WorldNetDaily and Obama the Anti-Christ

WorldNetDaily carries an article explaining why Jesus may have warned that the anti-Christ would be named Barack Obama, based on a video found on YouTube:

His 4-minute video focuses on the direct quote: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)

…”When I started doing a little research, I found the Greek word for ‘lightning’ is ‘astrape’, and the Hebrew equivalent is ‘Baraq,'” said YouTube contributor “ppsimmons,” a self-described Christian with a theological education and many years in the ministry, who spoke to WND under condition of anonymity. “I thought that was fascinating.”

As he continued looking into the rest of the words in the phrase, he focused on “heaven,” and found that it can refer not just to God’s dwelling place, but also “the heights” or “high places.”

He then recalled Isaiah 14:14, where Lucifer, another name for Satan, is quoted as saying, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

“I wondered what the word ‘heights’ is,” said ppsimmons, “and I looked it up in the dictionary, and it’s ‘Bamah.'”

Thus, on the video, the announcer notes, “If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, He (Jesus) would say these words in Hebrew … ‘I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah.'”

The “U” slips in as a Hebrew “vav” construction, supposedly to link “lightning” and “heaven” to together.

Of course, this is yet another farrago of nonsense; as with Walid Shoebat’s crackpot exegesis of the Book of Revelation, this kind of re-interpretation is not warranted by any problem in the text, and it does violence to the context – Jesus in Luke 10:17-20 is clearly celebrating Satan’s fall in response to his disciples’ reports of their successes as exorcists.

In fact, the Greek word used in the verse from Luke translated as “Heaven” is “ouranos” (or “ouranou”, to keep the correct case ending). If one wanted to render this into Hebrew or Aramaic (which is not, by the way, “the most ancient form of Hebrew”), it would be more appropriate to use “shamayim” than “bamah”, notwithstanding Isaiah 14:14 (where the context has Lucifer (actually the King of Babylon) desiring to rise to somewhere beyond the “bamah”, anyway). Another difficulty is that the verb “fall” has been dropped from ppsimmon’s final version: it’s obvious that Satan is being compared to the physical phenomenon of lightning, as Satan supposedly falls from the sky. Or did Jesus mean to say “I saw Satan fall like Barack Obama”? What would that mean? As for the “vav” construction, those are attached to certain verbs rather than nouns, and they are not used to indicate the preposition “from” [see update below for more].

This particularly daft theory has actually been around for a year or so. This blog post attributes it to a certain “Hon. Dr. Rabbi Sollog Immanuel Adonai-Adoni”; he tries to address the “fall” issue by suggesting a mistranslation of a Hebrew phonetic rendering of the word for “sin”:

In Luke 10:18, in GREEK, Pipto is not used. The word is pesouta. This is probably a Greek phonetic usage of the Hebrew word. Like Satan is Hebrew and translated phonetically as a Hebrew word, it seems pesouta, a Hebrew word, was not correctly translated, since a Greek word NOT IN THE GREEK TEXT for “fall” is credited by scholars as being in the Satan is Barack (Lightning) verse.

The Hebrew root of pesouta is a word normally used to refer to a “transgression” or a sin

…So, Luke 10:18 is correctly translated as;  “Satan is like Lightning (Barack) and the Highest (Bama) heavenly rebellion/sin/transgression!!”

 Alas, however, the Greek word used in the New Testament is “pesonta” – “having falled” – not “pesouta”. And again, “fall” makes obvious sense in the context of the passage.

Sollog Immanuel Adonai-Adoni has a website here; he claims to to have the power of prophecy, and to be an expert in Kabbalah. A 1996 report by Howard Altman from the Philadelphia Citypaper names him as John Patrick Ennis and describes his efforts to defend himself in court from some criminal charges arising from drunkenness by declaring himself to be God:

When I got a call that SOLLOG was on the stand, I knew I had to go see him.

He was, after all, the guy I reported to the FBI for making bomb threats against me. He was the guy who sent me dozens of faxes explaining the link between the Oklahoma City bombing and every natural disaster from hurricanes to earthquakes.

I wasn’t SOLLOG’s only object of affection.

Last September, the feds busted SOLLOG for making threats against the president.

The Secret Service has no sense of humor about such things and dispatched agents to SOLLOG’s Society Hill Towers apartment to arrest him. Though the charges were dropped, SOLLOG was held because law enforcement officials found two outstanding warrants for SOLLOG’s arrest.

One was from Maricopa County, Arizona, where in 1987, SOLLOG admitted to selling obscene materials. He was put on probation, but violated it with an aggravated assault later that year. When SOLLOG left Arizona, authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.

…His first business, he said, was working for Arizona’s largest porn purveyor, Peeps, a family-owned venture.

“Sollog” has his own religion, called the Temple of Hayah.

Meanwhile, ppsimmons’ other videos can be seen here.

UPDATE: Some bloggers with better Biblical language skills than me add some other points. The Spyglass points out:

One, the plural of bamah in Isaiah 14:14—to which the person who did the video refers in order to justify his back-translation of bamah—is indeed bamatey; or better, b?m?tê, since the yodh there isn’t functioning as a consonant but rather as a vowel marker. (Actually, the root word should really be written b?mâ, since the closing h? isn’t really a consonant either, but also just a vowel marker.)…The word is never used to denote Heaven, the place where God dwells, however, and never would have been, since the primary meaning of b?mâ was a place of worship (the “high places” that the kings of Israel/Judah are criticized throughout the middle OT for not taking down); the word for “heights” that is used in this way is m?rôm. Besides, if Jesus had used b?mâ, we wouldn’t have to guess, since it actually passed into NT Greek in the form b?ma.

Plus:

It is incorrect to say that vav “is often transliterated as a ‘u’,” and still more incorrect to say that ‘o’ is a different transliteration used by “some scholars.” Rather, sometimes when the consonant vav is in the text, it’s serving as a “u,” and sometimes it’s serving as an “o.” However, this is different from the use of vav in the Hebrew conjunction, which is the prefix ve-.

…the closest to “Barack Obama” that Jesus could have spoken would have been something like kibaraq min-ubamatey.

UPDATE 2: Ppsimmons has now updated his report to a “more accurate” version. This revised edition  – in which the narrator sounds slightly impatient – contains a citation from Wikipedia about the relationship between Aramaic and Herbrew, and a section on the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8. In that parable, Jesus compares seeds that are snatched up by “birds of the sky” to the way Satan snatches away the Gospel. Ppsimmons reads this homely simile as cosmology, and because the parable uses “ouranos” for “sky”, this shows that “ouranos” is therefore the demonic realm. This is another failure –  it’s a PARABLE! If this story means that “ouranos” is literally the demonic realm, then Satan and demons are literally birds! As in English, “ouranos” as “heaven” can mean either the sky or a spiritual realm – in Luke 8 it’s clearly “sky” in a natural sense, in Luke 10 a somewhat obscure mixture of the two. Of course, Paul also saw Satan as living in the air, but in Ephesians he uses “aeros” to express this, not “ouranos”.

As to the problem with his understanding of the use of “vav” – ppsimmons solves that by removing any reference to it in his revision. Instead, he is content to note that “Barack” has a phonetic similarity to the Hebrew for “lightning”, and that Jesus might or might not have used the word “Bamah” in the same sentence.

UPDATE 3: Elsewhere, ppsimmons exhorts us:

This is UNBELIEVABLE! Yet…documented, verified and TRUE! You have got to watch this film and forward it to everyone you know! This will blow you away! Obama, The Lottery and 666. It cannot be debated – the facts are documented…now we simply wait and see. Is he really the antichrist? You will also want to watch these films on youtube 1. Is Obama a Muslim or Arab? 2. Obama the Renegade 3. Is Obama the Antichrist? 4. OBAMA – The ONLY One 5. Obama – A Catalogue of Blasphemies! 6. Revelation is Happening Now!

UPDATE 4: “ppsimmons” apparently produced the video on behalf of Carl Gallups, pastor of  Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Florida.

Meet Omar Hamza Jenvey

Glen Jenvey

Dismay at Pipeline News, as editor William Mayer ponders the Muslim Formerly Known As Glen Jenvey:

“Please don’t call me Glen, my name is Omar Hamza Jenvey now, and I am a Muslim, ” said the former Glen Jenvey, renown in counter-terrorism circles as the man who put Abu Hamza al-Masri [the former imam of the UK’s most radical Muslim house of worship, the North London Finsbury mosque] behind bars.

I initiated the call, despite a sense of dread that the rumor circulating within jihadi chat rooms, that Glen had switched sides in the epic battle between the West and the world of radical Islam, was true.

I now believe it is, and that Jenvey, through a complex and confusing process has turned his back on everything for which he once so brilliantly fought.

…Jenvey told me that he had taken the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith over the phone on the 16th of July, late in the evening, while talking to the most dangerous Muslim radical now in the UK, Anjem Choudary, a disciple of Bakri’s.

…One of the last things Jenvey told me was that he “was a peaceful man.”

Given the transformation he has gone through, his obvious rage at segments of a society which he feels has shunned him and now with the revelation that he has withdrawn his testimony and evidence in the Hamza matter, protecting a key disciple of violent jihad, I disagree.

Jenvey is a traitor plain and simple and at this stage in his life his new found Islamism makes him…capable of untold damage.

Be so advised.

Mayer is so far the only right-wing “anti-jihadi” to have commented on Jenvey’s conversion to Islam; Jenvey’s other ex-allies are all studiously ignoring the subject – including Paul Ray, who wrote in defence of Jenvey when evidence emerged linking him to bogus extremist postings to Muslim websites. Jenvey used these bogus postings to generate stories about Islamic extremism in British tabloids, but several months ago exposure led to the Sun being forced to remove a prominent story from its website. The nadir was reached in May, when a Daily Mail article made a passing reference to Jenvey as “accused by several newspapers of fabricating stories about Islamic extremism” in a story about anti-Muslim protests in Luton. Jenvey responded to this with a disturbing video (since removed) threatening possible suicide by self-immolation outside the Daily Mail‘s offices. Mayer tells us Jenvey says he was also being “hounded and threatened with lawsuits”.

Jenvey claims that the withdrawal of his evidence against Abu Hamza will lead to the collapse of the Hamza case. According to Mayer:

He said he had some very damaging information that might undermine pending UK and U.S. terror cases, but said he wouldn’t be specific because he said that he knew what I would do with it.

Elsewhere, Jenvey explains that:

TALK’S BETWEEN BOTH SIDES NEED TO HAPPEN FOR THERE TO BE A SAFE WORLD FOR OUR CHILDREN: THIS IS MY PERSONAL VIEW ON MY RESEARCH

In particular, he claims that his call for Abu Hamza to be released from prison in the UK inspired Omar Bakri Mohammed to call for the release of a British man, Peter Moore, currently being held hostage by extremists in Iraq:

I was talking with Sheikh Omar Bakri who agree’s we live in a big world and its unfair to see civillian hostage taken.

However, Jenvey has not so far made any comments repudiating the bogus postings he made in the name of “Abu Islam” and other aliases to generate stories of Islamic extremism, nor has he said anything about his acts of harrassment against Tim Ireland, the blogger who first drew attention to all this. Indeed, it seems that the media’s unwillingness to believe his side of the story is what prompted his conversion.

In another article, Jenvey hints at the reason the Mail linked him to the protests in Luton:

The Daily Mail were un-ware in their badly researched story I was under cover collecting information for a British MP and Newspaper for them to pass on to the police to stop public disorder offences from Feb 2009

The MP was Patrick Mercer – as Tim Ireland has shown, Jenvey has (or had) a link to him through Michael Starkey, a university lecturer whose brother Sir John Starkey sits on Patrick Mercer’s constituency executive committee. If the above is supposed to explain why Jenvey had Facebook links to two of the Luton protestors (which was why the Mail included him in its story), then surely this is a betrayal of Paul Ray?

In the same piece, Jenvey also writes that:

over the years i have worked along side several intelligence services and will be sharing this secret info with my friends and Muslim Brother.

That could perhaps get Jenvey arrested – if there is any truth to it.

In his most recent statement, Jenvey calls for Muslim countries to eschew the American dollar:

We call on all Muslim country’s to stop selling Oil in dollar’s and it to be brought in another currency i.e. gold or the Euro which is not controlled by America and it’s supporters of war against the Muslim’s in Palestine. if the leader’s of the Arab World hear this call and switch their money trading in the Middle-east to another form over night the American Dollar will be worthless.

We the under signed ask all Muslim’s and non Muslim’s to reject another round of peace talk’s controlled by Israel and America and make the USA $ Dollar worthless like their false claims for justice and peace for Muslim’s in Palestine

We ask for freedom and justice on all side’s and understanding and demand security for the Palestine people and any leaders in the Arab world who do not sign or support this peaceful protest should consider their self’s in support of violence.

Quite remarkable for a man who back in 2002 promoted a statement on his website declaring that:

There is no such thing as a ‘Palestinian.’ There never was. It is a PR fiction, a Madison Avenue fantasy. There is no ‘intifada,’ El Aksa or otherwise. There is a Philistine Authority Pogrom, both against Jews and Arabs, by Arafat and his thugs…Israel belongs to the Jews – because Allah gave that land to them – why, because the Philistines won’t act like decent human beings – and only decent humans deserve their own country. If the Philistines don’t like it, they should just find somewhere else to live…

(NB: Some of Jenvey’s statements posted to International Analyst Network have been removed from public view. However, they have been reposted here)

Scene Showing Orthodox Defacement of Parthenon Cut from Museum Film

From the AP:

A scene from an animated film shown to visitors at the new Acropolis Museum that depicts Christian priests destroying parts of the Parthenon has been deleted following protests by the Greek Orthodox Church. The creator of the segment, Greek-born French filmmaker Constantin Costa-Gavras, has demanded that his name be taken off the film credits in protest.

The film is a computer-generated short showing the vicissitudes endured by the Parthenon over the centuries. We see the famous explosion of 1687 and the looting of the relief sculpture by Lord Elgin – but there’s also a few seconds (at 1:36) showing an earlier period, when Orthodox Christians defaced the sculpture as part of the process of converting the building into a church. Given the significance of the Parthenon to Greek nationalism – and continued annoyance in Greece at British justifications for not returning the sculptures on grounds of preservation – the Orthodox Church would doubtless rather this point were glossed over. However, the Church denies that any protest was made, just that the film was discussed at the Holy Synod. Culture Minister Antonis Samaras then made the decision to cut the film; the museum’s director, Dimitris Pantermalis, initially defended the scene, but – emulating the building itself – he eventually crumbled:

Pantermalis later released a statement defending the cuts in the film as “an effort to eliminate misunderstanding and not censorship at all.”

Samaras has been Culture Minister since January; according to Balkan Insight:

Samaras has long been a hardliner on the “Macedonian Question” and other Greek national issues, and was publicly behind the idea of an “Orthodox axis” in the Balkans during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

Mary Beard’s book The Parthenon relates (p. 55):

At the sacred east end, the scene of the birth of Athena would hardly have suited the new church and was promptly removed from the pediment. The old metope panels presented a trickier problem. It would have required a major demolition to take them down, so along most of three sides of the building they were systematically defaced, hacked away until their subjects were unrecognisable.

Other sculpture survived, perhaps because it was difficult to see or because it could be given a Christian or secular interpretation. The figures depicted in the film may or may not be priests, but the defacement would almost certainly have had official church approval.

Costa-Gavras’ outraged reaction to the cut was to be expected; his film Z is set in a fictional European dictatorship loosely based on Greece under the Colonels, and ends with a news report of various characters being killed or imprisoned, followed by a long list of authors and cultural expressions banned by the regime:

(Hat tip: Bill Weinberg. First video via GRReporter)

More on “Anti-Islamic Extremist” Protestors in UK

This month’s issue of Searchlight (410, August) carries an article about the various nationalist groups which have been holding “anti-Islamic extremist” protests in  British cities (a subject I have blogged a number of times). The article adds a bit of backstory, noting that the “United British Alliance” and “March for England” used to protest outside Finsbury Park mosque during the period when it was under the control of the extremist Abu Hamza:

These encounters were overwhelmingly non-violent, except when the National Front (NF) turned up and were driven away by the UBA and MFE.

The UBA and MFE appeared to draw large numbers of young men including some black people and even a couple of Jewish football supporters from Surrey. Many were former soldiers and former football hooligans. They were frighteningly disciplined. Hundreds marched to the Regents Park mosque in that period.

The article also considers the involvement of the far-right in the current protests. The groups have been at pains to distinguish themselves from the far-right and to stress that they reject racism, but at the same time the far-right is doubtless considering how the situation can be used to its advantage. The weak link is anti-Muslim blogger Paul Ray, who has written some positive words on the BNP – he takes the view that BNP is doing God’s work, and that God will guide the party away from racial politics to anti-Muslim nationalism. Ray has played a role in organising protests in Luton, and the report notes that he has been

attracting interest from Chris Renton, a BNP activist from Weston-super-Mare, and several other BNP activists from around the country including Marlene Guest from Rotherham…

Unfortunately we’re not told what that “interest” means in practical terms, although Renton helped Ray to set up a websiteSearchlight tells us that some National Front characters took part in the protest in Luton on 13 April (which I blogged here) and there were “familiar faces from the pro-nazi football crews from the time when the nazi terror group Combat 18 was active in the 1990s”. It should, though, be noted that an anti-NF banner featured prominently at this protest. Of course, it is generally the case that organisers of protests cannot prevent unsavory elements from showing up.

Moving on to the recent protest in Birmingham (blogged here), we’re told of the presence of

Mike Heaton, “Wigan Mike”, the violent leader of the small but crazy British Freedom Fighters…

We’re also told that the BNP’s Martyn Page (photographed giving a Nazi salute) is planning to bring “some heavy lads from his area” to Luton on 30 August.

Searchlight also notes that

Separate from the MFE and UBA are the English and Welsh Defence League (EWDL) and Casuals United, run by the Welsh hooligan Jeff Marsh. They all used to work together until recently when Ray turned against Dave Smeeton, leader of the MFE.

I blogged on Marsh’s background here. The background to this split is not explained, although Smeeton has left a comment on this blog encouraging me to “dig a bit futher” on the subject of Ray . The EWDL was present at the second protest in Luton (see here) which saw protestors in masks and some violence.

Writing on his blog on 19 July, Ray has now distanced himself from “Casuals United”:

People following my blog will know that I have recently been working with the English & Welsh Defence League protest groups that have been initially filled with members of ‘Casuals United’.

I have decided that the way the protests are being led is not in line with how I personally, feel they should be, Because of this, I will not be supporting any upcoming ‘Casuals United’ protests, which includes the Birmingham one on 8th August.

…If those groups that would make up the English Defence League want to stand under that banner then please make people aware of your thoughts. The initial ‘start up’ EDL leadership had an important meeting in London yesterday with an influential group of people, so the foundation to create a professional, credible and organised ‘street movement’ for our country is in place.

Ray has registered a new website to replace his blog (edlchronicles.com), although it’s not up yet. The link to the “important meeting” takes us to a post written by a certain Guy Leven-Torres, which includes the following

Yesterday I met the leaders of the English Defence League who also intend to take to the streets in peaceful protest…

So there is hope after all…it seems?

…Anybody care to join ‘A FEW’………?

This is the only way out! And if and when St Crispin’s Day arrives, where will you be? Abed or with us, The Happy Few- A Band of Brothers! On the streets taking our land and culture back?

Leven-Torres has several rather over-heated and interminable websites (here, here, and here, plus a defunct site here) – he is the member of the English Democrats and is a former academic, specialising in the archaeology of Roman Britain.

Ray has also posted several videos, which he tells us were “first published” in 2008 but which have appeared on YouTube only recently. In these, he cobbles together a mystical nationalism drawing on Crusaders, King Arthur, and a somewhat dubious grasp of British history; this kind of romantic medievalism is widely popular among “anti-jihadi” posters to YouTube and other forums. In one of these videos, he tells us that:

The British Isles is an ancient kingdom with much history and culture because of our peoples toil over the generations, with Royal heirs sitting upon the “Throne of England” throughout. Today is no different!/ Way back in history there were Knights who sat around a round table to defend the Kingdom to which they belonged! For God and Country “Never” shall this Kingdom fall/ God fearing men devoted to the service of their God and their Sovereign Ruler in defence of all they held dear, “The Realm in which they belonged”/ These Knights served under King Arthur who left a legend behind that has spanned the generations upon these shores/ The legend speaks of a time in the future when the Kingdom is in the greatest of perils. “That time is now”/ The legend says that another King anointed by God would arise and lead his Kingdom and people to “Victory”. Prince William has just been anointed the 1000th Royal Knight of the Garter/ Not only that, God has blessed the Kingdom with two anointed leaders, “Prince Harry the humble hero”/ The Realm in which we belong is in great shape for whatever the perils that are befalling it. Islam will never conquer this Christian land/ OUR enemies are also those from amongst us who are seeking to destroy OUR Ancient Realm/ The Liberal Left-Wing facilitators of the Islamic Kingdom of Great Britain are also our enemies. They encourage it, feed it, nurture it and pass laws to protect it/…I would say that the small cabal in Government that controls the State are enemies of the Monarchy and the people…/ OUR Royal Family know the threats that we all face that endangers the Ancient Realms in which we live. Let us “Hope & Pray” that they stand with their people/ Revival & Revolution is in the air. God is calling forth an army of Royalists from throughout the land. Are you one of them?

All this is illustrated with screenshots of Islamic extremists and news stories, a photo of Gordon Brown captioned “Treason”, and pictures of the Queen and Princes William and Harry; Prince Charles does not feature anywhere besides in one group Royal Family picture, and the omission is almost certainly deliberate (see this picture for a clue why).

Buddhist Background of Virginia Democratic Electorial Candidate

(Corrected version, see comment here)

The Staunton News Leader has run several articles about the Buddhist beliefs of Erik Curren, Democratic electorial candidate in Virginia:

It ruffled his feathers when Augusta County Supervisor Tracy Pyles learned Erik Curren, who’s running for 20th District House of Delegates, considers himself a Buddhist as well as a Christian.

Pyles made waves Monday when he initially endorsed Curren but then spontaneously backed off, saying he has reservations about endorsing the Democratic candidate because of his faith.

“I don’t see this district electing a Buddhist,” he said.

Curren attends a Methodist Church – he is quoted as saying that “I am moved by stories from the New Testament and by the revered music of the church, from rousing hymns to haunting spirituals”. However, he is also a regular meditator and the author of a book entitled Buddha’s Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today; this volume used to have an official website, which has since been removed but can be seen here via Wayback. According to the book’s preface (which has also been posted here):

This book is a history of a dispute among the highest lamas with roots centuries in the past and a present of deep shame. It is a dispute over the identity of a lama called the Karmapa.

I have been a student of Buddhism for a decade. I was inspired by this ancient path’s time-tested methods to escape suffering, and by the example of compassionate living offered by Tibetan lamas. A few years ago, when I first heard how spiritual leaders who stand for love, peace, and nonviolence had behaved in this dispute I was shocked and disillusioned.

…For the past three years, I have been a student of one of the main lamas involved in the controversy, Shamar Rinpoche. Thus I cannot claim to be a disinterested outsider. Shamar even suggested that I write this book.

