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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Quid Clamabo? (June-July 2017)

What Do I Cry Out?
What do I Decry?
.
Everything fades.
Everyone in mortal.
God’s truth is forever.
Isaiah 40:6
Image from Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2016.
The redder the worse. But every country falls short.

In a time of universal deceit—
telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
George Orwell

Frauds!
Leave them; they are blind guides.
If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.
Your task is to be true, not popular.
Jesus Christ (MT 15: 7, 14; LK 6:26 The Message)

This Update continues the call for assistance from the people and organizations affected by the Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). Those “affected” refers to investors-victims, organizations-ministries, staff-leaders, and any others who received/lost money in this scheme or were somehow involved. It also refers to the thousands of people who are or were part of these organizations-ministries and who have a moral responsibility to call their leaders to account: to disclose, conduct independent reviews, and where there are “net positive” gains, to return money to victims.

Resources
Here are three recent resources to help you promote integrity and confront corruption. We encourage you to read them, discuss them, and apply them. 

--Learning form the corporate world
Kellogg Insight, 6 March 2017
“Practical tips to reign in an unethical boss and encourage employees to do the right thing.”

--Learning from the United Nations
UN Special, January 2015 (pp. 26-27)
“Whistle-blowing is increasingly precarious in the UN system, according to Caroline Hunt-Matthes, a former UNHCR staff member who reported irregularities in the UNHCR Inspector General’s Office in 2003 including interference in a rape investigation of a refugee by a UNHCR staff member.”

--Learning from Transparency International
“Let's get straight to the point: No country gets close to a perfect score in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016. Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in this year's index fall below the midpoint of our scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country's public sector.”

Did you know?
Swedish court documents (released in 2010 and 2011) indicate that it was primarily Christians, Christian organizations, and Christian ministries that were affected by NCI? Some of the main ones were part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), including Mercy Ministries, Le Rucher, and Mercy Ships. Youth For Christ Switzerland was used as an address for one of the main NCI promoters for NCI activities and Crossroads Church in Ferny-Voltaire, France had many members who heard about and invested in NCI.  

Quid clamabo?
Cry out and decry this: NCI, and the lack of response to it by those in the church-mission community (CMC), have seriously damaged many peoples’ lives. It has also seriously compromised the reputation and witness of the CMC. Getting accurately informed and calling for action are essential. Doing nothing is inexcusable and seriously damaging. Truth matters. Live in integrity.

For more NCI background, specifics, and updates, see the previous weblog:
April 2017: Cui bono?—Who is benefiting, and getting hurt, by dong nothing?

*****
You can make a difference.
Join with others around the world by signing and sharing the petition below.
An international petition calling for integrity and action to confront corruption in the church-mission community and in particular the international NCI et al. fraud.

Read it, sign it, share it!
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/shine-the-light-together/
*****
PETRA People Network
PETRA People Network was set up in 2010. We are committed to promoting peace, transparency, and accountability in all sectors of society and especially in the international Christian community. Our general focus is on preventing and confronting corruption and on promoting personal and organizational integrity. Our specific focus is on the Nordic Capital Investments KB fraud (NCI).

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Cui Bono? (April-May 2017)

Who is benefitting…by doing nothing?
Who is getting hurt…by doing nothing?


What Are You Going to Do?
Michèle and Kelly O’Donnell

The only thing necessary for corruption to flourish is for "good" people to do nothing about it—or to do some non-resolute “thing” and to move on, with consciences placated and livelihoods protected.

This Update continues the call for assistance from the people and organizations affected by the Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). Those “affected” refers to investors-victims, organizations-ministries, staff-leaders, and any others who received/lost money in this scheme or were somehow involved. It also refers to the thousands of people who are or were part of these organizations-ministries and who have a moral responsibility to call their leaders to account: to disclose, conduct independent reviews, and where there are “net positive” gains, to return money to victims.

NCI, and the lack of response to it by those in the church-mission community (CMC), have seriously damaged many peoples’ lives. It has also seriously compromised the reputation and witness of the CMC. The Update shares background and current information to remind you why getting accurately informed and calling for action are so essential—and why doing nothing is so damaging.

Did you know that the Swedish court documents (released in 2010 and 2011) indicate that it was primarily Christians, Christian organizations, and Christian ministries that were affected by NCI? Some of the main ones were part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), including Mercy Ministries, Le Rucher, and Mercy Ships. Youth For Christ Switzerland was used as an address for one of the main NCI promoters for NCI activities and Crossroads Church in Ferny-Voltaire, France had many members who heard about and invested in NCI.  

And so we ask:
Who is benefitting by doing nothing?
Who is getting hurt by doing nothing?
What are you going to do?

Some NCI Background and Updates
--NCI began in 1994 and functioned secretively as a ponzi scheme until it was publically confronted in 2007. We (Michèle and Kelly O’Donnell) were some of the first people who blew the whistle with others and who contacted governments about NCI in July that year (FBI in the USA, Serious Fraud Office in the UK, Fraud Police in The Netherlands, and Economic Crimes Bureau in Sweden). A short overview about our involvement as victims is posted on the PETRA People website HERE. See also the initial 10 point overview about NCI at the top of the PETRA People website (this website also contains several documents from the Swedish court case, analyses, anti-corruption resources, etc.).

--An initial investigative review was done by a business consultant, Rand Guebert (2008). It is 120 pages and focuses on the serious problems in organizations affected by NCI including poor organizational governance and the discrediting and wrongful dismissals which we ourselves experienced in the CMC. Its findings related to NCI (based on the known evidence/documents at the time) are supported by the Swedish court documents that were released later in 2010 and 2011. This review has been shared with government investigative bodies although it has not yet been shared publically.

--The Swedish government (Economic Crimes Bureau--EBM) was the principle government that eventually took the lead to investigate (2008-2011). It prosecuted only one person, Kristian Westergard, the founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Sweden. The Swedish EBM determined that NCI was a long-term, gross fraud and sentenced Mr. Westergard to prison where he served a term for just over two years. Mr. Westergard was required to repay several of the victims listed in the case. But since he had very few traceable assets, very little money has been ever repaid to the 20+ plaintiffs. Other people who were affected by the fraud (net-positives) were not required to return money (by the governments or by their respective CMC organizations-ministries). Nor were there any prosecutions for other persons involved with Westergard/NCI (some perhaps innocently). Millions of dollars/Euros are still missing.

--The Shine the Light-Together petition  (2012-current, with over 200 signatures) and the PETRA People Network weblog (2011-current, with 39 entries) were set up to help the CMC and the public understand corruption in general and the NCI case specifically. They have been  emphasizing that different Christian organizations were and are “affected” by the fraud—specifically, that leaders and staff invested, benefited/lost money, ministry projects received money etc. The reluctance of these leaders and organizatons to disclose and to submit to independent investigation has also been hihglighted. Their information could shed crucial light on what was happening with this fraud and by whom, and likely go a long way to preventing similar things though the lessons learned and bring healing.

--In August 2014, four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance and that they inform other leaders in their organizations. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters regarding the petition with the names and comments of the people who signed it.  The letters were then posted on the PETRA People weblog in September 2014 along with subsequent correspondence (Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). Note that specific names of leaders are listed again in the February 2017 weblog entry along with links to other organizational leaders and Board members who have a moral responsibility to assist and hold themselves and fellow leaders accountable.

--In December 2016 there was a renewed effort for people to read, sign, and share the petition. “This petition is a call to many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to assist by transparently and verifiably disclosing how they have been affected by Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). In addition, members of these organizations (past and present), donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI.”

--YWAM especially with its staff, leaders, and ministries was affected, including Mercy Ships while it was still part of YWAM and afterwards. According to the Swedish court documents, Erik Spruyt (a major/former YWAM leader), Mercy Ministries organizations in four countries and Le Rucher in France (originally all part of YWAM), and two personal/family foundations set up by Mr. Spruyt with bank accounts in Lichtenstein (GF, NGF) were some of the entities that received hundreds of thousands of dollars/Euros of NCI money. Mr. Spruyt maintains that he is innocent and that he was a victim. In January 2017 there was a civil court decision in France which did not find Mr. Spruyt or Mercy Ministries France (defendants) responsible for the financial damages experienced by six NCI victims (we and four other plaintiffs). Although all plaintiffs totally disagreed with the court ruling, they decided to not appeal. We are committed to continue the public and moral call for assistance so that those affected by NCI will follow good practice standards via verifiable disclosures, independent reviews, transparency, accountability, and integrity. 
*****

So we ask you...cui bono?
Who is benefitting by doing nothing?
Who is getting hurt by doing nothing?
What are you going to do?

The only thing necessary for corruption to flourish is for "good" people to do nothing about it—or to do some non-resolute “thing” and to move on, with consciences placated and livelihoods protected.
*****
You can make a difference.
Join with others around the world by signing and sharing the petition below.
Shine the Light--Together!

An international petition calling for integrity and action
to confront corruption in the church-mission community
and in particular the international NCI et al. fraud.

Read it, sign it, share it!

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/shine-the-light-together/
*****

PETRA People Network
PETRA People Network was set up in 2010. We are committed to promoting peace, transparency, and accountability in all sectors of society and especially in the international Christian community. Our general focus is on preventing and confronting corruption and on promoting personal and organizational integrity. Our specific focus is on the Nordic Capital Investments KB fraud (NCI).

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Willfull Blindness (February-March 2017)

Open Your Eyes—Listen to Your Conscience

Image source: Dreamstime

If you are human
then there is a good chance you can succumb to willful blindness.
Likely a 100% chance.

If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but because you say. ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
John 9:41

This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It specifically encourages people to unite and confront the Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI) which has seriously damaged many peoples’ lives and the reputation of the church-mission community (CMC). "...the time has come to make [the fight against corruption] a truly global effort among evangelicals....if the church becomes more vociferous in its opposition to corruption...then we must beware of the risk of hypocrisy if our own house is not put in order first....We must not turn a blind eye to or condone corruption....” Salt and Light: Christians' Role in Confronting Corruption (Lausanne Global Conversation, 31 October 2011)
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Willful blindness is intentionally keeping oneself unaware of facts that would make one morally/ethically responsible. It involves looking the other way in order to avoid problems and protect oneself, usually at the expense of others. Part One of this entry presents three helpful resources to help open our eyes to our own willful blindness: Margaret Heffernan’s book, TedTalk, and BBC interview. Part Two updates us on the Shine the Light-Together petition and its request for verifiable disclosures and independent reviews regarding the NCI fraud. Specific names of leaders are listed again below along with links to other organizational leaders and Board members who carry a special responsibility to assist and hold themselves and fellow leaders accountable.

This entry provides both an opportunity and tools
to open our eyes and to listen to our consciences.
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Part One: Willful Blindness


Book
In the case of the US Government versus Enron, the presiding judge chose to employ the legal concept of willful blindness: you are responsible if you could have known, and should have known, something which instead you strove not to see. The guilty verdict sent shivers down the spine of the corporate world. In this book, Margaret Heffernan draws on psychological studies, social statistics, interviews with relevant protagonists, and her own experience to throw light on willful blindness and why whistleblowers and Cassandras are so rare. Ranging freely through history and from business to science, government to the family, this engaging and anecdotal book will explain why willful blindness is so dangerous in a globalized, interconnected world, before suggesting ways in which institutions and individuals can start to combat it. Margaret Heffernan's thought-provoking book will force us to open our eyes.” (description from Amazon site)

TEDxTalk
The Dangers of Willfull Blindness, TEDxDubai (2013), Margaret Heffernan
“Gayla Benefield was just doing her job -- until she uncovered an awful secret about her hometown that meant its mortality rate was 80 times higher than anywhere else in the U.S. But when she tried to tell people about it, she learned an even more shocking truth: People didn't want to know. In a talk that's part history lesson, part call-to-action, Margaret Heffernan demonstrates the danger of "willful blindness" and praises ordinary people like Benefield who are willing to speak up.” (quote from Youtube site)

BBC Interview
Willful Blindness, BBC World Service, Business Daily (16 December 2014) Margaret Heffernan
“Margaret Heffernan explores why big organisations so often make big mistakes - and asks if the cure could be the aviation industry's model of a 'just culture'. In the past 10 years, there have been a string of organisational failures - from BP to the banks, and the Catholic Church in Ireland. In each instance, hundreds, even thousands of people could see what was going on but acted as though they were blind. Silence ensured the problems continued and allowed them to grow. The conditions that create the phenomenon called 'willful blindness' are pervasive across institutions. It was a term that came up in the Enron scandal. Willful blindness is a legal term - it states that if there is knowledge you could have had and should have had, you are still responsible. Businesswoman and writer Margaret Heffernan argues that the solution is a 'just culture'; which means organisations that encourage people to speak up early and often when things go adrift, without fear of being silenced.” (quote from BBC site)
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Part Two: NCI Update

In December 2016 there was a renewed effort for people to read, sign, and share the STL petition. We are pleased to report that we quickly hit our goal and there are now over 200 signatures on the petition, with several people renewing their signatures/comments. “This petition is a call to many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to assist by transparently and verifiably disclosing how they have been affected by Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). In addition, members of these organizations (past and present), donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI.”


Comments from Signatories (excerpts)
--There is a story here that EVERYONE should know. Everyone should have the opportunity to evaluate whether the ends justify the means.

--I thought honesty and Christianity went together, but this case has proved that Christians look after themselves, literally, not even each other, and prefer ignorance, I cannot believe in all these years that not a single Christian has had the backbone to push on those in power in their organisations to answer difficult questions. Proverbs 8:5--O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.

--Of all of the organizations and communities that abound in our world, the church and mission community ought to be the one leading the way in manifesting integrity and transparency. I view this issue as an imperative for all people and organizations of faith.

--What an unfortunate and hurtful situation caused by an organization you trusted. I hope this petition will help provide transparency in future dealings.

--No matter what good you are trying to do or who you are, any such toxin poisons the entire pool.

--I believe uniting to fight corruption and standing together in solidarity around this petition is critical. It is an important way forward toward knowing the truth, promoting healing, and building greater capacity in the church and mission community.

--Although we did not personally become involved in the fraudulent investment program…we had first hand experience of the activities that devastated the lives of mission families who invested their life savings and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We stand with those who await justice in this crucial matter.

--Hopefully people will a) get (further) informed about corruption and the importance of transparency-accountability, and b) hold their respective leaders and organizations accountable regarding this specific, protracted fraud. Perhaps leaders themselves will finally take the initiative to disclose and as necessary break rank.

--May 200 signatures become 200 million!

More Background
It has been over nine years since the NCI KB fraud began to be publically confronted (July 2007). It has also been over two years since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance and that they inform other leaders in their organizations. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 200+ people who signed it.  The letters were then posted on the PETRA People weblog 28 September 2014. Below are the names of the leaders contacted and links for additional leaders/Board Members, etc. (Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current).

--Youth With A Mission:  Loren Cunningham, Darlene Cunningham, Lynn Green, Jim Stier, Tom Hallas, Iain Muir, and YWAM leaders/staff around the world. “We would be grateful if you (YWAM leaders/staff around the world) would carefully review the petition and Statement with links to core documents.” Click here to view the list of international offices from the organization’s website, many which link to specific leaders.

--Mercy Ships: Donovan and Mae Palmer. “We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and share it with members of the international Mercy Ships Executive Committee and others Board members (e.g., Don Stephens as President, Myron Ullman as Chair, Rosa Whitaker, Francoise Andre, Ian McColl, and Peter Schulze as Vice-Chairs, etc.). Click here to view the list of International Board Members and the Executive Committee from the organization’s website

--Youth For Christ: Geordon Rendle and John Duncan (and with Larry Williams in 2015).  “We also believe it would be very important to share the petition with other board members/officers at Youth for Christ and the previous staff at YFC in Coppet, Switzerland.” Click here to view the list of International Board Members from the organization’s website.
--Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France):  Larry Lloyd and Ian Rutter. "We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and then share the petition with other current/former elders and officers at Crossroads and current/former members and attendees at Crossroads.” Click here to view the list of elders, officers, and pastors from the organization’s website.

Update February 2017: We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. A few individuals over the past months have sent personal emails, but nothing official and nothing related to taking any action. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition. It would also be in keeping with good practice for transparency, accountability, and organizational health that these organizations thoroughly review how they have and/or have not actually dealt with the requests for assistance over the years.

Open your eyes.
Listen to your conscience.
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PETRA People Network
PETRA People Network was set up in 2010. We are committed to promoting peace, transparency, and accountability in all sectors of society and especially in the international Christian community. Our general focus is on preventing and confronting corruption and on promoting personal and organizational integrity. Our specific focus is on the Nordic Capital Investments KB fraud (NCI).

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

International Anti-Corruption Day (Dec 2016-Jan 2017)

Uniting Against Corruption and NCI
International Anti-Corruption Day 
Logo for 9 December 2016

"...the time has come to make [the fight against corruption] a truly global effort among evangelicals....if the church becomes more vociferous in its opposition to corruption...then we must beware of the risk of hypocrisy if our own house is not put in order first....We must not turn a blind eye to or condone corruption....Christians must take care that they are not unwittingly complicit in someone else's corruption, no matter how innocent the motive or scheme may at first appear." Salt and Light: Christians' Role in Confronting Corruption (Lausanne Global Conversation, 31 October 2011)
*****
This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It specifically encourages people to unite and confront the Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI) which has seriously damaged many peoples’ lives and the reputation of the church-mission community (CMC).

Part One features the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December), now in its 14th year. This special Day raises public awareness about the widespread reality of corruption and offers ideas for practical ways to fight it. Part Two offers a strategic opportunity to fight corruption: unite with others to review, sign and share the Shine the Light-Together petition as part of the renewed effort to confront the NCI KB fraud. This renewed effort stems from the unheeded requests for assistance (verifiable disclosures and independent reviews) by leaders in four of the organizations affected by NCI. The requests were sent in August 2014. Specific names of these leaders are listed again below along with links to other organizational leaders and Board members who carry a special responsibly to assist and hold themselves and fellow leaders accountable.
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Part One: International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD)

 “Corruption is an issue that affects all countries around the world. It can refer to the destruction of one’s honesty or loyalty through undermining moral integrity or acting in a way that shows a lack of integrity or honesty. It also refers to those who use a position of power or trust for dishonest gain. Corruption undermines democracy, creates unstable governments, and sets countries back economically. Corruption comes in various forms such as bribery, law-breaking without dealing with the consequences in a fair manner, unfairly amending election processes and results, and covering mistakes or silencing whistleblowers (those who expose corruption in hope that justice would be served).” International Anti-Corruption Day, timeanddate.com

Corruption undermines moral integrity and destroys people. IACD a superb way to come together globally, nationally, and locally in order to and promote integrity, confront corruption, and protect vulnerable people. The excerpts below list practical ways to act against corruption on IACD and in ongoing ways. They are from the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“Fighting corruption is a global concern because corruption is found in both rich and poor countries, and evidence shows that it hurts poor people disproportionately. It contributes to instability, poverty and is a dominant factor driving fragile countries towards state failure.

Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens around the world are joining forces to fight this crime. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are at the forefront of these efforts. The 2016 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To mark the 2016 International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD), UNODC has developed a wide-ranging campaign focused on different SDGs and on how tackling corruption is vital to achieving them.

We hope you'll come together with UNDP and UNODC to fight against corruption by:
--Organizing creative activities in your community to mark 9 December utilizing the "Call to Action Matrix" for ideas.
--Tweeting about International Anti-Corruption Day to let the world know what you are doing to tackle this scourge  (and remember to use #UnitedAgainstCorruption and include @UNDP and @UNODC in your message so that we can help share this).
--Like our Facebook pageadopt the logo as your profile picture and encourage others to do the same.”

"But legislation alone cannot make organizations open and healthy. Only the character and will of those who run them and participate in them can do that….If a culture of collusion exists instead of a culture of candor, participants will find ways around the rules, new or old, however stringent. (p. 8). But at any time an organization makes a seriously wrong decision, its leaders should call for an intensive postmortem. Such learning opportunities are too often overlooked. The tendency is simply to call on the public relations department to spin the mater, to make another inadequately thought-out decision, and perhaps to scapegoat, even fire, a few staff members." (pp. 22-23) Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor (2008). Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O'Toole, and Patricia Ward Biederman

Part Two: NCI Update
United Against NCI

“A Swedish Christian businessman and former YWAM leader defrauds friends, family, and missionaries of millions of dollars….The NCI case exposes a harmful trend growing within the worldwide church 16 years after the collapse of the New Era fraud….‘No one is immune. We have to keep these cases in front of believers. They’re lulled into a false sense of security [quoting Dr. Todd Johnson].’ If defrauded investors have their way, Sweden’s verdict won’t be the last one involving NCI…”

Logo for the petition: Shine the Light-Together

It has been over nine years since the NCI KB fraud began to be publically confronted (July 2007). It has also been over two years since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 100+ people who signed it.  

Requesting Assistance Again from Specific Organizational Leaders
The letters requesting assistance were sent to specific leaders in August 2014 with the additional request that they inform other leaders in their organizarions. The letters were then posted on the PETRA People weblog 28 September 2014. Below are the names of the leaders contacted and links for additional leaders/Board Members, etc. (Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current).

--Youth With A Mission:  Loren Cunningham, Darlene Cunningham, Lynn Green, Jim Stier, Tom Hallas, Iain Muir, and YWAM leaders/staff around the world. “We would be grateful if you (YWAM leaders/staff around the world) would carefully review the petition and Statement with links to core documents.” Click here to view the list of international offices from the organization’s website, many which link to specific leaders.

--Mercy Ships: Donovan and Mae Palmer. “We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and share it with members of the international Mercy Ships Executive Committee and others Board members (e.g., Don Stephens as President, Myron Ullman as Chair, Rosa Whitaker, Francoise Andre, Ian McColl, and Peter Schulze as Vice-Chairs, etc.). Click here to view the list of International Board Members and the Executive Committee from the organization’s website

--Youth For Christ: Geordon Rendle and John Duncan (and with Larry Williams in 2015).  “We also believe it would be very important to share the petition with other board members/officers at Youth for Christ and the previous staff at YFC in Coppet, Switzerland.” Click here to view the list of International Board Members from the organization’s website.

--Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France):  Larry Lloyd and Ian Rutter. "We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and then share the petition with other current/former elders and officers at Crossroads and current/former members and attendees at Crossroads.” Click here to view the list of elders, officers, and pastors from the organization’s website.

We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. A few individuals over the past months have sent personal emails, but nothing official and nothing related to taking any action. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition. It would also be in keeping with good practice for transparency, accountability, and organizational health that these organizations thoroughly review how they have and/or have not actually dealt with the requests for assistance over the years.


Shine the Light-Together Petition (STL)—The Next Phase is Here!
In light of the above, there is now a renewed effort for more people to read, sign, and share the STL petition.  The petition contains three paragraphs:

“This petition is a call to many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to assist by transparently and verifiably disclosing how they have been affected by Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). In addition, members of these organizations (past and present), donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI. ”

“NCI began in 1992 and began to be publically confronted in 2007. An important part of it was successfully prosecuted in Sweden (2010-2011) and declared to be a longstanding fraud. Only one person was prosecuted and imprisoned, however--a Swedish man. There are thousands of pages of court documents (available to the public in 2010-2011) that shed light on the far broader aspects of this international fraud. Millions of euros and dollars are still missing. See the core materials/links on this site for more information.”

“Corruption such as the NCI KB fraud does not simply go away on its own, over time, by ignoring it, or by keeping silent. All of us can and must act with integrity--the consistent, highest level of moral wholeness. And we can and must hold our organizations and leaders accountable to do the same. This petition is a key tool to help.”

We are thus calling upon people to unite and to resolutely call upon their organizational leaders to provide verifiable disclosures and authorize independent reviews. People can also disclose what they know and how they have been affected. It is crucial to model good financial practice and integrity, for one’s own sake, the sake of one’s organization, the church-mission community, and the general public. Unite against corruption and NCI. You can access the petition here:  Shine the Light-Together Petition.

“Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don't hesitate to go public now. Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life-body and soul-in his hands." Jesus Christ (Mathew 10:26-28,The Message)
 
PETRA People Network
PETRA People Network was set up in 2010. We are committed to promoting peace, transparency, and accountability in all sectors of society and especially in the international Christian community. Our general focus is on preventing and confronting corruption and on promoting personal and organizational integrity. Our specific focus is on the Nordic Capital Investments KB fraud (NCI).




Thursday, 29 September 2016

Ordinary Heroes (Oct-Nov 2016)

Awakening the Good in You


"Simply put, then, the key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—
a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk,
done without expectation of reward."
Philip Zimbardo, What Makes a Hero? (2011)

“…someone with personal integrity is often required to take action against an issue that seems unjust or inequitable…The person cannot simply refuse to participate in the behaviors. A person with true integrity must stand up for what he or she believes.”
Quick et al, Managing Executive Health,  (2008, p. 178)

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This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It calls upon people to acknowledge their own propensity for acting deceptively and complicitly (corruption) as well as their own capacity for acting truthfully and heroically (integrity).

