January 11, 2007

News for January 11, 2007

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Will Islam Be Our Future? A Study of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology Free online e-book by Joel Richardson

“I understand that this may sound like a strong statement to make, but I believe that the information presented in this book will establish the fact that Islam is indeed the primary vehicle that will be used by Satan to fulfill the prophecies of the Bible about the future political/religious/military system of the Antichrist that will overwhelm the entire world just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.” | Joel Richardson
See also: 4th Seal

PART TWO: Behind The Veil In Washington DC -- The Rise Of Angelic Rule (January 9, 2007) - Years ago I remember watching when for the first time in history Catholic authorities allowed network television to broadcast an exorcism. Permission was given to ABC’s "20/20" to cover the event, and on April 5, 1991 the ritual was televised. The extraordinary moment was a first for network programming, yet something about the show caused my thoughts to wander. In the past I had been involved with cases of exorcism (on two published accounts I and others actually witnessed ‘existence manifestations’ outside our understanding of physics), but now I questioned if perhaps we were missing something bigger—a comparison between what leads to individual demonic possession and a wider cultural phenomenon known in fashionable theology as "geographical demonic strongholds." I soon began to question that if personal behavior was one route to opening doors to diabolical invasion on an individual level, might nations similarly come under siege to a larger "hive" of nefarious power through collective behavioral or gestured invitation to evil by those having geopolitical authority? Most adults are aware that if people who preside over legislative bodies sense public apathy, they may abandon their responsibility to govern for the good of the people and in worse case scenarios begin using their positions in power for their own elitist or even occultist aspirations. If this is allowed to continue via the public and/or lawmakers turning a blind eye, the result can be, according to demonology and select case studies, the regional increase of evil supernaturalism. To some believers, the origins of this phenomenon began in the distant past when "a fire in the minds" of angels caused Lucifer to exalt himself above the good of God’s Creation. The once glorified spirit was driven by an unequivocal thirst to rule, conquer, and dominate. His fall spawned similar lust among his followers, which continues today among human agents of dark power who guard a privileged "cause and effect" relationship between invasion of supernaturalism and the opportunity for lordship over societies. The objectives of the occult masters and the very real forces they serve is overlooked by average citizens, yet according to sacred texts a collaboration exists between such unregenerate social architects and fallen angels. If the electorate becomes bewitched of this truth, humans in league with demons can increase their control of the machine of municipal government through sophisticated networks of both visible and invisible principalities. This happens subconsciously or intentionally among those vulnerable to the sinister dark plan. In 1954, William Guy Carr, a distinguished Canadian naval officer claimed that a conspiracy for world domination had been spelled out in a private letter from Pike to the director of the Illuminati, Giuseppe Mazzini. The letter detailed three world wars that would be machinated by the global occult elite, leading to the demise of Christianity and to the rise of Luciferianism. "On August 15, 1871, Pike told Mazzini that after World War Three is ended, those who aspire to undisputed world domination will provoke the greatest social cataclysm the world has ever known. We quote his written words (taken from the letter catalogued in the British Museum Library, London, Eng.): "‘We shall unleash the Nihilists and Atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will be from that moment without compass (direction), anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out in the public view, a manifestation which will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time’" (3). more...
| NewWorldOrder |

2 Thessalonians 2:7-12
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This is exactly what this article describes. Very interesting.

'Truth about Muhammad' banned (January 9, 2007) - "The Truth about Muhammad," a popular book found in WND's online store, has been banned by the government of Pakistan. The Kuwait News Agency said the Pakistani government has confiscated all copies of the best seller by Robert Spencer because it contains "objectionable material" about the founder of Islam. "The book is very, very damaging – let me tell you," a report by Human Events quoted Said Shahid Ahmed, counselor of community affairs at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington. Spencer, author of several books and director of Jihad Watch, said in a Human Events column he agreed with that assessment and provided a sampling of what Islamists probably could find offensive:

  • The book details the choice Muhammad ordered his followers to offer non-Muslims: convert, being subjugated or war.
  • The book quotes Muhammad's earlier biographer, Ibn Ishaq, explaining the Quranic verses that teach the three stages of war: intolerance, defensive warfare and then offensive warfare "in order to convert the unbelievers to Islam or make them pay. ..."
  • The book also discusses the marriage of Muhammad to Aisha, who according to writings was 6 years old when Muhammad married her.
  • It also profiles the problem that many of those imitating Muhammad take very seriously and act upon requirements from the Quran. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports that over half the girls in many Muslim nations are married by the time they are 18.

"Since I based my book entirely on Islamic sources, the objection that Pakistani authorities have to it cannot reasonably be based on what I report about Muhammad but only on the fact that I hold him to a moral standard different from those he delineated for himself," Spencer said. "After all, the reform of Islam that is so needed today – in order to mitigate the elements of it that are giving rise to violence and extremism – cannot possibly be made without acknowledgment of the fact that there are aspects of Islam that need reform," Spencer wrote. more...
| Islam |


Persecution Growing Fastest in Muslim Countries (January 9, 2007) - As many as 250 million Christians worldwide will face persecution and repression in 2007, just for following Jesus Christ, according to the latest roundup of the world’s persecution hot spots by Release International. Inspire Magazine reported that Release, a voice for the persecuted church, has found that most persecution takes place in four distinct "zones;" those of Islam, Communism, Hinduism and Buddhism. But persecution is growing fastest of all in the Islamic world. Governments in even moderate Muslim countries often fail to safeguard the rights of their Christian minorities. According to Release, abuses suffered by Christians include kidnapping, forced conversion, imprisonment, church destruction, torture, rape and execution. One of the world’s worst abusers of religious freedom is Saudi Arabia, guardian of Islam’s holiest sites Mecca and Medina. A Muslim found "guilty" of converting to Christianity could face the death sentence for apostasy. And anyone who leads a Muslim to Christ faces jail, expulsion or execution. "There’s a conspiracy of silence around Saudi," said Release International’s CEO Andy Dipper, "probably because the West wants their oil and their money. But this is a government that hands out the death sentence for its own citizens who want nothing more than the freedom to choose their own faith. And while Saudi bans all Christian literature, it spends billions of dollars each year propagating Islam around the world." But some of the most violent persecution in the Islamic world is beyond government control, Inspire reported Release commented. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 2001, the world has been made dramatically aware of Islamist global networks. Although the best known is Al Qaeda, there are others who exploit religious tensions for their own political ends. more...
| Islam |


'Catastrophic': Now thousands of birds fall from sky (January 9, 2007) - Thousands of birds inexplicably dropped like rocks from the sky over Australia. The mysterious catastrophe has taken place over a period of three weeks in Esperance, about 450 miles southeast of Perth. The area was declared a disaster zone by government officials. So far, authorities are clueless as to the cause. Autopsies on the birds have shed no light. The main casualties, according to Australian news sources, are wattle birds, yellow-throated miners, new holland honeyeaters and singing honeyeaters. Some dead crows, hawks and pigeons have also been found. Some birds were seen convulsing when they died. Wildlife officers are baffled by what they characterize as a "catastrophic" event. It does not appear to be weather-related. District nature conservation coordinator Mike Fitzgerald said: "It's very substantial. We estimate several thousand birds are dead, although we don't have a clear number because of the large areas of bushland." Birds Australia, the nation's main bird conservation group, said it had not heard of a similar occurrence. "Not on that scale, and all at the same time, and also the fact that it's several different species," chief executive Graeme Hamilton said. "You'd have to call that a most unusual event and one that we'd all have to be concerned about." Just yesterday, some 60 birds fell out of the sky in Austin, Texas, without explanation. The incident prompted street closings for several hours. Officials said they had tested the air for dangerous substances but found nothing, and they declared the area safe. The dead birds – grackles, sparrows and pigeons – were being checked for avian flu, but officials said they saw no symptoms of the illness and believed it more likely they had been poisoned, possibly deliberately, or affected by near-freezing weather. more...


EU says “unacceptable” it was uninformed about oil pipeline disruption (January 9, 2007) - The European Commission stressed on Tuesday that it was “unacceptable” that it had not been informed of the halt in Russian oil deliveries through the Druzhba pipeline in Belarus and called for shipments to resume “immediately”. “The commission has underlined that it is unacceptable that energy suppliers or transit countries do not inform their counterparts of any decisions that may effect their supplies,” said commission spokesman on energy issues, Ferran Tarradellas. He called on “the two parties involved to rapidly find a mutually acceptable solution and to restore oil supplies to the European Union immediately.” The European Union’s executive arm also convoked an “urgent”  meeting of top EU oil supply officials to discuss the situation on Thursday morning and did not rule out the possibility that Russian or Belarussian officials could be invited to attend. Belarussian officials arrived in Moscow for talks on Tuesday after a cut in oil supplies from Russia through the Druzhba pipeline across Belarus to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Poland and Slovakia. Belarus is insisting that Russia pay a 45-dollar-per-tonne fee for oil transiting through the pipeline across its territory, but Moscow says the fee is illegal. Both countries accuse each other of provoking the halt in supplies. About 12.5 percent of the oil the EU consumes is transited through the pipeline from Russia, which provides half of the 27-nation bloc’s oil imports. The EU has grown increasingly concerned over the last year about its reliance on Russian gas and oil supplies, especially after a gas price dispute a year ago between Russia and the Ukraine disrupted EU supplies. more...
| Gog/Magog | EU/UN |


Mega-Mosque Plans Could Make London "Muslim Capital of Europe" (January 9, 2007) - Today, a neglected piece of real estate on London's east end sees little more than commuter trains rumbling past it. But it's the future location of what some say will be the biggest Islamic in-road into Christendom in 400 years – a gigantic mosque complex, the likes of which the West has never seen. This is the site for the proposed mega mosque. Currently, a small building is the present makeshift mosque on an undeveloped piece of land. Imagine a huge modern Islamic complex – in effect, an Islamic village for worshippers. Video from the website of the mosque architect Ali Mangera shows what will be called the London Markaz, a 17-acre Islamic worship center for as many as 70,000 Muslims. Planned to be the hub of an Islamic quarter for the 2012 London Olympics, it will dwarf many of Britain's Christian cathedrals. “It's going to be very large,” said Alan Craig of the Christian Peoples' Alliance. “It's going to be a mosque, it's going to be an Islamic garden, there's going to be a library, there's going to be residential accommodation.” Craig, who is a councilman for the London borough of Newham where the mosque would be built, is fighting its construction. "I'm not anti-Muslim,” he said. “I'm a Democrat – I believe Muslims have the right to build mosques. But there's a difference between your average mosque down the road and this monster mosque, this mega mosque, which they want to build." But it's not just the size of the mosque that's a concern. It is also about who is behind it – a shadowy group called Tablighi Jamaat. The Federal Bureau of Investigation states that Tablighi Jamaat has ties to al-Qaeda. Shoe bomber Richard Reid was associated with this group, as were two of the bombers who struck London's public transportation system in 2005. The money for the project comes from sources in the Middle East. more...
| Islam | EU/UN |

Think Daniel 2:40-44 as a possibility here. Islam is strong, but it brings a weakness to the kingdoms by causing division and strife. There's a reason Islam has it's reputation. There are only two kinds of people, Muslims and infidels. It really is that black and white to them. I think we need to take off the blindfolds and realize they think that way. That's the way of monotheistic religion. The difference between Judaism/Christianity and Islam is that God and love are the center and going strictly Biblical, the Bible teaches love while Islam teaches domination and hatred. Also keep in mind Revelation 6:7,8

Ban, Solana Agree the Middle East Issue Has to be Resolved "Rapidly" (January 9, 2007) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana late Monday agreed that three issues, including that of the Middle East at large, should be dealt with "rapidly." "We have three main geographical problems that we have to tackle, and tackle rapidly," Solana told reporters following a meeting with Ban. They are the Middle East, Darfur and Somalia in Africa, and Kosovo. "Within the Middle East, I would like to insist as strongly as possible, that we have to tackle the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. I hope very much that he (Ban) will also play an important role in invigorating the Quartet," he said. The Quarter, made of UN, EU, US and Russia, may meet later this month, he said, on the sidelines of the Paris Donors Conference for Lebanon. "This must be for us a priority of great significance at this period of time," he added. He said the two officials are also concerned with the situation in Lebanon and called for the resolution of the Sheba'a farms issue as quickly as possible. "I insist very much that following the resolutions of the Security Council, the question of Sheba'a farms has to be resolved, the sooner the better," he said. "We need to solve problems. We don't need to talk about the problems... This is the spirit in which I'm going to work, in which the new Secretary-General is going to work," he said. more...
| Israel | Islam | EU/UN | Solana |


Writer's Block Herb L. Peters (January 8, 2007) - Some call it writer's block. It's a condition that usually happens when a writer can't think of anything to write. In my case, I think it's the opposite -- I have too much to write. You may have noticed: Although I've been posting links to news reports that I believe may be significant, I haven't posted my usual commentary for several days. So, today we'll go over why I felt some of these recent reports may be important. Yesterday it was reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be going to Israel to, as the report says, "exploit what she perceives as an opportunity to break the deadlock on the stalled peace process". And, Rice is quoted as saying, "there is a potential opening here to make progress on the issue of a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security" Read about it here. The next report makes it obvious where this "opportunity" may have actually come from -- the amazing success of the recent Euromed summit held in Tampere, Finland. Before the summit, the problem was getting the Euromed's Arab partners on board the peace train. In fact, at last year's Euromed the majority of these Arab partners didn't even bother to show up. Regarding this year's summit, the report says: The European Union and its Israeli and Arab neighbours on November 28 vowed to work together for Middle East peace and to help pave the way for a two-state solution. It also says: But Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country currently runs the rotating EU presidency, said he had “never experienced such a positive atmosphere” in talks on the Mideast peace process Read about it here. So, what has happened since last year's Euromed to change the Arab partners mind? Friends, what's happened was last January's so-called "cartoon intifada" -- the crisis triggered by cartoons seen as offensive to Islam -- and the world's resulting embrace of the UN's new Alliance of Civilizations (AoC). In July another thing that happened for the Arab Euromed partners was, in the Israeli/Lebanon war, a new enemy emerged -- one more dangerous to their interests than Israel -- Iran. And now, as of January 1, 2007, the EU's "New" European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) kicks in, promising good things to all of them -- if they join the Euromed way of making the peace. Already the Euromed and ENP partners of Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Israel are agreeing to a regional peace summit. Syria, the last ENP hold out, is now under renewed pressure to get on board too Read about it here. In the meantime, Pope Benidict has openly and clearly thrown his hat into the AoC ring and calling for a "renewed humanism". The Pope is quoted saying, "The need emerged to elaborate a new world political and economic order, but at the same time and above all, a spiritual and cultural one _ that is, renewed humanism". The report also says, "The pope said that while politicians, scientists and researchers play important roles in the modern world, "today, more than ever, it is necessary to place at their side the leaders of the great non- Christian religious traditions" as well as Christian leaders Read about it here. Notice the kind of new world order that the Pope is calling for -- a political, economic and spiritual new world order. Bible believing friends, if that doesn't concern you, I don't know what would. You see, the Bible tells us, in the end times, a new global religious leader (not suggesting the Pope) will appear who will have the political power to enforce his religious views by economic means. An economic system will be introduced that, if people don't participate in this leader's form of religion, they will not be able to buy or sell. In the book of Revelation we read: And he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six (Revelation 13:17-18 New American Standard Bible). Notice in the above passage it says, "the number is that of a man". People who know Greek will tell us that, since there is no article in the Greek text, this passage can also be correctly read to say, "the number of man". And, it's my opinion that that's what's being said. And, that's why the Pope's call for a "renewed humanism" may be significant. The biblical number of man is the number six. God created man on the sixth day. Three sixes indicates the highest level of man, as God Himself is revealed as a Trinity. You see, humanism is actually defined as a religion. And, for some who don't believe in the God of the Bible, it can be a belief that man is God. So, the man who ascends into the ultimate position of worldly power is, in the mind of some humanists, God. more...
| Islam | EU/UN | Solana | RCC |


Montserrat volcano shoots ash 5 miles up (January 8, 2007) - The volcano that destroyed Montserrat's capital in 1997 shot a cloud of ash more than five miles into the sky on Monday, and one of the island's chief scientists said the blast was "a warning call." The government has advised about 50 families on the northwestern side of the volcano's base that their homes were at risk from flows of blistering gas and debris if the dome collapses. Gov. Deborah Barnes Jones said she would sign an evacuation order Monday making it illegal for people to remain in the area. The blast, accompanied by increased seismic rumbling, released gases and steam from inside a lava dome that has grown rapidly over the last week, said Dr. Vicky Hards, director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. "I think it was a warning call ... of what it can do," Hards said. The explosion around sunrise also sent a flow of volcanic material cascading two miles down the northwest flank, but did not immediately threaten any of the British Caribbean island's 5,000 inhabitants, Hards said. Sirens alerted people to listen to the radio for updates. more...
| Earth Changes |


Apple unveils the iPhone (January 7, 2007) - Keynote address by Steve Jobs at Macworld 2007.
| Technology |

I love tech toys, even if I can't afford them. :)

Russia Slams US Sanctions on its Military Firms Ties with Iran (January 7, 2007) - "This is by far not the first time the US resorts to illegal attempts to spread its internal legislation on foreign companies and force them to abide by the US rules," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The Federal Register, a record of US policy actions, published a State Department notice on Friday listing 24 businesses -- including four in Russia and others in China, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Mexico, North Korea, Sudan and Syria -- that it said engaged in actions that triggered the sanctions. The sanctions went into effect Dec. 28, the notice said, and will remain in place for two years unless the secretary of state lifts them. The notice said the 24 incurred sanctions under the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act by providing materials that could contribute to the development of weapons of mass destruction or cruise or ballistic missile systems by Iran or Syria. A call for comment to the US State Department was not returned on Saturday. Rosoboronexport, one of the world's biggest arms traders, has recently won control of the Russian firm VSMPO-Avisma, the world's largest titanium producer. It is a key supplier of titanium parts to US aviation giant Boeing and Europe's EADS. In August, Washington slapped sanctions on Rosoboronexport and warplane maker Sukhoi under a US law that penalizes companies for working with Iran. In November, Washington formally lifted the sanctions against Sukhoi, which is developing the Russian Regional Jet with Boeing. Moscow said the latest US sanctions against its arms firms were again groundless and added, "And yet once again, the United States is embarking on this vicious circle. more...
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam | America |


Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran (January 7, 2007) - ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources. The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb. Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout. “As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources. The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years. Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said. Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack. Some analysts warned that Iranian retaliation for such a strike could range from disruption of oil supplies to the West to terrorist attacks against Jewish targets around the world. more...
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam |


Iran Warns Against Attacking After Report Says Israel Planning Nuclear Strike (January 7, 2007) - Israel is denying a report in a British newspaper that the country has drawn up secret plans to target Iran's nuclear facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. Speculation has been rife about an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Iran since the Iranian president threatened to destroy the Jewish state. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem. Israel's Foreign Ministry denied a report in London's Sunday Times that said the Israeli air force is training for a tactical nuclear strike on uranium enrichment facilities in Iran. Quoting Israeli military sources, the paper said the secret plan involves using low-yield nuclear "bunker busters." The report said Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 3,000-kilometer round-trip flight to Iranian targets. But, in a brief statement, the Foreign Ministry said Israel prefers diplomacy, including full implementation of U.N. sanctions on Iran. At the same time, Israel believes those sanctions are not strong enough. Israeli analyst Cameron Brown: "They are very, very light sanctions, and very limited in scope. Sanctions that have been imposed are totally insufficient to convince the Iranians that the price is far too high to bear," Brown says. Brown says what is needed is a series of sanctions ... "...that are going to have to become much, much more comprehensive, and going to have to be much more penetrating, if they are going to have any chance of success at all," he says. More than a year ago, the Iranian president threatened to wipe Israel off the map, and, since then, Israeli officials have said repeatedly that they cannot allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. The Israeli air force destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, but an attack on Iran is much more complicated. Iran's nuclear facilities are spread out and fortified deep underground in concrete. Therefore, some experts believe the only way Israel can destroy Iran's nuclear facilities is with tactical nuclear weapons. more...
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam |


U.S.-Mexico Pact Revealed: Billions to Non-citizens (January 5, 2007) - As a result of lawsuits, the U.S. government released this week the actual U.S.-Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement, an understanding signed between the Bush administration and the Mexican government in 2004 that would funnel billions of U.S. Social Security funds to Mexican citizens. TREA Senior Citizens League, a Washington-based nonpartisan seniors group, announced this week that after Freedom of Information Act lawsuits it filed against the government, it had received the secret agreement document. Brad Phillips, a spokesperson for TREA, told NewsMax that the language in the agreement "raises more questions than it answers — such as what is the cost and who is going to pay." The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has already warned that as a result of this agreement, the number of unauthorized Mexican workers and family members eligible for social security benefits will likely increase. The Dreaded Loophole. TREA and other watchdog groups were hopeful that the agreement would directly address, and perhaps even moot, the hot-button issue of illegal immigrants at some point claiming U.S. Social Security benefits. "A law called the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 forbids illegal immigrants from claiming Social Security benefits — but a loophole exists," Phillips explained. "If an immigrant gains what's called a valid ‘work-authorized' Social Security number at some point, then he or she could eventually file a claim for benefits. The government would use all earnings to calculate the retirement benefit — even earnings while working illegally," Phillips added. The U.S. commissioner of Social Security signed the agreement with the director general of the Mexican Social Security Institute on June 29, 2004. TREA has fought to make it public for over three and a half years, according to a press release from the organization. In the meantime, the agreement has been slowly making its way through mandated reviews by the State Department and the White House. Once the White House submits it to Congress, lawmakers will have 60 legislative days to review it. more...
| America |


New UN chief – Israel At The Heart Of The Problem (January 5, 2007) - Israel, which as a nation does not celebrate the Gregorian New Year, nonetheless woke up on January 1 to learn that their little country is set to be more than ever at the center of world scrutiny and pressure in 2007. In an interview published concomitant with his assumption of office on the first day of the year, brand new United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon revealed that he, like British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the majority of world leaders, saw solving the Israel-‘Palestine’ conflict as key to sorting out the rest of the mess in the Middle East. This does not necessarily mean Ban believes Israel per se is to blame– Israelis have expressed the hope that he would be friendly towards their country. It strongly suggests, however, that under his leadership the international community which is pushing so hard to see Israel surrender its land to the Arabs will continue – and very likely intensify – that push; and all the more as an appeasement-inclined West becomes desperate to defuse the Iranian nuclear standoff. “If the issues with the conflicts between Israel and Palestine go well, [resolutions of] other issues in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Syria, are likely to follow suit. I will meet with the concerned parties as soon as possible,” Ban told the South Korean Hankyoreh. His urgency echoes Blair’s. Due to resign later this year, the British premier has pledged to do “everything in my power” to oversee the implementation of a solution to the ‘Palestinian’-Israeli conflict. more...
| Israel | Islam | EU/UN |

Zechariah 12:1-3
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
It's about that time...

"At the gates of Europe, the Middle East has become the epicenter of international tensions" (January 5, 2007) - French President Jacques Chirac on Friday renewed a call for an international conference to help restore Middle East stability, saying that, "At the gates of Europe, the Middle East has become the epicenter of international tensions." Chirac, in what is likely to be one of his last major foreign policy addresses before April presidential elections, repeated his criticism of the U.S.-led war in Iraq. He told diplomats in Paris that the situation risked spilling over into wider conflict. "As France feared and warned, the war in Iraq set off upheavals whose effects have not yet been fully played out," he said, adding that conflict in the wider region could produce a confrontation "on an unimaginable scale." "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict crystallises all these resentments," he said. He said the international community had to act to restore the peace process and backed proposals to revive the so-called "Quartet" of Middle East mediators: the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States. "Let us propose within the Quartet an international conference of a new type which, without presuming to dictate the terms of a settlement to the parties, would bring the guarantees to which they aspire," he said, according to the text of his speech. "I firmly believe there can be a real impetus for negotiation." Chirac also backed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's drive for progress on reforms to make decision-making easier in a European Union that now counts 27 members. "Everyone today can see the urgent need for reform," he said, adding that any solution would have to take into account the concerns over the bloc's powers raised by the rejection by French and Dutch voters of the proposed constitution in 2005. Germany, which assumed the rotating presidency of the bloc at the start of the year, has made reviving the reform a top priority. Welcoming the EU's new members, Romania and Bulgaria, Chirac said the 50th anniversary of the signing of the founding Treaty of Rome, due to be celebrated in Berlin later this year, was a major opportunity to reach a new consensus. France is expected to continue the work begun by Germany when it takes over the EU presidency in 2008, although by then Chirac is expected to have left the scene he has helped shape over more than a decade in power. more...
| Islam | EU/UN |


Pope Urges Need for 'Renewed Humanism' (January 5, 2007) - Religious leaders of all faiths must play a role in ensuring that the spiritual and cultural aspects of life are not forgotten as mankind tackles the challenges of globalization, Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday. In his homily during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, the pope said recent decades have seen a "challenge to global civilization, where the center can no longer be Europe and not even that which we call the West or the North of the world." "The need emerged to elaborate a new world political and economic order, but at the same time and above all, a spiritual and cultural one _ that is, renewed humanism," he said. "At the start of the Third Millennium we find ourselves smack in the middle of this phase of human history, that has been for some time dubbed 'globalization.'" The pope said that while politicians, scientists and researchers play important roles in the modern world, "today, more than ever, it is necessary to place at their side the leaders of the great non-Christian religious traditions" as well as Christian leaders. Benedict appeared to be building on a theme often stressed by his predecessor, John Paul II, who worried that modernization was coming at the cost of spirituality. more...
| RCC | NewWorldOrder |

See also: Writer's Block

EU and Syria start over (January 5, 2007) - Syria is the only Mediterranean country which has not signed an agreement with the EU. Can a timely carrot-and-stick strategy re-engage both? Interfering in the Lebanon conflict, endangering human rights and supporting Hezbollah. These are three of the severest thorns pricking the European Union’s ongoing evaluations of Syria. The EU-Syria association agreement report, by Véronique De Keyser, along with the resolution adopted by the Strasbourg Assembly on October 26 last year, speaks loud and clear: ‘it is difficult to envisage deepening our relations with Syria.’ Nevertheless, signing this agreement continues to be a goal, to ‘contribute to a better political and economic climate’. Damascus needs to be anchored closer to Europe. Syria is the only long-standing partner out of the nine other Mediterranean countries under the Barcelona process, who hasn't signed an agreement with the EU. In 2004, ardent negotiations with Damascus concluded with the rubric of a definitive text. However, the Council has never given the green light to this text. But the shower of financial aid has not stopped. The importance of the EU in the Syrian economy remains intact (see factbox at the end of article). In 2005, the MEDA programme granted millions of Euros to Syria to support non-profit organisations and to help develop smaller and medium-sized companies. Financed with 2 million euros, the programme was focussed on creating an environment which strengthened the role of civil society. In a timeframe stretching from 2007 to 2013, Syria enjoys the disposal of funds from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, which succeeded the MEDA programme. The total resources for beneficiary countries reached more than 11 million euros (to be shared during the entire period.) The one condition was that this sum would be used for the promotion of good government, social development and equitable economy. more...
| Islam | EU/UN |


War doesn't work. How about trying peace? (January 4, 2007) - It's such a radical-sounding notion that, just maybe, it might work. Since war in the Middle East hasn't worked after many years of bloody fighting, especially in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is widely seen as the root of many of the region's problems (except by George W. Bush, who rejected the Iraq Study Group's proposals on the subject), why not try to give peace a chance? That's the recommendation of a "high-level group of eminent personalities" that had been brought together by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and charged with doing what it could to "advance the Alliance of Civilizations." That little-known U.N. initiative has sought to formulate specific policy proposals to foster peace by dealing realistically with problems between peoples of different countries, cultures, religions and political systems. The news media almost completely ignored the high-level advisory group's report, which was released in mid-November. Now, in an op-ed piece in Le Monde, two members of the U.N.'s Alliance of Civilizations group summarize its proposals. In the French daily, André Azoulay and Hubert Védrine write that, lately, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has indicated it would be open to thinking about Jordanian King Abdallah II's call for peace-making that would simultaneously address instability in Iraq, the Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories and Lebanon. (Said Abdallah: "We have to know how to walk and chew gum at the same time....We cannot focus on just one issue.") (MondayMorning.com) Azoulay and Védrine also find it encouraging that Israel's education minister recently "proposed changing school textbooks to include, in the name of historical truth, [mention of] the 'Green Line' borders" between Israel and the Palestinian territories that had existed and had been recognized before Israel's occupation of the terriroties began in 1967. "Inventing peace between Palestine and Israel is at the heart of the Alliance of Civilizations project," Azoulay and Védrine explain. The effort their U.N. advisory group recommends for achieving such a peace takes as its starting points and insists that both Palestinians and Israelis must also embrace...: more...
| Israel | Islam | EU/UN |


Firm cools computer with corona discharge (January 4, 2007) - A FIRM has developed technology which can cool computer chips with an Ionic wind. Kronos uses an ionic wind pump to create a corona discharge which draws air across the chip. The outfit, which develops high efficiency corona-based air filters, attempted to adapt the technology to microprocessor cooling. With a bit of cash from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington and Intel, it created several working prototypes of a corona discharge CPU cooler, which can silently but effectively cool a modern CPU. Corona-based coolers have no moving parts and are more reliable. They could cool down the most demanding processors without making a sound. They also do not need much power to do the job either, Kronos claims. In an interview with TFOT.com, the inventors say they are looking for financing. If they manage to get it, Kronos can have a commercial product in the shops in two years.
| Technology |


Guardsmen overrun at the Border (January 4, 2007) - A U.S. Border Patrol entry Identification Team site was overrun Wednesday night along Arizona's border with Mexico. According to the Border Patrol, an unknown number of gunmen attacked the site in the state's West Desert Region around 11 p.m. The site is manned by National Guardsmen. Those guardsmen were forced to retreat. The Border Patrol will not say whether shots were fired. However, no Guardsmen were injured in the incident. The Border Patrol says the incident occurred somewhere along the 120 mile section of the border between Nogales and Lukeville. The area is known as a drug corridor. Last year, 124-thousand pounds of illegal drugs were confiscated in this area. The Border patrol says the attackers quickly retreated back into Mexico.
| America |


Christians face Christmas beatings, church burnings (January 4, 2007) - Christians in India are facing a new level of persecution, with burned church buildings, beatings that result in broken limbs and Christmas services and prayer meetings disrupted by Hindu militants in at least seven states, according to reports distributed by Voice of the Martyrs. One church, a thatched building in Orissa state, was torched after church members had decorated and prepared for Christmas festivities, the report said, leaving them with no place to worship. Asit Kumar Mohanty, who represents the Global Council of Indian Christians, said his group is investigating the church burning. No more offensive an act than singing Christmas carols proved to be too much for the militants to accept, with widespread reports of harassment and arrest for those caught singing Christmas advent songs on Christmas Eve, officials said. VOM said its sources, including Compass Direct News, told of attacks by Dharma Sena, a militant Hindu group, which had announced plans to close all church services for Christmas Day. A pastor and 10 other missionaries were beaten and in yet another attack, Hindu extremists belonging to Bajrang Dal attacked 20 Christians who had gathered in a church to mark the birth of Christ. "They stormed into the church, beat some of the Christians and destroyed hymnbooks and Bibles. Five Christians were injured in the attack, three suffered hearing loss due to a blow to the head, and a Bible school student's hand was fractured," Compass reported. more...


Folate levels fall in young U.S. women (January 4, 2007) - Blood levels of folate in young women are dropping, a disturbing development that could lead to increased birth defects and may be due to low-carb diets or the popularity of unfortified whole-grain breads. Government health officials could only speculate on the reasons but called the backslide in this important B vitamin disturbing. It's not clear how the decline in folate levels has affected newborns, but preliminary data suggest the dramatic declines in neural tube defects seen in the late 1990s may have leveled off by 2004, said officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is a cause of substantial concern," said Dr. Nancy Green, medical director for the March of Dimes, which campaigns for birth defects prevention. more...


US to give $86 million to Abbas's forces (January 3, 2007) - The US government plans to transfer $86.4 million to the security forces of embattled Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the coming days, senior Washington officials said on Friday. According to the officials, the funds will be earmarked to beef up the security around Abbas, and to fund the PA Chairman's stated commitment to to dismantling the terrorist infrastructure within the Palestinian cities. PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh met with Abbas on Thursday night to discuss a solution to the current inter-faction violence after a day of clashes between Hamas and Fatah loyalists left eight Palestinians dead. According to Army Radio, Haniyeh, of Hamas, said the two had agreed at the meeting to work toward ending the infighting in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. "We are going to end all armed displays in the streets," Haniyeh told reporters. he said. Abbas had no comment. The eight Palestinians killed in Thursday's armed confrontations brought the death toll to 13 over the past 48 hours. At least 16 Palestinians were wounded in Thursday's fighting. Haniyeh, who returned to the Gaza Strip after a week-long visit to Saudi Arabia, appealed to the warring factions to halt the fighting and to direct their weapons toward Israel. Fatah officials, on the other hand, accused Hamas of operating "death squads" in the Gaza Strip. The body of Gen. Muhammed Gharib, chief of the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security Service in northern Gaza, riddled with bullets and mutilated by stab wounds, was found in his home in northern Gaza Thursday after a daylong battle with Hamas gunmen. Gharib's two daughters were also killed during the fighting, according to reports. Gharib was on the phone to Palestine TV just moments before his death and appealed for help as his house came under attack. "They are killers," he said of the Hamas gunmen. "They are targeting the house, children are dying, they are bleeding. For God's sake, send an ambulance, we want an ambulance, somebody move." During the standoff outside Gharib's home in Beit Lahiya, dozens of women rushed into the streets in protest, chanting "Spare the bullets, shame, shame." more...
| Israel | Islam | America |

Do you know why the women chanted, "spare the bullets, shame, shame?" Because their desire is to use those bullets against Israel. They're condemning the killing because it means less bullets for Israel. Given the kind of brainwashing those poor people are in, it's not surprising. Pray for them.

250 Million Christians Will Be Persecuted in 2007 (January 2, 2007) - Around 250 million Christians worldwide will face persecution in 2007, simply for following Jesus Christ, according to persecution watchdog Release International. In particular the U.K.-based group found that persecution is growing the fastest in the Muslim world. According to Release, most persecution takes place in four distinct "zones": those of Islam, Communism, Hinduism and Buddhism. But persecution is growing fastest of all in the Muslim world. Governments in even moderate Muslim countries often fail to safeguard the rights of their Christian minorities, explained RI. Abuses suffered by Christians include kidnapping, forced conversion, imprisonment, church destruction, torture, rape and execution. One of the world’s worst abusers of religious freedom is Saudi Arabia, guardian of Islam’s holiest sites – Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia forbids all other religions. A Muslim found "guilty" of converting to Christianity could face the death sentence for apostasy. And anyone who leads a Muslim to Christ faces jail, expulsion or execution. "There’s a conspiracy of silence around Saudi," said Release International’s CEO Andy Dipper, "probably because the West wants their oil and their money. But this is a government that hands out the death sentence for its own citizens who want nothing more than the freedom to choose their own faith. And while Saudi bans all Christian literature, it spends billions of dollars each year propagating Islam around the world." But some of the most violent persecution in the Muslim world is beyond government control. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the world has been made dramatically aware of extremist Islamist global networks. Although the best known is Al Qaeda, there are others who exploit religious tensions for their own political ends, RI told U.K.-based Christian Today. more...


Clouds of War: The Year Ahead for Israel (January 2, 2007) - On its northern border, Israel watches Hezbollah regroup and grow in power after last summer's four-week war. On its southern border near the sea, chaos reigns in Gaza - one of the world's chief collecting points for terrorists and weapons. To the north and east is Syria, stocked with chemical weapons and eager to make mischief against Lebanon and Israel. And finally, from the Persian Gulf sits Iran bidding to be nuclear, dedicated to Israel's destruction, and eager for the Islamic re-conquest of Jerusalem. Just five months from now, Israel will mark the 40th anniversary of the six-day war, when Israeli soldiers expanded the nation's borders and put Jerusalem under Jewish control for the first time in 2,000 years. In 2007, Israel's enemies will try to advance their jihadist plan to take back Jerusalem and Israel for Islam. At the forefront is Iran, which funds Islamic terrorist groups and militias, and by the account of most experts is one to four years away from making nuclear weapons. "Israel would like to see sanctions imposed on Iran before it tests a nuclear device. But in addition to pessimism about the effect of those sanctions, Israel is also planning for the possibility they may go at it alone militarily against Iran and launch a military strike. And that day may come," said Yaakov Katz, military reporter for the Jerusalem Post. Iran's proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, is now the strongest political force in the country. Israel's military sees the re-arming of Hezbollah from the Syrian border, but can do little about it. "One way to stop that would be bomb the trucks, bomb the convoys," said Katz. "But there would be major diplomatic backlash as a result of that, which Israel at this point isn't able to risk." While some in Washington call for dialogue with Israel's enemies, some Middle East analysts, such as author and lecturer Michael Widlanski, warn that such a move would send the wrong signal. "If we try to placate Syria and Iran, it'll be like trying to placate a fire by throwing more twigs on the flames. The fire isn't gonna be convinced, it'll just get bigger," said Widlanski. Widlanski says the Islamists are feeding off of the perceived defeats of the U.S. in Iraq and Israel in Lebanon. more...
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam |


Islam Poised to Swallow Jesus' Boyhood Home (January 2, 2007) - The Islamic world’s ambition of forcing Judeo-Christian civilization into submission to Allah is steadily being realized in the Land of Israel–birthplace of both targeted faiths. According to a report in WorldNetDaily [WND] Monday [January 1], Nazareth, the Galilee town marking the place where Jesus lived as a boy with His mother Mary and carpenter “step-father” Joseph, is on the verge of being submerged under the authority of a Muslim-dominated city council. Like Bethlehem in Judea, the population of Nazareth, once overwhelmingly Christian, has long been replaced by a Muslim majority. As Muslims have grown in number, Christians have increasingly felt threatened by them and are leaving. WND has Israel’s Bureau of Statistics today pegging the Christian population [in Nazareth] at 37% and on a steadily downward trend. Sunday saw hundreds of Nazareth’s Muslims marching militantly through the streets, purportedly in “celebration” of the Islamic holiday of Eid but, in the eyes of many of the city’s Christians, in an act of intentional intimidation. According to a Muslim Nazareth city councilor quoted in the report, tension between the Muslim and Christian Arabs is “very bad.” Nazareth was sitting on a powder keg, said Siham El-Fahum. Another round of anti-Christian riots could break out “at any time.” WND reported that tens of thousands of residents looked on while leaders of the Islamic Movement–the main Muslim political party in Nazareth–paraded down the main thoroughfare in battle gear, beating their drums and “brandishing their party’s green flag…as a man on loudspeaker repeatedly exclaimed in Arabic, ‘Allah is great,’ [and] hundreds of activists strutted screaming Islamist epithets, including ‘Islam is the only truth’ and ‘Islam shall rule all!’” Islam is well on the way to ruling Nazareth and Bethlehem, plum pickings indeed for the religion that has become (whether or not the politically correct admit it) the archenemy of Christians and Jews. Apart from being Jesus' hometown, Nazareth is revered by millions of Christians as the place where the angel Gabriel visited Miriam (Mary) and informed her that she would become the mother of the Messiah. Marking this event is the largest church building in Nazareth–the Church of the Annunciation. In 2002, the Israeli government, under pressure from a variety of Christian groups including the Vatican, prevented the city’s Muslims from building an enormous mosque right in front of the church. It is believed that the structure, in accordance with the Muslim tradition of expressing Islam’s “superiority” over Jewish and Christian sacred sites, would have had a number of minarets towering over the Church of Annunciation. Muslim members of Nazareth’s city council believe that as soon as they hold a majority, they will be able to move ahead and build their mosque. They are currently just one councilor short of being able to do so. Unwilling even to wait until then, Muslims are already holding regular prayer services on the designated plot of land. Christians inside the church are able to clearly hear the imam’s loud proclamations of “Islam will dominate the world!” more...
| Israel | Islam |


Iran Says 2007 Could Bring Islamic Messiah, Possibly This Spring Joel C. Rosenberg (January 2, 2007) - The New Year may not be so happy if Iranian leaders have their way. The Islamic Messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi” may come to earth in 2007 and could be revealed to the world as early as the Spring Equinox, reports an official Iranian government news Web site. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Web site says the world is now in its “last days.” It claims that the Mahdi will first appear in Mecca, and then Medina. He will conquer all of Arabia, Syria, Iraq, destroy Israel, and then set up a “global government” based in Iraq, interestingly enough, not Iran. Such Islamic eschatology (end-time theology) is driving the Iranian regime and helps explains why Iran has no interest in helping the United States and European Union create peace in Iraq or the region, much less in ending its bid for nuclear weapons, the “Iraq Study Group Report” notwithstanding. A television series on IRIB called “The World toward Illumination” has been running since last November to help answer the many questions Iranians have about the end of the world as we know it. The series explains the signs of the last days and what to expect when the Islamic Messiah arrives. The program also says that Jesus is coming back to earth soon as a Shiite Muslim leader and it denounces “born-again Christians” for supporting “the illegal Zionist state of Israel.” An Israeli news site was the first to pick up the story and its significance to Israeli national security, noting that the Mahdi will soon “form an army to defeat Islam’s enemies in a series of apocalyptic battles” and “will overcome his arch villain in Jerusalem.” Iran’s calendar year ends on March 20, the usual date of the Spring Equinox. Is Ahmadinejad signaling that Iran will have nuclear weapons by then? Is he suggesting that an apocalyptic war to annihilate Jews and Christians in Israel and the US could come in 2007, perhaps as early as this spring or summer? It is not yet clear, though Ahmadinejad today vowed to “humiliate” the US and continues to vow that Israel will “vanish” soon. The IRIB series is important in that it offers some intriguing clues as to how Iranian Shiites believe their prophecies will play out. [Go to Rosenberg’s blog site to read details about their beliefs.] Too many Western analysts are missing the central importance of Shiite eschatology in Iranian foreign policy. They mistakenly believe that Iran’s current leadership can be somehow cajoled into making peace with the West. Nothing could be further from the truth. more...
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam |

FYI: Joel Richardson has a reaction to this piece because the initial site that WND got the information from doesn't actually place a time of 2007, just that some believe the Mahdi will reappear at the spring equinox. Joel says:
"The truth is that in 2005, Ahmadinejad did say that within the next couple of years, he expected Mahdi to emerge. So I suppose you could put two and two together. Spring of 2008 would be too far beyond this to fulfill Ahmadinejad's expectations. But that's really not what was said. In general, I have like WND in the past. However unless a retraction is issued, its hard for me to not feel a bit leery. But that's okay. We really do need to check all things out in today's internet age."

US Pollster Blames Jewish State for Bethlehem’s Ills (December 29, 2007) - A widely publicized report by a Washington-based pollster blames Israel’s separation barrier for Bethlehem’s ills, though the city’s problems began well before the wall was even conceived. Zogby International stated in its findings that Bethlehem “has been fast losing its indigenous Christian population since the construction of the Israeli wall plunged Bethlehem into economic crisis.” The poll was commissioned by Open Bethlehem, a private non-profit organization run by John Zogby, brother of the man who founded the powerful Arab–American Institute lobby. Both are the sons of Lebanese Catholics. The organization, which is campaigning to make Bethlehem an international city, is backed by Catholics, former US president Jimmy Carter, and Arabs. Zogby wrote that US Christians “are likely to be shocked by the discovery that seven out of ten Christians in Bethlehem believe Israel treats the town’s Christian heritage with brutality or indifference.” Most major news services have disseminated the poll without noting the historical discrepancies and omission of recent events, particularly Muslim violence against Christians and the fleeing of Christians since the Palestinian Authority [PA] took control of the area. In 1948, Christians comprised some 90% of the city’s population. Dropping steadily over the years, the Christian population still stood at 60% in 1990, at the beginning of the first intifada. The exodus of Christians increased sharply after the PA took control of the city in 1995, when former PA chairman Yasser Arafat changed the city’s borders to include an additional 30,000 Muslims. In today’s Bethlehem, Muslims outnumber Christians 6–1. The Zogby poll summary does not discuss this historical backdrop. It instead quotes several remaining Christians about alleged oppression, ignoring Muslim harassment and even suggesting that it does not exist. It is equally significant that the Zogby poll makes no mention of the most recent anti-Christian crusades carried out against the population by their Muslim neighbors. more...
| Israel | Islam |


Olmert: Assad up to His Neck in Terror Activity (December 27, 2007) - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told European Union and other ambassadors Wednesday [December 27] that “Israel is certainly interested in conducting negotiations for peace with Syria,” but added that Damascus’ actions indicate that its peace overtures are “not serious.” The prime minister added that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime supports Hizbullah, destabilizes Lebanon, protects Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders, and maintains close ties with Iran, which calls for Israel’s destruction. Olmert said that there is no reason for Israel to give up on its principles when the Syrian president is “up to his neck in terror-supporting activity.” Turning his attention to the Palestinians, the prime minister told the ambassadors that the international community supports the implementation of the Road Map and the Quartet’s guidelines. “These guidelines obligate the Palestinians to execute their commitment, denounce terror, and fight it–as a basic condition for negotiations,” he said. “These guidelines must be upheld.” Olmert also updated the ambassadors on Israel’s gestures aimed at strengthening moderate Palestinian Authority elements.
| Israel | Islam |


The EU's Constitution Controversy (December 26, 2007) -  The Liberals in the European Parliament have strongly rejected a plan by Spain and Luxembourg to hold a restricted "friends of the EU constitution" meeting, saying the move carries the "serious risk" of dividing the union. The criticism comes after last week's invitation by Spain and Luxembourg to the Europe ministers of only those 18 EU countries which have ratified the constitution to a private meeting in Madrid on 26 January. Spain and Luxembourg deliberately excluded France and the Netherlands, which rejected the charter in popular referendums in 2005, as well as seven other states which subsequently suspended ratification, from the Madrid meeting - and invited them only for a second gathering open for all EU states in Luxembourg in late February. "The initiative of Spain and Luxembourg carries the serious risk of dividing the union. To hold a conference only for those who have ratified the constitution threatens to gang up on the refuseniks," said Liberal constitutional spokesman and UK MEP Andrew Duff. Calling for the meetings to be "cancelled," he went on to say that they are "hugely undermining the efforts of the German presidency, whose duty it is to come up with proposals to renegotiate the 2004 constitutional treaty." Germany, which will chair the EU for six months from 1 January, has been tasked to design a "road map" at the end of its presidency to find a way out of the constitutional limbo created by the French and Dutch "no" votes. more...
| EU/UN |


Study: Ex-KGB Fill Russia's Elite (December 13, 2007) -  President Vladimir Putin has never hidden his KGB spy past and over three-quarters of Russia's political elite have tell-tale signs of a background in the security services or military, a new study says. "Our research has shown that ... 78 percent of the Russian elite have signs of being siloviki," Olga Kryshtanovskaya, who has studied the Russian elite since 1989, told Reuters in a telephone interview. Putin served as a lieutenant-colonel in the KGB during the Cold War. Under his government the number of siloviki, as former military or security service officials are known, has increased dramatically and their influence has spread beyond government. "Before in the Soviet Union there was a politburo which was not a KGB organization so there was a brake, a balance on the KGB," Kryshtanovskaya said. "Now there is also a 'politburo' but it is made up exclusively of siloviki so there is no brake on the hawks," she said. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Putin's deputy chief of staff Igor Sechin, FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev and drugs tsar Viktor Cherkesov are among the best known siloviki but the new study turned up surprises too. "I was very shocked when I looked at the boards of major companies and realized there were lots of people who had completely unknown names, people who were not public but who were definitely, obvious siloviki", Kryshtanovskaya said. For the study, her Moscow center for the study of the elite examined 1,061 top officials from the Kremlin, the government, top companies, the regions and parliament looking for gaps in their resumes indicating a past as a member of the security or career military services or related institutions. "People who worked in the KGB used to be recruited either in the army or in universities and then were sent to study in special institutes," Khryshtanovskaya explained. "In the biographies of those who went to these institutes there is usually what is known as a hole and this hole means they could have studied in one of these institutes." Khryshtanovskaya also looked for other tell-tale signs, such as service in areas which are historically close to the KGB, such as human resources departments of Russian corporations and foreign branches of Russian banks and news organizations. She said she was reluctant to be drawn on certain names for fear of reprisals. more...
| Gog/Magog |


The Resurgent Russian Bear (December 10, 2007) - "I shall be an autocrat, that's my trade". Thus quipped the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, who stamped Russian authority onto the international stage, seizing vast swathes of territory and establishing Russia as a formidable power in the middle of the eighteenth century. It appears that Vladimir Putin has taken her example to heart. Buoyed up by high energy prices, Putin has embarked on an aggressive foreign policy agenda which seeks to re-establish Russia as a pre-eminent international power in opposition to what it perceives to be American and European hegemony. This foreign policy agenda is based around two primary goals, namely tightening Russian control over the former Soviet Republics and tightening alliances and friendships with like-minded states and in areas of strategic importance. To Israel's detriment, it appears that Moscow has identified the Middle East as a primary region through which to recapture its former international significance. Russia has sought to present itself to the Arabs as a more neutral arbiter than the U.S. in order to increase its international influence in this strategic region of the world. To this end, Moscow has courted some of the most noxious regimes in the neighbourhood and provided them with sophisticated weaponry and diplomatic support which has been extremely damaging to Israel's interests. A further complication to this state of affairs is that Israel imports a large percentage of its oil from Russia, as much as seventy percent according to some analysts, rendering diplomatic protests and threats somewhat toothless. Putin's invitation to Hamas top-brass for talks in Moscow in March 2006 was a prime example of Russia's antagonistic foreign policy. It was a cynical attempt to increase Russian influence with the Palestinians with the additional benefit of underlining the independence of Russian foreign policy from the U.S. and the West. Why else would a country, which has experienced the horrors of Islamist terrorism like the Beslan school massacre, court Hamas which has been one of the pioneers of the Islamic terrorist creed? Russia's arms sales to Israel's neighbours have also been hugely problematic. In December 2005, Russia signed a contract with Iran to deliver around thirty TOR-M1 air-defence systems and began to deliver them in late 2006, even as debates in the UN Security Council were underway regarding possible sanctions of Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. The TOR-M1 is one of the most advanced air-defence systems in the world capable of shooting down planes at low-altitude as well as precision guided munitions and cruise missiles. Iran will place these systems around its sensitive nuclear installations in Isfahan, Bushehr and others and will give the Iranian regime even greater confidence to defy international insistence that it halt its uranium enrichment and comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In April 2005, Russia also completed the sale of advanced "Igla" anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and was only dissuaded from selling its "Iskander-E", 300km range tactical missile to Syria by strong American pressure. Russia also sold large numbers of advanced anti-tank missiles to Syria and Iran during the 1990s, some of which were subsequently transferred to Hizballah and used to deadly effect against Israeli soldiers and tanks in the Israel-Lebanon war this summer. more...
| Gog/Magog |