It was June in Vancouver, 1998, when Kevin Annett made his grand entrance onto the world stage as the self proclaimed savior and spokesperson for the abused children of the world. His presence at the IHRAAM Tribunal into abuses suffered by Indian Residential School students at the hands of the Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian churches was supposed to be one of healing and reconciliation. He was invited, after all, by high profile Native activists like Harriet Nahanee, who believed in the value of natives and non-natives walking the Red Road together to achieve peace. His presence was to be a salve on the still open wounds suffered by Native children at the hands of Priests, Nuns and administrators seeking to civilize the wild children abducted into their ‘care’. What he achieved, however, was division and betrayal; played out behind the scenes and behind peoples backs…..engaging in the very same ‘bad-jacketing’ techniques he accused the participants at the tribunal of. In a single weekend, he managed to insert himself as a legitimate ‘ally’ of Native people which gave him access to the testimonials of the survivors and a means of accessing groups like the Circle of Justice.
And when the Circle of Justice publicly denounced him and demanded he answer their concerns he maintained his image by slandering and libelling those Natives levelling allegations against him. He effectively shut them up and shut them up good.
Time, however, has had a way of dealing with Kevin Annett and all his claims and his latest weak attempt at bringing the Natives and the Indian Residential Schools back into his repertoire has gone over like a lead balloon. The Republic of Kanata has been dissolved and no Grand Jury was held on the 26th of January to hold Alfred Webre, Alex Hunter ‘and others’ accountable for their ‘crimes’. Annett has gone strangely silent except for the few weak attempts at salvaging his reputation amongst the New Age and Ascension fanatics. It seems that even a Galactic Connection cannot save him now.
And so it is wonderfully appropriate that a real Peoples Tribunal into child abuse was announced that is an answer to Kevin Annett and his phoney-baloney Tribunal of Conscience. The UKSAPT promises much more than the ITCCS ever did: Transparency, Accountability, Remedy, and, um….actual legal counsel!!!! Here are their terms of reference:
Terms of Reference
1. The UK Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunal (UKCSAPT), established by survivors of child sex abuse, their supporters, and witnesses, will investigate institutional child sex abuse.
2. Institutional child sex abuse arises from the abuse of power by an individual or individuals over a child or children, resulting often from the misuse of that power to enable the child sex abuse to happen.
3. There are many objectives which the UKCSAPT seeks to accomplish. The UKCSAPT seeks to end the tolerance of impunity with regards to this issue. No individual who has sexually abused a child or children will be deemed to be above the law, however powerful their position in an institution or organisation is or was; or however powerful that individual is or was perceived to be.
4. Furthermore, where institutional child sex abuse has taken place and there is sufficient evidence that it has taken place, justice should be seen to be done.
5. In addition, institutions must be held to account where they have failed to prevent, covered-up or have facilitated institutional child sex abuse. Where institutions have failed in their duty to children, the UKCSAPT will seek to make recommendations about how these institutions should address the problems identified.
6. Against this backdrop, survivors of child sex abuse and their supporters establish the UKCSAPT to:
a. independently raise potential avenues of inquiry related to the context, nature, and depth of institutional child sex abuse
b. provide a safe space free from interference and scrutiny to allow survivors, supporters, and witnesses to speak freely regarding institutional child sex abuse
c. independently establish how institutional policies and judicial systems have failed survivors and failed to protect the best interests of the child
d. independently determine and discuss which constructive remedies could best address institutional child sexual abuse and the allegations brought forth
7. A ‘child’ is defined as any person under 18 years of age, as defined by Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
8. ‘Institution’ means any society, body or organisation with the responsibility for the care, health or welfare of children. ‘Institution’ under theseTerms also includes political parties, religious organisations, the Monarchy, Secret Services, the Government, the Police, Local Authorities, Armed Forces and the Civil Service.
9. Currently the United Kingdom Crown Services has set up an Independent Panel Inquiry (Panel) into Child Sexual Abuse. The Panel seeks to consider the extent state and non-state institutions failed to protect children from child sexual abuse.
10. The UKCSAPT works independently from the Panel and is purely a grassroots, societal based mechanism to give survivors and witnesses to child sexual abuse access to justice, as well as a voice. The means and methods to create such a mechanism have been created solely by survivors of child sexual abuse and supporters who seek to end child sexual abuse in the UK. All members who are part of the UKCSAPT work in a voluntary capacity.
11. No one who participates in the Panel is excluded from participating in the UKCSAPT. Survivors may choose to give evidence to both the Panel and the UKCSAPT if they wish.
12. The UKCSAPT will focus on Members of Parliament (MP’s) and Police who have been complicit or perpetrated the sexual abuse of children either directly or indirectly through the suppression of evidence of allegations and investigations.
13. The UKCSAPT reserves the right to modify its parameters after the current submission process takes place.
14. The UKCSAPT will take evidence from survivors and/or witnesses in person. Survivors identity will be kept private. Procedures will be implemented which allows for this to occur and safeguard survivor and/or witness testimony
15. Survivors may also elect to stop participating in the UKCSAPT proceedings at any time they choose.
16. Once the evidence has been compiled by qualified members of the UKCSAPT, the Tribunal Panel of the UKCSAPT will be given the submissions to compile an independent report. This Report will be handed to the various offices of the United Kingdom Government and relevant institutions. The Tribunal Panel will determine its methodology and how it will present these materials to the public on its own accord.
17. Any evidence taken from survivors that is deemed relevant to a possible prosecution will be handed to the Police (with the permission of the survivors). Survivors will be supported when giving evidence to UKCSAPT and subsequently will be supported in giving evidence to the police, and in the process of any subsequent prosecution of their abuser/s. UKCSAPT, survivors, and interested parties intend to provide additional support to survivors. Survivors will be referred to the various support networks and organisations available to support and counsel survivors.
What I really like and support about such a Tribunal is that evidence will be submitted to the police, and whether the ‘cops are pigs’ crowd like it or not this is the course of action that must be taken in order to come about some form of justice. While much of the judicial system is corrupt, it is not entirely so. And, having a Tribunal where charges are potentially going to be made deserves the same (if not more) support from the kind of people supporting Kevin Annett. No change in the system can happen when we don’t pressure the system to do it’s job.
So, I for one, will be keeping a close eye on this and will be supporting this effort for transparency and accountability that was sabotaged in a similar Tribunal by a snake-oil salesman in a one man show.