British governmental child abuse inquiry starts


This video from Northern Ireland says about itself:

1 June 2015

A man who was abused at Belfast’s Kincora boys home four decades ago calls for the scandal there to become part of a wider UK inquiry into historic child abuse cases.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Inquiry into Westminster child abuse ring begins

Friday 10th July 2015

THE long-delayed inquiry into historic child abuse finally got underway in London yesterday.

The independent inquiry was set up last year amid claims of an Establishment cover-up following allegations that a paedophile ring operated in Westminster in the 1980s.

However, it has been beset by controversy since it was first announced by Home Secretary Theresa May last July after both the first and second choices for inquiry chair were both forced to stand down.

Baroness Butler-Sloss stood down in July last year over the role played by her late brother, Lord Havers, who was attorney general in the ’80s.

Her replacement Dame Fiona Woolf resigned following a barrage of criticism over her “Establishment links,” most notably in relation to former home secretary Leon Brittan, who died earlier this year.

Officially opening the probe at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in Westminster, third choice New Zealand high court judge Justice Goddard said the inquiry faced a “daunting task.”

Justice Goddard said: “This inquiry provides a unique opportunity to expose past failures of institutions to protect children.”

Homophobic bishops quit in child abuse cover-up scandal


This video from the USA says about itself:

Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt Claims Satan Behind Gay Marriage

16 September 2013

Fornicators beware: sodomy, condoms and pornography are the work of the devil.

That’s the message of a speech posted online last week by the Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John C. Nienstedt. A controversial religious leader with a stridently anti-gay stance, Nienstedt originally made the comments while speaking to the conservative Napa Institute Conference on August 2. The speech detailed the importance of family, as well as the devil’s multiple attempts to weaken the institution of heterosexual marriage.

“Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life,” Nienstedt said. “Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth.”

In Nienstedt’s opinion of course, “family” means specifically a union “comprised of one man and one woman.” Delivered one day after Minnesota began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the Napa Institute speech is consistent with the archbishop’s public statements condemning gay marriage, notes The New Civil Rights Movement.

Voted Minneapolis blog City Pages’ Best Villain of the Twin Cities in 2013, Nienstedt has “used his position to bully proponents and demonize fellow Catholics who disagreed with him,” wrote the blog’s Jesse Marx. “He donated more than $650,000 of church money to the anti-gay-marriage cause.”

In October of 2012, Nienstedt found himself at the center of a similar controversy when a letter he wrote surfaced in which he tells the mother a young gay man that she must reject her son or go to hell herself.

“I write to inform you that the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, as described in paragraphs 2357 and 2358 and 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is rooted in Scripture and based on the Natural Moral Law,” Nienstedt wrote, according to ThinkProgress. “Catholics are bound in conscience to believe this teaching. Those who do not cannot consider themselves to be Catholic and ought not to participate in the sacramental life of the Church… Your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation of heart on this topic.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Senior US bishops quit after ignoring child sexual abuse

Tuesday 16th June 2015

TWO senior US Catholic bishops quit yesterday after failing to stop child abuse and a former church envoy to the Dominican Republic was charged with paedophilia.

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignations of archbishop John Nienstedt and auxiliary bishop Lee Anthony Piche of the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis.

Local prosecutors had charged the archdiocese itself with having “turned a blind eye” to repeated reports of inappropriate behaviour by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.

Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St Paul, is serving a five-year sentence and faces prosecution for offenses involving a third boy in Wisconsin.

Prosecutors said that church leaders had failed to respond to “numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct” by Mr Wehmeyer from the time he entered a seminary until he was removed from the priesthood this year.

Canon law allows the two bishops to resign before retirement age if illness or some other “grave” reason makes them unfit for office.

The resignations of Mr Nienstedt and Mr Piche came just days after the Pope approved the creation of a new Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops who had ignored abuse by priests.

In April, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of US bishop Robert Finn, who had been convicted in a US court of failing to report a suspected child abuser.

The church also announced yesterday that former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic Jozef Wesolowski had been charged with abusing young boys and possessing child pornography.

Mr Wesolowski was recalled by the Holy See in 2013 after rumours surfaced in Santo Domingo that he paid shoeshine boys to masturbate.

He has since been defrocked and placed under a form of house arrest inside Vatican City pending a decision by the Vatican criminal court on whether to charge him.

Ordained both as a priest and a bishop by late pope John Paul II, Mr Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to have been charged with sex offences.

Archbishop Nienstedt resigns after sex abuse coverup charges against archdiocese: here. See also here.

Sexual abuse among Buddhists in the Netherlands, update


This video from the Netherlands is called The Memorial Ceremony 2555 (2012) for Luang Poh Mettavihari – Amsterdam.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Alarms about abuse among Buddhists ignored

Today, 15:55

Followers of the Thai monk Mettavihari are shocked at the extent of the sexual abuse of which their teacher was guilty. They say they are overwhelmed by the news and the extent of the abuse.

But how surprising can the news actually be for them? A reconstruction by the NOS shows that leaders of Buddhism in the early 1980s were informed about the abuse. Also in a major abuse case in Middelburg prominent Dutch Buddhists were warned at an early stage, in 2004.

Main outline in these two cases: the warned executive officials and others downplayed the abuse, looked away and neglected to take adequate measures, which meant that the responsible monks could continue to make victims.

1. Mettavihari (abuse from 1974 to at least 1992)

In late 1980 or early 1981, the police called the Buddharama temple in Waalwijk. Board member Patrick Franssen answered the phone. The police told him that a message had been received of sexual abuse of a minor by head monk Mettavihari.

For Franssen this was the straw that broke the camel´s back. He also had particularly bad experiences with Mettavihari in this. In 1974, as a 19-year-old “labile” boy, he had already been forced to have sex with the monk. In the at least two years that followed from there, that happened again, according to Franssen, still some forty to fifty times. As a 19-year-old one was at that time legally underage.

Franssen decided: this guy has to go. He flew to Chicago to talk about Mettavihari’s conduct with a high priest, who in his words represented the Thai “Ministry of Religious Affairs.” The high priest, according to Franssen, decided to replace Mettavihari by another head monk without further discussion. In June 1981 Mettavihari was deposed as president of the temple administration, to be replaced by Henk Barendregt. This eminent mathematician who later would win the most important scientific award in the Netherlands, the Spinoza Prize, had been a board member since its inception in 1975.

Second chance

To Franssen’s amazement, Barendregt returned his teacher a few months later to the temple administration, supported by another loyal follower of Mettavihari: Aad Verboom, president of the Foundation of Young Buddhists in the Netherlands. Franssen knew that the new head monk wanted to grant Mettavihari a second opportunity. That he accepted, but having Mettavihari back in the temple administration? That would really be too much of a rehabilitation.

There arose a fierce debate. How bad is it in modern times if a monk has sex? Franssen thought that the Thai Dutch, for whom the temple was intended primarily, would be cheated if their monk secretly would break his vow of celibacy. Barendregt, according to Franssen, argued that this was an old-fashioned view: most Dutch still even now think that a parish priest should not be judged if he falls in love with his housekeeper?

Involuntary sex

That in this case it was involuntary sex with minors who are not on an equal footing with the teacher played for Franssen in that discussion no decisive role. It’s the early 1980s, the era of ‘anything goes’ in the progressive Netherlands. Aad Verboom admits in 2015 that he also had not believed Patrick Franssen’s story about the abuse he had suffered. For that, he has meanwhile apologized to Franssen via the Boeddhistisch Dagblad.

Eventually Barendregt got what he wanted, after which Franssen drew his conclusions. He left the temple administration in December 1981 disconcertedly, to emigrate to Thailand four years later, dismayed by in his eyes “amateurish” Dutch Buddhism. He was replaced on the board by Mettavihari, the man against whom he had tried to take action.

New incidents

There may then have been further incidents, because in 1983 the monk had to disappear definitively from the temple in Waalwijk. Anyway Barendregt and Verboom neglected to find out how often Mettavihari had misbehaved and how bad his misdemeanors were. According to the Thai monastic rules, a monk should take off his habit when he has had sex, but Mettavihari’s prominent students do not think that is necessary. They cover up why their teacher had to leave the temple in Waalwijk. In an introduction to a book he published later that year, Aad Verboom explained the break with the temple as because of “significant differences in views on Buddhism and the practice thereof.” This Verboom was from 1990 to 1998 board member and president of the Buddhist Union in the Netherlands (BUN).

With the help of Barendregt and Verboom Mettavihari got the chance to leave the Thai tradition in which he had got in a jam, to continue as the revered spiritual leader of a group of Dutch Buddhists. The boards of other Buddhist centers meanwhile exchanged only rumors about what happened in Waalwijk. A concrete consequence of this was that for nine years Mettavihari unhinderedly could abuse young adult men in other places, including in Groningen.

Overstep the mark

In 1995, according to some of his students, he was at last confronted because of his behaviour. Mettavihari admitted that he had crossed the line, but also said that he had since stopped the abuse. This apparently was enough for those followers; in 2006, fourteen of them accepted consecrations as teachers by him. A year later Mettavihari died.

Only in May 2015 there is a rupture between “the fourteen”. The immediate causes are the alarming findings of their own investigation into the extent of the abuse that two people in the group have conducted at last. Some of the teachers feel that the scandal must become known, name included, while Barendregt, Verboom and five other teachers think that this is not necessary. Their reasoning is that Mettavihari can no longer defend himself. The mention of his name would supposedly be offensive to the Thai community.

Ignorance

Barendregt claims also to have contacted the Thai spiritual authorities in the early 1980s. But Barendregt now also admits: “With the knowledge we have now, more should have been done to avoid repetition. In my ignorance I thought that the actions at administrative and spiritual levels were adequate.”

Verboom also notes that he had “been asleep at the wheel. I have accepted being lied to. And I have always given Mettavihari the benefit of the doubt. I must note now that there is much more pain and suffering for the victims than I thought possible.”

2. Gerhard Mattioli (2001-2007)

Frans de Reeper had visited for over a year a Buddhist center in Middelburg when he heard something disturbing in the summer of 2004. One of the women in the group told him, crying on the phone, that the monk who led the group had expelled her from the center. According to her, it happened because this Gerhard Mattioli, who told his students to call him ‘Lama Kelsang Chöpel’, for years had a relationship with her. During their vacation that broke up and then he also expelled her from the group.

De Reeper is stunned. To be sure, he immersed himself once more in the rules for monks: surely, this is absolutely unacceptable? He consults literature and hears evidence from an experienced monk and a Buddhist institute. He also asks in a letter to Mattioli what is going on. Mattioli refuses to answer the questions. “I am not subordinate or dependent on other Buddhist organizations or lamas or rinpoche, not even to His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” he writes.

Action

De Reeper subsequently decided to take action. He writes a long letter to the other members of the group, in which he says what he has found out. And he also informs among others Jean Charles Hylkema, at that time director of the Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation (BOS) and also treasurer of the Buddhist Union (BUN). The BUN also receives a separate letter, like the editors of the magazine Kwartaalblad Boeddhisme (later renamed Vorm en Leegte).

The message of the letters is clear: “We believe that we have sufficient evidence that the people who visit the center get in touch with Buddhism in a way which is ultimately harmful for them.” The broadcaster and the magazine according to the letter’s authors should at least stop having commercials and ads for Mattioli’s center.

Not responsible

It does not have many consequences. The often very vulnerable followers of Mattioli are so spellbound that they ignore the warnings by De Reeper. An employee of the Kwartaalblad Boeddhisme / Vorm en Leegte calls De Reeper, but says that they are not responsible for what happens in the centers that are advertised in the magazine. The editors refuse to stop the ads.

A new letter to Vorm en Leegte in the spring of 2005 also did not yield anything, just like a personal request to the aforementioned employee of Kwartaalblad Boeddhisme / Vorm en Leegte during a lecture. BOS director Hylkema writes back that the broadcaster will stop paying attention to Mattioli’s center. The BUN announces there is nothing they can do because the center is not a member.

Bomb explodes

In late 2007, the issue exploded in Middelburg, as Mattioli’s group learns that their teacher had started sexual relationships with four women simultaneously. One of them has become even pregnant. Several people involved go to the police (according to Mattioli himself “under threat of violence from their partners’), but they eventually do not complain officially. In a letter Mattioli threatened his students inter alia with ‘reincarnation in hell‘ if they would break up with him.

President Varamitra (Theo Alkemade) of the Buddhist Union announced in April 2008 during a meeting that “a self-styled lama” in Middelburg “in a terrible way has wreaked havoc.” He also revealed that women in Middelburg now have been helped by the BUN: Varamitra and a Buddhist nun went to Zeeland to talk to the women and to offer them perspectives again. “A good example of tradition-borders crossing cooperation”, is said satisfiedly during the BUN meeting of April 2008.

The issue is not brought into the open. Buddhist and researcher Rob Hogendoorn finds out in 2013 and publishes about it in the web magazine Open Boeddhisme, which he runs together with his colleague Theo Dik. Hogendoorn and Dik also report the matter to the police. Because of that action, they are fiercely attacked by an editor of another Buddhist site, Joop Hoek. He points out in a column that Mattioli denies the allegations and has never been convicted by a court. He calls them inter alia “fake prosecutors, the fake Thomson and Thompson of our society.” Hoek was in 2004 an employee of Kwartaalblad Boeddhisme, so the magazine which was warned about the practices of Mattioli.

Hylkema also thinks that he did not have to do more to prevent worse things, after he had been warned about the activities of ‘monk’ Mattioli. To Open Boeddhisme he downplayed the seriousness of the situation, “Lamas impregnating women, that undoubtedly happens sometimes. There are women who wish to be more than just students, and who want a sexual relationship. Some lamas go along with that, and sometimes that leads to pregnancy.”

Buddhist monk in Purmerend accused of abuse: here.

CIA sexual torture, new report


This video from the USA says about itself:

Torture Report Includes ‘Rectal Hummus’ & Other Shocking Brutalities

9 December 2014

“A scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.

The long-delayed report, which took five years to produce and is based on more than six million internal agency documents, is a sweeping indictment of the C.I.A.‘s operation and oversight of a program carried out by agency officials and contractors in secret prisons around the world in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also provides a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects.

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.‘s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.””* The Young Turks hosts Dave Rubin (The Rubin Report), Ben Mankiewicz and Jimmy Dore (The Jimmy Dore Show) break it down.

*Read more here.

From Reuters news agency in New York, USA:

CIA sex abuse and torture went beyond Senate report disclosures, detainee says

Majid Khan, who underwent ‘enhanced interrogation’, says authorities poured ice water on his genitals and hung him naked from a beam for days

Tuesday 2 June 2015 17.16 BST

The US Central Intelligence Agency used a wider array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture than was disclosed in a Senate report last year, according to a Guantánamo Bay detainee turned government cooperating witness.

Majid Khan said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his “private parts” – none of which was described in the Senate report. Interrogators, some of whom smelled of alcohol, also threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks and leather belts, Khan said.

Khan’s is the first publicly released account from a high-value al-Qaida detainee who experienced the “enhanced interrogation techniques” of President George W Bush’s administration after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.

Khan’s account is contained in 27 pages of interview notes his lawyers compiled over the past seven years. The US government cleared the notes for release last month through a formal review process.

Before the Senate report detailed the agency’s interrogation methods last December, CIA officials prohibited detainees and their lawyers from publicly describing interrogation sessions, deeming detainees’ memories of the experience classified.

In exchange for serving as a government witness, Khan will be sentenced to up to 19 years in prison, with the term beginning on the date of his guilty plea. …

Khan was captured in Pakistan and held at an unidentified CIA “black site” from 2003 to 2006, according to the Senate report. Khan’s lawyers declined to comment on where he was captured or held, which they said remained classified.

In the interviews with his lawyers, Khan described a carnival-like atmosphere of abuse when he arrived at the CIA detention facility.

“I wished they had killed me,” Khan told his lawyers. He said that he experienced excruciating pain when hung naked from poles and that guards repeatedly held his head under ice water.

“‘Son, we are going to take care of you,’” Khan said his interrogators told him. “‘We are going to send you to a place you cannot imagine.’”

Current and former CIA officials declined to comment on Khan’s account.

Khan’s description of his experience matches some of the most disturbing findings of the US Senate report, the product of a five-year review by Democratic staffers of 6.3m internal CIA documents. CIA officials and many Republicans dismissed the report’s findings as exaggerated.

Years before the report was released, Khan complained to his lawyers that he had been subjected to forced rectal feedings. Senate investigators found internal CIA documents confirming that Khan had received involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration. In an incident widely reported in news media after the release of the Senate investigation, CIA cables showed that “Khan’s ‘lunch tray’, consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused”.

The CIA maintains that rectal feedings were necessary after Khan went on a hunger strike and pulled out a feeding tube that had been inserted through his nose. Senate investigators said Khan was cooperative and did not remove the feeding tube.

Most medical experts say rectal feeding is of no therapeutic value. His lawyers call it rape.

Khan told his lawyers that some of the worst torture occurred in a May 2003 interrogation session, when guards stripped him naked, hung him from a wooden beam for three days and provided him with water but no food. The only time he was removed from the beam was on the afternoon of the first day, when interrogators shackled him, placed a hood over his head and lowered him into a tub of ice water.

An interrogator then forced Khan’s head underwater until he feared he would drown. The questioner pulled Khan’s head out of the water, demanded answers to questions and again dunked his head underwater, the detainee said. Guards also poured water and ice from a bucket on to Khan’s mouth and nose.

Khan was again hung on the pole hooded and naked. Every two to three hours, interrogators hurled ice water on his body and set up a fan to blow air on him, depriving him of sleep, he said. Once, after hanging on the pole for two days, Khan began hallucinating, thinking he was seeing a cow and a giant lizard.

“I lived in anxiety every moment of every single day about the fear and anticipation of the unknown,” Khan said, describing his panic attacks and nightmares at the black site. “Sometimes, I was struggling and drowning under water, or driving a car and I could not stop.“

In a July 2003 session, Khan said, CIA guards hooded and hung him from a metal pole for several days and repeatedly poured ice water on his mouth, nose and genitals. At one point, he said, they forced him to sit naked on a wooden box during a 15-minute videotaped interrogation. After that, Khan said, he was shackled to a wall, which prevented him from sleeping.

When a doctor arrived to check his condition, Khan begged for help, he said. Instead, Khan said, the doctor instructed the guards to again hang him from the metal bar. After hanging from the pole for 24 hours, Khan was forced to write a “confession” while being videotaped naked.

Khan’s account also includes previously undisclosed forms of alleged CIA abuse, according to experts. Khan said his feet and lower legs were placed in tall boot-like metal cuffs that dug into his flesh and immobilized his legs. He said he felt that his legs would break if he fell forward while restrained by the cuffs.

Khan is not one of the three people whom current and former CIA officials say interrogators were authorized to “waterboard”, a process whereby water is poured over a cloth covering a detainee’s face to create the sensation of drowning. Nor is he the fourth detainee whose waterboarding was documented by Human Rights Watch in 2012.

His descriptions, however, match those of other detainees who have alleged that they were subjected to unauthorized interrogation techniques using water. Human rights groups say the use of ice water in dousing and forced submersions is torture.

Khan’s account also includes details that match those of lower-level detainees who have described their own interrogations. Like other prisoners, Khan said he was held in complete darkness and isolated from other prisoners for long periods. To deprive him of sleep, his captors kept the lights on in his cell and blared loud music from Kiss and other American rock and rap groups.

He said that he was given unclean food and water that gave him diarrhea and that he was held in an outdoor cell and in cells with biting insects. Other prisoners later told him they were held in coffin-shaped boxes.

Khan is scheduled to be sentenced by a military judge in Guantánamo Bay by February. His lawyers, however, want his case moved to the US federal courts because, they said, federal law allows for fairer sentences for cooperating witnesses.

“He has made a decision to trust the US government and cooperate with the US government in order to try to atone for what he did,” said J Wells Dixon of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “But it is incumbent on the United States to treat him fairly.”

Katya Jestin, a former federal prosecutor who also represents Khan, said Khan remains committed to cooperating in the military commission system. But, she said, “from a broader criminal justice policy perspective, I would like to see him sentenced in US federal court. Federal judges have more experience in assessing the value of cooperation and incentivizing cooperation from others.”

See also here.

Buddhist temple apologizes for sexual abuse


This video from the USA says about itself:

Zen Buddhist Leader Groped Female Followers

12 February 2013

“Since arriving in Los Angeles from Japan in 1962, the Buddhist teacher Joshu Sasaki, who is 105 years old, has taught thousands of Americans at his two Zen centers in the area and one in New Mexico. He has influenced thousands more enlightenment seekers through a chain of some 30 affiliated Zen centers from the Puget Sound to Princeton to Berlin. And he is known as a Buddhist teacher of Leonard Cohen, the poet and songwriter.”*

A 105 Zen Buddhist leader is under fire for groping many female followers over the years under the guise of helping them religiously and otherwise manipulating people. Did he abuse his power? Is this a reason to not trust religious leaders? Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss.

*Read more from the New York Times: here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Apology by temple in Waalwijk for abuse by monk

Today, 12:54

The Buddharama Temple in Waalwijk has apologized to victims of its former head monk Mettavihari in a statement.

The Thai Buddhist monk from 1974 to at least 1992 abused between twenty and thirty students, in Waalwijk and elsewhere. Also a victim who used to live near the temple has reported that at the age of 12 was he was abused by the monk.

President Toine van Beek of the current temple administration says he was shocked by the news which the NOS published last week. “My first feelings while processing the news was anger and compassion,” writes Van Beek. “Anger at Mettavihari and sympathy with the victims. The board of Buddharama realizes that now this still has an impact, day after day.”

Confidant

Van Beek had last week his first contact with a victim to hear how the temple administration can help best. Victims can now go to counselor Frank Uyttebroeck, who also has assisted other victims of abuse in Buddhist circles and has no connection with the temple.

Uyttebroeck will inter alia organize a meeting of victims. That meeting will not be in the temple itself, as NOS News reported earlier, but on neutral ground.

Van Beek has also contacted other temples and Buddhist centers to talk on measures to prevent sexual abuse by monks and teachers.