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Monday, May 31, 2010

Letter from Sweden: Migrants, Chemtrails, Somalia


Letter from Sweden: Migrants, Chemtrails, Somalia

May 23, 2010



stockholm1.jpgfrom  "Jens"


Money is getting tighter in Sweden too, despite all the nonsense about green shoots... In fact, Sweden will be hit heavily soon, I suspect, since the country is very much depended on its exports, so regardless if the Swedish economy would hold up it would still sink when other countries stop buying its goods. This interdependence, globalization, works wonders, doesn't it...soon we all will be equally poor!

Also, there are no new jobs. Here in my hometown, more and more people are laid off, I can notice this in my own small circle of family and friends; less and less people are in full-time employment. It is insane and totally untenable.

  At the same time they are flooding the country with immigrants, which deliberately are collected in suburban ghettos with no prospects for themselves, setting up the situation for future tensions and conflicts. Not many people abroad realize the number of immigrants Sweden has accepted in the last 30 years or so. It is one of the highest percentages in Europe, I guess that some 15% of the population are of foreign decent, largely Muslim, again to set up the future conflict with the Islamic world.

I am not saying this from a prejudice point of view. We are all used like pawns in this game and I even sympathize with the Muslims to some extent, since they are unfairly getting the short end of the stick in the geopolitical strategies of the elites.

On chem trails, I noticed that after the so called ash cloud incident (which by the way was totally invisible here in northern Sweden, although Iceland is not that far away. In fact the skies was clearer than it has been for ages due to the absence of chem trails when the air traffic was grounded), we had an unusually stable and pleasant spring weather since the chem trail spraying took a few weeks to get going up at full speed. There were many days with clear blue skies all day and strong sunlight.

However, the last few days they have been spraying heavily again and instantly the weather got more unstable with quick changes in temperatures, strong winds and the familiar overcast chem trail mush blanket that seems to be the main effect of the sprays they are using now. One day I watched how they turned the skies from clear blue into a totally grey blanket of mush in about 5-6 hours! Also, with the chem trails, the regular physical symptoms of fatigue, muscle aches and sinus problems have returned.

SOMALI PIRATESA CONVERSATION

Finally, I had a very interesting conversation at work the other day with a young guy who is doing work experience at my workplace. He is from Somaliland in East Africa. I started to ask him a few questions about the situation over there. First we talked about the so-called pirates off the coast, who he said simply were fishermen who had gotten tired of foreign trawlers taking advantage of Somalia's lack of coast guard and totally depleting the fish along the coast, thus leaving the local fishermen destitute and with hungry families.

In addition, there had also been ships doing illegal dumping of toxic waste that had made both fish and people sick. But in Western media, they were just pirates, hellbent on making trouble...a prime example how skewed the media is over here.

Then we got on to 911 and Bin Laden, and to my surprise he was totally aware that it was an inside job and that Bin Laden probably was dead and and had nothing to do with it. He also said that in "Somalia everybody knows this." He was also aware of the influence of bankers, Freemasons, Illuminati on politics and world affairs. How many 20-year-olds here in the West have a clue about any of this? It is embarrassing...

Further, we talked about the mass media, and he said that people in the West are indoctrinated and lived in a bubble of fantasies, while people down in Somalia, due to the hardships they had been through, could not afford to ignore the realities and thus were much more acutely aware of the state of things in the world and who really called the shots.
He mentioned that many Muslims are aware of that the elite wants to destroy all religions and bring in the one world Luciferian worship, they call this the "Dajjal" as far as I can understand. Second, he also mentions that it is not uncommon for Africans to get respiratory problems when they move to Europe and that they feel like they do not get enough air when breathing. It could have something to do with chem trails, maybe chem trails are less common over Africa, after all that continent is so under the boot anyway that the elite might not see it as necessary to spray them into docility.
 
He also mentioned a few interesting facts about Somaliland, which is a breakaway republic consisting of the most Northern part of Somalia. Due to that it is not internationally recognized by UN or other such vile organizations, it can not receive loans and aid from IMF, Worldbank etc.

However, this was a blessing in disguise for them, since they are debt free, also they only have a minimal government, not a bloated and corrupted bureaucracy, since there isn't a big influx of money for it to feed off. He said that they still had managed to rebuild the totally destroyed capital, Hargeisa, since 1991. They used funds from the diaspora and by giving free land to anyone who was willing to build a house on it. Furthermore, they only pay a tax rate of 5 %! And the country still seems to work. It shows that government interference is not needed. Indeed the opposite is true, government is the problem not the solution.

No wonder we never hear about Somaliland on the news! It works too well staying outside the global system. I am not saying that this country is a paradise, but they seem to have gotten a lot more things right than us over here, who are folding under the weight of taxation and bureaucracies.

Cocaine Funds NWO Takeover in S. America


Cocaine Funds NWO Takeover in S. America

May 30, 2010
lula-evo.jpgBolivia a Narco State


BY MARCOS IN SAN PAOLO
(FOR HENRYMAKOW.COM)


The Forum of Sao Paulo has the objective of creating the Bolivarian-Marxist revolution in South America, in the image of Fidel's Cuba and Chavez's Venezuela.  Political parties such as the Worker's Party (PT) of Brazil, the drug-trafficking Marxist guerrillas of FARC and other radical organizations are allied in this plan.

Cocaine is financing this political agenda. Chavez almost went to war against Colombia (the last resistance to Marxism in the continent) in order to support the FARC, a violent guerrilla group that wants to overthrow the democratically elected Columbian government. He allows the FARC to use Venezuela's territory to escape from Colombian army. Unfortunately, the FARC is funded by cocaine they sell to Brazil and re-exported to Europe and the United States via Mexico.

Brazil is also extremely active in the support to the FARC, allowing them free range in the Brazilian territory. This month (May 2010), a FARC base was found in the urban confines of Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon. Apparently, the Federal Police took the FARC trafickers for common drug lords. Some police officers are afraid of the government reaction if they bust the FARC operations.
lulaleaves.jpgNARCO STATE BOLIVIA

This week the situation reached a surrealist tone, when presidential candidate Jose Serra denounced Bolivia for making it easy for cocaine to reach Brazil. Lula and his candidate, Dilma Rousseff (a former Communist terrorist and murderer) attacked Serra in the press and defended Evo Morales, Bolivia's president.

Ironically, the same day, a truck with half a ton of cocaine from Bolivia was intercepted by the police in the state of Mato Grosso. At this moment, Lula was with Morales in Rio wearing coca leaves (left) and joking about the drug trade.


Earlier this month, another truck from Bolivia with 725 kilos (3/4 of a ton) of cocaine hidden under refrigerated meat was intercepted. Let's not forget that Lula is the man who carved a fake deal with Ahmadinejad this month, and has been honored by Illuminati Chatham House and the UN. Lula is a New World Order pawn.
map.jpgTHE COCAINE HIGHWAY

Evo Morales justifies the use of cocaine with the argument of tradition. Bolivian Indians chew coca leaves to fight the effects of altitude. However, they ingest a very tiny amount of the active substance. Only 3% of the cocaine harvest is chewed. 97% is processed as cocaine and is exported. Since Evo took power, the growth of coca has risen by 41% and "exports" to Brazil have increased 200% (source: Veja magazine).

Evo says that colonization has been a genocide, and white civilization is destroying the planet. Only a Communist society can reverse the harm done to the people. This comes from a man who has lost all his indian roots, can't speak the language and is totally acculturated in European civilization. 


