Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri announced to his followers in 2006 the long-awaited Messiah would not come until after the death of Arial Sharon.
CNN (Edited from longer article.)
Former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon dead at 85
By Alan Duke, CNN
January 11, 2014 -- Updated 1341 GMT (2141 HKT)
(CNN) -- Ariel Sharon, whose half century as a military and political leader in Israel was marked with victories and controversies, died Saturday after eight years in a coma, Israeli Army Radio reported. Sharon was 85.
Sharon died at Sheba Medical Center in the Tel Aviv suburb of Tel Hashomer.
The Israeli statesman was a national war hero to many Israelis for his leadership, both in uniform or as a civilian, during every Israeli war.
PROPHETIC TWIST TO SHARON'S IMMINENT DEATH
Israel's venerated Rabbi Kaduri predicted Messiah to come after his passing
Published: January 5, 2014
With the death of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expected imminently, the chronicler of the life of Israel’s venerated Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri’s prophecies is much in demand by the media.
Because Kaduri, subject of a new book and movie, both titled “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah,” announced to his followers the long-awaited Messiah would not come until after the death of Sharon. He made the prediction two months before Sharon, still acting as prime minister, had a major stroke in 2006 that has left him in a coma ever since.
Sharon’s family is at his bedside, and he may be pulled from life-support systems at any time. His medical condition has deteriorated following kidney surgery that backfired.
Dr. Zeev Rotstein, director of the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, said Sunday Sharon’s condition is critical and life-threatening, according to an Associated Press report.
Sharon’s condition has been on the decline since being hospitalized for renal failure.
Sharon, 85, served as Israel’s prime minister from 2001 to 2006 when he became incapacitated. During his tenure, he initiated a disengagement plan, during which thousands of Jews were deported from Gaza and northern Samaria – turning the once-fertile region over to Hamas-control.
Sharon suffered a serious stroke on January 4, 2006, and has been comatose since.
In January 2013, Israeli specialists reported Sharon had showed “significant brain activity” in an MRI scan, responding to pictures of his family seven years after the stroke.
Sharon’s death is of interest to mystics in Israel as well as prophecy buffs around the world because of the prediction byKaduri. Carl Gallups authored the book “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah” and inspired a movie on the subject of the same name in late 2013.
In 2007, Kaduri, the most famous rabbi in Israel’s modern history, at 108 years old, left a cryptic death note revealing the name of the long-awaited Messiah. Within a year after the rabbi’s death, the note was reported to have been verified as authentic by some of Kaduri’s closest followers and then placed on Kaduri’s own website.
The purported Kaduri message proclaimed that Messiah’s name was Yehoshua, or Jesus.
It shocked the religious world.
Shortly thereafter the furor began. The note immediately disappeared from Kaduri’s website. The media refused to report further on the matter.
The Kaduri family, and several others close to the Kaduri ministry, began to claim that the note was a forgery or a mere fabrication – a cruel joke.
Gallups, an American pastor and former police officer, used his detective skills to piece the mystery together in “The Rabbi Who Found Messiah: The Story of Yitzhak Kaduri and His Prophecies of the Endtime,” a book and movie combination that has reignited the controversy surrounding his prediction about the Messiah and Sharon.
Chuck Missler, founder of Koinonia House ministry, says that in the book, Gallups “explodes one of the biggest bombshells of our lifetime. The implications of these astonishing declarations from the most venerated ultra-orthodox rabbi in Israel impacts every one of us – not just those of the traditional Jewish faith. This is a must-read for anyone who takes God seriously.”
“The only prophetic utterance of Kaduri concerning Ariel Sharon was that Messiah, would not appear until Ariel Sharon had died,” said Gallups. “Within a little over two months after speaking these prophetic words Sharon was in a coma and Kaduri himself died.”
The Kaduri prophecy did not name a specific time or date in which Messiah would be revealed — only that it would not happen until after Sharon had died.
“Many who have examined Kaduri’s prophecy have interpreted the urgent feel of it to mean that Messiah might appear very shortly after Sharon’s death,” said Gallups. “This sense of urgency was strengthened by the fact that for several years prior to his death, Kaduri made several pronouncements of Messiah’s imminent return.”
Both the book and the movie look at Kaduri’s many prophecies objectively – neither affirming or denying their accuracy or authenticity. The book and the movie simply examine his remarkable story about the popular rabbi and his shocking messianic prophecy from a journalistic and biblical point of view.
Since Sharon’s condition took a turn for the worse around the new year, Gallups has been in huge demand by the media – particularly the Christian media.
THE RAW STORY
Pope Francis condemns fundamentalism, urges setting an example over proselytizing
By Eric W. Dolan
Friday, January 3, 2014 11:29 EST
Pope Francis recently urged the faithful to understand reality by looking at it “from the periphery” in order to avoid becoming fundamentalists.
Francis meet with 120 superiors general of men’s religious orders at the Vatican in November. His comments were published Friday by La Civiltà Cattolica, a Rome-based Jesuit weekly.
“I am convinced of one thing: the great changes in history were realized when reality was seen not from the center but rather from the periphery,” the pope said.
To look at something from the periphery, the pope explained, meant analyzing reality through a variety of viewpoints, rather than filtering all experience through a centralized ideology.
“It is not a good strategy to be at the center of a sphere,” he said. “To understand we ought to move around, to see reality from various viewpoints. We ought to get used to thinking.”
“I often refer to a letter of Father Pedro Arrupe, who had been General of the Society of Jesus,” the pope continued. “It was a letter directed to the Centros de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS). In this letter Father Arrupe spoke of poverty and said that some time of real contact with the poor is necessary.”
“This is really very important to me: the need to become acquainted with reality by experience, to spend time walking on the periphery in order really to become acquainted with the reality and life – experiences of people. If this does not happen we then run the risk of being abstract ideologists or fundamentalists, which is not healthy.”
La Civilità Cattolica noted that Francis expressed similar sentiments in his Evangelii guadium regarding globalization.
The world needs to move towards unity without embracing centralism and crushing individualism, he wrote in the document, which was published in November.
“Here our model is not the sphere, which is no greater than its parts, where every point is equidistant from the centre, and there are no differences between them. Instead, it is the polyhedron, which reflects the convergence of all its parts, each of which preserves its distinctiveness.”
Francis also encouraged the leaders of men’s religious orders to “wake up the world.” He said the Church should grow through “attraction” rather than proselytization.
“Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! It is possible to live differently in this world,” he said.
“Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Romans 12:11, Jude 1:3
Pope Francis announces first visit to Holy Land
Posted Sun 5 Jan 2014,
Pope Francis will make his first trip to the Holy Land in May, visiting Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.
He will visit Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem during the pilgrimage, which is so far his only foreign travel planned for 2014.
"In the climate of joy typical of this Christmas period, I would like to announce that from May 24 to 26, God willing, I will carry out a pilgrimage to the Holy Land," the pope told crowds gathered in St Peter's Square for the traditional Angelus prayer.
Pope Francis said the date of the announcement - January 5 - was significant because it "commemorates the historic meeting between pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople", 50 years ago.
Their meeting in 1964 in Jerusalem led to the rescinding of the excommunications of 1054 that caused the Great Schism between the churches of the East and West.
During the visit, the pontiff said he would hold an "ecumenical meeting with all the representatives of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem" at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, venerated as the place where Jesus was buried.
Pope Francis was invited to visit the Holy Land by Israeli president Shimon Peres in April, and by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who met him in October, saying he would "walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ".
During the pope's meeting with Mr Abbas, Francis called for "a just and lasting solution" to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
The pontiff's visit had been anticipated by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, which said Pope Francis would celebrate a high mass in Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
Teacher to First Grader: “Jesus is not allowed in school”
Advocates for Faith & Freedom Press Release
January 6, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lance Morgan,Lori Sanada (888) 588-6888
West Covina, CA. On December 13, 2013, first grader Isaiah Martinez took Christmas gifts intended for his teacher and classmates at Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District. Each gift consisted of a traditional candy cane with a message attached that recited the legend of the candy cane. The legend references a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah’s older sister told him about the legend of the candy cane and Isaiah asked if he could share it with his teacher and his classmates. Isaiah and his sister then purchased candy canes, printed the candy cane message and tied a copy to each candy cane.
When Isaiah brought his Christmas gift to school, his teacher took possession of the candy canes. After conferring with the school principal, the teacher told Isaiah that “Jesus is not allowed in school” and, at the apparent direction of her principal, ripped the candy cane message from each candy cane, threw the messages in the trash, and handed the candy canes back to Isaiah for delivery to his classmates. Isaiah then nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and “good tidings” to class.
Advocates for Faith & Freedom sent a demand letter to the West Covina Unified School District demanding a written apology and has demanded that a new policy be adopted to prohibit school officials from bullying and intimidating Christian students and religiously affiliated students.
A copy of the demand letter can be found here, which provides more depth to the facts as asserted by the Martinez family along with relevant legal arguments.
Robert Tyler, lawyer and General Counsel, said, “Advocates for Faith & Freedom has experienced a surge in phone calls from students and their parents across the country who are victims of religiously motivated bullying; not bullying by other students, but bullying by teachers and school officials.” He continued, “The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction that public schools are becoming a place of hostility toward Christian and other religiously-based worldviews. It’s time to push the pendulum back in the right direction where kids can experience true tolerance without religiously motivated hostility from their teachers and school officials.”
Sunday Assembly founders Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans have begun to franchise their "godless congregations."
January 4th, 2014
After a schism, a question: Can atheist churches last?
By Katie Engelhart, special to CNN
LONDON (CNN) - The Sunday Assembly was riding high.
The world’s most voguish - though not its only - atheist church opened last year in London, to global attention and abundant acclaim.
So popular was the premise, so bright the promise, that soon the Sunday Assembly was ready to franchise, branching out into cities such as New York, Dublin and Melbourne.
“It’s a way to scale goodness,” declared Sanderson Jones, a standup comic and co-founder of The Sunday Assembly, which calls itself a “godless congregation.”
But nearly as quickly as the Assembly spread, it split, with New York City emerging as organized atheism’s Avignon.
In October, three former members of Sunday Assembly NYC announced the formation of a breakaway group called Godless Revival.
“The Sunday Assembly,” wrote Godless Revival founder Lee Moore in a scathing blog post, “has a problem with atheism.”
Moore alleges that, among other things, Jones advised the NYC group to “boycott the word atheism” and “not to have speakers from the atheist community.” It also wanted the New York branch to host Assembly services in a churchlike setting, instead of the Manhattan dive bar where it was launched.
Jones denies ordering the NYC chapter to do away with the word “atheism,” but acknowledges telling the group “not to cater solely to atheists.” He also said he advised them to leave the dive bar “where women wore bikinis,” in favor of a more family-friendly venue.
The squabbles led to a tiff and finally a schism between two factions within Sunday Assembly NYC. Jones reportedly told Moore that his faction was no longer welcome in the Sunday Assembly movement.
Moore promises that his group, Godless Revival, will be more firmly atheistic than the Sunday Assembly, which he now dismisses as “a humanistic cult.”
In a recent interview, Jones described the split as “very sad.”But, he added, “ultimately, it is for the benefit of the community. One day, I hope there will soon be communities for every different type of atheist, agnostic and humanist. We are only one flavor of ice cream, and one day we hope there'll be congregations for every godless palate."
Nevertheless, the New York schism raises critical questions about the Sunday Assembly. Namely: Can the atheist church model survive? Is disbelief enough to keep a Sunday gathering together?
I attended my first service last April, when Sunday Assembly was still a rag-tag venture in East London.
The service was held in a crumbly, deconsecrated church and largely populated by white 20-somethings with long hair and baggy spring jackets (a group from which I hail.)
I wrote that the Assembly “had a wayward, whimsical feel. At a table by the door, ladies served homemade cakes and tea. The house band played Cat Stevens. Our ‘priest’ wore pink skinny jeans.”
I judged the effort to be “part quixotic hipster start-up, part Southern megachurch.”
The central idea was attractive enough. The Assembly described itself as a secular urban oasis, where atheists could enjoy the benefits of traditional church - the sense of community, the weekly sermon, the scheduled time for reflection, the community service opportunities, the ethos of self-improvement, the singing and the free food - without God. I liked the vibe and the slogan: “Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More.”
Shortly thereafter, Assembly services began bringing in hundreds of similarly warm-and-fuzzy nonbelievers. The wee East London church grew too small, and the Assembly moved to central London’s more elegant Conway Hall.
The Assembly drew criticism, to be sure—from atheists who fundamentally object to organized disbelief, from theists who resent the pillaging of their texts and traditions. But coverage was largely positive - and it was everywhere.
In September, a second wave of coverage peaked, with news that the Assembly was franchising: across England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States and Australia. That month, the founders launched a crowd-funding campaign that aims to raise $802,500. (As of mid-December, less than $56,000 had been raised.)
Still, prospective Sunday Assembly franchisers seemed exhilarated. Los Angeles chapter founder Ian Dodd enthused that he would “have a godless congregation in the city of angels.” In November, his inaugural Assembly drew more than 400 attendees.
But as the atheist church grew, it began to change—and to move away from its atheism.
“How atheist should our Assembly be?” wrote Jones in August. “The short answer to that is: not very.”
Pippa Evans, Assembly’s other co-founder, elaborated: “‘Atheist Church’ as a phrase has been good to us. It has got us publicity. But the term ‘atheist’ does hold negative connotations.”
Warm-and-fuzzy atheism gave way to not-quite atheism: or at least a very subdued, milquetoast nonbelief. Sunday services made much mention of “whizziness” and “wonder”—but rarely spoke of God’s nonexistence.
The newer, bigger Sunday Assembly now markets itself as a kind of atheist version of Unitarian Univeralism: irreligious, but still eager to include everyone.
In a way, this is a smart move. According to the 2012 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 20% of Americans have no religious affiliation, but just a fraction of those identify as atheists.
A godless congregation is likely to draw crowds if it appeals to what Herb Silverman, founder of the Secular Coalition for America, calls “big-tent” atheism, which includes “agnostics, humanists, secular humanists, freethinkers, nontheists, anti-theists, skeptics, rationalists, naturalists, materialists, ignostics, apatheists, and more.”
But atheists who wanted a firmly atheist church—a Sunday Assembly where categorical disbelief is discussed and celebrated—will not be satisfied.
As the Sunday Assembly downplays its atheism, it also appears increasingly churchlike.
Starting a Sunday Assembly chapter now involves a “Sunday Assembly Everywhere accreditation process,” which grants “the right to use all the Sunday Assembly materials, logos, positive vibe and goodwill.”
Aspiring Sunday Assembly founders must form legal entities and attend “training days in the UK,” sign the Sunday Assembly Charter and pass a three- to six-month peer review. Only then may formal accreditation be granted.
This is not an East London hipster hyper-localism anymore.
Selling swag and charisma
Organized atheism is not necessarily new. French Revolutionaries, for instance, were early atheist entrepreneurs.
In 1793, secularists famously seized the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, to build a “Temple of Reason.” They decorated the church with busts of philosophers, built an altar to Reason, lit a torch of Truth - and brought in an actress to play Liberty.
A half-century later, French philosopher Auguste Comte drew acclaim for his “religion of humanity,” which imagined an army of secular sages ministering to secular souls. London has hosted formal atheist gatherings for almost as long.
History suggests, then, that there is nothing inherently anti-organization about atheism. As Assembly’s Sanderson Jones puts it, “things which are organized are not necessarily bad.”
To be sure, Sunday Assembly members in the United States say they've long wanted to join atheist congregations.
Ian Dodd, a 50-something camera operator in Los Angeles, had long been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church; he enjoyed it, but wanted something more explicitly irreligious.
Nicole Stevens of the Chicago chapter found herself yearning for a secular community—a “place to check in and think about things bigger than the day-to-day”—after having her first child.
But it is one thing to support an atheist "church" - where the ‘c’ is small and the effort is local - and another to back an atheist ‘Church’ that is global and centralized.
The former responds directly to the needs and fancies of its community. The latter assumes that its particular brand of disbelief is universally relevant—and worthy of trademark.
Centralized atheism also feeds hungrily on charisma, and Sanderson Jones, who resembles a tall, bearded messiah - and who, despite the SA recommendation that Assembly hosts should be regularly rotated, dominates each London service - provides ample fuel.
But it remains to be seen whether the Sunday Assembly’s diluted godlessness is meaty enough to sustain a flock.
“Because it is a godless congregation, we don’t have a doctrine to rely on,” explains Sunday Assembly Melbourne’s founder, “so we take reference from everything in the world.”
So far, Assembly sermonizers had included community workers, physicists, astronomers, wine writers, topless philanthropers, futurologists, happiness experts, video game enthusiasts, historians and even a vicar. The pulpit is open indeed.
My own misgivings are far less academic. I’m simply not getting what the Sunday Assembly promised. I’m not put off by the secular church model, but rather the prototype.
Take an October service in London, for example:
Instead of a thoughtful sermon, I got a five-minute Wikipedia-esque lecture on the history of particle physics.
Instead of receiving self-improvement nudges or engaging in conversation with strangers, I watched the founders fret (a lot) over technical glitches with the web streaming, talk about how hard they had worked to pull the service off, and try to sell me Sunday Assembly swag.
What’s more, instead of just hop, skipping and jumping over to a local venue, as I once did, I now had to brave the tube and traverse the city.
Back in New York, Lee Moore is gearing up for the launch of Godless Revival - but still speaks bitterly of his time with the Sunday Assembly network.
Over the telephone, I mused that the experience must have quashed any ambition he ever had to build a multinational atheist enterprise.
“Actually,” he admitted, “we do have expansion aims.”
THE RAW STORY
Satanic Temple unveils 7-foot goat-headed Baphomet statue for Oklahoma Capitol
By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, January 6, 2014
The Satanic Temple, a religious group based in New York City, on Monday unveiled their design for a monument they hope to erect at the Oklahoma Statehouse.
The 7-foot-tall monument would include a goat-headed Baphomet figure sitting cross-legged on a stone slab, flanked by two smiling children. The monument would also include quotes from poets Lord Byron and William Blake.
“The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond. The statue will serve as a beacon calling for compassion and empathy among all living creatures. The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation,” spokesman Lucien Greaves explained.
The group offered to donate a monument last month, after State Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) and conservative Christians were allowed to erect a Ten Commandments monument on the statehouse grounds.
Lawmakers in Oklahoma, however, have insisted that the Satanists should not be given the same treatment as Christians.
“This is a faith-based nation and a faith-based state,” Rep. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville) said. “I think it is very offensive they would contemplate or even have this kind of conversation.”
After other groups — including PETA and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — asked for their own displays, the Oklahoma City Capitol Preservation Commission placed a moratorium on new monuments at the statehouse.
But the Satanic Temple insists erecting a monument of their own is within their constitutional rights.
“Our monument celebrates an unwavering respect for the Constitutional values of religious freedom and free expression,” Greaves explained. “Satanism is a fundamental component at the genesis of American liberty. Medieval witch-hunts taught us to adopt presumption of innocence, secular law, and a more substantive burden of proof.
“Today, we are rightly offended by the notion of blasphemy laws and divine fiats. Acknowledging wrongful persecutions has helped shape the legal system that preserves the sovereignty of our skeptics, heretics, and the misunderstood. It has shaped a proud culture of tolerance and free inquiry. This is to be a historical marker commemorating the scapegoats, the marginalized, the demonized minority, and the unjustly outcast.”
The group hopes to raise $20,000 by January 17 to build the monument.
“We trust that this unique monument will also prove a favorite tourist attraction to Oklahoma’s Capitol for years to come,” Greaves remarked.
“To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?” Isaiah 46:5
is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to
He Loveth To Oppress
Greetings! The dictionary defines a sociopath as a person with an antisocial personality disorder in which the person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.
Solomon, in 'The Wisdom Of Solomon' chapter two, of the Apocrypha, thousands of years ago seemed to go a long way in identifying and explaining this very type of personality we today call a sociopath.
“For the ungodly said, reasoning with themselves, but not aright, Our life is short and tedious, and in the death of a man there is no remedy: neither was there any man known to have returned from the grave...
Let us oppress the poor righteous man, let us not spare the widow, nor reverence the ancient gray hairs of the aged.
Let our strength be the law of justice: for that which is feeble is found to be nothing worth.
Therefore let us lie in wait for the righteous; because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings: he upbraideth us with our offending the law, and objecteth to our infamy the transgressings of our education...
Such things they did imagine, and were deceived: for their own wickedness hath blinded them.
As for the mysteries of God, they knew them not: neither hoped they for the wages of righteousness, nor discerned a reward for blameless souls.”
Monsanto is the largest seed company in the world with DuPont and Syngenta rounding out the top three. What type of people, after reading article below “The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops” do you think run Monsanto?
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” Genesis 1:11
The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops
By ANDREW MALONE
When Prince Charles claimed thousands of Indian farmers were killing themselves after using GM crops, he was branded a scaremonger. In fact, as this chilling dispatch reveals, it's even WORSE than he feared.
The children were inconsolable. Mute with shock and fighting back tears, they huddled beside their mother as friends and neighbours prepared their father's body for cremation on a blazing bonfire built on the cracked, barren fields near their home.
As flames consumed the corpse, Ganjanan, 12, and Kalpana, 14, faced a grim future. While Shankara Mandaukar had hoped his son and daughter would have a better life under India's economic boom, they now face working as slave labour for a few pence a day. Landless and homeless, they will be the lowest of the low.
Human tragedy: A farmer and child in India's 'suicide belt'
Shankara, respected farmer, loving husband and father, had taken his own life. Less than 24 hours earlier, facing the loss of his land due to debt, he drank a cupful of chemical insecticide.
Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years' earnings, he was in despair. He could see no way out.
There were still marks in the dust where he had writhed in agony. Other villagers looked on - they knew from experience that any intervention was pointless - as he lay doubled up on the ground, crying out in pain and vomiting.
Moaning, he crawled on to a bench outside his simple home 100 miles from Nagpur in central India. An hour later, he stopped making any noise. Then he stopped breathing. At 5pm on Sunday, the life of Shankara Mandaukar came to an end.
As neighbours gathered to pray outside the family home, Nirmala Mandaukar, 50, told how she rushed back from the fields to find her husband dead. 'He was a loving and caring man,' she said, weeping quietly.
'But he couldn't take any more. The mental anguish was too much. We have lost everything.'
Shankara's crop had failed - twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India's ancient story.
But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.
Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.
Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts - and no income.
So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.
The crisis, branded the 'GM Genocide' by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a 'global moral question' - and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.
Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning 'the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming... from the failure of many GM crop varieties'.
Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.
The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace 'the future' and follow suit.
So who is telling the truth? To find out, I travelled to the 'suicide belt' in Maharashtra state.
What I found was deeply disturbing - and has profound implications for countries, including Britain, debating whether to allow the planting of seeds manipulated by scientists to circumvent the laws of nature.
For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.
Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide - a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.
It seems that many are massively in debt to local money-lenders, having over-borrowed to purchase GM seed.
Pro-GM experts claim that it is rural poverty, alcoholism, drought and 'agrarian distress' that is the real reason for the horrific toll.
But, as I discovered during a four-day journey through the epicentre of the disaster, that is not the full story.
Death seeds: A Greenpeace protester sprays milk-based paint on a Monsanto research soybean field near Atlantic, Iowa
In one small village I visited, 18 farmers had committed suicide after being sucked into GM debts. In some cases, women have taken over farms from their dead husbands - only to kill themselves as well.
Latta Ramesh, 38, drank insecticide after her crops failed - two years after her husband disappeared when the GM debts became too much.
She left her ten-year-old son, Rashan, in the care of relatives. 'He cries when he thinks of his mother,' said the dead woman's aunt, sitting listlessly in shade near the fields.
Village after village, families told how they had fallen into debt after being persuaded to buy GM seeds instead of traditional cotton seeds.
The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds.
But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were 'magic seeds' - with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects.
Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks.
The authorities had a vested interest in promoting this new biotechnology. Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of the post-independence years, the Indian government had agreed to allow new bio-tech giants, such as the U.S. market-leader Monsanto, to sell their new seed creations.
In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.
But while cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have boomed, the farmers' lives have slid back into the dark ages.
Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years - up to 17 million acres - many famers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.
Far from being 'magic seeds', GM pest-proof 'breeds' of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.
Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.
With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off.
Having taken loans from traditional money lenders at extortionate rates, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have faced losing their land as the expensive seeds fail, while those who could struggle on faced a fresh crisis.
When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.
But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That's because GM seeds contain so- called 'terminator technology', meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.
As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death.
Take the case of Suresh Bhalasa, another farmer who was cremated this week, leaving a wife and two children.
As night fell after the ceremony, and neighbours squatted outside while sacred cows were brought in from the fields, his family had no doubt that their troubles stemmed from the moment they were encouraged to buy BT Cotton, a geneticallymodified plant created by Monsanto.
'We are ruined now,' said the dead man's 38-year-old wife. 'We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.'
Villagers bundled him into a rickshaw and headed to hospital along rutted farm roads. 'He cried out that he had taken the insecticide and he was sorry,' she said, as her family and neighbours crowded into her home to pay their respects. 'He was dead by the time they got to hospital.'
Asked if the dead man was a 'drunkard' or suffered from other 'social problems', as alleged by pro-GM officials, the quiet, dignified gathering erupted in anger. 'No! No!' one of the dead man's brothers exclaimed. 'Suresh was a good man. He sent his children to school and paid his taxes.
'He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.'
Monsanto has admitted that soaring debt was a 'factor in this tragedy'. But pointing out that cotton production had doubled in the past seven years, a spokesman added that there are other reasons for the recent crisis, such as 'untimely rain' or drought, and pointed out that suicides have always been part of rural Indian life.
Officials also point to surveys saying the majority of Indian farmers want GM seeds - no doubt encouraged to do so by aggressive marketing tactics.
During the course of my inquiries in Maharastra, I encountered three 'independent' surveyors scouring villages for information about suicides. They insisted that GM seeds were only 50 per cent more expensive - and then later admitted the difference was 1,000 per cent.
(A Monsanto spokesman later insisted their seed is 'only double' the price of 'official' non-GM seed - but admitted that the difference can be vast if cheaper traditional seeds are sold by 'unscrupulous' merchants, who often also sell 'fake' GM seeds which are prone to disease.)
With rumours of imminent government compensation to stem the wave of deaths, many farmers said they were desperate for any form of assistance. 'We just want to escape from our problems,' one said. 'We just want help to stop any more of us dying.'
Prince Charles is so distressed by the plight of the suicide farmers that he is setting up a charity, the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation, to help those affected and promote organic Indian crops instead of GM.
India's farmers are also starting to fight back. As well as taking GM seed distributors hostage and staging mass protests, one state government is taking legal action against Monsanto for the exorbitant costs of GM seeds.
This came too late for Shankara Mandauker, who was 80,000 rupees (about £1,000) in debt when he took his own life. 'I told him that we can survive,' his widow said, her children still by her side as darkness fell. 'I told him we could find a way out. He just said it was better to die.'
But the debt does not die with her husband: unless she can find a way of paying it off, she will not be able to afford the children's schooling. They will lose their land, joining the hordes seen begging in their thousands by the roadside throughout this vast, chaotic country.
Cruelly, it's the young who are suffering most from the 'GM Genocide' - the very generation supposed to be lifted out of a life of hardship and misery by these 'magic seeds'.
Here in the suicide belt of India, the cost of the genetically modified future is murderously high.
European Commission To Ban Heirloom Seeds and Criminalize Plants & Seeds Not Registered With Government
Written by Arjun Walia
January 2, 2014
The European Commission is changing the European Union’s plant legislation, apparently to enhance food safety across the continent. This move has sparked a heavy opposition from many, saying that the measure will threaten seed diversity and favour large agrochemical businesses. This new law creates new powers to classify and regulate all plant life anywhere in Europe. You can view the entire proposal in the list of sources at the bottom of this article.
The “Plant Reproductive Material Law” regulates all plants. It contains restrictions on vegetables and woodland trees, as well as all other plants of any species. It will be illegal to grow, reproduce, or trade any vegetable seed or tree that has not been been tested and approved by the government, more specifically the “EU Plant Variety Agency.” This agency will be responsible for making a list of approved plants and an annual fee must also be forwarded to the agency if growers would like to keep what they grow on the list. The new law basically puts the government in charge of all plants and seeds in Europe, and prevents home gardeners from growing their own plants from non-regulated seeds. If they did, they would now be considered criminals.
The draft text of the law has already been changed several times due to a large backlash from gardeners.
This law will immediately stop the professional development of vegetable varieties for home gardeners, organic growers and small scale market farmers. Home gardeners have really different needs – for example they grow by hand, not machine, and can’t or don’t want to use such powerful chemical sprays. There’s no way to register the varieties suitable for home use as they don’t meet the strict criteria of the PLant Variety Agency, which is only concerned about approving the sort of seed used by industrial farmers – Ben Gabel, Director of The Real Seed Catalogue
It seems the government is taking over everything, virtually all plants, vegetables seeds and gardeners are to be registered by the government. What’s even more disturbing is that all heirloom seeds will be criminalized. This means that saving seeds from from one generation to the next will become a criminal act!
This law was written for the needs of the globalized farm seed industry, who supply seed by the ton to industrial farmers. It should not apply at all to seed used by home gardeners and small market growers. Freely reproducible seeds should be a human right, they are part of our heritage.
I understand this is to protect the business of big agri-companies, but registration and testing should be voluntary for all non GMO, non-patented and non hybrid seed.
January 6, 2014
Dr. Sherridan Ross, medical doctor, retired professor at University of California – Irvine, member of the Board of Directors at The Compton Community Organic Garden: Over here we’ve done a lot of things to make sure that our food supply has been safe, but it’s also cost us quite a bit. What we’d usually do is harvest a lot of the seaweed for places such as the Central Valley where a lot of our root crops, and also our lettuce and things come from. But because of the high concentration of radiation that’s in the seaweed, we haven’t been able to do that this year. We try to use the coast of California — initially we’d harvest tons of it, because it’s a renewable source, it’s very good, good for sucking up radiation and stuff that’s in the soil — that was our ‘out’.
We do see the radiation from Fukushima in the soils in Southern California, especially in our desert regions. For some reason we’re seeing a lot of that, more prevalent — even though it is in small amounts, it’s still there. […] That’s one of the things that’s been happening with the bioengineering of foods, to get it out of the food source. We’ve been also seeing it in small amounts in a lot of the food sources that we give to our cattle and to our chickens. So these are the things that we’ve been taking note of and things that we’ve been trying to monitor and make sure that it doesn’t get to a higher level within our food sources.
NOW THE END BEGINS
Why Did Obama Give The Order For 14 Million Doses of Potassium Iodide?
January 5, 2014
The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered 14 million doses of potassium iodide, the compound that protects the body from radioactive poisoning in the aftermath of severe nuclear accidents, to be delivered before the beginning of February.
According to a solicitation posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the DHHS asks contractors to supply, “potassium iodide tablet, 65mg, unit dose package of 20s; 700,000 packages (of 20s),” a total of 14 million tablets. The packages must be delivered on or before February 1, 2014.
Why are they ordering so many doses, and why now? Obviously they are planning for something quite specific, and not just planning in general.
Potassium iodide helps block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland and is used by victims of severe nuclear accidents or emergencies. Under current regulations, states with populations living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant are encouraged, but not required, to maintain a supply of potassium iodide.
A search of the FedBizOpps website returns no other results regarding the purchase of potassium iodide from any government agency, suggesting that the DHHS bulk buy of the tablets is unprecedented in recent times.
The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has prompted concerns that the purchase is connected to the threat posed by radioactive debris washing up on the shores of the west coast or the potential for another natural disaster occurring in Japan which could impact the U.S.
“Governments usually respond to disasters very similarly; first move is to avoid panic,”writes The West Wire. “The Japanese didn’t want to panic the world, or tarnish their honor and now, as a consequence of their reluctance, Japanese citizens and international aid personal find themselves in a horrible state of being.”
“Panic is usually avoided by keeping their citizens as blind to the truth as possible, until confrontation with the truth becomes inevitable. The crucial question at this juncture; “would our government be reluctant about warning us of potential disaster, in an attempt to avoid panic?” 14 million doses of Potassium Iodide say that might just be the case.”
Last month it was revealed that 71 U.S. sailors who helped during the initial Fukushima relief efforts are suing the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) after they returned with thyroid cancer, Leukemia, and brain tumors as a result of being exposed to radiation at 300 times the safe level.
TEPCO has repeatedly been caught lying in their efforts to downplay the scale of the disaster. In September it was confirmed that radiation readings around the power plant were 18 times higher than previously reported by TEPCO. After a tank leaked 300 tonnes of toxic water in August, groundwater radiation readings at the plant soared to 400,000 becquerels per litre, the highest reading since the nuclear accident occurred in March 2011.
Top scientists have warned that if another major earthquake hits Fukushima, which is almost inevitable, it would mean “bye bye Japan” and the complete evacuation of the west coast of North America.
DETROIT POLICE CHIEF TO CITIZENS: ARM YOURSELVES
Former gun-control advocate changes tune in combating crime
Published: January 4, 2014
Detroit Chief of Police James Craig
During his 28 years on the police force in Los Angeles, James Craig tended to agree with his state’s tight control over concealed carry permits, believing fewer guns would lead to fewer violent crimes.
But when he moved to Portland, Maine, in 2009 to serve as the city’s new police chief, he discovered a different culture – one where guns actually made people safer.
Now Craig, the chief of police in Detroit, Mich., has a message for the law-abiding folks in his crime-ridden city: Arm yourselves, and criminals will think twice about attacking you.
At a press conference at police headquarters Thursday, the Detroit News reports, Craig praised the deterrent power of a legally armed citizenry.
“When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits,” he said, “the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department.”
Craig’s statements echoed those he made Dec. 19 on WJR Radio’s “The Paul W. Smith Show”: “There’s a number of [concealed pistol license, or CPL] holders running around the city of Detroit. I think it acts as a deterrent. Good Americans with CPLs translates into crime reduction. I learned that real quick in the state of Maine.”
At the press conference Thursday, Craig described his conversion from gun hater to gun advocate.
“Coming from California, where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of [carrying concealed weapon permits, or CCWs], and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying; that was my orientation,” he said. “I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”
Robyn Thomas, director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, however, criticized Craig’s conclusion.
“I think at its core, his position is an emotional one, based on the idea that people feel safer when they have guns. But studies have shown more guns don’t deter crime,” Thomas told the News. “There’s no research that shows guns make anyone safer, and it does show that, the more guns in any situation, the higher the likelihood of them harming either the owner, or people who have access to them.”
Yet just two months ago, the very research Thomas says doesn’t exist was published in Volume 21, Issue 4, of the prestigious Applied Economic Letters, whose editorial board includes professors from Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, MIT and more.
According to the study’s abstract, published Nov. 26, 2013, Quinnipiac University’s Mark Gius found that even after adjusting for state- and year-specific trends, passing restrictive concealed weapons laws may actually increase murder rates.
“The purpose of the present study is to determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state-level murder rates. Using data for the period 1980 to 2009,” writes Gius, “the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level.
“These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level,” Gius concludes. “The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).”
Rick Ector of the Firearm Academy of Detroit, which teaches gun safety classes, told the Detroit News Craig’s comments are unusual for a police official.
“It’s a huge, radical departure for the police chief to say good people should have access to firearms,” said Ector. “I’m not ready to say he’s pro-gun just yet, but it’s vastly different from what police chiefs have said in the past.”
The News further reports, “Although Craig said more responsible gun owners would likely lower crime, in the past he also has called for a ban on assault weapons, regulating high-capacity magazines, tighter restrictions on Internet ammunition sales and more stringent background checks for merchants who sell firearms at gun shows.”
Craig has also spoken up on the controversial practice of “stop and frisk,” advocating its use and claiming it’s not racist – as some critics charge – when the city is 85 percent black
is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people,
whose God is the Lord.”