August 11, 2008

News for August 11, 2008

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EU under pressure to shed light on expert panels EU Observer (August 11, 2008) - A transparency campaign group has written to seven European commissioners to pressure them to make good on a promise to reveal the names of the people who sit on the expert groups that influence EU legislation in key areas. ALTER-EU, made up of 160 organisations, on Friday (8 August) sent letters to the commission president, vice-president, and commissioners in charge of industry, energy, research, health and environment to ask whether the commission intends to take the name-publishing step "by the summer" as it promised earlier this year. It said it is "deeply concerned about the lack of progress so far on the issue of over-representation," referring to advisory groups where business lobbyists outnumber NGOs and civil society groups. The transparency group says that the only way to avoid "privileged access for certain specific interests" is to establish consistent membership criteria and called in the letters for an "open and transparent process" for the selection of such expert groups. It also asks commission president Jose Manuel Barroso what he intends to do about those groups where it is already clear that there is an over-representation of business interests. According to the group, EU industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen is responsible for 127 expert groups but only 19 of these include membership details. As an example, it points to the expert group on biotechnology which has 20 industry representatives, six academics and no NGOs. Meanwhile, his research colleague Janez Potocnik oversees 97 groups of which just 17 have their details listed while energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs is in charge of 36 groups of which three contain membership details. For health commissioner Androulla Vassilou, the tally is 70 closed groups to eight public groups while environment commissioner Stavros Dimas is said to preside over 95 closed groups and only three open ones. The commission promised earlier this year that the process of collecting and publishing the names of members of the different groups shall be completed by the summer. It also pointed out that experts from national governments and agencies made up two-thirds of those in the panels. more...
| EU/UN / 4th Kingdom |


Georgia claims Russians have cut country in half Associated Press (August 11, 2008) - Russian tanks roared deep into Georgia on Monday, launching a new western front in the conflict, and Russian planes staged air raids that sent people screaming and fleeing for cover in some towns. Russian forces for the first time moved well outside the two restive, pro-Russian provinces claimed by Georgia that lie at the heart of the dispute. An Associated Press reporter saw Russian troops in control of government buildings in this town just miles from the frontier and Russian troops were reported in nearby Senaki. Georgia's president said his country had been sliced in half with the capture of a critical highway crossroads near the central city of Gori, and Russian warplanes launched new air raids across the country. The Russian Defense Ministry, through news agencies, denied it had captured Gori and also denied any intentions to advance on the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. In New York, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency session at Georgia's request, the fifth meeting on the fighting in as many days. The western assault expanded the days-old war beyond the central breakaway region of South Ossetia, where a crackdown by Georgia last week drew a military response from Russia. While most Georgian forces were still busy fighting there, Russian troops opened the western attack by invading from a second separatist province, Abkhazia, that occupies Georgia's coastal northwest arm. Russian forces moved into Senaki, 20 miles inland from the Black Sea, and seized police stations in Zugdidi, just outside the southern fringe of Abkhazia. Abkhazian allies took control of the nearby village of Kurga, according to witnesses and Georgian officials. The Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili, told CNN late Monday that Russian forces were cleansing Abkhazia of ethnic Georgians. "I directly accuse Russia of ethnic cleansing," he said. At the U.N. on Friday, each side accused the other of ethnic cleansing. By late Monday, Russian news agencies, citing the Defense Ministry, said troops had left Senaki, 20 miles inland from the Black Sea port of Poti, "after liquidating the danger," but did not give details. The new assault came despite a claim earlier in the day by a top Russian general that Russia had no plans to enter undisputed Georgian territory. Both provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have run their own affairs without international recognition since fighting to split from Georgia in the early 1990, and both have close ties with Moscow. When Georgia began its offensive to regain control over South Ossetia, the Russian response was swift and overpowering — thousands of troops and tanks poured in. Georgia had pledged a cease-fire, but it rang hollow Monday. An AP reporter saw a small group of Georgian fighters open fire on a column of Russian and Ossetian military vehicles outside Tskhinvali, triggering a 30-minute battle. The Russians later said all the Georgians were killed. more...
| Gog/Magog |


Ukraine says it reserves right to bar Russian ships from entering to their Crimean base Newsday (August 10, 2008) - Ukraine warned Russia on Sunday it could bar Russian navy ships from returning to their base in the Crimea because of their deployment to Georgia's coast. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said the deployment of a Russian naval squadron to Georgia's Black sea coast has the potential of drawing Ukraine into the conflict. "In order to prevent the circumstances in which Ukraine could be drawn into a military conflict ... Ukraine reserves the right to bar ships which may take part in these actions from returning to the Ukrainian territory until the conflict is solved," said the statement which was posted on the ministry's Web site. Both Ukraine and Georgia have sought to free themselves of Russia's influence, integrate into the West and join NATO. The statement reflected a strong Ukrainian support for Georgia and is certain to anger Moscow, further straining Russian-Ukrainian relations. Russia's deputy chief of General Staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn said Sunday he was aware of the statement, but added that the Russian government must analyze it before making comment. "It makes a third party involved, and it's quite unexpected," Nogovitsyn said said at a news conference. A 1997 agreement between Russia and Ukraine lets the Black Sea Fleet remain in Sevastopol through 2017, but Ukrainian officials have said they want it out after that. The issue adds to emotions over Crimea, which was part of the Russian Federation but ceded to Ukraine during the Soviet era and became part of the independent Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.


Russia Deploys Ships, Expands Georgia Bombing Blitz Fox News (August 10, 2008) - Russia battled Georgian forces on land and sea, reports said late Sunday, despite a Georgian cease-fire offer and its claim to be withdrawing from South Ossetia, the separatist Georgian province battered by days of intense fighting. Russia claimed to have sunk a Georgian boat that was trying to attack Russian vessels in the Black Sea, and Georgian officials said Russia sent tanks from South Ossetia into Georgia proper, heading toward a strategic city before being turned back. Russian planes on Sunday twice bombed an area near the Georgian capital's airport, officials said. The violence appeared to show gargantuan Russia's determination to subdue diminutive, U.S.-backed Georgia, even at the risk of international reproach. Russia fended off a wave of international calls to observe Georgia's cease-fire, saying it must first be assured that Georgian troops have indeed pulled back from South Ossetia. International envoys were heading in to try to end the conflict before it spreads throughout the Caucasus, a region plagued by ethnic tensions. But it was unclear what inducements or pressure the envoys could bring to bear, or to what extent either side was truly sensitive to world opinion. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said one of the Russian raids on the airport area came a half hour before the arrival of the foreign ministers of France and Finland — in the country to try to mediate. Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Temur Yakobashvili said Russian tanks tried to cross from South Ossetia into the territory of Georgia proper, but were turned back by Georgian forces. He said the tanks apparently were trying to approach Gori, but did not fire on the city of about 50,000 that sits on Georgia's only significant east-west highway. Russia also sent naval vessels to patrol off Georgia's Black Sea coast, but denied Sunday that the move was aimed at establishing a blockade. The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman as saying that Georgian missile boats twice tried to attack Russian ships, which fired back and sank one of the Georgian vessels. South Ossetia broke away from Georgian control in 1992. Russia granted passports to most of its residents and the region's separatist leaders sought to absorb the region into Russia. Georgia, whose troops have been trained by American soldiers, began an offensive to regain control over South Ossetia overnight Friday, launching heavy rocket and artillery fire and air strikes that pounded the regional capital Tskhinvali. Georgia says it was responding to attacks by separatists. In response, Russia launched massive artillery shelling and air attacks on Georgian troops. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said more than 2,000 people had been killed in South Ossetia since Friday, most of them Ossetians with Russian passports. The figures could not be independently confirmed. The scope of Russia's military response has the Bush administration deeply worried. "We have made it clear to the Russians that if the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues, that this will have a significant long-term impact on U.S.-Russian relations," U.S. deputy national security adviser Jim Jeffrey told reporters. The U.S. military began flying 2,000 Georgian troops home from Iraq after Georgia recalled them, even while calling for a truce. "Georgia expresses its readiness to immediately start negotiations with the Russian Federation on a cease-fire and termination of hostilities," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that it had notified Russia's envoy to Tbilisi. But Russia insisted Georgian troops were continuing their attacks. Alexander Darchiev, Russia's charge d'affairs in Washington, said Georgian soldiers were "not withdrawing but regrouping, including heavy armor and increased attacks on Tskhinvali." "Mass mobilization is still under way," he told CNN's "Late Edition." President Bush sought to contain the conflict in Georgia on Sunday as the White House warned that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered." Bush, in Beijing for the Olympics, has pressed for international mediation and reached out Sunday to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who heads the European Union. The two agreed on the need for a cease-fire and a respect for Georgia's integrity, a White House spokesman said. more...
| Gog/Magog | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | America |


'Hizbullah received advanced launchers' The Jerusalem Post (August 10, 2008) - The senior aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad who was assassinated last weekend had been in charge of supplying Hizbullah with advanced anti-aircraft weaponry, the Sunday Times reported. According to the report, Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Suleiman had provided the guerrilla group with advanced Syrian SA-8 anti-aircraft missiles, Middle Eastern sources told the paper. Such missiles could potentially challenge the IAF reconnaissance flights which are currently conducted unhindered over Lebanon. Last week, Lebanon's new Cabinet unanimously approved a draft policy statement which could secure Hizbullah's existence as an armed organization and guarantee its right to "liberate or recover occupied lands." "The Cabinet unanimously approved the draft," Information Minister Tarek Mitri told reporters after the five-hour meeting at the presidential palace in a Beirut suburb last Monday. Government sources in Jerusalem said the decision would make the government in Beirut an accomplice to any Hizbullah aggression and give Israel the right to hold it responsible. During the Second Lebanon War, Israel came under international pressure not to harm Lebanon's infrastructure because it was Hizbullah, not the Lebanese government, that killed several IDF soldiers and kidnapped reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in the July 2006 cross border raid which sparked the conflict.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Not only does this kind of activity seem like something that Israel may react to with force, but also that could help preserve the forces coming from the North following Israel's response to continued arms buildup in clear continued preparation to fulfill the promised destruction of the state of Israel from her enemies. We know God's plans however and while Israel will be severely diminished in the future time of Jacob's trouble, there is a remnant that will come to see Yeshua as the Messiah they have been longing for.

War in Georgia: The Israeli connection YNet News (August 10, 2008) - For past seven years, Israeli companies have been helping Gerogian army to preparer for war against Russia through arms deals, training of infantry units and security advice. The fighting which broke out over the weekend between Russia and Georgia has brought Israel's intensive involvement in the region into the limelight. This involvement includes the sale of advanced weapons to Georgia and the training of the Georgian army's infantry forces. The Defense Ministry held a special meeting Sunday to discuss the various arms deals held by Israelis in Georgia, but no change in policy has been announced as of yet. "The subject is closely monitored," said sources in the Defense Ministry. "We are not operating in any way which may counter Israeli interests. We have turned down many requests involving arms sales to Georgia; and the ones which have been approves have been duly scrutinized. So far, we have placed no limitations on the sale of protective measures." Israel began selling arms to Georgia about seven years ago following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became businesspeople. "They contacted defense industry officials and arms dealers and told them that Georgia had relatively large budgets and could be interested in purchasing Israeli weapons," says a source involved in arms exports. The military cooperation between the countries developed swiftly. The fact that Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation. "His door was always open to the Israelis who came and offered his country arms systems made in Israel," the source said. "Compared to countries in Eastern Europe, the deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the defense minister's personal involvement." Israelis' activity in Georgia and the deals they struck there were all authorized by the Defense Ministry. Israel viewed Georgia as a friendly state to which there is no reason not to sell arms systems similar to those Israel exports to other countries in the world. As the tension between Russia and Georgia grew, however, increasing voices were heard in Israel – particularly in the Foreign Ministry – calling on the Defense Ministry to be more selective in the approval of the deals with Georgia for fear that they would anger Russia. "It was clear that too many unmistakable Israeli systems in the possesion of the Georgian army would be like a red cloth in the face of a raging bull as far as Russia is concerned," explained a source in the defense establishment. For inctance, the Russians viewed the operation of the Elbit System's RPVs as a real provocation. "It was clear that the Russians were angry," says a defense establishment source, "and that the interception of three of these RPVs in the past three months was an expression of this anger. Not everyone in Israel understood the sensitive nerve Israel touched when it supplied such an advanced arms system to a country whose relations with Russia are highly tense." more...
| Israel | Gog/Magog |

Another reason Russia would want to join with her military allies to attack Israel from the North when the time comes? Keep watching! See also: Georgian Jews Flee from Russian Border, Expecting Invasion See Also: 'Oil, Israel and Iran' Among Factors that Led to Georgia War

Michael Savage vows to take Islam fight to Supreme Court WorldNet Daily (August 10, 2008) - Talk-radio host Michael Savage has announced he will bring his recently dismissed copyright infringement lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of making public the Islamic group's sources of funding. Savage's suit – originally filed in San Francisco district court – alleged CAIR illegally published singled-out quotes and audio excerpts from his show regarding Islam, misappropriated his words and used the clips for its own fundraising purposes, damaging the value of his copyrighted material. CAIR last year waged a public campaign using excerpted Savage remarks to urge advertisers to boycott his top-rated program. CAIR stated its campaign successfully resulted in Savage losing $1 million in advertising. Part of Savage's lawsuit alleged CAIR received millions in foreign funding and that it may have been wrongfully acting as a lobbyist or agent for a foreign government, violating the Islamic group's nonprofit status. Savage also alleged CAIR was engaged in racketeering, describing the group as a "mouthpiece of international terror" that helped fund the 9/11 attacks, a contention strongly denied by CAIR. But his lawsuit was tossed last month by San Francisco District U.S. Judge Susan Illston, who argued it is legal to use excerpts of a public broadcast for purposes of comment and criticism. Illston, nominated to her position by President Bill Clinton, wrote in her ruling that Savage could try to rewrite the racketeering portion of his suit to better fit the specifics of his case. Savage's attorney Daniel Horowitz told WND he is reworking the suit to directly address Illston's "respectful" ruling. He said the new suit includes over 200 pages of supporting documents, including 200 pages of transcripts of the meeting in which CAIR was founded. In May 2007, CAIR was identified by the government as an unindicted co-conspirator in a case involving the Holy Land Foundation, a charity allegedly affiliated with Hamas. Federal prosecutors in the case listed CAIR under the category: “Individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.” The government also listed Omar Ahmad, CAIR's founder and chairman emeritus, under the same category. CAIR is registered as a nonprofit organization recognized as tax-exempt under IRS codes, which restrict "lobbying on behalf of a foreign government." CAIR's website claims it receives no foreign government support. But CAIR's headquarters near the U.S. Capitol until recently was owned by the ruler of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the ruler's foundation has pledged $50 million to capitalize a long-term CAIR public-relations campaign. The UAE formally recognized the Taliban, and Dubai reportedly acted as the transit point for cash for the 9/11 hijackers. Two of the hijackers were from the Emirates, and one served in the UAE military. Until 2005, the Al Maktoum Foundation run by Dubai's ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid held the deed to CAIR's headquarters just three blocks from the Capitol. The same foundation reportedly has held telethons to raise money for families of Palestinian "martyrs" during the intifada – or terrorist war – started in September 2000 against Israel. It recently pledged a $50 million endowment for CAIR. CAIR argues that any assertions it receives money from foreign governments is "disinformation." "This is yet another attempt to invent a controversy," the group said. "CAIR's operational budget is funded by donations from American Muslims." CAIR, however, has never publicly acknowledged $1 million controlling interest that the ruler of Dubai's foundation took in its national headquarters just one year after 9/11. The group also received $500,000 from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the sheik whose $10 million relief check after 9/11 was rejected by then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani after he blamed U.S. policy toward Israel for the attacks. "There is nothing criminal or immoral about accepting donations from foreign nationals," CAIR asserted. "The U.S. government, corporations and non-profit organizations routinely receive money from foreign nationals." "Bin Talal is not a member of the Saudi Arabian government," the group added in a statement. "He is a private entrepreneur and international investor." This may be a distinction without a difference, Savage's lawyers argue, since bin Talal is a member of the Saudi ruling family. "CAIR is proud to receive support of every individual," CAIR argued, "as long as they are not an official of any foreign government and there are no strings attached to the bequest." The UAE endowment to CAIR was specifically earmarked for public relations efforts to repair the image of Arabs and Muslims in America after public outrage doomed a Dubai bid to run U.S. ports. Lawyers for Savage argue that CAIR may have used UAE funds and other foreign support to attack the radio host. more...
| Islam | America |


Siniora: We must regain occupied land YNet News (August 9, 2008) - The Lebanese people have fought hard to liberate their land and now must "regain the land that has remained occupied," Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Friday, referring to areas currently under Israeli control. The Lebanese leader made the remarks during a festive session where the new Lebanese government sought the endorsement of parliament. This included clause 24 of the new government platform that maintains the right to liberate occupied land, meaning that Hizbullah would be able to continue its struggle against Israel. "We view the establishment of this government as a new stage in the joint work of the Lebanese people on behalf of their homeland and country, and for the sake of the future of Lebanon's democratic regime," Siniora said. The Lebanese unity government approved earlier this week a platform that grants Hizbullah the right to use all means possible in order to liberate "occupied Lebanese land." The clause was a source of disagreement between the rival camps in Lebanon, yet Hizbullah's demands were ultimately full accepted. The proposal was approved unanimously on Monday, despite the reservations expressed by four ministers.
| Israel | Islam | Gog/Magog |


Syria turned down IAEA inspection request, diplomats say Newsday (August 9, 2008) - Syria has blocked a new visit by International Atomic Energy Agency experts seeking to follow up on intelligence that Damascus built a secret nuclear program built with the help of North Korea, diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday. The diplomats also said Washington was circulating a note among members of the IAEA board opposing a Syrian push for a seat on the 35-nation board. The board normally works by consensus and a seat held by Damascus could thus hamper any investigation into its alleged nuclear activities. Syria fears a massive atomic agency investigation similar to the probe Iran has been subjected to more than five years. "Syria's election to the board while under investigation for secretly ... building an undeclared nuclear reactor not suited for peaceful purposes would make a mockery" of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said the note, as read to the AP. Syria rejected the IAEA request for a visit late last month, the diplomats said. The visit would have been a follow up to an initial trip by IAEA inspectors in June. "The Syrians said that a visit at this time was inopportune," said a senior diplomat, who, like two others agreeing to discuss the issue, demanded anonymity because their information was confidential. That appeared to leave open the possibility of a later visit. But one of the other diplomats said members of the Syrian mission to the IAEA were spreading the word among other missions that further trips beyond the one in June were unlikely. If so, that could cripple international efforts to probe U.S. allegations that a site in a remote part of the Syrian desert, which Israel destroyed last year, was a near-finished plutonium-producing reactor built with North Korean help, and that Damascus continues to hide linked facilities. IAEA experts came back June 25 from a four-day visit, carrying environmental samples from the Al Kibar site hit by Israel in September. Those are now being evaluated. But the results might fall short of providing a conclusive results. A traditional method at suspected nuclear sites — taking swipes in the search for radioactive traces — was unlikely to have been of use at Al Kibar. That's because none had been introduced into the alleged reactor before it was struck by Israel, according to intelligence given to the agency by the U.S., Israel and a third country the diplomats declined to identify. more...
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 |


Credit crisis triggers unprecedented response The Washington Post (August 8, 2008) - Since the credit crisis erupted a year ago, the Bush administration has presided over one of the broadest expansions of the government into private lending in U.S. history, risking public money to prop up financial firms both large and small. The administration has transformed federal agencies into dominant players in such diverse realms as student lending and mortgage finance while exposing itself to trillions of dollars in loans. The scope of these commitments demonstrates the unprecedented nature of the challenge facing the nation. Not since the Great Depression have so many debt markets been in turmoil at the same time, financial historians say. During the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s, for example, the financial upheaval was largely contained to banks and thrifts, though the real estate market also felt the impact. Now, the contagion has rapidly spread from mortgages to bonds and exotic securities, student and corporate lending, credit cards and home equity loans, and residential and commercial real estate. The disruption has buffeted investment and commercial banks, mortgage finance agencies, and insurance firms of different stripes. "We have a banking crisis and an agency crisis and a mortgage crisis and a coming credit card crisis. We've never seen anything like that before. And it all seems to be coming home to roost at the same time. That's never happened either," said Charles Geisst, professor of finance at Manhattan College. He said the Great Depression was the last time financial markets were hammered by such a variety of factors. "But we did not even have credit cards in the 1930s; there were no such thing as student loans," he added. The breadth and speed of events have sent federal officials scrambling to plug leaks in the financial system. In the process, the government has bound taxpayers to the fate of a wide variety of banks and borrowers and could ultimately be responsible for losses in the tens of billions of dollars or more, according to estimates by congressional reports and interviews with regulators. But the government may also end up paying nothing at all, largely because it received collateral in return for backing much of these debts and could recoup some money if borrowers stop making their interest payments. No one knows for sure because much of the government's response involved novel programs designed to contain an unpredictable crisis. As the credit crisis worsened, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., a strong proponent of free markets and the architect of much of the administration's response, began to push initiatives that enlarged the government's involvement on Wall Street and in the housing industry. "What I've said is that I'm playing the hand that was dealt and that my responsibility is to protect the U.S. economy and the American people," Paulson said in an interview. The pace of these interventions accelerated as the credit crisis spread across the capital markets. At first, the administration avoided programs that exposed taxpayers to potentially large losses. The Federal Housing Administration, for instance, offered struggling mortgage holders a chance to refinance into low-cost loans backed by the government with any losses borne by the agency's insurance fund. Last summer, Paulson also pressed private mortgage lenders to form an alliance called Hope Now to rework mortgages. The initiative did not require public funds, except to set up a hotline, and it may have prevented lawmakers at that time from pursuing more expensive initiatives, he said. Within months, however, Paulson was directing more significant intrusions into the markets. In March, he strongly endorsed the Fed leaders' decision to put $29 billion in public money on the line to facilitate the takeover of the crippled investment firm Bear Stearns by Wall Street bank J.P. Morgan Chase. In April, Paulson helped the Department of Education set up emergency programs to ensure students could get loans as private lenders fled the business because of trouble in the credit markets. Education officials ramped up their direct lending, which some analysts say could reach $75 billion, and got new authority from Congress to buy loans outright from lenders. Then, last month, Paulson pushed for new authority to lend or invest in mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the Congressional Budget Office said could impose a wide range of costs to taxpayers, from nothing to more than $100 billion. Along the way, the Fed was injecting money into the banking system, including through several new, unusual programs. In negotiations over the Bear Stearns rescue, the Fed agreed to back $30 billion worth of risky mortgage assets but persuaded J.P. Morgan to absorb the first $1 billion of any losses. At the end of July, the portfolio was worth $29.1 billion, according to the central bank. Because the Fed can be patient and sell the assets gradually over time, officials believe taxpayers are highly unlikely to lose more than a couple billion dollars and the central bank may ultimately make some money. more...
| NewWorldOrder | America | Economic Crisis |

This all seems to be leading to a point where our current financial system could be most easily replaced by a global cashless system and the nations indebted to those with wealth and power would have no alternatives but to join the global banking system that offers stability and security, forgiving debts in exchange for allegiance. I don't think this will be fully implemented until after the abomination of desolation, but I also believe that we're building up to that point now. Keep watching!