Not only the Communists let cocaine flow undisturbed, now they will use money from the tax payers in order to build a road to connect the coca producing regions in Bolivia to the markets in Brazil. While Brazil severely neglects its roads, a government bank (BNDS) will invest US$ 332 million in a road in the middle of nowhere. The road has already been nicknamed the "Transcocaleira" or "Cocaine Highway".
CONCLUSION

How does a political leader betray his basic responsibilities and still get approved by almost 80% of the population? 50,000 Brazilians die violent deaths every year, most of them related to drugs, and still Lula is able to name his successor. 
Dilma Rousseff, a Marxist terrorist, killed a 19 year-old recruit in front of an army station, by throwing a home-made bomb through the window of a car.

The answer is that the mass media controls information. Communist theoretician Antonio Grasmci showed that the infiltration of the press, universities and government agencies is a much more effective strategy than direct armed conflict. It comes to a point where there is no effective, intelligent opposition, apart from the 1% who read the internet alternative media.
consumidores-decrack.jpg(Left, Crack addicts on Brazil streets)

Add to this diversions such as the Soccer World Cup and the Olympics (both events will take place in Brazil) and the distribution of pocket money in form of government dole, and you have a fail proof recipe for success.

When one talks about Communism, people usually think about the Red Guards taking power with guns. That's why it is difficult for the common folk to understand the zig-zag way Communism now works. See the FARC, for example: they want to become a political party. This is the ideal: after killing thousands, after getting extremely rich with drug money, they know they can buy any election and the respect that comes with it. Communists pretend to respect the market, the stock exchange, fooling the capitalists while at the same time  destroying all the basis which guarantee the very life of capitalism, individual freedoms and initiative. They are masters of deception.

The naive Americans who support Chavez should see behind the curtain and realize that you already have a much more sophisticated and good looking Chavez in DC, in the person of Obama. You will get there, it will only take a little more time.

The height of Israeli intransigence


The height of Israeli intransigence

Jonathan Cook
February 09. 2010

JERUSALEM // Jerusalem’s mayor threatened last week to demolish 200 homes in Palestinian neighbourhoods of the city in an act even he conceded would probably bring long-simmering tensions over housing in East Jerusalem to a boil.

His uncompromising stance is the latest stage in a protracted legal battle over a single building towering above the jumble of modest homes of Silwan, a deprived and overcrowded Palestinian community lying just outside the Old City walls, in the shadow of the silver-topped al Aqsa mosque.

Beit Yehonatan, or Jonathan’s House, is distinctive not only for its height – at seven storeys, it is at least three floors taller than its neighbours – but also for the Israeli flag draped from the roof to the street.

The settlement outpost, named for Jonathan Pollard, serving a life sentence in the US for spying on Israel’s behalf in the 1980s, has been home to eight Jewish families since 2004, when it was built without a licence by an extremist settler organisation known as Ateret Cohanim.

Beit Yehonatan is one of dozens of settler-occupied homes springing up in Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem, most of them takeovers of Palestinian homes.

Critics say the intent of these “outposts”, together with the large settlements of East Jerusalem built by the state and home to nearly 200,000 Jews, is to foil any peace agreement that might one day offer the Palestinians a meaningful state with Jerusalem as its capital.

But exceptionally for the settlers, who are used to a mix of overt and covert assistance from officials, the inhabitants of Beit Yehonatan are at risk of being evicted from their home, two years after an “urgent” enforcement order was issued by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Last week Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor, finally agreed “under protest” to seal Beit Yehonatan amid mounting pressure from an array of legal officials. Mr Barkat had been fighting strenuously against implementing the court order, aided by senior members of the parliament, the police, and even Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, who opposed his own attorney general’s advice by declaring Beit Yehonatan’s future “a purely municipal matter”.

But the mayor has not simply capitulated. He warned that Beit Yehonatan would be evacuated only on condition that more than 200 demolition orders on Palestinian homes, most of them in Silwan, were carried out at the same time. He argued that he had to avoid any impression that the law was being enforced in a “discriminatory” manner against Jews.

Jeff Halper, head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said Mr Barkat’s idea of fairness was “ridiculous”.

“In the past 15 years there have been more than a thousand Palestinian homes demolished in East Jerusalem versus absolutely no settler homes,” he said. “In fact, no settlers have ever lost their home in East Jerusalem.”

In making his announcement, Mr Barkat admitted that the 200 demolitions would trigger “a strong possibility for conflict”. Palestinians in East Jerusalem are already seething over decades of planning restrictions that have forced many of them to build or extend homes illegally because it is all but impossible to get permits from the Israeli authorities.

Mr Halper said the municipality had classified 22,000 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem as illegal, even as it also assessed a shortage of 25,000 homes for the city’s 250,000-strong Palestinian population.

The homes targeted for demolition include Palestinian houses around Beit Yehonatan that violate planning restrictions that allow families to build only two floors; despite the restriction, many houses have four storeys and owners pay fines.

In addition, the city council wants to demolish 88 homes in a small area called Bustan that the municipality claims is in danger of flooding.

Zeinab Jaber lives next to Beit Yehonatan in the home she was born in 61 years ago. The building was declared illegal 20 years ago, after it was extended to four storeys to accommodate her growing family. Today she and her six grown-up sons pay monthly fines of more than $1,000 (Dh 3,672) in the hope of warding off destruction.

Her son Amjad, 32, married with two young sons, said he did not dare miss a payment. “It’s simple: if you don’t pay, you’ll end up in prison.”

“What is there for the settlers here?” Mrs Jaber asked. “They are only here because they want to take this place from us. They won’t be happy till we leave.”

On the opposite slope across the valley from Beit Yehonatan, Mohammed Jalajil, 48, said he did not doubt that the municipality would demolish the 200 homes. He, his wife and five children have been crammed into a room in a relative’s apartment since their own house was demolished seven years ago.

Mr Jalajil, 48, said: “It was only months after they took our house from us that I saw the settlers building theirs nearby. My lawyer tells me that, even though my house is gone, I won’t have paid off my fines for another 10 years.”

If Mr Barkat follows through with his threat, the demolitions will prompt a rebuke from the international community. Last month, France and the United States joined the UN in denouncing more than 100 demolitions in East Jerusalem over the past three months.

The mayor’s decision, warned Meir Margalit, a Jerusalem city councillor, was comparable to the “price tag” policy of the settlers in the West Bank, who have attacked Palestinian villages in retaliation against official attempts to dismantle a few of the settlement outposts dotting Palestinian territory.

“But the difference here is that the price tag is being levied not by the settlers themselves but by the municipality and the government on their behalf,” he said.

Yesterday the municipality was due to issue a seven-day evacuation notice to the inhabitants of Beit Yehonatan, but the operation was cancelled at the last minute when police refused to co-operate.

Frictions have been growing in Silwan for several years over the activities of another settler organisation, Elad, which, with official backing, has been building an archaeological park known as the City of David in the midst of the Palestinian neighbourhood. As Palestinians have been pushed out, at least 80 Jewish families have moved into homes nearby.

As Elad entrenches itself in Silwan, Beit Yehonatan has proved more difficult to secure. “Usually the settlers present a façade of legality to what they do,” Mr Halper said. “The problem here is that they built in an overtly illegal manner, without a permit and way over the building height restrictions.”

