The Global Digest


Promote Integral and Solidary Humanism, JPDO-CBCI tells activists in Jharkhand

Oct 23, 2013

Group picture at Ranchi

A workshop on Catholic Social Teaching was conducted by the Justice, Peace and Development Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (JPDO-CBCI), at Social Development Centre, Ranchi, on 21 and 22 October 2013. The two-day workshop was inaugurated by Most Rev Binay Kandulna, Bishop of Khunti, who said that the essence of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church was an integral and solidary humanism. In support of his statement, he cited the opening sentence of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”

The very first presentation at the workshop was by Fr Charles Irudayam, Secretary of JPDO-CBCI. He shed light on the fact that Catholic Social Teaching looks at social, political, economic, and cultural realities, and engages in dialogue with those realities in order to transform them. He pointed out that the Catholic Social Teaching was Church’s invitation to all Christians to social activism. He also explained to the participants the foundational principles of the Catholic Social teaching that provided a roadmap to social activism.

Because of its concern for the dignity of every human person, the Church emphasises the protection of human rights. Hence two human rights activists – Ms Anu Singh of Poorest Area Civil Society (PACS) and Mr Anup Hore of Plan India –were invited to make special presentations on the rights of women and children. They pointed out that both the women and the children in Jharkhand were the most underdeveloped and were in need of special solidarity and advocacy efforts.

Later Fr Stanny SJ, Secretary of the Tribal Desk of the CBCI, drew the attention of the participants to the plight of the tribal population in Jharkhand and in other states of India. He said that the tribals were de-scheduled when they moved out of their native states, and even the scheduled territories were being de-scheduled, as a consequence of which the tribals were displaced from their villages where they had been living for centuries. He argued that the mainstream development had only victimised and marginalised them. He also urged for an inclusive and integral development, and for the empowerment of the marginalised tribals by having recourse to the following legal safeguards: the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (or PESA), 1996; and the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

In the light of the aforementioned presentations, the participants were engaged in serious discussions in order to map out strategic interventions for achieving integral and inclusive development.The participants also stated that Catholic Social Teaching would be an inspirational and influential factor and that their life and mission would be guided by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. The workshop was attended by 73 people, most of whom were priests and nuns from 8 dioceses of Jharkhand. The participants included the Directors of the Diocesan Social Work Societies from the 8 dioceses of Jharkhand. The local convenor of the event was Fr Christudas, Director of Social Initiatives for Growth and Networking (SIGN).

Dr Charles Irudayam, Secretary, Office for Justice, Peace and Development, CBCI

Spiritual Reclamations across the world inaugurate new "Jubilee Revolution" - Debts, laws nullified

Sep 22, 2013

Via della Conciliazione

Traditional elders, shamans and clergy gathered near the Vatican today and in at least six other countries to inaugurate a new spiritual regime that nullifies and replaces the Church of Rome, as well as "ungodly laws and economies". Invoking divine authority, the closed ceremonies culminated twenty one days of global prayer and fasting on behalf of "all of the victims of a false church and its spirit of lies and murder".

In Rome, nine elders held a sacred circle ceremony near the Via della Conciliazione opposite St. Peter's Square to "complete the cycle of exorcism begun here in 2009", according to participant Brother Ciaran Ui Niall of Wexford, Ireland, who stated during the opening proceedings, "The Roman papacy has been found guilty in the courts of man because first it was condemned by God. Divine judgement knows no compromise or evasion, and says, 'I the Lord God am against the false shepherds and shall destroy them and their evil.' And so we witness today to the spiritual truth that the rule of Rome is over, for God has dissolved all such man made authority on earth, and all unjust rulers, whether religious or secular."

Similar ceremonies occurred in London, Cork, Amsterdam, Boston, Vancouver and eight other cities, and were accompanied by the occupation and seizure of catholic churches by citizens bearing common law warrants. The Spiritual Reclamation was accompanied by a global media statement that clarified the full dimension of the Sunday Equinox Jubilee action. It reads in part, "On August 4, 2013, the corporate entity calling itself the Church of Rome was lawfully disestablished and publicly declared to be a global criminal body, without standing or authority.

Today, on Equinox Sunday, September 22, 2013, the same criminal entity has been spiritually disestablished, declared abomination, anathema and anti-Christ, and banished from the world. Christians are now free to be faithful to Christ alone within their own self-governing congregations, separate from the corporate apostasy of the papacy and mediated religion. For God's law lives in every human heart and not in institutions. Likewise, the fallen social and economic global order instituted historically by the corporation of the Church of Rome is similarly disestablished according to the Jubilee Leviticus Laws of Renewal and Equality within the new Jubilee congregations we are forming, as a sign of the new creation.

The world and the land shall rest from injustice, greed and usury. All debts and interest rates are cancelled, and the land and its wealth is placed in common so that all people may dwell in peace and equality, as God wills it to be. Let all people rally to this new Jubilee order under the direct supremacy of God and Natural Law." In Ireland, Canada and America, catholic clergy have already announced their plan to disaffiliate from Rome and establish their own national, congregationally-based churches, according to Not in Our Name (NON), a Dublin based group. A similar movement has begun in the American mid-west in a Common Law Congregational Movement, which seeks to base Christian churches on Common Law rather than be tied to the state or admiralty and canon law.

NON and the Jubilee congregational movement can be contacted at Issued by The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (Brussels) See following youtube links for further updates, including new evidence of Genocide in Canada.

Church Fosters Lay Leadership for Just Odisha

Jul 27, 2013

Christian activists

Around 70 Christian activists from five different dioceses took part in a special leadership training that enabled them to dream of and contribute to a just Odisha. The training was jointly organised by CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development and the Justice and Peace Commission of Odisha Region at Red Cross Bhavan, Bhubaneswar, on 13 and 14 July 2013.

Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubneswer inaugurated the training and said Christians in Odisha, though a minuscule minority, have been mandated, by virtue of their faith, to be a leaven of justice and peace in this world. The Vicar General added that Christians would have to be guided by faith, hope and charity in building a new society, new Odisha.

The team of experts that facilitated the training included Fr Charles Irudayam, Secretary, CBCI Office for Justice Peace and Development, Fr. Ajay Singh, Secretary, Orissa Regional Commission for Justice and Peace, Fr. Stanislaus Jebamalai, Secretary, Jesuits in Social Action, Mr. Adikant Shingh, Mr. Jugal Kishore, and Mr. Dherandra Panda. These experts guided the participants to evolve suitable strategies that will help realise their vision and goal.

The activists from the dioceses of Sambalpur, Rourkela, Baleswar, Berhampur, and Cuttack-Bhubneswer in Odhisha were facilitated by a team of experts to deliberate on the following topics: Threats and challenges faced by the Odhisha Church; the situation of Dalits and Minorities; countering communalism; the budget earmarked for Dalits and Adivasis; human rights violations in Odhisha; women’s rights; child rights; rights of the minorities.The participants admitted that the inputs on Catholic social teaching encouraged them to play an active role in building a just society that ensures harmonious living for diverse groups.

Vatican Corruption:“You Cannot be a slave of both God and Wealth” (Mt.6/21)

Special Contribution
By Thomas Kocherry
Jul 1, 2013

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, accused of trying to help friends bring millions of euros into Italy from Switzerland by plane


We are in the context of Globalization, Liberalization, Privatization and Capitalism. It is a free movement of capital to make profit at the expense of the vast majority who do not have the basic needs of life. A few are becoming richer and richer and a vast majority are becoming poorer and poorer. There is no social justice and distributive justice. There is no labour laws and the price rise is on the increase like mad. There is`no morality. By hook or by crook you make profit. They follow a growth model economy depleting natural resources and the earth. Waste and pollution of the water bodies and air is part parcel of this exclusive development. Corruption is organically linked with this kind of Exclusive Economy. Every one has become slave of wealth. This is diametrically opposed to God, who is all inclusive.

Church has become a slave of Wealth

Church as an institution has been an inclusive education, and health care. This has been the faith in Jesus. Church has been the pioneers in these two fields. The Church has been known for the Church of the Poor in India. But today when the Church has become more and more institutionalized the church has become more fundamentalistic and dogmatic. The Church has been tempted to use education and health care as a money making business. The Church has become exclusive in education and health care. FCRA number has become mark of such a Church. Along with that more and more English Medium Schools, CBSC schools and ISC schools were created by all the Religious Orders and Dioceses. Professional colleges have become a turning point in this money making racket. The Church in India Seminar of 1969 at Dharmaram College in Bangalore was the most representative Seminar of the Church we have ever had after Vatican II. It unanimously decided that the Church Institutions should not take appointment fees, admission fees, capitation fees, and keep no black money and our account should be transparent and audited. What is happening today in the Church. I need not say what is happening. Everything is diametrically opposed to these decisions. There are three or four accounts in every institution. Even principals and superiors have their own Bank Accounts without any accountability to any body.

Vatican too a slave of Wealth

The latest news that Vatican too is in the same soup. A Vatican official, a financial broker and a former secret service police officer were arrested Friday on suspicion of corruption over an alleged attempt to smuggle a huge sum of cash into Italy, Rome's prosecutor said. The official, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, works as a financial analyst in the Vatican office that administers Vatican-owned property.

Prosecutor Nello Rossi told reporters the three suspects could face corruption charges, with Scarano also facing a possible count of defamation. He stressed that the investigation is ongoing and that money laundering is not among the possible charges based on what investigators have uncovered so far. The suspects were identified as a result of a larger investigation into the Vatican bank, also known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, Rossi said, but Friday's arrests are not directly linked to the bank.(CNN 28-06-2013)

They were trying to smuggle 40 million Euros from Switzerland to Vatican. Scarano was already under suspension. The arrests come in the same week that Pope Francis established a papal commission tasked with investigating the activities of the Vatican bank. The commission, made up of four clerics and a Harvard law professor, will report to the pope with its findings "in view of possible reform," Lombardi said, according to Vatican Radio.

The Vatican has been plagued by internal power struggles over its murky finances for decades. On Wednesday, a financial watchdog agency established in 2010 issued its first report on money laundering, in a move to improve financial transparency in the city-state. The document from the Financial Intelligence Authority shows six reports of "suspicious activity" in the past year, up from just one in 2011. It says the Vatican's prosecutors are investigating two of those reports for possible criminal activity. It wouldn't elaborate further. The Vatican bank is also working to improve transparency, announcing earlier this month that it will launch a website to publish an annual report of its activities.

The bank serves thousands of Catholic charities, religious orders and dioceses around the world, in addition to roughly 500 people living in the tiny city-state. It has some 33,400 accounts and about $8 billion in assets “Only priests, members of religious orders, Catholic institutions, employees of the State of Vatican City and diplomats accredited to the Holy See are allowed to keep accounts at the Vatican Bank, known as the Institute for Works of Religion. But rumors have long swirled that accounts were being used as fronts for other interests, including organized crime and Italian politicians.”( RACHEL DONADIO and ELISABETTA POVOLEDO Published: June 28, 2013)

“Pope Francis ordered an inquiry into the activities of the Vatican bank today, after fresh accusations of corruption and continued questions about its secrecy. Francis named a commission to investigate the bank's legal structure and activities 'to allow for a better harmonization with the universal mission of the Apostolic See,' according to the legal document that created it.

The announcement came after prosecutors in Salerno placed senior Vatican official Monsignor Nunzio Scarano under investigation for alleged money-laundering. Scarano has said he did nothing wrong, though in an interview with the local daily, La Citta di Salerno, he acknowledged he received bad advice from his accountant.

The five-member commission includes two Americans: Monsignor Peter Wells, a top official in the Vatican secretariat of state, and Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor, former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See and current president of a pontifical academy. American cardinals were among the most vocal in demanding a wholesale reform of the Vatican bureaucracy - and the Vatican bank - in the meetings running up to the March conclave that elected Francis pope.” (Pope Francis in St Peter's square today: He has announced a probe into the activities of the highly secretive and scandal-tainted Vatican Bank, 28-06-2013)


This is only the beginning of exposing the Vatican Corruption. More have to come. The newly appointed commission has the capacity to do that. Poor Pope Francis wants a church of the poor. But how can he makes a Corrupt Institution to become an Institution of the Poor? We need a miracle to happen. However the Pope has the capacity, wisdom and humility to work such a miracle. May the Good Lord give him the Wisdom to work the Miracle of making the Institutional Church-A CHURCH OF THE POOR.

Commemorating 20 years of the landmark UBCV protest: 1993: 40,000 Buddhists demonstrate for religious freedom in Hue

PARIS, 24.5.2013 (IBIB) – Exactly 20 years ago, on 24 May 1993, a conflict between Security Police and monks of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) sparked off a spontaneous demonstration of 40,000 Buddhists in the central city of Hue, ancient capital of Vietnam and historical centre of Buddhist dissent. This was the first mass protest in Vietnam since the country was united under communist rule in 1975. It would also be the last. Since then, Police have systematically cracked down on all peaceful protests, banning gatherings in public places and assaulting, arresting and condemning demonstrators to harsh prison sentences.

To commemorate this event, and also to remind international opinion that members of the unrecognized UBCV continue to face unabated repression, harassments and restrictions today, the International Buddhist Information Bureau presents a brief video of these historic events: This video is a short version of 5 hours of footage made by Security forces in Hue, whose prime aim was to identify and arrest demonstrators. The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry subsequently toured the international community with this video to “prove” to the international community that the UBCV was an “extremist organization”. The International Buddhist Information Bureau and its partner the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights obtained a copy of the video, reviewed, transcribed and added comments to it to enable viewers to make their own appraisal of events.

