For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
(Romans 8:18)
Glory...Revealed In Us

***

CT

The First Country to Officially Defend Christians Persecuted by ISIS

Hungary has drawn criticism for favoring Christian over Muslim refugees from Syria and Iraq.

POSTED 9/16/2016 01:20PM

Parliament in Budapest Laurent Bartkowski / Flickr

This week, Hungary, which has during the past year come under pressure for its handling of Europe’s mass migration crisis, has become the first government to open an office specifically to address the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Europe.

“Today, Christianity has become the most persecuted religion, where out of five people killed [for] religious reasons, four of them are Christians,” Catholic News Agency (CNA) quoted Hungary’s Minister for Human Resources, Zoltan Balog, as saying. “In 81 countries around the world, Christians are persecuted, and 200 million Christians live in areas where they are discriminated against. Millions of Christian lives are threatened by followers of radical religious ideologies.”

[Editor’s note: Canada’s attempt at an office of international religious freedom, modeled on the American version, shut down after only three years.]

The move sets a precedent on the international stage. It comes after Hungary’s right-wing prime minister, Victor Orban, drew criticism in the EU by saying Europe should focus on helping Christians before helping millions of Muslims coming into Europe.

“If we really want to help, we should help where the real problem is. … We should first help the Christian people before Islamic people,” Orban said.

Orban’s government has campaigned against an EU plan to spread some of the burden of the influx of migrants and refugees by requiring member states to accept quotas. Orban has called for a referendum on October 2 at which voters are expected to back the government and reject any future quotas.

He said that Europe is divided between an “EU elite” and those, like him, who want to hold on to Europe’s Christian roots.

“The political war based on the topic of migration is a great opportunity for both parties,” Orban said. “[The elite] know that Muslims will never vote for a party with Christian roots, so with the huge volume of Muslims, the conservative parties will be crowded out of power. But this war is also a great opportunity for the supporters of the nation-states with Christian roots.”

Many of the 1.5 million refugees who have fled to Germany since the country announced its “open door” policy in 2015 traveled through “the Balkan route,” though Hungary has now erected a fence on its southern borders with Serbia and Croatia.

Hungary’s new office will have a starting budget of $3.35 million with which to help persecuted Christians, to raise international awareness of their “untenable situation,” and to coordinate humanitarian efforts, Balog said. (Canada’s office had $5 million.)

In Iraq, a Christian population estimated at more than a million before the 2003 war—and considerably more prior to that—today stands at less than 300,000. Many displaced from Iraq’s Nineveh Plains after the 2014 ISIS offensive currently seek a permanent home in the West.

In Syria, a similar situation has developed since the country’s civil war started five years ago. Other countries in the region have seen a hemorrhaging of indigenous Christianity with the resurgence of Islam as a political ideology since the last century.

Iraq ranks second and Syria is fifth on Open Doors’ 2016 World Watch List, a list of 50 countries where Christians come under the most pressure. Almost 40 of the 50 countries are majority Muslim or have Islamist non-state actors (e.g. militias) at work.

The Hungarian government will spend the coming weeks working out the exact duties of the new department, though it will have a primarily humanitarian focus, said Eduard von Habsburg, the Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See.

The decision to launch the new department came after Orban and Balog traveled to Rome in August to meet Pope Francis. Orban and Balog, respectively a Protestant layman and a Calvinist pastor, were the only non-Catholic members of the group whom Pope Francis received in a private audience in August.

Von Habsburg said that government officials’ interactions with leading European churchmen and with the patriarchs of the Middle East contributed to the decision to form the agency.

Part of the reason for going public with the initiative now is to set an example for other European nations.

"Somehow the idea of defending Christians has acquired a bad taste in Europe, as if it means excluding other people," von Habsburg said. The Hungarian initiative is intended to show it doesn’t have to be that way, Catholic news sources reported.

"Our interest not only lies in the Middle East but in forms of discrimination and persecution of Christians all over the world," Balog said. "It is therefore to be expected that we will keep a vigilant eye on the more subtle forms of persecutions within European borders."

( Forerunner of Revelation 12:6? “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”)

***

WND

WEARING CROSS 'UN-CHRISTIAN,' SAYS CHURCH OF SWEDEN OFFICIAL

Homosexuals should be low-key to avoid 'provoking' Muslims

Published: September 17, 2016

BOB UNRUH

Leaders of the Church of Sweden, the official government-endorsed religious body, say that wearing a cross necklace is “un-Christian.”

And God has a pro-immigration and open-borders philosophy.

By the way, they insist, homosexuals should be low-key so they don’t “provoke” Muslims.

The stunning positions taken by the Swedish church group were uncovered by Nima Gholam Ali Pour, who warns in a report for the Gatestone Institute International Policy Council that the nation is very close to having a “new religion.”

“In Swedish Christianity, Jesus has been reduced from being the son of God, to an activist fighting for multiculturalism and open borders. According to Archbishop Antje Jackelén of the Church of Sweden, Jesus has clear political positions on both migration and integration policies,” Pour wrote.

“The leadership of the Church of Sweden no longer wants to lead a Christian community; they want to lead a general ethical association for humanistic values,” Ann Heberlein, doctor of theology and lecturer at Lund University, said in the report.

“If Christianity in Sweden begins to embrace a doctrine that has nothing to do with the universal world religion of Christianity, Sweden has then invented a new religion,” Pour reasoned.

The report noted Stefan Sward, an influential pastor, wrote just 24 months ago, “When congregations in Sweden meet in diversity and integration and integrate Africans, Chinese and Latin Americans, they express the very essence of the Christian community’s being.”

The statement came before the massive influx of Syrian and North African immigrants developed over the last year, but that appears not to have changed anything.

A recent book to which Sward contributed contended “there should be no immigration restrictions at all and that rich countries have to open their borders simply because they are rich countries.”

That attitude is not strange in Swedish Christianity these days, Pour wrote.

“Antje Jackelen, the archbishop of Sweden’s largest denomination, the Church of Sweden, said in an interview from January 9, 2016, that Jesus would not approve of the Swedish government’s new restrictive migration policies,” the report said.

Regarding Islam, the message is clear, too.

“After the June 2016 terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, in which ISIS sympathizer Omar Mateen murdered 49 people at a gay nightclub, another influential Christian pastor in Sweden, Stanley Sjoberg, wrote on his Facebook page that homosexuals should be more low-key, not to provoke Muslims.”

Sjoberg noted the hundreds of thousands of Muslims that have come into Europe.

“We in Europe are forced to step back to show a little more considerate attitude to the environment,” he wrote.

The report continued: “After a French priest, Jacques Hamel, was murdered by ISIS sympathizers in Rouen, France, on July 26, 2016, an initiative started in Sweden where Swedish Christians took ‘selfies’ with a cross to show solidarity with persecuted Christians. The initiative, called ‘Mitt kors’ (‘My cross’), was started by three priests from the Church of Sweden. The Church of Sweden, however, criticized it. Gunnar Sjöberg, Head of Communications for the Church of Sweden, wrote on his Facebook page: ‘I really do not know about that. This thing about Christians suddenly wearing a cross as a sign for or against something. It is actually nothing new, but the call seems seditious and un-Christian in the conflicts that already exist.'”

Pour added, “So now, according to a senior official in the Church of Sweden, the call to wear a cross to show solidarity with persecuted Christians is ‘un-Christian.'”

One of the instigators of the campaign soon quit.

Johanna Andersson wrote: “Church leadership has for several weeks been running a campaign against us who started the group ‘My cross.’ In this campaign, I have been discredited, called ‘questionable,’ ‘unclean,’ ‘agitator,’ un-Christian’ and attributed xenophobic hidden agendas.”

It was Jackelen, Pour wrote, who was found to have co-authored an op-ed in a newspaper with four other Swedish religious leaders, “including Mahmoud Khalfi, chairman of the Swedish Imam Council, who has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Pour, who is a member of the board of education in Malmo and linked to several think tanks, continued: “This is the state of Swedish Christianity today, and it is not certain that Christians around the world would recognize the religion in Sweden called Christianity. Christian leaders in Sweden have taken Christianity and made it into a religion that serves the political agenda of an establishment whose extreme liberal ideology lacks popular support among the Swedish people.

“If the Swedish establishment wants multiculturalism, then Christian leaders will declare that God says multiculturalism is good. If the Swedish establishment wants a liberal immigration policy, Jesus says that he has always been for a liberal immigration policy, despite the fact that he was born more than 2,000 years ago. Swedish Christianity has become a mixture of madness and deception.”

Finally, a Church of Sweden magazine in Malmo recently stated, “The rainbow in the Pride Flag is also a sign of the promise between God and man.'”

“Really?” questioned Pour. “Not even the most radical gay activists believe that the rainbow in the gay pride flag is a sign of the promise between God and man. For many influential Christian leaders in Sweden, it does not matter what it says in the Bible anymore. In fact, if you take a step back and look at the overall picture, it is clear that many Christian leaders in Sweden do not worship God; they worship the romanticized, multicultural utopia they want Sweden to become.”

***

LifeNews.com

Obama Admin Says You’re “Racist and Intolerant” If You Believe in Religious Freedom

MICAIAH BILGER

SEP 20, 2016 | 3:48PM WASHINGTON, DC

The Obama Administration released a concerning new report this month with recommendations that would chip away at Americans’ religious liberty.

Widget Shortcode /Widget Shortcode Widget Shortcode /Widget Shortcode

The lengthy new report came from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Called “Peace Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties,” the report makes recommendations that it says would balance religious freedom with non-discrimination laws. However, the recommendations appear to be thinly veiled attempts to deny Americans’ their First Amendment right to religious freedom.

Commission Chairman Julian Castro wrote some very hostile words in his personal statement in the report:

“The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia or any form of intolerance. … today, as in past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality. In our nation’s past religion has been used to justify slavery and later, Jim Crow laws.”

The report recommended that law and policy makers tailor religious exceptions “as narrowly” as possible, citing the “undue burden” that these exceptions place on “non discrimination law and policies.”

Another recommendation states: “Federal legislation should be considered to clarify that RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] creates First Amendment Free Exercise Clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions and only to the extent that they do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights protections against status-based discrimination.”

The commission recommends that states with RFRA-style laws do the same.

But by doing so, Americans’ First Amendment religious freedoms could be severely limited. The recommendations could force family-owned businesses like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood and religious employers like the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their religious beliefs by paying for abortion-causing drugs and possibly even abortions in their employee health plans.

In the name of non-discrimination, these recommendations essentially would allow for discrimination against religious individuals and groups.

Religious leaders already are speaking out against the Obama Administration and the report’s hostile words toward religious people.

Catholic Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said he was “shocked” by the new report, CNS reports. He called Chairman Castro’s comments “reckless” and ignorant.

“He makes the shocking suggestion that Catholic, evangelical, orthodox Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim communities are comparable to fringe segregationists from the civil rights era,” the archbishop continued. “Can we imagine the civil rights movement without Rev. Martin Luther King, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel?”

Lori said such attacks on religious groups will hurt the poor and vulnerable, such as those helped by religious organizations across the country. Chairman Castro and his friends won’t be the ones to suffer, the archbishop said.

“The vast majority of those who speak up for religious liberty are merely asking for the freedom to serve others as our faith asks of us,” he continued. “We ask that the work of our institutions be carried out by people who believe in our mission and respect a Christian witness.”

The Federalist writer Nicholas Senz pointed out:

The First Amendment prohibits the government from establishing a religion. But when the federal government declares ideas that everyone held until five minutes ago, supported by reason and lived out with compassion, as de facto hateful and criminal (“first they came for the photographers and bakers…”), then the government is essentially creating a new public faith and forcing everyone to adhere to it.

… The current administration’s hostility toward Christianity is clear, and Christians must be prepared to face it.

***

***

BREAKINGISRAELNEWS

BIN EXCLUSIVE: Could Discovery of Lost “Urim and Tummim” Gem Provide Form of Divine Communication?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz September 14, 2016 , 12:30 pm

And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel.” Exodus 28:9 (The Israel Bible™)

Illustrative (Shutterstock)

Sometimes incredible stories are actually true, and in this case, experts agree that a small onyx stone, claimed to be given to a Knight Templar over 1,000 years ago and handed down through one family from generation to generation, is actually what the present owner claims: a gem from the breastplate of the High Priest in Jerusalem.

A Magical, Prophetic Stone?

The stones of the choshen mishpat, the High Priest’s breastplate, were referred to in the Bible as the urim v’tummim, a phrase that defies translation.

And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aharon’s heart Exodus 28:30

The Talmud (Yoma 73a) describes how questions were put to the breastplate, and the stones would light up to spell out the answer. The book of Samuel lists the urim v’tummim as one of the three forms of divine communication: dreams, prophets, and the urim v’tummim.

And when Shaul inquired of Hashem, Hashem answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. I Samuel 28:6

According to the Talmud (Yoma 21b), the grim v’tummim were lost when Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians. The Book of Ezra mentions that individuals who were unable to prove, after the Babylonian captivity had ended, that they were descended from the priesthood before the captivity began, were required to wait until priests in possession of urim v’tummim were discovered.

In addition to the 12 stones mounted on the breastplate were two sardonyx stones fixed in gold settings on the shoulders of the High Priest.

And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, to be stones of memorial for the children of Israel; and Aharon shall bear their names before Hashem upon his two shoulders for a memorial. Exodus 28:12

Experts believe this is one of those stones. If this is so, contained within it is the power of prophecy and it may play an important role in returning the Priestly Caste to serve in the Temple.

Discovery: Too Incredible to Believe

In 2000, Dr. James Strange, a noted professor in religious studies and archaeology, traveled to South Africa. An acquaintance suggested Dr. Strange contact a family she had met there and if he could, help them with a pro-bono appraisal of a gemstone. They were of humble means and Dr. Strange was a certified appraiser whose services were highly sought after.

Dr. Strange met with the family, intending to humor them. Instead, he was astounded by what they showed him. “I was indeed amazed at the gemstone,” Dr. Strange told Breaking Israel News. The stone itself was nothing special. A semi-precious sardonyx, it had little intrinsic worth.

But Dr. Strange was puzzled by the object he held in his hands. “I was unaware that anyone in the late Middle Ages had the technology to cut a hemisphere in such a medium, so I tried to exhaust all other explanations,” he said.

Even more astounding than the cut of the stone was the inexplicable inscription inside the stone, visible through the clear surface: two letters in ancient Hebrew. Dr. Stone wrote in his appraisal of the gem, “There is no modern or ancient technology known to me by which an artisan could produce the inscription, as it is not cut into the surface of the stone.”

Dr. Strange was an expert but when faced with such a mystery, he sought help. He turned to Ian Campbell, Director of the Independent Coloured Stones Laboratory in Johannesburg and a leading South African gemologist. Campbell was equally dumbfounded.

He studied the stone, trying to ascertain its origin. The owner’s story placing it on the High Priest’s breastplate were too incredible. But the family had documentation that traced its descent from a Crusader-period male ancestor who had been in the Holy Land in the Middle Ages and claimed the stone was a reward from the High Priest. Could it be true?

The Thousand-Year Story

According to the Auret family tradition, the ancestor, named Croiz Arneet deTarn Auret, received the stone from “the High Priest” in gratitude for his part in freeing Jerusalem around 1189. The custodianship of the stone was passed on in the Auret family through the male line until the nineteenth century. That tradition was broken when Abraham Auret passed away in 1889, bequeathing the stone to his daughter, Christina Elizabeth.

After her marriage to William James Hurst, the stone left the Auret name, and has been passed on from mother to daughter ever since. Meticulously recorded family trees and genealogical reports corroborate the story. The stone was passed on as an inheritance and is presently owned by an elderly woman in South Africa, who wishes to remain anonymous.

It has been strongly transmitted to each member of the family through the centuries that it was God’s hand that inserted the mysterious inscription inside the stone.

Experts Agree

The mystery of the writing remained. Dr. Strange noted that the stone had no external markings, so it clearly hadn’t been set in a ring or a necklace. He was forced to conclude that it had probably been set in a large plate or breastplate. He dated production of the stone to approximately the 5th century BCE.

As an appraiser, Dr. Strange could not erase all doubt, but he could certainly evaluate it as a one-of-a-kind. He appraised the stone’s value at $175-$225 million.

The sardonyx stone. in the papyrus casket in which it was carried (Courtesy of owner)

The gemologist, Mr. Campbell, photomicrographed (photographing via a microscope) the stone, confirming it had not been cut open to make the inscription. When asked to estimate the value of the stone, Mr. Campbell wrote, “How does one logically go about putting a value to something like a proven religious artifact that is a ‘one of’ article?”

He estimated that $200 million was a “fair starting point”.

The owner of the stone also consulted Professor M. Sharon from the University of Witwatersrand. The professor, an expert in ancient Hebrew, was given a photo of the stone. The blurry photographs hinted at something astounding but he had to be sure. Intrigued, he asked to examine the actual stone.

In his written report, he said that when he held it to the light, he was amazed to see very clearly inside the stone itself, two letters in ancient Hebrew. The letters seemed to be engraved or burnt into the heart of the stone.

“Due to the clarity of the letters and their fine definition it would be incredible if they are a coincidental natural formation in the stone,” he stated in his notarized report. “The lack of any apparent sign of interference with the surface makes the existence of the letters inside the stone a real enigma.”

He noted the inscriptions in ancient Hebrew script of what he described as “the equivalent of our ‘B’ and ‘K’.” He identified the style of script, dating it to be from the year 1000 BCE, give or take 200-300 years.

In 1994, Dr. Joan Goodnick Westenholz, who served as Chief Curator at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, examined the stone. She concluded, “It is a unique object that has no similar or identical counterpart; it is the only one of its kind in the world.”

Dr. Goodnick Westenholz believed that the gem was “priceless”, estimating the date of the stone’s production to be approximately the 7th century BCE. She noted the inscription “in the shape of a possible letter is a ninth century form of an archaic Hebrew letter bet.”

In her notarized report, she observed next to the letter bet “what can be perceived as the image of a wolf.” She noted that the wolf corresponded to the blessing Jacob gave Benjamin.

Binyamin is a wolf that raveneth; in the morning he devoureth the prey, and at even he divideth the spoil. Genesis 49:27

But Is It True?

Dr. Westenholz and Ian Campbell have since passed away, but Breaking Israel News was able to confirm that their statements and documentation were genuine. Campbell’s apprentice, Jeremy Rothon, confirmed the original appraisal and told Breaking Israel News that he was well aware of the stone’s heritage. It had made an enormous impression on Campbell and he had discussed it at length with his student.

Dr. Strange remembers the stone very well, and is more convinced than ever of its authenticity. “A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then,” Dr. Strange told Breaking Israel News. “I calculated then that if it were a fraud, then one or more very similar others would show up on the international market rather soon, but to my knowledge none has.”

He called for new examination of the gem. “I think this object needs a new appraisal and as many scientific tests as possible to determine whether it is genuine,” said Dr. Strange. “If it turns out to be an artifact important to the history of the Jewish people, then that is truly wonderful. If it turns out to be a masterful fraud, then I will be pained that I was duped.”

The Journey Home

The present owner has contracted with a South African businessman to find investors who are willing to purchase the stone and bring it home to Israel. Both parties prefer to remain anonymous. When he saw the stone and understood what it was, the businessman was dismayed, understanding that it could easily turn into a commodity, an object of greed. He recognized that this small stone was an enormous part of Jewish history and set out to find an investor who would recompense the owner with the intention of bringing it to Israel and donating it to the Temple.

“I’ve been involved with deals like this before,” he told Breaking Israel News. “There are pieces of Egyptian heritage in museums all over the world. People find something and sell it, without thinking about what it is. That is what is done and it is a shame, even more so with this stone. Several people have been trying to buy or sell this stone, turning it into a business. All I really wanted to do was get the stone back to Israel where it belongs.”

Many people have begun to discount the Jewish connection to Israel and the Temple Mount, claiming the Jewish Temples are fairytale accounts. This small stone and its miraculous engraving that once lit up the High Priest’s breastplate are proof that the Temple stood in Jerusalem, and may signal the return of more artifacts that have been misplaced, waiting to return home.

***

RT

Israel anticipates 230,000 incoming missiles during next war

Published time: 16 Sep, 2016 03:26

Edited time: 16 Sep, 2016 23:22

P>A nationwide emergency drill has been announced in Israel, with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) preparing to repel a volley of some 230,000 missiles. The Home Front Command will also test several other scenarios in preparation for a hypothetical war.

The Home Front Command disclosed scenarios that would be tested through next week’s nationwide drill. These scenarios include a full scale war with a simultaneous attack on several fronts, namely the Syrian Golan Heights, Gaza and Lebanon. The main goal of the drill was to ensure basic services could be kept running under fire and honing the cooperation between various military and civil institutes. However, preparations do not reflect an assessment that such conflict is imminent.

The Israeli military expects a possible 230,000 incoming ‘rockets’, more than a half of them most likely from an arsenal in the possession of Hezbollah. Some 95 percent of the projectiles are expected to be short-range (40-45 km) Grad missiles of various modifications and mortar shells. Such munitions are equipped with around 10 kg of explosives. The remaining 5 percent of the projectiles are expected to be long-range.

The Israeli military expects only 1 percent of incoming projectiles to hit buildings directly. The scenario includes a situation in which Israel suffers up to 400 casualties, though it’s unclear whether they would be civilians or military personnel.

According to the assessment, Hezbollah can fire up to 1,500 projectiles daily. The large majority of those are expected to hit open areas. Northern parts of the country would fall under heavy shelling, altthough dozens of long-range projectiles could hit central regions daily.

The Home Front Command’s preparations take into account the fact that Hezbollah is obtaining more and more precision-guided rockets, and hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles in possession of possible opponents are also being taken into account. They are expected to be countered by the Israel Air force.

The Israel military has recently revised its rocket alert system. The number of areas, which can receive an alert has been increased from 265 to 3,000, greatly improving the system’s accuracy. Smaller areas affected by an alert have reduced response time from one minute to 30 seconds, and the number of civilians alerted by two thirds.

The worst case scenario involves a widespread evacuation of population from northern parts of the country. In such case 750,000 people would be relocated to other communities. The state would be able to house roughly 95,000 of them.

A recent surge in hostilities between Israel and neighboring countries provides a solid background for such drill. Multiple “retaliation fire” incidents have been reported during past few weeks. Some progress, however, is seen in a peaceful settlement process, with Israel and Palestine expressing willingness to resume peace talks.

***

LifeNews.com

Child Euthanasia Center in Netherlands Expected to Open Soon Allowing Doctors to Euthanize Children

SEP 20, 2016 | 1:22PM AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Professor Eduard Verhagen, who is responsible for the Groningen protocol for the euthanasia of infants, has predicted that a centre for the euthanasia of children will open within a year in the Netherlands.

Widget Shortcode /Widget Shortcode Widget Shortcode /Widget Shortcode

Under current Dutch legislation, euthanasia is legal for infants up to a year old, and for children over the age of twelve.

However, according to Professor Verhagen, who the Dutch newspaper AD calls “the authority in the field of child euthanasia”, doctors are already investigating the practice of euthanasia for children between the ages of one and twelve. “We think that some children under the age of twelve are well able to make such important decisions,” he said.

Follow LifeNews.com on Instagram for pro-life pictures and the latest pro-life news.

Prof Verhagen also added that the Netherlands is keeping a close eye on developments in Belgium, which recently reported the first case of euthanasia on a minor.

“Overwhelming majority” of Danes in favour of euthanasia

The recent conviction of a 78-year-old Danish man, who assisted the suicide of his paralysed 71-year old wife, has fuelled debate on euthanasia in Denmark.

Last week, Mogens Arlund was convicted of assisted suicide and given a 50 day jail sentence after giving his wife Vibeke Arlund a lethal dose of twenty sleeping pills. In an ensuing opinion poll carried out by television channel TV2, 79% of respondents said that Danish law should allow “active death-help” as an option.

However, Gorm Greisen, the chairman of Denmark’s Ethical Council, which has rejected euthanasia on a number of occasions, said that it would be ethically wrong to institutionalise “active death-help”. Mr Greisen has argued that popular acceptance of euthanasia could go wrong, citing Nazi Germany, where people considered “unworthy of living” were put to death. The Danish government is said to back the Ethical Council, and to be firmly against legalising euthanasia.

LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organziation in the United Kingdom.

(“And they built to Baal the altars that are in the valley of the son of Ennom, to offer their sons and their daughters to king Moloch; which things I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Juda to sin.” Jeremiah 39:35 Septuagint- Jeremiah 32:35 KJV)

***

The Unz Review

Assad’s Death Warrant

MIKE WHITNEY

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

“Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.”

— Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria, Politico

The conflict in Syria is not a war in the conventional sense of the word. It is a regime change operation, just like Libya and Iraq were regime change operations.

The main driver of the conflict is the country that’s toppled more than 50 sovereign governments since the end of World War 2. We’re talking about the United States of course.

Washington is the hands-down regime change champion, no one else even comes close. That being the case, one might assume that the American people would notice the pattern of intervention, see through the propaganda and assign blame accordingly. But that never seems to happen and it probably won’t happen here either. No matter how compelling the evidence may be, the brainwashed American people always believe their government is doing the right thing.

But the United States is not doing the right thing in Syria. Arming, training and funding Islamic extremists — that have killed half a million people, displaced 7 million more and turned the country into an uninhabitable wastelands –is not the right thing. It is the wrong thing, the immoral thing. And the US is involved in this conflict for all the wrong reasons, the foremost of which is gas. The US wants to install a puppet regime in Damascus so it can secure pipeline corridors in the East, oversee the transport of vital energy reserves from Qatar to the EU, and make sure that those reserves continue to be denominated in US Dollars that are recycled into US Treasuries and US financial assets. This is the basic recipe for maintaining US dominance in the Middle East and for extending America’s imperial grip on global power into the future.

The war in Syria did not begin when the government of Bashar al Assad cracked down on protestors in the spring of 2011. That version of events is obfuscating hogwash. The war began in 2000, when Assad rejected a Qatari plan to transport gas from Qatar to the EU via Syria. As Robert F Kennedy Jr. explains in his excellent article “Syria: Another pipeline War”:

“The $10 billion, 1,500km pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey….would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey… The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would have given the Sunni Kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. ….

In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria “to protect the interests of our Russian ally….

Assad further enraged the Gulf’s Sunni monarchs by endorsing a Russian approved “Islamic pipeline” running from Iran’s side of the gas field through Syria and to the ports of Lebanon. The Islamic pipeline would make Shia Iran instead of Sunni Qatar, the principal supplier to the European energy market and dramatically increase Tehran’s influence in the Mid-East and the world…”

Naturally, the Saudis, Qataris, Turks and Americans were furious at Assad, but what could they do? How could they prevent him from choosing his own business partners and using his own sovereign territory to transport gas to market?

What they could do is what any good Mafia Don would do; break a few legs and steal whatever he wanted. In this particular situation, Washington and its scheming allies decided to launch a clandestine proxy-war against Damascus, kill or depose Assad, and make damn sure the western oil giants nabbed the future pipeline contracts and controlled the flow of energy to Europe. That was the plan at least. Here’s more from Kennedy:

“Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.

Repeat: “the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline”, he signed his own death warrant. That single act was the catalyst for the US aggression that transformed a bustling, five thousand-year old civilization into a desolate Falluja-like moonscape overflowing with homicidal fanatics that were recruited, groomed and deployed by the various allied intelligence agencies.

But what’s particularly interesting about this story is that the US attempted a nearly-identical plan 60 years earlier during the Eisenhower administration. Here’s another clip from the Kennedy piece:

“During the 1950′s, President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers … mounted a clandestine war against Arab Nationalism — which CIA Director Allan Dulles equated with communism — particularly when Arab self-rule threatened oil concessions. They pumped secret American military aid to tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon favoring puppets with conservative Jihadist ideologies which they regarded as a reliable antidote to Soviet Marxism….

The CIA began its active meddling in Syria in 1949 — barely a year after the agency’s creation…. Syria’s democratically elected president, Shukri-al-Kuwaiti, hesitated to approve the Trans Arabian Pipeline, an American project intended to connect the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the ports of Lebanon via Syria. (so)… the CIA engineered a coup, replacing al-Kuwaiti with the CIA’s handpicked dictator, a convicted swindler named Husni al-Za’im. Al-Za’im barely had time to dissolve parliament and approve the American pipeline before his countrymen deposed him, 14 weeks into his regime…..

(CIA agent Rocky) Stone arrived in Damascus in April 1956 with $3 million in Syrian pounds to arm and incite Islamic militants and to bribe Syrian military officers and politicians to overthrow al-Kuwaiti’s democratically elected secularist regime….

But all that CIA money failed to corrupt the Syrian military officers. The soldiers reported the CIA’s bribery attempts to the Ba’athist regime. In response, the Syrian army invaded the American Embassy taking Stone prisoner. Following harsh interrogation, Stone made a televised confession to his roles in the Iranian coup and the CIA’s aborted attempt to overthrow Syria’s legitimate government….(Then) Syria purged all politicians sympathetic to the U.S. and executed them for treason.” (Politico)

See how history is repeating itself? It’s like the CIA was too lazy to even write a new script, they just dusted off the old one and hired new actors.

Fortunately, Assad –with the help of Iran, Hezbollah and the Russian Airforce– has fended off the effort to oust him and install a US-stooge. This should not be taken as a ringing endorsement of Assad as a leader, but of the principal that global security depends on basic protections of national sovereignty, and that the cornerstone of international law has to be a rejection of unprovoked aggression whether the hostilities are executed by one’s own military or by armed proxies that are used to achieve the same strategic objectives while invoking plausible deniability. The fact is, there is no difference between Bush’s invasion of Iraq and Obama’s invasion of Syria. The moral, ethical and legal issues are the same, the only difference is that Obama has been more successful in confusing the American people about what is really going on.

And what’s going on is regime change: “Assad must go”. That’s been the administration’s mantra from the get go. Obama and Co are trying to overthrow a democratically-elected secular regime that refuses to bow to Washington’s demands to provide access to pipeline corridors that will further strengthen US dominance in the region. That’s what’s really going on behind the ISIS distraction and the “Assad is a brutal dictator” distraction and the “war-weary civilians in Aleppo” distraction. Washington doesn’t care about any of those things. What Washington cares about is oil, power and money. How can anyone be confused about that by now? Kennedy summed it up like this:

“We must recognize the Syrian conflict is a war over control of resources indistinguishable from the myriad clandestine and undeclared oil wars we have been fighting in the Mid-East for 65 years. And only when we see this conflict as a proxy war over a pipeline do events become comprehensible.”

That says it all, don’t you think?

***

FARS NEWS AGENCY (If this report is true it could cause a major escalation in the war-ravaged country.)

30 Israeli, Foreign Intelligence Officers Killed in Russia's Caliber Missile Attack in Aleppo

Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:12

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian warships stationed in Syria's coastal waters targeted and destroyed a foreign military operations room, killing over two dozen Israeli and western intelligence officers.

"The Russian warships fired three Caliber missiles at the foreign officers' coordination operations room in Dar Ezza region in the Western part of Aleppo near Sam'an mountain, killing 30 Israeli and western officers," the Arabic-language service of Russia's Sputnik news agency quoted battlefield source in Aleppo as saying on Wednesday.

The operations room was located in the Western part of Aleppo province in the middle of sky-high Sam'an mountain and old caves. The region is deep into a chain of mountains.

Several US, Turkish, Saudi, Qatari and British officers were also killed along with the Israeli officers. The foreign officers who were killed in the Aleppo operations room were directing the terrorists' attacks in Aleppo and Idlib.

Earlier in September, the Syrian army units launched a preemptive strike on the terrorists of the so-called Aleppo Operations Room in their gathering centers near Castello road in the Northern areas of Aleppo and Mallah farms, foiling their plots to attack the region's supply route, a source said.

The source said that the army's artillery units attacked the terrorists' gathering centers near Castello and Mallah farms in Zahra Abdo Rabbah, Kafar Hamra and Hurayatyn which killed and wounded dozens of militants.

Also, the Syrian air force attacked the terrorists' supply route in Northern Aleppo towards Hayyan and Adnan as well as the supply roads in Western Aleppo towards the North and smashed the terrorists' convoys in al-Aratab, Urom Kobra and Ma'ara al-Artiq which thwarted the terrorists' plots and forced many of them flee towards the Turkish borders.

Informed media sources disclosed earlier that the Syrian army has continued its advances in the Southern part of Aleppo, and regained control over several strategic areas in the town of Khan Touman.

"A number of key warehouses of Khan Touman are now under the Syrian army's control," the Arabic-language media quoted an unnamed informed source as saying.

The source noted that the Syrian air force and army's artillery units also targeted the gathering centers and fortifications of the terrorists in Khan Touman.

***

Canada Free Press

The White House is defending ISIS. Now there can be no doubts about that.” - Maria Zakharova for the Russian Defense Ministry

Death Race Damascus Update – On the Precipice of WW III

By Doug Hagmann

September 18, 2016

As the clock runs down on the Obama “presidency” and as the Clinton candidacy is becoming more fragile by the day, the information I received from two intelligence sources in 2012 is being validated. We are on the precipice of a World War that will begin in Syria and pit the U.S. against Russia, fueled by Barack Hussein Obama’s policy of arming, aiding and supplying Muslim terrorists throughout the region, and specifically in Syria.

It is being reported today that the U.S. bombed Syrian troops inside Syria, killing 62 troops. This is a dangerous and overt escalation of the war that has been boiling beneath the surface for the last six years. Additionally, Russia has made it clear that they will blame the U.S. should the fragile truce that exists within Syria collapse.

I warned about this in my 2012 column Death Race Damascus – 13 Days in October. In that report, I postulated that World War III will begin in Syria and not in Iraq, Afghanistan or even Iran. I wrote that US forces are waging a proxy war against Russia on behalf of Saudi Arabia, which provided the context for not just historical moments such as Benghazi, but can explain and define the entire Obama “presidency.”

Now with just a few months remaining for Obama to complete his objectives and under the threat of a complete reversal of foreign policy should Hillary Clinton become sidelined, it appears that a deliberate escalation inside Syria is in progress.

In response to the U.S. led air strikes inside Syria, Maria Zakharova, speaking for the Russian Defense Ministry on the Rossiya-24 TV station, said that the air strikes jeopardized a Russian-US agreement on Syria. What was also stated confirmed, at least in part, the information of my 2012 report:

“We are reaching a really terrifying conclusion for the whole world: That the White House is defending ISIS. Now there can be no doubts about that,” the RIA Novosti news agency cited Zakharova as telling.

From my 2012 report:

The status of relations is now being changed by external influences, namely the United States via the Obama-Muslim Brotherhood alliance and Saudi Arabia. Today, the Syrian Ambassador to Tehran stated that Turkey, in collusion with others, is attempting to revive the Ottoman Empire.

It is for this reason that Russia has upwards of 100,000 “advisers” in Syria. Despite their presence and warnings from Russia, we have been actively arming the anti-Assad rebels so that the Assad regime can be overthrown and replaced by a government sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Putin has directly and indirectly warned Obama not to meddle in Syria or risk direct conflict with Russia. Despite such warnings, Obama has continued his foreign policy of using al Qaeda backed rebels, supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, to install leaders affiliated with the Saudi-backed Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. Why would Obama place billions of people in jeopardy in a world war by his attempts to reshape the Middle East? What is pushing this agenda?

Despite the claims of many right-wing politicians and conservative media pundits, it is not a failure of foreign policy, but because of the Obama foreign policy that we find ourselves at the precipice of World War III. More importantly, though, the Obama administration and his spokespeople are deliberately misrepresenting the events that occurred in Libya to cover-up a clandestine operation that encompasses the entirety of the so-called Arab Spring. Libya is the Obama CIA’s weapons hub for the region. It is where the weapons are being collected and shipped for use in Syria, to topple the Assad regime.

Unlike the more palatable and readily acceptable goals of the government backed operations a half-century ago (i.e. fighting the expansion of communism), the goals of this administration reveal something entirely different. It is through this prism of understanding that all of the most recent historically significant events begin to make sense. Could answers to such basic questions concerning the background and meteoric rise of Obama, his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, his deep bow to the Saudi King be found in Benghazi? Might this covert agenda, if exposed, reveal that we are actually engaged in a proxy war with Russia on behalf of Saudi Arabia?

It’s been nearly four years since I wrote that column, and the anticipated transition of power from Barack Hussein Obama to Hillary Clinton appears to be in jeopardy. Considering such high stakes that this election holds for the United States domestically as well as abroad, is it possible that this escalation is serving an even greater purpose?

***

***

WND

SYRIANS SAY FATAL STRIKE BY U.S. JETS DELIBERATE

'The raid was deliberate. Everything was premeditated'

Published: September 20, 2016

BOB UNRUHSyrian fighters

An air strike made up of coalition of nations but led by the U.S. that reportedly killed dozens of Syrian soldiers over the weekend has prompted a number of moves, including an emergency meeting of the U.S. Security Council.

The incident, according to reports, has threatened the ceasefire that had been in place and the U.S. military immediately halted attacks on what it believed were Islamic State locations in Syria after Russia told the U.S. Syrian individuals may had been hit.

On Monday, however, a report from the Middle East Media Research Institute documented that Syrians were accusing the U.S. of intentionally hitting the soldiers.

The claims came from several sources, including statements from President Bashar Al-Assad’s political and media adviser Buthaina Sha’ban, who said in a report from the French News agency AFP, “The raid was deliberate. Everything was premeditated. ISIS knew about it, and when it advanced the raids stopped.”

But the allegation was most prominent in the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, where columnist Khaled Al-Ashhab said U.S. forces possessed technological means to prevent such events.

He wrote, “Why do people condemn the American airstrike and why are they surprised by it? After all, the U.S. has been bombing the Arab Syrian army for over five years by means of others [i.e., Assad’s enemies in Syria]. The only difference is that, this time, the finger that pulled the trigger was strictly American. This time, just like in over 100 occasions in the past, its planes ‘made a mistake.’ Instead of airdropping weapons and food to ISIS, they dropped bombs on the Syrian army. It’s the same thing.”

He continued, “So it was just a mistake, the U.S. army claimed yesterday. An accident. Would the terrorist global aggression be targeting Syria for the past five years had the U.S. not deliberately pushed it towards Syria, from the north and the south?

“Where would ISIS, Jabhat Al-Nusra and their ilk acquire all these weapons, had America not made occasional ‘mistakes’ when ferrying [weapons] across the border or dropping them from the sky? It’s quite amazing that America’s coordinate[-system] technology could not identify ISIS’s convoys, only the units of the Arab Syrian army.”

He charged, “This [claim] is ridiculous, of course, just [like the claim] that the U.S. was unable to distinguish between the terrorists and the ‘moderates,’ on the grounds that their [troops] intermingled. Does the Syrian army mix with ISIS, so that even the Americans are unable to understand what is happening? Or have the achievements of the [Syrian] army exposed that the Americans are mixing with ISIS?”

The attack developed on Saturday, and Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters via email that Russians had not expressed any concern when told that coalition attackers would be in the strike area.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said, “Russia really needs to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters, which is implementation of something we negotiated in good faith with them.”

She said an investigation was begun but it was not the intent of the U.S. to hit Syrians.

Reports suggested the U.S. attack killed more than 60 Syrian soldiers.

Australia also participated in the strikes, reports said.

***

SPUTNIK

United Russia Wins Parliamentary Poll With 54.28% After 93% Ballots Counted

10:54 19.09.2016(updated 10:55 19.09.2016)

The United Russia governing party gained 54.28 percent of the votes after 93.1 percent of the votes have been counted, Central Election Commission chair Ella Pamfilova said Monday. MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The chair noted that the preliminary result indicates United Russia gains 140 mandates in accordance with party lists. Second-place Communist Party gained 13.45 percent of the votes, or 35 seats, while Liberal Democrats gained 34 seats, followed by 16 seats for A Just Russia. "I would like to point out that 7 percent of the protocols have not been counted, there may be some changes. But at this time United Russia has 203 mandates in single constituencies, the Communist Party — seven, A Just Russia — seven, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia — five, Rodina — one, Civic Platform – one, and one self-nominated. A total of 225 mandates," Pamfilova told reporters.

In total, the governing party gains 343 seats in the State Duma, with 42 seats for the Communist Party, 39 for the Liberal Democrats and 23 for A Just Russia — all four parties that gain entry into the seventh convocation of the lower house. Turnout at the elections, described by Pamfilova as "much higher in transparency than the previous campaigns" and observed by 264,000 people, was estimated at 47.81 percent.

***

MailOnline

Merkel wishes she could 'turn back time' over refugees as her party makes historic losses in Berlin state elections with mayor warning of 'resurgence of Nazis in Germany'

  • Support for the CDU in Berlin has slumped to its lowest level since 1990

  • Many voters turned to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD)

  • Far-right party won 13 per cent of vote and will enter capital's parliament

  • Mayor had warned a double digit score would be seen as return of 'Nazis'

By RORY TINGLE FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 19:22, 18 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:16, 19 September 2016

Angela Merkel's party has made historic losses in elections for the Berlin state parliament after a mayor warned of a resurgence of Nazis in Germany.

Many voters turned to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which with 13 per cent of the vote will enter the German capital's assembly for the first time, according to initial projections.

Before the election, mayor Michael Müller had warned that a double-digit total for the AfD would' be seen around the world as a sign of the return of the rightwing and the Nazis in Germany'.

Mrs Merkel's Christian Democratic Union polled at 18 per cent - a drop of 5 points.

The centre-left Social Democrats (SPU) dropped 6 per cent to 22, but remain the largest party, and are expected to ditch the CDU from their current coalition.

It comes as Mrs Merkel admitted she wished she could 'turn back time' to prepare herself over the refugee crisis that unfolded in 2015.

On Saturday Merkel announced plans to jettison her 'we can do this' mantra about accommodating refugees as her poll ratings continued to slump.

'It's become a simple slogan, an almost meaningless formula,' she told a German newspaper, adding: 'Some feel provoked by the expression which of course was not the idea.'

The vote comes two weeks after the CDU was beaten into third place in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania by the anti-immigrant AfD.

A year before a national election, the result in Berlin is set to raise pressure on Merkel and deepen rifts in her conservative camp, with more sniping expected from her Christian Social Union (CSU) allies in Bavaria.

The CSU's finance minister Markus Soeder was quick to call it the 'second massive wake-up call' in two weeks.

'A long-term and massive loss in trust among traditional voters threatens the conservative bloc,' he told Bild.

He called on the Chancellor's right-left national coalition to win back support by changing course on its immigration policy.

In particular, they want a cap of 200,000 refugees per year, which Merkel rejects.

The secretary general of Merkel's CDU, Peter Tauber, partly blamed the CSU for the losses in Berlin, which only 27 years ago was the front line of the Cold War.

'If there is a dispute within the conservative bloc, it doesn't help us on the ground - especially if this dispute is carried out in the way it is being done from Munich,' he said.

A backlash against her migrant policy has raised questions about whether Merkel, Europe's most powerful leader, will stand for a fourth term next year.

Given a dearth of options in her party, however, she is still the most likely candidate.

Today, she pledged that there would be no repeat of last year's 'chaotic' border opening to refugees, after the latest stinging defeat for her party.

Even as she defended the 'political and ethical' decision to let in one million asylum seekers in 2015 in the face of a potential humanitarian catastrophe, Merkel reached out to critics.

'If I could, I would turn back time many, many years to better prepare myself, the federal government and all those in positions of responsibility for the situation we were rather unprepared for in the late summer of 2015,' Merkel said.

In an unusually frank opening statement, Merkel said the errors of the past included a long-standing refusal to accept Germany's transformation into a multicultural society.

'We weren't exactly the world champions in integration before the refugee influx,' she wryly admitted, noting that the infrastructure for getting newcomers into language and job training had to be ramped up overnight.

Merkel acknowledged that her 'We can do it' rallying cry during the refugee crisis had become a provocation to many who felt it expressed a glibness about the challenges ahead and said she would now refrain from using it.

But she continued to resist calls from within her conservative bloc to set a formal upper limit for the number of asylum seekers admitted to Germany.

And she struck an optimistic note about the ability of Europe's top economic power to eventually integrate tens of thousands of refugees who will remain in Germany, including many from war-ravaged Syria.

'I am absolutely certain that we will emerge from this admittedly complicated phase better than we went into it,' she said.

Mrs Merkel has defended her immigration policy against her critics.

She said at a rally on Wednesday: 'It is not enough ... to know who is to blame, it is not enough just to know what you're against.

'We need good solutions that hold our society together.'

The AfD, founded in 2013 as an anti-euro party, currently polls nationally at between 11 and 14 per cent.

It has in the last year played to voters' fears about the integration of the roughly one million migrants who entered Germany last year.

'From zero to double digits, that's unique for Berlin. The grand coalition has been voted out - not yet at the national level, but that will happen next year,' said AfD candidate Georg Pazderski to cheering supporters after the results.

Commentators said the result indicated that the party looked poised to enter the lower house of parliament in 2017.

'With the Berlin result, the AfD has consolidated its position and shown it can appeal to voters across the board,' said Thomas Jaeger, political scientist at Cologne University.

***

Fellowship of the Minds

Someone is learning & practicing how to take down the Internet

Posted on September 18, 2016 by Dr. Eowyn

Below is Bruce Schneider’s blog post of Sept. 13, 2016, “Someone is Learning How to Take Down the Internet“:

Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.

First, a little background. If you want to take a network off the Internet, the easiest way to do it is with a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS). Like the name says, this is an attack designed to prevent legitimate users from getting to the site. There are subtleties, but basically it means blasting so much data at the site that it’s overwhelmed. These attacks are not new: hackers do this to sites they don’t like, and criminals have done it as a method of extortion. There is an entire industry, with an arsenal of technologies, devoted to DDoS defense. But largely it’s a matter of bandwidth. If the attacker has a bigger fire hose of data than the defender has, the attacker wins.

Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them. Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they’re used to seeing. They last longer. They’re more sophisticated. And they look like probing. One week, the attack would start at a particular level of attack and slowly ramp up before stopping. The next week, it would start at that higher point and continue. And so on, along those lines, as if the attacker were looking for the exact point of failure.

The attacks are also configured in such a way as to see what the company’s total defenses are. There are many different ways to launch a DDoS attack. The more attack vectors you employ simultaneously, the more different defenses the defender has to counter with. These companies are seeing more attacks using three or four different vectors. This means that the companies have to use everything they’ve got to defend themselves. They can’t hold anything back. They’re forced to demonstrate their defense capabilities for the attacker.

I am unable to give details, because these companies spoke with me under condition of anonymity. But this all is consistent with what Verisign is reporting. Verisign is the registrar for many popular top-level Internet domains, like .com and .net. If it goes down, there’s a global blackout of all websites and e-mail addresses in the most common top-level domains. Every quarter, Verisign publishes a DDoS trends report. While its publication doesn’t have the level of detail I heard from the companies I spoke with, the trends are the same: “in Q2 2016, attacks continued to become more frequent, persistent, and complex.”

There’s more. One company told me about a variety of probing attacks in addition to the DDoS attacks: testing the ability to manipulate Internet addresses and routes, seeing how long it takes the defenders to respond, and so on. Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services.

Who would do this? It doesn’t seem like something an activist, criminal, or researcher would do. Profiling core infrastructure is common practice in espionage and intelligence gathering. It’s not normal for companies to do that. Furthermore, the size and scale of these probes — and especially their persistence — points to state actors. It feels like a nation’s military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar. It reminds me of the US’s Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.

What can we do about this? Nothing, really. We don’t know where the attacks come from. The data I see suggests China, an assessment shared by the people I spoke with. On the other hand, it’s possible to disguise the country of origin for these sorts of attacks. The NSA, which has more surveillance in the Internet backbone than everyone else combined, probably has a better idea, but unless the US decides to make an international incident over this, we won’t see any attribution.

But this is happening. And people should know.

A reader of Schneider’s blog-post, Random Guy 17, wrote this interesting comment:

An attack on a service is best done by an attacker that doesn’t need that service. You don’t pull the plug on the power company that supplies your own home/business.

With that in mind, a closed, not highly Internet enabled country makes the most sense- like China.”

Other commenters warn that it may be the U.S. government, e.g., the NSA, doing the attacks — to find the Internet’s weaknesses (in order to better defend it), or more malevolently, as bargaining chip for more money allocated to cyber-security.

It doesn’t help that in two weeks, on October 1, control of the Internet — specifically, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — will pass from U.S. administration to a multilateral body, most likely the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU). (Breitbart)

H/t ZeroHedge and FOTM’s Will Shanley

***

***

RT

Cover your webcams, says FBI chief

Published time: 15 Sep, 2016 15:59

Edited time: 16 Sep, 2016 23:15

Taping over or otherwise covering up your computer’s web camera is a “sensible” thing that everyone should do, according to FBI Director James Comey. US spy agencies have had the ability to hack into webcams for years, according to whistleblowers.

Giving a keynote address at a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the National Security Division at the US Department of Justice, Comey sat down with Assistant Attorney General John Carlin and discussed things such as webcam security and Twitter. The event was hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington, DC think tank.

Do you still have a piece of tape over your cameras at home?” Carlin asked.

Heck yeah, oh, heck yeah,” Comey replied.

It's not crazy that the FBI director cares about personal security as well, and so I think people ought to take responsibility for their own safety and security,” Comey continued. “There are some sensible things you ought to be doing, and that’s one of them.”

The practice is apparently widespread at US government offices, according to the FBI chief.

You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen. They all have a little lid that closes down on them. You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing,” Comey explained.

While the FBI director admitted he was “mocked” after bringing up the tape trick in April this year – in part because he was involved in a heated dispute with Apple over access to the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone at the time – it appears many have taken his advice to heart. A photo of Facebook tycoon Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year showed his office laptop with a piece of tape covering the webcam.

***

THE SCOTSMAN

Most convincing picture of the Loch Ness monster ever taken? Is this Nessie?

Pic: Contributed

Friday 16 September 2016

A whisky warehouse worker has taken a picture of what could be one of the most convincing Loch Ness Monster sightings to date. Amateur photographer Ian Bremner, 58, was driving around the Highlands in search of red deer - but stumbled instead across the remarkable sight of what appears to be Nessie swimming in the calm waters of Loch Ness. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Nessie in the loch.

Ian Bremner The dad-of-four spends most of his weekends in the region taking photographs of the stunning natural beauty. But it was not until he got back to his home in Nigg, Invergordon, that he noticed three humps emerging from the water which he thinks could be the elusive monster. The picture shows a two-metre long silver creature swimming away from the lens with its head bobbing away and a tail flapping a metre away, preparing to swim further on.

The apparent creature was spotted coming up for air close to the banks of the loch on Saturday afternoon midway between the villages of Dores and Inverfarigaig. Ian said: “It’s a part of the world that always makes you second guess what you’re seeing. “When you’re up there you’re constantly looking in the water to see if you can spot anything in there. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen Nessie in the loch. I would be amazing if I was the first one to find her. “I’m normally a bit of a sceptic when it comes to Nessie and I think it’s just something for the tourists but I’m starting to think there is something out there. “When I saw it on my screen I said ‘what the hell is that?’ • “If you’re fishing there it’s the sort of place where you can get a tingle up your spine and second guess what you’re seeing. “You start seeing things even when you know fine there’s nothing there.” Ian’s picture fits in perfectly with the widely believed description of Nessie being a long serpent creature which stretches as far back as 1933. The image he took closely resembles some of the clearest and most notable examples of the creature. Encounters from 1933 tell of a 10ft long limbless creature crossing the road leaving behind a slimy trail of undergrowth. And in 2001 a pair of fishermen spotted a dark 6ft long blob sticking its head out of the water and were adamant that it was not a seal. There have been five other reported sightings of the monster this year which, including Ian’s latest, is the highest number since 2002.

Some of Ian’s friends think his picture actually shows three seals playing in the water. Ian said: “I suppose it could be seals - but I’m not so sure. The more I think about it, the more I think it could be Nessie.” Over the years there have been 1081 recorded sightings of the Loch Ness Monster lurking in the water. The monster and the tourists who come to look for it are thought to be worth around £30m to the Highland economy.

***

Natural Blaze

Cover-Up: That Sinkhole In Florida Is Far Worse Than Officials Are Admitting

POSTED ON

SEPTEMBER 18, 2016NATURAL HEALTH NEWS

By now, you may have heard some murmurs about another sinkhole in Florida, and that it might be leaking radioactive particles into some body of water or another.

The information out there is vague. Sinkholes are not an uncommon phenomenon in Florida. It doesn’t seem like a huge deal, the way the media is brushing it off. “Oh, just another sinkhole.”

THIS IS A HUGE DEAL.

The sinkhole is enormous and it has leaked 215,000 gallons of radioactive, contaminated water into the state’s main drinking water supply. What’s more, they’ve known this has been occurring since early August, and much like every other freakin’ crisis they are supposedly “managing,” the EPA has kept mum on this, as has the Florida Department of Environmental Protection(DEP)

NAT-ResponsiveText

That’s right.

They knew people were drinking in this water, showering in it, bathing their babies in it, and cooking with it.

Yep, it’s another tainted water cover-up.

Because Mosaic, the company responsible for the industrial spill, said “Oh, it’s no big deal,” officials didn’t warn the public. That’s starting to be a trend, isn’t it?

You guys are probably tired of me harping on this, but you cannot trust the government with your family’s health. You need to begin testing your own drinking water and doing so regularly. (Here’s how to do that.) As well, step up your water preparedness game – this is happening way too often to risk not having a supply on hand. At this point, you’d be crazy to rely on the word of the EPA or local officials that your water supply is safe. They are not here to protect you – they’re here to protect corporate interests.

Speaking of corporate interests, it’s important to note that Mosaic paid over $2 BILLION in fines last year for mismanaging hazardous waste. Do you really think we should be taking their word for anything that has the potential to affect the health of the residents of Florida?

***

Natural News

Scientists were paid to downplay link between sugar and heart disease, told to blame saturated fats instead

Monday, September 19, 2016 by: Amy Goodrich


(NaturalNews) The sugar industry launched a campaign in the 1960s to downplay evidence linking sugar consumption to America's rising cardiovascular disease rates, and blame saturated fats instead, according to a new report released earlier this month.

A researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, recently discovered internal documents from the sugar industry and correspondence letters between the leaders of a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) - known today as the Sugar Association - and heart disease researchers.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that the sugar industry paid prestigious Harvard scientists to publish research blaming dietary fat, not sugar, to be the main culprit of coronary heart disease.

Biased industry-sponsored research

The newly published JAMA paper relied on thousands of pages of correspondence between top sugar industry executives, such as John Hickson, and prominent researchers.

Around the 1960s, some studies had begun pointing to a relationship between high-sugar diets and heart disease, while other scientists blamed saturated fat and dietary cholesterol for posing the biggest risk. That's when the SFR came up with the idea to shift public opinion through their own sugar research, information, and legislative programs.

The emerged documents show that SRF paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today's dollars to write a review based on studies handpicked by the sugar industry. The scientists were asked to write a paper in favor of the sugar industry.

After a few drafts, where the scientists had dismissed the data on sugar as weak and given far more credence to the data implicating saturated fat, Mr. Hickson approved their work.

"Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind, and we look forward to its appearance in print," Mr. Hickson wrote.

The review was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, which did not require conflict of interest disclosure until 1984. The review had exactly the effect that the sugar industry had hoped for. The debate about the possible link between sugar and heart disease died down, while low-fat diets, which are high in sugar, gained the endorsement of many health authorities.

A double win for the sugar industry.

How the sugar industry influenced dietary guidelines

Industry-funded research has played an important and informative role in many scientific debates. Based on their findings, health officials have encouraged Americans to reduce their fat intake for decades. This has led to the consumption of low-fat, sugar-laden foods that some experts now blame as the major cause of the obesity crisis.

"It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did, because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion," said Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at U.C.S.F. and an author of the JAMA paper.

By doing so, the sugar industry was able to shift the negative attention away from sugar while putting fat and cholesterol in the spotlight. By the 1980s most scientists were convinced that added sugars didn't play a role in heart disease. Therefore, the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans mainly focused on reducing total fat, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol for heart disease prevention.

Reforming the dietary guidelines in their favor is not the only trick the sugar industry has up its sleeve. Last year The New York Times revealed how coca cola had spent millions of dollars in funding research to downplay the link between sugary drinks and obesity.

Furthermore, in June, the Associated Press reported that candy makers were financing studies that claimed that kids who eat candy tend to weigh less than children who do not eat candy.

Stanton Glantz's report clearly shows how industry-funded research is ruining our health and happiness. Independent science is our only hope for learning the truth.

Sources:
NYTimes.com
JAMANetwork.com
JAMANetwork.com
BigStory.AP.org

***

***

Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions
“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up.”

(Mark 5:25-29)


http://www.missionarychristian.org