“The whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima are unknown. Human Rights organizations claim that he and his family continue to be political prisoners, and has termed him the “youngest political prisoner in the world”.[9][10] According to Chinese government claims, he is attending school and leading a normal life somewhere in China.[11] This cannot be verified by outside sources as no credible evidence has been provided to confirm or deny these claims.[11] The reason this evidence has been withheld, according to statements by Chinese authorities, is that his whereabouts are kept undisclosed to protect him[12]. Those who support Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama call upon China’s ruling party to prove that he is safe and happy.[13] As the promises of a regime well-known for widespread use of censorship[14] and propaganda[15] are rejected by vocal organizations such as the UNPO and Tibetan government in Exile, his supporters fear that he has been imprisoned or executed.[13]

The Committee of the Rights of the Child of the United Nations reviewed the Gedhun case on May 28, 1996. During hearings on the matter, Chinese authorities claimed for the first time to have “taken the child for his security”[16]. The Committee requested a visit with Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, supported by a campaign of more than 400 celebrities and associations petitioning for the visit, including eleven Nobel Prize winners.[17] These Nobel laureates included Günter Blobel, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Christian de Duve, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Roger Guillemin, Dudley Robert Herschbach, François Jacob, Eric R. Kandel, Jean-Marie Lehn, Norman Foster Ramsey and David Trimble.

In May 2007, Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the UN Human Rights Council, asked the Chinese authorities what measures they had taken to implement the recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, that the government should allow an independent expert to visit and confirm the well-being of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima while respecting his right to privacy, and that of his parents. In a response dated 17 July 2007, the Chinese authorities said: “Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is a perfectly ordinary Tibetan boy, in an excellent state of health, leading a normal, happy life and receiving a good education and cultural upbringing. He is currently in upper secondary school, he measures 1 m 65 cm in height and is easy-going by nature. He studies hard and his school results are very good. He likes Chinese traditional culture and has recently taken up calligraphy. His parents are both State employees, and his brothers and sisters are either already working or at university. The allegation that he disappeared together with his parents and that his whereabouts remain unknown is simply not true.” This response did not answer the question about a visit or confirmation.[18]”

“The Panchen Lama is the second highest ranking Lama after the Dalai Lama in the Gelugpa (Dge-lugs-pa) sect of Tibetan Buddhism (the sect which controlled Tibet from the 16th century until the Seventeen Point Agreement). The successive Panchen lamas form a tulku reincarnation lineage which are said to be the incarnations of Amitabha Buddha. The name, meaning “great scholar”, is a Tibetan contraction of the Sanskrit paṇḍita (scholar) and the Tibetan chenpo (great). The true present (11th) incarnation of the Panchen Lama is being held prisoner by the Chinese government in 1995 and as of 2008 has not been seen in public.”

Tibet’s Panchen Lama, Beijing’s propaganda tool / 3.28.09

Beijing (AFP) — China’s controversial choice as the second highest Tibetan spiritual figure is increasingly being used by Beijing as a tool in its propaganda offensive against the exiled Dalai Lama, say experts. Rarely seen in public previously, but believed to have been educated in the Chinese capital, the 19-year-old Panchen Lama Friday expressed loyalty to Beijing, in stark contrast to the views of the Tibetan spiritual leader. “For a long time the Dalai’s separatist clique has ignore the success of Tibet’s development, plotted and planned to ruin Tibet’s social stability and wantonly attacked the policies of the central government,” he said, referring to the Dalai Lama’s exiled Tibetan administration.

The comments made in an interview with China Central Television came as he attended a symposium marking the 50th anniversary of what is officially called “the end of serfdom in Tibet” held at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. “Old Tibet was a theocratic feudal serf society, the ruling class, nobility and clergy rode on the backs of the people and exploited and persecuted them,” he said in the interview. On Saturday, China will, for the first time, celebrate the end of Tibetan “feudalism,” a day that coincides with the quelling of an anti-Chinese uprising in the Himalayan region 50 years ago.

The Panchen Lama is also scheduled to appear at the opening of the Second World Buddhist Forum in eastern China’s Wuxi city on Saturday, according to state press reports. During the last forum two years ago, the young monk with an almond-shaped face and small round glasses made his first public appearance, more than 10 years after his controversial enthronement.

Earlier this month, the Dalai Lama, exiled from his homeland for 50 years, accused China of having transformed Tibet into “a hell on earth” and of killing hundreds of thousands of Tibetans during its rule. But in an essay that appeared in the communist mouthpiece the People’s Daily on Monday, the Panchen Lama expressed full loyalty to the atheist ruling party. “Facts show that it is only under the leadership of the Communist Party of China that Tibet can enjoy its current prosperity and an even better future,” he wrote.

Born Gyaincain Norbu, the controversial figure was enthroned as the 11th Panchen Lama in a 1995 ceremony overseen by the Communist Party, which had rejected a boy selected by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama’s choice, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, immediately disappeared from public view and is believed to have been under a form of house arrest ever since.

The 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989 after a tumultuous relationship with China’s communist leaders that alternated between prison and relative freedom. But even if the new Panchen Lama becomes more high-profile in China, that does not mean he is accepted as a spiritual leader by Tibetans, according to Tibetan scholars outside of China.

In Tibetan temples, it is rare to see images or photographs of him, while those of his predecessor are common. “He is a piece of propaganda. He is being used by the Beijing government,” said Samten G. Karmay, the Paris-based former head of the Association of International Tibetan Studies. “The Tibetan population does not recognise him, especially as he is saying the things that fall in with the Communist Party line.”

Although both the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama belong to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, differences between them have existed historically and the communists are not the first to try to take advantage of this, Karmay said. In the 19th century, the Qing Dynasty tried to play on the antagonism by attempting to make the Panchen Lama an ally.

Beijing’s manipulation of the selection of the Panchen Lama in 1995 could be a sign of what will happen after the death of the current Dalai Lama. “The Chinese government will try to name someone, but China will have a problem with legitimacy,” said Tsering Shakya, a leading Tibetan historian at the University of British Columbia. “It is certain that 100 percent of Tibetans will not recognise a child chosen by China as the Dalai Lama. But that won’t matter to Beijing. For the Chinese it is only a question of showing their power.”

China Regulates Buddhist Reincarnation
BY Matthew Philips  /  Aug. 27, 2007

In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.” But beyond the irony lies China’s true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region’s Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country. By barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.

At 72, the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it’s under Chinese control. Assuming he’s able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks. “It will be a very hot issue,” says Paul Harrison, a Buddhism scholar at Stanford. “The Dalai Lama has been the prime symbol of unity and national identity in Tibet, and so it’s quite likely the battle for his incarnation will be a lot more important than the others.”

So where in the world will the next Dalai Lama be born? Harrison and other Buddhism scholars agree that it will likely be from within the 130,000 Tibetan exiles spread throughout India, Europe and North America. With an estimated 8,000 Tibetans living in the United States, could the next Dalai Lama be American-born? “You’ll have to ask him,” says Harrison. If so, he’ll likely be welcomed into a culture that has increasingly embraced reincarnation over the years. According to a 2005 Gallup poll, 20 percent of all U.S. adults believe in reincarnation. Recent surveys by the Barna Group, a Christian research nonprofit, have found that a quarter of U.S. Christians, including 10 percent of all born-again Christians, embrace it as their favored end-of-life view. A non-Tibetan Dalai Lama, experts say, is probably out of the question.

China tells living Buddhas to obtain permission before they reincarnate
BY Jane Macartney  /  August 4, 2007

Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people. “The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1.

The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing. It is the latest in a series of measures by the Communist authorities to tighten their grip over Tibet. Reincarnate lamas, known as tulkus, often lead religious communities and oversee the training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in the Himalayan region. Anyone outside China is banned from taking part in the process of seeking and recognising a living Buddha, effectively excluding the Dalai Lama, who traditionally can play an important role in giving recognition to candidate reincarnates.

For the first time China has given the Government the power to ensure that no new living Buddha can be identified, sounding a possible death knell to a mystical system that dates back at least as far as the 12th century. China already insists that only the Government can approve the appointments of Tibet’s two most important monks, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. The Dalai Lama’s announcement in May 1995 that a search inside Tibet – and with the co- operation of a prominent abbot – had identified the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, who died in 1989, enraged Beijing. That prompted the Communist authorities to restart the search and to send a senior Politburo member to Lhasa to oversee the final choice. This resulted in top Communist officials presiding over a ceremony at the main Jokhang temple in Lhasa in which names of three boys inscribed on ivory sticks were placed inside a golden urn and a lot was then drawn to find the true reincarnation.

The boy chosen by the Dalai Lama has disappeared. The abbot who worked with the Dalai Lama was jailed and has since vanished. Several sets of rules on seeking out “soul boys” were promulgated in 1995, but were effectively in abeyance and hundreds of living Buddhas are now believed to live inside and outside China.

All Tibetans believe in reincarnation, but only the holiest or most outstanding individuals are believed to be recognisable – a tulku, or apparent body. One Tibetan monk told The Times: “In the past there was no such regulation. The management of living Buddhas is becoming more strict.” The search for a reincarnation is a mystical process involving clues left by the deceased and visions among leading monks on where to look. The current Dalai Lama, the fourteenth of the line, was identified in 1937 when monks came to his village. China has long insisted that it must have the final say over the appointment of the most senior lamas. Tibet experts said that the new regulations may also be aimed at limiting the influence of new lamas.


Tibet’s missing spiritual guide / 16 May 2005

A decade ago, a six-year-old boy was named by the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was nominated as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama – the second-most important figure in Tibetan religion, culture and politics after the Dalai Lama himself. But China disagreed with the choice and arrested the boy a few days later. Mystery surrounds his fate and outside China he is known as one of the world’s youngest political prisoners. China installed their own boy, Gyaincain Norbu, as the true 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama.

‘Protective custody’
Campaigners say the child chosen by the Dalai Lama is held under house arrest somewhere in China, but details remain unknown. Tibet’s exiled leaders refuse to accept China’s choice and call for Gedhun Choekyi Nyima to be released. Historian Tsering Shakya of Oxford University said: “He virtually disappeared and the Chinese government took him under what they call protective custody.” Most Tibetans, experts say, wholeheartedly rejected the Chinese-chosen Panchen Lama. Arjia Rinpoche, the abbot of Tibet’s important Kumbum monastery now living in exile in the US, said the Dalai Lama’s choice held sway with Tibetans. “The Communist government still wants to promote their version of the Panchen Lama but 90% of the Tibetan people, they don’t believe,” he said.

Dalai Lama rival steps into spotlight
By Michael Bristow / 2009/03/31

China has pushed a young bespectacled monk into the spotlight in an effort to show that it governs Tibet with a benign hand. Officials have launched a vigorous propaganda battle over recent weeks, to demonstrate that Tibetans are thriving under Beijing’s direction.

And the man China selected as its Panchen Lama, the second most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism, has been at the forefront of that campaign. Although he is only 19, the Panchen Lama has already stepped onto the public stage to praise the Chinese Communist Party.

Tibet expert Professor Robert Barnett, of New York’s Columbia University, says this is part of China’s efforts to undermine the appeal of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism. “He will never really replace the Dalai Lama, but his role confuses the picture and can gradually be used to weaken the Dalai Lama’s standing,” he said. “I think [China’s] Panchen Lama is being built up very gradually as a public spokesman within the Tibetan Buddhist world.”

Lavish praise
The Dalai Lama’s choice of Panchen Lama – a young boy called Gedhun Choekyi Nyima – was rejected by China, and disappeared soon afterwards. China’s choice, Gyaincain Norbu, has been largely kept from public view since his appointment at the age of five. But now officials are keen for the world to hear about a young man they depict as a diligent student who loves horse riding and jogging. Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Tuesday that China hoped he would help maintain the country’s “territorial integrity”.

The Panchen Lama has made three high-profile forays into the spotlight over the last few weeks to coincide with Serfs’ Emancipation Day last Saturday. This is a new holiday introduced by China to mark the day on which the Dalai Lama’s rule in Tibet was officially dissolved – a day China celebrates as the start of the liberation of ordinary Tibetans.

The Panchen Lama first visited an exhibition in Beijing showing the economic and social progress China says has taken place in Tibet over the last 50 years. He also penned an article that appeared in the state-controlled People’s Daily, one of China’s most important news outlets. In the article he lavished praise on the Communist Party, which he said had brought prosperity to Tibet. “[We should] uphold the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and contribute more to national unity and the happiness of Tibetan people,” he wrote.

And just a few days ago the monk gave a speech at the Second World Buddhist Forum in China’s Jiangsu Province. Although the forum was about religion, the Panchen Lama’s speech – delivered in English – had an overtly political message. “This forum is convened in my country – China,” he said, suggesting that he does not support Tibetan independence. “This event fully demonstrates that today’s China enjoys social harmony, stability and religious freedom,” he went on. It was a rebuke to Tibetan exiles, including the Dalai Lama, who insist that China’s rule in Tibet over the last 50 years has been repressive.

Great hopes
China has made great play of its Panchen Lama’s public appearances. State-controlled Xinhua news agency published a report on the forum speech under the headline: “Panchen Lama says China enjoys religious freedom.” There was also a hint in the report of just how much China hopes this monk will be able to act as its public face on Tibetan issues. “We disciples of Tibetan Buddhism pin great hopes on him,” Xinhua quoted Jalsan, president of the Buddhist Association of Inner Mongolia, as saying. Previously, little was known about China’s Panchen Lama and how he lived his life, which has been spent largely in Beijing.

But on Tuesday Xinhua published an in-depth interview with him, revealing a host of personal details. The man Xinhua described as “elegant” said he spent most of his time studying Buddhism. But there is time for relaxation. “About 5% of my time [is] spent on entertainment, such as reading newspapers, books and sports,” he told Xinhua. “I read all kinds of books, but I like historical books most. I also read some fiction and essays in Tibetan and Chinese.”

But there was no mention in the article of the other Panchen Lama, chosen by the Dalai Lama in 1995. Two years ago, an official from the Tibetan Autonomous Region told the BBC that this Panchen Lama was living a quiet life in Lhasa, although many Tibetans say he is a political prisoner.

China says vanished Panchen Lama ‘happy’ / 12 November, 2002

A boy recognised by the Dalai Lama as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism and then placed under house arrest by China is “very happy”, a Chinese Government official has said. The 13-year-old boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, has been named the world’s youngest political prisoner by human rights groups. The boy has been detained since 1995, after the Dalai Lama confirmed him as the next reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second highest ranking religious official. China has named another boy in his place, and this boy – Gyancain Norbu – was pictured by state media attending the on-going Communist Party Congress in Beijing.

The exact whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima are secret. “He is 1.6 meters (5 ft 3 in) tall and weighs 65 kilos (144 pounds),” said Raidi, head of Tibet’s parliament.

Important role
The Beijing-appointed head of Tibet’s parliament said the boy was living with his family in Tibet. “He is living a very happy life,” said Raidi, who uses only one name. “He studies well at school. His parents and entire family are happy.” Raidi said the Dalai Lama’s choice was “totally null and void” and “without authorisation and arbitrary”. Tibet’s exiled leaders refuse to accept the legitimacy of China’s choice and have called for the release of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Correspondents say one reason why the Panchen Lama is so crucial in Tibetan religion – and in Chinese-Tibetan relations – is the fact that he is charged with selecting the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959 and now lives in exile in Dharmsala, India.



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There may not be another Dalai Lama
BY Vir Sanghvi  /  June 20, 2005

New Delhi, India — Will there ever be another Dalai Lama? Traditionally, the spiritual leadership of the Tibetan people passes from one Dalai Lama to his reincarnation. But the current Dalai Lama has raised questions about whether the institution should continue. He may, he says, be the last Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama
In 2001, the Dalai Lama declared that if the Tibetan people had an elected political leadership, then the institution of the Dalai Lama would no longer be relevant. He would be happy, he said, to live in semi-retirement, and let the institution die with him.

Now, that position has been refined slightly. “If I was to die in the next few months or before we were able to return to Tibet,” the Dalai Lama told the Hindustan Times, “there will be a new Dalai Lama. But,” he added, “if we cease to be a refugee community and can live in democratic Tibet, then I don’t think there should be a successor to me after I die.”

In the event of the Dalai Lama passing on before Beijing yields on Tibetan autonomy, the new Dalai Lama will be chosen by searching for the reincarnation of the current incumbent. But the Dalai Lama admits to having doubts about the traditional approach to searching for a reincarnation of a dead Lama. He concedes that some ‘reincarnations’ have “not been true,” and says that even in his own case, he is not the reincarnation of the last Dalai Lama.

He thinks that he is a reincarnation of some spiritual leader, perhaps the fifth Dalai Lama, because when he was younger, he had vivid dreams about his past life. “Moreover,” he says, “even though I was a very lazy boy, I always knew as much as my tutors on such subjects as Buddhist philosophy. That can only be explained if I had a past life memory.”

He concedes also that his predecessor as Dalai Lama had left detailed instructions about where to find his reincarnation, a search that led to the discovery of the current Dalai Lama.  But, he argues, this doesn’t mean that he is a reincarnation of the last Dalai Lama. “Perhaps my predecessor hired me to do the job,” he laughs. In his view, Dalai Lamas are not always reincarnated in sequence so it is not necessary that the next Dalai Lama will be his own reincarnation.

But does he know where the next Dalai Lama will be born, just as his predecessor knew about him? No, he says, he has no idea. But when the time comes for him to die and if he is still in Dharamsala, then he will know.

H.H. the Dalai Lama Says A Free, Democratic Tibet Wouldn’t Need A God-King

NEW DELHI – The supreme religious post of the Dalai Lama should be abolished if Tibet became autonomous and democratic, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said in an interview published here. “If I were to die in the next few months or before we were able to return to Tibet, there will be a new Dalai Lama,” the 69-year-old spiritual leader was quoted as telling the Hindustan Times newspaper on Tuesday. “But if we cease to be a refugee community and live in democratic Tibet, then I don’t think there should be a successor to me after I die,” he reportedly said.

His comments came as thousands of Tibetans prepare to celebrate his 70th birthday next month in north India, where the spiritual leader based himself after fleeing his homeland in 1959 when China crushed a Tibetan uprising. The office of the Dalai Lama was founded in the 15th century, and two centuries later the fifth holder of the post departed from his purely religious role to unite Tibet politically, assuming temporal as well as spiritual powers.

A successor to the Dalai Lama is chosen by searching for the reincarnation of the incumbent, but the spiritual leader in the interview questioned the age-old ritual, arguing the complex search for successors was flawed.

Born Lhamo Dhondrub on July 6, 1935 the Dalai Lama was discovered as the 14th incarnation of Tibetan Buddhism’s supreme religious leader as a toddler and enthroned at the age of four on February 22, 1940, in Lhasa. “Some reincarnations have not been true,” the Dalai Lama told the English-language daily, but he added that he was certain he was the incarnate of the fifth incumbent who held the post for 67 years after being named the Dalai Lama in 1617.

He said he had had vivid dreams of a past life as a boy. “Moreover, even though I was a very lazy boy, I always knew as much as my tutors on such subjects as Buddhist philosophy,” he said. “That can only be explained if I had a past life memory,” he said, arguing that he was not the reincarnation of his immediate predecessor.

The Dalai Lama, awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his dedication to Tibet’s non-violent liberation, has given up his original demands for his homeland’s independence and instead talks of a “meaningful autonomy” to preserve Tibet’s culture, language and environment.

During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to New Delhi in April, India recognised Tibet as part of China and pledged not to allow its territory to be used for anti-China political activities. In return Beijing accepted Sikkim, a tiny Himalayan sliver reaching into Tibet, as Indian territory.

The Dalai Lama said he had no major disagreement with India over its decision, saying his concerns were more about Tibetan autonomy than Chinese sovereignty. In the wide-ranging interview, the Dalai Lama accused China of wiping out all traces of Tibetan culture and flooding the region with immigrants, saying that in most cities now “Tibetans have been reduced to a minority”.

He conceded, however, that China had made remarkable economic progress — “almost a miracle” — and that Tibet could gain from the country’s growing prosperity if it were granted full autonomy and democracy. “Today, when the whole world is coming together, I am not saying that we want to separate,” he said. “We only want to preserve our culture and live in a democratic society. By opposing us, it is the Chinese who are being splittist.”

India has played host to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile since the spiritual leader fled Tibet disguised as a soldier in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. There now are more than 200,000 Tibetan refugees living in India by official count.


“The Qianlong Emperor was a successful military leader, presiding over a huge consolidation in the territory controlled by the Qing dynasty. The Qing also dominated Outer Mongolia after inflicting a final defeat on the Western Mongols. Throughout this period there were continued Mongol interventions in Tibet and a reciprocal spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia. Qianlong again sent armies into Tibet and firmly established the Dalai Lama as ruler, with a Qing resident and garrison to preserve Chinese suzerainty. Further afield, military campaigns against the Burmese, Nepalese, and Gurkhas forced these peoples to submit and send tribute.”

“The death of the fifth Dalai Lama was kept hidden for 15 years, by his prime minister and possible son Desi Sangay Gyatso in order that the Potala Palace could be finished and Tibet’s neighbors not take advantage of an interregnum in the succession of the Dalai Lamas. Desi Sangay Gyatso also served as regent until the assumption of power by the Sixth Dalai Lama.”

Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth
BY Michael Parenti  /  July 7, 2003

Throughout the ages there has prevailed a distressing symbiosis between religion and violence. The histories of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are heavily laced with internecine vendettas, inquisitions, and wars. Again and again, religionists have claimed a divine mandate to terrorize and massacre heretics, infidels, and other sinners.

Some people have argued that Buddhism is different, that it stands in marked contrast to the chronic violence of other religions. But a glance at history reveals that Buddhist organizations throughout the centuries have not been free of the violent pursuits so characteristic of other religious groups. (1) In the twentieth century alone, from Thailand to Burma to Korea to Japan, Buddhists have clashed with each other and with nonBuddhists. In Sri Lanka, huge battles in the name of Buddhism are part of Sinhalese history. (2)

Just a few years ago in South Korea, thousands of monks of the Chogye Buddhist order—reputedly devoted to a meditative search for spiritual enlightenment—fought each other with fists, rocks, fire-bombs, and clubs, in pitched battles that went on for weeks. They were vying for control of the order, the largest in South Korea, with its annual budget of $9.2 million, its additional millions of dollars in property, and the privilege of appointing 1,700 monks to various duties. The brawls left dozens of monks injured, some seriously. (3)

But many present-day Buddhists in the United States would argue that none of this applies to the Dalai Lama and the Tibet he presided over before the Chinese crackdown in 1959. The Dalai Lama’s Tibet, they believe, was a spiritually oriented kingdom, free from the egotistical lifestyles, empty materialism, pointless pursuits, and corrupting vices that beset modern industrialized society. Western news media, and a slew of travel books, novels, and Hollywood films have portrayed the Tibetan theocracy as a veritable Shangri-La and the Dalai Lama as a wise saint, “the greatest living human,” as actor Richard Gere gushed. (4)

The Dalai Lama himself lent support to this idealized image of Tibet with statements such as: “Tibetan civilization has a long and rich history. The pervasive influence of Buddhism and the rigors of life amid the wide open spaces of an unspoiled environment resulted in a society dedicated to peace and harmony. We enjoyed freedom and contentment.” (5) In fact, Tibet’s history reads a little differently. In the thirteenth century, Emperor Kublai Khan created the first Grand Lama, who was to preside over all the other lamas as might a pope over his bishops. Several centuries later, the Emperor of China sent an army into Tibet to support the Grand Lama, an ambitious 25-year-old man, who then gave himself the title of Dalai (Ocean) Lama, ruler of all Tibet. Here is a historical irony: the first Dalai Lama was installed by a Chinese army.

To elevate his authority beyond worldly challenge, the first Dalai Lama seized monasteries that did not belong to his sect, and is believed to have destroyed Buddhist writings that conflicted with his claim to divinity. (6) The Dalai Lama who succeeded him pursued a sybaritic life, enjoying many mistresses, partying with friends, writing erotic poetry, and acting in other ways that might seem unfitting for an incarnate deity. For this he was “disappeared” by his priests. Within 170 years, despite their recognized status as gods, five Dalai Lamas were murdered by their enlightened nonviolent Buddhist courtiers. (7)

Shangri-La (for Lords and Lamas)
Religions have had a close relationship not only to violence but to economic exploitation. Indeed, it is often the economic exploitation that necessitates the violence. Such was the case with the Tibetan theocracy. Until 1959, when the Dalai Lama last presided over Tibet, most of the arable land was still organized into religious or secular manorial estates worked by serfs. Even a writer like Pradyumna Karan, sympathetic to the old order, admits that “a great deal of real estate belonged to the monasteries, and most of them amassed great riches. . . . In addition, individual monks and lamas were able to accumulate great wealth through active participation in trade, commerce, and money lending.” (8) Drepung monastery was one of the biggest landowners in the world, with its 185 manors, 25,000 serfs, 300 great pastures, and 16,000 herdsmen. The wealth of the monasteries went to the higher-ranking lamas, many of them scions of aristocratic families, while most of the lower clergy were as poor as the peasant class from which they sprang. This class-determined economic inequality within the Tibetan clergy closely parallels that of the Christian clergy in medieval Europe.

Along with the upper clergy, secular leaders did well. A notable example was the commander-in-chief of the Tibetan army, who owned 4,000 square kilometers of land and 3,500 serfs. He also was a member of the Dalai Lama’s lay Cabinet. (9) Old Tibet has been misrepresented by some of its Western admirers as “a nation that required no police force because its people voluntarily observed the laws of karma.” (10) In fact. it had a professional army, albeit a small one, that served as a gendarmerie for the landlords to keep order and catch runaway serfs. (11)

Young Tibetan boys were regularly taken from their families and brought into the monasteries to be trained as monks. Once there, they became bonded for life. Tashì-Tsering, a monk, reports that it was common practice for peasant children to be sexually mistreated in the monasteries. He himself was a victim of repeated childhood rape not long after he was taken into the monastery at age nine. (12) The monastic estates also conscripted peasant children for lifelong servitude as domestics, dance performers, and soldiers.

In Old Tibet there were small numbers of farmers who subsisted as a kind of free peasantry, and perhaps an additional 10,000 people who composed the “middle-class” families of merchants, shopkeepers, and small traders. Thousands of others were beggars. A small minority were slaves, usually domestic servants, who owned nothing. Their offspring were born into slavery. (13)

In 1953, the greater part of the rural population — some 700,000 of an estimated total population of 1,250,000 — were serfs. Tied to the land, they were allotted only a small parcel to grow their own food. Serfs and other peasants generally went without schooling or medical care. They spent most of their time laboring for the monasteries and individual high-ranking lamas, or for a secular aristocracy that numbered not more than 200 wealthy families. In effect, they were owned by their masters who told them what crops to grow and what animals to raise. They could not get married without the consent of their lord or lama. A serf might easily be separated from his family should the owner send him to work in a distant location. Serfs could be sold by their masters, or subjected to torture and death. (14)

A Tibetan lord would often take his pick of females in the serf population, if we are to believe one 22-year old woman, herself a runaway serf: “All pretty serf girls were usually taken by the owner as house servants and used as he wished.” They “were just slaves without rights.” (15) Serfs needed permission to go anywhere. Landowners had legal authority to capture and forcibly bring back those who tried to flee. A 24-year old runaway serf, interviewed by Anna Louise Strong, welcomed the Chinese intervention as a “liberation.” During his time as a serf he claims he was not much different from a draft animal, subjected to incessant toil, hunger, and cold, unable to read or write, and knowing nothing at all. He tells of his attempts to flee:

The first time [the landlord’s men] caught me running away, I was very small, and they only cuffed me and cursed me. The second time they beat me up. The third time I was already fifteen and they gave me fifty heavy lashes, with two men sitting on me, one on my head and one on my feet. Blood came then from my nose and mouth. The overseer said: “This is only blood from the nose; maybe you take heavier sticks and bring some blood from the brain.” They beat then with heavier sticks and poured alcohol and water with caustic soda on the wounds to make more pain. I passed out for two hours. (16)

In addition to being under a lifetime bond to work the lord’s land — or the monastery’s land — without pay, the serfs were obliged to repair the lord’s houses, transport his crops, and collect his firewood. They were also expected to provide carrying animals and transportation on demand. “It was an efficient system of economic exploitation that guaranteed to the country’s religious and secular elites a permanent and secure labor force to cultivate their land holdings without burdening them either with any direct day-to-day responsibility for the serf’s subsistence and without the need to compete for labor in a market context.” (17)

The common people labored under the twin burdens of the corvée (forced unpaid labor on behalf of the lord) and onerous tithes. They were taxed upon getting married, taxed for the birth of each child, and for every death in the family. They were taxed for planting a new tree in their yard, for keeping domestic or barnyard animals, for owning a flower pot, or putting a bell on an animal. There were taxes for religious festivals, for singing, dancing, drumming, and bell ringing. People were taxed for being sent to prison and upon being released. Even beggars were taxed. Those who could not find work were taxed for being unemployed, and if they traveled to another village in search of work, they paid a passage tax. When people could not pay, the monasteries lent them money at 20 to 50 percent interest. Some debts were handed down from father to son to grandson. Debtors who could not meet their obligations risked being placed into slavery for as long as the monastery demanded, sometimes for the rest of their lives. (18)

The theocracy’s religious teachings buttressed its class order. The poor and afflicted were taught that they had brought their troubles upon themselves because of their foolish and wicked ways in previous lives. Hence they had to accept the misery of their present existence as an atonement and in anticipation that their lot would improve upon being reborn. The rich and powerful of course treated their good fortune as a reward for — and tangible evidence of — virtue in past and present lives.

