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Broadcasting from deep in the heart of the American Empire, join your host Harrison Koehli and fellow editors as they discuss everything from current events and the latest machinations and manipulations of the global elite to history, science, and religion, and how it all fits together. This week, they discussed the Minsk talks, the tragic shootings in Chapel Hill, and the Messiah before Jesus, based on Israel Knohl's research.

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Running Time: 01:28:00

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Harrison: Hello. Welcome back to The Truth Perspective. It is February 14th, 2015 and we are here in the studio. A bit of a smaller line-up today, we have William Barbe.

William: Howdy

Harrison: Joining us for the first time on this show, David Burke.

David: How's it, everyone?

Harrison: And I'm you're host for today, Harrison Koehli.We're going to be talking about a few things today. One there was some local news in the States that's happened, the shooting in Chapel Hill. World events, of course; we've had the Minsk talks a couple of days ago - a possible cease-fire in Ukraine - we'll be talking about that. And then, we'll be talking about a book that I read recently on some, kind of, early Judaism and Christianity. So we'll be getting into that.

But to start out, William, do you want to let us know what's be going on here in the states in the past few days?

William: Alright. We had a pretty tragic event occur on February 10th of this week. A shooter called Craig Steven Hicks, his age was 46 - and that will be important later on - in Durham County, North Carolina, at one of the apartment complexes, he decided to shoot three Muslim people that were also living in the same complex. It was just such a terrible tragedy. These victims were all students from North Carolina University. DeahShaddyBarakat, was only 23yrs old and newly married just six weeks ago to his wife, Yusor Mohammad - she was 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha - she was 19.

Barakat was a second year student at UNC School of Dentistry and they were pretty well known around the school. Barakat was having a fund-raiser to help Syrian refugees with basic dental care and he also provided that same thing in his local community, as well as helping to feed the homeless - there would be long lines of people waiting. So, they were pretty good model-American citizens even though Barakat was Syrian and his wife and her sister were Jordanian. But they proudly were Muslims as well. They wore the typical garb - there's a lot about that - but anyway, this guy Hicks, he was a paralegal student and was about to graduate, apparently, this spring.

He displayed quite a bit of anger through the past months. Mostly it seemed to be around a parking situation at the complex. And it wasn't directly towards any one person, apparently; he would even call tow-trucks incessantly to come and tow people out of parking places because apparently there's one parking spot per unit that's reserved there and he was always harassing people. He even brandished his gun when one of the tow-truck drivers arrived, and he also had complaints with these three people that he murdered. He complained about their parking situation; he also didn't like some of the noise that they made; he even went to their door with his gun in his belt to complain about that. So, these neighbours, of course, were pretty scared of this guy and just last week Barakat's wife complained to her father about how she was really scared of this neighbour - he was just really threatening, he didn't like the way they dressed; and so it wasn't a very good situation.

Harrison: Well, from the reports that I've read - reading the mainstream news - it looks like the police put out the information that the motivation was probably this parking dispute and that it wasn't like a hate crime. Do we know any other details about that? Like, if there was an actual dispute between Hicks and the three victims, or any of them?

David: Yeah, there was a parking dispute. But, he had gone to them and complained about the way they looked, according to the family friend.

Harrison: Okay.

David: And obviously it's more than just a parking dispute when you shoot three people point blank in the head. So, the police are trying to spin it that it might not be a hate crime and that he has basically did the same thing.

William: Of course, a little background on this Hicks character: he's an atheist - of course, he's anti-religious - and he really posts that on his Facebook page, as well as his collection of guns which the police found - there was about a dozen of them there, with a lot of ammo, which seems to be a little over-kill. Even his wife came out kind of defending him; she claims that the shooting had nothing to do with religion - even though her husband's an Athiest - and that he believed everyone is equal. But, he liked to watch this film called Falling Down, which was a 1993 film about a divorced, unemployed engineer played by Michael Douglas, who goes on a shooting spree and rampage. He thought it was hilarious and had no compassion at all.

Harrison: That's what his wife said?


William: "Given the harm that your religion has done in this world, I'd say that I not only have the right, but a duty to insult it, as does every rational think person on this planet." So, it seems like that was the underlying issue and to me, the parking was just a catalyst.

Harrison: Yeah, I mean, if he was having disputes with multiple people at the complex and the three that he chooses to shoot happen to be three Muslims that he obviously has some negative feelings towards, as evidenced by his twitter and Facebook posts and stuff like that. I mean...

David: Yeah. Why didn't' he shoot three Christians in the head?

Harrison: Yeah, exactly.

William: What I found interesting too, was the media coverage on this event.

Harrison: What media coverage?!

William: There wasn't any on the day except on some news outlets like RT. What really got everyone's attention was the big twitter storm - Muslim Lives Matter. So, after that got picked up the next day, finally CBS, Reuters, CNN and all these, started covering the story. It's interesting that it took a big twitter storm in order to get their attention. But, of course, the mainstream news is trying to downplay the murder as just a parking dispute. In fact, CBS even aired during their Inside Edition on how to safely find a parking space.

Harrison: Oh, geez. That's just - REALLY?

David: It's interesting also that the White House was really silent, at least in the beginning, about this. You know, if it had been a Muslim who shot Christians, they would have immediately had a response.

Harrison: Yeah, has Obama made a statement at all yet? I know he hadn't, at least yesterday.

David: I think he has come out with one now.

William: Yes, he has. This was part of the world paying attention all of a sudden. We had the Turkish President Erdogan; he criticised Obama, Biden and Kerry, for not saying anything about this; this was on Thursday. And, that's when the FBI decided to open an inquiry into this to see if there's any kind of more motivation than just the parking issue. AFTER that - Friday - that's when Obama finally came out with his little speech saying that "no one in the US should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they are, what they look like, or how they worship". UN secretary, Ban Ki Moon on Friday also praised the three victims and said that he was real proud of their humanitarian work. And even the two sisters having Jordanian citizenship, the investigation is being closely monitored now by Jordan; and King Abdullah, of course, sent his sympathies.

Now, there was over 5000 people who attended the funeral in North Carolina. That's just about all that you hear. Nothing on the mainstream news, really. They're really trying to downplay this and if it was the other way around, there would probably be big headlines if it was some Muslim person who had shot some three white people like that.

Harrison: Well, that statement that Obama said: I mean, of course after something like this - especially after, you know, a twitter storm like that where people are calling for something to be said - and of course, leaders are going to say stuff and they're usually going to say the right things - or at least hopefully they will. But that in itself doesn't really mean much because whenever I hear words like that, they always strike me as somewhat hollow and it just reminds me, last week we were talking about the book, Defying Hitler, and I've still been reading it and just finding it's a great book. There are just so many gems in there of what went on and then just how relevant it is today and that quote from Obama just reminded me of right when the Nazi's got power in 1933, there were shootings in the streets, there were political assassinations, like targeted assassinations, and people disappearing - so, unpopular doctors who expresses certain political views and lawyers and politicians, and yet the official media reports, the government statements said that Germany is just the safest place, no one is going to get hurt, and then meanwhile, in the background, everyone knows that they're taking people out and that it's happening every day.

So, we talked about it a couple of weeks ago when we were discussing Islamophobia, that these leaders can say all the want and say all these words but they're not actually doing anything to solve the problem. And, it is a problem; like, I've read some statistics about hate crimes in the United States and before 2001 - so before 9/11 - there were about 20-30 hate crimes against Muslims per year in the states. In 2001, that number shot up to about 500. And then every year since then, it's been at about 100-150, so, compared to 20-30 in the decades before. Just look at that.

William: How do you change the perceptions of people? Just having an event like that can really be devastating.

Harrison: If the people ruling countries were smart, if they had any sense of empathy or conscience, you'd think that they'd understand a few very simple, basic, human understandings about the way people work. So, when you have an attack like 9/11, let's just say for the sake of argument that it happened exactly the way that the government says it happened - that these 19 Muslim terrorists committed this attack, murdering 3000 American citizens - let's just say that's what happened. Now, if you've got any kind of common sense, you'd realise that, okay, our citizens have just been attacked by people of a certain religion. Now, what's our response going to be and what is the response of our people going to be? How are they going to be influenced by the way we approach the situation. So are you going to take the responsible route, where you react and respond in a way that protects all of the innocent people that are of the same religion, or are you going to do it in such a way that everyone in that religion gets associated with these murderers?

Well, we can see which direction they took, right?!

David: Yeah, they're obviously fanning the flames here.

Harrison: And so, from that point of view, it's just totally irresponsible and inhuman. Now, of course, we can into all kinds of other stuff about 9/11, but leave that aside for now - just use your imagination.

David: Well, on that note, it's interesting if you read some of the mainstream media websites and the comments you're getting from people, and it's just outrageous. You know, the ignorance knows no bounds. I mean the threats against Muslims, you know, "they all should be rounded up and shipped out of the country". I mean, it's just mind-blowing.

Harrison: Well I've got something I want to read here that was published on Mondoweiss, written by Samah Assad, a young Muslim woman. So here's what she had to say;

"In less that 24hrs since the shooting, we had read countless statements of encourage and support expressed by non-Muslims over social media, easing the pain just a bit and allowing us to feel that we are not always ostracised. I feel safe speaking for many in that we do feel marginalised and alone in times like this, where we easily could have been in the place of the three victims who were killed. While this letter is not meant to derail from how meaningful and appreciated this solidarity is, we naturally have qualms with the alarming, twisted tweets and comments on articles raining down on us, as well as the fear they are attempting to instil in us, or anyone who supports our right to follow our faith."

"Some users said in chilling tweets that the three victims of the shooting deserved to die due to their Islamic faith. Another person commented they were glad the tragedy occurred because it gives Muslims a taste of how Americans felt after the tragic 9/11 attacks (they do realize we're also Americans and felt that pain too, right?). Despite the fact that the Muslims who died in the Chapel Hill attack were known for their volunteer work both at the University of North Carolina and in other countries, they are still deemed "terrorists" and "ragheads" by some. I even saw a Twitter user refer to Hicks as a "hero" for committing the hate crime, and others personally told me to go back to "where I came from" due to my opinions and religious beliefs."

William: Um hmm.

David: Well, it's interesting this Craig Hicks character who is a so called champion of freedom and 2nd amendment rights, you know, he hates Muslims - shoots them in the head.

William: I believe we have a video clip here.

Harrison: Yes, we have an audio. This is a short interview done shortly after the attacks given by Suzanne who was the sister of the man - what was his name?

David: Oh, Barakat?

Harrison: Yes. So this is Suzanne speaking with Anderson Cooper, I believe.
[Audio Clip]

Anderson: ...years old, was known for his many acts of kindness. His sister, Suzanne, who's a local physician, joins us tonight.
Suzanne, thank you for being with us. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. First of all, how are you, how is your family holding up?

Suzannae: Well, it's a pleasure to be here, Anderson. Thank you for having me. In terms of how we're holding up: I guess the honest answer is we're still in shock and there's still a lot of denial and I think the reason why I'm able to be here today is because I feel emotionally numb. But it's an incomprehensible tragedy that we're trying to process.

Anderson: Tell me about your brother. What was he like?

Suzannae: My brother, Deah, was a 6ft 3inch young man who had the kindest heart; who loved everyone he met; greeted strangers with hugs, and dedicated his life to service. He loved his family; he loved his wife, Yusor; he loved his Imam; and it's a very sad day for both of our families.

Anderson: There were reports that the suspect and your brother had had interactions prior to this. Is that, to your knowledge, true? Are you aware of that?

Suzannae: To my knowledge, yes. There had been issues of some disrespect and harassment, from the neighbours and it's basically incomprehensible to me that you can murder three people by shooting a bullet into their head and killing them over a parking spot - let's leave it at that.

Anderson: So you think there's more to it.

Suzannae: Absolutely.

Anderson: I don't want to ask anything you don't want to talk about so feel free to just say "I don't want to talk about it", but, you say you know there had been some interactions. Do you think that they had anything to do with your brother's religion - with how he was perceived by this person?

Suzannae: Having heard - second hand - from what a very close friend of Yusor's had said, that basically (Hicks) had said, "because of the way you look. I'm not comfortable with, a) the way you look and... [Begins to cry]... I'm really sorry.

Anderson: It's okay.

Suzannae: This is really hard.

Anderson: I know.

Suzannae: I go from being in denial to being really numb to being really angry. I came here today in hopes of shining light on Deah's legacy and Yusor's and Razan's and for the three of them that has been dedication to service and I want to make sure that they're recognized for that, and that the world realizes what we have lost in the loss of these three incredibly brilliant, bright, beautiful, accomplished, successful, respectful, loved three young people.

If you were within our community, Anderson, you would see just the outpouring of love and support we are receiving from everyone around us and it's been immensely touching. And I want the world to see that, and I want them to see the true essence of what Deah, Yusor and Razan was. And it was optimism; it was hope; it was love; it was wanting to help anyone and everyone in their local communities and communities abroad.

Just think on their actions with the work that they have done with homeless communities here; with work that they were doing in Turkey to aid Syrian refugees. Deah was running a campaign with the dental school and with some NGO's to fund-raise money for a mission trip later this summer, and yesterday he was at nearly $16,000 and today it's over $120,000 and that is amazing. And we want to continue that, and we want them to be remembered for that because one thing I knew about Deah is that, no matter... you know - he made dental school look easy!

Anderson: That's a hard thing to do!

Suzannae: It is! But he did it because he loved it - he loved what he did. He loved playing with the children when he was working abroad. He was happy in everything that he did and he made it light. And people loved being around him for that. And selfishly, as an older sister who felt like a second mum to him, I will miss him adoring me and the way he loved me and the way he looked up to me and the many phone calls where we would talk and give each other advice and be like, "okay, I see your point". And he was the 'best friend' kind of brother...

Anderson: It's a tremendous loss, not just...

Suzannae: ...and it's not real, is what I feel.

Anderson: Yes. It's a tremendous loss not just for your family and for your friends, but, it sounds like for the community and for this country. It sounds like your brother was a young man who had already made tremendous contributions and would, no doubt, continue to do that for the rest of his life.

Suzannae: They were all destined with very bright futures ahead of them: Deah being a second year dental student at UNC; Yusor having just gotten accepted to UNC Dental School to be starting in the fall; Razan in a very competitive program studying architecture and was very creative. They all had so much to offer and I just want to make sure that we continue that legacy for them: in their name; in their honor; and that all of us, as Americans, collectively ... [Audio breaks out] ... not let their deaths go in vain.

Anderson: Well, Suzanne, thank you for talking to us. Your strength is really incredible. I lost a brother many years ago, under very different circumstances, but I certainly wouldn't have had the strength to speak about him so soon, as you have tonight. And I very much appreciate you letting us know your brother just a little bit and in continuing to carry on his legacy. Thank you so much.

Suzannae: The three of them have given me the strength to be here today to talk to you. Thank you so much for having me, Anderson.
[End Audio Clip]

William: And that's just heart-wrenching.

David: Um hmm.

Harrison: These three young people were, well, what more could you ask of a person?

David: Yeah, they were just kind, compassionate, good-will.

William: Model citizens.

Harrison: Um hmm. Yeah, and they were shot in the head.

William: What's interesting is this guy, Craig Hicks, he turned himself in a couple of hours after this brutal crime. And it was noted that he did so very calmly. It's almost like he didn't have any compassion or emotion at all involved with this incident. Just terrible, terrible.

Now, it's interesting that his age - as we brought up earlier - was 46 years old. Now, this point can't be stressed enough. The typical profile of violent extremism in America are, can you guess? White males. They far outnumber Jihadists. And what's interesting is, the majority of them range between the ages of 30 to 49 years old. And a surprising bunch are even older than that. They are typically right-wing extremists and they are the biggest domestic violence threat in the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Centre has done research on that and there's a couple of other research papers out there showing that this is the terrible statistics that we have here. Now, that's despite what mainstream media news is trying to portray - that the home-grown violence is here and is very devastating and we need to pay attention to that. It's not this Jihadist from some other country; it's right here in our own backyard.

David: Yeah, it's interesting: according to the FBI, 52% of all hate crimes are white male.

Harrison: So, there you go. You know, watch out; next time you see a white male walking down the street you better, you know, run and hide!30 to 49yrs old? You know, watch out!

Well, at the same time, this happens in a certain context. Of course, we had the Paris shootings earlier this year and the response to that, well, apparently the EU are debating some new anti-terror laws after that. So, this is a range of ambitious steps to better protect the EU's 28 nations. Now, EU President, Donald Tusk was the host of a recent summit meeting, and he said that this new agreement that they're working on was a work plan to step up the fight against terrorism. Now, the EU top official for counter-terrorism warned the member governments last month that Europe is facing an unprecedented, diverse and serious threat.
Now, this has resonance with the United States because it's pretty much the same line that the United States takes against terrorism; they see it as the biggest problem in the World - biggest threat. So, of course, the French attacks were seen as a game changer for EU counter terrorism policy, and that's what Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer had to say. Now, she is the senior trans-Atlantic fellow and director of the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund think-tank. Now, she said a few interesting things and we'll get to that in a second.

So, these laws: what are they proposing? Well, first of all, an EU-wide passenger registry to share information of travellers. So, de Hoop Scheffer said that, "It sounds crazy, but we don't have that system within the EU, even though they have it in the US, Canada and Australia." Well, that's crazy, yeah; so why doesn't the EU have a program like this? Well, there was an earlier attempt to launch a similar program, but it was rejected in 2013 when a committee rejected it on civil liberties grounds. So yeah, I mean, it's pretty crazy, isn't it - that the EU wouldn't have the latest greatest passenger registry that just happens to be in gross violation of human rights, civil liberties? I mean, yeah, that sounds crazy to me. I mean, the EU should get on board with this. I mean, anything that violates civil liberties, the EU should snap that up.

William: It's like they were helped in to do that.

David: What you were saying earlier: if you have a leader and a democracy that protected rights, they would see that because of 'extremists' they wouldn't throw everyone into the same box.

Harrison: Um hmm. So, the other provision is tighter boarder checks on travellers; so a new screening system to detect suspicious travel movements between EU countries - because right now it's pretty lacks but they want to tighten that up a bit. New rules governing the Schengen area; so most of the EU countries are part of that area. And also, the third is fighting the use of the internet to spread radical ideas. Okay, so yeah, pretty reasonable stuff, right? Well, there actually have been a few voices of reason that have spoken out against this; whether that will have any effect or not is probably close to nil, but one of the guys from Europe's Green Party said that at least the passenger registry would be giving carte blanche for EU governments to scale back personal freedoms. Well, yeah, that's probably what they want, maybe!

A couple of others: we had Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb. He said that it is, "imperative to strike a careful balance between civil liberties and security". And European Parliament President, Martin Schultz, who recently made some interesting statements on Ukraine - quite sane statements - he addressed the summit and he told a news conference afterwards that, "rashly limiting individual rights in the name of boosting public safety would play right into the terrorists hands by discrediting western-style democracy. To be a state of law and democracy, we need to protect our values", Schultz said.
Now, that sounds pretty right to me. I mean, at least there's one guy with a brain.

William: Yes, and this agenda is just outrageous because when you look at the Chapel Hill murder, you know, here we have Muslims that are just brutally murdered, and is there anything going to be done? Is there any uproar? Is there any legislation? No - it doesn't serve the current agenda of demonizing Muslims. But as soon as a Muslim does something, oh boy, they jump all over that and want to restrict our rights and movements.

David: Well, it's the same as the lead up to the Nazi take-over of Germany, as we were talking about in Defying Hitler.

Harrison: Well, I've actually got a few little bits that I want to read from that. I just read the section in Defying Hitler where he talks about - well, for those who don't know, we talked about it last week, but Defying Hitler is a memoir written by Sebastian Haffner, who was a German journalist and writer and historian. And, he wrote this memoir about, basically, growing up in the pre-World War II, pre-Nazi era Germany, and then as a young man, encountering the Nazi's and how he lived that life and what he saw and felt and experienced. And so he gives his perspective on the major events that happened, and the minor events - just how it affected everyday life.

So, when the Reichstag fire was burned, he had this to say; "Poor Marinus van der Lubbe was found in the building equipped with every conceivable piece of identification."

William: Aha!

Harrison: "Outside, against a flaming backdrop, like a Wagnerian Wotan, Hitler uttered the memorable words, "If this is the work of the communists - which I do not doubt - may God have mercy on them" We had no inkling of all that. The radio was switched off."
He was just out with friends; he didn't really know what was going on. Then, he found out. So, "at the same time of the fire, a decree of Hindenburgs was promulgated. It abolished freedom of speech and confidentiality of the mail and telephone for all private individuals, while giving the police unrestricted rights of search and access, confiscation and arrest. That afternoon, men with ladders went around, honest workmen, covering campaign posters with plain white paper. All parties of the Left had been prohibited from any further election publicity. Those newspapers that still appeared reported all this in a fawning, fervently patriotic jubilant tone, "We have been saved!" "What good luck!" "Germany was free." "Next Saturday, all Germans would come together in a festival of national exaltation, their hearts swelling with gratitude. Get the torches and flags out."

[Audio Skips a bit...]

"Funny also that the Nazi's got so worked up about the Reichstag; up till then, they had contemptuously called it a, 'hot air factory'. Now, it was suddenly the Holy of Holies that had been burned down. Well, that suits their book, don't you agree, my friend? That's politics, isn't it?"

"Now, more seriously, the most interesting thing about the Reichstag fire is that the claim that it was the work of the communists was so widely believed. Even the sceptics did not regard it as entirely incredible." Haffner's perspective being, well, was it really the communists? Well, no it wasn't. I mean, all possible forms of identification found on this guy!

David: Where have we heard that before?

Harrison: Yeah. Where have we heard that before? Okay, skipping a bit more;"After all that, I do not see that one can blame the majority of the Germans who, in 1933, believed that the Reichstag fire was the work of communists. What can one blame them for and what shows their terrible collective weakness of character clearly for the first time during the Nazi period, is that this settled the matter. With sheepish submissiveness, the German people accepted that as a result of the fire, each one of them lost what little personal freedom and dignity was guaranteed by the constitution - as though it followed as a necessary consequence: if the Communists had burned down the Reichstag, it was perfectly in order for government to take decisive measures."

And then he gives a little conversation he had with his fellow law co-workers. He was kind of like a junior judge at this time, in his early 20's/mid 20's."All of them were very interested the question of who had committed the crime and more than one of them hinted that they had doubts about the official version, but none of them saw anything out of the ordinary in the fact that from now on, one's telephone would be tapped, one's letters opened and one's desk might be broken into."I consider it a person insult", I said, "that I should be prevented from reading whichever newspaper I wish because, allegedly, a communist set fire to the Reichstag, don't you?" One of them cheerfully and harmlessly said, "No, why should I? Do you read; Forward!'s, The Red Flag up to now?"

So, basically, you know, "I have nothing to hide. I don't care if the government bans what I'm going to read or reads my email or my letters because, I mean, I don't read those Al Qaeda magazines or terror websites", right? "So I'm perfectly willing to just give up all my personal freedoms if they're going to..." you know, "they can go after those communists or terrorist sympathizers, but..."

William: What a playbook.

David: Well, you hear that and, it is - it's a playbook. You know, they've used Nazi Germany and that's exactly what you're seeing now, today. You know, NSA spying and they read everything, give up our rights to protect us.

Harrison: Hey, if you've got nothing to hide then what's your problem with it? Right?!

David: Right... for now!

Harrison: Well, that's why it's so frustrating reading a historical account like this, where you see the exact same responses, the exact same types of measures that come in after this terrorist attack. And the people giving the same, tired responses, "oh, well, you know, doesn't bother me. What do I have to hide?" But then, look what happened afterwards! I mean, we've got the benefit of hindsight - we can see what happens after this. These people that were so fine with it happened to be the ones that ended up suffering under it. And if they didn't, they had to join the Nazi Party, you know, "SiegHeil!" and show their support for something that it came to the point that it was not worth supporting. And it became obvious to probably any German with a conscience.

William: And the majority of Germans weren't for this Nazi takeover at all, but they had to acquiesce.

Harrison: Um hmm, and go along with it; and look what happened.

David: Well, that's what you're seeing with the Islamophobia is just what the Nazi's did with the Jews. They sow these seeds and then when the time's right...

Harrison: Yes.

William: It's you typical false flag and it's been played over and over and over again.

Harrison: Haffner even talks about when he was a kid. Before Hitler was anybody and the political chaos that was going on in Germany at the time and politics was kind of like a hobby for kids at that time - they wanted to see what was going on and they had their heroes and villains. But, it got to the point where everyone was just so inept and couldn't do anything that they just stopped being into politics and would get into something like sports that they could, you know, put their energy into. But, he made the observation that the people who stayed in politics were the brute, stupid jerks. Those were the guys that continued with their political fervour.

William: Yeah, most of the people seemed to be more interested in statistics and who had the higher percentage and this and that and the other. They were just following numbers more than what the actual people represented.

Harrison: Well, on the subject of Islamophobia and terrorism being the biggest threat, I just want to read two interesting quotes - you can take them for what they're worth - by two world leaders, or ex-world leader. First is from Kadyrov from Chechnya. So, a couple of weeks ago, he said, "Today no one doubts the fact that this group - ISIS - has been spawned by America and other western countries in order to spark hatred of Islam in the hearts of people all over the planet to stop the process of mass conversion to Islam." He also suggested that the west was backing IS - the Islamic State - in order to distract public attention from numerous problems in the Middle East in the hope of destroying Islamic nations from the inside. Prior to this, Kadyrov had told reporters that he possessed information that the IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been recruited to work for the US personally by General David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA and former commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At that time, Kadyrov claimed the Islamic State was acting on orders from Western Europe.It would be interesting to see what his sources for that were!

David: Right.

Harrison: And then last September - so, several months ago - Fidel Castro said this; "Many people are astonished when they hear the statements made by some European spokesmen for NATO when they speak with the style and face of the Nazi SS. Adolf Hitler's greed-based empire went down in history with no more glory than the encouragement provided to NATO's aggressive and bourgeois governments, which makes them the laughing stock of governments around the world."

Castro accused John McCain of supporting Israel's Mossad intelligence agency as well as participating together with that service in the creation of the Islamic State, which today controls a considerable and vital portion of Iraq, and reportedly one third of Syria as well. You see, I wonder where Castro and Kadyrov are getting their information because it sounds crazy!

David: Conspiracy theorists.

William: They may even notice a little bit of history. I saw an interesting documentary about when the Moors invaded Europe - the Moors were the Muslims and this was right after the fall of Rome - and it was just amazing what changes they brought about in Europe. And they had a significant hand in helping Europe get out of the Dark Ages. Now, that's something that no one wants to hear and it's even been suppressed mostly in Spain and even there it's difficult to bring up that kind of history. They don't want to hear it.

They have these mosques everywhere and they don't only use these mosques for religious purposes; they bring in their kids and everybody for schooling - they learn how to read; they have the highest literacy rate of any other religion or nation. If people just took a brief look at the history, you would definitely have a whole different opinion about what Muslims are.

Harrison: Yeah, and unfortunately, people don't want to change their opinions.

William: No.

Harrison: They're right in their own mind. I mean, "Everything I believe has got to be right, otherwise I wouldn't believe it".

William: There you go.

Harrison: Well, moving on. Minsk.We talked about Ukraine last week, and the situation there. The so-called; "Debaltsevo cauldron" that had formed. So, basically, up to 8000 Ukrainian troops are encircled by Donetsk and Luhansk militias - basically trapped there with no way out; no way of Ukrainian forces getting them out. So, this was kind of a big thing and was probably the main motivation for this latest round of Minsk talks between France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine - OSCE; members of all those countries or organisations there to talk it over and see what's going on. Because what had basically happened was, the Ukrainian armed forces had launched this renewed offensive and it was pretty much a total failure.

They got themselves encircled. Probably the greater part of their fighting forces are trapped. And so, the European leaders are looking at this. Poroshenko's looking at this and saying, "Ooh, what are we going to do?" Well, Poroshenko's a different story and we'll get to that. So, they've planned these Minsk talks. They go on for like, 17hrs - I mean, these guys didn't get any sleep that night - and end up coming out with this document, which is similar to previous Minsk documents, curiously enough, not signed by any of the major people involved, like any of the world leaders. They're signed by Kuchma, the ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister that doesn't really have any kind of authority in Ukraine, and by the representatives for the heads of the people's republics, Donetsk and Luhansk.

But anyways, it's been touted as this great move for diplomacy and a step towards peace.

William: Notice how the US wasn't involved in any of this.

Harrison: Yeah. Thank goodness. Well, because the US just wants to arm Ukraine to the teeth and let them have at it. But, if we look at some of the details from this Minsk protocol, there are 13 points.

The first calls for an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire that will begin tonight, at midnight - so actually, pretty soon is when it's supposed to start. Now, the cease-fire is kind of important. It's probably what both sides wanted because, the fighting is intense. Now, it looks like Ukraine is the side that really needs this cease-fire at the moment because they're the ones trapped. But, Poroshenko, at the meetings, was apparently unaware of this Debalsevo cauldron. So, it looked like he wasn't even aware that all these troops were surrounded. It's possible that his military commanders were giving him information that just wasn't true, just trying to portray the situation in a positive light when it actually wasn't. So, some commentators are speculating that Poroshenko was caught off guard by this, when everyone at Minsk was telling him what a bad situation he was actually in.

William: Wow.

Harrison: Now, soon after the talks, Kiev launched a renewed offensive on the Debaltsevo region and sent in, like, 300 well armed, well trained reserve troops to the town of Lovinovo - and these troops were actually well trained, so like, the militias will often say that they encounter fresh recruits who just don't know what they're doing and they get captured or killed because they've just been sent in. You know, they were trained a couple of months ago, this is their first engagement. Well, apparently, Ukraine sent in their top troops. These guys are the ones who had been saved for the final offensive. Sent in a bunch of tanks. Well, this whole little crew got caught in cross-fire and, mission unsuccessful - so far. So another little failure there.

Now, also, all these guys are trapped, they wanted to do the cease-fire. Well, several, if not most of the officers in charge of the troops who are stuck there fled. So, a lot of these Ukrainian troops are just stuck there without their commanding officers, so how is Poroshenko supposed to issue orders to these guys? They're trapped - how are they even going to know about this cease-fire? Because when the cauldron was formed, Kiev and Donetsk and Luhansk had set up this idea for a humanitarian corridor to get the civilians out. Well, it turns out that Kiev hadn't informed the residents of this plan, so the buses came and, like, 30 people got on them because they didn't know about it. The people that got on the buses just happened to find out by chance. They were just in the area at the right time and they managed to go back to get their families to get on the buses and get out. They hadn't even told the residents that this was happening. So, I mean, just treacherous behavior.

More on the cease-fire; so, everyone wants a cease-fire, right? Europe's clamoring for it, Putin's behind it, Donetsk and Luhansk agree to it. We'll, who are the ones that are saying "no cease-fire"? Well, the right-sector in Ukraine. So these are kind of the neo-Nazi guys that have their own battalions that work with the Ukraine army in these attacks on the people of Donetsk and Luhansk. So, their leader, DmytroYarosh, said he wants to create a separate Ukrainian volunteer army and they are refusing to obey the cease-fire. They're saying, "We're going to keep on with this war."

So, Poroshenko's put in kind of a catch 22 because he's got all these guys trapped in the cauldron. To get them out, he's got a couple of options. Well, if they try to break out now, they'd be violating the cease-fire, but if they stay and don't do anything, that means they have to capitulate, surrender, leave their weapons and head out. So either way you look at it, it's...

David: Rock and a hard place.

Harrison: Yeah. And the thing is that Poroshenko probably doesn't even have very much power. He's not the one that's in charge of any of this. I mean, he's got these right-sector guys and all these other oligarchs and leaders that want him to go in a certain direction and if he doesn't then they're all too willing to say, "Okay, well, you're not doing a good job; we'll put someone else in power."

William: Yeah, even the Ukrainian representative who signed the Minsk agreement apparently doesn't have a whole lot of power or say or any recognition.

Harrison: Um hmm. So, point two; Withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the line of contact. So, for Kiev, this means withdrawing from the current line of contact. So, where they're fighting right now, they've got to back up like 50 to 100 or 150 kilometres depending on the range of the heavy weapons they're using, depending on the Novorossian forces, that means backing up to the line agreed in September - because in the last months they had made some advances and taken back some territory. So this would create kind of a demilitarized zone on the front. Now, this too only serves the Novorussians because if we look at what the heavy artillery is used for, primarily Kiev uses it to bomb civilian areas and cities. The attacks are mostly hand weapons, mortars - it's not heavy artillery. The Novorussians don't use heavy artillery - don't need it if the Ukrainians aren't using it because the Novorussians aren't bombing civilian areas - they're not launching this offensive attack on Ukrainian regions.

William: Right; purely defensive.

Harrison: So, again, that one seems to play only in to the favour of Novorussia.
Now, third point; the OSCE will be monitoring all these developments. They'll be using drones and stuff and satellite images.
Number four; is to hold local elections organised by the Ukrainians and the Novorussians together. Now, what are the chances of that happening?

David: Not much.

Harrison: I mean, already we've had people in Ukrainian government saying, "we're not going to work with these rebels", so, you know, that's not going to happen.

Fifth point is; pardons and amnesties. Blanket amnesty for all participants - anyone that may have engaged in war crimes. So, of course, that would include amnesty for war crimes on the Ukrainian side; so that's not necessarily a good thing. But at the same time, okay, if you look at it, Donetsk and Luhansk are willing to go with that, apparently - at least, in theory - but already, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine has said that, "any steps with respect to so-called amnesty will be implemented according to the law, which was discussed in parliament. Moreover, this amnesty - and I repeat this - can in no way be given to those who were involved and engaged in crimes against humanity. This is an absolute position, which was clearly emphasized in the framework of yesterday's talks."

So, of course, he's referring to the militia leaders there, as being engaged in war crimes. So, right there, you've already got Ukrainian officials saying, "There's no way we're giving amnesty". That point is kind of shot.
Sixth point is; a prisoner exchange, all for all. So basically, both sides would release all their prisoners. But, Kiev can't really release the prisoners they've killed already.

And seven; humanitarian assistance, well, Donetsk and Luhansk are already getting that from Russia. So that's kind of an empty statement.

William: With international monitoring, as well.

Harrison: Number eight; payment of pensions! How is Ukraine going to continue paying pensions? You know, they don't have any money.

David: Yeah, not likely; they're broke.

William: Resumed banking services and also asking for utility payments and, of course, resumed taxation but that's also up to further negotiations.

Harrison: Number nine; the restoration of border control. Now, this is an interesting point. So, the official government in Kiev will retake control of Ukraine's borders; so that would be the border with Russia. But, this will only happen in consultation and agreement with the representatives of individual areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. And this will only happen after certain constitutional changes are made to the Ukrainian constitution. So, again, is that likely to happen? No, that's not likely to happen. Which means that this document is essentially acknowledging that Ukraine doesn't have control of its eastern border and won't ever.

David: Isn't it NATO countries on the boarder?

Harrison: Well, they are to the west, but I think the area in question was the eastern border, which is bordered with Russia.And after that; the withdrawal of all foreign forces. Yeah, good luck getting NATO out of there. And it's kind of impossible for 9000 Russians to leave when those Russians aren't there, so, we'll see how that plays out, if eventually.

And then they've got some ideas about the creation of a people militia for Donetsk and Luhansk. Well, they've already got one.Number twelve; they need elections but those will only happen if everything in the above happens first.

So, if you look at all those points, the first two are pretty much the only ones that really have any possibility of happening and even then, if they do happen, if you look at every previous cease-fire, it's unlikely that Kiev will abide by any of those rules. They've broken every cease-fire; they've continued to fire on and to shell civilian areas; to kill people.

William: Even to the very moment, right now.

Harrison: Yeah, it's happening right now. I mean, just in the past 24hrs, you know, I think there have been something like 60 shelling's on Donetsk and Luhansk civilian areas. There have been 3 to 5 civilian deaths, 20 wounded; fighting is still going on along the front. So, I guess we've only got a few hours to see what happens.

So, looks like not much is going to change. The mobilizations will continue. So Ukraine will still continue to try to get more troops. Same with Donetsk and Luhansk.

William: Yeah, point eleven - they're supposed to implement a constitutional reform by the end of the year, which would decentralize the political system. Fat chance of that ever happening.

Harrison: I mean, even if Poroshenko had signed this, he's pretty much powerless to coerce everyone in his government to agree with it and go along with it. I think it was something that had to happen because I agree with the perspective of Putin and Lavrov that the only way to really humanely deal with a situation like this is through diplomacy and talking and actual attempts at peace-making. As it's progressing right now, just with the blatant murder and warfare, I mean, no one wants that - well, most people don't want that. There are a few like the right-sector guys that just want war and they enjoy it and they want to kill Russians; it's as simple as that. But, I think Poroshenko's kind of been put in a place where he's in the position of the one that will - at least, to sane observers - be responsible when this doesn't happen.

William: Yeah. We were talking earlier; it looked like it was a great move by Putin and Lavrov to get this thing started and get it set up so that, if there is a failure, it can't be blamed on Russia.

Harrison: But at the same time, it will be blamed on Russia because everything's blamed on Russia. So, it's funny because Russia is portrayed as being the one responsible for making sure this stuff happens. Which is absurd because Russia is not involved. Russia is not in Ukraine. This is an internal matter between the Ukrainians and the people of Donetsk and Luhansk. So, there's nothing they can really do, but at least in the terms of this document, it's clear who's responsible and the vast bulk of the responsibility lies with Kiev. And there will be unable to fulfil pretty much any of these points.

So I don't know what's going to happen if somehow, the spin-doctors in the west are going to be able to chalk this up to another Russian sabotage operation or what, but...

William: Yeah, it was interesting to see some of the pictures from the Minsk talk and it was pointed out how Lavrov seemed to be really laid-back and he would step out every once in a while to smoke his cigarettes and he seemed to be at ease. And also saw pictures of Putin; he seemed to be pretty jovial, with the Belorussian President, they seem to feel like they've got their hand pretty well in the bag, so...

Harrison: Yeah, I'd like to see that hand. And Poroshenko didn't look very pleased the whole time, either.

William: He never does.

David: Yeah, he looked a little stressed.

Harrison: Yeah. Well, he kind of deserves it.

William: He had to be pushed up to even shake hands with Putin.

Harrison: Yeah, I know! You watch the video. He's kind of like standing in the background. You can't even see him because he's like, directly behind Merkel. And then she kind of steps out of the way and pulls him forward to shake Putin's hand. A kind of repeat of their previous handshake where Poroshenko was just giving him the evilest look possible. I mean, I wonder what Poroshenko really believes. If he kind of believes the propaganda that the people in his government and his underlings are feeding him? If he really believes that the Russians are in Novorussia.

William: Well, yeah; he had to display those passports, you know. "See? Look! Evidence! Evidence!"

Harrison: Yeah! Oh man, what a fool! He displays these passports - ugh - that's just got to be one of the most embarrassing moments for him.

William: Oh yeah.

Harrison: Because, ugh, it was just ridiculous.

William: Yeah, because military people give up their passports and citizenship papers, so, you know, they don't have that when they go there to fight.

Harrison: And Kiev wouldn't even provide copies of the documents to show them to Russia to show who these people were, so we have no proof that these are even real passports. And if they are real passports, okay, well who would be carrying a passport? Well, a civilian or a person on vacation or something like that. Or someone who just holds a Russian passport because there are people who live in the region that have Russian passports.

William: He's not the only one who got embarrassed because Senator Ivanhoe got embarrassed too with some 2008 pictures of Russia invading Georgia and they were pawned off to him as evidence that they were in Ukraine. That was just hilarious.

Harrison: Yeah. A bunch of clowns. Well, at the very least, among all the tragedy, at least there's some good comedy that comes out of it as well, because otherwise, I don't know.

Shall we move on?

William: Yeah, I think so.

Harrison: So, the last thing that we want to talk about - I'll do most of the talking because I think I'm the only one who's read the book. But, I read a really interesting book these past few days called, The Messiah before Jesus by a guy named Israel Knohl - or K-nohl; I'm not sure how to pronounce the last name. He is the Chair of the Bible department at Hebrew University. So he wrote this little book on the messiah before Jesus. Well, it's a short book. It's only like 100 pages - less if you don't read the appendices. So, I'd recommend it because it's really interesting if you are interested in The Bible or history of something like that. So, sorry if you're not but, we're going to talk about it for a little bit.

So, the main idea in this book is this idea of the Messiah and how it's portrayed in The Bible primarily, and Jesus being seen as the Messiah. So, in the actual gospels, Jesus doesn't present himself as the Messiah - he never addresses himself as the Messiah. But, he foretells the rejection, death and resurrection of the Son of Man. So, even though he refers to the Son of Man in the third person, the connection is made between him and Jesus because Jesus is rejected, dies and is resurrected - apparently - you know, in The Bible in these gospel accounts.

So, also, the Messiah - or Jesus as the Messiah - he brings redemption from Sin through his death on the cross. For years now, in Bible studies, scholars have looked at this - looking at these accounts and looking at history from the time - and they've kind of come to the conclusion that Jesus as they see him as a historical person probably never saw himself as the Messiah, and that this was a later addition by Christians writing the gospels and the idea that developed after. And even looking at the texts themselves, you know, you've got Jesus who doesn't call himself the Messiah, so it makes sense to say that, okay well, later on, a couple generations after, Christians started looking for meaning in this gospel account and they found all these references in Isaiah to this suffering servant who wasn't the Messiah - the suffering servant in Isaiah is not a Messiah figure in the Old Testament - but they saw the connections and so they kind of retroactively made these connections to these prophesies as if Jesus fulfilled all these little bits in the Old Testament, even though those bits weren't necessarily connected to each other. They just kind of picked and chose where to catch them and said, "Oh, well, all these little prophesies actually, they're talking about the Messiah".

So, that's been how scholars have seen what was going on back then; that, because the actual Messianic ideas in Judaism had nothing to do with the so-called 'suffering servant'. What it was is that there would be like this kingly Messiah that would rule all nations, and it didn't really resemble the Messiah as Jesus was presented as the Messiah. So that, in addition to what I just said earlier, has kind of led people to say that these ideas were kind of uniquely Christian, developed after the fact.

But, things are kind of changing now because, in 1947, there was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most listeners have probably heard of those. Some kind of shepherd was out in the desert and lost one of his sheep or something like that, and so he was looking through some caves and found this cave there, and so he threw a rock into the cave to make sure that there were no nasties in there and he heard something crack. Now it turns out that the rock he'd thrown cracked this kind of earthenware pot that contained all these ancient documents from the region; just a whole treasure trove of documents. Now, most of them have been translated and released. It took several years and some are still - even just in the past 20yrs - being translated and released - fragments - because some of the documents were in great shape, some were kind of torn up and folded together and crumpled. So, it's been quite a challenge to get them all in shape to translate.

So, some of these fragments were a few hymns. Now, these hymns contain ideas about the Messiah that were totally foreign to the Judaisms of the time, so we'll get to those. But first, most scholars think that the Essenes - a group of Judaism - were responsible for these documents - that it was their kind of library. Not everyone agrees, but most think it was the Essenes. So, the Essenes were kind of this pacifistic group. We don't know a lot about them; pretty much just what Josephus tells us about them, and some other clues here and there.

But, I want to read just a really short part of one of these hymns. This is - I believe - The Thanksgiving Hymn.

So, it says;
"Who has been despised like me? And who has been rejected of all men like me? And who compares to me in enduring evil? Who is like me among the angels? I am the beloved of the King, a companion of the holy ones."

The king being kind of a code-name for God.Now, just those words right there, are remarkable in the sense that, first of all, they're written in the first person. When texts at the time that refer to like a coming savior or a coming Messiah, they're never written in the first person; it's always written in the third person for someone that's to come. So this suggests that this was actually composed in the first person. Maybe not written in the first person but there was a historical figure who actually saw himself in this way. Now, the words that he used, "Who has been despised like me? Who has been rejected of all men like me?" those are pretty much straight out of Isaiah, the suffering servant. In Isaiah 53, it says, "He who is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief". Right after that, we read, "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows."

Those verses right there are directly comparable to the ones in the hymn; "Who compares to me in enduring evil? Who is like me among the angels?" So, in just this little fragment - the hymn itself is longer, there's more parts to it - we have this idea of a guy who presents himself as being a divine, kingly figure who is equal to God; who has transcended all flesh; who has - through his own suffering - atoned for the sins of his community. Now that is pretty much an exact description of the Messiah as presented in early Christian texts. So, he's the suffering servant; he's the kingly Messiah; bears the sins of the community.

The hymns also present the community as living in a new world free from sin. Now they're already living in this world, according to these hymns, which kind of contrasts to a similar view in Christianity about the Kingdom of God coming. So, the Kingdom of God will come but it just never quite gets here. So there's a connection there.

So, you can see that some of these ideas made it into the Christian texts and traditions - like the gospels - but they also came into a couple of other documents like the Book of Revelation and the so called Oracle of Hystaspes. Now, this Oracle of Hystaspes; apparently there was an edict from Rome that anyone caught reading it would be put to death, so it only survives in quotations from the writings of some early church Fathers. But, in this Hystaspes Oracle, there are two kings who kill the true prophet. They leave him dead for three days, after which he is resurrected. So, of course, Christians would see that as a Christian description of the Messiah of Jesus, but that's not exactly how Hystaspes presents it.

Revelation, of course, has the two Beasts and we'll get to that shortly, because what makes this all kind of fit together and make sense is some background information for what was going on at this time in the Roman Empire. So, in 44BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated and in his will, he adopted his nephew, Octavian, as his successor, as his son. So with Caesar gone, Octavian, Marc Anthony and Lepidus, they formed the so called 'Second Triumvirate', so they ruled as three leaders over Rome at the time. They divided it up and there was lots of warfare, things kind of spiraled downhill. Even after the civil war there were state-sanctioned assassinations; people were not happy at what was going on. I mean, Caesar was there, he was trying to do stuff, and the people loved him. And then, he was assassinated. After this we've got another civil war, people are dying; it's just not a pleasant situation to live in - living in an empire like that.

So, after Caesar died, the poet Virgil - who was a friend of Octavian, later named Augustus - he wrote something called, The Fourth Eclogue; in which, only a miraculous redeemer could save Rome. He describes a golden age, free from sin, which would come to the Roman Empire, ushered in by a miraculously born child. So, right here, in like 40BC, Virgil is writing about a miraculous birth that would give rise to the redeemer of Rome that would usher in a Golden Age free from sin. And, it turns out that Augustus presented himself as this saviour; so he took on this role for himself as the saviour of Rome. So he kind of had as much audacity as the Messiah in the Essene hymns there because - some more background - what had happened is, after Caesar had died, there were funeral games held in his honour and a comet was seen for something like a week. So, this comet was seen as a sign of Caesar's ascension into Heaven and he was deified. So the people and people like August who promoted this, saw it as the deification of Caesar. Caesar became a God and had risen up into heaven.

So, if Caesar was a God, then that made Augustus the Son of God; and that's what he called himself: The Son of God, "DiviFilii". He also called himself the Son of the Most High. Now, where have we heard those two terms before - Son of God and Son of the Most High? Those are straight out of the gospels.

Now, here's a little inscription that was found from 9BC about Augustus: "Whereas the providence which divinely ordered our lives created the most perfect good for our lives by producing Augustus and filling him with virtue for the benefit of mankind, sending us a saviour who would put an end to war. When he appeared, he exceeded the hopes of all who had anticipated good tidings."

How's that for official propaganda!? I mean, bringing an end to all war? Augustus was kind of a butcher. But, anyways. So, let's see here. I'm going to read just one little bit after this, that Knohl writes. So, "The divine character of Augustus the Redeemer is also clearly expressed in the art of the period. In some artefacts Augustus is shown sitting on a splendid throne in the company of the Gods. The Messiah of the Qumran sect [this is the Essenes, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found] described himself as sitting on a throne of power in the congregation of the God's, exactly as Augustus is depicted. The Messianic hymns from Qumran describe the period of redemption in terms remarkably similar to those in Virgil's description of the New Age. Because the Qumranic Messiah was active during the period of Augustus, we must consider the possibility that the political and cultural atmosphere in Rome, as expressed in Virgil's poetry and Augustus' propaganda, also influenced the Messiah.

So, right there, we find all of these ideas about the Christian Messiah actually found in these documents about the Qumranic or the Essene Messiah, which are found in the propaganda from Augustus. So we see this chain from...

David: This repeating cycle.

Harrison: Yeah, and it looks like a chain of influence. So, we have the official Roman propaganda that portrays Augustus as this miracle child, born to redeem Rome of its sins - to usher in a Golden Age. But, what kind of happened is that these ideas and this imagery, they made their way into the Essene beliefs, but with a twist. So, to them, they turned Augustus' propaganda around because they saw ... (Bad audio)... they saw what it was really doing and so he wasn't the prophet - for example, in the Revelations and the Hystaspes - he was actually the Dragon. Well, we'll get to that. And so, they appropriated these titles of Augustus for themselves - for their own Messiah - kind of like, "Augustus isn't the real redeemer. We've got the real deal here. Our Messiah is the real stuff".

David: Where have we heard this before?

Harrison: So, the Essenes are portrayed as pacifists - as these kind of hippy-type characters. But wasn't really the case. They had a word for their Messiah; it would be called, the Nassi. And in their texts, he would be the one to kill 'The Wicked One, The King of Kittim' and the King ofKittim was the Emperor of Rome - the ruler of Rome - Augustus Caesar.

So, these guys were actually planning the assassination of Caesar Augustus, which was a pretty audacious thing to do. At the same time, they were oath-bound not to reveal their secrets. So, they had this conspiracy among themselves but at the same time were presenting themselves to the world, or even to the Royal Court of Herod, they would present themselves as just law-abiding, good citizens, while at the same time they were planning, like, revolution in order to take over the Roman Empire.

So, around this time period, in 4BC, Herod died - Herod was King of Jerusalem at the time - and there was a revolt. Now, the Syrian governor was sent in to quell this revolt and there are accounts that it was just, like, raping, killing, enslaving, so all these revolutionaries - freedom fighters, if you will - were just slaughtered by the Syrian governor and this was probably when the death of this Messiah happened. And his death - where he was left in the street for three days to die, after which his followers claimed that he was raised into heaven and resurrected - this kind of led to the idea of Catastrophic Messianism. So, the followers of this Messiah probably looked into Isaiah and said, "oh well, you know, it's not just these things that he kind of has something in common with, but it looks like there's some more here" so that the idea that the Messiah would return, but that there was this new emphasis on the suffering and killing and this death would have redemptive value. So, basically, here is this Messiah, he's killed by - I mean, think about it - the followers wouldn't want to see their Messiah, their head honcho, killed and left like a criminal in the street for three days. So, just like with Romans, who after the death of Julius Caesar were looking for a redeemer to come, they would look for the same thing: someone to come back and carry on the good work.

So, this was probably the birth of this idea of the Messiah as this guy that would come back to redeem humanity. So, coming back to those two documents: the Book of Revelation and the Oracle of Hystaspes, in Hystaspes there are two kings mentioned. Well, those two kings just happened to be described in terms that are very similar to Marc Anthony and Augustus. Two kings, who after Lepidus was kind of kicked out of the Triumvirate who ruled over significant portions of Rome and who weren't seen in too positive a light by people in the empire at the time. And then the book of revelation with its two Beasts. Now, the two Beasts just happen to have a resemblance with Rome itself as an Empire, and Augustus. Augustus is actually presented as a false prophet in the Book of Revelation, interestingly enough.

So, The Beast is portrayed as a dragon with horns - there are other features, too - but the dragon with horns, Augustus actually made a point of seeing himself - or for example, on a coin, he portrays Capricorn. Now, so these are where the horns come from because, apparently, there was a story that his mother had this kind of nocturnal encounter with the God, Apollo, and they did the funky business, so he was actually this miraculously born child - he was conceived by a God, Apollo. And Apollo was a dragon slayer; he killed the python and he was also associated with prophesy. So all these ideas, again from Augustus' propaganda, made it into the Book of Revelation as this Beast who thrashed Rome and the Roman people with these symbols of Capricorn, Apollo, the dragon and prophecy.

William: Makes me wonder what was going on in the skies at the time.

Harrison: Yeah. Well, there comets in the skies and so, well, that's just a very short overview. The book - like I said - is only like 90 pages long and it's very easy to read. It's pretty interesting. Apparently, he's got a second book - or a book written after this - on similar themes - which I haven't read yet, but I'm going to - where he gets into some more details on it and a discovery, I think, of an inscription that actually gives the name of who was probably this leader of these Jewish revolutionaries. So, check it out if you're interested in the topic because there's a lot more detail than I got into here.

One thing that he doesn't talk about very much is Julius Caesar. He kind of lumps in Caesar with Augustus and with the Roman empire and kind of - without saying it - just implies that they're all the same. If you actually look at some more of the history surrounding Caesar himself and the way the Roman people saw him, I don't know if that totally fits in with the way Knohl presents it, because Caesar was a popular guy and when he died, it was kind of like JFK being assassinated - that was like the equivalent of what had happened at the time. So, I'd think that after Caesar's death, that was probably what led to these original ideas that Virgil wrote about in, The Fourth Eclogue; about the need for a redeemer - someone who would come and basically continue the work that Caesar was trying to do. Instead, we got Augustus, who went back to prescriptions, killing and a new kind of elite oligarchy that just replaced the old one, eventually.

So, there's some interesting stuff there.

William: I'm waiting with baited breath for all these Messiahs to return.

Harrison: Yeah! When are these guys going to show up and get to work?

David: These are repeating prophecies.

William: So we're going to see something similar to this in the near future?

Harrison: Phew... similar like, some new Messiahs coming?

William: Yeah, or some new redeemer and he's going to be killed and three days later resurrected and all this stuff.

Harrison: Well, you know, I think that maybe not in those terms, necessarily. But, I think there will be - well, I compared Caesar being killed to JFK; I think a lot of people would feel the same way if someone like Vladimir Putin died. And when something like that happens, I don't know if it would be like the exact same situation like if there'd be like some religious Putin cult that would spring up or not, but the dynamic is the same. I think people are looking for someone in a position of power who can make things right. And I think that's kind of the kernel of these Messiah myths is that people are looking for someone to stand up for them in a position of power and they aren't getting that and they haven't got that and that's what leads to this fervent desire for something like that.

William: Maybe some increased sky activity might be a catalyst for something like that.

Harrison: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, the Gods will come back in the skies, disappear for a few days and come back. Well, yeah, interesting. So, that's all I wanted to talk about on that. We're probably going to end it there unless we get any questions in the next few seconds - callers, feel free to call in.

But, yeah, is there anything else that you guys wanted to bring up for today?

William: No, I think it's good.

Harrison: Okay, well in that case, we are going to stop right there and see you next week. So, everyone take care, read the news and tune in tomorrow for Behind the Headlines, and Monday for the Health and Wellness show. Alright; bye.

David: Adios.

William: Goodbye - and happy Valentine's Day.