The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.”
(Revelation 9:1)

Bottomless Pit

Dear Friends,

Greetings! This week we are featuring a recently completed book by our friend and colleague Stephen Strutt, Out Of The Bottomless Pit.

In his book Stephen broaches a wide variety of topics, some of which you may find quite unconventional.

Have a read, and decide for yourself what you feel about the multiple subjects that are addressed in his book.

Click to View PDF online
or Right-click to Download PDF.
Out Of The Bottomless Pit [/url]

Removed at authors request.



Status Quo? The Dome of the Rock was Built for Jews

In final installment of 3-part series on the Temple Mount, we take a look at a lesser-known aspect of the history of the Dome of the Rock.

By Hillel Fendel

First Publish: 11/19/2014, 12:30 PM

Dome of the Rock

Parts I and II of this series have shown that the "status quo" on the Temple Mount is not quite all it's been hyped up to be. It certainly is not an all-out ban on Jewish prayer on the holiest site to the Jewish People – because for hundreds of years, up until possibly 300 years ago, it was frequently used for just that purpose. Jews visited the Mount often and prayed there regularly.

On the other hand, if the "status quo" refers to the arrangements put in place after the Six Day War in 1967, they have long been changed – and to the detriment of Jewish rights there. It is ostensibly illogical to demand retaining the "status quo" to forbid Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, while changing the "status quo" in order to much more severely restrict Jewish visitation rights.

In any event, latest research regarding the construction of the Dome of the Rock – the magnificent structure that stands atop the site of the Holy of Holies – shows that it was originally built not for Muslims at all. Rather, it was built for the Jewish People!

We herewith present the sources for this novel concept. The late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, a Temple Mount expert and Chief Rabbi of the IDF and later of Israel, wrote in his classic work "The Temple Mount" (Ha'Idra Rabba Publications, Jerusalem, 2005, 2nd ed., p. 327) as follows:

"The Al-Aksa Mosque [at the southern end of the Mount, opposite the Dome of the Rock – HF] was built as a Muslim house of prayer outside the boundaries of the original Temple Mount, and therefore it points southward towards Mecca. And at the request of the Jews, Omar built the Dome of the Rock sanctuary to serve as a house of prayer for the Jews. This was after the Jews showed him the site where the Holy Temple had stood – and it does not point to Mecca."

Rabbi Goren clearly delineates between the two buildings: One is in the direction of the holy Muslim city of Mecca, and is to serve as a mosque – while the other was built without regard to Mecca, and only at the guidance and request of the Jews.

Rabbi Goren did not list all of his sources, but most certainly one of them was the Byzantine historian Theophanes. In the year 635, he wrote a Greek work entitled Chronographia, an English translation of which was published in Bonn in 1839. The famed English historian Guy Le Strange cited the following relevant passage from the translation in his 1890 work History of Jerusalem Under the Moslems, p.11:

"In this year [635 C.E.], Omar began to restore the Temple at Jerusalem, for the building, in truth, no longer then stood firmly founded, but had fallen to ruin. Now when Omar inquired the cause, the Jews answered saying, 'Unless thou throw down the Cross, which stands on the Mt. of Olives, the building of the Temple will never be firmly founded.' Thereupon Omar threw down the Cross at that place, in order that the building (of the Temple) might be made firm…"

Le Strange underlines the trustworthiness of this amazing report by emphasizing that the author, Theophanes, preceded the earliest Arab authorities on this topic by more than 50 years. He further highlights that Theophanes lived "considerably under a century and a half [after] the date of Omar's conquest of Jerusalem."

It is thus to be seen, based on apparently the earliest account of the building of the Dome of the Rock, that it was built not for Moslems, but for Jews, and was even supposed to be a "more firmly founded" version of the Holy Temple.

How ironic it is that this is the true background of the building that now symbolizes, throughout the world, Moslem control of Judaism's holiest site – and the ban on Jewish prayer there.

When next is heard a call to return to the "status quo" on the Temple Mount, let it be clear that this means nothing less than full Jewish prayer rights at the holy site – and possibly even much more.



Israeli cabinet approves legislation defining nation-state of Jewish people

Opponents say proposed law would reserve ‘national rights’ for Jews and not for minorities that make up 20% of population

The Israeli PM, Binyamin Netanyahu, argues the law is needed because the notion of Israel as a Jewish homeland was being challenged. Photograph: Barcroft Media

Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem

Sunday 23 November 2014 14.08 EST

A controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people has been approved by cabinet despite warnings that the move risks undermining the country’s democratic character.

Opponents, including some cabinet ministers, said the new legislation defined reserved “national rights” for Jews only and not for its minorities, and rights groups condemned it as racist.

The bill, which is intended to become part of Israel’s basic laws, would recognise Israel’s Jewish character, institutionalise Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and delist Arabic as a second official language.

Arab Muslims and Christians make up 20% of Israel’s population.

The cabinet passed the bill by a 14-7 majority after reports of rancorous exchanges during the meeting, including between the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and his justice minister, Tzipi Livni.

The bill, which still requires the Knesset’s approval to become a law, comes as tensions between Israelis and Palestinians rise sharply, and friction within Israel’s Arab minority grows.

Opponents include two of the more centrist parties in Netanyahu’s fragile coalition - which say the bill is being pushed through with forthcoming primaries in the prime minster’s rightwing Likud party in mind - and senior government officials including the attorney general.

According to many critics, the new wording would weaken the wording of Israel’s declaration of independence, which states that the new state would “be based on the principles of liberty, justice and freedom expressed by the prophets of Israel [and] affirm complete social and political equality for all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender”.

Among those to voice their opposition was the finance minister, Yair Lapid, who said he had spoken to the family of Zidan Saif, a Druze policeman killed in last week’s deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue.

“What will we tell his family? That he is a second-class citizen in the state of Israel because someone has primaries in the Likud?” he asked.

Netanyahu argued that the law was necessary because people were challenging the notion of Israel as a Jewish homeland.

“There are many who are challenging Israel’s character as the national state of the Jewish people. The Palestinians refuse to recognise this and there is also opposition from within.

“There are those, including those who deny our national rights, who would like to establish autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev.

“Neither do I understand those who are calling for two states for two peoples but who also oppose anchoring this in law. They are pleased to recognise a Palestinian national state but strongly oppose a Jewish national state.”

According to reports in the Hebrew media, the attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, has also expressed concern, shared by some ministers, that the new law would effectively give greater emphasis to Israel’s Jewish character at the expense of its democratic nature. A number of Israeli basic laws use the term “Jewish and democratic”, giving equal weight to both. The new law would enshrine only the Jewish character of the state.

Netanyahu appeared to confirm that there would be differential rights for Israeli Jews and other minorities. He said that while all could enjoy equal civil rights, “there are national rights only for the Jewish people - a flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel and other national symbols.”

Cabinet ministers, including Netanyahu, separately proposed stripping Palestinian attackers of their residency rights in occupied East Jerusalem in response to a wave of deadly violence.

“It cannot be that those who harm Israel, those who call for the destruction of the state of Israel, will enjoy rights like social security,” Netanyahu said, adding that the measure would complement house demolitions and serve as a deterrent.

Critics, however, have condemned the measures as racist said that they could further escalate tensions.

The cabinet met as fresh reports of continuing violence emerged. In Gaza, the Palestinian health ministry said Israeli forces had shot dead a Palestinian on Sunday, the first such fatality since a 50-day Gaza war ended in August.

In the West Bank, a Palestinian home was torched on Sunday. No one was hurt in the fire, which gutted the home in the village of Khirbet Abu Falah near Ramallah, local residents said.

“The settlers came here and they hit the door, but I refused to open,” said Huda Hamaiel, who owns the house. She said they then broke a terrace window and hurled a petrol bomb inside.

“Death to Arabs” and another slogan calling for revenge were also painted on the walls of Hamaiel’s home, hallmarks of Jewish extremists’ so-called “price tag” attacks against Palestinian dwellings and mosques and Christian church property.



Netanyahu: 'National law' closes the door to Palestinian right of return

Thursday, 27 November 2014 13:03

File photo of Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset on Wednesday that the proposed "national law", or Jewish nation-state bill, would close the door to the Palestinian right of return, Arabs48 news website reported.

He criticised Israel's "imbalance" between Jewish identity and democracy, saying: "Over the years, a distinct imbalance has been created between the Jewish element and the democratic one. There is an imbalance between individual rights and national rights in Israel."

The version of the bill that the Israeli cabinet passed on Sunday ostensibly recognises equal rights, but says only Jews have national rights and the country as a whole is a Jewish state.

"I oppose a binational state," Netanyahu said. "I want a state of one nation: the Jewish nation-state, which also includes non-Jews with equal rights."

"I understand why Hamas opposes the nation-state law, but some of my good friends [also] oppose this nation-state law," he complained.

Netanyahu also questioned why many who support the establishment of a Palestinian state object to explicitly defining Israel as a Jewish state.

"Those who speak domestically about two states for two peoples and oppose the nation-state law are making a contradictory statement: 'The Palestinians deserve a nation-state of their own, and this state [Israel] will be binational'," Netanyahu said.

He insisted on proposing his own version of the bill in order to guarantee the future of the Jewish nation. This bill, he said, undermines attempts to change the national anthem, swamp Israel with Palestinian refugees or seek autonomy in the Galilee and Negev.

According to Haaretz, Likud sources said that the Yesh Atid Party would face difficulties in supporting the bill, but added that it was still possible to reach consensus agreement.


Silent Crow News

Crisis in East Jerusalem

Israel and the Third Intifada?

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – The Israeli government knows how to provoke a response from the Palestinians. They are repressing the Palestinians by controlling their right to enter the sacred Al-Aqsa mosque located in the Old City of Jerusalem. This action, I believe is intentional. It is to provoke a response from the Palestinians so that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would respond militarily. Why would the Israeli government allow right-wing Israeli extremists to continue their violent actions against Palestinian worshippers? The Israeli government knows that it would only inflame a religious hatred among Palestinians against the Jewish population. Perhaps, that is what Israel wants, a decisive war with the Palestinians to finally get their wish to have absolute control over all of East Jerusalem including Al-Aqsa and the Ibrahimi mosques. The U.S. main stream media usually blames the Palestinians for attacking Jewish worshippers as they conveniently ignore the facts that there is a collaboration of the Israeli government (IDF soldiers and police) and extremist Jewish settlers who has committed numerous attacks on Palestinian worshippers in East Jerusalem for the last 50 years. Palestinian scholar, journalist and author Ramzy Baroud points out Israel’s coordinated efforts with various political parties, the military and Jewish settlers in an article he wrote in early 2014 titled ‘Al-Aqsa vs. Israel: The lurking danger beneath’ and declared the following:

Most alarming about these attacks is their political context, which indicates that a great degree of coordination is underway between politicians, security forces and Jewish settlers. In anticipation of a Palestinian backlash, on March 2004, an Israeli court sentenced Islamic leader Sheikh Rade Saleh to eight months in prison for ‘incitement.’ The Sheikh is the most outspoken Palestinian leader regarding the danger facing Al-Aqsa. Why silence Sheik Saleh now when the attacks against al-Aqsa are at an all times high?

It was on Feb. 25, 1994, that U.S.-born Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein stormed into the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron) and opened fire. The aim was to kill as many Arabs as he could. At that moment, nearly 800 Muslim worshipers were kneeling down during the dawn prayer in the holiest month of the Muslim Calendar; Ramadan. He killed up to 30 people and wounded over 120. Exactly 20 years later, the Israeli army stormed al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest Muslim site, and opened fire. The timing was no accident

Baroud’s assessment regarding incidents involving both the Ibrahimi and Al-Aqsa mosques are no accidents, it was intentional. A report by Saed Bannoura of IMEMC News confirmed what happened on February 25th of this year:

The sources said that the soldiers fired concussion grenades and firebombs at dozens of Palestinians who tried to stop Israelis from invading the mosque area. The attack came a few hours before a special Knesset session to discuss “Israel’s full control of the al-Aqsa Mosque”, instead of the Jordanian supervision. Likud Member of Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, presented the bill. Dozens of soldiers and undercover units of the army invaded the yards of the mosque, preventing hundreds of Palestinians from entering it

The Ibrahimi mosque massacre was led by American-born Israeli Baruch Goldstein, a member of the Israel’s far-right Kach movement opened fire on unarmed Palestinian Muslims inside the Ibrahimi mosque on February 25, 1994 which left 29 dead and 125 wounded.

I would go further to say that it was an orchestrated plan for an internal “religious” conflict for the Israeli government to use a pretext to control all of the West Bank including its holiest sites for both Israelis and Palestinians. It is also a public relations campaign to discredit Islam and portray Judaism as the victim of Islamic extremism. Western media outlets had reported that Jews are the victims of religious hatred. After the recent murders of the five Israelis including three with U.S. passports by two Palestinian cousins named Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal during morning prayers who both were killed by police officers with titles such as ‘Fear of deadly ‘religious war’ between Jews and Muslims raised after synagogue attack’ by the Washington Post, ‘Israel Shaken by 5 Deaths in Synagogue Assault’ by the New York Times and CNN with ‘In synagogue attack, five lives dedicated to faith and service are lost’. A tragic incident it was, but the Israeli government and right-wing settler’s actions provoked a response from the Palestinians. Their actions for the last 50 years has only created resentment among the Palestinians who want their sovereignty and religious rights to be respected, just as the Jews. According to Ramzy Baroud’s article, Israel has carried out numerous attacks not only against Al-Aqsa but other holy sites as well:

In a statement released on March 7, the Palestinian Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs said Israeli forces carried out 30 attacks against al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy sites during the month of February alone. Most of the attacks targeted al-Aqsa itself. While the recurring violations at al-Aqsa were led by Jewish settlers, according to the statement, they have done so under the watchful eye, protection and support of the Israeli police and army

When Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon entered Al-Aqsa mosque in 2000 only proved to be provocative when it angered the Palestinians causing the Second Intifada. Palestinian demonstrators began throwing stones at the police. Then IDF forces used tear gas and rubber bullets igniting the Second Intifada. Once the Second Intifada ended in 2004, it was estimated to cause the lives of more than 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis. That was not the end of Israel’s aggression against Palestinian worshippers. Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) released a statement on the recent actions taken by the IDF:

Hundreds of armed Israelis have once again violently trespassed onto the sacred al-Aqsa sanctuary. Worshippers within the Palestinian holy site have faced years of brutal assaults, which have intensified since 2013. Yesterday, the attacks involved firing stun grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at civilians who were completely unarmed and surrounded.

“The raid follows tensions over the last couple of weeks in which Israeli forces barred Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and facilitated the entry of right-wing Israeli extremists. Such actions undermine Palestinian sovereignty over their cherished holy sites, creating a great deal of anger and frustration on the ground,” said Shamiul Joarder, Head of Public Affairs at FOA

Israel’s claims it made its decision to close Al-Aqsa for security reasons last month right after right-wing Jewish activist Yehuda Glick was shot in an alleged assassination attempt. Glick remains in stable condition. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had called the closure an “act of war.” Israel wants a new war with the Palestinians to take control over all of Jerusalem. The death of the five Israeli worshipers is tragic. It should not have happened. But the Palestinians have been victims of Israel’s brutality for decades. The world recently witnessed more than 2000 Palestinians including women and children murdered by the IDF. Israel purposely targets religious sanctuaries to provoke a reaction from the Palestinians. Israel’s government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu knows that their actions have consequences. They know it could lead to a new war, perhaps a third Intifada. This is what Israel would want since the U.S. and its allies including ISIS are planning to attack Syria to remove President Bashar al-Assad. Israel will use all of their military capabilities in an attempt to defeat the Palestinian resistance. War will continue unabated, that is a fact that the world will have to live with, at least for now.

Global Research

Israel’s Model of Political Despair in Jerusalem

By Jonathan Cook

Global Research, November 26, 2014

Relations between Israelis and Palestinians have descended into a dangerous melee of tit-for-tat attacks and killings, with the violence of the past few weeks centred on Jerusalem. The city, claimed by Israel as its “undivided capital”, has been torn apart by clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian residents since the summer, when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burnt alive by Jewish extremists.

Subsequent attacks by Palestinians culminated last week in a shooting and stabbing spree by two cousins at a synagogue that killed four Jews and an Israeli policeman. In this atmosphere, both sides have warned that the political conflict is mutating into a religious one.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, cautioned that Israel’s intensified efforts to extend its control over the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, including by imposing severe restrictions on Muslim worship,risked plunging the region into “a detrimental religious war.”

Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence service, concurred. He warned last week that Israel was stoking religious discord by encouraging Jews to pray at the site over rabbinical objections.

But despite these warnings, the Israeli government announced today it was drafting a law that would ban Muslim guards on the esplanade, making it yet easier for Jews to visit.

Government ministers, meanwhile, accused Abbas of religious “incitement” and masterminding the violence in Jerusalem.

Ari Shavit, an influential Israeli analyst, also blamed what he termed an emerging “holy war” not on oppressive Israeli policies, but on the spread of an Islamist extremism.

Shavit and other Israelis have preferred to overlook the obvious parallels between last week’s killings and an even graver incident 20 years ago. Then, Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish settler, entered the Ibrahimi mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron in his Israeli army captain’s uniform and opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing 29 and wounding 125.

One can only wonder why the timeline for Shavit’s holy war did not extend back to Goldstein’s massacre, or include the waves of attacks, including arson, by settlers on Muslim and Christian places of worship ever since.

Israel’s responses to these two massacres are more helpful in illuminating the fundamental causes of the recent surge in violence.

In Hebron, Palestinians rather than the settlers paid the price for Goldstein’s slaughter. Israel divided the Ibrahimi mosque to create a Jewish prayer space and effectively shut down Hebron’s commercial centre, displacing thousands of Palestinian residents.

Instead of pulling out of the settlers from the occupied territories following the massacre, Israel allowed their numbers to grow at record pace.

Although the anti-Arab Kach group Goldstein belonged to was outlawed, it has continued to operate openly in the settlements, including in Jerusalem. Goldstein’s tomb, next to Hebron, is a site of pilgrimage for thousands of religious Jews.

Palestinians, not Israelis, are again the ones suffering, this time after last week’s synagogue attack.

Israel has begun demolishing the homes of those involved in recent attacks, and is drafting laws to jail stone-throwers for up to 20 years and harshly penalise the parents of those too young to be jailed themselves.

On Sunday the interior minister revoked the Jerusalem residency of a Palestinian convicted of driving a suicide bomber into Tel Aviv 13 years ago – a prelude, according to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to many more such revocations.

Israel is also preparing to relax gun controls to allow thousands more Israeli Jews to carry weapons at a time when Palestinian taxi and bus drivers in Jerusalem say they are being regularly assaulted. Last week a bus driver died in mysterious circumstances, which Palestinians suspect was a lynching.

It should be no surprise that Jerusalem is the eye of the storm. For more than a decade it has served as a laboratory for the Israeli right to experiment with a model of political despair designed to make Palestianians either submit or leave.

House demolitions for Palestinians and settlement building for Jews, brutal policing and the encouragement of crime as a way to recruit collaborators are happening faster and more aggressively in Jerusalem than anywhere else in the occupied territories.

Since the second intifada erupted in 2000, East Jerusalem has been a political orphan. Israel expelled the Palestinian Authority, and jailed or deported Hamas leaders as they tried to fill the vacuum. Since then, Palestinians in Jerusalem have been defenceless against Israel’s intrigues.

Netanyahu and the right have made little secret of their wish to export a similar model to the West Bank, gradually eroding what control the PA still enjoys. But the spiralling violence in Jerusalem has exposed the paradox at the heart of their strategy.

Palestinian anger in the West Bank is every bit as intense as in Jerusalem but Abbas’ security forces still have the will and, just barely, the upper hand to keep a lid on it.

In Jerusalem, on the other hand, protesters face off directly with Israeli police. Because the city lacks organised Palestinian groups, the security services have been unable to penetrate them with collaborators. Instead Israel has been caught off guard by unpredictable attacks as individual Palestinians reach their breaking point.

By refusing to recognise any Palestinian national claims in Jerusalem, Netanyahu has forced the population to recast the conflict in religious terms. Unable to identify politically with either Fatah or Hamas, Jerusalem’s Palestinians have found powerful consolation in a religious struggle to counter the mounting threats to Al-Aqsa.

From this perspective, Netanyahu’s continuing efforts to weaken and undermine Abbas and the PA appear strategically self-destructive. Without them, the West Bank will go the way of Jerusalem – an ever more unmanageable colonial conflict that risks heading towards religious conflagration.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is


Palestinian state recognition will be a ‘grave mistake’, Netanyahu warns France

Published time: November 23, 2014 23:51

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has warned it would be a “grave mistake” for the French parliament to follow the suit of several other European nations in recognizing a Palestinian state in a vote scheduled early December.

“Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake," Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem. “Do they have nothing better to do at a time of beheadings across the Middle East, including that of a French citizen?” apparently referring to Herve Gourdel executed by Algerian jihadists in September.

"The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, the only state that we have, and the Palestinians demanding a state do not want to recognize the right to have a state for the Jewish people," Netanyahu added.

Just hours before the statement, the Israeli government approved a controversial ‘Jewish state bill’, which the critics already called anti-democratic. If approved by the parliament on Wednesday, it will redefine Israel as the “national homeland of the Jewish people” instead of a “Jewish and Democratic State.”

A picture taken on September 5, 2014 shows a partial view of the Israeli settlement of Revava, in northwest West Bank. Israel said it published tenders for 283 new homes in a West Bank settlement, just days after announcing its biggest land grab on occupied Palestinian territory for three decades. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

A symbolic vote planned in the French parliament on December 2 will call on the government to “use the recognition of the state of Palestine as an instrument to gain a definitive resolution of the conflict” and follows a similar motion adopted by Spain last week.

Earlier the UK adopted a similar non-binding resolution calling for recognition of the Palestinian state as a step to securing a two-state solution.

Meanwhile Sweden has become the first West-European EU state to officially recognize the occupied state of Palestine, infuriating Israel who recalled its ambassador in Sweden.

A vote at the UN General Assembly in 2012 secured de facto Palestinian statehood, although a ‘yes’ vote from most EU members is still pending. While Sweden is the first EU member in Western Europe to have recognized the state, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Romania, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic have already done so.



Egyptian president says his regime is ready to protect Israel

Monday, 24 November 2014 11:25

President Sisi with his Generals at a military parade [file photo]

Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi told an Italian newspaper that his country is ready to send troops to Palestine in order to guarantee Israel's security and work jointly against terrorism.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Al-Sisi said: "We are prepared to send military forces inside a Palestinian state. They would help the local police and reassure Israelis in their role as guarantors."

The former military general stressed that any such troop deployment would only be for the time needed to restore trust between the two sides.

According to Reuters, Al-Sisi added that he has spoken about this idea 'at length' with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"I told [Netanyahu] a courageous step was needed otherwise nothing would be resolved," he said.

Al-Sisi led the July 2013 military coup that ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi. Since then, the Egyptian government has criminalised the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, which Morsi was a member of, and deepened the Israeli siege of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by closing the Rafah Border crossing in order to raise pressure against the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, which is an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Divine Freedom Radio

Putin to Obama: You're Turning the USA Into a Godless Sewer

Putin warns the morally bankrupt West, of "slipping into chaotic darkness"

Patriarch Kirill: "We want to shout to the whole world 'STOP!'"

November 24, 2014

Barracuda Brigade openly and without hesitation tips our hat to Vladimir Putin.

Sir, everything you said as recorded in this report, you’re right!

To America and the free world we say the following: either we get back to the faith and values that allowed us to prosper, or we’re toast.

At the height of the Cold War, it was common for American conservatives to label the officially atheist Soviet Union a “godless nation.”

The law on religious sensibilities was adopted in the wake of a protest in Moscow’s largest cathedral by a female punk rock group against the Orthodox Church’s support of Mr. Putin. Kremlin-run television said the group’s “demonic” protest was funded by “some Americans.”

More than two decades on, history has come full circle, as the Kremlin and its allies in the Russian Orthodox Church hurl the same allegation at the West.

“Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a recent keynote speech.

“Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”

In his state of the nation address in mid-December, Mr. Putin also portrayed Russia as a staunch defender of “traditional values” against what he depicted as the morally bankrupt West.

Social and religious conservatism, the former KGB officer insisted, is the only way to prevent the world from slipping into “chaotic darkness.”

As part of this defense of “Christian values,” Russia has adopted a law banning “homosexual propaganda” and another that makes it a criminal offense to “insult” the religious sensibilities of believers.

The law on religious sensibilities was adopted in the wake of a protest in Moscow’s largest cathedral by a female punk rock group against the Orthodox Church’s support of Mr. Putin. Kremlin-run television said the group’s “demonic” protest was funded by “some Americans.”

Mr. Putin’s views of the West were echoed this month by Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow, the leader of the Orthodox Church, who accused Western countries of engaging in the “spiritual disarmament” of their people.

In particular, Patriarch Kirill criticized laws in several European countries that prevent believers from displaying religious symbols, including crosses on necklaces, at work.

“The general political direction of the [Western political] elite bears, without doubt, an anti-Christian and anti-religious character,” the patriarch said in comments aired on state-controlled television.

“We have been through an epoch of atheism, and we know what it is to live without God,” Patriarch Kirill said. “We want to shout to the whole world, ‘Stop!’”

“The separation of the secular and the religious is a fatal mistake by the West,” the Rev. Chaplin said. “It is a monstrous phenomenon that has occurred only in Western civilization and will kill the West, both politically and morally.”

The Kremlin’s encouragement of traditional values has sparked a rise in Orthodox vigilantism. Fringe groups such as the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers, an ultraconservative movement whose slogan is “Orthodoxy or Death,” are gaining prominence.

Patriarch Kirill has honored the group’s leader, openly anti-Semitic monarchist Leonid Simonovich, for his services to the Orthodox Church. The Banner Bearers, who dress in black paramilitary uniforms festooned with skulls, regularly confront gay and liberal activists on the streets of Moscow.

Although Mr. Putin has never made a secret of what he says is his deep Christian faith, his first decade in power was largely free of overtly religious rhetoric. Little or no attempt was made to impose a set of values on Russians or lecture to the West on morals.

However, since his inauguration for a third presidential term in May 2012, the increasingly authoritarian leader has sought to reach out to Russia’s conservative, xenophobic heartland for support.

It has proved a rich hunting ground.

“Western values, from liberalism to the recognition of the rights of sexual minorities, from Catholicism and Protestantism to comfortable jails for murderers, provoke in us suspicion, astonishment and alienation,” Yevgeny Bazhanov, rector of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic academy, wrote in a recent essay.

Analysts suggest that Mr. Putin’s shift to ultraconservatism and anti-West rhetoric was triggered by mass protests against his rule that rocked Russia in 2011 and 2012. The unprecedented show of dissent was led mainly by educated, urban Muscovites — many with undisguised pro-Western sympathies.

“This is the government’s response to modernized Russians becoming more defiant and independent,” said Maria Lipman, an analyst with the Moscow-based Carnegie Center. “The government is pitting the conservative majority against the liberal minority. As a result, raging anti-Western ideology has now turned into something that is almost a state ideology.”

Ms. Lipman, however, suggested that Mr. Putin may be wary of expressing too much support for the Orthodox Church — “a symbol of Russian statehood” — lest it someday challenge his authority.

Some 70 percent of Russians define themselves as Orthodox Christians in opinion polls, and opposition figures in the past have called on the church to play a mediating role between the Kremlin and protesters.

“Because of Putin’s shift to conservatism, the church may feel more emboldened,” Ms. Lipman said. “So Putin does not overemphasize the church in speeches, preferring to concentrate on talk of traditional values. He is wary of boosting its support even higher.”


Global Research

All-Out War in Ukraine: NATO’s ‘Final Offensive’

By Prof. James Petras

Global Research, November 21, 2014

There are clear signs that a major war is about to break out in Ukraine: A war actively promoted by the NATO regimes and supported by their allies and clients in Asia (Japan) and the Middle East (Saudi Arabia). The war over Ukraine will essentially run along the lines of a full-scale military offensive against the southeast Donbas region, targeting the breakaway ethnic Ukraine- Russian Peoples Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk, with the intention of deposing the democratically elected government, disarming the popular militias, killing the guerrilla resistance partisans and their mass base, dismantling the popular representative organizations and engaging in ethnic cleansing of millions of bilingual Ukraino-Russian citizens. NATO’s forthcoming military seizure of the Donbas region is a continuation and extension of its original violent putsch in Kiev, which overthrew an elected Ukrainian government in February 2014.

The Kiev junta and its newly ‘elected’ client rulers, and its NATO sponsors are intent on a major purge to consolidate the puppet Poroshenko’s dictatorial rule. The recent NATO-sponsored elections excluded several major political parties that had traditionally supported the country’s large ethnic minority populations, and was boycotted in the Donbas region. This sham election in Kiev set the tone for NATO’s next move toward converting Ukraine into one gigantic US multi-purpose military base aimed at the Russian heartland and into a neo-colony for German capital, supplying Berlin with grain and raw materials while serving as a captive market for German manufactured goods.

An intensifying war fever is sweeping the West; the consequences of this madness appear graver by the hour.

War Signs: The Propaganda and Sanctions Campaign, the G20 Summit and the Military Build Up

The official drum- beat for a widening conflict in Ukraine, spearheaded by the Kiev junta and its fascist militias, echoes in every Western mass media outlet, every day. Major mass media propaganda mills and government ‘spokesmen and women’ publish or announce new trumped-up accounts of growing Russian military threats to its neighbors and cross-border invasions into Ukraine. New Russian incursions are ‘reported’ from the Nordic borders and Baltic states to the Caucuses. The Swedish regime creates a new level of hysteria over a mysterious “Russian” submarine off the coast of Stockholm, which it never identifies or locates – let alone confirms the ‘sighting’. Estonia and Latvia claim Russian warplanes violated their air space without confirmation. Poland expels Russian “spies” without proof or witnesses. Provocative full-scale joint NATO-client state military exercises are taking place along Russia’s frontiers in the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

NATO is sending vast arms shipments to the Kiev junta, along with “Special Forces” advisers and counter-insurgency experts in anticipation of a full-scale attack against the rebels in the Donbas.

The Kiev regime has never abided by the Minsk cease fire. According to the UN Human Rights office 13 people on average –mostly civilians –have been killed each day since the September cease fire. In eight weeks, the UN reports that 957 people have killed –overwhelmingly by Kiev’s armed forces.

The Kiev regime, in turn, has cut all basic social and public services to the Peoples’ Republics’, including electricity, fuel, civil service salaries, pensions, medical supplies, salaries for teachers and medical workers, municipal workers wages; banking and transport have been blockaded.

The strategy is to further strangle the economy, destroy the infrastructure, force an even greater mass exodus of destitute refugees from the densely populated cities across the border into Russia and then to launch massive air, missile, artillery and ground assaults on urban centers as well as rebel bases.

The Kiev junta has launched an all-out military mobilization in the Western regions, accompanied by rabid anti-Russian, anti-Eastern Orthodox indoctrination campaigns designed to attract the most violent far right chauvinist thugs and to incorporate the Nazi-style military brigades into the frontline shock troops. The cynical use of irregular fascist militias will ‘free’ NATO and Germany from any responsibility for the inevitable terror and atrocities in their campaign. This system of ‘plausible deniability’ mirrors the tactics of the German Nazis whose hordes of fascist Ukrainians and Ustashi Croats were notorious in their epoch of ethnic cleansing.

G20-plus-NATO: Support of the Kiev Blitz

To isolate and weaken resistance in the Donbas and guarantee the victory of the impending Kiev blitz, the EU and the US are intensifying their economic, military and diplomatic pressure on Russia to abandon the nascent peoples’ democracy in the south-east region of Ukraine, their principle ally.

Each and every escalation of economic sanctions against Russia is designed to weaken the capacity of the Donbas resistance fighters to defend their homes, towns and cities. Each and every Russian shipment of essential medical supplies and food to the besieged population evokes a new and more hysterical outburst – because it counters Kiev-NATO strategy of starving the partisans and their mass base into submission or provoking their flight to safety across the Russian border.

After suffering a series of defeats, the Kiev regime and its NATO strategists decided to sign a ‘peace protocol’, the so-called Minsk agreement, to halt the advance of the Donbas resistance into the southern regions and to protect its Kiev’s soldiers and militias holed-up in isolated pockets in the East. The Minsk agreement was designed to allow the Kiev junta to build up its military, re-organize its command and incorporate the disparate Nazi militias into its overall military forces in preparation for a ‘final offensive’. Kiev’s military build-up on the inside and NATO’s escalation of sanctions against Russia on the outside would be two sides of the same strategy: the success of a frontal attack on the democratic resistance of the Donbas basin depends on minimizing Russian military support through international sanctions.

NATO’s virulent hostility to Russian President Putin was on full display at the G20 meeting in Australia: NATO-linked presidents and prime ministers, especially Merkel, Obama, Cameron, Abbott, and Harper’s political threats and overt personal insults paralleled Kiev’s growing starvation blockade of the besieged rebels and population centers in the south-east. Both the G20’s economic threats against Russia and the diplomatic isolation of Putin and Kiev’s economic blockade are preludes to NATO’s Final Solution – the physical annihilation of all vestiges of Donbas resistance, popular democracy and cultural-economic ties with Russia.

Kiev depends on its NATO mentors to impose a new round of severe sanctions against Russia, especially if its planned invasion encounters a well armed and robust mass resistance bolstered by Russian support. NATO is counting on Kiev’s restored and newly supplied military capacity to effectively destroy the southeast centers of resistance.

NATO has decided on an ‘all-or-nothing campaign’: to seize all of Ukraine or, failing that, destroy the restive southeast, obliterate its population and productive capacity and engage in an all-out economic (and possibly shooting) war with Russia. Chancellor Angela Merkel is on board with this plan despite the complaints of German industrialists over their huge loss of export sales to Russia. President Hollande of France has signed on dismissing the complaints of trade unionists over the loss of thousands French jobs in the shipyards. Prime Minister David Cameron is eager for an economic war against Moscow, suggesting the bankers of the City of London find new channels to launder the illicit earnings of Russian oligarchs.

The Russian Response

Russian diplomats are desperate to find a compromise, which allows Ukraine’s ethnic Ukraine- Russian population in the southeast to retain some autonomy under a federation plan and regain influence within the ‘new’ post-putsch Ukraine. Russian military strategists have provided logistical and military aid to the resistance in order to avoid a repeat of the Odessa massacre of ethnic Russians by Ukrainian fascists on a massive scale. Above all, Russia cannot afford to have NATO-Nazi-Kiev military bases along its southern ‘underbelly’, imposing a blockade of the Crimea and forcing a mass exodus of ethnic Russians from the Donbas. Under Putin, the Russian government has tried to propose compromises allowing Western economic supremacy over Ukraine but without NATO military expansion and absorption by Kiev.

That policy of conciliation has repeatedly failed.

The democratically elected ‘compromise regime’ in Kiev was overthrown in February 2014 in a violent putsch, which installed a pro-NATO junta.

Kiev violated the Minsk agreement with impunity and encouragement from the NATO powers and Germany.

The recent G20 meeting in Australia featured a rabble-rousing chorus against President Putin. The crucial four-hour private meeting between Putin and Merkel turned into a fiasco when Germany parroted the NATO chorus.

Putin finally responded by expanding Russia’s air and ground troop preparedness along its borders while accelerating Moscow’s economic pivot to Asia.

Most important, President Putin has announced that Russia cannot stand by and allow the massacre of a whole people in the Donbas region.

Is Poroshenko’s forthcoming blitz against the people of southeast Ukraine designed to provoke a Russian response – to the humanitarian crisis? Will Russia confront the NATO-directed Kiev offensive and risk a total break with the West?




It Couldn't Be Clearer: Putin Will Not Let Nazis Overrun East Ukraine

He made this explicitly clear in a recent interview to a German TV channel

The Saker

November 24, 2014

You can read the full interview here.

But the following quote is, I believe, crucial:

"Today there is fighting in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian central authorities have sent the armed forces there and they even use ballistic missiles.

Does anybody speak about it? Not a single word. And what does it mean? What does it tell us?

This points to the fact, that you want the Ukrainian central authorities to annihilate everyone there, all of their political foes and opponents.

Is that what you want? We certainly don't. And we won't let it happen."

The Russian original sentence is: "Вы этого хотите? Мы не хотим. И не позволим."

I personally would translate this sentence "You want that? We don't. And we will not allow this." You could also translate the last part as "we will not permit this".

This is not an expression of a preference or a much more vague "we won't condone" or "we oppose". This is a very categorical statement which warns that Russia will proactively prevent such an outcome.

As I said it many times here already: Russia will not let the Nazis overrun Novorussia.



Kiev turns off cash machines and stops credit cards in rebel-held regions of Ukraine in the hope it will drive locals to turn on separatists

  • Ukraine government orders banks to 'suspend' operations in rebel areas

  • Vast majority of businesses said credit card systems no longer working

  • Comes after funding pulled from states services like schools and hospitals

  • Part of new strategy to suffocate insurgency after military campaign failed


PUBLISHED: 15:21 EST, 25 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:22 EST, 26 November 2014

Cash machines stopped working in rebel-held areas of Ukraine today and businesses no longer accepted credit cards after Kiev moved to shut down the banking system.

The measures form part of the government's new strategy to suffocate Russian separatists after its costly military campaign has foundered.

Authorities have also pulled funding for all state services such as schools and hospitals in the apparent hope the population will rise up against the insurgents.

In the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, dozens of people were today queuing up in the biting cold outside banks around the city after the ATMs stopped functioning.

Left out in the cold: People wait in front of a closed bank in the rebel-held Ukrainian city of Donetsk after cash machines were shut down by the Kiev government in a new strategy to isolate Russian separatists

'I came here at 5am to start queueing up,' retiree Nina sai, as she waited outside a closed branch of Russian-owned bank Sberbank in the hope that it would open later in the day.

Inside, tellers said that they had been ordered to stop operations yesterday by Ukraine's central bank.

'We received the order to close the establishment yesterday.

'There are no more money transfer here,' said Valery, a worker at state-run Oschadbank, which was open but not providing cash withdrawals.

Ukraine's central bank yesterday ordered all banks to 'suspend' their operations in the rebel-held areas as part of a push by Kiev to isolate the separatist regions.

The move followed a November 14 decree by President Petro Poroshenko that also pulled the plug on all social services, such as schools and hospitals, in the towns under insurgent control.

In Donetsk, where shelling between government forces and rebels rumbles on in outlying districts, the vast majority of businesses said their credit card systems were no longer working.

'It worked for half-an-hour this morning but now it seems like it has finished,' said Pavel Yalanbenko, an employee at the Amstor supermarket in the city centre.

Only a small handful of hotels and shops said that they could still process card payments Wednesday.

The central bank has said that banking services will only be restored when the areas come back under Ukrainian control, an unlikely scenario as the Kremlin-backed rebels have solidified their power.

Over 4,300 people have been killed and some one million displaced by over seven months of brutal fighting between government forces and insurgents.

However, if President Petro Poroshenko hopes to turn people in eastern Ukraine against the separatist leadership, evidence on the ground suggests the strategy may only be hardening their resolve.

Donetsk retiree Georgy Sharov said: 'What Poroshenko is saying to us is: "You are no longer Ukrainians. You won't get pensions, you won't get social payments.

'When you croak, then we'll stop this war against you. But I don't want to go to Ukraine and beg for their mercy.'

The lines have typically formed in front of cash machines belonging to state savings bank Oshchadbank, which handles pensions and social support payments.

'Even they don't always have money,' said Donetsk resident Sergei Smotovsky, standing outside a branch of the bank.

'The worst thing is that not only can you not get social payments. You can't even withdraw money that you earned, your salary.'

Even though cash machines don't work, account-holders wait from early morning until lunchtime in the hope that bank workers will top them up, but the doors to the banks often remain firmly shut.

Despite the unremitting fighting taking place across Donetsk and Luhansk, the two regions affected by the armed separatist conflict, large supermarkets are still reasonably stocked.

Supplies come from other parts of Ukraine and customers often use bank cards to pay for shopping.

Ukraine's government is now about to block bank cards, cutting off another means of sustenance.

Hard-pressed recipients of state benefits have for months turned expectantly to the rebel government for cash.

Crowds of pensioners and single mothers assemble daily before the separatist headquarters. When anybody in the crowd becomes especially vocal, one of the gunmen guarding the building rushes to bundle them away, accusing them of being 'provocateurs.'

The brunt of the rage, however, is still directed at the Ukrainian government.

'Ukraine says Donetsk is Ukrainian territory, and yet they came here with tanks and weapons instead of paying pensions properly,' said Donetsk retiree Anatoly Visly.

'I am a disabled veteran and I haven't received my pension for three months.'

Many pensioners have re-registered in towns outside rebel zones, meaning payments have still accrued to their accounts.

The challenge for those people will now become making the monthly trip to banks in government-controlled areas, which can be costly and difficult, especially for the most infirm.

Prospects for the rebels to set up a welfare system any time soon are bleak.

Anna Kharzhevskaya, an official with the rebel social affairs and labor ministry, said separatist authorities have only a crude notion of how many people are eligible for social payments.

Ukraine's government has been blocking access to state records and is trying to spirit away hard copies of databases still in rebel-held areas, Kharzhevskaya said.

Separatist authorities say militiamen are under instructions to stop any unsanctioned removals of government records by Ukrainian authorities.

Without a properly functioning tax system in place, there is no immediately obvious and transparent way for money to be raised.

As a result, Kharzhevskaya said she could not estimate when her department would begin paying regular pensions.

Things are even grimmer in the Luhansk region. Separatist command there is divided fractiously among the self-styled Luhansk People's Republic and an assortment of armed Cossack leaders.

One Cossack commander, Pavel Dryomov, had to admit to rebel media that he had overextended himself in promising 500 hryvnia one-off payments ($35) to pensioners — grossly miscalculating the number of people who needed to be paid.

'We had no idea of that figure,' he said in a video interview.

If hospitals are still working, it is in large part down to the sheer determination of the staff.

Viktoria Lubintseva, director of Donetsk central hospital, said the government had stopped providing funding since the start of November, well before Poroshenko announced the cutoff of state support.

'Medicine is usually bought by the patients as we need different kinds of medicines to do operations,' Lubintseva said.

'Staff is working voluntarily because they sincerely want to help people, as their conscience dictates.'

As state support and cash supplies dwindle, reliance is growing on outside aid.

Some of it is coming from Russia, but there are also substantial supplies being provided by the charitable fund of billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, whose wealth is built on eastern Ukraine's vast industrial resources.Despite such help, many in eastern Ukraine plan to leave: 'It is impossible to live here,' Smotovsky said as he waited in vain outside the bank.



Russia, China plan war games, arms sales. Could alliance be in the cards?

With Russia alienated by the West and China eager to buy high-end weaponry, a joint military pact – though still a long way off – looks increasingly seductive to both.

By Fred Weir

November 21, 2014 8:00 AM

Russia and China are planning to hold large-scale joint naval drills in the Mediterranean and Pacific next year, as deepening economic and political cooperation appear to be driving the two giants to at least discuss the idea of forming a military bloc.

Both countries are rapidly jacking up their military spending and modernizing their forces. China is set to spend an unprecedented $132 billion of defense this year. Meanwhile, Russia is in the midst of a sweeping five-year $700-billion rearmament program, and has lately begun restoring Soviet-era bomber patrols across much of the West's airspace. Russian officials say the upcoming naval drills are designed to demonstrate that Russian and Chinese fleets can operate together in bodies of water half a world apart.

It's still a far cry from the "NATO of the East" that some analysts have been predicting for years. But economic relations between them have taken a quantum leap, with two massive energy deals totaling almost $1 trillion signed in the past few months alone. As Russia digs in for what's beginning to look like a long-term standoff with the West, and China worries about protecting its back amid growing territorial disputes with US allies on its southern and eastern flanks, Russian officials are for the first time suggesting a permanent security alliance as a desirable goal.

Recommended: Asia's troubled waters: What's going on in the South China Sea? Take our quiz.

Military cooperation between Russia and China has "visibly expanded and gained a systemic character" recently, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told journalists during a visit to Beijing this week. Both sides are increasingly concerned "over US attempts to strengthen its military and political clout in the Asia-Pacific region," he said. Hence, "we believe that the main goal of pooling our efforts is to shape a collective regional security system."

Should it ever be created, such a bloc would dominate the Eurasian landmass, with naval bases from the Baltic, to the Arctic, to the Pacific, to the South China Sea. A union between Russia's cutting-edge weaponry and China's vast population and industrial base might spawn an armed juggernaut that could eventually rival NATO.

Many analysts argue that the underlying tensions and history of acrimony between the two giants precludes a stable military alliance between them. But a few are suggesting that current pressures – Western sanctions and efforts to politically isolate Russia on one hand, and China's growing territorial ambitions on the other – are pushing Moscow and Beijing into each other's arms and making a joint military pact look increasingly seductive to both.

"At the moment things are drifting in that direction. Russia has gotten into a position that makes it much more interested than it ever was before in seeking the security of a bloc," says Alexander Salitsky, an expert with the official Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow. "Whether we like it or not, a new bipolarity is emerging in the world. There is already a measure of political and diplomatic coordination between Russia and China, and this seems to be growing."

China and Russia have a mutual interest in policing former Soviet central Asia, where they compete for resources but share common worries about the spread of Islamist-inspired terrorism. Both are leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the only major international organization that neither the US nor any of its allies belongs to. The six-member SCO, founded in 2001 to coordinate economic development in central Asia, has since worked to oust the US from its own military bases in central Asia. It has also increasingly taken on a security role as the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan looms closer.

But joint naval drills on the world's far-flung oceans suggests a broader agenda emerging in Moscow and Beijing. Analysts say their goals are different but, at least for now, complementary.

"Russia's intent is mainly political, it wants to play the 'China card' against the West," says Sergei Lukonin, a leading Russian China expert. "One major reason China is going along is that it hopes to obtain Russian military technology. It's using the situation to get what it wants, and seems to be succeeding."

Until this year Russia has resisted selling its most modern weapons to China, largely out of fears that the Chinese will reverse-engineer them and sell the knock-offs more cheaply on global arms markets. But Moscow now seems willing to supply China with its newest fighter plane, the multi-role Su-35, as well as its most modern air defense system, the S-400.

"To create a military-political alliance is a Russian aim, not a Chinese one," says Mr. Lukonin. "Whether it eventually comes to pass or not depends on how long this sanctions war between Russia and the West goes on. If things normalize soon, it will be forgotten. If tensions with the West go on a long time, it could happen." But he adds that "Russia will have drop any illusions it has and get used to the idea that China would be very much the dominant partner in the relationship."


US opens the gates to World War III

Young military school cadets march with the flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic during a swearing-in ceremony in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on November 22, 2014.

Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:39AM GMT

According to news reports, Washington has decided to arm Ukraine for renewed military assault on Russian ethnics in Donetsk and Luhansk.

A Russian foreign ministry official condemned Washington’s reckless decision to supply weapons to Kiev as a violation of agreements that would make a political resolution of the conflict less likely. This statement is perplexing. It implies that the Russian government has not yet figured out that Washington has no interest in resolving the conflict. Washington’s purpose is to use the hapless Ukrainians against Russia. The worse the conflict becomes, the happier Washington is.

The Russian government made a bet that Europe would come to its senses and the conflict would be peacefully resolved. The Russian government has lost that bet and must immediately move to preempt a worsening crisis by uniting the separatists provinces with Russia or by reading the riot act to Europe.

It would be a costly humiliation for the Russian government to abandon the ethnic Russians to a military assault. If Russia stands aside while Donetsk and Luhansk are destroyed, the next attack will be on Crimea. By the time Russia is forced to fight Russia will face a better armed, better prepared, and more formidable foe.

By its inaction the Russian government is aiding and abetting Washington’s onslaught against Russia. The Russian government could tell Europe to call this off or go without natural gas. The Russian government could declare a no-fly zone over the separatist provinces and deliver an ultimatum to Kiev. The Russian government could accept the requests from Donetsk and Luhansk for unification or reunification with Russia. Any one of these actions would suffice to resolve the conflict before it spins out of control and opens the gates to World War III.

The American people are clueless that Washington is on the brink of starting a dangerous war. Even informed commentators become sidetracked in refuting propaganda that Russia has invaded Ukraine and is supplying weapons to the separatists. These commentators are mistaken if they think establishing the facts will do any good.

Washington intends to remove Russia as a constraint on Washington’s power. Washington’s arrogance is forcing a stark choice on Russia: vassalage or war.

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book is How America Was Lost.


Strategic Culture Foundation

Europe Veering From US Abyss Over Russia?

Finian CUNNINGHAM | 20.11.2014

It’s long overdue but better late than never that Europe might just be back-pedalling on America’s aggressive agenda towards Russia. The business-like visit to Moscow this week by Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier suggests that Europe can come to its senses to seek a diplomatic resolution of the escalating tensions over the Ukraine crisis – tensions that could spark a wider continental war, or worse.

Steinmeier met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in which the pair stressed the need to find a political end to the violence in Ukraine. The German diplomat – the first high-level European envoy to Moscow in several months – also talked about normalising relations between his country and Russia and of finding a way to rescind the economic sanctions that Brussels has imposed on Moscow over recent months.

EU ministers in Brussels balked at imposing a fourth round of sanctions earlier this week, showing a growing division over the policy among European governments.

Interestingly, Steinmeier said his visit to the Russian capital was following up on positive discussions held last weekend with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Australia. The German foreign minister said the task now was to prevent a new spiral of violence in Ukraine.

Given that Germany is the European Union’s largest economy, we can fairly say that Berlin’s political attitude is going to hold sway for the rest of the bloc.

Meanwhile, the contrast with the European attitude, as seen this week through Steinmeier, could not be sharper in Washington.

This week, the Republican-controlled Congress was pushing through a bill that will significantly increase military support to the Kiev regime. The ultra rightwing cabal, despite a fig leaf of elections last month, has clearly shown no interest in implementing the ceasefire brokered on September 5 in the Belarus capital, Minsk. Civilian casualties are mounting among the ethnic Russian population in Donetsk and Luhansk as the Kiev’s military forces continue their practice of indiscriminate shelling of cities and villages with the use of banned weapons, including cluster bombs and unguided ballistic missiles.

Never mind violations of the Minsk Protocol, the murderous offensive by Kiev consists of multiple war crimes.

Nonetheless, the US Congress is unabashed and is in fact preparing to legalise massive overt military aid to this regime whose leaders, including its nominal President Petro Poroshenko, are becoming more and more unhinged, warning earlier this week of “not being afraid of total war with Russia”.

Republican Congressman Michael Burgess, the author of the provocatively named Ukraine Freedom Act Support, said this week: “Ukraine [sic] needs weapons, ammunition, body armour and communication means. Of course, financial support is important but not as much as weapons and ammunition to fight off the Russian troops who invaded a sovereign country.”

Note the assertion of Russian invasion by the Congressman without the slightest obligation to substantiate his claim. He probably heard it on Fox News or CNN and feels free to regurgitate it as incontrovertible fact.

The Kiev regime’s reckless militarism over the past seven months has brought Ukraine’s economy to its knees, with its currency crashing and soaring international debts unpaid – chief among the creditors being Russia. Yet Washington sees the priority as not financial assistance but rather more militarism to provoke more aggression towards Russia.

After the Republican mid-election victory earlier this month, Congress is likely to pass the above bill. Henceforth, the US government will be enabled to openly supply lethal materiel, including anti-tank and air defence systems, grenade launchers, machine-guns and sniper rifles. This marks a baleful escalation of Washington’s military intervention in Ukraine, which up to now has feigned its support for the Kiev regime as “non-lethal aid”.

This is just what the US Republicans have been clamouring for. Last week, swivelled-eyed Senator John McCain said: “We want to give the Ukrainians [sic] weapons to defend themselves as the Russians are dismembering their country.” McCain, another Fox-News-regurgitating politician, was one of the main international sponsors of the neo-Nazi shock troops who seized power in Kiev earlier this year and who now openly vilify fellow Ukrainians in the eastern regions as “sub-human Moskals”.

Up till lately, Washington and Brussels have been singing off the same propaganda hymn sheet as the Kiev regime that they both railroaded into power last February in an illegal coup against the elected Ukrainian government. In an astounding inversion of reality, the US-EU axis accuses Russia of invading and subverting Ukraine. No proof is proffered and the words of the criminal, openly hostile and Russian-hating Kiev regime are promulgated as gospel truth.

Brussels has so far toed the Washington line of imposing sanctions on Russia for allegedly violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The fact that the people of Crimea voted freely and overwhelmingly to secede from the Western-installed Kiev regime in March and to join the Russian federation, followed by similar referenda for breakaway autonomy in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, is attributed, through a feat of double-think, to Moscow’s meddling.

However, with the Western sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions taking the heaviest toll on an already recession-stricken Europe, the anti-Moscow nostrums are bound to be viewed with increasing leeriness. Tough talk may be cheap, even rewarding, for Washington, but not for the Europeans.

‘German exports to Russia tumble’ reported the Financial Times at the end of last month, as a result of the standoff with Moscow – the worst rupture in relations since the formal end of the Cold War more than two decades ago. Elsewhere it is reported that German industry and businesses are feverishly lobbying Berlin to revise the sanctions policy, which is threatening thousands of German jobs and the biggest bilateral trade between Europe and Russia.

As the EU’s economic powerhouse, what is bad for Germany is automatically bad for the rest of Europe.

The new EU foreign policy chief Frederica Morgherini, formerly the Italian minister, has recently expressed misgivings about the effectiveness of sanctions. Morgherini took over from Britain’s Catherine Ashton who was instrumental in the Western regime-change operation in Kiev and who had displayed a pathetic servility to Washington.

Other European states are also increasingly finding a more critical voice towards what they see as senseless and self-defeating hostility against Russia.

‘Hungary questions EU sanctions on Russia’ reported the Financial Times on October 16. Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria and Austria have added their voices to question the official Washington-Brussels stance of trying to isolate Russia.

Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has defiantly said that his country will not follow Brussels’ sanctions on Russia, citing long-lasting historical and cultural ties with Moscow, even though Belgrade currently has EU accession status. Added to that are strong economic and investment ties between Russia and Serbia.

All these dissenting countries have a vested interest in developing the giant South Stream gas supply project from Russia, as well as from just maintaining decorous neighbourly relations. For them, the sanctions on Russia are tantamount to cutting off their nose to spite their face.

Perhaps the words of Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders are finally beginning to win through reason and empirical evidence, or lack of it. Speaking at the Valdai Club in Sochi at the end of October, one of Putin’s main points was that US geopolitical policy is aimed at driving a wedge between Europe and Russia out of selfish American interests. Competition for Europe’s vast energy market is an obvious objective for the US, as well as the subordination of European economic policy to Wall Street and the US Federal Reserve. In short, the subordination of Europe to American capitalist hegemony.

Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov recently said that what is primarily motivating American hostility towards Moscow is that “Russia dares to have an opinion” on the future direction of global developments. This independence is seen for example in Russia’s promotion of alternative international banking to the Washington-dominated IMF, or the use of bilateral currencies for seminal Eurasian energy trade instead of dependence on the US dollar.

Any sane person can see that Russia’s policies are entirely legitimate and even desirable for a more balanced global economy and polity. It is ludicrous for the arrogant, self-declared exceptional American nation to criminalise Russia on this basis, and that is why Washington has used the Ukraine crisis as a cover for its unacceptable imperialist agenda.

European governments would do well to contemplate the self-indicting words of US Vice President Joe Biden. Biden told a meeting at Harvard University last month that European states were initially reluctant to adopt American sanctions toward Russia. “President Obama had to embarrass European leaders into it,” said Biden with more than a hint of glee at Washington’s power at bullying Europe. How’s that for an atrocious admission?

Washington has everything to gain from plunging its so-called European allies into a new Cold War with Russia. And Europe has everything to lose.

But it seems now that a significant European constituency is at last waking up to the folly that has been foisted on its 500 million citizens by the likes of pro-American puppets Hermann Van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso, David Cameron and Catherine Ashton. Will German Chancellor Angela Merkel or French President Francois Hollande grasp the courage to follow the diplomatic path being advocated by several courageous dissenting EU members?

One hopes that Europe is beginning to part ways with the US direction on Russia – a direction that is leading to an abyss.

American politics is arguably the most corporate-controlled, brainwashed, intellectually devoid and dangerous institution that the world has ever known. The buying of the latest Congressional elections with $4 billion in corporate campaign funds (that is, bribes) is proof that the US is not a democracy – it is a plutocracy. If Europeans have any residual democratic independence and enlightened reason, then they must find it and assert it urgently. Europe and Russia are far more natural allies than the warmongering American rulers could ever be.


Natural News

Malware already in place to bring down entire U.S. infrastructure - sources

Monday, November 24, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Russia has placed a destructive "Trojan Horse" malware program in the software that operates most of America's critical infrastructure, making it possible for Moscow to cause economic catastrophe throughout the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security has now warned.

The cyber operation is the modern-day equivalent of the Cold War's concept of nuclear MAD -- mutual assured destruction -- because intelligence analysts believe the United States has likely achieved similar inroads into Russian (and likely Chinese) infrastructure.

However, the penetration of American financial infrastructure could be even more potentially devastating, considering that the U.S. financial and banking system and Wall Street provide the backbone for global trade, as part of the world's largest economy. Also, the U.S. dollar is the world's reserve currency; any disruption of the American economic system would likely cause a dollar collapse and lead to global financial pandemonium.

'No random attack'

In addition to having major financial implications, national security sources and intelligence analysts note that the malware has also penetrated other vital infrastructure -- that which is used to "control complex industrial operations like oil and gas pipelines, power transmission grids, water distribution and filtration systems, wind turbines and even some nuclear plants," ABC News reported. Shutting any of these vital systems down could adversely impact millions of Americans, and could even lead to destruction and death.

In a bulletin, DHS warned that the Russia-sponsored hacking attack has been continuous since 2011, though no attempt has yet been made to activate the malware to "damage, modify, or otherwise disrupt" America's industrial and infrastructure control processes. As such, though American intelligence agencies and the Obama Administration have only recently been made aware of the breach, no one knows where or when the malware could be activated.

"DHS sources told ABC News they think this is no random attack and they fear that the Russians have torn a page from the old, Cold War playbook, and have placed the malware in key U.S. systems as a threat, and/or as a deterrent to a U.S. cyber-attack on Russian systems -- mutually assured destruction," the network reported on its website.

Intelligence community insiders learned about the penetration in late October; at that time, DHS' Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team issued an alert bulletin to industry members outlining the breach. The bulletin reported that the "BlackEnergy" penetration was detected by several private industrial firms recently.

ABC News reported further:

DHS said "BlackEnergy" is the same malware that was used by a Russian cyber-espionage group dubbed "Sandworm" to target NATO and some energy and telecommunications companies in Europe earlier this year.

"Analysis of the technical findings in the two reports shows linkages in the shared command and control infrastructure between the campaigns, suggesting both are part of a broader campaign by the same threat actor," the DHS bulletin said.

'The more I worked on the issue, the more concerned I became'

DHS officials said that the hacker software is very advanced, meaning it most likely was developed by a state actor with unlimited resources, rather than a non-state actor as a terrorist weapon. The malware can be controlled by operators using computers, an iPad or smart phone to control "various industrial processes," ABC News reported. The software also allows collaborative control and information sharing.

The 2010 book Cyber War, by Richard A. Clarke, who served as a national security expert in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Georg W. Bush, warned that the nation's critical infrastructure -- financial, transportation, water, electrical and communications -- were vulnerable to penetration and attack. He describes such tactics as "asymmetrical warfare," and he noted that China was likely a bigger threat than Russia.

Clarke noted that, during the administration of Bill Clinton, he was assigned to draft a Presidential Decision Document (PDD) outlining the risks to both government and private industrial systems, but said he was given no authority to implement his recommendations.

"The more I worked on the issue, the more concerned I became," he wrote, adding that by 2000, the Clinton Administration "developed a National Plan for Information Systems Protection, but there was still no willingness in the government to regulate the industries that ran the vulnerable critical infrastructure."


Clarke, Richard A. and Knake, Robert K. 2010. Cyber War. New York: HarperCollins.



Turkey doomed to fall under Erdogan: Ex-president

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:12AM GMT

Former Turkish President Abdullah Gul has slammed the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warning that Ankara is doomed to collapse if it continues its foreign policy on Iraq and Syria.

Gul criticized the new Turkish president’s policies vis-à-vis the chaotic situation in neighboring Syria, saying, “I am sure that one day (God forbidden) the chickens of Erdogan’s past follies in Syria will come home to roost."

The former Turkish leader further acknowledged that Ankara’s spying agencies played a key role in facilitating the transport of Takfiri militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad since the crisis erupted in the Arab state in 2011.

Erdogan’s strategic blunders in neighboring Syria and Iraq are behind the emergence of the ISIL Takfiri terrorists, who have been committing atrocities in the areas they have under control in both countries, according to Gul.

He slammed the US-led “idiots’ club” coalition currently carrying out airstrikes against ISIL militant hideouts in Iraq and Syria.

Gul added that some Saudi-backed terrorist organizations operating against Syria such as the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front had been working with Western spy agencies, including the CIA.

He added that mutual cooperation existed “between Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT)” and the ISIL extremist terrorists.

The ISIL terrorists entered Iraq in June. The violence is seen as a spillover of militancy from Syria, where Takfiri groups fighting the Damascus government are enjoying support of the US and its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.



Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: ‘women not equal to men’

Turkish president also accuses feminists of not understanding special status attributed to mothers by Islam

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaking during a ceremony in August where he formally took over from predecessor Abdullah Gul. Photograph: /AP

Agence France-Presse in Istanbul

Monday 24 November 2014 10.01 EST

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been accused of blatant sexism after declaring that women are not equal to men and claiming feminists in Turkey reject the idea of motherhood.

The devoutly Muslim president said biological differences meant women and men could not serve the same functions, adding that manual work was unsuitable for the “delicate nature” of women.

His comments ignited a firestorm of controversy on Twitter and one well-known female TV news anchor even took the unusual step of condemning the remarks during a bulletin.

“Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women: motherhood,” Erdoğan said at a summit in Istanbul on justice for women, speaking to an audience including his own daughter Sumeyye.

“Some people can understand this, while others can’t. You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”

He recalled: “I would kiss my mother’s feet because they smelled of paradise. She would glance coyly and cry sometimes.

“Motherhood is something else,” he said, claiming that it should be a woman’s priority because Islam exalts women as mothers.

He went on to say that women and men could not be treated equally “because it goes against the laws of nature”.

“Their characters, habits and physiques are different … You cannot place a mother breastfeeding her baby on an equal footing with men.

“You cannot make women work in the same jobs as men do, as in communist regimes. You cannot give them a shovel and tell them to do their work. This is against their delicate nature.”

Erdoğan was apparently referring to the practice during and after the second world war for women in communist states such as the USSR to do heavy manual work in factories or in roles such as tram drivers.

He complained that in previous decades in Turkey women in Anatolian villages had done the back-breaking work while their menfolk idled away the time.

“Wasn’t it the case in Anatolia? Our poor mothers suffered immensely and got hunchbacks while the men were playing cards and rolling dice at teahouses,” he said.

“What women need is to be able to be equivalent, rather than equal. Because equality turns the victim into an oppressor and vice versa.”

Erdoğan, 60, has been married since 1978 to his wife Emine, with whom he has two sons and two daughters.

Aylin Nazliaka, an MP from the main opposition Republican People’s party said Erdoğan “ostracised” women by portraying them as delicate, weak and powerless and limiting their role to motherhood.

“Erdoğan has publicly committed a hate crime … But I will continue to fight this man who sees no difference between terrorists and feminists,” she said in a written statement.

Sule Zeybek, an anchorwoman at the Turkish broadcaster Kanal D, hit back at Erdoğan’s comments live on television during a news bulletin.

“I am a feminist and thank God I’m a mum. I wouldn’t kiss my mother’s feet but I have great respect for her,” she said.

The Islamic-rooted government of Erdoğan has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles and limiting the civil liberties of women.

Erdoğan has drawn the ire of feminist groups for declaring that every woman in Turkey should have three children and with proposals to limit abortion rights, the morning-after pill and caesarean sections.

Seen by critics as increasingly authoritarian, he has repeatedly lashed out personally at female journalists who displeased him.

But the government’s attitude towards women came under even greater scrutiny after the deputy prime minister, Bülent Arinç, caused a furore in August by suggesting women should not laugh loudly in public.

Activists also say that government officials’ remarks about women and how they should be treated leave them exposed to violence. According to non-governmental organisations, more than 200 women in Turkey died as a result of domestic violence in the first six months of 2014.



'Mumbai is on the verge of imploding'

Residents of this overburdened and polluted megacity are held hostage by a politician-builder nexus that allows rampant ‘development’ to fuel its descent into urban hell

One in six of Mumbai’s 12.7 million residents lives in a slum. Photograph: John Wang/Getty Images

Bachi Karkaria in Mumbai

Sunday 23 November 2014 23.05 EST

It used to be India’s urban showpiece. Today, its sceptre and crown have fallen down and, in a phase of cynical destruction masquerading as “development”, Mumbai has become a metaphor for urban blight.

Consider these statistics. Rubbish could be its Mount Vesuvius. Some 7,000 metric tonnes of refuse is spewed out each day. Dumping grounds are choked, yet there is no government-mandated separation or recycling.

Around 7.5 million commuters cram themselves into local trains every day and the fledgling metro and monorail are unlikely to make a perceptible difference in the near future.

There are 700,000 cars on the road and the authorities indirectly encourage private vehicle ownership by adding flyovers and expressways, instead of building or speeding up mass rapid transit systems. Private vehicle numbers have grown by 57% in the past eight years, compared with a 23% increase in public buses.

Toxic nitric oxide and nitrogen oxide levels stand at 252 microgrammes per cubic metre (mcg/m3) more than three times the safe limit of 80 mcg/m3. Protests against sound pollution fall on deaf ears.

There’s less than 0.03 acres of open space per 1,000 people. The global norm is four; London has a profligate 12.

There are 12.7 million people jammed into the 480 sq km that comprise today’s Greater Mumbai, that’s 20,680 people per sq km. We are the world’s eighth most-populated city – and dying to prove it.

As a consequence, every sixth Mumbaikar lives in a slum. The premium on land was exacerbated by the Rent Control Act of 1947, which wasn’t amended till 1999. Too little, too late. Real estate prices are unreal. It’s cheaper to buy a flat in Manhattan than in Malabar Hill, and you can be sure that shoddy materials will shortchange you in Mumbai.

Considering that housing is the city’s biggest shortfall, it’s ironic that unbridled construction is indisputably its biggest problem. Many villains have been blamed for Mumbai’s descent into urban hell, from mafia dons to impoverished migrants, but for the past three decades the main culprit is the “politician-builder nexus”.

In 2005, the entire city was held hostage for three days. On 26 July, suburban Mumbai was lashed by 668 mm of rain in just 12 hours. Unwarned commuters and children in school buses were left high, but not dry, as roads and railway tracks disappeared. Slums and BMWs went under the deluge without discernment for their economic standing. It may have been the country’s financial capital, but in the photographs that followed, swaggering Mumbai didn’t look much different from a monsoon-marooned Bihar village.

For this humbling disaster, the finger pointed at that same culprit: the developer and his facilitator, the politician. There was nowhere for the rainwater to go. For decades the concrete army had been allowed to commandeer all open spaces, and illegal encroachments had done the rest. Public parks, verdant hills, salt-pans, school compounds, private garden plots, beaches, mangroves – nothing was spared.

The built environment in Mumbai had increased fourfold since 1925 – and at its fastest rate over the past 30 years – all at the cost of green cover and wetlands.

Around 7.5 million commuters cram themselves into local trains every day. Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images

The 2005 deluge brought to light the little-known fact that Mumbai had a river. The Mithi had been reduced to little more than a turgid drain, bubbling with the putrefactions of one of Asia’s largest slums, Dharavi. Why blame its desperate inhabitants when the authorities had built an airport runway and much of the swanky new business district of the Bandra Kurla complex over it?

The traumatising flood was a flash-point. Citizens rose against all the civic atrocities heaped upon them. Why must they suffer such acute and chronic brutalising when Mumbai was the biggest contributor to the national economy? It accounts for 33% of income-tax, 20% of central excise collections, 6.16% of GDP (the largest single contribution in India), 25% of industrial output, 40% of foreign trade and 70% of capital transactions.

Activists demanded it should be administered separately under a chief executive-like head, instead of politicians who siphoned off its wealth to their rural constituencies. The municipal commissioner should be answerable to the elected corporate leaders not, illogically, to the state chief minister. But all this sound and fury receded with the flood waters, and it was soon business as usual.

The unequal war between profiteering and civic wisdom was in unabashed evidence some 20 years before this great flood. An eagerly anticipated shot in the arm turned into a wound that still festers. The cotton mills, on which Mumbai’s original fame and fortunes were built, had been killed off by the prolonged strike of 1982 (and chronic neglect by their owners).

After nearly a decade of legal wrangling, especially over the laid-off workers’ dues, it was decided to redevelop the defunct land – an eye-popping 600 acres in prime south and central Bombay. Recreational spaces, public housing and private enterprise were each to get a one-third share of the total area.

The 27-storey personal residence of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani is named after Antilia, a mythical island in the Atlantic. It has three helicopter pads, underground parking for 160 cars and requires some 600 staff to run. Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty

But in 1991, the relevant Development Control rule 58 was unilaterally changed by the chief minister, making only “open” land in the mills eligible for the division. This left the lion’s share to the owners, their builder accomplices and, naturally, the obliging politicians. The city got a mere fifth of its desperately needed windfall.

Instead of the imaginative, integrated development plan drawn up by Charles Correa, the renowned Mumbai-based architect, the former mill-hub of Lalbaug-Parel is a soulless cram of skyscrapers, mall-to-mall carpeting and snarled traffic clashing with the tenements housing the dispossessed worker families.

The opportunity for Mumbai’s redemption was obscenely squandered. The greedy, selfish “development” has worsened, instead of alleviating, its two biggest headaches: housing and traffic.

Now, a new phoenix is projected to rise from the 800 acres of decrepit dockland along the city’s eastern shoreline, again in the prime south. Will the city finally get its life-saving leisure space and affordable housing? Or will it be one more land-grab hastening its death by “development”?

Mumbai waits with more cynicism than hope.Bachi Karkaria is a renowned journalist, author and Times of India columnist. She was the first Indian board member of the World Editors Forum and is director of The Times Litfest


The Local

"Yixinou" will operate from Yiwu, the world's biggest wholesale hub, in east China's Zhejiang province. Photo: AFP/STR

'World's longest railway' links Madrid and China

Published: 19 Nov 2014 13:17 GMT+01:00

China launched an 82-wagon cargo train on Tuesday which will take 21 days to travel 10,000km (6,200 miles) and pass through six other countries as it moves goods from the industrial city of Yiwu to the Spanish capital, Madrid.

The train, named "Yixinou", left Yiwu, 300km south of Shanghai, and will cross Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France before arriving in Spain in December.

The total distance covered by the new rail route is greater than that of the world's longest train service, the 9,259km Moscow-Vladivostok Rossinya 002, and five times as long as the route of the famous Orient Express.

But unlike on the Russian train, goods on the Yiwu-Madrid route will have to be shifted onto different wagons at three points due to incompatible track gauges in different countries, including between France and Spain.

Although the high-speed rail link between Barcelona and France was designed to avoid this, goods destined for anywhere in Spain except Barcelona must be switched to trains designed for Spanish tracks.

Yiwu is the biggest wholesale hub in the world and Chinese authorities wanted to connect it by rail to Europe, one of the city's biggest markets.

A spokesperson for China's state press agency said that the new line "would reduce dependence on sea and air cargo transport".

The new freight route has been made possible thanks to Trans Eurasia Logistics, a joint venture between the public rail operators in Germany and Russia.

According to Spanish publication El Economista, the operators teamed up to offer easy rail links between the far east and Europe.



Earth is being protected by a 'Star Trek-style invisible shield': Scientists probe mysterious barrier blocking 'killer electrons'

  • These 'killer electrons' whip around the planet at near-light speed

  • If they hit Earth, they could knock out power grids and change its climate

  • Shield was found 7,200 miles (11,600 km) above Earth in Van Allen belts

  • Scientists are baffled as to how the shield formed, and how it works

  • 'It's almost like these electrons are running into a glass wall,' said Professor Daniel Baker from the University of Colorado Boulder


PUBLISHED: 13:01 EST, 26 November 2014 | UPDATED: 04:31 EST, 27 November 2014

An invisible shield, some 7,200 miles (11,600 km) above Earth, has been found blocking 'killer electrons' from bombarding our planet.

These electrons can whip around the planet at near-light speed and have been known to threaten astronauts, fry satellites and damage space systems.

If they hit Earth on a large scale, they could knock out power grids, radically change the planet's climate and drive up rates of cancer.

The shield was discovered in the Van Allen radiation belts - two doughnut-shaped rings above Earth that are filled with high-energy electrons and protons

But while scientists know this mysterious shield exists, they are baffled as to how it formed and how exactly it works.

'Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on Star Trek that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons,' said Professor Daniel Baker from the University of Colorado Boulder.

The shield was discovered in the Van Allen radiation belts - two doughnut-shaped rings above Earth that are filled with high-energy electrons and protons.

Held in place by Earth's magnetic field, the Van Allen radiation belts swell and shrink in response to incoming energy disturbances from the sun.

They were discovered in 1958 and are comprised of an inner and outer belt extending up to 25,000 miles (40,000km) above Earth's surface.

Held in place by Earth's magnetic field, the Van Allen radiation belts swell and shrink in response to incoming energy disturbances from the sun

'Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on Star Trek (pictured) that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons,' said Professor Daniel Baker


The Van Allen radiation belts are two layers of charged particles orbiting around Earth.

They are kept in place by the planet's magnetic field.

The belts are comprised of an inner and outer belt extending up to 25,000 miles (40,000km) above Earth's surface.

The radiation levels across the belts differ depending on where in the belt they are.

The belts were discovered in 1958 by scientist James Van Allen from the University of Iowa while aboard the first U.S space mission.

One theory suggested the particles were accelerated as they entered the belt and were trapped inside.

The second suggested that particles were created inside the belt and accelerated by a force from within.

Nasa sent probes up to track the behaviour of the belts and these satellites have finally proved that electric fields inside the belts tear electrons from atoms and charge them at super speeds.

Last year, Professor Baker led a team that used the twin Van Allen Probes launched in 2012 to discover a third, transient 'storage ring'.

This ring is located between the inner and outer Van Allen radiation belts and seems to come and go with the intensity of space weather.

This ring appears to block the ultrafast electrons from breaching the shield and moving deeper towards Earth's atmosphere.

'It's almost like these electrons are running into a glass wall in space,' said Professor Baker. 

'It's an extremely puzzling phenomenon.'

The team originally thought the highly charged electrons, which are looping around Earth at more than 100,000 miles per second, would slowly drift downward into the upper atmosphere.

But the impenetrable barrier seen by the twin Van Allen belt spacecraft stops the electrons before they get that far, said Professor Baker.

The group looked at a number of scenarios that could create and maintain such a barrier.

The team wondered if it might have to do with Earth's magnetic field lines.

These lines trap and control protons and electrons, bouncing them between Earth's poles like beads on a string.

They also looked at whether radio signals from human transmitters on Earth could be scattering the charged electrons at the barrier, preventing their downward motion.

Killer electrons whip around the planet at near-light speed and have been known to threaten astronauts, fry satellites and degrade space systems during intense solar storms

But neither explanation held scientific weight, Professor Baker said.

'Nature abhors strong gradients and generally finds ways to smooth them out, so we would expect some of the relativistic electrons to move inward and some outward,' he added.

'It's not obvious how the slow, gradual processes that should be involved in motion of these particles can conspire to create such a sharp, persistent boundary at this location in space.'

Another scenario is that the giant cloud of cold, electrically charged gas called the plasmasphere, which begins about 600 miles (960km) above, is scattering the electrons at the boundary.

It could be doing this with low frequency, electromagnetic waves that create a plasmapheric 'hiss'.

The hiss sounds like white noise when played over a speaker, Professor Baker said.

While the plasmaspheric hiss may play a role in the puzzling space barrier, Professor Baker believes there is more to the story.

'I think the key here is to keep observing the region in exquisite detail, which we can do because of the powerful instruments on the Van Allen probes,' he said.'If the sun really blasts the Earth's magnetosphere with a coronal mass ejection (CME), I suspect it will breach the shield for a period of time.'



'If We Left, They Wouldn't Have Nobody'

November 21, 2014 4:19 AM ET

Maurice Rowland (left) and Miguel Alvarez were working at an assisted living home last fall. When it shut down, Maurice - the cook --” and Miguel — the janitor --” stayed to take care of the residents left behind.

When an assisted living home in California shut down last fall, many of its residents were left behind, with nowhere to go.

The staff at the Valley Springs Manor left when they stopped getting paid — except for cook Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez, the janitor.

"There was about 16 residents left behind, and we had a conversation in the kitchen, 'What are we going to do?' " Rowland says.

"If we left, they wouldn't have nobody," the 34-year-old Alvarez says.

Their roles quickly transformed for the elderly residents, who needed round-the-clock care.

"I would only go home for one hour, take a shower, get dressed, then be there for 24-hour days," says Alvarez.

Rowland, 35, remembers passing out medications during those long days. He says he didn't want to leave the residents — some coping with dementia — to fend for themselves.

"I just couldn't see myself going home — next thing you know, they're in the kitchen trying to cook their own food and burn the place down," Rowland says. "Even though they wasn't our family, they were kind of like our family for this short period of time."

For Alvarez, the situation brought back memories from his childhood.

"My parents, when they were younger, they left me abandoned," he says. "Knowing how they are going to feel, I didn't want them to go through that."

Alvarez and Rowland spent several days caring for the elderly residents of Valley Springs Manor until the fire department and sheriff took over.

The incident led to legislation in California known as the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014.

"If I would've left, I think that would have been on my conscience for a very long time," says Rowland.



Why You Should Consider Not Eating Pork

November 23, 2014 by Alanna Ketler

There are many religions that specifically forbid the consumption of pork. The meat is considered “unclean” and non-kosher. Is there a reason for this? Is there more to this religious teaching that we should all be aware of?

It seems as though the religions that condemn pork consumption are on to something, in fact there are many scientific claims to back this up.

Pigs are scavengers by nature, which means that they will eat almost anything, including rotten food, feces, urine, carcasses and even cancerous growths. Unfortunately the digestive system of a pig is incapable of effectively removing these accumulated toxins from the body because a pig will digest its food entirely in about 4 hours. This is simply not long enough to remove the excess toxins that were ingested, these toxins are then stored directly in the fat cells and organs of the pig itself.

“Sweating like a pig” yet? Ironically enough, that statement isn’t true -pigs do not have sweat glands which means they are unable to remove excess toxins by sweating (like we do). So naturally this means that pork meat would be a much more toxic meat than others and when you consume it you would be taking in those toxins as well. With our current environments, we really don’t need to expose our bodies to even more toxins if we don’t have to.

According to an investigation by Consumer Reports, 69% of all raw pork samples tested (of about 200 samples) were contaminated with a dangerous bacteria known as Yersinia enteroclitica. This bacteria can cause fever, gastrointestinal illness, diarrhea, vomiting and cramps.

Ground pork was more likely to be contaminated than pork chops. This pork also tested positive for other contaminants including a controversial drug called ractopamine, which is banned China and Europe. Many of the bacteria that were found in the pork were actually resistant to multiple antibiotics, which makes treatment problematic and potentially lethal if you were to get sick.

According to the report:

We found salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, or listeria monocytogenes, more common causes of foodborne illness, in 3 to 7 percent of samples. And 11 percent harbored enterococcus, which can indicate fecal contamination and can cause problems such as urinary tract-infections.”

Pigs are a host to a number of parasites, viruses and other organisms, many of which can be directly transmitted to humans, some include:

  • Taenia solium -an intestinal parasite that can cause tissue infection and loss of appetite.

  • Menangle virus –a virus that can cause fever, chills, rashes, headaches and sweating.

  • Trichinella –A parasitic roundworm that can cause edema, myalgia, fever and malaise.

  • Hepatitis E –A viral inflammation that can cause fatigue, nausea and jaundice. More severe cases can lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.

The study does indicate that if you were to cook the pork properly you can reduce the risk of the these parasites affecting you, but there is no guaranteed temperature for safety when it comes to pork.

If you still choose to consume pork, follow the following guidelines to increase safety.

As issued by Consumer Reports:

  • When cooking pork, use a meat thermometer to ensure that it reaches the proper internal temperature, which kills potentially harmful bacteria: at least 145° F for whole pork and 160° F for ground pork.

  • Keep raw pork and its juices separate from other foods, especially those eaten raw, such as salad.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.

  • Choose pork and other meat products that were raised without drugs. One way to do that is to buy certified organic pork, from pigs raised without antibiotics or ractopamine.

  • Look for a clear statement regarding antibiotic use. “No antibiotics used” claims with a USDA Process Verified shield are more reliable than those without verification. Labels such as “Animal Welfare Approved” and “Certified Humane” indicate the prudent use of antibiotics to treat illness.

  • Watch out for misleading labels. “Natural” has nothing to do with antibiotic use or how an animal was raised. We found unapproved claims, including “no antibiotic residues,” on packages of Sprouts pork sold in California and Arizona, and “no antibiotic growth promotants” on Farmland brand pork sold in several states. We reported those to the USDA in June 2012, and the agency told us it’s working with those companies to take “appropriate actions.” When we checked in early November, Sprouts had removed the claim from its packages.

What About Organic Pasture Raised Pork?

While this pork is obviously going to be much better for you to consume, it is very hard to find, and still poses certain health concerns. Pasture raised pork is very susceptible to Trichinella spiralis infection, also known as the “pork worm.” Trichinella is one of the most widespread parasites in the whole world, it has the potential to cause some very serious health concerns. Trichinella can be killed in the cooking process but one has to follow guidelines closely to make sure the meat is cooked through.

It is said that pork can be a “healthy” meat, but this entirely depends on how it was raised as well. Most, if not all of the pork most of us consume, is factory farmed. According to research by Dr Mercola: “So for most all industrially raised pork, I believe there is enough scientific evidence to justify the reservations or outright prohibitions in many cultures against consuming it. Nearly all pigs raised in the U.S. come from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFO’s. These inhumane environments are typically toxic breeding grounds for pathogens.

These animals spend their short, miserable lives on concrete and steel grates. Antibiotics are given liberally with their feed, making their massive waste even more toxic.

This is why you can smell a CAFO swine operation miles before you see it. At an operation like Joel Salatin’s, you couldn’t smell any sign of pigs. These pigs were raised humanely and organically, where both animal and land are managed symbiotically.

Unfortunately, raising animals in CAFO’s is the standard for Americans. For many of us, CAFO pork is the only option available.

Granted, the occasional consumption of pork might be fine, but it’s a risk, and the more you consume it the more likely it is that you will eventually acquire some type of infection.”

If The Pressing Health Concerns Aren’t Enough…

It’s a sad fact that 97 percent of all pigs in the United States today are raised in factory farms. This means that these pigs will never get to run on grass, breathe fresh air, or play in the sun. They are cramped and crowded into huge warehouses and fed a diet largely consisting of drugs and antibiotics to keep them alive and to encourage rapid growth.

Many people believe that pigs are highly intelligent creatures. Some say they are smarter than dogs, and others say they are smarter than your average 3 year old. Pigs can form complex social networks and they also have excellent memories.

If pigs were given the sufficient space that they need, they wouldn’t be soiling the areas where they sleep and eat, but in the factory farms the pigs have no choice but to live in their own feces, urine and vomit. Because of this, many (about 1/4) of pigs suffer from mange, an extremely itchy painful rash that doesn’t go away.

Sadly, because of the conditions the pigs are forced to live in they are inhaling toxic gas such as ammonia that comes from the urine and feces, this gas irritates the animals lungs to the point where over 80% of the pigs raised in the U.S. have pneumonia at the time of slaughter.

The horrors that these creatures have to endure on factory farms goes on and on, what was mentioned here is just the tip of what is actually going on behind closed doors.

What Can We Do?

If you insist on eating pork, do so extremely sparingly, and if you can, make sure that it is raised without the use of antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals, that it has been raised on a pasture and fed a healthy diet. You have a right to choose, so choose wisely. Every single day you make a choice of what you are putting onto your fork.


Developing an Attitude of Gratitude Can Help You Live a Longer, Happier Life

November 27, 2014

By Dr. Mercola

Besides sharing time with family and friends over food, the primary ingredient of the American Thanksgiving holiday is gratitude. While it’s certainly good to have an annual holiday to remind us to express gratitude, there’s much to be said for the benefits of cultivating the spirit of thankfulness year-round.

People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. Scientists have even noted that gratitude is associated with improved health.

As noted in a previous article on this topic published in the Harvard Mental Health Letter,1 "expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better:"

"The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.

With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves.

As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

...People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude).

Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further."

Gratitude—It Does a Body Good

Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center once stated that: "If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system."2

One way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you're grateful for each day. In one study,3, 4 people who kept a gratitude journal reported exercising more, and they had fewer visits to the doctor compared to those who focused on sources of aggravation.

As noted in a previous ABC News article,5 studies have shown that gratitude can produce a number of measurable effects on a number of systems in your body, including:

Mood neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine)

Inflammatory and immune systems (cytokines)

Reproductive hormones (testosterone)

Stress hormones (cortisol)

Social bonding hormones (oxytocin)

Blood pressure and cardiac and EEG rhythms

Cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine)

Blood sugar

Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

Cultivating a sense of gratitude will help you refocus your attention toward what's good and right in your life, rather than dwelling on the negatives and all the things you may feel are lacking.

And, like a muscle, this mental state can be strengthened with practice. Besides keeping a daily gratitude journal, other ways to cultivate a sense of gratitude include:

  • Write thank you notes: Whether in response to a gift or kind act, or simply as a show of gratitude for someone being in your life, getting into the habit of writing thank-you letters can help you express gratitude in addition to simply feeling it inside.

  • Count your blessings: Once a week, reflect on events for which you are grateful, and write them down. As you do, feel the sensations of happiness and thankfulness you felt at the time it happened, going over it again in your mind.

  • Pray: Expressing thanks during your prayers is another way to cultivate gratitude.

  • Mindfulness meditation: Practicing "mindfulness" means that you're actively paying attention to the moment you're in right now. A mantra is sometimes used to help maintain focus, but you can also focus on something that you're grateful for, such as a pleasant smell, a cool breeze, or a lovely memory.

Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude

Three years ago, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California,6 in collaboration with the University of California, launched a project called "Cultivating Gratitude in a Consumerist Society." This $5.6 million project aims to:

  • Expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in the key areas of human health, personal and relational well-being, and developmental science;

  • Promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in medical, educational, and organizational settings and in schools, workplaces, homes and communities, and in so doing…

  • Engage the public in a larger cultural conversation about the role of gratitude in civil society.

In 2012, 14 winning research projects were announced, with topics covering everything from the neuroscience of gratitude, to the role of gratitude for the prevention of bullying. The organization has a number of resources you can peruse at your leisure, including The Science of Happiness blog and newsletter,7 and a Digital Gratitude Journal,8 where you can record and share the things you're grateful for. Scientists are also permitted to use the data to explore "causes, effects, and meaning of gratitude."

For example, previous research has shown that employees whose managers say "thank you" feel greater motivation at work, and work harder than peers who do not hear those "magic words." As noted in a previous Thanksgiving blog post in Mark's Daily Apple:9 "[R]esearch10 has shown that being on the receiving end of a person's gratitude can boost subjects' sense of self-worth and/or self-efficacy. It also appears to encourage participants to further help the person who offered the gratitude but also another, unrelated person in an unconscious 'pay it forward' kind of connection."

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Starting each day by thinking of all the things you have to be thankful for is one way to put your mind on the right track. Also, remember that your future depends largely on the thoughts you think today. So each moment of every day is an opportunity to turn your thinking around, thereby helping or hindering your ability to think and feel more positively in the very next moment.

Most experts agree that there are no shortcuts to happiness. Even generally happy people do not experience joy 24 hours a day. But a happy person can have a bad day and still find pleasure in the small things in life.

Be thankful for what you have. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, remember the 1,000 reasons you have to smile. Face your past without regret; prepare for the future without fear; focus on what's good right now, in the present moment, and practice gratitude. Remember to say "thank you"—to yourself, the Universe, and others. It's wonderful to see a person smile, and even more wonderful knowing that you are the reason behind it! And with that, I wish you all a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Natural Blaze

22 Powerful Uses of Frankincense Essential Oil

Friday, November 21, 2014

by Gaye Levy

When it comes to essential oils, I believe practical and anecdotal uses are those that can be relied upon to deliver the best results. And so it is with one of the most powerful and versatile oils available, Frankincense.

I do not say this lightly because, truth be told, I initially shunned Frankincense, or “Frank” as it is called, because I thought it both exotic and expensive. Slowly, though, I began to recognize its value especially when it comes to skin and wound care and its remarkable ability to relive inflammation and pain.

What is Frankincense?

Many know of Frankincense as one of the plant-derived treasures, along with myrrh, given to the newborn Jesus in the New Testament. Its use in a religious context goes beyond Christianity, however. According to the Hebrew Bible, Frankincense and Myrrh were components of the holy incense ritually burned in Jerusalem’s sacred temples during ancient times.

Frankincense is derived from the sap from a specific variety of trees in the genus Boswelia. Harvests are done at various times and the more opaque resins are considered to be the best quality.

22 Powerful Uses of Frankincense for Health, Wellness, and Healing

The following uses of Frankincense are based upon my own personal experience or on the experience and knowledge of trusted colleagues in the online community. In going through this list, I am sure that you will agree that Frankincense deserves its reputation as the “King of Oils”.

1. Heal wounds from cuts, scrapes, and burns. For even greater benefit, apply Lavender essential oil first then layer Frankincense on top. The combination of these two oils together is amazing when it comes to healing wounds.

2. Reduce and fade scars. Continue use after the wound has healed to reduce and fade scarring.

3. Relieve the symptoms of gout. Mixed 50/50 with a carrier oil, Frankincense has been known to relieve the painful symptoms of gout. I know this is true because during our recent vacation, my husband had a flare-up of gout, and after applying Frank and coconut oil 4 times daily, the pain was all but gone within three days.

4. Foster strong immune system. The antiseptic properties of Frankincense make it ideal for supporting a strong immune system. Massage a few drops into the balls of your feet every day. In addition, try diffusing it throughout your home and especially in the bedroom at night. This is especially good during cold and flu season.

5. Stress and anxiety management. Apply a drop at the temples to relieve stress and evoke a feeling of calmness. You can also rub a few drops mixed in a carrier oil on the back of the neck when you feel anxious. Something else you can do is simply inhale the aroma of the oil by rubbing a drop or two between the palms of your hands then bringing them up to your nose and taking a deep breath.

6. Mitigate depression and feelings of helplessness. Apply a few drops to the back of the neck and especially around the brain stem two or more times daily.

7. Anti-aging. None of us likes to look old. Dabbing Frankincense on fine lines and wrinkles will make them less noticeable. A 50/50 blend with a carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil) in a glass roller ball is recommended. You can also add a drop of Frank to your daily moisturizer.

8. Replacement for NSAIDS/Advil. Frankincense is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can be used to relieve conditions where pain and inflammation are present.

9. Colds and congestion. Put up to six drops in a sink or bowl filled with very hot water then bend over the sink with a towel draped over your head to contain the steam. Breathe in the vapors for at least five minutes, adding more hot water as needed. Be careful not to scald yourself; the water should be hot, not boiling.

10. Relieve itching. A single drop applied to the affected area will bring immediate relief.

11. Relieve arthritis pain and swelling. Mix with a carrier (such a plain salve or DIY healing salve) and rub into aching joints at night before bed and throughout the day.

12. Clear up cystic acne. Dab one drop on stubborn spots of cystic acne morning and night. According to my friend Wendy at Mom’s Essential Oils, this treatment cleared things up for her son in just two or three applications!

13. Relaxation. Add 5 or 6 drops to a diffuser and breathe in the oil to open the senses and create a calming atmosphere. Perfect for quiet meditation.

14. Remove moles, skin tags, and warts. Apply a single drop 3 or 4 times a day until gone. Note that if the mole is dark and ragged around the edges and/or growing quickly, see your healthcare professional for an assessment and possible treatment.

15. Reduce swelling from insect bites. A single drop dabbed on an insect bite will reduce the swelling and stop the itching.

16. Enhance vision. I have seen many references to “studies” that indicate that Frankincense will improve vision and possibly eliminate the need for reading glasses. I could not find a single study myself, however. That said, my personal experience tells me that Frank will indeed improve vision and if my latest test results are accurate, using Frankincense along my optical bone and under my eye has halted, for now, the progression of glaucoma. Please take care not to get any oil in the eye itself. In this case, less is more.

17. Remove musty odors. Place a couple of drops in a small dish of water and the room will take on a much fresher smell.

18. Restless leg syndrome. Apply 2 drops Frankincense with carrier oil to the bottom of each foot and massage each night to relieve restless leg syndrome.

19. Oral Health: Useful as preventative measure against oral health problems such as bad breath, toothaches, cavities, canker sores, and other infections. Try mixing with baking soda and coconut oil to make your own toothpaste.

20. Promote sleep and prevent insomnia. Diffuse Frankincense at bedtime to help you slow down your breathing and relieve nervous tension and anxiety.You will sleep like a baby!

21. Boost the healing power of homemade remedies and beauty products. JoAnn from God, Family, Country, Love adds a few drops of Frankincense to DIY salves, lip balms, and roller balls. It boosts the power of everything else! (More about that in #22 below.)

22. Enhance the efficacy of other essential oils. The best is saved for last. Layer Frankincense over other essential oil to enhance that oil’s properties and drive the oils deeper into the cells. This layering will deliver amazing results for those times when you need to kick it up a notch.

Essential Oils and You

Essential oils are adaptive, meaning they adapt to your unique body chemistry. What this means is that sometimes an oil will work for you right away and sometimes you have to be consistent and use it over a period of days to see results. And, in some cases, a particular oil may not work for you at all.

Finding the right combination of oil or oils may take some trial and error. In my own experience, I have found that the basics such as lavender, peppermint, oregano, lemon, melaleuca (tea tree) and rosemary work for me without fail, every time. Other, more complex blends may take a while but when they kick in, the carry a punch. And always, Frankincense seems to make every oil I use more effective sooner.


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

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
(Ephesians 5:2)