Nadine Dorries: Her Accusations in Context

Introduction
Why this is of interest to me: The “terror trackers” and abuse
Enter Tabloid Troll
Dorries renews her accusations
The 2015 election
A threatening “peace offer”
IPSO Ruling on the Sunday Mirror

Introduction

Election results in from the constituency of mid-Bedfordshire show that Tim Ireland, the independent anti-corruption candidate, received 384 votes, or 0.7%. It was a creditable showing for an independent with a progressive perspective: in 2005, a certain Saqhib Ali (more recently standing elsewhere for Labour) polled 301 votes (0.6%) in the same constituency. It was also achieved despite a campaign of vilification by the Conservative candidate, Nadine Dorries, and a biased approach by the local media.

Mid-Bedfordshire is a safe Conservative seat, so it is no surprise that Dorries was returned: she actually increased her majority (32,544 votes in total, up from 28,815 in 2010), reflecting a wider trend in the election as a whole, her brand recognition as a celebrity, and perhaps also the continuing recovery of the Conservative vote in the constituency after it was slashed from 40,230 in 1992 to 24,176 in the 1997 bloodbath.

Why this is of interest to me: The “terror trackers” and abuse

My own interest in all this is a good example of one thing leading to another. To explain: in 2009 Tim found out that several dubious individuals describing themselves as “terror trackers” had been passing false information about supposed Islamic conspiracies to the now-disgraced buffoonish MP Patrick Mercer, from whose office they were then passed to the media. Tim’s work led to the Sun newspaper withdrawing a front-page splash about a supposed terror threat against Alan Sugar; it turned out that this sort of thing had been going on for several years, with Newsnight and even the police being hoodwinked. Given my own interest in religion and the media, I began looking into the subject in collaboration with Tim.

Unsurprisingly, Tim’s efforts were not appreciated by everyone, and the self-described “terror trackers” (who appeared to have  fallen out with each other) hit back in the way that came naturally to them: by telling lies and making threats. Anonymous comments appeared on websites, accusing Tim of paedophilia; a pdf was sent to him by someone who wanted him to know that he knew where he lived and what his house looked like (and this was before Google Street View existed). There were also menacing and goading messages on social media, some of which were also directed at me.

Meanwhile, Tim was also scrutinizing and satirizing the conduct and credibility of Nadine Dorries; I had also written about her a couple of times due to her work with the lobby group Christian Concern (an association which appears to be no longer active). Dorries found being held to account by Tim to be uncongenial, and after storming out of a hustings event in Flitwick (pron. “FLIT-TICK!”) ahead of the 2010 election when she found out that Tim was being allowed to film the event, she began to accuse him of being a “stalker”. Dorries even went to the police, who advised Tim that because of her supposed aversion to his presence, he ought to keep clear of her. Dorries misrepresented this as being a police “caution”, implying criminal conduct.

For the “terror trackers” abusing Tim – and, to a lesser extent, me – this was something of a godsend: their abuse aimed at Tim was now justified as retaliation against a stalker, rather than being self-serving attempts at intimidation and revenge. As a consequence, I now had an interest of my own in holding Dorries to account. As I looked into the subject, I became astonished at the extent of her bullying dishonesty. She was making wide-ranging accusations of “stalking” against anyone she saw as a political threat; it was also clear that she had private arrangement with Paul Staines (Guido Fawkes), by which he would promote smears against her critics. I logged a number of these instances, while the abuse from the former “terror trackers” continued sporadically.

Enter Tabloid Troll

The subject of Mercer and the “terror trackers” came up again in 2012, when Tim was looking into the identity of “Tabloid Troll”, an abusive Twitter user involved with the UK tabloid newspaper industry. “Tabloid Troll” gave a distorted account of the affair, which I then corrected, much to his anger. Tabloid Troll decided to “investigate” Tim and myself, resulting in the publication of intrusive and scurrilous anonymous websites about us and our families (discussed here and here). For the first time, Dorries deigned to acknowledge my existence, as she gleefully promoted a site that was self-evidently unhinged, and plainly the work of an actual on-line stalker and troll.

Dorries renews her accusations 

Some months later, Tim’s personal circumstances changed and he found himself living in Dorries’ constituency. Dorries says she was alerted to the fact by an email from a constituent (although her version of the story, typically, has inconsistencies), and she then decided to brand herself as a high-profile “victim of stalking”. I discussed her renewed media campaign in my previous post.

The 2015 election

Unsurprisingly, Dorries did not respond well when Tim announced his decision to stand for election earlier this year. It should be noted that this wasn’t a campaign fixated on Dorries – his theme was against corruption in politics, as manifested, for example, by the failure of the Conservative Party to remove activists who had smeared a Liberal Democrat as a paedophile in earlier election, and by the dishonesty of the Conservative Party chair, Grant Shapps.

However, Dorries claimed that Tim was standing in order to stalk her: she lobbied for him to be excluded from hustings events, and when she was rebuffed by Churches Together in Shefford she declined to appear. She did, though, send supporters and a leaflet – the events that transpired at the Shefford hustings have been described by Tim’s partner Sue, who blogs and Tweets as Humphrey Cushion, here.

Dorries also laid out a series of allegations on her blog, in which she named me as Tim’s “accomplice”. Much of her post consisted of claims made by other individuals, although nothing was documented properly and these other accusers remain anonymous (those of us in the know, though, are aware that the accusations are without substance).

The election night count was attended by Tim Fenton of Zelo Street (recently profiled in the media here); Tim F. writes:

As Bedfordshire Today has told, she says she cannot be in the same room as the man”. It’s clear from the article who the man” is.

…As the count for the Parliamentary Election got under way, all the candidates – except the fragrant Nadine – were present and, with their agents and counting agents, were watching as the piles of white ballot papers were separated out and tallied. Only as the declaration approached did the Dorries presence appear… Would she be unable to be in the same room as “the man”? Surprisingly not: time after time, she was within two metres of TI, yet no wobblers were thrown. There was no adverse reaction.

