‘King of Salsa’ Turned Accused Spy Speaks of His Magical Powers

Iranian-born British Army interpreter Daniel James, who is accused of spying for Iran, has too interesting of a backstory not to mention. With a background in body building and kick boxing, James says he eventually rose to the title of “Danny James, King of Salsa.” And that’s not even the funny part.

He apparently also traveled to Cuba at some point, during which he became a priest in a native religion and learned some magic. This came in really handy when he was sent to Afghanistan as an interpreter for General David Richards, as James told the court he “did black magic for General Richards to protect him from the Taliban.”

16 thoughts on “‘King of Salsa’ Turned Accused Spy Speaks of His Magical Powers”

  1. Santaria is not at all uncommon in the USA. I don’t know about the UK. I know a priestess living in one of the DC suburbs. That politicians and soldiers are superstitious should not be news to any of you, either. As Robert Graves wrote, one thing he learned from his WW I service is that anything might be true, except what you read in the newspapers. Change that to “media” and it still applies.

    I’m told by “an informed source” that Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agencies employed a fair number of astrologers. Astrology is native to Iraq, of course.

    I personally suspect that Bush uses fortune-tellers, too. God talks to him, he says. How? Maybe not via astrologers or santeros channelling Shango, but Pentecostal prophecy preachers? Of the John Haggee, Rod Parsley, Brother Stair sort Why not?

    1. Jacob Burckhardt, in The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, has a stimulating chapter on astrology and astrologers.

      Like all great works, Burckhardt’s, read again and again as punctuation of one’s own experience and understanding over decades, ever deepens in significance, and that includes the chapter on astrology, particularly within the context of the overall theme, which is no less than the “state” as a work of art.

  2. I suppose ‘black magic’ is as good a strategy as any we’ve come up with yet for Afghanistan.

  3. Considering our dire economic and military situation, one would expect that signals from spiritual sources such as astrological signs and whispers from God would direct our eager-to-obey rulers to dismantle the ruinous Empire.

    1. If the Kabbalah is good enough for Ms. Ciccone, why not for Bush and Cheney?

      As for Gematria, the release of a report that Saddam Hussein’s interrogators reached the conclusion that Abu Nidal–as one will recall, Colonel North’s “most dangerous man in the world”–was a US spy may be pertinent.

      Strangely, though there was mention of Egypt and Kuwait as well, there was not a whisper about Israel.

      Transliterating from different writing systems has its perils and conventions. Never persuaded by Colonel North, one long ago noted the curiosity that N-I-D-A-L is L-A-D-I-N written backwards.

      In fact “Bin Ladin” is the more standard transliteration.

      A coincidence surely for two personae advertised successively by the US in the category “most dangerous man in the world” to share the same name backwards and forwards, no?

    2. I suspect Bush, like King Ahab, listens to a “lying spirit.” I Kings 22

      Lester Ness

  4. Also on the topic of black magic, Yahoo is running a segment of 60 Minutes with T. Boone Pickens arguing that the US, in return for all it has done "for" Iraq, is entitled to ALL Iraqi oil exports, however much Iraq should produce, though generously at "market price".

    According to Pickens, Iraq should not be allowed to sell oil to any entity save the "US", surely to be translated, "private US oil companies".

    How such a monopoly translates into "market price", whether in the US or Iraq or globally is to be pursued under the search functions "Elder Bush" and "Voodoo Economics" perhaps.

  5. Interesting thoughts on Bin Ladin and Nidal, and on Burckhardt, Eugene. I have heard of Burckhardt’s work and must read it some time.

    Indeed the foundress of the British empire, Elizabeth I, had frequent recourse to the arcane talents of the astrologer John Dee–when plotting where next to send her pirates.

    To anyone who is interested in these subjects, I recommend the works of Michael Hoffman on the role of the occult and the thaumaturgical in apparently “secular” politics. Hoffman is more an intuitive/associative thinker than a rigorous logician, but that may be what is required in this day and age. He writes with verve, though with perhaps too much acid. He is always interesting, nonetheless.

    1. Thanks for the tip on Hoffman; I’ve often wondered about this.

      Lester Ness

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