Cyber-Bully Charlie Flowers Makes New Threat

Pseudo-activist Charlie Flowers is at it again, dispensing threats and abuse in the middle of the night on his “NiceOnesUK” Facebook page for the amusement of his various hangers-on:

You’re going to love this guys- apparently the communist lowlife filth “Richard Bartholomew” has been writing letters to our members, trying to get them to “disassociate” themselves from us. No dice.

Bartholomew, you are utter scum, and a pimp for the internet bully and stalker “Tim Ireland”. And now you’re going to reap the whirlwind, you fat, anti-religious gimp.

This somewhat “tired and emotional”-sounding outburst comes just a couple of weeks after Flowers left a late-might comment on my blog under the pseudonym “Righteous Death Angel”.

As I’ve blogged numerous times over the past year, Flowers is himself actually a stalker and a bully, and more than once he’s complained bitterly that I’ve had the effrontery to make people aware of what he’s done. He’s insinuated himself into various groups, such as British Muslims for Secular Democracy, and I have let certain people know what he’s like, but I really don’t know what’s set him off this time: perhaps some associate has fallen out with him and he thinks it must be my fault. He certainly appears to have a remarkable capacity for self-delusion. The preposterous accusation of “Communism” is an attempt to make his rather self-debasing way of carrying-on look like some sort of a political activism rather than the vicious rantings of a middle-aged phony in a tantrum because a teenage James Bond fantasy turned to ashes.

For those who are interested, here’s the background: Flowers first contacted me – under a pseudonym – on Christmas Day 2008, by leaving a comment on an old blog entry I had written about the VIGIL Network, a self-described “terror-tracker” organisation:

Richard- maybe you’d like an update from someone who works with them? (i.e. me)

drop us a line at the email I sent you and I’ll fill you in on the latest.

A few weeks later, Tim Ireland exposed how Glen Jenvey, who was also associated with VIGIL, had made postings to an Islamic discussion board under a fake name, which he then used as evidence of a terrorist threat against Alan Sugar; this had formed the basis for a Sun front-page splash (later withdrawn). Following Jenvey’s initial exposure, Tim and and I were contacted by Dominic Wightman, who had run VIGIL. Wightman told us a story about how VIGIL had collapsed due to the machinations of Jenvey and a university lecturer, whom he urged us to expose. He also passed to us an audio recording of an interview with Jenvey; he told us that Flowers had made the recording while posing as a journalist. Meanwhile, Flowers and his “Cheerleader” accomplices were being generally creepy: an attempt was made to befriend my Facebook contacts to fish for personal information; a package of printouts from an Islamic webforum were delivered by hand to a former workplace, and Tim received “I know where you live” type comments. Various links for all this can be found here.

In the summer of 2009, a supposed interview was posted on-line between Jenvey and a US-based journalist named Jeremy Reynalds, containing information which could only have come from someone who had physically walked along Tim’s street. Reynalds and Jenvey both confirmed they had had nothing to do with it, and Wightman exhorted us to believe that the university lecturer had done it. However, this turned out to have been a lie: the police traced the document back to Wightman. It turned out that this lecturer had had some involvement with VIGIL, but had become convinced that Wightman lacked personal integrity; Wightman was in fact a failed and bankrupt businessman, and an employee of VIGIL was just one of his many creditors. It seems that Wightman had been been hoping to use Tim and me to get revenge on the university lecturer.

At this point, Flowers and his “Cheerleaders” turned nasty: they published Tim Ireland’s home address on-line in the stated intention that hostile parties would know where he lives, and that he would be forced to leave the country. There were also threats of violence and a distasteful expression of malice against Tim’s family. What was Flowers’ goal? One possibility is that he was acting on behalf of Wightman, despite denials from Wightman and expressions of contempt for Wightman from Flowers: a contentless blog was created in Wightman’s name and made to look as though it had been hacked by Flowers’ “Cheerleader” accomplices. However, it’s more likely that the penny dropped and Flowers realised that he had been wasting his time with VIGIL. The only way to retain his self-image was to lash out against those who had burst his bubble: primarily Tim.

In the year that has followed, Flowers has been attempting to build a reputation as an activist against Islamic extremism: he became closely associated with various English Defence League activists, and he held the megaphone for Guramit Singh during the EDL rally in support of Geert Wilders; he also, as noted above, became associated with British Muslims for Secular Democracy. However, he appears to be genuinely affronted that his campaign of harassment against an innocent man should continue to be raised against him.