Meanwhile, the events at the Shefford hustings are currently the subject of a police complaint. The Sunday Mirror ran an article on the subject, which has since been removed; Dorries said that it was withdrawn because it contained “misinformation” (or, as she puts it, “mis information”) although she didn’t elaborate what this meant (see update below for more on this).

A threatening “peace offer”

Dorries’ renewed media campaign against Tim in September 2014 also saw the creation of a new troll account on Twitter, devoted mainly to abusing and threatening Tim, but also focusing on other targets, including me and others who have criticised Dorries. Some of the Tweets were crude or intrusive – Tim’s partner was described as a “skank”; another woman was mocked as an “old nag”; and a third person saw his photograph uploaded from another site, with an abusive comment attached (“bellend”).  The account went so far as to accuse Tim of being a “nonse” (sic), meaning “sex offender”.

The account was apparently created without Dorries’ collusion, although as soon as it came to her attention she began interacting with it and RT-ing various Tweets. She also sent at least one direct message (announced on her Twitter feed). The owner of the account was aware within minutes of the removal of the Sunday Mirror article, and this prompted a stream of abusive and mocking tweets claiming that this proved that Tim had lied to journalists.

As the election approached, the account counted down to, and then linked to, an anonymous website warning Tim not to contest the election result: a case can be made that Dorries’ behaviour in attempting to discredit Tim amounted to a breach of election law, which could form the basis for a petition. The anonymous abuser sought to “discourage” Tim from this course of action, in a long and rambling screed that included the following:

We will continue to watch your behaviour 24/7. We will never break the law but we assure you we will continue to affect your ability to live contentedly amongst us. We will not let your lies stand.

…. You are politely advised to take this last chance. We offer peace. Take it.

Tim has written about this here. [UPDATE: And the election petition is now a reality; see here for details and context]

IPSO Ruling on the Sunday Mirror [added 23 July]

It turned out that the Sunday Mirror article had been removed from the internet because Dorries had lodged a complaint with IPSO, the independent press regulator. It appears that Dorries drew a distinction between police “looking into” the incident, and a formal “police investigation”, which (she claims) can only happen after an election – obviously, it was not in her interest to clarify this flimsy basis for her “mis information” claim publicly.

Dorries also complained that the article contained a quote from police relating to the outcome of a complaint that Dorries had made against Tim, which is that he

has not committed any offence, and is purely holding the complainant to account.

Dorries argued that this assessment referred only to events up to 2010, rather than more recent allegations. However, according to IPSO:

The Committee noted the complainant’s assertion that in fact, this did not reflect the police’s current position on the conduct of the other candidate. However, in circumstances where the article had made clear subsequent legal developments in relation to the other candidate’s conduct and where it was not in dispute that the CPS had not taken further action against him, any potential discrepancy over the date of the report was not significant, and the inclusion of the statement from it was not misleading.

Tim maintains that the quote is in fact valid for later events, in any case.

This ruling follows IPSO’s rejection in June of a complaint brought by Dorries about a profile of Tim published by Bedfordshire on Sunday. The two rulings are straightforward documents that anyone can assess for themselves fairly quickly.

There are two interesting asides to this resolution:

(a) The complainant’s representative

First, the ruling makes reference to the “complainant’s representative”. No name is given, but there is reason to think that this is none other than Dennis Rice, the journalist formerly responsible for the “TabloidTroll” Twitter account. If so, this is a remarkable development in Rice’s vendetta against Tim for exposing his trolling and sockpuppeting – Rice was at one time Acting News Editor of the Sunday Mirror (in the late 1990s), yet here he is attempting to suppress a completely valid news article published by his former employer, motivated by personal spite and for the benefit of a politician.

It should be recalled that last year Rice made a complaint of his own to IPSO, against the author Peter Jukes – the outcome was discussed by Peter here and by me here. We know that Dorries has been in private communication with Rice since at least September 2014, perhaps longer.

(b) The troll account kicks off again

Second, the source of the anonymous “Peace Offer” threats and abuse aimed at Tim just after the election had a new outburst just hours before IPSO’s ruling was published.

These are scandalous associations for a Member of Parliament.

Nadine Dorries: False Accusations of Stalking and the Media

UPDATE (30 July): This blog entry did not give the name of the person who was  – and still is – the subject of Dorries’ various libels. This was because Dorries was not naming him during this period, and to give the name would have risked making it easier for Dorries to spread her lies with less liability. She did eventually give the name in a newspaper article ahead of the election. Subsequent events have made it very clear who she is getting at, and the background context is given here.

***

Note: I am a friend of the person who has been accused by Dorries. However, I am solely responsible for the content below and for the decision to publish.

Last September, the Mail on Sunday ran a feature with a dramatic headline:

This man’s stalked me for seven years… so why can’t the police stop him? A horrifying account of a life lived in fear and a savage indictment of UK justice by NADINE DORRIES MP

“This man” is not named; according to the report, this was “for legal reasons”, which suggests some sort of investigation under way for other reasons, when the real reason was clearly that the newspaper would not accept the libel risk.

Not naming “this man” was also useful as it obscured the fact that her false accusations of stalking actually go back to 2010, when she needed to explain away discrepancies between her movements as reported on her blog and her expenses claims. Dorries famously said that her blog was “70 percent fiction”, and that she had pretended to be in her constituency on her blog to “reassure” constituents of her commitment. This was met with howls of derision, at which point she said the real reason was that she needed to avoid a stalker.

At times, her claims were made in a mocking and jocular style; however, in the the Daily Mail feature (“as told to Amy Oliver”) she presented herself as the victim of a terrifying ordeal:

Last July my office received a shocking email from a constituent. It warned that this man had held a meeting to organise an attack campaign against me. It said, chillingly, that this man had rented a house close to mine and had copies of my bank statements. I went home, packed a bag and fled.

Dorries first mentioned the presence of “this man” in her constituency in November 2013, and she announced it as if it were something she had just discovered, rather than a detail she had been told four months previously. Her Tweet was posted on the same day that she made a “jokey” threat of violence against a journalist who was looking into large payments made to her daughter for “secretarial support”.

