Former EDL Leader Shows Up on Zelo Street‘s Doorstep at 10pm

At Zelo Street, my friend Tim Fenton reports on an unwelcome visitor:

…[T]here was loud and persistent banging at the front door, high-intensity lights were shone into the front windows, and when I went to see what was kicking off – it wasn’t going to be an election canvasser or the Witnesses at 2200 hours – one of those high-intensity lights was shone into my face as [former English Defence League head man Tommy] Robinson introduced himself.

He wanted to ask me one question. He claimed I had “written lies about him“. He would come back, and keep coming back, until I answered him, which suggests someone has sufficient time and money on his hands to keep on making 300 mile round trips to Crewe on the off-chance of finding someone at home. After the front door was shut in his face, the hammering and shouting continued.

The confrontation was a stunt by Robinson in association with Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media – in recent weeks Robinson has been making numerous videos in the company of one Caolan Robertson, who heads the UK branch of Levant’s operation. In March, Rebel Media gleefully reported on Robinson’s negative reception at a London Stand Up To Racism rally; and earlier this month, Robinson (civilly) doorstepped a student who had used Twitter to call for his murder. Robinson has also visited a newspaper office to air grievances about being labelled “far right”, a video of which is in the works.

In Tim’s case, it seems (although this is something we must infer) that Robinson objected to being called a “racist bigot” in a blog post from 8 April in which Tim criticised the Spectator for running a soft-ball interview with Robinson by James Delingpole. For the record, I don’t think that Robinson is racially prejudiced, but his continuing activism against Islam is characterised by sensationalism and inflammatory interventions – as was seen when he showed up at the scene of last month’s Westminster attack. And while I wouldn’t want to reduce someone to the most regrettable thing they’ve said or done, the fact that he was filmed joking about the Anders Breivik massacre while drunk a few years ago does not leave an impression of moderation.

However, Tim is hardly the first person to describe Robinson with the “R” word – it’s something that he gets a lot, as he lamented to James Whale in January. From an earlier video, it seems that Robinson visited Crewe while en route to Dewsbury, but even so, such an extensive detour seems a somewhat disproportionate reaction given Robinson’s profile. Tim’s blog has only ever mentioned Robinson a couple of times over eight years, and so far as I can see there is nothing by Tim on Robinson among his writings for Byline Media. It’s a surprise that the post even caught Robinson’s notice, let alone that he would feel the need to research the author and travel in pursuit of him. Oddly, Robinson kept referring to Tim as “Paul”, which is a given first name that he doesn’t use. It’s as if Robinson had only a vague idea about who he was off to meet.

Perhaps Tim’s post was brought to Robinson’s particular attention by someone – Tim has annoyed a number of tabloid and right-wing media figures over the years, and there have been intimidatory consequences in the past – examples include an abusive and intrusive attack blog (anonymous, but praised by Delingpole) and a series of anonymous letters from a supposed “Blog Complaints Commission”.

Of course, though, going after Tim also serves a more general purpose for Robinson, demonstrating to other potential critics that they risk family intrusion and doxxing. This was not a serious attempt to “engage” or remonstrate over a grievance – it was a gratuitous and thuggish stunt at an unreasonable hour for the benefit of a fan base (whose unpleasant social media effusions in response to it are noted in Tim’s new post).

Police Consulted “Dissociative Identity Disorder” Therapist In Ted Heath Abuse Probe

From the Daily Mail:

The farce over the Sir Edward Heath child abuse inquiry grew yesterday as it emerged that a member of an independent panel scrutinising the probe has been paid to help on the case.

Dr Elly Hanson, a clinical psychologist who specialises in abuse and trauma, received £2,025 for advising Wiltshire Police about two individuals who have made allegations against the late Tory prime minister.

The force subsequently asked her to join a panel of four looking at all aspects of the Operation Conifer probe to help police chiefs ‘consider the ongoing proportionality and justification for the investigation’.

The report goes on to add that Hanson denies any conflict of interest.

It is not known for sure if the “two individuals” she was asked about pertain to the Satanic Ritual Abuse claims against Heath or some other strand of the investigation, but it’s a reasonable assumption: another expert consulted by police stated last week that the SRA claims were “the core strand” that Wiltshire Police “wanted to use to prove Ted Heath’s guilt”.

Further, Hanson is actually a specialist in “Dissociative Identity Disorder”, a diagnosis that implies memories that have been repressed due to trauma, usually childhood sexual abuse. We know that the Heath SRA accusers were a “group” of women, and that the main accuser underwent recovered memory therapy in Canada.

It seems unlikely that Hanson would have advised the police to exercise caution: just last month she gave a presentation at a conference organised by the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD), where other speakers included Peter Garsden, a firm believer in the “sacrifce of children” by “secret societies” (as blogged here) and three members of the Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS, previously blogged here).

Supposed “recovered memories” have formed the basis for numerous allegations  of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Some background here is provided by by Jeffrey Victor in his 1993 book Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend:

MPD [Multiple Personality Disorder, the old name for Dissociative Identity Disorder] psychotherapists are faced with an ambiguous problem in need of a clear explanation… The Satanic cult legend serves as a substitute for “hard news”, that is, a substitute for a decisive discovery of a cause for the ambiguous symptoms of Multiple Personality Disorder… There is good evidence that MPD patients have a chameleon-like, manipulative personality and feed therapists the kind of stories they feel therapists want to hear. (p. 93)

Further:

The “survivor” stories were first given credibility when leading MPD psychiatric authorities publicly professed belief in their plausibility. This happened at the firat national conference of the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality disorder, in 1984. Once authority figures lent credibility to the stories, the process of consensual validation, operating through the psychiatric communication network, reinforced the credibility of the stories. In this network, normal open and public scientific criticism and dispute is discouraged.

