Daily Archives: November 18, 2008

What is Devilish About Freemasonry?


Newswatch | Nov 17, 2008

by Mike Akpan


Who’s Who in Freemasonry the world over

Chika Ifejika, provincial grand secretary of Freemasonry in Nigeria, speaks to Mike Akpan, contributing editor, on Freemasonry, how it came to Nigeria, what people think of it and other issues.


Newswatch: As the provincial grand secretary of Freemasonry in Nigeria, how would you define Freemasonry?

Ifejika: I am sure you have heard or read about definitions. In a very simplistic way, everybody else has always defined, Freemasonry. It is a system of morality defined and explained through allegories by both words and signs.

Newswatch: But the way the outside world perceives Freemasonry is that it is satanic. How do you react to this perception?

Ifejika: It is unfortunate. It may be it is fair for you to ask: why the word, ‘mason’? And why the word, ‘free’? The word mason is the word you know of – those who mould and build with blocks and bricks; those who build houses, churches, cathedrals. That is the earliest real formation that can be discerned from the Order.

So when we say Freemasonry, it is based on building of morality in the society using allegories. We use the symbols, the instruments, the working tools of ordinary field masons to impart moral lessons. You will find out that we are forever using signs. For example, this sign here on the page of this book called the Craft; you see it contains the signs we use when we hold our meetings. This is the compass; this is the square (what the operatives call square).

What has it got to do with us? The square says anywhere you measure with it, what it will give you is angle ninety, you measure from the top, you get angle ninety, you measure from the South, Nrth, East or West, you get angle ninety. So it is perfect. So, it is a lesson by saying you are to behave to be in such a moral rectitude that you have to be led on what you work on. The plumbline, that is what the operative mason uses in making sure that the wall is perpendicular and not curved or bent of titled because, like we say in speculative masonry moral lesson, if your character were to be before a character builder and it is titled in one way or the other and not standing upright, you are to fall sooner or later into disrepute. So Freemasonry is out there to help a bad man to become good and a goodman to become even better. That is Freemasonry. It is not a religion and has nothing to do with the devil because it does not admit agnostics or non-believers in God. One clear element you must have to become a Freemason is to believe in God – the one and only supreme and all powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing God. It doesn’t say you are a free thinker. Rather, Freemasonry encourages you to practice your own religion perfectly well, to obey the tenets of your own Holy Book – the Koran for Muslims, the Bible for Christians the Torah for the Jews and what have you. There is no holy book that we know of that can say to the people, kill, go and kill. So, such is the tenet of the fellowship.

Newswatch: What is the origin of Freemasonry?

Ifejika: I think I have answered this question partly that the well-known line became clearer through operative masons –builders and hence we the speculative builders of morals are expected to see that morality assumes a proper guide in our lives, in our society, in our government. We now use the instrument, the implements, the working tools of the operative masons to impart moral information, knowledge to ourselves and our brothers by living the examples we preach.

Newswatch: The origin of Freemasonry, according to some Freemasonry publications I have read, is shrouded in myths, legends and almost impenetrable obscurity. Some Masonic historians trace the origin to the days of Adam, Cain, Solomon and Hiram Abiff, the super-talented master mason. Can you, in the interest of our readers, be more definitive on the origin of Freemasonry?

Ifejika: You know even in history, you can never have the same relay of the Second World War told in the same manner by two different authors. It will always differ depending on whose side the historians are and how he has reported it. That is why I have left alone all those records far past gone where records could be scarce but from the days of operative masons, building of cathedrals, high rise buildings and so on and so forth, they became selective of who would be their members. Naturally, such selectness or selectivity would bring jealousy because I am saying that you are not worthy to be in our midst.

Newswatch: So how did Freemasonry come into Nigeria?

Ifejika: It was brought into Nigeria by representatives of the king or the queen depending on what time. In the early life of Nigeria as a colony, the British king sent to our shores, people to represent him in administering us, in ruling their empire. We called them DOS (district officers). Before we started getting governors in the country, we had secretaries, provincial secretaries, district officers and so on and so forth, their assistants and all that. As far back as 1717, there was already a Grand Lodge of England, 1725, a Grand Lodge of Ireland and about 1735 or so, a Grand Lodge of Scotland, the three known constitutions in Freemasonry. These are the English Constitution, the Irish Constitution and the Scottish Constitution. But basically, the three constitutions are the same. So when the DOs and other colonial officers came, they came with the Bible, they came with education, and with them came rulership. They also came with all sorts of tools in leadership. And they carried double into the society in order to build morals which they had known. They themselves became gradually selective in making Nigerians to become members like the late Chief Isaac Mbanefo, the father of Chief Frank Mbanefo, the architect father of Chief Arthur Mbanefo, the accountant and the late Nigerian permanent representative at the United Nations in New York. His father joined the Craft at the age of 23 because he was working in the UAC (United Africa Company) with the whites and they found that there was in him something that should make him one of them and they took him on. At the age of 23, he became a mason. So that was how it came into Nigeria.

Newswatch: How do you recruit your members in Nigeria?

