Essays, ethics, historical perspectives, latest, Propaganda, state-sponsored fakery

From Troy to Damascus: Seeing the Light

by Hugh O’Neill

One of the oldest cities in the world, Damascus was already 2,000 years old at the time of Homer’s Trojan War (1200 BC). In order to understand the present, we have to place it within the context of the past. However, there is a caveat that only the winners write history and so the challenge to historians is to read between (and behind) the lines. Historians must also deploy their judgement of the various human factors in the events recorded, by whom recorded and why; they must also be aware of their own biases which inevitably influence their vision i.e. what they choose to see or ignore.

War may be defined as the deployment of mass violence to acquire resources of the many to benefit the few. Homer would have us believe that many thousands of Greek heroes left their homes and families for ten years so that King Menelaus could rescue Helen his queen who had been abducted by Paris, son of King Priam of Troy. We also learn from Homer of the cunning of the Greeks with their deception of the wooden horse. Ultimately, Troy was sacked in an orgy of extreme rapine and violence.

Such base behaviour had to be given a veneer of honour – hence Homer’s paean to heroic deeds and men as mere playthings of fickle gods who could be blamed for man’s extreme passions, his successes and failures, his fate. There is a line from Vergil’s Aeneid, which we can equally apply to Homer’s epics: “I fear the Greeks and the gifts they bear”. Perhaps Homer’s gift to the Greeks was both deception and self-deception. Never look a wooden gift horse in the mouth?

Troy sits at the southern entrance to the Dardanelles (the narrow straits connecting the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, the dividing line between Asia and Europe). The Gallipoli Peninsula forms the northern shore, and the name Gallipoli is from the Greek Kallis Polis (beautiful city). More than 3,000 years after the Hellenic fleet landed at Troy, an army of British Colonials in 1915 stormed the beaches of Gallipoli, but this time, there was no beautiful woman to be rescued. The official reason was to take Turkey out of the war and open up a front behind the Germans.

The much less heroic truth, however, is that Britain wanted the Ottoman Empire’s vast oil reserves and had already divided the spoils before the ANZAC landings. The ‘heroic’ deeds of Lawrence of Arabia were a complete sham: the British helped the Arab tribes throw off the Ottoman yoke in exchange for the British one. The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France created vassal states to “divide and rule”.

Oil is essential for mechanized armies to wage wars and its control was a major cause of both World Wars and the current mayhem in the Middle East. Both CIA and MI6 have a long history of covert interference in the democratic processes in all the Arab countries to “protect UK/US interests”. The wars since 9/11 were planned well before that event, and needed only an excuse (“casus belli”) to put “boots on the ground”. It is notable that prior to Britain, US and France uniting in their latest unholy trinity to smite Syria, the ruler of Saudi Arabia visited all 3 capitals carrying his Midas cheque-book, spending billions on armaments to continue his war on Yemen, the poorest of all the Arab states.

Damascus has been fought over throughout its existence because of its strategic value. The story we know best is that of Saul of Tarsus: fresh from the stoning of St. Stephen on the road to Damascus, he was blinded by a great light and a voice from Heaven asking “Saul, Saul. Why do you persecute me?” When we look back to the stoning of Stephen, we find a story of his trial before the Sanhedrin Court for blasphemy, at which false testimony was presented. As Stephen was being stoned, he prayed that his persecutors be forgiven: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. One of Moses’ Ten Commandments forbade the bearing of false witness: Fake News, Propaganda and Disinformation is the domain of the CIA and several other Western intelligence services.

Caravaggio – Conversion on the Road to Damascus

Saul’s vision was restored by St. Ananias, when the scales fell from his eyes; Saul became Paul the Apostle. This story of bright light and revelation of truth is an apt metaphor for the precise moment of understanding when we move from the darkness of ignorance into the bright light of knowledge. We are all faced with this same choice: we can choose to remain in the dark with the multitude, or stand out in the bright light, but we must open our eyes (and our minds).

Perhaps our rulers got sloppy, or we are better informed because of the internet, but it is universally acknowledged that the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 by Bush & Blair was based on a pack of lies. UN chemical weapons inspectors could find no trace of Saddam’s alleged WMD stockpiles, despite all the claims of the US and UK governments. Dodgy dossiers were compiled, false testimony was manifest, and the UK’s CW expert Dr. David Kelly died in a mysterious suicide because he had admitted that the Government had “sexed-up” the “Dodgy dossier”. Two million people marched in London and 38 million throughout the world to protest against this invasion because we knew we were being lied to. If these governments lied then about the ‘evidence’ they claimed justified their illegal actions (which have resulted in the deaths of millions and 40 million refugees) and yet face no sanctions for their crimes, why should we believe they’ve suddenly begun telling the truth 15 years later?

