are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater
is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
(I John 4:4)
Greater Is He
SEASON OF THE WITCH: MEDIA CHEER GROWTH IN OCCULTISM
Spiritual-warfare expert warns of demonic dangers
August 31, 2017
Witchcraft is becoming mainstream in America.
“Wiccan witchcraft is now one of the fastest growing religions in the Hudson Valley,” reported News 12 Westchester in New York.
A “third-degree Wiccan high priestess” was quoted as saying the religion is a “mysterious, feminist and nature-focused religion that rewards faith and patience with magic … capable of things like curing illnesses, getting a raise at work and helping people find love.”
Throughout the country, there are increasing reports of covens of witches organizing and receiving mainstream acceptance and attention. Salem, Massachusetts, home of the infamous “witch trials” in colonial times, is now a mecca for the occult and a center of an emerging “witchcraft tourism industry.”
The women’s fashion magazine Vogue recently promoted a “witchy week” with features on “enchanting altars on Instagram” and “how to have a moon ceremony.”
Heather Dockray, “Web Trends” reporter at Mashable, says witchcraft is moving into the mainstream, even if many of the supposed practitioners of the “The Craft” seem to approach Wicca as more of an aesthetic and a form of consumerism than as a religion. Self-described witches have a large presence on social networks, and websites explaining the practice are growing rapidly.
What do YOU think? Has America gone pagan? Sound off in today’s WND poll!
Pastor Carl Gallups, author of the end times examination “When The Lion Roars,” says a combination of anti-Christian media bias and modern technology is helping to drive the growth of occultism.
“With the advent of worldwide instantaneous communication and information systems, the entire globe can connect into each of these events as the godless media gladly gives them a platform,” he said. “At the same time, most of the mainstream is frantically looking for as many ways as possible to malign, marginalize and lampoon Christianity – almost exclusively. When was the last time you saw any of the American mainstream media lampoon Islam, or Satan worship, for example?”
Gallups also faulted pop culture for creating an “innocent” version of the demonic.
“The pop culture of America has certainly paved the way for the general acceptance of witchcraft and all other forms of outright occult practices,” the pastor said. “Of course, the Bible speaks harshly about all these activities and even prophesied that in the days before the return of Jesus Christ, these activities would only grow darker and more prevalent.
“Sadly, those who think that somehow these are ‘harmless’ or ‘innocent’ practices are playing right into the hands of the prince of darkness. It is extremely interesting that every one of the occult movements are centered on an outright denial of the authority of the Bible and salvation being found only in Jesus Christ. In other words, they are each driven by the spirit of Antichrist.”
However, as Dockray notes, temporal politics is also driving much of the movement, as it is seen as a form of feminist opposition to President Trump and conservatives.
“[I]t’s President Trump and the Republican Party, who spent the past decade calling Hillary Clinton a witch, who’ve probably done more than anyone else to contribute to the growth of modern witchcraft,” she writes. “Women, including different witch-identified activists, showed up in full force at women’s marches all across the country in January, and cast spells against the candidate during the election.”
A number of self-described witches have been prominently involved in the so-called “resistance” to Trump. Witches have been targeting the president with mass occult rituals for months, even before Trump was elected. A group of witches even joined the violent left-wing group known as Antifa during its counter-protest against a recent free-speech rally in Boston.
Witches also were active during the recent solar eclipse.
Vox’s Tara Burton spent the eclipse with witches who were using the “energy” of the event to cast malevolent spells not on Trump but “against everyone who thinks like him.”
Pastor Karl Payne, author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance,” calls it “oddly hypocritical and tragically predictable” that mainstream-media stories about witchcraft portray it as interesting and generally positive while casting conservative Christians as hateful and a dangerous threat.
Payne argues pop culture is inflicting spiritual harm on Americans by celebrating violent, Satanic and anti-Christian imagery.
“Turn on your television any night of the week or catch a few movies on the weekend, and you will see how those behind these productions believe the more blood, murder and mayhem the better,” he said. “As has been stated many times, ideas have consequences. The promotion of Satanism, demonism and Spiritism in the name of pluralism or personal harmless choice has consequences, too. Unfortunately, the collateral destruction caused by these choices left in the wake of their trail are often not harmless. This damage can be devastating. It’s something you will not hear on television specials, but it’s something some people understand all too well.”
As someone who has personally worked with the possessed and exorcised demons, Payne worries about both the temporal lives and eternal souls of those dabbling in witchcraft. He denies “magic” can ever be practiced innocently, even if practitioners claim they are simply using “white magic” or not harming anyone.
“To the best of my biblical understanding of Scripture, God does not recognize the difference between white magic and black magic,” he said. “They are simply different entrances and enticements to the same reality, and that reality will ultimately become exposed as destructive over time and deadly for eternity. Therefore, the notion that one is evil and the other benevolent is a marketer’s manipulation and a participant’s bondage.
“One danger of practicing witchcraft is eternal separation from God for each person rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Indeed, impressionable and naïve children and young people are going to step into this destructive worldview that lies underneath the promotional posturing, and they are going to discover too late that at least parts of this curiosity are real and not a game. People can and do get hurt through their involvement with demons and the worship of Satan.”
Payne argues Christians need to awaken to the realities of the supernatural and the high stakes of real spiritual warfare.
“Christians should learn how to resist the devil and his minions rather than try to explain their existence away or run from them,” the pastor urged. “In the face of real demonic opposition, clichés and self-imposed ignorance do not substitute for a shield of faith and the delegated authority given to all genuine Christians over all the powers of the enemy, as stated in Luke 10:18-20. Furthermore, I would urge Christians not to dabble or allow themselves to be titillated by the occult. Seeing how close you can get to a fire without smelling like smoke or getting burned represents both immaturity and stupidity.”
Ultimately, Payne says the growth of witchcraft and anti-Christian movements is inevitable, at least for a time.
“The Bible is clear Satan is the god of this age for a period of time,” he intoned. “Why should it come as any surprise that he and his followers get top billing temporarily on planet Earth, and the Lord God Almighty, Yahweh and His followers are demeaned? This should not come as a surprise, should it?
“Our mission during this time is not to be popular or acquiesce to a crooked and perverted generation. We are called to walk with God and live our lives for what comes next, not for what the media say is popular.”
SABOTEURS PART 11: THE SECRET DESTINY OF AMERICA
September 7, 2017 by SkyWatch Editor
On Wednesday November 30, 2016, pastors and members of Congress, including former presidential candidate, Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, met on Capitol Hill to pray. This wasn’t your usual Congressional-Clergy Town Hall get-together organized by Wallbuilders and the Jefferson Gathering. It was a specific, down-on-your-knees moment to accomplish a single major task—to ask God to cut Satan’s power from the US Capitol and to bring revival to the nation.
Dave Kistler of the North Carolina Pastors Network was in attendance and noted how US Senate Chaplain Barry Black preached and prophesied that a revival is coming to America and “will commence…in the halls of Congress.” Dale Walker of the Tennessee Pastors Network, also in attendance, agreed with this prophecy.
“If God rules in the halls of legislation, it’s the pulpit’s benefit of being there, being on site and standing up and speaking the law of God to our elected leaders and praying for them,” Walker said. “It’s been the absence of the pulpits is the reason why Satan has ruled in the halls of legislation.”
Kistler added that they were allowed to pray in the US Senate chamber as well as in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Capitol.
“We got on our knees…and it sounded almost like a labor room as people were crying out to God for the revival that Chaplain Black believes is coming and that we believe is coming,” Kistler explained.
“To do that in the Senate chamber was an absolutely astounding opportunity, and again it puts an exclamation point on the Senate chaplain’s assessment that revival is on the way and may indeed begin in the halls of Congress.”[i]
Three months after that prayer meeting at the Capitol, Christian author Lance Wallnau went on the Jim Bakker Show and said God used Donald Trump to deliver “the nation from the spirit of witchcraft in the Oval Office.”
“The spirit of witchcraft was in the Oval Office, it was about to intensify to a higher-level demon principality, and God came along with a wrecking ball, shocked everyone, the church cried out for mercy and bam—God knocked that spirit out, and what you’re looking at [in the current hard-left resistance] is the manifestation of an enraged demon through the populace,” he added.[ii]
I do not believe Lance is aware of the information I provide in the upcoming book Saboteurs concerning the Babalon Working and the “spirit of witchcraft” that thought it was about to take the throne in DC, but either way, I am certain he is right about outrage from a prince of darkness over recent supplications to God for this country. In fact, in February, during a waning crescent moon, the first of many of the devil’s followers cast binding spells on President Trump to magically subvert his agenda. That event and several following have been covered in major media, from the Boston Globe and Rolling Stone to Breitbart and Reuters. As a reenergized spiritual movement, witchcraft, neo-paganism, and satanism have been experiencing a revolutionary (and I’m certain supernatural) energy that has allowed them capital to create a radical social presence in schools, on publicly owned lands, in courtrooms, and now in the political arena. Memes, the Internet, online discussion forums, experiential magic, and apathy in the local church have resulted in the emergence of occultism as the spirituality of choice by fashionable, trendy social warriors. Today’s Millennial witches and satanists are tech savvy too, and have made access to archaic invocations like “chaos magic” readily available online to anybody of any age who cares to peruse the libraries (or “Liber,” as Aliester Crowley would have called it) of forbidden knowledge so that they, too, can perform their own Babalon Workings. This catalyzing activism has resulted in so much public interest in “the craft” (defined by the Bible as “rebellion”) that joining Mephistopheles to subdue a US president no longer seems surreal—at least not by Obama’s agitators, whose hero Saul Alinsky dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to Lucifer, the original rebel. Even the Los Angeles Times invited Wiccan practitioner Diana Wagman to cast a spell on Trump and then followed by publishing her op-ed “I put a spell on you, Mr. President,”[iii] which detailed how people can conjure entities and elements to resist those who dare call on the Christian God.
