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intaglio's Journal
intaglio's Journal
November 28, 2013

Religiously enabled Child Sexual Abuse is not just a Christian problem

Links and excerpts about 2 stories regarding this.
First a case relating to Judaism. A message from Tzedek Founder & CEO Manny Waks

As many of you would be aware, I was sexually abused as a child while a student at Melbourne’s Yeshivah College and a member of the Yeshivah community.


My major grievances are directed solely at the Yeshivah leadership, past and present. They failed then, and are failing now.

How does it make sense that the Yeshivah leadership that was in place during much of the abuse and cover-ups, and among other things:
was directly responsible for shipping off a perpetrator (former Yeshivah teacher David Kramer), who went on to re-offend overseas (please read the powerful Victim Impact Statement written by one of Kramer’s victims and read out by me in court on their behalf);

despite the many allegations that were brought to their attention, allowed Cyprys to remain in charge of security until the mid-2000s;

despite the many allegations that were brought to their attention, allowed Cyprys to attend Chabad Summer Camps;

despite the many allegations against Cyprys, placed a student in his care whom he repeatedly abused;

asked a victim to leave the school for daring to speak out and take action regarding his abuse by Cyprys;

was publicly criticised by Victoria Police in court for not cooperating with them in these investigations; and
includes a senior member whose testimony was described by the Magistrate as being “unfathomable”;

Tzedek (Hebrew for Justice) is an Australian-based advocacy group for Jewish victims/survivors of child sexual abuse—promoting their needs and interests and offering them and other relevant stakeholders a range of services.

Second, (with a trigger warning) a story told to the Birmingham Mail by Nabila Sharma (that's Birmingham UK).
My Imam abused me nearly every day for four years at the local mosque
17 Mar 2013 09:10
Midland Muslim woman was sexually assaulted regularly between the age of 7 and 11.

I WAS abused almost every day between the ages of seven and 11.

My abuser was the leader of my mosque, the Imam.

One day, he asked me to come to his room, as he lived at the mosque.

I found this strange, but he said I could read to him and get ahead with my prayers before the others arrived.

Inside his room, he began touching my face and stroking my hair, telling me what a pretty little girl I was.

I was only seven, I didn’t understand what he was doing other than I knew I didn’t like it. It made me uncomfortable.

Third, (trigger warning) Hinduism is not immune witness this story from the Vancouver Sun-Sentinel.
Drum teacher at Hindu temple sentenced to life in prison for child sex abuse
A religious guru and music teacher was legally declared a sexual predator and sentenced to life in prison Thursday afternoon for repeatedly abusing a 10-year-old student during her weekly drum lessons.


The girl, now 14, testified that Munshi, 49, molested her, forced her to perform oral sex and masturbated in front of her.

Before the judge imposed the mandatory life sentence, prosecutor Mary Ann Braun read a letter from the victim's family: "You are a far cry from the word guru [religious teacher]. Words cannot describe the pain, agony and mental torture you have brought upon my family and most of all a happy-go-lucky, beautiful and loving child."

Other cases are recorded by the Muslim Womens Network for for abuse of Asian women and girls and by Failed Messiah. Please note that Failed Messiah is, despite being written by Jews for Jews, regarded by some in the Jewish community as a hate site.
November 20, 2013

Not poetry but inspired by the Faithful

In Tennessee did Kenneth Ham
A shiftless pleasure Ark decree:
Where Ay seven five of tarmac ran
Past Bibles measureless to man
Down to the Carib Sea.
Eight hundred acres of fair ground
Would be wrought by pride unbound;
And there would green, fertile untainted hills
Be gouged by bulldozer, scarred with ease;
To make a space for bleeping tills
and waste the lumber of great trees.

November 20, 2013

String actuality - strong evidence for Neanderthals making string

Hot on the heels on reports of Heidelberg man possibly making spears ( Thanks to HarveyDarkey ), a new dig has shown strong evidence of string made 90,000 years ago in Europe.

From New Scientist
Perishable materials usually rot away, so the oldest string on record only dates back 30,000 years. But perforations in small stone and tooth artefacts (sic) from Neanderthal sites in France suggest the pieces were threaded on string and worn as pendants. "The wear patterns provide circumstantial evidence of early use of string, but the evidence is not definitive," says Bruce Hardy at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Similar circumstantial evidence has been found in perforated shells.

Now, Hardy and his colleagues have found slender, 0.7-millimetre-long plant fibres that are twisted together near some stone artefacts at a site in south-east France that was occupied by Neanderthals 90,000 years ago. Such fibres are not twisted together in nature, says the team, suggesting that the Neanderthals were responsible (Quaternary Science Reviews, doi.org/pzx).

Another post about this has details of experiments by the team:
From Past Horizons
As these fibres are not twisted in their natural state experiments were carried out involving incising, planing, whittling, scraping and boring. In all cases, no twisted fibres resulted.

Further experiments conducted by Bruce Hardy involved the scraping, cutting and slicing of a variety of non-woody plants (roots, tubers, reeds, etc.), and again these also produced no twisted fibres such as those observed.

While not definitive, the lack of twisted fibres in these experiments lends some credence to the hypothesis that these derive from cordage.

“If they are indeed remnants of string or cordage, then they would be the earliest direct evidence of string,” says Hardy. “Albeit very fragmentary evidence.”

Although the details I have seen are not (or cannot be) specific, I would not be surprised if this was twisted bast fibre. Detail on making it in this Internet Archaeology article just beneath the photos
"She strips the bark off the saplings she collects and peels the cambium fibre...away from the outer bark or shongol (lit. skin) which she discards. She allows the bark to dry first before stripping off its fibre, slitting the wands gathered lengthwise in two and placing them indoors over a fire, leaving them for about a week. But the fibre of ponjip figs, she may strip off green and dry separately; women often excoriate these saplings during collection, returning home with bags of unseparated bark..., and there peeling off and drying the bast. On average, 5g of dry phloem fibre will produce 10 metres of string. Sillitoe 1988 pg 245


added Link to the more extensive discussion of the spears started by Ichingcarpenter Sorry, I didn't check further.
September 6, 2013

Last week it was 1,800 mSv; this week - 2,200 mSv

Radiation levels around tanks storing contaminated water at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have risen by a fifth to a new high, officials say.

Ground readings near one set of tanks stood at 2,200 millisieverts (mSv) on Tuesday, the plant operator and Japan's nuclear authority said.

Last week we had a nuclear industry apologist claiming that the storage tanks had leaked a couple of buckets of water when it was 300 tonnes and claiming that beta radiation was comparable to anti-neutrino radiation from the sun. I wonder what the excuses will be this week?
June 29, 2013

Selections from P Z Myers' panel coments at EWTS*

* Empowering Women Through Secularism conference

I've been campaigning for atheism for about 20 years now, and I have a terrible confession to make. In the beginning, I had this naive optimism that leaving religion behind would make people better people — maybe not perfect, but it would set them on the right path to reasonable lives. Obviously, I’ve been increasingly disillusioned, as it has become clear that many atheists are, well, jerks. There’s nothing about atheism that is sufficient to make a good person: atheism is not enough. But also, I would add that there’s nothing about secularism that is sufficient to make a good state. Secularism is not enough; we also have to select good secular values.

Religion is, and always has been a tool for authoritarianism. By its very nature it imposes a vision of our interactions with each other and the world that is hierarchical and ordered and linear — the orders come from above. You will obey them. And further, the concept of faith is antithetical to transparency — you cannot question those orders, because there is no path for verification. You are expected to trust but not verify, and accept without reason.

I think I can safely say that any set of values that limits the potential of half the population, that reduces the health and happiness of one gender, or race, or class, is empirically detrimental to the long-term viability of the whole. I can definitely say that there is no objective reason one could argue that being born a woman, or black, or poor should make any individual a lesser contributor to our fully shared humanity.

The whole thing is well worth a read
June 11, 2013

What you think is news is more about damaging the President

You think it is news that the US Government is carrying out mass surveillance on its nationals? Well, it is not and that is the only reason I can see for the current flood of outrage over this story is the damage it does to the Obama Presidency. I am actually surprised that DU has given in to the delirium considering that stories about this have been discussed at length on this board in the past.

Let me introduce you to a place, it's called RAF Menwith Hill

By Matt Crypto (Own work) Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
[a title="By Matt Crypto (Own work) Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons"

This is where surveillance of phone calls and faxes and data communications by US nationals to persons overseas has been carried out for at least the past 50 years.

Nominally it is an RAF base but the majority of the personnel are (by 3 for 1) from the US forces and intelligence services. It is also rumoured to be one of the main clearing houses for communications between drones and their "pilots".

It is a British base because, officially, the US cannot regulate what their dreadful allies can do; so they agreed to "part" fund the construction and so have a watching brief on what the terrible British have intercepted (and most definitely NOT the NSA, really-o truly-o double pinky swear, Congressman). Of course as this is intelligence "gathered" by US allies the US does not have to reveal the extent of this data gathering to Congress because doing so would shatter the delicate relationship and so restrict the US oversight of the data collection.

Excuse me I need to take a break after typing that paragraph of bovine fertilizer

You might think that this has little effect on the current shock shown by the US media except that nearly all data communications out the USA passes through choke points; notably Britain, Spain, Australia and Japan; and I believe there are similar installations to Menwith Hill in the last 3 countries as well. What is more, because any data (even digitised voice comms) do not have to travel in a straight line even internal US data packets could easily go halfway round the world before it gets to the intended recipient. My suspicion is that that packet copying and re-routing also is far more common than we know.

Now if there has been such a massive growth of digital traffic you would expect that Menwith Hill and similar satellite interception centres would have shrunk except they have expanded along with the growth of digital traffic - funny that.

So ask yourself, "Why, now, has the US media suddenly started playing the fainting dowager over this?"

February 17, 2013

I have been looking for this for ages

Saw it quoted in an article in the Guardian back in the 1980's and could never trace it. Gave up and then chanced to Google again just now.

‘Aphrodite’ (from ancient Greece)
-Sophocles, [ trans . Richard Winn Livingstone ]

My children,
Know that Love is not love alone,
but in her name lie many names concealed.

For she is Death,
imperishable force,
desire unmixed,
wild frenzy,

In her are summed all impulses
that drive to

Deep in each living breast the goddess dwells,
and all become her prey:
the tribes that swim,
the four-foot tribes that pace upon the earth
harbor her,

and in birds her wing is sovereign.
In beasts,
in mortal men,
in gods above.

What god but wrestles with her
and is thrown?

If I may tell,
and truth is right to tell,
she rules the heart of Zeus
without a spear,
without sword.

Truly the Cyprian shatters
all purposes
of men
and gods.

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