Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Amerika-Not Enuf Orgone Energy

Sex Expert Susie Bright Lets It All Out
By RU Sirius (from 10 Zen Moneyes --
February 22nd, 2007

The New York Times called Susie Bright “the avatar of American Erotica.” She was

co-founder and editor of the first Women’s sex magazine, On Our Backs:

Entertainment for the Adventurous Lesbian, from 1984-1991. Since then, she’s

written and edited about a zillion books, and taught many courses on sexuality.

Currently, she posts regularly on her own blog. Her audio show, In Bed With

Susie Bright, is distributed by She was a sex-scene choreographer

and consultant for the Wachowski Brothers’ first film, Bound, in which she also

had a cameo role.

Susie appeared on two consecutive episodes of The RU Sirius Show, primarily to

discuss the anthology, The Best American Erotica 2007, which includes stories by

Dennis Cooper and the late Octavia Butler, among many others. (She’s been

editing the Erotica series since 1993.) We did, of course, digress quite a bit

from the main topic.

As with the audio interview, we are running these text edits in two segments, so

stay tuned right here for the second half in about a week.

RU Sirius Show co-host Diana Brown joined me in interviewing Susie Bright about

her “Ted Haggard Betting Pool,” teen sex, and other illicit thoughts.

RU SIRIUS: The introduction to The Best American Erotica 2007 is quite an

intense little piece. Would you please read a segment from it?

SUSIE BRIGHT: Sure. I called it “The Lolita Backlash.” Every year, the stories

in the book tend to magnetize to a certain theme. And this year, it had to do

with a rather vicious generation gap.

When was the moment when our youth become self-aware of their charms, as

well as its desperation? It seems younger now, although that could just be my

mother talking. But look at our 21st century culture. Every teenager knows the

time to launch a career as a porn star is in the weeks following high school

graduation. Celebrity journalism shows us that Hercules and Aphrodite will both

be toppled in their early 20s without massive intervention. It’s no wonder the

commodification of good looks and muscles has wrought an erotic backlash.

Virginity. Authenticity. The natural pearl. This is what is idealized today,

as well as commercialized beyond all recognition. Fake sex—titillation— is for

sale; real sex is elusive and underground.

Take this state of affairs, and couple it with a pox of unprecedented

meddling in people’s personal lives by the religious right, and we have a toxic

brew. Privacy, freedom, and nature are gasping for breath. Hypocrites alone have

something to crow about.

In my fifteen years of editing BAE, I have never seen such a yowling,

lustful, spitting breach between young and old.

Of course, such observations are taboo. Lower your voice! Young people

aren’t supposed to have a sexual bone in their bodies, right? And their elders,

if they are immune to beauty, and make all the rules, should be able to keep it

in their pants. What a squawk.

There is so much guilt and fear about the obvious— that young people do have

hormones, and old people aren’t altogether blind—that helpful discussion in the

public sphere has shriveled. It is left to fiction for the truth to come out.

The truth looks like this: any conflict has the potential to become erotic.

That might get complicated, tragic, or unpredictable. Eros is kissing cousins

with aggravation. The conscience of our society drives us to protect our young,

to provide for them, to cheer and cherish their independence. But we wouldn’t

need any conscience if it wasn’t a challenge, if it didn’t demand sacrifice. The

temptations include neglect, exploitation, coercion, and dependence.

RU: So the introduction to your book – and much of the fiction in the book —

broaches the highly taboo subject of adolescent sex; and adolescent sex as it

relates to adults. We had Tim Cavanaugh on the show — he was the editor of

Reason magazine’s blog at the time. I asked him if they’d ever dealt with the

age of consent. And he admitted they hadn’t. It was clear that this is kind of

the third rail for some libertarians. Do you worry about Fox News noticing your

book? I think this is probably a bigger taboo than murder in America now.

SB: How interesting. When I was in my twenties, I was invited on the Phil

Donahue Show. He was sort of Oprah before Oprah.

So I was brought in with a bisexual male friend of mine to represent

bisexuality. We were told we’d talk about what we noticed sexually about the

differences between sleeping with men and sleeping with women. And they made it

sound like it was not pejorative or prejudiced or trying to start a fire — just,

you know, “What do you notice?” And we thought that would be a lot of fun. So we

got picked up in one of those big limos and taken to the studio. And inside the

limo was this very pink, perspiring couple from Florida. And I said, “You’re

going to be on the show too?” And they said, “Yes. We’re from Exodus.” Now

Exodus, at the time, was the premier gay conversion group. So it was one of

those “gotcha” shows.

RU: (Mockingly) Woo-hoo! Gay conversion — it’s coming back!

SB: It’s coming back stronger than ever. They’ve got it down to three weeks now

— a three week spa.

DIANA BROWN: Does it come with a French manicure?

SB: So on Donahue’s show, he basically tried to get the bible couple to freak

out on us – about how we’re heathens — and vice versa. It was so humiliating. We

didn’t talk about anything that I had planned to talk about. And at one point, I

just opened my big mouth and said, “I came of age in the seventies, and I lost

my virginity shortly before my 16th birthday with an unemployed soap opera


DB: Like you were supposed to in America in the seventies!

SB: Yes! It’s a banal story. Exactly. Everybody did that.

RU: …Since the seventies.

DB: I think it’s in the handbook!

SB: So, all of the sudden Phil turns. He’s thrilled. And he says, “So you were a

victim of child abuse!”

DB: Did he cut to a commercial at that moment?

SB: I just thought, “You son of a bitch.” What a gratuitous dig. And, you know,

neither I nor anybody in my family feels any regrets or fears. It’s not like,

“Gee, Susie was in an awful lot of trouble or panic or danger.” I wasn’t.

Of course, this is a tricky subject and there has to be sensitivity to the

psychological and physical development of young people. And some people are such

old souls so young. And other people are just crawling out of their egg at age

twenty-five. You also have quite a noticeable difference in terms of adolescent

girls and boys. I see my daughter and her friends, and some kind of look ten and

some kind of look twenty-something – and they’re all around sixteen. They are so

different. The ones who suffer the most are the ones who look ten, but

emotionally and mentally they want to do everything. And then you’ll hear about

a girl who had breasts when she was ten, and everyone was sexualizing her. And

she just wanted to climb a tree and be left alone. There are so many

misunderstandings. And adults are constantly projecting their notions of what

they want on them. In my case — and in a lot of cases, I was the one who was

interested and curious and seeking sex.

RU: You hear that story all the time.

DB: Yeah.

SB: Problems come from older people who don’t have empathy and compassion and

respect. You get someone who decides; “Yeah! Girls want me!” (Laughter) “That

teenaged girl over there? She digs me.” That kind of narcissism is the problem.

We don’t even talk about whether the sex in these scenarios is consensual. Is

there coercion involved? What is the power relationship between these people? We

fixate on stereotypes and miss the big picture. And another thing that doesn’t

get brought up is that, overwhelmingly, sexual abuse and that type of violence

happens within families. If you could stop that, it would really be remarkable.

We have this idea, fostered by J. Edgar Hoover, that there are these monsters

out there — strangers are going to come up and offer your child a lollipop. We’

re seeing that replayed now around the internet. There’s a wonderful social

scientist, Michael Males, who just had an opinion article in the New York Times.

He’s proved that your kid is safer alone on MySpace than in any shopping mall in

America. I just loved reading his facts and figures, because it all makes sense

to me.

RU: It seems so obvious, if you think about it.

SB: Yeah, it sure does. And of course, the guy who was running the predator

arrest campaign for Homeland Security was exposing himself to 16-year-old girls

at the mall. I’m not making this shit up! With all the fuss about Scooter Libby

and Cheney, other things have been glossed over.

RU: Were they caught together?

SB: (Laughs) It fascinated me how it came out that officials who are supposedly

in charge of protecting children turn out to be really creepy, totally non-

consensual predators.

RU: Well, they’re the ones who are attracted to that. I mean, just like a

certain percentage of criminal sadists are attracted to law enforcement.

DB: The mice are guarding the cheese.

SB: That’s a good way of putting it. So when people ask me about public policy,

I think about the big picture. If this country had more active democracy; if we

had decent health care and universal sex education, things would be better for

young people. Anything you can do to give them power is going to work out.

Anything you can do to foster good family relationships and support education is

going to help. None of this is on the agenda for the United States right now.

DB: Well, you’re doing something for young people on your web site – the Ted

Haggard Betting Pool. And it’s not just a snarky little jab at this fool Ted

Haggard, who is all over the media. Proceeds of this Betting Pool are going to

benefit a San Francisco youth group called LYRIC.

SB: Yes. LYRIC is a youth group. They do community support and activism for

young people who realize that they’re sexually different, whatever that might

mean to them. And nobody makes you fill out a form to explain yourself. If you

know that you’re sexually different and you want a place where you don’t have to

be alone — and where you don’t have to be stigmatized and shamed — you can go to

them. And you might get support in terms of work and family that you won’t get

elsewhere. They’re role models for young people getting together and doing it

for themselves, while having adult advocates who have a lot of integrity. So I

love them.

And when this whole mess with Reverend Ted Haggard happened… I mean, there you

have the evangelical minister to end all evangelical ministers – the guy who

could tell George Bush what to do – and he gets caught sucking cock on a regular


RU: On crank.

SB: On crank.

RU: It’s the only way to do it.

SB: No one wants to do it without meth anymore, apparently.

DB: “Cock on crank.” I like the alliteration of it.

SB: And instead of copping to it, he said, “Hey. I was always heterosexual. It

was just stress” — or whatever it was. And his church gave him a huge check,

since they’re hemorrhaging money. He signed a confidentiality agreement and was

given a plane ticket to get out of town. And, of course, now the headlines are

“Ted Haggard says he’s 100% heterosexual.”

DB: Didn’t he go to a three-week spa?

SB: He went to a three-week spa to get over his homosexuality (which he wasn’t

really anyway.) I mean, the contradictions are endless.

RU: I love that. I mean, who’s going into rehab today? It’s become a daily thing


SB: So everyone I know was saying, “When do you think he’ll slip?” So I said,

“Let’s do a betting pool.” So some of us have started Bet on Ted.” You just pick

your date. We’re going to give it a year. Any time this year. And to win,

something has to happen with Ted that gets into the news or into the courts.

We’ve come up with a list of things – all of them involve Ted cracking, and it

hitting a news report. If you have the lucky date, then you win half the pot and

the other half goes to our worthy cause: LYRIC. If nobody gets the right date —

or Ted sneaks by all year and nothing comes out — then the whole pot will go to

LYRIC too. So bet on Ted! I’m hoping we get somewhere with it.

One of my friends who wanted to bet said, “Can we send in a ringer?” And I said,

“Yeah! Make it happen!”

DB: A hooker with a heart of gold that will bring him across.

SB: Exactly!

RU: I bet a lot of people are trying to reel him in, at this point. It’s his

lucky year, now!

DB: We’re Ted fishing, now!

RU: Ted’s going to get a lot of action this year… thanks to Susie Bright.

DB: (Makes a fly-casting sound.) What are we using for bait?

SB: One thing that’s interesting: remember I told you about those founders of

Exodus that I met at the “Donahue Show.” The founders of Exodus finally did do

the right thing. They fled Exodus, so to speak. They exited Exodus and said, “We

are gay, God damn it! We’re sorry we just did this to everybody.” Virtually all

the founders of all these horrible conversion therapies have recanted after a

certain amount of time.

RU: It seems, in the thesis and antithesis of sexual revolution and then

backlash; we’ve ended up in an incredibly tangled state of how we – as a culture

— think about sexuality. We almost embrace the most intense kinds of sexual

sophistication, and there’s all this pornography around, and then there’s the

most intense kinds of Puritanism. And it’s like it’s all converged into one

confused human being.

SB: Well, a lot of that porn is really about titillation and guilt. There’s

this, “Taste me! Taste me!” factor where you never really get to taste me. You

know? “Come closer! I’ll give you this little bit.” But then once you get there,

you’re going to need to get a little bit more… and a little bit more. And you’re

always going to have to shell out. That’s how they sell it. And it’s also how

they inspire political fear. It’s a come-on! It’s a con job. What you don’t get

is sexual honesty and real candor, where you really come through.

RU: They’re creating people who behave that way! The relationship between the

stripper and the paying customer – a lot of people relate to each other that


SB: I suppose so, except with real strippers, real love lives — it doesn’t work

like that. Even if you try to live in a fake persona, you can’t maintain it all

the time. It’s impossible.

RU: There is a lovely story towards the end of the book — “The Wish Girls” —

that gets underneath the emptiness behind those images.

SB: Yeah, that was a great story by a new author – Matthew Addison. His

character is about thirty. When he was a teenager, he had an “I Dream of

Jeannie” moment where he wished there were two hot, bouncy, magazine-y babes who

would appear and be his love slaves. And he got his wish! They’re the wish

girls! Now, they’ve been around for fifteen years, and they do the same exact

positions. And he was naive when he ordered them. And now he thinks, “Why did I

make them identical except for their hair color? I wish one was 5′2″ and one was

5′9”!” It drives him nuts that they’re so limited. He yearns for more, but on

the other hand — they bend over and get in position #19 and position #32 just

like clockwork. And he feels guilty for his boredom and ennui with them. So

what’s in store for him next? Read the story.

RU: On the other hand, there’s another story in there involving some porn stars

and they’re having a pretty interesting time, and their sex is pretty hot and so

forth. Do you feel like there’s a clear dividing line? Can you say, “This is bad

porn; and this is good porn?” I’m suspicious of people judging what gets other

people off.

SB: Well, I never walk into a room and say “(gasp) What!? That turns you on?

You’re gross.” I mean, that would be the infantile…

RU: “Ewwwww.”

SB: When it comes to “good porn” and “bad porn,” you’ll frequently see something

that has obviously been made with the sloppiest intentions: “Fuck it. Let’s get

this done and get a quick buck.” But as you watch it, there will be one 10-

minute scene where the people in front of the camera actually had a moment. And

it’s caught there, because that’s what the camera lens does. Other times, you’ll

be watching something that has been made with such high ideals, and you’ll be,

like: “I can’t even keep my eyes open.”

RU: There is this kind of a superior attitude of people who are sort of into

underground sexuality…

DB: “More kinkier than thou.”

SB: Yeah, but you have the same kind of conversations in every part of the art

world — in music and painting and everything else. You have your little

factions. You have auteurs. You have people who put a signature on the work they

do and the moment you see it, you can tell it’s one of their films.

I’ll tell you an interesting story about this: one of the most important

pornographers in history died recently – Gary Graver. He worked on some of the

most influential films, including Bound. He inspired my choreography of the sex

scenes for Bound. And his obit was in the New York Times, Variety, and every

place else. But they didn’t mention that he was a pornographer! His porn name

was Robert McCallum. So they focused largely on the fact that he was Orson

Welles’ cameraman for thirty years. And he helped fund a lot of Orson’s projects

when Orson didn’t have a dime coming in. It was the porn that let him do that!

So I wrote a bunch of letters… “Why are you not saying… I mean, you talked about

all of his exploitation work, his horror flicks, his slasher films. None of

those are going to get any rave reviews.”

It’s laughable. He shot Steven Spielberg’s first movie — he worked with

everybody. His family certainly knows what he was doing. So why didn’t they

include that? And I got responses that showed the double standard that rules the

land. It was like, “Well, we wouldn’t do that. Why would we besmirch him?”

Besmirch? They’re the New York Times! If somebody murdered someone, but later

discovered the cure for cancer, they would still mention that they served time

for that murder. I mean, they dig up dirt! It’s not all: “He had a wonderful

life, and everything went swell!”

RU: Like Larry King interviewing Adolf Hilter… “You were a vegetarian, right?”

SB: Exactly! So why would they report on people’s immorality, gambling,

criminality, lawsuits — but they wouldn’t mention that Gary Gravers did some of

the most significant porn films of all time — films that are still for sale and

have sold in every format.

RU: Before we wrap up, has it been a good life, being a “sexpert” for thirty

years? Is it a big responsibility? Is it a lot of fun? Do you wish you were a

fucking fishermen — like John Lennon used to say about being in The Beatles?

SB: On a personal level, sometimes I wish to be unknown. Having some celebrity

around my sexuality can be weird. When it comes to sexual and personal

attention, you’re always afraid of people’s agendas. I locked myself in the

bathroom of the last sex party I went to, because somebody who I thought was

interested in me really wanted me to read their manuscript.

RU: Well, that’s scary for anybody — when somebody approaches you with a


SB: It’s like: “I don’t want to see a manuscript, I want to fuck!” But in terms

of having social influence — and I bet John Lennon would have said the same

thing — you never get sick of influencing a conversation.

RU: Do you ever think it would’ve been cool to become famous as a writer about a

different topic, like television or quantum physics or something like that?

SB: I do write about all kinds of subjects. And I have a few readers who know

that part of me. I wrote for political publications for many years before my

writing about sex started becoming commercially successful.

RU: Do you go off on many topics on your audio show?

SB: I certainly do. In fact…

RU: …You get complaints? People like their narrowcasting!