The Pew Research Center points to eight years of Obama as a big part of the fertilizer that grew this degree of hostility toward Christianity and general belief in God.[iv] This naturally follows, as it was Obama himself who said in 2006 that “whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation,” and promised he would “fundamentally transform” America.[v]
Contrast that with another president—Donald Trump—who said in June 2017 while speaking at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington that he will never let Christians down even though “we are under siege.”[vi]
Therein lies the contest, at least in the mind of the growing community of American witches and satanists. The enemy is not just the new president. Their mass rituals are intended to “Bind Donald Trump and All Who Abet Him.”[vii] It is a high-stakes battle and declaration of war against most of the readers of this series and for the future state of the union.
And make no mistake about this, either. Many of these people are more than tree-hugging old hippies dancing skyclad (nude) in moonlight or Millennials toting around chic little Gaia-worshipping paperbacks. Some are true believers in mixing politics with powerful supernaturalism, which they have sought out and that can, under the right circumstances, take on a social vivacity of its own.
From their most celebrated manuals (which I won’t mention in this online series because I don’t want curious people seeking them out), practitioners of occultism agree that powerful nonhuman energies, including evil ones, can emanate from their symbols and incantations and can, once summoned, be released upon a gullible society to encourage a destructive collective group mind. As people pass these “thoughtforms” or memes from one to another and the ideas go viral, the power and reach of the entity spreads with it until it becomes an unimaginably destructive force. Writing about the Masonic involvement in the French Revolution, Gary Lachman makes an extraordinary and important observation about such immaterial destructive forces—which had unseen plans of their own—released as a result of occult politics:
Cazotte himself was aware of the dangerous energies unleashed by the Revolution.…
Although Cazotte didn’t use the term, he would no doubt have agreed that, whatever
started it, the Revolution soon took on a life of its own, coming under the power of an
egregore, Greek for “watcher,” a kind of immaterial entity that is created by and presides
over a human activity or collective. According to the anonymous author of the fascinating
Meditations on the Tarot, there are no “good” egregores, only “negative” ones.… True or
not, egregores can nevertheless be “engendered by the collective will and imagination of
nations.” As Joscelyn Godwin points out, “an egregore is augmented by human belief,
ritual and especially by sacrifice. If it is sufficiently nourished by such energies, the
egregore can take on a life of its own and appear to be an independent, personal divinity,
with a limited power on behalf of its devotees and an unlimited appetite for their future
devotion.” If, as some esotericists believe, human conflicts are the result of spiritual forces
for spiritual ends, and these forces are not all “good,” then collective catastrophes like
the French Revolution take on a different significance.[viii]
As I summarized in PART 7 of this series, students of history have often looked with interest at the French Revolution and what dynamics caused it to result in the horror of death and torture under Robespierre compared to the Revolutionary War in America that resulted in unprecedented freedoms and monetary success. While citizens in America were rejoicing in newfound liberty, in Paris more than twenty thousand people were beheaded in the guillotines. The years following in France were marked by a reign of terror leading up to totalitarianism and Napolean (whose name means Apollo incarnate, the same spirit that will inhabit Antichrist, according to the book of Revelation). Why were the American and French Revolutions followed by such contrasting conclusions? The difference was that the American Revolution was fought on Christian principles, while the French Revolution—like many of the witches, satanists, and Obama agitators reflect currently—was anti-God. The egregore-forces behind the French Revolution were out to eliminate God and His followers as the enemies of France. They even placed a nude statue of a woman on the altar in the church at Notre Dame and proclaimed the God of Christianity dead. Soon thereafter, the French government collapsed.
Long before modern witches, the ancient world (especially among polytheistic faiths) held that the gods were often intimately involved in establishing the preeminence of kings, courts, and hierarchical systems of political power. This gave rise among pagans, popes, and monarchs to the “divine rights of kings” political philosophy and religious doctrine surrounding royalty and political legitimacy where the right to rule is derived directly from the will of the gods (or God). That spirit, too, it seems, has been resurrected alongside the Witches of Eastwick in the recreation of the Arch of Baal—the pagan archway that has been recently globetrotting the world to be erected at places wherever globalists and the world’s New World Order elite gather, including in 2017 at the first-ever Cultural Summit of the powerful G7 nations that represent 64 percent of the world’s net wealth (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union).
“The structure is a reproduction of a Roman victory arch built in Palmyra, Syria at the end of the second century CE,” reported Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz on May 29, 2017, for Breaking Israel News. “Originally it stood in front of a Roman temple where pagans worshiped the Mesopotamian god, Bel, also known as Ba’al, in a form of idol worship that figures prominently in the Bible. The original arch was destroyed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2015, but one year later, the Institute for Digital Archaeology used 3-D printing technology to reproduce a 20-foot full-scale replica”[ix] for the United Nations.
Rabbi Jonathan Cahn was in New York when the Arch visited that city and has written how Baal also became the anti-God substitute for the God of Abraham, a false god of Hebrew apostasy in the Bible that led to their destruction. “Baal was their devil god. In fact the name for Satan, Beelzebul and Beelzebub, is derived from Baal.’”[x]
In the Old Testament, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel served as the leaders of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. During their reign, they imported Baal worship from the Sidonian Jezebel’s homeland and built a house of worship for him in Samaria and erected Asherah poles in his honor for the people to worship. Children were sacrificed to Baal in some parts of their kingdom, and we are told in 1 Kings 16:33, “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”
Today, the Arch of Baal is once again making the rounds as the herald of those who would be kings, and at least one rabbi believes it may be a sign of the metaphysical gateway Antichrist himself will soon walk through.[xi] Another notable rabbi, Nir Ben Artzi, believes the timing of the recreated Arch and the emergence of modern witchcraft and black magic is not coincidental. It is an ancient spirit that has arrived to war against Donald Trump and the coming of Messiah, he says, to usurp God’s rule[xii] (by paving the way for an anti-Messiah).
This is exactly what some founding fathers dedicated America to accomplish and that deep state occultists are committed to bringing to pass this very hour.
Are you surprised by that statement?
The subject of the faith that this beautiful and successful country is built upon continues to remain a discussion brought up in many conversations across the world daily. The opinion that we came to our astounding fruition as a result of several forefathers whose legislative convictions were tempered in Yahweh and Yeshua is a common one. The impression that the very bricks laid upon our soil were dedicated to the Creator’s will, provision, and consequent blessing is also a concept that hangs on our thoughts like a gentle reminder that we are one nation under God.
Truth is, although the roots of our foundation can certainly be traced to historical events preceding the American Revolution against British rule, hundreds of years before America’s first birthday, certain secret societies and pagan religions graced our soils with their own brand of religion and eschatology. They were—and continue to be—the original shadow-government influence that some important scholars claim is the true power in Washington, DC.
By July 4, 1776—when the quills were dipped and ready for the signing of the Declaration of Independence—our leaders had already been affected by the sway of their paganism. In fact, with all the clamor created by war and promises of freedom, the underlining occultism that has been present since the beginning was at an all-time high as many voices were exhorting their own deities for blessing. The gods of old, had they ears to hear, would have taken in many prayers in those days…and Deism was the veil of choice under which these exhortations by dubious fraternity members were so frequently shrouded.
We’ll begin unmasking the TRUE religion of many of the Founding Fathers and their dedicated occult SABOTEURS in the next entry.
[vi] http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/08/politics/donald-trump-under-seige-faith-freedom/index.html<>br [vii] http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-wagman-put-a-spell-on-donald-trump-20170523-story.html
[viii] Lachman, 97–98.
EUROPEAN SUPERMARKET ERASED CROSSES FROM PACKAGING BECAUSE IT ‘RESPECTS DIVERSITY’
“We are a company that respects diversity and this is what explains the design of this packaging”
SEPTEMBER 1, 2017
German retailer Lidl has been caught doctoring pictures of the iconic Anastasis Church in Santorini, Greece, which adorn some of its products, erasing the crosses which decorate it.
Images of the world-renowned church were used for the packaging of its Eridanous brand Greek-style yoghurt — an in-house label which also includes a range of feta cheese, moussaka, and pistachio products, according to RTL Info.
The Luxembourg-headquartered outlet reported a spokesman for the low-cost supermarket justified doctoring the images by saying: “We avoid the use of religious symbols because we do not wish to exclude any religious beliefs.”
They added: “We are a company that respects diversity and this is what explains the design of this packaging,”
The rationale behind the supermarket’s belief that erasing Christian iconography from Christian religious buildings is “respecting diversity” is left unclear, and its statement that “we avoid the use of religious symbols because we do not wish to exclude any religious beliefs” does not appear to be wholly accurate.
German Food Chain Faces Backlash After Airbrushing Crosses From Churches On Food Packaging
September 6, 2017
Europe’s war on religion has reached an absurd milestone.
According to the Telegraph, customers of budget supermarket Lidl have expressed outrage after the company airbrushed Christian symbols from packaging of its "Eridanous"-branded Greek-food line, which featured images of the Anastasis Church in Santorini, Greece, in order to remain "religiously neutral," as the company claimed.
Shoppers have taken to the company’s Facebook page to express their "disappointment" that the cross was photoshopped. One user, Daniel Novak, wrote: "I'm highly disappointed in a company that is bending over to cater to specific people. Why are you hiding from the history?”
"We are all to learn from history, removing it with Photoshop will cause the same mistakes of the past to be done over and over again."
One user demanded to know who the company thought it would be offending with the crosses.
“Steve West added: ‘Why have you taken the crosses off the top of Greek churches in your advertising?
‘Is there somebody you will think takes offence? There is. Me, Greeks and many others. I definitely won't be using you again if you don't reverse this policy.’”
Another asked why the company felt compelled to erase reality.
“And Daisy Matthews wrote: ‘Why are you erasing the reality from a photo?’
If there were products from Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, or Muslim countries with their symbols depicted on there I wouldn't have a problem buying them.”
Still others said they felt discriminated against as Christians, and doubted that the company would treat an image of a mosque the same way.
“‘As a Christian I feel really hurt, discriminated against, upset and disappointed that you have done this, if it is the case I won't be shopping at your store anymore.’
The 'Eridanous' range features Greek delicacies such as olive oil, Moussaka, yogurt and gyros.”
In fact, customers have also pointed out that some of the packaging for Halal meats sold at Lidl appear to feature buildings with minarets, a piece of Islamic religious architecture. According to the Telegraph, the row has spread across Europe, with shoppers in Belgium and Germany criticizing the policy.
The company quickly apologized, but it did little to quiet customers’ anger.
"We have been selling our highly popular Eridanous own-label range in Lidl stores across Europe for over 10 years now, and in that time the design of the packaging has been through a number of updates.
"We are extremely sorry for any offence caused by the most recent artwork and would like to reassure our customers that this is not an intentional statement. In light of this we will ensure that all feedback is taken into consideration when redesigning future packaging."
But the Belgian arm of European TV and radio station RTL, which originally picked up the story after a reader who noticed the packaging wrote in, said it had been given a different statement.
Ironically, the company said it airbrushed the cross because it didn’t want to “exclude” customers of different faiths.
“‘We are avoiding the use of religious symbols because we do not wish to exclude any religious beliefs,’ it quoted a spokesman as saying.
‘We are a company that respects diversity and this is what explains the design of this packaging.’”
"Our intention has never been to shock," said the supermarket's spokesman.
"We avoid the use of religious symbols on our packaging to maintain neutrality in all religions.
‘If it has been perceived differently, we apologize to those who may have been shocked.’”
Lidl’s experience is one that’s becoming increasingly common in the modern PC-dominated culture: Companies offending large groups of customers while actively trying to do the opposite.
More than half in UK are non-religious, suggests survey
4 September 2017
The Sunday Assembly in London describes itself as a secular congregation that celebrates life
For the first time, more than half of people in the UK do not identify as religious, a survey suggests.
Last year 53% of people described themselves as having "no religion", in a survey of 2,942 adults by the National Centre for Social Research.
Among those aged between 18 and 25, the proportion was higher at 71%.
The Bishop of Liverpool said God and the Church "remains relevant" and that saying "no religion was not the same as considered atheism".
The figures, shown to BBC Radio 5 live, reveal a downward trend for religious belief in the UK.
When the national centre's British Social Attitudes survey began in 1983, 31% of respondents said they had no religion.
A random sample of adults were involved in the latest survey and they were asked whether they regarded themselves as belonging to a particular religion.
Almost two in three 25 to 34 year olds said they were non-religious, while 75% of people aged 75 and over said they were religious.
Tamsin, a 26-year-old travel journalist, goes to the Sunday Assembly, a secular congregation that meets in London every fortnight.
Speaking to 5 live's Rosanna Pound-Woods, she said: "I'm not religious at all. I like the fact that this is a way for community to come together, without having to be about religion."
At times in her life where religion might be important traditionally, like deaths or weddings, she said: "I turn to my friends and just tend to celebrate or commiserate together."
Another member of the congregation, Mitsky, was raised as a Jain - an ancient Indian religion - but now considers himself more atheist.
"Most religions have good basic principles, but certain religions take them maybe in a different direction which I didn't really tend to agree with," the 38-year-old said.
"I was heavily involved in that community here in London and I do miss it, which is why I was looking for something else."
The latest figures show that for people who were born into a religious household, four in 10 are no longer religious.
The most dramatic reduction has been amongst those who identify as Anglican.
Some 15% of people in Britain considered themselves Anglican in 2016, half the proportion who said this in 2000, according to the survey.
Those identifying as Catholic has remained stable - at around one in 10 - over the past 30 years, while one in 20 people identify with non-Christian religions.
Roger Harding, from the National Centre for Social Research, said the figures should cause "all religious leaders to pause for thought".
"With falling numbers, some faith leaders might wonder whether they should be doing more to take their congregation's lead on adapting to how society is changing," he added.
The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, said the figures bring a "continuing challenge to the churches" in "a sceptical and plural world".
But he said people's hearts and minds remained "open".
"Saying 'no religion' is not the same as a considered atheism. People see the point of faith when they see the difference faith makes," he said.
"We need to keep finding ways to show and tell those who say they have 'no religion' that faith - faith in the God who loves them still - can make that life-transforming difference for them and for the world."
But the charity, Humanists UK, said the figures raise fresh questions about the place of churches in the running of state schools and their other state-funded privileges.
The charity's chief executive, Andrew Copson, said: "More generally, how can the Church of England remain in any meaningful sense the national legally established church, when it caters for such a small portion of the population?"
Pope Francis reveals for first time that he consulted a psychoanalyst to 'clarify a few things'
Pope Francis revealed his past visits to a psychoanalyst in a new book by a French intellectualCREDIT: AP
By Nick Squires, rome
1 September 2017
Pope Francis has revealed, for the first time, that he sought help from a psychoanalyst when he was younger.
He is believed to be the first Pope in history to have visited a psychoanalyst – or at least to have admitted to it.
In a new book, he says that at the age of 42 – decades before he was made Pope - he went to a psychiatrist in Buenos Aires in his native Argentina for six months.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as the Pope was known then, was at the time the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina.
“At a certain point, I felt the need to consult an analyst. For six months, I went to her house once a week to clarify a few things,” he revealed in the book, Pope Francis: Politics and Society.
He did not specify exactly what “things” he wanted to clarify or why he felt the need to seek psychiatric help but he did say the treatment was successful.
“In those six months, she really helped me,” he said. “She was a wonderful person,” the 81-year-old pontiff said.
At the time – around 1978 or 1979 – Argentina was ruled by a military dictatorship and for many people there was much to worry about, with political repression and forced disappearances.
In his professional life, Bergoglio had encountered resistance to his tough style of management as head of the Jesuit order.
He admitted a few years ago that “my authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative.”
The revelation that he sought psychiatric help is a first for the Vatican, said Robert Mickens, editor of the English-language edition of the Catholic daily newspaper La Croix.
“I suppose there may have been oddball popes in the Middle Ages who sought advice from seers or something, but nothing like this.
“Bergoglio is a person with his feet on the ground, but he realises that you can’t pray away all your problems. That said, he would be the first to say that analysis is no substitute for spirituality.”
The candid admission comes from a book written by Dominique Wolton, a French intellectual, based on a dozen lengthy conversations with the South American pontiff.
The 432-page book will be published on Sept 6, the day the Pope travels to Colombia on an official trip.
Francis also disclosed that he feels as though he lives “in a cage” at the Vatican, because he is not able to wander out of the tiny city state on his own.
But spiritually, he said, he feels “free”, adding “nothing makes me afraid.”
The Pope also talked about women who have had an influence on his life, from his grandmothers and mother to former “little girlfriends” he had when he was a teenager, before he decided to become a priest.
“To have always been in touch with women has enriched me,” he said.
The Pope has made reference to psychiatry in the past.
When asked why he had chosen not to live in the Vatican’s grand Apostolic Palace, but instead in a modest guesthouse in the shadow of St Peter’s Basilica, he said: “It’s for psychiatric reasons. I can’t live alone, do you understand?”
In the book, the Pope also discusses poverty and conflict, the migration crisis, environmental degradation and relations with Islam.
He said Europe was fearful for the future. “I don’t see any more Schumann, I don’t see any more Adenauer. Europe in this moment is afraid. It closes, closes, closes.”
The Reasons for Netanyahu’s Panic
Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.
September 1, 2017
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is pushing the panic button over the collapse of the Saudi-Israeli jihadist proxies in Syria and now threatening to launch a major air war, as ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke describes.
A very senior Israeli intelligence delegation, a week ago, visited Washington. Then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke into President Putin’s summer holiday to meet him in Sochi, where, according to a senior Israeli government official (as cited in the Jerusalem Post), Netanyahu threatened to bomb the Presidential Palace in Damascus, and to disrupt and nullify the Astana cease-fire process, should Iran continue to “extend its reach in Syria.”
Russia’s Pravda wrote, “according to eyewitnesses of the open part of the talks, the Israeli prime minister was too emotional and at times even close to panic. He described a picture of the apocalypse to the Russian president that the world may see, if no efforts are taken to contain Iran, which, as Netanyahu believes, is determined to destroy Israel.”
So, what is going on here? Whether or not Pravda’s quote is fully accurate (though the description was confirmed by senior Israeli commentators), what is absolutely clear (from Israeli sources) is that both in Washington and at Sochi, the Israeli officials were heard out, but got nothing. Israel stands alone. Indeed, it is reported that Netanyahu was seeking “guarantees” about the future Iranian role in Syria, rather than “asking for the moon” of an Iranian exit. But how could Washington or Moscow realistically give Israel such guarantees?
Belatedly, Israel has understood that it backed the wrong side in Syria – and it has lost. It is not really in a position to demandanything. It will not get an American enforced buffer zone beyond the Golan armistice line, nor will the Iraqi-Syrian border be closed, or somehow “supervised” on Israel’s behalf.
Of course, the Syrian aspect is important, but to focus only on that, would be to “miss the forest for the trees.” The 2006 war by Israel to destroy Hizbullah (egged on by the U.S., Saudi Arabia – and even a few Lebanese) was a failure. Symbolically, for the first time in the Middle East, a technologically sophisticated, and lavishly armed, Western nation-state simply failed. What made the failure all the more striking (and painful) was that a Western state was not just bested militarily, it had lost also the electronic and human intelligence war, too — both spheres in which the West thought their primacy unassailable.
The Fallout from Failure
Israel’s unexpected failure was deeply feared in the West, and in the Gulf too. A small, armed (revolutionary) movement had stood up to Israel – against overwhelming odds – and prevailed: it had stood its ground. This precedent was widely perceived to be a potential regional “game changer.” The feudal Gulf autocracies sensed in Hizbullah’s achievement the latent danger to their own rule from such armed resistance.
The reaction was immediate. Hizbullah was quarantined — as best the full sanctioning powers of America could manage. And the war in Syria started to be mooted as the “corrective strategy” to the 2006 failure (as early as 2007) — though it was only with the events following 2011 that the “corrective strategy” came to implemented, à outrance.
Against Hizbullah, Israel had thrown its full military force (though Israelis always say, now, that they could have done more). And against Syria, the U.S., Europe, the Gulf States (and Israel in the background) have thrown the kitchen sink: jihadists, al-Qaeda, ISIS (yes), weapons, bribes, sanctions and the most overwhelming information war yet witnessed. Yet Syria – with indisputable help from its allies – seems about to prevail: it has stood its ground, against almost unbelievable odds.
Just to be clear: if 2006 marked a key point of inflection, Syria’s “standing its ground” represents a historic turning of much greater magnitude. It should be understood that Saudi Arabia’s (and Britain’s and America’s) tool of fired-up, radical Sunnism has been routed. And with it, the Gulf States, but particularly Saudi Arabia are damaged. The latter has relied on the force of Wahabbism since the first foundation of the kingdom: but Wahabbism in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq has been roundly defeated and discredited (even for most Sunni Muslims). It may well be defeated in Yemen too. This defeat will change the face of Sunni Islam.
Already, we see the Gulf Cooperation Council, which originally was founded in 1981 by six Gulf tribal leaders for the sole purpose of preserving their hereditary tribal rule in the Peninsula, now warring with each other, in what is likely to be a protracted and bitter internal fight. The “Arab system,” the prolongation of the old Ottoman structures by the complaisant post-World War I victors, Britain and France, seems to be out of its 2013 “remission” (bolstered by the coup in Egypt), and to have resumed its long-term decline.
The Losing Side
Netayahu’s “near panic” (if that is indeed what occurred) may well be a reflection of this seismic shift taking place in the region. Israel has long backed the losing side – and now finds itself “alone” and fearing for its near proxies (the Jordanians and the Kurds). The “new” corrective strategy from Tel Aviv, it appears, is to focus on winning Iraq away from Iran, and embedding it into the Israel-U.S.-Saudi alliance.
If so, Israel and Saudi Arabia are probably too late into the game, and are likely underestimating the visceral hatred engendered among so many Iraqis of all segments of society for the murderous actions of ISIS. Not many believe the improbable (Western) narrative that ISIS suddenly emerged armed, and fully financed, as a result of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s alleged “sectarianism”: No, as rule-of-thumb, behind each such well-breached movement – stands a state.
Daniel Levy has written a compelling piece to argue that Israelis generally would not subscribe to what I have written above, but rather: “Netanyahu’s lengthy term in office, multiple electoral successes, and ability to hold together a governing coalition … [is based on] him having a message that resonates with a broader public. It is a sales pitch that Netanyahu … [has] ‘brought the state of Israel to the best situation in its history, a rising global force … the state of Israel is diplomatically flourishing.’ Netanyahu had beaten back what he had called the ‘fake-news claim’ that without a deal with the Palestinians ‘Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned’ facing a ‘diplomatic tsunami.’
“Difficult though it is for his political detractors to acknowledge, Netanyahu’s claim resonates with the public because it reflects something that is real, and that has shifted the center of gravity of Israeli politics further and further to the right. It is a claim that, if correct and replicable over time, will leave a legacy that lasts well beyond Netanyahu’s premiership and any indictment he might face.
“Netanyahu’s assertion is that he is not merely buying time in Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians to improve the terms of an eventual and inevitable compromise. Netanyahu is laying claim to something different — the possibility of ultimate victory, the permanent and definitive defeat of the Palestinians, their national and collective goals.
“In over a decade as prime minister, Netanyahu has consistently and unequivocally rejected any plans or practical steps that even begin to address Palestinian aspirations. Netanyahu is all about perpetuating and exacerbating the conflict, not about managing it, let alone resolving it…[The] message is clear: there will be no Palestinian state because the West Bank and East Jerusalem are simply Greater Israel.”
No Palestinian State
Levy continues: “The approach overturns assumptions that have guided peace efforts and American policy for over a quarter of a century: that Israel has no alternative to an eventual territorial withdrawal and acceptance of something sufficiently resembling an independent sovereign Palestinian state broadly along the 1967 lines. It challenges the presumption that the permanent denial of such an outcome is incompatible with how Israel and Israelis perceive themselves as being a democracy. Additionally, it challenges the peace-effort supposition that this denial would in any way be unacceptable to the key allies on which Israel depends…
“In more traditional bastions of support for Israel, Netanyahu took a calculated gamble — would enough American Jewish support continue to stand with an increasingly illiberal and ethno-nationalist Israel, thereby facilitating the perpetuation of the lopsided U.S.-Israel relationship? Netanyahu bet yes, and he was right.”
And here is another interesting point that Levy makes:
“And then events took a further turn in Netanyahu’s favor with the rise to power in the United States and parts of Central Eastern Europe (and to enhanced prominence elsewhere in Europe and the West) of the very ethno-nationalist trend to which Netanyahu is so committed, working to replace liberal with illiberal democracy. One should not underestimate Israel and Netanyahu’s importance as an ideological and practical avant-garde for this trend.”
Former U.S. Ambassador and respected political analyst Chas Freeman wrote recently very bluntly: “the central objective of U.S. policy in the Middle East has long been to achieve regional acceptance for the Jewish-settler state in Palestine.” Or, in other words, for Washington, its Middle East policy – and all its actions – have been determined by “to be, or not to be”: “To be” (that is) – with Israel, or not “to be” (with Israel).
Israel’s Lost Ground
The key point now is that the region has just made a seismic shift into the “not to be” camp. Is there much that America can do about that? Israel very much is alone with only a weakened Saudi Arabia at its side, and there are clear limits to what Saudi Arabia can do.
The U.S. calling on Arab states to engage more with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi seems somehow inadequate. Iran is not looking for war with Israel (as a number of Israeli analysts have acknowledged); but, too, the Syrian President has made clear that his government intends to recover “all Syria” – and all Syria includes the occupied Golan Heights. And this week, Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government “to devise a plan and take a sovereign decision to liberate the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba Hills” from Israel.
A number Israeli commentators already are saying that the “writing is on the wall” – and that it would be better for Israel to cede territory unilaterally, rather than risk the loss of hundreds of lives of Israeli servicemen in a futile attempt to retain it. That, though, seems hardly congruent with the Israeli Prime Minister’s “not an inch, will we yield” character and recent statements.
Will ethno-nationalism provide Israel with a new support base? Well, firstly, I do not see Israel’s doctrine as “illiberal democracy,” but rather an apartheid system intended to subordinate Palestinian political rights. And as the political schism in the West widens, with one “wing” seeking to delegitimize the other by tarnishing them as racists, bigots and Nazis, it is clear that the real America First-ers will try, at any price, to distance themselves from the extremists.
Daniel Levy points out that the Alt-Right leader, Richard Spencer, depicts his movement as White Zionism. Is this really likely to build support for Israel? How long before the “globalists” use precisely Netanyahu’s “illiberal democracy” meme to taunt the U.S. Right that this is precisely the kind of society for which they too aim: with Mexicans and black Americans treated like Palestinians?
The increasingly “not to be” constituency of the Middle East has a simpler word for Netanyahu’s “ethnic nationalism.” They call it simply Western colonialism. Round one of Chas Freeman’s making the Middle East “be with Israel” consisted of the shock-and-awe assault on Iraq. Iraq is now allied with Iran, and the Hashad militia (PMU) are becoming a widely mobilized fighting force. The second stage was 2006. Today, Hizbullah is a regional force, and not a just Lebanese one.
The third strike was at Syria. Today, Syria is allied with Russia, Iran, Hizbullah and Iraq. What will comprise the next round in the “to be, or not to be” war?
For all Netanyahu’s bluster about Israel standing stronger, and having beaten back “what he had called the ‘fake-news claim’ that without a deal with the Palestinians ‘Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned’ facing a ‘diplomatic tsunami,’” Netanyahu may have just discovered, in these last two weeks, that he confused facing down the weakened Palestinians with “victory” — only at the very moment of his apparent triumph, to find himself alone in a new, “New Middle East.”
