The Lord has rejected His altar, He has abandoned His sanctuary; He has delivered into the hand of the enemy The walls of her palaces.”
(Lamentations 2:7)

The Walls Of Her Palaces

Dear Friends,

Greetings. Below you will find just over five pages of notes out of twenty-one pages of notes we compiled for the video we are planning to make in Jerusalem, “The Coming Temple”.

The notes were originally in outline form but we tried to make them a little easier to read.

This is not a finished project but notes, nevertheless we thought you might find them of interest.

They include an important eye witness account from Flavius Josephus, (see short bio below) who was in Jerusalem at the time of its destruction.

There is also an interesting observation from Rabbi David Kimchi.

Also of interest are very important differences between the first and second temples.

Why is the location of the temples so important? Because if the “western wall” where the prayers are offered today was once part of the second temple or even the retaining wall this would make Jesus a liar when He said “not one stone shall be left upon another”. Matthew 24:3, Mark 13:1-2, Luke 21:5-6

And if he was wrong about that prophecy he would also have been wrong when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

Could it be in the interest of certain parties to continue to support the idea that the “western wall” which was actually part of Fort Antonia was actually part of the second temple?

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We also wanted to thank all those who have continued sending donations for the video project. God bless you. We sure appreciate it. We are still in need of a little more for this trip so we are again including a mailing address. If you can send anything large or small it would sure be a help and blessing. Thank you. You can also donate via Paypal on the web site. We are getting close to our goal.

Thank you again for your help concerning this project.

The mailing address is:

Norman Cochran
2617c West Holcombe Blvd. #491
Houston Texas, 77025

Att: POTK

For more information concerning this project click here

The “Second” Temple

Flavius Josephus records that Herod the Great completely rebuilt the Temple in 20-18 BCE, even going so far as to replace the foundation stones and to smooth off the surface of the Temple Mount. This Temple became known as Herod's Temple.

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Titus Flavius Josephus born Joseph ben Matityahu (Hebrew: was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry. (He was a Pharisee as well. ED)

Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, including the Siege of Masada. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94).The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66–70). Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into first century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity. Wikipedia

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War Vl 1:1

  1. THUS did the miseries of Jerusalem grow worse and worse every day, and the seditious were still more irritated by the calamities they were under, even while the famine preyed upon themselves, after it had preyed upon the people. And indeed the multitude of carcasses that lay in heaps one upon another was a horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench, which was a hinderance to those that would make sallies out of the city, and fight the enemy: but as those were to go in battle-array, who had been already used to ten thousand murders, and must tread upon those dead bodies as they marched along, so were not they terrified, nor did they pity men as they marched over them; nor did they deem this affront offered to the deceased to be any ill omen to themselves; but as they had their right hands already polluted with the murders of their own countrymen, and in that condition ran out to fight with foreigners, they seem to me to have cast a reproach upon God himself, as if he were too slow in punishing them; for war was not now gone on with as if they had any hope of victory; for they gloried after a brutish manner in that despair of deliverance they were already in. And now the Romans, although they were greatly distressed in getting together their materials, raised their banks in one and twenty days, after they had cut down all the trees that were in the country that adjoined to the city, and that for ninety furlongs round about, as I have already related. And truly the very view itself of the country was a melancholy thing; for those places which were before adorned with trees and pleasant gardens were now become a desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down: nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change: for the war had laid all the signs of beauty quite waste: nor if any one that had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again; but though he were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it notwithstanding.

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CHAPTER 6.

HOW THE ROMANS CARRIED THEIR ENSIGNS TO THE TEMPLE, AND MADE JOYFUL ACCLAMATIONS TO TITUS. THE SPEECH THAT TITUS MADE TO THE JEWS WHEN THEY MADE SUPPLICATION FOR MERCY. WHAT REPLY THEY MADE THERETO; AND

HOW THAT REPLY MOVED TITUS'S INDIGNATION AGAINST THEM.

1. AND now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple (24) and set them

over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator (25) with the greatest acclamations of joy. And now all the soldiers had such vast quantities of the spoils which they had gotten by plunder, that in Syria a pound weight of gold was sold for half its former value.

11After this, I shall relate the barbarity of the tyrants towards the people of their own nation, as well as the indulgence of the Romans in sparing foreigners; and how often Titus, out of his desire to preserve the city and the temple, invited the seditious to come to terms of accommodation. I shall also distinguish the sufferings of the people, and their calamities; how far they were afflicted by the sedition, and how far by the famine, and at length were taken. Nor shall I omit to mention the misfortunes of the deserters, nor the punishments inflicted on the captives; as also how the temple was burnt, against the consent of Caesar; and how many sacred things that had been laid up in the temple were snatched out of the fire; the destruction also of the entire city, with the signs and wonders that went before it; and the taking the tyrants captives, and the multitude of those that were made slaves, and into what different misfortunes they were every one distributed. Moreover, what the Romans did to the remains of the wall; and how they demolished the strong holds that were in the country; and how Titus went over the whole country, and settled its affairs; together with his return into Italy, and his triumph.

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And for prime evidence of this fact, we have eyewitness accounts of both Josephus and Titus (the Roman general who conducted the war against the Jews) who give the description of utter ruin and thorough destruction of Jerusalem. Josephus and Titus mentioned that if they had not been in Jerusalem during the war and personally seen the demolition that took place, they would not have believed that there was once a city in the area. 21 But they were eyewitnesses to its utter ruin. It is significant that Josephus used the exact words of Jesus’ prophecy to describe the uprooted condition of even the foundation stones that constituted Jewish Jerusalem. He said:

"It [Jerusalem] was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was nothing left to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited." 22 21 War VI.1,1; VII.1,1.

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War Vll 8,7

Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing but that monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath destroyed it, which still dwells upon its ruins; some unfortunate old men also lie upon the ashes of the temple, and a few women are there preserved alive by the enemy, for our bitter shame and reproach.

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War V,8

8. Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the temple; of that on the west, and that on the north; it was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height, and was on a great precipice; it was the work of king Herod, wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall three cubits high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built upon, to the height of forty cubits. The inward parts had the largeness and form of a palace, it being parted into all kinds of rooms and other conveniences, such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps; insomuch that, by having all conveniences that cities wanted, it might seem to be composed of several cities, but by its magnificence it seemed a palace. And as the entire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers at its four corners; whereof the others were but fifty cubits high; whereas that which lay upon the southeast corner was seventy cubits high, that from thence the whole temple might be viewed; but on the corner where it joined to the two cloisters of the temple, it had passages down to them both, through which the guard (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion) went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations; for the temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the temple; and in that tower were the guards of those three (14). There was also a peculiar fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod's

palace; but for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower Antonia, as we have already told you; and as that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest of these three, so did it adjoin to the new city, and was the only place that hindered the sight of the temple on the north. And this shall suffice at present to have spoken about the city and the walls about it, because I have proposed to myself to make a more accurate description of it elsewhere.

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This was also believed by the Jewish authority Rabbi David Kimchi who (just after the time of Maimonides) stated that the Jewish Temple was still in utter ruins and that no Christian or Muslim had ever built over the spot where the true Temples stood. This express dogmatism of Rabbi David Kimchi, one of the great biblical commentators of the Jews (otherwise known as the RADAQ) who lived from about 1160 to 1235 C.E., is of utmost value. Rabbi Kimchi said that as late as his time the region of the former Temples still remained in ruins and that NO GENTILES (whether Roman, Byzantine or Muslim) HAD YET BUILT ANY OF THEIR BUILDINGS OVER THE SITE OF THE TEMPLE (emphases mine). He said (and I quote him verbatim): "And [the Temple] is still in ruins, [in] that the Temple site WAS NEVER BUILT ON BY THE NATIONS." 41 These comments of Rabbi David Kimchi are first-class Jewish evidence in about 1235 C.E., and they show in no uncertain terms that the built-up area of the Haram esh-Sharif (long built over by the Christians and Muslims) WAS NOT the Temple site. The real Temple area was located over and around the Gihon Spring on the southeast ridge which was in Rabbi Kimchi'’ time outside the walls of Jerusalem and was a derelict area used for a dump.

So, Rabbi Kimchi around 1235 C.E. without doubt states that NO GENTILE BUILDINGS had ever been built on the site of the Temple – and this included the period of 600 years before him when the Muslims (and during the Crusader period, the Christians) had control over all areas of Jerusalem! In fact, Rabbi Kimchi said that the exclusive region for the Temple EVEN IN HIS DAY was "still in ruins." This historical observation by Kimchi is proof positive that many Jews were not being led over to Christian and Muslim beliefs about the Temple site in the Crusade period, because it is obvious that the Dome of the Rock had been built over the Church of the Holy Wisdom which only later (in 692 C.E.) became the Muslim Shrine of the Dome of the Rock. And, what the Muslims called Solomon’s Temple (and so did the Christian Crusaders – that is, the Al Aksa Mosque) was also a Muslim building within the Haram esh-Sharif. David Kimchi, however, made the clear teaching that the original area of the Jewish Temples was in his time (about 1235 C.E.) still unoccupied by any Christian or Muslim buildings from the past or at the present and that the site was in Kimchi’s time in complete ruins.

Commentary on Isaiah 64:10 and quoted by Prof. Kaufman in Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April, 2000, p.61 (Ernest L. Martin)

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"Omar agreed that seventy households should come [to Jerusalem from Tiberias]. They agreed to that. After that, he asked: ‘Where do you wish to live within the city?’ They replied: ‘In the southern section of the city, which is the market of the Jews.’ Their request was to enable them to be near the site of the Temple and its gates, as well as to the waters of Shiloah, which could be used for immersion. This was granted them [the 70 Jewish families] by the Emir of the Believers. So seventy households including women and children moved from Tiberias, and established settlements in buildings whose foundations had stood for many generations." 42

Reuven Hammer, The Jerusalem Anthology, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995, p.148.

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When the Karaite Jews a century later settled in Jerusalem, they also went to this same southern area as well as adjacently across the Kidron into the Silwan area.

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There were some extremely important differences between the Solomon's Temple and Herod’s Temple. Incidently, outside the Old Testament, there is no record of Solomon's Temple having ever existed.

“Since some of the original artifacts were, according to the biblical account, lost after the destruction of the First Temple, the Second Temple lacked the following holy articles:

The Ark of the Covenant containing the Tablets of Stone, before which were placed the pot of manna and Aaron's rod

The Urim and Thummim (divination objects contained in the Hoshen)

The holy oil

The sacred fire.

In the Second Temple, the Kodesh Hakodashim (Holy of Holies) was separated by curtains rather than a wall as in the First Temple. Still, as in the Tabernacle, the Second Temple included:

The Menorah (golden lamp) for the Hekhal

The Table of Showbread

The golden altar of incense, with golden censers.

According to the Mishnah (Middot iii. 6), the "Foundation Stone" stood where the Ark used to be, and the High Priest put his censer on it on Yom Kippur.

The Second Temple also included many of the original vessels of gold that had been taken by the Babylonians but restored by Cyrus the Great. According to the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 22b),[2] however, the Temple lacked the Shekinah, the dwelling or settling divine presence of God, and the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of Holiness, present in the first. “

These are major differences since the Ark of the Covenant was the heart and soul of the Jewish faith.

This was also how the Jews received forgiveness of sin when the high priest went into the Holy of Holy

on Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement.

Some interesting verses to ponder can be found in Ezekiel chapter 10 which was written in approximately 594 BC just eight years before Jerusalem was destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant disappeared. God had been showing Ezekiel the abominations the elders of Israel were committing in the Temple itself.

“Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, [and stood] over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory. Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also [were] beside them, and [every one] stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’S house; and the glory of the God of Israel [was] over them above.” Ezekiel 10:4, 18-19

The Spirit of God departed from the cherubims.

Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur

“The Holy of Holies was entered once a year by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement, to sprinkle the blood of sacrificial animals (a bull offered as atonement for the Priest and his household, and a goat offered as atonement for the people) and offer incense upon the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat which sat on top of the ark in the First Temple (the Second Temple had no ark and the blood was sprinkled where the Ark would have been and the incense was left on the Foundation Stone). The animal was sacrificed on the Brazen Altar and the blood was carried into the most holy place. The golden censers were also found in the Most Holy Place.” Wikipedia

"Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. "You shall slaughter the bull before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. "You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger; and you shall pour out all the blood at the base of the altar. "You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and offer them up in smoke on the altar. "But the flesh of the bull and its hide and its refuse, you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering.” Exodus 29:10-14

Since sometime before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC these items have been missing and there has really been no atonement for sin although some Jews today say repentance and good works is what

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AMERICAN MINUTE

SAD ORIGIN OF 'AMAZING GRACE' AS CHEROKEE ANTHEM

Trail of Tears

Gold had been discovered in Georgia in 1828, resulting in a Democrat-controlled Congress rushing through the Indian Removal Act, which passed by a single vote in 1830. It was signed by Democrat president Andrew Jackson and carried out by Democrat president Martin Van Buren.

Though unauthorized by the tribe, prominent Cherokees John Ridge and Elias Boudinot felt Indian removal was inevitable and negotiated with Washington politicians to sign the Treaty of New Echota of 1835. Elias Boudinot, publisher of the Cherokee Phoenix – the first newspaper published by a Native American tribe – wrote in editorials that the removal was unavoidable.

Indian removal was opposed by the Scot-Cherokee chief John Ross, founder of Ross’ Landing in Tennessee, which was later renamed “Chattanooga.” Over 12,000 Cherokees signed a petition in protest of the Indian Removal Act.

Condemning the federal government’s mandate were members of the National Republican and Whig Parties, including Congressman Abraham Lincoln (IL); Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen (NJ), Senator Daniel Webster (MA); and Senator Henry Clay (KY). Tennessee Congressmen Davy Crockett gave an impassioned speech in defense of the Indians.

Christian missionaries, such as Jeremiah Evarts, led resistance to the federal government’s removal of the Indians, with many being arrested by the state of Georgia and sentenced to years of hard labor.

Missionaries Samuel Worcester and Elizur Butler were arrested for their opposition to Indian removal and their case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Marshall ruled in favor of the Cherokee in Worcester v. Georgia (1832), writing that the Cherokee Nation was a “distinct community” with self-government “in which the laws of Georgia can have no force.”

The Cherokee, which were largely Christian, even had their own language and alphabet, created in 1821 by a Cherokee silversmith named Sequoyah.

Justice Joseph Story wrote March 4, 1832: “Thanks be to God, the Court can wash their hands clean of the iniquity of oppressing the Indians and disregarding their rights.”

Noting that the Supreme Court had no power to enforce its edicts, but had to rely on the president to actually implement them, President Jackson was attributed with saying: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”

Indian leader George W. Harkins wrote a “Farewell to the American People,” 1831: “Having determined to emigrate west of the Mississippi river this fall, I have thought proper in bidding you farewell. … We as Choctaws rather chose to suffer and be free, than live under the degrading influence of laws, which our voice could not be heard in their formation.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, the French philosopher, witnessed the Choctaw removals while in Memphis, Tennessee in 1831, writing: “In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn’t watch without feeling one’s heart wrung. The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country. ‘To be free,’ he answered.”

General John E. Wool had sympathy for the Indians and hesitated carrying out the inhumane removal, resulting in Democrat President Martin Van Buren replacing him with General Winfield Scott.

46,000 Indians were removed by 1837. Then came the freezing weather of 1838-1839.

The last 17,000 Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed by the federal government from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina to the Oklahoma territory.

Samuel Carter wrote in “Cherokee Sunset: A Nation Betrayed: A Narrative of Travail and Triumph, Persecution and Exile, First Edition” (Doubleday, 1976): “Then … there came the reign of terror. From the jagged-walled stockades the troops fanned out across the Nation, invading every hamlet, every cabin, rooting out the inhabitants at bayonet point. The Cherokees hardly had time to realize what was happening as they were prodded like so many sheep toward the concentration camps, threatened with knives and pistols, beaten with rifle butts if they resisted.”

Christians ministered to the Indians along the trail, bringing them food and blankets. Not able give their dead a full burial, they simply sang “Amazing Grace,” resulting in that song being considered as a “Cherokee national anthem.”

President Ronald Reagan commemorated the estimated 5,000 who died from the federal government’s policy by designating the “Trail of Tears” a National Historic Trail in 1987.

Oklahoma, which is the Choctaw word for “red people,” became home to the Five Civilized Tribes: Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, Cherokee; and other tribes who had been forcibly moved there.

The remaining territory opened for settlement with a gunshot at high noon on April 22, 1889, beginning the famous Oklahoma land rush. Within nine hours, some two million acres became the private property of settlers who staked their claims for 160 acres to homestead.

Riding as fast as they could, many found desirable plots already taken by “Boomers” who began intruding ten years earlier, and “Sooners,” individuals who entered the territory just days or hours sooner than was permitted.

In 1859, Lewis Ross, a brother of Cherokee chief John Ross, was drilling for saltwater-brine to use as a food preservative and found a pocket of oil that produced ten barrels of oil a day for nearly a year.

In 1890, near the town Chelsea, Rogers County, Oklahoma, Edward Byrd drilled and found oil at a depth of only 36 feet, but was hampered by severe government regulations.

In 1897, the well “Nellie Johnstone No. 1″ was drilled in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and struck oil at 1,320 feet, beginning the Oklahoma oil boom.

Oil production rose quickly and impetus grew for Oklahoma to become the 46th state in 1907. Within 10 years, Oklahoma became the largest oil-producing entity in the world.

Oklahoma stated in the preamble of its state Constitution: “Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of liberty; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

A Cherokee delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention was Clement Rogers of Rogers County. His son, William Penn Adair ‘Will’ Rogers, became a popular 1920′s radio and movie star. Will Rogers was offered the nomination to be Oklahoma’s governor, but he declined.

Will Rogers stated:

  • “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

  • “If you ever injected truth into politics you’d have no politics.”

  • “The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.”

  • “If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone ‘America died from a delusion that she had moral leadership.’”

With his cowboy philosopher wit, Will Rogers said: “The Lord constituted everybody that no matter what color you are, you require the same amount of nourishment.”

Will Rogers remarked: “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

Will Rogers quipped: “Lord, let me live until I die,” and “The trouble with our praying is, we just do it as a means of last resort.”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

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RUSSIA INSIDER

Russia Says No to One-World Government

Prominent American conservative thinker and author William Lind explains why the West is ganging up onRussia

Victor Olevich

April 22, 2015

Victor Olevich: Almost a quarter century has passed since the end of the Cold War. Yet, both Russia and the West once again find themselves at the precipice of a new Cold War. Why did Washington choose to pursue an aggressive foreign policy towards Moscow after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991? Could these developments have been prevented?

William Lind: The Washington establishment, which is bipartisan, thought that now we could rule the world. It could dictate to everyone and it could force its ideology, which is sometimes called globalism or liberal democracy, but is in fact the soft totalitarianism of Brave New World, on everyone in the world. If necessary, with military force. This is the classic hubris that has destroyed one great power after another. There is nothing new about it.

Victor Olevich: Why has Washington chosen Ukraine as a battleground in its new Cold War against Russia?

William Lind: Russia under President Putin represents the state system and the way states normally act within the state system, based on their interests. The ideology of the Washington establishment says that is not how the world is going to work anymore. It is instead going to be essentially a one world government based in Washington. This ideology includes such concepts as the feminist definition of women’s rights, devaluation of all religions, so called gay rights, and the belief that this must be universal. Russia is saying no to this. It is saying that it still believes in the state system and is going to pursue its own interests on the world stage. So when Russia asserted its interests in the face of Ukraine threatening to join NATO, then Washington reacted very strongly.

Victor Olevich: The White House and the State Department frequently criticize Russia and other nations around the world for undermining democratic norms. Yet, Washington did not think twice about fomenting the overthrow of a democratically elected president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich and supporting a government that came to power in Kiev as a result of a coup. How do you explain these double standards? What do they say about values inherent in US foreign policy today?

William Lind: The Washington establishment defines democracy as a system of elections that elects the people it wants to be elected. If an election in another part of the world does not put in power the government that Washington wants, then Washington refuses to recognize the election. We saw this most dramatically in the Gaza Strip, where the freest and fairest election ever held in the Arab world resulted in a Hamas government coming to power. And Washington immediately announced that it would not recognize it or deal with it.

Victor Olevich: What is the role of neoconservatives in sparking the current confrontation with Russia?

William Lind: The neoconservatives have never gotten over the Cold War and in truth they represent the thinking that was anti-Russian long before the Soviet Union, that was anti-Russian in the 19th century. Unfortunately for America and the rest of the world, they have had an enormous impact on American foreign policy. There is no reason they should have that influence, since all of their adventures have proven disastrous. Of course, they gave us a completely unnecessary and failed war in Iraq. Nonetheless, people continue to listen to them. This may have something to do with the fact that they have a great deal of money behind them.

The neocons and the neoliberals are very similar and work together. The Washington establishment is bipartisan. You have elements on both the left and the right who dissent from it, particularly senator Rand Paul, but the two represent pretty much a consensus within the establishment, though they pretend to be opposed to one another, but they really are not. Hillary Clinton, for example, is a neoliberal. As president her policies would hardly be different from that of the neocons.

Victor Olevich: Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov recently stated that the goal of the sanctions imposed by the US and the EU against Russia is regime change in Moscow. Can Washington’s campaign against Putin backfire?

William Lind: Yes, of course. The United States and the EU are being hurt by the sanctions also. Russia has very strong foreign currency reserves, and it owes about 800 billion dollars to Western banks, with much of that starting to come due. Now, because of the sanctions, Russia is not going to be able to roll that over by borrowing more in the West. Obviously, what Russia can do in that case is say that it is suspending payment on all loans due to institutions in countries that are participating in the sanctions until the sanctions are lifted. Suddenly, the sanctions will hurt Europe much more than they hurt Russia, because Europe will have another massive banking crisis on its hands. There was a news flash last week about Russia and China buying a great deal of gold. This points to another way the sanctions can backfire. The rest of the world, and not just Russia, is getting tired of the United States trying to dictate to institutions, particularly banks, in their own countries, on what they will do, as if they were American institutions in complete disregard for their national sovereignty. One way to destroy this entire sanctions tool, not just in the case of Russia but also in regards to other countries, is to move trade to a gold basis instead of a dollar basis. The the role of American banks will become irrelevant, because trade will be completed in gold.

Victor Olevich: Is Europe able to act on its own, independently of U.S. foreign policy goals?

William Lind: No, Europe at this point is still very much in Washington’s orbit. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the EU is an American satellite. Europe is too afraid of American wrath to take any Russian offers. It is rather a matter of taking logical steps dictated by the situation. The debt problem I talked about before will certainly get Europe’s attention and bring home to them that an anti-Russian policy could have much greater consequences for them than its likely to have for Washington. In this sense, Europe’s interests and America’s interests are divergent.

Victor Olevich: Russia has warned about the dangers of toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the beginning of Washington’s campaign against his government. Has Putin been proven right by the latest events surrounding ISIS?

William Lind: Yes, absolutely, he has been proven right. The United States policy in the Middle East is so stupid that there is a very real danger that we may find ourselves simultaneously fighting all three parties – the Islamist rebels in Syria, the Assad government and Iran. It takes real talent in foreign policy to fight everybody at the same time, despite the fact that they are all fighting each other. The only chance for stability in Syria and for the preservation of the state in Syria is the Assad government. The Washington policy makers want Assad overthrown because he is not part of their globalist scheme. We witnessed a similar situation in Libya, where the overthrow of Muammar Qaddaffi led to the disintegration of the state and a permanent state of chaos.

Victor Olevich: What is behind the massive LGBT rights propaganda campaign in the West? Why is this topic given so much attention, while more pressing subjects are ignored?

William Lind: This is part of the ideology of the ruling class here, which in fact is a variant of Marxism. It is the Marxism of the Institute of Social Research, of the Frankfurt School, which translated Marxism from economic into cultural terms. This, of course, is completely different from the Marxism of the old Soviet Union, which was economic rather than cultural. The goal of cultural Marxism since 1919, when it was conceived independently by Lukacs in Hungary and Gramsci in Italy is the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion. Lukacs, when he became deputy Comissar of Culture in the Bela Kun government introduced sex education into Hungarian schools, because he knew that if you destroy the sexual mores of a society, then you have taken a giant step towards destroying its culture as a whole. The Hungarian working class was so outraged by what Lukacs did that when Romania invaded, it refused to fight and the Bela Kun government was overthrown. Cultural Marxism has developed further in the 1930-1950s and is very much the state ideology now in the West. The fact that President Putin is causing Russia to reemerge as the most conservative of the great powers, as Russia was in the 19th century, enrages cultural Marxists and makes Russia their number one enemy.

Victor Olevich: What can Russia do to support healthy conservative forces in the West that oppose cultural Marxists?

William Lind: I think Russia should do what it is doing right now – showing people in the West that you can resist cultural Marxism, that you do not have to think that it is the inevitable way of the future, and that a country can decide to retain its traditional way of living and believing.

Victor Olevich is a Russian-American political analyst based in Moscow. His articles have appeared in Izvestia, Planeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda and other major Russian- and English-language newspapers and magazines. He is a frequent guest on Russian political talk shows.

William Lind is a paleoconservative writer and former director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation. He writes regularly for the American Conservative magazine and has co-authored “America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform” (1986) with senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart.

***

interfax Religion

Not enough is being done to protect Christians in Middle East - Putin

16 April 2015, 17:17

Moscow, April 16, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin said the situation in the Middle East for Christians is terrible and the international community is not taking enough steps to protect them.

"As to the Middle East and Christians, the situation is terrible. We have spoken about it many times and we believe that the international community is not doing enough to protect the Christian population of the Middle East," Putin told reporters.

He reiterated that Christians have lived in the Middle East for centuries and the place is the birthplace of Christianity. "It is sad that the international community now cannot defend people who need the protection of the international community," Putin said.

***

Hurriyet DAILY NEWS

Putin, Austria name 1915 killings ‘genocide’

MOSCOW / ANKARA

CİHAN Photo

Russian President Vladimir Putin has joined the list of world leaders and governments who have named the killing of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire “genocide,” just one day after the Austrian parliament issued a similar declaration, prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador.

“April 24, 1915, is a mournful date, related to one of the most horrendous and dramatic events in human history, the genocide of the Armenian people,” Putin said in a letter to the World Without Genocide commemorative event, the text of which was also posted on the Kremlin website.

Putin and French President François Hollande are listed among the leaders to join the commemorations in Yerevan on April 24 to mark the 100th anniversary of the killings.

“One hundred years on, we are bowing our heads in memory for all the victims of this tragedy, which in our country has always been perceived as our own pain and misfortune,” Putin said.

“The international community should do all it can to prevent such atrocities from happening anywhere ever again,” he stressed.

Just one day earlier, Ankara told Austria on April 22 that an Austrian parliamentary declaration describing the 1915 killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as “genocide” would permanently damage the two countries’ relations, while recalling its ambassador.

“This declaration... has caused outrage for us,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We reject this biased attitude of the Austrian parliament, trying to lecture others on history, which has no room in today’s world,” the statement said.

“It is clear that this declaration...will have permanent negative effects on Turkey-Austria relations,” the statement said.

The ministry said it had recalled its ambassador from Vienna for consultation over the declaration, one in a number of foreign institutions and parliaments, as the 100th anniversary of the killings approached.

The six parties in Austria’s parliament held a minute of silence commemorating the Armenian victims after it issued the joint declaration. “It is our duty to acknowledge and condemn these terrible events as genocide because of our historical responsibility; the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was an ally of the Ottoman Empire in World War I,” the parties said. “It is also Turkey’s duty to honestly face the dark and painful chapters of its history.”

Around 268,000 people of Turkish origin live in Austria, nearly 115,000 of which are Turkish citizens, according to government figures.

Turkey has accepted that Armenians were killed by Ottoman forces during World War I, but denies there was a systematic attack on civilians amounting to “genocide.”

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said he was ready to normalize relations with Turkey, two months after he withdrew peace accords from parliament. “It takes two to tango and it does not only depend on us,” he told journalists.

Armenia, most Western scholars and several foreign legislatures refer to the mass killings as genocide.

Earlier on April 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he did not expect U.S. President Barack Obama to use the word “genocide” in reference to the killings.

“I would not want Obama to use the word ‘genocide,’ and I would not expect such a thing,” Erdoğan said at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Fuad Masum.

Erdoğan has expressed condolences for the loss of Armenian life during World War I.

Germany’s parliament is set to adopt a motion using the word “genocide” on April 24. Earlier this month, Pope Francis also called the massacres “genocide,” prompting Turkey to summon the Vatican’s envoy and recall its own.

***

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

Armenian Genocide: Turkey to Convert Hagia Sofia Basilica into Mosque to Spite Pope Francis

By Johnlee Varghese 
April 17, 2015 15:19 IST

Irked by Pope Francis' statement on the Armenian mass killings, Turkey is planning to convert the historic Hagia Sofia Catheral into a Muslim prayer house, a top Turkish Islamic leader said.

Turkey had reacted with outrage after Pope Francis called the mass deaths of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915 a genocide. On Wednesday, the European Parliament also voted in favour of using the term to describe the killings.

The Mufti of Ankara has now announced that in response to the Pope's statement, the country will convert Hagia Sofia Catheral into a mosque, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"Frankly, I believe that the pope's remarks will only accelerate the process for Hagia Sophia to be re-opened for [Muslim] worship," Professor Mefail Hızli, the mufti said in a statement on 15 April.

The historic basilica served as a cathedral for almost a thousand years, till it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. The Greek Patriarchal basilica was then converted into a mosque. However, in 1935 the modern secular Turkish Republic agreed to convert into a museum.

In the past few years, many in Turkey have campaigned for opening the former church for Muslim prayers, despite opposition that it would be disrespectful to Christians.

Recently, on 10 April, hundreds of Muslim worshippers had gathered at the Hagia Sophia, where for the first time in 85 years, a Muslim cleric recited the Quran.

Armenian Genocide

During a Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis said the slaughter of up to 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 constituted "the first genocide of the 20th century." The reference angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accused the head of the Catholic church of spouting "nonsense," and warned the pontiff not to make "such a mistake again."

The European Parliament too has now asked Turkey to use the centenary of the massacre – to be commemorated on 24 April – as an opportunity "to recognise the Armenian genocide."

But Erdogan hit out against the EU and accused the bloc of 'religious fanaticism,' Deutsche Welle reported.

***

ON THE PATH OF THE IMMORTALS–PART 8: What Is A Portal And Who Waits Behind The Doorways?

April 19, 2015 by SkyWatch Editor

In sacred Scripture, Daniel mentions the Watchers four times, even revealing that King Nebuchadnezzar’s curse was “by the decree of the watchers” (Daniel 4:17). The Watchers are widely attested in intertestamental Jewish literature. The most famous example is the “Book of the Watchers” (1 Enoch 1–36), where the term is used for the fallen immortals, the sons of God, who fathered the Nephilim in Genesis 6, amongst other acts of debauchery against the created order. A variant version of the story in the Book of Jubilees has the Watchers come down to teach men holiness (Jubilees 3:15), but they are subsequently corrupted when they lust after human women (Jubilees 5:1). In Jubilees, the evil immortals have a leader named Mastema, who persuades God to let one-tenth of the evil spirits remain with him on earth to corrupt and lead humankind astray.

In a document fragment found in Cave 4 among the Dead Sea Scrolls, Amram, the father of Moses, sees the chief angel of darkness (a Watcher named Melkiresha) in the form of a reptilian (bracketed suspension points represent scroll damage/irretrievable text):

I saw Watchers in my vision, a dream vision, and behold two (of them) argued about me and said […] and they were engaged in a great quarrel concerning me. I asked them: “You, what are you […] thus […] about me?” They answered and said to me: “We have been made masters and rule over all the sons of men.” And they said to me: “Which of us do you choose […]

I raised my eyes and saw one of them. His looks were frightening like those of a viper, and his garments were multi-colored and he was extremely dark […]

And afterwards I looked and behold […] by his appearance and his face was like that of an adder [a venomous snake], and he was covered with […] together, and his eyes […]”[i]

This reptilian Watcher seems to be an entirely different sort of creature than the human-looking messenger angels one encounters in the New Testament.

In the Bible, the Cherubim usually serve in one of two functions: as guardians of a sacred tree (Genesis 3:24) or as guardians and carriers of a throne (Psalm 18:10). While they have human features, Cherubim are chimeras, “the Israelite counterpart of the sphinx.”[ii] Ezekiel offers the most elaborate description (Ezekiel 1:10, 9:3; 10:15–22) in which they have the “likeness of a man” but “had four faces, and every one had four wings” (Ezekiel 1:6). In Revelation, they, or a similar creature, are also described as “beasts full of eyes before and behind” (Revelation 4:6). Minor differences in the descriptions might suggest a subjective element in mystical visions like the examples recorded by Ezekiel and John, or perhaps it indicates some variety in Cherub attributes. Stranger still, we believe these entities are “shape shifters” who can morph their physical forms. Whatever the case may be, the point we are driving at is that Cherubim are fearsome creatures, not the putti—plump rosy-cheeked winged babies seen in Renaissance and Baroque art—that they are commonly mixed up with.[iii]

Even more, it seems likely that the Prince of Darkness himself is of the Cherub family. Ezekiel likens the downfall of the proud king of Tyre to the fall and curse on the serpent (Genesis 3:14–15) in an amazing lament (Ezekiel 28:11–19). It sees through the proud human despot to the evil power behind him. It harkens back to the immortal “anointed cherub,” in the “garden of God” and on the “mountain of God” (Ezekiel 28:13–14). That ancient serpent (Hebrew Nachash) who fell and deceived the first humans in the garden is later positively identified as the devil or Satan (Revelation 12:9).

Fiery flying serpents are recorded around the world as having visited Earth in ancient time with promises they will return through the portals in the End Times.

Hebrew Bible scholar Michael Heiser argues that the so-called serpent in the Garden of Eden was no snake. The noun spelled Nachash in Hebrew can mean “snake or serpent”[iv] or, as a verb, “to practice divination,”[v] but as an adjective, it means “bright, brazen.”[vi] In Hebrew grammar, it is common for adjectives to be used as nouns or substantivized.[vii] Thus, it is a valid option to translateNachash as a noun meaning “shining one.” Heiser concludes, “Eve was not talking to a snake. She was speaking to a bright, shining upright being who was serpentine in appearance, and who was trying to bewitch her with lies.”[viii] This makes the Genesis account seem all the more plausible; after all, snakes do not have vocal cords and Eve was not immediately taken aback as one would expect, given a talking snake, suggesting that perhaps she was even accustomed to seeing such entities.

It is rather satisfying to know that even in light of what we have learned from Ugaritic and Egyptian texts concerning the ancient context of Scripture, the controversial Hebrew Bible passages (Genesis 3, Isaiah 14, and Ezekiel 28) classically used to describe the devil of New Testament theology (often to the disapproval of scholars) can now be rigorously reconciled. Heiser addresses all three passages as a composite sketch:

  • Genesis 3: The Nachash (“Shining One”) is “put down on the ground” (denoted by the “eating dust” reference in 3:14).

  • Isaiah 14: Helel (“Shining One”) is “brought down to Sheol” (v. 11); “cut down to the earth [erets]” (v. 12); “thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit” (v. 15).

  • Ezekiel 28: The brilliant, shining Cherub is “cast from the [cosmic] mountain of God” (v. 16) and “cast to the ground [erets]”(v. 17).

Heiser explains: “All three have a shining supernatural being in Eden who rebelled against God, who sought to usurp the headship of the divine council, who was cast from God’s presence, and who was placed beneath the created things he vowed to rule, sentenced to the domain of the Underworld.”[ix] We believe that the time draws near when the final aspect of Satan’s sentence will be executed and all hell will break loose on earth when the portal to the abyss is opened. In fact, Tom Horn will be arguing in media everywhere starting in May that this is “the most overlooked aspect of end-times prophecy. Gateways of the earth are about to open and a vast array of entities will erupt upon earth, causing men’s hearts to fail them for fear. We have filmed the increase in activity in case locations, and will be providing this evidence very soon.”

What Is a Portal?

Doorways, gates, and portals to untold realms are a familiar yet fantastic topic. The subject is esoteric, not because it is not discussed, but rather because it is seldom handled seriously outside of a reductionist scientific worldview. For our purposes within, the term “portal” can be defined in two senses as “any entrance to a place,” or “any means of access to something.”[x] In the first sense, a portal is a technological or supernatural doorway that connects two places, dimensions, or points in time—for example, a wormhole in a science-fiction movie or the wardrobe in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. In the supernatural sense, a “portal” may entail a prayer, a ritual, or an altered state of consciousness. Illustrations might even include an Ouija board as a “doorway of communication” with the spirit realm. A portal might link to a different spot within a universe (teleportation portal); a parallel world (interdimensional portal); the past or the future (time portal); and other planes of existence, such as Heaven, Hell, or other afterworlds (preternatural portals). Most of us learn about them in kindergarten.

Lewis Carroll popularized the idea with his 1871 Through the Looking Glass, a story (later adapted to Alice in Wonderland) about a girl who steps through her mirror and enters a different world. In 1930, Frank L. Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz launched Dorothy over the rainbow into another realm of reality. In 1950, C. S. Lewis introduced the above-mentioned Christian allegory, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in which the characters travel through a portal hidden in a wardrobe to a fantastic alternate reality with talking animals, the land of Narnia. Of course, this famous Christian allegory became a series of books known as the “Chronicles of Narnia.” In the series, Aslan the lion is a type of Christ, aptly described as “good,” but not necessarily “safe.” In book 6, The Magician’s Nephew, the “wood between the worlds” served as a portal within a dynamic multiverse, including the land of Narnia.

The existence of portal gateways logically follows from the existence of these other realms. Do such fantastic constituencies exist? Belief in some sort of Heaven is nearly universal, so the interface between our “this-worldly,” experiential space-time and the transcendent heavenly realm is a proper item for theological probing. In Scripture, portals to Heaven entail altered states of consciousness like dreams and visions. After dreaming about angels ascending and descending, Jacob declared Bethel “the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:17). The first verse of Isaiah describes the book as the “vision of Isaiah,” meaning a message from God given in symbolic form (1 Samuel 3:1; Ezekiel 7:26). Also, it is interesting that Paul wasn’t sure if he was in his body or outside of it when he journeyed to the Third Heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2). In chapter 8 “The Science of Portals” in the upcoming book On the Path of the Immortals we explain why science has been forced to acknowledge that consciousness affects physical matter. Otherworldly gates feature prominently in religious structures worldwide.

In the West, the lost knowledge of portals once featured prominently in the art and architecture of sacred spaces. Medieval cathedral and church entrances were designed to be spiritual transformation portals. Back then, the church was seen as an allegory for the voice of Christ. The entry portal was interpreted in light of Jesus’ figure of speech: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). Medieval scholar Calvin Kendall observed that cathedrals often aligned the figure of Christ with the vertical access of the door to symbolize this typology. Kendall states, “The portal was designed to assist the medieval Christians in experiencing the church as a mystical space that was both the dwelling place of God and the place where one entered into his or her better nature.”[xi] Like a wormhole to another universe, ecclesiastical doors served as a transition between the profane ordinary world and the sacred space.

In the East, the ancient name “Babylon” comes from the Hellenized form of the Akkadian Bab-Ilu, meaning “the gate of god.” In chapter 7of the upcoming book, we delve into Babylon and its gates. Babylonian astrology was the first organized system of astrology, arising in the second millennium BC.[xii] In India, Vedic astrology holds that twenty-seven constellations—identified as “Nakshatras” or cosmic energy portals—influence human destiny rather than the twelve zodiacal star signs.[xiii] The founder of Chinese Taoism, Lao Tzu, allegedly mastered techniques for out-of-body travel, and in some Taoist sects, an adept acquires the ability to “take flight and wander freely through enchanted islands, sacred mountains or celestial spheres.”[xiv]

Located east of Japan between Iwo Jima and Marcus Island, the Devil’s Sea boasts a comparably inexplicable record of vanishing ships and planes to its infamous counterpart in Bermuda. Apparently, it is serious enough that the Japanese government has officially labeled the area a danger zone.[xv] Stranger yet, the Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji, Japan, has become notorious throughout the world as the “Suicide Forest”—effectively, it’s a portal to Hades.

The East has influenced the West through theosophy and later the New Age movement, but the Native Americans were similarly pantheistic and animistic. Mount Shasta in California has Indian legends about little people and giants. The Apache creation myth includes giants and owl-like creatures among numerous other “monsters,” as does the Navajo and related tribes. Sedona, Arizona, is internationally heralded for its vortex sites. More than one author has suggested theses vortices are portals to other worlds or dimensions. In view of Sedona being the most well-known dimensional portal location in America, we visited the Sedona vortices, and we could not miss the opportunity to explore the nearby Superstition Mountains, which, according to Native American tradition, are the former home of superhuman giants. The Superstitions also host an ancient medicine wheel called Circlestone, which attracts quite a bit of UFO activity. About.com lists the Superstitions and Sedona as the top two paranormal hotspots in the US.[xvi] If portals to other realms exist, we would expect to find them there (and it seems we did).

Because all religious traditions and even materialist science acknowledge alternate realms, On the Path of the Immortals assumes that they exist, but critically evaluates them as well as various ideas about how they interface with the everyday world. After taking the reader along on our adventures in the American Southwest, we delve into earth mysteries, megalithic monuments, and places of power. We also explore alignments, ley lines, and the world grid. These concepts are evaluated in terms of various claims to dimensional portals and alternate realities. Such an investigation is multidisciplinary, requiring a broad range of topics—from hard science to religion and occultism.

Beginning with science, we show that portals are feasibly interconnecting black holes establishing a wormhole to another realm. After taking you along on a research trip to Sedona, Arizona, we explore biblical sites like Bethel and Babylon, as well as earth mysteries—pyramids, megalithic monuments, stone circles, and energy vortices. We look into the murky world of the occult and mysticism where portals feature prominently. While we endeavor to explain these items within a biblical supernatural worldview, reader be warned: The literature on the subject runs from cryptic theoretical physics to outright metaphysical lunacy. We have sifted through thousands of pages and, as expected, examples of the latter are ubiquitous. Nevertheless, the existence of counterfeit says nothing about the reality of the genuine article.

We explore the hypothesis that not only are such portals a reality, but they are positioned in a geometrical design when mapped as a grid. We dare ask if the ancient Book of Enoch, conservatively dated to 250 BC, defining twelve heavenly portals (Enoch 77:1), onlyseems like Ivan Sanderson’s twelve vortices (including the famous Bermuda Triangle)—or is it more than coincidence? Pioneering paranormal researcher John Keel called dimensional portals “windows.”[xvii]

Thus there are many “haunted” places all over the world, shunned by ancient man or made sacred by him. These are precise geographical locations, and anyone digging into the history and lore of such locations will find thousands of accounts of ghosts, demons, monsters, and flying saucers pinpointed within a few square miles and covering a thousand years or more of time. To UFO cultists such places are Windows: entry points for spaceships front some distant planet. Occultists teach that these are Gateways: weak spots in the Earth’s etheric envelope through which beings from other space-time continuums seep through into our reality.… There are literally thousands of these weak spots all over our planet. Paranormal and supernatural activities in these areas seem to be controlled by complicated cyclic factors. Periodically, all hell breaks loose in all these places simultaneously, and then we have a flap, or wave, of UFO sightings, apparitions, poltergeists, sudden inexplicable disappearances of animals and human beings, mysterious fires, and even a form of mass madness.[xviii]

Today, these areas are inevitably labeled “paranormal hot spots” or “interdimensional portals.” Keel’s most famous work, The Mothman Prophecies, focused on sightings of a six-foot, winged humanoid in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Hollywood produced a feature film starring Richard Gere in 2002, but what is less known is that Point Pleasant area had a marked increase in UFO sightings and many other paranormal phenomena around the same period (1966–1967).

Pastor Larry Gray was an early Mothman eyewitness. He saw the creature inside his home near Point Pleasant in 1966 and identified it as one of the immortals:

I looked over to my right and there, beside the bed, stood a six-foot dirty lunar or light gray colored figure with its wing-like arms extended and something like hands pointing downward. It had a glow, not illustrious, but a dirty glow. Its eyes were back in its head. I knew the thing was looking at me. I could feel evil communicating something horrible. It definitely was a non-human being. It just stood there staring at me, discharging evil in the room. My mind and body felt as if they were paralyzed. I could not speak. It was the devil. I knew it. The devil cannot stand against the power of the blood of Jesus, so in my mind, I kept repeating, “Jesus by the power of Your blood protect me. Jesus by the power of your blood.…” Little by little, the “Thing” disappeared. It vanished like pouring salt onto a snail. It was the devil; I know it was the devil.”[xix]

Cris Putnam at the Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia

In the course of researching On the Path of the Immortals, I visited Point Pleasant to research the Mothman legend. The local Mothman museum displays handwritten notes from John Keel, as well as yellowed newspaper articles from the time of the events preserved under sheets of glass. Interestingly, the UFO flap in the area at the same time as the Mothman sightings was reported in theHerald Dispatch on March 16, 1967. In addition, during the same brief window of time, a huge, pterodactyl-like cryptid known as a thunderbird was seen hovering in the skies.

The most fascinating aspect of the case is that all of the activity ceased when the Silver Bridge collapsed on December 15, 1967, killing forty-six motorists who were stuck in holiday shopping traffic. A few witnesses even reported seeing the Mothman in the vicinity of the bridge when it collapsed, leading to one theory that the Mothman was warning the residents of the impending disaster. Of course, the alternate theory is that the monster caused the tragedy. We suggest that the Mothman is one of the fallen immortals. From this curious history, it seems fair to explore Keel’s hypothesis, which is the fantastic notion that a portal or “window” opened over Point Pleasant, one that subsequently closed the day the Silver Bridge collapsed.

Keel theorized that every state within the continental United States has from two to ten “windows.”[xx] While a claim like that is extremely hard to justify, most states do have an example. Even so, it is a tricky proposition to decide which areas qualify and which do not. InZones of Strangeness: An Examination of Paranormal and UFO Hot Spots, parapsychologist Peter McCue laments the difficulties associated with identifying such regions:

When it comes to deciding whether an area is, or was, a hot spot, it would be helpful to have reliable data about the frequency of anomalous events elsewhere, thereby enabling statistical comparisons to be carried out. However, so far as I’m aware, this sort of information isn’t available. Therefore, some areas might be wrongly regarded as hot spots, whereas others, more deserving of that status, might be overlooked.[xxi]

A United Kingdom-based researcher, McCue’s 2012 treatise is a milestone in the serious study of the subject of portal regions. Not many credentialed academics are willing to contribute, but that will probably change.

In the next entry to this online series, we will look at examples of some of the portal locations within the United States we investigated and continue to scrutinize and where history says doors opened once before and those who are now prophesied to return once came through.

[i] “4Q Amramb (4Q544),” Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, revised and extended 4th ed. (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 312. (Previous ed.: London: Penguin, 1987.)

[ii] Mettinger, “Cherubim,” Dictionary of Deities and Demons, 189–190.

[iii] “Putti” at arthistory.about.com. 04-13.-2012, http://arthistory.about.com/cs/glossaries/g/p_putti.htm (accessed February 11, 2015).

[iv]James Strong, #H5175, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996).

[v] Ibid., #H5172.

[vi]Ibid., #H5153, #H5702.

[vii] B. Waltke and M. O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN:

Eisenbrauns, 1990), 261–262.

[viii] Michael S. Heiser, “The Nachash and His Seed: Some Explanatory Notes on Why the ‘Serpent’ in Genesis 3 Wasn’t a Serpent, ” Dept. of Hebrew and Semitic Studies, UW-Madison, http://www.pidradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/nachashnotes.pdf.

[ix] Michael S. Heiser, The Myth That Is True (first draft, January 2, 2012, of what will be published as The Unseen Realm in 2015), 70.

[x] MS Word 2013, Bing Dictionary.

[xi] Calvin B. Kendall, The Allegory of the Church: Romanesque Portals and Their Verse Inscriptions (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), xi.

[xii] James H. Holden, A History of Horoscopic Astrology (Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers, 1996), 1.

[xiii]Prash Trivedi, The 27 Celestial Portals: The Real Secret Behind the 12 Star Signs Revealed (New Dehli: Sagar Publications, 2004), vii.

[xiv] Carol Zaleski, Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-death Experiences in Medieval and Modern Times (New York: Oxford, 1987), 24, cited inHume, Portals, 10.

[xv] William Becker and Bethe Hagens, “The Planetary Grid: a New Synthesis,” in Anti-Gravity and the World Grid: Lost Science Series, David Hatcher Childress ed., (Stelle, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 1987), 35.

[xvi] Stephen Wagner, “Paranormal Hotspots,” About.com, http://paranormal.about.com/cs/earthanomalies/a/aa110303_3.htm (accessed February 11, 2015).

[xvii] John A. Keel, Why UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse (New York: Manor Books, 1970), 182.

[xviii]John A. Keel, Our Haunted Planet (London: Futura Publications, 1975), 53.

[xix] Patrecia Gray, The Thing: Mothman Devil, or Spirit (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012), 1.

[xx] Keel, Why UFOs, 182.

[xxi] Peter A. McCue, Zones of Strangeness: An Examination of Paranormal and UFO Hot Spots (Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2012), 11.

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The Telegraph

Nigel Farage: David Cameron 'directly caused' Libyan migrant crisis

Ukip leader says Britain should offer refuge to Christians from Libya, as up to 700 die in latest disaster at sea

A boat carrying migrants, including men, women and children, off the coast of Libya earlier this year Photo: EPA

By Matthew Holehouse, Political Correspondent

12:22PM BST 19 Apr 2015

Nigel Farage has blamed “fanatical” David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy for the drowning of hundreds of migrants off Italy, saying the exodus was “directly caused” by western intervention in the civil war in Libya.

The Ukip leader said that Nato had destabilised Libya when it launched bombing raids against Col Gaddafi in March 2011, causing the flight of refugees from the country.

He said Britain should offer refugee status to some Libyan Christians.

Up to 700 people are feared dead after a boat carrying migrants capsized off the Libyan coast overnight. Twenty eight people were rescued in the incident, which happened in an area just off Libyan waters, south of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, an Italian coast guard official said.

If confirmed, it would mean the total dead in the southern Mediterranean is more than 1,500.

Mr Farage rejected calls for a stronger European response to the crisis.

“It was the European response that caused this problem in the first place. The fanaticism of Sarkozy and Cameron to bomb Libya. They have completely destabilised Libya, to turn it into a country with much savagery, to turn it into a place where for Christians the place is now virtually impossible. We ought to be honest and say we have directly caused this problem”.

“There were no migrants coming in these quantities before we bombed the country, got rid of Gaddafi, however bad he might have been, and destabilised the whole situation.”

“I have not got a problem with us offering refugee status to some Christians from those countries.”

British aircraft were part of a Nato mission to bomb Gaddafi regime tanks in support of rebels.

However, since the toppling of Gaddifi Libya has fragmented with two rival governments and a series of armed militias vying for power.

It came as Mr Farage appealed to Labour voters to keep out the SNP.

"My plea from now until polling day is to Labour voters. Having taken part in the TV debates and seen the dynamics between Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, it's pretty clear who would wear the trousers. I'm saying to Old Labour, if you are patriotic, if you want a referendum, if you think immigration needs to be controlled, do not vote for Ed Miliband, vote for Ukip."

He said Mr Miliband had presented a "terrific opportunity" by all but ruling out an in-out referendum on EU membership.

***

ALTERNET

A Foreclosure Conveyor Belt: the Continuing Depopulation of Detroit

Detroit is not a city in the midst of a “revival,” as enterprising investors and the national media often claim

By Laura Gottesdiener / TomDispatch.com

April 19, 2015

Unlike so many industrial innovations, the revolving door was not developed in Detroit. It took its first spin in Philadelphia in 1888, the brainchild of Theophilus Van Kannel, the soon-to-be founder of the Van Kannel Revolving Door Company. Its purpose was twofold: to better insulate buildings from the cold and to allow greater numbers of people easier entry at any given time.

On March 31st at the Wayne Country Treasurer’s Office, that Victorian-era invention was accomplishing neither objective. Then again, no door in the history of architecture -- rotating or otherwise -- could have accommodated the latest perversity Detroit officials were inflicting on city residents: the potential eviction of tens of thousands, possibly as many as 100,000 people, all at precisely the same time.

Little wonder that it seemed as if everyone was getting stuck in the rotating doors of that Wayne County office building on the last day residents could pay their past-due property taxes or enter a payment plan to do so. Those who didn’t, the city warned, would lose their homes to tax foreclosure, the process by which a local government repossesses a house because of unpaid property taxes.

“Oh, my lord,” exclaimed one bundled-up woman when she first spotted the river of people, their documents in envelopes and folders of every sort, pouring out of cars, hunched over walkers, driving electric scooters, being pushed in wheelchairs, or simply attempting to jam their way on foot into the building. The afternoon was gray and unseasonably cold. The following day, in the middle of a snowless meadow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the governor of California would announce the state’s first-ever water restrictions as a result of an unprecedented, climate-change-influenced drought. Here in Michigan, city residents were facing another type of man-made disaster: possibly the largest single tax foreclosure in American history.

“It’s the last day to pay,” one woman heading toward the rotating glass chamber yelled to a pedestrian who had slowed to watch the commotion. Inside, a Wayne County Sheriff’s Department officer-turned-traffic-controller boomed instructions to a snaking line of people. “When you get to the eighth floor, you will get a number. Keep that number! Then go to the fifth floor.’”

The eighth floor, however, turned out to be little more than another human traffic jam, a holding space for thousands of anxious homeowners who faced hours of waiting before reaching the desk of some overworked city representative down on five. Yet, as a post office delivery worker gaping at the fiasco told me, this was less hectic than it had been a only few days earlier, when the treasurer’s office had rented out the Second Baptist Church across the street. There, people waited for the opportunity to enter the revolving doors to take the elevator to the eighth floor before heading for the fifth floor to... you get the gist.

In fact, the whole week had been a god-awful mess. A day earlier, rumors had it, a woman had passed out in the elevator between the eighth and fifth floors en route to “making arrangements,” the euphemism for getting on a payment plan that might save your home.

“What happens if you can’t pay?” a slender man asked me as we dodged a new wave of people surging through the glass cylinder.

“Then they sell your house at auction,” I replied.

“For real?” he asked, amazed.

He was waiting for his sister to make those “arrangements.” He didn’t have to worry about all this, he explained, because ever since he’d lost his job, which had provided him with housing, he’d been staying in motels. The Victory Inn over in Dearborn and the Viking across from the Motor City casino were both reasonable enough places, he assured me, but the Royal Inn on Eight Mile was the cheapest of all -- $35 a night plus a $10 key deposit. That establishment’s single enigmatic Yelp review read: “This is definitely someplace you want to go where totally normal things happen.”

A Blueprint for Civic Hell

Detroit was once famous for creating the largest, most spectacular versions of whatever its residents set their minds to, be they assembly lines, record labels, or revolutionary workers' associations. The city is often credited with inventing and mass-producing the twentieth century, while its workers simultaneously took the lead in revolting against the injustices of the era. Its factories put the world on wheels and labor laws on the books. Its workers and thinkers sparked and fanned a number of this country’s most influential resistance movements.

Detroit: every article about you should include a love letter, a thank-you note, a history lesson, for without you…

Few care to admit, however, that the city that was the arsenal of the twentieth century may also provide the blueprint for a more precarious era. Which brings us to those massive tax foreclosures of the present moment. Just over 60,000 homes, about half of them occupied, are slated for the auction block. As many as 100,000 of the city’s residents -- about a seventh of the total number -- are now on track for what many are calling an eviction “conveyor belt.”

Such an image easily springs to mind in this city whose auto factories were famous for their oh-so-efficient shop floors. These days, sadly enough, it’s all-too-easy to imagine a twenty-first-century version of a classic Detroit assembly line dedicated to processing its own residents, workers, and retirees -- all the ones it claims to no longer need, all those too old, too young, too ill-trained, too inefficient for a post-bankruptcy city. These undesirables, it seems, are to be turned into so many economic refugees on a conveyor belt to nowhere. While everyone loves to hear about legendary industrial Detroit, no one wants to hear about its de-industrialized progeny, and especially not about foreclosures -- not again.

Mike Shane, a Detroit resident and organizer with the anti-foreclosure group Moratorium Now!, knows this better than anyone. “We call the press, and they say, give us anything but foreclosures,” he tells me ruefully.

Connecting the Dots

On March 31st, some people did manage to make the necessary “arrangements” to save their homes. That included one woman with a Hillary Clinton-style hairdo who had lived on Winthrop Street since the 1960s, but like so many in the working-class sections of the city had fallen behind on her taxes. “They asked, ‘Why didn’t you pay your property taxes?’” she explained as she rested on one of the first-floor benches. “And I said, ‘Because I had a heart attack.’”

Last year, she recalled, a neighbor’s home fell into tax foreclosure. A man who lived on the same block noticed the familiar address on the auction list. He bought it back for her, she tells me. “He said to the woman, ‘Pay me back when you can, if you can.’”

Detroit is full of similar stories, filled with a stubborn sense of hope. But there are so many more addresses on the foreclosure list than angelic neighbors. By early afternoon that March day, the building still bursting at its seams with thousands of people, the county office conceded its inability to cope and extended the foreclosure deadline another six weeks.

“I don’t know if it’s because they’re so damn overwhelmed,” wondered Mary Crenshaw, a sunken-eyed woman who was relieved by the announcement, as it gave her time to wait for a lump-sum retirement payout from British Airways, her former employer. She had come to save her family home in Highland Park, a small city enclosed by Detroit whose once occupied homes sported oak floors and beveled glass windows. Now, more than half of them are empty, lawns overgrown, windows boarded up, the former homeowners having already ridden earlier foreclosure conveyor belts out of the neighborhood.

After all, this current tax foreclosure crisis comes right on the heels of the city’s last great displacement: the 2008 housing crash, which descended on Detroit like a tidal wave, sweeping nearly a quarter of a million people out of the city and leaving in its wake tens of thousands of vacant properties.

The fact that the city is now threatening to evict a seventh of its remaining inhabitants in a single year, all because of unpaid property taxes, seems like an absurd proposition until you begin to connect the dots: the mass water shutoffs, the shuttering of dozens of public schools, the neglect of fire hydrants in particular neighborhoods, and now this deluge of foreclosures.

Looking at the pattern that emerges, you can see that Detroit is not only a city in the midst of a “revival,” as enterprising investors and the national media often claim. It’s true that redevelopment is taking place in some neighborhoods, and city officials do claim that big changes are coming, often illustrating them with colorful documents that look like they were formatted by a team of graphic design wizards from the back of San Francisco’s Google Bus.

But that’s just one part of the Detroit story. For the city’s low-income, black, and elderly residents, Detroit isn’t a city on the rise, but one under siege.

An Emergency That Never Ends

On a blustery Saturday afternoon just two weeks before the day of the foreclosure deadline, an Emergency People’s Assembly Against Tax Foreclosures was held at Old Christ Church to address this siege. It was one of a set of “people’s assemblies” called to deal with the latest crisis in a city where, in recent years, crises have never been lacking. Before the tax foreclosure assemblies there had been the Emergency People’s Assemblies Against Bank Foreclosures, the Emergency Pack-The-Court Actions to Defend Homeowners from Eviction, the Emergency Town Halls to Defend City Pensions & Services, the Emergency Meetings Against the Emergency Financial Manager, and so on.

“Emergency” had, in other words, been the word of the moment for years and years. That invasive sense of never-ending urgency could similarly be seen in the literature of such groups -- in the words always screamingly in capital letters, in the typographical equivalents of exclamation points. When I’d first heard about the most recent event, I was in a meeting with Mike Shane and I said to him, “Over the three years I’ve been visiting Detroit, I’ve never arrived at a time you weren’t holding an Emergency People’s Assembly the following Saturday.”

Shane laughed on cue. “Well, yes, that’s right,” he replied. “We’ve been at this since about 2007.”

The Old Christ Church that day was shiveringly cold. From the pew behind me came the sound of rustling coats as two children squirmed. Beside them sat their grandmother and grandfather, Lula and Daryl Burke, who had come to describe how their home had been sold at a tax foreclosure auction last year. With the help of the grassroots community group Detroit Eviction Defense, Lula explained, the Burkes had convinced the home’s buyer to sell it back to the family.

A little bit of gumption on her part helped, too. As she recalled explaining to the investor who had bought her home at auction, he could try to sell the house to someone else. But before he did that, she planned to strip every last thing out of it. “It won’t have a furnace, a toilet, doors, windows, all the way down to the light switch,” she warned him.

On the wall behind the altar three white-robed angels were suspended in mid-frolic, oblivious to the current condition of their once regal city. In front of them stood anti-foreclosure lawyer Jerry Goldberg. “Are we going to allow 62,000 more foreclosures this year?” he thundered, his face growing redder. I later learned that, years ago, Goldberg had sold peanuts down at the old Tigers stadium (now a bulldozed parking lot) and his unrelenting voice had apparently made him very good at it.

“No!” he responded emphatically to his own question. “Are we going to allow them to make our neighborhoods into a bunch of ponds?”

Perhaps I should have led with this information: in some of the city’s latest flashy Adobe InDesign-ed planning documents, certain of Detroit’s more down-and-out neighborhoods have been transformed into ponds. Or, to be more precise, they have been turned into “water retention basins” that planners believe will offer the Detroit of the future superior management of storm water runoff.

Minutes earlier, Alice Jennings, one of the most celebrated social justice lawyers in the city, had explained that, according to Detroit’s planning documents, those retention basins are slated to be built on top of now populated neighborhoods. In other words, ponds are also what we’re talking about when we talk about Detroit’s tax foreclosures.

“No!” Goldberg shouted yet again. “We need to stop these foreclosures with a moratorium, a halt! The idea that this can’t be done is hogwash! The Supreme Court held in 1934 that, during a period of emergency, the people’s need to survive supersedes any financial contract! The governor has a responsibility to declare a state of emergency!”

His sentences all ended in exclamation points, as his torrent of words resounded off the church’s high ceilings. In an upside-down universe, Goldberg would have made a skilled auctioneer rather than a man desperate to save all those homes and their inhabitants.

To be clear, Goldberg isn’t suggesting another of the emergency proclamations that Michigan’s governors have used to impose unelected emergency managers on school districts and municipalities from Detroit to Muskegon Heights. Rather, he’s calling for the governor to declare a state of emergency under Michigan law 10.31, which would allow him to “promulgate reasonable orders, rules, and regulations as he or she considers necessary to protect life and property” -- including, of course, halting the tax foreclosures. In 1933, similar actions allowed Michigan’s legislature to pass the Mortgage Moratorium Act, later upheld by the Supreme Court, mandating a five-year halt on property foreclosures.

Winning that moratorium took, among other things, a well-organized national Communist Party, hundreds of worker councils, thousands of eviction blockades, and -- I’d be willing to bet, although I don’t have the archival evidence -- an incredible number of “emergency meetings.”

Woe to Those Who Plan Iniquities

By late afternoon, Goldberg was resting his vocal chords and about a dozen people from the audience were lining up to take the microphone, including Cheryl West, a tiny, gray-haired woman clutching a thick Bible to her stomach. When it was her turn to speak, she began: “I lost my home of 60 years.” There was no trace of bitterness in her voice, just a touch of awe and disbelief. “It’s been quite a journey. Quite a journey.”

“Let me give you a little background,” she continued. “My entire family is now deceased. My father was the first African American to teach music in Detroit, possibly in the entire state of Michigan. He worked for the school system. He lived in that very house. He lived there through the 1967 riots and we were right at the hub of where the riots started. My sister was a journalist, and during the riots she was one of the people getting the story out to the media, because she was working for UPI at the time. My sister was on the front page of the London Times, that’s how far her news traveled of the city burning down around us.”

Then, after a few more background comments on her life, she opened up her bible. “Since we’re in a church,” she said by way of explanation and began to read from the Book of Micah. She skipped its beginning.

Woe to those who plan iniquity,

to those who plot evil on their beds!

At morning’s light they carry it out

because it is in their power to do it.

They covet fields and seize them,

and houses, and take them.

They defraud people of their homes,

they rob them of their inheritance...”

Undoubtedly, she assumed that everyone in the church was already familiar with such “iniquities” and the biblical lines that went with them. After all, in the previous few years, they had lived through the 2008 foreclosure crisis, the imposition of an emergency manager on their city, mass water shutoffs, and significant pension cuts for retired city workers, not to speak of all the evils that had come before.

Instead, she read the verses she liked best, the ones that, as she said, God led her to just about the time she lost her home.

You strip off the rich robe

from those who pass by without a care,

like men returning from battle.

You drive the women of my people

from their pleasant homes.

You take away my blessing

from their children forever."

She paused, then suddenly, in a surprisingly powerful voice, yelled the next line: “Get up! Go away!”

The church reverberated with her admonishment. And then, with a smile at her own audacity, she added, “The end.”

Shortly afterwards, we filed out of the church. And yet it was not the end. It never is.

There is now, for instance, that new deadline -- May 12th -- for residents to get on a payment plan to avoid losing their homes to tax foreclosure. That offers more time for people to navigate the revolving doors of the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office, head up to the eighth floor, then down to the fifth, all in an effort to fight their way off of the city’s conveyor belt to nowhere. And, of course, it gives residents more time to host emergency people’s assemblies aimed at throwing a monkey wrench -- once and for all -- into this assembly line of eviction and displacement.

Even if that happened, however, these gatherings, called for in all capital letters and exclamation points, undoubtedly wouldn’t end. They’ve become as much a fixture of this city as the women and men who organize them, the churches that host them, and the neighborhoods whose survival may depend on them. After all, the worst injustice would not be whatever provokes the next emergency people’s assembly, but the possibility of a future Detroit without such gatherings, one in which all these meetings and people are gone, all the stories have been suppressed. Imagine, then, the worst iniquity of all, the one so many are fighting against: a Detroit where once inhabited streets have been submerged in the silence of water retention ponds, where longtime residents have been scattered and displaced by the foreclosure conveyor belt and no one left in the city knows the history of what’s been drowned.

Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and the author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," forthcoming from Zuccotti Park Press.

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INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

Iranian Ayatollah: Emancipate Islam's Holy Sites From Saudi Control, Hand Mecca To 'Men Of Piety'

By Lora Moftah @LoraMoftah l.moftah@ibtimes.com on April 16 2015 12:13 PM EDT

Pilgrims at Mecca's al-Haram mosque. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Saudi Arabia and Iran’s increasingly bitter dispute about Islamic pilgrimages to Mecca escalated after a senior Iranian cleric publicly called Saudi custodianship of Islam’s two holiest sites as "servitude" and called for their "emancipation." Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, speaking to an Iranian seminary class, also denounced the Saudi government’s ongoing military campaign in Yemen, Iranian media reported Thursday.

“The custodianship of [Mecca and Medina] should be handed to men of piety,” Amoli, an influential Shiite Muslim scholar, said in comments reported by the semi-official state news agency Mehr. “The current Saudi custodians however are the [descendents] of those who turned it to a house of idols and indulged themselves in drunken revelry,” he said, adding that the conditions of the holy cities’ custodianship should be reviewed with the aim of freeing them “from the servitude” of the Sunni monarchy.

Harsh rhetoric between the two regional rivals is far from uncommon and has heated up in recent months against the backdrop of the Saudi-led airstrike campaign targeting Iranian-backed Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, in Yemen. However, Amoli’s call hits a sensitive spot for Saudi Arabia’s rulers, who have historically derived much of their regional credibility from their custodianship of Mecca, the birthplace of Islam that all able-bodied Muslims are required to make a pilgrimage to once in their lifetime.

“Saudi Arabia bases its whole legitimacy on religion,” said Ali Al-Ahmed, a Saudi expert and the director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington. “Because the Saudis control Mecca, they have been able to make themselves a great regional player.” The importance of Mecca and Medina, Islam’s second-holiest city, to the Saudi monarchy is underscored by the official title claimed by the kingdom’s rulers. Every Saudi king since 1986 has officially been called the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” in reference to Mecca’s al-Haram mosque and Medina’s al-Nabawi mosque.

Control of the holy cities has historically been an important tool not only for political legitimacy but as a means of elevating its rulers to represent all Muslims, according to Madawi Al-Rasheed, a visiting professor at the Middle East Center in the London School of Economics. “Mecca was and continues to be the jewel in the Arab crown,” Al-Rasheed wrote in a commentary for Al-Monitor. “Without it, the Saudi leadership would be just one regional power among many others.”

In recent years, the kingdom has used its position as the gatekeeper of the holy cities as an effective political tool, leveraging access to minimize criticism of its government by Muslims and to retaliate against critics, Al-Ahmed said. This tendency appears to be particularly true where Iran is concerned. The current dispute between the Saudi government and Iran around the pilgrimages was sparked by allegations that Saudi authorities sexually harassed two teenage Iranian male pilgrims. Tensions were later exacerbated when the kingdom turned away an Iranian plane carrying 260 pilgrims on the grounds that it did not have permission to use the country’s airspace. Iran suspended all pilgrimages to the country on Monday in response.

Amoli’s call for the emancipation of the mosques has some precedent in a particularly dark period in relations between the two countries. The last time such a high-ranking Iranian official publicly disavowed Saudi Arabia’s custodianship of the holy sites was in the contentious aftermath of the 1987 bloodshed in Mecca that left 400 pilgrims, mostly Iranians, dead after Saudi security forces cracked down on an unauthorized protest at the holy site. Following the incident, Iran broke off diplomatic relations with the kingdom and boycotted the pilgrimage for several years, while prominent figures began calling for the transfer of Saudi control of Mecca.

The calls for emancipating Mecca and Medina from Saudi control come at a time when the political tensions between the two states are dialing up, both from the Yemen conflict and as the recently signed nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers adds to Saudi Arabia's and its Gulf allies’ concerns about the Islamic Republic’s regional hegemony.

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YLE="margin-bottom: 0in">WND

MILITARY OPS ON U.S. SOIL RAISE MARTIAL-LAW FEARS

Wal-Mart closures have citizens concerned

Published: April 21, 2015

CHERYL CHUMLEY

Jade Helm 15 is set to kick off in seven states this summer, sending Special Operations forces from all four main branches of the military onto civilian soil to conduct hostile take-over training – and civil-rights advocates are sounding the alarms.

This is how the military describes it:

“The nature of warfare is always changing and U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s mission is to make certain the Army’s various Special Operations Forces are trained, equipped and organized to successfully conduct worldwide special operations in support of our nation’s interests,” said command spokesman Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, in a statement to the Washington Post a few weeks ago. “Training exercise Jade Helm is going to assist our Special Operations Soldiers and leadership in refining the skills needed against an ever changing foreign threat.”

But plenty on social media aren’t calmed by the explanation, in part remembering the recent similar operation in Broward County, Florida, that saw Blackhawk helicopters flying above community streets while soldiers loaded citizen participants into white vans for transport to internment camps. It was all a staged exercise but for those watching, the scenes that unfolded were alarming.

The looming Jade Helm exercise, set for July 15 through Sept. 15, labels Texas and Utah as hostile areas. Global Research also reported the military says New Mexico “isn’t much friendlier.” Other states participating: California, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada.

Some of the social media commentary so far: “The Pentagon’s ‘Operations Jade Helm 15′: The Floodgate towards Martial Law and World War III?”

And another: “Using Foreign Troops with Jade Helm Martial Law is TREASON.”

Yet one more poster pointed to recent reported Wal-Mart closures in Texas, California, Florida and Oklahoma with concern, saying the cited “plumbing problems” cited as the reason for the sudden shut-downs just don’t meet the smell test.

“Employees impacted by the Wal-Mart closures were given just a few hours notice about the six-month shutdown,” the blog Inquisitr wrote. “Approximately 2,200 employees will now be without a paycheck during the ‘extended repairs.’ … The abrupt Wal-Mart closures announcement has reportedly left employees confused and Americans pondering the existence of Wal-Mart underground tunnels and Operation Jade Helm conspiracy theories.”

One of the theories?

Inquisitr reports: “One of the widely circulating rumors associated with the Jade Helm Wal-Mart story on the Internet speculates that the military will use the underground tunnels to move undetected around certain states with the stores being used as either a communications hub or FEMA camps.”

The fear is ratcheted by the fact city officials who govern the areas of the impacted Wal-Marts say the stores haven’t filed any permit requests for plumbing problems, Inquisitr said.

Meanwhile, a presentation made to Big Spring, Texas, City Council members by Tom Meade, a retired special forces senior non-commissioned officer, to explain some of the upcoming Jade Helm exercises emphasized residents shouldn’t worry about private property trespasses.

“We won’t trespass on somebody’s property without the agreement of that landowner,” he said, in a YouTube video of the presentation.

He also described the operation as a joint military-interagency activity involving members of all military branches, the FBI, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies. Meade said the FBI, for example, will do some questioning at one of the airports in Arizona.

One council member asked about the operation’s involvement of NATO and U.N. personnel.

“Currently … it is U.S. only,” Meade said.

ENENEWS

Professors: 100s of Millions of animals have died recently along West Coast — Worst mortality event ever known — “Wiped out at least 20 different species” — Marine life also disappearing from Fukushima coast

New Yorker, Apr 21, 2015: [A]n ongoing outbreak of a sea-star wasting disease… has killed millions of starfish… It’s the greatest wildlife mass-mortality event, or “die-off,” of the present day… Online, speculation about the cause of the die-off soon focussed [sic] on radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant… [Pete Raimondi, principal investigator with a research group studying the disease] recalled a phone call in which a fearful soon-to-be father asked whether he should immediately move his family away from the West Coast. It was one of many similarly heartfelt calls. Researchers have found no evidence of a link between the ongoing Fukushima disaster and the starfish die-off,.. Many members of the public remain unconvinced… sea stars are known to be maritime canaries-in-the-coal-mine: “They’re always the first ones to go,” Raimondi said.

eurasia review

A SILENT BIOTECHNOLOGY RACE LINGERS ON – OPED

DECEMBER 16, 2013 BRETT DANIEL SHEHADEY LEAVE A COMMENT

By Brett Daniel Shehadey

Biotechnology may soon have the most profound impact on national security far greater than cybersecurity ever could. According to open news sources:

In 1997, the first genetically modified human baby is born through in vitro fertilization techniques of Jacques Cohen, transplanting cytoplasm and mitochondrial DNA between different human embryos (one man and two women) in the US.

In 2001, it is reported that some 30 genetically engineered healthy babies are born worldwide.

Chinese scientists in 2003 crossed rabbit genes with a human embryo but destroyed them.

In 2008, Nikica Zaninovic of Cornell, successfully introduced GFP (green florescent proteins) from a species of a Jellyfish into human embryos but destroyed them.

In 2009 Professor Li Jianyuan clones human embryos in China with technique of donor cells injected into an egg.

In 2011, China genetically engineered cows to produce human milk.

This year, BGI Shenzhen, China’s largest biotech firm, is collecting 2,000 genomes of the smartest people in the world and hoping to raise the intelligence of their society by at least five percent in the future. Other websites say they are not doing this for reasons they cite as being too difficult. But either way, they are buying up massive amounts of sequencing machinery and genome related industries which will be used to map genomes and potentially screen for more advanced genetic traits in the future.

Any modern state with biotechnological advantage in altering the DNA and gene expression of any organisms or an entire population will be the leader of the race. Unlike the Arms Race, or the Space Race, the Biotechnology/GMO Race is even more controversial. The real nasty illegal research is kept off the books and is isolated in secret locations by many governments around the world. Some are made public as a show of power and pride.

The Chinese advantage appears to be in quantity and data processing. They also have a lot more eggs and a lot less moral qualms (traditionally a fetus is not considered human at all until birth).

The race is just another type of espionage game as well. In this way China does well to steal America’s greatest research and thus may soon defeat the U.S. on all fronts: bioethics, quantity and quality of GM related techniques and technologies.

It is not just a political and military concern. A given state’s civilian population becomes slowly more tolerant of biotechnological advances over time—governments, industries and scientists are all pushing the boundaries in areas as diverse as fashion, food and fighting.

What if China develops the first superhuman solider or DNA/RNA targeting weapons? What should the U.S. response be when their people become suddenly smarter or stronger than ours? Or when their bioweapons can literally be put in the food and water supply and threaten the population’s DNA?

Will the U.S. have a choice at that point not to enter into the darker areas that purportedly remains sealed off from Western morality?

Bottom-line: pragmatic realism trumps bioethics in modern states

*First Published in In Homeland Security.

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Zero Hedge

The Greek "White Knight" Emerges: Putin To Give Athens €5 Billion For Advance Gas Pipeline Fees

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/18/2015 22:54 -0400

With Greece teetering on the edge of insolvency and forced to raid pension and most other public funds, ahead of another month of heavy IMF repayments which has prompted even the ECB to speculate Greece should introduce a parallel "IOU" currency, a white knight has appeared out of nowhere for Greece, one who may offer $5 billion in urgently needed cash. The white knight is none other than Vladimir Putin. “Just because Greece is debt-ridden, this does not mean it is bound hand

and foot, and has no independent foreign policy,” Putin said previously.

According to Spiegel, citing a senior figure in the ruling Syriza party, Greece is poised to sign a gas deal with Russia as early as Tuesday which could bring up to €5 billion into the depleted Greek coffers.

The move could now "turn the tide" for the debt-stricken country according to a senior Greek official.

As Reuters adds, during a visit to Moscow earlier this month, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed interest in participating in a pipeline that would bring Russian gas to Europe via Turkey and Greece.

Under the proposed deal, Greece would receive advance funds from Russia based on expected future profits linked to the pipeline. The Greek energy minister said last week that Athens would repay Moscow after 2019, when the pipeline is expected to start operating.

Greek government officials were not immediately available to comment on the Spiegel report.

Of course, this being Greece, the probability of actual repayment is negligible: after all the likelihood of a Greek default is astronomical, and €5 billion will do little to change the mechanics of Greek debt sustainability. And Putin very well knows this.

However, the Russian leader is not acting out of the kindness of his heart, but merely engaging in another calculated move, one which kills two birds with one stone:

Following the death of the South Stream, whereby the EU pressured Bulgaria to refuse passage of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe, Russia needed an alternative route of bypassing Ukraine (and Bulgaria) entirely, something which according to Kremlin's plan should happen over the next 3 years. And with Hungary and Serbia all eager to transit Russian gas to the Austrian central european gas hub, Greece was the missing link for a landline transit. With this agreement, Russia gets the green light to extend the Blue Stream all the way to Austria and preserve its dominance over the European energy market while leaving Ukraine in a completely barganining vacuum.

Perhaps just as importantly, suddenly Russia will energy as the generous benefactor riding to Greece's salvation, in turn even further antagonizing the Eurozone and further cementing favorable public opinion. As a reminder, several weeks ago we showed that Russia already has a higher approval rating among the Greek population thatn the Eurozone. In this way, Russia has just won a critical ally for the very low price of just €5 billion, without even having to restructure the entire Greek balance sheet should Greece have exited the euro and been attracted to the Eurasian Economic Union. Which also means that all future attempts to impose further sanctions on Russia by Europe will fail thanks to the Greek veto vote.

Russia is not alone in seeking to divide the spoils of the collapsing Eurozone: Beijing has also sought to invest in Greece's infrastructure and bought up €100m worth of short-term government debt last week the Telegraph reports.

Ironically, it was none other than Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schauble who said the Greeks are free to pursue deals with Russia and China as they rush to avoid an impending bankruptcy. Turns out the Greeks decided to do precisely as the German suggested, and the outcome will certainly not be to Germany's liking.

The only question following what may well be another masterful stroke by Putin is what will Europe do, now that Putin has in the span of under one year, not only "annexed" Crimea but fully drawn Greece (and the Mediterranean courtesy of Cyprus) into its sphere of influence.

+++

While we are sure the European leadership will be 'disappointed' at Greece's get-out-of-Troika-jail card thanks to Russia, The Greek people have already expressed their opinion on just who they trust more...

Despite all the western propaganda...

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Subject: Modern Life Is a Frightening Experiment in How Much Exposure We Can Take from Toxic Chemicals

Date: April 21, 2015 at 8:01:43 AM CDT

Modern Life Is a Frightening Experiment in How Much Exposure We Can Take from Toxic Chemicals

By Allegra Kirkland, AlterNet, April 17, 2015

Back in 1974, the agricultural multinational Monsanto developed a class of herbicides using glyphosate as the key ingredient. By the 1990s, the company had created corn, soy and cotton seeds genetically altered to resist glyphosate herbicides, meaning farmers could kill weeds without fearing for the health of their crops. Today, Monsanto’s Roundup is the most widely used weed-killer in the world.

One problem: we now know with certainty that glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans and animals. Though Roundup has been plagued by controversy for years, a report released this March by scientists affiliated with the World Health Organization definitively linked the herbicide to increased risks for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals.

Roundup is only one of tens of thousands of chemicals we encounter every day in our food, clothing, furniture, electronics and cosmetics. Over 84,000 chemicals are used in U.S. commerce, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, most of which have never been tested for potentially toxic effects on human and wildlife health and the environment. The Human Experiment, a new documentary narrated by Sean Penn and directed by journalists Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, takes a wide-angle view on the health risks perpetuated by the chemical industry.

The documentary uses three case studies to provide a sampling of the potential health consequences of sustained chemical exposure. Marika Holmgren is an active, non-smoking Bay Area woman with no family history of cancer who receives a diagnosis of advanced breast cancer at age 37; Jenn Canvasser is a healthy young woman who discovers she has polycystic ovarian syndrome and endures several difficult, expensive rounds of IVF treatments as she and her husband try to conceive; and Hannah Cary, whose brother is severely autistic, is an advocate at the Autism Society of America. The subjects and filmmakers make the case that chemicals in the environment are responsible for these health conditions, and there is plenty of unnerving science to back up their fears.

Many of the professors and scientists interviewed in the film point to rising rates of cancer, learning disorders and infertility that cannot be fully explained by genetic drift or changes in diagnostic criteria. Breast cancer rates have gone up more than 30 percent in both men and women since 1975. Rates of asthma have increased by 80 percent in the last 45 years, and ADHD has increased by 53 percent. As Sean Penn narrates, these conditions “are all on the rise since the dawn of the chemical revolution.”

But correlation and causation are not the same thing, as any scientist (or journalist) knows. In the case of women like Jenn Canvasser, there could be many other environmental and genetic factors at play. Like 6.5 million other women in the U.S., Canvasser has trouble conceiving. When she finally gives birth to twins after multiple rounds of IVF treatments, both are plagued by health problems and one eventually dies after a few short, hospital-ridden months. Her story is heartbreaking, but at no point is her or her sons’ condition explicitly linked to chemical exposure. Instead, the filmmakers say “Numerous studies associate adverse pregnancy outcomes with toxic chemicals including pesticides, DDT, PCBs and BPA.” Again and again, they hammer home the connection between rising rates of disease and chemical usage.

Over the past several decades, the chemical industry has repeatedly demonstrated a blatant disregard for public health. Existing and new chemicals are supposed to be monitored by a 1976 law known as the Toxic Substances Control Act. But loopholes in its language mean that companies don’t have to test chemicals before including them in consumer products and make it very difficult for the EPA to pull hazardous chemicals from the market. Sixty-two thousand chemicals, including toxic substances like asbestos, were grandfathered in under the law, assumed safe because they were already in use. Essentially, the TSCA functions as little more than a long list of known chemicals, and consumers have no way of knowing which products contain flame retardants, formaldehyde, cadmium, or other chemicals that can be toxic to humans and animals.

As David Rosner, a professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, says in the film, there have been “real mistakes, major mistakes where we allowed these industries to get away with murder.”

The lack of available information about the linkages between chemicals and disease is partly the design of the $770 billion chemical industry. Dow, Exxon and other major firms spend millions each year lobbying Washington for favorable legislation and funding the campaigns of industry-friendly representatives. In the late 1990s, bisphenol A, an endocrine-disrupting chemical that mimics estrogen and can lead to health problems ranging from obesity to infertility, was discovered to be in many hard plastics. These everyday products included everything from baby bottles to Tupperware. During the ensuing public outcry, chemical industry trade groups released a rash of bunk studies, insisting that BPA is safe for humans at the levels to which we’re exposed.

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Daily Mail

Could BROCCOLI protect against cancer? Compound in green cruciferous veg is found to 'stop the growth of tumours'

  • Scientists are developing a new treatment called 'green chemoprevention'

  • Involves patients eating daily extracts of broccoli, cabbage or cress

  • These vegetables are high in sulforaphane, which protects against tumours

  • Compound caused changes in the cells lining the mouth that protected

By MADLEN DAVIES FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 09:28 EST, 20 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:29 EST, 20 April 2015

Broccoli has long been hailed as a superfood, and it could soon protect people from cancer of the mouth, throat, neck and head, a study claims.

Scientists are developing a new treatment known as 'green chemoprevention' in which broccoli and other vegetables are used to prevent the disease.

They explained that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and garden cress have a high concentration of sulforaphane – which is why they have a slightly bitter taste.

Previous studies, including large-scale trials in China, have shown sulforaphane helps 'undo' the effects of cancer-causing agents in the environment.

Broccoli could soon protect people from cancer of the mouth, throat, neck and head. Sulforaphane - the compound that gives the vegetable its bitter taste - was found to reduce the number of tumours in patients

Now, lab tests have shown extracts made from broccoli sprout protected mice against oral cancer.

American scientists now plan to carry out clinical trials on patients at high risk of having their head and neck cancer return.

They will be given capsules containing broccoli seed powder to determine if they can be tolerated, and to test whether it has enough of an impact on their oral lining cells, where cancers form, to prevent the disease.Associate professor Dr Julie Bauman, of the University of Pittsburgh, said: 'People who are cured of head and neck cancer are still at very high risk for a second cancer in their mouth or throat, and, unfortunately, these second cancers are commonly fatal.

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More pictures

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CNN

Photo of quadruple rainbow in New York colors the Internet awestruck

By Jamie K. White and Henry Hanks, CNN

Updated 11:26 PM ET, Tue April 21, 2015

(CNN)Somewhere over the rainbow, people on the Internet are losing their minds. Is it real?

After the New York area received a large amount of rain, four rainbows stretched across the early morning sky on Tuesday.

Amanda Curtis, CEO of a fashion company in New York, snapped the lucky shot.

At first, she thought it was just one.

"But I looked a little bit closer and saw that there were actually four," she told CNN. "I had a small moment of awe."

She posted the picture to Twitter, and within a few hours, it had already received hundreds of retweets.

"It's been surreal I feel like we're breaking the Internet but in a really great way," she told CNN affiliate WPIX.

This isn't the first time rainbows have shown up in multiples. But the splendor of such a scene can render us speechless, even emotional -- much like the star of the famous "double rainbow" video.

CNN iReporter Yosemitebear Vasquez posted a video to YouTube in 2010 reacting to a double rainbow he spotted in Yosemite National Park. The video has since garnered over 40 million views.

Of course, we asked the unofficial rainbow spokesman to weigh in on the phenomenon.

"Whoa, that's a quadruple rainbow! All the way," he exclaims. "What does it mean?"

We don't know exactly, but the Internet can't get enough.

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

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”
(Genesis 9:13)


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