…Believing therapists have been articulating the Satanic cult legend in great detail for years, since the mid-1980s, without publishing any empirical research findings in juried scientific journals where the findings can be subjected to scientific cross-examination. (pp. 93-94, 95)

I speculated on how such networks may provide a link between old SRA claims and new false sex abuse allegations against public figures in the UK here.

It is perhaps also relevant to note that at the start of 2016 Hanson gave a presentation at an exhibition called “The Wall of Silence”, which was created to highlight the testimonies of child abuse survivors. One of the exhibition’s organisers and promoters, a nurse named Sue Crocombe, believes that Heath must be guilty of sex abuse, and the exhibition blurb makes special reference to “powerful people” supposedly being involved in child sex abuse. This is based on the testimony of the exhibition’s “exemplar” survivor, a man who has made extravagant allegations against politicians.

Expert: Satanic Ritual Abuse Claims are the “Core Strand” of Wiltshire Police Investigation into Edward Heath

Friday’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4 included a segment on Wiltshire Police’s sex abuse investigation into the former Prime Minister Edward Heath, focusing on Richard Hoskins, a criminologist who (as Rachel Hoskins) went public in November with concerns about how the probe was being conducted. A number of allegations against Heath, who died in 2005, appeared in tabloid newspapers in 2015, as I discussed here; Hoskins revealed that the investigation also included a remarkable claim of Satanic Ritual Abuse, involving not just child abuse but also murder.

The interview clarifies that, according to Hoskins, the SRA claims are the “core strand” of the investigation, rather than just being an outlier. Hoskins was asked onto the programme after it was announced that two people who had been arrested in relation to the inquiry have now been released from bail without charge. The arrests had been announced in November following criticism of the investigation, although they are believed to have occurred some weeks beforehand.

Details of the arrests are scarce, although it has been reported (a) that they “related to child protection and not perverting the course of justice”; and (b) that the two individuals “did not know Sir Edward and had never met or worked with him or in politics”. The Sun refers specifically to “two men”, although that may just be an assumption.  In my opinion, it is very likely that the two arrests relate to the SRA allegations, first made against them by a family member some years ago and now resurrected in the context of the investigation into Heath (as discussed by me here).

A full transcript of the interview is given below, with some annotations. The audio begins at 2 hours 33 minutes into the programme, and the interviewer was Mishal Husain. I’ve highlighted the “core strand” comment.

Transcript

I’ve investigated something like nearly 200 criminal investigations over the last 15 years, and so I’ve developed an expertise in the area of ritual crime [1]. So, I’m well-known for working in this area. And Wiltshire Police found that they thought there were elements of ritualistic crime within this enquiry.

And what did you find when you started looking into the evidence available?

Well, I was presented with two large dossiers, one on the Wiltshire Police investigation and another on the historic Westminster VIP paedophile enquiry. The reason that I had both dossiers is because there were overlaps and people named in one enquiry were named in another. And as I looked into it, I found a series of very questionable evidence, and so I began to probe into that. I approached the whole thing with an open mind, as I always do, but I began to find that the evidence didn’t look strong to me.

Why not?

Well, there were issues here about how the evidence had come to light in the first place, and as with the Westminster VIP paedophile enquiry, where we know it all went back to one sole source, Nick [2], there was an issue here about the way that the evidence in the Wiltshire enquiry went back to, effectively a sole source who had recovered memories from the 1980s [3]. So, this immediately led to me making comparisons, valid comparisons with the 1980s Satanic Ritual Abuse panic.

Just explain what recovered memories are.

OK, well this is where people who have gone through trauma regain memory that they have blocked out. And that’s a genuine thing, it does happen. The trouble is the role of some psychotherapists, and we have to say “some” here, especially under hypnosis, as happened in this case, leads to questions when we’re dealing with criminal cases.

And you thought that that meant this was not credible, the evidence before you.

I am certain that the evidence was not credible, with which I was presented, because there were serious question marks – which I can’t go into all the details here, because some parts of the report remain confidential – but there were serious question marks about the way the memories were recovered.

But in itself the evidence was fantastical. We were… I counted I think 21 murders apparently that had taken place, some of which involved Edward Heath in broad daylight in English churchyards, on English church altars. There were sensational accounts of ritual orgies and drinking blood and suchlike, and I do think that just as which happened with Nick on the Westminster enquiry, had people just taken a step back and said “hang on a second, is this really likely?”. they might have stopped and paused the investigation at that point.

And you told Wiltshire Police this?

I did. I produced a 160-page report after two months of very solid work. As I always do I approached the case with a very open mind, I tackled all the evidence, but my conclusions were pretty damning. And that did not go down well with Wiltshire Police.

What did they say?

Well, the response initially, and this was after I’ve produced something like 200 case reports over 15 years, was something I’ve never encountered before, which was that I apparently was questioning the credibility of witnesses. Well, yes, I was, effectively. But of course that was never my aim. I mean, I myself am a victim of historic sexual abuse, so I – and someone got about 10 years for it – so I have no axe to grind at all, quite the opposite. But we’re dealing here with evidence, and if the evidence looks sketchy then we have to ask the questions. And I did.

Wiltshire Police were uncomfortable with that, they did not take my recommendations forward, which were to submit the report – I was not asking to go public, I suggested the report should go to the Chair of the Historic Abuse Inquiry, the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Chair of the IPCC and the Metropolitan Police Chief Commissioner. These were not outlandish recommendations at all. I felt that those stakeholders in the public interest must know about this.

And the police say that what they put before you, the evidence which you decided was not credible was only a small part of what they had.

Well, I’m afraid that Wiltshire Police are wriggling at every single turn here, and, whenever one part of their investigation falls down, this is their fallback, they’re saying “no, but there’s another strand”. So now we have a situation where two witnesses have been cleared, and again they are going to say, “well, but that was only one strand”. The fact is, and I had this briefing with the police before we started, I was briefed on all the different strands of the investigation. This was the core strand that they wanted to use to prove Ted Heath’s guilt.

But it’s not impossible that there are other strands, and they are, as recently as yesterday, sticking to the fact that they believe all of this is worth investigating. They say this remains a live and ongoing investigation with a significant number of allegations made by a number of separate individuals.

Well, the police have been on a fishing trip with this. They – I think, outrageously-  stood outside Ted Heath’s house and called, basically, for people to come forward. Now, of course there’s a balance here. We know that with historic cases we do need to get people to come forward if there’s a genuine case of abuse. But they have been on a fishing trip, some of it has clearly been quite absurd. And the investigation so far, has cost, up to the end of last month, of £1, 142,000. This is not, I think, for the police to decide now, whether this goes forward. I think in the public interest somebody has got to say “it’s time to call a halt to this”. There’s no credible evidence, nothing has stuck on Ted Heath, and that was the point of this investigation.

They’ve had two years, which is not as long as other investigations have been given.

It’s still a hell of a long time, with 21 officers involved working on a case in which they have so far not found one single scrap of hard evidence.

Why did you go public with all of this? Because by doing so you went against the agreement that you signed, and you won’t be able to do future work like this for police forces.

Well, that’s a decision that I myself have taken. In fact, individual police forces are still approaching me, because they seem to appreciate the work I’ve done previously. But as a member of the National …

Have you not been removed from the National Crime Agency list of approved experts?

No, I took myself off the National Crime Agency database of experts. It was my decision, because I was so appalled, frankly, by the response of Wiltshire Police, to a report that was a serious piece of academic research. I was not asking to go public, I was asking it should go to the various agencies, who deserve to see this information. In fact, the Historical Abuse Enquiry have called for my report, and they have now received it.

You’re very convinced that there is nothing to be found in relation to these allegations. How can you be so sure that there aren’t people out there who need to be brought to justice for something that happened?

Well, there is a balance here, and obviously we don’t want to go back to the situation with Jimmy Savile, where things were covered up. But I think, there is a balance, and if after two years of investigating, nothing solid has been found, and my understanding is that there is nothing solid on Ted Heath, then, for the sake of his reputation – and  don’t forget, other people have been besmirched in this process, like Lord Brittan, who went to the grave never knowing his name was cleared [4] – and with the extent of public money being spent, then someone has to draw a line. Now, of course, if there are genuine strands, and there are real people who have been through the trauma of abuse, which I know all about, then that must of course be investigated. But this is totally disproportionate. That’s the problem here.

Notes

[1] Most famously, Hoskins was involved in the 2001 “torso in the Thames” investigation. Hoskins has also highlighted the issue of the abuse of African children accused of witchcraft, as I discussed here.

[2] This is a reference to the Operation Midland fiasco, discussed in further detail here. As I mentioned just yesterday, there are a number of child sex abuse activists who can be described as “Operation Midland Truthers”, who continue to assert their confidence in the accuser known in the media as “Nick”. Some of these activists/vigilantes have expressed contemptuous views about Hoskins, making mocking references to his apparently temporary transgender status as Rachel Hoskins and nasty insinuations about past family bereavements.

[3] Details about the therapy that the Heath SRA accuser underwent some years ago appeared in the Toronto National Post in January, and were discussed in further detail by me here.

[4] I discussed the investigations into Leon Brittan here.

Some Notes on The Times and Allegations against Barbara Hewson

From Wednesday’s London Times:

Barrister ‘made death threats’ to student

Police have issued a harassment warning to a barrister amid allegations that she waged a campaign of online bullying, abuse and “death threats” against a law student and another lawyer.

…In a 22-page complaint to the standards board, seen by The Times, Mehul Desai, a student at Nottingham University law school, claimed that he had “received death threats and abuse over the phone” from Ms [Barbara] Hewson.

…The dispute allegedly grew out of Mr Desai’s support for Sarah Phillimore, a family law barrister at St John’s Chambers in Bristol. Ms Phillimore is a well-known campaigner on child protection issues who has frequently crossed swords with Ms Hewson on social media over their opinions on investigations into alleged historical child abuse.

…Ms Phillimore told The Times that, “following months of serious and frightening harassment” by Ms Hewson, she registered a complaint with the police. The Metropolitan Police confirmed that on March 1 “a 55-year-old woman was issued with a harassment warning”.

Such warnings have no legal standing and do not establish wrongdoing, but are used by police as a response to allegations of low-level harassment. There has been no finding against her.

That detail about so-called harassment warnings having “no legal standing” comes in the 11th paragraph of the article, 440 words into the story. The existence of the harassment warning is also the focus of a very brief preview blurb that appeared on the bottom of the front page of the print edition: “Police have issued a harassment warning to a human rights barrister after claims that she engaged in the online bullying of a law student and another lawyer.” The story itself was the lead item on page 5.

The story as presented in The Times is a mess, and it has brought joy to a social media crowd that has actually been subjecting Barbara Hewson to a campaign of trolling abuse and personal intrusion. Facts are distorted and misrepresented, and important context is missing that the authors – Jonathan Ames and Frances Gibb – could have checked out without requiring comment from Barbara.

Background

First, a disclosure: I’ve met Barbara socially a couple of times and we get along. As such, I refer to her in this post familiarly, by her first name. I don’t agree with all of her views or ways of expressing herself, but I expect she gets that a lot.

Most controversially, she believes that the age of consent should be reduced to 13, and she has criticised some prosecutions that relate to “historic” allegations of abuse on these grounds. On these points, I concur with Matthew Scott’s criticisms, which can be read here. The Times article refers to Barbara calling “for the age of sexual consent to be substantially lowered”, but for some reason it doesn’t clarify that this means “reduced to 13” – one suspects the authors opted to be vague in the interests of sensationalism.

Barbara’s perspective has brought her into conflict on social media with a number of campaigners against child sex abuse, and she has not shied away from scathing rhetoric just because some of these campaigners themselves identify as victims – I noted her dispute with Andy Woodward in December. As I wrote then, many of these campaigners are quite reckless in their embrace of conspiracy theories about “VIP abuse” and are vicious in their pursuit of those facing allegations or those deemed to be insufficiently credulous. Some might fairly be described as “Operation Midland Truthers”, and they are particularly incensed by Barbara’s references to the false accuser “Nick” as “Toxic Nick”.

The feud with Phillimore, meanwhile, goes to back to debate over family courts.

The “harassment warning”

The Times cover blurb conflated the so-called “harassment warning” that emerged from the Phillimore dispute with the allegation of the “death threat” made by the student – this misleading effect is amplified by the opening paragraph, which lumps together Phillimore’s complaints and those of the student.

As I’ve discussed previously on this blog, a “harassment warning” is formally called a “Police Information Notice”. It is a mechanism by which police inform someone that a complaint of harassment has been made against them, and it warns them that if the complaint is true, then they should desist from continuing with such behaviour or risk prosecution. However, they precede rather than follow any investigation.

The problem with PINs is that they sound far more formal than they actually are. PINs are “issued”; recipients supposedly “have” a PIN, in the present tense, as if they “have” a criminal record. Also, despite a specific recommendation in the Henriques Report, the Metropolitan Police continues with the rhetoric of “victims” rather than “complainants” – thus a largely derivative Daily Mail article based on the Times story also includes a police statement:

‘The victim, a 46-year-old woman, alleged she had been harassed via a social media network (Twitter) between August 2016 and January 2017. 

‘The allegation was passed to officers in Islington to investigate. 

‘On 1 March the alleged suspect, a 55-year-old woman, was issued a harassment warning. The victim was informed of this outcome.’

In fact, however, a PIN is nothing more than “words of advice” written on a bit of paper – and those “words of advice” may be based on incomplete or even fictitious information. And, as I documented here, police forces seem confused about their status.

Phillimore’s complaint

The ongoing feud between Barbara and Phillimore was previously reported by Ames in The Times in January; and in early February, he and Gibbs referred jocularly to a “‘handbags at dawn’-style dust-up”. The was also a piece in Legal Cheek.

It is the case that Barbara has referred to Phillimore in crudely abusive terms, but the context here is two public figures engaging in a bitter debate. There is nothing in Barbara’s Tweets that would give Phillimore reasonable cause to feel frightened. There is also an extravagant element to her allegations: for example, she Tweeted about a family member, Barbara referred to this Tweet, and Phillimore then announced that Barbara is bringing her family member to the attention of  a “large audience of unrepentant paedophiles”.

Phillimore and the trolls

Phillimore has also undermined her complaint with a series of jocular interactions with accounts that troll Barbara with abusive comments. One particularly vicious account is anonymous, and it is largely dedicated to subjecting Barbara to a sustained stream of highly personalised abuse and mockery that goes far beyond Barbara’s uncivil comments about Phillimore: for instance, the account mocks Barbara’s Irish heritage, and has made gratuitous references to a family bereavement. Phillimore has expressly encouraged the account to “enjoy… freedom of speech”. Such a statement, which would obviously needle and goad Barbara while spurring on a troll, are not consistent with a credible complaint of harassment.

The “death threat”, and a “skinned cat”

The Times led on the claim of a death threat based on the allegation appearing in a complaint to the Bar Standards Council – this is flimsy, given that the student doesn’t appear to have been able to get the police to take his complaint seriously (he is complaining bitterly about this on Twitter).

Further, it should be noted that the student’s range of complaints is extraordinary. In his Twitter bio, up until recently he described himself thus:

Hewson Abuse Survivor (HAS): 11/03 forced in2 twitter, abused, blew whistle, Harassed 12-2.19am, complaints excluded uni, pedotrolled, 3xhackd, cat skinned

He has since removed “cat skinned”, but his Twitter feed includes a photo of his cat with a large gash on its back and tail, along with a letter from a veterinarian practice about treatment. For some reason, the letter has been partially redacted – some details are missing, and if there is a date on the original it is not visible on the posted version.

Does his extraordinary allegation that Hewson arranged for someone to “skin” his cat appear in the document he submitted to the BSB? If not, why not? And if it did, why didn’t Ames and Gibbs draw attention to such a remarkable claim?

Reading through his Tweets, he seems to veer between saying he was “frightened” by Barbara (an email arriving at an unsocial hour described like a phone call in the middle of the night) and boasting about how he might mete out violence against paedophiles.

Conclusion

I doubt that The Times would have run with the “death threat” headline simply based on the student’s word: instead, it was given extra weight due to Phillimore’s separate “bullying” complaint. Thus two weak claims were combined to make a supposedly strong claim, worthy of a prominent position in the UK’s newspaper of record.

Complaints to police and the BSB have served as a media strategy – and those now tasked with assessing their merits ought to take that into consideration.

