Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sir Ian and The Brotherhoods

Isn't it rather odd to be honoured by an ancient collection of medieval Masonic guilds occupying an area of land that is not part of England, which pays almost no tax and where practically almost no-one lives...? I would find that rather sinister and wonder what they might want from me in the future...

It's a Sin.

Pistorius is a (Knowing) Patsy

"The housekeeper has been referred to in several profiles of Pistorius, a world-famous Paralympic athlete, written before the shooting.
In one, written in October 2011, he is reported to be asked by Pistorius, who addresses him as “brother”, to bring him his prosthetic legs. In another, written the following year, he is referred to as a “live-in caretaker who keeps his home spotless”.
A policeman who arrived at the scene an hour after the shooting confirmed Mr Chiziweni had been sleeping in a room off the kitchen and was awake when they arrived.
He said the man spoke good English. “We said to him, you were here. What did you hear?” the policeman said, adding that he had replied: “No, no, no, I didn't hear anything”.
He said police had been unconvinced by his response: “We were all asking ourselves how he could not have heard anything,” he said.
Barry Roux, Pistorius's barrister, *said the defence would not be asking Mr Chiziweni to come to court to give evidence. *“He says he was asleep. We’re not going to be calling him.” Despite being listed as a prosecution witness, a source for the State said they would not call him either, confirming he told police in his statement he heard “absolutely nothing”.
Asked why the defence would not call Mr Chiziweni either, the source responded: “He is an employee of Mr Pistorius's. What you don’t hear can be as damaging as what you do.”
The housekeeper is the second member of South Africa's massive but often invisible domestic worker class to be referred to in the murder trial.


Anglo American is one of the worlds largest mining companies, with over 97,000 employees in South Africa

Our long and storied history dates back to 1917 and the drive and determination of one man, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. He saw the opportunity to capitalise on a region that was beginning to explode on to the global mining scene. Since then we have grown into a leading global mining company. We have a long history of technological development, making us exceptionally placed to deliver value from a portfolio of world class opportunities. Our strong South African heritage forms the roots for our global business, now operating in the Americas, Australia, Southern Africa and Europe.

It is perhaps appropriate that we underwent one of our most significant restructuring processes on the eve of the new millennium a new millennium, a new Anglo American.

On 24 May 1999, Anglo American merged with Luxembourg-based Minorco to form Anglo American plc. Minorco, which had hitherto been responsible for our international assets, combined with Anglo American Corporation the company responsible for the South African interests of the Group to become Anglo American plc, with our primary listing in London and secondary listings in Johannesburg, Switzerland, Botswana and Namibia.

Entering the new millennium as a FTSE 100 listed company with a market capitalisation of $21.6 billion confirmed Anglo American as a leading global mining company. The objectives were clear: to simplify our portfolio and structure, and focus on mining businesses that leverage our core skills.

Our investment on a business level, however, has also been mirrored by our commitment on a social scale and Anglo American has been in the vanguard of several initiatives that have changed the way global mining is viewed within the industry and by the population at large.

Our work in the area of HIV/AIDS has been ongoing since we supported the first HIV testing campaign with the Chamber of Mines in South Africa in 1986. Since then, our commitment to effectively managing the impact of HIV/AIDS on operations and to make a positive contribution towards minimising the social, economic and developmental consequences of the epidemic is unsurpassed. It continued in 2008 when our workplace treatment programme for those infected with the virus was extended to include the dependants of employees.

Elsewhere, our Socio-Economic Assessment Toolbox (SEAT), launched in 2003, has been intrinsic to Anglo American's community engagement plans, ensuring all our programmes meet the requirements of the International Council on Mining & Metals sustainability principle 9 i.e. to contribute to the social, economic and institutional development of the communities in which we operate.

Having been updated in 2007, SEAT has evolved to ensure we are not simply conforming to requirements, but setting new benchmarks in this essential area.

It is this attitude that will define much of our business as we move forward and look to develop the $17 billion in projects already under way or at the approved stage.

We have acquired a very defined sense of responsibility and purpose and recognise business has to be an integral part of addressing the big challenges facing society.

"Wipe them out. All of them..."

Chancellor Palpatine

Having seized control of both the Government and the Corporate Board of the Trade Federation (NAFTA), Senator Palpatine of Naboo orders the final ethnic cleansing of the Gungan Bantu population via mercenary Race War, conducted by Corporations acting in the name of Free Trade.

"Supreme Chancellor, delegates of the Senate, a tragedy has occurred, which started right here with the taxation of trade routes, and has now engulfed our entire planet in the oppression of the Trade Federation!"

―Senator Palpatine

Much was said at the time of it's release about the supposedly awful racial politics of The Phantom Menace, and admittedly, it is pretty bad - however the understanding shown of how global corporate governance yields inevitably to federalism and then to imperialism is remarkably sophisticated.

As in South Africa, business is able to hold sway and dominate the white minority government, with little or no reference to the Gungan Tribes who want  nothing to do with the White Man's government.

Boss Nass is not an Uncle Tom - but he is certainly analogous in large part to Chief Buthelezi of the Zulu Nation, who adopts a non-aggression alliance with the Whites to the benefit of his own tribe but to the crippling detriment of all other Bantu Peoples held under White Minority rule from Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannasberg. 

Zulus! Blood farsands of 'em!

As unsophisticated as they may be technologically, the Gungans are a brave and proud warrior race with a long and noble tradition that the White Man of Theed was unable or unwilling to conquer - as such, their willingness to sustain losses and face the poorly motivated droid mercenary army made them more than a match for their technological and numerical superiority.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

She's Comin' Down Fast : South Africa Threatened with Helter Skelter

"Look out... Helter Skelter... She's coming down fast... Yes she is."

Meaning: The upcoming explosion of race-based violence is imminent. These are the "last few months, weeks, perhaps days, of the old order."

"To be honest with you, I don't recall ever saying 'Get a knife and a change of clothes and go do what Tex says.' " - Manson

Even to someone unaware that helter-skelter is the name of a slide, the song's mention of a slide might have indicated that the "she" in this part of the lyrics is someone who, literally or otherwise, is riding on a slide and "coming down fast" (i.e., "helter-skelter", or "out of control"). In My Life with Charles Manson, Paul Watkins makes clear Manson construed "she" as a reference to the words "helter skelter" themselves. It is Helter Skelter—which, in America, at least, can be the noun "confusion"—that is coming down fast, i.e., is imminent.

In trial testimony, Gregg Jakobson, who first met Manson at the home of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson in May or early summer of 1968, described a mural he had eventually seen at the Spahn Ranch, where Manson and most of the Family were residing at the time of the murders:

Jakobson: There was a room called — it was an old saloon in one of the [ranch’s] old [movie] sets.

Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi: Among the front buildings at the ranch?

Jakobson: Right.

Bugliosi: Right off Santa Susana Road there?

Jakobson: Yes. And there was a big mural in day-glo colors. It glowed with blue light. It depicted Helter Skelter, and it was written.

Bugliosi: The words [Helter Skelter] were written?

Jakobson. Yes. And there was a picture of the mountains and the desert and Goler Wash, and so on, and Helter Skelter coming down out of the sky.

Bugliosi: Something like a map?

Jakobson: It was more like a mural that covered the whole wall. It was rather impressive.

Manson also hears the Beatles whispering to him to call them in London. (See Honey Pie, above.)

"I was your goat" - Manson

The Transhumanist Agenda comes to the fore...

"Is it a conspiracy that the music is telling the youth to rise up against the establishment because the establishment is rapidly destroying things? Is that a conspiracy?

The music speaks to you every day, but you are too deaf, dumb, and blind to even listen to the music ...

It is not my conspiracy. It is not my music. I hear what it relates. 

It says 'Rise,' it says 'Kill.'

Why blame it on me? I didn't write the music."

At about the one-fifth point of his 1992 parole hearing, Manson said the following:

"[A]s far as lining up someone for some kind of helter skelter trip, you know, that's the District Attorney's motive. That's the only thing he could find for a motive to throw up on top of all that confusion he had. 

There was no such thing in my mind as helter skelter."

Testimony of Paul Watkins in the Charles Manson Trial 

(Prosecution witness Paul Watkins, age 20, testified about the meaning of Helter Skelter.)

Direct examination by Vincent Bugliosi:

"During your association with Charles Manson, did he frequently discuss Helter Skelter with you?"  


"He used the word 'Helter Skelter' constantly?"  

"I wouldn't go so far as to say constantly. He did not say, 'Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter.' But he did quite a bit, yes, it seemed to be the main topic."  

On How Helter Skelter Would Start

"There would be some atrocious murders; that some of the spades from Watts would come up into the Bel-Air and Beverly Hills district and just really wipe some people out, just cut bodies up and smear blood and write things on the wall in blood, and cut little boys up and make parents watch.  So, in retaliation-this would scare; in other words, all the other white people would be afraid that this would happen to them, so out of their fear they would go into the ghetto and just start shooting black people like crazy. But all they would shoot would be the garbage man and Uncle Toms, and all the ones that were with Whitey in the first place. And underneath it all, the Black Muslims would-he would know that it was coming down."  

"Helter Skelter was coming down?"  

"Yes. So, after Whitey goes in the ghettoes and shoots all the Uncle Toms, then the Black Muslims come out and appeal to the people by saying, 'Look what you have done to my people.' And this would split Whitey down the middle, between all the hippies and the liberals and all the up-tight piggies. This would split them in the middle and a big civil war would start and really split them up in all these different factions, and they would just kill each other off in the meantime through their war. And after they killed each other off, then there would be a few of them left who supposedly won."  

"A few of who left?"  

"A few white people left who supposedly won. Then the Black Muslims would come out of hiding and wipe them all out." 

"Wipe the white people out?"  

"Yes. By sneaking around and slitting their throats."  

"Did Charlie say anything about where he and the Family would be during this Helter Skelter?"  

"Yes. When we was [sic] in the desert the first time, Charlie used to walk around in the desert and say-you see, there are   places where water would come up to the top of the ground and then it would go down and there wouldn't be no more water, and then it would come up again and go down again. He would look at that and say, 'There has got to be a hole somewhere, somewhere here, a big old lake.' And it just really got far out, that there was a hole underneath there somewhere where you could drive a speedboat across it, a big underground city. Then we started from the 'Revolution 9' song on the Beatles album which was interpreted by Charlie to mean the Revelation 9. So-"  

"The last book of the New Testament?"  

"Just the book of Revelation and the song would be 'Revelations 9: So, in this book it says, there is a part about, in Revelations 9, it talks of the bottomless pit. Then later on, I believe it is in 10."  

"Revelation 10?"  

"Yes. It talks about there will be a city where there will be no sun and there will be no moon."  

"Manson spoke about this?"  

"Yes, many times. That there would be a city of gold, but there would be no life, and there would be a tree there that bears twelve different kinds of fruit that changed every month. And this was interpreted to mean-this was the hole down under Death Valley."  

"Did he talk about the twelve tribes of Israel?"  

"Yes. That was in there, too. It was supposed to get back to the 144,000 people. The Family was to grow to this number."  

"The twelve tribes of Israel being 144,000 people?"  


"And Manson said that the Family would eventually increase to 144,000 people?"  


"Did he say when this would take place?"  

"Oh, yes. See, it was all happening simultaneously. In other words, as we are making the music and it is drawing all the young love to the desert, the Family increases in ranks, and at the same time this sets off Helter Skelter. So then the Family finds the hole in the meantime and gets down in the hole and lives there until the whole thing comes down."  

"Until Helter Skelter comes down?"  


"Did he say who would win this Helter Skelter?"  

"The karma would have completely reversed, meaning that the black men would be on top and the white race would be wiped out; there would be none except for the Family."  

"Except for Manson and the Family?"  


"Did he say what the black man would do once he was all by himself?"  

"Well, according to Charlie, he would clean up the mess, just like he always has done. He is supposed to be the servant, see. He will clean up the mess that he made, that the white man made, and build the world back up a little bit, build the cities back up, but then he wouldn't know what to do with it, he couldn't handle it."  

"Blackie couldn't handle it?"  

"Yes, and this is when the Family would come out of the hole, and being that he would have completed the white man's karma, then he would no longer have this vicious want to kill."  

"When you say 'he,' you mean Blackie?"  

"Blackie then would come to Charlie and say, you know, 'I did my thing, I killed them all and, you know, I am tired of killing now. It is all over.' And Charlie would scratch his fuzzy head and kick him in the butt and tell him to go pick the cotton and go be a good nigger, and he would live happily ever after."  

On Manson and Death 

...."We was sitting around on acid, and I was getting kind of-I was feeling really weird, getting really stoned, and I was reacting quite a bit. And Charlie was telling me to die. He was just saying 'Die,' just 'Die.' And I didn't just die. So he jumped up and started choking me. At first I sort of fought it. I mean, I was going to physically fight it. Then I knew there was something else going on, so I didn't. I just laid there. But I was emotionally fighting it. In other words, I was scared, and really, really afraid. He was laying on top of me, looking into my eyes, and he was actually overpowering me. My throat wasn't strong enough to overcome the strength in his hands, and I noticed that there was a relationship between my fear and how strong his hands were on my throat, because it puzzled me that he could overcome me like this. So then it was going on for quite a while, in other words I was really running out of air, and then he smiled and looked in my eyes and he says, 'I'm going to kill you now.'  And at that point I thought I was dead anyway so I just says well, I couldn't talk, but I just sort of mentally said, 'Okay, I give up, go ahead.' And he jumped off and he sat back and smiled and said, 'Then if you are willing to die, then you don't have to die.' Then he said, 'Come on and make love with me.' "   

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Carl Rowan

"... In a speech before the American Foreign Service Association in Washington, Carl Rowan, Director of the United States Information Agency, characterized Malcolm X as only "an ex-convict," "ex-dope peddler," and a "racial fanatic." 

This Negro, Rowan, expressed his amazement that many Africans respected and admired Malcolm X. 

He stressed that his agency-the United States Information Agency in every country-must "correct" this lack of understanding by zealously disseminating the vilification and slanders of the U.S. press, designed to obliterate every memory of our slain brother. "

President Johnson: This is what I'm saying: --œDear Ed: --œIt is [with] the greatest reluctance that I yield to your insistence and accept your resignation as director of the Information Agency effective January the 20th.-- (Now, we may substitute that date.)
Edward R. Murrow: Of course.
President Johnson: --œI respect your feeling that a long convalescence from illness precludes your remaining on the job. The same high sense of duty which brought you to Washington now obliges you to depart. Nonetheless, I must admit that I've been hoping you'd find it possible to stay on. After your recovery, I'll be calling on you for advice and for help.
--œYou have done a magnificent job in this post.Your entire life, your eloquence, your idealism, your sound judgment, your determined drive, your sparkling personality all combine to make you superbly qualified for the task of conveying the true picture and purpose of this country to the world. You will be sorely missed. --œYou leave with the thanks of a grateful President and a grateful nation. I close, Ed, with a paraphrase of the words that you made forever famous on radio and television, in your own country and around the world: Good-bye and good luck.--
Edward R. Murrow: Well, sir, I don't deserve a word of it, but I'm grateful for it. [Laughs.]
President Johnson: Well, you deserve it all. Now, I have been seriously considering Carl Rowan.
Edward R. Murrow: Ah-ha.
President Johnson: I don't know.I haven't made that decision. I have talked to one or two folks on the Hill.I don't know what problems I would have.I have the feeling, though, that because he sits on the [National] Security Council that it might give me a chance to pick someone that had some State Department experience, some foreign experience, and also give some people a little hope--”
Edward R. Murrow: Yes, sir.
President Johnson: --”for the first [Black] man to ever occupy a place on the Security Council. That might keep a lot of people working to do better here at home.
Edward R. Murrow: There are obvious advantages and disadvantages . . .
President Johnson: Yes.
Edward R. Murrow: But your point, if I may say so, seems to me very well taken, sir.
President Johnson: Give me any reactions, and I'll treat them very confidential. What do you know about him?
Edward R. Murrow: I have watched him at the State Department since he first came there. I knew him when he was a journalist before. I hold him in very high regard as a professional in the news business. He was one of the more candid members at Rusk's staff meetings. He would have the obvious handicap, by which I mean that a fair amount of the agency's work abroad in the course of the next few years is obviously going to be in the field of civil rights.
President Johnson: Yeah.
Edward R. Murrow: Here, he would have both advantages and disadvantages--”
President Johnson: Yeah, yeah.
Edward R. Murrow: --”but he enjoyed the respect, so far as I know, of everyone who worked with him.
President Johnson: He'd have trouble with [John] McClellan and folks like that, I imagine.
Edward R. Murrow: That is true. I have not much doubt about that.Some of the people he would have to work with in Africa would regard this as a sort of Uncle Tom gesture--”not the more intelligent ones, but some of them would. He's a very able citizen, Mr. President.
President Johnson: He went around the world with me, and I was quite impressed with him. I've given some thought to [NBC President] Bob Kintner. What do you know about him? I'm talking to no one but you. It'll never go beyond this phone.
Edward R. Murrow: And I'm not talking to anyone.
President Johnson: That's right.
Edward R. Murrow: Kintner is [searching for word] able.Whether he would have the required flexibility to deal with the bureaucracy and to follow the guidance as laid down by the Department of State, I would not be quite sure, Mr. President.
President Johnson: Mm-hmm.
Edward R. Murrow:I would have a certain reservation there.
President Johnson: Mm-hmm.You think Rowan would do what the policy was?
Edward R. Murrow: Yes, sir, and this, as you know, is a very important aspect of the operation.
President Johnson: Yes, it is.
Edward R. Murrow: I may be doing Kintner an injustice, because--”

"(President Nixon,) in the face of a vote to impeach he might try, as "commander-in-chief", to use military forces to keep himself in power."

