Leading Transplant Doctor in China Mentioned in ‘Transplant Abuse’ Case

Media reports in China about a court sentencing 12 people for “organ transplant abuse” have in them a riddle. An important figure in China’s medical establishment known to be involved in the forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners is mentioned as the key figure in the transplant ring, but the reports don’t say that he was among those sentenced.The Qingshanhu District People’s Court in Nanchang City of southeastern China’s Jiangxi Province sentenced 12 people up to nine and a half years in prison, for illegally selling human organs in an organized manner, according to a Xinhua report on July 26. The state-run Legal Daily said that the deputy director of kidney transplantation at the Guangzhou General Hospital, Zhu Yunsong, played an important role in this illegal organ trafficking ring, but Zhu was not mentioned as one of those sentenced.The organ trafficking group( http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/china-news/chinas-organ-trafficking-crackdown-increases-forced-organ-harvesting-288008.html),brought to justice this week started its illegal business in early 2011, after Zhu promised to purchase organs from the group, the report said.From 2011 to 2012, the group got organs from nearly 40 live donors in hospitals with the help of other doctors and medical staff, making a profit of over 1.5 million yuan (US$243,000), the report said.The World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong reported in 2006 that Zhu Yunsong—the name and title in the World Organization report match those in the Legal Daily report—was involved in harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners, killing them.In July 1999 the Chinese regime began persecuting Falun Gong practitioners. The then-head of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin, feared how many people had taken up the practice and how attractive the discipline’s traditional moral teachings were to the Chinese people.According to the book “Bloody Harvest,” an investigative report into this forced organ harvesting, the regime’s hospitals began using practitioners as a source for organs soon after the persecution began. The authors of the report, former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour and international human rights lawyer David Matas, have estimated that by 2008 62,000 practitioners’ organs had been harvested. The number of those whose organs have been harvested since 2008 would be tens of thousands larger.An investigator for the World Organization pretending to be a relative of a patient who needed a transplant called Zhu Yunsong in 2006 and asked him if he had organs from Falun Gong practitioners.Zhu complained that the hospital did not have many organs from Falun Gong practitioners available at that time, but said, “It is not difficult to find Type B kidney [from Falun Gong practitioner's donors]. If you want, you can come; we will do it pretty soon.”Zhu has done over 1,400 organ transplant surgeries in the past 13 years, according to the Chinese magazine Time Weekly.A friend of Zhu is quoted by Legal Daily saying, “I often see him holding a small refrigeration box to take flights all over the country to do surgeries.”At a session of the World Transplant Conference held in San Francisco from July 26 to 31, David Matas commented on the reports about Zhu Yunsong and the arrest of the organ trafficking ring in China.Matas noted that Falun Gong was not mentioned in the reports, but then noted that the persecution of Falun Gong is a very politically sensitive issue in China.“It [the Falun Gong issue] divides the Party, and power struggles revolve around it,” Matas said.“What we see on the surface is very different than what is going on underneath,” Matas said.The mention of Zhu Yunsong in connection with “organ transplant abuse” in China’s press coincided with the unexplained absence at the World Transplant Conference of a major figure in the organ transplantation establishment in China, Dr. Wang Haibo. Wang is director of the China Organ Transplant Response System Research Center of the Ministry of Health.Without explanation, a video of Wang’s remarks was shown to the conference. People who knew Wang appeared to be confused at his absence.Wang made news in April 2014 when he announced that China had no intention of announcing a schedule for replacing the use of prisoners’ organs with voluntary donations, breaking promises to move to a strictly voluntary organ donation system.


Revealed: Police investigate evidence that six CIA torture flights landed in Scotland

25882350_350x350_frontPOLICE are investigating evidence that a CIA jet landed in Glasgow after carrying 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to a secret torture prison in Poland.And the Sunday Mail can reveal that elite detectives are also probing five other stopovers in Scotland, which researchers suspect were part of CIA “rendition circuits” to move terror suspects between secret jails and torture sites.A rendition circuit was a series of flights by a CIA aircraft, often leaving the US, picking up suspects from one
foreign prison, taking them to another and then returning to America.Researchers from pressure group The Rendition Project say jets would stop in Scotland on the outward or return legs.The six stops police are understood to be focusing on – four at Prestwick and two at Glasgow – are “known or highly likely” to have been part of rendition circuits.A seventh flight is suspected but unconfirmed and the experts believe there may have been many more.They say CIA aircraft made hundreds of stops at airports around Scotland which they suspect were linked in some way to rendition.Chief al-Qaeda strategist Mohammed, the brains behind the 9/11 atrocity, was arrested in Pakistan on March 1, 2003, and taken to the US base at Bagram in Afghanistan.Next day, according to the researchers, a CIA jet left Dulles airport in Washington and flew to Bagram, via Prague and Tashkent in Uzbekistan.The experts suspect that the plane collected Mohammed and took him to a secret prison – or “black site” – in Poland.He later claimed he was tortured there for six months. He said the CIA told him they would not let him die but
would take him “to the verge of death and back again”.Mohammed said he was beaten, forced to stand for hours on end and hosed down with water. He also claimed his interrogators put a plastic collar round his neck and used it to repeatedly slam his head against a wall.And he alleged he was subjected five times to waterboarding, where a suspect is suspended upside-down and his face is forced into a water-soaked cloth, preventing him from breathing.The researchers’ evidence suggests that after delivering Mohammed to Poland, the CIA jet returned to Prague.It then allegedly flew on to Glasgow on March 8, where it spent 24 hours before heading back to Washington.The Rendition Project also suspect that another of the architects of 9/11, Yemeni fanatic Ramzi bin al Shibh, was
rendered from Morocco to Poland the month before Mohammed by a jet which then stopped at Prestwick.Detectives from the Major Crime and Terrorism Investigation Unit, based at Govan police station in Glasgow, are
probing the possible involvement of Scotland in rendition flights and speaking to potential witnesses.A previous investigation in 2007 and 2008 found insufficient evidence to back the claims, but Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC asked police last year to reopen the inquiry.He said at the time: “There should be no dilly-dallying. I am confident the police will conduct a thorough inquiry.“The use of torture cannot be condoned. It is against international law and the common law of Scotland.”At Mulholland’s request, detectives are looking at evidence compiled by the Rendition Project, led by Dr Sam Raphael of Kingston University in London and Dr Ruth Blakeley of the University of Kent.Raphael and Blakeley say they have detailed information on CIA stops in Scotland, including that of the jet which
possibly took Mohammed to Poland and the five other “known or highly likely” rendition flights.They believe that 50 aircraft linked to renditions landed in Scotland between September 2001 and September 2006. Flights allegedly used Prestwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Wick, Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and RAF Leuchars.Raphael and Blakeley believe another 83 CIA flights stopped in Scotland on the way to or from countries known to be involved in secret detentions, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.The Rendition Project say these flights may have carried prisoners, or provided support for the programme by taking interrogators or supplies to black sites.Raphael and Blakeley say five of the “known or highly likely” flights, including the one which possibly transported Mohammed, involved Gulfstream jet N379P.It was known as the Guantanamo Express because it flew suspects to the notorious US detention centre in Cuba. Mohammed remains there to this day.The researchers believe N379P stopped in Prestwick in December 2001 after taking two Egyptian suspects, Mohamed el-Zery and Ahmed Agiza, from Sweden to a torture site in Cairo.The pair later alleged they were put on the plane after being dressed in nappies and overalls, hooded, handcuffed and bound at the ankles. Once aboard, they were strapped down on a mattress.In Cairo, Agiza alleges torturers put electrodes on his genitals and threatened to kill him and rape his family.El-Zery claims he was blindfolded for two months, given shocks to his ears, nipples and genitals, and held in a 5ft by 5ft cell for 10 months. Both men are now free.Raphael and Blakeley also suspect that N379P went through Prestwick on January 15, 2002, after a rendition
operation involving another Egyptian, Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni.Madni had been arrested in Jakarta, Indonesia, at the request of the CIA.He claimed he was beaten up in Indonesia by an Egyptian intelligence agent , then handcuffed, put in leg irons and taken aboard the CIA plane, where he was shut inside a wooden box.Madni said he was taken to Cairo and interrogated for 12 to 15 hours at a time about Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden. When he failed to provide answers, he was given electric shocks.He claimed he spent three months in a 6ft by 4ft room before the Americans flew him to Afghanistan, where he was regularly beaten and placed in the “strappado” position – hanging from the ceiling with his feet barely touching the ground.A year later, he was flown to Guantanamo, where he twice tried to hang himself. He was freed without charge in 2008.Raphael told us: “We welcome the police investigation. It needs to be robust and comprehensive to get to the bottom of Scottish involvement in these crimes.“The Rendition Project last year released the largest public set of evidence regarding rendition flights in the( ‘war on terror’.)“We have demonstrated conclusively that CIA aircraft landed at Scottish airports hundreds of times between
2001 and 2006, when the Agency was operating its global system of rendition, secret detention and torture.“We have also documented specific cases where Scottish airports played a key logistical role in operations where
individuals were transferred illegally by the CIA and tortured in secret.”Raphael called on the Scots detectives to study the US Senate’s 6300-page Torture Report, now being declassifed.

He said: “Details in there would confirm for sure what role Scotland played.”
He also urged police to study documents from the Detainee Inquiry in London, which closed at the end of last year.The Crown Office said it would be inappropriate to comment on a live investigation. Police said: “Inquiries into the matter are ongoing.”


Russian Deputy PM: Cossack ‘held accountable’ for whipping attack on Pussy Riot

Russian Deputy PM Cossack ‘held accountable’ for whipping attack on Pussy Riot

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Saturday the Cossack who horsewhipped members of Pussy Riot has been “held accountable” for the attack.
The punk group spent five days in Sochi this week, filming footage for its new video criticizing President Vladimir Putin and the Sochi Olympics. A group of Cossacks armed with whips was in central Sochi on Wednesday. Minutes after the group started to perform its song, one Cossack began lashing his whip.
Asked about the band’s treatment in Sochi, Kozak would not specifically say what action was taken against the attacker. Local media reported Friday he was fined, but they did not identify him.Kozak insisted the women “came here with the purpose of provoking a conflict” and added that the “conflict” they had was with “local residents.”Russia has mounted a massive security operation for the Olympics, deploying more than 50,000 police and soldiers amid threats from Muslim insurgents. A Muslim militant group in the Russian province of Dagestan claimed responsibility for back-to-back suicide bombings that killed 34 people in Volgograd in late December and threatened attacks on the games.The Cossacks have been used since last year as an auxiliary police force to patrol the streets in the Krasnodar province, which includes the Winter Olympic host city.Kozak said Russian officials “worried” about security, but “just as any government in any country would no matter if it is holding the Olympics or any other major public event.”Kozak lauded the work of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies at the Sochi Games, which so far have been uneventful regarding security.“We were confident that our law enforcement agencies would be up to the task, and they did brilliantly,” he said.Cossacks trace their history in Russia back to the 15th century. Serving in the czarist cavalry, they spearheaded imperial Russia’s expansion and were often used as border guards. Under communism, they virtually disappeared, but have since resurfaced, particularly in the south. They are now recognized as an ethnic group, but it is largely a self-identification by those who consider themselves descendants of the czarist-era horsemen.


Nativity scene at Guantanamo triggers controversy

By Meghann Myers

Service members stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have sought the help of an advocacy group to bring down two Nativity scenes in on-base galleys and relocate them to the on-base chapel.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation received an email Monday night signed by 18 active-duty service members protesting the Nativity scenes set up at the Guantanamo’s Gold Hill and Seaside galleys, according to foundation president Mikey Weinstein.

In a photo sent to Navy Times by Weinstein, the Gold Hill galley appears to be decorated with banners reading “Merry Christmas.”
Our local military family encompasses many faiths and beliefs to include Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, Buddhist, Agnostic and other denominations,” the email to MRFF states. “By placing these displays in prominent common areas, the impression is that one faith is better than others, and that the military institution singularly promotes Christianity.”

Weinstein sent a statement to senior Pentagon officials Tuesday morning but had not received a response as of Tuesday afternoon.

“ MRFF is demanding that the wholly unconstitutional Nativity scenes and other sectarian messages be taken down immediately from the Gold Hill and Seaside gallies [sic] at GTMO,” Weinstein’s email to the Pentagon reads. “Of course, they can be put up at places that are constitutionally allowable such as the installation chapel facilities.”Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman, said concerns such as this are handled on a case-by-case basis by leaders of involved command. Calls to public affairs officers on Guantanamo and at Navy Installations Command were not immediately returned.

Christensen stressed that DoD does not “endorse” any religion.

“We work to ensure that all service members are free to exercise their Constitutional right to practice their religion — in a manner that is respectful of other individuals’ rights to follow their own belief systems; and in ways that are conducive to good order and discipline; and that do not detract from accomplishing the military mission,” he said in a written statement.

Weinstein said one service member who brought the issue up with a superior officer was told, “We don’t need any troublemakers here. Why don’t you just go over to Subway?”

Guantanamo’s dining choices also include KFC, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Taco Bell, said Weinstein, locations where service members have been told to eat if they are uncomfortable with the Christmas decorations in the galleys.

“The religious climate was made very clear when we received our initial in-processing brief,” the email sent from service members to MRFF said. “One of our senior command team members briefed that their relationship with God was placed higher than even their relationship with their family.”


FBI Plays the Role of Domestic Spy And Spy-Enabler, Says New Report

by J.D. Tuccille

Sure, the National Security Agency has been caught spying beyond the borders of the United States and also here at home. But the NSA scoops up its domestic data courtesy of the the FBI and the enormous surveillance powers that law-enforcement agency has acquired in recent years. The Bureau isn’t shy about spying on its own behalf, either. Never hesitant about flexing its muscles to target dissenters and whistleblowers, the FBI, reveals a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union, was empowered and set loose in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and is more dangerous than ever.
You know those phone records we’ve been fretting about the NSA accumulating? Well, in Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority, the authors write:

Every 90 days for the past seven years the FBI has obtained secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) orders compelling telecommunications companies to provide the government with the toll billing records of every American’s telephone calls, domestic and international, on an ongoing daily basis.

That’s because intelligence agencies in the United States are supposed to focus their efforts beyond the country’s borders. But if they team up with a law-enforcement agency authorized to operate within the United States…
In fact, the strictures to which the FBI itself was subject, because of a history of “targeting immigrants, racial and religious minorities, and political dissidents for surveillance, infiltration, investigation, and ‘disruption strategies'” have largely been lifted as a consequence of 9/11. the FBI has also gained access to new legal authority and the technological tools to more intrusively scrutinize people’s communications and activities, for good or ill. The FBI may now be tapping so many sources of information that’s it’s effectively trying to drink from a firehose. The ACLU report quotes former FBI Director William Webster complaining of a “data explosion” that brings in too much information to analyze.
The loosened restrictions on the FBI are sometimes explicit, such as the authority granted by the Patriot Act, but also a matter of creatively interpreting existing laws and court rulings.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey rewrote the FBI’s rule book in 2008, giving FBI agents unfettered authority to investigate anyone they choose without any factual basis for suspecting wrongdoing. The 2008 Attorney General’s Guidelines created a new kind of intrusive investigation called an “assessment,” which requires no “factual predicate” and can include searches through government or commercial databases, overt or covert FBI interviews, and tasking informants to gather information about anyone or to infiltrate lawful organizations. In a two-year period from 2009 to 2011, the FBI opened over 82,000 “assessments” of individuals or organizations, less than 3,500 of which discovered information justifying further investigation.
The FBI has a habit of using “exigent letters” which are legal shortcuts supposed to be used only in emergency circumstances, to gather information. When this becomes problematic, it sometimes issues secret National Security Letters to cover the earlier use of the exigent letters. The FBI has used hundreds of thousands of NSLs, but the exact number isn’t clear since, at least at one point, the Bureau lost track.

Aside from its own investigative efforts, the FBI has also taken to collecting data from state and local law-enforcement agencies, as well as private sources. This is all part of the firehose mentioned above.

Who is on the receiving end of all of that data collection? Well, so much data is hoovered up that you could say all of us. But in recent years, the FBI has specifically targeted Muslims and Arabs, advising agents to be on the lookout for suspicious activities such as “frequent attendance at a mosque.” FBI training materials also express concern about “Anarchist Extremists” and continue a decades-long obsession with “Black Separatists.”

This might be all right if the FBI were specifically watching for violent and criminal activity by the aforementioned groups, but many of the warning signs for which agents are supposed to watch are as First Amendment-protected as attending religious services—including submitting FOIA requests.

And when the FBI does bust criminal activities with infiltrators and informants, there’s often a question about just who is guilty of what.

In many cases the government agent provides all the instrumentalities of the crime, chooses the target, designs the plot, and provides the gullible subjects financial support or other incentives to carry out the plot. The subjects are often destitute and at times become financially dependent on the informants.

Exempted from the Whistleblower Protection Act, the FBI freely retaliates against employees who attempt to call out wrongdoing. As a result, it’s rare for FBI employees to speak out. That culture lends itself to a willingness to target whistleblowers in other agencies—and journalists. Apart from recent revelations about spying on the press, “In 2010 the Inspector General reported the FBI used an illegal ‘exigent letter’ to obtain the telephone records of 7 New York Times and Washington Post reporters.”

Born in the fear- and intolerance-fueled red-scare Palmer Raids that even the FBI itself labels “certainly not a bright spot for the young Bureau,” the FBI seems to have done litttle over the decades but add power and high-tech toys to its ever-authoritarian institutional persona. For which the NSA thanks it.

Read the full ACLU report here.

Read more

Russian Patriarch to Obama: Syria’s Christians Nearing ‘Extermination’

by Raymond Ibrahim

While many were fixated on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent letter to the American people, another letter from another Russian leader—this one directly addressed to the U.S. president—was missed.

On September 10, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill issued a letter addressed to “His Excellency Mr. Barack Obama, President, United States.” Whether one wishes to interpret this communique as a product of politics or sincerity, it accurately highlights the plight of Syria’s Christians, especially in the broader context of a larger civilizational struggle.

I repost major portions of the letter below, interspersed with my observations for added context:

Your Excellency, Dear Mr. President,

The tragic events in Syria have raised anxiety and caused pain in the Russian Orthodox Church. We receive information about the situation there not from the news reports but from living evidence coming to us from religious figures, ordinary believers and our compatriots living in that country.

This is an important point: the “news reports” evaluated by the Russian church are from “living evidence coming to us from religious figures, ordinary believers and our compatriots living in that country.” The fact is, outside of America’s biased “mainstream media,” the evidence concerning what is going on in Syria—namely, that Islamic militants are committing human rights atrocities, including possibly the chemical attacks in question—is overwhelming. Countless eyewitness testimonies, videos, pictures—all those things that rarely make it to the U.S. MSM—make this abundantly clear.

Ask the average Syrian about the current turmoil engulfing their land—and I have, as have numerous Russian Orthodox representatives in communion with Syria’s ancient Christian community, as noted by Kirill—and few have any illusions as to its nature: an authoritarian, but secular, Assad vs. radical Islamists and jihadis.

Naturally most Syrians choose Assad.

Only in America, and to a lesser extent Western Europe, is the myth of “freedom fighters” trying to “liberate” Syria still being peddled.

Patriarch Kirill:

Syria today has become an arena of the armed conflict. Engaged in it are foreign mercenaries and militants linked with international terrorist centres. The war has become an everyday golgotha for millions of civilians.

To be sure, one of the most obvious indicators that this is no “civil war” in the name of “liberty” is the fact that the majority, up to 95%, of those fighting Assad are not even Syrian, but rather al-Qaeda linked jihadis—from Chechnya to the Philippines—trying to form an Islamic emirate in Syria as they did in the 1980s-90s in Afghanistan. Back then, foreign jihadis like Saudi Osama bin Laden and Egyptian Ayman Zawahiri—again, also supported by the U.S.—traveled to Afghanistan, “liberated” it from the U.S.S.R, and then gave us 9/11 in return a decade later.

Here, for example, is a video of foreign militants in a conquered Syrian town singing praises in honor of Osama bin Laden: “They called me a terrorist and I said ‘that will be my honor,’ this is a divine call …. We defeated America … the Trade [Center] became a bunch of rubble … Greetings from the Taliban and its leader mullah Omar… Victory is ours, winning is ours, and Allah with all his strength is with us, the infidel masses have come together to defeat us but they will not defeat us.”

Patriarch Kirill:

We were deeply alarmed to learn about the plans of the US army to strike the territory of Syria. Undoubtedly, it will bring ever greater sufferings to the Syrian people, first of all, to the civilian population. An external military intervention may result in the radical forces coming to power in Syria who will not be able and will not wish to ensure inter-confessional accord in the Syrian society.

U.S. military intervention would undoubtedly lead to even more human rights abuses, first and foremost at the hands of al-Qaeda jihadis—who in fact are on record vowing to slaughter Christians after the U.S. intervenes and overthrows Assad; Obama just waived a U.S. law prohibiting the banning of terrorist organizations simply to arm and ultimately help them realize their ambitions.

U.S. military intervention would undoubtedly lead to even more human rights abuses, first and foremost at the hands of al-Qaeda jihadis—who in fact are on record vowing to slaughter Christians after the U.S. intervenes and overthrows Assad; Obama just waived a U.S. law prohibiting the banning of terrorist organizations simply to arm and ultimately help them realize their ambitions.

Patriarch Kirill:

Our special concern is for the fate of the Christian population of Syria, which in that case will come under the threat of total extermination or banishment. It has already happened in the regions of the country seized by militants. An attempt made by the armed groups of the Syrian opposition to seize the town of Ma’loula whose residents are predominantly Christians has become a new confirmation of our concerns. The militants keep shelling the town in which ancient Christian monasteries are located—the sites of special veneration by the faithful all over the world.

All absolutely true—especially “the threat of total extermination or banishment,” which has been the case wherever and whenever U.S.-backed Islamists come to power:
•Afghanistan: Under U.S. auspices, the supposedly “moderate” Karzai government still upholds the apostasy law—persecuting those who seek to convert to Christianity, making them just as intolerant as the Taliban—and, under U.S. auspices, destroyed the nation’s last Christian church.
•Iraq: After the U.S. “liberated” the nation from Saddam Hussein, the “chemical-weapon-using-tyrant”—sound familiar?—Christians are still being terrorized into extinction, more than half leaving their homeland.
•Libya: Since U.S-backed terrorists came to power—giving American the Benghazi consulate attack on the anniversary of 9/11—the tiny Christian community there has been persecuted, including bombed churches and threatened nuns—things unprecedented under the “tyrant” Gaddafi.
•Egypt: After coming to power, the Obama administration’s Muslim Brotherhood allies enforced draconian blasphemy codes against Christians and are currently destroying countless churches and in some regions forcing Christians to pay jizya.
•Syria: Atrocities against Christians by the U.S.-backed jihadis know no bounds—such as the recent gang rape and slaughter of a 15-year-old Christian girl by the U.S.-supported “freedom fighters.” And now in Ma’loula, Christians are being forced to choose between converting to Islam or dying and other atrocities.

Patriarch Kirill:

The Christian hierarchs of Aleppo, Metropolitans Paul and John Ibrahim, have been held captive by militants since April 22. Nothing is known about their fate despite of the fact that a number of religious figures appealed to the leaders of their states to help to release them.

Indeed, here is yet another example of the nature of the people the U.S. government is supporting. Paul and John Ibrahim were traveling in Syria doing “humanitarian work” when their driver was killed and they were kidnapped. Maybe John McCain can phone his al-Qaeda kidnapping allies and ask them to release them? At any rate, there is no end to the amount of Christians, like Fr. Murad, who have been kidnapped and/or slaughtered by the jihadis in Syria.