It is also worth noting that Dorries has a partner who lives in Surrey, and another interview with her, from February 2015, says in the intro that “she lives in Surrey with her partner”. The story is thus useful as an explanation for absences from her constituency (although, by her own account, she does also live locally).

The article contains many shocking and lurid accusations, and we are invited to believe that the answer to the question “why can’t police stop him?” is CPS failure, rather than because she’s making stuff up. I won’t go into much detail here at this time, although I can confirm that her accusations are a mass of fictions and distortions. One particularly egregious element concerned a Tweet and an image that purported to show that “the man” had threatened to shoot her: both elements had been taken out of context and combined in a way that no reasonable person would regard as honest.

As an example of her semi-detached relationship with reality, though, let us return to that first claim. A  somewhat different account of the same story was published a few weeks later, at a site (since deleted) called Blink Box Books:

I received an anonymous email informing me that he had moved across England and rented a house close to me. The police traced the sender of the email and verified that the content was correct. I moved out of my home that day.

These two versions can perhaps be partially reconciled, but it is clear that the second version of the story has a sinister air that is absent from her original account. She wants us to infer, falsely, that the email was sent as a goading message in order to cause distress. This should send out alarm bells as to her reliability.

Shortly after the publication of her Mail on Sunday article, a follow-up piece appeared in the Daily Telegraph, by Radhika Sanghani. Here, Dorries pushed the boat out even further, with the claim that the man she is accusing “moved house to live on her road.” This was something Sanghani could have checked for herself – but the way that Dorries has avoided proper scrutiny for so long is by making herself constantly available for interviews: it seems that for many journalists, transcribing the utterances of a celeb is a substitute for research.

Sanghani specialises in features, and she placed Dorries’ story within a broader narrative, headlined as “Stalkers: Why career women are their new targets“.  Sanghani spoke to an apparent expert (1) on the subject:

She is not the only woman to be stalked because of her profession. Laura Richards, founder and chief executive of national stalking advocacy service Paladin, tells me that workplace-related stalking is common.

…She explains that often a professional, successful woman can be a target for a stalker, especially if they – or their work – appears in the public domain. It means that the stalker can criticise them, perhaps through a blog like Dorries’ does, and appear to have legitimate concerns.

Diagnosis takes the place of evidence: something may look “legitimate”, but Richards can pronounce that the author is a stalker based on her expertise. Of course, most people will assume that a famous woman claiming to be stalked by a non-famous man will be telling the truth (at least, as she perceives it), given that this is a commonplace dynamic, but Richards is here ignoring a particular context: the false accusation deployed as a political smear.

Once Dorries was established in the media as a “victim” (also helped by a radio interview with a self-parodyingly splenetic Nick Ferrari), the progression to “expert” took just a few days. Following the suicide of Brenda Leyland (a woman accused of publishing many abusive and hurtful Tweets about the McCanns), Dorries appeared on ITV breakfast television to address the nation on the subject of trolling:

There are different types of trolls. There are those who just become very compulsive and very obsessive, and you become the focus of their life. That is actually terribly frightening, and terrifying frankly, when people do nothing but write about you all day long. That’s very scary. And what we are seeing is that a lot of people who start trolling on the internet move into physical stalking, and then that’s a real danger. And that is why the authorities really do need to be more aware of this and more responsive to the new legislation which came out last year, which actually gives the police the authority to deal with this. What they need to be done [sic] is to be trained and understand it and respond quickly.

The nature of the material being Tweeted is no longer relevant: it’s quantity rather than quality. Can anyone imagine an American politician getting away with this? There was a time when an MP demanding police intervention to censor criticism would have provoked some sceptical and critical comment; the sofa-bound presenters, though, merely nodded along.

One man did venture a modest dissent; Andy McSmith, a senior reporter at the Independent:

…This is very unpleasant for Dorries, though whether it constitutes stalking in a legal sense is doubtful. She is annoyed with the Crown Prosecution Service for not prosecuting him, but a CPS spokesman defended its decision by saying that they “must consider an individual’s right to free speech”.

The harsh truth is that Dorries is not an entirely reliable witness…

Dorries reacted with typical bile and abuse:

back on Twitter you inadequate misogynistic bully? I’m delighted to provide you with an opportunity vent your woman hating bile

Dorries also accused McSmith of working with the man she is accusing, and she called on him to be fired. Inevitably, she later progressed to calling McSmith a stalker, too. These are not the words of a victim seeking justice, but of a spiteful bully who believes the undeserved sympathy she has received for her story means that she can vilify anyone who dares to challenge her.

Epilogue

There is a reasonable likelihood that Dorries will react badly to what I have written above. In the past, she has accused me of being a “Twitter Troll”, in revenge for various occasions in which I have shown her to have misled Parliament or the public (I invite anyone to use the search box of this blog to find any evidence of trolling – there is none).

She has also promoted and worked with on-line stalkers with grudges against me: in 2013 she gleefully re-tweeted an obviously unhinged attack site aimed not just at me but at members of my family, and she was later triumphant when its author made a vexatious police complaint against me (see background, including the outcome, here). On Twitter, she can sometimes be seen interacting with abusive sockpuppet accounts controlled by on-line stalkers who support her agenda of vilification (2).

Notes

(1) Richards’ professional integrity is contested. She has accused another anti-stalking specialist, Harry Fletcher, of stalking her, and comments from peers that appeared in a Daily Mail article about the matter were scathing:

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd, who was the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on stalking and worked with Ms Richards on legislation, said: ‘I found her difficult to work with. She was making some rather strange allegations against Harry. I found her accusations to be utterly incredible.’

Senior forensic psychiatrist Dr David James, who was on the board of PAS [Protection Against Stalking], described Ms Richards as ‘reacting extravagantly when crossed’.

He added: ‘I resigned from the board of PAS because I feared that any form of association with her would be harmful to my professional reputation.

‘I was aware she has made complaints of harassment against others in the past.’