Of course, Flowers wants this to be about politics rather than character. His “Cheerleader” gang (consisting of an accomplice named Matthew Edwards and one or more other individuals) see themselves as cyber activists monitoring and exposing Islamic extremism, although, as with most vigilantes, a kind of self-righteous thrill-seeking is the main motivation. Flowers has a music band called the Fighting Cocks (although several the members split from him a few months ago when his activities come to light); on his website there, he boasts that his group does “bad things to bad people” (the line is taken from a character in a book by thriller author Tom Cain. Cain – actually a showbiz hack for the Daily Mail named David Thomas – is a personal friend of Flowers, although I’m sure he wouldn’t approve of Flowers’ activities). Flowers claims credit for discovering titbits about Islamists that have reached the media, in particular a 2008 comment by Asghar Bukhari of MPACUK about how Muslims who fight Israel will go to paradise; this was publicised by Policy Exchange.

Flowers’ predictable riposte has been to suggest that because what he’s done was against Islamic extremists, anyone who holds him to account must therefore be in league with Islamic extremists, and this is a familiar refrain on his “NiceOnesUK” Facebook page and on various anonymous attack blogs he’s set up. It seems that Flowers had hoped to expose extremism on a couple of other Islamic forums, but that the bad publicity around Jenvey had spoilt things somewhat. Of course we all know that Islamic extremists do post on-line, but the question is whether anything of significance had been discovered; and posting in the guise of an extremist to elicit evidence and entrap real extremists had been shown to be a rather foolish and problematic activity.

I’ve tried to investigate the extent to which Flowers and others have been making “undercover” postings to Islamic websites to manipulate discussions – for example, it’s obvious that when Jenvey temporarily converted to Islam last summer, it was Flowers or an accomplice who made postings “outing” Jenvey as gay in the hope that Jenvey might come to harm. Some bogus postings had also formerly been made to MPACUK, and I asked for IP information about these. There was no secret here, but at the time I shared the email with Wightman. Wightman then forwarded the email to Flowers, who then concocted a Glenn Beck-esque chart supposedly showing how I “share information” with extremists; Wightman tried to explain away his dishonesty with the same excuse. Flowers extrapolates from this to claim that I’m a friend and ally of Bukhari (I’m not), and, noting that Bukhari once offered to donate money to David Irving (as I blogged here), he suggests that I am in fact a “Nazi”.

Flowers also incorrectly asserts that I either am or was a member of the SWP, which is where his 1950’s-style “Communist” jibe comes from. It’s true that I did, long before I started this blog, have some association with some SWP members, but a look around this blog shows that the idea of me sharing the SWP’s perspective or agenda is utterly absurd (e.g. this blog entry, which drew hostile comment from SWP blogger Richard Seymour). However, as I’ve pointed out previously, it doesn’t really matter who I am or what my shortcomings might be: I’m just a guy with a blog, I’m not associated with any sort of activist organisation. Some of Flowers’ Islamist opponents throw around accusations of “racism” and “Islamophobia”, which miss the mark and which of course Flowers can easily dispatch. That’s not my complaint; my problem with him is that he didn’t like scrutiny, and so he decided to publish Tim’s home address in an attempt to intimidate him by making him fearful for his family’s safety. That remains true even if I really am “Communist pondlife filth”, and it obviously affects the credibility of any group he links himself to.

The key to all this is psychology rather than politics. The real underlying reason that Flowers published Tim’s home address is that if he can make a man worried for his family’s safety, it means he has “dominated” him in some way. The lie that Tim is a “stalker” has borrowed some one of Tim’s other opponents – Nadine Dorries MP – and Flowers has made constant use of this excuse. That was always flaky, and now that Dorries has been publicly discredited his claim looks utterly risible. Tim puts the whole “stalker” lie to bed here, with evidence.

Here are the facts: I don’t share information with extremists, but Flowers has (“outing” Jenvey as gay to Islamists, and passing Tim’s home address to “everyone he’s ever pissed off”, which if he’s true to his word included the BNP); I’m not involved with groups links to extremism, but Flowers is (the EDL); neither Tim nor I have used personal information to harass or bully on-line, but Flowers has. Neither Tim nor I have “stalked” women, but Flowers has (he sent a warning to a woman writer – unconnected to any political activity – that he was “watching” her). Neither Tim nor I have been investigated by the police, but Flowers has (and boasted at the “lack of evidence” they found). All Tim and I have ever wanted is that the truth should be known. The greatest weapons against Islamic extremism, as with everything else that is malign in our society, are the truth and open discussion – games with false identities and threats are a distraction. We might forgive teenagers for not realising this, but not mature adults the wrong side of forty.

The question remains as to why Flowers manages to retain so many hangers-on. Perhaps it’s the chance for middle-aged men to get in touch with their inner playground bully; one such associate is a man named Iain Westland, who calls me a Nazi and who posts to MPACUK accusing me of posting there under anonymously (again, untrue). He knows exactly what Flowers is like: he recently made a posting to NiceOnesUK decrying the publication of a Islamist’s home address by someone else, and Flowers made it quite clear that he considered there was nothing wrong with such a thing. This did not apparently give Westland pause to consider whether he needed to reassess the situation.

Incidentally, the notion that I am “anti-religious” is apparently based on the fact that I don’t like the idea of children being accused of witchcraft by evangelists. That’s the extent of Flowers’ hypocrisy and lack of good faith. He stinks, not of extremism or racism, but of phoniness. It’s time he grew up.

UPDATE: Flowers deleted his threat some time this morning, before my own post was published. One wonders what other threats and abuse he puts up and then takes down. I know that some months ago he created a fake Facebook thread in my name and placed it on the NiceOnesUK page for his cronies to giggle over; he also thought better of that after a few hours.

UPDATE 2: On 3 December I encountered Westland on a discussion forum and drew his attention to the above. Westland, who is a middle-aged mature student, promised me “an answer” that night, which failed materialise. Instead, he summoned Flowers onto the thread to provide further late-night abuse, followed by his own taunt that I am “fat boy”. He then deleted the discussion.

The Barnabas Fund vs Halal

From a brochure for the recent Second World Halal Forum Europe, subtitled Halal Products & Services – Going Mainstream:

WHF EUROPE RESOLUTIONS:

The World Halal Forum recognises the importance of animal welfare in the production of Halal food especially in the context of religious slaughter. The forum has resolved that organisations and communities involved in Halal food production should explore ways to reduce pain, distress and other welfare problems in the sourcing and treatment of animals during rearing, transport and slaughter. The World Halal Forum should collaborate with academic researchers and other experts in investigating the welfare implication and acceptability of different practices including pre-slaughter methods of restraint and applications to minimise pain and distress at the time of slaughter.

Halal values and principles are in line with those of Fair Trade. The forum resolved to work towards the integration of Halal with Fair Trade.

The forum resolved to work towards a European Halal Regulations and Accreditation system, starting with a single country as a pilot project, with the country proposed being the United Kingdom.

The Forum is backed by the Malaysian government, and the above has now generated a conspiracy theory for why Halal food is so widely available in the UK. Step forward Andrea Minichiello Williams, of the Alliance Defense Fund-associated UK group Christian Concern:

Halal and Polygamy – Whose Culture Do We Want?

How far are we willing to let our society be influenced by the demands of Islam and its encroaching culture?

One area of Islamification that has come to light recently concerns the food that we eat. Islamic food agencies are pushing to integrate halal into the mainstream market in the UK. The World Halal Forum held its annual conference in London earlier this month and has identified the UK as a pilot project for halal in Europe.

Consequently it has been discovered that halal meat has been regularly and secretly served in many places from Wembley and Ascot to Cheltenham College and even to MPs in Parliament!

Surely it can’t be right to force ritually slaughtered meat onto consumers? Are we really willing to be imposed upon like this? Please join me in resisting this imposition by boycotting places that don’t clearly label halal meat and give non-halal options. Please sign the Operation Nehemiah petition here.

Operation Nehemiah is run by the Barnabas Fund (previously blogged here); the organisation explains its campaign its website:

Halal food is being introduced secretly. All over Britain, schools, hospitals, pubs and sporting venues (including Ascot and Twickenham) are serving halal meat, often without informing the public. For example, all the beef, chicken and lamb sold to soccer fans at Wembley is halal-compliant, but the public has not been informed. Whitbread, Britain’s largest hotel and restaurant group, which owns the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, has admitted that more than three-quarters of its poultry is halal. Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in London serve halal meat without notifying the public. Ascot racecourse justified its actions by claiming that it was easier to store and cook only one type of meat: “All our chicken is halal. This is not advertised as the menus are kept as simple as possible.”

It has also been alleged that some big supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Somerfield and the Co-op are selling unlabelled halal meat products.

…Although Muslims make up only some 3% of the UK population, halal meats now make up 11 % of all meats sold in the UK. Halal is being used as an underhanded way of furthering the Islamisation of the country.

…Some see this as appeasement of the Muslim communities in the face of their increasingly assertive demands. Others see it as discrimination against non-Muslims, who in circumstances will be forced to eat Muslim religious food. Still others see it as undermining Western secular values.

