Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Four Ernst & Young Partners Charged With Conspiracy

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post
May 30, 2007

Four current and former Ernst & Young LLP partners were charged today with conspiracy and other crimes for peddling abusive tax shelters to the accounting firm's monied clients, the latest advance in the government's largest-ever tax fraud investigation.

Ernst, one of the nation's four biggest audit firms, apparently has avoided criminal charges, but high-ranking officials, including three lawyers, face more than a decade in prison if they are convicted. ...

Each of the men worked in an Ernst unit known as VIPER, an acronym for Value Ideas Produce Extraordinary Results. They helped wealthy individuals slash or eliminate taxes they owed by creating off-the-shelf tax products that brought Ernst millions of dollars, government lawyers said. ...


Subjects or Objects? Prisoners and Human Experimentation

New England Journal of Medicine (MA)
May 3, 2007

By Barron H. Lerner, M.D., Ph.D.

During the 1950s, inmates at what was then called Holmesburg Prison, in Philadelphia, were inoculated with condyloma acuminatum, cutaneous moniliasis, and viruses causing warts, herpes simplex, and herpes zoster.(1) For participating in this research, and in studies exposing them to dioxin and agents of chemical warfare, they were paid up to $1,500 a month. Between 1963 and 1971, researchers in Oregon and Washington irradiated and repeatedly took biopsy specimens from the testicles of healthy prisoners; the men subsequently reported rashes, peeling, and blisters on the scrotum as well as sexual difficulties.(2) Hundreds of such experiments induced the federal government to essentially ban research involving prisoners in 1978. The message: such research is fundamentally exploitative and thus unethical.

Yet a recent report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has opened the closed door, arguing not only that such research can be performed appropriately but that prisoners deserve to be included in investigative studies -- at least those who might benefit directly. Examination of the explanations behind U.S. restrictions on prison research and their current applicability can provide guidance for today's policy debates.

The vulnerability of prisoners to exploitation has long been known. As early as 1906, for instance, critics noted how difficult it would have been for prisoners to refuse to participate in a cholera experiment that ultimately killed 13 men.(3) Still, investigators periodically sought out "volunteers" among such captive populations, whose institutionalization offered researchers accessible subjects unlikely to be lost to follow-up.

Most such research did not seek to benefit participants. In 1915, for example, Public Health Service researcher Joseph Goldberger induced pellagra in healthy Mississippi prisoners, who were offered parole in exchange for participation. Those who signed up experienced the very severe symptoms of the disease, including diarrhea, rash, and mental confusion.(3) Goldberger, however, proved his hypothesis that pellagra was a vitamin-deficiency disease that could be cured by ingestion of the B vitamin now known as niacin. Thanks to this work, as well as the discovery of insulin and the first antimicrobial agents, the years between World War I and World War II were heady times for scientific research.

World War II turned questionable experimentation on prisoners into a cottage industry. As other Americans risked their lives on the battlefield, prisoners did their part by participating in studies that exposed them to gonorrhea, gas gangrene, dengue fever, and malaria.(1) Any consideration of meaningful consent was subsumed by the war imperative.

Ironically, the biggest boost to such experimentation came as a result of the postwar Nuremberg trial of 20 Nazi doctors, which gave rise to the Nuremberg Code, a set of principles intended to prohibit human experimentation without subjects' consent. When defense lawyers implied that American scientists had conducted wartime research analogous to that of the Nazis, one prosecution witness, Andrew C. Ivy, cited malaria experiments involving Illinois prisoners as an example of "ideal," noncoercive research. Ivy's 1948 publication of his conclusions helped to institutionalize prison experimentation for the next quarter-century.(4)

It was an experiment involving another vulnerable population that halted the prison research enterprise. In 1972, an Associated Press reporter broke the story that poor southern black men with syphilis had been deliberately left untreated for 40 years so researchers could study the natural course of the disease. In the environment created by the civil rights movement and protests against the Vietnam War, such research was condemned. The scandal led to the formation of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research and eventually the Belmont Report, which recommended revamping human experimentation using the principles of respect for persons, nonmaleficence, and justice.

In the case of prison research, the new atmosphere proved especially restrictive. In 1978, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) passed regulations that limited federally funded research involving prisoners in several ways, stipulating, for example, that experiments could pose no more than minimal risk to the subjects. The overarching concern was that prisons were inherently coercive environments in which informed consent could never be obtained. The fact that research offered financial rewards, alleviation of boredom, and the prospect of earlier parole made it even more dicey.

This was the prevailing view until 2004, when the DHHS asked the IOM to revisit the matter. In August 2006 the IOM published its report, which acknowledged that it might make sense to leave the situation alone. For example, the U.S. prison population includes disproportionate numbers of vulnerable people: members of minority groups, the mentally ill, and persons with HIV infection and other serious infectious diseases. Prisons are generally overcrowded and have inadequate health care services. All these factors suggested that any easing of restrictions might lead to the repetition of previous errors.

Nonetheless, the IOM panel, although sensitive to past "unconscionable abuses," recommended that experiments carrying more than minimal risk be allowed, with the caveat that studies involving drugs or other biomedical interventions be required to have potential benefits for prisoners. The panel also recommended several safeguards, such as creating a public database of prison experiments, limiting research to interventions with some demonstrated safety and efficacy, ensuring that studies include a majority of nonprisoner subjects, and requiring that proposals be vetted by institutional review boards that would include prisoner representatives.

The panel's decision makes sense for several reasons. The first might be termed historical. For most of the 20th century, despite the findings at Nuremberg and occasional other warnings, human experimentation was largely seen as a "good," something that would advance science and benefit health. The backlash against experimentation in prisons occurred during the 1970s, when authority was being questioned throughout society. No mechanisms were in place to ensure the rights of vulnerable subjects. It thus made sense to ban any risky research in prisons.

It is often said that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. But a decision to retain current restrictions because of past abuses would ignore several important developments. Since 1978, a network of institutional review boards has been established at the National Institutes of Health, other governmental agencies, and research universities throughout the country. With "informed consent" now common parlance, study subjects are more aware of their rights. And, largely owing to the work of AIDS activists and breast cancer activists, sick and at-risk persons, even those from potentially vulnerable populations, now actively pursue participation in research protocols. Even though not all these developments are unambiguously positive, to ignore them and the opportunities they may afford prisoners would be to regress. As the IOM report said, "Respect for prisoners also requires recognition of their autonomy."

Another argument in favor of relaxing restrictions is that the reflexive assumption that all prison research is problematic may not be accurate. In light of the abuses, critics have understandably argued that human experimentation in prison has failed because it takes place in a coercive environment that vitiates any possibility of informed consent. But that is a theory that can and should be investigated empirically through formal studies of the consent process in prisons. Moreover, as philosopher Carl Cohen has argued, research outside of prisons often has coercive elements as well -- so to the degree that coercion is involved, it may have little to do with imprisonment.(5)

Finally, reinstituting and then monitoring prison research would afford society an opportunity for ongoing scrutiny and reassessment. Indeed, the IOM panel found that much unregulated prison research was being conducted despite the 1978 guidelines. Many of the notorious prison experiments involved the active deception of study participants -- an abuse more easily avoided if the whole enterprise is aboveboard. It is even possible that research studies, by providing a window into prison life, would focus needed attention on deficiencies in prison health care.

Still, the new regulations must be approached with trepidation. As sociologist Erving Goffman showed in his 1961 book Asylums, "total institutions" such as prisons may run roughshod over the rights of their inhabitants. Perhaps this book should be required reading for any investigator who embarks on research within prison walls.

Source Information

Dr. Lerner is an associate professor of medicine and public health at Columbia University, New York.


1. Hornblum AM. They were cheap and available: prisoners as research subjects in twentieth century America. BMJ 1997;315:1437-1441. [Free Full Text]

2. Welsome E. The plutonium files: America's secret medical experiments in the Cold War. New York: Delta, 1999:362-82.

3. Lederer SE. Subjected to science: human experimentation in America before the Second World War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

4. Harkness JM. Nuremberg and the issue of wartime experiments on US prisoners: the Green Committee. JAMA 1996;276:1672-1675. [Abstract]

5. Cohen C. Medical experimentation on prisoners. Perspect Biol Med 1978;21:357-372. [ISI][Medline]

Source Page:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

HUMAN EXPERIMENTATION: Pfizer Faces Criminal Charges in Nigeria

By Joe Stephens
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 30, 2007; Page A10

Officials in Nigeria have brought criminal charges against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for the company's alleged role in the deaths of children who received an unapproved drug during a meningitis epidemic.

