Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gun lobby logic: updated

Nuclear weapons don't kill people. People kill people. Install nuclear weapons in all schools to make every classroom a safe classroom! After all, the purpose of the Second Amendment is to prevent the government from holding a monopoly on weaponization. What better way is there to promote peace and democracy than to arm every child with a nuclear bomb, a fleet of Predator drones and a vial of Ebola?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Album of the year: Illuminations of Vile Engorgement

Ok, so Illuminations... wasn't released this year. Who cares? This "music" makes most death metal sound like Kenny G. I'm seriously incapable of listening to it without laughing. Part of what's so funny is the sheer volume of lengthy, irate reviews on Metal Archives, counterbalanced by equally verbose, laudatory reviews. From the Youtube comment section: "I listened to the blender sound for about 30 seconds before realizing it was the vocals". Is this even a serious attempt at making music? I dismissed it as juvenile shock tactics the first time, but repeated listening sessions revealed surprisingly intricate structural patterns superficially obscured by what appears to be repetitious monotony. And no, that's not a drum machine. Is Enmity the moronic nadir of pop cultural decay, or an underrated work of savant genius? I'm inclined towards the latter, and have lately been fantasizing about playing it over the intercom at the local mall for all the Christmas shoppers. Wouldn't it provide an appropriate soundtrack for all the Black Friday maniacs pepper spraying each other to clear a path to the Xboxes? 10/10.

CIA 'tortured and sodomised' terror suspect, human rights court rules

via the Guardian:

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday. In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations. Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA "rendition team" at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan. It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.

"The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative...."Masri's treatment at Skopje airport at the hands of the CIA rendition team – being severely beaten, sodomised, shackled and hooded, and subjected to total sensory deprivation – had been carried out in the presence of state officials of [Macedonia] and within its jurisdiction," the court ruled...He said the US government must issue an apology for its "central role in a web of systematic crimes and human rights violations by the Bush-era CIA, and to pay voluntary compensation to Mr el-Masri".

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cornish 'white witches' guilty of ritual sex abuse on girls

trigger warning: The following post contains details that may be upsetting for those with a history of ritual abuse.

via the Guardian:

Two members of a Cornish white witch coven have been convicted of carrying out ritualistic sex abuse on young girls. Peter Petrauske, 72, who claimed to be a high priest, and Jack Kemp, 69, donned robes and carried pagan artefacts when they attended ceremonies during which children were forced to strip and then abused. Police believe children as young as three may have been involved...Petrauske, who described himself as the high priest of a white witches' coven in St Ives, was convicted of one count of rape, one count of aiding and abetting an attempt to rape and one count of indecent assault.

Kemp was found guilty of indecent assault and indecency with a child...Alleged victims claimed that Kemp, an ex-soldier and tin miner, and Petrauske, a former member of the merchant navy, had taken part in rituals during which children as young as three were plied with alcohol, forced to strip in front of men wearing white robes and abused...Prosecutor Jason Beal said children's wrists were tied and some reported having hot wax poured over their bodies; one said a dagger had been drawn over her body...Beal said the duo "used the cloak of paganism" to commit the offences against children, arguing they were not pagans but child abusers.

One woman told how, at the age of five, she and other children attended a ritual at a stone circle with a fire in the centre. Petrauske and Kemp were among the men there, wearing "gown things" and necklaces, she said. In a video of her interview played in court, the woman described sitting down next to a sobbing boy. "I didn't understand what was going on and was scared," she said. "The chanting stuck in my head for weeks," she added. "I didn't understand what it was all about, I just thought they were weird. I was warned that if I was naughty they would hurt me, that they had special powers."

She said she was abused by Petrauske and Kemp. The woman, who cannot be named, also said she was raped by another man, a former parish councillor called Peter Solheim who was associated with witchcraft in Cornwall. Solheim's body was found by fishermen five miles off the Lizard Peninsula in 2004. He had been drugged and mutilated with a machete or an axe. The woman told the Truro jury that she was bound and raped by Solheim when she was nine on a bed fitted with chains and a black whip with "star things on the ends". more...

Psych meds linked to 90% of school shootings: edited *

Obligatory disclaimer: Aside from the following article, I don't recommend World Net Daily as a source of information, given that it's a hate site known for promoting unviable economic programs. One of the dangers of polarized thinking about the school shootings issue is that both sides of the political spectrum are seriously flawed in their analysis of how to treat the problem. The left wants to provide more "mental health treatment" which inevitably means tens of thousands of adolescents being forced to take psychiatric medications that have been proven to produce homicidal ideation. Many on the right, on the other hand, would rather respond to their disturbed teenagers by beating them senseless while insuring that even more Americans have access to the same assault rifles that enabled the massacres in the first place.

Countless holistic health practitioners have successfully used a wide variety of modalities to treat serious mental health issues. Personally, I've found homeopathy to be particularly useful for treating violent ideation resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder. One of the results of PTSD, for me, was a change in an initial belief system organized around non-violence towards one that allowed for things like capital punishment and vigilante justice, and the reasons justifying these acts became increasingly more flexible with every passing year it went on. As homeopathic treatment has progressed, I've returned to my initial belief system and have become more psychologically stable while my physical health has also improved. How would the treatment of psychological illness be affected by the widespread return of homeopathic hospitals, which were far more common throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries?

The efficacy of homeopathy can be demonstrated by the exponentially greater survival rate of Spanish flu patients treated in homeopathic hospitals as compared to those treated in conventional hospitals. The widespread acceptance of homeopathic treatment could also make possible an affordable universal health care program, considering that homeopathic treatment is infinitely cheaper than virtually anything associated with conventional Western medicine. One thing is certain. I sure wish all the right wing lunatics calling for even less gun control had access to it so nobody would have to read their neurotic rants about how assault rifles will make us all safer. Even so, this is a necessary article that everyone calling for more mental health treatment should be reading.

Psych meds linked to 90% of school shootings

NEW YORK – From the moment news emerged Friday that a young man had carried out a horrific massacre of elementary-school children, politicians from local city halls to the White House have been restoking the age-old push for more gun control. While guns have been a common denominator in mass slayings at schools by teens, there’s another familiar element that seems increasingly to be minimized.

Some 90 percent of school shootings over more than a decade have been linked to a widely prescribed type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, according to British psychiatrist Dr. David Healy, a founder of, an independent website for researching and reporting on prescription drugs.

Though there has been no definitive confirmation that drugs played a role in the Newtown, Conn., assault, that killed 20 children and six adults, media have cited family members and acquaintances saying suspect Adam Lanza was taking prescription medication to treat “a neurological-development disorder,” possibly Aspergers.

Healy cautioned that the public needs “to wait to find out what Adam Lanza was on, and whether his behavior does fit the template of a treatment-induced problem.”

However, in an email to WND, he said he suspected prescribed psychiatric medications was the cause of Lanza’s violent behavior. Healy said that while the public waits to learn more about Lanza, there are two general points that can be made. First, he said, “psychotropic drugs of pretty well any group can trigger violence up to and including homicide. Second, the advocates of treatment claim both that it is the illness and not the drugs that causes violence and that we are leaving huge numbers of people untreated.”

But Healy argued that if this were the case, “we should not find that comfortably over 90 percent of school shootings are linked to medication intake.”

Dr. Peter R. Breggin, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former full-time consultant at the National Institute of Mental Health, told WND it’s likely that problems for Lanza began with “getting tangled up” with psychiatric medicine. Breggin insisted there has been overwhelming scientific evidence for decades correlating psychiatrically prescribed drugs with violence.

Writing in Ethical Human Sciences and Services, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, in 2003, Breggin concluded SSRI drugs could be a factor in suicide, violence and other forms of extreme abnormal behavior, as evidenced in case reports, controlled clinical trials, and epidemiological studies in children and adults...Breggin testified to Congress that research conducted in the medical science demonstrates a causal relationship between antidepressant drugs and the production of suicide, violence, mania and other behavioral abnormalities. He warned Congress of the risks of giving these drugs to heavily armed young men and women in the military....He believes the Lanza case fits the pattern of school shooters in some of the most famous incidents in recent memory, including the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado and the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007...In many school shootings carried out by minors, court documents are sealed and the extent of chemical use is unknown to the public.

But in a number of high-profile cases, the link has been reported:

Kip Kinkel was withdrawing from Prozac and had been prescribed Ritalin when he murdered his mother and stepfather then shot 22 classmates, killing two, in 1998.
Christopher Pittman was withdrawing from Luvox and from Paxil when he killed his paternal grandparents in 2001.
Elizabeth Bush, who fired at fellow students in Williamsport, Pa., in 2001, wounding one, was on Prozac.
Jason Hoffman, was on Effexor and Celexa when he opened fire at his El Cajon, Calif., high school, wounding five.
Shawn Cooper of Notus, Idaho, was on antidepressants when he fired a shotgun on students and staff.
T.J. Solomon, on antidepressants, wounded six at his Conyers, Ga., high school.
Eric Harris was taking Luvox when he and fellow student Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves at Columbine High School in Colorado.
At Virginia Tech in 2007, where 32 were murdered, authorities found “prescription medications related to the treatment of psychological problems had been found among Mr. Cho’s effects,” according to the New York Times.

“Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best kept secret,” Healy said in a statement last month. “Never before in the fields of medicine and law have there been so many events with so much concealed data and so little focused expertise.”

*edited to correct the full name of WND, because it's been quite awhile since I spent any time over there and a mistake was made initially. Excuse the sloppiness but life's too short to waste much time on sites whose usual commentary veers alarmingly close to neofascism, barring few exceptions such as the included article.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Last night's dream (edited once again)...

Sometime in the future, a combination of nuclear warfare and cyber attacks have taken down the electrical grid in much of the developed world. Most domestic residences have been abandoned due to the putrefactive stench of spoiling food, untreated water damage and maggot-eaten cadavers. Religious organizations have assembled neo-feudal feifdoms around power generators, ham radios and other remnants of industrial civilization. Churches are the only available food banks and, here, worshippers, admonished over imaginary sins, eagerly trade obedience for "gift boxes" full of mildewed clothing and produce covered with spreading black mold. Public bathrooms, relics of a rapidly fading bureacracy, are avoided as vectors of assault. Babies are routinely abandoned and infanticide gains a resurgence in popularity. Criminal mafias regulate commerce and street gangs adopt the role of police. Although "might-is-right" is the rule of law, small groups unnoticed by the predominant Church-police-mafia network organize around principles of mutual aid without undue attention to social status.

The formerly monolithic military-industrial complex has been privatized as a security firm service for the world's elites, sequestered in facilities shielded from chemical and biotechnological attacks. A subcontractor and "super soldier" for the intelligence community has defected from his employers to lead a small group of us into a deep underground military base. Here, we observe an automated, climate-controlled microcosm of civilization, including dormitories, cafeterias, sewage treatment plants and, absurdly, a library including row upon row of pulp detective novels. I wander away from the group to discover sprawling halls the size of football fields, each containing specialized ecologies functioning as unique climate zones. In the subtropical room, the only evidence that I'm not above ground is a minute glimpse of crystalline ceiling peeking from between layers of dense foliage. Where are the residents of the endlessly spreading facility? Does its lack of human oversight imply an overarching sentience? There is not a living soul as far as the eye can see.

When I wandered into the Barnes and Noble mere hours after the dream ended, greeted by the refrains of Winter Wonderland, my surroundings appeared as the Palace of Versailles when compared to the utter misery of the night before. What are the causes and effects of collective end times dream scenarios? Carissa from in2worlds has speculated that the dreams are intended to romanticize a post-apocalyptic future. Certainly, one of the effects of the growing trend of "disaster entertainment" is to induce identification with the resourceful survivors who weather the storm, with the potential for subsequent empathy loss resulting in little regard for how catastrophic changes may affect said persons' greater community. Are end times dreams thought fragments of a meta-intelligence bent on actualizing widespread societal chaos? Or, more specifically, and even more schizophrenically, the apocalyptic scheming of AIs remotely directed by primeval Archons and augmented by less/greater-than-human thought reformers? This hierarchy of consciousness need not be truly omnipotent, in fact, the effects of its realization may be dependant upon collective perception of its power, whether based in "objective" reality or not.

The possibility is far more engaging than the stale musings of creatively challenged philosophers who would mutter something about archetypes without following Jungian theory to its more fantastical, albeit socially unacceptable, conclusions. Whatever the case, the unavoidable certainty is that the near future holds a dramatic reconfiguration of every sphere of human life, from geography to politics to technology to economics. I still keep up with current events, in large part because of the necessity of documenting the spectacular failure of humanity's narcissistic, ill-fated attempt to conquer the natural world. If this vital task is left incomplete, future generations will have no way to benefit from our mistakes. In any event, the likelihood that the current political economy will continue past the present century without dramatic and sweeping changes is near impossible.

Does the meta-narrative of post-apocalypticism predict the inevitability of catastrophic collapse? Probably, because such a scenario is already occurring for much of the world and the intrinsic inter-connectedness of all things, presaged by Zen Buddhism and rationalized by Chaos theory, inhibits the reductionistic logic of discrete components. Yet, the cyclical nature of the collapse of civilzations also implies an irrevocable loss of privilege for present institutions, such as academic science, organized religion, the nation-state, etc., and the resulting transformation holds the possibility for a far more equitable paradigm inclusive of the majority of society's stakeholders. Whether current generations will repeat the horrific violence of previous revolutions is very much dependant upon whether or not these same societal institutions can adapt to evolving changes and improve their own future trajectory accordingly. Let's hope, for everyone's sake, that they do.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Opus Dei and right wing dictatorships

Since yesterday's posts there have been several incoming search phrases regarding Opus Dei so here is some basic information on the organization's support for right wing dictatorships, via the Opus Dei wikipedia page. Bracketed quotes are my own commentary.

Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by an Aragonese Roman Catholic priest, Josemaria Escriva, and it was subsequently recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as its first secular religious institution...Members make a commitment to dedicate their professional talents to the service of God and to seek to win converts through their missionary zeal. The organization in Spain and everywhere else has emphasized professional excellence, whether they are farmers or teachers, and it has expected its members who have talents for politics to serve in government positions, in accord, it says, with the Social Doctrine of the Church...Many newly published Spanish history textbooks agree that the Opus Dei had a strong influence in the Franco regime. Moreover, Opus Dei developed itself in its early days during the Franco regime. According to these books, Opus Dei was not only linked but also tightly interwoven with the power structures of the Francoist authoritarian government soon after the Spanish Civil War, although its stronger involvement in the government came only in the late 1950s. It had at least 8 ministers during Franco's rule. This was in keeping with the organization's aim of influencing the development of society indirectly....Because of what some critics see as clannishness and secrecy surrounding the organization, they termed it the "Holy Mafia."

Also, here is an excerpt from an excellent article on neofascism within the Catholic Church, via the Daily Kos:

What we are seeing today in the fight over birth control is a revival of a very old, and very dangerous kind of Catholicism. It is not one supported or practiced by most Rank and File Catholics. It is a kind of Catholicism which has done irreparable harm. It is a kind of Catholicism unfit for existence in the modern world. It was the underpinning of the regimes of Mussolini in Italy, The National Catholicism of Francisco Franco, in Spain; The Parti Rexiste in Belgium; The Irish Blueshirts; The Croatian Ustaše, the Nazi puppet government in Croatia, and ultimately, was the kind of Catholicism practiced by the Sainted Josemaría Escrivá, founder of the Catholic order Opus Dei.

That's where the story begins and ends: Opus Dei.

Spain, The Founding of Opus Dei

Josemaría Escrivá is the best place to start. He was a catholic priest during the Second Spanish Republic, who developed a kind of Catholicism in the late 1920's which Fascists found very attractive. He rose to prominence and political influence during Franco's spain. His book describing Opus Dei was first published with an introduction by a Pro-Franco bishop, which contained many statements in support of National Catholicism. Saint Escriva personally preached to Franco during a week-long prayer retreat at Franco's Palace. Saint Escriva has been accused by catholic priests who knew him of Holocaust Denial, and many recall statements by Escriva defending Hitler. Saint Escriva has said that Hitler couldn't have killed 6 million Jews, and that "Hitler against the Jews" really meant "Hitler against communism."

He famously wrote a letter to Franco in the 1950's saying

Although a stranger to any political activity, I cannot help but rejoice as a priest and Spaniard that the Chief of State’s authoritative voice should proclaim that, “The Spanish nation considers it a badge of honor to accept the law of God according to the one and true doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, inseparable faith of the national conscience which will inspire its legislation.” It is in fidelity to our people’s Catholic tradition that the best guarantee of success in acts of government, the certainty of a just and lasting peace within the national community, as well as the divine blessing for those holding positions of authority, will always be found. I ask God our Lord to bestow upon your Excellency with every sort felicity and impart abundant grace to carry out the grave mission entrusted to you.

None of this is to say that all Catholics supported Franco. Plenty of Catholic bishops and priests opposed him, including bishop Mateo Múgica, and Cardinal Francisco Vidal Y Barraquer. I would also like to point out that neither Vidal Y Barraquer or Mateo Mugica were sainted. They are relatively forgotten. Múgica doesn't even have a Wikipedia page in English. You'll notice that this will become a recurring theme in our history of Opus Dei and Catholicism in Fascist Europe. Those who stood against the tide end up forgotten, while those that supported the brutal regimes end up sainted.

And so courageous men that fought a military dictatorship and died in exile are forgotten while Escriva is the sainted founder of Opus Dei. Racist. Fascist. Holocaust Denier. Despite the fact that we know about his writings, his views, his pretension to political power, and his support of Franco, all of these facts surrounding the man have been referred to as "Black Myths." Catholic authorities deny that any of this happened, and call anyone who dares point out indisputable facts "anti-catholic." Just like those laws about birth control.

Here is some additional information on Francisco Franco's regime, again via wikipedia:

Francisco Franco y Bahamonde (Spanish: [fɾanˈθisko ˈfɾaŋko]; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975), was a Spanish general, the leader of the Nationalist military rebellion during the Spanish Civil War, and the authoritarian head of state of Spain from 1939 to his death in November 1975....After winning the civil war with military aid from Italy and Germany as exemplified in the Bombing of Guernica — while the Soviet Union and various Internationalists aided the Republicans —, he dissolved the Spanish Parliament. He then established a right-wing dictatorship and was de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain, that lasted until 1978, when a new constitution was drafted....he supported the volunteer Blue Division that fought with the Axis on the Eastern Front, and until 1943 the German navy used Spanish harbours....

...After the end of World War II, Franco maintained his control in Spain through the implementation of austere measures: the systematic suppression of dissident views through censorship and coercion,[4][5] the imprisonment of ideologically opposed enemies in concentration camps (1936–1947) throughout the country (such as Los Merinales in Seville, San Marcos in León, Castuera in Extremadura, and Miranda de Ebro),[6] the implementation of forced labor in prisons,[7] and the use of the death penalty and heavy prison sentences as deterrents for his ideological enemies....The first decade of Franco's rule in the 1940s following the end of the Civil War in 1939 saw continued oppression and the killing of an undetermined number of political opponents. Estimation is difficult and controversial, but the number of people killed probably lies somewhere between 15,000 and 50,000 (see above, The end of the Civil War)...Franco's Spanish nationalism promoted a unitary national identity by repressing Spain's cultural diversity. Bullfighting and flamenco[62] were promoted as national traditions while those traditions not considered "Spanish" were suppressed... All cultural activities were subject to censorship, and many, such as the Sardana, the national dance of Catalunya, were plainly forbidden...

...On the other hand, the Catholic Church was upheld as the established church of the Spanish State, and regained many of the traditional privileges it had lost under the Republic. Civil servants had to be Catholic, and some official jobs even required a "good behavior" statement by a priest. Civil marriages which had taken place under Republican Spain were declared null and void unless confirmed by the Catholic Church. Divorce was forbidden, and also contraceptives and abortion....The enforcement by public authorities of traditional Catholic values was a stated intent of the regime, mainly by using a law (the Ley de Vagos y Maleantes, Vagrancy Act) enacted by Azaña.[63] The remaining nomads of Spain (Gitanos and Mercheros like El Lute) were especially affected. In 1954, homosexuality, pedophilia, and prostitution were, through this law, made criminal offenses,[64]...

Status of women

Francoism professed a devotion to the traditional role of women in society, that is: loving child to her parents and brothers, faithful to her husband, residing with her family. Official propaganda confined her role to family care and motherhood. Immediately after the war, most progressive laws passed by the Republic aimed at equality between the sexes were made void. Women could not become judges, or testify in trial. They could not become university professors. Their affairs and economy had to be managed by their father or by their husbands. Even in the 1970s a woman fleeing from an abusive husband could be arrested and imprisoned for "abandoning the home" (abandono del hogar). Until the 1970s a woman could not have a bank account without a co-sign by her father or husband.[65][These policies would have been in keeping with Church doctrine, since Pope Pius XI was opposed to women having the right to vote.]

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chapter 7 of Ireland's Child Abuse Commission

via Ireland's Child Abuse Commission, first reported on by the Associated Press and linked to by Cryptogon. The AP article has since been removed.

Warning: This post is among the most disturbing that has ever been posted here, so any person with a history of trauma-based mind control may wish to skip it entirely. However, anyone who still perceives the Vatican as a source of moral instruction is urged to read it in full. Please remember that, in 2001, Pope Ratzinger sent an internal memo to Bishops forbidding them from reporting child sexual abuse to legal authorities. It's important to realize that Catholic sex abuse scandals are not isolated incidents of garden variety child molestation but instead a systematic cover up of ritualized torture. What can possibly explain the widespread prevalence of sadistic pedophilia that would turn the stomach of just about anyone? That's the million dollar question that the mainstream media won't touch with a ten foot pole.

This chapter describes the nature and extent of abuse reported in evidence to the Committee by 413 male witnesses in relation to 26 Industrial and Reformatory Schools in Ireland. The 413 witnesses made 482 reports of abuse regarding the four types of abuse defined by the Acts.1 Those four types are physical and sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse. Not all 26 Schools were reported for each of the four types of abuse. The report of abuse by a witness may either refer to descriptions of single episodes or to multiple experiences of being abused in a School. In most instances reports of abuse refer to more than one episode of abuse and more than one type of abuse. One hundred and sixty six (166) witness reports (34%) were of all four types of abuse. Sixty eight (68) witnesses reported abuse in more than one School...This section describes reports of actual incidents of physical abuse, non-accidental injury and lack of protection from such abuse given in evidence by witnesses to the Committee. The types of physical abuse reported included hitting, punching, kicking, flogging, and bodily assault with implements. The Committee heard disturbing accounts of severe assaults causing injuries that required medical intervention. Witnesses also reported being abused by being immersed in water, being burned, and subjected to what they believed to be deliberate and persistent physical cruelty...Witnesses reported being physically abused by religious and lay staff and others including: visiting clergy, members of the general public and men in work and holiday placements....Witnesses described a daily existence that involved the possibility of being hit by a staff member at any time, for any reason or for no reason. Witnesses also reported being physically abused by co-residents.

It is notable that witnesses at times described daily, casual and random physical abuse as normal and wished to report only the times when the frequency and severity of the abuse was such that they were injured or in fear for their lives. Three hundred and forty six (346) of the 403 witnesses reported that they were subjected to frequent physical violence; they described a climate of pervasive fear in the Schools and provided consistent reports of generally not knowing why they were being beaten

The forms of physical abuse reported by witnesses to the Committee included punching, flogging, assault and bodily attacks, hitting with the hand, kicking, ear pulling, hair pulling, head shaving, beating on the soles of the feet, burning, scalding, stabbing, severe beatings with or without clothes, being made to kneel and stand in fixed positions for lengthy periods, made to sleep outside overnight, being forced into cold or excessively hot baths and showers, hosed down with cold water before being beaten, beaten while hanging from hooks on the wall, being set upon by dogs, being restrained in order to be beaten, physical assaults by more than one person, and having objects thrown at them....A small number of witnesses stated that Brothers were trained to beat residents and reports were heard of religious Brothers demonstrating the exercise of discipline to trainee Brothers.

One day it was ...visitor’s day... they used to pick about half a dozen lads. You would be called to the hall. I was picked once and they would actually show the ...visiting student Brothers... how to do the hiding. The Brother who was in charge of the playground, mostly Br ...X... or Br ...Y... would show them how it’s done, they would give you a hiding to show them and then they would have a go, with the black jack ...(leather)... with loops of lead in it or steel.

Witnesses reported being introduced to a strict regime from the moment of their arrival in the School.

We were met by Br ...X... he ruled the roost, he told us about the rules, said if we ran away there was severe punishment, the second time our head would be shaved and the third time we would be sent to ...named School.... He then stripped us off, told us to bend over the desk; he hit the desk with a leather strap and said, “Say the Our Father”. I could not say it. He hit me across the legs and warned me not to step out of line. He told us to get in the shower, cold water, “to scrub away your sins”, with carbolic soap. He then left and came back with clothes, comb ... he hit me with the strap when I had the clothes on because I should be in pyjamas. We went to the dormitory, the boys were asleep, he said, “This will always be your bed unless you wet the bed, then you will end up with the smellies with Mr ...Y...”. It was dark, there was no food. I was very upset and frightened. Then that night Mr ...Y... came walking down with his walking stick, he touched my penis with the stick and said, “Don’t ever let me catch you”. Later I could hear kids crying as he lashed kids with a stick, getting them up for the toilet. That was my first night in ...named School....

In addition to physical abuse as the result of bodily assault by punching, hitting and kicking, witnesses reported a variety of implements were used to beat and physically abuse residents. The ‘leather’ was the most commonly reported implement with 381 witness accounts heard of its use in all 26 Schools. Witnesses described the leather strap as strips of leather sewn together, measuring about two inches wide, half an inch thick and about 18 inches long. One end was described by a number of witnesses as shaped for a handgrip. A number of witnesses reported that some of these leather straps contained metal or coins to add weight. Five (5) witnesses provided accounts of either making or seeing these embellished leather straps being made in the bootmaking workshops.

They used the leather for the least excuse. It was heavy, stitched and with waxed ends. It was very painful, you would scream in pain. As convent boys we didn’t have a chance. The other boys, the city kids who were tough, and the Brothers, all picked on us. We stuck together which wasn’t a good idea.

Some of the Brothers had different leathers, I know because I made them when I was 14, in the boot room, some of them had little tiny leads in them, some had coins, some were straight. They weren’t soft, they were hard.

