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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Man Made Nations - The Dominion of Melchizedek

The Dominion of Melchizedek (DoM) is a micronation known largely for facilitating large scale banking fraud in many parts of the world.

Origin and Status

The DoM was created in 1986 by Evan David Pedley and his son, Mark Logan Pedley. The latter also uses a number of pseudonyms, including "Tzemach Ben David Netzer Korem" and "Branch Vinedresser" (which is a rough English translation of the Hebrew). The Pedleys have published a translation of the Bible known as the Melchizedek Bible (see below). During the 1980s the Pedleys were convicted and imprisoned for multiple various land and share-related frauds.

The current President of the Dominion of Melchizedek is Richard James McDonald, a lawyer and former law enforcement officer from California. Before becoming President of Dominion of Melchizdek, McDonald served as Governor of the Dominion of Melchizedek Bar Association and an Ambassador at Large. McDonald believes people can claim "state citizenship" thereby giving them rights which differ from those of a US citizen.

Supporters of DoM assert that it is an "ecclesiastical sovereignty," similar to Vatican City. While its flag incorporates Christian, Jewish and Islamic symbols, DoM has no established church or formally constituted religion, and most external observers reject the assertion of ecclesiastical sovereignty.

DoM also claims Jerusalem as its "homeland." The claim is based on the Biblical legend of Melchizedek, who is said to have been priest-king of Salem. However, as no person associated with DoM is known to reside in Jerusalem, and as the DoM apparently has no recognized means of enforcing its claim, this claim is also generally rejected.

During the 1990s DoM began to claim sovereignty over a number of Pacific islands, all of which were already the possessions of recognized states. DoM's claims include Taongi Atoll (an uninhabited possession of the Marshall Islands); Malpelo Island (a possession of Colombia, inhabited by a military garrison); Karitane Shoal (a reef submerged under 9 metres of water); Solkope Island (part of Fiji); and Clipperton Island (a possession of France). DoM also claims a large section of Antarctica. None of these claims is recognized by any established government.

The Dominion of Melchizedek website claims that it is a recognized sovereign entity. However, mainstream media outlets, including Forbes magazine and The Washington Post, have characterized it as a "ruse," and it has been described as "non-existent" by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.


An article in the Washington Post reported that DoM was "diplomatically recognized" by the Central African Republic, in 1993, but stated, " get the feeling that the Central African Republic would recognize the State of Denial if it had a letterhead." An article in the Quatloos online anti-fraud site noted that "Melchizedek has apparently obtained some sort of recognition from some smaller states ... all of which are notable for their corruption. Claims that the DoM has received recognition from any major government are purely lies."

As far as is known, DoM does not maintain a diplomatic mission or any other form of representation in the Central African Republic, nor is there evidence confirming the existence of a formal bilateral relationship of any substance. DoM's web site claims that it has since been "recognised" by several other African nations, including Burkina Faso.

Marshall Islands statement

In response to one of DoM's territorial claims, the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands issued the following statement:

The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands condemns the claims and activities asserted by (alleged) representatives of the "Kingdom of EnenKio" and the "Dominion of Melchizedek". The representatives making claims of separate sovereignty are not citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and have no right to make claims on behalf of Marshallese landowners. Furthermore, these representatives are making fraudulent assertions that violate the Republic of the Marshall Islands's constitution. The area of land and ocean which the "Kingdom of EnenKio" asserts as a sovereign nation separate from the Marshall Islands and (some of) the area of land and ocean which the "Dominion of Melchizedek" is asserting control over are areas within the geographical and political boundaries of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The Marshall Islands has issued a diplomatic note to other nations, urging nations friendly to it not to recognize claims of DoM in the Marshall Islands. The recognized Iroijlaplap (chief) of Taongi was later quoted on an Australian television current affairs programme as saying he had granted DoM a 50-year "sovereign lease" over Taongi Atoll. However, as sovereignty over the atoll (as opposed to land title) belongs to the Marshall Islands and not to private citizens, the Iroijlaplap's action is generally considered to be a nullity.

Frauds linked to the Dominion of Melchizedek

Over 300 investors in various parts of the world have lost money in purported investment, passport and employment scams run by several "banks" licensed by Melchizedek, including one operated by a supposed "diplomatic representative".

Apologists have suggested that there is no link between Melchizedek and the illegal activities conducted by "banks" it has "licensed", however this is untrue; in an address to the 4th International Financial Fraud Convention in London, 27 May 1999, John Shockey, a former special assistant in the office of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, stated:

"Melchizedek first came to my attention in June 1990, a few months after Mark Pedley was paroled from a 1986 conviction. Inquiries were received concerning bank names: Banco de Asia, Guardian Savings & Guaranty and Express Bank among others. Investigations that these entities had bank charters from the DOM and obtained through an entity named Consortium Finance Corporation headquartered in Lake Tahoe, California. Further investigation disclosed a principal alternately named John Hayden and Branch Vinedresser. Shortly thereafter the FBI took Branch Vinedresser into custody and revealed that he was Mark Pedley, who then was charged with violations of his parole."

In the same address Stockey also stated that: "The Dominion of Melchizedek is a fraud, a major fraud, and not a legitimate sovereign entity. Persons associated with the Dominion of Melchizedek have been indicted and convicted of a variety of crimes."

