Exaro News Makes Troubling New Accusations on Twitter

Disturbing Tweets from investigative website Exaro News. First, from 30 November:

Do not fall for smears against Exaro re CSA [child sexual abuse] survivors. We cannot discuss the arrangements that we make to ensure their safety and security. [LINK]

BTW the smears are coming from paedophiles as well as spooks. But some are one and the same. But they all know that the tide has turned.  [LINK]

And then today:

For the first time we are blocking some paedophiles and paedo-apologists who have engaged in extreme trolling to upset abuse survivors. [LINK]

… Not worth naming them. We do not want to give them publicity. [LINK]

Over the past few months, Exaro News has made a name for itself with a series of inter-related stories about an alleged paedophile ring involving senior politicians that supposedly operated with the collusion of the security services in the 1970s and 1980s. But in the above, the website has shifted – in an extraordinary casual and off-hand way – from investigating historic claims to making inflammatory accusations about people operating on Twitter today.

Exaro‘s most sensational claim appeared last month: that a survivor, named as “Nick”, had witnessed a then-serving Conservative Party MP “strangle a boy to death during a sexual assault” at an “abuse party”. Nick also claims  that a second boy was murdered by two unknown men in front of “a former Conservative cabinet minister” at a different event, and that a third boy had been “deliberately [run] over and killed” by a member of the gang. The timeline, for some reason, is slightly confused: the first murder took place “around 1980″, and the second one “between a year and 18 months” later; but the third – which Nick “took to be a warning” – is curiously dated to “the summer of 1979″.

Since November’s publication, I’ve seen several people on Twitter express scepticism about the story or raise misgivings about how Exaro and Nick are interacting with the police. I also note that one critic (involved with the contrarian “Spiked” group) is on record as having described Stuart Hall’s crimes as being “low-level”, and I can see how this might provoke a hostile “paedo-apologist” accusation. Further, there is one (anonymous) Twitter user who is approaching the issue in a way that is unpleasant and goading. But where’s the evidence of paedophiles “smearing” Exaro News on Twitter (or elsewhere)? And where’s the evidence of the remarkable claim that they are also “spooks”?

The published allegations about a “Conservative cabinet minister” are vague, but specific enough to allow anyone so inclined to make a short list of suspects. Similarly, these Tweets are vague enough to avoid proper scrutiny, but just specific enough to cast a shadow over anyone with reasonable and good-faith reservations about aspects of Exaro‘s approach.

That’s the effect. But as someone who supports “new media” and “citizen journalist” investigations into matters of public interest, I really hope it wasn’t the intention.


UPDATE: By way of a footnote, I would also like to note a couple of other recent Exaro Tweets that have caught my eye and set off alarm-bells: (1) an RT of a Tweet by another person responding to news that the site has been short-listed for a journalism award:

I should think the only people that won’t vote for you are paedophiles & the ‘cover uppers’!

Perhaps this was meant as a joke rather than as a serious proposition, but even if so it remains very ill-advised for Exaro to appear to endorse the sentiment.

And (2), an attack on Chris French for writing in the Guardian about false claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse (a subject I’ve discussed previously):

…He is, in total ignorance, casting doubt on Nick-type victims. SRA is a red herring icw Midland

The Guardian itself came under fire for publishing the piece after asking to speak to “Nick”.

I should perhaps make clear that this doesn’t mean that I think Exaro News should be dismissed out of hand – the case of Cyril Smith shows that a politician was able to get away with paedophilic abuse (although not, so far as we know, murder) in plain sight, and that the security services may have protected him (as others have suggested, perhaps in order to blackmail him).

Exaro also has testimony from ex-law enforcement officers that they were aware of “a significant paedophile group in Parliament” who were allegedly “untouchable”; these two (unnamed) officers apparently also claim to have been “aware that boys were being killed”, although no details are given as to what is meant by “aware” (saw bodies? heard rumours?). Obviously, that needs looking into.

One thing we’ve learnt over the past 12 years, following the first media revelations about historic sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in 2002, is that institutions have again and again facilitated the abuse of children, in some cases because of child protection failures and in others due to collusion. There is naturally widespread goodwill towards those who are investigating the issue, and anger against the thought of all those who escaped justice because they enjoyed positions of authority and trust.

But the spectre of Joseph McCarthy should remind us that it not good for any campaigning group or individual to be above criticism.

Berean Call Clashes with WND On End-Times Theories

T.A. McMahon of The Berean Call warns against “fearmongering false prophets”:

The latest to conjure up forthcoming dark clouds on the horizon are those who promote the teaching that there may well be a combination of two prophetic events taking place in the year 2015 that could result in unprecedented physical cataclysms and financial crashes. The use of italics for “may well be” and “could” is given to note that those purveyors of disasters have used such language in order to cover themselves from being accused of false prophecy. 

…The two leaders in this alleged confluence of biblical tribulations are Jonathan Cahn ( The Mystery of Shemitah ) and Mark Biltz ( The Blood Moons ) [here]. They are supported by a cast of false teachers and sensationalists and their associated organizations that include Jim Bakker, Sid Roth, John Hagee, Pat Robertson of the 700 Club , and Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, to name but a few.

…Cahn is heavily promoted by WorldNetDaily, which heralds him as a modern-day prophet and revealer of “The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future .” Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily’s chief, is the producer of Cahn’s documentary Isaiah:9:10 Judgment [here], and the website is a chief supporter of Cahn’s books.

…Joining the false signs-and-wonders teacher Rodney Howard-Browne for his Celebrate America Conference, Jonathan Cahn told the audience, “The financial collapse of the US dollar may happen on Sunday the 13th of September 2015 corresponding to the 29 of Elul 5775 on the Hebrew calendar, the next shemitah of the 7 year cycle.”

That’s from Google cache; the original page has been scrubbed, apparently following a complaint from Farah.

Cahn is a Messianic Jew, and he claims to have special insight into “Hebrew Mysteries” in the Bible. In particular, God’s dealings with ancient Israel are supposedly spiritual laws that can also be used to explain historical events in the USA, and to predict what lies ahead. His book The Harbinger has been a national bestseller, and he’s now followed up with The Mystery of the Shemitah (tagline: “The 3, 000-Year-Old Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future, the World’s Future, and Your Future!”)

The Berean Call, by contrast, represents a more austere form of Christian fundamentalism that is sceptical of trendy “end-times experts” and their various theories:

Jonathan Cahn further compounds the central error that he taught in his book The Harbinger by applying a law of God to America—a law that applies only to God’s exclusive covenant people: the Jews. This is false prophecy in the sense that it seriously misrepresents the Scriptures.

The article has prompted a bitter and aggrieved response from WND‘s Joseph Farah, in a piece written by one of his authors, Leo Hohmann:

A video-recording of Cahn’s speech that day in D.C. revealed no mention of the dollar’s impending collapse on Sept. 13 of next year.

…Farah, founder of WND.com, WND Books and WND Films, said he was disappointed in McMahon’s blanket criticisms and especially his distortion of the facts.

“When you accuse someone of saying something they didn’t say it’s called ‘bearing false witness.’ It’s a sin. It’s a breach of one of the Ten Commandments,” Farah said.

The criticisms also appear to be a breach of the biblical admonishment in Matthew 18:15-20, Farah said. That scripture says “if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” In other words, tell him in private, not in front of the whole congregation or, in this case, in front of the world on the Internet.

…Why he would have fabricated a quote remains unclear. WND left a voicemail message Monday and sent an email seeking a response from the Berean Call but as of this posting has not heard from McMahon.

This is difficult to take: Farah is a notorious and florid liar when it comes to all kinds of subjects, while his sudden conversion to discreet and constructive criticism as opposed to shrill denunciations is laughable.

The accusation that McMahon “fabricated a quote” rather than simply made a mistake is also made in bad faith. A few moments Googling brings up a video of Cahn in conversation with Sid Roth, in which Cahn makes it very clear that he expects disaster in 2015 as part of a seven-year spiritual cycle:

The first shaking is 9/11. Second shaking is the economic collapse. When does it happen? It happens in 2008… The greatest day happened at the end of September 2008. It was the greatest stock market crash in the history of America.

It’s pretty clear that this infers something similar for September 2015. Part of the interview was uploaded to YouTube by someone called packrat23456 in March 2013; the uploader chose to substitute some of the visuals with written comments of his own, and at 3.58 he added:

The financial collapse of the US dollar, may happen on Sunday, the 13th of September 2015.

This may not be Cahn’s exact words, but it’s the plain meaning of what he’s saying. The YouTube video was subsequently embedded on a site called Prophecies of the End Times (tagline: “The Wrath of God is Comming”), in a piece by a certain PT Caldwell entitled “The Financial Collapse of America..9/13/2015“.

The bad blood between McMahon and Farah goes back a while, despite former friendship. In March 2013, Farah recalled that McMahon had once helped him find a painkiller vending-machine during an attack of kidney stones, but, alas:

Nearly every issue of The Berean Call includes a new attack on “The Harbinger” and “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” – each one more preposterous and slanderous than the next.

…McMahon has a legacy to live up to – the big legacy of Dave Hunt. He is attempting to do that with a “holier than thou” attitude toward the superstar of American evangelicalism today, Jonathan Cahn (and occasionally myself because of my close association with him).

It’s pure jealousy, in my opinion. It’s envy. It’s the temptation to pick on someone with a big following to attract attention from a much more limited following.

UK Conspiracy Theorist Backed By WND Found Guilty of Making Hoax Bomb Claims

Jerome Corsi, writing for WND in April:

British barrister and intelligence consultant Michael Shrimpton plans to launch a vigorous defense on charges of making false claims to British government officials that a terrorist nuclear attack was under way during the 2012 Olympics in London, raising the possibility documents and testimony he plans to subpoena will embarrass the U.K., German and U.S. governments.

As WND reported, Shrimpton, who faces a Nov. 10 trial, also appears in a 2008 video that began re-circulating earlier this year on the Internet in which he claims to have been privy to shocking intelligence information on Obama’s origins….

WND also reported several British military intelligence sources with a long track record say they are prepared to testify in Shrimpton’s trial.

As I noted at the time, Corsi’s piece was the third of a trilogy of articles for WND about Shrimpton’s predicament; there was also a WND column by Christopher Monckton, which began with a warning to David Cameron to “Leave Michael Shrimpton Alone”:

If Mr. Shrimpton is sane, then HMG will find it has has bitten off more than it can chew. For Shrimpton will exercise every right of the defense to call secret intelligence evidence, such as reports from the network of nuclear-monitoring military satellites, and even a report of a supposed DNA test establishing that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya. 

However, even Monckton – and that’s a very big “even”, given Monckton’s own eccentricities – felt the need for a bit of hedging, adding:

Don’t ask me what that has to do with a plot to blow up the London Olympics. Mr. Shrimpton may or may not have all his marbles in the right place, but the prosecution is plainly out to lunch.

So, seven month later, how did things work out? From the UK Mirror:

…A jury of nine men and three women found Shrimpton guilty of two counts of communicating false information after more than six hours of deliberation, with majority 11-1 verdicts.

Ordering psychiatric reports, Judge Alistair McCreath QC said: “The sentence that I pass upon you will have to reflect that gravity of the conduct of which you have been convicted.

“But if, as may be the case, there is some underlying reason for it, then it seems to me important that I be informed of that underlying reason and I am therefore minded to order that you undergo psychiatric examination.”

No “secret intelligence evidence” appears to have been presented, although Shrimpton did mention “someone in Munich” with links to Russian intelligence “who occasionally has lunch with Pope”.

The Mirror also adds:

Shrimpton holds one previous conviction for possession of indecent images of children. A memory stick was found in his house search containing the vile pictures and has been the subject of separate proceedings at magistrates’ court.

Handed a three-year community order for the crime, he appealed the conviction but it was upheld.

According to an October article in the Bucks Herald, the images “were found by police specialists to be indecent images of young boys”. However:

Speaking to the Bucks Herald outside court Mr Shrimpton said that he was ‘not worried’ about the case, and dismissed it as an effort to discredit him for being outspoken about key political issues as an intelligence specialist.

He said: “With every respect to the CPS and TVP this prosecution, based on an allegation of possession of a memory stick which has neither my fingerprints nor DNA on it, is a farce…”

We await Corsi’s take on these developments with interest.

Meanwhile, Shrimpton and Monckton appeared together in September, discussing “rise of violent Islamic jihadism, the missing Malaysian jetliner, and the threat to Western civilization” on TruNews with End-Times radio conspiracy-monger Rick Wiles.

Vladimir Yakunin at “Peace With Russia” Conference in Berlin

German media has some interesting coverage of a recent conference in Berlin that was attended by Vladimir Yakunin (or “Wladimir Jakunin” in German transliteration), a close confidant of Vladimir Putin who has featured a number of times on this blog due to his involvement in soft power initiatives using culture and religion.

The conference – titled Frieden mit Russland! - was organised by Compact magazine, and featured political figures such as the Vice President of the AfD, Alexander Gauland, and Egon Bahr, the architect of Ostpolitik under Willy Brandt. According to the blurb (tidied up from Google translate):

The policy of the USA, NATO and the EU has maybe put us in the most dangerous situation since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 after the end of the Second World War in 1945. Every decent German and any decent Europeans has the duty to resist in this warmongering against Russia. The encirclement of our neighbor to the east is not in the European interest, but only serves Anglo-American power. That they cover up the goals of their endeavor as the defense of international law is a transparent ploy. If Washington and London speak of human rights, it’s really about mineral rights.

All surveys show that the people do not want a new war against Russia, not even a cold one! The rational forces must now come together and give ear: “Peace with Russia. For a sovereign Europe “- See you on November 22 in Berlin!

A report for Bild by Peter Tiede describes the conference as a “a summit of German friends Putin, right-wing populists and conspiracy theorists in Berlin”, while Sidney Gennies for Der Tagesspiegel appears to have spent time with an attendee (not apparently a speaker) who explained how Coca Cola was invented to destroy the body’s immune system and how vaccines are a plot to decimate Africa (a conspiracy theory I looked at just recently, after Kenyan Bishops spoke on the issue).

Bild also draws attention to document produced by a Russian think-tank called “The Centre for Strategic  Communications”, called Putin: The New Leader of International Conservatism. This is somewhat old news – the report, by Dmitry Abzalov, was launched at a press conference in December last year, and featured in an article by Brian Whitmore for Radio Free Europe. According to Whitmore:

According to excerpts from the report cited in the media, most people yearn for stability and security, favor traditional family values over feminism and gay rights, and prefer nation-based states rather than multicultural melting pots. Putin, the report says, stands for these values while “ideological populism of the left” in the West “is dividing society.” 

Bild now adds that the report has a specific strategy for Germany; according to a derivative detail from Bild in English in The Local:

The paper’s authors highlight one of the AfD’s financing methods – trading gold – as a way for the Kremlin to buy influence into the party. The advisors suggested the Russian government could sell gold to the party at a loss or use the Germans as a middleman for gold trading at commission as a way of filling the party’s coffers.

The Berlin conference appears to be a regular yearly event, although interest has been heightened following news of a “secret meeting” between Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev and right-wing figures in Vienna during the summer.

Religious Relics Transferred From Moscow to East Ukraine

Russian news-source RIA Novosti reports that relics of St George and a fragment of the Holy Cross have been transferred from Moscow to a cathedral in Donetsk (trans. via Google, tidied up a bit):

“We took them to the holy land, holy relics will remain here forever. We want bloodshed in Donbas to cease, and to be at peace “, Natalia Mezentceva, the vice-president of the Foundation of Saint Boniface (Moscow), which organized the event, told reporters.

Beforehand, the relics were brought to the location of troops belonging to the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, where they were venerated by the fighters.

Back in June, the same Foundation arranged for relics to be brought to the Black Sea Fleet, in a ceremony that also involved “Regional Development Minister Igor Slyunyaev, and employees of the Ministry of Regional Development of Russia”.

The Foundation has a website here; it appears to be a charity focusing on drug and alcohol addiction.

The Foundation plans to bring other religious items to Donbas: these include relics of Ilya Muromets, and the Holy Fire from Jerusalem next Easter.

Anti-Vax HCG-Tetanus Conspiracy Theory Backed By Catholic Groups In Kenya

From LifeSiteNews:

…According to a statement released Tuesday by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, the organization has found an antigen that causes miscarriages in a vaccine being administered to 2.3 million girls and women by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Priests throughout Kenya reportedly are advising their congregations to refuse the vaccine.

“We sent six samples from around Kenya to laboratories in South Africa. They tested positive for the HCG antigen,” Dr. Muhame Ngare of the Mercy Medical Centre in Nairobi told LifeSiteNews. “They were all laced with HCG.”

Dr. Ngare, spokesman for the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, stated in a bulletin released November 4, “This proved right our worst fears; that this WHO campaign is not about eradicating neonatal tetanus but a well-coordinated forceful population control mass sterilization exercise using a proven fertility regulating vaccine. This evidence was presented to the Ministry of Health before the third round of immunization but was ignored.”

It was reported last month that Catholic Bishops in Kenya were warning against the vaccine.

LifeSiteNews also carries a choice quote from Brain Clowes, of Human Life International in Virginia, who explains the nefarious motivation behind it all:

“Racism,” is Brian Clowes’ first explanation.  “Also, the developed countries want to get hold of their natural resources. And lately, there is the whole bogus global warming thing.”

There are several articles about Human Life International on Right Wing Watch. It’s not clear to what extent the organization is behind the current scare in Kenya, but it has been promoting the claim that the jab is a secret sterilization plot for many years.

In 1995, the organization’s campaigning featured in an academic paper entitled “Damage to Immunisation Programmes from Misinformation on Contrceptive Vaccines“, by Julie Milstien, P. David Griffin and J.W. Lee and available here. The authors wrote:

This publicity campaign apparently stemmed from reports in the scientific literature of a clinical trial carried out to assess the effectiveness of a prototype antifertility vaccine designed to provide protection against unplanned pregnancies for a period of one to two years, carried out by a group in India led by [Professor G. P.] Talwar. The active ingredient in this vaccine is a subunit of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), a hormone necessary for the initiation of pregnancy and produced in large amounts throughout pregnancy. It is hCG which is detected by pregnancy tests. The hCG used in the clinical trial was coupled with a protein ‘carrier’ so that it would stimulate the production of antibodies against hCG and thus prevent pregnancy. In the case of the study in question, the protein carriers used were diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, which are available relatively cheaply and produced under conditions which make them acceptable for human use.

There is no connection between tetanus immunisation programmes and this small clinical trial, carried out in India in 1994, and not sponsored, supported, nor executed by WHO. However, in order to discredit the development of anti-hCG vaccines, the information concerning these two separate activities has been erroneously linked and distorted to confuse people. Unfortunately this confusion can result in endangering the lives of infants and of their mothers by interfering with their access to immunisations.

After these rumours were spread, attempts were made to analyse TI vaccines for the presence of hCG. The vaccines were sent to hospital laboratories and tested using pregnancy test kits which are developed for use on serum and urine specimens, and are not appropriate for a vaccine such as ‘IT, which contains a special preservative (merthiolate) and an adjuvant (aluminum salt). As a consequence of using these inappropriate tests, low levels of hCG-like activity were found in some samples of TT vaccine. The laboratories themselves recognised the insignificance of the results, which were below the reliable detection capability of the kits and were due to a nonspecific interaction between the adjuvant or other substances in the vaccine and the test kit. However, these results were misrepresented by the ‘pro-life’ groups with the resulting disruption of immunisation programmes.

That was almost 20 years ago. In 2006, a British journalist – Tom Whipple, now with the London Times  – covered the same issue for the Sri Lanka Daily Mirror:

It was at a pro-life conference in Colombo that I first heard about the United Nations’ plans to sterilise the female population of the developing world. The press release for the “Asia under siege” anti-abortion roadshow introduced the case: “The so far unsuspecting and vulnerable Sri Lankan people will learn about the harm that women are exposed to through birth control potions. They will be told how government departments are pressurised into implementing racist and ideological policies enforced from abroad.”

Whipple cited studies which again show the accusation to be false – and on Twitter he has now said that he left the Catholic Church over to the issue.

It’s true that the WHO has been developing a hCG anti-fertility vaccine, but with rather less ambitious aims than the Kenyan Bishops fear; in 2004, the body explained that:

A number of agencies have been trying for some years to develop a totally new method of contraception—immunocontraception—based on the production of an immune response to specific molecules. The Programme’s work in this area has focused on the development of an immunocontraceptive based on, and directed against, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), a protein produced by the early embryo to allow successful implantation in the endometrium. A successful anti-hCG vaccine could theoretically provide long-lasting protection against pregnancy (approximately 6 months), without producing the endocrine and other metabolic disturbances often associated with long-acting hormonal preparations.

Granted, this was more than ten years ago; but a browse of the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology‘s special issue for July 2011, on Contraceptive Vaccines, shows that such an hCG vaccine is still in the process of development. The editorial (which is free to view), by Rajesh K. Naz of West Virginia University, includes the following:

The hCG vaccine is the first vaccine to under Phase I and II clinical trials in humans. Both efficacy and lack of immunopathology have been well demonstrated for this vaccine. At the present time, studies are focused on increasing the immunogenicity and efficacy of the birth control vaccine and examining its clinical applications in various hCG-producing cancers.

Here’s what Clowes wants us to believe: that the originators of the vaccine published their findings in 1994, despite the need for secrecy; that large numbers of twenty-first century health professionals have been co-ordinating on a covert and highly unethical (indeed, illegal) project that risks destroying the credibility of all international health interventions, motivated by greed and racism; that the programme has managed to continue despite exposure by groups like IHL; that vast numbers of women have been sterilized already without anyone noticing any impact on demography; and that professional scientists working on the subject are under the false impression that the vaccine is still at trial stage.

Claims that vaccinations are a secret sterilization plot have also adversely affected anti-polio vaccination programmes – most famously in Nigeria, where local Islamists promoted a parallel conspiracy theory about oestrogen.


The LifeSiteNews article also includes the following quote about the Kenyan anti-vaxxers:

Why, they ask does it involve an unprecedented five shots (or”jabs” as they are known, in Kenya) over more than two years and why is it applied only to women of child-bearing years, and why is it not being conducted without the usual fanfare of government publicity?

“Usually we give a series three shots over two to three years, we give it anyone who comes into the clinic with an open wound, men, women or children.” said Dr. Ngare. “If this is intended to inoculate children in the womb, why give it to girls starting at 15 years? You cannot get married till you are 18. The usual way to vaccinate children is to wait till they are six weeks old.”

I don’t think most people would struggle to grasp why a campaign against neo-natal tetanus would focus on “women of child-bearing years”, and a bit of googling shows that a course of five shots is actually normal. As to why girls aged between 15 and 17 are included, despite not being able to get married until they are 18 – perhaps someone ought to explain the way of the world to Dr Ngare.

Yehuda Glick Supporters Reject “Extremist” Tag

From the JTA, via the Forward:

Yitzhak Glick cannot stand hearing his younger brother referred to as a right-wing “extremist.”

“He is a man of peace and a huge supporter of religious dialogue,” he told JTA on Tuesday, one week after his brother Yehuda was shot in the chest and stomach outside Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Center by an assailant who fled on a motorcycle.


“Glick is an exceptional right-wing activist, who also befriends secular Jews and left-wingers,” columnist Roy (Chicky) Arad wrote in Haaretz days after the shooting. “In contrast to (right-wing lawmaker Moshe) Feiglin, who insists that visits to the Temple Mount should not be regarded as part of the discourse on human rights but rather as an issue of Israeli sovereignty, Glick views the matter as a question of freedom of worship for members of all religions, so he manages to reach a broader audience.”

Also complaining about the “extremist” tag is Honest Reporting:

The reality of Rabbi Glick’s views is quite different than the way he is being described. He is a proponent of the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. Those familiar with the Rabbi know that his goal is not to supplant Muslim prayer in that place. He is actually an advocate of allowing all prayers there.

Certainly, taken in isolation, Glick’s vision is not the same thing as “right-wing extremism”, although it should be noted that Glick is associated with Feiglin: the attempted murder occurred in the presence of Feiglin’s aide, and occurred as Glick was leaving a meeting on the subject of the Temple in which Feiglin had also taken part.

And it’s impossible to divorce Glick’s wish for “allowing all prayers there” and the political reality that such a provision would represent an Israeli encroachment at a time of continuing conflict. As the Economist notes:

In the ever-contested ground of the Holy Land, prayer is not just an act of personal devotion: it implies ownership. Jews were allowed to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, another contested city. But when a settler massacred Palestinians in 1994, the site was divided into Jewish and Muslim areas. Palestinians fear a similar cycle of provocation, violence and concession to Jewish radicals in Jerusalem.

There are strands within Judaism and Christianity that look forward to the destruction of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock: in 1969, a mentally-disturbed follower of Herbert Armstrong attempted to burn down al-Aqsa, and in the 1980s a group of Israeli extremists plotted to blow up the structures. In 2007, a “Night to Honor Israel” organised by Christians United for Israel in the USA included one speaker who said that God had told her “that Dome is coming down.” This is not Glick’s intention, but it shows there are practical risks involved.

Glick was interviewed last year for an apocalyptic documentary by “Glenn Beck’s End-Times Prophet” Joel Richardson. He writes:

Rabbi Glick is a courageous man of faith, but he is most certainly not an extremist. He is a man of peace. The extremists are not only those who sought to take Glick’s life, but also the left wing media that have cast Glick as a radical right-wing agitator before they even took the time to know who he really is. Let us pray that he comes to know Yeshua the Messiah.

I wonder how that last sentence will go down. Richardson also has a warning; as he explained to WND:

 “Scripturally speaking, we look at the career of the Antichrist, who will be a deceiver, and he’s able to engage in a seven-year covenant with Israel (Daniel 9 and Isaiah 28) so he emerges seemingly as a man of peace that is able to engage Israel on a political level… Most likely, this covenant will allow concessions with the Jews such as allowing them to rebuild their Temple, and in the middle of that he will violate that covenant. Right now, the atmosphere is not such that the Muslims would allow the Jews to share the Temple Mount, but something is going to happen that would force them to accept that.”

Larry Jacobs on the WCF: “We’ve Never Said we’re Against Anything”

The Deseret News reports on a planning meeting for next year’s World Congress of Families event in Utah:

The managing director of the World Congress of Families said the group has no animosity toward anyone but simply wants to affirm and defend the natural family.

“We’ve always focused on the positive,” Larry Jacobs told the Deseret News. “We’ve never said we’re against anything. Our focus is about why the natural family is better for society.

“We never go in with an agenda of, ‘We’re against this.’ It’s always about what we’re for, which is beauty, goodness and truth, and the natural family is where those start.”

That would be same Larry Jacobs who is infamous for his support for authoritarian anti-gay measures in Russia. Here he is in 2013, expounding on his theme with “End Times” conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles:

Jacobs: The Russians might be the Christian saviors to the world; at the UN they really are the ones standing up for these traditional values of family and faith.

Wiles: Well look the city government of Moscow passed a 100 year ban on gay parades.

Jacobs: And the homosexual propaganda—the law in the Russian Duma it passed on first reading, it would ban propaganda to minors, preventing them from corrupting children. What a great idea and the rest of Europe is going the other way, legalizing LGBT propaganda.

How could anyone have formed the impression that Jacobs not in fact “always focused on the positive”?

The Deseret News also has a quote from the CEO of the Utah-based Sutherland Institute, which will be hosting next year’s meeting:

Acting Sutherland CEO Stanford Swim said the planning and the efforts of the World Congress of Families is “about as important a work as is being done anywhere.”

Swim took charge of the Sutherland Institute after “different visions” led to the departure of Paul Mero in August; Mero previously co-wrote The Natural Family: A Manifesto, with the WCF’s founder, Allan C. Carlson. Stanford is the son of the late Gaylord Swim, who founded the Institute, and he is the President of the GFC Foundation (“serving God, Family, and Country”), which provides grants to the Sutherland Institute. SourceWatch has some further background here, noting links to the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity; there’s also a rather more positive profile at Philanthropy Roundtable.

The WCF’s plan to meet in Utah has generated some controversy.

Abuse of Children Accused of Witchcraft in UK Cited in USA as Evidence of Witchcraft

From Jennifer LeClaire, news editor at Charisma News:

It started a little later than usual, but spiritual witchcraft is rising—and rising rapidly—in South Florida this October. My community is home to a large population of witches, pagans, Wiccans and other heathens who practice one form of witchcraft or another. Your community may not have palm trees and beaches, but it’s likely got a few witches, pagans, Wiccans and heathens practicing witchcraft.

A quick scan of the latest news reveals that reports of witchcraft-related child abuse are on the rise in London; two children were tortured and dumped on the streets over witchcraft in Akwa Ibom; a pastor who runs several churches in Kiambu and Meru was found practicing witchcraft; authorities have tied Texas drug smugglers to witchcraft, cartels and a house explosion; and seven people accused of witchcraft were burned to death in Tanzania.

It’s shame that LeClaire’s “quick scan” apparently didn’t involve any actual absorption of content, since  several of those articles are actually salutary warnings against the kind of scaremongering that she’s promoting.

Anyone who simply takes LeClaire at her word will come away from the article believing that witches are abusing children in London and Nigeria, when in fact what’s actually going on is that children are being abused and abandoned after being falsely accused of witchcraft. Further, many of these accusations are the result of teachings that have gained ground within African churches (most famously in Nigeria through the “ministry” of Helen Ukpabio). LeClaire would be better employed dealing with this urgent problem among her co-religionists, rather than attempting to whip up suspicion against harmless Wiccans in South Florida.

However, it is possible that LeClaire has been misled by some regrettably confusing headlines in the UK media. These include “Rise in cases of ritual child abuse linked to witchcraft beliefs reported, say police” (the PA); “Witchcraft and ritual child abuse cases rise in London” (the BBC); and “Ritual child abuse linked to witchcraft on the rise in the UK” (the Daily Mail).

Such headlines are accurate, insofar as children are indeed being subjected to abusive “deliverance” rites to supposedly “cure” them of witchcraft; but a casual and uninformed reader will assume that such statements in fact refer to rituals that are being performed by witches. Among LeClaire’s core readership, this in turn risks resurrecting the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” panic of the 1980s that caused so much needless suffering.

But even if we allow an honest mistake here, what about her example from Tanzania? According to the source she cites (an AFP report):

A local rights group, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), has estimated as many as 500 “witches” are lynched every year, based on reports that counted some 3,000 people killed between 2005 and 2011.

Many of those killed were elderly women, the centre said.

The rights group said some are targeted because they have red eyes — seen as a feared sign of witchcraft, even if they in fact that is the result from the use of dung as cooking fuel in impoverished communities.

It’s grotesque that LeClaire would promote news of these deaths, not as a warning that witchcraft accusations are an absolute bane, but as evidence that “Your community… [has] likely got a few witches, pagans, Wiccans and heathens practicing witchcraft.”

No, 4-Year-Olds in Canada Are Not Being Taught “How to Behead”

A lurid headline at WND:

Canada Mosque Teaches 4-Year-Olds How To Behead

The obvious implication is that very young children are being recruited to perform what has now become the most notorious killing method of Jihadi fanatics in Syria and Iraq. As WND hack Chelsea Schilling explains:

Video footage of the Islamic Jaffari Center in Thornhill, Ontario, shows children as young as 4 years old watching and learning to conduct beheadings in a play that reportedly took place two years ago.

The video was featured on the Canada’s Sun News Network television program, “Byline with Brian Lilley.”

…News of the mock beheading comes only a week after a Muslim convert beheaded a woman at an Oklahoma company.


Toronto Sun columnist and liberal activist Tarek Fatah, author of “The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism,” explained that the play depicts the martyrdom of Muhammad’s grandson and brother.

In other words, the character carrying out the beheadings is the villain of the story. And it’s clear from the video that the child actor has not in fact learnt “to conduct beheadings”: he stands poised next to the victim with a toy sword or stick, but the act itself is not depicted. This makes as much sense as saying that children playing Roman soldiers in a Passion Play have been taught how to nail someone to a piece of wood.

Fatah knows that the report’s premise is nonsense, but he doesn’t want to disoblige his conservative interviewer. As a compromise, he instead focuses on the general sanguinary nature of the subject matter:

Fatah said he doesn’t believe the parents and teachers at the Islamic Jaffari Center were “trying to make the kids into radicals.”

“After all, these are the victims of radicals,” he said. “Most Shiite Muslims today are being slaughtered by fellow Muslims. So that context has to be there. This was not some ISIS or al-Qaida or Taliban type of people”

Lilly interrupted, “They are acting out history. But you can see from Canadian eyes, though, why you look at this and go, this is strange, especially considering the history of this mosque.”

Fatah replied, “I know. I think – how do I put it most kindly? – I think somebody needs to talk to them and try to make them understand that celebrating death, no matter of whom [sic], is a bizarre experience. It desensitizes bloodshed among kids.”

That’s a valid opener for a debate – but it doesn’t support the headline’s claim. And the problem of “desensitization” is actually more in evidence in comments below the article:

 I suggest we take thousands of pigs and infect them with the Ebola virus and send them to all the muslim communities of the world and some goats too. They like goats and sheep, espescially the males. Hopefully the virus will spread throughout the muslim world. It’s the only way to get rid of them.