Authorities in Kano, the country's largest state, filed eight charges this month related to the 1996 clinical trial, including counts of criminal conspiracy and voluntarily causing grievous harm. They also filed a civil lawsuit seeking more than $2 billion in damages and restitution from Pfizer, the world's largest drug company.

The move represents a rare -- perhaps unprecedented -- instance in which the developing world's anger at multinational drug companies has boiled over into criminal charges. It also represents the latest in a string of public-relations blows stemming from the decade-old clinical trial, in which Pfizer says it acted ethically. ...


MINDLESS BUT HAPPY: Midwest American Quislings find "conspiracy theories" amusing – so do the conspirators – and enjoy killing Iraqis, torturing detainees, waving flags and agitating to "protect the unborn." It's evident that there is a ready market for Pfizer's anti-depressants among the boobocracy in the increasingly warm Wasteland.

New Tests Question JFK Lone Gunman Theory


Houston -- (AP) New testing on the type of ammunition used in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy raises questions about whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, according to a study by researchers at Texas A&M University.

Lead research Cliff Spiegelman stressed, however, that the research doesn't necessarily support conspiracy theorists who for decades have doubted Oswald was the lone gunman.

"We're not saying there was a conspiracy. All we're saying is the evidence that was presented as a slam dunk for a single shooter is not a slam dunk," said Spiegelman, a Texas A&M statistics professor and an expert in bullet-lead analysis.

The Warren Commission concluded in 1964 that Oswald fired three shots at Kennedy's motorcade from the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. The U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations agreed in 1979 and found that the two bullets that hit Kennedy came from Oswald's rifle.

The committee's findings were based in part on the testimony of the late forensic chemist Vincent Guinn, who said recovered fragments came from only two bullets. Guinn testified that the bullets Oswald used, Western-Winchester Cartridge Co. Mannlicher-Carcano bullets, were unique and that it would be possible to distinguish one from another even if they both came from the same box. ...


Poisoning the Troops, Again

by Heather Wokusch
Atlantic Free Press
29 May 2007

The Pentagon has a disturbing pattern of withholding information on the impact of chemical/biological weapons and other toxins on US service members. As a result, veterans are often told that their debilitating symptoms are "in their head" and can go decades without receiving medical help. That's not supporting our troops.

A classic example occurred when US forces destroyed a chemical munitions dump in Khamisiyah, Iraq in March 1991. The US Defense Department (DoD) initially denied the dangers but backtracked in 1997 after a UN Special Commission investigation proved that sarin gas had been released during the demolition.

Sarin is a deadly chemical weapon estimated to be over 500 times as toxic as cyanide. Non-lethal doses can create permanent neurological damage and symptoms such as loss of memory, paralysis, seizures and respiratory problems. Turns out that over eight metric tons of sarin were released during the Khamisiyah demolitions.

Previous research has linked sarin with brain cancer, and Freedom of Information Act requests indicate the Pentagon knew that up to 300,000 Desert Storm troops may have suffered from sarin exposure. Yet veterans seeking support were often told that their symptoms had no physical basis.

Just last week, a scientific study using Pentagon data showed a direct correlation between sarin exposure in Gulf War vets and brain damage. Symptoms were found to be exacerbated by the use of bug repellant and a nerve-agent antidote given to roughly 250,000 troops during the Gulf War.

Yet it is doubtful if even now, over 16 years after the Khamisiyah disaster, the DoD will finally face the issue of US-troop sarin exposure.

One obvious reason is money. If the DoD admitted to withholding critical information connected to their medical illnesses, tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of Gulf War veterans could potentially become eligible for compensation.

Second, acknowledging the sarin issue could raise further questions about the Pentagon's 2003 admission of having tested biological/chemical agents on 5,842 service members from 1962-73. In operations called Project 112 and Project SHAD, the Defense Department tested weapons capabilities on troops in six states (Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Utah), Canada and Britain. Many veterans of those operations were not informed for decades and are still fighting for compensation and recognition.

Third, an admission of guilt would weaken the DoD's credibility regarding controversial programs today. For example, the anthrax vaccine is mandatory for military personnel and civilians deploying to "high-threat" areas across the globe, including Iraq and Afghanistan, despite being linked to serious illnesses and even death among US service members. Quite conveniently, the quarterly analysis of medical care data for vaccinated service members was ended in 2002.

So as we honor our service members and veterans this Memorial Day, we must acknowledge the continuing battle many face to receive compensation for exposure to chemical/biological weapons long ago and to avoid potentially harmful vaccines today. Our troops deserve better.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mass Grave Discovered in Fort Myers, Florida

"We've got eight bodies in the woods, and that's not normal ... "
Bones fuel murder theories, but police remain cautious

By Jim Stratton
Orlando Sentinel
Posted May 28 2007

FORT MYERS· The bones are whispering to Heather Walsh-Haney. Laid out on a stainless-steel examination table, they're hinting at the secrets of death, and the forensic anthropologist is working hard to understand. ...

The eight skeletons are part of an unfolding detective story. Found in a wooded area on the city's east side, they are the silent witnesses to a mystery local police can't yet solve.

Right now, they're not even sure what the question is.

"We've got eight bodies in the woods, and that's not normal," said Sgt. Jennifer Soto, a 12-year veteran of the force. "But we don't know yet what kind of case it is." ...

The serial-killer theory is one of several swirling around the Fort Myers case. It is also the one local police have been careful not to hype. In fact, when a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent suggested the case "most likely" involved homicides, local authorities warned against hasty conclusions.

"That's not the opinion of the Fort Myers Police Department," said Soto, "and we're the lead agency."

It would not be unusual for a killer to rely on favorite "dumping grounds," said criminologist James Fox. ...


Since When Do Self-Adoring, Ignorant, Dissociative, Obese Nazis Export Democracy? ...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

U.S. Security Contractors Open Fire in Baghdad

Blackwater Employees Were Involved in Two Shooting Incidents in Past Week

By Steve Fainaru and Saad al-Izzi
Washington Post Foreign Service
May 27, 2007; Page A01

Employees of Blackwater USA, a private security firm under contract to the State Department, opened fire on the streets of Baghdad twice in two days last week, and one of the incidents provoked a standoff between the security contractors and Iraqi forces, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

A Blackwater guard shot and killed an Iraqi driver Thursday near the Interior Ministry, according to three U.S. officials and one Iraqi official who were briefed on the incident but spoke on condition of anonymity because of a pending investigation. On Wednesday, a Blackwater-protected convoy was ambushed in downtown Baghdad, triggering a furious battle in which the security contractors, U.S. and Iraqi troops and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters were firing in a congested area. ...


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Zyprexa Scandal Updates

Lilly Zyprexa Lawsuit, Eight State Countdown

By Danny Haszard (USA), Section United States of America
May 22, 2007

Utah Latest state to sue Eli Lilly in developing "Viva Zyprexa" Scandal.

Zyprexa targeted by AG's for Criminal Fraud.
Utah Latest state to sue Eli Lilly in developing "Viva Zyprexa" Scandal.

Side effects to Zyprexa can include high blood sugar levels, acute weight gain and pancreatitis, according to the lawsuit. ...


Eli Lilly's Hush Money

In 2004, the American Diabetes Association found that Zyprexa was more likely to cause diabetes than many other antipsychotic drugs.

A big hurdle with the Zyprexa issue is Lilly's credibility over their continuous PR on how they are going to pay out $1.2 billion long as they keep up this rhetoric and don't actually pay the issue won't go away.

They need to think about 'putting their money where their mouth is'. Look, propaganda ...

Flying High

Indianapolis Business Journal, IN - 5-26-07
For example, Lilly has settled 26000 Zyprexa lawsuits—for $1.2 billion. ]

Eli Lilly Zyprexa Hush Money

Zyprexa compensation fund now up to $1.2 billion,show us da money!

Consider this:

Latest media news PR "puff piece" sez that the Zyprexa compensation fund is up to $1.2 billion.Lilly's lawyers claim to have 'settled' the first wave (the so called 8,000) for $700 million.

Yesterday there are over 200 news wire Lilly press releases on how they are the good ole boys who will settle 18,000 MORE cases for $500 million ($27,000 per client)

DO THE MATH HERE- original 8,000 ~$700 million $87,000 per client half to lawyers?

Compare:today's news 18,000 for only $500 million equals $27,000 apiece ?

This sounds like bogus hush money rhetoric to appease Lilly critics? Their attached statement sez that these newer 18,000 cases are post 2003 black box warning and so have less merit/money.

Hello! I took zyprexa right out of the gate in 1996 I am possibly the #1 most viable and visible claimant and not only have I not been paid yet, I don't hear from them at all, something fishy here people.

Show us da money please!

Many of the longtime zyprexa users like myself who developed diabetes were given it 'off label' because it was being pushed on my doctor by Lilly drug reps.

The now notorious Zyprexa diabetes connection is elaborated at thousands of pages on line.

My own local clinic and clinics everywhere have stopped dispensing Zyprexa except as a PRN for acute cases.

Lilly made a mistake motivated by a desire for profits (greed) now it's time to face the music. Lilly occasionally comes out with theses periodic media PR's on compensation ($27,000 per person?) then nothing further happens and you wonder why victims get indignant.

Eli Lilly's $4.2 billion a year zyprexa gravy train will stall soon enough.

I am Daniel Haszard 4 year zyprexa user who got diabetes from it.
Under The Influence
April 1, 2007, CBS

60 Minutes' Steve Kroft Reports On Drug Lobbyists' Role in Passing Bill That Keeps Drug Prices High

NEW! Watch 1 minute CNN footage of "Off-Label" Usage report involving Eli Lilly and Zyprexa in RealPlayer format (dial-up) and Windows Media format (broadband) aired Dec. 19, 2006

My name is Daniel Haszard from Bangor Maine personal website I work as a counter-cult educator.

I was prescribed Zyprexa from 1996 until 2000.

In early 2000 I was shocked to have an A1C test result of 13.9 (normal is 4-6) I have no history of Diabetes in my family. In Dec 2005 I made first discovery of the Zyprexa Diabetes link. This website documents my efforts to seek recovery and compensation from the Eli Lilly drug company for causing my diabetes. It would be in their best interest to settle with me straight-away.

I did not make legal discovery until Dec 2005 when I saw a television advertisement, only then did I make my Zyprexa/diabetes connection and was shocked. A special hardship in my case is an ileostomy from long-standing ulcerative colitis, this prevents me from eating a high fiber diet to control my blood sugar and adds to the cost my diabetes management.

Contact-Daniel Haszard POB 1503 Bangor Maine 04402-1503
Zyprexa and Women

In 2000, the Public Citizen recommended to the FDA that labeling and a box warning is included on Zyprexa to warn of the increased risk of pregnancy when being switched from first-generation antipsychotics to Zyprexa and women patients. The women not wishing to become pregnant should be recommended contraceptives and the information should be included in the doctor and patient Zyprexa label. Also recommended was for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to be required to research the issue of unwanted pregnancies occurring with Zyprexa use. ...

Drug Companies Still Peddling Risperdal and Zyprexa For Off-Label Use

June 17, 2006.
By Evelyn Pringle

According to Kelly O'Meara, author of the newly released book, Psyched Out, America has a drug problem. "It's not as covert as those illicit and illegal "Just Say No" drugs," she says, "but, rather, Americans have become drug users by way of being diagnosed as suffering from one or a number of alleged mental disorders." ...


How to taper off Zyprexa. click here

Eli Lilly being sued by the Florida Attorney General click here

If you are taking Zyprexa or thinking of taking Zyprexa and you are wondering about side effects or the potential of side effects with using Zyprexa, there is something you need to know. There is a way to predict adverse reactions with a very simple test.

Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting FDA Commissioner had this to say about this test on Dec. 24, 2004. “Physicians can use the genetic information from this test to prevent harmful drug interactions and to assure drugs are used optimally, which in some cases will enable patients to avoid less effective or potentially harmful treatment choices,”

As with all psychiatric medication, the pharmaceutical company, your doctor or psychiatrist can't state exactly what the medication does specially. It is only a guess.

What can be stated precisely, without hesitation, are the adverse reactions of the medication. Zyprexa side effects or adverse reaction are like all of the other psychiatric medications, extremely debilitating.

Zyprexa Side Effects

Zyprexa and it's effectiveness for longer-term use, that is, for more than 4 weeks treatment of an acute episode, and for prophylactic use in mania, has not been systematically evaluated in controlled clinical trials.

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) - A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been reported in association with administration of antipsychotic drugs, including Zyprexa. Manifestations of (NMS) are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis and cardiac dysrhythmia), and acute renal failure.

Tardive Dyskinesia - A syndrome of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements may develop in patients treated with Zyprexa. The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of Zyprexa increases.

There are no known treatments for tardive dyskinesia.

Orthostatic Hypotension (Lowered blood pressure when a person changes from a setting to an erect position) - Zyprexa may induce orthostatic hypotension associated with dizziness, tachycardia, and in some patients, syncope, especially during the initial dose-titration period. Zyprexa should be used with particular caution in patients with known cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and conditions which would predispose patients to hypotension.

Seizures - Seizures during premarketing test showed 22 of 2500 people developed seizures.

Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment - Sleepiness, unnatural drowsiness, was a commonly reported adverse event associated with Zyprexa treatment, occurring at an incidence of 26%. Since Zyprexa has the potential to impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills, patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles.

"On May 3, 2002, Britain's Medicines Control Agency warned that several patients taking Eli Lilly's top selling drug Zyprexa (used to treat schizophrenia) had developed diabetes-related complications. In the Medicine Control Agency's Current Problems newsletter, the regulatory body said that the antipsychotic drug "can adversely affect blood glucose."

"Forty reports "of hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar), diabetes mellitus, or exacerbation of diabetes have been received in the UK. Four were associated with ketoacidosis and/or coma including one with a fatal outcome," according to the newsletter. "The precise mechanism of this suspected adverse drug reaction has not yet been elucidated and is currently being investigated further."

"This follows an emergency report issued in April 2002 by the Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry to Eli Lilly Japan KK concerning side effects of Zyprexa after the deaths of two diabetic users of the drug. It said seven other patients had lost consciousness or become comatose after taking the drugs in the last 10 months. The Japanese Ministry said no new diabetes patients should be treated with the drug and ordered Eli Lilly to warn doctors to closely monitor diabetics already on the medication."

"A paper written in late 2001 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports the FDA has been alerted 19 case reports of diabetes associated with the use of Zyprexa. Of the 19 patients seven had newly diagnosed hyperglycemia. The sugar disorder developed within a week of taking Zyprexa in two patients and within six months for eight others. One patient ultimately died of necrotizing pancreatitis, a condition in which cells in the pancreas die.

"Personal injury attorneys are expected to file up to 10 lawsuits this month against Eli Lilly alleging the drugmaker failed to adequately disclose “serious side effects” associated with its schizophrenia and acute bipolar mania drug Zyprexa (olanzapine), plaintiffs’ lawyers announced last week. The San Francisco-based firm Hersh & Hersh recently filed two lawsuits over the drug and is filing 30 more on behalf of individuals who claim the drug led to such illnesses as diabetes, hyperglycemia and pancreatitis."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cannes to Screen Mind-Control Thriller/BBC News on Emerging Mind Control Technology

"Mind control is a made-up term - but yes, it is possible to totally influence a person's inner world " - Professor E Mark Stern
May 18, 2007

CANNES, France (Hollywood Reporter) - "300" star Gerard Butler will topline "Game," a high-concept thriller set in the near future.

The Lakeshore Entertainment project takes place in a world where mind-control technology has taken society by storm. In this dystopian world, the ultimate online simulation environment is humans remote-controlling other humans in mass-scale, multiplayer online gaming.

Butler plays Kable, the No. 1-ranked warrior in the highest-rated game, called "Slayers." With his every move tracked by millions, Kable's ultimate challenge is to regain his identity and bring down the system that has imprisoned him. ...


4 May, 2004

By Brendan O'Neill

Deleting memories is simple with computers, but as the movie Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind shows, it's still - as far as humans are concerned - the stuff of science fiction. Or is it?

Charlie Kaufman's new film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, tells the story of Joel (Jim Carrey), who has the memory of a soured relationship erased from his brain by a slightly sinister research organisation, Lacuna Inc.

Lacuna carries out "cutting-edge, non-surgical procedures for the focused erasure of troubling memories." It even has its own website [see internet links] - though anybody looking to erase the memory of a lost love or traumatic accident should bear in mind that Lacuna Inc is fictional, the website is for film promotional purposes only, and the treatment it proposes is as yet the stuff of fiction.

Five years

Or is it? American neuroscientists are currently developing "memory-management" drugs. They believe that such pills could help individuals improve their memory skills or even erase unwanted memories, such as that bad childhood experience lurking at the back of your mind.

