Monday, March 12, 2007

US Department of State - Partial Release of US Passport Application for Emily Rose

US Department of State continues to withhold paperwork

I recently received page 3 of a US Passport application made for Emily Rose in January 2003 - the US passport that was issued to Emily Rose in order to remove her from the UK to the US.

The US Department of State continues to withhold the rest of the paperwork that was requested, including the supporting forms for the issuance of the passport and internal communications regarding the role of various State Department officials in removing and hiding Emily Rose in the US.

What does this mean ?

One of the pieces of paper provided purports to be my consent to the issuance of the passport - except the law required my signed notarized consent and guess what - it isn't my signature and it isn't notarized, so where did it come from ?

Interestingly enough, the passport application page is dated January 2003 but the "consent" form is dated April 2002 - does that seem strange to you because it sure does to me.

I'm waiting on the outcome of a show cause motion for Maria Damour to show cause for her contempt of the federal proceedings in Orlando, Florida - the explanation from the US Attorney General is that the defendants i.e. various State Department officials do not recognise the jurisdiction of the federal court in Orlando, Florida.....hmmmmm.

Watch this space.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Australian a danger to Baby - so the headline goes

Abduction from Australia to Alabama, US

Recently reported in the Alabama Press-Register is this case of a baby taken from Australia to Alabama, US.

Mom is an American, Susan Elizabeth Beaty and moved to Australia where she had a relationship with an Australian, Gareth Baran and a child was subsequently born.

Mother claims domestic violence, heavy drinking and that dad is a threat to the child.

Dad claims mom abducted the child from Australia to the US and is standing on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction for the return of the child to the jurisdiction of Australia.

The case is scheduled to be heard by a federal judge sometime later this month and it will be interesting to see the outcome - the attorney for the mother claims that the father gave consent for the removal and that he represents a clear danger to the child.

These things are never clear on the face of them - if Gareth Baran gave consent then Susan Beaty is going to have demonstrate that absolutely - she is the one who has the burden of evidencing her claims here. The issues of domestic violence, I personally think, should be better heard by the court where the evidence is available and that means back in Australia but will the federal court in the US agree ? This is a source of much debate in the US and elsewhere these days and I am concerned that this the thin end of the wedge in slowing proceedings down.

If the issue of "best interests" of one of the parents is to start playing a part in Hague Convention proceedings then it becomes much less sustainable to argue the "best interests of the child" should not also play a part in the process - at this time, the only "best interest" of the child that figures in Hague Convention proceedings is that proceedings should take place in the country of habitual residence and a return shall be effected as quickly as possible - if dad is an alcoholic deadbeat, that is not relevant to a return order under the Hague Convention but it will become relevant for the court of habitual residence just the same as if a mom is medically neglecting a child, placing them up for adoption or endangering them by placing them into contact with a convicted pedophile.

Let's see how this one gets handled by the US judge.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Emily's Dad Quoted on Opinio Juris

Karl Hindle quoted extensively by Opinio Juris

Roger Alford of Pepperdine School of Law quoted Karl Hindle in full on a recent posting on international child abduction:

Roger Alford (mail):
I received this thoughtful email from a reader and I forward it to you without attribution (but with permission):

Hi Roger:

Noted your post on Opinio Juris and I have these suggestions in response to how to further prevent international abductions:

Prevention i.e. before a child is removed
1. Rigorous enforcement of the two parent signature law (Nance/Donovan etc) for passport issuance to minors within and without the US (removal of passport issuance function from the Department of State);
2. Cessation of domestic violence exception in 8 CFR 51 for issuance of passports to minors
3. Exit controls at point of departure from locations within the US (currently there are none - have passport will travel);
4. Federal level legislation and control - (at the State level it is worthless as it is so easily by-passed and if a child is removed from the US, federal level intervention alone will carry weight with a non-US jurisdiction, State warrants are practically useless) cf Synclair-Cannon Law, California (Larry Synclair and Josef Cannon - put either name in google and you'll find the legislation) - further unilateral state legislation eg Nebraskan LB 341 sponsor Senator Schimek, can compromise international cooperation between the whole of the US and another HC contracting state.

