Not our business, but… — Maybe someone should point out to the neo-Conquistadores in Italy’s present Government—the ones who would like to solve the problem of North African immigration across the Mediterranean with bombs and Italian marines—that the Libyan insurgents they would face are not all barefooted beduins hanging around with Kalashikov assault rifles draped sloppily over their shoulders.
Both of Libya’s two largest of the insurgent factions, those (nominally) faithful to competing provisional governments in Tobruk and Tripoli, respectively, possess and know how to use jet fighters and fighter-bombers. The planes, Sukhoi-22s, MiG-23 and MiG-25s, all of them Russian made, are few, outdated and certainly ill-maintained: but they exist.
It is worth noting as well that Libyan pilots have recent ‘real’ combat experience in the repeated border wars—in particular with Chad—of the Gaddafi period. It means something too that their bases are on the Libyan side of the Mediterranean and not all the way up in Italy. Nor are they located at water’s edge, where they could be taken out ‘by accident’ in attacks against smuggler’s boats waiting to take on human cargo. This means the bases cannot be neutralized without penetrating the country’s interior.
That’s an aspect that the Libyans have not failed to notice. Recent satellite images show three MiG-25 “Foxbat” fighters being transported overland to the airport at Misrata, controlled by the Islamist “Libyan Dawn” faction. Analysts believe the most likely intent is to get one of the planes back in action by cannibalizing spare parts from the other two.
All of this means that a Libyan military adventure might not necessarily be the glorious “surgical” colonial walkover that perhaps someone in the Italian Ministry of Defense headquarters on Rome’s Via XX Settembre may be daydreaming about.
Masonic Plots — “On July 20, 1969, two American Astronauts landed on the moon of the planet Earth, in an area known as Mare Tranquilitatis , or ‘Sea of Tranquility’. One of those brave men was Brother Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr., a member of Clear Lake Masonic Lodge No. 1417 of Seabrook, Texas. Brother Aldrin carried with him SPECIAL DEPUTATION of then Grand Master J. Guy Smith, constituting and appointing Brother Aldrin as Special Deputy of the Grand Master, granting unto him full power in the premises to represent the Grand Master as such and authorize him to claim Masonic Territorial Jurisdiction for The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, on The Moon.” (from the records of Tranquility Lodge 2000 of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A. M.)
Beyond ten or so American astronauts, there have been fourteen US Presidents who were Freemasons: George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford. Neither the two Bushes nor Barack Obama is a Mason.
Nor was Abraham Lincoln. He did apply for membership shortly after his nomination for the presidency in 1860 but withdrew the application because he felt, given the timing, that the action might be seen as a vulgar vote-getting stratagem. He advised the order that he would resubmit his application when he left office. Assassinated as President, he never re-applied.
News of the “Masonic claim” on the Moon is 45 years old, but we believe bringing it back to life may be a useful way to remind readers that the popular perception of institutions—in this case, the Masons, an institution however you think of them—can vary from country to country, even within the West. And so, while the story might seem merely peculiar to Americans, at the same time it could set not a few Italians—their’s is a strongly anti-masonic country—to frothing at the mouth.