At one stage in the early 2000s, DoM maintained a post office box address in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Coincidentally, one of the individuals identified by Philippine authorities in November 1998 as the ringleader of a series of frauds perpetrated in the name of DoM was John Gillespie, a former Australian felon who was convicted on the basis of his involvement in the Fine Cotton horse substitution racket during the 1980s. According to a media report originally published in The Nation (Bangkok) on 30 May 1999, "hundreds of Filipinos, Chinese and Bangladeshis paid up to US$3,500 to Gillespie's gang for worthless Melchizedek travel documents," and some had also paid significant amounts of money to obtain "government jobs" on one of the uninhabited Pacific islands claimed by DoM. The total amount defrauded was estimated at one million dollars. While the other gang members were arrested, Gillespie himself eluded capture.

Another fraud involving DoM is tied to Jeffery Thayer, who was the Governor of the Bar Association from 1997 to to 1999 and the current General Counsel and Humanitarian Projects Coordinator. Thayer practices law under a license granted by DoM, although he was disbarred in California. He authored the book, The Corporation Sole, It's History, Significance and Creation, which goes into the history of corporate soles. Thayer also teaches seminars on how to organize and operate a church or ministry as a tax-exempt non-profit religious corporation. As a result of his fraudlent activities, Thayer served time in a US Federal Prison.

Lawsuit against CBS

In April of 2000, CBS's 60 Minutes II, aired a report critical of Dominon of Melchizedek. Prior to the program being aired, Mark Pedley claims he had a conversation with 60 Minutes II producer Janet Klein, in which Klein promised Pedley fair coverage of DoM. In the opening of the program, CBS made a claim that Pedley was a prophet. During the interview, Bob Simon asked Pedley if he was a prophet. Pedley replied, “I try to avoid making any predictions about the future”.

After airing the program, DoM demanded a retraction of statements made during the program. As a result of the bad press, DoM filed a lawsuit (in their own judicial system) on May 9th, 2000 seeking damages for libel against CBS in the amount of $1 billion. The lawsuit named Klein, Simon, and CBS as the defendants. On July 25, 2000, DoM entered a default judgement against CBS, claiming that the company failed to respond to the lawsuit. Because of the lack of jurisdiction of the lawsuit, CBS has refused to acknowledge the judgement.

David Evan Pedley

David Evan Pedley (born April 8, 1929 in Daly City, California) is one of the founders of the Dominion of Melchizedek. He wrote the Melchizedek Bible's preface, translated Genesis, Exodus, Matthew and parts of Revelation as his "gift" to the Dominion of Melchizedek according its "Introduction" which was first published in 1986. He also wrote the Glossary, which is called the "Key of David."

Pedley graduated from the University of California. He attended classes of Dr. Josiah Merriman, a doctor turned Christian Science Practitioner. Dr. Merriman emphasized the importance of resurrecting the Dominion of Melchizedek from antiquity.

After being convicted of several financial crimes in the 1970's, including stock fraud, Pedley was incarcerated. Pedley claims the charges were false and the result of a "witch-hunt" against him. While incarcerated, he started a cattle business, which Ben David operated for him in Los Angeles, California.

Released in 1975, Pedley partnered with his son Ben David in a real estate enterprise in Northern California. Pedley came under repeated grand jury investigations that resulted in further indictments against him. In 1982, he and his son Ben David fled to Mexico to avoid arrest. Ben David was arrested in January 1983 by Mexican immigration for not renewing his visa. After being deported to the U.S. Ben David was held pending trial. David Pedley surrendered to Mexican authorities. While incarcerated in Mexico, Pedley apparently began work on the Melchizedek Bible which was written over a period of 5 years by hand and on a computer (which he received from his son Ben David).

While in Mexican custody Pedley apparently died, though the circumstances are not clear. A closed casket funeral was held in Altadena, California in 1987. At the funeral, FBI agents approached the Pedley family and requested to fingerprint David Pedley’s body. This request was denied by the family and allegedly some government regulators believe that David Pedley is still alive.

Mark Logan Pedley

Mark Logan Pedley (born July 19, 1953 in Los Angeles, California) (also known as "Tzemach Ben David Netzer Korem" and "Branch Vinedresser") is the son of David Evan Pedley. He serves as the Head of the House of Elders, Vice President of the Executive Branch, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of DOM. Pedley is the author of the Melchizedek Bible.

In 1983, Pedley was convicted of mail fraud and interstate fraud. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison for that conviction, and later to eight years for a racketeering conviction in 1986. Pedley was released on parole from Walla Walla Federal Prison in 1990. Upon his release, he started DoM’s website offering numerous services including passports, banking facilities, university degrees and lawyers’ certificates. DoM also allows for incorporations and trust formations as tax havens.

He had his parole revoked by his parole officer in late 1991 due to a violation of his conditions. Pedley was released from his parole in July 1994.

In 1976, Pedley married Janith Marie Wardy. The couple had two daughters, Rachael Grace and Yvonne Marie. In 1994, Pedley married Pearlasia, a Pilipino woman who shared a common interest of furthering the cause of DoM.


Additional Reading - The Ancient Mysteries of Melchizedek

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