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Noah Builds Enki’s “Ark”

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER     

It was in fact not an ark but a “submersible boat” – a submarine

Not long after Galzu, the ostensible emissary from Nibiru who had been sent to deliver a final prediluvial preparatory message to the Anunnaki top brass had left, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah/Yahweh, called a special-purpose meeting at Nippur, the Mission Control Centre. In attendance were the Anunnaki leading lights, their children, and the Igigi commanders.


At the hot-tempered meeting, Enlil announced that a great tidal wave was to engulf Earth in only a matter of years and he had decided that mankind, the Nefilim, and the Anakim perish in it and that they be given no advance notice of its imminence whatsoever. This possibly globalwide inundation was an opportunity he was going to seize to settle scores with all dissident forces ranged against him as well, who included   the bulk of mankind.


Enlil said the reason he had decided to end life on Earth were manifold. First, the Anunnaki had karmically defiled themselves by intermarrying with Lulu’s and he could no longer stand that corruption. Second, the Lulu’s had so reproduced that it could be very easy for them to rise up against the Anunnaki and drive them all into the seas. Third, much of the fissures amongst the Anunnaki arose on account of the Lulu’s. The infighting amongst the Anunnaki, the Igigi descendance from Mars to Earth, the bastard Nefilims, the jockeying for supremacy on Earth – all were thanks to  the existence of Lulu’s. It was a great mistake for Lulu’s to be caused to come into existence and the blame must be laid squarely on the shoulders of the recalcitrant and incorrigible Enki.    

 
“From the very beginning, at every turn, the decisions by you modified were!” Enlil thundered, tearing into Enki. “To Primitive Workers procreating you gave, to them Knowing (copulation) you endowed! The powers of the Creator of All (God, First Source) into your hands you have taken. Thereafter even that by abominations you fouled.

 

With fornication Adapa you conceived, understanding (illumination, privileged knowledge) to his line you gave! His offspring to the heavens (Nibiru, Mars, and the Moon) you have taken, our wisdom (scholastic and metaphysical knowledge) with them you shared! Every rule you have broken, decisions and command you ignored: because of you by a civilized Earthling brother (Cain)  a brother (Abel) murdered. Because of Marduk your son the Igigi like him with Earthlings intermarried. Who is lordly from Nibiru, to whom the Earth alone belongs, to no one no longer knows. Enough! Enough! – to all that I say. The abominations cannot continue! Now that a calamity by a destiny unknown has been ordained, let what must happen, happen! … Let the Earthlings for the abominations perish.”


In short,  what Enlil was saying was that if Enki  had not created mankind, there would be relative peace and tranquillity  on Earth. Enki created a problem, making himself the underlying problem. The remonstrations of Enlil are summed up in GENESIS 6-8 as follows: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 3068.

 

Yhovah (yeh-ho-vaw') — the proper name of the God of Israel" The LORD  5162. nacham (naw-kham') — to be sorry, console oneself" was sorry "6213a" that He had made 120. 'adam (aw-dawm') — man, mankind" man "776. 'erets (eh'-rets) — earth, land" on the earth,  "6087a" and He was grieved "3820. leb (labe) — inner man, mind, will, heart" in His heart. The LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’”


The above passage, that sees an All-Knowing God owning up to the fact that he was “sorry” for having created mankind,  has been such a constant source of embarrassment to the Christian clergy that they either skirt it altogether or put a spin on the diction employed.  Some versions of the Bible in fact have doctored the passage to remove the aspects that reduce God to a mere mortal.  


The fact of the matter anyway, courtesy of Sumerian records, is that it was not God, First Source, who uttered those ignominious words: it was an Anunnaki god, Enlil. And Enlil didn’t regret having created mankind: he regretted that Enki, his step-brother, had created mankind, the source of the troubles besetting the Anunnaki at the time.     

ENLIL IMPOSES OATH OF SILENCE

Enlil and Enki for some time traded verbal jabs before Ninmah calmed them down. “A wondrous Being by us was created, by us saved it must be,” Enki insisted to his step-brother. Enlil parried the notion vehemently, reiterating the fact that Earthlings were no longer an asset but a liability. Then dismissing Enki, Enlil underlined to the assembly that now that the “bitter end” was upon them, it was up to every Anunnaki to choose whether to weather the storm on Earth or return to Nibiru.

 

The only Anunnaki who qualified to return to Nibiru were those who were “pure” and “righteous”, that is those who had not offended against King Anu’s interplanetary rules. The Nefilim – the Igigis who had settled on Earth and married Earthlings – were not eligible. The eligible Anunnaki were to return to Nibiru minus their spouses and offspring even if they were procedurally married to Earthlings.    


As for he himself, Enlil said he was to stay on Earth as the planet’s Chief Executive to foster continuity.  He was going to take refuge in the “Boats of Heaven (spacecraft) in Earth’s skies (orbit)” with other Anunnaki who elected to stay. “The calamity to outwait, the fate of Earth to witness”, he said. Then he asked that everybody present declare what their decision was.


The Enlilites were the first to take the floor. None of them chose to return to Nibiru. Ninurta, Enlil’s firstborn, said once the Deluge was over, he was going to settle in the “Lands Beyond the Ocean”, that is, today’s Americas. Nannar-Sin, the second-born, said he was going to take up residence not in orbit but on the Moon pending the cessation of the Flood. Enki, who at the time was the symbolic Moon God, looked askance at him.


The Enkites too chose to stay. “The Igigi and Sarpanit I shall not desert!”Marduk declared impassionedly and matter-of-factly. He and his family were to squat on Mars during the course of the Deluge. The Nefilim and their families could come with him if they so decided. Finally, in order to ensure that Earthlings were not made aware of the impending disaster, Enlil demanded that everybody present take the Oath of Silence. “All leaders should solemnly swear to let events unhindered occur,” he spelt out. Accordingly, everybody took turns to do likewise.

 

“Ninmah was in tears,” recounts Enki in Zechariah Sitchin’s The Lost  Book of Enki. “The words of the oath she faintly whispered.” Marduk also took the oath but not before qualifying his action. He said he was doing so only because it was a command by the most powerful person on Earth; otherwise, it was not “worthy it”. Enki’s turn was the very last. First he asked Enlil why “you would bind me with an oath. Am I to raise my hand against my own humans?” Enlil’s reply was that it was the decision of King Anu and his council.

 

Enki sardonically countered that assertion. “The decision by you was made, on Earth it is a commandment! The floodwaters I cannot arrest, the Earthling multitudes I cannot save; so to what oath to bind me you therefore desire?” Enki made it clear that everything that would unfold was solely Enlil’s responsibility. “To let it all happen as if by fate decreed, let it as Enlil's Decision be known, on Enlil alone let the responsibility forever rest.”  Having registered his indignation, Enki listlessly took the oath before he stormed out of the meeting, with Marduk close at heel.    

ENKI’S BRIEF BY ENIGMATIC GALZU

In the midst of all this feverish goings-on, Enki approached his half-sister Ninmah, with whom he agreed on virtually everything, and suggested that they preserve all major life forms genetically in the face of the forthcoming watery avalanche. “Let us, you and me, their seed of life preserve, their life essences for safekeeping extract!”


Ninmah endorsed the idea and the two immediately went to work, with Ninmah at the Shuruppak laboratory and Enki, assisted by his genius son Ningishzidda, at his Bit Shimti facility in East Africa.  The genetic banks were to be taken with them in a shuttlecraft in orbit as they waited for the Deluge to run its course. “Male and female essences and life-eggs they collected,” the Sumerian records say. “Of each kind two by two, two by two they in Shuruppak and the Abzu preserved. For safekeeping while in Earth circuit to be taken, thereafter the living kinds to recombine.”


 Enki also suggested to Enlil that all the “tablets of record” be removed from Nippur and buried deep under the sands of Sippar (modern Tell Abu Habbah in Iraq, some 30 km southwest of Baghdad) for the sake of posterity. “If ever the calamity might be survived, let all that had happened be remembered,” he said. Enlil gave assent and accordingly all the records and computer programs in diorite crypts were stored in golden chests, which were in turn buried in the bowels of Earth beneath Sippar.


One day, as Enki turned and twisted in his bed whilst contemplating the gory fate that awaited his creation, he had a visitation from Galzu, the gray-haired wise man who now was a familiar figure. The visitation was not corporeal: Enki thought it was either a dream or a vision: he couldn’t say  for certain. Galzu delivered this message to Enki: “Summon your son Ziusudra (Noah). Without breaking the oath to him, the coming calamity reveal. A boat that the watery avalanche can withstand, a submersible one, to build him tell. Let him in it save himself and his kinfolk, and the seed of all that is useful, be it plant or animal, also take. That is the will of the Creator of All!”

 

Galzu this time was not acting under the auspices of Anu: he came as a messenger of the “Creator of All”, that is, First Source, the real God. Enki was to instruct Noah to construct a “submersible boat”, a submarine. He was to use this submarine to preserve the life of his family and next of kin, as well as major plant and life forms.


Since Enki held Galzu in great esteem, he decided he was going to do exactly as what he was bid. The dilemma though was that this amounted to a flagrant breach of the Oath of Silence administered by Enlil. Just how was Enki going to break the news of the coming flood to Noah without incurring the wrath of Enlil? Whatever the case, the will of God had to prevail and not that of a mere mortal like Enlil.

ENKI DESIGNS  SUBMARINE

The first thing Enki did when he  woke up was to hunker down before the computer and set about designing a submarine. As the Anunnaki’s greatest engineer, the task was a walk in the park. For a man of his genius, it must have taken him only weeks rather than months to complete the task. That done, he loaded the sketches onto a computer file and sent it along with a voice message to Noah’s computer bank in the latter’s “Reed Hut”, a backyard cottage which was equipped with a roof-top antenna. Below is the message in the voice mail:
    

“To my words pay attention, to my instructions heed pay! On all the habitations, over the cities, a calamitous storm will sweep, the destruction of Mankind and its offspring it will be. This is the final ruling, the word of the assembly by Enlil convened. Now heed my words, observe the message that to you I am speaking:


“Abandon your house, build a boat; spurn possessions, save the life! The boat that you must build, its design and measurements on a tablet are shown … In seven days build the boat, into it your family and kinfolk gather. “In the boat food and water for drinking heap up, household animals also bring. Then, on the appointed day, a signal to you shall be given: a boat guide who knows the waters, by me appointed, to you that day will come.  On that day the boat you must enter, its hatch tightly close you must.


“An overwhelming Deluge, coming from the south, lands and life shall devastate. Your boat from its moorings it shall lift, the boat it shall turn and tumble. Fear not: to a safe haven the boat guide will navigate you: by you shall the seed of Civilized Mankind survive. “The purpose of the boat, a secret of the Anunnaki with you must remain! When the townspeople will inquire, to them you will so say: ’The lord Enlil with my lord Enki has angry been, to Enki's abode in the Abzu I am sailing, perchance Enlil will be appeased!’” Noah, who was the brainiest human of the day, understood the design very well and wasted no time in making a scale model of the submarine. Once he was done, he gathered fellow Earthlings at the town square in Shuruppak to announce to them what he was up to.

NOAH BUILDS THE SUBMARINE

As per Enki’s brief, Noah told the gathering that he had been the centre of the rift that had polarised Enlil and Enki and consequently the cause of the hardships mankind had been undergoing to date.  But a rapprochement between the two gods had been reached, whereby he, Noah, would relocate from the Edin to Africa. In the event, Enlil would relent and withdraw the wrath that he had visited upon mankind. Noah proceeded to say he was to travel to Africa in a submersible boat which he was to embark on building that very day. It would be complete within seven days and on the very seventh day, he would depart.


The people were excited about such glad tidings. Not only did they eulogise Noah for acting in the interests of the broader masses but they avidly and diligently participated in the construction effort. The Sumerian texts say the submarine was completed in five days, which of course is absurd: you cannot build such a sophisticated thing as a submarine in five days, not even in fifty days. You can therefore be sure that the number five was more symbolic than real. In the US, for instance, the Virginia- Class Submarine took 2 years to build. But that was a military submarine and was way too complex technologically.  Noah’s was a civilian one and could therefore have taken a mere five months.


Just how big was Noah’s ark? First, let us underline the fact that it was not an ark: it was a submarine, designed in such a way that two-thirds of its size would be below the waterline. The Sumerians called it a Magurgur, meaning “a boat that can turn and tumble”. In the Babylonian and Assyrian records, it was described as a Tzulili, which translates to Tzolet in Hebrew. Both the two terms denote a submersible boat. In Genesis, the complete boat is called Teba in the Hebrew, which derives from the Akkadian Tebitu. “It is considered by some scholars to signify a ‘goods vessel’, a cargo ship,” says Zechariah Sitchin.  “But the term, with a hard ‘T’, means ‘to sink’. The boat was thus a ‘sinkable’ boat, hermetically sealed, so that even if submerged under the tidal wave of the Deluge, it could survive the watery ordeal and resurface.”  


According to GENESIS 6:15, the vessel had a length of 300 cubits; a width of 50 cubits; and a height of 30 cubits. This is 137 × 22.9 × 13.7 metres in the metric system. This was a vast structure.  Pundits reckon that it was taller than a 3-storey building; had a total deck area the size of 36 lawn tennis courts or 20 basketball courts; and was as long as a football field goalpost to goalpost and about as wide. Be that as it may, the ill-fated Titanic ocean liner was just under two times lengthier and more than five times weightier.


Unlike modern maritime vessels which are made of metal, Noah’s was made of gofer wood though it certainly did have a lot of high-tech equipment and fixtures and fittings on board. Building a submarine entirely from wood attests to just how technologically advanced the Anunnaki were. They didn’t need complex inputs, like we do today, to build something phenomenal.  Since it was a wooden structure, it couldn’t have taken more than a year to build but certainly must have taken considerably longer than the five days suggested in the Sumerian texts.


NEXT WEEK: ENLIL’S WATERY HELL UP ON EARTH

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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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