Friday, January 31, 2014

U.S. Calls on North Korea to Release Imprisoned Missionary

Kenneth Bae, an American citizen and missionary, has been imprisoned by North Korean authorities for over a year in what many see as an attempt by the dictatorship to use him as a bargaining chip with the United States. Kenneth, a devout Christian, was operating a legal tour group inside North Korea when he was arrested. North Korea completely outlaws the practice of Christianity and has publicly executed citizens for owning Bibles. In addition, tens of thousands of Christians are believed to be imprisoned in North Korean labor camps where starvation and execution are a daily part of life.

On this day in history, January 31, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed the House of Representatives 119 to 56.

The 13th Amendment bans slavery in the United States. It was supported by 100 percent of the Republican house members--88 votes. They were joined by 16 Democrats, and 15 third-party representatives (Whigs, Emancipationalists, and Unionists).

All 56 votes against the Amendment were from Democrats.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cafeteria Nazis Take Lunches from Kids - Toss it in the Trash 

Because nothing says “nurturing children” like snatching their lunches out of their wee little hands and throwing the food in the garbage can.
Admittedly, recent efforts to start an after-school dinner program in New Jersey met with adamant disapproval, but it seems as though the pendulum in one Utah school just swung way too far in the opposite direction.
At the behest of the district child nutrition manager, staff at Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah, began notifying parents whose children had a zero or negative balance on their lunch accounts. This, of course, is understandable and perfectly reasonable.
Jason Olsen, a Salt Lake City District spokesman, said the district’s child-nutrition department became aware that Uintah had a large number of students who owed money for lunches.
As a result, the child-nutrition manager visited the school and decided to withhold lunches to deal with the issue, he said. (source)
That’s all fine and dandy. The issue, though, is that the kids, who were potentially unaware of the financial issue, stood in line, got their trays of food, and walked to the register, and that is when the situation devolved into a humiliating and wasteful experience.
But cafeteria workers weren’t able to see which children owed money until they had already received lunches, Olsen explained.
The workers then took those lunches from the students and threw them away, he said, because once food is served to one student it can’t be served to another. (source)
What possible purpose could be served by squandering that food? This is not a particularly economical solution if the school’s concern was unpaid lunch bills. While I completely agree that the children’s accounts needed to be taken care of, the manner in which this was handled was callous, wasteful, and humiliating.
Olson was quick to justify the action.
“They did take that tray away and gave them fruit and a milk,” Olsen said. “We don’t ever let kids go without any food entirely.” (source)
Initially, the school district was unrepentant.
Olsen said he would not describe the tactic as a mistake.
“If students were humiliated and upset,” Olsen said, “that’s very unfortunate and not what we wanted to happen.” (source)
But such a barrage of complaints was received that now, the district has admitted wrong-doing. A statement released said:
[the] situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize.
We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation. We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again. (source)
One mother, Erika Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her, said she was never notified that her daughter’s account was in arrears, nor was she warned that her daughter would not be able to eat from the cafeteria. Lukes said that her daughter told her one of the cafeteria workers cried at the sight of the wasted food and the stunned children.
Fifth-grader Sophia Isom, Lukes’ daughter, was met by a district nutrition manager who was monitoring accounts.
“So she took my lunch away and said, ‘Go get a milk,’ ” Sophia said. “I came back and asked, ‘What’s going on?’ Then she handed me an orange. She said, ‘You don’t have any money in your account so you can’t get lunch.’ ”
She said the food was being thrown out. Sophia said the same thing happened to many students, and it was the talk of the lunch period. (source)
One could validly argue that it is the parent’s job to make sure their children’s accounts are up-to-date. However, the issue should have been dealt with through the parents. Other area school districts handle it differently.
The Jordan School District does not have a set policy, but a spokesman said they will charge elementary school students up to five days, after which the principal will work with the student and family. Their clerks are told specifically not to deny lunch to any students in elementary school. As the students enter middle school and high school, the system becomes stricter and the students are held more accountable. Parents can also make immediate payments on mobile devices.
In the Granite District, when an account hits zero, the student still gets lunch, and the parents get a phone call and a letter. The Canyons District has a similar notification system. (source)
If your child attends public school, it’s getting harder and harder to be sure he or she will be fed every day. First, Michelle Obama made her crazy caloric restriction rules, and everyone said, “Send a brown bag lunch!” Then some preschools began disallowing homemade lunches without a doctor’s note. One school even had the audacity to charge parents for “supplementing” with junk food.
One thing in the Utah incident is pretty clear to me: any “child nutrition manager” worthy of the title should be ashamed of making an arbitrary decision to suddenly rip the food from the hands of students and throw it in the trash. You don’t just say, “Surprise!” and then starve and humiliate children in order to collect payment from the parents.

Hitler’s Inspiration and Guide: The Native American Holocaust

While attending the annual Garifuna Film Festival held here in Los Angeles, we watched films about indigenous cultures, and saw the 1985 Academy Award-winning documentary Broken Rainbow, directed by Victoria Mudd, which discusses the history of injustice towards the Native American people.  The film talked about The Long Walk of the Navajo, which was the 1864 deportation and attempted ethnic cleansing of the Navajo people by the U.S. government.  8,000 Navajos were forced to walk more than 300 miles at gunpoint from their ancestral homelands in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico to an internment camp in Bosque Redondo, which was a desolate tract on the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico.  Many died along the way.  From 1863 to 1868, the U.S. Military persecuted and imprisoned 9,500 Navajo (the Diné) and 500 Mescalero Apache (the N’de).  Living under armed guards, in holes in the ground, with extremely scarce rations, it is no wonder that more than 3,500 Navajo and Mescalero Apache men, women, and children died while in the concentration camp.
During the film I learned about something that shook me to my core that I had not heard before.  I learned that the genocidal mentality and actions of the U.S. policy makers would find similar expression years later when the Nazis, under Hitler, studied the plans of Bosque Redondo to design the concentration camps for Jews.
As John Toland notes in his book Adolf Hitler (pg. 202):
Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.
He was very interested in the way the Indian population had rapidly declined due to epidemics and starvation when the United States government forced them to live on the reservations. He thought the American government's forced migrations of the Indians over great distances to barren reservation land was a deliberate policy of extermination. Just how much Hitler took from the American example of the destruction of the Indian nations is hard to say; however, frightening parallels can be drawn. For some time Hitler considered deporting the Jews to a large 'reservation' in the Lubin area where their numbers would be reduced through starvation and disease.
David A. Meier notes in his book Hitler's Rise to Power:
His favorite game to play outside was cowboys and Indians. Tales of the American West were very popular among boys in Austria and Germany. Books by James Fenimore Cooper and especially German writer Karl May were eagerly read and re-enacted. May, who had never been to America, invented a hero named Old Shatterhand, a white man who always won his battles with Native Americans, defeating his enemies through sheer will power and bravery. Young Hitler read and reread every one of May's books about Old Shatterhand, totaling more than 70 novels. He continued to read them even as Führer. During the German attack on the Soviet Union he sometimes referred to the Russians as Redskins and ordered his officers to carry May's books about fighting.
Some of the parallels include the death marches when the Nazis forced hundreds of thousands of prisoners from Nazi concentration camps and prisoner of war camps near the eastern front to camps inside Germany away from front lines and allied forces.  I saw an image from May 11, 1945, where German civilians were walking past bodies of 30 Jewish women starved to death by German SS troops in a 300-mile march across Czechoslovakia. It made me think about how The Long Walk of the Navajo was also 300-miles, and many of the Native Americans died of starvation.
I thought about how the Nazis were burning Jewish books and burying bodies in mass graves, and the parallels of how Indian cultures were also erased, libraries of oral tradition functionally burned, and many were buried in mass graves under bibles.
Map of the Long Walk:
We must listen…
We don’t talk about the correlation as much as we should between the Native American Holocaust and the Jewish Holocaust.  I often hear people dismiss the correlation between the suffering of our people and that of others.  They felt that there is no comparison between the magnitude of horror and death that happened during the Jewish holocaust.  I am by no means saying that the Jewish Holocaust was not one of humanity's darkest hours, but I believe that we must put down our measuring stick of who had it worse.
I've witnessed this attitude within many different cultures.  Although not always, when I hear people say “ours was worse then theirs,” I see it as ultimately a lack of empathy and an attitude of indifference towards a grouping of people who have suffered from the same evilness that Hitler was fueled by.  And like Elie Wiesel said, “Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.”  These conversations of “ours is worse then theirs” in regards to any grouping of people who have suffered from such evilness, MUST stop.
Open discussions about the Native American Holocaust need to happen, so that we may understand the very blueprint of Hitler’s reign.  To truly achieve “Never Again” we must hear the stories of others who have also endured humanity's darkest times, especially in the land in which we reside.

