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Add to Technorati Favorites A Time, Times, and a Half a Time: May 2009

May 19, 2009

Michael Savage, An Alliance of Civilizations Trial Run?

From its earliest stages, the Alliance of Civilizations initiative found itself an ally named Britain. Tony Blair, reportedly a new ager, gifted the Alliance with Britain’s approval before the initiative had even launched. The spontaneous cartoon crisis yielded further British endorsement when Charles, Prince of Wales, called for the “at-one-ment” of all the world’s faiths through adoption the Alliance of Civilizations and Interfaith Reconciliation. “At-one-ment” is a new age doctrine said to join together individuals attuned to a collective global consciousness whereby religious and political ideologies which cause separation are to be set aside in favor of a common value system. This common set of values is to become the foundation upon which the new civilization is built. The Alliance of Civilizations is one such interfaith initiative responsible for defining that common value system. The difference between the Alliance and other interfaith efforts is that the Alliance has been incorporated into military strategy thus giving it lion’s teeth. The Alliance has set forth to establish a global conscience which UN signatory nations are to adopt in implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The Alliance has focused a great deal of effort attempting to unifying Islam with the West by heaping heavy scorn upon the West while praising Muslim nations for their contributions to modern civilization.

UK Parliamentary records further exhibit Britain’s participation in the Alliance of Civilizations and calls for other nations to follow their example. British Minister for International Development Shahid Malikis is Britain’s representative for the Alliance of Civilizations. According to Malikis, the UK favors tackling radicalization and that “true Islam is a key part of the solution to extremism in the name of Islam”. Malikis statement reminds me of the Alice Bailey doctrine on the partial sealing of the door where evil dwells which says:

  • “…Palestine should no longer be called the Holy Land; its sacred places are only the passing relics of three dead and gone religions. The spirit has gone out of the old faiths and the true spiritual light is transferring itself into a new form which will manifest on earth eventually as the new world religion. To this form all that is true and right and good in the old forms will contribute, for the forces of right will withdraw that good, and incorporate it in the new form. Judaism is old, obsolete and separative and has no true message for the spiritually-minded which cannot be better given by the newer faiths; the Moslem faith has served its purpose and all true Moslems await the coming of the Imam Mahdi who will lead them to light and to spiritual victory; the Christian faith also has served its purpose; its Founder seeks to bring a new Gospel and a new message that will enlighten all men everywhere…”

Bailey’s “true Moslems”, I believe, are those practicing Islamic mysticism, the Sufis. Today, Sufism is being portrayed to the westerners as the peaceful moderates of Islam who are valuable allies in the war against extremism which dismisses the Al-Qaeda ties to Sufism. (Additional criticisms of Sufism may be found here, here, and here.)

This would leave one to wonder why some of the British leadership would turn to “the most ferocious soldiers of Islam” and embrace a set of “common values” which are being defined by individuals who are hostile towards the West. One British MP of specific interests is counter-terrorism Home Secretary Jacqui Smith who praised the Sufis for providing a template of values in which we can live.

Smith made recent headlines when she included U.S. talk radio host Michael Savage among terrorists who are not permitted to enter Britain. Here are links to the official exclusion list along with the Smith’s announcement to Parliament.

Michael Savage is known for his conservative views and his opposition to global governance, communist ideology, illegal immigration, homosexual behavior, etc. Savage is a defender of national sovereignty. Overall, Michael Savage does not appear to share the Alliance of Civilizations values system and world view. Savage’s ideology is one which the Alliance considers exclusionary; intolerant; and violently radicalizing.

As I read Smith’s statements why she banned Michael Savage from Britain, I couldn’t help but notice the identities in her language and the corresponding Alliance of Civilizations’
Terms of Reference. According to Alliance, “to guide this initiative, the Secretary-General, in consultation with the co-sponsors, has established a High-level Group of eminent persons with the following objectives:

  • To provide an assessment of new and emerging threats to international peace and security in particular the political, social and religious forces that foment extremism;
  • To identify collective actions, at both the institutional and civil society levels, to address these trends;
  • To recommend a practicable programme of action for States, international organizations and civil society aimed at promoting harmony among societies.”

    “Toward this end, the High-level Group will consider practical strategies:
  • To strengthen mutual understanding, respect and shared values among different peoples, cultures and civilizations;
  • To counter the influence of groups fomenting extremism and the exclusion of others who do not share their worldviews;
  • To counter the threat to world peace and stability posed by extremism;
  • To foster awareness in all societies that security is indivisible and is a vital need for all, and that global cooperation is an indispensable prerequisite for security, stability and development.

As I read Smith’s rationale for naming Savage amongst terrorists, I began to suspect she had applied Alliance of Civilizations’ guidelines which guided her to the conclusion he is a terrorist. According to Smith:

  • "I think it's important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here the fact that it's a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won't be welcome in this country,"
  • "Coming to this country is a privilege. If you can't live by the rules that we live by, the standards and values that we live by, we should exclude you from this country and, what's more, now we will make public those people that we have excluded.
  • "This is someone who has fallen into the category of fomenting hatred, of such extreme views and expressing them in such a way that it is actually likely to cause inter-community tension or even violence if that person were allowed into the country”
  • "If people have so clearly overstepped the mark in terms of the way not just that they are talking but the sort of attitudes that they are expressing to the extent that we think that this is likely to cause or have the potential to cause violence or inter-community tension in this country, then actually I think the right thing is not to let them into the country in the first place. Not to open the stable door then try to close it later," Ms Smith said.

What about individuals presently living in Britain who violate these shared values? It may be worth taking a second look at Gordon Brown’s advisor who recently called for the UK population be reduced by one half.

Noteworthy is that dissenting voice in Britain named Melanie Phillips has also noticed the Alliance of Civilizations influence over British politics. Phillips writes “much of the problem is that the government’s advisers and civil servants have had their heads filled with the revisionist and ahistorical rubbish about Islam produced by authors such as Karen Armstrong or John Esposito.” Incidentally, Malaysia banned Karen Armstrong and John Esposito’s books citing reasons that they disrupted peace and harmony.

Michael Savage has raised an excellent question: how did his name reach the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s desk? For now, I can only speculate. Yet as I look at people and organizations I believe may share an interest in seeing Michael Savage disappear from the air waves, one common connection keeps coming up. That is the Alliance of Civilizations.

United States Department of Homeland Security
Michael Savage has named Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a lawsuit charging her with violation of Americans’ civil rights by subjecting them to unfavorable treatment based upon their political ideologies. Under the Bush Administration the United States privately supported the Alliance of Civilizations yet sent no high-level representation to AoC forums. President Obama’s has changed the tone by personally attending a dinner where he was expected to speak at the Second Alliance of Civilizations Forum. The Alliance of Civilizations’ doctrines are already noticeable in U.S. counter-terrorism materials.

Council of American-Islamic Relations
The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is an organization which has pursued interfaith dialogue as a means to resolve the clash among civilizations. Some of CAIR’s speakers favor Sufism and present it as the more peaceful aspect of Islam. Citations from CAIR’s material can be found in Alliance of Civilizations’ reports. The CAIR-Alliance relationship is most noticeable in its associations with
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Alliance High Level Group members Mohammad Khatami and John Esposito. CAIR is a signatory of a Common Word which interconnects with Religions for Peace and the Alliance of Civilizations initiatives.

CAIR is an organization having a contentious relationship with Michael Savage. Despite CAIR’s claims that it does not support Britain’s ban of Michael Savage, it is behind Hate Hurts America, an interfaith dialogue organization calling upon companies to withdraw advertisements from Savage broadcasts for his criticisms of Islam. The FBI has recently severed ties with CAIR for its involvement with a Hamas a terrorist organization.

Bill Moyers
Michael Savage posted on his web site an
article by the American Thinker which questions whether Bill Moyers “helped to set the stage for the latest UK-based demonization of Savage” by portraying him an extremist who promotes violent radicalization. Bill Moyers is an advocate of interfaith dialogue. Among his advisors is Karen Armstrong, High Level Group member of the Alliance of Civilizations.

In the upcoming days, we will hopefully learn of Jacqui Smith’s decision-making process to include Savage on Britain’s terrorist list. Regardless of how it happened, we are witnessing a fore shadow of what we might expect from the Alliance of Civilizations’ global conscience, global counter-terrorism efforts. Michael Savage is among the first to find himself within the Alliance of Civilizations’ domain which it has claimed for itself. Savage is a major media personality standing at the intersection of politics and religion.

May the Lord help Michael Savage. May the Lord help us all.

May 3, 2009

Free Speech in Fetters

The Second Forum of Alliance of Civilizations has passed and the American media coverage has amounted to little more than did or did not Obama attend the Forum? One might have expected better media coverage with questions ranging from what is the Alliance of Civilizations to what is United States’ interest in this initiative. Instead, the media expressed confusion despite Turkey’s Foreign Ministry had published President Obama’s itinerary on its web site. The itinerary shows President Obama was expected to give a speech at the forum.

Heritage Foundation writer Brett Schaefer contacted both the White House and the Alliance of Civilizations seeking confirmation that the President would indeed address the conference. The White House said it simply did not know. The Alliance responded it would neither confirm nor deny the President’s attendance. If what the Alliance has planned for us is such a good thing, why not be more forthcoming? Why does the media neglect to give this coverage? In Hitler’s Germany, a resistance group known as the White Rose wrote in their first pamphlet:
  • "Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government…by means of gradual, treacherous, systematic abuse, the system has put every man into a spiritual prison. Only now, finding himself lying in fetters, has he become aware of his fate."

This eerily describes present day governments whose politicians have eroded them giving favor to global governance, doesn’t it? These days, I believe the media is contributing to similar treacherous, systematic abuse. Yet, along with the rest of us, the media, too, shall soon learn of its fate. What a shock it should be as they learn they assisted in sealing it.

This September the UN General Assembly will vote whether the Alliance of Civilizations initiative moves from that of preparatory to activation stage. The Alliance openly calls for tight controls on free speech. A Media Rapid Response force has been established to provide newspapers and television stations reporting “guidelines” during times of crisis, particularly in the area of where politics and religion intersect. Given the system of global governance intends to unify religion and the state rather than maintain separation, everything now falls within this intersection. To ensure that media coverage adheres to a code of conduct, the Alliance of Civilizations has called for journalistic accreditation as well as a review board which will monitor news coverage. The Alliance, to show it upholds the principles of a free press, says that the he media will be “self-regulating” although it acknowledges that “regulation is not possible without pressure to bear”.

There are two individuals whom I would like to credit for recently drawing attention to the Alliance’s global gag on free speech. These articles are by Claudia Rosett writing for Forbes and Brett Schaefer writing for Heritage Foundation. These journalists get it. Claudia Rosett has clearly spent time reading the Alliance of Civilizations materials. Quoting from Rosett:
  • “…the Alliance in 2005 set up a secretariat in New York, and enlisted a founding panel of 20 "eminent persons" to further shape its agenda. This group, heavy on eminences from Islamic states, included Iran's Khatami--proposer of the original Dialogue. ..And in the four years since it morphed into existence as the latest phase of the Iranian-sponsored Dialogue, the Alliance has become another megaphone for some of the U.N.'s most troubling campaigns. In deference to Islamic anti-blasphemy laws, the Alliance favors a global gag on free speech. ....”

Among the latest attacks on free speech include the resolution to combat defamation of religion which was voted on by Human Rights Council last March (analysis here). This defamation of religions framework has its way of appearing throughout the interlocking UN initiatives. The Alliance of Civilizations is committed to making it a high priority.