Many Christians in particular are uneasy about buying halal food or other products because of its inseparable association with Islamic da’wa. They see such purchases as advancing the cause of global Islam, and of Islamist radicalism in particular, and as putting them implicitly under the authority of Islamic sharia. For this reason, while in no way objecting to the provision of halal products for Muslim consumers, they argue that these should not be forced on the non-Muslim community or sold without appropriate labelling. Christian farmers also do not want to be responsible for sacrificial slaughter of animals to Allah.

…We give due weight to the argument, on grounds of religious liberty, that halal slaughter should not be prohibited by law, and we acknowledge the different views held among Christians (and others) regarding its alleged cruelty.

There is also a mention of “the Biblical teaching on the eating of foods associated with non-Christian religious practice and its spiritual and social effects within the Christian community” – presumably a strained reference to 1 Corinthians 8: 4-13.

This is not the first complaint against halal meat; back in April, the English Defence League rallied to the cause of the KFC Bacon Boxmaster.

What will the meat-buying experience be like for non-believers after Islamification is complete?

(H/T to a reader)

WorldNetDaily Runs Ad for Anti-Jewish Conspiracy Website

A visit to WorldNetDaily brings up a prominent pop-up from an advertiser: a site called vaticancatholic.com, which promises to tell us “What Really Happened to the Catholic Church” (it also has a column ad on WND). Clicking on the link, or typing the url, in fact takes us to mostholyfamilymonastery.com, where we find sections such as this (emphases in original):

Jewish Power and Control Watch

*This section of our website will contain news updates and posts concerning the growing Jewish control of society.  These items are just some of the things we come across; they by no means represent an adequate presentation of all the material that could be brought forward on this issue, especially if more time and an extensive study were dedicated to this topic.  Many people aren’t aware that Jews dominate the media (both television and print), as well as other important positions shaping our society.  This is something traditional Catholics need to be aware of.  It’s important to note in advance that, as Catholic Christians, we desire the conversion and eternal happiness of all Jews (as well as all other non-Catholics) to the one true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation.  As Catholics, we reject all forms of racism as being un-Christian and illogical.   Jews have frequently been tremendous, and some of the very best, converts. As shown in our video, Abortion, Rock Music and Freemasonry Exposed, the Jewish “holy book,” The Talmud, blasphemes Christ, condemns Christians and considers Jews to be a master race.  That’s why it’s common for them to promote only Jews and thus come to dominate particular organizations and important positions in society.  For a foundational understanding of Jewish control in America and Jewish beliefs, we recommend Ted Pike’s video The Other Israel (watch it here) and Michael Collins Piper’s book, The New Jerusalem (available from americanfreepress.net).*

Bill in Congress makes it a crime to speak against homosexuality!

Related: Jews pressure Bush to sign “Hate” Bill…

Hate Laws: Making Criminals out of Christians Holocaust denial is a crime in 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Switzerland.  Those found to be in violation of the law are sent to prison. (wikipedia..com)

Author of best-selling “Holocaust” survival-story admits whole thing was made up….

Etc. Pope Benedict, meanwhile is described as an “anti-pope” and as “apostate”.

The site is run by Michael Dimond, a well-known fringe traditionalist.

BBC Panorama on Muslim Schools

As has been widely reported, the BBC’s Panorama ran a report on Monday by John Ware, entitled “British Schools, Islamic Rules”, about how certain schools may be promoting a segregationist mindset; although Ware made no reference to it, the programme came in the wake of a Telegraph report alleging that some Muslim schools in London received good reports from OFSTED due to the religious bias of particular inspectors.

The programme highlighted several case-studies, starting with the Jame’ah Uloomul Qur’an (var. Jamiah Uloom al-Qur’an) girls’ school in Leicester, where the niqab is part of the uniform. The school is associated with the Jame’ah Mosque, and with the Darul Iftaa Institute of Islamic Jurisprudence. Ware highlighted some particularly grim pronouncements from the Darul Iftaa website, such as that women should not leave the home “without need and necessity” and that music is a “direct ploy of the non-Muslims”. Although Ware did not give much background, these are the views of Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, who directs the Institute and who is also a teacher at the school. However, the school told Ware that the Darul Iftaa has no bearing on its “principles and ethos”.

Ware also noted links to between certain schools and controversial individuals: the Al-Risaala Balham Preparatory School, based in the Tooting Islamic Centre, described in a newsletter how Riyadh ul Haq had been an “inspiring speaker”; this was a year after his extremist views had been discussed by Andrew Norfolk in the Times. The school told Ware that ul Haq had not spoken at the school itself, but only in the Islamic Centre, which is in the same building. Meanwhile, APEX Primary in Ilford had a fundraising event involving Haitham al-Haddad, shown in a clip explaining how there was an “ongoing conflict” with the “enemies of Islam”, and that “we should pay the price of this victory from our blood”. APEX explained that this was not how it teaches “citizenship values”. I found this section to be less than satisfactory; a one-off link to an outside speaker with some objectionable views expressed elsewhere may be troubling, but in itself is insufficient to show that a school is hotbed of Islamist indoctrination. Rather than pursue the matter systematically or in any depth, Ware – whose research here appeared to consist of various bits and pieces culled from the internet followed up with requests for statements – quickly moved on to another subject, that of Saudi-influenced weekend schools (see below).

Ware also drew attention to the Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI), which inspects 70 schools connected with the Association of Muslim Schools UK and an organisation (not named by Ware) called the Christian Schools’ Trust.  Barry Sheerman MP complained that this “sub-system” had “slipped through the system before anyone noticed what had happened”. Ware noted that OFSTED has concerns that inspection organisations covering fewer than 350 schools and 5 faiths “might lack rigour and objectivity”; however, he only mentions in passing (and as something BSI has told him rather than as something which can be confirmed) that OFSTED has in fact rated the BSI as “good”. His sole – and somewhat thin – evidence against it is that it gave APEX a good rating despite al-Haddad having spoken at a fundraiser.

The last part of the programme dealt with the separate issue of a network of private weekend schools for young Muslims. Ware explained that there are 40 schools, teaching 5,000 children, and that they sometimes hire out school buildings for their activities. The schools use textbooks imported from Saudi Arabia, and Ware tracked down their distribution to a building associated with the London Saudi School in Ealing. The textbooks are inflammatory, explaining how Jews look like “apes and pigs” and how Zionists plan Jewish domination of the world. For 15-year-olds, there are illustrations to show where a thief’s hand and foot should be amputated, and discussion about the manner by which gay people ought to be executed. Ware notes that former Ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal had promised an end to such “intolerance” and “an internal revision and modernization plan”, following the exposure of the same material at the King Fahad Academy (also in Ealing) in 2007. Risibly, the Saudi embassy pretended to have nothing to do with the weekend schools, although Ware had letters showing this to be untrue.

Of course, Ware made some effort not make clear that he was not targeting all Muslims: he began by showcasing Al-Furqan school in Birmingham, which stresses the importance of integration, and later in the programme the Stanley Road Primary School in Oldham, which has an increasing number of white pupils. He also briefly looked over some school websites linked to other religions; in particular, he noted that some ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools appear “locked into their own world”, and he found an Evangelical school website carrying an attack Islam; although he didn’t give the name, this is the Bethany School in Sheffield, which carries a 1992 article from Prophecy Today explaining that

Islam and Hinduism are both deceptions, but very different from one another. The followers of Allah make no secret that they are waging a holy war against infidels on behalf of Allah at both national and international levels, and their militancy is plain to see.

Two of those interviewed for the programme – John Bald, formerly of OFSTED, and Neal Robinson, an academic expert on Islam, contributed a Policy Exchange report entitled Faith Schools We Can Believe In: Ensuring that Tolerant and Democratic Values are Upheld in Every Part of Britain’s Education System, which can be seen here.

Weekend of Anti-Islam Events in Texas

The Killeen Daily Herald has an account of Sunday’s self-described “competing”  Fort Hood memorial event, making up for what they regard as the media’s failure to emphasise Malik Hasan’s religion:

…Distinguishing moderate Muslims from would-be terrorists, [Retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin said that] Americans must realize they are at war “with a group of radical people who are following the exact dictates of the Koran,” he said.

Attorney and Army Reserve Maj. Stephen Coughlin moved from analogies to what he called doctrinal template analysis of the enemy.

“Those radicals cherry-pick the Koran,'” he said, imitating “apologist” views. “How many times have you heard that?”

Abrogation, which alleged shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan is reported to have briefed fellow officers on prior to being transferred to Fort Hood, prevents the Koran from being cherry-picked, he said.

Author Robert Spencer, the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Jihad Watch director, gave a brief history of Islam and called exceptions to rules found in the Koran flawed.

So, there are moderate Muslims, but Muslims who repudiate extremists by complaining that that they “cherry-pick the Koran” are in fact “apologists”. Not sure I quite follow. Further:

After a dinner break, Muslim-born Kamal Saleem and Walid Shoebat addressed the crowd, sharing their personal radical pasts and eventual rejections of jihad.

Shoebat’s story has come under some critical scrutiny, as I have blogged here, and even if it is true it concerns involvement in the PLO in the 1970s rather than anything involving Islamic fundamentalism; Shoebat tends to pad his material out with general details about supposedly growing up Islamist and Jew-hating environment (he also has a line in explaining how the Bible predicts the coming of a Muslim anti-Christ).

Spencer, curiously, has kept his participation low-key; he advertised the event on his Jihad Watch website back on 2 November, but he hasn’t mentioned it since.

Boykin and Saleem came to Killeen the day after attending a similar event at nearby Kerrville:

“The Islamization of America” will be discussed Saturday at a grassroots gathering in Kerrville, where the featured speakers will be retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin and a self-professed former terrorist recruiter, Kamal Saleem.Billed as the “Shoring Up America’s Foundations Summit,” the event, sponsored by the Hill Country Oak Coalition, is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m…

This is actually the Hill Country Oak Initiative, a local branch of the the Oak Initiative; this is a Charismatic Christian organisation which has Rick Joyner as its president and a certain Marc Nuttle as chair; Boykin is a member of the board, alongside the likes of Cindy Jacobs, Janet Porter, and  none other than Bob Weiner of Maranatha Churches and Campus Ministries (I previously blogged on this controversial organisation hereherehere, and here). Nuttle has apparently been an advisor to Jim Inhofe, and, among other roles, “a senior advisor to George Bush’s presidential campaigns in 1988 and 1992”.

Right Wing Watch has a couple of posts on the Oak Initiative (here and here); one of its purposes is apparently “the formation of a Christian Intelligence Service”, and it promotes a version of the “Seven Mountains” idea; this perspective identifies seven domains in modern society (“government, business, education, arts and entertainment, family services, media, and the church”) of which Christians should seek to take control.

Dead Sea Scrolls Cyber-Bully Gets Six Months

From the NY Times:

A disbarred lawyer convicted of impersonating a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar and four other academics online in a campaign to discredit their work is going up the river.

A judge Thursday sentenced Raphael Golb to six months behind bars – for his stealing his victims’ e-mail identities and trashing them.

The background to this story has been widely reported; I noted the conviction here. Golb had conducted a long-term campaign of identity theft and harassment in order to defend the academic theories of his father Norman Golb, using a plethora of fake identities; one of his victims, Robert Cargill, pieced together much of the evidence. Robert has issued a statement on his blog:

I am satisfied with the verdict and the sentence in the case of the People of New York vs. Raphael Golb. The sentence fits the crime. During the trial, Dr. Golb showed no remorse, never apologized for his actions, believed what he did wasn’t wrong, and stated flatly that he’d do it again.

…Scholars must be willing to stand behind any statements they make in their own name or else not make them at all. While anonymity has been used in the past to make unpopular and dissenting speech, and while this right of free speech should be protected under the law, what Dr. Golb did – using anonymity as a weapon to attack good scholars via criminal impersonation, forgery, identity theft, and for aggravated harassment against others – is shameful. It is a violation of the law and dishonors the memories of those who have fought and died for the freedom we call “free speech.”

…He has ultimately tarnished his father’s legacy perhaps beyond repair. And, because evidence from the trial proceedings demonstrated that Dr. Norman Golb not only knew about, but appears to have participated in some of his son’s scorched earth campaign of defamation against other scholars, perhaps this disgraced legacy is not wholly unwarranted.

…However, because Dr. Golb has vowed to appeal, and thereby prolong this case, I unfortunately believe this is not the end, but rather only the latest, never-ending chapter in the continued legacy of the Dead Sea Scrolls

The push for an appeal appears to be coming from Golb’s lawyer, Ron Kuby, who claims that Golb merely engaged in “first degree blogging”, and that the judgement serves only to protect “elite scholars”. Golb himself has offered a grudging, partial, and passive-aggressive apology:

 “Before this case, I did not know that satirical hoaxes of the sort were treated as crimes in the United States of America, but as this court said, ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” and, “I can only say that if I have indeed violated the law, I am terribly sorry and have no choice but to accept whatever the consequences are for me.”

As someone who has seen cyber-bullying and harassment in action, I know that it is a particulary vile activity that needs to be stamped down on – and it’s remarkable how many adults who should be old enough to know better are willing to debase themselves by indulging in it. For cowards and inadequates, the ability to cause trouble on-line while hiding behind a keyboard doubtless gives a sense of empowerment which is just too tempting to pass over.

Some Notes on Forsaken Book Promoted by Nadine Dorries MP

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Forsaken, a charity offering abortion counselling in Taunton; the charity has published a book, also called Forsaken, which was referenced by Nadine Dorries in a recent Parliamentary debate:

…I shall finish by mentioning a book which is to be launched this month. It is published by the charity Forsaken, which is neither pro-life nor pro-choice: it is pro-women. For two years, the charity has put together the stories of women suffering from post-abortion syndrome. Reading the book is so heart-wrenching that we just want to reach out and take their pain away, but we cannot. There is no going back. We cannot make it better; abortion is a procedure to end life-it is final.

Having seen the book, there is no way that it can be described as “neither pro-life nor pro-choice” – it is blatantly anti-abortion, with two very obvious aims: (a) to make women contemplating abortion feel that they shouldn’t do it; and (b) to persuade women who have had abortions to convert to Christianity. The stories abound with sentences such as “As I prayed, I felt a weight lifted from me”… “I had a new calling in my life – God”… “My son is in the arms of God”… “God has forgiven me, that’s his promise to us all”… “Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks as I realised that they forgave me and so did Jesus”. Interspersed are poems, including one in which a fetus remarks on how the womb is “so wonderfully designed by my Creator”. There’s also a lengthy New Testament quote, from 1 Timothy 1:12-17:

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent (wo) man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The book ends with some short Appendices, outlining “Post Abortion Syndrome” and supposed risks to physical health, and giving the contact details for Alternatives, a counselling service linked to the same church as Forsaken (the Living Light Christian Church, a local moderate Charismatic church).

There are also a few names: the back cover has an old quote from Dr Alfred Bongiovanni (misspelt as “Alfred Bongionni”) on how human life begins at conception, sourced to a book by Randy Alcorn entitled Why Pro-Life?, which might have given Dorries a bit of a clue. Alcorn runs Eternal Perspective Ministries; he has been involved with protests at abortion clinics and is associated with Operation Rescue. There is also a preface by Margaret Cuthill of the Abortion Recovery and Care Helpline; this was formerly British Victims of Abortion, and it was inspired by the National Right to Life Committee’s American Victims of Abortion following visits to the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) by the AVA’s Olivia Gans. According to an article by Ellie Lee, this was the conduit by which the idea of “Post Abortion Syndrome” came to the UK (1).

Tim Ireland has noted that the book was printed with the notice that Forsaken is a registered charity, but that the word “registered” has been Tippexed out. Dorries – who uses accusations of “harassment” to deflect any scrutiny – predictably threatened Tim with the police for “abusive behaviour ” after he contacted the organisation to enquire about its charitable status.

(1) See Ellie Lee (2001) “Reinventing Abortion as a Social Problem: ‘Postabortion Syndrome in the United States and Britain”, in Joel Best (ed.) How Claims Spread: Cross-National Diffusion of Social Problems (Walter De Gruyter: New York) pp. 39-67. On Google Books here.

Man Charged with “Soliciting Murder” over Islamic Extremist Website

News from Wolverhampton:

A man has been charged with soliciting murder in relation to a blog listing MPs it claimed voted for the Iraq war.

Bilal Zaheer Ahmad, 23, of Dunstall, Wolverhampton, was also charged with other offences under the Terrorism Act, West Midlands Police said…

Ahmad is alleged to have made the posting to the notorious and distasteful RevolutionMuslim website, which was in the news in April for carrying a threat against the creators of South Park; although his name has only just been made public by the police, a posting to the blog of Yousef al-Khattab (who founded the site but who is no longer associated with it) on 11 November mentioned “the arrest of brother Bilal in the UK” and criticised his actions.

Last year, RevolutionMuslim carried a death threat against Paul Ray, the self-described “spiritual leader” of the English Defence League (although currently estranged from the organisation); the author of the threat signed himself as “Bilal”. Interestingly, the attack on Ray had been provoked by a posting made to the site by somebody impersonating him; I received a fake message from a bogus Ray around the same time, sent in the hope that I would publish inaccurate information.

Presumably, whoever posted to RevolutionMuslim in Ray’s name was playing some sort of game, trying to manipulate extremists such as “Bilal” for his or her own ends.  This is a practice I’ve written about a couple of times previously (here and here); of course, it in no way mitigates or excuses the behaviour of the extremists (and there’s no reason to suppose it played a part in the matter over which Bilal Ahmad has been arrested), but meddling in this way is ill-considered and misleading at best, and vicious at worst.

Charismatic Catholic Spiritual Warfare in Poland

The Telegraph reports on a conference of Catholic exorcists in Poland:

The national congress comes as part of a policy by Poland’s Catholic Church to lift the veil on what was once a secretive practice. Frustrated by the Hollywood image of cross-wielding exorcists engaged in dramatic conflicts with demons the Church intends to show the complicated and often more mundane world of exorcism.

The article quotes Father Andrzej Grefkowicz, who explains that one sign of possession is the inability to enter a church. According to the New York Times, American bishops have just held a conference on the same theme in Baltimore, organised by  Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois.

Details of the event in Poland are scarce, although there was an “Exorcists’ Congress” in Niepokalanow, near Warsaw, back in February. A report derived from Gazeta Wyborcza explained:

“Our role is mainly to say prayers and psalms,” Father Andrzej Grefkowicz told the press conference. Another priest, Aleksander Posacki, said that too many myths surround exorcisms, which in fact are based on fundamental church rules.

Congress participants argued that demonology lessons should be treated more seriously in seminaries and that ordinary people, too, would benefit from knowing more about exorcisms. During the congress, the priests discussed the main causes of possession by demons such as occult, esoteric beliefs like magic, eastern meditation and homeopathy.

…The congresses are held twice a year.

In 2009, Grefkowicz participated in a conference on “Occultism, Magic, Spiritism: Road to Torment and Enslavement”, held at Cardinal Stefan Wyszy?ski University and organised by the pastoral ministry there (known as “Kaganek”); other speakers were Fr. Aleksander Posacki SJ, Leszek Dokowicz, Robert Tekieli, and Fr. Dominik Chmielewski. According to a blurb accessed by Google translate, Posacki warned against the dangers of “intellectual arrogance”, defined as reasoning in opposition to church teaching; Tekieli attacked New Age ideas (according to this article, Tekieli believes that Harry Potter promotes Tai Chi “Mind Control”); Dokowicz denounced the “Satanic symbolism” of techno music; and Chmielewski warned of the occult aspect to martial arts, based on his own experience as a martial arts instructor (more on that here).

Grefkowicz is also listed as a member of a group called Krajowego Zespo?u Koordynatorów (KZK, the “National Team Coordinators”), headed by Bishop Bronislaw Dembowski. This is a Catholic Charismatic Renewal group, and as such influenced by trends in neo-Pentecostalism.

Pamela Geller Announces New “Coalition”

Yet another annoucement from Pamela Geller:

Our groups American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)TM, Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI)TM, European Freedom Defense Initiative, European Freedom Initiative, Israel Freedom Initiative, SIOE, SIOA, SIAD,  SIO Poland, SIO Romania, SIO Bulgaria, SIO France, SIO Sweden, SIO Norway et al, are organized and led by Anders Gravers in Europe and Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, James Lafferty, Pamela Hall, and Rich Davis in the States. We are creating “a coalition of the free” to defend “the coalition of the willing,” as the war in the information battle space moves into its next phase.The Global Freedom Initiative.TM

Information about who is behind these various groups is sparse (Stephen Gash “retired” from SOIE in September), although Norway’s group is run by a journalist named Arne Tumyr. Geller took control of SIOA earlier this year, as I noted here.

So, what will the “next phase” have to offer?

We will be holding a huge conference in DC early next year, and will follow up with our teams in Europe, Asia, Latin America, China, and the Middle East in the Spring. Please contact me if you  wish to represent your country in our coaltion.

So, the same old pundit circuit. An organisation called the “Global Freedom Initiative” was created by the Cato Institute in 2007; perhaps they can live with another group using the same name, although the addition of “TM” must surely be annoying.

It’s a busy week for Spencer and Geller: today they are both in Fort Worth, Texas, for a meeting billed as “Sara and Dorrie Present Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer”; “Sara” is Sara Legvold, an activist in the Texas GOP (quote: “I want to deport everybody who is illegal — children, dogs, pets, birds.”), while “Dorrie” is Dorrie O’Brien, who is with Brigitte Gabriel‘s ACT! for America and who has trouble with holding meetings in libraries. Next weekend, Geller and Spencer will be at David Horowitz’s “Restoration Weekend” in Florida alongside the likes of Newt Gingrich, and then it’s back to Texas for Spencer, who will join Walid Shoebat at a Fort Hood “commemoration” focusing on the evils of how “liberalism” and “diversity” caused last year’s massacre.

UPDATE: Geller has announced two new associates:

We are proud to announce that Amil Imani will be heading up the Iranian Freedom Initiative. Amil will join forces with us to fight Islamic supremacism in the West and the global jihad, and we will join Amil in his battle for regime change in Iran… D’vorah Joy Hoffmann… is heading up the Israeli division of our global counter jihad movement, the Israel Freedom Initiative.

Hoffman is a pet-care specialist; Imani is the part of the usual pundit circuit and the author of a self-published novel called Obama Meets Ahmadinejad. According to an endorsement from Ali Sina on Imani’s site:

In this parody, Amil Imani ridicules two dangerous zanies of our time, who also must be laughed at, who both, have deceitfully usurped their presidency, and together are bringing the world to the brink of Armageddon.