Ifejika: From time immemorial, Freemasonry did not or has not been soliciting for membership. Exemplary lives of masons outside attract other people to want to belong to the Craft. People see masons outside, they see the way they behave, they see the way masons react to issues and they want to also belong and they begin to ask what does it take to belong to this society that makes all of you to behave like this? Or those of you I have seen, you are well-mannered, you are well-behaved or you are all this and that and I can assure you, trust Nigerians, some will also say you are all well-to-do. There must be a god in your society that gives you wealth. But doesn’t one good deserve another? If you are good in your job, if you’re working well, won’t you be promoted? Surely, you will be promoted. If you are not good in your job believing you will get promotion because you are the son of an Alake, you will not get anywhere because that does not do the job. So people come into Freemasonry on their freewill and accord. So, they are first of all made masons in their own hearts. They are the ones who decided that they want to become Masons. We do interview them to find out if they are the miss-road people, those often referred to as ‘money-miss-road’ who may think that there is power behind Freemasonry. Yes, there may be power but it is for the individual to discover and develop. Is there power in the church? Yes, there is power but not everybody who goes to church possesses the same level of power as the next person. Isn’t it? It is through your dedication, what you read, what you practice, what you do, what you emulate that helps you to develop.

Newswatch: What is the strength of your membership in Nigeria?

Ifejika: It is less than ten thousand and yet people are worrying about them. It means there is something interesting and peculiar about the movement and the people in it. It is who they are and what they represent that is the issue. The fact that they want to get accepted or invited, the fact that they want to come into it, means they will be welcomed. Even these days, many are leaving for the churches. We wouldn’t know why. We don’t want to ask them. Others are there. But the churches are built by Masons. How? Holy Trinity, Ebute-Ero, was established and built by Masons. Until a few years ago, the Masonic inscription of the compass and the square was there and said “This church was built by Freemasons of Nigeria. The Masons also built the Cenotaph. So what is devilish about it? And if we must go further, who and who are really the members? In any case, go through the ladder of the reverend gentlemen in the church, they were all Masons – all the Ogunbiyis, who eventually founded the Reformed Ogboni Confraternity. Let me tell you that the first bishop of West Africa and the first bishop of Lagos, Leslie Gordon Vining, was a Mason. When they went to a conference in Sierra Leone, the bishop told those who went with him, “Let them raise the issue and I can assure you that if they raise the issue of our Freemasonry, the archbishop of Canterbury would not find it funny or take it lightly . Bishop A.W. Howells (father) and A.W. Howells (son) were Masons. Freemasonry and religious relationship is more of a meeting point than the parting of ways. Archbishop Howells had a church erected in his name off Western Avenue here in Lagos and the Cathedral there. Archbishop Vinnning, were they really bad and they built churches in their names? Then something has gone wrong somewhere with the Anglican constitution. I can tell you that there were many reverend gentlemen of the Anglican Church in Nigeria who were Masons. The list is very long. How suddenly it happened that Freemasonry is now an evil? Freemasonry is now an evil in the society? The builders of their churches, the builders of their faith on whose backs they want to ride to Heaven were devilish and this was found out only after they had gone but they erected edifices in their honour? There is hypocrisy there which means somebody is not telling the truth, the whole truth. The Alakijas, the judges we had both white and Nigerians were Freemasons.

Newswatch: The general feeling of people out there is that Freemasonry is a secret society. Is it a secret society and if so how secret is it?

Ifejika: Secret to the extent that we don’t need to tell you what we’re doing at our meetings. Must you know? Even in your clan or compound (for those who would prefer to us the word for a compact unit) you don’t tell the next compound what you are doing when you hold your meetings or what you are going to decide on. When the last (current) Pope was installed, were the Catholics laity really there? Was any Reverend Father there? The least people who were there were cardinals and they were not there all the time. Okogie (Anthony Cardinal Okogie) went there, finished his part and came back even before the man was installed. Did they tell us what they were doing inside there even before the Pope was installed? We only saw an installed bishop (Pope). Even when the ordinary priest is installed (ordained) a reverend gentleman, do you know what happened before the day you saw him lying down and kissing the altar? No, he had gone through the grill. Were you there? All the oaths he took, were you there? Just three weeks ago (October 3,) our people serving in the Presidency were made to swear to an oath of secrecy. And the newspapers were yelling: Are we organising another cult? What is this? But it had served a purpose there.

Newswatch: It is believed that Freemasons are under an obligation to protect their fellow members even in criminal cases once they identify themselves through a Masonic sign. How would you react to this belief?

Ifejika: It is a big lie because nobody has ever quoted this. At one time it was assumed that the Metropolitan police of London were favouring members who were Freemasons. An inquiry was conducted but it was nowhere there. I want you to listen to this. On that crucial date, October 14, 1996, Mr. Tony Blair, leader of the Labour Party, in opposition, proclaimed in a speech made in South Africa that what is urgently needed now is the promotion of a new social morality.

What was he talking about? A social morality! Tony Blair!

Newswatch: Is he a Freemason?

Ifejika: Probably he is. I wouldn’t know every member. Probably, he is not but as you know, up to 25 American presidents were Freemasons before their departure to the Grand Lodge above.

Newswatch: What is the difference between Freemasonry and secret Cult?

Ifejika: Secret cults will normally hold their meetings in secret and nobody would know but in Freemasonry, our addresses and places of meetings are known like you have come to this place (Provincial Grand Lodge Office) even though you’ve not come here before. But now, you know it. The address and name are there for anybody to see and identify. Our books are sold where you can get them and when you come to buy; you will not be asked whether you are a member. Nobody will ask you to give a sign. The book sellers are not even members some of the time or most of the time. So you can go and buy the books and read and discern what you can from them. Would that be secret? What then is secret? People know the time we meet; we advertise it on the internet. Who then is deceiving who? Freemasonry is not a secret society whereas a secret society would not want you to know when members meet and where they meet.

Newswatch: Why are Nigerian Freemasons shy to be identified publicly?

Ifejika: Not all are shy. As you can see, I am not shy to be identified. So there is no point generalising. In every society, in every gathering, in every class, some people are looking for those who will be in the front and they will bring up the rear; they will never want to lead or shoulder themselves. It is also possible that some of us still have a conflict of: Do you want to argue with the church and go away or you want to remain in the church and still remain a Freemason? So they don’t tell the church that they are Freemasons because they feel that everybody will detest them.