EU keeps ticking without Lisbon treaty, report says EU Observer (August 8, 2008) - Europe continues to work without the Lisbon treaty and the demise of the document would not be a catastrophe for the bloc, an influential think tank has said. In an assessment of Ireland's referendum rejection of the EU treaty published on Thursday (7 August), the London-based Centre for European Reform concludes that "Europe works fairly well in many areas with the current treaties." It notes that the 27-nation bloc continues to achieve results and "integrate" using intergovernmental bodies such as the European Defence Agency and through new laws such as those on liberalising the energy market in Europe or the Emissions Trading Scheme. But the paper suggests that the EU would be "much better off" with the Lisbon Treaty - already ratified by 23 member states - as it would clear up the "dreadful arrangements" for managing EU foreign policy, currently a mishmash of personalities and responsibilities. It would also allow easier decision-making in the area of justice and home affairs and give more power to national parliaments, writes Charles Grant, the author of the report and director of CER. His assessment concludes that there are three possible options ahead, with the treaty needing ratification by all member states if it is to go into place.

Under the first scenario, Ireland would hold a second referendum having secured reassurance from its EU partners that certain areas such as tax, neutrality and abortion would not be affected by the treaty. Timing would be important. If Dublin does not hold the referendum before April next year, then the current rules for reducing EU commissioners - and the haggling this entails - will remain in place.

The second scenario envisages Dublin refusing to have a second referendum although this is likely to result in "huge pressure" from the French EU presidency, amongst others. This would likely mean that while the Lisbon treaty as a whole would be ditched, governments would try and salvage parts of it using Croatia's accession treaty.

Under the third "most poisonous" scenario, Ireland would hold a second referendum and vote No, leading to "internal divisions," with countries such as Britain and central European states likely to block any attempt to kick the country out of the EU. The paper predicts that whatever eventually happens with the Lisbon Treaty, it is likely to be the last attempt by the EU to adopt a "big, comprehensive" treaty. Instead the bloc will probably opt for sectoral treaties in areas such as energy or migration policy in future. more...
| EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | NewWorldOrder |


Third Aleutian Volcano Erupts Explosively USGS (August 8, 2008) - Kasatochi Volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Islands erupted explosively Aug. 7, sending an ash plume more than 35,000 feet into the air and forcing two biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to evacuate the island. "Kasatochi went from a quiet volcano to an explosive eruption within 24 hours and with very little warning," said USGS volcano scientist Marianne Guffanti. "We are thankful our colleagues were able to get out before the eruption began. They were rescued just in time by a local fishing boat." Kasatochi is the third volcano to erupt in the Aleutian Islands in three weeks. Okmok Volcano erupted unexpectedly and explosively on July 12, followed by Cleveland Volcano, 100 miles away, on July 21. Both volcanoes sent ash plumes skyrocketing and caused commercial airline flights to be diverted or cancelled. Scientists relied on seismic instruments on other volcano networks in the area to detect activity at Kasatochi volcano. "Fortunately, the existing seismic networks on nearby volcanoes picked up the activity at Kasatochi volcano," said Tom Murray, scientist-in-charge of the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). "They were installed with funding from the Federal Aviation Administration to reduce the hazard to aviation from volcanic ash. These networks were crucial in recognizing that this volcano had entered the first stage of a major eruption." "Our hope is to have monitoring equipment on all volcanoes that pose the greatest threats to public safety," said Guffanti. "Satellite imagery is useful to see the big picture of what is happening and what is going into the atmosphere. But direct instrumentation, such as placing seismic monitors around a volcano, will help give an early warning and give people more time to plan for hazardous events." Scientists are working around the clock to monitor the volcanoes and keep the public and emergency responders informed.
| America | Earth Changes |


Gaza Terrorists Warn Truce May End in Three Weeks Israel National News (August 8, 2008) - The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in Gaza warned Thursday that the temporary ceasefire may end in three weeks, when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins. The month is frequently marked by an increase in terrorism. PRC official Abu Mujahed charged that Israel is violating the agreement by not making progress in freeing terrorists and prisoners or opening up the border at Rafiah. He also said Israel must allow free movement at Gaza crossings. Israeli security sources said they have relaxed examinations of goods and merchandise passing through Gaza crossings as the temporary ceasefire enters its eighth week, although one rocket was fired on Israel this week. PRC terrorists allowed several journalists to film a training exercise in which bombs were exploded and live fire was used in a raid on a mock Israeli army base built on the grounds of former Jewish communities that Israel destroyed three years ago. Abu Mujahed told Reuters that "politicians will stop talking and military men will act" if Israel does not show progress in freeing hundreds of Arab terrorists and prisoners and allowing free movement of good at Gaza crossings. "The Zionist occupation has not yet agreed to the demand to release our prisoners, so our fighters are preparing for the next round in which we will try to abduct more Israeli soldiers to swap them for our hero prisoners," a PRC spokesman told Reuters. Abu Mujahed said that the PRC and other terrorist groups had agreed to abide by the truce, which began in mid-June, for 10 weeks, when Ramadan begins. He did not say whether Hamas also was looking towards Ramadan as a possible date for renewal of attacks on Israel. The ceasefire officially calls for a halt in terrorist attacks and Israel counterterrorist actions in Gaza for several months, when it may be extended to Judea and Samaria. Hamas has demanded that Israel allow Egypt and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to re-open the border at Rafiah, where the international boundary runs through the city. Israel and Hamas differ on the conditions of the ceasefire, Hamas claiming that the border must be re-opened before talks can advance on freeing kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel has said that the agreement calls for the border to be opened up after Shalit is returned home.
| Israel | Islam |


Russia, Georgia Risk Larger War as Attacks Continue Into Morning Fox News (August 8, 2008) - Russia dispatched an armored column into the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia on Friday after Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, launched a surprise offensive to crush separatists. Witnesses said hundreds of civilians were killed. Fighting reportedly raged well into the night with Georgia's interior ministry saying early Saturday that warplanes attacked three Georgian military bases and key facilities for shipping oil to the West. The fighting, which devastated the capital of Tskhinvali, threatened to ignite a wider war between Georgia and Russia, and escalate tensions between Moscow and Washington. Georgia said it was forced to launch the assault because of rebel attacks; the separatists alleged Georgia violated a cease-fire. "I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars," said Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, who had fled with her family to Dzhava, a village near the border with Russia. "It's impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged." The fighting broke out as much of the world's attention was focused on the start of the Olympic Games and many leaders, including Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Bush, were in Beijing. The timing suggested Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili may have been counting on surprise to fulfill his longtime pledge to wrest back control of South Ossetia — a key to his hold on power. The rebels seek to unite with North Ossetia, which is part of Russia. Saakashvili agreed the timing was not coincidental, but accused Russia of being the aggressor. "Most decision makers have gone for the holidays," he told CNN. "Brilliant moment to attack a small country." Seeking to prevent an all-out war, diplomats issued a flurry of statements calling on both sides to halt the fighting. The U.N. Security Council held two tense emergency sessions 12 hours apart with both sides using the forum to launch accusations. As the meeting recessed, officials promised a third council session Saturday. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Russia to halt aircraft and missile attacks and withdraw combat forces from Georgian territory. Rice said in a statement the United States wants Russia to respect Georgian sovereignty and agree to international mediation. The leader of South Ossetia's rebel government, Eduard Kokoity, said about 1,400 people were killed in the onslaught, the Interfax news agency reported. The toll could not be independently confirmed. As night fell, there were conflicting claims as to who held the battlefield advantage. Saakashvili said "Georgian military forces completely control all the territory of South Ossetia" except for a northern section adjacent to Russia. But Russian news agencies cited a Russian military official as saying heavy fighting was under way on the outskirts of the regional capital. It was unclear what might persuade either side to stop shooting. Both claim the battle started after the other side violated a cease-fire that had been declared just hours earlier after a week of sporadic clashes. The United States was sending in its top Caucasus envoy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza, to try to end the bloodshed. It was the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won de facto independence in a war against Georgia that ended in 1992. Russian troops went in as peacekeepers but Georgia alleges they now back the separatists. "We are facing Russian aggression," said Georgia's Security Council chief Kakha Lomaya. "They have sent in their troops and weapons and they are bombing our towns." Putin warned in the early stages of the conflict that the Georgian attack would draw retaliation and the Defense Ministry pledged to protect South Ossetians, most of whom have Russian citizenship. Chairing a session of his Security Council in the Kremlin, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also vowed that Moscow will protect Russian citizens. "In accordance with the constitution and federal law, I, as president of Russia, am obliged to protect lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are located," Medvedev said. "We won't allow the death of our compatriots go unpunished." On Friday, an AP reporter saw tanks and other heavy weapons concentrating on the Russian side of the border with South Ossetia — supporting the reports of an incursion. Some villagers were fleeing into Russia. more...
| Gog/Magog |

