BBC SpyCruise Documentary

Back in September I blogged on a group called Veteran Defenders of America, an outgrowth of Brigitte Gabriel‘s ACT! For America. I noted that the “honorary chairman” of the advisory council is retired Maj. General Paul E. Vallely, and that the VDA website carries an advert for a 2010 “SpyCruise” organised by Vallely’s own Stand Up America organisation, at which former CIA operatives and directors were billed as speakers.

News of the cruise, which took place in November, also appeared in a Washington Times piece:

When the air outside starts to get a bit frosty this November, former CIA Director Michael Hayden will be enjoying warm sea air in the Caribbean, along with dozens of other former spies.

Mr. Hayden has signed on as the top attraction for the “SpyCruise,” an annual charity boat trip begun in 2002 to raise money for the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation and the Scott Vallely Soldiers’ Memorial Fund.

“I think the one tie that binds our passengers together and spurs them to sail with us is a continued interest in national security matters, a desire to listen to and learn from real experts and without a doubt, patriotism,” former CIA officer Bart Bechtel, who serves as “spyskipper,” told special correspondent Rowan Scarborough.

…Another former CIA director, Porter Goss, also will be on board. His lecture: “Radical Fundamentalism and (Judeo-Christian) Western Civilization Are Irreconcilable.”

The full  line-up can be seen here. Paul E. Vallely is well-known as a Fox News pundit, and he is aligned with the cruder end of the “counter-jihad” right: as well as the association with Gabriel, his Stand Up America website commends sites such as WorldNetDaily and Townhall and the Tea Party. He has also co-written a book defending the prison at Guantanamo Bay with Gordon Cucullu, whom I blogged here. However, the speakers on the cruise appear to have been professionals rather than the usual procession of demagogues and opportunists who pass themselves off as experts on radical Islam: there’s no-one as vulgar as Robert Spencer or Walid Shoebat on the schedule.

Among the speakers was the British journalist Tom Mangold, who also took the opportunity to make a documentary about the cruise for BBC Radio 4 – it can be heard for the next few days here. Mangold talks to various fellow-speakers and paying participants, and the programme features interviews with both Goss and Hayden. Unsurprisingly, the tone is hawkish and implicitly politicised: Hayden tells us that waterboarding turned captured terrorists into “gushers of information”, while Goss – who complains that “the civil libertarians are trying for scalps” – shows an understanding of the UK that appears to have been culled from conservative websites:

You don’t retreat from the law and order of the United Kingdom and say ‘OK, you can have shariah law in that part of our country, because its just too hard, we just can’t handle your domestic stuff.’ You just can’t go there. My worry is that the appeasers are back.

He’s doubtless refering to the overegged issue I blogged on here.

Mangold also spoke to Bart Bechtel, who is the “SpyCruise Director” and a retired CIA Operations Officer; Mangold asked him whether the event was simply speaking to the already-converted:

Bechtel: I actually did reach out to people on the other side of the political spectrum. They didn’t feel comfortable being supportive of such a venture for whatever reason. Either they don’t believe in national security or they don’t want to educate themselves about it, historically or even current affairs.

Mangold: But one does have the feeling that if you had an American Civil Liberties Union lecture here he’d be booed off the stage within the first 45 seconds.

Bechtel: That’s quite probable, yes.

Mangold also reflects on the purpose of the cruise: it provides an opportunity for networking, and for the CIA to do something about its image problem. He adds:

The real agenda of the spy cruise is now becoming more clear. The US, cruisers are reminded forcefully, is at war and needs to behave like a nation at war.

The SpyCruise was organised by a private intelligence organisation, called SpyTrek; according to the blurb:

SpyTrek® is run by the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI CENTRE) which provides counterintelligence, counterterrorism, investigations and security training for government agencies and corporations. The instructors of the CI CENTRE are veteran intelligence, counterintelligence and counterterrorism officers who served in the US Intelligence Community, including the FBI, CIA and US Military as well as the Russian KGB. In addition, other instructors are intelligence and counterterrorism analysts, authors and historians.

I’ve looked at some other private intelligence organisations previously; Chip Berlet mentioned last month that the CI CENTRE will feature in a forthcoming report on “key counter-terrorism firms offering highly politicized, biased seminars and industry conferences.”

In 2009, Mangold interviewed Glen Jenvey following Jenvey’s admission that he had hoaxed a tabloid newspaper with information he had posted to a Muslim webforum – I blogged this here.

Police Confirm that Nadine Dorries Did Not Report Critical Blogger

UPDATE (20 January 2011):  Tim adds some new information:

It turns out there is, at present, a police investigation. Police had not contacted me about it until yesterday (19 Jan 2011). It relates specifically to the hustings event at Flitwick [see here – RB]. There is no crime reference number for this as yet, because there is no crime. I was perfectly happy to speak with police and answer their questions (and I still am), but there is very little I can share publicly about it at this stage, and police didn’t raise anything that I haven’t already published/addressed (as text or video), so you’re not missing much.

Obviously, this revelation does not change or undermine the central thrust of this post or the vast majority of what I specifically assert in it. If it had, significant changes would have been made to the headline and body of this post to reflect this. For now, this update will suffice, as nothing has changed about the following:

Dorries made her accusation about there being an investigation in progress at a time when no relevant police force can confirm her ever having made a complaint. I still intend to hold her to account for that, as you should.

(23 January) See also new post here.


Tim Ireland has the latest on the unhappy subject of Nadine Dorries MP:

The results of my information request to Bedfordshire police are in, and it doesn’t look at all good for Nadine Dorries, who has repeatedly claimed that she reported me to police for harassment in both London and Bedfordshire, and further claimed that this resulted in a police investigation into my activities.

…I made FOI/DPA request to both forces so I might see what they had on file about me. Last year, I blogged about the response from the London Met, who showed NO record of ANY complaint/report against me.

The result from Bedfordshire police is in… and they too show NO record of ANY complaint/report against me.

The one, single, solitary scrap of data that Bedfordshire Police revealed was exactly what I expected to see; the information I volunteered when I approached the police officer who attended the hustings event at Flitwick (i.e. where Dorries claimed I was already under investigation by police for harassing her).

…If Nadine Dorries has ever received any advice from police about harassment, it was entirely generic. If she hasn’t invented the relevant conversation, she has wholly misrepresented it.

Tim’s post is comprehensive and provides a good deal of background context. The evidence from Beds police, of course, simply confirms what we have known all along – that Dorries objects to being held to account by members of the public, and she found it politically convenient to smear Tim as a “stalker” for his investigations and satirical postings about her.

Her prime motive was to discredit a critic, but her calumny also provided a superficial explanation for to why she had lied to her constituents on her blog; as was widely reported a few months ago, Dorries had run into trouble over her expenses claim for her designated second home, and she explained that she spent more time in her designated main home than her blog indicates because her blog is “70 per cent fiction”. The reason for her dissembling, she explained, was because she wished to “reassure” her constituents, and because she feared for her personal safety. It is perhaps worth noting here that the Crown Prosecution Service is currently investigating Dorries’ expenses, and she is hanging up the phone on journalists who ask her about this.

Tim also points out that the “stalker” smear has been used by other political opponents on the right who are irritated by Tim’s insistence on pressing the point on various matters of public debate or interest that they would prefer not to discuss. This includes the blogger Iain Dale, as I blogged here, and two other MPs: Anne Milton, who does not wish to discuss some appalling behaviour by a couple of her campaign workers, and Patrick Mercer, who would rather not revisit his past links to Glen Jenvey and why he endorsed the VIGIL Network, a (now defunct) “terror-tracker” organisation whose director has turned out to be a liar and manipulator. Mercer introduced this man to senior police at New Scotland Yard and perhaps facilitated an appearance on Newsnight in November 2006.

The “stalker” smear, particularly as used by Dorries, has also been used as an excuse by someone getting a cheap power-trip from subjecting Tim to some real-life harassment:

The Iain Dale post that Charlie Flowers cites above has since been deleted; the “Black-Eyed Girls” refers to Flowers and one or two associates, who see themselves as cyber-vigilantes. Flowers, who first contacted me on Christmas Day 2008 to boast that he had worked for VIGIL, turned on Tim (and, to a lesser extent, me) after we wrote about our experiences with the director of VIGIL. The full background is here.

Tim adds that Dorries’ stalker smear was made

repeatedly for personal/political gain while knowing that she has been contributing to an actual campaign of harassment (the subject of a series of genuine reports to police and actual police investigations), and knowing that the people targeting me claim to do so on her behalf, often in direct response to her allegations. Dorries has even linked to the site of one of the main ringleaders (where he reveals the exact location of my home) and sought to make contact with this person.

There is a pattern of reckless maliciousness with Dorries: here’s Dorries attacking another on-line critic as a benefits cheat (helped by Paul Staines, another blogger on the right with a grudge against Tim), and here she is rubbing her new lover’s estranged and broken wife in the dirt.

Whatever your personal politics may be, it is clear that Nadine Dorries is unfit to play any part in public life.

And those who have hidden behind her bogus allegations to justify their own acts of harassment and intimidation need to be made to account for what they’ve done.

Swinton Circles Argue over Hosting of Philip Hollobone

Over the past month, a right-wing website called South Africa Sucks has carried a rancorous thread in which Alan Harvey has engaged with various political rivals on the fringe-right. Harvey, as I have blogged previously, runs the Springbok Club and one of two groups calling itself the Swinton Circle: there is a rival faction run by a certain Allan Robertson. The arguments are interminable and often abusive, but one poster for the Roberton faction took the opportunity to advertise an uncoming event:

Anyway, they’ve got a meeting next Tuesday with Philip Hollobone the MP who wants to ban the burka (about time too!). I told him I was in UKIP and Robertson said it was ok for me and anyone similar to come along even though we’re not members.

Harvey was quick to respond:

Philip Hollobone MP will be speaking for the official Swinton Circle next Tuesday, NOT to Robertson’s fake grouping. Neither Robertson himself nor any of his known associates will be allowed admission to this meeting.

The latest issue of Searchlight (427 p. 20) has one version of what transpired on the night:

The police had been forewarned and were at the door of the meeting in Room T in the building that houses many MPs’ offices. Around 20 people attended but only those whom Harvey identified were permitted entry.

Harvey’s faction thus appears to have emerged triumphant…

In barring members of Robertson’s faction from the room, the police were apparently under the impression that the people trying to “infiltrate” the Swinton Circle meeting were British National Party Members.

Searchlight calls the Swinton Circle “something of a bridge between the far right of the Conservative Party and the hinterland of the extreme right”, and notes some far-right individuals who have been seen at Robertson-faction meetings.  The article also notes Harvey’s self-identification with the “South African resistance movement in exile”, and a claim made by his enemies that he is a Searchlight mole. There is also a reference to Alistair McConnachie, a Holocaust revisionist who spoke to the Robertson faction (on a different subject) in 2009; I blogged this here, noting that the meeting was held in a British Israelite church.

I’ve also blogged on a few other speakers at the two Swinton Circles and at Harvey’s Springbok Club: the Robertson faction has also been graced by the Rev Peter Mullen, who spoke against “the doctrine of evolution”, while Harvey’s groups have had speakers such as the libertarian activist Mark Taha and the occultist John Pope-de Locksley. Some speakers at the Springbok Club have chosen to keep their association low-key and their names off the Club’s website (for example, a “prominent Ulster-born friend of Israel” who addressed the club a few years ago) – one speaker who perhaps wishes he had chosen anonymity is Andrew Roberts, whose 2001 dinner address to the Club has been cited against him more than once by Johann Hari:

The dinner was a celebration of the 36th anniversary of the day the white supremacist government of Rhodesia announced a unilateral declaration of independence from Great Britain because it was pressing the country to enfranchise black people. Surrounded by nostalgists for this racist rule, Roberts, according to the club’s Web site, “finished his speech by proposing a toast to the Springbok Club, which he said he considered the heir to previous imperial achievements.”

When I first pointed out this connection, Roberts said he gave a “historical speech”, hadn’t realised the Springbok Club was a racist organisation, and didn’t recall anyone saying anything racist. Wasn’t the apartheid flag, and the fact they were there specifically to celebrate the anniversary of a white supremacist declaration, a hint?

Roberts predictably made noises about “libel”.

Another Springbok Club speaker, back in October 2000, was Anthony LoBaido; LaBaido writes articles for WorldNetDaily and has cited Harvey a couple of times (e.g. here and here). However, it seems that the two men fell out in 2003; according to a report from the time:

The Springbok Club in England has severed all ties with the two hikers walking across England to make people in this country aware of the large number of farm killings in South Africa.

Alan Harvey [said that] … it became clear to the club that Malcolm Wren, who calls himself an “English Boer” because of his love for the Afrikaner, and American journalist, Anthony LoBaido, were only seeking sympathy for the “Boer nation”.

Leo Igwe Arrested and Beaten

Attack comes one day before he was due to speak to inquiry on child-witch accusations

Director of hostel for children stigmatised as witches also arrested

From Sahara Reporters:

Leo Igwe, an activist arrested last Tuesday in the ongoing onslaught against child rights activists by the Akwa Ibom State government, was released today by the Police who claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.

Leo (along with a colleague named Ernest Asuquo) has now been released, and he claims that he was beaten in custody.

The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information is now saying that Leo was arrested in a bank for “fraud-related issues” rather than as a case of “mistaken identity”, but either way the timing is remarkable: Leo was detained just one day before he was due to give evidence to a Commission of Inquiry into witchcraft accusations and child rights abuses the Nigerian state. Leo had issued a statement about the commission last week:

That there is already an existing law enacted by the state implies that the government is not in doubt as to the veracity of the claims of witchcraft accusations and child abuse. So, what is the rationale behind setting up this body?… Since this law came to be two years ago, Akwa Ibom has not recorded any successful prosecution. Not even one offender had been convicted or punished under the child rights law in the state. And this has nothing to do with the veracity of the allegations of witchcraft, but has everything to do with the gaps in the political will, in the policing and justice system in Akwa Ibom State…

…I hope at the end of the day, this Commission would not be used to witchhunt individuals and groups, particularly those whom the government accuses of using the witchcraft problem to dent the image of the state internationally.

I hope the Commission will not be used to undermine the work of NGOs, who are complimenting the efforts of the government in the fight against child witch stigmatisation…

The context here is that State Governor Godswill Akpabio, who had originally supported the campaign against child-witch stigmatisation, appears to have crumbled under pressure from powerful evangelists such as Helen Ukpabio. In 2009, Ukpabio sent her followers to disrupt a conference on the subject organised by Leo, and she has tried (and failed) to have Leo silenced through the courts. She also maintains an abusive website which accuses Leo of being part of a conspiracy against her – the conspiracy supposedly also includes me, for blogging on the subject.

Meanwhile, another activist against child-witch stigmatisation has also been arrested; according to the Daily Trust:

There was drama at an Akwa Ibom High Court in Oron yesterday when a child rights activist, Sam Ikpe-Itauma, who was in court as a witness was made an accused person.

The activist had been invited as a principal witness to testify against a clergyman, Bishop Samuel William, who is being prosecuted for maligning children accused of witchcraft.

William, the Bishop of Spiritual Healing Church, Ibaka, has been standing trial for his alleged confession to the killing of more than 100 “child witches”. The confession is reportedly contained in a documentary aired on BBC Channel 4. But when the case came up for hearing on Tuesday in Oron, the Prosecuting Counsel for the state, Mr C. J. Udoh, applied to the court to amend the charge to include Ikpe-Itauma as an accused.

Sam Ikpe-Itauma runs a hostel which looks after children who have been abandoned as witches; Ukpabio has tried to have it closed down, and she has denounced Sam as a “wizard”. According to Sahara Reporters, the authorities somewhat cryptically claim that the arrest was “a result of a court bench warrant that summoned him to testify in the ongoing case against the pastor.”

Bishop Sunday William (or Sunday Okon Williams) featured in the 2008 documentary as Bishop Sunday Ulup-Aya, in which he was shown explaining how he makes children drink a strange “poison destroyer” medicine made up of “African mercury”, his own blood, and pure alcohol; he also boasted that he had “killed up to 110 people who was identified to be a witch”. He appears to have operated mainly in the countryside and to have worked independently. Ukpabio is very different from this: she is a powerful figure with allies in the Nigerian Pentecostal establishment, a network of urban Liberty Gospel churches, and access to the media (her influence has spread widely through films). In contrast to Ulup-Aya’s semi-magical rituals, Ukpabio claims that she can cure child witches simply through prayer at her church. Both, though, would have have to look elsewhere for their livelihood should people cease to believe that misfortune is due the existence of child witches.

Documentary Explores Anthropological Controversies

On Monday evening BBC Four broadcast Secrets of the Tribe as part of its Storyville strand. The documentary, which was widely reviewed when it came out last year, explores various controversies and ethical scandals around anthropologists who have worked with the Yanomami people in the Amazon basin – these range from feuds over method and the interpretation of data through to the sexual abuse of minors and accusations of involvement with  fatal medical experiments funded by the Atomic Energy Commission.

Much of the programme focuses in particular on Napoleon Chagnon, a Hemingway-like character who has been controversial for some time: in 2000 a journalist named Patrick Tierney published a book that accused him of having been part of a project that had spread disease among the Yanomami, and other anthropologists have rejected his characterisation of the Yanomami as a fierce warrior people. Chagnon in turn is scathing of his critics, accusing them of idealising and misrepresenting the Yanomami, and of ignoring the role of biology; although he may be isolated among anthropologists, he now has a new audience with sociobiologists, and we’re shown footage from an event in Chagnon’s honour held by the Human Behavior and Evolution Society. One speaker here (John Tooby, although not identified in the programme) commends Chagnon because “what really pisses off anthropologists is [that] in all their different ways they have their pretentions Nap outdid them.” One hostile former colleague, Kenneth Good (himself controversial for having married an underage Yanomami girl in the 1970s), regards Chagnon as “jumping on the sociobiology and evolutionary psychology bandwagon”.

The documentary also explores the behaviour of Jacques Lizot, a powerful protégé of Claude Lévi-Strauss. A number of Yanomami interviewees accuse Lizot of sexual predations against young boys, and his name is now given to priapic statuettes made by the group; the linguist Marie-Claude Müller realised that something was wrong when she noticed that Lizot had gratuitously imposed sexual meanings onto his translations of Yanomami words such as the word for “stroking”. Both Chagnon and local Salesian missionaries are accused of having failed to report Lizot’s abuses, and although the Salesians eventually had Lizot removed from the field, one Salesian interviewee, named Maria Isobel Eguillor, remains supportive:

He taught all of us anthropology. He gave us linguistic classes. He fought for health, for education. I believe Lizot did not exploit the Yanomami. Rather, he collaborated with us in education. Each man’s personal life is his own concern, right?

Those in the UK can watch the documentary for the next few weeks here.

I previously blogged on ethical controversy around anthropology here.

EDL Makes Link with Jewish Defence League in Canada

News from Toronto:

Several protesters were arrested and a police officer sent to hospital with a broken rib after a protest against a right-wing British organization in Toronto Tuesday night.

The protest was sparked by a meeting to hear a webcast of a speech by the founder of the English Defence League… The meeting at the Zionist Centre was organized by the Jewish Defence League, to hear a live speech broadcast via the Internet, from English Defence League founder Stephen Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson.

An earlier report has some background:

Meir Weinstein, national director of JDL Canada, said he was visiting Israel when he met someone connected to Mr. Lennon. The two later got acquainted on the phone.

Back in 2009 I noted that the EDL-linked Casuals United website had included a prominent link to the Jewish Defense League in the USA – however, this was taken down shortly after I noticed it. Nachum Shifren, the California-based “Surfing Rabbi” who addressed the EDL in London in October, used to be JDL founder Meir Kahane’s driver, although he was “excommunicated” from the JDL in 2005 for supporting Pat Buchanan. Israeli flags have been prominently dispalyed at EDL events, both to counter accusations of neo-Nazism and as a sign of vicarious identification with the country and its conflicts.

Kahane, of course, is remembered as a belligerent extremist, and Kahanist groups have been associated with acts of violence. Weinstein, however, has tried to create an impression of distance – as was explained in a Canadian radio report in 2009:

Bernie McNamee: There’s another twist tonight in the George Galloway saga. The controversial British MP was refused entry to Canada because of his alleged support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Now it turns out the man claiming credit for tipping off immigration officials is Meir Weinstein. Galloway’s supporters say Weinstein himself was a spokesperson for a Jewish extremist group on Canada’s list of banned terrorist organizations. Our security correspondent Bill Gillespie has the story.

[Bill Gillespie] …In 1994 he was identified in a Canadian Press article as a spokesperson for the Kach Party, also known as Kahane Chai. A Kach member in Israel had just massacred more than 50 Palestinian worshippers. Weinstein refused to condemn the attack. He doesn’t deny making the statement but he denies ever being a member of Kach.

Meir Weinstein: I’ve never been a member of Kach or Kahane Chai.

According to reports from the time, Weinstein stated that “our organization does not condemn the attack. It condemns the Israeli government for not providing adequate protection for settlers.” Another JDL spokesman, Brett Stone, has since said that the massacre had been “preventive measure” that had “saved lives”.

Gillespie: Canada, the US, and the European Union later put Kach and Kahane Chai on their list of banned terrorist organizations. Weinstein denies any connection between Kach and his present group, the Jewish Defence League of Canada. But left-wing bloggers who support Galloway point out that the logos of both groups – a clenched fist in an embedded Star of David – are almost identical. Weinstein says Kach stole the logo from the JDL.

Meir Weinstein: Um, that’s the logo of the Jewish Defence League so they took it from the Jewish Defence League but again I don’t dictate to them what they’re going to do or anything like that.

Gillespie: But bloggers also discovered a link on Weinstein’s Facebook page to a chat group called “Death to Arabs”. Weinstein says the link was sent to him in Hebrew and he added it not knowing what it said. He has since deleted it. But despite his best efforts he didn’t succeed in keeping Galloway from his speaking engagements in Canada.

This exchange has been transcribed a Canadian blogger named Firebrand, who adds some pertinent and mocking commentary:

Kach stole the JDL’s logo? Come on Meir, why not give the actual explanation which is that the JDL was founded in 1968 in New York by Meir Kahane who moved to Israel in 1971 where he founded the Kach Party a few years later…. As for there being no connection between Kach, Kahane Chai and the JDL – that’s just a bald-faced lie. Apart from having the same founder and leader in the person of Kahane, even after Kahane’s death his successor as JDL leader, Irv Rubin, raised funds for Kach/Kahane Chai and promoted the terrorist group.

…Weinstein has been an observant Jew, by his reckoning, since the late 1970s and even claims to have served in the Israeli military but he can’t read Hebrew? I have to give him credit though, this was somewhat more believable than Weinstein’s original explanation which was that the Iranians somehow planted the link on his page.

Meir Weinstein is also known under other names: he was born as Marvin Weinstein, and he has also used the names Meir Halevi and Meir HaLevi Weinstein; a 2002 posting on mentions “Meir HaLevy from the Kahane Movement in Toronto” as due to take part in an “Annual Kahane Memorial Dinner”. This website was run by Michael Guzovsky (numerous spelling variations), and was closed down in 2003 after Kahane Khai was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by US authorities; various court documents about this can been seen at Kahane Net. Guzovsky has featured on this blog previously: he later moved to the West Bank, and, as Yekutel Ben Yaacov, he enjoys friendly links with WorldNetDaily‘s “Jerusalem correspondent” Aaron Klein (Klein’s whitewashing of the Israeli far-right is notorious).

Firebrand also draws attention to a blog called BigCityLib, which tells us that the JDL’s recent EDL event was also supported by a group called Canadian Hindu Advocacy; the group’s director, Ron Banerjee, is an enthusiast both of Israel and of the BJP, and he and Weinstein appear to be long-standing allies. According to Banerjee:

…the Hindu pro-Zionist movement includes the main opposition political party (BJP) and affiliated social service organizations (VHP, RSS) with an estimated 50 million members. This constitutes the world’s largest concentrated block of Zionist support on the planet.

Men “Constructed Movie Set” at Site of Noah’s Ark Find

Back in April,  reports went around the world that some Hong Kong evangelists from Noah’s Ark Ministries International (NAMI, var. Noah’s Ark Ministry International) and The Media Evangelism had found Noah’s Ark in Turkey. I blogged on the story here.

So, what’s happened since? A blog called Bible Places has the latest:

…Yesterday Randall Price posted a letter he received from two men who state that they were involved in constructing a movie set at the location of the discovery.  Only later did they find out that the film would be used as documentation of Noah’s Ark.

You can read the letter and its translation here.

The link also takes us to lengthy criticisms of NAMI by Price, Don Patton, and David Liang. It should be noted that these persons are themselves Biblical literalists – they object to NAMI’s specific claims, not to the notion that the whole world was covered in water several thousand years ago and that all humans and non-aquatic animals are descended from a handful of survivors who emerged from a big boat in Asia Minor. Further criticisms are outlined by Price and Patton here.

Price in particular will have been alarmed by people being taken in by the NAMI claims: he runs Noah’s Ark Search LLC, and makes appeals for money on the promise that he is very close to finding Noah’s Ark.

(Hat tip: Paleojudaica)

Not Racist FAIL

DarkBlondAngel is known on Twitter as an aggressive defender of the absurd and distasteful MP Nadine Dorries. However, she also expounds on other topics, such as a man named Kenneth Tong; Tong – a “reality TV star” – is a somewhat repellent character, for reasons described by Jack of Kent here and for his recent suggestion that women should use “managed anorexia” to keep thin.

In the extracts below, DarkblondAngel attempts to combine attacking Tong with attacking Dorries’ critics. The result is not particularly successful or attractive to behold. Take a deep breath…

American Renaissance Objects to “Anti-ZOG” Claim

From Fox News:

A law enforcement memo based on information provided by DHS and obtained by Fox News suggested strong suspicion linking Jared Loughner, the man accused in the Tucson shooting on Saturday, to what it called an “anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government) and anti-semitic” group known as American Renaissance.

…Jared Taylor called DHS’ views “scurrilous” and took especial issue with the reference to his group being “anti-ZOG.”

“That is complete nonsense,” he said. “I have absolutely no idea what DHS is talking about. We have never used the term ‘ZOG.’ We have never thought in those terms. If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS, then Heaven help us.”

It does indeed appear to have been sloppy work from the DHS; Taylor focuses on racial issues rather than anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. Here’s some relevant background on the group from the SPLC:

One issue that has proven problematic for Taylor and his foundation has been anti-Semitism. Taylor, unlike many on the radical right, is known for his lack of anti-Semitism and for including racist Jews in his events…. At one point, he even banned discussion of the so-called “Jewish question” from American Renaissance venues, and, by 1997, he had kicked Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis off his E-mail list.

…Despite Taylor’s best efforts to keep the internal peace, this long-smoldering issue finally burst into the open when David Duke, the former Klan leader and author of Jewish Supremacism, grabbed the microphone at the 2006 American Renaissance Conference and went on a thinly veiled anti-Semitic rant about “a power in the world that dominates our media, influences our government and that has led to the internal destruction of our will and spirit.”

… Taylor issued what was seen as a weak-kneed statement by his Jewish supporters condemning anti-Semitism but stating clearly that all would be welcome at his conferences regardless of their views and so long as they maintained the proper decorum… Regardless of the dispute, the 2008 American Renaissance conference was well attended, missing from its audience ranks only some former Jewish supporters such as Michael Hart.

(I blogged on a rival event established by Hart here)

Max Blumenthal reported on the 2006 American Renaissance conference for the Nation, and noted the participation of the BNP’s Nick Griffin:

Though Taylor scrubbed all traces of explicit anti-Semitism from the conference’s official program, there were signs of it elsewhere. Besides the ubiquitous Duke, whom Taylor permitted to register for the first time in his conference’s history (“Jesse Jackson can come if he pays his fee,” Taylor grumbled), anti-Semitic literature was in ample supply at the display tables in the back.

…Speaking on the conference’s first day, Griffin suggested his move away from anti-Semitism was purely tactical. “The proper enemy to any political movement isn’t necessarily the most evil and the worst,” he advised. “The proper enemy is the one we can most easily defeat.”

Hoax Jared Loughner Facebook Profiles Created

A number of Twitter feeds and forums are trumpeting what purports to be information from Jared Loughner’s Facebook page – e.g. here:

Although Jared Loughner’s Facebook page has been scrubbed, leave it up to some extremely proactive folks who are on top of the situation. Look very closely at the people Loughner admires: Kenyan-born Muslim Barack Hussein Obama, Saul Alinksy, Noam Chomsky, Hugo Chávez and Che Guevara…ALL COMMUNISTS! What did I tell you?

These names supposedly existed on a list of “People Who Inspire Jared”.

An accompanying photo shows that a Facebook page did exist, created in the name of “Jared Laughner” (and with a photo of Obama as the profile pic!). According to someone who saw it before it was removed, it had no posts and there were no friends. “Laughner”, of course, was the incorrect spelling initially reported in the media. The list of left-wingers is so stereotyped as to be absurd – Saul Alinsky in particular is primarily famous these days as a figure in conservative demonology rather than for anything else.

One site that cut and pasted the Facebook profile was a blog called Bruce Political Watch. The author reported excitedly:

Pulled this from Facebook before it was taken down, there were 4 more “inspiring people” that I could not picture of which were also Mao Tse Tung, and Joseph Stalin.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to check out his love for the Tea Party.

Gilding the lily even further, the information “pulled” included the quote:

Fight the Right! Obama and the Progressives will overcome the tyrrany of big business and the racist Tea Party.

The entry has now been deleted; instead, there’s this:

This post was based on (unknown at the time) erroneous information, I have removed it.

It can still be found on other sites, though.

Meanwhile, another since-deleted Facebook profile – again in the name of “Jared Laughner” rather than “Loughner” – listed as his “likes” “Sara Palin” [sic] and “Tea Party Patriots”. There was also reportedly a third bogus profile, in which he supposedly enthused over Fox News.

Presumably anyone creating hoax information about Loughner for whatever reason is liable to get into some trouble for interfering with a police investigation?

UPDATE: Media Matters covers the story here, noting in particular how Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit has promoted the fake “left-wing” profile:

Hoft headlines his latest post “Whoops! This Changes Things- Loughner’s Hero Was Barack Obama,” then proceeds to breathlessly exclaim that “Killer Jared Loughner idolized Barack Obama.”

He sources this scoop to “The Examiner” “via Free Republic” and links to a blog post by Anthony Martin at

Once Hoft became aware of the mistake, he deleted the post and is now whining that

Unfortunately I had it up long enough for Soros-fundedMedia Matters to capture some screen grabs.

But “screen grabs” are only an issue because Hoft wanted to bury his mistake rather than to issue a correction. As I noted when Robert Spencer pulled the same stunt a couple of weeks ago, we all make mistakes – but what distinguishes a responsible blogger from a ideologue hack out to manipulate is how one deals with them.