Patriarch Kirill:

I am deeply convinced that the countries which belong to the Christian civilization bear a special responsibility for the fate of Christians in the Middle East.

Here the good patriarch speaks a language that may have once resonated with Americans and Europeans—that is, the people from “the countries which belong to the Christian civilization”—but which is increasingly meaningless to those whose “humanitarian concerns” extend to anyone but those unfashionable Christians, and to some American Protestants who are unaware that Christians actually exist outside of the U.S.

As do all eastern churches, however, the Russian Orthodox Church has centuries long experience with Islamic oppression and violence—beginning with the “Tatar yoke” and continuing to the present—and hence, not only sympathizes with the plight of Near East Christians, many of whom are Orthodox, but, as Putin himself recently asserted in a Russian conference dealing with the plight of Christians under Islam, “Russia has tremendous experience in reaching and maintaining inter-confessional peace and accord, and is ready to share it.”

Patriarch Kirill:

The Russian Orthodox Church knows the price of human sufferings and losses since in the 20th century our people survived two devastating world wars which claimed millions of lives and ruined many people’s lives. We also regard as our own pain the pain and losses the American people suffered in the terrible terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.

Alas, some people remember the lessons of history, to their benefit; others forget, to their regret.


Pastor Saeed’s Letter to Iranian President, and How You Can Help Him “Be Heard”

At BeHeardProject.com, you can draft your own letter to [Iranian] President Rouhani or add your name to a letter than has been written. The goal: send the president 52,000 letters – 1,000 letters for each week that Pastor Saeed has been imprisoned – asking him to save this 33-year-old U.S. citizen.

Washington, DC)—American Pastor Saeed Abedini, serving an eight-year prison sentence in Iran because of his Christian faith, is directly appealing to Iran’s newly elected President Hassan Rouhani for justice and freedom. In a letter written to the Iranian president, Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, called on the new president to follow through on his pledge of moderation and pleads for compassion and justice so he can return to his wife and children in the United States.

Pastor Saeed’s letter comes as the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Pastor Saeed’s wife and children in the U.S. and has been working to secure his freedom, launches a global letter-writing campaign urging President Rouhani to release Pastor Saeed.

The ACLJ has launched a new website at BeHeardProject.com—a voice for the persecuted Church. To support Pastor Saeed, you can write a letter directly to the Iranian president and add your name to a petition containing the names of more than 620,000 people who have signed on already demanding the release of Pastor Saeed.

Pastor Saeed “This is a critical time for this U.S. citizen who has been illegally imprisoned in one of Iran’s most dangerous prisons for nearly one year now,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “With Pastor Saeed’s direct appeal to the Iranian president and our global letter-writing campaign to urge him to release Pastor Saeed, the new Iranian president can send an important message to the world—that his promise of moderation can be fulfilled by releasing Pastor Saeed from prison. This American pastor has done nothing wrong—imprisoned only because of his Christian faith. We call on Iran to release him so he can return to his family.”

The latest developments come as Pastor Saeed’s illegal captivity approaches one year with September 26th marking the anniversary of being taken into custody by Iranian authorities.

Pastor Saeed In his letter to President Rouhani, Pastor Saeed provides details about his work in Iran and the fact he was completing work on an orphanage when he was taken into custody. He writes about the abuse and internal bleeding he has suffered as a result of his year-long imprisonment. He also calls on the president to follow through on his promise of moderation and urges the Iranian leader to exhibit compassion and justice so he can return to his family in the United States.

“My wife and children as well as over a billion Christians in the world seek God’s justice and then your consideration of this matter,” Pastor Saeed wrote.


“Please take immediate action in this regard and do not let me and a lot of people in my ward become the victims of the fire that extremists have made, those who have turned Iran into a vortex of crisis. Considering the fact that I came to Iran to serve the orphans, please do not let them make my children orphans and my wife without a guardian.”

At BeHeardProject.com, you can draft your own letter to President Rouhani or add your name to a letter than has been written. The goal: send the president 52,000 letters—1,000 letters for each week that Pastor Saeed has been imprisoned—asking him to save this 33-year-old U.S. citizen.