Carl Rowan
October 26, 1973 
Washington Star article entitled "Has President Nixon Gone Crazy?"

"Unless Gingrich and Dole and the Republicans say, ‘Am I inflaming a bunch of nuts?’, you know we're going to have some more events (like the Oklahoma City bombing). I am absolutely certain the harsher rhetoric of the Gingriches and the Doles … creates a climate of violence in America."

Carl Rowan
April 25, 1995 
Washington Post.

"I knew that the stories of the two murders would immediately grab the glands of millions of American white men, prejudicing them in ways they would never admit publicly. . . . (It) would enliven the insecurities of millions of white male psyches. The old college girl's chant, “Once you go black you never go back!” surely would take on feverish new meaning.

A black friend of morbid wit said to me, ‘Doesn't O.J. know that we can f*** 'em now but we still can't kill 'em?’ . . .

Black people would in private say that Nicole was ‘white trash,’ using her blond hair, her big breasts, her teenage pussy to woo a famous, rich, middle-aged black man away from the black woman who had sustained and nurtured him through the toughest years of his life. "

Carl Rowan

Columnist Rowan Shoots Young Intruder

By Carl M. Cannon, Inquirer Washington Bureau
POSTED: June 15, 1988

WASHINGTON — Syndicated columnist and television commentator Carl T. Rowan, who for years has called for handgun control, broke up an unauthorized 2 a.m. pool party in his back yard yesterday by calling the police and then winging one of the teenaged intruders with a single shot from his Smith & Wesson revolver.

"Somebody will see irony in this," said Rowan. "But I don't."

Rowan, 62, said he fired his .22-caliber pistol only after one of the trespassers ignored his warning and lunged at him as if he were heading into the house.

Although they did not publicly contest Rowan's account of the shooting, District of Columbia police said that Rowan's gun was not registered in accordance with Washington's handgun control law and that they had referred the matter to the U.S. attorney, who has jurisdiction in the District.

Possession of an unregistered handgun is punishable by up to a year in jail.

The U.S. attorney's office issued no public statement about the case, but it was learned that prosecutors were considering whether the shooting was justified - and whether to file gun charges against Rowan.

"We checked our forms and registration records and found that the firearm in Mr. Rowan's possession used in the shooting this morning was not, I repeat not, registered," said police Capt. William White.

In an interview, Rowan said his son gave him the gun several years ago - he didn't remember when - after he received threats. He initially said the gun was registered. When pressed on whether he was certain, Rowan answered that he believed his son, Carl T. Rowan Jr., had registered it.

The man Rowan shot, Ben Neil Smith, 18, of nearby Chevy Chase, Md., was treated at Georgetown Hospital for a gunshot wound to the wrist. Police had charged Smith and a friend, Laura A. Bachman, 19, of Bethesda, with misdemeanor trespassing, but those charges were dismissed by the U.S. attorney's office.

Parents of both young people refused comment yesterday. But before police and hospital officials cut off attempts to call Smith, he was reached by a local radio reporter.

"He had no right to shoot me," Smith was quoted as saying. "I mean I guess I was trespassing. That's no reason to shoot a person - for swimming in his pool. I was in my underwear soaking wet. I had just climbed out of the pool. I never spoke with him - he just shot me."

Rowan offered a different account. He said he was awakened at 2 a.m. by loud noises in his pool coming from four or more youths.

Rowan said he immediately called the police and then fetched his pistol, loaded it and waited for the officers to arrive. Only then, he said, did he leave the house and walk to a side gate to unlock it so the officers could get in the back yard. But the police went to another gate, Rowan said, and he found himself facing one of the fleeing swimmers.

"I said to him, 'Freeze, I have a gun,' Rowan said. "He said, 'Ah hell, man,' and lunged toward me as if to come into my house. I wasn't about to let that happen."

Rowan said he thought Smith was smoking marijuana. He also referred to the shot as "a warning shot," but skirted the question of whether he was aiming at the youth.

Rowan is a liberal who is most passionate when advocating civil rights for black Americans and programs designed to alleviate poverty. He has long decried police brutality and the proliferation of guns in urban America.

"I'm still in favor of gun control," he said yesterday. "But that doesn't mean you let people come in your home. And as for brutality, if there was any attempt to be brutal, the guy would be dead."

Monday, 27 October 2014


There's the secrecy; the C.I.A. link; the crypt-like headquarters, called "the Tomb"; the bizarre rituals; and the roster of alumni, who include three presidents, two Supreme Court chief justices, and scores of Cabinet members, senators, and congressmen. No wonder Skull and Bones, most famous of Yale's undergraduate clubs, is a conspiracy theorist's delight. With two Bonesmen vying for the presidency-John Kerry was tapped in 1965, George W. Bush two years later- ALEXANDRA ROBBINS cuts through the Skull and Bones mystique to reveal its true hold on both candidates.

There are certain sure signs of spring at Yale. Dogwood trees blossom across New Haven. The daffodils on Old Campus bloom. Freshmen turn their speakers to face the courtyard and blast music while they kick Hacky Sacks and throw Frisbees on the green. And a certain group of upperclassmen participate in a quiet but frenzied one-night ritual known simply as Tap Night.

Each of Yale's six major secret societies elects its members on the same night in April of the prospective members' junior year. In April of 1965 and 1967, respectively, John F. Kerry and George W. Bush received the same fateful call to the same mysterious organization: the undergraduate club perhaps mythologized more than any other by the outside world, Skull and Bones.

It's no secret that Skull and Bones, which elects 15 Yale juniors annually to meet in a crypt-like headquarters called "the Tomb," is no mere college club. The fact that the 2004 presidential election is a Bones-versus-Bones ballot raises eyebrows not just because it brings to light that, despite their ideological differences, both candidates come from the same echelon of American society but also because it's a bit astounding that a club with only about 800 living members has seen so many of them reach prominence. Conspiracy theorists are having a field day speculating about the group that has been called everything from "an international mafia" to "the Brotherhood of Death."

They are not completely wrong. Skull and Bones really is one of the most powerful and successful alumni networks in America. Alumni, or "patriarchs," return often to the Tomb, where connections are made and favors granted. Some classes have "Pat Night," an event where patriarchs mingle with "knights" (undergraduate members) and circulate job offers. Among its roster, Bones counts three U.S. presidents, two Supreme Court chief justices, and scores of Cabinet members, senators, and congressmen. Bonesman president William Howard Taft named two fellow Bonesmen to his nine-man Cabinet.

More good news for the fanatics: there is a strong link between Bones and the C.I.A. In Bush and Kerry's day, the agency was known as an "employer of last resort," says a Bonesman from the 1960s, since so many Bonesmen went on to join. "If you couldn't get a job elsewhere, you could go there if you wanted to." Because of the high numbers of Bonesmen in the C.I.A. and in the Time Inc. empire (Time-magazine co-founders Henry Luce and Briton Hadden were members), these organizations were "explicitly willing to take" Bonesmen seeking employment.

Many Bonesmen who had become C.I.A. operatives and government officials returned to the Tomb and discussed highly classified matters, as National-Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy reportedly did. "The things that fascinated me at Pat gatherings were the level of penetration ... and how open they were about talking in the Tomb," says a Bonesman who graduated in the 1980s. "They talked about foreign operations at the time, the stuff that became Iran-contra. The level of trust was startling. It was like once you were trusted enough to get in, people just talked openly."

Other illustrious alumni include Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David McCullough; former New York Times general manager Amory Howe Bradford; actor James Whitmore; Morgan Stanley founder Harold Stanley; J. Richardson Dilworth, manager of the Rockefeller fortune; former Major League Baseball deputy commissioner Stephen Greenberg; and Walter Camp, the father of American football. During World War II, Bones' Henry Stimson, the secretary of war who often consulted fellow Bonesmen railroad heir W. Averell Harriman and poet Archibald MacLeish, hired four other Bones members for his War Department-Robert Lovett as assistant secretary of war for air, Artemus Gates as assistant secretary of the navy for air, George Harrison as a special consultant, and Harvey Bundy as his special assistant. In this respect, those in the conspiracy crowd who link Skull and Bones to the building of the atomic bomb are not entirely off base: Bonesmen were involved with its construction and deployment.

To be sure, it is an elite group. But while some members come away only with close friendships and peculiar college memories, others take Bones so seriously that they purposefully spread self-aggrandizing rumors about the society to fuel a culture of mystery. Some go as far as to threaten reporters. "The guys who take it really seriously are typically the ones who have lived the myth-the second- and third-generation Bonesmen who campaign to get in, and once they get in it's almost a religious fervor," the 1980s Bonesman says. Many Bonesmen spoke for this article only on condition of anonymity because, as one puts it, "I don't want to get in trouble with those guys." (Neither the White House nor the Kerry campaign returned repeated calls for comment.)

On April 28, 1967, the current president of the United States felt a clap on his shoulder. Contrary to numerous reports, Bush was not tapped by his father (although alumni occasionally participate in "tap"). By the time he got to Yale, Bush had several relatives in Skull and Bones, including his father and grandfather, but it was David Alan Richards who was assigned to tap him, likely because they both lived in the residential college Davenport. Richards met Bush in the Davenport courtyard, wearing his Tiffany gold Skull and Bones pin. "I was told that was my man. I smashed him on the shoulder, barked at him, 'Go to your room,' and followed my instructions," says Richards. "Now it's a matter of some embarrassment because I'm such a Democrat."

(A knight tells a prospective member to go to his room in a nod to Yale's early days, when Tap Day was held in a courtyard in front of an audience of hundreds. Once in private, the Bonesman intones, "At the appointed time tomorrow evening, wearing neither metal nor sulfur, nor glass, leave the base of Harkness Tower and walk south on High Street. Look neither to the right nor to the left. Pass through the sacred pillars of Hercules and approach the Temple. Take the right book in your left hand and knock thrice upon the sacred portals. Remember well, but keep silent, concerning what you have heard here.")

Richards's Bones experience-he was a knight in the class of 1967-intersected both Bush's (1968) and Kerry's (1966). "I have the odd feeling of being a center of the hinge," says Richards, now a real-estate attorney in New York. Of the election process, he says, "It's like picking the American soldiers for a World War II movie-one Jew, one Italian, one American Indian. You want a mix. You don't want everyone to be an Andover preppie who played lacrosse. Did we feel pressure (to elect Bush)? Are you aware of legacies when you're voting? Yeah. But he was well known to two intersecting circles. In my club there were three members of the fraternity D.K.E. and three people in Davenport, and he had the legacy going back several generations. I don't think W. was particularly interested in joining, but it was part of the family life. Do I believe reports that his father encouraged him to do it, as opposed to going into an underground (society) to drink? It's likely. I suspect family pressure was put on him."

Some of those relatives, including Bush's father and grandfather, attended his initiation in the Tomb, says Richards. "All I will say about his initiation," another patriarch who was present says, "is that he caught on pretty quickly and I was pleased with his response." The society is so secretive about Bush's time in Bones that the scrapbooks from his year-each class keeps candid brown-paged scrapbooks to memorialize the experience-have been sealed so knights can't read them. "If those scrapbooks were as obscene as ours were, it's a good thing for the White House and for the society," a Bonesman of that period muttered.

Bones largely presented a departure from Bush's usual college escapades. No alcohol is allowed inside the Tomb, and much of the time inside is spent on debates and delivering "life histories," or oral autobiographies. When George H. W. Bush gave his life history in the fall of 1947, he focused on his military service, married life with Barbara, and his hope to "have an impact in public service," one of his clubmates says. George W. Bush, by contrast, spent most of his presentations in the Tomb speaking about his father-reportedly in "almost God-like terms."

Life histories, as well as initiation rites, the rumored "Connubial Bliss" ritual, and the twice-weekly meetings, all occur in the Tomb. The Tomb has been the Skull and Bones haunt since 1856, when Daniel Coit Gilman, the founding president of Johns Hopkins University, incorporated Bones as the Russell Trust Association, now re-incorporated as RTA. A three-story Greco-Egyptian monolith of brown sandstone, "the T," as Bonesmen refer to it, sits on High Street in the middle of the Yale campus. No non-members-"barbarians," in Bones lingo-are allowed to enter. Inside the Tomb, the halls have been decorated by renowned architect John Walter Cross (a Bonesman) with pieces by distinguished painters such as J. Alden Weir (a barbarian). Dozens of skeletons and skulls grip the walls, surrounding such items as a mummy, gravestones-including one labeled "Tablet from the grave of Elihu Yale (the school's namesake) taken from Wrexham churchyard"-and war memorabilia.

The dining room, which members call "the boodle," is the most impressive chamber in the Tomb, decorated with engraved silver and bronze skulls and 30-foot-high windows that overlook a lush courtyard. The room is blanketed by portraits of the most illustrious Bones alumni, including William Howard Taft; Supreme Court chief justice Morrison Waite; Kerry's classmate Dick Pershing, who was killed in the 1968 Tet offensive; and, as of 1998, former president George H. W. Bush. The skulls and crossbones stamp everything from skull-shaped crockery to exit signs printed with letters composed of tiny skulls. Light shines through the gaping eye sockets of skulls bordering otherwise elegant fixtures. There are grand fireplaces on either side of the room which double as goals for the violent soccer-hockey hybrid Bones sport known as "boodleball."

One of the most avid boodleball players of his year was John Kerry. Kerry, along with Dick Pershing, David Thorne (a publishing executive in Massachusetts), and Fred Smith (the founder of FedEx) played boodleball as often as possible. The game, which involves a half-deflated ball and frequently leaves Bonesmen bleeding, is supposed to be played in the dining room only after it is cleared of couches and other furniture. "The four of us were the core of the boodleball group," says Thorne. "Freddie Smith was a maniac, and Dick broke his toe once. There were a lot of very hard obstacles in the way and we didn't bother moving them."

Kerry came to treasure his boodleball teammates more than the men on his college teams. By all accounts Kerry, who may have felt like an outsider as a Catholic at St. Paul's, his extremely Waspy Episcopalian prep school, thrived at Yale. He was president of the Political Union, a debater, and an athlete who played soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse. He was friendly with about half a dozen members of his 1966 Bones class before they entered Bones, and was tapped by his St. Paul's friend John Shattuck, who would go on to be an assistant secretary of state under Clinton.

In the Tomb, Kerry bonded closely with the other knights and often steered conversations toward Vietnam and politics. Kerry helped Smith resurrect Yale Aviation, once an influential naval-air-reserve unit founded by Bonesmen during World War I. "Bones was one of the most meaningful parts of his life because of the focus and intensity that came from that experience: the regularly scheduled meetings, the amount of time you formally and informally spend with a group of people that created a bond, and a focus you don't get out of other activities like athletic teams. He remains very close to the guys. Most of us would go out of the way to help each other, no questions asked," says Thorne, Kerry's closest friend and former campaign manager, who became Kerry's brother-in-law when Kerry married Thorne's twin sister, Julia. (Kerry's second wife, Teresa, had become the daughter-in-law of a Bonesman when she married her first husband, Senator John Heinz.)

Other Bonesmen say Kerry was "delighted" by Skull and Bones because it built and cemented strong friendships. Fellow Bonesman Chip Stanberry (1966) was Kerry's partner for three years on Yale's debate team, but he says the friendship didn't grow close until they went through Bones together. "We think of politicians as garrulous and backslapping. John was private and reserved. He was shy to jump into a crowded circle of four guys having a beer. People therefore mistook him as aloof," Stanberry says. In the protective environment of the Tomb, however, Kerry "relaxed, he was more natural. He broke out of whatever that shy, reserved part of his person was. John took it seriously, and it meant a lot to him. Of course, John took everything seriously."

As are all matters relating to Bones, the origin of the society is shrouded in mystery. The most plausible story has Yale student William Russell, later a Civil War general and Connecticut state representative, studying abroad in Germany in 1832. He returned to Yale dismayed to find that Phi Beta Kappa, until then a secret society, had been stripped of its secrecy in the anti-Masonic fervor of the time. Incensed, Russell grabbed some big men on campus, including future secretary of war Alphonso Taft, and formed an American chapter of a German society. The group was founded on the legend that when Greek orator Demosthenes died, in 322 b.c., Eulogia, the goddess of eloquence, arose to the heavens. Originally called the Eulogian Club, the society holds that the goddess returned to take up residence with them in 1832.

Hence the importance of the number 322 to Bones members-Kerry has used 322 as a code, and Thorne uses 322 as his phone extension; W. Averell Harriman used it as the combination of the lock on a briefcase carrying dispatches between London and Moscow-and the obsession with the goddess Eulogia. Members open a shrine to her at Thursday- and Sunday-night meetings, and regularly sing "sacred anthems" about her.

Both 322 and Eulogia are central symbols in the society's initiation. When an initiate approaches the Tomb for the ceremony, the front door creaks open and knights immediately cover his head with a hood. After a brief stay in "the Firefly Room," a pitch-black living room in which his hood is removed to reveal the lit cigarettes the patriarchs wave to resemble fireflies, he is whirled throughout the building and the grounds.

The heart of the ceremony is in Room 322-the Inner Temple, or "I.T." There, a group of knights (led by a distinguished patriarch known for the evening as Uncle Toby, dressed in a distinctive robe) awaits the initiate, wearing masks and various costumes, including the Devil, Don Quixote, Elihu Yale, and a Pope with one foot sheathed in a monogrammed white slipper that rests on a stone skull. Other knights are dressed as skeletons, and patriarchs line the halls, where their solemn duty is to yell so loudly they scare the new member.

One by one, each neophyte is led into the I.T., where he's shoved around to various features of the room, including a picture of Eulogia, and forced to do things such as read a secrecy oath repeatedly, kiss the Pope's foot, and drink "blood" from "the Yorick," a skull container usually holding red Kool-Aid. Finally, the initiate is shoved to his knees in front of Don Quixote as the shrieking crowd falls silent. Quixote taps him on the left shoulder with a sword and says, "By order of our order, I dub thee Knight of Eulogia."

Soon after initiation, each knight is assigned a Bones name, which the society will call him from then on. There are three ways to acquire a nickname: receive one from a patriarch who wishes to pass his down, as Bankers Trust head Lewis Lapham (father of the Harper's editor of the same name) passed "Sancho Panza" to political adviser Tex McCrary; accept a traditionally assigned name, such as "Magog," which is given to the knight with the most sexual experience (Robert Alphonso Taft and William Howard Taft each earned this distinction); or choose your own (McGeorge and William Bundy chose "Odin," Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart-who swore in George H. W. Bush as director of the C.I.A. and vice president-chose "Crappo," W. Averell Harriman and Dean Witter Jr. were "Thor," and Henry Luce opted for "Baal"). John Kerry likely came close to earning the name "Long Devil," the traditional tag for the tallest man in the club, but narrowly missed-Alan Cross, now a doctor in North Carolina, is taller. Kerry chose his own name, but Bonesmen are keeping it quiet. George W. Bush, unable to come up with his own name, was dubbed "Temporary" and never managed to decide on a replacement.

At the end of the school year, the new group of 15 is whisked away to Deer Island in the Saint Lawrence River, 340 miles from New York City; the 50-acre private island was given to the society by a Bonesman at the turn of the 20th century. Both Kerry and Bush returned to the island as seniors. Kerry's group prepared to go to Vietnam. (Kerry spent his time there rewriting his class oration in a rustic cabin by candlelight.) Bush's club spent their time digesting the news that Bobby Kennedy had been shot.

When the knights return from summer break, they almost immediately launch into the activity that a knight from Prescott Bush's class once called "a wonderful sensation." Perhaps the most prevalent rumor about Bones is that initiates must lie naked in a coffin and masturbate while recounting their sexual histories. Naked coffin exploits aren't officially on the Bones program, but part of the rumor is not too far from the truth: at successive Sunday meetings, each knight has an evening devoted to him for the activity known as "Connubial Bliss." In a cozy room lit only by a crackling fire, in front of 14 clubmates lounging on plush couches, he stands before a painting of a woman named Connubial Bliss while the knights sing a sacred anthem about romance, ending with "so let's steal a few hours from the night, my love." Then he is expected to recount his entire sexual history.

Apparently this ritual has remained unchanged since the acceptance of women into the club in 1991. A group of Bonesmen led by William F. Buckley Jr. (Bones name: Cheevy) obtained a court order blocking initiation of the society's first female members, claiming that admitting women would lead to "date rape" in the "medium future." Approximately 83 women have since been admitted, despite feverish lobbying by W.'s uncle Jonathan Bush, whom a fellow member called a "fanatical Bonesman." Neither Bush's nor Kerry's daughters are members, however. Kerry's daughter Vanessa wasn't tapped in 1998, and last year Bush's daughter Barbara decided to join Spade and Chalice, an underground (less formal, tomb-less) society.

For all the mystery and conspiracy theories surrounding Skull and Bones, the club's deepest secret may be its most obvious: the bonds between Bonesmen often supersede others. "For some people, Skull and Bones becomes the most important thing that ever happened to them, and they tend to stay involved," a patriarch told me. Indeed, the year spent as an undergraduate in the club is really only the beginning of a lifetime membership that can, depending on how it is used, reap enormous benefits.

As his father and grandfather had done before him, George W. Bush called a Bonesman when he was looking for his first job out of college. Although Robert Gow wasn't hiring at the time, he still took on Bush as a management trainee at his Houston-based agricultural company Stratford of Texas. In 1977, when Bush formed his first company, he turned to his uncle Jonathan Bush, who lined up $565,000 from 28 investors. One investor brought in approximately $100,000: California venture capitalist William H. Draper III, a Bonesman. Even Bush's Rangers baseball deal involved a Bonesman-Edward Lampert (Bones 1984) was an initial investor.

Bonesmen used to grant favors if a fellow member began a conversation with the code phrase "Do you know General Russell?" By the time he was running for president, Bush didn't have to ask. In October of 2000, Stephen Adams (Bones 1959), who owns Adams Outdoor Advertising, spent $1 million on billboard ads in key states for Bush. When asked a few years ago why he had made such a large contribution to someone he hadn't met, Adams replied that the shared Bones experience was a factor. Even a 1970s Bonesman who tried to quit the society admitted he would readily help a fellow Bonesman "just because of Bones. Because we did go through something really weird together."

Bush apparently feels the same way. One of the first social gatherings he held in the White House was a reunion of his Skull and Bones 1968 clubmates, and within the past two years he held another reunion, this time at Camp David. One of Bush's early appointments as president was Robert McCallum Jr. (Bones 1968), now associate attorney general. (In 2002, McCallum, whose Justice Department civil division includes attorney and 1984 Bonesman David Wiseman, filed pleadings in U.S. District Court asserting an executive privilege that would make information on presidential pardons more secret than in the past.) Among Bush's other Bones appointees are Bill Donaldson (1953), chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (and onetime director of the Deer Island Corporation); Edward McNally (1979), general counsel of the Office of Homeland Security and a senior associate counsel to the president; Rex Cowdry (1968), associate director of the National Economic Council; Roy Austin (1968), ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago; Evan G. Galbraith (1950), the secretary of defense's representative in Europe and the defense adviser to the U.S. mission to nato; James Boasberg (1985), associate judge of the superior court of the District of Columbia; former Knoxville mayor Victor Ashe (1967), the first mayor appointed to the board of directors of the housing-finance company Fannie Mae; Jack McGregor (1956), a nominee for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation advisory board, the same waterway that is home to Deer Island; and Bush's cousin George Herbert Walker III (1953), ambassador to Hungary. Frederick Smith (1966) was reportedly Bush's top choice for secretary of defense until he withdrew from the running because of health reasons.

Bonesmen say the president values the society because it became an extension of his family: the Bush-Walker web in Bones includes at least 10 members, including those who, like Reuben Holden (Bones name: McQuilp), married in. Donald Etra, a member of Bush's 1968 Bones club and a close friend who regularly visits the president, says Bones is important to Bush because "loyalty and tradition is important to the family." But Bush views Bones, he adds, "as a private matter which he does not discuss. The president believes there's still a realm where privacy counts."

Bones loyalty runs deep in John Kerry too. In 1993, Kerry, who, like Bush, has participated in several reunions with his clubmates, organized a meeting and a visit to Arlington National Cemetery on the 25th anniversary of Dick Pershing's death. When Pershing died, Kerry wrote to his own parents that Pershing "was so much a part of my life at the irreplaceable, incomparable moments of love, concern, anger and compassion exchanged in Bones that can never be replaced." After the trip to the gravesite, 10 members convened at a Washington hotel to talk about Pershing, Bones, and one another. "It was very, very moving and poignant," says Chip Stanberry. "It was neat that John went to the trouble to make it happen, and 30 years later we were able to pick up with each other, immediately identifying, feeling a connection." Kerry has also been back to the Bones Tomb a few times and once delivered a speech there. "When he's got a little time, he stops in. Most of us do," Thorne says.

On at least one occasion, Kerry took on a more involved Bones role. In 1986, Jacob Weisberg, now the editor of Slate, was taking time off from Yale to intern at The New Republic, in Washington, D.C., when he received a call from Kerry's secretary. "Senator Kerry wants to see you in his office," the secretary said. "He won't tell me what it is about."

Weisberg showed up at the senator's office at eight a.m. Initially, Kerry made small talk while Weisberg wondered why he was there. Then Kerry tapped him for Bones. Weisberg, who hadn't known Kerry was a member, was stunned.

"Senator Kerry," Weisberg said, "you're a liberal-why do you support this organization that doesn't admit women?"

Kerry listed his efforts to assist women throughout his career. "I've marched with battered women. I've supported women's rights. No one can question my dedication to women." Weisberg said he wasn't interested. Kerry replied, "Promise me you'll think about it before saying no."

When Weisberg called Kerry back, his call went straight through to the senator. He rejected the offer, and Kerry, Weisberg recalls, said he was disappointed.

Kerry's fellow Bonesmen say the senator considers Skull and Bones a valuable part of his college life and a source of lasting friendships-but no more than that. "I don't think it plays a significant role in his thinking or in his circle of advisers," says Alan Cross. Indeed, a glance through notable figures in Kerry's life reveals only the Bonesmen whom he knew before they were tapped. And Kerry, as an anti-war Vietnam veteran, publicly railed against fellow Bonesman McGeorge Bundy in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971.

"(Kerry's) family carried the name Forbes, but John was never comfortable as a part of the Establishment," says Thorne, who adds that the 1966 group wasn't the "elite Establishment type." "He achieved what he achieved on his own. His is a life marked by intellectual and other kinds of achievement, not by who you know. That's just how he was."

Thorne has friends in both the Kerry and Bush families, and has discussed the Bones-versus-Bones election with Kerry and with first cousin Brinkley Thorne, one of Bush's fellow 1968 Bonesmen, who has remained close to the president. When I asked David Thorne why Kerry dismisses inquiries about the society, he said the Bones face-off is simply a source of amusement. "It's kind of an amazing coincidence, and so much elitism can be drawn from it. The accusation of all the mysteries attributed to Bones-is this the big one?" Thorne laughs. "I think John feels it's not relevant to the election, like marriage or divorce. It's a private matter. Bones is no less meaningful to George than it was to John, and I'm sure they both know of their own experience and they acknowledge that."

Certainly neither man is speaking about Bones in public. "It's a secret," Kerry deadpanned when Tim Russert asked him about Bones on Meet the Press. "It's so secret we can't talk about it," Bush responded when Russert asked him a similar question in February 2004.

Despite political differences, most members view the upcoming election with a mixture of pride in the society and embarrassment at the increased scrutiny. As they see it, Bones will have a White House connection either way. "It's a win-win situation," says a 1960s Bonesman. "If there is a goddess, it looks like she is smiling on them both."