Thursday, April 21, 2005

Weird story from Newsday -- grab the tinfoil hat:

Neil Bush, Ratzinger co-founders

President's younger brother served with then-cardinal on board of relatively unknown ecumenical foundation

Neil Bush, the president's controversial younger brother, six years ago joined the cardinal who this week became Pope Benedict XVI as a founding board member of a little known Swiss ecumenical foundation.

The charter members of the board were all well-known international religious figures, except for Bush and his close friend and business partner, Jamal Daniel, whose family has extensive holdings in the United States and Switzerland, public records show.

The Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1999 to promote ecumenical understanding and publish original religious texts, said a foundation official.

Besides then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, founding board members included Rene-Samuel Sirat, the former chief rabbi of France; Jordan's Prince Hassan, a Muslim dedicated to religious dialogue; the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, another prominent Muslim; Olivier Fatio, director of the Institute of the History of the Reformation; and foundation president Metropolitan Damaskinos, a Greek Orthodox leader....

Let's see ... his brother's about to run for President (and, God willing, get control of the world's oil supply), so Neil and his pal hook up with ... these guys? Who were doing what exactly?

The foundation, based at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Geneva, is listed by Dun & Bradstreet business credit reports as a management trust for purposes other than education, religion, charity or research. But Vachicouras said the designation must be a mistake of translation to English because the foundation is a private nonprofit established under Swiss law. He said the foundation is being "relaunched" on its mission to publish the original text of the Bible's Old Testament in Hebrew, its New Testament in Greek and the Quran in Arabic.

Oh. Of course.

Doesn't it seem as if this should be a front for something? But you can't quite figure out how?

In recent years, Jamal Daniel has shown up on the advisory board of New Bridge Strategies, which Joe Allbaugh (campaign manager for Bush-Cheney 2000) set up to make money from the rebuilding of Iraq. We know Daniel has an eye for the main chance.

But what's with Ratzinger and these other guys?

Well, here's Sadruddin Aga Khan's obituary. Sounds like a well-meaning guy -- could have lived a life of dissipation, but worked instead with the UN (and was considered for the post of secretary-general), as well as on environmental issues. Though this is interesting:

In the wake of the first Gulf War he negotiated with Saddam Hussein to try to ensure the presence of a UN guard force and the implementation of humanitarian initiatives in Iraq to assist the Kurds and Shia Muslims. He also encouraged Saddam to accept the conditions of the UN’s Oil-for-Food programme. Later, concerned for the welfare of the Iraqi people, he advised that the sanctions should be suspended.


Prince Hassan seems like a thoughtful gentleman (find out more at his rather elaborate Web site). For what it's worth, a guy at thinks Hassan's nephew, Prince Abdullah of Jordan, might be the Antichrist.

Hey, I'm trying here.

My guess? There's no big conspiracy. There's -- maybe -- a small one: Neil figured his bro' would be President and so he and his pal Jamal tried to find some way to rub elbows with guys who might be, at most, one or two removes from lots and lots of oil -- but they wanted to find a way to do this that was, y'know, high-minded.

Ratzinger? I think he was genuinely interested in whatever this organization was doing.

But it would be amusing to learn that the truth was more sinister.

(Link via Attytood.)

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