Mr Barkat’s resistance to evicting Beit Yehonatan’s inhabitants was highlighted last month when he tried to stave off legal pressure by proposing a new planning policy to legalise unlicensed buildings in Silwan. The mayor proposed that the rules limiting homes to two storeys be revised to four.

The reform would have applied to Beit Yehonatan first, sealing its top three storeys but allowing the Jewish families to inhabit the rest of the building.

Although Mr Barkat promised that illegal Palestinian buildings would also be saved, Ir Amim, an Israeli human rights groups, dismissed the mayor’s claim.

The overwhelming majority of Palestinian homes would fail to qualify because land registry documents are missing for the area and a range of requirements on car parking, access roads and sewerage connections are “impossible” to meet, Orly Noy, a spokeswoman, wrote in the Haaretz newspaper last month.

She added that Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem lacked 70km of sewage pipes and that not a single new road had been paved in their neighbourhoods since Israel’s occupation in 1967.

A planning map of East Jerusalem drawn up recently by the Jerusalem municipality came to light last month, as Mr Barkat was promising to legalise buildings, showing that more than 300 homes – most of them in Silwan – were facing imminent demolition.

Israel admits it has an image problem


Israel admits it has an image problem

Jonathan Cook
March 16. 2010

NAZARETH, ISRAEL // A new government campaign to train Israelis in how to use propoganda in order to improve their country’s image when they are abroad has been condemned for advancing a right-wing agenda.

The public relations drive, which includes giving travellers tips on how to champion the country’s illegal settlements, is the government’s latest attempt to shore up support abroad following the harsh criticisms of Israel’s attack on Gaza last year made by the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report, which produced evidence of war crimes.

According to a recent government survey, 91 per cent of Israeli Jews believe foreigners have a strongly negative view of Israel. Nearly as many – 85 per cent – say they would be willing to use holidays or business trips to engage in hasbara, Hebrew for “public advocacy” or “propaganda”.

Critics, however, have accused Yuli Edelstein, who is in charge of the recently created hasbara ministry, of exploiting the campaign to promote not just Israel’s technological and cultural successes but also its hawkish agenda.

The campaign website approved by Mr Edelstein, a member of the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and a settler in the West Bank, has repeatedly denied both that the settlements are an obstacle to peace and that a Palestinian state is desirable, backtracking on commitments made by Mr Netanyahu to the US.

The predominance of such views was highlighted this week when Israel announced plans to build 1,600 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem, creating a diplomatic crisis just as Joe Biden, the US vice-president, was in Israel to shore up support for new peace talks.

Yariv Oppenheimer, the head of Peace Now, Israel’s largest peace group, has written to Mr Netanyahu demanding that he take down the website. “Israel’s positions as presented on this site reflect an extreme right-wing ideology, and are not even in keeping with your own statements … regarding two states for two peoples.”

Others have argued that Israel’s image needs more than good PR. “No amount of hasbara will help if Israel refuses to make peace and uses assassination teams,” said Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom, a peace activist.

Mr Edelstein refers to the millions of potential volunteers as the “Israel Hasbara Forces”, a play on the name of the country’s military, the Israel Defense Forces.

“In light of Israel’s negative image in the world, we realised that Israel had to counter the vast sums of money available to Arab countries for propaganda by taking advantage of our human resources,” Mr Edelstein has said.

The campaign, which includes a series of TV adverts, encourages Israelis to consult a government website for advice on how to win over locals in the countries they visit. Pamphlets are also being handed out at Israel’s international airport.

Training courses will target public figures and community leaders, including politicians, diplomats, businesspeople, tour guides, celebrities, athletes and retired generals.

The TV ads are designed to motivate Israelis to join the PR push by poking fun at the foreign media for misrepresenting Israel. In one, a British reporter assumes the camel is the country’s main means of transport, and in another a Spanish journalist claims barbecues are so popular because Israeli homes have no electricity.

“Fed up with how we’re portrayed abroad?” asks the advert. “You can change the picture.”

But the government’s approach has been lambasted not only by peace groups but also by an editorial in Yedioth Aharonoth, Israel’s biggest-circulation newspaper. It wondered whether the website and pamphlets were promoting the state of Israel or the Netanyahu government’s policies. “A perusal of the site reveals that many of the opinions we are supposed to learn by rote are not part of any consensus,” it said. “In fact, they mainly reflect the right-wing side of the political spectrum.”

Mr Edelstein said hundreds of thousands of Israelis have visited the website since it launched, with some requesting training.

A number of “myths” are listed which Israeli holidaymakers are expected to explode, including that the settlements are holding up the peace process.

Instead the website says of the settlements: “Their creation does not involve uprooting any Arabs. Most of the Arab towns and villages in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] have biblical names, and are testimony to Jewish roots in this area.” Israelis are advised to deny that a place called “Palestine” ever existed, and told to stress that keeping the West Bank is important to stop a military attack. “Many people say hundreds of Arab tanks on [Israel’s] coastal plain will put an end to the entire Jewish state,” notes the website.

The site also says “it is crucial that Israel retains the Golan Heights”, Syrian territory occupied in the Six Day War, adding that its conquest has “renewed Israel’s connection to Jewish heritage and the ancient history of the Jewish nation”.

Apart from a reference to Rana Raslan, the first Arab woman to win Miss Israel, in 1999, a section on the country’s 1.3 million Arab citizens is devoted largely to the “demographic threat” they pose to Israel’s Jewish majority.

In particular, the site celebrates the rapid drop in Arab birth rates over recent years and the accelerating emigration of Palestinians, observing that, whereas 10,000 left in 2004, the figure had risen to 28,000 four years later. “Some 85 per cent of those who emigrated were of reproductive age,” the site notes.

The hasbara ministry has also announced that it is recruiting volunteer internet bloggers to post pro-Israel comments on websites in what it termed “PR warfare”. They are expected to work in tandem with a team of undercover staff created in the foreign ministry last July whose job is to pose as ordinary surfers and post good news about Israel on websites.

Despite Israeli government concerns, a Gallup poll last week showed that 63 per cent of Americans view Israel favourably, the fifth-highest-ranking country and Israel’s best rating in nearly two decades.

Israeli officials, however, are reported to be increasingly concerned that the attack on Gaza has damaged Israel’s popularity in the rest of the world.

A report presented to the Israeli cabinet this month by the Reut Institute, a Tel Aviv think-tank, argued that Israel was facing an unprecedented “global campaign of delegitimisation” that should be treated as a “strategic threat”.

Why There Are No ‘Israelis’ in the Jewish State


Why There Are No ‘Israelis’ in the Jewish State

Citizens Classed as Jewish or Arab Nationals

by Jonathan Cook
Dissident Voice
April 6th, 2010

A group of Jews and Arabs are fighting in the Israeli courts to be recognised as “Israelis”, a nationality currently denied them, in a case that officials fear may threaten the country’s self-declared status as a Jewish state.

Israel refused to recognise an Israeli nationality at the country’s establishment in 1948, making an unusual distinction between “citizenship” and “nationality”. Although all Israelis qualify as “citizens of Israel”, the state is defined as belonging to the “Jewish nation”, meaning not only the 5.6 million Israeli Jews but also more than seven million Jews in the diaspora.

Critics say the special status of Jewish nationality has been a way to undermine the citizenship rights of non-Jews in Israel, especially the fifth of the population who are Arab. Some 30 laws in Israel specifically privilege Jews, including in the areas of immigration rights, naturalisation, access to land and employment.