Cure i.e. after a child is taken
1. Rigorous enforcement of the Hague Convention and obligations imposed upon the US in the event of a return of a child to the United States - currently it is a take it or leave it buffet, once a child is sent to the US for proceedings an abducting parent subsequently has very little chance of fair proceedings in the US which is causing "disquiet" abroad;
2. Removal of administration and functions of the US Central Authority from the Department of State to the Department of Justice - in practice, the US has a reputation for operating a three-tier system in regard to international abductions based upon a sliding scale of diplomatic expediency, then gender and claims of domestic violence and thereafter you have a catch-all - this is not appropriate, a legalistic approach to the Hague Convention is required not a diplomatic one (note the US is the only contracting state to the HC that has the Central Authority embedded in it's foreign service and not the justice department);
3. Full adoption of the HC by the US - at present it has reserved on certain aspects such as providing free legal representation for HC hearings (in the UK it is fully expensed by the UK taxpayer and in many other contracting states but this is not reciprocated); and
4. Full accounting by the US Central Authority of returns and access orders granted AND enforced - currently the US claims a 90% return rate (Asst Sec of State Maura Harty &Ernie Allen NCMEC) however no substantive evidence to support this has ever been provided despite censure by Congress and the GAO - the only study of comparative return rates I am aware of is that of Professor Lowe, Law Professor Cardiff University UK which indicates that under reported HC cases a return of 52% from the US is demonstrated - this is an average result for the largest budget in the world.

These suggestions do not directly assist US parents in recovery but the first thing the HC is about is mutual trust not custody issues - to this end it is interesting to read what foreign judges have had to say about returning children to the US (as it is after all a non-US judge that will determine a return or not) cf Tom Johnson and Sweden non-return (google him); Josef Cannon in the High Court London UK non-return to the US.

Presently, the US is perceived by many in the EU and elsewhere as a major violator of the HC, not officially of course, but judges, practitioners and civil servants abroad are not stupid and many EU states only allow a small pool of judges to hear HC cases who have gained experience of events after a US return is made, it does not generally make for happy reading - there have been several cases of children sent to the US on the basis that it will protect a child and has failed, several spring to mind involving Sweden, UK, Germany and Spain.

Suggestions for HC Development
1. Reciprocal agreements between contracting states regarding use of their jurisdictions as safe havens - ICARA/IKPA deal with abductions out of the US but not to it, I think this is a fundamental weakness in the current HC aproach of dealing with the issue after the child has been taken - imposing sanctions on a parent who abducts to your jurisdiction may be a better way of preventing an abduction to begin with rather than the current cat-and-mouse game with an abducting parent simply hiding until a child is settled in the new environment;
2. Sanctions against non-compliant contracting states e.g. suspension of returns, demand for monetary damages enforceable and mandated at the Hague, enforcement powers at the Hague for dispute resolution;
3. Contracting states provide "attributable rights" to foreign parents litigating in the jurisdiction - by this I mean, a right to freely enter and leave a contracting state (i.e. no visas or no revocation of spousal visas upon divorce cf Japan); same rights and protections as a native of a contracting state would enjoy eg privacy (US Privacy Act and current State Department practice as outlined in FAM 7 denies a right to privacy for a non-citizen for instance) - this develops art 7 &21 and the removal of obstructions by contracting states to resolution;
4. Change the name of the HC from "Child Abduction" to "Jurisdiction for Child Hearings" as with the UCCJA/UCCJEA - abduction = kidnapping in laymans eyes, even for law enforcement and social services and it is not - it benefits no-one to make this a more emotive affair.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The First Lady on International Child Abduction

Laura Bush at the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children Conference

Elysée Palace,Paris, France - January 17th, 2007

International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children Conference

"The United States made missing and exploited children a priority in 1981"

First Lady Laura Bush of the United States of America January 2007

I recently came across this press release issued by the Whitehouse press center after the First Lady of America, Laura Bush addressed an international conference hosted in Paris, France by President Chirac.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mrs Bush's sentiments but I do have serious issues with the gap between words and deeds. There is a call for greater foreign government cooperation
Every country must educate its citizens, especially women and children, so they can avoid this degradation
however very scant attention is paid to the void that exists for parents who have children abducted to America or from America.

International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children Conference Paris France

In the pecking order of priorities it is clear that international child abduction ranks extremely low, not only for local agencies and law enforcement but at the Whitehouse.

The majority of Mrs Bush's address dealt with the international issue of child pornography and the growing international response to dealing with perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Let's put this in perspective - international child abduction-v-international child pornography - I cannot disagree that child pornography must be tackled and must receive a higher priority than international child abduction and I write as a parent who's child has been taken across international boundaries and given into the care of a convicted pedophile.

When I found that Emily Rose was being "adopted" in Wisconsin in April 2003 I was staggered and frightened however when I found that this was happening from a convicted pedophile who advised me his son was adopting Emily Rose and he (the pedophile) had also been looking after her, I was terrified beyond anything I have ever experienced in my existence on this planet.

What I feel needs to be done is to educate senior leaders in America, Europe and around the world that international child abduction needs more attention too, not allowed to be an also ran that is disposed of rather than dealt with. Mrs Bush does not seem so far away from that sentiment as she goes on to state:

"A society shows its character in the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Each of us can help protect children in our societies, and every country must help protect children in our global society."

Mrs Bush, if you ever get to read this - salut as President Chirac would say, but please do not forget to mention the thousands of children who are internationaly abducted and at great risk as a consequence next time you have the opportunity and I write as a parent who's child taken to America, has been allowed to go blind.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Angelina Jolie and Melissa Hawach

Melissa Hawach recovers Cedar & Hannah from Lebanon

Melissa Hawach recently recovered her two daughters from the Lebanon after a three continent battle to get them home to Canada from her estranged husband, Joseph Hawach.

Melissa and her daughters

This case started last year when Joseph Hawach took the two girls for a vacation to Australia but they ended up in the Lebanon with Mr Hawach and his mother.

After locating Cedar and Hannah in the Lebanon, Melisa Hawach reunited with the children at a school playground and eventually returned to Canada after a two month cat and mouse chase to evade Joseph and his supporters through Jordan and Syria..

Two "helpers", Brian Corrigan and David Pemberton, private security specialists currently languish in a Lebanese jail for "assisting" in this matter though the charges against them have recently been downgraded and the Lebanese court apparently now accepts Melissa has custody over the children.

Lebanon is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction which makes it at the same time more difficult to pursue a resolution through the legal process but easier if you go the so called "self-help" route. Joseph, a dual Lebanese/Australian citizen has outstanding charges pending in Canada for international child kidnapping and custodial interference.

Joseph Hawach and his mother Gladys

In the style of Betty Mahmoudi, who managed to recover her daughters from Iran and the tale was turned into a film "Not without my Daughters" starring Sally Fields, movie offers are flooding in for the movie rights.

Hollywood heavyweight, Angelina Jolie has or is in the process of bidding for the film rights after the story broke in an Australian newspaper.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this and it is noteworthy that this case has so speedily been resolved without the Hague Convention - I think I can safely speculate that if the Hague Convention had been in situ, then this matter would still be dragging on to the detriment of Cedar and Hannah.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

International Child Abduction and Domestic Violence

Causes of International Child Abductions

I read this this morning in my google alerts:

MOTHERS are responsible for seven out of 10 international parental child abductions, an Australian study has found. And the most common reason for the abduction is flight from an abusive relationship.

My first reaction was "hello, mens rights at it again" but the article comes from Australia and the study is that of the International Social Science Australia entitled "Learning From The Links Between Domestic Violence And International Parental Child Abduction".

Now I haven't read the paper so I cannot comment on the conclusions but I do believe it will be a fair assumption to say that 70% of the respondents CLAIM domestic violence exists rather than it ACTUALLY being shown to exist - a much smaller proportion will have justifiable domestic violence as an element of the motivation to abduct than in fact.

The issue of domestic violence and international child abductions is difficult to navigate - one jurisdiction/party's justifiable flight from harm is anothers international child abduction.

The Hague Convention deals with issues such as domestic violence through Article 13(b) which allows a presiding judge to exercise discretion (note discretion not requires) to refuse to allow a return of a child that has been wrongfully removed from a country of habitual residence in those circumstances where there is a grave risk of physical and psychological harm to the child which is "intolerable".

By intolerable, consider this analogy that I was given by David Thelen of The Committee for Missing Children - you hold your outstretched palm above a candle, as you slowly bring your hand down you feel the heat of the flame but that is tolerable, as you bring your hand closer it starts to be painful until your hand is so close to the flame that you are actually burning - that is intolerable.

In this instance, The Hague Convention actually should result in the return of children whose mothers claim to be victims of domestic violence as this would for the most part not satisify the extremely high mark of "intolerable". I read a case last year where a mother fleeing from Venezuela after a hit man had been hired to kill her satisfied the test and though she had internationally abducted the children involved they were not returned due to the danger.

In Sheila Kay Fuith-v-Karl Ernest Hindle re ERH (a minor) I argued that Emily Rose should not be sent to Florida on the basis that the adoption attempt/sale of Emily, placing Emily into the care of a convicted child sex offender and medical neglect for her eye condition represented a an intolerable situation for the purposes of Art 13(b) of The Hague Convention. It was rejected as not satisfying the test.

Domestic violence features in the vast majority of international child abduction cases almost as a matter of course, what needs to impressed is that domestic violence only of the highest viciousness is regarded as a justification for international child abduction and by that it means the threat must be against the children and not the mother.

Clearly there is some way to go with the Hague Convention, but the debate that is raging particularly in America, on article 13(b) and interests of the child creeping into the otherwise summary proceedings to return a child, are likely to taint Hague Convention proceedings with procrastination and dogmatic complications on top of those implicit with the international dimension.

Generally, the vast majority of domestic violence allegations, founded or not, are not a proper justification for international child abduction - international child abduction is child abuse not child protection.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Robert Skelton - Father searching for his child taken from Florida

International Child Abduction - My Alter Ego in Florida

Reported in the Daytona Beach Journal - click here for the article

I'll be contacting Robert as I may be able to help him in finding his child but I think that the mirror nature of our cases serves to underlie the difficulties that he is going to face in finding his child, getting access or return of the child to Florida - not because of the allegations of domestic violence and so on, these unfortunately are par for the course.

Robert is going to face tremendous difficulties because he is simply an American and one from Florida at that and he will have to deal with the appallingly bad reputation that has been created by US officials in positions of responsibility that have failed to protect children in the past - in Washington DC and in Florida as well as on your doorstep in DeLand and DeBary.

Emily (my daughter) was taken 4 years ago with the assistance of the US Department of State based on claims I was domestically violent and they also made it a condition I was not to know where Emily was in the US (I have been repeatedly cleared of these claims by the courts and investigations)

2 months after being taken, Emily was put up for sale in WI and into the care of a convicted pedophile.

Emily was born with an eye defect which would render her permanently blind if untreated - she has received no medical treatment in the US and is now permanently blinded despite numerous British and US doctors advising treatment.

Emily has been moved about 40 times through 10 states in the US and was even missing and classified as endangered at one point.

VCSO Captain Osowski has falsified police reports while my PI observed the mother playing patsy with one of his Deputies in order to convince US Immigration I was a threat and a menace to the mother and my child, and was assisted in this by State Department officials in Washington DC who asked for my arrest in 2004 to stop court hearings in DeLand.

Even with a federal court order ordering my attendance in FL in connection with federal proceedings against the US Department of State - I am barred from entering the US for court ordered visitation with Emily (she was 5 yesterday) or from coming to court.

As for DCF....I have files and recordings that show they falsified their files, tapes of them telling me my daughter being given to a pedophile was a protective custody arrangement and that though Emily was treatable for her blindness this is not medical neglect as it is not life threatening.

What is upsetting is that this behaviour has been seen so many many times with European children and parents in the US and that it is causing a backlash - Robert will probably find his child and I will help him, but is he likely to get the child back, depends - and I have dozens of cases where perfectly good US parents lose their children because of poor official behaviour creating a terrible reputation for Americans that they simply do not deserve.

Emily and I will probably never see each other again no matter what Judge Doyle in DeLand rules if he ever has the chance to hear the case.

No Happy Birthday for Emily

"Ms Fuith Does Not Wish to Hinder Mr Hindle from wishing Emily a Happy Birthday"

Emily was 5 years old on March 1st, last Thursday - I went through my lawyer to see if we could speak to Emily to wish her a happy birthday and the response came back as follows from Ms Kim Bannister of Legal Services of Central Florida in Daytona FL attorneys for Sheila Fuith, which was emailed to me and I have cut and pasted verbatim:

"Karl: I’m going to type out Kim Banister’s response to our request for telephonic contact today:

It is unfortunate that Mr. Hindle has waited until the last minute to ask to speak to Emily for her birthday today. Ms. Fuith had already made plans for this evenings birthday celebration and will not be back at the house until late. Please provide us with alternative dates and times as Ms. Fuith does not want to hinder Mr. Hindle from wishing Emily a happy birthday.

In the future, advanced notice would probably result in a more favorable outcome for Mr. Hindle for any holiday/birthday telephone visitation requests outside of the agreed upon schedule, as Ms. Fuith does make plans for these special days.

I look forward to hearing from you soon on this matter."

Max and I did call, but we just got the answer machine - I wonder if Emily will get her presents from us this time around or will they end up "missing" like the Christmas gifts and cards we sent ?

Simply shameful Kim Bannister, I think you're a good attorney and just doing your job, but I wonder if you act like this with your child ?

To date Emily has had 5 birthdays and 5 Christmas' - we have only had contact for one of each very special occassion while there is no communication with Sheila at all - just a dark horibble nothing for no reason except to be cruel, vicious, vindictive no matter that it hurts an innocent child.

I came across a quote yesterday it goes something like this:

"Love leaves it's mark, Hate leaves it's mark but we choose ourselves which mark we decide to leave."

I love you Emily Rose and I always will.

Happy Birthday from all of us.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Emily !

Happy Birthday Emily Rose

Last night Max and I spoke with Emily - she was excited with her news "Dad, do you know what day it is tomorrow? It's my BIRTHDAY !"

Emily is 5 years old today - another birthday that we will not be allowed to share with her nor her with us - but we love you darling, all of us, we love you very, very much.

Hopefully today, we will be able to speak to her on her birthday but I have to wait on the lawyers seeing if Sheila (Emily's mother) will agree.

International Child Abduction legitimised by Nebraska Bill and violates The Hague Convention

US Nebraska Law Sanctions International Child Abduction

A new law passed in Nebraska authorises the seizure of jurisdiction to that state from a non-US country (in this case Canada) and was promulgated and signed into law in order to block court ordered visitation to a Canadian father.

The US mother of the child has alleged physical abuse and sexual molestation of the child by the father during visitation, however there have been no criminal filings and to date, no evidence except the mothers say so as far as I can see.

State Senator DiAnna Schimek of Lincoln, Nebraska sponsored Bill 341 and it was signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman a week or so ago after passing the State Legislator 48-0.

The Canadian courts hold jurisdiction and continue to order visitation but Nebraska by this law has seized jurisdiction and is holding hearings on the allegations while blocking visitation.

International treaties such as The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and virtually every state in the US (including Nebraska) have laws that state a court where the child was living when custody proceedings are filed retains jurisdiction and only in "extraordinary" circumstances can measures be taken by courts outside that country.

This appears to be yet another violation of The Hague Convention on The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by the US, who seem to take a buffet approach to the treaty and enforce only those aspects of it that they wish to but ignore their obligations in others - typically when it benefits an abducting US parent in the United States.

In this instance a Nebraskan judge has blocked the father from visitation pending a hearing on an emergency basis and now the US will assume jurisdiction over the child after the abuse hearings are complete in complete violation of the international treaties and the US UCCJEA.

Whatever the merit of the allegations against the father, it is only in exceptional circumstances that jurisdiction of the original court can be usurped by a foreign court - in this instance there is nothing extraordinary, indeed the Nebraskan court is acting on an "emergency" basis. This is unjust US State sanctioned abduction and abrogation of an international treaty that appears to have been railroaded through the Nebraskan Senate.

I find this very disturbing, perhaps it is time for a revamp of the Hague Convention so it says it applies only when the US says so and not to their own - I wonder if the federal system will intervene in this particular matter, that will be very interesting as will the reaction of the Canadians.

When will the US learn that this type of behaviour makes it much more difficult for the hundreds of US parents coming to foreign countries asking for children to be returned - after all an American judge does not hear these cases but a foreign one.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.