According to Eric Kandel, a Nobel Prize-winning memory researcher at Columbia University in Manhattan, memory-improving and memory-deleting medicines may be available within five to 10 years. More than 40 drugs aimed at improving memory are currently going through clinical trials with the US Food and Drug Administration.

Those who can't wait five years might try mind controller Derren Brown who, according to Channel 4, displays an "amazing ability to put ideas into people's heads".

Lacuna Inc's focused erasure of troubling memories may sound a bit sci-fi, but in a recent episode of Brown's show, he appeared to erase, through mere suggestion and manipulation, a London cabbie's knowledge of where the London Eye was. At one point the cabbie drove straight past the Eye declaring, "It's around here somewhere..."

"Mind control is a made-up term - but yes, it is possible to totally influence a person's inner world " - Professor E Mark Stern

Hypnosis meanwhile, where individuals are put into a trance-like state, is big business - both as treatment and entertainment. Hypnotists, or "registered hypnotherapists" as most prefer to be called, claim that they can help people give up smoking.
Others claim that advertising is a form of mind control, where subliminal messages are planted in our minds by sneaky corporations who want us to buy their products.

Indeed, according to reports, we will soon enter the age of "hypersonic messaging", in which advertisers hope to use advances in neurotechnology to bombard people's brains with signals to trigger purchases.

Little wonder the web will offer a rich seam of conspiracy theories, and even advice on how to construct an Aluminium Foil Deflector Beanie, a hat made from tinfoil described as "an effective low-cost solution to combating mind control...." [see internet links].

Made up

So is mind control myth or reality? "'Mind control' is a made-up term", says Professor E Mark Stern of Iona Collage in New York, author of The Other Side of the Couch. "But yes, it is possible to totally influence a person's inner world."

According to Stern, there can be good mind control and bad mind control. "In its best sense, mind control is akin to self-control, often used as a product of meditation. This can be helpful for pain management.

"But then there are things like cults - there, mind control happens when a cult wins over another person's consciousness through hypnotic-like inducements including 'love bombs', a form of praise, overseeing an inductee's every action, and eventually using shame and the threat of being expelled by the cult as a means of controlling them."

Mind control is a relatively recent concept. It first emerged in the aftermath of the Korean war, when it was claimed that the Chinese had carried out mind control experiments on US prisoners of war, as depicted in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate.

Since then mind control, or "brainwashing", has been used to explain many different phenomena, from our ad-led consumer culture to some people's willingness to ditch everything and sign up to weird millenarian cults.

There are various hypothetical techniques of mind control: among them the use of drugs, such as "truth serum", to induce a more relaxed state of mind; hypnosis, where an individual is put into a trance-like state usually in order to recover memories; Pavlovian conditioning, named after experiments carried out by the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov in the early 20th Century, where he described how we are "conditioned" into certain types of behaviour; and indoctrination, where an authoritative body uses propaganda or the threat of force to shape individuals' minds and belief systems.

Yet among sociologists and psychologists, mind control is a bitterly contested theory.

Some do not believe the human mind can ever fully be controlled by outside forces. While they accept that individuals can be made to behave in a certain way under duress or threat of force ("What wouldn't you do with a gun pressed to your head?" asked one recent article on the subject of mind control), they doubt that individuals can be manipulated against their will by sexy advertising, hypnotists or even cult leaders.

Massimo Introvigne, founder of the Center for Studies on New Religions, believes that mind control theorists leave out one important thing - free will, our ability to think for ourselves even under extreme circumstances. ...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Legal link cloudy: Many satanic items were seized from alleged church arsonist's place


Kevin Michael Ravelin is charged with starting a fire that burned one of Burlington's most historic downtown churches, and police have linked him with satanism based on satanic items found on a search of his living quarters.

Ravelin, 28, allegedly told his roommate that he didn't believe in a Christian God and disliked churches, and police said they were told in 1998 that Ravelin was dabbling in satanism.

So far, however, Ravelin has not been charged with a hate crime, although the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives remains involved in the case.

Ravelin is charged with two counts of second-degree arson and two counts of first-degree burglary in connection with fires started in the early morning hours of April 29 at First United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church. The fire at First Presbyterian did minimal damage.

In a search of Ravelin's rented room, police seized numerous items they describe as satanic, including a metal chain with an inverted cross, a satanic mirror, a black T-shirt with "When Satan Lives" on it, the box for a video game "Devil May Cry," a satanic torture doll and a red gown.

Satanism is difficult to define. A Web search finds a host of conspiracies, occult speculation and alternative religions.

The term satanic is a general term police use in describing occult-like items found during searches "for lack of a better terminology," said Acting Police Chief Dan Luttenegger.

In the wake of the fires, community speculation about the acts and the motivations of the perpetrator have run rampant.

Despite speculation about a local satanic cult, satanism has not been a problem for the Burlington Police Department in recent years, according to Luttenegger.

The last time police responded to a call involving alleged satanism was in 2001 when an intoxicated and mentally disturbed man claiming to be Satan put his fist through a glass window. Police took the man to Great River Medical Center for injuries and a mental evaluation. No charges were filed.

Luttenegger is quick to point out that worshiping Satan is not illegal, and that police get involved only when an actual crime has occurred.

"It may not be what you're used to seeing or something you believe in, but they're doing nothing wrong," Luttenegger said. "In the same reality, being a member of a gang is not against the law, it's the actions that they take that makes these things illegal."

Police do occasionally receive calls from community members and parents concerned about alleged "devil-worshiping" by children. Luttenegger said he often recommends residents turn to the Internet for more information.

Much of that information is conflicting, resulting in confusion and misconceptions, said Dwight Bozeman, a professor of American religious history at the University of Iowa.

Satanism refers to a variety of different religions and practices.

In modern society, satanism has often become a catchall phrase to describe what some consider part of the "occult," including Wicca, Vodun, Paganism, Shamanism and a host of other religions. ...

Those who claim to be modern satanists have a wide variety of beliefs. Some, like the California-based Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey in the 1960s, don't believe in or worship Satan or any other deity. Instead, they hold the concept of Satan up as a moral example to be emulated.

"There are ultra-liberal voices who have gotten to the point of thinking there is no such thing as evil in the world, as such," said the Rev. George LaMore, professor emeritus at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant.

"I believe in paying the devil his due. I mean by that, paying attention to the evil side of life. I think you've got to. Don't obsess about it, don't give it a victory, but acknowledge it. But as for church burning, no way."

Most religions are an attempt to make sense of life in a world where bad things often happen to good people.

Actual Satan worshipers, while uncommon, do crop up from time to time.

"Periodically in history there have been satanic cults. Almost always what it is is an attempt to make a sort of cosmic sense of the shear orneriness of the things they do perceive, whether it be earthquakes, cancer, war, disease," LaMore said.


Elizabeth Taylor can keep Van Gogh allegedly swiped by Nazis

European Jewish Press
Updated: 21/May/2007 16:02

Elisabeth Taylor bought the "View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint-Remy" for 257,600 dollars (191,500 euros) at a Sotheby's auction in London in 1963.

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP)---Elizabeth Taylor will be allowed to keep a Van Gogh painting allegedly stolen from a Jewish woman by the Nazis after she fled Germany in 1939.

The two-time Oscar-winning actress bought the "View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint-Remy" for 257,600 dollars (191,500 euros) at a Sotheby’s auction in London in 1963.

The painting -- now estimated to be worth between 10-15 million dollars -- has been the subject of a legal wrangle in recent years, with descendants of its former owner claiming it rightfully belongs to them.

However, a federal appeals court on Friday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that demanded Taylor hand over the painting.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said a lower court had ruled correctly in 2005 when it dismissed the case on the grounds that a statute of limitations for the family’s claim had expired.
But the heirs of Margarete Mauthner had argued the painting was wrongfully acquired by the Nazis around the time of World War II and that Taylor and her representatives should have been aware of its origins.

"We are asserting that Ms Taylor was negligent and careless when she bought the painting," said Andrew Orkin, a Canadian lawyer who identified himself as Mauthner’s great-grandson.

"Our complaint charges that she ignored numerous conspicuous ’red flags’ in 1963 that the painting had likely been confiscated from a victim of Nazi persecution," Orkin said.

Mauthner fled Berlin to South Africa in 1939 after having lost most of their property, including the painting, as a result of "Nazi economic and political coercion" and that the family was therefore entitled to reclaim it under the 1998 US Holocaust Victims Redress Act.

Right not established

However in its ruling on Friday, the appeals court judged that the redress act did not establish a right to sue for the return of property that had been seized.

Taylor’s representatives said Orkin and his family had failed to show that the painting was ever illegally seized from Mauthner.

Taylor maintains that the catalogue from the auction at which she bought the piece stated that it had once belonged to Mauthner, but that it passed to two reputable galleries before it was sold to a German Jew, Alfred Wolf, who himself fled the Nazis in 1933.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Key players in Litvinenko case

Following are the main people with links to the case of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko

The Guardian
Staff reporters
Tuesday May 22, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Alexander Litvinenko

A former officer of the Russian spy agency, the KGB, and its successor, the FSB, Litvinenko fled to Britain in 2001, claiming he had been ordered to murder the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. He then accused his former superiors of organising a bombing campaign to trigger war in Chechnya. Mr Litvninenko died of radioactive poisoning, aged 44, on November 23 2006.

Andrei Lugovoi

Mr Lugovoi is a former bodyguard with the KGB, and now a successful Moscow businessman whose company, Pershin, controls a security consultancy and a soft drinks manufacturer, employing about 500 people. The 41-year-old met Mr Litvinenko at the Millennium hotel in London on November 1 2006, hours before the former spy fell ill. He has denied any role in the murder.

Dimitri Kovtun

An old friend of Mr Lugovoi from their days in the KGB, he is now a Moscow-based businessman and attended the meeting at the Millennium hotel. Mr Kovtun, 42, was contaminated with polonium-210 and traces were also found in Hamburg, where he visited his former wife. He too denies any involvement.

Mario Scaramella

An Italian self-styled security consultant who claims to have met Mr Litvinenko on the day the Russian was poisoned, to warn of a plot on his life. He too appeared to have been poisoned, but this was later found to have been the result of a testing error. On his return to Rome, Mr Scaramella, 36, was arrested on suspicion of gun-running and violating state secrets.

Boris Berezovsky

The Russian billionaire created his empire during Russia's privatisation drive and fled to the UK after falling out with President Vladimir Putin six years ago.


Also see, "Russian Spy’s Death May be Linked to Nuclear Smuggling," Russian Spy web page

AND ...

Notorious Oligarch Berezovsky Reveals Plans for Coup in Russia

26.01.2006 13:38 MSK

Wanted Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky has gone public with his plans to seize power in Russia by force. The London-based oligarch said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station Wednesday that he had been working on the coup plan for 18 months.

Berezovsky, a notorious critic of Putin’s regime, said he aimed to replace the “anti-constitutional regime” in Russia.

“The regime has lost its legitimacy. Neither Putin nor the parliament are legitimate. They are anti-constitutional, because they have made a number of anti-constitutional decisions, such as replacing elected governors by appointed ones. This is absolutely against the spirit and the language of the constitution.”

Today’s regime would never allow a fair election, Berezovsky added, so the only way out is a coup.

“There is only one way out — a coup, a forced seizure of power,” he said.

The oligarch said he had plenty of supporters. ...


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Post-9/11 Renditions: An Extraordinary Violation of International Law

Some say lack of due process in kidnappings and detention at secret prisons amounts to war crimes

By Michael Bilton
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

PORTSMOUTH, England — A plane lands in darkness and is directed to a far corner of an airfield, well out of public view. A group of men described as "masked ninjas" — wearing black overalls and hoods with slits for their eyes, nose and mouth — descend the aircraft steps and make their way to a nearby airport building. Inside a small room the detainee is waiting under armed guard, perhaps already blindfolded. He is immediately hooded as a process known as a "twenty-minute takeout" begins. Soon he is aboard the plane, on his way to another country to be harshly interrogated and possibly tortured.

That is what happened to two Egyptian asylum seekers in Sweden on December 18, 2001, and to numerous other terrorist suspects since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Events like this rarely happened before 9/11, but many sources claim that the CIA began frequent use of the practice almost immediately afterward. Now its pattern is familiar and so is its odd name: "extraordinary rendition." ...

In the 1980s and 1990s, the United States captured terrorist suspects overseas and "rendered" them back to the U.S. or to a third country to face trial. The CIA's extraordinary renditions reported to have occurred after 9/11 are quite different. What makes them extraordinary is that there is no judicial proceeding or due process of law; after the kidnapping, terrorist suspects simply disappear into a system of secret prisons for long-term detention and interrogation, sometimes accompanied by torture.

Human rights advocates and some legal scholars argue that extraordinary renditions are violations of international law, with some characterizing them as war crimes. For example, Professor Jordan J. Paust of the University of Houston, a former U.S. Army lawyer who is an expert on international law, has presented a formal analysis asserting that U.S. government leaders and those who planned or took part in extraordinary renditions could be prosecuted for committing war crimes. ...


Monday, May 21, 2007

Anglican Archbishop Promotes State Terrorism in Sri Lanka - Blamed by Human Rights Activist Dr. Brian Senewiratne

21 May 2007

Rt Rev Dr Rowan Williams,
Archbishop of Canterbury,
The Anglican Communion Office
St Andrew’s House
16 Tavistock Crescent
London W11 1AP

Your recent comments on Sri Lanka

Dear Archbishop,

I am a Sinhalese from the majority community, not a member of the brutalised Tamil community in Sri Lanka. I am an Anglican Christian whose father’s family were not only Christians but actually built Churches. I was educated in a British Christian missionary school, and later in Selwyn College, Cambridge - founded by Bishop Selwyn - where the emphasis is on theology, not medicine. In Sri Lanka, I have been invited to address the congregation in St Paul’s Church, Kandy, and in the University campus church in Peradeniya (Kandy). I write all this to stress my commitment to the Church.

I quit Sri Lanka some 30 years ago and who runs that country, whether it be Rajapakse or anyone else, is of no concern to me as long as it is run without bloodshed, chaos and the extensive violation of human rights of its people. My concerns are humanitarian – as should be yours.

I refer to your recent visit to that war-torn country. There have been doubts expressed as to whether you actually made the remarks attributed to you.

Some of the Christian clergy in Sri Lanka (and other apologists) have claimed that the media deliberately misreported what you said and gave it a pro-government twist. That is arrant nonsense since I actually heard what you said, and have a recording of it. Those who doubt me can still get on to the BBC website, and hear that shocking interview.


I will be publishing my recording of what you said in the next DVD I release. The world must know where the Christian Establishment atands.

This is what you said,

“It is undoubtedly inevitable that what you might call surgical military action against terrorism should take place”.

Archbishop, are you implying that the Tamil and Muslim people in the North and East as ‘terrorists’, since they are the recipients of what you irresponsibly call “surgical military action”? Do you, as a human being, let alone a Church leader, think that this is “absolutely inevitable”, and do you really think it “should take place?” If you do, it is, to put it mildly, disgraceful.

You owe the Tamil and Muslim people in the North and East an unqualified apology. They are being brutalised by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and its Armed Forces, they do not need to be insulted too. They are sufficiently traumatised already. They are my people who happen to live in a different part of Sri Lanka, but are nonetheless also my people whom who have thought it fit to insult. I strongly object to this.

What your absolutely outrageous and inflammatory comments have done is to legitimise the brutality unleashed on the Tamil civilian population (many of them Christians), by the Sinhalese-dominated Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and its barbaric Armed Forces.

US lawyer Karen Parker, who is not even a Sri Lankan but whose commitment to the Tamil struggle against tyranny and oppression I am well aware of, has already put you straight on what is, and what is not, terrorism. I cannot add to, or improve on, what she has said.

There are numerous articles on the net written by me, and DVDs also produced by me (which are being delivered to your office), to document the atrocities committed by the Sinhalese State, especially after Mahinda Rajapakse became President. These include the targetted bombing of the Sencholai orphanage with some 400 Tamil children, the bombing and shelling of Christian churches in the North, the destruction of Christian Churches in the South, the mass slaughter of thousands of Tamil civilians, many of them members of the Christian community, the bombing of thousands of Tamil homes, businesses, schools with students inside, hospitals with patients inside, markets, and entire fishing villages. The World Food Program has just stated that there are more than 400,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and conflict-affected people are now in need of emergency food and relief assistance in the conflict-affected areas in the north and east. In addition, more than 2,000 Hindu temples (Kovils) have been damaged or destroyed. This should be of concern to you in the “Interfaith role”, which is part of the mandate of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

This outrage on the Tamil civilians, their lives and their property, and concerns even about their very survival - is this what you flippantly describe as “inevitable”, “surgical military action”, which “should take place”. I regret having to say this, but you are getting into bed with one of the most brutal and murderous regimes ever to run Sri Lanka.

You make these irresponsible remarks at a time when the whole world has expressed serious concerns about the escalating human rights violations in Sri Lanka. These have been extensively documented by your own Nobel Laureate, Amnesty International, the US human rights group, Human Rights Watch, the UN Special Envoy Alan Rock, the International Commission of Jurists, and many other human rights groups.

You cannot be unaware that concerned parliamentarians in your own Parliament in Westminster have just formed a group, cutting across political boundaries, to see what they can do to achieve a just settlement to one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in South Asia. Why do you think the British Parliament has recently suspended some $3 million in debt-relief to the GOSL citing concerns about human rights abuses and the escalating military expenditure? I am glad that they do not think that what the GOSL is doing is “absolutely inevitable” and “surgical military action’” which “should take place”.

A press release states that prior to leaving London, you were briefed by a wide selection of people. Either they did not know what they were talking about, or were picked because of their support for what the Government of Sri Lanka is doing to its Tamil people. In either case, it is a bad reflection on Lambeth Palace.

What your irresponsible comments have done are to :-

1. Encourage even greater violation of human rights of the Tamil civilian population by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

2. Give invaluable support to Sinhalese ethno-religious chauvinists who are determined to make multi-ethnic, multireligious, multilingual and multicultural Sri Lanka into a Sinhala-Buddhist nation. Today, these extremist elements in Colombo are celebrating your comment – an indication of the damage that has been done by a flippant remark.

3. Strengthen the stance of President Rajapakse and his brothers to establish a fascist dictatorship and embark on a genocidal massacre of the Tamils in the North and East. The photograph of Rajapakse greeting you has been circulated all over the world, enhancing his flagging international image and decreasing yours.

4. Make Tamil civilians in the North and East, who are being brutalised by the current murderous regime, feel that their suffering is of no concern to you, and that what is being done to them is inevitable ‘surgical military action” which “should take place”..

Your highly damaging comments take no cognisance of the fact that

1. The Armed Forces have bombed, shelled or damaged scores of Christian Churches in the North and East.

2. Christian priests have been abducted and killed in the North and East.

3. Hundreds of terrified civilians, who had taken refuge in several Churches, have been killed by bombs, shells and grenades being dropped on these Churches. Those taking refuge were not what you glibly call “terrorists”.
4. Orphanages, refugee camps, entire villages, schools and hospitals in the Tamil areas have been bombed and shelled.

5. Tamil civilians, by the hundred, in the North and East have been arbitrarily executed without charge or trial. Hundreds of others have ‘disappeared’, some of whose bodies, with evidence of extensive torture, have been recovered

6. Tamil members of Parliament have been executed. I refer in particular, to Joseph Pararajasingham MP for Batticaloa who was gunned down in Church in front of the Bishop of Trincomalee and Batticaloa on Christmas Day 2005.

7. Tamil media people been harassed, arrested, detained without charge or trial, and some even murdered by Government Forces and Tamil paramilitaries working with them. Printing presses have been destroyed and equipment for printing blocked from reaching the Tamil area.

8. Even Sinhalese journalists, peace activists, and members of civic society, who have questioned what is going on, have been locked up without charge or trial, and some have ‘disappeared’.

9. Churches and Christian clergy in the Sinhalese South have been destroyed by Sinhalese hoodlums. In at least some of these incidents, Buddhist clergy have been involved. “Sri Lankan Christians” , a group of concerned Christians from a variety of ethnic traditions and diverse denominations, have extensive documentation on their website
Reading the Bible

On 16 April 2007, you talked for 45 minutes in Toronto, on the importance of reading the Bible. Could you quote me the Chapter and Verse in the Bible which supports “surgical military action” under the circumstances that exist in Sri Lanka or, for that matter, any circumstance?

I would draw your attention to St Paul’s letter to the Colossians 3 V.12

“Therefore as Gods chosen people, holy and dearly beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion”.

Archbishop, did you “clothe yourself with compassion”, for the Tamils who are also God’s people, when you made those inflammatory comments? Or are the Tamils the ‘people of another God’, and who do not deserve compassion?

I take you to the Old Testament, and one of the Psalms of David, written at a time when men in authority were twisting justice. I quote the New International version of the Bible:-

Psalm 58 v 1-2 “Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men? No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands meet out violence on the earth.”

Psalm 58 v 6 “Break the teeth in their mouths, O God, ……..”.
58 v 7 “Let them vanish like water that flows away……..”

Contrary to what the Bible recommends, you chose to support Sri Lanka’s unjust rulers rather than the unjustly ruled. What you did by condoning State violence, masquerading as “defending the nation from terrorism”, is to support a ruthless regime that has not set any limits on the suffering of the Tamil people. This is how fascist dictatorships are established.

Archbishop, there is no great merit in reading the Bible, as you recommend, if you do not practise what you read.


You have repeatedly said that you hope and pray for the people of Sri Lanka. Of what good is prayer if you give your tacit approval to the GOSL and its Armed Forces in their military assault on the inhabitants of the North and East? It would have been better to pray less and do more to achieve peace, and this you cannot do by talking of, “surgical military action” and that it “should take place”. I hope that your prayers are not based on this type of thinking.
Avoiding the North-East

You did not go to Jaffna, Mannar in the North West or the East. Sir, this is where the major violation of human rights is occurring, where serious and repeated massacres are taking place, where thousands are being made refugees, and where people are ‘disappearing’ every day. Did you even inquire about the massacres of the Tamil civilians and the bombing of entire Tamil villages in the Islands off Jaffna. Kfir jets dropped bombs on these people on January 2, 2007, slaughtering men, women and children, as they celebrated the New Year? The entire population of these areas are Christians, your God’s children.

Did you ask Rajapakse what his so-called “Security Forces” were doing in Jaffna? There is no need to ‘secure” Jaffna. The Tamil are not going to run away with Jaffna. It has nothing to do with ‘Security’ but much to do with bullying, harassing and terrifying the Tamil people to force them to accept Sri Lanka as a Sinhala-Buddhist nation. Are you concerned? If you are, why did you not ask the President when he entertained you in his home?

In this happy gathering in the President’s home, I noted that standing a few feet from you was Douglas Devananda, the Leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party, currently a Cabinet Minister in Rajapakse’s Government. Archbishop, just to translate, “Eelam” stands for a Separate Tamil State.

Your meeting with him would have been a golden opportunity to have asked him about the numerous ‘disappearances’ in Jaffna. You could have asked him to explain the Government’s Human Rights Commission Report that since Dec 2005, the Commission recorded 707 people ‘missing’ in Jaffna. Witnesses allege that the Security Forces and Minister Devanada’s own Party members were involved in the vast majority of cases. In just the past 3 months, 55 people have been abducted during curfew hours, when only the ‘Security Forces’ and their paramilitary ‘helpers’ are on the streets in Jaffna. I am sure Minister Devananda would have been able to explain these very worrying facts, and much more that goes on behind the closed or censored doors of Jaffna.

Archbishop, did you ask President Rajapakse or Minister Devananda who comes from the North, about the ethics of blocking the A9 Highway, the only land access to the Jaffna Peninsula, by the Armed Forces on 11 August 2006? There are some 600,000 Tamil civilians, 150,000 of them children, in the Peninsula facing starvation. Did you point out that this violates Article 55 and 56 of the 4th Geneva Convention which states that:

“An occupying power (eg the Sri Lankan Army), has the duty of ensuring adequate food and medical supplies and protecting public health in the area under occupation (Jaffna)”.

What are you going to do about the continuing starvation of these people, some of them Christian, others non-Christian, but, if you believe the Bible which you recommend be read, are all “God’s Children”?

Did you ask why it was necessary for some of the best agricultural lands in Jaffna to be declared “High Security Zones” inaccessible to civilians? I put it to you, Archbishop, that this has nothing to do with Security but has much to do with mass starvation and genocidal intent by the GOSL. Is this part of “surgical military action” which you say ”should take place”?

Did you ask about the total ban on fishing reintroduced off the Jaffna Peninsula by the Sri Lankan Navy? It was imposed on 11 August 2006 to cover the entire North and East coast, partially relaxed in the face of protests by humanitarian organisations and, unbelievably reintroduced as a total ban off the Jaffna Peninsula on 20 February 2007 by the Sri Lankan military. 7,375 people in LTTE controlled areas and 65,000 people in GOSL controlled areas, face severe economic difficulties. Whether they live in the Tamil Tiger controlled areas or Government-controlled areas, they are human beings facing starvation Does this concern you? Is it not further evidence of genocidal intent?

Did you ask about the crisis in education in Jaffna and why some 10,200 children have dropped out of Jaffna schools in 2006 The Jaffna Secretariat Education Department would have told you all about it if you had asked. They would also have provided the reasons :-

• Fear of abduction by Armed Forces and their presence of Army near schools.

• Schools being bombed or being in Rajapakse’s extended ‘High Security’ zone.

• Lack of transport with curfews being imposed at the whim and fancy of the Armed Forces.

• Economic reasons – the ban on fishing and agriculture making it necessary for children to work to keep family alive.

• The lack of accommodation because homes have been bombed and shelled, and the simple lack of food.

Does any of this worry the Anglican Church authorities in Colombo or in London? Or is it all part of “surgical military action”?

Your visit to Kurunegala

You held a service in the Anglican Church in Kurunegala. You might be interested to know that the former Bishop of this Church, the late Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe, one of the finest Christians, indeed human beings, that Sri Lanka has produced, said that the Sinhalese people had to apologise for what has been done to the Tamil people. I suggest you read his last Pastoral Address circulated a few months before his untimely death. I will be happy to send it to you.

Bishop Lakshman, who, like me, is a Sinhalese, was my role model. He must surely be turning in his grave to see you conduct a service in his beloved Church and then go on to make the sort of comments that you did. I am so glad that he is not on this planet, the trauma would surely have killed him, as did the 1983 massacre of Tamils in Colombo. He visited a refugee camp in Colombo and went ‘missing’. He was later found quietly crying in a room. That was the compassion of Bishop Lakshman, something which is seriously lacking today. When God made Bishop Lakshman, he must have thrown away the mould.

Meeting the Buddhist clergy

You saw the Mahanayake Thero of the Asgiriya Chapter (one of the leading Buddhist Monks). Did you ask him which Buddhist stanza asks the followers of one of the greatest teachers of peace the world has known, to block the roads in Colombo demanding a return to war, break up peace rallies and supervise the burning of Christian Churches in the South? (I have a list of the scores of churches destroyed). My mother was a devout Buddhist.

Did you ask the Mahanayake Thero about Champika Ranawake, the Parliamentary representative of the Buddhist monk’s political party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya. Ranawake, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources in President Rajapakse’s Government, advocates extra-judicial measures to deal with human rights groups, journalists and others who criticised the State’s militaristic aims? Pardon the language but these are his words, “Those bastards are traitors. We can’t do anything because of wild donkey freedom in this country. If those cannot be handled with existing laws, we know how to do it. If we can’t suppress those bastards with the law, we need to use any other ways and means.” to the (Sinhalese) Raavaya newspaper on February 18, 2007.

Did you raise this with the Mahanayake Thero or with President Rajapakse, and ask if anyone in the Buddhist hierarchy or the Government has condemned the Minister’s words and demanded a retraction?

If some of the the so-called Buddhist leaders and thousands of their followers, and a succession of ‘Buddhist’ political leaders (many of them converts from Christianity to politically expedient ‘Buddhism’, and others such as Rajapakse who claim to be devout Buddhists), were true Buddhists, the Tamils would not be asking for a Separate State, far less fighting for one. Archbishop, this is a complex problem which you simply cannot ‘pick up on the run’, or, as you put it to Reuters, “a passing visit”. You have to spend some time studying it and until you do, it is totally irresponsible to make the confused and inflammatory comments you have made.

Confused thinking

Your degree of confusion, manifest in conflicting statements made by you, beggars belief. To have the Head of 77 million people in a confused state is obviously a matter of concern. At the press conference on 9 May, 2007 in Colombo you said you were “aware that this is a time of great trial and suffering for the people of Sri Lanka.” You then went on to justify the Sri Lankan military assault which is the cause of the “great trial and suffering” as “inevitable” and that ”surgical military action should take place”. Archbishop, you cannot have it both ways.

You told the journalists that the Government’s military solution “increasingly appears to be no solution”. Then you go on to talk of the inevitability of military action and that this “should take place”. Archbishop, where exactly do you stand or do you not know? You cannot stand with a foot in each camp, or, should I say, backing opposing strategies.

You say “that that (the ‘surgical military action’) will lead ……. to an opening of communication, a re-establishment of the possibilities for civil society to develop”. Archbishop, what line of logic are you pursuing? How can “surgical military action” open up communication? How can uncivil behaviour by a Government enable civil society to develop? Are you aware that leading members of civil society who organised rallies for Peace and campaigned against war, are being threatened and even held in custody without charge or trial by the fascist regime which entertained you? Archbishop, you seem to be saying a lot of words without thinking about what they mean. It is a flow of words which sound impressive but is, in fact, complete nonsense. It is not only nonsense but dangerous nonsense.

You say that you were visiting Sri Lanka to learn something about the situation. I suggest you spend some time watching the DVD that I have just released on the complex Sri Lanka ethnic conflict. I will have a copy delivered to your office. It might make you better informed and hopefully more cautious in talking about things about which you have no idea. The information you have, seems to have been literally picked up on the run from people with an agenda which has nothing to do with peace in Sri Lanka. In disinformation and frank lying, Sri Lanka is one of the world leaders. Regrettably, this includes some of the Church leaders with whom you say you work closely.

You say that you want to see how the Church (in Sri Lanka) is responding. Which church? The one in the Sinhalese South or the one in the Tamil North and East? The ones in the Tamil area are being decimated, along with its worshipers. The one in the South could not care less. I had to deliver an address in a Church in Melbourne on this very same subject. A summary of what I said was that the Christian Church in the Sinhalese South was more Sinhalese than Christian. Would you like to see my address and the justification for my statement?

A reflexive violent response

In a press release before leaving England for Sri Lanka, you said, “Sri Lanka is a place in which conflict and violence has become a reflexive response to political difficulty” .That is, to put it mildly, gross ignorance. The most cursory glance at Sri Lanka’s political history would have made you aware that Tamil political leaders had sat cross-legged in Gandhi style, non-violent protests for 21 years (from 1956 -1977) and had these non-violent protests crushed by Government-sponsored Sinhalese hoodlums, supported by the Police (95% Sinhalese) and later, the Army (99% Sinhalese).

The resort by the Tamil youths to an armed struggle was because of a failure of the non-violent process and negotiations with a succession of Sinhalese Governments to achieve anything. It was not violence as a ‘reflexive response’ as you claim it was. This is staggering ignorance and, coming as it does from someone who has the support structures that you have to get the necessary information, very disturbing.

My visit to London to apprise you of the situation in Sri Lanka

You may claim that you have not been aware of much of what I have alluded to. That is why I wrote to you in June 2006 (copy of letter attached). It was to apprise you of these atrocities that I put my medical practice on hold, took the 26hr flight from Brisbane to London to see the Head of my Church, you, the Archbishop of Canterbury. I was told that you were too busy! Here was an ex-parishioner of Westminster Abbey who had done a 52hr trip, asking for just 15mins to talk to his Church Leader and being told that he was too busy. Was that really too much to ask? If that is the score, then there should be two Archbishops – one to pray (and do whatever else Archbishops do), and the other to listen to the supplications of his people.

The Roman Catholic response

I was concerned that the Pope decided to meet President Rajapakse on 20 April 2007. A Roman Catholic friend explained that the Vatican State had no option when the request came from a Head of State. I know it is a question you cannot answer, but if the request came from another Head of State, Robert Mugabe, would the Pope see him and touch his blood-stained hands? I doubt it.

Whatever my reservations, when the Pope did see (Buddhist) Mahinda Rajapakse and his (Roman Catholic) wife, who had presumably come to get the Pope’s blessings on the military assault on the Tamil people, the Vatican got it right. Pope Benedict XVI received in audience the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for all of 20 minutes! He was then shown the door to the office of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State, who presides over the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Holy See.

Conveying the concerns of the Pope, Cardinal Bertone reiterated to Rajapaksa, the need to respect human rights and resume the path of dialogue and negotiation as the "only way to put an end to the violence."

The Holy See Press Office released a communiqué immediately after the meeting:
"In the course of the talks - and in the light of the current situation in Sri Lanka - the need was reiterated to respect human rights and resume the path of dialogue and negotiation as the only way to put an end to the violence that is bloodying the island. The Catholic Church, which offers a significant contribution to the life of the country, will intensify her delicate task of forming consciences with the sole ambition of favoring the common good, reconciliation and peace”.
There was none of this inflammatory nonsense of “undoubtedly inevitable” ….”surgical military action” ……which “should take place”, or even the word “terrorism” mentioned. Archbishop Rowan Williams, that is how it is done, and should be done, if the Church and its Head are to retain any credibility and respect. What happened in Rome was before you arrived in Sri Lanka. It should have been a shining example of responsible behaviour for a Church leader, in a situation where there is a crisis in human rights.
Just consider what a major effect there would have been on the barbaric regime in Sri Lanka if the Head of the Catholic Church and the Head of the Anglican Church said the same thing, instead of one advocating reconciliation and peace, and the other acquiescing a military assault.

There are several reasons for the defence. The Vatican is better informed, and listens to the concerns expressed by its clergy and flock, something which your Church should be doing. At least where Sri Lanka is concerned, the Vatican seems to be prepared to take a principled stance, rather than one determined by political expediency.

Political expediency is precisely what you did in October 2006 when you visited China and failed to confront the authorities on their abysmally poor record in religious freedoms. You cannot be unaware that China has jailed scores of Catholic priests and Tibetan Buddhist minks and nuns because of their loyalty to the Pope and to the Dalai Lama. You have now gone down the same path of political expediency in Sri Lanka.

I strongly advise that you read the outstanding analysis of the Sri Lankan situation submitted to the Pope by Brad Adams, The Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, when he heard that Rajapakse was going to Rome. Tragically, this crucial document, written on 16 April 2007, was available before you left for Sri Lanka and should have been read by someone who claimed to be “ …conscious that this is a time of great trial and suffering for the people of Sri Lanka," as you told Reuters Television in Colombo.

I suggest that even at this late stage you look at Brad Williams’ letter to the Pope, and write to President Rajapakse to tell him that your attention has been drawn to a letter from the Director of a internationally acclaimed human rights organisation, and that you wish to express your serious concerns about what the Rajapakse’s Government is doing to the Tamil people. That is, of course, if you have ‘concerns’.

A hypothetical question

Archbishop Williams, can I ask you a hypothetical question but one with practical implications. If Jesus Christ reappeared and visited Sri Lanka, where do you think He would go? I think He would head for the refugee camps in the North and East with more than 400,000 displaced people, to Mannar in the North West where His people have had many a slaughter, and the Islands off Jaffna which have had even more. He would probably have stayed there till all His people were safe, and able to live with equality, dignity and safety in a place they have a right to be in. That is Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God, That is what I believe, and that is my brand of Christianity.

The practical dimension

The practical dimension of this belief is why I decided to stand with my brutalised Sri Lankan Tamil people, and why I am seriously upset by your irresponsible and inflammatory remarks.

That is why in 1948, as 16 year old schoolboy, I organised a public protest in my school when my (Indian) Tamil people were made ‘non-people’. I was only applying what I had been taught in the “Religious Studies” class in the British Christian mission school I was educated. That is why, a quarter of a century later, in 1972, as the Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Physician in the Kandy hospital, I picked up these brutalise people who were dying on the streets of Kandy, having been hounded out of their miserable ‘coolie lines’ by Sinhalese hoodlums from my Government.

That is why in 1972, I challenged the congregation from the pulpit of the largest Anglican Church in Kandy, to take a stance on an unimaginable injustice done to people whose only crime was that they were born poor and into an uncaring environment. I told them that to come to Church, sing hymns and recite meaningless stanzas which they did not practice, was not what Christianity was all about.

If you do not know the story of this blot on Sri Lankan history, these (‘Indian’) Plantation Tamils are pathetically poor people, descendents of a million Tamils brought by the British in the 1850s, from poverty-stricken (British) India, to do slave labor on British tea estates. They were off-loaded in Mannar, and forced by the (Christian) colonial master, to walk some 300 km, to the 6,000 ft mountains in central Ceylon, a third of them dying on the way from fatigue, malnutrition and malaria. They were then put into miserable “coolie lines” in the British tea plantations, where they were treated like slaves,

They are the people, my Indian Tamil people, who kept, and still keep, Sri Lanka afloat, but who were disenfranchised and de-citizenised in 1948 by my government, while the Governor General from your country looked on. Where was the Anglican Church when this political barbarism was occurring?

Do you see that praying, which you say is what you are doing for the people of Sri Lanka, is not sufficient. The Church has to act, which I doubt it has in any constructive way in Sri Lanka, in the past half century since Independence from Britain, and probably before.

“Interfaith role”

What is alarming is that you seem to be linking hands with the racist Buddhist clergy who have done, and continue to do, so much damage to Sri Lanka and are making it impossible for any Government since 1956 to deliver peace with justice. As I have said, my mother was a devout Buddhist and worshiped in the very temple in Kandy which you visited.

The game plan - Getting it ‘terribly wrong’

Dr Sam Muthuveloe of Hope Outreach in your country, in a letter to his friend Canon Julian Reirdorp of Richmond Parish, Surrey, UK says, “… our Archbishop in Canterbury has got something terribly wrong”. I disagree with Dr Muthuveloe. I’d say that “there are none as blind as those who do not want to see.”

Archbishop, I have no idea what your game plan is. Whatever it is, it is highly damaging.

It is possible that it is a continuing attempt to perpetuate the brutal repression of the Tamil people which Britain has done for at least the past three decades by supplying weapons to the repressive Sinhala regime in Colombo.

It is possible that you are trying to deliver on the “interfaith role” part of your position as Archbishop, and trying to link hands with the Buddhist clergy, however abysmal their political and human rights record is, and has been.

It appears to me, and I suspect to the majority of the Tamil people both in and outside Sri Lanka (and I stress I am not a Tamil), that from the Tamil perspective, it matters little whether one wears a yellow robe or a white robe, the sentiments expressed by the wearer are the same.

Moral leadership

In what I can only describe as an amazing claim, you told a Reporter from London’s Daily Mail, that society was missing the point in expecting the Church to be in the business of moral leadership. If to provide moral leadership is not the business of the Church, what is? I think this inability to provide moral leadership has been amply manifested by your inflammatory comments in Sri Lanka.

Comic vicar

In an extraordinary interview with Alan Rusbridge, Editor of the Guardian , you said you had been called the “comic vicar to the nation”. The incredulous Rusbridge asked the question twice. “What vicar?’ You replied, “The comic vicar” .Ruxbridge re-checked, “The comic vicar?”

If Britain has a ‘comic vicar to the nation”, that is her problem. However, it is reasonable to ask the British nation to keep its ‘comic vicar’ rather than encourage travel all over the world to inflict damage which could cost hundreds of lives of defenceless people, because of rash and irresponsible comments which can be, indeed have been, picked up and acted on by despots and despotic regimes.

Where I stand

I am the Patron of the Campaign for Truth and Justice founded in London last year. I enclose my letter to your Prime Minister Tony Blair, which was supported by a petition signed by some 3,000 people in your capital, and handed over to 10 Downing Street. I suggest that you read it. It sets out where I stand and why. It also summarises Britain’s responsibility in creating and perpetuating this mess.

At a personal level, as a Christian I am too committed to my faith to allow the irresponsible and inflammatory comments of the leader of my Church to get between me and my God. What you have succeeded in doing is to distance me from the Christian establishment. You, Archbishop Rowan Williams, are the Spiritual Leader of some 77 million Anglican Christians in the world. You can review that figure downward to ‘77 million minus one’. Actually, two, since another Christian, the US Human rights lawyer, Karen Parker, writes, “So this is what the Church of England stands for? Remind me never to go there”. Be assured that many more will join us.

An apology and a retraction

As I have said, an unqualified apology to the Tamil and Muslim people in the North and East is not an option but is mandatory, if you are to retain any credibility and, what is more important, if the Christian Church is not to suffer serious damage.

You can undo at least some of the damage that you have done by contacting the BBC Sinhala service, retracting what you have said, and asking that it be widely disseminated. You can do the same with the Church in Sri Lanka, some of whose members are now trying to mount an exercise in ‘cover-upism’ rather than tender an apology on your behalf.

The fall-out

There will undoubtedly be a fall-out from your comments, as the brutal regime in Colombo, now with the tacit approval of the Head of the Christian Church, goes on an accelerated genocidal campaign to deliver the “undoubtedly inevitable” ….”surgical military action” ……which “should take place” . As the resultant bombs and rockets fall on a helpless people, they might modify what the dying Christ said, “Father forgive him, but he knew, or should have known, what he was doing”.

I shed a tear for my Tamil and Muslim people who are mere KFir jet fodder to a ruthless regime backed by international players, which now includes my Anglican Church, whose agenda has nothing to do with peace or justice in Sri Lanka.

Yours faithfully.

Brian Senewiratne