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An English spiritualist’s Yezidi encounters

John G Bennett (died 1974) travelled widely in the regions now lying between the Turkish-Iraqi-Syrian borders in the early 1950s, visiting tekkes, zawiyas and other sacred sites, later settling in England to establish the Coombe Springs sanctuary for spiritualist studies. Saturday 31st October 1953 After Nimrud, we had an experience of quite a different order when we went…

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Dodgy Padres!

Wobbly church fathers,monks and rabbis! The Churches during the National-Socialist era Charles Marsh’s recent biography on the heroic Pastor Bonhoeffer provides some insights on the less laudable responses of the Churches to the Nazis in 1930s Germany. Christian teachings “could be commandeered in the service of Germany, especially when the German theological establishment prsumed the…

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Terrorism Laws – crows come home to roost?

The misuse of Britain’s hastily conceived anti-terrorism/counter-terrorism laws and security regimes is now affecting society as a whole…  The current British definition of terrorism is so broadly drawn that it could even catch political journalists and bloggers who publish material that the authorities consider dangerous to public safety, said the official counter-terrorism watchdog [David Anderson…

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Gaza: merely a retaliation?

Ilam Pappe was brilliantly incisive in his recent contribution to Electronic Intifada: The present genocidal wave has, like all the previous ones, also a more  immediate background. It has been borne out of an attempt to foil the Palestinian decision to form a unity government that even the United States could not object to [...]…

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Metrics of Domestic Security

  Official data to be released on Tuesday will show that the details of 1,281 people were referred to the government’s “Prevent” scheme, up from 748 the year before, with officers citing the civil war in Syria as the main reason for the increase…Since 2007, 1,450 children aged 18 and under have been referred to…

syria-britain

Syria/Iraq – a time for cool heads

A blog which started in April 2014 with concerns about young British men journeying to Syria with a variety of intentions – from charity work to the pursuit of adventure – has now to contend with a more serious development: the emergence of videos by adventure-seeking mavericks and useful idiots pledging allegiance to militia groups in the…

That Special Relationship

    What is the nature of the special relationship between Britain and the US? “Britain’s special relationship with the US is so special only one side knows it exists” – Helmut Schmidt July 2014   In a remarkably frank articulation of London’s subservience to Washington, William Hague said in response to the Isis advances: ‘We…

Blair – the tired/tiring record

July 2014 One of the attractions for Blair in working with the United Arab Emirates and al-Sisi is apparently that the latter two have turned against the Muslim Brotherhood. Blair is a profound Islamophobe and hates the Muslim religious Right, even though he has been perfectly happy to shill for the Christian religious Right. Al-Sisi…

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Censorship is OK for the lascars

So there are limits to freedom of expression after all! But not if it applies to Muslims. New York’s famed Metropolitan Opera cancels ‘Death of Klingoffer’       New York’s Metropolitan Opera have cancelled an international simulcast of John Adams’ opera The Death of Klinghoffer due to “an outpouring of concern” that it “might…

Afghanistan

Afghanistan – Pride & Prejudice – Part X

                        3rd June 2014 Sgt Bergdahl had joined the army when it was short of soldiers to send to Afghanistan as part of the “surge” in the number of combat brigades there. With too few men, it had started to issue “waivers” to recruits…