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Fatal Foetal Abnormalities. Irish Politicians Take the Cowardly Option as Always.

Let’s be clear about fatal foetal abnormalities.

This issue has nothing to do with severe disability, as the anti-abortion extremists would have you believe.

This is about babies who can never, ever survive outside the womb.  This is about things like  anencephaly where  the baby has no brain, and only lives within the womb  because its mother acts as a life-support system, if you could call it living.

This is about women discovering that they are carrying an anencephalic baby that will certainly be born dead, and who are denied an early delivery because the demented ideologues of Youth Defence and the Iona Institute have terrified our spineless politicians into silence.

This is about forcing a woman to gestate a dead baby for three, four or five months in order to satisfy an insane religious ideology.

That’s what Claire Daly’s bill was about.  Giving some relief to women who are already undergoing a huge loss.

Unfortunately, given the profound  dishonesty of the Iona Institute and Youth Defence, this is not how the ideologues will try to spin it for the media.  It’s almost as if they have some other agenda, which has nothing to do with compassion.

As a result, the chances are, some idiot teenager will stop you in the street and try to lecture you about aborting disabled babies.

Smack them about the ears and tell them to live a life before lecturing a grown-up.  This issue is not about disability.  This is about women being forced to carry dead babies inside them for months.

This is barbarism at its worst but  sadly, our spineless politicians seem content to put up with it.

We get what we deserve.

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Favourites Film

American Sniper: An Inglorious Bastard

Seth Rogen has walked himself into serious trouble by doing what American right-wingers hate most of all: pointing out the obvious.  All he did was observe, correctly, that American Sniper is the same story as Stolz der Nation,  the Nazi propaganda film within Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, but that was enough for the non-thinking stratum of American life to rise up and attack him for hating the military, as if armies are above reproach.

american_sniper_still

 

There isn’t, or shouldn’t be, anything to argue about.  American Sniper is about a soldier who kills hundreds of enemies during a war of aggression, while Stolz der Nation is about a soldier who kills, eh, hundreds of enemies during a war of aggression.  Both soldiers become national icons.  Both are obsessed with killing and both are glorified to justify the actions of their governments.

Stolz der Nation depicts sniper Frederick Zoller as a hero, a killer of Germany’s enemies, while American Sniper does precisely the same for Chris Kyle.

Both films, the real and the fictional, are set in a context where the snipers kill on behalf of the aggressor nation, and both depict people who lived by the gun and died by the gun.  Both characters are murderous psychopaths.  The quasi-real-life Zoller dies when the French Jewish girl he becomes infatuated with shoots him in a cinema.  In a life only slightly more real, Chris Kyle was shot dead on a Texas shooting range.

All Rogen pointed out was that he saw similarities between Stolz der Nation and American Sniper,  but that was enough for thousands of chest-thumping NRA rednecks to descend on him like the Bible-bashing fools they are. What did Rogen do to deserve widespread abuse from people who consider shit-for-brains a valid form of intellectual discourse?  Nothing. He didn’t even say what I’ve said here.

And these are the people who think the Middle East is full of dangerous religious maniacs.

So much for the Land of Freedom.

_________________

UPDATE

Apparently, some clowns have attempted to put words in my mouth,  suggesting that I called everyone who fights “fundamentalist Islamic terror” a murderous psychopath.  However, in the absence of a definition of “fundamentalist Islamic terror”, I decline to engage with idiots.

On the positive side, it’s gratifying that the same clowns are regular readers of this little website.  How else, after all, would they know what I’ve been waffling about here, and even more perplexingly, why would they care? Maybe I have more influence with clowns than I thought.

The reality is that I called  Chris Kyle a murderous psychopath because that’s exactly what he was, no matter who he thought he was fighting.  In a previous life, he’d have been slaughtering Indians.

 

Killing Ragheads for Jesus

What Iraqis think of American Sniper

 

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Same-Sex Marriage: Rónán Mullen Accidentally States The Case Against Adoption

Rónán Mullen was on RTÉ radio yesterday, expressing his views on same-sex marriage.  Or to be more precise that’s why he was invited, but for some reason best known to himself, he filled  at least 40% of his slot (I hope nobody finds that wording offensive) with a rant about the biased nature of RTÉ coverage, as he perceived it.  That in itself struck me as a bit odd, considering the fact that three out of the five panellists were against same-sex marriage, but that’s Rónán for you.  Never waste the opportunity to moan about media bias when your argument is full of holes.

I didn’t pay too much attention to Rónán because I was driving, and I find his slithery lack of logic a danger to my personal safety when trying to control a motorised vehicle, but yesterday he got my attention for all the wrong reasons. the principal one of which was the utter stupidity of the point he was attempting to make.

Perhaps it was because he knows in his heart that there’s nothing wrong with two people making a lifelong commitment to each other, or perhaps it was because he knows full well that the anti-SSM position is nonsense, I don’t know which it is, but Rónán obviously had a rush of blood to the head when it dawned on him that  he’d used such a significant chunk of his slot bitching  about the media.  Either way, when his chance came round again, he lapsed into Iona-speak and began to talk about how desirable it is that children would live with their biological parents, as if that was something any of us opposes, or as if it had anything whatever to do with same-sex marriage.

What Rónán, bless him, didn’t seem to realise was that his entire rant was against adoption rather than same-sex marriage.  It’s true that adopted children, and those of separated people  don’t live with their biological parents, but what he failed to explain was how same-sex marriage was going to prevent biological parents from living together if they chose to do so.

He still hasn’t explained how that mechanism works, any more than the ludicrous Iona Institute has.  If the queers are going out there stopping people from raising their own kids, I think Rónán owes it to the Irish people to explain how they’re doing it.  I asked him on Twitter but he didn’t reply.

ronan mullen same sex marriage

Why would an educated man like Rónán not share this vital information with us?  He’s a senator, after all, elected  (well, not really – he’s an NUI nominee) to the Upper House of our national parliament.

He’s one of our leaders. All right.  Not that really, either, but still.  He’s, well he’s something, I think.

Still, though, despite his rather tenuous claim to be a public representative, wouldn’t you think Rónán would at least answer a simple question?

How does same-sex marriage prevent parents from raising their children?

It’s not a complicated question.  I imagine a man of Rónán’s considerable intellect should have no difficulty answering it, since he brought it up in the first place.

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Psychic Sally Sacks Husband and Son-in-Law for Homophobic Verbal Assault on Skeptic

John Morgan and Daren Wiltshear are the husband and son-in-law of Sally Morgan, sometimes known as Psychic Sally.

These two clowns recently appeared in a secretly-filmed video, where Morgan threatened a skeptic, Mark Tilbrook, with physical violence and even with disappearance.  Even though Tilbrook isn’t gay, the two goons still thought it would be a good idea to use savagely homophobic language while threatening him.

Sounding like a bad actor from Eastenders, John Morgan bellows at Tilbrook,

One day you’re going to be lifted, and you’ll disappear somewhere.

You’re a poof as well, we know all about your life.

You know, you look pale. Are you on drugs or has someone shagged you too much? One of your boyfriends been up your arse?

You’re a fairly little gay man. Little gayboy you are.

Charming, but what was Tilbrook’s offence?

He was standing on the public footpath outside a theatre, offering leaflets to people attending Sally’s shows.  The leaflets give guidance on how to tell if a person is a genuine psychic or not, while being careful not to accuse Sally of being a fraud.  Sally and her team (which presumably consists of the two clowns in the video) have been  very fond of issuing legal threats in the past, accusing skeptics of defamation.

In other words, if you think the dead are simply dead, if you don’t accept the notion of an afterlife and if you say so publicly, then you’ve defamed Sally Morgan.  It’s as if a priest sued you for saying God doesn’t exist.

Ka-ching!

It works, apparently.

As Morgan points out to Mark Tilbrook in the video, they’ve already taken money from the Press.

You’re a soppy little man, because all that crap there, we won half a million pounds off the Daily Mail.

What the two clowns didn’t know, and what Sally failed to predict, was that, after an unnerving encounter with them on the first night, Tilbrook would return and record the behaviour of her management team so that everyone could see for themselves precisely what sort of people run the Sally Morgan business.

Why, you might wonder, was Mark Tilbrook standing outside a theatre handing out leaflets?

Simple.  The people who go to psychic shows are very often vulnerable, suffering from bereavement, and open to exploitation.  They want to believe that somehow, a trace of their loved-one remains, even though reason must surely tell them that the person is dead and gone.  People like Nicola Tait, for instance.

While taking part in a cycling challenge, Nicola Tait’s boyfriend  Kris Cook died of a heart attack.  The incident was reported nationwide, but a month later in Woking, Kris Cook’s home town, Sally claimed to be hearing from a man wearing Lycra cycling shorts whose first name started with K.  Sally also claimed to be hearing the name Nicola, but later denied learning these details in the media.  Nicola Tait was deeply distressed by Sally’s performance.

On another occasion, Sally accidentally contacted the living when a woman in Middlesbrough failed to understand the premise of the show.  After a few awkward moments while Sally carried on a conversation with the dead, a woman finally stood up and explained that she had handed in a photo of herself.  Sally was laughed off the stage.

This is the leaflet Mark Tilbrook handed out.  It gives guidance on how to spot a fake psychic, though he was careful not to suggest that Sally isn’t really talking to the dead.

psychics_leaflet

 

It’s all very rational and simple.  Protect yourself against frauds, cheats and chancers by applying these very simple tests.  Who could take offence at that?  Well, John Morgan could, for one.

I’m gonna knock you out sooner or later, so fuck off before I do you.

Of course, since the dead are actually dead, it’s hard to know who Sally might be talking to, but the intimidation continued for months with Sally Morgan’s lawyers threatening all sorts of defamation actions against Tilbrook, who was genuinely scared, since he’s not the sort of man who’s used to that kind of thing.  And even though the leaflet contained nothing defamatory, he found the threat of it hanging over his head very hard to bear.

Luckily, he found support from the Good Thinking Society, run by among others, Simon Singh (or that Muslimer one, the Asian bloke, as Morgan ignorantly and stupidly refers to him in the video).  Simon Singh was himself the subject of attempted legal intimidation by the British Chiropractic Association, and knows all about vested interests trying to silence rational questions.  He won.

Sally seems to have backed off the legal threats now, no doubt due to the fear that she would be publicly humiliated should the matter ever go to court.   She might be asked, for instance, to demonstrate her gifts to the satisfaction of the court, or she might be asked why she declined to claim a million dollars by passing a simple test based on her own shows and devised by Professor Chris French, Simon Singh, and the James Randi Educational Foundation.   All she had to do was look at some photos and make accurate statements about them, but instead of accepting such a simple challenge, she instead threatened legal proceedings against Simon Singh.

Perhaps a clue lies in the calculation that Sally makes five million every year by talking to the dead, even though the dead are completely dead and in no position to talk to Sally even if they wanted to.

On publication of the video, Sally issued the following statement, which is slightly incoherent and reads as if it was written by somebody with an incomplete grasp of the English language.  You might think a multi-millionaire could afford to hire somebody with a basic understanding of the written word to draft public statements.  The comments in boldface are my own.

Sally Morgan Enterprises would like to apologise for any offence caused by the material. Since April 2014, Mark Tilbrook has targeted attended Sally Morgan’s live performances; handing out leaflets to audience members. On several occasions theatre staff have had to call called the police in order to get him removed. Did the police remove him?

Given the abuse  unwelcome scrutiny Sally has endured over the past three years, which have included severe death threats and incidences of stalking evidence required please ; Sally was left fearing for her own safety once again. Is Sally making the defamatory suggestion that Mark Tilbrook put her in fear of her life?

Due to the continual presence of Mark Tilbrook and John Morgan’s ever-growing concern for Sally, he reacted angrily and out of character by issuing violent threats and exposing his dislike of homosexuals.

Sally was not aware of the comments made in this video despite being a psychic. She is very upset by the events, does not condone any of the behaviour and can only assume that this was the cause of  caused by? persistent hounding  John Morgan’s rage at Mark Tilbrook’s lawful presence in the public street that lead (sic) to this altercation verbal assault.

Although the Psychic Awareness month hosted by Good Thinking Society has come to light in recent weeks, the original leaflet given out by Mark Tilbrook contained different information provide evidence please which both Sally and SME felt decided made targeted references to her and not psychics in general, hence why (sic) legal advice has been taken. About John Morgan’s threats of violence or about Mark Tilbrook’s lawful distribution of leaflets?

That was then, and this is now.  Back to the present.  After deep and thorough reflection, no doubt having conferred with the spirit world, Sally has now issued another public statement.

Here it is in its entirety.

Today Sally Morgan made a firm decision to sack her husband John Morgan and Son in Law Daren Wiltshear after recent video footage shows them using violent and threatening behaviour.

As of today John Morgan no longer holds his position as Sally’s Personal Manager and Daren Wiltshear no longer holds the position of Tour Manager. Both John and Daren will have nothing more to do with Sally Morgan’s business, including her live shows, which they will no longer be attending.

Sally Morgan added “I have come from a family background that has always been very accepting, many of my friends are gay and I have always felt happy that I am often referred to as a gay icon through my work. I am utterly ashamed and devastated at the behaviour of my husband John and Son in Law Daren and neither of them will have anything to do with my work, my business and right now I honestly have no idea what is going to happen to my marriage”.

There will be many more important decisions being made over the course of this week.

So there you have it.   John’s gone and Daren is out of a job, or so we’re invited to believe.  No doubt things will be a little tense around the Morgan household for a while, but Psychic Sally has no idea what’s going to happen.  This is is a pity since there must be an army of dead people queueing up to offer her advice.

I can see a man.  A violent man.  A bad man.  I can see the letters DD.  Is it, is it, wait, it’s getting clearer now.  Well blow me down, if it ain’t Dirty Den.  ‘Allo darlin.  You look like a ghost, innit?

__

So far, Sally, John and Daren have failed to apologise to Mark Tilbrook for the threats against him and to gay people in general for John Morgan’s hateful outburst against homosexuals.  This probably says more about the Psychic Sally business machine than any public statement they might issue.

_____________________

UPDATE 14th October 2014

Mark Tilbrook’s lawyer has written to Sally Morgan demanding correction of the incorrect statements highlighted above.

_____________________

Previously on BTR
Sally Morgan, Psychic, Challenged To Put Up or Shut Up

Also:
Psychic Awareness Month

Derren Brown: Testing Psychics

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Kobane – Another Srebrenica

Nineteen years ago we watched in horror as Ratko Mladic’s army of murderers rounded up the men and boys in Srebrenica and systematically slaughtered them.   And when I say watched, I mean just that, since no side in the Bosnian conflict tried to prevent reporting of the slaughter in that little mountainous patch of earth.  We watched as that French hero, General Philippe Morillon, leaped aboard a truck and left the surrounded Bosnians to their horrible fate with his ludicrous MacArthur-like declaration that he would return, when in fact he knew full well he was leaving these people to be raped and murdered.  We watched as the craven Dutch UN force meekly laid down its arms in the face of overwhelming Serb firepower and then we finally realised what the words Safe Haven really meant.   The UN safe havens in Bosnia had nothing to do with protecting innocent civilians, but everything to do with making sure that no UN personnel would feel threatened, from the magnificent warrior Morillon to the humblest Dutch private soldier.

srebrenica

The truth was, as we would come to understand in the following weeks, that the United nations cared not one jot for any of the victims who would be murdered by Mladic’s killers.

We saw it in the pathetic attempts to impose a no-fly zone, laughed at by Mladic as he patrolled his territory in his personal helicopter.  We saw it in the UN’s endless bumbling engagement with Radovan Karadjic, the nominal Serb leader in Bosnia and a pathological liar, held in open contempt by Mladic.

We were horrified as we watched that army of the Bosnian Serbs rumble from Srebrenica to Zepa to Gorazde, raping and murdering as they went, in a well-rehearsed pattern of barbarity while the UN wrung its hands, while Karadjic continued to make and break promises and while we watched on television as village after village was destroyed and its inhabitants murdered.

Nobody did anything about it.   Nobody did anything about the thugs on the hills overlooking Sarajevo bombarding the city and firing sniper rifles at innocent civilians, thus confirming Ratko Mladic’s belief that the international community had no stomach for a fight.  Maggie O’Kane, writing for the Sunday Times, pointed out at the time that a single air strike against the artillery hiding in the mountains would have silenced the guns, but there was no political will for such an action, and so the slaughter continued.  Mladic had the measure of his opponents and he saw them for the empty threat they were.

And so it came to pass that we, the world at large, stood acquiescent as Mladic’s forces – Milosevic’s proxy army –  inflicted an obscenity on the people of Bosnia, while we did nothing about it.

Fast forward nearly twenty years and we see a force of no more than 30,000 men holding two countries by the jugular while overwhelmingly-powerful external forces stand paralysed.  We watch helplessly as the proxy army of Saudi Arabia and Qatar murders thousands in the name of Wahhabism.  We stand by and watch as this army of religious lunatics destroys one town after another.

We stand on the hill overlooking Kobane as these madmen prepare to slaughter thousands of innocent people and again we do nothing, just as we did nothing in Srebrenica.

It’s true that a tiny country such as ours can do very little to influence the war in Syria, but it also seems to be true that the victims of the IS madness are not that important to anyone else either.  The US military spokesmen have all but shrugged their shoulders and admitted there’s nothing they can do, that air-strikes alone can make no difference to the outcome of the siege, even though it was their country’s actions that created IS in the first place.

But in the end, the fate of Kobane is in the hands of the Turkish government who would have, of course, the means to go in and extinguish the IS attack on Kobane in the blink of an eye if they wished.  The Turks could crush any IS threat at their border, but that doesn’t fit in with their strategy of containing the Kurdish PKK, and it doesn’t fit in with Erdogan’s ambition to consolidate Turkey’s position as a regional super-power.  He wants Assad gone, and if it costs the lives of a few thousand Kurds in Kobane, well, so what?

The really obscene aspect of this horrible situation at Kobane is that the PKK has long since ceased to be a threat to Turkey, since they abandoned their demands for an independent Kurdish state in favour of a loose affiliation of Kurdish regions across Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Erdogan has nothing to fear from the PKK, and yet his government won’t permit Turkish Kurds to go into Kobane in support of their cousins, in case their weapons might be used against Turkey in the future.  Instead of seeing this crisis as an opportunity to reach a pragmatic rapprochement with the Kurds in order to fight a common enemy, Erdogan is regarding it as a threat, thereby guaranteeing another Srebrenica.

What of Turkey’s membership of NATO?

NATO will do nothing if Turkey isn’t attacked and despite its medieval veneer, IS is a highly sophisticated organisation that understands perfectly well when a sleeping bear should be poked and when it needs to be left alone.  Contrary to popular perceptions, IS is not some ignorant Mujahideen rabble, but an extremely subtle political entity that knows when to lay the fundamentalism on thickly and when to ease off.  It won’t surprise me in the slightest if the IS puppet-masters exterminate all the religious fundamentalists after they achieve their political goals.

In that regard, there’s really no difference between the Bosnian Serb murderers and the IS murderers.  Both are extremely capable political machines, both are professionally led by highly-talented military commanders, and both make use of an extreme ideology as long as it remains expedient to do so.  In the Serbs’ case, the ideology was nationalism, while IS prefers to adopt the religious delusion, but in the  end, there’s no difference.

The Serbs gave us Srebrenica, which caused worldwide revulsion and now it seems IS is going to give us Kobane.

What are we going to do about it, apart from watching the slaughter on our televisions?

Maybe we should send for Philippe Morillon.

 

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Wahhabism and ISIS — The Curse of the Middle East

This is a guest post by Niall Kiernan

____________________________

Muhammad ibn Abu Wahhab
In 1703, in the central wilderness of the Arabian Desert, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab arrived into this world.

The son of a cleric, he was tutored by his father in the Qur’an and the many other philosophical books of Islam.  Of course, being brought up in the Empty Quarter, where your world-view is shaped by the harsh, inhospitable lands of Najd (central Arabia), all he had in his early life were the teachings in the holy books. He had no exposure to the diverse milieu that resided in the streets of Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad or Istanbul.

Muhammad was sent by his father to Mecca to study under the tutelage of the Hanbali mufti. However, the mufti regarded him as a poor student, both arrogant and defiant, and so Muhammad consequently dropped out. His father was most displeased and even his own brother would later disown him when his teachings became known and understood for what they were.

Muhammad gained an introduction to the chief justice of Medina to see he if he could be educated in jurisprudence, as was his family tradition and the two men quickly became friends, since  al Sindhi, a ‘reformist’ saw the overlay of culture and tradition on Islam as a corruption.  After a number of years with Al Sindhi, Muhammad moved to the city of Basra in present-day Iraq where he formulated his ideology until he was happy that his new flavour of Islam was ripe for dissemination.

What Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab had produced was a cultureless, joyless and traditionless ideology where every word of the Qur’an was interpreted literally but essentially in an à la carte and DIY fashion. For him, the concept, of visiting people you are grieving for in a graveyard, enjoying music, theatre or anything cultural or traditional was anathema because this particular Muhammad believed it all to be a form of polytheism.

The worshipping of dead ancestor gods, musical or dancing gods, theatre and sculpture gods, was heresy.  This ideology demanded that all culture and tradition be destroyed and erased entirely as the world saw in 2001 with the Taliban’s destruction of the magnificent Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan.

Upon returning to Najd Muhammad began to preach and attract some followers but after a spate of destructive acts in villages of the region such as destroying gravestones and cutting down ‘sacred’ trees, the local tribal bosses had enough of the upstart and expelled him.

The Grand Alliance

When Muhammad was exiled from his area of Najd, he was either invited or perhaps inveigled his way into Diriyah (the big smoke of Najd, so to speak) to stay with a clan leader going by the name of Muhammad ibn Saud.  Does the name sound familiar to you? It should, because this guy’s successors ‘own’ a very rich country, the only one in the world named after a family.

Both of these men had ambitions well beyond their status. Both wanted to control the Arabian Peninsula, one of them politically, the other religiously, so they formed a pact in 1744 that still survives to this day.

ISIS 1.0  The Birth of The Management of Savagery

From that date onward, the two amigos set about conquering, first the Najd region and then the eastern coastline of the Arabian Peninsula from Kuwait to Oman. The tactic was simple. Their jihadists did not follow Arab custom and tradition in warfare. They were zealots who were trained to kill anyone who didn’t suit their mindset. Christians, Shia, captured prisoners, women and children.  You name it, they’d murder it…
Fast-forward to 1801 and we see the successor of the Saud dynasty invading Iraq and sacking the Shia holy city of Karbala where the Imam Ali Hussein (the murdered grandson of the Prophet) had been laid to rest.

The Wahhabist jihadists slaughtered approximately 5,000 people (including women and children) in less than half a day, whilst plundering the city’s great wealth. Stories abounded about their special kind of cruelty towards pregnant Shia women. They where sliced open and their dead babies thrown into the disembowelled and dying women’s arms. Having destroyed all around them (including Hussein’s mausoleum along with his skeletal remains) they left the city with 4,000 camels laden down with their booty of gold and jewels.

Thus far, these jihadist have demonstrated quite a shocking appetite for murder and destruction of any and all that opposed them, coupled with a simple choice for the enemy, “convert or die” and also indeed, a voracious appetite for wealth.

The Ottoman Caliphate began taking notice when both Medina and Mecca were captured by ibn Saud. The Ottomans went on the offensive and ordered the Egyptian viceroy Muhammad Ali Pasha to use his Egyptian army to root these psychopaths out. The jahidists were eventually routed and the Ottomans took revenge on the Saudis by destroying every last building in their capital, Diriyah in 1818, which wasn’t rebuilt until the 1970s.

The Saudi/Wahhabi alliance was put back into its box in the wastelands of Najd for nearly 100 years. However, the alliance remained – welded together through marriage, beginning with al Wahhab’s two sons and ibn Saud’s daughters.  The family, for it was, by now, one family and their army of jihadists simply bided their time.

The Saud Family and the British ‘Godfather’

After nearly 100 years the jihadists were back in business. The (so-called) Great War began. However, the Saudis held back when the Hashemites of the western peninsula began the Arab Revolt in 1916  while the Ottomans had their hands full with the Brits in Sinai and Palestine.

The House of Saud had other ideas and decided it would supplant the Hashemites.

Then, early in 1917, Harry St John Philby was dispatched by the British Army in Mesopotamia to meet a representative from a new generation of Wahhabist Sauds by the name of Abd-al-Aziz.  Philby’s mission was to find out whether the Sauds would assist the Hashemites in western part of Arabia in the Arab Revolt. Britain had long had a pact with the Hashemite Sharif Hussein that he would control an empire stretching from Egypt to Persia.  (Incidentally, Philby’s son, Kim,  went on to become a famous KGB double-agent).

The Hashemites were mortal enemies of the Saud clan and Abd-al-Aziz waited to choose his moment.

It seems Philby was hand picked by MI-6.  According to Wikipedia…

Gertrude Bell of the British Military Intelligence Department was his first controller and taught him the finer arts of espionage. In 1916 he became Revenue Commissioner for Occupied Territories.”

Philby was an ambitious, self-serving opportunist as well as a committed Zionist and when he arrived in Najd in early 1917 and it seems he liked what he saw.  When he arrived in Najd he was well received and immediately began immersing himself in the Arabian culture. At some remove from the powers that be in London, he went native and before long was wearing the full-length white thobe,  the tagia, gutra and igal on his head, the beard and all of the other paraphernalia.

Philby became a senior and trusted advisor to Abd-al-Aziz, even sitting at council meetings all the while urging Abd-al-Aziz to annex territories to the north (even when London forbade it).  His influence only waned in Saudi Arabia after the death of Adb-al-Aziz.  By the early thirties Philby had himself converted to Wahhabism and in 1945, at the age of 60, married a 16 year-old girl purchased at a slave market in the town of Taif, near Mecca.  Oddly enough, this MI-6 agent who had been ‘turned’ by his subject and would normally be regarded as treasonous, had a son who also rose, years later, to a high-ranking position in the very same organisation to, yet again betray them. All very strange indeed.

ISIS 2.0 – Ikhwan (Brethren)

Already, by 1913 groups of nomadic Bedouin who were classed as ‘kafir’ by the Wahhabis (because of their nomadic lifestyle) were drafted into the Saudi army and indoctrinated in Wahhabism and thereafter allowed to become nomadic jihadists by instruction from Abd-al-Aziz.  The new Wahhabist zealots set about their conquest with the same vigour as they had done 100 years beforehand. They murdered all and sundry in their attacks (male captives had the pleasure of having their throat cut). Forceful conversion of Shias in the north was tolerated and (more importantly) Ikhwan ultimately prevailed against the Hashemites in 1926.

However, the Saudis were beginning to lose control of the creature that they created and by the time Saudi Arabia came into being the new al-Saud regime were firmly in Ikhwan’s sites (plus ça change).

Abd-al-Aziz was advised by Philby that the time that he had come to ‘appear’ to be civilized to the British and the Americans who came courting due to their reserves of oil.  Ikhwan had to be put into cold storage.  For their part, the Ikhwan believed the House of Saud to be far too lax in their religious standards, what with the schooling their children in the infidel western lands and by drinking and whoring their way around Europe.

In 1927, an open revolt by the Ikhwan began with raids into Iraq, Kuwait and Trans-Jordan. The British bombed Najd and although the instigators of the revolt were captured and executed by Abd-al-Aziz, in order to appease the British, the attacks by Ikhwan continued. The Brits joined with Abd-al-Aziz and by 1930 Ikhwan had surrendered and their leaders in the field were executed by machine gun fire (a humiliation in jihadist terms).

The ‘Civilising’ of Wahhabism 1930 – 1979

Once Abd-al-Aziz regained full control by 1930 he decided that Wahhabism would be forcibly changed from a jihadist movement of proselytizers to a conservative social, theological and political movement that would be used to justify the institutions that uphold the Saudi royal family and al-Aziz’s right to absolute power.

By 1938 the sheer extent of Saudi oil reserves had become known and the Saudis readily sold the oil to the Allies during World War Two but it was not until after the  Yalta Conference in February 1945, when Abu-al-Aziz met Roosevelt aboard the USS Quincy, that the alliance with the west was fully cemented.

Aziz and Roosevelt aboard Quincy

As part of the deal, the Saudis would use their growing oil wealth to project their version of Islam throughout the Middle East. The Saudis argued that western interests would be best served in the region by having one dominant strain of Sunni Islam that would bow to Saudi demands, rather than the myriad of versions that could not be controlled.  Additionally, The spreading of Wahhabism in the region would serve as a counterweight to Pan-Arabism, socialism, Ba’athism as well as Soviet and Iranian influence.

But the Ikhwan approach to Islam did not die in the 1930s. It simply retreated.

Two major events occurred in 1979 that changed the entire politics of the region.

They were the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The former caused a massive shockwave especially as the Iranian revolutionaries were calling for the overthrow of the “corrupt” Gulf State monarchies and began supporting Shia groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.  The latter caused the revival of the spirit of Ikhwan in the guise of the Arab Mujahideen who helped fight the Soviets to a standstill within 10 years.  As these fighters began to drift back to their countries of origin in the early 1990s after the Soviet withdrawal, a whole series of nasty events ensued.  Algeria was plunged into a vicious civil war; Egypt suffered a wave of attacks on the tourism industry and in Yemen, the mujahideen were recruited by the then President in order to unite the country. Look where that got him!

Later on came 9/11 and all that followed from it.

ISIS Max: The Revival of the Management of Savagery

How anyone in the West thought that getting the Saudis and Qataris to assist ‘moderate’ Sunnis in the Syrian civil war could work is symptomatic of a failure to understand the ideology of Wahhabist jihad along with its history.  What transpired was a cynical attempt by the Gulf States to export their more troublesome citizens into a war zone and hope that they never returned. To that end, the Saudis turned a blind eye to the financing of the new mujahideen by Saudi business interests.

Qatar went one step further and directly funded the group that became the al-Nusra Front.

All this raises the question – Is the western body politic really that unaware of Arab and Muslim history?

If history tells us one thing in this whole saga, it is that, even  after the deliberate unchaining of these rabid homicidal zealots, once the tap of financial support is turned off, this phenomenon can be easily put back in its box.  However, by allowing Saudi that soft power that enabled them to export Wahhabism around the globe, the West has also become deeply infected by the Wahhabi virus. The thousands of European-born Muslims flowing across the porous Turkish borders into the combat zone are evidence enough of this.

The Saudis’ adopted ideology was derived from one very many small sect from one of the four schools of Sunni Islam but they decided that their version of Islam is true and that ALL others are ‘kafir’, apostate or infidel. They have grown and expanded their belief system using vast amounts of cash from various Gulf benefactors.

The current reign of ISIS is beginning to resemble that of Pol Pot but is also eager to both publicise and promote its savagery, mainly in order to recruit new members.

This is the ISIS  manifesto.  It’s well worth a read.

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Postscript

Here in Ireland, we had Dr Ali Selim’s remarks about primary schooling. He called for changes (a “revolution” was what he termed it) to the curriculum in relation to PE, whereby boys would be separated from girls and where music would be restricted to beating an “un-tunable drum”, as reported in the Irish Times in August of this year.  This is again symptomatic of the spread of this virus that has infected large swaths of the (mainly) younger Sunni Muslims’ consciousness. However, I’m glad to read that those responsible leaders of the Islamic society here have lined up to condemn his views via the same organ.

I went to Marseille last April for Munster’s clash with Toulon and saw for myself, in areas just 500 metres north of the port, a ghetto comprising largely North Africans who seemed to be dirt poor, to the point of destitution, either living in squats or the vast banlieues throughout the northern part of the city. To all intents and purposes, northern Marseille looks like some South American shantytown.

Therein lies a perfect cesspit, ripe for such an extreme ideology to breed in.

Libya is now a basket case along with Yemen and Somalia, Aleppo in Syria now resembles Stalingrad in early 1943 without the snow, Boko Haram in Nigeria …

Need I continue…?

The genie is out of the bottle and my belief is that this is no accident. The dogs of war were unleashed in Libya and Syria in 2011 and they rage on to this day because of what I would call “The Great Fraud of the Arab Spring” the ‘fruits’ of which, failed to be delivered as promised by the Gulf States to Obama.

The result has been irony in motion; a new jihadist-controlled Caliphate in Syria/Iraq with its sights set on Mecca, Medina and beyond – to those that brought them into existence in the first place.

Yes, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle.  There is no compromise to be had with Wahhabist jihad. As an ideology, it is well beyond reason, but can it be destroyed, or put back in its bottle?

Perhaps.

However, the US might do well to have a long, hard, cold look at what it amusingly calls its “foreign policy” in light of all of this.

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Tom Collins, Sign Artist

Here’s some more fine work by Limerick-based sign artist Tom Collins, this time the intricate craft of water gilding.


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I was very taken by how well this project complemented a lovely old premises like Karl Kleiser’s piano shop, so I thought it might be nice to keep a record of the job, and then I thought, why not put a few of the pics together in the form of a little video?

Here you go.   I hope you like it.

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Creativity Favourites

Putting a Price Tag on the Soul of Society

Are we citizens of an economy or of a society?

If we live in a pure economy, do we not simply inhabit a society without a soul and therefore do we not live in Hell?

That’s not a new question, as anyone who remembers the late great Irish Times journalist John Healy will tell you, but it’s still a pertinent one, and it crystallised this weekend with the appearance of Royal de Luxe on the streets of Limerick.

Royal de Luxe Limerick

I don’t know how many people the event brought to our town, but I know what sort of feeling it brought.   I know that it showed the world what a fine place this is and how our people can embrace an emotion of good will and positivity.  I know that I walked the route today with my daughter and came home enriched and elated, as much by the evident kind heart of our people as by the spectacle itself.  I know that it created intangible benefits rippling through space-time far into the future when we’re all gone, but I don’t know how anyone could slap a price tag on that.

And yet, there are those who question the value of such events.

I can see, for example, why a case might be made for not holding this event but instead using the money to promote many other smaller events with a view to creating an established creative base.  I can even see why people might ask why the money wasn’t spent on healthcare, but of course, this sort of thinking is what allows the privileged and the influential to get away with the great con-job.

It’s not a bald accounting exercise, even though the bean-counters might see it that way.  Otherwise, what else might we get rid of for making a loss?  Should we dig up the loss-making public parks and sell the land for golf courses?   Should we abolish the fire brigades and let people employ their own firefighters as they did in the 19th century?  Should we stop sweeping the streets?  What about these public playgrounds that cost so much?

Couldn’t all that money be spent on hospitals instead?

Of course it could, but this is the narrative of the oligarch.  Let them believe that such a small pot of money exists they must fight over it, and that will stop them pointing fingers at us.  What a shame that small, poor, hardworking people buy into this nonsense when they are the very ones who suffer as a result.

In the society without a soul, nothing has a value, but everything has a price-tag.  We’re already well on the way to abandoning education in favour of job training, even if it happens to be under the spurious guise of universities.  We dropped Latin from the curriculum because it had no obvious use and in its place we put business jargon so that now nobody understands the basis of the language we speak.   We forgot that Irish was the medium we think in, we dropped the accents of our parents and the language of our grandparents, marooning ourselves in a mid-Atlantic morass of mediocrity.

We closed our huge railway network and demolished the bridges.  We neglected our ports.   We drove our fishing fleet to penury.  We allowed vast tracts of historic architecture to crumble.

What else could we drop, since it doesn’t turn a profit?   Street lighting.  Policing.  Museums.  Orchestras.

Let’s turn ourselves into ignorant unlettered hoi-polloi in the service of profit.

Is that what we want?  Do we really want to be citizens of a soulless economy or do we want to have a genuine society, owned and controlled by us, the people of Ireland? I don’t think so.   I think it’s time we threw off this drab, utilitarian outlook and began to re-embrace what makes us different.

We could start by setting up an all-inclusive Creativity Council in place of our obsolete ways of pigeon-holing the arts, the sciences and all other things original.

 

 

 

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Bishop of Galway Still Hung Up on The Gay

Archbishop Martin Drennan, Archbishop of Galway, has spoken out against a grant by the St Vincent de Paul Society to an LGBT centre in Galway.

Apparently, he objects to the grant on what he calls “moral grounds”.

Now, given Martin Drennan’s history, you might have thought that he’d be keeping his head down, but not a bit of it.

Just to refresh your memory, Martin was one of the auxiliary bishops in Dublin who failed abjectly to deal with clerical sexual abuse and who refused to resign when asked to do so.  He clung to his opposition like a limpet, much to the disgust of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and now here he is again, obsessed with people’s nether regions.

What a pity he didn’t show such diligence when priests under his control were abusing children wholesale in the Dublin diocese, instead of worrying about things that don’t affect him.

What a fine Christian man this bishop is.

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The Purple Haze of Doctor Dre

 

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Who Wants a Terrorist for a Grandmother?

When I was a kid, young and middle-aged women used to walk around veiled from head to toe.

We called them nuns.

Some very old women used to walk around veiled from head to toe.

We called them widows.

They had their reasons to wear the veil.

nuns voting

………………

Men and women of my grandmother’s generation used to say With the help of God.

Men and women of my grandmother’s generation  used to say God is good.

………………

By contrast, Muslim women are now walking around my town veiled from head to toe.

They have their reasons to wear the veil, but their reasons aren’t good enough, because their reasons are expressed in another language.

………………

Muslim men and women in my town are saying in Arabic,  With the help of God.  In sha’Allah

Muslim men and women in my town are saying in Arabic,  God is good.  Allahu Akbar.

That’s bad, since they don’t say it in English, the only language God understands, even though my great-great grandmother would probably have said it in Irish: le cúnamh Dé.

Did God understand Irish, I wonder?

………………

I’m glad my grandmother never said God is good in Arabic.  Who’d want a terrorist for a grandmother?