…Two young men are at the center of our story, and both of them claim to be the Karmapa. The four most recent books on the subject all refer to one of the young men as “the Karmapa” while calling the other by his enthronement name, the equivalent of a personal name. Here, I begin from the premise of an authentic controversy, so I do not presume to know which candidate is the genuine reincarnate. Accordingly, I do not call either candidate “the Karmapa.” Instead, I refer to each young lama by his enthronement name. I hope this will make for a fairer presentation that is also clearer for the reader.

Further details are provided in the book’s introduction (which can also be seen here):

In the twelfth century, the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa predicted that he would return to teach his students and manage his monastery in his next lifetime…When the highest lamas fled Tibet along with nearly a hundred thousand refugees from Chinese rule in 1959, the lamas re-established their monasteries in exile. The sixteenth Karmapa built the monastery of Rumtek in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim, which became a state of India in 1975.

After the sixteenth Karmapa died in 1981, the lamas who ran Rumtek clashed with other lamas from the Karmapa’s Karma Kagyu school of Buddhism over finding his reincarnation, the seventeenth Karmapa. In 1992, two high-ranking lamas enthroned a boy of their choosing in Tibet. Their boy was also supported by the Dalai Lama, and, surprisingly, the Chinese government as well. Back in Sikkim, with the help of local state police and paramilitary forces, these lamas and their followers took over Rumtek monastery in 1993. In 1994, another prominent lama, the nephew of the deceased Karmapa and the lama whose predecessors had chosen the highest number of Karmapas in past centuries installed his own boy in India. Thus began a struggle over the identity of the seventeenth Karmapa that continues to the present day.

Shamar Rinpoche supports Trinley Thaye Dorje, whose website is here, while the rival Karmapa is Ogyen Trinley Dorje, whose website is here. Access to the actual monastery – despite the impression given on Ogyen Trinley’s site – is currently mired in a legal dispute (thanks to a commentator for pointing that out). One book on the controversy, Lea Tehune’s Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation (published by Wisdom Publications), resulted in a defamation suit brought by Shamar Rinpoche in India in 2004. It has been suggested that Ogyen Trinley, having been recognised by both the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government, may be in a good position to succeed the Dalai Lama as the Tibetan national figurehead.

Dodgy reincarnations are a problem for Tibetan Buddhism; most infamously, due to Chinese government intervention there are two Panchen lamas (one of whom has been under arrest since childhood), and in 1997 there was much scoffing when Steven Seagal was declared to be the reincarnation of Chungdrag Dorje, the “Treasure Revealer” of Palyul Monastery. And just a few weeks ago, the supposed reincartion of Lama Thubten Yeshe, a young Spanish man named Osel Hita Torres, apparently rejected his monastic destiny, complaining of a blighted childhood. Back in in the eighteenth century the Sixth Dalai Lama was a major headache, as scholar Paul Williams has described:

Not only did he refuse to take full monastic vows, but he returned the novice vows he had already taken. From now on, he decided, the Dalai Lama would be a layman. And have fun.

Tsangyang Gyatso dressed flamboyantly, roamed the streets and brothels, drank alcohol publicly, engaged in archery competitions and enjoyed pranks with his friends. He even wrote erotic poetry. Could the Sixth Dalai Lama really be a reincarnation of the Great Fifth? It seems many felt he wasn’t, and Tsangyang Gyatso was soon deposed.

Curren’s teacher Shamar Rinpoche has an official website; it tells us that

…in 1996 he started to organize the Bodhi Path Buddhist Centers, a network of centers based on a non-sectarian approach to Buddhism. The curriculum of Bodhi Path centers is grounded in the teachings of the 11th century Indian Buddhist master Atisha, as they were transmitted by Gampopa. Atisha’s methods are the most effective for taming the mind and deepening wisdom, and in addition can be taught and employed in a secular way.

He also writes on political theory:

Creating a Transparent Democracy: a New Model, the first book written about democracy by a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, lays out a framework for establishing a genuine democratic system of governance that promotes the welfare and prosperity of a population. This model proposes a system of democracy based on the decentralization of political power, the promotion of political literacy among the population of democratic states, and an end to campaigning. It is Shamar Rinpoche’s wish that this new model of democracy will inspire volunteers to dedicate themselves to improving the lives of their fellow citizens through sincere engagement with the structures of their governments.

Curren Buddha's Not Smiling

(Hat tip: Get Religion)

Catherine Acholonu: Igbo Traditions Reveal Ancient “Genetic Engineering”

Also: accuses me of racism

Prof. Catherine Acholonu has a new book out: They Lived Before Adam: Prehistoric Origins of the Igbo The Never-Been-Ruled. Acholonu is Nigeria’s Country Ambassador for the UN Forum of Arts and Culture (UNFAC), and according to this profile:

The UNFAC team of culture researchers- linguists, anthropologists, historians, IT specialists, folklorists – led by Prof. Acholonu, are conducting research aimed at unearthing the hidden meanings of ancient Nigerian rock art/inscriptions known as Ikom Monoliths of Cross River State, which thanks to Acholonu’s research findings and nomination application, have now been listed by the World Monument Fund in its 2008 list of 100 Most Endangered Sites as “a ancient form of writing and visual communication … dating before 2000 B.C.” Acholonu is seeking international support and funding for her monoliths research by which she has proved that Sub-Saharan African Blacks possessed an organized system of writing before 2000 B.C. (more than 4000 years ago) and a Pre-History recorded on 350 stones which she and her team of researchers are now  transcribing and translating. (See The Gram Code of African Adam, the first in a series on the monoliths research.) She believes that the contents of these stone records will prove that Black Africans were the midwives of human civilization, and will change human history as we know it.

The inflated claim in the last sentence should set off alarm bells, and here she is in full flow on C-SPAN’s BookTV, speaking recently at the Harlem Book Fair:

Our research includes the origin and meanings of symbols used in every religion and sacred literature all over the world. In these, we found that the Hebrew Bible, the Kabbalahs of the Hebrews and the Chinese, the Hindu Vedas and Ramayana, and the recently discovered Egyptian Crystal Bible called the Nag Hammadi are of immense importance in revealing lost knowledge. Wherever we looked we found evidence confirming the claims by geneticists who have been conducting mitochondrial DNA research in four leading universities here in the USA that all mankind came from sub-Saharan Africa, that Eve and Adam were black Africans.

…Igbo oral traditions confirm the findings of geneticists, that by 208000BC – 208000 BC – human evolution was interrupted and Adam, a hybrid, was created through the process of genetic engineering. However, our findings reveal that the creation of Adam was a downward climb on the evolutionary ladder, because he lost his divine essence, he became divided, no longer whole, or wholesome. All over Africa and in ancient Egyptian reports, oral and written traditions maintain that homo erectus people were heavenly beings, and possessed mystical powers such as telepathy, levitation, bi-location, that their words could move rocks and mountains and change the course of rivers. Adam lost all that when his right brain was shut down.

Listening to that is enough to shut down both sides of the brain. It’s all nonsense, of course – the texts she cites contain no “lost knowledge”, and her description of the Nag Hammadi library (Nag Hammadi is the name of a place) as the “Egyptian Crystal Bible” is simply bizarre. The concept of “Chinese Kabbalah” can be found in a couple of dusty tomes about Freemasonry, but the term has no sensible academic application. The “lost knowledge” she has supposedly discovered is just the latest formulation in a long tradition of pseudo-scientific and mystical speculations that feed parasitically off scientific work. The purpose of all this is apparently to show that the Igbo of Nigeria are the true “kings and queens of the earth”.

Remarkably, as well being broadcast by C-SPAN, this farrago was also recently presented at an Igbo Studies Association conference at Howard University; her speech there can be seen here. It’s more of the same:

Leaning on Archaeology, Linguistics, Historical, Anthropological and Paleontological sources, but also using Igbo, Yoruba and Benin Oral Traditions (for all these peoples are related), Biblical and extra-Biblical sources such as the Hebrew and Chinese Cabbalas, our researchers trace the presence of Igbo-speaking, ichi-bearing god-men world civilizers all the way from the ancient Nok region of Nigeria, to the Sahara Desert of North Africa and  to Pre- and Post-Deluge civilizations around the world, all the way to Egypt, China, India, Greece, Babylon, Assyria, Palestine, etc.; their Pre-Deluge connections to the lost continent of Atlantis where the Igbo language was also spoken; their contributions to the shaping of Hebrew culture, Judaism, the Cabbala and ultimately, Christianity; and their role in ancient Egypt in shaping world Democracy and Philosophy as inventors, architects, philosophers and masterminds of Theocracy and of the egalitarian society known in Greece and the world over as Democracy. Indeed Ndi Igbo have never ceased to be world travelers. As they populate the remotest parts of the planet today, so have they done since at least 500,000 B. C.

However, she doesn’t react well to criticism; I blogged about her previous book Garamma: Stone writings of African Adam in 2005, and her response has been to assert that I am a racist:

Dear Bartolomew and co,
I promised you I would be on C-Span on the 18th of July, 2009 to discuss my latest book and discoveries – the sequel to The Gram Code of African Adam which you have been insulting and casting racist slurs at. Well my lecture came up on the 17th but was out on U-Tube by the 18th. You can obtain copies of the lecture on C-Span Online Library and you can watch part of it on The Daily Beast U-Tube site.

Clearly, the civilized world is listening, Bartolomew. Hardly anyone is still jumping around in the jungle of human error thinking racist thoughts like you and your KKK-sounding kind..

For someone who has many tuning into your site, you would do your image a world of good by coming out of your 10th Century fixation with racial stratification of the human intellect. We would be glad to welcome you into the 21st Century.

Of course I’m not a racist – I’ve written against racism numerous times on this blog, and I’ve been proud to carry a guest-post by the Nigerian intellectual Leo Igwe.  Acholonu’s theory is a grandiose fantasy, and it would be patronising to say otherwise. It’s rather pathetic to see someone who wants to be taken seriously hiding behind a bogus accusation of this kind.

Acholonu’s complete C-SPAN talk can be seen here. I’ve also blogged on a religious movement in the UK that uses Igbo identity – see here.

They Lived Before Adam

The Awful Disclosures of Avraham Sinai

Strange news in Haaretz:

The Pope and the cardinals of the Vatican help organize tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to wipe out Jews, according to a booklet being distributed to Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

Officials encouraging the booklet’s distribution include senior officers, such as Lt. Col. Tamir Shalom, the commander of the Nahshon Battalion of the Kfir Brigade. The booklet was published by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, in cooperation with the chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, and has been distributed for the past few months.

The booklet, titled “On Either Side of the Border,” purports to be the testimony of “a Hezbollah officer who spied for Israel…The story is narrated by a man named Avi, who says he changed his name from Ibrahim after he left Hezbollah and converted to Judaism.”

According to the book, Nasrallah was invited to join a delegation to tour France, Poland and Italy, including the Vatican. Nasrallah could not refuse an invitation from the Vatican, Avi explained: “We knew [the Pope] identified with Hezbollah’s struggle.”

The book describes the alleged visit of Hezbollah officials to Auschwitz, led by the Vatican: “We came to the camps. We saw the trains, the platforms, the piles of eyeglasses and clothes … We came to learn … Our escort spoke as he was taught. We quickly explained to him: Every real Arab, deep inside, is kind of a fan of the Nazis.”

Failed Messiah notes that one version of the story appeared in English on Vos Iz Neias in May, derived from an ultra-Orthodox publication; this source does not mention the trip to Auschwitz, but it does tell us that Avi

was in a group of high-ranking Hizbollah leaders who had just returned from a meeting with the Vatican at the request of the Pope.( At the meeting, the Pope had encouraged their operations against Israel.)

A reader at Tikun Olam cross-references the story of Avi with a 2006 report in Y-Net about a certain Avraham Sinai:

Only the pita bread and the labeneh hint at the past of this ultra-Orthodox family from Safed, at its former life in Lebanon in the shadow of the Israel-Hizbullah war. Sinai has published a book about his road from Lebanon to Judaism, A Martyr from Lebanon: Life in the Shadow of Danger.

…After fulfilling his dream and moving to Safed, Sinai decided that the time had come to convert to Judaism. “I told my wife that after all these things I’d gone through in Lebanon, I’d reached the conclusion that the truth is in Judaism.” A senior officer introduced him to Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who began the conversion process with him.

Sinai moved to Safed in 1997, and Hezbollah did not come into existence until the 1980s, so the pope who arranged the visit must have been John Paul II. Here’s what the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America wrote in 2005, when John Paul died:

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America notes with great sadness the passing of Pope John Paul II.  The historic and landmark contributions that he made to Catholic-Jewish relations were pioneering and invaluable….Pope John Paul II was the first pope to visit a synagogue, in April of 1986, as he visited the Orthodox Synagogue in Rome.  The Jewish community had long called for diplomatic relations between Israel and the Holy See and in 1993-1994 Pope John Paul II announced formalization of these relations.  He made constant references to the memory of the Shoah (the Holocaust) and called the twentieth century “The century of the Shoah,” so that the tragedy will never be repeated again.  The Pope’ visceral reaction to the Holocaust was made evident by his visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, in Israel.  Moreover, he was the first Pope to visit the President of Israel at his residence and the Chief Rabbis of Israel at the Rabbinate.

The IDF is not the only army where religious extremists have been seeking to spread paranoia: in the USA, military chaplains have had a free hand to promote “New World Order” conspiracy theories, including the claim that globalists are seeking to destroy “the racial order”.

(Hat tips: Tikun Olam and Jews Sans Frontieres)

Holocaust Deception: Further Explanation

Following my previous blog entry, Adnan Oktar’s lawyer has got back to be with an explanation about the origins of the book Holocaust Deception. This book has been attributed to Oktar’s pen-name Harun Yahya, and at one point it was listed on his website. However, Oktar denies he wrote it, and instead directs us to another book, entitled Holocaust Violence, which affirms the reality of the Holocaust. Otkar has explained in interviews that his friend Nuri Özbudak wrote Holocaust Deception and used his pen-name without his permission, and that it is not available.

This raised the question as to why Otkar would describe Özbudak as his “friend”, and why Özbudak continues to be associated with his “Science Research Foundation”. Further, having had a chance to look at both books (Holocaust Violence is available from the Harun Yahya website, while a bootleg of Holocaust Deception has shown up on Scribd), I could see that they have very similar covers and some overlapping content of common authorship.

Otkar’s lawyer has responded to these difficulties: he tells me that Otkar uses a number of research assistants, and that materials prepared for Holocaust Violence were misinterpreted by Özbudak in order to create Holocaust Deception. However, when Özbudak was confronted with his mistake, he admitted to being in the wrong, which is why he remains a friend to Otkar and a member of the Foundation.

So, it seems that Holocaust Deception came into existence only because one of Otkar’s deputies took it upon himself to publish a book promoting Holocaust denial in his boss’s name without running it past him first to make sure that was acceptable. It’s still unclear when exactly the blunder came to light; it should be recalled that soon after publication,  Özbudak attempted to sue the Turkish painter and intellectual Bedri Baykam over a newspaper article attacking the book – a curious course of action for someone who had repented of writing it, although he reportedly withdrew his suit in March 1997. Michael Hopkins saw the book listed in Turkish and English as “Soykirim Yalani (The Holocaust Hoax)” on the Harun Yahya website as late as 2001; doubtless this was another unfortunate mistake that had nothing to do with Otkar.

Who Wrote The Holocaust Deception?

UPDATE: See here.

A few days ago I wrote a blog entry on Adnan Oktar, the prolific Turkish author who recently met some Israelis from the self-styled “Sanhedrin”. I noted that Oktar, who uses the pen name Harun Yahya, had previously written a book called The Holocaust Deception; an email has now arrived from Yahya’s lawyer Ceyhun Gokdogan, informing me that the book was in fact “written and published by another person, Nuri Ozbudak, under the name of Harun Yahya. This person has already admitted to have done so by signing a document approved by notary public”. The document is attached to the email.

In 1998 the website Antisemitism and Xenophobia Today recorded that

…Controversy over the book ‘Holocaust Lie – The Inside Story of the Secret History of the Zionist-Nazi Co-operation and the Lie about Jewish Genocide’ continues to attract media attention. In March 1996 Bedri Baykam, a prominent painter and intellectual, published a critique of the book in the Ankara daily Siyah Beyaz (Black and White). Baykam was subsequently sued for slander by Nuri Özbudak, who claims to have written the book under the pseudonym of Harun Yahya. At the trial Baykam exposed the real author as Adnan Oktar (i.e. Adnan Hodja), leader of the Islamist group Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (see Parties, organnizations, movements). In March 1997, however, Özbudak withdrew the case.

This is confusing; it is no secret that Oktar uses the Harun Yahya pseudonym, so how could Oktar have been “exposed” as “the real author”? In a more recent interview with Spiegel Online, Oktar asserts that

Dieses Buch ist nicht von mir, es stammt von einem meiner Freunde, Nuri Özbudak. Er hat seine eigenen Essays unter diesem Titel veröffentlicht. Später haben wir dagegen protestiert, ein Notar hat die Fakten klargestellt. Ich habe nicht gegen den Autoren geklagt, aber gegen die Benutzung meines Namens protestiert. Mein eigenes Buch zu diesem Thema habe ich später veröffentlicht.

This has been translated here:

Oktar: That book wasn’t by me, it was by one of my friends, Nuri Özbudak. He published his own essays under that title. We protested about it later, and a Notary Public clarified the facts. My complaint wasn’t against the author himself, it was against the use of my name. My own book on this subject was published later.

This is also odd: if someone published some essays denying the Holocaust in a way that seemed that I had done it, I would hardly call such a person “my friend”. And I’d have a serious problem with “the author himself”, not just the use of my name.

Holocaust Deception is also discussed in an article posted to Talk Origins by Michael Hopkins in 2003. Hopkins also received an email, which stated that:

I am writing to you from Istanbul, Turkey on behalf of Harun Yahya. I am a regular visitor of TalkOrigins.org and I saw your web page recently. I want to draw your attention to a mistake about Harun Yahya in your review of the SRF in Istanbul. Harun Yahya does not deny the reality of the Holocaust but denounces it. He has a very well known website visited and appreciated by many Jews and people of other faiths called islamdenouncesantisemitism.com. The real version of his book titled The Violence of the Holocaust is enclosed for your reference (Unfortunately it is in Turkish and has not been prepared in English yet). The book posted at http://www.noontidepress.com/catalog/0247.html has not been published and will not be published. I will be very pleased if you correct this information on your website and let us know.

That creates other problems; the book was certainly published, as the Holocaust-denying Institute of Historical Review specfically praised it is as an “attractively laid out volume, with numerous photographs, nine pages of source reference notes, an eight-page bibliography, and a good index” in a review in 1997. Further, Hopkins notes that in 2001 Yahya’s website listed among books available though his foundation, in Turkish and English, “Soykirim Yalani (The Holocaust Hoax),” and that Soykirim Yalani is cited by him in a couple of other books. I also found a cover image on Scribd.

Holocaust Violence takes a different position from Holocaust Deception; here, Yahya indeed asserts that the Holocaust is true – apparently Charles Darwin is to blame for it. However, the covers of the two books are very similar, and there is some overlap of content. Chapter One of Holocaust Deception is entitled “The Untold Story of the Nazi-Zionist Collaboration”, while Chapter One of Holocaust Violence is “The Untold Story of the Nazi-Radical Zionist Collaboration”; most of the sub-headings are the same, although “Zionism” has throughout become “Radical Zionism”, and some other sections are the same. The Holocaust denial material has been replaced with anti-evolutionist screeds, but clearly parts of both books have a common authorship.

And anyway, even if Özbudak is the true author, he’s also a member of Otkar’s “Science Research Foundation”, as can be seen here. Why does Otkar associate with such a person? I would have thought that would be just as problematic for the “Sanhedrin”.

Yahya Holocaust Books

Claim: Oklahoma Government Officials to Lobby “Top People in Israel” on Behalf of Copper Scroll Treasure-Hunter

Jim West notes that Jim Barfield is in the process of re-designing his webpage, which now welcomes visitors with the following (sic for punctuation):

Welcome to the Copper Scroll Project. Jim Barfield has decoded one of the greatest Documents of our times. Read all about whats going on with the project right here!

I’ve blogged this nonsense before – the Copper Scroll is an anomalous document found with the Dead Sea Scrolls which claims to record the burial place of some treasure. It’s not written in code, although the instructions it gives are obscure; Barfield has not made public how he came to discern its true meaning, although he claims it has something to do with his skills as a professional arson investigator, and he assures us that those to whom he has explained it have been very impressed. He believes that the treasure consists of artefacts and gold from the First Temple (including perhaps the Ark of the Covenant), which is somewhat problematic as the scroll dates from centuries after the First Temple Period.

Barfield was at a dig in Israel a few months ago, much to the excitement of apocalyptic Christian Zionists (according to one enthusiast, “the amount of gold in this find could top trillions of dollars and my opinion on that is, that might be the spoil that brings Russia down to Israel for the gog and magog war”), but he has since returned to the USA empty-handed. It seems all is not well with his Israeli contacts:

Information and correspondence from Israel has stopped. Why, I can’t tell you, but my email has not been answered since we left Israel in May.

 Robert Cargill has a good idea why, though, writing at Bible and Interpretation:

It seems that the Israel Antiquities Authority, who Barfield claims provided the permit for their excavation, has stopped returning their calls, and is no longer interested in working with them. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the Copper Scroll Project leaders have been making deliberately misleading claims about their role in the excavation. Or, perhaps it is due to a network of archaeologists, scholars, and bloggers working behind the scenes asking why the IAA would take money from posers like Barfield…Because Barfield has no say over the excavation, the IAA digs as they wish and where they wish, and allow Barfield and company only to observe the excavation and report their findings to the public. That was, at least, until the IAA saw the claims Barfield was making. It appears the IAA now wants nothing to do with the Copper Scroll Project, fearing perhaps that their association with a fringe, prophecy-obsessed group of Messianic Christians with no archaeological experience might harm the department’s credibility. Perhaps this is the reason that the Copper Scroll Project’s April 26, 2009 YouTube update overdubs the name of the IAA “archaeologist” they claim was assisting them in the original update.

But all is not lost – Barfield also has government contacts in his home state of Oklahoma:

This update was to have been posted today, the 30th of June, but I had a meeting with some government officials from about 2:00pm till about 4:00pm this afternoon and I wanted to be able to tell all of you about the results. The meeting was to disclose to them the information of how to understand the Copper Scroll and where the first and last five locations on the scroll are located. Guess what? They liked it! And.they are willing to write letters to the top people in Israel and significant persons here in the US to help complete the excavation we started in April of this year.

These are doubtless the same Oklahoma senators who received Barfield before he set out. Barfield apparently addressed twelve senators in the State Capitol, and in a video he claimed that they had promised to find funding for his project. Alas, Barfield named no names, but it should be remembered that the Oklahoma legislature includes such characters as Sally Kern, who believes (among much else) that students who subscribe to Creationism should not be penalized by teachers if they give Creationist answers to science questions. This video was made before his trip to Israel: