a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, whose government is
upon his shoulder: and his name is called the Messenger of great
counsel: for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to him.
His government shall be great, and of his peace there is no end: it
shall be upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish
it, and to support it with judgment and with righteousness, from
henceforth and forever. The seal of the Lord of hosts shall perform
Messenger Of Great Counsel
Greetings! First and foremost Merry Christmas. Although December 25th is not the actual date of Jesus' birth it is the day the world at least acknowledges Him. Better that than nothing.
With every passing week, watching the world fall into the abyss and deeper into the clutches of the enemy of our souls makes us even more grateful and thankful for Jesus, who He is and what He did for us.
Like Simeon said in Luke 2:30, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”
Thank God for Jesus!
With all that is happening in the world at this time, we actually had to cull the number of news articles we were planning on using this week. There were just too many!
There is one article we particularly wanted to bring to your attention this week, from a site called “The Economic Collapse”. We have published a few articles from that site in the past.
What is particularly interesting concerning this article is the author, Michael Snyder's, comparison between what is happening in Russia today with what happened in Germany, after World War l, and the founding of the Weimar Republic in 1919.
One reason we focus quite a bit on Russia, as you most likely know, is that it figures so prominently in End Time Bible prophecy. Russia being the land of Magog (Ezekiel 38) from which the anti-christ emerges.
The Weimar Republic was the government that was set up in Germany after World War l when Germany had been completely and utterly devastated.
It got to the point where the German Deutschmark had become so worthless that the story is often told about the man who was taking a wheel barrow full of money to go shopping. The man was robbed, the money dumped out of the wheel barrow and it was the wheel barrow that was stolen.
This is similar to what is happening in Russia today, although not yet to this extent. The following is a quote from the article titled, “A Full-Blown Economic Crisis Has Erupted In Russia”.
“As the collapse of the ruble has accelerated in recent days, we are seeing scenes in Russia that are reminiscent of the Weimar Republic. For example, just consider the following excerpt from an article that just appeared in the New York Times… Scenes that Russians hoped had receded into the past reappeared on the streets: Currency exchange signs blinked ever-changing digits, and Russians rushed to appliance stores to buy washing machines or televisions to unload rubles.”
The reason Russia's comparison to the Weimar Republic is important is that a great many historians believe that the economic devastation that engulfed Germany at the end of World War l, was the single most important factor that gave rise to the emergence of Adolf Hitler.
“There are many possibilities why Hitler rose to power. Many historians felt that the great depression plus the Wall Street crash were the main short term factors as to why Hitler gained power. Others argue that it was down to long term factors such as the impact and anger of the First World War (Treaty of Versailles) and the Weimar Republic which helped in Hitler's rise to power. Firstly, after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, it sent financial markets into despair worldwide. The US called in its loans to Germany, and the German economy collapsed. The number of unemployed grew; people starved on the streets. In the crisis, people wanted someone to blame, and looked to extreme solutions - Hitler offered them both, and Nazi success in the elections grew. Germans turned to Nazism because they were desperate. The number of Nazi seats in the Reichstag rose from 12 in 1928 to 230 in July, 1932.The German economy was one of the worst hit as most of their loans were from the US, which were now called in, as well as their exports, causing their industries to ground to a halt. This caused German workers to be laid off and soon afterwards the rise of inflation. Poverty began to set, and the middle class was especially hit as their standard of living began to fall.”
Marked by Teachers Sound similar to Russia today and the West?
Hitler promised to pull Germany out of the morass into which it had fallen, and he did.
In 1938, Time Magazine went so far as to name Adolf Hitler, as man of the year.
Winston Churchill, leader of war time Britain wrote; “I have always said that if Great Britain were defeated in a war I hoped we should find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among the nations. I am sorry, however, that he has not been mellowed by the great success that has attended him. The whole world would rejoice to see the Hitler of peace and tolerance, and nothing would adorn his name in world history so much as acts of magnanimity and of mercy and of pity to the forlorn and friendless, to the weak and poor.”
Hitler was hailed as a savior in Germany and greatly admired in many parts of the world with many followers and organizations in the United States, Britain, Europe, and many other parts of the world.
Could we be seeing history repeating itself but on a much grander scale with the West's planned destruction of the Russian ruble? Could the man of “fierce countenance” rise out of this planned collapse? Daniel 8:23 (The Septuagint version of the Bible uses the term “bold” countenance.)
It seems it could be very possible. Could it be Putin? He doesn't seem to have a fierce or bold countenance. Is it possible this could change with all the grief the West is giving him? Maybe.
“Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” Daniel 5:6
And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.” Luke 9:29
“Hitherto is the end of the word. I, Daniel, was much troubled with my thoughts, and my countenance was changed in me: but I kept the word in my heart.” Daniel 7:28 Douay-Rheims Bible
Or someone else all together?
At any rate we shouldn't have long to wait to find out.
After all, the entire 'modes operandi' of the coming antichrist system is to get the world to worship him through economic means. “He (the antichrist) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16-17
Today, we have an economic system that is based solely on fiat currency. A system that is imploding and crumbling. It is paper that is backed on nothing except the faith that man has in his government.
This has really only existed in its complete form since 1971, when the then president of the United States, Richard Nixon, took the United States off the gold standard.
“The Nixon Shock was a series of economic measures undertaken by United States President Richard Nixon in 1971, the most significant of which was the unilateral cancellation of the direct convertibility of the United States dollar to gold.” Wikipedia
Before this, in Europe, from the 16th through the 18th century was an economic system called Mercantilism. The goal of mercantilism was to run trade surpluses, so that gold and silver would pour into countries in exchange for the exports of their goods.
Of course, they have had other economic systems as well but these are two of the most recent.
Soon the world will have an economic system based on a tiny electronic chip which will be embedded in the right hand or forehead. Revelation 13:16-17
As a man who has spent most of his entire life working for the establishment of a New World Order, Henry Kissinger, said not too long ago: “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” It's happening in the world today!
“And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.” Job 2:4
Michael Snyder ends his article by saying, “The next great financial crisis is rapidly approaching, and 2015 promises to be the most “interesting” year that we have seen in ages.”
“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Have a great Christmas.
STORY THAT SPARKED HISTORIC REVIVAL NOW ON ITUNES
Rabbi Kaduri's stunning after-death message creating waves in Israel
Published: December 13, 2014
Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri claims to have met the Messiah in vision.
WASHINGTON – An unexpected Christian revival is taking place in Israel, with a Messianic Jewish leader using a Baptist preacher’s book to lead Jews to faith in Jesus as Savior
And now the story that sparked the revival, the story of Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri and the stunning message he left behind to be opened after his death, is available on iTunes.
The book, “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah: The Story of Yitzhak Kaduri and His Prophecies of The Endtime,” was released in November 2013 by WND Books. A movie was released at the same time.
Shortly after that, Zev Porat, the founder of Messiah of Israel Ministries, was captivated by the story of Kaduri told by Florida Baptist pastor Carl Gallups.
Porat said he then received a revelation from the Holy Spirit that he was to minister to non-Christians and help lead them to faith in Jesus Christ.
Gallups’ book tells the story of one of Israel’s most venerated spiritual leaders, Kaduri, who died at the age of 108 in 2006 and left behind a letter with instructions to open it one year after his death.
In 2007, two Israeli news publications, Israel Today and News First Class, reported Kaduri’s cryptic death note revealed the name of the long-awaited Messiah.
A year after the rabbi’s death, the note was reported to have been verified as authentic by some of Kaduri’s closest followers, and the contents were placed on Kaduri’s own website.
The purported Kaduri message proclaimed Messiah’s name was Yehoshua, or Jesus.
It shocked the religious world. Shortly thereafter the furor began. The note disappeared from Kaduri’s website. The media refused to report further on the matter. And the Kaduri family, and several others close to the Kaduri ministry, began to claim that the note was a forgery – a cruel joke.
But to Porat, and all those he has worked to bring to Jesus in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and throughout Israel, the book is a revelation.
“This amazing book is leading people to the written word of God. The Holy Spirit is opening their eyes to the truth of salvation available only through Messiah Yeshua (Jesus),” he said.
Porat told WND of a recent opportunity to evangelize using the book’s message.
The book, “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah,” is an amazing endtime evangelistic tool, said Porat.
“I have been preaching the Good News of Messiah Yeshua for many years and have never seen so many people drawn to the Word of God without rabbinic interpretations since this book about Rabbi Kaduri has hit the streets,” he said.
“Just a few days ago, we were in Ashdod, south of Israel, sharing the love of Yeshua and handing out the books and DVDs to the people who asked for them. We ran out the books and DVDs and still people were asking for more. Honestly, we did not expect this to happen! We give all the glory to the King of kings and Lord of lords Yeshua the Messiah. We are small people who serve a big God!
“A Jew named Uzi came up to me and said: ‘I heard you speaking to people about the New Covenant. That is blasphemy. As a Jew, how can you do this?’ I told Uzi, ‘The promise of a New Covenant is in the Jewish Bible! Let’s read together.’ Uzi was still upset and kept saying ‘It’s blasphemy – I won’t read it!’ It was at that moment I felt led by the Holy Spirit to take out the book, ‘The Rabbi Who Found Messiah.’ When Uzi saw the picture of Rabbi Kaduri on the cover, he immediately recognized Kaduri and was drawn like a magnet to the book. This is the same reaction that so many in Israel have to the book. Uzi asked me: ‘What is the book about?’ I said to him, ‘So you know Rabbi Kaduri?’ Uzi replied, ‘He was the greatest rabbi ever. Some say since the time of Moses no one has been greater.’ I then told Uzi, ‘The book is about Rabbi Kaduri’s life and how he met the Messiah of Israel.’”
Porat told WND: “It was amazing that Uzi was so upset at the beginning and refused to read anything in the Bible about the New Covenant, but he was now totally captivated by the book about Rabbi Kaduri. He then wanted to see in the Bible where it talked about a New Covenant. I took him to Jeremiah 31: 31-34.”
Porat said he read the passage to him in Hebrew, which says:
31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Porat wasn’t done: “I then took Uzi to Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, again we read the passages in Hebrew. Uzi was overwhelmed. He became speechless. I could see the Holy Spirit of God moving in Uzi’s life. It was a supernatural experience! He went from yelling at me and accusing me of blasphemy and declaring that the concept of the New Covenant was not Jewish – to reading the scriptures and thinking about the reality of the New Covenant and Yeshua as Messiah – and then studying the Word of God with me for hours! Over and over, this is how the Lord is using the book ‘The Rabbi Who Found Messiah’ to lead Jews to the scriptures and then to the gospel – and often to Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord!”
He continued: “I told Uzi, ‘Rabbi Kaduri believed that Yeshua is the Messiah. If you want to be a completed Jew, this is the only way – through Jesus Christ.’ Uzi replied, ‘This is so much to grasp but why is it that no one knows about it? Tell me.’ I answered, ‘The rabbis don’t want you to see this so they suppress the truth.’ It is amazing how many times this question is asked of me, and how often I have to give this answer. The Jewish people of Israel are astounded, and some of them quite upset, when they learn that the rabbis have kept this amazing information from them.”
Noting the dangers of evangelizing in Israel, Porat said: “We are often threatened, by the people and the rabbis, for taking the gospel of Jesus into the streets of Israel – but also especially for revealing Rabbi Kaduri’s note about Yeshua to the people. If it were not for the book written by Carl Gallups and the movie produced by WND Films, we could not get this message out so powerfully. Now, the people are seeing the truth of this story with their own eyes.”
He continued, detailing the levels of censorship surrounding the revelations of Kaduri in Israel.
“I knew about the story when it actually happened. Rabbinical members of my family knew Rabbi Kaduri personally,” he told WND. “I had been telling people about Kaduri’s revelation – but the rabbis and the press had stopped the story from being public. Now the book and the movie have opened the door to the truth!”
Gallups told WND he continues to be astounded by Porat’s tenacity in using his book as a tool of evangelism in Israel.
“I believe Zev has an amazing anointing upon him. He also has a boldness that is absolutely biblical in nature. He fearlessly takes the good news that Yeshua is savior, Lord, and Messiah into the public market places and streets of Israel. For this, he is subjected to much persecution and reviling. But, he continues on,” said Gallups.
Gallups contined: “But you see, Zev is like the early New Testament Christians! He was an orthodox Jew. His family and lineage comes entirely from orthodox and rabbinical Judaism. Zev was studying to be a rabbi. All of his grandfathers and great-grandfathers were rabbis. They even had connections with Rabbi Kaduri himself. This is why his conversion and preaching is so much more powerful! He is like Peter and John standing before the Sanhedrin in Acts chapter 4 declaring, ‘We can’t help but to speak out in the name of Jesus! We are only declaring what we have seen and heard!’”
As a companion to “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah,” WND Films has released a documentary featuring Gallups.
Gallups, an author, senior pastor, radio talk-show host and former law enforcement officer, used his biblical knowledge and journalistic and investigative skills to explore the matter inside and out. His thorough reporting of the facts of the case leaves people astounded.
“The feedback from people who have read the book and/or seen the movie has been overwhelmingly positive,” Gallups said.
“The only negative feedback is from people who falsely assume the conclusions they believe the book may draw,” he said. “But, they haven’t read it yet. I think most people will be pleasantly and greatly surprised when they read through the book. There are some, however, who would prefer this story not get out to the world.”
Chuck Missler, founder of the Christian ministry Koinonia House, says Gallups’ book “explodes one of the biggest bombshells of our lifetime.”
“The implications of these astonishing declarations from the most venerated ultra-orthodox rabbi in Israel impacts every one of us – not just those of the traditional Jewish faith. This is a must-read for anyone who takes God seriously,” he said.
THE JERUSALEM POST
Netanyahu: We expect the EU to put Hamas back on the terror blacklist immediately
Bennett says that terror which receives a justification in Tel Aviv will quickly spread to London, Paris and Brussels; Edelstein says EU ruling "grants a prize to extremist, Islamic terror."
By HERB KEINON 12/17/2014 12:41
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.. (photo credit:REUTERS)
Israel reacted furiously on Wednesday to the European Court of Justice’s decision to take Hamas off the EU’s list of terrorist organization, rejecting explanations that this was just a technical step that will be overturned before it is implemented.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before a meeting with Joni Ernst, the newly elected Republican senator from Iowa, called it one example of “staggering” European “hypocrisy.”
Hamas, Netanyahu said, “has committed countless war crimes and countless terror acts. It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing. But we in Israel, we’ve learned. We’ll continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who recently criticized Netanyahu for not taking a diplomatic initiative to rebuff anti-Israel moves internationally, said that to take Hamas off the list for “technical reasons” at a time when terrorism was on the rise throughout the world, and not only in the Middle East, was a “wrong decision” that sends exactly the wrong message.
Shortly after the angry reactions coming from Jerusalem, the EU’s External Action Service (EEAS), essentially the EU’s foreign service, said the EU court’s decision earlier in the day was a legal, not a political, decision that will likely be appealed.
The court annulled the bloc’s decision from 2003 to keep Hamas on a list of terrorist organizations, but temporarily maintained the measures for a period of three months or until an appeal is registered. The courts said that the evidence provided to place the organization on the list did not meet EU standards, and was based on media and Internet reports.
According to the statement from the EEAS, which is headed by EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini, “This legal ruling is clearly based on procedural grounds and it does not imply any assessment by the court of the substantive reasons for the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.”
This is “a legal ruling of a court, not a political decision taken by the EU governments.
The EU continues to uphold the Quartet principles,” the statement read.
The Quartet principles ban engagement with Hamas until it forswears terrorism, recognizes Israel and accepts previous Israeli- Palestinian agreements.
The EEAS said that the EU institutions were carefully studying the ruling and “will decide on the options open to them. They will, in due course, take appropriate remedial action, including any eventual appeal to the ruling. In case of an appeal the restrictive measures remain in place.”
The statement was released soon after Jerusalem responded angrily to the decision, and after Netanyahu said Israel was “not satisfied” with the explanations of the EU that Hamas’s removal is only a technical matter.
Two central EU countries have already been working on a dossier providing the court with the evidence that will satisfy it.
“The burden of proof is on the EU and we expect them to immediately return Hamas to the list where everyone realizes they should be,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization whose charter says that its aim is to destroy Israel. We will continue to fight it with determination and strength so that it will never realize its aims.”
The British Foreign Office issued a statement saying that the UK will work to ensure that Hamas remains on the EU’s terrorist list.
According to the statement, the court’s judgment “is procedural and does not mean the EU and UK have changed their position on Hamas. The effects of the EU Hamas listing, including asset freezes, remain in place. We are studying the detail of the judgment carefully, and will work with partners to ensure that the Hamas listing at the EU is maintained.
Hamas’s military wing has been proscribed in the UK since 2001 under separate UK legislation.
It is not affected by today’s EU General Court judgment.”
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that if anyone thinks that sacrificing Israel can save Europe, they are mistaken.
“The corrupt law of the EU court gives license for the shedding of Jewish blood everywhere and demonstrates the loss of a moral path,” he said.
“Israel is strong and can defend itself from its enemies, but Europe itself will be the one to suffer from the strengthening of terrorist organizations,” he added.
Terrorism that receives a justification in Tel Aviv will quickly spread to London, Paris and Brussels, Bennett said.
Hatnua chairwoman Tzipi Livni called the court’s move a “grave mistake,” and said Hamas was an “extreme Islamic religious terrorist organization that must be fought with all force.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said the European Union “must have lost its mind.” The decision displays “inflexibility, moral distortion and grants a prize to the extremist Islamic terror that is currently plaguing the entire world, including Europe itself,” Edelstein said.
The Knesset speaker said that he hopes the “injustice” will be remedied quickly.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
Angelina Jolie ‘Prayed for a Miracle’ on ‘Unbroken’ Film Set
By Benge Nsenduluka,
December 8, 2014
Angelina Jolie, though not religious, discovered the power of prayer while on set of her forthcoming film “Unbroken,” thanks to her unlikely bond with a WWII hero and devout Christian.
Louis Zamperini, who died of pneumonia at age 97 on July 2, was the Olympian runner and prisoner of war survivor who inspired Jolie’s latest directorial debut. The film is a war drama based on the best-selling book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.
The born-again Christian’s incredible bond with the 39-year-old Academy award- winning actress not only led her to create a film about his remarkable life journey, but ultimately would also propel her closer to faith.
While directing one particular scene in New South Wales, Australia, Jolie found herself in desperate need of a miracle.
“She was not a person of faith and had never prayed before but she found herself at the very last scene of the movie ... they needed sunlight to shoot this very important scene and there had been a storm that had been going for a while,” Zamperini’s daughter Cynthia Garris said at a press conference in New York on Friday.
“[Angelina] said ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do so I’ll do what Louie would do.’ She got on her knees and she prayed for a miracle ... everybody saw it,” she recalled. “It stopped raining. The sun came out, a rainbow came out, she said, ‘let’s get this take’ [and] they shot the take. When she said ‘cut,’ it started to rain again.”
The extraordinary moment, according to Garris, was a testament to her late father’s faith and the ability of his compelling story to impact even the most irreligious people.
“She was moved by my father’s faith to try that and that’s what he wants for people to get from the movie,” Garris explained. “I’ll tell you, when my father died we were all with him in the hospital. [Angelina] came about 45 minutes later and she was pointing above saying ‘I know he’s with us, I know he’s there with God.’ I think maybe in God’s plan for Angelina, she was supposed to find Louie and make this movie to find her way to a life that would encompass the Almighty.”
Zamperini survived a number of horrendous ordeals throughout his life, including living across the Pacific in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash. He also endured unspeakable torture at the hands of the Japanese navy after being sent to a P.O.W. camp.
It was after reluctantly attending a crusade led by evangelist Billy Graham in 1949 that Zamperini began his Christian walk and through his faith, he was able to forgive his captors and later overcome his struggles, including PTSD.
Jolie recently spoke about her decision not to delve deeply into Zamperini’s Christian faith walk in the film. She explained that it was the war hero himself who requested that the faith theme be “universal” in a bid to appeal to a broad audience.
“We made it universal, not specific to one faith, and that was something that was agreed upon with Louie,” Jolie said. “He said he wanted the message to reach everyone. He said to make faith and forgiveness universal ... he said this is about reaching everyone and this should speak to everyone ... If you were looking for symbolism and miracles in the film you will see them.”
Zamperini’s children attested to Jolie’s statement and applauded the Hollywood filmmaker’s cautious retelling of their late father’s story.
“We’re very happy with it,” said Garris, with her brother Luke Zamperini adding, “I absolutely love this film!”
CHRISTIANS ON VERGE OF EXTINCTION IN IRAQ
'We encourage people to pray for the safety of these families and for these kids'
Published: December 13, 2014
Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry says Christians are on the verge of extinction in Iraq but also that the intense persecution started long before the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
Open Doors USA is one of the leading international organizations assisting persecuted Christians around the world. It has a team actively involved inside Iraq, but Curry admits ISIS clearly has believers there running for their lives.
“I think they’ve largely succeeded in driving out Christians in many of these areas to the north of Baghdad,” he said.
While ISIS presents the most intense and most immediate threat to Christians in Iraq, Curry said Christians have been targeted ever since the Iraq War began in 2003.
“Christianity has been under attack for a long time in Iraq. This has been more than just what’s happened this summer. Over the last 10 years, you’ve gone from what amounts to about a million Christians in Iraq to maybe a few thousand by some of our estimates,” said Curry, who added that physical conditions for Iraqi Christians are very bleak.
“Our team is telling me on a daily basis that it’s just very uncertain for these folks,” he said. “Many of them moved two and three times even before the Islamic State. With that new (ISIS) push since this summer, there’s a feeling that maybe there isn’t a place for Christians in Iraq. So that’s very discouraging to them.”
Life for Christians throughout much of the Middle East carries dangers far beyond ISIS and much closer to home. Curry said Islamic culture poses a major threat to believers.
“Culturally, there are some issues that these Muslim countries are facing,” Curry said. “A lot of times, when you have someone from the Muslim faith who has converted to Christianity, there’s pressure within the family. They can be ostracized. So you see not just violent outbursts like we’ve seen with Islamic State, but overall within the region there are more underground points of pressure on Christians or people who are seeking to convert their faith.”
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Pope Francis visited Turkey and, along with the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, urged Muslim clerics and political leaders to promote religious tolerance and to protect religious minorities in their countries. Curry is thrilled to see the pope speak out on the issue and believes is could very well do some good.
“I think he carries a lot of influence, and I think he’s speaking for a lot of people that it is something that is important to healthy society, that we honor religious minorities,” Curry said. “In this case, it’s Christians within a Muslim context, but in many countries around the world religious minorities are persecuted, and I don’t think it makes for a good society. I know it’s not healthy.”
Will a dialogue with Muslim leaders actually lead to better treatment of Christians in Muslim countries? Curry believes it can.
“I think we’re wrong if we think that everybody within the Muslim community is reflected in the Islamic State,” he said. “This is a splinter group. There are Muslims who would be willing to talk about, and I think would welcome, protection of religious minorities within their country. Remember, in some countries like India, Muslims are persecuted for their faith.”
Curry said there are two things Americans can do to assist the persecuted Christians in Iraq and elsewhere. The first is to pray for them.
“We encourage people to pray for the safety of these families and for these kids, that some security and stability comes to the region,” he said. “We certainly are praying for that.”
Donations are also welcome to pay for food, water and clothing for Christians on the run as winter sets in. Those interested can visit OpenDoorsUSA.org.
DEATH PENALTY FOR SMUGGLING BIBLES?
Report says new law on the books
Published: December 16, 2014
A prisoner gets publicly executed in ‘chop chop square’ in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Unconfirmed reports of a new decree imposing the death penalty on anyone caught smuggling Bibles into Saudi Arabia has many Christian ministries and support groups on edge.
Practicing any religion other than Islam has long been illegal in the desert kingdom, and that includes rules against foreigners bringing in any type of religious material that does not conform to the royal family’s strict Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam. Foreign nationals living in Saudi Arabia are often detained for purely religious reasons, sometimes resulting in deportation.
But applying capital punishment, which in Saudi Arabia often means death by beheading, to Bible smugglers would signal a new level of persecution even for the Saudis.
Several Christian missionaries said they were seeking to confirm a recent report by the Virginia-based Heart Cry Missionary Society that a new death penalty law has been adopted citing an “official statement” in Arabic on a Coptic Christian website called CoptsToday.
The law reportedly extends to the importing of all illegal drugs and “all publications that have a prejudice to any other religious beliefs other than Islam.”
No response from Saudi embassy
WND made three requests via phone and email to Saudi Arabia’s U.S. Embassy press officer in Washington asking for confirmation or denial of the report. A woman at the Saudi Embassy who identified herself only by her first name, Cecelia, said she made sure all three emails were received by press officer Nail al-Jubeir. He has not responded.
“Sometimes they don’t want to say anything (to the media),” Cecelia told WND.
Saudi sources at the United Nations also refused to confirm or deny the report.
According to the 2005 International Religious Freedom Report, cited on the U.S. State Department’s website, Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records in the world on religious liberty.
The Saudi regime, considered an important ally of the United States, which annually showers the Islamic country with billions of dollars worth of military aid, allows no churches to function as independent Christian entities on its soil. The kingdom also persecutes foreign workers living in the country who are not of the Islamic faith. Up to 1 million Christians, many of them from the Philippines, Ethiopia and Egypt, live in Saudi Arabia as guest workers.
The 2005 report cited the following facts with regard to possession of Bibles or other “illegal contraband” in the Saudi kingdom:
“Customs officials routinely open mail and shipments to search for contraband, including Sunni printed material deemed incompatible with the Salafi tradition of Islam, Shi’a religious materials, and non-Muslim materials, such as Bibles and religious videotapes. Such materials are subject to confiscation, although rules appear to be applied arbitrarily.
“Sunni Islamic religious education is mandatory in public schools at all levels. Regardless of which Islamic tradition their families adhere to, all public school children receive religious instruction that conforms to the Salafi tradition of Islam. Non-Muslim students in private schools are not required to study Islam. Private religious schools are not permitted for non-Muslims or for Muslims adhering to non-Salafi traditions of Islam.”
Raids on churches
Raids on underground churches are a continuous threat in Saudi Arabia, and only some of the raids get leaked to the Western religious press.
As recently as September, Saudi officials detained 30 Christians for worshiping in an underground house church, reported BosNewsLife.
The same news agency reported that 53 Ethiopian Christians, mostly women, were detained in 2013 after attending a worship service in a private home.
And in August 2012, the Saudi kingdom deported 35 Ethiopian Christians after they had been jailed for nearly nine months for holding a private prayer vigil, BosNewsLife reported.
WND reported last year that Saudi Arabian Airlines refused to sell tickets to Jewish passengers because Jews are not allowed in the country.
World Watch List, published by Open Doors Ministry, ranks Saudi Arabia as the world’s sixth most repressive country for Christians in its 2014 report. The only countries listed as more hostile to Christianity are Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and North Korea. Syria and Iraq surpassed Saudi Arabia on the list this year because of the rise of the Islamic State, also called ISIS. Of the world’s 14 most repressive nations, 13 of them are Islamic regimes or have major territories controlled by Muslim rebels. North Korea is the lone exception with its communist dictatorship.
“The open practice of any religion other than Islam is forbidden here, and conversion to another faith is punishable by death,” says the Open Doors in its description of Saudi Arabia. “Most Christians are ex-pats from Asia or Africa. Muslim-background believers run the risk of honor killing if their faith is discovered. Yet a small but growing number of Muslims are coming to Christ and sharing their faith on the internet and satellite TV.”
In 2012, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, the nation’s highest official of religious law, declared that all churches across the Middle East should be destroyed. The Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage asked Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah to clarify his controversial statement and he reportedly replied that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”
He cited the prophet Muhammad, who said the Arabian Peninsula is to exist under only one religion.
President Obama met with Saudi King Abdullah on March 28 at the king’s desert camp 35 miles northeast of Riyadh. Following that meeting, Obama took heat from human rights activists for not bringing up the persecution of Christians and other minorities during his talks with the Saudi leader, despite a letter from members of Congress urging him to do so.
Todd Nettleton, director of public relations for Voice of the Martyrs, said that ministry, which ministers to persecuted Christians worldwide, had heard that a death penalty law had been proposed for Bible smuggling, but he was still trying to confirm whether it had been approved by the king.
“We did have some information come to us about 10 days ago that this was in the process,” Nettleton said. “We just have not been able to confirm if the proposed law has become the law of the land.”
Joel Richardson, author of “The Islamic Antichrist” and a documentary filmmaker who has recently spent a lot of time in the Middle East filming “End Times Eyewitness,” said it would not be surprising if such a decree were enacted in the Saudi Kingdom, which has a history of brutal treatment of religious dissidents.
“This is evidence of the fact that the Saudi government is afraid of the impact of Christianity,” Richardson said. “If Muslims were truly confident that their religion was true, they wouldn’t be afraid of people reading the Bible.”
Muhammad instructed Muslims to read Bible
Muhammad, to the surprise of many Christians, instructed his followers that, if they have doubts about the validity of his teachings, they should compare them to the teachings found in the Bible (see Surah 10:94-95; 16:43).
And many Muslims may be taking him up on that challenge, Richardson said.
His new documentary film, “End Times Eyewitness,” explores recent reports of revival in several Middle Eastern Muslim nations.
“For the past 10 years, we’ve seen one of the fastest-growing Christian movements in the world going on in the country of Iran, and in Egypt we’re getting profound testimonies about revivals as we are in the north of Iraq,” he said.
The prophecy of Isaiah 19 speaks of revival breaking out in large parts of the Muslim world including Egypt and the larger Middle East. The fact that it is now occurring is significant, Richardson believes.
“You’ve got Chaldean Catholics, Orthodox Assyrians, and obviously those are the largest numbers of Christians. And, of course, in Egypt they have the Coptic Christians,” he said. “What we’re seeing in Egypt, however, is the Catholics and Orthodox and Evangelicals coming together to pray together. Under persecution, a lot of the Christians are coming together. The Coptic priests are coming together and praying for the greater body of believers.”
Besides being staunch enemies of Christianity in all its forms, Richardson said members of the Saudi royal family are among the most hypocritical Muslim leaders in the Middle East.
Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a wealthy jet-setter who owns a significant stake in Fox News among many other Western companies, came to the United States about five years ago with a message that more tolerance of Islam was needed in the U.S.
“He lectured us that we need to be more tolerant of Islam,” Richardson said. “We always get these lectures by Muslim leaders, yet here we are in the heart of Islam, in Mecca and Medina, and they’re making it illegal simply to bring a Bible into the country. Again, the hypocrisy of the Muslim world is on full display, and people need to know this.”
No quid pro quo on interfaith prayer
WND reported last month that the Washington National Cathedral hosted its first-ever Muslim-led prayer service, a gesture that many American Christians are still waiting to see reciprocated.
“They always welcome our overtures, but they never reciprocate,” Richardson said.
WND contacted the imam, Ebrahim Rasool, who led the Nov. 14 jummah service at the National Cathedral and asked him if he would work to reciprocate with a Christian-led prayer service in a mosque. Rasool did not respond to WND’s repeated phone calls and emails.
Richardson’s film also explores the historical and prophetic significance of Christian martyrdom. He sees the blood of the martyrs as the seed of the Christian church.
“And even if the Saudis make it illegal to bring in a Bible, the new technologies make it impossible to be stopped, and people will continue to smuggle Bibles,” he said. “And with addition by subtraction, i.e. martyrdom, it becomes multiplication. Through martyrdom, the church grows, and that’s how it’s always been, and we’re not afraid of losing our lives. The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword.”
Saudi Arabia has beheaded more people than ISIS over the last two years, most of them for criminal offenses, in what’s known as “chop-chop square,” a public space in Riyadh. A minor theft charge can result in the amputation of one’s hand, according to Saudi Arabia’s strict adherence to Shariah law. A 2013 article in London’s Daily Express reported that a man was scheduled to have his spinal cord severed for paralyzing a friend when he was 14 years old.
“If they’re going to execute people now for smuggling Bibles, then there you have the fulfillment of Revelation 6:9,” Richardson said.
MOROCCO WORLD NEWS
The First People
Zakaria Bziker is a student at Ibn-Tofail University (Kenitra, Morocco), currently pursuing a master’s degree in Education. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in General Linguistics. His email is: email@example.com
Kenitra – “Why should we be so arrogant as to assume that we’re the first homo-sapiens to walk the earth?” (J.J. Abrams et al., 2010)
No one remembers one’s moment of birth and neither does humanity. The beginning of man is a scientific mystery. This article, however, is not about how man came to be, but about shortly after that; it is about the dawn of humanity, a missing chapter in human history. People, in this forgotten chapter, mapped the earth and sky long before there were ancient Egyptians or Jews. They are not to be confused with Australopithecus, Homo Habilis, or Homo Ergaster. Instead, they are remembered by ancients as ‘gods’ because it is they who first engineered societies, leaving baffling traces on earth.
The idea of how humanity’s progress began is relative. Before the enlightenment, human civilizations throughout history viewed the past as glorious and expected the future to simply resemble and repeat the past. Mankind did not think highly of themselves until after Kant declared the motto “Sapere aude,” – dare to think for yourself. But the question remains: what is it in our distant past that made the ancients behold it with such impressiveness?
Scientific and technological progresses do not necessarily take thousands of years. The pace can be exponential, slow, or even regressive – exponential through accidental breakthroughs and inventions, e.g. the 20th century, but slow when impeded by a major force such as the Roman church or the Black Death that prolonged the dark ages for a century. Regression occurs due to a massive loss of knowledge, e.g. the burning of the Alexandria Library in 391 A.D. The idea that scientific and technological development takes millennia is an impression that we get from our assessment of the known history. Progress is inevitable and desirable for any civilization.
The progress of science and technology changes the way we live presently as well as how we see the past and future. Our expectations of the future change based partly on the breakthroughs we make and the pace of the scientific development. Our visions of the past, too, change as we develop new ways of investigating facts. The current worldview of the past is that things were primitive, and that mankind emerged from a state of barbarism to become smarter and more capable. However, emerging evidence suggests otherwise beginning with Plato’s account of Atlantis, although, across the past two millennia, his account was considered fictional. In 1882, U.S. Congressman Ignatius Loyola Donnelly published his book ‘Atlantis: The Antediluvian World’ in which he gathers the then-available evidence in favor of an early mighty civilization that was far more advanced than they had any right to be. He mainly studied ancient myths and believed Plato’s account of Atlantis to be historically accurate.
Forty-seven years later, in 1929, a medieval map called Piri Reis was found at the Imperial Palace library in Constantinople (Istanbul). This map inexplicably depicts, with unprecedented fine details, the continents of South America and Antarctica corresponding to present longitude and latitude albeit it dates back to 1513. It was not until after the Piri Reis map discovery that other maps of high precision started emerging, eg: the Ribero maps 1520-30, the Ortelius map 1570, and the Wright-Molyneux map 1599 (McIntosh, 2000:59).
The Piri Reis map was thought to have been based on Columbus’ explorations, though he never surveyed South America. Later, Charles Hapgood studied the map intensively and concluded that a remote and advanced civilization had existed and mapped the unexplored parts of the world before Columbus’ time (Hapgood, 1966). Hapgood’s unorthodox theory of earth crustal displacement also accounts for a preexistent civilized culture in Antarctica. Albert Einstein found that Hapgood’s ideas had scientific worth (Einstein, 1953).
Years later in 1978, Brad Steiger’s book ‘Worlds Before Our Own’ rekindled the issue of past advanced societies. Steiger studied the OPA (out-of-place artifacts) to support his theory which challenged the well-accepted idea that if humans were primitive in the past, common sense then says the deeper one digs down into the earth the more un-advanced artifacts one finds. What he actually found was that some advanced human artifacts are located in the lowest primordial geologic strata whereas primitive ones are located in upper strata (thus labeled Out-of-Place Artifacts). He also presented evidence that strongly suggests the cohabitation of dinosaurs and humans. Steiger’s unconventional book fueled other subsequent works such as Dead Men’s Secrets (1986), Forbidden Archaeology (1993), The Orion Mystery (1993), Fingerprints of the Gods (1995), and Technology of the Gods (1999). But, Steiger’s book was also met with a great deal of criticism.
Today, theories such as Steiger’s, along with supporting evidence, call into question the current worldview of the first people. When one subscribes to this unconventional and unaccepted theory of history, one is then driven to speculate two possible past events that put an end to these historical societies. Either they were so advanced that they destroyed themselves, or they were destroyed by a global cataclysm from which a few survived. The first case seems less probable than the second although there might be some clues that imply ancient warfare.
“When the first atomic bomb exploded in New Mexico, the desert sand turned to fused green glass. This fact, according to the magazine Free World, has given certain archaeologists a turn. They have been digging in the ancient Euphrates Valley and have uncovered a layer of agrarian culture 8,000 years old, and a layer of herdsman culture much older, and a still older caveman culture. Recently, they reached another layer, a layer of fused green glass” (New York Herald Tribune, 1947)
The assumption of uniformitarianism makes scientists attribute the current features of the earth surface to a slow process that took millions of years. The alternative view however suggests that these features are the result of a worldwide cataclysm that took place mere thousands of years ago. In this regard, three pieces of evidence in favor of the past cataclysm will be discussed.
First, we have the problem of the carbon dating method. Most geologists use carbon dating to determine the age of fossils and geologic strata. The reliability of this method requires a balance between the forming and decaying of radioactive carbon that has been maintaining its equilibrium for millions of years in earth’s atmosphere. However, carbon’s forming and decaying has not even yet reached equilibrium on earth for the amount of C14 that is being produced is greater than that which is being decayed. As a result, we cannot use today’s C14 ratio (0.0000765%) in the atmosphere as a benchmark to measure the presence of C14 in ancient fossils. Plus, it is hopeless to correlate earth’s epochs with the geologic column since the latter is based on fiction (Huse, 1983:15; Smith, 2012:242). Vertical petrified trees are the whistleblower that exposes the invalidity of the geologic column. Many petrified trees running across multiple geological strata have been observed in nature which could only suggest that these strata formed in a short period of time, a result of a rapid cataclysmal sedimentation for example, but not millions of years (Harold 1969; 1971, Rupke, N.A, 1970).
Secondly, there is scientific evidence of a past near-extinction event, also known as population bottleneck event. The two researchers William Amos and J.I. Hoffman from University of Cambridge found genetic evidence for a sudden and drastic decline of the world population to a very small number of people thousands of years ago (Amos & Hoffman, 2010:131-7). This is speculated to be caused by a worldwide cataclysm.
Third, there are stunning similarities among several ancient myths and legends of different people across the globe on the event of a past global catastrophe, more specifically a global flood similar to the one mentioned in both Biblical and Qur’anic accounts. Some of these myths are Sumerian creation myth (ca. 1600 B.C.), Ancient Greek flood myths, ancient myths of Kwaya, Mbuti, Maasai, Mandin, and Yoruba people in Africa, Yu the Great (ca. 2200 B.C.) and Nüwa in China, Tiddalik in Australia, Hopi mythology in North America, Unu Pachakuti myth of the Incas in South America and this is not the end of the list for there are more than 500 ancient deluge legends (Cox, 1997:198; Dey, 2012: 112; Wohl, 2000:273; LaViolette, 2005: 235). These myths are traces of a global collective memory referring to an actual event in the distant past.
Myths are fossils of history (Gray, 2004:15). They preserve history in ways that might not make sense to us. The dialogues of Plato regarding Atlantis are the most vivid memory of antediluvian societies we have today. Some myths that still recall some faint memories of the golden age depict these societies with magic and supernatural powers. Take the example of the Sanskrit epic of vimanas about a mythological flying machine. Recently, some researchers have immersed themselves into studying ancient myths from this perspective (ex: Max Igan, 2005), and they have found rather curious results.
Critical to the discussion of ancient advanced societies is concrete evidence to support the current bold claim of highly advanced societies in prehistory. The Nobel Prize medalist and chemist Dr. Melvin Cook concludes that the earth underground oil deposits were formed as a result of a sudden and rapid burial of organic materials just a few thousands years ago (Cook, 1966; 1967). Thus, it could be the case that the oil deposits are ancient buried cities that turned into oil due to the sudden sedimentation and high pressure since the deluge would have had ruined and buried everything. In that sense, we might be burning the evidence simply by running an errand in a car.
The matter of concrete evidence requires speculation. How much do we really know about earth? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The evidence could be staring us in the face but we are just blinded due to the way we perceive and interpret facts. Due to a lack of perspective, we may not look for or see the evidence that is before us. There are, however, some tantalizing hints that ought to be considered seriously.
First, we must acknowledge that the biggest manmade edifices on earth are concrete evidence and their construction and purpose are still unexplained. For thousands of years, the Great Pyramid of Khufu had been the tallest structure on earth until the Empire State Building skyscraper was completed in 1931, and still is “the most colossal single building ever erected on the planet” (britannica.com). It is aligned to true geodetic North and its location is found to be the center of the earth landmass. This sort of precision entails a comprehensive knowledge of earth geography, e.g. Mercator projection, which is something very unexpected of ancient Egypt (Bauer, 2007:86). In addition to that, engineers and scientists conclude that it is impossible to replicate the great pyramid despite the sophisticated technology we have nowadays given the structure’s immensity and staggering precision (Fix, 1984; West, 1993; Hancock, 1995; Rux, 1996: 265; Dunn, 1998; Amato, 2007:4; Atiya & Lamis, 2007:3; Beaudoin & Joseph, 2007:54; Sheldon, 2009:146-147; Cadose, 2012:75).
“Scientists have conceded that modern man cannot build a great pyramid that would retain its shape for thousands of years without sagging under its own weight.” (Gray, 2004:172)
The engineer Markus Schulte, however, speculates that if it were possible to replicate the Great Pyramid alone, it would today cost us some $35 billion (Malkowski, 2010:117). Investing such money in such colossal structure, that is not even habitable, and without any expected profit, is something we certainly would not do today. So the question of ‘how was it built?’ is of less importance to ‘why was it built?’
One of the latest theories that seems to explain why the Giza pyramids were built is the Orion Correlation theory (1993) advanced by Robert Bauval. The theory suggests that the three pyramids at Giza mirror the three stars in the Orion constellation, also known as Orion’s belt, and the position of the Nile River in relation to the pyramids mirrors the position of the Milky Way galaxy in relation to the Orion constellation. Bauval observes that the shaft within the Great Pyramid was, in the past, oriented towards the middle star of Orion’s belt which is the star representing the same pyramid. However, that is not all there is to the theory. Bauval’s theory does not make much sense without taking into consideration the astronomical phenomenon called precession of the equinoxes, also called the Great Year or the Platonic Year. This phenomenon is plainly earth’s third cycle after the daily and annual ones. The cycle is either caused by the slow wobbling of the earth due to the moon gravitational pull or by the whole solar system moving in a helical orbit. Its implication is that the night sky stars move backward across the eons. As a result, the position of constellations in the night sky for the ancient is not the same as of their position nowadays. Every time the sun rises in the morning of the vernal equinoxes (March 20th and September 22nd), the background constellation on the horizon of that morning is one of the Zodiac constellations. One cycle is completed when the entire Zodiac constellations come to pass. The NASA estimates the cycle to last 25,800 years making each constellation last 2,125 years in the morning of the vernal equinoxes.
So how is that information relevant to the Giza plateau? Well, in the immediate vicinity of the pyramids we have the Sphinx which faces east. The Sphinx shape seems to resemble a lion, and thus Bauval suggests that it symbolizes the Zodiac constellation of Leo. In the morning of the equinoxes, the Sphinx, in the present era, faces the constellation of Pieces and is slightly shifting towards the constellation of Aquarius, but by running a computer backward simulation of the earth precession, we find that the Sphinx at some point in the remote past used to face the constellation of Leo from 10,970 to 8810 B.C. Now the eureka moment is when we line up the shaft inside the Great pyramid with the middle star of Orion’s belt in that epoch and at last we have an exact date of around 10,450 B.C. So all of a sudden the pyramids are no longer tombs but a gigantic clock that has a date frozen into its structure.
The first scientific recognition of the precession cycle took place in ancient Greece (129 B.C.) by the astronomer Hipparchus. However, ancient Mesopotamia, Maya and Egypt somehow knew about the cycle and we do not know whether this knowledge was handed down from earlier times or they scientifically discovered it. This cycle tracks time on a large span and it is “extremely difficult to observe, and even harder to measure accurately, without sophisticated instrumentation” (Hancock, 1995:231). Using the cycle as an astronomical clock with the help of an eternal structure that defeats the eons of time and all of that with staggering precision is something very remarkable that presupposes a thorough knowledge of astronomy and engineering.
At this point it is doubtful to think that ancient Egyptians designed and built the Giza Necropolis. We know many aspects of ancient Egyptian daily life with the minutest details. However, there is no single mention of: “Oh, by the way, we also built the pyramids” in their hieroglyphs records or even any hieroglyph inscription inside the three main pyramids. Some evidence even suggests that the site predates the legendary flood. Incrustations of natural salt were found inside the great pyramid when it was opened for the first time (Dinwiddie, 2001:164). Furthermore, in the 1750’s, the naval captain and explorer Frederic Norden reported the existence of a great number of oysters and seashells in the vicinity of the pyramids and the Sphinx. In his Histories, Herodotus also reports that he observed in the surrounding area of the pyramids seashells and signs of salt water calcification back then (Herodotus, ca. 450 B.C., Book II:12). All of that evidence seems to suggest that maybe the Giza plateau was once under water. Then what about the strong tie between ancient Egyptians and the Giza plateau? Aside from ancient Egypt, most ancient civilizations exhibit a sort of obsession and admiration for pyramid-like structures which could originally be ascribed to the three pyramids at Giza. Further, the failed attempts to reproduce the pyramids on a small scale, like the case of the three Queen’s Pyramids, explain how impressed ancient Egyptians were by the colossal three edifices. It is not so crazy after all to assume that ancient Egyptians founded their entire civilization in the vicinity of the Giza plateau only to be identified with the immensity of the structures.
If one assumes that the correlation theory is valid, then what is special about the remote date at which the Giza plateau hints? In general, 10,000 B.C. is a very significant date in our conventional wisdom. It is the date when the late ice age ended. It marks the first appearance of wooden buildings, human settlements in the Americas and the domestication of animals. Remains of humans in caves and a remarkable transformation marked with the introduction of farming all date back to the same era. All these sudden developments could signify two possible scenarios.
The first scenario suggests that humans were witnessing the most significant step in their long chain of evolution. The second suggests humans were actually recovering from a worldwide cataclysm. Following the line of the second, and less known, scenario, one cannot expect survivors of a cataclysm to build cities right from the start. They would have to spread out over the earth which would eventually result in linguistic deviation. Keeping track of one another would not be possible due to the absence of means of communication. This latter may explain the absence of historical accounts before the city of Uruk made its appearance ca. 4500 B.C. So instead of progressing forward, humans would have to go through a phase of silence characterized by the struggle with nature and the use of archaic tools before they start coming together to build urban centers.
The book ‘Noah to Abram: The Turbulent Years: New Light on Ice Age, Cave Man, Stone Age, the Old Kingdoms’ by Erich A. Von Fange highlights the striking similarities between the knowledge we have about early archaic human cultures of the Lower Paleolithic period (Oldowan, Acheulean and Mousterian tool cultures) and the case of a post-cataclysm man trying to survive upon the ruins of their ancestors. Given the growing body of evidence, the second view is now becoming more recognized in outer circles. The Roland Emmerich movie 10,000 BC (2008), for example, opted for the cataclysm scenario for which it received sharp criticism from the academic circle and was dubbed archaeologically and historically inaccurate. Going back to the Giza plateau, why would the ancient go to such trouble to build huge monuments that hint at a specific date? Why is 10,000 B.C. an important date for the pyramid builders? What was happening back then?
Just a little while after 10,000 B.C., all cultures seem to have started emerging simultaneously with no substantial signs of preliminary phases. They went from being hunter-gatherers to becoming citizens with rights and responsibilities.
“How does a complex civilization spring full-blown into being? Look at a 1905 automobile and compare it to a modern one. There is no mistaking the process of ‘development’. But in Egypt there are no parallels. Everything is right there at the start. The answer to the mystery is of course obvious but, because it is repellent to the prevailing cast of modern thinking, it is seldom considered. Egyptian civilization was not a ‘development’, it was a legacy.” (West, 1979:13)
The sudden appearance of cities is probably backed up by solid knowledge of sophisticated social structure. The presence of a high culture the like of ancient Egypt in such epoch is in itself very enigmatic. Furthermore, the superiority of ancient Egypt over ancient Greece is indisputable although Egypt is older. Herodotus and many other modern historians have pointed out this contradiction (McCants 1975:62). Even earlier than Herodotus, Solon’s account embodies a small talk between the two cultures. Solon (d. ca. 559 B.C.) was an Athenian statesman and a distant ancestor to Plato. He had a conversation with an ancient Egyptian priest in which he was told:
“ ‘O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you.’ Solon in return asked him what he meant. ‘I mean to say,’ he replied, ‘that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you why. There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes’ ” (Plato’s Timaeus, ca. 360 B.C.)
The key to this mystery is that it is highly probable that some people may have kept valuable knowledge originating from the first people that allowed them to prosper faster and earlier than others. For example some Egyptologists conclude that ancient Egyptian high priests possessed some powerful secret knowledge to which the triumph of ancient Egypt was attributed (Nuttall, 1839:668; West, 1979 :24; Linke, 2012:28; Hancock, 1995:361; Marks, 2001), like the knowledge of electricity (Childress, 1996:18).
The first people certainly left some remnants of their advanced science that still linger even up to today. In astronomy for instance, the artificial division of the celestial longitude zones into 12 Zodiac constellations of 30 degrees each along with the awareness of the celestial precession seem to be descending from a higher culture. In addition to that, the heliocentric view of the world is not new. Its earliest traces date back to ancient Sanskrit texts (e.g. Yajnavalkya, ca. 900 B.C. and Aryabhata ca. 550 B.C.) and later Aristarchus of Samos (ca. 230 B.C.). In that sense, the Copernican revolution is rather a revival of lost knowledge.
“Contrary to history as we know it, in that remote period we call ‘prehistory’, there subsisted an embarrassing wealth of astronomical knowledge. And may I suggest that the more one looks into it, the more one feels that a race of scientific giants has preceded us.” (Gray, 2004:105)
In medicine, alternative medicine with its unknown origin entails a deep knowledge of human anatomy that made its way to modern day and has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization despite being still not understood.
In physics, knowledge of electricity may also have existed in prehistory. The German archaeologist Wilhelm König found a 2000-year-old ancient battery, known as the Parthian Battery, in the National Museum of Iraq in 1938 (Handorf, 2002:84–7). The battery is reported to have been unearthed near Baghdad (the area of Khujut Rabu) during a 1936 excavation. In 1940, König produced a scientific paper on the battery based on which “Willard F. M. Gray, of the General Electric High Voltage Laboratory in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, built and tested several reproductions of the Khujut Rabu finds, all of which produced equivalent electrical input” (Kenyon, 2008:42). Moreover, aluminum is a metal that cannot be generated without electricity, which was not available until 1854. However, many items made of aluminum have been found in archaeological sites, e.g. in the burial site of general Zhou Chu (265-420 A.D.). As a matter of fact, electricity is the very first thing one stumbles upon once one starts studying matter, and it is not a difficult thing to rediscover especially if one has foreknowledge of its existence.
In geography, ancient maps undoubtedly fueled the age of maritime exploration. The Piri Reis map continues to amaze modern man not only for its accuracy but also for its depiction of Antarctica before it was supposedly discovered in 1819. The continent is depicted being free of ice with geological details that irrefutably correspond with the seismic echo sounding profile run by the Swedish-British-Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in 1949 (Ohlmeyer, the USAF Commander, in a letter to Charles Hapgood, 1960). Meanwhile, the Antarctica landmass is thought to have been under the ice cap long before our species even evolved according to Academia. So what are we seriously missing here?
“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”— Tom Clancy
Some of the ideas presented in this article may seem at odds but that is the nature of mysteries. They remain mysterious until someone makes sense of them. For example, Giza Pyramids preach for lost science and technology but their astronomical alignment preaches for a post-cataclysm construction which somehow does not make sense. This article is not trying to construct a systematic view of the past. It is rather an invitation to dig deeper into the past. Knowing our past is of great value. The past, the present and the future are all a one chain of events. The more we know about the past, the more we know ourselves and our possible directions.
The evidence to question what we know about the past of humanity is all around us. Some recognize it, some reject it, and some go to extreme views such as associating these perplexing legacies with ancient alien visits. The manner in which people react to evidence or anomaly is conditioned by attitudes towards the past and under the influence of the rampant contemporary philosophies of presentism and scientism or practices like obscurantism. Any anomaly in science could be a twinkling of a new discovery or paradigm shift that may be left unnoticed or even denied for fear of misoneism. A true scientific and intellectual honesty will never be achieved unless we are open to adjust or even reconstruct our theoretical assumptions accordingly until the anomalous, as Kuhn puts it, becomes expected (Kuhn, 1970:52). At a minimum, we show effort of reconciliation instead of burying our heads in sand. It is only a matter of time before man faces the greatest disappointment in science and its grand theories due to the snobbishness of present science. We are in a desperate need not only for a paradigm shift but, most importantly, for a scientific renaissance.
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The Economic Collapse
A Full-Blown Economic Crisis Has Erupted In Russia
By Michael Snyder, on December 16th, 2014
The 8th largest economy on the entire planet is in a state of turmoil right now. The shocking collapse of the price of oil has hit a lot of countries really hard, but very few nations are as dependent on energy production as Russia is. Sales of oil and natural gas account for approximately two-thirds of all Russian exports and approximately 50 percent of all government revenue. So it should be no surprise that the fact that the price of oil has declined by almost 50 percent since June is absolutely catastrophic for the Russian economy. And when you throw in international sanctions, wild money printing by the Central Bank of Russia and unprecedented capital flight, you get the ingredients for an almost perfect storm. But those of us living in the western world should not be too smug about what is happening in Russia, because the nightmare that is unfolding over there is just a preview of the economic chaos that will soon envelop the whole world.
So far this year, the Russian ruble has fallen nearly 50 percent against the U.S. dollar. That is a monumental shift. And as the collapse of the ruble has accelerated in recent days, we are seeing scenes in Russia that are reminiscent of the Weimar Republic. For example, just consider the following excerpt from an article that just appeared in the New York Times…
Scenes that Russians hoped had receded into the past reappeared on the streets: Currency exchange signs blinked ever-changing digits, and Russians rushed to appliance stores to buy washing machines or televisions to unload rubles.
“We are seeing an economic crisis,” Natalia V. Akindinova, a professor at the Higher School of Economics, said in a telephone interview. “We are seeing a sharp devaluation of the ruble at a time when the central bank doesn’t have the reserves to influence the market, as it did in the past crises.”
In a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, the Central Bank of Russia made an astounding move. Last night it raised its key interest rate from 10.5 percent all the way up to 17 percent.
It was hoped that this desperate move would keep the ruble from plummeting any further.
And it did work for a few minutes, but then the collapse of the ruble resumed. This is how Zero Hedge described the carnage…
For those wondering if the CBR’s intervention in the Russian FX market with its shocking emergency rate hike to 17% overnight calmed things, the answer is yes… for about two minutes. The USDRUB indeed tumbled nearly 10% to 59 and then promptly blew right back out, the Ruble crashing in panic selling and seemingly without any CBR market interventions, and at last check was freefalling through 72 74, and sending the Russian stock market plummeting by over 15%.
So why is this happening now?
Well, the biggest reason for the freefall of the ruble is the fact that the Central Bank of Russia just printed up about 625 billion rubles and gave it to their friends at Rosneft.
Rosneft is an absolutely massive oil company that is controlled by the Russian government. For months, Rosneft has been asking for a bailout (sound familiar?) to refinance loans that can no longer be rolled over with western banks because of economic sanctions.
And on Friday they got one.
In an attempt to quietly slip this massive injection of new money past everyone, Rosneft issued 625 billion rubles worth of new bonds just before the weekend and the Central Bank of Russia gobbled most of those new bonds up with freshly created money. Unfortunately for Rosneft and the Central Bank of Russia, the rest of the world took notice…
With the oil giant in a bind, the central bank ruled that it would accept Rosneft bonds held by commercial banks as collateral for loans.
Rosneft issued 625 billion rubles, about $10.9 billion at the exchange rate at the time, in new bonds on Friday. The identities of the buyers were not publicly disclosed, but analysts say that large state banks bought the issue.
When these banks deposit the bonds with the central bank in exchange for loans, Rosneft will have been financed, in effect, with an emission of rubles from the central bank.
So that is what led to the panic selling that we witnessed on Monday.
Meanwhile, money is being pulled out of Russia at an absolutely staggering pace. As confidence in the ruble and in the Russian financial system disappears, wealthy people are feverishly trying to protect their wealth by moving it somewhere else. The following is an excerpt from an editorial that Mohamed A. El-Erian recently penned for Business Insider…
Rather than bring in buyers at these substantially cheaper levels, Russian currency weakness is inducing more selling, including by a growing number of worried bank depositors who, instead of holding their savings in ruble, are opting for safer dollars. The larger the extent of this “currency substitution,” the bigger the scope for capital flight out of Russia. This puts even greater pressure on the currency, aggravating the output contraction, imported inflation, and the general sense economic and financial instability.
It has been estimated that total capital outflows for 2015 will reach an astounding $128 billion.
And this could just be the beginning of the economic troubles for Russia.
If the price of oil stays this low or goes even lower, the Russian economy will shrink. The only question is how much it will contract…
The Bank of Russia said Monday that the country could sink into a deep recession next year if oil prices remain at $60 a barrel. GDP could contract by as much as 4.7% in 2015, and then by a further 1.1% in 2016 unless oil prices pick up.
Sadly, it isn’t just oil producing nations such as Russia that are going to be devastated by the coming crisis.
Eventually, the entire globe is going to feel the pain.
Last week was the worst week for global financial markets in three years, and so many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the great financial crisis of 2008 are happening once again. We have been living in a false bubble of relative stability for the past couple of years, but now time is running out. The next great financial crisis is rapidly approaching, and 2015 promises to be the most “interesting” year that we have seen in ages.
Paul Craig Roberts
ON THE BRINK OF WAR AND ECONOMIC COLLAPSE
On occasion a reader will ask if I can give readers some good news. The answer is: not unless I lie to you
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
DECEMBER 13, 2014
On occasion a reader will ask if I can give readers some good news. The answer is: not unless I lie to you like “your” government and the mainstream media do. If you want faked “good news,” you need to retreat into The Matrix. In exchange for less stress and worry, you will be led unknowingly into financial ruin and nuclear armageddon.
If you want to be forewarned, and possibly prepared, for what “your” government is bringing you, and have some small chance of redirecting the course of events, read and support this site. It is your site. I already know these things. I write for you.
The neoconservatives, a small group of warmongers strongly allied with the military/industrial complex and Israel, gave us Granada and the Contras affair in Nicaragua. President Reagan fired them, and they were prosecuted, but subsequently pardoned by Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush.
Ensconced in think tanks and protected by Israeli and military/security complex money, the neoconservatives reemerged in the Clinton administration and engineered the breakup of Yugoslavia, the war against Serbia, and the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders.
Neoconservatives dominated the George W. Bush regime. They controlled the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the Office of the Vice President, and much else. Neoconservatives gave us 9/11 and its coverup, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the beginning of the destabilizations of Pakistan and Yemen, the U.S. Africa Command, the invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia, the demise of the anti-ABM Treaty, unconstitutional and illegal spying on American citizens without warrants, loss of constitutional protections, torture, and the unaccountability of the executive branch to law, Congress, and the judiciary. In short, the neoconservatives laid the foundation for dictatorship and for WW III.
The Obama regime held no one accountable for the crimes of the Bush regime, thus creating the precedent that the executive branch is above the law. Instead, the Obama regime prosecuted whistleblowers who told the truth about government crimes.
Neoconservatives remain very influential in the Obama regime. As examples, Obama appointed neoconservative Susan Rice as his National Security Advisor. Obama appointed neoconservative Samantha Power as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Obama appointed neoconservative Victoria Nuland as Assistant Secretary of State. Nuland’s office, working with the CIA and Washington-financed NGOs, organized the U.S. coup in Ukraine.
Neoconservatism is the only extant political ideology. The ideology is “America uber alles.” Neoconservatives believe that History has chosen the United States to exercise hegemony over the world, thereby making the U.S. “exceptional” and “indispensable.” Obama himself has declared as much. This ideology gives neoconservatives tremendous confidence and drive, just as Karl Marx’s conclusion that history had chosen the workers to be the ruling class gave early communists confidence and drive.
This confidence and drive makes the neoconservatives reckless.
To advance their agenda neoconservatives propagandize the populations of the U.S. and Washington’s vassal states. The presstitutes deliver the neoconservatives’ lies to the unsuspecting public: Russia has invaded and annexed Ukrainian provinces; Putin intends to reconstitute the Soviet Empire; Russia is a gangster state without democracy; Russia is a threat to the Baltics, Poland, and all of Europe, necessitating a U.S./NATO military buildup on Russia’s borders; China, a Russian ally, must be militarily contained with new U.S. naval and air bases surrounding China and controlling Chinese sea lanes.
The neoconservatives and President Obama have made it completely clear that the U.S. will not accept Russia and China as sovereign countries with economic and foreign policies independent of the interests of Washington. Russia and China are acceptable only as vassal states, like the UK, Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia.
Clearly, the neoconservative formula is a formula for the final war.
All of humanity is endangered by a handful of evil men and women ensconced in positions of power in Washington.
Anti-Russia propaganda has gone into high gear. Putin is the “new Hitler.”
Daniel Zubov reports on a joint conference held by three U.S. think tanks.
The conference blamed Russia for the failures of Washington’s foreign policy. Read this article:http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20141205/1015538604.html to see how neoconservatives operate in order to control the explanations. Even Henry Kissinger is under attack for stating the obvious truth that Russia has a legitimate interest in Ukraine, a land long part of Russia and located in Russia’s legitimate sphere of influence.
Since the Clinton regime, Washington has been acting against Russian interests. In his forthcoming book, The Globalization of War: America’s Long War against Humanity, Professor Michel Chossudovsky presents a realistic appraisal of how close Washington has brought the world to its demise in nuclear war. This passage is from the Preface:
“The ‘globalization of war’ is a hegemonic project. Major military
and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken
simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan
Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The US military agenda
combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions
geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.
“Under a global military agenda, the actions undertaken by the
Western military alliance (US-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are coordinated at the highest
levels of the military hierarchy. We are not dealing with
piecemeal military and intelligence operations. The July-August
2014 attack on Gaza by Israeli forces was undertaken in close consultation
with the United States and NATO. In turn, the actions in
Ukraine and their timing coincided with the onslaught of the attack
“In turn, military undertakings are closely coordinated with a
process of economic warfare which consists not only in imposing
sanctions on sovereign countries but also in deliberate acts of destabilization
of financial and currency markets, with a view to undermining
the enemies’ national economies.
“The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure
which threatens the future of humanity. As we go to press, US
and NATO forces have been deployed in Eastern Europe. US military
intervention under a humanitarian mandate is proceeding in sub-Saharan
Africa. The US and its allies are threatening China under President Obama’s
‘Pivot to Asia’.
“In turn, military maneuvers are being conducted at Russia’s
doorstep which could lead to escalation.
“The US airstrikes initiated in September 2014 directed against
Iraq and Syria under the pretext of going after the Islamic State are
part of a scenario of military escalation extending from North Africa
and the Eastern Mediterranean to Central and South Asia.
The Western military alliance is in an advanced state of readiness.
“And so is Russia.”
As I have often remarked, Americans are an insouciant people. They are simply unaware. Suppose they were aware, suppose that the entire population understood the peril, could anything be done, or have the insouciant Americans fallen under the control of the police state that Washington has created?
I don’t think there is much hope from the American people. The American people cannot tell genuine from fake leadership, and the ruling private elites will not permit real leaders to emerge. Moreover, there is no organized movement in opposition to the neoconservatives.
The hope comes from outside the political system. The hope is that the House of Cards and rigged markets erected by policymakers for the benefit of the One Percent collapses. David Stockman regards this outcome as a highly likely one. The collapse that Stockman sees as being on its way is the same collapse about which I have warned. Moreover, the number of Black Swans which can originate collapse are even more numerous than the ones Stockman correctly identifies. Some financial organizations are worried about a lack of liquidity in the fixed income (bonds) and derivatives markets. Barbara Novack, co-chair of Black Rock, is lobbying hard for a derivatives bailout mechanism.
David Stockman’s article is important. Read it until you understand it, and you will know more than most everyone. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/david-stockman/duck-and-cover%E2%80%A8/
Many will ask: If the wealth of the One Percent is vulnerable to economic collapse, will war be initiated to protect this wealth and to blame the Russians or Chinese for the hardships that engulf the American population? My answer is that the kind of collapse that I expect, and that David Stockman and no doubt others expect, presents government with such social, political, and economic insecurity that organizing for a major war becomes impossible.
Whereas the political impotence of the American people and the vassalage of the Western World impose no constraints on Washington, economic collapse brings revolutions and the demise of the existing order.
As hard as collapse would make it for people to survive, the chances for survival are higher than in the event of nuclear war.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
RT (The amount of lying propaganda is simply staggering. Ed)
Russia not fit to be part of international financial system – Cameron
Published time: December 17, 2014 23:50
The combined effect produced by Western sanctions and low oil prices proves that there’s no place for Russia in the international financial system, believes British prime minister David Cameron, urging for more pressure on Moscow.
“We should stand up very firmly against the Russian aggression that’s taking place,” Cameron said before the Parliament on Wednesday.
The PM reminded that it’s the UK, which “led the way in Europe in making sure there were sanctions” imposed against Russia over its 'annexation' of Crimea in March and Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
“And what the combination of the lower oil price and the sanctions are showing that I think it isn’t possible for Russia to be part of the international financial system, but try and opt out of the rules-based international legal system,” Cameron said.
“We should keep up the pressure,” the head of the British government added, agreeing that “in this respect the interests of the United Kingdom and democracy do go together.”
The EU is expected to announce a new round of sanctions against Russia on Thursday, during the European Council’s meeting in Brussels. According to Reuters, the restrictive measures will forbid EU firms from investing in the Crimea and prohibit the trade of European oil and gas exploration technologies from the EU to the region.
READ MORE: Obama already signed new ‘Russia sanctions bill’ – State Department
Meanwhile US President Barack Obama has already signed a legislation authorizing new sanctions on Moscow, targeting weapons companies and investors in Russian high-tech oil projects. The sanctions, however, will not be effective immediately since Obama has been hesitant to introduce any new restriction without prior “synchronization” with European partners.
Sony Pictures suspends filming after massive hack 'affects payments'
Published time: December 13, 2014 13:15
Sony Pictures has temporarily stopped filming after hackers, with alleged links to North Korea, paralyzed its computer network. The security glitches have reportedly meant the studio has been unable to process payments.
This is the latest problem that has rocked the Hollywood studio after an attack by the hacking group, Guardians of Peace. Due to the technical problems with their computer network, the majority of which are offline, Sony Pictures have been unable to pay agencies that are filming for the company, a report in The Times newspaper stated.
The attackers, who are believed to have links to Pyongyang, have used very sophisticated methods. Joseph Demarest, the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber-division, told a US Senate hearing that the methods used by Guardians of Peace would have managed to hack into nine out of ten company’s computer systems.
Security experts have estimated that the cost to fix the breach will be in the region of $100 million.
Sony Pictures has not commented on the issue and cancelled a press conference scheduled for Friday to promote the movie ‘The Wedding Ringer,’ which stars Kevin Hart. The actor was called a ‘whore’ by a Sony executive in emails leaked by the hacking group.
Security was also tight at the premiere of ‘The Interview’, the film believed to have been the reason behind the hack. The movie caused outrage in North Korea, due to the plot involving the CIA planning to kill the secretive nation’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea has denied any responsibility, but did praise the mass cyber-attack against the film studio, calling it a "righteous deed.”
"The hacking into SONY Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) in response to its appeal," a spokesman for the National Defence Commission (NDC) told the country’s KCNA news agency.
The attack began on November 24 when a red skeleton-like image appeared on staff computers alongside a warning that data would be released to the web unless its — unspecified — demands were met.
The company’s problems then started, as four movies were prematurely leaked onto the internet, while sensitive company documents, such as emails and documents listing the salaries of staff members were also released.
Hackers in charge: Sony hack and theater pullback reveals new era of hackers trouncing multinational corporations
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) Note the day of December 16th, 2014. That day will mark a milestone in history because it was the first time a U.S. cinema chain censored the launch of a movie due to threats from hackers.
"Carmike Cinemas has canceled the nationwide Christmas Day release of Sony's 'The Interview,' the first theater chain to do so on the day hackers threatened 9/11-like attacks on theaters that showed the movie," reported The Wrap today. 
Sony pictures has been under siege ever since an elaborate hack stole studio files and emails, some of which have already been released to the great embarrassment of studio executives and Hollywood stars. Natural News hasn't covered any of this because it all seemed so pointless... until today.
Today the hacker group responsible for all this issued a direct terror threat, warning that a 9/11-style attack might take place at any movie theater that dared to show the movie. The threat elevated this entire incident to a whole new level: now it's not just hacking and stealing studio records; it's a direct and unambiguous terror threat against the American public.
The threat, reprinted at TheWrap.com , reads as follows:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places "The Interview" be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.
If this message sounds a bit too similar to "all your base are belong to us," that's because the FBI suspects there's a North Korea link behind all this.
In order to understand the context of all this, it's important to understand the real history behind North Korea and Japan.
Japanese soldiers raped and murdered Koreans in World War II - war crimes galore
Please note that I'm not in any way justifying these hacks and terror threats. North Korea is a truly evil empire led by a madman with nukes. It's probably the most corrupt, oppressive police state on the planet. Nevertheless, the Korean people did endure many years of heinous crimes against their people, committed by the occupying Japanese army during World War II.
This glaring fact is conveniently left out of all discussions about Sony Pictures for the simple reason that nobody remembers history anymore -- and so they utterly fail to understand the motivations behind things like a North Korean hack attack on Sony Pictures. (Sony is a Japanese company, in case you didn't know. I'm always shocked that Americans who buy Sony products usually have no clue that Sony is a Japanese corporation.)
Much like the Chinese, Koreans have very long memories, and there are people still alive today in North Korea who were raped and tortured by the Japanese. If anyone is looking for a reason why North Korea would hack and threaten Sony Pictures, this is the first place to look. This situation is not merely about Sony releasing a movie that makes fun of North Korea's dictatorial regime -- which by the way is the ultimate expression of Big Government gone bad -- it's also a reflection of the history behind all this that no one else in America seems to want to acknowledge ever took place.
Hackers wield new power in an online world
But the real story in all this is how hackers have now achieved the cancellation of a movie launch across at least one large cinema chain. Others may soon follow. After all, no cinema company wants to be caught up in the middle of an actual terror bomb in one of its movie theaters.
The mere fact that a hacking threat -- backed by a very successful hack and theft operation -- has now achieved real-world censorship of a film is especially notable. What this means is that hackers can now force corporations to alter their actions merely by threatening them in a believable way.
What this translates to is a shift of power into the hands of nations who have the most well-trained cyber warriors. If this hack was, indeed, pulled off by the North Koreans, it means North Korea has a frightening technical aptitude that they might choose to deploy against other targets.
For example, what happens if the same group that hacked Sony decides to hack U.S. nuclear power plants and force them into critical meltdowns? Water treatment facilities, power plants and even the entire power grid is run by computers which are interconnected. Every modern computer is vulnerable to being hacked, so if this hacker group can get through Sony's defenses, what's to say they couldn't hack into a couple of nuclear power plants, too?
The point I'm getting at here is that we are witnessing the rise of a new era of cyber warfare.
Cyber warfare may be far more destructive than kinetic warfare
Most of the warfare known throughout human history is "kinetic warfare." It involves governments finding newer and more elaborate ways to throw things at their enemies: bullets, shrapnel, explosives, missiles, etc.
Kinetic warfare works by physically disabling the target nation's personnel, logistics and infrastructure. That's why kinetic warfare often involves bombing bridges, command centers, oil refineries, ammunition dumps and so on.
But cyber warfare operates solely via weapons of logic. It uses computer code to infiltrate and override key infrastructure elements such as power plants and power grid substations. At the appropriate moment, those systems can either be shut down or even turned into weapons -- shutting off the coolant pumps at nuclear power plants, for example, causing those nuke plants to go critical.
Cyber warfare turns a nation's own infrastructure against itself. It requires no bullets and no boots on the ground, yet it achieves many of the same results: disorganization, logistical snarls and even human casualties in the most extreme scenarios.
North Korea has long threatened to nuke the United States, but through its cyber warfare program, it might be able to achieve similar results without launching any nukes at all. That's the scenario which really concerns me in all this. Yes, the Sony hack is bad, and I'm sorry that George Clooney's private emails went public. But the real threat here isn't against Sony... it's against the entire infrastructure of the United States of America.
Perhaps the Sony Pictures hack was merely a test run to see what would happen and how the U.S. authorities (and public) would react. So far, the Sony hack has been wildly successful in terms of embarrassing Sony Pictures, aided largely by the online media which has rabidly reproduced all sorts of alleged emails from Sony executives engaging in some pretty outrageous behavior -- such as making race-based jokes about President Obama and why he must like movies starring black actors.
Even without the terror threat thrown in the mix, this hack has already been earth-shattering in terms of its public relations smearing of Sony Pictures. And if this was carried out by North Korean cyber warriors, they appear to be wholly insulated from any repercussions. After all, they're just a bunch of guys sitting at their computers... would the USA launch a kinetic missile strike against a bunch of geeks in a foreign nation? (I guess we'll soon find out...)
The "success" of the Sony hack will only encourage more hacks against corporations and governments
The upshot of all this is that the Sony Pictures hack has been so wildly successful that it sets the precedent for more hackers to target more corporations and governments. Because what's really happened here is that these hackers showed the world hacking worked well for them to get what they wanted.
They have caused total disorganization, confusion and a widespread loss of morale across Sony Pictures. They've frightened a major cinema chain into dropping the release of the film. They've frightening moviegoers, too, who might now stay home and avoid the film altogether. They've even made all other movie studios think twice about investing in a film about North Korea.
All the while James Franco and Seth Rogan must be thinking to themselves, "Holy crap, this is totally insane and we're all going to get financially hurt by this." It's true: movie stars are typically paid a royalty percentage based on the movie's financial success in theaters. But if nobody shows up in theaters because they're all afraid of being firebombed by the Koreans, then the movie becomes a financial flop in addition to a cyber security nightmare.
Then again, I'm pretty sure everybody will now want to view this movie via digital rentals, because now everybody's curious why the North Koreans have gone so crazy about this film. The hack and threat, in other words, may clobber movie theater revenues but it might multiply digital rental revenues down the road. (Now even I want to see this film just out of curiosity...)
Regardless of what happens with this Sony hack, the tone is now set: more corporations are going to be targeted by more hackers, and I predict we will one day see an elaborate hack literally destroy a large multinational corporation.
The future of cyber security may literally be found in... typewriters. When it comes to cyber security, low tech is the new tech.
Sources for this story include:
Magazine Editor’s Final Words: Fukushima exponentially more dire than Chernobyl — Deteriorating plant threatens mass extinction around world — It’s made a deep impression on me recently — You have an obligation to be aware of conditions there (AUDIO)
Guy Crittenden, editor of HazMat Management magazine and Solid Waste & Recycling magazine (Part of the EcoLog Environmental Resources Group, “Canada’s leading publisher of print and electronic environmental, occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation news, legislation and compliance solutions – Subscribers include environmental health and safety managers, engineers, executives and lawyers in all industry sectors and government”), Dec 11, 2014 (emphasis added):
[After a quarter-century, this is] my last article written as Editor of HazMat Management magazine [and] Solid Waste & Recycling magazine
Instead of a long article about what transpired in 2014 and what may be ahead, I’m going to offer readers three items… that have made a deep impression on me recently; these are “must watch” items for anyone interested in helping our species avoid peril from environmental degradation
The deteriorating status of things at the destroyed nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan… you have an obligation, really, to be aware of conditions there
[There is a] very real and present threat from the… highly radioactive… destroyed cores of the reactors, as well as things like the storage of contaminated water in hastily-built, rusting containers
This is serious stuff… an actual meltdown of the reactors — real China Syndrome stuff — as had been assumed would never likely happen in a modern reactor
The situation is exponentially more dire than Chernobyl
[Workers must] remove the rods for safe containment without having them contact one another and trigger a fire, the consequences of which would be unimaginable — We’re talking mass extinction around the world, especially in the northern hemisphere
Most people have forgotten the situation and think of it only as a local Japanese problem
It’s only a matter of time before another earthquake or tidal wave triggers such an event
THE NEW YORKER
Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy
DECEMBER 10, 2014
BY MARIA KONNIKOVA TODO
My sister has a rare talent for mishearing lyrics. When we were younger, song meanings would often morph into something quite different from their original intent. In one Wallflowers hit, for instance, she somehow turned “me and Cinderella” into “the incinerator.” My favorite, though, remains that classic of the swing age, “Drunk driving, then you wake up”—a garbling of the Louis Prima hit that saw a brief resurgence in the nineties, “Jump, Jive, an’ Wail.”
My sister’s creation of a night of drunk driving from jumping and jiving is actually a common phenomenon, with the curious name mondegreen. “Mondegreen” means a misheard word or phrase that makes sense in your head, but is, in fact, entirely incorrect. The term mondegreen is itself a mondegreen. In November, 1954, Sylvia Wright, an American writer, published a piece in Harper’s where she admitted to a gross childhood mishearing. When she was young, her mother would read to her from the “Reliques of Ancient English Poetry,” a 1765 book of popular poems and ballads. Her favorite verse began with the lines, “Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands / Oh, where hae ye been? / They hae slain the Earl Amurray, / And Lady Mondegreen.” Except they hadn’t. They left the poor Earl and “laid him on the green.” He was, alas, all by himself.
Hearing is a two-step process. First, there is the auditory perception itself: the physics of sound waves making their way through your ear and into the auditory cortex of your brain. And then there is the meaning-making: the part where your brain takes the noise and imbues it with significance. That was a car alarm. That’s a bird. Mondegreens occur when, somewhere between the sound and the meaning, communication breaks down. You hear the same acoustic information as everyone else, but your brain doesn’t interpret it the same way. What’s less immediately clear is why, precisely, that happens.
The simplest cases occur when we just mishear something: it’s noisy, and we lack the visual cues to help us out (this can happen on the phone, on the radio, across cubicles—basically anytime we can’t see the mouth of the speaker). One of the reasons we often mishear song lyrics is that there’s a lot of noise to get through, and we usually can’t see the musicians’ faces. Other times, the misperceptions come from the nature of the speech itself, for example when someone speaks in an unfamiliar accent or when the usual structure of stresses and inflections changes, as it does in a poem or a song. What should be clear becomes ambiguous, and our brain must do its best to resolve the ambiguity.
Human speech occurs without breaks: when one word ends and another begins, we don’t actually pause to signal the transition. When you listen to a recording of a language that you don’t speak, you hear a continuous stream of sounds that is more a warbling than a string of discernable words. We only learn when one word stops and the next one starts over time, by virtue of certain verbal cues—for instance, different languages have different general principles of inflection (the rise and fall of a voice within a word or a sentence) and syllabification (the stress patterns of syllables)—combined with actual semantic knowledge. Very young children can make mistakes that shed light on how the process actually develops. In “The Language Instinct,” Steven Pinker points out a few near-misses: “I am heyv!” as a response to “Behave!”; “I don’t want to go to your ami” in reply to going to Miami. People immersed in an environment with a new language often initially experience the same thing: a lack of clear ability to tell what words, exactly, should properly emerge from the sounds that are being spoken. Most likely, my sister’s unconventional talent stems partly from the fact that English is not our first language. For us, on a basic level, word processing will always be just a bit different from that of native English speakers.
A common cause of mondegreens, in particular, is the oronym: word strings in which the sounds can be logically divided multiple ways. One version that Pinker describes goes like this: Eugene O’Neill won a Pullet Surprise. The string of phonetic sounds can be plausibly broken up in multiple ways—and if you’re not familiar with the requisite proper noun, you may find yourself making an error. In similar fashion, Bohemian Rhapsody becomes Bohemian Rap City. Children might wonder why Olive, the other reindeer, was so mean to Rudolph. And a foreigner might become confused as to why, in this country, we entrust weather reports to meaty urologists or why so many people are black-toast intolerant. Oronyms result in not so much a mangling as an incorrect parsing of sounds when context or prior knowledge is lacking.
Other times, the culprit is the perception of the sound itself: some letters and letter combinations sound remarkably alike, and we need further cues, whether visual or contextual, to help us out. In their absence, one sound can be mistaken for the other. For instance, in a phenomenon known as the McGurk effect, people can be made to hear one consonant when a similar one is being spoken. “There’s a bathroom on the right” standing in for “there’s a bad moon on the rise” is a succession of such similarities adding up to two equally coherent alternatives. (Peter Kay offers an auditory tour of some other misleading gems.)
What usually prevents us from being tripped up by phonetics is the context and our own knowledge. When we hear a word or phrase, our brain’s first cue is the actual sounds, in the order in which they are produced. According to the cohort model—one of the leading theories of auditory word processing—when we hear sounds, a number of related words are activated all at once in our heads, words that either sound the same or have component parts that are the same. Our brain then chooses the one that makes the most sense. For instance, if I’m talking about the role of the syllable in language comprehension, you’re also, on some level, thinking about a silly-looking ball rolling away. You’re also considering the smaller snippets that form each word’s makeup: roe, along with roll; sill, along with silly and syllable. Only after I say the whole phrase do you understand what I’m saying. Songs and poems, in some sense, lie between conversational speech and a foreign language: we hear the sounds but don’t have the normal contextual cues. It’s not as if we were mid-conversation, where the parameters have already been set.
Along with knowledge, we’re governed by familiarity: we are more likely to select a word or phrase that we’re familiar with, a phenomenon known as Zipf’s law, according to which the actual frequency of a word can affect how seamlessly it’s processed. If you’re a member of the crew team, you’re far more likely to select “row” instead of “roe” from an ambiguous sentence. If you’re a chef, the opposite is likely. One of the reasons that “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” substituted for Jimi Hendrix’s “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” remains one of the most widely reported mondegreens of all time can be explained in part by frequency. It’s much more common to hear of people kissing guys than skies. Expectations, too, play a role. You’re much more likely to mishear “Cry Me a River” as “Crimean River” if you’ve recently been discussing the situation in Ukraine.
Mondegreens are funny, of course, but they also give us insight into the underlying nature of linguistic processing and how our minds make meaning out of sound. In fractions of seconds, we translate a boundless blur of sound into sense. It comes naturally, easily, effortlessly. We sift through sounds, activate and reject countless alternatives, and select one single meaning out of myriad homonyms, near-matches, and possible parsings—even though speakers may have different accents, pronunciations, intonations, or inflections. And, in the overwhelming majority of instances, we get it right. To gain a better appreciation of how complex that constant instantaneous interpretive dance is, consider the problems of speech-recognition software, which, despite recent improvements, still usually generate a mix and muddle of whatever a user was trying to say.
Our brains are exceptional creators of logical meaning—even when it’s not quite the intended one. Some mondegreens are so plausible that they can become the real thing. “Spitting image” was once a mondegreen, a mishearing and improper syllabic split of “spit and image.” (Spit is another term for likeness.) When you eat an orange, you’re actually consuming “a naranj” (from Persian and Sanskrit). Your nickname is, historically speaking “an ekename,” or an additional name. Who knows. Maybe someday, when you do something for all-intensive purposes, no one will blink an eye. And, maybe in the future, some avant-garde poet will finally pen a verse to that most lovely of women, Lady Mondegreen.
Homeless man gives student his last £3 to get home and is repaid with amazing gesture
Dec 16, 2014 15:45
By Ian Hughes , Liam Corcoran
Dominique Harrison-Bentzen, from Preston, is spending 24 hours on the street with the man known only as Robbie and the gesture is warming hearts across the globe
A selfless homeless man offered a stranded student his last remaining £3 so she could pay for a taxi to get home safely.
The remarkable act of kindness has been reciprocated, and she is now spending 24 hours on the street - to raise him much-needed cash for the deposit on a flat.
And Dominique Harrison-Bentzen, 22, has already smashed her target of raising £12,500 for the man, identified only as Robbie.
The University of Central Lancashire student realised she had lost her bank card after a night out on December 4, when the good Samaritan stepped in.
She said: "I suddenly realised that I had no money and a homeless man approached me with his only change of £3.
"He insisted I took it to pay for a taxi to make sure I got home safe."
She didn't take the money in the end but was so touched by the man's kind gesture that she has set herself a mission to help him.
Dominique said: "I ended up posting a status on Facebook to try and find him the next day and it turns out I'm not the only person he has helped."
If you are out celebrating tonight and see a homeless person stop & listen... It could be the start of something magical
In just one day yet another target has been smashed! Let's hit the £2500, this is absolutely AMAZING! Thank you!!!
Robbie appears to have come to the aid of many in Preston city centre, returning wallets to pedestrians and offering his scarf to keep people warm.
And now, the Miss Preston finalist will spend 24 hours with Robbie to raise money to help him get back on his feet.
Dominique said: "He has been homeless for seven months through no fault of his own and he can't get work due to having no address.
"It took me four nights of driving round Preston to find him and I was beginning to lose hope that I would see him again, to thank him personally for his kindness.
"Luckily I had my mum and her car to help me."
She added that she met Robbie in the early hours of December 4, four days later she found him again and the next day, December 9, she went live with her Facebook and fundraising posts and the money started rolling in.
"And I simply can't just give him the money, I have to go through the right channels so I will be spending 24 hours through the day and night as a homeless person to understand the difficulties they face each day.
"If people can sponsor me £3 - as Robbie attempted to give me his only £3 - in the hope of collecting enough to get Robbie a flat deposit so that he can be safe and warm."
Ladies & Gentlemen, well this is pretty amazing.. We have reached a grand total of £2,731!!!
I am literally amazed that this all started just under 1 week ago and together we have exceeded not 1, not 2 but 5 targets! Unbelievable.
Thank you to each and every one of you who has made this happen, it really is encouraging & inspiring to see how many of you care and I cannot thank you enough for all of your kind messages....
Dominique has been overwhelmed by the response, and even Ian Brown from the Stone Roses has tweeted about the event.
"Everyone has been so supportive and I'd love to get as many people as possible out with me on Tuesday to show Robbie our support - be it for the full 24 hours or just one," she added.
"I hope my campaign will help people think a little more about the people around them, Christmas is a good time to think about other people.
"If people can see what I am doing then maybe they can take the time to just stop and talk to a homeless person, hear their story.
next week...keep on believing
I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of
these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”