Why did Neil Armstrong utter such words in the groundbreaking Apollo 11 Mission?
Standing at the perimeters of the Cedar Forest, Gilgamesh, not to mention Enkidu who albeit was coming here for the second time, was transfixed by the breathtaking scenery. “Their words were silenced; they themselves stood still,” says The Epic of Gilgamesh. “They stood still and gazed at the forest. They looked at the height of the cedars; they beheld the Cedar Mountain, the dwelling place of the gods, shrine-place of Inanna. The cedars held up their luxuriance all upon the mountain, their shade was pleasant. It filled one with happiness.”
The Lebanon cedar is a lush-leaved, majestic tree that can grow up to 150 feet, or 46 metres, high and can live for more than 2000 years. In the Bible, the Lebanon cedar is the most extolled tree, with more than 75 references altogether. It was the main input in the construction of Solomon’s Temple, the reason Yahweh would say, “Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?” (2 SAMUEL 7:7). Throughout the Near East, the Cedar was to be found only in the Syrian mountain range that encompassed the Lebanon Mountain.
Only gods were capable of cultivating the cedar: mankind, the Bible tells us, had no idea how to grow cedars. For instance, the King of Tyre obtained a shoot of a cedar branch from Lebanon so that it could give rise to a swathe of cedar forest in his own domain. What arose was not a robust cedar but an inferior one – “a spreading vine of low nature”.
Since the cedar tree grew about the Abode of the Gods, the Cedar Mountain was also referred to as the “Orchard of the Gods”. The cedar was “the envy of all the trees that were in Eden,” Eden being the generic name for any place the Anunnaki were concentrated in. Zechariah Sitchin puts this in context thus: “The Hebrew term Gan (orchard, garden), stemming as it does from the root gnn (protect, guard), conveys the sense of a guarded and restricted area – the same sense as is imparted to the reader of the Gilgamesh narrative:
a forest that extends ‘for many leagues’, watched over by a Fiery Warrior (a ‘terror to mortals’).” Because the cedar tree was associated with Paradise, great rulers and mighty nations were compared to cedars. The grandeur of the cedar trees far from making his hair stand on end calmed the nerves of Gilgamesh. They inspirited him even as he poised to breach Huwawa’s lair.
TRIAD OF LEBANON
Let us at this point in time pose to contemplate the politics, religiosity, sentimentality, and overall import of Baalbek before we continue with the saga of Gilgamesh. Baalbek was set up atop the Cedar Mountain, today known as Lebanon Mountain. It encompassed a rocket-launching silo and a landing platform spanning 9 hectares and raised to about 30 feet, or 9 metres, above ground. It was constructed using huge, wide-girth stone blocks that weighed between 1000 to 1200 tonnes.
Underneath the vast horizontal platform which stood at about 4000 feet, or 1220 metres, above sea level, was a network of chambers, tunnels, caverns, and a host of other subterranean structures which curiously no researcher has been permitted to penetrate and explore. Clearly, the Illuminati do not want the world to know exactly what is contained in there, just as they do not want us to know what lies beneath the Temple Mount, the “holy” site in Jerusalem where the Jewish Temple used to be.
Baalbek means “Lord of Beqaa”. Beqaa was/is the valley that lay/lies at the base of the Cedar Mountain. Baal (shortened form of Aba-El) means “(He) Whose Father is El”. This was the Canaanite title of Utu-Shamash, whose father indeed was El – the name by which Nannar-Sin was known in Canaan. The Jewish name for Baalbek was Beth-Shemesh, meaning “House of Shamesh”. The Greeks called it Heliopolis, or Sun City. Again this was in deference to Shamash, who was the Enlilites’ “Sun God”, that is, the god whose celestial counterpart was the Sun. As the Anunnaki’s principal astronaut and aeronaut, Shamash is frequently referred to as the “Rider of the Clouds” (e.g. PSALM 68:5).
The alternative names for Baalbek were the Crest of Zaphon; the Airport of the Gods; the Landing Place; and the Crossroads of Ishtar. Zarerath Zaphon meant, “The Rocky Crest in the North” (the Baalbek platform, which was to the north of Canaan) but that was a secondary meaning: its original meaning was “the hidden away/observation place”. This denoted Baalbek’s remoteness from the vicinities of human settlements as well as its being ringed with observation posts in case it was infiltrated and therefore (by virtue of its being a “holy place”) desecrated by “filthy” mankind. As such, Shamash was also known as the Lord of Zaphon.
Humans who were captive to the cult of Inanna referred to Baalbek as the Crossroads of Ishtar. Now, Inanna, just like Shamash, did have her own holiday precincts in Lebanon, which was located not very far from Baalbek. It was called Beth-Anath, meaning “House of Anath”, Anath (or Athena when reversed) being another of Inanna’s multiple names. Since Inanna too had access to Baalbek, where she could liberally take off and land to and from other places as she plied the skies (her favourite hobby which was only second to copulating), it is easy to understand why Baalbek was designated as the Crossroads of Ishtar.
Yet the real boss of Lebanon/Syria, the superintending god, was neither Shamash nor Inanna. It was Ishkur-Adad, Enlil-Jehovah’s third born son. The prophet Amos talks of “the palaces of Adad” in northern Beth-Shemesh. In general though, the whole area was associated with the Triad of Adad, Shamash, and Inanna. But because Shamash controlled the all-important shems, he enjoyed a disproportionately higher regard than Adad among Earthlings.
GODS WHO WERE CALLED “ROCKET MEN”
If Baalbek was described as the “Airport of the Gods”, that was because it basically functioned as a terrestrial aviation facility. The fact of the matter was that though it was not a spaceport proper, like Tilmun was, it did harbour and launch shuttlecraft – second-tier spaceships which could only go as far as Low Earth Orbit, in modern times a maximum altitude of 2000 km and an orbital period of between 84 to 127 minutes. A shuttlecraft therefore went only as far as the International Space Station and not beyond that to other celestial bodies such as Mars and the Moon.
Both the shuttlecraft and the spacecraft proper, collectively known as rockets, were referred to as shems. When Gilgamesh set course for Baalbek, he was not aware of this difference: he thought he was going to ride in a spaceship all the way to Nibiru when the only shems there were at Baalbek constituted the limited-scope shuttlecraft.
Now, to Earthlings, a shem was a symbol of Anunnaki divinity. In daily parlance, the Anunnaki were referred to as the Ilu, an abbreviation of/singular for Elohim. Like most other words, Ilu spawned several derivative meanings (which we have already itemised in previous articles)) but its underlying deferential meaning was “Exalted Ones”, as gods typically are. In formal language, however, the Anunnaki were known as the Din.Gir. This title had nothing to do with intrinsic Anunnaki traits: it derived, solely, from the shem. The Din.Gir was a shem and this is very evident from Sumerian pictograms and ideograms of a shem.
A shem, a multistage rocket, was made up, basically, of two parts. The lower part was known as Din. This was the rocket booster, meant to loft the shem into the skies. The noisier part, which clearly gives us the English term “din”, meaning “confused noise”, stems from the Sumerian Din. The top part, the powering engine, was the Gir, in all probability the ancestor word for “gear”. Thus the primary meaning of Din.Gir was simply “Noise-Creating Celestial Ship”.
Observes Zechariah Sitchin: “The (Din.Gir) pictographic sign can easily bring to mind a powerful jet engine spewing flames from the end part, and a front part that is puzzlingly open. But the puzzle turns to amazement if we ‘spell’ Din.Gir by combining the two pictographs. The tail of the fin-like Gir fits perfectly into the opening in the front of Din! The astounding result is a picture of a rocket-propelled spaceship, with a landing craft docked into it perfectly – just as the lunar module was docked with the Apollo 11 spaceship! It is indeed a three-stage vehicle, with each part fitting neatly into the other: the thrust portion containing the engines, the midsection containing supplies and equipment, and the cylindrical ‘sky chamber’ housing the people named Din.Gir – the gods of antiquity, the astronauts of millennia ago.”
Given that the Anunnaki were the ones who rode in these noisy space vehicles, they too became a byword for their own machines. In the process, Din.Gir came to mean “Holy/Righteous/Pure/Good Ones of the Blazing/Noisy Rockets”. Put differently, Din.Gir (or just Din itself) evolved into “Great God” or simply “gods” (it is instructive that Endubasar, Enki’s official scribe, addressed him as “Great God”, which did not denote transcendence as such but simply stood for Din.Gir). It follows, crystal-clearly, that the notion of Din.Gir meaning “Holy/Righteous/Divine Beings” was a later development.
OF GIR’s AND MU’s
Now, the Gir itself (which the Egyptians called the Ben-Ben, benya benya in Setswana, meaning “that which pulsates”, referring to the aircraft’s rotating and flashing beacon) had two sub-components. The top-most, the command module, was called a Mu. The Mu could be detached when the shem was packed in a silo and used by the gods as a flying saucer, a UFO, which when stationary on the ground stood on three legs that spread out from underneath it. The Mu that resembled a flying saucer was also referred to as a “Sky Chamber”.
Says Zechariah Sitchin: “The Flying Wheel described by the prophet Ezekiel was akin to the Assyrian depictions of their Flying God (Ishkur-Adad) roaming the skies, at cloud level, within a spherical Sky Chamber. Depictions found at an ancient site across the Jordan from Jericho suggest that for landing these spherical vehicles extended three legs.”
There were also other types of Mu’s that looked like either a jet or a chopper. These were never a part of a shem. They were called Esh, meaning “Throne” or “God’s Chamber”. Their alternative description in the Sumerian records was “Boat of Heaven”. Inanna in particular is often styled as riding in a Boat of Heaven. In the Bible, a chopper-like Mu, in which Ishkur-Adad used to ride when he led the Israelites into the wilderness, and a UFO-like Mu are referred to as “whirlwinds” (EZEKIEL 1:4) or Chariots/Horses of Fire (2 KINGS 2:11) because mankind assumed that all airborne vehicles were powered by fire having seen rockets blast off into space in a blaze of fire.
When the prophet Isaiah says, “In the year King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne (special seat in a cabin), high and lifted up, and his train (billowing smoke) filled the temple (ISAIAH 6:1), what he was saying was that he saw Enlil or Ishkur-Adad in the cabin (throne) of a chopper or flying saucer. The prophet Ezekiel also furnishes a very vivid description of a jet-like Mu (whole of EZEKIEL Chapter 1). “The “whirlwind” in which Elijah was carried to “Heaven” was a Mu: it ferried him to the spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula en route to Nibiru (EZEKIEL 2 KINGS 2:1-11).
Since the Sumerians and the people of Old Testament times were more familiar with the Mu than the shem as they frequently saw it around them or parked in the backyard of a god’s mansion (called temples), it was the Mu they depicted the most in their cave wall paintings. When the shems are depicted, they are shown with tails of billowing fire, missile-like vehicles, and celestial cabins. The ancients knew what they were portraying for posterity folks. It’s a pity that religion has blindfolded us from identifying their depictions and descriptions for exactly what they were. This Earth My Brother …
APOLLO 11 DEDICATED TO SHAMASH
As the lunar module of the Apollo 11 spacecraft touched down on the moon in July 1969, Neil Armstrong reported to NASA’s Mission Control Centre at Houston, Texas, thus: “Houston! Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed!” Tranquillity Base was the exact location on the moon where the lunar module had landed. But what was the Eagle that had landed? It was of course the code name for the lunar module itself. By the same token, eagle was also the codename for the astronauts themselves. The entire three-man team of Neil Armstrong, Ed Aldrin, and Michael Collins wore space suits that bore the emblem of an eagle.
How about the mission itself? Why was it codenamed Apollo? Just like the eagle nomenclature, the Apollo nomenclature derived from Anunnaki times. Apollo is the shortened form of Apollyon, another name for Utu-Shamash. It means “Before (the age of) the Lion”. It was a name given to Shamash retrospectively for having been the most geopolitically influential Enlilite during the astrological age of Virgo, which preceded the age of Leo (that is, Lion). It was in Virgo that the Deluge occurred, right on the cusp of Leo. The Deluge was a major turning point in the affairs of Earth and so was a very significant frame of reference. Anunnaki history on Earth is basically two-phased: prediluvial (before the Flood) and post-diluvial (after the Flood).
Unbeknownst to much of the world today, the Anunnaki ruler/prince of the present age, Pisces, is Utu-Shamash. We know this from REVELATION 9:11, where he is referred to as Abaddon, meaning “(He) whose father is Addon”. Adon (variously Aten, Adonai, Adonis) means “Prolific (in the sense of producing offspring) Lord”. Adon as we already know was another name for Nannar-Sin, Shamash’s father, who was reputed to be so fecund he had more than 70 children.
When Jesus said, “Now shall the Prince of this world be cast out” (JOHN 12:31) and when the apostle Paul talks about “the Prince of the Power of the Air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (EPHESIANS 2:2), both are direct references to Shamash in his capacity as the god of the age of Pisces (mathematically from 60 BC to 2220 AD) and as the Anunnaki’s chief aerial navigator. So the Illuminati dedicated the mission to the moon to their Anunnaki god Apollo/Shamash.
LIKE THE EAGLE, LIKE THE PHOENIX
Why was the lunar module called the Eagle? In Anunnaki times, a shem was metaphorically referred to as the Eagle. But this was not the familiar eagle we see daily in our skies: it was the mythical version of the Eagle – the phoenix. The phoenix is a legendary bird that is constantly rejuvenating itself by burning to ash and then reanimating as a fresh and vigorous creature. In other words, the phoenix never died: it was immortal. It kept starting life anew every time it verged on old age.
To Earthlings, the shem had connotations of the phoenix. It was the symbol of eternal life in that if one rode in it to Nibiru, not only did they return the same age as they were years or decades when they left but henceforth lived forever, like the Anunnaki. Since the shem was associated with divinity, it was in itself an object of veneration or worship. Says Zechariah Sitchin: “We are told that witnesses at Sumeria’s supreme court were required to take the oath in an inner courtyard, standing by a gateway through which they could see and face three ‘divine objects’.
These were named the Golden Sphere (the crew's cabin?), the Gir, and the Aalikmahrati – a term that literally meant ‘advancer that makes vessel go’, or what we would call a motor, an engine. What emerges here is a reference to a three-part rocket ship, with the cabin or command module at the top end, the engines at the bottom end, and the Gir in the centre … In the temple of Ninurta, the sacred or most guarded inner area was called the Girsu (‘where the Gir is sprung up’).”
The Igigi, the Anunnaki astronauts, were known as Eagles too. Zechariah Sitchin: “An Assyrian seal engraving from circa 1500 BC shows two ‘Eaglemen’ saluting a shem! Numerous depictions of such ‘Eagles’ – the scholars call them ‘Bird-Men’ – have been found. Most depictions show them flanking the Tree of Life, as if to stress that they, in their shems, provided the link with the Heavenly Abode where the Bread of Life and Water of Life were to be found. Indeed, the usual depiction of the Eagles showed them holding in one hand the Fruit of Life and in the other the Water of Life, in full conformity with the tales of Adapa, Etana, and Gilgamesh.”
Since Shamash was the god in charge of the Eagles (shems) and Eaglemen (Igigis), it is not surprising that the Illuminati-controlled NASA dedicated the Apollo Programme (comprising 12 missions altogether between February 1967 and December 1972) to him. It is also noteworthy that the moon was the celestial counterpart of Nannar-Sin, who was dubbed the “Moon God”. Thus, by dedicating the Apollo Programme to Shamash, what NASA was effectively saying to Sin was that “we come to thee Father in the name of thy Son Shamash”.
In both Sumerian and modern-day pictography, the so-called angels (An-Gal in Sumerian, meaning “Great People of Heaven” – another term for the Anunnaki in general) are shown with wings. What the Sumerians sought to portray in this regard was that these people, the Anunnaki, were like winged beings in that they flew (in sky vehicles) like eagles. Zechariah Sitchin again: “How would an ancient artist have depicted the pilots of the skyships of the gods? Would he have depicted them, by some chance, as eagles?”
NEXT WEEK: THE CONTENDING OF SHAMASH AND HIS BROTHERS
“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).” (Ch9 : 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.
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.
Although the interrogation ofJesus 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 ofhis 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 matterwas 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 ofFlavius 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 ofPilate, 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 ofTiberius 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 ofthe Antipas bribe had been re-arrested, bringing the number ofrespondents 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 ofJesus 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 ofhis being a Zealot), Herod Antipas, under whosejurisdiction 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 ofRome, 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.
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 disproportionatelydisaffected 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!