Tag Archive: Death Penalty


In a sermon called ‘Final Words’, David Shearman’s last sermon as the Senior Minister at the Christian Centre in Nottingham, David talked about a man who had come to Talbot Street several years before claiming to have a message from God that was to be delivered to the people and not run past the leaders first.  David would not let him speak without first telling him, and when he tried he was drowned out.  He left in anger shaking the dust off his shoes, literally, saying the Spirit had been quenched.  David or another leader said yes it had, but that it was his spirit, not God’s.  He went to another church where, apparently, he caused a stir, because he was allowed to speak without checking it out first.  Eventually the man came back to Talbot Street apologising and asking for forgiveness and David said of course he forgave him and said ‘let’s pray’.

What worried me was what David said next.  It worried everyone else as well, because it was followed by several seconds silence.  I don’t know that it worried everyone for the same reasons.  What he said was, ‘he didn’t live very long after that’.  It seemed to me that he was saying that God had judged him by ending his life early.  He didn’t say that, but the suggestion seems to have been there.  Someone said to him in the past that he had noticed that if anyone opposed David things didn’t go well for them after that, and David told him he had learnt a good thing or that he had done well to notice it.

The Bible has stories of people’s lives ending early in judgment, even in the New Testament, so it isn’t easy to oppose the idea of it happening today.  But I do think it is rather dark and unhealthy if David was putting that idea out in relation to himself, especially given that the man had come back to ask for forgiveness.  I also think it is dark and unhealthy to be trusting the church to new leaders with the impartation of such an idea as his parting gift and reassurance.

I’ve thought about this several times since hearing it.  It is only over the last day or so that I have thought I might have misunderstood, and read something in that wasn’t intended, but in light of what he said before it isn’t unlikely that I understood it right the first time.  And if that is what he is saying about a man’s death, it makes sense that that belief will translate also into how he treats the living.  Some of the living he treats as though they were dead, as do other ministers.  Faced with ministers who behave that way the ideas of love and forgiveness have become inadequate for resolving and mending relationships.  This has been my experience.

As well as this, I was in a meeting where he preached and talked about where God had said something like heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool, where is the house you will build for me?  He interpreted it as God challenging the hearer to build Him a house.  That didn’t make sense to me, although now I can see the possibility that that was the right interpretation, but I thought God was saying He didn’t need a house and trying to stop the would-be builder.  The only reason I am doubting my own interpretation is because we could be said to need a house in which to worship God in peace and safety.

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I’m Sorry But . . .

Today I feel emotionally sick and out of step with everyone, even with my own sense of decency.

Is there a time I should just shut up and let people get on with it?  Just for a day maybe, or a week, or maybe I should cut my tongue out and never be able to speak for the rest of my life!  Now there’s a thought.

As much as I truly admire the people who work so hard for our security and am very touched by the happiness and satisfaction some of them I have heard speaking today are expressing, I still find it repulsive that anyone can be happy about and rejoice over someone else’s death.  No matter how much they or others close to them have suffered.

As I said, I feel emotionally sick.  I still can’t have a thought or emotion begin to materialise without the people upstairs start their stuff.  The uncanniness of it is doing a number on me, along with some of its deliberate and markedly repetitive illegality when they bang just after the boundary line every day.  I wondered after I typed those last paragraphs and thought maybe I’m being a bit too squeaky liberal to be real.  Perhaps I should join the celebration, for reasons of my own it feels like a bit of a weight off of my shoulders as well.  Maybe all decent people are glad, and I just don’t have that level of freedom to be able to enjoy it with everyone else who is also decent.

But I remember stories of days when missionaries went among cannibal tribes, eyes wide open, taking the risks.  And dying.  No political pull outs.  Died for their peaceful, loving, non-violent beliefs, killed by the enemies, in lifestyle, that they had gone to live among and convert/evangelise/win for Jesus.

Jesus said, so the Bible tells us, if we choose to believe it (or it might have been Paul), ‘render to no man evil for evil, but overcome evil with good’.  Armies and governments and terrorist groups are made of many people who, individually, would be identified as ‘a man’.  I’ve heard it preached and taught that war is a different kind of situation to which that does not apply.  That sometimes peace has to be fought for, and that that is the justification for war.  But how can you fight for peace with weapons of war?  If you do the same you become the same.  The act of war causes and deepens wounds in the psyche, personally and nationally, which make it more likely for physical warfare to continue to be embraced as an option.  People don’t repent, they go into denial and justification, and that isn’t something which makes for a future where this is less likely to happen.

We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12), and that means to establish new habits of acting and thinking. I’ve noticed that when I take a step to do what is right, I understand how wrong the former thing was and how wrong its support structures and rationalisations.  Especially if I thought before that the right thing was the wrong thing.  In my early days as a Christian I was taught that pragmatism and compromise over the truth were not acceptable approaches to living the Christian life.  That belief has not abandoned me, even though these days the church is more at ease with ideas of necessity and pragmatism.  I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe I just haven’t moved on as I should have done.

However, I believe that the spread of peace depends on abandoning war as an acceptable way of ‘maintaining’ ‘peace’.  If war is not an option, we have to go further in building international relationships.  Not ‘so far and no further’.  So far then ‘how very dare you, sir?’  Peace is not compromise.  Peace is Shalom, whole and vibrant.  Peace is love, not polite, formalised, ritualistic functionality.

If war is not an option, outraged people with hurt egos can’t issue a call to arms, pumping out buzz words ten to the dozen that make you feel ashamed and embarrassed to disagree with them.  People who do not embrace armed conflict as an option must surely be easier people to approach.

If we want to talk about the brave people who die in the pursuit of peace, and lay down their lives, I think there is more chance of healing for the world and of leading by example if those people lay down their lives in refusing to kill, rather than in trying to maintain peace and security for their own group by killing people and groups who are seen to threaten it or who strike at it.  If we lay down our lives for peace, sacrifice our lives in being actively peaceful and refusing to engage in war.  Let our own lives be taken rather than kill an aggressor.  Rather than a few being brave for many, I believe we all need to face it and trust for ourselves.  That way we relate with love for all, even for our enemies.  That is how peace is built.  We are governed by peace because we are founded on peace.  It isn’t the result, but the whole structure.  As long as we need to protect our lives, we live with fear.

This is what I should do, not what I do.  I am protecting too much, things and goals which wanting to achieve make me careful for my life.  Crazy things, like seeing the end of coercive medicine in the mental health system, a change in understanding and an end to labelling.  Even more, I don’t want to die on my own, maybe never to be discovered and with my life seen as worthless and full of failure, and something to be despised and not missed.  That is my craziness, wanting to hold on to my life until I feel it is worth something, not so guilt-ridden and not so isolated.  That is how I feel under the present abuse.  Too guilty to die, and guilty for hanging on.  Sorry for coming back to myself, but on the other hand, I think facing and coming to terms with yourself is a necessary part of being able to embrace this lifestyle choice anyway.  So no, I’m not sorry, really.  You have to come back to yourself to lay your life down by deliberately committing to non-violence.  I know so.  I’m only sorry I can’t express it better because of what is going on in my life at the moment.  I could possibly express it if I chose my own advocated actions, but under the abuse I can’t do it in words.  The option for me seems to be to surrender to and make myself vulnerable to my abusers (who might only be abusers in my mind anyway), or not to be able to express it in words.  But I do have a problem with my abusers if that is the point they are trying to make  by their abuse.  ‘Join us, we’ll teach you the way of peace and non-violence by making you pass through the fire of our violence’.  Jesus didn’t use violence.  The Bible says the devil can appear as an angel of light, and that means his presentation is appealing and persuasive.  But trust goes to the cross.  They present as Christians, and everything I try to say is aurally countered, either actively or with silence.  Or is it all a product of my own fear and darkness?  The Bible says in Christ there is no darkness, it also says the darkness becomes light.  To me that doesn’t just mean that a light shines removing the darkness but that, where Christ is, the darkness itself, even the darkness of violence, is light.  That is the conviction of my heart and soul.  Love, my love for those who do me violence, makes even the violence a source of light and something into which I should walk.  And these words are darlings I refuse to kill by putting them into action.  The violence and exclusion/silence, because of the ‘hallelujahs’, feel like a call, a ‘trial by fire’.  But also, post-communism, it feels somehow inappropriate.  So why am I arguing so much?  Have we talked our way out of needing to pay the price, by invalidating the price asked and demanded as torture?

There is no such thing as public opinion, because the public is made up of many people who hold many different opinions, and who are confused about th eir opinions and change them often, or are paralysed into inactivity or other manifestations of distress.

So I’m wondering how this became an accepted and acceptable concept in the first place?  It is a handy concept to impose, for some people and organisations.  Is it about making money and controlling people, or what?  I can’t think of anything else at the moment.

If you can invoke the concept of public opinion, you can use it not only to say ‘this is good and this is bad’, but also ‘this person is good, and this person is bad’.  In some societies the ‘good’ people can kill the ‘bad’ people for lesser crimes than murder.  That is not to say that killing people for murder is good (though for them it might be preferable to a lifetime of interment). 

I was going to say why should we be punitive by making the punishment last a lifetime, but then I thought about the possibility of change and rehabilitation which wouldn’t be available to them, or us, if we killed them.  Maybe, if we want to be really kind, we should give people an option of the death sentence or a lifetime’s imprisonment or stuck on a psychiatric ward on drugs.  If we are going to argue for voluntary euthanasia and the right to assisted suicide I can’t see why not.  And it might sort out the prison space problem and problems in the economy too, because we wouldn’t be having to pay for them.

You could argue that a life in prison or on psychiatric drugs is not the kinder option, if the person would prefer to get the whole thing out of the way immediately and just die.  Why should we want to deprive a criminal of that option, unless we ourselves are sadistically and viciously punitive?  But then there are others who are sadistically and viciously punitive in the other direction who would say, ‘and a good thing too, taking our space and costing us money’, but they might have a harder time maintaining that if the option of the death penalty was seen as a kindness rather than the ultimate punishment.

I watched some videos online the other day, by a legal expert in the US, saying it would be OK, in law, to lie to Mr Assange to lure him to a place where they could kidnap him.  I understand the feeling of what he is living with, in terms of the threat and uncertainty (even though I do not know that my life is in danger) living with threat from authorities (and non-authorities) in different ways. 

I don’t think there is anything I can do, but I wish it wasn’t happening to him.  I feel like pleading with him, ‘please don’t die’.

It shouldn’t be legally OK to lie to anyone.  Certainly not for government bodies.  But they do it all the time.  For our protection, they say. 

I don’t want a society riddled with and ‘protected’ by lies.  Some Christians quote Rahab who hid the spies and lied about where they had gone, as being an example of when lying is right.  But the Bible says ‘God is not a man, that He should lie’.  It also says ‘Walk before me and be thou perfect’.  In the New Testament it also says ‘put off lying one to another’ and ‘let no corrupt communication come out of your mouth’.

For me these are heart and covenant verses, and the only ones I can remember out of my own head.  But no one has the right to argue, based on what they see from my limited memory, that the whole issue is a covenant thing and that there are some circumstances, therefore, when lying is right to, or about, certain people.

The reason I say this is that the New Testament isn’t big on self-protection, not for Christians.  We are told to honour all men, and to do good to all (even though it does say especially to those wo are of the household of faith, that doesn’t mean it is OK to do evil to someone else, even if the law demands that they be punished for a crime). 

If the law allows lying, the law is a mess.  Why should the only sanctified place of honour be in court, where it becomes illegal to lie?  Think how much time and money and distress would be saved to so many, if only lying itself, in whatever circumstances, was a crime.  Why isn’t lying, such an abusive and dishonorable thing, a crime?  So that lawyers can continue getting fat?

The New Testament isn’t big on self-protection or for terrestrial country being on a par with God.  Christians were encouraged to accept death for refusing to say, ‘Caesar is Lord’.  I think that encouragement was right.  People are not perfect.  Even if the only acceptable point being made here for some people is that the individual’s conscience comes before any allegiance to king and country (or continent, or one world government, since that is obviously what people are trying to practice, it doesn’t have to be treated with sensationalism for it obviously to be true), I believe that is the point that has to win the day, over and above loyalty to earthly government and authorities.

The spies might have been covenant people, but they were also ordinary men. Who wouldn’t be grateful for having their lives saved?  If in rewarding the woman for that they affirmed lying, they were wrong.  The Bible says she was also a harlot, whatever that means, maybe it isn’t it’s modern meaning.  They weren’t, surely, rewarding and affirming that, if it was what is understood by the word today.  They were showing human gratitude and mercy.  Who knows, maybe they should never have involved the name of God in the transaction at all.  It was a normal, human response to someone who has saved your life.

The fact that someone uses an exalted tone doesn’t make them right.  Maybe they didn’t use an exalted tone, maybe it is just the way I have heard it read and carressed in Church.  I think a verbal carress expresses joy and gratitude and strong feeling.  it is not necessarily an indicator of truth, even though you might feel that people capable of expressing such strong and positive feelings can’t possibly be wrong.  People and their feelings should never be idolised.  Feelings rely on information.  Information might be wrong, or wrongly understood.  No one should ever say to another, ‘I am so and so, do as I say’, unless it is in a clear matter of law.  That is why, I believe, we need to be dispassionate and not inflammatory, if a safe world is what we want.

Government Hanky-Panky

Maybe it’s time for me to stop being drawn on this, but this morning I heard (sorry, I get confused) William Hague or Iain Duncan-Smith (I think it was William Hague) say something about harassment of journalists in Libya.  He paused before saying ‘in Libya’, as if trying to emphasise the point that he was saying Libya, and nowhere else, maybe not the UK.

Being the self-centred person that I am, I thought he was saying that I am harassing journalists and I got a bit upset.  Then I thought, ‘wait a minute, he’s probably trying to draw a distinction between the journalists in Libya (about whom he doesn’t have a bad word to say), and some of the journalists here, in our minds’.  I thought of Julian Assange.

I know many people will have seen the video of him outside the court about a week or so ago (I haven’t seen anything more recent) with him so close to tears saying he hasn’t had the chance to put his side of the story and that there have been incitements to violence towards him and his staff.

I don’t know him, but tears are very powerful with me.  Some people say they are a form of manipulation.  Maybe those people have never known real desperation.  I was frightened of my tears for years, after reading in a counselling type book that they are a form of manipulation.  I realise that tears only express our feelings and not necessarily the truth about the beliefs we hold that make us cry, but they must be one of the most valid expressions of personal, heartfelt reality, and for that reason I for one cannot despise them or be dispassionate about them.  If we took more notice of tears we might be a less violent, bigoted, punitive, testosterone-and-spleen-driven and reactionary world.  I believe real tears always should be reconcilers or at least a gateway to reconciliation.  His tears touched me.  I don’t know if they were real or not.  But how desperate does a person have to show themselves to be in order to have the violation of their legal human rights redressed by those who should and who think they have the right to judge instead?

My own emotions are mangled.  I’m being shouted at and banged at every day, especially when I’m just lying on my bed trying to connect my life to its source and neither moving nor speaking, just enjoying the feeling of beginning to recover the connection between my mind and emotions, then it all starts.  And I do the same thing back sometimes, even if only eventually and not on the spot.  Early in the morning I am too shocked and don’t know how to handle myself.  I can not get dressed for days because the violence makes me feel I can’t cope with life.  And then I feel ashamed of my own reactions when I give it back.

All that to say, condoning computer-hacking from anyone, including the government, excluded, I wish I could help Julian Assange and I would if I could, and would do so in every way that I could if he or his representatives asked me to.  There is no way I would not be prepared to help, believing as I have that he tried to help me.  Isn’t it funny how the government always steps forward to try to get you to disconnect from ‘bad influences’ only after they themselves have been exposed?  If they had not been exposed, if the timing of the leaks had not made me feel supported, I wonder what they would now be saying and doing?

‘The Big Society’ manifesto and plan almost completely replicates some of the concerns I raised in a document on my computer, following years of official abuse and neglect, including from the police, which was addressed to the chief of police in Sussex but not sent.  Given everything else it is hard for me to believe that someone hasn’t lifted it straight from my computer.  I know some people will believe or try to make out this is lunatic, but others will not, they even comment and sometimes get uncomfortable if I log on to a parliamentary broadcast, which I watch from the beginning and delayed, at the time that I actually log on and start watching.  This happened one Friday at the reading of a Private Member’s Bill, and the discomfort was particularly pronounced.  I keep intending to find it and watch it again, because at the time I thought I understood the discomfort.

My browser has crashed a couple of times while typing this, always when I am getting into a release of full flow.  It must show in my typing.  I think that, among other things, my key strokes are being monitored by someone.  I obviously don’t know who or why. There are people I think of and think of course I’ll stop if it’s them and they want me to, but I go on in stubbornness and/or uncertainty.

I started the post to say that it seemed fairly clear to me that, whatever William Hague was trying to communicate with his statement this morning, what appeared to be the surface message didn’t appear to me to be his main concern, and I wish they wouldn’t go around making object lessons and drawing comparisons and contrasts from another country’s distress while trying to appear to have a single message and motive.

Julian Assange, I love you.  I am absolutely backing you up with my best intentions and my strongest hopes for your safety, if that is all I can do.  I can’t quite connect with your reality, as I said when I try to connect with my own people cry out and start banging, I don’t understand the dynamic, I usually go for the explanation that makes me feel guilty, and it’s happening now and it is so distressing, so excuse me if you find this inappropriate, but I feel as if my own entrails are being fed upon.  I believe I have heard you trying to communicate with me, and from you in your position I appreciate that so much.  But I don’t know, maybe you’re communicating with me and every rights aware individual, and I’m just bending it to myself.  I hope you will get someone to contact me if I can help or be of any use to you.  That’s how I feel, whether it is appropriate or not.  I feel as if my whole community is the idiot brigade, and they’ve all come out now.  I’ve got another person now who somehow thinks it helps and is cool to shout hallelujah at me.  Maybe I should respond with better grace and gratitude.  I don’t know why they are doing it or who has given them the idea.  They only did it after searching me out with 5 minutes of yelling and me yelling back in the end.  I feel really bad about this.  It’s obviously an affirmation and I’m being ungrateful.  I should be grateful.  It’s so good to hear.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1353989/WikiLeaks-Police-sex-files-Julian-Assange-leaked-online.html?ITO=1490

I don’t feel able to comment on my feelings about these revelations, if they are true.

However, this is obviously a tit for tat move by whoever it was that made it.  I am supposing that the leaks, authorised or not,  must have come from someone inside the police force.

The obvious problem with this, it seems to me, is that this is an official body leaking details of allegations against an individual, before they have even been proved or the man found guilty.

I watched a video clip on Saturday of Mr Assange speaking via video link to a conference in Australia, and he said that ‘we believe in transparent power, not transparent individuals’.

I don’t like that either/or approach these days.  It’s what is known as a false dichotomy, I think, or is at least along the same lines.  It’s the ‘you have a choice between 2 options’ line, and it is always used to force a decision, I think, and closes down a person’s thinking. A little bit of wry, naughty humour coming in while I am writing, I think the best way to deal with this if you are faced with it might sometimes be to choose the option you know the person presenting the choice doesn’t want you to choose, if they are not open to reason.  Then they have to deal with it, not you.   If they are not open to reason, why would you want to go with them anyway?  It’s manipulative and coercive, although the person presenting the option doesn’t always realise that, they think it is the way to do it, sometimes.  It’s main concern, I think, is the maintenance of a method or way of doing things, or power of some description.

But there are three alleged offenses here, two of them obvious and one of them not.  The two obvious ones are the leaks from both Wikileaks and the police.  the one which isn’t obvious because not provable is the sexual offenses allegations.

Out of these three, if all of them are true, how many of them actually stand as crimes right now without further investigation?

If interception of communications and computer hacking are held to be crimes, Wikileaks has obviously committed a crime right there.  But possibly the government can’t afford to be too strong on that one, because the government has a policy to use that.  I think they have used it with me, a private individual,  without my knowledge.  Because they suspected me of something or thought I might be some sort of a threat?  I don’t know.  They have never told me and have refused to talk about it, referring me to mental health agencies whenever I have asked how I can find out if it is happening (Joan Ruddock’s senior case worker).  I repeat, for saying I thought it might be happening and asking how I could find out, I was referred to mental health agencies and told they did not know how I could find out.  If the government wants to continue to hide this kind of thing, it isn’t going to major on the hacking itself as being a crime.  It will major on the security risks of the actual information leaked (which apparently, according to a news programme I watched yesterday, Mr Assange first presented to the government, who refused to talk to him, before he actually leaked the information.  I suppose they knew he was a computer hacker at that point, and they made no effort to have him arrested for that, so I suppose they do not see that as a crime or, if they do, it is one they are also committing and it would therefore be too embarrassing for them to have him accused of the same thing.  The leaks talk about Hillary Clinton, for example, getting passwords to the accounts of people in the UN).

I think computer hacking is a crime, whoever does it, and that both of these bodies, Wikileaks and the government, are guilty of the same crime, by their own admission and policy.  But they have ruled that out of the equation.  Instead, one could theorise, the pursuit of Mr Assange has been diverted to a pursuit over sexual allegations, in order to get him for everything else?  If there is a real security breach, why have they not acted sooner on that nderstanding, and if he has committed a crime over that, in any way, why have they not arrested him for that, and not just for the sex allegations?  Is it because English law does not consider he has committed a crime, and that is why extradition to Sweden, for questioning, in spite of his constant (so we are told) co-operation with the police over the sexual allegations, is being considered as a first step in enabling an illegal rendition to the USA where he might find himself either in Guantanamo or condemned to death?  This is what is being presented.  This whole process is being presented as illegal, by his lawyers.  If it is illegal the UK should not be supporting it, because in doing so we become an accessory to a crime.

The sex allegations, even if they are true, are complicated by some factors, and might not be able to be proved as rape.  If the accounts are true, it would appear there was obviously a relationship in the context of which it happened.  I think it is not possible to make an assessment and come to a conclusion about his motivation, if it happened.  It says she normally wanted him to wear a condom, and he didn’t, but when awake she allowed him to continue.  Not knowing myself how long it was after this that the allegation of rape was made, I can’t guess at why she made it.  But she allowed him to continue.  Maybe on hindsight she realised it had been rape and felt differently.  To my mind, if she was asleep when it happened, and it was in a way which she had made clear she didn’t want (unprotected) it seems obvious rape might be a reasonable thing to call it.  But at the moment, according to what I have read, that is under debate as the question of whether what happened while she was asleep counts as rape ‘has not been tested by the justice system’.  If it happened.  If it did I think possibly it should be judged as rape.  Swedish law says that sometimes it would be, but in this case it has been thrown out by judges and I don’t know why.  But personally (not with legal knowledge) I also think his intention and understanding of the relationship at the time should be taken into account.  But (if it happened) he knew she didn’t want unprotected sex (if I have read it right).  So he would have to be judged mentally incapable, it seems to me, if the allegations were upheld and they were not treated as rape.  I keep saying ‘if it happened’.  That is my personal point of ignorance. I don’t know if he has acknowledged anything.  Everything I am writing is based on an assumption that he has not agreed that any of this happened.  That might be where my argument falls completely to pieces, but it might not.

Out of the three things involved, the sexual allegations, the leaks made by Wikileaks and the leaks made by the police, if we dismiss the issue of computer hacking about which there appears to be no legal clarity acknowledged, it seems to me there is only one indisputable crime, the leaks made by the police about the allegations made against Mr Assange.  I find it so enormously monstrous I can hardly address it.  This has to be the dirty tricks department at its worst.

It seems to me it compromises the trial.  It seems to me it is a gross breach of Mr Assange’s human rights (and also those of the women who have brought the allegations), and it is gross professional misconduct.  I don’t have to like any of what I am saying or think that I personally have a right to say it for it to be true.  If it is true, whether or not I have a right to say it doesn’t alter that fact.  It is an attempt to short-circuit the process of law, and probably in this case something even worse.  Perhaps I can’t make a categorical statement because perhaps the law is not this clear.  Not being a lawyer I don’t know.  But I think this is a clear case of perverting the course of justice, from whoever was responsible within the Swedish police force for the decision to release this information.

As a victim of computer hacking, I can’t condone the methods used by Wikileaks.  This may appear simplistic, who decides what the ‘right hands’ are and on what basis, and what can you do when those hands become the wrong hands?  But that does not mean that the course of justice should be perverted in the way the organisation or its founder is dealt with.  People speak against Anarchy.  But this is Anarchy from the top down, against the people they govern.  It is something I have experienced personally for over a decade, to my own knowledge.  I’m a Christian.  We need help.  We are in trouble, and maybe we always have been.  Maybe it only seems so bad to me, now, because this is when I am alive and experiencing it.

In the Book of Ezra, when the people are brought back to God, a call goes out, ‘to the word, and to the testimony’.  I’m not sure – I’ve just become sure.  I think this is applicable here because, however much the law is subject to change, what we do now needs to be based on the law as it is now, not as we would like it to be, and what happened in the past should be judged on the laws that were applicable then, not now, with regards to monitoring people’s communications.  That is the position of the European Court of Human Rights Act.  To me that seems just and the only way to maintain order and accountability in the way things are dealt with.  I love my leaders (at least, they make me feel that way.  They make me feel they love me too).  It is hard for me to say I think they have run riot, but I do.  The recovery we need is not only financial.  I believe that, as a society, we are in serious trouble.

Final note:  I realised while tagging this that I have forgotten to take the Freedom of Information Act into account.  Everyone is emoting over this, including Hillary Clinton (you can be an emotional woman for the war but not against it?), but it seems possible to me, not having kept up with any of this, that the information contained in the leaks should have been available anyway under the Freedom of Information Act introduced by Tony Blair, but it wasn’t.  I’m not sure how the Freedom of Information Act works in relation to the Official Secrets Act and whether some of the ‘spade a spade’ brigade would be right in calling the Freedom of Information Act a Mickey Mouse thing anyway.  But if the information contained in the leaks should have been available and wasn’t, and if the government turned Mr Assange away anyway when he went to them with it, it is dishonest that these people, who definitely would have known he knew this before the leaks were made, should now be presenting theselvesas so much ‘up in arms’ about it.  That is downright hypocrisy (sorry, I’m getting angry).

Tony Blair was quoted as saying he wishes he had never introduced the Freedom of Information Act and that it was one of the worst things he ever did.  He is entitled to feel that and entitled to his opinion.  But his feelings and opinion do not make the Wikileaks revelations wrong if, under that act, the information should have been available. We can’t say, “Tony wishes he had never done it, so we can call the Wikileaks leaks a risk to security and get cross about it”, if the informations should have been available anyway.  Maybe it shouldn’t have been, ma ybe there are exceptions under the Official Secrets Act to the Freedom of Information Act’s applicability to this kind of information, but I don’t know and I haven’t heard it discussed.  But if there is no exception there is no case against Wikileaks or Mr Assange for this unless it is computer hacking and invasion of privacy, and those are much lesser charges.  And to be extradited for questioning, at least in this case of sex allegations, is being presented as illegal, and he is supposed to have co-operated freely all along anyway, so excuse me, can someone please tell me what this is all about????  He’s not Jesus and he might be completely unsavoury in so many ways, but why is this being done to this man???? (I’ll keep my swearing to myself on this occasion).  And who else would they do it to if they got away with doing it to him?  It’s called setting a precedent.  We can’t let it happen.  Wake up, everyone.  Reality calls.  Possibly a man’s life is at stake, illegally.  Does anyone care?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~//~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                                  

This matters to me so much partly because the last set of leaks from Wikileaks came at a time which felt personally significant for me, and so I feel implicated in whatever happens to Mr Assange.  In his communications he has used some references which are very easy for me to apply personally, including one about saving the whales not being the issue, but the freedom of information involved in making the decision.  For me that is very close to home, because one of Michael Mish’s musicals is called “The Boy Who Talked to Whales”, and for me the whale was, more than anything else, about the freedom of the human spirit.  That was how I understood it.  I am not saying that was Michael Mish’s intention.  Michael is, among other things, an environmentalist.  He could actually be offended (though I don’t think so) that what for him is a serious environmental issue is being reduced (or expanded) in that way, without regard for the issue itself.

There were other touch points in his address to the conference in Australia as well.  So whether or not I have been manipulated into this by a form of stalking, I do feel responsible for what happens to him, because I have believed that, if he released the leaks at the time he did in order to help me, he did so understanding the risks he might be taking.  Believing that to be a possibility I cannot be silent.  I know that someone handling his communication reads my blog and I hope they will contact me.

I posted something with a similar title a few weeks ago, which I edited and expanded today and published under today’s date, and although it has appeared under some of its original tags it has not appeared under others, some of them major categories, so I’m posting this very changed and updated version for the categories in which it does not appear today, along with some extra ones which have occured to me while checking the others.

It looks as if these categories do not allow repeat posts, even if vastly updated and published on a different date.  I hope if this is the case it will be changed.

The updated post is as follows, and I have updated it in this way because I think rigorous thinking about this is essential.  Some people might not find it rigorous enough or might wish my rigour came down on the side of international security, and I respect that.

The Post

(Mr Assange) and his lawyers fear extradition which may result in him being transferred to the US and possibly subjected to the death penalty or sent to Guantanamo.

I want him to be OK.  I don’t want any harm to come to him.  I don’t want him extradited.  Even if he has done something wrong, in Britain we don’t have the death penalty anymore, and our news agencies have publicly opposed and criticised Guantanamo for ages, though I haven’t taken much notice of the government’s position so I don’t know what it is. 

Maybe I am just a gullible, emotional woman who doesn’t understand what is involved in regaining/maintaining national and international security, but I think a lot of people would agree with me that, even if he has done something wrong, we would prefer for it to be dealt with differently.  I hope no one is thinking that if he is taken out of the picture that Wikileaks will fall apart, because I think that would be lazy and unjust.

If we have been told the truth, it wouldn’t be fair to extradite him on the basis of the charges which have been brought against him.  We have been told that he has co-operated in every way with the authorities over the sex accusations made against him, right from the beginning.  If that is true I can’t see how exradition over those charges could be justfified, and if extradition is a real threat and not just an exaggerated fear, I think the people thinking of resorting to this should stop the pretence that it is because of the sex allegations over which he has co-operated for months, from the beginning, and make their intentions and the reasons for them clear and open.  Then they would be challengeable, by everyone, including public opinion.  If they are not spoken no one can challenge them and that, in the darkest sense of the word, would be ghastly and say something really awful about us, I believe.

So without knowing anything that could justify it and not feeling able or being willing to turn and go with an inkling that I could be wrong at such short notice, I would like to say that if this is happening, it is not in my name.  And for that I feel I might burn in hell.

Final Edit Note:

My comments are open, as I am sure other people’s are as well.  I didn’t address this sooner because I thought I had nothing significant to add to what I had already said, and although I sat down today and discovered in review that that was not true I obviously can’t know if that would have been the case earlier.  This feeling must be a tearing responsibility for any commentator and journalist in such serious issues as this.

I feel almost if this hasn’t already been raised effectively, and (big) if this IS raised effectively in this post, it might be too late to make a difference.

I’m sure that commenting on a blog is fine, to sway public opinion.  But to make change where it needs to be made official approaches and challenges need to be made, and the powers that be, at any time to date, to my awareness, would not recognise a blog and its comments as an official approach and would not accept blame for ignoring it, even if they are aware of it and agree with it personally.  And especially not if they do not agree.

It’s good to talk.  It’s good to blog.  It’s good to read and comment.  But for the content of social media to be officially recognised then proper legally recognised responses need to be made and actions taken.  Otherwise the sad, the very sad, truth is that we might as well not bother. With these kinds of issue you have to make the challenges proper legal ones, or in most cases they stay hidden and unacknowledged.

If you want to, feel free to use this post in any legal challenge you wish to make or question you need to put to lawyers, MPs (maybe especially, for future accountability) and anyone else over this issue.  I hope you do and that it is useful enough.  What am I doing here in Bulgaria? I’m writing myself into wanting to come myself!  I declare availability, if that isn’t being too impressed with myself.  If it is I won’t be taken up on it, and a good job too.

(Editorial Note:  Please read the updated and expanded version of this which is now on my front page.  I think it is more important than this one.  I wrote it because this one was not appearing in all the categories I assigned it to.)

And he and his lawyers fear extradition which may result in him being transferred to the US and possibly subjected to the death penalty or sent to Guantanamo.

I want him to be OK.  I don’t want any harm to come to him.  I don’t want him extradited.  Even if he has done something wrong, in Britain we don’t have the death penalty anymore, and our news agencies have publicly opposed and criticised Guantanamo for ages, though I haven’t taken much notice of the government’s position so I don’t know what it is. 

Maybe I am just a gullible, emotional woman who doesn’t understand what is involved in regaining/maintaining national and international security, but I think a lot of people would agree with me that, even if he has done something wrong, we would prefer for it to be dealt with differently.  I hope no one is thinking that if he is taken out of the picture that Wikileaks will fall apart, because I think that would be lazy and unjust.

If we have been told the truth, it wouldn’t be fair to extradite him on the basis of the charges which have been brought against him.  We have been told that he has co-operated in every way with the authorities over the sex accusations made against him, right from the beginning.  If that is true I can’t see how exradition over those charges could be justfified, and if extradition is a real threat and not just an exaggerated fear, I think the people thinking of resorting to this should stop the pretence that it is because of the sex allegations over which he has co-operated for months, from the beginning, and make their intentions and the reasons for them clear and open.  Then they would be challengeable, by everyone, including public opinion.  If they are not spoken no one can challenge them and that, in the darkest sense of the word, would be ghastly and say something really awful about us, I believe.

So without knowing anything that could justify it and not feeling able or being willing to turn and go with an inkling that I could be wrong at such short notice, I would like to say that if this is happening, it is not in my name.  And for that I feel I might burn in hell.

I have few clear ideas about anything at the moment.  I was going to say ‘anymore’, but decided against it.

I don’t know how I feel about the death penalty on principle.  I know how I have felt about individual cases.  I was so upset about one a few years ago that I kicked in the glass in my kitchen door.  I was upset because the news agencies were there just reporting it and not doing anything they were talking about.  It was a Christian woman in the US.  I can’t remember more than that now.

I just read that Julian Assange could face the death penalty or Guantanamo if extradited to Sweden.  The term that was used was ‘ilegal rendition’.  I assume that is something they can do to a non-US citizen.  One writer said how can this happen if he is not a US citizen.  Can it, I don’t know.  I don’t know what ‘illegal rendition’ means.

At a significant point for me Wikileaks released something which led me to do a search as to who had died in Afghanistan/Iraq, and I discovered many namesakes from my own sphere of awareness.  Some of them I felt to be close namesakes, but now I can’t remember and that might just have been my imagination, living too much in the world of the media.  I don’t think so though.

I absolutely loathed Hillary Clinton at one point. I don’t feel so strongly now, possibly because things might be smoothing out as I never said anything about it.

It seemed obvious to me a while ago that she has had something to do with my old Bible College lecturer and longtime heroine, Jean Darnall, unless there are a lot of American ladies who act like that.  But the likeness came to light for me at what seemed like a really significant point in what I was communicating. 

I feel ludicrous.  I feel as if I am meddling in things which are really way beyond me and none of my business.  I certainly feel that, every time i post something like this, I start to dig myself up all over again when perhaps I should rest and let myself heal.

I heard Hillary Clinton roundly condemn Julian Assange and Wikileaks.  I also believe I know she has been involved and informed about me, from things she has said and at times that she has said them.

As a Christian I have to say, God knows there is something really wrong here.  I’m frightened.

I’ve heard both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama using psychic find and extinguish buzz words on me.  I am absolutely sure I can say that with confidence.  But I’m a nobody.  I don’t know what they are doing or why, I know they are doing it, I want to believe well of them, they are world leaders, after all.  I want to believe they are well-intentioned towards me, but they haven’t made proper contact with me.

What do I sound like, I sound really crazy.  I’m a bit ungrounded at the moment, I’m not getting any TV and my internet connection won’t support video.  I just felt I had to say something, for what it might be worth.  No one seems to think it is worth anything (pity, pity, moan, moan) and I really dread that one day I’m going to write something like this and find myself back in hospital.  I dread it now.  No one is coming forward to stop it, and I feel the wheels are in motion to dispossess me of my home and maybe put me back in hospital.  That is another reason I feel ungrounded.

I can’t see how anything I say can help Julian Assange.  I felt as if I had to say something, but I don’t know why or who I’m doing it for or what I’m trying to achieve.

When the 9/11 bombings took place I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I wasn’t in New York, I was in an internet cafe, gambling on horse races online.  I was so watchful over myself at the time that I didn’t process or respond very well to what was unfolding.  I commented to someone in a chatroom or on a game site that I thought it could be a wake up call to the West and to America over our godlessness and materialism and building temples to mammon.  That was what I felt at the time.  I felt there was something of the fightback of emasculated power in the decision to rebuild the World Trade Center as big as, if not bigger than, before.  I did feel there was a lesson that needed to be learned and accepted by the west about cathedrals to money.  But what do I know, I’m quite ignorant about many things, including Islam’s own temples to money, if they have them.  I assumed the motive behind the attacks was to strike at materialism and, if it was, I thought i could see how, given their philosophy, that kind of attack would be justified in their eyes.  Without justifying the attack, I thought it would be better to learn a lesson from the reason for it than to go in seeking revenge.  Does that make me sick?  I thought relations might improve if the lesson were accepted, but maybe that is crazy thinking, I think now it might have been.  I think now that Islam hates us, regardless of what we do.  I thought it might be open to reason and to resolving international relationships and some sort of coming together.  Maybe I have become as reactionary as the warmongers if I decide I was wrong about that and that they hate us because they want to hate us, full stop.  And that there is no question of something needing to be learned and any ground given in how we live.  Terrorists, after all, are not to be negotiated with or recognised in any way, and certainly not in any changes to our own lifestyles.  That is what we are taught.  My heart says that can’t be right.  People are people and if we respond to a good point in the right way, even if the way it is made is wrong, that should create hope, shouldn’t it?  But I don’t know the Koran.  Kensington Temple presents it one way, liberal Muslim’s present it another, apparently these books are always open to interpretation, they tell us.  Who do we decide we are going to believe and why?  Is true Islam committed to hating us and destroying us?  If so, why don’t the liberal Muslims say so?  Maybe it’s an argument about what is true Islam.  I feel I should know, it must surely be accessible.

My fear is that while we try to go with liberal Islam and give people claiming to be liberal Muslims power in government and in churches, even, as it now is, I fear we might not detect people coming under a cloak of friendship but who might actually be using their positions for subversive and dangerous purposes.  If the worst of Islam is to be safeguarded against, how wise is it to open key positions to possible covert infiltration of extremism where privileged information with regard to the bodies traditionally hated by Islam might be passed to people who can do real harm?  Personally I am absolutely convinced it is a risk we shouldn’t be taking.  I’m sorry.  I know that won’t go down well with some people.  But when I hear that churches are taking Muslims onto their staff, my alarm bells start ringing.  Islam is anti any other God or prophet.  So is Christianity.  By definition, true Islam and true Christianity can’t work together.  And neither of them can honestly work with humanism, as humanism can’t honestly work with religion.  So what are we playing at?  Is anyone actually thinking about it? We claim to be trying to do the impossible.  When it comes right down to the practicalities, will it turn out to be just lip service?  And if it does, then what?  When we all realise that and see it, if we haven’t already, how will our attempts at multiculturalism fare?  I don’t know the answer to that.  I feel I’m wrong even to question it, that I’m just stupid and ignorant and people are basically too good not to make it work, even in the face of disillusionment.  But if things are not only different but also opposing and evangelically militant in opposition . . . Do we have to spend our whole lives living in a dialectic?  Is that really what life is supposed to be about?  I’ve wasted my life, I’m too old for dialectic, but I wish I wasn’t, because I think it sounds exciting.

There is a passage in the Old Testament I have been worried about for some time now, and my unease with it and my gut rejection of it as basic, primitive and misogynistic has grown.

I can’t remember where it is, but I hope church leader readers will know the part I’m talking about.  I think it might be Leviticus or one of the first 5 books.

It says if a woman is attacked or raped and she cries out for help it isn’t her fault, but if she doesn’t cry out for help it is.  Something like that.  I might be remembering it too black and white.  I can’t find it quickly because I can’t remember the wording.

I don’t think there is any provision for if she is being threatened in any other way and is afraid to shout for help.  If she is afraid to shout for help is it still her fault, and does the fact that she might also be afraid for her own life or someone else’s so doesn’t scream mean the man is not to blame for his actions?  If she feels too threatened or confused to scream or register objection outside of the situation, does that mean the man has not committed an offence?

Also, it seems to be allowing a provision that the woman might have ‘brought it on herself’ or that she deserves it in some way.  If there is that provision, people who think that of her or who want an excuse to not get involved would ignore her and judge her even if she did scream.

I might need to look it up to get a better understanding of the passage.  However, when it comes to the way people act and react and judge and reason I’ve got it right.

Edit note: I just found it and read it.  It’s Deuteronomy 22.  If it’s in a field only the man dies because there was no one to hear her scream.  If it’s in the city and she doesn’t scream, they both die because she should have screamed.  That is if she is married or engaged.  So according to the law the man should get it both ways.

Should I assume that rape and violent threat didn’t go together in those days as they do now?  Should I assume that, because of the death penalty, if the woman had screamed the man would have tried to escape?  Should I assume that these good, law-abiding people would always have obeyed the law to intervene and put a man like this to death?  The prophets are always telling them that they tolerate things they shouldn’t.  Would they have turned a blind eye like people do today?  Yes, they would, at least sometimes.  The existence of law has never been a guarantee that people are going to obey it and that wrongdoers will always be punished.  And the Bible recognises that there is lawbreaking among leaders as well, and that they also act corruptly and irresponsibly.

Sometimes Bible teachers teach this kind of passage as if the existence of the laws meant they were always kept without question.  That is bad teaching and poor understanding because it is just not true.

If she isn’t married or engaged, and a similar situation is discovered, the man has to pay the woman’s father for the offence and marry her.  They say in rape a woman’s feelings are mixed. This might seem like a monstrous rationalisation, but I wonder if this is a provision to help her deal with these feelings?  For the man it is a punishment for the offence and maybe an opportunity for expiation.  Hmm.  There is no mention of what should happen if the situation is not discovered.  I suppose it assumes consent from the woman.  At least if it isn’t discovered no one can do anything about it.  So it’s probably just a practical observation.

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