Newswatch: At what point did the church find Freemasonry evil?

Ifejika: When it pleased them in one of their synods.

Newswatch: I know that in the Catholic church Pope Clement XIIproscribed Freemasonry as far back as 1738. When did it happen here?

Ifejika: As far as I know, the action has no basis because former archbishops of Canterbury were Freemasons. The current archbishop is also a Freemason. He is also the head of the Scotland Constitution. So what are we talking about here. It is all hypocritical.

Newswatch: So how conducive is the Nigerian environment for the practice of Freemasonry?

Ifejika: Very very conducive. Please don’t forget that Freemasonry is not a religion but it helps you and encourages you to practise your religion better. For example, if you are a Christian, Freemasonry tells you to study your Bible assiduously. It says read your Bible without questioning the word of God because the knowledge is bottomless and above you.

Newswatch: How true is the assertion that Freemasons rules the World?

Ifejika: You have already said it. I told you there was a time when the Nigerian society was ruled by Freemasons. Go through the list I have given to you and tell me who is not there. Where would you go to? The civil servants, the judges, politicians, lawyers, the clergymen, the professionals – they were there.

Newswatch: What is the situation today?

Ifejika: It is not so anymore.

Newswatch: Why?

Ifejika: The corps of the makers and shakers of Freemasonry had gone. Probably, the up-comers are not appreciating in full as yet what it is. But the fight from the churches has also affected it. People confuse and even compare Freemasonry with religion; But Freemasonry is not a religion because it does not administer sacraments. It doesn’t promise members Heaven by saying if you do this or that, you will get there. Freemasonry urges members to obey the moral laws because you will be judged by the same immutable laws that everybody else will be judged. God created everybody equal whether you agree with this position or not, it is there.

Newswatch: I have gone through some of the Freemasonry publications and found out that the Craft has a special regard for Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist, what is the relationship between Freemasonry and the Saints? In America, Freemasons even celebrate the birthday of Saint John the Baptist.

Ifejika: Good. Countries have what is called patron Saints. In Ireland, it is Saint Patrick and we the Irish Masons, Irish Constitution, will not hold any meeting on St. Patrick’s feast day because our own constitution came from the Irish. In Scotland, the patron Saint is Saint Andrew. On the Saint’s birthday, Freemasons under the Scottish Constitution join the happy celebration. The Saints’ feast day celebration has nothing to do with Freemasonry. It has to do with the country of origin. In fact, by yesterday October 1) my Reverend Father asked us at early morning Mass who is the patron Saint of Nigeria? Many could not answer the question. He told us that the patron Saint of Nigeria is Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. He said that is the situation in spite of the fact that Nigeria is a multi-religious country.

Newswatch: Now, what is the future of Freemasonry?

Ifejika: There is a deliberate effort now to build the (craft on a very sound basis re-echoing the same ethos which the past masters who ruled this country and who also brought Freemasonry into Nigeria and who sustained this country, were able to keep up with it till their departure to the Grand Lodge above. In no distant time, you will hear about the formation of a Grand Lodge of Nigeria because many countries are having their Grand Lodges. The battle to create one had been on for the past 20 years but the issue was settled last August. We can’t have a Nigerian Grand Lodge and be going down. In fact, Freemasons are now ready to talk as I am talking to you now. But before, Freemasons could not be bothered by how the public perceived them or what is said about the Order. We just kept quiet. But now we should talk.

Newswatch: In 2004, a high court judge in South Africa was quoted in a Freemasonry newsletter as referring to Freemasonry as a hand maiden of the church. What do you think he meant?

Ifejika: What else could he mean? If in Nigeria we were able, in our own lifetime, to see archbishop of West Africa, Archbishop Vinning as a Freemason, to see Archbishop of West Africa, both of them Freemasons, and they were both in the church, so how will you see it or what do you want to say? In the same manner, I told you how elsewhere, in Scotland, for instance, how St. Mary’s Church, in Haddington was being used for Freemasonry initiation. So there is more of a relationship in the societal norm and lessons to be learnt from the church and Freemasonry. Freemasonry per se is not a religion just as I said about the knighthood but that they are interwoven.

Tallahassee Florida braces for record-breaking low temperatures

Record-breaking cold coming our way

On Wednesday morning the projected low is 25 degrees Fahrenheit. If that proves correct, it would set a new record. The previous low for November 19 was 29 degrees and was set in 1990.

Tallahassee Democrat | Nov 17, 2008

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee has issued a hard freeze warning for the Tallahassee area on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

According to Kelly Godsey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, a hard freeze is when the temperature drops below 26 degrees for two or more hours.

Tuesday itself will see high clouds and some wind, said Godsey. Once sunset comes though, the temperature will plummet. To make matters worse, there should be a slight breeze on Wednesday morning to increase the wind chill factor.

On Wednesday morning the projected low is 25 degrees Fahrenheit. If that proves correct, it would set a new record. The previous low for November 19 was 29 degrees and was set in 1990.

If it’s any consolation, Wednesday should be warmer. Godsey anticipates a balmy 29 degrees by Wednesday night.

Italy puts thousands of troops on the streets to fight Mafia terror


Children walk past Italian paratroopers who patrol a street in Casal di Principe, near Caserta , southern Italy on October 4, 2008. Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the day before that some 500 paratroopers will deploy to the Naples area at the weekend to join the fight against the local Camorra mafia and will man checkpoints, conduct weapons searches, protect “at-risk” shops and patrol suspects under house arrest.

Italy fights mob terror near Naples

AP | Nov 16, 2008


CASAL DI PRINCIPE, Italy (AP) — The paratroopers’ armored vehicles had barely taken up position in this fiefdom of the Casalesi crime clan when the mobsters decided to show who was boss.

On a sleepy Sunday, a few hundred yards from where the crack Thunderbolt brigade was deployed with automatic rifles, two gunmen drove down the town’s main street and pumped bullets into a 60-year-old man at a table just inside the entrance of a card parlor.

The murder of an uncle of a crime syndicate turncoat left blood oozing across the stone sidewalk and a collective silence by potential witnesses among fellow card players, prompting a wry comment that the victim must have been playing solitaire.

After dealing blows that left Sicily’s Cosa Nostra reeling and making inroads against Calabria’s potent ‘ndrangheta syndicate, Italy’s new war against organized crime is challenging the Camorra, the Naples regional mafia depicted in a film just released in the U.S., after the mob carried out a brutal, monthslong murder spree that included gunning down six Ghanaian immigrants in one swoop.

In recent months, the government has sent 3,000 soldiers into other cities across Italy to help battle crime syndicates. Now it has poured 500 soldiers and 400 police investigators into the region northwest of Naples, with most patrolling the flat, bleak, provincial countryside that is under the sway of the Casalesi, so named for its stronghold here in the town of Casal di Principe.

The deployment is set to last until December and could be extended if violence persists. Using the military against criminals is not new — it has been done in Naples and Sicily — but the theory still stands that sending in troops can free up local police who know the territory to intensify the search for clues and suspects.

However, as shown by the brazen murder of the card player on Oct. 5, the Camorra is proving a fiercely tenacious enemy.

“They are not in decline. They are very strong economically,” said magistrate Franco Roberti, who heads a team of anti-mob prosecutors in Naples.

The Camorra runs lucrative rackets ranging from numbers games to horse race betting, drugs and smuggling immigrants. The Casalesi are also involved in illegal transport and disposal of tons of toxic waste from the industrial north to the underdeveloped south, according to a report by a parliamentary anti-Mafia commission.

But the Camorra, and in particular the Casalesi, thrive mainly on extorting “protection” money from a terrorized citizenry.

“You kill one to teach a lesson to 100,” is how Rodolfo Ruperti, a police official in the provincial capital of Caserta, describes the thinking behind a murder spree blamed on the Casalesi, which has claimed at least 18 lives since spring.

Victims have included relatives of turncoats, a few rare businessmen who dared refuse extortion demands and, last month, six immigrants in the nearby town of Castel Volturno.


Italian paratroopers of the Folgore corp man a checkpoint in Casal di Principe, near Caserta , southern Italy on October 4, 2008. Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the day before that some 500 paratroopers will deploy to the Naples area at the weekend to join the fight against the local Camorra mafia and will man checkpoints, conduct weapons searches, protect “at-risk” shops and patrol suspects under house arrest.

Investigators described the massacre of the Africans as an intimidating show of firepower, possibly meant to signal Nigerian drug traffickers to stop operating in Casalesi territory. The attackers sprayed a hail of bullets at the immigrants chatting outside a social club.

Ruperti said in an interview that investigators believe the driving force behind the orgy of bloodshed is Giuseppe Setola, a sharp-shooting fugitive mobster who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in the past.

Setola is waging a “strategy of terror,” Ruperti said. “He needs to use sheer power” to win command of the Casalesi clan since he lacks the charisma of imprisoned clan boss Francesco Schiavone.

Schiavone, known as Sandokan after the hero of a series of pirate adventure books popular in Italy, is believed to rule the Casalesi despite being behind bars for years. Schiavone’s wife was arrested as an alleged clan paymaster in one of the recent police raids that have netted dozens of suspected Camorra members.

A manhunt is on for Setola, who escaped in spring from house arrest, granted so he could recover from an eye problem. “His eyes can’t be so bad,” Ruperti commented drily — since Setola is believed to have carried out some of the recent killings himself.

Paramilitary police last month unearthed a cache of weapons, including a Kalashnikov, buried in a basement in Castel Volturno. The arms are believed to be part of the arsenal used by Setola and his men.

The arrests of Camorra suspects have dealt a severe blow to the syndicate, but it keeps finding ways to renew itself: “There are always new recruits, because more than being a criminal phenomenon, the Camorra is a social phenomenon,” Roberti said.

Potential mobsters are tempted by the mob’s quick money in bleak towns like Casal di Principe, where most of the young are unemployed.

One job is shaking down businessmen like Pietro Russo, who squinted in the sunlight as he walked among charred ruins of his mattress factory in the town of Santa Maria Capua Vetere.

Russo rebelled in 2004 against the Casalesi extortion gangs, wearing a police wire to negotiations with his extortioners. This year, the mob got its revenge, burning down his business and forcing him to lay off his seven factory workers.

“They sent youths around who’d come into the store and say, ‘Get yourself in good stead with the Casalesi,'” Russo said. “Then they’d accompany you to Casal di Principle to give you the details. They’d tell how much you have to pay and how you have to pay it.”

His cooperation with the police led to the arrests of Casalesi clan members. But he has yet to rebuild his business, and he and his family live under the strain of a constant police escort.

Russo scoffed at the term “protection” money. “What could these people give you? They are squalid, ignorant …. They destroy the few jobs we have,” he said.

The 42-year-old businessman heads a fledgling association of about a dozen businessmen daring to defy the Camorra. But so far, the Casalesi haven’t suffered the far wider rebellion like the one that has hurt Cosa Nostra in recent years.