Background: The story began on 21 May 1993, when a young Buddhist named Nguyen Ngoc Dung immolated himself before the grave of former UBCV Patriarch Thich Don Hau in the grounds of the famous Linh Mu Pagoda to protest government repression against the outlawed UBCV. Police seized the man’s body, papers and remaining belongings, and tore down an alter set up by the monks. That evening, Hue’s State-controlled radio reported the “suicide by burning of a desperate drug addict suffering from AIDS”. Venerable Thich Tri Tuu, Superior monk at Linh Mu Pagoda, wrote to the Hue People’s Committee asking permission to give the man a Buddhist burial. The authorities refused, and summoned Thich Tri Tuu for interrogations on 24 May at 7.00am. He entered the People’s Committee alone, but three monks from the Linh Mu Pagoda waited outside. The authorities tried to force Thich Tri Tuu to sign a statement confirming the government’s version of events. He refused, and went outside to begin a hunger strike. Police dragged him back inside, but the monks witnessed the scene and sent word back to Linh Mu Pagoda. Seven monks staged a sit-in hunger strike in the middle of the street. News spread quickly, and a full-scale demonstration was soon under way. Riot police with electric truncheons and water cannons were called in. By the time they finally dispersed the crowds around 2.30p.m., some 40,000 Buddhists, students and local people had joined the monks in their protest.

In the aftermath, UBCV monks Thich Tri Tuu, Thich Hai Tang, Thich Hai Chanh and Thich Hai Thinh were arrested for “incitement” and “disturbing public order”. They were sentenced to three and four years in prison at an unfair trial in Hue on 15 November 1993, along with five lay-Buddhists, who received sentences between six months and four years. They were detained in Ba Sao Prison Camp in Northern Vietnam. In prison, they staged an 8-week hunger strike to protest their sentence and demand the right to appeal. The political prisoners in section A of Ba Sao Camp joined the hunger strike in solidarity. The wardens reacted by forcibly feeding the monks and detaining them incommunicado in section B of the camp, a section reserved for dangerous common criminals. UBCV monks who travelled over 600 kilometres from Hue to visit them were refused the right to enter the camp.

Today, UBCV leader Thich Quang Do, 85, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is under house arrest at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery without justification or trial. Vietnam denies that he is under detention, but diplomats such as US Ambassador David Shear and Australian Ambassador Hugh Borrowman who visited him in 2012 were able to witness his ongoing detention. UBCV mong Thich Thanh Quang, Head of the UBCV Youth Commission and Superior monk of the Giac Minh Pagoda in Danang, was brutally beaten by hired thugs as Security Police passively looked on. Buddhist Youth Movement leader Le Cong Cau was subjected to three days of intensive interrogations in March 2013 and threatened with imprisonment if he did not renounce his activities in support of the UBCV. The International Buddhist Information Bureau calls upon the international community to strongly denounce Vietnam’s repression against the UBCV, to press for the re-establishment of the UBCV’s legitimate status and that of all unrecognized religious organizations in Vietnam. ---

Catholic Forum Calls on Union Government to Act on Indian Prisoners in Pakistan Jails

Special Contribution
By Joseph Dias
May 3, 2013

Ansar Burney

Save Kripal Singh Now - India Must Internationalize Sarabjit. No More Killings in Pak Jails Ansar Burney Demanding Rs. 25 Crores to Free Sarabjit Must be Investigated - Deny Visa, if True The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), the Mumbai-based activist community NGO has said that there is no doubt that the government of Pakistan has blood on its hands in the Sarabjit murder case and called upon the union government to secure the immediate release of Indian prisoners to avoid a re-occurrence.

The CSF has called for union government intervention to secure the release of Kirpal Singh from Gurdaspur arrested for allegedly spying in 1991 and presently in Lahore jail. " The plight of hundreds of Indians languishing in Pakistan jails is similar, most of them being fishermen and of whom only 33 Indians have consular access. Sarabjit's killing comes after that of Chamel Singh, who died similarly in the same jail and if India does not act, we might just have yet another ", said Joseph Dias, the CSF general secretary. " It is chilling to read of the human rights violations and humiliation heaped upon Indians in Pakistan jails. Former Indian prisoners have reported that they had to wash Pakistani inmates undergarments, served dry roti and dishwater, forced to eat non-vegetarian food, inhuman torture on their private parts, cleaning toilets, etc. and this indignation heaped on them must stop. ", Joseph Dias added.

The CSF general secretary also called upon Dr. Manmohan Singh, the prime minister to investigate the very serious allegation made by Sarabjit Singh's sister Dalbir Kaur, who accused Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney of being a 'fraud' and said had she paid "Rs.25 crore to Burney, Sarabjit would have returned to India." It must be noted that if it were not the truth, Dalbir Kaur, would not have alleged "Had I paid Rs.25 crore to Ansar Burney, Sarabjit would have returned to India. I am poor so could not pay him. Burney had told me that at least pay Rs.2 crore to get Sarabjit. He told me that if I will give him the money in the morning, Sarabjit will be released by evening ". Joseph Dias said that Pakistani human rights activists had come under a cloud, especially since 2008 when Bhagwan Das was seen by fellow Indian prisoners being tortured to death.

Thereafter human rights activists were told a concocted story that he died of electrocution, while switching on a washing machine. According to him, " The allegation coming from next-of-kin of Sarabjit is a serious one and if an inquiry establishes that Ansar Burney did indeed exploit the situation, then he must be denied a visa to visit India in the future ". For more information, contact: +91 9769555657

Christ resurrection day memorial celebrates at borderless village in South Korea

By Salai Thang
Staff Reporter
Apr 3, 2013

In-fornt of Borderless village stage in Ansan

Approximately hundreds of people sing a Christian pop music and dance on the ground of Migrant town in Ansan on March 31, 2013, as a celebration of Christ resurrection day. According to Pastor Paul Kim, a leader of the group, “it was our resurrection celebration. We want to share the good news to the world to the lost. Worshipping outside the church building is fun exciting and rewarding. God’s presence is stronger and great witness to the lost.”

According to history of the resurrection, Pastor pointed out, in John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and life. He who believes in me will live even though He dies.” And Jesus Christ did rise again from the death. He was the Son of God. Jesus Christ said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can get to God the Father except by means of me." Jesus died on the cross according to the Scriptures and He rose again from the death according to the Scriptures.

The crowd dancing for memorial of Jesus resurrection

Most of the participants in the dance were migrant workers, they may Christian or maybe not, but they enjoyed to participate such active event. Similarly, Korean people believe same as any other Christians believe, said Pastor Paul.

Buddhist Youth leader Le Cong Cau risks prosecution for writing articles criticizing the Communist Party in Vietnam

Le Cong Cau

PARIS, 19 March 2013 (VIETNAM COMMITTEE) - The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) is deeply concerned for the security of prominent Buddhist youth leader and writer Le Cong Cau who has been threatened with prosecution by Security Police after his articles criticizing the Communist Party’s policies on Buddhism and territorial disputes with China were posted on the Internet. He is accused of violating Article 87 of the Vietnamese Criminal Code on “undermining the unity policy” and Article 88 on “circulating anti-state propaganda”. These offences carry prison sentences of up to fifteen and twenty years.

Le Cong Cau, 62, is Head of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam’s Buddhist Youth Movement Commission (Gia đình Phật tử Việt Nam)* and an active coordinator of UBCV activities in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. On 12 March, he was summoned by Security Police to come for a “working session” at the Truong An district Police station at 8.00am the following day. For the next two and a half days (13-15 March) he was subjected to intensive interrogations. Before releasing him, Police declared that they had obtained “sufficient evidence” to prosecute him under Articles 87 and 88 of the Criminal Code.

Le Cong Cau reported his ordeal to UBCV leader Thich Quang Do and Deputy leader Thich Vien Dinh. Alarmed by the gravity of the Police accusations, the UBCV leadership forwarded the report today to VCHR President Vo Van Ai, urging him to mobilize international support to protect Le Cong Cau. The VCHR is alerting the UN High Commission on Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council which is currently holding its 22nd session in Geneva.

Le Cong Cau’s report gives a detailed account of the Police interrogation. Unusually, it was not conducted by local police, but by an official from the Provincial Security Police, Nguyen Huu Chung, and two members of the Hue municipal Security Police. They began by showing Le Cong Cau several articles downloaded from the Internet which, they said, “slandered the regime and spread propaganda about an illegal organization named the UBCV”. They asked if he had written them and posted them on the Internet. Le Cong Cau affirmed he had written them all. He had not, however, posted them on the Internet himself, but sent them to the UBCV leadership who had forwarded them to the UBCV’s information office in Paris, the International Buddhist Information Bureau.

Specifically, the Police accused Le Cong Cau of criticizing the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) and calling for political change; advocating on behalf of the UBCV; and denouncing the State-sponsored Vietnam Buddhist Sangha as a political tool of the regime. Whilst admitting he had written on all these subjects, Le Cong Cau declared that he was expressing legitimate peaceful opinions, and thereby had committed no crime. The following extracts from his report give the tone of the exchange:

Officer Nguyen Huu Chung: Your articles slander the VCP and undermine the government’s prestige. In your “Appeal to Boycott Chinese Goods”, you say that the VCP is submissive, that it kowtows and grovels to the Chinese and has sold off Vietnamese territories and waters. Do you admit your errors?

Le Cong Cau: No, these are not errors. It was Pham Van Dong who gave up [the Spratley and Paracel islands] to China with his diplomatic note in 1958. Now, when the Chinese shoot dead, imprison or plunder our fishermen, all you do is to send a feeble protest for form’s sake, you don’t even dare reprimand the Chinese Ambassador. I call that submissive and groveling. Why don’t you take action like the Philippines [to bring China to court for violating the UNCLOS] or fight like our ancestors to protect our lands? You bring shame to our country. I will never accept that.

Officer Chung: Did you mastermind the UBCV’s call for anti-China demonstrations in July 2012? Don’t you know that it’s illegal to demonstrate without permission? Do you recognize your faults?

Le Cong Cau: The UBCV leadership called for demonstrations. I followed by urging members of the Buddhist Youth Movement to demonstrate in Hue, so we could match with the demonstrations in Hanoi and Saigon. The Constitution guarantees the right to demonstrate, so what have I done wrong?

Officer Chung: The Constitution is the mother of all laws. But there are “baby” laws, domestic legislation that you must respect!

Le Cong Cau: Which laws are bigger, the mother law or “baby” laws??

Officer Chung: You know that the UBCV is an illegal organization. You are an intellectual, why do you persist in supporting the UBCV and opposing the state on the UBCV’s behalf? We know you are poor and in bad health. You live frugally on a diet of vegetarian sandwiches, and eat rice only once a day. What do you get out if it? What’s in it for you?

Le Cong Cau: The UBCV was a legal organization long before you came here. Its existence does not depend on any political regime. When the Republic of (South) Vietnam fell, the UBCV did not fall with it. I don’t support the UBCV to oppose the Communist regime. I only speak the truth. You stripped the UBCV of its legitimate status, and I demand that you restore it. What do I get out if this? I do what I do because of my ideals. I am nobody’s lackey. I am on nobody’s payroll. I am a beggar who lives according his conscience and with the help of Buddhist masters and friends.

Officer Chung: You know very well that the VCP and the government will never accept to reestablish the UBCV’s legitimate status. That is why you want to overthrow the Communist state, so you can win freedom for the UBCV. Am I right?

Le Cong Cau: You say that the VCP will never accept the UBCV’s legal status? In that case, yes, I would like the VCP’s one-Party system to give way to a regime based on the rule of law. But the UBCV is not only asking for freedom and legality for itself. Our goal is the freedom of 85 million Vietnamese. It is not written in the UBCV’s statutes, but I believe that every UBCV member feels this way. We are inspired by this spirit of freedom.

Officer Chung: The only Buddhist organization recognized by the government is the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS). Yet you have written articles denouncing the VBS as a political tool of the Communist Party. Do you realize that creating divisions between religious followers is a criminal offence?

Le Cong Cau: You believe in Marxism and you denounce capitalism. This has resulted in a fratricidal war in Vietnam that led both sides to slaughter each other for over 20 years. It’s you who have created divisions. Why are you blaming me?

On the last day of the interrogation, 15 March, Officer Chung made Le Cong Cau write a statement admitting that he had written articles accusing the VCP of selling off Vietnamese waters and lands; being submissive to China and repressive towards the Vietnamese people; persecuting religions and repressing pro-democracy activists and human rights defenders; advocating political pluralism; predicting the imminent demise of the Communist regime; and accusing the State-sponsored VBS of being a political tool of the VCP. Le Cong Cau wrote the statement, but refused to recognize these acts as crimes. He tried to add to the statement: “I stand by my convictions and ideals. Everything I have done is in line with the rights enshrined in the Vietnamese Constitution. All those who try to prevent me are violating our Constitution. I refuse to collaborate with those who trample on the Vietnamese Constitution”. However, the Security Police struck these words off the statement.

In conclusion, Officer Nguyen Huu Chung told Le Cong Cau: “Today you have given us enough evidence to have you arrested and convicted under Article 87 on “sowing divisions between the religious and non-religious people” and Article 88 on “propaganda against the Communist Party and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. It depends on you whether your punishment is heavy or light. You had better stop, otherwise we will use heavier measures against you. Do you ask for our clemency to have a lighter sentence?” Le Cong Cau replied: “If you arrest and sentence me, I will not ask for the clemency of the Party or the government. I accept full responsibility for my acts”.

The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights wholly endorses the right of Le Cong Cau to freely express his peaceful opinions. This right is guaranteed in Article 69 of the Vietnamese Constitution and Article 19 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Vietnam acceded in 1982, which enshrines the right of all people to “receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers”.

