Daily Archives: July 25, 2011


Burnes, Masons and Knights Templar

UPDATE Almost two years after writing this post I finally managed to make contact with Robert Cooper at Freemason’s Hall in Edinburgh, and he could not have been more friendly and helpful, spending an hour with me on the phone going over various points and arranging to show me various material. I am not deleting the criticisms below as they are part of the record; but they are of course substantially altered.

There is a strange link between the warped mind of Anders Breivik and the biography of Alexander Burnes I am writing. Anyone who has read The Da Vinci Code or The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, knows the (dubious) story of a continued descent of the Knights Templar through the rites of Scottish Freemasonry (the Da Vinci Code, of course, finishes in Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland). Anders Breivik’s “Templar” manifesto, his signing himself as “Andrew Berwick” and his posing in Masonic costume all indicate he was influenced by this stuff.

Well, that story of the Scottish Freemasons inheriting the rites and knowledge of the Knights Templar was first popularised by Alexander Burnes’ brother, James Burnes, in his “Sketch of the History of the Knights Templar” (Edinburgh, 1840). James Burnes went on to become “Grand Precepteur de l’Ordre Souverain Du Temple” and “Grand Preceptor of the British Langue of the Sovereign and Illustrious Order of St John of Jerusalem”. The source for this is Robert Bigsby in his Memoir of the Illustrious and Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem, (Irongate, 1869).

James Burnes’ History of the Knights Templar describes himself as the Masonic “Grand Prior of India.” This is undoubtedly true – there are plenty of other sources. He also really was, as he claims, a Knight of Aquitaine and of the Royal Guelphic Order of Hanover and Saxe Coburg, created by reigning monarchs who were also masons. Bigsby says James Burnes was “best remembered for his zealous exertions in promoting Freemasonry in Scotland and India.” He apparently reached number two in the Scottish freemason structure, though I have yet to find his title.

His brother Alex Burnes, the subject of my biography, was also a zealous freemason and some sort of search for ancient masonic knowledge linked to Alexander the Great was a sub-theme of his wanderings in Central Asia – and links in of course to Kipling’s exploration of the same masonic themes in The Man Who Would Be King, which is at least in part based on Alex Burnes. Freemasonry was a fundamental part of the Burnes family’s life – Alex and James’ great-uncle, the poet Robert Burns was famously a freemason, and their are more Burnes (eight) in the list of members of the Knights of St John which Bigsby publishes, than any other family.

I genuinely have no agenda, pro or anti Freemason (to be honest I view them as harmless and a bit silly), in digging up this old stuff. But I hope that the above explains why I cannot leave this aspect out of a biography of Alexander Burnes. Yet I have contacted in writing the masonic organisations in Scotland and in India, and the Order of St John, to ask if they have any records relevant to James and Alexander Burnes. The Scottish Masons claim never to have heard of the Burnes, – that cannot be true – while the others have not replied to my letters.

They can hardly be surprised people think ill of them if they are so secretive and unhelpful. I am afraid their new (and I am sure unwelcome) association with Breivik will make them even more paranoid and hostile to anybody researching this stuff.

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New Norwegian Killing

Last night two masked men in military uniform shot dead a 27 year old man in his home in Sandnes, Norway. Nowhere in the mainstream media can I find anybody wondering whether this is related to the massacre in Norway the day before – even though both were killings with guns, (very rare in Norway), and either this guy really was assassinated by soldiers, or both were carried out in false uniform.

Have I turned into a crazed conspiracy theorist, or is this lack of curiosity a little bit strange?

UPDATE
Can this second incident the same weekend in Norway of armed killers in uniforms relate in any way to the “two other cells” of which Breivik spoke in court? I am not claiming to know the answers, but there seem to me obvious questions here and I don’t understand why the media is not asking them.

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Is Anders Breivik in This Photograph?

This 2009 rally in Oslo was attended by Breivik’s heroine, Pamela Geller. On Saturday I posted about the comments Breivik made on Geller’s Atlas Shrugs website. There is a fuller analysis on the impact of the Tea Party on Breivik’s thinking here. It turns out that Breivik also references Geller’s Atlas Shrugs blog and a related hate filled website, The Gates of Vienna, in his tedious anti-muslim manifesto.

It is therefore highly likely that Breivik would have noted Geller’s visit to Norway and gone to hear her. The occasion was a rally in support of Israel’s Gaza massacre of over 1,900 Palestinians in Operation Cast Lead. It would be a fruitful line of inquiry for the police to investigate why Geller decided to go all the way from Tennessee to Oslo for such a small rally (the majority of people in that photo, those across the road, are demonstrating against the rally). Who invited the hate preacher? Why? And did she meet Breivik in person?

It is worth noting that the English Defence League, supported by both Geller and Breivik, also held pro-massace rallies at this time. This is Geller on the EDL:

The EDL is routinely smeared in the British media, as the Tea Party activists are smeared in the U.S. media. The corrupt, biased media defames any group, person, or organization standing against Islamic supremacism. They tar, feather and destroy the good name of good people who stand for life, liberty and individual rights. Libel and slander like “racist,” “fascist,” “bigot,” etc. color every news report of every counter-jihad action. The quisling media is the propaganda arm of jihad. It’s despicable. There is nothing racist, fascist or bigoted about the EDL.

This is Breivik on the EDL:

“I used to have more than 600 EDL members as Facebook friends and have spoken with tens of EDL members and leaders. In fact; I was one of the individuals who supplied them with processed ideological material (including rhetorical strategies) in the very beginning.”

One of the things we know about Breivik is that he was a dedicated video wargamer. On this online wargaming forum a poster calling himself Norge (Norway) says that he was at that rally and goes on to make numerous anti-Muslim remarks in very much Breivik’s calm style. Now, that is a small crowd to contain two rabidly anti-Muslim Norwegian wargame fanatics, particularly as various reports – including on that forum – indicate most of the pro-massacre group was elderly, and less likely to video wargame. If Norge is indeed Breivik, then he is in that photograph at Geller’s rally. If Norge is not Breivik, then police should trace someone whose interests and political actions were so close to Breivik’s, and see if they were connected.

Isn’t it extraordinary that right wing terrorists are seldom called terrorists, and are always said to have acted alone. Muslim terrorists, however, are always part of the international al-Qaida network, even when they and their motives were obviously homegrown. Any connection by any Muslim terrorist to any mosque or preacher is sufficient to condemn that mosque or preacher loudly in the media as an instigator of terrorism – even though they may never have heard of the terrorist. There are people in Guantanamo for approaching a decade just because they were at the same meeting as someone else. Yet exactly the same kind of links by Breivik to his right wing hate preaching US inspirers like Geller are simply glossed over by the mainstream media.

Right wingers always are just crazed individuals acting alone in the official narrative. But that is plainly untrue.

I can understand the line, adopted by all the mainstream media, that Breivik’s trial should be heard in secret because he should not gain a platform through his evil actions to spout his poisonous propaganda. But I cannot resist the suspicion that the right wing will be delighted to minimise the information that may come out about Breivik’s right wing connections.

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