Archive for September, 2014

Parliament Endangering British Security: 29 September

September 29, 2014

Bombing IS in their own territory will inspire more bombs on UK territory. Our Government now count IS as enemy combatants, a rival to Great Britain. Our Government thereby makes them heroes in some people’s eyes. More young men will want to join this IS army which is proving a challenge and a match for the UK and the US.

We will have more airport security, more expensive surveillance equipment, more taxes spent on people to monitor the threat of terrorism, more detention without trial. The defence and security budget will grow like a cancer, while social care is cut back inexorably.

‘But we can’t just do nothing! We have to challenge IS and try to stop them from expelling, kidnapping, beheading more people!’ Yes indeed we need to challenge IS but bombing them will not work. Bombing may subdue them for a while, but, when they later come out of hiding, they will be fiercer than ever. Bombing will destroy too many homes, roads, farms. Decent ordinary people will have no resources to stand up to the militants. (The UK Government is not committed to repairing our bomb damage should IS go into hiding for a while.) Bombing has made society worse in Iraq and in Libya. Bombing IS will, in the long run, make things much worse, not only in Iraq and Syria, but also in the UK.

We need to challenge IS through the Law. Bring cases to the International Court of Justice against the IS leaders and all who support them substantially. Issue arrest warrants against IS leaders and their supporters, especially those who supply their weapons. Strengthen Interpol and give them new powers to search for weapons trails and weapons payments across countries and within banks. Track down and close all bank accounts with any connection to IS. Arrest the account holders. Search for the ideological supporters of IS, arrest them and bring them trial. Treat IS as a criminal gang not as an enemy army.

‘But this will take too long.’ Yes it is not a quick, knee jerk response. It is an effective long term strategy. Immediately we care for the victims of IS. We give them new homes and new livelihoods.

‘But this will never be 100% effective. Some weapons and money will still get through.’ Bombs also will never be 100% effective. IS will go into hiding and wait for the bombs to stop. In the end the Law will be more effective.

‘But we are only doing what the Iraqi Government are asking us to do.’ The Iraqi Government were installed through UK and US bombs and troops. Of course they think they need UK and US bombs. We need to work with them to find a better way.

Challenging IS through the Law will take as much, if not more, commitment from a range of countries than bombing IS. Countries will need to invest money and people in the legal battle. Countries will have to forge new agreements, maybe new institutions. With this long term commitment to challenging and containing militant extremism, the world will become more united, more civilised, more secure.

Great Britain needs to take a lead. We have experience of challenging the IRA through the Law. We did not bomb IRA bases in Eire or IRA leaders in Northern Ireland. We did not dignify the terrorists as enemy soldiers but imprisoned them as criminals. We need to return to the same, effective, tactics. Stop the international bombing. Send in the international police.

Roger Harper

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Inferno – Terrorist Writing: 2 September

September 2, 2014

Dante was a terrorist. He aimed to frighten people with a horrific vision of hell, his ‘Inferno.’ Dante took a little of the Bible, mixed it with Roman mythology (his Guide to and through Inferno is Virgil, the Roman writer), and with much speculation by Christians. The resulting depiction makes people far more afraid than they need to be. Take out the Roman mythology and the Christian speculation, look more carefully at the Bible, and you see a possible future beyond this life which is definitely to be avoided, but which does not terrify as does Dante’s Inferno.

Dan Brown is a modern day terrorist. He aims to frighten people with a horrific vision of the future of the human race, as depicted in his best-seller ‘Inferno.’ (‘Inferno’ was the obvious choice from the airport bookstall for me on the way to the Rethinking Hell Conference this July.) Brown envisages a future in which human population has grown exponentially, plunging people into a desperate struggle for scarce resources. Dan Brown has taken a little good science, and mixed it with scare-mongering speculation. The resulting depiction makes people far more afraid than they need to be. Take out the speculation, look more carefully at all the science, and you see a possible future about which we need to be careful, but which does not terrify as does Brown’s Inferno.

Dante completely ignored keys Biblical truths such as Jesus proclaiming that He has the keys of death and Hades. (Rev. 1:19) Jesus says specifically that this truth helps us not fear. Taking out this truth distorts the picture to make it more terrifying. So, on the doorway to his Inferno, Dante has ‘Abandon hope all you who enter here.’ Jesus has no access to Dante’s Inferno. For more on the true nature of Inferno, see The Lie of Hell http://www.laddermedia.co.uk Dante wrote great poetry with ingenious and memorable pictures, but his fundamental grasp of Christian truth was flawed.

Dan Brown completely ignores key scientific truths such as that when the living standards of the poor rise, they produce much fewer children. I have seen this in Uganda. It has been verified sociologically across our planet. Brown also ignores that our planet has the ability to produce significantly more food than it does at present. I have also seen this in Uganda: vast papyrus swamps, like the wild Fens of England, which could produce more than the hugely fertile drained Fens of England. This too is verified across our planet. If agriculture and agricultural output could not be significantly improved, the army of working agriculturalists would all find something else to do. Brown instead has his super intelligent heroes all believing that the best thing is to cull the human race by one third, now. Brown has written a great story with ingenious and memorable twists, but his fundamental grasp of scientific truth is flawed.

Dante was not acting alone. He wrote as the spokesperson of the Church and was strongly endorsed by the Church. His Inferno became the dominant understanding of hell for centuries (as Dan Brown rightly stresses.) There is still a lot of setting minds aright and reassuring hearts needed to undo the damage done by Dante.

I hope that Dan Brown is acting alone. I hope he is not endorsed by reputable scientists and scientific organisations. I hope that most of those who have read Brown’s ‘Inferno’ do not take its message seriously. Yes, we need to be aware of problems caused by increasing human population. Mostly we need to work harder to raise the living standards of the poor. We must not be callous to the needs of the poor, for in helping them we help ourselves, and especially our grandchildren.

Dan Brown’s understanding of the future of the human race is a modern version of the apocalyptic scaremongering which has dogged Christianity for years. Some people love to proclaim ‘We’re all doomed!’ All the religious doom nuts have been proved wrong. May the same be true for all the scientific doom nuts. (This includes the climate change doom nuts, but that’s an argument for another time.) It is a pity that a story-teller as talented as Dan Brown is one of them.

Roger Harper