When England’s famous crusader, Richard the ‘Lionheart’, returned home in 1194 to a hero’s welcome, few of the cheering English folk had a clue about the rivers of blood he and his friends had been spilling in the name of Jesus across the holy land.
Only the tales of miraculous victories and incredible deeds of heroism got told. From the get-go in this latest millennium bemused Europeans are this time joined by Americans in again finding ourselves paying for our “betters'' Middle East crusades. With live TV satellite links and 24 hour rolling news channels, one would have hoped our understanding of the battles we are paying for might have improved a bit.
Not a bit of it! Hour after hour, day after day, week after week the media deliberately blurs the lines between the fanatics, armed and egged on mostly by the Saudis, NATO and Mossad, and the vast majority of all faiths who just want to be left alone, to live in peace alongside those of other beliefs as they have always done when colonial powers are not stirring the pot.
Saladin’s Muslims who ran Jerusalem in the twelfth century were not unlike the Arab city governors before the creation of the state of Israel in 1947. In the Abrahamic tradition both regimes encouraged peaceful access to the holy city for all faiths. But in the Middle Ages as now, this was not good enough for Richard I and his mostly French Knights Templar battalions. The story in 12th century Europe was that Muslims were ‘infidels’, some sort of ‘devil race’ defiling the holy land. According to the Vatican, nothing less than total control of Jerusalem would do.
The carnage these crusaders’ wrought over two hundred years of fighting probably did more than anything else to win converts to the younger Islamic faith. Crusader behavior was so ungodly as to be ‘heretical’. Not a misinterpretation but a twisting of the faith so deliberately wicked as to constitute a deliberate move over to the dark side. In the Middle East, Richard and his Templar hoards were widely seen as simply after wealth and power, and over the centuries this understanding that crusading was a 'racket', seeped through to every corner of Europe.
By the fourth crusade in 1204, the warrior Knights Templar besieged then sacked the nerve center of Byzantine Christendom, Constantinople, and as blood ran through the streets once more it became increasingly clear their mission had nothing whatever to do with the gospel of Jesus. Were the crusaders themselves “of the devil”?
Charles Phillips explains in his 2010 Complete Illustrated History Of The Crusades and the Crusader Knights, that by 1307 three Templar whistleblowers, Esquin de Floyan, Bernard Pelet and Gérard de Byzol had come to the French King Philip the Fair to “fess up”. They testified their “holy” Knights Templar was in fact a depraved cult whose secret initiation ceremonies involved “spitting on the cross”, “denying Christ three times”, “kissing the posterior of the Grand Master” and “worshipping an ebony skull which could save their souls”.
At dawn on Friday 13th October that year, Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, was arrested and all French Templars were rounded up with “confessions” subsequently extracted, many under torture. Holy orders had been the ideal cover for the most greedy, depraved men in Europe and their property was confiscated and handed to another, hopefully more holy order.
Armed both ideologically and literally by the West's intelligence puppet-masters, we have seen several contradictory incarnations now of extremist Islam. MI6 was the lead agency in Operation Cyclone, popularized in films like Rambo III (1988) and Charlie Wilson’s War (2007). Afghan’s tribesmen were seen as heroes by the West for standing up to Soviet occupation and the Mujahideen were armed as such by NATO's intelligence services to cause maximum trouble for the Soviet occupiers.
Then came the 9/11 attacks in 2001, time for role reversal in Afghanistan. Friendly heroes of the Mujahideen were reborn overnight as the evil Al-Qaeda ‘affiliated’ Taliban who had trained the 9/11 attackers. Lost in the narrative though was the Mujahideen's success in reducing opium crops to virtually nothing. Lost too in translation was the not Afghan but Saudi nationality of the key alleged 9/11 players, Osama Bin Laden and the hijackers of the four airliners.
When peaceful protests erupted on the streets of Damascus in the spring of 2011, Al-Qaeda got divided up and half was re-branded as the Free Syrian Army (FSA). An incredulous public was instructed that a mixture of ‘good Islamic fighters' and ‘bad Islamist extremists' would topple evil dictator President Assad in a matter of days. NATO and the Saudis, were helping and arming the 'good' Islamic fighters of course who, despite embarrassingly swapping weapons, kidnapping UN peacekeepers, massacring entire regions of Syrian civilians and wiping out ancient Christian villages.
Summer 2013's chemical weapons Sarin gas attack in Ghouta was supposed to have been the overture for NATO forces to start bombarding Damascus. But it was traced by the UN and Seymour Hersh back to our fanatical fighting friends. Aided and abetted by our oil friends in Riyadh and our NATO friends in Istanbul. So the whole matter of whodunit was quietly, embarrassingly, dropped by the Western media.
And then there was the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS/ISIL). Quite how many transmogrifications the West’s puppet Islamic extremists have still to go through is anyone’s guess but the Islamic State and whatever comes next can be sure of a steady supply of new recruits, willing to die fighting for the Caliphate, which many say the Koran prophecies. Those recruits come both as an angry young backlash against the demonizing of Islam, the gross injustices, lies and violations of the UN charter by the 21st century crusaders in Palestine, Libya, and Pakistan, the desperate feeling that millions of youngsters, not just Muslims, across the world have that “something must be done.”
Coupled with that are the heretical Wahabi and Salafist creeds taught to a generation of young Muslims in theological colleges across the Muslim world and bankrolled by the West’s chief oil partners in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia.
Although virtually ignored by the Western press, this week has seen evidence that the Islamic State are in regular contact with Mexican drug cartels. Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli explained that most of their money comes from the manufacture of Methamphetamine, which is being used to stimulate their soldiers as well as to sell as a fund raiser on the world markets.
The Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the wannabe Caliph, is the latest in a long line of Islamist puppet leaders who have been turned into fanatics at Guantanamo Bay and other US torture prisons. He follows in the dubious footsteps of Libya’s extremist governor of Tripoli, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, and the Chechen terrorist group Kata’ib Mohadzherin’s chief Airat Vakhitov, both graduates of Guantanamo Bay.
Al-Baghdadi was arrested in 2004 and held in Iraq's Camp Bucca, allegedly for five years, being released in 2009. Who knows whether the promises of protection he now holds dear are earthly or godly? If godly, does Mohammed really insist his glorious Caliphate should take innocent life for the 'greater good'? Does the Koran demand he convert the world to his faith at the point of an assault rifle?
Set against this, and focused on Jerusalem's contested temple mount, Israel's Zionists 'lost sheep' have their own more consistent heresy ‘God gave us this land’. Sidestepping the fact that most orthodox Jews reject this theologically, 65 percent of Israelis say they're certain God exists and most of those believe the land is theirs.
All that’s needed is the misinterpretation of a few words of a holy book, a malicious interpretation of God or his prophet’s will, to turn thousands of pages of wisdom and beauty into two opposed sets of fanatics' Hitlerian creeds of “Believe what I tell you to or I’ll blow your brains out.” Out of this conflict much blood may be spilt but much land can be grabbed and much money can be made.
When NATO meets in Newport, South Wales at the beginning of September there will be only a straitjacketed presentation of these matters. Like a monopolistic panzer-corporation in any other modern industry you care to mention, NATO likes to control the ideas around its market in death and destruction.
The Military Industrial Complex experiences little ‘push-back’ either these days from our “elected governments” who it sees simply as the tax collectors for its latest bloody adventures. Lobbying forcefully through elite Bilderberg Conferences and other invite-only cabals, they reward pliable politicians, after we have voted them out of office, with lucrative speaking tours and jobs on the board.
Whether the Western powers will be successful in dragging the world back to a technocratic ‘drone war’ version of the 12th century crusades, where might is right and the Abrahamic faiths, so strong for so long in the holy land, are torn to shreds, God only knows. But make no mistake, when after 9/11, at Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger's bidding, George W. Bush ripped up the UN Charter, he shifted the gears of the world into reverse and set us on a course back to barbarism.
Let us simply hope to learn at least some of the lessons from the Middle Ages and of those despicable lies told to justify the medieval crusades. Then it was the Templars versus the Assassins, now it is the Zionists versus the Salafists but the game is the same. Unless the world wises up, through intelligent reporting and measured response, the outcome will be the same as it was 900 years ago: Rivers of innocent blood.
If the “holy war” being hatched is allowed to escalate, the only ones to die will be innocent God-fearing people. The beneficiaries will be the same nasty cult, centered these days around NATO and Bilderberg’s military and political lobby, that wiped out six million followers of the rabbinic tradition in 1930s and 1940s Europe. This 21st century crusade will become that cult's latest “triumph.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.