Birther’s End-Times Prophecy Book a Bestseller

WND reports on an End-Times prophecy book from Carl Gallups:

“Final Warning” is just shy of being one of the top 100 books sold on Amazon.com on any subject. And Gallups’ tour de force on prophecy and biblical analysis is now the No. 1 Bible Study and Reference book for the New Testament as well as the No. 1 bestseller on eschatology.

Gallups is also receiving an enthusiastic reception on Christian media. “The Jim Bakker Show” will feature Gallups all week. The nationally known host called “Final Warning” an “epic book” and “one of the greatest books in our day.”

During an interview with Gallups, Bakker said of “Final Warning”: “If you will get this book you’re going to be better prepared for what’s coming! You need to read this book, it’s going to put a lot of what’s going on in perspective.”

Bakker has a sideline selling overpriced survival food products and other paraphernalia, and so any book that plays on fears about the future is going to be welcome to him. But if WND‘s boasts about Gallups’ sales reflect reality, it’s a remarkable achievement for someone whose approach to  the Bible is eccentric in the extreme.

The same article has an example:

 The author of the blockbuster “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation” believes there is a strong case that Saddam Hussein was a figure prophesied in the book of Revelation.

Gallups points to Revelation 9:11, which reads: “They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.” Gallups notes, “The words Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek) translate to ‘destroyer.'”

Gallups says the figure in question does not need to be a supernatural being but simply “the messenger of destruction.”

“The person in question would appear to be known as one who is bent on destruction – perhaps even known by the very title of ‘The Destroyer.'”

…As Gallups notes, “Saddam” was not a name given to the Iraqi leader, but an epithet he adopted before he grabbed power. The word is derived from the Persian word meaning “crush.”

According to Gallups, ‘”Saddam Hussein’ is best translated as Hussein-Who-Crushes-Obstacles or Hussein-the-Destroyer.

This is a bold attempt to wring some extra mileage out of the late Iraqi dictator; some of us remember Charles Dyer’s The Rise of Babylon: Sign of the End Times, which placed Saddam within an “End-Times” scenario to coincide with the First Gulf War in 1991 – that book got an update in 2003 (in time for the second round), but now languishes out of print.

Gallups explains:

“The fifth trumpet, perhaps, paved the way for the sixth. With today’s news, we see the deep and profound relationship between these seemingly disparate periods of history, as the Destroyer who unleashed the first Gulf War has his tomb damaged by the very destruction he helped to unleash in the form of ISIS.”

The sixth trumpet prophesied in Revelation is a great war to take place in the area of the Euphrates River – the very region where ISIS is most active and arguably the geopolitical center of the contemporary world. Gallups says there is a great deal of evidence to suggest the sixth trumpet of Revelation may be near at hand.

This – as ever – is of course a farrago of nonsense. First, the Book of Revelation is steeped in symbolism and allusive images which make the text obscure to the casual reader but also highly malleable for self-proclaimed “prophecy experts”. “Abaddon” is a personification of destruction, just as the “Whore of Babylon” is a personification of spiritual evil and the “Four Horsemen” personify destructive forces. Nowhere is “Abaddon” a “messenger”, and there are no details that parallel anything in Saddam Hussein’s life.

Second, Saddam’s name (actually given to him in childhood by the uncle who raised him) means “he who confronts” or similar. If he was supposed to be “Abaddon”, why not just use that name? The root abatu also appears in Arabic as abada, meaning “to exterminate (Someone)” (1).

Gallups first came to wide attention 2009, when he posted a YouTube video in which he claimed that the Bible names Barack Obama as the anti-Christ (although he’s since hinted that he was being satirical). After that, he formed a close association with WND, and he went on to publish a book through WND called The Rabbi Who Found Messiah: The Story of Yitzhak Kaduri and His Prophecies of the Endtime. This book claims that an elderly Kabbalist who died in Israel in 2006 had secretly accepted Jesus, and that this fact has special End-Times significance. Apparently the book has an Israeli enthusiast named  Zev Porat, who has used it to evangelise ultra-Orthodox Jews and also Muslims; earlier this monthWND reported that Porat had taken the book into a mosque in Akko.

When not pontificating on the End Times, Gallups is also an enthusiast of Birtherism, in particular working with Mike Zullo, an associate of Sheriff Arpaio.

Note

(1) Meïr Max Bravmann, The Spiritual Background of Early Islam: Studies in Ancient Arab Concepts, page 332.

Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic: Hampstead Churchgoers Face Mob

Church Protest Hampstead

From the Daily Mail:

…At morning service at the church attached to Christ Church primary school yesterday [Sunday], parishioners were confronted by a group of between 20 and 30 of [Ella] Draper’s supporters, who hurled abuse at them and held up their mobile phones to film them as they arrived.

‘Paedophiles,’ screamed one of the protesters. The group — or ‘mob’, some might say — were eventually moved on by the police.

Some of those who attended the church service were left visibly upset by what happened. Remember, this was a Sunday morning in genteel Hampstead.

Draper, as has been widely reported, coached and coerced her two young children into making lurid videos in which they made extravagant claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse against their father and individuals associated with the school, church, and locality. The children alleged not just child sex, but also the ritual murder of babies, brought in from other parts of the world. They further claimed that babies are cooked and eaten at a nearby fast-food outlet, and that a shoe-repair shop makes baby-skin shoes for cult members.

I noted the case a couple of days ago, and how these bizarre fantasies had been spread online in particular by two associates of the mother: Sabine K McNeil, who has form when it comes to blundering into custody cases, and Belinda McKenzie, who is David Shayler’s former landlord and heavily involved with conspiracy mongering and Truther activism in the UK.

Videos have now been posted to YouTube that show the mob outside the church, and it’s an extraordinary sight. They include the most vocal protestor, an American named Christine Ann Sands, screaming the children’s first names, so in deference to a court order that forbids re-publishing this detail there is no link on this site.

At the start of the first video, Sands is shown “binding the demons” at the church, and she also calls on Jesus. However, I doubt that this reflects any specific religious affiliation – she goes on to accuse the churchgoers of “fucking children”, which most Charismatic/neo-Pentecostal Christians would regard as unacceptably coarse. She also references the “murder of Princess Diana”, and like McKenzie she’s known primarily as a conspiracy theory activist. Sputnik News has a profile from 2013:

Christine Ann Sands one of the chief organizers and one of the few public faces of Anonymous spoke to the Voice of Russia, in an exclusive interview, about the Million Mask March, Hacktivism, WikiLeaks and the truth movement. According to Ms. Sands the American people have been hijacked by evil forces that were behind the 9-11 attacks and that continue to control the US government, the media and political parties… Ms. Sands says the people know something is wrong and this is where those fighting for truth such as Anonymous, Occupy and WikiLeaks come in. Massive marches and demonstrations are planned for November 5, 2013, in defense of the truth.

Sands has also – perhaps inevitably – appeared on RT (Russia Today), explaining her involvement with the Million Mask March. Her association with Anonymous appears to be contested, though, with some sites disavowing her.

However, the crowd around Sands at the church did not look like Anonymous or Occupy types: rather, the chance to abuse innocent churchgoers by accusing them of the foullest of crimes seems to have appealed to a number of affluent-looking, middle-class and middle-aged women. This is far cry from the “Paulsgrove woman” council estate anti-paedophile hysteria that we saw in Portsmouth in 2000.

And as with the Satanic Ritual Abuse panics of the 1980s and 1990s, there appears to be a religious element: one of the other protestors, a Scottish man, raised his arm, closed his eyes, and led a prayer delivered in a way that would be instantly familiar to anyone who has attended an evangelical Christian service. His words:

… Lord Jesus, just open up this time of prayer among these good people who have gathered in protest against what is happening with these children, associated to this church and the local primary school… Lord, we call on good police officers, who know what’s going on. We call on the police officers who have been told by their senior officers to stop this investigation. Lord, just empower these people. People worried, they need their jobs, need to pay their mortgage. Lord, just open their eyes… Lord, just expose this sinister circumstance, Lord.

Applause and cries of “yes” from the crowd.

UPDATE: Also present among the protestors was a certain Neelu Berry, who previously took part in protests organized by Belinda McKenzie outside the High Court. Berry spends her time attempting to arrest judges, and she has also issued an indictment against “Mrs. ELizabeth M.A. Battenberg/MountbattenWindsor”.

UPDATE 2: The posters on a forum here and here have further details on Berry and some of the other protestors, who apparently subscribe to “Sovereign Citizen” beliefs. I always thought of this as an exclusively American movement, which I wrote about here; apparently, it has broader appeal. One poster notes that a video statement by the children’s mother, in which she repeats her allegations, also includes nonsensical content relating to “commercial liens” and such; this pseudo-legalese rhetoric is identical to examples of Berry’s writings.

Some Notes on Afzal Amin and Tommy Robinson

From the website of Afzal Amin, the Conservative Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate (at least for the next few hours) for Dudley North:

Today’s [i.e. Sunday’s] allegations are part of a much wider story which has been grossly misrepresented and present an inaccurate picture of the reality of what was happening. The Mail on Sunday has provided small snippets of over 27 hours of sensitive meetings between Tommy Robinson and I which have led to a manipulation of events.

While the meetings were intended to be private and discreet, I made sure I involved Chief Superintendent Chris Johnson from the start and I made clear, which is evident in the recordings, that I refused to do anything illegal.

…At the second meeting it was Robinson who proposed the idea of staging a march at our third meeting [sic], this was a surprise to me and after some discussion I saw some merit in the potential to build bridges through negotiation and so I agreed it was worth discussing further. I recognised this as an opportunity to promote better community cohesion between various communities, particularly in Dudley because it would lead to face to face discussions between communities and an increase in awareness of the other. It would serve as a confidence building measure.

Had Amin ended with “However, I now realize that I made a mistake, and so I now intend to stand down to avoid being a distraction ahead of the election”, we might not have believed him, but he would perhaps have created enough wriggle room to be able to depart from public life with a scrap of dignity. At least, interest would have died down.

Instead, though, he appears to believe that he can ride out the storm and continue as the candidate despite evidence out of his own mouth that he proposed a scenario which would have seen him taking credit for defusing a situation that he had colluded in generating behind the scenes. In an interview with the BBC, Amin himself used the word “stage management”, which is more of an admission than he appears to understand.

And that’s before we get onto other aspects of the fiasco: Robinson recorded Amin agreeing with a proposal that Robinson would pay EDL activists to canvas on his behalf and “we’ll sort something out between me and you”, thus getting around election law; Amin also promised that the scheme would

bring the English Defence League out of the shadows into the mainstream political debate.

…And if I win my election in Parliament, you’ve got a very strong, unshakeable ally who is going to work hard to get you involved in all the institutions of the State and get you the exposure you need and the people in Parliament need to us… Like I said from the very beginning, 95 per cent of what you want to campaign against, we’re with you.

Amin claims he was referring here to white working-class voters, rather than the EDL, but that defies the plain reading. There’s also an unfortunate moment where Amin jokes that he’s “not a Paki”.

It is the case, though, that although Amin’s meetings were “private and discreet”, they were not secret: Amin met Robinson and the current head of the EDL, Steve Eddowes, in public locations, and Amin was observed at one restaurant EDL figures (presumably those two) in February. One recorded meeting, according to the Mail on Sunday, took place on Monday 16 March, with a recorded phone-call following. According to Eddowes:

‘I was really disappointed in the man. I’d met him earlier this year and was really impressed. To me he ticked every box with his British Army background and seemed like a man of real integrity but when I left that meeting on Monday I felt like I wanted nothing more to do with him.’

The Mail has pixallated Eddowes’ face in a photo of him talking to Amin, although Eddowes has appeared in the media previously.

The affair also raises a question about Robinson’s continuing role within the EDL: Amin asserts that Robinson “remains the leader”, despite his slickly choreographed “exit” from the group in October 2013 with the help of Quilliam. I thought this rang true; however, speaking to LBC this morning, Robinson explicitly denies this is the case. Instead, he explains, he was asked by Amin to facilitate meetings with the EDL leadership, which he agreed to do “for the greater good”. Robinson has acknowledged that he may now be “recalled to prison”; his early release conditions following a conviction for mortgage fraud apparently included non-involvement with the EDL.

Robinson’s LBC interview also includes further extraordinary allegations, which he says can be supported by taped evidence. In particular, he says that on 9 March Amin introduced him to his “money man”, who Amin said is worth “£60 million”. According to Robinson, this Birmingham-based individual is a Labour voter with 25 businesses, including poultry and hotels. One of these hotels, according to Robinson, had been raided by police looking into child grooming allegations, and the man mentioned having links with individuals in Luton whom Robinson described as “gangsters”.

For some reason, the money man’s brother supposedly confided to Robinson that Amin, as Member of Parliament, would be in a position to intervene with the Chief Constable in cases of further police interest. Robinson described the plan as “infiltration” and a “Trojan Horse”. He also claims that the “money man” and Amin both shook hands with David Cameron  – at Cameron’s initiative – at a Conservative Party meeting.

There have also been a couple of spin-off stories. Firstly, Channel 4 has a new claim from another source:

Channel 4 News has also spoken to a Muslim campaign group called MPAC who are claiming Mr Amin asked them to “attack” him for “being in the army” as it would help his “political career” and make him “look like a moderate”. The group say they found it shocking he was seemingly willing to manufacture a story. 

But if the group was so “shocked”, why did they not speak out before now? And why would Amin think for a moment that MPAC would want to help?

Secondly, Robinson has said that he first met Amin in 2013 via Quilliam. This is uncontroversial and unsurprising – Amin and Quilliam’s Maajid Nawaz share a similar perspective on a number of issues (although Nawaz is Liberal Democrat), and they know each other. However, a somewhat unpleasant website called Mushy Peas has attempted to generate a bogus sense of intrigue by screenshoting a Tweet by Nawaz from early 2014 in which Nawaz mentions having dinner with Amin in a Lebanese restaurant. The author, a certain “Monkey Magic”, claims that the Tweet has now been deleted, and that Maajid must therefore be “ashamed” of something. The trouble, though, is that the Tweet has not in fact been deleted – the accusation is a complete fabrication.

Noises from the Conservative Party suggest that Amin will be removed as candidate within the next few days. However, he retains one supporter: former Conservative MP Louise Mensch. Referring to Amin’s reference to Chief Superintendent Chris Johnson, in her judgement:

If statement is correct in regards to police approval, possible huge libel could have happened here.

This appears to be something of a minority view.

UPDATE: Amin has since resigned from the Conservative Party. He has also published another account of his version of events, at the Huffington Post:

As for the issue at hand, Robinson, of course, won’t release the recording where he first proposed the idea of holding and later cancelling a march as a way of creating a catalyst for engagement. He was more than happy to release a recording of me clarifying the sequence of events to the EDL chairman, Steve Eddowes, to make it seem I was proposing the idea to Robinson himself. This was the fifth meeting with Robinson and the third in which Eddowes was involved. My words spoken here were summaries of our previous discussions as part of the overall community building exercise, 90% of which appears nowhere in their secret recordings. Such selectivity is what has built this grossly inaccurate picture.

Once again, Amin seems to be in denial about what what the footage shows. Whether Amin is indeed “clarifying the sequence of events to the EDL chairman” or, as the recorded context appears to suggest, coming up with the idea himself, the fact remains that his “community building exercise” would have been a charade in which the public would have been misled about the likelihood of a march taking place and Amin’s role in defusing the situation.

Amin also dismisses Robinson’s “money man” story as “ludicrous”, and he claims that Robinson attempted (and failed) to get money from him by raising the subject of his mother’s illness and the welfare of his children. There’s also this very unlikely detail:

…Nor will he admit his crisis of faith when he came out of prison last year, and how his inner turmoil almost led him to accept another faith. I questioned what he told me of his abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and his strange inclination towards trying halal meat.

Why this odd phrasing “another faith”, when it’s obvious that Amin intends to convey the suggestion that Robinson was pondering accepting Islam?

Satanic Ritual Abuse Hoax In North London: 9/11 Truther Spread Claims

False accusations included claim that “all the cult members wore shoes made of baby skin produced by the owner of a specified shoe repair shop”

From the Daily Telegraph:

An “evil” mother tortured her two young children into falsely claiming that their father was the leader of a Satanic rape cult who drank babies’ blood.

Ella Draper brainwashed her children into lying to police that their father led a secret sex ring at a primary school in Hampstead, London.

When posted on the internet, the lurid claims sparked a huge global web campaign to unmask the alleged abusers.

But an investigation found the allegations had in fact been dreamed up by Draper and her partner, Abraham Christie, to ensure her former partner would be refused custody of the children.

…At a family court hearing yesterday to determine the facts of the case, Mrs Justice Pauffley said the boy and girl had been “tortured” into making false claims, saying their “minds were scrambled”.

The court’s judgment, by Mrs Justice Pauffley, has been made public and can be seen here (H/T @barristerblog). The children were coerced and coached into making claims – since retracted – that were sexually explicit, lurid, and conspiratorial:

Sickening ceremonies led by the father were said to have been performed in the upstairs room of a McDonalds restaurant, as well as on school grounds. It was alleged that more than 100 people were “doing sex” to the children, including the school’s headteacher, another teacher, a priest at the neighbouring church and others.

Details of the supposed child sacrifices were simultaneously grotesque and ludicrous:

Specifically, it was said that babies were supplied from all over the world. They were bought, injected with drugs and then sent by TNT or DHL to London. The assertions were that babies had been abused, tortured and then sacrificed. Their throats were slit, blood was drunk and cult members would then dance wearing babies’ skulls (sometimes with blood and hair still attached) on their bodies. All the cult members wore shoes made of baby skin produced by the owner of a specified shoe repair shop.

As a result of the dissemination of the false accusations, a number of innocent people have received threatening phone calls. Pauffley adds:

All the signs are that those responsible for posting material derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from attracting interest to their spiteful work from many thousands of people… The claims are baseless. Those who have sought to perpetuate them are evil and / or foolish.

And who are “those responsible”? Back in the 1980s, this kind of thing was promoted by evangelical Christian activists and their media sub-culture (in the UK, this included a sensationalist Christian paperback, entitled Dance with the Devil, which was endorsed by Geoffrey Dickens MP). This time, however, it’s a different crowd: conspiracy theorists and 9/11 Truthers. The judgment mentions “Sabine McNeill, one of [the mother’s] supporters” and Belinda McKenzie, who sought to act as a McKenzie friend for the mother and who led protests outside the court.

McKenzie is David Shayler’s former landlady (1), and according to researcher Paul Stott she is also “the primary funder of the UK and Ireland 9/11 Truth Movement”. She was also formerly involved with support for the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI, aka MEK – blogged here), and she has also been active promoting the “Hollie Greig” sex-abuse conspiracy theory.

McNeill, meanwhile, is an activist against family courts (2). The two of them have an organisation called the Knight Foundation, and YouTube videos promoting the Satanic Ritual Abuse accusations have been posted in its name. However, McNeill has apparently now left the UK for Germany in fear of legal consequences over the case. On Twitter and her own website she remains unrepentant, arguing that the fact the children are still in care proves the truth of the stories they retracted.

The mother is also “believed to have fled abroad”. She is originally from Russia, and if she’s gone back there it’s possible that she’ll receive a sympathetic hearing: there is a group in Moscow called Russian Mothers, which specialises in promoting horror stories about Russian heritage children being raised abroad. I wrote about it here.

UPDATE (25 March): Believers are now abusing churchgoers in Hampstead; see here.

Notes

(1) Shayler has himself promoted claims of Satanic abuse, as I noted in 2008.

(2) (H/T Ministry of Truth for this) In 2011, McNeill became embroiled in the the story of Vicky Haigh, a woman who had coached her 7-year-old daughter to make false allegations of sex abuse against her (the child’s) father as part of a custody dispute. An associate named Elizabeth Watson ended up being jailed for contempt of court for, in the judge’s words “put[ting] into the public domain via email and the internet a series of unwarranted and scandalous allegations about the father and others.” However, Watson maintained that she had merely “investigated” the matter, and that the publication of her claims had been made without her permission by McNeill.

Prior to this, Haigh had spoken about her custody dispute at a public meeting in Parliament chaired by Lib Dem MP John Hemming, in defiance of a court order banning publicity. The Independent has details of what happened next:

After the meeting, Ms Haigh received a court summons that appeared to threaten her with prison. Mr Hemming raised the case on the floor of the House of Commons, as a potential breach of parliamentary privilege and a threat to free speech. Mr Hemming also named Ms Haigh, which he was able to do because he was an MP speaking in the Commons.

Following the revelations about Haigh’s character, Hemming came under heavy criticism from Labour MP John Mann:

This judgment prompted Mr Mann, who was Vicky Haigh’s local MP at the time, to denounce Mr Hemming for drawing attention to the case. “A gung-ho attitude to the breaching of court injunctions on the floor of the House is foolhardy and irresponsible,” he said.

Carl Gardner, writing at Head of Legal, added that Hemming had had contact with Watson – and with McNeill:

here he is speaking about “secret prisoners” at a meeting in Parliament in January chaired by Sabine K. O’Neill, another Haigh supporter (sitting immediately to Hemming’s right).

In the past Ms. O’Neill published on one of her websites the “chronology” written about Vicky Haigh’s case by Watson. She’s also commented recently on John Hemming’s blog, where she’s posted the URL of that website and of her newer, dedicated Vicky Haigh campaign website, where only today she has again republished Elizabeth Watson’s “chronology”. I hope John Hemming at least redacts those comments soon.

Unity at Ministry of Truth has more about Haigh, Watson and Hemmings here and here.

WND Accuses John Hagee of Ripping Off End Times Theory

Blood Moons

From WND:

The blood moons tetrad is a mysterious astronomical occurrence discovered by a Seattle-area pastor who postulated beginning in 2008 that it might portend spiritually significant developments for Israel and the rest of the world because of its appearance on the biblical “feast”days of Passover and Tabernacles.

But, in a new movie called “Four Blood Moons,” San Antonio mega-pastor John Hagee, author of a New York Times bestselling book about the “blood moons phenomenon,” claims he is the discoverer.

…The discovery, however, was made by pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries of Bonney Lake, Washington, seven years ago

“Mark Biltz has given Hagee the benefit of the doubt for too long” said Joseph Farah, chief executive officer of WND.com and WND Books, giving his opinions. “He overlooked a grave slight by Hagee in the way he handled his book – not crediting Biltz as the man who discovered the blood moons phenomenon…. The truth is, Biltz had thoroughly researched and presented the blood moons, and Hagee brought nothing new to the subject – treating it, comparatively, in the most superficial way in his own book… This is one of the definitions of plagiarism – misrepresenting the work of someone else as your own.”

I wrote about Hagee’s book Four Bloood Moons in October 2013; I noted that Hagee had jumped on Blitz’s bandwagon and asked why Hagee hadn’t realised the supposed significance of the “blood moons” himself in any of his previous “end times” potboilers, given his supposed expertise. Details of the new film of the same name can be seen here; according to the blurb:

FOUR BLOOD MOONS combines scripture, science, history and big-screen live action spanning centuries, including previous similar lunar occurrences and the earth-shaking changes around them. It also examines our current four blood moon cycle—and its possible meaning for Israel, the Middle East and the world.

An array of historians, religious scholars and commentators appear in FOUR BLOOD MOONS and offer their insight—filmmaker, speaker and author Dinesh D’Souza; radio host and author Dennis Prager; and noted author and historian David Barton to name just a few.

The trailer portrays Columbus in 1492, alongside sentimental reconstructions of the foundation of modern Israel and the Six-Day War; apparently there was a “blood moon” in 1493, which was significant because “Spain’s rulers had expelled all Jews and Columbus had discovered America, an eventual haven for the Jewish people”. In reality, of course, Jews expelled from Spain settled in other parts of Europe and North Africa, but Hagee wants to link the USA and Israel has having some sort of divinely ordained history. The trailer also has shots of scientists in protective clothing, doubtless to play on fears over Ebola: in October, Hagee warned that the disease was God’s judgment on America for Obama’s Israel policies.

At the time when the book appeared, WND was happy to promote it as a way to raise interest in Blitz’s theory, which Blitz was expounding in interviews and sermons. WND then published a book by Blitz in 2014, entitled Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, for which Farah provided a Foreword.

WND continues:

…Asked if he got any inspiration from Biltz, who had chronicled in detail his findings on the blood moons four years before sharing them with Hagee in 2012, he responded: “If you read my book, it opens when I’m in Washington on a speaking tour for the night to honor Israel. Pastor Biltz is the sponsoring pastor… And he asked me, ‘Have you ever considered the stars as having a spiritual significance?’ And I said, ‘Well, other than what’s written in the word of God, no.’ He said, ‘Well, I think that God is using the stars as recorded in the book of Genesis to communicate with us.’… We then went home and I got on my computer and started looking up blood moons. And I really didn’t find anything until I plugged in the issue of 1948 and blood moons. And there popped up the NASA statement about the blood moons appearing in the history of Israel.”

In a rare acknowledgement of the need for accuracy, WND points out that “there were no blood moons in 1948… The blood moons tetrad confirmed by NASA’s website took place in 1949.” I’ll add that while NASA’s website has statistical data on lunar eclipses, I’m willing to take a bet that there has never been any statement relating to “the history of Israel”.

This year’s lunar eclipses appear to have sparked widespread apocalyptic fervour, despite the fact that their supposed important has to be loosely extrapolated from a Bible verse about supernatural disturbances:

I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

That’s from Joel chapter 3, and it is quoted by Peter in the Book of Acts as an explanation for the events of Pentecost. A tetrad of regular lunar eclipses on Jewish feast days is not discussed anywhere. It should also be noted that the eclipses will not be visible in Israel, although one enthusiast believes that the North Pole is has special spiritual significance; Charisma News reports:

“The concurrence and rarity of this natural event, together with the times in which we live, indicates the finger of God,” said Gidon Ariel, an Israeli Jew and co-founder of Root Source, an online platform where Christians can learn Jewish concepts, ideas and thought, and more deeply understand the roots of their faith.

A total solar eclipse at the North Pole on the first day of spring occurs once every 100,000 years. For it to occur on the first day of the first month of the biblical calendar year is, however, entirely unprecedented since this is only the year 5775 according to Jewish tradition, meaning that there has never been such a solar occurrence in human history.

Root Source founders Bob O’Dell, a devout Christian, and Gidon Ariel, an Orthodox Jew, are both calling all Christians and Jews to join them for two minutes of prayer as a response to the solar eclipse… “I will be praying Isaiah 11:9 for two minutes at the Western Wall in Jerusalem at 12:18 PM local time,” Ariel said.

WND is also promoting another numerological “End Times” theory as complementary; this is Jonathan Cahn’s teaching on the The Mystery of the Shemitah, which strongly infers that the US is headed for disaster in September 2015, as part of a supernatural seven-year cycle:

The first shaking is 9/11. Second shaking is the economic collapse. When does it happen? It happens in 2008… The greatest day happened at the end of September 2008. It was the greatest stock market crash in the history of America.

However, not all conservative Christians are on board, and a site called Berean Call has railed against “fearmongering false prophets”. This prompted a rebuke from Farah:

The criticisms also appear to be a breach of the biblical admonishment in Matthew 18:15-20, Farah said. That scripture says “if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” In other words, tell him in private, not in front of the whole congregation or, in this case, in front of the world on the Internet.

Unless, of course, your brother is competing against you with a rival End Times book on the same apocalyptic theory.

The South Carolina National Security Action Summit

From the Times and Democrat (South Carolina, emphases added):

Several potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates are expected in West Columbia this Saturday for the “S.C. National Security Action Summit.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, who have all been mentioned as potential 2016 presidential candidates, will be in attendance.

…Others to participate in the public forum include Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, former commanding general of U.S. Army Special Forces and Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy.

…The summit is hosted by the conservative news website Breitbart News, the Center for Security Policy and High Frontier.

High Frontier has the partial line-up here, and Breitbart has some streams from the event which show that Newt Gingrich also took part; due to transport problems, Jindal sent a video message. I’ve browsed a few of the talks, there were few surprises, with speakers complaining about the Obama administration’s approach to “Global Jihad” and the need for Muslim leaders to speak out. Boykin warned that Obama should not be granted his request for AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) against Islamic State, on the grounds that he doesn’t understand the situation, but he avoided the religious and rhetorical extravagances that have characterised some of his previous attacks on Obama and Islam.

The line-up was a mix of politicians, conservative activists (such Phyllis Schlafly and Anne Corcoran) and individuals with creditable claims to expertise in particular areas. The chair of High Frontier – which describes itself as “the nation’s leading non-government authorities on missile defense issues including missile defense, arms control, nuclear weapons, and strategic systems” – is Henry (Hank) F. Cooper, who has an impressive CV. Here’s an outline bio from the official website of the Missle Defense Agency of the US Department of Defense:

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
Director, Strategic Defense Initiative Organization
July 10, 1990 – January 20, 1993

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper is [sic] the Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C. He was appointed to this position by President Bush on July 10, 1990, and is the first civilian Director.

…In November 1983, Ambassador Cooper was appointed by President Reagan to serve as the Assistant Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. In that capacity he was responsible for backstopping all bilateral negotiations with the Soviet Union related to strategic and theater nuclear matters and chaired the Assistant Secretary-level interagency group responsible for developing U.S. Space Arms Control policy options.

Cooper’s son Scott Cooper was also included on the line-up, although his claim to expertise is somewhat more of a stretch:

Scott was in the travel industry on 9/11/01, thus experienced first-hand the impact radical Islam has had on our country.  From 2006 – 2010, Scott’s experience in the banking industry, he witnessed heavy middle-eastern influence into our banking system. These two experiences caused him to begin studying the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our republic.

Other speakers who might be called “high-level” included George H. Baker, who previously “led the Defense Nuclear Agency’s EMP program, directed the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s assessment arm, and served as a member of the Congressional EMP Commission Staff”; Peter Huessy, “former National Defense University Foundation senior defense consultant”; Peter Vincent Pry, “Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both Congressional Advisory Boards”, who “served on the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission” (1); and Admiral Ace Lyons, who was formerly “Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Senior U.S. Military Representative to the United Ntions and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations.”

However, expertise on Islam was rather more problematic – Gaffney is himself a demagogue who has indulged conspiracy theories about Obama being a secret Muslim, and he was joined by John Guandolo, who I wouldn’t regard as a creditable figure (for reasons discussed here). There was also an obscure retired police officer named David Bores, who “has been diligently educating American’s in multiple venues about the threat of Islamic Law to our Constitutional Republic.”

UPDATE

(1) Pry’s associations look more marginal when examined close up; a 2011 Atlantic article explains:

EMPact America, the group that hosted [a] conference at Niagara Falls, has been on a lobbying blitz in recent weeks to pass the SHIELD Act. The bill, which is backed by the Congressional “EMP Caucus” (yes, such a thing exists) is intended to protect the electrical grid of the continental United States from the effects of an EMP attack. EMPact America even produces a weekly, hour-long radio show devoted entirely to the issue, with recent guests including former CIA Director James Woolsey and Congressman Trent Franks. What sort of response have these warnings gotten so far? In Washington’s nuclear arms control circles, where I’ve spent the past few months working as part of my research on the Iranian nuclear program, they’re not really taken seriously.

 

Yakunin’s Views on Gays Overshadows Conference in Geneva

A rather rambling conference blurb (bear with me) from Russia soft-power outfit the St Andrew the First-Called Foundation:

The contemporary international practice of world order structuring apparently does not correspond to the rational publically acceptable norms required to foster global mega-scale projects. The growing number of public actors, experts and researchers start sharing the view that such requisite ingredients of globalization as “universal human values and rights”, the pre-set standards of tolerance and political correctness (or rather political comfort) are conducive to distortion of factual historical memory and to the entrenchment of a narrow group of beneficiaries of the current transformations. These developments lead to the growing desovereignization of national and international economic and financial processes.

The title of the conference was “European choice: Globalization of Re-Sovereignization”; topics included “Globalization is not only economical process, but the politics aimed at creation of the new world order” and “the historical interaction between the European countries (particularly Switzerland) and Russia is a resource for sustainable cooperation in future”. The event was co-hosted by the Geneva Press Club, whose president, Guy Mettan, is President of the Joint Chamber of Commerce Switzerland-Russia & CIS.

Of course, it’s obvious why Russia’s supporters are sniffing at “pre-set standards of tolerance”, and the media has focused on the host’s inevitable opining on teh gaye; over to Reuters:

Traditional family values need to be supported against activism by the gay minority, and the idea that gays were suppressed in Russia was “a trick”, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

“We should not rape nature because of ideological, political or individual preferences,” said Russian Railways boss Vladimir Yakunin, who was hosting a conference in Geneva to promote his foundation, the Endowment for St Andrew the First Called.

Asked if he was afraid of gays or of an open debate about gay marriage, Yakunin drew applause and shouts of “bravo” from the audience with his response.

“Practically, if Reuters, or yourself, will show me the man who gave birth to a child, then the question is obsolete,” he said.

Reuters adds:

A brochure from the conference, on the “sanctity of motherhood”, called for “socially responsible media” to resist attempts to redefine the family, which it said were “an irresponsible manipulation of the most profound parts of the human nature”.

It’s not immediately clear what “the sanctity of motherhood” has to do with “Globalization of Re-Sovereignization” and “sustainable cooperation” between Russia and Switzerland, and I checked to make sure I was reading about the same event. I suspect that “sanctity of motherhood angle” refers to a related programme of that name, which is under the direction of Yakunin’s wife, Natalia Yakunina.

Other participants included Anee-Marie Lizin, Honorary President of the Senate of Belgium, and Walter Schwimmer, Ex-Secretary General of the Council of Europe; Schwimmer is a long-term collaborator with Yakunin, and he Co-Chairs the World Public Forum, which is funded by the St Andrew Foundation.

Yakunin was previously in the news in January, when he attended a Holocaust conference in Prague; the EU Observer said that his presence was “to the great embarrassment of the Czech government”, given his close links with Putin. The Prague Daily Monitor explained that Yakunin was present “at the invitation of the European Jewish Congress”, whose president Moshe Kantor is “a Russian billionaire who reportedly has close links with Putin.” However, the report also noted Yakunin’s links with the Czech Republic’s president, Milos Zeman:

Yakunin is a founder and organiser of the [World Public Forum] Rhodes discussion forum at which President Milos Zeman compared the war in Ukraine to a flu last September.

No, Leonard Nimoy did not See Israel As a Sign of the End Times

From WND:

LEONARD NIMOY’S EPITAPH: ‘ISRAEL IS A MIRACLE’
In failing health, actor narrated movie about Jewish state’s godly link

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes the case for his nation’s security before Congress Tuesday, actor Leonard Nimoy is still speaking about the miracle of Israel in a movie he narrated not long before his death.

The movie, shown on television from coast to coast, is calledThe Miracle of Israel,” and connects the strange and seemingly supernatural events surrounding the Jewish state’s founding and survival over the last 67 years.

…Some say they are proof of prophetic fulfillment that has and will continue to impact the world as it moves toward the Last Days, explain the filmmakers.

The key words here are “actor narrated”; the documentary – which first aired last year – was a gig, like Orson Welles narrating the movie of Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth in 1979.

Nimoy expressed his own views on Israel in a fundraising letter for Americans for Peace Now in 2011, in which he argued in favour of a two-state solution:

 I’m a strong supporter of APN and the work it does. It is a leading voice for Americans who support Israel and know that a negotiated peace will ensure Israel’s security, prosperity and continued viability as a Jewish and democratic state.

…In April, a group of 50 prominent Israelis, including the former heads of the Mossad (Israel’s CIA), the Shin Bet (its FBI), and the military, issued a call for two states for two nations. Their plan includes a Palestinian state alongside Israel with agreed-upon land swaps. The Palestinian-populated areas of Jerusalem would become the capital of Palestine; the Jewish-populated areas the capital of Israel.

It’s clear that Nimoy’s approach is secular and pragmatic, and that he does not regard Israeli control of Gaza and the West Bank as necessary or desirable. By contrast, the Miracle of Israel documentary looks forward to the building of a new Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and its line-up of speakers (which includes the sanguinary Walid Shoebat) are supporters of a “Greater Israel” in which Palestinian areas were “restored” to Israel by God in 1967.

The documentary is a product of Jewish Voice Ministries. According to a blurb, the organisation

has been working to reach Jewish people through the broadcast of the television documentary on secular stations. The documentary, narrated by Leonard Nimoy, provides a historical snapshot of the Jewish people, and also includes views on Messianic and Last Days’ prophecy.

The film’s evangelistic purpose is made clearer on the Jewish Voice Ministries webpage at GOD TV:

This program will educate and inspire thousands of Jews and Christians to support Israel during this critical time in history. It will also bring the good news of Yeshua, Jesus to your Jewish family members, friends and neighbors.

National Prayer Breakfast Highlights the Fellowship’s Support for Sudan Regime

From Faith McDonnell, of the Institute of Religion and Democracy:

Sudan’s foreign minister, a hardcore Islamist with a long history of orchestrating mass atrocities and other crimes against humanity, has been invited to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC on Thursday, February 4.

The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event hosted by members of the United States Congress and organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation… Sudanese and American activists will gather outside the event’s Washington Hilton location at 9:00 a.m. to protest the inclusion of these representatives of Sudan’s genocidal government as attendees are exiting the hotel.

McDonnell also drew attention to a petition, organised by Mark Hackett of Operation Broken Silence.

The “Fellowship Foundation”, also known as “the Family”, is a discrete religious group that has been been operating in Washington for decades; its activities have been explored and analysed by the award-winning author Jeff Sharlet, in two books (The Family and C Street) and several articles. An extract from his first book posted by NPR is a succinct summary of the group’s perspective:

“We desire to see a leadership led by God,” reads a confidential mission statement. “Leaders of all levels of society who direct projects as they are led by the spirit.” Another principle expanded upon is stealthiness; members are instructed to pursue political jujitsu by making use of secular leaders “in the work of advancing His kingdom,” and to avoid whenever possible the label Christian itself, lest they alert enemies to that advance. Regular prayer groups, or “cells” as they’re often called, have met in the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense, and the Family has traditionally fostered strong ties with businessmen in the oil and aerospace industries.

In a 2010 article for Mother Jones, he explained the group’s international ambitions:

The Family’s goal, according to one internal document, is to create a “hidden structure” of “national and international world leaders bound together relationally by a mutual love for God and the family.”

The Fellowship has been busy in Europe, as I discussed here, and in June it held a Prayer Breakfast in Ukraine. There has also been particular controversy over its influence in Uganda.

But how could an Islamist regime be assimilated into such a vision? The answer is in the Fellowship’s vague theology of “Jesus Plus Nothing”; its “elite fundamentalism” (to use Jeff’s term) is quite distinct from the religious right rhetoric of televangelists and mega-church leaders. Jeff explains how this played out in Sudan, in a 2010 piece for the New Yorker:

In 1997, [Fellowship leader Doug] Coe travelled to Sudan with a former Republican congressman named Mark Siljander, and met with the country’s notorious President, Omar al-Bashir… According to the evangelical magazine World, Siljander may have taken Coe’s Jesus-only, no-questions-asked ecumenism too seriously. Siljander wrote a book called “A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide,” in which he asserted that Bashir was “a bad man” in the eyes of the West, but “in the eyes of God, as near as I could understand it, he was just another human being, with frailties and failings like the rest of us.”

Further details appear in Jeff’s book C Street; Siljander and Coe

…told the dictator [al-Bashir] they wanted to be friends. “He’s my prayer partner, by the way,” Siljander boasted on a Trinity Broadcasting Network Christian program. “I love Bashir, his heart was changed, and it sure wasn’t by my good looks. The Holy Spirit came into the conversation we had with the king” – he meant the dictator – “and melted his heart.”

Siljander claims the dictator was so “flabbergasted” by Siljander’s assimilation of Islam into Christianity that… al-Bashir said, “This is revolutionary.”

Siljander famously went too far with this enthusiasm – in 2010 he pleaded guilty to “serving as an unregistered agent in Washington” for a Sudan-based charity that the US government “said had ties to international terrorism”, although since his release from prison he’s argued that he is innocent. Given the presence of regime leaders alongside President Obama at a prestigious religious event in 2015, perhaps he has some grounds for complaining that he was unfairly treated.

Some Notes on Leon Brittan, Geoffrey Dickens, and the Media

From an article by James Gillespie in last week’s Sunday Times:

EVIDENCE has emerged that Leon Brittan, the former home secretary, who died of cancer last week, was unjustly accused of covering up child sex-abuse allegations.

Geoffrey Dickens, the MP who submitted the allegations to Brittan, praised him for “splendid support” and thanked the Home Office for its work in combating paedophilia, the evidence shows.

One [allegation] was from an angry mother complaining that her 16-year-old son had “become homosexual” after taking a job in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace, where homosexuality was “prevalent”. The second was from a civil servant working for what was then Customs and Excise, who pointed out that addresses linked to paedophile material sent from abroad were not routinely passed on to the police.

A second batch of material followed:

According to an internal Home Office inquiry conducted by an investigator from HMRC, “some . . . relate to the cult Children of God”, a religious sect widely accused of abusing children [see footnote below – RB].

The other letters involved matters that had already been dealt with by police or the courts or lacked evidence, such as a letter from a woman complaining about PIE advertising but without any examples.

That was in late 1983 and early 1984; neither man would have imagined that the nature and handling of this material would come under intense scrutiny thirty years later, and then define Brittan’s contribution to public life. TV news reports of Brittain’s death on 21 January led with reference to the “dossier”, while among newspapers and on the internet the majority consensus is that Brittan was a monster who had suppressed Dickens’ information as part of a conspiracy to protect a cabal of VIP orgiastic paedophiles who raped and murdered boys on a regular basis.

In fact, however, there was nothing about a VIP paedophile ring in Dickens’ communications with Brittan, and Dickens never accused Brittan of a cover-up:

On the contrary, on March 31, 1987, Dickens told the Commons: “I should like to place on record my thanks to the Home Office and the departments within the Home Office for following up the many cases that I keep sending to it. I should also like to thank the attorney-general. They have been very helpful and a strength to me in my campaigns.”

Of course, this does not address wider accusations against Brittan; last week’s Daily Star Sunday ran a piece (by Tom Savage) on Brittan’s “catalogue of depravity” (without quote marks), headlining the claim that he had “abused ten-year old boy” (with quote marks). This refers to one of three individuals who claims to have been abused by Brittan. According to the story, which emerged last summer, the victim, who is now living in the USA, has declined to give a formal police statement. However, according David Barrett at the Telegraph:

Police have traced a copy of a statement he gave more than 30 years ago as a child when he was rescued from horrific sexual assault. His version of events is understood to be corroborated by a detective who conducted the official interview with the child at the time.

It not clear here why we here have “is understood to be corroborated”, rather than “has been corroborated”.

Two other alleged victims are a woman named “Jane”, who says she was raped by Brittan in 1967, when she was 19 years old; and “Nick”, on whose sensational testimony the entire stock of credibility of the website Exaro News currently rests. “Nick” claims not just to have been raped by Brittan and other VIPs, but to have witnessed two murders at abuse parties and the killing of a third boy as a “warning”. “Nick” was recently accompanied by Exaro News to make a police statement (in a somewhat unusual arrangement), as a result of which it is now reported that Brittan was facing a “Met probe” at the time of his death.

There are also alleged witnesses: a social worker has said that in 1990 he was shown a photo of Brittan “naked except for a frilly apron and cap”, while “on his lap was a boy of about 12, ­prepubescent, stark naked”; and a retired customs officer claims to have seen “an ex-minister” in an abuse video that was seized at Dover in 1982. It’s difficult to imagine why Brittan would have allowed himself to be shown in such compromising situations, and there remains a frustrating gap between sensational testimony and hard evidence.

But this “catalogue of depravity” raises an obvious question, which Exaro News’ editor, Mark Watts, has addressed on Twitter:

[…] one thing i don’t understand : of all people, why did Geoffrey dickens give his dossier to leon brittan? [Link]

[…] Not sure, but it seems that Geoffrey Dickens was testing Leon Brittan, seeing how he reacts. [Link]

This appears to have been plucked out of thin air, and looks to me to be a clumsy attempt to explain why Exaro‘s narrative doesn’t quite stack up.

Last week’s Sunday Times report is cited today in a column in the same paper by Dominic Lawson, written in defence of Brittan’s memory. Lawson also raises a related subject that Exaro has so far avoided:

Dickens – whom his colleagues politely described as a “maverick” – was in fact one of the promulgators of the great satanic ritual abuse conspiracy: this reached its febrile heights in both Britain and America in the 1980s, dying away only after hundred of people had unjustly had their children snatached aways by social workers infected with this form of hysteria.

I blogged on Dickens and Satanic Ritual Abuse here; the subject inspired Dickens to compile yet another dossier, which – perhaps inevitably – also got lost. In 1990, Dickens wrote the foreword for a book, Dance with the Devil, by a supposed ex-witch turned-Christian named Audrey Harper (ghosted by a journalist, Harry Pugh). Harper told stories of sacrificed babies, boys abused on inverted crucifixes, and rituals of profanation inside churches involving coprophagy and drinking urine in mockery of the Eucharist (“it made me feel sick”, she recalls on page 108). The book claimed that 200,000 people are involved in Satanism in the UK. If Exaro News is so confident of Dickens’ judgement, why haven’t they sought her out for further comment?

It is true that Dickens did correctly name the diplomat Peter Hayman in Parliament as a paedophile involved with child pornography, but it is not the case that Dickens was the one to expose him – the story of how Hayman had left paedophile material on a bus was published by Private Eye in 1980, in an article entitled “The Beast of Berlin”.

Lawson’s article is entitled “These Child Abuse Slurs are just the Angry Left’s Revenge on Thatcher”. This overstates the political dimension, but as I wrote in 2012, following the unravelling of the Lord MacAlpine fiasco, I certainly get the distasteful impression that some people would be bitterly disappointed to discover that particular individuals have not been sexually abusing children. It seems to me to be a form of anti-establishment millennialism: at the moment, there are only signs and hints – but very soon, the powerful will be brought down from their thrones, ruined and disgraced through the discovery that they have been involved in exceptionally foul and self-debasing crimes.

UPDATES

(1) Don Hale and Barbara Castle

Another story about Leon Brittan and a dossier comes from Don Hale, who by his own account is himself part of the wider story. Hale used to be editor of the Bury Messenger, and last summer he claimed (or, as some hacks prefer, “revealed”) that he had been given “an incendiary dossier… by long-serving Labour politician Barbara Castle”:

They included typewritten minutes of meetings that had been held at Westminster in support of the paedophile agenda, along with details of a host of Establishment figures who had apparently pledged support to their cause.

No fewer than 16 MPs were on that list, several of them household names. Also mentioned multiple times was Tory minister Sir Rhodes Boyson, a well-known enthusiast for corporal punishment, and Education Secretary Sir Keith Joseph.

However, before Hale could publish, he was visited by police officers with D-Notice:

‘If you don’t comply with this notice, we will arrest you for perverting the course of justice,’ the detective barked. ‘You will be liable for up to ten years in prison.’

The dossier was confiscated; Castle subsequently told Hale “I thought this might happen”, and she “went to her grave in 2002″ with the dossier’s contents “still secret.”

The story is a strange one, not least because a D-Notice is a request for editors to refrain from publishing information voluntarily, rather than a gagging order. Following Brittan’s death, Hale followed up with a new item for the Daily Mirror:

Former Labour MP Barbara Castle said Leon Brittan was a man that she ‘could not trust,’ and was highly critical of his handling of a dossier said to have contained the names of VIP paedophiles.

She said he was ‘a powerful man with many secrets,’ and claimed many of his colleagues ‘just dare not get the wrong side of him.’

…The former Labour cabinet minister, then known as Baroness Castle of Blackburn, who represented north Manchester as a Euro MP, attacked the credibility of the then Home Secretary, and believed he was the ‘last person you would want to give a file of the nature to for review.’

…She found a raft of confidential sexual abuse papers and claimed, ‘they had Leon Brittan’s fingerprints all over them,’ and believed he was in possession of key facts.

The article is oddly written; for some reason, Hale chose not to make clear that he is the source for the supposed quotes; anyone coming to the story cold would be baffled by the lack of context.

(2) Tony Bushby and the Daily Star Sunday

Further claims appeared in the Daily Star Sunday on 1 February, in an article by Tony Bushby entitled “Teen rent boy VANISHED after spying on VIP paedo ring”:

A newspaper gave the lad a camera after he volunteered to expose the high-class perverts abusing youngsters at sex parties in the early 1980s.

The lad named then-Home Secretary Leon Brittan as an attendee at the parties.

But he disappeared hours after starting his probe – and was never seen again.

The investigation was launched by journalists on a Sunday newspaper after a panicked late-night phone call from a different rent boy, who told reporters he feared for his life because a policeman tasked with protecting him had been ordered to close the case.

According to the story, the rent boy who made the call had previously told journalists at the Sunday Mirror that MPs, including Leon Brittan, had attended sex parties along with VIP foreigners who had “jetted in to an airfield on the outskirts of London – possibly RAF Northolt.” The rent boy had contacted police after “he witnessed something – he wouldn’t say what – that left him fearing for his own and other boys’ safety”.

The rent boy also gave reporters the phone number for the officer who had been told to close the case. One journalist made a call; however:

The reporter said he knew Leon Brittan was involved and asked to meet up – but that terrified the policeman.

“Look please – go away,” he said… “It has been made clear to me my job is on the line, my whole career. Please, leave me alone.”

Some of this previously appeared in a Daily Star Sunday article co-authored by Bushby in late 2012, although with some curious differences; in the earlier version, the the rent boy with the camera who “vanished” does not appear at all, and there’s no claim of direct contact between the rent boy who had spoken with police and journalists. Instead, the source is the police officer, who is presented as providing new quotes and who is “furious” rather than “terrified”:

The furious ex-policeman said: “It wasn’t that we ran out of leads but it reached a point where a warning to stop came.

“It was a case of ‘get rid of everything, never say a word to anyone’. It was made very clear to me that to ­continue asking questions would ­jeopardise my career.”

The new story does not make clear what happened to the rent boy who had been in contact with police, saying only that:

Reporters continued to work on the story, and in the following weeks had infrequent contact with the rent boy who’d originally phoned in.

However, in the 2012 story:

The vulnerable teen who spoke to ­detectives vanished just weeks after blowing the whistle.

Bushby’s new piece also ends with a detail taken from Exaro:

It also emerged Brittan was named as attending parties at Dolphin Square, a central London flats complex where witnesses have told police three boys were murdered.

Exaro’s “Nick” actually claims to have seen two sex murders at Dolphin Square, as well as a third boy being run over by a car in south London as a “warning”. And “Nick” is one person, not “witnesses”.

(3) Clive Harrington

In early February, Exaro introduced a man named Clive Harrington, who says that he was harassed and financially ruined after raising the subject of Leon Brittan with Bernard Weatherill, the Speaker of the House of Commons, at a dinner event in 1989.

According to the story, in the 1980s Harrington was a “paper millionaire” businessman, and was hoping to become a Conservative MP. However, he also had “a good friend who ran four brothels”, and this person told him that Brittan was a paedophile. Harrington says that he repeated his friend’s claim to Weatherill after “too many glasses of wine”:

“I realised immediately that I had, at the very least, breached etiquette. Weatherill ignored what I said, and did not talk to me again. My comment was met with silence.”

Harrington says that he made his money in insurance, but that a few years after speaking to Weatherill he was (in his words) “a tramp”:

Harrington, of Sussex, blames his outburst for a harassment campaign against him.

He was arrested for stealing a car that he had hired… No charges were brought.

Police then questioned him about three insurance policies that he had sold. “I was totally bemused by it all. No charges were ever brought…”

The suspicion destroyed his business and he lost his licence to trade, Harrington said. He went bankrupt…

“I kind of learned the hard way. You do not fight these kinds of people”

Weatherill died in 2007, while the brothel keeper is unnamed. At best, these are claims from one source; yet Exaro treats the anecdote as if it were established truth, with the headline:

Tory hopeful told speaker’s dinner: Leon Brittan is a paedophile
Bernard Weatherill was staggered to hear of child sex abuse by former home secretary

However, the detail that Harrington was made bankrupt is, perhaps for the first time with Exaro, a detail that it ought to be easy to confirm against official records. Bankruptcies in the UK are published in the London Gazette, which can be browsed via its official website.

A search for “Harrington, Clive” and “Clive Harrington” under the “all notices” option brings up just one person: a builder who was declared bankrupt in 1987 and who was involved with some follow-up matters in 1994. A filtered search for “Harrington” + “Clive” from 1989-2015, in case Clive is a legal middle name, brings up one other person in 2005, but again the details do not match the story published by Exaro.

Footnote

The Children of God is an American religious group, today known as the Family International. It believes in free love between members, and this previously included sexual relations with and between children. Dickens’ reference to the group, and to homosexuality at Buckingham Palace, are sloppily conflated in a headline that appeared above a Don Hale story in the Daily Star Sunday in December: “Child sex cult in Buckingham Palace”.