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TBR News April 12, 2018

Apr 12 2018

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C. April 12, 2018.:”  I believe nothing found on government sites because they all lie like rugs and one has to be careful of the vanishing US print media like the New York Times or the Washington Post.

Both papers have a long history of connections with the CIA and while a few articles, say on student loan problems, might be accurate, little else is.

Facebook is an interesting subject. Zuckerberg and his friends started this project with the assistance of the FBI.

They view Facebook as a project saving them shoe leather when the want to look into people.

And Zuckerberg wants to become president!

There is a plan to technically flatted Facebook that will soon become evident.

What will happen then will be that the government will start to neutralize Facebook and Zuckerberg can get a job cleaning windows at some Internet club in Sunnyvale.

And an agent I know connected with the Internet told me that the FBI owns Internet II in toto.

And the CIA runs the German BND and always has but now that someone tipped off other German agencies, the BND is losing much of its power in Germany.

And I laugh when I think about how the Company came a cropper in the Ukraine. They engineered the putsch to get rid of a pro-Russian president and thereby lost the Crimeam all its extensive offshore oil deposits and the important naval base that had been promised to the U.S. Navy.

I have watched these lumps for years and they constantly amaze me by their utter stupidity.

And concerning the gas attack in Syria, there indeed was one. It was executed, not by the Syrian army but by Isreali aircraft but only after Tel Aviv discussed this with the Oval Office. We are told Mr. Bolton was a firm supporter of the idea.”

 

Table of Contents

  • The Absent Professor
  • Turkey’s ever-closer ties with Russia leave US lacking key ally on Syria
  • Eight Hundred Years of Glory: A short history of Christianity

 

The Absent Professor

  • A Key Trump-Russia Intermediary Has Been Missing for Months, as the Case for Collusion Grows Stronger
  • The relationship between a young American adviser and an academic with shadowy ties to Moscow reveals a secret channel between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

April 12 2018

by James Risen

The Intercept

They met in Moscow.

Joseph Mifsud saw her for the first time at the Bolshoi Theater. He struck up a conversation, offered to take her picture, and asked her out to dinner. Mifsud, an obscure, middle-aged academic originally from Malta, soon began dating the young Ukrainian woman. He liked to impress her by talking about his ties to important Russian officials. He told her he was friends with Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister.

Soon he was traveling to Ukraine to visit her. He met her family and eventually asked her to marry him. They got engaged; she got pregnant.

And then, last fall, he vanished.

Anna, Joseph Mifsud’s fiancée, whose story — without her last name — was recently told in a well-crafted BuzzFeed News piece, stands at the center of one of the biggest mysteries in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Donald Trump: Where is Joseph Mifsud?

On October 30, 2017, Mueller unveiled the first charges in his Trump-Russia probe. That day, his office announced indictments against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, as well as a guilty plea from George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in a deal approved secretly three weeks earlier, so it was clear that Papadopoulos was already cooperating with Mueller’s inquiry. The ambitious, young Greek-American Trump adviser was presumably telling Mueller everything he knew about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

In the court documents released in Papadopoulos’s case, one character jumps off the page: a mysterious and unnamed “overseas professor” who had served as an intermediary between Papadopoulos and the Russians. The documents reveal that during a meeting in April 2016, the professor had told Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” That was well before the hacking and theft of Clinton-related emails was publicly known.

The court documents also show that Papadopoulos had good reason to believe the professor; he knew that Mifsud had close ties to senior Russian officials.

When Papadopoulos first talked to FBI agents, he tried to downplay Mifsud’s significance. He “told the investigating agents that the professor was ‘a nothing’ and ‘just a guy talk[ing] up connections or something.’ In truth and in fact, however, defendant PAPADOPOULOS understood that the professor had substantial connections to Russian government officials (and had met with some of those officials in Moscow immediately prior to telling defendant PAPADOPOULOS about the ‘thousands of emails’) and, over a period of months, defendant PAPADOPOULOS repeatedly sought to use the professor’s Russian connections in an effort to arrange a meeting between the [Trump] Campaign and Russian government officials.”

When Papadopoulos’s guilty plea was made public, the press quickly identified the professor as Joseph Mifsud.

The Papadopoulos-Mifsud connection is highly suggestive of a direct link between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government. The relationship between the young campaign adviser and the academic with shadowy ties to Moscow reveals the existence of a secret channel through which the Russian government was able to communicate with the Trump campaign as it stole Democratic emails and weaponized them to help Trump win the presidency. The Papadopoulos-Mifsud connection is now Exhibit A in the argument that Trump or those close to him colluded with Moscow to gain the White House.

When I began this series of columns about Trump and Russia for The Intercept, I believed that evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow was thin. Collusion, I thought, was the weak link in the middle of the larger Trump-Russia narrative.At that time, I believed there was much stronger evidence that the Russians had intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win through a cyberoffensive targeting the American political system. I also thought there was powerful evidence that Trump and his aides had engaged in efforts to obstruct justice and impede Mueller’s investigation. Further, I suspected that congressional Republicans were engaged in a similar conspiracy to obstruct justice in Mueller’s inquiry. I was much less convinced that there was compelling evidence to show that Trump or those around him had actually conspired with the Russians to win the presidency. Like many others, I was willing to believe that Trump and his aides were too haplessly disorganized and incompetent to have coordinated with the Russians.

But as I’ve dug deeper into the evidence made public so far, I have become convinced that the case for collusion is much stronger than I thought. There are still plenty of unanswered questions, but that case is getting more persuasive as new facts come to light. (On Monday, the FBI raided the office and hotel room of one of Trump’s lawyers, although it’s unclear whether that will yield evidence of collusion.)

In addition to the channel between Papadopoulos and Mifsud, a series of other links also point toward ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Some of these connections have been known for a long time, while details of others are still emerging.

One prominent example, of course, is the case of the inflammable Roger Stone, a longtime Trump political adviser and Manafort’s onetime lobbying partner. Stone, best known as a loud, pro-Trump cable news pundit and a political dirty trickster dating back to the Nixon era, has acknowledged that in 2016, he was in contact with Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who claimed to have turned over stolen Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign. WikiLeaks then published the emails, sometimes releasing them at critical moments when they seemed designed to inflict maximum damage on Clinton’s campaign.

Guccifer 2.0 is now widely believed to be a front name used by Russian intelligence. The Daily Beast recently reported that Guccifer 2.0 has been identified by U.S. investigators as an officer in the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence arm.

Last year, Stone told CNN that his brief communications with Guccifer 2.0 were harmless, and that he had only messaged him in August 2016, after Guccifer’s role was publicly known. Stone has denied any involvement in collusion with Russia. In his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in September, Stone said that “those who believe that there was collusion between the Trump camp and the Russian state, now say Stone ‘MUST HAVE’ been involved, but that is not based on one shred of evidence.”

In February, The Atlantic reported on private Twitter messages between Stone and WikiLeaks in October 2016. The magazine added that WikiLeaks “sought to keep its channel to Stone open after Trump won the election.”

Despite Stone’s defiant denials of any role in collusion, Mueller is still investigating Stone’s contacts with Guccifer 2.0, WikiLeaks, and Julian Assange. Mueller’s continued interest in these connections became clear in March, when Ted Malloch, an American academic with ties to the Trump campaign and British right-wing politicians, was stopped as he entered the United States and subpoenaed to testify before Mueller’s inquiry. Malloch, who is based in London, told The Guardian that FBI agents asked about his relationship with Stone and whether he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has sought political asylum. The notion of a meeting between Stone and Assange was bolstered by Sam Nunberg, the former Trump adviser who caused a brief, comic furor last month when he camped out on cable news ranting about his unwillingness to cooperate with Mueller. Nunberg, who is now working with the special counsel, apparently gave Mueller a copy of an email from Stone dated August 4, 2016, in which Stone said: “I dined with Julian Assange last night,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Stone has said the email was “a joke,” but the same day he sent that email, he had appeared on the radio show InfoWars claiming that he had dined with Assange and predicting “devastating” disclosures about Clinton, according to CNN.

The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. was also in contact with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign and afterward, also through private messages on Twitter. Last November, The Atlantic reported on the details of those messages, showing that WikiLeaks first contacted Trump Jr. in September 2016, and the president’s son had readily responded. In October 2016, according to The Atlantic, WikiLeaks sent Trump Jr. a message: “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us. There’s many great stories the press are missing and we’re sure some of your follows will find it. Btw we just released Podesta Emails Part 4.”

Two days later, Trump Jr. tweeted the link.

A handful of communications might be easily explained away. The problem for Trump is that evidence of suspicious contacts with the Russians or possible intermediaries keeps mounting, and the details of those contacts make it increasingly difficult to dismiss them all as merely coincidental.

Among the contacts that are now known to have occurred are many that raise questions about their purpose, questions that Trump and his aides and allies have failed to adequately answer.

In April 2016, for example, Trump gave a foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. At the same event, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter, met with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Kislyak told Moscow that he had talked about campaign-related issues with Sessions, the Washington Post later reported. Sessions met with Kislyak again in September 2016 at his Senate office.

During his confirmation hearings to be attorney general in January 2017, Sessions did not disclose his contacts with Kislyak; he later said the meetings were not about the Trump campaign. Sessions’s statements during his confirmation hearings raised questions about whether he had been truthful to the Senate. They also played a role in his decision in March 2017 to recuse himself from overseeing the Trump-Russia inquiry.

Other contacts raise additional ominous questions about the depths of the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia. At the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in May 2016, for example, Donald Trump Jr. spoke to Alexander Torshin, an official at the Russian central bank with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In January, McClatchy reported that the FBI was investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the NRA in order to help Trump win the presidency. Torshin was one of a group of Russian individuals hit with new Treasury Department sanctions last week, an action that appears to have been taken independently of both Mueller’s investigation and the White House.

Torshin is a life member of the NRA, as is a woman who was previously his special assistant at the Russian central bank, Maria Butina. Butina has been described in the press as a strong advocate for gun rights in Russia and has developed close ties to Republican Party operatives in the U.S. Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican operative who has fundraised for the NRA, formed a company in South Dakota with Butina and emailed a Trump campaign aide in 2016 about the idea of setting up a meeting between Putin and Trump.

Under normal circumstances, the fact that an FBI investigation was underway to determine whether the presidency had been won with Russian cash funneled through a highly partisan organization like the NRA would be enough on its own to spur talk of impeachment. But with Trump, it is just one more piece in a much larger mosaic of potentially illegal or even treasonous activity. Since the news of the NRA-Russia link broke, it has become increasingly clear that Mueller is aggressively pursuing questions about whether illegal Russian cash infusions helped Trump get elected. Mueller’s team has begun to question Russian oligarchs as they travel in the United States, stopping one when his private plane landed in New York. Mueller’s investigators have asked the Russians if they gave cash donations directly or indirectly to Trump’s campaign or his inauguration, CNN reported this month. Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for records related to its business with foreign nationals, including several Russians, the Times reported Monday.

Perhaps the most infamous meeting between the Trump campaign and Russians took place in June 2016, at Trump Tower in New York, when Donald Trump Jr., Manafort, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, met with Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer.

Explanations for why the meeting occurred have continually shifted ever since the New York Times first reported on it last year. Eventually, it became clear that Veselnitskaya had gone to the meeting with a memo she believed contained damaging information about the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton. The Times reported that Veselnitskaya had discussed the allegations contained in the memo with Russia’s prosecutor general, Yury Chaika, and that her memo was similar to a document Chaika’s office had produced.

One of the most intriguing connections between the Trump campaign and Russia was only recently revealed in documents released by Mueller’s team. Investigators have found that Manafort, the former campaign manager, had a business associate in Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik, who had connections to Russian intelligence that continued during the 2016 presidential campaign. Kilimnik was in contact with Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, during the campaign, and Gates knew that Kilimnik was a former officer with Russian military intelligence, according to the court filings. (Gates pleaded guilty in February and is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.) Kilimnik was still working with Russian intelligence while he was communicating with the Trump team in September and October 2016, according to the court filings.

Now there are new signs that Mueller has an important ally in his investigation of the Manafort-Gates-Kilimnik collusion evidence. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Mueller probe because of Sessions’s recusal, wrote a memo last August saying that Mueller should investigate allegations that Manafort colluded with Russian government officials to interfere in the 2016 election. Rosenstein’s memo was made public earlier this month.

The Kilimnik connection has already led to jail time for one figure in the collusion case. Earlier this month, Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who worked at the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, was sentenced to 30 days in prison and a $20,000 fine for lying to the FBI about his communications with Gates and Kilimnik. Gates and van der Zwaan both communicated with Kilimnik during the 2016 election campaign, according to court documents.

The evidence of continued contact between the Trump team and the Russians after the election has also continued to build and now seems to be of real significance in Mueller’s investigation. American intelligence learned about a deeply suspicious December 2016 conversation between Kushner and Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. The two men reportedly talked about setting up a secret and secure communications channel between the Trump transition team and Moscow using Russian facilities. Maybe Kushner was just showing his naiveté. But his proposal to create a secret communications channel with Moscow using Moscow’s own secure communications systems — presumably so U.S. intelligence couldn’t eavesdrop — sounds like something a spy would suggest.

At about the same time, Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, was also in repeated contact with Kislyak. In December 2016, before Trump took office, Flynn and Kislyak discussed sanctions imposed on Russia by the outgoing Obama administration. Flynn allegedly lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the content of that conversation and was subsequently fired. In December 2017, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak and began cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

One post-election meeting that has attracted special interest from Mueller’s team took place in the Seychelles in January 2017, three months after the election. The existence of the meeting has been known since early last year, but details about its purpose have continued to trickle out, making the original explanations look less and less credible.

The meeting included Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, whose sister Betsy DeVos is Trump’s education secretary. Prince, who has been close to Trump’s national security team, met with Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian fund manager with ties to Putin, along with Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, where Prince has had extensive business dealings. George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who also attended the meeting, is said to be cooperating with Mueller’s team, and has reportedly revealed that the meeting was designed to create a backchannel between the new Trump administration and Moscow.

While evidence of collusion continues to pile up, I keep coming back to the curious case of Joseph Mifsud. Anyone who has read John le Carré’s spy novels would immediately recognize him. The slightly sketchy intermediary between East and West is a le Carré archetype. In his 1979 novel “Smiley’s People,” there is Otto Leipzig, nicknamed “The Magician,” who blackmails a Russian intelligence officer to get vital information to the British, but ends up dead.

Le Carré could hardly have invented a better go-between than the Maltese professor.

Mifsud has spent years as a nomadic academic, with postings of uncertain seriousness at institutions throughout Europe, including several that seem to have occurred at more or less the same time. He has variously been described as a teaching fellow at University of Stirling in Scotland; the “honorary director” of the London Academy of Diplomacy; an “honorary” professor at the University of East Anglia; and a visiting professor at Link Campus University in Rome. At one time, he reportedly held a position with the London Centre of International Law Practice, where George Papadopoulos also worked for a few months as director of the organization’s Center for International Energy and Natural Resources Law and Security.

Mifsud’s academic life and background would provide perfect cover for an intelligence asset. His credentials were just enough to gain him entree to the European academic circuit, yet his postings couldn’t withstand much scrutiny once his name surfaced in the Trump-Russia case. Quartz quickly discovered that the “London Centre of International Law Practice” was nothing more than “four people working in an undecorated backroom, all of whom declined to comment.”

In recent years, Mifsud sometimes made appearances at the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think tank that is widely considered in the West to be pro-Putin. So pro-Putin, in fact, that the Russian president regularly addresses the club in person; Mifsud noted publicly that he had attended at least one of Putin’s speeches at the Valdai club. Mifsud published several papers that appeared on the Valdai website, including a fawning 2015 piece of pro-Putin propaganda about Russian policies in Syria.

“Whilst according to many Western and Arab analysts the United States has been dillydallying with the world order, more intent on imposing a verbal “unilateral diktat”, other centres of power (e.g. the Russian Federation in Syria, Saudi Arabia in Yemen) were taking the bull by the horns and resorting to military force as a measure of last resort,” Mifsud wrote. “One can also contend that the Russian military participation in Syria was clearly organised in such a way as to ensure that diplomacy also takes its course. … The United States administration is on the defensive, still heavily labouring under the internal repercussions of the nuclear deal with Iran, the ‘fiasco’ in Libya, the heating up of the presidential race, the dismantling of the ‘iron partnerships’ with Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the overt economic power struggle with China. On the other hand, the Russian leader has walked the talk with ‘facts on the ground’ and has ensured that the Russian presence emanating from its direct involvement in the war in Syria will have a major impact on the shared solution.”

After Papadopoulos’s guilty plea became public last October, an Italian newspaper quickly tracked Mifsud down in Rome. “This is nonsense,” Mifsud said, referring to Mueller’s accusations that he had acted as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and Moscow. “The only thing I did was to facilitate contacts between official and unofficial sources to resolve a crisis. It is usual business everywhere. I put think tanks in contact, groups of experts with other groups of experts.” He denied “any discussion of mine about secrets concerning Hillary Clinton. … Let’s be clear: the Russians didn’t ask me to meet Papadopoulos.”

Shortly after that interview, published on November 1, 2017, Mifsud disappeared. No one has acknowledged seeing him since. BuzzFeed reported last month that Italian prosecutors, who were seeking him in an unrelated case, couldn’t find him.

Mifsud’s fiancée, Anna, recently gave birth to a baby girl. She says Mifsud is the child’s father, yet she still hasn’t heard from him. Questions abound about what happened to the professor. But one thing we know is that a key intermediary between the Trump campaign and Moscow has been missing for months. Mifsud’s disappearance comes at a time when bad things are happening to those who get in Vladimir Putin’s way.

That makes me increasingly suspect that Mueller’s investigation into collusion is on the right track.

 

Turkey’s ever-closer ties with Russia leave US lacking key ally on Syria

Limiting US influence in the Middle East is not the only shared interest of Russia and Turkey’s autocratic leaders

April 11, 2018

by Simon Tisdall

The Guardian

As the prospect grows of military confrontation with Russia in the skies over Syria, the US is counting on support from European partners such as France and the UK. But help from a key regional ally – Turkey – is less certain, despite its position on Syria’s northern border and opposition to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

There are echoes of 2003, when Turkey refused to back the US-led invasion of Iraq. Whose side Turkey is on is a question increasingly exercising Washington policymakers as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, builds closer ties with Russia.

Although Turkey is a Nato member, its growing defence cooperation with Moscow includes a recent $2bn deal to buy state-of-the-art S-400 surface-to-air missile systems. At the same time, military collaboration with the US has been scaled back.

Faced with Turkish restrictions, US air force combat operations at the Incirlik base, close to Syria’s border, have been run down. In January a squadron of A-10 “Warthog” ground-attack jets was redeployed to Afghanistan, reportedly leaving only refuelling aircraft at the base. Last year Germany, another Nato member, was obliged to withdraw its forces from Incirlik amid a fierce row with Erdoğan over human rights and legal issues. The German aircraft, which like their American counterparts were engaged in attacking Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq, were moved to Jordan.

US-Turkey tensions rose after the failed 2016 coup attempt in Ankara, which Erdoğan claimed was instigated by opponents based in the US. They have since been exacerbated by rows over Turkish human rights abuses, Washington’s support for anti-Assad Syrian Kurdish forces, whom Turkey regards as terrorists, and by Turkey’s military incursion into Afrin, in north-west Syria.

Erdoğan’s government, which has previously demanded Assad step down, initially blamed the Syrian regime for last Saturday’s chemical weapons attack in Douma – the focus of current tensions between Russia and the west. “The Syrian regime will have to pay the price,” İbrahim Kalin, Erdoğan’s spokesman, said on Monday.

The government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ said the Assad regime was guilty of “barbarity and [a] crime against humanity”. But Ankara changed its tune after Erdoğan received a phone call later that day from Assad’s main backer, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Ensuing official statements pointedly avoided blaming Douma on the regime, calling instead for a “careful investigation” – Putin’s exact position.

A menacing statement by Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, may also have changed Turkish minds. Russia has hitherto acquiesced in Turkey’s Afrin operation, obtaining assurances from Damascus that regime forces would not oppose it. But on Monday Lavrov said Moscow expected Turkey to hand over Afrin to Assad. Iran, Russia’s collaborator in Syria, made a similar call. Erdoğan angrily rejected the demands, but the message from Moscow was crystal clear: don’t mess with us.

Turkey’s close collaboration with Russia – critics would call it subservience – is a relatively recent phenomenon. The two countries came to blows in November, 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian military jet for alleged airspace violations. Moscow retaliated by imposing economic sanctions.

To the dismay of Nato and the EU, the subsequent rapprochement has been rapid, fuelled by shared self-interest, especially in Syria. Both Erdoğan and Putin want to shape any post-war settlement to their advantage. To this end they launched, with Iran, the so-called Astana peace process, rivalling talks overseen by the UN.

Putin personally commiserated with Erdoğan after the 2016 coup attempt, assuring him of Moscow’s full support. That was an important moment for two instinctive autocrats who fear the popular verdict of the street. Since then, bilateral cooperation on nuclear power, energy pipelines from Russia to Turkey and Europe, tourism, investment, arms sales and military-to-military ties have reached “unprecedented levels”, according to the IISS thinktank.

Erdoğan and Putin share another aim: curbing US influence in the Middle East. And for Russia, courting Turkey brings additional benefits – sowing discord within Nato and limiting US military options in Syria when, as now, push may come to shove.

 

Eight Hundred Years of Glory: A short history of Christianity

by Darrell W. Conder

When Pope Innocent III was anointed as the Vicar of Christ in 1198, one problem that faced him was heresy — a heretic being someone who asked questions about the Bible. Good old Innocent decided the best way to deal with this annoyance was a bit of Jehovah-style bloodletting. So his holiness cast an eye on Beziers, France to put the fear of God into his subjects. It is recorded that the last savage Christian persecution under a pagan Roman Emperor Diocletian, killed some 2,000 Christians. In Beziers, Pope Innocent killed at least six times that number — 12,000 — in one afternoon! For this day’s holy work, his holiness pronounced a special blessing for his soldiers and promised an indulgence from purgatory. Where was Jesus when Christian soldiers murdered Christian men, women and children in his name? In the same place when his soldiers sliced open pregnant Midianite girls back when he was calling himself Jehovah.

At least the victims of Christ’s love died somewhat quickly in Beziers. Those who fell into the hands of the Holy Inquisition, which was a Christian office set up to seek out and punish heretics and witches, had it a bit more rough. One eye witness wrote: “feet wrenched off legs, eyes torn from their sockets, and the prisoner burned with brimstone and basted with oil.” This is no exaggeration.

First of all, let’s understand that torturing non-believers has a precedent in God’s holy word. In 2 Samuel 12:31 we can read about David, a man after God’s own heart, taking the men, women and children of Rabbah and all the other Ammonite cities by putting man, woman and child “under saws, and under harrows [toothed plows] of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln [i.e., roasted them alive].” So the Holy Inquisition had its authority to torture and murder in God’s name by simply imitating the work of a man “after God’s own heart,” the details of which were found in scripture.

When the Church arrested heretics they were taken to a torture chamber, stripped naked (in case the Devil had applied some secret mark to their body), and were made ready for the holy work of the ministers of Christ. Typically a victim was hoisted into the air by their hands, which were tied behind their back, effectively dislocating shoulders with horrific pain. While hanging in this agony, a priest might apply flaming balls of sulfur to the genitals, or feet, or breasts, or under the arms, or on the back. If the victim was a woman, there was a special device for spreading the vagina (called the vaginal pear), which allowed for the ripping of the cervix and also for placing flaming sulfur directly inside the vagina. In fact, genitalia were a special target for the Holy Inquisition, as historian Barbara Walker notes: “. . . [priests] liked to attack women’s breasts and genitals with pincers, pliers, and red-hot irons.” Even more terrible to contemplate is that in some cases there were no breasts to mutilate because under the rules of the Holy Inquisition, girls as young as nine years could be tortured in the name of Jesus. (Walker, Barbara G. The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths & Secrets. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1983, p. 445.)

