "We ask EU foreign ministers meeting today in Brussels (to discuss the Egyptian crisis) to have this humanitarian catastrophe as the main topic of their talks."

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon insisted on Monday that the inspectors be granted unrestricted access to Syrian sites.

"In order to credibly establish the facts, the mission must have full access to the sites of the alleged incidents," Mr Ban said.

Al-Watan newspaper said the government had "pledged to cooperate and facilitate the work" of the UN inspectors, who launched their mission on Tuesday.

There have been frequent claims by anti-regime activists of the alleged use of chemical weapons by the army, particularly in Damascus province and Homs.



Warren Buffett Interviews Henry Paulson on the Collapse of the Global Financial System (2010)

The Film Archives

Published on Jul 23, 2013

Paulson, acting as U.S. Treasury Secretary, caused outcries from both the Republican and Democratic Parties as well as the general populace as he tried to get the situation under control.

Through unprecedented intervention by the U.S. Treasury, Paulson led government efforts which he said were aimed at avoiding a severe economic slowdown. After the Dow Jones dropped 30% and turmoil ensued in the global markets, Paulson pushed through legislation authorizing the Treasury to use $700 billion to stabilize the financial system. Working with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, he influenced the decision to create a credit facility (bridge loan and warrants) of US$85 billion to American International Group so it would avoid filing bankruptcy, after having been told that AIG held teacher pension plans, 401k plans, $1.5 trillion in life insurance plans for Americans, and the French Finance Minister called to let Paulson know that AIG held the interests of many Eurozone countries.

On September 19, 2008, Paulson called for the U.S. government to use hundreds of billions of Treasury dollars to help financial firms clean up nonperforming mortgages threatening the liquidity of those firms. Because of his leadership and public appearances on this issue, the press labeled these measures the "Paulson financial rescue plan" or simply the Paulson Plan.

With the passage of H.R. 1424, Paulson became the manager of the United States Emergency Economic Stabilization fund.

As Treasury Secretary, he also sat on the newly established Financial Stability Oversight Board that oversaw the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Paulson agreed with Bernanke that the only way to unlock the frozen capital markets was to provide direct injections into financial institutions so investors would have confidence in these institutions. The government would take a non-voting share position, with 5% dividends for the first year on the money lent to the banks and 9% thereafter until the banks stabilized and could repay the government loans. According to the book Too Big To Fail, Paulson, Bernanke, New York Federal Reserve Chairman Timothy Geithner, and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair attended the October 13, 2008 meeting on at which this plan was presented to the CEOs of nine major banks.


NSA surveillance covers 75 percent of U.S. Internet traffic: WSJ

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A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization …

(Reuters) - The National Security Agency's surveillance network has the capacity to reach around 75 percent of all U.S. Internet communications in the hunt for foreign intelligence, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Citing current and former NSA officials, the newspaper said the 75 percent coverage is more of Americans' Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed.

The Journal said the agency keeps the content of some emails sent between U.S. citizens and also filters domestic phone calls made over the Internet.

The NSA's filtering, carried out with telecom companies, looks for communications that either originate or end abroad, or are entirely foreign but happen to be passing through the United States, the paper said.

But officials told the Journal the system's broad reach makes it more likely that purely domestic communications will be incidentally intercepted and collected in the hunt for foreign ones.

In response to a request for comment, NSA said its intelligence mission "is centered on defeating foreign adversaries who aim to harm the country. We defend the United States from such threats while fiercely working to protect the privacy rights of U.S. persons.

"It's not either/or. It's both," NSA said in an email statement to Reuters.

The Journal said that these surveillance programs show the NSA can track almost anything that happens online, so long as it is covered by a broad court order, the Journal said.

Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, first disclosed details of secret U.S. programs to monitor Americans' telephone and Internet traffic earlier this summer.

(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Philip Barbara)


Asylum-seekers made it less than half-way from Indonesia when boat began to sink

by: Paige Taylor
From: The Australian
August 21, 2013 12:00AM

TRAUMATISED survivors of another fatal asylum boat journey will be delivered to Christmas Island this morning after being rescued by the Australian navy in the third tragedy at sea in five weeks.