Arab leaders have also long complained that indications of “Arab” nationality on ID cards make it easy for police and government officials to target Arab citizens for harsher treatment.

The interior ministry has adopted more than 130 possible nationalities for Israeli citizens, most of them defined in religious or ethnic terms, with “Jewish” and “Arab” being the main categories.

The group’s legal case is being heard by the supreme court after a district judge rejected their petition two years ago, backing the state’s position that there is no Israeli nation.

The head of the campaign for Israeli nationality, Uzi Ornan, a retired linguistics professor, said: “It is absurd that Israel, which recognises dozens of different nationalities, refuses to recognise the one nationality it is supposed to represent.”

The government opposes the case, claiming that the campaign’s real goal is to “undermine the state’s infrastructure” — a presumed reference to laws and official institutions that ensure Jewish citizens enjoy a privileged status in Israel.

Mr Ornan, 86, said that denying a common Israeli nationality was the linchpin of state-sanctioned discrimination against the Arab population.

“There are even two laws — the Law of Return for Jews and the Citizenship Law for Arabs — that determine how you belong to the state,” he said. “What kind of democracy divides its citizens into two kinds?”

Yoel Harshefi, a lawyer supporting Mr Ornan, said the interior ministry had resorted to creating national groups with no legal recognition outside Israel, such as “Arab” or “unknown”, to avoid recognising an Israeli nationality.

In official documents most Israelis are classified as “Jewish” or “Arab”, but immigrants whose status as Jews is questioned by the Israeli rabbinate, including more than 300,000 arrivals from the former Soviet Union, are typically registered according to their country of origin.

“Imagine the uproar in Jewish communities in the United States, Britain or France, if the authorities there tried to classify their citizens as “Jewish” or “Christian”,” said Mr Ornan.

The professor, who lives close to Haifa, launched his legal action after the interior ministry refused to change his nationality to “Israeli” in 2000. An online petition declaring “I am an Israeli” has attracted several thousand signatures.

Mr Ornan has been joined in his action by 20 other public figures, including former government minister Shulamit Aloni. Several members have been registered with unusual nationalities such as “Russian”, “Buddhist”, “Georgian” and “Burmese”.

Two Arabs are party to the case, including Adel Kadaan, who courted controversy in the 1990s by waging a lengthy legal action to be allowed to live in one of several hundred communities in Israel open only to Jews.

Uri Avnery, a peace activist and former member of the parliament, said the current nationality system gave Jews living abroad a far greater stake in Israel than its 1.3 million Arab citizens.

“The State of Israel cannot recognise an ‘Israeli’ nation because it is the state of the ‘Jewish’ nation … it belongs to the Jews of Brooklyn, Budapest and Buenos Aires, even though these consider themselves as belonging to the American, Hungarian or Argentine nations.”

International Zionist organisations representing the diaspora, such as the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency, are given in Israeli law a special, quasi-governmental role, especially in relation to immigration and control over large areas of Israeli territory for the settlement of Jews only.

Mr Ornan said the lack of a common nationality violated Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which says the state will “uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of religion, race or sex”.

Indications of nationality on ID cards carried by Israelis made it easy for officials to discriminate against Arab citizens, he added.

The government has countered that the nationality section on ID cards was phased out from 2000 — after the interior ministry, which was run by a religious party at the time, objected to a court order requiring it to identify non-Orthodox Jews as “Jewish” on the cards.

However, Mr Ornan said any official could instantly tell if he was looking at the card of a Jew or Arab because the date of birth on the IDs of Jews was given according to the Hebrew calendar. In addition, the ID of an Arab, unlike a Jew, included the grandfather’s name.

“Flash your ID card and whatever government clerk is sitting across from you immediately knows which ‘clan’ you belong to, and can refer you to those best suited to ‘handle your kind’,” Mr Ornan said.

The distinction between Jewish and Arab nationalities is also shown on interior ministry records used to make important decisions about personal status issues such as marriage, divorce and death, which are dealt with on entirely sectarian terms.

Only Israelis from the same religious group, for example, are allowed to marry inside Israel — otherwise they are forced to wed abroad — and cemeteries are separated according to religious belonging.

Some of those who have joined the campaign complain that it has damaged their business interests. One Druze member, Carmel Wahaba, said he had lost the chance to establish an import-export company in France because officials there refused to accept documents stating his nationality as “Druze” rather than “Israeli”.

The group also said it hoped to expose a verbal sleight of hand that intentionally mistranslates the Hebrew term “Israeli citizenship” on the country’s passports as “Israeli nationality” in English to avoid problems with foreign border officials.

B Michael, a commentator for Yedioth Aharonoth, Israel’s most popular newspaper, has observed: “We are all Israeli nationals — but only abroad.”

The campaign, however, is likely to face an uphill struggle in the courts.

A similar legal suit brought by a Tel Aviv psychologist, George Tamrin, failed in 1970. Shimon Agranat, head of the supreme court at the time, ruled: “There is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish people. … The Jewish people is composed not only of those residing in Israel but also of diaspora Jewries.”

That view was echoed by the district court in 2008 when it heard Mr Ornan’s case.

The judges in the supreme court, which held the first appeal hearing last month, indicated that they too were likely to be unsympathetic. Justice Uzi Fogelman said: “The question is whether or not the court is the right place to solve this problem.”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Solzhenitsyn & The Jews


Brother Nathanael

“DID HITLER WANT WAR?” asks the internationally renowned author and political analyst, Pat Buchanan, in his recent book, “Hitler And The Unnecessary War.”

Buchanan answers his own question with a definitive “No” — proving with documented facts that Hitler tried every possible means to avert war with Great Britain and her allies.
Although many reputable figures applaud Buchanan’s assessment of Hitler’s war policy by subtitling his latest literary effort: “Buchanan’s Necessary Book” - the Jews do not see it that way. The only “necessity” for them is to stuff a Jewish gag into the author’s honorable mouth.
No sooner was Buchanan’s book released in May 2008, than Abraham Foxman, Director of the Anti-Defamation League, slandered the highly touted author by calling him a “racist, a patron of white supremacists, a cesspool extremist, and an unrepentant bigot.” How exultant these Jews become when spewing out their venom against noble Gentiles! View Entire Story Here, Here & Here. When Buchanan introduced the book on his FORMER MSNBC column, he wrote: “America went to war where the fighting would mostly be done by kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, and Leroy Brown.” Immediately, the National Jewish Democratic Council demanded that MSNBC remove the article contending that Buchanan “charged the Jews with starting a war they wouldn’t fight in.”
Did MSNBC stand up to the Jews? Of course not. Jews have TOO MUCH POWER in America for that to happen. Buchanan’s article is gone forever and so is his weekly column. Instead, we are left with a brave new world which revolves around Jewish interests and historical deceit.
Now MSNBC has turned against their former columnist by accusing Buchanan of “rampaging against the Jews” simply because he wrote, (on his own Website), that the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court brings a “disproportionate 33% of Jews” to the nation’s highest judicial bench.
And the Jewish Democratic Council continues to harass Pat Buchanan, now DEMANDING, (Jews don’t ask - they DEMAND), that the large newspaper syndicate, Creators.com, “pull down” his latest column on Kagan and “stop his conspiratorial screeds.” View Jew Demand Here.
Is Buchanan right or wrong about Kagan? Is he right or wrong about Hitler? Facts are facts. But Jews fear documented evidence that exposes their lust for power and control.

FORBIDDEN HISTORY

IN HIS FIRST MAJOR WORK after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Alexander Solzhenitsyn published his final masterwork, “Two Hundred Years Together.”
Solzhenitsyn’s subject is the history of Jews in Russia with an emphasis on Jewry’s role in the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet purges. Exposing Bolshevik Jewish leaders as perpetrators of the mass murders of over 60 million Russian Christians and the complicity of the Jewish community, Solzhenitsyn broke the last taboo on the history of Russia’s most painful period.
Was Solzhenitsyn’s book translated into English like the rest of his books? No. The Jews who own and control the major publishing houses of the West fear its contents.
The inaugural review by the Moscow Times of Two Hundred Years Together put forth a warning to Solzhenitsyn: “Your book will be controversial, perhaps even censured by the Western world. Your final years will be looked upon as a troubled prophetic mission.”
That “mission” encountered its initial “trouble” when the Jewish-owned publishing houses of the West, rather than acknowledging the historical realities presented by the author, failed to come to terms with the deeper moral concerns that informed Solzhenitsyn’s analysis of Jewish and Russian relations during the Soviet period.
Although Solzhenitsyn carefully chronicles the deeds and misdeeds of Jews and Russians alike and pleads for mutual repentance on the part of both, instead, the Jewish censors approached the book in the spirit of a malicious prosecutor presenting to a jury “hidden motives” of “Jew-baiting” and “anti-Semitism.” Thus the book remains only in its Russian version with no English translation in sight. View Entire Story Here, Here & Here.
Who wins and who loses? The Jews win by forbidding the Western world a huge segment of very important history. Who loses? Those whose search for truth in historical events is stymied by the imposers of a false version of the past in a brave new Jewish world.


RULED BY JEWISH PROPAGANDA

“TODAY AMERICA IS RULED BY PROPAGANDA,” wrote Paul Craig Roberts, economist, author, and former Assistant Treasury Secretary, in his “Goodbye” article, “Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It.”
Expanding on his thesis, Roberts continued, “Americans have little access to the truth and little ability to recognize it. Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded an anti-Semite or a conspiracy theorist.”
Developing his argument, Roberts allows his readers a look into his private life and the opposition he encountered from the mainstream press:
“I was associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I was Business Week’s first outside columnist, a position I held for 15 years.
I was columnist for a decade for Scripps Howard News Service, carried in 300 newspapers. I was a contributor to the New York Times and a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times. But for the last six years I have been banned from the mainstream media.
My last column in the New York Times appeared in January, 2004 where I addressed the off shoring of US jobs. The article produced live coverage by C-Span and a debate was launched. No such thing could happen today.” View Entire Story Here.
Roberts closes his piece by announcing that he is “signing off” due to the relentless censorship of the media masters who determine whose pen will be published and whose will be extinguished.
As the saying goes, “The inquisitor’s prohibited list is an unerring guide for discovering the truth.”
For in a brave new world, the Jewish censors have nothing to fear but the people themselves. First they disarm us. Then they silence us. But the people — (as history, which cannot lie, teaches us) — rise up and cast out the offenders. It’s bound to happen in America too. AND, it may happen soon…

IMPORTANT-Gnosticism from a Non-Voegelinian Perspective, Part I

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Published on The Brussels Journal (http://www.brusselsjournal.com)

Gnosticism from a Non-Voegelinian Perspective, Part I

Created 2010-05-27 23:44
The trend of politics in the Western nations since Eric Voegelin’s death in 1986 has made his work increasingly relevant to any philosophically rigorous conservatism or traditionalism. In particular, Voegelin’s argument that liberalism and its Leftwing metastases constitute an evangelical religious movement, mimicking and distorting Christianity, has gained currency. The pronounced irrational character of the “Global Warming” cult and the obvious messianism of Barack Hussein Obama’s presidency have together sharpened the perception that contemporary Leftwing politics shares with history’s specimen-type doctrinally intransigent sects an absolute intolerance for dissent, even for discussion, along with a conviction of perfect certainty in all things. The sudden experience of Leftwing triumph attests that, indeed, utopian radicalism draws its strength from a deep well of resentment that puts it in conflict, not merely with those whom it regards as heterodox, but also with the inalterable structure of reality. Voegelin argued – in The New Science of Politics (1952), Science Politics & Gnosticism (1965), and throughout Order and History (1957-65) – that the rebellion against reality was a recurrent affliction of civilized life; he pointed to the acute anticosmic sects of Late Antiquity as offering a paradigm of the phenomenon and expanded the scholarly designation of them as “Gnosticism” to cover insurgent ideological doctrines of the modern period, particularly Marxism and National Socialism.
Thus Lawrence Auster, creator and supervisor of the View from the Right website, explicitly links his understanding of the Left and his idea of his own conservatism to Voegelin’s argument that modernity is essentially Gnostic. A somewhat less focused acknowledgment that the Left is cultic in its behavior has surfaced now and then at The American Thinker and the name Voegelin has occurred in that venue. Again, nationally syndicated columnist and radio-host Dennis Prager, while not citing Voegelin, has nevertheless in a recent essay declared explicitly that Left-Liberalism is a religion and can be understand in no other way. In my own contributions to The Brussels Journal and in various print articles (for example, in a recent Modern Age essay on V. S. Naipaul) I have frequently invoked Voegelin, often quoting his pithy sentences, as a rich and clairvoyant explicator of our straitened times. Are we certain, however, that Voegelin’s disapprobation of Gnosticism is valid? And might Voegelin’s insistent parallelisms of the ancient and the modern be a result of an idiosyncratic view?
The topical literature is fortunately large. It reaches back to the Late Antique primary texts of Gnosticism – such as the Valentinian Gospel of Truth (ca. 150) – and the accompanying critical and anti-heretical discourses of the philosophers and the Church Fathers; and it embraces a rich scholarly investigation beginning in the early Nineteenth Century, continuing to the present. What do the ancient sources tell us about Gnosticism? And what does the scholarship of Voegelin’s Nineteenth-Century precursors, his contemporaries, and his successors tell us about it?