The VCHR calls on the international community to urgently press Vietnam to cease all Police harassments against Le Cong Cau and guarantee his safety and security. “Vietnam cannot expect UN member states to seriously consider its bid for membership of the Human Rights Council at the UN General Assembly in September 2013 if it continues to trample so blatantly on its citizens’ basic rights” said VCHR President Vo Van Ai.

* The Buddhist Youth Movement (Gia đình Phật tử Việt Nam) is an educational organization affiliated to the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV). Although the UBCV is effectively banned by the communist authorities, the Youth movement has a semi-official status because of its widespread social, humanitarian and educational activities which are tolerated by government. It has some 500,000 members in Vietnam.

Not if it isn't true

Special Contribution
By Kevin D. Annett
Dec 21, 2013

Martin Luther

Being Christmas, this is the season of lies; so it's a good time to talk about healing and reconciliation. Canadians, especially, seem obsessed with those two words these days, and prattle on about them with the kind of hopeless desperation displayed by parents who keep insisting to their maturing children that there really is a Santa Claus.

Burying the hatchet is always a good thing for those with the bigger hatchet, much as the law is good for the man with property, and terrible for the one without it. But to speak of "reconciliation" as some kind of equally rewarding prospect for all concerned is just so much horse piss. Take Indians, for example. As a group, they're clearly holding the smaller tomahawk and will take anything they're handed: at least, most of the ones I know. They don't have much choice, after all. But their being reconciled to this big fish-little fish realpolitik called Canada is not the same thing as being happy with the arrangement, as much as they're expected to do minstrel shows for the Big Massa.

All of us white folks, contrarily, are generally pleased as punch with all this healing and reconciliation talk of hatchet-burying with Indians, since we're holding the bigger one. Besides, all of this forced euphoria is just like talking about Santa Claus: a pleasant fairy tale designed to help us digest our turkey dinner and all the goodies that come with it. In truth, reconciliation between historical enemies like White Canada and what's left of indigenous nations is about as common as a Christmas Eve manifestation of ol' Saint Nick. How precisely does a lion get along with a lamb, anyway?

I doubt if I'd ever feel reconciled with the people who gang raped me or fed my little sister into a furnace one night along with her newborn baby. Nor would I expect the monsters who did this, or those who protect them, to "reconcile" with me or my slaughtered sibling, even if such a thing was possible, or desirable. What I would want would be to see the bastards go to jail, or a worse place. Don't misunderstand me. It's not like I haven't tried making up with my torturers, down the years, or offered a hand to those who I've wronged. But it's always rung hollow. Both sides know it's just for show, never alleviates the wrong or the pain, and is thereby a mere side-stop before the resumption of hostilities.

Richard Sawchuck was a demented eleven year old nearly twice my size who loved to chuck rocks at my head in the school yard for no particular reason, or spit gob all over the back of my head on the school bus each morning. The other kids would watch my ordeal and do nothing, or turn away with the kind of sick, vacant look of your standard not-so-innocent bystander. But after a week of Richard's assaults I finally picked up a fallen tree branch one morning and smashed him over the head with it, which stopped him cold.

Nevertheless, my counter-attack caused both of us to be hauled in front of our Principal at Frontenac Elementary. The scowling custodian demanded that we shake hands and make up. Richard grabbed my hand and squeezed it as hard as he could, and even while he mouthed an apology to me, his eyes blazed with the fire of vengeance. I said nothing to him, knowing that I would never trust him; but I shook his hand because I was expected to. And sure enough, Richard Sawchuck caught me the next day in an alley near my home, and I lost a tooth and some blood for it.

Richard and I have both moved on from that particular battlefield, of course, but only because of time and circumstance. Many other adversaries have taken his place. And with all the forgiveness and understanding in the world on my part, the blows have never slowed.

You can blame me, I suppose, for the conflict, which is the fool's or the coward's explanation. But all of that warfare with strangers aside, it's the struggles closer to home that are in truth even more impossible for us to mend, for the simple reason that we are beings of love.

Our human heart, after all, is so infinitely gentle that one good whack at it will drive it into hiding for years, and sometimes for an entire lifetime. Like the Mohawk legend of Thunder Boy who is gifted to earth people until the moment that he encounters an angry word or a hand raised against him, and then must return to the heavens, our actual radiance endures in this world for about as long as the morning dew. And then, beaten or banished by stupidity, it flies away somewhere, never to find recovery.

Being an incurable romantic, which I suspect is another form of early onset dementia, I nevertheless still seek out the exiled radiance in every soul I meet, and I do see its traces in many of us, like the ghostly tail of sub-atomic particles.

An echo of our Eden-self resounds in some form in all men and women, fueling our best moments, and allowing us to somehow persevere in hell. But such a wispy spirit is woefully unable to construct the kind of active recovering and reclaiming that Official Lies call healing and reconciliation: words that are really just a politician's ploy and a lawyer's invention, not a living force to remake our rapidly decomposing world.

Coming apart as we are as a culture, it is preferable in these last days to leave all the blabber of reconciliation to the slogan-mongers and accept ourselves for who and what we are, as all dying people must. The heart outwears its sheath, and even love must rest, said Byron. This is not a time for more lies.

Whoever he was, the Just Soul called Yeshua had no need to overcome his murder and return in glory from the grave to his sad followers, in order to be One of God. For his life and sacrifice alone were enough to reconcile our hopes with the light he reflected from each one of us.

It is enough to be sifted and measured every day, in the heat of unreconciled warfare, and find in it all a reason to go on. If I am not healed, it is because I never was meant to be, but rather continue on that long journey not to recovery, but to transformation.

So grow up, Canada. Learn to face your end, and all that you have done to cause it. There are no cheap answers or apologies. There is just a final accounting, and the long arm of retribution and justice that reaches, yes, even you, for the purposes of heaven and earth and all of their people.

The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam holds Assembly in Saigon

UBCV Patriarch Thich Quang Do with senior UBCV officials meeting in Giac Hoa Pagoda(Photo IBIB)

PARIS, 4.12.2012 (IBIB) – Leaders of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) gathered at the Giac Hoa Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) from 30 November to 1 December 2012 for a special assembly to report on activities and discuss strategies for the coming year.

The UBCV, which was effectively banned in 1981 after the creation of the State-sponsored Vietnam Buddhist Sanga (VBS) is perceived as an “illegal organisation” by the Vietnamese authorities and cannot freely conduct religious activities. UBCV leader Thich Quang Do therefore took the opportunity of a memorial service for 17th Century Patriarch Nguyen Thieu to convene this rare meeting.

Despite Police surveillance and harassments, senior UBCV dignitaries from 20 Provincial Committees in central and southern Vietnam and leaders of the UBCV Buddhist Youth Movement came to Saigon for the assembly, travelling separately and on different days to avoid Police controls. During the meeting, Security Police kept permanent surveillance inside and outside Giac Hoa Pagoda, especially on 1 December, the day of the Memorial Service, when hundreds of uniformed Security Police, plain-clothed agents and local officials surrounded the Pagoda’s entrance, threatening and alarming Buddhist followers.

At the Assembly, the UBCV adopted a “Declaration on the state of the country and the situation of human rights” (1) signed by Patriarch Thich Quang Do. The declaration expressed the UBCV’s concern about the rising problems in Vietnamese society, such as “the decline in morality, an uncaring society, escalating social problems, an alarming poverty gap and a lack of individual freedoms and rights.” The UBCV blamed this “deplorable situation” on a number of factors:

Monks celebrate the Memorial service(Photo IBIB)

“The human rights situation is abysmal” with a “fierce, ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression” and harsh prison sentences against bloggers, journalists, human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists; with widespread violations of religious freedom under “a policy of religious intolerance, meticulously planned and orchestrated at the highest levels of the state” which targets all religious communities including the Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Catholics, Protestants and the UBCV, whose 20 Representative Boards “are a particular target of repression” in particular the Giac Minh Pagoda in Danang;

“The security of our country is under threat” as “China inexorably extends its claims on Vietnamese sovereign waters, islands and lands”. The UBCV strongly criticized Hanoi’s submissive attitude to China, citing the silence of the Vietnamese delegation at the recent ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh on proposals for a multilateral solution to the South China Sea conflict, Hanoi’s tepid reaction to Beijing’s printing of passports with the nine-dashed line included in Chinese territories, and its silence on Beijing’s publication of a map of the newly-established Chinese prefecture of “Shansha” on the Spratly and Paracel islands.

“China is carefully and meticulously preparing its incursion into Vietnamese lands and seas” said the UBCV, “Yet, despite the urgent warnings and appeals of hundreds of Vietnamese personalities and intellectuals, Hanoi remains impervious. Indeed, it even seems to be conniving with China, like a Trojan horse ready to facilitate a new era of Chinese domination of Vietnam in the 21st century”.

Exhorting all Vietnamese to take their part of responsibility, the UBCV said: “Vietnam belongs to the Vietnamese people. No Vietnamese can turn a blind eye when the country is threatened by foreign aggression, endangered by the connivance of its own submissive government and threatened by the indecision and lack of resolve of a number of Vietnamese intellectuals” said the UBCV.

To seek a solution to these problems, the UBCV called on the Vietnamese Communist Party and government:

a) To defend Vietnam’s sovereignty by publicly supporting a multilateral solution of the South China Sea conflict, with the participation of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and China;

b) To bring the South China Sea issue before the United Nations, based on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the provisions of the ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the ASEAN Code of Conduct (COC - Guidelines for Implementation of the DOC);

c) To initiate a transition to multiparty democracy in order to ensure the adherence and support of all sectors of Vietnam’s 90 million population in the struggle to preserve national sovereignty;

On Vietnamese people and Buddhists inside the country:

a) To free themselves from fear and stand up to defend their country and basic human rights. “After 70 years of oppression under communist rule, fear has become a second nature for the people. We must cast away the fear that has paralyzed our people since communism came to Vietnam”;

b) To reconcile differences between different sectors of society: “Over the past 70 years, the Communist Party’s pervasive propaganda has deceived and divided our people, creating false rifts between North and South, communists and nationalists. Even today, these divisions remain rooted in our minds. Blinded by suspicion and distrust, we see only our differences, but we do not recognize each other for what we really are – the children of Vietnam, united by a common heritage of 4,000 years of civilization and 2,000 years of history”;

On Vietnamese people and Buddhists overseas:

a) To campaign actively in international fora to alert world opinion to the situation in Vietnam;

b) To organize a worldwide Congress of Vietnamese with representatives of the different religions, opposition parties, civil society movements as well as academics and intellectuals “to devise a common strategy for the democratization of Vietnam”.

In conclusion, Patriarch Thich Quang Do stressed that “the UBCV does not engage in politics. However, it is ready to support any peaceful political activity genuinely aimed at protecting the country and promoting the welfare, social justice, freedom and human rights of the Vietnamese people… The UBCV also strongly encourages Buddhist lay-followers to do their part by actively engaging in the country’s political affairs in a spirit of solidarity and equality”. He called on Vietnamese at home and abroad to form an “Alliance against Foreign Aggression” to safeguard the sovereignty and freedom of Vietnam.

The First Annual Great Canadian Frock Off: Where You get to help Name, Shame and Expel notorious clergy persons in your Neighborhood!

Special Contribution
By Kevin Annett
Nov 23, 2012

Priest Glenn Dion is confronted yesterday by native protesters outside Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver.

Toronto and Vancouver - In the wake of growing revelations of hideous crimes and their coverup by mainstream churches across Canada (and elsewhere), we're pleased to announce the commencement of The First Annual Great Canadian Frock Off.

This nation-wide community event is your chance to publicly identify, defrock and permanently banish child raping priests, corrupt clergy and other wolves posing as sheep in your communities. It's prompted by the refusal of the courts, the government and the police to arrest those in the churches who are proven criminals and a threat to our children and community. The process is simple: you submit the names and addresses of suspected or known criminals among the Christian clergy, and we'll investigate and take action.

Once the guilt of your nominee is established beyond a reasonable doubt, our Frock Off Action Group (FRAG) will perform citizen's arrests on the guilty clergy person, strip them of their robes of office, and publicly banish them from our communities - all on film, before a world wide audience! This year's Nominees represent all three of Canada's most notorious mainline denominations: the Roman Catholic, Anglican and United Church of Canada. They are:

1. Glenn Dion, alias "Glenn the Snatcher": The head parish priest at Vancouver's Holy Rosary Catholic Cathedral, Dunsmuir and Richards st. According to church staff and diocese sources, as of January 2012, Glenn has personally stolen more than $650,000 from the parish funds, including by taking a personal cut from every collection of every Mass. Glen is also responsible for covering up his theft by firing staff, abusing and threatening others, and issuing fraudulent statements and doctored accounts.

2. Russell Crossley, alias "Russ the Rapist": This retired United Church clergyman formerly of Metropolitan United Church in Victoria, BC is a convicted serial rapist who is still on full pension and benefits from the church despite having served prison time for having serially raped women and underage girls in United Church congregations across Canada for over thirty years. His actions were known and protected by top United Church officials since 1962. Russ still "ministers" part time with local churches in Victoria and has never faced de-frocking or even penalties or disciplinary action from the United Church.

3. Bishop Bob Bennett, alias "The Midnight Shredder": Bob is presently the Anglican Bishop of Huron Diocese in London, Ontario who is actively obstructing justice, destroying and concealing evidence and silencing witnesses to crimes against humanity in two former Indian residential schools run by his church. Bob is sitting on documents known as the "G 12 Collection" at Caledonia College in London proving that his church planned and committed murder and genocide on generations of Mohawk Indian children at the Mount Elgin and Brantford Indian residential schools. Bob has also fired and silenced clergy and staff in his Diocese, and lied to investigators about his knowledge of these crimes.

What's that under your robe, Bob? These are but a few of the hypocrites and criminals in robes who will face official Frock Offs and FRAGing in the days ahead.