As is pointed out in the article, Georgia is all that stands between Russia and Turkey. According to Bible prophecy, Russia, Turkey, Iran and others attack Israel from the North and God destroys them in the mountains of Israel. I mentioned a possibility back in May when Georgia warned they were very close to war with Russia. It appears that this has begun to come to fruition. As for it leading the the Magog invasion, I still believe that Israel's action against Damascus will prompt the attack and if the forces are already built up on the Northern border of Turkey, who is part of the attack, and Hezbollah has already shown its ability to control Lebanon, there is a path for forces to come quickly from the North onto the mountains of Israel. Will this be the case soon? I don't know, but I'm still watching. This situation made me think of Poland, 1939.

'2 US aircraft carriers headed for Gulf' The Jerusalem Post (August 7, 2008) - Two additional United States naval aircraft carriers are heading to the Gulf and the Red Sea, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper Kuwait Times. Kuwait began finalizing its "emergency war plan" on being told the vessels were bound for the region. The US Navy would neither confirm nor deny that carriers were en route. US Fifth Fleet Combined Maritime Command located in Bahrain said it could not comment due to what a spokesman termed "force-protection policy." While the Kuwaiti daily did not name the ships it believed were heading for the Middle East, The Media Line's defense analyst said they could be the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan. Within the last month, the Roosevelt completed an exercise along the US east coast focusing on communication among navies of different countries. It has since been declared ready for operational duties. The Reagan, currently with the Seventh Fleet, had just set sail from Japan. The Seventh Fleet area of operation stretches from the East Coast of Africa to the International Date Line. Meanwhile, the Arabic news agency Moheet reported at the end of July that an unnamed American destroyer, accompanied by two Israeli naval vessels traveled through the Suez Canal from the Mediterranean. A week earlier, a US nuclear submarine accompanied by a destroyer and a supply ship moved into the Mediterranean, according to Moheet. Currently there are two US naval battle groups operating in the Gulf: one is an aircraft carrier group, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, which carries some 65 fighter aircraft. The other group is headed by the USS Peleliu which maintains a variety of planes and strike helicopters. The ship movements coincide with the latest downturn in relations between Washington and Teheran. The US and Iran are at odds over Iran's nuclear program, which the Bush administration claims is aimed at producing material for nuclear weapons; however, Teheran argues it is only for power generation. Kuwait, like other Arab countries in the Gulf, fears it will be caught in the middle should the US decide to launch an air strike against Iran if negotiations fail. The Kuwaitis are finalizing details of their security, humanitarian and vital services, the newspaper reported. The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman - lie just across the Gulf from Iran. Generals in the Iranian military have repeatedly warned that American interests in the region would be targeted if Iran is subjected to any military strike by the US or its Western allies. Bahrain hosts the US Fifth Fleet, while there is a sizeable American base in Qatar. It is assumed the US also has military personnel in the other Gulf states, The Media Line's defense analyst said. Iran is thought to have intelligence operatives working in the GCC states, according to Dubai-based military analysts. The standoff between the US and Iran has left the Arab nations' political leaders in something of a bind, as they were being used as pawns by Washington and Teheran, according to The Media Line analyst. Iran has offered them economic and industrial sweeteners, while the US is boosting their defense capabilities. US President George W. Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have paid visits to the GCC states in a bid to win their support.
| Iran | Islam | America |


Sept launch for bid to crack secrets of universe Reuters (August 7, 2008) - The world's most powerful particle accelerator, aimed at unlocking secrets of the universe, will be launched on September 10, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said on Thursday. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), housed in an underground tunnel 27 kilometers (17 miles) in circumference, will recreate conditions just after the Big Bang which many scientists believe gave birth to the universe. It will seek to collide two beams of particles at close to the speed of light. "The first attempt to circulate a beam in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be made on September 10," the Geneva-based CERN said in a statement. The LHC will study a new frontier of physics, producing beams with seven times more energy than any previous machine. But starting it up is not as simple as flipping a switch. Each of its eight sectors must be cooled to their operating temperature of minus 271 degrees Celsius (minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit), colder than outer space. This phase is reaching a successful conclusion but electrical testing must follow. "We're finishing a marathon with a sprint," said LHC project leader Lyn Evans. "It's been a long haul and we're all eager to get the LHC research program underway." Scientists hope the experiment will help explain fundamental questions such as how particles acquire mass. They will also probe the mysterious dark matter of the universe and investigate why there is more matter than antimatter. Some 10,000 scientists from around the world have worked on the complex 10 billion Swiss franc ($9.5 billion) apparatus since construction began in 1994, a spokesman said.
| EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Technology |


