Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nazi Victims Ask EU to Probe Vatican on Looted Assets

Holocaust survivors from the former Yugoslavia accused the Vatican of helping Nazi allies launder their stolen valuables and have asked the European Commission to investigate their claims.

“We are requesting the commission open an inquiry into allegations of money laundering of Holocaust victim assets by financial organs associated with or which are agencies of the Vatican City State,”

Jonathan Levy, a Washington-based attorney for the survivors and their heirs, wrote in a letter dated Oct. 20 to Olli Rehn, the European Union’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner. Levy provided the letter to Bloomberg.
The request follows a decade-long lawsuit in U.S. courts on behalf of Holocaust survivors and their heirs from the former Yugoslavia and Ukraine. That case, basing its claims on a U.S. State Department report on the fate of Nazi plunder, alleged that the Vatican Bank laundered assets stolen from thousands of Jews, gypsies and Serbs killed or captured by the Ustasha, the Nazi-backed regime of wartime Croatia. The Vatican repeatedly denied the charges and the findings of the 1998 U.S. report.

Amadeu Altafaj, Rehn’s spokesman, said in Brussels today that the commission had received Levy’s letter and contacted Vatican authorities about it. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi declined to comment on Levy’s request to the commission.

Vatican Immunity

The U.S. case, which sought as much as $2 billion in restitution, was dismissed last December by a U.S. appeals court in San Francisco on grounds that the Vatican Bank enjoyed immunity under the 1976 Foreign Service Immunities Act, which may prevent foreign governments from facing lawsuits in the U.S.
The commission should have the authority to probe the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR, as the Vatican Bank is called, according to Levy’s letter. It cites a monetary accord signed on Dec. 17 of last year. Under the agreement the Vatican, which uses the euro and issues euro coins, pledged to implement EU laws against money laundering, counterfeiting and fraud.

Rome prosecutors have also sought to show that the Vatican bank is covered under European law. Last month they seized 23 million euros ($32 million) from an Italian account registered to the IOR as they opened a probe into alleged violations of money-laundering laws by the Vatican Bank.

“We looked at all the places where the Vatican may have surrendered sovereignty,” Levy said in a telephone interview. “The only place we could find was with the euro, where they placed themselves under the jurisdiction of either the European Central Bank or the European Commission.”

Swiss Payout

Levy initially contacted the legal office of the Frankfurt- based ECB and was told to take the claim to the commission, he said. An ECB spokeswoman confirmed that after being contacted by Levy, the central bank advised him to go directly to the EU’s executive arm.

The U.S. lawsuit was first filed in 1999, one year after an official Swiss commission concluded that Switzerland received three times more gold taken from Nazi victims than previously estimated by the U.S. government. The same year, UBS AG and Credit Suisse AG, the biggest Swiss banks, agreed to pay $1.25 billion in compensation to Holocaust survivors and their heirs.

In his letter, Levy said “gold and other valuables” stolen in the “genocidal” murder of 500,000 Serbs, Jews and gypsies “were deposited at the Vatican in 1946,” according to “contemporaneous documents authored by Allied investigators” and “the sworn testimony of former U.S. Special Agent William Gowen.” He interviewed and investigated the Ustasha involved in transferring the loot while stationed in Rome after the war.

Euro Coins

Under its agreement with the commission, Vatican City State, a sovereign nation outside the EU, may issue a maximum of 2.3 million euros in coins in 2010 through the Italian mint, not including a further variable amount. The Vatican also pledged to implement EU legislation against money laundering by year-end.
Rehn said the Vatican has submitted its first draft laws “on the prevention of money laundering and the fight against fraud and counterfeiting” and the commission is analyzing them, according to his reply to a question from a member of the European Parliament, posted on its website on Sept. 9.

Lombardi on Oct. 23 declined to say whether the Vatican intends to meet the Dec. 31 deadline for implementing the EU legislation.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Vatican body asks UN to 'end Israeli occupation'

Vatican body asks UN to 'end Israeli occupation'

In final statement of two-week conference, bishops' synod urges international community to take 'necessary legal steps to put an end to the occupation of the different Arab territories'

Reuters Published: 10.23.10, 14:00 / Israel News,7340,L-3973590,00.html

Israel cannot use the Biblical concept of a promised land or a chosen people to justify new "settlements" in Jerusalem or territorial claims, a Vatican synod on the Middle East said on Saturday.

In its concluding message after two weeks of meetings, the synod of bishops from the Middle East also said it hoped a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians
could be lifted from dream to reality and called for peaceful conditions that would stop a Christian exodus from the region.

"We have meditated on the situation of the holy city of Jerusalem. We are anxious about the unilateral initiatives that threaten its composition and risk to change its demographic balance," the message said.

US-brokered peace talks have stalled since Israel rejected appeals to extend a temporary moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank that expired last month.

Since the freeze expired, Israel has announced plans to build another 238 homes in two east Jerusalem neighborhoods, drawing the condemnation of Palestinians and world leaders.

In a separate part of the document -- a section on cooperation with Jews -- the synod fathers also took issue with Jews who use the Bible to justify settlements in the West Bank, which Israel captured in 1967.

"Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable," the document said.

Many Jewish settlers and right-wing Israelis claim a biblical birthright to the West Bank, which they call Judea and Samaria and regard as a part of historical, ancient Israel given to the Jews by God.

Asked about the passage at a news conference, Greek-Melchite Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, said:

"We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.

"The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians," he added. "The justification of Israel's occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures."

The synod's concluding message repeated a Vatican call for Jerusalem to have a special status "which respects its particular character" as a city sacred to the three great monotheistic religions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Jerusalem remains a key issue of dispute. Palestinians want east Jerusalem for capital of a future state. Israel has annexed the area, a move never recognized internationally, and has declared Jerusalem to be its "united and eternal" capital.

Israel did not include east Jerusalem as part of its 10-month building freeze, though most plans there were put on hold in March, when the U.S. protested reports of a new housing project leaked during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden.

East Jerusalem was also captured by Israel in 1967.

While recognizing "the suffering and insecurity in which Israelis live" and the need for Israel to enjoy peace within internationally recognized borders, the document was much more expansive and detailed on the situation of Palestinians.

It said Palestinians "are suffering the consequences of the Israeli occupation: the lack of freedom of movement, the wall of separation and the military checkpoints, the political prisoners, the demolition of homes, the disturbance of socio-economic life and the thousands of refugees."

It urged Christians in the region not to sell their homes and properties. "It is a vital aspect of the lives of those who remain there and for those who one day will return there."

It condemned terrorism "from wherever it may proceed" as well as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and discrimination against Christians.

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
Bishop Accountability Org


Friday, October 08, 2010

The guiding principle of Pope Gregory was, “Ignorance is the mother of piety.”

After you read about Pope ("Saint") Gregory the Great you'll understand why Rupert Murdoch was made a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

"The guiding principle of Pope Gregory was, “Ignorance is the mother of piety.” According to this principle, Gregory burned the precious Palestine Library founded by Emperor Augustus, destroyed the greater part of the writings of Livy and forbade the study of the classics."

Read Article

My research

Then do your own research!

It’s Official: Southern Poverty Law Center Is Now Part of DHS

dhs(From the Oath Keepers Web site)

As the below document makes clear, Southern Poverty Law Center is Now Officially Part of DHS. The CEO of SPLC now sits on the DHS “Working Group on Countering Violent Extremism” along with the leaders of other So-called Non Government Organizations (but can we really call them such now that they are part of the government?) And select “law enforcement” officers such as the Clark County Nevada Sheriff, Doug Gillespie.  What does the working group do?  Make recommendations on training and how to use all of the local resources – police, social services, media, NGO’s, you name it – to fight “extremism.  So, now no need to file a FOIA request to discover that SPLC is writing the reports naming constitutionalists as possible terrorists.  Now it is in your face and the mask is off.

When you read the below document, keep in mind the current ordeal of the Irish family where their newborn baby was taken based on an affidavit that notes the father’s “association with a militia group known as Oath Keepers.”. Pay attention to who sits on this panel (see pages 26-30), to who DOESN’T, how they plan on reaching DHS tentacles down into every level of society, and how they talk overtly about the need to utilize local SOCIAL WELFARE and MENTAL HEALTH agencies to counter “violent extremism.”. In other words, what is now being done to the Irish family will be done all over.

This is the overt politicization of DHS, to use it against political enemies.

I will post more on this later today.

Stewart Rhodes

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Senate Report: Contractors Funded Afghan Warlords

Five Shocking Findings of the Afghan Contractor Probe

Republican candidate for Senate Ron Johnson Testified To Protect Catholic Church From Sex Abuse Lawsuits

As a member of the finance council for the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay until he resigned to run for Senate this year, Ron Johnson served alongside a bishop named Robert Morneau who, as a Church leader, had been made aware over two decades ago of the abusive tendencies of Rev. John Feeney.

Rev. Feeney was convicted in 2003, before Johnson joined the council, for sexually assaulting two brothers in the late 1970s. But according to documents obtained by the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the Church sought to cover up his crimes, which one reverend called "sexually very inappropriate."
Seven years later, Johnson testified before the Wisconsin State Senate against legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations for such crimes, making it easier for victims of sexual abuse to seek damages from the Church or any other culpable institution.

The testimony first arose in the context of the race in a June article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and has been dogging Johnson more or less ever since. His connection to Morneau raises questions about how familiar Johnson (who is not a Catholic) was with the diocese's hidden scandals. Those questions couldn't come at a worse time for the GOP hopeful, who leads Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in the polls ahead of the November election.
TPM contacted numerous attorneys, advocates, and other members of the finance council of the Diocese of Green Bay to explain the finance council's role at the church, and the information it was privy to with respect to sexually abusive clergy. What we learned suggests that it's very difficult to separate Johnson's role as finance committee member from his role as legislative witness seeking to protect the Church from future lawsuits, when he told the panel, "I urge you to defeat this legislation."

Johnson insisted at the time that he testified as an active member of the business and non-profit community -- not specifically, and most pressingly, as a representative of the Catholic Church. But the road he took to testifying at the Madison statehouse in January of this year belies that contention.
Deacon Tim Reilly, Director of Administration for the Diocese of Green Bay told TPM that the Church played a significant role in getting Johnson to the state capital. According to Reilly, the Church didn't support the legislation and wanted to raise public awareness of its objections. So the diocese arranged for a meeting with Randy Hopper, the state senator in the Oshkosh area who sits on the panel that was deciding whether this legislation would go to the floor for a vote. Some 20 people met at St. Rafael's Parish in Oshkosh, several of whom spoke -- including Johnson. His arguments were among the most articulate and persuasive to the group, so Hopper asked him to go to Madison and testify -- the sort of not-quite-lobbying that happens in Washington and in state capitals around the country all the time.

Reilly reiterated to TPM that Johnson was not speaking specifically on behalf of the church. "He was speaking on his own behalf, as a concerned citizen, that this would adversely affect the Catholic School System and the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA and other non-profits without government protection."
That beggars belief, according to experts and clergymen.

"He can't be testifying just as a concerned citizen," says Father Tom Doyle, a priest who presciently warned the Catholic Church about the looming sex abuse scandal years ago. "If he was a member of the finance council of the diocese, the senator picked him out not because he was concerned about the Boys and Girls Club.... I don't know of any instance where a layperson, on his own, without any connection with the Church administration has come forward to testify."

Doyle admonished that, though many finance councils around the country are intimately familiar with diocesan secrets (both good and bad), they are in some instances left in the dark by their bishops. He has no direct knowledge of what the finance council knew in Johnson's case.

After learning of Johnson's testimony in news reports a former Johnson supporter named Todd Merryfield -- one of Feeney's victims -- appeared on MSNBC to announce that he'd renounced his support for the Tea Party-backed candidate.

For Merryfield and others who advocate on behalf of abuse victims, legislation extending the statute of limitations in child abuse cases was and remains a key legislative goal, and Johnson's successful attempt to kill it is a nearly unpardonable sin. But in addition to seeking penance from Johnson, and calling on him to press the Church to release information about priest abuse, they want to know what he knew when he testified in January.

"We don't know exactly what he knew," Merryfield told TPM in a phone interview. "It just seemed a little strange that he was in a position of knowledge being on the finance council, having to sign the checks to everyone being paid."

The issue has taken on greater salience as Johnson's lead over Feingold has grown. But for victims, the question of whether Johnson was acting as a dispassionate citizen and member of the business community, or as an agent of the Church, is the most crucial.

"These pedophiles that they have hidden away, they pay their room and board, living costs," Merryfield said, speculating that Johnson "has to know who they are because he has to write the checks to somebody."
According to Peter Isely, SNAP's Midwest Director, "It's something of a mystery what this finance council does," though, he says, it's one of the most important positions in the diocese.

Jim Stang, an attorney for official committees of abuse survivors in six Catholic affiliated bankruptcy cases, told TPM that these finance committees -- mandated at every diocese in the country -- are well-positioned to know about the skeletons in the Church's closets. When a case is settled, for instance, it would be in the financial interest of the Church, and therefore the council, to know of any other potential victims, and therefore lawsuits.

"It would certainly be in the area of finance committee's appropriate inquiry to ask," Stang said.
Ultimately, though, Stang said it should come as no surprise that Johnson's testimony so closely mirrored the Church's position.

"I think you'd have to live in some kind of plastic bubble to not make the association between statute of limitations reform and the financial impact on the diocese," Stang said. "It's certainly the argument the Church has been making for years."
According to the 2004 John Jay Report, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Green Bay received 59 allegations of sexual abuse by 35 diocesan priests during the 52 year period of the inquiry, 1950-2002.

