Mumbai Conspiracy Theory

Various websites are carrying a bizarre email purporting to be by the Indian writer Amaresh Misra, on the Mumbai terrorist attack:

An entire city has been attacked by Mossad and probably units of mercenaries…The RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal should be banned…Muslims and secular Hindus have been proven right…A photograph publushed in Urdu Times, Mumbai, clearly shows that Mossad and ex-Mossad men came to India and met Sadhus and other pro-Hindutva elements recently. A conspiracy was clearly hatched…We will fight a civil war if need be against the pro-Hindutva, communal forces and their Israeli backers.

Misra is the author of a book on the British in India entitled War of Civilisations: India AD 1857, which claimed that the British killed 10 million people between 1857 and 1867. A (negative) review here gives us a clue where he’s coming from:

Its Mumbai based author, Amresh Misra is a freelance journalist, a political commentator, a columnist, a script writer for films and also a historian. More than that he is a political, civil right activist and leader and an anti-communal fighter. His ideological inclination is evident in his “Acknowledgments”, wherein he honours “Akhilendra Pratap Singh, ex-president of the Allahabad University Students Union (AUSU), Politbureau member of the CPI-ML (liberation) as his friend, philosopher and guide” and admits that ‘several ideas hatched in the book were formulated along with him way back in the 1990s in rugged, reflective, dusty rooms and streets of Allahabad, Lucknow, Benares and other UP-Bihar districts.” Misra’s other friend Salim Khan Durrani happens to be the anti-communal, anti-fascist resistance hero of Mumbai.”

For Misra, history writing is not a detached academic exercise, rather it is part of ideological commitment and activism. He, frankly acknowledges that “during numerous street battles with the police and anti-Muslim, anti-Dalit-fascist lumpen hordes in the late 1980s and 1990s,” he learnt that “true data lies in the non-academic, mainstream reading of real action.”

An article from the Guardian adds:

Misra’s casualty claims have been challenged in India and Britain. “It is very difficult to assess the extent of the reprisals simply because we cannot say for sure if some of these populations did not just leave a conflict zone rather than being killed,” said Shabi Ahmad, head of the 1857 project at the Indian Council of Historical Research. “It could have been migration rather than murder that depopulated areas.”

Many view exaggeration rather than deceit in Misra’s calculations. A British historian, Saul David, author of The Indian Mutiny, said it was valid to count the death toll but reckoned that it ran into “hundreds of thousands”.

One wonders whether this benign assumption that Misra was not motivated by “deceit” will survive the apparent revelation (assuming he’s not the victim of an impersonator) that he’s anti-Jewish conspiracy-mongering crank.

Incidentally, Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger did have a cosy meeting with BJP leader L.K. Advani in 2007, as I blogged here. Misra’s conspiracy theory is doubtless spun from links such as this.

A Sermon from Pastor Zuma

From South African newssite IOL:

“We need to teach our people to fear God,” ANC president Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday, and he suggested the way to do so would be by making children pray before school – “as it was in the past”.

…The ANC leader, who once headed the country’s moral regeneration campaign, put a large part of the blame for the “modern interpretation of values” on the media, saying there was too much sex and violence on radio and television.

 Further:

South Africa is a country based on the rules and principles of God, said ANC president Jacob Zuma in Kempton Park on Thursday.

…The preamble of the Constitution “calls upon God to help us”, said Zuma at the National Presidential Religious Leaders conference.

…”The Bible says pray for those who are in government. I believe we must go beyond that. You must advise and criticise if there are things we do that are not in keeping with the principles of God.”

…An Mpumulanga representative told Zuma religious leaders would go to their communities and ensure they “voted correctly because you care and you have compassion and are committed to bettering the lives of God’s people”.

An Eastern Cape religious representative said, “Msholozi (Zuma) is a burning bush which will never be consumed”.

Zuma was anointed as an honorary pastor in 2007 by some charismatic Christians.

Zuma (a polygamist) of course knows a bit about “sex and violence on radio and television” – in 2006 the media was full of reports about his trial for rape. Zuma claimed that the sex had been consensual, and he was acquitted because “the state had not proven the case beyond reasonable doubt”. However, he was widely pilloried when he explained that he had protected himself from HIV by taking a shower after the act. One cartoonist (Zapiro) invariably portrays him thus:

zuma-shower

Anti-Christian Zionist Cartoon Controversy

David Hazony at Commentary stirs up a cartoon controversy with which to beat the Forward:

… It’s a fake ad for a week-long evangelical trip to the Holy Land, and it expresses all the anti-Christian fears that lurk in the heart of many an American Jew. Obese and monstrous Evangelicals are shown going to Israel, praising Hitler as a “Servant of the Lord,” and looking forward to the “mother of all Holocausts for Jews and Muslems who don’t convert.” There are fake ads for T-shirts praising the right-wing mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein… It is so far from the liberal, tolerant views that I think most Forward readers adhere to, that one wonders how it got by the editors.

The cartoon is by Eli Valley, and the whole thing can be seen here. Of course it’s somewhat crude, but as a satire of apocalyptic Christian Zionism (which is not the only variety of Christian Zionism), it generally hits home. Pastor John Hagee famously said that “Hitler was a hunter” sent by God to persuade Jews to move to Israel; Hal Lindsey has enthused over the thought of the Jordan Valley “covered with blood five feet high”, adding the nice detail that the blood will flow rather than coagulate due to radiation. Various Christian Zionists have warned that two-thirds of the world’s Jews will be included in this massacre. Praise for Baruch Goldstein is going too far, but some Christian Zionists have been happy to support far-right groups such as the self-declared “Sanhedrin”.

In reference to other panels of the cartoon, both John Hagee and the late Jerry Falwell have warned that the anti-Christ will be Jewish, and Christian Zionists such as Billye Brim have fantasized about the destruction of the Dome of the Rock (and in 1969 a mentally-ill Armstrongist set fire to the Al-Aqsa mosque). And while many Christian Zionists have been somewhat squemish about stating clearly the shortcomings of Judaism and the need for Jews to “accept Jesus” to avoid damnation – using instead terms like “Judeo-Christian” – very few leaders of the movement have formally accepted the “Dual Covenant” idea, which teaches that Judaism and Christianity are both valid.

The BBC broadcast a documentary about an evangelical coach tour to Israel back in February. I blogged it here.

valley-christian-zionist-tour

Mr Justice Eady Watch Part 94

As well as religion, this blog has a couple of other on-going areas of interest. One of these is the issue of free speech, in particular the use of libel law in the UK to suppress unwelcome criticism and investigation. British libel law puts the burden of evidence on the defendants, defendants cannot get legal aid (usually), and although damages are not as absurdly high as they were a few years ago, legal costs can be so devastating that often it is not worth the risk of defending a case.

It is not just the wealthy who take advantage of this: libel action threats can be made quite cheaply if you have a friend or ideological ally who’s a sympathetic lawyer – thus Paul Staines was able to cause trouble for Tim Ireland thanks to help from a Young Tory lawyer named Donal Blaney (just one example among others from the pseudo-libertarian right).

Presiding over many cases is Mr Justice Eady, a man who has been described by Lord Hoffman as “hostile” to responsible journalism in the public interest. Although his judgements are not uniformly bad (he threw out a case brought by the BNP against Searchlight), many of his decisions are worrisome.

The latest Private Eye (1224 p. 7) magazine carries details of a preliminary hearing in a libel case being brought by newspaper owner Richard Desmond against author Tom Bower. Desmond is one of the more unsavoury characters in British public life, and Bower is writing a biography of him. That hasn’t been published yet, but Bower did reference Desmond in his biography of Conrad Black (Conrad and Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge), in which Desmond is accused by using his Daily Express to publicise Black’s financial problems as revenge against his rival. Black sued for libel and the Express was forced to settle, but Desmond takes exception to Bower’s claim that he had interfered with the editorial policy of his paper.

This was in the news last year, and the Guardian reported that

Mr Justice Eady ordered Bower to pay £10,000 towards legal costs…

The Eye reports that in a hearing last week Bower presented evidence that Desmond does indeed interfere with the paper’s editorial policy: persons such as Mohamed Fayed and Sir Philip Green had received favourable coverage at Desmond’s behest, and Ulrika Jonsson had been on the end of negative coverage after she sold her memoirs to a rival newspaper. Other examples were also raised. However:

Mr Justice Eady agreed with [Desmond’s barrister Matthew Nicklin] that there was no broader implication: the story in Bower’s book was “not capable of a general meaning”…[The] luminaries were duly struck out of the defence pleadings, because they weren’t relevant to the allegation about Black.

Fortunately for Bower, he has other evidence that Eady has allowed, and which will be deployed at the trial next year. But it is surely worrying to see so much dismissed before the trial has even got underway.

Documentary Explores Evangelicals for Obama and Dissatisfaction with Republican Party

The UK’s Channel 4 has just broadcast a documentary about American evangelical dissatisfaction with the Republican Party and increasing support for the Democrats. Entitled (rather uninspiredly) God Bless America, the programme was made by Calvin Skaggs, who was responsible for With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America a few years ago.

Most of the programme dealt with evangelicals who have become attracted to the Democrats: the party now talks about “values”, and in Obama had a candidate happy to talk about faith and God and able to evoke the Civil Rights era. However, there are also other factors: Shaun Casey of Wesley Theological Seminary made the interesting suggestion that the thousands of evangelicals who headed to New Orleans to help out in the wake of Hurricane Katrina returned home “transformed and angry” at the failure of the government to assist. And more generally, as former Bush sppechwriter Michael Gerson concedes, the Religious Right is perceived as “too narrow and too negative” for younger evangelicals who are interested in a greater range of issues than abortion and homosexuality – the young evangelicals interviewed in the programme used terms like “world citizen” to identify themselves, and they are keen to tackle poverty and other ills; in particular, there is concern for the environment.  Mega-church pastor Joel Hunter is worried about climate change, and his careful explanation of what’s at stake is contrasted (without belabouring the point) with a lame sneer from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council that “you talk about the weather when you have nothing to say”. Members of Hunter’s church admit that they used to see environmentalism as a preserve of hippy “tree-huggers”, and that they should have engaged with the issues before now.

We are also introduced to Obama’s evangelical activists and strategists (filmed in the run-up to the election), such as Mara Vanderslice and Burns Strider, and their “Matthew 25 Network” campaigning work – one advert promoted by the Network earned a bitter rebuttal from James Dobson. Meanwhile, the campaign’s Director of Religious Affairs, Joshua DuBois, held “Faith Forums” to drum up support. Evangelical supporters of Obama say they support him over McCain because they have “done the math”, but at the same time are keen to stress the need to keep civil and to avoid being “worked up” to feel hate or bitterness.

At the same time, evangelicals have become less enamoured with the Republican Party. Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals complains that evangelicals had been taken advantage of by the Bush administration and treated like a “cheap date”, while Tony Perkins despairs at John McCain’s insistence that his faith is personal and private, and his tendency to talk about topics such as defence rather than values issues. Marlys Pompa, McCain’s Outreach Co-ordinator for evangelicals, is forced to trawl through McCain’s Faith of My Fathers for morsels of spirituality, and a meeting with officials from Liberty University is polite but unenthused. Only Sarah Palin invigorates the campaign, but on insofar as to bring the base back on board. At the end of the programme, Perkins seems unsure about the ways in which the Religious Right is to develop, although he’s confident that it will “always be there”.

Rev. Moon-Backed Peace Festival in London

Moon’s Son at Parliament

Yesterday saw the Unification Church-backed Global Peace Festival in London, following on from a “Plenary Session of the International Leadership Conference” in Parliament at which Hyun Jin Moon, the son of Rev Syung Mun Moon, addressed a collection of international leaders. The Conference was opened by Labour MP David Anderson, and the Peace Festival’s participants included Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman. Further details at my spin-off blog, Ambassadors for Moon, here and here.

global-peace-festival-london

More on BNP Christianity

Yesterday I blogged on the three British National Party “Reverends” revealed on the leaked membership list; Edmund Standing of I Kid You Not today has a more detailed post on the BNP members who consider themselves to be Christians. In particular, there is more about the Rev. Robert West, on whom I have blogged several times in the past. I had thought West’s “Christian Council of Britain” became defunct when its original website disappeared, but I noted yesterday that there is now a new one. Standing gives us some juicy background on this new site:

The current Christian Council website is registered in the name of a company called Cinemavision, which turns out to be owned by none other than the BNP’s ‘web guru‘ and Poughill and Standon electoral candidate Simon Bennett. Cinemavision is a website that turns out to feature some interesting content, including an entry linking to a video described as ‘Kim Kardashian Amateur Porn’, featuring the distinctly un-‘Aryan’ beauty Kim and her black boyfriend Ray J. ‘She is sooo hot!’ reads the description on Bennett’s website, who is obviously not adverse to making a few pounds from promoting ‘race mixing’.

