Vindication: Inherit the Second Wind (An Update on Canadian Church/State Whistleblower Rev. Kevin Annett)

Gary G. Kohls, MD

By Guest columnist Bill Annett

The “880” is – unlike the 100-yard dash or the 440-yard dash – a test of both patient pace management and endurance. And it also invokes a human phenomenon known as “the second wind,” a stage at which, in place of near exhaustion, the runner is suddenly transformed with a new lease on life, a dropping away of the fatigue that had been present, and seemingly a new shot of adrenalin or perhaps mental, or even emotional, regeneration.
Kevin Annett is a different sort of half-miler, although his race has been longer and more labored. At first he kept pace, but then, long before the backstretch, he was thrown off his stride by inhuman and overwhelming forces. His employer, his church, his government and those who should have supported him, trashed his life unmercifully, because he threatened their system and the dark corners of their tainted history. He insisted on telling the truth, and in seeking justice for the most deserving of people, the great and yet invisible civilization of North America who were our willing hosts 500 years ago, and whom we, all of us, have in return systematically sought to erase and eradicate – no other words will suffice - for our own misplaced sanctity, greed and profit.
Defrocked as a former minister by the United Church of Canada, beaten to the ground and stripped of his livelihood, family, reputation and recognition, physically assaulted on at least three occasions, Kevin has for almost two decades watched while his early supporters were marginalized by the power of government and corrupt institutions and - in at least four cases - silenced permanently.
Over those impossible years, he has been somehow reborn like the tiny mustard seed. Gradually, his voice has been heard abroad, yet acknowledged little in his own country as is customary with unwelcome truths. The ancient mot, “not without honor save in his own country,’ resonates loudly in his case.
On Turtle Island, in fact throughout the Western Hemisphere, governments unanimously not only allow international religious corporations, such as the criminal Vatican, to supercede the law, but through concordat and tax-exemption actually, hugely, reward them for doing so. The popular media ignore the greatest genocide in history while devoting their news-marketing to political squabbling, a fixation on the rich, famous and useless, absorbed with home run records set by cretins earning $25 million a year and the posturing opinions of fat corporate thieves paid many times that.
But the final turn is approaching, and a different sort of second wind is rising – in the least likely places, among the indigenous and displaced multitude and those who seek to help and understand them. It is surging in Uganda, in Australia, in Germany, in Belgium and – perhaps most surprisingly – in tiny Ireland, where the yoke of religious villainy and crime has been for centuries the heaviest borne by any nation in the world.
And because he has steadfastly risen to his feet when the church and state had believed they had put him down like a vagrant hound, the man the Anishinabe Nation has called Eagle Strong Voice has just begun to get his second wind. Lately there has been more than a slight stirring, a scattered applause from the watching world in the bleachers. The solitary young David who confronted the bombastic Goliath 20 years ago has today attracted a growing number of followers.
His story has long since been told. In 1992, Reverend Kevin Annett was engaged as pastor in a small Vancouver Island town by the United Church of Canada. He immediately organized a food bank and invited the native people into his congregation, simultaneously “opening his pulpit.”
People from that pulpit began, hesitantly, to describe a history of atrocity in the local “residential school” operated by their own United Church. And Kevin began to investigate the history of the region, discovering a century of sexual abuse, torture and murder within the Church’s school. He also uncovered the widespread illegal sale of Indian land by the Church to leading forestry companies.
Naively hoping to correct the situation, Kevin wrote a letter to the Moderator (chief executive officer) of the United Church in Toronto. Within a week he was suspended as pastor by the regional presbytery, fired from his position by the Provincial office of his Church and subjected to a kangaroo court which ended by his delisting and defrocking as a United Church minister. The charge that he had “disrupted the congregation” ignored the fact that he had thrown open the door and the windows, and he had increased attendance five-fold.
“What happened to Kevin Annett,” wrote Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and America’s most noted dissident, “was unbelievable.”
“This is the story of one man,” wrote Kurt Kaltreider, Ph.D. (Tennessee) “who lost everything, was reduced to poverty and whose very name was revulsion to others. This man locked horns with the two greatest civilized instruments of power - the state and the church.”
Not content with trashing his life, marriage and livelihood, the United Church proceeded to blackball the former minister among other church organizations and destroyed his reputation within the Canadian establishment and the media. Without any normal employment or means of support, his young family became destitute, and was eventually separated from him.
Since the Federal Government for 150 years had been complicit in the residential school horror - which subsequently was discovered to have included 141 such institutions across Canada - he became a pariah in his own country. Although his work eventually resulted in the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, making a watered-down “apology” to native people in Parliament in 2008, Kevin Annett’s name has never been mentioned in official Canada.
“Kevin Annett is a real warrior,” wrote Rudolph Wiebe, Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta, “confronting the most formidable of adversaries. One can only wish him well.”
Over the following five years, he engaged in exhaustive research into the history of the native residential schools that had been created by the federal government and administered by the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches of Canada. Widespread atrocity in all 141 “schools,” included sodomy, rape, torture, medical experimentation and murder, was fully revealed in his self-published book “Hidden From History - The Canadian holocaust.”
Hyperbole? Not according to Professor Anthony Hall of the University of Lethbridge, who described “the greatest re-engineered civilization in history.” The Government’s own medical examiner in 1907 reported a 50% death rate among more than 100,000 native children.
In the years since, Kevin Annett has been an unpaid pastor in Vancouver’s skid row district. He has consulted in native class actions against government and church organizations in Canada. He has produced two other books, “Love and Death in The Valley,” (Author House, 2002) and “Unrepentant: Disrobing The Emperor” (John Hunt Publishing in the U.K., 2010).
Earlier, in 1998, Reverend Annett and a native woman, Harriet Nehanee, (since deceased under uncertain circumstances) organized a tribunal in Vancouver, where native people from all over North America for the first time were given an opportunity to speak about the atrocities they had suffered in church- and government-run “schools” on both sides of the border.
In 2004, he co-produced and directed a feature film entitled “Unrepentant,” telling the story of what he had unearthed. The film won awards for best director and best feature film at independent festivals in both New York (2006) and Los Angeles (2007). Later translated into French, German and Italian, the film has been screened widely in Europe as well as America.
For six years, Kevin Annett has lectured on two continents in at least 18 universities. In 2010, the University of Cork Philosophical Society invited him to speak and engage in a debate, “Resolved that The Pope is Not Immune From Arrest or Fallibility.” Taking the affirmative, he was voted the winner by the hundreds attending over his opponent, a legal officer with Ireland’s Papal Nuncio.
More recently, he has entered a wider field, still working toward truth and justice for indigenous people. Faced with the conundrum that those in power do not indict themselves, Reverend Annett has joined with colleagues and victims in Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Italy, the U.K. and Australia, to create an “International Tribunal Into The Crimes of Church and State,” (ITCCS) which has since been expanded through 18 countries. From this organization has evolved an International Common Law Court which has - operating entirely online - compiled and posted hundreds of pages of evidence. After due deliberation, 33 international jurors recently pronounced the guilt of many religious and government leaders for crimes against humanity.
“Kevin Annett,” wrote Noam Chomsky in 2007, “is more deserving of awards and recognition than many who have received them in the past.”
Surprisingly, he has been criticized because these international initiatives have been scantly funded, and have labored to achieve what conventional courts have ignored. The criticism is only valid because for 20 years Kevin Annett’s singular often solo initiative has been operated with no regular budget, dependent on the support of “a few good men” and women, the slight earnings of his books and publications and a personal lifestyle consistently operating at or below the poverty level. But in support of his currently proposed tour of Europe and America he has received an outpouring of support from Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Fiji, India, Hong Kong, Thailand, and of course Canada and the United States.
Most recently, his blogtalk radio show has been modified into a two-hour monthly program. “We The Jury: A Forum Without Borders” will serve as a vehicle to present information on the ongoing problems of the world’s 400 million indigenous people, the vast mismanagement of even legitimate adoption and foster-home industries and the immense contemporary industry of child- and woman trafficking. All of these concerns oppose and expose the popular notion perpetrated by most national governments that abuses such as those directed at indigenous people are a thing of the past, of history.
Today, in Canada alone, more native children are arbitrarily seized from their families and “adopted out” than the 100,000 children who were incarcerated in the worst of the “Indian Residential Schools.” Hidden, as Kevin Annett continues to report, From History.
No longer a solitary figure, Kevin Annett continues to work on a global stage toward the day when a new world, as both Bobby Kennedy and Winston Churchill have suggested, surging like a rising second wind, will arise from the ashes of the old.

In January2013, Reverend Kevin Annett was nominated by a group of his peers in the United States for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013.
Other resources involving the Common Law Court and the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State:
A brief summary of the legal case against the Vatican, the British Crown, Stephan Harper and various Canadian churches for crimes against humanity in the Canadian Genocide:
Another reason why Pope Benedict may have resigned:
Did Pope Benedict resign to seek immunity from criminal charges?
“Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God”: HBO’s expose of Joseph Ratzinger, who knows more about the pedophile priest scandal and the cover-up of the crimes than anybody:

-New International ITCCS blog:
“Unrepentant” video in its entirety: