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Alalu Heads For Earth

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER…

Solar System’s crucible offers greatest promise for ore bodies and viable existence  

Enki’s marriage to Damkina, a daughter of the deposed and self-exiled Alalu, did not sit well with Ninmah, King Anu’s seniormost daughter.  The matrimony meant Ninmah would be a subordinate wife instead of the principal one.  Since she could not bear to be second-best, Ninmah struck up an affair with her half-brother Enlil. Ninmah was aware a son with Enlil would not inherit the Sirian-Orion throne, but there was a consolation in the offing – the prestige of being Queen of Nibiru, a pre-eminent planet Enlil ruled on behalf of the Sirian-Orion monarch. Of course Ninmah would not be substantive queen considering that Enlil was a Viceroy as opposed to a King with full stripes, but that was secondary: in the eyes of the Nibiriuns, she would enjoy the status of a queen proper.    

Ninmah soon gained a reputation as the leading medical savant on the Wolfen World and as such, she travelled extensively to other planetary colonies to promulgate new breakthroughs in the field of medicine. Whilst she was based on Nibiru in the course of these peregrinations, she became pregnant by Enlil and had a son, NINURTA, or to be exact, NIN-URU-ATA, meaning “Lord of Destruction” (from nin [Lord], uru [to shred, tear], and ata [to kill]), a term that aptly captured the innate ferocity and fierceness of Sirians both as a people and as warriors. Both Enki and King Anu bristled at this development as it amounted to a flagrant breach of the royal fiat: King Anu had decreed that Ninmah was to marry Enki when she came of age. King Anu was so irate he cursed his daughter to lifelong celibacy. She was never to marry for as long as he was alive, which could amount to more than a million years in Earth time.     

Enki also soon had a son with Damkina. He was named MARDUK. This is actually OME-ORI-DA-EKE, meaning “Supreme Divine Spirit/Master” (from ome [divine], ori [spirit or master], da [supreme], and eke [holy]).  The underlying connotation of the name is sanctity. It suggested that the son was of sacred lineage. Of course the one individual who was synonymous with sanctity or righteousness evocatively was the Queen of Orion, Enki’s mother. To ensure that the symbolism was loud and clear, Enki had his son born not on Nibiru, where he was based, but in the prototypical “pure place” – on the SSS world in Orion, where his mother was based.  In the royal Sirian-Orion hierarchy, Marduk was senior to Ninurta as he was designated second only to Enlil as per the terms of the matrimonial union between King Anu and the Orion Queen.   

The wedlock between Anu and the Orion Queen had the effect that the Queen became a ceremonial monarch by and large. It was Anu who now ran the show, particularly in the broader Orion Empire. Anu had given Enlil and Enki to understand that he was going to rule Nibiru jointly with them: he himself would simply be first among a Trinity of Equals. He in effect declared a co-regnum – a joint rulership. Of course this was de facto rather than de jure as the constitution of Nibiru did not provide for such a setup.

When a special meet attended by Anu was in progress on Nibiru, Anu sat on the throne, flanked by Enlil to the right (the origin of the term “Right-Hand Man”) and Enki to the left. Where have you heard this before?    Well, if you haven’t I’ll jog your memory a bit. It is in the Bible, in MATTHEW 20: 20-25. In these passages, the mother of two of Jesus’s disciples, John and James, approaches Jesus and asks him to “grant that one of these two sons of mine sit at your right and the other at your left in your Kingdom”.     Where did “mum” get the idea from? Of course it was from the setup in Nibiru, meaning people of first century Palestine were aware that “Heaven” was actually Nibiru. Intriguingly, Jesus’s reply did confirm such a setup in the “Kingdom”. But were these his own words or the personal interpolation of gospel writers? I know the answer, my brother, but I elect to keep it to myself.

Although Enki was appeased that his son Marduk was the acknowledged heir to the Sirian-Orion throne after Enlil, he and Enlil were to remain mortal adversaries. This was the beginning of two royal, eternally feuding factions – the Enkites and the Enlilites. Enki never really came to terms with the reality of his denial of heirship. Whilst here on Earth, he kept wondering aloud to his compatriots as to why this should happen to him when “I am the leader of the Anunnaki, the firstborn (effectively in light of the union of the Sirian and Orion thrones) of divine Anu, the Big Brother of all the gods (that is, the Anunnaki).”

LITTLE PLUTO SAYS “HELLO!”

