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Jehovah Turns Up Heat

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER
    

Disease, starvation plague mankind as Enlil unleashes wrath in bid to teach Marduk “a lesson”

About 75,000 years ago, in the time of Enoch, a new Ice Age dawned on Earth. It did not hit abruptly: it was gradual. About 25,000 years later, it was biting hard. Earthlings and Anunnaki alike were reeling from it. Enki characterises this dire situation thus courtesy of Zechariah Sitchin’s The Lost Book of Enki:  “In those days the Anunnaki for their own surviving were concerned; their own rations were diminished, by Earth's changes they themselves afflicted became …  The tribulations were increasing, fear and famine their heads reared.”


By this time, Enoch had spawned two generations. They were that of his son Methuselah and his grandson Lamech.   Now, although Enoch lived in luxury in a facility hollowed out of a mountain at Sippar in the Edin, Eden in the Bible, he kept regular touch with his family directly and was well-attuned with happenings around him. He may have had a sheltered life but he was concerned about the welfare of his family under the prevailing climatic circumstances. Their fate so exercised his mind they were always in his prayers.


As he obsessively contemplated the wellbeing of his family, he had a “vision” in which he saw a mighty flood inundate the Earth. What were these so-called visions that are such a constant feature in the Bible and the Sumerian records? One cannot say for sure since they are not explained, but the impression one gets is that of something like a movie which is shown not on a screen but holographically in the surrounding air in a dark setting.  Who was behind this hologram? On the basis of what would later transpire, it was Enki himself.


For just after he had this vision, Enoch sent for Enki. Why Enki when he, Enoch,  was a protégé of the Enlilites? The reason is simple: Enoch knew that if the globalwide flood was an avoidable catastrophe, it was Enki who could do his utmost to avert it, not Enlil. Enki was mankind’s creator and therefore had a heart for humans. On the other hand, Enlil regarded mankind as expendable. To him, humans were like roaches crawling all over the place and who therefore had to be Doom-sprayed into oblivion. If Enoch loyally served the Enlilites, it was by virtue simply of the privilege they had made possible for him – of settling on Nibiru and living happily ever after Amen.


Enki made haste to Enoch’s redoubt. Enoch recounted the vision to him along the following lines:


“What I saw in the vision Lord Enki could or could not happen but whatever the case, we ought to make a contingency plan. And for that I’m counting on you. If the flood were to take place soon, I personally would be flown to Nibiru but what about my children and grandchildren? They would perish. And you know as much as I do Lord Enki that your brother Lord Enlil wouldn’t care an iota about them.  Only you, Benevolent Lord, has a heart for mankind.”


Even as Enoch was speaking, the quick-thinking Enki, who had the sharpest brain of any Anunnaki, was already weighing several options. From the satellite pictures provided by the Igigi who were in orbit around Earth, Enki did detect that the mountain of ice that had built up on the continent of Antarctica was a disaster waiting to happen.  If Nibiru were to draw too close to Earth than it ordinarily did, the colossal ice sheet would tip over into the Antarctic Ocean, giving rise to a globalwide Tsunami capable of extincting life on the planet.


Enki thus resolved that Nibiru’s trajectory had to be watched very closely. The mathematics of its orbital positions had to be scrupulously calculated so that precise predictions on its impact on the planet could be made at least a shar in advance. Meanwhile, Enoch and he came up with a strategic plan in which Enki’s role was both primary and salivating as it involved bumping and grinding – the kind of action Enki relished greatly.  

LAMECH’S STRANGE SON

Like his grandfather Enoch, Lamech was an Enlilite lapdog. He was based at Sippar, Utu-Shamash’s cult city, where he was known as Ubar-Utu, meaning “Utu’s Understudy/Intercessor”. In other words, he ruled the human residents of Sippar on behalf of Shamash. In short, Lamech was Sippar’s priest-king.


An occupational specialty of Lamech was architecture.  He was simply outstanding in infrastructural design.  Enki thus used this forte of his as an excuse to get him to Egypt, where he was presently based. Enoch was hired by Enki to teach humans the art of design and construction. Of course Enki himself, who the Egyptians called  Ptah – meaning “Creator/Developer”, and his phenomenally gifted son Ningishizidda could easily have done this but the idea of roping in Lamech was a clever means to a strategic end.


Lamech was married to his cousin Batanash. But whilst fulfilling his contract with Enki, he had left Batanash with Ninmah at Shuruppak. Not long after Lamech arrived in Egypt, Enki decided to pay a visit on Ninmah. It so happened that one day, Batanash, a staggering beautiful and curvaceous woman, was taking a shower in a roof-top bathroom and Enki was peeking at her through a window to his bedroom. Enki’s bedroom was on a floor that was one storey higher than the level at which Batanash was bathing and since the bathroom was roofless though walled,  Enki saw every inch of her and all her eye-popping postures as she tried to spruce up every contour of her body. Blood flowed to Enki’s nether regions – he was in bonking mood.  


Soon he had made his way into the hallowed privacy of Batanash’s cubicle and according to Sumerian records, “his semen into her womb he poured”. No woman on Earth was capable of turning down the advances of Enki, whose way with words coupled with dynamically good looks they found irresistible. Besides, Sumerian records suggest that Enoch had conjugally neglected his wife, like most men do when they have been with a woman for a long time. Note that the copulation only partially stemmed from lust: Enki and Enoch had planned it all.


Enki, a most virile man who hardly ever fired blanks, had scored with his first attempt at goal. Nine months later, Batanash had a child, a boy. Since the boy looked somewhat unusual, Ninmah radioed Lamech to rush to Shurrupak pronto. The moment Lamech set his eyes on the boy, he was stunned.

 

“White as the snow his skin was, the colour of wool was his hair: like the skies were his eyes, in a brilliance were his eyes shining,” says The Lost Book of Enki. In other words, the child resembled the typical Anunnaki, who were of a chalky-white skin, had blue eyes, and “shone” thanks to their ingestion of Ormus on a daily basis.   As if that was not strange enough, the child was able to talk from the moment he was born. “He arose in the hands of the midwife, opened his mouth, and conversed with the Lord of Righteousness,” the latter being Enlil, who had also been invited over by Ninmah to come and see this extraordinary little bundle of joy.



STRANGE SON BOTH A BAD AND GOOD OMEN

The first thing Lamech did was to confront his wife. According to a fragment of The Book of Noah,  found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls stash, Lamech related thus about his plight:


“I thought in my heart that the conception was from one of the Watchers, one of the Holy Ones … And my heart was changed within me because of the child. Then I, Lamech, hastened and went to Bath-Enosh, my wife, and I said to her: ‘I want you to take an oath by the Most High, the Lord Supreme, the King of all the worlds, the ruler of the Sons of Heaven, that you will tell me the truth whether …’”.


Lamech suspected that Batanash was impregnated by a Nefilim and made her swear by King Anu that that indeed was the case as the child clearly did not have strictly human features. First, Batanash responded in a round-about way but with some subtle signal. She said, “The situation is indeed alarming but remember my delicate feelings”. In other words, she was saying that whilst she understood his concern, he nonetheless   had to bear in mind that he had been starving her sexually.

 

The evasive answer did not satisfy Lamech so he pressed on: he said he wanted the full truth and nothing but the truth. This time around, Batanash was more direct. “Ignoring my delicate feelings, I swear to you by the Holy and Great One, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, that this seed came from you, this conception was by you, and this fruit was planted by you,” she vowed.


The emphasis on “delicate feelings” perturbed Lamech. It was inconsistent with the notion of the child indeed being categorically his. Lamech thus took off in a fit of anger and frustration to seek the advice of his father Methuselah. This is what he reported: “I have begotten a strange son, diverse from and unlike Man, and resembling the sons of the God of Heaven; and his nature is different, and he is not like us … And it seems to me that he is not sprung from me but from the angels.” The terms “sons of the God of Heaven” and “Angels” refer to the Anunnaki, who were indeed Nibiru King Anu’s people.


Methuselah too was dumbfounded but he didn’t say much; instead, he referred Lamech to his grandfather Enoch. Enoch was to conduct a DNA test on the baby and if he found that indeed the baby was fathered by a Nefilim, he was to investigate who exactly it was. Methuselah knew that Enoch, being the head of the Enlilite’s equivalent of the CIA, would easily find out who had committed adultery with Batanash. Certainly, Enoch must have had a Anunnaki DNA database at his disposal.


Lamech rushed to Sippar in a chopper accompanied by Anunnaki escorts who knew exactly where Enoch lived in a “dwelling place among the angels at the ends of the Earth”. However, he was not allowed to enter the premises. Instead, Enoch came out to meet him. After relating the object of his calling, Enoch, who had masterminded everything along with Enki, pacified him straightaway. He said there was no need to conduct a DNA test on the baby as he indeed was Lamech’s.

 

But the baby was certainly special. His unusual appearance and precocity (talking straight after birth) betokened an omen of sorts. “There shall come a Deluge and great destruction for one year, but your son and his family are destined to be saved. The Lord has showed me and informed me, and I have read it in the heavenly tablets.”

Having said this, Enoch enjoined Lamech to keep the secret to himself, an admonition he inviolably honoured. Thus it was that Batanash gave the child the name Atrahasis, meaning “extremely wise.” This had to do with the fact that the child could speak from the day he was born and sensibly so, unlike ordinary babies who verbally matured through the gears. In future,  Atrahasis would come to be best-known as Ziusudra (in Sumerian) or Utnapishtim (in Akkadian, the forerunner to the Hebrew language). Both the terms mean “He of long bright life days”, which was very fitting  as it was Atrahasis who preserved life during that watery calamity and so ushered in a bright new day.


In the Bible, Atrahasis is known as Noah. This is from the Hebrew Noach, meaning “comfort”. Again this is apt in view of the fact that his birth heralded good tidings on the flipside of the coin: he was to be the saviour of mankind and all life forms as the Deluge raged.
Noah was born in the 110th shar, that is, 396,000 years after the Anunnaki first landed on Earth. That is roughly 49,000 years ago and about 12 shars (43,200 years) before the Deluge.

 

The moment Enki heard of his birth, he offered himself as his godfather and Lamech, who was unaware that the boy was in fact Enki’s son, gladly obliged him. From a very early age, Enki set out to groom him as his priest and recited to him the writings of his iconic forefather Adapa, who had been dead now for 7000 years.

 

Noah grasped whatever Enki taught him like a dictaphone, that’s how brilliant he was.  However, Ninmah insisted she also wanted a piece of the child prodigy and Enki co-operated: Noah was raised at Shuruppak, the Anunnaki medical centre that was under the patronage of Ninmah.

ENLIL’S MACABRE STRATEGY NO. 1: PANDEMICS

Meanwhile, Enlil was very intent at decimating the population of the Nefilim, their Anakim offspring, and mankind for their brazen pro-Marduk stance. Since Enki and Enoch withheld their forecast of the Deluge from him, Enlil decided to take rash measures to bring about the disaster he desired.  


The first weapon he used was the infliction of disease. “In the days of Ziusudra plagues and pestilences the Earth afflicted, aches dizziness, chills, fevers the Earthlings overwhelmed,” relates Enki in The Lost Book of Enki. These travails may have been simply one of the ravages of the Ice Age Enlil decided to capitalise on, but chemical and biological weaponry did certainly play its part too.  In the face of this pathological calamity, Ninmah, who physically incubated Adam, the father of mankind, approached Enlil and suggested that humans be taught the art of curing themselves using herbaceous plants. But Enlil was having none of that. “This by decree I forbid”, he thundered.


Next to plead for an easing of the human predicament was Noah, who was now a grown man. He approached Enki and besought him to reason with his all-powerful step-brother. “Ea (Enki), O’ Lord, mankind groans,” Noah entreated.  “The anger of the gods consumes the land. Yet it is thou who hast created us! Let there cease the aches, the dizziness, the chills, the fever!"  Enki did find a way to circumvent Enlil’s decree and answer to mankind’s plight but whatever course of action that was we can only guess since the Sumerian tablet on which the story is related is partly damaged. The action plan was effective though because Enlil is later heard to complain that, “The people have not diminished; they are more numerous than before”.

ENLIL’S MACABRE STRATEGY NO. 2: FAMINE

Next, Enlil decided to exterminate the world population by way of starvation. "Let supplies be cut off from the people,” he pronounced before the Anunnaki pantheon. “In their bellies, let fruit and vegetables be wanting …  Let the rains of the rain god be withheld from above; below, let the waters not rise from their sources.

 

Let the wind blow and parch the ground; let the clouds thicken, but hold back the downpour.” What Enlil was ordering into use here was what we today call HAARP technology, which has the capacity to control and modify weather all of sudden. The rank wielder of this technology was his youngest son Ishkur-Adad, who was the storm and rain god.


In order to ensure that his orders were carried out, Enlil gave members of the pantheon specific briefs. Enki was to monitor the oceans in flying saucers as well as ocean liners to make sure no one fished from there; his second-born son Nannar-Sin and Enki’s second-born son Nergal were to police the equator and the tropics; and Ishkur-Adad  was to patrol the northern hemisphere. Lamech, Noah’s father, was also ordered by Utu-Shamash, Enlil’s grandson and for whom Lamech was a priest-king, not to provide any rations to humans who were based at Sippar. All bases were covered: Enlil wanted no less than globalwide genocide.


“In those days the sufferings on Earth were increasing,” the Sumerian records say of what transpired thereafter. “The days colder grew, the skies their rains were holding back, fields their crops diminished, in the sheepfolds ewe lambs were few … The earth shut its womb, vegetation did not sprout.” Initially, the morning mists and night time dew compensated for the absence of rains but these two petered out.  According to a Sumerian text known as The Epic of Astrahasis, “The fertile fields became white … People walked hunched in the streets, their faces looked green …” A raging drought “began to spread devastation. From above, the heat was not … Below, the waters did not rise from their sources. The womb of the earth did not bear.”


The next six shars (36,000 years) were a real horror as man’s plight aggravated. People ate “the earth’s grass” and their faces were “encrusted with hunger”. By the fifth shar, “Human life began to deteriorate. Mothers barred their doors to their own starving daughters. Daughters spied on their mothers to see whether they had hidden any food.”  When  the sixth shar dawned, “Cannibalism was rampant. They prepared the daughter for a meal; the child they prepared for food.  One house devoured the other.” And the one person behind all the purgatory in which mankind was wallowing was none other Enlil, the being Christendom worships as its God under the name Jehovah/Yahweh. This Earth, My Brother …

NEXT WEEK: A MYSTERIOUS MESSENGER FROM “HEAVEN”

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Parricide at Herod’s Court

25th January 2021
SAILI

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.

HEROD ACQUITTED OVER THE ARISTOBULUS DEATH

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.

HEROD KILLS HIS WIFE AND HIS UNCLE

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.”

HEROD SLAYS SISTER’S EX-HUBBY

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.

NEXT WEEK: HEROD’S WRATH ON HIS OWN SONS

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WHAT’S UP WITH WHATSAPP?

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
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

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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