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Adad Prescribes Meat Menu

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Among the animals he forbade humans to eat was the pig and for rather valid reasons seemingly


The Bible gives the nod for mankind to eat human flesh. In other words, the Anunnaki, the gods of the Old Testament, told us it was okay to eat meatstuffs for as long as the animal from which they stemmed was on Ishkur-Adad’s approved list. BUT HERE IS THE PARADOX: MANKIND IS NOT ANATOMICALLY DESIGNED TO EAT MEAT. We eat meat not because it is a natural impulse: we do so purely by allure or habit. The fact that we have to cook the meat before we gorge on it is in itself a sufficient enough indicator that it is not natural for us to   eat it. In fact, if mankind hadn’t discovered fire, he would be purely herbivorous today. 

There are a whole host of attributes about us that militate against eating meat but I will cite only a few. First, we don’t have carnivorous (ordinarily meat-eating) teeth such as what the lion has, for instance. We belong to a family of the animal kingdom known as primates, the same family as apes, but even the canine teeth of our closest cousins, the chimpanzees, are larger, stronger, and sharper than ours.  All apes eat mostly fruit, leaves, and other plant items as well as the occasional small mammal meat in the case of chimps: that’s all. We’re the odd one out in our family. True carnivores like lions and hyenas have large claws and sharp canines that can tear the raw flesh of a prey animal without the need of knives and folks like we do. 

Second, compared to carnivores, we have a very long intestinal tract, about 20 feet compared to 5 feet for a lion.  This is suited to a herbivorous diet, so that the body has ample enough time to break down fibre and absorb nutrients from plant-based food.  The short intestinal tracts with respect to carnivores allow the food to pass through the alimentary canal much quickly in that in their case it is needless for the masticated meat to stay too long in there. 

Third, our stomach acid is about of the same strength as that of herbivores. It is 20 times weaker than that of carnivorous animals who need strong acid to work on meat chunks and even on bits of bone in the case of a hyena for instance.  Yet our “gods” gave us a pass to eat meat anyway despite the fact that we are innately vegetarian. The gods themselves were avid meat eaters all right and it must follow that since they created us in their own image and likeness, we can’t be the exception. But it must be borne in mind that we are not entirely like them: we are a hybrid, a mixture of Ape Man and they. Hence, whereas their physiology could be better-suited to processing meat, ours falls far short.

Maybe the fact that they encouraged our  eating meat, something well at odds with our natural orientation,  could be one of the many booby-traps they have strewn in our way – to ensure that our lifespans are much shorter than theirs and so further embed in us our perception of them as  “deity”. For meat, it has been medically documented, is responsible for a whale of a lot of what is called food-poisoning and for certain cancers and chronic illnesses that ravage mankind.  

ADAD DEMARCATES BETWEE CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS

The boundaries  between which animals to eat (clean meat) and which not to eat (unclean meat) are set out in the 11th chapter of the Book of Leviticus. According to instructions given to Moses by Adad, Israelites were to eat the meat of an animal which met two conditions. First, the animal had to have a hoof split into two. Second, it had to be the kind that chewed the cud. (What relevance these two factors had to palatability Adad did not spell out). Animals that chew the cud are known as ruminants. They have four stomachs, the first of which is called the rumen. When a ruminant animal first swallows its food, the food, which is only sufficiently moistened and not munched upon, goes into the rumen.

Later, the food, known as cud (which simply means small balls of food), is returned to the mouth for thorough and sustained chewing which could go on for  8 or more hours on end. The same food is then re-swallowed but this time around heads not back to the rumen but to the second stomach, the omasum. It does not return to the mouth thereafter. The above two conditionalities were absolute. If an animal chewed the cud but did not have split hooves, such as a camel for instance, it was unclean. By the same token, if an animal had split hooves all right but did not chew the cud, as is the case with a pig, it still was unclean. Examples of clean animals are cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, and antelope, which are very amenable to human taste.  

Examples of unclean animals are pig, camel, hare, and rock badger. In the same unclean bracket belong small animals that scurry along the ground, such as rats, moles, gecko, chameleon, and lizards. For lizards for one, even larger ones such as crocodiles were forbidden. Furthermore, all animals that slithered along on their bellies, such as snakes and tortoises, were taboo. In the case of aquatic animals, only those that qualified as fish proper – those with fins and scales – were designated as clean. As for birds, Adad approved all except the eagle, vulture, kite, raven, ostrich, seagull, and owls. On the part of insects, Adad marked a cross against  winged insects which walked along the ground. But if they walked along the ground and could at the same time hop or jump, such as locusts and grasshoppers, these could be eaten. 

Having regard to the fact that human beings were fundamentally herbivorous and that certain species of flora had medicinal properties, Adad gave the green light for us to eat  fruits from seed-bearing trees;  anything that grew on plants that were not necessarily trees (such as  tomatoes, maize, and beans); and field plants such as herbs, roots,  and green, leafy vegetables. Adad’s prescriptions and proscriptions with regard to foods affected only his chosen people, the Jews, not necessarily the entirety of the human race. It is no surprise, therefore, that  today, different cultures of the world eat pretty much what they choose to.

Snakes are generally eaten in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, etc,   and even in India in states like Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.  Americans take very special pleasure in stuffing themselves with rattle snake meat: they even hold a snake-eating festival where hundreds of snakes are killed and feasted upon. Africans revel in eating pythons. Nations that fancy dog and cat meat include the Chinese, Swiss, and Americans. In Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, monkeys are  not a uncommon feature on the dinner table.  And of course Zambians and Batswana find caterpillars irresistibly  appetising. If people can eat animals Adad forbade without discernible detriment to their wellbeing,  then we may as well treat the contents of Leviticus 11 as stemming from Adad’s own imperious whim and not necessarily as a medically-informed set of pronouncements.   

THE MATTER OF THE PIG

“You are a pig!” is one of the not too rarest indignities a pissed-off person can hurl at his offender. Yet a pig is not that disagreeable or disreputable an animal:  by the time you finish reading this section of the article, you  will have developed a little bit more respect for this delicious creature than you would ordinarily allow. To begin with, the pig can be a cause for envy just as an  organism, which almost rhymes with orgasm. Talking about orgasm, did you know that  a pig’s orgasm can last between 40 to 90 minutes? This is no joke guys: it is even logged in The Guinness Book of Records. An average boar (a male pig) will sustain an ejaculation   for up to 10 minutes and that is half a litre of jizz we’re talking about folks!

If we humans can literally be taken up into the 7th Heaven in a maximum orgasmic span of only 10 seconds, what could happen if the sensation raged on for 90 minutes? There would be screeches,  shrieks, and screams issuing out of every enclosed space every minute of the day and our tear glands  would be emptied for hours at a time. A pig, on the other hand, unfailingly maintains its cool with an orgasm that lasts for one and half hours. That’s remarkable calm in a very tempting situation. The pig is also a most selfless animal as it takes very special pleasure in inviting its friends to participate in mounting its own mate. Humans do that only in movies, in Luciferian sex rituals, or when under the influence of  sense-scrambling drugs. 

And the  reputation a pig has as one of the dirtiest animals because it likes to grovel in the mud is not  fair at all. Pigs don’t sweat: to compensate for that, they get to wallow in the mud. In fact, for your own information, a pig simply will never poop anywhere near where it lives or is eating unless it is kept in confinement. That does not sound like a slovenly reputation to me. BUT THE REASON I GREATLY VALUE THE PIG IS BECAUSE IT IS VERY ANATOMICALLY AND PHYSIOLOGICALLY SIMILAR TO MAN.  It is for this reason that pigs have been used in medical research for decades now. Pigs are known as a translational research model. What that means is that if something works in a pig, it has a higher possibility of working in a human.

Pig hearts are used to study the anatomy of human hearts because they are very similar in structure, size and function to human hearts. Pig skin is so extremely close to human skin’s feel and structure that surgeons still use pig skin to aid burn recovery victims today. Human skin grafting with pig skin  is particularly commonplace  in the West. Talking about pig-skin, it looks almost human-like. This is not  a coincidence folks: it’s purposeful. What most people do not realize when they feed on pork,  brisket,  ham, or various forms of pig meat, is that they are actually committing cannibalism!

     How so?

REPTOID AND HUMANOID DYNAMICS

The story begins about  700,000 years ago, when two races fought each other in a mutually destructive war right on planet Earth. This was the war  of the Atlanteans, who were humanoids, and Lemurians, who were Reptoids.  In that high-tech clash of the titans, which we have already written upon, both the continents of Atlantis and Lemurians were destroyed. The surviving Atlanteans left Earth for their original planet in  the Pleiades,  but the surviving Reptoids, who unlike the Atlanteans were indigenous to Earth, retreated into a subterranean haven deep in the bowels of Earth. 

Writes Stewart Swerdlow in his masterly work BLUE BLOOD,  TRUE BLOOD: “Inner Earth became the ‘homeland’ for most of the surviving Reptoids of Lemuria. Here, they created a vast underground civilisation. This started the legends of hell and demons living in fire under the Earth. They built tubes containing fast, subway-like vehicles that can travel to any point on the Earth within a few hours. They created the famed underworld cities of Akkadia, Agartha, Hyperbolea, and Shamballa that are sought by explorers to this very day. These cities are built along the inside wall of the inner crust that lines the interior of the Earth.”

About 200,000 years  after the cataclysmic Atlantean-Reptoid showdown, another race of aliens arrived on Earth and took overall charge using brawn and bluster. These were  from the Sirius and Orion star system though they  had long colonised a Solar System planet known as Nibiru, which is seen  only once in 3600 years.  These are what we essentially refer to as the Anunnaki,  although strictly speaking every alien race is Anunnaki (Anunnaki simply means beings from outer space). The Anunnaki,  like the Atlanteans, were  humanoids.

Many a time, the Anunnaki, led first by Alalu and later by Enlil, the principal Jehovah of the Bible,  went to war with the Reptoids. These wars are not documented in the Sumerian records,  but they are in the Sanskrit records and possibly in THE BOOK OF THE WARS OF YAHWEH, which is made mention of in the Old Testament and the apocryphal BOOK  OF JASHER but which is lost to history. The Reptoids were irate  that like the Atlanteans before them, the Anunnaki had embarked on Project Adama – the creation by genetic engineering of an indigenous species of humanoids that brought  about Adam and Eve – as they feared that this new species would take pride of place on the planet and relegate them to nonentities. On balance, the Anunnaki emerged victorious in these wars, resulting in the Reptoids being confined to their underground redoubt. 

But the Reptoids did not take their sidelining and therefore their humiliation lying down. They decided to strike back in the most subtle of ways so that they could control the planet not directly as such but indirectly. Stewart Swerdlow: “The Reptoids developed a plan to insidiously retake the surface by blending their genetics with the genetics of the surface humans. Because the human prototype already had Reptoid genetics, it was easy to access the mind-pattern.  The Reptoid frequency was already established in the brain stem as well as the Reptoid brain section of these hybrid humans. The population of Sumer was chosen as the starting point … 

“The Reptoids have a preference for the genetics of blonde-haired, blue-eyed people whose mind-patterns and genetics are so easily controlled. They abducted members of the ruling classes, including political leaders. Using these humans, they began a new hybridisation program that took several generations to perfect. Their goal was to reach a human/Reptoid genetic 50/50 split. This would produce a human-looking Reptilian that could easily shapeshift from Reptilian to human, then back again. Shapeshifting was accomplished simply by concentrating on the genetics the hybrid wished to open, or lock up, whatever the case may be.”

HOW THE PIG CAME INTO EXISTENCE

In his classical 1945 satire on the ambivalences of Soviet communism,  ANIMAL FARM, George Orwell chose the pig as the monarch of the animal kingdom  and not any other. Seemingly, Orwell, who was very knowledgeable about the agenda and intrigues of the cabal, the force that rules the world behind the scenes as demonstrated by the prescience of his 1949 book titled 1984, was aware that the pig was no ordinary animal. 

The hybrids who resulted from the Reptoid hybridisation programme  are what we today call  Reptilians. They became the elite of the human race and soon all monarchs and tribal chieftains everywhere  were Reptilians. Since they had a substantial component of Reptoid blood, the Reptilians’ blood was copper-based and when copper-based blood is exposed to oxygen, it turns greenish-blue. As a result, Reptilians were also referred to as Bluebloods.  VIRTUALLY ALL SUMERIAN DEMIGODS AND THE JEWISH PATRIARCHS  WERE  REPTILIANS WHO INVARIABLY INTER-MARRIED.    

It was not easy, however, for Reptilians to maintain human form. “The Bluebloods quickly realized that with a 50/50 human/Reptoid genetic split, it was necessary to intermarry to maintain the 50/50 split bloodline necessary to shapeshift,” writes Stewart Swerdlow.  “When the split increased too far to the Reptoid side, shapeshifting became difficult, and holding human form became impossible. In these cases, it was discovered that the ingestion of human hormones, flesh, and blood, allowed the Reptilians to maintain the human form. Human form was necessary to maintain to avoid scaring the population, which was now not accustomed to the Reptilian form.

Control of the masses was easier when the orders came from a humanoid.” From the above, you can now understand why human sacrifice was so rampant in antiquity and why it still goes on even in our day in closed-door Illuminati rituals. Reptilians need to feed on our flesh if they are to appear like us: otherwise, their Reptilian nature will become all too visible and therefore all too obvious. Now, human sacrifice was  essentially genocidal and the  ranks of the Anunnaki who were  pro-human frowned on it. So they came up with a less obvious and less barbaric way of  achieving  the same end, an interim measure. 

THIS WAS BY HAVING  THE REPTILIANS FEED ON HUMAN HORMONES AND BLOOD IN AN ALTERED ANIMAL FORM ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, MEANING THE FEEDING ON HUMAN FLESH (IT STILL WAS NECESSARY) WOULD NOW BE DONE PERIODICALLY  AND NOT ROUTINELY.  The animal they chose for this purpose was the wild boar. The result was the creation, genetically, of an animal we today call the pig.

“The sacrificial animal used by most Middle Eastern people was the wild boar, so it was chosen as the basis for this new animal hybrid,”writes Stewart Swerdlow.  “Human genetics were mixed with those of the wild boar to create the domesticated pig. This animal was served daily to the Bluebloods as a method of temporarily maintaining their human form until they could use an actual human in a sacrificial ceremony. Because the domesticated pig is a combination of human and animal genetics, eating it is a form of cannibalism.” Did you hear that folks? IF YOU HAVE EVER FED ON PIG MEAT, YOU HAVE BASICALLY TASTED HUMAN FLESH. Maybe Adad was right to declare a pig as an unclean animal after all. 

NEXT WEEK:   ADAD’S DIM VIEW OF THE WOMENFOLK

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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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