The 106 survivors are due to be taken off HMAS Parramatta, the frigate that rescued them from their sunken vessel about 120 nautical miles north of the Australian territory. Up to five people are feared drowned.

The asylum-seekers had made it less than half-way from Indonesia when their boat began to sink. A search for five people the asylum-seekers said were unaccounted was called off last night. Navy officers in rigid inflatable boats rescued the 106 people from the sinking asylum vessel after somebody onboard phoned for help early yesterday saying two passengers were injured.

The Parramatta was more than six hours from the asylum vessel shortly after 5.30am (AEST) when the Australian Maritime Safety Authority received the phone call asking for help. At that time, there was no indication the vessel was stricken. The person who contacted AMSA indicated only that two people on board were injured and needed help, an AMSA spokeswoman said.

When the Customs and Border Protection Dash 8 aircraft arrived on the scene at 12:20pm, it sighted a "foundered vessel".

"The vessel was upright, but partially submerged. A number of people were sighted in the water," an AMSA statement said.

At 12:25pm, the Parramatta arrived and began pulling people out of the water. A merchant vessel was on the scene as well.

"After an extensive search of the area for further survivors or bodies, none have been sighted; it is therefore believed any people unaccounted for have gone down with part of the vessel," AMSA and Border Protection Command said in a joint media release at 6.38pm.

In two asylum boat tragedies north of Christmas Island last month, the vessels tipped over in rough conditions. Those two capsizes - one overnight on July 12-13 and another on July 16 - were also fatal.

In the first, officers from Customs Vessel Triton rescued 88 people with help from a merchant vessel. Rescuers also recovered the body of 10-week-old baby boy Abul Jafari from Afghanistan.

The July 16 capsize was closer to Christmas Island. The bodies of two men and two women were recovered. In that incident, officers from HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Albany rescued 144 people, including an eight-month-old baby Afghan girl found floating face down in the ocean and not breathing.

Her mother is missing presumably drowned. In that incident, the navy has confirmed an officer from the Warramunga spotted the girl, pulled her into a inflatable boat and revived her.

Those rescued yesterday are from the 40th boat to either arrive, be intercepted or rescued since Kevin Rudd announced his PNG Solution on July 19.


Chasing the 'Brazilian dream,' migrants strain the country's immigration laws

An investigation this month found illegal immigrants from Haiti living in squalor in an overcrowded camp – highlighting Brazil's lack of policies for dealing with a growing issue.

By Janet Tappin Coelho, Correspondent / August 20, 2013

After making the journey from Port au Prince in Haiti to Brazil, illegal Haitian immigrants are housed in a make-shift shelter in Brasiléia, Acre state, in conditions criticized by a human rights organization, June 1, 2013.
Janet Tappin Coelho

Rio de Janeiro

As Brazil rushes to prepare for next year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, it is facing another unexpected pressure: rising illegal immigration, spurred by the growing perception of the country as a land of opportunity.

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Putting a spotlight on the problem are hundreds of Haitians being trafficked illegally into the country. Since a massive 2010 earthquake upended many of their lives, around 10,000 undocumented Haitians have surged into Brazil, with 4,000 alone arriving in Brasiléia, in Acre State, over the past seven months. Every day, 40 more arrive.

But Brazil's response has been chaotic. A three-day investigation earlier this month into the conditions at a refugee camp in Brasiléia by Conectas, a São Paulo-based human rights organization, revealed that more than 830 immigrants – mostly Haitians and including some 20 unaccompanied children – are living in a makeshift shelter built for 200 people.

Conditions are unsanitary: The refugees share 10 toilets and eight showers, while 90 percent are suffering from diarrhea and 10 percent from respiratory diseases. Three taps provide drinking water and migrants complain daily about the quality of the food. Every day the local hospital sees around 10 Haitian patients with stomach complaints.

“What we found was unhealthy and inhumane,” says Conectas spokesman João Charleaux. “The site has open running sewage, with the latrine area flooded by fetid water and the Haitians stacked on top of each other at night, sleeping on pieces of foam mats in the middle of bags, shoes, and personal belongings in the scorching heat. Many have spent months in this condition."