Perhaps Pravda was right, and Netanyahu did appear close to panic, during his hurriedly arranged, and urgently called, Sochi summit.
Israeli PM’s wife faces fraud charges over wasting $100k of public funds – report
Published: 4 September, 2017
© Amir Cohen / Reuters
Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is to be charged with fraud over allegedly misspending public funds at a time when her husband is also a suspect in two corruption cases, Israel’s Haaretz daily reports.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is expected to indict Mrs. Netanyahu, the prime minister’s third wife, in the coming weeks, Haaretz reports, citing its sources. She is accused of diverting 400,000 shekels ($112,000) from government funds for her private housekeeping needs.
She reportedly threw lavish dinner parties at the prime minister’s residence, improperly ordered chef’s meals in violation of the residence regulations and later concealed these facts. One of the most serious accusations against her involves hiring an electrician by circumventing the required tender process, the Times of Israel reports.
The electrician, Avi Fahima, who was also a member of the Central Committee of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, was hired despite the Prime Minister’s Legal Office ruling against it. He was also reportedly paid some $2,500 from public funds for the work he did at Netanyahu’s private residence in the town of Caesarea, according to the i24news TV Channel.
The State Comptroller also suspects he was overpaid for the work.
Further suspicions reportedly involve the use of public funds for the purchase of furniture for the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem that was then moved to the family’s private house, while the furniture in the official residence was replaced by older furniture from the house in Caesarea.
Mrs. Netanyahu is also suspected of improper use of state funds for her late father’s medical care at the time, when he lived at the prime minister’s residence, according to local media. The Times of Israel reported that Sara Netanyahu could face four separate charges, including fraud, falsification of documents and breach of trust.
The investigation against Sara Netanyahu is based on the findings of a 2015 report by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira, who found that she allegedly used state funds to cover her private expenses. The Israeli police recommended filing charges against her as early as May 2016.
The case was opened in February 2015 with the approval of the attorney general and the state prosecutor, after suspicions were raised about possible criminal offenses, including “fraudulent receipt, fraud and breach of trust, including addressing mutual accusations,” a police statement said at that time, adding that the investigation into the cases had been concluded.
Sara Netanyahu continues to deny any wrongdoing. Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported on September 2 that she had taken a private lie detector test in a bid to support her statements. She took the test at the Tal Polygraph center at her “own initiative” to “prove her version of events,” the center said, adding that the test showed she was telling the truth, according to the report.
However, lie detector tests are inadmissible in Israeli courts, local media report. In the meantime, the family’s lawyer, Yossi Cohen, denounced the charges against Sara Netanyahu as "ridiculous.”
“How far will the persecution of the Netanyahu family go? Until the cup of tea that an employee of the residence gave Mrs. Netanyahu’s 97-year-old father on his deathbed while he lived there?” he said, as cited by the i24news channel.
The allegations come while Benjamin Netanyahu is also a suspect in two corruption cases. The first one refers to allegations the politician received bribes from an Israeli-American businessman. In another case, Netanyahu is suspected of holding talks with an Israeli newspaper publisher about limiting competition in the news business in return for more positive coverage.
In early August, police said that corruption investigations involving Benjamin Netanyahu revolve around “bribery, fraud and breach of trust,” The Times of Israel reported. Several opposition members have called on the Israeli PM to step down.
In response, Netanyahu said that his critics in the opposition as well as his own party have been conspiring to topple him “for many years,” adding that it “would not happen.”“They are trying to get me, attempting to topple the Right,” Netanyahu said at that time, adding that he has “nothing to fear.”
Russia's Putin: Artificial intelligence leader will rule world
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the country that masters artificial intelligence technology will be the “ruler of the world” and leader in military might.
Putin, speaking Friday at a meeting with students, said the development of AI raises "colossal opportunities and threats that are difficult to predict now."
He warned that "the one who becomes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world."
The Russian president’s comments come weeks after top tech barons Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg engaged in a public spat over AI’s future impact on the world. Zuckerberg, when asked about Musk’s concerns about AI, said those who push “doomsday scenarios” about the technology are being “irresponsible.
Musk fired back, stating his view that Zuckerberg has a “limited” understanding of the dangers of AI.
"AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization," Musk said.
Putin warned that "it would be strongly undesirable if someone wins a monopolist position" and promised that Russia would be ready to share its know-how in artificial intelligence with other nations.
The Russian leader predicted that future wars will be fought by drones, and "when one party's drones are destroyed by drones of another, it will have no other choice but to surrender."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15)
De-Dollarization Accelerates: China Readies Yuan-Priced Crude Oil Benchmark Backed By Gold
By Tyler Durden
Sep 3, 2017 1:44 PM
Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,
The world’s top oil importer, China, is preparing to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan and convertible into gold, potentially creating the most important Asian oil benchmark and allowing oil exporters to bypass U.S.-dollar denominated benchmarks by trading in yuan, Nikkei Asian Review reports.
The crude oil futures will be the first commodity contract in China open to foreign investment funds, trading houses, and oil firms. The circumvention of U.S. dollar trade could allow oil exporters such as Russia and Iran, for example, to bypass U.S. sanctions by trading in yuan, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
To make the yuan-denominated contract more attractive, China plans the yuan to be fully convertible in gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges.
Last month, the Shanghai Futures Exchange and its subsidiary Shanghai International Energy Exchange, INE,successfully completed four tests in production environment for the crude oil futures, and the exchange continues with preparatory works for the listing of crude oil futures, aiming for the launch by the end of this year.
“The rules of the global oil game may begin to change enormously,” Luke Gromen, founder of U.S.-based macroeconomic research company FFTT, told Nikkei Asia Review.
The yuan-denominated futures contract has been in the works for years, and after several delays, it looks like it may be launched this year.
Some potential foreign traders have been worried that the contract would be priced in yuan.
But according to analysts who spoke to Nikkei Asian Review, backing the yuan-priced futures with gold would be appealing to oil exporters, especially to those that would rather avoid U.S. dollars in trade.
“It is a mechanism which is likely to appeal to oil producers that prefer to avoid using dollars, and are not ready to accept that being paid in yuan for oil sales to China is a good idea either,” Alasdair Macleod, head of research at Goldmoney, told Nikkei.
(Make no mistake about it, this is huge. Do you think the US is just going to sit back and watch this happen? This would have an enormous impact in the economy of the United States and the West.)
Bashar Assad’s Deir ez-Zor victory puts illegal US presence in spotlight
Martin Jay is an award winning British journalist now based in Beirut who works on a freelance basis for a number of respected British newspapers as well as previously Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle TV. Before Lebanon, he has worked in Africa and Europe for CNN, Euronews, CNBC, BBC, Sunday Times and Reuters. Follow him on Twitter @MartinRJay
Published time: 6 Sep, 2017 11:42
Syria's President Bashar Assad. © SANA / Reuters
The symbolic victory for Assad and his allies has galvanized Russia, Iran and Hezbollah like never before in its campaign to rid Syria of terrorist groups. While Iran calls for new talks, Al-Qaeda’s days appear numbered.
Deir ez-Zor, once a major staging post of ISIS forces and not controlled by Kurd-led SDF forces who were taking Raqqa (only about 100 km away), was an attractive military target the Syrian army feverishly pursued. For Assad’s government and his allies – Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah – the liberation of the town would provide great symbolism, and Russian air support was undeniably key to those ends.
For Syrian President Bashar Assad, the main thrust of the six-year Syria War is over. For his allies, however, the fall of Deir ez-Zor represents much more than just merely pounding ISIS into submission. But for the Syrian coalition, basking in its glory after its victory against Al-Qaeda groups in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor has proved beyond any doubt the military effectiveness of this alliance, which needed a clear, uncompromising victory against the terrorist forces.
The Syrian army, supported by both Hezbollah and Iran (or Iraqi militias, for that matter) proved to be highly effective when backed with top-notch air support from Russia.
Ali Shamkhani, Iran’s secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said joint campaigns by Iran, Russia, Syria and resistance groups against terrorists in Syria have “started paying dividends,” the Tehran Times reported.
Shamkhani’s comments though were double-edged. For those who understand the significance of Deir ez-Zor, it was clear that he wasn’t only making a point about the strength of the Syrian coalition. He was also hinting about the US presence in Syria and how this is clearly a ticking time bomb which needs to be defused.
The top Iranian security official warned it was essential that all countries and political groups respect Syria’s sovereignty.
“All sides’ commitment to an inter-Syrian solution and respect for the people’s right to determine their destiny without any foreign interference will lay the ground to facilitate finding a way out of the crisis in the country,” he noted.
The fight against terrorism is still ongoing though, and Shamkhani’s comments suggest the Syrian coalition should be the only partners working to eradicate pockets of Al-Qaeda groups holding out in Idlib, in an enclave in the north of the country, which is also an expanded citadel of opposition ‘rebels’ who are no longer supported by Washington, namely the FSA. This turn of events may well explain why Trump has distanced himself against the FSA.
Indeed, just in the past few days, it was announced Britain will also no longer fund its Syrian rebel training program. Is it possible that London and Washington want the FSA to be conveniently finished off by the Syrian army and its partners? Has the West’s interest waned in Syria so much that it has grown resigned to a Russian victory and that it is content with its small northern strip of territory held by its Kurd allies?
Much will depend now on how Washington reacts to the victory at Deir ez-Zor and Iran’s swift call for dialogue now in Syria. In theory, the war could be over, and a process of reconstruction (no doubt supported financially by the EU) could start quite soon. But America’s justification to remain in Syria is even more tenuous as the argument Washington always presents – that its troops are there to kill ISIS has no foundation now.
That is the real point of Deir ez-Zor and what the victory really means for Syria and its allies. How will the US justify now at a UN level the illegality of its presence in Syria? Meanwhile, Israel has just kicked off its "largest military exercise in over 20 years," the Jerusalem Post reported, simulating war conditions with Hezbollah - both in Lebanon and on the border with Syria.
Regarding Syria, it’s unlikely the US will pull out though, as that’s not the kind of press coverage Trump’s people can present to him. US forces will inevitably stay, but in a more ‘monitoring’ role, which might push Assad’s patience to a tipping point in the future. There’s much talk of a US air base being built in Raqqa for example, and one option for the US would be to deploy more soldiers to that region, which for the moment, Washington can kid itself is "not proper Syria."
Sunday September 3, 2017
The news Sunday morning that North Korea had launched what appeared to be its sixth nuclear test and most powerful one to date is troubling enough.
But a statement from the rogue regime took things to a whole new level. The North said it had tested an H-bomb that was “a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack according to strategic goals.”
This is the first time it has publicly mentioned its interest and ability in an EMP attack, a devastating weapon that could have catastrophic consequences for North America, the West and their closer neighbours.
An EMP attack, as I detail in my new book Pulse Attack, is a nuclear detonation that occurs in the atmosphere and creates a waveform that can take down the electrical grid below.
In the worst case scenario, this wouldn’t just shut off the power for minutes or hours, but weeks or even months, due to serious damage to transformer stations and other integral elements of our power infrastructure.
This wouldn’t just mean we couldn’t turn on our laptops and televisions; it would shut down our telecommunications, transportation, water systems, our ability to get food to cities and much more.
Conventional wisdom tells us that North Korea would be incredibly reticent to live up to its threats of launching a missile strike, nuclear or otherwise, on South Korea, Guam, Japan or elsewhere because the retaliation from the United States would be immediate and ferocious, effectively destroying the country and killing all of its leadership.
However, if Kim Jong Un’s first strike is a successful EMP attack against North America, this would largely shut down the ability of the U.S. to respond. While some elements of U.S. military infrastructure have been hardened for resilience against an EMP strike, there is no standardization across the board. Plus, civilian infrastructure is hardly protected, if at all. The United States and Canada would be in the dark and sitting ducks.
A handful of national security experts and legislators in the U.S. have attempted to sound the alarm about this troubling vulnerability but have largely been unsuccessful in getting regulations in place. The utilities industry claims it’s not its problem, but that of the military’s, something experts firmly dispute.
Meanwhile in Canada, the government is even less prepared for an EMP attack. My research and access to information requests revealed a near total ignorance of the subject. Although, now-retired senator Daniel Lang put pressure on the government in 2016 to give attention to the subject.
In the past, experts warned that North Korea was likely aware of EMPs. Sunday’s announcement has completely changed that calculus and, thus, changed the game. We now know for sure that it's aware of it and include it in their strategic plans.
Will it actually launch one? How bad will it be? We don’t know the answer to these questions. It's beyond our control. But what is within our control is how we protect ourselves against it. Right now, our grid is woefully exposed. It doesn’t need to be. And the urgency to finally do something has just greatly increased.
Million protesters in Chechnya decry persecution of Myanmar Rohingya Muslims
Published: 4 September, 2017
Police say a million people have turned out for a protest rally in Grozny, the capital of Russia’s Chechen republic, to protest the violence in Myanmar, where government security troops are conducting a large-scale crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya minority.
The rally supporting the Rohingya was held on Monday in the predominantly Muslim part of Russia. Footage of the event showed tens of thousands of protesters flooding a square in front of the city’s main mosque, as Chechen officials and community leaders spoke to the crowd from a stage.
Among the speakers was Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who through his Instagram page had earlier asked his supporters to support the Myanmar minority consisting of fellow Muslims. He also blasted world leaders for a failure to condemn what he called the “elimination” of the Rohingya from their home state of Rakhine.
“When certain events happened in the office of a Paris magazine, kings and presidents, prime ministers and ministers came to participate in a protest march,” he wrote referring to the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in January 2015. “In Myanmar, the army and bandits rape, torture and kill thousands and thousands of people for being Rohingya Muslims, but the public figures who marched in Paris see nothing.”
Earlier on Sunday the Muslim community of Moscow staged a similar protest in front of the Myanmar embassy. At least 800 people took part in the event, according to media estimates.
The violence in Myanmar flared up again in late August. Rohingya insurgent attacks on an army base and the response of security troops resulted in at least 400 deaths. The Myanmar government accused their opponents of burning down homes and killing civilians, but human rights activists blame government forces for these incidents, as part of a campaign intended to force the Rohingya out of Rakhine.
An estimated 90,000 Rohingya have fled the violence across the border with Bangladesh, putting a strain on that country’s resources. There are some 1.1 million people belonging to the ethno-religious minority living in Myanmar, and they have been persecuted by the government of the predominantly Buddhist Asian nation for decades.
Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, described as a “democracy icon” and Myanmar’s “best hope” in the Western media, has failed to put an end to the persecution of the Rohingya since becoming the country’s State Counsellor in April 2016. Critics say Suu Kyi fuelled the conflict by inciting anti-Rohingya sentiment and tarnishing humanitarian aid workers on her Facebook page.
Among the critics of the violence in Myanmar is Pope Francis, who lamented “the persecution of the religious minority of our Rohingya brothers” after the latest flare-up. Myanmar invited the Pope to pay a first-ever visit to the nation in November.
Moon of Alabama
The Rohingya Of Myanmar - Pawns In An Anglo-Chinese Proxy War Fought By Saudi Jihadists
September 04, 2017
Media attention is directed to some minor ethnic violence in Myanmar, the former Burma. The story in the "western" press is of Muslim Rohingya unfairly vilified, chased out and killed by Buddhist mobs and the army in the state of Rakhine near the border to Bangladesh. The "liberal human interventionists" like Human Rights Watch are united with Islamists like Turkey's President Erdogan in loudly lamenting the plight of the Rohingya.
That curious alliance also occurred during the wars on Libya and Syria. It is by now a warning sign. Could there be more behind this than some local conflict in Myanmar? Is someone stocking a fire?
While the ethnic conflict in Rankine state is very old, it has over the last years morphed into an Jihadist guerilla war financed and led from Saudi Arabia. The area is of geo-strategic interest:
Rakhine plays an important part in [the Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative] OBOR, as it is an exit to Indian Ocean and the location of planned billion-dollar Chinese projects—a planned economic zone on Ramree Island, and the Kyaukphyu deep-sea port, which has oil and natural gas pipelines linked with Yunnan Province’s Kunming.
Pipelines from the western coast of Myanmar eastwards to China allow hydrocarbon imports from the Persian Gulf to China while avoiding the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca and disputed parts of the South China Sea.
It is in "Western interest" to hinder China's projects in Myanmar. Inciting Jihad in Rakhine could help to achieve that. There is historic precedence for such a Rohingya - Bamar proxy war in Burma. During World War II British imperial forces incited the Rohingya Muslim in Rakhine to fight the Bamar, the dominant Burmese nationalist Buddhists allied with Japanese imperialists.
The Rohingya immigrated to the northern parts of Arakan, today's Rakhine state of Myanmar, since the 16th century. A large wave came under British imperial occupation some hundred years ago. Illegal immigration from Bangladesh continued over the last decades. In total about 1.1 million of Muslim Rohingya live in Myanmar. The birthrate of the Rohingya is said to be higher than that of the local Arakanese Buddhists. These feel under pressure in their own land.
While these populations are mixed in some towns there are many hamlets that belong 100% to either one. There is generally little integration of Rohingya within Myanmar. Most are officially not accepted as citizens. Over the centuries and the last decades there have been several violent episodes between the immigrants and the local people. The last Muslim-Buddhist conflict raged in 2012.
Since then a clearly Islamist insurgency was build up in the area. It acts under the name Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and is led by Ataullah abu Ammar Junjuni, a Jihadist from Pakistan. (ARSA earlier operated under the name Harakah al-Yakin, or Faith Movement.) Ataullah was born into the large Rohingya community of Karachi, Pakistan. He grew up and was educated in Saudi Arabia. He received military training in Pakistan and worked as Wahhabi Imam in Saudi Arabia before he came to Myanmar. He has since brainwashed, hired and trained a local guerrilla army of some 1,000 Takfiris.
According to a 2015 report in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn there are more than 500,000 Rohingya in Karachi. They came from Bangladesh during the 1970s and 1980s on the behest on General Ziaul Haq’s military regime and the CIA to fight the Soviets and the government of Afghanistan:
Rohingya community [in Karachi] is more inclined towards religion and they send their children to madressahs. It is a major reason that many religious parties, especially the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the JI and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, have their organisational set-up in Burmese neighborhoods.
“A number of Rohingya members living in Arakan Abad have lost their relatives in recent attacks by Buddhist mobs in June 2012 in Myanmar,” said Mohammad Fazil, a local JI activist.
Rohingyas in Karachi regularly collect donations, Zakat and hides of sacrificial animals and send these to Myanmar and Bangladesh to support the displaced families.
Reuters noted in late 2016 that the Jihadist group is trained, led and financed through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia:
A group of Rohingya Muslims that attacked Myanmar border guards in October is headed by people with links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said on Thursday, citing members of the group.