Part One includes resources to help you understand ordinary heroism: the good and bad within everyone, the pressures to rationalize and support evil, and examples of ordinary people doing good. How do we awaken the good and the heroic in ourselves to help others, act with integrity, and confront evil? Part Two gives a short update on the NCI KB et al fraud, an ongoing opportunity for ordinary people to act heroically and to do what is right.
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Part One: Resources—Understanding Ordinary Heroes
“Heroism can be defined as having four key features: a) it must be engaged in voluntarily; b) it must involve a risk or potential sacrifice, such as the threat of death, an immediate threat to physical integrity, a long-term threat to health, or the potential to for serious degradation of one’s quality of life; c) it must be conducted in service to one or more other people or the community as a whole, d) and it must be without secondary, extrinsic gain anticipated at the time of act.” The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (p. 466, 2008)

Pro-Integrity Heroes
--What Makes a Hero? Phil Zimbardo, Greater Good Science Center (six minute video, overview)
--The Psychology of Heroism, Kendra Cherry Very Well (website), 16 July 2016

Anti-Corruption Heroes, Transparency International
--True Stories (short accounts from around the world of people confronting corruption)
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Part Two: NCI Update—Calling for Ordinary Heroes
It has been over nine years since the NCI KB fraud began to be publically confronted (July 2007). It has also been nearly two years since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 100+ people who signed it

We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. A few individuals over the past months have sent personal emails, but nothing official and nothing related to taking any action. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition.

The organizations and people affected by NCI can call for organizational leaders to authorize independent reviews. People can also disclose what they know and how they have been affected. It is crucial to model good financial practice and integrity, for one’s own sake and for the sake of one’s organization, the church-mission community, and the general public. As per the opening quote from Managing Executive Health, “A person with true integrity must stand up for what he or she believes.”

Our world needs ordinary people who will do what is right in spite of any external pressure and inner anxiety to do otherwise. The good and the heroic in us can trump evil.
Image:
Escher's Circle Limit IV


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Cooperating with Corruption (Aug-Sep 2016)

Complicity, Inc.

“Mark my words…if it takes a village to raise a child,
 it takes a village to abuse one.”
 
Spotlight (2015)

This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It also highlights the human propensity for acting deceptively and complicitly (corruption) as well as the human capacity for acting truthfully and heroically (integrity).

Part One presents three recent resources to help us better understand corruption and in particular complicity: The film Spotlight; the podcast Lies, Lies, Lies; and the book Moral Disengagement. Together they underscore how easy it is for anyone to rationalize complicity, deceive themselves/lie, and disengage morally (core ingredients for “cooperating with corruption”). Part Two gives a short update on the NCI KB et al fraud, encouraging people not to succumb to complicity.


Part One: Resources for Understanding Corruption--and Ourselves
The opening quote in this entry is from the 2015 film Spotlight (“it takes a village to raise…to abuse a child”). This film received the Oscar for best picture and portrays the Boston Globe’s investigation of pedophilia in the Catholic church. As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that the pedophilia was widespread, systemic, and perpetuated by the complicity of people and communities who would not confront it (click HERE for an audio-photo overview and more information about The Boston Globe’s investigation).

Spotlight is also relevant for other forms and cases of corruption including what has happened in the NCI KB fraud:  If it takes a community for affinity fraud to spread then it takes a takes a community to confront it…or cover it up.  Have a look at the film trailer (link above) and watch the film. We sincerely hope that the film will encourage people and organizations affected by NCI KB to likewise act with courage and determination in confronting complicity. As Bandura says below, “Obvious questions that would reveal incriminating information remain unmasked, so officials do not find out what they do not want to know [or want others to know].” People can rise up and together with the over 100 people in the Shine the Light-Together petition, resolutely call organizations and leaders to act according to good practice standards, which includes verifiable transparency/accountability and authorizing independent reviews.

2. Lies, Lies, Lies, On The Media (podcast, 8 July 2016)
This fascinating podcast presents a brief overview of political lies (types and examples) mostly in the American context; the psychological reasons about how and why everyone lies; fact checking, blind belief, and more. It is 50 minutes and organized into seven separate parts. The part entitled Our Lies, Ourselves is especially interesting and relevant to the complicity focus of this entry as well as the NCI KB fraud.

3. Moral Disengagement
The 13 excerpts below are from Moral Disengagement: How People do Harm and Live with Themselves (2016), by Albert Bandura. Based on extensive research in social psychology, Bandura identifies the many ways that people—including groups, organizations, and communities—can hurt others and still feel good about themselves. “They do so by sanctifying their harmful behavior as serving worthy causes; they absolve themselves of blame for the harm they cause by displacement and diffusion of responsibility; they minimize or deny the harmful effects of their actions; and they dehumanize those they maltreat and blame them for bringing the suffering on themselves.”(excerpt from book cover).  

Moral disengagement helps explain why so many “good” people can actually be actively complicit in “cooperating with corruption.” Many of the excerpts below focus on pedophilia/complicity in the Roman Catholic Church, just one of many examples that Bandura uses to illustrate the reality and impact of individual, group, and systemic moral disengagement. The NCI KB fraud is certainly another example.  
  • “People do not usually engage in harmful conduct until they have justified to themselves the morality of their actions. Social and moral justifications sanctify harmful practices by investing them with honorable purposes. Righteous and worthy ends are used to justify harmful means.” (p.49)
  • “Authorities do not go looking for evidence of wrongdoing. Obvious questions that would reveal incriminating information remain unmasked, so officials do not find out what they do not want to know.” (p.61)
  • “Implicit agreements, insulating social arrangements, and authorization by indirection ensure that the higher echelons are unaccountable. When harmful practices are publicized, they are officially dismissed as only isolated incidents arising from who or what had been authorized. Or blame is shifted to subordinates, who are portrayed as misguided or overzealous. Investigators that go looking for incriminating records of authorization display naiveté about the insidious ways that pernicious practices are usually sanctioned and carried out.”  (p. 61)
  • “In a common scenario, top officials evade accountability by stepping forward with a ritualized  public apology...The public apology typically closes with a forward-looking statement aimed at curbing further probing. It is time to put the problem behind us, the officials announce, and quickly move on to right the wrongs and restore public trust. Admissions of ultimate responsibility are usually devoid of consequences. The officials are not chastised, demoted, dismissed, docked pay, or penalized in other ways.” (p. 64)
  • “The world of work presents another type of moral predicament in which associates and supervisors are witness to institutional wrongdoings. Out of fear of retaliation and being ostracized as informers and troublemakers, they collectively turn a blind eye to what is going on. Compliant accommodation to institutional wrongdoing is self-devaluing unless morally justified.” (p. 70)
  • “The personal accounts of whistle-blowers indicate that they tied their moral integrity to taking action against institutional wrongdoing…Most pay a heavy social and emotional price for their actions….It takes a lot off moral courage and perceived self-efficacy  to blow the whistle.” (p.70)
  • “The widespread sexual transgressions of clergy [in the Roman Catholic Church] testify to the power of moral disengagement  to override the sanctions of conscience.” (p. 71)
  • “Sexual molestation of children has no justification. Nor can it be sanitized linguistically.  However, the cover-up by the bishops required justification. The bishops’ actions indicated that their justification was based on utilitarian grounds: The harm to the moral authority of the church from disclosing the sexual abuse outweighed the harm inflicted on the children. [the cover-up went on for years…]” (p. 71)
  • “Concealing and minimizing the crimes, displacement and diffusion of responsibility, discrediting informers, disparaging victims, and indifference to them all contributed to the self-exoneration.” (p. 72) 
  • “The veil of secrecy and moral compromise operated throughout the church hierarchy….Although the sexual crimes violated civil law, not a single clergyman broke rank and reported the crimes to civil authorities.” (p. 75)
  • “One remains uninformed about what one does not want to know by not doing what would reveal it.” (p. 76)
  •  “Indeed, with selective moral disengagement, the same person can be both good and bad simultaneously and even preserve a sense of moral integrity while behaving inhumanely.” (p. 77)
  • “The efforts to protect the church at all costs ended up seriously harming the church and undermining its moral authority. What is even more disconcerting is the morally disengaged damage control...” (p.79)
  
Part Two: NCI Update—Don’t Succumb to Complicity
It has been over nine years since the NCI KB fraud began to be publically confronted (July 2007). It has also been nearly two years since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 100+ people who signed it

We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition.

The organizations and people affected by NCI can call for organizational leaders to authorize independent reviews. People can also disclose what they know and how they have been affected. It is not too late to model good financial practice and integrity, for one’s own sake and for the sake of one’s organization, the church-mission community, and the general public. There is no need for any one to cooperate with corruption, especially through the type of complicity whereby “One remains uninformed about what one does not want to know by not doing what would reveal it” (Bandura, p. 76).