Monthly Archives: July 2011


Denying and Suppressing the Truth

Off today with what seems a huge expedition to Edinburgh for the Festival – the company for Medea is about 20 people, and the scenery is, err, large (and beautiful).

No time to blog. Just to note that Hague is still pathetically claiming not to know that the Libyan “government” he recognised just murdered its own general. Meanwhile Pamela Geller has attempted to hide the evidence by deleting and editing her published encouraging correspondence with an anti-Muslim extremist in Norway who was building a secret “arms cache” – but she has been caught red-handed by another kind of cache, a web cache! See the wonderful comments under yesterday’s “Who funded Breivik” thread. Congratulations to the team!

Next post from Edinburgh, hopefully tomorrow.

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Who Funded Breivik?

There is an extremely important article here on Breivik’s funding, by Justin Raimondo.

It also makes plain that not only did Pamela Geller post a string of virulent anti Norwegian-Muslim articles on her website, not only did she travel to Norway to address a hate rally, not only did Brehvik post to her website and quote it as an influence. She actively supported and encouraged those planning to use terrorism.

This is an excerpt from an email she says she received and posted on her blog:

“I am running an email I received from an Atlas reader in Norway. It is devastating in its matter-of-factness.

“Well, yes, the situation is worsening. Stepping up from 29 000 immigrants every year, in 2007 we will be getting a total of 35 000 immigrants from somalia, iran, iraq and afghanistan. The nations capital is already 50% muslim, and they ALL go there after entering Norway. Adding the 1.2 births per woman per year from muslim women, there will be 300 000+ muslims out of the then 480 000 inhabitants of that city.

“Orders from Libya and Iran say that Oslo will be known as Medina at the latest in 2010, although I consider this a PR-stunt nevertheless it is their plan.

“From Israel the hordes clawing at the walls of Jerusalem proclaim cheerfully that next year there will be no more Israel, and I know Israel shrugs this off as do I, and will mount a strike during the summer against all of its enemies in the middle east. This will make the muslims worldwide go into a frenzy, attacking everyone around them.

“We are stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast.

As Raimondo says, Geller goes on to say that she is protecting the proto-terrorist’s identity so he won’t be arrested. We do not know how this wannabe terrorist in Norway relates to Breivik or his other “cells”. Geller may know but the police are not asking her.

There can be no doubt at all that, were Geller a Muslim, this amount of evidence and connection would have her in jail by now. Do not hold your breath.

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UK/US Recognised “Government” Murders Own General

Just two days after the UK joined the US and France in recognising the unelected Transitional National Council as the government of Libya, the TNC has murdered its top military commander and two of his aides. To put it mildly, this makes Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron look rather foolish.

General Abdel Fatah Younis was placed under arrest by the TNC on allegations of double dealing, and was being brought back to Benghazi under escort, when he and his senior officers were killed – by Gadaffi loyalists, claimed the TNC, without any explanation as to how they managed to kill the prisoners without any conflict with their escort.

I have been telling everybody for months that the unelected TNC contains some very unsavoury characters. General Younis was Gadaffi’s former Minister of the Interior and he was by no means the only member of the TNC to be steeped in Gadaffi’s crimes. He is not going to be much loss as a military commander. He had plenty of experience of killing people with Gadaffi, but they tended to be tied to chairs at the time. This experience proved not readily transferrable to the battlefield. But his brigade was the most organised and equipped force the rebels had, and they are now joining in the general internal rebel shoot-up in and around Benghazi.

This has actually been caused by the release of billions in Libyan government assets to the rebels by the west. This was Clinton’s master stroke, designed to benefit western arms companies with huge orders and enable them to sweep aside Gadaffi with all this firepower. Unfortunately, the rebel leaders are much more interested in stealing the money and have immediately started to fight over it. Gadaffi has been saved by his enemies being asked to advance through a field the Americans have strewn with gold. Rather predictably, they have stopped to fill their pockets. It is already being noted that key TNC members are spending a great deal more time in Doha, Dubai, Paris, Zurich and Geneva than they are in Benghazi and Misrata.

Meanwhile, the Hague/Cameron solution to all problems – presumably endorsed by Clegg – is to intensify the bombing. It is beyond despair.

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Thoughts on Feminism

This is not a blog you should come to, if you want to encounter a neatly packaged bunch of received political ideas that conform to any convenient label. If you can only stand views that do not offend the “right” or the “left”, or which stay within the confines of the “politically correct”, then go read elsewhere.

Recently I have taken on the shibboleths of ultra feminism, in response to a series of articles published in the Guardian by feminist writers on the Assange and DSK cases, and on Kenneth Clarke’s remarks on rape. The writers in question – including for example Eve Ensler and Zoe Williams – self-describe as feminist writers. I am not applying the description to them.

My views on these matters plainly cross what is viewed as a boundary of acceptable or conventional thought for some of my regular commentators. It is therefore sensible of me to set out those views in a logical form here, so we can identify areas of agreement and disagreement, and try to consider with each other whether any of us wish to reconsider our views.

First, on feminism in general. I recognise that there is a power imbalance in society to the detriment of women. The glass ceiling still is firmly in place. Alpha male behaviour is still overly rewarded by the cutthroat system on which our political economy is organised, to general detriment. We really do have a society where male sociopaths dominate; Tony Blair is its poster boy.

I think that palliative measures on female equality, for example on equal pay, have been a good and important thing. But they have not even achieved their limited objective, nor succesfully tackled the difficulties of women in achieving power and promotion. I do not believe, in any sense, that women’s lack of power in society is because they should rightly be concentrating on subsidiary roles, either as homemakers or in the workforce.

But I believe that palliative measures have done pretty well all they can to improve this situation, and that no fundamental change is possible unless we reform our society itself to one which operates on a more cooperative model and in which consumption, wealth and waste of resources are not the primary goals. Then aggression and selfishness will not be rewarded as they now are.

I do believe that there are differing masculine and feminine personality traits, and that it is true that cooperative and empathectic behaviour is viewed as more feminine. But there is of course massive overlap within male and female populations, and there are many men who are also disadvantaged within the present system by their more societal attitude – just as there are female Rebekah Brooks (Update I can see I am going to have to keep doing this as it is very difficult to reason with feminist ideologues. In response to a comment, I am plainly putting forward Rebekah Brooks here as the female equivalnet of Tony Blair who I cite above, the ultra-succesful sociopath. I am not saying that all career women are like Rebekah Brooks.)- but a balance of disadvantage lies currently with women.

But- when it comes to sexuality itself, I think that sexuality is a wonderful fact of existence, which should be celebrated in full. I applaud any form of pleasure giving cooperation, that does not harm others, between consenting adults. But I do not regard sex as in any way sacred or mystic.

I believe that sexuality is just another human trait which people should be able to use, if they so choose, for economic gain, just as they can use their muscles or intellect in other ways. I therefore have no problem with prostitution, striptease, or advertising images. The coercion and violence which often accompanies prostitution could largely be remedied (as with drugs) by legalisation and regulation. If people wish to sell their sexuality, I believe they have a right to do so.

Nobody should ever be forced to.

Rape is a terrible crime. I believe that it should receive a very long jail sentence indeed. My view is that custodial sentences – as opposed to other punishment – should be reserved only for those who are a danger of committing violence to others. Non-violent crime should be punished in other ways. Rape is a violent crime and society should rightly be protected from rapists by long jail sentences. However, Kenneth Clarke was right; every crime can have aggravating or mitigating circumstances, even murder. There is nothing sacramental about rape that makes it different to murder and mystically unified, incapable of being worsened by use of a weapon, death threats, duration of offence etc.

For some feminists rape is not just a disgusting and violent crime, but a totemic act, indicative of wider male domination of women in society. There is some correlation (though not absolute) between this view, and sex-negative feminism, which views the act of penetration itself as an act of male dominance, and regards feminine heterosexuality as in itself tending to enforce a submissive role in society. This feminist tendency is completely opposed to the use of female sexuality by women for commercial gain, and thus virulently opposed to prostitution, stripping, advertising images, etc.

These sex-negative feminists have what I would call a dog-whistle response to allegations of rape, tending to an immediate presumption that the man must be guilty – this blog has previously pointed to a number of such articles on both Julian Assange and DSK, of which yesterday’s really badly researched article by Liz Willams can stand as an example – in which they are undoubtedly arguing that the man is guilty. They also argue for a lower standard of proof in rape trials than other criminal trials.

I have an extreme aversion to this line of argument. It is extremely unfortunate that rape will always be, in most cases, a hard crime to prove, for reasons which are obvious. But plainly false allegations of rape do exist, and the evil of false conviction is so great we have to continue to give the benefit of doubt to the defendant. If that principle disappeared in rape trials, other categories would soon follow.

The political establishment frequently uses sexual allegations against threatening dissidents to discredit them. That was done against me, it is what was done by Murdoch to Tommy Sheridan, it is being done against Julian Assange, and there is strong reason to believe it may be what is being done against DSK. Here are some facts I did not refer to yesterday.

The suite which Diallo entered after the alleged rape was empty and adjoined DSK’s suite, with a party wall. She had entered it twice with her electronic keycard before going to DSK’s suite, and she entered it again after the alleged rape. She had consistently lied about what she did after the alleged rape, and only admitted she had entered the adjoining suite after shown the electronic keycard record. She then changed her story to say she had returned and cleaned it – which begs the question, what had she done in there the previous two times?

This is important because the keycard records show that the hotel general manager himself had entered, rather surprisingly, that same adjoining suite that morning, before the alleged rape. As the records do not show when someone left, we do not know if he met her in there, or if he was in there during the consensual or forced sexual encounter next door. What we do know is that he telephoned the Elysee Palace before the alleged rape was reported to the police, and briefed Sarkozy’s aides.

Why I get so completely infuriated with the Enslers and Williams of this world is that they don’t stop to think why Assange or DSK or Sheridan might suddenly find themselves exposed to this kind of attack. Has the far left just gained in the Scottish Parliament its most important electoral positions in the UK for decades? Is Wikileaks threatening the whole edifice of US official secrecy, illegal killing and duplicitous foreign policy? Is the IMF being steered gently leftwards at a time of huge currency crises for the West?

The ultra, sex negative feminists cannot even start to consider that they ought perhaps to consider if there is a wider context. If the accusation is sexual then they automatically obey the dog whistle.. Of course the woman is telling the truth! And they fill the columns and airwaves to the delight of the right extablishment, whose obedient attack dogs the ultra feminists have become.

That is, of course, why the allegations are always sexual. They do so much more damage, in so many ways. The strange thing is, that if DSK or Assange had been accused of anything else, like robbing a Post Office (remember Peter Hain?), people like HarpyMarx would be extremely suspicious. But throw in a bit of sex, and the stupid idiots dance immediately to the right’s tune.

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Another Vicious Ugly-Souled Feminist

The Guardian has released yet another vicious man-hater on the world to pontificate on the DSK case. This one is called Zoe Williams.

Ms Williams actually thinks that it is a bad thing that:

“when a charge of sexual assault is made, everything the accuser says is picked over for inconsistency and improbability”

You do seriously have to question whether Ms Williams world view is not lacking in sane objectivity, if she can write that without self-reflection. No, of course Ms Williams, we should just immediately put the accused in a hell-hole for seven years without questioning the evidence of the accuser. Who could possibly have the temerity to examine the evidence?

Ms Williams brings in another red herring – the accuser’s immigration status. She quotes a Ms Dustin as saying “rape victims can have insecure immigration status … and they can still be raped”.

Of course that is true. It is also irrelevant. It is not Ms Diallo’s immigration status which is relevant. It is the fact that she admits that she lied on her application – and lied about being raped. Of course that calls her credibility into question. It damn well should.