Broadly speaking, Brazil appears genuinely willing to admit undocumented people into its borders. But so far, its approach of issuing humanitarian visas to Haitians even if they arrive illegally undermines its stated commitment to combat human trafficking. Critics say that as the country's international profile and prosperity rises, it must ensure that its immigration policies are unequivocal and highly developed.

“Immigration here is being treated as a simple migration problem, which has resulted in an amateurish and uncoordinated approach, overloading the small municipality of Brasiléia and its population,” says Mr. Charleaux. “The situation should in fact be managed by specialists who understand complex humanitarian emergencies."

Brazil's struggle to cope with the influx of migrants is the flip side to an economic boom that has created growth, employment, and stability over the past 10 years, says Eurasia Group Latin America analyst João de Castro Neves.

“In the past, Brazil has been used to exporting its citizens abroad. Now it’s facing a new scenario. With the upcoming World Cup and Olympics creating job demands, Brazil is beginning to be seen as a land of opportunity, just like how the United States became an illegal immigrant magnet when it had a healthy economy,” says Mr. Castro Neves.

“It’s inevitable that Brazil will now start to attract illegal aliens, too. The problem is, Brazil doesn’t have an overarching legal framework or the infrastructure in place to deal with this new phenomenon,” he adds.
Chasing the 'Brazilian dream'

Osanto George, a 19-year-old high school graduate who arrived in Brasiléia last month, is bitterly disappointed that he gave up an internship in information technology in Haiti to chase the “Brazilian dream.”

"The conditions here are not fit for human beings,” Mr. George says.

“We might as well be back in Haiti with the earthquake. It’s the same dirt, the same type of shelter, unhygienic water, and unhealthy food. It hurts me and scares me," he says. "I knew the way here would be hard, because you're dealing with criminals, but to get here in Brazil and to end up in such a place is unbelievable."

Like others, George paid more than $4,000 to a criminal gang known as "coyotes" to smuggle him into Brazil. The path he took was tortuous and risky. Reports of robberies and assaults are rife, as the journey passes through several countries, including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, and often through the Amazon jungle.

But George is still likely to be given a humanitarian visa. Even though Brazil – from the beginning of 2012 until April of this year – insisted on capping the number of visas issued to 100 per month for Haitians, the government still held to a policy of not discriminating against undocumented Haitians. Nearly all who entered illegally have obtained permits, with the right to work but no guarantee of a job.

In April, in a bid to simplify the system and to curb illegal immigration, the government lifted the restrictions on visas, announcing that Haitians could apply for permanent residency at the Brazilian embassy in Haiti's capital of Port au Prince.

The strategy is not working, however, as Conectas discovered following its inspection of the camp in Brasiléia. Increasing numbers of Haitians are still using illegal routes to enter Brazil, claiming the process of applying for the visa in Port au Prince is convoluted and slow.

While the government grapples to resolve this situation, illegal immigration in Brazil is nevertheless tiny in comparison with the United States. Brazilian census figures in 2010 put immigration at a minuscule 0.05 percent of the total population of 193.9 million. At the time, the figure for undocumented migrants was given as 600,000. In comparison, the Pew Hispanic Center in 2011 estimated that the number of illegal immigrants in the United States was around 11.5 million.

Even so, as a signatory to the United Nations protocol against the smuggling of migrants, Brazil is obliged to protect the rights of illegal immigrants and to shield them from the abuse of organized criminal gangs.

“Brazil could be held responsible for not providing adequate shelter for those who arrive here," says Pedro Kenne, an attorney for the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) for the State of Acre. "We cannot leave [the Haitians] in a situation as dire as the one they are currently left in.”


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

When No Man Can Buy Or Sell - Steve Wohlberg


Published on Oct 29, 2012

When No Man Can Buy Or Sell - Steve Wohlberg.


Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding

Between Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the United States

Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding

The Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State (Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria - AIF), signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday, 7 May, in Washington, D.C., with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), its U.S. counterpart at the U.S. Department of Treasury, to strengthen its efforts to fight money laundering and terrorism financing globally.

The Memorandum was signed by René Brülhart, Director of AIF, and Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of FinCEN, and will foster bi-lateral cooperation in the exchange of financial information.

