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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Meet The Secretive Group That Runs The World

Over the centuries there have been many stories, some based on loose facts, others based on hearsay, conjecture, speculation and outright lies, about groups of people who "control the world." Some of these are partially accurate, others are wildly hyperbolic, but when it comes to the historic record, nothing comes closer to the stereotypical, secretive group determining the fate of over 7 billion people, than the Bank of International Settlements, which hides in such plain sight, that few have ever paid much attention.

This is their story.
First unofficial meeting of the BIS Board of Directors in Basel, April 1930
* * *
The following is an excerpt from TOWER OF BASEL: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World by Adam LeBor.  Reprinted with permission from PublicAffairs.
The world’s most exclusive club has eighteen members. They gather every other month on a Sunday evening at 7 p.m. in conference room E in a circular tower block whose tinted windows overlook the central Basel railway station. Their discussion lasts for one hour, perhaps an hour and a half. Some of those present bring a colleague with them, but the aides rarely speak during this most confidential of conclaves. The meeting closes, the aides leave, and those remaining retire for dinner in the dining room on the eighteenth floor, rightly confident that the food and the wine will be superb. The meal, which continues until 11 p.m. or midnight, is where the real work is done. The protocol and hospitality, honed for more than eight decades, are faultless.Anything said at the dining table, it is understood, is not to be repeated elsewhere.
Few, if any, of those enjoying their haute cuisine and grand cru wines— some of the best Switzerland can offer—would be recognized by passers-by, but they include a good number of the most powerful people in the world. These men—they are almost all men—are central bankers. They have come to Basel to attend the Economic Consultative Committee (ECC) of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is the bank for central banks. Its current members [ZH: as of 2013] include Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England; Mario Draghi, of the European Central Bank; Zhou Xiaochuan of the Bank of China; and the central bank governors of Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Canada, India, and Brazil. Jaime Caruana, a former governor of the Bank of Spain, the BIS’s general manager, joins them.
In early 2013, when this book went to press, King, who is due to step down as governor of the Bank of England in June 2013, chaired the ECC. The ECC, which used to be known as the G-10 governors’ meeting, is the most influential of the BIS’s numerous gatherings, open only to a small, select group of central bankers from advanced economies. The ECC makes recommendations on the membership and organization of the three BIS committees that deal with the global financial system, payments systems, and international markets. The committee also prepares proposals for the Global Economy Meeting and guides its agenda.
That meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning, in room B and lasts for three hours. There King presides over the central bank governors of the thirty countries judged the most important to the global economy. In addition to those who were present at the Sunday evening dinner, Monday’s meeting will include representatives from, for example, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey. Governors from fifteen smaller countries, such as Hungary, Israel, and New Zealand are allowed to sit in as observers, but do not usually speak. Governors from the third tier of member banks, such as Macedonia and Slovakia, are not allowed to attend. Instead they must forage for scraps of information at coffee and meal breaks.
The governors of all sixty BIS member banks then enjoy a buffet lunch in the eighteenth-floor dining room. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the Swiss architectural firm which built the “Bird’s Nest” Stadium for the Beijing Olympics, the dining room has white walls, a black ceiling and spectacular views over three countries: Switzerland, France, and Germany. At 2 p.m. the central bankers and their aides return to room B for the governors’ meeting to discuss matters of interest, until the gathering ends at 5.
King takes a very different approach than his predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet, the former president of the European Central Bank, in chairing the Global Economy Meeting. Trichet, according to one former central banker, was notably Gallic in his style: a stickler for protocol who called the central bankers to speak in order of importance, starting with the governors of the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Bundesbank, and then progressing down the hierarchy. King, in contrast, adopts a more thematic and egalitarian approach: throwing open the meetings for discussion and inviting contributions from all present.
The governors’ conclaves have played a crucial role in determining the world’s response to the global financial crisis. “The BIS has been a very important meeting point for central bankers during the crisis, and the rationale for its existence has expanded,” said King. “We have had to face challenges that we have never seen before. We had to work out what was going on, what instruments do we use when interest rates are close to zero, how do we communicate policy. We discuss this at home with our staff, but it is very valuable for the governors themselves to get together and talk among themselves.”
Those discussions, say central bankers, must be confidential. “When you are at the top in the number one post, it can be pretty lonely at times. It is helpful to be able to meet other number ones and say, ‘This is my problem, how do you deal with it?’” King continued. “Being able to talk informally and openly about our experiences has been immensely valuable. We are not speaking in a public forum. We can say what we really think and believe, and we can ask questions and benefit from others.”
The BIS management works hard to ensure that the atmosphere is friendly and clubbable throughout the weekend, and it seems they succeed. The bank arranges a fleet of limousines to pick up the governors at Zürich airport and bring them to Basel. Separate breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are organized for the governors of national banks who oversee different types and sizes of national economies, so no one feels excluded. “The central bankers were more at home and relaxed with their fellow central bankers than with their own governments,” recalled Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, who at- tended the Basel weekends. The superb quality of the food and wine made for an easy camaraderie, said Peter Akos Bod, a former governor of the National Bank of Hungary. “The main topics of discussion were the quality of the wine and the stupidity of finance ministers. If you had no knowledge of wine you could not join in the conversation.”
And the conversation is usually stimulating and enjoyable, say central bankers. The contrast between the Federal Open Markets Committee at  the US Federal Reserve, and the Sunday evening G-10 governors’ dinners was notable, recalled Laurence Meyer, who served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve from 1996 until 2002. The chairman of the Federal Reserve did not always represent the bank at the Basel meetings, so Meyer occasionally attended. The BIS discussions were always lively, focused and thought provoking. “At FMOC meetings, while I was at the Fed, almost all the Committee members read statements which had been prepared in advance. They very rarely referred to statements by other Committee members and there was almost never an exchange between two members or an ongoing discussion about the outlook or policy options. At BIS dinners people actually talk to each other and the discussions are always stimulating and interactive focused on the serious issues facing the global economy.”
All the governors present at the two-day gathering are assured of total confidentiality, discretion, and the highest levels of security. The meetings take place on several floors that are usually used only when the governors are in attendance. The governors are provided with a dedicated office and the necessary support and secretarial staff. The Swiss authorities have no juridisdiction over the BIS premises. Founded by an international treaty, and further protected by the 1987 Headquarters Agreement with the Swiss government, the BIS enjoys similar protections to those granted to the headquarters of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and diplomatic embassies. The Swiss authorities need the permission of the BIS management to enter the bank’s buildings, which are described as “inviolable.”
The BIS has the right to communicate in code and to send and receive correspondence in bags covered by the same protection as embassies, meaning they cannot be opened.The BIS is exempt from Swiss taxes. Its employees do not have to pay income tax on their salaries, which are usually generous, designed to compete with the private sector. The general man- ager’s salary in 2011 was 763,930 Swiss francs, while head of departments were paid 587,640 per annum, plus generous allowances. The bank’s extraordinary legal privileges also extend to its staff and directors. Senior managers enjoy a special status, similar to that of diplomats, while carrying out their duties in Switzerland, which means their bags cannot be searched (unless there is evidence of a blatant criminal act), and their papers are inviolable. The central bank governors traveling to Basel for the bimonthly meetings enjoy the same status while in Switzerland. All bank officials are immune under Swiss law, for life, for all the acts carried out during the discharge of their duties. The bank is a popular place to work and not just because of the salaries. Around six hundred staff come from over fifty countries. The atmosphere is multi-national and cosmopolitan, albeit very Swiss, emphasizing the bank’s hierarchy. Like many of those working for the UN or the IMF, some of the staff of the BIS, especially senior management, are driven by a sense of mission, that they are working for a higher, even celestial purpose and so are immune from normal considerations of accountability and transparency.
The bank’s management has tried to plan for every eventuality so that the Swiss police need never be called. The BIS headquarters has high-tech sprinkler systems with multiple back-ups, in-house medical facilities, and its own bomb shelter in the event of a terrorist attack or armed conflagration. The BIS’s assets are not subject to civil claims under Swiss law and can never be seized.
The BIS strictly guards the bankers’ secrecyThe minutes, agenda, and actual attendance list of the Global Economy Meeting or the ECC are not released in any form. This is because no official minutes are taken, although the bankers sometimes scribble their own notes. Sometimes there will be a brief press conference or bland statement afterwards but never anything detailed. This tradition of privileged confidentiality reaches back to the bank’s foundation.
“The quietness of Basel and its absolutely nonpolitical character provide a perfect setting for those equally quiet and nonpolitical gatherings,” wrote one American official in 1935. “The regularity of the meetings and their al- most unbroken attendance by practically every member of the Board make them such they rarely attract any but the most meager notice in the press.”8 Forty years on, little had changed. Charles Coombs, a former foreign exchange chief of the New York Federal Reserve, attended governors’ meetings from 1960 to 1975. The bankers who were allowed inside the inner sanctum of the governors’ meetings trusted each other absolutely, he recalled in his memoirs. “However much money was involved, no agreements were ever signed nor memoranda of understanding ever initialized. The word of each official was sufficient, and there were never any disappointments.”
What, then, does this matter to the rest of us? Bankers have been gathering confidentially since money was first invented. Central bankers like to view themselves as the high priests of finance, as technocrats overseeing arcane monetary rituals and a financial liturgy understood only by a small, self-selecting elite.
But the governors who meet in Basel every other month are public servants. Their salaries, airplane tickets, hotel bills, and lucrative pensions when they retire are paid out of the public purse. The national reserves held by central banks are public money, the wealth of nations. The central bankers’ discussions at the BIS, the information that they share, the policies that are evaluated, the opinions that are exchanged, and the subsequent decisions that are taken, are profoundly political. Central bankers, whose independence is constitutionally protected, control monetary policy in the developed world. They manage the supply of money to national economies. They set interest rates, thus deciding the value of our savings and investments. They decide whether to focus on austerity or growth. Their decisions shape our lives.
The BIS’s tradition of secrecy reaches back through the decades. During the 1960s, for example, the bank hosted the London Gold Pool. Eight countries pledged to manipulate the gold market to keep the price at around thirty-five dollars per ounce, in line with the provisions of the Bretton Woods Accord that governed the post–World War II international financial system. Although the London Gold Pool no longer exists, its successor is the BIS Markets Committee, which meets every other month on the occasion of the governors’ meetings to discuss trends in the financial markets. Officials from twenty-one central banks attend. The committee releases occasional papers, but its agenda and discussions remain secret.
Nowadays the countries represented at the Global Economy Meetings together account for around four-fifths of global gross domestic product (GDP)— most of the produced wealth of the world—according to the BIS’s own statistics. Central bankers now “seem more powerful than politicians,” wrote The Economist newspaper, “holding the destiny of the global economy in their hands.” How did this happen? The BIS, the world’s most secretive global financial institution, can claim much of the credit. From its first day of existence, the BIS has dedicated itself to furthering the interests of central banks and building the new architecture of transnational finance. In doing so, it has spawned a new class of close-knit global technocrats whose members glide between highly-paid positions at the BIS, the IMF, and central and commercial banks.
The founder of the technocrats’ cabal was Per Jacobssen, the Swedish economist who served as the BIS’s economic adviser from 1931 to 1956. The bland title belied his power and reach. Enormously influential, well connected, and highly regarded by his peers, Jacobssen wrote the first BIS annual reports, which were—and remain—essential reading throughout the world’s treasuries. Jacobssen was an early supporter of European federalism. He argued relentlessly against inflation, excessive government spending, and state intervention in the economy. Jacobssen left the BIS in 1956 to take over the IMF. His legacy still shapes our world. The consequences of his mix of economic liberalism, price obsession, and dismantling of national sovereignty play out nightly in the European news bulletins on our television screens.
The BIS’s defenders deny that the organization is secretive. The bank’s archives are open and researchers may consult most documents that are more than thirty years old. The BIS archivists are indeed cordial, helpful, and professional. The bank’s website includes all its annual reports, which are downloadable, as well as numerous policy papers produced by the bank’s highly regarded research department. The BIS publishes detailed accounts of the securities and derivatives markets, and international banking statistics. But these are largely compilations and analyses of information already in the public domain. The details of the bank’s own core activities, including much of its banking operations for its customers, central banks, and international organizations, remain secret. The Global Economy Meetings and the other crucial financial gatherings that take place at Basel, such as the Markets Committee, remain closed to outsiders. Private individuals may not hold an account at BIS, unless they work for the bank. The bank’s opacity, lack of accountability, and ever-increasing influence raises profound questions— not just about monetary policy but transparency, accountability, and how power is exercised in our democracies.
* * *
WHEN I EXPLAINED to friends and acquaintances that I was writing a book about the Bank for International Settlements, the usual response was a puzzled look, followed by a question: “The bank for what?” My interlocutors were intelligent people, who follow current affairs. Many had some interest in and understanding of the global economy and financial crisis. Yet only a handful had heard of the BIS. This was strange, as the BIS is the most important bank in the world and predates both the IMF and the World Bank. For decades it has stood at the center of a global network of money, power, and covert global influence.
The BIS was founded in 1930. It was ostensibly set up as part of the Young Plan to administer German reparations payments for the First World War. The bank’s key architects were Montagu Norman, who was the governor of the Bank of England, and Hjalmar Schacht, the president of the Reichsbank who described the BIS as “my” bank. The BIS’s founding members were the central banks of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and a consortium of Japanese banks. Shares were also offered to the Federal Reserve, but the United States, suspicious of anything that might infringe on its national sovereignty, refused its allocation. Instead a consortium of commercial banks took up the shares: J. P. Morgan, the First National Bank of New York, and the First National Bank of Chicago.
The real purpose of the BIS was detailed in its statutes: to “promote the cooperation of central banks and to provide additional facilities for international financial operations.” It was the culmination of the central bankers’ decades-old dream, to have their own bank—powerful, independent, and free from interfering politicians and nosy reporters. Most felicitous of all, the BIS was self-financing and would be in perpetuity. Its clients were its own founders and shareholders— the central banks. During the 1930s, the BIS was the central meeting place for a cabal of central bankers, dominated by Norman and Schacht. This group helped rebuild Germany. The New York Times described Schacht, widely acknowledged as the genius behind the resurgent German economy, as “The Iron-Willed Pilot of Nazi Finance.” During the war, the BIS became a de-facto arm of the Reichsbank, accepting looted Nazi gold and carrying out foreign exchange deals for Nazi Germany.
The bank’s alliance with Berlin was known in Washington, DC, and London. But the need for the BIS to keep functioning, to keep the new channels of transnational finance open, was about the only thing all sides agreed on. Basel was the perfect location, as it is perched on the northern edge of Switzerland and sits al- most on the French and German borders. A few miles away, Nazi and Allied soldiers were fighting and dying. None of that mattered at the BIS. Board meetings were suspended, but relations between the BIS staff of the belligerent nations remained cordial, professional, and productive. Nationalities were irrelevantThe overriding loyalty was to international finance. The president, Thomas McKittrick, was an American. Roger Auboin, the general manager, was French. Paul Hechler, the assistant general manager, was a member of the Nazi party and signed his correspondence “Heil Hitler.” Rafaelle Pilotti, the secretary general, was Italian. Per Jacobssen, the bank’s influential economic adviser, was Swedish. His and Pilotti’s deputies were British.
After 1945, five BIS directors, including Hjalmar Schacht, were charged with war crimes. Germany lost the war but won the economic peace, in large part thanks to the BIS. The international stage, contacts, banking networks, and legitimacy the BIS provided, first to the Reichsbank and then to its successor banks, has helped ensure the continuity of immensely powerful financial and economic interests from the Nazi era to the present day.
* * *
FOR THE FIRST forty-seven years of its existence, from 1930 to 1977, the BIS was based in a former hotel, near the Basel central railway station. The bank’s entrance was tucked away by a chocolate shop, and only a small notice confirmed that the narrow doorway opened into the BIS. The bank’s managers believed that those who needed to know where the BIS was would find it, and the rest of the world certainly did not need to know. The inside of the building changed little over the decades, recalled Charles Coombs. The BIS provided the “the spartan accommodations of a former Victorian-style hotel whose single and double bedrooms had been transformed into offices simply by removing the beds and installing desks.”
The bank moved into its current headquarters, at 2, Centralbahnplatz, in 1977. It did not go far and now overlooks the Basel central station. Nowadays the BIS’s main mission, in its own words, is threefold: “to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in these areas, and to act as a bank for central banks.” The BIS also hosts much of the practical and technical infrastructure that the global network of central banks and their commercial counterparts need to function smoothly. It has two linked trading rooms: at the Basel headquarters and Hong Kong regional office. The BIS buys and sells gold and foreign exchange for its clients. It provides asset management and arranges short-term credit to central banks when needed.
The BIS is a unique institution: an international organization, an extremely profitable bank and a research institute founded, and protected, by international treaties. The BIS isaccountable to its customers and shareholdersthe central banks—but also guides their operations. The main tasks of a central bank, the BIS argues, are to control the flow of credit and the volume of currency in circulation, which will ensure a stable business climate, and to keep exchange rates within manageable bands to ensure the value of a currency and so smooth international trade and capital movements. This is crucial, especially in a globalized economy, where markets react in microseconds andperceptions of economic stability and value are almost as important as reality itself.
The BIS also helps to supervise commercial banks, although it has no legal powers over them. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, based at the BIS, regulates commercial banks’ capital and liquidity requirements. It requires banks to have a minimum capital of eight percent of risk-weighted assets when lending, meaning that if a bank has risk-weighted assets of $100 million it must maintain at least $8 million capital. The committee has no powers of enforcement, but it does have enormous moral authority. “This regulation is so powerful that the eight percent principle has been set into national laws,” said Peter Akos Bod. “It’s like voltage. Voltage has been set at 220. You may decide on ninety-five volts, but it would not work.” In theory, sensible housekeeping and mutual cooperation, overseen by the BIS, will keep the global financial system functioning smoothly. In theory.
The reality is that we have moved beyond recession into a deep structural crisis, one fueled by the banks’ greed and rapacity, which threatens all of our financial security. Just as in the 1930s, parts of Europe face economic collapse. The Bundesbank and the European Central Bank, two of the most powerful members of the BIS, have driven the mania for austerity that has already forced one European country, Greece, to the edge, aided by the venality and corruption of the country’s ruling class. Others may soon follow. The old order is creaking, its political and financial institutions corroding from within. From Oslo to Athens, the far right is resurgent, fed in part by soaring poverty and unemployment. Anger and cynicism are corroding citizens’ faith in democracy and the rule of law. Once again, the value of property and assets is vaporizing before their owners’ eyes. The European currency is threatened with breakdown, while those with money seek safe haven in Swiss francs or gold. The young, the talented, and the mobile are again fleeing their home countries for new lives abroad. The powerful forces of international capital that brought the BIS into being, and which granted the bank its power and influence, are again triumphant.
The BIS sits at the apex of an international financial system that is falling apart at the seams, but its officials argue that it does not have the power to act as an international financial regulator. Yet the BIS cannot escape its responsibility for the Euro-zone crisis. From the first agreements in the late 1940s on multilateral payments to the establishment of the Europe Central Bank in 1998,the BIS has been at the heart of the European integration project, providing technical expertise and the financial mechanisms for currency harmonization. During the 1950s, it managed the European Payments Union, which internationalized the continent’s payment system. The BIS hosted the Governors’ Committee of European Economic Community central bankers, set up in 1964, which coordinated trans-European monetary policy. During the 1970s, the BIS ran the “Snake,” the mechanism by which European currencies were held in exchange rate bands. During the 1980s the BIS hosted the Delors Committee, whose report in 1988 laid out the path to European Monetary Union and the adoption of a single currency. The BIS midwifed the European Monetary Institute (EMI), the precursor of the European Central Bank. The EMI’s president was Alexandre Lamfalussy, one of the world’s most influential economists, known as the “Father of the euro.” Before joining the EMI in 1994, Lamfalussy had worked at the BIS for seventeen years, first as economic adviser, then as the bank’s general manager.
For a staid, secretive organization, the BIS has proved surprisingly nimble. It survived the first global depression, the end of reparations payments and the gold standard (two of its main reasons for existence), the rise of Nazism, the Second World War, the Bretton Woods Accord, the Cold War, the financial crises of the 1980s and 1990s, the birth of the IMF and World Bank, and the end of Communism. As Malcolm Knight, manager from 2003–2008, noted, “It is encouraging to see that—by remaining small, flexible, and free from political interference—the Bank has, throughout its history, succeeded remarkably well in adapting itself to evolving circumstances.”
The bank has made itself a central pillar of the global financial system. As well as the Global Economy Meetings, the BIS hosts four of the most important international committees dealing with global banking: the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Committee on the Global Financial System, the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, and the Irving Fisher Committee, which deals with central banking statistics. The bank also hosts three independent organizations: two groups dealing with insurance and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The FSB, which coordinates national financial authorities and regulatory policies, is already being spoken of as the fourth pillar of the global financial system, after the BIS, the IMF and the commercial banks.
The BIS is now the world’s thirtieth-largest holder of gold reserves, with 119 metric tons—more than Qatar, Brazil, or Canada. Membership of the BIS remains a privilege rather than a right. The board of directors is responsible for admitting central banks judged to “make a substantial contribution to international monetary cooperation and to the Bank’s activities.” China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia joined only in 1996. The bank has opened offices in Mexico City and Hong Kong but remains very Eurocentric. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Slovakia (total population 16.2 million) have been admitted, while Pakistan (population 169 million) has not. Nor has Kazakhstan, which is a powerhouse of Central Asia. In Africa only Algeria and South Africa are members—Nigeria, which has the continent’s second-largest economy, has not been admitted. (The BIS’s defenders say that it demands high governance standards from new members and when the national banks of countries such as Nigeria and Pakistan reach those standards, they will be considered for membership.)
Considering the BIS’s pivotal role in the transnational economy, its low profile is remarkable. Back in 1930 a New York Times reporter noted that the culture of secrecy at the BIS was so strong that he was not permitted to look inside the boardroom, even after the directors had left. Little has changed. Journalists are not allowed inside the headquarters while the Global Economy Meeting is underway. BIS officials speak rarely on the record, and reluctantly, to members of the press. The strategy seems to work. The Occupy Wall Street movement, the anti-globalizers, the social network protesters have ignored the BIS. Centralbahnplatz 2, Basel, is quiet and tranquil. There are no demonstrators gathered outside the BIS’s headquarters, no protestors camped out in the nearby park, no lively reception committees for the world’s central bankers.
As the world’s economy lurches from crisis to crisis, financial institutions are scrutinized as never before. Legions of reporters, bloggers, and investigative journalists scour the banks’ every move. Yet somehow, apart from brief mentions on the financial pages, the BIS has largely managed to avoid critical scrutiny. Until now.

Credit to Zero Hedge

Obama Opens Gender Neutral Restroom Near White House

US warns Beijing against ‘destabilizing’ South China Sea

Image result for china army

WASHINGTON: The United States warned today that China's effort to expand its territory in the South China Sea by building on disputed islands was a threat to regional stability.

A newly released set of satellite images has revealed that China is artificially expanding a reef in disputed waters, presumably to strengthen its territorial claims.

"In our view, China's land reclamation and the construction activity are fuelling greater anxiety within the region," State Department s ..

Credit to Te Economic Times
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Image result for The notion of a cosmic portal
At least conceptually, ancient indigenous thinking seems remarkably similar to modern notions involving parallel universes, multidimensional string theory and interdimensional travel. Anthropologist Brian Ross explains, “The notion of a cosmic portal, a doorway that permits translocation of shamans, spirits, and deities between worlds or levels of the cosmos, is part of a Mesoamerican cosmological tradition.”[1] A Pueblo shrine, “is the doorway of communication between the many simultaneous levels,” [2] by providing, “a flow of energy between this plane of reality and other concurrent realities.”[3]The Ancestral Pueblo residents of Chaco Canyon cut ramps into the cliff rock to connect the roadways on the canyon tops to the sites on the valley bottom. The longest and most famous of these roads is the Great North Road. It represents the connection to the sipapu, the place of emergence of the ancestors or a dimensional doorway. During their journey from the sipapu to the world of the living, the spirits stop along the road and eat the food left for them by the living.
The Watcher angels have played gods by accepting worship from the Native American peoples. Astronomy certainly played an important role in the ancient Pueblo culture, and prophecies like the Blue Star Kachina predict celestial events as harbingers of divine judgment.  Sakina Blue Star, a local woman of Sioux, Choctaw-Cherokee heritage, writes:
The area was known as an interdimensional portal.  Star People were said to have touched down in ancient times. It was easier for them to come and go here because of the special energies and frequencies. Native Americans kept their contact with other Galactic peoples secret for centuries but now some of them have begun to share their knowledge.[4]
At the end of our expedition with Arizona guide Larry Sprague, he took us to a stone circle medicine wheel and began to play his flute. Medicine wheels, or sacred hoops, are stone monuments used for Native American religious, ritual, healing, and teaching purposes. Traditionally, folks walk around the circle until the flute melody stops prompting the shaman to give a “reading.” However, as Christians, we did not feel it was appropriate to participate in this New Age adaptation of an Indian religious rite. New Age author Richard Dannelley wrote, “We know intuitively that ceremonies that are similar to the medicine wheel open up interdimensional portals that allow Christ Consciousness energies to enter the planetary grid.”[5] Unbeknownst to us, we were about to receive a 10,000 volt jolt of so-called “Christ Consciousness energy” that afternoon albeit it wasn’t as Christ-like as it sounds.
The Bell Rock Mothership and Spiritual Warfare
On our second day in Sedona, we visited the famous vortex site Bell Rock. We set up our cameras and I began describing and commenting on film details of an 1980s event when thousands of folks gathered to witness what they believed was going to be a giant alien mothership emerging from the enormous red rock formation. At the time, reporters Joe McNeill and Steven Korn of Sedona Monthlywrote:
On August 16, 1987, Sedona attracted thousands of believers to The Harmonic Convergence, an international event based on the Mayan calendar. The celebration honored an unusual planetary alignment said to usher in an age of peace and harmony. During the festival, a rumor spread that the top of Bell Rock would open and a spaceship would rise from within to depart for the galaxy of Andromeda. A reported crowd of 2,000 to 5,000 people showed up to witness the event, some even paying up to $150 for tickets to sit on Bell Rock at the moment of takeoff.[6]
José Arguelles, the chief promoter of the 1987 harmonic convergence, was asked if the event would include increased UFO activity. Arguelles answered, “Yes, I believe there will considerable UFO activity. More importantly, I believe there will be a message collectively received. The UFOs will be in many places. Perhaps at so-called sacred sites, but maybe in largely populated centers as well.”[7]
Bell Rock– Home of the Mothership? [8]
Bell Rock– Home of the Mothership? [8]
Of course, both the “harmonic convergence” and the Bell Rock mothership launch were colossal disappointments for the New Age devotees. But as I was standing in front of Bell Rock delivering my commentary about this to the SkyWatch TV camera, a blonde woman (who will remain anonymous as HK) pulled up in a rented white economy car, parked, and approached. The audio recorder was running during the conversation that ensued and given this was a public space with no expectation of privacy, the audio recorder was left running. The following is an accurate transcription of our exchange. As a helpful pretext, we commend the reader to keep this passage in mind: “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:14–15)
HK: What are you guys filming?
CP: I was just commenting on the events of the 1980s when thousands of people gathered here at Bell Rock during the harmonic convergence to see a large ET mothership emerge from Bell Rock.
HK: Oh that’s just Sedona [BS], but I can call down light ships! I was here, I was with José for the harmonic convergence. It was about the earth’s position in universe and the Mayan calendar. It had nothing to do with UFOs coming or anything, that’s [BS]. It has to so with the transformation in the equinox every 2600 years.
CP: Uh huh, the procession thing?
CF (Chris Florio cameraman): Is this where we are dipping below the plane of the galaxy and back up and stuff like that?
HK: I don’t know but I just flew with the CEO of NASA like last week out of Washington. I got upgraded to first class. He doesn’t know that much about it but I asked him how much of it is real science. There’s an element of real science, it was all about the Mayan’s cultural relationship of the earth to the universe. It has to do with what is scientifically happening. The whole UFO [BS] story… it’s like… there’s a lot of…. Uh, I’ve seen a lot of UFOs. I go to the international UFO conference.
CP: So what is a light ship?
HK: It’s a UFO.
CP: Where do they come from?
HK: There’s other intelligence in the universe.
CP: Do you think they come from other planets or another dimension?
HK: I believe in the ancient astronaut theory.
CP: So you think they are coming from other planets?
HK: No, dimensions…
CP: OK well yes that can go one way or the other and there are different opinions on that.
HK: What’s the book that you wrote?
CP: The one on UFOs is called Exo-Vaticana. We visited Mount Graham Arizona where the Vatican has an observatory and toured that facility.
HK: Really? The Vatican has an observatory?
SP (Shelley Putnam): It’s called Lucifer.
HK: It’s called Lucifer?
CP: Yes it’s an instrument on the most powerful telescope in the world.
HK: I heard that they are doing work on… you know this was meant to happen right?
CF: Sure, Please step in front of the camera. You can debunk the spaceship coming out of Bell Rock story if you like.
[At this point we continue our discussion and it is revealed that she’s been involved with alternative health legislation. We exchanged names and she introduced herself but we will keep this anonymous]
HK: Hi Cris, this is what I heard is happening with the Vatican, there’s another telescope at the University of Arizona in Tucson, see there’s a planet coming into our geo-cosmic atmosphere that is made out of gama and telescopes can’t see it and that’s what…
CF: Made out of gama?
HK: Gama rays and that’s what Nostradamus said, that’s planet X and the Vatican has created a telescope that can see it and that’s what supposed to be going on… I asked the CEO of NASA if had heard of it and he hasn’t.
CP: There are three telescopes on Mount Graham, I have been to the facility.
[skip discussion about where we live etc.]
CF: We are about to take a tour with someone who can basically conjure UFOs.
HK: I can…
CP: So are you saying you can get UFOs to come down? Can you get them on camera? If we set up somewhere can you do that?
HK: How many nights are you going to be here?
CP: Tonight’s the last night.
HK:  What time are you going out with them?
CP: We’re going in the afternoon, we should be back by early evening.
HK: If you want to, I will bring you out here… here I’ll give you my number, but you have to come on a tour with me, ok can you handle that? I run a non-profit, just make a donation for my time. Just $100.
CP: If we can get a UFO on camera, I will give you a hundred bucks.
HK: I don’t know, I’m not guaranteeing, it depends on how clear your energy is; I’ll go where they came out before. I don’t know if they’ll show up for you. It has to do with your motivation and why you want them to show up.
CP: How do they know that?
HK: Since I was a little girl, I was picked up and flown around as a little girl; I’m a medical intuitive psychic doctor. I teach all over. I live in Kauai; I see ships, they show up. Let me test you, I have to test you.
CP: Uh huh?
HK: Let me see your eyes. How many light ships have you seen?
CP: I don’t know that I have ever seen a light ship but I’ve seen some things in the sky I could not identify.
HK: There was a mothership that was around Sedona but it left in 1990.  I’m a T-five contactee. I believe ancient astronaut theory, we were all apes and then we got modified…
CP: You mean according to Zechariah Sitchin’s work?
HK: According to the Book of Enoch.
CP: I’ve read that book, I don’t think so.
HK: It’s in the Book of Enoch.
CP: No, the Book of Enoch is pretty consistent with the Hebrew Bible.
HK: No you have to look for it…  Are you Jewish by any chance?
CP: No but I have studied those texts and that information is not in there.
HK: Ancient astronaut theory says it is…
CP: They really stretch the evidence quite a bit and are not credible.
HK: Angels, the Kingdom of Heaven… there are dark entities, that’s why I am checking you out. You’ve got to open up to the Mayan cosmology. The Mayan’s all knew that we are interconnected to the universe and that’s what the convergence was supposed to do. José did ecstasy and he became crazy and he thought he was the reincarnation of the great Mayan guru, I haven’t talked to him in years. You have to be careful, people get killed doing this. They don’t like this.
CP: Who are they?
HK: The government, they don’t like people looking into this. The only reason we will have contact with the ETs right now is because we are about to be annihilated by gamma rays, planet x is coming. You don’t think that’s true?
[We try to explain the nature of gamma rays and planets and why you cannot make a planet from rays]
CP: She is talking about planet x or Nibiru. But it is based on the work of Zechariah Sitchin and his so called translations of the Sumerian texts have been proven false by Dr. Heiser. It seems like Sitchin just made a lot of it up. So most of the planet x stuff is bogus.
HK: Ok if we do make UFO contact, until I tell you, it stays private. You can’t exploit it. I don’t know if you’re open to this… I don’t know it you’re ready to have contact. I think it would shatter your universe.
CP: I’m just skeptical.
HK: Yeah I know you are…
CP: Absolutely
HK: If you have an experience, what’s going to happen?
CF: My worldview is similar to his and I think these things are actually demons.
HK: I’ve seen demons but what I contact is not demons.
CP: Do you really think it’s so obvious? What if they appear in such a way as to seem like they are good, like an angel of light?
HK: Are you like Christians trying to debunk this?
CP: Yeah. We are Christians.
HK: Well that’s ok, so you’re trying to…
CF: Understand it with a Christian lens.
CP: Not necessarily trying to debunk it unless it seems to be false. I don’t have a presupposition that it is necessarily false.
HK: I’m totally into the Kingdom of Heaven of Jesus. I just did a healing this morning in the blood of Jesus for someone who is all messed up. I’m Jewish, so I believe Jesus was a great healer and he was a Jewish rabbi and I’ve been to ministry school and everything but I do think there is a larger universe out there. In the Bible there are people who have seen things.
CP: Oh absolutely but not aliens.
HK: Gabriel and Raphael and all of those angels.
CF: We believe that these things are increasingly manifesting into our reality as we get close to the end times, if we are not in it already.
CP: You see when someone says to me, “I can summon light ships” like you did, it raises concern because there is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth in the New Testament that warns them about false apostles deceiving them and he says, “it is no wonder because Satan appears as an angel of light.”
HK: I know but it’s different, it’s not the same.
CP: How do you know that?
HK: Because I’ve been doing a lot of research and work around this.
CP: But how do you know? What research would lead you identify it as a good light ship instead of a deceptive one? How do you decide? By feelings?
HK: If it’s a dark one, I state my intentions, I’m not interested.
CP: But why do they have to obey you?
HK: Because…. Alright do you know the Bhagavad Gita?
CP: Yes I know what it is.
HK: It was all about the wars in the heaven and it was before the Bible. There are wars in the heaven.
CP: Oh absolutely but that is in the Bible too.
HK: Well that’s the dark ships and the light ships. I’ve already done my spiritual warfare, so I don’t go there and I’m not interested.
SP (Shelley Putnam): That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in you.
HK: They’re interested in me but I don’t given them any attention. You have authority over that.
CP: Yes, I do but only through Jesus.
HK: If you take into the older texts that were written before Jesus showed up, like the Tibetans, they were around a long time before Jesus.
CP: We don’t have any texts from them that are that old.
HK: Well 700 but they weren’t into religious dogma, when the religious doctrine came in they shut out, the pope in Rome shut out a lot of mysticism around 500 AD. It gave too much power to the people and the religious figures stayed in control. It’s more about Christ Consciousness.
SP: You mean Pope Gregory?
CP: In 500 AD there really wasn’t a universal pope over the whole church and the biblical cannon as it exists today was in place long before that.
HK: They took out a lot of the mystical texts then.
CP: That’s not true.
HK: It is too.
CP: It’s absolutely false, the cannon was established by three hundred something.
CF: She probably means the gnostic books.
CP: Yes but most of them were written around 300 and they were not excluded because they were mystical but because they were patently false and often absurd.
HK: According to who they were false?
CP: Have you ever read them? They make ridiculous claims like Jesus was thousands of feet tall after the resurrection and his cross could talk. What you are saying is just not true, we have writings from the Church fathers that prove they had decided which books were authentic long before 500 AD and it had little to do with the Vatican.
SP: I think the difference between you and us is that we believe Jesus is God.
HK: I’m Messianic.
CP: If you are truly Messianic then you should acknowledge that Jesus is God.
HK: I know but you never say that to a Jew!
CP: Why not?
HK: Because we don’t want to get genocide anymore!
CP: But Messianic means that you believe Jesus is God.
HK: You guys have killed so many Jews in the name of religion.
CP: I have written about that too, we are not Catholics.
HK: It’s all the same thing!
CF: No
SP: No
CP: No it’s not the same thing, I don’t think you understand what Messianic really means.
HK: It’s the same, it’s the same; it’s the same.
SP: No it’s not.