Listen, Ms Williams. I expect I have done a great deal more, in the real world, to help asylum seekers than you have. I have given evidence for asylum seekers in dozens of cases. I have appeared at their tribunals. I am working on three cases right now. I have never lost a case at appeal. I have organised campaigns which have prevented two last minute deportations – one stopped literally on the way to the airport.

If there is one thing hated by those of us who genuinely have put in the hard graft to help real asylum seekers, it is false, lying asylum applicants who poison the minds of the public and administrators of the system against those in real need. Butt out, Williams. You have no idea what you are talking about.

There are other lies. Ms Diallo lied about her number of children to claim social security benefit, lied about her income to get state housing, lied about very large sums paid into her bank accounts. The same applies – defending welfare provision is not helped by benefit cheats. Yet we should not question her credibility?

There is other nonsense in Williams’ article. She claims that the discrepancy in Diallo’s account is only about whether she went to the next room to collect her things, but actually it is about a full missing hour in which she lied about where she was – lied repeatedly and for no obvious reason, not just in the immediate aftermath when, had she been attacked, she would have been in shock.

I could go on, but I won’t. The final thing worth noting is the quite amazing claim that:

Diallo’s credibility – which is undermined here by hints about her trustworthiness in a range of situations rather than any evidence about her sexual behaviour – comes under so much more scrutiny than Strauss-Kahn’s.

What absolute nonsense! We have been treated to mound upon mound of stuff about DSK’s past sexual encounters, his sexual harassment of women who have worked for him (of which I strongly disapprove), a previous allegation of assault, his use of prostitutes. Not least by the Guardian. To pretend that Diallo has had her past unpicked more than Strauss Kahn is another example of the distorted world view of those who see women as nothing but victims.

The Sheridan case, the DSK case and the Assange case have all brought to the fore the true ugliness of sex negative feminism and man hatred, and the extent to which they made inroads into our culture and society just as insidious as the right wing propaganda of the Murdochs. They have also shown how those right wing forces can so easily hijack stupid blinkered man haters to the right wing agenda.

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Isn’t Capitalism Wonderful

Shell made a profit of $5 billion in the last three months, while bank bonuses in the City of London have bounded back to $17 billion. You see, everything is perfect. Why are you all complaining? Shut up, peasants!

UPDATE

Just had a very upset email from Jim in Malta who has a low sarcasm detector. More seriously, looking at the above juxtaposed with the attacks on invalidity benefit and state sector benefits, the world has takn on an unreal feeling, like living in a satirical novel

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Economic Dead End

We have had a “natural rate” of economic growth of around 3% for a couple of hundred years. There have of course been peaks and troughs, but the trend has been consistent. If anyone wants to quibble with the precise 3% figure, that does not affect my argument.

With the economy stagnant following a stark decline, there is much discussion how to “kick start” economic growth gain, either by tax cuts or higher public spending. The terms of so-called debate have been very limited, taking it for granted that substantial growth will resume again as soon as we get the engine turning.

But of course, that is not necessarily true. Civilisations do go into absolute economic decline. Never forget Ozymandias.

There are reasons to imagine life may never be normal again. We have lost a great deal of our manufacturing base. The presumption is that it is fine for low earning manufacturing to be carried out in the BRICs, while we get much higher margins for providing banking, insurance, design and marketing services.

But why should that last for ever? The banking crash was a result of the fact that so much of the financial services sector, on which we depend so heavily, has no more relationship to the real economy than the passing of cash inside a casino. It is a miracle of the brutality of power that taxpayers were made without violent revolution to give up much of their individual wealth to bail out rich bankers. The incredible pain of this is what we are just beginning to suffer, because our pockets are being lightened very very substantially but regularly, spread over a long period.

The banks have not really been reformed and western taxpayers actually no longer have the cash or credit to bail them out on that scale again. The house of cards could tumble any moment, and the Euro crisis and dollar deficit impasse are winds buffeting that card house.

But the Euro crisis and US deficit struggle are much more important than their immediate effects. The brinkmanship in the US will be resolved and, even if the US defaults, the immediate fallout will not be Armageddon. The real damage is already done. The BRICs nations have been reminded forcefully that they are supplying their goods in unbelievable quantities to the west, in return for bits of paper of extremely dubious value. The medium term consequences of the banking crisis and the currency crises will be drastic indeed. Do not expect the BRICs to put up with this forever. It is not going to take them long to work out they can do their own banking, trade in their own currency, finance their own research and marketing, and insure themselves. Then what will we do? Staff call centres for them?

The same is true of commodity suppliers, who are also wondering right now about the value of the bits of paper they receive in exchange. Watch gold mining shares.

Commodity supply is the other reason we cannot automatically expect to resume economic growth. We already face huge upward demand pressure on commodity prices, particularly from China. It is a truism that mineral resources are finite. There is a whole lot of mystic nonsense talked about “Peak oil”. The simple truth is that of course oil is a finite resource, and of course at some time production will go down. What is nore relevant is that, thanks largely to China, we have already passed the point when growth in supply of oil will ever exceed growth in demand. Rising commodity prices will also hamper UK economic growth in the medium term.

The little argument between Balls and Osborne over whether tax cuts, or lower or higher public spending, will make a difference, is largely irrelevant. The world has changed. Everyone seems to accept we will be in economic decline relative to emerging economies. They have to get into their heads that we could be in absolute economic decline – permanently.

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Edinburgh Thoughts

This is a photo of my great grandmother, Valentina Brattisani, taken on her wedding day at the Catholic cathedral in Edinburgh. I post it because I had never seen a photo of my great grandmother until just now, and it is an emotional thing to rediscover an ancestor. She looks astonishingly like my grandmother, also called Valentina. Somewhere there must be an uncut copy of that photo with my great grandfather on too.

it is actually quite a sad story, because Valentina died still young, her husband remarried, and her children were effectively cast out in favour of new ones. My grandmother was born into what was famously one of Edinburgh’s wealthiest families, but lived in slums and great poverty. She had thirteen surviving children, however, and was a permanent source of love and fantastic food for the masses of children and grandchildren with which she was permanently surrounded.

I shall be in Edinburgh all of August. I shall stand outside that Cathedral, and take some flowers to the graves of both Valentinas.

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More Help Needed

I continue unabashed to get readers of this blog to help with the research for my new book. Problem is, you have such an incredible store of knowledge, I can’t avoid the temptation to exploit it.

Can anyone trace the genealogical relationship between Lord Auckland, author of the disastrous 1839 invasion of Afghanistan, and Anthony Eden, author of the disastrous invasion of Suez? I am pretty sure there is one.

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Losing in Libya

Gaddafi now controls 20% more territory than he did before we started this odious bombing campaign. He has been able to hold more and better attended rallies of more genuine supporters in recent days than he ever could before we started bombing. Exactly as I predicted, the effect of NATO bombing has been to rally nationalist support around Gaddafi, whom we have stupidly put in a much stronger position than he was when he only faced genuine internal rebellion.

The French and British have now backed down, and both have agreed that Gaddafi will be able to remain in Libya as part of any transition deal. That amounts to an acceptance that he will be the power behind the throne. The problem is, of course, that it is Gaddafi who is growing stronger and NATO which is growing weaker, with political will to keep killing crumbling as surely as NATO economies and currencies.

Hague and Cameron have moved, from abject weakness, to a position of allowing Gaddafi to remain in Libya, which they adamantly rejected three months ago. Then, there was some hope Gaddafi might have accepted it. Now, he has no need to accept a face-saving deal for NATO. He can just sit and watch them dwindle.

It is, moreover, a facesaving proposal that mocks the International Criminal Court, revealing it starkly as a tool to be brought out and used against the enemies of the western alliance, but simply shoved back in its box if they change their minds.

Obama made a shrewd political move to distract from the abject failure of the Afghan occupation to achieve any of its stated goals, by assassinating Osama Bin Laden. Expect now a similar ploy in Libya, with attempts to assassinate Gadaffi by bombing – and possibly by other means – being radically stepped up in an attempt to rescue some “victory” from this humiliation.

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Dr Who is a TV Programme

Time does not exist. It is an abstract concept invented by humans as part of our effort to rationalise the extraordinary fact of our existence. The past no longer exists, and the future has never existed. You can’t physically travel around time any more than you can physically travel around mathematics or ethics. All that exists is the fleeting instant.

I would not have thought that needed saying. But there you are. I am not however questioning the value of what sounds like a tremendous piece of research – only the BBC’s populist presentation of it.

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Why the Mainstream Media is Doomed

Laziness. Sloth will kill the minstream media. All those well-paid journalists resting their fat bottoms on padded office chairs will become extinct as a breed, victims of their own inability to raise a sweat, just like the poor old dodo.

On Saturday, when I posted on Brevik’s links to Pamela Geller, a google advanced search for posts containing both Breivik and Pamela Geller brought up just two results.

Today, there are hundreds, mainly from the mainstream media, and including many comment articles. But all of the mainstream media articles are predicated solely on the endorsement of Geller’s website Atlas Shrugs in Breivik’s “manifesto”. Not one of these MSM pieces, not the New York Times or the Washington Post or the LA Times, picks up on the fact that Pamela Geller had posted a whole series of virulent specifically anti Norwegian-Muslim posts on her Atlas Shrugs website, that Breivik had posted comments on this website or – most importantly – that Geller had attended a hate rally in Oslo in 2009.

It took me half an hour on Saturday morning to discover all the above facts, but that is half an hour the mainstream media are not prepared to put in. One mainstream media outlet found the Geller references in Breivik’s manifesto – 24 hours after I posted – and the hundreds of other mainstream articles have been lazily based around that single fact.

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Recognise Palestine

I urge you to sign the Avaaz petition for the recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN. These petitions have more effect than you might imagine – politicians are scared of voters, and the Murdoch petitions on Avaaz undoubtedly had a role in thwarting his BSkyB bid.

I do not hold out enormous hope for recognition – this is an area where the EU’s adoption of “common positions” on foreign policy holds back progress. I also am no fan of a two state solution, much preferring a single, secular, ethnicity-blind state on the lands of Israel and Palestine. But recognition as a state by the UN would greatly strengthen the hand of the Palestinians in a variety of extremely important ways. Please sign,

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Charles Moore’s Epiphany

I am posting, very late, about one of the most discussed mainstream comment pieces of all time. Charles Moore’s excellent comment piece in the Daily Telegraph, “I am starting to think that the left may actually be right” has attracted over 12,000 facebook recommendations and over 4,000 tweets in four days since it was published.

Moore is not, of course, actually saying he has converted to socialism. He is however making for him a gut-wrenching admission that our capitalist democracy is deeply flawed, and rather than a beneficient free market, we have a society in which institutions skew society horribly in the interests of a wealthy elite.

The revelations of the Murdoch affair have caused Moore’s epiphany, but I think his argument is precisely the same as the one I put forward on November 5 last year in my post “The Stew of Corruption.” On a much smaller scale than Moore, that posting remains the most visited of any archive post on this blog, being read around the world every day. The much greater reaction to Moore saying the same things makes it plain that this is an analysis that people believe captures something very important about what has gone wrong in our society. In fairness, I would say that the right wing commentator Peter Oborne has been doing tremendous work across these themes for years.

I have never met Charles Moore, but his parents Richard and Ann Moore had a fundamental and lasting influence on my political thought, and particularly my views on international relations. They also bought me my first ever pint in a pub, when I was 15, and introduced me to the joys of real ale! I was delighted to speak to Richard again in Birmingham last year, in his eighties but sharp and feisty as ever.

I fear there have not been a huge number of Charles’ articles with which Richard would be wholly in sympathy, but I am sure this is one.

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Burnes, Masons and Knights Templar

UPDATE Almost two years after writing this post I finally managed to make contact with Robert Cooper at Freemason’s Hall in Edinburgh, and he could not have been more friendly and helpful, spending an hour with me on the phone going over various points and arranging to show me various material. I am not deleting the criticisms below as they are part of the record; but they are of course substantially altered.

There is a strange link between the warped mind of Anders Breivik and the biography of Alexander Burnes I am writing. Anyone who has read The Da Vinci Code or The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, knows the (dubious) story of a continued descent of the Knights Templar through the rites of Scottish Freemasonry (the Da Vinci Code, of course, finishes in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland). Anders Breivik’s “Templar” manifesto, his signing himself as “Andrew Berwick” and his posing in Masonic costume all indicate he was influenced by this stuff.

Well, that story of the Scottish Freemasons inheriting the rites and knowledge of the Knights Templar was first popularised by Alexander Burnes’ brother, James Burnes, in his “Sketch of the History of the Knights Templar” (Edinburgh, 1840). James Burnes went on to become “Grand Precepteur de l’Ordre Souverain Du Temple” and “Grand Preceptor of the British Langue of the Sovereign and Illustrious Order of St John of Jerusalem”. The source for this is Robert Bigsby in his Memoir of the Illustrious and Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem, (Irongate, 1869).

James Burnes’ History of the Knights Templar describes himself as the Masonic “Grand Prior of India.” This is undoubtedly true – there are plenty of other sources. He also really was, as he claims, a Knight of Aquitaine and of the Royal Guelphic Order of Hanover and Saxe Coburg, created by reigning monarchs who were also masons. Bigsby says James Burnes was “best remembered for his zealous exertions in promoting Freemasonry in Scotland and India.” He apparently reached number two in the Scottish freemason structure, though I have yet to find his title.

His brother Alex Burnes, the subject of my biography, was also a zealous freemason and some sort of search for ancient masonic knowledge linked to Alexander the Great was a sub-theme of his wanderings in Central Asia – and links in of course to Kipling’s exploration of the same masonic themes in The Man Who Would Be King, which is at least in part based on Alex Burnes. Freemasonry was a fundamental part of the Burnes family’s life – Alex and James’ great-uncle, the poet Robert Burns was famously a freemason, and their are more Burnes (eight) in the list of members of the Knights of St John which Bigsby publishes, than any other family.

I genuinely have no agenda, pro or anti Freemason (to be honest I view them as harmless and a bit silly), in digging up this old stuff. But I hope that the above explains why I cannot leave this aspect out of a biography of Alexander Burnes. Yet I have contacted in writing the masonic organisations in Scotland and in India, and the Order of St John, to ask if they have any records relevant to James and Alexander Burnes. The Scottish Masons claim never to have heard of the Burnes, – that cannot be true – while the others have not replied to my letters.

They can hardly be surprised people think ill of them if they are so secretive and unhelpful. I am afraid their new (and I am sure unwelcome) association with Breivik will make them even more paranoid and hostile to anybody researching this stuff.

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New Norwegian Killing

Last night two masked men in military uniform shot dead a 27 year old man in his home in Sandnes, Norway. Nowhere in the mainstream media can I find anybody wondering whether this is related to the massacre in Norway the day before – even though both were killings with guns, (very rare in Norway), and either this guy really was assassinated by soldiers, or both were carried out in false uniform.

Have I turned into a crazed conspiracy theorist, or is this lack of curiosity a little bit strange?

UPDATE
Can this second incident the same weekend in Norway of armed killers in uniforms relate in any way to the “two other cells” of which Breivik spoke in court? I am not claiming to know the answers, but there seem to me obvious questions here and I don’t understand why the media is not asking them.

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Is Anders Breivik in This Photograph?

This 2009 rally in Oslo was attended by Breivik’s heroine, Pamela Geller. On Saturday I posted about the comments Breivik made on Geller’s Atlas Shrugs website. There is a fuller analysis on the impact of the Tea Party on Breivik’s thinking here. It turns out that Breivik also references Geller’s Atlas Shrugs blog and a related hate filled website, The Gates of Vienna, in his tedious anti-muslim manifesto.

It is therefore highly likely that Breivik would have noted Geller’s visit to Norway and gone to hear her. The occasion was a rally in support of Israel’s Gaza massacre of over 1,900 Palestinians in Operation Cast Lead. It would be a fruitful line of inquiry for the police to investigate why Geller decided to go all the way from Tennessee to Oslo for such a small rally (the majority of people in that photo, those across the road, are demonstrating against the rally). Who invited the hate preacher? Why? And did she meet Breivik in person?

It is worth noting that the English Defence League, supported by both Geller and Breivik, also held pro-massace rallies at this time. This is Geller on the EDL:

The EDL is routinely smeared in the British media, as the Tea Party activists are smeared in the U.S. media. The corrupt, biased media defames any group, person, or organization standing against Islamic supremacism. They tar, feather and destroy the good name of good people who stand for life, liberty and individual rights. Libel and slander like “racist,” “fascist,” “bigot,” etc. color every news report of every counter-jihad action. The quisling media is the propaganda arm of jihad. It’s despicable. There is nothing racist, fascist or bigoted about the EDL.

This is Breivik on the EDL:

“I used to have more than 600 EDL members as Facebook friends and have spoken with tens of EDL members and leaders. In fact; I was one of the individuals who supplied them with processed ideological material (including rhetorical strategies) in the very beginning.”

One of the things we know about Breivik is that he was a dedicated video wargamer. On this online wargaming forum a poster calling himself Norge (Norway) says that he was at that rally and goes on to make numerous anti-Muslim remarks in very much Breivik’s calm style. Now, that is a small crowd to contain two rabidly anti-Muslim Norwegian wargame fanatics, particularly as various reports – including on that forum – indicate most of the pro-massacre group was elderly, and less likely to video wargame. If Norge is indeed Breivik, then he is in that photograph at Geller’s rally. If Norge is not Breivik, then police should trace someone whose interests and political actions were so close to Breivik’s, and see if they were connected.

Isn’t it extraordinary that right wing terrorists are seldom called terrorists, and are always said to have acted alone. Muslim terrorists, however, are always part of the international al-Qaida network, even when they and their motives were obviously homegrown. Any connection by any Muslim terrorist to any mosque or preacher is sufficient to condemn that mosque or preacher loudly in the media as an instigator of terrorism – even though they may never have heard of the terrorist. There are people in Guantanamo for approaching a decade just because they were at the same meeting as someone else. Yet exactly the same kind of links by Breivik to his right wing hate preaching US inspirers like Geller are simply glossed over by the mainstream media.

Right wingers always are just crazed individuals acting alone in the official narrative. But that is plainly untrue.

I can understand the line, adopted by all the mainstream media, that Breivik’s trial should be heard in secret because he should not gain a platform through his evil actions to spout his poisonous propaganda. But I cannot resist the suspicion that the right wing will be delighted to minimise the information that may come out about Breivik’s right wing connections.

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Bent Judges

These is a lack of subtlety evident in the use of “public inquiries” to whitewash governmental wrongdoing. The appointment of Sir Peter Gibson, the former Commissioner for the Intelligence Services, to head the judge-led inquiry into UK complicity in torture was a brazen act of corruption. Sir Peter has a choice; either he exonerates ministers and the security services, or he finds himself guilty of corruption or gross incompetence. He has already, in his capacity as Commissioner, certified as correct the conduct of the intelligence services in the period he is now “investigating.” If he had any honour or genuine intentions, he would have turned the inquiry appointment down. There is no conclusion possible but that Gibson accepted the appointment with neither honour nor good intentions.

It is equally astonishing that Judge Leverson accepted the leadership of the inquiry into News International when he had at least twice been a guest in Elisabeth Murdoch’s home. I simply cannot understand why in these circumstances he does not feel he must refuse the appointment. The concept of honour appears to have disappeared entirely from public life.

This was very predictable. Thirteen days ago I blogged “Murdoch’s main priority on this visit will doubtless be to work with Cameron to get the right safe judge appointed”. Power people like the Murdochs do not entertain people merely because they like them; everyone around that dinner table is there because they hold power or influence. If you wonder why precisely the Murdochs were cultivating judges, of course you now have the answer. Ordinary people have to wake up to just how real is the shroud of corruption cast over British society.

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