Witnesses described other leather straps of varying dimensions: some were described as leather belts, others as longer, thinner straps referred to as whips. Two (2) witnesses from two different Schools described being beaten with leather straps with leather thongs attached to the ends, one witness discharged in 1950 referred to the strap as a cat-o’-nine-tails.
I’ll never forget the cat-o’-nine-tails, 10 tongs ...(thongs)... it used to have knots across the bottom. Observing other boys stripped and the blood running down as they were being flogged across the body, it was terrible. There must have been a new rule by the Government at some stage because it happened no more.

There were 232 accounts of being hit or beaten with a variety of sticks, including canes, ash plants, blackthorn sticks, hurleys, broom handles, hand brushes, wooden spoons, pointers, batons, chair rungs, yard brushes, hoes, hay forks, pikes and pieces of wood with leather thongs attached. One hundred and eighteen (118) witnesses reported being beaten with canes and 37 with hurleys. Other implements described included bunches of keys, belt buckles, drain rods, rubber pram tyres, golf clubs, tyre rims, electric flexes, fan belts, horse tackle, hammers, metal rulers, butts of rifles, t-squares, gun pellets and hay ropes. Witnesses also reported having objects thrown at them, such as blocks of wood or sliotars.

I was crying, I wouldn’t stop crying. He ...(Br X)... caught me by the hair. I was down in the ground and the first thing he could lay his hand on was a hammer and he hit me and damaged me ... (described and displayed mark to hand)... if you moved out of turn or something you got hit.

Br ...X... flogged me on the bog. We, another fella, were messing laughing and grinning. He ...(Br X)... hadn’t got his leather and he walked over to a tree and got a branch and he peeled it and said “take off your trousers”. I thought he was only joking, he got ...named co-resident... to hold me and he ...(Br X)... lashed me. He should be in hell now, he lashed me. I was bleeding, I was sent to the nurse

Thirty four (34) witnesses described being forced into scalding or freezing showers or baths as deliberate punishments, including a number who reported being hosed with cold water before or after a severe beating. One witness reported that his head was held under water in a sink while working in the kitchen, another reported having his head held under water while bathing.

Twenty two (22) witnesses described various means by which they were physically abused by burning and scalding; all the incidents reported were isolated and included being burned with matches and cigarettes, having fingers put into electric sockets and having scalding water thrown at them while working in the kitchen. One witness who reported being scalded was so badly burned that he was hidden from sight during a subsequent inspector’s visit.

There were reports from three Schools of dogs being used by staff members to assault and frighten residents, the dogs were described in some instances as pets. In other instances witnesses reported staff ‘patrolling’ with large dogs including Alsatians that were believed to be used as a threat against misbehaviour.

There was this man there he had ... 3 dogs, he was an outsider ...(lay ancillary worker)... I was sent over to the hay barn to stack hay as punishment, the 3 dogs were set on me and the scar is there now where they bit me, you can see the mark on that finger ...(displayed scar to Commissioners)... I asked to go down to the nurse and he said “no”. Anyway, the next morning it was gone all septic and I had to go down to ...named hospital... where they put all stitches in it.

There were also four references by witnesses of being threatened and intimidated by Brothers who had dogs and carried guns for hunting.

Methods of physical punishment were also reported to vary both between staff and Schools. For example, witnesses discharged from three Schools in the 1970s and 1980s described being locked out overnight as a punishment, referred to as ‘freezing time’. Being locked out in cold weather and left to sleep outside were reported as alternative punishments to being beaten. Another witness described the following:

One new lad came and he was covering himself getting dressed. This Brother decided he was going to make a man out of him, so he pulled off his clothes. The young fella started crying and Br ...X... hung him out the window ...(from a height)... by the 2 legs, we all saw it. You were always in fear of that sort of thing. Different Brothers did different things.

n addition to reports of what appeared to be indiscriminate violence, witnesses reported being beaten for other reasons, including: bed-wetting and soiling, inattention in the classroom, left-handedness, stammering, not knowing lessons, disclosing physical and/or sexual abuse, absconding, ‘stealing’ food, talking in line, delay in obeying an instruction, ‘looking the wrong way’ at a staff member, attending the infirmary, complaining of feeling unwell, general wear and tear on clothing and footwear, talking at meals or in bed, talking to girls, playing soccer, losing a game against an outside team, perceived sexual thoughts or actions and not being able to carry out work tasks quickly and properly.

It was frequently reported that residents who wet their bed were made to sleep in either a separate dormitory or in a separate section of the main dormitory. It was also reported that nine of the 26 Schools for boys employed a night watchman who woke habitual bed-wetters during the night to use the toilet. The Committee heard consistent reports of particular practices in relation to the management of bed-wetting, including all bed-wetters being woken, being checked for wet beds, being beaten with a stick while in bed and being forced to wait for lengthy periods in cold bathrooms to use the toilet. Witnesses also reported being hit as they stood waiting; others reported that beds were inspected each morning, followed in some Schools by an immediate beating if the bed was wet.
I was beaten stark naked for wetting the bed, 2 or 3 different people would beat me. You would be called up after breakfast by Br ...X.... He was evil. He liked beating kids naked, he would put your head between his legs ...(while he beat you)... for wetting the bed, and more bed-wetting boys would be there as well ...(watching)... The night watchman would get you up at night with a stick, every night. He would beat you out of the bed. You’d have to bring the sheets up to be washed to the laundry and a bigger boy would beat you with a stick there, he was the senior in the laundry.

Witnesses described trying to stay awake so as not to wet their bed. The rules in some dormitories were said to preclude getting out of bed at night. In other Schools witnesses reported being reluctant to go to the toilet during the night for fear of being followed and abused by the night watchman or older co-residents. There were 43 witness reports of being beaten and sexually abused by night watchmen and older co-residents in this context.

Running away was a feature of life in the Schools and the majority of witnesses made some reference to either running away, thinking about doing so, or observing what happened to returned absconders. Witnesses consistently reported that residents who absconded or ran away were severely beaten and flogged upon their return to the School. The public nature and severity of the beatings were described as traumatic, and made a lasting impression on those who witnessed them in addition to serving as a caution against absconding. Reports of running away were frequently accompanied by accounts of persistent physical and sexual abuse.
I ran away a few times. He ...(Br X)... was trying always to put his hand down my leg.... (On return to the School)... I was put up on rafters. There was an old shed there, it was a barn, I was tied to the rafters, he ...(Br X)... had the rope over the top, I was like that ...demonstrated spread out facing down... he lashed me with the leather, over the back and down the arms, that happened on 4 or 5 occasions, I ran away again after that.

One day a gang of us went for a walk into a field, we were told we could. They had farm workers out with dogs looking for us. We were caught and brought back. We were taken onto the yard, they let the dogs go ...(attacking)... and the boys would line up and hit you with whatever they had in their hand, kick you, you had to run through the line. This was a punishment to let the boys know that if it ever happened again this is what would happen. That night you were beaten again, you were thrown over the bed ...crying....

Four (4) witnesses from two different Schools reported that they were beaten on the soles of their feet with a cane and leather strap as a punishment for running away. Witnesses from three other Schools reported being made to stand or kneel in the recreation yards following their beatings and were ostracised by their peers. Two (2) witnesses from the latter Schools reported being made to kneel in the yard for several hours in their underpants in winter and were incontinent while kneeling there. The punishment for absconding in a number of Schools was reported to include being put on reduced food and being forbidden to associate with others. Witnesses described being made to walk around the yard alone for several weeks. Others reported being made to kneel in the refectory while they ate bread and water. This punishment was described as continuing for days and up to three weeks in one instance. One witness reported that when he was brought back after running away his head was shaved and he was later taken from his bed, stripped and beaten, punched and kicked by a group of six Brothers in front of other residents.

One hundred and fifty seven (157) witnesses reported being physically assaulted in the classroom. Witnesses described the liberal use of the leather, cane and wooden ruler or stick on the face, palms, wrists, tips of the fingers, forearms, legs, backs of the hands, across the shoulders, back and the bottom. Learning was reported to have been dominated by the fear of punishment for various reasons including for not knowing the correct answer, being left handed, being unable to read when called upon and being unable to speak clearly, as described by a witness discharged in the 1960s:

If he ...(Br X)... asked a question and you put the hand up, you got a beating if you could not ...(give the right answer).... If you were too slow with the answer you got beaten. ... I got to the stage that I didn’t answer because I would get a beating. Everything operated on fear. There was one Br ...X... if you done it too slow he hit you, he had 2 leathers, if he appeared on the scene there was fear. No matter what you done, you would always get it wrong. If you frowned or a flinch ... he would hit you.

Witnesses who have struggled with poor literacy all their lives described years of humiliation and abuse in the classroom. In four Schools, witnesses described being bent over desks, forced to remove their trousers and being beaten in front of the entire class. Witnesses described being restrained in different ways including having their heads wedged in a window and in a drawer while they were beaten on the bare bottom. The following is an additional account of abuse in the classroom.

Other classroom punishments reported were: ear pulling, being lifted up by the hair or cheeks, beaten on the soles of the feet, having objects thrown at the head or body and being made to stand facing the wall with arms elevated until fatigued, when a beating would ensue. Several witnesses reported having their face slapped or boxed repeatedly while their head was held steady by a tuft of hair. This practice was referred to by witnesses as a ‘jaw warmer’ or ‘rabbit punch’.

One time in the class, my arms would be black and blue, both arms, because I couldn’t read a couple of lines in Irish, he ...(Br X)... beat me.... He’d put you in the corner, your hands would be up like that ...(displayed arms raised)... if you dropped them you’d get the leather. He put me in the back of the class and he’d tell you to run to him, he’d put his fist out like that ...(indicated fist and outstretched arm)... and you’d run into it.... It would be the kick in the shins you would get off him. As soon as you hit the deck he would pull you up by the ears for what we used to call the rabbit punch, you know, like that ...indicated hand movement... with the side of his hand on the neck, he’d chop you, you’d go down on the deck. I was out ...(unconscious)... that day, you’d be reeling ... an 11 year old child.

Random beatings in bed at night were also described. Night watchmen were reported to have patrolled the dormitories during the night in nine Schools. Both the night watchmen and religious staff are reported to have checked that residents lay in a particular way in their beds, reports of this experience vary over the years and between the different institutions. Witnesses from some Schools consistently reported being beaten if they were found lying with their hands under the bedclothes, others were beaten if they did not have their arms and hands crossed over their chest in a particular way. Witnesses believed the reason for this enforced practice was to avoid what religious staff referred to as the ‘sin’ of masturbation.

You couldn’t sleep on your back, your ass would be so sore ...(after a beating)... you’d want to sleep on your belly, but they wouldn’t let you sleep, you had to sleep in a particular way, on your back.

Showers were reported as locations of abuse in six institutions. The most commonly reported reasons for being beaten in the showers were not washing properly, ducking out of unbearably hot or cold water or attempting to avoid sexual assault. Religious and some lay staff were reported to supervise the showers, usually alone. Some residents described being checked as they left the shower area and were pulled aside for punishment if not considered to be properly washed, at other times it was reported that they were randomly struck with either a leather strap or a stick as they were showering or as they filed past the supervising staff member. A specific complaint about these beatings was the pain of being beaten on wet skin and the humiliation of being beaten while naked.

Witnesses reported being flogged and severely beaten for many reasons, including: disclosing or reporting abuse, absconding, speaking to visiting girls, riding a visitor’s bike, refusing to clear blocked toilets, taking food, fighting, delay in lining up, not washing properly or having torn clothes.

When I was there 3 blokes ...named co-residents... they ran away and when they were brought back, they were flogged, on one of these vaulting horses. We were all there. Br ...X... said “I’m going to make an example of these boys”, and one by one they came out, no trousers on them ... naked from their waist down, each one individually over the vaulting horse, he flogged them. Well you could see their backsides going red blue, red blue, the whole School watching.

Twenty three (23) witnesses described injuries to their genitalia as a result of being kicked or flogged. Eighteen (18) witnesses described being hosed with cold water or having cold water thrown on them prior to, or in the course of a severe beating. A witness gave the following account of a severe beating when he was found in the company of co-residents who had been talking to some girls visiting their brothers in the School:

Br ...X... met the boys coming up from talking to the girls, he sent them down to the washroom, he told me to go too, but I wasn’t with them. He told the 3 of us to get into bathing togs. He went out and got the leather strap, like the cut-throat razor, he came in, took off his coat and his collar and I never in all my life seen anything like what he done. He started beating us, saying we were talking to the girls ... he took off his shirt ... he didn’t beat me so much as the others. One of the lads started soiling themselves, he beat them so much, grabbing himself saying, “I’ll give ye girls”, rubbing himself. One of the lads was in bits, they were in a terrible state.

Witnesses reported being filled with terror as religious staff appeared to lose control when they were administering physical beatings or floggings. It was reported that such beatings frequently resulted in injury or, in 22 reported instances, rendered the resident unconscious. Eight (8) of the 22 witnesses reported that they passed out while being beaten and woke up in bed unable to move. There were 36 accounts of witnesses being unable to sit or lie on their back for some days after being beaten, and a further 28 accounts of being unable to walk following a beating or flogging.

I remember another boy who would not cry. I remember one day he got 50 slaps on one hand and then 50 on the other and then another 50. This Brother got so mad that he ...(co-resident)... would not cry. He, Br ...X... kicked the legs from under him and kicked him to the ground and kicked him until he went unconscious. He was just lying there with his eyes staring up to the sky.

Eleven (11) witnesses reported that the flogging or beating they received was so severe that they thought they were going to be killed. Five (5) witnesses from two Schools reported that named co-residents were never seen again following a severe beating.

I remember this one Brother. The boys would be crying in the morning going into class. He’d start with sums, always an awkward division. I remember one boy in the class ...named co-resident.... He was asked a question this time, he made the awful mistake of saying he knew the answer but couldn’t get the answer out, and with that this Br ...X... went absolutely berserk.... The brutality of that man, he hit him everywhere, with the leather. He ...(co-resident)... was trying to avoid being hit. I never saw him ...(co-resident)... again. I often did think about him, whether he went blind or not, I don’t know. I never saw him again.

Fifty nine (59) witnesses reported episodes of being physically abused by more than one person simultaneously. Of those reports there were 42 witness accounts of two or more religious staff coming to the dormitories at night and removing residents from their beds. Witnesses reported being brought to either cloakrooms, boot rooms, showers and bathrooms or the rooms of religious staff members where they were stripped and placed across a table, bed or chair and beaten by more than one priest or Brother. The Committee also heard reports of residents being held down by co-residents under the instruction of a Brother. A small number of witnesses reported being held with their head between the thighs of one of the priests or Brothers while another priest or Brother beat them on the bare bottom with a leather strap. Witnesses also reported being severely beaten as part of a group for various reasons, for example when no one admitted to talking during silent periods or when a staff member wanted a resident to admit to a misdemeanour. Many witnesses described the involvement of more than one religious staff in the episodes of severe beating or flogging, and the assault being so severe that they sustained an injury.

Named School... ruined my life. Night-times were the worst; if you weren’t taken out of bed and beaten you were listening to it happening to someone else. You could hear the screams all over the whole building at night it was so quiet. Up to 4 Brothers would come and take a boy out of bed on some pretext and give him a hammering, make you take off your nightshirt, they would do what they wanted. They were like a pack of hunting animals.

There were five accounts of boys being tied down before being beaten; in one circumstance a witness described being tied to a bench and beaten. Another witness reported that a Brother sent him to the office, where he was told to take his clothes off, two Brothers took turns beating him on his body and hands until ‘I thought I was going to be killed’. The witness further reported his legs were swollen with open lacerations.

Witnesses reported a catalogue of injuries to themselves and co-residents as a result of physical abuse by religious and lay staff members in the 26 Schools reported to the Committee. Two hundred and twenty four (224) reports were heard of injuries including: breaks to ribs, noses, wrists, arms and legs, injuries to head, genitalia, back, mouth, eye, ear, hand, jaw, face and kidney. Sixty four (64) witnesses reported being left unable to walk, sit, stand or lie down as a result of those injuries. Other injuries included burns, dog bites, lacerations, broken teeth, dislocated shoulders, injuries to the soles of feet, and burst chilblains. Chilblains were a common ailment in the pre-1970s period and male witnesses reported experiencing severe pain after being struck on hands and legs with chilblains. Witnesses reported that at times they were beaten until their chilblains burst and bled.

Many witnesses reported more than one injury, which included the following:

One hundred and eighty six (186) witnesses reported being marked, bruised or swollen with welts.
Seventy one (71) witnesses reported blood being drawn.
Sixty (60) witnesses reported eye and/or ear injuries.
Forty four (44) witnesses reported head lacerations.
Thirty two (32) witnesses reported injuries to their hand, three of whom reported permanent damage.
Twenty eight (28) witness reported broken ribs, arms or legs.
Twenty three (23) witnesses reported injury to their genitalia.
Twenty two (22) witnesses reported receiving injuries that left them unconscious.
Twenty two (22) witnesses reported being scalded or burned.
Twenty (20) witnesses reported broken noses.
Twenty (20) witnesses reported split lips or broken teeth.
Seventeen (17) witnesses reported injuries to their face or jaw.
Thirteen (13) witnesses reported injuries to their feet.
Eight (8) witnesses reported injuries to their back.
Four (4) witnesses reported suffering kidney damage.
Three (3) witnesses reported being stabbed with farm and kitchen implements.

There were multiple injuries reported in relation to particular Schools and staff members, for instance 126 witnesses from three Schools reported injuries including broken bones, fractured limbs, head injuries, broken teeth and being left bleeding and bruised. Six (6) witnesses from one School named a particular Brother as the perpetrator of severe injuries, including broken noses and facial injuries:

I lost my 2 front teeth because of a whack like that ...demonstrated strike of the hand... out in the yard. If you got too near him...(Br X)... he would just whack you, he’d flatten you. ... A few days later I was sent to the doctor because my mouth was all up. ... He sent me on to the dentist in ...named town....