“This is a clear indication the Holy See and the Vatican City State take international responsibilities to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism very seriously, and that we are cooperating at the highest levels”, said Brülhart. “The Vatican has shown that it is a credible partner internationally and has made a clear commitment in the exchange of information in this fight”.

AIF was established in 2010 and became operational in April 2011. It is the competent authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State for financial intelligence and for supervision and regulation in the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism.

AIF is currently in discussions with various Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of other countries and jurisdictions, including European countries, about entering into Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to strengthen bilateral cooperation to fight Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.

Until now AIF has already signed MoUs with the FIUs of Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, and now of the U.S., which plays a leading role in combating money laundering.

AIF is currently in discussions with more than 20 other FIUs, and expects several MoUs to be signed in the course of the year.

May 9, 2013


Obama Administration Mulled Ending Holy See Ambassadorship

Monday, 19 Aug 2013 03:32 PM

By John Gizzi

During the past year, the Obama administration strongly considered ending diplomatic relations with the Vatican as it pondered whether it should appoint a new envoy to the Holy See, Newsmax has learned.

The recent Obama nomination and Senate confirmation on August 1 of Ken Hackett as the new U.S. Ambassador has ended internal Obama administration debate on the matter.

"I have heard the rumors and I believe them to be true," Jim Nicholson, former U.S Ambassador to the Vatican under President George W. Bush, told Newsmax. "It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Obama White House seriously discussed downgrading U.S. diplomatic relations with the Holy See, given the devalued view they clearly hold this relationship in." Special Report: Obama’s Assault on Religion — Click Here Now

"This administration does not want a strong Catholic Church, nor a strong relationship with it, as it sees the Church as an obstacle to its liberal social agenda," Nicholson said.

The Obama administration has been in conflict with the Roman Catholic Church on a host of issues ranging from Obamacare's contraceptive requirements for Catholic hospitals to the administration's strong stance in favor of abortion rights. After Obama's first ambassador, Miguel Diaz, resigned last year, President Barack Obama had difficulty identifying a nominee who would represent his administration, but at the same time would be acceptable to the Holy See, according to one source familiar with the selection.

Faced with finding such a candidate, the Obama administration considered closing its Vatican offices, and opening offices in the U.S.'s Rome embassy for a smaller office to deal with Catholic matters.

In the end, the Obama administration moved to select Hackett, whose choice has won strong applause from Catholic leaders of all political stripes.

Hackett is the retired president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), one of the Church's largest social welfare organizations supported by the U.S. Catholic bishops. Hackett, a graduate of Boston College, also served in the Peace Corps.

"I think Ken Hackett is an excellent choice," Thomas P. Melady, who was Ambassador to the Holy See under President George H.W. Bush, told Newsmax.

Melady, who is also a past president of Sacred Heart College in Connecticut, noted that prior to assuming the presidency of CRS in 1993, Hackett began his career with the group in Africa and oversaw its operations in East Africa during the Somali crisis in the late 1980s.

"The Holy See needs a good person and they've got one," Francis Rooney, George W. Bush's envoy to the Vatican, told the Catholic Standard, saying Hackett "is tremendously qualified to do the job, given his background with Catholic Relief Services."

Along with what he called "an excellent record" at CRS, Melady said that the nominee "knows the hierarchy at the Vatican well from his years [at CRS] and that is very important."

Since the U.S. extended full diplomatic recognition to the Holy See under President Ronald Reagan, U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican have always been practicing Catholics who accept the teachings of their church — even when they conflict with those of the administration in the White House.

Melady pointed out that the two ambassadors to the Vatican under Democratic President Bill Clinton — former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn and Rep. Lindy Boggs of Louisiana — were both strong abortion opponents and took stands that differed strongly with the stated policy of their party and Clinton himself.

The same was true of Diaz, President Obama's ambassador throughout his first term.

Because more than six months went from the time of Diaz's resignation and the naming of Hackett to succeed him, there were mounting rumors that the administration was having difficulty recruiting someone to represent it at the Holy See.

"As far as I know, while there was talk of many choices to be ambassador, there we
re no formal offers made before the White House went to Ken Hackett," Melady said.