When Alalu was ousted by Anu from the Sirius throne, he decided to seek refuge on a far-flung planet that showed the most potential for natural resource endowment. This planet was in the planetary system known as BUIDA, our Solar System. Buida, meaning “The Faraway One” (we’re on the outer fringes of the greater Orion Empre) was also known as ARI-DU, “The Mastered Place” (from ari [master] and du [place]). The planet would later be known, amongst other names, as KISIRI, meaning “Mineral Resource Centre” from ki [to produce, manufacture, or create] and siri [to smelt ore]).   This is planet Earth.     “To snow-hued Earth Alalu set his course,” relates Enki in Zechariah Sitchin’s highly informative work, The Lost Book of Enki.

Alalu’s beeline for Earth was not a journey to the unknown. Whilst he was King, he had sent his most trusted aide, Alalim, the Sirian Master of Genesis Sciences, to assess the prospects of a permanent settlement on the planet. Impressed with what he had found, including that the planet had a clean and abundant atmospheric blanket conducive to life,  Alalim had lingered on the planet for several shars and built a palace that mirrored that of the Sirian King. So contrary to what Sitchin suggests, Alalu did not pioneer the planet: he simply built upon the foundation Alalim had already laid.

Alalu’s journey coincided with the time Nibiru  was heading towards the Sun but before it had reached the ecliptic, the region of the Solar System that stretches from Pluto to Mercury. This is the way he described Nibiru as his spaceship overflew it: “Alluring was its figure, its radiance emblazoned the surrounding heavens. Its measure was enormous, its belching fire (volcanoes)  blazed forth. Its life-sustaining envelope (atmosphere), its hue a redness, was like a sea churning; in its midst the breach (Ozone hole) was distinct, like a darkened wound.”

Whilst en route to Earth, Alalu’s spacecraft had to inevitably go past the planets Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in that order. Alalu describes the planets exactly as astronomers and planetary scientists know them today and that was over half a million years ago.  “In the expanse of the heavens, the celestials’ emissary was him greeting,” writes Enki of Alalu’s journey. “Little GAGA, The One Who Shows The Way, by its circuit Alalu was greeting, to him a welcome extending. With a leaning gait, before and after the celestial ANTU it was destined to travel. To face backward, to face forward, with two facings was it endowed.”  

“Little GAGA” was Pluto, the smallest planet in the Solar System, now demoted to a minor planet anyway. ANTU was the earlier name for Neptune. Note Alalu’s description of Pluto’s path – that it sometimes went before Neptune or after it. Indeed, that’s what Pluto does in its erratic orbit: it sometimes comes between Uranus and Neptune and is therefore described as two-faced – today it’s facing Neptune only and next time around it’s facing both Neptune and Uranus at the same time. Alalu also records that Pluto had a “leaning gait”. This, again, is scientifically correct, as Pluto is the only one of the familiar nine planets that has an elliptical as opposed to a circular orbit.  

Having encountered Pluto first and not Neptune as would possibly have been the case, Alalu took this to be a harbinger of good luck. “Its appearance as first to greet Alalu as a good omen he at once considered,” notes Enki. “By the celestial gods (planets) he is welcomed! So was his understanding!”  Next to heave in view was Neptune. Alalu was mesmerised by its beauty. “Blue as pure water was her hue”.  That is exactly how Neptune was photographed by the space probe Voyager 2 in 1986.  

After Neptune came AN (Uranus). Alalu described  Uranus as “ANTU’s spouse double, by a greenish blueness was AN distinguished.” If you recall, the planets were originally named by King Enshar, Nibiru’s sixth ruler. He named Uranus and Neptune after Sirius’ first King and Queen under male rule.  The naming was fitting, as Uranus and Neptune are almost identical in virtually every respect – size, colour, watery content, day-length of 16/17 hours respectively, etc.       Voyager 2, when it flew by Uranus in 1986, confirmed that the planet was indeed greenish-blue in appearance!

MYSTERY OBJECT ABOUT SATURN

It was when Alalu was coursing past the planet Saturn that he witnessed something that was as enigmatic then as it is today. Saturn, with its ineffably beautiful, colouful rings, is the most spectacular sight in the Solar System.  In his flight, Alalu too noted the planet’s “bright rings of dazzling colours”.   As much as it is delectably beautiful, Saturn is a most sinister planet.  King Enshar had endearingly named the planet ANSHAR, after his father. But the Anunnaki gave it further names, one of which was TARGALLU, meaning “The Great Destroyer”.  

The planet had often been a death trap to the Anunnaki as they sailed through space. Once, Marduk, Enki’s firstborn son, rushed to his father at his base in Eridu, the Anunnaki settlement on Earth, to report that a SHUSAR (spaceship) lost 50 Anunnaki over Saturn. What exactly was the thing about Saturn that was so life-threatening? (Even the Sumerians, the  world’s best known civilisation of old that flourished circa 4000 BC in modern-day  Iraq, associated Saturn with punishment of some kind: they called it KAKSIDI {Weapon of Righteousness} and SIMUTU {He Who For Justice Kills})   

Alalu encountered the portent firsthand. Alalu’s pilots seemed to have slightly miscalculated their trajectory and in interplanetary travel that can make a very huge and disastrous difference. Saturn, ten times Earth’s size and therefore exerting a mighty force of gravity, tugged menacingly at Alalu’s spaceship. It was thanks to his skill as a space navigator that Alalu flew clear of the dragnet. Alalu too was a rocket scientist and was therefore no ordinary intellect. “With great understanding was Alalu endowed,” confirms Enki. “Much knowledge he by learning acquired.” But he wasn’t off the hook yet. This is what happened next: “A sight most awesome then to him appeared: in the faraway heavens the family’s bright star (the Sun) he discerned. A sight most frightening the revelation followed. A giant monster, in its destiny (orbit) moving, upon the Sun a darkening cast; KISHAR its creator swallowed.”

What Alalu saw and deemed “an evil omen” was a UFO so humongous it for a time bloated out the Sun. Alalu thought it was probably a moon of Jupiter (KISHAR) but it appears he was mistaken:   it was actually an artificial UFO. In the scenario referred to above, Marduk had described the monster object that destroyed a manned Anunnaki spaceship as something that “has been created like a weapon; it has charged forward like death.” This, in other words, was a powerful missile that was fired from this same UFO. Something similar, if you recall, was responsible for the shoot-down of   the Phobos spacecraft over Mars in March 1989.

Exactly what was this UFO that Alalu encountered half a million years ago but thankfully lived to tell the story?

ARMSTRONG’S ENCOUNTER WITH THE ANUNNAKI

In his 1986 book, The Ring Makers of Saturn, former NASA  scientist Norma Bergrun revealed that NASA’s Voyager space probes had captured a cigar-shaped craft (as was the UFO that brought down Phobos)  orbiting in Saturn’s rings. The length of the craft was reckoned at half the size of Earth’s diameter – about 6500 km – and large apertures could be seen in the side of the craft.   Bergrun’s revelation was confirmed in the February 1996 issue of Science News, which reported that the “Hubble Space Telescope had photographed a large, elliptical satellite orbiting Saturn’s rings”.  

Who had deployed this “huge satellite” in Saturn’s rings? Of course it was the Anunnaki, but the fact that Alalu was not aware of it meant these Anunnaki were of a particular clique – Nibiru’s Illuminati. Only the Illuminati are capable of feats the rest of the world populace cannot even conceive of. Today, the Anunnaki Illuminati are present on at least three celestial bodies within the ecliptic. These are Mars, the Moon, and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The Phobos incident (we featured it in detail in an earlier piece) attested to Anunnaki presence on Mars. Regarding Titan, a leaked CIA document did confirm the presence of extraterrestrials there. The report said  NASA had on November 20 1986 spied a Titan base where “all personnel  observed appeared to be no different than native Earthlings”.   

How about the Moon? Well, Neil Armstrong, the first Earthling to step on its surface (the official version), revealed a few years ago that the Apollo 11 team found Aliens already established on the Moon, who “warned us to keep away”. Asked what he meant by “warned us”, Armstrong said, “I can’t go into details except to say that their spaceships were far superior to ours  both in size and technology!”   You can also watch Edwin “Buzz’ Aldrin, Armstrong’s deputy on the Apollo 11 flight, explain that their spaceship was followed as they headed toward the  moon here:  HYPERLINK "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7RUwbqrO08" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7RUwbqrO08

Aldrin says Armstrong did not wish to relay the sighting of a stalking UFO to Mission Control back home for fear that they would get alarmed and begin to panic.  

The world has been kept in the dark about what exactly transpired on the Moon during the Apollo missions thanks to a deliberate “CIA cover-up,” Armstrong regretted. This Earth, My Brother…  

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Honesty – a fundamental human characteristic

12th October 2021

“When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour (the Day of Judgment)”.  These are the words of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).  They paint a picture of the time leading up to the Day of Judgement, when righteous people will be sorrowful due to the lack of honesty around them. 

Influence of materialism

Honesty, like morality, is an in built and essential characteristic of every human but the influence of materialism and the greed and desire for status, position, fame, wealth, etc. have wreaked havoc in human society, to an extent never seen before. In the 21st century, we live in a world where honesty is less valued than ever before and in fact even shunned at times.  We expect people to be honest in their dealings with us yet we ourselves promote deceit and dishonesty through our action and speech on a daily basis.  Many of us even watch and applaud television shows and movies that promote and encourage lying, infidelity and deceitfulness.

Desire for worldly gain

In the corporate world, ‘deceitful’ statements and figures are announced and pronounced to lure investors, glamorous yet deceitful adverts to attract customers, etc. have all become the norm and honesty goes out of the window. Even in the media industry, honesty seems to be waning very rapidly. Let alone the due regard of one’s conscience but without a second thought or due consideration of the rights of the others, stories are churned out with so-called “sensational” add-ons, etc. simply for the sake of being the “first” to break the news or for the sake of having the “best” story or maybe even for the sake of just having increased an readership or viewership.

Thoughtless individual behaviour

Without thinking, we indirectly teach our children that dishonesty is acceptable.  When we expect our children to tell the caller on the telephone we are not home, this is a lesson in deceit.  When we answer the cellphone and say that we are busy in a meeting yet we very much relaxed and free, or we say we are out of town yet we are at home, etc. we are being blatantly dishonest. When we refuse to settle our debts and dues making all sorts of pretences, we are actually lying.  We admonish and reprimand our children for lying, yet the reality is we have been their teachers.  Whether we tell lies, or whether we allow our children to live in a world surrounded by deceit, the lesson is learned and the honesty begins to disappear from the hearts of people – in particular the next generation.

Integrity and reliability

We must understand that honesty incorporates the concepts of truthfulness and reliability and it resides in all human thought, words, actions and relationships.  It is more than just accuracy; it is more than just truthfulness, it denotes integrity or moral soundness.  Belief in God Almighty commands truthfulness and forbids lying.  In the Holy Quran, God Almighty commands that humans be honest: “O you who believe!  Be conscious of God Almighty, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds).” (Ch  9 : v 119). A renowned Holy Quran scholar explained the meaning of this verse.  He said, “Being truthful and adhering to truthfulness, means you will be among the people of the truth (by speaking and behaving in a truthful manner) and be saved from calamity and that is what will really make a way out for you from your problems (in the long run)”.

Honesty and truthfulness go hand in hand

A true Believer, one who is truly submitted to God, has many characteristics by which he/she can be identified.  The most obvious of these noble characteristics are honesty of character and truthfulness of speech.  Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was a perfect example of honesty.  The records of history clear show that even before he was bestowed Prophet hood by The Almighty, he had earned the titles of “As Saadiq” (the truthful) and “Al Ameen” (the trustworthy one), within the community. They had full trust in his honesty and integrity to such a degree that they would accept anything he said. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), once gathered all the people of Makkah at the base of Mount Safa and asked them, “O people of Makkah!  If I say to you that an army is advancing on you from behind the mountains, will you believe me?”  All said in one voice, “Yes, because we have never heard you telling a lie.”  All the people, without exception, swore to his truthfulness and honesty because he had lived an unblemished and extremely upright life among them up to that point in time – for forty years.

Honesty in a comprehensive manner

This honesty, an essential ingredient of the human character, includes being truthful towards God by worshipping Him sincerely; being truthful to oneself, by adhering to God’s laws; and being truthful with others by speaking the truth and being honest in all dealings, such as buying, selling, social interaction, marriage,etc.  There should be no deceiving, cheating, falsifying or withholding of information, thus a person should be the same on the inside as he/she is on the outside.

Prophetic teachings

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) informed us of the great benefits of living in an honest and truthful way and warned us of the dangers inherent in dishonesty and falsehood.  He said: “Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise.  In addition, a person keeps on telling the truth until they are recorded by God Almighty as a very truthful person.  And falsehood leads to wickedness (and evil-doing), and wickedness leads to the (Hell) Fire. In addition, and a person keeps on telling lies until they are recorded by God Almighty as a very great liar”.

For those who wish to be among the truthful, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) has left us with these words of guidance, “Let he who believes in God and the Last Day either speak good or (otherwise) remain silent”.

A successful, vibrant society is based upon honesty and justice, and is intolerant of dishonesty in all its various forms.  The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) exhorted the faithful to be scrupulously honest in all their social dealings, business transactions, etc. at all times.

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A Sham of a Trial

12th October 2021

Verdict a foregone conclusion as Pilate is bought

Although the interrogation of  Jesus in a joint hearing by Annas and Caiaphas was not a trial, General Atiku, it was more or less conducted along the lines of a trial.

Jesus had a defending witness. This was one of  his disciples, Bartholomew, whose real name was John Marcus. Apparently, Jesus was allowed only one such witness. Besides his principal accuser, the turncoat Judas Iscariot, there were a number of witnesses who testified against him. The gospels  refer to them as false witnesses but this is probably an exaggeration: they simply misunderstood some of his statements largely because he tended to use allegorical language, which could be properly interpreted only by Gnostics. On occasion, he chose to be deliberately ambiguous, as when he said, “Do to Caesar what is due to Caesar and to God what is due to God.”

The crux of the matter  was whether there was anything in his conduct that could associate him with the Zealots. For example, he was accused of harbouring and voicing designs to destroy the Jerusalem Temple within “three days”. The Zealots did band about such threats, General. In truth, what they sought to destroy it was the Temple establishment – the priesthood and the Herodian Sadducees. The perception was that these somewhat benefitted from Roman patronage. Thus, if Jesus did instigate doing way with the Temple establishment by foul and crook, this could obviously not sit well with Annas and Caiaphas, both of whom belonged to this clique. But Jesus’ words had been taken out of context. In Gnostic language, the Temple (the correct translation should be “palace”  as the Jewish word for temple and palace is the same)   was the human body because it housed the real being – the spirit-soul. So what Jesus was saying to those who wished him ill, General, was that even if they physically killed him, his soul would continue to live (a person can be clinically dead but at the etheric level, he is irreversibly dead only after three days). Clearly, General, he was grossly misunderstood.

Jesus vehemently denied being a Zealot. He made it clear to the panel that every time he taught or preached, he was heard to promote peaceful co-existence with Rome. How then could he be a Zealot, who preached enmity with the Romans? Put differently, General, Jesus was saying he had played no part whatsoever in the November 32 AD riots against Pilate. The fact that Simon Zelotes was his father-in-law was pure happenstance.

In their heart of hearts, both Caiaphas and Annas were aware Jesus was not inclined to violence and therefore could not be a  Zealot. So the matter they seized upon was his claim to be Priest, Prophet, and King. This was what revolted them the most, the sin for which they sought to teach him a lesson.  The gospels say they set men (the Jerusalem Temple police who had escorted Caiaphas) on him who blindfolded him, slapped him around, spat on him, and dared him to “prophesy” as to “who has hit you” – a sneering allusion to his claim to be Priest and Prophet as only the High Priest could prophesy. This physical mockery did probably take place but there is an underlying symbolic language, General.  When a person was spat upon (by a “holy man”, such as the  High Priest),  it meant he had been demoted from priest to a mere layman. A “blind man” was another characterisation for an Essene who was of Grade 8 level, a novice. A novice was not yet initiated and therefore he was blind because he had not yet “seen the light”, that is, not yet been illuminated.

What it all boils down to, General,  is that by decree of the three priests Annas Sr, Caiaphas, and Jonathan Annas, Jesus had been downgraded from Grade 2, the third position in the Essene hierarchy (the first two being Grades 0 and 1), which was the position of the Davidic King (now held by his young brother James), to Grade 8, the position of a novice, a virtual nobody. Thus, when he appeared before Pontius Pilate, that was the status he would declare when his occupation was asked of him. This lowly social status would significantly bear upon Pilate’s psychology and therefore his contemplation of Jesus.

PETER DOES A JUDAS

Now, when a hearing or trial was in progress, General,  the Essene rule was that there had to be two doorkeepers. These were two people who were close to the person who was the subject of the proceedings, typically a relative and an associate/friend.

In the case of Jesus, the doorkeepers he selected were Simon Peter and his mother Mary. Besides being Jesus’ disciple, Simon Peter was Jesus’ personal bodyguard and chief ecclesiastical minister. As the Davidic King, Jesus was entitled to a bodyguard and chief spokesman, both roles of which were ably performed by Peter. That made Peter arguably the closest to Jesus in an occupational sense. As for Mary, she substituted for Jesus’ wife Mary Magdalene, who was now three months pregnant and therefore was on mandatory separation from her husband according to Essene dynastic procreational rules. The two doorkeepers ceremonially opened the doors for the panelists or judges to enter the hearing room. As the male doorkeeper,  Simon Peter stood by the door in the inner corridor whilst Mary stood by the same door in the outer corridor.

Peter, however, had been assigned another role – that of the rooster of the night. The rooster that crowed three times as per the gospels was not a bird, General: it was Simon Peter. “Rooster”, or “Cock”,   was the term for a religious person assigned to call out the time. Remember,  they had no clocks those days and at nighttime, the sundial, which was used during the day to read time, could not be used. So during a momentous occasion such as this one (the week of Passover), a person was detailed to announce the time every three hours at Qumran. Since Jesus’ hearing took place shortly before midnight, Peter was expected to announce the times at 00:00; 3 am; and 6 am. 3 am was specifically called cock-crow (see MARK 13:34). It was just before 3 am that Peter “denied”  Jesus. He did not deny him at three intervals, General: he denied him only once but before three inquisitors.

Now, Simon Peter was also a Zealot, a point we have long underscored. It explains why in the gospels he comes across as combustible, argumentative, and highly assertive. He was known as Simon Bar-jonah, which has been wrong translated as “son of John”. Bar-jonah actually derived from “baryona”, which was Aramaic (the most widely spoken language of the day in Palestine) for “outlaw”. We know, courtesy of  Flavius Josephus, that Zealots were referred to as outlaws by the Romans. So as Jesus was being interrogated, one of the witnesses against him made mention of the fact that he must have been a Zealot since his own bodyguard was a Zealot. Peter was therefore instantly called upon to confirm or deny that he was a Zealot. As could be expected, Peter stoutly denied he was. He also proceeded to say that he was not as close to Jesus as many people thought.

Once he had exculpated himself, Peter resumed his vigil as doorkeeper. The hearing lasted for hours and there were intervals in between, during which Peter also took time off to warm himself before a fire. During one such break, Mary, Joseph (Jesus’ second brother)  and James (the son of Zebedee) also confronted him and demanded to know why he  without shame or scruple just stopped short of disowning Jesus. Peter was unflinching, saying they were all mistaken: he was not as close to Jesus as they thought. It was at this point that he stood up to announce the time 3 am for the hearings to resume. Shortly thereafter, it dawned on him that he had stabbed Jesus in the back and later apologised teary-eyed to Mary. The man Jesus called “Rocky” was far from being a rock: he was a chicken, a flip-flopper.  Maybe it was no coincidence, General, that on this fateful night he was assigned the role of a male chicken!

That said, Peter had very valid reasons to deny Jesus anyway. Jesus had elevated Judas Iscariot to his second-in-command in an independent Israel at the Last Supper and Peter was irate that that role should have been entrusted to him and not to Judas. Maybe Jesus deserved Peter’s betrayal given that Peter had served him loyally through and through both as a bodyguard and confidante.

JUDAS TREACHERY BACKFIRES

Pontius Pilate, General, arrived at Qumran towards 6 in the morning to conduct a kangaroo court trial for the people wanted for the November 32 AD uprising in which some Roman soldiers were killed. Why, if we may ask, General,  did the Roman governor have to travel all the way from Jerusalem, where he was based during the Passover week, to Qumran and not insist that the trial be held in Jerusalem itself?

There were two reasons for this in the main. First and foremost, there was something in it for him. He had been backhanded with a tantalising bribe by Herod Agrippa to excuse Judas Iscariot. We know Pilate was hopelessly weak where it came to palm-greasing and extra-legal trials. Philo, the Jewish philosopher and historian who was a contemporary of  Pilate, records that Pilate was prone to corruption (a streak that ran through all Roman governors and of which the emperor himself was acutely aware) and “continuous executions without even a form of a trial”. Second, a trial of the leading Zealots in Jerusalem at Passover time would have provoked another uprising as Jerusalem at this time of the year swarmed with Galilean pilgrims most of whom were either Zealots or pro-Zealot. Qumran was therefore a safe venue as it was remote and was not crawling with too many people. The trial would thus pass practically unnoticed by the wider population.

Arriving at Qumran, Pilate was determined that he was going to sentence the culprits (save for Judas of course) to death. The November uprising had tarnished the record of his emperor: it was the only insurrection in Judea during the reign of  Tiberius Caesar. Pilate would use the sentence as a showcase to the emperor that he was a no-nonsense man who did not in the least brook dissident tendencies.

Now, Herod Antipas had learnt of Agrippa’s bribe to Pilate and he and Agrippa rarely saw eye to eye, being rival claimants to the Jewish monarchy.  Antipas was aware that the crucifixion Jesus would be subjected to would not be fatal but a partial one that would ensure his survival. However, Theudas Barabbas was too old to bear the strain of even partial crucifixion whereas Jesus and Simon Zelotes were much younger. Chances therefore were that Barabbas might perish right on the cross.  So in a private meeting with Pilate before the trial commenced, Antipas offered Pilate a bribe substantially higher than that which Agrippa had given him. Accordingly, the two agreed that Judas should be reinstated as a culprit. At the same time, Barabbas should be released. It was game, set, and match, General.

MAKE-BELIEVE REFERAL TO ANTIPAS

The trial was held in the north vestry, the same place where the hearings by Annas and Caiaphas took place. Annas, Caiaphas, the Herods, and the brothers of Jesus were in attendance.

The trial, General, was a farce. The proceedings were almost wholly orchestrated. On trial was Judas Iscariot too, who courtesy of  the Antipas bribe had been re-arrested, bringing the number of  respondents in the dock to four. Judas, as the overall commander of the Zealots, pleaded guilty. That is what the gospels mean when they say he “hung himself”. Now penitent of having falsely implicated Jesus, Judas also told the court that Jesus was innocent and had played no part whatsoever in the November 32 AD insurrection. Judas’ absolution of  Jesus is what is cryptically referred to in the gospels as “returning the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priest”, meaning he no longer was leader of the 30-man group that John the Baptist had established: its leadership had now reverted to the current Essene high priest Jonathan Annas. Judas was resultantly sentenced to death by crucifixion along with Simon Zelotes and Theudas Barabbas.

However, General, Agrippa was determined that Jesus be found guilty in order to get even with his brother-in-law Antipas. He and Caiaphas were in full flow, insisting that Jesus not only was a “Galilean”, which was another code name for Zealots, but he urged Jews to refrain from paying taxes and also fancied himself as “King of the Jews” when that title now belonged to Emperor Tiberius Caesar. This was treason and for that he deserved to die.

Although Pilate had no intentions of acquitting Jesus (it was he who was to be sacrificed for Barabbas as per his stratagem with Antipas), he at least wanted to superficially cast himself as a reasonable and impartial judge. Judas had exonerated Jesus and the priests had countered that. So Pilate announced to the gathering that since Jesus was of Galilean origin (he feigned ignorance of the fact that the term Galilean was used in the context of  his being a Zealot), Herod Antipas, under whose  jurisdiction Galilee fell, was to break the ice. Antipas was asked to try Jesus in another room and whatever verdict he rendered would be binding. This aspect was not part of the pre-plan with Antipas but Antipas did welcome it nonetheless as it openly underlined that in the eyes of  Rome, he took precedence over his rival Agrippa. As for Agrippa, all he could do was froth at the mouth. From that day on, General, Pilate became his mortal enemy: on the other hand, Antipas and Pilate became abiding friends.

NEXT WEEK: JESUS SACRIFICES FOR HIS BROTHER

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Columns

Distress Flare

12th October 2021

No one could have predicted what we have just gone through with COVID 19, lock downs, State of Emergency, banning of international travel etc. etc. In fact that’s not quite true as many had been predicating the possibility of a global pandemic for a while – I guess it was the case of not listening or not wanting to listen.

This week I was left thinking what life would be like if the internet crashed. This was prompted after being deprived of social media when the services of Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp were disrupted for hours on Monday night. I am not much of a user of the 2 former platforms but I do use Whatsapp extensively and even had a call scheduled on the app which I was clearly unable to make. It is also the main way that I keep immediately updated of family whereabouts, comms etc.

Like many I felt quite cut off even though I could have made a normal telephone call or gone on the internet and sent mail messages. People kept saying that the internet was down because to some people Facebook is the internet!  Twitter, realising this, saw it as the perfect time to enjoy its rare spotlight and tweeted “Hello literally everyone” from its main account. It garnered 2.4 million “likes” in just four hours and a stampede of users eager to sign up.

In other parts of the world where apps are essential to commerce, health care and basic functioning of government it was a serious matter. In India, doctors sounded the alarm about being unable to coordinate their schedules or share patient scans. And in Malaysia, some small-business owners were left without a way to manage day-to-day operations as all business communications are conducted through the app.

In many developing countries, services including WhatsApp, Facebook and Facebook Messenger have become deeply integrated into the delivery of primary health care, education and other government services,” Marcus Leaning, a digital media education professor at the University of Winchester in the U.K., said. “In the global North, we tend to (merely) use such services as supplementary to other channels of communication, so the global outage will have a disproportionate impact.”  These platforms are also often offered on restricted-access (or non-smart) phones, meaning that those on lower income were disproportionately  disaffected in 3rd World countries, our own included.

Meanwhile, as netizens (citizens of the internet) were feeling somewhat inconvenienced and annoyed, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a financial hit losing $6 billion in just a few hours as Facebook stocks plunged, principally through lost advertising revenue and loss of business confidence and he himself personally dropped to No. 5 on the list of the world’s richest, below Gates. Talk about a bad day at the office!

The impact on myself was considerably less but with my ability to WhatsApp stopped I did feel quite put out and wondered what it would be like if the whole internet crashed one day and what that would it do to the markets, the military, the hospitals, not to mention how would I be able access all the movies on Netflix?

It couldn’t really happen, could it, if you understand that all the internet is, is a bunch of interconnected computers and that they would all have to crash at once? Conventional wisdom tells us that as a planetary network of computers and machines the internet is too big, too decentralised and too redundant to all fail at once?  But wait! Didn’t they say something similar when the Titanic was built? Surely the lessons of that hubris are still valid today?

According to Laura Brandimarte, Assistant Professor, Management Information Systems, University of Arizona, ‘Everything being connected today may bring along significant convenience, but it also implies that everything can be hacked. What if the nation’s power grid were successfully attacked? No electricity also means no internet access. The internet also relies on physical infrastructure, such as subsea cables and other fiber cables: any infrastructure issues (cable cuts, damages), whether due to criminal activity or natural disasters that were to affect major subsea cables could potentially shut down the Internet.

In a different sense, authoritarian governments can also potentially shut down the internet if they somehow all colluded against it, either blocking internet access to citizens altogether (we have seen that in Egypt during the Arab Spring, for example, or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo  HYPERLINK “https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/africa/81477-dr-congo-block-internet-kinshasa” \t “_blank” during a period of unrest); or substantially limiting it (we see that in countries where internet censorship is widespread and information access is controlled by the central government, as it happens in China). There are ways around censorship, of course: Privacy Enhancing Technologies, or PETs, such as virtual private networks or VPNs, and anonymous browsers such as Tor, can help circumvent it, but censorship essentially prevents the vast majority of the population, who may not be familiar with these tools, to access the internet, de facto making it disappear.’

And there are natural disasters that also could create havoc.   Patrick Juola, a computer science professor at Duquesne University, offers up one such interplanetary electronic disaster. “A sufficiently powerful solar flare could produce an electromagnetic solar pulse [EMP] that would shut down most of the computers in the world. While some systems are protected against EMPs, any human-built protection is only so strong, and the sun can be a lot more powerful.”

 

An internet crash resulting from this type of solar flare sounds like science fiction or one of those once-every-10,000-years events, but it isn’t. The worst recorded X-class (highest level) solar flare, called the Carrington Event, was a coronal mass ejection that produced a geomagnetic storm that spread across the earth over two days, September 1-2, 1859. The storm produced auroras around the world. The ones in the northern hemisphere reached as far south as the Caribbean, and were so bright people in the north-eastern United States could read newspapers by their light at night. The major electric utilities affected were the telegraph systems that failed across Europe and North America. The telegraph pylons threw sparks and shocked operators still at their keys. 

The frequency of recorded CMEs is worrying. Less powerful geomagnetic storms were recorded in 1921 and 1960, and a 1989 storm disabled power over large sections of Quebec. Then, on July 23, 2012, a “Carrington-lass” solar superstorm narrowly missed the earth by nine days when it crossed the planet’s orbit.

The Titanic was built to be unsinkable – all engineers and scientists agreed to that. Yet obviously they had not thought of every conceivable scenario and so when the boat was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the rest, as they say, was history. The same must be true of the internet. The thing that can take it down – not so much governmental censorship but some of that super global warming we hear so much about – could yet prove its downfall.  Now that really is solar power!

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