By Lia Mandelbaum
Lost Bird: Survivor of Wounded Knee, Betrayed by the White Man

The Story Behind the Photograph

This antique photo is the most expensive and I think the most interesting one in my collection.  It’s an Imperial—which means a giant version of the cabinet card-- and measures  about 7 by 10 inches;  an albumen print mounted on decorative board.  It was taken in Beatrice, Nebraska by a photographer named Taylor.

As you can see, the photograph shows a handsome, stern-looking military officer in a general’s uniform holding an adorable Native American baby.  The officer is Gen. Leonard Colby who adopted this baby and had the photograph taken—as a public relations gesture.

This baby girl was found alive beneath the frozen body of her mother four days after the killing of hundreds of Lakota men, women and children on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota on Dec. 29, 1890, in what came to be known as the Massacre of Wounded Knee.

She was named “Zintkala Nuni” -- “The Lost Bird” by the tribe’s survivors, who tried to get custody of her, but she was adopted –also as a public relations move -- by  Brigadier General Leonard W. Colby, whose men came to the killing field after the massacre was over.

Over the protests of the Lakotas, he adopted the child, claiming that he was a full-blooded Seneca Indian.  He promised to bring food to the surviving tribe members if they’d give him this living souvenir of Wounded Knee. Then he had this photograph taken.  On the back Colby wrote in lead pencil on the black cardboard, words which are now nearly indecipherable:   “… girl found on the field of Wounded Knee…mother’s back on the fourth day after the battle, was found by me.  She was about 4 or 5 months old and was frozen on her head and feet, but entirely recovered.  The battle occurred Dec. 29, 1890, about fifteen miles walking from Pine Ridge, South Dakota.” 

Gen. Colby adopted the baby without even consulting his wife, Clara Bewick Colby, who was in Washington D.C. at the time, working as a suffragette activist, lecturer, publisher and writer.   The well-meaning adoptive mother brought the infant to Washington where Zintka, as they called her, grew up, buffeted by all the current social trends of the time—women’s suffrage, rejection by her own people, exploitation of her background by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, early silent films and vaudeville. 

As an adolescent, longing to return to the West to learn more about her origins.  Zintka went to Beatrice, Neb., to live with Colby, who by then had left his wife and daughter and married her former nanny.  The girl may have been sexually abused by her adoptive father, because she became pregnant under his care and was shipped off to a prison-like home for pregnant women.  Her infant son was stillborn but the girl was confined to the reformatory for another year.

Zintka returned eventually to her mother in Washington, then married a man who infected her with syphilis.  She tried different careers, including working with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, which exploited her Native American background.    She tried to work in vaudeville and the early movie business—dressed as an Indian, of course-- and reportedly may have worked as a prostitute as well.

Zintka had two more children—one died and she gave the other to an Indian woman who, she felt, could take care of him better, because she and her ailing husband were desperately poor.

She fell ill in February of 1920 during an influenza epidemic, and on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, “Lost Bird” died at the age of 29 of the Spanish flu complicated by syphilis.  She was buried in a pauper’s grave in California.

The only bright light in Zintka’s story is that her bones were exhumed in 1991, seventy-one years after her death, by the Wounded Knee Survivor’s Association, to be returned to the battlefield and buried with great ceremony while news media and hundreds of Native American descendents watched.  A Lakota woman said, “Lost Bird has returned today to the same place she was taken from.  This means a new beginning, a process of healing is completed.  We can be proud to be a Lakota.  To our sacred children, this means a beginning.”

The story of Lost Bird is so steeped in irony that it reads as a fable of the exploitation and torture of the Native Americans by the white invaders.  On her own trail of tears, during her short life, Zintka was robbed of her name and her mother and any opportunity to learn about her own culture.  Despite her adoptive mother’s love and good intentions, she was terribly unhappy—prevented from going back to the West to find her kin and then sexually abused when she did return to the West. She was exploited and stereotyped by the film and entertainment world, eventually to die before she reached 30.

Lost Bird’s story has been told by Renee Sansom Flood in the 1998 book “Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota”, and Ms. Flood also spurred the effort to find Zintka’s grave and bring her home.  The author was a social worker in South Dakota when a colleague showed her a faded photograph that set her out on her years of research and writing.  That photo, found by the woman working with Renee Flood in an old trunk in her late father’s attic, was the same photo I own today—with Colby’s writing on the back.  Renee Flood became so obsessed with telling Lost Bird’s story and bringing her home to be buried with her people that she had recurring dreams of the little girl until she fulfilled her obsession.
I know that owning this historic photograph is a serious responsibility. I, too,  would like to  spread the story of Zintka’s  sad life.  The story of Lost Bird is a vivid illustration of how a faded old photograph, over a century old, can have the power to move people to make discoveries long after the subject and the photographer are dead.

::::::::::::.R E A D - F U L L - A R T I C L E - B E L O W.:::::::::::::
1/21/14 When I first heard that the USDA had approved the processing
of U.S.-raised chickens in China, for import back into this country- and
back into our supermarkets and schools – I thought “Have these folks
gone mad?”

China’s food safety system is decades behind ours – and ours is far from perfect. That’s why I started a petition, along with fellow food health and safety activists Bettina Siegel and Barbara Kowalcyk, titled “Congress, keep Chinese chicken out of our schools and supermarkets!” The petition has reached over 114,000 signatures in just over a week.

It seems that barely a month goes by without some horrifying report of food adulteration in China, such as deadly melamine in milk powder which sickened over 300,000 children, high-levels of mercury in baby formula, Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in China learning that their Chinese poultry supplier had fattened their chickens with large quantities of toxic chemicals, rat meat sold as lamb, and chemically-enhanced 46 year old chicken feet being sold to unsuspecting consumers.

And let’s not forget the environmental issues that China is currently dealing with, which impact its soil and crops, as well as the food and water consumed by both humans and farm animals. Who could forget the images of more than 16,000 dead and diseased pigs dumped into the Huangpu River? Or recent estimates that one-sixth of China’s soil is affected by industrial runoff and factory pollution; that over 13 million tons of crops harvested yearly were contaminated with heavy metals like cadmium; or that 22 million acres of farmland were plagued with pesticide contamination. The government of China even reported, in a 2012 study, that 55 percent of the country’s groundwater ranked as “poor” or “very poor.”

This systemic failure of food safety oversight in China appears not to have fazed USDA decision-makers – they gave the green light to four Chinese plants to process slaughtered chickens from the U.S., Canada and Chile, and import the fowl back into this country. U.S. food inspectors will not be monitoring the plants – except for one yearly visit, which the plant operators will reportedly know of ahead of time! Would you want to serve your family chicken processed in a country with such a dismal food safety record? Since Chinese-processed chicken does not have to bear “Country Of Origin Labeling,” consumers will have no way of knowing if it’s an ingredient in their chicken nuggets or chicken soup.

The other mystery is why any U.S. company would want to send U.S.-raised and slaughtered chickens over 7,000 miles to China to be processed, cooked, and then shipped back to America, unlabeled, to be sold to unsuspecting families. No doubt there are plenty of American facilities and workers perfectly willing to process these chickens. As crazy as it seems to a layman like me, I’m sure there are some instances where processing U.S. chicken in China could save food companies money. But why would any reputable company take the risk of processing chicken in China where even a top government official stated, just last July, that it can’t meet the food safety standards of more developed nations?

According to numerous sources, including Senator Chuck Schumer, the USDA decision giving the green light to chicken processed in China could actually be a quid pro quo or prelude to allowing Chinese-raised and slaughtered chickens to be sold in the U.S. American beef has been banned in China ever since the mad cow scare in 2003. China has reportedly told U.S. officials that it will not lift that ban until we allow it to export its own slaughtered chickens into our country. That’s even more deeply concerning from a food safety aspect!

While trade with another country is certainly desirable, it’s hardly advisable when that country lacks a centralized food safety inspection process and the ability to enforce food safety standards. No doubt, China will eventually construct a food safety system that is equivalent to our own, but that system is years, if not decades away.

Our petition asks Congress and the President, to take these actions to safeguard the health and safety of Americans:

(1) Ensure that Chinese-processed chicken is not included in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program; and

(2) Prevent funds from being used to implement any rule that would allow poultry raised or slaughtered in China to be exported to the United States.

Let me finish with this simple thought. If a local restaurant has serious food safety violations, people have access to that information and can avoid that restaurant. If a food company has serious food safety violations, the media will cover that story and consumers can stop buying their products. But, if chicken processed in China is in our children’s chicken nuggets, we’ll never know. That’s a shameful and needless risk our government is taking, at the expense of America’s health.

Huehnergarth is a national food policy activist, journalist, coalition leader and president of Nancy F. Huehnergarth Consulting.
Our (southern) border cities are getting rougher and rougher. Gangs and cartels are getting bolder and bolder. Used to be you didn't want to park your car in a bad neighborhood over night. Then not even park it there during the daytime. Now COP cars in one place for too long are getting ripped off.

Have you been cities like Laredo, El Paso, Las Cruces, etc., in the last 3-5 years? U.S. citizens are saying "enough" and moving north. Mexican citizens are saying "thank you" and... doing the same. (moving north) Law enforcement/peace officers are getting harder to find as its tough, dangerous work that no one will do w/o generous compensation - which puts an even greater strain on already tapped city finances. Birthing rooms are filled with non-citizens having their 2nd, 3rd, 4th child (here). Visit a Walmart in El Paso sometime. Heck, even in Albuquerque --as relatively far north as it is-- , English has become second language. I'm in ALB frequently & I can speakie de spanish enough to get by, but If you're from a part of the country where you're not used to it, its actually somewhat startling.

Bottom line is, while Washington bickers over how best to manage illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is not waiting for Washington to stop bickering. And it all costs us all money. Lots of it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vatican supports Croatian genocidal orgy again
The Roman Catholic Church in Croatia was openly supporting Ustasha Nazi ideology related events in a variety of ways, apart from serving the masses for war criminal Ante Pavelic, the catholic clergy of Croatia recently hosted under their roof the organizers of the petition against use of  Cyrillic alphabet in Croatia”,  says Dusan Bastašić, chairman of the Association ” Jadovno 1941.

CRoatian nazi

” In the last four years no representatives of the Catholic church  ever appeared at Šaranova pit on the Velebit mountain, for  joint anniversary with the Orthodox priest and a Jewish rabbi, to  pray for the souls of the innocent victims of the Croatian fanatics”
Bastasic is worried by the lukewarm response of the Croatian state leadership , who’s  unwilling or unable to resist the growing wave of Ustasha ideology and fascism .
Vukovar, Croatia, September 2013. – Destroying the Cyrilic plaque

Fighting the Cyrillic alphabet with the blessing of the Roman Catholic Church –  ”This could have dire consequences for the few Serbs who, despite all,  chose to live in Croatia, and to keep their Serbian identity,” said Bastašić

It is curious that only a few members of an civil action movement , with a yellow Star of David on their sleeve, protested in front of the church , holding a banner on which was the same star; but they wrote that  ”200,000 people were killed in Ustasha camps.” !
1941, Zagreb – Catholic clergy greets their leader with a NAZI salute
” Shameless reduce of the number of victims ,  which are symbolically attributed only to one nation (Jews), made the protesters  alike the Croatian Nazis who came to serve mass after their leader, since they ‘forgot’ that most of those killed in Croatia were Serbs .”
DeteThe photo above is of a three-year old Serbian boy who was shot dead while hiding in the cellar at 72 Nikola Demonja Street, Vukovar, Croatia. His mother and father, Sladjana and Miroslav Cecavac, were also brutally killed by Tudjman’s Ustashe Nazi troops. This 3 year old Serbian child was labelled a “Serbian aggressor” by the Croatian government and the Western corporate – controlled media. In order to stop his so-called ”aggression”, the  ”brave” Croatian neo-Ustashe soldiers put a bullet in the back of his head, which exited from the front of his skull. In the war in Croatia and Bosnia, by mid-1994, 7,000 Serbian children were killed: twice as many as Croatian and Muslim children combined. If, God forbid, this was your child, what would you do to his killers? (From: “The Suppressed Serbian Voice And The Free Press In America” By William Dorich, 1994 – p 30)
“It is such a shame that person like Stjepan Mesic speaks about  the need to combat the growing Croatian fanaticism, Stjepan Mesic who,  openly flirted with the Ustasha emigres and collected money for Tudjman , Susak and Mercep army. “
Chairman of the Board of the Serbian national society ( SND ) ” Prebilovci ” Milenko Jahura believes that the existence of NDH (Independent state of Croatia 1941 – 1943.)  , no doubt , was result of the aspirations of the Croatian society and the church and people.
Serbian children in the very first dead camp for children. Invention of the Independent sate of Croatia
” Let me remind you of the delight of the masses after establishing the Hazi state and joining Hitler’s troops in Zagreb. Alternatively, read the sermon Mostar Bishop Ratko Peric read on April 28,  2002., on the occasion of the transfer of the remains of Don Elias Thomas , Ustasha Commissioner for Herzegovina , in, until recently, pure Serbian Orthodox village Klepci . Bishop said that Thomas was supporter of  the NDH ” like any other Croat of the time .”
He recalled that Thomas was a member of the Ustasha movement in Čapljina and during the war he killed about 400 Serbian children.

” Despite all, he was declared a martyr, and his day officially included in the Catholic Church calendar to be marked/celebrated on the 2. May. Whoever monitors  developments in this area , could easily find on the internet about the excavations of the former NDH Ustashas, often notorious  war criminals, all with solemn religious ceremonies, in order to transfer them (the ,,martyrs”)  to the Memorial cemetery or to re – bury  them in some of the Roman Catholic  church where those mass murderers get honourable monuments . It’s openly and without any obstacle done  in Croatia and Croato – Muslim Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina “said Jahura .
The truth is  that Pavelic and the bloody Independent State of Croatia are seen as something positive and respectful in Croatian society, as well as  respect as an “important” and ‘glorious’ part of Croatian history and in terms of solving so called Croatian national question , as it is ultimately resolved in the August 1995, when over 300 000 Serbs were expelled and several thousands murdered during the Croatian aggression on Respublica Srpska Krajina, an ancient Serbian entity established in 17. century by Habsbourghs.
“As for the church , and the church consists of bishops , priests and the faithful , all is even clearer .For the Croatian Catholic church Ustasha, and hence the Leader , are perceived as a value pre se;  they are  incorporated into Croatian religious system and doctrine. That’s logical. Croats and almost all the people , care about their national and state goals and interests; that includes respect and esteem of those who contributed to their achievement . Didn’t Pavelic and ustashe did so by murdering over a million of Serbs and expelling over a 500 000 ? Isn’t  Croatia respectfull, and enjoys support and glory from the international community, despite everything? “asks Jahura .
He adds that the attitude towards the Serbs killed in the genocides in Bosnia and Croatia in three wars in the 20th century , is best illustrated by the extremely popular Croatian songs:  ” Jasenovac and Gradiska Stara ( places of the most monstrous death camps for Serbs), are the places of Max’s butchers” (Max Luburic, real butcher of the Orthodox Serbs, especially infants)
” The slaughterhouse was Čapljina , many Serbs Neretva litters ”  (Neretva – the river Croats used to throw murdered Serbs into)
and    ” Pavelic, What to do to Serbs? – Put ‘ in chains , throw into Šurmanci “., etc

The Nazi and fascist-founded EU continues to persecute Serbian leaders in their continuing extermination of the Serbs in Kosovo, and the Balkans.
Update on Oliver Ivanovic - fm an international law mailing list:

According to news repo...rts, Oliver Ivanovic is to face charges for the killing of 2 Kosovo Albanian civilians during the 1999 war and of 10 Kosovo Albanians and other non-Serbs killed during the Feb. 2000 riots, when thousands of Albanian residents were expelled from their homes in north Mitrovica. At the time, Mr. Ivanovic headed the so-called 'Bridge Watchers' vigilantes on the north side of Mitrovica.
27 January 2014

EU arrests moderate Kosovo Serb leader in war crimes probe

By Fatos Bytyci

PRISTINA, Jan 27 (Reuters) -- A moderate Kosovo Serb leader and key interlocutor for NATO and the European Union in the young Balkan country was arrested on Monday in connection with alleged war crimes committed more than a decade ago, the EU said.

Oliver Ivanovic, 60, was questioned and then arrested "as an alleged suspect in an ongoing war crimes investigation, together with allegations of aggravated murder after the conflict," the EU's police and justice mission in Kosovo said in a statement.

A judge was considering a request for his further detention, it added.

Ivanovic, who lives in the ethnically-divided flashpoint town of Mitrovica in northern Kosovo, has been a key point of contact for NATO's peacekeeping force, the EU, United Nations and Western embassies since a 1998-99 war in the former southern Serbian province.

Some 40,000-50,000 ethnic Serbs live in northern Kosovo, rejecting integration with the mainly Albanian state since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Ivanovic came to prominence immediately after the war, as one of the organisers of Serbs in Mitrovica known as the 'Bridgewatchers', who guarded against Albanian infiltration into the northern side of the town.

The Bridgewatchers were frequently involved in inter-ethnic violence in the turbulent postwar period, after NATO bombing drove out Serbian forces accused of killing and expelling Kosovo Albanian civilians during a two-year counter-insurgency war.

The group was officially disbanded, but many of its members branched out into organised crime. Ivanovic entered politics and became known for his moderate stance, advocating dialogue and compromise while still rejecting Kosovo sovereignty.

He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of north Mitrovica in December, in the first municipal polls to be held in the north under Kosovo law, part of a landmark EU-brokered accord between Serbia and Kosovo to integrate the north Kosovo Serbs after years of political and economic limbo.

The EU mission, established in 2008, handles sensitive cases of war crimes and high-level graft.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Matt Robinson)
Nezavisne novine
27.01.2014 19:36

Tužilac zatražio pritvor za Ivanovića

Izvor: Srna

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Tužilac Euleksa je zatražio određivanje pritvora za predsjednika Građanske inicijative "Srbija, demokratija, pravda" Olivera Ivanovića zbog optužbi da je počinio ratni zločin 1999. na Kosovu, rečeno je Srni u Euleksu.

Portparol Euleksa Irina Gudeljević izjavila je da je ispitivanje završeno i da je tužilac izdao nalog za Ivanovićevo zadržavanje.

"Ivanovića je danas saslušao tužilac Euleksa za dva odvojena krivična djela. Prvo krivično djelo odnosi se na ratni zločin počinjen tokom ratnih sukoba 1999, a drugo na teško ubistvo izvršeno poslije ratnog konflikta", pojasnila je Gudeljevićeva.

Ona je navela da će nadležni sudija odlučiti o zahtjevu tužioca.

Ivanovićev advokat Nebojša Vlajić rekao je novinarima da je Ivanoviću stavljeno na teret da je ubio dva Albanca 1999. na području opštine Kosovska Mitrovica i da je njegov branjenik odbacio te optužbe.

Saslušanje Ivanovića pred Euleksovim tužiocem trajalo je više časova.

Prethodno je Građanska inicijativa SDP navela da privođenje Ivanovića ima političku pozadinu i da je on priveden da bi se napravila ravnoteža, jer se hapse i Albanci.

SDP je demantovala da je Ivanović priveden i tvrdi da se on kao građanin javio na poziv tužioca Euleksa.
The Associated Press
27 January 2014

EU in Kosovo jails Serb politician suspected of war crimes

The European Union police and justice mission in Kosovo says it has arrested a Serb politician suspected of war crimes during the 1998-99 Kosovo war.

The mission, known as EULEX, said Monday that Oliver Ivanovic - a mayoral candidate for the town of Mitrovica - was identified as a suspect during an investigation into war crimes and alleged murders soon after the conflict. No other details were given.

An international prosecutor interviewed Ivanovic and a judge will decide if he will be kept in detention.

Ivanovic narrowly lost to a hardline Serb, Krstimir Pantic, in the race for mayor of the Serb part of Mitrovica. Pantic refused to swear allegiance to Kosovo's ethnic Albanian authorities forcing a new vote to be held on Feb. 23

“America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
-President Obama, 2014 State of the Union address
"If the President Obama wants to score an easy win for the middle class, he could simply put the politics aside and approve the Keystone pipeline. That's thousands of American jobs right there. He won't even need to use the phone. Just his pen. One stroke."
-Senator Mitch McConnell


The AFL-CIO itself --not exactly the most partisan conservative organization in the country-- says Keystone would call for "20,000 immediate jobs, and as many as 500,000 indirect jobs ... without one single dollar of government assistance." Not only that, the pipeline would ease gas prices at the pump which would benefit ALL Americans, regardless of economic class. So, what's the hold up middle-class warrior man??
January 26, 1892 - Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman, hall of fame civil aviator, was born in Atlanta, Texas. In her early 20’s, Coleman became interested in flying, but could not gain admittance to American flight schools because she was black an...d a woman. Therefore, she traveled to Paris, France where she learned to fly and on June 15, 1921 became the first African American woman to earn an international aviation license. After completing an advanced training course, Coleman became a barnstorming stunt flier known as Queen Bess. On April 30, 1926, while flying to an air show, her plane crashed and she died instantly. In 1990, a road at O’Hara Airport was renamed Bessie Coleman Drive. In 1995, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor and she was posthumously inducted into the Women in Aviation Hall of Fame. Biographies of Coleman include “Bessie Coleman: The Brownskin Lady Bird” (1994) and “She Dared to Fly: Bessie Coleman” (1997). Coleman’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo: January 26, 1892 - Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman, hall of fame civil aviator, was born in Atlanta, Texas. In her early 20’s, Coleman became interested in flying, but could not gain admittance to American flight schools because she was black and a woman. Therefore, she traveled to Paris, France where she learned to fly and on June 15, 1921 became the first African American woman to earn an international aviation license. After completing an advanced training course, Coleman became a barnstorming stunt flier known as Queen Bess. On April 30, 1926, while flying to an air show, her plane crashed and she died instantly. In 1990, a road at O’Hara Airport was renamed Bessie Coleman Drive. In 1995, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor and she was posthumously inducted into the Women in Aviation Hall of Fame. Biographies of Coleman include “Bessie Coleman: The Brownskin Lady Bird” (1994) and “She Dared to Fly: Bessie Coleman” (1997). Coleman’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.
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January 29, 1942 - Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, the first person of African descent to travel in space, was born in Guantanamo, Cuba. Tamayo was a pilot in the Cuban Air Defense Force before being selected as part of the Soviet Union’s Intercosmo...s program in 1978. On September 18, 1980, he and another Soviet cosmonaut were launched into space where they spent 188 hours conducting experiments on space adaptation syndrome. Following his time in the Intercosmos program, Tamayo became director of international affairs in the Cuban armed forces. He also is a deputy in the Cuban National Assembly.
Who Are the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem?

There is no individual or group that is empowered to act as "the voice of Palestinian Christians." It is not "the Palestinian Christians" but just one or two individuals who pen those public statements, even if these appear under a title that can vary from the respectable ("Heads of Churches") to the preposterous ("Kairos Palestine"). The only worthwhile question is whether the message is composed in a truly Christian spirit or is merely political agitation clothed in theological verbiage.
Something was written by somebody and sent to various people, then put out in the name of "the churches in Jerusalem," whether or not the people contacted had even reacted to it.
Christmas 2013 has been marred, once again, by petty Jew-haters in churches who pose as champions of the Palestinians. The details have been faithfully collected here. Often they claim to be acting on behalf of "the Palestinian Christians." But the Palestinian Christians whom they evoke as witnesses may be merely some clique that has no authority to speak in the name of "Palestinian Christianity," such as the handful of has-beens and wannabes who authored the so-called Kairos Palestine Document. Arguably, the "Heads of Churches in Jerusalem" is the only body that expresses the authentic opinion of Palestinian Christians. But even that assumption lacks a foundation, as we shall see.
The 2013 Christmas message of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem is, for sure, an admirable and exemplary statement of Christian theology that could guide all people of good will. It consoles the Christian victims of the contemporary Middle East without picking out anyone for blame or descending into partisan politics. Only fanatics, of whatever persuasion, could disagree with such expressions as: "Violence is seen as the only way to impose order and achieve security by some or as the only way to resist oppression and injustice by others. We firmly believe that violence is not the way and that the Jesus as the Prince of Peace came to show us not only how to be reconciled to God, but how to be reconciled to one another. Peace has to begin in the human heart as we recognize the common humanity which we share with every single person who has been created in God's image."
Clergy from various churches at a Christmas reception in Jerusalem. (Image source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Who is the message talking about? As much about Syrians and Egyptians as about Israelis and Palestinians, as other parts of the message make clear, though without naming and shaming anyone. Just a few years ago, however, there was a marked bias toward the Palestinians in repeated messages issued in the name of the Heads of Churches, whether the regular messages every Christmas and Easter or ones responding to particular events. Sometimes the messages were stuffed with political demands upon Israeli governments and the various Palestinian factions.

The Misunderstandings of May

Those messages prompted an academic lady, Melanie A. May, to publish an annotated collection of nearly seventy of them: Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988-2008 (Eerdmans, 2010). The publisher's blurb claims: "This book bears powerful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the faith and hope of Palestinian Christians living in the Occupied Territories. Melanie May introduces and presents the remarkable public statements made by the Jerusalem Heads of Churches over the course of two decades, from 1988 to 2008. Through Jerusalem Testament the voices of Palestinian pastors speak out on behalf of their own people, calling Christians worldwide to a new covenant with their brothers and sisters in and around Jerusalem."
Unfortunately, both the blurb and even the title of the book are not just misleading but false. The messages normally appear over thirteen signatures. Twelve are those of church leaders, typically in the following order: Greek Orthodox, Latin Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Maronite, Episcopal (Anglican), Lutheran, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic. The thirteenth name, that of the Franciscan Custos, is inserted in fourth place, following the three historic Patriarchs.
Seven of them are not Palestinian churches: the (two) Armenian, Coptic, (two) Syrian, Ethiopian and Maronite ones. They are headed by non-Palestinians and their members are not Palestinians or even ethnic Arabs. The Copts, for example, are descendents of the pre-Islamic population of Egypt, since Islamic law forbids the marriage of Muslim women to Christian men, while reckoning as Muslims the children of a Muslim man and a Christian woman. The Armenians and Syrians are descendants of refugees from the genocides of World War I in Turkey; there were massive killings of Syrian and Greek Christians in Turkey as well as of Armenians. The Maronites, as one of their Heads once charmingly explained to us, call themselves "Arabs" when they are politically weak but "Phoenicians" when they are politically strong.
The other six bodies include Palestinians, but the Greek Orthodox Patriarch is always Greek (together with most of the upper hierarchy), the Franciscan Custos is an Italian, and the Greek Catholics are usually headed by a Syrian, though currently by an Egyptian whose mother was Greek. Thus only three of the thirteen Heads were Palestinians during the period of Professor May's book (and are today), though within living memory even these three always came from Italy (the Latins), the UK (the Episcopals) and Germany (the Lutherans, before the Arab congregations separated from the Germans and became an independent church).
On the other hand, their constituencies are not only Palestinian, but include Israel and Jordan. The Greek Patriarchate stretches as far as the Gulf States, the Latin Patriarchate includes Cyprus, the Episcopal Diocese includes Lebanon and Syria, while the Franciscans come from all over the world. Moreover, with the exception of the Arab Lutherans, the churches that have Arab members have far more of them within the State of Israel than in the territories of the Palestinian Authority.
Thus it is ridiculous to speak of the thirteen as if they were Palestinian churches headed by Palestinian Christians. This error, however, is not peculiar to Professor May but just taken over from what almost all pro-Palestinian foreigners, including many academics, take for granted.
The annotations of Professor May are also infected by Palestinian propaganda taken at face value. Just one example is her writing (p. 44) that " September 1996... Prime Minister Netanyahu... gave the go-ahead to open the 'Western Wall Tunnel,' an archaeological tunnel that runs under Al-Aqsa and the Haram al-Sharif." This is not an inadvertent slip, since she repeats it (p. 55): "the archaeological tunnel that runs underneath the Haram al-Sharif." Indeed, this claim was propagated by Palestinians, provoking violent riots in which people were killed and wounded. But it was a gross lie. The "tunnel" does not go under Al-Aqsa or the Temple Mount (a term that she apparently avoids, maybe in deference to the malicious Palestinian lie that there was never a Jewish temple there). Second, it is not an archaeological tunnel. Third, not it but something else was opened.
To be precise: this is the ancient street, maybe already existing in the time of Jesus, but buried for centuries, which runs along the western side of the Temple Mount. It was unearthed by removing accumulated rubble in the substructures of more recent buildings. And what was opened was not the site, which was already available for visits, but merely an exit to the Via Dolorosa at its northern end. The idea was to enable a continuous stream of visitors from south to north. If Professor May has ever been in Jerusalem in the meantime, she could have booked a place in a tour and seen for herself. The tours have been continuing year by year without provoking further riots, because the Palestinians realized that they had been induced, once again, to get themselves killed by the lies of their leaders.
Yet the most egregious mistake, in which also Professor May is not alone, is the assumption that those various messages were composed in conference by the thirteen signatories. As far as I could ascertain, having lived since 1970 in Jerusalem, each one of those messages, up to today, was normally the work of a single individual. The Heads of Churches themselves may have done little more, if anything, than add their signatures. Sometimes they did not even all do that, but the message went out anyway.

The Musings of Sellors

Throughout the period of Professor May's book (1988-2008), it is not even clear that any of the messages issued in the names of the Heads of Churches was written by a Palestinian. Certainly, in the second half of that period the man who composed the messages was not a Palestinian but a recently arrived Englishman, Michael H. Sellors (1936-2010).

During 1997-2002, Sellors was Dean of the Episcopal St. George's Cathedral. Upon his retirement, he decided to stay on in Jerusalem instead of returning to his old diocese in England, where he was rumored to have a wife. His eccentric appearance and manners made him known to some as "Mad Mike." But if you have read the Barsetshire novels of Anthony Trollope, the favorite author of the late British PM Harold Macmillan, you would not be surprised by strange Anglican clerics.
Although Sellors no longer had a mandate, the Heads of Churches let him continue to coordinate their occasional meetings and business, while he continued to style himself "Very Rev'd." He found lodging through the generosity of one monastery or another. Only now there were fewer restraints on his composition of messages. One hopes that one or more of the Heads of Churches scrutinized his Christmas and Easter messages, but other messages were prompted by sudden turns of event. The messages went out by what might be called the "Mad Mike maneuver." That is, they were sent to the offices of all the Heads of Churches with a note to the effect that "this will go out at midday if I do not hear from you." Never mind if, as happens to prelates with widespread dioceses, some of the Heads of Churches were out of the country.
Most of the Heads of Churches may have played a passive role in the formulation of such messages. Yet someone whose touch can be sensed in some of those statements is Michel Sabbah, whose term of office as Latin Patriarch (1987-2008) covered almost exactly the period recorded in Professor May's book.
Immediately after retirement, himself now freed from restraints and unwilling to let go, Sabbah played a role in formulating the Kairos Palestine Document, published in December 2009. The main instigators of this document, however, were two Palestinians employed by the secretariat of the World Council of Churches (WCC): Yusef Daher and Rifat Odeh Kassis. Although the document was presented to the world in Bethlehem, its ultimate origins, not to mention the funds for its promotion, lie in Geneva.
Not long after the retirement of Sabbah, Sellors suddenly died (January 27, 2010). One morning he was noticed to be speaking incoherently, but unfortunately people ascribed that to over-indulgence. By the time he was persuaded to go to an Israeli hospital and was diagnosed with a stroke, it was too late.
Thus the enthusiastic talk of Professor May's blurb about "the faith and hope of Palestinians" and "the voices of Palestinian pastors" is a lot of twaddle. Instead, her book in large measure documents the musings of an eccentric Englishman that were given an automatic green light by mainly non-Palestinian church leaders.

This is not to disparage the Heads of Churches. On the contrary, for most of them, whom I have known, many examples could be given of their devotion to their flocks and their truly Christian spirit. Many also have to travel frequently and officiate in prolonged obligatory worship services. With few exceptions, such as Sabbah and Arab Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan, they have no time to waste on penning political commentaries.

Well might they think it a waste of time. It would be hard to find any instance in which the messages compiled in Professor May's book had any impact on political processes. Real-time politicians may listen politely to church leaders, but they have much more important issues on their minds, such as the economy, national security and ensuring their own reelection. The only people who made much of those messages were pro-Palestinian academics and bureaucrats in the WCC and Western churches, who themselves have no political influence.

Back in October 2012, for instance, fifteen mostly Protestant church leaders sent a letter to the US Congress, asking it to reconsider military aid to Israel. In the meantime, unimpressed, Congress has increased that aid to Israel. Reasons for this are evident. Since President Obama's speech in Cairo (June 4, 2009), for which he received that year's Nobel Peace Prize, the Middle East has descended into increasing warfare and chaos. In Egypt itself, all the contending factions are furious with the US. Apart from US bases in the Persian Gulf, Israel is the only foothold of remaining US influence. The military aid, moreover, is used in the interest of the US: some is spent on purchasing US arms, some on developing anti-missile defense systems that the US wants to use itself.
Today it is another individual who writes the messages and, moreover, gives the Heads of Churches adequate time to review them. There is no need to mention the name, or even whether it is a man or a woman. It is enough to say that a Palestinian can be a truer Christian than a foreign pro-Palestinian, even if those who flaunt their Palestinian Christianity often are not.

Even when the messages touch on political issues, the tone has now changed. In advance of the debate on Palestinian statehood in the UN General Assembly in 2011, the Heads of Churches published a communiqué stating "the principles upon which we agree": "1. A two-state solution serves the cause of peace and justice. 2. Israelis and Palestinians must live each in their own independent states with peace and justice, respecting human rights according to international law. 3. Negotiations are the best way to resolve all outstanding problems between the two sides. 4. Palestinians and Israelis should exercise restraint, whatever the outcome of the vote at the United Nations. 5. Jerusalem is a Holy City to the followers of all three Abrahamic faiths, in which all people should be able to live in peace and tranquility, a city to be shared by the two peoples and the three faiths."
Here there is no partisan stance on behalf of Israelis or Palestinians. Some of us would argue that to talk of a two-state solution is fanciful when a three-state solution has already arrived (with Gaza and the West Bank going their separate ways). But since the governments and media of the world still entertain that fancy, the Heads of Churches are not to be reproached.

Rehabilitated Churches

The disappearance of Sellors and Sabbah is only part of the explanation for the changed tone of the messages. The control over what is put out in the name of the Heads of Churches has also tightened. This is because the internal crises of various churches have been resolved.
First and foremost, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate has emerged from a prolonged
 series of problems (examples of which will follow). The importance of this development is that the Greek Patriarch is the chairman of all meetings of the Heads of Churches and the acknowledged spokesman on their behalf for formal and ceremonial purposes. During the long twilight of the Greek Patriarchate, Sabbah could attract the limelight for his own purposes.

The period of office of the Greek Patriarch Diodorus I (1981-2000) was beset by problems. His first acts included the exile from Jerusalem of young priests seen as protégés of his predecessor, the saintly Benedict I. On one occasion, the limousine of Diodorus was found to be carrying drugs and gold on his return from Jordan. After a long investigation, the Israeli authorities decided to accept his story that he knew nothing about it. In his last years, he was virtually incapacitated by illness. His state of health was then exploited by a group of Israelis to obtain a document in his name, granting a long-term lease of various properties to the State of Israel for sixteen million dollars. Only, his signature had been forged and the dollars provided by the Israeli side went missing. The convictions of the last defendants in this case were recently confirmed by Israel's Supreme Court.

His successor, Irenaios I (2001-2005), was beset by other problems. His recognition by Israel was long delayed because of an alleged letter sent by him to Yasser Arafat; the letter was eventually seen to be a forgery. In the meantime, he accused his chief challenger in the election of hiring a hit squad for half a million dollars to kill him. How that rival, who had been the Secretary of the Patriarchate under Diodorus, could have acquired so much money was not explained.

Subsequently, a young man engaged by Irenaios obtained a power of attorney from him and used it for purported leases of patriarchal property to various Jewish groups. The report of a commission of inquiry set up by the Palestinian Authority acknowledged that Irenaios had not intended to lease the property, but his behavior had excited such fury among Palestinian members of the church that the Holy Synod voted to depose him and elected a successor, Theophilos III. Further factors in the background were the personal style of Irenaios toward others in the Patriarchate and his clashes with members of other churches.

Thereupon fresh letters appeared, allegedly from Theophilos to enemies of the State of Israel. For two years, consequently, Israel continued to recognize the deposed Irenaios and even invited him to official functions, where he was shunned by other Christians. Eventually, in 2007, the allegations were admitted to be just more nonsense and Theophilos was recognized. There are still disgruntled members of the church who try to spread lies about him, but he has gained increasing respect among the majority, whether the Arabs or the Greeks.

Fortunately for Theophilos, he had always been a simple servant of the church who was not identified with any political stance or clerical faction. He found the finances of the church in a miserable state, partly because access to the church's bank accounts was blocked during the periods of non-recognition. Thus his rehabilitation of the church, enabling it to resume its titular leadership of all the local churches, began just at the point where Professor May's book ends.

Among other churches, also the Episcopal (Anglican) Church had problems in the period of Professor May's book. Both Bishop Samir Kafity (1984-1998) and Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal (1998-2007) manifested Palestinian nationalism as fervently as any Christian faith. Bishop Samir once opened his Easter sermon (I was there) with the following message: "We Arab Christians of Jerusalem, we are the Easter People because the Resurrection took place here." Therewith he negated all Christian theology. The fundamental tenet of all Christian churches, however they may otherwise differ, is that Jesus Christ died to atone for the sins of the whole world, not just for Jews, let alone latter-day Arab Christians of Jerusalem. "Jesus Christ... is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2).

So that was heresy. The Palestinist Heresy, alas, has undermined several Protestant churches in the meantime. This heresy makes the Palestinians into the chosen people and treats the Kairos Palestine Document as infallible scripture, whereas one is permitted to disregard or twist the plain meaning of the Bible, of course. The latest church to fall victim to this heresy is the Church of Scotland.
The most astounding event during Samir's period of office occurred during a visit to London. The Metropolitan Police, unaware of his identity, detained him in Baker Street underground station. After some days it was decided that there was no public interest in charging him. (Nor is there a public interest in specifying here the reason for his arrest.) On his retirement, this Palestinian nationalist decided to resettle in California. So much for the Easter People.

In the election for Samir's successor, the challenger defeated by Riah was Naim Ateek. The latter, however, continued to be a focus of rivalry to Riah until Ateek agreed to go on pension and withdraw from involvement in church affairs. Thus Ateek and his Sabeel Center, so beloved of pro-Palestinian Christians worldwide, in no way represent Ateek's own church.

As soon as Bishop Suheil Dawani took over in 2007, he started proceedings in the Israeli courts against his predecessor. Just before retirement, Riah had taken legal steps to register a church school in Nazareth in his own name and rename it as the "Bishop Riah Educational Campus." He began collecting large sums in school fees. There were also other serious accusations of financial irregularities and fraud.
Michael H. Sellors had been appointed Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in 1997, so he was penning his pro-Palestinian messages during the whole period when his Palestinian bishop was allegedly committing those offenses. A photograph of Sellors with Bishop Riah can be seen here (Sellors is on the left).
Later, Riah's wife was involved in a fracas in the diocesan offices. Through rulings given in 2008 and 2010, the Israeli courts restored the Nazareth school to the church. The Episcopal Province thereupon requested Riah to return some five million New Israeli Shekels to the diocese. Evidently, Professor May needs to be discriminating in her enthusiasm for "Palestinian pastors."

Shortly after, in 2011, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior suspended the visa granted to Suheil as a non-Israeli citizen from Nablus because of allegations that he had illegally transferred Jewish-owned land to Palestinians. (Some suspected a connection between this attempt to undermine Suheil and the earlier affair.) Even without a visa, however, Suheil could continue to reside in Jerusalem and return after visits to the parts of his far-flung diocese in Arab countries. The allegations against him, like the fictitious letters ascribed to the Greek Patriarchs, were malicious nonsense.

Despite having the greatest reason for grievances against Israel, Suheil has been the least politicized recent Episcopal bishop. Like Theophilos, his focus is pastoral, aiming to rebuild his church while balancing relationships between the three local governments: Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian. The same can be said of the current Dean of the Cathedral, who could also have resented the long delay before Israel allowed him to live together with his wife and children (his citizenship is Israeli, hers Palestinian). As with the Greek Orthodox, the return of a Christian spirit to the leadership of the Episcopal Church can be greeted as a blessing.

What is the upshot of all this? People in foreign countries should beware of granting automatic respect to messages appearing in the names of the Heads of Churches. Currently, besides Theophilos and Suheil, the leaders of the Coptic Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches and the Franciscan Custos do enjoy widespread respect beyond their own communities in Jerusalem. The messages, regardless of how much input they receive from those Christian leaders, are perceptibly Christian in tone. But it was not always thus.

In any event, there is no individual or group that is empowered to act as "the voice of Palestinian Christians." It is not "the Palestinian Christians" but just one or two individuals who pen public statements, even if these appear under a title that can vary from the respectable ("Heads of Churches") to the preposterous ("Kairos Palestine"). The only worthwhile question is whether the message is composed in a truly Christian spirit or is merely political agitation clothed in theological verbiage.

The New Trickery

Sleight of hand in regard to the Heads of Churches, however, has not yet stopped. Last year, the WCC announced a "World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel" (September 22-28, 2013) with the subtitle "Pray, educate, and advocate for justice in Palestine" (yes, here "Israel" was omitted). As part of this scheme, whose broader implications you can read about here, the WCC disseminated a so-called Prayer from the Jerusalem Churches. It contained five paragraphs beginning with the words "We, the churches in Jerusalem..." Quite naturally, anyone reading a prayer with such a title and such wording would assume that it came from the Heads of Churches.

Indeed, the American Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) called it a prayer from the Heads of Churches when it passed the prayer on to its members. Only, a sharp-witted Elder of that church decided to check it out. (I am in possession of the subsequent correspondence, but will suppress most names.)
The relevant representative of the PSUSA eventually replied to the Elder, quoting verbatim from a letter from Yusef Daher (the WCC official mentioned earlier). The prayer, wrote Daher, had been "prepared by" a "committee of Bishops," some of whose names Daher specified. Not all the people named by Daher, however, were bishops, and only one was a Head of Church, namely, Arab Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan.

The Elder then wrote back, pointing out that messages from the Heads of Churches usually come with signatures on behalf of the three historic Patriarchates and the Custos, etc., not just the name of Munib Younan (the latter is usually the eleventh in the list of thirteen). In response, he was forwarded a second letter from Daher.

The wording of this second letter is somewhat confused, but its basic point seems to be that the earlier mentioned "committee of Bishops" includes members appointed by all thirteen Heads of Churches. However, instead of saying that the prayer had been "prepared by" the committee, as in his first letter, Daher now merely claimed that the prayer was "introduced to" the committee and "modified by some of them." Whereas his first letter had ascribed authorship to the committee, now he was admitting that it was written by someone else.

Since all the people specifically named by Daher as belonging to his "committee of Bishops" were people whom I had met at one time or another, I asked one of them what he could say about this story. He told me that he had had nothing to do with writing the prayer; it had merely been sent to him by Daher with a request for comments, but he had made none.

From this response, we also learn that the prayer was neither "prepared by" the committee nor "introduced to" it (as if the committee had sat in session about it), but just sent to members of the committee individually. The only significant element in Daher's two different accounts that has not (yet) been refuted is the claim that the prayer was "modified by some of them."

So what we have here is a repeat of the "Mad Mike Maneuver." Something was written by somebody and sent to various people, then put out in the name of "the churches in Jerusalem," whether or not the people contacted had even reacted to it. These people were at first portrayed as its authors, but then, when questioned further, Daher admitted that they were not.

Daher had something to do with its composition, maybe aided by a native English speaker, but who beyond that? The only contribution of "the churches of Jerusalem" was "modifications" by some people to whom the prayer was sent, if even that is true. Still, the WCC disseminated the prayer all over the world and maybe none of its recipients, with the exception of the Elder, ever realized that it did not come from the Heads of Churches.
Very clever. Just don't be taken in again next time.

What the hell just happened? That is the question that many Americans should be asking themselves following the news conference where Obama unveiled his plan for destroying the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. At first glance it appeared to be a case of Obama shamelessly using the deaths of innocents, and some live children as a backdrop, to push for the passage... of radical gun control measures by Congress. Most of these have no chance of passing, yet, Obama’s signing of Executive orders initiating 23 so called Executive actions on gun control seemed like an afterthought.

Unfortunately, that is the real story, but it is generally being overlooked. The fact is that with a few strokes of his pen Obama set up the mechanisms he will personally use to not only destroy the Second Amendment to the Constitution, but also the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments. It will not matter what Congress does, Obama can and will act on his own, using these Executive actions, and will be violating both the Constitution and his oath of office when he does it.

Here are the sections of the Executive Order that he will use:

“1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background-check system.”

What exactly is relevant data? Does it include our medical records obtained through Obamacare, our tax returns, our political affiliations, our military background, and our credit history? I suggest that all of the above, even if it violates our fourth Amendment right to privacy will now be relevant data for determining if we are allowed to purchase a firearm.

“2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background-check system.”

This should be read in conjunction with section 16 of the order that says:

“16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.”

One of the few amendments successfully placed in Obamacare by conservatives does appear to prohibit doctors from asking such questions. Yet, with these two Executive actions, Obama is illegally amending an act of Congress and setting up a procedure for him to force doctors to gain information from patients about gun ownership, and to get our medical history.

Section 3 of Obama’s order states:

“3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background- check system.”

Once again, what does this mean? What information does the Federal government want from the states? Copies of state personal and business income tax returns or court records of divorce and child custody cases are possibilities that come to mind as well as our voter registrations showing our party affiliations. How does any of this figure into our right to purchase a firearm?

One of the most dangerous and troubling sections of the Obama order in Section 4 that states:

“4. Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.”

This section directs Eric Holder, the architect of Operation Fast and Furious that illegally transferred several thousand semi automatic weapons to Mexican drug cartels and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican citizens and several U.S. border patrol agents, to now add people indiscriminately to the list of Americans ineligible to purchase firearms. Who might be added to the list?

Well, let’s look at the record of the Obama administration. Shortly after being appointed as the Director of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano sent a list of potential domestic terrorists to law enforcement agencies around the country. The list included individuals who were pro-life, who supported the Second Amendment, who had Ron Paul bumper stickers on their cars, and most disturbing, all members of the military returning from combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The list has recently been supplemented to include individuals who hoard more than a week’s supply of food and water, and those who support individual liberties and oppose big government. I belong on most of these lists and I suspect that Eric Holder will be adding all of us to the list of dangerous people not qualified to own guns. In other words, you will no longer have to be a convicted felon or mentally ill to make the list; you will qualify simply by being an American patriot.

This is not a conspiracy theory, at the United States Justice Foundation we are seeing increasing evidence that military veterans are being specifically targeted by the Obama administration when it comes to prohibitions against purchasing firearms. Any veteran diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is in danger of being banned from owning a firearm. Even those veterans suffering from mild depression are being added. None of these conditions constitute a mental illness that makes them a danger to themselves or others.

However, in Obamaland veterans who took an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, are definitely considered a threat to the new Fuehrer and must not be allowed to own firearms.

If we skip to Section 6 of the order we get a good idea of Obama’s real intentions when it comes to gun control. That sections states:

“6. Publish a letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.”

This is particularly interesting because one of the legislative proposals is to require universal background check requirements for any firearm transfer even between private citizens. In other words, you can’t sell your firearm or even give it to someone s a gift without Federal government approval. It is doubtful that this proposal will pass in the House of Representatives, yet Obama is already setting up the mechanism for enforcing the requirement. That is a clear signal that he doesn’t care what Congress does, he is going to violate the Constitution and bypass the Legislative branch in order to push his agenda to disarm the American people. I suspect he will ultimately use Executive orders to ban many weapons including most rifles and pistols.

There are numerous other actions dictated in the Obama order, but I think you get the idea. Our Second Amendment right is going to be taken from us for whatever reasons Obama decides. The simple act of opposing these actions can cause the Attorney General to place you on the list of “dangerous people”. Our privacy will be violated and all of this will be done without due process of law. That is what just happened. -- Michael Connelly --