Standing also provides information on Colin Farquhar of the “Durham British-Israel Fellowship”. I had alluded to this cautiously in my previous post on the BNP, but Standing notes that Farquhar’s support for the BNP was in the public domain before the list was leaked and so can be discussed freely. Standing gives us a nice potted guide to British Israelite beliefs as promoted by the British Israelite World Fellowship (BIWF), and the appropriation and development of such docrines in America into “Christian Identity” (a process discussed in Michael Barkun’s excellent book Religion and the Racist Right).

Standing further notes a link between Farquhar and Alan Campbell of Open Bible Ministries, Belfast. Campbell promotes the teachings of “‘Dr. B Comparet”, aka Bertrand Comparet. Comparet helped to found Christian Identity, and he was explictly racist. Alan Campbell has featured on the blog before – I noted that his books at one point had been sold via the (now apparently defunct) Northern Ireland Springbok Club, but that they had at some point been withdrawn.

As regards Christian Identity in the UK, Standing reveals that:

In the year 2000, a website appeared at the address christianidentity.org.uk and continued until 2005. The self-styled ‘pastor’ who ran the website promoted the extreme ‘two-seedline’ [anti-Jewish] Identity ‘theology’ and provided a wealth of hardcore Identity teachings and links to numerous neo-Nazi organisations. The main organisation promoted by the ‘pastor’ was the BNP…Investigating Christian Identity for an undergraduate essay, I contacted the ‘pastor’ posing as an Identity believer and duly received a couple of CDs, one featuring an Identity ‘sermon’ and one featuring a National Front era speech given by veteran Nazi and BNP founder John Tyndall.

(Hat tip: Harry’s Place)

Whoever Follows Gold will Have Wealth

And while we’re on the unhappy subject of Michael Savage, he appears to be the inspiration for this strange banner advert on WorldNetDaily:

financial-light-of-the-world

Clicking on the banner leads to the website of Swiss America, and an advert for an interview between WND founder Joseph Farah and Swiss America CEO Craig Smith – Farah has puffed Swiss America in the past, and Smith has provided columns for WND.

Swiss America sells gold coins, which it promotes as a safeguard against economic collapse. Michael Savage explains the “light of the world” significance on the Swiss America website:

When I look at a historic gold coin, I see it as the financial light of the world. Sure, I may collect coins for their history and beauty, but I’m also building wealth at the same time.

However, the phrase the “Light of the World” is, of course, more usually associated with Jesus. From the Gospel of John 8:12:

…When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”…

Savage Declares “Victory” over CAIR

“Michael Savage Beats CAIR”, says Newsmax; “Michael Savage Wins Major Victory Over CAIR”, crows the American Chronicle. Both headlines spin news reported in WorldNetDaily that despite the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ success in fending off a lawsuit brought by Michael Savage over copyright and alleged rackeetering, Savage would not have to pay CAIR’s legal fees. Says Savage himself:

This is a huge victory for me, personally, but also for the rest of America who is afraid of this lawsuit-happy group of intimidators…CAIR tried to tell [Judge Susan Illston] in their claim that she ‘should get’ me, because they were all liberals…You have to read their sloppy claim to believe it. Now, people will not be afraid to file suits if they have a legitimate claim against CAIR or any other Soros-funded group…

As I blogged previously, CAIR had used clips of Savage’s radio rants against Muslims to urge an advertiser boycott (Savage’s abuse was so crude he made Walid Shoebat look classy), and Savage claimed copyright infringement. That had to fail under fair-usage provisions – as was demonstrated years ago in a case concerning Jerry Falwell’s use of materials copyrighted to Larry Flynt. Realising this, Savage opportunistically added a “racketeering” claim to his lawsuit, which allowed him to grandstand as someone opposing terrorist-supporters. Savage and WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah appealed to supporters to send in cash for what was confusingly called (given that Savage was the plaintiff) a “legal defense fund”. Despite promises to fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court, Savage dropped the case in August after Illston found against him – even though she gave Savage “leave to amend” the racketeering claim.

So why did Illston decline to award CAIR costs? Savage hints it is because Illston (whom he previously had called “a minion of the Bill Clinton crowd”) came to understand the dubious nature of CAIR, and this is why he can now claim “victory”. However, a look at the ruling – which is posted on Savage’s site – shows that Illston was simply applying precendent:

This Court has discretion under the Copyright Act to allow recovery of costs and attorneys’ fees by or against any party.

…While the Court agreed with defendants’ fair use argument, there were features of the decision which required analysis.

Having considered the standards set out by the case law, and considering the “pivotal” criterion of the purposes of the Copyright Act, this Court finds in its discretion that attorneys’ fees are not warranted in this case.

As she explains, she took her lead from the judgement in Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, which is available here. Apparently this means that CAIR was unable to show that the lawsuit was actually frivolous or in bad faith, but no more than that. It’s not “a huge victory” for America, nor does it break any new ground for anyone else who wants to sue CAIR. But hopefully it’ll be enough to console all those who contributed to Savage’s fund to take the case to the Supreme Court. If there’s any of that cash left over from Daniel Horowitz’s fees, Savage can perhaps use it to fight another case, in which he is the defendant. Kron 4 reports:

Conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage has been sued in  federal court in San Francisco by a liberal film group for making an  allegedly baseless demand that YouTube Inc. take down one of its videos.

The video by Brave New Films was entitled “Savage Hates Muslims”  and criticized an Oct. 29, 2007, broadcast in which Savage made anti-Islamic  comments.

The video, posted on YouTube by the film group in January, was one  minute and 23 seconds long and contained a one-minute excerpt of Savage’s  comments during the two-hour show.

The excerpt included Savage’s comments that Muslims should “take  (their) religion and shove it up (their) behind” and should be deported,  according to the lawsuit filed by Brave New Films in U.S. District Court last  month.

…The lawsuit seeks financial compensation for the alleged harm to  Brave New Films’ free speech rights as well as an injunction barring Savage  and the network from any further legal action related to the vide.

Those Three Reverends on the BNP List

One of my old posts is getting some extra hits as a few dozen people look for Rev John Stanton, who appeared on the leaked BNP (alleged) membership list. Stanton was quoted in the South Essex Echo in March saying that “The BNP is very Christian-based”, although he quickly thought better of it following tearful appeals from family members. His photo now appears on the Suns website, apparently either blessing a football or using it as an globus cruciger.

Stanton runs an obscure house church, as does the BNP’s best-known ecclesiastical supporter, Rev Robert West – whose “Christian Council of Britain” appears to be limping on with a new website but not much activity. A third Reverend on the list is a certain Paul Barker. According to the Wakefield Express:

The Rev Paul Barker, of Fox Court in Durkar, told the Express this afternoon: “I’m furious. I used to be on the mailing list but I have never been a member. I don’t know why my name has gone out on the list and I’m now considering the action I am going to take.”

The website of the British People’s Party – another fringe far-right party – includes a message allegedly from Barker on page dedicated to condolences on the death of the BNP’s founder John Tyndall:

A SHORT  PRAYER   FROM  REVD  PAUL BARKER    FATHER  GOD  WE  THANK YOU FOR THE  LIFE OF   JOHN TYNDALL  HE WAS  A TRUE  SOLDIER  OF   GOD  MAY OUR FATHER TAKE  HIM  UNTO HIMSELF    AMEN

Amusingly, this comes directly below an Odinist opining on how Tyndall is in Valhalla.

Barker is described by the Express as a vicar, and several media reports have mentioned a “Church of England vicar” on the list; however, there is no Paul Barker listed in Crockford’s, so I suspect he belongs to another denomination.

About half-a-dozen or so further persons on the list are identified as Christians, including one person who runs a British-Israelite group – this is the historically nonsensical idea that the peoeple of Britain are the true descendents of the Biblical Israelites.