I. Let us begin with two writers from the period of Roman Imperial decline, a phase of Mediterranean history that one might justly describe as a factory – working on double-shift – of apocalyptic ideas and eclectic religious innovations. Both Plotinus (204-270) and Augustine (354-430), the former an adherent of the Platonic School of philosophy and the latter a Platonizing Christian who had belonged for ten years to the most organized of the Gnostic sects, commented extensively on the Gnostics. Plotinus’ treatise, Against the Gnostics, bears appositely on its object in that Gnostic writers like Valentinus (100-160) ransacked elements of the original Platonism in building their syncretic systems, while at the same time attacking basic tenets of the original, positive Platonism; it is likely that Plotinus had the Valentinians particularly in mind in making his discussion. The zenith of Valentinian Gnosticism, considered as an active movement, indeed coincides with Plotinus’ activity as a teacher in Rome. Augustine, a driven religious seeker, sojourned among the Manichaeans as an auditor during the decade from 374 to 384; but he later rejected Manichaeism on the basis of Platonic argument and eventually, Platonic logic being his way station, he converted to Roman Catholicism.
The texts of Plotinus and Augustine tell us that Gnosticism remained peculiarly and tenaciously implicated in the fabric of Late Antique society, against whose existing institutions and convictions the devotees of Gnosis(“Secret Knowledge”) nevertheless pitted themselves in an often fanatically gainsaying manner; and this was the case whatever forms their organization took or whatever the specific tenets of their sect. There is something noticeably parasitic about Gnosticism, which plagiarizes from what it condemns. Plotinus and Augustine also interest us as sources for Gnosticism because Plotinus, for his part, harbored intense suspicion about Christianity, in respect of which, like his contemporary Celsus, he reserved no friendliness or comity; therefore when the Plotinian judgment of Gnosticism parallels the Augustinian, after the Saint’s conversion, the similarity indicates an objective, a true, or let us say, at least, a plausible assessment of the thing at issue.
Remarkably, Plotinus associates Gnosticism with economic resentment, attributing to the sectarians the disposition that, “Wealth and poverty, and all the inequalities of that order are made ground of complaint.” Plotinus notes by way of sane counterargument that, “This is to ignore that the Sage demands no equality in such matters,” because “he cannot think that to own many things is to be richer or that the powerful have the better of the simple.” (Mackenna’s translation, as throughout) The Gnostics, in Plotinus’ description, ascribe to certain kinds of difference an evil character, interpreting those differences as signs that the maker of this world must have created it through an intention evil in itself, hence also supremely reprehensible and a fit object of rebellion. In condemning Creation, the Gnostics likewise condemn the Creator. Plotinus therefore refers to the Gnostics as “those… that censure the constitution of the Cosmos” and who “do not understand what they are doing or where this audacity leads them.”
Logically, seeing that they belong to the universe, if the Gnostics judged the universe wicked, the judgment would implicate them. But Gnostic thinking evades logic. The Gnostic sees in himself a radical self-legitimizing exception, a rare instance of positive difference tantamount to election.
Plotinus, like his revered Plato, understood the natural order as hierarchical. The cosmos for Plotinus is thus intelligible because it corresponds to an intelligent design, implying in turn an intelligent – hence also a morally benevolent – designer. Plotinus emphatically equates the intelligent, that is to say the articulate and self-consistent, with the good, and he insists on the unity of existence. In the Plotinian formula: “The Good, the Principle, is simplex, and, correspondingly, primal”; and “it is an integral Unity.” The cosmos being one and whole, it cannot be in a state of war with itself, or in a state of deficiency; and likewise the divine principle being one and whole, it cannot be in a state of war with itself, or in a state of deficiency. Nor can the cosmos, because it derives from the divine principle, be in a state of war with the divine principle. Once again in the formula: “When we speak of the One and when we speak of the Good we must recognize an identical nature.”
In making these assertions, Plotinus remains in consistency with the fundamental law of logic and ontology: Namely that a thing cannot simultaneously both be and not be; and that a thing cannot simultaneously both bewhat it is and not be what it is.
Plotinus judges Gnostic discourse to be willfully pleonastic in its procedures – it multiplies principles unnecessarily so as to circumvent identity – and thus also to be an insuperable logical scandal. Yet Plotinus objects to Gnosticism just as much on esthetic grounds as on purely logical ones, the Gnostic systems appearing to him as grossly inelegant precisely because of their constant recourse to “superfluous distinctions.” These latter, the “superfluous distinctions,” belong to Gnostic censure of the cosmos in that they express the sectarian’s “grudge of any share with one’s fellows,” even where it concerns normative agreement about objective matters. It follows that the Gnostic is relentless in his “pursuit of advantage” over those who fault his premises or point out flaws in his reasoning. In this last observation Plotinus ascribes to Gnosticism the antinomian characterremarked by all commentary subsequent to his own.
The illuminatus, in Plotinus’ words, “Carps at Providence and the Lord of Providence.” So too the illuminatus “scorns every law known to us,” while of “immemorial virtue and all restraint” he “makes… a laughing stock, lest any loveliness be seen on earth.” The doctrine of the illuminatus, making use of sarcasm and denunciation, “cuts at the root of all orderly living.” As Plotinus says of the illuminati, “They know nothing good here,” for to acknowledge goodness would be to disavow total moral superiority.
Plotinus notices that the Gnostics avoid giving definitions or explanations. Thus while the Gnostics claim moral superiority to other people, they disdain any discussion of virtue: “We are not told [by the illuminati] what virtue is or under what different kinds it appears; there is no word of all the numerous and noble reflections upon it that have come down to us from the ancients.” If anyone were to inquire directly of the Gnostics about these matters, the Gnostics would reply with their cryptic, “Look to God.” The Gnostic exclusion of the literary archive is particularly striking. In addition to being antinomian and anticosmic in their disposition, the Gnostics, as Plotinus describes them, are also anti-historical. The phrase, “Look to God,” irritates Plotinus because God, in his understanding, is rational and provides definitions and explanations, at least by indirection through his works. Plato’s dialogues are famous for Socrates’ insistence on defining terms precisely.

II. When Gnostics say, “Look to God,” they are invoking the knowledge-without-experience, the special knowledge, that the word Gnosis denotes. Such proprietary knowledge they specifically refuse to share with outsiders because possession of it – or the claim to possess it, for that is all that the outsider has – is what differentiates the illuminati from the vulgate. Thus by virtue (so to speak) of their special knowledge, the Gnostics consider themselves elect. They are an extreme in-group phenomenon. Under this conviction, they “proceed to assert that Providence cares for them alone.” When the Hidden God abolishes the corrupt world, only those whose being has been transfigured by secret knowledge will remain, and they, too, shall be as gods. Compared to those in whom the secret knowledge does not reside, and who are therefore not transfigured, the illuminatiare already gods. They may thus mock and revile their ontological inferiors.
We have remarked that Plotinus discerns in the Gnostic disposition several types of resentment: Envy of standing and wealth in the social order, with a concomitant and hypocritical advantage seeking; jealously against the structure of existence, and disdain for the past and for its inheritance in the present. Correlated with “despising the world and all that is in it,” as Plotinus remarks, is the Gnostic orientation to a post-apocalyptic future in whose realization all attitudes contrary to the Gnostic attitude shall be humiliated and banished while the Gnostic antipathy to tradition will be justified in a triumph. Plotinus writes of the Gnostics that, “All they care for is something else [than the structure of existence in the present] to which they will at some future time apply themselves.”
It might surprise modern readers that Plotinus, a mystic of the Neo-Platonic school, should defend the goodness of the material world, but this surprise would stem from an unfortunate modern misconception about Plato and Platonism. For Plato, as for Plotinus, existence has distinguishable aspects – the sensible and the intelligible – but these aspects belong to a unitary whole. Platonism is not dualism, nor is it world-rejection, despite what Friedrich Nietzsche claims in The Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ.
Addressing the Gnostic loathing for physical reality, Plotinus poses rhetorically, “Who that truly perceives the harmony of the Intellectual Realm [the Ideas] could fail, if he has any bent towards music, to answer to the harmony in sensible sounds?” Likewise, Plotinus asks, “What geometrician or arithmetician could fail to take pleasure in the symmetries, correspondences, and principles of order observed in visible things?” Plotinus claims that the Gnostics harbor hatred even for the cosmetic beauty of comely individuals: “Now if the sight of beauty excellently reproduced upon a face hurries the mind to that other Sphere [the Intellectual Realm], surely no one seeing the loveliness lavish in the world of sense – this vast orderliness, the Form which the stars even in their remoteness display – no one could be so dull-witted, so immovable, as not to be carried by all this recollection, and gripped by reverent awe in the thought of all this, so great, sprung from that greatness.” Reviling beauty, which Plotinus ascribes to the Gnostics, would be consistent with their attitude of “censure.”
One remarks the elevation of the commonplace implicit in Plotinus’ words – even the ordinary participates in the cosmic order and therefore justifies the contemplation of it. A certain intellectual democracy is also implicit in the same words, for according to the gist of them non-philosophers, when they respond to cosmetic beauty or the sublimity of nature, respond indeed to the same supernal order as that studied in a more sophisticated way by the philosopher. The ground of philosophy consists in the average person’s openness to reality, his vulnerability to beauty: “The very experience out of which Love arises.” In spurning that experience, and that openness, the illuminati exhibit, as Plotinus puts it, “the perverse pride of despising what was once admired.”
According to Plotinus, Gnostics argue that, “They see no difference between beautiful and ugly forms of body.” It should strike no one, therefore, as unexpected that Gnostics also, in Plotinus’ words, “make no distinction between the ugly and the beautiful in conduct.” This remark communicates with the other, earlier remark in Plotinus’ treatise on Gnostic evasiveness about virtue. To deny beauty in one aspect of existence, the corporeal, is, in principle, to deny it in all other aspects of existence, as for instance in the moral aspect. To equivocate about quality and degree is, moreover, to attack the connection between hierarchy and order, while at the same time establishing a new, crude hierarchy. In this reactionary conception of hierarchy, one difference alone is paramount: The election of the minority elites, guaranteed by their special knowledge, over against the damnation of the majority-preterit. Plotinus need not be referring to the bearing of individuals, but merely to the doctrine in and of itself, when he invokes the word “arrogant” as a label appropriate to Gnosticism.
Although Plotinus never directly remarks the aggressiveness of the illuminati, the existence of his treatise implies it. Plotinus ran a type of school or college, in whose precincts he lectured on the Platonic philosophy. In the Third Century, Platonism functioned in many ways like a religion or as a coherent ethical system, as did also Stoicism and (increasingly) Christianity. In Against the Gnostics, Plotinus is apparently responding formally to disputatious Gnostic infiltration of his lectures, with disruptive objections and derailing pseudo-inquiries during the question-and-answer.
We can understand such aggression as belonging to the inherent intolerance of Gnostic believers for any belief other than their own, an intolerance made worse by the lack of originality in Gnostic doctrine, which appropriates elements of established doctrine and crudely reverses them. By obliterating the model, the sectarian may better advertise his derivative as original.
Plotinus employs an elaborate metaphor to sum up the hypocrisy, as he sees it, of Gnostic anticosmic complaint. It is as though, he writes, “two people inhabit one stately house,” the house, of course, being the cosmos itself. One of these inhabitants, grumbling about the house, “declaims against its plan and against its Architect, but none the less retains his residence in it.” In doing so, “the malcontent imagines himself to be wiser” than his co-dweller; and he thinks of his inability “to bear with necessity” as a higher wisdom. Plotinus’ word, “necessity,” means the structure of existence, as it is given. The grumbler execrates “the soulless stone and timber” out of which the house is constructed. As for the co-dweller, he “makes no complaint,” but rather he “asserts the competency of the Architect.” Plotinus attributes to the disgruntled inhabitant a type of dissimulated envy, “a secret admiration for the beauty of those same ‘stones,’” whose supposed soullessness and degraded materiality he so volubly and inveterately deplores.

III. To move from Plotinus to Augustine entails the elision of complex chapters in the history of Mediterranean civilization. Repeated crises of civil war and cataclysms of the economy led to Diocletian’s drastic reform of the Empire. Diocletian (reigned 284-305) divided the Empire into a Latin western half and a Greek eastern half – which included Syria, Egypt, and Anatolia – each of which was ruled by its own “Augustus” or emperor. Diocletian greatly expanded the administrative bureaucracy and attempted a universal price-freeze to combat inflation of the currency. When new civil wars destroyed the viability of Diocletian’s arrangement, governance of the whole empire shifted to the East, a process accelerated when Constantine the Great (like Diocletian of Balkan origin) made himself sole emperor in 324. During this same politically turbulent period the movements of the German tribes began in earnest, requiring constant military operations along the Rhine and Danube and in Gaul.
During the lifetime of Plotinus, the public religiosity of the Roman upper classes West and East took the form of syncretism, as typified by the eclectic piety of the emperor Alexander Severus (reigned 222-235). Alexander maintained a private chapel in which he displayed – quoting from John Ferguson’s Religions of the Roman Empire (1970) – “a series of statues which included the defied emperors, revered spirits like Apollonius of Tyana, Christ, Abraham, Orpheus and all the others of that character.” According to Ferguson, Alexander “wanted to build a temple to Christ and enthrone him among the other gods.”
If syncretism, which Alexander’s chapel so paradigmatically bodied forth, were a seeming mélange, then the same syncretism in its generous plurality, its willingness to see divinity in all its many and differing guises, would also point to increasingly thematic monotheism, the other great trait of Late Antique religiosity. It is not so much a paradox as it appears to be. Even before the Christianizing reign of Constantine, who became on his deathbed the first (putatively) Christian Emperor, the Imperial Cult showed signs of constituting itself a type of pagan monotheism, with the one god being emblematized as a solar divinity, Sol Invictus. Personal religion meanwhile began to focus on the ideas of spiritual redemption and establishing a direct, I-Thou relation to the deity. The proliferating “Mystery Cults” and the singular salvation-cult of Christianity give main expression to this religious development during the period.
Augustine of Hippo, otherwise Saint Augustine, born in the North African city of Thagaste, came to maturity in an age of religious innovation amidst the dissolution of many old forms of spirituality and against the background of political and social turmoil in the West. Augustine would die, a victim of plague, during the Vandal siege of Hippo, North Africa, where he was Bishop, in 430. Augustine appears in his self-account, theConfessions, as a wastrel who gradually grew aware of his own degraded status and began to seek the redemption of his soul. He ignored the influence of his Catholic mother, the saintly Monica, and at first, in his early twenties, attached himself as a lay follower to the then dominant form of Gnostic dualism, the synthetic religion known as Manichaeism, after its Iranian founder Mani (216-276).
Manichaeism appealed to Augustine – as Valentinian Gnosis had appealed to intellectuals of the previous century – in part because of its doctrinal complexity. Baroque pseudo-veracity, offering itself as a system to be mastered, exercises attraction of the type on person who wants, as Augustine says of himself, “to be thought elegant and urbane.” Augustine remarks that his reading of Cicero’s Hortensius had awakened in him an interest in philosophical systems. Philosophy, Augustine reminds his readers, means the love of wisdom. Nevertheless many intellectually unformed people, in hoping to be taken for philosophers, mistake doctrine for wisdom. There are gurus (so to speak) who “seduce through philosophy… using it to color and adorn their own errors.” Such were the teachings of Mani to the young and ambitious student of rhetoric and law in Carthage. The Bible, known to Augustine through the influence of Monica, appeared to him at the time, in contrast to philosophical discourse, to be deficient in style, a mere “sort of aid to the growth of little ones.”
Yet oddly the names of Jesus Christ and the Paraclete figured prominently in the treatises of the Manichaeans, who promised to reveal the secret meanings of such figures to initiates. The Manichaeans claimed uniquely to possess “Truth, Truth,” as Augustine writes, “and were forever speaking the word to me.” Even more than did Valentinian Gnosis, Manichaeism borrowed profligately from already-existing systems – from Judaism and Christianity, to be sure, but also from Platonism, Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Buddhism, the various Mystery religions, and the old Babylonian theology. Mani, like Mohammed a few centuries later, claimed status as final prophet whose visions put all previous revelations in their proper, purely subordinate place. “Glowing fantasies,” “the fantasies of the Manichaeans,” and “tedious fables”: Augustine uses these terms in The Confessions to classify the contents of the “numerous and vast books” that constituted Manichaean scripture.
Plotinus discerned in the Valentinian Gnostics and their writings the traits of an anticosmic attitude as well as of an obsessive antinomianism; he also grasped that Gnosticism was unoriginal, borrowing from established schools while simultaneously denouncing the sources from which it borrowed. Augustine makes similar observations, using a rhetorical structure resembling Plotinus’ parable of the house with two dwellers. Augustine notes that the Manichaeans constantly addressed the Old Testament, not in admiration, but for the sake of condemning the Patriarchs. If a Patriarch had many wives, then the Manichaeans (who abhor procreation) would revile him; if another Patriarch were at first willing to offer human sacrifice, then the Manichaeans would revile him, even though he relented, as God commanded, and afterwards foreswore the practice. For the Manichaeans any goodness save their own is intolerable. Only the revelation of the final prophet can constitute a precedent.
Augustine writes: “It is as if a man in an armory, not knowing what piece goes on what part of the body, should put a grieve on his head and a helmet on his shin and complain because they did not fit. Or again, as if, in a house, he sees a servant handle something that the butler is not permitted to touch, or when something is done behind the stable that would be prohibited in a dining room, and then a person should be indignant that in one house and one family the same things are not allowed to every member of the household.”

IV. Augustine’s plausible representations of the Manichaeans in The Confessions indicate of those sectarians the same hatred of inherited custom and established social hierarchy that Plotinus attributed to his Gnostics, the Valentinians. The devotees of Valentinus regarded the material world as intrinsically and inalterably corrupt. They fervently desired that world’s abolition, after which the pure of heart would be reunited in a kingdom of supernal light known as the Pleroma, or “Fullness.” Augustine would like to see the world improved, but he knows that human behavior is stubborn and that it takes historical ages for a new moral order to take hold. Before he heard differently from God, for example, Abraham would have understood the offering of a child in sacrifice as ordinary religious practice, which it was in the Bronze Age almost everywhere. The Manichaeans, by contrast, exhibit hysteric impatience both with secular recalcitrance and with the crooked timber of humanity. There is one dispensation, theirs, and not holding to it can be charged against an individual even though he had the misfortune to live before the dispensation could be published. The Manichaeans agitated for apocalypse now, the fundamental transformation of a way of life, to coin a phrase.
In addition to describing Manichaean resentment against moral models from the pre-Manichaean past and Manichaean irritation over the refusal of existence to transform itself, immediatement, according to the sectarian program, Augustine also describes the emphatically hierarchical structure of the Manichaean church, with its laity, its lower elite, and its higher elite. Hierarchy is evil when it is someone else’s hierarchy, but good when it is one’s own. To the Manichaean laity, to the auditores among whom Augustine belonged, indeed fell the obligation to support the lower elite and the higher elite of perfecti or “saints.” The practice required the auditores,for example, to feed the lower and higher elites. Now belonging to the Manichaean anticosmic attitude were the tenets that this world is unsalvageable in its wickedness and that all human activity (not only procreation) is evil. Thus Manichaeism condemned the simple act of harvesting wheat or gathering fruit as intolerable violence. Yet the perfecti must eat. How then should they acquire their meals?
As he embraced further the Manichaean view of existence, making their eccentric custom his own, Augustine, as he writes, “was led on to such follies as to believe that a fig tree wept when it was plucked and that the sap of the mother tree was tears.” Augustine continues: “Notwithstanding this, if a fig was plucked, not by his own but by another man’s wickedness, some Manichaean saint might eat it, digest it in his stomach, and breath it out again in the form of angels. Indeed, in his prayers, he would assuredly groan and sigh forth particles of God, although these particles of the most high and true God would have remained bound in that fig unless they had been set free by the teeth and belly of some elect saint.”
Augustine famously argued a point that would become Catholic dogma, namely that evil is not a substance. Augustine formulated this principle in consequence of his sojourn as a Manichaean auditor, for according to Manichaeism matter as such is inherently and inalterably evil. This thesis, that evil is not a substance, stems from the Platonic (also the Biblical) conviction that existence, the creation of a divine Creator, is good. Since matter belongs to creation, matter is likewise good; and the body, material in its basis, is also good. For the Manichaeans, in common with other Gnostics, the material world is the false creation of an inferior usurper-god who sabotaged the perfect immaterial creation of the actual unseen God. When the sabotage occurred, some “particles” of light from the disrupted immaterial world became imprisoned in the false, material world.
Thus during his Manichaean phase Augustine thought of the God-man relation in this way: “I still supposed that thou, O Lord God, the Truth, wert a bright and vast body and that I was a particle of that body.” It was surprisingly through the study physics and astronomy that Augustine came to reject the Manichaean theory of matter: Science explained the character of the physical world better than theosophy did; science also proclaimed a beautiful order in the material realm, which one sensible of beauty could not but admire. On this basis, by a long chain of intermediate syllogisms, Augustine could at last reconcile himself with existence and repudiate the anticosmic attitude: As “whatsoever is, is good,” it follows that “evil, then, the origin of which I had been seeking, has no substance at all; for if it were a substance, it would be good.”
Augustine’s skepticism concerning Manichaean doctrine began to develop halfway through his decade as an auditor. The break with the Manichaeans came when a renowned Manichaean perfect named Faustus made a visit to Carthage. Other auditores promised Augustine that Faustus would be able to put to rest the many questions that he had stored up over the years with respect to doctrine. We recall that Plotinus criticized the Gnostics for their evasiveness in response to specific questions about their creed, refusing to give explanations or definitions. What Augustine says about Faustus gains interest in connection with what Plotinus remarks. At first, Augustine took some pleasure in the eloquence of the speaker: “Yet it was a source of annoyance to me that, in his lecture room, I was not allowed to introduce and raise any of those questions that troubled me, in a familiar exchange of discussion with him.”
Augustine exposes the fraudulence of the lecturer in a charitable way, stating that personally he liked Faustus who “had a heart.” Faustus was not, after all, “ignorant of his own ignorance.” Faustus “modestly did not dare to undertake the task,” of answering Augustine’s questions, “for he was aware that he had no knowledge of these things and was not ashamed to confess it.” Augustine writes, “The zeal with which I had plunged into the Manichaean system was checked.”
The accounts of Gnosticism – in its Valentinian and Manichaean varieties – as given more than a century apart by Plotinus and Augustine show numerous similarities and are generally convergent. In both accounts, the Gnostics appear as radically alienated from existence, a mood or tone that expresses itself in anticosmic dogmas and revilement of norms. Both accounts represent the Gnostics as constituting an aggressive cultic in-group that defines itself through relentless denunciation of received custom and traditional belief. Both accounts mention the reluctance of the convicted to allow questions, even while the same illuminati demand that adherents of settled custom and traditional belief justify their positions. Both representations also call attention to the attitude of haughty superiority of the illuminati with respect to the out-group. In a subsequent essay I will examine the extent to which the Gnostic documents, themselves, confirm these characterizations.