It is with sadness that I pass on news of the death of James W. Sire, the well-known Christian writer and former senior editor at InterVarsity Press. This afternoon I received an email from my contact at IVP who kindly informed me that Dr. Sire had passed away last night. But amidst the sadness, there is also peace—which I wish for his family and friends—in the knowledge that he is with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whom he served for so many years.
I amaze myself. Even though—as the writer reliably informs us (and he must be reliable because he's writing for the BBC)—"subsequent investigations have made it clear that the tower structures were weakened by the inferno from the planes and felled by the weight of collapsing floors"—even now—yes, even now—"some people refuse to believe this version of events."
“The President has committed, as a matter of strategy, that we will not leave Syria. We are not going to declare victory and go. And that is not my opinion; that’s the President’s strategic judgment. We’re going to stay for several reasons:stabilization and assistance in the vital north and northeast, protection of our allies the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have fought so valiantly against ISIS in the northeast, try to work to help transform the political structures in that area to a model for the rest of Syria, and capable of being credibly represented in a new Syrian state; but for other reasons as well, including countering Iran and its ability to enhance its presence in Syria, and serving as a weight or force helping us to achieve some of those broader objectives.”
Protests have been reported across several cities in Iran over the last several days of December 2017. Protesters allegedly decry Iran’s economy as well as the nation’s involvement in nearby Syria. The Western media has attempted to cultivate two narratives – one focused on portraying the protests as widespread, spontaneous, and having focused first on “economic grievances” before becoming political – another narrative openly admitting to US involvement and praising US President Donald Trump for “standing up” to the “Iranian regime.”
Old news? Yes, but maybe important. I've noticed that this June report from the Wall Street Journal (subtitled "Trump administration moves to make Middle Eastern country a higher priority target for American spies") is being referenced by many people as a possible window onto current events in Iran. Of particular note is this sentence:
A familiar sight is taking place across Iran tonight and it has been for the last three days. Protests are taking place in numerous cities citing grievances and demanding that the Ayatollah and Iranian President step down. For a few days, the protests remained non-violent but now violence has indeed flared up as protesters have laid waste to a number of government properties and those belonging to “pro-government militias.”
Isn't our government wonderful? Apparently the UK's Foreign Office (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, to give it its properly bombastic title) likes to request sensitive files from the UK National Archives—with, of course, every good intention of returning them in due course (wink, wink)—only to end up "misplacing" them in the course of its patriotic duties. Oh, those "careless" buffoons!
It may be disappointing for those who like to cling to the traditional stable scene, but the first Christmas might not have looked quite the way most of us (in the West) have been brought up to imagine. I must get a copy of Kenneth E. Bailey's Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, which the blogger recommends and which I've been promising myself for the last three years! (Don't suppose anyone fancies sending a belated Christmas present? Just kidding...)
This is an "interesting" fund: the so-called "Conflict, Stability and Security Fund" (CSSF). At £1 billion per year, and supposedly aimed at promoting the UK's national security interests abroad (whatever they might be), the CSSF seems—as Mark Curtis complains—increasingly to be "using aid money to fund military and counter-terrorism projects which do not appear focused on what aid should be about."
Just a quick note: do check out the new album by Antony Rotunno entitled Adventures in Retrospect. Antony, as many of you know, is a "friend of the show" having been on TMR several times over the last few years, and hopefully will be again in the near future (we're cooking something up). When he joined us last time, we spoke a great deal about music and its power to effect change, so do navigate over to BandCamp.com to sample Antony's own musical ceativity, and perhaps lend your support by buying the album.
I'm delighted to report that the website for Revelations Radio Network (to which TMR is affiliated) is now back up and running. For several weeks the site was unavailable because the domain name had expired, and as I said in one podcast I was unsure what was going to happen to the network, but everything seems to be fine now.
I really am warming to the BBC these days. Some of these reports are actually worth reading! And thank goodness there are still people in the world who make these kinds of embarrassing mistakes. I know it wastes the emergency services' time, but wouldn't life be duller without them?
I came across this short article while writing the show notes for the conversation with Jonathan McLatchie, and I thought I would just flag it up here. Plantinga has had quite an influence on me (as you probably know), ever since I read his book The Nature of Necessity about 15 years ago. I'm sure I didn't understand it all, but I'm also sure that what I did understand "blew my mind" as we say. You have been warned...
President Trump announced last week that he was returning North Korea to the US list of “state sponsors of terrorism” after having been off the list for the past nine years. Americans may wonder what dramatic event led the US president to re-designate North Korea as a terrorism-sponsoring nation. Has Pyongyang been found guilty of some spectacular terrorist attack overseas or perhaps of plotting to overthrow another country by force?
You know me. I'm not in the business of sensationalism. (If I was, I'd have A LOT more followers.) So, I'm not about to offer you an over-the-top rant about child sacrifice and Satanic plots to take over the world. But I am bothered by this.
This is important. Unfortunately I can't access the document that Robert Parry links to—(I regularly have difficulty accessing files via Google Drive and other file-sharing services)—but judging by what he says about it, this could be very significant news. According to Parry, there is evidence to suggest that Al Qaeda carried out the Idlib gas attack in April 2017 in order to blame Syrian forces, thus renewing western resolve against Assad.
Unfortunately I can't show you the actual photograph for copyright reasons, but I do highly recommend that you click through to see it on the BBC website. I'm not sure if there's any significance to this, but at least we have an example of the BBC reporting real news.
I know it's a long while since this interview was published, but I was so taken with it that I felt I had to draw attention to it anyway. James Corbett speaks with Dr. William Pepper (James Earl Ray’s defence attorney, and lawyer for the King family inlater years) about his latest book, The Plot to Kill King : The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. This is no ordinary interview; it's a revelation.