When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”
(Isaiah 59:19)

A Standard

The New Babylon

Nearly everyone recognizes that the world is in the midst of a transition. Powerful forces are at work to bring about world government. Technology facilitates communication and commerce to such a degree that global governance is soon to be a necessity. Recent economic collapses seem to be driving toward a global financial system. For globalism to be successful, the sovereign nation state must go the way of the dinosaur. Conservative analysts have documented a moral decline in Western culture and America specifically. I have noticed it in my lifetime. Former United States Court of Appeals judge, Robert H. Bork, wrote Slouching towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline in 1996. The title is a play on the final couplet of Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming,” which reads:

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? [ii]

Bork contends that the rough beast of decadence is sending us slouching to our new home, which is not Bethlehem, but rather Gomorrah. He argues that Western culture and specifically the United States is declining as a result of modern liberalism and the rise of the so-called New Left. Bork traces the swift rise of modern liberalism since the 1960s, arguing that this legacy of radicalism shows that the precepts of modern liberalism are antithetical to traditional American thought. He exposes the incoherent nature of simultaneously exalting a thorough-going individualism alongside a radical egalitarianism. His arguments persuade, but something is missing.

While he rightly bemoans increased violence, perversion-saturated media, abortion, divorce, euthanasia, feminism, and the decline of religion as evidence of cultural degeneracy, he does not account for the demonic spiritual assault behind it. British New Testament scholar, Dr. Peter Jones, came to America in the early sixties and then took a teaching assignment in France for nearly twenty years. Upon his return, he marveled at how America had changed during his absence:

Does the average Christian know what is going on in our ostensibly civilized society? Pagan ideology, sometimes of the most radical and anti-Christian nature, is taught in university departments of religion, theological seminaries, mainline church agencies, feminist networks and wicca covens across the land. It adopts the name of Christianity, but will render our world unrecognizable…. If you doubt the success of this revolution (1960s), note the following statistic: in 1994, seventy-one percent of Americans and forty percent of those calling themselves “evangelicals” no longer believed in absolute truth.[iii]

We aren’t turning pagan because we are politically and socially liberal; rather, we are more leftist because we are increasingly spiritually pagan. Jones is correct that the 1960s were the turning point. However, few scholars of his stature will acknowledge the dark spiritual element involved.

[ii] William Butler Yeats. “The Second Coming,” http://www.potw.org/archive/potw351.html (accessed 09/21/13).

[iii] Peter Jones, Spirit Wars: Pagan Revival in Christian America (Mukilteo, WA: Winepress, 1997) 35.

Excerpt from: THE SUPERNATURAL WORLDVIEW Examining Paranormal, PSI, and the Apocalyptic Posted: April 10, 2014 by Cris Putnam

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Express

APOCALYPSE NOW: Why a rare astrological event LAST NIGHT could herald the 'End of Days'

IF YOU'RE feeling out of sorts today don't worry, it isn't just you.

By: Jason Taylor

Published: Wed, April 9, 2014

The alignment marks the start of the 'Tetrad' - four successive 'blood-red' eclipses[AFP/GETTY ]

Mars, Earth, and the Sun all aligned last night, a rare 'opposition of the planets' that only happens once every 778 days.

But what made this event so remarkable is that it occured precisely a week before everyone on earth will see the first of FOUR dark red 'blood moons', an extraordinary event some Christians believe represents the End of Days and the second coming of Christ.

The King James Bible predicts: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD comes," [Joel 2:31].

And, according to NASA, a highly unusual 'Tetrad' - four successive total 'blood-red' lunar eclipses each followed by six full moons - will, indeed, start next Tuesday and finish on September 28 2015.

The incredible alignment has only happened a handful of times in the last two thousand years but, remarkably, on each of the last three occasions it has coincided with a globally significant religious event.

Pastor and author John Hagee, from San Antonio, Texas, has written a book on the phenomenon. He believes tonight marks the dawn of a 'hugely significant event' for the world.

He says: "This is not something that some religious think tank has put together.

"NASA has confirmed that the Tetrad has only happened three times in more than 500 years - and that it's going to happen now."

The King James Bible warns the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the 'moon into blood' [DEA]

The first Tetrad since the Middle Ages, in 1493, saw the expulsion of Jews by the Catholic Spanish Inquisition, which rocked western Europe.

The second coincided with the establishment of the State of Israel - after thousands of years of struggle - in 1949.

Strangely, the last one occurred in 1967 - far earlier than expected - precisely at the time of the Six-Day Arab–Israeli War.

A spokesman for NASA said: "This is the first eclipse of the year and is well placed for observers throughout the Western Hemisphere.

"It will occur at the lunar orbit's ascending node in Virgo.

"This is the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 - a series known as a Tetrad."

NASA has confirmed four consecutive total lunar eclipses will occur in 2014 and 2015 [NASA]

He added: "The frequency of Tetrads is variable over time.

"Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli first pointed out that Tetrads were relatively plentiful during one 300-year interval, while none occurred at all during the next 300 years.

"The 565-year period of the Tetrad 'seasons' is tied to the slowly decreasing eccentricity of Earth's orbit.

"Consequently, the Tetrad period is gradually decreasing.

"In the distant future Tetrads will no longer be possible."

The last Tedrad occurred in 1967 during the Six-Day Arab–Israeli War [AFP]

Mr Hagee explains: "According to the Biblical prophecy, world history is about to change dramatically.

"To get four blood moons you need something absolutely extraordinary in astrological terms.

"Every time this has happened in the last 500 years, it has coincided with tragedy for the Jewish people followed by triumph. And once again, for Israel, the timing of this Tetrad is remarkable.

"The first of the four blood moons will come on April 15 this year, during Passover. The second will be on October 8, at the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles.

"On April 4 2015, during Passover, we will have another blood moon. Then finally, on September 28, during next year's Feast of the Tabernacles, the fourth blood and final moon will dawn."

He adds: "To have four and have them fall on these exact dates is something that has to be beyond coincidental.

"What is so remarkable about these blood moons is that they specifically fulfill prophecies set out in the Bible.

"Joel Chapter Two also says the 'Day of the Lord will be as when the sun refuses to shine'.

"The really significant fact is that between these four blood moons there will be a total solar eclipse.

"Even Jesus himself, in the Book of Luke, states there 'will be signs in the sun, moon and stars' and to 'lift up your heads for redemption draws nigh'.

"There's a sequence of prophetic events that the Bible says will happen. It does not, ever, give a timeline.

"It just says 'when you see these signs' - and four blood moons is a very significant one - 'the end of this age is coming."

While NASA has confirmed the astrological validity behind some of the claims, not everyone is convinced the Tetrad means anything at all, let alone the End of Days.

Professor Gary Shogren, a former pastor who studied the New Testament at Aberdeen University, said: "You’ll never go broke predicting the apocalypse.

"An eclipse on Passover night seems wildly improbable, but we should remember that lunar eclipses only happen on full moons and that Passover by definition always takes place on a full moon. Sukkoth (The Feast of Tabernacles) also by definition coincides with a full moon.

"I thought in 2011 we all said we weren’t going to fall for this again, when Harold Camping twice missed the date of the Second Coming?

"It really is no different this time."

***

***

Reuters

Apocalyptic prophecies drive both sides to Syrian battle for end of time

BY MARIAM KAROUNY

BEIRUT Tue Apr 1, 2014 10:39am EDT

Residents wait to receive food aid distributed by Al-Wafaa campaign at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, south of Damascus April 1, 2014.

(Reuters) - Conflict in Syria kills hundreds of thousands of people and spreads unrest across the Middle East. Iranian forces battle anti-Shi'ite fighters in Damascus, and the region braces for an ultimate showdown.

If the scenario sounds familiar to an anxious world watching Syria's devastating civil war, it resonates even more with Sunni and Shi'ite fighters on the frontlines - who believe it was all foretold in 7th Century prophecies.

From the first outbreak of the crisis in the southern city of Deraa to apocalyptic forecasts of a Middle East soaked in blood, many combatants on both sides of the conflict say its path was set 1,400 years ago in the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad and his followers.

Among those many thousands of sayings, or hadith, are accounts which refer to the confrontation of two huge Islamic armies in Syria, a great battle near Damascus, and intervention from the north and west of the country.

The power of those prophecies for many fighters on the ground means that the three-year-old conflict is more deeply rooted - and far tougher to resolve - than a simple power struggle between President Bashar al-Assad and his rebel foes.

Syria's war has killed more than 140,000 people, driven millions from their homes and left many more dependent on aid. Diplomatic efforts, focused on the political rather than religious factors driving the conflict, have made no headway.

"If you think all these mujahideen came from across the world to fight Assad, you're mistaken," said a Sunni Muslim jihadi who uses the name Abu Omar and fights in one of the many anti-Assad Islamist brigades in Aleppo.

"They are all here as promised by the Prophet. This is the war he promised - it is the Grand Battle," he told Reuters, using a word which can also be translated as slaughter.

On the other side, many Shi'ites from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran are drawn to the war because they believe it paves the way for the return of Imam Mahdi - a descendent of the Prophet who vanished 1,000 years ago and who will re-emerge at a time of war to establish global Islamic rule before the end of the world.

According to Shi'ite tradition, an early sign of his return came with the 1979 Iranian revolution, which set up an Islamic state to provide fighters for an army led by the Mahdi to wage war in Syria after sweeping through the Middle East.

"This Islamic Revolution, based on the narratives that we have received from the prophet and imams, is the prelude to the appearance of the Mahdi," Iranian cleric and parliamentarian Ruhollah Hosseinian said last year.

He cited comments by an eighth century Shi'ite imam who said another sign of the Mahdi's return would be a battle involving warriors fighting under a yellow banner - the color associated with Lebanon's pro-Assad Hezbollah militia.

"As Imam Sadeq has stated, when the (forces) with yellow flags fight anti-Shi'ites in Damascus and Iranian forces join them, this is a prelude and a sign of the coming of his holiness," Hosseinian was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

MEDIEVAL BATTLEFIELDS

Islam split into its Sunni and Shi'ite branches during a war over the succession to the leadership of the faith in the generation that followed the Prophet Mohammad's death in 632.

The hadith, or sayings of the prophet and his companions, have been handed down orally over the centuries and are the most important sources of authority in Islam after the Quran itself. Many date back to those medieval battlefields in what are now Syria and Iraq, where the two main Islamic sects took shape.

The historical texts have become a powerful recruitment tool, quoted across the region from religious festivals in Iraq's Shi'ite shrine city of Kerbala to videos released by Sunni preachers in the Gulf, and beyond.

"We have here mujahideen from Russia, America, the Philippines, China, Germany, Belgium, Sudan, India and Yemen and other places," said Sami, a Sunni rebel fighter in northern Syria. "They are here because this what the Prophet said and promised, the Grand Battle is happening."

Both sides emphasize the ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic state which will rule the world before total chaos.

Although some Sunni and Shi'ite clerics are privately skeptical of the religious justifications for the war, few in the region express such reservations in public for fear of being misinterpreted as doubters of the prophecies.

"Yes some of the signs are similar but these signs could apply at any time after the fall of the Islamic state (1,000 years ago)," one Sunni Muslim scholar in Lebanon said, asking that he not be identified. "There is no way to confirm we are living those times. We have to wait and see."

For the faithful, the hadith chart the course of Syria's conflict from its beginning in March 2011, when protests erupted over the alleged torture of students and schoolboys who wrote anti-Assad graffiti on a school wall in Deraa.

"There will be a strife in Sham (Syria) that begins with children playing, after which nothing can be fixed," according to one hadith. "When it calms down from one side, it ignites from the other."

Hadith on both sides mention Syria as a main battlefield, naming cities and towns where blood will be spilled.

Hundreds of thousands of people will be killed. The whole region will be shaken from the Arabian Peninsula to Iraq, Iran and Jerusalem, according to some texts.

Saudi Arabia will collapse. Almost every country in the Middle East will face unrest. One statement says "blood will reach knee-level".

A widely circulated hadith attributed to Mohammad says Sham, or Syria, is God's favored land. Asked where the next jihad will be, he replies: "Go for Sham, and if you can't, go for Yemen ...(though) God has guaranteed me Sham and its people."

Another refers to Muslims gathering "at the time of war in Ghouta, near a city called Damascus". Ghouta, east of Syria's capital, has been a rebel stronghold for the last two years.

A Sunni hadith speaks of a battle in a town called Dabeq, in northern Syria near the Turkish border, and intervention by a foreign army to split the Muslim fighters - seen by some as a reference to a possible Turkish incursion.

ARAB SPRING GIVES WAY TO SECTARIAN STRUGGLE

Syria's civil war grew out of the "Arab Spring" of pro-democracy revolts in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 after Assad's forces cracked down hard on peaceful protests.

But because Assad is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shii'ism, and most of his opponents are Sunni Muslims, the fighting quickly took on a sectarian character, which has largely overwhelmed the political issues.

"These hadith are what the Mujahideen are guided by to come to Syria, we are fighting for this. With every passing day we know that we are living the days that the Prophet talked about," said Mussab, a fighter from the Nusra Front, a Sunni hardline group linked to al Qaeda, speaking from Syria.

Murtada, a 27-year-old Lebanese Shi'ite who regularly goes to Syria to battle against the rebels, says he is not fighting for Assad, but for the Mahdi, also known as the Imam.

"Even if I am martyred now, when he appears I will be reborn to fight among his army, I will be his soldier," he told Reuters in Lebanon.

Murtada, who has fought in Damascus and in the decisive battle last year for the border town of Qusair, leaves his wife and two children when he goes to fight in Syria: "Nothing is more precious than the Imam, even my family. It is our duty."

Syria's civil war built upon sectarian conflicts elsewhere, especially in Iraq and Lebanon, leading to a growing sense across the region that all those power struggles in individual countries were part of a titanic battle for the future.

Abbas, a 24-year-old Iraqi Shi'ite fighter, said he knew he was living in the era of the Mahdi's return when the United States and Britain invaded Iraq in 2003.

"That was the first sign and then everything else followed," he told Reuters from Baghdad, where he said was resting before heading to Syria for a fourth time.

"I was waiting for the day when I will fight in Syria. Thank God he chose me to be one of the Imam's soldiers."

Abu Hsaasan, a 65 year old pensioner from south Lebanon, said he once thought the prophecies of the end of days would take centuries to come about.

"Things are moving fast. I never thought that I would be living the days of the Imam. Now, with every passing day I am more and more convinced that it is only a matter of few years before he appears."

(Editing by Dominic Evans and Peter Graff)

***

WND

ISLAMISTS GATHER TO FIGHT MUHAMMAD'S PROMISED ARMAGEDDON

'There are many, many Muslims that believe the end times are here'

Published: April 6, 2014

BOB UNRUH

Opposing Muslim interests are sending hundreds, maybe thousands of Islamic jihadists to Syria to fight for, or against, President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. There are estimates that 140,000 people already have been killed, some under incredibly gruesome circumstances in what was described as a slaughterhouse for Christians, in the three-year-old war.

Observers say there seems to be something beyond a political fight in the nation that dates backs thousands of years into history.

And maybe there is.

“The story is simply this,” said Middle East expert and theologian Joel Richardson. “While many Christians today are wondering if we’re in the end times, or approaching the end times, there are many, many Muslims throughout the earth today that believe the end times are here.”

The result, he said, is that the Syrian conflict is not a civil war, but is it being “perceived by both sides as being a sign of the soon coming of the final apocalyptic wars.”

Richardson is not unfamiliar with the ideas, having produced “Islam and the End Times” DVDs and having written “The Islamic Antichrist,” which argues simply that the biblical prophecy about the end of the world will be triggered by an Antichrist from the Islamic world.

He explains that some Muslims believe just before Mahdi, Islam’s end times imam, arrives on earth, there will be the Sufyani, a predicted Muslim tyrant who will spread corruption, mischief and terror, killing children and women.

The belief is that the Sufyani is one of characters the Madhi will have to defeat.

Richardson said members of both sides fighting in Syria now apparently believe the other side includes the Sufyani, and they are intent on killing him to usher in the Madhi.

“They believe they are part of that final Muslim army,” Richardson said. That means, within Islam, “There’s a heightened motivation to die in the battle.”

Richardson, an internationally recognized speaker on the topics of biblical prophecy and the Middle East, and a featured guest on “The Glenn Beck Show,” “The Mike Huckabee Show” and others, is not alone in his observation that there’s something about the Middle East.

A Reuters report recently said the fight in Syria resonates with both Sunni and Shiite fighters.

“From the first outbreak of the crisis in the southern city of Deraa to apocalyptic forecasts of a Middle East soaked in blood, many combatants on both sides of the conflict say its path was set 1,400 years ago in the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad and his followers,” the report said.

It cited the sayings, or hadiths, that are included in Islam, that refer to a fight between two huge Islamic armies in Syria.

“If you think all these mujahideen came from across the world to fight Assad, you’re mistaken,” a Sunni Muslim jihadi who calls himself Abu Omar told Reuters. “They are all here as promised by the prophet. This is the war he promised – it is the grand battle.”

The report said ardent Islamists trace the signs back to the 1979 Iranian revolution, which created an Islamic nation that could provide jihadists for the Madhi’s army.

“This Islamic Revolution, based on the narratives that we have received from the prophet and imams, is the prelude to the appearance of the Mahdi,” Reuters reported Iranian cleric and parliamentarian Ruhollah Hosseinian said last year.

The report said “mujahideen” are in Syria from America, Russia, the Philippines, China, Belgium Germany, Sudan, India and Yemen, at least.

Both sides are bent on setting up an Islamic power that would rule the world, driven by their “apocalyptic” vision, Richardson said.

“The governments and analysts need to understand how this is being perceived,” he said.

He said “normal parameters for living” simply don’t apply under such circumstances.

WND has reported that the uncertainty about end times events has been attracting headlines now for some time.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s “The Harbinger” for two years has warned of God’s impending judgment.

And pastor Mark Biltz, the author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” has a message that the signs in the heavens are aligning again as they have in the past when there have been significant events for Israel.

Also, a writer for Haaretz, the Israeli news report, recently explained observers are watching closely developments in the Ukraine based on the idea that it could generate the conflict with Gog and Magog, one of the Bible’s heralds of the end times and the return of the Messiah.

Chemi Shaley writes that Josephus Flavius, “the turncoat Jewish historian who chronicled the Masada saga,” theorized the Scythians, who lived in the central Eurasian region until the 4th century, lived in the land of Magog, “as in Gog and Magog, as in the war of Gog and Magog, as in the biblical prelude to the End of Days.”

Reported Shaley, “Which is one of the many reasons why recent events in the Ukraine have created a buzz among legions of apocalypse-anticipating true believers. This could be the real thing, they tell themselves, the big time, the major leagues, not the end of the beginning, to quote Winston Churchill in reverse, but the beginning of the end. And it is Vladimir Putin, aka Gog, aka King of the North, who has set things in motion.

“You only have to read Ezekiel chapters 38-39, the widely accepted handbook and screenplay for the upcoming decimation. According to traditional translations of verse 2 of Chapter 38, Gog is the ‘chief prince of Meshech and Tuval,’ ancient kingdoms also near the Black Sea. But the term used for ‘chief prince’ in Hebrew is ‘nesi rosh’ (as in נשיא ראש משך ותבל): Nesi could also mean ‘ruler’ or ‘president,’ and some scholars believe that ‘rosh’ is not an adjective, at all, but a noun denoting the name of yet another nation that will enter the fray. So Gog is the prince of Rosh, or the president of Rosh, or, with a little bit of help, the president of Russia.”

WND Founder and CEO Joseph Farah wrote a year ago that something clearly is going on.

“Our country is facing serious crises everywhere you look – economic, cultural, educational, in health care and in a rapid moral breakdown the likes of which America has never seen before, and I say that having lived through the 1960s. Let’s face it. These problems are not going to be fixed by government. Government is broken. And, as Ronald Reagan said, ‘Government is not the solution. Government is the problem,’” he wrote.

“These problems are not going to be fixed through politics. Politics in America is broken, too. They are not going to be fixed by the cultural institutions – like the media, Hollywood, academia, science, foundations. They, too, are broken. In fact, all of these institutions have become judgments on a country that has lost its moral bearings, its sense of right and wrong, its concern for truth and real justice. I’ve come to the conclusion there is only one thing that can save America from disaster – and that is a return by believers to the Creator God of the universe.”

***

The Jerusalem Post

Fundamentally Freund: Build a ‘Young Israel of the Temple Mount’

By MICHAEL FREUND

03/31/2014 21:52

The Temple Mount is the holiest site for the Jewish people, the place toward which we directed our dreams and prayers of return over the past two millennia.

The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Photo: REUTERS

At first glance it would appear to be a recipe for disaster, a proposal so brash it could ignite a conflagration between Arab and Jew. But the idea to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which was recently put forward by an impressive array of rabbis, professors and other public figures in a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, might just contain within it the seeds of co-existence and should not be dismissed out of hand.

In their missive, the signatories wrote, “The Temple Mount is a unique place for prayer. We ask you, as prime minister, to do what is necessary to establish a place of prayer for Jews on the Temple Mount in a respectable and peaceful manner that will honor the holy place we all long for.”

Interestingly, the signatories include prominent rabbis from across the Religious Zionist spectrum, such as Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba and former Haifa chief rabbi She’ar-Yashuv Cohen.

What prompted the letter is the ongoing situation on the Temple Mount, which is simply intolerable and cannot continue. Jews are denied the right to pray there and their visits are severely restricted. Jewish visitors are often shadowed by members of the Muslim Wakf, who despite claiming to venerate the site nonetheless hurl curses, insults and occasional stones at them.

And the Israel Police bar Jews from bringing Bibles or prayer books onto the Mount, and have been known to instruct them not to move their lips, because it could be construed as an act of silent prayer.

This ongoing violation of basic rights, such as freedom of worship and free speech, goes against the very core of Israel’s ethos of tolerance. Indeed, the government’s restrictions on Jews on the Temple Mount are un-Jewish, anti-democratic and blatantly discriminatory, and it is time to put an end to them. The current situation only inflames passions on both sides, fostering still more Arab anger and Jewish bitterness.

A simple way to defuse the tension and to prevent confrontations would be to build a synagogue, the equivalent of a “Young Israel of the Temple Mount,” where Jews could pray freely and undisturbed.

Put aside for a moment all your preconceived notions about the subject and consider the following: for over four centuries after Caliph Omar conquered the land of Israel in 633-4 CE, a synagogue and Jewish house of study operated on the Temple Mount and Jews prayed there unmolested.

Among others, this is attested to by Rabbi Abraham bar Chiya HaNassi, a leading Spanish rabbinical authority of the 12th century, who wrote in his book Megilat Megaleh that, “at the beginning, after the Romans destroyed the Temple, Israel was not prevented from coming and praying there, and similarly the kings of Ishmael enacted a beneficent custom and allowed Israel to come to the Temple Mount and build a house of prayer and study.”

Furthermore, he notes, “all the exiles of Israel who lived near the Temple Mount would ascend on festivals and holidays and pray there.”

In other words, there is a clear historical precedent that even during periods when the Mount was under Muslim control, the rights of Jews were respected. If that was the case when the Caliph Omar ruled Jerusalem, why can’t it be so now that the city has returned to Jewish control? Even after the synagogue was closed in 1080, individual Jews continued to pray on the Mount, such as the great medieval Jewish authority Maimonides. In the 13th century, Meiri, one of the greatest commentators on the Talmud, noted in his comments on Tractate Shavuot (16a) that there was a custom among Jews to enter the Temple Mount.

In recent decades, prominent rabbinical authorities such as former chief rabbis Shlomo Goren and Mordechai Eliyahu have supported the idea of Jews ascending the Temple Mount and constructing a synagogue there. And after Israel liberated the Mount in 1967, Jews prayed and studied there regularly.

Rabbi Goren, who served as chief rabbi of the IDF in the 1967 Six Day War, wrote in his monumental work Har HaBayit (p.14), that after the site’s liberation, “in the framework of the IDF Chief Rabbinate, we held symposiums and conducted organized public prayers on the Temple Mount – morning, afternoon and evening – and we read from the Torah on the Sabbath and on Mondays and Thursdays.”

Sadly, the Israeli government later put an end to Rabbi Goren’s initiative. But the idea of building a Jewish house of prayer on the Mount has been gaining traction in recent years, and this is a welcome development.

Simply put: erecting a synagogue on the Temple Mount will not heighten Arab-Jewish conflict, it will lessen it. The best way to reduce friction on the Mount between the two communities is to accommodate both sides, rather than just shortchanging the Jews. Failure to do so will only continue to exacerbate tensions.

The Temple Mount is the holiest site for the Jewish people, the place toward which we directed our dreams and prayers of return over the past two millennia.

And now, ironically, it is precisely there that Jews are treated as pariahs.

This historical absurdity and moral obscenity must once and for all finally come to an end.

***

RT

Kerry gives up on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

Published time: April 04, 2014 19:18

Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the Obama administration will reassess its role in attempting to broker a peace deal between Israel and Palestine after the latest round of discussions proved to be all but fruitful.

Speaking to reporters from Rabat, Morocco amid his latest tour overseas, Kerry said that the most recent attempts from the United States to find common ground between leadership in the Middle East have failed.

Reporting from Morocco, the Associated Press said Kerry appeared “visibly downbeat” as he disclosed to journalists the results of the State Department’s latest attempt to find an answer to the long-standing issues between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Both sides said last year that they’d reach an agreement by the end of April 2014, but Sec. Kerry said this week that a negotiation between parties is nowhere as near as the White House had hoped. Israel had initially agreed to release a group of Palestinian prisoners, but earlier this week rescinded that promise, prompting discussions to deteriorate even further. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded on Tuesday by saying his nation would seek greater recognition from the United Nations, much to the chagrin of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"They say they want to continue,” the AP quoted Kerry as saying of both leaders. "But we are not going to sit there indefinitely. This is not an open-ended effort. It's reality check time."

“Israel has a habit of evading agreements and conventions it has signed,” senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo added to Agence France-Press this week. “That is why conditions for future negotiations must change radically.”

But Israeli leadership — namely Justice Minister Tzipi Livni — now say that Palestine has soured the odds of an agreement by appealing to the UN. Palestine “has breached its obligations by applying to the United Nations” Livni said Wednesday, and that “if they want a state, they need to understand that it will only be established on the negotiating table.”

According to AP, Kerry suggested to journalists that there had been a virtual collapse in efforts to negotiate as of late, and his remarks were his “most pessimistic assessment of the situation” since this round of talks started last summer.

"It is regrettable that in the last few days both sides have taken steps that are not helpful and that's evident to everybody," Kerry told reporters.

“You can facilitate, you can push, you can nudge, but the parties themselves have to make fundamental decisions and compromises,” he said. “The leaders have to lead and they have to be able to see a moment when it’s there.”

According to the AP, Kerry will soon return to the US to see how President Barack Obama and the rest of the players involved in his administration overseas efforts will wish to proceed.

"Clearly we have an enormous amount on the plate," Kerry said. At the same time, however, he added that "There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend if the parties themselves are unable to take constructive steps.”

“We are going to evaluate very carefully exactly where this is and where it might possibly be able to go,” he said of the talks.

In the meantime, though, the US is indeed embroiled to at least some degree in a handful of other foreign affairs, and Kerry specifically singled conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as ongoing efforts involving Iran’s nuclear program.

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Religion News Service

Is support for Israel waning among evangelicals?

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Published: April 9

American evangelicals have played a significant role in U.S. support for Israel; by some measures they are even more supportive than American Jews.

But in the spring issue of Middle East Quarterly, David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, wrote a piece titled “The End of Evangelical Support for Israel?” Evangelicals have shifted within the last decade, Brog wrote, and are no longer considered automatic supporters of Israel.

“The days of taking evangelical support for Israel for granted are over,” he wrote, suggesting an urgency for those who take the issue seriously. “They cannot let the evangelical community go the way of the mainstream Protestant leadership.”

Several mainline churches and international church bodies have passed resolutions on divesting money or boycotting products made in Israel because of its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In October 2010, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life conducted a survey of evangelical leaders attending the global evangelical conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

Overall, 48 percent of the evangelicals said Israel is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy about the Second Coming of Jesus, while 42 percent said it is not.

When asked where their sympathies lie, 34 percent of global evangelicals surveyed sympathized with Israel, compared with 30 percent of American evangelicals.

In addition, new films made by Christians are beginning to question support for Israel. They include “With God on Our Side” (Rooftop Productions, 2010) and “Little Town of Bethlehem” (EthnoGraphic Media, 2010), funded by Mart Green, the son of Hobby Lobby’s founder, David Green.

David Green is the current chair of Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma, whose president, Billy Wilson, spoke at the recent controversial conference “Christ at the Checkpoint.”

“Christ at the Checkpoint” began in 2010 as a biennial conference with the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian who could be suffering under Israeli occupation today as he once suffered under Roman occupation.

David Neff, who co-convenes an annual evangelical-Jewish leader dialogue, said his Jewish friends have expressed some nervousness over recent gatherings and activities, including Christ at the Checkpoint, which took place in March.

“I think it’s more anecdotal at this point, but nevertheless, it is reasonable to think that with Christ at the Checkpoint people getting the attention of some,” Neff said, referring to Lynne Hybels, wife of megachurch pastor Bill Hybels, and progressive evangelical leader Tony Campolo. “There’s no question: People who have sympathies for the plight of the Palestinians have more access than they used to.”

In 2012, Lynne Hybels was invited to address “Peacemaking in Israel/Palestine” at Catalyst, one of the largest young evangelical gatherings in the country. She went on a trip to Palestine with Cameron Strang, the editor of Relevant magazine and son of Steve Strang, editor of Charisma magazine, which has been a strong supporter of Israel. Relevant’s March/April cover story, “Is Peace Possible?” by Cameron Strang, is on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

In 2012, popular author and blogger Donald Miller wrote on “The Painful Truth about the Situation in Israel.”

It’s difficult to measure long-term support for Israel among evangelicals. Findings from the Pew Research Center, though, suggest that it has remained relatively stable in the past five years.

When asked “In the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, who do you sympathize with more?” evangelicals were far more likely to say Israel — 72 percent to 4 percent in 2013, about the same as in 2009 — according to the Pew poll.

“There’s deep attachment to Israel and I don’t see that changing,” said Todd Deatherage, executive director of Telos, a group that seeks a middle way that supports peace. “Anecdotally, it’s not that some Americans and some evangelicals are in any way becoming anti-Israel, but they’re defining their support in terms of conflict resolution.”

For years, the source of that attachment was a specific, literalistic approach to biblical prophecy, called dispensationalism. Dispensationalists believe the Israelites’ return to the Promised Land is a requirement for the Second Coming of Jesus. They therefore rejoiced when Israeli troops captured the Old City of Jerusalem from Arab forces in June 1967 and saw it as a sign that Jesus was coming.

Before he switched his theological views, California-based pastor Kim Riddlebarger sold Bible prophecy books for 25 years. Now Riddlebarger, who co-hosts a popular radio show called the White Horse Inn, believes God has fulfilled his promise to Israel through a covenant with Jesus, so he sees no theological need for a state of Israel.

“Reformed folks tend not to be involved in punditry, date setting, but more the theological discussion on Israel’s role in international politics and human rights,” Riddlebarger said. “You can only hype something so many times before people start to lose interest.”

David Gushee, Christian ethicist at Mercer University, said he sees more tourist trips to the region wanting to include a Palestinian perspective.

“The Palestinian side of the story is coming into view in the way it hasn’t come before,” he said. “As people are organizing their mental worlds theologically, whatever they’re reading, it doesn’t equal unequivocal support for Israel at any given point.”

While support for Israel may look different than it did in previous years, Jews for Jesus director David Brickner said he hasn’t seen a decline in support among the Christians he meets at colleges, churches and seminaries.

“If there’s a concern, it’s a younger generation that seems yet to have made strong conclusions whether or not to support Israel,” he said.

Still, he said, some Christians are grappling with how to handle Israel’s relationship with Palestinians.

“I long to see the church have a balanced perspective on the Middle East, where you don’t have to throw out the concern for Palestinians to support Israel,” Brickner said. “I really believe there’s a large middle ground, but it’s hard to do when people are in their polar positions.”

***

The Russo-Papal Alliance in the Mideast

What has brought Russia’s Putin and Pope Francis together?

By Massimo Franco, March 2, 2014

The Vatican has no troops. This explains why in truly troubled times, the Pope badly needs a world power that can be a defender of Christians.

Russia, for its part, is active in the Middle East and has influence and hard power, while the West is not really there anymore – at least, not anywhere near as much as in the past.

Putin, never a man to miss a ready opportunity for a power play, decided to protect not just Orthodox Christians, but also Catholics in the Arab world.

The Vatican also knows that many priests and patriarchs in Syria are pro-Assad, because they fear the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. For different reasons, the Vatican and Moscow also both consider the Balkanization of this strategic region as a negative development – and hope to avoid it.

The letter sent by Francis to Putin in September 2013, on the eve of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, was a recognition of Russia as a key player in the Middle East.

The Holy See fears the fragmentation of the present states in the Middle East – and considers the creation of one-party, one-religion nations as a potential risk of war.

Furthermore, current developments foreshadow an end of the role of Middle Eastern Christianity as a historical bridge between different faith and cultures. But even without that happening, religious tensions have risen significantly.

Much in common

Putin, for his part, is worried by the prospect of a clash between different ethnic and religious groups. That might encourage Islamic terrorism near the southern borders of Russia and in Central Asian republics at east.

The Holy See and Russia share a negative view of the way the West has confronted Assad so far. In particular, they have little regard for the United States’ support to the Syrian rebels. At this point, their common assessment is that the rebels have been infiltrated by radical Muslims and even by groups close to the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

That does not mean that the Vatican and Russia see Assad as their champion. Like Washington, Moscow and Papal Rome know Assad is a cruel dictator and want him out.

However, in the absence of an alternative, Assad still appears a sort of lesser evil compared to Islamic radicals. What happened in Maghreb and Egypt after the Arab Springs is a terrible reminder of the dangers ahead, particularly for minority Christians.

Re-balancing a region

The only clear reality is that a balance of power in the region is over – and that a brand new one is going to be created.

The odd Francis-Putin alliance is a signal not of the success of Russia or of a papal desire to distance the Church from western values. It mostly mirrors the contradictions, divisions and lack of strategic vision of the West (whether in the EU or the United States).

It also underscores a more pragmatic approach of the Holy See when it comes to international relations. The shift towards Putin doesn’t mean that the Holy See chooses Russia over the United States. It’s just a rebalancing of its position between the two past giants of the Cold War. And it underscores the Vatican’s desire to draw out new lines of dialogue and diplomacy.

Moreover, it is a tactical choice, likely to be challenged now by crisis in Ukraine. There Catholics are siding mostly with the anti-Russian protests and new government.

Putin, defender of Christianity?

But in general, there is a converging interest between Orthodox Russians and Papal Rome not just on the Middle Eastern situation, but also on the so-called “moral values.”

Putin is becoming the most vocal attacker of European secularization. He has also emerged as a defender of religious “normal” family values. But the very harsh way in which he pursues the agenda, via widely condemned laws, has created a bit of embarrassment in Vatican circles, even though many of Putin’s conservative views are generally shared in papal Rome.

For Putin, all of this is a domestic policy tool. He isn’t concerned about the Vatican. The goal is to inspire a stronger Russian identity against immigrants from former Soviet republics with an Islamic majority.

Although it seems to be quite an odd connection, the Vatican-Russia alliance is due to continue in the Middle East. It will last at least as long as the West refuses to view the major changes happening in some of the most tormented areas of the world with both strategic clarity and urgency.

Editor’s note: This article is based on the speech delivered by the author in February 2014 at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, in London, chaired by Nomi Bar Yaacov, on “The New Vatican Foreign Policy.”

***

CP World

Scientists Say Shroud of Turin Shows Jesus Was Crucified in 'Very Painful' Position, With Arms Over Head

Shroud of Turin: Earthquake Made Jesus' Face, Says Study

Radiation From the Shroud of Turin a Clue to Jesus' Resurrection?

Pope Francis Comments on Shroud of Turin After New Research Upholds Authenticity

Uncertainty Abounds Regarding Latest Turin Shroud Claims

BY KATHERINE WEBER, CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER

April 3, 2014|3:51 pm

A new study conducted by Liverpool scientists suggests the Shroud of Turin proves Jesus was crucified with his hands over his head in a "Y" shape, rather than to the sides in a "T" shape, as traditionally depicted in Christian art. The scientist leading this recent study says this new crucifixion would be "very painful" and likely cause asphyxiation for the victim.

Scientists at the Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K. announced their findings at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences earlier this year. They argue that the Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus, shows an image of a man with blood stains streaking down his arms. Matteo Borrini, who led the shroud study at the John Moores University, argues that these stains could only have been obtained if the victim's arms were hung over his head in a "Y" shape, instead of the "T" shape that is so prevalent in Christian art.

The scientists reached their new conclusion after having scientist Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia, Italy, act out different crucifixion poses with donated blood dripping down his arms via a cannula.

As Borrini told the New Scientist, this new crucifixion position would have been much more painful than the "T" shaped crucifixion, as being hung with one's arms above their head makes it very difficult to breathe. The scientists further suggested that one hung in a "Y" shape would likely die from asphyxiation.

"This would have been a very painful position and one which would have created difficulty breathing," Borrini said.

The validity of the Shroud of Turin has long been disputed, with some arguing that the linen is in fact Jesus' burial cloth, and others arguing that the piece of fabric is a master forgery from the Medieval Times. As Borrini indicates, medieval torture often included hanging a victim with their arms above their head using rope. However, he did add that if the shroud is a forgery, it is expertly done since the blood stains line up as accurately as if they were produced from an actual crucifixion.

Scientists have created several theories regarding the Shroud of Turin over the years. In another recent study conducted by the Politecnico di Torino University in Torino, Italy, scientists suggested that the male image on the linen was created by neutron emissions from an earthquake that took place in 33 a.d. Jerusalem. These scientists reached their conclusion by crushing brittle rock segments in a pressure machine to stimulate an earthquake, finding that when nitrogen atoms and linen fibers met, they created a facial image.

***

How Mickey Rooney’s encounter with an angel led to his faith in Jesus Christ

By Mark Ellis, God Reports, April 8, 2014

Legendary actor Mickey Rooney, one of Hollywood’s last surviving stars of its classic era, passed away April 6th from natural causes. He was 93.

The award-winning actor became the biggest star in the world in his teens when he played the character Andy Hardy in A Family Affair.

The son of vaudevillians, his career started even earlier—as a mere babe. On lunch break when he filmed the Mickey McGuire comedies, five-year-old Rooney walked into an office at Warner Bros. studio, and introduced himself to a cartoonist named Walt Disney.

“Come over and sit on my lap,” Disney told the youngster.

When he sat on his lap, Disney held up a mouse he had drawn. “That’s a good-looking mouse, Mr. Disney,” Rooney blurted out.

“It sure is, Mickey,’ he said, and then paused for a moment. “Mickey, Mickey,” he said with a gleam in his eye. “Tell me something, how would you like me to name this mouse after you?”

“I sure would like that, but right now I got to go and get a tuna sandwich,” Rooney replied, and he jumped off Disney’s lap.

“It’s a true story,” Rooney told Kira Albin, in a 1995 interview.

Sadly, Rooney’s private life was turbulent, and his eight marriages became the fodder for late-night comedians’ jokes. But the challenges he survived –including elder abuse more recently—left him with an uncommon depth of wisdom gained with time.

After the deaths of his mother and fifth wife in 1966, he battled substance abuse and financial problems. In the depths of the valley, Rooney had an unusual encounter that he said changed his life, according to the same interview with Albin.

Over breakfast at a Lake Tahoe casino coffee shop, Rooney was greeted by a busboy with “blond curls, a white-rose complexion, and shining teeth,” he recounted.

When the man called his name, Rooney started to stand, thinking he had a telephone call. But the busboy leaned toward him and whispered in his ear, “Mr. Rooney, Jesus Christ loves you very much.” Then the mysterious busboy vanished.

When Rooney looked for the young man and gave his description to the manager of the establishment, he was told that no such person worked there. Rooney believed he was visited by an angel.

In 1995, Albin described Rooney as an “unabashed Christian.”

“I’ve given my life to God,” he told Albin, “and I try and do the right thing, but inevitably, and unfortunately, I do the wrong thing. I suffer from being human.”

“You should take your children to church and teach them about Jesus Christ and about God, who makes the sunshine and the moon glow and gives us so many blessings,” he said in 2011.

“I talked before the house and senate about (elder) abuse. No one had more abuse than Jesus Christ.”

“If you go with God and with Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and leave the troubles and everything to God, everything will work out for you.”

***

Zero Hedge

US Threatens Russia Over Petrodollar-Busting Deal

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/05/2014 14:27

On the heels of Russia's potential "holy grail" gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil "barter" deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar

U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL

U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS

*U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS

We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness.

As we explained earlier in the week,

Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and "heaven forbid" gold) and shortly other "regional" currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.

...

"If Washington can't stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won't risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime,"

And here is Voice of Russia, "Russia prepares to attack the Petrodollar":

The US dollar's position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.

The existence of “petrodollars” is one of the pillars of America's economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer want to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom's natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars.

Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency .

The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.

First, it was the Minister of Economy, Alexei Ulyukaev who told Russia 24 news channel that the Russian energy companies must should ditch the dollar. “ They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of partner-countries, ” he said.

Then, on March 2, Andrei Kostin, the CEO of state-owned VTB bank, told the press that Gazprom, Rosneft and Rosoboronexport, state company specialized in weapon exports, can start trading in rubles. “ I've spoken to Gazprom, to Rosneft and Rosoboronexport management and they don't mind switching their exports to rubles. They only need a mechanism to do that ”, Kostin told the attendees of the annual Russian Bank Association meeting.

Judging by the statement made at the same meeting by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, it is safe to assume that no resources will be spared to create such a mechanism. “ Some ‘hot headed' decision-makers have already forgotten that the global economic crisis of 2008 - which is still taking its toll on the world - started with a collapse of certain credit institutions in the US, Great Britain and other countries. This is why we believe that any hostile financial actions are a double-edged sword and even the slightest error will send the boomerang back to the aborigines,” she said.

It seems that Moscow has decided who will be in charge of the “boomerang”. Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, has been nominated to chair the board of directors of Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange, a specialized commodity exchange. In October 2013, speaking at the World Energy Congress in Korea, Sechin called for a "global mechanism to trade natural gas" and went on suggesting that " it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies ". Now, one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality. A Russian commodity exchange where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of dollars will be a strong blow to the petrodollar.

Rosneft has recently signed a series of big contracts for oil exports to China and is close to signing a “jumbo deal” with Indian companies. In both deals, there are no US dollars involved. Reuters reports, that Russia is close to entering a goods-for-oil swap transaction with Iran that will give Rosneft around 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell in the global market. The White House and the russophobes in the Senate are livid and are trying to block the transaction because it opens up some very serious and nasty scenarios for the petrodollar. If Sechin decides to sell this Iranian oil for rubles, through a Russian exchange, such move will boost the chances of the “petroruble” and will hurt the petrodollar.

It can be said that the US sanctions have opened a Pandora's box of troubles for the American currency. The Russian retaliation will surely be unpleasant for Washington, but what happens if other oil producers and consumers decide to follow the example set by Russia? During the last month, China opened two centers to process yuan-denominated trade flows, one in London and one in Frankfurt. Are the Chinese preparing a similar move against the greenback? We'll soon find out.

***

Is the US or the World Coming to an End?

Paul Craig Roberts



April 10, 2014

2014 is shaping up as a year of reckoning for the United States.

Two pressures are building on the US dollar. One pressure comes from the Federal Reserve’s declining ability to rig the price of gold as Western gold supplies shrivel and market knowledge of the Fed’s illegal price rigging spreads. The evidence of massive amounts of naked shorts being dumped into the paper gold futures market at times of day when trading is thin is unequivocal. It has become obvious that the price of gold is being rigged in the futures market in order to protect the dollar’s value from QE.

The other pressure arises from the Obama regime’s foolish threats of sanctions on Russia. Other countries are no longer willing to tolerate Washington’s abuse of the world dollar standard. Washington uses the dollar-based international payments system to inflict damage on the economies of countries that resist Washington’s political hegemony.

Russia and China have had enough. As I have reported and as Peter Koenig reports here http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38165.htm Russia and China are disconnecting their international trade from the dollar. Henceforth, Russia will conduct its trade, including the sale of oil and natural gas to Europe, in rubles and in the currencies of its BRICS partners.

This means a big drop in the demand for US dollars and a corresponding drop in the dollar’s exchange value.

As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear, the US economy has not recovered from the downturn in 2008 and has weakened further. The vast majority of the US population is hard pressed from the lack of income growth for years. As the US is now an import-dependent economy, a drop in the dollar’s value will raise US prices and push living standards lower.

All evidence points to US economic failure in 2014, and that is the conclusion of John Williams’ April 9 report.

This year could also see the breakup of NATO and even the EU. Washington’s reckless coup in Ukraine and threat of sanctions against Russia have pushed its NATO puppet states onto dangerous ground. Washington misjudged the reaction in Ukraine to its overthrow of the elected democratic government and imposition of a stooge government. Crimea quickly departed Ukraine and rejoined Russia. Other former Russian territories in Ukraine might soon follow. Protesters in Lugansk, Donetsk, and Kharkov are demanding their own referendums. Protesters have declared the Donetsk People’s Republic and Kharkov People’s Republic. Washington’s stooge government in Kiev has threatened to put the protests down with violence. http://rt.com/news/eastern-ukraine-violence-threats-405/ Washington claims that the protests are organized by Russia, but no one believes Washington, not even its Ukrainian stooges.

Russian news reports have identified US mercenaries among the Kiev force that has been sent to put down the separatists in eastern Ukraine. A member of the right-wing, neo-Nazi Fatherland Party in the Kiev parliament has called for shooting the protesters dead.

Violence against the protesters is likely to bring in the Russian Army and result in the return to Russia of its former territories in Eastern Ukraine that were attached to Ukraine by the Soviet Communist Party.

With Washington out on a limb issuing threats hand over fist, Washington is pushing Europe into two highly undesirable confrontations. Europeans do not want a war with Russia over Washington’s coup in Kiev, and Europeans understand that any real sanctions on Russia, if observed, would do far more damage to Europeans. Within the EU, growing economic inequality among the countries, high unemployment, and stringent economic austerity imposed on poorer members have produced enormous strains. Europeans are in no mood to bear the brunt of a Washington-orchestrated conflict with Russia. While Washington presents Europe with war and sacrifice, Russia and China offer trade and friendship. Washington will do its best to keep European politicians bought-and-paid-for and in line with Washington’s policies, but the downside for Europe of going along with Washington is now much larger.

Across many fronts, Washington is emerging in the world’s eye as duplicitous, untrustworthy, and totally corrupt. A Securities and Exchange Commission prosecuting attorney, James Kidney used the occasion of his retirement to reveal that higher ups had squelched his prosecutions of Goldman Sachs and other “banks too big to fail,” because his SEC bosses were not focused on justice but “on getting high-paying jobs after their government service” by protecting the banks from prosecution for their illegal actions. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/09/65578/

The US Agency for International Development has been caught trying to use social media to overthrow the government of Cuba. http://rt.com/news/cuba-usaid-senate-zunzuneo-241/

This audacious recklessness comes on top of Washington’s overthrow of the Ukrainian government, the NSA spying scandal, Seymour Hersh’s investigative report that the Sarin gas attack in Syria was a false flag event arranged by NATO member Turkey in order to justify a US military attack on Syria, Washington’s forcing down Bolivian President Evo Morales’ presidential plane to be searched, Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the misuse of the Libyan no-fly resolution for military attack, and on and on. Essentially, Washington has so badly damaged other countries’ confidence in the judgment and integrity of the US government that the world has lost its belief in US leadership. Washington is reduced to threats and bribes and increasingly presents as a bully.

The self-inflicted hammer blows to Washington’s credibility have taken a toll. The most serious blow of all is the dawning realization everywhere that Washington’s crackpot conspiracy theory of 9/11 is false. Large numbers of independent experts as well as more than one hundred first responders have contradicted every aspect of Washington’s absurd conspiracy theory. No aware person believes that a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, operating without help from any intelligence agency, outwitted the entire National Security State, not only all 16 US intelligence agencies but also all intelligence agencies of NATO and Israel as well.

Nothing worked on 9/11. Airport security failed four times in one hour, more failures in one hour than have occurred during the other 116,232 hours of the 21st century combined. For the first time in history the US Air Force could not get interceptor fighters off the ground and into the sky. For the first time in history Air Traffic Control lost airliners for up to one hour and did not report it. For the first time in history low temperature, short-lived, fires on a few floors caused massive steel structures to weaken and collapse. For the first time in history 3 skyscrapers fell at essentially free fall acceleration without the benefit of controlled demolition removing resistance from below.

Two-thirds of Americans fell for this crackpot story. The left-wing fell for it, because they saw the story as the oppressed striking back at America’s evil empire. The right-wing fell for the story, because they saw it as the demonized Muslims striking out at American goodness. President George W. Bush expressed the right-wing view very well: “They hate us for our freedom and democracy.”

But no one else believed it, least of all the Italians. Italians had been informed some years previously about government false flag events when their President revealed the truth about secret Operation Gladio. Operation Gladio was an operation run by the CIA and Italian intelligence during the second half of the 20th century to set off bombs that would kill European women and children in order to blame communists and, thereby, erode support for European communist parties.

Italians were among the first to make video presentations challenging Washington’s crackpot story of 9/11. The ultimate of this challenge is the 1 hour and 45 minute film, “Zero.” You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU961SGps8g&feature=youtu.be

Zero was produced as a film investigating 9/ll by the Italian company Telemaco. Many prominent people appear in the film along with independent experts. Together, they disprove every assertion made by the US government regarding its explanation of 9/11.

The film was shown to the European parliament.

It is impossible for anyone who watches this film to believe one word of the official explanation of 9/11.

The conclusion is increasingly difficult to avoid that elements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony.

China and Russia protested but accepted Libya’s destruction even though it was to their own detriment. But Iran became a red line. Washington was blocked, so Washington decided to cause major problems for Russia in Ukraine in order to distract Russia from Washington’s agenda elsewhere.

China has been uncertain about the trade-offs between its trade surpluses with the US and Washington’s growing encirclement of China with naval and air bases. China has come to the conclusion that China has the same enemy as Russia has–Washington.

One of two things is likely: Either the US dollar will be abandoned and collapse in value, thus ending Washington’s superpower status and Washington’s threat to world peace, or Washington will lead its puppets into military conflict with Russia and China. The outcome of such a war would be far more devastating than the collapse of the US dollar.

***

***

WND (Edited from longer article.)

DEADLY EBOLA VIRUS SPREADS

Disease with no known cure defying containment efforts

Published: April 8, 2014

JEROME R. CORSI

NEW YORK – Defying efforts at containment, the Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and has caused 90 dead in Guinea and Liberia has now spread further across West Africa into Mali in what Doctors without Borders is calling an “unprecedented” outbreak.

The U.N.’s World Health Organization, or WHO, has identified the active virus as the Zaire strain of Ebola. The virus has a death rate approaching 90 percent, suggesting that unless contained, the outbreak in West Africa could become one of deadliest epidemics of Ebola, for which there is no known cure.

Doctors without Borders has 52 international staff working alongside its Guinea staff in cooperation with Guinea’s Ministry of Health.

The group is caring for 19 patents held in isolation units set up in various locations across Guinea.

The teams include doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, water and sanitation experts, health promoters and psychologists.

“Our efforts are aimed at containing the outbreak, which is accomplished by detection of the sick and isolating them from the rest of the population,” explained Anja Wolz, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Conakry, Guinea.

“Although there is no cure for this disease, we can reduce its very high mortality by addressing the symptoms. This includes administering a drip to patients who have become dehydrated from diarrhea and by confirming that they do not have a different disease, such as malaria or a bacterial infection like typhoid.”

Meanwhile, tensions in the region are growing as health-care authorities fight to combat panic in the areas affected by the Ebola outbreak.

In Mali, three people have been placed in quarantine, with samples sent off to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for testing.

The Associated Press reported Friday that residents in Bamako, the capital of Mali, have conducted public demonstrations that resulted in several people wounded when police tried to disperse protesters.

The crowds in Bamako were evidently angry that several people suspected of having the deadly disease were being held in isolation in their neighborhood.

Also on Friday, an angry mob attacked an Ebola treatment center in Guinea, accusing the staff of bring the disease to the town, according to Reuters.

“We have evacuated all our staff and closed the treatment center,” Doctors without Borders medical worker Sam Taylor told Reuters, declining to give details of the attack. “We have the full support of the local leaders and we’re working with the authorities to try and resolve this problem as quickly as possible so we can start treating people again.”

Government health officials in Guinea have banned the consumption of bat and bush meat, local delicacies in West African nations that are considered carriers of the Ebola virus.

Last week, Senegal closed its border with Guinea in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

***

ENENEWS

Inside Sources: Fukushima crisis “actually far worse than anyone acknowledged… information withheld to prevent panic” – Professor: “Level of radiation was far worse than Navy officers anticipated” – US gov’t shredded documents for 4 days while drawing up plans to evacuate Japan — “Somebody was obviously very worried”

Published: April 5th, 2014 at 5:51 pm ET 


Japan Times, Jeff Kingston of Temple Univ., Apr. 4, 2014: Kyle Cleveland, my colleague [...] recently published a report […] a critical, but nuanced picture of a crisis that was closer to careening out of control than is generally acknowledged. […] Naval officers […] discovered the level of radiation was far worse than they anticipated. Radiation gauges on the [USS Reagan] measured levels of radiation at 100 nautical miles off the coast that were 30 times greater than normal. [Sailors report] significant health problems due to exposure to radiation […] Cleveland finds that there was considerable disagreement between various U.S. agencies about the severity of the risk […] Given that the U.S. government expanded the exclusionary zone in Fukushima to 80 km and developed contingency plans for a massive evacuation while shredding of documents continued for four days at the U.S. Embassy and military bases in Japan, somebody was obviously very worried. […] Some of his insider sources tell him that the crisis was actually far worse than anyone acknowledged at the time and that information was withheld to prevent a panic. Cleveland concludes that Japan’s nuclear reactors should not be restarted.

Professor Kyle Cleveland, Temple University Japan: “[The navy was] more risk averse than either the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) or State, and from day one was ringing alarms that were not entirely understood, not completely validated and not well received by the NRC and State. The navy was pushing the other federal agencies to take more aggressive actions because their radiation measurements were indicating dose rates that were more significant than what was implied by the abstract modeling […]”


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The Guardian

Scottish independence would weaken UK's global status, says ex-Nato chief

Lord Robertson says yes vote would boost west's enemies and 'forces of darkness' and embolden dictators across the world

Lord Robertson: 'What could justify giving the dictators, the persecutors, the oppressors … the biggest pre-Christmas present of their lives by tearing the UK apart? Photograph: Etienne Ansotte/EPA

George Robertson, the formerly UK defence secretary and Nato chief, has claimed Scottish independence would have a "cataclysmic" effect on European and global stability by undermining the UK on the world stage.

The Labour peer told an audience in America that a yes vote would give succour to separatist movements across Europe, risk destabilising Northern Ireland and embolden dictators and "annexers" around the world.

In the most aggressive and pessimistic speech yet by a senior figure in the no campaign, Lord Robertson said many Scottish voters were unaware their decision in September's referendum had implications far beyond Britain.

A breakup of the UK would weaken its global status and a yes vote would leave the UK government embroiled in a complex internal dispute about the terms of Scottish independence just as "solidity and cool nerves" were needed on the world stage. The "loudest cheers" after a yes vote would come from the west's enemies and other "forces of darkness".

"What could possibly justify giving the dictators, the persecutors, the oppressors, the annexers, the aggressors and the adventurers across the planet the biggest pre-Christmas present of their lives by tearing the United Kingdom apart?" Robertson said at the Brookings Institution on Monday.

"I fear from time to time that we Scots are living in a veritable bubble in this debate and outside of that increasingly fractious bubble, we're losing sight of the fact that our decision on the 18 September will have much wider and bigger implications that any of us yet grasp."

Robertson's speech was intended in part to pressure President Obama's administration into saying publicly it opposes Scottish independence. The Scottish government dismissed it as "crass and offensive" scaremongering.

A spokesman for Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister, said the speech was crass and offensive and "has absolutely nothing positive to say".

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's deputy first minister, said she was shocked. Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, she said Robertson was a well known hardliner on nationalism, but that the language he used "does a real disservice to the debate".

Talk of "forces of darkness" and being "cataclysmic" to western stability "completely moves away from any semblance of rational debate and I think many people, whether they're yes or no, will find these comments insulting and offensive".

Robertson said a Scottish yes vote could provoke further disintegration in Europe. It would embolden separatists in Catalonia, who plan a referendum in November, and terrorist groups in the Basque region of Spain, who have recently renounced violence. It could also lead to Belgium splitting apart with Flemish nationalists pressing to break away.

"So I contend that it is far from scaremongering to use the term Balkanisation to predict what might happen if Scotland were to break from its 300-year-old union," he said.

"The fragmentation of Europe starting on the centenary of the first world war would be both an irony and a tragedy with incalculable consequences."

Robertson's speech came as Salmond began a week-long visit to America to promote a yes vote and Scottish business interests. He has announced a series of US investments in Scotland and made a speech on Scotland's energy potential.

Salmond told an American audience this week that a written constitution for an independent Scotland would draw heavily on the US constitution, a document influenced by Scots emigres.

Scotland would be a full and "constructive" member of Nato, he said, even as it insisted on the UK's nuclear weapons being withdrawn. An independent Scotland would also strive to work with the UN and the EU to promote global peace.

"For most countries, greatness can only come from influence, not force; from soft, not hard power; from enlightened self-interest, not self-interest alone. It will come from their people, their values, their reputation and their ideas," he told an audience at Glasgow Caledonian university's New York campus.

Salmond's spokesman said the referendum – which has been endorsed and authorised by the UK parliament, was a model for a free democratic vote.

"Scotland can and will make a hugely positive contribution to the world as an independent country – and our referendum is a model of democracy, which was cited as such only last month by the US secretary of state [John Kerry]," he said.

Kerry said the Scottish referendum was a model for legally sanctioned self-determination against the aggressive annexation of Crimea by Russia, when he gave evidence to the House foreign affairs committee in Washington in March.

Robertson, the first defence secretary in Tony Blair's Labour government in 1997, is famous among Scottish independence campaigners for predicting in 1995 that devolution of some powers to a new Scottish parliament would kill nationalism "stone dead". In fact, it has allowed the SNP to win a majority government and hold the independence referendum.

Robertson said comparisons by Scots nationalists of their cause with the US wars of independence were "tortured" and "facile", since Scotland was not a colony but a vibrant, wealthy and successful partner within the UK.

"It is not oppressed. It's not discriminated against. It isn't disadvantaged," Robertson said. "Indeed, it's the second most prosperous part of United Kingdom outside of London and the south-east of England. And that's largely because we are part of the United Kingdom. We are not persecuted.

"Scots are prominent, some would say dominant, at every level of British life. We speak the same language; we enjoy the same currency; the same central bank; the same regulatory system; the same public service broadcast; and much, much more.

"And at the same time as all of that, we have in Scotland a legislative parliament which has full powers on health, education, transport, the legal system, local administration, agriculture, land, tourism and practically every other domestic field. We have, indeed, as Scots, got the best of both worlds."

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CNN

Queen welcomes Irish president -- and the thaw continues

By Max Foster, CNN

April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0355 GMT (1155 HKT)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II after attending a service in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on June 26, 2012 (AFP/GettyImages)

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Visit of Irish president marks first state trip to London since 1921

Queen Elizabeth made historic visit to Dublin nearly three years ago

Foster: Relations between two countries have gradually normalized since 1990s

[imgc:docs/queen-northen-ireland-story-top.jpg

London (CNN) -- It's not unusual for a visiting head of state to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in London's Westminster Abbey -- but when it happens on Tuesday, the gesture will be anything but routine. This is history in the making.

The commemoration by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, will take place during the first state visit by an Irish leader to the United Kingdom. It follows on from Queen Elizabeth's trip to Dublin in May 2011, the first by a British monarch to the republic since it gained independence from London in 1921.

The countries are close neighbors but have a long, contentious, often violent history which has left thousands dead, among them Lord Mountbatten, a relative of the Queen who was killed by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb in 1979. The very fact that the British and the Irish once fought with each other under the same flag is still very difficult for many Irish Republicans to stomach.

But the relationship between the two countries has gradually normalized since the peace process of the 1990s. That will be formally acknowledged when Higgins pays his respects at the tomb of an unknown British soldier who died during World War One when Ireland was under British rule.

Diplomats from both countries are stressing the significance of the five-day trip. Dan Mulhall, the Irish Ambassador to London, has said that Dublin is "now willing to look at the facts of history" rather than shying away from them.

Meanwhile a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson has said that the visit is about acknowledging the past but also "demonstrating that the relationship is moving on and looking to the future." The spokesperson stressed that both state visits are "pivotal moments in our shared history."

The Queen's trip nearly three years ago included a visit to Croke Park, a Dublin sports stadium where 14 people were killed by British forces in 1920 during the war of independence.

She also spoke in Gaelic during a dinner in Dublin to audible gasps in the room; and visited Northern Ireland in June 2012, when she shook hands with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness, now the province's deputy first minister.

These were all highly symbolic moments that politicians couldn't create to the same effect -- and Buckingham Palace is well aware of that. A palace spokesperson said last month that the Queen herself has become a symbol of the warming relationship between the two countries.

The significance of this week's state visit will be further underlined by the presence of McGuinness at a reception hosted by the Queen on Thursday afternoon at Windsor Castle - a move unthinkable only a decade ago.

The palace spokesperson confirmed that the Queen is heavily invested in the state visit and that it is personal for her, adding that "the Queen is across every detail."

Expect the Irish President to have everything laid on for him, with all the pomp and ceremony that the royal household can muster.

Tensions still remain in Northern Ireland: while the bloodshed of previous decades has largely stopped there are still occasional incidents which pose a threat to life and tensions remain between the communities.

But Anglo-Irish relations are improving with each symbolic moment -- and this week's state visit is as symbolic as it gets.

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Travel Agency Runs Contest Urging Danes to Procreate

Can sex save Denmark?” company asks.

Adan Salazar
Infowars.com
April 4, 2014

While the United Nations is busy trying to convince the world of the risks of a rising global population, a company in Denmark is practically begging its country’s citizenry to procreate in order to “save Denmark” from its low birth rate epidemic.

While many parts of the world may be experiencing explosive population growth, Denmark is not one of those places.

Under the banner “Do it for Denmark,” Danish travel agency Spies Travels hopes to give its country’s ailing population a much-needed boost by incentivizing couples to copulate while on travel with the aim to produce children.

“Denmark faces a problem. The birth rate is at a 27-year low and there are not enough children being born to support the aging population. The Danish government has not found a solution,” informs the company’s video, which has accrued more than 5 million views in just over a week.

“The 55,873 children born in Denmark last year is the lowest number since 1986,” explains a recent report in The Copenhagen Post.

“Many wait too long to have children, creating a greater need for fertility treatments,” Søren Ziebe, a clinical supervisor at the Copenhagen University Hospital, told The Post regarding last year’s birth rate figures, emphasizing, “There is a need to raise awareness, as the problem is approaching epidemic levels.”

Enter Spies Travels with the solution. The company is offering discounts to clients who travel out of the country on the basis that they will try to make a baby during their vacation. Their logic is that “Danes have 46 percent more sex on holiday compared to their everyday life.”

In addition to an “ovulation discount,” Spies is also encouraging “all Danes to take a romantic city holiday” by running a contest that will reward one lucky couple who can prove they made a child during their vacation with a three-year supply of baby stuff.

“Couples who enter the competition are sent a pregnancy test after the holiday and if it comes up positive, they must send in a picture of the test result to Spies as proof,” reports RT.

Despite Denmark’s apparent population plight, the United Nations is more concerned with touting abortion and contraceptives as necessary tools to combat the “dangers” of an increase in the world’s population.

In a recent report, they predict the amount of people living on Earth will balloon to 8.1 billion by 2025, a trend one former United Nations population consultant predicts will bring about “job shortages, environmental degradation, food and water shortages, failing states, and inevitable disasters” just because fertility rates are higher for poorer countries.

While the company’s effort is ultimately a clever marketing ploy and will likely contribute a negligible amount to Denmark’s birth rate problem, their approach to aid their country is still laudable for bringing awareness to the issue where their parliament evidently has failed.

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Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.”
(John 6:51)


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