Twenty five (25) witnesses reported being hospitalised for different non-accidental injuries, as described above. Six (6) of these reports referred to one particular School. Others described co-residents being hospitalised for treatment of their injuries following physical assault by a religious or lay staff member.

Fr ...X... laid me out cold for talking; he walloped me so fast I couldn’t see it coming. He broke my nose, I had to go to hospital. He knocked me clean out. I had 2 big black eyes and the nurse sent me to the hospital.

The 2 years I had there I did not get over it for many, many years. I was shattered. ... I suffered fierce violence there. I saw one boy ...named co-resident... battered on the bog, he got such a beating from Br ...X... that his back was broken and he was shifted off to hospital in ...named town....

Witnesses reported that in a number of Schools a member of the religious staff or an older resident accompanied them to the hospital and in most cases spoke to the hospital staff on their behalf. Witnesses reported being warned by the person who had beaten them and by other staff to tell the doctor the injuries were caused accidentally.

One day I was on the farm and we were messing, me and ...named co-resident... squirting milk at each other. There was a Mr ...X (named lay ancillary worker)... there and he told Br ...Y.... He ...(Br Y)... came over and dug his nails into the back of my ears and then he hit me with his clenched fists on the jaw and of course I went down. I was in the infirmary myself for 6 or 7 weeks after that because they smashed my jaw, my gum was all gone, inside of my face was all ripped. Br ...Y... took me to ...named hospital... he done all the talking and he said “if anyone asks you, you have an abscess on your gum”. I was back in the infirmary, the treatment I was getting was hot salty water. It started getting a bit easier for me after that.

The 474 reports of physical abuse heard by the Committee identified 556 individuals by name as physically abusive, 110 of whom were also reported as sexually abusive.7 Witnesses reported being physically abused by a variety of personnel including religious and lay staff who were in positions including Resident Managers, teachers, and care and ancillary staff. It should be noted that Resident Managers or their designated deputies were authorised as Disciplinarians, as regulated. Witnesses also reported being physically abused by older co-residents. Seven (7) witnesses reported being physically abused by members of the public including visitors to the Schools and the employers on work placements.

Sixty-five (65) of the named male religious staff reported as physically abusive were identified by witnesses as being in positions of authority, including Resident Managers within the Schools. The remaining 329 Brothers and priests named by witnesses were reported to be care, teaching and ancillary staff within the Schools. Witnesses described some of the religious staff having different roles within the School and at times were not clear whether the ascribed role was in fact the individual’s dominant function within the institution. For example, witnesses referred to religious staff in authority as the Superior, Reverend Mother, School Master, Officer in Charge, Head Brother or Sister, and Brother or Priest in Charge.

Forty two (42) of the lay staff who were reported as physically abusive were ancillary staff employed as night watchmen, drill masters, farm workers, maintenance and trade workers. Witnesses reported that contact with lay ancillary staff was mainly in the dormitories, showers or in the context of work activity on the farm, in the kitchens or in trade shops where they were in constant contact with the staff who abused them.
They had a large shower area. We had one shower per week. The showers were back to back. The person in charge of the baths, he was a lay person, if he wasn’t happy he used to examine boys. To his reckoning if the boys weren’t clean enough, he’d examine you, he would poke and hit you with a stick. I was walloped ... quite a few times, you’d cower in the shower, he would wallop you, in the genital area and on the posterior.

This section summarises the evidence provided by witnesses of sexual abuse ranging from contact sexual abuse including rape and associated physical violence to non-contact abuse such as enforced nakedness and voyeurism. Witnesses were generally distressed when describing their experiences of sexual abuse. They spoke in as much or as little detail as they wished. Some witnesses provided detailed and disturbing accounts of sexual abuse, other accounts were sufficient to clarify the acute or chronic nature of both contact and non-contact sexual abuse....Two hundred and forty two (242) male witnesses (59%) made 253 reports of sexual abuse in relation to 20 Schools.9 Eleven (11) witnesses reported sexual abuse in relation to two separate Schools. Witnesses described their experience of sexual abuse as either acute incidents or multiple episodes that, for some, occurred throughout their entire admission in the School. Witnesses reported being sexually abused by religious and lay staff in addition to other adults, most of whom had some association with the Schools.

The frequency of sexual abuse reports varied widely between Schools:

Four (4) Schools were collectively the subject 156 reports.10
Five (5) Schools were the subject 10-17 reports, totalling 67 reports.
Eleven (11) Schools were the subject of 1-6, totalling 30 reports.

Witnesses described contact sexual abuse including: inspection of genitalia, kissing, fondling of genitalia, forced masturbation of, and by, an abuser, digital penetration, penetration by objects, oral and anal rape and attempted rape, by individuals and groups. Witnesses also reported several forms of non-contact sexual abuse including detailed interrogation about sexual activity, indecent exposure, inappropriate sexual talk, voyeurism, and forced public nudity. Some witnesses gave accounts of isolated incidents of sexual abuse and others reported being sexually abused on many occasions, over a period of months or years...Sixty eight (68) witnesses reported being anally raped. There were a further 14 reports of attempted rape and six reports of digital penetration. Many of these reports were associated with violence, of which there were 88 reports in total, including 23 reports of injuries to genitalia by beating with a leather and kicking.

The secretive and isolated nature of sexual abuse was frequently described. Many witnesses reported that the fear of severe punishment and the threat of either them or their siblings being sent to a more restrictive institution inhibited them in both resisting and disclosing sexual abuse. Witnesses further reported that the culture of obeying orders without question, the authority of the abuser and the experience of not being believed and being severely beaten after they reported abuse, rendered them powerless to stop the abuse....Sexual abuse was also reported to occur off-site when residents were taken out of the institution for holidays, outings or work placements, by individuals who sexually abused them. Witnesses reported that sexual abuse was often preceded by physical violence that they believed was intended as an intimidating threat...Witnesses repeatedly stated that co-residents who had no family contact were the most common victims of sexual abuse.

There were 88 witness reports of sexual abuse and associated physical violence, 15 of these reports related to one School. Many of the reports heard were of witnesses being beaten while their abusers masturbated, or of the witnesses being beaten on their bare buttocks while they were held against the abusers’ genitals. Witnesses described physical abuse perpetrated in the context of sexual abuse as serving to both enforce compliance with the sexual assault and as a means of securing the silence of the witness concerned. Witnesses who reported being sexually abused, including being anally raped, named Brothers about whom the Committee heard a number of reports of sexual abuse...Sexual abuse associated with violence was also reported to be accompanied at times by serious threats of physical harm, including risk to life, for the perceived purpose of instilling fear and enforcing compliance. For example, witnesses reported being threatened that if they ever told anyone what happened to them they would be ‘drowned in the slurry pit’, ‘sent to a worse place’, ‘killed’ or in one instance, ‘cut up and buried in a bag in the bog’. This latter threat was issued by a lay ancillary worker who the witness reported challenged him with a knife.

There were 16 witness accounts of sexual abuse being perpetrated by more than one religious staff simultaneously, generally in association with physical assault...Sexual abuse associated with severe physical violence involving more than one staff member was generally reported as having occurred at night. Witnesses reported being taken from their beds and brought to staff members’ bedrooms, bathrooms or other areas, where they were abused by two or more Brothers and/or priests...In relation to one School, four witnesses gave detailed accounts of sexual abuse, including rape in all instances, by two or more Brothers and on one occasion along with an older resident. A witness from the second School, from which there were several reports, described being raped by three Brothers:
‘I was brought to the infirmary...they held me over the bed, they were animals....They penetrated me, I was bleeding’.
Another witness reported he was abused twice weekly on particular days by two Brothers in the toilets off the dormitory:
One Brother kept watch while the other abused me ...(sexually)... then they changed over. Every time it ended with a severe beating. When I told the priest in Confession, he called me a liar. I never spoke about it again. I would have to go into his ...(Br X’s)... room every time he wanted. You’d get a hiding if you didn’t, and he’d make me do it ...(masturbate)... to him. One night I didn’t ...(masturbate him)... and there was another Brother there who held me down and they hit me with a hurley and they burst my fingers ...displayed scar....

Two hundred and forty six (246) lay and religious staff and others were reported as sexual abusers by male witnesses. One or more reports of sexual abuse were made against each of those identified as sexual abusers. Witnesses identified 186 perpetrators of sexual abuse by name, 110 of whom were also named by witnesses as physically abusive. A further 60 unnamed perpetrators were identified by their position or occupation....witnesses also reported that they were sexually abused by external clergy and Brothers who were visiting the Schools or others to whom witnesses were sent to work. As previously stated external clergy included priests and others of higher rank. These visiting religious were described as either friendly with religious staff or visiting the School in a pastoral role. There were also four reports of sexual abuse by either a clerical student or visiting members of the congregation in relation to four other Schools....The Committee heard reports of sexual abuse by visitors and volunteer workers from seven witnesses in relation to one specific School. These men were members of the general public, each of whom was believed to be known to religious staff. The witnesses described being collected by car and taken to men’s homes, the cinema or on trips to the seaside or country. Four (4)) witnesses reported being taken with co-residents on a regular basis, one by a group of men overnight and the other three witnesses by a man in a van who bought them sweets and ice-cream and sexually abused them by fondling or masturbation, either in the van or in his home. Four of the 11 witnesses reported being taken alone for overnight excursions where they shared rooms and beds with identified abusers in their homes, guesthouses or other accommodation. Witnesses described these outings as apparently spontaneous.