Thirty two officials of church and state were issued official Public Summonses

Special Contribution
By Kevin D. Annett
Oct 10, 2012

Dr. John Milloy

Thirty two officials of church and state were issued official Public Summonses by our Prosecutor's Office on September 21, 2012 to respond to charges made against them. They were given ten working days to reply, and that period of time has now elapsed.

As of today, only one response has been received by the persons named in these Summonses, from Dr. John Milloy, a researcher for the Canadian government's so-called "truth and reconciliation commission".

Dr. Milloy did not dispute or challenge the charge made against him, of colluding in a criminal conspiracy to conceal crimes against humanity in Canada. He did however issue threats against our Court and its officers, and stated that he is asking the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to bring a charge of harrassment against us.

Our Court Clerk, Mr. George Dufort, has informed Mr. Milloy that such a request to the police can be construed to constitute an attempt by him and the OPP to obstruct and subvert justice and the workings of this Court, and can result in a criminal contempt action being brought against both him and OPP officers. Our Court has written to the OPP and notified them of this fact and has asked them not to interfere with the procedure of our Court.

Since neither John Milloy nor any of the persons named below as defendants in the first five cases brought before our Court have denied or challenged the charges made against them, the Prosecutor's Office has filed a motion before our Court this morning that a guilty plea be entered against these defendants in absentia.

The Court is considering this plea, and has noted for the record the refusal of the defendants to offer counter arguments or motions on their own behalf.

However, in the interest of judicial procedure and fairness, the Court will assign a defense counsel to represent the defendants in their absence, with the understanding that their refusal to be present in this Court can be interpreted as a tacit admission of guilt on their part.

The Court will convene as planned on Monday, October 15, 2012 at 9 am pacific time. Its proceedings will be posted on You Tube and .

Issued by G. Dufort, ICLCJ clerk on behalf of the Court Brussels, Belgium 10/10/12

List of Defendants in the first five cases in Docket Numbers 0915.12.001 through to 005 inclusive, issued Public Summonses by our Court on 21 September 2012:

Joseph Ratzinger, alias Pope Benedict, Head of the Roman Catholic Church Incorporated, Rome, Adolfo Nicholas Pachon, Superior General of the so-called Society of Jesus, or Jesuit Order, Pedro Lopez Quintana, Papal Nuncio to Canada, Angelo Sodano, College of Cardinals, Rome, Tarcisio Bertone, College of Cardinals, Rome, Angelo Bagnasco, College of Cardinals, Rome, Elizabeth Windsor, alias Queen of England, London, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, London, Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church in Canada, Bob Bennett, Bishop of Huron Diocese, Canada, Steven Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, John Milloy, TRC officer, Nora Sanders, General Secretary of the United Church of Canada, Gary Paterson, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, Jon Jessiman, legal counsel of the United Church of Canada, Marion Best, former Moderator of the United Church of Canada, Brian Thorpe, Art Anderson, Foster Freed, Bill Howie and Phil Spencer, officers of the United Church of Canada, John Cashore, former minister of the government of British Columbia, Robert Paulson, Superintendent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of Canada, Inspector Peter Montague, E Division, RCMP, Daniel Fulton, Chief Executive Officer of Weyerhauser Logging Corporation, Ron Huinink and other members of the Law Society of British Columbia, Former members of the congregation of St. Andrew's United Church, Port Alberni, Canada, Sean Atleo, so-called Grand Chief, Assembly of First Nations, William Montour, Chairperson of the Six Nations Confederacy, Head officers of the New England Company, London

Enforcing the Banishment Proclamation against the Catholic Church: A Practical Guide to Cleansing your local Temple

Special Contribution
By Kevin D. Annett
Sep 11, 2012

The picture of Jesus cleasing the church

That old trouble maker and community organizer, Saul Alinsky, once said that no public action was worth doing if the people doing it didn't have fun. More to the point, he elaborated that sustained mockery of the powerful, like by occupying their sacred turf, was something they had no defense against.

The horrified reaction of Catholic Bishops everywhere to our occupation of their churches during Sunday services seems to bear out Saul. So it's delightful to know that we few in the vanguard of a growing army of justice for children have a way to really grab the clerics where it hurts.

This article is an accompanying piece to our just-issued Proclamation of Banishment against the Roman Catholic Church. It's a sort of "how to" manual with practical hints of ways to sustain our campaign to expose and open up these churches long past the day when the Banishment is pronounced.

The Fly in the Elephant's Ear

First, a word on our general strategic situation: our forces are like a fly in an elephant's ear - tiny, but lethal in the right moment and place. That's because we have the truth, solid evidence, and a potential army of witnesses on our side. Our strongest weapon is to always stand loudly and clearly on that evidence, and to keep shoving it in the face of the church and the public, in ways they don't expect.

The Catholic Church Inc. is the oldest corporation in history, and therefore the most vulnerable and the least flexible. We are the opposite: we have nothing to lose, are adaptable, and completely unpredictable. That's how guerrilla movements historically operate, and win against seemingly unbeatable tyrants.

The best example I like about what our little guerrilla groups can do is how a dozen or so of us in Canada forced the Indian residential schools genocide into the political and media mainstream in the spring of 2007 simply by occupying churches in Vancouver and Toronto during their Sunday services. And years before that, in the fall of 1995, by picketing the United Church head office in Vancouver I forced its top officers to prematurely issue a public statement denying that children were killed in their Indian schools - even before I had accused them of causing such deaths!

In short, a big enemy, properly goaded, will cause its own undoing, since it knows it's guilty and is operated by lawyers and bureaucrats whose bottom line is a purely financial one: that is, calculating everything on the basis of what they stand to lose.

Practical Steps: Be Creative and Have a Ball!

What we're starting around the world is an enormous reclamation movement: we are telling the Catholic Church to get off our land or conform to the will of the people. We are taking over churches and making them open, public space. And from the reaction so far, including from over three hundred ecstatic volunteers in seven countries, we have struck a chord in the public imagination. Our own worst enemy now is our own fear and lack of imagination.

First, about fear: it's what religion relies on, especially Catholicism. Most of us have been conditioned to fear churches and clergy, and assume that those cloistered altars and pews are somehow sacred and untouchable realms. We're even told by some statutes that to "disrupt" a church service is an offense under the law.

In practice, that's a statute that cops will never enforce, because they know it's bullshit. After all, what is "disruption"? Somebody challenging a priest or questioning his interpretation of scripture? Maybe an old granny should be jailed for coughing during a priestly homily?

In our case, our occupation of churches during the service has always been done respectfully and non-violently. It's always the priests who resort to violence in that situation. For instance, I was personally grabbed and put into an arm lock by an enraged cleric at Holy Rosary cathedral in Vancouver once when I stood peacefully with fifty others bearing a banner "All the Children Need a Proper Burial". The priest's absurdity was obvious to everyone in the pews that day, and in fact, a few minutes later, the whole congregation stood reverentially as we walked past with the banner.

Of course, what we're planning this week and beyond is more permanent than a one-time occupation. We will be actively dis-establishing the Catholic Church, and taking over their premises. And for that, we need serious and wider community support.

We will be creating that support by breaking the ice and naming what is, and doing something. Most people hang back and are secretly inspired and thrilled by the doers, no matter how risky is the doing. What gets them on board is when they see that the doing is happening more than once. So above all, we need to sustain our effort. But here are two very simple things that will guarantee community involvement, and even media interest: music, and humor.

Some folks in Vancouver are planning a Public Frock Off in local catholic churches, where known child rapists and other crooks among the clergy will be named and escorted from the premises. They're asking everybody to show up and witness the Frock Off, and to please bring drums, instruments and banners for the event.

A local singer-friend of mine in Vancouver plans to sing from the pulpit a diddy he composed called "I Saw Jesus Today", which reminds people how you won't find Christ in a church but out among the suffering.

In the coming days, an aboriginal women's group in Canada plans to occupy and open up their local catholic church as a free daycare and safe house for threatened people: wonderfully appropriate, when you think of it, considering the role of the same church in creating generations of tortured native women and men. I love the image of a hundred dark skinned kids running around a fancy catholic sanctuary!

The sky's the limit in these actions. Some survivors' groups in Europe plan to open up catholic churches as the site of Street Corner Tribunals, where victims can name the crimes and the criminals. And in Canada and the USA, our people will often rely on simple "infiltration" of Sunday services, sitting among the parishioners and speaking with them, or mounting the pulpit to address the congregation.

Pulpit seizures are a fine and honorable tradition, after all. The early Quakers and Ranters in England did it nicely, inciting church goers to seek God in the world and their neighbors, and not in "idolatrous temples". And speaking of temples and their cleansing, Jesus himself - on the one occasion he was ever in a church - used a tactic that we'd recommend as well. Need we say more?

What to Do if ...

Okay, so your cheerful hordes have entered a church and camped out, read the Banishment, and been told by the grumpy ushers to leave. You don't, so they call the cops. Now what?

Well, going into a church isn't a crime. It's your public right, especially since those of you who pay taxes are actually funding the place, and that makes it public space. And that's the first thing you tell the boys in blue when they arrive: sorry officers, but this is a religious gathering in public, and we're all worshipping what really matters.

The cops and anybody, in fact, can get in trouble under the law if they disturb a religious gathering. We've found that at this point, the gendarmes either leave or stand around looking helpless: in which case, go ahead and start educating them about the crimes of the church they've shown up to protect.

And that's a key point: the police are sworn to be public servants and not the private security force for institutionalized child rapists. So tell them that, and tell them you're deputizing them to be public peace officers who'll protect your right to gather peacefully inside and outside the church.

We did that in Vancouver churches on three occasions. Each time, the cops left. But life is unpredictable, and what if the police or some catholic thugs try using force to evict you? Unlikely. The church's chief concerns are their public image, their property and their revenue. Violence in the church threatens all three of those. So stand pat on your rights, your peaceful occupation, and the truth that the church killed and still harms children, and you will retain the moral and practical high ground.

In the Long Run

Displacing and replacing the church is our long term aim. These Banishments and Occupations are merely our opening salvos. On those occasions where native groups in Canada have ordered the catholic church off their land, the church has complied, since it knows it was squatting there illegally all along.

In the long run, we will be relying on such evictions like the ones ordered by hereditary elder Kiapilano of the Squamish nation, who in March 2008 issued eviction notices to all of the churches that killed his relatives in residential schools: the Church of England, the Catholic, and the United Church.

For now, our Ten Measures statement (May 4 posting, is what needs to be broadcasted to catholics everywhere during our occupations: that is, the catholic folks can stay, as long as they agree to these ten steps. This will help force church goers to choose, and will help launch a new sort of Reformation, if history tells us anything.

For now, be bold, imaginative, and film everything that you do, and post it on youtube. Send us the links. We will be spreading news and updates to you all.

Remember: what you do today will save the life and the sanity of a child tomorrow - and may even resurrect the memory and hopes of the little ones murdered by Imperial Christianity. Carry it on! The world is watching!

Theme: Prophetic Witness of Catholic Institutions

Special Contribution
By Fr. Charles Irudayam
Aug 19, 2012

Poster of JPDO-CBCI

Drawing its mandate from the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, the Justice, Peace and Development Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (JPDO-CBCI) endeavours to ‘awaken in the People of God full awareness of their mission today’ – the sacred mission of ‘action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world’. JPDO-CBCI has also been mandated ‘to inspire and animate the Dioceses and the whole Christian Community towards deeper Christian commitment and more effective service’.

Fully aware that its very raison d'être is to confirm the People of God in a faith that is rooted in justice and peace, JPDO-CBCI introduced the observance of Justice Sunday in India on the Sunday after 15 August every year – an observance that has been in vogue since 1983. This year, too, JPDO-CBCI calls upon the Catholic faithful to observe Justice Sunday, on 19 August 2012, and to reflect on the theme: Prophetic Witness of Catholic Institutions.

During their 30th General Body Meeting in February this year, the Catholic Bishops of India deliberated on “The Church’s Role for a Better India” – “an India with more attributes of the Kingdom of God such as justice and equity with its consequent fruits of love, peace and joy.” And, as a result, they realised that the ideal role of the Church in India is one of “being a prophetic Church, taking a decisive stand in favour of the poor and marginalized.” Evidently, the Catholic Bishops want all the Catholic institutions, too, to be prophetic witnesses by (re)committing themselves “to the liberation of the weaker sections like tribals, women and dalits”.

In view of facilitating a meaningful observance of the day, JPDO- CBCI has published and disseminated the Justice Sunday Message and reflections for the Eucharistic Celebration, all over India, on the theme: Prophetic Witness of Catholic Institutions. The same is available at . This year, the same literature has been translated by the Regional Social Forums into the following regional languages: Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu.

The Observance of Justice Sunday will be marked by special Masses in all the parishes of all the dioceses, all over the country, on the theme: Prophetic Witness of Catholic Institutions. JPDO-CBCI invites the leaders of the Church, the religious and the faithful to organise seminars, at various levels, on the said theme, in order to explore ways of making Catholic Institutions truly prophetic in their functioning.

- By Fr. Charles Irudayam, Secretary, JPD Office, CBCI, Delhi


The CSF Press Statement on Anti-Church Films

Aug 6, 2012

The film Kya Super Kool Hai Hum

• Hundreds of Christians Protest Misrepresentation of Christians • Memorandum Presented to Censor Board, I & B Ministry, etc. • Demand to Cut scenes in "Kya Super Kool Hai Hum" • Ban movie "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" • Hurting Religious Sentiments

The CSF The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) and a number of community NGOs such as Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum, Association of Concerned Catholics, Catholics for the Preservation of the Faith, etc. take strong exception to a priest being caricatured in the film "Kya Super Kool Hai Hum" by bollywood and shown in poor light. The movie by Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms, starring Riteish Deshmukh and Tusshar Kapoor has a scene of a priest solemnizing a wedding of dogs, which makes a mockery of the Christian sacrament of marriage and the faith. A person dressed in a priest's robe conducts the marital wows, asking the two dogs to accept each other as husband and wife. We call upon the Censor Board to cut the objectionable scene, failing which the groups will intensify their agitation and file police complaints.