Jim Bakker Guest Explains How Donald Trump Has Stopped Islam Taking Over the USA By 2021

From Mark Taylor, in conversation with Jim Bakker on the Jim Bakker Show:

All through history our presidents have been taking orders… from people behind the shadows… And how what you’re seeing now come forth is someone who’s not going to be doing that…

God has his timeline, the enemy has his. This has totally wrecked the enemy’s timeline….

They were trying the Islamization of America by 2021 according to one author of a book that just got released… There were like seven phases he listed, and these seven phases have already been completed. So it was 2021. I looked at another researcher, who was on the Freemason side, and he was coming up with 2021, he had cracked the code.

Mark Taylor came to prominence last year, when the radio conspiricist Rick Wiles and Charisma News decided to publicise his claim to have received a message from God while watching Donald Trump on TV, that Trump would be president.

Taylor now presents himself as someone with special spiritual insight into US politics and global affairs – in November, he and Wiles were looking forward to “tribunals” in which “divine justice will be meted out” against associates of Hilary Clinton, described as “participants in occult practices”. Although Taylor hasn’t apparently received any further specific messages from God, he suggests that it may be significant that God spoke to him 2021 days before Trump was elected.

It’s not clear which books he is referring to his above comments about 2021, but it seems likely that his knowledge of the “seven phase” plan comes from one Andrew Thorp King, who in early 2016 published a column on the Birther website WND entitled “2021: The United Shariah States of America”. Writing as if in 2021, Thorp King describes a USA in which ISIS is now in charge, and in which “Christians, homosexuals, atheists and especially the Jews” are subjected to mass extermination. A few months later, Thorp King published a novel, Blaze: Operation Persian Trinity, in which Iranian machinations are thwarted by a “retired CIA assassin and spy” with the inconspicuous name of Blaze McIntyre, who “struggles with warnings of a biblically prophesied war”. The novel was published by WND‘s self-publishing arm, World Ahead Press, and comes with a blurb from Islamic Antichrist author Joel Richardson.

Thorp King’s own interest in the “seven phase” plan comes from Al Zarqawi: Al Qaeda’s Second Generation, a 2005 book in which a Jordanian reporter named Fouad Hussein interviewed a number of figures associated with al-Qaeda. The book is available only in Arabic, but its outline is known in English through a 2005 review in Speigel Online. Phase Four was predicted for 2010-2013, in which “al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments”, while in Phase Five “an Islamic state, or caliphate” will be declared between 2013 and 2016. Phase Six is “total confrontation” from 2016, followed by a vaguely defined “definitive victory” in 2020. There are also references to conflict in Syria

Thus, 12 years after 2005, we can read into this outline a prediction of the Arab Spring and the rise of ISIS. However, the emphasis here is on “read into”. Dramatic and complex political changes in parts of the Arab world cannot be explained simply by evoking “al-Qaeda” or even Islamism more generally, and the Islamic State hardly represents the kind of caliphate – either in size or character – that al-Qaeda wants (despite the possibility of a future merger). The pathway to “definitive victory” by 2020 is unexplained, although Thorp King’s column envisions the USA being taken over by Muslims living in the country.

A rough outline and wish-list put forward al-Qaeda in 2005 has now apparently become a supernatural “code” by which neo-Pentecostal Christians can understand the role of malign spiritual forces in global affairs – although both sides appear to be on the same page as regards Phase Six, the “total confrontation”.

Theresa May Rails Against an “Egg Hunt” Not Being Called an “Easter Egg Hunt”

UPDATE: Now with added Corbyn

News from Amman, in Jordan, where British Prime Minister Theresa May has spoken out against… the National Trust’s website for referring to an “Egg Hunt” rather than an “Easter Egg Hunt”:

Mrs May, who is a vicar’s daughter and a member of the National Trust, told ITV News: “I think the stance they’ve taken is absolutely ridiculous and I don’t know what they’re thinking about.

“Easter’s very important. It’s important to me, it’s a very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world.

“So I think what the National Trust is doing is frankly just ridiculous.”

One National Trust page is now headlined “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunt this Easter” (the last two words apparently recently added), while another just says “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunt” but has the words “easter-egg-hunt” in its url. The main text on both sites mentions “Easter”, and other promotional material for the event headlines with “Join the Easter fun”. There are also numerous other references to Easter events, and a section on Easter crafts.

May’s intervention in this supposed “controversy” comes in the wake of what appears to have been social media campaign against Cadbury – a browse through @CadburyUK’s Twitter feed for the last couple of weeks brings up many references to Easter, mostly posted as rebuttals to claims that the word has been excised from its Easter-egg packaging (“It’s not true we’ve removed ‘Easter’ from our Easter eggs, it’s clearly stated on back of the pack & embossed on some of / our eggs. We’ve also used it in our marketing for over 100 yrs & continue to do so in our current Easter campaigns”).

The controversy also seems to be part of a wider campaign against the National Trust – the Telegraph has now bashed out a piece headlined “Who is the National Trust’s boss Dame Helen Ghosh?”, which goes on to relate “a number of faux pas she has been associated with in recent years”.

The word “Easter egg” denotes a chocolate egg, or less commonly these days, a decorated egg shell or an egg-shaped box for giving an Easter gift. Chocolate eggs are almost exclusively secular products, and the inclusion of the word “Easter” does nothing to evoke the Christian teaching of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. A 2013 book called On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao suggests that chocolate Easter eggs were first created by Jewish chocolatiers in the town of Bayonne in France, and notes that the Quaker chocolate dynasties of Fry and Cadbury, who established the tradition in the UK, did so purely as a business opportunity, since Quakers do not generally celebrate Easter.

It is true that the Oxford English Dictionary does not have any references to “egg hunt” that are not preceded by the word “Easter”, but the usage “egg hunt” without “Easter” is not an innovation: the world’s largest Easter egg hunt, in Homer, Georgia, ran for 50 years and was known as the “Garrison Egg Hunt” without attracting adverse comment (and the event was established “for employees and fellow church members”). Further, a look on Google Books for the phrase “an egg hunt” shows that that phrase has appeared often enough in recent years, including in books relating to evangelism (e.g. “An egg hunt is fun—and in this game can reinforce Bible knowledge”).

One can see why a vicar or evangelist might prefer the phrase “Easter egg hunt” rather than just “egg hunt”, despite the distance of the word from its original meaning, but May’s outrage is excessive: reference to an “egg hunt” does nothing to insult or diminish those for whom Easter is religiously meaningful (indeed, references to “Easter fun” seem rather to trivialise the festival).

Behind the absurdity, it’s also slightly sinister when a politician uses a flimsy pretext to whip up resentment in this way. May’s populist outburst plays into a belligerent mood that appears to be descending on the UK, and it is no surprise that on social media, conspiricists have decreed that the real reason for the usage “egg hunt” is because of Muslims. Blowhards are also on the bandwagon: Nigel Farage has announced that “we must defend our Judeo-Christian culture and that means Easter”, while the splenetic talk-show host Jon Gaunt is leading calls for a boycott.

UPDATE: Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has now waded in, with a slightly different angle of complaint:

Mr Corbyn said the decision to include Cadbury rather than Easter in the logo’s title reflected “commercialisation gone a bit too far”.

“It upsets me because I don’t think Cadbury’s should take over the name of Easter”, he said.

Presumably it would be better to have no corporate sponsorship, and no egg hunt at all – we could instead spend the time contemplating the good old days when the making and buying of chocolate eggs at Easter was a folk tradition rather than a commercial enterprise.

UPDATE 2: Jon Worth has charted how this story developed in the media, in a piece with the very apposite headline “The anatomy of misinformation: Cadbury, the National Trust, and (Easter) Eggs“.

Charisma News Promotes Claim that David Rockefeller’s Death Was Predicted in a Bible Code

From Michael Snyder at Charisma News:

Shocking Bible Code Matrix Contains the Exact Day And Year That David Rockefeller Would Die

…Bible code researcher Kara Pickering has found an incredible Bible code matrix that contains the phrase “Rockefeller dies” along with the terms “Chase”, “Manhattan”, “2017” and the specific date on the Hebrew calendar (Adar 22) when he actually died.

Of course, David Rockefeller served as the CEO of Chase Manhattan for over a decade, and he was widely considered to be one of the strongest proponents of a “New World Order.”

…You can view the original Bible code matrix created by Kara Pickering right here. In the chart above, you can see that “hell” shows up five times, but she told us it is actually in there quite a few more times.

“Bible codes” is an idea that simply won’t die, despite having been thoroughly debunked (as discussed in the The Forward in 2012). Pickering’s method is opaque, but it yields bizarre diagrams in which words and numbers are linked via a web of cross-cutting multicoloured lines. Unusually, she uses the entire Hebrew Bible as her corpus, rather than just the Torah.

Snyder, meanwhile, is a former attorney turned “End Times” conspiracy theorist, and he regularly uses the influential evangelical/Pentecostal news service Charisma News to promote fantastical apocalyptic scenarios that are more akin to science-fiction than historic Christianity – in particular, he has warned that CERN may be about to “tear open a portal to another dimension”; that the opening ceremony of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland may have been an “Illuminati Ritual Intended to Honor Satan”; and that the archaeological reconstruction of an arch from Palmyra destroyed by ISIS may facilitate the arrival of the anti-Christ. Ahead of the US election, he also made forays into pro-Trump fake news, at one point warning that Hilary Clinton would probably be dead of natural causes by election day.

Pickering expands on Rockefeller’s “globalism” on her website:

Globalist, David Rockefeller, dies at age 101 on Monday- March 20, 2017.    Rockefeller was a key member of the Bilderberg group, the founder of the Trilateral Commission, the head of Chase Manhattan Corp. and an advocate for Global Government, known to many as the New World Order.

Bible Codes detail the day this evil man went to Hell.

Her other Bible Code divinations include “Get Prepared! ‘American Famine’ REVEALED in Bible Codes!“; “‘OPERATION: DECEPTION,’ BOMBSHELL Bible Code Reveals- Nephilim, CERN, and the Opening of the Abyss; “‘Temple Restored’ Bible Code Matrix: The Soon Coming Third Temple Revealed!“; “The ‘ON GOLGOTHA’ Bible Code Matrix CONFIRMS: Spear of Destiny, Yeshua’s Sacrifice, and the Blood that trickled down the Crevice onto the Mercy Seat“‘ and “‘The Woman in Travail’-Bible Code Links: Nibiru, Virgo and Aliyah?.

References to “Nibiru” and the “Spear of Destiny” indicate involvement in an conspiracy milieu that while here joined to a form of Christian fundamentalism, is actually distinct from it. The influence of this kind of thing on US evangelicalism more generally becomes more apparent when someone like Thomas Horn takes to the sofa of the Jim Bakker Show.

Pickering is a personal friend of Snyder and his wife Merenda (née Devan), and her ideas are also promoted by a certain Jake Ruchotzke, who has a podcast called Seek 4 Truth – she recently appeared on an episode alongside none other than Carl Gallups, the birther (and Sandy Hook truther) pastor who is frequently promoted by WND (Gallups was on to talk about “witches and Freemasons within the church”). Ruchotzke is also part of a project called SkyWatchTV, which also involves Horn and Derek Gilbert, whose wife Sharon wrote a book about the End Times significance of Ebola. I wrote about some of these figures previously here.

Small Rally Shows Pizzagate Conspiracy Theory Lives On

Also: Gateway Pundit scrubs report

From the Washington Post:

Several dozen people assembled outside the White House Saturday to demand an investigation into the unfounded Internet rumor known as “Pizzagate.”

Wearing T-shirts and holding banners defending the conspiracy theory — which falsely linked Hillary Clinton to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring operating out of a D.C. pizza parlor — protesters took turns climbing onto an elevated stage in Lafayette Square to demand politicians and mainstream news media take their claims seriously.

The conspiracy theory emerged out of John Podesta’s leaked emails posted online by Wikileaks ahead of the US election. Wikileaks used Twitter to suggest (falsely) that the emails showed that John’s brother Tony Podesta was involved in bizarre rituals in which “blood, sperm and breastmilk” were ingested, and this inspired others to look for paedophilic-related code words in other Podesta emails. Interest in the conspiracy waned after a man showed up at the pizza parlour with a gun, demanding explanations; and just a few days ago, Alex Jones issued a formal statement repudiating Info Wars’ coverage of the story – presumably at the behest of lawyers for the restaurant.

The true believers who assembled outside the White House yesterday were led by one David Seaman, who was profiled by the Daily Beast ahead of the rally:

Seaman spent much of the last decade as a self-promotion guru, selling secrets on how to “attract buzz” and writing a how-to book on becoming “a publicity whore,” after turbulent stints as an intern at Jezebel and contributor at The Huffington Post were abruptly cut short.

He even staged a “Free Paris Hilton” protest to build his personal brand, and once proclaimed he “would protest gravity if I thought it was going to give me buzz.”

The article notes that the protest received a boost when Michael Flynn’s son Tweeted his support for Seaman on 9 March.

There are various clips from the protest on YouTube and Twitter, including some that give names of speakers. Among others, there was a woman who calls herself “Honeybee: The Truth Fairy”; one Titus Frost (tagline: “Exposing illuminati, #Anonymous, Expect Us…”); a certain “Pizzagate Howie”, who told the story of Becki Percy, a young woman who says she was subjected to organised abuse in the UK before escaping to California; Tony Kightly, of “OfficialDCRallyfest dot com”; and Archer Sierra of “Dark City Media”. Present in the crowd was a rival conspiricist named Nathan Stolpman, who claims to have “exposed” Seaman, and Seaman denounced him from the platform.

Above the stage was a banner that read “Our Children Matter”, and there was a link to a website called allchildrenmatter.net. The staging also announced the “Terms of Surrender” for those accused: “Release all children – Surrender and confess to authorities – Beg for forgiveness”.

Clips of the event and online comments show that attendees placed “Pizzagate” alongside broader conspiracies about MK-Ultra, “banksters”, and such. At least one speaker was crude, shouting about “fucking children”, while others were pious, and Seaman himself knelt in prayer at one point.

A number of interesting comments and images were posted to Twitter by Will Sommer, who reports for The Hill. According to Sommer, the crowd became restless when one speaker turned to the subject of “apocryphal Christian ‘lesser gods’ angels as ‘God’s scientists'”, and there was controversy when another explained that “pedo-sadism” is inherent to Zionism. In due course, speakers drifted into areas such as “father’s rights, family court, pro se litigants, American Bar Association”.

Following the rally, the conservative website Gateway Pundit ran a piece under the headline “#MAGA Vets Rally Alongside #PizzaGate Protesters in Washington, D.C.”, by the site’s accredited White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich. However, although there was indeed a pro-Trump rally nearby, “alongside” falsely implies a joint event when in fact the two rallies were separate (although a Pizzagate attendee was arrested after allegedly attempting to steal a microphone from the Trump rally).

The Gateway Pundit article took an agnostic line on the allegations, only going so far as to say that the pizza parlour is “very creepy and does not seem child-friendly at all.” However, the site has since scrubbed its post, perhaps wary of whatever legal pressure had induced Alex Jones to issue his recent statement.

UPDATE: Charles Johnson has more at LGF.

Westminster Terror Attack: The Troofers Emerge

Yesterday I wrote about Tommy Robinson’s anti-Islam grandstanding next to the scene of Wednesday’s Westminster terrorist attack – today, it’s the other side of the coin:

Another London false flag? (updated)
By Kevin Barrett on March 22, 2017
Gladio B strikes London on Satanic holiday – one year after Brussels

Barrett, for the uninitiated, is an American 9/11 Truther and Holocaust revisionist who achieved some attention last year due to an association with Jill Stein’s running-mate Ajamu Baraka. Barrett is a convert to Islam, and he smugly discerns a “false flag” whenever there’s a terrorist atrocity involving Islamic extremism: his edited volumes include ANOTHER French False Flag?: Bloody Tracks from Paris to San BernardinoWe Are NOT Charlie Hebdo!: Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11; and Orlando False Flag: The Clash of Histories (1).

His response to the Westminster attack, then, probably wrote itself:

Somebody spent a rather small sum of money to arrange a publicity stunt which did not even make a faint blip on the day’s (much less the year’s) accident statistics — but which reaped hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars worth of virtually free publicity for the perpetrators… The “vehicular attack” and “stabbing attack” motifs are Israeli. These are among the types of attacks that have characterized the latest Intifada, or Palestinian war of self-preservation against slow-motion Zionist genocide.

…Another sign of a false flag is the “iconic date,” often featuring the numeral 11 or multiples thereof. Today is 3/22, the first anniversary of the false flag attack in Brussels Airport. (322, a big time satanic number and date, is the identifier of the Skull and Bones secret society.)…

Particularly distastefully, Barrett even goes so far as to suggest that reports about the victims have been fabricated, sneeringly observing: “Yet another ‘victim from Utah’ – just a weird coincidence?”

When there is news of a terrorist attack, reasonable people will be cautious and circumspect in interpreting why and how it has happened. In due course, the facts of the situation will hopefully allow us to draw likely inferences about how involvement with particular networks, media consumption preferences, personal history and mental health may have combined to produce a tragedy.

In contrast, a charlatan has a ready explanation that requires just a few scraps from which to build an edifice. Thus for the anti-Islam activists, Wednesday’s event was first the result of immigration (it turns out that the Westminster killer was born in Britain), and then proof that British-born Muslims don’t integrate (we now know that he converted to Islam as an adult). An overarching theory is derived from news reports, and sensational anecdotes are not balanced against the reality of most Muslims going about their daily lives just like most people.

Similarly, the “Truther” conspiracy theorist claims to have a superior ability to interpret what’s “really” going on – despite knowing no more about the specifics of a situation than the rest of us, and despite being dismissive of those doing the reporting, who are thought to be in on a massive conspiracy to deceive. Barrett’s bizarre pseudo-context does not solve any unexplained element to the Westminster attack, which is why he resorts to trying to suggest that “accident statistics” mean that the attack was given an anomalous amount of attention: a non-problem for which he has a non-explanation.

I reluctantly draw attention to Barrett’s ramblings for two reasons.

First, his emphasis on “Satanism”  is part of a wider resurgence in “Satanic panic” conspiricism, as manifested in ideas such as “Pizzagate“, extravagant allegations about ritualistic sex abuse supposedly committed by British and European politicians and VIPs, and the “Hoaxstead” fiasco.

Second, Barrett has just given an interview to the Richie Allen Show, which bills itself as “Europe’s most listened to [Verified] Independent News Radio Show”. (2) The programme is an offshoot of David Icke’s operation, and Allen uses it to platform a whole host of notorious conspiracy mongers. Among other subjects, Barrett and Allen talked about the “House of Rothschild” (another conspiracy theory that is inching towards the mainstream in Britain) and lamented how Alex Jones had “sold out”. The show followed an episode in which Allen chatted with Michael Shrimpton, during which Shrimpton and Allen disagreed amiably over whether ISIS had been created by German Intelligence (Shrimpton’s obsession) or by Mossad.

Footnote

(1) At least one of these books comes with illustrations by David Dees, a former Sesame Street illustrator who now produces cartoons that mix anti-Semitic tropes will depictions of “elite Satanism” and such. David Icke sometimes Tweets Dees’s material.

(2) Allen’s other guests over the years have included the likes of Erich von Däniken, Andrew Wakefield, David Shayler, Christopher Monckton, and Tony Gosling. However, not all of Allen’s guests are on the fringes: other recent guests have included Michael Mansfield QC, and Esther Baker, who is part of an anti-child sex abuse “scene” with several high-profile activists.

A Media Note on Tommy Robinson at Westminster

From the Independent, yesterday:

Tommy Robinson has been widely condemned for launching into a tirade about Islamic extremism at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack in Westminster.

The former English Defence League leader rushed to the Houses of Parliament in London after news of the attacks emerged. Although details about the alleged assailant and their motive remains unclear, Mr Robinson claimed Britain was at “war” with Islamic fundamentalists.

…A video of the far-right leader, who led the EDL from 2009 until October 2013, outside the Houses of Parliament appeared on Rebel Media, a fringe right-wing Canadian media company after he went down to the scene.

The report was filed while details of the attack were still emerging – some hours later, we no longer need to describe the terrorist atrocity as “suspected”, and the photograph of the killer makes it highly unlikely that he was not a Muslim. In situations such as what happened at Westminster yesterday, anti-Islam activists commonly draw conclusions prematurely: if they are eventually proved right, then they have a stick with which to beat a more cautious mainstream media, and if they are proved wrong they can simply discard the line of attack and move on (example here).

Robinson’s appearance at the scene was criticised on Twitter as opportunistic and as making things worse – that’s also my view, but it’s hardly a remarkable observation and looking around social media it would have been just as easy to have assembled a collection of supportive Tweets. Using Twitter as a vox pop isn’t the most rigorous journalistic practice, particularly when the assembled sample is in the service of an editorial line. Further, the Independent‘s examples includes one Scott Nelson – surely it should have been noted that this is a man who was expelled from the Labour Party in December 2015 for “a series of antisemitic Tweets”?

Rebel Media, meanwhile, is a project of Ezra Levant. The site appears to be in a middle of a project involving Robinson – last Saturday, it filmed Robinson attempting to talk to protesters at the Stand Up To Racism rally in London, and gleefully reported on the abusive responses that his presence provoked.

The Rebel Media reporter in both instances was one Caolan Robertson, a young man who also runs his own website, called The New Brit. At Robinson’s Westminster appearance, Robertson actually upstaged his subject at one point with his own expletive-laden attack on other media present, delivered in deliberate and well-spoken tones reminiscent of Milo Yiannopoulos and with hand gestures that recall Donald Trump in full flow.

According to the Rebel Media website, Caolan Robertson “studied film at a prestigious London university”, but became “disenfranchised as a result of the university’s banning him from creating content that critiqued Islam”. For some reason, he has recently deleted a Linkedin page which confirms that this was the University of the Arts London.

One further detail of interest is that Tommy Robinson appeared to have some sort of badge sewn onto the arm of his coat – a white cross in a circle. A simple manufacturer’s logo, or a sign of some new group?