CF: I wish I could convince you that it’s not, Catholicism is not the same thing as Christianity.
CP: If you are really Messianic, then you would have no problem with the idea that Jesus is God.
SP: That is what Messianic means.
CF: And you have the best of both worlds as a Jewish believer becau…
HK: (cuts him off) Stop it, don’t do that to a Jew, never proselytize or push that to a Jew.
CP: But it was you who said you are Messianic and that is what the term means.
HK: Stop it, stop it, it’s toxic and I don’t want to see you. You Christians are the most evil people. [screaming] You are the most evil people, ever[9]
Supernatural_WorldviewAt this point she drove off in a rage and threw the copy of The Supernatural Worldview I had given her out the window of her car onto the Coconino National Forest roadway (we retrieved it after it had been run over by a few cars). It seems the phrase “Jesus is God” stirred an irrational reaction that is hard to explain apart from spiritual warfare. When Jesus said “Before Abraham was I am” (John 8:58), he was implicitly applying the divine name Yahweh to himself (cf. Exodus 3:14-15). Of course, insisting on the biblical Jesus brings division. Jesus taught “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) Because of the Lord’s warning, we believe HK’s reaction had little to do with her Jewish ethnicity.
During the course of our conversation, she made quite a few incoherent and false claims. We weren’t trying to proselytize as much as to offer some clarity as to what being aMessianic Jew actually entails. Later that evening, we verified her identity. She really has an earned PhD and is a practicing counselor. Lightship conjuring aside, in interest of charity, we decided not to use her full name (even though it was in a public area with no reasonable expectation of privacy).
Since the idea that “Jesus is God” was so offensive, what is one to make of her claim that she had recently performed a healing “by the blood of Jesus?” Please recall the previous discussion of the medicine wheel ceremony that Dannelley suggested could, “open up interdimensional portals that allow Christ Consciousness energies to enter the planetary grid.”[10] Yet, in the same book he also conceded, “There is a tremendous amount of evidence to suggest that humanity is being manipulated by what can be best described as alien mind control.”[11] We ostensibly agree and defer to the chapter “The Powers and Principalities Planetary Control Gird” in our former work Exo-Vaticana for a thorough explanation of the “control grid hypothesis”[12] offered by Jacques Vallee in terms of biblical theology.
We contend that “Christ consciousness” is a true anti-Christ theology in the sense of the prefix anti denoting “instead of” Christ. Remember only a few decades after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the apostle John wrote “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”(1 John 2:18). Jesus is identified differently depending on one’s worldview and the intervention of the Holy Spirit.
In the canonical Gospels, Jesus skillfully inquired as to how he was being identified. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”(Mt 16:13–16). Peter’s confession caused Jesus to reply, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16: 17-18). Early in the first century, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about similar deception, warning that there would be those who preach “another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or… another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted”(2 Corinthians 11:4). Thus, it should not be too surprising that the New Age movement has fashioned a different Jesus more amicable to their pantheistic monistic belief.
HK was in Sedona for “Sedona World Wisdom Days”[13] a metaphysical conference featuring the infamous Barbara Marx Hubbard. Hubbard explains the New Age Jesus in terms of Christ Consciousness:
“Christ-consciousness and Christ-abilities are the natural inheritance of every human being on Earth. When the word of this hope has reached the nations, the end of this phase of evolution shall come. All will know their choice. All will be required to choose….. All who choose not to evolve will die off; their souls will begin again within a different planetary system which will serve as kindergarten for the transition from self-centered to whole-centered being. The kindergarten class of Earth will be over. Humankind’s collective power is too great to be inherited by self-centered, infantile people.”[14]
Concerning the identity of the infantile people, Hubbard’s later works offer more clarity. She wrote, “‘Christ’ states that those who see themselves as ‘separate’ and not ‘divine’ hinder humanity’s ability to spiritually evolve. Those who deny their own ‘divinity’ are like ‘cancer cells’ in the body of God.”[15] In other words, folks with a supernatural worldview—who make a creator/creation distinction—are like cancer cells.  Oneism entails that everything and everyone, including vilest evil, is divine. There can be no separation.
Biblical Christianity’s’ exclusive truth claim is the primary offense. Jesus claimed that He was the only way to the Father (John 14:6) and that “…narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”(Matthew 7:14b) Hubbard wrote, “The selection process will exclude all who are exclusive. The selection process assures that only the loving will evolve to the stage of co-creator.”[16]However, there is nothing inherently unloving about exclusivity. Exclusivity is very often a virtue. For example, most of us, Christian or not, prefer that our marriage partners remain exclusive in their sexuality. Another example is offering one’s testimony or bearing witness. People of integrity appreciate accuracy and honesty to the exclusion of fabrication and lies. But this idea is intolerable to the so called religious tolerance crowd.
Hubbard is quite clear that one fourth of the population—ostensibly traditional Christian believers—must be eliminated by the more illumined ones. “Now, as we approach the quantum shift from creature-human to co-creative human the destructive one-fourth must be eliminated from the social body. Fortunately you, dearly beloveds, are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in charge of God’s selection process for planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death” (emphasis added).[17] Make no bones about it, that statement is a declaration of genocide. Although the New Age movement promises the moon (sometimes literally), it is always conditioned on one’s acceptance of postmodern values. Please do not be deceived by dubious claims to “Christ consciousness” nor by the entities they summon now and that will be called forth in the days ahead.
Credit to Skywatch.com