SB: Sometimes I get complaints. I’ve got this one Republican listener. He writes

me over and over again. He wants to discuss his marital situation at length. I

keep quoting my favorite dominatrix to him: “We’re not spanking Republicans any

more. We’re not servicing you with sex tips until you realize that this stuff

that you’re doing in bed, and your voting/political behavior are at odds. You’re

hurting people.” Ow!

RU: We can’t spank Ann Coulter?

SB: God, no! I wouldn’t touch her with a 10-foot pole!

RU: Michelle Malkin? I do have my fantasies.

Liberation Theology in Latin America

I am no fan of *any* authoritarian regime, nor a friend to godlessness. But the fall of the Soviets and the rise of Liberation Theology point the way - in Latin America and elsewhere - to spirituality, social justice and perhaps even, in time - freedom. A potent combination that would be worthy of the term, "liberation. Henry_Allen

Ernesto Cardenal is a towering figure in Nicaraguan politics, literature, religion and art. One of the founders of liberation theology, Nicaraguan Minister of Culture under the Sandinista government, and Nobel Prize nominee in literature, Cardenal continues to live and work in Managua. In this 2006 footage, the 81-year old Roman Catholic priest, sculptor and revolutionary reads his classic poem "Psalm 5."

"Psalm 5" rewrites the familiar song from the Old Testament into a searing indictment of war, propaganda and goverment lies. Originally written in 1967, "Psalm 5" is as note-perfect today as it was almost forty years ago.

Castro Says He's "Gaining Ground"
CARACAS, Venezuela, Feb. 28, 2007(CBS/AP) Cuban leader Fidel Castro spoke in a soft but steady voice about feeling "more energetic" and enjoying his convalescence in a surprise call to a radio broadcast in Venezuela, his first live comments since falling ill seven months ago.

The half-hour call to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's radio talk show on Tuesday, which aired later on Cuban TV, raised expectations that Castro could soon re-emerge in public.

"I'm gaining ground. I feel more energetic, stronger and have more time to study. I've become a student again," he told Chavez over the phone.

"I can't promise that I'll go over there soon," Castro said, but added, "I feel good and I'm happy."

Until Tuesday, Castro had only been heard in pre-taped comments on videos released by the Cuban government, which quelled speculation that he was deathly ill but failed to give an immediate sense of his health.

His words to Chavez were spoken slowly — and he appeared to catch on a few words — but he was in good spirits.

"My God! It's Fidel," Chavez said with obvious surprise at the call and asked his close friend in English, "How are you?"

"Very well," Castro replied in English, prompting a chuckle from Chavez.

"You don't know how happy we are to hear your voice and know that you're well," Chavez said.

In the course of the conversation, Castro touched on various topics, including a reference to a plunge in U.S. and Chinese stocks earlier in the day that he said should be a cause for worry for the U.S. government.

CBS News producer Portia Siegelbaum says Castro’s voice sounded fairly strong as he discussed the current events, a demonstration that the revolutionary still has his wits about him, contrary recent rumors in diplomatic circles that he may have lost his mental acumen as a result of anesthesia.

Siegelbaum reports that Castro also touched on "his new pet issue: the environment."

The 80-year-old leader transferred control of Cuba's government to his brother Raul, 75, after undergoing intestinal surgery in July and dropped out of public view, fueling speculation about his condition.

Cuba's communist government has kept Castro's condition and exact ailment secret, and Chavez acknowledged that he has become an "emissary" for news of his close friend and ally's health.

Castro thanked Chavez for keeping people informed but complained that his supporters have "the habit, the vice" of expecting daily updates and asked for patience, saying he is not the long orator he once was.

"Totally mute. I can't talk every day. I ask everyone for patience, calm... the country is marching along, which is what is important," he said.

"And I ask for tranquility also for me so that I can fulfill my new tasks," he said.

The conversation was not aired live in Cuba but, shortly afterward, Cuban state television broke into the regular nightly news program to broadcast the exchange.

In Miami, Alfredo Mesa, spokesman for the Cuban American National Foundation, said Castro is already part of the past and encouraged others to stop following the minute details of his illness.

"We need to stop worrying about Fidel Castro's health and focus more on the people in positions of power today that can bring about change for the Cuban people," Mesa said. "It's no longer about Fidel Castro."

Cuban officials have denied U.S. government reports that Fidel suffered from cancer. A Spanish newspaper reported last month that he had diverticular disease, a weakening of the walls of the colon.

The Cuban government has sought to reassure Cubans after Fidel Castro ceded power for the first time in 47 years, saying his health is stable and the defense of the island guaranteed. It released a new video on Jan. 30 of Castro looking stronger than in previous images as he met with Chavez.

The Venezuelan president ended the conversation with his mentor telling him: "We will win time and win the battle for life."

"Fatherland or death. We will prevail!" the two leaders repeated after each other.

© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Interview With VOA Persian TV

RP Secretariat
VOA News
Friday, February 2nd, 2007
In an interview with VOA Persian TV, 'Roundtable with You', Reza Pahlavi of Iran said:

- The alternative is quite clear. We are faced with a dictatorial, medieval and religious system of government that like all other dictatorships suppresses its own people . . . Our goal is to replace this system with a democratic government based on respect for human rights and pluralism.

- We need a parliamentary democracy in which the separation of religion and the affairs of government are clearly separated.

- Leave historic judgments to historians. I am looking ahead to our future...

Talking to Iran

Reza Pahlavi
Tuesday, December 5th, 2006
The prospect of Washington-Tehran dialogue is moving up the political agenda. But the United States must consider the moral and strategic price of such engagement, says the former crown prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi.

Public frustration with the stalemate in Iraq in the United States, reflected in the mid-term elections on 7 November, has now reshaped Congress, heralding a new era. The current strategy is being rethought and in anticipation, President Bush has commissioned two prominent Americans, James A Baker and Lee Hamilton, to lead the bipartisan Iraq Study Group to produce a fresh approach.

As an outsider I can only hope that these efforts prove salutary and productive. As an Iranian, however, I am concerned with the possible consequences of what is now being speculated.46_rp150.jpg

In the past, I have repeatedly opposed any form of military action against my country as counterproductive. Today, I would like to be equally clear about expectations that Iran - and Syria for that matter - could become part of the solution in Iraq.

For some time, guilt-edged liberal opinion in America has been advocating engagement with the clerical regime in Iran. Diplomatic overtures and dialogue, inherently noble, should be the first resort in any conflict. But if policymakers wish to avoid disappointment, there needs to be a prior analysis of objectives. In this context: what is at stake, and what are the real chances of success in hoping that Iran will sanitise the climate in Iraq in a manner that is in line with US expectations?

If the US seeks Iran's cooperation in Iraq - in taming and disarming the feuding Shi'a (and Tehran-connected) militias run by Ayatollah Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr, or in encouraging prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to move towards power-sharing with the Sunni - a key question follows: what would be the Iranian rulers' price?

What price would the Islamic regime claim in exchange for undercutting its unearned foothold in Iraq, at a time when it regards the US and its global allies with acute hostility? If that price is a license to proceed with its opaque pursuit of dual-usage enrichment of uranium, could the Bush administration seriously contemplate it?

If, by contrast, Tehran seeks from any engagement a grand strategic bargain - encompassing (as well as the nuclear issue) Hizbollah, Hamas, jihadis, non-belligerence towards Israel, and a Palestinian settlement - then a different set of questions comes to mind.

In May 2003, the clerical regime signalled its willingness to come to terms with reality. The move's timing - barely a month after the lightning defeat of Saddam Hussein - speaks volumes about the motivations of Tehran's Islamist leadership. Now, circumstances have changed dramatically. The "awe" inspired by the United States blitzkrieg is replaced by contempt, meted out on a daily basis by Islamist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad, unlike his predecessor Mohammad Khatami, is a revolutionary revivalist. His powers are limited but his rhetoric has enthralled the ultra-conservative clerics and tied the hands of the more pragmatic elements. The notion of the Great Satan, in the psyche of genuine Khomeini disciples, is ideological. For them, America is the embodiment of corrupting influences that are detrimental to Islam's flourishing.

America is also seen as the architect and protector of the Jewish state and its perceived mortification of (Muslim) Palestinians. The feud against Israel, extending to holocaust-denial, has set the regime in a hostile mould. Only compelling reasons of self-preservation will alter this. Moreover, with the Islamic Republic in its current mindset, secure in cost-free intransigence, any dialogue - particularly one wishfully aimed at cushioning America's difficulties in Iraq - will achieve nothing other than to bestow unwarranted recognition and legitimacy to a rogue regime.

There is another side to such engagement. For twenty-seven years this theocracy has cast a pall over Iran. Its young population has been robbed of the chance to live the epoch in which they are born. A full generation has been traumatised, prisoners of conscience executed and dissidents murdered in their homes or forced to flee.

George W Bush has repeatedly pledged America's support of Iranians in their struggle for freedom and democracy. To engage with the current Islamic Republic in these circumstances would render America's moral pact hollow and meaningless. It would be a further tragedy if, after failing to introduce democracy by force in Iraq, Washington now underwrites tyranny by diplomacy in Iran.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lots O Jesus

Filmmaker shows relics from disputed Jesus tomb

By Christine Kearney
Monday, February 26, 2007; 6:31 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hollywood director James Cameron displayed on Monday artifacts that he said might have come from the tomb of Jesus, which once contained his remains, those of Mary Magdalene, and possibly their son, Judah.

But others said it was just a publicity stunt backed by the man who made the movie "Titanic" and "The Terminator" to promote a documentary and a book, and likely untrue.

Cameron and a team of scholars showed two stone ossuaries, or bone boxes, that he said might have once contained the bones of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The findings are the subject of a documentary he produced called "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" and a book "The Jesus Family Tomb."

The two small caskets were part of 10 found in 1980 during construction in South Jerusalem. Several had inscriptions translated as Jesus, Mary Magdalene and "Judah, son of Jesus," Cameron told a news conference at the New York Public Library surrounded by scholars and archeologists.

"This is the beginnings of an ongoing investigation," Cameron said. "If things come to light that erode this investigation, then so be it."

If true, the revelations are likely to raise the ire of Christians because the discovery would challenge the belief that Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven.

The documentary comes on the heels of the huge success of the novel "The Da Vinci Code," which contends that Mary Magdalene had a child with Jesus.

Dr. Shimon Gibson, one of the archeologists who discovered the tomb, told Reuters at the news conference he had a "healthy skepticism" the tomb may have belonged to the family of Jesus, but the claims deserved to be investigated.

In Jerusalem, the Israeli archeologist who also carried out excavations at the tomb on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, disputed the documentary's conclusions.

The archeologist, Amos Kloner, said the 2,000-year-old cave contained coffins belonging to a Jewish family whose names were similar to those of Jesus and his relatives.

"I can say positively that I don't accept the identification (as) ... belonging to the family of Jesus in Jerusalem," Kloner told Reuters. "I don't accept that the family of Miriam and Yosef (Mary and Joseph), the parents of Jesus, had a family tomb in Jerusalem."

"They were a very poor family. They resided in Nazareth, they came to Bethlehem in order to have the birth done there -- so I don't accept it, not historically, not archeologically," said Kloner, a professor in the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archeology at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

After they were discovered, the bones were reburied according to Orthodox tradition, leaving just the boxes with inscriptions and human residue to be examined though ongoing DNA testing.

Professor L. Michael White, of the University of Texas, said he also doubted the claims were true.

"This is trying to sell documentaries," he said, adding a series of strict tests needed to be conducted before a bone box or inscription could be confirmed as ancient. "This is not archeologically sound, this is fanfare."
© 2007 Reuters

Is Jesus’ tomb under an apartment complex in Jerusalem? A new book and documentary claim limestone ossuaries, or bone boxes, found in a first-century burial place in the Talpiot neighborhood of this ancient city may not only belong to Jesus’ family, but also provide evidence Jesus and Mary Magdalene were buried together and had a son. TODAY talked to Simcha Jacobovici, an Emmy Award-winning journalist who wrote and directed “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” and James Cameron, who was the documentary’s executive producer. Cameron, director of such Hollywood blockbusters as “Titanic,” “Aliens,” and “The Terminator,” said he knew making a film on Jesus’ family tomb would be controversial, but it was a story that had to be told. “We now know more about [Jesus] than we’ve known for literally thousands of years. I think that’s pretty amazing,” he said. “I think that’s the power of film.” Here’s an edited version of the interview>

TODAY: The 10 ossuaries were excavated from a tomb found at a construction site in 1980. How did you become involved in trying to identify them as belonging to the Jesus’ family more than 20 years later?

Simcha Jacobovici: I got involved in making a film called “James, Brother of Jesus” a few years ago in 2002. An ossuary surfaced through the antiquities market in Israel that said shocking words: James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. If this inscription was authentic it was the first tangible, carved-in-stone proof that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. I was brought into that project by Herschel Shanks, who’s the editor of the Biblical Archeology Review. And I ended up making a film on that particular bone box, which become controversial because there is a trial right now as we speak. It starts again on the 27th that the owner of that bone box. That bone box was not found in situ by archeologists. It didn’t have provenance. They didn’t know where it came from. It came through dealers. And some people charge that the words “brother of Jesus” were forged and were added on later. So I covered that.

In the course of that investigation, I came across a cluster of bone boxes that said, Jesus, son of Joseph, two Mary’s, a Matthew, and a Judas, son of Jesus. They were sitting on warehouse shelves like in “Indian Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark,” just sitting there being ignored. And no one argued about their provenance. They were authentic. And I thought oh my God, has anyone actually investigated this? And one thing led to another. I came to Jim Cameron with the evidence that I had at that time. And the result is what we are unveiling now.

TODAY: Why go to Mr. Cameron?

James Cameron: Go ahead. (Turns to Jacobovici.) I don’t know why you did. You have to tell them. (Laughs.)

Jacobovici: For two reasons. One is that the book, which has just come out at the same time as the film, is co-written by Dr. Charles Pellegrino and myself. Charles Pellegrino is a friend of Jim Cameron and they had written a book on the Titanic. They know each other. The second thing is that when we needed to put the film together, we know it obviously had to be a film of a certain stature. And we needed somebody to work on it with us who had that stature. And Charles Pellegrino said the man is James Cameron. He’s the man. I had only known Jim Cameron as the maker of the “Titanic” and blockbusters like that. I didn’t know him as someone interested in all these documentaries. Really in a sense he was a documentary filmmaker as well. So when we all got together and he started cross-examining me on the facts as any executive producer or an editor at a newspaper, we all realized that we had a good team, and we moved forward: Charlie, Jim and I. It’s been two- or three-year journey.

Cameron: It’s almost exactly two years. It was March of ‘05 that Charlie introduced me to you and that I heard about this project for the first time. I knew very little of first-century Christianity at the time, but I’ve studied it pretty intensely since then. I don’t pretend to be an archeologist and I don’t pretend to be an historian, but when I get interested in a subject, I’ll read voraciously on it. So I wanted to qualify as a proper member of the team. We also knew that the investigation would take us on a journey — and it did. We couldn’t have predicted exactly where it would have come out; we couldn’t have predicted for example, in that we’d be successful in chemically fingerprinting the James ossuary to the Talpiot tomb, which I think is hugely significant in the analysis in the outcome of this. So Simcha and I became friends.

I had already friends with Charlie Pellegrino. Charlie and I had become friends during the Titanic investigations. We had dived together at that wreck site and on different expeditions. He knew that I loved a detective story, that I loved forensic archeological investigations. I had consulted with him on some things that he had been doing both at Ground Zero here, which he treated as an archeological site, and at the Vesuvius sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii and [in Santorini.] The Minoan civilization existed on Crete and what was on the island called Thera at the time. I pursue film projects where I think I’m going to learn something, where I believe my curiosity is going to be satisfied in some way. And this was that type of project.

TODAY: Where you concerned at all, or aware of, the controversy that would arise from this discovery? The idea, as you said on TODAY, that it challenges the resurrection.

Cameron: Yes, I think we certainly understood that this would be controversial. And by the way, we welcome peer review. We think that this is a significant find and we think that this bears a lot more study than a Discovery Channel documentary has the resources to do. Did we talk about the repercussions of this? Of course, we did. In fact, I was even hesitant to get involved in this project I had to think, do I want this in my life. But ultimately my decision was as a documentary filmmaker, a story this important needs to be told. So I decided to pursue it.

Now in respect with the resurrection, and Simcha can speak to this as well, neither one of us are theologians, but certainly we’ve been dealing with biblical scholars, biblical archeologists, and so on, so we have a passing knowledge in that area. The resurrection itself is not challenged. Jesus may well have risen. And having risen, according to the scriptures, walked the earth, for an additional 40 days, appeared in corporeal form and spiritual manifestations, including a child, and including someone that his disciples didn’t recognize at first and things like that. And then ultimately ascended to heaven.

