'All for ourselves and nothing for other people' seems in every age of the world to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. -Adam Smith "All the 'truth' in the world adds up to one big lie." Bob Dylan "Idealism precedes experience, cynicism follows it." Anon

October 25, 2010

Who is the Real Anti-Christian: the Atheist or the Fundamentalist Christian?

Chain The Dogma    September 16, 2010

by Perry Bulwer

I was recently publicly accused of being anti-Christian by a Christian fundamentalist who believes that everything in the Bible is literally true. It is a false accusation, but doesn't surprise me given the confused, narrow worldview of my accuser and the fact that I publicly identify myself as an atheist while helping to expose on my website abusive religious behaviour that violates the rights of others. Other believers who have contacted me through my site stopped communicating with me after they realized I was an atheist, or have told me my website is too 'dangerous' to visit, perhaps out of fear that they might stumble on some uncomfortable facts or that I might try to 'convert' them, a practice I left behind when I deconverted from Christianity. It seems that some believers automatically assume I will be hostile towards them because I openly declare my unbelief, help expose religiously motivated harm, and occasionally blaspheme or ridicule religious dogma in the process of exposing that harm.

I'm writing this, therefore, to clarify for my Christian family members and friends, who probably do find the accusation surprising, as well as for Christians and other believers who visit my website, that just because I am an atheist does not mean that I am anti-Christian (or anti-Muslim or anti-Jew, etc.). In fact, I will argue that even though I have completely rejected my Christian indoctrination, no longer believe in God and think the Bible is a book of myths, metaphors and misrepresentations, I am more respectful of Christians as a whole, and their right to believe whatever they want, than is my fundamentalist Christian accuser.

I am one of those atheists who came to that position via fundamentalist Christianity, so I know that mentality too well. I was indoctrinated into that belief system as a naive teenager in 1972 by manipulative, evangelical Jesus freaks called the Children of God. After almost 20 years of being a psychological prisoner of fundamentalist Christian dogma, I managed to break free of the hold that Christian cult, now called The Family International, had on me. But getting out of the cult was just the start, getting the cult out of me was an entirely different matter that took much time, introspection and education. So, a year after I escaped that mental prison, I started university, which became for me a kind of self-directed cult exit therapy.

Getting a formal, secular education was the best decision I ever made as it exposed me to facts and ideas I had completely closed my mind to as a result of Christian indoctrination that taught me that worldly knowledge separates you from God and a carnal, worldly mind is the enemy of God. (Genesis 2, 3; Romans 8:6-8) For almost twenty years I subsisted intellectually on nothing but the Bible and the writings of the self-proclaimed end-time prophet, David Berg, who said he was God's final mouthpiece on earth before Jesus' return in 1993. We know how that turned out. The false prophet rotted in his grave a year after that failed return, and Jesus will never come back, if he even existed in the first place. With that measly dogmatic diet, my mind had turned to mush from under use, so exercising it with academic studies was exactly what I needed to get my brain back from the brink of madness.

The eleven years I spent in the British Columbia education system prior to joining the cult never taught me how to think critically on any subject, let alone religion. In fact, at public elementary school every day started with a legally mandatory reading of a Bible passage and saying the Lord's Prayer. Christianity pervaded mainstream culture in various other forms and not once did I ever hear anyone, including the non-church goers and non-believers in my large extended family, criticize Christianity, religion or belief in God. In hindsight, I think my life would have turned out differently if one of those unbelievers had dared to discuss with me their reasons for their unbelief, or if I had been made aware of criticisms of Christianity, such as Bertrand Russel's tract Why I Am Not a Christian. Surely I would have thought twice about dropping out of my family, school and society to serve Jesus with an itinerant band of garbage eating hippies if I had been exposed to such a different interpretation of Jesus' message. But as it was, it never occurred to me to question the Bible's authenticity and authority since I was so softened up by my family, the Catholic church and the dominant culture to blindly accept the Jesus myth. That made me an easy target for unscrupulous, fundamentalist cult recruiters.

After nearly twenty years of the cult's mind mush, I finally left in 1991. It was clear to me even before then that Berg was a false prophet and that the ring-leaders of his cult were as corrupt, manipulative and abusive as he was. I was in the Far East at the time, though, and totally controlled by those leaders, so it took me a couple years to make a plan and secretly save money to get back to Canada. After escaping, I spent time recovering at my mom's place and soon realized that without an education my job prospects and ability to create a new post-cult life for myself were severely limited. So, regardless of low self-esteem as a result of Christian dogma that denigrates and denies self (Luke 9:23,24) I was cautiously excited to start university exactly a year after I escaped the cult.

Although I had recognized the cult was corrupt, I still held on to my Christian beliefs for awhile as I tried to sort out what to do with my life, but that started to slowly change as I began to read more and more books in preparation for university. I discovered in the small local library a fantastic encyclopedic series called The Great Conversation, which directly exposed me for the first time to many of the great works and ideas in the Western canon. I would revisit many of those books at university, but it was a different book I stumbled on by chance during the first month of classes that started me on the path of discarding the dogma I had been indoctrinated into.

That book is God is Red: A Native View of Religion by Vine Deloria Jr.. It was not on any of my course reading lists, but I caught a glimpse of the cover on a display shelf as I climbed some stairs in the campus library. It was still the early months in my student life, so fortunately I still had the luxury of time for extracurricular reading because the book helped change my life. It provides a critique of Christianity from a unique point of view I had never considered. As I began to question my religious beliefs, I realized that the best course of action was to suspend my belief, but I did not become an atheist over night, or even over a year. I concluded that I needed to try and start my life over with a clean slate, and defer any decisions on what I now believed concerning God and religion until I had a chance to more thoroughly examine the facts, evidence and ideas that education would expose me to.

That strategy worked. I opened my mind to knowledge, theories, facts and evidence. I questioned, doubted, and debated. I applied my new critical thinking skills to my knowledge of the Bible, reading passages in it for the first time without the blinkers of dogmatic literalism, critically citing it in numerous course essays in philosophy, literature, and history. Perhaps most importantly, I discovered the facts of evolution and came to the conclusion that far from being The Big Lie, as I was taught by fundamentalist indoctrination, evolution is a beautiful theory that is far more convincing and sensible than creationism. Of all the issues I struggled with most as a fundamentalist believer the most difficult was the dogma that the Genesis creation story is a literal one (or two, since there are two different versions), because there is so much about it that is simply unbelievable. It was a great relief intellectually and psychologically to put an end to that particular cognitive dissonance. Thanks Charles!

My pre-cult 11th grade education did not adequately instruct me on the nature of evolution, inform me of the solid, scientific basis for it, or deal in any way with the 'controversy' between evolution and creationism. My grasp of the issues was extremely simplistic, based largely on that widely used chart that misrepresents evolution as being a straight line from monkeys to humans, like that opening sequence on The Simpsons showing the ascent of Homer and the descent of Mo. I only understood that some people claimed humans were animals that evolved from monkeys and that others thought humans were 'higher' than animals, special creations made in God's image. So when the fundamentalists did their dirty work on my uninformed mind they had an easy time over-coming any feeble reasoning I attempted to counter their arguments with. I was ignorant of the facts, so faith took over. It was only when I finally read Darwin's original work, in my third year of university, that I realized the biggest lie is not evolution but creationism, a lie that continues to keep millions imprisoned in ignorance. The evidence for evolution has been piling up for 150 years, unlike the evidence for creationism, which simply does not exist except in the imaginations of its proponents.

After graduating with distinction and an award for the highest GPA in my program, which was a bit of a boost for my persistent low self-esteem, I continued my education a few years later at law school. By now I was no longer a believer, but never had occasion or reason to publicly declare my unbelief, or even privately with family and friends, as religion was a subject I now avoided. Then one day I was in court, not in my usual position representing a client, but as a witness in a criminal trial. It was the first time I had to decide between swearing on a Bible, or other 'holy' book, or simply swearing an oath. I had not given it any prior thought, but on the stand I immediately decided to swear an oath. I had seen plenty of people, including police officers, lie after swearing on the Bible, so I knew that was a charade and no guarantee of truth-telling. I realized afterwards that that was my first public rejection of the Bible and my former beliefs.

So, as I said, I did not become an atheist over-night. I was never on an anti-Christian crusade and don't consider myself a militant, evangelical atheist or other similar pejorative used to describe atheists. I was simply on my own personal path of recovery, discovery and enlightenment that led unavoidably to atheism. The fact that I now openly discuss my unbelief, work to expose religion-related abuse, and in the process sometimes criticize or ridicule beliefs of others, some of which I too once held, does not make me anti-Christian or an atheist crusader.

In law school I focused on areas such as human rights, civil rights, aboriginal rights and social justice. I was more interested in being an advocate for those on the margins of society and speaking truth to power than in supporting the elite and the status quo. I became a community advocate and activist for drug addicts, street prostitutes and the poor. It is that human rights training and experience that I bring to this question of who is the real anti-Christian, me or my fundamentalist accuser, who is also a former member of the same Christian cult as me, I should point out. However, his path to cult recovery was very different than mine, as he chose to remain a fundamentalist and close his mind to any further inquiry outside of that dogmatic system. He took some theology and pastoral courses, and discarded the more radical, extra-Biblical doctrines of the cult, but otherwise simply moved from one fundamentalist position to another. It's as if we both escaped from the same dangerous situation, but he simply moved across the street whereas I moved to the other side of the world. [SEE UPDATE BELOW - Pastor Don is a member of the Assemblies of God]

He made his accusation on a website chat-board for former members of the cult, where he and I have clashed more than once in the past. I used to be a frequent commenter on that site, but have rarely posted there the last couple years. Now I just check the site for any news about the cult, and occasionally post a link to news items. Here's what happened to provoke the recent accusation by him.

In July, a woman named Jewlz posted a short message [see postscript below] that some members of the cult were infiltrating an Australian church called Hillsong and that she had warned the church about those extremists. My accuser, Pastor Don, responded with: “Thanks, I like Hillsong. They do great stuff!” I then replied: “Here's some of the "great stuff" Hillsong does [links take you to news articles archived on my site]” and provided links to seven news articles archived on my website [see links below] about abuse in the Hillsong church and Mercy Ministries, which Hillsong helped to support in various ways. I purposely mentioned in my reply that the links were to my website as a heads up to Pastor Don because I knew he was one of those who had repeatedly said he had no interest in going to my site. I was attempting to respect his decision not to go to my website and didn't want to ambush him with links. I posted the links not for him, but for the benefit of others reading the conversation who would be interested in reading those articles. Here is his unedited response to my post:

You and I never change Perry, I am a Christian and you are anti-Christian. There is not much more to say than that. If you think I am going to go to the websites you linked I have better things to do than that. Maybe you can research me and find about bad things I do and have done. I'm sure you are more than happy to do what you can to fight the cause of Christ, who you some blatanly [sic] hate. Myself being a firm believer, in the Bible, there will come a day when every knee will bow. The main word being every. Sorry to be religous [sic] on GenX but I did not feel like being silent.

I've been called far worse, so it is hardly a devastating accusation, and considering where it was made not many people outside of that community have likely read it. However, it does reveal what may be a common assumption about me, and atheists in general, that I am trying to correct with this article, as well as show who the real anti-Christian is. Here's how his comments break down. He starts by saying that he and I never change, which may be true for him, but not for me, as I have demonstrated above. I have not only constantly changed since leaving the cult, including my entire worldview, but I remain open to changing my current position on any issue if proper evidence is presented to me. For example, I would revert back to belief in God, or accept that reptilian aliens from space live among us, if any reliable evidence is ever found, though I'm not holding my breath.

Pastor Don could never change in such a dramatic way as long as he remains a fundamentalist. How can I say that with such certainty? Well, he admits he never changes, but also because there is already abundant, strong, verifiable evidence that the earth is older than 10,000 years and evolution by natural selection is how we all got here, evidence that Pastor Don will never accept because it would require him to abandon his creationist beliefs. But he can never change his beliefs as long as he subscribes to Biblical literalism, which does not require empirical evidence, just blind faith. My new belief system, however, does require scientifically verifiable empirical evidence, and I can easily change my belief that something is either fact or fiction based on the latest reliable evidence.

Next, he seems to think he is simply stating an obvious fact by calling me anti-Christian. I'm not entirely sure what he bases that on since he doesn't provide any examples. He won't go to my website and we have never met in person, so he is either basing that accusation on something I've written in our debates on those ex-member chat-boards a few years ago or on the simple fact that I am an atheist who warns others about abusive religious behaviour. It is probable that in the heated debates I've had online with him and others that I have said something offensive to Christians, but does merely being offensive make me anti-Christian? If, for example, I express my opinion that the Bible is a book of inconsistencies, inaccuracies and impossibilities, that will surely offend many Christians, but my mere opinions do not make me anti-Christian. If a Christian says to me Jesus is real and if you don't accept him he will force you or send you to hell, and I disagree saying Jesus is a myth and there is no hell, my opinion may be offensive to Christians, but not any more offensive than the Christian's opinion is to unbelievers.

Perhaps Pastor Don has a problem with reading comprehension. Although my comment he reacted to was only one short sentence, half of which pointed out that the included links all went to my website, he still replied that he would not “go to the websites you linked”. If that is the case, maybe his accusation is based on misinterpreting something I've written. If anyone can find any original statement by me, whether on my website, those chat-boards or elsewhere on the net, that they think demonstrates that I am anti-Christian, then I will either explain in context why I think it doesn't, or retract the statement if it truly is an anti-Christian sentiment.

Pastor Don goes on to claim not only that he is certain I am happy fighting “the cause of Christ”, but that I blatantly hate Jesus. Wow, he really must have some divine super power to know the state of my emotions. Apparently, I am a happy hater of someone I doubt even existed. And what is the cause of Christ he speaks of? According to him it is to make every knee bow down, “[t]he main word being every”. In other words, in his version of Christianity, Pastor Don believes that Jesus is a dictator who will force everyone, under threat of eternal punishment, into conformity and servitude. This really gets to the heart of the matter, because many Christians do not subscribe to that fundamentalist dogma. In fact, there are many individuals and churches who consider themselves faithful Christians that fundamentalists like Pastor Don do not consider Christian at all because they do not adhere to strict Biblical literalism. That makes Pastor Don an anti-Christian in my opinion because he does not believe in religious freedom for others, but instead believes that everyone, including other Christians, must eventually conform to his particular brand of Christianity.

I do not make that discriminating distinction between Christians. Unlike Pastor Don and his dictatorial Jesus, I am content to let all Christians of any church, denomination, sect, or cult believe whatever they want to believe, and have no desire or motivation to deny them their religious freedom. However, religious freedom is not absolute and the law draws the line on religious behaviour that harms or infringes the rights of others. For example, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, you have the right to make a martyr of yourself, but not the right to make martyrs of your children. That is where I focus my advocacy work that Pastor Don calls fighting the cause of Christ. Remember, I simply posted links to news articles that provided factual accounts of religious harm in the Hillsong church that he had endorsed. Those accounts included stories of abusive exorcisms, which as he knows, was a serious problem in the cult we were both part of. But as a fundamentalist he still believes in demon possession and so rather than investigating the stories I provided, he automatically defended the church from this 'dangerous' atheist by declaring me an anti-Christian who hates Jesus and fights his cause. Well, if the cause is to make every knee bow through denunciation, abuse and torture, then yes, I will fight that cause, but it is not a Christian cause.

So, who is the real anti-Christian? Is it the atheist who thinks everyone should be free to hold any religious belief, interpretation or opinion they want, including Christians, as long as they don't harm or hinder others? Or is it the Christian fundamentalist who implicitly thinks that no one really has religious freedom, not even Christians, because there is only one correct interpretation of Christianity and everyone will eventually be forced by a divine dictator to accept it? I think the answer is obvious. If Pastor Don was not so afraid to visit my website, he would notice that I name it Chain the Dogma, not Chain the Christians. It is religious behaviour and rigid dogma that promotes, condones and incites harm to others in any form that needs to be restricted, not religious belief or opinion. As a secular humanist who recognizes humanity is unlikely to shed superstitious beliefs anytime soon, I think religious pluralism is preferable to fundamentalism, and that religion ought to be confined to the private and kept out of the public sector. As Paul, the former anti-Christian, said: “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God.” (Romans 14:22, KJV) In other words, keep your faith to yourself, but that doesn't make Paul, or me, anti-Christian.


Following is the chat-board discussion referred to in the article above. I have included only the originating post by Jewlz and the replies by me and Pastor Don. I have excluded comments by others joining in the discussion. You can read the other comments on this chat-board on the exfamily.org website.