The Camorra’s notoriety is spreading to the U.S. “Gomorra,” a film that premiered this month in New York, is based on a Neapolitan journalist’s best-selling book about the syndicate, and is Italy’s entry for the best foreign film Oscar.

The book by Roberto Saviano tells in grisly detail how the Camorra infiltrates nearly every facet of life. The 29-year-old Saviano lived for a time in Casal di Principe, a town of about 20,000 people. Since writing his book about the Naples region’s crime syndicate, he has been given a police escort and recently said he might flee Italy in fear he could be slain.

For those waging less sensational battles against the Camorra, living in the stronghold of the Casalesi clan leaves its mark.

Here, we “breathe fear,” said Genoveffa Corvino, a psychologist at a home for boys with family problems that was recently opened in a villa, replete with marble staircases, confiscated from a Casal di Principe mob boss.

Corvino said the peculiar style of residences here — most are behind thick, high walls topped by metal fences — reflects the siege mentality.

“There’s a culture of staying closed inside, of minding your own business,” said Corvino.

The villa is now called the Don Peppino Diana Home after the name of a town priest fatally shot in the face after using his pulpit to denounce the Casalesi clan.

When the boys’ home opened, some neighbors donated their children’s old bicycles to quietly make clear they supported converting a mobster’s luxury mansion into a refuge for children, Corvino said.

“It’s a small thing that shows what side they are on,” he said.


Fascist grandmaster of infamous P2 Masonic Lodge to be interviewed on TV talk show

Gelli said “I will die a fascist” and expressed his admiration for Berlusconi.

P2 has been at the centre of a number of investigations into allegations that it conspired with right-wing extremists and the Mafia to destabilise governments through bombings and violence, often blamed on extreme leftists.

Cambridge Mass to honor Freemason Prince Hall, founder of the African Lodge, with a monument


Prince Hall (c.1735 – December 4, 1807) is considered the founder of “Black Freemasonry” in the United States, known today as Prince Hall Freemasonry.

Boston Globe | Nov 16, 2008

By Michael Kenney

Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons has been known to buttonhole people to ask what they know about Prince Hall.

And when the Institute for Very Small Things, a group of local geographic activists, was collecting suggestions for renaming the city’s streets several years ago, Simmons offered “Prince Hall Boulevard” for Massachusetts Avenue.

Now, Simmons has secured approval for a monument to the Revolutionary-era African-American leader on Cambridge Common.

An announcement of the winning design is expected within the next two months.

Hall was probably born in 1738, enslaved by William Hall, a Boston leather merchant, and freed in 1770.

“There is a legend,” said Simmons, “that he spoke with Washington on Cambridge Common,” where George Washington had taken command of the Continental Army in the summer of 1775. And during that meeting, Hall is believed to have urged Washington to recruit African-Americans into the gathering army.

He may have fought at Bunker Hill, and it is known that he made five leather drumheads for the Boston Regiment of Artillery in 1777.


Prince Hall’s grave in Copp’s Hill Cemetery in Boston.

After the Revolution, he became a leader in Boston’s black community, with a school for black children operated out of his house on Beacon Hill, and founded the Masonic lodge that bears his name.

But it is the meeting with Washington that resonated with Simmons, and, she said, “I wanted to place the monument in a place where Hall had a historical context.”

And as an African-American mayor, Simmons said, “it’s exciting to be working on this.”

As now planned, the monument would stand on the cobblestone-paved circle where there is already a “tombstone-style” monument to Washington and three cannons of the Revolutionary War period.

Nearby are the Civil War monument, with its standing figure of Lincoln by Augustus Saint-Gaudens; a monument to Thaddeus Kosciusko, a Polish nobleman who fought in the Revolution; and a monument commemorating the Irish famine.

The proposal for a Prince Hall monument on the site has received approval from the City Council and the city’s Historical Commission.

Simmons said preliminary proposals for the design are being considered. Once a winner is chosen, there will be a capital campaign to raise up to $100,000 for the monument’s final design, creation, and installation. Simmons said the goal is to have the monument in place by this time next year.

Hall spoke often in Methodist churches and at public meetings in the area around Boston and Cambridge, and Simmons said the records of those speeches left her deeply struck by his call “to extend the hand of fellowship.”

That sentiment, she said, would be a striking one to be depicted on the proposed monument by an outstretched arm.

How the Freemasons Rule the World


Nelson Mandela shares a Masonic handshake with South African Communist Party leader Oliver Tambo.

Newswatch | Nov 17, 2008

by Mike Akpan

The Society is not so visible in most countries where it exists but its members are men of immense influence and wealth

Freemasons rule the world. This  assertion appears controversial but the facts are revealed in a recent book on Freemasons written by H. Paul Jeffers. In the book titled: Freemasons: Inside the World’s Oldest Secret Society, Jeffers states that most of the Freemasons who are the movers and shakers in various fields of  endeavour, live in the United States of America, USA, the world’s  only surviving super power.

In his extensive research on the more than 400 year-old secret craft, Jeffers has found out that out of the 5.9 million estimated population of Freemasons worldwide, 4.1 millions live in the USA and Canada. Of the remaining 1.1 million Freemasons outside the two North American countries, 550,000 live in England and Wales; 400,000 live  in Scotland, while 375, 000 are in Australia. India, Japan, Formosa, Africa and Israel account for 288,000 while Ireland has 47,000 Freemasons. Europe has 80,000 Freemasons while Latin America and the Philippines accommodate 50,000 and 10,000 Freemasons respectively.

In the book, Jeffers refers to the United States as a Masonic project. His findings revealed that many of the founding fathers of the country were high degree masons. For instance, of the 56 persons who signed the Declaration of Independence document in 1778, 15 of them or 27 percent were Masons. Among them were Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Joseph Hewes, William Hooper, Robert Treat Payne, Richard Stockton, George Walton and William Whipple. Others were Elbridge Gerry, Lyman Hall, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Nelson Jr. John Renn, George Read and Roger Sherman.

Jeffers has also found out that 28 of the 40 signers of the USA constitution were high degree Masons. They included Franklin, George Washington, Gunning Bedord, Jr. John Blair, David Brearly, Jacob Broom, Daniel Carrol, John Dickinson and Rufus King. The rest were Alexander Hamilton, Abraham, Baldwin, William Blount, Nicholas Gilman, James Madison, Roger Sherman, George Read and Robert Morris. Jonathan Dayton, James McHenry and William Patterson who were also signers of the constitution, became Freemasons later.

From his extensive research, Jeffers has come to the conclusion that Freemasonry was at the heart of the American Revolution. More than 50 percent of the generals who fought and won the war of American independence from Britain were Freemasons. That explains why Freemasonry has continued to have an overwhelming influence in the government and politics of the country ever since. He gave instances.

The national anthem of the USA has a Masonic input because Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote it, was a high degree mason. Noted Jeffers: “Freemasonry has become the cornerstone of the United States government. Masonic link evidences abound despite disputations by some historians. Masonic signs and symbols are everywhere in government. For example, the Great Seal of the United States and the street plan as well as designs of federal government buildings in Washington DC were laid out on the basis of Masonic beliefs. The symbol of an inverted triangle or pyramid can be seen in the street plan and the sites are connected to famous Freemasons such as Marquis de Lafayette, after whom a park opposite the north side of the White House is named. The Washington Monument and the Pentagon building were designed by Masons to conform to a Pentagram which is an occult symbol.”

That was not all. Continued Jeffers: “The US one dollar note contains Masonic symbols. The Great Seal pictured on the back of the dollar bill has an eagle with 32 feathers (the degrees in Scottish Rite Freemasonry.) The eagle is also the symbol of St. John  the Evangelist, the great patron of Freemasonry. The arrows in its left talon refer to Israel’s King David (father of Solomon). The olive branch in the eagle’s right talon is associated with Solomon. The 13 stars above the eagle’s head represent Jacob, his 12 sons, and the tribes of Israel. Thirteen stars, in a double triangle form are symbolic of the delivery of the children of Israel from their oppressors and their attainment of a glorious freedom. The Latin “E Pluribus Unum” (Out of Many, One) indicates the Masonic fraternity.”

According to Jeffers, those who find Freemasonry on the mighty dollar also note that the largest symbol on the buck is the portrait of George Washington, a Mason. Cited as evidence of Freemasonry on the greenback is an unfinished pyramid. At the top, inside a radiant triangle is the all-seeing eye” representing  “the Grand Architect of the Universe,” who is omniscient and watching the United States. “The Latin Motto: ‘Novus Ordo Seclorum’ (New Order of the Ages) inscribed beneath the pyramid in the Great Seal of America is suspected to be synonymous with a “new world order,” the author explained.

Jeffers also explained: “The statue of Liberty is a Masonic goddess from top to bottom. The statue is said to have been conceived by Freemasons and built by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi; a French Freemason, who had already made a statue of de Lafayette for the city of New York, for the occasion of the centenary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and installed by Freemasons in a Freemasonry ceremony.”

In view of the overwhelming influence of Freemasonry in the American society, it is no surprise that Freemasons have dominated politics in the US. Out of the 43 presidents that have ruled America from 1789 to date, 25 of them were Freemasons. Among them was George Washington, who was installed the first president of the country  in 1789. He was initiated in November 1752 into Frederickburg Lodge N0.4, Fredereickburg, Virginia. He is the first and only Freemason to serve simultaneously as a lodge master and president.

Other presidents who were known Freemasons were James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howart Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan. (See Table A for details). Freemasonry has also produced people who served as vice-presidents, secretaries of state, chief justices and justices of the Supreme Courts at the centre and in the states. (See Table B & C for details).

The security agencies were not left out. Very many Freemasons have occupied the top hierarchies at various times. Jeffers found out in the course of his research, that all the security agencies have Freemasonry lodges in-house. The legislatures at the federal and state levels have also felt the strong influence of Freemasonry over the years. So also are the executive arms of government in the states.

This is how Jeffers put it. “The involvement of Freemasons in the government of the Republic of Texas is found in the fact that all of its presidents were Masons, as were all its vice-presidents. The lowest percentage of Masons who had held executive positions in any of the four administrations was 85 percent. In the last administration that carried Texas into the Union, all those in executive positions in the government of the republic were Masons.”

Outside government, Freemasonry also pervades the professions, arts and culture of the people. Garry A. Henningsen, past grand master and secretary, New York State Grand Lodge of Masons chose to say it this way: “Human imagination has always thrived in Freemasonry. We have enticed to our fraternity, artists, poets, warriors, inventors, manufacturers, explorers, pioneers, lawyers, government leaders, business tycoons, clergymen, astronauts, scientists and gentle-everyday family men made better because of their association with and love of our beloved Craft. It has been so from the very beginning,” (See Tables below).

Henningsen is right. Freemasonry has attracted to its fold, eminent personalities such as Bill Gates, a philanthropist and chairman of Microsoft who is reputed to be the third richest man in the world, Henry Ford, a pioneer automobile manufacturer, and astronauts who have become famous as a result of their space missions. Among such great names are Edgar D. Mitchell, the sixth person to walk on the Moon surface, John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, Leroy Gordon Cooper, the astronaut who made record breaking flights in Mercury 7, Mission in 1963 and in Gemini 5, in 1965. Virgil Grisson, a Mason astronaut, undertook the first manned maneuver in space in 1965 while James Benson Irwing along with three others, piloted the Lunar module “Falcon” on Apollo 15 Mission in 1971 and spent nearly 67 hours on the Moon surface.

In Africa, the Craft has, as its members, such eminent sons as John Kuffuor, president of Ghana, Jerry J. Rawlings, his predecessor, Omar Hadj Bongo, president of Gabon, and Paul Biya, president of Cameroon. Others are Blaise Campaore, president of Burkina Faso, Idris Deby, president of Chad, Mamadou Tanja, president of Niger, Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of Congo Brazaville, his predecessor, Pascal Lissouba and Robert Guei, a general and late head of state of Ivory Coast.

In South Africa where the country’s parliament is said to be located on a Freemasonry land, Nelson Mandela, the former president is on record as a member. The record shows that  he was initiated into black obedience of American Freemasonry called Prince Hall. Kofi Annan, immediate past secretary general of the United Nations, is a prominent Freemason. In Nigeria, Freemasons were in the drivers’ seats in the public and private sectors of the economy from the colonial era up to the late seventies when the Yakubu Gowon military government promulgated a decree which classified Freemasonry as one of the banned secret societies. Its members in the public services were ordered to renounce their membership or resign. Newswatch investigation has revealed that Gowon was bowing to pressures mounted on his government by Islamic leaders, the Baptist and Catholic Churches that were not comfortable with the activities of Freemasons in their fold.

Adewale Thompson, a high degree Mason and a high court judge in Oyo State, captured the under current that prompted the decree in his recent book titled: “Masonic Experience.” “Somehow some new converts into christianity aided and abetted by some organisations of questionable motives began an orchestrated persecution of  Freemasons which they included  in their definition of “ Secret societies.”

The movement against the group began in Nigeria in the 1970s: “Sometimes in or about 1974, there was hue and cry in the press by some elements against ‘secret societies.’ It later dawned on us that the campaign was fomented by the church and the mosque using the government as agents. Government departments sent circulars to public officers to denounce membership of ‘Secret societies or be sacked. The church called on communities to swear to affidavits that they were not members of secret societies otherwise they could not hold offices in the church. Those who refused to sign were removed from office. The move to ex-communicate members of secret societies was shelved because of the negative turmoil that it could generate.”

Not all the Christian churches accepted the definition of Freemasonry as a secret society. This is how Thompson reported it: “During this period, the Right Reverend F.O. Segun, Anglican bishop of Lagos, stood up in Lagos diocese to address his flock. He told them that he was not a Freemason, but that in Freetown he had lived in the home of Freemasons whom he knew to be the best exponents of christian virtues. He then warned that those priests who must have come from the hinterlands and have not had the exposure of travelling out to meet ‘men of the world’ should exercise restraint in denouncing Freemasons, whom he knew in Freetown and in the Lagos diocese to be great supporters of the church in every respect or face the penalty of being unfrocked.”

Notwithstanding the negative campaign, Freemasonry still had in its fold many eminent Nigerians including great legal minds such as Udo Udoma, Emmanuel Araka, C. O. Madarikan, C. D. Onyeama, Adebayo Desalu, D.O. Coker, M. O. Oyemade, J. D. Daniel, all justices, and O.C.J. Okocha, a senior advocate of Nigeria, SAN. There are also many traditional rulers who still retain their memberships of the Craft. Among them are Solomon Akenzua Π, Oba of Benin, Alfred Nnameka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha, Okunade Sijuade, Ooni of Ife and Ogbuefi Alex Nwokedi a traditional ruler, (See Table F.).

Lamented Thompson: “Time was when the Nigerian society was ruled by Masonic principles of friendship, charity and integrity. Those were better days.” Chukka Ifejika, a retired banker and current provincial grand secretary of Freemasonry in Nigeria, Scottish Constitution, agrees. Ifejika recalled with nostalgia that Nigeria was a better place when its civil servants, judges, lawyers, captains of commence and industry, politicians, clergymen and professionals imbibed the Masonic spirit of love, truth and integrity. “There was a time the Nigerian society was ruled by Freemasons,” he added.

Although Freemasonic influence seems to be waning in the Nigerian society, the situation is different in other parts of the world. In Senegal, for instance, Freemasons are found in the seat of power despite the fact that majority of the population adhere to the Muslim faith. In Britain, Freemasonry has a strong influence on the monarchy. The current Duke of Edinburgh is a high degree Mason. Duke Michael of Kent is the traditional Grand Master of the Great United Lodge of England and a representative of the royal family. Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons have sizeable percentages of their members as Freemasons. The executive arm of government and the security agencies including the Scotland Yard Police have good numbers of Freemasons in its fold. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, is a high degree Freemason.  So also were his predecessors. In Canada, Latin America and many European countries, the influence of Freemasonry is said to be very strong in those countries.

“Freemasonry has produced an astonishing number of significant individuals throughout the history of Europe in all fields of human endeavour namely kings, presidents and politicians, tycoons  of industries, doctors, journalists, writers, composers, educators, generals, scientists, philosophers, astronauts and other cultural, social and civic leaders,” said Jeffers

Opponents of Freemasonry are equally many and powerful. Several documents have been published to discredit it. Some of the documents describe the Brotherhood as “the single largest vehicle for the perpetuation of the Luciferic consciousness on Earth. In their joint publications titled: The Brotherhood and the Manipulation of Society, Ivan Frazer and Mark Beeston write: “The basic recruitment of members to further the elite’s plan is through the secret society network of Freemasonry… the latest incarnation of the Christian/military order known as Knights Templars who gained staggering riches and a wealth of esoteric knowledge during the Crusades, in which the ‘righteous’ christians were dispatched to the Holy Land with a free reign to slaughter the Jews and Moslems in a series of campaigns between the 11th and 13th centuries.”