...Three hundred and sixty seven (367) male witnesses (89%) made 408 reports concerning the neglect of their care and welfare in 22 Schools. There were 379 witness reports of food provided to residents being inadequate in both quality and sufficiency. The reports referred to 21 Schools. Three hundred and forty nine (349) reports of poor and inadequate food were made by witnesses who were discharged before 1970. Some witnesses reported having so little to eat that at times they were starving.
In the morning you got 2 cuts of bread and dripping, the dripping was put on the night before. The food was terrible there, you were hungry, it was rationed even though the place was self-sufficient. They had their own tomatoes and orchard too, but we never got them.

Throughout all decades reported to the Committee witnesses noted differences between the quality and quantity of food available to them and that which was provided for the religious staff, as observed by witnesses who worked in kitchens preparing and serving food for both residents and staff.

I had to serve breakfast for the Brothers, as you got older you used to serve breakfast. I couldn’t believe the breakfast they had.... I can’t believe what we get and what they get. One day I nicked an orange, they get a whole orange! There was a woman there. She cooked breakfast for them.

Many witnesses said that although there were large farms attached to their Schools the produce from the farms was generally not provided for the residents. Witnesses from six Schools described preparing potatoes and other vegetables for sale and being involved in the distribution of various types of farm produce for sale outside the School. Witnesses who were prescribed special diets or extra milk and eggs reported that the recommended food was not always provided for them although they stated that in some Schools it was available for sale. In addition to reports about the inadequate amounts of food provided to residents, witnesses also reported that the lack of supervision in the refectories meant that in several Schools the youngest or most recently arrived residents were dependant on older residents leaving enough food for them to eat in the rush for what was provided. Witnesses reported being frequently left without any food:
I was always cold and hungry, smaller and weaker boys missed out in the general grab for food which was not supervised or was supervised and condoned by the Brothers ... and in the refectory it meant older boys ate most of the food.

The area of neglect in healthcare most frequently reported by witnesses was the absence of investigation into the cause of non-accidental injury to residents. Witnesses reported being attended by visiting doctors and nurses attached to the Schools’ infirmary, as well as attending doctors’ surgeries and local hospitals with injuries received as a result of abuse. In the majority of instances witnesses stated that the doctors and nurses who treated these injuries failed to make inquiries as to the cause of the injuries and most witnesses reported being returned to abusive environments without investigation or an assessment of risk...Nurses were generally remembered as non-committal about non-accidental and other injuries. Repeated wounds from beatings were reported to have elicited no query from most nurses as to their cause, while some were sympathetic but unable to intervene on the residents’ behalf: ‘what could she do, they employed her’. One witness stated that in recent years he met a School nurse who had treated his injuries following a particularly severe beating. She remembered the incident and told him she ‘could do nothing about it’, as she had been sworn to secrecy. In one School witnesses were attended by a nurse who ‘did not want to know what happened when boys turned up badly beaten’. Sixty six (66) witnesses gave accounts of inadequate medical attention including being ignored, punished or ridiculed when they complained of being unwell or injured. Accidental injuries and childhood illnesses were reported by many witnesses to have been left untreated. Witnesses in a number of Schools reported never seeing a doctor or that the doctor was only ever called to see someone who was ‘really ill’. One witness who reported his finger and thumb were broken when he fell off a cart in a farm accident, had to continue working and received no subsequent treatment, ‘it mended by itself’. A number of witnesses reported that their parents brought them to hospital while they were at home on leave, two of whom had their broken arms examined and treated. Their injuries were sustained as a result of physical assault in the School by religious staff. Both witnesses said they had not received any treatment at the time of the initial injury in the School. Another witness was hospitalised while on weekend leave for treatment of abscesses that had been neglected in the School. Three (3) witnesses reported the death of boys who they described were ignored or neglected when they complained of being sick. One witness reported his belief that a co-resident died as a result of eating poisonous berries. Two (2) witnesses reported being hospitalised following suicide attempts in the context of abuse episodes. They were transferred back to the institution without psychological assessment or treatment.

Sixty seven (67) witnesses reported being deprived of contact with their parents, brothers and sisters while they were in the Schools. They also reported being actively denied information about their parents and siblings. Some witnesses commented that they were too young when they were first admitted to know who their brothers or sisters were and were never told. The deprivation and loss of contact with parents and siblings was reported to be a matter of deep distress, grief and anger that led to the fragmentation and loss of family networks by the time many witnesses were discharged from the Schools...Forty four (44) witnesses described how contact with their siblings was actively discouraged or denied. They reported being separated from their sisters and brothers while in the Schools and being denied contact with them. Witnesses also reported being punished if found attempting to communicate with their siblings who were in other sections of the same School. Some witnesses reported that their brothers were transferred or discharged from the School without them being told or having an opportunity to say goodbye...Witnesses reported that the experience of living in the regimented School system contributed to a sense of having no individual identity. The use of an allocated number instead of a name was reported by 25 witnesses and many others stated that they were either not spoken to individually or were only ever referred to by their surname.

Due to the generally public and frequent nature of the physical and emotional abuse inflicted on residents, witnesses stated that staff and co-residents were unavoidably aware of its occurrence. Witnesses also reported disclosing abuse to their parents, relatives and people in authority, both within the institution and outside, including to gardaí and other professionals. The Committee also heard and was presented with documentary evidence of correspondence between parents and the Department of Education regarding complaints of abuse. Witnesses stated that the response to their disclosures of abuse ranged from being punished and further abused, being ignored or to being protected from harm. In a small number of instances witnesses stated that they were aware that some investigation took place following disclosures of abuse.

One hundred and forty six (146) of the 413 witnesses (35%) reported that they told an adult they were being physically or sexually abused, 42 of them reported disclosing abuse to more than one person. The disclosures were to adults in positions of perceived trust and authority both within and external to the Schools...A number of witnesses reported being threatened that if they told anyone about the abuse they had experienced there would be more severe repercussions. Five witnesses stated that members of the religious staff visited them or their parents at home to reinforce their warning not to report or disclose their abuse.

Fifty seven (57) witnesses reported that when they disclosed abuse or it was evident by their injuries that they were being abused they were ignored and the abuse continued, leading them to believe that aggression and violence was part of the culture of the School. A number of witnesses stated that it was their belief that both religious and lay staff knew that residents were being abused and were at times sympathetic but were powerless or unwilling to change anything. Many witnesses reported that the risk of being deprived of family visits or being prevented from going home on leave deterred them from disclosing abuse. Others reported that when they did tell someone they were being abused they were either ignored or not believed and as a result they learned to remain silent, believing that nobody would listen to them. A witness who told a priest in Confession about being sexually abused reported that he was told to ‘keep your thoughts to yourself as you could hurt so many people’....more...

Senior U.S. military officers linked to Knights of Malta push for holy war, says Seymour Hersch

source: Foreign Policy, via Cryptogon:

“What I’m really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over,” he said of his forthcoming book. “It’s not only that the neocons took it over but how easily they did it — how Congress disappeared, how the press became part of it, how the public acquiesced.”

Hersh then brought up the widespread looting that took place in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. “In the Cheney shop, the attitude was, ‘What’s this? What are they all worried about, the politicians and the press, they’re all worried about some looting? … Don’t they get it? We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. And when we get all the oil, nobody’s gonna give a damn.’”

“That’s the attitude,” he continued. “We’re gonna change mosques into cathedrals. That’s an attitude that pervades, I’m here to say, a large percentage of the Joint Special Operations Command.”

He then alleged that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before briefly becoming the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and his successor, Vice Adm. William McRaven, as well as many within JSOC, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.” Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic organization committed to “defence of the Faith and assistance to the poor and the suffering,” according to its website.

“Many of them are members of Opus Dei,” Hersh continued. “They do see what they’re doing — and this is not an atypical attitude among some military — it’s a crusade, literally. They seem themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.”

“They have little insignias, these coins they pass among each other, which are crusader coins,” he continued. “They have insignia that reflect the whole notion that this is a culture war. … Right now, there’s a tremendous, tremendous amount of anti-Muslim feeling in the military community.”

Vatican banker linked to Columbian drug smuggler

via Cryptogon:

The Vatican is nothing but a religious mafia involved with child sex trafficking, money laundering and war profiteering, so this information should come as no surprise for those who are paying attention.

A Vatican banker found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in 1982 had previously undisclosed links to the notorious Colombian drug smuggler, Pablo Escobar, the author of a new book has claimed.

Roberto Calvi, who earned his nickname for his close ties to the Vatican Bank, was found hanged beneath Blackfriars Bridge amid strong suspicions that he was murdered.

Ayda Suarez Levy, the widow of a Bolivian druglord, claims that Calvi was laundering drug cartel money through an account in Nassau, in the Bahamas, on behalf of South American drug lords. The Cocaine King sheds new light on Calvi’s death, which remains one of the Vatican’s darkest chapters and most contested mysteries.

Mrs Levy, the widow of Roberto Suarez Gomez, claimed in an interview on Italian television on Monday that Mr Calvi was her husband’s “Italian contact”.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Common sense thought of the day

Right wing ideology has traditionally enshrined principles of blind obedience to existing hierarchical structures. To a certain extent, limited authority is inevitable because without it there could be no institutional education or political leadership. But, paradoxically, to what extent does a paradigm of worshipping inequality discredit legitimate societal authorities? After all, historically speaking, there has always been a critical tipping point at which intolerance for authorities who misuse their social influence results in them being ousted from power. In many indigenous cultures, the chief of the village was often the poorest member of their community, because status was measured not by material acquisition of wealth, as would be the pattern for European colonists in later centuries, but by how much a person was able to give away. In this manner every member of these communities was provided for and the conservative notion that "only the imminent possibility of poverty motivates the populace" was noticeably absent within their cultural framework. True leadership is about service, not tyranny.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Odz Manouk: the Sloth, updated

warning: Here comes another going-off-the-deep-end post...

via Encyclopedia Metallum:

I just found this blurb about Odz Manouk that seems relevant, considering its similarity to the myth of how the Merovignian dynasty was founded by a sea monster, as well as the story of Melusine, the half-serpentine mother of the first Plantagenet king. "In Armenian mythology, Odz Manouk was the son of a nameless king and queen who was born as a serpent. Rejecting any other food, he was fed virgin maidens and kept in a secluded chamber beneath the king's castle. One day, a young woman named Arevhat was captured as a meal for Odz Manouk. When the king entered his monstrous son's chamber, he found that Arevhat was still alive and that his son had turned into a beautiful young man. Odz Manouk and Arevhat then succeeded the king and queen as rulers of Armenia."

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let Detroit Go Bankrupt

Detroit has the highest poverty rate in the U.S., nearly half of its street lights don't work, and Romney thinks the solution is to let the city go bankrupt.

by Mitt Romney, via The New York Times:

If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed. Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens (It's revealing that Romney characterizes our nation's elderly retirees, who have served the country with decades of labor, as "burdens")...Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check. I love cars, American cars. I was born in Detroit, the son of an auto chief executive...from my own experiences, I have several prescriptions for Detroit’s automakers.

First, their huge disadvantage in costs relative to foreign brands must be eliminated. That means new labor agreements to align pay and benefits to match those of workers at competitors like BMW, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. (According to this article, guest workers at Toyota are frequently stripped of passports and forced to work 16 hour days, 7 days a week, for half the legal minimum wage.) Furthermore, retiree benefits must be reduced so that the total burden per auto for domestic makers is not higher than that of foreign Walter Reuther, the former head of the United Automobile Workers, said to my father, “Getting more and more pay for less and less work is a dead-end street.”.... The federal government should also rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers. (Romney himself has benefited from foreign tax loopholes by transferring assets from Bain Capital into offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands)...A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

American bombing of Iraq left legacy of deformed babies

via The Star

Remember Falluja? That city in central Iraq was the scene of two furious attacks in 2004 by American Marines. That spring, they went on a bombing, shooting rampage to avenge the murder and mutilation of four American mercenaries. Instead of targeting the estimated 2,000 insurgents, the Marines almost levelled the city of 300,000, without conquering it. Seven months later, they attacked again with artillery and bombs in what was described as the bloodiest urban warfare involving Americans since the Vietnam War.

Remember Basra? That southern Iraqi city has been suffering since the first Gulf War, in 1991. Radioactive residue from the 800 tons of bombs and 1 million rounds of ammunition used was soon showing up in babies born with huge heads, abnormally large eyes, stunted arms, bloated stomachs and defective hearts. Later in the 1990s, Basra was hit as part of maintaining the American no fly zone on Saddam Hussein. It was attacked yet again in the 2003 American-British invasion and subsequent occupation.

Now we see that the children of Falluja and Basra are suffering a staggering rise in birth defects, primarily from the metals released by bombs, bullets and shells — the dust that gets into food, water, air, soil and crops.

A recent study by an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan attributes the defects to the presence of high levels of lead, mercury and other contaminants in the bodies of both parents and their afflicted children.

It substantiates what horrified doctors at Falluja General Hospital had been reporting since 2005. In September 2009, they had asked the United Nations to investigate why a quarter of the 170 babies born there that month had died within seven days and a staggering 75 per cent of the dead babies were deformed.

In 2010, the University of Ulster reported that increases in congenital birth defects, leukemia and infant mortality in Falluja were higher than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Later that same year, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health published an epidemiological study, also showing shocking levels of birth defects in Falluja children.

Since then, she and her collaborating team of doctors in Iraq and neighbouring Iran have broadened their research in Falluja and Basra. Last month, they published their findings in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

They followed 56 families from Falluja General Hospital and also thousands of records at the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Basra maternity hospital.

Between 2004 and 2006, almost half the pregnancies among those Falluja families resulted in miscarriage. Between 2007 and 2010, more than half the children born in them had some form of birth defect (compared to less than 2 per cent in 2000). Abnormalities included heart defects, malformed or missing limbs, cleft palates, swollen heads, single eyes, bloated tummies and body organs spilling out of defective abdominal walls.

Among the children with birth defects, lead levels were five times higher and mercury levels six times higher than for normal children.

In Basra, birth defects had gone up to 23 per 1,000 births by 2003, a 17-fold increase since 1994.

Mercury levels in children with defects were three times higher than among normal children. The enamel portion of the deciduous tooth from a child with birth defects showed nearly three times higher lead levels than the teeth of children from other areas. Their parents had 1.4 times higher lead levels in tooth enamel compared to parents of normal children.

If anything, the data underestimates the epidemic, says Savabieasfahani. Many parents tend to hide their children with defects and abnormalities.

The American and British governments try to deflect such damning studies by saying they were “not aware of them,” or that the findings may not be definitive.

But Savabieasfahani told me on the phone from Ann Arbor, Mich., that there’s “a clear footprint of metal in the population” in Falluja and Basra. “There is compelling evidence linking the staggering increases in Iraqi birth defects to neurotoxic metal contamination following the repeated bombardments. There is no other explanation. There has been no volcano eruption, for example.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is also studying the crises not only in Falluja and Basra but also seven other “high-risk” Iraqi cities. Its report is due out next month.

These studies should be required reading for anyone who still wonders why the Arab and Muslim world remains so angry at America and its allies.

Haroon Siddiqui is the Star's editorial page editor emeritus. His column appears on Thursday and Sunday.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Rottweilers!*

*I tried to get Dante to pose for a photo wearing some little red devil horns but he wasn't having it. When household items are getting shredded and bookshelves are getting knocked over, sometimes you have to choose your battles.

Former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss Kahn attended orgies organized by Freemasons

via The New York Times:

More than a year after resigning in disgrace as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is seeking redemption with a new consulting company, the lecture circuit and a uniquely French legal defense to settle a criminal inquiry that exposed his hidden life as a libertine...That defense and the investigation, which is facing a critical judicial hearing in late November, have offered a keyhole view into a clandestine practice in certain powerful circles of French society: secret soirees with lawyers, judges, police officials, journalists and musicians that start with a fine meal and end with naked guests and public sex with multiple partners...The exclusive orgies called “parties fines” — lavish Champagne affairs costing around $13,000 each — were organized as a roving international circuit from Paris to Washington by businessmen seeking to ingratiate themselves with Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Some of that money, according to a lawyer for the main host, ultimately paid for prostitutes because of a shortage of women at the mixed soirees orchestrated largely for the benefit of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who sometimes sought sex with three or four women... On Thursday, Mr. Strauss-Kahn broke a long silence to acknowledge that perhaps his double life as an unrestrained libertine was a little outré.

“I long thought that I could lead my life as I wanted,” he said in an interview with the French magazine Le Point. “And that includes free behavior between consenting adults. There are numerous parties that exist like this in Paris, and you would be surprised to encounter certain people. I was naïve.”...This month Mr. Strauss-Kahn won a major legal battle after a French prosecutor dropped part of the investigation into an alleged sexual assault at a hotel in Washington. A Belgian prostitute recanted her earlier accusation, saying the encounter was just rough sex play, but Mr. Strauss-Khan is still a suspect for involvement in a prostitution ring...The investigation into the prostitution ring in Lille ultimately swept up 10 suspects, including Mr. Strauss-Kahn. They knew each other largely through their membership as French Freemasons, according to Karl Vandamme, a defense lawyer who represents Fabrice Paszkowski, the owner of a medical supply company who played a crucial role in organizing the sex parties.