Furthermore, the diocese is currently involved in two lawsuits, which, according to Reilly, is just the sort of potential liability the Church would bring to the attention of the council. "I also would say we have two lawsuits going on and depending on how they're settled, depending on whether the judge rules in our favor and how the jury rules, this is the potential financial risk that might be out there in the future," Reilly said. "In the case of the two litigations that we're involved in right now, I feel very strongly that we are on the correct side of the truth, but I said to the council, I need to make everybody aware that there are two lawsuits coming on so it's not a surprise. Nobody likes surprises."

In the past several days, Johnson has claimed in statements to reporters in Wisconsin that he never argued the legislation should fail -- only that he cautioned against some of its provisions. "I sought to warn legislators of those consequences in order to correct legislative language so that any bills that passed would punish the perpetrators," he insisted. In fact he urged state senators to vote down the legislation, claiming that, among other things, it would benefit trial attorneys and do more harm than good to children left in the lurch when organizations get sued and go under.

Now, under attack, he is demanding full transparency from the Diocese of Green Bay.
"I call upon the Green Bay Diocese to provide the utmost transparency in order to answer any lingering questions or doubt among victims of child abuse and those who seek to prevent child abuse in the future," Johnson said.

The Johnson campaign did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Article Source

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Jesse Ventura was never a USN Seal?



From September 11, 1969 to September 10, 1975 Jesse Ventura served in the USN attached to UDT 12, an underwater demolition team. UDT 12 existed at the same time the SEALS existed. The UDTs were later broken up and some of the frogmen as they were called got additional training and became SEALS, some became SDVT and others became NDU and Navy Salvage Divers; but that was in 1983, 8 and a half years after Jesse Ventura, (then Jim Janos) left the US Navy.

Because he CONSTANTLY claims to be a SEAL, a real SEAL Commander Bill Salisbury, a 16 year SEAL team veteran and San Diego attorney wrote an article for the San Diego Reader that basically called him a liar and a phony. Here's the original article:

This got reporters asking questions that Ventura tried to brush off or stonewall, finally, on a Minnesota public radio interview on December 14, 1999 Governor Venturas spokesman confirmed that Ventura was never a member of the Navy SEALs and his stated that the "Governor has never tried to convince people otherwise".

But that didn't stop Jesse. Oh no. After going on and on about how he had "hunted men" in Vietnam when he was a SEAL a TV station got a hold of a copy of his dd-214 discharge papers and noticed that he didn't have a combat action ribbon which was awarded to "those involved in a firefight or who went on clandestine or special operations where the risk of enemy fire was great or expected". The transcript is here:

FINALLY, in January 2002, Ventura ADMITTED to the Pioneer Press and the Minnesota Star Tribune that he did not see combat:

Now he is back to ranting about his non existent SEAL service like nothing ever happened. Why is this important? Because during the time Jesse Ventura was in UDT 12 SEAL team one lost 34 men to combat in Vietnam. UDT 12 lost 1 man to a training accident in the Philippines.

Riggs Bank News

Law firm vice president sells Burleith 2BD
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Facts about Equatorial Guinea | Africannewslive
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Geoffrey Robertson vs Pope Benedict XVI

Geoffrey Robertson would like to see Pope Benedict XVI be made accountable for years of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
The Australian-born QC's new book, The Case of the Pope, says the Pope is morally responsible for a crime against humanity.

click to listen to audio

"What we're dealing with is tens of thousands of rapes of children. When you investigate the particular areas in Ireland three judicial reports have said endemic in Catholic intuitions - wide spread and systematic.

"That happens to be the definition of a crime against humanity."

He believes the Vatican have caused the widespread nature of the abuse.

"They were moving paedophile priests from one country to another and covering up paedophilia in the church by a medieval process of canon law, where bishops don't hand over priests to the police to prosecute. They deal with them in private, where the punishment is to go and do penance."

Mr Robertson wants to see the system of canon law changed.

The QC refutes the claims from various publications and commentators that the numbers of priests sexually abusing children have been sensationalised.

"The Church itself accepts up to five per cent which is twenty thousand. A paedophile priest throughout their life will molest dozens of children. An Austrian Cardinal is said to have molested thousands of children in a sixty year life."

While Mr Robertson doesn't blame the Pope for any actual abuse personally.

"All I'm saying is that the Vatican should comply with the convention of the Rights of the Child, which every country except America has ratified.

"The Vatican must adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards the abuse of a child and a mandatory reporting policy, handing over evidence of abuse to police and a protection for whistle blowers."
He thinks the Pope will make these changes.

"He's come along way. In Easter he was passing this off as petty gossip. Last week in England he apologised for what he called 'the unspeakable crimes of my clergy'.

"I'm pushing at an open door."

article link: