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Night of Tears

Benson C Saili

The philosophy of the SSS World, the Orion planet also known as the NEHK World where the overall monarch, the Queen, resided was that home was the domain of the female and the conquered worlds, a work posting,  were the domain of the male. Females stayed on the home planet, administrating it – call this performing domestic chores – whilst males were always grinding away in the cosmic outposts in a bid to expand the empire and make it wealthier and hence further brighten its future prospects. The same ethos applied at a societal level: at the level of the household, females in general stayed home if they were not in the army or serving the Queen in some capacity and males worked.  It was the same here on Earth until the last third of the 20th century.  

In much of the 20th century, women stayed at home, cooking, doing chores, tending to the children. The responsibility of men was to ensure that the family was well-taken care of; so men had to find a way of earning a living on behalf of the family. This praxis was the same everywhere in the world, including Europe and the Americas. Women seldom worked. 

Because of this symbiosis where husband and wife played complementary roles, marriages lasted and the world was socially much more orderly than it is today. Not anymore. The Illuminati frown upon stable marriages since they thrive on chaos rather than order. They accordingly threw a spanner in the works by introducing the Women Lib Movement. This was meant to gradually bring women on par with men in every field of human endeavour.

Since women also now worked and therefore sustained themselves economically, the result was that family life came apart at the seams. Women no longer were submissive to their spouses. Divorce and singleness on the part of women became the order of the day. Of course women say they are now “liberated”, which is true, but this has come at a price – rampant divorce rates, commonplace singleness, and children growing up in homes without a father and so not knowing what it entails to look after a wife or caring for a husband.

It is worse with daughters because seeing their own mothers change men constantly or periodically, that code of behavior becomes ingrained in their minds at a very early age. The mother automatically disqualifies herself as a role model and no longer has the moral high ground to ram sense in her daughter. In Asia and the Middle East, where societies have pretty much maintained the age-old tradition, marriages are the stablest in the world.  

Another reason the Illuminati introduced the Women Lib Movement was to turn women into a cash cow. In the US, women have an economic impact of $3 trillion per annum. Of this figure, $426 billion goes to beauty products alone. This has been possible only because women have been elevated socio-economically to be on par with men. But the effect on the stability of the home has been disastrous. In Belgium, the divorce rate is 71 percent. In the US, it is 53 percent. Botswana averages about 1000 divorce cases a year out of a population of only 2 million. It was never like that in the 60s and 70s.


We did mention some time back that in the worlds the NEHK armies of the SSS World had conquered, they were referred to as the ALLA-AN,  ARRA-AN, ARI-AN, or AYA-AN (one of the Orion Queen’s multiple titles). All these forms of address meant “The Holy Ones of Heaven”. In antiquity, the term Heaven was not used in the context we use it today: it was a general reference to the Shagari Stars region which we now call the Orion Star system but which the Sumerians and Akkadians called URU-ANNA.  The term Orion itself is derived from ORI-AN, another title of the Orion Queen. It is ARI-AN/ALLA-AN which gives us the words Aryan and Alien. From now on, we will refer to the people of Orion as the Arians.

The Arian armies, when they ventured out on cosmic conquest campaigns, fought under one banner. This banner was called the SSS-TAKH-A. Yes you are right: it is the source of … Swastika, the infamous emblem of Nazi Germany. If you recall from the Zeta Series and indeed from high school history, Adolf Hitler referred to the Germans as the Aryans, meaning “Master Race” (in truth, he was referring to blue-eyed/blonde-haired Germans).   Historians have mistakenly taken this to mean the Nordic race in general. But that was not what Hitler had in mind. 

The message he was trying to put across to the world was that Germans were a superior race in that the blood that coursed down in their veins was of Orion origin. In other words, he was saying the Germans were Reptilians of the Serpent line. Hitler knew a great deal more about  who mankind really was  than he’s given credit for (he had been in contact with the Aliens from the Aldebaran star system, which was part of the Orion Empire, see Zeta Series). Of course Hitler’s claim was not without a bit of hype given that every single Earthling does carry Arian genes in him or her.  

The Arian generals, when they conquered or colonised a world,   declared themselves kings but without a unilateral declaration of independence from the SSS World. They were so proud of their motherland the idea of seceding from it never crossed their minds.  Thus in  keeping with the maxim that a female’s place was in the home and a male’s place was out in the world, all the worlds that had been conquered  in the 9th Region of the Shagari Stars by the SSS World were run by kings. As somebody fittingly put it, “To the King, the Queen was an ornament for the Court and a decoration for the Monarch to fawn over … her presence was purely perfunctory."

The Kings, however, were deluding themselves if they thought they wielded real power. Observes one cosmic historian: “In any Empire run by a 'secret power’ (in this case the Queen of Orion), figure-heads are always the loudest and the most highly visible. The empire is even given to believe that the issuance of commands comes solely from the figure-head. In truth, sometimes the figure-heads even believe that they really are issuing the royal commands. But it is the person who actually sees to the execution of those commands who truly holds the reins of power.”

Who were the people who ensured the Queen’s commands were carried out in the colonised worlds?


We did state in one of the earlier articles that the SSS World was ruled by seven queens, one of whom was Queen overall. It was this Queen who was the ultimate monarch not only of the SSS World but of the entire Shagari Stars (the Orion star system) and the Shagari Empire (the Orion Empire which comprised of the Shagari Stars and the conquered worlds beyond the Shagari Stars).    

The Queen had an innumerable number of daughters who were borne on her behalf by her mother, the Queen Mother, using the surrogate method of reproduction as we said at some stage. These daughters were produced en masse with a view to aid in the administration of her vast, ever-expanding Shagari Empire. The Queen had chosen seven of her most trusted daughters who showed extraordinary abilities, incredible beauty, ruthless cunning and a cold-blooded willingness to execute her will, to be overseer of the planets on the seven stars of Orion.   

The title of these seven daughters was AST-AST-UR, which meant “The First and Foremost of the Queen”. If you remember what we once related, one of the Queen’s titles was AST-AST-AN, meaning “Holder of the Heavenly Throne”.  Now, AST-AST-UR was abbreviated as SST-UR. How does that come across? Sister! That, in short, is how the word sister came about.  AST-AST-AN also gives us the English word “assistant”. In English, the meaning has been dumbed down to mean “helper” but originally it referred to the Orion Queen. AST-AST-AN-NA was in fact the official title of the famous Egyptian Queen Isis (her Greek name).  It was a diminutive version of AST-AST-AN.

Today, it’s the stars of the Pleiades which are known as the “Seven Sisters” but in antiquity, the Seven Sisters were the seven stars of Orion. The two shoulder stars, the two stars of the lower skirt and the three Belt stars were originally symbolic of the “Seven SSS-T-URs”.

The Queen also had daughters, cousins, or nieces who were her main liaisons on the conquered or founded worlds in the greater Shagari Empire which were ruled by SSS kings.   These were known as the AST-ANs. The AST-AN female administrators had a team of assistants drawn from the colonised world. These were known as the SSS-TI-M, meaning “Those who are at the Side of the SSS World Females”.

In time, SSS-TI-M came to refer not only to the assistant administrators themselves but the overall institutions they were part of. In English, this is … system! The same assistants were also called the SS-U, meaning “Those who belonged to the SSS World Females”.  As individuals, they were known as SS-US. This is what gave rise to the name “Zeus”. Originally, it was not the title of a god: how it became so we will explain in due course.

The role of the Queen and her representatives in the entire empire has been summed up as follows:

“To the credit of the cleverness of the Queens, the Kings were absolutely convinced  that as Monarchs (in the  conquered worlds), they were the sole true power of the empire … Kings routinely issued orders intended for enforcement in the entire empire and it was the Queen and their female administrators who routinely altered or delayed the execution of the royal commands … It was also the Reptilian females who maintained direct contact with the rulers and peoples of the empire and it was they who administered to and maintained the channels of power … It was the Queens and their loyal female administrators who were the real Center of Power in the empire. And in every case, it was a female administrator who was responsible for the enforcement of Royal commands …

“The day to day duties of running the business and military affairs of the Worlds of the Reptilian Empire were always handled by the SSS-T Reptilian females. No detail, however minute, would go unscrutinised by the SSS-T female administrators. And no government was permitted to deviate in any way from the institutions set in place by the Reptilian Empire … The Queens became more visible, and became a greater part of the State ceremonies, that the people always relished. Minor programs were handed over to the Queen and her loyal female forces, but in the control of the Empire, the Kings would never relinquish their authority …”


With the passage of time, however, later-generation Reptoid Kings of the conquered world grew too big for their boots. They decided to systematically undermine the Queen of the empire with a view to ultimately secede and become autonomous Kings. The Queen, who had a most pervasive Intelligence apparatus, got wind of the plot and decided to nip it in the bud.   A story titled “The Night of Tears” relates how the Queen decided to wield the stick when a scheme on one planet in the 9th Sector to breakaway from the Orion Empire was detected.   The Queen travelled to the planet in question and got rid of the King in a most subtle manner. The story is told as follows:

“The daily early morning meeting of the King's Royal staff was called to order. The affairs of the empire were always the first priority in the morning. Members of the Royal Staff were surprised when the Queen entered the chamber instead of the King. Soldiers of her Royal Elite Female-Guards followed close behind her. As the female soldiers lined the walls of the Royal Chamber, the Queen sat down, not in her chair, but in the King's chair! Several of the King's staff jumped to their feet and loudly protested her outrageous action.

When the Queen's Elite-Guard stepped forward, the males sat down and remained silent. The announcement was quick and simple: the King had been assassinated in the middle of the night. The Queen herself had barely managed to escape the assassins. Were it not for her loyal Elite-Guard, the Queen might not have survived the night. Though the male murderers were immediately killed, they could not be recognised, nor could the source of the assassination plot be ascertained. In order to keep order, in order to prevent riot and pandemonium, the Queen had immediately seized control.”

Next,  the Queen took very drastic measures. All males were to be removed from positions of control and replaced with female commanders and administrators in the entire Orion Empire. The dismissed males, along with all the closest relations of the dead King, disappeared or died under very mysterious circumstances. On some other worlds, the crushed rebellion on the planet under discussion sent a wrong signal – that the Orion Empire was weakening, as a result of which copycat upheavals were attempted. Big mistake.

Invading forces from the central SSS World and from neighbouring loyal star systems  flooded into the tumultuous worlds. The rebellions were crushed ruthlessly. The Orion Empire never waned but in fact waxed. “The deadly female Reptilian Warriors expanded the realm of the Queen's Empire more quickly and with greater devastation than the armies of the Kings ever had,” goes the story of the Night of Tears. “The empire expanded as never 
before and it leapt to the forefront as the most powerful of all of the Star Empires in the Ninth Sector.”

It would be millions of years before the Queen would allow males to be Kings again in her empire.


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Parricide at Herod’s Court

25th January 2021

A wife, uncle, and two in-laws fall at the hands of Judah’s despot

The pre-eminent Jewish chronicler, Flavius Josephus, said of Herod the Great that he was “blessed with every gift of looks, body, and mind” but he was a “slave to his passions”. This was in the context of a gloating bloodlust.

His sword knew no sacred cows: neither his own kids, wives, in-laws, next of kin, nor bosom friends were immune from it. He is on record as pestering Caesar Augustus with a barrage of letters seeking permission to execute his own flesh and blood, prompting the Roman emperor to at one time quip that, “It is better to be Herod’s pig than his son”, which was apt: as a “Jew”, Herod did not eat pork and therefore in the event that he kept any pigs, they would never have to be killed.

You are by now well-apprised of the death of Hyrcanus II by the same Herod, General Atiku, in 30 BC. Hyrcanus, a Hasmonean ruler of Judah twice over, was actually the grandfather of Mariamne I, Herod’s most beloved wife and his second of up to 10 wives. It was Mariamne’s own mother Salome, who dreading Herod’s pathological savagery, pitched Mariamne to Herod in the hope that that would insure her family from Herod’s murderous caprices.

Now, Mariamne, General, was as much a stunning beauty as her younger brother Aristobulus III was breathtakingly good-looking. Having tied the knot with Herod in 37 BC, Mariamne had prevailed over her husband to install Aristobulus as High Priest. The post had fallen vacant on the death of Antigonus in 37 BC and Herod had appointed one Ananel, who had no ties whatsoever to the Hasmoneans, the first such in more than a century, in his place. Unable to resist the spirited entreaties of his beloved wife, who had also lobbied Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and her beau Mark Anthony, Herod gave in and replaced Ananel with Aristobulus, who was only 16 years old, in 36 BC.

Because of his enormous charisma and overall affability, Aristobulus was a hit with the masses despite his tender age and Herod was envious of the young man’s rock star-like popularity. To make doubly sure the young man did not harbour a seditious ace up his sleeve, the morbidly paranoid Herod had his spooks watch on both Aristobulus and his mother round the clock. Sensing imminent danger, Aristobulus contacted Cleopatra, asking for a pre-emptive safe passage to Egypt and there enjoy absolute freedom. When Herod got wind of this, he decided to get rid of Aristobulus as he did not wish him to be a perennial thorn in his flesh from the utter safety of self-imposed exile.

The opportunity came at a banquet in Jericho which was organised by Aristobulus’ mother. There, Herod had one of his henchmen cause Aristobulus to drown during a dusk time horseplay in a swimming pool. Of course Herod would forever maintain the drowning was accidental when everybody knew it was in truth a tactical elimination. Poor Aristobulus was only 17 years old having been born in 56 BC. He was the last Hasmonean High Priest and was replaced by the previously deposed Ananel, who was to remain in that position till 29 BC.


It need not be over-emphasised, General, that Mariamne and her mother Alexandra did not take Herod’s line over the all too untimely demise of Aristobulus lying down. If he had reckoned that with the death of Aristobulus he had gotten rid of potentially the most potent threat to his omnipotence, he was totally mistaken. Herod had actually simply fanned the flames of intrigue against him, for mother and daughter confronted him and accused him of murdering their boy in cold blood.

Nor did the two Iron Ladies end matters there: Alexandra wrote a lachrymal letter to Cleopatra to get her to bring her influence to bear on Mark Anthony so that Herod paid dearly and likewise for his nefarious act. Anthony, who at the time was the Roman colossus in charge of the whole of the Middle East, was persuaded and during a visit to Laodicea (in modern-day Turkey, though some accounts say it was Rhodes in Cyprus), he commanded Herod to report to him forthwith and exculpate himself over the affair.

Although Herod put a brave face on the matter, General, he was rather unsure of his eventual fate after the trial. He also suspected rightly or wrongly that Anthony had a thing for the voluptuously beautiful Mariamne and the last thing Herod wanted was for any other man to bed his beloved Mariamne even in death. So before he set off for Laodicea, Herod instructed his uncle Joseph, who was married to his sister Salome, to make sure that in the event that Anthony sentenced him to death, he should immediately put her to the sword. He also detailed a certain Sohemus, a most trusted aide, to stand sentry over the entire womenfolk at the palace.

Herod, however, had the nine lives of a cat, General. Using his immense rhetorical skills and the time-honoured palm greasing, he won himself an acquittal. Meanwhile, the Judean rumourville was abuzz with chatter that Herod had been summarily executed by Anthony, as a result of which people became spendthrifts of their tongues.

Both Joseph and Sohemus disclosed to Mariamne the instructions Herod had left them with in relation to her fate once he was no more. Mariamne was both livid and distraught that her husband regarded her as so easily expendable when outwardly he cherished her beyond words. To her mind, his arrangements with Joseph had nothing to do with love but sprang from sheer monstrosity. She probably thanked God that he was dead, but the fact of the matter was that he was not and when he at long last turned up, she did not want to have anything to do with him, including the conjugation which he so eagerly pined for after such an extended absence.


Now, if Herod had a kind of Svengali, General, it was his youngest sister Salome. Salome (65 BC-10 AD) was the most powerful woman at Herod’s court. A sly, scheming, and manipulating vixen, she arguably more than any other living being had the most sway in a negative sense on her brother, who took practically whatever she said as gospel truth.

Let us nevertheless, General, take stock of the fact that the bulk of what we learn about Salome comes from Flavius Josephus, who himself relied on the writings of Herod’s court historian Nicolaus of Damascus. For one reason or the other, Nicolaus did not see eye to eye with Salome and it is therefore possible that much of what Nicolaus relates of her is embellished to smear her before the court of history.
Upon his return, Herod was told of the rumours of his death and so was surprised to find Mariamne alive when Joseph and Sohemus should in the circumstances have had her killed if indeed they were loyal to him. In fact, Joseph had even put Mariamne and Alexandra into the safe custody of Roman legions stationed in Judea just in case Jewish malcontents who abhorred Herod turned their wrath on them.

But there was more. Salome reported to Herod that Mariamne, who she hated like the plague, had had sexual relations with both Joseph and Sohemus, this being Mariamne’s reward to them for dishing out to her the dirt on Herod, and that she had on several occasions before attempted to poison him. Now, no one would hump Herod’s most beloved wife and get away scotfree. It is therefore small wonder that Herod straightaway ordered the execution of Joseph and Sohemus. Joseph was 61 years old at the time of his death in 34 BC, having been born in 95 BC. In the case of Mariamne herself though, he had her subjected to a formal court trial not on charges of adultery but of attempted regicide.

Herod had hoped that the court would acquit her, whereupon he would make bygones be bygones so great was his love for the woman, but sadly for him, General, she was found guilty and sentenced to death. Even then, Herod tactfully dilly-dallied on signing the writ of execution and simply had his wife detained at a fortress for some time until Salome prevailed over him to execute her at long last. Writes Josephus: “Thus, with the death of the noble and lovely Mariamne ended the glorious history of the Hasmonean High Priest Mattathias and his descendants.”

For a long time to come though, General, Herod was haunted by the death of his wife to the point of even sometimes coming across as if he had lost his mind. “When Herod realised what this meant (the death sentence passed on Mariamne), he tried in vain to have the verdict changed, but Salome did not rest until the death penalty was carried out,” Josephus informs us. “Herod was heartbroken; nothing could comfort him for the loss of his lovely wife.

For seven years he refused to have her body buried, and held it, embalmed, in his palace. Afterwards, he became so melancholy and despondent, nothing interested him or could arouse any enthusiasm in him for living … He was so far conquered by his passion, that he would order his servants to call for Mariamne, as if she were still alive, and could still hear them … He tried hard to forget his trouble by going hunting and banqueting, but nothing helped. Herod built new cities and erected temples and palaces. He also named a tower in honour of Mariamne.”


Mariamne’s death was not the only one which Herod perpetrated through the instrumentality of Salome. There were actually several and included those of her own husband Costobarus. Salome was married four times, to her uncle Joseph (45 BC); Costobarus (34 BC); Sylleus (circa 27 BC); and Alexas (20 BC).

Like the Herod clan, Costobarus was of Idumean stock. It was Costobarus Herod had made governor of Idumea and Gaza and upon Joseph’s death had him tie the knot with Salome, with the couple eventually siring two children, Berenice and Antipater III. Costobarus, though, soon began to harbour monarchical ambitions of his own and wrote to Cleopatra beseeching her to persuade Mark Anthony to make Idumea independent of Herod and install him (Costobarus) as Rome’s client King of the territory.

Of course upon learning of this, Herod was not amused. It was Salome who pleaded with him not to put her husband to the sword. Next time, however, a dumped Costobarus was not so lucky. Seven years after their marriage, Salome and Costobarus parted ways and a possibly hurt Salome decided to exact vengeance. She informed her brother that he had been harbouring two fugitives from Herodian justice for a full 12 years at his own farm.

The two were simply known as the Sons of Baba. Baba ben Babuta, their father and clan patriarch, was related to the Hasmonean ruler Antigonus, who Herod had replaced and killed in 37 BC with the help of Roman legions. Baba and his sons had resisted Herod at the time, with his sons henceforth persisted in insurrectionist activity against Herod. Baba himself had been captured and blinded by Herod but spared anyway as he no longer posed any threat. Writes Josephus: “Now the Sons of Babas were of great dignity, and had power among the multitude, and were faithful to Antigonus, and were always raising calumnies against Herod, and encouraged the people to preserve the government to that royal family (the Hasmoneans) which held it by inheritance.”

Costobarus had provided the Sons of Baba an indefinite lair “supposing that their preservation might be of great advantage to him in the changes of government afterward”. Following the Salome tip, Herod had Costobarus and the Sons of Baba summarily executed “so that none was left alive of the family of Hyrcanus (the Hasmonean), and the kingdom was wholly in Herod’s power, there being no one of high rank to stand in the way of his unlawful acts” per Josephus.


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25th January 2021

In early January, WhatsApp, part of Facebook Inc., began alerting its 2 billion users to an update of its privacy policy which, should they want to keep using the popular messaging app, they have to accept. Much of the policy, which is about commercialising WhatsApp, states ‘WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, the other Facebook Companies.

We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate and market services’. WhatsApp is now reserving the right to share data it collects about you with the broader Facebook network, which includes Instagram, regardless of whether you have accounts or profiles there, claiming it needs it to help operate and improve its offerings. More broadly, almost all of the $21.5 billion in revenues which Facebook generated in the third quarter of 2020 came from advertising and there is currently none in WhatsApp.

The company now wants to be able to serve more targeted ads to people on Facebook and Instagram by also garnering their usage habits on WhatsApp and enabling businesses take payments via WhatsApp for items that were selected on other Facebook sites. For long-time users, the option to share data with Facebook was made available in 2016, but it was just that: optional and temporary. It was now to become mandatory for everybody from Feb. 8 but owing to a massive backlash, the company has delayed that to May 15 to try and persuade users to sign up to the new Ts and Cs.

WhatsApp on Monday attempted to address the uproar over privacy concerns with a post on its website, explaining that the update was designed to aid businesses on its platform, as it reiterated in Friday’s post.

“We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.”

These new terms have caused an outcry among technology experts, privacy advocates, billionaire entrepreneurs and government organisations and triggered a wave of defections to rival services. Elon Musk has urged his followers to switch to Signal and the governments of Turkey and India have threatened to block the app if it insists on proceeding.

‘WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy verges on user surveillance and threatens India’s security’, a petition filed in an Indian court said on Thursday, presenting another legal challenge for the Facebook Inc. -owned messenger. “It virtually gives a 360-degree profile into a person’s online activity,” lawyer Chaitanya Rohilla told the Delhi High Court. Many Indian users have began installing rival apps like Signal and Telegram, pushing WhatsApp to begin a costly advertising campaign to calm its 400 million customer-base, the largest of any country. The change has also met with a challenge in Turkey with the country’s Competition Board this week launching an investigation into the messaging service and its parent company.

Elsewhere too, in spite of Whatsapp protestations, millions of its users are already migrating to alternative platforms. Signal saw 7.5 million downloads last week,  a 4,200% spike since the previous week and large swaths of users also jumped to Telegram, as the platform gained 9 million new users last week, up 91% from the previous week. Both apps are now topping Google and Apple’s app stores,

Facebook could possibly learn a lesson from history here. Every past empire – Aztec, Mayan, Greco-Roman, Sumerian, Mongol, Chinese, Ottoman and more recently British, all saw their star rise, their glory swell, their boundaries grow and yet each eventually fell, often the instigators of their own downfall.

They expanded too far too fast and could not control what they had initially conquered. And now it looks like the same fate might await this large tech giant. Parent company Facebook has also come under fire recently for overt and covert censorship policies with questions raised as to partisanship and curtailment of freedom of speech. Thus one would have to question the wisdom of the timing of this new Whatsapp privacy policy, if nothing else.

To understand its influence and control one only has to check out the un-smart sector of the mobile phone industry which for some time has offered handsets a small step up from the basic starter sets with Facebook and Whatsapp as default screen app settings. These limited internet access options have allowed millions of users to connect with affordable data bundle packages.

And for Google smartphone subscribers, the search engine automatically connects its base to Whatsapp and Facebook – one big, happy family. Facebook is also seamlessly linked to Paypal offering contact-less charges for its boosted post advertising, a somewhat sinister partnership which accesses their Paypal log-in and authorisation details without the need to inform the payee – the transaction is simply deducted automatically from the registered credit card. This is Big Brother with a blue logo.

The bottom line here is that if you have any privacy issues at all – and you probably should – you might as well make the switch now before you are forced to sign away your rights in May. And the plus part is that both Signal and Telegram have the technological edge over Whatsapp anyway, the latter even being accessible on multiple platforms simultaneously, not just on your phone.
Empires take time to crumble and Facebook is not in imminent danger but information is a weapon that can be used in any war, even a virtual conflict, so don’t give this giant any more ammunition than it already has.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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