Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexually as

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:35 am

Cult of personality
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/8/19

Soviet poster featuring Stalin, Soviet Azerbaijan, 1938

A cult of personality, or cult of the leader,[1] arises when a country's regime – or, more rarely, an individual – uses the techniques of mass media, propaganda, the big lie, spectacle, the arts, patriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to apotheosis, except that it is established by modern social engineering techniques, usually by the state or the party in one-party states and dominant-party states. It is often seen in totalitarian or authoritarian countries.

The term came to prominence in 1956, in Nikita Khrushchev's secret speech On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, given on the final day of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the speech, Khrushchev, who was the First Secretary of the Communist Party – in effect, the leader of the country – criticized the lionization and idealization of Joseph Stalin, and by implication, his Communist contemporary Mao Zedong, as being contrary to Marxist doctrine. The speech was later made public and was part of the "de-Stalinization" process the Soviet Union went through.


Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st century AD

See also: Imperial cult

The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority (auctoritas) of the Roman State. Throughout history, monarchs and other heads of state were often held in enormous reverence and imputed super-human qualities. Through the principle of the divine right of kings, in medieval Europe for example, rulers were said to hold office by the will of God. Ancient Egypt, Imperial Japan, the Inca, the Aztecs, Tibet, Siam (now Thailand), and the Roman Empire are especially noted for redefining monarchs as "god-kings".

North Koreans bowing in front of the statues of Kim Il-sung (left) and Kim Jong-il at the Mansudae Grand Monument

The spread of democratic and secular ideas in Europe and North America in the 18th and 19th centuries made it increasingly difficult for monarchs to preserve this aura. However, the subsequent development of mass media, such as radio, enabled political leaders to project a positive image of themselves onto the masses as never before. It was from these circumstances in the 20th century that the most notorious personality cults arose. Often these cults are a form of political religion.[2]

The term "cult of personality" probably appeared in English around 1800–1850, along with the French and German use.[3] At first it had no political connotations but was instead closely related to the Romantic "cult of genius".[3] The political use of the phrase came first in a letter from Karl Marx to German political worker, Wilhelm Blos, 10 November 1877:[3]

American Presidents at Mount Rushmore Monument

Neither of us cares a straw of popularity. Let me cite one proof of this: such was my aversion to the personality cult [orig. Personenkultus] that at the time of the International, when plagued by numerous moves [...] to accord me public honor, I never allowed one of these to enter the domain of publicity [...][3][4]


There are various views about what constitutes a cult of personality in a leader. Historian Jan Plamper has written that modern-day personality cults display five characteristics that set them apart from "their predecessors": The cults are secular and "anchored in popular sovereignty"; their objects are all males; they target the entire population, not only the well-to-do or just the ruling class; they use mass media; and they exist where the mass media can be controlled enough to inhibit the introduction of "rival cults".[5]

In his 2013 paper, "What is character and why it really does matter", Thomas A. Wright states, "The cult of personality phenomenon refers to the idealized, even god-like, public image of an individual consciously shaped and molded through constant propaganda and media exposure. As a result, one is able to manipulate others based entirely on the influence of public personality...the cult of personality perspective focuses on the often shallow, external images that many public figures cultivate to create an idealized and heroic image."[6]

Adrian Teodor Popan defines cult of personality as a "quantitatively exaggerated and qualitatively extravagant public demonstration of praise of the leader". He also identifies three causal "necessary, but not sufficient, structural conditions, and a path dependent chain of events which, together, lead to the cult formation: a particular combination of patrimonialism and clientelism, lack of dissidence, and systematic falsification pervading the society’s culture."[7][8]

The role of mass media

The mass media have played an instrumental role in forging national leaders' cults of personality.

Thomas A. Wright in 2013 reported that "It is becoming evident that the charismatic leader, especially in politics, has increasingly become the product of media and self-exposure."[6] And, focusing on the media in the United States, Robert N. Bellah adds that, "It is hard to determine the extent to which the media reflect the cult of personality in American politics and to what extent they have created it. Surely they did not create it all alone, but just as surely they have contributed to it. In any case, American politics is dominated by the personalities of political leaders to an extent rare in the modern the personalised politics of recent years the "charisma" of the leader may be almost entirely a product of media exposure."[9]


Often, a single leader became associated with this revolutionary transformation and came to be treated as a benevolent "guide" for the nation without whom the transformation to a better future could not occur. This has been generally the justification for personality cults that arose in totalitarian societies, such as those of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong. The admiration for Mao Zedong has remained widespread in China. In December 2013, a Global Times poll revealed that over 85% of Chinese viewed Mao in a positive light.[10] Jan Plamper argues while Napoleon III made some innovations it was Benito Mussolini in Italy in the 1920s who originated the model of dictator-as-cult-figure that was emulated by Hitler, Stalin and the others, using the propaganda powers of a totalitarian state.[11]

Pierre du Bois argues that the Stalin cult was elaborately constructed to legitimize his rule. Many deliberate distortions and falsehoods were used.[12] The Kremlin refused access to archival records that might reveal the truth, and key documents were destroyed. Photographs were altered and documents were invented.[13] People who knew Stalin were forced to provide "official" accounts to meet the ideological demands of the cult, especially as Stalin himself presented it in 1938 in Short Course on the History of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), which became the official history.[14]

Historian David L. Hoffmann states "The Stalin cult was a central element of Stalinism, and as such it was one of the most salient features of Soviet rule...Many scholars of Stalinism cite the cult as integral to Stalin's power or as evidence of Stalin's megalomania."[15]

In Latin America, Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser link the "cult of the leader" to the concept of the caudillo, a strong leader "who exercises a power that is independent of any office and free of any constraint." These populist strongmen are portrayed as "masculine and potentially violent" and enhance their authority through the use of the cult of personality. Mudde and Kaltwasser trace the linkage back to Juan Peron of Argentina.[1]

In popular culture

• The American band Living Colour won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1990 for their song "Cult of Personality".[16] The song includes references to Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Benito Mussolini, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Malcolm X.

See also

• Authoritarianism
• Big lie
• Bread and circuses
• Celebrity worship syndrome
• Charisma
• Charismatic authority – Max Weber's concept
• Dictatorship
• Great man theory
• Imperial cult
• Imperial cult of ancient Rome
• Leaderism
• Lèse-majesté
• Narcissistic leadership
• Propaganda
• Strongman (politics)
• Supreme leader
• Sycophancy
• Totalitarianism
• Erdoğanism
• Putinism



1. Mudde, Cas and Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira (2017) Populism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. p.63. ISBN 978-0-19-023487-4
2. Plamper (2012), pp.13–14
3. Heller, Klaus (2004). Personality Cults in Stalinism. Isd. pp. 23–33. ISBN 978-3-89971-191-2.
4. Blos, Wilhelm. "Brief von Karl Marx an Wilhelm Blos". Denkwürdigkeiten eines Sozialdemokraten. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
5. Plamper (2012), p.222
6. Wright, Thomas A.; Lauer, Tyler L. (2013). "What is character and why it really does matter". Fordham University: Business Faculty Publications. 2: 29. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
7. See Popan, Adrian Teodor (2015) The ABC of Sycophancy. Structural Conditions for the Emergence of Dictators’ Cults of Personality (PhD dissertation, University of Texas). Bibliography pp.196–213.
8. Popan, Adrian Teodor (August 2015). "The ABC of sycophancy : structural conditions for the emergence of dictators' cults of personality" (PDF). University of Texas at Austin. doi:10.15781/T2J960G15. hdl:2152/46763.
9. Bellah, Robert N. (1986). "The Meaning of Reputation in American Society". California Law Review. 74 (3): 747. doi:10.15779/Z386730. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
10. Staff (23 December 2013). "Mao's achievements 'outweigh' mistakes: poll". al-Jazeera.
11. Plamper (2012), pp.4,12-14
12. du Bois, Pierre (1984). "Stalin – Genesis of a Myth". Survey. A Journal of East & West Studies. 28 (1): 166–181. See abstract in David R. Egan; Melinda A. Egan (2007). Joseph Stalin: An Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Periodical Literature to 2005. Scarecrow Press. p. 157. ISBN 9780810866713.
13. Strong, Carol; Killingsworth, Matt (2011). "Stalin the Charismatic Leader?: Explaining the 'Cult of Personality' as a legitimation technique". Politics, Religion & Ideology. 12 (4): 391–411.
14. Maslov, N. N. (1989). "Short Course of the History of the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)—An Encyclopedia of Stalin's Personality Cult". Soviet Studies in History. 28 (3): 41–68.
15. Hoffmann, David L. (2013). "The Stalin Cult". The Historian. 75 (4): 909.
16. Here's List of Nominees from all 77 Categories. The Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. 12 January 1990. page W7. Accessed 8 August 2017.


• Plamper, Jan (2012) The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press ISBN 9780300169522
Further reading
• Apor, B. (2004). The leader cult in communist dictatorships : Stalin and the Eastern Bloc. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1403934437.
• Apor, Balázs; Behrends, Jan C.; Jones, Polly; and Rees, E. A. (2004) eds. The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1403934436.
• Heller, Klaus and Plamper, Jan eds. (2004) Personality Cults in Stalinism/Personenkulte im Stalinismus. Göttingen: V&R Unipress. ISBN 3899711912. . 472 pp
• Cohen, Yves (2007). "The cult of number one in an age of leaders" (PDF). Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. 8 (3): 597–634. Retrieved 7 September 2018.[permanent dead link]
• Gill, Graeme (1984). "Personality cult, political culture and party structure". Studies in Comparative Communism. 17 (2): 111–121.
• Melograni, Piero (1976). "The Cult of the Duce in Mussolini's Italy" (PDF). Journal of Contemporary History. 11 (4): 221–237. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
• Morgan, Kevin (2017) International Communism and the Cult of the Individual Leaders, Tribunes and Martyrs under Lenin and Stalin. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781349953370
• Paltiel, Jeremy (1983). "The Cult of Personality: Some Comparative Reflections on Political Culture in Leninist Regimes". Studies in Comparative Communism'. 16: 49–64.
• Petrone, Karen (2004) "Cult of Personality" in Millar, J. R. ed. Encyclopedia of Russian History, v.1, pp. 348–350
• Polese, Abel; Horák, Slavomir (2015). "A tale of two presidents: personality cult and symbolic nation-building in Turkmenistan". Nationalities Papers. 43 (3): 457–478.
• Rutland, P. (2011) "Cult of Personality" i. Kurian, G. T. ed, The Encyclopedia of Political Science. Washington. D.C.: CQ Press. v.1, p 365
• Tucker, Robert C. (1979). "The Rise of Stalin's Personality Cult" (PDF). American Historical Review. 84 (2): 347–366. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
• Vassilev, Rossen (2008) "Cult of Personality" in Darity, W. A,/, Jr. ed. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.

External links

• Why Dictators Love Kitsch by Eric Gibson, The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2009


Beware of the ‘Cult of Personality’
by Tracy Vanderneck
August 16, 2017

The term “cult of personality” tends to conjure dramatic images of political or religious leaders influencing the masses. It seems grandiose and powerful. Cult of personality has varied definitions, but they all basically boil down to this: The situation that arises when an individual person gains intense loyalty from a group of people from the sheer force of his or her personality. Sometimes it is choreographed and uses tools such as the media to sway people to willingly step inside the person’s sphere of influence. Other times it is a slower, more subtle and possibly even unintentional ascent.

Cult of personality may often be used to describe political situations, but it is easily transferable to the entertainment industry (think Oprah) and to corporate culture. Look at Steve Jobs, walking on stage at company meetings in his trademark black turtleneck. Jobs had a reputation for being a bit off-kilter, but because of his brilliance in business and invention, he gained a following of people that would likely stick a fork in a light socket if they read somewhere that Steve Jobs thought this would make them be able to create better tech. As communication channels broaden and news streams 24-hours a day, it gets easier for people at every level elevate their personal brand.

Social movements and the nonprofit arena are not immune from this phenomenon. In the nonprofit arena, cult of personality tends to show itself in two main forms:

1. The first is similar to everything described above. The person gains a following as a leader of a movement. An example of this could be Joel Osteen’s following of religious believers. His followers have the conviction of the faithful and will accept his words as decrees from God.Another example would be the four co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington: Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland. The Women’s March on Washington was a quickly organized movement, with a deliberate set of planned goals and outcomes. The co-chairs rose to cult status when the march went global and included millions of people. It was a cause that needed leaders.

Joel Osteen and the Women’s March on Washington are both larger-than-life examples; they are both relevant here, because the movements they are leading are nonprofit organizations or are solidly backed by many nonprofit organizations.

2. The second type of cult of personality that manifests in nonprofits tends to be on a smaller scale, but can drastically influence the impact and longevity of the organization. This type of cult-like following can sometimes happen in organizations where the executive director/CEO is either the founder or has been at the organization 8 to 10 or more years. Such longevity can be good for the organization in many ways, but it can also foster an environment where the community feels as though the leader IS the organization.As fundraisers and nonprofit professionals, we know how important it is to keep relationships with donors and the community all about the organization and the mission. This can be difficult when a staff member and a donor feel like they have become friends. It is hard sometimes for the professional to remember that their relationship with the investor/volunteer exists, because of both people’s affinity for the nonprofit.

When the founder of an organization brings their friends and connections into the inner circle of the organization, building the nonprofit’s network out from there, it ultimately gives that person an exceptional amount of control over decisions made on behalf of the organization.

An example I saw recently was an organization’s program director who was found out to have benefitted from an unethical personal deal, which was made possible as a result of his position with his nonprofit.

Instead of being appalled or outraged or calling for an investigation or audit, the supporters of the director took to social media proclaiming his virtues. Some even excused the unethical deed under the belief that since the director is such a good person, and he deserves the excess benefit he received. See the problem here? The director became synonymous with the organization in the supporters’ eyes and, when wrongdoing was uncovered, they took his side instead of looking out for the best interest of the organization.

When supporters overlook unethical behavior or even outright fraud, because they believe the nonprofit leader to be a larger-than-life personality that is the mission, we’re entering the cult of personality realm. Even a generally ethical person can, over time, become used to being treated in such exalted way that they begin to believe extra perks are okay for them because of their position.

It takes a truly strong leader to ensure such a situation does not become a reality at their organization. Establishing transparent practices, making at least some decisions based on multilateral input, projecting the organization above themselves and instituting a succession plan are all positive steps that cut down on the type of environment that creates a cult of personality. Sometimes just knowing when a leadership change is the best move for an organization can make all the difference.

Nonprofit organizations hold an important place in our society and impact our lives in every area from health care to entertainment to religion. We must let these organizations do their best work without putting their executives on pedestals that create unhealthy organizational environments.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:20 pm

Leaving Shambhala
by Rebecca Jamieson
June 10, 2020


I first learned to meditate when I was twenty years old. On a warm summer evening in 2004, I walked in the door of the Shambhala Meditation Center in Madison, Wisconsin and sat cross-legged on a rectangular blue cushion. A gray-haired woman named Kathy with warm, dark eyes and a face like the full moon taught me how to cross my legs, sit still, and notice my breath. When you wander away from the present moment, just label it “thinking” and return to the breath.


Once, I slept with a man without wanting to. I got into bed with him, stayed beside his body until morning, kissed him on the lips, went quietly home, then fell to the floor crying endless tears.


That summer evening when I first learned to meditate, my dear friend Miriam came with me. We sat side by side, hands carefully placed on our thighs, the faint buzz of cicadas droning through the open windows, along with the whoosh of traffic on Baldwin Street. We had discovered Shambhala through our writing teacher Paula, who rented an office above the Center. Paula’s classes were small and women-only, a circle of five or six students sipping chamomile tea in her cozy office, moving our pens swiftly across paper, then sharing our raw, newly formed words aloud, burning with power as they hung in the listening air. The classes always began with a meditation and a short reading from Buddhist teachers like Pema Chödrön. The clear, heartfelt wisdom felt like remembering a deep truth that I had always known but forgotten. They expressed something I had been starving for: a way to understand myself, to live with meaning, purpose, and heart.

When Paula had to stop teaching due to health issues, I missed the insight and community I felt in her classes. Then one day, I noticed a sign hanging above the door of the building where Paula had taught. I had never noticed it before. The sign showed a golden sun with a halo of squiggly rays like lightning bolts. It said, “Shambhala Center of Madison.” Shambhala was Pema Chödrön’s lineage. It felt like an omen.

Miriam and I went for meditation instruction that summer evening and never looked back. Over the next fourteen years, Shambhala would become the center of our lives.


It wasn’t rape. Or not in the way we like to think about rape: she said no, he said yes. He held her down, she tried to fight him off, but he was just too strong. It was something murkier, slipperier. Something no one wanted to talk about. It was not as clean or clear cut. It was just as dangerous.


Miriam and I weren’t the only ones attracted to Shambhala. When we joined, the organization had thousands of dues-paying members worldwide and many more who were unofficially affiliated to its web of over 200 meditation centers in fifty countries. Shambhala ran four land centers, a monastery, and was also affiliated with Naropa University. A statement on Shambhala’s website reads, “Our communities around the world cultivate kindness, bravery, and genuine dialogue. Our vision is to inspire compassionate, sustainable, and just human societies.” Their mission is “Making enlightened society possible.” The first time I heard those words—enlightened society—I thought, Yes. This is what I’ve been searching for.


Everyone I told about the man was eager to put words in my mouth: a little fling, a misunderstanding between friends. Years after it happened, when stories about Shambhala were seeping out like bile, other phrases emerged: sexual misconduct, sexual assault. One person even said the word I had avoided for so long: rape. I cringed when I heard it. After all those years, did I still not understand what he’d done to me?


I was drawn to meditation because I was suffering. Still in that excruciating limbo between childhood and adulthood, I was sensitive and insecure, with only a tenuous sense of who I was or where I was going. I had always felt like an outsider. Unschooled for most of my childhood, when I finally did go to high school for a year, I was bullied and struggled to make close friends. At twenty, I was still raw and shaky from running the gauntlet of adolescence. I was desperate to find somewhere I belonged. Somewhere that felt like home.


There was never a yes, a verbal yes. I went along with him in the way that women have been trained to go along: a smile on our lips, ignoring our screaming bodies. This going along is taken as a yes. He heard yes in the absence of a clear no. For years afterward, I too thought I had said yes. Now, writing this, my body remembers. I never said that word.


After that first night of meditation at the Shambhala Center, Miriam and I were hooked. We started going weekly, then twice a week, then more, sitting for hours at a time practicing shamatha, or “peaceful abiding,” as the sitting meditation was called. We started “Shambhala Training,” the intensive path of study that can take years to complete. We joined the Center as dues-paying members, then began volunteering.

In 2006, Miriam and I took the refuge vow, the ceremony in which you officially enter the Buddhist path. We knelt in the shrine room, surrounded by our community, or sangha, waiting in vibrating silence for the teacher to begin the ceremony. I wore a floor-length black skirt, a dark, fitted blouse, and a blue silk scarf around my neck. My short, tousled hair was dyed black to cover up the blue streaks. Photos of Chögyam Trungpa and his son Sakyong Mipham beamed down at us from above the red-painted shrine. We were about to officially join this incredible lineage. Goosebumps stood out on my arms as the teacher, an elegant, silver-haired man in a crisp gray suit, began the ceremony.

When you take refuge, you’re given a name that’s meant to show an intrinsic part of your awakened nature, yet is something that you’re simultaneously aspiring towards. Mine was Sheltri Wangmo, or Crystal Sword Lady. By that time, I had already gotten a tattoo of a sun on my upper right arm. Although it was different from the “Great Eastern Sun” that represented the essence of Shambhala’s vision, it still symbolized the teachings to me. Several years later, I would get a sword on the inside of my left arm, evoking my refuge name. I wanted the teachings inked into my flesh, a constant reminder.


Shambhala describes the structure of its global community as: “organized on the principle of a classical mandala, an energetic pattern of relationships radiating out from a central organizing principle. In Shambhala, the central organizing principle is the Shambhala lineage and teachings. Local teachers, meditation instructors, and leaders are appointed by the Shambhala lineage holder—the Sakyong—to lead people on the core path of training and provide personal support to those who want to study and practice these teachings.”


When I took my refuge vow, there was so much I didn’t know about Shambhala’s leaders, including its founder, Chögyam Trungpa. I didn’t know that he had married a girl in England—without her parents’ approval—when she was sixteen and he was thirty. I didn’t know that he had slept with many of his students and taken seven honorary wives, or sangyums, who were supposedly his spiritual consorts. I didn’t know that he was a raging alcoholic and died of cirrhosis of the liver at age forty-eight. I didn’t know that the community had already gone through one wave of scandal after Trungpa died in 1987.

The student he appointed as his successor was a man named Thomas Rich, though the title Trungpa gave him was the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin, or “Radiant Holder of the Teachings.” He emulated Trungpa’s patterns of abusive behavior, drinking heavily and sleeping with students. In 1985, Tendzin told Trungpa that he had AIDS, but kept sleeping with students without informing them. Eventually, he passed the virus to a young male student. The man later died.

The only reason that the sangha heard about Tendzin’s behavior was because the victim’s mother and sister took it upon themselves to personally inform them.

Even once the community knew, many defended Tendzin’s actions. A member named Irini Rockwell said at the time, ”My feeling for the Regent as my teacher has not wavered…I have the view that he should continue to teach. The Regent never intended to hurt anybody, and my religion has taught me to never, ever reject anybody who does not intend harm.”

Tendzin refused to resign, but was eventually pushed out of Shambhala. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1990, at the age of 47.


Chögyam Trungpa was famous for his style of teaching called “crazy wisdom.” While most Buddhist teachers will say that crazy wisdom should never be abusive or harmful, much of Trungpa’s problematic behavior was brushed off by his followers as a profound teaching that critics weren’t enlightened enough to understand.

After several years in Shambhala, I began to hear the stories. Often they were told laughingly, later in the evening after a weekend meditation program had wrapped up, usually after several glasses of wine. There was always alcohol at Shambhala events, and often quite a lot of it.

I heard about Trungpa pissing on the leg of someone he didn’t like at a dinner party, being driven around in fancy cars, waited on hand and foot by adoring followers, and posting a sign-up sheet for students to sleep with him. The stories were always chalked up to Trungpa’s crazy wisdom, his amazing power to cut through people’s bullshit and bring out their wisdom. They were usually told with reverence and a tinge of awe. No one mentioned any controversy about it within the community. I often felt uneasy, but the feeling slipped by so quietly, it was almost like seeing an eel flicker by under water, or trying to hold onto a dream upon waking.

I asked people who had known Trungpa what they thought of his behavior. Everyone said something similar: “His methods were unconventional, but he was the most compassionate, loving person I’ve ever met. He was a brilliant teacher. He changed my life.”

Even the skeptics seemed to accept Shambhala’s wild past because, as everyone was quick to say, “The Sakyong is so different from his father.” The photo of Sakyong Mipham that hung above the shrine in every Shambhala Center shone with a golden light. He was a marathon runner, happily married to, just one, woman. Looking up at his photo smiling beatifically down from the shrine as I sat for long hours in meditation, I felt a sense of comfort suffuse my body.

Everyone I met in Shambhala was so kind, so caring. The teachings were profound, reminding me that my basic nature—the basic nature of all beings—was sane, wise, compassionate, and good. I began to understand myself in a way I never had before, within a close-knit community of other people who were doing the same. It felt amazing.


After I moved across the country in 2008, from Madison to Portland, Oregon, I stayed deeply involved in Shambhala. I started working at the Portland Shambhala Center as their Administrative Assistant. I maintained a daily meditation practice and travelled all over the U.S. and Canada attending Shambhala retreats. I volunteered at the Center, in addition to my job there. I kept paying my membership dues, even when I was making so little money that I had to go on food stamps.


Shortly after moving to Portland, I began grappling with unprocessed childhood sexual abuse. Meditation gave me a way to work with the suffering that seemed more than I could bear. The Shambhala community gave me a kind, loving anchor, a space where I could show up weeping and be met with warmth and acceptance.

After my long-term partner ended our relationship, I was even more of a mess. Members of the Center stepped up to support me through the howling void of my suffering. They held me while I cried, my eyes swelling shut and nose dripping snot. They took long walks and listened to my endless dark river of misery. They let me sleep in their guest bedrooms when I couldn’t bear to be alone. They treated me like family. I still don’t know how I would have made it through that time without them.

Slowly, the thick veil of grief began to lift. I started therapy, enrolled in community college, and started a group at the Center for meditators in their twenties and thirties. There was still heaviness, but it was laced with flickers of happiness and glimpses of something beyond the shadowy land I had traversed for so long.


Lodro Rinzler

Lodro Rinzler was one of Shambhala’s prominent young teachers. He was only a year older than me, short, redheaded, with a small potbelly. He was funny, confident, and charming. He’d written several books. His first, The Buddha Walks into a Bar, was about navigating the pitfalls of dating, career, and friendships, and how you might bring all the normal experiences of being a twenty or thirty-something to the path of meditation. It felt edgy and exciting to read about the possibility of having a mindful breakup, a mindful hangover, a mindful one-night stand. I was studying to be a meditation instructor and had recently begun teaching at the Shambhala Center. In the young meditators group, we all looked up to Lodro.

He was touring the country promoting his latest book in October of 2013, and I was asked to coordinate his stop in Portland. The program included an event at Powell’s Bookstore, as well as a program at the Shambhala Center. I was responsible for taking Lodro out to dinner on Sunday and driving him to the event at Powell’s, in addition to coordinating the Monday program at the Shambhala Center.

As I watched him sit on stage at Powell’s, speaking with kindness and humor, the room crowded with other young people, eyes glistening, eager for wisdom, I felt a warm tingle of pride. I wasn’t just some newbie off the street who was hearing these profound teachings for the first time. I was here with the teacher himself. I was special. I belonged.

After the event, Lodro and I got drinks at The Sweet Hereafter bar, talking earnestly about dharma as we leaned across the small, dimly-lit table, sipping our Moscow Mules from shiny copper mugs. Afterwards, I drove Lodro back to the apartment where he was staying. As we sat in the dark car, the engine humming beneath the buzz of our voices, he asked if I wanted to come up for another drink. I hesitated, my stomach tensing. Something in me was saying no. But I was warm and happy, buzzed from alcohol and the attention of this famous young teacher who had just commanded a room full of people with elegance and poise.

I said, “OK, but just one drink.”


We entered the beautiful old brick building where he was staying and took the vintage elevator upstairs. Once we were inside the apartment, sitting on the small sofa with whiskeys in hand, he leaned towards me, his lips aiming for mine.

I pulled back and put out my hand. My palm made contact with his chest as I pushed him away.

I said, “No, I don’t want to kiss you.”

He smiled at me knowingly—that meditation teacher smile of infinite, benevolent wisdom. That smile that said, I know best.

“Let’s just try it,” he said. “I’m curious.” He leaned towards me again. “Just relax and see what happens.”

I didn’t want to kiss him. But some part of me was flattered to be getting attention from this teacher who I had looked up to.

In this wasteland between yes and no, I started to leave my body. My head was spinning, my thoughts disjointed and fighting each other. Lodro was a teacher, and I had been well-trained to respect Shambhala teachers. Was this crazy wisdom? Was there some profound teaching he was imparting that I was just too ignorant to understand?


In 1975, the poet W.S. Merwin and his partner Dana Naone had met Chögyam Trungpa at a meditation program in Boulder. A Halloween party was held near the end of the retreat, and at the height of the festivities, Trungpa ordered everyone to get naked. Merwin and Naone refused, escaping to their room as the party got more raucous. Trungpa ordered his students to bring them back to the party, by any means necessary. His students broke down the door to their room, and, despite Merwin breaking off a liquor bottle to keep them at bay, they dragged the couple outside, crying and clinging to each other, and presented them to Trungpa. He drunkenly berated them, then commanded his followers to strip them naked. They obeyed.

When I first heard this story, I brushed over one key detail: even after the abuse, Merwin and Naone stayed for the rest of the program. Now, that is the detail that strikes me most.


I had been groomed to idolize Shambhala teachers. We all were. I was told that I should use the word Rinpoche, which translates as “precious jewel” or “beloved teacher,” when I referred to Chögyam Trungpa or Sakyong Mipham. I was instructed to think of the Sakyong as an enlightened monarch and to call him “your Majesty” on the rare occasions when I was in his presence. During meditation programs, I was instructed to crawl on my knees to bring the teachers water, so that I wouldn’t show disrespect. At first I felt uncomfortable with this worship of authority, but everyone around me was behaving this way. They all had eloquent explanations about why this was an essential part of the path, why the top-down, male-dominated leadership made sense, how it was part of building an enlightened society. They said we all had basic goodness, but we needed an enlightened teacher to guide us, to mirror our wisdom back to us.

Some people voiced their discomfort about referring to the Sakyong as a king. Everyone listened and nodded politely. Secretly, I guessed that their failure to accept the Sakyong meant that they were missing some profound teaching, a teaching that I would be certain not to miss.


My hands pushed Lodro away. My hands said no. But his desire confused me—confusion masking survival. Some part of me remembered that it was safer to go along. Some part of me remembered that this is how women survive: believe that what he wants is what you want.

After Lodro kissed me, I said, “I want to go home, but I’m too drunk to drive.”

He said, “You can stay here. I promise I won’t touch you. We can build a pillow fortress down the middle of the bed—your side and mine.”

I hesitated, but I stayed. I pretended to believe him. If I didn’t, my community, my spiritual practice, the way I had made sense of my life for the last decade, would crumble.


If you continue on the Shambhala path for long enough, you’re encouraged to take a formal vow with the Sakyong. The vow is your entrance into Vajrayana Buddhism, a tantric path shrouded in secrecy. Vajrayana students are instructed to speak about their study with non-Vajrayana students only in the most general terms and to never reveal the specifics of their practices. Once you take the samaya vow, your teacher becomes your guru, and it is believed that you are bound to them—not just for the rest of this life—but over all your future reincarnations. If you break your vow, terrible things are said to happen.

If I didn’t say no, I must have said yes. Or, since I did say no, I must have done it incorrectly. I must not have been loud enough, forceful enough, meant it enough. My timid no could so easily be dismissed by Lodro, a legal court, the court of public opinion. Wasn’t it true that I was drunk? Wasn’t it true that I was wearing a short dress? A dress he later said made him think I have to have her. My no must have been defective. And if I didn’t say no properly, who’s fault was it but mine?


As soon as we were in bed, Lodro started kissing me again. He asked if I was drunk, as if he hadn’t heard me say I couldn’t drive myself home. As if assaulting a sober woman would be more acceptable.

I said “No.” I wanted to believe that I was sober, wanted to believe that I was making a choice, instead of simply being sucked out to sea by the riptide of oppression and trauma. I felt my body moving further from shore, felt the weight of dark water sucking me down.

Lodro wanted to have sex.

I said, “No. I don’t want to have sex with you.”

“Why not?” He asked.

“Because I have a history of sexual trauma,” I said. I felt like I had to explain myself. That a simple no wasn’t enough.

He shook his head solemnly. “I think you have trust issues,” he said, his voice like sticky syrup. His words fixed my limbs in place like a bug stuck in amber.

“Maybe this will help,” he purred into my empty ear. “Just lean in.”

Just lean in. It was a phrase I had heard dozens of times before. It was part of the jargon of Shambhala I had been steeped in, along with other phrases imbued with layers of meaning, things like: taking your seat, good head and shoulders, or auspicious coincidence. Just lean in was coded language, signaling, yet again, that Lodro was the teacher and I was the student. That he knew best.

A white-hot bolt of rage electrified my frozen body. In the darkness at the bottom of the ocean, pressed under bricks of water, something in me stirred.

“This is trauma we’re talking about,” I said sharply. “Leaning in will not help.” With all the effort I could muster, I dragged my body away from him, towards the edge of the bed. I crossed my arms over my chest, tried to summon the energy to kick my legs out from under the sheets, grope for my underwear, grab my clothes, and escape. But my body was still frozen, stuck to the bed as surely as if I was pinned under a whale. As desperately as I wanted to, I couldn’t break free.

Maybe he half-heartedly apologized. I don’t remember. He didn’t seem to understand what I had said. As if all his training in Tibetan and Sanskrit didn’t allow him to understand one simple, English word.

He didn’t stop touching me.

Now the deep water changed to an icy, spinning vortex. I had completely left my body. The only thing I could do was survive, as women have learned to survive for thousands of years. Textbook PTSD, a therapist said later.

The only way Lodro would stop touching me was if I got him off as quickly as possible, so I numbly gave him a blowjob. Afterwards, he quickly fell into a deep and peaceful sleep. I lay awake all night, hovering near the ceiling, my mind gnawing the bloody bone of itself.


The next morning, I pretended that everything was fine. I even got coffee with Lodro and kissed him on the lips before I drove home. It was a sunny day, the sky a crisp, October blue, the falling leaves shimmering crimson and copper. It took all my focus to get home. I felt like I was trying to outrun a tornado. Even as I calmly put on my turn signal and waited at red lights, I could hear the winds screeching, see the black funnel cloud gaining on me in the rearview mirror. As soon as I climbed the stairs and shut my bedroom door, I collapsed on the bed and curled into a fetal position, rocking back and forth, sobbing uncontrollably.

Now the storm wasn’t just outside, it was ripping off the roof. I could see beams splintering and windows shattering. Frantic, I called Miriam—still one of my closest friends, still the person I trusted most in a crisis. She sucked in her breath when I told her what had happened, made a low groan. I cried until I couldn’t see, wads of wet tissue spilling from my white comforter onto the wooden floor. The golden autumn light filtered through my curtains, illuminating each grain of dust. I tried to draw a shuddering breath.

On the other end of the line, Miriam spoke comfortingly. But there was a hollowness inside me, something sucking the air from my lungs. Neither Miriam nor I could say the words sexual assault. Even though the day was calm, I could still hear the tornado screeching. Everything I had built my life on, everything I had thought would keep me safe, now lay in a pile of rubble.

I never wanted to see Lodro again. But it was Monday, and I still had to coordinate his program at the Shambhala Center that night. I couldn’t bring myself to call the Center Director, even though she was a friend. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what had happened, couldn’t even lie and say that I was sick. Even though I was sick, my guts a mess, my eyes swollen shut, my heart beating like the wings of a bird grasped in a fist.

I summoned all my courage and called Lodro. I told him that what he had done was absolutely not okay. He seemed confused, so I kept trying to explain. Even as I was angrily saying that he had manipulated me, I felt like I had to protect him. To protect Shambhala.

After the program wrapped up that night, I tried to confront Lodro again. I felt lobotomized, my mind and body still strangely disjointed from each other. I followed him back to his apartment, then sat on the same couch where he had kissed me the night before. I said again how totally inappropriate his actions had been, but I felt far away, as if someone else was saying the words. Lodro apologized, his round face pinched with contrition, his blue eyes moist and sorrowful.

I felt no relief, only a gaping, ragged pit in my stomach, a whirling void in my head.

I heard myself say, “apology accepted.” Didn’t the Shambhala teachings tell us to be compassionate? Didn’t being compassionate mean that we should forgive?


After Lodro assaulted me, I continued to feel sick. I couldn’t sleep and had continual flashbacks. I felt intense shame, despair, and hopelessness. I struggled to speak about it. Mostly I didn’t. It was an invisible rope around my neck: the way that so many women before me had learned to choke themselves.

Still, there was an ember in my stomach, an angry red eye that refused to shut. I kept fighting.


I reported Lodro’s assault, even though I still didn’t use that word. I told my friend, the Director of the Portland Center, and she was supportive. She and another local leader encouraged me to report it to the people at Shambhala International who were in charge of handling teacher misconduct.

Judith Simmer-Brown

Apology to Rebecca Jamieson
by Judith Simmer-Brown

I read with heartbreak the article posted by Rebecca Jamieson this week on Entropy Magazine. I wish to apologize and take responsibility for my part in the ongoing pain Ms. Jamieson has experienced in the aftermath of unwanted sexual contact with Shambhala teacher Lodro Rinzler in 2014. Ms. Jamieson contacted me that year in my volunteer role as Dean of the Teachers’ Academy of Shambhala, a role I held for 8 years. (I left that role in 2016.) One of my responsibilities was to oversee ethical conduct of Shambhala teachers in their official duties, and to serve as a liaison with the Care and Conduct process that addressed their ethical violations.

While I followed the “letter” of my job by immediately suspending Mr. Rinzler from Shambhala teaching for six months (though he continued to teach independently), my response to Ms. Jamieson was personally insensitive and brusque. I have had plenty of time to reflect on the damage such an insensitive initial response must have had on her. Not to be listened to closely, empathetically, by a Shambhala leader when she had not been listened to by Mr. Rinzler had to have been devastating. I was so busy being official that I missed the importance of a personal and kind response.

While at that time I was in the midst of my father’s steep decline and death, that does not excuse
my lack of care and empathy for her experience and pain. I am so sorry for Ms. Jamieson’s ongoing anguish, and realize that I failed personally as a woman and in my leadership role to support her in the way that she needed.

We in the Shambhala community have experienced painfully and very publicly the results of not preventing sexual abuse and not addressing its damage. We have not truly listened to or cared for those who have been harmed. In the past, we have placed the integrity of the organization above the care for its members, and this has caused additional immeasurable harm in our community. We are working hard to redress this on every level of our community. We recognize that this harm is a direct contradiction of our most precious teachings about the basic goodness of every human being and the importance of actualizing enlightened society in this very time. As Shambhala community leader, I am deeply sorry.

I was referred to Judith Simmer-Brown, an Acharya, the highest rank a Shambhala teacher could have. She was a Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University. One of her specialties was Women in Buddhism, and she had previously worked with sexual assault survivors. I had never met her, but in pictures, she looked late middle-aged, with a neat blonde bob, glasses, and a warm smile. My hands were shaking as I dialed her number.

“Hello?” She was rushed and curt. Before she had even heard my full story, she said that there was more pressing sexual misconduct than mine to address within Shambhala. She suggested that Lodro and I were friends who’d had a bad fling. Judith said she had known Lodro since he was a small child. There was tenderness in her voice when she spoke of him, tinged with annoyance, like an aunt discovering her nephew had stolen a cookie.

After our conversation, Judith reached out to Lodro without my knowledge or consent. Lodro told her that he was “heartbroken” that he had hurt his “friend”—meaning me. Judith wrote an email to the Portland leader saying she hoped we could “circumvent the Care and Conduct procedure and try to ameliorate the situation in some other way.” The Care and Conduct procedure was Shambhala’s internal process for dealing with conflict. Circumventing it would mean there would be no permanent stain on Lodro’s record.

Judith said she would work with Lodro to help him learn from his mistakes. He would not teach in Shambhala for six months. But soon after, I found out that Lodro was still teaching—a program about love and relationships. I confronted Judith, but she said she’d had no idea that he was teaching.

Adam Lobel

Apology to Rebecca Jamieson
by Adam Lobel

I am writing to publicly apologize and take accountability for my role in hurting Rebecca Jamieson, as she describes in her article:

Rebecca contacted me in 2014 and clearly, patiently, and powerfully described her experience of sexual violence and the specific incident with Lodro Rinzler. I should have immediately affirmed that it is entirely inappropriate and harmful for a teacher to repeatedly press for sex, but I failed to fully hear Rebecca and work for what she needed.

In our conversations over the next months, I also failed to quickly take action. Further, when it became clear that our exchanges were insufficient, I attempted to connect Rebecca with a leader with expertise in addressing sexual violence in the Office of Societal Health and Wellbeing. In retrospect—after Rebecca had already spoken to so many leaders—I see how passing the situation on to a different “office” was a form of gaslighting.

My mishandling of this instance of sexual harm within Shambhala contributed to years of unnecessary, silent and lonely suffering for Rebecca. I am deeply sorry for this. I am so sorry, Rebecca.

With these actions, I was complicit in the ongoing patterns of patriarchal institutions. The Shambhala leadership that I was part of failed to understand sexual trauma and what was needed for true community accountability. We did not adequately support the survivor, nor did we establish a team to work with the perpetrator to help create the conditions for accountability—we ultimately did not craft a transformative process.

Genuine spiritual traditions in our world need to be both profound and just. Our actions and inaction led to a broad collapse of trust and the disillusionment of many good people who we turned away from a beautiful vision. I commit to not repeating such patterns and to the ongoing path of generous, restorative healing.

I demanded to speak to another Shambhala official and was connected with Acharya Adam Lobel. He was another senior teacher and the Sakyong’s right-hand man. When I had met him in person several years before, I had liked and trusted him immediately. But when I told him my story, even though his voice was warm, he said, “That sounds confusing.”

A hot wave of shame drenched my body and the floor wobbled beneath me. If these revered senior teachers saw no problem with Lodro’s behavior, maybe I really was the one who was confused. Maybe they were right: it had been a bad fling, for which I was just as responsible as Lodro.

Adam said my options were to go through the Care and Conduct process or do mediation with Lodro. He said the Care and Conduct process would be like a legal proceeding, where my own statements, as well as Lodro’s, would be scrutinized and judged. He encouraged me to pursue mediation. Though outwardly Adam was nothing but kind, he subtly pushed me not to carry the situation any further.

Even though I was devastated and exhausted from this months-long back and forth, I still explored meditation. I spoke with the facilitator, a member of the Portland sangha who, to my knowledge, had no training in working with instances of sexual misconduct. When I asked her about the process, she said she would simply hold space for the conversation without “taking sides.”

Every time I imagined myself trying to talk to Lodro, I wanted to throw up. I couldn’t go through with meditation. I was left to grapple with my shame, confusion, and trauma alone.

Adam checked in on me once. I said I was fine, that I had moved past the experience. I didn’t know what else to say. In reality, my psychological and emotional health spiraled. I operated on autopilot, still attending events at the Center, but feeling increasingly alienated. I had thought of the community as a loving, trustworthy family, but the assault and how it was handled created a deep rift in my relationship to Shambhala, making me doubt the teachers and the teachings, and most painfully, myself. I blamed myself because it was easier than blaming the community I loved. I paid dearly for it.


I remained silent until one summer day in 2016. I was sitting in a coffee shop on the Oregon coast, drops of rain falling against the windows and the smell of salt and seaweed in the air. I opened my notebook to a blank page and found myself writing, I have never told you this. After that sentence, I kept scribbling feverishly for an hour, not noticing as the sky cleared and the afternoon turned into a vivid golden sunset. I wrote as if a swarm of bees were chasing me, as if my hair was on fire. It was the first time I had written about Lodro without just recounting the facts. It was the first time I had let myself write uncensored, unafraid of what anyone would think. In writing that piece, I started to set myself free. I shared it with two trusted friends, Jaes and Miriam. They both wholeheartedly supported me. Jaes said, “When you’re ready, this piece needs to live in the world. Other women need to hear this.”


In February 2018, Andrea Winn released the first phase of a year-long report she had conducted called “Project Sunshine,” which detailed widespread sexual violence within Shambhala. Winn recounted her own experience and that of other former sangha members through anonymous interviews.

In the introduction to the report, Winn wrote: “I was sexually abused as a child by multiple perpetrators in our community. When I was a young adult, I spoke up about the community’s sexual abuse problem and was demonized by my local Shambhala center, ostracized and forced to leave . . . Women continue to be abused in relationships with community leaders and by their sanghas.”

Seeing experiences like my own named as sexual violence, I felt a complex rush of emotions: rage, excitement, and relief.

In the months after the report came out, it was as if a dam had broken: a flood of survivors began coming forward to speak publicly about their experiences of sexual violence within Shambhala.

Miriam told me about a secret Facebook group for Shambhala survivors. Even though I didn’t think I belonged there, I requested to join and was accepted. There were three other women in the group, and through hearing their stories, I finally got up the courage to share my own.

I was terrified when I posted my story, afraid that they would brush off my experience as so many other people had. But they didn’t. Instead, they showered me with love and support, and told me that what Lodro had done was terrible. That it was sexual assault.

When I first saw those words on the screen, I was flooded with relief. I began to cry, my tears loosening all the frozen emotions that had been trapped in my body for so long.

The #MeToo movement was sweeping the country. Thousands of women were publicly sharing their stories of sexual violence and were being listened to and believed. If the women in the Facebook group believed me, maybe others finally would too.

I decided to file a Care and Conduct complaint with Shambhala International. At least then they couldn’t say I hadn’t done everything I could. I placed the complaint in June 2018. That same month, Winn released a second Project Sunshine report. It included multiple accounts of Sakyong Mipham sexually assaulting female students, including an attempted rape. Winn released a third report in August, which found cause to believe that the Sakyong had assaulted underage girls. Even as I was horrified by these revelations, part of me wasn’t surprised.

A member of the Facebook group connected me to a former women’s trauma lawyer who had been part of Shambhala. When I told her my story, she was furious. She confirmed once again that what Lodro had done was sexual assault. She said that if I wanted to, I could press charges.


After Winn’s reports became public, the Shambhala community began to unravel. It was messy, confusing, and overwhelming. Although I had friends within Shambhala who remained supportive, it was horrifying to realize that many other people I had known for years were more interested in protecting their idealized image of Shambhala than supporting me or other survivors.

I heard stories about several other women who were “befriended” by high-up Shambhala teachers after they were sexually assaulted by the Sakyong. They believed that it was an intentional strategy designed to keep them silent. Just as I had been “befriended” by Adam Lobel. His checking in on me, his assurances that he was there if I needed anything, now took on a whole new meaning.

Miriam and I had many long phone conversations during this time, me in Portland and she in Madison. We were both reeling from shock and grief at the allegations coming to light and the lack of appropriate or compassionate response from Shambhala leadership. We cried a lot. We yelled. We tried to make sense of our lives amidst the wreckage. Miriam told me that she supported me no matter what—if I wanted to leave Shambhala, to press charges against Lodro, or to get my story out in some other way. Miriam was sick and angry about what was happening, but she wanted to stay in Shambhala. Even more than me, she had built most of her life around the community. She had become a Shambhala teacher and travelled widely offering contemplative writing and photography programs. She still believed in facets of the teachings and community, even if it was increasingly clear that many aspects of the organization were rotten.

I knew that I had to leave Shambhala, but I didn’t know how. I agonized about how to publicly share my story. I knew the risks of putting my name on the internet with that kind of accusation. At best, I could expect condemnation from loyalists within Shambhala. At worst, I could be trolled, threatened, or possibly even sued.

To make matters worse, I was still working as the Administrative Assistant at the Portland Center. In addition to dealing with my own rage and grief, I was on the front lines of the community’s response, answering every outraged email, hearing each tone-deaf remark, trapped behind my desk as sangha members marched in and out of the cramped office, airing their grievances, expecting me to support them.

Sitting in the small, windowless office day after day that endless summer, I started to feel allergic to everything about Shambhala. Just setting foot in the big brick building sent a wave of nausea hurtling through my stomach. Once inside the cream-colored rooms with their bright brocade tapestries, the photos of Chögyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham still smiling at me from every wall, I got light-headed. I felt such overwhelming anxiety and rage that I could barely sit still, let alone work.

Outside of a few trusted friends, almost no one in the community knew I had been sexually assaulted by Lodro. I kept thinking that if they did, they would step up and support me. When a community meeting was called to discuss the Project Sunshine reports, I attended, hoping that I would finally get the support I had been craving for so long.

We sat on blue cushions in a circle on the turquoise rug, Chögyam Trungpa and Sakyong Mipham gazing down on us from the shrine. I avoided their glossy eyes, trying to get up the nerve to speak. My heart was hammering so loudly I could barely hear what anyone was saying, even though their voices were rising angrily. Someone said that even if the Sakyong had assaulted women, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater—there wasn’t a culture of sexual violence, just a few bad apples. Besides, we at the Portland Center had never had any issues like that.

I exploded. My voice shook and tears blinded me as I said that no, it wasn’t just a few bad apples, and our center was not above it all—I had been assaulted by a Shambhala teacher visiting Portland, and he was never truly held accountable, despite my reporting it to local and international leadership.

There was a moment of stunned silence. I drew a ragged breath, too scared to look at the faces around me. Then the arguing continued, even louder than before. Now some people were using my story as ammunition to shout down those who had been defending the organization. No one looked at me. No one asked what I needed. No one hugged me, even though I was still crying. I sat there, surrounded by my community, utterly alone.

After the meeting ended, one person pulled me aside to see how I was doing—a friend who already knew about Lodro. He was the only person who acknowledged what I had just shared. He was the only person who expressed concern.

I realized that it was time to leave Shambhala. I called the Director, sobbing, and told her I was quitting, effective immediately. I agreed to train whoever they hired to replace me. Even in full crisis, I was still bending over backwards to help Shambhala. Writing that now, my jaw clenches, and my knuckles ache to shove themselves into someone’s face.


On July 1st, 2018, Lodro announced that he was leaving Shambhala—but not because of his own misconduct. The statement on his personal Facebook page read, “I am feeling a lot of pain around what is happening in the Shambhala community. I personally have clarity that it is time for me to officially exit Shambhala as an organization and no longer teach there.” He offered his support to anyone who wanted to talk about their experience or discuss any “rumors or allegations” they might have heard in Shambhala. He continued, “I will hold space and listen and share my heart if you would like me to. I am truly available to you.”

It was as if a swarm of hornets had attacked me. His bone-deep denial was astounding.
I found out later that Lodro had heard about my Care and Conduct complaint. But even if Shambhala revoked his teaching privileges, they would probably never make a public statement. He would still have control over the public narrative unless I did something about it. It was time to take matters into my own hands.

A woman in the Facebook group said she had talked with an investigative reporter and that her story of sexual assault by the Sakyong would soon be published on a prominent news site. She had requested to remain anonymous, and the newspaper had agreed. Suddenly, I had a path forward.

Before he interviewed me, the reporter asked if I had the emotional support I needed, since the conversation might be difficult. A lump gripped my throat and I couldn’t speak. How was it possible that a complete stranger had more concern for my well-being than members of my own community?


On July 23, my story was published: “Buddhist Teacher Quit Shambhala in ‘Protest’ Before His Own Sexual Misconduct Allegation Went Public.” The subtitle read, “He’s Promoting a Book Called Love Hurts.” I stared at the screen in shock. I’d had no idea that he was promoting another book. The irony of the title made me laugh, then choke.

Lodro denied everything. “I was deeply troubled by the allegations against the leadership of Shambhala and after learning of them stepped away from any involvement with Shambhala’s programs entirely of my own accord,” his statement read. “There is no truth to the allegation that Shambhala fired me. Nor have I ever been involved in any inappropriate sexual behavior or interactions with any individual.” There were also statements from Adam and Judith, saying that they had spent years “offering support” to me, and they hoped I would “find the healing” I was seeking.

After the article was published, I made a Facebook post telling the story in my own words. It was shared with a woman who had also been assaulted by Lodro. When she contacted me, my heart started hammering. After years of doubting myself, wondering if Lodro really had just made a one-time “mistake,” it was mind-blowing to realize that I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t alone. The woman thanked me for my courage and said I was a hero. Her assault had happened several years before mine. At the time, she had told everyone within Shambhala who would listen, but nothing was done, and even her friends had doubted her.

She said she had heard of two other women who had also been assaulted by Lodro.


After Winn’s reports came out, the Kalapa Council, Shambhala’s governing body, sent a series of panicked emails, alternating between downplaying the allegations and tentatively acknowledging the abuse. One email read, “Members have at times not felt heard or have been treated as though they are a problem when they tried to bring complaints forward. We are heartbroken that such pain and injustice still occurs.” Adam was part of the Kalapa Council. Knowing he had helped craft those words felt like more gaslighting. It was impossible that as the Sakyong’s closest advisor he wouldn’t have known what was happening. However “heartbroken” Adam professed to be, he had played an active role in keeping the silence.

As Shambhala fall apart, the Sakyong sent his own series of tone-deaf and defensive emails, the final one admitting that he had engaged in “relationships” with women in the community, but only “recently learned that some of these women have shared experiences of feeling harmed as a result of these relationships.” Feeling harmed. As if, once again, abuse was just a matter of opinion. This was the great leader I had been trained to worship? This was the shining example of enlightened society whose conduct I was supposed to emulate?


I moved to Vermont for graduate school that August. As I drove across the country, the miles of road unspooling behind me, wind whipping my hair, gazing at the stars from inside my tent each night, it was a relief to leave the Portland Center far behind.

Once in Vermont, I still watched for news of Shambhala, hoping that healing and justice would finally come. There were moments when I thought it would. In August of 2018, Lodro lost his latest book deal. In early 2019, two different men—both long-time members of Shambhala—were arrested for sexually assaulting young girls they had met in the organization. Although I felt hopeful at these developments, soon enough, Lodro’s face began popping up on meditation websites again. He was still teaching.

In January 2020, Pema Chödrön, the respected teacher whose books had first sparked my interest in meditation, formally stepped down from her position as Acharya. Chödrön said her decision came after the new governing board had invited the Sakyong to teach a meditation program—without any input from the community. “The seemingly very clear message that we are returning to business as usual distresses me deeply,” she said. “I find it discouraging that the bravery of those who had the courage to speak out does not seem to be effecting more significant change in the path forward.”

Chödrön was applauded for her decision to resign, but I couldn’t help wishing she’d done it sooner. In the third Project Sunshine report, Chödrön herself had come under fire. A female student had allegedly told Chödrön that she had been raped by a Shambhala Center Director, gotten pregnant, and miscarried. Chödrön allegedly said, “I don’t believe you,” then continued, “Well, I wasn’t there, but if it’s true, I suspect you were into it.” Chödrön apologized to the woman in 2018, after the story became public.


I still struggle to wrap my mind around it all—the abuse, manipulation, confusion, and loss. How could this community have been so helpful to me—and so harmful? How could people I trusted turn their backs on me when I needed them most?

This isn’t a happy ending, or any ending at all, because the story isn’t finished. Will it ever truly end? Will Lodro be held accountable, along with the Sakyong and all the other abusers? Or will this all be covered up by the thick silt of time, like so many stories before mine? Years from now, will a new Shambhala teacher be abusing their students, and will the revelations come with just as much disbelief?

Only time will tell. Whatever happens, I hope this story will be a record. That it will keep echoing out from the caverns of silence. Telling the complicated truth.

Rebecca Jamieson‘s writing has appeared in various publications, including The Offing, Rattle, Hunger Mountain, Lion’s Roar, and Stirring. Her chapbook of poetry, The Body of All Things, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. She holds an MFA in Writing & Publishing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:00 pm

Survivors of an International Buddhist Cult Share Their Stories: An investigation into decades of abuse at Shambhala International
by Matthew Remski
Updated 17:11, Sep. 28, 2020 | Published 15:09, Sep. 28, 2020



ON APRIL 4, 1987, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche lay dying in the old Halifax Infirmary. He was forty-seven. To the medical staff, Trungpa likely resembled any other patient admitted for palliative care. But, to the inner circle gathered around his bed and for tens of thousands of followers, he was a brilliant philosopher-king fading into sainthood. They believed that, through his reconstruction of “Shambhala”—the mythical Tibetan kingdom on which he’d modelled his New Age community, creating one of the most influential Buddhist organizations in the West—he had innovated a spiritual cure for a postmodern age, a series of precepts to help Westerners meditate their way out of apathy and egotism.

Standing by Trungpa’s deathbed was Thomas Rich, his spiritual successor. Rich was joined by Diana Mukpo (formerly Diana Pybus), who had married Trungpa in 1970, a few months after she turned sixteen. Also present was Trungpa’s twenty-four-year-old son, Mipham Rinpoche. While the cohort chanted and prayed, twenty-five-year-old Leslie Hays listened from outside the door. Trungpa had taken her as one of his seven spiritual wives two years earlier. After being called in to say a brief goodbye, Hays walked out into the evening, secretly relieved Trungpa was dying. She would no longer be serving his sexual demands; enduring his pinches, punches, and kicks; or listening to him drunkenly recount hallucinated conversations with the long-dead sages of medieval Tibet.

Trungpa stopped breathing at 8:05 p.m. His attendants bathed his body in saffron water; painted prayers on small squares of paper and fixed them to his eyes, nostrils, and mouth; then wheeled the gurney into an ambulance to bring him home for a ritual wake. The cortège drove south, through the chilly night, toward Point Pleasant Park, the forested tip of the Halifax Peninsula. They pulled into a circular drive at 545 Young Avenue, a mansion dubbed “The Kalapa Court” after the fabled Shambhala seat of power.

Devotees rolled Trungpa’s body into the living room, which had been mostly cleared of furniture except for a Tibetan throne. They dressed the body in gold brocade and wrenched its legs into a crossed position to prop it up in a final meditation. In his death notice to the community, Rich stated that the guru had attained “parinirvana”—a transcendant state in which he would be free from the cycle of rebirth. (Years later, Trungpa’s personal doctor would cite liver disease from alcohol abuse as the cause of death.) “We vow to perpetuate your world,” Rich wrote.

Following Trungpa’s death, his Halifax congregation and hundreds of pilgrims flocked to Kalapa for five days of visitation. Temple guards in full military uniform admitted mourners around the clock. They filed into the dim room, through clouds of juniper incense, to chant, meditate, and bow in prostration. They believed that Trungpa’s consciousness was expanding into the infinite. One group member recalls throwing the windows open to the cold, wet air as a funk set in.

Some mourners knew Trungpa from his lectures on meditation. Others would have been enthralled by his 1973 book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, which has sold 200,000 copies. Others still had likely attended the opening of his Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado, in summer 1974, when 1,500 spiritual seekers had arrived to listen to him lecture beside countercultural heroes like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Many in the room in Halifax had uprooted their lives to live close to Trungpa, to work in his centres or transcribe his teachings. Some had pledged him their present and future lives through the ritual bonds central to Tantric religion. However they’d come, and for whatever reason they’d stayed, they were the core of what would become Shambhala International, a thriving network of more than 200 meditation centres and retreat destinations in dozens of countries. Headquartered in Nova Scotia, the organization’s motto is “Making Enlightened Society Possible.”

These days, Trungpa’s kingdom presents less like an “enlightened society” than it does a longitudinal study of intergenerational abuse and of how thin the line between religion and cult can be. In the thirty-three years since her husband’s death, Leslie Hays has felt her relief sharpen into fury. She has now emerged at the forefront of a movement of ex-followers who say that Trungpa’s public image as a spiritual genius has been used to hide a legacy of deception, exploitation, behavioural control, and systemic abuse. Their activism has organized around Trungpa’s son, Mipham, who eventually inherited his father’s empire and, in 2018, began to face his own public allegations of physical violence and sexual assault.

Over the course of two years, I’ve interviewed close to fifty ex-Shambhala members. They have told me stories of every type of mistreatment imaginable, from emotional manipulation and extreme neglect to molestation and rape—stories that turn Shambhala’s brand narrative, with its promises of utopia, upside down. Posting on the Facebook page created to support survivors like herself, Hays has shortened the group’s name simply to “Sham.”

NEARLY 2,500 YEARS AGO, Buddhism began, in ancient India, as an austere movement of self-discovery that preached meditation and meticulous attention to ethics. Early converts radically rejected the classism and ritualism of existing religions. Today, Buddhist teachings hold that the mind is the first and central source of conflict and that meditation can help a person see reality more clearly, past their anxious desires. This, it is claimed, can decrease or even extinguish cycles of violence.

Mass-market visions of this modern Buddhism tend to orbit around stately figures, like the Dalai Lama and Thích Nhất Hạnh, the antiwar cleric from Vietnam nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967. American popularizers include Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, who co-founded the Insight Meditation Society, in Massachusetts, in 1975. Their professional trainings helped commodify and suburbanize ancient meditation techniques into secular wellness tools for use in self-help psychotherapy and even business coaching.

Trungpa’s organization grew in tandem with this popular interest. But his own reputation was built on the idea of enlightened chaos. He introduced his recruits to “crazy wisdom,” the practice of using bizarre and sometimes abusive methods to jolt devotees into higher states of being. In a series of 1983 sermons, he compared the attainment of spiritual wisdom to the act of rape.

Vajrayogini ATS, Talk Three
by Chogyam Trungpa
September, 1983


Q: Do the pleasure and formality contain the ayatanas so that they don't become rebellious?

V: That is right. And you are self-contained, at the same time. You are also satisfied -- but you are satisfied by being in the mandala situation, altogether.

Q. Thank you.

Q: Sir, could you please speak some more about the rape principle? Specifically, it reminds me of the story of Tilopa demanding the teachings from the dakinis. Who is it that we are raping?

V: The phenomenal world altogether; anything that is rapable. (Laughter.)

Q: So the rape originates completely from our side. It is a function of our vajra pride -- or isn't it?

V: If you can do it. But you have to be ready for it, and you have to be capable of doing it.

Q: Sir, how does that enter our practice of taking abhisheka? In terms of attitude, how would we relate with it in the actual self-abhisheka itself?

V: It is having blessings and devotion, and expressing those. You offer mandala gifts at each point; and then you have done your part already. Then finally you are allowed to snatch the abhisheka principles.

Q: There seems to be a psychological leap that we are making here, and I need a clue to figure out what that is. I was writing down a list of little things that don't make sense, that point to this leap that we are making. For instance, "vipashyana is represented by freshly cut heads"; "drive all blames into oneself is transcendental butchery,"; "Ha Ri Ni Sa is everyday world,"; "when you work it's a feast,"; "boss is guru principle"; and finally, the whole thing about raping the phenomenal world. I can see that there is a psychological leap going on. I can see that the world is self-liberating if you are Vajra-yogini in the world -- except there is still nothing there to hold onto with whatever the heck that is. I don't understand what the leap is.

V: Well, I am sorry to say that that is up to you to find out. (Laughter.) That is why you are doing your practice. And that is why it is called self-secret.

by Chogyam Trungpa


Then what is known as the ultimate abhisheka, of the self-abhisheka, could be achieved without a vajra master. So you receive, or you take more likely, the abhisheka principles; you demand the abhisheka principles. It is almost like rape, in some circumstances. You take the principles of the Vajrayogini mandala, wisdom and realizations; you grab them, grasp them. The reason I refer to it as rape is that you know that you are raping the opposite sex, hopefully. [Laughter] Knowing that, you rape. And you have some understanding that the rapee might have some kind of passion, and might give in at the end, although at the same time, the rapee is terrified.

What you get from the self-abhisheka is a further dissolving of your ego. At the same time, you get the idea that, without anybody's help, you can make yourself into a king or queen. As you know, the principle of abhisheka is the same as coronation. You have a water ablution to clean yourself; then you put a crown on your head; you are given various scepters to hold; then at the end, you are given a royal title, a particular name.

His butler recounted, in a memoir, Trungpa torturing a dog as a metaphor for how the unenlightened should be taught the uncompromising truths of Buddhism.

However, the truth was that Max was a nervous wreck, and beneath my dignified British facade so was I. Finally, Max asked Rinpoche if he could go back to Boulder for a few weeks. Rinpoche gave his okay and Max departed, leaving Rinpoche and me alone in a house surrounded by deep snow. By necessity Max left his dog, Myson, with us. One night after supper Rinpoche said, "Get Myson and bring him in here." I dragged the shaking dog into the kitchen and following Rinpoche's instructions I sat him on the floor and covered his eyes with a blindfold. I set up stands with lighted candles by either side of his head. Myson couldn't move his head without being burned. Rinpoche took a potato and hit Myson on the head with it. When the dog moved, the fur on his ear would catch on fire. I put out the flames. Now and then Rinpoche would scrape his chair across the tiled floor and whack him again on the head with a potato.

"Sir," I began hesitantly, trying to stop him.

"Shut up," snapped Rinpoche, "and hand me another potato."

I started to empathize with the dog. In fact, I became the dog. I was blindfolded and was banged on the head with a spud and if I turned my head my hears would burn and there was the squealing sound of the chair on the floor. Pissing in my pants I was that dog not being able to move, feeling terrified and at the same time excited. Finally, the scraping chair and the potato throwing stopped and we released the shaking dog, who ran upstairs to Max's empty room.

"That's how you train students," Rinpoche calmly stated to me.

"Jesus," I thought, "that's pretty barbaric."

Rinpoche had me change the telephone number so that Max could not call us before he came back. He arrived, bags in hand, concerned that he had not been able to reach us. Before he could say much else, Myson rushed in and jumped all over him in exuberant delight. Rinpoche deliberately scraped the kitchen chair across the tiled floor. The terrified dog shot out of the house and fled across the field. Max was shocked and pointedly asked, "Rinpoche, what did you do to my dog?"

"I don't see any dog," he replied, looking at me.

"I got it!" I said, with the realization of being blindfolded and having three things happen to you at once, knowing the scraping and the disappearance of the dog were both somehow illusion. In fact, it was all illusion. Everything was illusion, but real. Rinpoche smiled and warmly greeted Max.

Did I get it? Not then.

-- The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks [John Andrews]

Trungpa also taught a technique called “transmutation,” by which an enlightened person transforms the common or even the disgraceful aspects of their life into the sublime, thereby purifying themselves. The Tantric texts, logic, and ritual by which transmutation happens are all meant to be kept secret—which worked in Trungpa’s favour. His true ministry, if openly known, would hardly have ingratiated him to buttoned-down Nova Scotians.

Trungpa first scoped out Atlantic Canada in 1977. He travelled in the guise of a Bhutanese prince, making his disciples, during dinner, wear tuxedoes or evening gowns and white gloves.

At the end our retreat year in late May it was decided that we would visit the Promised Land, the site chosen for the enlightened society of either the near or far future, depending on whose story you listened to. The land that was chosen was Nova Scotia, Canada's Riviera. I was in favor of establishing enlightened society as soon as possible -- a year or two at the most. Others seemed to be dragging their feet.

Our Grieves and Hawks uniforms from London were ordered but would not be ready in time for the trip. So I contacted a military surplus company in New York which I had located through their advertisement in Shotgun News. I ordered one dark blue naval uniform for Rinpoche and an army khaki uniform for myself. Onto these uniforms I sewed two bars of medal ribbons that Rinpoche had designed. On my uniform I sewed my Rupon of the Red Division insignia. "Rupon'' was Tibetan for a company commander, which was the rank I then held. "Major" was pushing it a bit. Next to that ribbon I added the Iron Wheel medal and the Lion of Kalapa Court of Shambhala. This was jumping the gun somewhat because the Kalapa Court, which was to be located in Boulder, Colorado, had not yet been established. At most there were rumors of a house on Pine Street and an offer to purchase.

Sometime in the early light of morning Rinpoche, his consort, Jane, and I pored over the chart of the Province of Nova Scotia. It was to be a two-pronged attack. The Regent Osel Tendzin with his Group "B" would advance by air to Halifax Airport. The three of us in Group ''A" would go by sea, driving first to Portland and then taking the Nova Scotia Cruise Lines luxury ship up the coast. We would cross the Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth. The secrecy and stealth of our attack would surely take the natives by surprise. Finally, all of my training and reading of the Horatio Hornblower books would become useful information. Rinpoche would go as the Prince of Bhutan and I as his aide-de-camp, Major Perks, Lion of Kalapa. Jane would be Lady Jane, although I preferred to think of her as Lady Jane Gray. We were glad of our passports, which had our cover names of Chogyam Mukpo, John Perks, and Jane Condon.

The limousine that was rented for the ten-day operation was a silver Lincoln Continental. With great care I packed our evening dress tuxedos, as we planned to dine formally every night in the soon-to-be-enlightened province. We drove up to Portland, Maine, the next day to embark for the journey up the coast. Our limo was a bit oversized for the luxury liner, which looked more like a large ferry boat. After parking in the depths of its hull we found we could not open the rear doors more than six inches. Lady Jane could just squeeze through, but the Prince would never pass the gap. I pulled on his arms for a while until we realized the futility. Then the Horatio Hornblower in me became active. "The window!" I exclaimed. Lady Jane let down the rear electric window. The Prince put his arms around my neck and with Lady Jane holding up his pants we extricated him from the silver trap. On the ferry that morning, as the sun rose, the three of us stood on the upper deck and sang the Shambhala anthem. I threw an empty sake bottle overboard with a written copy of the anthem in it.

The Yarmouth dock smelled strongly of fish when we arrived and Rinpoche remarked that it reminded him of Tilopa. A good omen. We drove up to Halifax to meet the Regent's party and begin the expedition. (It had been named KOSFEF, short for Kingdom of Shambhala First Expeditionary Force. Later, there would be a medal ribbon for each member.) The Regent's force was already at the hotel I had chosen from the tourist brochure, the Horatio Nelson Hotel.

We had dressed in our uniforms earlier that morning on the boat, so we arrived at the hotel in style. Michael Root, the Regent's aide-de-camp, had arranged for the Shambhala flag we had hand sewn during retreat to be flown at the hotel entrance alongside the Canadian flag. Somehow I had it in my mind that there would be crowds attending our arrival. Instead, there was only the Regent's small party in their pinstriped suits and formal dresses. That evening we dined in our full evening dress at Fat Frank's, Halifax's only gourmet restaurant. There were speeches and toasts to the formation of enlightened society. We all sang the Shambhala anthem, with Fat Frank and his waiters joining in the end chorus, "Rejoice, the Great Eastern Sun arises."

I felt like the Kingdom had already happened, although Jerry, who was the Dapon, or Head of the Military, looked very glum. Michael and I talked to him on the way back to the hotel. "This is all crazy," he said. "Take over Nova Scotia? Make it Shambhala Kingdom? It's nuts!" This should have been my line, but somehow I had been overtaken by the fantasy. It all seemed real, quite easy, as I explained to Jerry in my enthusiasm. He was looking at me like I was crazy.

"You know," he complained, "you all come into the Nelson Hotel and salute Rinpoche who is pretending to be the Prince of Bhutan. You have that Shambhala flag flying next to the Canadian real flag in the front of the hotel. That's crazy! People will think we're all crazy!"

"Well," I argued, "Fat Frank and his waiters had a good time. Everyone seems quite friendly."

"You just can't come in here and take over," said Jerry.

"Why not?" asked Michael. "No one else seems to be in charge.

Jerry just shook his head. "I don't know. Taking over a Canadian province, making Rinpoche king and then calling it the Kingdom of Shambhala. Doesn't that seem a bit weird to you?"

"No," I replied. To cheer him up I pointed out the good omens: Tilopa at Yarmouth, letting us fly the flag at the hotel, and Fat Frank who wanted to be one of us and seemed to be convinced of our reality.

The next day Michael and I set off ahead of the rest on our tour of Shambhala province. We had the task of locating suitable lodging in each town for our evening stop. The first town we came to was Glasgow, a destination chosen by me. To my surprise there were no inns or hotels, just a place by the name of MacTavish's Tourist Stop. Half the letters on the neon sign were not flashing but Michael and I went in anyway. The worn carpet­ing was a bright red tartan. I began to have serious doubts. Michael asked to see a room and we went up the creaking stairs with MacTavish himself. He opened the door with a key chained to a piece of wood marked with a plastic six. Inside was a blue tartan carpet stained by years of spilled food and beer. In the center was an old iron bed that had once been white and a matching three-drawer bureau. A single bare light bulb hung by a cord from the tin ceiling.

"Where's the bathroom?" I asked. ''Au, down to the end of the 'all," said MacTavish. Michael started to giggle. I was not giving up. If I could arrange to get a bagpiper to greet the Prince at the motel as he drove up, that would at least be something.

"Do you have a piper?" I inquired of MacTavish. "Oh, yer," said he. "We gets all the pipers. The Halifax Herald, The Nova Scotian Week we gets them all." Michael let out a roar of laughter. I slapped my hand to my head and sternly hissed to him, "I am trying to put some pomp and circumstance into this." Michael was collapsing with hilarity. "Yes," he sputtered between gasps of laughter, "but we have too much circumstance and no pomp.

"Let's find a place to get a drink and have dinner," I suggested. We drove around the small bleak town in about ten minutes. There was a fish-and-chip type cafe and a Chinese restaurant. That was it. "No need to dine in tuxedos tonight," I thought.

The main party arrived several hours later and there was quite a bit of joking about the rooms. Rinpoche asked about the dining arrangements and I described what I had found. "Is the fish­ and-chip cafe very Nova Scotian?" asked Rinpoche.

"Yes," I replied. "They have something on the menu called Solom Gundy. Also, cod tongues and cheeks."

"That will be fine," he said.

"What shall we wear?" I asked. No one had brought any jeans.

"Tuxedos without the military ribbons," was the reply. I rolled my eyes up into my head and looked over at Lady Jane for help. None was forthcoming. The Regent made a mild but ineffectual protest. Michael just laughed and Jerry became even gloomier.

We all showed up at the cafe, with its plastic-draped tables an paper napkins, in our best evening dress. "This is crazy," whispered Jerry to me as we went in. I was inclined to agree. To my surprise the Nova Scotians were very hospitable, putting tables together and finding some cotton tablecloths and matching napkins. They were quite excited to have us there and the Prince was more than charming, explaining that we were touring the province. He also intimated that we might be interested in purchasing a large property so that we might spend more time in such a delightful country. The following day MacTavish's one phone in the lobby was ringing off the hook. The whole of Nova Scotia was, it seemed, for sale.

The next morning Michael and I set off again. We had looked at a map, where I had spotted a shortcut to the Annoplis Valley. All we had to do was cross the bridge at Bridgewater. We drove for miles over back roads, past abandoned farms and small towns with empty stores. The blacktop road became dirt. Michael, driving along at high speed, came to a screeching stop at the edge of a cliff. I looked at the map in puzzlement. Michael called out to a man chopping down trees by the cliff. "Where's the bridge to Bridgewater?" he yelled.

"Oh, they ain't going to build that bridge for another four years," came the reply.

"But it's on the map," I protested.

"Oh yes," said the woodsman. "Well, we has to be ready, don't we?" Michael pulled out the bottle of rum stashed behind the backseat. We sat in the car and drank it all, watching the flowing river with its inaccessible further shore.

We were late getting back to the others, who had found a fairly good Best Western. It was the annual Apple Blossom Festival and the selection of the Apple Blossom Beauty Queen was being held in the restaurant at the motel. Dozens of teenage girls at a high level of excitement were running about the motel in white gowns. For once, our tuxedos were the proper attire for the occasion.

Word was spreading that the Prince of Bhutan was staying at the motel. The organizer of the festival approached me and asked if the Prince would like to have the Beauty Queen "presented" to him. "Delighted" was the response from the Prince when I relayed the message. There is a picture in a local Nova Scotian newspaper showing a ring of Apple Blossom girls, and in their white-dressed center, with the Queen on his arm, is the smiling Prince. The caption reads "Prince of Bhutan meets Apple Blossom Queen. The Prince and his party are touring the Province."

Meanwhile, the phone at the Best Western motel was ringing nonstop with offers of property for sale. Jerry was freaking out about the FBI finding out that we were planning to take over Nova Scotia.

"Who else would want it?" asked the Regent.

At the beginning of the expedition I had been full of hope about creating a new society based on British Buddhist morality. Now, after being tossed about between the reality of Nova Scotia, the reality of the Prince, and the reality of the Apple Blossom Queen, I was unhinged again. Our last night was spent at the Pines Hotel in Digby, a town which at one time had been a resort. Jan, the Regent's attendant, came and spent the night with me. We were both too English to have any passion between us. We sat up in bed smoking cigarettes and sipping rum.

"What do you think of Nova Scotia?" she asked.

"I don't know," I answered. Then putting my doubts onto Jerry, I said, "Jerry is dropping out of the plan altogether. I hear he has resigned as Head of the Shambhala Military."

"Yes," murmured Jan. There was silence. I took another sip of the rum, feeling it burning in my mouth.

"Well, I think it's wonderful," she said, feeling my hesitation. "I plan to move up here as soon as possible and join the sangha in Halifax."

Her cheerfulness was infectious. I smiled and said, with all my doubts evaporating, "I am going back to Boulder. We are creating the Kalapa Court, a court for Rinpoche and the Kingdom of Shambhala."

"Yes," she added. "They need us, old chap. We are English. We are the only ones who can do it."

-- The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks

He loved the region’s remoteness, isolation, and rain. Trungpa found in Nova Scotia the perfect setting for a kind of spiritual invasion. It was sparsely populated, with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Citizens were dissatisfied with local government and ready for something new. He observed that Nova Scotians were psychologically “cooperative” and “starved” and opined that they needed “more energy to be put on them.” Back in Boulder, he declared that he could feel the same goodness in the earth in Nova Scotia that he remembered from Tibet, which he had fled in 1959.

Trungpa started frequenting Halifax as his eastern seat after devotees acquired the Young Avenue property. By the time Trungpa died, around 800 of his most ardent followers—mostly young, well-educated, middle-class white Americans—had settled on the East Coast life, laying down roots from Halifax to Pleasant Bay, a small community in Cape Breton, where they helped establish Gampo Abbey, now presided over by one one of Trungpa’s most famous former students, self-help author Pema Chödrön. Followers opened businesses in the burgeoning wellness sector, working as massage therapists, acupuncturists, and psychotherapists. In the summer, they gathered for communal events, like [url]“seminary,”[/url] where Trungpa would teach Buddhist philosophy for days on end, and “encampment,” where members would march in parades and sing songs around campfires. Over the years, Maritimers joined the movement, drawn to its secular accessibility and devotional intensity, and soon came the first generation of born-and-raised Halifax Shambhala Buddhists, who joined the ranks of other so-called Dharma Brats in the US.

It was a community in thrall to Trungpa, a leader with an authoritarian streak whose eccentricities were typically passed off as transmutation. When he asked his dishevelled devotees to cut their hair and become professional, Trungpa—who had his suits hand-tailored on London’s Savile Row—was transmuting their late-hippie immaturity. When he dressed up like Idi Amin or rode a white stallion while wearing a pith helmet and phony war medals, he was transmuting the aggression of militarism.


When he insisted that his courtiers learn Downton Abbey–style dinner etiquette, he was transmuting the colonial pretension that had almost destroyed the Asian wisdom culture he embodied. On the grandest scale, Trungpa saw Shambhala as a transmutation of the nation-state itself—complete with a national anthem, ministers, equestrian displays, an army, a treasury, specially minted coinage, and photo IDs.

But Trungpa’s transmutations didn’t stop there. They were also used to rationalize the sexual abuse he committed against countless women students—abuse that devotees justified as Trungpa transmuting the repressed Christian prudery of North America and turning lust into insight. Public evidence of this abuse was first published in a local Boulder magazine in 1979, but the most public and credible accusations came from Hays on Facebook, starting in 2018. Hays remembers Trungpa demanding women and girls at all hours of the day and night, some of them teenagers. He was not only prone to outbursts of physical violence but, according to Hays, her job as a “spiritual wife” (traditionally a consort for ritualized sexual meditations) involved offering Trungpa bumps of cocaine, which she remembers his lieutenants pretending was either a secret ritual substance or vitamin D. Hays’s entire relationship with Trungpa testifies to how he used his charisma to prey on followers.

Hays grew up in a Minnesota farm town and moved to Boulder, in 1981, to study journalism at the University of Colorado. She was twenty. Three years later, she took a nanny job with a couple who were devotees of Trungpa, moving into their house. She was asked to attend a summertime Shambhala training camp so that she’d be more aligned with the family’s values. That winter, the couple was hosting a wedding that Trungpa himself would be attending. They regaled her with stories of his “unfathomable” brilliance and asked her to prepare to meet him with meditations that involved visualizing him as divine. They took her shopping for clothes and taught her to walk in heels. In our conversation, Hays remembers being impressionable at that age and thinking it would be fun “to meet an enlightened meditation master from Tibet.”

At the wedding, Trungpa lavished attention on Hays, then showed up at her employer’s house the next day to propose that they marry. Hays was baffled, so he invited her to his home for a get-to-know-you date. Guards ushered her into his bedroom, where he was waiting for her, naked. That same night, he asked her to marry him again. Stunned, she agreed, believing it to be an honour, and for a while, there was a honeymoon-like feeling between them. But, after the first week, Hays told me, things started to go wrong. In the bedroom, Hays says, he would use a vibrator until she screamed out in pain. Then Trungpa started to punch and kick her.

“What Trungpa did,” says Liz Craig, “was create an environment for emotional and sexual harm in which nobody was accountable for their actions.” Craig worked as a nanny in Trungpa’s household. “If he’d been publicly violent, it would have been easier to identify him as harmful and Shambhala as a cult.”

Another ex-Shambhala student, who asked to remain anonymous, knows of several women Trungpa physically assaulted besides her. “He pinched me to the point of leaving dark bruises,” she says. I reached her at her office in Nova Scotia, where she runs a practice as a sexual-violence trauma therapist. She described one summer-long event in 1985 at the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now the Shambhala Mountain Center), north of Boulder. She was twenty-three at the time and was recruited to cook and clean in Trungpa’s residence. Trungpa’s “henchmen,” as she calls them, would circulate through the participants to find the women he desired. “The entire scene around him was sexualized,” she says. “Trungpa was basically the king of the universe, and any contact with him was a blessing that was going to guarantee your enlightenment and eternal salvation.”

It wasn’t only women who were caught in Shambhala’s abusive culture. Ex-member Michal Bandac, now living in Germany, says that, in the 1980s, Shambhala adults introduced him to cocaine use when he was twelve. The scene was considered safe, Bandac says, because they were taught that, “according to Buddhism, the children are always better than their parents.” Bandac’s mother, Patricia, was a senior Shambhala teacher for thirty years and the director of the Nova Scotia retreat centre. Since leaving Shambhala in 2015, she has struggled to understand how the group affected her family. While she wasn’t aware of her son’s exposure to cocaine, she does remember him telling her about Shambhala women in their thirties luring him into his first sexual experiences. “I was kind of shocked,” she says. “But I didn’t do anything about it. It was so normalized. There was statutory rape going on all over the place.”

ABUSE CONTINUED after Trungpa’s death. In 1989, the New York Times reported that Trungpa’s spiritual successor, Thomas Rich, had been having unprotected sex with an unknown number of men and women while being HIV positive. This not only had gone on for years—Rich was suspected to have contracted the illness in 1985—but was likely known to senior leadership. Moreover, according to a 1990 article, Rich’s sexual history suggested such encounters weren’t always consensual. The media coverage forced Rich, in California at this time, into exile. After Kier Craig—Rich’s student and the brother of Liz, the Trungpa nanny—died of HIV/AIDS, likely contracted from Rich, even more Shambhalians fled the community. Program attendance and membership donations plummeted. The legal entities that held Shambhala’s assets were dissolved to avoid liability.

In the early 1990s, Tibetan clerics moved to stabilize Shambhala by certifying Trungpa’s son, Mipham, as a reincarnated master and the rightful heir to his father. It was an unlikely fit. Although in his thirties, Mipham didn’t have any of the expected monastic training and was not known for his charisma. Nevertheless, in 1995, Mipham was enthroned as sovereign over Shambhala and dubbed with one of his father’s own honorifics: “Sakyong,” which roughly translates to “Earth Ruler.”

As Sakyong, Mipham’s management approach was distinctly corporate. By 2002, he’d appointed the former public-relations head of Amnesty International as Shambhala’s new president. [Richard Reoch, joined the International Secretariat of Amnesty International 1971-1993. He then served as a trustee of The Rainforest Foundation 1996–2015.] He replaced the mostly male administration with a more gender-balanced and international board of directors. Between 1999 and 2018, Mipham’s restructuring helped Shambhala’s global membership grow from under 7,000 to 14,000. Members participated in programs and training at outposts around the world, drawing an annual revenue of $18 million (US) in North America alone.

In the early 2000s, memories of Trungpa and Rich’s acts of sexual abuse seemed to have faded. Chödrön, Shamabhala’s self-help superstar based out of Cape Breton, lit out on an extraordinary run of mass-media success, appearing on Bill Moyers’ PBS miniseries Faith and Reason and eventually selling more than 1.2 million copies of her books in eighteen languages. Mipham also moved to shield what were reputed to be the most mystical elements of his father’s teaching content behind a pay-wall. He developed a pyramid-style series of training sessions and ceremonies only he could preside over as a kind of papal gatekeeper. Sporting brocade robes, Mipham came into his own as a regal figure, giving ritual initiations to new and old members and creating newer levels of secret practices for devotees to invest in. In 2005, he married Khandro Tseyang—the daughter of a Tibetan spirit medium who claims a royal pedigree. From the outside, things seemed to be looking up. But it was during these same Camelot years that Mipham allegedly assaulted attendants and students.

One of those students was Julia Howell, born into Shambhala in Nova Scotia in 1984. For children who grew up in the community, the promise and betrayal of their upbringing are difficult to separate. Sometimes, Trungpa’s world felt like a happy place. Some describe loving the free-range summer “Sun Camps.” They were consistently told that they were special—the “first Western Buddhists,” who would both embody and evangelize a new age. They had been given early access to authentic Buddhism, so they were told, and the teachings would take care of them. They were encouraged to internalize the group’s meditation techniques and use them whenever they lost their feeling of “basic goodness.”

When Howell was twenty-four, her mother was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer. That fall, Howell applied for the Tantric training that was said to eventually lead to full citizenship within the mystical world of Shambhala. Her aim was partly to prepare herself for the coming loss and partly to join her mother in practices to prepare for death. Howell’s initiations involved vowing to perceive Mipham—now the group’s leader—as the gatekeeper to enlightenment. When her mother died, in 2010, Howell practiced with an intensity that matched her grief. Her ardour drew her closer to Mipham’s inner circle.

In 2011, Howell went to a party at the Kalapa Court, the enclave that Trungpa founded in Halifax. The occasion was Mipham’s daughter’s first birthday party. Howell says that, after his wife had gone to bed and most of the guests had left, Mipham, drunk, assaulted her. “I felt frozen, without agency,” she says. “I had taken a vow at seminary to follow his instructions like commands.” Alone, confused, and grieving her mother, Howell plunged deeper into her practice to make sense of it all.

“This liturgy embodies the magical heart of Shambhala,” announces the text Howell used. Written by Mipham, it proposes that the gifts of Tantric practice flow from developing a pure view of the master, then merging with him, body and mind. A key part of the ritual involves a purification fantasy. Howell was instructed to visualize light streaming down from a deity seated at the crown of her head. The light was washing away the karma of negative emotions, seen as dirt and muck pouring downward, out of her body and into the earth. Inevitably, this brought up traumatic memories associated with the assault. “It was an exercise in self-shaming,” says Howell. Her practice included visualizing Mipham, in royal attire, hovering above her head, then morphing into a fantastical bird, who entered her body and descended to dissolve into light in her chest. Should another assault happen, rather than experiencing it as a violation, she would will herself to see Mipham as the Buddha. “I was really training to think that rape is not rape,” she says.

After more than three years of trying to interpret the assault and justify Mipham’s behaviour, Howell decided to face him. It took several months to get the meeting through underlings. Mipham offered her a weak apology “about the whole thing,” as Howell remembers. She recalls him performing a healing ritual for her, then handing her a mala—a sort of Tibetan rosary—and saying, “This is for your practice.”

Through the summer and fall of 2017, stories about similar abuse ripped into other spiritual communities. In July, eight former attendants of the late Sogyal Rinpoche, a celebrated Buddhist teacher and the author of the bestselling Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, published an open letter describing decades of physical, sexual, and financial abuse by the religious leader. In November, Karen Rain alleged on Facebook that renowned yoga teacher Krishna Pattabhi Jois had sexually assaulted her and other women under the guise of “postural adjustments.” The children of Shambhala were watching. Andrea Winn, who had lived most of her life in Trungpa’s kingdom, decided it was time to speak out. (As Winn declined an interview, what follows is from publicly available records.)

“Something has gone tragically wrong in the Shambhala community,” wrote Winn in “Project Sunshine: Final Report,” a feat of guerrilla journalism published online in February 2018. The report featured five anonymous testimonies of assault, rape, and abuse that implicated unnamed Shambhala senior leaders as either enablers or perpetrators. “We have allowed abuse within our community for nearly four decades, and it is time to take practical steps to end it.” Winn, now fifty-three, included details about her own childhood sexual abuse by “multiple” community members and how, when she spoke out as a young adult, she was shunned. Her healing process led her to a counselling-psychology degree specializing in relational trauma. “One thing that is clear to me is that a single woman can be silenced,” she writes. “However, a group of organized concerned citizens will be a completely different ball game.”

Shambhala’s old guard likely knew that Winn’s report was coming. Three days before Winn published, Diana Mukpo, Trungpa’s wife by legal marriage, posted a letter to Shambhala’s community news website attempting to discredit Winn and the project, calling it a personal attack on her family. “When I first heard about Project Sunshine,” Mukpo wrote, “I thought it would be a wonderful way to embark on this important process. But now that I’ve seen its connection to the spreading of inaccurate, misleading facts, I no longer have faith in its ability to assist with this important task in an unbiased and honest manner.”

Winn teamed up with a retired lawyer, Carol Merchasin, who worked through the spring of 2018 to corroborate testimonies for a second, more explosive report. This round focused on allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Shambhala’s leader, Mipham. Merchasin recounts that they reached out to the Shambhala Kalapa council to present the allegations prior to publishing and to encourage the organization to conduct an investigation. No one from the council would meet with the whistleblowers, but, according to Merchasin, the council hired a mediator who threatened her with legal action days before she and Winn planned to release the second report online on June 28.

Soon after the report was published, Mipham paused his teaching activities and issued a vaguely apologetic statement announcing that he was committing to a shared project of healing. “This is not easy work,” he concluded, “and we cannot give up on each other. For me, it always comes back to feeling my own heart, my own humanity, and my own genuineness. It is with this feeling that I express to all of you my deep love and appreciation. I am committed to engaging in this process with you.”

Shambhala leaders could no longer dismiss allegations of long-standing systemic abuse.

But Winn and Merchasin released a third report, that August, that included two further accounts alleging that Mipham had abused his power. Facing pressure from local and international media coverage, Shambhala decided to launch an independent investigation. The investigator’s conclusion, released in February 2019, was that Mipham had caused a lot of harm, and they encouraged him to take responsibility and “be directly involved in the healing process.” Two weeks after the findings were released, six former personal attendants to Mipham came forward with an open letter about their years of serving him. They described his chronic alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct, his profligate spending, and his physical assaults against Shambhala members. Six days later, forty-two of the organization’s teachers posted their own open letter, calling on Mipham to step down “for the foreseeable future.”

Suddenly, Shambhala leaders could no longer dismiss allegations of long-standing systemic abuse. The community’s Dharma Brats—those of Winn’s generation and later who’d grown up in the kingdom—now had a lot to say and a place to say it.

SOMETIME AFTER the third report, Mipham fled Canada, with his wife and three young daughters, for India and Nepal. In February 2019, he issued a carefully worded acknowledgment of the abuse crisis, declaring that he would retreat from his teaching and administrative duties. “I want to express wholeheartedly how sorry I feel about all that has happened,” Mipham lamented. “I understand that I am the main source of that suffering and confusion and want to again apologize for this. I am deeply sorry.”

For more than a year, Mipham did in fact lie low, avoiding public events. But what is expedient in public-relations terms carries a steep price for Tantric devotees. For them, Mipham’s legal and administrative standing pales against the belief that his very body carries his father’s perfect revelation: the ritual keys to the Shambhala kingdom. It’s a Faustian bargain: they must petition for Mipham’s return regardless of what they know of him and despite the repercussions for people like Julia Howell. For those who believe that Trungpa’s revelation was messianic, the double bind is even tighter. It is said that Tantric teachings can be given only if devotees supplicate to the master for them. If they don’t literally beg for Mipham to come back, they’ll be personally responsible for the death of the enlightened society that was meant to save the world.

Last December, Mipham sent an announcement out over Shambhala networks featuring a cryptic love poem to his devotees: “Like a mist, you are always present. / Like a dream, you appear but are elusive. / Like a mountain, you remain an immovable presence in my life.” The rest of the letter offered family and business news and bemoaned the state of the world.

Two weeks later, a newsletter from the Shambhala board pledged support for Mipham’s return to ritual duty. The letter explained that 125 devotees had requested that Mipham confer the “Rigden Abhisheka”—an elite level of Shambhala teaching—in a bid to restore legitimacy to the damaged brand. In response, the Shambhala centre in France invited Mipham for the summer of 2020.

Pema Chödrön responded by stepping down from her clergy position. In a letter posted to the group’s news service in January, Chödrön said that she was “disheartened” by Mipham’s announced return. She had expected him to show compassion toward the survivors of his abuse, she wrote, and to do “some deep inner work on himself.” But it was the support from the board, she added, that distressed her more. “How can we return to business as usual?” she wrote. “I find it discouraging that the bravery of those who had the courage to speak out does not seem to be effecting more significant change in the path forward.”

The months that followed Chödrön’s letter have seen stock in Trungpa’s legacy continue to plummet. Shambhala centres in Frankfurt and New York issued rebukes of the board’s decision to support Mipham’s return. The board countered with a long-winded affirmation to steadying the course with reforms that stopped short of disinviting Mipham. And they kept fundraising.

Group members were further rattled when Michael Smith, a fifty-five-year-old former member of the Boulder Shambhala group, pled guilty to assaulting a thirteen-year-old girl he’d met through the community in the late 1990s. A similar case against William Lloyd Karelis, a seventy-three-year-old former meditation instructor for the Boulder Shambhala community, is set to go to trial next spring. Karelis is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old girl who had been assigned to him as a student in the 1990s. In February, the Larimer County Sheriff ’s Office closed a more than year-long investigation into “possible criminal activity” at the Colorado centres. They released a redacted file of their interviews with ex-members, which corroborated several of the abuse testimonies published by Winn and Merchasin, including Howell’s account of Mipham assaulting her in Halifax. No charges were filed.

On March 11, when the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, Mipham was leading a Tantric meditation retreat at a monastery in Nepal. Along with the monks, 108 pilgrims from seventeen countries attended—108 being a number of ritual perfection in Indo-Tibetan religions. Mipham’s blog reports a schedule of ceremonies, meet-and-greets with himself and his wife, and a sermon from the monastery’s abbot, who affirmed that Mipham’s leadership challenges were common to great Buddhist teachers. A wide-angle photo shows the middle-aged devotees, many of them white, sitting at attention in the shrine room. Each sports a lapel button emblazoned with what appears to be Mipham’s portrait.

After the retreat, which ended March 15, pandemic lockdowns shuttered Shambhala spaces around the world. With retreat and programming income slowed to nearly nil, the San Francisco centre notified members it was on the brink of insolvency, and the larger retreat centres asked members for a bailout. Mipham’s summer event in France was postponed, but he kept in touch with devotees by sending out pandemic practice instructions, including advice for devotees to chant the mantra of the Medicine Buddha, often used for healing.

On May 14, a group of the Nepal pilgrims paved the way for Mipham’s full return with an open letter reaffirming him as the organization’s leader. The writers claimed that “many of the allegations reported about the Sakyong were exaggerated or completely false” but that, “if someone felt hurt or confused by their relationship with him, he has done his best to address their concerns personally.” (Julia Howell confirmed that she has not heard from Mipham since the allegations were published.) Mipham’s Kalapa Court is wholesome, the letter continued, is responsive to the needs of followers, and remains the centre of the Shambhala universe. “There is no Shambhala without the Sakyong,” they wrote.

As of this writing, Mipham seems to be consolidating an inner core of devotees who will remain loyal to him and continue their journey toward his kingdom. And, while the remaining Shambhala administration claims to be working on reform policies, it’s not quite clear who will remain to enact them or keep the faith. I made multiple requests to Mipham for comment—directly and through various Shambhala administrators—about the Winn report, the independent investigation, Howell’s allegations, and his future teaching intentions. He did not respond.

FOR SURVIVORS of Shambhala, the reckoning continues—and with it, the struggle for recovery. Rachel Bernstein, a Los Angeles psychotherapist who treats ex–cult members, told me that it can be healing to reconnect not only with former members of the same group but also with former members of similar groups, so the person can understand that abuse patterns are standard and predictable. Janja Lalich, an expert on the effects of cults on children, argues that kids who grow up in a group controlled by charismatic leadership have almost no access to outside points of view or ways of being in the world. That’s why she encourages ex-members to reestablish secure bonds with family or those who knew them before they entered the group. But, for those born into a cult or recruited through their parents at a young age—as was often the case with Shambhala—this option is rarely open.

For survivors of Shambhala, the reckoning continues—and with it, the struggle for recovery.

John (whose last name is withheld for reasons of family privacy) ran out of options completely. In 1980, at the age of twelve, he left his father and stepmother in Miami to join his mother, Nancy, in Colorado, where, as part of her program in Buddhist psychology at Naropa University, she had to complete a three-month retreat at the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. While she was meditating from dawn till dusk, John was in residence. One night, he said, he was woken up by a man—a student in his mother’s cohort—assaulting him. John froze and pretended to stay asleep.

al wife” and later died by suicide at age thirty-four.) When John was fourteen, he wrote, another man at the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center—possibly an employee—abused him. Around this time, John first attempted suicide.

John told me his mother had gone to Trungpa and asked him what she should do about her troubled son. According to John, the leader told his mother it needed to be handled by professionals. Then Trungpa told her that she should attend another intensive residential seminary program. At nineteen, John wrote his mother a letter about his sexual abuse. She never answered it, he said. Years later, he found it, opened, in a family photo album. He ripped it up.

The abuse followed John into adulthood. Monique Auffrey was John’s partner from 2000 to 2004; they have a daughter together, now eighteen. Auffrey knew John as someone who was both victim and aggressor, who struggled with substance abuse and who used Shambhala psychology to try to persuade her that his domestic violence was acceptable. In 2011, John was charged with uttering death threats against Auffrey and their daughter as they attempted to leave Nova Scotia. “My main memory of him is fear,” she said by phone from Calgary, where she’s the CEO of a non-profit that provides services to women and children escaping domestic violence.

Auffrey said that, when she was pregnant, John forced her to take Shambhala training. She hadn’t been part of the Buddhist group before meeting John. She spoke of a cycle of abuse similar to that described by victims of Trungpa and Mipham—and similar to John’s own history as a victim: “He would be violent with me, attack me, insult me, threaten me, and then the response to dealing with that was to meditate and take more Shambhala lessons.” Auffrey remembered “There’s neither good nor bad” being a consistent mantra in the group. “It always felt like there was no accountability for anything, no matter what it was,” she said. “The group’s ideology allowed people to get away with rape, with assault, with crimes that the larger population would never put up with.”

In our second interview, in May 2019, John described a moment that suggested he had finally abandoned Shambhala teachings. He was driving one day and pulled over when he heard an interview with Leonard Cohen on the CBC. “‘These religions that promise you liberation and freedom,’” John recalled Cohen saying, “‘that you will be liberated from all of this: it’s a cruel promise that won’t come true.’ “I just burst out crying,” John said. “I was just so happy that he said something I was feeling all along. That there was a scam or some kind of package being sold. And he was saying: ‘In many cases, you feel things worse, more intensely, more painfully.’” A month after that interview, John died by suicide in his Dartmouth home.

By phone, Auffrey offered a personal assessment of her late partner that seemed to ring true for Trungpa’s legacy in general. “If people had rallied together to hold him accountable for his own behaviour,” she told me, “there might have been a chance that he could have gotten the help he needed. That’s the way I like to look at it—to hope that, with intervention, we can change the course of such a destructive trajectory.” It struck me, after we hung up, that her words sounded almost Buddhist in their mindfulness and compassion.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

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Part 1 of 2

The History of Karme Choling: Local writer offers a preview of 'Legends of Barnet’
by Kathleen Monroe
Sep 29, 2020 Updated Sep 29, 2020


Karmê Chöling, a Buddhist retreat center, nestles in a restored farmhouse in the foothills of the Green Mountains on an expanse of rolling meadows. Frequently, passersby glimpse white, peaked event tents. Tibetan prayer flags punctuate Patneaude Lane. A rich red-paneled, side-lighted door with royal blue, brilliant yellow, and green accents welcomes visitors. The symbolic lattice-patterned endless knot decorates a gabled portico supported by turned wood columns.

How did this Buddhist retreat center, celebrating its 50th anniversary, end up on a former dairy farm in a tiny Northeast Kingdom town? Finding no local answer to my question, I became engaged in a journey across continents to solve the mystery.

Local author Kathleen Monroe's book provides well-researched details she uncovered exploring the history of Barnet. Everything from abolition, to Karme Choling’s (above right) founding, to the story of the Hells Angels roaring into bucolic Barnet.

In February 1939, a baby boy, later named Trungpa, was born to the Mukpo family in Eastern Tibet. His mother dreamed on the night of his conception, “a being had entered her body with a flash of light;” that year flowers bloomed in the neighborhood although it was still winter….” At his birth, a water pail unaccountably filled to the brim with milk, and the village was blessed with a rainbow. Trungpa’s relatives dreamed of holy Buddhist lamas coming in search of a reborn Buddhist saint.

Ordained at age 8, the boy was schooled in lines of Tibetan Buddhism emphasizing meditation practice.

In 1959, Chinese military invaders attacked Tibet’s religious institutions, executing and arresting monks, looting, and destroying monasteries. Following the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet, 80,000 Tibetans fled to India through the Himalayas. Trungpa, and a reincarnate custodian of another Buddhist lineage, Akong Rinpoche, were among them.

In India, Trungpa and Akong were befriended by Freda Bedi, an Oxford graduate and one of the first Western Tibetan Buddhist nuns (1964). Bedi’s son recalled Trungpa as voluble, flamboyant, “a naughty boy but a brilliant teacher.”

In 1963, having improved his command of English, Trungpa studied comparative religion, philosophy, fine arts, and Japanese flower arranging at Oxford University. Akong, a doctor of Tibetan medicine, supported the pair by working as a hospital porter.

Trungpa and Akong arrived on the scene at a time when the Beat Generation and the Civil Rights movement were in full swing. The free love and counterculture movement, along with such radical ideas as open marriage, were emerging. Beat idols Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, as well as leaders in the psychedelic movement such as Richard Alpert (known as Ram Dass) gained momentum in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Middle-class young adults set out to find new spiritual paths as traditional religious practice decreased. An interest in Eastern religions, including Buddhism, gained marketability. Young people sought teachers and gurus who offered meditation classes. Trungpa was in the right place at the right time to capture the imagination of the spiritually estranged and those disgruntled by Western materialism and political and social turmoil.

In the Scottish parish of Eskdalemuir, an Ontario-born lama founded a retreat center. In 1967, the lama returned to Canada. Retreat center trustees extended an invitation to Trungpa and Akong to replace the leadership. Samye Ling—Europe’s first Buddhist monastery—became one of the first stopping places for a hodgepodge of Buddhist scholars and hippies. In 1969, Trungpa published Meditation in Action, and his reputation spread like wildfire.

Trungpa sought to demystify the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and make Buddhism accessible to Westerners. Akong wanted to hold onto the Tibetan cultural practices inherent in Buddhism. Friction intensified between the two men. Samye Ling, combined the rigors of a monastery with the unconventional freedom of a hippie commune. Aromas of pot and macrobiotic food wafted through the halls.

The villagers spread gossip about sex and orgies at the monastery. Trungpa struggled to impart the basics of Buddhist sitting meditation, but he remarked that most of those congregated “seemed to be slightly missing the point.”

Trungpa’s conviction was that the West was ripe for meditation. Akong, however, summed up the early days of Samye Ling by saying, “We didn’t have so much spiritual activity—we had hippies.”

In 1968, Trungpa spent 10 days in a Bhutan cliffside “tiger lair” seeking inspiration on how to bring dharma—Buddha’s teaching—to the West. The message he realized was to expose “spiritual materialism,” a term he coined and expounded on. In 1969, the unlicensed Trungpa suffered an alcoholic blackout, crashing his sports car into the façade of a joke and magic shop. The revelations in Bhutan, coupled with the accident, influenced Trungpa’s decision to renounce his monastic vows and fully embrace Western living. He believed the teachings of Buddhism should be free of cultural trappings and religious fascination to take root in the West. To proclaim the dharma to Westerners, he doffed his monastic robes, eliminated Buddhist jargon, co-opting vocabulary from other world cultures.

Trungpa and his wife, Diana Pybus, eloped in 1970.

In December 1968, 15-year-old Diana Pybus caught his eye. A rebellious schoolgirl, delighted by the Tibetan’s offer of marriage, Diana and Trungpa eloped on Jan. 3, 1970. Upon hearing the news, Diana’s mother fainted. The conflict between Trungpa and Akong Rinpoche intensified. Living in Scotland became increasingly uncomfortable for the young newlyweds.

Diana urged Trungpa to move to the United States. But how did his first meditation center there come to be located in Barnet?

Early followers, Tania Leontov, John J. Baker, Jean-Claude van Itallie, and Fran Lewis were able to piece together the story of the founding of Barnet’s Tail of the Tiger. Patience Lindholm, Jo Ann Newman’s daughter, helped fill in the picture.

In July 1967, thirty-one-year-old Tania Leontov (1936-), an off-Broadway costume designer, and Jean-Claude van Itallie, an American playwright, took van Itallie’s hit play, America Hurrah, to the Royal Court Theatre in London. The controversial play was forced to close. The director, Joe Chaikin, met Vietnamese Buddhist monks at a retreat center in North London. He encouraged members of the cast and crew to expand their life experiences and suggested they visit Samye Ling. Leontov, who knew nothing about Buddhism, set off to check it out. There she met Richard Arthure, Trunga’s secretary, who in turn introduced her to Trungpa.

“I realized I wanted to be in his presence,” Leontov recalled. Trungpa expressed his curiosity about the United States to Leontov. He wanted to lecture in America.

Studying under Trungpa at Samye Ling at the time was Josephine Ann Williamson Newman of Branford, Connecticut. Newman appreciated Trungpa as “a wonderful teacher.” She and Leontov became friends. Jo Ann, married to James A. Newman, Jr., vice chairman of international consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, was very wealthy.

Booz, Allen and Salomon Fill Key Positions
Sept. 29, 1970
New York Times

Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., worldwide consulting and engineering organization, announced yesterday the promotion of three top officers with a combined total of 70 years’ service to head the new management team, effective Thursday.

They are Charles P. Bowen Jr., who becomes chairman, James W. Taylor, president, and James A. Newman, vice chairman. James L. Allen, 65 years old, a founding partner of the concern and chairman for the last 25 years, was elected honorary chairman. He will continue as chairman of the finance committee of the board.

Mr. Bowen, 56, has been president since 1962 when the company became incorporated. Before that he was the top managing partner of the firm, which he joined as a consultant in 1944. He has a degree in business an engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 1935. The executive lives with his wife, a son and three daughters in Connecticut.

Mr. Bowen is a trustee for the Committee for Economic Development and a member of the National Industrial Conference Board.

Mr. Taylor, 52, joined the company in 1951, became a partner and, upon its incorporation, was made executive vice president. His degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1940 is in management engineering. Mr. Taylor is a director of the Association of Consulting Management Engineers, member of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers and a trustee of Beaver College.

Mr. Newman. 55, has been with the concern since 1946 and was a partner before becoming executive vice president in 1962. He received degree in chemical engineering from M.I.T. in 1937.

All three executives are on the board of directors of Booz, Allen, which became publicly owned Jan. 13 and is traded over the counter.

For the nine months ended June 30, the company's business volume was $42‐million, with earnings of 66 cents share.

Salomon Brothers announced yesterday the admission of four men—all of them in their thirties— as new general partners and of 16 others, including former Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow as limited partners.

In addition, the giant investment concern disclosed that Sidney Homer, who has been a general partner since he joined the firm in 1961, has purchased a limited partnership. This was in anticipation of retirement on Oct. 1, 1971 by Mr. Homer, who has achieved a wide reputation as one of the nation's leading bond marked analysts. He has been in Wall Street since 1923.

Mr. Homer, who will be 68 years old next month, confirmed that he will resign his general partnership upon retirement and will not be active in the firm.

Before today's actions, Salomon Brothers had 29 general partners and 18 limited partners.

The new general partners are Jonathan H. Bigel. William M. Brachfeld, G. Clifford McCarthy Jr., and Morris W. Offit.

Mr. Bigel, 30 years old, is an arbitrage trader who joined Salomon in 1965 after serving for three years as pension administrator with the Bankers Trust Company. He lives in Hewlett, L. I., with his wife and three children.

Mr. Brachfeld; 36, is in charge of Government bond trading. He joined the firm in 1957 and was named limited partner in 1969. A resident of Riverdale, Mr. Brachfeld and his wife have two children.

Mr. McCarthy, a New York sales unit manager, is 36 years old. He lives with his wife and daughter in Staten Island.

Mr. Offit, 33, left the Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust Company in Baltimore to join Salomon in late 1968. He is director of the concern's stock research. He and his wife have two children and live in Harrison, N.Mr. Minow is a member of Leibman, Williams, Bennett, Baird & Minow in Chicago. He and his wife, who live in Glencoe, Ill., have three children.

Salomon Brothers also announced that general partners Daniel M. Kelly, New York, and Julian L. Meyer, St. Louis, will become limited partners.

Booz, Allen Picks Senior Officers Library Reading Room []
Declassified in Part: Sanitized Copy Approved For Release @50-Yr 2013/12/17: CIA-RDP73-00475R000101900001-6
January 13, 1966

James W. Taylor

Edwin L. Morris

James A. Newman

A realignment of several senior posts for domestic and international operations was announced here yesterday by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., management consultants.

Named to new executive vice presidencies were James A. Newman, 51 years old; Edwin L. Morris, 56, and James W. Taylor, 47.

Mr. Newman, formerly a vice president, was named head of the company's eastern region. This includes direction of the company's Washington, D.C., office's management-consulting service for the Federal Government.

The executive, a native of Winchester, Mass., also was named president of Booz, Allen & Hamilton International N.V., a subsidiary, and as head of all European activities.

The presidency of Booz, Allen International was held by Ralph E. Smiley, who becomes chairman of the subsidiary.

Named managing director of European operations, reporting to Mr. Newman, was Newton F. Parks, a corporate vice president based in London.

Also reporting to Mr. Newman are Conrad Jones, a vice president who has been named managing officer of the eastern region, and Harry L. Vincent, who continues as head of the Washington office.

Mr. Morris, a native of Fargo, N.D., also served as a corporate vice president. He has been named head of Booz, Allen's central region and also as coordinator of marketing services.

John T. Shutack, a vice president, has been appointed managing officer of the central region, reporting to Mr. Morris. Both men are in the company's Chicago office.

Mr. Taylor, previously a vice president, was born in Bismark, N.D. He will continue as head of Booz, Allen & Hamilton's Operating Methods division and will assume additional responsibilities for its computer systems division.

After a time, Leontov returned to the United States. Over lunch, Leontov and Newman shared Trungpa’s curiosity about the United States and described her ambition to open a meditation center here in the States. “What are you going to do?” Newman asked. Leontov explained they would have to find farmland suitable for the venture. Impulsively, Newman piped up saying, “I’ll buy the farm.” The pair wrote letters to Trungpa, telling him of their plans and urging him to come to the United States. Leontov’s interest in convincing Trungpa to come to North America was driven in part by the hope that “Rinpoche could be back in my life.”

Discouraged after visiting farms in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, the women approached real estate broker, banker, and auctioneer Ken Rogers of St. Johnsbury, who suggested they look at a piece of property in Barnet.

In early January 1970, Newman, Fran Lewis, and Leontov pulled into Barnet. Beneath dark trees, silhouetted against the sky, they checked out the snow-covered babbling brook, and the good bones of the sunny, cheerful Patneaude farmhouse. Lewis recalls her first impression of the land—“Amazing! I am a big walker … and I looked at the land and said, ‘Man, I bet this is going to be a place to take long walks’ … but, at that moment the snow was so deep.” With funds from the Newmans, the group purchased Patneaude’s 430 acres for about $54,000.

Four followers—Fran Lewis, Jo Ann Newman, Richard Arthure (Trungpa’s secretary), and Tania Leontov settled on the Patneaude land on March 16, 1970, establishing Tail of the Tiger (TOT), the first Kagyü Buddhist meditation center in the United States.
The name “Tail of the Tiger” was chosen using an I Ching hexagram which says “Treading upon the Tail of the Tiger. It does not bite the man. Success.”

As can be imagined, the arrival of these new landowners caught the attention of Barnet residents. Cathy Ryder Thomas, formerly of McIndoe Falls, recalls:

“We heard that the Patneaude Farm was sold to Buddhists. We didn’t know what to expect. I was a teenager waitressing at Phil’s Drive-In in McIndoe. Phil’s was a car-hop place with a sit-down option in colder weather. I recall serving a table full of Buddhist women all chatting, laughing, relaxed, eating ice cream. We expected them to be more godly, or hippies, or a cult, but turns out, they were completely normal.

“At the Congregational Church in McIndoe, the congregation was concerned about the influence Buddhists would have on the local people. Gradually, we found they were generous, had a tradition of helping people, and they turned out to be a positive addition.

“Buddhists bought gas, shopped locally, and ate at the restaurant. The Buddhists gave people here broader cultural exposure and brought out the best in us. So many Buddhist people moved into town to be at the center of things! We have a tradition in Vermont of not getting too judgmental or we balance our prejudices with empathy. The Buddhists fit right in.”

At TOT, preparations were underway for Trungpa’s arrival. Richard Arthure, Trungpa’s student since 1966 was better known by his Buddhist name, Kunga Dawa. As Trungpa’s secretary, Dawa was asked to give seminars in Burlington, Lyndonville, New York, and Boston introducing Trungpa to eager listeners.

Trungpa’s 1969 book Meditation in Action could be purchased at New York City’s Samuel Weiser Bookstore—America’s “premier establishment carrying all manner of books relating to alternative religions and the occult.” Readers enthralled by Meditation in Action returned to the bookstore asking, “Where is this man?” The answer—”In Barnet, Vermont.”

A Trungpa biographer wrote, “… Tail of the Tiger was a cross between a hippie community and a Buddhist monastery and practice center, even if, at the time, the first element was still dominant.”

Trungpa dressed in colorful, loud, western-style clothing. He might wear flannel shirts or cravats. He left his shirt unbuttoned at the top, defying Barnet’s image of a spiritual master. Wildly charismatic, clever, inspiring, and brilliant, Trungpa encouraged acolytes to question their thinking, challenge their opinions, and urged generosity, patience, dedication, unceasing effort, spontaneity, outrageousness, and compassion. In the farmhouse and poorly-heated Barnet Town Hall, people wrapped themselves in blankets and rugs and huddled amongst pillows to listen to Rinpoche.

Newman sold the Patneaude property to TOT in about 1974.

The Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyü lineage, came to America that year. Hosted by Trungpa, he was so impressed by what he saw that he renamed TOT “Karmê Chöling,” which means “Dharma Place (“place of cosmic law and order”) of the Karma Kagyü.”

Trungpa predicted he would live only a dozen years beyond 1970. He planned the important details of his funeral years before his death.

In 1986, he moved the international headquarters of his organization from Boulder to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There he suffered cardiorespiratory arrest in September. On April 4, 1987, aged forty-seven, Trungpa died. No one doubted that his death was accelerated by his legendary drinking.

At his spacious home in a posh Halifax neighborhood, Buddhists came to mourn his passing. Trungpa’s body remained in a state of samadhi, without decay and with the area around the heart remaining warm, for as many as five days after death. On April 11, 1987, his corpse was transported to Barnet where he rested in the shrine room at Karmê Chöling.

The population of Barnet—1,300 at the time—swelled for Trungpa's May 26 cremation. Residents rented out rooms. The Barnet Congregational Church bagged 3,500 lunches for visitors. Three thousand students and 50 Tibetan monks attended the ceremony. Karmê Chöling installed an office trailer, a refrigeration truck, a medical facility, and an administration tent to handle mourners. Motels, hotels, campgrounds for 60 miles were sold out. Eight Vermont Transit buses ferried mourners to the site. Citizens sold parking spaces at Harvey’s Lake, Dunbar’s field, Wendell Goss’, and the Barnet athletic field.

The population of Barnet—1,300 at the time—swelled for the May 26th cremation—irreverently referred to as “The Barbecue” by locals. Residents rented out rooms. The Barnet Congregational Church bagged 3,500 lunches for visitors. Money collected went to the support of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Bridges for Peace program. Three thousand students, fifty Tibetan monks, and Joe and Alice Patneaude attended the ceremony.

Karmê Chöling installed an office trailer, a refrigeration truck, a medical facility, and an administration tent to handle mourners. Motels, hotels, campgrounds for sixty miles around were sold out. Dyer’s Town Market, Barnet Village’s general store, did a landslide business, selling “lots of cigarettes and lottery tickets.” Eight Vermont Transit buses ferried mourners to the site. Citizens sold parking spaces at Harvey’s Lake, Dunbar’s field, Wendell Goss’, and the Barnet athletic field.

After four days of rain, the cremation day sky was heavily overcast, the treetops shrouded in fog. The procession began with a lone bagpiper playing “Farewell to Nova Scotia.” Fifty maroon-robed monks followed, playing six-foot-long ceremonial horns, conch shells, reed instruments, and drums.

Trungpa’s body, facing east in a sitting position, was put into a structure called a purkhang, twenty-five feet high, topped with a gold spire. The outline of his face, a crown atop his head, could be seen through an ornate window. A cannon fired, startling the crowd, followed by a series of Buddhist chants echoing against the foothills. Fog gave way to a blue sky. “Within an hour, clouds crept above the horizon—long streaks, cobbled textures, mares’ tails. Then we saw it: a bright, circular rainbow around the sun. Then we saw another: a long stairway rainbow, on the edge of a violet smear of mist. The crowd cheered.” Meteorologists explained that the crowd had been treated to a glorious solar halo swiftly accompanied by cloud iridescence.

Legends of Barnet, Vermont: History, Mystery, Curiosities, and Culture of a Small Vermont Town, offers an in-depth study of the contradictions in Trungpa’s life. ‘Legends’ dives deep into researched tales answering: What’s the story behind eleven-year-old Jacques Cousteau’s first dive ever—in Barnet’s Harvey Lake? What is the truth behind the claim that the Goodwillie House was an Underground Railroad hiding place? How did the actions of a Barnet physician result in a change in New Hampshire law? Have imported Scottish clocks been ticking for centuries? Hells Angels roared into bucolic Barnet seeking summer lodging. Paranormal activity? We have our share.

To order a copy of Legends: Contact author, Kathleen Monroe, or 802-633-3052.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

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Part 2 of 2


Booz Allen Hamilton
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/30/20

Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation
Type: Public
Traded as: NYSE: BAH; Russell 1000 Component
Industry: Management consulting; Information technology consulting
Founded: 1914; 106 years ago
Founder: Edwin G. Booz; James L. Allen; Carl L. Hamilton
Headquarters: McLean, Virginia, U.S.[1]

Central Intelligence Agency
Federal government office in McLean, Virginia
Address: 1000 Colonial Farm Rd, McLean, VA 22101

Key people: Horacio D. Rozanski, (President & Chief Executive Officer)[1]; John Michael McConnell, (Vice Chairman)
Services: Management and Technology Consulting
Revenue: Increase US$6.7 billion (2019)[2]
Net income: Increase $419 million USD (FY 2019)[2]
Number of employees: 27,173[3] (2020)

Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (informally Booz Allen)[4] is the parent of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., an American management and information technology consulting firm,[5] headquartered in McLean, Virginia,[6] in Greater Washington, D.C., with 80 other offices around the globe. The company's stated core business is to provide consulting, analysis and engineering services to public and private sector organizations and nonprofits.[7][8]


Founding fathers from left to right: George Fry, Edwin Booz, Carl Hamilton, and James Allen


The company that was to become Booz Allen was founded in 1914, in Evanston, Illinois, when Northwestern University graduate Edwin G. Booz founded the Business Research Service. The service was based on Booz's theory that companies would be more successful if they could call on someone outside their own organizations for expert, impartial advice.[9] Booz's service attracted a number of clients, such as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Chicago's Union Stockyards and Transit Company, and the Canadian Pacific Railway.[10]

During the following three decades, the company went through a number of name changes and business models, eventually settling to Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton, named after their partnership in 1936. Before Fry's departure in 1942, the company's name was changed again to Booz Allen Hamilton.[citation needed]

Post-War era

In general, the post-war era saw a shift in the company's client pool, with many contracts coming from governmental institutions and different branches of the Armed Forces.[10]

Edwin G. Booz died in 1951. The company received its first international contract two years later, in 1953, to help reorganize land-ownership records for the newly established Philippines government.[11]

The partnership was dissolved in 1962 and the company was registered as a private corporation. In 1998, Booz Allen Hamilton developed a strategy for the IRS to reshuffle its 100,000 employees into units focused on particular taxpayer categories.[12]

21st century

Bloomberg named it "the world's most profitable spy organization".[13] According to an Information Week piece from 2002, Booz Allen had "more than one thousand former intelligence officers on its staff".[11] According to its own website, the company employs more than 10,000 personnel who have cleared TS/SCI background checks.[14]

In 2008, the commercial arm of Booz Allen split off to form Booz & Company. In 2013, Booz & Company was acquired by PwC and renamed Strategy&. Since then, Booz Allen has re-entered commercial markets. In 2010, Booz Allen went public with an initial public offering of 14,000,000 shares at $17 per share. [15][16] In 2012, Booz Allen purchased the Defense Systems Engineering & Support division of ARINC, adding approximately 1,000 new employees to its roster.[17] In 2014, Booz Allen acquired Epidemico.[7][18] In 2015, Booz Allen acquired the software development division of the Charleston, S.C. technology firm SPARC.[19][20] In 2017, Booz Allen acquired eGov Holdings.[21] In 2018, the SEC awarded both Booz Allen and Attain a $2.5 billion contract to modernize how the SEC purchases IT services.[22]

In February 2020, the company became the SEC's major provider of cybersecurity services by securing a 10-year contract worth $113 million.[23]

Research and publications

Booz Allen has been credited with developing several business concepts. In 1957, Sam Johnson, great grandson of the S.C. Johnson & Son founder, and Booz Allen's Conrad Jones published How to Organize for New Products[24] which discussed theories on product life-cycle management.[25][26] In 1958, Gordon Pehrson, deputy director of U.S. Navy Special Projects Office, and Bill Pocock of Booz Allen Hamilton developed the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT).[27][28] In 1982, Booz Allen's Keith Oliver coined the term "supply chain management".[29] In 2013, Booz Allen's Mark Herman, Stephanie Rivera, Steven Mills, and Michael Kim published the Field Guide to Data Science.[30] A second edition was published in 2015.[31] In 2017, Booz Allen's Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern published The Mathematical Corporation.[32]

Controversies and leaks

Booz Allen office, Washington, D.C.


In 2006, at the request of the Article 29 Working Party (an advisory group to the European Commission), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Privacy International (PI) investigated the U.S. government's SWIFT surveillance program, and Booz Allen's role therein. The ACLU and PI filed a memo at the end of their investigation, which called into question the ethics and legality of a government contractor (in this case Booz Allen) acting as auditors of a government program, when that contractor is heavily involved with those same agencies on other contracts. The basic statement was that a conflict of interest may exist. Beyond that, the implication was also made that Booz Allen may be complicit in a program (electronic surveillance of SWIFT) that may be deemed illegal by the European Commission.[33][34]

Homeland Security

A June 28, 2007 article in The Washington Post related how a United States Department of Homeland Security contract with Booz Allen increased from $2 million to more than $70 million through two no-bid contracts, one occurring after the DHS's legal office had advised DHS not to continue the contract until after a review. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the contract characterized it as not well-planned and lacking any measure for assuring valuable work to be completed.[35]

According to the article,

In a rush to meet congressional mandates to establish the information analysis and infrastructure protection offices, agency officials routinely waived rules designed to protect taxpayer money. As the project progressed, the department became so dependent on Booz Allen that it lost the flexibility for a time to seek out other contractors or hire federal employees who might do the job for less.[35]

Elaine C. Duke, the department's chief procurement officer, acknowledged the problems with the Booz Allen contract. But Duke said those matters have been resolved. She defended a decision to issue a second no-bid contract in 2005 as necessary to keep an essential intelligence operation running until a competition could be held.[35]

2011 Anonymous hack

On July 11, 2011[36][37] the group Anonymous, as part of its Operation AntiSec,[38] hacked into Booz Allen servers, extracting e-mails and non-salted passwords from the U.S. military. This information and a complete dump of the database were placed in a file shared on The Pirate Bay.[39] Despite Anonymous' claims that 90,000 emails were released, the Associated Press counted only 67,000 unique emails, of which only 53,000 were military addresses. The remainder of the addresses came from educational institutions and defense contractors.[40] Anonymous also said that it accessed four gigabytes of Booz Allen source code and deleted those four gigabytes. According to a statement by the group, "We infiltrated a server on their network that basically had no security measures in place."[41][42]

Anonymous accused Booz Allen of working with HBGary Federal by creating a project for the manipulation of social media. Anonymous also accused Booz Allen of participating in intelligence-gathering and surveillance programs of the U.S. federal government and, as stated by Kukil Bora of the International Business Times, "possible illegal activities".[38] Booz Allen confirmed the intrusion on 13 July, but contradicted Anonymous' claims in saying that the attack never got past their own systems, meaning that information from the military should be secure.[43] In August of that year, during a conference call with analysts, Ralph Shrader, the chairman and CEO, stated that "the cost of remediation and other activities directly associated with the attack" were not expected to have a "material effect on our financial results".[44]

PRISM media leak

Main articles: PRISM (surveillance program) and Edward Snowden

In June 2013, Edward Snowden—at the time a Booz Allen employee[45] contracted to projects of the National Security Agency (NSA)—publicly disclosed details of classified mass surveillance and data collection programs, including PRISM. The alleged leaks are said to rank among the most significant breaches in the history of the NSA[46] and led to considerable concern worldwide. Booz Allen condemned Snowden's leak of the existence of PRISM as "shocking" and "a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm".[47] The company fired Snowden in absentia shortly after and stated he had been an employee for less than three months at the time. Market analysts considered the incident "embarrassing" but unlikely to cause enduring commercial damage.[48] Booz Allen stated that it would work with authorities and clients to investigate the leak. Charles Riley of CNN/Money said that Booz Allen was "scrambling to distance itself from Snowden".[49]

According to Reuters, a source "with detailed knowledge on the matter" stated that Booz Allen's hiring screeners detected possible discrepancies in Snowden's résumé regarding his education, since some details "did not check out precisely", but decided to hire him anyway; Reuters stated that the element which triggered these concerns, or the manner in which Snowden satisfied the concerns, were not known.[50]

On Wednesday July 10, 2013, the United States Air Force stated that it cleared Booz Allen of wrongdoing regarding the Snowden case.[51]

Political contributions

In 2013 David Sirota of Salon said that Booz Allen and parent company The Carlyle Group make significant political contributions to the Democratic Party and the Republican Party as well as individual politicians, including Barack Obama and John McCain.[52] Sirota concluded that "many of the politicians now publicly defending the surveillance state and slamming whistleblowers like Snowden have taken huge sums of money from these two firms", referring to Booz Allen and Carlyle, and that the political parties are "bankrolled by these firms".[52] According to Maplight, a company that tracked campaign donations, Booz Allen gave a total of just over $87,000 to U.S. lawmakers from 2007 to June 2013.[53]

According to CNBC, these contributions resulted in a steady stream of government contracts, which puts Booz Allen in privileged position. Due to the company's important government services, “the government is unlikely to let the company go out of business. It's too connected to fail”.[54] Furthermore, the influence Booz Allen carries in Washington isn't restricted to donations, but to a large network of lobbyists and political insiders. According to government watchdog OpenSecrets, “4 out of 6 Booz Allen Hamilton lobbyists in 2015-2016 have previously held government jobs”.

Activities in foreign countries

In June 2012 Booz Allen expanded its operations in North Africa and the Middle East, with initial plans to add operations in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates. It planned to later add operations to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, during a time when those countries, as stated by Jill R. Aitoro of the Washington Business Journal, were "recover[ing] from the turmoil associated with the Arab Spring".[55] The Booz Allen employee base, when it was a part of Booz & Company, had long-term relationships with many North African and Middle Eastern countries; Booz Allen had split from Booz & Company[55] David Sirota of Salon said that politicians in the United States who received financing from Booz Allen and "other firms with a similar multinational business model" have vested interests in "denigrating the democratic protest movements that challenge Mideast surveillance states that make those donors big money, too."[52]

Booz Allen helped the Government of the United Arab Emirates create an equivalent of the National Security Agency for that country. According to David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth of The New York Times, "one Arab official familiar with the effort" said that "They are teaching everything. Data mining, Web surveillance, all sorts of digital intelligence collection."[56] In 2013 Sanger and Perlroth said that the company "profits handsomely from its worldwide expansion".[56]

Booz Allen has particularly come under scrutiny for its ties to the government of Saudi Arabia and the support it provides to the Saudi armed forces. Alongside competitors McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting Group, Booz Allen are seen as important factors in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to consolidate power in the Kingdom.[57] On the military side, Booz Allen is employing dozens of retired American military personnel to train and advise the Royal Saudi Navy and provide logistics for the Saudi Army, but denies its expertise is used by Saudi Arabia in its war against Yemen. Additionally, it also entered an agreement with the Saudi government that involves the protection and cyber-security of government ministries,[58] with experts arguing that these defensive maneuvers could easily be used to target dissidents.

Notable personnel and associates (past and present)


• Robert Bakish: President and CEO of Viacom
• Sir (Francis) Christopher Buchan Bland: Chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and former chairman of British Telecommunications PLC[59][60][61]
• Art Collins: Chairman and CEO, Medtronic, Inc.[62]
• Edward C. Davies (Ted): Managing partner, Unisys Federal Systems[63][64]
• Karen Fawcett: Director, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia[65]
• Rhonda Germany: Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Honeywell[66][67]
• Gerry Horkan: Vice president of corporate strategy, Yahoo! Inc.[68]
• Paul Idzik: Executive vice president and chief operating officer, Barclays PLC[69]
• Abigail Johnson: President of Fidelity Investments
• Joel Kurtzman: Founding editor, Korn Ferry's Briefings on Talent & Leadership, Senior Fellow, Wharton School, Senior Fellow, Milken Institute.
• Raymond J. Lane: General partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; chairman of the board of trustees at Carnegie Mellon University, former president and chief operating officer of Oracle Corporation[70][71][72][73] and chairman of Hewlett-Packard[74][75]
• Matthew Le Merle - Investor, board director and leading authority on innovation
• Gretchen W. McClain - President and CEO of Xylem Inc., former NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Development
• Christopher North, CEO of Shutterfly[76]
• Edward J. O'Hare: Chief Information Officer for the U.S. General Services Administration's's Federal Acquisition Service; former Assistant Commissioner, General Services Administration, and former VP at Dynanet[77][78]
• Torsten Oltmanns: currently Global Marketing Director at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Assistant Prof. at University of Innsbruck[79][80]
• Todd Y. Park: Co-founder and chief development officer of Athena Health and second Chief Technology Officer of the United States[81][82]
• Mark DeSantis: Chief executive officer of ANGLE Technology Consulting and Management and former CEO and president of Formation3 LLC[83][84]
• Stan Scoggins: Vice president of worldwide digital assets, Universal Studios[85][86]
• Deven Sharma: President, Standard & Poor's and VP for global strategy at McGraw-Hill[87][88]
• Michael Wolf: Former president and chief operating officer of MTV Networks[89][90]


• Wendy Alexander: Labour Party Leader and Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP).[91][92]
• Thad Allen: former Coast Guard Admiral Commandant of the United States Coast Guard
Miles Axe Copeland, Jr.: a prominent U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative who was one of the founding members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William Donovan.
• Karol J. Bobko: Retired United States Air Force officer and a former USAF and NASA astronaut.[93]
• Ian Brzezinski: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy from 2001 to 2005
• Alexander Lewis: Chief Explosive Consultant to Special Activities Center, former United States Navy SWCC, awarded the bronze star with valor for efforts while serving in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan[94]
• James R. Clapper: Director of National Intelligence, formally Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and lieutenant general in the US Air Force[94]
• Keith R. Hall: Director, National Reconnaissance Office (1997–2001); formerly Executive Director for Intelligence Community Affairs[94]
• Steve Isakowitz: Department of Energy Chief Financial Officer. Former Deputy Associate Administrator, NASA, 2002–2005[95][96][97][98]
• William B. Lenoir: Former NASA astronaut.
• John M. McConnell: Director of National Intelligence (2007–2009); formerly director of the National Security Agency (1992–96); retired in 1996 as vice admiral, United States Navy[99]
• Todd Park, former Chief Technology Officer of the United States (2012-2014) and former CTO of the Department of Health and Human Services
• Zoran Jolevski: Minister of Defense of North Macedonia.
• Thomas S. Moorman Jr.: Commander, Air Force Space Command (1990–92); Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force (1994–1997)
• Patrick Gorman: Chief Information Officer (CIO), and Assistant Deputy Director National Intelligence (ADDNI), Strategy, Plans, and Policy, ODNI[100]
• Andrew Turnbull: Member, House of Lords (upper Parliament), United Kingdom (2005–); Head of British Civil Service (2002–2005)
• Melissa Hathaway: Director, National Cyber Security Initiative
• General Frederick Frank Woerner, Jr.: Retired United States Army general and former commander of United States Southern Command.
• R. James Woolsey, Jr.: Director of Central Intelligence (1993–95)
• Caryn Wagner: former Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Intelligence and Analysis
• Dov Zakheim: Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (2001–04)
• Edward Snowden: Employee and American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013.

Other Fields

• Joseph Garber: Author
• Olivia Goldsmith: Author of The First Wives Club[101]
• Martin Kihn: author, whose book was the basis of the Showtime show House of Lies, based on his life while at Booz Allen Hamilton
• Harold T. Martin III: accused of stealing data from the NSA while working for Booz Allen Hamilton.[102]
• Graeme Maxton: Secretary General, The Club of Rome
• Daniel O'Keeffe: Guamanian swimmer in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.
• Bruce Pasternack: former president and CEO of Special Olympics International, former director of Energy Policy for the Federal Energy Administration, former board member BEA Systems, on the board of trustees of Cooper Union and also a former board member for Codexis, Quantum Corporation and Symyx Technologies. Author of books on strategy and business.
• Michael D. Smith: professor of information technology and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University
• Edward Snowden: NSA whistleblower[103]

See also

• Virginia portal
• Companies portal
• Booz & Company § History (spin-off of Booz & Company in 2008)
• Booz Allen Classic
• List of United States defense contractors
• Top 100 US Federal Contractors


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Further reading

• Bennett, Drake; Riley, Michael (June 20, 2013). "Booz Allen, the World's Most Profitable Spy Organization". Bloomberg Businessweek.
• Bennett, Drake; Savello, Caroline; Levinson, Robert (June 13, 2013). "Chart: How Booz Allen Hamilton Swallowed Washington". Bloomberg Businessweek.
• Roumeliotis, Greg; Kim, Soyoung (June 28, 2013). "DEALTALK-Snowden fallout comes at bad time for private equity". Associated Press & Reuters.
• Vardi, Nathan (June 10, 2013). "The Carlyle Group Has Made $2 Billion Off Of Booz Allen". Forbes. Retrieved July 2, 2013.

External links

• Official website
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:11 am

Amnesty International’s Troubling Collaboration with UK & US Intelligence: Some troubling connections contradict Amnesty’s image as a benevolent defender of human rights and reveal key figures at the organization during its early years to be less concerned with human dignity and more concerned with the dignity of the US and UK’s image in the world.
by Alexander Rubinstein

As Sakyong, Mipham’s management approach was distinctly corporate. By 2002, he’d appointed the former public-relations head of Amnesty International as Shambhala’s new president [Richard Reoch, joined the International Secretariat of Amnesty International 1971-1993. He then served as a trustee of The Rainforest Foundation 1996–2015]

-- Survivors of an International Buddhist Cult Share Their Stories: An investigation into decades of abuse at Shambhala International, by Matthew Remski

Peter Benenson, left, with George Ivan Smith at a 1966 Nordic Africa Institute Seminar. Uppsala-Bild | Creative Commons

LONDON — Amnesty International, the eminent human-rights non-governmental organization, is widely known for its advocacy in that realm. It produces reports critical of the Israeli occupation in Palestine and the Saudi-led war on Yemen. But it also publishes a steady flow of indictments against countries that don’t play ball with Washington — countries like Iran, China, Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea and more. Those reports amplify the drumbeat for a “humanitarian” intervention in those nations.

Amnesty’s stellar image as a global defender of human rights runs counter to its early days when the British Foreign Office was believed to be censoring reports critical of the British empire. Peter Benenson, the co-founder of Amnesty, had deep ties to the British Foreign Office and Colonial Office while another co-founder, Luis Kutner, informed the FBI of a gun cache at Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s home weeks before he was killed by the Bureau in a gun raid.

These troubling connections contradict Amnesty’s image as a benevolent defender of human rights and reveal key figures at the organization during its early years to be less concerned with human dignity and more concerned with the dignity of the United States and United Kingdom’s image in the world.

A conflicted beginning

Amnesty’s Benenson, an avowed anti-communist, hailed from a military intelligence background. He pledged that Amnesty would be independent of government influence and would represent prisoners in the East, West, and global South alike.

Peter Benenson (31 July 1921 – 25 February 2005) was a British lawyer, human rights activist and the founder of human rights group Amnesty International (AI)...

He was born in London as Peter James Henry Solomon, to a large Jewish family, the only son of British-born Harold Solomon and Russian-born Flora Benenson; Peter Benenson adopted his mother's maiden name later in life. His army officer father died from a long-term injury when Benenson was aged nine, and he was tutored privately by W. H. Auden before going to Eton. At the age of sixteen, he helped to establish a relief fund with other schoolboys for children orphaned by the Spanish Civil War. He took his mother's maiden name of Benenson as a tribute to his grandfather, the Russian gold tycoon Grigori Benenson, following his grandfather's death.

He enrolled for study at Balliol College, Oxford but World War II interrupted his education. He served in the Intelligence Corps at the Ministry of Information where he met his first wife, Margaret Anderson. He worked at Bletchley Park during World War II in the Testery. He is listed as RSM Benenson in room 41 as a cryptographer.

Bletchley Park is an English country house and estate in Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) that became the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. ...

During World War II, the estate housed the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers; among its most notable early personnel the GC&CS team of codebreakers included Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander, Bill Tutte, and Stuart Milner-Barry. The nature of the work there was secret until many years after the war.

According to the official historian of British Intelligence, the "Ultra" intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. The team at Bletchley Park devised automatic machinery to help with decryption, culminating in the development of Colossus, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer. Codebreaking operations at Bletchley Park came to an end in 1946 and all information about the wartime operations was classified until the mid-1970s.

-- Bletchley Park, by Wikipedia

After demobilisation in 1946, Benenson began practising as a barrister before joining the Labour Party and standing unsuccessfully for election at Streatham in 1950 and for North Herts constituency till 1959. He was one of a group of British lawyers who, in 1957, founded JUSTICE, the UK-based human rights and law reform organisation...

Benenson claimed to have been shocked and angered by a newspaper report of two Portuguese students from Coimbra sentenced to seven years in prison for raising their glasses in a toast to freedom during the regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, but the story has been shown to be a myth...He wrote to David Astor, editor of The Observer. On 28 May 1961, Benenson's article, entitled "The Forgotten Prisoners", was published. The letter asked readers to write letters showing support for all those imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs. To co-ordinate such letter-writing campaigns, Amnesty International was founded in London in July 1961 at a meeting of Benenson and six other men, who included a Conservative, a Liberal and a Labour MP.

The British Section of Amnesty International


Chairman: Lionel Elvin (Director, Institute of Education, University of London)
Vice-Chairmen: Eric Baker; Henry Warner
Hon. Secretaries: Peter Benenson and Neville Vincent (Barristers-at-Law)
Hon. Treasurer: Duncan Guthrie (Director, Polio Research Fund)

Trustees of 'The Prisoners of Conscience Fund'

The Rt. Rev. The Bishop of Birmingham (Anglican)
Professor Ritchie Calder (Humanist)
Ian Gilmour, M.P. (Conservative)
The Rev. Dr. I. Grunfeld (Jewish)
F. Elwyn Jones, Q.C., M.P. (Labour)
Sean MacBride, S.C. (Ireland)
Dr. Ernest Payne (Baptist)
The Most Rev. Archbishop Roberts, S.J. (Roman Catholic)
Jeremy Thorpe, M.P. (Liberal)

Heads of Departments

Secretary: Albert Lodge
Library: Mrs. Christel Marsh
Local Groups: Mrs. Marlys Deeds
Membership: Mrs. Marna Glyn
Relief: Mrs. Edith Singer
Administration: Miss Christine Chattin

-- Amnesty International (British Section): Movement for freedom of opinion and religion. Second Annual Report 1st June 1962-31st May 1963

The response was so overwhelming that within a year various groups of letter-writers had formed in more than a dozen countries.

Initially appointed general secretary of AI, Benenson stood down in 1964 owing to ill health. By 1966, Amnesty International faced an internal crisis. The advisory position of president of the International Executive was then created for him. In 1966, after a report of British use of torture in Yemen, he began to make allegations that the British government had infiltrated the governance of AI. An inquiry was set up which reported at Elsinore in Denmark in 1967. The allegations were rejected and Benenson resigned from AI.

While never again active in the organisation, Benenson was later personally reconciled with other executives, including Seán MacBride.

-- Peter Benenson, by Wikipedia

But during the 1960s the U.K. was withdrawing from its colonies and the Foreign Office and Colonial Office were hungry for information from human-rights activists about the situations on the ground. In 1963, the Foreign Office instructed its operatives abroad to provide “discreet support” for Amnesty’s campaigns.

Amnesty International staff pay tribute to founder Peter Benenson in Mexico City, Aug. 9 2005. Eduardo Verdugo | AP

Also that year, Benenson wrote to Colonial Office Minister Lord Lansdowne a proposal to prop up a “refugee counsellor” on the border of present-day Botswana and apartheid South Africa. That counsel was to assist refugees only, and explicitly avoid aiding anti-apartheid activists. “Communist influence should not be allowed to spread in this part of Africa, and in the present delicate situation, Amnesty International would wish to support Her Majesty’s Government in any such policy,” Benenson wrote. The next year, Amnesty ceased its support for anti-apartheid icon and the first president of a free South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

The following year, in 1964, Benenson enlisted the Foreign Office’s assistance in obtaining a visa to Haiti. The Foreign Office secured the visa and wrote to its Haiti representative Alan Elgar saying it “support[ed] the aims of Amnesty International.”
There, Benenson went undercover as a painter, as Minister of State Walter Padley told him prior to his departure that “We shall have to be a little careful not to give the Haitians the impression that your visit is actually sponsored by Her Majesty’s Government.”

The New York Times exposed the ruse, leading some officials to claim ignorance; Elgar, for example, said he was “shocked by Benenson’s antics.” Benenson apologized to Minister Padley, saying “I really do not know why the New York Times, which is generally a responsible newspaper, should be doing this sort of thing over Haiti.”


Dan Cohen@dancohen3000
Amnesty International's new '[Regime] Change is Possible' video calls for solidarity with right-wing insurrection in Venezuela

Amnesty International @amnesty
10:18 AM Oct 6, 2018

Letting politics creep into mission

In 1966, an Amnesty report on the British colony of Aden, a port city in present-day Yemen, detailed the British government’s torture of detainees at the Ras Morbut interrogation center. Prisoners there were stripped naked during interrogations, were forced to sit on poles that entered their anus, had their genitals twisted, cigarettes burned on their face, and were kept in cells where feces and urine covered the floor.

The report was never released, however. Benenson said that Amnesty general secretary Robert Swann had censored it to please the Foreign Office, but Amnesty co-founder Eric Baker said Benenson and Swann had met with the Foreign Office and agreed to keep the report under wraps in exchange for reforms. At the time, Lord Chancellor Gerald Gardiner wrote to Prime Minister Harold Wilson that “Amnesty held the [report] as long as they could simply because Peter Benenson did not want to do anything to hurt a Labour government.”

Then something changed. Benenson went to Aden and was horrified by what he found, writing “I never came upon an uglier picture than that which met my eyes in Aden,” despite his “many years spent in the personal investigation of repression.”

A tangled web

As all of this was unfolding, a similar funding scandal was developing that would rock Amnesty to its core. Polly Toynbee, a 20-year-old Amnesty volunteer, was in Nigeria and Southern Rhodesia, the British colony in Zimbabwe, which was at the time ruled by the white settler minority. There, Toynbee delivered funds to prisoner families with a seemingly endless supply of cash. Toynbee said that Benenson met with her there and admitted that the money was coming from the British government.

Mary Louisa "Polly" Toynbee (/ˈtɔɪnbi/; born 27 December 1946) is a British journalist and writer. She has been a columnist for The Guardian newspaper since 1998.

She is a social democrat and was a candidate for the Social Democratic Party in the 1983 general election. She now broadly supports the Labour Party, although she was critical of its left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Toynbee previously worked as social affairs editor for the BBC and also for The Independent newspaper. She is vice-president of Humanists UK, having previously served as its president between 2007 and 2012. She was also named Columnist of the Year at the 2007 British Press Awards.

Polly Toynbee was born at Yafford on the Isle of Wight, the second daughter of the literary critic Philip Toynbee (by his first wife Anne), granddaughter of the historian Arnold J. Toynbee, and great-great-niece of philanthropist and economic historian Arnold Toynbee, after whom Toynbee Hall in the East End of London is named. Her parents divorced when Toynbee was aged four and she moved to London with her mother.

Toynbee attended Badminton School, a girls' independent school in Bristol, followed by Holland Park School, a state comprehensive school in London, as she had failed the 11-plus examination. She passed one A-level, obtained a scholarship to read history at St Anne's College, Oxford, but dropped out of university after eighteen months. During her gap year, in 1966, she worked for Amnesty International in Rhodesia (which had just unilaterally declared independence) until she was expelled by the government. She published her first novel, Leftovers, in 1966. Following her expulsion from Rhodesia, Toynbee revealed the existence of the "Harry" letters, which detailed the alleged funding of Amnesty International in Rhodesia by the British government.

The "Harry" letters, written by Peter Benenson, founder of the international human rights group Amnesty International, detail the funding during 1966 of Amnesty's mission in the Rhodesian capital, Salisbury, by somebody or something referred to as "Harry", which was commonly interpreted as code for the British government, which was headed by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The letters were made public in March 1967 by Polly Toynbee, an Englishwoman who had worked for Amnesty in Salisbury as a 19-year-old gap year student in early 1966. Scandal resulted within both the British government and Amnesty, and Benenson left the group soon afterward.

With Amnesty in Rhodesia, Toynbee became suspicious of the disproportionately-large amounts of money apparently at the disposal of Amnesty's mission there and the modest scale of Amnesty's operations in both Rhodesia and Nigeria. Toynbee asked Benenson about the origin of the money and pressed him on rumours that Britain was funding Amnesty's mission in Salisbury. According to her, he admitted it and referred to it as "Operation Lordship. That ran at odds with Amnesty's claimed apolitical stance.

Toynbee then acquired a set of letters that appeared to confirm her suspicions. Addressed to an Amnesty official in Salisbury, they described efforts to gain external financing for the Rhodesia mission. Toynbee made the existence of the letters public in March 1967 and alleged that Amnesty had been "bought off" by Whitehall.

When questioned in Parliament on payments by the government to Amnesty, Wilson said that his administration had indeed been "approached by a member of the organisation" and had given a list of possible financial donors in response. Amnesty claimed that any such activities had been unilaterally conducted by Benenson on his own accord and denied any collective wrongdoing. Benenson held that the money had been intended for Rhodesian political prisoners and their families and said that the British government had wished for the payments to be kept secret for political reasons.

The relationship between Whitehall and Amnesty was ended as a result of the affair, with Amnesty reaffirming its official impartiality.

In early 1966, during her gap year from studies at Oxford University, Polly Toynbee served as the secretary for the peer and former West Indian cricketer Learie Constantine on an Amnesty International mission to Nigeria and Rhodesia, two countries in Africa. In Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, Toynbee and the other Amnesty members were supposed to be helping political detainees, but Toynbee recalled, "We sat around drinking and entertaining the press. We must have spent an enormous amount but we never achieved anything. We never saw anyone important. We just got vague assurances that the prisoners were all right." The mission then went on to Rhodesia, where the predominantly-white minority government under Ian Smith had unilaterally declared independence the previous November. Since the declaration of independence, there had been reports of mass arrests of black nationalist leaders.

During Toynbee's six weeks in Salisbury, she and other volunteers dispensed funds to the families of political detainees and tried to arrange legal aid for the prisoners. Toynbee claimed that Amnesty's operations in both Nigeria and Rhodesia were little more than nominal and became suspicious of the financial situation surrounding the Salisbury mission in particular. Amnesty then had a modest budget for such a prominent organisation since it operated out of founder Peter Benenson's cramped legal chambers, and during the financial year 1965–66, it boasted an annual budget of only £7,000. However, Toynbee said she found that there was, in her own words, a seemingly "endless supply of money. I could go to the bank and draw out £200 at a time. And there was no check on what I did with the money." When Benenson visited the group in Salisbury, Toynbee asked him where the funds came from and said there were rumours flying around the city that it was coming from Whitehall, the British government. According to Toynbee, Benenson said the British government was indeed supplying money. He reportedly described the transactions as "Operation Lordship".

Toynbee and others were expelled from Rhodesia in March 1966 for refusing information to the British South Africa Police. While she was there, however, Toynbee acquired some letters that she said had been abandoned in a safe. The letters appeared to have been written in London by Benenson between January and March 1966. Some were typed, and others were in his handwriting. Alternately signed "Margaret" or "Peter" and addressed to the Amnesty representative in Salisbury, they contained frequent references to somebody or something called "Harry", which Toynbee interpreted as code for the British government.

Many of the letters contained detailed requests for payments and funding. One of them, dated 2 February 1966, included this passage: "What with North Hull Harry wants a fair buzz of legal activity. Harry's financial problems apparently have been solved and he's in a generous mood." Toynbee construed that as a reference to the previous month's Kingston upon Hull North by-election, which had increased the Labour government's majority in the House of Commons from three to four members. Toynbee's interest was aroused as Amnesty took pride in its declared apolitical stance, a concept very much at odds with the idea of funding from a national government.

On 5 March 1967, Toynbee revealed the existence of the letters in newspaper interviews. She claimed that Amnesty had been "bought off" by the British government: "Instead of dealing with legal test cases," she said, "it is wasting its time on welfare work which could equally well be done by the Red Cross".

The letters' public appearance caused a scandal. Amnesty distanced itself from the Rhodesia mission and claimed that any such activities had been unilaterally undertaken by Benenson alone. On 9 March, in the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson answered a parliamentary question on the letters from Knox Cunningham, who asked whether or not the "payments made to Amnesty International were made with his [Wilson's] authority; for what reason such payments were made; and what was the total amount paid by Her Majesty's Government during 1966 to Amnesty International". Wilson replied that the government had been "approached by a member of the organisation concerned for the humanitarian purpose of helping the families of men who have been oppressively detained. We thought it right to suggest possible donors who might be willing to help".

Benenson contended that the money had been for the prisoners and their families and had not been gifted to Amnesty by the British government. He insisted that the government had wished the payments to remain secret for political reasons. A private letter written by Benenson two months before Toynbee's interviews said that a third party, the hotelier Charles Forte, had been asked by Whitehall to provide £10,000 for the Rhodesia mission. In his letter, Benenson appeared to imply that Forte's donation might lead to an honour from the British government. Benenson later returned the money to avoid jeopardising the political reputation of the government members involved in the payments.

Following a state of crisis, Amnesty held a meeting in Denmark in March 1967 at which Benenson's resignation was accepted. Benenson resigned on the grounds that Amnesty's offices had been bugged by the British government. In a report, Amnesty Chairman Seán MacBride referred to Beneson's "erratic activities" and "unilateral decisions". Benenson responded by demanding MacBride's resignation and pointed out that the American Central Intelligence Agency had funded the International Commission of Jurists of which MacBride was Secretary-General.

Seán MacBride (26 January 1904 – 15 January 1988) was an Irish Clann na Poblachta politician who served as Minister for External Affairs from 1948 to 1951, Leader of Clann na Poblachta from 1946 to 1965 and Chief of Staff of the IRA from 1936 to 1937. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1947 to 1957...

[[[Clann na Poblachta ([kˠɫan̪ˠ n̪ˠə pʷɔbʷɫəxt̪ˠə] – "Family/Children of the Republic") was an Irish republican political party founded in 1946 by Seán MacBride, a former Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army.

-- Clann na Poblachta, by Wikipedia]]]

MacBride was Minister of External Affairs when the Council of Europe was drafting the European Convention on Human Rights. He served as President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from 1949 to 1950 and is credited with being a key force in securing the acceptance of this convention, which was finally signed in Rome on 4 November 1950. In 1950 he was president of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Council of Europe, and he was vice-president of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation from 1948 to 1951. He was responsible for Ireland not joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

As Minister for External Affairs, MacBride declined the offer of Ireland joining NATO to resist Soviet aggression. He refused because it would mean that the Republic recognised Northern Ireland. He did however state that Ireland was strongly opposed to communism. In 1950 he offered a bi-lateral alliance to the United States, but this was rejected. Ireland remained outside the military alliance. In 1949 Ireland joined the Organisation For European Economic Co-Operation and the Council of Europe as founder-members.

MacBride also argued for the "return of sterling assets" to Ireland: essentially a decoupling of the Irish pound from the Pound sterling by selling British gilts and investing the money in domestic enterprise. Officials in the Irish Department of Finance, who had an excellent relationship with the British Treasury and thought a decoupling would isolate Ireland and discourage investment, resisted the policy. The matter came to a head at the time of the 1949 devaluation of sterling. Despite two government meetings to discuss decoupling, it was decided to retain the sterling link—which remained until 1979.

-- Seán MacBride, by Wikipedia

The relationship between Amnesty and the British government was suspended.

-- Harry letters affair, by Wikipedia

...Toynbee worked for many years at The Guardian before joining the BBC where she was social affairs editor (1988–1995). At The Independent, which she joined after leaving the BBC, she was a columnist and associate editor, working with then editor Andrew Marr. She later rejoined The Guardian. She has also written for The Observer and the Radio Times; at one time she was an editor for the Washington Monthly.

-- Polly Toynbee, by Wikipedia

Toynbee and others were forced to leave Rhodesia in March 1966. On her way out, she grabbed documents from an abandoned safe including letters from Benenson to senior Amnesty officials working in the country that detailed Benenson’s request to Prime Minister Wilson for money, which had been received months prior.

In 1967 it was revealed that the CIA had established and was covertly funding another human rights organization founded in the early 1960s, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) through an American affiliate, the American Fund for Free Jurists Inc.

Benenson had founded, alongside Amnesty, the U.K. branch of the ICJ, called Justice. Amnesty international secretariat, Sean MacBride, was also the secretary-general of ICJ.

JUSTICE is a human rights and law reform organisation based in the United Kingdom. It is the British section of the International Commission of Jurists, the international human rights organisation of lawyers devoted to the legal protection of human rights worldwide. Consequently, members of JUSTICE are predominantly barristers and solicitors, judges, legal academics, and law students...

JUSTICE was founded in 1957, following the visit of a group of British lawyers to observe the treason trials of members of the African National Congress (ANC) in apartheid South Africa and the show-trials in communist Hungary. Its first chairman was Hartley Shawcross, the chief British prosecutor at Nuremberg, and another founder was Peter Benenson who would later establish Amnesty International. Indeed, when AI first started in 1961, it shared its offices with JUSTICE.

In 1958, it became the British section of the International Commission of Jurists ('ICJ'). The original terms of JUSTICE's constitution committed it `to uphold and strengthen the principles of the Rule of Law in the territories for which the British Parliament is directly or ultimately responsible: in particular, to assist in the administration of justice and in the preservation of the fundamental liberties of the individual'. Indeed, JUSTICE itself gave birth to a number of subordinate branches in what were then still British colonies and dependent territories. As each of these countries moved towards independence in the 1960s, the branches reconstituted themselves as national sections of the ICJ. This, in turn, shifted the emphasis of JUSTICE's own work towards the UK itself.

Thus, although founded with an international orientation, JUSTICE quickly established a specific focus on the rule of law and protection of fundamental rights in the UK. Through the work of its first secretary, Tom Sargant OBE, JUSTICE rapidly developed expertise in cases involving miscarriages of justice, and secured the release of many prisoners who had been wrongly imprisoned. Sargant was instrumental in the establishment of the BBC series Rough Justice, which led to the release from prison of eighteen victims of miscarriages of justice....

-- JUSTICE, by Wikipedia

Then, the “Harry letters” hit the press. Officially, Amnesty denied knowledge of the payments from Wilson’s government. But Benenson admitted that their work in Rhodesia had been funded by the government, and returned the funds out of his own pocket. He wrote to Lord Chancellor Gardiner that he did it so as not to “jeopardize the political reputation” of those involved. Benenson then returned unspent funds from his two other human-rights organizations, Justice (the U.K. branch of the CIA-founded ICJ) and the Human Rights Advisory Service.

Benenson’s behavior in the wake of the revelations about the “Harry letters” infuriated his Amnesty colleagues. Some of them would go on to claim that he suffered from mental illness. One staffer wrote:

Peter Benenson has been levelling accusations, which can only have the result of discrediting the organisation which he has founded and to which he dedicated himself. …All this began after soon after he came back from Aden, and it seems likely that the nervous shock which he felt at the brutality shown by some elements of the British army there had some unbalancing effect on his judgment.”


Alex Rubenstein @RealAlexRubi Oct 9, 2018
Replying to @RealAlexRubi
Benenson completely left the group after Amnesty International Secretariat head Sean Macbride - who was also the Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists(whose UK branch was started by Benenson) -- tried to oust him. Benenson said ICJ was CIA-funded (it was.)

Alex Rubinstein @RealAlexRubi

Even former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski was on Amnesty's board of directors for a time. He was the architect of the 'Afghan trap' and bragged about giving the Soviets their own Vietnam quagmire by training, funding & equipping Mujahedeen.

Zbigniew Brzezinski to the Mujahideen: "Your cause is right and God is on your side!"

3:34 PM Oct 9, 2018

Later that year, Benenson stepped down as president of Amnesty in protest of its London office being surveilled and infiltrated by British intelligence — at least according to him. Later that month, Sean MacBride, the Amnesty official and ICJ operative, submitted a report to an Amnesty conference that denounced Benenson’s “erratic actions.” Benenson boycotted the conference, opting to submit a resolution demanding MacBride’s resignation over the CIA funding of ICJ.

Amnesty and the British government then suspended ties. The rights group then promised to “not only be independent and impartial but must not be put into a position where anything else could even be alleged” about its collusion with governments in 1967.

Amnesty’s role in the death of Black Panther Fred Hampton

But two years later, senior Amnesty officials engaged in far more troubling coordination with Western intelligence agencies.

FBI documents, released by the Bureau in the spring of 2018 as a part of a series of disclosures of documents pertaining to the assassination of President John Kennedy, detail Amnesty International’s role in the killing of Black Panther Party (BPP) Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton, the 21-year-old up-and-coming black liberation icon — a killing that was widely believed to be an assassination but was ruled officially as a justifiable homicide.

Chicago police remove the body of Fred Hampton, leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party, who was slain by police on Chicago's west side Dec. 4, 1969. (AP Photo)

Amnesty International co-founder Luis Kutner attended a November 23, 1969 speech of Hampton’s delivered at the University of Illinois.

Luis Kutner (June 9, 1908 – March 1, 1993), was a US human rights activist, FBI informant and lawyer who was on the National Advisory Council of the US branch of Amnesty International during its early years and created the concept of a living will. He was also notable for his advocacy of "world habeas corpus", the development of an international writ of habeas corpus to protect individual human rights. He was a founder of World Habeas Corpus, an organization created to fight for international policies which would protect individuals against unwarranted imprisonment. Kutner's papers are at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University.[8]

Kutner gained national recognition in 1949, when he obtained freedom for a black mechanic from Waukegan, Illinois, who had served 26 years of a life term sentence for raping an itinerant. A Federal judge described as "a sham" the defendant's 1924 trial in which a vengeful prosecutor withheld vital evidence. He also helped free Hungarian Cardinal József Mindszenty, American expatriate poet Ezra Pound, former Congo President Moise Tshombe and represented the Dalai Lama and Tibet. Kutner is widely known as one of the most prominent human-rights attorneys of the twentieth century.

Declassified records show that Kutner had a history of collusion with the FBI and the CIA. In 1969, he reported Fred Hampton to the FBI in the days leading to Hampton's death at the hands of the Chicago Police.

-- Luis Kutner, by Wikipedia

During the speech, Hampton described the BPP “as a revolutionary party” and “indicated that the party has guns to be used for peace and self-defense, and these guns are at the Hampton residence as well as BPP headquarters,” according to the FBI document.

“Kutner has reached the point where he would like to take legal action to silence the BPP,” the FBI wrote. “Kutner concluded by stating that he believed speakers like Hampton were psychotic, and it is only when they are faced with a court action that they stop their “rantings and ravings.”

The FBI internal report on Kutner’s testimony cited above was issued on December 1, 1969. Two days later, the FBI, alongside the Chicago Police Department, conducted a firearms raid on Hampton’s residence. When Hampton came home for the day, FBI informant William O’Neal slipped a barbiturate sleeping pill into his drink before leaving.

At 4:00 a.m. on December 4, police and FBI stormed into the apartment, instantly shooting a BPP guard. Due to reflexive convulsions related to death, the guard convulsed and pulled the trigger on a shotgun he was carrying – the only time a Black Panther member fired a gun during the raid. Authorities then opened fire on Hampton, who was in bed sleeping with his nine-month pregnant fiancee. Hampton is believed to have survived until two shots were fired at point-blank range towards his head.


Our Hidden History @OurHiddenHistry Oct 6, 2018
Replying to @OurHiddenHistry
Not unusual for someone connected with international fascism, the US government, and the mafia, Kutner also has a tangential relation to the murder of Kennedy. He reportedly intervened for Jack Ruby in a congressional investigation.

From Ramparts Magazine
... inferentially, Ruby) was intimate. Both men were top Syndicate gambling figures on Chicago's Jewish West Side. They had been arrested and indicted together for the syndicate murder in 1946 of wire service king James Ragen, an indictment dropped after the murder of a key witness. The police captain most active in the investigation was himself subsequently murdered, right after he reported to the Kefauver Committee (through his lawyer Luis Kutner) that he had a "hot new witness who will ... name Leonard Patrick, Dave Yaras, and Willie Block as the killers" (Newsweek, October 9, 1950, p. 37). In ...

Our Hidden History @OurHiddenHistry

Kutner was also deeply involved with the Taiwan Independence Movement, which attempted to assassinate the son of Chiang Kai-shek in 1970.

A worthy goal or not, I don't know, but just by looking at Wikipedia it appears the CIA was at work there again.

Letter to SAC, Chicago
RE: World United Formosans for Independence

Bufiles indicate Luis Kutner is discontinued criminal informant of Chicago office (CGfile 137-647) terminated initially in 1955 due to erroneous information furnished and fact his emotional stability was questionable. In 1958 he was reinstated and until 1962 furnished information on the Top Hoodlum Program. For confidential information of recipients, on 11-3-70 Chinat Ambassador to U.S. advised Bureau representative in strict confidence that Kutner has approached Chinat Embassy offering his services to the Chinats despite the fact he is currently attorney for WUFI and is defending Peter Huang and Cheng Tzu-tsai, attempted assassins of Chinat Vice Premier Chiang Chingkuo, 4-24-70, New York City. Chinat Ambassador stated he is still uncertain of Kutner's motives in such an offer but believes Kutner is only opportunist interested in financial gain. Recipients exercise extreme caution to insure this information not disseminated outside Bureau. Recipients be circumspect in any future dealings with Kutner and advise Bureau promptly should he make additional requests.


Subject is organization of Taiwan Independence Movement (TIM) dedicated to overthrow of present Chinat Government and whose members attempted assassination Vice Premier, Chinat Government, Peng Ming-min, leader of TIM who escaped from Taiwan, surfaced in Sweden, is presently in U.S. His attorney and also attorney of subject is Luis Kutner who has contacted both Chicago Office, local police and State Department to seek protection for Peng from Chinats. By letter dated 10-2-70 the Director informed Secretary of State Rogers that Chinat Government deeply distressed over State plans to issue visa to Peng and the fact that his entry into U.S. would have obvious internal security ramifications. This information was also furnished to Dr. Kissinger at White House, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of INS. On 11-3-70 Chinat Ambassador Chow Shu-kai furnished information to SA Robert L. Pence regarding Kutner's approach to Chinats

The Anti-communist Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek, President of the Republic of China on Taiwan, believed the Americans were going to plot a coup against him along with Taiwan Independence. In 1950, Chiang Ching-kuo became director of the secret police, which he remained until 1965. Chiang also considered some people who were friends to Americans to be his enemies. An enemy of the Chiang family, Wu Kuo-chen, was kicked out of his position of governor of Taiwan by Chiang Ching-kuo and fled to America in 1953.[13] Chiang Ching-kuo, educated in the Soviet Union, initiated Soviet style military organization in the Republic of China Military, reorganizing and Sovietizing the political officer corps, surveillance, and Kuomintang party activities were propagated throughout the military. Opposed to this was Sun Li-jen, who was educated at the American Virginia Military Institute.[14] Chiang orchestrated the controversial court-martial and arrest of General Sun Li-jen in August 1955, for plotting a coup d'etat with the American CIA against his father Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang. The CIA allegedly wanted to help Sun take control of Taiwan and declare its independence.[13][15]

8:51 AM Oct 6, 2018

Kutner would go on to form the “Friends of the FBI” group, an organization “formed to combat criticism of the Federal Bureau of Investigations,” according to the New York Times, after its covert campaign to disrupt leftists movements — COINTELPRO — was revealed. He also went on to operate in a number of theaters that saw heavy involvement from the CIA — including work Kutner did to undermine Congolese Prime Minister and staunch anti-imperialist Patrice Lumumba — and represented the Dalai Lama, who was provided $1.7 million a year by the CIA in the 1960s.

While Amnesty International’s shady operations in the 1960s might seem like ancient history at this point, they serve as an important reminder of the role that non-governmental organizations often play in furthering the objectives of governments of the nations where they are based.

Alexander Rubinstein is a staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He reports on police, prisons and protests in the United States and the United States’ policing of the world. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.
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Peter Benenson: Founder of Amnesty International [Obituary]
by Hugh O'Shaughnessy
Monday 28 February 2005 01:00

Peter Solomon (Peter Benenson), barrister and human-rights campaigner: born London 31 July 1921; married first Margaret Anderson (two daughters; marriage dissolved 1972), second 1973 Susan Booth (one son, one daughter); died Oxford 25 February 2005.

Peter Benenson founded Amnesty (later Amnesty International) in 1961 and thereby became the creator of a human-rights movement which now counts more than a million members in 150 countries. His warmth and generosity of spirit gained him friends round the globe. His modesty was such that decades later many, even at Amnesty, did not realise he was the founder of the organisation.

The Benensons were a Russian Jewish family and Peter Benenson's maternal grandfather, Grigori Benenson, earned a fortune in Tsarist times from banking and oil.

-- GRIGORI BENENSON, NOTED FINANCIER; Former Owner of Building at 165 Broadway Succumbs to Stroke in London WON FORTUNE IN BAKU OIL Founder of English-Russian Bank in St. Petersburg--Had Developed Gold Properties (Obituary), by New York Times, April 6, 1939

Grigori Benenson, international financier, former owner of the Benenson Building at 165 Broadway, died yesterday in a London nursing home of a stroke of apoplexy, according to word received here by his attorney, Abraham Tulin. He was 79 years old...

The best-documented example of Wall Street intervention in revolution is the operation of a New York syndicate in the Chinese revolution of 1912, which was led by Sun Yat-sen. Although the final gains of the syndicate remain unclear, the intention and role of the New York financing group are fully documented down to amounts of money, information on affiliated Chinese secret societies, and shipping lists of armaments to be purchased. The New York bankers syndicate for the Sun Yat-sen revolution included Charles B. Hill, an attorney with the law firm of Hunt, Hill & Betts. In 1912 the firm was located at 165 Broadway, New York, but in 1917 it moved to 120 Broadway (see chapter eight for the significance of this address). Charles B. Hill was director of several Westinghouse subsidiaries, including Bryant Electric, Perkins Electric Switch, and Westinghouse Lamp — all affiliated with Westinghouse Electric whose New York office was also located at 120 Broadway. Charles R. Crane, organizer of Westinghouse subsidiaries in Russia, had a known role in the first and second phases of the Bolshevik Revolution (see page 26).

The work of the 1910 Hill syndicate in China is recorded in the Laurence Boothe Papers at the Hoover Institution.5 These papers contain over 110 related items, including letters of Sun Yat-sen to and from his American backers. In return for financial support, Sun Yat-sen promised the Hill syndicate railroad, banking, and commercial concessions in the new revolutionary China.

-- Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, by Antony C. Sutton

The family left Russia at the time of the Revolution. In London Grigori's daughter Flora met and married Harold Solomon, a member of a City stockbroking family who had risen to Brigadier-General in the First World War. Their only child, Peter Solomon, was born in London in 1921.

Flora Solomon, OBE (28 September 1895 – 18 July 1984) was born Flora Benenson in Pinsk, Imperial Russia, in 1895. She was known as an influential Zionist. She was the first woman hired to improve working conditions at Marks & Spencer in London. She was the mother of Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International.

Solomon was born in Pinsk, in what is now Belarus. She was a daughter of the Jewish Russian gold tycoon Grigori Benenson, related to the Rothschild family. She was married to Harold Solomon, a member of a London stockbroking family and a career soldier who was a brigadier-general in the First World War. She had one child, Peter Benenson, who would become the founder of Amnesty International.

She was widowed in 1931 and raised Peter on her own.

In the 1930s, prior to World War II, she helped find homes for refugee children who fled to London from continental Europe.[4] During World War II she organised food distribution for the British government and was awarded the OBE for her work, which had a profound impact on later government policy in the UK in relation to health care and the welfare state...

She founded Blackmore Press, a British printing house. Her life was described in her autobiography A Woman's Way, written in collaboration with Barnet Litvinoff and published in 1984 by Simon & Schuster. The work was also titled Baku to Baker Street: The Memoirs of Flora Solomon...

Kim Philby

Solomon was a long-time friend of British intelligence officer Kim Philby. She introduced him to his second wife Aileen. Whilst working in Spain as The Times correspondent on Franco's side of the Civil War, Philby proposed that she become a Soviet agent. His friend from Cambridge Guy Burgess was simultaneously trying to recruit her into MI6. But the Soviet resident in Paris, Ozolin-Haskin (code-name Pierre) rejected this as a provocation. Had both moves succeeded she would have become a double agent.

In 1962 when Philby was the correspondent of the London Observer in Beirut, she objected to the anti-Israeli tone of his articles. She related the details of the contact to Victor Rothschild, who had worked for MI5 during the Second World War. In August 1962, during a reception at the Weizmann Institute, Solomon told Rothschild that she thought that Tomás Harris and Kim Philby were Soviet spies. She then went on to tell Rothschild that she suspected that Philby and his friend, Tomás Harris, had been Soviet agents since the 1930s. "Those two were so close as to give me an intuitive feeling that Harris was more than a friend."

Solomon became friends with Kim Philby and his new wife, Litzi Friedmann. According to Philby: "Flora was an old family friend. I had known her since I was a boy. My father used to take me to see her. I met her several times when I was in the period of my fascist front. Sometimes I'd catch Flora looking at me with a wry look as if to say that she knew exactly what I was up to. She was hard left herself once, you know." In 1937 Philby told Solomon that he was secretly working for Comintern and asked her to join him. "Solomon says she declined the invitation not because of her Russian capitalist background but because she was too busy saving the persecuted Jews of Europe."..

Flora Solomon got to know Aileen Furse, a store detective in the Marble Arch branch of Marks and Spencer. Solomon later recalled: "Aileen belonged to that class, now out of fashion, called county. She was typically English, slim and attractive, fiercely patriotic, but awkward in her gestures and unsure of herself in company." (6) Solomon introduced Aileen to Philby at her home on 3rd September 1939....

On 12th December 1957, Aileen Philby was discovered dead in the bedroom of her house in Crowborough. Her friends believed she had killed herself, with drink and pills. However, her psychiatrist suspected, that she "might have been murdered" by Kim Philby because she knew too much. "The coroner ruled she had died from heart failure, myocardial degeneration, tuberculosis, and a respiratory infection having contracted influenza. Her alcoholism undoubtedly accelerated her death."

Flora Solomon also suspected Philby of having something to do with Aileen's death. She also disapproved of what she considered were Philby's pro-Arab articles in the Observer. It has been argued that "her love for Israel proved greater than her old socialist loyalties." In August 1962, during a reception at the Weizmann Institute, she told Victor Rothschild, who had worked with MI6 during the Second World War and enjoyed close connections with Mossard, the Israeli intelligence service: "How is it that The Observer uses a man like Kim? Don't the know he's a Communist?" She then went on to tell Rothschild that she suspected that Philby and his friend, Tomas Harris, had been Soviet agents since the 1930s. "Those two were so close as to give me an intuitive feeling that Harris was more than a friend."

Rothschild arranged for Solomon to be interviewed by Arthur Martin. Another MI5 agent, Peter Wright, was also involved and later wrote about it in his book, Spycatcher (1987): "I monitored the interview back at Leconfield House on the seventh floor. Flora Solomon was a strange, rather untrustworthy woman, who never told the truth about her relations with people like Philby in the 1930s, although she clearly had a grudge against him. With much persuasion, she told Arthur a version of the truth. She said she had known Philby very well before the war. She had been fond of him, and when he was working in Spain as a journalist with The Times he had taken her out for lunch on one of his trips back to London. During the meal he told her he was doing a very dangerous job for peace - he wanted help. Would she help him in the task? He was working for the Comintern and the Russians. It would be a great thing if she would join the cause. She refused to join the cause, but told him that he could always come to her if he was desperate. Arthur held back from quizzing her. This was her story, and it mattered little to us whether she had, in reality, as we suspected, taken more than the passive role she described during the 1930s."

Wright reports that Flora Solomon was very scared. She pointed out that she told Victor Rothschild about Tomas Harris about her suspicions that Philby's friend, was a Soviet spy. He had recently died in a mysterious car accident in Spain. "I will never give public evidence. There is too much risk. You see what has happened to Thomas since I spoke to Victor... It will leak, I know it will leak, and then what will my family do?" Although Solomon never provided any hard evidence against Harris, who was also a close friend of Guy Burgess, he had already been under suspicion that he was a Soviet spy. "Solomon could not have known it was Harris who had been instrumental in rescuing Philby from operational oblivion in SOE... Just how Harris himself managed to jump to MI5 has never been accounted for. Burgess, who was responsible for obtaining Harris's semi-official MI6 status, had no direct office contact with Liddell."

-- Flora Solomon, by Spartacus Educational

A Soviet defector Anatoliy Golitsyn had already told the CIA about Philby's work for the KGB up to 1949. Nicholas Elliott, a former MI6 colleague of Philby's in Beirut confronted him. Prompted by Elliott's accusations, Philby confirmed the charges of espionage and described his intelligence activities on behalf of the Soviets. However, when Elliott asked him to sign a written statement, he hesitated and requested a delay in the interrogation. A week later he boarded a Soviet freighter the Dolmatova bound for Odessa, en route to Moscow, never to return.

Before Harris was interviewed by MI5 he was killed in a motor accident at Lluchmayor, Majorca. Some people have suggested that Tomás Harris was murdered. Chapman Pincher, the author of Their Trade is Treachery (1981), agrees that it is possible that Harris had been eliminated by the KGB: "The police could find nothing wrong with the car, which hit a tree, but Harris's wife, who survived the crash, could not explain why the vehicle had gone into a sudden slide. It is considered possible, albeit remotely, that the KGB might have wanted to silence Harris before he could talk to the British security authorities, as he was an expansive personality, when in the mood, and was outside British jurisdiction. The information, about which MI5 wanted to question him and would be approaching him in Majorca, could have leaked to the KGB from its source inside MI5." Pincher goes onto argue that the source was probably Roger Hollis, the director-general of MI5.

-- Flora Solomon, by Wikipedia

Despite the family riches, his was not a happy childhood. In 1920 Harold was attached to the staff of Sir Herbert Samuel, High Commissioner in Palestine, and they went to live in Jerusalem, an entrancing development for the passionately Zionist and untiringly party-mad Flora.

The Jewish Legion (1917–1921) is an unofficial name used to refer to five battalions of Jewish volunteers, the 38th to 42nd (Service) Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, raised in the British Army to fight against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War....

Members of Jewish Legion

Edwin Herbert Samuel, 2nd Viscount Samuel; CMG son of Herbert Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel.

-- Jewish Legion, by Wikipedia

At Christmas 1923 Harold Solomon, whom Peter adored, suffered a serious riding accident outside Jerusalem and was confined to a wheelchair. The family returned to London, where the marriage collapsed. Flora in 1927 became the mistress of the former Russian leader Alexander Kerensky. In her autobiography, Baku to Baker Street (written with Barnet Litvinoff, 1984), littered with the names of the prominent from Eleanor Roosevelt to Chaim Weizmann, she confessed to being an unsatisfactory mother; indeed she was to cause Peter much anguish throughout her life.

Harold died in Switzerland, the day before Peter's ninth birthday. The boy was inconsolable: Flora wrote of her son's relationship with his father, "He had been the limbs the man on the first floor never possessed, and I believe he prayed daily for the miracle to make his father whole."

Certainly the young W.H. Auden, who had been engaged as a tutor for him, was little comfort. In the family's house in Hornton Street, Kensington, Auden was continuing his relationship with a male lover. Flora packed the young boy off to boarding school.

Despite all, his innate idealism soon emerged. At Eton the 15-year-old King's Scholar organised support for the Spanish republican government as it fought the military uprising and he himself "adopted" a Spanish baby, undertaking to pay for its upkeep. Arthur Koestler was a particular inspiration to the young man. He and his school friends also raised the large sum of £4,000 to bring two young German Jewish teenagers to school in Britain in 1939. He went to meet them at Dover. At Eton he had became a Roman Catholic, as two of Flora's sisters had already done.

When Grigori died in March 1939 his grandson acceded to his wish that he adopt his name. He therefore went briefly to Balliol College, Oxford, and later into military service under the name of Peter Solomon-Benenson. To his chagrin he was rejected for the Royal Navy because of his Russian connection but joined the Army, where he met and married Margaret Anderson, a mathematician. He was sent to the Ultra code-breaking unit at Bletchley Park and the couple later settled on the surname of Benenson. He and Margaret had two daughters and he proved to be a much better parent and grandparent than his mother had been.

Awaiting the demobilisation which eventually came in 1947 Benenson studied law, preparing himself for a career as a barrister. He joined the Labour Party and the Society of Labour Lawyers. Without success, he tried three times to win a seat in the Commons despite the help given by such as Clement Attlee, Roy Jenkins and Anthony Wedgwood Benn.

In the early 1950s he went to Spain for the Trades Union Congress as its observer at trials of trade unionists and was shocked by Generalissimo Franco's courts and prisons. He went to Cyprus, in the years before the island's independence, and aided Greek Cypriot lawyers whose clients had fallen foul of the British. He got together an all-party mission to Hungary in the throes of the 1956 uprising and ensuing trials, and to South Africa where a major "treason trial" was due to take place. The relative success of these two schemes led to his establishing and initially helping to finance Justice, the British section of the International Commission of Jurists.

The genesis of the movement which was to be Benenson's principal legacy to the world came when, reading a newspaper on the London Underground, he learnt of two students in Antonio Salazar's Portugal who committed the imprudence of toasting liberty in a café in Lisbon. Arrested and tried, they were sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. His first impulse - and he was always an impulsive person - was to alight at Trafalgar Square and protest at the Portuguese embassy. He thought better of it and went to sit in St Martin-in-the-Fields, where the seed of an idea for worldwide human-rights movement germinated.

He discussed the idea with his friend and fellow lawyer Louis Blom-Cooper (now Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC), who suggested they visit David Astor, the editor of The Observer. Within a few weeks, on 28 May 1961, the newspaper carried a long article, "The Forgotten Prisoners", which suggested a worldwide "Appeal for Amnesty 1961" to governments to let their political prisoners go, or at least, give them a fair trial.

As the Cold War was coming to a crescendo Benenson highlighted the fate of a wide variety of captives, from the Angolan anti-colonialist poet and resistance leader Agostinho Neto and the Greek Communist Toni Ambatielos and Archbishop Josef Beran of Prague and Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty of Budapest, both imprisoned by Communist dictatorships, and Ashton Jones, a campaigner for rights for blacks in Louisiana.

The article, reproduced worldwide, had an immediate effect. A number of us, including Blom-Cooper, Eric Baker, a leading Quaker, Peter Archer and Peggy Crane were conscripted on to a committee to guide what was to be no more than a 12-month campaign. Groups of volunteers, working out of Benenson's chambers in Mitre Court in the Temple, struggled to organise sympathisers in many countries in "threes", groups who would adopt a political prisoner, or "prisoner of conscience" in the West, the East and the developing worlds who was imprisoned on a political charge but who did not espouse violence. Diana Redhouse, a British artist, invented a symbol for the new organisation, the enduring figure of a candle surrounded by barbed wire.

Amnesty, soon to be known as Amnesty International, was established in a dozen countries within a year. As it increased rapidly in influence and geographical reach, its carefully researched findings created bitter animosity for it among the governments of many countries, not least the British. It also put to the test the commitment of the staff (most of whom for years were volunteers) to rigorous honesty with the facts for the sake of Amnesty's reputation, even when these proved uncomfortable to the powerful; and to great discretion with the use of information often gathered and transmitted by informants in danger of their lives.

At the same time, as Jonathan Power, a historian of Amnesty, wrote,

There was little in the way of organisation or administration - budgets were so small that they were often worked out on the back of a cigarette packet in a pub. Everything hinged on Benenson's personality.

Even his best friends, those who loved his selflessness, modesty and devotion to humanity, felt his spark of genius rendered his judgements at times precarious. His financial independence also relieved him of the restraints less wealthy people felt.

The strains of working for Amnesty were a potential source of paranoia, even for the most equanimous member of staff. There was, for instance, dissent over support for Nelson Mandela, who had been sentenced by the apartheid regime in South Africa to life imprisonment on sabotage charges. Many felt this meant he could not be seen as a prisoner of conscience and a poll of Amnesty members confirmed their desire that a commitment to non-violence should be a sine qua non for anyone to be adopted as a prisoner of conscience. Nevertheless ways were found of supporting Mandela.

Major crises shook the organisation. In 1966 Benenson suspected that the British government, in collusion with Robert Swann, the Catholic Old Etonian and a former diplomat whom Benenson himself had chosen as general secretary, had suppressed a report on British atrocities in Aden. Peter Calvocoressi, an academic lawyer, produced a report which found the suspicions of Swann baseless. The same year there were further frictions when US claims came that Sean MacBride, the former Irish foreign minister, winner of the Nobel and Lenin peace prizes and Amnesty's first chairman, had been involved with a Central Intelligence Agency funding operation.

For her part the Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee, then 19, who had served as secretary on an Amnesty mission to Nigeria and the Rhodesias, said there was evidence that Benenson himself had accepted British government funds. He riposted that the money was for political prisoners and their families and not for Amnesty. By then the tensions in the organisation were virtually unbearable. An emergency meeting of the executive was held in Elsinore, which Benenson refused to attend but which resulted in severe criticism of him and his resignation.

After a period of mental exhaustion he retired to land he had bought near Aylesbury. There he attempted the farmer's life, taking great pains but achieving little success except with his lawns. In the 1980s his relations with the organisation he had started were restored under the encouragement of the Swedish secretary-general Thomas Hammarberg and Richard Reoch.

Recognizing the urgent need for Al to build and grow in the Third World, and in response to a proposal by the Indian Section, the International Executive Committee appointed Richard Reoch, who had been a member of the secretariat staff, to work as a regional field secretary in South Asia on an experimental basis. He took up his appointment in February 1974 and is based in New Delhi.

-- Amnesty International Annual Report 1973-74

Benenson never tired of his commitment to human rights, in latter years taking up to cause of Mordechai Vanunu, kidnapped from Rome and illegally imprisoned in Israel for revealing details of Israel's nuclear weapons.

Attractive to women and imbued with a strong sexual drive, Benenson was divorced from Margaret in 1972 and the following year he married Susan Booth, who worked at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and with whom he had a son and daughter. Some years later they separated, though did not divorce; they became reconciled when he was in his sixties.

In his later years Peter Benenson lived out of the public gaze, at Nuneham Courtenay outside Oxford. He rejected successive governments' offers of a knighthood, as he did offers of honorary degrees. Long after he left Amnesty his extraordinary personality suffused it.

Injured in a serious motor accident and suffering from coeliac disease, he was constantly visited by Margaret, Susan, his children and grandchildren and numerous friends.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

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Richard Reoch
Accessed: 12/14/20

Amnesty International

One of the principal agencies coordinating the activities of Socialist-Jesuit-KGB efforts is Amnesty International (AI), the London-centered "human rights" agency. In the past week alone, AI has intervened in West Germany to demand the easing of prison conditions for the jailed Baader-Meinhof terrorists; has made similar demands on behalf of the M-19 terrorist gang in Colombia; and has sent former U.S. Attorney General and Khomeini backer Ramsey Clark to Northern Ireland on behalf of a jailed IRA member there.

Amnesty International is closely associated with another transnational "support organization," the International Law Association. The ILA is run to an important extent out of Montreal, Canada offices of Major Louis Mortimer Bloomfield. During the 1960s, Bloomfield was exposed in both the French and American press as one of the leading conspirators in over 30 assassination attempts against French President Charles de Gaulle and for the successful 1963 assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. His commercial front organization, Permindex, was a central component of the "International Assassination Bureau" originally created by the British Special Operations Executive during 1938. It is that network of Venetian and London-linked professional assassins that maintains to this day the professional "hit" capability. Unlike the 1963 period of bloody "executive action," or even the 1968 street insurrections, today's "International Assassination Bureau" hit-men have an exhaustive international network of terrorist cells, umbrella protest groups, and liberation movements into which they can be plugged.

-- EIR Executive Intelligence Review, May 5, 1981

Amnesty International pleads innocent

EIR has received a letter, datelined London, May 29, from Richard Reoch, Head of Press and Publications for Amnesty International, which reads in part: "You state (EIR. May 5, 1981) that 'one of the principal agencies coordinating the activities of Socialist-Jesuit-KGB efforts is Amnesty International.' ...

"Amnesty International does not coordinate the activities of the socialists, the Jesuits, or the KGB, [and] does not undertake joint actions with other organizations and has no links with governments or their agencies.

"Allegations of this sort have been made by individuals and agencies at both ends of the political spectrum. Earlier this year the Soviet newspaper Izvestiya accused Amnesty International of being 'completely maintained by Western Intelligence Services.'

"Amnesty International did not send Ramsey Clark to Northern Ireland, as the article incorrectly suggested. Its concern for prison conditions in the Federal Republic of Germany and allegations of torture in Colombia do not imply support for the political objectives of those imprisoned.

"Our concern is for universal implementation of the United Nations' injunction against torture and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. A fuller picture of the work of Amnesty International would mention its efforts for the defense of human rights in more than 100 countries this year alone .... "

EIR editors reply: We did not mean to imply that Amnesty International is a leading arm of the one-world effort -- merely one of its feet.

-- EIR Executive Intelligence Review, June 16, 1981

Recognizing the urgent need for Al to build and grow in the Third World, and in response to a proposal by the Indian Section, the International Executive Committee appointed Richard Reoch, who had been a member of the secretariat staff, to work as a regional field secretary in South Asia on an experimental basis. He took up his appointment in February 1974 and is based in New Delhi.

-- Amnesty International Annual Report 1973-74

Chögyam’s relocation to Halifax, Nova Scotia, along with key followers over a period of a few years, brought an unusual energy to the small, historic city and largely rural province. There were no doubt many motives for this move, including an awareness that the American government was becoming increasingly wary of Eastern cultic movements such as those associated with Sri Rajneesh or Sun Myung Moon, both in trouble with the law. Chögyam’s wife Diana had equestrian contacts in Nova Scotia, and he had made a reconnaissance of the province as early as 1977 and taken a retreat in Mill Village in 1979. As one of Chögyam’s early supporters who came with him in the first cohort has remarked, ‘Chögyam liked the basic goodness of Nova Scotia, where there was a feeling of humanity without a whole lot of speed’. This is the more likely explanation for the decision to remove the Vajradhatu headquarters and the residence of the spiritual leader from the United States to cool, calm, collected Nova Scotia. To escape any cultic suggestion, Chögyam called his organization the Karma Dzong Buddhist Church of Halifax. The new community was largely comprised of young professionals of Caucasian extraction, who brought with them entrepreneurial skills and a commitment to stay the course in what was otherwise seen to be an economic backwater in an underprivileged part of Canada. They made a major contribution to Halifax in every way, perhaps above all introducing a Westernized form of an exotic branch of Buddhism to a community which had seventy Christian churches and two synagogues, but no established mosques, Hindu temples or Buddhist centres. Further, these new citizens contributed substantially to Nova Scotia’s economic and cultural life. Diverse initiatives ranging from high-end provisioners and restauranteurs to bookshops and environmentally sensitive property development have had a positive impact much beyond a community small in number.

The phenomenon of Chögyam’s Tantric Tibetan Buddhism in Nova Scotia is made complex by the polarity of religious activity it appeared to endorse, suggesting as it does that the dark aspects of the human psyche are important to enlist in order to see the whole of the human condition and overcome its limitations. On the one hand, there was the ambivalent ‘crazy wisdom’ of the guru himself, a hard drinking, chain smoking, often intoxicated and promiscuous spiritual leader whose every action, no matter how outrageous, was seen by his devotees to be somehow acceptable – a Tantric lesson deliberately engaging shock designed to help his followers to see beyond the mundane. In her careful research of this period, which involved many interviews with Vajradhatu practitioners, Lynn Eldershaw cites one such incident:

Many other people were getting really pissed. After he was fully two hours late he comes in drunk and staggers on to the stage and then he sits down and gives this ten minute talk. Then he stops and says, ‘Okay, I’ll take questions now.’ All the questions were about why he made them wait so long. He went along with that for ten minutes and then said, ‘Well, it’s good for you to wait for me.’ Then he walks off . . . People waited two hours for this ten minute talk and an abusive ten minute question period by this drunken Tibetan.

-- (Eldershaw 1994: 56)

Yet clearly this did not deter the faithful, who saw in this kind of performance a valuable teaching of some kind, no matter how bizarre. Another long-time student of Chögyam’s reflected on her relationship with the guru in more empathetic terms:

My main connection with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche is the mind connection of his enormous power and generosity, and [his] ability to open his mind so wide and articulate, so elegantly, that anybody who wanted to tune into his mind could do so. So, I feasted on him. I quenched my thirst and satisfied my hunger and feasted on his wisdom, and his brilliance, and his beauty, and his craziness, and his flare and his outrageousness. His outrageousness most of all.

-- (Eldershaw 1994: 67)

Chögyam’s lifestyle was certainly curious for a spiritual leader from any faith, and likely contributed to his demise in 1987. The regent Ösel Tendzin in turn died of AIDS just three years later. Although this caused not insignificant turmoil within the Buddhist community, remarkably it passed without much commentary by the fairly straightlaced non-Buddhist Halifax public. For example, the Anglican diocesan bishop of the time, knowing that I had met Chögyam twice, asked me if I would kindly explain just what kind of Buddhism was being expressed at Karma Dzong. But there was no hint of righteous opprobrium from this or any other Christian denomination. The Buddhist community seemed to take note of its possible predicament and image, careful new leadership came forward under its Board of Directors, and the organization quickly regained its focus with no suggestion that its headquarters (now known as Shambala International) should leave Halifax for another, more cosmopolitan or central location. His Holiness Dilgokhyentse Rinpoche, a Nyingma prelate and former teacher of both Chögyam and his son, the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, advised the latter to then take on the spiritual direction of Shambala and move to Halifax from Britain accordingly. Although a President (Richard Reoch) and considerable administrative staff are responsible for this complex organization (with 160 centres worldwide), its fundamental spiritual focus is nonetheless emphasized in Mipham’s leadership role. Unlike his father Chögyam, Mipham has returned to wearing robes, though, like his father, he is not known to be celibate.

-- Buddhism in Canada, edited by Bruce Matthews

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Biographical Information

"Richard Reoch’s international human rights work includes senior management of the international public information program of Amnesty International, international consultations involving organizations working on peace and justice issues in Ireland (north and south), and acting as an advisor to the Indo-British Project on the Prevention of Torture. In the 1980s, he was asked by Sting to help organize the Rainforest Foundation, and is one of its longest-serving trustees.

The trustee acts as the legal owner of trust assets, and is responsible for handling any of the assets held in trust, tax filings for the trust, and distributing the assets according to the terms of the trust. Both roles involve duties that are legally required.

-- Executor & Trustee Guidelines, by

Rainforest Foundation US

Join us today!!

RFUS's Peru Director
will be discussing how #indigenous peoples detect illegal #deforestation and protect the #rainforest using technology.

This virtual conference is organized by USAID Peru.
Pencil Register here:



10:19 AM · Nov 19, 2020


The Project: USAID Funded Improving Livelihoods and Land Use in the Democratic Republic of Congo through Community Forests

The adoption of the Community Forests Decree in 2014 and its main bylaw in 2016 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is arguably the most significant legal reform related to tropical forests and forest peoples’ rights in recent years. This framework could impact as many as 40 million forest-dependent people and with tens of millions of hectares potentially available to develop pro-poor, community models of forest management.

Since its creation, RFUK has been continuously advocating and supporting the development of community-based forest management in the Congo Basin – something that is now widely recognised as being key to achieving delivering strong conservation and development outcomes. Under a DFID (now FCDO) funded project (2016-2019), RFUK headed a consortium of Congolese and international NGOs that played a central role in laying the foundations for community forestry in DRC. The project facilitated the development and adoption of the National Strategy for Community Forestry; consolidated the Multi-stakeholder Roundtable for Community Forestry as a deliberative policy making body; accompanied nine communities to apply for their community forest concessions; trained and built capacities among civil society and government officials at all levels; and produced an ground-breaking body of resources, studies and tools to inform best practice in DRC and beyond.

USAID and other donors are now supporting RFUK and our consortium partners to build on these efforts to trigger a new phase of development of community forestry in DRC. The project, which will run from September 2020 to September 2025, has the central objective to consolidate community forests as a viable forest use model that enhances livelihoods while protecting forests. To this end, the project will pursue four main strands of work:

• Promoting land use planning, sustainable management and income generating activities in pilot community forests in Equateur, North Kivu and Maniema provinces;
• Tackling deforestation and protecting biodiversity in target sites;
• Advocating for the continued improvement of the legal framework and promoting transparency and good practice;
• Building capacities in government and local civil society.

Activities will be implemented in the field by a consortium of Congolese NGOs based in Kinshasa, Goma, Mbandaka and Kindu...


The DRC Chief of Party (COP) will be based in Kinshasa and will have the overall responsibility of coordinating project activities on the ground, liaising with partners on a daily basis and leading on policy aspects of the project whilst being the main point of contact for the donor, the USAID CARPE office in Kinshasa.

The post-holder will work closely with the London based project team, led by the RFUK CF Project Coordinator and the Project Finance and Admin Officer. S/he will also have a close working relationship with RFUK’s Programmes Finance, Admin and MEL Coordinator, Tech team, Policy team and additional staff and consultants in the Programmes Team...

1. Project management

• Oversee the implementation of the project on the ground in line with strategy, agreed budgets, logframe, work plans and procedures in coordination with the DRC CF Project Coordinator.
Manage the relationship with USAID (CARPE team, based in Kinshasa) under the donor’s principle of “substantial involvement”, maintaining regular communications with the donor and keeping them regularly informed and involved in the execution of the project. ...


Detail / Essential / Desirable

Knowledge and Experience / Master’s Degree in law, anthropology or international development or a related
subject or equivalent professional experience. / Experience managing USAID projects.

-- Job Description: Chief of Party: DRC Community Forests, by Rainforest Foundation UK: Securing Lands, Sustaining Lives

Currently, he chairs the International Working Group on Sri Lanka, a consortium of senior diplomats and officials of major agencies supporting the peace negotiations in Sri Lanka.

The support to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights continued within the Common Humanitarian Action Plan, CHAP, and enabled the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to expand from one advisor to an advisory team linked to the UN’s country office. This constituted an important step towards an increased presence and a strengthened human rights perspective within the UN as well as several ministries. OHCHR was also instrumental in facilitating number of high profile visit during the year including the High Commissioner for Human Rights and a number of special rapporteurs and special representatives to the UN Secretary General. The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and International Working Group on Sri Lanka (IWG) were supported for their work of strengthen international lobbying and advocacy in relation to the deteriorating human rights and rule of law situation. This included facilitation and networking of local, regional and international human rights organisations for strengthened local human rights monitoring as well as joint action mainly in relation to the UN’s Human Rights Council. However, IWG couldn’t implement its planned activities focusing on building negotiation capacity of parties due to suspended peace negotiation.

-- Sri Lanka: Sida Country Report 2007, by Embassy of Sweden, Colombo, May 2008

On May 6, the International Working Group on Sri Lanka, a coalition of aid agencies and human rights organizations, called on the international community to avert an impending humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. In mid-May, government and NGO delegates from thirty countries attending an Asia-Pacific conference on child soldiers appealed for a global ban on child soldiers. The delegates' "Kathmandu Declaration" noted that a growing number of children were being used in armed conflicts, particularly where insurgent groups were active, and said that Sri Lanka was among the worst offenders in the region.

-- Sri Lanka, by Human Rights Watch World Report 2001

Seeking Transitional Justice, Reform, and Reconciliation in Post-War Sri Lanka: The International Working Group on Sri Lanka Ltd.


To support post-war transitional justice, reform, and reconciliation. The organization will coordinate a series of capacity building training workshops, roundtable discussion to formulate advocacy strategies, and consultation meetings with elected representatives, policy advisors, and bureaucrats in conjunction with Sri Lankan civil society activists to mobilize domestic and international support for meaningful transitional justice efforts.

-- National Endowment for Democracy Grants: Sri Lanka 2018

Seeking Transitional Justice, Reform, and Reconciliation in Post-War Sri Lanka: The International Working Group on Sri Lanka Ltd.


To support post-war transitional justice, reform, and reconciliation. The organization will coordinate a series of capacity building, strategy, and advocacy related activities in conjunction with Sri Lankan civil society activists to mobilize domestic and international support for meaningful transitional justice efforts. The organization will convene at least two coordinating sessions for civil society organizations around important events, including Human Rights Council sessions and elections.

-- National Endowment for Democracy Grants: Sri Lanka 2019

Mr. Reoch is the President of the Shambhala Mandala -- a global network of meditation centers." [1]

"For many years he was the global media chief of Amnesty International, speaking for human rights to the media worldwide. His particular field has been campaigning against torture: he is the author of the official field manual on torture prevention used by the 55-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe...

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, freedom of the press, and fair elections. It employs around 3,460 people, mostly in its field operations but also in its secretariat in Vienna, Austria, and its institutions. It has its origins in the 1975 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) held in Helsinki, Finland.

The OSCE is concerned with early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation. Its 57 participating countries are located in Europe, northern and central Asia, and North America. The participating states cover much of the land area of the Northern Hemisphere. It was created during the Cold War era as an East–West forum.

-- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, by Wikipedia

In 2002, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, appointed him President of Shambhala, a global community dedicated to the practice of creating enlightened society." [2]

• Director, Center for Living Peace
• Advisory Board, Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project


1. Board, Center for Living Peace, accessed November 28, 2011.
2. Who we are, Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project, accessed November 28, 2011.


Richard Reoch
Accessed: 12/14/20


Richard Reoch has spent most of his working life in the service of international public affairs organizations. He has been particularly engaged in human rights, conflict resolution and environmental protection.

Born in Toronto, Canada, in 1948 he studied literature and aesthetics at Trinity College, University of Toronto. He then travelled to London, England, to begin working at the headquarters of the human rights organization, Amnesty International. For much of his 23 years there, he was the global media chief, speaking to the press and appearing on TV and radio worldwide.

In the 1990s he was asked by the musician Sting to help establish the Rainforest Foundation. He remains one of its longest-serving trustees.

Miles Axe Copeland III (born May 2, 1944) is an American music and entertainment executive and former manager of The Police. Copeland later managed Sting's musical and acting career. In 1979, Copeland founded the I.R.S. Records label, producing R.E.M., The Bangles, Berlin, The Cramps, Dead Kennedys, The Alarm, The Go-Go's, and others.


Copeland was born in London, England, to Miles Axe Copeland, Jr., a CIA officer from Birmingham, Alabama, United States, and Lorraine Adie, a Scot who worked in British intelligence. The family lived throughout the Middle East, in particular Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon. At an early age, Copeland and his brothers were fluent in Arabic.

Copeland attended Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1962. He graduated with a degree in history and political science. From 1966 to 1969, Copeland attended the American University of Beirut, earning a degree in economics. This was also where he promoted his first concert. After college, he moved to London, met two progressive rock musicians at a club, and helped them form Wishbone Ash.

BTM and Illegal Records

In 1974, Copeland founded the management agency and record label BTM (British Talent Management) and signed a number of progressive rock acts such as Squeeze, Renaissance and Curved Air. In the summer of 1975, he organized a multi-band tour of European music festivals, named Star-Trucking, which featured several BTM bands as well as Soft Machine, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Lou Reed. However, Reed's failure to appear at any of the shows and other logistical issues resulted in significant losses for Star-Trucking, and ultimately to the failure of BTM. In 1976, BTM closed down.

BTM's end coincided with the beginning of the UK's Punk/New Wave movement and led Copeland to co-found Illegal Records, Deptford Fun City Records, New Bristol Records, and to sign the Cortinas, Chelsea, and the Models to Step Forward Records in 1977.

The Police

In 1978, Copeland became manager of his brother Stewart's band, The Police. Copeland shepherded the group to become one of the biggest bands of the 1980s, peaking with a concert for 70,000 people at Shea Stadium and the number one single for 1983, "Every Breath You Take".

Surveillance was never so sexy!

He continued to manage Sting through seven solo albums.
Copeland was not, however, included in the reunion era of The Police, leading to a 2007 interview in which Copeland lamented that money was the issue.

I.R.S. Records

The success of The Police and the novel methods used to popularize them enabled Copeland to found I.R.S. Records through a deal with A&M Records. Copeland's I.R.S. label had hits with the Buzzcocks, R.E.M., The Cramps, Fine Young Cannibals, The Bangles and many others, including a number one album with his label's group The Go-Go's.

Copeland International Arts

Copeland owns and operates CIA (Copeland International Arts), which includes the Bellydance Superstars, Celtic Crossroads, Otros Aires, Zohar, and Beats Antique. Much of the CIA catalog initially included Middle Eastern, world music, Irish, tango, flamenco, and Polynesian styles. The label later signed mainstream artists.

Personal life

Another of Copeland's brothers, Ian Copeland, was a booking agent who described much of the New Wave adventures of Miles, Stewart and himself in his book Wild Thing.[9]

-- Miles Copeland III, by Wikipedia

He is also the chairperson of the International Working Group on Sri Lanka, a consortium of senior diplomats and officials of major agencies supporting the search for a durable peace in Sri Lanka.

His work has taken him to more than 40 countries. He has given public presentations and addresses to community organizations and professional bodies that include: the Foreign Press Association (London), the Press Club of India, the Foreign Correspondents' Clubs of Hong Kong and Japan, the Bar Associations of Karachi, Hyderabad and Kathmandu, the United Nations Association of Great Britain, the United Kingdom Assistant Prison Governors' Association, and the Senior Command Course for Senior Police Officers in the United Kingdom.

He has led international consultations on peace and justice issues in Ireland (north and south), and been an adviser to the Indo-British Project on the Prevention of Torture on behalf of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.

He is the editor of Human Rights: the new consensus, the report from the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, and of the official field manual, Preventing Torture, of the 55-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In 2002, he was appointed President of Shambhala, worldwide contemplative community devoted to creating enlightened society.


About Richard Reoch
Accessed: 12/14/20

Richard Reoch broadcasting in Santiago, Chile, at a community radio station in La Victoria, one of the shantytowns famous for their resistance to General Pinochet.

Richard Reoch has devoted his life to defending human rights, working for peace and protecting the environment.

Born in Toronto, Canada, he was raised in a Buddhist family, eventually serving as the President of Shambhala, one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the world, from 2002 to 2015. He joined the International Secretariat of Amnesty International (1971-1993), becoming its global media chief (1980 – 1993). He then served as a trustee of The Rainforest Foundation (1996 – 2015).

He continued his work for human rights and peace, engaging with organizations in Northern Ireland (1994 – 2009) and Sri Lanka (1995 – present). He is now a global advocate of cross-cultural communication and inter-faith understanding, speaking out on the rising tide of hatred and violence.

In parallel with his life in public advocacy, he studied the Chinese classical arts of Tai Chi Chuan and Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung for 30 years with Master Lam Kam Chuen, trained as a practitioner of the Shiatsu system of energetic healing, and is the author of Dying Well: A Holistic Guide for the Dying and their Carers.

Early Life

Richard Reoch was born in Toronto, Canada, on 23 August 1948. He is the only son of Flora Jean Gay and Robert Campbell Reoch. His mother, a Canadian by birth, was the conference secretary of the 1932 founding convention of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, founded in Calgary as a political coalition of progressive, socialist and labour groups calling for economic reform to help Canadians affected by the Great Depression. It became the first socialist political party with elected representatives in the Canadian Parliament. In 1935 she married Robert Reoch, a food chemist, who had emigrated to Canada from Blairgowrie, Scotland, in 1917.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, they withdrew from the Scottish Presbyterian Church in Toronto to which they belonged on pacifist grounds. This led to a 15-year search for a new spiritual community. In 1954 they joined the Toronto Buddhist Church, a chapter of the Jodo Shinshu Pure Land sect of Japanese Buddhism, part of the Buddhist Churches of America. As a result, their son Richard, then aged 6, became one of the earliest non-Oriental westerners of his generation to become a Buddhist.

His primary and secondary education took place in Toronto at Crescent School and University of Toronto Schools where he received the Nesbitt Gold Medal. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from Trinity College, University of Toronto, in 1970. From 1970 to 1971, he was Program Director, Open Windows Community Program, a government-funded initiative to help inner city youth.

In 1971, he moved to London, UK, to join the International Secretariat of Amnesty International.


Buddhist study, practice and leadership

The presence of Buddhism in North America in the early 1950s was largely the result of Asian immigration, although there was growing interest in Zen Buddhism among the so-called “Beat Generation.” For the first six years that Reoch and his parents attended the Toronto Buddhist Church they were the only non-Japanese there. They first took part in its Sunday services in 1954 after meeting its spiritual director the Rev. Takashi Tsuji.

The most famous statue of Amida Buddha is in Kamakura, Japan. He is said to be the embodiment of enlightenment, compassion and wisdom, renowned for his 48 limitless vows to liberate all beings from suffering. In the Pure Land tradition, practitioners vow to “follow his example and labour earnestly for the welfare of all humanity.”

The central practice of the Jodo Shinshu sect is reciting the “nembutsu”, calling on the name of Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Compassion. Few books on Buddhism were available in those years in local bookshops; the family ordered what they could from overseas, many from the Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka. After the death of his father in 1966 and prior to leaving Toronto for London, Reoch and his mother attended Soto Zen meditation courses at the Rochester Zen Centre, USA, and York University, Canada.

During his years of work for Amnesty International in Asia, he continued his private Buddhist practice without belonging to any organization. His work brought him into contact with the Tibetan community in exile and, while in India, he secured intervention by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on behalf of Buddhist monks imprisoned in the Republic of Viet Nam (South Viet Nam).


After 23 years of working for Amnesty International, he entered the training offered by the Shambhala community started in the West by Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In 1994, Reoch received the Buddhist name Tashi Changchup, Auspicious Enlightenment, from the son and heir of Chögyam Trungpa: The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche – revered as the rebirth of Mipham the Great, said to be a living embodiment of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.

Among the many short films he made for the Shambhala community, this multilingual presentation, “Countless points of light”, shows the global reach of the Shambhala teachings. It includes an illumination of the Shambhala emblem, The Great Eastern Sun, created from hundreds of lighted candles.

After attending a three-month Shambhala seminary in 1996, he received transmission into the practice of Vajrayana Buddhism, and was appointed Director and Chair of the Council of the London Shambhala Meditation Centre. From 1999 to 2001, he directed the planning of the Consecration of The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambhala Mountain Center in the Colorado Rockies, USA – an international gathering of 1,500 people at 6,000 feet in the mountains.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche with President Reoch in Tibet. The fabled Mount Magyal Pomra is in the distance directly behind them.

A year later, Reoch was appointed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to the position of President of the worldwide Shambhala organization, a position he held from 2002 until 2015, travelling worldwide to many of its more than 200 centres and groups, teaching and leading retreats. He now serves as the Personal Envoy of the Sakyong of Shambhala.

During his period as President of Shambhala, he toured with Buddhist Nun Ani Pema Chödrön, co-leading events on the theme “Practicing Peace in Times of War” and taught widely on the life and legacy of the Indian Emperor Ashoka, famed for renouncing war.

Compassionate Abiding Practice

As part of the “Practicing Peace in Times of War” tour, Ani Pema Chödrön introduced participants to the practice of Compassionate Abiding. It is a profound method of working with intense emotion, based on the classical text, The Way of the Bodhisattva, by the great master Shantideva.

Reoch was later asked by Shambhala Mountain Center to offer this practice as a filmed guided meditation for its Awake in the World online program.

The film includes an explanation of the practice and its application as well as a real-time session for live practice.

In May 2015, he was among a group of some 200 Buddhist leaders, from all different schools, who were invited to the White House in Washington DC for a meeting with key staff in the Obama administration. Delegates signed the Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change and later, a statement following the massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

A Buddhist Brawl


Mindful Politics – A Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place was published by Shambhala Publications in 2006. The editor, Melvin McLeod, wrote: “Around the world, long-standing wars are driven by the terrible cycle of revenge, of wrongs committed in response to previous wrongs. Elsewhere, conflict and alienation are fueled by fear, insecurity, jealousy, hatred and greed. And everywhere, people are divided from their fellow human beings by the fundamental dualistic split between self and other, the split that Buddhism says is the root of all our suffering.” The publication includes the following article, “A Buddhist Brawl”, by Richard Reoch.

Not so long ago a brawl broke out in a Buddhist shrine room. A close friend of mine was involved. The retreat leader was injured and needed treatment. It all happened in a very lovely retreat centre near where I live.

They were having a weekend devoted to non-violence, and had invited a guest facilitator to lead the retreat. He wasn’t a Buddhist, but knew about group dynamics.

On the second day, the retreat leader proposed a role play. Two of the participants would be “kidnapped” by a terrorist group. The rest would have to negotiate for their freedom.

The retreat leader was to play the terrorist with whom they would negotiate. He opened a pack of cigarettes, took out a match and lit up.

“Excuse me,” said one of the participants, “there’s no smoking in the shrine room.”

The leader paid no attention. He smoked on in silence.

“Please put out the cigarette. We don’t smoke in the shrine room.”

“I don’t give a damn about your smoking rules,” said the terrorist coldly. “Do you want to talk about smoking, or do you want your friends back?”

“We won’t negotiate with you until you respect our shrine room,” said someone who was emerging as a leader for their side.

“OK,” said the terrorist, “I’ll stop.” He stood up slowly, sauntered over to the shrine, took a last puff and stubbed out his cigarette in the lap of the buddha.

Gasps filled the room. This was no longer play acting. People rushed up to see if the buddha rupa had been damaged.

“What do you think you’re doing?” someone shouted. “That’s a buddha!”

“I don’t give a damn. It’s not my buddha. This is not my shrine room. I’ve stopped smoking. Do you want to talk about your friends or shall I leave?”

People were irate. Events were overtaking them. No one wanted to talk about the hostages; they were obsessed with the assault on the buddha.

One person went up to the retreat leader and talked to him straight from the heart. “We invited you here to lead this weekend. We know this isn’t your community or your tradition. But this is our sacred space. All we ask is that you honour that.”

“Would you like to see how much I respect your space?” he replied. He walked over to the corner and pissed on the floor.

The whole room lunged forward. The first person to reach him knocked him to the ground. The rest joined in, shouting, beating and kicking him as he curled up on the floor to protect himself from the blows.

Eventually he managed to drag himself out of the shrine room, told the two “hostages” to rejoin their fellow practitioners and abandoned the weekend.

Friends, this is the way these events were told to me. In these dark and turbulent times, I often find it helpful to remember them.


Richard Reoch guest speaker of St. Johnsbury Rotary Club
Jul 25, 2012 Updated Jul 21, 2016


SHAMBHALA PRESIDENT ADDRESSES ROTARIANS -- Richard Reoch, president of Shambhala, was guest speaker during St. Johnsbury Rotary Club's weekly meeting July 16. Born in Toronto in 1948, he became a Buddhist at age six, when his family joined the Toronto Buddhist Church, a Japanese Pure Land community devoted to the Buddha of compassion. At age 23, he moved to London, England to work at the headquarters of Amnesty International, the human rights organization. After starting at Amnesty as a volunteer in 1971, Richard worked as a research assistant on Amnesty's first report on the global epidemic of torture. He was posted to South and East Asia as the organization's first field secretary. Appointed in 1978 to head Amnesty's global media operations, Richard became part of the organization's senior management. For 13 years he played a leading role in developing the multicultural policies needed by this diverse, democratic movement working in 60 languages with supporters in 150 countries. He spoke to Rotarians about his various experiences in Southeast Asia and Africa with Amnesty.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:29 am

International Commission of Jurists
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/15/20

Not to be confused with the International Court of Justice.

International Commission of Jurists
Abbreviation: ICJ
Formation: 1952
Type: NGO with Consultative Status
Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
Official language: English, French, Spanish
Acting President: Robert Goldman (since 2017)
Secretary-General: Saman Zia-Zarifi
Staff: 60

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is an international human rights non-governmental organization. It is a standing group of 60 eminent jurists—including senior judges, attorneys and academics—who work to develop national and international human rights standards through the law. Commissioners are known for their experience, knowledge and fundamental commitment to human rights. The composition of the Commission aims to reflect the geographical diversity of the world and its many legal systems.

The Commission is supported by an International Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland, and staffed by lawyers drawn from a wide range of jurisdictions and legal traditions. The Secretariat and the Commission undertake advocacy and policy work aimed at strengthening the role of lawyers and judges in protecting and promoting human rights and the rule of law.

In addition, the ICJ has national sections and affiliates in over 70 countries. Given the legal focus of the ICJ's work, membership of these sections is predominantly drawn from the legal profession.

In April 2013, the ICJ was presented with the Light of Truth Award by the Dalai Lama and the International Campaign for Tibet. The award is presented to organisations who have made outstanding contributions to the Tibetan cause.[1]

The current ICJ President is Professor Robert Goldman. Former Presidents include Sir Nigel Rodley (2012-2017), a former member of the UN Human Rights Committee, Professor Pedro Nikken (2011-2012) and Mary Robinson (2008-2011), the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland.

Current activities

The ICJ is active in promoting human rights and the rule of law, whether at the international level (e.g. the UN), regionally (e.g. the EU and Council of Europe), or domestically through the activities of its national sections (e.g. JUSTICE in the UK).

The ICJ's International Law and Protection Programme works to promote the application of international law to violations of a civil, political, social or economic nature.[2] The focus is on the international obligations of states to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights through the Rule of Law, to protect victims of human rights violations, and to hold states and non-state actors accountable for these violations and abuses. Today, the specific areas of work include:

• Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL);
• Economic, social and cultural rights;
• Business and Human Rights;
• Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity;
• Women’s Human Rights;
• United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms; and
• Global Security and the Rule of Law.

The ICJ also operates regional programmes of work in Africa, Asia Pacific, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa.[3] These focus on promoting and supporting the independence of the judiciary, the Rule of Law and human rights issues specific to their regional contexts. To support this work, the ICJ has regional offices in Thailand, South Africa, and Guatemala, and country office in Nepal and North Africa.


Born at the ideological frontline of a divided post-war Berlin, the ICJ was established following the 1952 ‘International Congress of Jurists’ in West Berlin . The Congress was organized by the ‘Investigating Committee of Free Jurists (ICJF)’, a group of German jurists committed to investigating human rights abuses carried out in the Soviet Zone of post-war Germany.

During the Congress, delegates decided to make provisions to expand the work of the ICJF to investigate human rights violations in other regions of the world. A five-member ‘Standing Committee of the Congress’ was appointed for this purpose and, in 1953, the Standing Committee created the “International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)” as a permanent organisation dedicated to the defence of human rights through the rule of law.

One of the key areas of concern for the 106 Congress delegates was the case of Dr. Walter Linse, a West German lawyer and the Acting President of the ICJF. Two weeks prior to the start of the Congress, on 8 July 1952, in an apparent attempt to intimidate participants, Dr. Linse was abducted by East German intelligence agents and delivered to the KGB. Despite international condemnation of the abduction, Dr. Linse was executed in Moscow for “espionage” in 1953.

The ICJ was initially partially funded by the Central Intelligence Agency through the American Fund for Free Jurists, but the CIA's role was not known to most of the ICJ's members.[4] American founders like Allen Dulles and John J. McCloy conceived it as a counter to the International Association of Democratic Lawyers controlled by the Soviet Union.[5] Ex-CIA officer Philip Agee considered that the ICJ was "set up and controlled by the CIA for propaganda operations."[6] The CIA funding became public in 1967, but the organization survived the revelations after a period of reform under Secretary General Sean MacBride, and through Ford Foundation funding.[4][5] MacBride himself was involved in CIA funding, according to information the US government reported.[7]

From 1970 to 1990, Niall MacDermot was Secretary-General, succeeding Sean MacBride.[8] MacDermot moved the ICJ away from its association with the CIA, to the forefront of the international human rights movement.[9]

In 1978, the ICJ established the Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL). It was instrumental in the formulation and adoption of the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and its mandate is to work for their implementation.

In 1980, the ICJ received the European Human Rights Prize by Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

In 1986, the ICJ gathered a group of distinguished experts in international law to consider the nature and scope of the obligations of States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The meeting witnessed the birth of the Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which continue to guide international law in the area of economic, social and cultural rights.

In the 1990s, a number of important international developments took place as a result of initiatives by the ICJ. These included the UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the recommendation by the Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna to work on the setting up of an International Criminal Court. This was the direct result of an international conference on impunity, organised by the ICJ under the auspices of the United Nations in 1992, which adopted an appeal asking the Vienna conference to "set up an international penal tribunal…in order to finally break the cycle of impunity". In November 2006 the ICJ held an international meeting in Yogyakarta for LGBT rights and published The Yogyakarta Principles in March 2007.

The ICJ also initiated the drafting of the set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity and the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, both under examination at the UN Human Rights Commission and also received the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1993.

National Sections

As at 2015 there are 21 autonomous[10] National Sections of the ICJ.[11] They are:

• Australia: Australian Section of the ICJ
• Austria: Österreichische Juristen-Kommission
• Canada: ICJ Canada
• Chile: Comision Chilena de Derechos Humanos
• Denmark: Danish Section of the ICJ
• Ecuador: Asociación Ecuatoriana de Juristas
• Germany: Deutsche Sektion der Internationalen Juristen-Kommission E.V.
• Hong Kong: Justice Hong Kong
• India: Karnataka State Commission of Jurists
• Italy: Jura Hominis
• Kenya: ICJ Kenya
• Nepal: Nepalese Section of the ICJ
• Netherlands: Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten (NJCM)
• Norway: ICJ Norway
• Poland: Polish Section of the ICJ
• Slovenia: Slovenian Section of the ICJ
• Sweden: Svenska Avdelningen av Internationella Juristkommissionen
• Switzerland: Swiss section of the ICJ
• United Kingdom: JUSTICE
• United States: American Association for the ICJ

Congresses of the ICJ

Every few years, the ICJ convenes a World Congress, where jurists from around the world work together to address a pressing human rights issue and agree normative principles and objectives in a public Declaration. These Declarations have frequently been used by inter-governmental bodies, including the United Nations, as well as bar associations, lawyers, academic centres and other human rights NGOs around the world. For example, the ICJ was responsible for the Declaration of Delhi on the rule of law in 1959, which set out the ICJ's conception of the Rule of Law as being dynamic.[12]

The ICJ's most recent Declaration, agreed at the ICJ's 17th World Congress in December 2012, related to Access to Justice and Right to a Remedy in International Human Rights Systems.[13] The full list of ICJ Congresses is as follows:[14]

2012 – Geneva, Switzerland – Access to Justice and Right to a Remedy in International Human Rights Systems
2008 – Geneva, Switzerland – Upholding the Rule of Law and the Role of Judges & Lawyers in times of crisis
2004 – Berlin, Germany – Upholding Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Combating Terrorism
2001 – Geneva, Switzerland
1998 – Cape Town, South Africa
1995 – Bangalore, India – Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Role of Lawyers
1992 – Cartigny, Switzerland
1989 – Caracas, Venezuela – The Independence of Judges and Lawyers
1985 – Nairobi, Kenya – Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa
1981 – The Hague, Netherlands – Development and the Rule of Law
1977 – Vienna, Austria – Human Rights in an Undemocratic World
1971 – Aspen, USA – Justice and the Individual: The Rule of Law under Current Pressures
1966 – Geneva, Switzerland – The ICJ’s Mandate, Policies and Activities
1962 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Executive Action and the Rule of Law
1959 – New Delhi, India – The Rule of Law in a Free Society
1955 – Athens, Greece – The Rule of Law
1952 – Berlin, Germany – The International Congress of Jurists

See also

• Vivian Bose
• Rule of law
• World Assembly of Youth
• Congress for Cultural Freedom
• International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
• International Federation of Journalists


1. "ICT Light of Truth Award ceremony brings together eminent individuals with historic connection to Tibet". International Campaign for Tibet. 15 April 2013. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
2. "Themes" at Accessed 17 September 2017
3. "Regions" at Accessed 17 September 2017
4. Richard Pierre Claude (August 1, 1994). "The International Commission of Jurists: Global Advocates for Human Rights. (Book review)". Human Rights Quarterly. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
5. Yves Dezalay, Bryant G. Garth (2002). The Internationalization of Palace Wars: Lawyers, Economists, and the Contest to Transform Latin American States. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-14426-7.
6. Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, Allen Lane, 1975, p 611.
7. "Peter Benenson". The Independent. 2005-02-28. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
8. Tam Dalyell (27 February 1996). "OBITUARY: Niall MacDermot". The Independent.
9. Iain Guest, Behind the disappearances: Argentina's dirty war against human rights and the United Nations, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990, ISBN 0-8122-1313-0, ISBN 978-0-8122-1313-3 p 111.
10. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), NGO Monitor
11. "ICJ National Sections". International Commission of Jurists. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
12. Wikisource:Declaration of Delhi
13. "ICJ adopts Declaration on Access to Justice and Right to a Remedy", 12 December 2012, at icj.orgAccessed 17 September 2017
14. "Congresses" at Accessed 17 September 2017

Further reading

• William Korey (2001). NGOs and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a Curious Grapevine. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23886-X.
• Howard Tolley (1994). The International Commission of Jurists: Global Advocates for Human Rights. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-3254-2.

External links

• Official site
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Dec 16, 2020 1:44 am

Rainforest Foundation Fund
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/15/20

This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. Please help improve it by replacing them with more appropriate citations to reliable, independent, third-party sources. (July 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Rainforest Foundation US

Join us today!!

RFUS's Peru Director
will be discussing how #indigenous peoples detect illegal #deforestation and protect the #rainforest using technology.

This virtual conference is organized by USAID Peru.
Pencil Register here:



10:19 AM · Nov 19, 2020


The Project: USAID Funded Improving Livelihoods and Land Use in the Democratic Republic of Congo through Community Forests

The adoption of the Community Forests Decree in 2014 and its main bylaw in 2016 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is arguably the most significant legal reform related to tropical forests and forest peoples’ rights in recent years. This framework could impact as many as 40 million forest-dependent people and with tens of millions of hectares potentially available to develop pro-poor, community models of forest management.

Since its creation, RFUK has been continuously advocating and supporting the development of community-based forest management in the Congo Basin – something that is now widely recognised as being key to achieving delivering strong conservation and development outcomes. Under a DFID (now FCDO) funded project (2016-2019), RFUK headed a consortium of Congolese and international NGOs that played a central role in laying the foundations for community forestry in DRC. The project facilitated the development and adoption of the National Strategy for Community Forestry; consolidated the Multi-stakeholder Roundtable for Community Forestry as a deliberative policy making body; accompanied nine communities to apply for their community forest concessions; trained and built capacities among civil society and government officials at all levels; and produced an ground-breaking body of resources, studies and tools to inform best practice in DRC and beyond.

USAID and other donors are now supporting RFUK and our consortium partners to build on these efforts to trigger a new phase of development of community forestry in DRC. The project, which will run from September 2020 to September 2025, has the central objective to consolidate community forests as a viable forest use model that enhances livelihoods while protecting forests. To this end, the project will pursue four main strands of work:

• Promoting land use planning, sustainable management and income generating activities in pilot community forests in Equateur, North Kivu and Maniema provinces;
• Tackling deforestation and protecting biodiversity in target sites;
• Advocating for the continued improvement of the legal framework and promoting transparency and good practice;
• Building capacities in government and local civil society.

Activities will be implemented in the field by a consortium of Congolese NGOs based in Kinshasa, Goma, Mbandaka and Kindu...


The DRC Chief of Party (COP) will be based in Kinshasa and will have the overall responsibility of coordinating project activities on the ground, liaising with partners on a daily basis and leading on policy aspects of the project whilst being the main point of contact for the donor, the USAID CARPE office in Kinshasa.

The post-holder will work closely with the London based project team, led by the RFUK CF Project Coordinator and the Project Finance and Admin Officer. S/he will also have a close working relationship with RFUK’s Programmes Finance, Admin and MEL Coordinator, Tech team, Policy team and additional staff and consultants in the Programmes Team...

1. Project management

• Oversee the implementation of the project on the ground in line with strategy, agreed budgets, logframe, work plans and procedures in coordination with the DRC CF Project Coordinator.
Manage the relationship with USAID (CARPE team, based in Kinshasa) under the donor’s principle of “substantial involvement”, maintaining regular communications with the donor and keeping them regularly informed and involved in the execution of the project. ...


Detail / Essential / Desirable

Knowledge and Experience / Master’s Degree in law, anthropology or international development or a related
subject or equivalent professional experience. / Experience managing USAID projects.

-- Job Description: Chief of Party: DRC Community Forests, by Rainforest Foundation UK: Securing Lands, Sustaining Lives

Miles Axe Copeland III (born May 2, 1944) is an American music and entertainment executive and former manager of The Police. Copeland later managed Sting's musical and acting career. In 1979, Copeland founded the I.R.S. Records label, producing R.E.M., The Bangles, Berlin, The Cramps, Dead Kennedys, The Alarm, The Go-Go's, and others.


Copeland was born in London, England, to Miles Axe Copeland, Jr., a CIA officer from Birmingham, Alabama, United States, and Lorraine Adie, a Scot who worked in British intelligence. The family lived throughout the Middle East, in particular Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon. At an early age, Copeland and his brothers were fluent in Arabic.

Copeland attended Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1962. He graduated with a degree in history and political science. From 1966 to 1969, Copeland attended the American University of Beirut, earning a degree in economics. This was also where he promoted his first concert. After college, he moved to London, met two progressive rock musicians at a club, and helped them form Wishbone Ash.

BTM and Illegal Records

In 1974, Copeland founded the management agency and record label BTM (British Talent Management) and signed a number of progressive rock acts such as Squeeze, Renaissance and Curved Air. In the summer of 1975, he organized a multi-band tour of European music festivals, named Star-Trucking, which featured several BTM bands as well as Soft Machine, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Lou Reed. However, Reed's failure to appear at any of the shows and other logistical issues resulted in significant losses for Star-Trucking, and ultimately to the failure of BTM. In 1976, BTM closed down.

BTM's end coincided with the beginning of the UK's Punk/New Wave movement and led Copeland to co-found Illegal Records, Deptford Fun City Records, New Bristol Records, and to sign the Cortinas, Chelsea, and the Models to Step Forward Records in 1977.

The Police

In 1978, Copeland became manager of his brother Stewart's band, The Police. Copeland shepherded the group to become one of the biggest bands of the 1980s, peaking with a concert for 70,000 people at Shea Stadium and the number one single for 1983, "Every Breath You Take".

Surveillance was never so sexy!

He continued to manage Sting through seven solo albums.
Copeland was not, however, included in the reunion era of The Police, leading to a 2007 interview in which Copeland lamented that money was the issue.

I.R.S. Records

The success of The Police and the novel methods used to popularize them enabled Copeland to found I.R.S. Records through a deal with A&M Records. Copeland's I.R.S. label had hits with the Buzzcocks, R.E.M., The Cramps, Fine Young Cannibals, The Bangles and many others, including a number one album with his label's group The Go-Go's.

Copeland International Arts

Copeland owns and operates CIA (Copeland International Arts), which includes the Bellydance Superstars, Celtic Crossroads, Otros Aires, Zohar, and Beats Antique. Much of the CIA catalog initially included Middle Eastern, world music, Irish, tango, flamenco, and Polynesian styles. The label later signed mainstream artists.

Personal life

Another of Copeland's brothers, Ian Copeland, was a booking agent who described much of the New Wave adventures of Miles, Stewart and himself in his book Wild Thing.[9]

-- Miles Copeland III, by Wikipedia

Rainforest Foundation
Founded: 1987
Type: Non-governmental organization
Focus: Environmentalism
Location: New York City, United States
Area served: Global
Method: Grant-making, Lobbying, research
Key people: Sting, Trudie Styler, Franca Sciuto, Li Lu
Revenue: $ 1,234,981 (2006)
Employees: 155

The Rainforest Foundation Fund is a charitable foundation founded in 1987 and dedicated to drawing attention to rainforests and defending the rights of indigenous peoples living there.[1]

The fund and its three sister organizations (Rainforest Foundation UK, Rainforest Foundation US, and Rainforest Foundation Norway) support indigenous rainforest peoples to assert and defend their rights, to define and promote sustainable development in their communities, and to challenge the activities and practices of governments or other entities which damage their environment and lands. The programs and projects are developed in partnership with local communities and representative indigenous NGOs.


The Chief Raoni and Sting in 1989, in Paris.

The Rainforest Foundation Fund was first founded in 1989 as the Rainforest Foundation International, by Jean-Pierre Dutilleux, Sting and his wife Trudie Styler after an indigenous leader, Raoni, of the Kayapo people of Brazil made a personal request to them to help his community protect their lands and culture. Since then, the Rainforest Foundation Fund, working together with its sister organizations, has funded projects that have protected a total of 28 million acres of forest in 20 different rainforest countries around the globe.[2]

Around 1990, Danny Paradise introduced him to yoga, and he began practising Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga series, though he now practises Tantra and Jivamukti Yoga as well. He wrote a foreword to Yoga Beyond Belief, written by Ganga White in 2007. In 2008, he was reported to practise Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation technique.

-- Sting (musician), by Wikipedia

In 1989, Styler and Sting started the Rainforest Foundation Fund, an organisation devoted to protecting rainforests and their indigenous peoples, and since 1991 she has produced regular Rock for the Rainforest benefits at Carnegie Hall. As a UNICEF [United Nations International Emergency Fund] Ambassador, Styler has also raised millions for their projects around the globe.

-- Trudie Styler, by Wikipedia

Essentially, Goodwill Ambassadors are marketing personnel who volunteer to contribute to the brand recognition of UNICEF. However, just because they are not formal ambassadors does not mean that Goodwill Ambassadors do not do good work.

A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador is commonly a celebrity with a global audience and name recognition. UNICEF officials have chosen celebrities such as Millie Bobby Brown to represent them. Millie Bobby Brown is currently the youngest UNICEF Ambassador and plans on using her position to bring attention to children’s rights. Specifically, Brown wants to focus on lack of education, lack of safe places to play and learn, violence against children, and the effects of bullying.

Previous to Brown, celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn have served for UNICEF. During her service, Hepburn visited Ethiopia after years of civil strife and drought caused a severe famine. Hepburn visited the United Nations emergency sites and went back to The United States of America and Europe to talk to the media about what was happening in Ethiopia in search for continued support of the United Nations’ efforts in Ethiopia. Later in her service as a UNICEF ambassador, Hepburn testified before the United States Congress on behalf of UNICEF and worked on the World Summit for Children.

-- Who are UNICEF Ambassadors?, by American Model United Nations

Trudie Styler, film producer, environmentalist, humanitarian and actor, is a long-standing supporter of Unicef.

She was appointed Ambassador in July 2004. The following year, in November 2005, Trudie received the highest accolade bestowed on a Unicef Ambassador – the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award – for her commitment to Unicef.

In 2005, Trudie visited Sri Lanka to witness emergency education being provided by Unicef and the following year Jemima Goldsmith and Trudie visited projects supporting Unicef’s Build it Back Better campaign in Pakistan after the earthquake in 2005.

Through fundraising events Trudie has helped to raise millions for Unicef’s work.
You can also help us reach more children around the world to keep them safe and help them grow up happy and healthy.

Following a Unicef trip to Ecuador in 2009, Trudie has been committed to supporting water projects with Unicef and the Rainforest Fund to deliver clean water to communities living in the highly polluted areas of the Ecuador rainforest.

On 20 October 2011 Trudie Styler and Sting were presented with the Children’s Champion Award in Boston. This award was presented to them by Unicef to honour the exceptional commitment they have shown to improving children’s lives across the world.

Trudie continues to be an advocate for Unicef.

-- Trudie Styler: UNICEF UK Ambassador, by


The mission of the Rainforest Foundation Fund is: "to protect and support indigenous people and traditional forest populations in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfill their right to a secure, healthy and ecologically sound environment." The Fund believes that environmental degradation necessarily violates human rights to life, health and culture.

The international community widely accepts that indigenous peoples are holders of a specific set of rights and are also the victims of historically unique forms of discrimination, and it enshrined this idea in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007.

The Rainforest Fund claims that its work is motivated by its recognition of a substantial disconnect between such declarations made by the governments of the world in an international forum, and the actions that those governments undertake in their own countries.

They mention as an illustration the controversy surrounding the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil: "While at the United Nations discussions are underway on the crucial issue of climate change, and governments are finally realizing that they have to change their pattern of development, in the Brazilian Amazon plans are well advanced to build environmentally destructive mega-dams along the Xingu River, the last of the great Amazon rivers in a good state of conservation." .[3][4][5][6]


The Rainforest Foundation Fund usually covers only about 80% of a project's total budget, leaving its grantee responsible for finding the remaining 20%, to avoid over-dependency on just one funding source. The fund grants money on a three-year basis, but will extend funding up to five years in certain circumstances. Grant-recipient's projects are evaluated annually.

The Rainforest Foundation Fund works with an extremely small staff, with only a chairperson (Franca Sciuto) and a part-time financial director/treasurer (Li Lu). The chairperson serves as a volunteer, and handles all project screening, interim assessments and post-project evaluations. Final decisions on projects and fund disbursement are made by the Rainforest Foundation Fund board.[7]

Rather than administrating large projects itself, the Fund believes that the primary beneficiaries, the indigenous peoples, should also be the primary administrators of the projects. The sister organizations in the US, UK and Norway work directly with indigenous organizations to ensure they are equipped with the administrative structures, technology and trained leadership needed to carry out their projects.

Current work

The Rainforest Fund supports projects that defend indigenous people's rights to their lands and to live in a healthy environment.

The Fund assists rainforest indigenous communities by helping them achieve official demarcation of their territories and then ensuring they are able to effectively defend their communities from violations of their rights including illegal logging, mining, other land invasions, and social disenfranchisement/denial of their rights as citizens.

Many of their projects work to uphold the right of indigenous peoples to grant or to withhold. Then their free, prior and informed consent to projects that will affect their land, resources and livelihoods, and to ensure that indigenous communities are given full information and have a voice in project negotiations and the policy design process.

It also makes grants to programs that assist communities in designing sustainable development strategies, and in strengthening their representative organizations.

Their grants support public awareness programs, technological training, community development, organizational capacity building, sustainable resource management, legal defense, and local, national, and international policy and advocacy.

2011 Supported Projects:[8]


• Central African Republic
• Cameroon
• Democratic Republic of the Congo
--Working across the three countries of the Congo Basin, this project focuses on the development of REDD policies designed to mitigate climate change. It works to ensure indigenous peoples have a voice in those policies, share in benefits, and have their land rights respected. The project also involves participatory mapping, advocacy surrounding national parks and community forestry, and advocacy for the full implementation of the ILO Convention 169.

• Papua New Guinea
--'Land is Life Reform' – A project which supports the legal cases at the national level that are working to stop all new logging operations in the country.[9]
• Malaysia
--In partnership with the Orang Asli communities, this projects works to connect the indigenous people's with conservation networks in the broader civil society, to promote women's empowerment, and to provide capacity-building to organizational leaders as they advocate for indigenous rights.[10]

• Belize
--Working with the Mayan community and their NGO the Maya Leaders Alliance to obtain official recognition of nearly 500,000 acres of traditional lands and then to carry out the demarcation qualification process.
• Bolivia
--Supporting a project administered by the NGO Comunidad Viva to guarantee clean water access for the Ayoreo Community of Puesto Paz.
• Brazil
--Working with the Tiriyo, Kaxuyana, and Wayapi indigenous groups of northeastern Brazil to build the capacity of their representative organization, Apitikatxi, and to ensure that public policy respect the indigenous peoples' rights to maintain their cultures and traditions.[11]
--Supporting the Surui indigenous peoples in implementing a strategy for protecting their lands, the Surui Reserve, from illegal logging, thereby protecting the highly biodiverse Amazonian rainforest found on those lands. Also working with them to ensure proper implementation of their community's participation in a REDD program.
• Ecuador
--Supporting a project to assist the Orellana and Sucumbia indigenous peoples whose communities and environments are being negatively affected by oil exploitation – the project works to expose environmental abuse and defend indigenous rights to land, health, livelihood, and clean environment.
--The Fund is working in partnership with UNICEF Ecuador to work to provide clean water to the communities affected by the oil industries' activities in and around their lands, which have caused serious water pollution.[12]
--The Change Chevron Project, monitored by the Rainforest Action Network, works to put public and political pressure on Chevron to rectify the environmental damage its activities in the Ecuadorian Rainforest have caused.[13]
• Guyana
--Working with the national NGO the Amerindian Peoples Association to ensure that Guyanese indigenous communities are well-educated on climate change and REDD programs and that they have a respected and significant degree of participation in the design and implementation of those programs.
• Panama
--Working with the representative NGO of the Kuna people, FPCI, as well as the national indigenous NGO, COONAPIP, to build organizational capacity and ensure that Panama's indigenous peoples participate in the design of, have their rights respected by, and are appropriate beneficiaries of various national climate change and REDD programs.
--Working with the Wounaan people to achieve official land titles for over 470,000 acres of land belonging to 12 different communities and to assist them in defending their land and resources from outside threats.[14]
• Peru
--Supporting the Ashaninka communities in their effort to halt the construction of the Pakitzapango Dam which would affect their ancestral land over which they have official ownership. In spite of this, the government did not consult with the communities or receive their consent for the project.
--Working with the Kandozi and Sharpa indigenous peoples of Datem del Marañón in the Peruvian Amazon to ensure that their right to health care is respected and fulfilled by the State, particularly that the government work to address a Hepatitis B epidemic in their communities.
--The Rainforest Fund also recently undertook a special emergency project to provide support for the legal defense of the indigenous leaders facing charges from by the government due to the 2009 incident in Bagua, wherein police attacked the crowd after 55 days of nonviolent demonstrations supporting of indigenous rights, leaving 34 people dead. 109 cases were filed against 362 Peruvian indigenous leaders.[15]


In January 1990 the fund's first campaign came under fire by the French edition of 'Rolling Stone' magazine in an article that mentioned the failings of Dutilleux's previous work in the rainforest and criticized the organization for holding lavish fundraising banquets.[16]

The 'Rolling Stone' article was used as the basis for a documentary by Granada Television's 'World in Action' program. The show, called 'Sting and the Indians', was re-broadcast in the United States on the A&E cable network hosted by Bill Kurtis.[17]

The primary claim of both was that the project in Brazil was misrepresenting the facts to donors, as some of the Kayapo's traditional land was already "protected" within the Xingu National Park. In fact, the Xingu Park is actually a large indigenous-controlled area, the first in Brazil, so it is an indigenous territory, not a national "park". Moreover, the Fund's initial project supported demarcation of the Mengkragnoti Area, which is right next to/contiguous with the Xingu Park, and did not demarcate the park itself.

In 2002, 2003, and 2004 the US branch of the organization was given zero stars out of four by Charity Navigator, primarily because only 43-60% of funds during those years were spent on programs on the ground.[18] For example, in 2008 the US Foundation had total revenues of $1.27 Million of which only $404,000 went to 'Project Payments' according to the Foundation's very own 2008 IRS tax filings.[19]

However, since 2008, the Rainforest Foundation US has received four stars out of four, with an efficiency score of 38.93 out of 40.[20]

See also

• Deforestation
• Indigenous peoples
• Related charities such as the Prince's Rainforests Project, Save the Amazon Rainforest Organisation and the Rainforest Action Network
• United Nations Environment Programme
• Yayasan Merah Putih
• Environmental problems caused by deforestation
• Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
• Self-determination
• Traditional Ecological Knowledge
• Sustainable development
• Indigenous land rights
• Global warming
• Indigenous peoples of the Americas
• Amazon Rainforest
• Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest
• Deforestation in Brazil
• Conservation movement
• Environmental movement


1. "Sting Issues Statement On Amazon Fires: "This Is Criminal Negligence On A Global Scale"". Stereogum. 2019-08-27. Retrieved 2020-07-09.
2. The Rainforest Foundation US "About Us Archived 2011-10-30 at the Wayback Machine"
3. Sarah Anne Hughes. "Brazil approves Belo Monte dam, despite fierce opposition, James Cameron Speaks Out" The Washington Post. 01 June 2011.
4. "Amazon Watch's 'Stop the Belo Monte Dam' Campaign Archived 2011-11-12 at the Wayback Machine"
5. Karen Hoffmann. "Belo Monte dam marks a troubling new era in Brazil's attitude to its rainforest" The Ecologist. 16 August 2001.
6. Reuters. "Brazil approves Belo Monte hydroelectric dam", Wednesday 1 June 2011
7. Rainforest Foundation Fund 2006/2008 Report ""Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2011-11-14."
8. Rainforest Foundation Fund Website "[1] Archived 2011-12-05 at the Wayback Machine"
9. The Conversation "Dodgy logging: are Papua New Guinea’s forests going the way of Indonesia’s?" 2 November 2011.
10. Center for Orang Asli Concerns "[2]"
11. NEWSLETTER OF THE INTERNATIONAL RANGER FEDERATION "The Thin Green Line Archived 2012-04-03 at the Wayback Machine" October–December 2005.
12. UNCIEF News "UNICEF National Ambassador Trudie Styler brings clean water project to Ecuador" 15 June 2009.
13. "Change Chevron Project Page Archived 2012-04-05 at the Library of Congress Web Archives"
14. "Wounaan Take Land Rights Claims to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights" October 28, 2008.
15. Gregor MacLennan. "Bagua Anniversary: One Year After Violent Clashes in Peru, Situation for Indigenous Rights Little Improved Archived 2011-08-22 at the Wayback Machine" June 10, 2010.
16. Chris Campion. "Walking on the moon: the untold story of the Police and the rise of new wave rock." John Wiley and Sons, 2009. pp 237- 240 "[3]
17. Elaine Dewar. "Cloak of green." James Lorimer & Company, 1995. pp. 421 "[4]"
18. Ed Pilkington. May 7, 2008. "Sting charity criticized as he marks 20 years in rainforest activism." The Guardian.
19.[permanent dead link]
20. "Charity Navigator - Rating for Rainforest Foundation US". Charity Navigator

External links

• Rainforest Foundation Fund
• Rainforest Foundation US
• Rainforest Foundation UK
• Rainforest Foundation Norway


Jean-Pierre Dutilleux
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/15/20


Jean-Pierre Dutilleux (born 13 October 1949) is a Belgian author, activist, film director,[1] actor and editor of films.


During his 40-year career, Jean-Pierre Dutilleux has made thirty films, including a dozen in Amazonia, taken thousands of photographs and published six books.

Jean-Pierre Dutilleux rose to international prominence with his academy Award-nominated documentary, Raoni, an investigation of the complex issues surrounding the survival of the remaining indigenous natives of the Amazon Rainforest and indeed, of the Rainforest itself.

Shot on location and named after the forceful and savvy chief at its center, the film was narrated by Marlon Brando. The New York Times praised Raoni as a "sobering, sympathetic and technically expert documentary". With the fame accorded him by the film, both in Brazil and abroad, Raoni, the man, has become the prime spokesperson for all of Brazil's surviving native tribes.

A native of Belgium, Dutilleux earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Literature from Saint Hadelin College in Liege, and later studied law, languages and economics at the University of Louvain. During his college years, Dutilleux traveled throughout North and South America, awakening passion and developing respect for the native tribes. In 1972, he served as assistant to Costa-Gavras on the production "State of Siege" in Chile. Two years later, at the age of 23, Dutilleux completed his first film, a study of natives of the Amazon.

In the years since, he has filmed and photographed over 50 tribes worldwide, produced a dozen films in the Amazon, sailed around the world, and documented countless unique adventures. Additionally, his work as a photojournalist has appeared in 100-plus magazines in dozens of countries.

On one of his visits to the Amazon, Dutilleux was joined by noted rock musician Sting, who was able to experience firsthand the indigenous tribes of the fast disappearing jungle. Together they authored articles exposing the fate of the native Amazonians which, fortified by Dutilleux's powerful photos, propelled the rainforest issues into the global spotlight. Encouraged by response to the stories, the pair created The Rainforest Foundation to support the Indians' fight for survival, launching an international campaign with a television spot starring Sting and produced and directed by Dutilleux. Accompanied by Chief Raoni, they embarked on a world tour and, in only 60 days, established local foundations in 12 countries, raising awareness and funds to protect the rainforest. In six recently published books, Dutilleux recounts these adventures and shares his remarkable photographs. The publicity and campaigning has to date secured the future of more than 25 million hectares of rainforest, not only in South America.


Controversies regularly mark the career of Jean-Pierre Dutilleux since the release of his documentary film Raoni (1978).

As early as July 22, 1981, the Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo[2] stated that the FUNAI (National Indian Foundation, Indian affairs agency in Brazil) is behind the creation of a precedent-setting law, as a result of the problems encountered with the movie Raoni. The article, which explains that Raoni was the first commercial film in Brazil with the participation of Indians, claims that he "did not respect the agreement signed with FUNAI to transfer 10% of the profits to the Indians Txucarramae, of the Xingu River region." The article details the new criteria put in place by the FUNAI: "the Indians who will take part in the shootings will have to be paid and notified to the Union of the Artists of Rio de Janeiro and the FUNAI." According to Dutilleux, the allegations in this article are contradicted by a letter dated May 7, 1990 from Raoni's nephew Megaron Txuccaramae, who makes it clear that the Indians have received royalties from the Raoni film: "With this letter, we want to thank Jean-Pierre Dutilleux for his support to the Indians over the years. Since 1973, when we knew him, he is a great friend of the Indians. When he did the movie Raoni, in 1976, he was the first filmmaker to give the Indians royalties that we received directly from the Embrafilm distributor after he opened our first bank account." This letter, which was read to Raoni and approved by him in the presence of the counselor of the Belgian Embassy in Brasilia, was published in the book L'Indien blanc.

In January 1990, a few months after having traveled the world with chief Raoni and Sting, Jean-Pierre Dutilleux was profiled in an investigation by the French edition of Rolling Stone[3] magazine. The author, Mark Zeller, said that Dutilleux, close to bankruptcy before his meeting with Sting, enriched himself during their charitable actions. According to Dutilleux, Mark Zeller's allegations are contradicted by Megaron Txuccaramae's letter of May 7, 1990, in which he indicates that Jean-Pierre Dutilleux was not paid for his charitable actions.

On April 2, 1990, Britain's ITV Network broadcast an episode of the investigative TV programme World in Action, "Sting and the Indians",[4] in which Jean-Pierre Dutilleux was denounced by Sting about the book Jungle Stories (published by JC Lattès), which they wrote and promoted together during their charity tour. Sting said he has lobbied Dutilleux without success to return his generous advance on royalty rights to the Rainforest Foundation, created to help Brazilian indigenous peoples protect the Amazon rainforest. World in Action explained that Dutilleux kept the money and left the Rainforest Foundation after the episode. A note from the administrators of the Rainforest Foundation of April 2, 1990,[5] made public by the Association forêt Vierge in March 2017, states that if he has never received a cent from the Rainforest Foundation, "Jean-Pierre Dutilleux has received a lump sum for the repurchase of his photographs for the book Jungle Stories, in compensation of the costs of 16 years of travel, lodging, photographic expenses, repayments with rights holders, etc. He indicated his intention that all other royalties be returned to the Rainforest Foundation." In the same investigation, Dutilleux is accused by photographer Alexis de Vilar, co-founder with him of the charity Tribal Life Fund, of being at the origin of the disappearance of the receipts of a gala organized at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on March 28, 1979 to support the Raoni movie.

On September 21, 1991, Belgian newspaper Le Soir released an article entitled "The Director of FUNAI denounces the Raoni-Dutilleux campaign",[6] while Dutilleux had just launched a major fund-raising campaign from Belgium which he claimed with the consent of FUNAI. Sydney Possuelo, President-in-Office of FUNAI, declared: "Mr. Dutilleux is not and has never been authorized to raise funds on behalf of FUNAI, the Coordination of the Isolated Indians, or myself." On October 7, 1991, Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo took over the affair in its title "A Belgian exploits Indians in the Amazon and tries a $ 5 million scam",[7] saying that "the president of Funai, Sydney Possuelo, ended the scam, which promised individual donors and companies "rescue diplomas" of the Amazon." The article exposed that Jean-Pierre Dutilleux mentioned the embassy of Belgium as support for his fundraising campaign and concluded on this point: "the Embassy asserts that its name was misquoted."

On October 9, 2000, Época (Brazilian magazine) dedicated an article to Jean-Pierre Dutilleux, whom she nicknamed "the Belgian sorcerer".[8] The subtitle set the tone: "Who is Jean-Pierre Dutilleux, filmmaker who in three decades has earned fame and money by exploiting the image of Raoni and other Indians of Brazil". For example, it is claimed that Dutilleux illegally sold photos of indigenous on the internet. Less than three weeks later, the daily Gazeta do povo claimed that Jean-Pierre Dutilleux was banned by FUNAI from entering a reserve and specified that an investigation was opened against him "for sale of photos without payment of author rights".[9] The mentioned judicial procedure also emanated from a request for investigation from chief Raoni on the "fundraising carried out by Mr. Jean-Pierre Dutilleux outside Brazil, through abuse of the use of the name and the image of chief Raoni", especially with the French government.[10]

In 2012, it was said in the Brazilian documentary film Belo Monte Announcement of a War (Belo Monte, Anúncio de uma Guerra),[11] directed by André d'Elia, that the Association Forêt Vierge of Jean-Pierre Dutilleux held "hostage" chief Raoni and his two companions indigenous peoples, while they had come to campaign in Europe in September 2011 against the Belo Monte dam, to the construction of which French companies are associated.[12] In a sequence, Raoni confirms that Jean-Pierre Dutilleux "did not allow anyone to approach me" and shows a petition against Belo Monte[13] which Dutilleux and his team, he says, have tried to prevent the shed. It is also alleged that the same team would have tried to exchange the silence of Chief Raoni on the misdeeds of the Belo Monte project against a promise that the borders of a territory of his people are traced.

On August 12, 2016, kayapo leaders Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txucarramae announced through a press release published on the official website and Facebook page of the Instituto Raoni[14] that they definitively cut any relationship with Jean-Pierre Dutilleux after several failures: "We recognize what Jean-Pierre Dutilleux has sometimes been able to bring to the level of the disclosure of our fight, but we have never appreciated his lack of respect, his opportunism and the way he exploited our image and the name of Cacique Raoni, to the point of damaging his reputation and jeopardizing his credibility". Jean-Pierre Dutilleux responded to these accusations via a video posted on YouTube[15] and on the website of the Association Forêt Vierge.[16]

On August 7, 2018, French NGO Planète Amazone accused Jean-Pierre Dutilleux in a statement[17] of having deliberately acted, "in Brazil and France", to destroy the confidence of his partners, saying that he "did not hesitate to use the name of an incumbent head of state in an attempt to obtain statements of denunciation from indigenous leaders against Planète Amazone, claiming that it was this head of state himself who demanded, prior to offer his support." Online correspondence refers to Albert II, Prince of Monaco as the mentioned head of state.[18]

In one of his films dedicated to the Toulambi tribe of Papua New Guinea, Dutilleux believes his film footage includes this tribe's first encounter with modern white men, and poses the possibility this may be the last time in history this can occur. A video of this film has been extensively posted in the internet, prompting much discussion and questions about this claim.[19] According to an article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Pacific History, the colonial archives indicate that the territory of the Toulambis had been visited by at least six patrols between 1929 and 1972. In itself that is very few and Dutilleux may be quite correct as certainly seems to be so when viewing the film.[20]

Dutilleux has worked intensively with thirty jungle tribes some of whom have only minimal contact with the outside world. He is working on a big-screen movie drama about an Amazonian tribe, which may include combining aspects of several tribes he knows, to tell a typical history of Amazonian tribes.


• Raoni 1 award[21]


Books published by Dutilleux:[22]

• Raoni, My Last Journey (2019)
• On the Trail of Lost Peoples (2015)
• Tribes: First World peoples (2013)
• Raoni: Memoirs of an Indian Chief (2010)
• Raoni and the First World (2000)
• The White Indian : 20 years of Amazonian Spell (1994)
• Raoni, an Indian Around the World in 60 days (1990)
• Jungle Stories, with Sting (1989)


1. "Movie Reviews". The New York Times. 12 July 2019. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
2. article from the Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo, July 22, 1981
3. "Rolling Stone article- original text". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
4. "Rainforest Foundation Historical Society". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
5. Note from the Rainforest Foundation of April 2, 1990, published on the website of the Association Forêt Vierge
6. article published by Belgian daily newspaper Le soir, on September 21, 1991, available on the newspaper's website
7. "Edição Digital - Folha de S.Paulo - Pg 8". Edição Digital - Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 14 July2019.
8. "Notícias - NOTÍCIAS - O pajé belga do Rio Xingu". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
9. article from Brazilian newspaper Gazeta do povo available on the site of the Brazilian NGO ISA
10. copy of a judicial act of the MPF (Federal Public Ministry), available on the site
11. full-length film with English subtitles on the Vimeo channel of producer Cinedelia
12. "Alstom et GDF Suez, au cœur de Belo Monte et du développement hydroélectrique de l'Amazonie". Observatoire des multinationales (in French). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
13. "Demande de soutien international du Chef Raoni contre le projet Belo Monte". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
14. "Instituto Raoni - IR". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
15. Jean-Pierre Dutilleux (16 March 2018), Réponses aux accusations portées contre moi, retrieved 14 July 2019
16. "Sauvegarde des forêts tropicales et des peuples autochtones - Association Forêt Vierge". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
17. statement from French NGO Planète Amazone on their official page
18. "Amazonia Leaks - 6c – Un chef d'Etat en exercice utilisé pour une fraude atteignant des défenseurs de la forêt amazonienne". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
19. @truth. "Footage: Uncontacted tribe meets outsiders and sees modern technology for the first time? The debate goes on..." Retrieved 14 July 2019.
20. Lemonnier, Pierre (2004). "The Hunt for Authenticity: Stone Age Stories Out of Context". Journal of Pacific History. 39(1): 79–98. doi:10.1080/00223340410001684868.
21. "Jean-Pierre Dutilleux - Filmography". Retrieved 14 July 2019.
22. Jean Pierre Dutilleux Published Books

External links

• Official website
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