Posted by Jewlz on July 15, 2010 at 23:26:08

I have heard that many of TFI have been infiltrating Hillsong in Sydney for quite a while now. I work for a Christian company so am pretty much in the loop as to who is where etc. TFI have spun a very different tale regarding their sordid past - but I have told them the truth & to BEWARE.

Posted by Pastor Don on July 16, 2010 at 07:18:16   In Reply to: Re: Hillsong Church - Sydney posted by Jewlz on July 15, 2010 at 23:26:08:

Thanks, I like Hillsong. They do great stuff!

Posted by Perry on July 16, 2010 at 14:59:18   In Reply to: Re: Hillsong Church - Sydney posted by Pastor Don on July 16, 2010 at 07:18:16:

Here's some of the "great stuff" Hillsong does [links take you to news articles archived on my site]:

They sought help, but got exorcism and the Bible http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2008/03/they-sought-help-but-got-exorcism-and.html
Cult-rescue group 'concerned about' Mercy Ministries http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2008/03/cult-rescue-group-concerned-about-mercy.html
Mercy Ministries claim exorcisms cure mental illness and drug addiction http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2008/07/mercy-ministries-claim-exorcisms-cure.html

Mercy Ministries exorcism books leaked http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2008/11/mercy-ministries-exorcism-books-leaked.html
Hillsong: Exorcism in the suburbs http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2008/11/hillsong-exorcism-in-suburbs.html

Hillsong accused of closet zealotry http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2008/07/hillsong-accused-of-closet-zealotry.html

Hillsong hits schools with beauty gospel http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2008/07/hillsong-hits-schools-with-beauty.html

 Posted by Pastor Don on July 16, 2010 at 16:39:23  In Reply to: Re: Hillsong Church - Sydney posted by Perry on July 16, 2010 at 14:59:18:
You and I never change Perry, I am a Christian and you are anti-Christian. There is not much more to say than that. If you think I am going to go to the websites you linked I have better things to do than that. Maybe you can research me and find about bad things I do and have done. I'm sure you are more than happy to do what you can to fight the cause of Christ, who you some blatanly hate. Myself being a firm believer, in the Bible, there will come a day when every knee will bow. The main word being every. Sorry to be religous on GenX but I did not feel like being silent.

Posted by Perry on July 16, 2010 at 19:41:36  In Reply to: Re: Hillsong Church - Sydney posted by Pastor Don on July 16, 2010 at 16:39:23:

You mistakenly think my post was directed at you personally. It was not. I posted it as a response to your post because you claimed Hillsong does great things. Where else should I have posted it?

For the benefit of others, I simply wanted to counter balance your opinion with some facts about how that organization abuses young people, including through exorcisms, which is a relevant topic on this board, in my opinion, especially when someone endorses their abusive methods, and considering the news that some TFI members may be getting involved with that church.

You've made it clear in the past that you have no interest in my site, so I did not post those links for your benefit, and in fact, I purposely gave a warning for your benefit, and others like you, that the links go to my site. There was nothing personal in my post directed at you, unlike yours, which pretty much sums up what kind of person you are.


One thing I neglected to mention in my article above is the church that Pastor Don is affiliated with, namely the Assemblies of God. This is an important piece of information that bolsters my claim that his departure from the The Family International cult was akin to simply moving across the street. What I meant by that metaphor was that dangerous dogma in both groups is identical in many ways. Pastor Don has abandoned some of the cult's more radical doctrines, but continues to evangelize other equally harmful fundamentalist doctrines.

Pastor Don is proud to be a fundamentalist, and does not seem to be bothered by the fact that the Hillsong church and Mercy Ministries were involved in abusive exorcisms. His affiliation with the Assemblies of God seems to explain that lack of concern, because they believe in such nonsense, just as The Family International cult does.

I have archived on my news blog several articles on Teen Challenge, an abusive program run by the Assemblies of God. The most recent article details abusive attempts to 'cure' a gay man of homosexuality as if it is a disease.

See: Inside look at abusive Teen Challenge program run by fundamentalist Assemblies of God that claims to cure homosexuality http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.com/2011/02/inside-look-at-abusive-teen-challenge.html and see the links at the end of that article.

Here is what the Assemblies of God teach on the subject of homosexuality from their website: http://www.ag.org/top/beliefs/topics/relations_11_homosexual.cfm

And here is what David Berg, the decease founder of the Children of God/The Family International, and the current leader Karen Zerby, teach about homosexuality: http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Berg_on_Homosexuality

If you exam both sets of dogma you will find they are almost indistinguishable and cite the same scriptures. On this subject and many more, there is no doctrinal difference between Pastor Don's church, the Assemblies of God, and the cult we both escaped from.

I find it extremely ironic and somewhat disturbing, therefore, that he is major contributor to an online forum for ex-members of that cult, offering spiritual advice that is often no different from what The Family International cult teaches. See: http://www.exfamily.org/chatbbs/jrny/index.html


Inside look at abusive Teen Challenge program run by fundamentalist Assemblies of God that claims to cure homosexuality 

Behind the Walls: The Teen Challenge You Won't See

Teen Challenge--an Assemblies of God-run "kiddie boot camp" chain

"I hope that by educating people that we can stop kids from living with longterm scars"

Founder of abusive Teen Challenge ministry predicts imminent 'earth shattering calamity'

The liberal state has a duty to ensure that all children acquire the ability to think for themselves

Third Wave 'Spiritual Warfare' movement indoctrinating young children to do battle for the Lord

'Arming' for Armageddon: Militant Joel's Army Followers Seek Theocracy

Religions that teach homosexuality is a sin are real bullies engaging in spiritual terrorism

Religiously inspired disdain and hatred of gay people leads to bullying and death of vulnerable youth

Baptist pastor sued by four men for sex abuse when they were teens preaches that homosexuals deserve death

Ex-gay therapy is child abuse and those who practice it have blood on their hands

New website tracks clergy abuse in Church of God in Christ, but is run by pastor who abuses gay christians

Connecticut Church Posts Exorcism of Gay Teen on Youtube

Undercover investigation prompts British Medical Assn. to call for ban of discredited, harmful gay conversion therapies

Fundamentalist "Truth Academy" indoctrinating teens to fear and fight homosexuals as a threat to religious freedom

Massachusetts Catholic school officials rescind admission of 8 year old after learning his parents are lesbians

Vatican's top Cardinal blames sex crimes scandals on homosexuality in speech in Santiago, where Chilean priest raped girls

Connecticut Church Posts Exorcism of Gay Teen on Youtube

Undercover investigation prompts British Medical Assn. to call for ban of discredited, harmful gay conversion therapies

Fundamentalist "Truth Academy" indoctrinating teens to fear and fight homosexuals as a threat to religious freedom

Massachusetts Catholic school officials rescind admission of 8 year old after learning his parents are lesbians

Vatican's top Cardinal blames sex crimes scandals on homosexuality in speech in Santiago, where Chilean priest raped girls

Connecticut Church Posts Exorcism of Gay Teen on Youtube

Undercover investigation prompts British Medical Assn. to call for ban of discredited, harmful gay conversion therapies

Fundamentalist "Truth Academy" indoctrinating teens to fear and fight homosexuals as a threat to religious freedom

Massachusetts Catholic school officials rescind admission of 8 year old after learning his parents are lesbians

Vatican's top Cardinal blames sex crimes scandals on homosexuality in speech in Santiago, where Chilean priest raped girls

As one bishop blames Jews for current criticisms of Catholic church, another blames homosexuality for pedophile priests

UK bishops denounce Cardinal for linking clergy sex crimes to homosexuality, Vatican out of touch with society

Belgium's Catholic primate faces demands to step down after controversial remarks on pedophile priests and AIDS

Clergy abuse survivor tells Delaware court that church officials blamed him for tempting pedophile priest

Brazilian bishops prepare anti-abuse guidelines, Archbishop says teens are "spontaneously homosexual" & "society is pedophile"

Bishop of Tenerife blames child abuse on the children

President of British Humanist Association: sex and death lie at the poisoned heart of religion

Constitutional expert says beware of coming Canadian police state

Chain The Dogma    August 22, 2010

by Perry Bulwer

Clayton C. Ruby, one of Canada's leading lawyers specializing in criminal, constitutional, administrative and civil rights law, warns of the coming police state in Canada in this two part interview. He explains how our civil rights, supposedly protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, exist precariously at the whim of ideological political leaders, who can remove that protection at any time through unjust, unconstitutional laws and regulations, enforced by the police who have turned against the very people they are supposed to protect. Furthermore, citizens who have had their rights denied or limited in this way have no legal recourse to hold governments accountable for such Charter violations.


"BEWARE OF COMING POLICE STATE" PT.2 Clayton Ruby: No effective way to enforce charter of rights 

Paul Jay: Was the prime minister the hidden hand behind the G-20 fiasco in Toronto?

Canadian Court Bans G-20 Defendant from Speaking 

Organizer Alex Hundert coerced into 'unprecedented' gag clause (includes interview filmed prior to ban)

More at The Real News More at The Real News More at The Real News

 These videos were found at:  The Real News Network http://therealnews.com/t2/

G20 officer: 'This ain't Canada right now'

G20 police officer: 'This ain't Canada right now'

 A police oversight body is probing the comments of a police officer who was caught on YouTube telling a man who refused to be searched during the G20 summit, "This ain't Canada right now." The video shows a verbal confrontation between Paul Figueiras and York Regional Police officers working summit duty in downtown Toronto, about a block from the security perimeter.

One officer tells Figueiras that police need to search his backpack, but he refuses. "You haven't opened up your bag, so take off," the officer says to the man. When the man refers to being in Canada, the officer replies: "This ain't Canada right now."

Figueiras told CBC News on Friday, "It certainly meant in that moment that this officer was saying to me, 'As far as I am concerned, you don't have civil rights,'" He said at one point, the officer grabbed him and he had to back away. "I was actually responding to him, saying, 'OK, well, I'm not going to open my backpack so I'm going to leave and that's actually when he assaulted me and said you don't get a choice."

Figueiras lodged a complaint last month with Ontario's Office of the Independent Police Review Director. In a report last month, Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin used the video as one example of how police brass spread confusion among officers on the street. He said a misinterpretation of special provincial legislation led to police wrongly believing they had expanded powers. University of Toronto law professor David Schneiderman said this false belief among police that they could search anyone they please led to widespread violations of civil liberties. "There were various indications that the police officers here from various police forces, Toronto, York Regional police are identified, were exhibiting behaviour that was directly contrary to the constitutional rights of the people involved," said Schneiderman.

A spokesperson for the police oversight body investigating the incident said they don't comment during ongoing probes. York Region police also refused to comment.

G8/G20 Communique: Alex Hundert re-re-re-arrested People need to tell their G20 story in a public hearing: CCLA and NUPGE Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and James Clancy, the National Union of Public and General Employees's national president, spoke to rabble.ca about the release of a report by the CCLA and the NUPGE based on public hearings on the G20 mass arrests. The hearings were held in Toronto and Montreal last November. Activist Communique: The G20 and why I'm glad we didn't stay home G8/G20 Communique: Alex Hundert re-re-re-arrested "Each arrest is more preposterous than the last.

 The fact that this latest unbelievable charge is coming from the Crown themselves reveals a clear political bias from the Attorney General's office to keep Alex in jail at all costs and to criminalize political dissenters" http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/statica/2010/10/g8g20-communiqu%C3%A9-alex-hundert-re-re-re-arrested G8/G20 Communique: The Law Union of Ontario's post-G20 action guide This guide is a resource to help you understand your rights and the kinds of actions you can take in response to a violation of your rights during the G20 Summit in Toronto in June 2010. During the G20 Summit in Toronto on June 26 and 27, 2010, police trampled on the legal rights and civil liberties of thousands of protestors, legal observers, media personnel, bystanders, and other members of the public.

The guide is free and online at: http://www.lawunion.ca/sites/lawunion/files/2010%2009%2030%20G20%20Guide%20LAYOUT%20FINAL%20WEB_0.pdf

 CBC News - October 14, 2010

 Dozens of G20 accused have charges dropped The Crown has dropped charges against more than 100 people who were arrested during the G20 summit in Toronto. Ninety of those defendants were Quebecers who travelled to Toronto to protest the summit, which ran June 26-27. A group of them had taken a bus from Montreal to Toronto that weekend and were sleeping on the floor at the University of Toronto graduate students' union building. They were rounded up by Toronto police early in the morning of June 27. They were charged with a number of offences, including unlawful assembly and conspiracy-related charges.

All of those people had their charges dropped Thursday because of a lack of evidence. Many of them did not appear in court in person, rather, they celebrated on the steps of the courthouse in downtown Montreal. Lisa Perrault, a Montreal social worker and a member of the group Anti-Capitalist Convergence, was among those arrested on June 27. She was held at a temporary detention centre for three days before being charged with unlawful assembly and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. She said dropping more charges is an admission that they shouldn't have been arrested in the first place. "It's all to show to people that they are not welcome to say what they have to say because that's what is going to happen to them."

'Charges were frivolous'

Julius Grey, a Montreal lawyer who has been a fierce critic of the policing during the summit, agreed. "Well, it says what we knew from the start, those charges were frivolous, there was no evidence, that they knew of no conspiracy," he said. Some 1,100 people were arrested that weekend, but only 308 were eventually charged. Before Thursday, charges were dropped against 69 of those people. To date, only six people have been convicted. Most of those charged were held in a makeshift detention centre, then released on bail - just like Perrault. "My rights weren't respected," said Maryce Poisson, who was arrested along with Perrault. "I felt really stressed about that. And I still had visions about what happened in jail. I think it is something that's really traumatic."

Montreal man arrested

Meanwhile, Toronto police announced Thursday that they had arrested a Montreal man in connection to G20-related vandalism. Youri Couture, 22, faces six charges, including assaulting a police officer, wearing a disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of dangerous weapons. Police allege that during the G20 summit, Couture smashed the windows of a coffee shop, causing more than $18,000 in damages. Police also allege he assaulted a police officer with a weapon during the meeting of world leaders. This article was found at: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/10/14/g20-charges-dropped685.html

Enemies of the State CBC News - Canada October 15, 2010

 Former Manitoba AG on secret internment list A former provincial attorney general was among thousands of Communists and sympathizers from across Canada slated to be watched and even detained at internment camps under a Cold War-era plan, a joint CBC/Radio-Canada investigation found.

 Roland Penner, who served in cabinet under Manitoba's NDP government throughout the 1980s, was monitored by the government program PROFUNC over the span of two decades starting in the 1950s. It's unclear whether they continued to monitor him after he was elected to office in 1981.

"I've reason to believe ... that it continued even when I was attorney general. Now, when it stopped, I don't know," Roland told The Fifth Estate. He has obtained the thick security file the RCMP compiled on him, but most of it is redacted. Though he knows his Communist ties prompted police surveillance, he had no idea about the government's secret internment plan.

The CBC's The Fifth Estate and Radio-Canada's Enquete investigative programs unearthed troubling details about the three-decades-long secret government contingency plan dubbed PROFUNC, which stands for PROminent FUNCtionaries of the Communist Party. At the plan's outset in 1950, about 16,000 suspected Communists and 50,000 sympathizers were listed as PROFUNC targets to be monitored and possibly interned in the advent of a national security threat. Penner's inclusion on the list is perhaps not surprising. He followed in the footsteps of his parents, becoming a leading communist in the province. He ran for federal election under a communist banner in the early 1950s but later joined the New Democrats. His father, Jacob Penner, had a hand in founding the Communist Party of Canada.

Both of Penner's parents were also on the PROFUNC list. Under the PROFUNC plan, sealed envelopes were placed in RCMP detachments across the country containing names and details about potential internees. Arrest document A separate arrest document, known formally as a C-215 form, was written up for each potential internee. Each form detailed the person's name, age, physical description, photos of the person, information on their vehicles and homes, including location of doors to be used in potential escapes. The lists of targets included their children. Over the decades, the documents in the envelopes were regularly reviewed and updated. In the advent of a national security crisis, RCMP detachments across the country would begin a massive roundup they referred to as M-Day, or Mobilization Day. Police commanders were secretly briefed on preparations for the day. Special uniformed teams were to be deployed in residential neighbourhoods, taking up tactical positions and rounding up the targets. Those arrested would then be transported to temporary "reception centres."

Early lists suggested reception centres be set up in locations across the country, including Toronto's historic Casa Loma, a country club in Port Arthur, Ont., and Grandstand Exhibition Grounds in Regina. Internees would later be transferred to more formal detention facilities such as penitentiaries. Men would be kept at camps across the country, women would be sent to one of two facilities in the Niagara Peninsula or Kelowna, B.C. Children would either be sent to relatives or interned with parents. An 11-page document outlines the harsh rules for internees at the camps. Internees could be held indefinitely and shot if caught trying to escape. Harsh punishment Internees also faced harsh punishment if they broke the strict rules of the camps, such as the following: "No internee shall converse with any person, other than an officer guard or staff member, unless he is permitted to do so under these regulations or is given special permission to do so by an officer."

The PROFUNC files were regularly updated until the program's demise in 1983, prompted by administrative changes introduced by Robert Kaplan, Canada's solicitor general at the time. The former Toronto Liberal MP said he knew nothing of the plan's existence during his time as minister in the early 1980s. Kaplan says he learned of the program - and his inadvertent role in shutting it down - from the CBC. He unwittingly ended the program when he ordered the RCMP to discontinue whatever was causing a number of superannuated Communists to encounter problems entering the United States. Irate constituents had alerted him to the problem. Kaplan said he was appalled to hear that the Canadian government had been involved in such a plan: "I just can't believe it had any government authorization behind it."


The PROFUNC plan changed over the years, but here's a glimpse of what it looked like in its early years. The following information is from a 1951 document detailing reception centres and internment camps to be set up across the country. Reception areas: Halifax: Canadian Immigration Detention Headquarters Montreal:Department of Labour Hostel Toronto: Casa Loma Winnipeg: Normal School Port Arthur, Ont.: Port Arthur Country Club Regina: Grandstand Exhibition Grounds Edmonton: Canadian Immigration Quarters Calgary: Northern Electric Building Vancouver: Canadian Immigration Building Internment camps: Kelowna, B.C.: A female-only facility housing 400 B.C. and Prairie internees. Chilliwack, B.C.: A male-only camp for 400 British Columbians. Lethbridge, Alta.: A facility accommodating 400 male internees from the three Prairie provinces. Neys, Ont.: A camp for 400 men from Ontario. North Bay, Ont.: A male-only facility for 400 Ontarians. Niagara Peninsula (St. Thomas or London area), Ont.: A facility for 400 women from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. St. Gabriel de Brandon, Que.: 400 men from Quebec and Maritimes. Parry Sound, Ont.: A co-ed camp, numbers not specified.

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Stop Online Spying

Quantum intentions and prayers to deities: two sides of the same supernatural coin

Chain The Dogma    July 19, 2010

Quantum intentions and prayers to deities: two sides of the same supernatural coin

by Perry Bulwer

Following my previous post on the BP environmental catastrophe and DreamHealer, the quantum quack who thinks that the collective, focused intentions of his followers will plug the hole and stop the oil gusher, I became aware of other supernatural wishful thinkers who similarly think that prayers, visualizations, intentions, thoughts, energy, light, love, etc., are what's needed to stop the oil. Here is a sample of some of the silliness I came across during the month of June.

On June 6 DreamHealer sent out another email in a series imploring his followers to focus their intentions on the gulf:

Let's optimize an extremely difficult situation in the Gulf. Change emotions of blame, fear and anger into healing intentions of light and love toward the recovery of our beautiful planet.

Visualize all of the healing energy in the Universe being pulled into the Gulf of Mexico. Saturate the waters with the healing energy of light and life.

Visualize your healing intentions rippling outward in all directions. Send streams of laser light to clean the water for sea-life to flourish again.

Remember the power of your own healing thoughts, as focused intention activates your thoughts. Assist in closing and healing Mother Earth's wound. Create a critical mass as we all send our healing intentions.

It didn't take long for Deepak Chopra to add his quantum nonsense to the mix. Thanks to PZ Meyers, the mind behind Pharyngula, who received an email from Evolutionary Leaders, a Chopra cult foundation, we get a glimpse at not only how these people think (or don't think) but also at how the words "intention" and "prayer" have become interchangeable to supernaturalists. Here's their email, without PZ's commentary, which you can read on his site at that link above:

Are you tired of sitting around while our environment is being destroyed?

Do you feel helpless, angry or powerless to make a difference as you watch millions of gallons of oil pouring into the Gulf every day with no end in sight and thousands losing their lives and their livelihoods?

Join The Gulf Call to Sacred Action!

The Evolutionary Leaders: In Service to Conscious Evolution have joined together to be a loud and important voice for all who feel powerless.

The People Need You ~ The Gulf Needs You

We begin by setting our collective intention. Join Deepak Chopra to set our powerful vision and participate in a worldwide Intention Experiment with renowned author and scientist Lynne McTaggart. Explore how our collective intention, our voice and our commitment can impact the cleanup of the oil spill. And then we will be graced by Jean Houston who will share with us why this time matters and why we matter.

Our collective prayers and thoughts have the power to cause a profound shift on the planet. Pray with some of the most powerful spiritual thought leaders -- Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith, Joan Borysenko, James O'Dea and more. Together we discover that we have the power to change the world.

Open up and connect to the deeper heart of our planet where we hear our individual and collective call to action. Together with sacred activists Barbara Marx Hubbard, Gregg Braden, and Andrew Harvey, we will take back our power and move into powerful action that will forever change our lives and the lives of generations to come.

It is all just meaningless nonsense. In case you've forgotten, here is some of the craziness Chopra peddles:

Here is some of what Chopra, a former endocrinologist in Boston hospitals, believes and teaches.

That a person is a field of vibrating energy, information and intelligence connected to the entire cosmos.

That this view is substantiated by Ayruvedic medicine of ancient India as well as theories of quantum physics.

That all organs of the body are built up from a specific sequence of vibrations, and that when organs are sick they are vibrating improperly.

That certain herbs and aromas, when applied, can help restore proper vibrations to malfunctioning liver, heart, stomach, etc.

That certain gems and crystals can rejuvenate human skin.

That good thoughts can heal the body and reverse the aging process.

That people can levitate and that he, while sitting and meditating, has flown a distance of four feet.

That one can know God at seven different levels corresponding to physical and psychological reactions in the brain, and that miracles, including visits by angels and reincarnated relatives, occur when a person leaves the material level of existence and intersects a "transitional" level called the "quantum domain."

Chopra and DreamHealer ought to get along great, so I find it a bit curious that neither mentions the other since they both claim to be conducting scientific experiments on the power of intention, with DreamHealer going as far as claiming, on the basis of one flawed experiment, that "our intentions can change the physiology of others". Maybe DreamHealer wants to emulate Chopra's successful cult on his own terms.

Not to be out done by quantum kooks, or mere "mortals" who are actually attempting real-world solutions to the disaster, Christian politicians just had to get their two cents worth of supernaturalism into the act, blurring the already fuzzy line between church and state. On June 20, CNN reported that Louisiana lawmakers propose prayer to stop oil disaster:

While cleanup crews and technical teams continue efforts to stop crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lawmakers are proposing a different approach: prayer.

State senators designated Sunday as a day for citizens to ask for God's help dealing with the oil disaster.

"Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail," state Sen. Robert Adley said in a statement released after last week's unanimous vote for the day of prayer. "It is clearly time for a miracle for us."

The resolution names Sunday as a statewide day of prayer in Louisiana and calls on people of all religions throughout the Gulf Coast "to pray for an end to this environmental emergency, sparing us all from the destruction of both culture and livelihood."

And on June 27, the New York Times reported:

The wall between church and state came a-tumbling down on Sunday, as elected leaders from the five states on the Gulf of Mexico issued proclamations declaring it to be a day of prayer. Although days of prayer are not uncommon here — Governor Riley declared one asking for rain to relieve a drought a few years ago — these proclamations conveyed the sense that at this late date, salvation from the spill all but requires divine intervention.

In the two months since the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion began a ceaseless leak of oil into the gulf, damaging the ecosystem and disrupting the economy, the efforts by mortals to stem the flow have failed. Robots and golf balls and even the massive capping dome all seem small in retrospect.

So, then, a supplementary method was attempted: coordinated prayer.

In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry encouraged Texans to ask God “for his merciful intervention and healing in this time of crisis.” In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour declared that prayer “allows us an opportunity to reflect and to seek guidance, strength, comfort and inspiration from Almighty God.” In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal invoked the word “whereas” a dozen times — as well as the state bird, the brown pelican — but made no direct mention of God. In Florida, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp asked people to pray that God “would guide and direct our civil leaders and provide them with wisdom and divinely inspired solutions.”

As I mentioned, the words "intention" and "prayer" have become interchangeable. The "coordinated prayer" referred to in that NYT article, is what people who believe in prayers do. They want as many people as possible to pray for the same thing, and even at the same time, if possible, and to continue praying. I guess their god is hard of hearing. But that is really no different than what those who believe in intentions do. They also want as many people as possible focusing their coordinated intentions. Collective prayers, collective intentions. Two sides of the same coin.

Another good example of that blurring of the distinction between intentions and prayers comes courtesy of Masaru Emoto, the Japanese 'scientist' who appeared in the film What The Bleep Do We Know?, promoting his belief in the supernatural properties of water. The Colorado newspaper, Post Independent, published a letter to the editor which included an email message from Emoto:

Yesterday we received a letter from Dr. Masaru Emoto, who many of you will recognize as the scientist from Japan who has done research and publications about the characteristics of water. Among other things, his research reveals that water physically responds to emotions.

Right now, most of us have the predominantly angry emotion when we consider what is happening in the Gulf. And while certainly we are justified in that emotion, we may be of greater assistance to our planet and its life forms, if we sincerely, powerfully and humbly pray the prayer that Dr. Emoto himself has proposed.

“I send the energy of love and gratitude to the water and all the living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings. To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, plankton, coral, algae, and all living creatures . . . I am sorry. Please forgive us. Thank you. I love you. “

We are passing this request to people who we believe might be willing to participate in this prayer, to set an intention of love and healing that is so large, so overwhelming that we can perform a miracle in the Gulf of Mexico.

We are not powerless. We are powerful. Our united energy, speaking this prayer daily ... multiple times daily ... can literally shift the balance of destruction that is happening. We don't have to know how, we just have to recognize that the power of love is greater than any power active in the Universe today.

Please join us in often repeating this healing prayer of Dr. Emoto's. And feel free to copy and send it around the planet. Let's take charge, and do our own clean up!

There is one way in which the quantum believers and the religious believers differ regarding the oil spill. The quantum believers do not appear to assign supernatural causes to the oil spill, at least not that I could find. Religious believers, on the other hand, are quick to claim that the oil spill is predicted in the book of Revelation, and that God, for various reasons, caused the oil spill as a punishment. For example, here's what the Christian conspiracy website, The World's Prophecy, has to say about it:

Is the oil spill in the bible? Yes it is:

Before you continue reading the verse below where it predicts the oil spill, keep in mind that the Book of Revelations are full of symbolism. One example would be the great whore “Babylon” is definitely not talking about an actual “whore” or “prostitute”. The beast in Revelation 13 is not exactly talking about an actual monster, but a representation of a man with the “number” 666. So when the oil spill in the verse below talks about an angel pouring it out, do not just swallow it in a dumb way interpreting the angel as BP. As you already know, it is not only BP that has the oil spill problem, but also Chevron. The “angel” is only used as symbolism.

Revelation 16:3

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.

From Yahoo! Answers:

What color is the blood of a died man?
I’m doing a little research and I want to know what the color the blood of a died man has. sense it rots would it be black?

The colour of oxygenated blood is shiny red but after the death of a person oxygen supply will be stopped resulting de oxygenation of blood causing the colour changed to darker red and later on it will turn into brown and then black because of the absence of oxygen and due to decay.

So, there it is in black and white, or I should say, black and brown. Oil looks like a dead man's blood, so the Bible predicted the gulf oil spill. And not just the book of Revelation, but the book of Genesis too! The wing-nuts at World Net Daily are circulating a video that claims the gulf oil spill is a fulfillment of a prophecy in Genesis related to Israel:

Is there a spiritual, biblical connection to the BP oil catastrophe?

A new video on YouTube is suggesting a possible link to the disaster due to America's recent treatment of Israel, and at least one well-known Bible analyst, Hal Lindsey, thinks there's a valid correlation.

The video was produced and posted today by Carl Gallups of the Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Fla.

"April the 19th, Israel celebrates its independence in 2010," Gallups says in narration on the video. "On April the 19th, Fox News reports that the U.S. will no longer automatically support Israel in the United Nations. The next day, on April the 20th, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes. Coincidence? Or the hand and judgment of God?"

The minister cites an ancient promise God made to Abraham, the patriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel, one tribe of which is Judah, from which the Jews derive their name.

In the Book of Genesis, God told him, "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse ... ."


Referring to Israel as a "prophetic signpost," Gallups said, "It seems to me we're turning our back on Israel, and that's a very dangerous biblical or spiritual place to be."

Gallups is not alone with the sentiment America could be under a curse from God.

"I believe this is evidence that when you turn your back on Israel, especially when you've been a supporter, you're gonna see judgments come from God," said Hal Lindsey, author of "The Late Great Planet Earth."

So, some Christians believe that coordinated prayers are required to implore God to intervene and stop the oil, while other Christians believe the Bible predicted the oil spill, which obviously means the oil spill is God's will, intended as punishment for the wicked people he created. Still other Christians believe God caused the oil spill specifically to punish one wicked nation. What's a God supposed to do?


The Montreal Gazette  -  October 15, 2010

Desperate people blinded by online pseudo-science

By PEGGY CURRAN, The Gazette

MONTREAL - Joe Schwarcz is sick to death of coffee enemas, macrobiotic diets, Laetrile tablets, raw juices, megavitamins, salt-water cures and urine infusions.

The director of McGill University's Office of Science and Society, Schwarcz has had it up to the eyeballs with distance healers who claim they can treat what ails you by studying a photograph or looking at the whites of your eyes.

"When you are desperate, you will clutch at anything," Schwarcz says of cancer patients who find themselves "at the mercy of quacks and charlatans."

"Desperate people will do anything. So they wind up not just desperate but destitute as well, because these 'cures' don't come cheaply."

Schwarcz, known simply as "Dr. Joe" to the many Montrealers who read his Gazette column and follow his radio show on CJAD, says there's been an explosion in pseudo-science in recent years, as the snake oil salesmen of old give way to the mountebanks of cyberspace.

"There is such a proliferation of nonsense, aided and abetted by the Internet. There is so much quackery out there."

Schwarcz has been asked to be host of the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium at McGill, where this year's theme is Confronting Pseudo-science: A Call to Action -a fitting choice for someone who sees his mandate as "making sense out of nonsense."

The two-day forum, which is open to the public, takes place Monday and Tuesday at the Centre Mont Royal. Monday's panellists will be Ben Goldacre, the author of Bad Science and a columnist for the British newspaper the Guardian; Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine; and David Gorski, a surgical oncologist in Detroit who has spent the last decade trying to decipher and dispense information about online remedies.

Closing things off Tuesday will be James Randi, also known as The Amazing Randi, a magician and escape artist who now devotes his time to unmasking faith healers and demystifying so-called paranormal events.

Schwarcz will offer a preview today at the Redpath Museum, where he'll discuss the growth of quackery as part of the Freaky Friday lecture series.

As someone who spends a lot of time monitoring cases of suspect science, Schwarcz is troubled by the deluge of email proclaiming that doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore have found a cure for cancer (they haven't) or the influence of New Age gurus like Deepak Chopra and Adam Dreamhealer, who are "beguiling people" while "laughing all the way to the bank," Schwarcz says.

Increasingly, he believes it is important for consumers to do a little critical thinking - to read the fine print, become scientifically savvy and show a little healthy skepticism when faced with promises of miracle cures and dietary supplements that contain nothing more than water and sea salt.

Schwarcz has no time for purveyors of alternative medicines who try to brand scientists as hidebound.

"When scientists start raising eyebrows at such mindless twaddle, the pseudo-science champions unleash their usual attacks, claiming that scientists are closed-minded and can only think in terms of limited paradigms. Nonsense," Schwarcz says.

"Science will embrace new ideas when there is sufficient evidence. But if evidence shows that an idea is not tenable, it should be tossed onto the pseudo-scientific junk heap."

This article was found at:



Quakes, Quacks and Kidnappers: Baptists, Scientologists, DreamHealer and Bad Consequences of Good Intentions

Wishful Thinking Won't Stop The Oil Gusher But Nuking It Would

Wishful Thinking Won't Stop The Oil Gusher But Nuking It Would

Chain The Dogma    May 23, 2010

by Perry Bulwer

Dreamhealer is it again, this time claiming credit for slowing the flow of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico by having his followers focus their intentions on the ongoing environmental disaster. Adam McLeod, the man behind the Dreamhealer mask, is a quantum quack. I previously wrote about his claims that the quantum woo he pitches worked to reduce the height of tsunami waves headed to Hawaii after the recent earthquake in Chile.

Adam's first claim to fame was that he could heal people, even from great distances away, by way of quantum physics. That claim has made him a lot of money from gullible or desperate people who buy his books and attend his healing sessions. In fact, what he preaches is a pseudo-science that is almost indistinguishable from religious faith and faith healing. Adam's particular 'snake oil' is intention rather than prayer, but both are just different forms of wishful thinking, and wishing doesn't make it so.

Adam is anxious to have some scientific evidence to back-up his claims, so he undertook a flawed experiment that has not yet been replicated, verified or peer reviewed. He was quick to claim success, however, and on the basis of that small experiment he soon expanded his claims to include not just human healing, but the power of intention over natural disasters, such as reducing tsunami waves, and now even over man-made disasters like the oil gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Here's part of a message Dreamhealer sent out to his followers on May 12, 2010:

There are thousands of people on this newsletter who understand the power of intentions. We are summoning everyone to send their intentions for a successful repair job for this oil leak. Let's set May 13th and 14th at 7pm your local time to send intention to see this leak stopped. Set everything aside for at least 5 minutes and visualize the leak being sealed and the engineers being successful. For those who can stay with this visualization we would like you to continue the same visualizations for May 15th and 16th at 7pm your local time. "It is time for some good news on this issue."
On May 14th he sent this follow-up message with a link to a video to help with visualizing intentions:

We have put together a short video  to help you focus your intentions to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Please focus your intentions at 7pm (your local time) May 14th, 15th and 16th, as shown on the video. Keep this visualization in your awareness throughout the next few days and longer. Integrate your own memories of beautiful oceans, sea-life, and successful engineering feats and mechanical insights to personalize your visualizations. See this happening preferably when you are in your meditative state, or relaxed state for visualizations.

"Engage and Empower yourself, knowing that your intentions will make a difference."

1: Visualize the recovery pipe being lowered over the leak.

2: Visualize the oil being forced onto the awaiting oil tankers.

3: BP then seals the connector over the leak.

On May 15th he sent this follow-up message:

Thanks for your continued focus on stopping the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. We have updated the visualization on youtube which you could use for this purpose. We urge everyone to stay positive and focused on our main objective at this stage, which is to stop the leak. Create your own visualizations and modify with what resonates with you. Visualize with everyone on May 13, 14, 15 and 16 at 7pm your local time. Keep your visualizations in your awareness for as long as possible after these dates.
On May 17th Adam sent out another message to his followers saying that their intentions and visualizations were starting to work:

Much gratitude to the thousands who took the time to visualize a successful connection to the oil leak (gusher) in the Gulf of Mexico. A BP response to the oil spill now shows the first glimpse at containment of the oil spew into the Gulf of Mexico. Undersea robotic equipment successfully inserted a four-inch pipe into the Horizon well's "riser," which was leaking several thousand barrels of oil a day into the gulf. This is a temporary fix and we all have to work on the total elimination of the oil leak.

Our planet has been given a small reprieve from the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The damage to the ecosystem, the lives of those who depend on the ocean and the planet makes it clearer than ever that changes need to be made. Keep sending your focused intentions toward cleaning the mess up and giving politicians the courage to set a course toward clean energy. We have to change the voices that say "it can't be done" to voices that say "we can do it." Be confident when you visualize that the power of many others is with you. Mankind must learn something from this experience and become more focused on making our planet a safer and cleaner place to live.

In that same message Adam included a 'testimonial' from one of his followers, similar to those he included in messages falsely claiming success for reducing those waves headed to Hawaii:

Your suggestion to visualize to cap the oil leak was such a wonderful idea. With people all over the world concentrating on this visualization made it a reality. On the third night, May 16th, at 7:21 pm EST, CBS announced that the hookup was a success and that oil was being moved out through the pipe into a waiting ship. I was so excited that I started yelling to my husband, "We did it! We did it! It worked! Adam's visualization and all of the people doing this at the same time worked! What a wonderful thing to do for humanity and ecology. Thank you Adam for planting this seed in our minds and for the example of how we were to see it happening. You are going to go forward and show people that they can accomplish great things by just "seeing them happen." - Cross of Light Lady

That all sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Some quantum kook from Canada gets naive believers to visualize the oil gusher and focus their best intentions on the efforts to fix it, and hocus pocus: “We did it! We did it! It worked!” The only problem is that it didn't work. In his haste to declare success for his wishful thinking exercise, even if indirectly by quoting an eager acolyte, it seems Adam was persuaded by BP's propaganda, both on the size of the gusher and the effectiveness of their efforts so far to fix it. It is easy to see why Adam so easily falls for such corporate spin-doctoring since his intentions are now tied to BP's success.

It is now over a month since BP's oil platform exploded and oil began to gush into the gulf. It is becoming clear that BP has been covering-up and lying about the amount of oil that is gushing. They recently revised their estimate up to 5,000 barrels a day, up from their previous claim of 3,000 barrels a day. That is an awful lot of oil, but nowhere near the true amount. Scientists have more realistically estimated the gusher at 70,000 to 100,000 barrels a day. Now, who are you going to believe? The oil company with a vested interest in downplaying the disaster, or scientists with no interest other than in the facts?

So far, BP's efforts have failed to sufficiently stem the flow, which means there could be upwards of 3 million barrels of oil and counting spilled, with no end in sight. To save their investments, rather than the environment, BP has been trying one untested solution after another, which have all failed. They continue to explore other options into the second month of the gusher, except the only option that is most likely to work: blowing up the well. Explosions have been used for the last 100 years in the oil industry to seal runaway wells on land, and the Russians have done it to underwater wells at least 4 times using nuclear bombs, but conventional explosions might work just as well. However, that would mean the well would be sealed permanently and BP would lose millions in investments and assets, as well as access to all the remaining oil. Unless forced to by the U.S. government, I doubt very much BP would willingly choose that option. It seems BP is engaged in its own form of wishful thinking in trying to plug the well. Perhaps they should give Dreamhealer a call.

Update on Thursday, June 3, 2010

How long before the only option left is a nuclear explosion?

The New York Times reports that U.S. officials have not considered the nuclear option for stopping the oil gusher:
Government and private nuclear experts agreed that using a nuclear bomb would be not only risky technically, with unknown and possibly disastrous consequences from radiation, but also unwise geopolitically — it would violate arms treaties that the United States has signed and championed over the decades and do so at a time when President Obama is pushing for global nuclear disarmament.
It seems to me that first and foremost in their minds are the geopolitical issues rather than the environmental ones. Right now there are unknown, wide-spread disastrous consequences resulting from all of the failed efforts so far, and with hurricane season fast approaching no one knows how that will impact an already dire situation. So, it seems disingenuous for them to say they won't consider the nuclear option because of unknown consequences. After all, hasn't the U.S. conducted nuclear tests for decades? Surely there must be some useful data collected along the way that they could apply to this disaster. And although the Russian's success with nuclear explosions involved gas wells on land as opposed to oil wells on the seabed, certainly some of that experience and data could be useful in this situation.

The latest attempts by BP have actually made the situation worse, with up to 20 percent more oil gushing out. BP estimates it could be August before the well is sealed, but BP can no longer be trusted to give accurate information. It is entirely possible that nothing BP does will work and oil will continue to gush into the Gulf of Mexico indefinitely, and spread from there. What are the disastrous consequences of that? It may be that the nuclear option will only be considered once all other ideas are exhausted, but by then it may be too late.

Financial Post - Reuters July 2, 2010

Should BP nuke its leaking well?

by Nastassia Astrasheuskaya, Ben Judah, Alina Selyukh | Reuters

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON -- His face wracked by age and his voice rasping after decades of chain-smoking coarse tobacco, the former long-time Russian Minister of nuclear energy and veteran Soviet physicist Viktor Mikhailov knows just how to fix BP's oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

"A nuclear explosion over the leak," he says nonchalantly puffing a cigarette as he sits in a conference room at the Institute of Strategic Stability, where he is a director. "I don't know what BP is waiting for, they are wasting their time. Only about 10 kilotons of nuclear explosion capacity and the problem is solved."

A nuclear fix to the leaking well has been touted online and in the occasional newspaper op-ed for weeks now. Washington has repeatedly dismissed the idea and BP execs say they are not considering an explosion -- nuclear or otherwise. But as a series of efforts to plug the 60,000 barrels of oil a day gushing from the sea floor have failed, talk of an extreme solution refuses to die.

For some, blasting the problem seems the most logical answer in the world. Mr. Mikhailov has had a distinguished career in the nuclear field, helping to close a Soviet Union program that used nuclear explosions to seal gas leaks. Ordinarily he's an opponent of nuclear blasts, but he says an underwater explosion in the Gulf of Mexico would not be harmful and could cost no more than US$10-million. That compares with the US$2.35-billion BP has paid out in cleanup and compensation costs so far. "This option is worth the money," he says.

And it's not just Soviet boffins. Milo Nordyke, one of the masterminds behind U.S. research into peaceful nuclear energy in the 1960s and '70s says a nuclear explosion is a logical last-resort solution for BP and the government. Matthew Simmons, a former energy advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush and the founder of energy investment-banking firm Simmons & Company International, is another calling for the nuclear option.

Even former U.S. President Bill Clinton has voiced support for the idea of an explosion to stem the flow of oil, albeit one using conventional materials rather than nukes. "Unless we send the Navy down deep to blow up the well and cover the leak with piles and piles and piles of rock and debris, which may become necessary ... unless we are going to do that, we are dependent on the technical expertise of these people from BP," Mr. Clinton told the Fortune/Time/CNN Global Forum in South Africa on June 29.

Mr. Clinton was picking up on an idea mooted by Christopher Brownfield in June. Mr. Brownfield is a one-time nuclear submarine officer, a veteran of the Iraq war (he volunteered in 2006) and now a nuclear policy researcher at Columbia University. He is also one of a number of scientists whose theories rely not on nuclear bombs -- he did toy with that thought for a while -- but on conventional explosives that would implode the well and, if not completely plug it with crushed rock, at least bring the flow of oil under control. "It's kind of like stepping on a garden hose to kink it," Mr. Brownfield says. "You may not cut off the flow entirely but it would greatly reduce the flow."


Using nuclear blasts for peaceful ends was a key plank of Cold War policy in both the United States and the Soviet Union. In the middle of last century, both countries were motivated by a desire to soften the image of the era's weapon of choice.

Washington had big plans to use peaceful nuclear explosions to build an additional Panama Canal, carve a path for an inter-state highway through mountains in the Mojave Desert and connect underwater aquifers in Arizona. But the experimental plans were dropped as authorities learned more about the ecological dangers of surface explosions.

The Soviet program, known as Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy, was launched in 1958. The project saw 124 nuclear explosions for such tasks as digging canals and reservoirs, creating underground storage caverns for natural gas and toxic waste, exploiting oil and gas deposits and sealing gas leaks. It was finally mothballed by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989.

The Soviets first used a nuclear blast to seal a gas leak in 1966. Urtabulak, one of its prized gas-fields in Uzbekistan, had caught fire and raged for three years. Desperate to save the cherished reserves, Yefim Slavsky, then Minister of Light Industry, ordered nuclear engineers to use the most powerful weapon in their arsenal.

"The Minister said, 'Do it. Put it out. Explode it,'" recalls Albert Vasilyev, a young engineer and a rising star in the project who now teaches at the Lenin Technical Institute in Moscow.

Mr. Vasilyev remembers the technology behind the program with obvious pride. "The explosion takes place deep underground," he says. "We pinch the pipe, break it and the pipe collapses." According to Mr. Vasilyev, the blast at Urtabulak sealed the well shut leaving only an empty crater.


In all, the Soviets detonated five nuclear devices to seal off runaway gas wells -- succeeding three or four times, depending on who you talk to. "It worked quite well for them," says Nordyke, who authored a detailed account of Soviet explosions in a 2000 paper. "There is no reason to think it wouldn't be fine (for the United States)."

But not everything went smoothly. Mr. Vasilyev admits the program "had two misfires". The final blast in 1979 was conducted near the Ukrainian city of Kharkov. "The closest houses were just about 400 meters away," Mr. Vasilyev recalls. "So this was ordered to be the weakest of the explosions. Even the buildings and the street lamps survived." Unfortunately, the low capacity of the device failed to seal the well and the gas resurfaced.

Alexander Koldobsky, a fellow nuclear physicist from the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute, insists the peaceful nuclear explosions were safe. The people who worked on the program "were brilliant professionals", he says. "They had a culture of safety, which did not accept the word 'maybe', but only accepted the words 'obligation' and 'instruction.' Any derivation from these in nuclear technologies is a crime."

Still, he concedes, "there were different scenarios of what happened after an explosion." At his first blast in a Turkmen gas field in 1972, "the stench was unbearable," he says. "And the wind was blowing toward a nearby town." He closes his narrow lips into a smile as if refusing to say more.

Mr. Koldobsky shrugs off any suggestion of fear or emotion when the bomb exploded. "I felt nothing. I was just doing my job."


Not everybody is so sanguine about the Soviet experience. Speaking on condition of anonymity, an expert from Russia's largest oil exporter Rosneft, urges the United States to ignore calls for the atomic option. "That would bring Chernobyl to America," he says.

Vladimir Chuprov from Greenpeace's Moscow office is even more insistent that BP not heed the advice of the veteran Soviet physicists. Mr. Chuprov disputes the veterans' accounts of the peaceful explosions and says several of the gas leaks reappeared later. "What was praised as a success and a breakthrough by the Soviet Union is in essence a lie," he says. "I would recommend that the international community not listen to the Russians. Especially those of them that offer crazy ideas. Russians are keen on offering things, especially insane things."

Former Minister Mikhailov agrees that the USSR had to give up its program because of problems it presented. "I ended the program because I knew how worthless this all was," he says with a sigh. "Radioactive material was still seeping through cracks in the ground and spreading into the air. It wasn't worth it."

"Still," he says, momentarily hard to see through a cloud of smoke from his cigarettes, "I see no other solution for sealing leaks like the one in the Gulf of Mexico."

The problem, he goes on, is that "Americans just don't know enough about nuclear explosions to solve this problem ... But they should ask us -- we have institutes, we have professionals who can help them solve this. Otherwise BP are just torturing the people and themselves."


Mr. Nordyke too believes the nuclear option should be on the table. After seeing nine U.S. nuclear explosions and standing behind the control board of one, he estimates that a nuclear bomb would have roughly an 80 to 90% chance of successfully blocking the oil. According to his estimates, it would have to be an explosion of around 30 kilotons, equivalent to roughly two Hiroshima bombs or three times as big as Mikhailov's estimate. The explosion would also need to remain at least 3 to 4 miles away from other offshore wells in the area.

The bomb, says Mr. Nordyke, would be dropped in a secondary well approximately 60-70 feet away from the leaking shaft. There it would create a large cavity filled with gas. The gas would melt the surrounding rock, crush it and press it into the leaking well to close it shut.

Although the BP well is thousands of feet deeper than those closed in the Soviet Union, Mr. Nordyke says the extra depth shouldn't make a difference. He also says that so far below the ground, not much difference exists in onshore or underwater explosions -- even though the latter have never been tried.

Mr. Nordyke says fears that radiation could escape after the explosion are unfounded. The hole would be about 8 inches in diameter and, despite the shockwave, the radiation should remain captured. Even in the case of radiation escape, he says, its dispersed effect would be less than that of floating oil patches.


But don't expect an explosion under the Gulf of Mexico any time soon. Even a conventional blast could backfire and cause more problems. There is a chance any blast could fracture the seabed and cause an underground blowout, according to Andy Radford, petroleum engineer and American Petroleum Institute senior policy adviser on offshore issues. The U.S. Department of Energy has no plans to use explosives "due to the obvious risks involved," according to a DOE spokeswoman.

There's also the question of time. Preparations for a nuclear explosion could take up to half-a-year; BP has said it will have a relief well in place to stop the leak by August. "I think it has to be considered as only the last resort," Mr. Nordyke says. But "they ought to be thinking about it."

Would he be willing to work on such an operation? "I'd be happy to help," he says.

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