“Though not confirmed, there are indications [Ataullah] went to Pakistan and possibly elsewhere, and that he received practical training in modern guerrilla warfare,” the group said. It noted that Ata Ullah was one of 20 Rohingya from Saudi Arabia leading the group’s operations in Rakhine State.
Separately, a committee of 20 senior Rohingya emigres oversees the group, which has headquarters in Mecca, the ICG said.
The ARSA Jihadists claim to only attack government forces but civilian Arakanese Buddhists have also been ambushed and massacred. Bugghist hamlets were also burned down.
The government of Myanmar alleges that Ataullah and his group want to declare an independent Islamic State. In October 2016 his group started to attack police and other government forces in the area. On August 25 this year his group attacked 30 police stations and military outposts and killed some 12 policemen. The army and police responded, as is usual in this conflict, by burning down Rohingya townships suspected of hiding guerilla forces.
To escape the growing violence many local Arakanese Buddhist flee their towns towards the capitol of Rankine. Local Rohingya Muslim flee across the border to Bangladesh. Only the later refugees seem to get international attention.
The Myanmar army has ruled the country for decades. Under economic pressure it nominally opened up to the "west" and instituted "democracy". The darling of the "west" in Myanmar is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Her party won the elections and she has a dominant role in the government. But Aung San Suu Kyi is foremost a nationalist and the real power is still held by the generals.
While Aung San Suu Kyi was propped up as democratic icon she has little personal merit except being the daughter of Thakin Aung San, a famous leader of the Burma Independence Army (BIA) and the "father of the nation". In the 1940s Thakin Aung San was recruited by the Imperial Japanese Army to wage a guerrilla war against the colonial British army and the British supply line to anti-Japanese forces in China:
The young Aung San learned to wear Japanese traditional clothing, speak the language, and even took a Japanese name. In historian Thant Myint-U’s “The River of Lost Footsteps,” he describes him as “apparently getting swept away in all the fascist euphoria surrounding him,” but notes that his commitment remained to independence for Myanmar.
The ethnic strife in Rakhine also played a role in the British-Japanese conflict over Burma:
In April 1942, Japanese troops advanced into Rakhine State and reached Maungdaw Township, near the border with what was then British India, and is now Bangladesh. As the British retreated to India, Rakhine became a front line.
Local Arakanese Buddhists collaborated with the BIA and Japanese forces but the British recruited area Muslims to counter the Japanese.
“Both armies, British and Japanese, exploited the frictions and animosity in the local population to further their own military aims,” wrote scholar Moshe Yegar
When the British won against the Japanese Thakin Aung San change sides and negotiated the end of British imperial rule over Burma. He was assassinated in 1947 with the help of British officers. Since then Burma, later renamed to Myanmar, was ruled by ever competing factions of the military.
Thakin Aung San's daughter Aung San Suu Kyi received a British education and was build up for a role in Myanmar. In the 1980s and 90s she quarreled with the military government. She was given a Nobel Peace Price and was promoted as progressive defender of human rights by the "western" literati. But she, and the National League for Democracy (NLD). she leads, were always the opposite - ultra-right fascists in Buddhist Saffron robes. The hypocrites are now disappointed that she does not speak out in favor of the Rohingya. But doing so would put her on the opposite side her father had famously fought for. It would also put her in opposition to most of the people in Myanmar who have little sympathy for the Rohingya and their Jihadi fight. In general many of the 50 million people of the larger Myanmar fear overwhelming immigration from the 160 million Bengalis of the smaller, flood prone and overpopulated Bangladesh.
Moreover - the Chinese OBOR projects are a huge bon for Myanmar and will help with its economic development. The Saudis and Pakistani send guerilla commanders and money to incite the Rohingya to Jihad in Myanmar. This is a historic repeat of the CIA operation against Soviet influence in Afghanistan. But unlike in Afghanistan the people of Myanmar are not Muslim. They will surely fight against, not join, any Jihad in their country. The Rohingya are now pawns in the great game and will suffer from it.
Zero Hedge (Part of a longer article.)
"Greatest Evacuation In History" - 650,000 Ordered To Leave Florida
by Tyler Durden
September 7, 2017
In what spokesman Michael Hernandez describes as "the biggest evacuation in history,"Miami-Dade has expanded its mandatory evacuations orders to Zone C, forcing over 650,000 to leave Florida in a "traffic nightmare" as Cat-5 Hurricane Irma bears down.
Now Georgia orders mandatory evacuations: Traffic jams as residents flee Hurricane Irma as nuclear reactors prepare to SHUT DOWN
Parts of the Georgia coast, Miami and the entirety of the Florida Keys are now under mandatory evacuation
Georgia's Gov. Nathan Deal ordered the mandatory evacuation of his state's coastal areas - including the city of Savannah - on Thursday
Evacuations went into effect in the Florida Keys on Wednesday and Miami on Thursday
Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 5 storm, is expected to his south Florida Sunday morning
It could then turn northwest to hit Georgia and the Carolinas
Locals in Florida have cleaned out grocery stores of key necessities and supplies ahead of the big storm
Florida Governor Rick Scott said gas and more supplies are on the way, after stores and service stations across the state started reporting shortages
Irma is expected to make landfall in the Turks and Caicos islands Thursday evening into early Friday
By Abigail Miller For Dailymail.com and Afp
PUBLISHED: 02:58, 7 September 2017 | UPDATED: 05:31, 8 September 2017
Harvey Flood Victims Don't Even Know What's in the Chemical Plumes They Are Inhaling
FEMA head says the plume of chemicals leaking from the plant is "incredibly dangerous."
By Amy Goodman / Democracy Now!
September 3, 2017, 1:42 PM GMT
Hurricane Harvey has been downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane to a tropical depression as it moves over Louisiana and into Misissippi. Texas officials say at least 44 people were killed by the storm and nearly 100,000 homes are damaged by flooding. This comes as a chemical plant about 25 miles northeast of Houston, in Crosby, was rocked by two explosions early Thursday morning. The facility produces highly volatile chemicals known as organic peroxides, and at least 10 sheriff’s deputies were hospitalized after inhaling fumes. Officials had already evacuated residents within a one-and-a-half-mile radius of the plant in the town of Crosby, after it lost primary and backup power to its coolant system. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez insisted in an early-morning press conference that the plant had not exploded, describing the event as a "pop" followed by smoke. But Federal Emergency Management Agency head Brock Long said a plume of chemicals leaking from the plant was "incredibly dangerous." We speak with Matt Dempsey, reporter with the Houston Chronicle who questioned Arkema about what is stored at the plant and who produced the investigative series "Chemical Breakdown," which examined regulatory failures of the chemical industry.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Hurricane Harvey has been downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane to a tropical depression as it moves over Louisiana and into Mississippi. In Houston, floodwaters have begun to recede, revealing corpses and mass devastation. Texas officials say at least 44 people have been killed by the storm. Nearly 100,000 homes are damaged by flooding. More than 30,000 people remain in shelters. Health officials are taking steps to minimize the spread of diseases such as cholera and typhoid, and nearly 150,000 homes have been told to boil their water. East of Houston, in hard-hit Beaumont, drinking water is completely shut off, and emergency workers are evacuating Beaumont’s main hospital. Meanwhile, flooding continues in North Houston as the Neches River surged beyond its banks and is expected to rise another foot by Friday afternoon.
This comes as a chemical plant about 25 miles northeast of Houston, in Crosby, that’s swamped by about six feet of water, was rocked by two explosions early Thursday morning that sent thick black smoke into the air. The facility produces highly volatile chemicals known as organic peroxides, and at least 10 sheriff’s deputies went to the hospital after inhaling fumes. Officials had already evacuated residents within a one-and-a-half-mile radius of the plant in Crosby after it lost primary and backup power to its coolant system. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez insisted in an early-morning press conference that the plant had not exploded, describing the event as a "pop" followed by smoke. But Federal Emergency Management Agency head—that’s FEMA head—Brock Long said a plume of chemicals leaking from the plant is "incredibly dangerous."
BROCK LONG: So, the bottom line is, is that we do what’s called plume modeling, and that’s what we base a lot of the evacuations on. And so, by all means, yes, the plume is incredibly dangerous.
AMY GOODMAN: This comes as the company, Arkema, has refused to state precisely which chemicals are produced or how many of them are still on site at the time of the explosions. During a call with reporters, Arkema CEO Richard Rowe said the company expected the chemicals on site to catch fire or explode, and admitted it is a way to prevent a fire or potential—it has no way to prevent a fire or potential explosion near the plant. He was questioned by reporter Matt Dempsey with the Houston Chronicle.
MATT DEMPSEY: I have the 2015 Tier II chemical inventory for your facility. Are you going to provide a updated—the most current Tier II chemical inventory for the facility to the media?
RICHARD ROWE: I don’t—I don’t know that we see the need to do that. I mean, all the—they’re all involved with the—the peroxides that we’re discussing.
MATT DEMPSEY: No, I understand that. There’s a lot more detail in the Tier II chemical inventory for reporters that could be useful. Just to be clear, though, it sounds like you’re not willing to release your current chemical—or your Tier II chemical inventory to the media?
RICHARD ROWE: I mean, again, I don’t—I don’t—we do not see the need at this time to do that.
AMY GOODMAN: To talk about what we know about what could blow up at the Arkema plant in Crosby, we go now to Houston, where we’re joined by the reporter you just heard questioning the Arkema CEO. Matt Dempsey is a data reporter with the Houston Chronicle who contributed to the investigative series called "Chemical Breakdown," which examined regulatory failures of the chemical industry. His latest article, "New explosions expected at Crosby chemical plant."
Thanks so much for joining us on Democracy Now!, Matt. Start off by just explaining what do we know at this point about these chemicals in this chemical plant in Crosby.
MATT DEMPSEY: Right. So, yesterday around 8:30 or 9:00, the company sent me a list of the names of the chemicals, but that is not a Tier II. In fact, I sent a really pretty angry email back saying, "This is not helpful. This is not what we asked for." And the reason why I want that Tier II chemical inventory is because it has the amounts of the chemicals, and it will tell you what kind of containers those chemicals are contained in. And I’ve also asked for like a map of the facility. Yesterday, at the press conference in the morning, they told—they assured me that they would provide a Tier II. They assured me they’d provide a map of the facility. I have gotten neither of those things. I have asked for—a bunch of other questions that remain unanswered.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean by Tier II, Matt?
MATT DEMPSEY: All right. So, the Tier II is a chemical inventory that’s required under the—under EPCRA. It’s the Emergency Preparedness and Community Right-to-Know Act, I believe. So, that requires companies who have certain types of materials—it’s pretty broad—to send a list of what chemicals they have, the names of them, a chemical index code, the amounts of them, where they’re located, what kind of containers they’re in, to local law enforcement, to the state, to local emergency planning committees. And it’s supposed to be used for emergency preparedness.
AMY GOODMAN: So, you were in Crosby yesterday?
MATT DEMPSEY: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain how it’s possible that when you have 10 sheriff’s deputies that go off to the hospital, that the public cannot know exactly what chemicals are poisoning people, not to mention the cause of this one-and-a-half-mile radius that has been evacuated around the plant?
MATT DEMPSEY: Right. It’s challenging. I mean, like I said, there is a federal right-to-know law, but that federal right-to-know law has a clause in it that says it can’t override any state law. And nationwide, not just in Texas, though it’s been particularly bad in Texas, that law has been chipped at—right-to-know has been chipped away by states, making it harder and harder to get access to these chemicals. So, I can ask. I can ask questions. I can bug the company. I can send emails and make calls to the state and other agencies. But it’s just very difficult to make any progress, because they’ve made it so that they can use terrorism as—the threat of terrorism as an excuse, in Texas, to shut down access to most chemical inventories.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Harris County Fire Chief Bob Royall saying the explosion wasn’t dangerous.
FIRE CHIEF BOB ROYALL: We’re trying to make sure that our citizens are comfortable in what’s going on and that they know the truth. And so, with that, these are small container ruptures that may have a sound—excuse me—may have a sound of a pop or something of that nature. This is not a massive explosion.
AMY GOODMAN: Matt Dempsey, your response?
MATT DEMPSEY: I know Chief Royall. He’s a good man. He’s actually a really smart expert at hazardous material response for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office. He’s probably one of the most experienced people at that in the country.
My impression of what he’s doing there is trying to be as accurate and precise about what he’s describing to the public as possible. I think there was a lot—I think, especially in response to—being in Crosby, there is tons of rumors going on. And it would be easier if the public—if government officials were more clear about what is going on and what’s not going on. So, my thought is, when I heard that, because I was in route when he said that—my thought, when he said that, was that he’s trying to make sure people don’t think that there’s going to be like a shockwave blast from this. And he’s right. There probably won’t be a shockwave-type blast, like something you’d see in the movies or something like—or an action movie. But yeah, it’s going to be a fire.
And my concern—my concern continues to be not the organic peroxides exploding and catching fire, which is dangerous. My concern is there are tanks of sulfur dioxide and isobutylene that are very large tanks. In their worst-case scenario report that they filed with the—that Arkema filed with the EPA, that said that, you know, if that stuff ruptures, then we have a really serious problem on our hands. I know people think this is serious. It is. But if that stuff goes out, gets released, then you have a very, very big problem.
So, I keep asking Arkema, "Where are the tanks?" They say they’re in a remote area far away from the organic peroxides. So I’ve specifically asked, "How many feet away?" That’s why I asked for a map of the facility. "Can you show me where the organic peroxides are and where the tanks are, so I can reassure people, more than just ’They’re far away’?" You know, and they’ve refused to have done that at this point.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to this discussion. We’re talking to Matt Dempsey, the data reporter at the Houston Chronicle, who was in Crosby, the lead reporter on the paper’s series "Chemical Breakdown," which investigated regulatory failures of the chemical industry. His new article, "New explosions expected at Crosby chemical plant." This is Democracy Now!
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Aric Harding, a Houston resident who went home—his house is flooded—playing his piano, only the keyboard above the water in his house.
FIFTEEN people confirmed dead in Mexico's biggest earthquake for a century as coastal homes are evacuated over fears of a three-meter high tsunami and a million are left without power
Massive 8.1 earthquake struck 60 miles off the southern coast of Mexico southwest of the town of Pijijiapan
At least 15 people have been killed including two children in Tabasco state amid fears death toll will increase
Officials have ordered evacuation of coastal homes in Puerto Madero in Chiapas after tsunami was detected
Fears waves could top 12ft and hit Central American countries with even Philippines on alert 8,700 miles away
The earthquake was felt across Mexico and as far as Austin, Texas more than 1,300 miles from the epicentre
Strongest quake to hit the capital since a 1985 tremor flattened swathes of Mexico City and killed thousands
Mexico's president said it was the biggest quake in the country in a century with a million left without power
By JULIAN ROBINSON FOR MAILONLINE and DANIEL ROTH FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 06:14, 8 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09, 8 September 2017
At least 15 have been killed in Mexico's biggest earthquake for a century with 8.1-magnitude tremors sparking evacuations in coastal areas over fears of a three-meter high tsunami.
The earthquake was felt across Mexico, toppling houses, shaking buildings in the country's capital and leaving a million without power amid reports tremors were detected as a far away as Austin, Texas - more than 1,300 miles from the epicentre.
A 3.3ft tsunami has already been detected in Mexico after the quake struck at 11.49pm last night, 76 miles southwest of the town of Pijijiapan, at a depth of 43 miles. But Seismologists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it could grow to 12ft and residents in Puerto Madero in Chiapas are being evacuated as a precaution.
Terrified residents in Mexico City ran out into the streets after the quake struck, witnesses said. Tremors were the strongest in a hundred years, according to President Enrique Pena Nieto - greater even than a devastating earthquake in 1985 that hit the capital flattening swathes of the city and killing thousands.
The US Tsunami Warning System said widespread hazardous tsunami waves were possible within the next three hours on the Pacific coasts of several central American countries - Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador and Honduras.
As far as 8,700 miles away in the Philippines, the national disaster agency put the country's entire eastern seaboard on alert.
Warm Antarctic caves harbour secret life: scientists
September 8, 2017
Steam from active volcanoes has hollowed out extensive cave systems under the Antarctic ice that could be home to unique ecosystems, scientists say (AFP Photo/JOEL BENSING)
A secret world of animals and plants -- including unknown species -- may live in warm caves under Antarctica's glaciers, scientists said Friday.
The caves, hollowed out by steam from active volcanoes, are light and could reach temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), researchers said, raising the possibility of a whole ecosystem of flora and fauna deep beneath the frozen surface.
A study led by the Australian National University around Mount Erebus, an active volcano on Ross Island in Antarctica, showed extensive cave systems.
Lead researcher Ceridwen Fraser said forensic analyses of soil samples from the caves had revealed intriguing traces of DNA from algae, mosses and small animals.
While most of the DNA was similar to mosses, algae and invertebrates found elsewhere in Antarctica, not all sequences could be fully identified.
"The results from this study give us a tantalising glimpse of what might live beneath the ice in Antarctica -– there might even be new species of animals and plants," she said.
"The next step is to go and have a really good look and see if we can find communities living beneath the ice in Antarctica."
Despite the continent's freezing temperatures, Fraser said heat emanating from the volcanoes could make the caves quite hospitable, warm enough "to wear a t-shirt and be comfortable", with light filtering deep down where the overlying ice was thin.
Co-researcher Charles Lee, from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, said there were many other volcanoes in Antarctica, so subglacial cave systems could be common.
"We don't yet know just how many cave systems exist around Antarctica's volcanoes, or how interconnected these subglacial environments might be," he said.
"They're really difficult to identify, get to and explore."
The research, published in international journal Polar Biology, said there were more than 15 volcanoes in Antarctica that were either known to be currently active or show evidence of recent activity, with new ones continuing to be found.
But despite recent advances in understanding Antarctic biodiversity, scientists still know "little about life in the continent's subglacial cave systems, which may harbour diverse and complex communities".
"Our results highlight the importance of investigating these cave systems in greater detail -- despite the field challenges associated with such an endeavour - to confirm the presence of living macrobiota," it said.
next week...keep on believing.
Elisaie [Elisha][said to the king of Israel, What have I to do with
thee? go to the prophets of thy father, and the prophets of thy
mother. And the king of Israel said to him, Has the Lord called the
three kings to deliver them into the hands of Moab? And Elisaie said,
As the Lord of hosts before whom I stand lives, unless I regarded the
presence of Josaphat the king of Juda, I would not have looked on
thee, nor seen thee. And now fetch me a harper. And it came to pass,
as the harper harped, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.”
(IV Kings 3:13-15 Septuagint II Kings 3:13-15 KJV)
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