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Wikileaks Dumps Democratic National Committee E-Mails — Bernie Sanders Almost Beat Hillary Clinton, Even Though Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC Were Maligning Bernie At Every Opportunity

July 23, 2016

Maligning definition, to speak harmful untruths about; speak evil of; slander; defame: to malign an honorable man. See also malignant as in invasive, uncontrollable, dangerous, deadly, fatal, incurable. As in “Hillary Clinton has a malignant inability to play by the rules and tell the truth.”

Wikileaks published 20,000 leaked DNC e-mail messages, many of which proved controversial for the purportedly neutral committee.

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By Kim LaCapria

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News leaks web site Wikileaks published a massive cache of 20,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails on 22 July 2016, just days before the start of the Democratic National Convention.

Interested parties immediately began sorting through the mountain of communications between DNC staffers and contacts such as news media personnel and lawmakers. In the first few hours after the dump occurred, several documents were flagged as particularly noteworthy, primarily because the DNC outwardly maintained they favored neither of the leading Democratic candidates (i.e., Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders) and had attended to both equally.

In a 26 April 2016 e-mail written for attribution to DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the committee drafted an announcement that Sen. Bernie Sanders had dropped out of contention for the Democratic nomination (even though Sanders did not drop out of the race and remained an active candidate as of 22 July 2016):

Hi all — We are starting to plan ahead with messaging to our supporters for the end of the primary and transition to the general.

Below are a handful of emails and graphic copy for the initial few days of that change, arranged below in the order in which we’ll send them as we’ve laid out in a memo to Amy:

* Emails from DWS thanking Bernie (similar to what we did when MOM dropped out)
* Copy for unity-themed graphics
* Hillary emails from Amy (our first Hillary-focused emails)
* Hillary graphic copy
* Emails from POTUS for when he endorses

Sender: Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Subject: Friend … I want to thank Bernie Sanders for bringing them to the forefront of his campaign and putting these Democratic values we share into the spotlight. I want to thank him for his unwavering commitment to equality for all and his dedication to improving the lives of Americans everywhere. For his insistence that we can do better. Because I agree — we can do better, and we must do better, for the sake of every parent who wants their kids’ lives to be a little brighter, for every student who wants to reach higher and go further, and for every person who sees this country as a place with opportunity for all. NAME, as a presidential candidate and as a member of Congress for more than two decades, Bernie Sanders has excited the people of this country, and I know he’ll continue to, no matter what he does next. So as he ends his campaign today, add your name to mine to thank him for everything[.]

A second version from the same April 2016 chain of e-mails read:

Today, as he suspends his presidential campaign, I want to thank Bernie Sanders for his everything he has brought to this race — and I want you to join me … Thanks … now onward to November and victory! Debbie

Despite the DNC’s repeated discussion of Clinton’s presumptive win, a 6 May 2016 DNC e-mail labeled media allegations that the committee was planning on a Clinton nomination as “#bernieclickbait.” In another message, DNC operatives discussed a Politico item about Clinton that was provided to the DNC for review before publication. That e-mail included National Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director Mark Paustenbach, whose fingerprints appeared on more than a few of the controversial communications.

Another message involved what appeared to be a competing “narrative” regarding a controversial claim over chairs supposedly thrown by Sanders supporters at a Nevada caucus that was debunked on 19 May 2016. On 21 May 2016, Paustenbach pitched an idea to fellow DNC member Luis Miranda for a planted story maligning the Sanders campaign:

Wondering if there’s a good Bernie narrative for a story, which is that Bernie never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess.

Specifically, DWS had to call Bernie directly in order to get the campaign to do things because they’d either ignored or forgotten to something critical.

She had to call Bernie after the data breach to make his staff to respond to our concerns. Even then they didn’t get back to us, which is why we had to shut off their access in order to get them to finally let us know exactly how they snooped around HFA’s data.

Same was true with the standing committee appointments. They never got back to us with their names (HFA and even O’Malley got there’s in six weeks earlier) for the committees. So, again, the chair had to call Bernie personally for his staff to finally get us critical information. So, they gave us an awful list just a few days before we had to make the announcements.

It’s not a DNC conspiracy, it’s because they never had their act together.

Miranda responded by saying that:

True, but the Chair has been advised to not engage.

So we’ll have to leave it alone.

Miranda and Paustenbach were also copied in on a particularly troublesome 5 May 2016 message during which staffer Brad Marshall appeared to suggest finding a reporter to highlight Sanders’ Jewish heritage and question his faith:

It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.

Staffer Amy K. Dacey responded to that message with: “AMEN.”

A 19 May 2016 e-mail raised questions about the proper handling of funds by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, in which one staffer appeared to admonish another staffer for leaving a paper record of potentially prohibited funds transfers. In another message sent ahead of the Rhode Island primary, staffers discussed “getting out ahead” of anticipated outcry over insufficient polling places to support presumptive Sanders voters (he led by four points in that state) even though the state’s governor was “one of ours.”

On 11 May 2016, Miranda told a Wall Street Journal reporter that the inclusion of Sanders’ delegates in standing committees was a courtesy performed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In a follow-up message, Miranda affirmatively employed the “no fingerprints” strategy of press engagement, nudging and winking about their information exchange having been made in “in good faith”:

WikiLeaks_-_Search_the_DNC_email_database
Wikileaks themselves highlighted several specific e-mails via Twitter:

A searchable archive of the leaked messages is availake at the link. hosted here.

Kim LaCapria is a New York-based content manager and longtime snopes.com message board participant. Although she was investigated and found to be “probably false” by snopes.com in early 2002, Kim later began writing for the site due to an executive order unilaterally passed by President Obama during a secret, late-night session (without the approval of Congress). Click like and share if you think this is an egregious example of legislative overreach.

http://www.snopes.com/2016/07/22/wikileaks-dumps-dnc-emails/

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Released Emails Suggest the D.N.C. Derided the Sanders Campaign

Top officials at the Democratic National Committee criticized and mocked Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the primary campaign, even though the organization publicly insisted that it was neutral in the race, according to committee emails made public on Friday by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks posted almost 20,000 emails sent or received by a handful of top committee officials and provided an online tool to search through them. While WikiLeaks did not reveal the source of the leak, the committee said last month that Russian hackers had penetrated its computer system.

Among the emails released on Friday were several embarrassing messages that suggest the committee’s chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and other officials favored Hillary Clinton over Mr. Sanders — a claim the senator made repeatedly during the primaries.

Read the rest:

End of Life Decisions, Palliative Care and Growing in Spirituality

July 23, 2016

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Hospital patient's hands folded in lap, close-up

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We at Peace and Freedom became students of “end of life decisions” and palliative care when a friend asked us to accompany him on his final efforts to stay alive after he was diagnosed with stage IV lung Cancer.

Palliative care is a kind of specialized medical care for people with serious illness. In addition to the purely medical role, palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

My experience with my first dying friend started with making sure he was able to get to all of his medical appointments and to assist in exhausting every opportunity to reverse the cancer by medical means.

A woman who we often saw as we were with doctors in at treatment, including chemo and radiation,  finished all of her treatments “cancer free.” Everyone had been expecting her to die. But God gave her more time.

Good Samaritan by Walter Rane. We are all called to be The Good Samaritan — but many are “too busy.” Plus, one man told me, “there’s no money in it.”

Traveling the last mile on this Earth, especially with a person with a belief in God, often involves spiritual assistance, prayer, confession, the Eucharist (Holy Communion) and also can delve into legal issues such as closing bank accounts, dealing with the will and last wishes plus a whole host of other requirements.

In our society today, the sanctity of human life is often neglected or ignored. Because of the great financial expense of end of life care, there is a tendency for individuals, even doctors and family members, to “just move things along a little,” which is a nice way of sometimes saying euthanasia.

On one occasion, a doctor came into the ICU while I was knelling and praying with a friend. I overheard the doctor telling the man’s wife, “It is time to let your husband go. His brain is no longer functioning.”

I thought about taking the easy way out and staying silent. But my friend had just been holding my hand and we had said the Lard’s Prayer together. I heard him speak every word.

Fortunately, the man’s wife started to resist the doctors lie. Her husband was in fact speaking to us and was in full command of his faculties. So I asked my friend to write down the names of his grandchildren — which he did.

That doctor never came back. My friend lived another year. But my friend did encounter much more pain and suffering during that last year of his life. Yet he thanked me and prayed with me and said he appreciated the extra time to see all his relatives, to make a more complete confession and to deal with some issues before he was ushered out the door.

He taught me how to really pray. And I also learned about the salvific value of suffering (see below).

We are called to love one another — as Jesus loves us.

The Catholic Church teaching on these subjects is below. Each person and family have to make their own decisions, and answer to God, when its all over.

In a nutshell, the Catholic Church pretty much says our lives have a sanctity from God, and we are to always choose life and allow God to decide how it ends.

Once families and doctors start killing people off thinking they know better than God, it seems to me we are entering an area that is God’s alone. Our job is to support life. God will do the rest.

One last thought. I went to the hospital one time to see an old friend after he had a stroke. Everyone thought he was a “goner.” But he just kept slowly getting better. When he came out of a coma, he reached out, grabbed my arm and said, “You are my Simon of Cyrene.”

I did get an opportunity to carry his cross — and not by my own choosing. I did not seek this out. God’s will was pretty clear: he wanted me to provide love, help and prayer — not a pillow over the face.

He taught me how important our loving service can be. That man who nearly died is still alive — almost ten years after he assigned me the role of Simon of Cyrene, which I am still thankfully able to provide to others who are suffering — even despite a progressive neurological condition now slowing robbing me of many skills.

I tell people now, if you want to progress spiritually, if you want to be found by the Holy Spirit, do it God’s way. If you do it any other way, you may never forgive yourself. Plus you won’t nourish your spirituality — you may lose it. If you ever had any.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

Simon of Cyrene carries the cross of Jesus

Related:

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The Catholic Church’s Teaching on Euthanasia

ISSUE: What is euthanasia? Why does the Church forbid its practice?

RESPONSE: The glossary in the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines euthanasia as “an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes the death of handicapped, sick, or dying persons—sometimes with an attempt to justify the act as a means of eliminating suffering.”

Euthanasia is a form of murder and thus is prohibited by the Fifth Commandment. It is a grave offense against the dignity of the human person and also against God, the Author of human life. While motives and circumstances can mitigate one’s culpability, they do not change the nature of this murderous act, which must be forbidden (Catechism, no. 2277).

The Church affirms the right to life of all persons, from conception to natural death. The Church encourages those with terminal illness to unite their sufferings with those of Jesus Christ, for the sake of His body, the Church (cf. Col. 1:24). The Church also encourages caregivers and family members to treat sick or handicapped persons with “special respect” (Catechism, no. 2276).

DISCUSSION: Death is part of the human condition. While everyone is well aware of this reality, the presence of terminal or severe illness requires us to look more closely at this reality. As we approach death, we confront our own beliefs about the meaning of life, the value of suffering, and the prospect of life after death. In other words, the experience of our own mortality is a pivotal moment in our pilgrimage of faith (cf. Catechism, no. 1501). How we approach death is of utmost importance to the individual and to society. Further, the way we treat those in need, the least of our brethren (cf. Mt. 25:31-46), speaks volumes about who we are as a people.

In his encyclical letter on the “Gospel of Life” (Evangelium Vitae, “EV”), Pope John Paul II identifies several cultural factors that have contributed to the spread of euthanasia. He says that in today’s society we are increasingly unable to face and accept suffering, so we are increasingly tempted to eliminate it at the root by hastening the moment of death (cf. EV, no. 15). This points to the “crisis of faith” in the West, where the physical evil of suffering is considered to be “the epitome of evil, to be eliminated at all costs” (ibid.). The Pope points out several other factors, including modern man’s desire to control life and death and an assessment of human value based on medical costs, self-sufficiency, and societal “burden.”

We saw in the 20th century how Planned Parenthood and the little-known radical views of its founder, Margaret Sanger, subtly imposed its contraceptive, anti-natalist, racist, and eugenic agenda on the world. The result has been that conduct once considered unspeakably evil—the killing of unborn or even partially born children—is not only accepted but enshrined as an inalienable right. Less people, however, are aware that a similar effort is well under way to legitimize the killing of our elderly and sick citizens.

Palliative care - file picture

Credit: AMELIE-BENOIST / BSIP/SPL

In 1938, Dr. Foster Kennedy, president of the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA), announced his organization’s support of legislation to legalize the killing of “defective” or “incurable” human beings—with or without their consent. Back then, such legislation was utterly intolerable to most people, so the ESA took a more strategic, incremental approach, employing deceptive language such as “death with dignity” and building upon the utilitarianism (“quality of life”) and radical autonomy (“right to choose”) championed by secular society and, unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court. Many now see euthanasia as a topic of political discussion, not an abomination.

God’s Timeless and Timely Word

It would not be realistic to expect Sacred Scripture to address contemporary issues regarding care for the dying. Even so, the biblical message—amplified by Church Tradition and definitively expounded by the Magisterium—is firmly and unequivocally on the side of life. Some relevant biblical themes include:

The value and dignity of human life.

The Bible begins with the creation narrative, which provides that man has been specially created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen. 1:26-27). The rest of the Bible is the story of God’s fatherly plan to draw all people to Himself. This plan culminates in the Incarnation of Christ. By becoming one like us, God amazingly demonstrates His solidarity with the human family and affirms the value and dignity of human life. Pope John Paul II connects the dots for us, telling us that a rejection of human life is really a rejection of Christ (EV, no. 104).

Prohibition of murder.

The Fifth Commandment expressly forbids taking another’s life (cf. Ex. 20:13). Jesus not only affirms the necessity of this commandment for eternal life (cf. Mt. 19:16-22), but actually tightens its requirements (cf. Mt. 5:21-26). He also roots the commandment in the positive requirement to love one’s neighbor “as one’s self” (cf. Mt. 22:34-40). This positive command presupposes a legitimate love of self that would exclude the rejection of the fundamental gift of life.

Respect for advanced age.

Throughout Scripture, old age is characterized by dignity and surrounded with reverence. Just one example of the dignity of the elderly can be found in the story of Eleazar, who accepted torture and martyrdom rather than violate God’s law. His heroic action is described as “worthy of his years and the dignity of his old age” (2 Mac. 6:23).

Jesus’ love for the sick.

The Gospels are replete with accounts of Jesus tending to the needs of the sick, handicapped, and dying. Jesus healed the sick and instructed His disciples to do the same (cf. Mt. 10:8). Caring for the sick has always been considered a “corporal work of mercy,” based on Our Lord’s own words in Matthew 25. And in the parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk. 10:29-39), we see the Christian’s obligation to tend to the needs of our “neighbor” despite any perceived inconvenience or cultural bias.

Earthly life is not an absolute.

Scripture says we weren’t created simply for this life but for eternity (cf. Wis. 2:23). We are advised to be concerned most of all about threats to our eternal souls (cf. Mt. 10:28), realizing that while our “outer self” is wasting away, our “inner self” is being renewed each day (cf. 2 Cor. 4:12-5:1).

Trust God in life and death.

Life is a gift from God, and whether we live or die is in His hands (cf. Ps. 16:15). The just man is depicted not as seeking deliverance from the burdens of old age, but as putting his trust in God’s loving providence. The Bible does not teach a mere fatalism or resignation, but elicits faith in God and trust in His mercy and promises.

Salvific value of suffering.

Through dying on the Cross for us, Jesus Christ reveals the life-giving value of suffering. Christ’s sacrifice redeemed the whole world, but in appropriating this redemption for ourselves, we are instructed to follow Jesus’ example and carry our own crosses, laying down our lives for others. All our thoughts, words, and actions, but particularly our sufferings, have salvific value when united with Christ’s sacrifice.

Here we have to understand the distinction between martyrdom, which involves accepting suffering and even death out of love for Christ, and suicide, which involves seeking death for its own sake, i.e., rejecting the good of human life. St. Jerome, a 4th-century Doctor of the Church, expressed the distinction this way: “It is not ours to lay hold of death; but we freely accept it when it is inflicted by others.”

For 2,000 years, the Church’s Tradition has consistently taught the absolute and unchanging value of the commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” Pope John Paul II cites the Didache, the most ancient non-biblical Christian writing, which condemns crimes against human life as being part of the “way of death” that Christians must reject (EV, no. 54).

St. Augustine, writing in the fifth century, made several statements that support the Church’s constant teaching on euthanasia, such as his assertion “that no man should put an end to this life to obtain that better life we look for after death, for those who die by their own hand have no better life after death” (City of God, I, 26).

Magisterial Pronouncements

The Catholic Church has firmly and explicitly confirmed its condemnation of euthanasia in recent decades. Notably, at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the universal Church taught:

The varieties of crime are numerous: all offenses against life itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, and willful suicide . . . are criminal: they poison civilization, and they debase the perpetrators more than the victims and militate against the honor of the Creator (Gaudium et Spes, no. 27, emphasis added).

Even more recently, in response to what he calls the “culture of death,” Pope John Paul II definitively reiterated the Church’s perennial teaching:

In harmony with the Magisterium of my predecessors and in communion with the bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition, and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (EV, no. 65).

Guilt by Association?

The patient who requests euthanasia in effect commits suicide, which the Church has always considered a “gravely evil choice” (ibid., no. 66). While suicide in all its forms is an objective violation of the Fifth Commandment, we must recognize that psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the person who commits suicide (Catechism, no 2282). We cannot know the eternal fate of such a person: “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives” (Catechism, no. 2283).

Then there is the physician and others who help to bring about the patient’s death, including those who provide lethal drugs or other means of enabling a patient to commit the form of euthanasia commonly known as “assisted suicide.” All those who knowingly and willingly perform or assist in carrying out the act of terminating the patient’s life have committed murder (cf. Catechism, no. 2277). While there may be mitigating factors in a particular case, especially when it comes to family members who are coping with a loved one’s catastrophic illness, the act nonetheless is seriously wrong, even when the patient requests it. “True ‘compassion’ leads to sharing another’s pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear” (EV, no. 66).

Finally, there are those public officials who pass laws legalizing euthanasia in their jurisdiction. A law that tolerates—or even requires—the killing of the innocent is unjust, non-binding, and brings about the obligation to oppose it by means of conscientious objection (ibid., no. 73). The fact that civil laws allow an evil or that there is a diversity of views on the subject does not alter this requirement, which the Holy Father summarizes:

In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it (ibid.).

The Problem of Pain

In discussing the topic of euthanasia, some further distinctions need to be made. First, the Church recognizes the legitimacy of palliative care, which involves making suffering more bearable in the final stage of illness and ensuring that the patient is supported and accompanied throughout his or her ordeal (cf. EV, no. 65).

Surely, Christians are called to find in their suffering and pain a unique opportunity to participate in Our Lord’s Passion. Excessive pain, however, brings the prospect of draining a patient’s moral resources, interfering with his spiritual well-being, and even tempting him to consider euthanasia. Therefore, the patient’s request for pain relief should be respected; those who cannot express their wishes can generally be assured to want such relief.[1]

In treating some serious illnesses such as cancer or AIDS, the doses of narcotics needed to effect adequate pain management can bring about a foreseeable risk of shortening the patient’s life. Pope Pius XII taught in a 1957 address that it is permitted to relieve pain with narcotics, even when the result is decreased consciousness and a shortening of life, “if no other means exist, and if, in the given circumstances, this does not prevent the carrying out of other religious and moral duties.”

The Church has subsequently reaffirmed the moral liceity of authentic palliative care, so long as the medicines are not taken or prescribed with the intention of bringing about the patient’s death. The Catechism calls palliative care a special form of charity which should be encouraged (no. 2279).

It Is Finished

A second issue arises as to what measures must be taken to preserve life. Patients, family members, and health care providers are not morally obligated to pursue every possible avenue of extending human life. Instead, “it needs to be determined whether the means of available treatment are objectively proportionate to the prospects for improvement” (EV, no. 65).

The Church has distinguished between “extraordinary” and “ordinary” care, with only the latter being morally obligatory:

Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of ‘over-zealous’ treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted (Catechism, no. 2278).

Even when death is considered imminent, patients by virtue of their human dignity should continue to receive “ordinary” care. The Charter for Health Care Workers (Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance for Health Care Workers, 1995) says that such care includes nursing care, hygiene, and palliative care. It also involves nutrition and hydration, orally or with artificial assistance (i.e., a feeding tube), if this will support the patient’s life without imposing serious burdens on the patient.

Allowing the patient to die a natural death with dignity is not euthanasia. While it is not permissible and indeed reprehensible to cause a patient’s death through starvation or dehydration, in the case of a patient in the final stages of the dying process, where providing him with food or water would cause greater hardship than relief, those tending to the patient may forego such care (cf. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, no. 58).

In both the case of palliative care and the case of foregoing “over-zealous” treatment, the goal is not to terminate the life of the patient, but on the contrary to treat the patient with dignity and respect. The patient’s death is accepted without being willed or deliberately accelerated. And in both cases we see the principle of double effect in action. Some forms of treatment may have two effects, one good (e.g. pain relief) and one evil (shortening of patient’s life). In appropriate circumstances, the treatment may be provided because of the intended good effect, despite the possibility of the foreseeable but unintended bad effect (cf. Catechism, no. 1737). The pivotal issue is what one is trying to accomplish through a given medical decision. If the intention is to kill or shorten the patient’s life, then it is not morally justifiable.

Christian Beatitude

Our Lord says, “Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted” (Mt. 5:4). Modern man tends to resist mourning, to resist embracing the reality of human suffering and death, opting instead for a cosmetic, shallow, and ultimately disposable existence. Our Lord does not say that He will take away our temporal pain and anguish, but He does promise to “comfort” us, which literally means that He will be strong with us, through the power of His Holy Spirit.

He also tells us that when we care for the sick, the marginalized, and the dying, we are truly caring for Him, such that the late Mother Teresa would often say that she was serving the “hidden Jesus” in the poorest of the poor in Calcutta.

We affirm the Gospel of Life, and in particular the value and dignity of the elderly and ill in our midst, when we tend to their physical, psychological, and spiritual needs. This could involve just sitting with them, offering them reassurance, or making the sacraments available to them—particularly Confession and Anointing of the Sick, the underappreciated “Sacraments of Healing”—as well as the Eucharist, which is called “viaticum” when received in anticipation of passing over to eternal life (cf. Catechism, no. 1517). Thus by our actions as well as by our words, we must be ambassadors of God’s mercy and compassion to those who are dying.

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Recommended Reading:

Holy Bible (Catholic edition)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Vatican II Documents

Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Euthanasia

Russell Shaw, ed., Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine

William Brennan, Dehumanizing the Vulnerable

 

Other Available FAITH FACTS:

 Organ Donation • Debunking the Overpopulation Myth • Canonical Misconception: Pope Pius IX and the Church’s Teaching on Abortion • The Truth About Birth Control

Call 1-800-MY-FAITH (693-2484).

FAITH FACTS are a free membership service of Catholics United for the Faith.

Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth St.
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(800) 693-2484
www.cuf.org

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Source: http://www.cuf.org/2004/04/true-compassion-for-the-dying-the-churchs-teaching-on-euthanasia/

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From Eternal Word Television (EWTN)

The court-ordered starvation and dehydration of Terri Schiavo in 2005 raised a number of issues—moral, legal and constitutional, about the right to life and the so-called right to die. Most coverage of the case focused on the question of her guardian’s right to decide according to her alleged wishes and the due process of the judicial proceedings. However, at base the question was a moral, not a legal, one: under what conditions, if any, may a patient, a guardian, medical personnel or civil authorities, withhold or withdraw nutrition and hydration?

Catholic Teaching on Extraordinary Means

The natural law and the Fifth Commandment1 requires that all ordinary means be used to preserve life, such as food, water, exercise, and medical care. Since the middle ages, however, Catholic theologians have recognized that human beings are not morally obligated to undergo every possible medical treatment to save their lives. Treatments that are unduly burdensome or sorrowful to a particular patient, such as amputation, or beyond the economic means of the person, or which only prolong the suffering of a dying person, are morallyextraordinary, meaning they are not morally obligatory in a particular case. Medical means may be medically ordinary, but yet morally extraordinary.

The many advances in medicine during recent decades has greatly complicated the decision whether to undergo or forego medical treatment,  since medicine can now save many people who would simply have been allowed to die in the past. Further, having saved them, many people continue to live for long periods in comatose or semi-conscious states, unable to live without technological assistance of one kind or another. The following Questions and Answers will address some of the complexities of this issue.

Q. When may medical therapies, procedures, equipment and the like be withheld or withdrawn from a patient.

A. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

2278. Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

The key principle in this statement is that one does not will to cause death. When a person has an underlying terminal disease, or their heart, or some other organ, cannot work without mechanical assistance, or a therapy being proposed is dangerous, or has little chance of success, then not using that machine or that therapy results in the person dying from the disease or organ failure they already have. The omission allows nature to takes its course. It does not directly kill the person, even though it may contribute to the person dying earlier than if aggressive treatment had been done.

Q. Does this also apply to artificially provided nutrition and hydration?

A. Yes, when the moral conditions noted above are met. We must, therefore, ask the question “will the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration allow the person to die, or kill the person?” When it will allow a person to die from an underlying condition, rather than unnecessarily prolonging their suffering, it may be removed. So, for example, in the last hours, even days, of a cancer patient’s life, or if a sick person’s body is no longer able to process food and water, there is no moral obligation to provide nutrition and hydration. The patient will die of their disease or their organ failure before starvation or dehydration could kill them.

However, when the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration is intended to kill the person, or will be the immediate and direct cause of doing so, quite apart from any disease or failure of their bodies, then to withdraw food and water would be an act of euthanasia, a grave sin against the natural law and the law of God.

Q. What about the case of Terri Schiavo?

A. In Terri’s case, while there was some disagreement as to her exact medical condition, she was not dying. Indeed, when the other artificial means were withdrawn she continued to live, so that the withdrawal of her food and water directly caused her death. This was a violation of the natural law and the law of God.

Q. You mention the natural law, what is it?

A. The natural law is morality which reason can determine from the nature of man, without the assistance of God’s revelation. An example is the right to life. Almost all human societies throughout history, both religious and non-religious, have recognized that it is wrong to kill an innocent person. This is a conclusion which reason can easily come to, since all human beings  have an inborn desire to live. From this natural law principle we can easily see that any action that directly and intentionally kills an innocent person is an unjust taking of a human life. Therefore, withdrawing food and and water from anyone who is not about to die and who can still tolerate it, has no other reasonable name than murder.

Q. What does the Church say about this?

A. The Pope addressed this issue in an address to a group of physicians who were in Rome in March 2004 precisely to discuss it.

I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.

The obligation to provide the “normal care due to the sick in such cases” (1) includes, in fact, the use of nutrition and hydration (2). The evaluation of probabilities, founded on waning hopes for recovery when the vegetative state is prolonged beyond a year, cannot ethically justify the cessation or interruption of minimal care for the patient, including nutrition and hydration. Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission.

In this regard, I recall what I wrote in the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae making it clear that “by euthanasia in the true and proper sense must be understood an action or omission which by its very nature and intention brings about death, with the purpose of eliminating all pain”; such an act is always “a serious violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person” (n. 65).  [Pope John Paul II, To the Congress on Life-Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State, 20 March 2004)

(1) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Iura et Bona, p. IV

(2) cf. Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, Dans le Cadre, 2, 4, 4; Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers,Charter of Health Care Workers, n. 120

In this address the Holy Father draws the following significant conclusions:

1. Food and water are natural means of sustaining life, not medical acts, even if delivered artificially.

2. Nutrition and hydration are ordinary and proportionate means of care.

3. Food and water are morally obligatory unless or until they cannot achieve their finality, which is providing nutrition and hydrating and alleviating suffering.

4. The length of time they are, or will be, used is not grounds for withholding or withdrawing artificially delivered nutrition and hydration.

5. If the result of withholding or withdrawing nutrition and hydration is death by starvation and dehydration, as opposed to an undying disease or dysfunction, it is gravely immorally.

In summary, nutrition and hydration, like bathing and changing the patient’s position to avoid bedsores, is ordinary care that is owed to the patient. This is true even if it is delivered artificially, as when a baby is bottle-fed or a sick person is tube-fed. Nutrition and hydration may only be discontinued when they cannot achieve their natural purposes, such as when the body can no longer process them, or, when during the death process they would only prolong the person’s suffering. If such a case the patient dies of the underlying disease. On the other hand, if starvation and dehydration is the foreseeable cause of death, to withhold or withdrawn nutrition and hydration is gravely immoral.

Q. What can a person do to ensure that their wishes and their religious beliefs are respected by their family, medical personnel and the courts?

A. The best way is by means of an Advance Directive which states the patients wishes with respect to aggressive medical treatment. There are two basic kinds, a Living Will by itself or an Advance Directive with a Durable Power of Attorney (or Proxy) for Health Care Decisions. The merits of each are as follows:

1. Living Will. By this document a person decides completely in advance whether they want to be kept alive by technology. It is a “yes” or “no” statement, which then places the matter in the hands of the medical community. Many Catholic bishops and moralists consider this an unsatisfactory approach, as it does not provide for unforeseen circumstances. Despite the enthusiasm of the media, many medical professionals, and sadly even some Catholic institutions, Living Wills are NOT the way to go!

2. Advance Directive with a Durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy. These documents give to a friend or family member the authority to make health care decisions according to one’s mind as expressed in an Advance Directive. By appointing an agent, or giving someone durable power of attorney, the patient allows for unforeseen circumstances. By stating in an  Advance Directive that one wants Catholic teaching adhered to, one can ensure that neither the agent or the medical institution will disregard that teaching. Together they ensure that a trusted person, rather than strangers, will make circumstantially appropriate decisions, in keeping with the Faith.

The following sample forms are provided through the courtesy of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Health Care Proxy               Advance Directive

Adobe 4 or higher is need to read and print these forms.

https://www.ewtn.com/morals/end-of-life.htm

South China Sea: Experts Urge China To Support Arbitration Decision and International Law

July 23, 2016

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The ruling on July 12 of an arbitration court in The Hague that rejected the legal basis for Chinese claims of sovereignty and national interest in the South China Sea came as a shock to China. We interviewed two experts about the significance of the ruling and its potential outcome.

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■ Kunihoko Miyake (Research Director at the Canon Institute for Global Studies)

Both sides need to build trust to prevent conflict arising from misunderstanding

The court’s ruling is mostly fair, reflecting the order in the world’s seas. Most countries agree that the court’s rulings are binding, and so a ruling often very effectively consolidates international opinion. European countries, which created international law, will not be able to ignore the court’s judgment.

It is important to make the world outside of the Group of Seven widely understand that what China is doing in Asian waters does not differ from what Russia has been doing in Europe, in the sense that it is a forceful change to the status quo.

China has been claiming the legitimacy of its so-called nine-dash line since its foundation, and thus cannot retract it. What makes matters worse is that there is no institution in China capable of advising President Xi Jinping that Beijing’s logic will not convince the international community. It is likely that the construction of man-made islands made a bad impression on the Hague arbitrators as well.

The court’s ruling basically settled the issue in terms of international law, but nobody expects it to resolve the problem in reality. The rule of international law is weak compared with domestic laws.

The latest judgment marks a turning point as to whether China will act responsibly in the international community. Just like Japan before World War II, no country that has challenged the concept of the rule of law has survived.

However, China has invested extremely heavily in the nine-dash line to date, and has also generated a great amount of propaganda. Even in China, retracting the nine-dash line at this point would inevitably cause the downfall of the leadership, and therefore even if the issue is legally settled, China will never accept such a settlement. The militarization of the South China Sea will most likely continue, and no country has the power to stop it.

Even so, Japan must maintain dialogue with China, and send a message that China’s current approach will not benefit China at all. Japan needs to convince China that in the medium and long term, international cooperation is more beneficial, while it also needs to show its determination and ability to never tolerate an attempt to change the status quo.

To resolve territorial disputes, one side must give up its claim. It is important for both sides to remain in contact with each other on the premise that the issue may never be resolved and to build trust to avoid an unnecessary conflict or war caused by misunderstanding.

The reason why the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union did not explode during the Cold War is that their militaries diligently continued dialogue. This kind of confidence-building must take place between opposing parties today. In terms of Japan-China relations, it is very important not to give China the excuse that “Because Japan provoked us, we’re taking military action.”

(This interview was conduted by Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer Ryosuke Okada. )

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Miyake is a visiting professor at Ritsumeikan University. His past positions include director of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty Division of the Foreign Ministry, minister to China, and minister to Iraq. He is 62 years old.

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■ Zhu Feng (professor at Nanjing University’s China Center for Collaborative Studies of the South China Sea)

Ruling political, but good lesson for China

The ruling is excessively in favor of the Philippines. Not only did it deny China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea across the board, but the ruling attempts to establish new rules applying to conflicts in the region. This is beyond the scope of legal arbitration, and is clearly fueled by political motives.

I imagine that even American scholars were surprised at the ruling’s rejection of the nine-dash line. How were the arbitrators able to come to a conclusion, when China hasn’t even clearly explained what, exactly, the nine-dash line is? Furthermore, China’s historical claims in the region were completely denied despite the ongoing controversy over whether the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) recognizes “historical rights.” The ruling is unbalanced.

What is simply absurd is that not even Taiping Island (the largest of the Spratly Islands, and currently controlled by Taiwan) was recognized as an island.

On the other hand, the fact that no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf rights were granted around the man-made islands is exactly as UNCLOS states, and is noncontroversial.

Naturally, China’s claims regarding its territory and interests will not change as a result of the ruling. However, it is not possible to separate China’s changes from those occurring around it.

This arbitration was a very good lesson for China. We have much to learn from this case.

I doubt that China will construct new man-made islands on Scarborough Shoal [considering the international attention following the ruling]. They are unnecessary in the first place, as many have pointed out. Expanding China’s air defense identification zone over the South China Sea would also be pointless. When China did that over the East China Sea, all it did was concern Japan further.

Indeed, there are some experts who insist that China should withdraw from UNCLOS. However, China also benefits from the global order set by the treaty. Withdrawal would do more harm than good. China should not do such a foolish thing.

In my understanding, the South China Sea issue is not a military battle. It is a battle involving diplomacy, law and public opinion. It is very important that the battle involves peaceful means.

Relationships with the Philippines, the United States and Japan are very difficult issues for China. The South China Sea has become more than a territorial dispute; it has become a geopolitical one. However, at this point, the situation is not yet one in which China’s relationships with the United States and Japan have broken down.

Territorial sovereignty, nationalism and patriotism are closely related. This dispute requires Chinese people to think even more rationally, realistically, objectively and strategically.

Japan must also pay close attention. Every party involved must cool their heads and approach the issue rationally.

(This interview was conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun Senior Writer Hiroyuki Sugiyama, based in Beijing.)

* * *

Zhu is an expert on Asian security, including the South China Sea issue. Formerly a professor at Peking University’s School of International Studies. Also knowledgeable in China-U.S. relations, he is active in international academic settings.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003088772

Related:

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 (Contains links to previous articles)

 

 (Has links to many related conservation and environmental articles)

 (Includes links to articles posted since the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration)

 (This article has a list of all the background articles on the issues in the South China Sea)

President Xi Jinping of China, center, was applauded when he visited the newsroom of People’s Daily in Beijing. Credit Lan Hongguang/Xinhua, via Associated Press

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 (Contains links to previous articles)

Philippines: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. days Comelec and Smartmatic used unusual practices in lections and kept the truth secret from the public

July 23, 2016
 

Marcos’ camp earlier revealed the existence of a “fourth server” or “Queue Server” that had been kept secret from the public by both the Comelec and Smartmatic. AP/File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. expressed elation yesterday over the admission of an official of automated poll service provider Smartmatic that there was not just one but several other servers that existed in the Automated Election System (AES) apart from those sanctioned by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the May 9 polls.

Marcos’ spokesman Vic Rodriguez said there was a major breakthrough in the case with the admission of Marlon Garcia, head of the Technical Support Team of Smartmatic, that aside from the three servers sanctioned by the Comelec in the transmission of votes, there also existed a “meet me room” where several servers were placed.

Marcos’ camp earlier revealed the existence of a “fourth server” or “Queue Server” that had been kept secret from the public by both the Comelec and Smartmatic.

“This is a good day for Senator Marcos’ quest for truth because they (Smartmatic) finally admitted the existence of several other servers aside from the three legally authorized servers,” Rodriguez said.

He said that instead of the votes being transmitted directly to the three servers, namely the Municipal Board of Canvassing server, the Comelec server and the Transparency server, the results were first coursed through a Queue server.

He said that this Queue server was not revealed to the public and never subjected to a source code review, unlike the other servers used in the elections, according to Rodriguez.

There were no watchers allowed for the fourth server, he said.

Ever since the camp of Marcos made the disclosure about the existence of the “Queue Server” last May, both the Comelec and Smartmatic have been tight-lipped on its existence.

However, during the clarificatory hearing at the Manila Prosecutor’s Office on the violation of the Cybercrime Law complaint filed by former Abakada representative Jonathan de la Cruz against Smartmatic and Comelec personnel, Garcia admitted that there existed a “meet me room” where several servers were located. – With Jose Rodel Clapano

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/23/1605750/smartmatic-admitted-secret-servers-bongbong

Philippines: President Duterte says commitment to severely cut greenhouse-gas emissions is and Paris climate deal “crazy” — Philippines will not comply with international restrictions

July 23, 2016

Philippines reviewing ‘crazy’ climate pledges: Duterte

AFP

© AFP/File | Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte salutes during a military parade and change of command ceremony, at the military headquarters in Manila, on July 1, 2016

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines is reviewing its “crazy” commitment to severely cut greenhouse-gas emissions in the Paris climate deal, new President Rodrigo Duterte has warned.

The government of predecessor Benigno Aquino had pledged to the United Nations to cut the Asian country’s emissions by 70 percent by 2030 from 2000 levels if it got support from developed nations to convert to clean technologies.

“I have misgivings about this Paris (climate deal)…. The problem is these industrialised countries have reached their destination,” Duterte said in a series of speeches during a visit to the southern island of Mindanao on Friday.

The international deal aimed at curbing emissions was signed in Paris in December last year, but only 19 countries including France and island-states threatened by rising sea levels have so far ratified the agreement.

It cannot become effective until 55 countries accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions have fully approved it.

“There is no treaty to honour. We have not signed the treaty,” Duterte said, according to transcripts of his comments released by the presidential palace Saturday.

Duterte, who was elected to a six-year term in May, also said poor countries such as the Philippines should be allowed to pursue industrialisation to improve the lives of their people.

“My plan is to put up industrial zones everywhere,” said Duterte, with China an “easy market” for such a move.

“If you will not allow us to reach parity, you are already there and we are still here, then I’m saying that’s crazy. I will not agree to that.”

Duterte said the treaty restrictions would be difficult to implement and the legislature was already reviewing the document.

The previous government had said the reductions were conditional on sufficient financial resources, technology development and transfer being made available to Manila.

The Paris pact calls for capping global warming at well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and 1.5 Celsius if possible, compared with pre-industrial levels.

The accord — which could enter into force later this year, far sooner than expected — sets ambitious goals for capping global warming and funnelling trillions of dollars to poor countries facing an onslaught from climate damage.

Related:

Munich Terror Attack Is Over After At Least Nine People Killed — Third attack on civilians in Western Europe in eight days — No immediate evidence of an Islamist motive

July 23, 2016
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Reuters

Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:53am EDT

An 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman who apparently acted alone opened fire near a busy shopping mall in Munich on Friday evening, killing at least nine people in the third attack on civilians in Western Europe in eight days.

The pistol-wielding attacker, identified by Munich Police Chief Hubertus Andrae as a dual national from Munich, was later found dead of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Authorities said it was too early to say whether it was a terrorist attack, and said they had no immediate evidence of an Islamist motive.

Special force police officers stand guard at an entrance of the main train station, following a shooting rampage at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich.
REUTERS/MICHAEL DALDER

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet her chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and a host of intelligence officials on Saturday to review the incident.

Police, citing witnesses, had initially said they were looking for up to three suspects and were treating the incident as a suspected terrorist attack.

But authorities told a news conference early on Saturday the shooter was believed to have staged the attack alone, opening fire in a fast food restaurant before moving to the mall.

Andrae said authorities did not see similarities to an attack in southern Germany last Monday in which an axe-wielding 17-year-old asylum-seeker killed five people in an incident claimed by the Islamic State group.

Andrae said it was premature to say whether the Friday incident was a terrorist attack, as French President Francois Hollande said, or the work of a deranged person.

Police said they were investigating a video in which the gunman is seen and heard exchanging racial slurs and profanities with another man. “We are trying to determine who said what,” a police spokesman said.

There was no known motive for the shooting in Germany’s third largest city, which went into lockdown with transport halted and highways sealed off immediately after the attack.

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said initial reports from their German counterparts indicated no apparent link between the shooter and Islamic State or other militant groups.

It was the third major act of violence against civilians in Europe in eight days. Previous attacks in France and Germany were claimed by Islamic State.

At least 16 people, including several children, were in hospital and three were in critical condition, Andrae said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but supporters of Islamic State celebrated on social media.

“The Islamic state is expanding in Europe,” read one tweet.

The gunman, whose body was found on a side street near the mall, was not identified but Andrae said he was not previously known to police.

Police commandos, armed with night vision equipment and dogs, raided an apartment in the Munich neighborhood of Maxvorstadt early on Saturday where the German newspaper Bild said the gunman lived with his parents.

“He lived right next to me,” Bild quoted a neighbor as saying. “A friend of mine went to school with him and said he was rather a quiet guy. He recognized him from the videos from the scene.”

The men had notified police about their suspicion three hours before the police raid.

RELATED VIDEO

A police spokesman said police did not release names of suspects, even if they were killed, due to privacy concerns.

ANNIVERSARY

The mall is next to the stadium where the Palestinian militant group Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and later killed them during the 1972 Olympic Games.

Friday’s incident snarled traffic as authorities blocked highways, closed the main railway station, and shut down public transport.

A police spokesman initially said up to three gunmen were on the run after the shooting. The Bavarian capital was placed under a state of emergency as police hunted for them and special forces were deployed.

Two individuals were seen driving quickly away from the scene, but they were later cleared of any wrongdoing, the police chief said.

Nearly three hours after the shooting, authorities found a body about 1 km (0.6 miles) from the scene that was later determined to be the gunman.

German radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk said the man had a red backpack similar to one used by a gunman seen at a McDonald’s restaurant where the attack reportedly began. It said police were using a robot to investigate the backpack.

German news magazine Focus said the man had shot himself in the head.

Friday was also the fifth anniversary of the massacre in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people. Breivik is a hero for far-right militants in Europe and America.

Thousands of people had been crowding the streets and squares in Munich’s city center on Friday for a beer festival.

“There were a few people who came running towards us who were screaming and in panic. But mostly it was surprisingly calm,” said Elena Hakes, wearing a blue traditional dress, who had been with a friend in the Odeonsplatz square.

The incidents in Germany follow an attack in Nice, France, in which a Tunisian drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing 84. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The Munich assault was also reminiscent of militant attacks in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013, and in Mumbai, India, in 2008.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said on Twitter: “Horrible killings in Munich. Taking place on the same day as we mourn & remember the appalling terror that hit Norway so hard five years ago.”

(Additional reporting by Michelle Martin, Joseph Nasr, Tina Bellon, Andrea Shalal, Christina Amann; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Tom Brown, Robert Birsel)

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Previous reports on Munich mall attack:

 Axe Attack on Train:
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Munich Shooting ‘Rampage’ Leaves at Least Eight Dead

July 22, 2016

Police searching for up to three suspects; authorities tell residents to stay indoors

German security forces respond to a terrorist shooting in Munch, Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016.

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Updated July 22, 2016 5:24 p.m. ET

Munich police said at least eight people died and several others were injured in at least one shooting that they suspect is a terror attack in the city late Friday.

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After a Munich police spokeswoman said the police were searching throughout the city for up to three suspects, police said they found a ninth body near the site of some of the shooting, the Olympic Shopping Center. A police spokesman said they were investigating whether the body that of was one of the shooters.

The police said the first call, which came in at 5:53 p.m. local time, came from theMcDonald’s restaurant near the mall.

According to the Munich police, witnesses reported seeing three suspected shooters armed with long guns on a street near the shopping center.

“This is one of the biggest challenges that the Munich police has faced in recent years,” he said, adding that the police were treating the attack as terrorism.

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“When someone goes into a shopping mall with a long gun, and if you think about what has happened in Europe in recent weeks, then it is justified to speak of the worst-case scenario,” the police spokesman said.

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“The police are operating with all available forces,” the Munich police said. “The search is continuing with intensity. Because of the still unclear situation, we ask all people in the city area to stay at home or seek shelter in nearby buildings.”

A message from the State Department advised U.S. citizens in the area to “shelter in place.”

The Munich Transit Agency said subway, bus and tram service had been halted. Some suburban trains were running on a southern circle between Pasing and the Ostbahnhof, but not through the central station. German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said trains to Munich Central Station were halted and the station was being evacuated.

People left stranded by the transportation shutdown were offered shelter by locals using the Twitter hashtag #offenetür (open door).

Munich hospitals activated an emergency alert, meaning “all on-duty staff stand ready until the number of injured is clear,” said a spokesman for the Munich-Schwabing City Clinic, near the shopping center. He said he didn’t have information on the number of injured.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on vacation Friday, and her whereabouts weren’t publicly known as the attack unfolded Friday evening. Peter Altmaier, her chief of staff, said it was still unclear what the motive was behind the attack or how many people were involved in it.

“We were able to foil a multitude of attacks thus far and have contributed to preserving Germany from a bigger attacks,” Mr. Altmaier said on German TV. “The attack in Munich today we unfortunately weren’t able to prevent.”

Mr. Altmaier said Ms. Merkel was being continuously informed about the situation and that senior government officials would meet on Saturday to discuss the situation.

“We are committed to doing everything to fight terror and violence,” Mr. Altmaier said.

German President Joachim Gauck said he was outraged about the “murderous attack in Munich.”

“My thoughts are with all of the victims and all who are mourning or fearing for loved ones,” Mr. Gauck said. “I feel myself united with all of those who are working to protect people and save lives.”

President Barack Obama, commenting on the attack at a previously planned White House meeting on law enforcement, pledged U.S. support for Germany and called the tragedy a reminder that “our way of life” depends on law enforcement.

“We don’t yet know what’s happening there,” he said, calling it “still an active situation.” The White House said he had been briefed just before speaking.

Television images Friday showed groups of police with assault weapons jogging through Munich streets. As the manhunt continued, police pleaded via Twitter that people not share images of police activity.

“Don’t help the attackers!!!” the police said on Twitter.

A worker of a restaurant across the street from the shopping center said by phone that the police had called and asked for the doors to be locked.

“No one can come in here anymore,” the man said. “And the guests cannot leave.”

Some 30 people fled into a store selling traditional Bavarian clothing nearby, according to a worker reached there by phone.

”The ladies and gentlemen here are in shock,” she said.

The shooting comes just four days after a refugee attacked people with an ax on a train outside Würzburg, leaving five people severely injured. The attacker, who was shot and killed by police, was registered as an Afghan refugee a year ago and lived with a foster family in a Bavarian village.

The attack shocked a country that so far had been spared a major terror attack despite deadly attacks in Belgium and France. On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the ax attack an “unimaginably savage deed.”

Late last year, Munich police had warned of a possible terror attack on New Year’s Eve by suicide bombers with links to Islamic State. The police evacuated train stations for that evening.

It remained unclear late Friday if the shooting in Munich was related to Islamic terrorism. If so, it would be the latest in a series of terrorist killings in Europe since early 2015. In January of that year, extremists claiming allegiance to Islamic terrorists targeted the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and a kosher grocery store, killing 17 people.

In November, terror swept Paris when Islamic State operatives launched a string of suicide bombings and machine-gun attacks that left 130 people dead and the country in shock. The terror group also claimed responsibility for attacks that hit Belgium this March, when suicide bombers killed 32 people in Brussels airport and a metro station.

Another major attack happened just a week ago, when a driver barreled down a promenade in Nice, killing 84 people who had gathered to celebrate Bastille Day. The driver, who was killed, appeared to have planned the attack for some time, conducting surveillance and communicating with suspected accomplices, a French antiterror prosecutor said on Thursday. The prosecutor said he may have embraced Islamic extremism as early as the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

The Olympia Shopping Center where Friday’s shooting occurred is in a part of northern Munich that was reconstructed to host the facilities for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. Those Games were marked by violence when Palestinian terrorists kidnapped and killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team.

The shopping center, with stores including H&M, Benetton and Timberland, draws a mixed crowd of middle- and lower-middle-class German and immigrant shoppers.

—Sarah Sloat and Carol E. Lee contributed to this article.

Write to Ulrike Dauer at ulrike.dauer@wsj.com, Anton Troianovski at anton.troianovski@wsj.com and Natascha Divac at natascha.divac@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications

The extremists who targeted the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in January 2015 were associated with Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. An earlier version of this article said they claimed allegiance to Islamic State. (July 22, 2016)

http://www.wsj.com/articles/munich-shopping-center-shooting-leaves-several-injured-1469207791

Previous reports:

Munich shooting, Friday, July 22, 2016 — People told to Shelter in Place During Police Action

July 22, 2016

Munich shootings, Friday, July 22, 2016

A major police operation is underway after eight people were shot dead in the Olympia shopping center in Munich. People have been warned to stay indoors as police search for up to 3 attackers.

What we know so far:


Eight people have so far been confirmed killed in the shooting at the Olympia shopping center in the north of Munich. The attack took place shortly before 6 p.m. local time.

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Another person has been found dead; police are investigating whether he was involved in the attack.

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All public transport in and around the city has been suspended, Munich’s central rail station was evacuated. Locals were ordered to stay indoors by police, who declared an acute terror threat.

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Munich security services are hunting up to three possible attackers. German GSG9 police commando units were en route.

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Many people were also injured, with Munich hospitals calling in extra staff to respond.

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The attacker or attackers’ identities remain unclear.

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Live updates:
All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC)

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21.38 A fresh appeal from Munich police that people refrain from posting to the internet pictures or videos of police operations in and around the city; doing so could help the attackers. You can send the evidence to investigators via the link in the police’s tweet instead.

21.04 Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere is to return to Germany from his holiday in New York, where he arrived on Friday night. He was on the aircraft during the shooting attack in Munich.

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21.01 British foreign minister Boris Johnson issued a statement on the attacks, saying “I am shocked and appalled by the terrible attack unfolding this evening in Munich, and the loss of life. My thoughts are with those injured and the families of those killed,” he said, adding “We stand ready to assist our friends in Germany. Our travel advice to UK nationals in the area tonight is to stay indoors and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

http://www.dw.com/en/munich-shooting-live-updates/a-19421907

Earlier Reports:

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The below report is from  the Daily Mail. The report of yellin‘Allahu Akbar’ has not been verified by police we at Peace and Freedom are told.

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‘Boom boom boom – he’s killing the kids’: Gunman shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ executed children in Munich McDonald’s before rampaging through mall killing NINE with police now hunting three attackers 

  • A number of people have been killed and another 10 people are injured after gunmen went on a shooting rampage
  • Police operation is ongoing in Munich, with the force warning people to stay in their homes and avoid public spaces
  • Terrified shoppers were seen running for their lives from the Olympia Shopping Centre after hearing gunshots 
  • Witnesses said that the shopping centre gunman screamed ‘I’m German’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ before shooting
  • Gunman reportedly fled after his shooting spree on the city underground network, which has now been shut down
  • City is in lockdown as police say they are searching for up to three gunmen, who are all on the run, after the attack

A gunman shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ ‘Allahu Akbar’ before rampaging through a shopping mall, killing at least eight people.

Munich is in lockdown tonight, as a major police operation is ongoing around the city’s Olympic Park, with the force warning people to stay in their homes and avoid public spaces.

A ninth body has been found tonight and investigators are looking into the possibility of it being the attacker.

Terrified shoppers were seen running for their lives from the Munich Olympia Shopping Centre, in the district of Moosach, after hearing gunshots.

Witnesses said that the gunman screamed ‘I’m German’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ before shooting at children.

A woman named Loretta said she was in the McDonald’s when the man with a gun came out of a bathroom and began shooting.

She told CNN: ‘I come out of the toilet and I hear like an alarm, boom, boom, boom. He’s killing the children. The children were sitting to eat. They can’t run.’

Loretta said she had been in the bathroom at the same time as the shooter, with her eight-year-old son. She said the man yelled: ‘Allahu Akbar!’

Terror on the streets of Munich as gunman opens fire
A video purporting to show the shooter, dressed in black, firing 20 shots has been posted on Twitter

The video shows him outside a McDonald's directly outside the shopping centre

A video purporting to show the shooter, dressed in black, firing 20 shots has been posted on Twitter. The video shows him outside a McDonald’s directly outside the shopping centre

Pictured is the shooter on the car park roof of the shopping centre in Munich. The city is now in lockdown as police hunt the killer

Pictured is the shooter on the car park roof of the shopping centre in Munich. The city is now in lockdown as police hunt the killer

One picture on social media shows a man lying on the ground with an aliminium blanket over him

One picture on social media shows a man lying on the ground with an aliminium blanket over him

Man seen pacing on Munich shopping centre roof before shooting

A huge manhunt has been launched across the city, including snipers in helicopters. Police said they believe there could be up to three gunmen who are on the loose. They issued a warning to people, saying: ‘There are shooters on the run who are dangerous.’

Murat T described seeing ‘lifeless bodies’ in the restaurant when he went to look for his son Orhan’s friend.

Orhan said he heard gunshots while on the phone to his friend, before the call cut out. He said: ‘We no longer reach him. Not even his parents. He is like my brother.’

A video purporting to show the shooter, dressed in black, firing 20 shots has been posted on Twitter. The footage shows him outside the McDonald’s directly outside the shopping centre.

In unverified footage, a man with dark hair, wearing a black t-shirt and denim trousers, appears to take aim at people, including children, outside the McDonald’s restaurant near the Olympia-Einkaufszentrum metro station.

He raises his arms, apparently holding a shotgun, and appears to fire at people outside the restaurant, who can be seen running for cover.

The sound of multiple shots being fired can be heard as shoppers and passers-by run for cover. People were seen fleeing from the building in another video posted on social media.

In another video on social media a man can be heard yelling at suspect in the car park that he is a ‘w*****’ and an ‘a******e.’ And he yelled: ‘Put your gun down.’

The gunman, when he walks across the roof of the car park, shouts out: ‘I am a German!’

The man who is abusing him then shouts out; ‘You are a w*****!’ The gunman tells him to ‘shut your trap.’ Then he fires more shots and the rest of what is said is unintelligible.

An electrical shop next to the shopping centre is being used as a makeshift hospital to treat the casualties

A paramedic treats a patient at the scene

An electrical shop next to the shopping centre is being used as a makeshift hospital to treat the casualties

The area around the Munich Olympia Shopping Centre, in the district of Moosach, has been sealed off as emergency services try to control the situation. Snipers in helicopters are circling the city from above, according to Bild.

An electrical shop next to the shopping centre is being used as a makeshift hospital to treat the casualties.

Off-duty doctors and nurses have been summoned to hospitals in Munich, with a hospital spokesperson telling DPA: ‘The alarm for a ‘mass attack’ has been triggered.’

Police have confirmed that there at least eight deaths as a result of the incident and German media have reported there may be up to 15 killed.

A police sniper sits in a helicopter above the scene of a shooting rampage at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich

A police sniper sits in a helicopter above the scene of a shooting rampage at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich

Armed police patrolled the streets of Munich

Police secures the main train station following shootings at a shopping mall

Armed police patrolled the streets of Munich (left) and train stations (right) after the horrific shootings in the city this evening

People leave the Olympia mall in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016 after several people have been killed in a shooting

People leave the Olympia mall in Munich, southern Germany, Friday, July 22, 2016 after several people have been killed in a shooting

Chief of Munich Police Marcus Dagloria Martins said: 'We are at the moment after three attackers. We have about 100 people on site and we are trying to evacuate people from the site. Our priority is to catch the attackers at this stage and then we will inform you again'

Chief of Munich Police Marcus Dagloria Martins said: ‘We are at the moment after three attackers. We have about 100 people on site and we are trying to evacuate people from the site. Our priority is to catch the attackers at this stage and then we will inform you again.

‘We were first alerted when somebody entered the shopping centre with a weapon and we rushed to the scene. We are doing what we can. The emergency calls that an armed man was on site. All emergency services at scene are for Munich but we are also looking at back up from the region.

‘What can I say about the attackers is that up to now there are three that we know of and that is all the information I can tell you at the moment regarding the shooters.

‘They used a short handgun or a pistol of some sort, that is what I can tell you.

‘We closed down not only that area but the surrounding area. I’m hoping you will share all your information and videos with us as this will give us clues and help us track down the shooters. We are asking people to send in their videos.

Chief of Munich Police Marcus Dagloria Martins talks to the media after the shootings and confirms that at least eight people are dead

Chief of Munich Police Marcus Dagloria Martins talks to the media after the shootings and confirms that at least eight people are dead

‘Our main priority is the security of the population. This is my first time in such a situation.

‘We cant tell more about the situation. All I can tell you is what I’ve told you so far. We will update you as soon as we can.

‘There are a lot of rumours flying around at the moment and all I am saying to you is what I can tell you for sure. We are telling the people of Munich that there are shooters on the run who are dangerous. It is too early for me to make any other comments on the shooters at this stage.

‘This is the biggest police operation in the last 10 years that we’ve had to deal with. You must trust your local police. The Munich police is very well trained.

‘Firearms are a huge problem in this particular incident. We urge people to stay indoors and help us with our work and I’m calling on media to help us carry out our jobs.

‘We’ve managed to evacuate people from inside and hopefully brought everyone to safety. There are people who have been traumatised by this and I can tell you they are in the double figures.

‘We have to treat this as some form of a terror attack as it is an attack with weapons but as to what is behind this we don’t know yet.

#We are also watching these videos people have been showing but you must give me time to analyse these properly.’

Emergency services react in Munich following shootings

Tonight, Munich police tweeted: ‘We currently do not know where to find the perpetrators. Watch yourself and avoid to be the public’.

Despite reports on social media, Munich Fire Department said it was not aware of a separate shooting at the city’s Stachus central square

Munich Police said in a statement: ‘At around 5.50pm (local time) today there were witnesses who called the police and said there was a shooting at the Hanauer Street.

‘The shooting moved from that street to the shopping centre. The witnesses said there were three different people with weapons.

‘At the moment no culprit has been arrested. The search is taking place at high speed.’

A second shooting has taken place near Marienplatz subway station, which is just four miles from the Olympic Park area

A second shooting has taken place near Marienplatz subway station, which is just four miles from the Olympic Park area

Armed police move past onlooking media responding to a shooting at a shopping centre in Munich

Armed police move past onlooking media responding to a shooting at a shopping centre in Munich

Armed policemen arrive at a shopping centre in which a shooting was reported in Munich, southern Germany

Armed policemen arrive at a shopping centre in which a shooting was reported in Munich, southern Germany

A police reporter for Bavarian Radio said police were moving people off the streets in central Munich as they search for the perpetrators.

‘All of the police forces are at the shopping centre and at the official places in Munich as well and they’re calling out that nobody’s allowed to go to the official places,’ the reporter, Lena Deutch, told the BBC.

‘They are trying to close everything down because we do not know where this person who’s been doing the shooting is at the moment.’

People were seen running from the shopping mall to get away from the incident

People were seen running from the shopping mall to get away from the incident

A video grab of the scene around the Olympia shopping centre in the district of Moosach of Munich

A video grab of the scene around the Olympia shopping centre in the district of Moosach of Munich

The shopping centre is next to the Munich Olympic Stadium, where the Palestinian militant group Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and eventually killed them during the 1972 Olympic Games

The shopping centre is next to the Munich Olympic Stadium, where the Palestinian militant group Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage and eventually killed them during the 1972 Olympic Games

South China Sea: Obama Sending Susan Rice to Beijing to “Calm The Waters”

July 22, 2016

By Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice will urge Beijing next week to avoid escalation in the South China Sea when she makes the highest-level U.S. visit to China since an international court rejected its sweeping claims to the strategic waterway.

Even as Washington has sought to keep a lid on the situation, Rice – in an interview with Reuters – vowed that the U.S. military would continue to “sail and fly and operate” in the South China Sea, despite a Chinese warning that such patrols could end “in disaster.”

With less than six months remaining of President Barack Obama’s tenure, Rice’s broader mission in her July 24-27 trip is aimed at keeping overall ties between the world’s two largest economies, which she called “the most consequential relationship we have,” on track at a time of heightened tensions. “I’ll be there to advance our cooperation,” she said.

But the trip, due to be formally announced later on Friday, follows a July 12 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that China has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea. Beijing has angrily rejected the verdict and pledged to pursue claims that conflict with those of several smaller neighbors.

“I’ve been in communication with our Chinese counterparts over the last couple of weeks … We understand each other’s perspectives clearly,” Rice said when asked what message she would deliver to the Chinese. “We’ll urge restraint on all sides.”

Her trip, to include Beijing and Shanghai, will coincide with visits by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Laos and the Philippines where he is expected to try to reassure Southeast Asian partners of Washington’s commitment.

The United States is also using quiet diplomacy to persuade claimants like the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam not to move aggressively to capitalize on The Hague ruling, U.S. officials have said.

TEST OF U.S. CREDIBILITY

How Washington handles the aftermath of the ruling is widely seen as a test of U.S. credibility in a region where it has been the dominant security presence since World War Two but is now struggling to contain an increasingly assertive China.

China has responded to the ruling with sharp rhetoric. But a senior official said, “So far there has not been precipitous action” and Washington was hoping confrontation could be avoided.

“We are not looking to do things that are escalatory,” another senior U.S. official said. “And at the same time we don’t expect that they (the Chinese) would deem it wise to do things that are escalatory.”

Despite that view, two Chinese civilian aircraft conducted test landings at two new military-length airstrips on reefs controlled by China in the Spratly Islands shortly after the arbitration ruling.

And signaling Beijing’s plans to further stake its claim to contested waters, a Chinese state-run newspaper said that up to eight Chinese ships will offer cruises to the South China Sea over the next five years.

China has blamed the United States for stirring up trouble in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually.

Citing international rules, the United States has conducted freedom-of-navigation patrols close to Chinese-held islands where China has been bolstering its military presence.

Rice is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping during her visit and her agenda will include North Korea, economic issues and human rights. She will also lay the groundwork for Obama’s talks with Xi at a G20 summit in China in September, U.S. officials said.

But with the South China Sea issue looming large, Rice, who has led U.S. policymaking on China, said the United States and China have “careful work to do to manage our differences.”

She also said the administration would not allow crises in other parts of the world, from Syria to Turkey to Ukraine, to distract from Obama’s signature policy of “rebalancing” toward Asia. “We don’t have the luxury as the world’s leading power to devote our attention to one region and ignore another,” she said.

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


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