Mr Fletcher is now a director of Digital-Trust, which advises on cyber stalking.

Fellow director Jennifer Perry said: ‘Harry has been given advice and emotional support as a stalking victim himself. Spreading malicious allegations about someone is one of the stalker’s weapons.’

This all sounds strangely familiar.

(2) I am here making a very serious allegation as to Dorries’ fitness for office. She is welcome to test it in court if she thinks she has a case under Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act.

Maajid Nawaz and Club Charlie’s Angels: What Happens In Whitechapel Doesn’t Stay In Whitechapel

What are the qualities that make for a successful proprietor of an establishment known in British licensing law as a “Sexual Entertainment Venue” (SEV)? Discretion must surely be close to the top of the list, along with a broadminded perspective on human nature – or, at the very least, the ability to compartmentalize personal distaste.

What then, are we to make of a certain Abdul Malik, a Whitechapel “gentleman’s club” owner who has handed over CCTV footage to the Daily Mail?:

A would-be Lib Dem MP who describes himself as a feminist has been filmed repeatedly trying to touch a naked lap dancer.

Married father-of-one Maajid Nawaz asked for two private sessions at a strip club in east London.

…Abdul Malik, the club’s owner, said he wanted the video to be seen by the public because of the way Nawaz portrays himself as a feminist and a family man. ‘He’s always talking about religion on TV and I thought, what a hypocrite,’ he said. 

He claimed ‘arrogant’ Nawaz acts like a ‘spokesman for Islam’ – but visited the club during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The article also reports claims (including from the manager, Jay Shah) that Nawaz behaved badly at the venue – attempting to touch a dancer, asking for her phone number and “drinking heavily”. However, he wasn’t asked to leave or ejected, so it’s difficult to believe he acted in a way that such places are not used to managing.

Half-way through the story, we are told that Nawaz arrived in the company of “two friends”, and at the very end we are given the detail that according to Nawaz, the visit was a stag do. This was July 2014; Nawaz didn’t get married until October 2014, but any case the “married father-of-one” label is irrelevant and misleading.

Of course, some will argue that Nawaz’s visit to such a place (or if not, his alleged conduct there) is inconsistent with his feminism or undermines his credibility as a reform-minded Muslim commentator (“a leading figure in the Muslim community”, according to the Mail, although he describes himself as a “non-devout Muslim”). But since when did such scruples move lap-club proprietors to break “the code“?

Malik’s name suggests that he is himself of Muslim heritage, but given his choice of business venture his moralizing pose is somewhat unconvincing. And there’s no overriding business reason for wanting to damage Nawaz’s election chances or public profile, either – so why has he done it? A club of this kind that “exposes” customers doesn’t have much of a future.

UPDATE: Nawaz has now responded publicly to the story. He specifically denies behaving badly at the venue, explaining that he was “tame and compliant” when in the company of the dancer and that he “was certainly not issued a warning at any time”.

He has also named the venue as Club Charlie’s Angels, which is at 30 Alie Street. Until a recent refurbishment, this club was known as Club Oops, which was owned by Abdul Ali, a former kickboxing champion (see pdfs here and here). However, in late 2014, and in accordance with licensing law, a Public Notice was printed in local media to announce that (see Appendix 13 at this pdf):

City Traders London Limited of 329 Romford Road London E1 9HA made application to London Borough of Tower Hamlets for the grant of a licence to use the premises named below as a Sexual Entertainment venue. Address of Premises: Charlie’s Angels, 30 Alie Street London E1 SDA.

There is indeed an Abdul Malik who is the director of City Traders London Limited, as well as of several other companies.

Nawaz also gives a bit of background:

1. The man named by the Daily Mail as the manager, Jay Shah (or Jahan Shah) apparently emailed Nawaz’s now-wife shortly after the visit. According to Nawaz there were multiple emails, which he says were “scary”.

2. Evidence from a comment thread originating at the site Mushy Peas shows that Shah made contact with Dilly Hussain of the website 5Pillarz in October, after posting that he had “a very interesting story regarding this fraud”. However, Hussain has denied having a hand in the Mail‘s story. (Mushy Peas is an attack site aimed at Nawaz; I recently documented one outright falsehood on the site).

3. A few days before the Daily Mail article appeared, a sockpuppet Twitter account appeared under name Tony Wright (@DonTonyz). Hours before the article was published, the user Tweeted Nawaz with praise for his book Radical; but minutes after publication, the same account attacked him for “exploiting women”. This was then used as evidence that Nawaz’s supporters were turning against him. An observer named Andrew Nolan has documented the story.

Hampstead Satanism Panic: Protestor Arrested

A couple of weeks ago, the Daily Mail wrote about a bizarre protest that had taken place outside an Anglican church in Hampstead, north London:

…At morning service at the church attached to Christ Church primary school yesterday [Sunday 22 March], parishioners were confronted by a group of between 20 and 30 of [Ella] Draper’s supporters, who hurled abuse at them and held up their mobile phones to film them as they arrived.

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

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

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

Draper’s partner recorded the children saying all this, and uploaded the videos to YouTube. Those videos have gone viral on conspiracy websites, although there is now a court order that makes it contempt of court to identify the children. In compliance with this ruling (and in agreement with the ruling’s aim, which is to protect the children), I am avoiding linking to any site or video created by the protestors and their supporters.

Since 22 March, the protests have been a regular ordeal for locals wishing to attend the church or take their children to the adjacent school; David Aaronovitch, who lives nearby, noted in the Times at the end of last month:

As I write this, the loonies are outside the church just down the road again for the second Sunday in a row. Only today it’s windy, cold and raining so there are fewer of them. There are several police vans nearby, continuing a presence that has gone on all week, with officers overseeing the arrival and departure of children at the Anglican primary school linked to the church.

Aaronovitch described the protestors as being “mostly women in their late fifties for some reason”. That was also the impression I got from watching some videos of the first protest that had been unloaded to YouTube. However, as I noted at the time, the most vocal protestor was an American woman named Christine Sands. Sands is involved with the 9/11 Truth movement, as well as other conspiracy-theory related activism.

A new video, made by Sands and posted by her to YouTube, shows that police eventually caught up with her at a protest outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in support of Julian Assange. In the video, the arresting officer explains the allegations:

On the 22nd of March this year, yeah, you’ve caused harassment and distress intentionally to members of the parish of the Christ Church, Hampstead, leaving the church. You’ve been shouting abusive things, saying that people are “fucking their children”. It’s been caught on video cameras by officers at the scene, and an arrest is necessary so that you can be interviewed about that matter.

Also apparently arrested at the same protest was Neelu Berry, who was present at the protest in Hampstead and at earlier protests organized by Belinda McKenzie outside the High Court.

Sands has also given herself a title, and she now describes herself as “Sheriff Sands”. This is consistent with her views on the invalidity of existing legal and law enforcement authorities. She claims that she has been “kidnapped” rather than arrested.

(H/T @erichardcastle)

UPDATE (17 April): A local paper for Hampstead and Highgate, the Ham & High, tells us what happened next:

Christine Ann Sands… pleaded guilty to two charges after attending a protest outside Christ Church last month.

The first charge was for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, under section 4A of the Public Order Act (1986).

The second charge was for engaging in riotous, violent or indecent behaviour in a church or church yard, under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act (1860).

…A second woman has also been charged with the same two offences. Neelu Berry… pleaded not-guilty to the two charges and will appear at Tottenham Magistrates Court on August 4.

Sand’s Twitter feed, @overthrowusgov, has been disabled.

UK Satanic Panic: Dead Politicians and the Media

Earlier this week I wrote a post relating to claims of “Satanic cult abuse” supposedly involving three now-dead British politicians: the socially liberal Labour MP Leo Abse, the notorious renegade Tory Enoch Powell, and the former Conservative Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw.

To recap: the story emerged in a drip-drip fashion, beginning with the Sunday Times on 22 March. The paper reported:

The Sunday Times has also established that a Church of England review into historic sexual abuse has has passed Abse’s name to detectives from Operation Fernbridge, a Metropolitan police inquiry into an alleged VIP paedophile network.

Dominic Walker, the former Bishop of Monmouth, has told senior clerics that Abse was named by three alleged adult survivors of abuse whom he counselled when he was vicar of Brighton in the 1980s. Walker also named two Conservative cabinet ministers who have not been publicly linked to the scandal.

…Walker was questioned by Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham who is leading the Church of England review, after the discovery of a book from 1991 in which he is quoted as describing counselling sessions with adult survivors.

The article gave no further details about the book, but a bit of digging revealed that it was by a journalist named Tim Tate and had the sensational title Children for the Devil: Ritual Abuse and Satanic CrimeThe volume was subsequently withdrawn due to a libel action (on an unrelated point), although Walker has confirmed that the quotes attributed to him, while “selective”, are accurate.

It also transpired (see below) that there is not in fact a “review” going on – rather, Butler was contacted in late 2013 by a retired child protection officer (Peter McKelvie, apparently), who asked him to “ensure that Dominic Walker contacts the Police as a very high priority”.

The weekend after the Sunday Times story, the Mail on Sunday published a piece headlined “Enoch Powell is named by bishop in sex abuse probe: Scotland Yard to investigate satanic abuse claim”, again citing Dominic Walker and Paul Butler but not mentioning the book or Abse. The threads were finally tied together the next day, with a more expansive Daily Mail article and a piece in The Times which also mentioned Whitelaw.

The Mail on Sunday article angered Simon Heffer, a friend and biographer of Powell, who charged the Bishops with acting in “a remarkably un-Christian fashion by putting this smear into the public domain”. Finally realising things were getting out of hand, the Church of England published a statement:

In June 2014 one of the Church of England’s safeguarding advisers contacted the Police with information concerning individuals against whom allegations had been made to a priest in the 1980s. The allegations concerned Members of Parliament who were alleged to be members of a Satanic cult in connection with the trial of Derry Mainwaring Knight who was convicted for fraud in 1986.

References to these allegations had been in the public domain as part of the trial of and also in a book by Tim Tate “Children for the Devil: Ritual Abuse and Satanic Crime” (1991).

…[I]t is incorrect to suggest… that the Church of England is conducting a review into historic sex abuse in this matter.

…The Mail on Sunday approached the Communications Office of the Church of England on 27 March 2015 seeking confirmation that the name of Enoch Powell was part of a conversation in the 1980s in relation to ritual satanic abuse.

Knight had bilked thousands of pounds out of Christians in a village close to Brighton with a story of being a repentant Satanist in need of funds to purchase and destroy Satanic regalia. He had named Abse, Powell and Whitelaw at his trial (some useful sources are gathered here by Anna Raccoon).

Now, here are four points to ponder:

1.  The Church of England statement does not explain how Abse’s name reached the Sunday Times, but it doesn’t look like the Church told the media. So who did?

2. The Sunday Times knew that Butler had contacted the police, but did not mention Powell, Whitelaw, or Satanism. Instead, Butler’s reporting of Abse’s name is used to beef up a story about a different investigation, into whether Abse and his friend George Thomas were involved a paedophile ring. The article does, though, mention that “Walker also named two Conservative cabinet ministers who have not been publicly linked to the scandal”, refering to general allegations of paedophilia by politicians. This suggests to me that the paper had the names of Powell and Whitelaw, and also knew of the “Satanic Ritual” element to the accusations, but decided they were too outlandish for publication. It looks like the least contentious claim was “cherrypicked” from a dubious source.

3. The Mail on Sunday contacted the Church of England several days after the Abse story was published, and according to the Church the journalists already knew, or had guessed, that Powell had also been named. This surely must mean that the paper knew of the common link: Derry Wainwaring Knight. Knight’s allegations have been available online for a long time, including on a sceptical site called Swallowing the CamelYet his name was left out of the story. As I suggested on Monday, why would this be, if not to obscure the story’s discredited provenance?

4. The Church of England contacted the police in June 2014. And it just so happens that Knight decided to break his 29-year silence by creating a website three months later. That’s remarkable timing, unless police had contacted Knight in the meantime while following up on Butler’s report to them. Which in turn may have something to do with the story of Butler’s contact with police reaching the Sunday Times.

Knight’s role as the source of the allegations has now been acknowledged in media, in a scathing column for The Times by David Aaronovitch (which – cough – also mentions me), under the heading “Let’s expose the satanic abuse con artists” (the article also discusses the unrelated Hampstead protests against Satanism and babyeating).

This drew an oddly sneering response from John Mann, who as a Labour MP has achieved prominence as a campaigner against historic child abuse (he has a “list of 22 politicians“, which was passed to police in December). Mann mocked Aaronovitch for being

…as usual the font of all wisdom on child abuse. Except that he has met no victims nor seen any of the police evidence.

Earlier in the week, Mann had RT-ed a link to one of the articles about Powell, and in response to a question about the Satanism angle he was not adverse to taking on the role of “font of all wisdom” himself:

Very rare we need to be wary of sensational excuses. The truth is abuse is commonplace and everywhere.

However, he has so far declined to respond to an invitation from Aaronovitch:

If you want to argue with what I’ve written, John, then let’s proceed from the evidence, not from assertion.

Dead MPs Accused of Satanic Ritual Abuse

Accusations trace back on fraudster in mid-1980s

(Revised and updated)

Introduction

In 1991 a journalist named Tim Tate produced a book called Children for the Devil: Ritual Abuse and Satanic Crime. It included a quote from Dominic Walker, at that time an Anglican vicar in Brighton:

The people who come to me tend to be referred from other areas. I listen to what they have to say ; usually it does comprise the same sort of details – child abuse, murder, drugs, prostitution. I sit and talk with them quietly and individually. Quite often these people will tell me the names of those they say were involved. Sometimes they are the people who control the groups, other times they are the names of famous or highly respected people. A number of survivors independently gave the name of a particular MP as being involved. I don’t believe there was any collusion in their stories because they were separated by some long period of time.

Have I ever passed on the information I have been given ?

No I have not.

I do not believe that would have been proper.

I’ve sourced this quote second-hand from a blog called The Needle; however, the text brings up a result for Tate’s book in Google Books (although it’s “No Preview”), so I’m reasonably confident that it reflects the original.

The quote has now come under renewed interest, with three now-dead MPs being named.

The Sunday Times and Leo Abse

The first name to emerge was that of Leo Abse; details were reported by Tom Harper in the Sunday Times on 22 March:

Leo Abse, the flamboyant, late Welsh MP, is being investigated by police on suspicion of child abuse.

Documents from South Wales police reveal that allegations against the long-serving politician, who died in 2008 aged 91, are being examined by another force.

The investigation is understood to centre on an alleged “politicians’ network” involving Abse’s close friend George Thomas…

Such accusations against dead politicians are currently widespread. The report continued:

The Sunday Times has also established that a Church of England review into historic sexual abuse has has passed Abse’s name to detectives from Operation Fernbridge, a Metropolitan police inquiry into an alleged VIP paedophile network.

Dominic Walker, the former Bishop of Monmouth, has told senior clerics that Abse was named by three alleged adult survivors of abuse whom he counselled when he was vicar of Brighton in the 1980s. Walker also named two Conservative cabinet ministers who have not been publicly linked to the scandal.

…Walker was questioned by Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham who is leading the Church of England review, after the discovery of a book from 1991 in which he is quoted as describing counselling sessions with adult survivors.

Some of these details were brought out from behind the paywall in a derivative article by Wales Online

I suspect that Harper deliberately avoided mentioning Tate or giving the title of Tate’s book in order to downplay the sensationalising and contentious “Satanic” context to the original abuse claims.

The Mail on Sunday and Enoch Powell

More details emerged the following Sunday in the Mail on Sunday – and this time the paper was happy to run with the headline

Enoch Powell is named by bishop in sex abuse probe: Scotland Yard to investigate satanic abuse claim

According to the story, by Glen Owen and Brendan Carlin:

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, contacted police after Powell’s name was passed to him by a former Bishop of Monmouth, Dominic Walker, who first heard the allegation when he was a vicar counselling young adults in the 1980s.

…Mr Walker is believed to have warned the Right Rev Butler that at the time he was told of the claims against Powell, unsubstantiated allegations of satanic rituals – often involving the abuse of children – were widespread.

Oddly, this article makes no mention of the 1991 book or of the Sunday Times report about Leo Abse; however, the MoS‘s sister paper, the Daily Mail, has followed up with a more expansive piece by Arthur Martin:

Enoch Powell accused of satanic sex abuse: Bishop of Durham gave his name to Met detectives 

…The Right Rev Butler was given the politicians’ names by Dominic Walker, former Bishop of Monmouth, who heard the allegations when he was a vicar counselling in the 1980s.

Mr Walker told senior clerics that Abse was named by three abuse survivors whom he counselled when he was a vicar in Brighton in the 1980s.

He also passed on the names of two former Conservative cabinet ministers, who have not yet been publicly linked to the scandal.

Enoch Powell served in the cabinet for a year, but this report suggests his name should be treated as being in addition to the “two former Conservative cabinet ministers”. I suspect this is down to sloppy reporting, but taken at face value it means that we’re now up to four supposed names from Walker. Meanwhile, a piece by Cahal Milmo in the Independent goes even further:

It is understood that the Rt Rev Walker first heard the claims when he was counselling young adults as a curate in the 1980s and claims were made that an unknown number of MPs had been involved in satanic cult-type abuse.

It is understood the allegations against Mr Powell came from a single individual.

First Leo Abse and two unnamed Conservative cabinet ministers. Then Leo Abse and Enoch Powell, plus  two unnamed Conservative cabinet ministers. And now “an unknown number of MPs”.

The Times and Willie Whitelaw

A third name emerged via David Brown at The Times the day after the MoS article:

The Church of England has told Scotland Yard that William Whitelaw, the former home secretary, and Enoch Powell were accused of being members of a political satanic abuse ring.

The allegations of the politicians’ involvement in child abuse emerged during counselling by a vicar of a youth in the 1980s. Leo Abse, a long-serving Labour MP, was also named.

Although there was no evidence to support the claims, the church authorities felt compelled to send the information to Scotland Yard’s investigation into alleged establishment involvement in child abuse.

Derry Mainwaring Knight

It appears that the actual story is about the three figures of Abse, Powell and Whitelaw. Which is where it turns out that the hapless hacks have all either ignored or suppressed a vital piece of the story: that the three men were previously accused of Satanic abuse in 1986 by a fraudster named Derry Mainwaring Knight.

A sceptical website called Swallowing the Camel posted an account in 2011. Knight had approached a vicar in the village of Newick, East Sussex, with a story of his supposed involvement in a Satanic sect and a request for cash:

…He wanted to destroy his own devil-worshiping sect from within. He wanted to rid himself of demonic possession. He wanted to pay off his debts to cult members, so they could no longer hold sway over him. He wanted to bring other Satanists out of occult slavery. He wanted to destroy unholy Satanic regalia. To do all that, though, he would need funds. Major funds.

Over the next several months, members of St. Mary’s Church and other area residents donated a staggering sum (over £300,000) to Knight’s anti-Satanic crusade. The county high sheriff gave over £83,000 pounds. The wife of millionaire Tory MP Timothy Sainsbury ponied up nearly £120,000 pounds. Anthony David Brand, Lord Hampden contributed a Rolls-Royce with state-of-the-art communications equipment so that Knight could continue to pose as an affluent Satanist-about-town. The bishop of Lewes wrote a letter on Derry’s behalf, requesting donations for his “necessary work”. In November 1983, Reverend Baker secured a £25,000 loan from a Christian charity and handed it over to Knight.

The gravy train came to a halt in 1985, when it was realised that Knight was a conman. He was arrested, and put on trial for fraud in 1986:

…his trial defence strategy was to declare himself a member of a cult called “The Sons of Lucifer” and bring out shocking testimony that would blow the lid off Satanic doings at the highest levels of English society. He “outed” two Tory politicians (William WhitelawEnoch Powell) and one Labour MP (Leopold Abse) as cult members.

Knight was subsequently jailed. His accusations later resurfaced on-line; a conspiratorial-minded posting on the subject appeared  at uk.politics.misc in 2001 and has been archived by Google Groups. Knight’s accusation against Whitelaw is also cited in David Icke’s book The Biggest Secret, which was published in 1999.

Did the people who came to Walker for counselling in nearby Brighton ever have contact with Knight, or hear of the allegations he raised in court? If so, Walker’s observation that the accusations against Abse came from three “independent” persons loses significance. And was the “single individual” who accused Powell perhaps Knight himself?

The Church of England makes a statement

The various reports have prompted the Church of England to release a statement:

In June 2014 one of the Church of England’s safeguarding advisers contacted the Police with information concerning individuals against whom allegations had been made to a priest in the 1980s. The allegations concerned Members of Parliament who were alleged to be members of a Satanic cult in connection with the trial of Derry Mainwaring Knight who was convicted for fraud in 1986.

…[I]t is untrue to say that the Church of England proactively placed these allegations into the public domain. Rather this occurred through a story published by the Mail on Sunday on 29 March 2015.

The Mail on Sunday approached the Communications Office of the Church of England on 27 March 2015 seeking confirmation that the name of Enoch Powell was part of a conversation in the 1980s in relation to ritual satanic abuse.

The extent of the Church of England’s actions in this matter has been to pass these allegations to the police and to confirm to media outlets who approached our Communications Office that we had done so.

The statement also makes clear that the Church of England is not in fact conducting a review. The unnamed author of the post at The Needle blog (1) apparently brought the 1991 book to the Bishop of Durham’s attention in late 2013, and there’s a good chance that this is what prompted him to ask Walker about it and then pass the information to police.

The Church of England statement does not explain how the Leo Abse story came to the Sunday Times, but it does shed new light on how the Mail on Sunday operates. It’s unlikely that MoS hacks would just happen to phone up the Church of England on the off-chance that it might know something about Enoch Powell being a Satanic paedophile; surely, we must assume that someone at the paper saw the Sunday Times Leo Abse story, made the connection to Knight (or had it pointed out to them), and then saw an opportunity to produce a story about Powell along the same lines. Ditto The Times and the inclusion of Whitelaw’s name.

It looks to me that the name of Derry Mainwaring Knight was kept out of some stories deliberately. Why would that be, if not to obscure the story’s discredited provenance?

We may also ask whether the Sunday Times kept Powell and Whitelaw out of the 22 March story on Leo Abse because the paper knew that, like the “Satanic ritual” element, such claims would render the story less credible overall.

Simon Heffer attacks

The Church of England’s handling of the allegations has come under an excoriating attack by Simon Heffer. Writing in the Daily Mail, Heffer thundered:

…It is not just that the bishops who have made these accusations are behaving in a remarkably un-Christian fashion by putting this smear into the public domain. But that they do not appear even to have engaged what passes for their brains, or consciences, before behaving in this grotesque and offensive fashion.

…Their consciences should have told them that to make such an outrageous allegation about an enormously distinguished public figure who cannot defend himself, and which would cause the deepest distress to his family and friends, was the height of mischief and irresponsibility.

It is disgraceful and destabilising for clergy to behave in this way, and the Church needs to investigate those responsible for this smear and take action accordingly.

But it now appears that his complaint that Powell was “smeared” ought to be directed to the MoS, which dredged up the story and presented an incomplete account. Perhaps he could make this subject the theme of his next Daily Mail column.

Epilogue

And as the story heads out into the fringes, here’s how a wretchedly garbled version continues to spread: a website called Don’t Panic tells us that

The Reverend Butler says the claims were made by colleagues who had counselled Powell’s victims, who suffered his abuse at the Elm Guest House.

Appendix

Walker’s religious ministry has had a particular focus on spiritual “deliverance” (exorcism) from demonic powers; I recall seeing him on discuss the subject on TV in the early 1990s. At the time of the quote in Tate’s book he was also concerned about Satanic groups. A 1990 book by Gordon Thomas, entitled Enslaved: An Investigation into Modern-day Slavery, has the following:

…In 1989 there were an estimated one hundred thousand cult members, with London as their main centre. Sizeable groups were centred on the city’s Notting Hill and Camden areas; smaller ones existed in Bloomsbury, Wimbledon and Ealing. Other covens met in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and Brighton. So serious was the problem in the seaside resort, that Canon Dominic Walker, Vicar of Brighton, had set up a team to fight Satanic activities. They had so far dealt with fifteen hundred cases ‘of occult oppression’. Walker feared that, as the year  2000 approached – heightening interest in not only Christian belief at the dawn of a new millennium, but among Satanists too – Britain would  see an increase in paganism and a return to that time ‘of fear in a world where God was  far away and the earth was abandoned to demons.’

Note

(1) The post is described as being by “a man Tom Watson MP described as a ‘noble retired child protection officer'”; this appears to be Peter McKelvie. My thanks to Bandini in the comments below.

UPDATE (2 April): More today.

Two MPs Linked to Group Promoting Hampstead Satanic Panic

From the Ham&High (a local paper for Hampstead and Highgate in London):

Police have confirmed they are hunting a number of individuals wanted in connection with the case that saw an “evil” mother [Ella Draper] take part in the torture of her own young children to force them to invent allegations of child abuse.

…Dozens of innocent inviduals have seen their names and addresses published online alongside the untrue allegations and spread across the world, prompting fears of vigilante attacks. Many of those named have received abusive phone calls and death threats since the material became widely spread over the internet in February.

…The Ham&High has learnt that Ms Draper and Ms Sabine McNeill, her legal “supporter”, are included on their wanted list.

I’ve written about the case a couple of times previously: the claims are outlandish, and include not just industrial-scale sex abuse but also child sacrifice, the cooking and eating of babies, dancing around skulls, and the creation of baby-skin shoes that are supposedly worn by cult members. According to believers, hundreds of people are implicated over many years, but the whole thing was cloaked in secrecy until the two “#whistleblowerkids” spoke out at the prompting of Draper’s partner – a man who just happens to have a criminal record “for drugs offences, violence and dishonesty”.

McNeill is currently out of the country; with characteristic bombast, she claims that she has been designated as a “terrorist”. She has continued to promote her accusations on social media and via fringe conspiracy sites – a week ago she appeared on Bastion Radio’s Sunday Night Show, in discussion with conspiracy theorist Tony Gosling (hosted by Mike West and Kai Holloway), and her claims have also been discussed and promoted by Brian Gerrish and Mike Robinson at UK Column.

This all seems somewhat fringe and strange, so it’s perhaps worth noting that McNeill has in the past enjoyed the confidence of two Members of Parliament: John Hemming and Austin Mitchell. NcNeill co-runs an organisation called the “Association of Mckenzie Friends”, which supposedly supports parents in family courts; her partner here is the coincidentally-named Belinda Mckenzie, a 9/11 Truth activist who was formerly David Shayler’s landlady.

A writer using the name “Gojam” and writing on a site called The Needle appears to have a screenshot of headed paper in which Hemming and Austin are listed as “patrons”; from the visible heading and first line, the document is apparently a press release concerning the Hampstead accusations. I haven’t been able to verify the screenshot independently, but there’s no reason to doubt its authenticity and the two MPs are on the Association’s website as having been involved with the organisation’s launch. Gojam seems to have followed this up:

John Hemming MP withdrew as patron of The Association of McKenzie Friends on 22nd January 2015.

Despite trying I have been unable to reach Austin Mitchell MP to ascertain whether he is still a patron of this group

Of course, Hemming and Mitchell can’t be blamed for later erratic behaviour by someone whom they supported in good faith, and some past reports about McNeill’s campaigning in relation to family courts give no obvious cause for concern. However, some material on the Association’s website ought to have raised alarm bells, for example concerning Hollie Greig. The presence of a certain Terence Ewing as advisor ought to have been queried, too, for reasons that Gojam explains.

There was also a fiasco involving McNeill and Hemming in 2011, when Hemming was persuaded to support a woman named Vicky Haigh. Haigh had coached her 7-year-old daughter to make false allegations of sex abuse against her (the child’s) father as part of a custody dispute; an associate named Elizabeth Watson ended up being jailed for contempt of court for publicising the accusations despite a court order. Watson maintained that she had merely “investigated” the matter, and that the publication of her claims had been made without her permission by McNeill. Hemming, meanwhile, publicised Haigh’s case in the House of Commons, prompting a rebuke from John Mann MP:

“A gung-ho attitude to the breaching of court injunctions on the floor of the House is foolhardy and irresponsible,” he said.

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

If it is the case that Hemming and Mitchell have lost confidence in McNeill and the Association, they ought to say so publicly, rather than quietly backing away. Their past involvement has given McNeill a measure of credibility that she would not otherwise have enjoyed, while their public repudiation may help to dampen down the current vigilante atmosphere, which has seen protests at outside Hampstead church during which churchgoers have been subjected to vicious verbal abuse.

Failure to act would raise the unfortunate suspicion that while the MPs were happy to lend their names to a cause that appeared worthy, they are less keen to follow through with a more difficult course of action that is now required.

Mackenzie

(Screenshot taken from The Needle, with annotation removed)

Birther’s End-Times Prophecy Book a Bestseller

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

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

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

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

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

The same article has an example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gallups explains:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note

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

Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic: Hampstead Churchgoers Face Mob

Church Protest Hampstead

From the Daily Mail:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Applause and cries of “yes” from the crowd.

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

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

Some Notes on Afzal Amin and Tommy Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This appears to be something of a minority view.

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

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

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

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

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

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