Dr. Paul Carus, in his famous book The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil (Avenel, New Jersey: Gramercy Books, 1996: originally published in Chicago in 1900 as The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil From the Earliest Times to the Present Day) provides us with an example of what it was like to be arrested for heresy: “The hangman binds the woman, who was pregnant, and places her on the rack. Then he racked her till her heart would fain break, but had no compassion. When she did not confess, the torture was repeated, the hangman tied her hands, cut off her hair, poured brandy over her head and burned it. He placed sulphur in her armpits and burned it. Her hands were tied behind her, and she was hauled up to the ceiling and suddenly dropped down. This hauling up and dropping down was repeated for some hours, until the hangman and his helpers went to dinner. When they returned, the master-hangman tied her feet and hands upon her back; brandy was poured on her back and burned. Then heavy weights were placed on her back and she was pulled up. After this she was again stretched on the rack. A spiked board is placed on her back, and she is again hauled up to the ceiling. The master again ties her feet and hangs on them a block of fifty pounds, which makes her think that her heart will burst. This proved insufficient; therefore the master unties her feet and fixes her legs in a vise, tightening the jaws until the blood oozes out at the toes. Nor was this sufficient; therefore she was stretched and pinched again in various ways. Now the hangman of Dreissigacker began the third grade of torture. When he placed her on the bench he said: ‘I do not take you for one, two, three, not for eight days, nor for a few weeks, but for half a year or a year, for your whole life, until you confess: and if you will not confess, I shall torture you to death, and you shall be burned after all. The hangman’s son-in-law hauled her up to the ceiling by her hands. The hangman of Dreissigacker whipped her with a horsewhip. She was placed in a vise where she remained for six hours. After that she was again mercilessly horsewhipped. This was all that was done on the first day.”

In 1599 in Bavaria, Germany, a convicted witch by the name of Anna Pappenheimer, after already being mercilessly tortured in prison, was taken into the public square where her flesh was peeled off with red-hot pincers, after which her breasts sawed off. But her tormentors were not through. The bloody severed breasts were forced into the mouths of her two sons, in a perverse parody by her Christian torturers of breast feeding the boys, who were later burned alive along with their mother. In the crowd, Anna’s ten year old son was made to watch all this horror. The next day, he too was burned alive beneath the cross of the Lord Jesus.

The Church had special horrors for males, whose testicles and penis were targeted, and special devices were invented solely for this purpose such as a hollow, hinged devise that was heated glowing hot into which the victim’s penis was placed — this pain on top of seared flesh, smashed bones, fingernails that had been smashed or pulled out, and any other horror dreamed up in the minds of good God-loving priests.

Another special torture instrument invented solely for use during the Inquisition, include the brodequin, a device which was used to crush the legs by tightening, or by using a mallet for knocking in wedges to smash the bones until the bone marrow spurted out. This device was handy because when the victim inevitably passed out from the pain, it was proof of their guilt because losing consciousness was a trick of the Devil to spare his children pain.

Other tortures included applying oil to various parts of the body and slowly roasting them over an open fire. Sometimes an oversized boot was fitted on the victim and boiling water or sizzling hot grease was poured inside. (Imagine the pain we all have felt when we inadvertently burn our fingers on a hot pan; now consider the pain these helpless victims suffered, and the pain they endured afterwards from the horrific lingering pain of massive burns over the most delicate parts of their body.) And then there was the torture of squassation, which entailed strapping hundred-pound weights to a suspended victim’s arms and legs, and then hoisting the weights up above the victim, and then releasing the ropes, which dislocated virtually every bone in the victim’s body. It was said that several applications were often sufficient to kill even the strongest man.

The wheel was perhaps the worst torture device. A naked victim, who often had already been subjected to the tortures described above, was stretched spread-eagle on a large wheel. Wooden cross pieces were placed under the wrists, elbows, ankles, knees and hips. The inquisitor then used a wooden mallet to smash the victim’s bones and joints in dozens of places, although taking special care not to kill his victim. According to the observations of a seventeenth-century German chronicler, the victim was transformed “into a sort of huge screaming puppet writhing in rivulets of blood, a puppet with four tentacles, like a sea monster, of raw, slimy and shapeless flesh (rohw, schleymig und formlos Fleisch wie di Schleuch eines Tündenfischs) mixed up with splinters of smashed bones”. In this indescribably horrid state, the victim’s smashed noodle-like arms and legs were braided into the spokes of the wheel; then the wheeled victim was hoisted up on a pole and left to the elements to suffer a slow death. Eyewitnesses tell how crows would often feast on the helpless, screaming victims as they begged God for the mercy of death.

The water torture began with a naked victim strapped to a table. A funnel was inserted down their throat and gallons of water were poured in until the victim’s stomach was literally ready to burst. The inquisitor would then beat the victim’s stomach with mallets rupturing internal organs. Or, in another variation, a length of knotted cord was forced down the victim’s throat with the water, and then yanked from the mouth, effectively resulting in disemboweling.

Cleansing the soul was accomplished by forcing a victim to swallow scalding water, grease or glowing coals. We can add to this list, the cat’s paw, the breast ripper, the testicle ripper, the rectal pear, the shin vice, the head crusher, Saint Elmo’s belt, the rack, ducking the witch, the heretic’s fork and numerous other ways to “discover” the mark of Satan.

During all of this sanctimonious horror God’s ministers practiced the ultimate absurdity by blessing the instruments of torture with “holy water” and invoking God’s blessing: “Lord God we pray thee manifest thy truth on this thy servant [the instrument of torture]. Thou, O god, who hast, in former times, done great signs and wonders among thy people by fire . . . If this thy servant, who is about to undergo this trial, is guilty, let his hand be seared and burnt by the fire: but, on the other hand, if he is innocent, suffer not the fire to affect him. Lord God, thou to whom all secrets are known, fulfill, by thy goodness, the hope of our confidence and faith, while we undertake this examination; that the innocent may be set free, but the guilty detected and punished.” von Bracht writes: “When the priest had finished this prayer, he sprinkled the red hot iron with holy water, and pronounced upon it the benediction; The blessing of God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, fall upon this iron, that we may by it form a righteous judgment.” (von Bracht,The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs’ Mirror of the Defenseless Christians, p. 241.)

When all the torture was through, and if the victim had not died, he or she was returned to their prison cell awaiting their next “examination.”

Speaking of the “examination,” the rules of the Inquisition stated that a person could only be subjected to one torture session. Although the initial examination could go on for an entire day, even perverts get tired of torturing and raping, so they must take a break. To get around the inconvenience of the one session rule, the inquisitors simply declared a recess in the session, which could last for hours, days, weeks or months, meaning that a victim could be “examined” endlessly — unless they died. Not only this, there was an inducement for the “examination” to last because the Church charged the victim’s family for their torture services. That’s right! The ministers of Christ charged a family for burning and ripping their daughter’s breasts, wrenching off her fingers or toes, pulling out her fingernails, applying burning sulfur to her genitals and raping her. The longer the sessions, the more money extracted for the work of Christ. On top of this, there was a charge for the victim’s upkeep in prison: the family had to pay for their mother, father, son or daughter’s filthy rotten food and lodging in a filthy, disease-ridden overcrowded, rat-infested cell.

The medieval prison defies description. The places used for the ordinary prisoners were deplorable hell-holes, but the cells to which heretics were consigned were even worse. When a man or woman was thrown into a cell, it wasn’t unusual to find rotting corpses lying about covered with maggots. Food was often non-existent, and when it was given, was foul and rotten — tossed on a floor swarming with rats and roaches and covered with excrement, urine, maggots, pus and blood. If this wasn’t bad enough, the stronger prisoners, driven mad with hunger, often took the food from the weak, who were left to die in this filth.

Ten or fifteen people crowded together in one cell without sanitation brought predictable results — disease. Very often mass death occurred from an epidemic inside the prison, which the Church declared was God’s “divine retribution” because it proved the guilt of the prisoner.

There was no such thing as medical attention in prison, meaning that ill half-conscience prisoners were left to be eaten alive by the armies of rats swarming the prison cells. Rats in fact, were a useful tool to the Inquisitor, who would, on occasion, order that a prisoner be closely chained to the floor of his or her cell. The rats, accustomed to feeding on human flesh, would then feed on this living meal throughout the night — or days. In fact, the victim, in keeping with the priest’s perverse desires, might have fish oil, or other food smeared on their genitals or breasts in order to provide the rats with a target in their feast. It was all yet another tactic used by the inquisitors to induce the “heretic” to confess their “sin” against the Lamb of God, the “God of love and mercy” who was sitting up in heaven just waiting for the repentant sinner to come to him, as Billy Graham’s theme song proclaims: “Just as I am, without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bids me come to thee Oh, Lamb of God, I come I come.”

In time, it became a custom to allow “zealous Christian” men to visit the cells of women prisoners, after they paid a few coins, so that they could, themselves, personally “examine” the accused women. (Walker, op. cit., p. 446.) At this point the condemned women, who usually had been gang-raped and tortured by their inquisitors, were subjected to brutal men who not only raped them, but thought it their God-given duty to inflict further pain and suffering.

That the arrests and tortures often were for sexual gratification can be seen in the case of a priest/inquisitor named Foulques de St. George of Toulouse. The people of Toulouse, thoroughly disgusted with his atrocities, gathered evidence that he arrested women only to rape and torture them. Indeed, the chronicler of Trier, Germany recorded that all the females in two nearby villages were killed by inquisitors in 1586. However, these actions were rare exceptions because to question the Inquisition was a one-way ticket to be arrested, tortured and killed by the Inquisition, which means that almost nothing was done to stem the perverse appetites of the Holy Inquisition.

In time, the charge of heresy was joined with another charge, which provided a very large number of female victims for Christ’s ministers. It was the charge of witchcraft. Karen Armstrong writes: “The old pagan belief in witchcraft received its Christian baptism in 1484, when Pope Innocent VIII brought out an astonishing Bull, Summa Desiderantes . . .” (Armstrong, The Gospel According to Woman, p. 103.) Innocent officially began the witchcraft hysteria, which was to plague Christendom for centuries to come. The pope empowered two Dominicans, Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, to investigate the practice of witchcraft, and the result was a book called Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), which was a handbook to help the Inquisitors uncover witches. Released in 1486, The Hammer of Witches essentially placed full blame for witchcraft on women, while painting men as their victims. For a priesthood that enjoyed arresting, raping, torturing and burning women, this book was a God-send.

Among other perversions, Malleus Maleficarum taught that witchcraft was due to women’s “insatiable sexuality” and that owing to her “inferior humanity” a woman, was more susceptible than a man to the devil through sex. (ibid, p. 104.) Moreover, the more beautiful the women, the more likely a suspect she was because her beauty was used by Satan to entice innocent young men into his grasp! Armstrong writes: “Indeed, the Malleus is quite clear that part of a woman’s danger is her beauty.” (ibid., p. 112.)

Malleus Maleficarum was “filled with a pathological hatred of women,” as historian Walter Nigg writes, which was an attitude fostered by countless centuries of Christian teaching, via the woman-hating pen of St. Paul himself. Thanks to Paul, Christians taught that women were inferior “because, being formed from a man’s rib, they are ‘only imperfect animals’ and ‘crooked’ whereas man belongs to a privileged sex from whose midst Christ emerged.” (Nigg, The Heretics, p. 277.)

What a grand arrangement for a perverse priesthood! Beautiful women were in league with the Devil, and needed to be arrested, taken to a private cell, stripped naked, tortured and burned to death. Even more ludicrous, if the inquisitor became sexually aroused during the torture of these naked beautiful women, he claimed it was sure evidence that the Devil was working through the victim to entice him. And when this sexually aroused man of God raped his victim, she received full blame and her torture was even more savage.

On December 5, 1484, Pope Innocent VIII declared that Germany was particularly infested with witches. For the next one hundred years Germany endured human bonfires — almost all being fueled with German women. (Lea, A History of the Inquisitions, Volume III, p. 540.) For example, in the spring of 1586 the summer was late in coming to Trier, Germany. The unseasonable cold, said the archbishop, was due to witches! A woman was arrested, tortured and made to confess that a coven of witches was going to cause the entire summer to be cold in order to ruin crops and thus the economy of the town. The archbishop arrested, tortured and burned 118 women and 2 men. For his part, the archbishop was praised by the Vatican for his quick action, while the victims of God’s love smoldered in the ashes. (Lea, op.cit., Volume III, p. 549.)

In the Gospel of Mark (10:14) Jesus once said: “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.” Well, “suffer the little children” is a fitting way to relate what Christ’s Holy Inquisition did when it arrested, tortured and murdered untold thousands of children. In mid-seventeenth-century Neisse, Silesia more than two thousand babies, girls and women were roasted alive in ovens during a nine-year period for suspected witchcraft. In 1629 the chancellor of Würzburg, Germany wrote that three hundred children of three or four years of age were accused by of having had intercourse with the Devil, all of whom were tortured and burned to rid the Church of their evil threat. Actually, it does not take much imagination to wonder why children were included in the priestly pursuit of burning heretics, especially in light of the mountain of recent charges about pedophile ministers and priests.

Being arrested for witchcraft by God’s church was a no-win situation for the victim. An arrest for witchcraft was a death sentence. First, a suspected witch was brought before an inquisitor and asked a trick question. Asked if they believed in witches, most said “no.” This was an incriminating answer because His Holiness, the Vicar of Christ, had said Europe was infested with witches, and one didn’t dispute papal authority. So, the answer was enough to convict — and no witch, even if he/she freely confessed, would be spared death the penalty because the bible expressly stated that no witch should live (Exodus 22:18). So, unlike the heretic, who on some occasions after torture, public humiliation, and confiscation of all his/her property, might be allowed to die in prison, the witch was doomed from the beginning to death — if he or she didn’t die during the “examination.”

Of course, if victims survived the torture of repeated examinations and their lodging in the prison cell, they still had to endure their punishment.

In the early days of the Inquisition, the judges often allow the victim to escape the death penalty by being punished in other ways. For instance, a victim could be locked in public stocks, which was a hellish predicament. Completely helpless, the victim was left to the tender mercies of the assembled mob: slapped, kicked, poked with sharpened sticks, urine and feces dumped on his or her head, or forced into the mouth, poked out eyes, torn-out tongues, stoned, ears cut off, castrated, fingernails and toenails ripped out, fingers and toes sawed off, whipped, etc. But this was in the days when the Church showed a victim mercy. Eventually death was the standard punishment.

When a heretic was sentenced to death, it was by fire because the Church reasoned that it was wrong to shed blood, and burning didn’t shed blood. Besides, the Lamb of God had paved the way for these holy, purifying fires in John 15:6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Also, the bible itself teaches that burning was a godly form of execution: Joshua 7:15, which prescribes burning as a form of execution and Leviticus 21:9, which teaches that a profaning woman should be burned with fire.)

The burning of heretics dates all the way back to a papal statute of 1231, which demanded death by fire, adding that it was to be used universally. (Nigg, The Heretic, p. 220, Reinach, Orpheus, p. 328.) In fact, in the Inquisition’s heyday the pope promised indulgences (remission for punishment) in hell or purgatory for those who provided fuel for these cleansing fires. (Reinach, op.cit., p. 328.) This offer by the papacy wasn’t for any religious concern, it was because providing firewood was expensive and the Church was looking for ways to cut costs since the number of victims was increasing according to the Church’s perverse appetite.

There was one technicality to be carried out before someone was actually burned: the Church, in its sanctimonious piety, handed its victims over to the local governments so that God’s ministers could claim that the Church had never killed anyone. The victim’s trial ended with these words: “We [the ministers of Christ] cast you forth from this our ecclesiastical court and leave you to be delivered to the secular arm. But we earnestly pray that the said secular court may temper its justice with mercy that there be no bloodshed or danger of death.” (Coulton, Inquisition and Liberty, pp. 168-69.) But, no secular court dared contradict the findings of the Inquisition. No secular court dared let a victim go free — if any judge had dared do so, he would likely find himself before the very men whose judgment he had overturned, faced with a charge of witchcraft or heresy.

When the victim was led to a public place for his/her burning, they were often horribly abused by the assembled superstitious crowd, which often had been whipped up to a state of bloodlust by the ranting of their local priest. But this last abuse was nothing compared to what the victim had already suffered. If the victim was a woman, she usually had had her tongue cut out, or bored through with a glowing hot poker to keep her from telling bystanders that she had been raped by God’s ministers — the official excuse for this practice being that it kept the guilty from blaspheming God during their burning.

One of the most horrible recorded cases of burning is that of an unnamed Jersey woman, who was murdered in a public square in 1562. Being in the last weeks of pregnancy, the morning of her execution brought on labor. As the fire started to crackle beneath her feet, the wretched woman gave birth, after which a godly onlooker scarfed up the unoffending baby and tossed it into the flames beneath its screaming mother’s feet — all this happening while Jesus sat up in heaven on the right hand of his father watching the spectacle!

With that last comment, let us keep in mind as we read these accounts that the victims here were God-fearing, Jesus-loving Christians who undoubtedly cried out in their misery to those gods for mercy and deliverance. Where was this loving deity, Jesus we all hear preached? Well, either he sat in heaven and looked on approvingly, or, like Kenneth Taylor’s translation of 1 Kings 18:27 in the Living Bible, was doing what Elijah said about the god Baal: he couldn’t hear prayers because he was perhaps “sitting on the toilet”! Or, say I, perchance Jesus didn’t hear them because he is but a myth!

Mark Twain once wrote: “During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for 800 years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. . . . There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them still remains.”

One of the great tragedies resulting from the wholesale murders of “witches” was the almost total elimination of those who treated illness with natural remedies, which had been passed down through a thousand generations. Essentially the Church taught that the only remedy for illness was touching a holy relic (which the Church sold), or being anointed by a priest with holy oil. Anything else was regarded with suspicion — especially if the ill person recovered from the application of natural medicines. Hence, natural practitioners, most of whom were women, were the first to be arrested and charged with witchcraft. And so, in the cleansing fires of the holy mother Church died thousands of years of cures or treatments for every medical problem known to man. That loss was so great that even today humanity suffers the effect by paying absurdly high prices for chemical remedies, the side effects of which often outweigh the benefits. Oh, we all have so much to thank the Lord for, do we not?

Okay, so far I’ve covered God’s love for heretics and witches inside the Christian torture chambers and dungeons, but all of this was somewhat mild when compared to the Church’s remedy for a problem called the Protestant Reformation. People — hordes of them — countries full of them — were finally reading the bible and thinking for themselves, and something had to be done because people thinking for themselves are dangerous to any organization, be it churches or governments. In other words, the Holy Inquisition had to be taken to the streets on a massive scale. Good Christians everywhere had to be whipped up into a blood frenzy if the Church was to survive.

It is going way beyond the scope of this article to present a detailed history of the whole Reformation, nevertheless it is vital to offer a few significant horrible examples, such as when Pope Pius IV sent his armies into Orange (in the Netherlands) in 1562 to massacre Protestant heretics — the Holy Inquisition having already pronounced a sentence of death for heresy on the whole population. Hordes of merciless Catholic Christian soldiers were sent into the Netherlands with the promise of plunder, rape and torture, AND the promise of an indulgence from his holiness the pope! During the endless months of horror women were raped en masse, hung by their breasts and tortured with fire, knives and a host of improvised devices; men were hung by their genitalia until the helpless organs were ripped from their bodies, all the while being subjected to the love of God with fire, knives and glowing-hot pokers. Men, women and children were dragged behind horses until they died in their agony, or were tied spread-eagle between four horses and ripped apart; children were tortured to death and then hung up as decorations in the city streets — all the while with a priest watching and sprinkling “holy water” on the devices of torture.

On the occasion of their marriage, King Henry II of France gave his wife an unusual gift. King Henry “. . . celebrated the coronation of his wife Catherine de Medici with a bonfire of heretics.” (A Brief History of Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Peoples, p. 450.) Queen Catherine was obviously delighted with the spectacle, which is borne by her later obsession for punishing heretics, and because it was she who loosed Catholic mobs into the streets of Paris to hunt down their fellow Protestant Christians on St. Bartholomew’s Day (August 24) in 1572. As in the Netherlands, the scenes of mobs publicly raping, torturing, murdering and plundering filled the streets. By the end of the day it is estimated that 70,000 Huguenot men, women, children and babies lay raped, mutilated and dead in the streets. When the Vicar of Christ, Pope Gregory XIII, got word of this great massacre, he held an elaborate celebration, said High Mass, gave special blessings to the murderers, gave great honors to the one who plotted the deed, Queen Mother Catherine, and then ordered a medallion to be struck commemorating the event. (DeRosa, Vicars of Christ, p. 145)

St. Bartholomew’s Day was only a fraction of the murderous terror against the Protestants of France. Reinach records that at Caen, and many other towns, “. . . parents might be seen following the hurdles on which the bodies of their children were being drawn, to be hacked in pieces by the pupils of the Jesuits.” (Reinach, Orpheus, p. 366.) No wonder that Voltaire wrote about the Inquisitions: “You follow these scenes of absurdity and horror with pity; you find nothing like them among the Romans, the Greeks, or the old barbarians. They were the fruit of the most infamous superstitions which has ever degraded man… but you know that we have not long emerged from such darkness, and that not even yet is the light complete.” (Reinach, op.cit., p. 326.)

Perhaps one of the saddest of tragedies was the case of Lutheran Church founder, Martin Luther. When this Catholic priest successfully rebelled against the papacy, many Germans were encouraged to begin thinking for themselves in matters of religion. This freedom was encouraged by Luther until it included questioning his doctrines. During the Peasant’s War, Luther urged the nobility to have no mercy, and to track down heretics: “track them like dogs and kill these children of the devil” was Luther’s orders. Taking him at his word, the nobles and their armies butchered over one hundred thousand God-fearing men, women and children. Luther later boasted that “I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said that they should be slain; all their blood is upon my head. But I cast it on the Lord God . .” (O’Brien, The Faith of Millions: the Credentials of the Catholic Religion, p. 29.) Right on Martin Luther! The impetus for religious murder can always be rightly laid on the head of God and his holy word!

And then there was Ireland.

In a letter from Rome, dated May, 1538, the following instructions were received: “His Holiness Paul III, now pope, and the council of the fathers, have lately found, in Rome a prophecy of one St. Lacerianus, an Irish bishop of Cashel, in which he saith that the Mother Church of Rome falleth, when in Ireland, the Catholic faith is overcome. Therefore, for the glory of the Mother Church, the honor of St. Peter, and your own security, suppress heresy, and his holiness’ enemies.” (Fox’s Book of Martyrs, pp. 300-301.) This letter began the great bloody murders of Protestant Christians in that most Catholic Christian of nations, Ireland.

The massacre had been secretly planned by the Catholic clergy for months prior to its unleashing on 23 October 1641, the date of the feast of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order. Throughout all Ireland “. . . every Protestant who fell in their [the Catholic’s] way was immediately murdered. No age, no sex, no condition, was spared.”

Countless Protestant children from one area were rounded up and attacked by a crowd, who hacked, stoned, and beat them to death. Their parents were hanged by their feet or hands from trees and tortured, or burned alive. In other towns, women and children were tied to trees, and vicious dogs were set loose on them, while cheering crowds watched. Some were tied to the tails of horses and dragged to death. Women were, of course, raped by the thousands, after which they were sexually mutilated. In one place Protestant women were stripped naked, and having their breasts cut off, were allowed to slowly bleed to death to the taunts of the Catholic crowds. Whole families were buried alive, while over their graves, others were skinned alive — while the Christian mobs who performed these deeds were granted a special indulgence by his holiness, the pope, which meant, according to Catholic doctrine, sending a group of murderers directly to heaven for killing their fellow Christians.

One Catholic priest a certain Father Mahoney, told his congregation “You have already killed 150,000 enemies . . . as your enemies confess in their writings. I think more heretics have been killed; would they had all been. It remains for you to slay all other heretics and expel them from the bounds of Ireland.” (Campbell, The Scarlet Woman of the Apocalypse, p. 19.) With the murder of little unborn babies, cut from wombs and fed alive to dogs and pigs, while their mothers, still barely alive, were forced to watch, the pope was able to “sleep better, knowing the enemies of Christ” had been put down in Ireland! Of course, this horror was recompensed in kind when the rabid Protestant Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell, came to Ireland with his armies and killed untold thousands of Catholics, including burning terrified Catholic women and children alive inside their church during the siege of Drogheda.

Early seventeenth century Bohemia had a population of 4,000,000, eighty percent of which were Protestant. During the Thirty Years War, after the Hapsburg emperor Ferdinand II and his armies and the holy order of the Jesuits had done the work of Christ, only 800,000 people were left in all Bohemia and Hungary, all of whom were Catholic. Even worse, the war, which had started as a religious war in Bohemia, eventually drew in all the German states, and then Sweden and France, and in the end as many as twenty million men, women, children and suckling babes lay dead in the bosom of Christ!

And on and on and on it went. But hold on! God’s “love,” the kind about which we have been reading, is still alive!

 

 

 

 

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