Certain practices in Freemasonry have been used as justification by christians for their anti-Masonic posture. Jeffers stated that christian leaders attacked Freemasonry for promoting devil worship, leading religious men away from the right way to find God, or being inconsistent with the religious beliefs of certain denominations.

Gary Maxey, founder and provost, West African Theological Seminary, Lagos, agrees. “Freemasonry shares a lot of tenets that are contrary to most of our christian beliefs. In essence, Freemasonry is not orthodox christianity and is not recognised as belonging to mainstream Christianity,” he told Newswatch, adding: “apart from being more secretive in its practices, the Order focuses on cosmic energy, circle of the Moon and soul which are contrary to christian beliefs.

Echoing the same viewpoint, Gabriel Osu, a monsignor and director of social communications, Catholic archdiocese of Lagos, said: “Freemasonry has come to be identified as a place of reunion for individuals of radical anti-Catholic and atheistic spirit with doctrines and principles diametrically opposed to Catholicism and to any structure degrees society supportive of the church, natural laws and morality.”

Another allegation which critics level against Freemasonry is that progress beyond the first three degrees by members is at the pleasure of the elites who also impose stiff penalty on any member who divulges the secrets of the Order.

Asserted the authors of the Brotherhood and Manipulation of Society: “While the vast majority of the members are on the first three rungs of the 33 – level hierarchy and have no idea of the hidden agenda, they take a  pledge of allegiance “ to the society above all else.” Most initiates are willing to do this because of the temptation of power, wealth and knowledge which (are) hard to refuse, that it is hinted that there are penalties to pay for betraying the society and revealing its secrets and that it is impossible to achieve high levels of initiation within Freemasonry unless one is handpicked by those of higher degrees.”

They concluded: “At the apex of the pyramid of the Brotherhood,” these “select few” who know “the full agenda have become known as the illuminati (Latin for illuminated ones). All powerful, they “occupy all top level members of the police and military forces around the world. They are found in every area of society at all levels, but at the top, in the highest social and monetary bracket, the Brotherhood prevails….The Brotherhood owns the law, they own the military, they own the oil companies, pharmaceutical companies and just about everything which provides for the status quo.” Associated with this belief is the suspicion that Freemasons have a secret plan to control the world through the political and economic domination of the USA.

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Berlusconi demands secrecy in CIA kidnapping trial

Italy PM argues state secrecy in CIA kidnap trial

Reuters | Nov 17, 2008

By Phil Stewart

berlusconi_devil_handROME, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has told a Milan court trying U.S. and Italian spies for a suspected CIA kidnap that details on ties between the two countries’ secret services must remain secret.

Berlusconi wrote in a letter received by the court on Monday that divulging such information would undermine Italy’s intelligence service in its dealings with foreign peers.

The letter dealt a potential blow to Italian prosecutors who are trying seven Italians and 26 Americans — the latter in absentia — for the alleged 2003 kidnap.

They are accused of seizing a terrorism suspect, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, in broad daylight on the streets of Milan and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured and held for years without charge.

Human rights groups have accused the United States of breaking international law and “outsourcing torture” by secretly transferring alleged militants to foreign states in operations known as extraordinary renditions. Washington denies the torture charge but has defended renditions as a valid counter-terrorism tool that has produced vital intelligence.

Berlusconi, who has denied Rome knew anything about a kidnap plot, wrote in the letter which was seen by Reuters that the court was free to hear evidence on the abduction itself.

But testimony about ties to foreign spy agencies “would expose our secret services to a concrete risk of ostracism” , he wrote. He also approved a former Italian spy’s decision to refuse to testify about possible orders related to “renditions”.

“The application of state secrecy is based … above all (on) preserving the intelligence service’s credibility in its international ties with related organisations,” read the letter, which was dated Nov. 15.

Berlusconi’s response may not please Judge Oscar Magi, who said last month it was hard for prosecutors to prove a kidnapping if related evidence was classified.

“It would be a bit like saying that only a crime’s historic occurrence is knowable and ascertainable and not its causes, not the conduct of those behind it, not its later justifications,” Magi wrote.


State secrecy has long cast a shadow over the trial. It could even be thrown out altogether by Italy’s Constitutional Court, which is expected to convene on the case in March. The Italian state has argued that prosecutors trampled on state secrecy rules when pursuing their investigation.

Even if the trial continues, the latest state secrecy snag could prevent a former head of Italy’s military intelligence agency, SISMI, from offering key testimony as evidence. Gianfranco Battelli has told prosecutors that the CIA sounded him out on renditions in 2001.

“(The CIA station chief in Rome) asked my opinion, ‘What do you think’ about the hypothesis of carrying out the strategy of so-called renditions,” Battelli said, according to a copy of his testimony seen by Reuters.

Battelli said he told the CIA chief he was shortly leaving office and that the CIA should talk with his successor.

That man, Nicolo Pollari, is the highest-level former Italian official facing indictment.

Pollari denies any wrongdoing and says documents proving his innocence are classified. His lawyer, Titta Madia, said Berlusconi’s letter reinforced the defence’s case that it could not properly defend itself.

“Gen. Pollari has suffered very serious damage because of state secrecy. Because if there wasn’t state secrecy, he would be absolved in 10 minutes,” Madia told Reuters.