“If the clergy of any other religion was depicted in such a light, would that community keep quiet? asked Joseph Dias and added – “That because Christians don’t retaliate and are non-violent, they are being taken for granted.

The CSFThe CSF has also called for a ban on a soon to be released film, directed by T. Deepesh, called "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" in which a B grade actress, Rajashri Ponnappa plays the role of a nun. In the words of the director - "I have explored the lives of two nuns in a nunnery and have touched on various aspects, including homosexuality and abortion". Hundreds of Christians have joined The CSF online protest, calling for the ban on the movie and action against publishing anti-Church material, which is a misrepresentation of the community and Christianity, by highlighting the unsubstantiated views of a few. Such publicity seeks to tarnish the fair name of the Church, with allegations of sex, murder, abortion and scandal. The community groups will soon hold a public meeting to express solidarity with the Church hierarchy and clergy, most of whom have been defamed needlessly.

We do not deny the possibility of delinquent clergy and advocate that the law takes its course, as and when such cases come to be known. The 'sins' of a few cannot be allowed to tarnish the image of millions of Catholics and Christians. The CSF has also given a clarion call to personal holiness and prayer - as an appropriate and fitting Christian response to the situation. Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary said that it opposed the adverse publicity, which is increasingly being seen in the mass media, for the following reasons:

No names, no specifics and no proofs are offered for the slander of lakhs of priests and nuns. It affects the image and is a matter of concern for not just Catholics, who in India number approximately 18 million, but also that of millions of other Christians in the country. The issue relates not just to the rights of all of us, who are equal Indian citizens, but such ridicule is a violation of our basic human freedom of religion. The damage done by such unsubstantiated lies or even half-truths is unimaginable. And the least we must do is raise our voice in favour of the thousands of nuns, priests and bishops, whose character has been unjustly assassinated.

"We cannot remain quiet, even as the vast majority of these 'good' shepherds suffer silently in selfless service, without blemish. While the culprits are negligible, even if one were to admit their crimes; it is faultless rest, who have been unfairly targeted or are victims of a campaign to get at the Church or Christianity... Such false propaganda will do the community - grave harm and is likely to be misused by communal forces, who are attacking and persecuting Christians all over India. Our conscience does not allow a callous, insensitive and irresponsible smear campaign with such wide ranging effects to go unchallenged", The CSF general secretary added.

The CSF questions whether, it is fair that a couple of ex-clergy women or men, resorting to and aided by yellow journalism can wreck such damage? Since sensationalism, especially of the taboo kind sells, it can be safely assumed that these ex-clerics would have made more money than they would otherwise have had. The media which serves such concocted cocktail, undoubtedly sells more. But is it responsible and credible? We call upon the Government and the Censor Board, whose responsibility it is, to preserve public order to intervene immediately.

We are: Joseph Dias +91 9769 555657, The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), Agnelo Fernandes, Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum, Gordon Jacobs, Assn. of Concerned Catholics

Would Jesus Merely Finger a Child Rapist? And other theological reflections in a time of confusion

Special Contribution
By Kevin D. Annett
Jun 30, 2012

Second coming of Jesus

Some of my readers are upset that I ran this image of Jesus, below, as part of a recent article about the conviction of catholic bishop William Lynn, who spent decades helping priests in Philadelphia torture and rape children.

I agree with my critics. This is hardly an accurate portrayal of Jesus. The truth is the man from Nazareth would do a lot more than passively gesture at child killers, especially if they claimed to be part of “his” church. Jesus, after all, was the guy who recommended tying a ten ton rock around the neck of anyone who harmed a child, and tossing the offender into the ocean.

Now, that was hardly a passive or non-violent thing to propose, let alone do: anymore than it is a gentle act to flog moneychangers from a Temple. But Jesus couldn’t dwell inertly alongside the slaughter of children like most of us do. Maybe that’s because he knew, and he didn’t simply believe, that children were of God. So I can only assume that in the defense of such God-ness, using force to stop whoever would harm children is not only permitted, but an order straight from heaven … if you believe Jesus Christ.

That makes sense to me, as it does to anyone who loves their children and any child. Delmar Johnny, my deceased Cowichan native friend here on the west coast who endured a childhood of torture himself by catholic priests, blew away my idealistic stereotype of “indigenous traditions”.

Delmar told me once that among his people, before the whites invaded, if anyone harmed a child in one of their villages, the offender would be taken off into the woods by a special group of men and would never be seen again. Nowadays under white law, mused Delmar, the same destroyer of children gets maybe a year in prison, and then is out again to destroy more children. “That’s why you whites don’t have a future, because you don’t care about it” he concluded. “My people knew that without healthy children, there is no community”

In the face of the global war against our children that is threatening our human survival, simply making gestures at church-backed child rapists is hardly the answer. And so I ask forgiveness from my readers for minimizing Jesus and his message like I did, with that mild and inappropriate image of him.

The times require the truth. So a far more accurate representation of Christ’s message to the child murdering Church of Rome would be something like this: For those of you who are even more offended now … well, it’s like what I learned in the pulpit: you sure as hell can’t please everybody.

Indeed, what being a parish minister impressed on me very quickly was that it was those parishioners who were most concerned about decorum and “remaining positive” who were invariably the ones who cared the least in practice about the people for whom Jesus struggled, beginning with the helpless and the victimized ones: especially since such unwashed and discarded folks ran the risk of walking into our church.

But let me avoid any such assumption about my readers. Let me address the concern of those folks who are alarmed by “violent or negative” images, or messages, and who believe, to quote one of you, that “projecting that confrontational stuff out into the world is just fostering darkness and the very thing you’re opposing … We have to create a positive world”. Okay, fair enough. After all, who doesn’t want goodness and light? And an end to the slaughter of baby seals, and even baby humans?

I don’t believe, first of all, that we are demi-gods whose choices of whether to be “positive” or “negative” will be the determining factor in generating a future Utopia. The Promised Land isn’t constructed by us, ultimately. We are just workers in the vineyard, to quote Jesus; and, as he suggested, we must allow both the noxious weeds and the good wheat to grow alongside each other, until the Day of Reckoning when a far wiser and better hand than ours will separate the good from the bad.

New Age philosophy, on the other hand, disagrees with Christ, and places the human self at the heart of history and makes the individual the God-force that will determine the fate of humankind and indeed, the entire universe. Such stunning arrogance is the real factor behind the mini-uproar caused by my Jesus-imagery, and is epitomized in the dubious quotation from Mohandas Gandhi, so over-used among New Agers, that “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

The same thing could have just as easily been said by Attila the Hun, or Hitler. And besides, Gandhi was also the man who said, “The worst evil is not violence, but cowardice … I would choose the road of violence before submitting to unjust laws so that I may avoid physical force” (1921)

The Law of Nature says, contrary to and more humbly than New Ageism, that we are the world, already: we men and women are both life and death, destruction and creation, and it is only our legacy of Christian dualism that counter poses such light and darkness, and means and ends. For this is the dissociated worldview that causes such trepidation by my critics when it comes to doing what we must do to protect our future generations.

Is protecting a child by naming and shaming those who threaten them somehow “fostering darkness”, simply because doing so involves an act of force? Hardly. Confrontation does not imply violence, merely opposition, which is the seed of change and renewal.

When fifty of us in Vancouver stood quietly in the midst of a catholic mass holding a banner stating “All the Children Need a Proper Burial”, were we “projecting confrontation … and fostering darkness” because we were causing a real offense and disruption in a church service? Quite the opposite, as it turned out. For it was only after this confrontation that some of the torture survivors in our group were able to recover in a real way from their fate at the hands of the catholic church. And the confrontation in the cathedral that morning also provoked the government of Canada to begin issuing a public “apology” to residential school victims.

The argument of my challengers, that we must always stay “positive”, which I assume means never to criticize or attack anyone, is really a call to stay inert and morally disengaged in practice.

My experience with survivors of assault is that it is only when they are able to criticize and confront their assaulters that they can find a positive view of a future for themselves, beyond pain and oppression. Such “negative” acts in truth create a positive outcome, in a dialectical dance of cause and effect: a dance that only those with the courage to act can experience.

In reality, the belief of my challengers, and many Canadians – that it is better to do nothing than cause a confrontation or “ill feelings” – is a recipe for dysfunction and continued subjugation in a world like ours that rests upon violence and injustice. Their view that “negative” images like the one I displayed somehow morally or energetically degrade our cause is not an original one, but is based on a Christian bi-polar world view that my challengers inherited, ironically, from the Church of Rome itself.

So, while it would be comforting to my ego to believe that I, Kevin Annett, can determine whether a world of light or of darkness can come into being simply from my choices, I must defer to others far more in touch with cosmic truth than I am when it comes to believing such a thing.

No, I don’t think “projecting” a message of confrontation, or an image of an angry Christ, will contribute to evil in the world. As a matter of fact, I think it’s likely that Jesus cursed, farted, had orgasms and made rude gestures at passing soldiers and priests. He was only human, after all.

What I not only believe but know with certainty is that I can only do what any feeling man must do when children are threatened by institutions backed by law, vast wealth, and tradition: and that is, to fight those powers, with all the means at my fingertips and until my last breath.

What the outcome is from such a confrontation is not in our hands at all, but rather, it lies with that One whom Jesus used to appeal to all the time: not as a divine “Son of God”, but as a Son of Man who could not countenance the destruction of any of his neighbors.

Perhaps as a message to my challengers, Jesus once asked his listeners, “How can you claim to love God, whom you cannot see, and ignore your suffering neighbors, whom you can see?”

Paraphrased, my friends, it’s like this: How can you and I debate the ethics of our actions in the abstract while our littlest neighbors are being slaughtered in the flesh? Let me end in that vein of realism by invoking another apostle of divine outrage, the rebel John Brown, who came to Concord, Massachusetts in 1857 looking for money to arm his small anti-slavery army.

In the quiet parlor rooms of the wealthy anti-slavery reformers who confined their moral outrage of the African genocide to polite petitions to a United States Congress run by slave owners, John Brown blew in like a cold and unwelcome blast of reality. When criticized one evening by a Boston politician for advocating violence to liberate slaves, Brown replied,

“The innocent negroes who are perishing on a cross of greed know naught and care naught of your concerns. It is within our means to end their suffering. That is the only morality God knows. If thou will choose to obey man’s law or God’s, let that be your decision; by not acting you are aiding the violence of the rulers of this age, and your clean hands are in fact tainted with the blood of others. But I have been shown that the crimes and evil of this generation can only be washed clean in blood, as our Master showed by the spilling of his own. For us the only matter is this: whose blood shall it be? The time has come to decide. Thou will stand with the slave or the slave owner. There is no middle place to stand anymore”

History reveals whose actions caused the abolition of slavery, and the liberation of unborn generations of men and women: John Brown and the victorious Union Army he inspired, and not the placid Boston aristocrat.

I wish the world was different, and no-one except a true lover of peace knows that yearning. But to pretend that it is different, and to shrink from what the times and the least of us demand, makes us an accomplice in the rape and murder of more innocent children, and the spilling of ever more blood.

You will stand now with the slave or the slave owner, my friends. The time has come for each of you to decide. That is not my verdict, but eternity’s.

Catholic Prelate William Lynn is found guilty: But what about those that ordered him? Placing the Pope and Crimen Sollicitationis on Trial

Special Contribution
By Kevin D. Annett
Jun 23, 2012

Vatican supports occupy wall street movement

How the mighty are falling.

Watching William Lynn go to jail is immensely pleasurable, partly because it reminds me of the rapid collapse of the Richard Nixon administration years ago, as the conviction of successive Presidential flunkies eventually led prosecutors right to the door of the Executive office.

Being students of history, the Vatican mob must be nervous today, regardless of their success in nullifying their main concern in the Lynn case, which was the charge of criminal conspiracy against him. For such a conviction would have connected Lynn’s protection of child rapists in his charge to the Vatican policy that shielded him for so long – namely, Crimen Solicitationas – and to Pope Benedict himself, who has personally authorized the policy.

Crimen Solicitationas is the law in the Roman Catholic church that orders every priest and Bishop in the world to protect child raping clergy or face excommunication. It is a clear command to obstruct justice and conspire in an enormous, global assault on the innocent, and it implicates the Catholic hierarchy as a whole in a crime against humanity.

The historic conviction of William Lynn, as the first member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in America to go to jail for aiding and abetting clerical child rapists, is no small feat, considering the political weight of the papacy and its strange ally in the Obama administration, which did its utmost to derail the Lynn case. But where Lynn’s conviction will lead is uncertain, since the entire matter of whom and what allowed him to help terrorize and destroy generations of children was ignored by the court’s decision.

This fact is odd, considering how early on in the court proceedings it was established that Lynn was not acting alone, but clearly was following the instructions of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the boss of Lynn’s Philadelphia Diocese who Lynn served as an aide. Last January, Bevilacqua suffered a convenient and sudden death the day after he was declared fit to stand trial in the Lynn case.

Vatican machinations aside, if William Lynn’s conviction is to have the long-term significance that many survivors of church terror hope it will, it must be followed by a legal assault on the Vatican and its policy of Crimen, which is the executive order that authorized William Lynn to do what he did in the first place. Any failure to do so will be analogous to convicting an Auschwitz S.S. guard for mass murder while ignoring the Wannsee Protocol, or the orders from his superiors in Berlin.

That, of course, is easier said than done. Not only is the Catholic Church a law unto itself, but so are its many orders and branches: like the elite Knights of Malta, for example, which issues its own passports, has its own courts and judiciary, enjoys observer status at the United Nations and has diplomatic relations with over a hundred nations. And the Vatican itself has simply snubbed its nose at numerous attempts by German and American lawyers to serve a summons on the Pope, who claims “diplomatic immunity” from prosecution as a so-called “head of state”.

Joseph Ratzinger must never have heard of, or at least tries to forget, the Nuremburg Trials, which isn’t surprising, considering his Hitler Youth past. But the precedent is there, nevertheless: heads of state can and are tried under international law for crimes against humanity, which child rape and trafficking now constitute under the Rome Convention of the International Criminal Court.

Admittedly, the old guy is a tottering figurehead, and according to some Vatican insiders, Ratzinger was deliberately elected as Pope by the College of Cardinals to take the heat that was brewing because of the blatancy of his personal involvement in concealing child rapists in the church – including his own brother in Munich. This analysis seems to be borne out by the recent “Vatileaks” scandal that shows that at least some Cardinals in the Secretary of State’s office are releasing evidence to the press of criminal corruption by Ratzinger in his awarding Vatican contracts to friends and insiders.

Clearly, somebody in the upper church echelons wants the old Nazi out.

In the light of this growing civil war in Rome, William Lynn’s conviction could be the spark that ignites the downfall of at least one Pope and that part of the hierarchy that stands by him. And it’s for that reason that this particular spark is simultaneously being fanned and doused by different elements in the catholic church.

Those fanning the case – call them the “liberal” faction in the Curia and a host of non-Italian Bishops and Cardinals – clearly want reforms and window cleaning in the Vatican. They are in fact the same force that has been funding and promoting various front groups of church abuse survivors, most notoriously the so-called “SNAP” movement (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) based in the USA, and much-quoted in the world media as “the official survivors’ organization”.

SNAP goes out of its way to invite Catholic clergy to speak at its posh, heavily-funded events, and steers its members away from any protests at churches. Intrepid former SNAP members have recently traced the group’s origin to a Catholic group called the Eighth Day Center for Justice in the Chicago Diocese, set up in 1993. The practice of stage managing dissent and creating a controlled opposition is not a new tactic for institutions under fire, but it’s one desperately needed these days by Roman Catholicism as its victims and opponents are closing ranks from all sides.

But ultimately money talks, especially in the church, and the weight of the financial czars in the Vatican Bank still lean towards the papal status quo. The expulsion of reformer Gotti Tedeschi as head of the Bank is a sign of the Italian mob’s vote of confidence in Ratzinger – for now. But the Lynn case has all of them worrying, and the Italian old guard is already moving to have the Lynn indictment quashed through their considerable influence in the American judiciary and Obama administration.

Nevertheless, the jailing of William Lynn is a huge green light for lawyers everywhere who seek to prosecute the Vatican as a whole for crimes against children and liberty. And yet this is a battle that will be ultimately staged and won in the public arena, not the legal one, through direct, sustained political action against the catholic church and its finances.

Our network has already thrown down the gauntlet to Rome by planning church occupations and citizen’s arrests against child raping priests and their protectors beginning on September 15. If this type of direct action can be multiplied in many communities, and join with the international legal campaign to bring the papacy to trial, our power will be immeasurable.

The crime known as Crimen Solicitationas that allowed William Lynn and so many others to terrorize our children needs to be torn up at its roots, by confronting the loyalty given it by Catholic clergy around the world. We have given them all until September 15 to take a public oath to defy Crimen and protect children, or be branded as public enemies subject to arrest and public banishment. (see

This is not an especially radical thing to ask a priest to do. The French revolution imposed a similar civil oath on catholic clergy in 1791, after nationalizing the property of the church in France. And now, as then, it is only fundamental action to dismantle the source of religious tyranny and terrorism that will put an end to it.

The simple verdict condemning William Lynn was a shot heard around the world, and aimed at the heart of the oldest, corporate conspiracy in human history. The crumbling of Roman Catholicism can only be good news for humankind. In the recent words to the author of a senior Vatican official who, understandably, prefers anonymity,

“Who knows? This scandal might even make Christians of us!”

Now is the Time: Organizing Direct Action to Protect our Children from Predatory Priests and those who aid them, A Practical Guide on How To Document, Publish, Arrest and Expel Public Enemies

Special Contribution
By Jeremiah Jourdain
June 1, 2012

Protest against child abused Priests

On May 30, our global network of over fifty organizations issued an historic declaration to the Vatican and Joseph Ratzinger. (see This statement announced our intent to globally publish the identity of known child raping clergy and their helpers, and to perform citizens’ arrests of these sick predators because of the continued refusal of police and judicial authorities to do so.

We have begun this campaign by gathering the evidence of the names, locations and pictures of such child rapists in a central archive whose evidence will be made public. If you have knowledge of such criminals, please forward it immediately to this email. Armed with this information, the critical phase in our campaign will then commence: organizing Action Groups to publicly post the identity of these rapists and physically arrest and detain them so they cannot harm any more children.

These Child Protection Action Groups (CPAG) are now being formed in Canada, the USA, Ireland, Australia, Italy and England. Each CPAG will consist of a disciplined team of between five and ten people led by a Coordinator. The entire team will receive training in common law procedure and protocol for undertaking citizens’ arrests.

The CPAGs are not disorganized “vigilantes”, but principled community protectors who will treat proven child rapists firmly and non-violently, and will remove them from their church and their office in full public view. The CPAGs will not be disrupting church services but will quickly escort the child rapist from the building after declaring him to be a threat to public safety.

To be clear, the CPAGs will not be acting alone when they enter church property and detain child rapists, but will so as part of a larger public presence. Our supporters will stage accompanying protests, sit-ins and occupations at the same time as the arrests are being made in order to alert the public and media, and to demonstrate how these actions are a self-defensive public safety measure and are legally necessary to ensure the safety of our children.

One of our ITCCS organizers in the eastern United States, for example, writes, “There’s a convicted child molester preaching every Sunday in the local catholic church here in (blank). The local Bishop’s ignored all our letters and leaflets aboutthis guy, and so have the police. So now we’re going ahead and we'll defrock him in plain sight. We’ll confront him and tell him he has no right to be a priest, then strip him of his robe and vestments, right there, and escort him out of the church. I’ve seen the Mohawk women do that to their own corrupt chiefs. The public shaming always works best!”

This is the gist of our efforts: to prevent child rapists and the church officials who protect them from being able to operate any longer. It’s important to remember that since churches are publicly funded organizations maintained through your taxes, churches are public space, and you therefore have every right to enter church property, especially if you suspect or know that child rapists and their protectors are operating in them.

During our actions, if the police are called by church officials and they arrive, a CPAG spokesperson will immediately approach them and read to them a public statement that calls upon the police to exercise their oath of public office and assist us in detaining a known child rapist who is a clear and present danger to children. They will be handed a Public Letter of Demand calling on them to do so.

If they refuse to respond and even begin to challenge our actions, they will then be formally deputized and instructed to assist us in arresting someone who is a clear danger to the community. If the police nevertheless act to protect the rapist, they will have violated a public responsibility placed upon them, and will have thereby surrendered their right to hold their office. At that point under common law, they can be legally ignored. Any act by the police after that to prevent our defense of children will constitute an illegal assault and obstruction of justice, and they can be tried and convicted of these offenses.

For our own security and defense, every CPAG will be accompanied during their actions by legal observers and several videographers who will witness and record the entire course of events. From our long experience, it is rare for the police to physically intervene in these situations – especially when the media and witnesses are present - since the church officials fear any possible damage to their property or reputations by engaging in direct confrontations with protestors. Normally, the cops simply stand by and watch, especially when a large crowd is present. So numbers and public exposure are our best allies.

As well, don’t forget that the CPAGs will be showing up at the churches unannounced, and will therefore be able to confront, detain and escort from the building the rapist before the police even arrive. Nevertheless, tactically speaking, your CPAG may choose to mount a diversionary action to draw off the police if they do show up while the rapist is being detained – such as by staging a church occupation to coincide with the citizens’ arrest. This is especially advisable if your numbers are small.

Once your CPAG has successfully removed the rapist from the church premises and stripped him of his robes of office, and filmed the entire event, a CPAG representative will hand the rapist a formal Cease and Desist Restraining Order banning him from being within a hundred yards of the church in question. He is then to be released. We cannot thereforebe accused of kidnapping. If the rapist ignores this Restraining Order, he can then be permanently detained, and any church officials who aid and abet him can themselves be placed under citizens’ arrest and the church permanently occupied as a public safety measure.

All of the recorded evidence of these actions will be posted on You Tube and on our archived website in order to alert the community to these individuals, and to encourage similar actions around the world. If you wish to volunteer to be a part of a CPAG, contact this email or the ITCCS organizer in your area. A schedule of training events and other upcoming actions will be published at and sent to you by email.

The actions we take today will save the lives and sanity of tomorrow’s children. It is therefore our sacred duty to bring our deeds into conformity with our love for all children, by placing their well-being and safety before all other considerations. May that knowledge give you the courage to act!

Contact us directly for more information and assistance. For the children!

ITCCS Communique 1 June, 2012, Brussels

Why We are Still in the Middle Ages: The Vatican Inquisition Strikes Back

Special Contribution
By Kevin D. Annett
May 28, 2012

In the Vatican prison

It’s a church! No, it’s a state! Stop! You’re both right! Paolo Gabriele is languishing in a secret church prison tonight in Vatican City after being arrested by church police for having some of the Pope’s private papers in his possession.

The Pope’s former butler and a father of three children is threatened with thirty years in a papal jail for having uncovered some of Joseph Ratzinger’s dirty secrets. Paolo might as well not be an Italian citizen, since his civil rights vanished once he crossed the Vatican. The law of the church supersedes that of any nation, it seems, since clearly the Pope can arrest and jail anyone he doesn’t like.

It’s quite abominable. How many corporations get to arrest and put on trial in their own private courts one of their employees who’s found with internal company documents? How often does the CEO of such a company get to shelter and exonerate child rapists in his firm, hide the crime from the police, and silence those who know about it all?

Does the company itself get to launder money, finance wars, conduct genocide and crimes against humanity, and depose governments, and never answer for these crimes? The Vatican Incorporated is the one company in the world that can do all this. And what’s more, they even get massive financial subsidies from taxpayers in over a hundred countries to do so!

That said, it’s a sign of the degree of institutional rot and panic erupting in Rome these days that members of the papal inner circle are breaking ranks and squealing on their boss. Paolo’s arrest follows hot on the heels of the forced resignation of the chief of the Vatican Bank, Gotti Tedeschi, who allegedly had blown the whistle on shady transactions by the bank.

It’s small wonder the papacy is crushing a lone employee like Paolo so rapidly. Some of the documents held by the butler suggest that the Pope personally accepted bribes to award Vatican contracts to friends and supporters of his, and that he engineered a cover up of the whole thing, including by expelling Vatican City governor Archbishop Carlo Vigano last year when he asked the Pope to come clean.

One can’t help but be reminded of the last days of Richard Nixon. But the former president cum gangster, at least, was legally accountable to the United States Congress. The Pope is answerable only to himself. He is, under his own laws, both “Master and God”: church and state all rolled into one, all powerful ruler of humanity.

Roman Emperor Aurelian invented that title known as “Dominus et Deus” in the year 273 when he created a new religious cult of sun worship that evolved into state Christianity under a later Emperor, Constantine. For the first time, and ever since then, one ruler was designated as having absolute authority over everyone, and could therefore never be challenged.

Adolf Hitler was a pale imitation. When Aurelian’s god-emperor evolved into the papacy, Europe inherited a monster called Christendom that would cause more death and atrocity than any force in human history. Sadly, over the centuries governments have accommodated themselves to this monster since historically they arose in partnership with it, and derived their authority from papal sanction.

What Martin Luther called “the two swords” – church and state working in tandem – is still the governing principle that allows so-called “canon law” to supersede civil laws in most nations, with the result that men like Paolo Gabriele can simply disappear with the nod of a pope. We really are still in the middle ages, in many ways: and we techno-serfs still blindly clamor for justice from institutions run from the top-down by men who consider themselves gods.

Joseph Ratzinger is an expert at making people disappear, having run the papal Inquisition – renamed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – for many years. But the very absoluteness of his power as Grand Inquisitor made Ratzinger many enemies, and the latter are gathering nowadays to help expose their adversary.

The details of Ratzinger accepting bribes, for instance, actually came from Vatican Secretary of State archives to which Paolo Gabriele could not have had access. Only senior Cardinals could have released such damning evidence.

This kind of power struggle in the papacy is nothing new, but since it is happening amidst efforts to criminally indict the Pope for concealing child rapists and obstructing justice, many of the Curia are worried that the institution will suffer permanent damage: a fact quite unacceptable to the money boys who stand behind the papal throne.

To quote a senior Italian state senator who spoke to me in Rome in the spring of 2010, “The Vatican, the mafia, and the government, they’re really all the same men, and they have one major concern: to hold on to their revenues. They are terrified that the ORI (Vatican Bank) will suffer from these scandals and will lose its credit standing with the banking cartels. They will never let that happen, even if the heads of popes have to roll in the dust.” So it’s an interesting question: who is more powerful, ultimately – the “Master and God” himself, or his creditors? The image, or the finances?

For men like Paolo Gabriele, or any victim of priestly rape, the answer is perhaps moot. For whoever is in charge in Rome is like any self-governing dictator: one who cannot be reasoned or negotiated with, but simply overthrown. I believe the world is finally waking up to that fact. The issue now is, how will we unite across faiths and borders to finally unseat the God Emperor and his vile kingdom?

Our network has given the Vatican until September 15 to undertake ten steps to relinquish its power and do justice to its victims. After that day, the church will have lost its right to operate in our communities. And the occupations that will strike Roman Catholic churches and facilities after that date will include the targeting of secret papal prisons where men of conscience like Paolo Gabriele are being held. We will free Paolo, if he is not free by then.

When Jesus of Nazareth first spoke publicly, he announced that God had sent him to release the captives, give sight to the blind, and let all the oppressed go free. The papacy of his day killed him for it, and the Vatican cemented that murder in its subversion of his message.

But fortunately, you just can’t keep a good man down.

But the enemies of truth will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, the time of judgement will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. Isaiah 29:5-6

“The mistake you make, don't you see,is in thinking one can live in a corrupt society without being corrupt oneself. After all, what do you achieve by refusing to make money? You're trying to behave as though one could stand right outside our economic system. But one can't. One's got to change the system, or one changes nothing. One can't put things right a bit at a time, if you take my meaning.” ― George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying


US Congress holds Hearing on Human Rights and Religious Freedom Abuses in Vietnam

Freedom of Expression in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam by Ba Bui

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 (VIETNAM COMMITTEE) – Mr. Vo Van Ai, President of Paris-based Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam and the Vietnam Committee for Human Rights called on the United States today to press for the release of political prisoners arbitrarily detained in Vietnam. Mr. Ai was speaking at a Hearing on “Vietnam: Continuing abuse of Human Rights and Religious Freedom” at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C. Speakers on the panel were Mr. Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Democracy and Labour, Dr. Robert George, Commissioner at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Mr. Vo Van Ai and Mrs. Mai Huong Ngo, wife of pro-democracy activist Nguyen Quoc Quan who was recently arrested in Vietnam.

Mr. Ai described the “Orwellian” nature of Vietnam’s legal system, gave an overview of the situation of religious and political prisoners, including the case of blogger Dieu Cay, whose trial was to be held today Vietnam. It was postponed after President Obama raised the case in a statement on Press Freedom Day. Mr. Ai presented Congress with a list of 177 prisoners detained in Vietnam for the expression of their political opinions and religious beliefs.

Stressing that “human rights are meaningless if human rights defenders are not free. Democracy cannot develop if democratic voices are stifled”, Mr Ai. urged the United States to make the release of political and religious prisoners in Vietnam an urgent priority. He also called on the U.S. to press Vietnam to revise vaguely-worded “national security” laws which are used to suppress peaceful dissent; re-establish the legal status of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and all other “non-recognized religions and release UBCV Patriarch Thich Quang Do; re-designate Vietnam as a Country of Particular Concern for religious freedom violations; adopt the 2012 Vietnam Human Rights Act which links US-Vietnam trade relations with respect for human rights; and not support Vietnam’s stand for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for 2014-2016 which will be debated at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2012.

President, Quê Me: Action for Democracy in Vietnam &
Vietnam Committee on Human Rights

Honorable Chairman, Distinguished Members of Congress,

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to testify at this important hearing and express my concerns on continuing abuse of human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam. Today, many Americans believe that the strengthening of US relations with Hanoi means that human rights are improving in Vietnam. But this is far from the case. After a brief period of respite in 2006, when Vietnam campaigned for membership of the World Trade Organisation, the government has pursued a systematic crack-down on freedom of opinion, expression, religion and assembly. Arbitrary detention, torture and harassments are the daily lot of citizens who express opinions in contradiction with the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam.

The United Nations defines arbitrary detention as the deprival of freedom of people who have simply exercised the rights enshrined in the UN Charter, or are imprisoned without due process of law. Vietnam ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1982, exactly thirty years ago, and its Constitution guarantees the respect of basic rights. But there is a huge gap between rhetoric and reality in Vietnam. In a series of political trials since the beginning of last year alone, the government has sentenced at least 45 peaceful activists to a total of 231 years in prison and 103 years probationary detention. Just this week, former political prisoners in Vietnam sent me a list of 177 prisoners currently detained for their peaceful opinions and beliefs. I submit this list for entry in the Congressional record.

As this Hearing takes place, arbitrary arrests continue unabated. I cite some random cases, which are by no means exhaustive, to illustrate the Orwellian nature of the legal system in Vietnam today:

l For the crime of peaceful advocacy, blogger Dieu Cay (Nguyen Van Hai), whom President Obama mentioned in his speech on Press Freedom Day earlier this month, is arbitrarily detained. Founder of the Club of Free Journalists, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison on trumped-up charges of “tax evasion” after staging anti-China protests during the Olympic torch relay in 2008. Alerted to his plight by my Committee, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared his imprisonment a violation of international law. On the day of his release in October 2010, he was re-arrested on new charges of “spreading anti-socialist propaganda” (Article 88 of the Penal Code). He has been detained incommunicado for the past 17 months. Dieu Cay should have stood trial today, 15th May, along with two other bloggers, Phan Thanh Hai and Ta Phong Tan. But Hanoi postponed the trial only hours after President Obama’s statement. In Vietnam, prison sentences are fixed in advance. Dieu Cay has been pressured to plead guilty to seek a lighter sentence, but he has refused. He risks a prison term of up to 20 years. International pressure may help to reduce his sentence. But the truth is that he should never have been arrested at all.

l For the “crime” of distributing leaflets protesting land rights abuses and supporting dispossessed farmers known as the “Victims of Injustice” (Dan Oan), Nguyen Ngoc Cuong and his son Nguyen Ngoc Tuong Thi are serving a total of 9 years in prison. They were charged with “spreading propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” (Article 88 of the Penal Code) at an unfair trial in Dong Nai in October 2011 . The sentence was confirmed on appeal.

l For founding an unofficial think-tank and writing articles on the Internet calling for democratic reforms, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc was sentenced to 16 years in prison in January 2010 on charges of subversion (“activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration”, Article 79 of the Penal Code). Whereas other activists at the same trial, including human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh and engineer Nguyen Tien Trung pleaded guilty and received sentences of three-and-a-half to seven years, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc denied that he had committed any crime. He received an extremely harsh sentence as punishment for his “stubborn attitude”.

l For the “crime” of writing protest songs which are currently chanted by millions of young people inside and outside Vietnam, singer and composer Viet Khang (Vo Minh Tri), 34, was arrested on 23 December 2011 and is awaiting trial in the Security Investigation Office in Ho Chi Minh City. His mother has brought food parcels to the prison, but has not been allowed to see her son since his arrest. Another singer, Tran Vu An Binh, detained since September 2011, is awaiting trial in the same prison.

l For exposing Police corruption, journalist Nguyen Van Khuong, pen name Hoang Khuong, is detained in Ho Chi Minh City charged with “professional shortcomings”. A reporter on the official Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Hoang Khuong wrote a series of articles revealing bribes received by traffic police. Although his articles proved to be true and led to the arrest of one policeman, Tuoi Tre suspended Hoang Khuong and withdrew his press card after complaints from the Police. He was arrested on January 2, 2012 and is awaiting trial.

l For helping to organize a strike in a shoe factory in Tra Vinh and distributing leaflets advocating worker rights and denouncing seat-shop working conditions, young labour activist Do Thi Minh Hanh, 27, is serving a 7-year prison sentence on charges of "disrupting security and order against the people's administration" (Article 89 of the Penal Code). She has lost her hearing on one ear, and suffers from swelling of the joints and a stomach ailment. Two other worker-rights activists condemned at the same trial in 26 October 2010, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung and Doan Duy Chuong were sentenced respectively to nine and seven years. None of them had access to defense counsel, and were not allowed to speak out in their own defense.

l For seeking to use the legal system to demand accountability and justice for victims of human rights abuses, legal expert Cu Huy Ha Vu was sentenced to seven years prison and three years house arrest at an unfair trial on 4 April 2011 at the Hanoi People’s Court on charges of “anti-socialist propaganda”. Lawyer Huynh Van Dong was disbarred from the Dak Lak Bar Association on 12 August 2011 for (sic) “advocating for the behavior of accused individuals”. He had defended seven land-rights activists at a trial in Ben Tre in May 2011, and protested against being denied access to vital legal documents. The prisoners, including Tran Thi Thuy, “Cattle shed” house church Pastor Duong Kim Khai, and Pham Van Thong received prison terms from two to eight years.

Arbitrary arrest of religious activists is widespread. Despite Vietnam’s claims to respect religious freedom, its aim to control and regulate religions is underscored by the appointment of Major-general Pham Dung, one of Vietnam’s top Public Security officials, as head of the Government Religious Board in February 2012;

l Buddhists belonging to the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) are routinely detained under “pagoda arrest”. Vietnam’s most prominent religious dissident Thich Quang Do, 84, Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is under house arrest without charge at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery. He is forbidden to travel or communicate freely and denied the right even to preach within his monastery. Thich Quang Do has spent almost 30 years in prison, internal exile and house arrest for his nonviolent advocacy of religious freedom, democracy and human rights;

l At least 250 Christians Montagnards and many ethnic Hmongs are serving harsh sentences for participating in peaceful demonstrations or practicing their faith in “unrecognized” house churches. Many have been brutally beaten in prison, and at least 25 have died in prison from beatings and lack of medical care. Just last week, on 9 May 2012, three Christian Montagnards were arrested in the Central Highlands for “anti-state activities”. The official press reported that Security forces had seized weapons that the "reactionary organization" was using “to oppose authorities” – they consisted of home-made bows, arrows and swords;

l Roman Catholic Priest Father Nguyen Van Ly, prominent religious freedom advocate, is in very poor health after suffering a stroke in prison. Released on compassionate leave in March 2010, he has now returned to Ha Nam prison to continue his 8-year sentence. Many Catholic bloggers and activists, mostly from the Redemptorist Congregation were detained in a wave of arrests in July-August 2011. At least twelve remain in custody, including Catholic bloggers Le Van Son and Ta Phong Tan, Ho Duc Hoa, Dang Xuan Dieu and Nguyen Van Duyet. Ten have been charged under article 79 of the Criminal Code for “activities aimed at subverting the people’s power”. Moreover, on 2 December 2011, 20 Catholics, including one priest, Father Nguyen Van Phuong, were arrested in Hanoi after they submitted a petition to the authorities demanding the return of Church lands.

l Nguyen Van Lia, 72, a dignitary of the Hoa Hao sect was sentenced to five years in prison on 13 December 2011, on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state” (Article 258 of the Criminal Code). He is detained in section K4 of Xuan Loc prison camp in Dong Nai. During interrogations, he was beaten, then detained in solitary confinement, and is now in very poor health. At least sixteen Hoa Hao dignitaries and followers are serving prison sentences from five years to life in prison for peacefully practicing their faith.

Vietnam is increasingly using “administrative measures” such as heavy fines to punish dissidents and human rights defenders without any process of law. On 8 November 2011, hundreds of Security Police broke into the home of writer Huynh Ngoc Tuan in Quang Nam, confiscating his laptop, printer, cell phone and other personal effects. They returned on 2nd December 2011, beat him and other members of his family, and read out an order condemning him, his daughter Huynh Thuc Vy and his nephew Huynh Trong Hieu to heavy fines for “spreading anti-socialist propaganda”. Huynh Ngoc Tuan previously spent 10 years in prison (1992-2002) for writing articles for democratic reform.

Vietnam frequently states in international forums that there are “no political prisoners in Vietnam”. However, many former political prisoners including lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen, detained from 2006-2010 unequivocally deny this claim. Religious and political dissidents, they report, are detained in special sections of prisons, sometimes detained together with common criminals but always subjected to a particularly harsh regime. All their clothes and utensils are stamped with the letters C.T. (chính trị – “political” in Vietnamese). They are not allowed to use pens and paper, nor receive regular visits from their families.

All inmates, whether political prisoners or common criminals, must pay for basic necessities out of their own pockets, including supplements their starvation rations. But whereas common criminals are allowed to receive at least 2 million dong (about $96) each month from their families, bloggers Dieu Cay, Phan Thanh Hai and Ta Phong Tan have been allowed no more that 500,000 dong per month. This is barely enough for minimal survival. The police-set prices in prison canteens run to 400,000 dongs for a kilo of sugar, 25,000 for a can of condensed milk or 300,000 dong for a pound of pork sausage. In the Security Investigations Office in Ho Chi Minh City where the three bloggers are detained, many political prisoners are detained in solitary confinement in tiny cells without ventilation or light. Dieu Cay’s glasses were confiscated by Police on his arrest.

Political prisoners who refuse to confess their “crimes” are often punished by being moved to jails far away from their homes. Since prison camps are usually situated in remote, isolated areas with very limited access, this makes it extremely difficult for families to pay visits. In March 2012, pro-democracy activists Tran Kim Anh, Nguyen Xuan Nghia and Pham Van Troi were sent from Nam Ha camp in Ha Nam province, south of Hanoi, to Camp No. 6 in Thanh Chuong district in the central province of Nghe An. Hanoi-based dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu was moved from Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi to Prison Camp No. 5 in Thanh Hoa province in March 2012. The camp is in the depths of a mountainous, forest region some 200 kilometres south of Hanoi, and is notorious for holding violent common criminals. His family was given no explanation for this sudden transfer.

Lack of medical care and overcrowded, unhygienic detention conditions have broken the health of many political prisoners. Hoa Hao follower Mai Thi Dung, who is serving an 11-year sentence in Section K5 of Xuan Loc Camp, is paralyzed in both legs, yet she has been denied treatment in the prison hospital. Political prisoner Do Van Thai is suffering from HIV-AIDS after being forced to shave with the camp’s sole razor blade used by all the prisoners. He is detained in Section K2 of Xuan Loc Camp in Dong Nai. Poet Nguyen Huu Cau, who has spent 35 years in detention since 1975 —from 1975-1980 in re-education camp, then 1982 until today for exposing official corruption — is virtually blind and almost completely deaf after suffering severe conditions in Xuan Loc prison camp. He has written 500 letters to the authorities claiming his innocence, but has never received a single reply.

Protests on issues of land rights have led to widespread arbitrary arrests. Under Vietnam’s socialist system, “the land is the property of the people” but it is “managed by the State”. Peasants and farmers do not own their land, but are issued with “Land User Certificates”, which the authorities can withdraw at will, with little or no compensation. This has sparked off a massive rural protest movement known as the Victims of Injustice” (Dân Oan) involving hundreds of thousands of dispossessed farmers. Police regularly crush their protests with extreme violence, resulting in deaths and widespread arrests.

Since the beginning of this year, three incidents of state “land grabbing” have resulted in extreme violence. In January, in Tiên Lang, near Haiphong, farmer Doan Van Vuon resisted attempts to forcibly evict him from lands he had spent 18 years transforming from useless swamplands into a viable aquaculture farm. In desperation, he shot at the Police, wounding six officers. On 24 April, In Van Giang, in Hung Yen province, 3,000 Security Police and riot forces attempted to forcibly evict 166 families from their lands to build a massive development project (Ecopark), wounding and arresting many villagers. On 9 May 2012, in Vu Ban, Nam Dinh province, hundreds of riot police armed with electric truncheons sought to evict local farmers from their lands. The farmers, mostly women and elderly people, donned mourning turbans and staged a peaceful sit down. Many were wounded and other arrested as Police brutally disbanded their peaceful protests.

Vietnam’s political and religious prisoners are mostly detained on the basis of vaguely defined “national security” provisions in the Vietnamese Criminal Code, seven of which carry the death penalty. They include ambiguous offenses such as “undermining national solidarity, sowing divisions between religious and non-religious people”, (article 87), “conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” (Article 88), “abusing democratic freedoms to encroach on the interests of the state” (article 258), “espionage” (Article 80), “disrupting security” (article 89), “fleeing abroad or staying abroad to oppose the people’s government” (article 91). In recent years, Vietnam has increasingly detained dissidents under Article 79 on “subversion” or “activities aimed at subverting the people’s power” (article 79), which carries the death penalty. These “national security” provisions, which make no distinction between violent acts such as terrorism and the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, are totally inconsistent with the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Vietnam acceded in 1982.

Other restrictive legislation includes Article 4 of the Constitution which enshrines the political monopoly of the Communist Party, thus excluding political pluralism and the creation of free trade unions or independent civil society; Ordinance 44 (2002) which empowers local police to detain critics under house arrest, in psychiatric institutions or in rehabilitation camps for up to two years without any process of law; Decree 38/2005 which bans demonstrations outside government buildings, and the Directions for Implementing Decree 38 (2006), which prohibit gatherings of more than 5 people without authorisation from the authorities; Media Decree 2 (2011), which imposes drastic restrictions on journalists. The daft of a new 60-article decree on online activity is now in circulation. If passed in its present form, the decree will impose more stringent restrictions on Vietnam’s “blogosphere” and community of internet users, which represents some 13% of the 89 million population in Vietnam today.


- Human rights are meaningless if human rights defenders are not free. Democracy cannot develop if democratic voices are stifled. It is therefore an urgent priority to press for the release of peaceful political and religious prisoners and foster the emergence of a vibrant civil society in Vietnam. To achieve this, both public and private diplomacy is needed. Public statements, such as the one made by President Obama this month are most important, not only as strong reminders to the Vietnamese authorities, but as a sign of encouragement and recognition for human rights defenders in Vietnam.

- The release of prisoners is only meaningful if it is protected by legal safeguards and the rule of law. Vietnam is currently receiving millions of dollars from donor countries, including the United States, to reform its legal system. Yet these funds are used to adopt new, restrictive laws which criminalize religious and political dissent and reinforce the control of the one-Party state. The United States should urgently press Vietnam to repeal all legislation which impedes the exercise of rights enshrined in its Constitution and in the UN Charter.

- In the absence of a pluralist society in Vietnam, religious movements are the true voices of civil society and they are actively defending the people’s freedoms and rights. Buddhism, Vietnam’s majority religion is a philosophy of peace, tolerance and compassion. It has vast human resources and is strongly committed to its people’s welfare. By repressing the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) and all other “non-recognized” religions, Hanoi is crushing true civil society and stifling the people’s development for generations to come. To promote the emergence of civil society, the United States should urge Hanoi to re-establish the legitimate status of the UBCV and other non-recognised religious bodies, free its leaders and allow it full freedom of religious activity.

- In this regard, I urge the United States to heed the recommendations of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and re-designate Vietnam as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its egregious violations of religious freedom and human rights. Following CPC designation in 2004 and 2005, Vietnam made some minimal steps towards releasing religious prisoners and improving protection of religious freedom. This stopped outright when President Bush removed Vietnam from this list in 2006.

- The United States has a bilateral human rights dialogue with Vietnam. This dialogue is a useful tool. But it must not become an end in itself. Disturbingly, Vietnam told the United Nations at its Universal Periodic Review in 2009 that its engagement in dialogue with the US, the EU and other countries “proves” that Vietnam respects human rights. This is surely not America’s view. The dialogue should lead to substantive progress. The United States should set benchmarks and a concrete time-frame for human rights improvements wherever possible, and ensure that Vietnam does not use the human rights dialogue as shield to deflect international scrutiny from its egregious violations of religious freedom and human rights.

- Vietnam rejected many concrete recommendations made by the United States at its Universal Periodic Review in May 2009, and it has failed to uphold its binding commitments to respect UN standards and norms. Unless there are swift and measurable improvements in Vietnam in the immediate future, the United States should not support Vietnam’s stand for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for 2014-2016.

- Promoting religious freedom, human rights and democracy should be inscribed in legislation regarding the US-Vietnam trade relationship. Congress should adopt legislation such as the Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2012 (H.R. 1410) to link trade relations to the respect of religious freedoms and human rights.

Recommended benchmarks for human rights progress in Vietnam

Specifically, I urge the United States to press Vietnam to:

- cease persecution against the religious communities, re-establish the legitimate status of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and all other non-recognized religious bodies, and release all religious prisoners, including UBCV leader Thich Quang Do;

- release all dissidents, bloggers, lawyers, citizen journalists and human rights defenders detained for the peaceful exercise of their basic human rights (see list in annex);

- improve detention conditions in prisons and camps, and allow US diplomatic observers to visit prisons, notably K2 Section of Z30A Camp in Xuan Loc, Dong Nai;

- authorize the publication of private newspapers and media as a podium for democratic debate, and the creation of independent associations such as free trade unions and non-governmental organizations to foster the emergence of a vibrant and dynamic civil society in Vietnam;

- foster development of the rule law by repealing or amending all legislation that restricts the exercise of human rights and religious freedom, including Article 4 of the Constitution (on the mastery of the Vietnamese Communist Party); Ordinance 44 on “administrative detention”; Decree 38/2005/ND-CP on demonstrations; “national security” provisions in the Vietnamese Penal Code; Ordinance 21 on Beliefs and Religions (2004) which places tight controls on religious freedom in Vietnam;

- extend an invitation to the UN Representative on Human Rights Defenders and the UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to visit Vietnam, and invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to make follow-up visits to monitor the situation of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in Vietnam.

Vo Van Ai, Washington D.C., 15 May, 2012

Vietnam bans UBCV Vesak celebrations in Binh Thuan - Police surround Giac Minh Pagoda in Danang

Giac Lam Pagoda

PARIS, 28 April 2012 (IBIB) The International Buddhist Information Bureau has received an urgent report from the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) on the intensification of Police controls and harassment in the run-up to the celebrations of the Vesak. The Vesak is the anniversary of the Birth of Buddha which takes place on 5, May 2012.

The UBCV reports that on April 20, 2012, the People’s Committee in Binh Thuan Province invited Venerable Thich Thong Hai for a “working session” (interrogation). Venerable Thich Thong Hai, who is the Youth Commissioner of the UBCV’s provincial committee in Binh Thuan, went with Tran Van Y and Le Cuong, two leaders of the UBCV’s Buddhist Youth Movement. Police refused to let the two youth leaders follow him into the building.

During the “working session” which lasted two hours, People’s Committee officials and Police told Thich Thong Hai that the UBCV in Binh Thuan would not be allowed to hold Vesak celebrations. They warned that if the UBCV persisted despite this ban, the authorities would take “preventive measures”. The Vesak is the most important event in the Buddhist calendar. Thich Thong Hai and the UBCV in Binh Thuan expressed deep concern that Police will forcibly impede them from celebrating this traditional religious event.

In Danang, UBCV Buddhist Youth leader Le Cong Cau reports that Security Police have imposed a round-the-clock surveillance on Giac Minh Pagoda, which is the headquarters of the UBCV provincial committee in Quang Nam-Danang and the UBCV’s Buddhist Youth Movement. In the local police station (To Dan Pho) just opposite the Pagoda, a camera is trained on the pagoda’s entrance, and an official sits at the window and takes down the number-plates of all cars entering the pagoda’s courtyard. Around twenty other officials are posted permanently around the entrance and in the surrounding cafes, ready to intercept anyone who enters or leaves the premises.

This tight Police surveillance has prevented deliveries of food and supplies to the Pagoda. Buddhists from the Giac Minh congregation are obliged to wait until nightfall to secretly bring bags of rice and basic necessities to the monks inside.

The situation in Binh Thuan and Danang reflects the continuous harassments and hardships experienced by members of the outlawed UBCV all over Vietnam. UBCV Patriarch Thich Quang Do, 84, a 2012 Nobel Peace prize nominee, is not even allowed to preach to Buddhists at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery where he is under de facto house arrest. This ongoing persecution belies Vietnam’s repeated declarations that it “respects religious freedom and human rights”. The International Buddhist Information Bureau calls upon the international community to press Vietnam to uphold its binding international commitments as a state party to UN human rights treaties and cease repression against the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.

Thousands Pray for Government Intervention in India

Special Contribution
By Joseph Dias
Apr. 6, 2012

Good Friday will be observed on 6th April 2012

Prayer, Fasting and Mortification Mark Huge Silver Jubilee... India's Only Good Friday Dramatization on Mumbai's Streets... Focus on Kashmiri Christians - Good Friday is not a holiday in J & K

Hundreds of Christians trudged a grueling and arduous walk, over around 7 kilometers in scorching heat, starting out from Sacred Heart Church in suburban Mumbai's Khar West, while a troupe of Christian activists enacted scenes, believed to have happened on the first Good Friday. The walking pilgrimage which started in the morning at around 10 am concluded in the evening at around 4 pm and the procession with tableaus wended its way through the lanes of Khar, Santacruz, Vakola and Kalina. The crucifixion dramatization near St. Anthony's Church, Vakola, moved many to tears, even as they stood still barefooted at the end of a fulfilling spiritual experience. The march was organised by The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF), which also drove home a political message to the government, praying for its attention. Good Friday for instance, which is internationally a holiday, has not been declared so in J & K, where Christians are being religiously cleansed.

The silver jubilee was marked with almost double the number of pilgrims, with even children, women, priests and nuns joining in to partake in portrayal of the torture and death of Jesus Christ, enacted through a musical played out on the streets. The faithful prayed and mourned for the intention of the day - Christians as victims of governmental neglect and persecution. Speaking on this 2012 theme, Joseph Dias, who started this tradition 25 years ago, which has not found a parallel in the country said, "even though the community contributes majorly towards ameliorating the lot of the poor and needy, the government apathy towards Indian Christians is taking its toll. A Christian way to deal with the issue is to first solemnly fast and intercede with God, which is what we are doing today. Jesus told us to pray for our persecutors and this is a public display of our hurt sentiments and a cry justice. The community being ignored is determined not to take it lying down".

Thousands of passer-byes were witness to the Calvary (place where Jesus was crucified) story, with biblical characters acting out the arrest and the last few hours before Jesus's death. Similar enactments are known to happen in the Philippines and Latin America, with a couple of Christians actually being nailed to a cross, to experience in a small way the suffering of Jesus on the first Good Friday. In India though, Joseph Dias, general secretary of The CSF, pointed out that it was the only one of its kind and was also started since many non-Christians believed that Good Friday is a feast, rather than a day of mourning. He pointed out that "while fundamentalists of various hues and colours are persecuting Christians, the inaction and official neglect by the government is appalling; as Christians have their human rights violated and are not given their due. But, the example of Jesus and Christianity commands us not to retaliate, but express ourselves in a non-violent manner. As a micro minority, with miniscule numbers to be politically influential; the government seems to take us for granted. This march signals the heralding of Christians as politically active citizens".

The annual Lenten observance was the culmination of over 40 days of fasting, sacrifice, abstinence and religious fervour, as many pilgrims looked forward to a new hope, that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on Easter Sunday brings, which was also enacted. The Stations of the Cross, as the devotion is called stopped still at 3 pm, believed to be the time, when Jesus died or the moment of grace to pray for the intentions and the theme. The focus was also on Christians in Kashmir, who were being purged from the valley and undergoing severe persecution from fundamentalists and anti-national forces. Other forms of discrimination faced by the community mentioned were those of Dalit Christians, anti-conversion laws, targeted violence, economic deprivation, social boycott, etc.

The 15 Stations of the Cross enacted sequences such as - the arrest of Jesus, Jesus being sentenced by Pontius Pilate, the falls of Jesus, Jesus meeting the women of Jerusalem, his mother and disciples at the cross, Veronica wiping the face of Jesus... This, the community felt was a dignified Christian way protesting against the subtle and not so subtle attacks on the community.

For more info or photos, contact: The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF) Joseph Dias, Gen. Sec. +91 9769555657

Jan 2011-Mar 2012