If we can understand that our own governments lie in pursuit of “national interests” i.e. oil and arms sales, which results in the horrific killing and maiming of millions of innocents, plus thousands who are duped into killing and dying for their country, then it is clear that our governments’ amorality depends on our gullibility: the same old lie: “Dulce et Decorum est, Pro patria mori”? Democracy is predicated on an “informed” electorate: if all we consume is propaganda, then we cannot make informed choices: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.

Whilst awaiting trial at Nuremberg, Hermann Goering admitted:

Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship…Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country

Hugh O’Neill holds a Master’s degree in maritime history.  He is a Master Mariner himself and a member of the New Zealand Maritime Pilots Association, whose Pilot Magazine he also edits.


  1. Thomas Prentice says

    War could also be defined as the continuation of millennia of human sacrifice — albeit not as public or spectacular as the human sacrifices of the Swedes at Uppsala or Aztecs at what is now Mexico City and Roman crucifixions and Vatican torture and executions and Israeli assassinations of Palestinians — and all the rest, including Isaac and Jesus and all the Hebrew prophet slain by, well, the Hebrews.

    What else is the terrible human toll of war IF NOT human sacrifice — on soldiers in WWI trenches; 11 million Russian soldiers and 20 million Russian civilians in WWII; the invasion and subjugation of the Canaanites by the Hebrews; the civilians killed in the US/England FDR/Churchill firebombings of Dresden, Frankfurt and Tokyo; genocide of the Indians and the slavery holocaust of the Africans; pogroms against Jews and the Jewicide; the nuclear attacks on civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or US soldiers in Vietnamistan and Iraq as well as millions of humans in “collateral damage” in those two wars?

    As but just a few examples.

    Those Aztecs didn’t have anything on good Christian white folks from Europe or the Zionist state in the Middle East.

    Human sacrifice is, as it were, “alive and well.”

    • “War may be defined as the deployment of mass violence to acquire resources of the many to benefit the few”.

      The getting and taking from the ‘other’ by violence – or in the Odyssean sense of guile targeted to the victim’s trust. Is the identity in lack (of substance) compelled get power from subjugation or disempowering of others to keep its fantasy of self specialness ‘alive’. The lie by its nature demands sacrifice of true as well as more layering of a narrative justification to ‘righteousness’ by accusing the guilt for the act upon the other. So to repackage guilt or toxic debt into ‘acceptable currency’ of thought, ‘someone must pay – and the refusal to face guilt operates the power struggle of the redistribution of guilt as blame and penalty. Seeing one’s salvation in another’s suffering is also the private self gratification in vengeance or self-vidication.
      The patterning of thought that runs a mind subordinated to the will to power (or the alignment in appeasement of such power) is owned, used and blind to its own state – at least until entangled in ways that allow no conceivability of going back or having any other ‘life’. (Faustian Pact).

      You didn’t mention the medical war – but as I see it sacrifice is the ‘old religion’ of gods of terror that overwhelm and split or fragment a dissociated state that is predicated upon evading penalty or running away from the point of separation/birth trauma. Jesus – as far as I recognize and accept – offers the undoing and replacement of a false identity in sacrifice for a truly extended identity in recognition of self in other as of other in self.
      When we recognize the evil in ourself instead of projecting or dumping it away, we are in ownership without activation – by refusing to host or parley in the mind of guilt and sacrifice.

      That the ‘world’ made a sacrifice of specialness as the symbol of love – and of human guilt – is in a sense simply the persistence of the unwillingness and unreadiness to see. While the sanctity of the truth of life is a light few can abide, the surrounding defences against it are horrific terror symbols – held up in ‘worth-ship’ – for the ‘world’ speaks of ‘love’ while assigning power to hate.

      Do we come here (‘the world’) to die?
      Not exactly – but when we become identified exclusively in self-image and concept, the mind is effectively sacrificing wholeness of being to engage a sense of self-powered wish rather than within the truly felt life. Life being itself then becomes assigned the role of withdrawal of support, denier and betrayer to a ‘violation’ of “I WANT IT THUS!”. We do not know how deeply we are invested in forms of life until they change.

      The wish that evil be true is the sense of power thereby gotten in resistance. Hence the cultivation and generation of hate objects to ‘unify’ against – including psychopathic manipulators.
      The willingness to look directly at what is, without presuming to know or judge what it truly is, is the willingness to receive the healing of a true perspective. Only truth heals to recognition of freedom – but of course not in the framing of our current set of terms and conditional demands.

      I sense that we enter the ‘human condition/ing by a situation in which we feel wholly justified in hate. En-tranced in reversal! Arriving at our beginning in order to know it for the first time, is the choice not to use the choice for hate. (That we learned in limited self protection).

      • Fair dinkum says

        Many words, little meaning.
        Your thoughts are strangling your perception.

  2. AntonyI says

    Sunni royals don’t have a monopoly on oil; Russian leaders or Shia leaders command vast oil / gas reserves also. The main point is that the Sunni royals are the “easiest” to manipulate at present: “small” prize: let them spread Wahhabi ideology around the globe and Damascus became a mere obstacle.

    The US and Canada have lots of it oil /gas too but that is already in the “right” pockets. When a small group controls a lot of supply they can bend a market: just look at the artificial prize of diamonds, or how China tried to capture some rare earth minerals resources.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      China has ‘rare earths’ because the exist on Chinese territory. For years they were sold to the West for peanuts, but not anymore. The poor, dear, West will have to dig up their own-the USA has lots of them. They aren’t so ‘rare’ really, but the West always prefers pillage, outright theft or sharp practise-it’s their ‘God-given right’.

  3. kweladave says

    2068 AD !!!!!

    Remember Hans Blix?

    Mr Blix was the lead investigator (circa 2002) for UNSCOM (UN Special Commission) to oversee Iraq’s compliance with the destruction of its WMDs.

    The Commission’s work was closed in 2008, BUT…its report/conclusions were buried in a v secure box and NOT to be made public for 60 years!

    Yes, that’s 2068 AD when we will be allowed to know the facts/truth. I wonder why?

  4. Fleur S says

    Great piece. Thanks.

    With ANZAC day coming up, it’s interesting that you refer to the Australia and NZ forces whose mortal remains now inhabit the acres of Gallipoli war cemetaries as simply “British Colonials” – nameless, faceless, stateless forces doing the bidding of their “Masters of Empire.” While the ANZAC nations didn’t (and don’t) like to think of themselves that way, your text accurately sums up the way they were used and abused by their colonial controllers.

    Oddly, it is the Turks who showed them greater respect in death than the British did while they lived – whether or not the famed words of the (now defaced) Atatürk monument at ANZAC Cove were actually spoken by him.

    The connection between war mongering (currently in Damascus) and ancient events in Troy has been made before – also as a warning, offered in the form of a radical societal solution to endless war making. I refer to Sheri Tepper’s (1988) “Gate to Women’s Country”, a post apocalyptic novel using as its central lietmotif the annual performance of Iphigenia at Ilium, a reworking of the Greek tragedy The Trojan Women. I recommend it to all.

    Soon, though, war will no longer be a matter of gender (even if somewhat blurred by trans-gender issues). The drones and robots will see to that. What we will be left with is the war makers, and those upon whom they make war. Let us not mistake into which category we – the 99.99% – will fall.

    • Hugh O'Neill says

      Fleur. Excellent comments. I was well aware that Churchill had already deemed the ANZAC troops of little worth as a fighting force, but they were short of men and so had to make do (Bless ’em). Both the British and their Colonials (in those pre-Commonwealth days) patently underestimated Johnny Turk, as they all assumed that he’d be a pushover, even though fighting against a hostile invasion. Lack of respect, empathy and imagination are all symptoms of the same disease which is the assumption that not all men are equal (some are more equal than others?). I am glad to discover that my thoughts on the Homeric epics are far from original (“There is nothing new under the sun” – Ecclesiastes). I cannot begin to contemplate AI killing machines, but the phrase “Deus ex machina” might be a starting point. Discuss…:-)

      • Fleur S says

        Indeed. Lack of empathy is a central point in war making. Sheri Tepper’s use of the Troy narrative embroiders on this point:

        Which is why the concept of humanity’s mass death at the hand of a swarm of human-created AIs (be they drones, robots, drug controlled humans or nano-bots) would be such an ultimate irony: “Mortem deus ex machina.”

  5. Very good piece.

    As you say Hugh in your comment below:
    “At least, if there is thermonuclear war, no-one will have children to ask them: “What did you do to stop the war daddy?”

    It reminded me of this, maybe you remember it:

    Daddy, daddy tell me if you can
    Why can’t things be the way they were,
    before the war began
    Come away Melinda, come in and close the door
    The answer lies in yesterday, before they had the war

    • Hugh O'Neill says

      The thought came from JFK to RFK, talking of the generals during the Cuban Missile Crisis: if we took their advice, there would be nobody around to tell them they were wrong.

  6. MaxHeadroom says

    Really enjoyed that read Hugh. All the little people can hope to do is to seek truth and share it amongst those we care for and those we meet who care to listen.

    • Hugh O'Neill says

      As your name implies, we are not little. I like the James Larkin exhortation: “The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Let us rise!” Lets join the ranks of Cassandra, Laocoon, John the Baptist, George Orwell, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden etc. etc. I like to hope that the screen concealing the little man controlling the Wizard has been torn, and the crack is letting in the light. Lets keep tearing it down.

      • At least 2 of those you list are easily proven limited hangouts aimed at keeping us in precisely the state of abject ignorance the writer warns against.

        • But isn’t everyone serving the purpose YOU give them – in your experience?
          I sense that when you choose NOT to give or align in false witness you stand in willingness and faith for true – and then find what you need in the hour or moment of your need.
          A current example being J Peterson standing for freedom of speech against an imposition of tyranny. Or Corbyn holding out for incontrovertible evidence before unleashing war. This is not a cult of personalities – but it may be that they inspire a like courage or heart-purpose in others.
          I agree that we are only as little as we choose to accept in the framing we accept as defining us. I don’t join with attacking illusions because that gives them reality in the mind of the attacker.
          What then is really occurring where we ‘see’ justification for attack? When I say there is an inner realm of which the mind pointed at the world knows not, I am saying we are focused in the symptoms while chasing false causes or indeed false flags.
          The world is as it is to any of us and to all of us through the structure and filtering of our definitions. War on symptoms not only persists the war, but protects against healing. War is ‘too big to fail’ means too much invested in it to be willing to release it.
          I’m not speaking of the appropriate use of force – but of war-mindedness that sees everyone and everything only for what it can get from them, or get rid of on them. Uncurtaining the sense of lack of life that sought to regain it at expense of others and of the whole, is the undoing of illusion. You may choose to persist in illusion – but that is now a choice – not a habit – and knowing what you choose is undoing of your ability to believe its reality – hence the desperate attempts to bolster against self-doubt with zealotry – as in Saul the tax collector. But waking from within of an inner knowing that can no longer be ‘unheard’ is the reversing of the reversal in consciousness that sought to punish sin in others as if to escape in self-righteousness. The forms and idioms change but the core pattern remains unchanged.
          If as I often quote “it takes one to know one’ then you can uncover your own error to be undone and corrected from your reaction to the same in others. Likewise you can uncover your own heart’s recognition in the willingness of others that shine into your own life. the company you keep is not socially defined, but spiritually discerned. But until you are established in your own life, you are socially defined or conditioned to think and react according to your family, groups and society. How else could you come into the world? Identifying in reaction against anything is still being defined by it.
          When Jesus said ‘resist ye not evil’ was he mad?
          Or pointing to the way out of madness?
          He did not tolerate evil in himself, nor engage in complicity in it with others.
          If you make him special, you he can no longer serve as an example. Hence the world would ‘kill’ the living communication – that is ‘within’ and not really IN the world. This makes no more sense to the mind fixated in the world now, than it did then. A world of lies is made to hide the true. Or indeed yielded to the revealing of the true. It is freedom to love, that is not forced upon the mind of belief in unworthiness of love – and by that absence of coercion you recognize yourself truly at heart – even if the mind has to be retrained and rehabilitated.

  7. What a fantastic Piece and so very timely.

    “Up and above keeps its head while green is the wheat;
    It is capable of bowing only after ripe and ready to reap.”
    “People, like wheat,” my father told me, “must reach maturity in order to understand, appreciate, and accept.  They must learn to see, to hear, and to behave.  Behave not like the green wheat, a poorly educated man or an impolite person, but like the ripe wheat.”

    Calliopsis or Magnesia where poets
    slave to familiar rhymes and themes
    Not golden or silver words but workmanlike
    fashion hymns of safe iron and copper.

    On The city on the hill,
    Songs sung to green and pleasant lands
    My Country Right or wrong
    Patriotic duty, above the evidence
    heroic deeds, laurels earned
    Myths of Wagnerian operatic spectacle.

    Behind the claimed reality
    of how things are lies a deeper truth clothed in the noble lie. He deceived by the noble lie is excluded as unworthy of an opinion.

  8. Reblogged this on MUSO MUSINGS ON FATHERHOOD THEORY AND STUFF and commented:

    What a fantastic Piece and so very timely.

    “Up and above keeps its head while green is the wheat;
    It is capable of bowing only after ripe and ready to reap.”
    “People, like wheat,” my father told me, “must reach maturity in order to understand, appreciate, and accept.  They must learn to see, to hear, and to behave.  Behave not like the green wheat, a poorly educated man or an impolite person, but like the ripe wheat.”

  9. DavidKNZ says

    Glad to see a Kiwi advocating truthfulness in these troubled times.
    I’ve just been watching our new Prime Minister mixing it with ‘the grown ups club’ aka Commonwealth Leaders in London, and seeing her dutifully toe the ‘Solidarity’ party line – or should I say lie – for there are enough holes in the official story to sail a ship through – ( albeit the Titanic) .
    And of course Russia is the bad actor.
    Any suggestions to the contrary will be erased, as will the memories of David Lange and Norman Kirk – her predecessors. Leaders who were not afraid of speaking truth to power.
    Its a sad day for NZ

    • Fair dinkum says

      Ironic, isn’t it?
      She’s about to bring a new life into a world led by psychopaths who detest Life.

      • DavidKNZ says

        Its not just ironic FD, its tragic.

        Just looking at that smug group, choreographed by Teresa May,
        who somehow think there is safety in numbers, I wonder how
        many more people will die as this folly unfolds. And they will
        almost all be people of colour, shafted yet again by the colonial
        It will not be without its effects here, where we are trying to
        bring about a bicultural ( Pakeha, Maori) nation

        There is no safety in numbers, there is only safety in truth.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        A child who has almost no chance of living a long life, because human existence in at the precipice. Indeed, if the Zionists and their psychopathic stooges in the West get their way, a war in the Middle East dragging in Iran and Russia, the child may never see the light of day.

    • Hugh O'Neill says

      David. Many thanks for your comments with which I wholeheartedly agree. I am 12yrs a Kiwi now, having voted against Tony Blair with my feet (the only vote that counts these days). I have just written to the Otago Daily Times in response to today’s editorial, though I doubt they will publish:
      “I take issue with the final paragraph of the ODT Editorial (19/4/18) which presumes to speak on behalf of “most New Zealanders” on the topic of keeping our Intelligence Services honest. “Intelligence” was used to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq and 15 years of war thereafter.
      “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society” (JFK). When an institution wishes to conceal its malfeasance or incompetence, then both secrecy and security become cloaks: secrecy is symptomatic of dysfunction. The CIA’s doctrine of “plausible deniability” is license to operate beyond government oversight and is anathema to democracy and freedom, as the briefest research can confirm.
      The focus on S.I.S. ought to be on ‘service’ i.e. whom do they serve? It is essential they be held to robust account by a wider range of ideologies than are found in political, financial and military elites. It is not just NZ democracy, which is at risk: disinformation perpetrated by supposed intelligence agencies has led to war. However, war between nuclear powers is of universal concern”
      At least, if there is thermonuclear war, no-one will have children to ask them: “What did you do to stop the war daddy?”

      • DavidKNZ says

        Hi Hugh
        I think the first obstacle to overcome is the idea that one individual cannot make a difference.
        So kudos to your taking the time to write to the ODT.
        I’m writing to MPs that I think might listen, in a calm and factual manner, with some small successes

        • Hugh O'Neill says

          David. I recognise a JFK quote there: “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” That is the greatest message of hope, because the powers that be would prefer that we just give up the fight i.e. “Learned helplessness” in which we accept that we have no control over our lives. I would love to believe that Jacinda (and Winston) are simply paying lip service to the 5-Eyed monster. I think motherhood will deepen her caring instinct and the fight for justice and truth. “Some men look at things and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask, why not?” (RFK).

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        New Zealand’s ‘intelligence’ agencies, like those of Australia, owe their first loyalty to the USA, then Israel, then their supposed ‘homelands”.

        • Hhugh O'Neill says

          I recall reading that PM Gough Whitlam was astonished to discover that Aussie ‘intelligence’ was with the CIA in Chile during the 1973 coup against Allende. As you aver, these agencies are beyond government control and work in concert with CIA/Mossad.

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says

            When Gough, our one really great PM, appointed Kerr as Governor-General, various people warned him that Kerr was a US ‘asset’ from WW2 days. Clyde Cameron for one told him so. But Gough was so arrogant that he dismissed the idea, thinking that he could impose his will on Kerr. The conspiracy ran deep, and was directed by the USA, something Gough should have sensed when the US appointed the coup-master, Marshall Green, the genocidal architect of the massacres in Indonesia, as ‘Ambassador’. But at least we were spared the death-lists that the US prepared in Indonesia, detailing those they wanted exterminated. The USA and Israel were behind the ouster of Kevin Rudd, too, using their stooges in the Labor Party Right.

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