Beck and Brits at Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend

Last week (19-20 November) the David Horowitz Freedom Center held its 2011 “Restoration Weekend”. Reports from the event contain no surprises: the speakers were as expected, and the rhetoric predictable. The highlight appears to have been an address by Glenn Beck, who warned about the “dark, evil stuff” of the Occupy movement – he was introduced in gushing terms by Horowitz:

Until Glenn Beck came along, ex-radicals like myself were endlessly frustrated by conservatives’ refusal to look at history, refusal to connect the dots, refusal to understand that these are not idealists, but dedicated anti-capitalist, anti-liberty and anti-American crusaders who number in the millions; that they are financed by anti-American billionaires, like George Soros?; and leftwing foundations, billionaire foundations, like the Tides Foundation and the Ford Foundation; and communist unions, like the SEIU; and criminal organizations, like ACORN; and that they are part of an international socialist Left which supports our Islamist enemies in the Middle East and Asia.

The British end was represented by Baroness Cox, Douglas Murray, and James Delingpole – Delingpole attempted a write-up at the Spectator, but after the first couple of paragraphs he descends into a generic rant against against the evils of liberals and moderate conservatives (the latter denounced as “cowardly, loathsome ideological sell-outs”).

Last year’s event included a special award for Pamela Geller, although she doesn’t appear to have been present this time.

Beck followed up his Restoration Weekend gig with a showing at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual dinner, alongside Michele Bachmann, where he received the Dr. Miriam & Sheldon Adelson Defender of Israel Award and was praised in a video message from Netanyahu. The JTA, however, was more circumspect:

As for Beck, who was introduced by billionaire businessman-philanthropist and Netanyahu-backer Sheldon Adelson, he is arguably the most polarizing media figure in Jewish life. Hundreds of liberal rabbis signed a letter in January asking that he be sanctioned for “completely unacceptable” use of the Holocaust and Nazi imagery. He has urged his listeners to quit their church or synagogue if “social justice” is part of its mission. And in a two-part series that accused left-wing financier and Jewish Holocaust survivor George Soros of collaborating with the Nazis, Beck flirted with what some critics saw as anti-Semitic conspiracies of Jewish control of media and finance.

Occasionally Beck has apologized — as he did after he compared Reform rabbis to Islamists — and then gone on to offend again.

A LAOSy Dimension to Greek Government

From Ekathimerini:

In a bid to ease a crisis that brought Greece closer to a default and a eurozone exit, leaders of the PASOK socialists, New Democracy conservatives, and ultranationalist LAOS party last week agreed on an interim administration under technocrat economist Lucas Papademos. Since its establishment in 2000, LAOS has campaigned on an anti-immigrant, nationalist platform.

…LAOS, which garnered less than 6 percent of the vote in the 2009 general elections, is over-represented in the 48-member Cabinet with one minister, one alternate and two deputy ministers.

…The past of LAOS’s Makis Voridis, the new minister for infrastructure, transport and networks, is… a political minefield. In the early 1980s he led the EPEN (National Political Union) youth group that was founded by ex-dictator Georgios Papadopoulos from inside Korydallos Prison. Five years later, Voridis was kicked out of the law school student union for engaging in extremist acts. In an infamous picture taken at the time, he is seen wielding a hand-made ax (he later said it was for self-defense).

In the mid-1990s, Voridis established the Hellenic Front (Elliniko Metopo), a nationalist party with close ties to Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front in France. In 2005, Hellenic Front merged with LAOS and Voridis was elected to Parliament two years later.

I blogged on LAOS and its leader Giorgos Karatzeferis back in 2005 – the LAOS acronym stands for  “Laikos Orthodoxos Synagermos”, and can be translated in various ways (here’s a few: “The People’s Orthodox Rally”, “The Populist Orthodox Rally”, “The People’s Orthodox Alarm”, “The Popular Orthodox Herald Party”).

Mark Ames has further details at Naked Capitalism:

…In 1994, Voridis helped found a new far-right party, The Hellenic Front. In 2004’s elections, Voridis’s “Hellenic Front Party” formed a bloc with the neo-Nazi “Front Party,” headed by Greece’s most notorious Holocaust denier, Konstantinos Plevis, a former fascist terrorist whose book, “Jews: The Whole Truth,” praised Adolph Hitler and called for the extermination of Jews. Plevis was charged and found guilty of “inciting racial hatred” in 2007, but his sentence was overturned on appeal in 2009.

By that time, Makis “Hammer” Voridis had traded up in the world of Greek fascism, merging his Hellenic Front Party into the far-right LAOS party, an umbrella party for all sorts of neo-Nazi and far-right political organizations. LAOS was founded by another raving anti-Semite, Giorgos Karatzeferis—nicknamed “KaratzaFührer” in Greece for alleging that the Holocaust and Auschwitz are Jewish “myths,” and saying that Jews have “no legitimacy to speak in Greece.” The Anti-Defamation League is going ballistic about it; for some reason, the media hasn’t taken notice, except in Israel.

As well as formerly promoting Holocaust denial, Karatzeferis has called for the banning of religiously-offensive art. In 2003 he objected to Asperges Me, a painting which showed an erect penis next to a crucifix dripping with semen; Karatzeferis’ complaint included the detail that “the penis, that thing, looked circumcised”.

According to YNet, Karatzeferis is now moderating his rhetoric:

His conciliatory words may be connected to a secret telegram sent by the American embassy in Athens. Following LAOS’ great success in the Greek general elections in 2009 (it won close to six percent of the votes), US embassy officials wrote that Karatzaferis realizes that in light of his party’s growing influence, it is essential that it distance itself from ultra-nationalist positions and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

The telegram was made public by the WikiLeaks website.

According to a LAOS party member who briefed the US embassy staffers, Karatzaferis instructed the party’s leaders to soften their anti-Semitic comments so Washington would not object to the party’s inclusion in a future Greek government.

(H/T World War 4 Report)

Christian Concern Puffs MassResistance’s Anti-Occupy Counter Protest in Support of Anti-Gay Pastor

UK Christian Right lobby-group Christian Concern reports:

There have been reports that ‘Occupy’ activists in America have started targeting Christians, in a new development for the protest movement.

On 18 November ‘Occupy Springfield’ activists organised a demonstration outside a Christian coffee house, set up by Pastor Scott Lively as an inner-city Christian mission to Springfield, Massachusetts…

Although his focus is on helping people live by Christian principles, Dr Lively was targeted because of his pro-family activism. Occupy Springfield has publicly stated that one of their goals is to close down his mission completely. They put an advert in the local paper, the Springfield Republican, attacking the pastor and accusing him of ‘hate crimes’. The signatories included well-known homosexual activists.

The text is mostly sourced from Brian Camenker’s MassResistance (var. Mass Resistance), which organised a counter-protest to defend Lively, and which denounces Occupy as “anti-American, pro-Muslim, and particularly hostile to Christianity and traditional values”.

For some reason, Christian Concern is somewhat vague as to the nature Lively’s “pro-family activism”, but he most famous as the co-author of a book entitled The Pink Swastika. For the uninitiated, the Southern Poverty Law Center has some background:

Written by fundamentalist activists Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika says that rather than being victimized by the Nazis, gay men in Hitler’s inner circle actually helped mastermind the Holocaust.

“While we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism,” write Lively and Abrams. “To the myth of the ‘pink triangle’ — the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted — we must respond with the reality of the ‘pink swastika.'”

Lively is particularly popular in Latvia, and a Russian-language translation of the book has been promoted in Latvia by Pastor Alexey Ledyaev, the head of the anti-gay New Generation Church in Riga. Christian Concern’s director Andrea Williams met Ledyaev’s “administrator” and other New Generation figures at a church in Northampton in November 2010.

Lively is also sympathetic to the anti-gay crackdown in Uganda; back in February, he wrote a column for WorldNetDaily in which he explained that Uganda was “being murdered”:

The murderers are the lavender Marxists, the now-global network of sexual revolutionaries bent on remaking the entire world in their own perverted image, whose juggernaut has toppled even once-mighty Britain, crushing under their lavender boots after eight centuries the symbol of its Christian power: the Magna Carta, whose first principle had proclaimed “The English church must be free!”

…Uganda is the only country in the world with a national holiday commemorating its rejection of sexual perversion. Every June 3 it honors the 22 young men and boys who were tortured and roasted alive in 1886 by homosexual King Mwanga, because they refused to submit to sodomy. Is it any wonder, then, that Uganda has reacted violently against the army of agitators, led by George Soros, who now seek to re-homosexualize Ugandan culture?…

Despite railing against homosexual “murderers” who have understandably provoked a violent reaction in a country which has been “thriving in Christian revival”, Lively has since clarified that he doesn’t support the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which includes the death penalty for “serial offenders”.

Lively heads Abiding Truth Ministries, and his website is Defend the Family. That site is currently promoting an article by a certain Kevin DuJan on HillBuzz, who complains that the media has been unfairly targeting Herman Cain over allegations of sexual harassment while ignoring evidence that Barack Obama is gay:

During the 2008 election, I campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the Democrat primaries. Repeatedly, I heard over and over here in Chicago that Barack Obama is gay and that his marriage to Michelle is one of mutual convenience.  In the black community, this is called “being on the down-low”, where a closeted gay male weds an often-times gruff and demanding woman (typically without other male suitors of her own) to take public scrutiny off them both and afford the pair a successful life they’d never achieve separately.

There are, apparently, a lot of such relationships forged at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago — where Barack Obama’s pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, oversaw the coupling of down-low gay black men with sour and caustic black women.

…Apparently, he went most often to this Andersonville neighborhood bathhouse on Wednesdays, and while there he was rumored to seek oral sex from older white men.  According to the gossip, Barack Obama would never reciprocate in these encounters, but enjoyed being pleasured by older white guys. 

As I blogged a few days ago, Christian Concern has also recently made links with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, which in turn supports the English Defence League.

However, Christian Concern has also been busy cultivating mainstream links: it co-organised a conference that took place just yesterday and today, featuring

[Phillip] Blond, the acknowledged driving force behind David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’… Lord Glasman, Professor John Milbank and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.

Harry Cole Withholds Evidence of Harassment against Tim Ireland Out of Spite

“Harry Cole” is young conservative activist who edits a couple of websites and who appears in the media as a pundit from time to time. Yesterday, he used Twitter to make an accusation against Tim Ireland:

 …he tried to get us to run fake evidence of his madness. Deeply odd. (1)

…anyone with a basic grasp of photoshop could see it was knocked up (2)

…I was emailed photos purporting to be of his medication…(3)

…I was then informed by a reliable source that they were fake and that it was an attempted sting by non-other than @bloggerheads (4)

Cole was indeed sent a photo purporting to be of medication, but not from Tim. As Tim explains:

In January 2010, during a police investigation that resulted from Dorries’ complaint/’report, some fabricated evidence emerged. It was quite damaging stuff. The anonymous originator claimed to have fished it out of my bin; a box of prescription medication made out to me (specifically a powerful anti-psychotic drug). Bedfordshire Police investigated its origins until they hit a dead end.

Further:

Police were advised of the following by a medical professional they interviewed as part of their investigation, and I was present when it was said; the medication involved is a carefully controlled substance to the extent that you cannot pick up even an empty box like it by digging through bins at the back of Boots; the original picture that was used for this forgery was most likely accessed by someone who had been prescribed this medication, or enjoyed a position of trust with someone who had been prescribed this medication.

Quite reasonably, Tim asked Cole for the email’s metadata – the person who created this picture has elsewhere referenced Tim’s family, and he may be dangerous. Cole’s response:

Here is my formal response @bloggerheads. In the name of openness and transparency I will do it publicly: “Go fuck yourself” (5)

Tim pointed out that this amounted to “protecting a bastard who has been targeting my wife and family”; Cole’s reaction was to pretend that Tim had accused him of this, and to declare that “you can shove your allegations up your arse”.

The Blog that Peter Wrote has further discussion here. Cole has contributed to the comments; he continues to pretend that Tim had accused him of threatening his family, and – having begun the whole row with his bogus “sting” allegation – he now complains that

Ireland is deluded with his giant conspiratorial web, that I’m frankly bored of being slightly tangled in. 

I think all reasonable people will be repelled by such a display of childish spite. It’s also sad to see someone who has so obviously had his integrity and empathy corroded by his older role models: his day job is working for Paul Staines, and last year he and Staines smeared a disabled woman as a benefits cheat at the behest of Nadine Dorries MP.

Bogus Satanic Ritual Abuse Accusation Resulted in Another Tragedy

The latest issue of Private Eye magazine (1302, p. 32) has an article about yet another tragedy resulting from a bogus accusation of Satanic Ritual Abuse, focusing on a mentally-ill woman who “was found dead in mysterious circumstances in 2005” after years of estrangement from her family. The woman, named Carole Myers (formerly Carol Felstead), had been persuaded by therapists that

Her parents were supposed to be the High Priest and High Priestess of a Satanic cult who dug up graves and performed ritual sacrifices, including murder.

The article names four therapists who had treated Myers, beginning in 1985:

Carol’s medical records reveal that these therapists included Dr Fleur Fisher, a former head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association; Valerie Sinason… then a child psychotherapist based at the Tavistock Clinic in London; Dr Rob Hale, a consultant psychotherapist, psychiatrist and adult psychotherapist, based at the Tavistock; and the late Vera Diamond, then a Harley Street self-styled psychotherapist who specialised in mind numbing relaxation therapy and deprogramming brainwashed cult victims.

A 1991 letter from one consultant psychiatrist to another mentions Carol’s “emotional distress because of the work she was doing with Police in re-living distressing details of the alleged satanic ritual abuse she suffered as a child”, when in fact there was no police investigation. However, her family has since asked police to look into the allegations against them, and the Eye quotes a 2009 letter from Det Supt Grant Lander of Wandsworth police:

The relationship Dr Fisher developed with Carol in my opinion was misguided. There is absolutely no evidence that I have obtained in my investigation that showed Carol ever suffered abuse by yourself or by any members of your family.

As for the circumstances of Carol’s death in 2005, she “was found dead in her flat [in Wandsworth] following a 999 call to the Met Police by Dr Fisher while she was on a train to Manchester”. Fisher then “told the police, Battersea Coroner’s Office and the housing association which owned Carol’s flat that she was Carol’s next of kin and executor, and she started to arrange her cremation”. The family, which had begun to re-establish contact with Carol, was not told for two weeks, although they managed to halt the planned cremation. The coroner had recorded an open verdict on the cause of death.

Further details are available from a website created by Carol’s family.

The Eye also notes that Carol was Sinason’s “first such patient in the UK”; Sinason “has since said in an interview that over the next two years she and Hale treated 51 ‘ritually abused patients'”. Private Eye has followed Sinason’s work over a number of years: in 2006 it was reported that she had “offered her expertise” in the case “Adam”, the murdered West African boy whose torso was found by the Thames in 2001; in 2008 she delivered the keynote talk at a conference of London childcare workers, on the subject of “ritual abuse and Dissociative Identity Disorder”, and she contributed to a book entitled entitled Forensic Aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I gave an overview of the “Satanic Panic” saga here.

Nadine Dorries MP: A Round-Up of Her Accusations

Last week, Tim Ireland published extracts from a letter which Nadine Dorries MP had sent to the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police in July 2010, in which she asked for the police to act against four individuals who were subjecting her performance as an MP to unwelcome critical scrutiny. The four individuals were:

Tim Ireland: Tim undertook a long voluntary interview with police which established that he had not broken any laws, although he was warned that because of her reaction to his presence at a public event he would be well advised not to attend any future events involving Dorries. Dorries and her allies have since tried to spin the fact of the interview and this advice as proof of stalking.

Mrs Humphrey Cushion“: “Mrs Cushion” is a constituent who has criticised Dorries on Twitter and on her blog. Last year, she was on sick leave from her carer job awaiting operations on her feet for arthritis – Dorries (helped by Paul Staines) tried to smear her as a benefits cheat, and Dorries’ bogus harassment complaint led to a visit from the police. Again, no further action was taken, but the police visit frightened her children, and it took place while she was in pain and lying in bed recuperating from the operations.

Chris Paul: Paul is a Labour blogger whom Dorries accused of hanging “around outside” her house due to “sexual” interest. In fact, there was no evidence of either.

Linda Jack: Jack had the temerity to stand against Dorries for the Liberal Democrats in the 2010 General Election, and Dorries accused her of being part of the “group”.

Tim notes an anonymous comment posted to Paul’s website from around the same time as the letter was sent, and which boasted of imminent police retribution. This added a fifth person as part of the conspiracy:

– Peter Hand: Hand was a former Dorries staffer who had reported one of her expenses claims to police (the police investigated, but declined to proceed due to insufficient evidence).

At the end of last week, Tim published further details from the letter, and yesterday he published a follow-up report which she sent to police in November 2010. Further accusations abound:

“My house has now been broken into twice; I didn’t report it the second time”.

Further details about this were provided in a email which one of Dorries’ associates sent to Tim and to others last year: it was claimed that her front door had been removed from its hinges and a filing cabinet disturbed.  Given the incredibly low bar at which Dorries runs to the police and media with the cry of “stalker”, it is remarkable that she didn’t make more of a fuss about a truly criminal act which – if it actually happened – was clearly aimed at compromising her duties as an MP.

– “I have spoken to lawyers at Carter Ruck and they tell me that Tim Ireland is well known and that Guildford Police have dealt with a number of complaints regarding similar behaviour with others. He is apparently a well known computer hacker”.

Tim writes:

I contacted Carter-Ruck about the extraordinary accusations Nadine Dorries made in their name. I was curious to know what evidence they could produce to back the assertion that I was a notorious computer hacker with multiple complaints against me, but I didn’t get very far. 

Further:

Carter-Ruck were asked about the mysterious circumstances in which I found myself accused of harassment without so much as a letter from their office, but they had no comment to make about that, either. I do not recall ever being warned by Carter-Ruck about the appropriateness of my behaviour toward any of their clients, and seemingly neither do they.

The November “report” repeats some of the accusations in the July letter, but there’s more:

Tim and Ms Cushion have been “us[ing] Twitter to deploy people to bombard the Office of the Standards Commissioner, three times last week I believe and place numerous FOI requests about myself”.

Tim writes:

Dorries really needs to learn the difference between a subject access request under the Data Protection Act, an information request under the Freedom of Information Act, and the act of sharing the task(s) of data entry and analysis of information already in the public domain…  Dorries claims that I sent her and her staff “numerous offensive emails” and other “vile” and “abusive” and “explicit” messages, but she refuses to reveal them, even when legally compelled.

Tim has “fed a negative an untrue story about my blog to Sky News blogs recently who published it, without fact checking. One of the journalists has since apologised, but it was too late”.

Tim again:

The ‘Sky news blog’ article she speaks of was fact-checked. Dorries’ objection was that it wasn’t checked against things that she merely pretended were facts. The author stands by the piece and is very clear that he certainly didn’t apologise to Dorries about any of it.

“He has bombarded my staff with phone calls, to the point whereby my staff in the constituency office have had to unplug the phone. This prevents constituents from being able to contact my caseworker”.

Tim explains:

In good faith, I sought to alert Dorries to the dangers resulting from the public accusations of stalking she had made… Dorries not only portrayed my attempts to contact her about her unsubstantiated accusations of stalking as evidence of my stalking her (!), …

Bedfordshire Police were made aware of every scrap of relevant correspondence, and agreed that it did not amount to stalking, or even harassment. That may seem difficult to understand if you read what Dorries writes here and take any of it at face value, but Dorries has been using repeated lies and distortions about the frequency and content of attempts to communicate.

It seems to me obvious that if Dorries’ office had really been obliged to unplug its phone, that would have been sufficient to launch a proper police complaint at the time – instead, Dorries raises it as a vague detail in a general complaint sometime later.

It should be noted that Dorries does not have a particularly distinguished record as a constituency MP: her blog is primarily dedicated to expounding her views on abortion and sex education and attacking opponents; beyond a few ceremonial photo ops there is little about what she actually does for local people. The only local subject she has discussed at any length is her opposition to plans to build an incinerator, and she appears to have only recently become aware of (let alone got to grips with) the legal difficulties around cancelling the project.

“I made a speech about abortion in which I mentioned the new charity “Forsaken”. The next morning they had Tim Ireland on the telephone making accusations about their organisation and myself”.

Again:

The content about ‘Forsaken’ can’t be anything but an outright lie. No calls were made to the Forsaken organisation at all, even Forsaken themselves were very clear about that, and the fact of the matter was made clear to Nadine Dorries on the morning this ‘report’ to police was written. This is important because unlike some tales that begin with a kernel of truth*, Dorries is basing this claim on evidence she cannot have seen and won’t have been told about. More detail on that little event here and here.

I have blogged on the background to this myself here.

I hope it is now established beyond reasonable doubt that Dorries makes vexatious complaints to smear opponents and discourage democratic accountability. Perhaps it is significant that none of her usual defenders have chosen to respond to Tim’s posts on the subject.

Dorries’ accusations of “stalking” against Tim have been used by a number of other individuals for their own purposes. These include:

– Some other politicians, in particular Patrick Mercer MP, who wishes to deflect questions about why he continued to use talking points from bogus “terror trackers” even after evidence of duplicity had been brought to his attention, and Anne Milton MP, who was embarrassed when Tim discovered that two of her activists were smearing a political opponent in 2005. More on all this here.

On-line political opponents such as Iain Dale. A botched attempt by a certain Jack Hart to jump on the same bandwagon can be seen here.

– A group of on-line vigilantes who have subjected Tim to a campaign of harassment and threats after he looked into bogus postings being made by non-Muslim provocateurs on Islamic web forums. Dorries has endorsed one individual related to this group. I’ve been targeted by the same thugs for daring to support Tim. Sporadic attacks occur even to this day

A couple of journalists, including one who didn’t appreciate Tim complaining about being used as a source without credit.

EDL Makes Link with British Freedom Party

As has been widely reported, the English Defence League has entered into a formal association with a fringe-right political party, the British Freedom Party. The Gates of Vienna blog quotes “Gaia”, who was present the “EDL Way Forward Meeting” in Birmingham where the announcement was made:

[Stephen Yaxley-Lennon] proposed an association between the EDL and BF. He had nothing but praise for [BF Chairman] Paul Weston, “who has charisma, can speak well, and is a jolly good bloke!” He said they got on well with each other and could work together.

…Tommy may elect to join British Freedom, but this is an opportunity for EDL members to move over to BF and for the first time provide input and promote the views of the British working class within a British political party.

This follows a “counterjihad leadership summit” in London in September:

A number of people associated with ICLA [International Civil Liberties Alliance] were present, including Paul Weston, Aeneas, Gaia, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, KGS of Tundra Tabloids, Henrik Ræder Clausen of Europe News (English), Liz of Europe News (Deutsch), and other activists from North America and Western Europe. There were representatives from Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the UK, and the USA.

The importance of the meeting was underscored by the presence of several leaders of the English Defence League. Tommy Robinson, Kevin Carroll, and Jack Smith were among those who conferred for the first time with a cross-section of the European Counterjihad.

This was just a few days after Weston had joined the British Freedom Party and joined its executive council; the BFP was also represented by “Peter Mullins, Lee Barnes, Simon Bennett and George Whale”. Mullins, Barnes, and Bennett are all ex-BNP,and as Islamophobia Watch notes, they have now stepped into the background:

No doubt partly in order to remove any obstruction to an alliance with the EDL, but more importantly to assist the BFP’s bid for wider electoral support, the ex-BNP activists recently resigned their positions and were replaced by individuals with no known fascist background. 

Weston was formerly with UKIP, and he was elected chairman of the BFP just a couple of weeks ago. Back in March, he was part of a delegation of European rightists to Israel – he and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff gave speeches at a “small museum honoring Gush Katif”. He has also described himself as a representative of the International Free Press Society – James Cohen of the EDL Jewish Division is also involved with this organisation.

Texas Politician Gives Apocalyptic Novel to Benjamin Netanyahu

From Right Wing Watch:

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins today had Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on his radio show Washington Watch Weekly to discuss their recent trip to Israel with a delegation that also included congressmen Louie Gohmert (R-TX), John Fleming (R-LA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Randy Forbes (R-VA). Perkins and Jordan recounted their meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which included Gohmert knocking over Netanyahu’s coffee cup when he “presented the Prime Minister with the latest novel from Joel Rosenberg”.

…Joel Rosenberg is a Christian author who primarily writes about the End Times and frequently shares his thoughts with Glenn Beck. His latest novel describes a future time when Iran has a nuclear weapon and “[m]illions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as ‘the Twelfth Imam’—has just arrived on earth.” Christianbook.com says that Rosenberg’s novel “combines the action and exquisite detail of Tom Clancy with the tense religious drama of Left Behind.”

Rosenberg is a familiar figure on the apocalyptic Christian Right: he is the author of numerous thrillers based on his understandings of Bible prophecy and middle east politics, and in 2008 he organised a conference in Jerusalem involving the likes of Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin and ex-CIA director Porter Goss (Goss provided a recorded message). The book which Gohmert (who himself came to wider attention last year when he raised the spectre of a Muslim “terror baby” conspiracy)  gave to Netanyahu was entitled The Tehran Initiative, and it purports to answer the question: “What if the world waits too long and Iran’s apocalyptic leaders finally build nuclear weapons?”

While the idea of a US politician handing over an apocalyptic paperback to the prime minister of Israel may appear bizarre and risible, it should be noted that Netanyahu knows the book’s author already: Rosenberg was formerly his adviser (a distinction Netanyahu shares with Rush  Limbaugh and Steve Forbes).

Also, there’s a long tradition of Israeli officials indulging the pretensions of Christian Right prophecy potboiler hacks: back in 2006, John Hagee’s Jerusalem Countdown was advertised as containing “detailed information that Hagee has received from top Israeli government officials concerning a nuclear showdown between Iran and Israel”, and Mike Evans has met with several Israeli prime ministers.

In 1989, Hal Lindsey boasted in The Road to Holocaust about his 1970 bestseller The Late Great Planet Earth:

The first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, was reading it shortly before he died. Since everything in his room has been kept the way it was before he died, a copy of The Late Great Planet Earth remains on his desk. A friend of mine who is one of Israel’s top military commanders passed out hundreds of copies of the Hebrew translation to the Israeli Defence forces, even though he personally hasn’t as yet believed in Jesus as the Messiah.

Putin Confidant Brings Virgin Mary’s Belt to Moscow

From the Moscow News:

The Belt of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, visiting from Athos, Greece, is to receive pilgrims from 10 am on Saturday, Nov. 19, in Christ the Savior Cathedral….

…The relic has seen huge crowds gather to visit it during its tour, which has already covered a number of cities… It has been venerated by some 2 million pilgrims in Russia, including President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Interfax reported on Friday.

So popular is the relic that queues have been stretching for kilometers and believers’ wait has been dragging to many hours. There have been rumors of such unseemly behavior as queue-jumping by VIP corteges, but this was denied by Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin, who helped organize the tour.

“No VIP passes and entries throughout the entire tour were organized,” Interfax quotedYakunin as saying. “In several places, people tried it with fake passes, but they were instantly stopped.”

blogged on plans for the belt’s visit to Russia a few weeks ago – Yakunin believes that the belt will promote “family values”, and his wife Natalya (President of the Sanctity of Motherhood Program) recently took part in a World Congress of Families conference in Moscow with US Christian Right activists and others.

According to some background here, the belt was supposedly made by the Virgin Mary from camel hair and given by her to the Apostle Thomas during her ascension to heaven. A pious but scholarly nineteenth-century work by Romualdo Gentilucci (Life of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, 1860, p. 470) has further details:

We shall mention, first, the band or girdle, which the Greeks have since the fourth century claimed to possess, and which the Empress Saint Pulcheria transferred from Jerusalem.

The author adds a footnote with some background from the Greek menology of the Emperor Basil (via Latin):

In the Urbino edition of 1727, under Aug. 31, we read:… “Arcadius, son of Theodosius the Great, brought to Constantinople the girdle of the most Blessed Virgin Mother of God, from Jerusalem, where it had till then been preserved by a certain virgin, and deposited it for public veneration in an elegant shrine which was called the Holy Urn.” He then relates how it was found four hundred years after, under the Emperor Leo, and how by the touch of the girdle the patriarch delivered the Empress Zoe, who was tormented by an impure spirit.

Shaun Tougher’s The Reign of Leo VI (886-912) (1997, p. 144) suggests that this “ceremonial miracle” had a political purpose, as Zoe had a bad reputation. The belt eventually found a home at the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, and the current tour is the first time it has traveled to Russia. And as with Leo and Zoe in the ninth century, spiritual activities around the belt are again intertwined with political theatre:  as I’ve quoted more than once previouslyTime magazine  in 2007 described the Russian Orthodox Church as Russia’s “main ideological arm and a vital foreign policy instrument”, and bringing the Mother of God’s belt to Russia can be seen in that context.

Yakunin is a seasoned impresario when it comes to transporting religious items; in 2009 the Economist reported from Jerusalem that

…a light kindled from the “holy fire”—the flame that emerges from the Tomb of Christ in an ancient Easter rite—is now flown to Moscow in a chartered plane. This is done with efficiency, fanfare and much coverage from the media. In charge of it is one of Russia’s inner circle: Vladimir Yakunin, head of Russia’s railways and pal of Mr Putin, whose security-police background he shares.

This is one result of the expansion of the Russian church in Jerusalem (background here), and Yakunin has also organised the return from Jerualem to Moscow of relics of Elizabeth Feodorovna, the pious Grand Duchess of Russia who was murdered in 1918:

No less important, for the guardians of Russia’s heritage, is the fact that holy objects can be brought from places like Gethsemane to Russia. Part of the saintly patron’s remains have been “repatriated” to Moscow to stay at the charitable foundation she created: the Martha and Mary community, which occupies a courtyard, garden and finely frescoed church near the city centre.

The restoration of that premises (now a monument to Romanov piety, with an impressive set of letters, photographs and mementoes), the partial return of Elizabeth’s relics and the broader process of fusing Russia’s “white” and “red” traditions have been overseen by some powerful, interlocking bodies. At their apex is the railway boss, Mr Yakunin. The office of two organisations that he heads—the Apostle Andrew Foundation and the Centre for National Glory—is just opposite the Martha and Mary community.

…Visitors to that office are greeted by Mr Yakunin’s deputy, Mikhail Yakushev, an Arabist and history buff.

Some of Yakunin’s other ventures more obviously link religion and politics: earlier this year, Baltic Business News reported that

Tuuli Koch, a reporter for Postimees daily, received the 2010 Bonnier Award, Estonia’s biggest annual prize for investigative journalism, writes Äripäev.

Koch won the prize for her story, published at the end of 2010, in which she revealed that Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar had secretly attempted to fund his political party and the building of a church in Savisaar’s electoral district in Lasnamäe through the deep pockets of Vladimir Yakunin, president of the Russian state-owned railway company.

Another initiative of the Apostle Andrew Foundation is the World Public Forum, which holds high-level international conferences in Rhodes on the “Dialogue of Civilizations”. In his opening speech at the most recent WFP conference, he noted “incompatibility between the neo-liberal interpretation of the system of human rights and the system of human values”, and that “the universal urge to have the ‘freedom’ to say ‘anything and in any form’ has a temporary character and is beginning to fade away”. In March, Yakunin presented an award on behalf of the forum to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, a few days before an election in the country.

Yakunin co-founded the WFP with two other men: one of these is a man named Nicholas Papanicolaou, who has close links with US neo-Pentecostal Christian Right activists such as Gen. W. “Jerry” Boykin and Rick Joyner. Papanicolaou, Boykin, and Joyner also all belong to a chivalric order which claims to have had Russian protection in the nineteenth century; however, while it may be tempting to develop this into a conspiracy theory, the historic link between the order and Russia is a matter of some debate.

UPDATE: Reuters has a nice quote:

The [St. Andrew the First-Called] Foundation, chaired by the head of Russia’s state railways and long-time Putin associate Vladimir Yakunin, said the relic’s arrival shortly before the parliamentary election was coincidental.

“It is absolutely not related. We wanted it to come in the summer, but the entire process, the discussions, took a long time,” spokesman Alexander Gatilin said. 

Christian Concern Makes Link with EDL-Supporting Group in Tennessee and Anti-Catholic Bible College Dean

Here’s one I overlooked from last month – from the Herald Citizen (Tennessee):

Sam Solomon may be an expert on Sharia law — but he doesn’t practice it.

Not anymore.

And tomorrow, the former Muslim and Islamic jurist from England will be at Tennessee Tech — one of several stops he’s making in Middle Tennessee in the coming days — to share his story of conversion and discuss different aspects of Sharia law, which is the legal system of the Islamic religion.

…Also speaking will be English social activist Andrea Williams, who, along with Solomon, works with England’s Christian Concern, an organization that seeks to introduce a Christian voice into law, the media and government…

…Solomon, in addition to his work with Christian Concern, serves as an advisor to British and European Parliamentarians. He lectures around the world on religious issues and is an expert witness on Islamic and religious matters.

…The Christian Concern Sharia law conference is being presented in association with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, a nonprofit organization designed to educate Tennesseans on policy matters relating to a variety of political, economic, and religious issues, including Islamic radicalization.

…In organizing the Sharia Law Conference, Zelenik had some local assistance from Kerry Duke, dean at Tennessee Bible College in Cookeville.

A photo of Williams and Solomon with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition’s Andy Miller and Duke can be seen on the TFC’s Facebook page; according to the caption:

Andy Miller and Tennessee Freedom Coalition is proud to stand with UK’s Christian Concern, Sam Solomon and Andrea Williams, and Kerry Duke !! Great Event at TN Tech today!

This event seems to have been a prelude to the “Preserving Freedom” conference which took place in Nashville last weekend: Solomon spoke at that event, as did Christian Concern’s Paul Diamond. According to WorldNetDaily, Diamond told the crowd at “Preserving Freedom” that

he and his British colleagues are going to begin coordinating their legal efforts with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition.

I thought that WND (or Diamond) had perhaps here meant William Murray’s “Religious Freedom Coalition”, but even if that is the case, the Tennessee Tech event shows that Christian Concern is indeed allied with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition – an organisation which offers enthusiastic support for the English Defence League and for Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (a “brave man” who is bringing “truth to light regarding the spread of radical Islam both in the United Kingdom and around the world”).

Solomon and Williams have featured on this blog previously: Williams has made links with the Christian Right in Europe, while Solomon is the author of The Mosque Exposed, which claims that Muslim immigration to the west is a religious “obligation” undertaken as a form of jihad, and that moderate Muslims are engaging in a ruse as part of a conspiracy.

One “European Parliamentarian” with whom Solomon is particularly close is the UKIP MEP Gerard Batten; in 2007 it was announced that

Gerard Batten MEP held a press conference in the House of Lords on 29th April to launch in the UK the Proposed Charter of Muslim Undertanding, commissioned by him from Islamic scholar and author Sam Solomon.

The purpose of the Proposed Charter is to help identify those Islamic teachings that can be used by extremists to justify or condone intolerance and violence, and to offer moderate and peaceful Muslims a means of disaccociating themselves from those teachings. 

The document itself can be seen here; Solomon thanks Batten for “his kindness, leadership, sincerity and all his help”, and Diamond for his “legal expertise”. Batten – who spends his time worrying about Bilderberg conspiracies as well as Muslims – has made use of Diamond’s “legal expertise” himself, as explained here:

In a sensational ruling, an East London judge has declared that wives share full criminal liability for the actions of their husbands when it comes to TV licensing. Stratford Magistrate Court’s District Judge Celia Dawson has convicted Mrs. Batten under Section 363 of the Communications Act because of her husband’s refusal to pay the TV license fee.

…Mrs. Batten did not appear at the trial, but was represented pro bono by a leading human rights barrister Paul Diamond.

A March 2011 report in Searchlight claimed that Alan Lake, who was at that time involved with the EDL (he’s since fallen out with the group) “boasts of his links with Batten”, although details are scarce and so far as I can see unproven. Searchlight also speculates that Lake may have come across Solomon previously – Lake formerly attended Kensington Temple, a large neo-Pentecostal church in London where Solomon has given at least one sermon.

Returning to the Tennessee Tech event organisers, Kerry Duke and the Tennessee Bible College are also of interest; when not attacking Islam, Duke warns us that

The Catholic church does its best to denigrate the role of the Bible. Their ploy is to destroy faith in the Bible as the final authority so that men will be driven to Rome for direction.

Duke has also arranged adverts on billboards to promote “Biblical marriage”.

UPDATE: It appears that at least one leader of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition has personal links with the EDL: according to a 25 November Facebook posting in the name of the group:

Both Tommy [Robinson] and Paul [Weston] are Friends of Mine and will BOTH DO THEIR BEST FOR THE FOLKS OF BRITAIN!

Paul Weston heads the British Freedom Party, which recently entered into an alliance with the EDL.

UPDATE 2: The TFC’s Andy Miller apparently met “Tommy Robinson” earlier this year. The EDL website stated in July that

Leadership have met with TFC and are in talks with them to form a working relationship and TFC are intending to come back to the UK to have further meetings with Leadership.

In September, the EDL Support Group posted to Facebook an “Email received from Andy Miller Tennessee Freedom Coalition“:

Within the first 10 minutes of meeting Tommy (very privately in another dear new friend’s home in N. London for dinner) I knew I was sitting and talking with my younger brother.  He is currently jailed in London for breaking his bail for going to the EDL’s demonstration in Tower Hamlet.  He started a Hunger Strike the minute he was taken in.

What I can tell you about Tommy is that He Alone charged the Muslim protesters who pulled out a 4 foot paper Poppy and set it on fire during the Country’s moment of silence for it’s War Dead.  He grabbed the Black Flag of Jihad.  He has the Heart of a Lion.

He is 28 years old.  He recently got married.  He Loves his Country and will NOT sit idly by and watch what is happening to his Home.  He is a Christian that Loves God.  There is not a Single Racist or Bigoted Bone in his Body.  He GETS this subject right.  He is not Over Educated but IS EXTREMELY SMART.  when I think of one of my other famous English Hero’s, Churchill, I as well think of Tommy.  He is a Natural Leader and because of that his Government is Very Afraid of Him.

When I left that evening I told him that he is my brother.  I have talked with him since returning several times.  I will always stand Proudly by Tommy.  He and the EDL, which in 18 months has grown well past 100,000 strong, is Britain’s Last Best Hope.  He deserves Our Total Support.  I will support him with All that I Have and Am and Will.

Please read his words from Prison.  Know that he is Fighting Our Fight.

Yours as Well-

Andy