Sunday, 14 December 2008
Talbiyah, West Jerusalem
Abe Goldman lived in a U.S. $1.3 million garden apartment on Disraeli Street in Jerusalem’s
wealthy neighbourhood of Talbiyeh where important government officials including the president
also lived. The purchase of any property in West Jerusalem was controlled by the Israel
Lands Administration (ILA) whose rules state that ownership of the land remains with the
ILA which leases it to the purchaser for a period of 49 years. Article 19 of ILA leases specifies
that foreign nationals cannot lease — let alone own — ILA land. Consequently any Palestinian
application to buy an apartment, always assuming he or she could afford it, would be
summarily rejected. While not quite as blatant as South Africa’s apartheid-era Group Areas
Act which enforced racial segregation, this sly Israeli ploy was just as effective and equally
Goldman had for most of his life regarded Sunday as his day for rest and reflection and
today was no different as he relaxed on his black leather swivel recliner. His choice of Sunday
was simply a carry-over from his days in South Africa where it had been merely a question of
convenience to fall in line with the Dutch reformed Church’s day of worship and rest for
Whites. Framed awards and photographs taken with captains of industry and world leaders
adorned the wood panelled walls and were a testament to a lifetime of achievements.
Born in 1939 to a Jewish couple who owned and ran a shoe store in Johannesburg,
Goldman had from an early age learnt what it was like to live in an environment that was hostile
towards Jews. Such hostility dated back to the ‘rush’ that followed the 1867 discovery of
diamonds in the Cape Colony which was followed by grand scale exploitation by opportunists
like Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) and Barney Barnato who like others of their ilk became known
as Randlords. Rhodes, who as an English vicar’s asthmatic runt of a son had been sent to
South Africa at the age of sixteen to ease his lung congestion, was an avowed racist with the
belief that Anglo-Saxons should exploit all those areas that were inhabited by ‘the most despicable
specimens of human beings.’
On his way to becoming the richest man in the world on the back of cheap Black labour,
Rhodes had supported the notorious Masters and Servants Act which was facetiously nicknamed
the ‘Every Man to Wallop his Own Nigger Bill’. Barnato, a Jew, was Rhodes’ main
competitor but eventually sold his business to Rhodes for UK £4 million (currently equivalent
to more than £2.5 billion or U.S. $4.4 billion). Rhodes, financed by bankers N. M. Rothschild
& Sons, then proceeded to purchase and amalgamate diamond mines into the De Beers company
whose ownership was subsequently wrested in 1927 by Ernest Oppenheimer who went
on to found the Anglo American Corporation in South Africa and thereby consolidate his monopoly
over the world’s diamond industry.
When Oppenheimer converted from Judaism to Anglicanism in the late 1930s, some
cynical observers had — without foundation — suggested that the conversion was intended to
remove a possible obstacle to the continued sale of industrial diamonds for use in Hitler’s
Germany. His involvement in other controversies included price fixing, antitrust behaviour,
and an allegation of not releasing industrial diamonds for the U.S. war effort.
In June 1877, at Oxford, Cecil Rhodes wrote about his idea for expanding the British
Empire which he later amended. The following, with the original grammatical and spelling
errors, is the amended version:
It often strikes a man to inquire what is the chief good in life; to one the thought
comes that it is a happy marriage, to another great wealth, and as each seizes on
his idea, for that he more or less works for the rest of his existence. To myself
thinking over the same question the wish came to render myself useful to my country.
I then asked myself how could I and after reviewing the various methods I
have felt that at the present day we are actually limiting our children and perhaps
bringing into the world half the human beings we might owing to the lack of country
for them to inhabit that if we had retained America there would at this moment
be millions more of English living. I contend that we are the finest race in the
world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human
race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable
specimens of human beings what an alteration there would be if they were brought
under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country
added to our dominions gives. I contend that every acre added to our territory
means in the future birth to some more of the English race who otherwise would
not be brought into existence. Added to this the absorption of the greater portion
of the world under our rule simply means the end of all wars, at this moment had
we not lost America I believe we could have stopped the Russian-Turkish war by
merely refusing money and supplies. Having these ideas what scheme could we
think of to forward this object? I look into history and I read the story of the Jesuits
I see what they were able to do in a bad cause and I might say under bad
At the present day I become a member of the Masonic order I see the wealth
and power they possess the influence they hold and I think over their ceremonies
and I wonder that a large body of men can devote themselves to what at times appear
the most ridiculous and absurd rites without an object and without an end.
The idea gleaming and dancing before one’s eyes like a will-of-the-wisp at
last frames itself into a plan. Why should we not form a secret society with but one
object the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilized
world under British rule for the recovery of the United States for the making
the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire. What a dream, but yet it is probable, it is
possible. I once heard it argued by a fellow in my own college, I am sorry to own
it by an Englishman, that it was good thing for us that we have lost the United
States. There are some subjects on which there can be no arguments, and to an
Englishman this is one of them, but even from an American’s point of view just
picture what they have lost, look at their government, are not the frauds that yearly
come before the public view a disgrace to any country and especially their’s
which is the finest in the world. Would they have occurred had they remained under
English rule great as they have become how infinitely greater they would have
been with the softening and elevating influences of English rule, think of those
countless 000’s of Englishmen that during the last 100 years would have crossed
the Atlantic and settled and populated the United States. Would they have not
made without any prejudice a finer country of it than the low class Irish and German
emigrants? All this we have lost and that country loses owing to whom? Owing
to two or three ignorant pig-headed statesmen of the last century, at their door
lies the blame. Do you ever feel mad? Do you ever feel murderous. I think I do
with those men. I bring facts to prove my assertion. Does an English father when
his sons wish to emigrate ever think of suggesting emigration to a country under
another flag, never – it would seem a disgrace to suggest such a thing I think that
we all think that poverty is better under our own flag than wealth under a foreign
Put your mind into another train of thought. Fancy Australia discovered and
colonised under the French flag, what would it mean merely several millions of
English unborn that at present exist we learn from the past and to form our future.
We learn from having lost to cling to what we possess. We know the size of the
world we know the total extent. Africa is still lying ready for us it is our duty to
take it. It is our duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more territory and we
should keep this one idea steadily before our eyes that more territory simply
means more of the Anglo-Saxon race more of the best the most human, most honourable
race the world possesses.
To forward such a scheme what a splendid help a secret society would be a
society not openly acknowledged but who would work in secret for such an object.
I contend that there are at the present moment numbers of the ablest men in
the world who would devote their whole lives to it. I often think what a loss to the
English nation in some respects the abolition of the Rotten Borough System has
been. What thought strikes a man entering the House of Commons, the assembly
that rule the whole world? I think it is the mediocrity of the men but what is the
cause. It is simply — an assembly of wealth of men whose lives have been spent in
the accumulation of money and whose time has been too much engaged to be able
to spare any for the study of past history. And yet in hands of such men rest our
destinies. Do men like the great Pitt, and Burke and Sheridan not now to exist? I
contend they do. There are men now living with I know no other term the [Greek
term] of Aristotle but there are not ways for enabling them to serve their Country.
They live and die unused unemployed. What has the main cause of the success of
the Romish Church? The fact that every enthusiast, call it if you like every madman
finds employment in it. Let us form the same kind of society a Church for the
extension of the British Empire. A society which should have members in every
part of the British Empire working with one object and one idea we should have
its members placed at our universities and our schools and should watch the English
youth passing through their hands just one perhaps in every thousand would
have the mind and feelings for such an object, he should be tried in every way, he
should be tested whether he is endurant, possessed of eloquence, disregardful of
the petty details of life, and if found to be such, then elected and bound by oath to
serve for the rest of his life in his County. He should then be supported if without
means by the Society and sent to that part of the Empire where it was felt he was
Take another case, let us fancy a man who finds himself his own master with
ample means of attaining his majority whether he puts the question directly to
himself or not, still like the old story of virtue and vice in the Memorabilia a fight
goes on in him as to what he should do. Take if he plunges into dissipation there is
nothing too reckless he does not attempt but after a time his life palls on him, he
mentally says this is not good enough, he changes his life, he reforms, he travels,
he thinks now I have found the chief good in life, the novelty wears off, and he
tires, to change again, he goes into the far interior after the wild game he thinks
at last I’ve found that in life of which I cannot tire, again he is disappointed. He
returns he thinks is there nothing I can do in life? Here I am with means, with a
good house, with everything that is to be envied and yet I am not happy I am tired
of life he possesses within him a portion of the [Greek term] of Aristotle but he
knows it not, to such a man the Society should go, should test, and should finally
show him the greatness of the scheme and list him as a member.
Take one more case of the younger son with high thoughts, high aspirations,
endowed by nature with all the faculties to make a great man, and with the sole
wish in life to serve his Country but he lacks two things the means and the opportunity,
ever troubled by a sort of inward deity urging him on to high and noble
deeds, he is compelled to pass his time in some occupation which furnishes him
with mere existence, he lives unhappily and dies miserably. Such men as these the
Society should search out and use for the furtherance of their object.
(In every Colonial legislature the Society should attempt to have its members
prepared at all times to vote or speak and advocate the closer union of England
and the colonies, to crush all disloyalty and every movement for the severance
of our Empire. The Society should inspire and even own portions of the press
for the press rules the mind of the people. The Society should always be searching
for members who might by their position in the world by their energies or character
forward the object but the ballot and test for admittance should be severe)
Once make it common and it fails. Take a man of great wealth who is bereft
of his children perhaps having his mind soured by some bitter disappointment who
shuts himself up separate from his neighbours and makes up his mind to a miserable
existence. To such men as these the society should go gradually disclose the
greatness of their scheme and entreat him to throw in his life and property with
them for this object. I think that there are thousands now existing who would eagerly
grasp at the opportunity. Such are the heads of my scheme.
For fear that death might cut me off before the time for attempting its development
I leave all my worldly goods in trust to S. G. Shippard and the Secretary
for the Colonies at the time of my death to try to form such a Society with such an
Not surprisingly the infamous racist Rhodes - who in a large part of Africa spearheaded
British colonialism with its educational benefits of Christianity and corruption
- was the recipient of a letter from Theodor Herzl (the father of Zionism)
in which Herzl states: "You are being invited to help make history ... It doesn't involve
Africa, but a piece of Asia Minor; not Englishmen but Jews ... How, then, do
I happen to turn to you since this is an out-of-the-way matter for you? How indeed?
Because it is something colonial... You, Mr Rhodes, are a visionary politician
or a practical visionary... I want you o put the stamp of your authority on the
Zionist plan and to make the following declaration to a few people who swear by
you; I, Rhodes have examined this plan and found it correct and practicable. It is
a plan full of culture, excellent for the group of people for whom it is directly designed,
and quite good for England, for Greater Britain..."
Rhodes left a will that was to create one of the most successful educational endowments
of all time — The Rhodes Scholarships which were open only to Teutonic peoples (Britons,
Germans, and Americans) to study at Oxford. The scholarships were to serve the express purpose
of enabling the academic elites of those countries to come together and form a mutual
understanding that would encourage attempts to create an Anglo-Saxon empire across the
world. Scholarships are awarded annually by the Rhodes Trust which was established in 1902
under the terms and conditions of Rhodes’ will and are funded by his estate under the administration
of Nathan Rothschild. Since the Trust’s inception in 1902, there have been more than
7,000 Rhodes Scholars — supposedly on the basis of academic achievement and strength of
character — with more than 4,000 still living. Rhodes’ ‘Teutonic’ stipulation has more recently
been abandoned so that a token number of non-Teutonic students have helped to remove
the stigma of racism. In 1968, Bill Clinton, the yet to become serial adulterer and President of
the United States, went to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. Thirty years later Clinton became
only the second U.S. president to be impeached — the first being Andrew Johnson — for alleged
acts of perjury and obstruction of justice related to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. This
followed the Starr Report’s submission to the House providing what it termed ‘substantial and
credible information that President Clinton Committed Acts that May Constitute Grounds for
an Impeachment.’ Rhodes must have turned in his grave.
A further influx of Randlords followed the end of the bitterly fought Second Boer War
in 1902 when the Afrikaner republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal became a
parts of the British Empire. Many of the new arrivals were part of the general Jewish exodus
resulting from the growing anti-Semitism in Central Europe that led to the wider diaspora in
London, New York and Johannesburg. Anti-Semitic sentiment took different forms including
the caricature of ‘Hoggenheimer,’ a silk-hatted and bloated character with accentuated Semitic
features who came to personify the hated capitalist in both national socialist and communist
propaganda. The ‘Hoggenheimer’ caricature had been based on a West End musical The Girl
from Kays that opened in 1902 at London’s Apollo Theatre. About an alluring dancer who beguiles
a South African millionaire, the show lampooned the Randlords who flaunted their
wealth and owned mansions in Park Lane and Belgravia while their disenfranchised and exploited
Black workers in South Africa were confined to compounds like animals. The rise of
Jewish mining magnates to prominence during this period increased anti-Semitism with editorial
views suggesting that the Boer war had been fought to serve the interests of a small group
of international financiers who were mainly German in origin and Jewish in race. In keeping
with what had been a recurrent theme throughout history, Jews were openly accused of controlling
the economy to the detriment of the rest of the population.
In the period leading up to the Second World War the influential Afrikaner secret society,
the Broederbond (the Brotherhood), had begun developing ties to the Nazis and the
prospect of siding with Britain in a war was anathema for most Afrikaners. In many predominantly
Afrikaner communities Jews were victimized and Jewish businesses were attacked by
the Fascist Grey Shirt militia. During the war a Broederbond member and future prime minister,
John Vorster, was interned by Jan Smut’s government in a prison camp for having Nazi
sympathies and connections to the Grey Shirts.
Three decades later Vorster was greeted with open arms and feted by Israeli leaders in
Jerusalem. The eventual Allied victory, however, did not end Afrikaner hatred for Jews and in
1948 the Reunited National Party defeated Smut’s United Party by campaigning on an anti-
Semitic platform and exploiting anti-British imperialist sentiment. Once in power, the
Afrikaner nationalists wasted no time in implementing apartheid, the legal system of social
and political separation, which was designed to consolidate and extend white minority control
of South Africa’s economy and politics. Apartheid’s segregation was enforced from the bedroom
to the workplace and millions of black people — the workforce on whom the whites
depended — were dumped in so-called ‘independent’ homelands whose corrupt and despotic
rulers were obligated to the white government.
Many South African Jews at that time became understandably concerned as to their role
in the newly intensified race differentiation setup. They were, however, soon reassured by the
fact that the apartheid regime could not risk creating an even bigger demographic problem by
isolating a minority of the white population, even if that minority happened to be Jewish. So
within a couple of years the majority of South African Jews not only felt safe under the
Calvinist Afrikaner government, but also quite comfortable with the concept of apartheid.
While the death of 25,000 Afrikaner women and children from disease and starvation in
British concentration camps during the Boer War was hardly comparable to the Holocaust,
Jews had nonetheless felt sympathetic towards Afrikaners and began siding with them not so
much because they liked them but because Afrikaners were at least white. There were in fact
survivors from Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps who saw no contradiction in
their support for, and in some cases even membership in the apartheid Nationalist party which
pursued policies reminiscent of Hitler’s Nuremberg laws against Jews: laws that included prohibition
of sex and marriage between Blacks and Whites and the preclusion of Blacks from
It was not uncommon to hear South African Jews speak of Blacks with the same derisive
manner as that used by Nazis to describe Jews. They even defended Apartheid as a safeguard
against domination by Blacks who were inferior to other human beings and not entitled
to treatment as equals. If there had been any concern amongst Jews ’the chosen people and the
elect of God’ for the plight of black people, then it must have been extremely peripheral because
in reality they had no qualms about fully enjoying the bountiful fruits of the system.
They in fact meticulously avoided confrontation with the government and pursued a deliberate
policy of ‘neutrality’ without ‘rocking the boat’ so as not to endanger the Jewish population.
The Zionist Federation and the Jewish Board of Deputies in South Africa regularly honoured
Jewish men such as Percy Yutar who was hailed as a ‘credit to the community’ and an
example of Jews’ contribution to South Africa. Yutar, who was also elected president of Johannesburg’s
largest orthodox synagogue, was the attorney who in 1963 successfully prosecuted
Nelson Mandela for sabotage and conspiracy against the state.
A small number of Jews, however, notably Joe Slovo, Albie Sachs, Harry Schwarz, and
Helen Suzman who for many years was the only member of parliament to oppose apartheid,
did feel that silence with regard to racial oppression was tantamount to collaboration and as a
consequence of openly opposing the system, they were regarded as enemies of the state and
pariahs amongst their own people.
Even though Goldman had grown up with and been conditioned in accordance with the
prevailing Jewish perception of apartheid, he had nevertheless always emphatically maintained
— perhaps with a tinge of hypocrisy — that he was not and never had been a racist.
After graduating with a degree in mercantile law from the University of the Free State Faculty
of Law in Bloemfontein, Goldman had worked for a commercial law firm for three years before
joining the legal department of a mining conglomerate whose more than 1,200 subsidiaries
encompassed everything from automobile dealerships to Zinfandel vineyards.
Goldman had wasted no time in becoming a potential rising star by marrying the daughter of a
prominent Jewish family, having two children, and living in Johannesburg’s fashionable Parktown
district. He quickly became a troubleshooter and paymaster on whom the company
could rely and he consequently travelled extensively starting with a trip to Namaqualand in
the Northern Cape. Namaqualand was a rugged and sparsely populated plateau bordered on
the east by dry central plains, and on the west by a sandveld whose desolate beaches were
lapped by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Vegetation was scarce for most of the year, but in
August and September following the seasonal rains, the sun-scorched terrain was miraculously
transformed into a multi-coloured weave of gently swaying flowers. Goldman had for the
first time in his life — without comprehending why — become almost spiritually aware of his
breathtaking surroundings to the extent of noting that here at least was an area that had so far
survived mankind’s predilection for wanton destruction.
Namaqualand’s Port Nolloth had been a seaside town originally serving as a railway depot
for the local copper mines but whose importance was upgraded following the chance discovery
of precious stones in the early 1900’s. Many millenniums earlier the stones had been
carried down the Richtersveld Mountains by the Orange River and dispersed along the coastline
by powerful currents. Consequently glittering surf-washed pebbles of agate, amazonite,
carnelian, diamond, and Jasper either littered the beaches or lay within the ocean gravel beds.
During his stay in Port Nolloth, Goldman had watched offshore mining ships with huge hoses
sucking up thousands of tonnes of sand and gravel from which the diamonds were sifted and
automatically sealed in metal containers for airlifting by helicopter to the mainland.
The entire mineral-rich coastal strip was a Forbidden Zone with security being especially
tight around the diamond-mining towns of Alexander Bay in South Africa, and Oranjemund
(on the northern bank of the Orange River) in Namibia. Helicopters kept watch from above
and Alsatian dog patrols covered the ground. Anyone entering or leaving the zone’s wirefenced
perimeters required a permit and all vehicles and personal effects were thoroughly
searched. Despite such stringent precautions including computerized security screening systems
and the use of high tech X-ray equipment to check for swallowed diamonds, approximately
twenty percent of all diamond production was at the time being lost.
By using the simple ploy of smuggling racing pigeons into the mines, strapping pouches
of uncut diamonds to their legs, and then releasing them to return home, dishonest mine employees
were repeatedly bypassing the maximum state of the art security with the minimum of
primitive ingenuity. Though the pigeons were ostensibly reared to supply officially registered
racing pigeon clubs, unscrupulous farmers were also selling the sought- after birds to anyone
prepared to pay a premium.
The problem facing Goldman’s employers was that such illegally acquired uncut precious
stones from West and Central Africa were then being smuggled northwards to Liberia
and sold for higher prices to rogue Lebanese traders in the capitol city of Monrovia. To
counter such trade, Goldman had travelled to London to meet with and employ a Special Air
Service (SAS) veteran who provided mercenary army solutions. The mercenary army’s assignment
was to repeatedly ambush the smugglers with a view to either killing or scaring
them off so that agents recognised by Goldman’s employers could resume their practice of
purchasing the illicit stones cheaply so as to monopolise and control the flow of diamonds
which in turn facilitated price fixing on the world market.
Goldman’s activities were in due course extended to include arranging for the use of
mercenaries to foment conflict in diamond-rich African countries so that his employers could
then reap the benefits of buying more cheap diamonds from cash-strapped civil war combatants.
Furthermore, by also paying for men and armaments to fuel and prolong conflicts between
newly independent but unstable mineral-rich African countries and rebel forces, mining
conglomerates could continue plundering mineral resources that might otherwise have been
nationalised under politically stable conditions.
Goldman, however, had to wait for the taste of real success and power until the early
sixties when sanctions against South Africa began when the United Nations Security Council
deplored apartheid and established a voluntary arms embargo against South Africa. As it was
in the interests of the government and business conglomerates to maintain the social and political
status quo in South Africa, they joined forces in their efforts to find new ways, means,
and friends that would help in circumventing the inevitability of further sanctions.
During the early years following its creation as a state, Israel was on friendly terms with
anti-apartheid African nations whose backing for Israel at the UN General Assembly served as
a counter to the Muslim/Arab bloc. In time, however, African nations gradually disengaged
themselves from an Israel whose treatment of the Palestinian people was an apartheid in different
clothing. Israel was therefore forced to look elsewhere for an African ally and it was
with South Africa that an alliance of shared interests began to materialize. To begin with both
states had been established on land stolen from a an indigenous majority; both were consequently
outnumbered and surrounded by enemies who had to be controlled and kept at bay by
means of military force; and both were subject to regular condemnation by UN resolutions
which in Israel’s case were always vetoed by its superpower lackey, the United States.
It was therefore within that context that Abe Goldman undertook his first ever visit to
Israel as an unofficial envoy representing South African business interests. His immediate
mission was to secure from Israel a lifeline supply of munitions that were essential for the
continued suppression of the South African Black majority. Goldman’s success in brokering a
munitions supply arrangement which included Israel being used as an intermediary to purchase
arms from countries that were otherwise off limits to South Africa, ensured that his visits
would continue over the next two decades.
When trade sanctions prevented the legal import of South African agricultural products
by other nations, it was Goldman who was dispatched by his mining conglomerate employers
to arrange for such products to be sent on air cargo flights to Israel from where they would
subsequently be re-exported as being of Israeli origin. Such ‘Israeli’ products would then end
up on the shelves of major European retailers such as Britain’s high street giant, Marks &
Spencer (M&S). The company had been run by successive generations of the Sieff family
whose collaboration with Chaim Weizman and Zionism had been long and inexorable.
Joseph Edward ‘Teddy’ Sieff (1906–1982) was Chairman of M&S (1967-1972) and honourary
vice-president of the British Zionist Federation. Teddy had worked for most of his
career at M&S, as did his brother Israel Sieff whom he succeeded as Chairman. In December
1973 Teddy survived an assassination attempt by the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (PFLP) when PFLP assassin Carlos the Jackal called on Sieff's home in London’s St.
John’s Wood and ordered the butler to take him to Sieff. On finding Sieff in the bathroom,
Carlos fired one shot from a 9mm Beretta pistol which bounced off Sieff's dentures and
knocked him unconscious; the gun then jammed and Carlos fled. While there can never be
moral justification for such an assassination attempt irrespective of reason or circumstance,
some would argue that it is equally immoral to support an ideology whose proclaimed intention
was reiterated in the book Ben Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs, Oxford University
Press, 1985: ‘We must expel the Arabs and take their places’.
Teddy Sieff was succeeded as Chairman by Israel Sieff’s son, Marcus, who in his book
Management: The Marks & Spencer Way (Weidenfield & Nicolson, 1990), states that one of
the fundamental objectives of M&S is to aid the economic development of Israel which was
known to include the annual import of Israeli goods with a value in excess of $300 million. In
2001 press reports revealed that goods purportedly produced in the Zionist Israel and exported
internationally with ‘Made in Israel’ labels, were in actual fact usually produced by exploited
Palestinian labourers in Israeli settlements within the Occupied Territories.
In April 2001, The Guardian newspaper reported that “Jars of Palestinian pickle, for instance,
are handed over to the Israelis who stick a 'Made in Israel' label on them and export
them to Europe. Flowers grown by Palestinians in Gaza, strawberries, oranges, lemons and
aubergines are all sent to Israel, mixed with Israeli produce and exported to Europe with Israeli
certificates of origin.” In other words, Israel unashamedly claims that products from illegal
Israeli settlements originate from within Israel's internationally recognised boundaries.
That same month The Guardian also noted that “Nobody is in any real doubt that the
products have come from illegal settlements and that their documentation has been falsified.”
Under the 1975 Association Agreement between the EC and Israel, Israel is entitled to
preferential trade treatment for agricultural and manufactured goods produced in ‘the territory
of the state of Israel.’ Produce from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are not covered
by trade agreements with Europe and therefore do not qualify for preferential treatment.
By falsely obtaining such preferential treatment including duty-free and reduced rates for its
exports to Europe of goods produced outside of Israel's internationally recognised borders —
such as occupied Palestinian territories — Israel is clearly in blatant violation of international
law and its trade agreement with the EU.
U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 call on Israel to cease its occupation of
Palestinian territories and cede to Palestinian self-determination. Article 49 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits the establishment of settlements within occupied territory,
along with UN Security Council resolution 465. A past statement from the EU presidency
asserted that “Settlements change the physical character and demographic composition of
the occupied territories. All settlement activities are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to
peace.” Yet by allowing settlement products to be imported with falsified documentation into
Europe, the EU is in effect supporting and financing the settlements. The EU’s failure in this
respect is in violation of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which elevates
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to a ‘war crime’. In Article 8b (viii) of the ICC
Statute, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention is literally incorporated, which means
that individuals who are involved in planning or carrying out policies regarding Israeli settlements
can be held liable as ‘war criminals’ under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Not only does the
Israeli trade policy therefore constitute a war crime, the international community's importing
of Israeli settlement produce is by complicity also a war crime.
The courtship between these two regionally isolated nations reached its peak in 1975
when Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres became receptive to the possibility of nuclear
cooperation. As Israel already had the capability to produce nuclear weapons, it can only be
assumed that it was seeking to secure access to South Africa’s abundance of yellowcake uranium
as insurance against further international isolation. In exchange Israel would provide
missiles, advisors, and secret support for nuclear weapons testing. In the end South Africa decided
that the cost of acquiring Israeli nuclear weapons was too high and nothing came of the
The declassification of South African documents relating to these negotiations which
Israel tried to prevent, illustrate without a doubt that not only does Israel have nuclear
weapons, but that it was also prepared to sell them to another rogue and racist state. As is the
case whenever Israel is confronted with irrefutable facts relating to its reprehensible conduct,
it steadfastly adopts blatant denials. Though Israel neither acknowledges nor denies having
nuclear weapons, these documents undermine its assertion that even if it had nuclear
weapons, it would not as a responsible state misuse them as would untrustworthy countries
like Iran. Having always portrayed itself as the trustworthy and whiter than white Western
ally, a shameless Israel continued to accept vast amounts of U.S. taxpayers’ money in the form
of aid, while simultaneously and without any compunction breaking the same UN embargoes
that the U.S. had voted for and supported.
Not only has Israel possessed nuclear weapons since the late 1960s, but it has also kept
its monopoly of such weapons in the region intact by using force to prevent their potential development in other Middle Eastern countries. Both Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 were the
targets of devastating Israeli airstrikes against their developing nuclear-weapons programs
and Israel was now lining up Iran as its next target. Already in the U.S. AIPAC-engineered
warmongering is afoot on Capitol Hill and in the media to imbue the American psyche with
the idea that like Iraq and Syria in the past and probably Pakistan in the future, Iran also posed
a serious threat to the West with its fledgling nuclear programme.
The service that Abe Goldman had unofficially rendered to the Afrikaner nation was
finally acknowledged in 1983 when he became the only ever non-Afrikaner to receive an accolade
from the Broederbond. Goldman had initially been contacted by a civil servant from
the Trade Ministry who explained that because of his long service and loyalty, he was invited
to attend a secret Broederbond meeting to witness the initiation of a Broeder after which
Goldman himself would be made an Honourary Broeder. For Goldman it had been a privileged
insight into the otherwise imperceptible world of power brokers and an occasion he
would often reminisce about over the years.
* * * * *
On that fateful evening Goldman had been picked up from his Parktown home by two darksuited
men in a BMW and driven to a city centre recreation hall of a Dutch Reformed Church
where two crewcut heavies met them at the door and let them through to the hall which was
dimly-lit by a triple-branched candelabrum. Darkness usually symbolised the primeval chaos
banished by the emanation of light from the Creator and was the complementary opposite of
light in a basic duality. In initiation rites it also represented the Candidate’s ‘unenlightened’
state before he was shown the ‘light’. Goldman had since come to realise that darkness also
served to exploit the fact that people were more susceptible to persuasion in darkened environments.
From the beginning of time charlatan shamans had mesmerised their victims with
chanting and prancing to the crackle of after dusk bonfires; scheming priesthoods had promoted
the worship of countless man-made gods in ill-lit temples sanctified by the burning of
incense; and more recently, a Germanic master race — led by a maniac who at one time
claimed to have ‘learnt much from the Jesuits’ — orchestrated torch-lit rallies to harness a national
fervour that would lead to atrocities against humanity on a scale exceeded only by the
communist pogroms of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.
Goldman had been ushered to one of the fifteen seats which with the rectangular table
bearing the candelabra formed a circle in the middle of which stood the Candidate for initiation.
The circle represented the laager, the defensive formation of ox-wagons that
Voortrekkers had adopted whenever attacked by African warriors during the Great Trek. The
table, on which there was also a leather bound Bible, was draped with a South African flag
from which the Union Jack had been cut out as a symbolic rejection of all things British.
To the right of the table but outside the circle stood a mobile screen behind which lay
some indiscernible large object. Hanging on the wall to the left was a depiction recalling the
legendary 1838 Boer victory over the Zulu King Dingane whose warriors on that occasion
had been no match for the overwhelming Boer firepower. It was said that the death of 3,000
Zulus had caused the Ncome River to run with blood for three days resulting in a name
change with the event becoming known as the Battle of Blood River. Afrikaners attributed
this victory to the mythical Covenant allegedly made with God (here we go again) when the
besieged Voortrekkers had earlier vowed that if He gave them victory, they would keep that
day holy and thereafter celebrate annually. Though this so- called covenant was later
proven by South African scholars to have been invented some 33 years after the event, it still
became part of Afrikaner folklore portraying Afrikaners as a latter-day version of the Children
Hanging directly behind the table was a portrait of the current Broederbond Chairman
flanked by flags of the former Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Below
the portrait a sign with bold, white letters on a black background emphatically warned the
FOR ALL THOSE WHO EMBARK ON THE
GREAT TREK THERE IS NO TURNING BACK.
The Branch Chairman, his face eerily illuminated by the candlelight, took his place behind
the table and after welcoming the members he said that before proceeding with the
evening’s business, they would first take time to explain their aims and ideals to one who was
eligible to join their ranks, and another, who though not one of them was nonetheless deserving
of honour for his services to the Afrikaner nation. The Chairman then asked for a moment
of silence during which they could all recall their vows and reaffirm their commitment to the
aims of the organisation.
Following the brief silence the Candidate was directly addressed by the Chairman who
informed him that after due consideration, the fellow-Afrikaners present had agreed to offer
him membership as a fellow-Broeder, and with that in mind, the Broederbond’s ideals and
principal aims would be made known to him. If he then agreed to what would be expected of
him, he would be required to make a solemn vow of unconditional commitment and loyalty.
Having expressed his willingness to proceed, the Candidate also had to solemnly declare before
God and those present that he was not a member of any other secret organisation such as
the Freemasons or Sons of England; that he understood that the organisation’s effectiveness
depended on confidentiality and therefore vowed never to reveal anything he now knew or
would in the future learn about the organisation’s membership, its objectives, or its modus
The Chairman, with the help of typewritten notes and a torch, then proceeded to remind
the Candidate that the birth of the Afrikaner nation began in 1642 when Jan van Riebeeck established
a settlement at Table Bay in the Cape of Good Hope for the Dutch East India Company.
The Bay had been an ideal stopover for ships during their six-month journey between
Europe and the East Indies where the company’s lucrative spice trade was based in Java. At
that time, the Chairman had continued, the Cape was inhabited by the San and the Khoikhoi,
two stone-age peoples who differed only in that the San were nomadic hunter-gatherers while
the Khoikhoi were sheep and cattle herders with whom Afrikaner forebears bartered. Though
life was hard in those early days with several wars against the occasionally truculent
Khoikhoi, Afrikaner forebears had nonetheless persevered and with God’s help laid the foundations
for the nation.
After the French Revolution and the ensuing European wars, the British occupied the
Cape with Dutch acquiescence from 1795 to 1803. But when war broke out again Britain resolved
to maintain the safety of its shipping route to India and accordingly reoccupied the
Cape in 1806. The permanency of that reoccupation was later confirmed at the 1814 European
peace conference with a British £6 million compensation payment being made to the Dutch.
Because of increasing resentment over British domination, the Great Trek of 1836 took
place when more than 12,000 Boers migrated northwards in separate groups to establish independent
republics. The Trek was like the flight to the Promised Land by the children of Israel
who as the chosen people had determined to pursue their own destiny. Some Voortrekkers had
settled in the Transvaal under constant threat from Ndebele warriors while others were lost to
malaria and African native resistance en route to Delagoa Bay in Mozambique. Of those who
trekked to the Natal, many were massacred by Zulu warriors, a sad event that was later
avenged at Blood River. With God’s help the Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange
Free State were established in 1852 and 1854 respectively.
The 1866 discovery of gold in the Transvaal had witnessed the influx of many foreigners
whom Transvaal President Paul Kruger denied the vote as a means of retaining Afrikaner
political power. Rivalry to exploit the land’s mineral wealth, however, continued and when the
British tried to annex the Transvaal they were defeated at Majuba Hill in the Boer’s First war
of Independence in 1880.
Despite the signing of the Pretoria Convention’s peace treaty in 1881, the Transvaal remained
a target for the rapacious multi-millionaire Randlord, Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes, the Governor
of the Cape Colony, planned a coup d’etat in the Transvaal by trying to arrange an uprising
of foreigners who were to be supported by a private cross-border invasion led by Leander
Jameson. But the uprising never materialised and Jameson’s four hundred and eighty raiders
were forced to surrender at Krugersdorp in January 1896. The attempted raid had been just
one of many incidents that led to the Second Anglo-Boer War.
The cocky British campaign had begun in the spring of 1899 with the mistaken belief
that it would be over by Christmas. Though less than two-thirds of the seventy thousand civilian
Afrikaners who took up arms were actually active at any given time, they still proved a
worthy match for the better equipped professional British force of four hundred and fifty
thousand men. The British writer Rudyard Kipling later reported that the British were taught
no end of a lesson by the Boers. The war captured the world’s imagination and volunteers
came from many countries including Ireland to join the Boers in their fight against British
The Boers had disregarded conventional fighting and instead adopted guerrilla hit-andrun
tactics in a war that eventually cost the British over £200 million with twenty thousand
wounded and seven thousand killed. Because of Britain’s inability to end the war quickly, the
British Commander-in-Chief, Kitchener — who like Cecil Rhodes was a high-ranking
Freemason — adopted tactics to isolate the Boer guerrillas from their source of food and shelter
by employing a scorched earth policy. Thirty thousand farmsteads were destroyed and entire
villages burnt to the ground. The sixty thousand made homeless, mostly women and children,
were then ‘concentrated’ in ill-equipped camps where twenty-six thousand died in conditions
which ‘were not even fit for Kaffirs.’
The Germans and Japanese may have perfected the ‘concentration’ concept during the
Second World War, but concentration camps were a British innovation. Substantiation as to
the enormity of that British atrocity lay in the fact that those who died in the camps represented
ten percent of the entire Afrikaner population while those Boer Guerrillas who died in actual
battle numbered only four thousand. Having reluctantly accepted that its people had been
deceived, dispossessed, and brutally defeated, the Afrikaner leadership settled for peace and
allowed the Transvaal and the Orange Free State to become parts of the Union and the British
The post-war depression with severe droughts and crop failures had forced many
Afrikaners to work in the cities and mines as underclass labourers: a situation that served to
heighten the racial tension which in those days had been between Afrikaners and Britons
rather than between Whites and Blacks. Enforced anglicisation of Afrikaner culture and the
debate over whether or not to fight alongside the British in the First World War was also a
cause for debate and division amongst Afrikaner people. It was during that period of doubt
and disillusion that the Afrikaner Broederbond was born in 1918. It was born from a profound
conviction that Afrikanerdom with its unique characteristics and destiny, was not the work of
men, but the creation of God who had placed it in that land to remain in existence for as long
as God in his almighty wisdom wished it to be.
The Broederbond was devoted to the service of the Afrikaner nation as a whole and did
not serve or promote the personal interests of its members. Those who joined did so to give,
not to receive; they did so to serve, not to be served or to obtain benefits or advantages for
either themselves or their relatives and friends. Before asking the Candidate if he was prepared
to become a member, the Branch Chairman had stressed that the Broederbond’s aim
was to unite its members in a strong bond of mutual love and trust so that they could work
selflessly to promote the welfare and interests of the Afrikaner nation. After expressing his
willingness to join, the Candidate was informed that membership entailed many responsibilities
about which he would be enlightened in turn by three Broeders.
There followed a list of expectations starting with the Candidate being expected to not
only to live and work in the firm belief that Almighty God determined the destiny of nations,
but also to adhere to the Christian national Afrikaner viewpoint as prescribed by the Word of
God and the established traditions of the Afrikaner nation. The second expectation was
that he would remain true to himself and his conscience while respecting the right of his fellow
Broeders to think and act differently. That though the Broeders were irrevocably bound
together in their faith and aspirations, of one heart, one viewpoint, and one struggle for one
nation, they were nonetheless individuals.
The third expectation was that he would do everything in his power to promote the establishment
of a common purpose among all motivated Afrikaners; to strengthen and develop
the Afrikaner nation; and in particular, to promote its unique culture while extending its influence
in all affairs of national import including the economy.
The fourth expectation was that he would fulfil all his duties as a member, faithfully attend
meetings, and otherwise make himself available to the organisation as and when the need
The fifth expectation was that he would strive to achieve the aims of the Broederbond
not only through participation in its organised endeavours, but also at his place of work, his
home, and his general sphere of influence, inspired, strengthened and supported by his fellow
Broeders and guided by Broederbond principles and Ideals; and that he would always cooperate
actively and faithfully with his fellow Broeders in a spirit of steadfast common purpose
and sincere brotherhood.
Following revelation of the final expectation which was that he would at all times conduct
himself in a manner befitting the good name, the honour, and the ideals of the Afrikaner
Broederbond, the Candidate indicated that he was prepared to accept all responsibilities without
exception. He was then warned by the Chairman that the Broederbond demanded complete
loyalty, hard work, unwavering perseverance in pursuit of its aims, and unconditional
adherence to the practice of Christian principles. The Candidate was then required to acknowledge
that he understood the purpose of the organisation and what it was that they as determined
Afrikaners represented and intended to achieve. He also had to confirm that he
would honestly and willingly subscribe to the principles and objectives which had been presented;
and was ready to unconditionally accept the demands of membership while committing
himself to an irrevocable union during his lifetime.
The Chairman then warned ominously that he who betrayed the Broederbond would
face destruction because the Broederbond’s vengeance was far-reaching and swift. It was a
certainty that no traitor had ever escaped his due punishment. In support of that warning, the
Chairman beckoned to one of the Broeders who walked to the right of the table and pushed
aside the mobile screen to reveal a makeshift bier covered with a white sheet on which the
Afrikaner word VERAAD (TREASON) had been daubed in red paint. The sheet was removed
to unveil a dummy of a man in a black suit towards which the Candidate was ushered
and handed a dagger with which to stab the vile traitor in the heart. The dagger thrust had released
a spurt of the ‘traitor’s blood’ which covered the blade and his hand which he wiped
with the hand towel provided. On returning to his position in the middle of the circle, he
watched as every other Broeder including the Chairman, took turns at stabbing the ‘traitor’.
The Candidate was next asked if with full awareness of the responsibilities of membership
he was prepared to always unconditionally and solemnly undertake as a Broeder to join
them in their duty to promote each other’s interests in the community and whenever possible
to support one another’s business interests in word and deed. The spirit of preference had to
always prevail and whenever possible they should also act as intercessors on each other’s behalf;
that as a member of the Broederbond he would always faithfully and sincerely serve the
Afrikaner nation in all that it aspired to and represented; that he would never without permission
of the Executive Council reveal to any outsider, including his nearest and dearest, anything
that he may learn about the Broederbond and its members, even if his own membership
had been revoked; that he would never without the appropriate permission reveal his own
membership; that he would never without permission have involvement with, or become a
member of any other secret organisation; that he would always subject himself to the conditions
of the Broederbond’s constitution, fulfil all duties laid down by the Council’s standing
orders, and subject himself readily to any discipline deemed appropriate by the Council; that
he would unconditionally comply if the Council, for whatever reason, decided to revoke his
membership; and finally, that he would subject himself to immediate expulsion if he ever
broke any of the aforementioned undertakings.
Before being officially declared a Broeder, the Candidate had to first step forward to the
table, place his hand on the Bible, and affirm his commitment before God and his fellow
Broeders who bore witness to the irrevocable union he had forged. He was then informed by
the Chairman that he had become a member of an organisation which since its inception had
worked to further the cause of the Afrikaner nation. In 1927 they had pushed for legislation
that made sexual relations between Whites and Blacks a punishable offence. They had opened
shops specifically for Afrikaners, created an investment bank... to help Afrikaner start... businesses,
and a building society to facilitate ownership of their own homes. In 1938 they had
masterminded the centenary celebration of Voortrekker achievements with a symbolic Ox
Wagon Trek to the Voortrekker monument near Pretoria. Celebration of that event coupled
with the annual Day of Covenant holiday had served to unite the Afrikaner people and helped
to bring about the Afrikaner National Party’s election victory in 1948.
By 1950 the separation of the races had become a legal reality with the Prohibition of
the Mixed Marriages Act banning interracial marriages, the Morality Act barring interracial
sex, the Population Registration Act requiring all South Africans to be classified by race, The
Group Areas Act mandating strict residential segregation, and the Separate Amenities Act extending
segregation to public places and transportation. Since then the Broederbond had continuously
provided the country with its Prime Ministers and governments to the extent that
virtually every member of the Cabinet was also a member of the Broederbond’s Executive
Council. It was impossible for any member of the National Party to become Prime Minister
without having first been a member of the Broederbond.
The Broederbond had also provided several State Presidents and through its efforts had
helped Afrikaners to take control of their own destiny by removing from important positions
those arrogant Whites whose first loyalty was to Britain rather than South Africa. By doing so
the Broederbond had reversed the trend of Afrikaners being mostly the under-class farmers
while the British were the superior class dominating the professions.
The Broederbond had been instrumental in promoting and maintaining the Apartheid
policy of separate development so as to retain the purity of the Afrikaner nation. With some
seven hundred and fifty cells throughout the country, the Broederbond was the most influential
power in Africa. Its influence was probably unequalled by any other similar organisation
in the world. A carefully selected membership of more than 11,000 Broeders controlled the
destiny of twenty-five million South Africans. The Broederbond was the Government and the
Government was the Broederbond.
The Broederbond’s achievements were the result of its efforts being largely unopposed
because it was impossible to oppose the activities of those who were unheard, unseen, and
unknown. The Broederbond could discredit, demoralize, and ultimately destroy its enemies
without its victims even beginning to suspect the source of their damnation. In the 1930’s
Prime Minister James Hertzog was destroyed after attacking the Broederbond and trying to
fuse Afrikaans-speakers and English-speakers into one Afrikanerdom. Prime Minister Jan
Smuts had suffered a similar fate in the late 1940‘s.
Broeders were calculatingly well placed in every important organisation throughout the
nation. They were to be found in city and town councils and in the postal service; they were
on school boards, within unions, working in state-controlled broadcasting networks and for
independent newspapers; they were promoting industry and commerce and managing banks
and building societies; they were also prominent within the ranks of the armed forces, the police,
and the Dutch Reformed Church. The Broederbond was the heartbeat of the Afrikaner
nation and would remain so for as long as God willed it.
After then establishing that the Candidate was prepared to be resolute in his devotion,
love, and work for the Afrikaner nation, the Chairman welcomed him into the organisation
with the assurance that he would henceforth be recognised and accepted as a fellow Broeder
worthy of trust and support.
The Chairman had then introduced Goldman, commended him for his vitally important
service to the nation, and pronounced that Goldman, as the first ever non-Afrikaner to attend a
Broederbond meeting, was to be given an honourary membership. There followed a brief ceremony
during which Goldman was obliged to solemnly vow that he would never divulge anything
he had learnt that evening, or might learn at any time in the future.
* * * * *
The events of that memorable evening had taught Goldman the value of secrecy in acquiring
power and control over the destinies of men. It had also helped to make him realise that White
minority rule through suppression of a Black majority would sooner or later have to come to
an end. His many trips to Israel had of course made him aware of the many aspirations for the
future that were shared by Israelis and Afrikaners. But he was equally certain that what Jews
could get away with in Palestine, the Afrikaners could not hope to continue getting away with
in South Africa.
Afrikaners, unlike Jews, had not been the victims of a horrendous holocaust; their past
suffering was not of a sufficient scale to have accumulated either the amount or kind of international
sympathy that would condone continued human rights violations; they did not
have a dedicated worldwide network of lobbyists who could diffuse, suppress or influence
negative public opinion; and last but not least, unlike Israel, they lacked the benefit of having
at their disposal the support of U.S vetoes at the United Nations Assembly. Consequently
Goldman’s unequivocal conclusion had been that Afrikanerdom was doomed.
By the beginning of 1987 Goldman had begun to lay the groundwork in Israel that
would see him take advantage of the Israeli Law of Return which entitled him as a Jew to ‘return
to his ancestral homeland’. This law — a basic tenet of Zionist ideology — enabled Jews
from anywhere and of any nationality who like their ancestors had never been to or had any
connection with Israel to ‘return’ to live in a land from which indigenous Palestinians had
been terrorized and forcibly expelled by Zionist forces. As a result there are now some seven
million Palestinian refugees with no such ‘right of return’ and as stateless individuals they are
also being illegally deprived of many of the basic human rights that Westerners take for granted.
In July 1988, Goldman and his family ‘returned’ to Israel and became Israeli citizens. They
had simply moved from one stolen land with its own particular brand of Apartheid to another
with a more surreptitious and dangerous kind of Apartheid masquerading as the only real
Middle Eastern democracy and staunch ally of the West — which it assiduously screwed at
every given opportunity.
IN THE BEGINNING
Man cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen.
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
Most people have been brought up to believe that in the beginning God created the universe and humankind so it follows that in reality there can only be one Creator. But as was noted by Michel de Montaigne, and as everyone is aware, there are numerous religions who with mendacious doctrines and at times murderous intent are vying to establish the omnipotence of their own man-made gods.
Young Earth creationism (YEC) is the religious belief that asserts that the universe, the earth, and life on earth were the direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period of between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago. Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faith of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Bahá’i — with the latter being founded in nineteenth-century Persia by Bahá’ulláh— that either emphasise and trace their common origin to Abraham, or recognise the spiritual tradition identified with him.
Scientific consensus, however, with backing from a 2006 statement by sixty-eight national and international academies, asserts that evidence-based fact derived from observations and experiments in multiple scientific disciplines show that the universe existed almost 14 billion years ago in an extremely hot and dense state. It was about that time, according to the Big Bang theory, that the universe then began to cool and expand towards its present dispersed state with the earth being formed 4.5 billion years ago and life first appearing no less than 2.5 billion years ago. That self-induced expansion is still ongoing to this day without any influence or input from some god or supreme-being.
Recently an international team of astronomers — using the Hubble Space Telescope — detected the most distant galaxy yet which at about thirty billion light-years away is helping to shed light on the period that immediately followed the Big Bang. The galaxy’s distance was confirmed by the ground-based Keck Observatory in Hawaii. As it takes light so long to travel from the outer edge of the Universe to the planet Earth, the galaxy appears as it was 13.1 billion years ago — some 700 million years after the Big Bang.
According to the study published in the Nature Journal, astronomers were able to measure its distance from Earth by analysing its colour. With the Universe expanding and everything moving away from the Earth, light waves are stretched, making objects appear redder than they actually are. Such apparent colour changes are rated by astronomers on a scale that is called redshift. So with a redshift of 7.51, this galaxy — named z8_GND_5296 — is the most distant galaxy ever found. Though the system has a mass of only about one to two percent of the Milky Way and is rich in heavier elements, it has the surprising feature of turning gas and dust into new stars at a remarkable rate of hundreds of times faster than our own galaxy can.
In 1974 anthropologist Professor Donald Johanson and his student made an important fossil discovery in a maze of ravines at Hadar in Northern Ethiopia. While searching the scorched terrain for animal bones in the sand, ash, and silt they spotted a tiny fragment of arm bone. Johanson immediately recognised it belonging to a hominid. Further up the slope they discovered more bone fragments of ribs, vertebrae, thighbones, and a partial jawbone. Eventually forty-seven bones were unearthed — about forty-percent of a hominid (human-like creature) which had existed some 3.2 million years ago. Its small size and pelvic shape suggested it was female and they named it “Lucy” after “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” the Beatles song which happened to be playing during their post-discovery celebration.
Though many of Lucy’s characteristics were similar to those of a chimpanzee, the structure of her knee and pelvis showed that she routinely walked upright on two legs like humans. Known as “bi-pedalism,” this form of locomotion is the single most important difference between humans and apes. As walking on two legs was one of the earliest defining characteristics of humans, Lucy was placed firmly within the human family. Johanson named Lucy’s species Australopithecus afarensis, which means “southern ape of afar,” after the Ethiopian region where Hadar is located. This species — existing 3.5 million years ago — foraged for fruit, nuts, and seeds in a mixture of savannah and woodland, and may also have obtained animal protein from termites and birds’ eggs.
In 2001 palaeontologists in northeastern Brazil discovered fossils of what was believed to be an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex), two words which mean tyrant lizard and king. The fossils — including two skulls and various bones — were from the high Triassic period from 235 to 240 million years ago and consequently predate and contradict the timescales for religious versions of the creation.
In September 2011 it was announced that a two million year-old fossil discovered in a South African cave may be the missing link between humans and our ape ancestors. The fossil, called Australopithecus sediba, has a human-like brain and hands, but its legs are more ape-like, suggesting that it walked upright but more like a chimpanzee than a modern human. Until now scientists have traced human ancestry to fossils discovered in East Africa of the species Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis, but the newly discovered specimen is several hundred thousand years older. Professor Lee Berger, from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, said that ‘the many very advanced features found in the brain and body, and the earlier date, make it possibly the best candidate for ancestor of our genus, the genus Homo.’
More recently the science journal Nature revealed that scientists believe that a new fossil discovery from China is the world’s oldest known example of the bone structure that is recognisable as a face. The remarkably well-preserved fish (an example of the species Entelognathus primordialis) was discovered in Southeast China in a layer of sediment dating back to the Silurian period — marks the time when the first plants and animals colonised dry land — making the specimen roughly 419 million years old. The find is exceptional because it is the earliest known example of the basic facial bone structure that is currently recognised: the ancient predator has a jaw, a mouth, two eyes and a nose. All previous discoveries from this geological time period have been of jawless fish — of the type that is still in existence today as lamprey and hagfish.
What may be even more remarkable than seeing the world’s oldest known face is the notion that this fossil might even be a direct ancestor of human life. The fossil is unique in that it displays characteristics of two types of ancient fish: placoderms (heavily armoured fish that were thought to have gone extinct millions of years ago) and bony fish (a taxonomic group that gave rise to all modern vertebrate fish — and subsequently amphibians, birds, mammals and finally humans).
Another recent report by the journal Nature said that water drilled from rock under Timmins, Ontario is among the oldest yet found on Earth by scientists. Despite being far from any light source, particular types of micro-organism could survive in the water which has the right chemistry and is rich in dissolved gases like hydrogen and methane. Professor Chris Ballentine from Manchester University explained that ‘there are similar waters in South Africa with almost identical chemistry that are tens of millions of years old, and they contain microbes that have adapted to that environment . . . These are microbes that can survive on the energy from the natural water-rock interactions . . . A positive identification had fascinating implications for our understanding of how life evolved on the early Earth and where it could exist underground today on other planets, such as Mars’. Researchers recovered the water from mineworkers who had drilled new exploratory holes into deeply buried sulphide ores containing zinc and copper.
If despite such evidence and the advantage of current scientific knowledge there are people who still find it difficult to either comprehend or accept such a phenomenon, then it must have been even more so for the earliest of our ancestors whose evolution as human beings — Homo sapiens — first began in East Africa where archaeological evidence of our ancestral Y chromosome and mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) has been discovered.
It must be disconcerting for white supremacists and other like-minded people to learn that geneticists have identified groups of chromosomes called haplogroups — “genetic fingerprints” which define populations — that trace their ancestral origins to the “subhuman” races of Africa. The ethnocentric concepts of a God’s ‘chosen people’, a master race, or Nazi breeding programme (Lebensborn) to produce perfect “purity” is therefore unadulterated racist nonsense.
As the accrued mutations of mtDNA occur at a known rate, they can be used to calculate the timing of human existence. By combining all the available evidence of this mtDNA and Y chromosome with archaeology, climatology and fossil analysis, scientists have managed to tabulate the directions and timing of human migration. Though further archaeological discoveries could change estimates regarding the peopling of the world, it is currently believed that it began sometime between 160,000 and 135,000 BCE when groups of hunter-gatherers from East Africa migrated northeast to the Horn of Africa, southwest to the Congo Basin, west to the Ivory Coast, and south to the Cape of Good Hope.
Around 125,000 BCE migration continued along the Nile through a green Sahara and the Levant. Those that reached the Levant died out by 90,000 BCE when a global freeze turned the area — including North Africa — into desert. The area was subsequently repopulated by Neanderthal man and about 5,000 years later groups crossed the mouth of the Red Sea and along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula towards India. All non-African peoples are the descendants of these migrants.
From 85,000 to 75,000 BCE migration pushed further along the Indian Ocean coastline to South China by way of Indonesia and Borneo which were then still part of the Asian landmass from which they were later to detach. Then in about 73,000 BCE one of the earth’s largest known eruptions occurred on Sumatra’s Mount Toba and covered India and Pakistan with a five-metre deep blanket of volcanic ash that caused a six-year nuclear winter, a thousand-year ice age and a considerable drop in population.
Following this cataclysmic event repopulation occurred after about nine thousand years followed by migrations from Borneo to New Guinea, and Timor to Australia. Aboriginal DNA from a lock of hair has been dated to 70,000 BCE. A more recent study of DNA from Aboriginal Australians has shown that a further migration from India occurred about four thousand years ago at around which time dingoes also made their first appearance.
An ensuing warming in climate leading up to 50,000 BCE then allowed northward migrations back to the Levant, past the Bosphorus and into Europe. By the time of 45,000 BCE the Mini Ice Age had occurred and the early stages of the Palaeolithic culture moved from Turkey into Europe. Research suggests that the Modern humans who entered Europe at that time, outnumbered by as much as 10 to 1 the Neanderthals who had lived there for at least 200,000 years. Human migration along the River Danube also introduced newly developed stone tools and overwhelming human settlement eventually drove the Neanderthals to extinction.
During this period migrations continued from Indochina across Tibet; from Pakistan into Central Asia; and westwards from the East Asian coast traversing the central steppes towards the northeast. Between then and 25,000 BCE Central Asians then migrated westwards into Eastern Europe, northwards to the Arctic Circle, and accompanied East Asians to north-east Eurasia. This was also a time that witnessed the birth of impressive works of art such as those discovered in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave in southern France which contains the earliest known cave paintings.
Leading up to 22,000 BCE, due to low sea levels, the Bering Strait was in effect a land bridge across which ancestors of Native Americans travelled between Siberia and Alaska. But during the last Ice Age leading up to 19,000 BCE, populations in Northern Europe, Asia, and North America drastically reduced with only a small number of groups surviving in isolated areas.
The findings of the biggest survey of Native American DNA published in the journal Nature by an international team of researchers concluded that though the New World was settled in three major waves, the majority of today's indigenous Americans descended from a single group of migrants that crossed from Asia to Alaska 15,000 or more years ago. Previous genetic data have suggested that America was colonised by a single migrant wave, but it is now apparent that there are at least three deep lineages in Native American populations. This latest research has settled the debate as to whether or not Native Americans stemmed from a single migration by casting light on patterns of human dispersal within the Americas.
Following the Last Glacial Maximum around 18,000 BCE, development in genes, diversity, culture and language continued with migration into South America. This period also saw the start of Australian rock art such as the elegant and impressive Bradshaw Paintings (or Guion Guion) in the North West region. The continued improvement in global climatic conditions opened American coastal routes and enabled human habitation as confirmed by the Monte Verde Excavation in southern Chile where finds have been radio-carbon dated from 11,800 to 13,600 years BCE.
The repopulation of North America began 12,500 BCE and a thousand years later groups migrated from the Beringian refuge to become the Aleut, Eskimo, and Na Dene speaking peoples. The ensuing and final demise of the ice age between 10,000 and 8,000 years BCE witnessed the emergence of agriculture with a Sahara grassland and a recolonised British Isles and Scandinavia.
Contrary to the existence of such evidence, a 2007 Newsweek poll discovered that 78 percent of people in the United States — a superpower whose astronauts have walked on the moon — doubt the traditional scientific view of “secular evolution” which is the long-term interaction between the galaxy and its environment such as gas accretion (the growth of objects that gravitationally attract gaseous matter in an accretion disk) and galaxy harassment (frequent high speed galaxy encounters that produce starbursts).
A 2012 Gallup poll discovered that forty-six percent of Americans believed in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago. Furthermore, Americans with postgraduate education were most likely of all educational groups to say that humans evolved without god’s guidance; and least likely to say that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago. So it is the less educated who are more likely to have the creationist viewpoint. But then one does not have to be a genius to realise that ignorance, fear and poverty provide the fertile ground wherein religion will thrive the best.
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
H.G. Wells, The Outline of History, George Newnes, 1922.
It must be bewildering for any reasonable person with average intelligence to comprehend how despite the vast advances that have been achieved with the help of science and technology in virtually every field of human endeavour, there is still a suicidal tendency for people to blindly embrace the tenets of crude religious myths even to the extent of inflicting unspeakable atrocities not only on the lives of others, but also on the lives of their own families. For some inexplicable reason mankind has from the beginning of time failed to establish a universal ethic based on unfettered perceptions of reality rather than the disastrous consequences of adherence to diverse forms of religious mumbo-jumbo.
Any system of education, be it religious, secular or otherwise, which with authority presents age-old myths as being facts, is only serving to befuddle and shackle the susceptible minds of present-day youngsters with the same spurious nonsense that warped the minds of their forefathers.
The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), the Dominican priest, philosopher, and theologian.
Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.
The definition of faith by Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913), in his satirical lexicon The Devil’s Dictionary.
THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN PRIESTHOODS
Following the global freeze that transformed the Levant and northern Africa into a lifeless desert, gradual repopulation was begun about ten thousand years ago along the Nile Valley by tribes of possible Semitic origin from the adjoining regions of Africa and Western Asia. The valley’s long and narrow geological features coupled with the danger of attack from other tribes, forced most of the new settlers to live in small, isolated communities close to the river which provided not only the means to sustain life, but also formed a natural defensive barrier on one side against marauding tribes.
The primitive existence and profound ignorance of people at that time meant that superstition was rampant with an abundance of amulets, charms, talismans, and ceremonies for everything from healing the sick to raising the dead; knowledge of the past and foretelling of the future; and even curses that supposedly caused harm to enemies. They even believed in vivification by means of magical words and formulas. Consequently there was a prevalence of reverential fear and respect for the unexplained mysteries of nature such as the heavenly elements and the surrounding wildlife. Religious worship was therefore awe-inspired and directed towards the wonders of nature including animals, birds, and reptiles whose deification was strictly the work of human imagination.
In the time leading up to the Predynastic Period (5,500 BCE) such man-made idols were only village or district gods whose stature and influence was limited to the size and importance of the communities over which they presided. Furthermore the line between secular and religious authority in such communities was so indistinguishable, that it was the self-proclaimed priests with their alleged possession of wisdom and access to the gods, who with good measures of coercion and corruption were best positioned to fully exploit the prevailing ignorance and superstition so as to rule unchallenged. The priests also developed both esoteric and exoteric religious doctrines, with the latter being the idolatrous faith fed to the uneducated and unworthy masses. The esoteric doctrine proclaiming the unity of God was reserved for the select few who like the priests themselves had been initiated into the mysteries.
With the passing of time and changing social conditions, however, it became necessary for the priests to defend their own privileged positions within the communities which they then achieved by allowing a select minority of the population to carry arms so as to maintain the existing repression and exploitation of the majority of the people. While such a ploy was initially successful, it soon backfired when ambition within the ranks of the military led to an uprising wherein force of arms ended the monopoly of religious authority and ultimately brought about the institution of a monarchy.
But even within that new scenario religious influence remained unassailable and the priests, who in effect ruled alongside the monarchs, were allowed to retain their colleges, palaces, and temples as well as agricultural and commercial interests. Furthermore, having already established themselves as the bureaucrats of their societies, they continued to regulate every aspect of daily life by acting as advisors, magistrates, physicians, and teachers. They became a select and privileged minority who by paying no taxes and accepting donations, accumulated wealth, influence, and power that was exceeded only by the monarchs. They were thus in the ideal position through unrelenting vigilance and cunning to ensure compatibility between religious doctrines and ever-changing political and social conditions.
One of the initial stages in that ongoing evolution of socially compatible theology was the humanisation of the deities so that some of them were provided with human bodies to go with their animal, bird, and serpent heads. The aspects of nature, animal, and man as related to such worship, however, began to gradually fuse so that with the passing of time animal gods with human characteristics began to appear. Thoth, god of wisdom and truth, was given a human body but retained the head of an ibis; Anubis, who assisted Osiris as judge of the dead, was given a human body with the head of a Jackal; and Hathor, the goddess of childbirth and love, was given a human head and body but retained an element of her animal manifestation — a pair of cow’s horns. Then as the masses became more sophisticated and required gods with which they could identify, the gods were accordingly transformed and obligingly portrayed as having complete human forms. So it was that man created gods and endowed them with infinite powers that could then be used to explain the inexplicable mysteries which included that of the Creation.
Apart from their physical transformations, the gods were also subject to the reality that religion was very much a part of politics so that whenever a political fusion occurred between two or more communities, a fusion of their gods was also necessary. That fusion was achieved by grouping them into families such as that of the Osirian triad consisting of Osiris, Isis and Horus who had initially presided separately over three different tribes. Such groupings inevitably led to varying degrees of syncretisation whereby the main gods acquired multiple names and each other’s characteristics.
The situation was also further complicated by the introduction of West Asian cosmic theology which maintained that in the beginning there existed only the darkness of boundless primeval water that had remained unproductive for a considerable period of time before its spirit felt the urge to create the seed from which sprang Re, the sun god, within whose shining form was embodied the almighty power of the divine spirit.
Before spreading the cosmic faith to other parts of the valley from their main cult centre in sun-city which the Greeks later referred to as Heliopolis, the priests had to first somehow include within the system of cosmic theology, the widespread worship of existing popular gods such as Osiris, Isis, Horus, and others without actually subordinating the importance of their own positions. This was achieved by rewriting the religious texts so as to form the Heliopolitan Ennead whereby Re had apparently created the gods Shu and Tefnut; who in turn begat Seb and Nut; who in turn produced Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. Consequently as the gods and religious doctrines were customised to accommodate the political requirements of the ruling elite, the history of ancient Egyptian gods has no continuity and is full of interpolations that reflect the influence of changing political and social conditions over a period of many millenniums.
One such influence was that of the monarchy whose successive members became increasingly unhappy with only being kings who like everyone else, were also simply subject to birth, life, and death. It was therefore with the connivance of the priesthoods that a deification process — with its ramifications of immortality — was set into motion with subtle associations between the Pharaohs and the gods being gradually introduced. For instance the second Pharaoh of the Second Dynasty (c. 2890-2686 BCE) incorporated Re’s name with his own so as to become known as Re’neb. The Pharaohs of the Fifth Dynasty (c. 2494-2345 BCE) went even further by claiming to have been directly descended from Re as a result of a miraculous conception by a high priest’s wife who was no doubt penetrated by a strong shaft of sunlight.
The “miraculous conception” story — a convenient way of explaining how an ordinary human being could also be a god — has since been used by the priesthoods of other religions including Christianity. As always such blatant fabrications were lent authenticity by their inclusion in texts such as that of the depiction of Pharaonic afterlife in the Pyramid Texts discovered in the burial chamber of the Fifth Dynasty’s last Pharaoh, Unas. The hieroglyphics have Unas ascending a stairway of sunlight so as to join in immortality with his father, Re, from whose unquestioned supremacy flowed the Pharaonic Right to govern the land of Egypt.
Immortality was initially a privilege which only the Pharaohs could enjoy after death, embalmment, and reunification with their ancestors. A Pharaoh, however, could in his capacity as a god extend the privilege to high priests and favoured officials by allowing them to build their tombs within the confines of the royal necropolis, and to use secret formulae to facilitate their journey to the afterlife.
In their never-ending quest to retain their privileged positions, the ruling elite soon realised that the concept of immortality was a potentially powerful weapon with which to control an ever-growing and increasingly disaffected population. So as the advantages of retaining the privilege of afterlife for themselves began to be outweighed the benefits of making the afterlife an entitlement for everyone, the necessary theological adjustments were begun so that by the onset of the Middle Kingdom (c. 1550 - 1650 BCE) the concept of the soul’s immortality became universal.
By the time of the New Kingdom (c. 1550 - 1069 BCE) the Priesthood had produced The Book of the Dead which was designed to help people to prepare themselves for death and the consequences of the Final Judgment. Apart from preparations before death, it was also necessary — so as to ensure continued existence in the afterlife — that the body after death be kept intact as an “everlasting” depository that would provide a permanent place of refuge for the soul which would cease to exist in the event of the body being somehow destroyed. Consequently a period of seventy days was required for preparation and embalmment of the corpse during which time the soul wandered the underworld in search of Osiris, who, with the assistance of forty-two other deities known as the judges of the dead, would determine the soul’s fate in the afterlife.
On finally entering the hall of judgment, the soul was required to render a full account of past actions, and in the event of an unfavourable judgment, was sentenced to a life of thirst and hunger in the darkness of Amenti, an area of the underworld that was reserved for the damned. So the concept of accountability and possible damnation in the afterlife for one’s actions on earth was thus established, and its potential as a means of controlling the actions of the common people has since been fully exploited by all major religions. The Greek historian, Polibius (c. 200-118 BCE), author of books on the history of the Roman Republic and renowned for his ideas on the separation of powers in government which were later to be used in drafting the United States Constitution, had this to say about the subject:
The most important difference for the better, which the Roman Commonwealth appears to me to display, in their religious beliefs, for I conceive that what in other nations is looked upon as a reproach, I mean a scrupulous fear for the gods, is the very thing that keeps the Roman Commonwealth together. To such an extraordinary height is this carried among them in private and public business, that nothing could exceed it. Many people think this unaccountable, but in my opinion their object is to use it as a check upon the common people. Where it possible to form a state wholly of philosophers, such a custom would be unnecessary. But seeing that every multitude is fickle and full of lawless desires, unreasoning anger and violent passion, the only resource is to keep them in check by the mysterious terrors and scenic effects of this sort. Wherefore to my mind the ancients were not acting without purpose or at random when they brought in among the vulgar these opinions about the gods and the punishments of Hades.
While members of the ruling elite were prepared to share the concept of afterlife with the common people, they were not at all prepared to allow universal access to the celebration of the mysteries of which there were two levels of initiation with the three Lay, or Lower Degrees, having a selective membership. The seven Crata Repoa, or Higher Degrees, were restricted to Pharaohs, high priests, and some top officials. Each degree had passwords and signs of recognition and initiation ceremonies were usually conducted in the subterranean chambers of pyramids which by virtue of their shape were symbolic of the ascending flame that was a sacred tribute to the sun.
For initiation into the first of the Lower Degrees the Candidate’s instruction by a hierophant was followed by a lengthy period of fasting and rigorous silence which on successfully completing, the Candidate was ready to be fully initiated into the mysteries of Isis. He was first required to swear never to reveal what he was about to learn, and to then symbolically drink the water of Lethe — a river in Hades that according to mythology caused amnesia in those who drank from its waters — so as to forget all that he had known in his unregenerate state. This was followed by another symbolic drink from the water of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, so that he would remember the mysteries that had been revealed to him. He was finally introduced into the temple's inner sanctum to be familiarised with the secret signs and symbols before being formally pronounced an initiate of the mysteries of Isis.
The character of Isis, like that of other important ancient Egyptian deities, had evolved over many millenniums. Her portrayal as a faithful wife and loving mother who had conceived miraculously does not, however, appear to have become very pronounced until the Nineteenth Dynasty (c. 1295-1186 BCE) as is evident from numerous figurines of that period that have her seated on a throne clasping Horus to her left breast. There is no doubt, however, that the position she occupied as the ‘Mother of God’ was unique to her as no other goddess was shown suckling a child. All the attributes, qualities and powers of all the other goddesses were without exception combined in the person of Isis, and ancient Egyptian Scriptures state that ‘in the beginning there was Isis, Oldest of the Old, she was the Goddess from whom all becoming arose’. Though variously known by many names, Isis was ultimately addressed as follows:
Mistress of the gods, thou bearer of wings, thou lady of the red apparel, queen of the crowns of the South and North, only One . . . Superior to who the gods cannot be, thou mighty one of enchantments . . . Thou who art preeminent, mistress and lady of the tomb, Mother in the horizon of heaven . . . Praise be unto thee, O Lady, who art mightier than the gods, words of adoration rise unto thee from the Eight Gods of Hermopolis. The living souls who are in their hidden places praise the mystery of thee, O thou who art their mother, though source from which they sprang, who makest for them a place in the hidden Underworld, who makest sound their bones and preservest them from terror, who makest them strong in the abode of everlastingness.
Isis was the Egyptian throne with Pharaohs sitting on her lap for protection from her arms and wings. Her crown bore the symbol of Mu'at, or ‘foundation of the throne’ which also symbolised her alter ego Maat, the motherhood-principle called Right, Justice and Truth, or the All-seeing eye. One of the Psalms in the Bible (89:14) which states ‘righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne; steadfast love and truth go before you’, was copied form an Egyptian hymn to Isis.
The worship of Isis was very widespread and apart from becoming one of the principle goddesses of Rome, her cult was also to be found in many Mediterranean islands including Chios, Crete, Lesbos, Rhodes and Samos. Representations of her on many antiquities found in place such as Argos, Epirus, Corinth, Megara and Thessaly also bear witness to her popularity in numerous Greek cities where even the elite members of society felt the need to become initiates.
Though the mysteries of Isis continued to be performed by priestesses in the numerous temples built in her honour right up to the fourth century, her cult was eventually suppressed as a result of Christianity's ruthless elimination of other religious movements. Isis as a goddess, however, was not really eliminated but absorbed, and the identification of the Virgin Mary with her was part of a calculated syncretism that led to the creation of the Madonna cult. The similarities between them are numerous and include Mary's wanderings in Egypt which follow a comparable sequence of events to those experienced by Isis as described in the Metternich Stela Texts (c. 380-342 BCE), a magico-medical style that is part of the Egyptian Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. By bringing forth a human life which she then protected, fed and nourished, Isis became the personification of that great feminine capacity to conceive and to give birth to new life. Drawings and sculptures depicting Isis suckling her child became the model for the Christian Madonna and Child, and many of the qualities that were originally attributed to Isis were then given to the Mother of Christ. In order to supplant popular pagan deities the Christian Church Fathers had to ensure that their own man-made Christian idols had characteristics similar to those of the popular pagan deities whom they were destined to replace. The following quotes are from the Egyptian Religion: Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life (1900), Sir E.A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934):
In Osiris the Christian Egyptians found the prototype of Christ, and in the pictures and statues of Isis suckling her son Horus, they perceived the prototype of the Virgin Mary and her child. Never did Christianity find elsewhere in the world a people whose minds were so thoroughly well prepared to receive its doctrines as the Egyptians.
The Christian Trinity ousted the old triads of gods. Osiris and Horus were represented by our Lord Jesus Christ, Isis by the Virgin Mary, Set the god of evil by Diabolus [Satan] . . . and the various Companies of the gods by Archangels, and so on.
Information regarding initiation into the Second Degree is somewhat scarce but it is known that in the Third Degree the Candidate was required to take part in a lengthy re- enactment of the murder of Osiris by playing the role of the victim. This was followed by the revelation of secret doctrines including the ineffable name AL-OM-JAK, the sacred name of the deity symbolising solar fire as the combined principle on which all existence was dependent. The word OM, or its trilateral form AUM, signified the Deity's capacity to create, to preserve, and to destroy; and was represented by an equilateral triangle. Great powers were attributed to this ineffable name which was to be contemplated in silence so as to avoid the dire consequences that would result from its vocalisation.
Osiris was a god whose coming was announced by Three Wise Men — the three stars of Mintaka, Anilam, and Alnitak in the belt of Orion which pointed towards his star, Sirius (the significator of his birth) which “rose in the east” at the time of the seasonal flooding of the Nile. The Osirian tradition is traceable to the Orient where in Tibet the rising of the same star in the east —named Rishi-Agastya, after an ancient holy king— marks the annual event of “setting free the waters of the springs.” This same star was called Ephraim (or star of Jacob) by the ancient Hebrews. In Arabian, Persian, and Syrian astrology it was the Messaeil — the Messiah.
Osiris was without doubt the paradigm for Messiahs who was the god of gods who came to be regarded as the son of Re next to whom he sat as an equal in heaven. Egyptians regarded him as the only deity capable of bestowing upon them the gift of eternal life, and the events leading to his death were re-enacted in a passion play. His flesh was that of the Saviour and Truth, which when eaten in the form of communion wheatmeal cakes, made them just like him. The ancient Egyptians viewed the horrible consequences of death and its decaying aftermath with fear and trepidation and so believed that only Osiris could save them. Wallis Budge noted that the Egyptians believed according to the following:
The resurrection of the body in a changed and glorified form, which would live to all eternity in the company of the spirits and souls of the righteous in a kingdom ruled by a being who was of divine origin, but who had lived upon the earth, and had suffered a cruel death at the hands of his enemies, and had risen from the dead, and had become a God and king of the world which was beyond the grave . . . Although they believed in all these things and proclaimed their belief with almost passionate earnestness, they seemed never to have freed themselves from a hankering for amulets and talismans, and magical names, and words of power, and seem to have trusted in these to save their souls and bodies, both living and dead, with something of the same confidence which they placed in the death and resurrection of Osiris. A matter of surprise is that they seem to see nothing incongruous in such a mixture of magic and religion.
This same mixture of magic and religion still exists worldwide to this day with even Christians displaying the same ancient Egyptian hankering for crucifixes, Saint Christopher medals, holy pendants, superstition-based incantations, holy name invocations, holy water blessings, saintly relics, and even the rosaries which Christianity copied from the ancient Egyptians.
The fact that early Christianity was more readily accepted in Egypt than in other places comes as no surprise when one considers that it was from the characteristics of Osiris that the Christ figure had evolved; and that from texts relating to the life of Osiris that many Biblical passages were plagiarised. It is for example evident that Psalm 23 was based on an Egyptian text that called on Osiris the Good Shepherd to lead the dead to the “green pastures” and “still waters” of the nefer-nefer land so as to restore the soul to the body and provide protection in the valley of the shadow of death (the Tuat). Even the Lord's Prayer was certainly influenced by a hymn to Osiris that began “O Amen, O Amen, who art in heaven” and which also ended with an “Amen.”
The words by Jesus “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24) were from an Osirian tenet that a dying man is like a corn of wheat “which falls into the earth in order to draw from its bosom a new life.” The Osirian text telling of the numerous Arits (Mansions) in the blessed land of Father Osiris is also apparently uttered by Jesus “In my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2). Just as Osirian worshippers were promised that they would rule the spirit-souls (angels) in heaven, so too were the Saint Paul’s followers promised by him that they would rule even the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). Even the healing by Jesus of a nobleman’s daughter was long preceded by an Osirian priest who cured a princess. Numerous such examples exist as a testament to the popularity of a god who in spite of being a figment of creative human imagination, became the obligatory prototype for any other man-made god who wished to replace him.
The portrayal of an eminent man or deity who as a member of a trinity, first perishes as the victim of an evil deed, and then resurrects into a greater glory, is by now an all too familiar theme and figures not only in religious legends, but also as part of initiation ceremonies in secular secret societies. Of the various legends relating to Osiris, it is perhaps the one by the Greek historian, Plutarch (c. 46-120), Peri Isodos Kai Osiridos, which best echoes the consensus of available accounts.
It is alleged that Osiris was a wise and just king who after civilising his own people through instruction in religious worship, the rule of law, and land cultivation, then proceeded, by means of reason rather than force of arms, to do likewise for the rest of humanity. While Osiris was carrying out this noble mission overseas, Isis, who was both his wife and sister, watched over the affairs of state so carefully, that the political ambitions of their envious brother, Seth, were completely frustrated.
By the time of Osiris' return, however, Seth had already devised a plan which was put into effect at a banquet when some of Seth's co-conspirators brought in an exquisitely ornamented chest which unbeknown to Osiris, had been made to accommodate his precise measurements. The chest was then playfully offered as a gift to the person whom it would best fit, and after some of those present had gone along with the charade, Osiris unwittingly stretched himself out in the chest which was then immediately slammed and nailed shut, covered with molten lead, and thrown into the waters of the Nile wherein it floated out to sea before drifting ashore at Byblos — present-day Lebanon — to become lodged in a Tamarisk bush.
On learning of the chest's location, Isis simply parted the waters for her journey to Byblos — thereby providing the story line for Bindumati (Kali as the mother of bindu or Spark of Life) whose miraculous crossing of the River Ganges was also emulated by Moses — and eventually retrieved the chest which she then laid to rest in an isolated part of Egypt. The annual flooding of the Nile was said to have been caused by a teardrop from the eye of Isis as she lamented the deceased Osiris. The ensuing annual Nile Festival took place on the ‘Night of the Teardrop’ and was subsequently taken up by Muslims in the June festival of Lelat al-Nuktah (Night of the Drop). Sometime later Seth accidentally found the chest while out hunting and in a fit of rage had the corpse cut into fourteen pieces that were subsequently scattered throughout the land.
Isis once again set about finding her husband's remains and managed to locate every part except the phallus which had apparently been thrown into the Nile to be devoured by the fish. She therefore created and consecrated an imitation which by her decree was commemorated annually by the ceremonial procession of an Ark containing the seeds of various plants, a winnowing fan, and a representation of Osiris' pudendum. This gave rise to the worship of the phallus which was comparable in concept to that of the worship of the lingam in India.
After gathering Osiris's remains, Isis murmured powerful incantations that brought life to his body, and by raising up ‘the prostate form of him whose heart was still’, she was able to take of his essence and thereby become full with child. In spite of his miraculous resurrection, however, Osiris was unable to resume his earthly life and instead went on to rule as Lord of the underworld and judge of the dead. Seth in the meantime took possession of the kingdom and imprisoned Isis who, with the assistance of the Seven Scorpion Goddesses managed to escape to the Papyrus Swamps in the Nile Delta. According to one version which sounds familiar, Isis applied to a rich woman for a night's lodging but was turned away and was eventually obliged to give birth to her son, Horus, on a cot made from papyrus plants after obtaining help from a poor family. She then raised Horus secretly and prepared him for the day when he would avenge his father's murder by defeating Seth in battle to become the new Pharaoh.
The myth of Horus’ birth, however, was not confined to ancient Egyptian religion and is also to be found in the narratives of many other god-kings and eminent heroes. King Sargon of Akkad (the Akkadian Empire was a region in ancient Mesopotamia) was the virgin-born son of a temple maiden who set him afloat on the river in a basket of rushes. Sargon was rescued by the divine midwife, Akki the Water Drawer — now transformed into Aquarius — and then had to overcome the traditional obstacle of a sacred king: the menace of early destruction from an incumbent ruler, time spent in wilderness exile, evil spirit temptations, and finally ascension to the throne as spouse of the Goddess Ishtar.
This theme of a fatherless eminence born of ‘waters’ (Maria) became universal and was repeated in many myths including that of Jason, Joshua son of Nun, Oedipus, Perseus, and Trakhan of Gilgit (a Central Asian dynasty). Such narratives were mostly based on the Goddess Cunti (Kali-the-cosmic-yoni) myth which had her give birth to the sun god and place him in a basket of rushes and set it afloat on the Ganges River. It was this selfsame sun god who was fathered by Apollo and reborn in Athens to the virgin Cruesa who left him in the obligatory woven basket.
So the concept of the “virgin birth” became an essential element for the creation of divine beings because the ancient religious scribes obviously felt that no self-respecting divine being would deign to have sexual intercourse with a mere mortal, let alone one who was a woman. And so long before Mary’s “Immaculate Conception” of Jesus, a whole lot of other presumably ‘untouched’ women where used as receptacles for the foetal development of divine beings.
Whenever broaching the subject of the mysteries in his writings, the Greek historian Herodotus (c. 485-425 BCE), always does so with caution and explains his reluctance by recounting the misfortunes of another who had been so foolish as to utter secrets that had been learnt through initiation. In The Golden Ass, which is in effect a description of the mysteries under the guise of a fable, Apuleius, the Berber Latin prose writer, is not much more forthcoming. When the narrative’s protagonist, Lucius, regains his human shape and is initiated into the mysteries of Isis, he divulges very little:
Perhaps, inquisitive reader, you will very anxiously ask me what was said and done? I would tell you if it could be lawfully told. I approached to the confines of death, and having trod on the threshold of Proserpine, at midnight I saw the sun shining with a splendid light.
Lucius also discovers that he is to receive instruction in the mysteries of “the great god, and supreme father of the gods, the invincible Osiris,” and goes on to say:
My head was decorously encircled with a crown, the shining leaves of the palm tree projecting from it like rays of light, I celebrated the most joyful day of my initiation by delightful, pleasant and facetious banquets.
In a dream he sees one of the officiating priests who walked with a limp, the ankle bone of his left foot being a little bent, as a sign by which Lucius might know him. In another of his works, Apologia, Apuleius writes that:
If anyone happens to be present who has been initiated into the same rites as myself, if he will give me a sign, he shall then be at liberty to hear what it is that I keep with so much care.
Knowledge of the Higher Degrees or Crata Repoa is also based on a compilation of initiation facts sourced from the allusions of many separate ancient writers. Entrance to the Crata Repoa was by invitation only — usually from the Pharaoh himself — and required the Candidate to be continually tried during many years of work and study before eventually being accepted as a Propheta in the Seventh Degree where he was addressed as “Saphenath Pancah,” or the man who knows the secrets. His acceptance entitled him to take part in elections for high office and read all the sacred books in the Ammonite language after which Amman, the capitol of present-day Jordan was named. Apart from a square cap for his tonsured head and a full-length, white-stripped tunic called an Etangi, he was also given a cross whose shape and special significance was related to the waters of the Nile.
The cross was in fact a small replica of an upright pole with horizontal bars that was fixed into the riverbed of the Nile as a means of judging the level of inundation. As a result of life in ancient Egypt being dependent on the flooding of the Nile, this form of measure for inundation came to be viewed as the symbol of life, health and prosperity.
Consequently the Tau cross — Tau being Greek for the letter T — topped by a circle, was the ‘Cross of Life’ representing the union of the male and female sexual symbols. It was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as an essential life-charm on whose possession depended the life of every human and divine being. Ancient Egyptian depictions have goddesses, gods and Pharaohs clutching such crosses in their right hands long before anyone ever heard of, or saw the Christian version which did not appear in Christian art until the fifth century. Needless to say, the Christian version dropped the female symbol of the circle and retained only that of the male. Such bias against females within Christianity has lasted to this day.
Variations of this cross —also known as an ankh, or ansate cross— were later adopted as an emblem by other religious and secular organisations including the Knights Templar. The Triple Tau, for example, is now regarded by Royal Arch Masons as the emblem of emblems with “a depth that reaches to the creation of the world and all that is therein.”
Sometime during the second millennium BCE a large group of light-skinned Aryans from Persia migrated in a southeasterly direction through Afghanistan and into India which was mostly inhabited by dark-skinned Dravidians. The migrating Aryans introduced a Dark Age to an otherwise thriving civilisation where their priests — like those of Western Europe in a later Dark Age — devised a caste system to relegate the indigenous inhabitants to a lower status, and to preserve that social order by claiming divine ordinance.
The caste system doctrines promulgated the idea that all those born into the lower ranks were living out a necessary punishment for sins committed in a previous life which they may not recall. Their duty was to accept their fate without any objection while toiling and obeying their superiors so as to win promotion in the next life. It was in effect slavery with a carrot and stick Approach.
The migrating Aryans were nomadic agriculturalists consisting of three main castes of priests, warriors and husbandmen. They initially settled around the northern branches of the Indus River, but then fought their way southwards to create more settlements in the central and southern parts of the country. Assimilation soon followed and the Aryan language gradually became part of the extensive folklore which in being passed from generation to generation, helped to develop Sanskrit, the language used in the most ancient and sacred religious writings collectively known as the Vedas.
Early Vedic religion involved the deification and worship of natural elements with each element often being represented by more than one deity so that the sun was for instance variously venerated as Vishnu, ‘the mighty one; Bhaga, “the bestower of boons”; Savitar, “the enlivener”; Pushan, “he who causeth to flourish”; and Surya, “the glowing one.” The gods in their abundance, however, were not worshipped by the priests who like their ancient Egyptian counterparts did not subscribe to the idolatry of the duped masses whom they considered incapable of either comprehending or observing the pure religion of the spirit which in its spoken and written form was the jealously guarded possession of a small circle of initiated men. It is evident in the following passage from the Maha-nirvana that those chosen for initiation were taught to disregard such idolatrous inventions:
Numerous figures, corresponding with the nature of divers powers and quality, were invented for the benefit of those who are wanting in sufficient understanding . . . We have no notion of how the Eternal Being is to be described: He is above all that mind can apprehend, above nature . . . That only one that was never defined by language, and gave to language all its meaning, he is the Supreme Being and no partial thing that man worships . . . This Being extends over all things. He is mere spirit without corporal form; without extension of any size, unimpressionable, and without any organs; he is pure, perfect, omniscient, omnipresent, the ruler of the intellect and the soul of the whole world.
Despite assimilation, the caste system persisted and the priests evolved into the Brahmins from whose supposedly deep appreciation of the values that mattered most to humanity, emanated the power that governed every aspect of community life. The Ksatriyas, or warriors, provided the political and military leadership that maintained social order and enhanced the material welfare of the community. The necessary base for social cohesion was down to the artisans, farmers and merchants who as a group were known as the Vaisyas. It was from the Vaisyas that a fourth group of unskilled labourers, or Sudras, came into being to carry out the menial tasks which in turn produced a people of such low status, that they were called Harijans or ‘untouchables,’ and as such they were not allowed to associate or even worship with their fellow human beings because the nature of their ‘impure’ work was anathema to the purity of the Brahmin religion.
Such discrimination appears even in the Bible where it is written that outcasts could not be touched, but were permitted to exist as ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ (Joshua 9:21). While Yahweh’s Jewish scribes insinuated that traditions of the caste system had been passed down from their ancestors, they were in truth borrowed from the already established Asian caste system.
Brahmanism, the orthodox religion of India, developed in three main stages starting with the Age of the Vedas and their Ancillary Literature. Next came Brahmanism and the doctrines of the Upanishads — texts with esoteric embodiment that were probably written between 400 and 200 BCE — which held that God was the transcendent reality of which man, nature and the material universe were manifestations. Finally came the Age of the Buddhist and Jainist Heresies which prompted a Brahmin counter-reformation in the form of relentless and sanguinary persecution that led to the rise of Hindu sects.
Acceptance into the priesthood required initiation into the mysteries whose celebration through progressive Degrees was regulated by the different phases of the moon. The main part for each Degree of an initiation ceremony was invariably conducted in a darkened environment such as a subterranean cavern or man-made excavation. Flashing lights, screams and other frightening effects were used to create fear, sensory confusion and a hypnotic effect which facilitated indoctrination. During the time lapse of many weeks between each successive Degree, the Candidate was kept busy with constant ablutions, fasting, prayer and study under the tutelage and spiritual guidance of a Brahmin.
After completing the long and arduous process, the Candidate’s acceptance into the priesthood culminated with him being introduced into a brightly lit Holy of Holies with fragrance, soothing music and a blazing fire representing paradise. The susceptive Candidate then knelt before the fire and was encouraged to believe that he would see the Deity’s appearance within the pyramidal flame. Thus regenerated, he was invested with a tiara, a white robe and the sacred cord; his forehead was marked and on his breast was placed a tau cross whose vertical shaft represented the higher celestial states of being, while the horizontal bar represented the lower, earthly states; and finally he was entrusted with the sacred word whose trilateral form represented the Deity’s power to create, preserve and destroy as personified by Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.
Thus was the Candidate elevated to the position of Brahmin: a position that was attainable only to a man who belonged to the first three thrice-born classes, and of the four original divisions of the Hindu body: a position that allegedly possessed supernatural powers that could control and even change the course of cosmic events by means of rituals and sacrifices; a position of esteem and unchallenged authority; and a contemptible position because of that position’s own contempt for “those who are wanting in sufficient understanding,” for those who are Untouchables, and for those who are women.
It was the Brahmins who around 200 BCE composed the self-serving rules which they legitimised by attribution to Manu who was the Hindu version of Adam, or First Man. The Code of Manu, or Manusmrti, is the collection of laws based on custom, precedent and the teaching of the Vedas. It is alleged — as was the case with Moses — that Manu learnt these laws from the Creator himself which he in turn passed on to the sages who were by definition profoundly wise men. Despite the written assertions by such wise men it would not be unreasonable to wonder what kind of benevolent and just God would have been responsible for the iniquitous laws of which the following are but a few examples:
In childhood a female must be subject to her father; in youth, to her husband; when her lord (husband) is dead, to her sons; a woman must never be independent. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband or sons. By leaving them she would make both her and her husband’s families contemptible.
Manu Verses 148, 149
Him to whom her father may give, or her brother with the father’s permission, she shall obey as long as she lives. Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.
Manu Verses 151, 154
Though Mahatma (Great Soul) Gandhi to some extent championed women’s rights and travelled throughout India condemning the degradation of the Untouchables, little has changed to this day with the caste system and religious intolerance still prevailing. Irrespective of the religion that an Indian belongs to — Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jainist, Muslim, Sikh, or otherwise — he or she will regard their caste as being the primary factor in their identities as Indians rather than their religion.
Even in Western nations like Britain, the tradition of forced marriages persists within South Asian communities where young girls can often be falsely lured to India, kidnapped, held against their will, beaten, and in some cases even killed by their relatives. Those who rebel against such an abhorrent tradition are regarded as having brought shame on the family and are invariably punished with “honour” attacks that can include dousing with acid, abduction, mutilations, and beatings and in some cases, even murder. It would be hard to find another animal species capable of punishing its offspring with the same degree of barbarity. But maybe that is because other animal species do not worship the false idols of hate-inducing religions.
Despite its abundance of gods and religious fervour, India is rated as one of the most hazardous countries in the world for women and young girls with high rates of human trafficking, prostitution and rape. The cultural preference for male rather than female offspring has also encouraged foeticide and infanticide with an estimated 50 million females having gone missing over the past century. Though India may be the world’s largest ‘democracy’ and is hailed as a rapidly developing country, it must be said that its flagrant disregard for the human rights of women and the lower castes is a disgrace even by the abysmal standards of its own false gods and gender-biased religious doctrines.
The extent to which priesthoods were prepared to go with theological fabrications that were customised to gain power, wealth and control over the masses was by no means confined to Egypt. The priests of ancient Persia who came to be known as the Magi were equally manipulative with their own primitive customs and superstitions. Initially the Magi were not priests in the strict sense of the word, but shamans of a distinct tribal caste from Media which lay south of the Caspian Sea. The Medes like the Elamites from the nearby Kingdom of Elam, were aboriginal and in no way connected to either the Aryans or Semites who at that time shared most of Western Asia between them. As Shamans they did not subscribe to any established or organised form of religion and instead preached that the world was inhabited by both good and evil spirits which only they could control. Their rituals included both fire and animal sacrifices that were invariably accompanied by drunken shouting and dancing after liberal consumption of an intoxicating drink made from the fermented juice of the haoma plant.
Apart from being avid practitioners of consanguineous (related to or descended from the same ancestors) marriage which they rated highly for its accumulative benefits, the Median shamans also claimed expertise in the occult, practiced divination, foretold the future, interpreted dreams, transmitted and received omens, read signs in the flight of birds and the movement of the stars, and preached that they were the only seers capable of recognising the coming of the Messiah’s star which would correctly identify the Divine Child on the occasion of his birth.
The term “magus,” or priest, was not one which they had immediately acquired, and it is said to have been later acquired from Maja, or mirror, wherein according to Indian legend, Brahma, the Hindu god, from all eternity beheld himself and all his powers and wonders. The Maja implied a formation of a shape, a figure, or a creature from the potency of primeval and unstructured living matter. A Magus therefore was a person who studied the functional aspects of eternal life. It was from the term “magus” that words such as “image” and “magic” came to us via the Latin and Greek languages.
The ancients attributed mystic powers to any liquid or solid reflective surface and there were strict prohibitions on disturbing water in which a person was gazing as such a disturbance would supposedly endanger the soul. Endangerment of the soul-reflection was the actual basis for the Narcissus myth and not the misinterpretation that suggests excessive self-love. Apart from the superstition that broken mirrors will result in bad luck for seven years, there were numerous Christian superstitions that connect mirrors with death because mirrors do not reflect the images of demons and other creatures without souls. When there is a death in the house some Christians still to this day cover or turn mirrors to the wall in the belief that mirrors can delay or detain the souls of the dead while on their journey.
When Cyrus the Great invaded Media in 550 BCE during the establishment of the Persian Empire, the wily shamans made an unsuccessful bid for political supremacy by posing for some considerable time as the champions of the people against the Aryan aggressors. Their incessant quest for power was not only maintained throughout the reigns of Cyrus and his son, Cambysses, but also carried over into the first years of rule under Darius (521-486 BCE) when the Magus Gaumata, masquerading as Smerdis, the brother of the deceased Canbysses, ceased power while Darius was overseas. Darius, however, regained control by putting Gaumata and associates to death.
Having therefore failed to gain power by political means, the Magi immediately proceeded to insinuate themselves as priests within the ranks of Persian nature-worship by emphasising the more obviously common aspects of both religions such as the veneration of fire and the sun. They also appear to have had no qualms over the self-imposed suppression of their own aboriginal affinities even to the extent of adopting the Persian funerary custom of encasement in wax as opposed to their own tradition of exposing the dead to scavenging animals and carrion birds. The tradition, however, was later reintroduced once their usurped position of theological eminence had been established and no religious ceremony could be performed without their presence. The Greek historian, Herodotus (c. 485-425 BCE), accurately records that by the time of his travels, the Magi had compensated for the failure of their political endeavours by becoming indispensable to the ritual of Persian religion. This they achieved by not only highjacking the more popular aspects of nature-worship, but also by tenaciously attaching themselves to the religion of the Persian prophet, Zarathushtra, or more commonly known as Zoroaster.
According to Zoroastrian tradition, the beginning of creation was achieved by the emanation of light by the Eternal, from whence issued the King of Light, Ahura Mazda, who by means of speech created the pure world, of which he was the preserver and judge. He was the Supreme Being, or Eternal Life, otherwise known as “Time without Limits” because no origin was assigned to him. He was enshrined in his glory with attributes and properties that were incomprehensible to human understanding, and to him belonged silent adoration. His first creations were threefold and began with the creation in his own image and likeness of six genii called amshaspands, who surrounded his throne and were his messengers to lesser spirits and men; and to whom they represented purity and perfection.
The second creation was that of the twenty-eight yazatas, who as models of virtue and interpreters of men’s prayers, watched over the happiness, innocence and preservation of the world. The third creation was that of the far more numerous farohars, who represented the perceptions of Ahura Mazda before he proceeded with the creation of material things. They were in principle the spirits, or “guardian angels” of men, and the concept of their alleged existence was later to be adopted by the Greeks and the Romans.
Apart from Ahura Mazda, there was also Ahriman, who as the second-born (twin) emanation from primitive light by the Eternal, was also initially pure, but being very ambitious and haughty, he soon gave way to intense jealousy that was deserving of punishment. The Supreme Being consequently condemned him to the region of darkness for twelve thousand years, a period considered sufficient for ending the strife between good and evil. Ahriman in the meantime created numerous genii, daevas, who plagued the world with disease, guilt and misery. They represented cruelty, covetousness, impurity and violence. They were the demons of cold, hunger, leanness, ignorance, poverty and calumny. They provided Western Europe with the basic myth of Lucifer’s downfall with its dualistic division of the universe between the forces of good and evil. The prediction by Persian prophets that Ahriman and his daevas would be defeated in the Apocalypse, the final destruction of the world, was also adopted by Judaeo-Christian prophets as was described in the Book of Revelation.
Ahura Mazda reigned for three thousand years before deciding to create the material world — in the same six stages that were later to appear in the book of Genesis — and then produced the initial being from whose seed the first human pair were formed, Meshia and Meshiane; but first the woman and then the man were seduced by Ahriman who corrupted their natures by feeding them certain fruits.
Ahriman also altered the natures of other forms of life by aligning insects, serpents, wolves and all other kinds of vermin against the good creatures. At the end of twelve thousand years, however, when the world is no longer afflicted by the spirits of darkness, there would appear three prophets whose power and wisdom would restore the world to its original pristine beauty. Ahriman, the demons and all men — no mention of women — will be purified in a sea of liquid metal, and the law of Ahura Mazda will prevail everywhere.
So by publicly feigning acceptance of Zoroastrian traditions, the former Median shamans managed to establish their own worthiness as proselytes to serve at the altar of native Persians: and in so doing, were able to gradually and covertly hijack Zoroastrianism by introducing many aspects of their own primitive beliefs. Consequently as the transformation from shamans to Magi took place, drunken orgies and blatant deceptions gave way to a more acceptable public image that even impressed Greek and Roman scholars who commented favourably on various characteristics of Magian behaviour such as demeanour, discipline, ethics, laws of purity and powers of divination. Their reputation had become so widespread as a result of the Persian Diaspora in Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia and Armenia, that even in the infancy narrative of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-2) it was felt — despite Christian hostility towards the Magi — that the child’s alleged divinity had to be substantiated by including the presence of the three Magi who had been guided by a brilliant star. The frequent Christian depiction of these three wise men bearing gifts as a token of their homage subsequently became known as the “Adoration of the Magi.”
Becoming a member of such a religious elite, however, was not easy and after lustrations by fire, water and honey, the Candidate had to endure in silent solitude numerous probations that culminated in a fast of fifty consecutive days. The mental rather than the physical strain of the trials often caused varying degrees of derangement whose effects on occasion proved permanent. After having survived the novitiate, the Candidate was armed with various talismans for protection during his journey through a series of adjoining chambers where intermittent flashes of light and thunderous noise were accompanied by attacks from other members disguised as wild animals. The Candidate was then soothed with pleasant scents and melodious music; had a snake placed on his breast as a token of regeneration; and witnessed a display of the wicked torments of Hades. On finally being congratulated and welcomed into the illuminated Holy of Holies which sparkled with precious metal ornaments, the Candidate had to undertake not to divulge the secret rites of Zoroaster to profane outsiders. An Archmagus seated on a throne and surrounded by the dispensers of the mysteries, then revealed the sacred words of which the Tetractys, or name of God, was the principle. The Tetractys is analogous to the Tetragrammaton, or name of the Deity as revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. Transliterated Y H W H and regarded by the Jews as being too sacred to pronounce, it is articulated as Yahweh or Jehovah.
These initiation stages came to be known as the ascent of the ladder of perfection and subsequently gave rise to the legend of Rustam, the Persian Hercules who mounted a Simurgh, a monstrous griffin in Persian Mythology, and undertook the conquest of Mazendaraun which was reputed to be the perfect earthly paradise. After fighting his way through many dangers along a road of seven stages, Rustam finally reached the White Giant who smote all who assailed him with blindness. Rustam, however, proved triumphant and with three drops of the giant’s blood restored sight to all the captives. The blindness with which the captives had been smitten was symbolic of the Candidate’s mental blindness before initiation.
Zoroastrianism under the authority of the Magi flourished in Persia for many centuries until 651 when Persian sovereignty was ceded to the Islamic invaders, and what was left of Zoroaster’s teachings soon gave way to those of Mohammed. The severity of the ensuing persecutions forced many Zoroastrians to flee to remote regions with the majority settling in Northwest India where they are to this day known as Parsis, or Persians.
It is estimated that there are about 150,000 Zoroastrians worldwide with the majority residing in India (70,000), Iran (25,000), United States (11,000), Afghanistan (10,000), Canada (5,000), and the United Kingdom (4,200). When the British rock band Queen’s lead vocalist Freddie Mercury — who was a Zoroastrian — died in 1991, it was not possible in Britain to lay him naked in a “Tower of Silence” on a mountain or hilltop to be devoured by carrion birds, and he was instead simply cremated.
For those Zoroastrians who courageously remained in Persia, Iran since 1935, persecution has been a way of life and they are referred to as gabhr, or infidel. Whether or not the former shamans of Media allowed themselves to be martyred for Zoroastrianism, is not known. But one must wonder if those wily shamans who survived the Aryan invasion and then embraced whatever religious beliefs were fashionable at the time, would have had much difficulty in making the necessary theological adjustments to become ardent and influential members of the Islamic community: a community where religious laws written by men, encouraged men to regard women as being deficient in intelligence and no better than pieces of property.
Despite the biblical assertion that God chose Abraham to be the father of a people that were special and would be an example to the rest of the world — the present-day barbaric oppression of the Palestinian people would suggest that many Israeli Jews have not read the script — many scholars regard Jewish history as having begun with the Exodus from Egypt and that anything previous to that event in the Bible was a collection of syncretic mythologies based on numerous non-Jewish sources.
It would appear that the expulsion of the Jews from Egypt following an outbreak of plague — likely to have been leprosy — was the historical basis for the myths surrounding Moses. Manetho, the Egyptian priest and historian who during the third century BCE wrote the Aegyptiaca (History of Egypt), said that alien tribes in northwest Egypt were lepers and unclean. The historian Tacitus (c. 56 - c. 117) wrote as follows:
Most writers, however, agree in stating that once a disease, which horribly disfigured the body, broke out over Egypt; that king Bocchoris, seeking a remedy, consulted the oracle of Hammon, and was bidden to cleanse his realm, and to convey into some foreign land this race detested by the gods. The people, who had been collected after diligent search, finding themselves left in a desert, sat for the most part in a stupour of grief, till one of the exiles, Moyses by name, warned them not to look for any relief from God or man, forsaken as they were of both, but to trust to themselves, taking for their heaven-sent leader that man who should first help them to be quit of their present misery. They agreed, and in utter ignorance began to advance at random. Nothing, however, distressed them so much as the scarcity of water, and they had sunk ready to perish in all directions over the plain, when a herd of wild asses was seen to retire from their pasture to a rock shaded by trees. Moyses followed them, and, guided by the appearance of a grassy spot, discovered an abundant spring of water. This furnished relief. After a continuous journey for six days, on the seventh they possessed themselves of a country, from which they expelled the inhabitants, and in which they founded a city and a temple.
Making the Jewish people a scapegoat for the plague in Egypt may have been the first of such injustices, but it was not to be the last. The great plagues of the fourteenth century were also blamed on Jews who were said to have caused the contamination of water sources with a mixture of Holy Communion wafers stolen from Christian churches and the menstrual blood of Jewish women. The Jewish quarter in Paris was subject to looting and vandalism by rioters in 1382. A “Holy War against Jews” fomented by the Archdeacon of Seville in 1391 witnessed the storming of the ghetto, the destruction of synagogues, and the brutal murder of an estimated 41,000 innocent people. During the Black Death, a pandemic that ravaged Europe (1347-1351), 12,000 Jews perished in Bavaria; two thousand were burned in Strasbourg; and 160 were burned in a trench at Chinon (central France).
This unjust persecution of Jews was encouraged by the Christian Church to divert attention from the emerging idea that a malevolent God was responsible for the plagues which by the end of the century had wiped out almost half of Europe’s population. The true cause of the plague bacillus probably originated on trade ships from China and then carried on Crusader ships from the Holy Land that unwittingly transported millions of Oriental black rats. Rather than attempt to eradicate the problem, resentful Christian authorities — in their panic, fear, and dereliction of duty — chose instead to resort to the extermination of Jews. Such atrocities were then justified by customised myths that portrayed Jews unfavourably.
Though it is probable that some Jews may have been expelled from ancient Egypt because of the plague, it is highly unlikely that the number expelled was anywhere near the number that was subsequently claimed by Jewish scribes. According to the various parts of the narrative in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, it was in c. 1300 BCE that the Exodus of some 600,000 oppressed Israelite slaves took place when led by Moses — with neither map nor directions from the God that chose them — then wandered through the wilderness for forty years before settling in the promised land. Unfortunately there is no mention or record of this Exodus in ancient Egyptian history and had such a momentous event actually occurred — 600,000 people would in those days have represented at least a quarter of the Egyptian population— then surely it would have warranted being diligently recorded or at least mentioned. So while the Exodus story is discounted by Egyptologists, archaeologists and even Jewish scholars, it has nonetheless served to historically cast Jews as the perennial victims.
As for the name Moses, it was Egyptian as in Thutmose or Ahmoses, and meant “unfathered son of a princess.” The Moses myth was modeled on the Egyptian demigod Heracles of Canopus — Ancient Egyptian coastal town located on the River Nile Delta — who was drawn from an arc in the Nile bulrushes, grew up to perform many great deeds, and eventually died on a mountaintop.
Moses’s fortuitous meeting with Sinai’s god — the Chaldean moon-god Sin — suggests that the Jews attempted to settle in that god’s Cainite-Midianite mining community on the Sinai Peninsula, or land of Sinim (“Land of the Moon”) whose consort was Mother Inana, who annually turned Sumer’s (present-day Iraq) waters into blood. Moses, who climbed the holy mountain where Sin dwelt, divulged that Sin was the same as the God of Abraham who apparently did not know him by that name (Exodus 6:3). Ancient documents show that the name Abraham was itself a synonym for Ab-Sin, or “Moon-Father.”
Abraham’s God (Father Brahm) introduced himself to Moses with the words ‘I Am That I Am’, thereby echoing the Brahmanic Tat sat’s ‘I Am That that Is.’ He also commanded, ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground’. (Exodus 3:5). The removal of footwear was an ancient Hindu custom — also attributed to ancient Egyptian and Roman witches — which in India is still practiced in temples where worshippers go barefoot because of the belief that emanations from the holy ground can enter the body via the feet.
The narrative of Moses allegedly being given the tablets of stone was borrowed from the Canaanite god Baal-Berith, “God of the Covenant” — later to be regarded as a devil by Christian demonology — and the tablets’ Ten Commandments followed the commandments of the Buddhist Decalogue. In ancient times such commandments were generally given by a deity on a mountain top as was the case with the Greek Titan Queen of heaven, Mother Rhea of Mount Dicte (in Crete), and Zoroaster who received his tablets on a mountaintop from Ahuru Mazda.
People are still being misled into believing that Moses wrote the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament) despite the fact that scholars have long known that they were written by priestly scribes in Jerusalem late in the post-exilic period — between the end of Jewish exile in Babylon in 538 BCE and 1 CE — with a view to creating a mythic history for their nation based on the customs, pronouncements and legends of others. Because the character of Moses was conceived with a non-Jewish name and a selection of different myths, he remains shrouded in mystery that casts doubt on his actual existence.
Other groundless Judaic traditions include the common assumption that the hexagram, with its two intersecting equilateral triangles, has been the emblem of Judaism since the time of David or Solomon. Though variously known as the Magen David (Shield of David), Star of David, or Solomon’s Seal, the hexagram had nothing to do with either of them and was not even mentioned by Judaic scribes until the twelfth century. Furthermore its official acceptance as the Judaic emblem did not occur until the seventeenth century after it had been part of the medieval Cabala’s system of sex worship.
The symbol originally represented the union between males and females in Tantric Hinduism; with the upward pointing triangle representing the former and the downward representing the latter. The borrowing of this Tantric Hindu symbol was only a very small part of a lengthy and concerted effort by religious scribes to create a Jewish nation whose mythic history incorporated the traditions, maxims and legends of other religions and nations. Unfortunately Judaism has never been content to be just a religion, it has also always wanted its adherents to regard themselves, and to be regarded by others as a distinct race whom God had chosen. By growing up and living in accordance with such a premise — those who believe they are ‘superior’ by virtue of having been chosen God — will invariably create a barrier between themselves and the less fortunate “unchosen” who will neither regard them with respect nor shower them with love.
The concept of a master race or chosen people is loaded with explosive potential for continual human conflict. History has repeatedly shown that large scale human suffering is the inevitable consequence whenever a people believe that their own ethnicity or religion is superior to that of others. While the extermination of six million chosen Semitic people by a Germanic master race ranks high as one of mankind’s most abhorrent atrocities, the annual genocide by neglect resulting in the death of millions of children under the age of five is by contrast worthy of little if any attention when compared to the Holocaust industry which is a regular feature of present-day media output. So rather than having a concerted worldwide effort to address the urgent needs of millions of young children who are born into dire environments that are deficient in the most basic of human needs and rights, vast resources are instead wasted on financing endless ethnic and religious conflicts of which the greater majority are conducted in the name of God.
Other misconceptions include the Hebrew Bible’s assertion that Solomon beseeched God as follows: “Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people and to know good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). God apparently replied: “Since you have asked for this and not for long life and wealth for yourself, nor have you asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked . . .” (1 Kings 3:11-12). Despite being on speaking terms with the one and only true God who apparently endowed him with great wisdom for discernment, Solomon went on not only to dabble in idolatry, but also to accumulate three hundred concubines and seven hundred wives whose sexual demands alone must have somewhat curtailed the energy and time available for the administration of justice.
In its account of Solomon’s wisdom and Golden Age reign, the Bible relates how his legend was so widespread and impressive that Balkis, the Queen of Sheba, determined to meet this great man:
Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great train — with camels carrying rare spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones — she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind.
(1 Kings 10:2).
The Bible, however, conveniently omits to mention that the historical facts relating to King Solomon’s lifetime (c. 1011-931 BCE) were loosely based on a selection of legends from Egypt, Phoenicia, and southern Arabia where the land of Sheba had long enjoyed a genuine Golden Age as a result of being the main source of frankincense and important spices that were essential for religious and funerary functions as well as food preservation. It is therefore highly unlikely that Balkis, one of a long line of matriarchal Sheban queens that had ruled over the entire Sinai Peninsula, a land renowned for fabulous wealth, would have stooped to paying homage to Solomon. It is far more likely that this far-fetched link with Balkis was merely a name-dropping exercise intended to enhance Solomon’s legend.
In reality there was no Golden Age; the Israelites were by no means a great nation; and there were no great cities with magnificent structures. The “city” of Meggido for example covered an area of less than several dozen acres and the only “magnificent structures” were mud-plastered huts where the standard of living was certainly below that of other nations in the ancient Near East. The character of Solomon, or Sun God of On, was the Israelite version of the Egyptian sun god, Re of Heliopolis. Furthermore, most of what is known about Solomon was not written until some two thousand years later so that there are no factual records traceable to the time of his reign.
The Hebrew Bible also mentions the building of Solomon’s First Temple which was achieved with the help of King Hiram of Tyre (part of present day Lebanon) who provided quality materials and skilled craftsmen for which Solomon was obliged to pay King Hiram an annual tribute of 100,000 bushels of wheat and 110,000 gallons of pure olive oil (1 Kings 5:11). So far no archaeological evidence has been unearthed for Solomon’s First Temple and the only reference to what might have been contemporary with its supposed existence comes from the Hebrew Bible. Even architectural descriptions of the First Temple are lacking in technical detail and appear to feature combined characteristics from other temples in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Phoenicia.
According to another mythical tradition, the ancestral line of the builders who erected the mystical temple was started by one of the Elohim when he married Eve to beget a son called Cain. Elohim is a Hebrew plural word meaning “the goddesses and gods” though its appearance in the Bible was invariably translated as “God.” In the original transcripts of the book of Genesis, Yahweh was only one of the Elohim. El, the singular form of the word, was at times used as a name as was the case for the Phoenician bull-god who was simply referred to as El, “the god.” Adonai, another of the Elohim, created Adam and united him with Eve to bring forth the family of Abel, to whom the sons of Cain were subjected as punishment for the transgression of Eve. Cain’s industrious cultivation of the soil produced little, whilst Abel leisurely tended the flocks. Adonai refused the gifts and sacrifices from Cain and stirred trouble between the sons of the Elohim generated out of fire and the sons formed of only the earth. Cain killed Abel.
And so it was against that mythical background that Solomon, having determined that the erection of the temple begun by his father should be completed, gathered artificers who were organised into companies under the command of Hiram Abiff, the architect sent by King Hiram of Tyre to oversee the project. The construction of the temple was in due course completed and featured a beautifully crafted golden throne for Solomon.Though Hiram stayed on to construct many more magnificent structures, he, however, lived in melancholy loneliness, loved and understood by few, and disliked by many including Solomon who envied his genius.
News of Solomon’s wisdom had in the meantime spread to other nations including Sheba, a kingdom believed to be present day Yemen which at the time may also have incorporated areas now known as Eritrea and Ethiopia. Intrigued by what she had heard, Balkis, the Queen of Sheba, decided to travel to Jerusalem to meet the great man and behold the marvels of his reign. On her arrival in Jerusalem she was welcomed with fanfare, festivities and a tour of the great buildings including the Temple which filled her with awe and admiration. On being captivated by her beauty, Solomon proposed marriage which a flattered Balkis accepted.
After several subsequent visits to the Temple, however, Balkis insisted on meeting the architect of such magnificence, and when brought before her, she found Hiram’s appearance and manner totally beguiling. After regaining her composure she not only questioned him at length, but also defended him against Solomon’s evident ill will and rising jealousy. When she asked to see the men who had built the Temple, Solomon protested at the impossibility of assembling the entire workforce consisting of apprentices, fellow-crafts and masters. But Hiram, jumping up on a large rock so as to be better seen, described with his right hand the symbolical Tau, and immediately all the workmen hastened from the different works into the presence of their master. Balkis was so impressed by such a display of authority that she realised she was in love with the great architect and regretted her promise to Solomon.
Solomon’s response to this new development was to arrange for Hiram’s utter humiliation and ultimate ruin by conspiring with three of Hiram’s dissatisfied and envious fellow-crafts whom Hiram had refused to raise to the level of master because of their idleness and lack of skills. The disgruntled fellow-crafts suggested that the forthcoming casting of the brazen sea which would enhance Hiram’s reputation even further, should turn out to be a complete disaster. On accidentally learning of the fellow-crafts’ plot, a young workman named Benoni, alerted Solomon in the mistaken belief that appropriate action would be taken against the conspirators. On the day of the casting which was attended by Balkis, the molten metal overflowed from the sabotaged mould and spread like red-hot lava causing the terrified onlookers to flee. Hiram, however, remained calm and endeavoured unsuccessfully to extinguish the flames with water which only rose as steam and caused further chaos.
Though overcome by grief and surrounded by danger, Hiram’s only thought was for Balkis, but before he could go to her he heard a voice from an apparition above him that urged him to be fearless and to throw himself into the flames. Hiram obeyed without question and whereas others would certainly have been consumed by the fire, he experienced ineffable delights as he was drawn into the abyss by an irresistible force. The voice then informed him that he was being taken to the centre of the earth, into the soul of the world, into the kingdom of the great Cain where liberty reigned within without the despised anger and tyrannous envy of Adonai. Therein was the home of Hiram’s fathers where it would be possible to taste fruit from the tree of knowledge. When Hiram enquired as to whom the voice belonged, he was told “I am the father of thy fathers, I am the son of lamech, I am Tubal-Cain.”
Tubal-Cain then took Hiram into the sanctuary of the fire and spoke of Adonai’s weakness, base passions and capacity for murderous vengeance. Hiram was then presented to Cain, the creator of his race. The angel of light that produced Cain was reflected in the splendour of this son of love whose noble magnanimity was the envy of Adonai. Cain recounted his personal experiences, misfortunes and sufferings at the hands of the implacable Adonai. Presently a voice belonging to the offspring of Tubal-Cain and his sister Naamah informed him that he would have a son whom he would never see, but whose numerous descendants would perpetuate his race, which superior to that of Adam, would acquire the empire of the world; for centuries they would dedicate their courage and genius to the service of the always ungrateful race of Adam, but in the end the superior would triumph and restore the worship of fire to the earth. His sons, invincible in his name, would destroy the power of those who were the ministers of Adonai’s tyranny. The voice finally urged Hiram to go forth as the genii of fire were with him.
Before returning Hiram to the earth, Tubal-Cain gave him the hammer with which he himself had crafted great works, and assured him that with the help of the hammer and the genii of fire he would quickly complete the tasks left unfinished by man’s stupidity and malevolence. Back on earth Hiram immediately used the wondrous instrument for completion of the massive bronze cast and the people were astonished at the speed with which the repairs had been accomplished. Overcome by elation, Hiram and Balkis pledged their vows and wondered how Balkis could get out of her promise to Solomon. This she achieved by removing the ring of betrothal from Solomon’s finger while he was under the influence of wine.
Solomon’s reaction was to let his fellow-conspirators know that Hiram’s removal would be welcome and so when the great architect next visited the temple he was attacked by the three villainous fellow-crafts. Before dying, however, Hiram managed to remove from around his neck the golden triangle on which the master’s sword was engraved and threw it into a deep well. Hiram’s corpse was covered and carried by the killers to a solitary hillside where it was placed in a grave over which a sprig of acacia was then planted.
After Hiram had been missing for seven days, the public’s outcry forced Solomon to mobilise a search for Hiram whose body was eventually discovered by three masters who because of the missing golden triangle decided as a security precaution to change the master’s sacred and secret word. The three suspects were pursued but rather than face justice they committed suicide and their heads were brought to Solomon. After being later found in the well, the golden triangle was taken to the remotest part of the temple and placed in a triangular alter within a vault concealed by a cubical stone bearing the inscription of the sacred law. The vault, whose location was known only to the twenty-seven elect, was then walled up.
The portrayal of an eminent man or deity who as part of a trinity, first perishes as a victim of envy or evil, and is then restored to a far greater glory, is the often mandatory and by now an all too familiar story line that is central to numerous fraternal and religious rituals to which a significant percentage of humanity still subscribes in one form or another. Hiram Abiff’s legacy is that the myth of his malevolent demise is still being reenacted in the twenty-first century by intelligent men of substance whose influential social status, when corrupted, can adversely affect the lives of millions. The fraternal organisation that is the main exponent of the reenactment of Hiram Abiff’s death — with no mention of Balkis so as to eliminate the female principle — is the secret society of Freemasonry whose origins surreptitiously evolved from the trade associations of the past.
THE MITHRAIC AND CHRISTIAN PRIESTHOODS
Long before the Islamic threat to Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda faced another challenge to his authority which came not from Ahriman, but from Mithra who should not to be confused with Mitra who in Hindu Scriptures represents the light of day. Mithra, who was the first of the twenty-eight yazatas, or spirits of light that were invoked with the sun, eventually came to be regarded as being the sun. As the beneficent genius and most powerful of the yazatas, Mithra was the intercessor between Ahura Mazda and man; and though he was technically below the six amshaspands, the cosmic aspects of his position were allowed to become so perverted by the Magi, that with the passing of time he acquired the attributes of divinity. Such usurpation of a deity’s rank by an inferior was not uncommon in mythology as was the case with Serapis in Egypt, Jupiter in Greece and Suva and Vishnu in India. Deification of an inferior being simply occurs when the symbol itself became confused with that which it was intended to symbolize.
Though Zoroaster’s “purer” version of the Persian faith which held that Ahura Mazda was the Supreme Being eventually gained prominence and spread even to the West where it influenced Middle Platonism and Judaism — many of Zoroastrian doctrines were adopted by Judaism to formulate the laws of Yahweh including the anti-female sentiment that only those women who were “submissive to control, who had considered their husbands as lords” could enter heaven — Mithra nonetheless remained an influential force when the Magi reintroduced aspects of their pagan worship which were legitimised in supplements to the scriptures. This is illustrated by the following quote from the Mihr Yasht (Hymn to Mithra):
Ahura Mazda spake unto Spitama Zarathustra, saying: “Verily, when I created Mithra, the lord of wide pastures, O Spitama! I created him as worthy of sacrifice, as worthy of prayer as myself, Ahura Mazda.”
By having been accorded equal status with Ahura Mazda, Mithra became a supreme being in his own right and the emergence of Mithraism as a separate cult soon followed. Mithra’s predominantly male attributes, however, had to be somehow balanced with some feminine presence and he was consequently paired with Anahita, an important female yazata who along with Ahura Mazda formed the mandatory great triad. The kings of the latter part of the Achaemenid dynasty from about 485 BCE became ardent votaries of Mithra and Anahita and introduced the religion to their winter capitol in Babylon. This furthered the cause of Mithraism as an independent religion and brought it into contact with the Babylonian priesthood who identified Mithra with Shamash, the Babylonian sun god.
The main source of influence on Mithraism, however, came from the Babylonian region of Chaldea whose Semitic inhabitants observed the planets in the belief that heavenly bodies had sway over people’s destinies and guided the passage of their souls through the spheres. By plotting the movement of the stars, the Chaldeans were able to note that after a given period of time, some of the stars returned to their original position. This, they reasoned, meant that the stars were eternal and that the creating power responsible for their capacity for perpetual motion was therefore, if such were conceivable, even more eternal. Such reasoning gave birth to one of the concepts of eternity that led to belief in eternal life. Evidence of Chaldean influence can be seen on Mithraic monuments that invariably depict as prominent symbols the sun, the moon and the circle of the zodiac. During the Mithraic initiation ceremony into the Fourth Degree the neophyte was required to wear a mantle adorned with signs of the zodiac and was hailed as a “Lion of Mithra,” an allusion to the zodiacal sign in which the sun attained its greatest power.
The worship of Mithra spread from Babylon to Armenia and on to Asia Minor —the Anatolian peninsula of present day Turkey — where it made contact with the indigenous worship of Cybele, the Phrygian goddess of nature worship and mother of all things. Just as Isis was associated with Osiris, and Venus with Adonis, so also was Cybele with Attis: and together they symbolized relations between Mother Earth and her fruitage. So despite the fundamental differences in both character and function between Attis and Mithra, the two soon became assimilated in art and folklore so that the way was paved for an alliance between Cybele — with whom Anahita was easily identifiable — and Mithra. The ensuing association with the Cybele cult gave Mithraism its first experience of the mysteries that were to become an important part of it subsequent evolution.
Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Persian Empire in 328 BCE, however, does not appear to have greatly assisted the westward advance of Mithraism, and it was not until after the collapse of his empire that the faith reinvigorated when rulers of the loosely formed federation of independent Near Eastern states became fervent worshipers in the hope that his association with Ahura Mazda —the first possessor of the legendary hvareno, or talisman of the Royal House of Persia — would lend a token of legitimacy to their dynasties. With Mithra firmly established as the region’s favourite deity, Mithraism itself began from about 300 BCE —a time when the mysteries were enjoying a renaissance — to gain the interest of potential recruits in the West by exploiting the belief that access to the fabled wisdom of the East was only possible through initiation into the mysteries.
According to one of the most commonly known legends, the Magi who were much later to attend the birth of Jesus, brought gifts and were also present along with shepherds in the cave when Mithra was born of a female Rock, the petra genetrix, which had been fertilised by the Heavenly Father’s phallic lightening. As a Peter, the son of petra, he carried the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. This led to Christianity’s legend of Saint Peter which portrayed him as holder of the symbolic keys as was also the case with Shiva’s trident and the Osirian ankh (known as key of the Nile and heavenly key to the Nile in the Sky, or Milky Way). Such key-holding enabled the holder to either admit or deny admittance to the land of the dead. The actual roots of Saint Peter’s legend are to be found in pagan Roman myths of the city-god Petra, or Pater Liber, assimilated to the Mithraic pater patrum (Father of Fathers) whose title was first corrupted into papa, and then “pope.”
The myth of Saint Peter was the false foundation on which the authority of the Roman papacy was built with a passage from the Gospel of Matthew stating that Jesus made a pun by giving Simon son of Jonah the new name of Peter — “Rock,” or Latin petra — saying that he would found his church on this rock (Matthew 16:18-19). This so-called Petrine passage, however, was a forgery deliberately inserted into the scripture in the third century as a political ploy to establish the primacy of Christianity over equally competitive religions from the East. It was all part of the power struggle where the main weapons were bribery, forgery, collusion, intricate falsehoods, and fraudulent passages slipped into the sacred scriptures.
After first proving his invincible strength by overcoming the sun, Mithra then had to capture the bull — the first animal created by Ahura Mazda — which he dragged back to his cave. The bull, however, managed to escape and thereby caused Ahura Mazda to order its recapture and sacrifice.
When Mithra plunged his knife into the bull, its body gave forth all the useful herbs; from its spinal marrow, there issued wheat; from its blood came the grape that produced the wine used in the mysteries; and from its seminal fluid, all the useful animals were born. The Bull’s death was therefore the birth of life, and the heavenly drama of its sacrifice was subsequently reenacted on earth as the central act of Mithraic worship in tauroboliums wherein devotees would lay in a trench beneath a lattice frame on which a bull was being slain so as to bathe in its blood. The ritual was believed to activate the renewal of life to the soul and probably originated from the Cybele cult.
Mithra, the predecessor of Jesus, performed the now familiar array of miracles by restoring health to the sick; sight to the blind; mobility to the lame; and even life to the dead. The Mithraic festival of the Epiphany which celebrates the arrival of the sun-priests or Magi at the Saviour’s birthplace, was not adopted by Christianity until the year 813.
Mithraic ceremonies were usually conducted in subterranean caverns or crypts that had been converted to resemble caves that were symbolic of Mithra’s birthplace. As the majority of such Mithraea were understandably small, membership averaged between fifty and sixty but rarely exceeded a hundred people who consequently experienced the kind of brotherhood and feigned equality — similar to that found in Freemasonry — that could not otherwise be found in the unjust social conditions of the Roman Empire.
The practice of equality, however, was not accorded to women and like its replacement Christianity, it was an ascetic, anti-female religion whose priests were celibate men. Women in Mithraic families were not allowed into Mithraea and the female principle was removed from the creation myth by replacing the Mother of All Living in the primal garden of paradise (Pairidaeza) with a bull named the Sole-Created. So instead of Eve, the bull was partnered with the first man. This masculinization of the birth-giving ability, however, still required the bull to be castrated, sacrificed, and having its blood delivered for mystical fructification to the moon which being the source of a women’s mystical lunar “blood of life” was responsible for producing life on earth.
An examination of all Mithraic inscriptions will reveal nothing to suggest the existence of even a single female participant in the mysteries. The concept of women’s inequality to men was, and has been a hallmark of fraternal and religious organisations throughout the ages. There has to be something fundamentally wrong with the psychological state of men who subscribe to the highest of ideals and yet cannot accept women as either their social equals, or when it is patently evident on the basis of ability alone — as their superiors.
Initially Mithraism had only two degrees of initiation, but the need to exaggerate the extent of the mysteries and to create an aura of exclusivity eventually led to there being seven because that number was considered sacred. Beyond the Seventh Degree there was a priesthood under the authority of a high priest in Rome whose title of Pater Patrum was later appropriated to become the Christian Papa or Pope. The priests were responsible for the daily conduct of worship towards the east in the morning, the south at noon, and the west at night. They also kept the sacred fire burning, offered prayers to the planet that governed the day, and officiated at initiation ceremonies.
According to comments of what is left of the writings of the phoenician neoplatonist philosopher, Porphyry (c. 232-302) whose fifteen books Against the Christians failed to survive the sentence of burning that was pronounced against them in 448, the first three degrees were of a preparatory nature and included the customary lustrations, a symbolic offering of bread and water to Mithra, and the marking of a sign on the Candidates brow. After being crowned, the Candidate removed the crown to the declaration “Mithra is my crown” and then armed himself in defence as he “ran the gauntlet” of priests who in various animal guises assailed the Candidate with blows and shouting.
It is reported that during his initiation, the deranged Emperor Commodus (180-192) became overenthusiastic in his own defence and accidentally killed one of his assailants. Beyond these few details, there is little else known of the preparatory degrees and virtually nothing at all regarding initiation into the mysteries. One commentator does speak of “eighty punishments” by fire, water, frost, hunger, thirst, and wanderings of increasing severity; and it may be assumed that it was only after the surmounting of such trials that the Mithraic mysteries, representing the progress from darkness to light, were revealed.
Mithraism was also promoted by the enlistment of Hellenistic art with the creation of sculptured reliefs — the most common depiction being that of Mithra slaying the bull — that became the hallmark of every Mithraeum and sanctuary as the cult moved westward from Asia Minor. The eventual extent of the cult’s diffusion, however, was mostly due to the Roman armies. Even before their annexation and while still client-kingdoms of the Roman Empire during the first century BCE, some regions of Asia Minor such as Armenia, Cappadocia, and Pontus (both in present-day Turkey) served as recruiting grounds for Rome’s legions and foreign auxiliary corps. It was these oriental soldiers, who while on garrison duty in far off outposts, established the numerous Mithraic sanctuaries that stretched from Africa to Britain. During 1954 rebuilding work in London’s Walbrook, a Mithaeum was discovered and is now rated as the most famous of all twentieth-century roman discoveries in the City of London.
Despite its popularity within military ranks, Mithraism was not immediately successful in Rome and was obliged to resort to the customary device of acquiring legitimacy by registering its sanctuaries as burial associations. Apart from Mithraism, there was also the monotheistic sun-worshipping cult of Sol Invictus, or “Invincible Sun,” whose doctrinal belief that its god possessed the attributes of all the other gods precluded the need for competition with its rivals. It was therefore to the relative success of this cult that Mithraism attached itself by various means including depictions that had Mithra sharing the banquet with Sol after the former had sacrificed the bull.
As both cults regarded Sunday as being sacred and attached the same importance to the status of the sun whose rebirth they celebrated annually on the 25th of December, it was only natural that a gradual merging took place and what had previously occurred in Persia —the supplanting of a superior deity by an inferior through the confusion of attributes— reoccured in Rome. Mithra then came to be variously known as “Invictus Mithra,” “Deus Invictus Mithra,” or by the full title of “Deus Sol Invictus Mithra.”
Despite its apparent success, however, Mithraism had no official recognition and it was not until the Emperor Commodus became an initiate that progress towards that goal was begun and culminated with the Emperor Aurelian (270-275) finally providing state recognition. The adoption of such an un-Roman form of worship by Roman Emperors at that time was probably influenced by the belief of oriental cults that the sun was the attendant and patron of the ruler. Consequently by promoting the concept of their own deification, Roman Emperors hoped that like the Egyptian Pharaohs, they too would be regarded as human manifestations of the sun god. Diocletian, who in 277 instigated the dedication of a temple to Mithra, was also a devotee and as Emperor from 284-305 was responsible for the last of the severe persecution of Christians prior to the more tolerant rule of Constantine the Great.
Christian historians and scholars have since tried to have us believe that the survival of Christianity owes much to the tolerance of Constantine (c. 272-337) who they claim became the first Christian Roman Emperor when prior to the Milvian Bridge Battle he saw a vision of the Christian God who promised victory if the Christian monogram was daubed on the soldiers’ shields. This legend was invented by Eusebius —the Roman historian, exegete, and Christian polemicist— who also transformed Constantine’s nefarious activities into acts of piety. Furthemore the ‘Christian monogram’ which was already on Constantine’s standard, was the labarum with no Christian connections whatsoever and was in truth the emblem of Mithra, the deity most worshipped by the legions of Rome. A series of inscriptions from the island of Philae in Upper Egypt prove that the labarum evolved from the Egyptian ankh.
The tolerance resulting from what came to be known as the “Edict of Milan,” which was more of an informal agreement between Constantine who ruled the western parts of the empire and Licinius who ruled the eastern, was not intended by Constantine as specific assistance for Christianity, but as part of his scheme to bring about unity in the Empire which he then proceeded to do by orchestrating a campaign to blacken Licinius’s name, to eventually bring about his death, and finally to stigmatize his memory with infamy that resulted in the removal of his statues and the abolition of all his laws and judicial proceedings.
While Constantine also recognised that unity required the establishment of social, political and religious tolerance, his support for religious tolerance, however was not due to some altruistic concern for his subjects, but to his desire to avoid offending any of the gods who might seek retribution against him personally. Though he has been hailed for establishing Christianity as the official religion of Rome, such official recognition of Christianity did not occur until after his lifetime and was the work of his bishops. He was not so much a man who worshiped Christ, but one who revered himself.
While recognising the advantages offered by cults to government, Constantine was also aware that the vested interests of paganism had for too long exercised a divisive and dangerous influence through corruption of government officials in particular, and the people in general. Christianity on the other hand, as a relatively new religion, had not yet had enough time to become seriously involved with intrigue and corruption. He also recognised Christianity’s educative and stabilizing potential which more than any of its dogmas commended it to the interests of government.
As to his own religious credentials, Constantine did not share Christianity’s view that pagan gods were devils and was himself an initiate of the Sol Invictus cult which regarded him as a high priest in deference to his imperial position. When he moved his capital to Byzantium in 330 to allegedly create the “first purely Christian” city, he renamed it Constantinople after himself and had many pagan relics taken there for preservation. His life was hardly one of piety, but one filled with an obsession for his own self-preservation. He murdered his oldest son, his second wife, his father-in-law, his brother-in-law, and numerous others. Despite having several wives and a legion of concubines, Christian apologists claimed that he was “wedded to chastity.”
Constantine’s conversion to Christianity appears to have been a deathbed insurance policy that came about when Christian bishops were successful in convincing him that their God would absolve him of his sins and install him in heaven. So with death approaching, Constantine decided that ‘the salvation which I have earnestly desired of God these many years I do now expect. It is time therefore that we should be sealed and signed in the badge of immortality.’ He was then duly baptized and passed away with the deluded expectation of a heavenly resurrection. Despite that, his had been a “sun emperorship” under which Christianity enjoyed a degree of freedom and tolerance, but at no time during his reign (306-337) did Christianity come close to replacing the state religion of Sol Invictus whose symbol was prominent on many public features including banners and coins.
State recognition and political power were nonetheless urgent priorities which Christianity was prepared to acquire by any means even if it meant temporarily playing down the role of Jesus as the Messiah from the heaven above, and instead becoming associated with Constantine’s more tangible accomplishments down here on earth. Jesus had after all been a Jewish Zealot agitator — a fact from which Christianity wished to distance itself — whose condemnation and crucifixion resulted from his outspoken criticism of social injustice which the Roman authorities regarded as subversive political activity. Consequently in 321 as part of the “shedding” of its Jewish heritage, Christianity switched its sacred day of observance from Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, to Sunday, the state’s sacred and ‘venerable day of the sun.’ Further changes included ‘borrowing’ the aureole of light that crowned the sun god’s head to create the Christian halo and Christ’s birthday was changed from January 6 to December 25 in keeping with the sun’s rebirth celebration. The Orthodox Church in Armenia still adheres to the January 6 date, while the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches observe a January 7 date.
Though Constantine is regarded as the effective architect of the Christian Church, his zeal for its teachings never quite matched that of his mother, the Empress Helena. It was she who deemed that extensive searches should be carried out until all the holy sites were identified and appropriately marked with some imposing shrine. Imperial subordinates eager to please the supposedly devout Helena wasted no time in not only identifying the site of the crucifixion below Jupiter’s temple, but also in locating Christ’s place of burial. Most impressive of all, if it is to be believed, was the discovery of the precise spot where Mary Magdalene had been standing when she received the glad tidings of Christ’s resurrection. Whether by arrangement or coincidence, it was Helena herself who found the True Cross with its unmistakable “King of the Jews” plaque.
Churches were then established at the alleged site of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and on the Mount of Olives from where His Ascension is said to have taken place. Helena’s achievements were certainly impressive considering that all of these discoveries were made subsequent to the city’s destruction by the Romans and some three hundred years after occurrence of the events. Most remarkable of all, however, was the pinpointing of the exact spot where God spoke to Moses from the burning bush on top of Mount Herob in the Sinai Desert. The site is currently the location of St. Catherine’s Monastery which was built by the Emporer Justinian (reigned 527-565) so as to enclose the Chapel of the Burning Bush which Helena had ordered to be built. The monastery’s full, official name is The Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai, and its patronal feast is the Transfiguration. Associated with Saint Catherine of Alexandria (whose relics were said to have been miraculously transported there by angels) the monastery is now a favorite pilgrimage destination and sacred to Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
Comparisons between Christ and Mithra will show that both were born in a cave; both were part of a trinity; both were mediators between God and man; both committed a sacrifice for the benefit of mankind — though in different ways — wherein blood was the symbol of regeneration; and both celebrated with their respective twelve followers who in Mithra’s case represented the twelve signs of the zodiac. Christianity’s seven sacraments were a follow-on from the seven degrees of Mithraic initiation; both religions promulgated concepts concerning man and the immortality of his soul; and both had mysteries from which the lower ranks were excluded. Confirmation as to the secrecy surrounding the Christian Eucharist comes from Tertullian (c.160-220) the Christian Carthaginian writer who stated that which is holy should not be cast to the ‘dogs’, and that it was ‘a universal custom in religious initiation to keep the profane aloof and to beware of witnesses’. Christianity also concurred with Mithraism over doctrines relating to heaven and hell; judgment after death; and the triumph of good over evil.
In trying to provide some explanation for the numerous similarities that existed between the pagan religions that had long preceded Christianity, Christian writers such as Tertullian came up with the rather novel idea that Satan, having anticipated the coming of the true faith, proceeded to imitate it long before Christ was born. Such anticipation no doubt included ensuring that the Magi would be present at Mithra’s birth. Tertullian even went further to suggest that ‘the observances of Mithraism were cunning parodies devised by Satan to seduce the souls of men from the true faith by a false and insidious imitation of it’. St. Augustine (354-395) who had himself been an adherent of Mithraism for some ten years, was later to offer the more realistic explanation that ‘what is now called the Christian religion existed amongst the ancients, and was not absent from the beginning of the human race until Christ came, from which time the true religion, which existed already, began to be called Christian’. In other words it was just a different name for the same old recipe — a concoction of fables heavily laced with blatant lies.
Christianity’s quest to be recognised as the official state religion was in the meantime pursued with an impressive ruthlessness and Mithra’s temple which was located on the ancient site of Vaticanum, or Vatican Hill, was ceased in 376. The temple, over which St. Peter’s Basilica was built, is still accessible to this day. Persistent efforts by Bishop Ambrose of Milan eventually succeeded in persuading the initially tolerant Roman Emperor Theodosius I (392-395) to prohibit pagan sacrifices and to destroy pagan temples so that Christianity could by the default of the others become the state religion.
The relentless and often barbarous persecutions that ensued were not, however, totally successful and elements of oriental paganism persisted in various forms including that of Manichaeism which had been developed by Mani, a former Persian slave and an initiate of the Mithraic mysteries. Mani had cunningly utilised Christian names and rites to mask a mixture of Zoroastrian and Mithraic traditions laced with gnostic and Cabalistic ideas to produce a puritanical religion that viewed all things material as evil. He maintained that the Satan responsible for the creation of the material world with all its temptations was the Jewish Jehovah, and that it was in truth the Prince of Darkness who spoke to Moses, the Jews and their priests. Thus the Christians, the Jews and the Pagans are involved in the same error when they worship this God. Mani regarded Zoroaster, Buddha, and Jesus — but not Moses — as predecessors who like himself had been chosen as ‘messengers’ to the people. He declared Jesus to be mortal and emphasised that any allusion to divinity had to be regarded as being merely symbolic.
Unfortunately for Mani, the “messenger” business in those days was not without its hazards and it was at the instigation of the Magi that in 276 King Bahram of Persia sentenced him to death by flaying and crucifixion. His martyrdom, however, only served to fuel the spread of his teachings and Manichaean schools promoted the ideas from which under different names and guises there evolved other similar sects such as the Cathars, the Paulicians, and the Bogomils of Bulgaria who all in their own way challenged the Christian view that Christianity was the only legitimate religion for the worship of God.
With Constantine’s reign being the first important turning point in the history of the Holy Roman Empire, the second occurred under Charlemagne, the Frankish emperor who reigned from 786 to 814. Being a Christian was for Charlemagne a matter of convenience because the Holy Roman Empire — unlike the pagan tribal religions — tolerated his wars of acquisition for a share of the spoils and eventually recognised his barbarous achievements by giving him the crown of the Empire. He was also accorded special status with regards to the holy sacrament of matrimony in that he had four wives and numerous concubines which the church explained away as ‘marriages of the second rank’.
During his reign Charlemagne ruthlessly destroyed pagan clan shrines, enforced conversion to Christianity with the choice of either Christ or immediate execution, and imposed vassalage. One reprehensible aspect of vassalage was the feudal emergence of “The Lord’s Right” — also known as jus primae noctis (the law of the first night) — which equated the ownership of land with the ownership of women. This droit du seigneur meant that every serf’s bride on her wedding night had to be deflowered by the lord of the land and not by her bridegroom. The church upheld the droit du seigneur as a God-given right of the nobility and declared that consummation of marriage by a vassal bridegroom within three nights after the wedding was blasphemous and equivalent to ‘carnal Lust’. The landowner’s carnal lust was, however, was judged to be just and proper. Even the Eastern Church had provisions for punishing any man who tried to consummate his marriage before his lord had raped her. Droit du seigneur lasted throughout the feudal period — between the ninth and fifteenth centuries — and until the nineteenth century in Russia.
During thirty-three years of continuous war that built the Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne shed so much blood that historians have baulked at the task of trying to establish the extent of the slaughter. His conversion method by the sword was so successful that the church subsequently supported Christian rulers who indulged in similar military pursuits. The French heroic poem The Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland) — based on the Battle of Roncesvalles in 778 — clearly states that ‘the bishops bless the waters and convert the heathen. If any man protests, he is burned or put to the sword’. On occasions it was the blessed water itself that served as executioner of unregenerate pagans with converts made under the rule of Saint Goar — who died in 575 and was honoured by Charlemagne — being held under blessed water until they either accepted Christ or drowned. And so that was how the Holy Roman Empire was built.
Many Western historians have since unconvincingly tried to explain the causes responsible for triggering the collapse of that Holy Roman Empire and the onset of the Dark Age with its intellectual famines, economic hardships, and social regressions. Many such historians have, however, have had neither the integrity nor the courage to firmly lay the blame at the door of Christianity. It was after all the Christians themselves who maintained that the diabolic symptoms of the approaching end to the world was “the spread of knowledge” which they attempted to halt by their opposition to education for laymen, their destruction of libraries and schools, and their indiscriminate burning of books. After years of persistent destruction and vandalism, Saint John Chrysostom was able to boast with holy pride that “every trace of the old philosophy and literature of the ancient world has vanished from the face of the earth.”
Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) condemned secular education as folly and wickedness and even proscribed the reading of the Bible by laymen. He had the library of the Palatine Apollo burned “lest its secular literature distract the faithful from the contemplation of heaven.” By the end of the fifth century — with the church maintaining that all opinions other than its own were heretical and diabolical — Christian rulers had forcibly terminated the study of geography, mathematics, philosophy and medicine (because diseases were the work of the devil).
The result of insane Christian persecution and wanton destruction was that numerous scholars fled eastwards for refuge in Persia (now Iran) where the King of the Sassanian Empire — the last Persian empire before the rise of Islam — helped them establish a school for medicine and science that was to become the world’s intellectual centre for several centuries. In 529, when Justinian I (c. 482-564) shut the Athenian schools, all Hellenistic knowledge was dispersed to Gupta India, Celtic Ireland, and Sassanian Persia. And because Christianity could only flourish — and like most religions still does — on ignorance, it became necessary for it to relentlessly promote ignorance with the result that Western Europe was deprived of the learning and knowledge that would have unleashed its potential for social advancement.
THE ISLAMIC IMAMS
The history of all major religions, including Islam, has been one of endless dissensions and divisions with mayhem and murder being a regular occurrence to the present day. The problems in Islam began after the Prophet Muhammad (c. 570-632) died without having designated a successor for the Muslim community he had established at Medina. This led to a succession dispute between the ‘Emigrants’ who had accompanied him from Mecca to Medina, and the local ‘Supporters’ who by joining his movement had enhanced it both materially and spiritually. Though Ali, Muhammed’s son-in-law, was the obvious candidate for succession, the community elders decided that Muhammed’s father-in-law would become the caliph and thereby the institution of the caliphate was begun whereby the caliph acted as both the religious and secular authority.
One of the main disadvantages of having outright authority vested in one man is that his eventual death will result in considerable turmoil as claimants squabble over the succession. Further problems may also arise from having religion dominate every aspect of community life because in the event of social disaffection, such disaffection will be expressed in religious terms whereby sectarianism becomes the only recourse available to the disaffected.
Though Ali’s supporters, who became known as shi’at Ali, or party of Ali, did not take any immediate overt action, they nonetheless covertly laid the foundation for Islam’s main division of Sunni and Shia Muslims who to this day — especially in Iraq — resort to ungodly violence towards each other. The Shias lived by a strict social code that demanded absolute obedience to their imams, or priest-kings, who were the direct descendants of Muhammed through the union of his daughter Fatima and Ali. They believed that in the coming millennium one of the past imams would return to earth as the Mahdi, or ‘guided one’, to establish the rule of justice.
In the meantime, in order to avoid persecution while simultaneously working to undermine the orthodox doctrines of the Sunni majority, the Shias established a discipline of secrecy that required them to conceal their true religious beliefs and to outwardly conform to the state religion. In Shia Islam, this religious dissimulation — a form of deception that conceals the truth — was known as taqiyya and provided legal dispensation whereby believers could conceal their true religious beliefs when under threat, persecution, or compulsion. The concept of taqiyya was developed to protect the Shias who were usually in the minority and under threat. The Shia view was that taqiyya was lawful in situations of overwhelming danger such as loss of life or property but where danger to the religion would not occur. The term “taqiyya” did not exist in Sunni jurisprudence because denying the faith under duress was only permitted in some extreme circumstances.
As part of their deception, the Shias also dispatched specially trained missionaries, or da’is, throughout the Arab world to preach doctrines that belied most of the orthodox beliefs. They maintained that Muslim Law and Scriptures contained a hidden meaning known only to the imams, and that there were seven prophets: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammed and Ali. It was also held that the sevenfold chain of creation was as follows: the prophets were second only to God at the level of Universal Reason; Ali, the ‘Prophet’s companion’, at the level of Universal Soul; the seven imams, at the level of Primal Matter; the chief da’i, or Grand Master, at the level of Space; the da’i, at the level of Time; and finally at the lowest level, stood man.
Though God himself was unknowable to man, a man could work his way upwards through the grades and thereby acquire a new revelation up to that of Universal Reason. The capacity for being reasonable, however, has never been a characteristic of those who peddle religion, and the death of the celebrated sixth imam, Ja’far al-Sadiq (702-765 BCE), was the start of the first major division amongst the Shias. Those who backed the succession of Ja’far’s son, Musa and his descendants, believed that the millennium would come with the return of the twelfth imam in that line, and were called the “Twelvers.” The remainder who supported Musa’s older brother, Ismail, believed that his son Muhammed, who had disappeared in 770, was the seventh and last imam, and that his return to earth as the Mahdi would mark the millennium. Ismail’s supporters where known as the Ismailis or the “Seveners.” With the passing of time the Ismailis also quarrelled amongst themselves and divided to create even more secretive sects such as the Batinites, Qarmatians, Druzes, Bretheren of Sincerity, Rosheniah, and the Nizari Ismailis who were the “Assassins.”
Because the ruling administration of any given Islamic society could be toppled by the removal of just one man, assassination became the easiest recourse for those with unscrupulous political ambitions. This elimination of the competition, however, was not without precedence and there is evidence that the Prophet Muhammed — knowing full well that his faithful followers would carry out his wishes — used to rid himself of troublesome critics and rivals by simply implying that they were undeserving of life.
By far the most successful exponent of political assassination, however, was Hassan-i Sabbah (c. 1050s-1124), the Persian Nizari Ismaili missionary and founder of the Hashshashin or Assassins, who in his youth was reputed to have attended school with the subsequently famous astronomer and poet of the Rubaiyat, Omar Khayyam (1048-1131), and the Sunni statesman, Nizam al Mulk (1018-1092). Though the likelihood of that having been true is contradicted by chronology, its mention in the introduction to Fitzgerald’s version of the Rubaiyat as well as other sources would suggest that they at least knew each other, especially as Nizam was later to become one of Hasan’s first victims.
When the Mongol Hulago Khan (c. 1217-1265), Genghis Khan’s grandson and scourge of Islam, overran Hasan’s mountain fortress at Alamut in 1256, Mongol historians made note of what was considered important before allowing the libraries to be destroyed. It is therefore known that Hasan was born of a Twelver Shia family in the Persian city of Qom. As a youth he sought the secrets of science and religion and for a while apparently experienced a period of doubt and depression prior to being recruited and converted to the Ismaili cause. Having then overcome a serious illness and being spiritually rejuvenated, Hasan travelled to Cairo to obtain the eighth Fatimid Caliph’s permission to spread the Ismaili doctrine in Persia which was under the authority of the Seljuk Turks. Permission was given on the understanding that Hasan would support the Caliph’s oldest son, Nizar, to become the ninth Fatamid caliph, and thus was born the Ismaili sect of the Nizaris who came to be known as the Assassins.
There are numerous tales relating to the travels and missionary subversion of the cunning Hasan who eventually acquired as a strategic headquarters the Northern Persian fortress of Alamut from whence he only ventured out twice in more than thirty years. His ‘invisibility’ as the ‘Old Man of the Mountain’ enhanced rumours of his omnipotence and he continued to seize other mountain fortresses as regional centres of subversion. The summary execution of deviants, including two of his own sons, was a common feature of the ascetic severity of his regime which was elevated to include authority over the body as well as the soul.
Marco Polo (c. 1254-1324) — the Italian merchant traveller from the Republic of Venice who embarked on an epic twenty-four-year journey to Asia — described Aladdin quite differently from the mythic character who in Arabian Nights was master of a cave full of treasure. The cave in question was actually real and was located in the fortified valley of Alamut near Kazvin. Aladdin was the Old Man of the Mountain, the hereditary title of the Hashshishin starting with Hassan-b Sabbah whose name meant Son of the Goddess. The name Aladdin was subsequently adopted following the bloody conquest of Gujarat in 1297 by Ala-ud-din Khilji, the second ruler of the Turco-Afghan Khilji dynasty in India.
In order to accomplish his single-minded pursuit of religious power through violent political action, Hasan altered and increased the grades of Ismaili initiation from seven to nine and transformed the role the lowly devotee from aspiring supporter to that of an active Assassin. Wily da’is with knowledge about the manipulation of the human character would ‘hook’ potential recruits by first revealing the kind of information that would capture interest, and then implying that the divine mysteries could only be attained by those who swore allegiance to the imam. Then by using a combination of drugs and pleasurable experiences, Hasan was able to give the newly recruited ‘self-sacrificers’ a taste of the ‘paradise’ to which they would return as soon as they had accomplished whatever it was that he had required them to do.
The word “assassin” is a corruption of the Arabic word Hashshishin meaning “users of hashish,” and it was alleged that the Assassins were heavily drugged before being dispatched to murder their victims. As each aspirant then progressed upwards through the grades of initiation, he was inspired to gradually discard the basic tenets of Islam so that by the ninth degree he was free of all authority and could subscribe to whatever system he deemed most suitable for his own needs. Such freedom of action, however, did not include exemption from the inviolable oaths and assurances that he would never lie to his fellow members, reveal their secrets, or lend a hand to an enemy against them.
Following the caliph’s death and Nizar’s failure to succeed in 1094, Hasan established himself as an independent prince by severing relations with the Egyptian Fatimids and unleashing his Assassins in a campaign of terror against the Persians. This led to the Turks and Sunnis retaliating by wiping out Ismaili communities in the Levant and Persia. While the Assassins remained powerful within their own areas of influence, they were by 1110 no longer regarded as a serious military threat and remained that way until Hasan’s death in 1124.
Though Hasan’s two immediate successors did little to alter his policies, the fourth Grand master, Hasan II who ruled between 1162 and 1164, claimed to be the Mahdi and thus ended the Shia discipline of secrecy. He seceded from Islam to found a more liberal religion which only served to alienate the more entrenched Nizaris who rejoiced at his death at the hands of his brother-in-law, and welcomed a return to the more orthodox version of the faith. Though still remaining independent, the Persian Assassins were never again to become the power they once were and in time the arrival of the Mongol Hulago resulted in the massacre of all Persian Assassins.
In the meantime the Syrian branch of the Assassins which was ably led by Rashid ad-Din Sinan (c. 1132-1192) and had some time previously become independent of the Persian Grand Master’s authority, began carrying out assassinations on a ‘contract’ basis for either money or the usual political and religious considerations. Sinan’s intrigues with and against Saladin (c. 1137-1193) and the Knights Templar are legend and there was a period during which in order to avoid being caught between the two factions, he made an annual tribute payment to the Templars of two thousand gold pieces. Sinan became a Syrian hero who maintained independence from the surrounding powers by terrorising them.
Saladin (Salāh al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb), a Kurdish Muslim who at the height of his power ruled over Mesopotamia, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Hejaz (a western region in present-day Saudi Arabia), also led the Muslims against European Crusaders and recaptured Palestine from the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Consequently an apprehensive Sinan decided to have Saladin killed but his Assassins met with failure on several occasions. According to legend Saladin stopped persecuting the Ismailis because he awoke one morning to find by his pillow a poisoned dagger that had been placed there by the Assassins as a warning. The more likely explanation, however, is that Saladin and Sinan had pooled their resources, at least temporarily, against the Crusaders. Sinan appears to have helped Saladin’s cause by dispatching two Assassins to kill Conrad of Montferrat, Prince of Tyre and King of Jerusalem in 1192.
. . . two youths lightly clad, who wore
No cloaks, and each a dagger bore,
Made straight for him, and with one bound,
Smote him and bore him to the ground,
And each one stabbed him with his blade,
The wretches, who thus wise betrayed
Him, were of the Assassin’s men . . .
Twelfth-century Chronicle of Ambroise
The Crusades had been “holy wars” that were specifically waged to seize property from the heretic and heathen enemies of orthodox Christianity and were usually fought by vassals of Christian overlords and well-heeled clergy. As well as the usual spoils of war, the crusaders were also rewarded with indulgences such as remission of sins and a guaranteed admission to heaven irrespective of how heinous a crime they may have committed.
The Ismaili sect did manage to survive and there are now an estimated sixteen million adherents worldwide whose leader, claiming direct descent from the Prophet Muhammed, is the Aga Khan. The most colourful of Ismaili leaders was Sultan Mahommed Shah, Aga Khan III (1877-1957) who enjoyed the ‘sport of kings’ including the ownership of thoroughbred racing horses who managed a total of sixteen wins in British Classic Races. Another of his distractions was a succession of women with three of his four marriages being to European Christians all of whom did not covert to Islam. In defence of his fondness for alcohol, Sultan Mohammed Shah was quoted as having said “I’m so holy that when I touch wine, it turns to water.” Incidentally, a biological function which is within the capacity of all human beings and hardly worth boasting about.
His successor, Shah Karim al-Hussayni Aga Khan IV, who apart from also being a racehorse owner and breeder, is an international business magnate whom Forbes magazine described as one of the world’s ten richest royals with an estimated net worth of $800 million.
His Highness Aga Khan IV has apparently inherited his father’s penchant for European ladies with both his marriages to date being to former British model Sarah (‘Sally’) Frances Croker-Poole (1969-1995 with a £20 million divorce settlement and the sale of jewelry worth £17.5 million), and a German-born princess Gabriele zu Leiningen (1998-2011 with a 60 million divorce settlement following a long-standing adulterous affair between His Highness and air hostess Beatrice von der Schulenburg). So for Nizari Ismaili leaders — who are considered by their followers as being proof or the hujjah (completion of proof) of God on earth: as being infallible and immune from sin; and as being the carrier of the eternal Noor of Allah (Light of God) — it is business as usual. In fairness it should be mentioned that the Aga Khan’s philanthropic institutions spend some $600 million per year primarily in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. This is funded by his followers who by means of a complicated system of tithes each pay him 12.5 percent of their gross income annually thus providing a personal fortune (for use by him and his family) in excess of $1 billion.
Even the Ismaili sect had its dissenters so that by the eleventh century the Druze religion had emerged without attempting to reform mainstream Islam, but instead to create an entirely new faith that combined various Christian, Iranian, and Jewish elements influenced by Greek philosophy and Gnosticism including a form of reincarnation whereby the Druze reincarnated as future descendants. They regard themselves theologically as ‘an Islamic reformatory sect’, calling themselves Ahl al-Tawhid (‘People of Monotheism’) or al-Muwahhidūn (‘Monotheists’). The origin of the name Druze is traced to Nashtakin ad-Darazi, one of the first preachers of the religion.
Ad-Darazi, who was confessor to the sixth Fātimid caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah —an impostor ruling “by the Command of Allah” over Egypt (reigned 996–1021) and thought by the Druze to be an actual incarnation of God — began promoting the religion from around 1017. The Druze who divulge few details of their faith also practice taqiyya which still permits them to outwardly deny their faith in the event of persecution or danger to life. They are prohibited from dating, intermarrying, or converting either out of or into the Druze religion. Those who violate this rule can be excommunicated or killed.
Druze reside mostly in Lebanon (thirty to forty percent), Israel (six to seven percent), Syria (forty to fifty percent), and to a lesser extent in Jordan (one to two percent) where they are officially recognised as a separate religious communities with their own religious court systems. Expatriate communities of Druze also live in Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the U.S., and West Africa. They speak Arabic and regard themselves as Arab in every country they inhabit apart from Israel where they are granted a privileged status in exchange for their loyalty to the state which includes fighting for the Israeli Defence Force alongside Jews. This willingness to fight for Israel has naturally strained relations with the Palestinian people.
The Druze symbol consists of five colours with each pertaining to a symbol defining its principles: green for ˤAql “the Universal Mind”; red for Nafs (cognate of the Hebrew word Nefesh) “the Universal Soul”; yellow for Kalima “the Truth/Word”; blue for Sabq “the Antagonist/Cause”; and white for Talī “the Protagonist/Effect.” The number five, representing those principles, has a special significance in the Druze community, and is usually represented by a five-pointed star.
The Druze are split into two groups with members of the inner spiritual elite group called al-ˤUqqāl ‘the Knowledgeable Initiates’ having undergone secret initiations that gives them access to the secret teachings of the Druze religious doctrine, the hikmah. Women —being regarded as spiritually superior to men — are considered especially suitable to become ˤUqqāl and as such can opt to wear al-mandīl, a transparent loose white veil, especially in the presence of religious figures. The al-mandīl is worn on the head to cover the hair and wrap around the mouth and sometimes over the nose. Female ˤuqqāl wear black shirts and long skirts covering their legs to their ankles. Male ˤuqqāl grow moustaches, shave their heads, and wear dark clothing with white turbans.
Members of the outer group, called al-Juhhāl “the Ignorant,” who are not allowed access to the secret Druze holy literature, comprise some ninety percent of the Druze and form the political and military leadership while mostly distancing themselves from religious matters. The question has to be asked as to what credibility and benefits are on offer from a religion that considers most of its adherents to be ignorant and unworthy of access to its doctrines.
When in 1095 the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus sent envoys to the West requesting military assistance against the Seljuk Turks, it was a timely event for the Holy Roman Empire which had itself been harassed for the past two centuries by Norsemen who owned numerous northern trading centres and dominated the sea routes. Furthermore, negotiations with North African and Middle Eastern powers had culminated in 834 with an Arabian delegation visiting Denmark to complete military and trade alliances that left the Holy Roman Empire trapped between two anti-Christian forces.
The Byzantine Emperor’s request for assistance therefore provided Pope Urban II at the Council of Claremont in 1095 with an excuse to initiate a crusade — as a penitential pilgrimage and a war of conquest — against the infidels with the alleged intent of regaining the Holy Land for Christianity. So with the promise that volunteers would be placed above restrictions of law, receive forgiveness for all their sins, and enjoyment of eternal bliss in heaven without time in purgatory, a ragtag force — consisting mostly of social outcasts and soldiers of fortune — of between 150,000 to 300,000 was assembled.
As the force traversed southern Europe they pillaged, tortured, and murdered with one division slaughtering 10,000 Jews in the Rhineland before abandoning thoughts of the Holy Land and disbanding. Two other divisions perpetrated so many atrocities in Hungary that native soldiers were eventually roused to oppose and wipe them all out. Of the others, thousands died en-route from starvation, disease, or wounds resulting from violence. Those who survived then despoiled the Greeks before making their way to Constantinople where the more powerful of them financed their own existence by selling off the decrepit amongst them as slaves. Of the 7,000 who eventually crossed the Bosphorus, none survived the merciless onslaughts by Turkish forces.
Despite the utter failure of this initial crusade, more were to follow which with hindsight were better organised with seasoned soldiers and fewer penitential pilgrims. For the next 400 hundred years Christian Knights in the Holy Land waged wars whose barbarity in the name of God, knew no bounds. One contemporaneous report stated that after laying siege to Jerusalem for one month, the Crusaders rode into the city with their horses ‘knee-deep in the blood of disbelievers’. Jews were herded into their synagogues and burnt alive, and on the following day Christian knights slaughtered ‘a great multitude of people of every age, old men and women, maidens, children and mothers with infants, by way of a solemn sacrifice’ to Jesus.
After the siege of Acre which ended in 1191, King Richard I of England, Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) broke his promise of truce by having his Muslim hostages slaughtered:
His conduct stands in strong contrast with the dignity and forbearance of Saladin, before whose eyes the outrage was committed, and who would not stoop to retaliate on his dastardly opponent.
Establishment of the ongoing crusades also enabled the Holy Roman Empire to take punitive military measures against Europe’s heathens and heretics so that the sword became the traditional method of Christianising the West at the cost of between 8 to 10 million lives The Catharan or Albigensian heretics in the Languedoc region of Southern France — who regarded the Roman Church as the Synagogue of Satan and called for a return to the Christian message of perfection, poverty, and preaching — became the recipients of particularly barbaric treatment after Pope Innocent III declared a crusade in 1209 against the Languedoc with the promise that Cathar lands would be given to French noblemen willing to take up arms.
The Albigensian Crusade is still to this day one of the darkest and bloodiest chapters in the history of Christian persecutions. When it was enquired of a papal legate as to how heretics were to be distinguished from the faithful, he replied, “Kill them all; God will know his own.” The ensuing slaughter lasted for twenty years with an estimate of more than a million lives being lost. In trying to justify the scale of such wanton carnage, the best that Christian apologists could come up with was, “The Church, after all, was only defending herself.” This flagrant lie for an excuse is one that present-day Israelis have artfully become adept at during the last sixty or more years as they continue to ‘defend themselves’.
Despite the carnage in Europe, it was the crusades to the Holy Land that received the most attention especially after the formation of the Knights Templar who became a force to be reckoned with. The seed for the founding of the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon was sown in 1118 when Hugues de Payen, a nobleman from Champagne, and eight comrades presented themselves at the palace of Jerusalem’s King Baudouin I whose elder brother, Godfroi de Bouillon, had captured the Holy City nineteen years earlier. Their stated objective was to protect the pilgrim routes to Jerusalem and other holy places.
Having from the beginning pledged themselves to poverty, obedience, and chastity, the Templars began to attract an extraordinary band of cavalrymen including excommunicated knights who had nothing to lose. It could be said that the Templar Order became the forerunner of the French Foreign Legion in that it used discipline and war to purge the sins of those within its ranks. Templar ranks were increased by ‘rogues and impious men, robbers and committers of sacrilege, murderers, perjurers, and adulterers’ whose unkept demeanour and maverick methods the influential French abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux, praised highly in a letter to Hugues de Payen. Armed with Clairvaux's letter, de Payen attended the Council of Troyes in 1128 where he was granted papal sanction and exemption from excommunication for the Templars.
As religion in the Middle Ages was the beneficiary of much generosity by its followers, the Templars were themselves bequeathed many estates in England, France, and Spain by returning crusaders or Christians who believed that their own route to heaven was being guarded by those keeping watch over the road to Jerusalem. The ‘Order of the Poor Knights of Christ’ consequently ended up with a great deal of wealth which led to their becoming a moneylending institution which attracted both envy and ill will.
As bankers to the Levant their clients included Muslims who feared that the changing fortunes of war might in the future require them to ally themselves with the Christians. Even the courts of Europe made use of the Templar banking operation which could not only provide loans, but also arrange — because of its widespread network — international money transfers. Though at that time usury was forbidden to Christians, the Templars would repay an agreed sum less than the original amount that was either banked or transferred. Debtors repaid a greater amount than that borrowed. As a result the Temple in Paris became the hub of the world’s money-market.
The Templars, like most other religious sects, also had their own regulations (The Rule of the Temple) and secret initiation ceremonies which distinguished them from other orders such as the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights. The Order was open only to men who were obliged to observe strict vows of celibacy with the prohibition that they could neither marry nor remain married. Wives of men who became Templars were expected to join other religious orders as nuns. Templars were prohibited from kissing their mothers, wives, sisters, or any other woman. They were also cautioned to beware the wiles of women who were not even to be looked upon. During the entirety of its historical preoccupation with protecting its celibate clergymen from the wicked wiles of women, the Catholic Church has unfortunately not only neglected to protect innocent young children from the diabolic lust of its paedophile priests, it has also more often than not taken steps to cover up such religious criminality. It should be noted that the physical and sexual abuse of children by ‘holy men’ is not peculiar to Christianity and exists within many other religions including Judaism and Islam but is not as widely reported.
Templar initiations were conducted in darkened, guarded chapter houses were the entirety of the Rule was revealed only to officers of the highest rank. After establishing that the assembled knights had no objection to the admission of a particular novice, the Master of the Temple then asked if he had a wife or betrothed, debts, a hidden disease, other vows, or some other master. After answering correctly, the Novice knelt before the Master and asked to become ‘the serf and slave of the House’, to which the Master replied with the following:
You do not know the hard commandments that are within; because it is a hard thing for you, who are master of yourself, to make yourself the serf of another. For you will hardly ever do what you want; if you wish to be on this side of the sea, you will be sent to the other side; or if you wish to be in Acre, you will be sent to the land of Tripoli or Antioch or Armenia, or you will be sent to Apulia or Sicily or France or Burgundy or England or to many other lands where we have houses and possessions. And if you wish to sleep, you will be made to stay awake; and if sometimes you wish to stay awake, you will be ordered to go and rest in your bed.
The Novice was then warned that he must not enter the order to gain advantage for himself, but to forsake the sins of the world, to serve the Lord, to be poor, and to do penitence so as to save his soul. The Novice then swore that he would obey the Master of the Temple in everything, live all his life without private possessions, follow the customs of the House, help in the conquest of the Holy Land, stay for the rest of his life in the order ‘both in strength and weakness, for better or for worse’, and never allow a Christian to be robbed of his possessions.
After the Novice had sworn by God and the Virgin Mary to observe all the order’s rules, the Master accepted him into the order by draping his shoulders with a mantle and promising him ‘bread and water and the dress of the poor and much suffering and travail’. Though dedication to such a lifestyle may seem somewhat harsh, for many who had neither hope of marriage nor inheritance of lands, being a Templar in the Levant was preferable to subsistence in the service of a feudal Lord in Europe.
The first three Templar Grand Masters were men of faith, capable, and well-organised diplomatic leaders whose banners proclaimed Non nobis, Domin, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam (Not to ourselves, Lord, not to ourselves, but to Thy name give the glory). Their successor Bernard de Tremelai, however, during the siege of Ascalon in 1153, ordered his knights to beat back their Christian allies so that the Templars would get all the credit for taking the town.
The ensuing succession of Templar Grand Masters were at best mediocre with the seventh of them, Philip de Milly, becoming involved in the political intrigue and quarrels that disunited Jerusalem. His successor, Odo de Saint-Amand (1170-1179) proved to be even worse — in believing that Templar independence meant being bound by no treaty — and accordingly breaking the King of Jerusalem’s treaty with Saladin by which no further Templar fortresses were to be built on the frontier. His arrogance was rewarded when the fortress he built fell to Saladin with the Templar garrison being massacred and Odo himself later dying in prison in 1180 after refusing to be ransomed with the declaration that “A Templar can only offer as ransom his belt and his sword.”
When Odo’s nondescript aged successor died in 1184, he was succeeded by the young and ambitious Gerard de Ridfort who was destined to play a major role in Jerusalem’s destruction. During the succession squabble following the death of boy-king Baldwin V (1186), Ridefort backed the unpopular Guy de Lusignan and had him crowned king instead of the regent, Raymond III of Tripoli who had Hospitaller support. The inevitable divisions amongst the crusaders were then ruthlessly exploited by Saladin whose peace treaty with the Crusaders had been broken by the treacherous Prince of Antioch, Reynald de Chatillon. Saladin’s response was to join forces with Raymond in 1187 and during their march to Jerusalem they encountered Ridefort and 150 of his knights outside of Nazareth. The Templars had no chance against Saladin’s force of 7,000 and were all massacred apart from Ridefort who managed to escape with three of his men.
On realising that the Crusader kingdom was on the verge of obliteration, Raymond severed his alliance with Saladin and joined the Christian forces led by Guy de Lusignan whose equipping of an army to fight Saladin was financed by the Templars. Ridefort then persuaded the indecisive Guy de Lusignan to go on the offensive against Saladin rather than adopt Raymond’s preference for a campaign of delaying tactics. By taking the offensive, the Crusaders were obliged to leave behind their water supplies and then advance across a searingly hot and inhospitable desert to eventually come to a halt on the scorched double hill that formed the Horns of Hattin.
Saladin who had just captured the nearby town of Tiberias (now in present-day Israel), had the Crusaders surrounded and forced up the hill slopes. Being crazed with thirst, the Crusaders made repeated unsuccessful attempts to reach the freshwater lake of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee). Though Raymond and his knights managed to break through the Muslim encirclement, the remaining Crusaders were less fortunate with the result that most of them were slaughtered. The surviving Templars and Hospitallers, who had fought valiantly in a desperate situation, were not spared by Saladin who had them — apart from Ridefort — all beheaded. Ridefort, who as a free man was vocally courageous and physically aggressive, turned out to be a cowering yellow-belly in captivity who ordered the garrisons of the remaining Templar fortresses to surrender to Saladin. The fall of Jerusalem followed months later in October 1187.
Ridefort’s brief rule as Templar Grand Master was a calamity from which the Templars never recovered. So despite subsequently regaining some of their former wealth and power even in the Levant, the Templars had forever lost their renown for religious zealotry and instead — to best serve their own interests — sheathed their swords along with compromises that accommodated Muslim rule and custom. The fact that they — unlike other Christian orders — also spoke Arabic and wore long beards in the Muslim fashion, provided ammunition for their detractors who had never forgotten that the first Templar home had been situated in a mosque built on the alleged site of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.
Even the Templars themselves were never slow to acknowledge their knowledge of the esoteric doctrines of the East; that their discipline for fasting, prayer and punishment for sins were sufficiently severe to meet the most demanding standards of Islam; that they were proud of their devotion to the Virgin Mary who also featured in the Koran; and that they recognised survival in the Levant was dependent on their having Arab allies in a divided Arab world.
Ridefort’s successors proved to be less cavalier as Grand Masters and were cautiously instrumental in the great siege of Acre and following the city’s eventual capture, made it their new headquarters. They also supported Richard the Lionheart’s failed attempt to capture Jerusalem during the Third Crusade (1191-1192) and when Richard was forced to flee the Holy Land he did so disguised as a Templar in one of their galleys.
The Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) — which was originally intended as an invasion from Egypt to recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims — ended up instead as an attack by West European Crusaders — the objective of whose First Crusade was to help Christianity in the East — on the Eastern Orthodox Christian city of Constantinople. This treacherous attack on Eastern Christianity served not only to widen the schism between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, but also led to the decline in the Near East of both empire and Christianity.
The Fifth Crusade (1213-1221) was another attempt by Christian Europeans to recapture Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Egyptian Ayyubid state. Apart from the initial mainly Templar success at the siege of the port of Damietta in Egypt, little else was, however, achieved in further Christian actions despite having at their core the experience of the Templars and Hospitallers. Pope Innocent III and his successor Pope Honorius III both organised crusades led by King Andrew II of Hungary and Duke Leopold VI of Austria with incursions against Muslim Jerusalem ending in failure.
Later in 1218, a German army led by Oliver of Cologne, and a mixed army of Dutch, Flemish, and Frisian forces led by William I, Count of Holland joined the crusade. In order to attack Damietta they allied in Anatolia with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm which attacked the Ayyubids in Syria with a view to freeing the Crusaders from fighting on two fronts. After occupying Damietta, the Crusaders in July 1221 marched south towards Cairo but were repulsed when their diminishing supplies forced them to retreat. Sultan Al-Kamil’s nighttime attack took a heavy toll on the Crusaders who eventually surrendered and agreed to an eight-year peace treaty with Al-Kamil.
Though the Templars were no longer the power they once were, they nonetheless had not lost all their strutting confidence and at the start of the Sixth Crusade (1128-1129) refused along with the Hospitallers to help the Crusade’s leader, Frederick II (one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the time) who had been excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for political reasons.
After first sailing to Cyprus — an imperial fiefdom since its capture by Richard the Lionheart — and becoming involved in a dispute with the island’s Constable, Frederick eventually had to face the reality that his force lacked the manpower to engage the Ayyubid empire in battle and that his only hope of any success in the Holy Land was to negotiate for the surrender of Jerusalem. He also hoped that a token show of force, a threatening march down the coast, would be enough to persuade Al-Kamil, the sultan of Egypt, to honour a proposed treaty that had been negotiated some years earlier, prior to the death of al-Muazzam, the governor of Damascus. The Egyptian sultan, preoccupied with trying to suppress rebellious forces in Syria, agreed to cede Jerusalem along with a narrow corridor to the coast.
Frederick was also given Nazareth, Sidon, Jaffa, and Bethlehem. In a sensible compromise, Frederick in turn allowed the Muslims to retain control over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount — site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The Transjordan castles remained under Ayyubid control with the further understanding that Jerusalem's fortifications were not to be restored. Completion of the treaty on February 18, 1229, guaranteed truce of ten years.
Frederick entered Jerusalem on 17 March 1229 where on the following day he attended a crowning ceremony. Whether this was intended to signify his official coronation as King of Jerusalem, cannot be certain, especially as the patriarch, Gerald, was not in attendance. As Frederick had pressing matters to attend to back home, he departed Jerusalem in May having proved that success in a crusade was possible without either military superiority or papal support. By emulating Frederick’s precedent of leading successful a crusade without papal involvement, subsequent crusades were launched by individual kings — Louis IX of France (seventh and Eighth Crusades), Edward I of England (Ninth Crusade) — to further erode papal authority.
The truce, however, was unpopular from the first day of its inception and after its expiry in 1239, a new threat appeared over the horizon in the form of the formidable Mongol, Genghis Khan. Christian hopes of an alliance with Genghis Kahn to defeat the Muslims were, however, quickly dashed when Khwarezmian Turks — displaced by the Mongols — skirted the Templar fortress at Safed and proceeded to sack the Holy City of Jerusalem in June 1244. Then in October, the Egyptians and the Khwarezmians led by Baibars, the future sultan of Egypt, fought the Crusaders at La Forbie, a small village northeast of Gaza, killing 5,000 including the Templar Grand Master and taking 800 as prisoners. From the ranks of the knightly orders, only thirty-three Templar, twenty-seven Hospitaller, and three Teutonic knights survived.
The Seventh Crusade (1248-1254) led by King Louis IX of France provided the Templars with an opportunity to regain some of order’s lost stature. With Acre still serving as headquarters for Crusader operations, Damietta was once again taken; but against Templar advice Louis advanced into Egypt and suffered defeat at the battle of Mansura in 1250.
From that point on Templars fortunes began to decline and back in France King Louis IX’s concern for what was left of the Crusader states — the Templars, squeezed between the Egyptians and the Mongols, had gradually lost most of their strongholds — prompted his launching of the Eighth Crusade (1270) which like the Ninth Crusade (1271-1272) was limited in scope and short on achievement. In 1291 Tripoli fell and was quickly followed by the fall of Acre which signalled the end of any further Crusades to regain the Holy Land from the Muslims.
The Templars, however, were by no means an entirely spent force and the order still had some 20,000 members as well as the accumulated wealth of its European holdings. So with that in mind they still harboured hopes of setting up base in Cyprus and recapturing the Holy Land. Apart from being unrealistic, such hopes were also tempered by developments back in France where King Philip IV — who had for some time been trying to curb the French Temple’s independent power — decided to borrow heavily from the Templars in return for his protection.
In 1303 after severing relations with Pope Boniface VIII, Philip signed a formal treaty of alliance with the Templars in France and granted them control of state finances. Two years later when he was attacked by a mob in Paris, Philip took refuge in the Temple whose members he was destined to later persecute and have killed. Although moneylenders are despised at the best of times — even by those who out of desperation borrow from them — they become even more despicable when their lending power is used to either influence or control the rights and destinies of others.
Following the Paris mob incident, Philip was presented with an excuse for ridding himself of the Templar yoke of debt from around his neck when a disgruntled former Templar, Esquiu de Forian, unleashed a lurid denunciation of the Order and its practices. That same year, the France-based newly-elected Pope Clement V, wrote to both the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and the Hospitaller Grand Master Fulk de Villaret proposing the possibility of merging the two Orders, but neither was receptive to the idea.
Despite their initial reluctance for a merger, the two Grand Masters finally relented to Pope Clement persistence and in 1306 accepted his invitation to meet in France. De Molay was the first to arrive in early 1307 but then had to wait for several months because de Villaret had been delayed which provided de Molay and Clement with an opportunity to discuss Esquiu de Florian’s 1305 denunciation of the Templars. Though they both agreed that the allegations were at best spurious, Pope Clement nonetheless dispatched a written request for assistance with the investigation to King Philip who as a result of his war with the English was deeply in debt to the Templars.
Having already expelled the Jews and exiled the Lombard bankers (Italian pawn-broking system), Philip used spies to join the Order and uncover its covert iniquitousness. So as a means of relieving himself from his enormous debt to the Templars, Philip first pressured the Church to act against the Order, and then on Friday, 13 October 1307 ordered the simultaneous arrest of de Molay and other French Templars. The arrest warrant began with the phrase, ‘God is not pleased. We have enemies of the faith in the kingdom’, and went on to charge the Templars with numerous offences including apostasy, financial corruption and fraud, heresy, homosexuality, idolatry, obscene rituals, and secrecy.
Despite their valour in battle, few templars could withstand the torture with whips, screws, and racks and thirty-six of them died within a few days of their arrest. The remainder in the meantime confessed to whatever their torturers wanted to hear. Pope Clement — after further pressure and bullying from Philip — then issued the papal bull Pastoralis Praeeminentiae on 22 November 1307, which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets.
Pope Clement also held papal hearings to determine the Templars' guilt or innocence, and on being freed from the inquisitors’ torture, many Templars recanted their confessions. In 1310 Philip blocked attempts by Templars with legal knowledge to defend themselves and insisted on the use of the previously forced confessions to have scores of Templars burned at the stake in Paris. Further threats by Philip to resort to military action if necessary then forced Pope Clement in 1312 to finally accede to Philip’s demands by issuing a series of papal bulls at the Council of Vienne that officially dissolved the Order and transferred most of its assets to the Hospitallers.
Though Grand Master Jacques de Molay and the Preceptor of Normandy, Geoffroi de Charney, both retracted their confessions and insisted on their innocence, they were nonetheless found guilty as relapsed heretics and were burnt alive at the stake in Paris on 18 March 1314. De Molay was reportedly defiant to the end and legend suggests that he called out from the flames that both Pope Clement and King Philip would soon meet him before God: ‘God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death’. Pope Clement died a month later, and King Philip died in a hunting accident before the year’s end.
In 1919 in Kansas City, Missouri, the Order of DeMolay — also known as DeMolay International and deriving its name from the last Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay — was founded by Frank S. Land, a Freemason. Modelled after and sponsored by Freemasonry, it is an organisation for young men between the ages of 12 to 21. Although none of the youth groups are “masonic organisations” as such, DeMolay is considered to be part of the general “family” of Masonic and associated organisations, along with other youth groups such as Job’s Daughters (young women aged between ten and twenty) and Rainbow which are both Masonic sponsored youth organisations for young girls.
DeMolay has seven Cardinal Virtues, which constitute the basic ideals and essential teachings of the organisation. They are: Filial love (love between a parent and child); Reverence for sacred things; Courtesy; Comradeship; Fidelity; Cleanness; and Patriotism. Though regarded as a ‘grooming’ organisation for Freemasonry, DeMolay members are not obliged to become Freemasons. One of those who did not become a Freemason was Bill Clinton, who also failed miserably on the question of fidelity to his wife. Other notable former members included Walt Disney, John Steinbeck, and John Wayne.
In September 2001, a discovery was made in the Vatican Secret Archives of document known as the “Chinon Parchment” dated 17-20 August 1308 which in 1628 had been wrongly filed. It is a record of the Templars trials showing that Pope Clement absolved the Templars of all heresies in 1308 before formally disbanding the Order in 1312. Another Chinon Parchment addressed to Philip IV of France and dated 20 August 1308, also mentions that all Templars that had confessed to heresy had been “restored to the Sacraments and to the unity of the Church.” The current position of the Roman Catholic Church is that the medieval persecution of the Knights Templar was unjust, that nothing was inherently wrong with the Order, its Rule, or its conduct, and that Pope Clement had been pressured by both the impact of the scandal and the dominating influence of King Philip IV, who was Pope Clement's relative.
Following the loss of their leaders and the arrest of many of their brothers-in-arms, the remaining Templars dispersed throughout Europe by either enlisting with other military orders such as the Knights Hospitaller, or by joining trade associations and covert brotherhoods such as the Carbonari (charcoal-burners). The earliest known existence of organised leagues of charcoal-burners with political objectives dates back to the twelfth century when they were probably formed to counter the severe forest laws that were in existence in those days. At about the same time corporations of Fendeurs (hewers) with similar rites and secret signs of recognition existed in Jura (a department in eastern France named after the Jura mountains) where the associations were known as le Bon cousinage (the good cousinship). In view of the important services that could be rendered on a countrywide basis by members of such associations, many powerful lords with political agendas and persecuted individuals such as the Templars either became members themselves or entered into secret treaties with them.
Attempts to prosecute the Templars in England were mostly unsuccessful because King Edward II — who was also Philip of France’s son-in-law — initially sided with the Order before succumbing to pressure from Philip and Pope Clement. The ensuing prosecutions, however, were half-hearted with light sentences for some and the remainder escaping mostly to Scotland which was at war with England. The English Templars were joined by many of their French brothers and a large contingent of both is said to have fought with Robert the Bruce (1274-1329) at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 where Edward II’s much larger English force was defeated. It has since been suggested that it was in Scotland that the Templars became seriously involved and entwined with the masonic lodges — whose propensity for secrecy and intrigue — must have appealed to Templars already conditioned by the covert and conniving nature of their own Order.
Today there is no shortage of legends and theories regarding these warrior monks who guarded pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land, formed the backbone of successive Crusades, and allegedly derived their wealth and power from something they discovered by digging under the ruins of the Second Temple whose site is claimed by Judaism to be the Holy of Holies — initially inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later where the Arc of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments was kept during the period of the First Temple.
What it was that the Templars discovered has long remained the subject of much speculation with some scholars and numerous authors suggesting vast amounts of treasure, the Holy Grail, the severed head of John the Baptist, and even a historical record of the Nazarene family of Jesus. But with all the suggestions put forward there at least one week link within the chain of reasoning.
Why for instance would Judaic priests bury their own treasures and relics with those of a relatively small and little known Christian sect that was still competing with numerous other equally small religions? Christianity did not become a major religion until the patronage of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine (272-337) which occurred more than two centuries after the Jerusalem’s sacking by the Romans, the razing to the ground of the temple, and the exile from the city of all Jews.
Even the theory that it was of the Holy Grail that had been discovered must be discounted because the Grail does not appear in any form of literature until the Dark Age (c. 11th-13th century) legend of King Arthur and his knights. Inexplicably these legends have often been accepted as historical facts. In those days it was common practice to weave fictional tales with metaphors and examinations of current events portrayed by fabled characters as was the case with King Arthur and the Holy Grail in Chrétien de Troyes’ Percival. As the great empires of the classical world collapsed, such tales served to inspire hope for a Europe wallowing in the quagmire of plagues and pandemonium, and then survived to fuse with historical notions to become part of modern mythology. The Templars therefore could not have discovered something that could not possibly have been there.
The most plausible explanation for what the Templars actually found is simply one of an ancient Jewish treasure. Such treasure would probably have consisted mainly of first century gold coins that would have helped finance their rapid acquisition of property, power, and the political influence that results from lending money to nobles and royals. It was that wealth, power and wide-ranging influence that would ultimately cause the Templars downfall.
“When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”
George R.R. Matin, A Clash of Kings
Tuesday, 1 December
Little Venice, London, England
Journalist and documentary filmmaker Conrad Banner was a habitual early riser who, since Freya Nielson had moved in to live with him, always took time before getting out of bed to think how lucky he was as he marvelled at the serenity of her angelic face — a serenity that would no doubt dissipate when she woke up to face the challenge and at times less than pleasant realities of being a freelance photojournalist recording “man's inhumanity to man.” Conrad got out of bed quietly so as not to wake her, slipped on his dressing gown, and crept downstairs where in the kitchen he switched on the pump espresso coffee machine for his first caffeine fix of the day. Minutes later he was sat at his desk with laptop open checking his inbox. Amongst some 15 notifications there were a couple from Adam Peltz and Sami Hadawi in Jerusalem. Peltz was a Jew involved with an Israeli organisation of archaeologists and community activists who were concerned about the use of archaeology by Israel to facilitate political objectives through various organisations of which the most prominent was the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Sami was a Palestinian Christian who though unlicensed, was nonetheless a knowledgeable tourist guide with a roguish but spontaneous, endearing, and defiantly irrepressible grin despite the humiliating and hazardous hardships of life under an oppressive occupation. But of prime importance for Conrad was an email from his father Mark in Beirut, whom he had asked for general advice and ideas for a title regarding the documentary Conrad was planning to make about Jerusalem and the current conflict on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
As always glad to hear that you are both keeping well. Freya is an adorable and very special young lady deserving of all that you have to give, and much more. Equally pleased to learn that since your return from Jerusalem you have resolved to make a documentary about the tragedy of Palestine and am flattered you have asked for my advice and suggestions for a title. As requested, I have given the matter some thought and in view of the fact that the concept of a “Promised Land” is a central tenet of Zionism that is coupled with a Judaic yearning for the building of a “Third Temple” on Temple Mount — I will collate all the information I have about the Hiramic Brotherhood of the Third Temple and send it to you later this week — I can think of nothing more appropriate than a title with a biblical connotation such as The Promised Land and Ezekiel’s Temple Prophecy.
“I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.”
Ezekiel 34:13 (written between 593 - 571 BCE)
As an atheist I have never given any credence to the Bible with its prophets who were generally presented as having received revelations from God Himself which they subsequently penned for posterity. Such prophetic passages which supposedly foretold or predicted what was to come, were interspersed throughout the Bible with the most frequently cited being from Ezekiel, Daniel, Mathew 24/25, and Revelation.
While some biblical prophecies were conditional with either the conditions implicitly assumed or explicitly expressed, others were depicted variously as being direct statements from God, or were expressed as the privileged though deliberately portentous perceptions of their alleged authors who were credited with inexplicable prophetic powers.
Believers in biblical prophecy engage in exegesis, the critical explanation or interpretation of a text, and hermeneutics, the theory of text interpretation of scriptures which they believe contain descriptions of global politics, natural disasters, Israel’s emergence as a nation, the coming of a Messiah, a Messianic Kingdom, and the Apocalypse.
So as you work on your film, and with that in mind, you will have to clearly demonstrate the downside of biblical prophecy which is that it has often been hijacked and exploited by fraudulent religions and questionable ideologies as justification for actions and policies that if impartially examined by an international criminal court or tribunal would be adjudged as being in violation of the Geneva Conventions ― comprising of four treaties and three additional protocols ― and tantamount to crimes against humanity.
One of the most ever successful fraudulent exploitation of biblical prophecy was and still is being currently perpetrated by the much vaunted “only democracy in the Middle East” which as an Apartheid Zionist Jewish state cites biblical narratives to justify both its arrogant disregard with impunity for every one of the 30 articles of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and for its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people which, incidentally, is defined as a crime against humanity under the statutes of both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Israel’s ethnic cleansing has involved the systematic forced removal of indigenous Christian and Muslim Palestinians from Palestine with overwhelming military force so as to make it ethnically homogeneous. Such cleansing has included the removal of physical and cultural evidence in Palestine through the destruction of homes, social centres, farms, and infrastructure; and the desecration of Palestinian monuments, cemeteries, and places of worship.
Your film should argue that concocted biblical narratives alone, are insufficient to justify brutal colonisation and ethnic cleansing of a territory supposedly promised to the Jews by God himself. It should also make apparent that the perpetration of crimes against humanity in Palestine is being assisted by highly organised and abundantly financed Jewish lobby groups; by a consistent mainstream media unforgivable portrayal of the brutal Jewish colonisers as the victims; by an unconscionable demonisation of the indigenous population; and by the ruthless suppression of freedom of speech through the exploitation of “anti-Semitism” and the “Holocaust” to silence and criminalise criticism of Israel throughout the world.
The extent of Zionism’s Nazification of our freedoms was recently illustrated with the interrogation by British anti-terrorism police of a pupil who wore a “Free Palestine” badge and wristbands to school. Rather than encouraging their pupils to learn about and support human rights, teachers reported the boy to the police for what can only be described as his commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which starts off by categorically stating that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” But supporting such sentiments where Palestinians are concerned, is now apparently a crime in Britain. The teachers’ action in this case was reminiscent of Nazi Germany when the roles were reversed with the Hitler Youth Movement grooming schoolchildren to report any “subversive” talk or action by their teachers, friends, neighbours, and even their own parents. In Britain, the existence of a Zionist Thought Police is now a reality and their suppression of free speech is killing off what little is left of British democracy.
The onerous task you have undertaken is fraught with many dangers that should not be underestimated so that you and Freya must take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety. It is not for me to question your decision to allow Freya to accompany you, but it is a decision which you may wish to reconsider. Also remember that you have already been stigmatised as an enemy of Israel by virtue of your surname and its association with my alleged “anti-Semitic” newspaper articles and books. By simply raising the question of Israel’s criminality, you will automatically be accused of anti-Semitism and of wanting to do to the Jews, what Israeli Jews have with cheerful chutzpah been, and still are doing to the Palestinian people with impunity.
Finally, you must neither surrender your principles like most of the mass media’s petrified “presstitutes,” nor lose heart because as a journalist you have a responsibility to both your own conscience and the rest of humanity whose liberties are gradually but surely being curtailed. As was once observed by Christopher Dodd, the American lobbyist, lawyer, and politician: “When the public's right to know is threatened, and when the rights of free speech and free press are at risk, all of the other liberties we hold dear are endangered.”
Love and best wishes, Mark.
The White House, Washington, D.C.
“Arrogant slime-ball,” the President said angrily at his Oval office desk as he slammed the telephone receiver back into its cradle, “that guy’s a certifiable lunatic,” he said referring to the Israeli Prime Minister.
The Chief of Staff — who had just witnessed the President’s expressed disapproval over the fact that during the past month Israeli forces had killed 142 Palestinians, and injured a further 15,620 — was sympathetic but not particularly impressed. He had heard and seen it all before and knew only too well that when the Israeli PM came to Washington, both leaders would carefully conceal their mutual animosity when in front of the cameras with the President mealy-mouthing all the obligatory and reassuring pro-Israel soundbites regarding the Jewish state’s security “requirements” and its right do whatever was necessary to “defend itself.”
The Chief of Staff had long been reconciled with such unconditional U.S. support for Israeli aggression despite the fact that token Palestinian resistance to it — epitomised mostly by stone-throwing youths and children who on flimsy evidence could be jailed for up to 20 years for their symbolic defiance — was a justified reaction to an oppressive, brutal and illegal occupation. Such well rehearsed geniality between the two leaders would be followed up by meetings where hundreds of millions of dollars of additional aid would be pledged to Israel as a token of America’s unconditional love and fealty to an Apartheid war criminal state. As far as the Chief of Staff could make out, it was always more convenient for the American government to pay off the bellyaching Israeli blackmailers in hope that they would stop chanting their tiresome mantra about the Holocaust and go away. As was observed in The Jerusalem Post by Reuven Ben-Shalom — who served for 25 years in the Israel Defence Force as a helicopter pilot; in various international relations positions including director of Israel-US military cooperation; and as director of the International Fellows Program at the Israel National Defence College — “We get so carried away in presenting our case that listening to us is sometimes exhausting, depressing, boring, and annoying.”
During the visit the Israeli leader would no doubt also scoop up a pile of large amount cheques from the Wall Street fraternity of financial felons and deep pocket Jewish billionaire members of the world’s wealthy one-percenters; would be grovelled to by a bicameral Congress consisting mostly of quislings totally controlled by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); and would receive fawning praise from compliant media whores — especially in The New York times — to the applause of the brainwashed and blinkered American public. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four with its portrayal of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation was now a flourishing reality in the land where the star-spangled banner was no longer fluttering in triumph “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
In view of the President’s current agitated mood, the Chief of Staff reluctantly gave him the Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB), a top-secret document compiled by the Director of National Intelligence whose office combined intelligence reports from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other U.S. intelligence agencies. Today’s Briefing, as had been the case for the past few months at the President’s request, also contained a summary of Israeli media reports which were invariably not well received by the President who was often portrayed as being anti-Semitic and an enemy of Israel.
U.S.-Israeli relations had been at an all time low for some time as a consequence of continued Jewish settlement building in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories; mischievous Israeli efforts to derail the the Iran nuclear negotiations; and the stalled charade of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. During his presidential campaign in July 2008, the President — apart from pledging not “to waste a minute” in tackling the Middle East conflict if elected president — had also asserted “you and I, we’re gonna change this country, and we will change the world,” to the ecstatic chants of “yes we can,” all of which would eventually prove to be yet another example of how the hopes of the American people had triumphed over the reality of their past experience of broken promises by treasonous politicians who sold their souls to AIPAC.
So despite his election marking a new era of expectation and his having been prematurely awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, the President had not only failed to deliver on any of his pledges for peace and a better world, but had actually expanded war powers well beyond those of his semi-literate predecessor George W. Bush by establishing precedents that made it even easier to use lethal force abroad without congressional approval.
Just like all his recent presidential predecessors, the President had been very quickly taught that as far as the Middle East was concerned, it was Israel through AIPAC which dictated U.S. Middle East policy and not the White House or Congress. Israel had made that point by launching the barbaric Operation Cast Lead in Gaza — which started on December 27, 2008 and ended on January 18, 2009 — just two days before the President’s inauguration on the twentieth.
“What have you got for me?” a testy President asked as he took the morning’s briefing papers and started reading the summary of Israeli media reports which included a controversial revelation that Israel was the major purchaser of oil produced and sold by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which was producing between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels a day in those two countries to generate between $1m and $1.5 million in profits; that one of Germany’s largest department store chains — with over 100 branches and 21,000 employees — had removed Israeli products from its shelves in response to new EU labelling regulations; that members of the extreme right, anti-Arab assimilation group Lehava had protested against a Christmas tree decorating event — intended for Jerusalem’s Christian population — which they claimed was targeting Jewish children; that after meeting the Russian President in Paris, the Israeli PM had said that Israel would continue to protect its interests by acting in Syria to prevent the transfer of game-changing weaponry to Hezbollah; and that according to the Jewish Agency, almost 30,000 Jews — the largest influx in 15 years — had moved to Israel in 2015 as part of the continuous aliya that was necessary for the gradual but constant encroachment on Palestinian territories with new illegal settlements.
The Chief of Staff had been part of the White House pantomime of supposedly opposing Israeli settlement building, while legislation — initiated and backed by the insufferable AIPAC — was in the pipeline for a trade bill that would contain a provision lumping together Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories.” So even though such legislation would contravene longstanding U.S. policy towards Israel and the occupied territories, including Israel’s illegal settlement activity, the President would sign the bill. Dubbed as The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, the bill was designed to strengthen enforcement rules, address currency manipulation, and bolster efforts to block evasions of trade laws. The bill would also include a clause addressing politically motivated acts to limit or prohibit economic relations with Israel by targeting corporate entities or state-affiliated financial institutions who engaged in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
The provision would place the U.S. firmly on record as opposing BDS and supporting enhanced commercial ties between the U.S. and Israel while passing into law solid anti-BDS negotiating objectives for American trade negotiators. Furthermore, within 180 days of the bill becoming law, the US administration would be obliged to report to the Congress on global BDS activities, including the participation of foreign companies in political boycotts of the Jewish state. Apart from providing legal protections for U.S. companies operating in Israel, the bill would also conflate Israel proper with contested occupied Palestinian territories contrary to long-standing hypocritical U.S. policy stipulating that settlement activity was an obstacle to achieving peace and a two-state solution.
The extent of the AIPAC-led pro-Israel lobby’s control of the U.S. Congress became evident when even the much cherished First Amendment of the Constitution — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” — was threatened by Congresspeople with one vowing to destroy the mounting grassroots BDS campaign against Israel by pledging to weaken the First Amendment: “Free speech is being used in our country to denigrate Israel and we need to actively fight against that . . . ”
The President — whom more than 90 percent of Israeli people disliked — was accustomed to this kind Congressional pandering to Israel whose Jewish population while mostly claiming to favour a two-state solution, and thus, Palestinian statehood, was actually lying to pollsters and disliked the President because of fear that he might be serious about ending Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza. Consequently, though Israeli fears — of Iran, of rocket attacks, of world isolation and abandonment — were hardly plausible, such fears nonetheless served both as a source of consolation for Israel’s collective conscience and as justification for its continued occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.
“What are they up to now?” The president asked as he finished reading the media reports and moving on to the PDB which the Chief of Staff had made a point of always reading first and which contained the report of suspicions that the Israeli secret service had been behind a series of mysterious yet highly sophisticated cyber-spying attacks on decisive negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme held at luxury hotels across Europe between Iran and the P5+1 nations of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany. Swiss security agents had raided Geneva’s luxury President Wilson hotel — where some of the talks were held — and as suspected, discovered evidence of Israeli cyber spying.
After having eventually finished reading the daily briefing, the President sank wearily in his executive black leather high back chair with a sense of frustration. Following his reelection for a second term in 2012, the President had expressed the view that “We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this world has ever known, but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.” Despite the proclamation of such noble sentiments about “freedom and dignity for every human being,” the reality was that with American aid and complicity, “freedom and dignity” were still being denied to the Palestinian people after almost 70 years.
The President had long been reconciled to the fact — irrespective how many international and human rights laws Israel violated — that so long as AIPAC continued to have the American government by the balls, then the U.S. would continue with American taxpayer money to provide unconditional support for a racist Apartheid state whose arrogant conduct with boundless impunity on the international stage was intended to dispossess the Palestinian people of their land so as to facilitate illegal Jewish settlement in keeping with Zionism’s ideological objective for a “Greater Israel.” Despite all that, more than half of all U.S. global aid was given to Israel.
Even worse than the betrayal of the American people by its politicians, was the surrender of the great American Dream — Democracy, Rights, Liberty, Opportunity, and Equality — by the American people themselves: a people who tended to subscribe to the ideology of American Exceptionalism; a people of whom according to a Gallup/Harris poll, a full 73 percent were incapable of identifying their home country — let alone the location of other countries — on a map; a people no longer capable of accepting any irrefutable fact that did not conform with their own blinkered bias; a people devoid of the capacity to think beyond their indoctrination by a mainstream media of which 90 percent was controlled by only six corporations either owned or run by Jewish interests; a people no longer prepared to ask difficult questions or to regard obvious government and media propaganda and lies with suspicion; a people nurtured on racial antagonism and the need for constant wars against the ever present and deviously fabricated “threats” of terrorism; a people whom the rest of the world regarded as the greatest threat to human rights and the attainment of global peace; and a people who had lost all moral and political perspectives of how they, as a “superpower,” should by their own example be leading and benefiting the rest of humanity.
Despite the status and trappings of his position, the Chief of staff had decided to tender his resignation because of disillusionment and a troubled conscience which cried out for unshackled governance with integrity where in the corridors of power the anguished wails of “We the People” would not be drowned out by the corrupting whispers of bribe-laden special interest lobbyists: lobbyists whose democracy subverting influence had been further enhanced by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling (a 5 to 4 decision) that struck down the limit on the total amount of money wealthy donors could contribute to candidates and political committees. So now, more than ever before, the millionaire/billionaire one-percenters could buy politicians and control government policies to the detriment of the vast majority who had yet to learn that the only difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that with the latter you don’t have to waste time by going to the ballot box.
Foggy Bottom Neighbourhood, Washington, D.C.
It was evening and in the sitting room where — having already melodiously mellowed the mood with Kaori Kobayashi’s jazz saxophone sounds — the digital music system was now playing her Nothing Gonna Change My Love for You. The previously hovering wisps of cigarette smoke had dispersed leaving only the faint but distinct gaseous aroma of incinerated Virginia tobacco; the crystal champagne flutes from which a 2004 vintage had been sipped, lay empty on the ornate glass top coffee table next to the drained and upturned bottle in the silver plated ice bucket; and as a final flourish to the love nest setting, a trail of hurriedly discarded items of male and female designer clothing led from the black soft leather sectional sofa to the bedroom where on the upholstered bed the naked couple were pressed hard against each other in a passionate embrace.
The brunette’s sun-bed tanned curvaceous hourglass figure was firm with a good muscle tone indicating regular workouts and attention to diet. Her impressively proportioned bust and hips were matched by a beautifully defined waist that gracefully curved down and outwards towards those hips which were perfectly aligned with gently rounded shoulders framing sizeable but nonetheless perky breasts. Her rounded bottom was symmetrical with the beautiful side and front profiles of an upper body that matched the length of her raunchily shaped legs. Every enticing inch of her was a picture of balance, harmony, and ethereal sensuality.
The middle-aged man on the other hand was carrying some flab that was more pronounced around his slightly sagging midriff. Despite that, his body had retained some vestige of what must have once been a fine physique before the ravages of time and debauched living had taken their toll. Nonetheless, like most men in positions of power he had an overactive libido which coupled with with the confidence that came with his position made him recklessly willing to chance his luck against the odds of having his illicit encounters being discovered irrespective of how, when, where, or with whom they might occur. Because of this perceived omnipotence he invariably assumed that other people would always do his bidding so that sexual compliance from women — who were in any case fascinated by men in positions of power — was something he expected and took for granted. The phenomenon was not restricted to men but was equally applicable to women of prominence for whom having authority over others was also the ultimate aphrodisiac.
The brunette suddenly tossed her head back, provocatively disengaging her tongue from their torrid embrace and instead began to kiss him gently as she worked her way downwards from his chin towards his crotch where her darting tongue taunted, teased, and titillated his testicles and caused his aroused manhood to throb with salacious expectation. Such expectation was then rewarded as she lightly stroked his upstanding manhood with well manicured fingernails while her lascivious tongue and lips performed sensual magic on one who was undoubtedly the promiscuous husband of a probably outwardly demure but socially ambitious hellcat of a wife whose priorities did not include nurturing or enhancing marital sexuality.
After what seemed like an age of agonising concupiscence for the man, the woman straddled him in a kneeling position, held his erection in her right hand and used it to gently massage her vulval lips which were already moist with the anticipation of welcoming his well endowed manhood into the pleasurable depths of her femininity. She could not help but smile to herself as she recalled her teenage years and wondered what Rabbi Amos Rosenfeld — a family friend and frequent visitor to their Brooklyn home — would have thought of her now. He used to frequently remind her that irrespective of what she chose to do in life, to always make sure she was in control and on top of any situation: which was precisely what she was now doing as she determined the position, the pace, and the procedure by which she would transport this besotted and deluded individual to that realm of coital cornucopia which most men dream about but very few actually experience.
As his breathing quickened and his moans grew more desperate, she finally relented and slowly but surely lowered herself onto his throbbing penis which she enveloped with her warm and wet love nest. There was no way this was going to be some casual wham, bam, thank you mam encounter because she had spent months using Ben Wa balls to conscientiously exercise her vaginal muscles so as to become an expert in the art of vaginal muscle control which many Oriental women had mastered as part of becoming highly proficient lovers. She could now hold a man’s penis tightly with her vagina; she could by powerfully squeezing and releasing his penis give him the vaginal equivalent of fellatio; she could delay his ejaculation if he was about to reach the point of climax prematurely; and she could use her vaginal muscles to pleasure him in a variety of amazing and mind-blowing ways — and she did.
The fact that they were both virtually motionless on the bed belied the extent of their euphoria because despite the apparent lack of robust movement, all her well exercised vaginal muscles were delivering tidal waves of gratification to every sinew of the man’s body whose head was now intoxicated with sheer, unadulterated rapture. As their rate of breathing quickened and the sound of their triumphant moans heightened, so too did the pace of the vaginal contractions whose pleasure providing effects were further enhanced by the woman’s subtle but sensational circular movement of the hips.
Under the circumstances even the strongest of wills would have failed to stem the irresistible onrush of a jubilant climax and as this couple’s fevered passion hurtled towards a sexual Armageddon, he clasped her hips tightly with both hands and responded to her enthusiastic acceleration of movement with macho-impelled thrusts that were deep, hard, and rapid. With each thrust her body convulsed with a long, loud, exultant shriek akin to that of a woman giving birth to a child. Their bodies arched and writhed wildly against each other as they sought to wring out every last smidgeon of sensual satisfaction from their physical endeavours until finally with a fanfare of frenzied sighs and squeals an explosion of unimaginable delight engulfed them and left them drained in a crumpled heap on the sweat and semen soaked Egyptian cotton bed sheet. Though such clandestine trysts were often a necessary part of the brunette’s work, it was not work that she in any way regarded with abhorrence.
While tens of thousands of other potentially dangerous liaisons were simultaneously being played out within hotel rooms and private accommodations in different cities, towns, and villages all over the world, this particular one had taken place in Washington DC’s Watergate Complex: a notorious address where corporate predators, Machiavellian miscreants, and an “I am not a crook” U.S. president had in the past met their Waterloos due to some caper, criminality, or cloak-and-dagger conspiracy.
The satisfied but now exhausted man dozed off momentarily, blissfully oblivious to the fact that the evening’s sexual shenanigans were not an unwitting and incidental progression from last week’s chance encounter with the brunette, but part of a predetermined scheme carefully orchestrated and executed as the direct consequence of world events including a spate of what many people regarded as being long overdue decisions recognising the historical existence of a Palestinian people who were deserving of justice, human rights, and a state of their own. Such decisions — despite furious Israeli threats accompanied by the inevitable endless reminders of the Holocaust — had recently included recognition of Palestinian statehood by a number of European nations; the provision of Palestinian observer status at the International Criminal Court (ICC); a vote of recognition by the European parliament; and the Geneva Conventions’ invocation of Palestinian rights by 126 countries urging Israel to halt illegal settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Geneva Conventions which governed the rules of war and military occupation had not on this occasion been attended by Australia, Canada, or the U.S.A. — countries whose far from exemplary past colonial governance had included racial discrimination, rampant exploitation, and heartless ill-treatment of indigenous populations which in some cases constituted premeditated genocide. Such overtly pro-Palestinian developments were now threatening to delay, or perhaps even completely thwart the Judaic dream of erecting the “Third Temple” in accordance with the biblical prophecy of Ezekiel.
Consequently drastic measures were required including the ramping up of hasbara — a Hebrew word literally meaning “explanation,” but actually covering a wide range of propaganda activities promoting the positive aspects of Israel as a counter to negative press and public perceptions — to reenforce the misconception that Israel was “the only democracy in the Middle East” and had only been “defending itself” with “the most moral army in the world” during last summer’s brutal destruction of Palestinian life and property in Gaza with overwhelming state of the art weaponry against a people without a single tank, warship, or fighter jet aircraft with which to defend themselves.
Nonetheless Israel would continue through its powerful Zionist Jewish lobby organisations to reenforce its tactic of gagging anyone who spoke up and actively opposed Israeli policies; would continue to push for Jewish lobby inspired legislation criminalising criticism of Israel; would continue to oppose and undermine pro-Palestinian activist criticism of the Jewish state’s enforcement of Apartheid; and would continue to maintain its modus operandi of blackmail, bribery, and bullying supported by false flag operations to retain Western collusion in the deliberate rewriting of a Jewish history from one that portrayed Jews as being dependent and at the mercy of others, to one that instead had Jews as being independent and in control of their own destiny in a Jewish state whose establishment and survival necessitated gradually but positively denying the Palestinian people of their own history and homeland so as to forcibly and illegally facilitate the expansion of Jewish settlement.
Many observers and commentators had noted that during its pursuit of that goal, Israel had developed a righteous “self-defence” philosophy that combined all elements of military occupation and law enforcement to oppress the Palestinian people. It was a philosophy that had come to personify the character of settler Israeli Jews and their racist mentality as a “chosen people” exempt from accountability for their actions. Another consequence of this righteousness was the growth of a state of the art military-security industrial Goliath voraciously dependent on trade with other countries for whom population pacification was also an essential necessity for their governments. As far as the Israelis were concerned, it mattered not to whom they sold their tools of death and destruction — including governments who tortured, terrorised, murdered, or were even anti-Semitic — so long as such sales served to make a profit and forged alliances with those rogue states so as to curtail their criticism of Israeli policies.
The success of Israel’s military-security industrial Goliath had to a great extent been due to the fact that the equipment sold had already been cold-bloodedly field tested in Gaza and the West Bank on “guinea pig” captive Palestinians of whom since 1967 some one million had also experienced arbitrary Israeli arrest and detention that was deliberately designed — with stressful conditions of confinement, painful methods of restraining detainees, long periods of isolation, beatings, degradation, intimidation, and threats against detainees and their families — to deprive them of their dignity and impair their physical well-being.
Israelis had been, and still were, able to perpetrate their crimes against humanity with impunity because they had successfully managed to continue portraying themselves as the innocent victims of anti-Semitic terrorism against which they were defending themselves in a perpetual war. To further facilitate tolerance of their crimes by Western democracies, Israelis had exploited terrorist acts against Western nations to formulate the “clash of civilisations” perception in which Western nations and Israel shared civilised values that required an endless war against the uncivilised Islamic terrorists. So long as such spurious perceptions prevailed, Israel could then maintain its ethnic cleansing of Palestine under the guise of self-defence while inducing the rest of the now Islamophobic Western world to fight an ever present “terrorist threat” that served Israel’s purpose of dividing and destroying its Middle East Muslim neighbours.
“ . . . it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship . . . Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Hermann Goering (as told to American psychologist Gustav Gilbert during the Nuremberg Trials)
It was, as he then was, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who — following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States — confirmed the usefulness of this perception by saying “it's very good . . . Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy . . . strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive haemorrhaging of terror.” Meanwhile then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon — another notorious war criminal — repeatedly placed Israel on the same ground as the United States by calling the assault an attack on “our common values . . . I believe together we can defeat these forces of evil.”
By September 19, 2001, Aman — the supreme military intelligence branch of the Israeli Defence Forces — had begun circulating claims that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks, a blatant lie that helped neoconservatives to convince Americans that the War on Iraq was justified. This lie was further reinforced by an even bigger Israeli inspired falsehood that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction with then British Prime Minister Tony Blair — an Israeli asset and now widely regarded as a war criminal but still at large — becoming embroiled in the claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of an order being given. Such lies had served to infect Western perceptions with Israel’s Perpetual War Syndrome which had to date resulted in tens of millions of innocent people in the Middle East and elsewhere to be continually traumatised, displaced, and in many cases simply killed.
Israel’s apparent beneficence in offering to help “defeat those evil forces” was part of Zionism’s contrivance to lull Americans in particular and the West in general into believing that apart from sharing their values, Israel was also their staunchest ally . . . An ally, however, that with the help of hundreds of Jewish organisations and numerous Zionist-neoconservative officials occupying strategic positions, had constantly pushed the West into fighting “Islamic terrorism” in an endless conflict where hateful contempt and heinous disregard for humanity prevailed above all else . . . An endless conflict in which Conrad Banner and Freya Nielson would soon become embroiled as witnesses to a brutal extrajudicial killing that confirmed Israel was now a nation lacking in any sense of principled morality. Conrad subscribed to the observation once made by the British lawyer and jurist Judge Devlin (1905-1992), that “an established morality is as necessary as good government to the welfare of society. Societies disintegrate from within more frequently than they are broken up by external pressures.”