Where you get stuck is the physical ascension to heaven, taking his bones and body with him to heaven, instead of leaving them behind on earth. Many Christians don’t take that literally, some do. That is where I think there is going to be controversy or denial or pushback or people think it is a fake or whatever they want to say. Again, we’re not theologians and we’re not even archeologists. We’re documentary filmmakers, so we can only report what the experts are saying. I think if you see they film and you read the book, you’ll see that a very compelling case is made and it does ask many questions and many people should discuss this.

Jacobovici: I’m not a Christian, but philosophically speaking, but philosophically speaking, people are jumping to the conclusion that finding physical evidence of a burial place of Jesus is some how challenging the resurrection. Logically, it really isn’t. I’ve spoken to some theologians and they’ll have to weigh in. Since Christian theology holds that Jesus was dead for three days and he rose. During those three days whether he was in this tomb or that tomb doesn’t deny or confirm resurrection. So I think people are jumping to a conclusion that is really not part of the investigation of this film. Yes, the ascension, if people believe in a spiritual ascension, there is no issue. People believe in a physical ascension then that’s something Christian theologians will have to discuss. But what we have done, we have just come back and reported a set of facts. There is a tomb. There are inscriptions in it. They match the gospel story. They match the noncanonical text: The text that didn’t make it into the Christian bible.

Cameron: And the Synoptic Gospels are well matched. It was interesting last night we were talking to James Tabor, who was one of our consultants, one of our experts on this. He’s the head of religious study at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he was saying, if someone had come to me and asked me to profile what I would expect to find in the Jesus family tomb, I would’ve said that there first of all there would be the tomb of James, because he succeeded Jesus in the early Christian church. He ran it for a while before he was himself was martyred. So it would be the tomb of James. He would have the wherewithal to create to greener the family tomb. In there would be the mother. Mom would be there. Mary Magdalene would be there. The brothers would be there. The sisters would be there. And Jesus would have been there. We believe the unmarked ossuaries contain the bones of the sisters. And if you look at what was in the tomb it almost exactly matches what biblical school and history would have expected to find in the tomb.

Jacobovici: You have to remember that the tomb was dismissed in 1980, when it was first discovered, for two reasons. It wasn’t even published. Even a report wasn’t written. We wouldn’t have known it existed except for literally a handful of archeologists. Like four people; five people. It was dismissed today by people who haven’t seen the film. They are still dismissing. One is yes there were two Marys, but the second Mary wasn’t Mary Magdalene, and these were common names. Therefore, there is nothing to it. It’s like finding John, Paul, and George, but it doesn’t mean you found the Beatles. The people who were dismissing this as common names were archeologists. Yes, they have a skill set, but it’s not statistics. So what we did was we asked statisticians if is this impressive, if this is compelling. And what they said was individual the names may be common, but the cluster is statistically compelling.

TODAY: The other controversy here is the role Mary Magdalene played. If the ossuary contained her bones that would change some of the tenants of Christianity.

Cameron: No, it doesn’t really change anything. Mary Magdalene is in the canonical gospels. She’s the woman in the New Testament mentioned most next to Jesus’ mother. She’s mentioned all over the place. She’s at the crucifixion; she’s at the resurrection. Why is this woman in the story? It was much later, centuries later, that this idea that she was the fallen woman who was redeemed, that she was the prostitute. That was not there originally and if you find these other texts that talk about her, we find a very different picture of her.

TODAY: That will remind people of “The Da Vinci Code.” Do you think that that is going to blur some of the claims are you are making in this documentary?

Cameron: We began this documentary before I had read the “The Da Vinci Code” and well before the movie was released. We were a year into it at that point. Actually, there was some discussion at the Discovery Channel that we should come out before “The Da Vinci Code.” We had enough information to tell a story at that time, but we hadn’t done our forensic investigation. And we elected to continue with our forensic investigation and we actually put a year between us and “The Da Vinci Code” to let these ideas marinate. I actually thought it was a good thing.

“The Da Vinci Code” is actually well researched. It’s not necessary accurate in all places, but there are a few ideas in there that have significance. For instance, when I look at it as paving the way for some of these ideas that some people may consider to be quite radical, but were rather well researched in that movie. The idea that Mary Magdalene might have been Jesus’ companion or even his wife is a fairly radical, even though amongst scholars its been discuss for some time. But as a public concept it hasn’ been out there. The thing that people need to remember is that this is not fiction. The film that we’ve made is a film of an investigation, an investigation done by a small group of journalists, working with the some of the best archeological experts, biblical scholars, and biblical historians in the world, who have been involved in this film under non-disclosure agreements for a year or more. So, this is not fiction and people really have to make that distinction in their minds.

TODAY: What do you think is going to happen? The tomb where the ossuaries were found has been resealed. At this point, what do you think is going to happen with the release of the book and the documentary?

Cameron: Well, I think that there’s a lot more investigations that have to be done. It would be nice to get access to the tomb again, take more patina samples. There are some inscriptions there that have not been translated yet. There are things that still need to be studied. There are other tombs in the region that need to be studied. And I think what should ideally happen now, once the dust settles, the serious scholars who work in this field should get involved, should look at the evidence and argue about it. They all have different opinions, different perspectives, different agendas, and different backgrounds. But they also have different pieces of knowledge. There is a limit to what we can do on a small documentary film budget. This is an important find and an important hypothesis that we’re putting forward. We have enough evidence to say with confidence that it is. But other evidence could come in tomorrow that challenges that. That’s in the nature of any scientific investigation.

TODAY: This can be one of the great archeological discoveries of our lifetime. How does it compare to your other work?

Cameron: Well, I don’t put my ego in this, so I don’t take great satisfaction in attaching my name to something like this. I’m just very curious. I’m a curious guy. I can’t turn away from an investigative story, when it comes to the forensic analysis. I’ve done 33 dives, to the titanic wreck site. I’ve spent over 50 hours piloting robotic vehicles at that wreck trying to piece together what happened during the disaster. How the ship broke up, comparing the historical record with the forensic record. We did the same thing with the Bismarck. I’ve made five documentaries in the past few years. In fact, I haven’t made a feature film in 10 years. So this is kind of my new life. I love documentary filmmaking.

When I got involved with Simcha, he was in progress with at the time which was called “Exodus Decoded,” which looked at the eruption on the island of Thera, which is now Santorini. The remnants of that volcano are now the islands of Santorini. And I got involved in that project because I was fascinated by the Theran and Minoan civilizations. They were at least the equivalent of the Egyptians of that time and they got blown up. Maybe that was the origin of the Atlantis myth. But it was a fascinating area of study and so I got involved in that project. That was my first official archeological project, even though I’ve studied archeology my whole life — as a layman. That lead to this.

This is such an amazing story. I followed my curiosity. I was fascinated by early Christianity and how it all began. How did these ideas take root? How did they ultimately transform western civilization? You trace it back and at the source there was one man preaching to the poor; people who were herding goats in a small country was dominated, under the boot heel, of Rome at the time. And some how this idea took hold and flourished and is the one of the mainstays of our western civilization. That’s pretty fascinating and the idea of tangible physical evidence of his life, his relationships with other members of his family. We now know more about him than we’ve known for literally thousands of years. I think that’s pretty amazing. I think that’s the power of film.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


The following is from See also, and

. "Commerce is War" has been a

post-War slogan of Japanese industry for the last sixty-plus years. The War is

not taught in Japan. I'd like to see -I'm not kidding - an anime version of WW

II without the cleaning-up of the Nazi-Germany of the East. Henry_Allen

Why US Shields Japan's WWII Denials

By Jerry Meldon
February 24, 2007

Editor's Note: Over the years, we have written a number of stories about Rev.

Sun Myung Moon's influence-buying schemes inside U.S. conservative political

circles – and the federal government's odd refusal to aggressively enforce laws

when Moon's operation is caught in legally questionable activities. [See, for

instance, Moon/Bush 'Ongoing Crime Enterprise'.]

In this guest article, Jerry Meldon examines the mysterious roots of the money

that has funded right-wing Asian politics since World War II and that has

sometimes spilled over into the United States:
On Feb. 19, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso took exception to a U.S.

congressional resolution introduced by Rep. Mike Honda, D-California, calling on

Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility”

for coercing 200,000 Asian women into slavery as “Comfort Women” (wartime

prostitutes) for 3.5 million Japanese soldiers. Mr. Aso said he considers the

accusation groundless and extremely regrettable.

Six decades after World War II, can it really be that Japanese officials are

still distorting history and insulting the Chinese, Koreans, Philippinos and

others across Asia whom Hirohito’ s forces savagely brutalized and robbed?

And why does Washington turn a deaf ear?

The answers may be rooted in what transpired behind closed doors in Tokyo when

Japan was occupied by the U.S. military in the post-war years .

Sterling and Peggy Seagrave suggest a motive in their eye-opening – and at

times stomach-turning – 2003 book, Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of

Yamashita’s Gold. In the war’s immediate aftermath, Gen. Douglas MacArthur,

commander-in-chief of Allied occupying forces, secretly joined hands with

Japanese war criminals.

Rather than convict, imprison and throw away the keys, MacArthur coddled those

responsible for one of history’s bloodiest wars of aggression. When the U.S.

occupation ended in 1952, he released all those who were still in custody.

And it may have gone a lot further than that.

According to Gold Warriors, e ven as the United States “introduced democratic

reforms and a new constitution … [it ] put Japan back under the control of men

who were devotedly undemocratic … [insisting] that Japan never stole anything

and was flat broke … [when, in reality, America had given it ] huge infusions of

black money.”

Washington even had Article 14 of the 1951 Japan Peace Treaty state : “It is

recognized that Japan should pay reparations to the Allied Powers for the damage

and suffering caused by it during the war. Nevertheless it is also recognized

that the resources of Japan are not presently sufficient … [Therefore] the

Allied Powers waive all reparations claims of the Allied Powers and their

nationals arising out of any actions taken by Japan.”

As historian Christopher Simpson put it , the United States thereby insured

“that the vict ims of the war – rape camp survivors, slave laborers and POWs –

[would] be left with nothing.”

Furthermore, according to the Seagraves, “records of Japan’s looting and

economic conspiracy have been removed from Western archives and databases,

remain under secret classification and will not be made public for another half


The cover-up notwithstanding, the Seagraves somehow penetrated the veil of

secrecy and reported that the source of the black money that MacArthur bestowed

on the Japanese. They wrote that after arriving in Japan, the general’s aides

located $100 billion in gold, platinum and other treasures that Hirohito’s

forces had systematically plundered from occupied Asian nations and buried deep


When MacArthur reported this to Washington, President Harry S. Truman’s brain

trust – which included John McCloy, who as U.S. High Commissioner for Germany

would authorize the early release of many Nazi war criminals – decided to devote

the fortune to covert operations such as the bankrolling of rightist political

parties and the recruitment of war criminals as U.S. intelligence agents for the

Cold War that was just beginning.

One of the most notorious crooks MacArthur embraced was yakuza godfather

Yoshio Kodama. With the exalted rank of rear admiral in the Japanese navy,

Kodama had overseen the wartime looting of Asia’s criminal infrastructure. In

the process, he stashed away a personal fortune estimated at $13 billion.

Arrested as a Class A war criminal, he made a deal with MacArthur’s intelligence

chief, Gen. Charles Willoughby. Kodama handed the CIA $100 million in return for

his release from Sugamo Prison. Returning to the underworld, he regained control

of the Asian heroin traffic.

According to the Seagraves and others, he also remained a CIA asset until his

death in 1984. It was apparently in that capacity that he became a major behind

-the-scenes political force, primarily in Japan but, indirectly, across the

Pacific as well.

Together with his fellow racketeer and Class A war criminal Ryoichi Sasakawa,

Kodama underwrote the creation of two Japanese political parties that later

combined to form the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Except for a brief hiatus

when voters had had their fill of corruption, the conservative LDP has ruled

Japan ever since. According to sources cited by the Seagraves, the LDP secretly

contributed to the 1960 presidential campaign of Richard M. Nixon.

The LDP was not the only organization which Kodama and Sasakawa bankrolled,

that lavished the gangsters’ ill-begotten wealth on American politicians. They

also underwrote the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, which owns the

right-wing daily, the Washington Times.

When Gen. Park Chung Hee staged a coup and installed himself as South Korea’s

dictator in 1961, he designated the Unification Church to be his political arm.

Successive South Korean leaders have used it to influence U.S. foreign policy.

A 1978 congressional inquiry found that Moon’s organization, in coordination

with South Korea’s CIA-molded intelligence agency, the KCIA, paid off several

U.S. congressmen. Rep. Richard Hanna, D-California, and Otto Passman, D-

Louisiana, accepted approximately $200,000 each.

Hanna was slapped with a six-to-30-month sentence and spent a year behind bars.

Passman managed to have himself tried in his home town and was acquitted.

Fortunately for Reps. Cornelius Gallagher, D-New Jersey, and William Marshall,

R-Ohio, the five-year statute of limitations ran out before they could be

prosecuted. Three others congressmen were reprimanded for lying about their


Kodama and Sasakawa, together with followers of Rev. Moon, also underwrote the

Asian People’s Anti-Communist League (APACL) as a propaganda mill for the

dictatorships of Taiwan and South Korea. In 1966, the APACL expanded to become

the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) . European neo-nazi terrorists and Latin

American death squad leaders attended WACL conferences in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ronald Reagan – whose 1981 presidential inauguration was attended by the

godfather of Central America’s death squads, Mario Sandoval Alarcon – sent the

following message to the 1985 WACL convention in Dallas:

“I commend you all for your part in this noble cause. Our combined efforts are

moving the tide of history toward world freedom. We must persevere and never

falter. I send all you who help in your crusade for liberty my best wishes. God

bless you.”

The previous year, Congress had blocked continued White House funding for the

counter-revolutionary Nicaraguan contras. Undaunted, the Reagan administration

solicited donations from private right-wing sources, including the two

organizations that Kodama and Sasakawa had spawned. WACL and the Unification

Church each obliged the Reagan team with generous donations that kept the

contras afloat.

In that same period, WACL also contributed heavily in the United States to

right-wing candidates running against progressive incumbents. One such

beneficiary, WACL conferee Steven Symms, unseated the chairman of the Senate

Foreign Relations Committee, Frank Church, D-Idaho. A prominent Vietnam War

critic, Church had chaired a 1975 Senate investigation that uncovered CIA plots

to assassinate foreign leaders.

Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, a picture emerges of CIA-controlled

Japanese wartime loot being funneled by Japanese war criminals, via rightist

Asian conduit organizations, to American politicians.

Maybe that explains why Washington turns a deaf ear when Japanese officials

sanitize their country’s wartime atrocities. After all, the bruised feelings of

a couple of billion Asian mainlanders is a small price to pay for keeping a lid

on the truth.

Jerry Meldon is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Tufts

University in Medford, Massachusetts. His e-mail is .


Mel Gibson and the Gospel of Anti-Semitism

by Charles Patterson

The trouble with Mel Gibson's film "The Passion" is not the film itself, but the gospel story on which it's based. The gospel story, which has generated more anti-Semitism than the sum of all the other anti-Semitic writings ever written, created the climate in Christian Europe that led to the Holocaust. Long before the rise of Adolf Hitler, the gospel story about the life and death of Jesus had poisoned the bloodstream of European civilization.

The four gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (there were others, but they didn't make it into the New Testament) — were written decades after the death of Jesus. Not only were they not composed in Galilee where Jesus lived or in Jerusalem where he died, but they were not written in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and the region where he lived. Instead, they were written in Greek more than a generation later in cities in the Roman empire like Antioch, Ephesus, and in the case of the earliest gospel (Mark) in Rome itself. As a result, these gospels are at a considerable cultural, linguistic, and religious remove from the events they allegedly describe.

The historical Jesus (as opposed to the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament and elevated to divinity by the Christian church) was a Jew, faithful to the law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets. He grew up and worked in Galilee, where Jewish patriotism was intense, and he was steeped in Jewish scriptures, oral law, and the spirit of the Pharisees, the leading religious teachers of his day. People called him "Rabbi" and, like many religious Jews, he expected the imminent coming of the messianic era, or the "Kingdom of God," as he called it.

Like other religious, nationalistic Jews before and after him, Jesus (whose Aramaic name was Yeshua) angered the Roman government because of his preaching, which was considered dangerous. On what turned out to be his final Passover trip to Jerusalem, Jesus was arrested and, upon the order of the Roman procurator, executed.

After his death, his followers — most of whom were simple fishermen and artisans — lived on in Galilee and Jerusalem. Called "Nazarenes" after Jesus's hometown of Nazareth, they continued to observe Jewish laws and wait for the coming of the Kingdom of God, which Jesus had promised. In Jerusalem it was James, the brother of Jesus, who headed the Nazarenes for the next thirty years until he, too, was put to death in 62 C.E.

However, the future of Christianity did not remain long in the hands of these Aramaic-speaking Nazarenes. It passed on to an energetic, Greek-speaking Jew from Tarsus in Asia Minor by the name of Paul. He had never met Jesus and wasn't greatly impressed by the Nazarenes he did meet when he visited Jerusalem. What won Paul over to the belief that Jesus was the Christos (the Greek word for Messiah) was a vision. After his vision, Paul traveled all over the eastern Mediterranean preaching his own understanding of Christianity, which was rather different from the Nazarene version. Unlike the Nazarenes, who lived according to Jewish law in Jerusalem and Galilee, Paul took his message to gentiles as well as Jews. As a result of tireless work and extensive travel, he planted Christian congregations in Asia Minor and Greece.

The differences between Paul's teachings and those of the Nazarenes back in Jerusalem and Galilee soon became apparent. Not only did Paul preach to gentiles, but he also did not insist that these converts submit themselves to circumcision or to any of the other demands of Jewish law. The Nazarenes were outraged when they learned about Paul's negligence, and they summoned him to Jerusalem for an explanation. In Jerusalem before the Nazarene elders, Paul acted as a devout Jew, observing all the details of Jewish law.

Paul never changed his mind about his mission to the gentiles and his opposition to having these converts treated like second-class citizens. In letters he wrote to his churches (now collected in the New Testament), he went so far as to claim that the law of Moses was no longer necessary, even for Jews, and that faith in Christ and his teachings was sufficient. He also believed that everybody in the churches — Jews and gentiles, slaves and free persons — should be equal. When people from the Nazarene church in Jerusalem arrived at his churches to try to convince the gentile converts to obey Jewish law, Paul denounced them as "Judaizers."

The conflict between the Nazarenes and Paul that divided the early Christian movement was decided by a stroke of history. The Jewish-Roman War (66-70 C.E.), which destroyed Jerusalem and its temple and killed many Jews, dealt a devastating blow to the Nazarenes, from which they never recovered. Whatever traditions and writings they possessed were lost or forgotten. Instead, Paul's churches survived and became the basis for a Christianity that quickly became separate from and even hostile to the Judaism out of which it emerged.

By the time the Christian gospels were written in the latter part of the first century, Jews and Christians were fierce competitors arguing over whether or not Jesus was the Messiah-Christ promised in the Hebrew Bible, and over which group — Jews or Christians — represented the "true Israel." By the end of the first century resentment and mistrust of Jews were so widespread in the aftermath of the Jewish revolt against Rome that the young Christian churches in the cities of the empire sought to distance themselves from their Jewish roots.

This desire to dissociate explains why hostility toward Judaism and Jews came to be written into the gospels. They told the story of Jesus in such a way that it seemed as if his real enemies were not gentiles, or even the Romans who put him to death, but rather Jews — Pharisees, priests, and the Jewish people in general.

This anti-Jewish point of view is evident in the Gospel According to Mark, the first of the gospels written in Rome shortly after the end of the Jewish-Roman War in 70 C.E. when anti-Jewish resentment was especially strong in the capital. In Mark's gospel Jesus is persecuted at every turn by the Pharisees and priests of Judaism. In fact, the very first person in the gospel to recognize his worth was not a Jew at all, but a Roman centurion present at his crucifixion, who proclaimed, "Truly this man was a son of God" (Mark 15:39).

Likewise, Mark's gospel pictures Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator who ordered Jesus's execution, as someone who tried his best to be nice to Jesus. According to Mark, Pilate wanted to have Jesus released but was prevented from doing so by a mob of bloodthirsty Jews (the same people who cheered his entrance into the city several days earlier). By telling the story in this way, Mark's gospel put the responsibility for the death of Jesus on the Jews, not on the Roman government that ordered his death.

Matthew's gospel took this blaming of the Jews one step further. In this gospel Pilate's wife warns her husband not to have anything to do with wronging "that righteous man." Then, after the Jewish mob shouts for the death of Jesus (choosing to have the criminal Barabbas released instead), Pilate washes his hands in front of the crowd, saying "I am innocent of this man's blood." Here Matthew puts into the mouths of the crowd words that were to condemn later generations of Jews: "And the people answered, 'His blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25).

The other two gospels — Luke and John — also portray Jews and Judaism as forces that persecuted Jesus and drove him to his death. Combined with the letters of Paul, these four anti-Jewish gospels make up the bulk of the New Testament, which Christianity considers to be a sacred and accurate account of history.

Not surprisingly, this negative picture of Judaism and the Jews continued in the writings of the Christians who followed. The fourth-century bishop of Antioch, John Chrysostom, widely respected as a "Doctor of the Church" and later canonized as a saint, preached fiery sermons against the Jews of his city, calling them "lustful, rapacious, greedy, perfidious bandits...inveterate murderers, destroyers, men possessed by the devil." Their synagogue was a place of "shame and ridicule," and Jewish religious rites were "criminal and impure." Why were the Jews so hateful? The answer, said Chrysostom, was in the gospel story: the Jews were hateful because of their "odious assassination of Christ."

In the Middle Ages the gospel story about the "assassination of Christ" was enacted annually in Passion plays staged outdoors at Oberammergau in Germany and many other places in Europe. These plays — forerunners of the Gibson film — enacted for their audiences the passion (suffering) of Jesus in all its gory details.

It is ironic and tragic that Christianity, which began as a Jewish sect, grew up to become such a dangerous threat to Judaism. To their credit, some post-Holocaust Christians have been trying to come to terms with the church's anti-Semitic past and get beyond it. In the early 1960s the Catholic Church's Vatican II pronouncement denounced anti-Semitism and stated that Jews of the past, as well as the Jews of today, bear no responsibility for Jesus' death. It was definitely a long overdue step forward, but this film has dealt a serious blow to these efforts.

Source: Reprinted by permission of the author. Patterson is author of Anti-Semitism: The Road to the Holocaust and Beyond.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Persian Empire UK Style.

We assigned Basra to the UK, because it was a British Colony, because Shi'a can count, and know who Iraq goes to in 'elections', and why fight the outsiders when you've already won? So now they leave, and the media wonders if it will be like the rest of Iraq, under U.S. authority? A bit of intraShi'a violence, sure. But nothing to be learned here except that the inventors of the zero can count. We fight on for the Islamic Republic of Iraq, a frachise of Iran, Inc., purveyors of Islamic Fascism since 1979. Henry_Allen

Sunni Woman's Rape Claim Roils Iraq
BAGHDAD, Feb. 21, 2007 (CBS/AP) An Iraqi Sunni woman who leveled rape allegations against three members of the Shiite-dominated security forces was taken to a U.S.-run medical facility over the weekend, the chief U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.

But Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell refused to disclose details of her medical treatment or examination, citing privacy issues.

"What I can tell you is that at a point on Sunday evening, an Iraqi woman was brought to our medical facility. She was put under the care of our medical personnel there and sometime early Monday morning she was released," he said.

The revelation has stunned Iraq, where rape is rarely discussed in public — much less by the victim herself on a prominent television station. With Shiite leaders calling her charges propaganda and Sunni politicians offering the woman support, the disclosure has threatened to worsen sectarian violence.

The 20-year-old Sunni woman said she was assaulted Sunday at a police garrison where she was taken on suspicion of helping Sunni insurgents. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office Wednesday released what it said was a medical report issued by Ibn Sina hospital indicating no signs of rape.

The report, in English, was e-mailed to news organizations by al-Maliki's office. The grainy document was marked as page two of three and did not have the name of the patients or any of her personal details. A handwritten note in English said she had no bruises or injuries.

Caldwell said the Americans had not released any information about the case out of respect for patient privacy.

"She was released with her medical records. What she does with those is her own decision," he said.

Caldwell also told reporters that Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has ordered a probe into the case and appointed an investigating officer who already has begun collecting information on the allegations, made in interviews broadcast Monday by several Arab satellite TV stations.

"Once the Iraqi government makes a decision on how they are going to move forward (and) there is an investigating judicial process established and they need this information from us, we will make that readily available to them," he said.

In other developments:

# A U.S. helicopter that crashed Wednesday north of Baghdad was shot down, the military said, reversing its initial statement that the chopper made a "hard landing." Military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said all the occupants were safely evacuated by a second helicopter.

# British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday announced a new timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, British media reported. About 1,600 are to leave the south of Iraq within "several months", and Blair said some of the remaining 5,500 soldiers could be pulled out before the end of the summer

# A suicide car bomber struck a police checkpoint Wednesday in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, killing at 13 people in the spiritual heartland of the militia factions led by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The Najaf blast hit while streets were filled with morning shoppers. At least two of the victims were police and the rest civilians, authorities said. It was the first major bombing in months in the city, which is heavily guarded by police and al-Sadr's powerful Mahdi Army militia.

# A U.S. Marine was killed in fighting in the volatile Anbar Province and a soldier was killed by gunfire in a neighborhood of Baghdad, the military said Wednesday. The Marine assigned to Multi-National Force — West was killed Tuesday during combat operations in the insurgent stronghold, which stretches west from Baghdad to the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, according to a military statement. The soldier was hit by small arms fire in a northern district of Baghdad on Tuesday, a statement said.

# U.S. forces were investigating the "hard landing" of a Black Hawk helicopter north of Baghdad. Caldwell said the airmen were picked up by rescuers, but gave no further details. At least seven U.S. helicopters have crashed or been forced down by hostile fire in the past month, killing 28 troops and civilians.

# A second U.S. soldier has pleaded guilty to the gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her family, saying he held the girl down and acted as a lookout while others took turns attacking her. Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24, pleaded guilty to four murders, rape and conspiracy to rape. Cortez said he conspired with three other soldiers — Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman, Spc. James P. Barker and Steven D. Green, who has been discharged — to rape Abeer Qassim al-Janabi. If the judge approves the deal, Cortez could avoid the death penalty.

Caldwell's comments came hours after al-Maliki fired a top Sunni official who had called for an international investigation into the rape allegations. He also has exonerated the three Iraqi policemen accused by the woman and said they should be rewarded as a sign of confidence in the force.

A separate statement by al-Maliki's office gave no reason in announcing the dismissal of Ahmed Abdul-Ghafour al-Samaraie, head of the Sunni Endowment. Al-Samaraie, whose organization cares for Sunni mosques and shrines in Iraq, had joined other prominent Sunnis in criticizing the government's handling of the case.

Al-Samaraie, speaking from Amman in neighboring Jordan, disputed al-Maliki's right to fire him, arguing that only the country's Presidential Council — which comprises President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies — has that authority. A statement by the Endowment, which has offices across the country, said it rejects al-Samaraie's dismissal and declared an indefinite protest at its offices to protest the move.

His dismissal was the latest move in a highly publicized and increasingly bitter tussle over the rape allegations, pitting al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated government against its Sunni Arab critics. The public quarrel is fueling charges by the Sunnis that a Baghdad security crackdown was targeting Sunni neighborhoods and leaving unaffected Shiite areas harboring militias blamed for sectarian killings.

Al-Maliki has said the woman's allegations were being used by his critics to discredit the security forces and undermine the U.S.-Iraqi security sweep under way.

Al-Samaraie, the senior Sunni official, said in a statement Monday that the rape allegations offered what he called proof of the failure of the security push in Baghdad to protect the city's residents.

"The Sunni Endowment strongly denounces this horrific crime and lets out a cry for help from the international community and human rights organizations, demanding that they launch an immediate investigation into this crime," said the statement, signed by al-Samaraie.

Speaking to Al-Arabiyah television Wednesday, he said, "Many girls are raped but they refuse to appear in the media so as not to tarnish their reputations," he said. Later, he told Al-Jazeera: "We will continue to speak with courage and we will not fear anyone but God and I am not concerned about losing my job because the honor of Iraqi women is a thousand times more valuable than government jobs."

Also Wednesday, an Iraqi military spokesman suggested that the woman was helping Sunni insurgents in the western Baghdad Amil district where she lives, saying that security forces had more than once found her preparing large amounts of food during previous raids.

Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi said at a news conference the woman was questioned for only 15 minutes and that the house from which she was taken into custody had an "opening" that led to a small clinic where large amounts of medicines allegedly used to treat wounded "terrorists" were found.

He said the scandal surrounding the rape allegations was a result of coordinated efforts by groups inside and outside the country that were "known to be hostile to Iraq and its people," implying it was a publicity stunt engineered by critics of al-Maliki's government. First word of the rape allegations first came Sunday from parliament's largest Sunni Arab bloc, the National Accordance Front.

© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 19, 2007




Here are two stories about the WW II UFO that set L.A. into an 'Orson Wells'

frenzy...with good reason. For an excellent analysis, see For the Wiki whacky view see Wikipedia isn't quite the

'open-source' cyclopedia they'd like to see themselves as. Henry_Allen

According to reports in the Los Angeles Times, on Wednesday, February 25, 1942,

an unidentified craft hovered over the city of Los Angeles. This event, dubbed

the “Battle of Los Angeles,” was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of residents

of the area. Spotlights, intent on spotting Japanese aircraft, played over the

motionless craft. The military lobbed almost 2,000 rounds of high explosive

shells at the floating sphere. Unscathed, the hovering UFO leisurely moved off

to the south and disappeared over the ocean south of Long Beach. Six civilians

were killed, others injured -- the results of shells fragments.

(Not reported to the public was the recovery of two aircraft -- one off the

coast of California, the other in the San Bernardino Mountains -- which

according to secret intelligence sources were in all probability of

interplanetary origin. These findings were sent to President Roosevelt by

General George C. Marshall who subsequently ordered a "thorough investigation of

all War Department files regarding unconventional aerial phenomenon reprted

since 1897..." Courtesy Ryan S. Wood, MAJIC EYES ONLY)

The following day, the Los Angeles Times reported the incident on page one:

Below is an inside page from the Los Angeles Times, February 26, 1942.

No national media carried this story. For details go to: & MAJIC EYES ONLY by Ryan S. Wood

1942-Battle of Los Angeles
From Billy Booth -

Summary: It is very rare that among the annals of Ufology there should appear a

UFO case which involved military, yet is accompanied with actual photographic

proof. Such is the case of an event which took place over the Los Angeles area

on February 25, 1942. A giant UFO would actually hover over the city, and be

witnessed by hundreds of observers.

Pearl Harbor Scare: As America was gathering its senses after the shocking

attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, there was a heightened feeling of

insecurity and anxiousness. The skies were being watched as never before as a

giant UFO moved through California, alerting the military and civilian watchers

as well. This case is known as the "Battle of Los Angeles," and is one of the

most important cases in Ufology.

Surreal Sight: It would be early morning on February 2, 1942 when the incoming

craft sirens were first heard in the Los Angeles area. Many Americans were

expecting another wave of Japanese fighter planes, and thought this is what they

would see as they left their homes, and ventured outside. How wrong they were!

The first sightings of a large UFO would be made in Culver City, and Santa


A Total Blackout: Air Raid Wardens were ready to go at the first hint of an

invasion. But, this invasion would be something other than Japanese planes. The

giant hovering object was soon lit up by the gigantic spotlights of the Army's

37th Coast Artillery Brigade. Everyone who looked up was shocked by the sight of

the giant UFO sitting above their city. Military aircraft were sent to confront

the object.

UFO Takes Direct Hits: Because of a well-organized alert system, the whole

California southern section was searching the night skies in a matter of

minutes. What they saw were beaming searchlights illuminating the night sky, all

of them converging on one thing-a UFO. A similar scene would be repeated later

during the The Norwood Searchlight Incident albeit, on a smaller scale. The

beams of light would soon be accompanied by tracer fire from anti-aircraft

artillery, all of the rounds aiming at the invading craft. The giant UFO would

take direct hit after hit, yet without damage.

Hanging Magic Lantern: The 37th Brigade was relentless in its attempt to bring

down the large object, but found no success. The barrage of spent shells would

fall over the entire area-no place was safe this night. Many were injured, and

there were even reports of death from the falling shells. According to newspaper

reports, eyewitnesses described the sight of the UFO like a "surreal, hanging,

magic lantern."

Classic Photograph Taken: As the large UFO moved into more lighted areas, view

of the object became better. It moved directly over the MGM studios in Culver

City. Fortunately, an extremely good quality photograph was taken of the object

-beams attached, tracer fire visible. This photograph has become a classic UFO

photograph. The UFO would soon move over Long Beach before disappearing


Woman Air Raid Warden Gives Testimony: Woman Air Raid Warden Gives Testimony:

"It was huge! It was just enormous! And it was practically right over my house.

I had never seen anything like it in my life!" she said.

"It was just hovering there in the sky and hardly moving at all. It was a lovely

pale orange and about the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. I could see it

perfectly because it was very close. It was big!"

More Eyewitness Testimony: "They sent fighter planes up and I watched them in

groups approach it and then turn away. There were shooting at it but it didn't

seem to matter."

"It was like the Fourth of July but much louder. They were firing like crazy but

they couldn't touch it."

"I'll never forget what a magnificent sight it was. Just marvelous. And what a

gorgeous color!" she said

The Guns Fall Silent: The giant invading airship was now gone, and the citizenry

of the southern California area began to resume normal activities. This was an

extremely important event-one that will not be forgotten.

Only the news of the war kept this from becoming a major news event. This case

must have been in the mind of President Ronald Reagan when he warned us of an

"alien threat, from outside of our world."

Are we ready?