Torture and Mutilation in Shanghri-La
In the Dalai Lama’s Tibet, torture and mutilation — including eye gouging, the pulling out of tongues, hamstringing, and amputation of arms and legs — were favored punishments inflicted upon thieves, runaway serfs, and other “criminals.” Journeying through Tibet in the 1960s, Stuart and Roma Gelder interviewed a former serf, Tsereh Wang Tuei, who had stolen two sheep belonging to a monastery. For this he had both his eyes gouged out and his hand mutilated beyond use. He explains that he no longer is a Buddhist: “When a holy lama told them to blind me I thought there was no good in religion.” (19) Some Western visitors to Old Tibet remarked on the number of amputees to be seen. Since it was against Buddhist teachings to take human life, some offenders were severely lashed and then “left to God” in the freezing night to die. “The parallels between Tibet and medieval Europe are striking,” concludes Tom Grunfeld in his book on Tibet. (20)

Some monasteries had their own private prisons, reports Anna Louise Strong. In 1959, she visited an exhibition of torture equipment that had been used by the Tibetan overlords. There were handcuffs of all sizes, including small ones for children, and instruments for cutting off noses and ears, and breaking off hands. For gouging out eyes, there was a special stone cap with two holes in it that was pressed down over the head so that the eyes bulged out through the holes and could be more readily torn out. There were instruments for slicing off kneecaps and heels, or hamstringing legs. There were hot brands, whips, and special implements for disembowling. (21)

The exhibition presented photographs and testimonies of victims who had been blinded or crippled or suffered amputations for thievery. There was the shepherd whose master owed him a reimbursement in yuan and wheat but refused to pay. So he took one of the master’s cows; for this he had his hands severed. Another herdsman, who opposed having his wife taken from him by his lord, had his hands broken off. There were pictures of Communist activists with noses and upper lips cut off, and a woman who was raped and then had her nose sliced away. (22)

Theocratic despotism had been the rule for generations. An English visitor to Tibet in 1895, Dr. A. L. Waddell, wrote that the Tibetan people were under the “intolerable tyranny of monks” and the devil superstitions they had fashioned to terrorize the people. In 1904 Perceval Landon described the Dalai Lama’s rule as “an engine of oppression” and “a barrier to all human improvement.” At about that time, another English traveler, Captain W.F.T. O’Connor, observed that “the great landowners and the priests . . . exercise each in their own dominion a despotic power from which there is no appeal,” while the people are “oppressed by the most monstrous growth of monasticism and priest-craft the world has ever seen.” Tibetan rulers, like those of Europe during the Middle Ages, “forged innumerable weapons of servitude, invented degrading legends and stimulated a spirit of superstition” among the common people. (23)

In 1937, another visitor, Spencer Chapman, wrote, “The Lamaist monk does not spend his time in ministering to the people or educating them, nor do laymen take part in or even attend the monastery services. The beggar beside the road is nothing to the monk. Knowledge is the jealously guarded prerogative of the monasteries and is used to increase their influence and wealth.” (24)

Occupation and Revolt
The Chinese Communists occupied Tibet in 1951, claiming suzerainty over that country. The 1951 treaty provided for ostensible self- government under the Dalai Lama’s rule but gave China military control and exclusive right to conduct foreign relations. The Chinese were also granted a direct role in internal administration “to promote social reforms.” At first, they moved slowly, relying mostly on persuasion in an attempt to effect change. Among the earliest reforms they wrought was to reduce usurious interest rates, and build some hospitals and roads.

Mao Zedung and his Communist cadres did not simply want to occupy Tibet. They desired the Dalai Lama’s cooperation in transforming Tibet’s feudal economy in accordance with socialist goals. Even Melvyn Goldstein, who is sympathetic to the Dalai Lama and the cause of Tibetan independence, allows that “contrary to popular belief in the West,” the Chinese “pursued a policy of moderation.” They took care “to show respect for Tibetan culture and religion” and “allowed the old feudal and monastic systems to continue unchanged. Between 1951 and 1959, not only was no aristocratic or monastic property confiscated, but feudal lords were permitted to exercise continued judicial authority over their hereditarily bound peasants.” (25) As late as 1957, Mao Zedung was trying to salvage his gradualist policy. He reduced the number of Chinese cadre and troops in Tibet and promised the Dalai Lama in writing that China would not implement land reforms in Tibet for the next six years or even longer if conditions were not yet ripe. (26)

Nevertheless, Chinese rule over Tibet greatly discomforted the lords and lamas. What bothered them most was not that the intruders were Chinese. They had seen Chinese come and go over the centuries and had enjoyed good relations with Generalissimo Chiang Kaishek and his reactionary Kuomintang rule in China. (27) Indeed the approval of the Kuomintang government was needed to validate the choice of the present-day Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. When the young Dalai Lama was installed in Lhasa, it was with an armed escort of Chiang Kaishek’s troops and an attending Chinese minister, in accordance with centuries-old tradition. (28) What really bothered the Tibetan lords and lamas was that these latest Chinese were Communists. It would be only a matter of time, they were sure, before the Communists started imposing their egalitarian and collectivist solutions upon the highly privileged theocracy.

In 1956-57, armed Tibetan bands ambushed convoys of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). The uprising received extensive material support from the CIA, including arms, supplies, and military training for Tibetan commando units. It is a matter of public knowledge that the CIA set up support camps in Nepal, carried out numerous airlifts, and conducted guerrilla operations inside Tibet. (29) Meanwhile in the United States, the American Society for a Free Asia, a CIA front, energetically publicized the cause of Tibetan resistance. The Dalai Lama’s eldest brother, Thubtan Norbu, played an active role in that group.

Many of the Tibetan commandos and agents whom the CIA dropped into the country were chiefs of aristocratic clans or the sons of chiefs. Ninety percent of them were never heard from again, according to a report from the CIA itself. (30) The small and thinly spread PLA garrisons in Tibet could not have captured them all. The PLA must have received support from Tibetans who did not sympathize with the uprising. This suggests that the resistance had a rather narrow base within Tibet. “Many lamas and lay members of the elite and much of the Tibetan army joined the uprising, but in the main the populace did not, assuring its failure,” writes Hugh Deane. (31) In their book on Tibet, Ginsburg and Mathos reach a similar conclusion: “The Tibetan insurgents never succeeded in mustering into their ranks even a large fraction of the population at hand, to say nothing of a majority. As far as can be ascertained, the great bulk of the common people of Lhasa and of the adjoining countryside failed to join in the fighting against the Chinese both when it first began and as it progressed.” (32) Eventually the resistance crumbled.

The Communists Overthrow Feudalism
Whatever wrongs and new oppressions introduced by the Chinese in Tibet after 1959, they did abolish slavery and the serfdom system of unpaid labor. They eliminated the many crushing taxes, started work projects, and greatly reduced unemployment and beggary. They built the only hospitals that exist in the country, and established secular education, thereby breaking the educational monopoly of the monasteries. They constructed running water and electrical systems in Lhasa. They also put an end to floggings, mutilations, and amputations as a form of criminal punishment. (33)

The Chinese also expropriated the landed estates and reorganized the peasants into hundreds of communes. Heinrich Harrer wrote a bestseller about his experiences in Tibet that was made into a popular Hollywood movie. (It was later revealed that Harrer had been a sergeant in Hitler’s SS. (34)) He proudly reports that the Tibetans who resisted the Chinese and “who gallantly defended their independence . . . were predominantly nobles, semi-nobles and lamas; they were punished by being made to perform the lowliest tasks, such as laboring on roads and bridges. They were further humiliated by being made to clean up the city before the tourists arrived.” They also had to live in a camp originally reserved for beggars and vagrants. (35)

By 1961, hundreds of thousands of acres formerly owned by the lords and lamas had been distributed to tenant farmers and landless peasants. In pastoral areas, herds that were once owned by nobility were turned over to collectives of poor shepherds. Improvements were made in the breeding of livestock, and new varieties of vegetables and new strains of wheat and barley were introduced, along with irrigation improvements, leading to an increase in agrarian production. (36)

Many peasants remained as religious as ever, giving alms to the clergy. But people were no longer compelled to pay tributes or make gifts to the monasteries and lords. The many monks who had been conscripted into the religious orders as children were now free to renounce the monastic life, and thousands did, especially the younger ones. The remaining clergy lived on modest government stipends, and extra income earned by officiating at prayer services, weddings, and funerals. (37)

The charges made by the Dalai Lama himself about Chinese mass sterilization and forced deportation of Tibetans have remained unsupported by any evidence. Both the Dalai Lama and his advisor and youngest brother, Tendzin Choegyal, claimed that “more than 1.2
million Tibetans are dead as a result of the Chinese occupation.” (38) No matter how often stated, that figure is puzzling. The official 1953 census — six years before the Chinese crackdown — recorded the entire population of Tibet at 1,274,000. Other estimates varied from one to three million. (39) Later census counts put the ethnic Tibetan population within the country at about two million. If the Chinese killed 1.2 million in the early 1960s then whole cities and huge portions of the countryside, indeed almost all of Tibet, would have been depopulated, transformed into a killing field dotted with death camps and mass graves — of which we have seen no evidence. The Chinese military force in Tibet was not big enough to round up, hunt down, and exterminate that many people even if it had spent all its time doing nothing else.

Chinese authorities do admit to “mistakes” in the past, particularly during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution when religious persecution reached a high tide in both China and Tibet. After the uprising in the late 1950s, thousands of Tibetans were incarcerated. During the Great Leap Forward, forced collectivization and grain farming was imposed on the peasantry, sometimes with disastrous effect. In the late 1970s, China began relaxing controls over Tibet “and tried to undo some of the damage wrought during the previous two decades.” (40) In 1980, the Chinese government initiated reforms reportedly designed to grant Tibet a greater degree of self-rule and self-administration. Tibetans would now be allowed to cultivate private plots, sell their harvest surpluses, decide for themselves what crops to grow, and keep yaks and sheep. Communication with the outside world was again permitted, and frontier controls were eased to permit Tibetans to visit exiled relatives in India and Nepal. (41)

Elites, Émigrés, and CIA Money
For the Tibetan upper class lamas and lords, the Communist intervention was a calamity. Most of them fled abroad, as did the Dalai Lama himself, who was assisted in his flight by the CIA. Some discovered to their horror that they would have to work for a living. Those feudal elites who remained in Tibet and decided to cooperate with the new regime faced difficult adjustments.

Consider the following:
In 1959, Anna Louise Strong visited the Central Institute of National Minorities in Beijing which trained various ethnic minorities for the civil service or prepared them for entrance into agricultural and medical schools. Of the 900 Tibetan students attending, most were runaway serfs and slaves. But about 100 were from privileged Tibetan families, sent by their parents so that they might win favorable posts in the new administration. The class divide between these two groups of students was all too evident. As the institute’s director noted:

Those from noble families at first consider that in all ways they are superior. They resent having to carry their own suitcases, make their own beds, look after their own room. This, they think, is the task of slaves; they are insulted because we expect them to do this. Some never accept it but go home; others accept it at last. The serfs at first fear the others and cannot sit at ease in the same room. In the next stage they have less fear but still feel separate and cannot mix. Only after some time and considerable discussion do they reach the stage in which they mix easily as fellow students, criticizing and helping each other. (42)

The émigrés’ plight received fulsome play in the West and substantial support from U.S. agencies dedicated to making the world safe for economic inequality. Throughout the 1960s the Tibetan exile community secretly received $1.7 million a year from the CIA, according to documents released by the State Department in 1998. Once this fact was publicized, the Dalai Lama’s organization itself issued a statement admitting that it had received millions of dollars from the CIA during the 1960s to send armed squads of exiles into Tibet to undermine the Maoist revolution. The Dalai Lama’s annual share was $186,000, making him a paid agent of the CIA. Indian intelligence also financed him and other Tibetan exiles. (43) He has refused to say whether he or his brothers worked with the CIA. The agency has also declined to comment. (44)

While presenting himself as a defender of human rights, and having won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Dalai Lama continued to associate with and be advised by aristocratic émigrés and other reactionaries during his exile. In 1995, the Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer carried a frontpage color photograph of the Dalai Lama being embraced by the reactionary Republican senator Jesse Helms, under the headline “Buddhist Captivates Hero of Religious Right.” (45) In April 1999, along with Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and the first George Bush, the Dalai Lama called upon the British government to release Augusto Pinochet, the former fascist dictator of Chile and a longtime CIA client who had been apprehended while visiting England. He urged that Pinochet be allowed to return to his homeland rather than be forced to go to Spain where he was wanted by a Spanish jurist to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

Today, mostly through the National Endowment for Democracy and other conduits that are more respectable-sounding than the CIA, the US Congress continues to allocate an annual $2 million to Tibetans in India, with additional millions for “democracy activities” within the Tibetan exile community. The Dalai Lama also gets money from financier George Soros, who now runs the CIA-created Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and other institutes. (46)

The Question of Culture
We are told that when the Dalai Lama ruled Tibet, the people lived in contented symbiosis with their monastic and secular lords, in a social order sustained by a deeply spiritual, nonviolent culture. The peasantry’s profound connection to the existing system of sacred belief supposedly gave them a tranquil stability, inspired by humane and pacific religious teachings. One is reminded of the idealized imagery of feudal Europe presented by latter-day conservative Catholics such as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. For them, medieval Christendom was a world of contented peasants living in deep spiritual bond with their Church, under the protection of their lords. (47) The Shangri-La image of Tibet bears no more resemblance to historic reality than does the romanticized image of medieval Europe.

It might be said that we denizens of the modern secular world cannot grasp the equations of happiness and pain, contentment and custom, that characterize more “spiritual” and “traditional” societies. This may be true, and it may explain why some of us idealize such societies. But still, a gouged eye is a gouged eye; a flogging is a flogging; and the grinding exploitation of serfs and slaves is still a brutal class injustice whatever its cultural embellishments. There is a difference between a spiritual bond and human bondage, even when both exist side by side.

To be sure, there is much about the Chinese intervention that is to be deplored. In the 1990s, the Han, the largest ethnic group comprising over 95 percent of China’s vast population, began moving in substantial numbers into Tibet and various western provinces. (48) These resettlements have had an effect on the indigenous cultures of western China and Tibet. On the streets of Lhasa and Shigatse, signs of Chinese preeminence are readily visible. Chinese run the factories and many of the shops and vending stalls. Tall office buildings and large shopping centers have been built with funds that might have been better spent on water treatment plants and housing.

Chinese cadres in Tibet too often adopted a supremacist attitude toward the indigenous population. Some viewed their Tibetan neighbors as backward and lazy, in need of economic development and “patriotic education.” During the 1990s Tibetan government employees suspected of harboring nationalist sympathies were purged from office, and campaigns were launched to discredit the Dalai Lama. Individual Tibetans reportedly were subjected to arrest, imprisonment, and forced labor for attempting to flee the country, and for carrying out separatist activities and engaging in political “subversion.” Some arrestees were held in administrative detention without adequate food, water, and blankets, subjected to threats, beatings, and other mistreatment. (49)

Chinese family planning regulations that allow a three-child limit for Tibetan families have been enforced irregularly and vary by district. If a couple goes over the limit, the excess children can be denied subsidized daycare, health care, housing, and education. Meanwhile, Tibetan history, culture, and religion are slighted in schools. Teaching materials, though translated into Tibetan, focus on Chinese history and culture. (50)

Still, the new order has its supporters. A 1999 story in The Washington Post notes that the Dalai Lama continues to be revered in Tibet, but …few Tibetans would welcome a return of the corrupt aristocratic clans that fled with him in 1959 and that comprise the bulk of his advisers. Many Tibetan farmers, for example, have no interest in surrendering the land they gained during China’s land reform to the clans. Tibet’s former slaves say they, too, don’t want their former masters to return to power.

“I’ve already lived that life once before,” said Wangchuk, a 67-year-old former slave who was wearing his best clothes for his yearly pilgrimage to Shigatse, one of the holiest sites of Tibetan Buddhism. He said he worshipped the Dalai Lama, but added, “I may not be free under Chinese communism, but I am better off than when I was a slave.” (51)

To support the Chinese overthrow of the Dalai Lama’s feudal theocracy is not to applaud everything about Chinese rule in Tibet. This point is seldom understood by today’s Shangri-La adherents in the West. The converse is also true. To denounce the Chinese occupation does not mean we have to romanticize the former feudal régime. One common complaint among Buddhist proselytes in the West is that Tibet’s religious culture is being destroyed by the Chinese authorities. This does seem to be the case. But what I am questioning here is the supposedly admirable and pristinely spiritual nature of that pre-invasion culture. In short, we can advocate religious freedom and independence for Tibet without having to embrace the mythology of a Paradise Lost.

Finally, it should be noted that the criticism posed herein is not intended as a personal attack on the Dalai Lama. He appears to be a nice enough individual, who speaks often of peace, love, and nonviolence. In 1994, in an interview with Melvyn Goldstein, he went on record as having been since his youth in favor of building schools, “machines,” and roads in his country. He claims that he thought the corvée and certain taxes imposed on the peasants “were extremely bad.” And he disliked the way people were saddled with old debts sometimes passed down from generation to generation. (52) Furthermore, he reportedly has established “a government-in-exile” featuring a written constitution, a representative assembly, and other democratic essentials. (53)

Like many erstwhile rulers, the Dalai Lama sounds much better out of power than in power. Keep in mind that it took a Chinese occupation and almost forty years of exile for him to propose democracy for Tibet and to criticize the oppressive feudal autocracy of which he himself was the apotheosis. But his criticism of the old order comes far too late for ordinary Tibetans. Many of them want him back in their country, but it appears that relatively few want a return to the social order he represented.

In a book published in 1996, the Dalai Lama proffered a remarkable statement that must have sent shudders through the exile community. It reads in part as follows:

Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilization of the means of production. It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes- that is the majority — as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair. . . .

The failure of the regime in the Soviet Union was, for me not the failure of Marxism but the failure of totalitarianism. For this reason I think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist. (54)

And more recently in 2001, while visiting California, he remarked that “Tibet, materially, is very, very backward. Spiritually it is quite rich. But spirituality can’t fill our stomachs.” (55) Here is a message that should be heeded by the affluent well-fed Buddhist proselytes in the West who cannot be bothered with material considerations as they romanticize feudal Tibet.

Buddhism and the Dalai Lama aside, what I have tried to challenge is the Tibet myth, the Paradise Lost image of a social order that was little more than a despotic retrograde theocracy of serfdom and poverty, so damaging to the human spirit, where vast wealth was accumulated by a favored few who lived high and mighty off the blood, sweat, and tears of the many. For most of the Tibetan aristocrats in exile, that is the world to which they fervently desire to return. It is a long way from Shangri-La.

{Michael Parenti is an internationally known author and lecturer. He is one of the nation’s leading progressive political analysts. Parenti received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1962. He has taught at a number of colleges and universities, in the United States and abroad. Parenti’s most recent books are To Kill a Nation (Verso); The Terrorism Trap (City Lights); and The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome (New Press). You can find more information about Michael Parenti at}

1.  Melvyn C. Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet,
and the Dalai Lama (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995),
2.  Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God, (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 2000), 113.
3.  Kyong-Hwa Seok, “Korean monk gangs battle for temple turf,” San
Francisco Examiner, December 3, 1998.
4.  Gere quoted in “Our Little Secret,” CounterPunch, 1-15 November
5.  Dalai Lama quoted in Donald Lopez Jr., Prisoners of Shangri-La:
Tibetan Buddhism and the West (Chicago and London: Chicago University
Press, 1998), 205.
6.  Stuart Gelder and Roma Gelder, The Timely Rain: Travels in New
Tibet (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1964), 119.
7.  Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 123.
8.  Pradyumna P. Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet: The Impact of
Chinese Communist Ideology on the Landscape (Lexington, Kentucky:
University Press of Kentucky, 1976), 64.
9.  Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 62 and 174.
10.  As skeptically noted by Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-La, 9.
11.  See the testimony of one serf who himself had been hunted down by
Tibetan soldiers and returned to his master: Anna Louise Strong,
Tibetan Interviews (Peking: New World Press, 1929), 29-30 90.
12.  Melvyn Goldstein, William Siebenschuh, and Tashì-Tsering, The
Struggle for Modern Tibet: The Autobiography of Tashì-Tsering (Armonk,
N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1997).
13.  Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 110.
14.  Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 15, 19-21, 24.
15.  Quoted in Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 25.
16.  Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 31.
17.  Melvyn C. Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet 1913-1951
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 5.
18.  Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 175-176; and Strong, Tibetan
Interviews, 25-26.
19.  Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 113.
20.  A. Tom Grunfeld, The Making of Modern Tibet rev. ed. (Armonk,
N.Y. and London: 1996), 9 and 7-33 for a general discussion of feudal
Tibet; see also Felix Greene, A Curtain of Ignorance (Garden City,
N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961), 241-249; Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet
1913-1951, 3-5; and Lopez, Prisoners of Shangri-La, passim.
21.  Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 91-92.
22.  Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 92-96.
23.  Waddell, Landon, and O’Connor are quoted in Gelder and Gelder,
The Timely Rain, 123-125.
24.  Quoted in Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 125.
25.  Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon, 52.
26.  Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon, 54.
27.  Heinrich Harrer, Return to Tibet (New York: Schocken, 1985), 29.
28.  Strong, Tibetan Interview, 73.
29.  See Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, The CIA’s Secret War in
Tibet (Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 2002); and
William Leary, “Secret Mission to Tibet,” Air & Space, December 1997/
January 1998.
30.  Leary, “Secret Mission to Tibet.”
31.  Hugh Deane, “The Cold War in Tibet,” CovertAction Quarterly
(Winter 1987).
32.  George Ginsburg and Michael Mathos Communist China and Tibet
(1964), quoted in Deane, “The Cold War in Tibet.” Deane notes that
author Bina Roy reached a similar conclusion.
33.  See Greene, A Curtain of Ignorance, 248 and passim; and Grunfeld,
The Making of Modern Tibet, passim.
34.  Los Angeles Times, 18 August 1997.
35.  Harrer, Return to Tibet, 54.
36.  Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet, 36-38, 41, 57-58; London
Times, 4 July 1966.
37.  Gelder and Gelder, The Timely Rain, 29 and 47-48.
38.  Tendzin Choegyal, “The Truth about Tibet,” Imprimis (publication
of Hillsdale College, Michigan), April 1999.
39.  Karan, The Changing Face of Tibet, 52-53.
40.  Elaine Kurtenbach, Associate Press report, San Francisco
Chronicle, 12 February 1998.
41.  Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon, 47-48.
42.  Strong, Tibetan Interviews, 15-16.
43.  Jim Mann, “CIA Gave Aid to Tibetan Exiles in ’60s, Files Show,”
Los Angeles Times, 15 September 1998; and New York Times, 1 October,
44.  Reuters report, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 January 1997.
45.  News & Observer, 6 September 1995, cited in Lopez, Prisoners of
Shangri-La, 3.
46.  Heather Cottin, “George Soros, Imperial Wizard,” CovertAction
Quarterly no. 74 (Fall 2002).
47.  The Gelders draw this comparison, The Timely Rain, 64.
48.  The Han have also moved into Xinjiang, a large northwest province
about the size of Tibet, populated by Uighurs; see Peter Hessler, “The
Middleman,” New Yorker, 14 & 21 October 2002.
49.  Report by the International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, A
Generation in Peril (Berkeley Calif.: 2001), passim.
50.  International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, A Generation in
Peril, 66-68, 98.
51.  John Pomfret, “Tibet Caught in China’s Web,” Washington Post, 23
July 1999.
52.  Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon, 51.
53.  Tendzin Choegyal, “The Truth about Tibet.”
54.  The Dalai Lama in Marianne Dresser (ed.), Beyond Dogma: Dialogues
and Discourses (Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 1996).
55.  Quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, 17 May 2001


“And finally, this just occurred to me tonight. Connell knew the Bush family very well. He knew members of Congress very well. He has been a staple of the GOP IT scene for ages. He even worked on the McCain camp. So what is wrong with this sorry lot of people, that not a single one of them issued a public condolence to this man? Not even
the head of the RNC for crying out loud. He dies a few days before Christmas, leaving 4 kids and a widow behind and NOT ONE person could find the time to issue a public condolences to his family? My taking the entire right-wing power structure to the wood shed is for obvious reasons, not imagined reasons by people who are hell bent on imagining something. Simply put, I think it is heartless. That is why I brought it up. And frankly, it is incredibly heartless.”

“i also am appalled that the assholes in washington didnt have the decency to extend their condolences on his death.”



Republican IT Guru Dies In Plane Crash
Was Sought In Controversies Over E-Voting And Missing White House E-
Mails; His Death Sparks More Controversy  /  Dec. 23, 2008

(CBS/AP) Federal investigators are looking into a small plane crash in
Ohio which claimed the life of its pilot, a Republican media
consultant who was instrumental in the presidential and gubernatorial
campaigns of three members of the Bush Family. Michael Connell,45, of
Akron died Friday when his plane crashed near a vacant house in
Uniontown while attempting to land at nearby Akron-Canton Airport. But
the fatal accident is also raising questions about Connell and his
work for key political figures and lobbyists, which has targeted him
in investigations over missing White House e-mails and a lawsuit
alleging electronic voting fraud.

Following Last Friday’s fatal accident, CBS Affiliate WOIO reported
that Connell, who had recently been subpoenaed to testify in relation
to a lawsuit alleging vote rigging in the 2004 Ohio election, was
warned at least twice about flying his plane because his plane might
be sabotaged. Quoting an anonymous close friend of Connell’s, WOIO
correspondent Blake Chenault also reported that twice in the past two
months Connell, who was an experienced pilot, canceled flights because
of suspicious problems with his plane. The National Transportation
Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash.

Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Tony Bradshaw said that
Connell’s plane hit a flagpole two miles from the runway and crashed
on the front lawn of a vacant Ohio house. The crash sparked a fire
that damaged the house’s garage, but no one was inside the Uniontown
home. There were no passengers on the plane, and no one on the ground
was injured. Neighbors told The Canton Repository that they heard what
sounded like an engine sputtering before the crash and that the noise
sounded like it was coming from a plane.

A Republican Loyalist
Beginning as a political campaign worker and congressional staffer,
Connell became a key Republican media consultant who developed
Internet strategies for the 2000 and 2004 Bush-Cheney campaigns. He
was founder and CEO of Cleveland-based New Media Communications,
which built Web sites for President Bush and former presidential nominee
John McCain, according to the company’s Web site. He was also chief IT
consultant for Karl Rove.

Connell’s ties to the Bush family extend back to working on campaigns
for George H.W. Bush and former Fla. Governor Jeb Bush, for whom he
built the campaign site In 1999 he told the Cleveland
magazine Inside Business, “I’m loyal to my network, I’m loyal to my
friends, and I’m loyal to the Bush family.” He was also quoted as
saying, when asked to predict the Internet’s role in the upcoming
presidential race, “There are things we will be doing on Election Day
that haven’t even been dreamt of yet.”

The rise of the Republican Party in Washington in the ’90s, and
especially after the 2000 election, meant that Connell’s network of
connections was expanding as well. Having worked with Ohio
Congressman Bob Ney and Governor Bob Taft, Connell’s IT skills were
sought after for the campaigns and Congressional sites for dozens of
GOP candidates and officeholders. The New Media Communications Web
site (now turned off, with a memorial to Connell in its place) boasted,
“New Mediaís client list reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of Republican politics.”

In 2000, Connell cofounded with his wife Heather GovTech Solutions to
pursue government contracts. GovTech’s clients for databases, content
management systems and other services included the White House, the
Energy Department, several Republican-led Congressional committees
and a few dozen congressional members’ Web sites. The Center for
Public Integrity reported that in 2002 and 2004, the General Services
Administration allowed federal agencies to purchase services directly
from GovTech without a full bidding process.

In 2004 Connell helped form an online advertising firm called Connell
Donatelli, which administered the Web site for Swift Boat Veterans for
Truth, a 527 developed to attack Democratic presidential nominee John
Kerry. Connellís central role in building the IT infrastructure of the
White House and his association with Karl Rove has brought him into
the controversy surrounding missing White House e-mails relating to
the firing of U.S. Attorneys and other topics, and the fate of e-mail
communications sent by Rove and other administration staffers which
were sent via a Republican Party Web site,, rather than
through a address. Connell built the site,
which shares mail servers with GovTech.

Connell’s Internet expertise also led him to be subpoenaed earlier
this year to testify in an Ohio federal court regarding alleged voter
fraud in the 2004 election. Despite exit polls showing a lead by
Democratic nominee John Kerry of more than 4 percent, Mr. Bush won the
state’s vote by 2.5 percent, along with its crucial electoral votes.
Much has been written about problems at the polls in Ohio that year,
where voters in many (predominantly Democratic) precincts were forced
to wait hours because of a shortage of working voting machines. A
lawsuit being pursued by attorney Clifford Arneback seeks to answer
questions about this and other ballot problems. [For example, in
Franklin County Mr. Bush received 4,258 votes in a precinct where only
638 voters cast ballots.]

Questions have also been raised about how votes from Ohio counties
were tabulated. Computer expert Stephen Spoonamore, a Republican
who works in detecting fraud in network architecture and protecting
computer infrastructures, has testified that the Ohio election returns
he saw were indicative of a “KingPin Attack,” in which a computer is
inserted into the communications flow of an IT system, with the intent
to change data as it passes to its destination.

It was later learned that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell’s
office had routed Internet traffic from county election offices
through out-of-state servers based at SMARTech in Chattanooga, Tenn.
SMARTech hosts dozens of GOP Web domains. Last month, U.S. Judge
Soloman Oliver refused Connell’s request to quash a subpoena connected
to the lawsuit, King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v.
Blackwell, and demanded his testimony relating to his IT work. In his
deposition given in November, Connell denied any knowledge of vote

Since his death Friday, the Internet has buzzed with news about an IT
entrepreneur, until now in the background of Republican politics,
whose sudden death has sparked conspiracy theories and thrust him into
the center of continuing controversies involving White House
communications and electronic voting. Meanwhile, a man the Akron
Beacon-Journal recounts as a devout Catholic who organized annual
missions to aid communities in El Salvador with as much passion as he
devoted to the businesses he built, leaves behind his wife of 18 years
and four children.

Bush Insider Who Planned To Tell All Killed In Plane Crash: Non-Profit
Demands Full Federal Investigation  /  Dec. 20, 2008

Michael Connell, the Bush IT expert who has been directly implicated
in the rigging of George Bush’s 2000 and 2004 elections, was killed
last night when his single engine plane crashed three miles short of
the Akron airport. Velvet Revolution (“VR”), a non-profit that has
been investigating Mr. Connell’s activities for the past two years,
can now reveal that a person close to Mr. Connell has recently been
discussing with a VR investigator how he can tell all about his work
for George Bush. Mr. Connell told a close associate that he was afraid
that George Bush and Dick Cheney would “throw [him] under the bus.”

A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that
Mr. Connell’s life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened
him and his wife, Heather. VR’s attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the
United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal
court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in
protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell’s
not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be
sabotaged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon
at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious
problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a
small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on
his return flight the next day that he crashed.

On October 31, Mr. Connell appeared before a federal judge in Ohio
after being subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit investigating the rigging
of the 2004 election under the direction of Karl Rove. The judge
ordered Mr. Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on November
3rd, the day before the presidential election. Velvet Revolution
received confidential information that the White House was extremely
concerned about Mr. Connell talking about his illegal work for the
White House and two Bush/Cheney 04 attorneys were dispatched to
represent him An associate of Mr. Connell’s told VR that Mr. Connell
was involved with the destruction of the White House emails and the
setting up of the off-grid White House email system.

Mr. Connell handled all of John McCain’s computer work in the recent
presidential campaign. VR has received direct evidence that the McCain
campaign kept abreast of the legal developments against Mr. Connell by
reading the VR dedicated website,

VR demands that the Ohio Attorney General and the United States
Justice Department conduct a complete investigation into the
activities of Mr. Connell and determine whether there was any foul
play in his death. VR demands that federal law enforcement officials
place the following people under protective custody pending this
investigation. Heather Connell who is the owner of GovTech Solutions,
Randy Cole, the former President of GovTech Solutions, and Jeff
Averbeck, the CEO of SmartTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Both
GovTech and SmartTech have been implicated in the rigging of the 2000
and 2004 elections and the White House email scandal. Our prior request
to have Mr. Connell protected went unheeded and now he is dead.

UNLIKELY SCENARIO #1: RANDOM ACCIDENT,-81.374702&spn=0.17734,0.384178&t=h&z=12

Pilot killed as plane crashes in Lake Twp.
BY Jewell Cardwell, John Higgins & David Knox  /  Dec 19, 2008

A single-prop, private airplane crashed next to a vacant house on
Charolais Street Northwest Friday evening, exploding into flames and
killing the pilot. Michael Connell, 45, of Bath Township, was alone in
the plane, according to State Highway Patrol Lt. Eric Sheppard.
Connell was a prominent Republican political consultant. He founded
New Media Communications in Richfield, which developed campaign Web
sites for Republican presidential candidate John McCain and President
George W. Bush.

The plane was attempting to land around 6 p.m. Friday at Akron-Canton
Airport when it crashed about three miles short of the runway. Taylor
Fano, who lives two doors away from the crash site on Charolais, said
she heard the crash. ”It blew up and shook the ground a little bit,”
Fano said. ”I was standing in the kitchen and I looked out the window
and all I saw was fire.” Fano said the plane came down in the front
yard at 2017 Charolais, then skidded along the side of the house.

The plane came down between two houses, separated by about 100 feet,
in the upscale neighborhood. Neighbors said one of the homes was
unoccupied, while the other was lighted with holiday decorations. They
said wreckage from the plane could be seen sticking up from the
ground. ”It took out the flagpole and the cement blocks surrounding
the flagpole like a little planter,” Fano said. ”It skidded across
the driveway and right in between a line of pine trees and a small
fence around an in-ground pool.”

Neighbor Julie Hufstetler, who lives across the street from the crash
site, said she was getting ready for a party at their home when she
heard the explosion. ”It was kind of a swish and a boom,” she said.
When she looked outside, she saw flames billowing from the garage.
Greentown Fire Department Capt. Lorin Geiser said he arrived within
three minutes of getting several 911 calls about a plane down.

Geiser said the crumbled fuselage from the plane was fully engulfed.
It took less than five minutes to extinguish the flames. The burning
debris apparently set fire to the side of the garage of the unoccupied
home. There was no interior damage to the house. Several neighbors,
bundled up against the frigid temperature, were walking around taking
pictures with their cell-phone cameras.

The plane was on final approach to Akron-Canton Airport’s Runway 23
when it went down, said Kristie Van Auken, spokeswoman for the
airport. Van Auken identified the plane as a Piper Saratoga, a single-
engine propeller craft capable of carrying up to seven passengers. The
plane, which was made in 1997, is owned by a Richfield corporation,
Sierra-November Aviation, at 3046 Brecksville Road, according to the
Federal Aviation Administration registry.

FlightAware, a Web site that tracks flight plans, reported that the
plane was coming from College Park, Md., departing at 3:31 p.m. and
scheduled to arrive at Akron-Canton at 5:43 p.m. The plane had flown
from Akron to College Park Thursday morning. Van Auken didn’t think
the plane was based at the Akron-Canton Airport, but added, ”We can’t
verify that at this time.”

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were
expected at the crash site Friday night. An FAA spokeswoman said
investigations typically take weeks and even months or longer to
complete. In addition to the Greentown Fire Department, others
responding included firefighters from Hartville, Uniontown, Plain
Township and North Canton. Van Auken said several members of the
airport operations staff were also at the crash scene.

Federal agencies examining deadly Lake Township plane crash
BY Edd Pritchard  /  Dec 24, 2008

A preliminary report on Friday nightís plane crash that killed a
Summit County man should be posted in early January, but it likely
will be several months before the National Transportation Safety Board
completes its investigation. Michael L. Connell, 45, of Bath Township,
died in the crash at about 6 p.m. outside a vacant house at 2017
Charolais St. NW, Lake Township. No passengers were on the Piper
Saratoga. A Web site designer and behind-the-scenes player in the
Republican Party, Connell was returning to Northeast Ohio after a
business trip in Washington.

Connell was attempting a landing on Runway 23 at the Akron-Canton
Airport, but his plane crashed about three miles short of his
destination. Troopers with the Highway Patrolís Canton post said the
plane made a forced landing, hit a flagpole and rolled several times.
Investigators with NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are
handling the investigation, which is routine after a plane crash.

NTSB investigator Mitch Gallo examined wreckage and talked with
witnesses on Tuesday, agency spokeswoman Bridget Serchak said on
Wednesday. The agency still needs information from the air traffic
controller, weather details and a radar study, she said. So far the
investigation shows that the plane had no issues with flight control
and there was no icing, Serchak said. The planeís propeller had damage
that indicates the engine was operating when the crash occurred.

A preliminary report should be filed within 10 working days, Serchak
said. NTSB has one year to complete itís factual report and the NTSB
board will vote on a probable cause ruling for the accident shortly
after the report is filed. Data collected by the Highway Patrol was
being completed Wednesday for the NTSB, a spokesman for the Canton
post said. While the Highway Patrol collects information about
airplane crashes, it doesnít determine cause of the crashes, the
spokesman said.

The Stark County Coronerís office has given samples collected in an
autopsy of Connell to FAA laboratories, a spokeswoman for Dr. P.S.
Murthy said. The agency supplies a kit listing samples to be
collected, the spokeswoman said. Indications are Connell died from
massive traumatic injuries. Although the wreckage burned following the
crash, Connellís body wasnít burned, the spokeswoman said.

There are no indications that Connell suffered from any medical
problems, the spokeswoman said. Connell was chief executive officer of
New Media Communications, described on its Web site ó
ó as ìa powerhouse in the field of Republican Web site development and
Internet services.î The site boasts that Connell provided technical
expertise to John McCainís presidential campaign this year, and
Internet strategies to the Bush-Cheney campaigns of 2000 and 2004.


Connell update – preliminary inter-agency report and more questions…
BY Larisa Alexandrovna  /  December 25, 2008

In short:
-Not medical
-Not weather
-Not running out of gas (which the investigation had first suspected,
but has now ruled out – it is not mentioned below, however)

Now can someone who is is a pilot explain a few things to me here. I
am trying to understand the verbiage and elements of your profession:
1. If there were no “issues with flight control” do they mean
2. So given that everything else was ruled out, the only thing left is
mechanical, am I right? Am I wrong and missing an important genre?
3. Is there anything else that is not covered under mechanical,
avionics, health, and weather (he was not a drug user from what I have
been told, so for now at least, let’s leave it off the table of
considerations) that would explain that his plane went down three
miles from landing (I know he was on instruments now, rather than line
of sight), with a working engine?
4. Is the propeller mentioned only as indicative of the engine working
or is it being broken something to consider as an actual cause for the

And some questions in general:
1. Does “indications are Connell died from massive traumatic injuries.
Although the wreckage burned following the crash, Connell’s body
wasnít burned” mean he was was thrown from the plane as soon as the
plane went down?

2. And finally, this just occurred to me tonight. Connell knew the
Bush family very well. He knew members of Congress very well. He has
been a staple of the GOP IT scene for ages. He even worked on the
McCain camp. So what is wrong with this sorry lot of people, that not
a single one of them issued a public condolence to this man? Not even
the head of the RNC for crying out loud. Connell has worked with the
RNC for years. He has worked with the Chamber of Commerce for years.
He was friends with and knew very important people. He dies a few days
before Christmas, leaving 4 kids and a widow behind and NOT ONE
person could find the time to issue a public condolences to his family?

The President has time to pardon turkeys and pardon criminals, but not
to issue even a single sentence of condolence to a man he has known
for years? Rove? Where is he at? John McCain? Anyone? I don’t
understand how no one thought to issue a statement of support for the
family, especially since a father of four won’t be there for

As always, it seems that I have to keep clarifying things.  My taking
the entire right-wing power structure to the wood shed is for obvious
reasons, not imagined reasons by people who are hell bent on imagining
something. Simply put, I think it is heartless. That is why I brought
it up. And frankly, it is incredibly heartless. What, they are too
damn busy with their presents?

Posted by: mj  /  December 25, 2008
“thank you for your reporting on my brother’s death. i can tell you
that the wind is in suspect according to what ive been told & that
most of his family & friends believe it was an accident. i also am
appalled that the assholes in washington didnt have the decency to
extend their condolences on his death. he did so much for them; where
were they for him? i hope that the circumstances of his death do come
to light. he was an incredible person with a good heart. there is no
way to measure how much i will miss him.”

One of my sources died in a plane crash last night…
BY Larisa Alexandrovna  /  December 20, 2008

“I don’t usually reveal sources, but I think this is incredibly
important. Michael Connell died in a plane crash last night. He was a
key witness in the Ohio election fraud case that I have been reporting
on. More importantly, however, he had information that he was ready to

You see, Mike Connell set-up the alternate email and communications
system for the White House. He was responsible for creating the system
that hosted the infamous accounts that Karl Rove and others
used. When asked by Congress to provide these emails, the White House
said that they were destroyed. But in reality, what Connell is alleged
to have done is move these files to other servers after having
allegedly scrubbed the files from all “known” Karl Rove accounts.

In addition, I have reason to believe that the alternate accounts were
used to communicate with US Attorneys involved in political
prosecutions, like that of Don Siegelman. This is what I have been
working on to prove for over a year. In fact, it was through following
the Siegelman-Rove trail that I found evidence leading to Connell.
That is how I became aware of him. Mike was getting ready to talk. He
was frightened.

He has flown his private plane for years without incident. I know he
was going to DC last night, but I don’t know why. He apparently ran
out of gas, something I find hard to believe. (See Update 3 below). I
am not saying that this was a hit nor am I resigned to this being
simply an accident either. I am no expert on aviation and cannot
provide an opinion on the matter. What I am saying, however, is that
given the context, this event needs to be examined carefully. If you
want to understand the context more broadly, I suggest you read this
article I did a while back about the break-ins and arson cases that
Siegelman and others have experienced.

Just to be very clear and state again, I am not claiming conspiracy
theory or direct relation to Karl Rove or the White House in any of
these events. What I am saying, however, is that these possible
relationships cannot and should not be overlooked by investigators.
There are far too many serious and reasonable questions that must be
answered for the public.

I have been to Mr. Connell’s home. Mr. Connell has confided that he
was being threatened, something that his attorneys also told the judge
in the Ohio election fraud case. When I met with Heather, his wife, I
did so carefully because of the threats he was getting.

I left a note for her in her mailbox and asked her to meet me in a
local park near their home. Heather came and through our conversation
I got the sense that these were not bad people or corrupt people. The
Connell’s really believed that what they were involved in served God’s
plan. Regardless of of what any of us think about their religious
views or allegations relating to Connell’s involvement in various
things, I do think these were good people who got caught up in
something bigger than themselves. My heart goes out to Heather and the

Update One
Okay children – because that is what I am going to call adults who
willfully mis-read information. I will say this AGAIN (as I have twice
in the above entry and also used bold case so that no one would miss
the caveat), I am NOT – I repeat NOT – saying this was a). a murder,
b). that it was in any way connected to the White House or to Karl
Rove, and c). that I am convinced of any of the above three.

On the contrary, I have said – and I am noting again – that I don’t
know what happened. I am NOT an aviation expert. What I am saying –
AGAIN – is that the context is important and must be considered.
Investigators must conduct their work transparently on this case as to
address the many serious and reasonable (not remotely CT-based
questions) relating to this crash and the person who died. The public
has a right to know and investigators must address these questions by
conducting a very open investigation of the crash.

The facts are not all in yet and so I have no answers for you – as I
have already noted. But I felt it important to share the context,
obligated even to share it. Now if you folks (you know who you are)
want to read this as me rolling myself in tin-foil, then that is your
choice. Obviously that is not my hope, but I cannot help the lunacy
that people want to engage in.

Update Two
Here are the reading materials in case you have not followed any of
this closely. These are articles I have done over spanning over a year
of investigative work:
Part 1 – Political Prisoner
Part 2 – Siegelman’s Daughter Speaks Out
Part 3 – Karl Rove Running Elections from the White House
Part 4 – Mississippi Prosecution, Justice Oliver Diaz
Part 5 – Justice Diaz Speaks
Part 6 – Break-ins plague targets of political prosecutions
Part 7 – Justice for Sale
Related articles:
Judge who denied Paul Minor release was protege of Karl Rove
DOJ Investigating 2 US Attorneys
60 Minutes Segemant on Siegelman “dropped” in Alabama
Republican IT Consultant Subpoenaed in Ohio election fraud case
Abramoff said he had agreement with White House aide just a month after Bush took office
Treasury Department investigating US Attorney for leaking state Supreme Court Justice’s tax returns

Update Three
Okay, so I have some additional information from an airport source.
Here is what I have learned:
1. Connell may not have run out of gas, but may have hit an ice patch.
The initial call I got described him running out of gas. That is no
longer what is said to have happened.
2. The problem with that is – as I just learned – his plane was
“equipped to deal with ice on all key surfaces,” like wings for
example.  Remember, I am not an expert on aviation or even mildly
informed on different types of planes. So I will add to this when I
get more information relating to the actual plane and its abilities,
specs, etc.
3. He took off from a small airport called College Park.
4. He was aware of the ice conditions, and remained grounded at that
airport for two hours until he felt comfortable to fly (again, from an
airport source).


‘Karl Rove’s IT guru’ Mike Connell dies in plane crash  /  December
20, 2008

A top level Republican IT consultant who was set to testify in a case
alleging GOP election tampering in Ohio died in a plane crash late
Friday night. Michael Connell — founder of Ohio-based New Media
Communications, which created campaign Web sites for George W. Bush
and John McCain — died instantly after his single-prop, private
aircraft smashed into a vacant home in suburban Lake Township, Ohio.
“The plane was attempting to land around 6 p.m. Friday at Akron-Canton
Airport when it crashed about three miles short of the runway,”
reports the Akron Beacon Journal. Connell’s exploits as a top GOP IT
‘guru’ have been well documented by Raw Story’s investigative team.

The interest in Mike Connell stems from his association with a firm
called GovTech, which he had spun off from his own New Media
Communications under his wife Heather Connellís name. GovTech was
hired by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to set up an
official election website at to presented the
2004 presidential returns as they came in.

Connell is a long-time GOP operative, whose New Media Communications
provided web services for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign, the US
Chamber of Commerce, the Republican National Committee and many Republican candidates. This in itself might have raised questions about
his involvement in creating Ohio’s official state election website.

However, the alternative media group ePlubibus Media further
discovered in November 2006 that was hosted
on the servers of a company in Chattanooga, TN called SmarTech, which
also provided hosting for a long list of Republican Internet domains.
ìSince early this decade, top Internet ëgurusí in Ohio have been
coordinating web services with their GOP counterparts in Chattanooga,
wiring up a major hub that in 2004, first served as a conduit for
Ohio’s live election night results,î researchers at ePluribus Media

A few months after this revelation, when a scandal erupted surrounding
the firing of US Attorneys for reasons of White House policy, other
researchers found that the gwb43 domain used by members of the White
House staff to evade freedom of information laws by sending emails
outside of official White House channels was hosted on those same
SmarTech servers. Given that the Bush White House used SmarTech
servers to send and receive email, the use of one of those servers in
tabulating Ohioís election returns has raised eyebrows. Ohio gave Bush
the decisive margin in the Electoral College to secure his reelection
in 2004.

IT expert Stephen Spoonamore says the SmartTech server could have
functioned as a routing point for malicious activity and remains a
weakness in electronic voting tabulation. “…I have reason to believe
that the alternate accounts were used to communicate with US Attorneys
involved in political prosecutions, like that of Don Siegelman,” said
Raw Story’s Investigative News Editor, Larisa Alexandrovna, on her
personal blog Saturday morning. “This is what I have been working on
to prove for over a year. In fact, it was through following the
Siegelman-Rove trail that I found evidence leading to Connell. That is
how I became aware of him. Mike was getting ready to talk. He was

“He has flown his private plane for years without incident. I know he
was going to DC last night, but I don’t know why. He apparently ran
out of gas, something I find hard to believe. I am not saying that
this was a hit nor am I resigned to this being simply an accident
either. I am no expert on aviation and cannot provide an opinion on
the matter. What I am saying, however, is that given the context, this
event needs to be examined carefully.”

“Mr. Connell has confided that he was being threatened, something that
his attorneys also told the judge in the Ohio election fraud case,”
concluded Alexandrovna. An FAA investigation into the causes of
Connell’s plane crash is underway, but no results are expected for
several weeks.


Employees had awaited Connell at company Christmas party
BY John Byrne  /  12/23/2008

Curtis Randy Cole, a close friend and former colleague of the GOP
political consultant who died when his plane crashed in a suburb here
last Friday, dismissed suspicions of foul play in an interview with
Raw Story Sunday evening. In an interview at his Amesbury Street home
where he based his recent failed run for Ohio Stateís 41st District
House seat last year, Cole, the former President of Michael Connellís
government contracting company GovTech Solutions, revealed how the
bad news arrived to Connellís friends and family members late Friday
night. ìI got a call from a GovTech employee late Friday that that his
plane had crashed,î Cole said, ìI thought ëbad weatherí or ëicing of
the wings.íî

Connellís employees and partners at GovTech and New Media
Communications, were gathered for their annual Christmas party at
offices the Connell companies have shared in nearby Richfield since
August, Cole said. Connell is pictured above right. ìThey were waiting
for Mike. They were getting email alerts tracking his progress,î Cole
explained. Friends and colleagues were expecting Connellís imminent
arrival on a trip from College Park, Maryland because the last alert
they received reported his clearance into Akron-Canton airspace. They
expected he would be landing imminently and making the half hour drive
to New Media offices. “When it got late, someone checked the news and
learned his plane had crashed.î

Cole said that during his tenure as President of Govtech from 2005
until August of this year, he often flew with his boss on business
trips on the same route he took the night his plane crashed. ìI
probably flew with Mike roundtrip to Washington on his a plane once a
month. Weíd arrive and each go off to separate meetings with clients
and generally return the next day.î Cole hasn’t taken a job since his
House run in order to take care of his wife, Teresa, who is receiving
intensive treatment for cancer she was diagnosed with in October.

FAA records show Connell was an experienced ìinstrument-ratedî pilot
who had logged thousands of miles each year. Cole described Connell as
an adept pilot who would manage the stability of the aircraft by
drawing fuel from any one of four separate tanks and who would
calculate on the fly whether the plane had the range to fly around a
converging storm cell picked up on the planeís sophisticated radar
system. Authorities investigating the crash, led by the National
Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), have offered no explanation or
details about the crash. Repeated calls to the regional office of the
NTSB were not answered or returned.

In the days since the crash, a news vacuum has been created by the
silence of authorities. Some familiar with his role as a witness in
the Lincoln-Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell case
contesting Bush’s win of Ohio’s electoral votes in 2004 and his RNC
work, have cited reported threats made since July against Connell and
raised the specter of foul play. Connell had recently testified in a
suit alleging tampering with Ohio’s 2004 results, which he adamantly
denied any knowledge of.

A reporter for a Cleveland television station said Sunday that Connell
had been warned his plane might be sabotaged. “Connell…was
apparently told by a close friend not to fly his plane because his
plane might be sabotaged,” 19 Action News reporter Blake Renault said.
“And twice in the last two months, Connell, who is an experienced
pilot, canceled two flights because of suspicious problems with his
plane.” Randy Cole isn’t buying it. When told of the alleged threats
Cole said that in all the hours he spent flying with his friend in the
close-quartered cockpit of the Piper Saratoga, he says Connell never
shared any worries or suggestions of threats or intimidation. For
Cole, something went wrong and for him the weather was the most likely

In the wake of an Akron Beacon Journal report regarding a
deterioration of weather conditions at the time of Connellís approach
to the Akron-Canton airport, Raw Story sought to secure the same
weather reporting streamed 24/7 to pilots, flight traffic controllers
and other in need of accurate forecasts and current conditions in real
time across the country. FAA official Liz Corey refused to disclose
hourly observations of ìQuality Controlled Local Climatological Dataî
taken from the recording station at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport
where Connellís single engine Piper Saratoga was estimated to arrive
at 5:46PM EST, citing jurisdictional issues. She referred questions to
the NTSB.

Raw Story was able to secure the weather data from the National
Climate Data Center (NCDC) in Ashville, North Caroline. For the crash
event time window between 5:35PM and approximately 6PM EST, visibility
was 9-10 miles in broken cloud cover and temperatures hovered just
above freezing, contradicting the 1 mile claim in the Akron Beacon
Journal. FAA spokesperson Laura Brown spoke to Raw Story from her cell
phone on her way to FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C., saying that
an Incident Report was sitting on her desk. However, follow up calls
and emails were not returned as of close of business Monday. Over five
hundred gathered quietly at a memorial at Billow Fairlawn Chapel
Monday evening. They will have to be patient for answers. The FAAís
Liz Corey said that NTSB investigations can last several months to a

“In 2005, the Connells began organizing an annual mission trip to El
Salvador from the parish. It was known as the Serving Christ Through
His Poor, El Salvador Mission. The organization’s Web site details how
the group has built numerous houses and a youth center, and helped to
install water and sanitation systems in the village of Mizata. Heather
Connell is president of the mission and Mr. Connell was chairman of
the board. Joe McShannic, a vascular surgeon for Summa Health System,
said Mr. Connell started the mission single-handedly. ”It was all his
idea. He started it from the ground up. Every year it got bigger and
bigger and we were able to do more and more,” McShannic said.
McShannic said the Connell children routinely go on the mission trip
with their parents. ”He was a great guy, a natural born leader, a
very spiritual man, and obviously, a great family man,” he said. ”He
was the life and soul of this mission.” In addition, McShannic said
Mr. Connell just last year started a council of the Knights of
Columbus, a Catholic men’s service organization, at St. Hilary’s,
where he served as grand knight. In its first year, the council had
more than 100 members join, making it one of the largest in Ohio.
”Mike has touched so many people. He had plans to do so much more,”
McShannic said.

Political interests
Mr. Connell, an Illinois native and University of Iowa marketing
graduate, was a GOP go-to guy while still in his 20s. He understood
the power of the Internet in its infancy. He got his first taste of
political campaigns in 1986, working on the re-election bid of Iowa
Rep. Jim Leach. His work caught the eye of George H.W. Bush’s
campaign, which hired him. Once Bush became president, Mr. Connell
took a job with the Department of Energy, where his information
technology work proved prominent. Mr. Connell continued to work on GOP
efforts and eventually served as press secretary for Rep. Martin Hoke
of Lakewood. Bob Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, said
Mr. Connell has been on the scene for a number of years. ”He did a
lot of work for the Republican Party, the McCain campaign, some of our
county organizations and the Republican National Committee,” Bennett

Conspiracy theories
It was Mr. Connell’s work in information technology for Republicans
that garnered him a national reputation and eventually involved him as
a witness in a federal lawsuit alleging election tampering. Mr.
Connell’s role as a witness has erupted a storm cloud of conspiracy
theories about his death on left-leaning Internet blog sites. Mr.
Connell was subpoenaed in the 2006 case against former Ohio Secretary
of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, alleging that voter fraud helped steal
Ohio votes and swing the 2004 election for President George W. Bush.
One of Mr. Connell’s companies ran computer servers for Ohio on
Election Night. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that by 9 p.m. on
Election Night 2004, the results were switched from the state server
to one set up by Connell’s, in the former Pioneer Bank Building in
Chattanooga, Tenn. It is alleged the same server was used to bundle
and remove White House e-mails regarding the 2005 federal prosecutor
firing scandal. Mr. Connell tried to fight the subpoena, but a judge
ruled against it and he gave a deposition on Nov. 3. It was through
the fight over the subpoena that attorneys who brought the case
learned that Mr. Connell and his wife had allegedly been threatened
with federal prosecution by Rove.

Bob Fitrakis, one of the Columbus attorneys who filed the lawsuit, a
former Green Party candidate for president and a political blogger
known for his conspiracy theories on election stealing in Ohio, said
word of Mr. Connell’s death ”sent a chill down my spine.” When the
threats came to light, Fitrakis said he and co-counsel Clifford
Arnebeck reported them both to the federal court and to the U.S.
attorney general. ”There is concern on my part and I hope it spills
over into an exhaustive investigation,” Fitrakis said. ”He was the
Bush family’s IT guru. He had tremendous knowledge and information.”
Fitrakis said in the deposition that Mr. Connell discussed the
apparatus he had put in place in Ohio in 2004 and other areas.
Fitrakis said those involved in the suit were hoping that Mr.
Connell’s deposition would lead them to Rove. Jason Mauk, executive
director of the Ohio Republican Party, discounted the conspiracy
theories. ”I don’t think Mike had nearly as much to do with that as
the tin-foil-hat community would believe,” he said.

IT man
But Mauk didn’t downplay Mr. Connell’s role as the country’s leading
IT man for Republican politics. ”Mike worked very hard every day to
get the Republican Party to keep pace with the rapidly developing
world of online communications,” Mauk said. ”Mike was a pioneer in
using technology to identify voters and mobilize volunteers. He was
using the Internet to develop new media tactics years before the Obama
campaign made it popular.” Through New Media Communications, Mr.
Connell developed Web sites for state, national and county Republican
parties and candidates as well as e-mail platforms for them, Mauk
said. ”We worked with Mike to overhaul our Web site and he made it
one of the most successful state party sites in all of the country. We
won an award for it,” he said.

Was Paul Wellstone Murdered?
BY Michael I. Niman  /  AlterNet  /  October 28, 2002
[“…rescued from Google’s cache after the original AlterNet piece
disappeared from the net.”]

“Various White House figures made numerous recent campaign stops
in Minnesota to stump for the ailing campaign of Wellstone’s
Republican opponent, Norm Coleman. Despite being outspent and
outgunned, however, polls show that Wellstone’s popularity surged
after he voted to oppose the Senate resolution authorizing George Bush
to wage war in Iraq. He was pulling ahead of Coleman and moving toward
a victory that would both be an embarrassment to the Bush
administration and to Democratic Quislings such as Hillary Clinton who
voted to support “the president.”

Then he died. Wellstone now joins the ranks of other American
politicians who died in small plane crashes. Another recent victim was
Missouri’s former Democratic governor, Mel Carnahan, who lost his life
in 2000, three weeks before Election Day, during his Senatorial race
against John Ashcroft. Carnahan went on to become the first dead man
to win a Senatorial race, humiliating and defeating the unpopular
Ashcroft posthumously. Ashcroft, despite his unpopularity, went on to
be appointed Attorney General by George W. Bush. Investigators
determined that Carnahan’s plane went down due to “poor visibility.”
One former senator, John Tower, also died in a small plane crash.
Tower was best known as the chair of the Tower Commission, which
investigated the Reagan/Bush era Iran/Contra scandal.

Anyone familiar with my work knows that I’m certainly not a
conspiracy theorist. But to be honest, I know I wasn’t alone in my
initial reaction at this week’s horrible and tragic news: that being
my surprise that Wellstone had lived this long. Perhaps it’s just my
anger and frustration at losing one of the few reputable politicians
in Washington, but I also felt shame. Shame for not writing in my
column, months ago, that I felt that Paul Wellstone’s life, more so
than any other politician in Washington, was in danger. I felt that
such speculation was unprofessional and would ultimately undermine my
credibility. In the end, my own self-interest triumphed, and I never
put my concerns into print. Neither did any other mainstream
journalist, though I know of many who shared my concern.

When I heard Wellstone’s plane went down, I immediately thought of
Panamanian General Omar Torrijos, who in 1981 thumbed his nose at the
Reagan/Bush administration and threatened to destroy the Panama Canal
in the event of a U.S. invasion. Torrijos died shortly thereafter when
the instruments in his plane failed to function upon takeoff.
Panamanians speculated that the U.S. was involved in the death of the
popular dictator, who was replaced by a U.S. intelligence operative,
Manuel Noreiga, who previously worked with George Bush Senior. There
is no indication today that Wellstone’s death was the result of foul
play. What we do know, however, is that Wellstone emerged as the most
visible obstacle standing in the way of a draconian political agenda
by an unelected government. And now he is conveniently gone. For our
government to maintain its credibility at this time, we need an open
and accountable independent investigation involving international
participation into the death of Paul Wellstone. Hopefully we will find
out, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that this was indeed an untimely
accident. For the sake of our country, we need to know this.

“It should be remembered that Wellstone also was the chairman of the
new securities reform committee. And it was Wellstone who was
attempting to block the nomination of the notorious William Webster,
former CIA and FBI head and the Best Friend of Big Business and the
Big Accounting Firms, to be the new chairman of the SEC/Accounting
“Oversight” Commission. If the Republicans wanted to take anybody out,
this was THE guy.” — Al Martin (Iran-Contra whistleblower)

The suspicious disturbing death of election rigger Michael Connell
BY Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman  /  December 20, 2008

Michael Connell, the crucial techno- lynch pin in the theft of the
2004 election, and much more, is dead at the age of 45. His unnatural,
suspicious death raises serious questions about the corruption of the
American electoral process that now may never be answered.

Connell died Friday, December 19 when his Piper Saratoga plane crashed
near his northern Ohio home. He was flying himself home from the
College Park, Maryland airport. An accomplished pilot, flying in
unremarkable weather, his death cuts off a critical path to much of
what may never be known about how the 2004 election was shifted from
John Kerry to George W. Bush in the wee hours of November 2. His plane
crashed between two houses in an upscale neighborhood, one vacant,
just 2.5 miles from the Akron-Canton airport.

A long-time, outspokenly loyal associate of the Bush family, Connell
created the Bush-Cheney website for their 2000 presidential campaign.
Connell may have played a role in various computer malfunctions that
helped the GOP claim the presidency in 2000. As a chief IT consultant
and operative for Karl Rove, Connell was a devout Catholic and the
father of four children. In various interviews and a deposition
Connell cited his belief that abortion is murder as a primary
motivating factor in his work for the Republican Party.

Connell recently wrote the following in his New Media Communications
newsletter, regarding Barack Obama’s election: “In our 230 year
history, our democracy has suffered worse fates. It’s just that none
come to mind right now.” Connell wrote: “This is just a moment in time
and this too shall pass. Enduring is the fact that 2000 years ago, a
babe was born in Bethlehem. When our Lord God sent his only Son for
our salvation,…In spite of the current economic and political
conditions, salvation is eternal.”

Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell hired Connell
in 2004 to create a real-time computer data compilation for counting
Ohio’s votes. Under Connell’s supervision, Ohio’s presidential vote
count was transmitted to private, partisan computer servers owned by
SmartTech housed in the basement of the Old Pioneer Bank building in
Chattanooga, Tennessee. Connell’s company, New Media Communications
worked closely with SmartTech in building Republican and right-wing
websites that were hosted on SmartTech servers. Among Connell’s
clients were the Republican National Committee, Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth and The SmartTech servers at one point housed
Karl Rove’s emails. Some of Rove’s email files have since mysteriously
disappeared despite repeated court-sanctioned attempts to review them.

In 2001, Michael Connell’s GovTech Solutions, LLC was selected to
reorganize the Capitol Hill IT network, the only private-sector
company to gain permission from HIR [House Information Resources] to
place its server behind the firewall, he bragged. At 12:20 am on the
night of the 2004 election exit polls and initial vote counts showed
John Kerry the clear winner of Ohio’s presidential campaign. The
Buckeye State’s 20 electoral votes would have given Kerry the

But from then until around 2am, the flow of information mysteriously
ceased. After that, the vote count shifted dramatically to George W.
Bush, ultimately giving him a second term. In the end there was a 6.7
percent diversion—in Bush’s favor—between highly professional,
nationally funded exit polls and the final official vote count as
tabulated by Blackwell and Connell.

Until his death Connell remained the IT supervisor for six
Congressional committees. But on the day before the 2008 election,
Connell was deposed by attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about
his actions during the 2004 vote count, and his continued involvement
in IT operations for the GOP, including his access to Rove’s e-mail
files and the circumstances behind their disappearance.

Various threats have been repeatedly reported involving Connell and
other IT experts close to the GOP. On July 24, 2008, Arnebeck emailed
Attorney General Michael Mukasey, stating: “We have been
confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that
Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have
identified in our King-Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus,

Connell’s death comes at a moment where election protection attorneys
and others appeared to be closing in on critical irregularities and
illegalities. In his pre-election deposition, Connell was generally
evasive, but did disclose key pieces of information that could prove
damaging to Karl Rove and the GOP. Examining attorneys in the King-
Lincoln-Bronzeville civil rights lawsuit, stemming from the 2004
election theft, were confident Connell had far more to tell. There is
widespread concern that this may be the reason he is now dead.

{Revised December 21, 2008: Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-
authored four books on election protection, including AS GOES OHIO and
HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICAS 2004 ELECTION…, available at, where this article first appeared. They are attorney
and plaintiff in the King- Lincoln-Bronzeville civil rights lawsuit which
subpoenaed and was deposing Michael Connell.}

Why Al Franken should NOT be riding private planes
BY Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman  /  December 23, 2008

The tragic and suspicious death of Karl Rove’s election thief in chief
should send a clear message to Al Franken and other key liberals:
don’t be riding in any small private planes. Death by air crash now
seems to be the favored means of ridding the Rovian right of
troublesome characters. The most recent is Michael Connell, who died
Friday night when his private plane crashed near his northern Ohio
home. Connell was the information techology whiz kid who helped Rove
steal the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, along with a few in
between—possibly including the 2002 senatorial campaign in Minnesota
that followed the death of Paul Wellstone.

Connell was an expert pilot whose plane crashed in clear weather. He
held virtually all the secrets to how George W. Bush was illegally
foisted on the American people—and the world—for eight horrifying
years. By manipulating computerized results in Florida 2000 and Ohio
2004 Connell made history. By some accounts, he was about to tell the
attorneys in the on-going King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal civil
rights lawsuit how he did it. He also approached expressed a
willingness to appear under oath before Congress. But now he is dead.

Current cover stories include the possibility that his plane ran out
of fuel. But its crash was accompanied by a very large fireball
explosion that burned for more than ten minutes. A trooper on the
scene immediately identified Connell, but newspaper accounts say his
body was charred beyond recognition.

Connell told various sources that he was being threatened by Rove. He
canceled at least two previous flights due to mechanical failure. A
father of four, his decision to fly from a highly restricted airport
in Maryland remains a mystery. Connell reportedly did contract work
for security-industrial agencies, like the CIA. Connell also openly
acknowledged that he was the first IT contractor to move his servers
behind the firewall of the US House of Representatves where he oversaw
the websites of the House Judiciary Committee, Intelligence Committee,
Ways and Means Committee, and Administrative Committee, arguably the
four most powerful committees in the House.

He now joins such critical players as Paul Wellstone, Mel Carnahan,
Ron Brown, Mickey Leland, John Tower, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and many
more critical public figures who have died in small plane crashes at
questionable moments. In all cases there are non-nefarious potential
explanations for their deaths. Conspiracy theories can, indeed, be

But so can their out-of-hand dismissal by coincidence theorists. Both
Wellstone and Carnahan died two weeks before critical Senatorial
elections they were favored to win in a divided Senate. In 2000,
Carnahan’s Missouri seat was taken by his wife, who subsequently lost
it. Wellstone, the leading liberal light in the US Senate, had been
personally threatened by Dick Cheney for opposing the Iraq war.
Wellstone’s plane crashed under dubious circumstances, carrying
himself, his wife and daughter. In an extremely questionable outcome,
Norm Coleman got his seat.

Coleman was hand-picked by Karl Rove to run against Wellstone. His
ensuing victory over stand-in candidate Walter Mondale was the highly
unlikely outcome of a messy, manipulated election that coincided with
equally dubious senatorial vote counts in Georgia and Colorado. Al
Franken may now be poised to take back the Wellstone seat for the
Democratic Party. As an Air America talk host, he repeatedly mocked
those who were investigating the theft of the 2004 election.

wanted poster

Lawyer to AG Mukasey: Rove Threatened GOP IT Guru If He Does Not ‘Take
the Fall’ for Election Fraud in Ohio
BY Brad Friedman  /  July 31, 2008

Letter Sent to Attorney General Mukasey Requesting ‘Protection for Mr.
Connell and His Family From This Reported Attempt to Intimidate a
Witness’ After Tip from ‘Credible Source’

Karl Rove has threatened a GOP high-tech guru and his wife, if he does
not “‘take the fall’ for election fraud in Ohio,” according to a
letter sent Thursday morning to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, by
Ohio election attorney Cliff Arnebeck. The email, posted in full
below, details threats against Mike Connell of the Republican firm New
Media Communications, which describes itself on its website as “a
powerhouse in the field of Republican website development and Internet
services” and having “played a strategic role in helping the GOP
expand its technological supremacy.”

Connell was described in a recent interview with the plaintiff’s
attorneys in Ohio as a “high IQ Forrest Gump” for his appearance “at
the scene of every [GOP] crime” from Florida 2000 to Ohio 2004 to the
RNC email system to the installation of the currently-used
Congressional computer network firewall. Connell and his firm are
currently employed by the John McCain campaign, as well as the RNC and
other Republican and so-called “faith-based” organizations.

In a phone call this afternoon, Arnebeck could not publicly reveal
specific details of the information that triggered his concern about
the threats to Connell. The message to the IT man from Rove is said to
have been sent via a go-between in Ohio. That information led Arnebeck
to contact Mukasey after he found the reports to be credible and
troubling. “If there’s a credible threat, which I regard this to be,”
he told The BRAD BLOG, “I have a professional duty to report it.”

Attempts to reach Connell for comment late this afternoon were not
successful. The disclosure from Arnebeck comes on the heels of a
dramatic announcement last week, made at a Columbus press
conference, announcing Arnebeck’s motion to lift a stay on the
long-standing King Lincoln Bronzwell v. Blackwell federal lawsuit,
challenging voting rights violations in the 2004 Presidential Election
in Ohio.

The motion was made following the discovery of new information,
including details from a Republican data security expert, leading
Arnebeck towards seeking depositions of Rove, Connell, and other GOP
operatives believed to have participated in the gaming of election
results in 2004. A letter [PDF] was sent to Mukasey at the same time
last week, asking him to retain email and other documents from Rove…

“Mr. Rove’s e-mails from the White House to the Justice Department,
the FBI, the Pentagon, Congress and various federal regulatory
agencies are obviously relevant to the factual issues that we intend
to address in this case,” Arnebeck wrote last week to the Attorney
General. “We are concerned about reports that Mr. Rove not only
destroyed e-mails, but also took steps to destroy the hard drives from
which they had been sent.”

In his email to Mukasey today, Arnebeck writes: “We have been
confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that
Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have
identified in our King Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus,
Ohio, that if he does not agree to ‘take the fall’ for election fraud
in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for supposed lobby law

“This appears to be in response to our designation of Rove as the
principal perpetrator in the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act/RICO claim
with respect to which we issued document hold notices last Thursday to
you and to the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform,” the
Ohio attorney writes, before going on to link to The BRAD BLOG’s
coverage of his press conference last week and requesting “protection
for Mr. Connell and his family from this reported attempt to
intimidate a witness.”

The complete, short email, sent today from Arnebeck to AG Mukasey,
follows in full below:

Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:51 AM
Subject: Report of Rove threats against witness Michael Connell

Dear Attorney General Mukasey:

We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be
credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal
witness we have identified in our King Lincoln case in federal court
in Columbus, Ohio, that if he does not agree to “take the fall” for
election fraud in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for
supposed lobby law violations.This appears to be in response to our
designation of Rove as the principal perpetrator in the Ohio Corrupt
Practices Act/RICO claim with respect to which we issued document hold
notices last Thursday to you and to the US Chamber of Commerce
Institute for Legal Reform. See: and

I have informed court chambers and am in the process of informing
the Ohio Attorney General’s and US Attorney’s offices in Columbus for
the purpose, among other things, of seeking protection for Mr. Connell
and his family from this reported attempt to intimidate a witness.

Concurrently herewith, I am informing Mr. Conyers and Mr. Kucinich
in connection with their Congressional oversight responsibilities
related to these matters.

Because of the serious engagement in this matter that began in
2000 of the Ohio Statehouse Press Corps, 60 Minutes, the New York
Times, Wall Street Journal, C-Span and Jim VandeHei, and the public’s
right to know of gross attempts to subvert the rule of law, I am
forwarding this information to them, as well.

Cliff Arnebeck, Attorney
Cell 614-361-9434

cc: Robert Fitrakis, Esq.
Henry Eckhart, Esq

Mike Connell was warned not to fly before plane crash
BY Wayne Madsen  /  Dec 22, 2008

WMR has learned from knowledgeable sources in Ohio that Republican
Party computer networking guru Mike Connell was warned not to fly in
anonymous warnings conveyed to principals in the ongoing federal civil
lawsuit of King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v.
Blackwell, stemming from GOP-engineered vote fraud in the 2004 Ohio
presidential election, as well as a potential Ohio racketeer-
influenced criminal organization (RICO) criminal proceeding against
former Bush White House aide Karl Rove and Blackwell, in the
conspiracy to illegally steer Ohioís 20 electoral votes to the Bush
column in 2004.

Connellís Piper Saratoga single-engine plane crashed during the
evening of December 19 in Uniontown, Ohio, as it was preparing to land
at Akron-Canton airport. There were no other passengers and Connell
was killed in the crash. Connell had flown to College Park, Maryland,
the previous day. Connell, who lived in Akron with his wife Heather
and four children, often flew to Washington for activities related to
his IT businesses.

Connellís name surfaced as a key player in Roveís election fraud
conspiracy after this yearís July 17 Columbus news conference hosted
by Cliff Arnebeck, the Ohio attorney who has been representing
plaintiffs in the federal civil suit against former Republican
Secretay of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. On the phone at the conference
was John McCain campaign adviser and computer security specialist
Stephen Spoonamore who identified Connell as a key player, as well as
potential trial witness, in the GOPís conspiracy to flip Ohio votes in
the 2004 election.

Spoonamore and Connell had reportedly worked together on foreign
elections in programs sponsored by the International Republican
Institute (ISI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Both
had traveled abroad together on special election projects to ensure
ìfair votingî procedures.

For the first time, WMR has learned that the GOP vote flipping
conspiracy was in place earlier than the November 2004 general
election and was used to deny votes to Democratic candidates John
Edwards and Dennis Kucinich in the March 2, 2004, Democratic primary.
John Kerry won the primary with 52 percent of the vote to 34 percent
for Edwards and 9 percent for Kucinich.

After Connell was identified as a potential witness in the civil case
against Blackwell and a possible criminal Ohio RICO case against Rove,
Blackwell, and perhaps others, the plaintiff attorneys received a tip
from a high-level source in the McCain presidential campaign that Rove
had issued a threat against Connell. Connell had worked for the 2008
McCain presidential campaign on the development of its web pages.

WMR has learned from our Ohio sources that five threats against
Connell were conveyed to the election fraud plaintiff attorneys with
the last tip being ìConnell is in danger.î One of the threats
reportedly made by Rove to Connell was that Connell could forget about
a pardon from President George W. Bush if he did not ìtake the fallî
in the event criminal charges were brought and that his wife Heather,
who was used as a majority stockholder for one of Connellís web design
companies, GovTech Solutions, would be prosecuted for illegal
lobbying. Connellís other company is New Media Communications, Inc.

We have also learned that one additional tip was relayed to Connellís
wife and it was to the effect that Connell ìwas in danger and he
should not fly his plane.

Connellís firms received contracts to place its servers behind the
House of Representatives firewall courtesy of then-House
Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney (R-OH), later jailed for his
role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying-influence peddling scandal. Connell
also designed and ran the web sites for the House Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence and the House Judiciary Committee. WMR has
learned that through effective GOP control of these web sites, the
Bush White House was able to monitor all committee e-mails and
documents, including planning documents for House Judiciary Committee
impeachment hearings against Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

We have also learned that Connellís IT firm did classified web site
development work for the CIA.

Based on the threats against Connell, the federal judge hearing the
civil suit King Lincoln v. Blackwell, conveyed to Connell that the
court would protect him if he came forward. On October 17, 2008,
Connellís attorneys attempted to quash an October 8, 2008, plaintiff
subpoena for his court appearance. On October 31, U.S. Judge Solomon
Oliver denied the motion to quash the subpoena and ordered Connellís
deposition to proceed on November 3, the day before Election Day. WMR
has learned that on Friday, October 31, Connell was nervous and ìbeet
redî during the hearing to quash the subpoena. On Monday, November 3,
Connell was composed and it is believed that his top shelf law firm
had been selected by Rove to represent Connell for the deposition.
Roveís intent was to ensure that there would be no deposition from
Connell before the November 4 election.

WMR has also learned that Connell was prepared to testify before the
House Judiciary Committee about the election fraud in Ohio and other
states but that the offer of testimony was not acted upon senior
staffers for House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). A
source in Columbus told us that some of Conyersí senior staffers on
his committee and in is office are not to be trusted on issues related
to election fraud.

In addition, Rove and the Bush White House attempted to forestall
testimony by election officials in Mahoning County and Youngstown,
Ohio, on election fraud in 2004 by promising to have former Rep. James
Traficant (D-OH), who is currently imprisoned after being convicted of
corruption, released early in return for their silence. Traficant is
not scheduled for release from federal prison until Sept, 2, 2009.

Mike Connell: A Trail of Questions At the End of the Road
BY luaptifer  /  12/23/2008

The crash of Michael Connell’s single-engine Piper last Friday leaves
a somber Christmas season ahead for his wife and four children and
ends the career of an information technology pioneer.  Connell’s
expertise drove the Republican Party onto the infotech highway of the
Internet era in time to seat the most famous of his three Bush clients
in the country’s top office. His death should mark the beginning of a
thorough examination of his political role inside the technology
infrastructures that elected and that supported an Administration so
widely recognized for politicizing the machine of Federal governance
and justice.

For the Bush dynasty’s RNC, Connell embodied a paraphrase of his
favorite place — he ~was~ the cutting-edge, not just at it.  His
partnership with the Party and its most powerful operatives (now known
as DCI Group among other names) gave its political and corporate
leaders the Internet edition of mass communication ‘astroturfing’
tools by which to engineer the consent of the public. His rapid rise
in the Party as the Internet also transformed the RNC’s ability to
coordinate its operations meant that, as the Republican revolution
asserted control over a Washington morphing into “dot gov”, Mike
Connell knew more than most about what can be done embedded inside
of government IT systems.

Over decades, Mike Connell has been more than a cybersurfer of
government IT systems.  He engineered wires and operating systems and
websites into the governments of Florida, Ohio, Texas, and the offices
which regulate the most sensitive of each branch of US Federal
government.  But Mike Connell was nothing if not a partisan.  Even as
most of the nation exulted in the change that Barack Obama’s election
signalled, Bob Fitrakis and Henry Wasserman report that Connell
lamented: “In our 230 year history, our democracy has suffered worse
fates. It’s just that none come to mind right now.”

His important legacy still seems poignantly illustrated by the simple
line (below) that we thought might focus the right attention to his

After nearly two years, the line image [at that address], misplaced by
his non-partisan GovTech Solutions in the House Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence during work for the Ohio GOP by his NewMedia
Communciations, is still greeting visitors to the Democratic majority-
controlled website.

After nearly a decade in which Karl Rove politically engineered the
policy machine of Federal government, the death of embedded
information engineer and Bush operative, Michael L. Connell, adds new
questions to those already proven difficult to answer but that must
still be asked. Towards answering those questions, we’ve tried to make
a comprehensive and chronological list of the reports by
ePluribusMedia researchers and writers from our first report of how
Mike Connell’s two companies bridged the political firewall between and Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell’s Election Night reporting service benefitting
the citizens of Ohio in the elections of 2004 and 2006.

Ohio GOP Website Model for Nation  /  April 1, 2004

Richfield, Ohio – The first in a series of state-focused GOP websites
was launched today with the goal of getting more Ohioans to think and
vote Republican. Designed by New Media Communications,, provides in-depth news and information on national,
state and local candidates and issues. Individual site visitors can also
customize it.

Having a single website that deals with everything from reelecting the
President to finding out more about who`s running for your local
county council is “extremely empowering for Republican voters,” New
Media President Mike Connell said. “This really is the future of state
parties, and sites like Ohio`s will become major tools in the
Republican arsenal,” he added.

As part of the national political toolkit, the site offers visitors
detailed information about the President`s agenda. It is action-
oriented and encourages interactivity. Visitors can download talking
points to help them articulate the Republican position on key issues.
They can also register to vote, volunteer, or make donations online.

Users who enter their residency and topical preferences can create
their own “myohiogop” site featuring the candidates and issues of
greatest importance to them. Local media contact information with
email links, county party pages, a “My events” section and detailed
information on state and local officials are all available to site
visitors. Their registration information, in turn, helps fuel the
Party`s database, which will aid in future message design and

“We’re really like the ‘Bell Labs’ of the Republican Party, developing
new technologies and electronic tools that will help the Party to gain
influence in key races up and down the ballot,” Connell said. “The
Ohio site is a strong prototype of what we hope to roll out all across
the country,” he added.

Working for a cause profitable, inspiring campaigns are on the
Internet now
BY Paula Schleis  /  Beacon Journal  /  February 22, 2008

With clients as diverse as John McCain for President 2008 and the
American Center for Law and Justice, Mike Connell finds great personal
satisfaction in the fact that his business can serve causes he
believes in. Last year, Mike Connell found himself on the border of
Thailand, teaching young people how to safely use technology to spread
the word of human-rights violations against Buddhist monks in
neighboring Myanmar (Burma). ”You have these incredibly brave
individuals who, in spite of the potential dangers, are willing to
blog . . . and tell the rest of the world what’s going on,” Connell

Helping people in oppressed countries and emerging democracies is one
area where Connell’s company, New Media Communications, sees growth.
But right now, the bills at this small Richfield company are primarily
paid by some very high-profile customers in the United States.
Connell’s team helped develop the John McCain for President Web site,
just as it helped develop the campaign Web sites for the last two Bush
presidential races.

New Media Communications was founded in 1995 by Connell, who was
bitten by the political bug in 1984 and never recovered. After
graduating from the University of Iowa, he worked on campaigns and
ended up on Capitol Hill as press secretary for former U.S. Rep.
Martin Hoke, R-Cleveland. Connell made the journey to Northeast Ohio
in 1994 after accepting Hoke’s offer to work in the district. An
Illinois native, Connell preferred to raise his young family in the
Midwest rather than in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Connell was watching with interest some wild advancements
in technology. ”I had the sense that there was something on the
horizon,” he said. ”I didn’t know exactly what it was.” ‘It’ turned
out to be the Internet, and in 1996, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole became
the first presidential candidates with campaign Web sites. They
weren’t very interactive. Connell called them ”billboards in the
sky.” But it was clear this new form of media had forever changed the

In 1998, New Media Communications was chosen to design the campaign
Web site for Jeb Bush son of a former president, brother to a future
president who went on to win the governor’s race in Florida. ”That’s
the race that put us on the map,” Connell said. In 2000, the Bush
family went to New Media again. The company built George Bush’s
presidential campaign Web site then, and four years later for his run
at a second term.

In between presidential elections, the company has built Web sites for
a variety of Republican candidates, for organizations like the
National Rifle Association and the American Center for Law and
Justice, even a companion site to the film The Case for Christ.
Connell said there is great personal satisfaction that his business
also serves causes he believes in. ”The one thing that I’ve learned
about myself is if I don’t get excited about something, it’s tough for
me to do the work,” he said.

That doesn’t mean everything has gone smoothly. At one time, New
Media employed more than 40 people, an upstart that made Inc.
magazine’s list of the country’s fastest-growing companies. But the
tech stock crash of 2001, followed by the terrorist attacks that year, led
to a slow but steady downsizing of the company. New Media now
employs 18 and Connell said that painful period ended up making the
company leaner and meaner.

Among other reasons, it now has the luxury of being picky about what
projects it takes on. When New Media was twice its size, it couldn’t
say no to a project. There was a payroll to meet and people who needed
to stay busy. But Connell said he wouldn’t mind growing in the
international arena. New Media has done work overseas since the late
1990s, starting with former communist countries that were learning
about democracy.

Connell found that people who had never run free elections before were
far more open to high-tech experiments than here in the United States,
where old habits die hard. When Slovenia went to the polls in 2000,
New Media organized a get-out-the-vote effort using cell-phone text
messaging. In a country with poor infrastructure, wireless technology
had leaped ahead of the Western world and 80 percent of the country’s
youth was texting.

That kind of work eventually led to Connell’s interest in helping
people communicate in closed societies, where governments censor the
Internet and imprison people who speak their minds. The risks were
made clear to Connell last year when he met a young man on the
Myanmar border who had spent much of his adult life in prison for
circulating lyrics to a song critical of the government.

In addition to training groups and individuals on how to use
technology without getting caught, Connell hopes New Media will
contribute to adapting that technology as governments learn how to
close old avenues down. He compared it to a game of cat and mouse.
”Part of the strategies in a lot of these areas is to prevent people
from letting the rest of the world know what’s really going on in the
country and how bad the conditions are and what the human-rights
violations are,” Connell said, ”so the Internet becomes a megaphone
for telling the rest of the world, ‘Hey, this is what’s really
happening here,’ and send out your cry for help.”

Mike Connell used tech in innovative ways to help politicians  /  July
12, 2005

When it comes to politics, the power of technology to rally followers
and spread a message is often taken for granted. But it hasn’t always
been so. Just ask Mike Connell. In 1995, after working for nearly a
decade as a database and computer guru in various political campaigns,
Connell started New Media Communications, dedicated to using
developing technologies such as the Internet to enhance political
campaigns. The only problem was, there weren’t any clients. Political
parties still relied on methods such as phone calls, direct mail
campaigns and door-to-door canvassing to reach voters. Internet
service was not yet a household item, and politicians didn’t want to
invest in such a limited resource.

Connell’s innovative idea was years ahead of his client base. It
wasn’t until 1997, two years after he started his business, that
Connell began to find work. Jeb Bush, a gubernatorial candidate in
Florida, called Connell about a Web site and Internet strategy,
establishing New Media Communications as the leader in new technology.
Since then, the company has developed Web sites, created Internet
strategies and launched e-mail campaigns for clients such as the Bush-
Cheney presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004, the Republican
National Committee, the National Crime Prevention Council, and for
various senators and governors.

In 2000, Connell orchestrated a cell phone text messaging campaign in
Slovenia that got record numbers of youth to vote, and that has been
replicated in every major European election since.”


“Donatelli, whose Virginia company sticks to Republican clients, said
Kerry’s site wasn’t as effective because it focused on fund raising
more than mobilizing voters. “Republicans used to be known as the
party that believed in organization. Then the Democrats took over our
role,” she said. “This time, the RNC put more focus on grass-roots
campaigning. The Web is perfect for that.”

Some of the ideas for spicing up came from
as far up the food chain as Bush’s senior adviser, Karl Rove. “The Bush
campaign, to their credit, ran a very tech-savvy campaign,” Connell
said. In the meantime, Connell said his company is just trying to
capitalize on the success of the past and move forward with cutting-
edge ways to reach voters. “Every four years, the presidential
campaigns are going to be the technology leaders,” he said.

Company history
New Media Communications was founded in 1994, and landed a contract
a few years later to run Jeb Bush’s online campaign in the Florida
governor’s race. Connell has deep ties to the Republican Party. He
worked on George H.W. Bush’s campaign for president in the 1980s and
later worked for his administration. When Connell founded New Media
Communications, the relationships he had developed helped the company
land contracts with Bush and Cheney in 2000, then Sen. George
Voinovich, the National Rifle Association, the Republican National
Committee and the Ohio Republican Party.

Those Web sites and others for congressional candidates brought in
more than $1.2 million between January 2003 and October 2004,
according to Dwight L. Morris & Associates, a consulting firm
specializing in campaign finance research. Being GOP isn’t a
requirement to work at New Media Communications, but it helps.

Running political Web sites is a big, but niche market. There aren’t
many players, Connell said, and business usually comes through word of
mouth. “It’s important you stick to your own side of the aisle,” he
said. New Media Communications’ allegiance is apparently paying off,
although Connell declined to say how well. “We do campaigns because we
love doing campaigns,” Connell said. “We don’t do them because they`re
highly lucrative.”

However, according to the Federal Election Commission, the company
received more than $800,000 from the Bush-Cheney campaign between
January 2003 and October 2004. That’s 42 percent of the $1.9 million
spent on the Web site altogether, according to Dwight L. Morris &

New Mediaís client list reads like a “Who’s Who” of Republican

“We have no glitzy marketing campaigns or slick sales force. So how
does a small company in Ohio amass such an impressive national and
international client list? Word-of-mouth and client referrals? Yes,
and doing great work is a given, but we also make it a priority to
build good working relationships with our clients. By partnering with
people we respect and building trust over time, New Media has become
known as the firm clients can consistently count on to deliver
solutions that make a difference over the long haul. Among the
political and issue advocacy clients New Media has been pleased to
serve are:

* Spence Abraham for Senate 2000
* Alabama Republican Party
* Lamar Alexander for Senate 2002
* American Center for Law & Justice
* American Solutions (Newt Gingrich)
* Arizona Republican Party
* Barton for Congress 2002/2004/2006
* BASF Government Relations
* Business Roundtable
* Bush-Brogan 1998/2002
* Bush-Cheney 2000/2004
* Bush-Cheney Presidential Transition
* Carmel Entertainment Group
* Center for the Study of Popular Culture
* Charles Schwab
* Citizens for Tax Repeal
* Citizens for the Protection of Marriage
* Cleveland Public Library
* Connecticut Republican State Central Committee
* Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)
* Delaware Republican Party
* Dick DeVos for Governor 2006
* District of Columbia Republican Party
* Elizabeth Dole for Senate 2002
* European Center for Law & Justice
* Florida Executive Office of the Governor
* Florida Republican Party
* Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
* Free Enterprise Fund
* Freedom Center (David Horowitz)
* The Freedom Project (John Boehner)
* Greater Cleveland Growth Association
* Mike Huckabee for Governor 2002
* Kenny Hulshof for Congress 2004/2006
* Hawaii Republican Party
* Idaho Republican Party
* Jim Inhofe for Senate 2008
* International Association of Political Consultants
* International Democrat Union
* International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES)
* International Republican Institute
* Iowa Republican Party
* Kansas Republican State Committee
* Kentucky Republican Party
* Louisiana Republican Party
* Mark Kennedy for Congress 2002/2004
* Maine Republican Party
* Maryland Republican Party
* Massachusetts Republican State Committee
* John McCain 2008 Presidential Committee
* Microsoft
* Montana Republican Party
* National Association of Manufacturers
* National Cable & Telecommunications Association
* National Federation of Independent Business
* National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action
* National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund
* New York City 2004 RNC Host Committee
* North Dakota Republican Party
* Ohioans for Blackwell 2002/2006
* Ohio Republican Party
* Oklahoma Republican Party
* Oregon Republican Party
* Republican Governors Association
* Republican Jewish Coalition
* Republican National Committee
* Republican Party of Arkansas
* Republican Party of New Mexico
* Republican State Central Committee of Nevada
* Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania
* Rhode Island Republican Party
* Pat Roberts for Senate 2008
* Jim Ryan for Governor 2002
* Rick Santorum for Senate 2000/2006
* Rob Simmons for Congress 2004
* Gordon Smith for Senate 2002
* South Carolina Republican Party
* South Dakota Republican Party
* Ted Stevens for Senate 2002
* Bob Taft for Governor 1998/2002
* John Thune for Senate 2002/2004
* Utah Republican Party
* Vermont Republican State Committee
* David Vitter for Senate 2004
* George Voinovich for Senate 2004
* Washington State Republican Party
* Heather Wilson for Congress 2000/2002/2004/2006
* Heather Wilson for Senate 2008
* Wyoming Republican Party ”

Legal Worries Over Missing Emails Grow
BY John D. McKinnon  /  April 16, 2007
“The revelation of missing emails at the White House and Republican
National Committee could become a legal headache as well as a
political problem for President Bush. The clock already is ticking on
the administration’s promise to Congress to find out what happened.
Senate Judiciary Committee leaders plan to meet with White House
Counsel Fred Fielding today to “get this matter moving forward…so
that we can figure out whether anything wrong was done,” Sen. Arlen
Specter (R-PA) said on ABC’s “This Week.” Critics say the White House
has violated the Presidential Records Act, a 1978 law that requires
each administration to maintain an adequate record of its
deliberations. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino acknowledged on
Thursday that “We screwed up.” What’s of equal concern, potentially,
are the legal obligations that arose for the White House because of
federal investigations into the leaking of the identity of a CIA
agent, Valerie Plame Wilson, and into Republican lobbyist Jack
Abramoff. Once those investigations began, the legal burden on the
White House to preserve emails grew. The key issue for the White House
is whether people involved in the erasures intended to impede an







“Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney in the controversial King-Lincoln v.
Ohio Sec. of State lawsuit, talks about the aim of the suit and the
impact on the planned fix of the recent election of deposing under
oath Mike Connell, head IT operative for the Republican Party and the
McCain campaign, on the day before the vote.”




Rove E-Mail Sought by Congress May Be Missing
RNC Took Away His Access to Delete Files in 2005
BY Michael Abramowitz  /  April 13, 2007

A lawyer for the Republican National Committee told congressional
staff members yesterday that the RNC is missing at least four years’
worth of e-mail from White House senior adviser Karl Rove that is
being sought as part of investigations into the Bush administration,
according to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform

GOP officials took issue with Rep. Henry Waxman’s account of the
briefing and said they still hope to find the e-mail as they conduct
forensic work on their computer equipment. But they acknowledged that
they took action to prevent Rove — and Rove alone among the two dozen
or so White House officials with RNC accounts — from deleting his e-
mails from the RNC server. Waxman (D-Calif.) said he was told the RNC
made that move in 2005.

In a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Waxman said the
RNC lawyer, Rob Kelner, also raised the possibility that Rove had
personally deleted the missing e-mails, all dating back to before
2005. GOP officials said Kelner was merely speaking hypothetically
about why e-mail might be missing for any staffer and not referring to
Rove in particular.

The disclosures helped fan the controversy over what the White House
has acknowledged to be the improper use of political e-mail accounts
to conduct official government business. Democrats are suspicious that
Rove and other senior officials were using the political accounts, set
up by the RNC, to avoid scrutiny from Congress. E-mails already in the
public record suggest that at least some White House officials were
mindful of a need not to discuss certain matters within the official
White House e-mail system.

Yesterday, congressional Democrats denounced the White House after
administration officials acknowledged this week that e-mails dealing
with official government business, including the firing of U.S.
attorneys, may have been lost because they were improperly sent
through political messaging accounts. Twenty-two White House officials
— and a total of about 50 over the course of the administration —
have been given such accounts to avoid doing political work on
government equipment. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the
Judiciary Committee, accused the White House of lying about the
matter. He was joined by the ranking Republican on the committee, Sen.
Arlen Specter (Pa.), in calling on the White House to join Congress in
setting up a “fair and objective process for investigating this

“You can’t erase e-mails, not today,” Leahy said in an angry speech on
the Senate floor. “They’ve gone through too many servers. Those e-
mails are there — they just don’t want to produce them. It’s like the
infamous 18-minute gap in the Nixon White House tapes.” White House
officials rejected that explanation. “What we have done has been
forthcoming, honest,” spokeswoman Dana Perino said. “We are trying to
understand to the best of our ability the universe of the e-mails that
were potentially lost, and we are taking steps to make sure that we
use the forensics that are available to retrieve any of those that are

The disclosures came as White House counsel Fred F. Fielding rejected
demands for a compromise on providing testimony and records to
Congress related to the prosecutor firings. In a letter to the heads
of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, Fielding said the White
House is standing firm with its “unified offer,” which would include
providing a limited set of documents. The White House has proposed
allowing Rove and other aides to be interviewed privately, without a
transcript and not under oath.

Fielding also wrote that it “remains our intention to collect e-mails
and documents” from the RNC and other outside accounts used by White
House officials. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved, but did not
issue, new subpoenas for the Justice Department yesterday.

Gonzales, meanwhile, has been preparing for a pivotal appearance on
Tuesday before the committee, including mock testimony sessions
lasting up to five hours a day, officials said. E-mails from Rove and
other White House officials potentially figure in a number of
congressional investigations. Democrats are seeking the RNC e-mails as
part of an effort to determine the extent of Rove’s role in firing the
U.S. attorneys and the alleged politicization at the General Services

The RNC yesterday turned over to the White House a copy of e-mail
records for administration officials still on the RNC server to
determine whether any of them are privileged or whether they can be
provided to congressional investigators. Officials indicated that they
would include post-2005 e-mails from Rove.

GOP officials said they are also trying to determine whether they can
recover other e-mail that may have been deleted through regular purges
of e-mails or by deliberate deletion by White House staff. Waxman said
the RNC indicated that it had destroyed all e-mail records from White
House officials in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

In 2004, the RNC exempted White House officials from its policy of
purging all e-mail after 30 days, so any lost e-mail after that date
would have been presumably deleted by a White House official. “We do
not know what exists pre-2005 — we are in the process of trying to
determine what, if anything, does,” RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt
said. Another GOP official familiar with the inner workings of the RNC
said officials have no evidence that Rove had deliberately deleted any
e-mail. Kelner referred calls to the RNC, and the White House said
Rove was not available to comment.

Republican officials also said there was nothing nefarious in their
decision to take precautions to preserve Rove’s e-mail. According to
Waxman, Kelner told his staff that the RNC commenced a program in
2005 that took away Rove’s ability to personally delete his e-mails.
GOP officials said that was done only to preserve records for possible
use in legal settings, not out of any concern that Rove would seek to
scrub his e-mail account.

Erasing an e-mail message beyond hope of retrieval is not easy,
experts said. In general, deleting any file on a computer does not
make it go away, because the computer normally will erase not the file
but rather its own records of it. “The data is not gone until it is
overwritten,” said John Christopher, senior data-recovery engineer at
Novato, Calif.-based DriveSavers. The “deleted” file will remain on
the hard drive, where it can still be found and read until other data
are saved to the same spot.

The same thing happens with e-mail: Trashing a message only means
that the mail program clears its records of where it had filed that e-mail
in its own database. Paul Robichaux, a principal with the Redmond,
Wash., technology services firm 3Sharp and the author of three books
about Microsoft’s e-mail software, compared it to a library that
removes the entry for a book from its card catalogue: “The book is
still on the shelf.”

RE: Those Missing White House Emails

Subpoenas have been authorized, the press is swarming, the Bush
administration’s flacks are taking a pounding ó I think it’s safe to
say that the White House email controversy has officially blossomed
into a full-blown scandal. This week the White House acknowledged that
it may have “lost” an unspecified number of emails that were sent by
staffers who used non-governmental, RNC-issued email addresses in what
seemed at times a conscious effort to prevent their correspondence
from becoming public record. “We screwed up, and we’re trying to fix
it,” White House spokesperson Dana Perino told the press yesterday.
She noted that only “a small slice” of the president’s staff ó among
them Karl Rove and his deputies ó used email addresses, along with
BlackBerrys and laptops, supplied by the RNC. However, no mention has
been made ó and it’s possible that in the end there may be no way of
knowing ó of just how many administration officials were circumventing
the White House servers by using conventional Web mail services, such
as Yahoo! or Gmail. This also appears to have been a fairly common
practice among staffers who, as one administration official told U.S.
News & World Report in 2004, “don’t want my email made public.”

As the White House comes under increasing scrutiny, the picture just
keeps getting bleaker. We learned yesterday, for instance, that until
August 2004 the RNC had a policy of deleting emails on its servers
that were more than 30 days old. After “legal inquires,” presumably
those of CIA leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, the committee began
saving the correspondence of White House officials. So, since Karl
Rove is said to use his RNC address 95 percent of the time, and is a
well known email fanatic, the RNC should have quite a hefty record of
his communications, right? Strangely, the RNC doesn’t have records of
a single Rove email until 2005, which, as the committee’s counsel Rob
Kelner told members of Henry Waxman’s Government Reform Committee,
may have been because Rove was deleting them himself. This, it seems,
is what led the RNC to remove Rove’s ability to delete his messages and
place an automatic archiving function solely on his account. Today,
Rove’s lawyer Robert Luskin explained that his client didn’t
intentionally purge his emails ó rather, in the course of routine
housekeeping, he would delete emails to keep his inbox in order. “His
understanding starting very, very early in the administration was that
those e-mails were being archived,” Luskin said.

Beyond Rove’s missing emails, and others the White House believes
may have been lost due to the RNC’s email purging policy, it seems
there is another trove of emails that are unaccounted for ó millions of
them, actually. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and
Ethics in Washington reported yesterday that, according to two
sources, “in addition to the so-called political emails sent through
private accounts, there are over five million emails sent on White
House servers over a two-year period that are also missing.” In 2005,
according to CREW, the White House Office of Administration discovered
a problem with its archiving system and, after looking further into
the issue, realized “there were hundreds of days in which emails were
missing for one or more of the EOP [Executive Office of the President]
components subject to the PRA [Presidential Records Act].” Though a
plan was drawn up to recover the missing emails, CREW says, no action
was ever taken to retrieve the lost messages.

In its report, CREW also raises two issues that I brought up in my
original story on the controversy. The first is the Hatch Act
“excuse,” as CREW puts it. The White House has maintained (and the
press hasn’t challenged) that administration officials with political
duties were using a separate, RNC-administered email system in order
to avoid breaching Hatch, which prohibits federal employees from
engaging in political activity on the job. This certainly seems like a
reasonable explanation, unless you actually read the law. It states
clearly that Senate-confirmed presidential appointees and staffers
whose salaries are paid from an appropriation for the Executive Office

of the President (read: White House officials) are allowed to engage
in political activity that is otherwise prohibited to other federal
employees ó for instance, they are allowed to talk strategy with the
RNC anytime, anywhere ó as long as the associated costs are not picked
up by taxpayers. While in the Clinton White House separate computer
terminals were apparently set aside for staffers with political
duties, the use of partisan email addresses is a new and highly
unusual wrinkle. As Steven Aftergood, the director of the Federation
of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy told me a couple
weeks back, “It shows how closely intertwined the White House is with
its partisan allies. The fact that the White House and the RNC are
working hand in hand and White House officials are using RNC emails is
itself remarkable.”

The other question I raised has to do with an intriguing line in a
January 2006 letter from Patrick Fitzgerald to Scooter Libby’s defense
team that’s buried deep in the USA v. Libby docket. In it, Fitzgerald
informs Libby’s lawyers that the prosecution had “learned that not all
email of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of the
President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the
normal archiving process on the White House computer system.” Karl
Rove’s lawyer told the AP today that Fitzgerald had access to emails
from Rove’s various accounts. He also noted that, in addition to the
White House, the prosecutor subpoenaed records from the RNC and the
president’s reelection campaign. “There’s never been any suggestion
that Fitzgerald had anything less than a complete record,” Luskin

Considering that we now know that millions of White House emails are
potentially MIA, all of them drafted during a time period that would
have been relevant to Fitzgerald’s investigation, if that hasn’t been
suggested before it certainly will be now.

White House Emails: The Missing Link?
BY Rebecca Abrahams  /  October 21, 2008

Attorney General Michael Mukasey has appointed prosecutor Nora Dannehy
to investigate whether former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and
other Administration officials should face criminal charges in the
firing of nine US attorneys. The launch of this investigation follows
a 358-page report citing a lack of cooperation by senior White House
officials and the Justice Department in Congress’ inquiry into the US
prosecutor purge. A critical link to the Justice Department and White
House’s involvement in the firings lies in the missing White House
emails, which have reportedly been purged from White House servers.

Although several administration officials, including Gonzales have
testified before the Judiciary Committee, there is one person, yet to
be interviewed, who may hold the keys to the missing emails — Bush IT
expert Mike Connell. Most people have never heard of Mike Connell. But
that’s no surprise as the very nature of his job keeps him behind the
scenes. Connell is the architect and cyber keymaster of George W. Bush
election websites including and, the site
Karl Rove used for 95-percent of his email communication. Connell is
also the CEO of Govtech Solutions, the company responsible for
building and managing congressional email servers and firewalls.

According to SourceWatch, Connell also developed websites for the
House Intelligence, Judiciary, Financial Services, Ways and Means, and
Administration Committees. For obvious reasons, this would appear to
be a conflict of interest since Connell has a history of building
partisan websites including, anti-Kerry website and former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth J
Blackwell’s election websites, to name a few. Connell currently heads
up IT for the McCain campaign.

Like former Diebold CEO Wally O’Dell who in 2004 penned a letter
stating he was committed “to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes
to the President,” Mike Connell told Inside Business magazine in 1999,
“I’m loyal to my friends and I’m loyal to the Bush family.”

An October 11, 2006 meeting between Connell, GovTech Solutions
President Randy Cole (who is now running for State Representative in
Ohio) and Cybrinth CEO Stephen Spoonamore, raises more than a few
questions regarding Connell’s loyalty to the Bushes. At the time,
Spoonamore, a leading cyber security expert, was considering a project
with Connell. During this meeting, Spoonamore indicated that Connell
asked him about ways to “permanently destroy hard drives.” Spoonamore
said, “If this is what I think you’re talking about, this meeting is
over.” Spoonamore provided the following notes from his meeting, which
was confirmed by a source close to the situation:

“On Oct 11, 2006: 14:30-16:00 Mike Connell and others from his firm
(s) met with me and others from my firm at the Cybrinth LLC offices to
discuss three things:
1 – Some overseas IT incidents that effected clients both of us
service in a negative manner. Nothing to do with White House that I
know of.
2 – Cybrinth’s ongoing work in data destruction to protect
communications from latency intercepts. This was something of keen
interest to them, and Cybrinth has better working knowledge of this
area than they did at that time. We were, and are, working on this
issue for several elite clients.
3 – GovTech’s needs to upgrade email and communication system
security with several clients. Mike specifically stated this included
some systems impacting the White House email. I don’t know if these
were .gov domains or off-the-books domains.”

Spoonamore says while he doesn’t know whether Connell had a role in
the White House email purge, he’s a vital to uncovering the truth
about the missing communications. Spoonamore adds, Connell has
knowledge of where the emails were routed and where they may be
recovered because he built and maintained the system. “Mike is much
more of a partisan than I am… and has been involved, certainly in
building the front ends, the website application ends of many of the
same people that I would have concerns about and would like to talk

While the last time the two met was nearly two years ago, Spoonamore
and Connell’s paths continue to cross in unexpected ways. Spoonamore,
a life-long Republican, is currently serving as a star witness in a
lawsuit charging the GOP with rerouting Ohio 2004 election headquarter
tabulators to SmartTech servers in Chatanooga, Tennessee before
releasing them to Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s office. The
lawsuit maintains that Karl Rove, with the assistance of Mike Connell,
architected and directed a strategy to manipulate elections through
the use of computers. Although this all sounds like fodder for
conspiracy theorists, it should be noted that SmartTech servers also
run the and websites and email systems.

Spoonamore links GovTech and SmartTech in the following email dated
June 12, 2007: “There is no difference between GovTech and SmartTech.
Randy Cole and his wife, siblings and a few friends own a rainbow of
companies, all privately held, and constantly changing names. He has
two long time guys who I know, who also run his A-List operations.
Mike Connell (Plans the Operations) + Michael Gaines (IT lead
architect on many projects). All of his companies do the following
things almost interchangably:
GOP Campaign Work (Bush00, Bush Transition Team, Bush04, 40+ GOP
Congress runs, 25+ GOP Senate runs etc)
GOP Computer Support for GOP operations (some of it nasty)
Anti-Abortion Groups Computers (He does them for free for the Tax
Write Off via sponsor churches)
Radical Christian Fascists Church Computers (Again for Free for
the Tax Write offs)
Government Agency Contracts (Including several committees on the
House and Senate side from 01-06)
GOP Mass Mailing/Phone Bank computers

These are all companies controlled by Randy Cole, either openly,
or via direct family/political ties:
SmartTech Solutions
New Media Communications
New Media Solutions
GovTech Solutions (this one built a lot of systems on the Hill)
Government Technology Systems
Government Technology Solutions (Also had/has Hill contracts)
SmartTouch Technologies
Christian Computer Services
New Life Technologies
The Message Technologies

He also has some phone bank companies, but I have never dug into
that nest of issues. They even tried to hire Cybrinth last year to
increase the security for some of their ‘more sensitive’ clients.
Among those they included the RNC, but not the Hill.”

Connell has been subpoenaed and ordered to produce documents related
to the case. He responded by hiring three high-powered GOP-connected
attorneys, including Bill Todd, former counsel to Bush/Cheney ’04.
Connell’s attorneys filed a motion to quash the subpoena and an
affidavit stating that his information is confidential. Ohio Attorney
Cliff Arnebeck is attempting to secure a court order to enforce the
subpoena, convinced Connell’s has vital information about SmartTech
and the 2004 election. I contacted Connell on several occasions to ask
him about his meeting with Spoonamore, the White House emails and the
lawsuit, but did not receive a response. Perhaps Nora Dannehy will
have better luck.

Republican IT Specialist Dies in Plane Crash  /  12.22.2008

A top Republican internet strategist who was set to testify in a case
alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died in a plane crash.
Michael Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove and created
websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns. Michael Connell
was deposed one day before the election this year by attorneys Cliff
Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the 2004 vote count
in Ohio and his access to Karl Roveís email files and how they went

AMY GOODMAN: A top Republican internet strategist who was set to
testify in a case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died
in a plane crash. Mike Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl
Rove and created websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns.
He also set up the official Ohio state election website reporting the
2004 presidential election returns.

Connell was reportedly an experienced pilot. He died instantly Friday
night when his private plane crashed in a residential neighborhood
near Akron, Ohio.

Michael Connell was deposed one day before the election this year by
attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the
2004 vote count and his access to Karl Roveís email files and how they
went missing.

Velvet Revolution, a non-profit investigating Connellís activities,
revealed this weekend that Connell had recently said he was afraid
George Bush and Dick Cheney would ìthrow [him] under the bus.î Cliff
Arnebeck had also previously alerted Attorney General Michael Mukasey
to alleged threats from Karl Rove to Connell if he refused to ìtake
the fall.î

Well, Mark Crispin Miller joins us now, a professor of media culture
and communication at New York University, the author of several books,
including Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of
Democracy, 2000-2008 and Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004
Election & Why Theyíll Steal the Next One Too. Mark Crispin Miller us
now in our firehouse studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Itís good to be here, Amy. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Alright, well, we had you on right before the election,
because thatís when Mike Connell was being deposed. This news that
came out of his death in a plane crash on Friday night, talk about
what you understand has happened.

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, I cannot assert with perfect confidence
that this was no accident, but I will say that the circumstances are
so suspicious and so convenient for Rove and the White House that I
think weíre obliged to investigate this thing very, very thoroughly.
And that means, first of all, taking a close look at some of the
stories that were immediately circulated to account for what happened,
that it was bad weather. That was the line they used when Wellstoneís
plane went down. There had been bad weather, but it had passed two
hours before. And this comes from a woman at the airport information
desk in Akron. Weíre told that his plane was running out of gas, which
is a little bit odd for a highly experienced pilot like Connell, but
apparently, when the plane went down, there was an explosion, a
fireball that actually charred and pocked some of the house fronts in
the neighborhood. People can go online and see the footage that news
crews took. But beyond the, you know, dubiousness of the official
story, we have to take a close look atóand a serious look at all the
charges that Connell was set to make.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, he had asked the Attorney General Mukasey for
protective custody, because of threats to him and his wife?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: He reported threats to his lawyer, Cliff
Arnebeck, and Arnebeckóalso, Velvet Revolution heard from tipsters, as
well, tipsters who also claimed that Connellís life was at risk.
Stephen Spoonamore, the whistleblower who was the firstówho was the
one to name Connell in the first place, also had an ear to the inside.
Heís also very connected. And all these people were saying Rove is
making threats, the White House is very worried about this case.

Having heard all this, Arnebeck contacted Mukasey, he contacted Nancy
Rogers, who is the Ohio Attorney General, and he wrote a letter to the
court, telling all of them that ìThis man should be in protective
custody. He is an important witness in a RICO case. Please do
something to look after him.î And they didnít respond to this.

AMY GOODMAN: So, explain what this case is all about and exactly what
Mike Connell has been doing over these last years. What does it mean
to be Karl Roveís IT guru?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, the lawyers in the case refer to him as a
high-IQ Forrest Gump, by which they mean that he seems to have been
present at the scene of every dubious election of the last eight
years. Weíre talking about Florida in 2000. Weíre talking about Ohio
in 2004. Weíre talking about Alabama in 2002. He seems to have been
involved in the theft of Don Siegelmanís re-election for governor.
Thereís some evidence that links him with the Saxby Chambliss-Max
Cleland Senate race in Georgia in 2002. To be Karl Roveís IT guru
seems to have meant basically setting it up so that votes could be
electronically shaved to the disadvantage of the Democrats and the
advantage of Republicans.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, ‘electronically shaved’? I mean,
you’ve got all these precincts all over Ohio. Theyíre counting up their
votes. What does he have to do with this?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, specifically, thereís a computer
architecture setup called ìMan in the Middle,” which involves shunting
the election returns from, you know, the state in questionóin this
case, Ohioóshunting them to a separate computer elsewhere. All of the
election returns in Ohio in 2004 went from the Secretary of Stateís
websiteóthis is Ken Blackwellóto a separate computer in a basement in
Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was under the control of another private
company called SMARTech.

So we have now two private companies: GovTech Solutions, which is
Connellís company, SMARTech, which is run by a guy named [Jeff]
Averbeck. And the companyóthe third private company that managed the
voting tabulators in Ohio was called Triad. All three of these
companies worked closely together on election night in Ohio in 2004.
It turns out that the stateís own IT person was sent home at 9:00 p.m.
They said, ìGo ahead. Go home. Weíll take care of this.î So that this
trio of highly partisan and, let me add, Christianist companies
basically took over the wholeó

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, ‘Christianist’?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, theyíre radical theocratic activists,
particularlyóparticularly Triad and SMARTech. You know, they are
fervently anti-choice.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Mike Connell was, in factómany said thatís what
motivated him through all of this, his fierce anti-abortion stance.

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: He toldóConnell told Spoonamore that one of the
primary reasons why he helped Bush-Cheney steal elections was to save
the babies. I do think, though, that we have to draw a distinction
between Connell, on the one hand, and the Averbeck and the Rapp
family, on the other hand, because Connell was far less ferocious in
his political views. He was an ardent anti-abortionist, itís true, but
he wasnít quite as hardcore as the others. And in fact, you know, he
was a little bit alienated from the others, and thatís one of the
reasons why he was inclined to talk, and so on.

But the fact is, to answer your question, that on election night in
2004, it had been Connell, with these other two companies working with
him, who had managed the computer setup, enabling Ken Blackwell to
study the maps of precincts and voter turnout very carefully and
figure out how many votes they need. By shunting the data to
Chattanooga, they kind of slowed down the data stream.

AMY GOODMAN: Wasnít Karl Roveís email also there in Chattanooga on
some of these servers?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Yes, yes. The same servers were used to host a
whole bunch of highly partisan websites. And also, indeed, Karl Roveís
emails were on that server, too.

AMY GOODMAN: That have gone missing.

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: That have gone missing. Incidentally, Stephen
Spoonamore, again, the whistleblower whoís the one who named Connell,
has told usóand Iíve seen his own contemporary notesó

AMY GOODMAN: And explain again who he was. Why was he in a position
to whistleblow?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Stephen Spoonamore is a conservative Republican,
a former McCain supporter and a very prominent expert at the detection
of computer fraud. Heís the star witness in the Ohio lawsuit, right,
in which Connell was involved. He has done extensive work of this
kind, involving computer security, and had therefore worked with
Connell, knew Connell personally and knew a lot of the people who were
involved in the sort of cyber-security end of the Bush operation.

Despite his conservatismóor I suppose some would say because of itó
heís a man of principleóI mean, believes in the Constitution. He
believes elections should be honest. Heís the one who came forward and
named Connell.

And I have seen his notes of a conversation in which Connell asked
Spoonamore how one would go about destroying White House emails. To
this, Spoonamore said, ìThis conversation is over. Youíre asking me to
do something illegal.î But clearly, clearlyóthis is the important point
óMike Connell was up past his eyeballs in the most sensitive and
explosive aspects of this crime family that, you know, has been
masquerading as a political party.

AMY GOODMAN: And what did Fitrakis, the attorney who has brought the
suit with Harvey Wasserman, the Ohio lawsuit, learn in the deposition
of Mike Connell in the day before the election, which hardly got
attention, considering it was the day before this historic election?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Yeah. Harvey wasnít part of it. Harvey writes
articles with Bob. Itís Bob Fitrakis and Cliff Arnebeck are the
attorneys. They learned very little. What they learned was that Bush-
Cheney lawyer who accompanied Connell to the deposition was watching
the whole thing like a hawk, repeatedly objected to questions. Connell
was stonewalling like crazy at this deposition.

They only learned one thing. And that was, they got confirmation that
it was Connell who brought these other private companies into the
arrangement, in addition to his own GovTech Solutions. Again, there
was Triad and SMARTech. It was Connell who brought those three
companies into one unit, so that the three of them were, in effect,
handling Ohioís election returns on election night under Connellís
supervision. Thatís what we learned.

We also know, Amy, that since the depositionóI want to make this
clear; we said it before, I want to repeat itóthat Connell has
indicated very clearly a desire to talk further, to tell more, whether
itís his conscience bothering him or whether itís fear of some kind of
a perjury charge because of how vigorously he stonewalled at the
deposition. He made it known to the lawyers, he made it known to
reporter Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story, that he wanted to talk. He
was scared. He wanted to talk. And I say that he had pretty good
reason to be scared.

AMY GOODMAN: So why did he fly inówhy did he pilot his own plane
when he was so afraid?

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, thatís a good question. We canít ask him,
unfortunately. I mean, this is kind of a grisly thought, but, I mean,
I think we should be asking where the body is? Weíre told that a
trooper on the scene immediately identified Connell. But then we read
elsewhere that there was nothing left but debris and that the fireball
was enormous. So maybe he wasnít on the plane. I mean, who knows, when
youíre dealing with people as deep as these?

But the point isóI canít stress this strongly enoughóweíre dealing not
just with a shocking accident, if thatís what it was, and a convenient
one. Weíre dealing not even just with a particular lawsuit that, you
know, really requires vigorous promotion. The important point here is
that this is all about our elections. Thatís what this is about. This
is about democratic self-government.

The fact that Obama won so handily has caused a lot of us to sit back
and relax. Thereís been a lot of popping of champagne corks and people
drawing the conclusion that the system must work, because our guy won.
Well, this is not a sports event. This is self-government.

In fact, the evidence strongly suggestsóand we havenít had a chance to
talk about this since Election Dayóthat Obama probably won by twice as
many votes as we think. Probably a good seven million votes for Obama
were undone through vote suppression and fraud, because the stuff was
extensive and pervasive, in places where you wouldnít expect it.

The Illinois Ballot Integrity Project was monitoring the vote in
DuPage County, right next door to Obamaís, you know, backyard, Cook
County. And two of them, in only two precincts on Election Day, saw
with their own eyes 350 voters show up, only to be turned away, told,
ìYouíre not registered,î people who were registered, who voted in the
primary. All but one of these people was black. Thatís in Illinois.

People at the Election Defense Alliance have discovered, from sifting
through the numbers, an eleven-point red shift in New Hampshire. That
means that thereís a discrepancy in Obamaís disfavor, primarily
through use of the optical scan machines, an eleven-point discrepancy
in the Republicansí favor, OK?

You start to combine this with all the vote suppression, all the
disenfranchisement, all the vote machine flipping that went on in this
election, you realize, OK, Obama won, but millions of Americans, most
of them African American and students, you know, were not able to
participate in any civic sense, ironically, a lot of the same people,
you know, who would have been disenfranchised and were
disenfranchised before the civil rights movement. So the fact that a
black president was elected, while cause for jubilation, see, ought not
to take place at the expense of a whole lot of our fellow citizens who
seem to have been disenfranchised on racial grounds. My point is very
simply this: Weíve got to get past the victory of Obama and look
seriously at what our election system is like, or else, I promise you,
see, the setup that was put in place in this last election, in 2004 and
in 2000, OK, will still be there in 2010, still be there in 2012. So weíve
got to take steps to do something about it now.

The Emails the White House Doesn’t Want You to See
BY Daniel Schulman  /  March 30, 2007

The U.S Attorney firings provide more evidence of the Bush
administration avoiding its own email system (and accountability,
posterity, prosecution)

On February 6, 2003, lobbyist Jack Abramoff sent an email to his
former executive assistant Susan Ralston, who had since gone on to
work for Karl Rove, requesting that she pass along an important
message to her boss. A Louisiana Indian tribe, the Jena band of
Choctaws, was seeking to acquire land for a casino, a project at odds
with the interests of Abramoff’s tribal clients who feared it would
siphon business from their own gaming establishments. Abramoff wanted
Rove to intercede and “to get some quiet message from the WH [White
House] that this is absurd.” After Ralston agreed to pass along word,
Abramoff replied to thank her. But he slipped up.

Instead of responding to an email account administered by the
Republican National Committee ( as he had
intended, he sent the message to Ralston’s White House address. The
following day Abramoff was alerted to his error by a colleague, Kevin
Ring, who’d spoken to a White House official to whom Abramoff’s
request had been forwarded. “She said it is better to not put this
stuff in writing in their email system because it might actually limit
what they can do to help us, especially since there could be lawsuits,
etc.,” Ring wrote. Abramoff responded swiftly: “Dammit. It was sent to
Susan on her rnc [Republican National Committee] pager and was not
supposed to go into the WH system.”

The significance of this intriguing exchange, which was among
thousands of emails reviewed by investigators for the House Government
Reform Committee as part of an extensive investigation into Abramoff,
might have gone unrecognized had it not been for another scandal, this
one involving the abrupt firings of eight U.S. Attorneys. As the
controversy intensified in early March and hearings were held, the
Department of Justice was forced to release thousands of documents,
including email exchanges between Alberto Gonzales’ chief of staff
Kyle Sampson, who resigned in mid-March, and Rove deputy J. Scott

Here too was evidence that White House officials were conducting
business using RNC email accounts, domains such as and But why? For one, as Abramoff was attempting to do, it is a
way of bypassing the White House server and skirting its automatic
archiving function, insuring that potentially damaging or
incriminating emails will not be preserved for posterity by the
National Archives, or worse, come to light through the efforts of a
federal prosecutor or congressional investigator. In a March 15 letter
to Henry Waxman’s Government Reform Committee, the watchdog group
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington noted that this
practice might violate the 1978 Presidential Records Act, which
governs how the papers of presidents and their staffs are to be
preserved, and urged an investigation. “This refreshed our memory
about what we’d seen in the Abramoff emails,” says one Waxman aide.

A little over a week later, Waxman’s Committee fired off its own
letters to Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee,
and Marc Racicot, the former chair of the president’s reelection
committee, demanding that they preserve White House emails on their
organization’s servers “because of their potential relevance to
congressional investigations”ó”multiple” investigations the letter
stressed. “The e-mail exchanges reviewed by the Committee provide
evidence that in some instances, White House officials were using the
nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of
the communications.” (According to the Waxman aide, Duncan and Racicot
have yet to respond.)

Steven Aftergood, the director of the Federation of American
Scientists’ project on government secrecy, says the use of RNC email
accounts is interesting for another reason. “It shows how closely
intertwined the White House is with its partisan allies,” he says.
“The fact that the White House and the RNC are working hand in hand
and White House officials are using RNC emails is itself remarkable.”
He added, “Iran-Contra is getting invoked a lot these days and this
may be another parallel, where the famous White House emails were
recovered even after they were deleted from the White House server.
People may have learned that lesson.”

Oliver North certainly did. Back in 1986, when most people had not
even heard of email and the government’s email system was still known
as PROFS (Professional Office System), he and John Poindexter
attempted to purge their hard drives of electronic communications
related to Iran-Contra. (“We all sincerely believed that when we send
a PROFS message to another party and pressed the button ‘delete’ that
it was gone forever. Wow, were we wrong,” North later remarked after
his incriminating messages were resurrected.)

In 1993 then-National Archivist Don Wilson inked a secret agreement
with George H.W. Bush in the final hours of his presidency giving him
sole control over his administration’s computer records. (Wilson went
on to become the executive director of Bush’s presidential library; a
federal court later declared their agreement unconstitutional.) Years
later, with the embattled Clinton administration faced with numerous
allegations of impropriety, including charges that it had illegally
obtained FBI files on prominent Republicans for political purposesó
this controversy became known as Filegateóa White House whistleblower
came forward claiming that the administration had suppressed 100,000
emails related to ongoing investigations. Sheryl Hall, who helped to
supervise the computer system in the Clinton White House, reported
being told by a colleague that “if the contents of these e-mails
became known, that there would be different outcomes to these
scandals, as the e-mails were incriminating and could cause people to
go to jail.” Congressional Republicans, then in the majority, cast the
alleged cover-up as a worse scandal than Watergate, concluding in a
report by the House Government Reform Committee that “the e-mail
matter can fairly be called the most significant obstruction of
congressional investigations in U.S. history.” (Democrats, led by
Henry Waxman, fired back with their own report, which noted, among
other things, that “this Committee has a long history of making
unsubstantiated allegations.”)

In general, past administrations, Democratic and Republican, have
chafed at the prospect of turning over their records, per the
Presidential Records Act, says Bruce Montgomery, the director of the
University of Colorado at Boulder’s archives and an expert on
presidential papers. “No president since Carter, who signed the
Presidential Records Act into law, has looked kindly on that statute.
Carter did not want the Presidential Records Act to apply to him. The
Carter Justice Department saw it as a breach of the separation of
powers.” In 1985, a young lawyer working in the Reagan White House
questioned the constitutionality of the law in a memo to his boss,
White House counsel Fred Fielding, who is currently reprising that
role in the Bush administration. That lawyer, John Glover Roberts Jr.,
who we know as Chief Justice Roberts, noted that the “existence of the
Act serves to burden the full and frank exchange of advice.” That
advice, he argued, “is protected by the constitutionally based
doctrine of executive privilege.” He fretted, however, that it was too
early to mount a constitutional challenge. That would have to wait
until 2001, when, after the 12-year waiting period outlined in the
law, the first batch of Reagan-era documents would be released.

When that moment arrived, scarcely a year into President Bush’s first
term, the president signed a controversial executive order that, among
other things, claims broad authority to review and block the release
of presidential papers and extends executive privilege to the heirs of
the officeholder and to the Vice President. The order was met with
outrage by archivists and historians, some of whom argue that this
statute effectively gives the administration the power to write its
own history. “This is very much pre-Nixon in the sense that they want
presidents and their families to control what people see and what they
cannot see, what history they can write and what history they cannot
write,” says Montgomery, the presidential papers expert. “They want to
manage their own historical legacy.”

John Carlin, the former governor of Kansas who served as the national
archivist from 1995 to 2005, says the administration’s expansion of
executive privilege “was probably the major issue where we as an
agency disagreed with the White House.” Carlin, who was asked to
resign from the National Archives in December 2003 by then-White House
counsel Alberto Gonzales, no explanation given, says his agency was
granted ample opportunity to object to the directive, but, in the end,
“We said our piece and they made their decision.”

The president’s executive order has long been the subject of bi-
partisan concern in Congress and, in March, legislation passed the
House that would essentially revoke it. But even before the measure
could come to a vote, the White House issued a veto threat, writing in
a Statement of Administration Policy that “executive privilege is not
subject to Congressional regulation, but rather arises directly from
the Constitution itself.”

In this context, the news that at least some White House officials are
using alternate email accounts to avoid creating an official record of
their communications seems to fit a broader pattern. But in many ways,
says Steven Hensen, the past president of the Society of American
Archivists and the technical director of Duke University’s archives,
this practice seems “a bit more devious.” “It clearly looks like an
attempt to conceal official business,” he says.

Asked about the use of RNC email accounts during a press briefing on
March 27, White House spokesperson Dana Perino played down this
unusual practice. “What I knowóI checked into thisóis that certain
White House officials and staff members who have responsibilities that
straddle both worlds, that have responsibilities in communication,
regularly interface with political organizations, do have a separate
email account for those political communications. That is entirely
appropriate, especially when you think of it in this case, that the
practice is in place and followed precisely to avoid any inadvertent
violations of what is called the Hatch ActÖ. Under an abundance of
caution so that they don’t violate the Hatch Act, they have these
separate emails.” She added that “people are encouraged, on official
White House business, to use their official White House accounts.”

The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political
activity while on the job. But, according to two lawyers I spoke with,
both of them well versed in the details of that law, this rationale
doesn’t entirely hold water. A lawyer who works for the Office of
Special Counsel, the agency charged with investigating Hatch Act
violations, told me that Senate-confirmed presidential appointees as
well as staffers whose salaries are paid from an appropriation for the
Executive Office of the President are exempt from some of the
strictures of that law and are allowed to engage in political
activity. (No federal employee, however, is allowed to fundraise on
the job, or solicit or discourage the political activity of people
with business before their agencies.) And even if they weren’t exempt,
simply using a non-government email account wouldn’t make any
difference, the lawyer explained. “Using my personal account or some
other email account that’s not a federal email account would not
remove me from the prohibition if I’m still either on duty or in a
federal building.”

Perino’s explanation doesn’t hold up on another level as well. Since
the administration has been so insistent that the eight fired U.S.
attorneys were let go for performance rather than political reasons,
how to explain why Rove aide J. Scott Jennings was using his
“political” email account to push for Tim Griffin, a former Rove aide,
to take over Bud Cummins’ job as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern
District of Arkansas? “The statements from the White House so far have
been rather confusing,” says the Waxman aide. “Very odd.”

While some White House officials may legitimately be using RNC-issued
laptops and BlackBerrys to conduct party business, it’s clear that
others are taking pains to use alternate email accounts simply to keep
their communications from becoming public record. In 2004, U.S. News &
World Report noted, in a three-sentence item, that many White House
aides had begun using Web-based email in order to avoid the White
House system. “I don’t want my E-mail made public,” one White House
“insider” told the magazine. “It’s Yahoo!, baby,” another said.

In the Clinton White House, according to an official staff manual
circa 1997, there was a strict prohibition against using anything but
the official system. In addition, a 2000 directive to White House
staff states that “the system designated for EOP [Executive Office of
the President] mailÖ is to be used exclusively for E-mail
communications within the EOP Complex and with outside parties. Other
applications (e.g., commercial E-mail services) may not be used to
send or receive E-mail.”

Whether or not the use of non-governmental email accounts ultimately
breaches the Presidential Records Act, it virtually assures an
incomplete historical record of the Bush presidency. “The only way
accurate history can be written is if the full records are available
to evaluate,” says John Carlin, the former national archivist, who did
not want to weigh in directly on the current controversy. “Records
undergird a democracy.”

But the email controversy may be of significance not only to
historians who will pour over the Bush papers in years to come, but to
others who are working to provide present-day accountability. Indeed,
among other people, these revelations could be of particular interest
to a certain federal prosecutor who recently won the conviction of the
Vice President’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, on charges of
obstructing an investigation into the leak of Valerie Wilson’s
identity. Contained in the lengthy docket of U.S.A. v. Libby is a
January 23, 2006 letter from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to
Libby’s defense team, who were then jousting over classified
discovery. In it, Fitzgerald advises Libby’s attorneys, “in an
abundance of caution,” that “we have learned that not all email of the
Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for
certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal
archiving process on the White House computer system.” Though the
prosecution later received an additional 250 pages of records from the
vice president’s office, it remains unclear what the true nature of
this archiving problem was or whether Fitzgerald received all of the
documents that may have been relevant to his investigation.
(Fitzgerald’s office declined to comment after being provided with a
detailed request.) Perhaps Fitzgerald, along with other investigators
who have sought White House records, was looking in the wrong place.
He may want to check the RNC’s servers.

Bush Emails May Be Secret A Bit Longer
BY R. Jeffrey Smith  /  21 Dec 2008  /  Washington Post

The required transfer in four weeks of all of the Bush White House’s
electronic mail messages and documents to the National Archives has
been imperiled by a combination of technical glitches, lawsuits and
lagging computer forensic work, according to government officials,
historians and lawyers.

Federal law requires outgoing White House officials to provide the
Archives copies of their records, a cache estimated at more than 300
million messages and 25,000 boxes of documents depicting some of the
most sensitive policymaking of the past eight years.

But archivists are uncertain whether the transfer will include all the
electronic messages sent and received by the officials, because the
administration began trying only in recent months to recover from
White House backup tapes hundreds of thousands of e-mails that were
reported missing from readily accessible files in 2005.

The risks that the transfer may be incomplete are also pointed up by a
continuing legal battle between a coalition of historians and
nonprofit groups over access to Vice President Cheney’s records. The
coalition is contesting the administration’s assertion in federal
court this month that he “alone may determine what constitutes vice
presidential records or personal records” and “how his records will be
created, maintained, managed, and disposed,” without outside challenge
or judicial review.

Eventual access to the documentary record of the Bush presidency has
been eagerly anticipated by historians and journalists because the
president and his aides generally have sought to shield from public
disclosure many details of their deliberations and interactions with
outside groups.

“We are worried,” said Arnita A. Jones, executive director of the
American Historical Association, which sued the White House several
years ago seeking wider access to presidential records than President
Bush had said in a 2001 executive order that he wanted the government
to provide. “There is a context that is not reassuring,” she said.

The National Archives and Records Administration is supposed to help
monitor the completeness of the historical record but has no
enforcement powers over White House records management practices.
Speaking of the missing e-mails, Archives’ general counsel Gary M.
Stern said in an interview last week that “we hope and expect they all
will exist on the system or be recoverable,” even in coming weeks. “We
can’t say for sure.”

White House spokesman Scott M. Stanzel said last week that “we are
making significant progress in accounting for the e-mail records
stored on our computer network.” But he declined to say how many e-
mails remain missing or to predict how long the recovery will take
because the issue is the subject of ongoing litigation.

The National Security Archive, a historical research group, and
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, a nonprofit
watchdog organization, filed lawsuits in September 2007 to compel the
White House to preserve backup e-mail tapes. In November 2007, U.S.
District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ordered White House officials to
preserve such tapes and “not transfer said media out of their custody
or control without leave of this court.”

In the case of the vice president’s records, the White House has
promised a different federal judge that it will comply with a Nixon-
era law requiring the preservation and transfer of all documents
related to the vice president’s official duties, but the coalition has
drafted a filing for the court on Monday that accuses Cheney of subtly
seeking to circumscribe the legal definition of what those official
duties encompass to such a degree that he will be able to take home or
destroy countless documents related to policymaking that historians
want to see.

Anne Weisman, the counsel for the plaintiffs, called Cheney’s
assertion that only those records related to tasks specially assigned
by Bush need to be preserved “a loophole . . . large enough to drive
truckloads of documents through.” It means, she said, that Cheney
would not have to surrender documents related to legislation or
“advice he gives the president on his own initiative and the influence
he has over the president’s decisions.”

The scramble to find missing e-mails and copy them in a digital form
that the Archives can comprehend amounts to a replay of the confusion
that capped the transfer of President Bill Clinton’s records at the
end of his administration in 2001. Then, a series of defects in the
White House e-mail archiving system led to congressional subpoenas and
the administration’s expenditure of $12 million to recover hundreds of
missing e-mails from backup tapes. The effort was not completed until
after Clinton left office.

Stanzel said the White House is also still “working to acquire” e-
mails involving official government business that were transmitted by
presidential aides through accounts operated by the Republican
National Committee, a problem also first publicized almost three years
ago. “We continue to be in communication with RNC officials about
recovering official records,” he said without offering details. Such
records are subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires
their transfer to the Archives at noon on Jan. 20.

Thomas S. Blanton, the National Security Archive director, said
controversy surrounding the last-minute handling of e-mails by
retiring presidents — including intervention by the courts — is
hardly exceptional.

Blanton wrote in a 1995 book that Ronald Reagan tried to order the
erasure of all electronic backup tapes during his final week in
office; the current president’s father struck a secret deal with the
U.S. archivist shortly before midnight on his final day in office to
seal White House e-mails and take them with him to Texas; and Clinton
asserted in 1994 that the National Security Council was not an agency
of the government so he could keep its e-mails beyond public reach.

Blanton said last week that “the situation is exponentially worse”
under the current administration because the volume of electronic
records at stake from Bush’s tenure is higher than in previous
administrations. If some of the records are manipulated, even for a
short while, he said, “the problem and the cost to the taxpayers is
going to be exponentially worse, [as well as] the delay and the lag
time before journalists and historians are going to be able to see

The transfer of some White House records officially got under way a
few weeks ago with the first air shipments of documents to a leased
warehouse north of Dallas, near the projected site of the Bush
library, and the transport by truck of some digital records to a
remote Navy research center in the mountains of West Virginia. The
bullhorn used by Bush at the World Trade Center site in New York is
among the objects set to go to Texas.

At the Navy base, all the electronic data are supposed to be
“ingested” by a new electronic system meant to allow such efficient
cataloguing, indexing and searching that millions of documents can
eventually be provided to researchers and citizens online.

The system has been under development for a decade by Lockheed

Martin and other contractors at a cost of $67.5 million, will rely on
software created after the collapse of Enron, when that company’s
creditors demanded new tools for quickly sorting its e-mail trove to
find damaging information.

But there are obstacles to gaining such ready access to files created
by Bush and his appointees. Technical troubles, cost overruns and
inadequate funding caused the system to be sharply scaled back at the
outset, according to Archives officials and the Government
Accountability Office. The result is that it will take years of work
— and an additional $70 million — to put in place the features that
the Archives initially sought.

“The ingestion of Bush data has just begun,” said Archives spokeswoman
Susan Cooper, adding that she is unsure how smoothly it has gone.

The Archives hopes to finish much of its work on the new archival
system by 2013, when by law the Bush White House records can begin to
be accessed under the Freedom of Information Act.

But Archivist Allen Weinstein and other officials say they may still
face a serious shortage of trained staff: Out of the Archives’ 3,000
employees at 40 facilities, only a few are assigned to process
requests by historians, citizens and others — 10 at the Reagan
library, eight at the first Bush library and 10 at the Clinton

The result has been a steady growth in delays for processing data
requests, from a wait of a year and a half in 2001 at the Reagan
library to a current wait of six and a half years. The new Bush
library is slated to have 18 archivists. “I tried — half-whimsically
— to ban the word ‘backlog’ in favor of discussing NARA’s ‘surplus’
of documents, which sounds better but which remains today an
intractable problem,” Weinstein said in a recent speech.

CyberScene: Spinning the Web  /  11.1.1999

No matter what your position on the candidates or their platforms, the
2000 election cycle promises to be anything but politics as usual. Yet
if the true promise of the Internet as a political tool is to be realized,
Cleveland-based New Media Communications may have a key role
in shaping its new digital face, a face that may resemble Minnesota
Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Scary thought? Listen to New Media’s Mike Connell, the digital
politics guru who designed award-winning campaign sites for Florida
Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, as well as sites for the Ohio
Republican Party and the National Republican Committee, and you may
think differently. As Connell tells it, friend and colleague Phil
Noble, president of Politics Online, which provides Internet tools for
politics, predicted early and often in the election cycle that the
Internet would decide at least one race on election night 1998. A New
York Times reporter bet Noble a steak dinner that it wouldnt happen.

Phil calls me up on election day, says Connell, who at the time was in
Miami preparing a live Webcast from Jeb Bush’s victory reception that
night. He’s in a panic: “Mike, Mike, I cant lose this bet, we gotta
find somebody. As youre watching the numbers tonight look for
something.” Enter Jesse The Body Ventura, whose upset victory for
Minnesota governor body-slammed political prognosticators. The next
day [Noble] comes up with Jesse Ventura, says Connell. Shortly after
the election, the campaign’s Webmaster, Phil Madsen, boasted that the
race could not have been won without the mobilizing force of email to
rally supporters.

Instantly there was debate in online campaign circles whether this was
just something cooked up so that Phil didn’t have to buy the steak
dinner or whether it was for real, says Connell. Legitimate or not,
the subsequent media swirl underscored the emergence of the Internet
as a political tool with a power potential that could be unleashed
during the 2000 cycle.

Still, the ’98 numbers were encouraging but uninspiring. A telephone
study the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press conducted
the week before and week after the ’98 elections found that 6 percent
of voters cited the Internet as a primary source of election
information, doubling the results of a 1996 study. The single-digit
results [pale] when compared to the number of people who named
television (78 percent) and newspapers (60 percent) as a primary
source of election information.

Yet some of that may be due to the quality of the Web content. At the
end of 1998, more than 80 percent of the statewide races had Web
sites, says Connell, but that’s a misleading figure. Cobbled together
by volunteers, many of the sites were mere brochureware with a
candidate’s bio, maybe some position papers and a few pictures. A
survey by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
University found that of 554 campaign sites, which included all
Senate, House and governor candidate sites, few fully exploited the
medium. Only half the sites asked visitors for donations, 44 percent
did not solicit volunteers and 89 percent gave no information on voter

Such was not the case for New Media’s Jeb Bush campaign site, though
Connell cringes slightly when reflecting on a site that was cutting-
edge when launched in October 1997 but whose Internet time has passed.
The Bush site was the first real statewide site that truly tied
together the technology of the Internet and the mechanics of getting
elected, says Connell. The Bush Web site engaged visitors, providing
them with the ability to volunteer (about 1,000 did), make donations
(reportedly enough to pay the $25,000 tab for the sites creation),
email Bush or write a letter to the editor. What made the Internet so
powerful was its advantages over traditional media, says Connell. It’s
highly interactive, it’s rapid-response and it’s probably the most
cost-effective way to talk directly to the public.

Much of what came before the Bush site, he contends, was designed by
people who had not been through a political campaign. (Connell,
coincidentally, cut his teeth in the 1988 George Bush-for-president
campaign.) Because of the campaign experience of myself and others
involved, we knew what the difference between a bell and whistle was
and what a true political tool was. Much of what weve seen in online
political campaigning is just a new way of doing an old thing, says
John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied
Politics at the University of Akron. There is real potential for some
day doing democracy online, says Green, though there is a way to go
before that happens. To use the Internet, people have to go there; but
with todays apathetic voter, how do you get them to do that?

Thats where Connell says the Jesse Experience, as he terms it, is
critical. It wasn’t what Jesse Ventura did on the Web, Connell
contends. It was what he did in terms of email, and thats one of the
important things we learned for 2000. With only one full-time paid
staffer (most campaigns of that scope have eight to 20), the Ventura
campaign used email as a behind-the-scenes tool to coordinate
volunteers. In fact, the campaign’s finale, a 72-hour bus tour, was
coordinated entirely via email and the Web site. Then, during the
tour, email updates spread the word on where to be and how to rally
the crowds for support.

But if youre watching the Web or at least the public Web sites for all
the cool new stuff, you’re going to be missing 80 percent of the
picture, says Connell, because really, in 2000 the true innovation is
going to take place on extranets, intranets, secured email. It’s all
going to be that beneath-radar effort. Expect to see secured Web sites
where only key personnel can access messages on strategy or view the
opposition’s ads so they can respond, and emails directing grassroots
volunteers on what to do to get candidate X elected.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Bush initially relied on volunteers for his
Internet efforts, then hired a system administrator to oversee the Web
site. After some initial missteps (a Federal Election Commission
filing about a [Yes Men] parody site that subsequently drove people to
the rogue site among them), Bush’s decision to post monthly campaign
funding information on his site could revolutionize campaign
financing, says Green. George W. Bush putting all of his financial
data online may solve the problem of finance disclosure, he says. If
that became a trend, that could be very, very helpful. It may even be
required by law.

With his strong ties to the GOP and especially the Bush family, how
soon can it be until New Medias Connell weighs in on George W.’s
campaign? Connell’s response is measured almost as though sputtering
through a slow-speed modem: I’ll tell you what I can tell you, he
says, in the manner of a politician. We’ve been asked by three or four
different presidential campaigns to do their Web sites, and what we
said to them all was: ”I wouldn’t be where I am today without the
Bush campaign and the Bush family because the Bushes truly are about
family and I’m loyal to my network, I’m loyal to my friends and I’m
loyal to the Bush family, so there is only one place I can be in
2000.” Connell refuses to comment on what role that might be, though.

In the meantime, New Media is working like it’s the closing days of a
campaign. It launched a new site for the Republican National Committee
and is developing a new site for the Ohio Republican Party. And New
Media’s Campaign Webmaster software designed with Republican
candidates and tight-budgeted campaigns in mind allows campaigns to
create a customized site with news releases, ad scripts, position
papers and the ability to enlist volunteers and take donations.

Connell freely offers his campaign promise for the 2000 election:
“There are things we will be doing on election day that havent even
been dreamt of yet.”

From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]


Knights Templar to Vatican: Give us back our assets
BY Joe Fay  /  4th August 2008

The Knights Templar are demanding that the Vatican give them back
their good name and, possibly, billions in assets into the bargain,
700 years after the order was brutally suppressed by a joint venture
between the Pope and the King of France. If the Holy See doesn’t
comply, the warrior knights, renowned for liberating the Holy Land,
will deploy that most fearsome of weapons: a laborious court case
through the creaking Spanish legal system.

The Daily Telegraph reports that The Association of the Sovereign
Order of the Temple of Christ has launched a court case in Spain,
demanding Pope Benedict “recognise” the seizure of assets worth
€100bn. The Spanish-based group of Templars apparently says in a
statement: “We are not trying to cause the economic collapse of the
Roman Catholic Church, but to illustrate to the court the magnitude of
the plot against our Order.” This might come as a surprise to those
who believe that the order of warrior monks – also credited with
possessing the Holy Grail and laying the foundation of the European
banking system – was smashed in 1307 by Pope Clement V and Philip IV
of France.

At the time, the order was accused of a multitude of crimes, including
two medieval biggies – sodomy and heresy. However, recently discovered
Vatican papers showed that the order had never been declared heretics,
burnings at the stake for the leadership not withstanding. Rather, it
appeared that the order’s suppression was more a piece of realpolitik
on the pope’s part to pacify Philip, who was somewhat irked by the
prospect of the powerful order increasing its continental activities
after Jerusalem fell to the Turks.

Despite the order’s brutal apparent suppression, its legacy has been
claimed by numerous successor organisations, and besmirched by popular
authors ad nauseum. One of the successors, Ordo Supremus Militaris
Templi Hierosolymitani, is apparently recognised by Unesco. We
contacted the UK branch, otherwise known as the The Grand Priory of
Knights Templar in England and Wales, to see if they could throw any
light on the matter but they have yet to get back to us.

The Grand Priory’s website says the modern organisation is about
humanitarian and charity work. There is no mention of the Holy Grail,
though it does support the maintenance of the Holy Places. And if
you’re looking for esoteric rites or secret higher knowledge, you’re
likely to be disappointed. The website says: “Please don’t expect to
be enlightened with some supposed ‘secret’ knowledge, because nothing
exists.” Of course, any conspiracy theorist will tell you that’s
exactly what you’d expect them to say.

Knights Templar heirs in legal battle with the Pope
BY Fiona Govan  /  04 Aug 2008

The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, whose
members claim to be descended from the legendary crusaders, have filed
a lawsuit against Benedict XVI calling for him to recognise the
seizure of assets worth 100 billion euros (£79 billion).

They claim that when the order was dissolved by his predecessor Pope
Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties as well as countless
pastures, mills and other commercial ventures belonging to the knights
were appropriated by the church.

But their motive is not to reclaim damages only to restore the “good
name” of the Knights Templar. “We are not trying to cause the economic
collapse of the Roman Catholic Church, but to illustrate to the court
the magnitude of the plot against our Order,” said a statement issued
by the self-proclaimed modern day knights.

The Templars was a powerful secretive group of warrior monks founded
by French knight Hugues de Payens after the First Crusade of 1099 to
protect pilgrims en route to Jerusalem. They amassed enormous wealth
and helped to finance wars waged by European monarchs, but
spectacularly fell from grace after the Muslims reconquered the Holy
Land in 1244 and rumours surfaced of their heretic practices.

The Knights were accused of denying Jesus, worshipping icons of the
devil in secret initiation ceremonies, and practising sodomy. Many
Templars confessed to their crimes under torture and some, including
the Grand Master Jacques de Molay, were burned at the stake. The legal
move by the Spanish group comes follows the unprecedented step by the
Vatican towards the rehabilitation of the group when last October it
released copies of parchments recording the trials of the Knights
between 1307 and 1312.

The papers lay hidden for more than three centuries having been
“misfiled” within papal archives until they were discovered by an
academic in 2001. The Chinon parchment revealed that, contrary to
historic belief, Clement V had declared the Templars were not heretics
but disbanded the order anyway to maintain peace with their accuser,
King Philip IV of France.



“Years of research and organization, conducted by the Vatican Secret
Archive on its source material, have made possible the publication of
Processus Contra Templarios, the exclusive and previously unavailable
hearing of the original acts of the ancient trial against the Templar

A unique project in the world, this work comes in a limited run of 799
copies, under the supervision of the Papal Archive officials, and
includes the faithful replicas of the original parchments kept at the
Secret Archive along with a new and exclusive critical edition on the
minutes of the inquiry.

A thorough analysis of the original parchments, performed through the
technique known as “Wood lamp”, which allows the recovery of parts of
text unattainable to previous publishers, has made possible for the
supervisors to amend older editions, so as to afford a more accurate
and genuine reading of the documents.

The filing of pre-existing sources has indeed allowed to recover
misinterpreted text sections as well as standardize  designations for
both people and locations. Therefore, the Vatican Secret Archive gives
academics and interested subjects access to a precious and
scientifically reliable tool of research into the historical facts
related to the Templar Order.”

By Richard Holt and Malcolm Moore  /  29 Oct 2007

The Vatican is selling a limited edition of life-sized replicas of a
giant forgotten parchment that absolves the mysterious knights of
their status as heretics. Only 799 copies of the document, which is
the size of a small dinner table, will be sold for €5,900 (£3,925)
each. An 800th copy will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI.

The 300-page Processus Contra Templarios (Trial against the Templars),
measuring more than two metres across, records the trial of the
knights when they were accused of heresy before Pope Clement V between
1307 and 1312. Also known as the Chinon parchment, the original
artefact was discovered in the Vatican’s secret archives in 2001 after
it had been wrongly catalogued for more than 300 years. The
reproductions are printed on synthetic parchment with a replica of the
original papal wax seal. Enfolded in a soft leather case, each copy
also comes with a scholarly commentary.

The Knights Templar were a powerful and secretive group of warrior
monks during the Middle Ages. Their secrecy has given birth to endless
legends, including one that they discovered the Holy Grail. The order
was founded by Hugues de Payns, a French knight, after the First
Crusade of 1099 to protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. Its
headquarters was the captured Al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple
Mount, which lent the order their name. But when Jerusalem fell to
Muslim rule in 1244, rumours surfaced that the knights were heretics
who worshipped idols in a secret initiation ceremony.

The Chinon parchment reveals that, contrary to historic belief, the
pope found that the Templars were not heretics – even though he still
disbanded the order to maintain peace with their accuser, King Philip
IV “the Fair” of France. Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the
Templars, was burned at the stake in 1314 along with his aides on
Philip’s orders.

Some surviving monks fled. Some were absorbed by other orders, and
over the centuries, various groups have claimed to be descended from
the Templars. Some of the knights who did not manage to escape were
brought before Pope Clement. Their accusers claimed that the Templars’
initiation ceremony, which involved “spitting on the cross”, “denying
Jesus” and kissing the lower back, navel and mouth of the man
proposing them, was blasphemous.

However, the knights explained that the initiation mimicked the
humiliation that knights could suffer if they fell into the hands of
the Saracens, while the kissing ceremony was a sign of their total
obedience. The pope ultimately cleared them of heresy, but found them
guilty of lesser infractions of church law.

Barbara Frale, the Vatican historian who discovered the Chinon
parchment in a box of other papers, said: “For 700 years we have
believed that the Templars died as cursed men, and this absolves
them.” She added: “There were a lot of faults in the order – abuses,
violence … a lot of sins – but not heresy.”

Vatican paper set to clear Knights Templar
BY Malcolm Moore  /  07 Oct 2007

The mysteries of the Order of the Knights Templar could soon be laid
bare after the Vatican announced the release of a crucial document
which has not been seen for almost 700 years. A new book, Processus
contra Templarios, will be published by the Vatican’s Secret Archive
on Oct 25, and promises to restore the reputation of the Templars,
whose leaders were burned as heretics when the order was dissolved in

The Knights Templar were a powerful and secretive group of warrior
monks during the Middle Ages. Their secrecy has given birth to endless
legends, including one that they guard the Holy Grail. The Order was
founded by Hugues de Payns, a French knight, after the First Crusade
of 1099 to protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. Its headquarters
was the captured Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, which lent the
Templars their name. But when Jerusalem fell to Muslim rule in 1244,
rumours surfaced that the knights were heretics who worshipped idols
in a secret initiation ceremony.

In 1307, King Philip IV “the Fair” of France, in desperate need of
funds, ordered the arrest and torture of all Templars. After
confessing various sins their leader, Jacques de Molay, was burnt at
the stake. Pope Clement V then dissolved the order and issued arrest
warrants for all remaining members. Ever since, the Templars have been
thought of as heretics. The new book is based on a scrap of parchment
discovered in the Vatican’s secret archives in 2001 by Professor
Barbara Frale. The long-lost document is a record of the trial of the
Templars before Pope Clement, and ends with a papal absolution from
all heresies. Prof Frale said: “I could not believe it when I found
it. The paper was put in the wrong archive in the 17th century.”

The document, known as the Chinon parchment, reveals that the Templars
had an initiation ceremony which involved “spitting on the cross”,
“denying Jesus” and kissing the lower back, navel and mouth of the man
proposing them. The Templars explained to Pope Clement that the
initiation mimicked the humiliation that knights could suffer if they
fell into the hands of the Saracens, while the kissing ceremony was a
sign of their total obedience.

The Pope concluded that the entrance ritual was not truly blasphemous,
as alleged by King Philip when he had the knights arrested. However,
he was forced to dissolve the Order to keep peace with France and
prevent a schism in the church. “This is proof that the Templars were
not heretics,” said Prof Frale. “The Pope was obliged to ask pardon
from the knights. “For 700 years we have believed that the Templars
died as cursed men, and this absolves them.”

History:The Medicine of the Templars  /  BY Prof. C. Di Cicco, M.D.
15th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology,

“At Paris, 18 March of 1314, on the island of the Seine in front of
the Garden real, Jacques de Molay, the last Great Master of the
Templars, and Geoffroy de Charny, preceptor of Normandy, were burned
like heretics. Therefore the history of the Knights of the Temple,
after two centuries, finishes. The Templars would have been in
possession of the most hidden secrets of alchemy.

They were first to use the IPERICO, in the burns and hurts from cut,
like antiseptic, astringent, healing, and in order to improve humor of
the soldiers that remained immobilizes to bed for months. Such
experiences landed then to the salernitana medical school, that is
remained the crib of the phytotherapy until the six hundred.

The Templars created a mixture with pulp of Aloe, pulp of Hemp and
wine of Palm,called “ELISIR of GERUSALEM”, with therapeutic and
nourishing property, they used the Arborescens ALOE for its
antiseptic, bactericidal and fungicide action and for its capacity to
penetration in the deeper layers of the skin. Robert Anton Wilson, in
his book on the Templars, asserts that they used the hashish and
practiced a shape of Arabic Tantrism, doctrine of enlightenment as the
realization of oneness of one’s self and the visible world, combining
elements of hinduism and paganism, including magical and mystical

The authors of Holy Blood and Holy Grail Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln
comment that the Templars need to treat wounds and illness, made them
experts in the use of drugs and the Order in advance of their time
regarded epilepsy not as demonic possession but as to controllable
disease. Interestingly cannabis is the safest natural or synthetic
medication proven successful in the treatment of loads forms of
epilepsy. The esoteric inheritance and the alchemical-spagyrics
acquaintances were handed from the Templars to the Crocifers.

From these Orders, that one of Saint Giacomo or Jacobite managed many
Hospitals during the XV century. To the Jacobite monks , in quality of
experts in the cure of the diseases of the skin, the task was
entrusted to cure the wounded soldiers during the Crusades, in the
Hospitals of Malta and Cyprus. To they, in fact, was attributed the
capability to create miraculous ointments.

In such historical context it must estimate the work of the Templars
concluding with recognizing that they, anticipating the times, had a
modern vision of the Medicine and, although were considered heretics
and consigned to the fire, recently a document has been recovered in
Archives Vaticans from the studious Barbara Frale that demonstrates as
Pope Clemente V secretly pardoned Templars in 1314, acquitting their
Great Master from the heresy accusation.”

The Templars: unravelling the myths
BY Christopher Howse  /  26/07/2008

The importance of the Chinon parchment is that it proves that Pope
Clement V had absolved these Templars from their crimes and cleared
them of any taint of heresy. The subsequent dissolution of the order
was the work of the French king’s persevering campaign.

It was a long way from the idealism with which, on Christmas Day 1119,
a handful of knights took their vows as “Poor Fellow-Soldiers of
Christ” devoted to guarding pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, at
that period in Christian hands. The new foundation was granted as its
headquarters the al-Aqsa former mosque. This domed building on the
Temple Mount was thought at the time to be Solomon’s Temple, hence

Michael Haag, in his well-knit narrative, gets through an enormous
spread of history, helpfully telling readers what the Bible has to say
about the Jewish Temple before running through the Roman, Muslim and
Crusader centuries. The after-history of the Templars is dominated by
the imaginings of Freemasons and the conspiracy fancies of scarcely
distinct alternative historians and novelists. If anything, the author
is too tolerant of this froth. Historical truth does matter.

Perhaps the Templars themselves were off-beam from their first dawn,
since it seems to have escaped the notice of these poor, chaste and
obedient monk-knights that Christ was not a soldier. They joined St
Bernard in promoting the rather disastrous Second Crusade, but found
little success in freeing Christian territories in the Holy Land from
surrounding warring Islamic factions. They had better luck in Spain,
where the frontier of reconquered territory pushed steadily

The Templars acquired rich grants of land from kings such as Henry I
of England, who gave them a plot at the end of Chancery Lane, where
the Temple church now stands. Its model is not Solomon’s Temple, but
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built over the site of
the tomb of Christ.

An idea in medieval Europe, more widespread than the Templars, was
that every church in which the body and blood of Christ were
sacrificed again daily was another Holy Sepulchre. In 1009, long
before the Templars’ foundation, Christ’s rock-hewn grave in Jerusalem
was attacked with pickaxes after the church around it had been
demolished, on the orders of the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim, who made
Jews and Christians wear distinctive clothes and generally behaved in
a fierce manner.

There was never an unmoving monolithic Muslim force opposing a
monolithic Christian Crusader polity. Shia, Egyptian-based Fatimids
were displaced by Sunni, Persianised-Turkic Seljuks. Saladin, the man
who in 1187 recaptured Jerusalem from the Christians, was by origin a
Kurd, an Indo-European people like their Frankish enemies. Saladin
purified the Templar headquarters, restoring it as a mosque, but
decided not to demolish the rebuilt Holy Sepulchre.

When in 1229 Frederick II crowned himself King of Jerusalem there (no
bishop caring to crown this excommunicate troublemaker), he ensured by
treaty that the Templars were forbidden to return. It was a straw in
the wind. The Templars were to be destroyed by the jealousy of kings.

Long-lost text lifts cloud from Knights Templar
700-year-old document shows pope absolved order of heresy charges
Associated Press  /  Oct. 12, 2007

ROME – The Vatican has published secret documents about the trial of
the Knights Templar, including a parchment — long ignored because of a
vague catalog entry in 1628 — showing that Pope Clement V initially
absolved the medieval order of heresy.

The 300-page volume recently came out in a limited edition — 799
copies — each priced at $8,377, said Scrinium publishing house, which
prints documents from the Vatican’s secret archives. The Vatican work
reproduces the entire documentation of the papal hearings convened
after King Philip IV of France arrested and tortured Templar leaders
in 1307 on charges of heresy and immorality.

As their military might increased, the Templars also had grown in
wealth, acquiring property throughout Europe and running a primitive
banking system. After they left the Middle East with the collapse of
the Crusader kingdoms, their power and secretive ways aroused the fear
of European rulers and sparked accusations of corruption and

Accused by an indebted king
Historians believe Philip owed debts to the Templars and used the
accusations to arrest their leaders and extract, under torture,
confessions of heresy as a way to seize the order’s riches.

The publishing house said the new book includes the “Parchment of
Chinon,” a 1308 decision by Clement to save the Templars and their
order. The Vatican archives researcher who found the parchment said
Friday that it probably had been ignored because the 1628 catalog
entry on the 40-inch-wide parchment was “too Spartan, too vague.”

“Unfortunately, there was an archiving error, an error in how the
document was described,” the researcher, Barbara Frale, said in a
telephone interview from her home in Viterbo, north of Italy.

“More than an error, it was a little sketchy,” she said.

The parchment, in remarkably good condition considering its 700 years,
apparently had last been consulted at the start of the 20th century,
Frale said, surmising that its significance must have not have been
realized then.

Burned at the stake
Frale said she was intrigued by the 1628 entry because, while it
apparently referred to some minor matter, it noted that three top
cardinals, including the right-hand man of Clement, Berenger Fredol,
had made a long journey to interrogate someone.

“Going on with my research, it turned out that in reality it was an
inquest of very great importance” on behalf of the pope, Frale said.
Fredol “had gone to question the Great Master and other heads of the
Templars who had been segregated, practically kidnapped, by the king
of France and shut up in secret in his castle in Chinon on the Loire.”

According to the Vatican archives Web site, the parchment shows that
Clement initially absolved the Templar leaders of heresy, though he
did find them guilty of immorality, and that he planned to reform the

However, pressured by Philip, Clement later reversed his decision and
suppressed the order in 1312. Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the
Templars, was burned at the stake in 1314 along with his aides.
Surviving monks fled. Some were absorbed by other orders; over the
centuries, various groups have claimed to have descended from the

“The Templars had learned much about Arab/Eastern philosophy and
beliefs while in Jerusalem. They also absorbed the many building
techniques derived from the East and Classical Greece. Many of them
were stonemasons and they used biblical descriptions of the Temple of
Solomon and building tools in the symbolism of their designs and their

The Skull and Crossbones is also a good example of how our perception
of symbols can change over time. Esoteric and hermetic groups had for
centuries used the Skull and Crossbones as a symbol to represent birth
and rebirth (the evolving soul) and it was adopted for this reason by
the Knights Templar.

They used it as a symbol on the flags of their ships as well as that
of the Cross. After being driven out of the Holy Land, the Knights
Templars used their powerful fleet of ships to harass their Moslem
adversaries in the Mediterranean area. At the fall of the Templars in
1307, the entire Templar fleet disappeared from the port of La
Rochelle. The Skull and Crossbones flags of the Templar ships became a
symbol with a powerful reputation and identified with pirates.

By the 17th and 18th centuries the Templars had long since gone
underground and evolved into other organisations. The symbol of the
Skull and Crossbones came to be associated mainly with pirates and
also devil worship. It had become something to be feared. It was known
as the ‘Jolly Roger’ in the context of the pirates. (This may be a
corruption of the French name for the red flag, the ‘Jolie Rouge’.)”

The Jolly Roger and the Knight Templars

“Legend has it that the Jolly Roger obtained its appellation from the
French name for the red flag, the “Jolie Rouge.” And so it may be, for
the flag was first used by a French order of militant monks known as
the “Poor Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon” – commonly
known as the Knights Templar.

The Templars, were pious men. They gave up all their worldly
possessions when they entered the Order, only carrying money on
special occasions when they traveled alone, turning over whatever
money that remained upon reaching their destination. They were
ferocious warriors; pitching themselves into the midst of their
enemies, astride charging warhorses, against incredible odds.  Being
men of principle; their rules of conduct were strict. They were
willing to die for their beliefs, and so were feared on the
battlefield and respected in life. Such was their reputation, that in
battle, there were instances where the enemy would turn and run at the
very sight of Templars entering the field. Their Rule of Order stated
that breaking rank was worthy of losing ones habit. They neither asked
nor gave quarter; the were expected to fight until death stayed their
sword arm. Retreat from an enemy would not be countenanced unless the
odds were greater than three to one against them and they were
forbidden to ransom themselves if captured. They fought like men
possessed, either prevailing in their cause, or suffering death under
the banner of Gol’gotha – the place of the skull – where their Christ

Templars were not to succumb to the temptation of thinking that they
killed in a spirit of hate and fury, nor that they seized booty in a
spirit of greed. For the Templars did not hate men, but men’s

They were dedicated to the protection of travelers and pilgrims of all
religions, though they themselves were Christians, in fact many
Templars were of Palestinian birth, spoke perfect Arabic, and were
familiar with every religious sect, cult, and magical doctrine,
including that of the Islamic Assassins. The Grand Master Philip of
Nablus (1167 A.D.) was a Syrian. They were great statesmen,
politically adept economic traders, and they were allied with the
great sailor-fraternity that had created a worldwide trading empire in
Phoenician times. They became immensely powerful – had the largest
fleet and the most successful banking system in Europe. But they could
not sustain their grip on the Holy Land. Their losses were too great,
and they were eventually driven off the Levant by Saladin, their
Moslem adversary, in 1291. They continued to fight for their cause in
the only manner they could – on the high seas.

The best known Templar pirate ship was the Falcon, “the greatest that
had been built at that time. She was in the harbor when the fortress
of Acre fell “and rescued many ‘ladies and damsels and great treasure
and many important people by evacuating them to Atlit.

After the orderly navel evacuation of Atlit, the Templars retreated to
their Mediterranean island bases on Cyprus, Rhodes and Sicily. Until
their dissolution, they, together with the Order of St. John,
continued as the foremost maritime powers in the Mediterranean,
continuing to effectively wage war on Moslem shipping.

The Templars were still very powerful but in the eyes of European
monarchs and the Church, the Templars raison d’tre had ceased with the
loss of the Holy Lands. Jealousy and covetousness reigned. Phillip IV,
who was deeply in dept to the Order, had seen their treasures stored
in Paris, and designed to make it his own.

On Friday morning October 13th 1307 – and the reason for which Friday
the 13th has become known as an unlucky day – King Phillip IV together
with Avignonese Pope Clement V, ruthlessly suppressed the Order
throughout Europe, with false accusations, arrests, torture and
executions. Though they were offered commuted sentences and
comfortable lives if they would renounce their Order and plead guilty
to the charges, for some mysterious reason, they preferred to remain
true to their principles and received their punishment.

A large number of Templars escaped that day to an uncertain future,
and found refuge abroad. On the eve of the arrests, the entire Templar
fleet mysteriously vanished from the port of La Rochelle carrying with
it a vast fortune, the fate of which remains a mystery down to this

Just as a terrorist to one is a freedom fighter to another, so it was
with the Templars and their fleet. Wanted by the Pope and all the
crowns of Europe, they came to be viewed, by the “comfortable folks”
on the mainland, as pirates.”

The Secret Naval War Between the Knights Templar & the Vatican
BY David Hatcher Childress

“The fascinating world of maverick sea captains who were knights
Templars. This fleet flew the Skull and Cross-Bones, the symbol of the
Knights Templar, and preyed on Vatican ships coming from the rich
ports of the Americas: they were the original Pirates of the
Caribbean. Later, known as Scottish Rite Free Masons, they battled the
Spanish and Italian ships that sailed for the Pope. This lost Templar
Fleet was originally based at La Rochelle near Marseille, then hidden
away in the fiords of Scotland. This Templar fleet made a voyage to
Canada in the year 1298 AD, nearly 100 years before Columbus.”

The Secret Alliance to Build the New Jerusalem
BY Ernesto Frers

“When the Vatican condemned the Order of the Temple in 1312, many of
those who escaped took to the sea. Their immediate objective was to
take revenge on the Church. Recent discoveries confirm that ships of
the Templar fleet that went missing at La Rochelle later reappeared –
first in the Mediterranean and later in the Atlantic and the Caribbean
– to menace the Church’s maritime commerce. These Templar vessels
often flew the famed Jolly Roger, which took its name from King Roger
II of Sicily, a famed Templar who, during a public spat with the Pope
in 1127, was the first to fly this flag.

Opportunistic buccaneers were quick to see that vast wealth could be
gained in pursuing the Templars’ harassment of the Pope’s interests on
the high seas, and they spread a reign of terror across the shipping
lanes of the New World. Some unaffiliated pirates, in admiration of
the Templar egalitarian ideals, even formed their own secret
societies, and together with the Templars were part of the ferment
that gave rise to independence movements in France and the New World
and contributed to the growth of Freemasonry.

The Templar Pirates is the story of the birth and actual conduct of
piracy on the seas of the New World and of the vast influence the
Templars had on their constituents, and, by their wealth, on the
governments of nations old and new.

– Shows that the pirates of legend originated with the Knights
Templar’s secret navy.
– Reveals the Templars’ secret objective to establish a new universal
order based on spirituality, wisdom, and individualism – the New
– Examines the secret history of the Templars’ influence in
international politics.”

By Peter Lamborn Wilson

“From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Moslem corsairs from the Barbary
Coast ravaged European shipping and enslaved thousands of unlucky
captives. During this same period, thousands more Europeans converted
to Islam and joined the pirate holy war. Were these men (and women)
the scum of the seas, apostates, traitors, renegadoes? Or did they
abandon and betray Christendom as a praxis of social resistance?
Second edition, with new material documenting piracy in the very early
days of New York City.”



From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]



Thomas Jefferson’s attempt to extract an authentic Jesus from the
Gospel accounts.

The White House, Washington, D.C. 1804. Thomas Jefferson was
frustrated. It was not the burdens of office that bothered him. It was
his Bible.

Jefferson was convinced that the authentic words of Jesus written in
the New Testament had been contaminated. Early Christians, overly
eager to make their religion appealing to the pagans, had obscured the
words of Jesus with the philosophy of the ancient Greeks and the
teachings of Plato. These “Platonists” had thoroughly muddled Jesus’
original message. Jefferson assured his friend and rival, John Adams,
that the authentic words of Jesus were still there. The task, as he
put it, was one of

“abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is
buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his
biographers, and as separate from that as the diamond from the dung

With the confidence and optimistic energy characteristic of the
Enlightenment, Jefferson proceeded to dig out the diamonds. Candles
burning late at night, his quill pen scratching “too hastily” as he
later admitted, Jefferson composed a short monograph titled The
Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth. The subtitle explains that the work
is “extracted from the account of his life and the doctrines as given
by Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.” In it, Jefferson presented what he
understood was the true message of Jesus.

Jefferson set aside his New Testament research, returning to it again
in the summer of 1820. This time, he completed a more ambitious work,
The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the
Gospels in Greek, Latin, French and English. The text of the New
Testament appears in four parallel columns in four languages.
Jefferson omitted the words that he thought were inauthentic and
retained those he believed were original. The resulting work is
commonly known as the “Jefferson Bible.”

Who was the Jesus that Jefferson found? He was not the familiar figure
of the New Testament. In Jefferson’s Bible, there is no account of the
beginning and the end of the Gospel story. There is no story of the
annunciation, the virgin birth or the appearance of the angels to the
shepherds. The resurrection is not even mentioned.

Jefferson discovered a Jesus who was a great Teacher of Common Sense.
His message was the morality of absolute love and service. Its
authenticity was not dependent upon the dogma of the Trinity or even
the claim that Jesus was uniquely inspired by God. Jefferson saw Jesus

a man, of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, (and an)
enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions of divinity, ended
in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition by being
gibbeted according to the Roman law.

In short, Mr. Jefferson’s Jesus, modeled on the ideals of the
Enlightenment thinkers of his day, bore a striking resemblance to
Jefferson himself.



The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth
Extracted Textually from the Gospels

Compiled by Thomas Jefferson
Edited by Eyler Robert Coates, Sr.

. . . Thomas Jefferson believed that the ethical system of Jesus was
the finest the world has ever seen. In compiling what has come to be
called “The Jefferson Bible,” he sought to separate those ethical
teachings from the religious dogma and other supernatural elements
that are intermixed in the account provided by the four Gospels. He
presented these teachings, along with the essential events of the life
of Jesus, in one continuous narrative.

This presentation of The Jefferson Bible offers the text as selected
and arranged by Jefferson in two separate editions: one edition uses a
revised King James Version of the biblical texts, corrected in
accordance with the findings of modern scholarship; the second edition
uses the original unrevised KJV. The actual verses of the Bible used
for both editions are those chosen by Jefferson. Visitors should find
the revised KJV text much easier to read and understand. Those seeking
the precise English version Mr. Jefferson used when making his
compilation can click on “Unrevised KJV text.”

Introduction: Mr. Jefferson’s Compilation

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to William Canby, “Of all the
systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my
observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” He described
his own compilation to Charles Thomson as “a paradigma of his
doctrines, made by cutting the texts out of the book and arranging
them on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or
subject. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never
seen.” He told John Adams that he was rescuing the Philosophy of Jesus
and the “pure principles which he taught,” from the “artificial
vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have
travestied them into various forms as instruments of riches and power
for themselves.” After having selected from the evangelists “the very
words only of Jesus,” he believed “there will be found remaining the
most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered
to man.”

Editorial Problems

The most difficult decision to be made in presenting Jefferson’s
compilation for the World Wide Web is the choice of the English
translation to be used. Jefferson’s original paste-up job included
side-by-side versions of the text in Greek, Latin, French and English,
the latter being the King James Version (KJV). This version, though
unquestionably the most beautiful ever made, has been widely
discredited in this century because of its many inaccuracies and
because so many of the words of the text are either obsolete or have
changed so much in meaning that they are confusing and misleading to
the reader. Certainly, Jefferson, who was fluent in Greek, Latin and
French, had these side-by-side versions to guide him to a fuller
understanding of the text and did not rely solely on the King James.
There is no question that, if Jefferson were supervising this project,
he would prefer a version that was as accurate as possible, especially
if it were to be the only one made available.

Needless to say, it would have been simpler for the editor to present
only the King James Version, just as it was in Jefferson’s original
compilation. But the purpose here is to offer a work that fulfills
Jefferson’s intentions for a meaningful, living book, not to
pedantically present a document for historical interest alone.
Happily, the editor had a corrected edition of the King James Version
available to him from a previous project. This revised KJV had all the
faults of the old King James removed without significantly altering
the beauty of the King James language, and this is the version that is
offered here. [Several additional books from this King James Version
Revised are available at The Holy Bible: King James Version Revised.]
The only drawback in using a modern rendition of the ancient texts is
the discovery that three of the verses included by Jefferson in his
compilation were not actually a part of the most ancient manuscripts.
These three verses, noted in the “Table of Texts,” are of minimal
significance however, and their omission does not affect the reading
in any meaningful way. For those who prefer the version exactly as
used by Jefferson in making his compilation, the original “Unrevised
KJV” is also made available.

Previous editions of Jefferson’s compilation display the source of
each verse along with the verses themselves, thus retaining the paste-
up character of the original. This tends to distract readers from the
message of the text, and forces them constantly to be aware of cuts
and omissions. In this edition, all such documentation is included in
the “Table of Texts Employed,” and the verses are listed in chapters
and with sequential numbers, just as in the King James Bible itself.

Reading The Jefferson Bible

The editor suggests that The Jefferson Bible be read as Thomas
Jefferson intended, without even thinking about what was left out or
moved from one place to another. His purpose was to present a code of
morals, suitable for instruction in ordinary living, not a code of
religious dogmas and supernatural beliefs. It is the editor’s hope
that readers of The Jefferson Bible will be better able to appreciate
the strikingly sublime ethical philosophy of Jesus when his words are
separated from the other doctrinal issues, and that they will be able
to agree with Jefferson that these “doctrines of Jesus are simple and
tend all to the happiness of man.”

Eyler Robert Coates, Sr.


The Jefferson Bible is now available
in Spanish: La Biblia de Jefferson
in German: Die Jefferson-Bibel


Jefferson’s Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit
of the Doctrines of Jesus, Compared with Those of Others

In a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Jefferson described his views on
Jesus and the Christian religion, as well as his own religious
beliefs. He appended to this description a Syllabus that compared the
teachings of Jesus to those of the earlier Greek and Roman
philosophers, and to the religion of the Jews of Jesus’ time. This
letter and the appended Syllabus are interesting to anyone studying
the Jefferson Bible because they explain precisely Jefferson’s views
which later led him to make the compilation of the moral philosophy of
Jesus in the form presented on this website. Both the letter and the
Syllabus are presented below, and may be found in the Memorial Edition
of Jefferson’s Writings, Vol. 10, pg. 379. Following the syllabus is a
letter to William Short, which contains further discussion of the
syllabus. This letter is found in Vol. 11 of the Memorial Edition, pg.

Letter To Dr. Benjamin Rush.

Washington, April 21, 1803.

In some of the delightful conversations with you in the evenings of
1798-99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the
crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian
religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you that one day
or other I would give you my views of it. They are the result of a
life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-
Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my
opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed, but
not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the
only sense in which he wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to his
doctrines in preference to all others, ascribing to himself every
human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other. At the
short interval since these conversations, when I could justifiably
abstract my mind from public affairs, the subject has been under my
contemplation. But the more I considered it, the more it expanded
beyond the measure of either my time or information. In the moment of
my late departure from Monticello, I received from Dr. Priestley his
little treatise of “Socrates and Jesus Compared.” This being a section
of the general view I had taken of the field, it became a subject of
reflection while on the road and unoccupied otherwise. The result was,
to arrange in my mind a syllabus or outline of such an estimate of the
comparative merits of Christianity as I wished to see executed by
someone of more leisure and information for the task than myself. This
I now send you as the only discharge of my promise I can probably ever
execute. And in confiding it to you, I know it will not be exposed to
the malignant perversions of those who make every word from me a text
for new misrepresentations and calumnies. I am moreover averse to the
communication of my religious tenets to the public, because it would
countenance the presumption of those who have endeavored to draw them
before that tribunal, and to seduce public opinion to erect itself
into that inquisition over the rights of conscience which the laws
have so justly proscribed. It behooves every man who values liberty of
conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of
others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.
It behooves him, too, in his own case, to give no example of
concession, betraying the common right of independent opinion, by
answering questions of faith which the laws have left between God and
himself. Accept my affectionate salutations.

Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit of the Doctrines of Jesus,
Compared with Those of Others.

In a comparative view of the Ethics of the enlightened nations of
antiquity, of the Jews and of Jesus, no notice should be taken of the
corruptions of reason among the ancients, to wit, the idolatry and
superstition of the vulgar, nor of the corruptions of Christianity by
the learned among its professors.

Let a just view be taken of the moral principles inculcated by the
most esteemed of the sects of ancient philosophy or of their
individuals; particularly Pythagoras, Socrates, Epicurus, Cicero,
Epictetus, Seneca, Antoninus.

I. Philosophers.

1. Their precepts related chiefly to ourselves, and the
government of those passions which, unrestrained, would disturb our
tranquillity of mind.[Note] In this branch of philosophy they were
really great.

2. In developing our duties to others, they were short and
defective. They embraced, indeed, the circles of kindred and friends,
and inculcated patriotism, or the love of our country in the
aggregate, as a primary obligation: towards our neighbors and
countrymen they taught justice, but scarcely viewed them as within the
circle of benevolence. Still less have they inculcated peace, charity
and love to our fellow men, or embraced with benevolence the whole
family of mankind.

II. Jews.

1. Their system was Deism; that is, the belief in one only
God. But their ideas of him and of his attributes were degrading and

2. Their Ethics were not only imperfect, but often
irreconcilable with the sound dictates of reason and morality, as they
respect intercourse with those around us; and repulsive and anti-
social, as respecting other nations. They needed reformation,
therefore, in an eminent degree.

III. Jesus.

In this state of things among the Jews, Jesus appeared. His
parentage was obscure; his condition poor; his education null; his
natural endowments great; his life correct and innocent: he was meek,
benevolent, patient, firm, disinterested, and of the sublimest

The disadvantages under which his doctrines appear are

1. Like Socrates and Epictetus, he wrote nothing himself.

2. But he had not, like them, a Xenophon or an Arrian to write
for him. I name not Plato, who only used the name of Socrates to cover
the whimsies of his own brain. On the contrary, all the learned of his
country, entrenched in its power and riches, were opposed to him, lest
his labors should undermine their advantages; and the committing to
writing his life and doctrines fell on unlettered and ignorant men,
who wrote, too, from memory, and not till long after the transactions
had passed.

3. According to the ordinary fate of those who attempt to
enlighten and reform mankind, he fell an early victim to the jealousy
and combination of the altar and the throne, at about thirty-three
years of age, his reason having not yet attained the maximum of its
energy, nor the course of his preaching, which was but of three years
at most, presented occasions for developing a complete system of

4. Hence the doctrines he really delivered were defective as a
whole, and fragments only of what he did deliver have come to us
mutilated, misstated, and often unintelligible.

5. They have been still more disfigured by the corruptions of
schismatizing followers, who have found an interest in sophisticating
and perverting the simple doctrines he taught, by engrafting on them
the mysticisms of a Grecian sophist, frittering them into subtleties,
and obscuring them with jargon, until they have caused good men to
reject the whole in disgust, and to view Jesus himself as an impostor.

Notwithstanding these disadvantages, a system of morals is
presented to us which, if filled up in the style and spirit of the
rich fragments he left us, would be the most perfect and sublime that
has ever been taught by man.

The question of his being a member of the Godhead, or in direct
communication with it, claimed for him by some of his followers and
denied by others, is foreign to the present view, which is merely an
estimate of the intrinsic merits of his doctrines.

1. He corrected the Deism of the Jews, confirming them in
their belief of one only God, and giving them juster notions of His
attributes and government.

2. His moral doctrines, relating to kindred and friends were
more pure and perfect than those of the most correct of the
philosophers, and greatly more so than those of the Jews; and they
went far beyond both in inculcating universal philanthropy, not only
to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all
mankind, gathering all into one family under the bonds of love,
charity, peace, common wants and common aids. A development of this
head will evince the peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over
all others.

3. The precepts of philosophy, and of the Hebrew code, laid
hold of actions only. He pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man;
erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the
waters at the fountain head.

4.He taught, emphatically, the doctrines of a future state,
which was either doubted or disbelieved by the Jews, and wielded it
with efficacy as an important incentive, supplementary to the other
motives to moral conduct.

[Jefferson’s note:] To explain, I will exhibit the heads of
Seneca’s and Cicero’s philosophical works, the most extensive of any
we have received from the ancients. Of ten heads in Seneca, seven
relate to ourselves, viz. de ira, consolatio, de tranquilitate, de
constantia sapientis, de otio sapientis, de vita beata, de brevitate
vitae; two relate to others, de clementia, de beneficiis; and one
relates to the government of the world, de providentia. Of eleven
tracts of Cicero, five respect ourselves, viz. de finibus, Tusculana,
academica, paradoxa, de Senectute; one, de officiis, relates partly to
ourselves, partly to others; one, de amicitia, relates to others; and
four are on different subjects, to wit, de natura deorum, de
divinatione, de fato, and sommium Scipionis.

Letter To William Short.

Monticello, April 13, 1820.

Your favor of March the 27th is received, and as you request, a
copy of the syllabus is now enclosed. It was originally written to Dr.
Rush. On his death, fearing that the inquisition of the public might
get hold of it, I asked the return of it from the family, which they
kindly complied with. At the request of another friend, I had given
him a copy. He lent it to his friend to read, who copied it, and in a
few months it appeared in the Theological Magazine of London. Happily
that repository is scarcely known in this country, and the syllabus,
therefore, is still a secret, and in your hands I am sure it will
continue so.

But while this syllabus is meant to place the character of Jesus
in its true and high light, as no impostor Himself, but a great
Reformer of the Hebrew code of religion, it is not to be understood
that I am with Him in all His doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes
the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance
towards forgiveness of sin; I require counterpoise of good works to
redeem it, etc., etc. It is the innocence of His character, the purity
and sublimity of His moral precepts, the eloquence of His
inculcations, the beauty of the apologues in which He conveys them,
that I so much admire; sometimes, indeed, needing indulgence to
eastern hyperbolism. My eulogies, too, may be founded on a postulate
which all may not be ready to grant. Among the sayings and discourses
imputed to Him by His biographers, I find many passages of fine
imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and
others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much
untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible
that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same Being. I
separate, therefore, the gold from the dross; restore to Him the
former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of
others of His disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was
the great Coryphaeus, and first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus.
These palpable interpolations and falsifications of His doctrines, led
me to try to sift them apart. I found the work obvious and easy, and
that His past composed the most beautiful morsel of morality which has
been given to us by man. The syllabus is therefore of His doctrines,
not all of mine. I read them as I do those of other ancient and modern
moralists, with a mixture of approbation and dissent…

RE: posted by [ knuje ]

to the author: You are completely misreading some important historical terms….
first, Jefferson was less concerned with discounting other
philosophical influences on the words of Jesus than he was in
discounting the miracles, which he thought were nonsense…. Jefferson
believed Jesus was a great philosopher, but like many of his
compatriots rejected divinity and religiosity….

Also, you use Deism to mean something that it does not, you are
thinking of Monotheism…. Deism means belief in God that is based on
reason, not revelation, and specifically rejects revelation, magic,
and miracles…. there are variations also: Monodeism (specifying one
deistic God); Pandeism (combined with Pantheism, God is silent because
God has become the Universe); Polydeism (multiple Gods all of whom
abandoned the creation); Panendeism (combined with Panentheism, God is
the Universe but is also above it)….

So yes Jesus was a great philosopher, but under any of the above he
was just a great philosopher…

From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

“The CharmingBurka sends a self-defined picture of the wearing person
to every mobile phone next to it. The project researches about clothes
with a digital layer that is different to their first optical

Project description

The Charming Burka deals with Freud’s idea that all clothes can be
positioned between appeal and shame. The Burka was chosen, because it
is often perceived in the west as a symbol of repression. A digital
layer was added so that women can decide for themselves where they
want to position themselves virtually. The Burka sends an image,
chosen by the wearer, via Bluetooth technology. Every person next to
her can receive her picture via mobile phone and see the women’s self-
determined identity. In the artists interpretation the virtual appeals
can not be gathered by the laws of the Koran and so the Charming Burka
fulfills the desire of living a more western life, which some Muslim
women have today.

Therefore the Burka is equipped with bluetooth antenna/micro-
controller and uses the OBEX protocol, already working with most
mobile phones.”


A project by Markus Kison
e-Mail: baisen[AT]


“Although the “Charming Burka” is positioned in the context of
religion, this project should be seen as a research towards the future
possibilities of everyday clothing to own a digital layer and transmit
additional information about its wearer. It questions which
information people would choose to send. For example this might also
be an image of their “Second Life” avatar.

Sponsor / technology

The prototype is realised with the bluetooth marketing solution
Bluebot ( developed by Haase & Martin, the mobile
marketing company in Dresden/Germany.

Seamless is a fashion event featuring innovative and experimental
works in computational apparel design, interactive clothing, and
technology-based fashion. This year more than 1000 visitors attended
the show in the Boston Museum of Science. Model Meiver De la Cruz
presented the Charming Burka on the catwalk while the audience could
receive the portrait of the model on their mobile phones.”

Saudi police ‘stopped’ fire rescue  /  15 March, 2002

Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a
blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress,
according to Saudi newspapers.

In a rare criticism of the kingdom’s powerful “mutaween” police, the
Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls
who died in the fire on Monday. About 800 pupils were inside the
school in the holy city of Mecca when the tragedy occurred.

According to the al-Eqtisadiah daily, firemen confronted police after
they tried to keep the girls inside because they were not wearing the
headscarves and abayas (black robes) required by the kingdom’s strict
interpretation of Islam.

One witness said he saw three policemen “beating young girls to
prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the
abaya”. The Saudi Gazette quoted witnesses as saying that the police –
known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of
Vice – had stopped men who tried to help the girls and warned “it is a
sinful to approach them”.

The father of one of the dead girls said that the school watchman even
refused to open the gates to let the girls out. “Lives could have been
saved had they not been stopped by members of the Commission for
Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” the newspaper concluded.

Relatives’ anger

Families of the victims have been incensed over the deaths. Most of
the victims were crushed in a stampede as they tried to flee the
blaze. The school was locked at the time of the fire – a usual
practice to ensure full segregation of the sexes.

The religious police are widely feared in Saudi Arabia. They roam the
streets enforcing dress codes and sex segregation, and ensuring
prayers are performed on time. Those who refuse to obey their orders
are often beaten and sometimes put in jail.

From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]



“I’m scared of elevators in Cairo. Maybe it’s because I’m
claustrophobic. Or because I’ve gotten stuck several times, once for
over 45 minutes. Not all of them are bad, but there really are some
sketchy lifts. Don’t believe me? Do a YouTube search on “Cairo

I was even more scared when I was at the Cairo Tower and the elevator-
man whispered a prayer to himself as we started the climb.

A few months ago, I read a posting on Terra Daily originally written
by the AFP in Cairo called “Egyptian Faithful Crave New Islamic
Gadgets.” The article mentioned several new tech gadgets that Muslims
in Cairo were buying, like Ramadan-edition Nokia cellphones and
digital Koran mp3 players. Another device I read about was a prayer
box fitted into cars and elevators that recites a digital doah asafir,
or travel prayer, before moving.

That’s how this video came about.

An Egyptain salesman holds up a digital Koran in Cairo.

Egyptian Faithful Crave New Islamic Gadgets
BY Ines Bel Aiba  /  April 18, 2007

Cairo residents, already summoned to prayers five times a day by a
chorus of scratchy loudspeakers, are now clamouring for a new line of
portable electronic devices to show their devotion to Islam.

Digital Korans, automatic prayer reciters and headphones dispensing
religious advice are all part of the growing wave of outward
religiosity that is increasingly defining daily life in Egypt.

“As a Muslim, I find that hearing these prayers bodes well for the
rest of the day,”said Osama Abdel Hamid, an economics professor at
Cairo University, as he searched through a busy car parts market for
an electronic prayer-reciter.

The little black speaker box that appeared a few months ago is
catching on quickly among Cairo’s cab drivers, who wire it up so that
the prayers pour out the moment they open the door or turn the

It’s slightly more pious than the “It’s a Small World After All”
jingle that are heard from taxis when they hit the brakes, melding
with the constant din of horns and shouting in the city of 16 million

Mohammed Mahmud, a seller of car parts and gadgets in the city’s
Tawfiqiyah market, says the Chinese-made devices have become very
popular in recent months.

“You can also put them in elevators,” added Mahmud, from his stall in
one of the city’s oldest markets, where fruit and vegetable sellers
are slowly giving way to the peddlers of the trinkets, noise-makers,
and assorted kitsch that adorn Cairo taxis.

The little black speakers sell for only seven Egyptian pounds (a
little over a dollar), but Abdel Hamid, the economics professor,
admitted he was actually looking for a better quality Thai-made model
since the Chinese one he bought “fried after about an hour.”

The devout can find a more upscale model in the “Ayat,” which was
recently exhibited at the GITEX exposition in Dubai, the largest
information technology and communication fair in the region.

Resembling a fancy pair of earphones, the Ayat can give the wearer
advice, in Arabic or English, on the number of prostrations necessary
for each type of prayer. It also plays Koranic verses.

“The idea came to me on a plane when I was listening to my iPod,” said
developer Sherif Danesh, an Egyptian living in California’s Silicon

“Many people of all religions are hungry for information on their
religion these days,” he told AFP by e-mail. “The availability of
small portable inexpensive audio and video devices is making it very
easy to access such information anywhere, anytime.”

Putting Koranic verses and prayers into electronic format can be a
fraught enterprise, however, as a number of manufacturers discovered
in 2005 when Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa condemned the use of verses
as ring tones.

Gomaa, one of the highest authorities for Sunni Islam in Egypt,
described it as “a devaluing of the sacred book.”

Danesh said he was careful to get the necessary approval before
developing Ayat, and said he had already sold several thousand of the
devices, which cost 380 pounds (67 dollars, 49 euros).

The proliferation of Islamic gadgets cuts across markets, ranging in
complexity from an alarm clock for the five daily prayers with a built-
in compass pointing towards Mecca, to an entirely digital Koran
accompanied by the hadith (traditions) of the Prophet Mohammed.

At 1,200 pounds (210 dollars), however, the electronic Koran is pretty
far outside the average Egyptian’s reach.

Many see the gadgets as part of the public piety that increasingly
pervades Egyptian society, where the vast majority of women wear
religious headscarves and an increasing number of men sport the
“zebiba” — a prune-like bruise on the forehead that supposedly comes
from vigorous praying.

Dalal al-Bizri, a columnist for the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, sees the
devices as evidence of the importance of appearances in contemporary

“It’s a religion whose followers seem to need to touch, to feel the
beyond — much like the pagans they once condemned,” she said, adding
that such outward displays betray “an insistence on belief, as though
some deeper conviction was lacking.”

Sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, on the other hand, thinks the trend is
more indicative of the “naivety of the consumers and the intelligence
of the merchants.”

“It also says a lot about how quickly the Chinese economy reacts and
adapts to the desires of the consumers — whoever they are,” he said
with a smile.


Manufacturer: Enmac Engineering Ltd. (2005)
Product type: Digital Qur’an Reader Book (Electronic)

Product description:

Now, have the Qur’an at your hand, wherever you go, in a beautiful
color display along with superb audio recitation quality!

Easy navigation through 114 Sura and 6666 Ayat. Arabic, English, Urdu
or French translation can be viewed during recitation. Hear complete
recitation of Dua Khatam ul Quran with high quality audio voice. 28
supplications in Arabic are displayed over colorful natural images
with translation in English. Play voice audio of each Du’a. Colorful
slide show of 99 Names of Allah (Ism e Husna) is displayed with voice
audio .

Product Features —

High resolution color screen.
High quality voice audio.
Complete Holy Quran (114 Surahs).
Quran translation in urdu, english and french.
Easy navigation through 114 Sura and 6666 Ayat.
Holy Quran text in Uthmanic font.
Colorful slides of 99 names of Allah with audio. – Dua Khatam ul
Qur’an with audio.
Daily supplications with colorful slides with audio.
FM transmeter facility.
Clock with alarm setting.
Built-in long lasting rechargable battery.
Voice of Shaikh Abdul Rehman Al-Saudais. & Shaikh Saoud Al-Sharaim.

One year manufacturer’s warranty. Made in Hong Kong. Shipping weight:
1.1 pounds

Accessories —

Stereo Headphones
USB cable (Charging from PC)
6V DC Charger.
User Manual
Digital Pocket Quran Cover

Product Specifications —

Dimension: 90x62x20 LxWxH mm LCD
Size: 160×128 LxW pixels
Weight: 85 grams including battery
Battery: 3.7V 1100mAh LiIon
External Power: DC Input 5V
Computer USB power
Earphone Output: 11mW x 2 Frequency: 200Hz-10KHz

Enmac Digital Quran EE-CDQ-05 with Color LCD Screen : Arabic Audio :
Arabic with English, French, Urdu Text Translation with headphones and
rechargeable battery (Shaykh Abdur-rahman al-Sudais and Saud al-
Shuraim) A4686$179.95

From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]


I CAN THINK OF A FEW OTHER PEOPLE THIS COULD WORK FOR,scholarID.117,type.1/pub_list.asp,filter.all/scholar.asp

“An outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies, Ms.
Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged
marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992, and served as a
member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she
worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into
Dutch society, and on defending the rights of women in Dutch muslim
society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made
Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative
Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted
in the assassination of van Gogh by an Islamic extremist.  At AEI, Ms.
Hirsi Ali will be researching the relationship between the West and
Islam; women’s rights in Islam; violence against women propagated by
religious and cultural arguments; and Islam in Europe.”


Frequently Asked Questions about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust
Answered by Sam Harris

1. As a bestselling author, can’t Ayaan Hirsi Ali afford to pay for
her own protection?

For security reasons, I cannot give specific information about the
arrangements that have been made for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but I can say
that the average security costs for people with similar security
profiles can be in excess of two million dollars per year. Needless to
say, very few writers sell enough books to cover such an extraordinary
expense (and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not among them).

This might seem like an outrageous sum to spend so that one woman can
safely stand at a university lectern and speak about the power of
reason and the rights of little girls–and it is an outrageous sum and
an outrageous circumstance. It is, of course, galling that a mere
advocate of human rights and basic rationality should require special
protection in the United States. But this is simply a fact of life in
a world where freedom of speech and conscience falls ever more under
the shadow of Muslim fanaticism. In my opinion, there is no one making
a more heroic effort to change this fact than Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

2. In your original appeal, you wrote that “if every reader of this
email simply pledged ten dollars a month to protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali,
the costs of her security would be covered for as long as the threat
to her life remains.” How can you say this if you don’t know how far
the email has spread? And if you only need $10 from each person why
does the security page have options to give as much as $1000 per

The idea of offering a monthly subscription was to allow everyone to
make a meaningful contribution to Ms. Hirsi Ali’s protection. Given
what I know about the general costs of security, and the fact that the
original email went out to over 15,000 people, it was correct to say
that Ms. Hirsi Ali’s needs would be largely met if everyone gave $10 a
month indefinitely. However, the truth is that only about half of the
people receiving the email will open it; fewer will read it; and fewer
still will donate.

I would be extremely happy if we could meet Ms. Hirsi Ali’s security
needs in a grassroots way, with small donations, but this is not
realistic. Protecting her will require some much larger gifts of
money. Such gifts are still needed and actively being sought.

3. Aren’t there more important causes to support than the protection
of Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

There are countless worthy targets for our generosity. Whether it is
helping to alleviate hunger in the developing world or building a new
pediatric hospital in the United States, one must choose between
absolute need and absolute need, and such choices often defy rational

Allow me to briefly make the case, however, that in this wilderness of
competing needs and limited resources, the ongoing protection of Ayaan
Hirsi Ali deserves our special commitment. In fact, few projects
represent such a perfect marriage of moral and intellectual necessity.
While the threat of Muslim extremism still seems distant to many of us
living in the developed world, I think it is the one problem that has
the potential to suddenly eclipse all others.

When one considers the cascading effects of what 19 jihadists did with
box-cutters on September 11th, 2001–now measured in the trillions of
dollars–it is difficult to imagine how the world might look after a
single incident of nuclear terrorism. I think it is safe to say,
however, that if we do suffer even one such attack, global warming
will seem the least of our concerns. For this reason, I think that the
superstition and bigotry that currently plagues Muslim communities,
East and West, is the most pressing issue of our time. I know of no
person better placed to awaken the world to the scope of this growing
emergency than Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

4. Might this just be a waste of money? Do bodyguards actually make a

Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of professional security should
remember that Ms. Hirsi Ali’s colleague, Theo van Gogh, having
declined diplomatic protection of his own, was immediately murdered on
an Amsterdam street. It is true that no security can be perfect,
especially when one’s enemies are willing to commit suicide. But the
fact that U.S. diplomats successfully travel to places like Kabul and
Baghdad demonstrates that the combination of intelligence, secrecy,
and armed protection can make a difference. It is safe to say that Ms.
Hirsi Ali is only alive today because the Dutch gave her diplomatic
protection the moment she started receiving death threats in 2002.

5. Isn’t it true that the Dutch would still protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali if
she remained in Holland?

The Dutch government has said as much. But the offer does not seem to
be in good faith. The threat to Ms. Hirsi Ali is actually greatest in
Holland, and it is much more expensive to protect her there. In fact,
the security precautions necessary to keep her safe in Holland are
quite stifling. She is much better placed in the U.S. to do her work.
(For more on this subject, please see the opinion piece I wrote with
Salman Rushdie).

6. Why single out Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Don’t other Muslim dissidents need
our support?

There surely are other Muslim dissidents who are threatened and
deserve our support. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the most visible, however. In
the event we raise enough money for her security, we will help others
as well. Several of us are in the process of forming non-profit
foundations for this larger purpose.

7. What will you do with the money, if you don’t raise enough of it?

The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust will pay for Ms. Hirsi Ali’s
security until the money runs out. Hopefully we will raise enough to
cover her needs indefinitely. If we do not raise enough money, and no
government steps forward to offer her diplomatic protection, Ms. Hirsi
Ali could be forced to stop doing her work and enter the witness
protection program. Hopefully it will never come to that.

8. What will you do if you raise more money than is needed?

Given the costs of Ms. Hirsi Ali’s security, excess funds are not
expected. However, if we raise enough money to cover Ms. Hirsi Ali’s
security, I will send an announcement by email to every person who has
donated to the Security Trust through this website. This will give
people a choice about whether to continue to give to a surplus fund. I
will, of course, make a similar announcement if Ms. Hirsi Ali is ever
given diplomatic protection by the U.S. government (or any other).

The surplus fund will be used to support other dissidents and public
intellectuals in the Muslim world – through conferences, media events,
publications, or by making similar efforts to pay for their

9. Ayaan Hirsi Ali works for the American Enterprise Institute–a
“neoconservative” think-tank. Why should liberals support her?

Ms. Hirsi Ali’s cause transcends politics and should motivate liberals
and conservatives equally. The American Enterprise Institute, to its
great credit and to the enduring shame of my fellow liberals, was the
only think-tank to offer Ms. Hirsi Ali a job when her security
concerns finally forced her to leave Holland. Even if you find the
views of certain AEI fellows as objectionable as I do, please
recognize that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an independent scholar. The AEI
deserves credit for having the courage and wisdom to support her.
Donations to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust do not go to (or
through) the AEI.

10. How widely is this appeal being circulated? Is this only a secular
effort, or have you reached out to Christians and moderate Muslims as

I’ve reached out to everyone I think could be helpful, including
people like Pastor Rick Warren. I am very happy to say that Pastor
Warren responded immediately (as fast as the fastest atheist) and
pledged to help. I’ve also sent this appeal to my few contacts among
practicing Muslims. Needless to say, I think it would be only fitting
if moderate Muslims helped protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali from the immoderate

11. Is there a risk that a high profile appeal such as this might be
seen as a victory by the extremists who threaten Muslim apostates?

From my point of view, we don’t have the luxury of worrying about
this. I think our society should be devoting immense resources to the
problem of encouraging and protecting dissidents in the Muslim world.
Until governments realize this, private citizens will have to do what
they can. The real victory for the extremists would be if someone like
Ayaan Hirsi Ali could no longer make public appearances and do her

12. Will you personally be giving to the Security Trust every month?


Questions about the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust can be sent to:
author [at] samharris [dot] org
Please have the subject line read: “Question about the Security Trust”


Thank you for your interest in helping Ayaan Hirsi Ali. If you would
like more information about her, you can find it here:

All contributions made below go directly to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Security Trust. This private trust is dedicated to financing Ms. Hirsi
Ali’s security and can accept donations both from within the United
States and internationally.

While one-time donations will be deeply appreciated, please consider
setting up a monthly subscription on your credit card. A monthly
subscription can allow anyone to make a meaningful contribution toward
Ms. Hirsi Ali’s security without incurring great expense up front.

Unfortunately, donations to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust are not
tax-deductible, as U.S. law does not currently allow for charitable
contributions to be directed toward a single individual. However, if a
tax-deduction is important to you, a more general charity as been set
up, the Foundation for Freedom of Expression, whose mission is to help
protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali as well as other dissidents in the Muslim
world. Tax Deductable Donations to the foundation may be sent by check
or wire-transfer directly to:

The Foundation for Freedom of Expression, Inc
Bank of Georgetown
1054 31st Street, N.W., Suite 18
Washington, DC 20007
Telephone: 202-355-1200
Account Number: 1010054805
Bank Routing Number: 054001712
Employer Identification Number (EIN): 33-1185369

Monthly Subscription
Use this form to set up a recurring monthly donation.

Payment by Check
Checks should be made payable to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust
and sent to:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust

Bank of Georgetown
1054 31st Street, N.W.
Suite 18
Washington, DC 20007
Ayaan Hirsi Ali Trust Tax Identification Number: 75-6826872

Wire Transfer from within the U.S.

Account Name: Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust
Account Number: 1010054748
Bank Name: Bank of Georgetown
Bank Address: 1054 31st Street, N.W., Suite 18, Washington, DC 20007
Bank Telephone: 202-355-1200
Bank Routing Number: 054001712

International Wire Transfer

For international wire transfers from outside the U.S. to the bank
accounts of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust, you can also wire to
the Netherlands bank account of Dorchester House B.V., which has
dedicated one of their accounts for supporting Security of Ms Hirsi
Ali. All donations and contributions to this account will be forwarded
to the US bank account of the Security Trust and no bank- or other
expenses will be charged. All cash flow is supervised by external
chartered accountants of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Security Trust.

Donations can be made to:

Dorchester House B.V., Amsterdam
Account number: 4732822 with Postbank NV, Amsterdam
IBAN number: NL61PSTB0004732822
BIC/SWIFT code bank: PSTBNL21 Postbank NV, Amsterdam

Please note however that the USA does not have or use IBAN numbers.
Use the ‘account number’ 1010054748 instead. Also, you will need the
routing number 054001712 (also known as FedWire or ABA). Like most US
financial institutions this (ABA) number is used by the Bank of
Georgetown as their only routing type and the SWIFT/BIC code is NOT


“Eid-Mubarak” : The Holy Quran says: “Ramadan is the (month) in which
was sent down the Holy Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear
(Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong).” (2:185)