Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Pope at St. Patrick’s in New York: We Owe Bishop Hughes

April 20, 2008

When the Pope celebrated Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, a TV newsman reminded us that the cornerstone of that magnificent church was laid in 1858.  But I was reminded of one of the men who made that church possible: “Dagger” John Hughes….

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

John Joseph Hughes (1797–1864), Catholic Archbishop of New York, played three critical roles for Lincoln and the United States during the Civil War. He traveled to Europe in search of able-bodied Irishmen to enlist in the Union Army. He participated in tricky diplomatic missions to France and the Vatican to keep them out of the war. Finally, Hughes used his personal powers of persuasion and clout to help quell the 1863 draft riots in New York.

Archbishop John Hughes is also responsible for starting the project, raising the first monies and laying the cornerstone for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York — where Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Catholic Mass this week end.

View of the cathedral from Rockefeller Center.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York
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By the time of the Civil War, “Dagger” John Hughes was nearing the end of his influence and his life. He earned the nickname “Dagger” for two reasons: first, he signed his name to include a small cross, often confused for a dagger. Second: Hughes’ hard-nosed style and ability to toughly face difficult challenges earned him the reputation as the “Dagger” of the Irish community in New York.After the Civil War began in 1861, Lincoln desperately needed to keep up a dialogue of understanding with European monarchs. Lincoln wanted to keep European nations from assisting the Confederacy. Lincoln wanted a Catholic of stature to assist him in dealing with the Catholic leaders in Europe. He chose Dagger John Hughes.

Lincoln paired Hughes with Thurlow Weed to head the mission to Europe.

Harper’s Weekly reported on November 23, 1861 that “Mr. Weed [and Archbishop Hughes] left this port [New York] on Saturday last for Europe. He states himself that he goes on private business; the public, however, will be apt to suspect that his private business concerns the public interest. If the suspicion be correct, we may feel assured that our affairs will suffer no mischance in his hands. Few men in the country are such true patriots as Thurlow Weed.”


Archbishop John Hughes

European leaders wanted a divided nation on the American continent. In September 1861, England’s former Colonial secretary Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton stated that a permanent division of the United States would benefit the “safety of Europe.” A truly united United States “hung over Europe like a gathering and destructive thundercloud … [but] as America shall become subdivided into separate states … her ambition would be less formidable for the rest of the world.”

“Dagger” John understood his mission and President Lincoln’s concerns: even though he harbored no animosity toward the Confederacy. “My mission was and is a mission of peace between France and England on the one side, and the United States on the other. ….I made it known to the President that if I should come to Europe it would not be as a partisan of the North more than of the South; that I should represent the interests of the South as well as of the North; in short, the interests of all the United States just the same as if they had not been distracted by the present civil war. The people of the South know that I am not opposed to their interests.”

While Weed headed to London to apply his tact and persuasion on members of Queen Victoria’s government, Dagger John went to France to call upon Napoleon III.

Historian Dean B. Mahin wrote that “Napoleon thought an independent Confederacy would provide a buffer between royalist Mexico and the republican United States.”

Even so, Hughes convinced the monarch to avoid involvement in the American conflict.

Then Hughes went to Italy on two missions. The first mission involved convincing the Vatican to keep out of the conflict. Hughes’ second mission was to persuade Irishmen serving as mercenaries in the Army of the Vatican to join their Irish immigrant countrymen in America and fight for the Union.

Hughes accomplished both missions. The Catholic Pope stayed out of the war, despite intense pressure and diplomatic maneuvering from the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis sent Bishop Patrick Lynch of Charleston to the Vatican in 1861 and Father John Bannon in 1864. Nether could change the neutrality of the influential Pontiff.

In Rome, Hughes also met with leading and influential Irish mercenaries, including Miles Keogh and John Coppinger. Both agreed to join the Union cause and both persuaded others to join them.

A short time later General George McClellan described Keogh as “a most gentlemanlike man, of soldierly appearance,” whose “record had been remarkable for the short time he had been in the army.”

Keogh would serve in many engagements of the Civil War and die alongside George Armstrong Custer at the Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876.

Bishop Hughes recruit John J. Coppinger also served with Custer. During the Civil War, General Custer wrote that Coppinger’s “ability as an officer is of the highest order. … As a soldier I consider him a model.”

Coppinger was still serving the United States during the Spanish-American War of 1898 when he was promoted to Major-General of Volunteers.

Hughes remained on his diplomatic mission in Europe until the summer of 1862.

Dagger John’s final, but perhaps most significant, contribution to the Union cause came during New York’s draft riots of July 1863.

The Irish, most of whom were Catholics, hated the Union Army draft. Most Irishmen lacked the funds to buy their way out of service, the way more wealthy men did throughout the war. The Irish also avidly read newspapers recounting the valor of the Irish Brigade and other units. But Irish losses appalled them — and seemed disproportionate to the losses of non-Irish units. Irish boys made up about 15 percent of the Union army – and they were dying in droves.

The Irish had also reacted badly to Lincoln’s January Emancipation Proclamation. The Irish, arguably members of the lowest echelon of free American society, believed Lincoln’s emancipation of the slaves only added another large population to their small niche of society.

So when Lincoln called a draft of even more men, the Irish went wild.

The New York Times reported that, “It seemed to be an understood thing that the negroes should be attacked wherever found.” An orphanage was burned to the ground, stores were ransacked and dozens of police officers were killed or injured.

In three days of mayhem and unrest, 443 people were arrested, 128 wounded, and over 50 people dead. The rioters also burned down more than 100 buildings and damaged about 200 others. Many of the killed and wounded were free Black men. were killed. Irishmen were largely responsible for the rioting.

“In New York no one had to ask who ruled the Church,” explained Professor Jay P. Dolan of the University of Notre Dame in his book “The Immigrant Church: New York’s Irish and German Catholics, 1815-1865.”

“John Hughes was boss….He ruled like an Irish chieftain,” wrote Professor Dolan. A newspaper reporter of the time wrote that Archbishop Hughes was “more a Roman gladiator than a devout follower of the meek founder of Christianity.”

But Hughes and the Irish did not rule all New York. New York was rued by Protestants, who winked at the unruliness of the Irish Catholics. The historian E.P. Spann called New York City in the mid-19th century “the capital of Protestant America.” Protestant leadership, said Spann, “made no secret of their belief that Roman Catholicism was alien and inferior.” Though not condoning the riot, the Protestant leadership of New York largely considered the disorder “a Catholic problem.”

Hughes left his death bed to appeal to the Irish, their honor and their pride. Hughes challenged the Irish leaders with the words, “no blood of innocent martyrs, shed by Irish Catholics, has ever stained the soil of Ireland.” Thus Archbishop Hughes convinced the Irish to end the rioting and peace was restored in New York.

President Lincoln wrote that “having formed the Archbishop’s acquaintance in the earliest days of our country’s present troubles, his counsel and advice were gladly sought and continually received by the Government on those points which his position enabled him better than others to consider. At a conjuncture of deep interest to the country, the Archbishop, associated with others, went abroad, and did the nation a service there with all the loyalty, fidelity and practical wisdom which on so many other occasions illustrated his great ability for administration.”

Dagger John Hughes proved himself a formidable force in an era when a fighting bishop was needed. When the Vatican nuncio, Archbishop Bedini, asked an American priest to explain why people in America held Archbishop Hughes in such esteem, the answer was: “It is because he is always game.”

Dagger John Hughes: Lincoln emissary and leader of American Irishmen died in New York on January 3, 1864.

John Hughes is also the one man most responsible for the building of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
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Catholics have made a very long and indelible contribution to the history of North, South and Central America.  It is appropriate at the time of Pope Benedict’s visit to recall Archbishop John Hughes.
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Mr. Carey is president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.  He writes for the Washington Times.

Pope Benedict XVI waves before leaving Saint Joseph Seminary ... .
Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI holds a Mass at Nationals Park in Washington ... 
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REUTERS/Jim Bourg 

Pope Benedict XVI passes St. Patrick's Cathedral in New ... 
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Pope Benedict XVI passes St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York while riding up 5th Avenue in the Popemobile following a Mass at the Catherdral April 19, 2008.REUTERS/Mike Segar 
  

 
 
 

 

 

Political Correctness Gone Mad

March 7, 2008

By James Zumwalt
March 6, 2008

Democracy today suffers from political correctness gone mad. Whether motivated by innocence or ignorance, idealists push for unbridled tolerance. They do so without a reality check, failing to see how it can then be manipulated against us by those seeking to do us harm.

Last month, for example, the Archbishop of Canterbury called for theapplication of Islamic law, in some instances, for England’s growing Muslim population. Putting aside the nightmarish conflict of laws issues this would create, such a call demonstrates a total lack of appreciation for a basic, irresolvable difference between Islamic and Western law — one making it impossible for both to co-exist within the borders of the same democratic state.

Western law, predicated upon the U.N.’s 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, recognizes such rights as being universal to all mankind; Islamic law, predicated upon the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, recognizes only those human rights sanctioned by Shariah — which means women and non-believers have no such rights.

The good Archbishop may well possess the heart of a saint, but he possesses the logic of one so focused on political correctness as to blind him to the damage Shariah would do in destroying the very multiculturalism he seeks to promote.

Under Shariah, as interpreted by extremists, it is either the Islamic way or the highway — the highway of death.

Granting Shariah a foothold in England would begin a push for fewer and fewer rights for non-believers — eventually to include their right to life. It would mark the beginning of the end for organized, civilized societies, as today’s fast growing Islamic populations in Europe continue to outpace native populations in growth — the former eventually destined to become a majority. When that happens, we might well see the replacement of all Western laws with Shariah. The Archbishop’s call for Shariah to be recognized in England came as two Muslim-dominated societies very recently demonstrated their inability to tolerate any religion but Islam.

In January, Malyasian Customs officials confiscated 32 Bibles from a Christian woman arriving at Kuala Lumpur Airport. While just last week, it was reported, Christian missionaries in Jordan are actively being denied visas or deported for proselytizing Christianity — an illegal activity under Islamic law. Thus, the tolerance towards Islam the Archbishop seeks to promote bygranting Shariah a foothold into Europe is not being reciprocated in Muslim-majority countries — even where Islamic extremists are not in control.

If Muslim-majority countries – not controlled by extremists – are showing such intolerance now towards the introduction of other religions, one can only imagine the impact awaiting Western laws and values once Muslim populations gain majority control in European states.

Just as the Archbishop appears blinded to the realistic impact of his call for the introduction of Shariah, Hollywood too promotes its own idealistic and irresponsible version of political correctness – glossing over the reality of the enemy’s brutality.

A newspaper article about Alex Gibney’s Oscar-nominated documentary, “Taxi tothe Dark Side,” describes the film as investigating “some of the mostegregious abuses associated with the so-called ‘war on terror.’” It allegedly tells the story of “an Afghan taxi driver who was detained by the United States, then tortured to death.”

The stories of al-Qaeda’s brutality are endless; yet filmmakers fail to tell these stories, choosing instead to bash America and her warriors in their fight against evil. In doing so, the Muslim anger generated by such anti-American films is then directed against our servicemen and women fighting to set these same Muslims free of the evil-doers. We are at war with an enemy lacking limits on his barbarity.

It is this story — one of al-Qaeda’s abject brutality relative to the occasional harsh treatment of terror suspects by the U.S. — that needs to be told.

Not one film has been produced to tell the story of al-Qaeda’s use of mentally disturbed women and children as unwary suicide bombers. Not one has been produced to tell the story about al-Qaeda’s practice of “baking” children of parents who, having resisted joining the terrorist group, are then served their dead child for lunch. A “relative lens” by Hollywood would compare the treatment of U.S.-held prisoners to those held by al-Qaeda.

At Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for example, al-Qaeda suspects held in U.S. custody have gained weight — an average of 20 pounds and one prisoner more than 100. Such weight gains are unheard of during wartime captivity.

Meanwhile, not a single American prisoner captured by al-Qaeda remains alive to tell us about their treatment.

U.S. servicemen have been tortured, decapitated, mutilated and their bodies rigged with explosives to kill those attempting to recover their remains.

Our system is far from perfect. But Hollywood needs to start putting a“relative” lens on its cameras and shining its lights into the dark recesses of al-Qaeda’s brutality.

A society exercising political correctness – not tempered by reason – ultimately will lose all it seeks to gain.
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James Zumwalt is a former senior U.S. military officer who operates his own consulting firm.

Peace and Freedom sincerely thanks the author for this and all his service.

Britain boosts Mandarin in schools as China’s power grows

February 7, 2008

LONDON (AFP) – Teenagers in England will be able to study for a new national qualification in Mandarin, reflecting the growing importance of China as a global power, an exam board announced Thursday.

Students aged 15 and 16 will get the chance to study the subject for their GCSE exams, which all young people in the country have to sit, from next year, the Assessments and Qualifications Alliance said.

The board said it was making the announcement to coincide with the start of Lunar New Year.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080207/lf_afp/
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High school students leave a school in London. Teenagers in ...
High school students leave a school in London. Teenagers in England will be able to study for a new national qualification in Mandarin, reflecting the growing importance of China as a global power, an exam board announced Thursday.(AFP/File/Carl de Souza)

China is the World’s E-Waste Dumping Ground

January 5, 2008

By Terry J. Allen
In These Times
January 5, 2008

The highway of poisoned products that runs from China to the United States is not a one-way street. America ships China up to 80 percent of U.S. electronic waste — discarded computers, cell phones, TVs, etc. Last year alone, the United States exported enough e-waste to cover a football field and rise a mile into the sky.

So while the media ride their new lead-painted hobbyhorse — the danger of Chinese wares — spare a thought for Chinese workers dying to dispose of millions of tons of our toxic crap.

Most of the junk ends up in the small port city of Guiyu, a one-industry town four hours from Hong Kong that reeks of acid fumes and burning plastic. Its narrow streets are lined with 5,500 small-scale scavenger enterprises euphemistically called “recyclers.” They employ 80 percent of the town’s families — more than 30,000 people — who recover copper, gold and other valuable materials from 15 million tons of e-waste.

Unmasked and ungloved, Guiyu’s workers dip motherboards into acid baths, shred and grind plastic casings from monitors, and grill components over open coal fires. They expose themselves to brain-damaging, lung-burning, carcinogenic, birth-defect- inducing toxins such as lead, mercury, cadmium and bromated flame retardants (the subject of last month’s column), as well as to dioxin at levels up to 56 times World Health Organization standards. Some 82 percent of children under 6 around Guiyu have lead poisoning.

While workers reap $1 to $3 a day and an early death, the “recycling” industry — in both the United States and China — harvests substantial profits. U.S. exporters not only avoid the cost of environmentally sound disposal at home, but they also turn a buck from selling the waste abroad. After disassembly, one ton of computer scrap yields more gold than 17 tons of gold ore, and circuit boards can be 40 times richer in copper than copper ore. In Guiyu alone, workers extract 5 tons of gold, 1 ton of silver and an estimated $150 million a year.

Many U.S. exporters pose as recyclers rather than dumpers. But a 2005 Government Accountability Office report found that “it is difficult to verify that exported used electronics are actually destined for reuse, or that they are ultimately managed responsibly once they leave U.S. shores.”

This dumping of toxic waste by developed countries onto developing ones is illegal under the Basel Convention, a 1992 international treaty that was ratified by every industrialized nation — except the United States.

Unhindered by international law and unmonitored by Washington, U.S. brokers simply label e-waste “recyclable” and ship it somewhere with lax environmental laws, corrupt officials and desperately poor workers. China has all three. And a packing case with a 100-dollar bill taped to it slips as easily as an eel through Guiyu’s ports.

E-waste fills a neat niche in the U.S.-China trade. America’s insatiable appetite for cheap Chinese goods has created a trade deficit that topped $233 billion last year. While e-waste does little to redress the financial disparity, it helps ensure that the container vessels carrying merchandise to Wal-Mart’s shelves do not return empty to China.

In the 19th century, England faced a similarly massive deficit with China until a different kind of junk — opium — allowed it to complete the lucrative England-India-China trade triangle.

Britain, after destroying India’s indigenous textile industry and impoverishing local weavers, flooded its colony with English textiles carried on English ships. The British East India Company fleet then traveled to China to buy tea, silk and other commodities to sate Europe’s appetites for “exotic” luxuries. But since there was little the Chinese wanted from either India or Europe, the ships traveled light and profitless on the India-China side of the triangle. That is, until England forced Indian peasants to grow opium and, in the process, precipitate mass starvation by diverting cultivable land.

The trade fleet then filled up with opium and pushed it to China through the port of Canton. Since opium was illegal in China, Britain started a war in 1839 to force Peking to accept the drug. By 1905, more than a quarter of China’s male population was addicted.

Now it is Americans who are addicted to Chinese junk. And our own government policies and corporations are the ones stoking the jones. Slick marketing and consumer fetishism push Americans to buy the latest, lightest, biggest, smallest, fastest, trendiest items. And even if you are not hooked on the latest gadgets, repairs or upgrades are impractical. The half billion computers we trashed in the last decade have to go somewhere, and shipping them to China and other poor nations is a win-win solution for Chinese and U.S. industry.

As for the populations of both countries, we can feast on the irony that the same ships that carry toxic toys and food ingredients to Americans return bearing deadly e-waste for the Chinese.

Terry J. Allen is a senior editor of In These Times. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The Nation, New Scientist and other publications.

Simple Act Of Heroism

November 11, 2007

By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press Writer
From July 3, 2007
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Stanley Jones recalls standing outside his home in England, watching open-mouthed as an American warplane arced toward the ground behind a plume of smoke, its engine alternately sputtering and roaring.

P-51 Mustang

North American P-51D Mustang Tika IV of the 361st Fighter Group, marked with D-day (”invasion”) stripes

The plane was one of thousands of American aircraft swarming over Britain in July 1944 to fight World War II. It passed out of sight, and seconds later an explosion shook the town of Stafford.

Jones ran to the crash site and found a wheat field strewn with smoldering wreckage. He wondered: Who was the pilot? What happened to him? And why didn’t he parachute to safety?

On Wednesday, Air Force Capt. John Pershing Perrin will be honored in Britain for saving the town by staying with his crippled P-51 Mustang rather than abandoning the fuel-laden plane to crash into homes and schools.

Because it was wartime, “nothing was reported of the crash,” said Jones, now 70 and living in Oregon.

“Years went by and every now and again we’d talk about it, my brothers and I and family and neighbors,” he added. The accident was mostly forgotten, “but it stayed in me.”

Before enlisting, Perrin lived with his parents in Atlantic City. At age 25, he was already certified as an ace pilot, having destroyed at least five enemy aircraft. He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.

In a February 1942 letter, Perrin described the hazards of wartime flying and mentioned a fellow pilot who was killed after bailing out: “He tangled with another plane and didn’t have enough altitude for his chute to crack after bailing out.”

On the day he died, Perrin had been assigned to fly the Mustang from an air base in Warton, Lancashire, to another one about 160 miles away. It should have been a routine 40-minute flight.

Although he was experienced, Perrin had never before flown a Mustang P-51-D, with an extra 85-gallon fuel tank that could make it tricky to maneuver.

Sometime after takeoff, the plane began leaking fuel from the right side of the engine, in front of the cockpit, according to Air Force reports obtained by The Associated Press.

The cockpit began to fill with smoke and fuel vapor. But Perrin apparently chose to stay with the stricken plane in an effort to reach the nearest landing strip or crash-land in a field, Air Force officials said.

Perrin had “ample time to get out,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Jeff Price, the assistant air attache at the U.S. Embassy in London and a veteran pilot who will speak at Perrin’s memorial service. “But the initial inclination of an aviator is to stay with the aircraft. If you still think it’s in landable shape, that’s what you try to do.”

What finally doomed Perrin was an explosion of fuel vapor that shattered the cockpit canopy, either killing him immediately or knocking him unconscious before the plane crashed a few moments later, the investigation revealed.

“It was a very courageous decision to stay with his craft, to accept the worsening risk of an explosion in the cockpit rather than bail out,” Jones said. “He was skimming over houses and schools, people — untold others in the town, going about their daily business, kids walking home from school, and this then-pilotless plane, fuel-laden, would be crashing among them.

“I think it was a true moment of valor,” Jones said.

The countryside around the crash site was eventually developed into homes, businesses and industrial parks.

“It was not good for public morale to publicize accidents like this,” said Tom Doubtfire, 67, administrator of the local government in Creswell, the section of Stafford where Perrin’s plane crashed. After the war, the British “wanted to get up and get on with their lives.”

At Wednesday’s ceremony, representatives of the British and American governments, as well as several of Perrin’s relatives, will gather at the crash site to dedicate an 8-foot stone monument etched with the image of a Mustang.

Among those in attendance will be Helen Perrin of Brownwood, Texas, whose late husband, Donald, was Jack Perrin’s first cousin.

“The heroes we kids had growing up during World War II were politicians and soldiers, people like Jack, who in a split second decided to give his own life and save that town,” she said. “Courage and sacrifice were the ideal. We’re all proud of him.”

US pushes for tougher sanctions on Iran

November 2, 2007

By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press Writer

LONDON – A top American diplomat pressed for harsher U.N. sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program on Friday, while Iran’s former president said talks with the U.N. atomic watchdog were progressing and warned against threatening his country.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns was meeting diplomats from the four other permanent Security Council members and Germany to rally support for a tougher track with Iran, which has a deadline next month to fully disclose details of its nuclear program.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and France support new sanctions if Iran continues to refuse to suspend uranium enrichment, though fellow permanent U.N. Security Council members Russia and China remain skeptical.

The U.S. and allies accuse Iran of using a civilian power program as cover to develop ….

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Chinese hackers targeted British government too – report

September 5, 2007

London – Chinese computer specialists, some thought to be from the military, have been attacking computer networks of British government departments, the Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.The report follows allegations that China’s military hacked into a computer network of the Pentagon in Washington, a charge rejected as “groundless” by the government in Beijing.

According to the Guardian, hackers, some believed to be from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, hit the network at the Foreign Office in London as well as those in other key government departments.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) to say whether it had been hit, added the Guardian. It recalled an incident last year that shut down part of the House of Commons (parliament) computer system. After it was initially believed that an individual was responsible, it was later discovered to be the work of an organized Chinese hacking group, officials told the newspaper.

While security and defence officials are “coy” about what they knew of specific attacks, one expert described it as a “constant ongoing problem.”

Related:
China denies hacking Pentagon