Energy ties deepen between Iran and Turkey Gas And Oil (August 7, 2008) - The United States has maintained various sanctions against Iran since 1979, implemented in aftermath of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran. As relations worsen between the US and Iran, Washington is seeking to have the United Nations Security Council impose additional sanctions on Iran for its nuclear enrichment activities, which Tehran insists are legal, entirely peaceful, and intended for generating electricity. Among the sanctions that most concern foreign energy companies and nations is the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), renewed in 2001, which provides for punitive measures against entities that invest more than $20 mm (EUR 13 mm) annually in the Iranian oil and gas sectors. Many countries are deeply ambivalent toward the US policy, none more so than Turkey, which imports 90% of its energy needs. Now Ankara is pushing the limits by increasing its natural gas purchases from Iran and considering possible involvement in developing the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves. On July 29 Iranian Petroleum Minister Qolam Hosein Nozari said in Tehran that Turkey and Iran were negotiating over Turkey being a transit corridor for Iranian natural gas exports to Europe and that Iran would provide increased amounts of natural gas to Turkey during the winter (Anadolu Ajansi, June 30). According to Nozari, the pipeline, which would run from Iran’s South Pars natural gas and oil fields to the border province of Bazargan, was discussed during the OPEC summit held on June 22 in Jeddah (Tehran Times, June 29). Even worse for administration officials seeking to sustain and intensify the US sanctions regime, Nozari said, “We have also spoken about the participation of Turkey in the development of phases 14 and 23 of the South Pars field” (Hurriyet, June 30). The 3,745 sq-mile Persian Gulf South Pars-North Dome gas condensate field, straddling Iranian and Qatari territorial waters, is the world’s largest known gas field. Discovered by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in 1990, Iran’s sector, known as South Pars, covers 1,428 sq miles, with the site’s remaining 2,317 sq miles, North Dome, lying in Qatari waters. South Pars-North Dome has estimated reserves of approximately 51 tcm of natural gas and 50 bn barrels of condensate; with in-place reserves equivalent to 360 bn barrels of oil. South Pars-North Dome is the world’s biggest conventional hydrocarbon accretion, dwarfing even Saudi Arabia’s 170 bn barrel Ghawar oil field (Middle East Economic Survey, March 20, 2006). Phase 14, due to begin production in 2014, is part of a $10 bn (EUR 6.5 bn) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which already has foreign investors -- a partnership of NIOC (50%), Anglo-Dutch firm Royal Dutch Shell (25%), and Spain’s Repsol-YPF (25%). When operational, the project’s initial production capacity will consist of two components, each capable of an annual production of 8 mm tons of LNG. For Ankara, the choice of major natural gas suppliers is difficult, Russia or Iran, while waiting for Azerbaijan to ramp up production. Iran, which holds the world's second largest gas reserves, currently provides over one-third of Turkey’s domestic demand, while Turkey receives 63.7% of its imports from Gazprom with smaller volumes coming from Azerbaijan. In 1996 Turkey signed a contract with Iran for natural gas deliveries, which began in December 2001 via a pipeline from Tabriz to Ankara. The South Caucasus pipeline, also known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline, opened in December 2006 with an annual capacity of 8.8 bn cm and carries Azeri Caspian natural gas to Turkey via Georgia. Energy imports from both nations are critical to sustaining Turkish economic growth, even though Washington, whose diplomatic relations are increasingly strained with Russia and non-existent with Iran, is very unhappy about the situation. According to Turkey’s Turkiye Istatistik Kurumu (Turkish Statistical Institute), Turkey’s economic growth accelerated more than expected from January through March, increasing to 6.6% from 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2007 (www.tuik.gov.tr). The figure exceeded the market estimates by 35 to 40%, as the expected growth rate was around 4% (Milliyet, July 1). In 2007 Turkey's annual GDP growth rate was 4.5%. Rising energy costs, however, are proving to be a significant drag on economic growth. Earlier this year the Turkish government hiked electricity prices by 21%, and Ankara is preparing to raise natural gas prices in July by 9% for residences and 11% for businesses (Radikal, July 1). In June, Turkey’s Devlet Planlama Teskilati (State Planning Organization, or DPT) prepared a comprehensive projection for Turkey’s economy from 2009 through 2011, which has been approved by the Cabinet and published in the government’s official gazette, Resmi Gazete (http://rega.basbakanlik.gov.tr, June 28). The plan includes measures to ensure energy supply security in the long-term and gives top priority to decreasing the country’s dependence on imported natural gas. At a time of record high oil prices, when Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah said, "Consumer countries have to adapt to the prices and the mechanisms of the market," Washington’s efforts to compel its allies to respect its hard-line sanctions against Tehran seem at best naïve, especially when the United States has no alternative sources of energy to offer (Al-Siyassah, July 2). While Washington’s threats of sanctions in June caused both Royal Dutch Shell and Repsol-YPF to withdraw from the South Pars development, there is a major difference between a multinational company and a sovereign government bending to sanctions. For Turkey, displays of political solidarity must take a back seat to financial considerations, as the government is committed to economic growth to improve the lives of its citizens. Ankara estimates that from Desert Storm in 1991 until the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, it lost an estimated $80 bn in oil revenues and increased energy costs as a result of supporting US and UN sanctions and policies against Iraq. Washington can hardly expect Turkey to suffer further financial losses for supporting its Middle East policies. With no end to energy price increases in sight, Washington must acknowledge the reality of Turkey’s pragmatic economic relations with its energy-rich eastern neighbour, even if it does not agree with them.
| Iran | Islam | Gog/Magog |


Libya says Mediterranean Union will divide Africa EU Observer (August 5, 2008) - Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi has reaffirmed his critical stance towards the Union for the Mediterranean - the brainchild of French President Nicolas Sarkozy - saying it will divide the 53-nation African Union. "We have good relations with European countries, with the European Union, but I do not accept integration into the Union for the Mediterranean," Colonel Gaddafi said on Monday (4 July), AFP reports. Libya's head of state - once isolated by the West - added he did not agree with "cutting up Africa for hypothetical prospects with Europe" referring to a possible split between north African countries and the rest of the African Union. Muammar Gaddafi was the only leader who refused to attend the launch of the Mediterranean union in Paris in July. Mr Sarkozy's plan brings together 43 states - the 27-member EU as well as Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Turkey, Israel, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Monaco and Mauritania. The aim is to boost ties between the EU and its southern neighbours. At the moment, it is focussed on six specific projects, including the cleaning up of Mediterranean pollution, the development of maritime and land highways and the setting up of a joint civil protection programme on prevention and response to disasters. But Muammar Gaddafi, who came to power in 1969 and has become the Arab world's longest serving leader, has labeled the participation of African countries in the Mediterranean project a "violation" of resolutions by the African Union. In addition, he has accused the EU of wanting to dominate its southern partners, once under European colonial rule.
| Islam | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom |


Strong quake hits China's Sichuan ahead of Games Reuters (August 5, 2008) - A strong earthquake rocked the western Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Gansu on Tuesday, killing one person and injuring 23 near the site of May's devastating quake that killed at least 70,000 people. The Olympic torch was paraded in the capital of Sichuan on Tuesday on its journey to Beijing, where the Games open on Friday. The 6.0-magnitude quake was epicentered in Sichuan's Qingchuan county, 1,253 km (778 miles) southwest of Beijing, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Five people were seriously injured in the tremor, which had toppled a bridge cutting off a national highway, and cut roads to at least three villages, the official Xinhua news agency said. Authorities had mobilized 200 paramilitary troops and militia to conduct relief and rescue work, but they would have to enter affected areas by foot, Xinhua said. The county's Communist Party secretary was leading a team to the area and the scale of the damage was still being investigated, the agency said. Qingchuan, badly hit by May's 7.9 magnitude earthquake, has suffered a number of strong aftershocks in recent months. more...
| Earth Changes |


5.5 magnitude earthquake hits Indian Ocean Reuters (August 5, 2008) - A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Indian Ocean, 176 miles north-northeast of India's Andaman Islands at 6:08 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The temblor had a depth of 24.2 miles, USGS said. No tsunami warning had been issued.
| Earth Changes |


Saudis to Christians: Get out! WorldNet Daily (August 4, 2008) - More than a dozen Christians in Saudi Arabia who were accused by government officials of worshipping in their homes have been ordered deported. According to a report from International Christian Concern, the Christians will be expelled tomorrow for their part in a home worship service in Taif in April. The deportation conflicts with the message stated just weeks earlier by Saudi King Abdullah, who called for interfaith dialogue and held a summit in Spain with a representatives from several major religions. "Deporting Christians for worshipping in their private homes shows that King Abdullah's speech is mere rhetoric and his country is deceiving the international community about their desire for change and reconciliation," said Jeff King, the president of ICC. The report from the Washington-based human rights group said 15 Christians will be deported. Sixteen had been arrested April 25 when a dozen Saudi Arabian police officers raided a home during a prayer meeting. "The first officer to enter the house after breaking down the main gate pointed a pistol at the Christians and ordered them to hand over their resident permits and mobile phones," the report said. "The other 11 police followed quickly and started searching the entire house. The confiscated an electronic drum set, an offering box with 500 Saudi Riyal in it ($130), 20 Bibles, and a few Christian books." The worshippers initially faced accusations of preaching and singing. "They later changed the charge to holding a 'dance party' and collecting money to support terrorism," the ICC said. "During the raid, the police mocked, questioned and harassed the Christians for four hours," ICC said.. "Then they took them to a police station where the head of the station interrogated them. The head of the police then wrote down their 'statements' in Arabic and forced the Christians, who are immigrants and not able to read or write Arabic, to sign the statements." They were released three days later, and one Christian immediately left the country. The others returned to their work but soon got letters ordered their departures tomorrow, ICC said. "Three weeks ago, Saudi Arabia hosted an interfaith conference in Madrid, Spain. During the conference that took place from July 16-19, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called for reconciliation among various religions," ICC said. According to an International Herald Tribune report, King Abdullah's meeting drew about 200 representatives of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism and other religions. The reporter noted that the meetings had to be held outside of Saudi Arabia, because "the mere fact that rabbis would be openly invited to the kingdom, a country where in principle Jews are not permitted to visit, would have constituted a turning point."
| Islam |


Biometric ID bill comes under fire The Jerusalem Post (August 3, 2008) - The Association for Civil Rights in Israel came out on Sunday in opposition to the government bill that aims to establish a national biometric data bank with the fingerprints and facial lines of all citizens and residents to nearly eliminate the risk of counterfeit identity cards. The bill, initiated by the Interior and Defense Ministries, was approved by the cabinet earlier in the day. ACRI claimed that such a database would be "a dangerous step" because of the sensitivity of such information, and that there was no use of such a technology anywhere else among Western democracies, even among those that issue chip-embedded "smart" identity cards. Still, the Interior Security Ministry brushed off those concerns, saying the step was necessary for the security of Israel's citizens. "Any information in any database could potentially be dangerous," said Udi Shalvy, a spokesman for the Interior Security Ministry. "But the danger of not having the information outweighs the risks of what might happen to it," he said. "This information will be protected by the Interior Security Ministry unlike any other database," he added. But in January of 2007, Vital Population Registry information was leaked and posted on the Internet, prompting the Interior Ministry to demand an investigation into the incident. The Jerusalem Post reported then, that those data files, compiled by the Interior Ministry on all Israeli citizens, contained personal information that could potentially be used without authorization by Internet marketers and cyber-criminals. On top of the potential financial harm poised to everyday citizens as a result of that leak, the downloadable data also included particularly sensitive information, such as the addresses of senior government and security officials. The Interior Ministry, which was entrusted to protect that information issued a statement at the time, saying it had passed the data on to the political parties running for the Knesset in the last election in accordance with the law, and only then did the information show up in file sharing sites on-line. The current bill declares that the production of fake passports and identity cards is a growing phenomenon that increases illegal immigration and criminal and economic crimes and poses a serious security risk. Ordinary identity cards and passports, it says, are easy to counterfeit, and many groups are interested in such fake documents. Each phony identity card or passport sells for a few hundred to a few thousand shekels, while original cards and passports sell for much more. The Interior Ministry said that in 2007, more than 155,000 Israeli identity cards were reported stolen, lost or destroyed - more than during the previous year. Almost 59,000 residents asked twice for a new identity card to replace their old card between 2003 and 2007, while almost 8,000 asked for a replacement three times and 1,500 asked for a replacement four times during that period. Biometric markers on the face and fingerprints can bring an end to this risk, the government said, as these identification markers don't change over time, except in a few rare cases.
| Israel | Technology |

It is my belief that around the world the reasoning of security will be used to continue the advancement of the idea of some kind of database that will be accessed progressively by different technologies leading to the final one implied in scripture where nobody can buy or sell without a mark on their hand or forehead. If you've been reading the newsletter over the past few months I have mentioned the technology I see ultimately fulfilling that role being the RFID tattoo ink currently being used to track cattle, which is somewhat ironic if true as I'm sure we are little more than cattle to our common spiritual enemy. Are we at a place technologically where RFID could be implemented globally to buy and sell? I know in the West it is a reality and as time goes on technology becomes cheaper. Already businesses, through credit card companies using technology like PayPass, are installing RFID readers for point of sale. Keep watching!

Lebanese gov't: Hizbullah can use force to 'liberate' territory The Jerusalem Post (August 1, 2008) - In a display of Hizbullah's extended involvement in conflicts throughout the Middle East, Coalition Special Forces captured two members of the group during a raid over the weekend in eastern Baghdad. According to the Multinational Force Iraq, the raid targeted the home of an individual suspected of serving as a member of a Hizbullah cell - called "Kata'ib Hizbullah" or "Hizbullah Brigades" - suspected of making videos of attacks on coalition forces. The videos are then used to raise funds and resources for additional attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces. According to media reports, the Hizbullah Brigades have been active for over a year in Iraq and like Hizbullah in Lebanon, the group is trained and financed by Iran, likely via the Hizbullah's Al Kuds force, which was commanded by its chief operations officer Imad Mughniyeh who was assassinated in Damascus in February. "The Hizbullah Brigades receive support from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command for financing, weapons, training and guidance," the Multi-National Force in Iraq said in a statement in response to a Jerusalem Post inquiry. "They have claimed responsibility for attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi Security Forces as early as late 2005." On videos that it has posted on the Internet, the Hizbullah Brigades group uses a logo very similar to the Lebanese Hizbullah flag, showing a raised arm holding a Kalashnikov assault rifle, although coalition forces said they were not sure of the nature of the relationship with the Lebanese Hizbullah. This is not the first time that Hizbullah operatives have been captured in Iraq. In July 2007, coalition forces apprehended Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Hizbullah leader and explosives expert, in Basra where he was reportedly training forces and even participated in several deadly attacks against US troops. Daqduq, a veteran of the Al-Kuds Force, was reportedly in Iraq to train and evaluate the performance of anti-US Shi'ite militias. Also Friday, Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, Hizbullah military commander in Southern Lebanon, told the Daily Telegraph that the group was stronger today than before the Second Lebanon War and was prepared for conflict with Israel. "The resistance is now stronger than before and this keeps the option of war awake," he told the paper. "If we were weak, Israel would not hesitate to start another war... We are stronger than before and when Hizbullah is strong, our strength stops Israel from starting a new war... We don't seek war, but we must be ready." Israel has claimed that since the war Hizbullah has tripled its missile arsenal and today has more than 30,000 rockets, some of which are capable of reaching almost anywhere within Israel and as far south as Dimona. Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and warned him that Security Council Resolution 1701 had collapsed and that UNIFIL was not effective in curbing Hizbullah's military build-up. "To our disappointment we are witnessing that over the past two years the number of missiles in Hizbullah's hands has doubled and maybe even tripled," Barak told Ban. "The ranges of the missiles have been extended and this is mainly due to close Syrian assistance."
| Iran | Israel | Islam | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom |


Official: Olmert to give Palestinians state before quitting WorldNet Daily (August 1, 2008) - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Palestinian Authority he intends to accelerate negotiations the next few weeks to reach a deal on paper outlining a Palestinian state before he steps down from office next month, a top PA negotiator told WND. "Papers are very important. It puts limits on the new prime minister. For example, the weak point of Israeli-Syrian negotiations are papers signed by former prime ministers that now must be abided during current negotiations," said the PA negotiator, speaking to WND on condition of anonymity. "Olmert told us his goal is to reach an agreement on paper," the negotiator said. He said the agreement will likely encompass understandings regarding the transfer of much of the West Bank to the Palestinians. He said he "hopes" the issue of Jerusalem is broached but that it might not be mentioned on paper beyond a declaration of agreement to negotiate further. Sending political shockwaves through the country, Olmert yesterday announced he will resign from office after his Kadima party holds internal elections next month to choose a new leader. He said he is stepping down due to a criminal investigation, described by police officials as "serious," in which he is accused of corruption and financial improprieties. But Olmert officials have been telling reporters here the prime minister intends to continue negotiating with the PA as long as he remains in office. One Olmert official told the Haaretz daily newspaper the prime minister intends to "reach an agreement with the Palestinians during the time he has left." "Any agreement he reaches with the Palestinians won't be a personal agreement, and he will make sure that the (new) Kadima leadership is briefed and on board," the official added. For his part, PA President Mahmoud Abbas' announced he would negotiate with any Israeli leader and that Olmert's departure shouldn't affect negotiations started at last November's U.S.-backed Annapolis conference, which seek to create a Palestinian state by January. Not everyone in Olmert's party was happy with the continued talks. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, considered a frontrunner for the Kadima leadership primary, said it would be wrong to reach agreements with the Palestinians on the core issues of the conflict while Olmert's government is teetering. "At this time of change in the government, we must not reach agreements on the core issues in negotiations with the Palestinians," Mofaz said. "Anything that is decided now is very problematic, because it is happening before the change in the government and against the background of instability on the Palestinian side."
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |


Managing Global Security per German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier Constance Cumbey (July 29, 2008) - This was a telling speech given to the latest "Managing Global Insecurity" conference. It was delivered at the Berlin site of the MGI July 14-15 Conference co-held by the Brookings Institution and the Bertelsmann Foundation. It was given by German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier. As it says, they are now 'singing from the same sheet." Having read and listened so very many times to Javier Solana's launching speech delivered March 21, 2007 in Washington, D.C., I cannot help but notice the deep similarities to the speech given now by one of the constituent foreign ministries to Javier Solana's European wide one. You may read Solana's launching speech last year by clicking here. As a former political speech writer, I wonder who composed this one? As you can see from the context, they have BIG PLANS for 2009. Stay tuned!

"Responsible Sovereignty in an Era of Transnational Threats", Rede von Bundesaußenminister Steinmeier anlässlich der Konferenz "Managing Global Insecurity" der Bertelsmann Stiftung, Berlin

"Mr. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mr. Pachauri, Javier [Solana], Mr. [Strobe] Talbott, Mr Thielen, Mr. Ischinger, Excellencies, distinguished friends, First of all, I would like to thank you most warmly for this opportunity to speak to you this evening. And I would like to extend a special welcome to our guests from abroad. I am delighted to welcome you to Berlin! This really is an impressive gathering of foreign and security experts tonight! Ladies and gentlemen, If we look back only 20 years, nobody could have predicted what this place, this area would look like today: This used to be a place of division, the Berlin Wall just a couple of hundred metres down the road. Now exchanges of free thoughts and ideas - such as ours tonight - are possible just across the street from where some of the most important institutions of communist East Germany used to have their seat: the Central Committee in the building now occupied by the Federal Foreign Office, the People"s Chamber and the State Council. There are signs that 20 years from now the world will have changed dramatically again. And I share with you, Mr Talbott, and your partners in the Managing Global Insecurity Project, the strong conviction that today we have an opportunity and a duty to try to shape this future. I really appreciate the undertaking led by the Brookings Institution and I am looking forward to the results and proposals you present. Ladies and gentlemen, as we all know now, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the world did not enter a phase of "capitalist peace". Neither did it mean the end of history, as some analysts and prophets used to put it. Instead, from the early nineties to the present day globalization has been the name of the game, shifting the traditional patterns of geo-economic and geo-political realities. The tragic events of 11 September 2001 and the ongoing struggle against fundamentalism [emphasis added] and international terrorism in Afghanistan and beyond is a constant reminder of the threats we still face today. And it seems that the scope of threats undermining peace and stability is widening. International terrorism has been joined by a new cluster of challenges, jolting the very basis of our system of global governance. Food insecurity, climate change, growing competition for resources as well as global financial turmoil are undermining global stability, international law and democratic transition worldwide. That has rarely been more obvious than in the last few months. And what these last few months have shown is that our current system of global governance is not sufficiently prepared to deal with these new challenges. We are in the midst of a global reorientation, a collective process of adjustment in reaction to these new challenges. We need to come up with new concepts to master them. 'Responsible Sovereignty' - as you term it in your project - refers to the most important part of this new approach: shared responsibility among the members of the international community, maximizing the opportunities and minimizing the risks brought about by the changed international situation. Indeed, we are singing from the same sheet. I have called in my recent speeches for a Global Responsibility Partnership in the world’s search for a new global order... One thing is clear: no country and none of the traditional alliances - present or future - can shoulder these tremendous tasks alone. By global we mean truly global. We cannot manage the new challenges without integrating the emerging powers of Asia, Latin America and Africa into rules-based global regimes. We need to think about possible designs for a renewed international framework of institutions. A framework that can handle both old and new threats, hard and so-called soft security issues. In all these challenges we either win together or we fail together. Therefore, we need to come up with a way to not only link up our capacities to anticipate and prevent threats but also to identify our joint political interests, to forge global consensus and to strengthen international cooperation. Responsibility and Cooperation - these are the key terms for shaping the 21st century. Ladies and gentlemen, This world needs a fresh approach to global governance - an approach that is more holistic, more inclusive, more proactive and more focused on the real challenges of the 21st century. And, ladies and gentlemen, the time is ripe to work towards such a new approach: 2009 is the year of opportunities. A newly elected President in Russia, a new US President, China after the Olympics: all these changes push open a window of opportunity to create a legitimate and effective world order for the 21st century. Let me just make one brief remark regarding the G8. In the coming year, the G8 plus 5 Heiligendamm process will be reviewed during Italy"s G8 Presidency. I have said before that we need to both deepen and broaden the outreach process. I advocate making the outreach format more inclusive - let’s make it a G 13! - and, at the same time, strengthening the conclave character of the G8. more...

| EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana | NewWorldOrder |


Are feds stockpiling survival food? WorldNet Daily (July 25, 2008) - A Wall Street Journal columnist has advised people to "start stockpiling food" and an ABC News Report says "there are worrying signs appearing in the United States where some … locals are beginning to hoard supplies." Now there's concern that the U.S. government may be competing with consumers for stocks of storable food. "We're told that the feds bought the entire container of canned butter when it hit the California docks. (Something's up!)," said officials at Best Prices Storable Foods in an advisory to customers. Spokesman Bruce Hopkins told WND he also has had trouble obtaining No. 10 cans of various products from one of the world's larger suppliers of food stores, Oregon Freeze Dry. He said a company official told him on the telephone when he discussed the status of his order that it was because the government had purchased massive quantities of products, leaving none for other customers. That, however, was denied by Oregon Freeze Dry. In a website statement, the company confirmed it cannot assure supplying some items to customers. "We regret to inform you Oregon Freeze Dry cannot satisfy all Mountain House #10 can orders and we have removed #10 cans from our website temporarily," the company tells frustrated customers. "The reason for this is sales of #10 cans have continued to increase. OFD is allocating as much production capacity as possible to this market segment, but we must maintain capacity for our other market segments as well." The company statement continues, "We want to clarify inaccurate information we’ve seen on the Internet. This situation is not due to sales to the government domestically or in Iraq. We do sell products to this market, but we also sell other market segments … The reason for this decision is solely due to an unprecedented sales spike in #10 cans sales. "We expect this situation to be necessary for several months although this isn’t a guarantee. We will update this information as soon as we know more. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience. We sincerely hope you will continue to be Mountain House customers in the future," the company statement said. But Hopkins wasn't backing away from his concerns. "The government just came in and said they're buying it. They did pay for it," he told WND about the summertime shipment of long-term storage butter. "They took it and no one else could have it. "We don't know why. The feds then went to freeze dried companies, and bought most of their canned stock," he said. more...
| America |


Sarkozy: no Mideast peace without sharing Jerusalem Arab News (June 23, 2008) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said an agreement between Palestinians and Israelis is possible, tomorrow, and that agreement would allow the two peoples to live side-by-side in peace and security. During their meeting on diplomatic affairs, Sarkozy stressed that the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should progress. "Those who will make peace in the end will be Israelis and Palestinians," the French president said. At the start of a three-day visit to Israel, Sarkozy said it is important for the Palestinians to establish a state of their own. Referring to the settlements, Sarkozy said that it must be said loudly the decision to build settlements in East Jerusalem is not good for Israel. "I believe that the path to peace lies there before us, that the path to peace is not blocked. I have come to bring my support and that of France and the European Union, your partners in the negotiations." Meantime, Sarkozy said according to the The Washington Post today that "there could be no Mideast peace unless Israel drops its refusal to cede sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians." This coincides with a report of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) that said that the total Palestinian refugeed is more than six million. According to UN organization UNRWA, Palestinian registered refugees totaled to 4.56 million at end of 2007, of whom about 41.7% in Jordan, 9.9% in Syria and 9.1% in Lebanon. About 1.5 million Palestinians refugee are estimated to be non-registered refugees.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom |