TBR News November 25, 2016

Nov 25 2016

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C.  November 25, 2016: “The last major ice age happened after a period of global warming. The immense fresh water Lake Agassiz, which covered most of what is now southern Canada, began to drain into the St. Lawerence and from there into the North Atlantic. This triggred an overturn to the system and we had a very sudden ice age. There have been mastodons found in the melting ice in Sibera who were frozen to death with food still in their mouths. And when the overturn comes, so also come the glaciers and freezing weather in the Northern Hemisphere.  All of Canada will be ice and the Canadians will have to move south or freeze to death. How soon will this happen? No one knows for certain but all of the indicators show it will happen soon and quickly.”

Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level

Scientists warn increasingly rapid melting could trigger polar ‘tipping points’ with catastrophic consequences felt as far away as the Indian Ocean

November 25, 2016

by Fiona Harvey

The Guardian

Arctic scientists have warned that the increasingly rapid melting of the ice cap risks triggering 19 “tipping points” in the region that could have catastrophic consequences around the globe.

The Arctic Resilience Report found that the effects of Arctic warming could be felt as far away as the Indian Ocean, in a stark warning that changes in the region could cause uncontrollable climate change at a global level.

Temperatures in the Arctic are currently about 20C above what would be expected for the time of year, which scientists describe as “off the charts”. Sea ice is at the lowest extent ever recorded for the time of year.

“The warning signals are getting louder,” said Marcus Carson of the Stockholm Environment Institute and one of the lead authors of the report. “[These developments] also make the potential for triggering [tipping points] and feedback loops much larger.”

Climate tipping points occur when a natural system, such as the polar ice cap, undergoes sudden or overwhelming change that has a profound effect on surrounding ecosystems, often irreversible.

In the Arctic, the tipping points identified in the new report, published on Friday, include: growth in vegetation on tundra, which replaces reflective snow and ice with darker vegetation, thus absorbing more heat; higher releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the tundra as it warms; shifts in snow distribution that warm the ocean, resulting in altered climate patterns as far away as Asia, where the monsoon could be effected; and the collapse of some key Arctic fisheries, with knock-on effects on ocean ecosystems around the globe.

The research, compiled by 11 organisations including the Arctic Council and six universities, comes at a critical time, not only because of the current Arctic temperature rises but in political terms.

Aides to the US president-elect, Donald Trump, this week unveiled plans to remove the budget for climate change science currently used by Nasa and other US federal agencies for projects such as examining Arctic changes, and to spend it instead on space exploration.

“That would be a huge mistake,” said Carson, noting that much more research needs to be done on polar tipping points before we can understand the true dangers, let alone hope to tackle them. “It would be like ripping out the aeroplane’s cockpit instruments while you are in mid-flight.”

He added: “These are very serious problems, very serious changes are happening, but they are still poorly understood. We need more research to understand them. A lot of the major science is done by the US.”

Scientists have speculated for some years that so-called feedback mechanisms – by which the warming of one area or type of landscape has knock-on effects for whole ecosystems – could suddenly take hold and change the dynamics of Arctic ice melting from a relatively slow to a fast-moving phenomenon with unpredictable and potentially irreversible consequences for global warming. For instance, when sea ice shrinks it leaves areas of dark ocean that absorb more heat than the reflective ice, which in turn causes further shrinkage, and so on in a spiral.

The Arctic ice cap helps to cool sea and air temperatures, by reflecting much of the sun’s radiation back into space, and acting as a global cooler when winds and ocean currents swirl over and under it. It has long been known to play a key part of the global climate system, but the difficulty and expense of close monitoring have meant that scientists have only in recent years been able to make detailed assessments.

The report, billed as the first comprehensive study of ecosystems and societies in the region, found: “The potential effects of Arctic regime shifts [or tipping points] on the rest of the world are substantial, yet poorly understood. Human-driven climate change greatly increases the risk of Arctic regime shifts, so reducing global greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to reducing this risk.”

The authors also warned that people living in and near the Arctic would be badly affected, and called for communities to be provided with equipment and skills to survive. They took evidence from a variety of settlements in the region, finding many signs of stark changes already under way.

Joel Clement, co-chair of the project and director of the office of policy analysis at the US Department of the Interior, said: “This groundbreaking report is an unprecedented effort to gain insight from what is happening on the ground. The findings are foundational to a more informed, coordinated response to building resilience across the region.”

The Coming of a New Ice Age

by Gerald E, March


CHICAGO — Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the day, the real danger facing humanity is not global warming, but more likely the coming of a new Ice Age.

What we live in now is known as an interglacial, a relatively brief period between long ice ages.  Unfortunately for us, most interglacial periods last only about ten thousand years, and that is how long it has been since the last Ice Age ended.

How much longer do we have before the ice begins to spread across the Earth’s surface?  Less than a hundred years or several hundred?  We simply don’t know.

Even if all the temperature increase over the last century is attributable to human activities, the rise has been relatively modest one of a little over one degree Fahrenheit — an increase well within natural variations over the last few thousand years.

While an enduring temperature rise of the same size over the next century would cause humanity to make some changes, it would undoubtedly be within our ability to adapt.

Entering a new ice age, however, would be catastrophic for the continuation of modern civilization.

One has only to look at maps showing the extent of the great ice sheets during the last Ice Age to understand what a return to ice age conditions would mean.  Much of Europe and North-America were covered by thick ice, thousands of feet thick in many areas and the world as a whole was much colder.

The last “little” Ice Age started as early as the 14th century when the Baltic Sea froze over followed by unseasonable cold, storms, and a rise in the level of the Caspian Sea.  That was followed by the extinction of the Norse settlements in Greenland and the loss of grain cultivation in Iceland.  Harvests were even severely reduced in Scandinavia   And this was a mere foreshadowing of the miseries to come.

By the mid-17th century, glaciers in the Swiss Alps advanced, wiping out farms and entire villages. In England, the River Thames froze during the winter, and in 1780, New York Harbor froze.  Had this continued, history would have been very different.  Luckily, the decrease in solar activity that caused the Little Ice Age ended and the result was the continued flowering of modern civilization.

There were very few Ice Ages until about 2.75 million years ago when Earth’s climate entered an unusual period of instability.  Starting about a million years ago cycles of ice ages lasting about 100,000 years, separated by  relatively short interglacial perioods, like the one we are now living in became the rule.  Before the onset of the Ice Ages, and for most of the Earth’s history, it was far warmer than it is today.

Indeed, the Sun has been getting brighter over the whole history of the Earth and large land plants have flourished.  Both of these had the effect of dropping carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to the lowest level in Earth’s long history.

Five hundred million years ago, carbon dioxide concentrations were over 13 times current levels; and not until about 20 million years ago did carbon dioxide levels drop to a little less than twice what they are today.

It is possible that moderately increased carbon dioxide concentrations could extend the current interglacial period.  But we have not reached the level required yet, nor do we know the optimum level to reach.

So, rather than call for arbitrary limits on carbon dioxide emissions, perhaps the best thing the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the climatology community in general could do is spend their efforts on determining the optimal range of carbon dioxide needed to extend the current interglacial period indefinitely.

NASA has predicted that the solar cycle peaking in 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries and should cause a very significant cooling of Earth’s climate.  Will this be the trigger that initiates a new Ice Age?

We ought to carefully consider this possibility before we wipe out our current prosperity by spending trillions of dollars to combat a perceived global warming threat that may well prove to be only a will-o-the-wisp.

Crippled Atlantic currents triggered ice age climate change

June 30, 2016

by Eric Hand

Science Magazine

The last ice age wasn’t one long big chill. Dozens of times temperatures abruptly rose or fell, causing all manner of ecological change. Mysteriously, ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica show that these sudden shifts—which occurred every 1500 years or so—were out of sync in the two hemispheres: When it got cold in the north, it grew warm in the south, and vice versa. Now, scientists have implicated the culprit behind those seesaws—changes to a conveyor belt of ocean currents known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC).

These currents, which today drive the Gulf Stream, bring warm surface waters north and send cold, deeper waters south. But they weakened suddenly and drastically, nearly to the point of stopping, just before several periods of abrupt climate change, researchers report today in Science. In a matter of decades, temperatures plummeted in the north, as the currents brought less warmth in that direction. Meanwhile, the backlog of warm, southern waters allowed the Southern Hemisphere to heat up.

AMOC slowdowns have long been suspected as the cause of the climate swings during the last ice age, which lasted from 110,000 to 15,000 years ago, but never definitively shown. The new study “is the best demonstration that this indeed happened,” says Jerry McManus, a paleo-oceanographer at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and a study author. “It is very convincing evidence,” adds Andreas Schmittner, a climate scientist at Oregon State University, Corvallis. “We did not know that the circulation changed during these shorter intervals.”

To assess the strength of ancient ocean currents over the course of 35,000 years in the middle of the ice age, McManus and his colleagues examined a 10-meter section of a 38-meter sediment core drilled from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The core came from an elevated patch of sea floor known as the Bermuda Rise, where sediments accumulate abnormally fast. The thick layer allows for a more detailed reading of chemical changes within the sediments when they were buried.

The researchers measured the ratio of two products of radioactive decay: protactinium-231 and thorium-230. These daughter isotopes come from trace amounts of uranium that are dissolved everywhere in seawater. If the ocean were as still as a bathtub, the two daughter isotopes would bind to sediment particles, settle downward, and become buried at a constant ratio. But thorium gloms on to particles more readily than protactinium. It is therefore buried more readily, whereas protactinium tends to be carried away by ocean currents for burial elsewhere. At places like the Bermuda Rise, where the Atlantic conveyor belt is typically strong, little protactinium ends up in the sediments—except for four instances when the ratio to thorium rose sharply in a matter of decades to centuries, indicating the AMOC’s sudden weakening.

A 2014 study of the AMOC, based on a core from a nearby spot on the Bermuda Rise, found that the currents maintained much of their strength throughout the last glacial period. But because that team took fewer samples from the core and missed the sharp swings in strength. “Now these [new] guys have increased incredibly the data resolution,” says Jörg Lippold, a paleo-oceanographer at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and the leader of the 2014 study. “They found the peaks we missed.”

Still unclear is what triggered the AMOC’s sudden slowdowns. Many of the drops correspond to so-called Heinrich events: rapid releases of icebergs from Canada’s ice sheet. These iceberg armadas often chugged through the Hudson Strait of Canada and may have discharged more ice into the Atlantic Ocean than contained in the entire ice cap of Greenland, raising ancient sea levels by 10 meters. The meltwater brought incredible amounts of freshwater to the North Atlantic, precisely where ocean currents cool off and sink. Because freshwater is less dense than saltwater, it can plug up the AMOC, preventing the overturning and deep water formation the fuels the circulation’s engine. The slowdowns persisted for 1500 years or so, then the AMOC would suddenly regain strength as freshwater melt dissipated and the currents reached a certain threshold, McManus says.

But weak AMOCs are not always accompanied by a Heinrich event, and the timing is fuzzy—some Heinrich events seem to occur after the AMOC already began to weaken. “The Heinrich events may be a response to the change in the overturning circulation rather than a cause,” Schmittner says.

Another question is whether the AMOC—currently known to be in decline—could drop off suddenly today, as depicted in the 2004 movie The Day After Tomorrow, causing temperatures to plummet across northwestern Europe. Schmittner says the past provides an eye-opener. “It’s evidence that this really did happen in the past, on short time scales.” But McManus says that studies looking deeper into the ice ages have found that the 1500-year climate oscillations tend not to be nearly as strong during interglacial periods. “It would suggest that this kind of thing isn’t so likely to happen today,” he says. On the other hand, he adds, “In most interglacials, Greenland didn’t melt … and Greenland is currently melting.”

Trump’s Possible Path Out of Ukraine Crisis

The U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014 sparked a New Cold War with Russia, but a President Trump could roll back tensions with a creative strategy for resolving the Ukraine standoff,

November 24, 2016

by Jonathan Marshall


If Donald Trump wants to make a decisive and constructive mark on U.S. foreign policy early in his presidency, there’s no better place to start than by helping to end the brutal war in Ukraine that has claimed some 10,000 lives.

The Obama administration helped ignite that war by attempting to yank Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and into the Western security and economic sphere. Working alongside the European Union, Washington fanned mass street protests that led to a violent putsch against Kiev’s elected government in February 2014. Moscow responded by annexing (or, depending on your point of view, reunifying with) Russian-speaking Crimea, which is also headquarters of Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet, and backing pro-Russia separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Since then, the two sides have fought to a bloody stalemate. Besides killing thousands of civilians, the war has sunk Ukraine’s economy and fostered rampant corruption. U.S. and E.U. sanctions have dragged down Russia’s economy and derailed cooperation between Washington and Moscow in other theaters. Rising tensions between NATO and Russia have greatly raised the odds of an accidental military confrontation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

The best hope for Ukraine — and renewed East-West cooperation — is the Minsk Protocol, signed by Ukrainian, Russian, and European parties in the capital of Belarus on Sept. 5, 2014. The agreement provided for a ceasefire, an exchange of prisoners, and a framework for a political settlement based on giving the Donetsk and Luhansk regions a “special status.”

That agreement broke down amid renewed fighting until the parties signed the Minsk-2 Agreement on Feb. 12, 2015. It provided for constitutional reforms, elections in the two republics, and restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over its borders. But Kiev has made no serious move to recognize the special status of its breakaway regions, and the two sides have engaged in sporadic hostilities ever since.

Final Words

Presidents Obama and Putin exchanged what may have been their final, desultory words on the subject at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru this month. Obama “urged President Putin to uphold Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements,” while a Russian spokesman said the two men “expressed regret that it was not possible to make progress in Ukraine.”

As current foreign policy messes go, however, the Ukrainian imbroglio may offer the greatest opportunities for a rewarding cleanup. Doing so will require both sides to acknowledge some fault and find creative ways to save face.

Fortunately, President-elect Trump has created an opening for such a settlement by reaching out to Putin during the election campaign and explicitly declining to bash Russia for its annexation of Crimea (which followed a hastily arranged referendum in which the official results showed that 96 percent of the voters favored leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia).

There are also small signs of progress that give hope. A limited demilitarization accord signed in September led to a mutual retreat by the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists from a small city in eastern Ukraine. The withdrawal was verified by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a party to the Minsk accords. Meanwhile, Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia are working on a new roadmap to strengthen the ceasefire.

Conditions for Peace

In a June 2015 interview with Charlie Rose, Putin laid out clear and reasonable conditions for making the Minsk accord stick:

“Today we primarily need to comply with all the agreements reached in Minsk … At the same time, I would like to draw . . . the attention of all our partners to the fact that we cannot do it unilaterally. We keep hearing the same thing, repeated like a mantra – that Russia should influence the southeast of Ukraine. We are. However, it is impossible to resolve the problem through our influence on the southeast alone.

“There has to be influence on the current official authorities in Kiev, which is something we cannot do. This is a road our Western partners have to take – those in Europe and America. Let us work together. … We believe that to resolve the situation we need to implement the Minsk agreements, as I said. The elements of a political settlement are key here. There are several. . . .

“The first one is constitutional reform, and the Minsk agreements say clearly: to provide autonomy or, as they say, decentralization of power. . .

“The second thing that has to be done – the law passed earlier on the special status of . . . Luhansk and Donetsk, the unrecognized republics, should be enacted. It was passed, but still not acted upon. This requires a resolution of the Supreme Rada – the Ukrainian Parliament – which is also covered in the Minsk agreements. . . .

“The third thing is a law on amnesty. It is impossible to have a political dialogue with people who are threatened with criminal persecution. And finally, they need to pass a law on municipal elections on these territories and to have the elections themselves. All this is spelled out in the Minsk agreements. . . .

“I repeat, it is important now to have a direct dialogue between Luhansk, Donetsk and Kiev – this is missing.”

Future of Crimea

Any lasting settlement will also require some compromise over Crimea, which Putin has vowed never to relinquish.

As Ray McGovern, the CIA’s former chief Russia analyst, has noted, the annexation of Crimea did violate a pledge that Russia made in 1994 — along with Great Britain and the United States — “to respect the independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine,” as a precondition to Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. Of course, the United States and the E.U. had already violated the same pledge by supporting a coup d’état against the country’s elected government.

McGovern cited other “extenuating circumstances, including alarm among Crimeans over what the unconstitutional ouster of Ukraine’s president might mean for them, as well as Moscow’s not unfounded nightmare of NATO taking over Russia’s major, and only warm-water, naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea.”

In support of annexation, Russian and Crimean authorities also pointed to the hasty referendum that was held in Crimea in March 2014, which resulted in 96 percent support for reunification with Russia, a relationship dating back to the Eighteenth Century. Subsequent polls of Crimean opinion, conducted by Western firms, have largely confirmed support for the 2014 referendum on rejoining Russia. But the referendum did not have international observers and was not accepted by the United States and other Western nations.

Condemning the annexation in a soaring speech about the “rule of law” and America’s dedication to universal principles, President Obama contrasted Crimea with Kosovo, which NATO forcibly broke away from Serbia in 1999.

Obama said, “Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations and with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea.”

Actually, none of that came close to happening in Kosovo, either. Obama’s story was a myth, but it confirmed the powerful legitimacy offered by popular referenda, like those in Great Britain over Scottish independence or Brexit.

Yet, as part of a permanent settlement of the larger Ukraine crisis, the Minsk signatories could agree to hold another, binding referendum in Crimea under international supervision to decide whether it stays under Russian rule or returns to Ukraine.

To get Russia’s buy-in, the United States and its European allies should agree to lift sanctions if Moscow abides by the referendum and other terms of the Minsk accord. They should also agree to rule out the incorporation of Ukraine into NATO, the original sin that sowed the seeds of crisis between Russia and the West. Russia, in turn, could agree to demilitarize its border with Ukraine.

Obstacles to Settlement

President Putin has signaled his willingness to compromise in several ways, including firing his hardline chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, and welcoming the presence of armed observers from OSCE to monitor the Minsk agreement.

But major obstacles still impede progress. One is President Petro Poroshenko’s stalling in the face of opposition to the Minsk accord by Ukrainian nationalists. Kiev needs to be given a firm choice: go it alone, or compromise if it wants continued economic support from the United States and Western Europe. The Obama administration has quietly urged the Poroshenko government to honor the Minsk agreement, but has never put teeth behind its entreaties.

The other major obstacle is hostility from militarist hardliners in the West who propose arming Ukraine to ratchet up conflict with Russia. Prime examples include the State Department’s chief policy maker on Ukraine, Victoria Nuland; former NATO Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove, who became infamous for issuing inflated warnings about Russian military operations; Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain; and Stephen Hadley, Raytheon board member and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, who chairs the Orwellian-named United States Institute for Peace.

But Trump will have great leeway as commander-in-chief to reject their advice and set a new direction for NATO’s policy on Ukraine and Russia more generally. He has everything to gain by breaking the cycle of political conflict with Moscow.

An ally in the Kremlin will immeasurably improve his chances of making deals in the Middle East, finding a way out of Afghanistan, and managing China.

The next few months should tell us whether Trump has the independence, imagination, and gumption to do the right thing.

The Washington Post serves up some Thanksgiving ‘fake news’ of its own

November 25, 2016


America’s once venerable Washington Post has launched a Thanksgiving attack on the Russian media. Sadly for our friends on the Potomac, it turned out to be a bit of a turkey.

This month, the mainstream media’s primary narrative has shifted toward ‘fake news’ and its role in the US election. We’ve seen internet giants like Facebook pressured to get their act together on the issue and a series of investigations into the creators of misleading content.

Predictably, the “blame Russia for everything” constituency of the establishment press has tried to connect Moscow to this development.

Take the folks at the Washington Post, for instance, who have published a sensationalist and scaremongering piece about fake news stories that itself turned out to be, well, full of fakes. To be blunt, the Washington Post has lied about RT and presented zero proof to support its allegations. What’s more, it never even asked for a comment!

This means that its strangely crafted attempt to defend journalistic principles has effectively disobeyed the two most important rules of the business: namely “always double-check your sources” and “make sure to ask the subject of your story for a comment.”

Pundit problems

To start, WashPo references “researchers” to claim that some of the fake news and conspiracy theories plaguing the media coverage of the US election “originated with RT.” Mind you, not a single example is provided to support this lunacy – no link, no tweet, no article title.

Then the reporter, one Craig Timberg, quotes Michael McFaul – one of the ‘talking heads’ du jour for criticism of Russia – as saying RT expressed overt support for Donald Trump during the US election – which is pure fiction, apparent to anyone remotely familiar with RT’s actual programming. As regular readers know, RT has published many articles which indicated that Moscow had no clear preference in the contest, covered Trump scandals, and interviewed guests from all over the American political spectrum – Republican and Democrat, Libertarian and Green. We’ve invited Hillary Clinton too, and the invite still stands.

McFaul then concludes his contribution with the statement that RT used “the #CrookedHillary hashtag pushed by the candidate (Trump)” on its social media services. Like with the “origin story,” this claim is presented not as subjective opinion, but as unquestionable fact. In reality, this is another complete lie, one that WashPo would have had no trouble fact-checking with a simple search. Alas.

Thus, the Washington Post has hinged a piece about fake news on falsehoods. The irony is astounding.

Absence of proof

Timberg’s entire supposition is built around a collection of “suspicious episode” yarns, not facts or evidence. His argument revolves around tenuous social media interaction and unsubstantiated third-party claims. Outlets as diverse as “AntiWar,” “Counterpunch,” “Sputnik,” “Drudge Report,” “Off Guardian” and “Unz Review” are attacked alongside RT, not to mention internationally popular entities including “WikiLeaks,” “Zerohedge” and “Truthout.” Basically, anybody critical of US foreign policy is accused of “echoing Russia.”

Also telling is the two external “research” sources the article relies on: PropOrNot and FPRI. “PropOrNot” is described as “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.” In reality, this group’s modus operandi is to smear any news source outside of the mainstream as “reliably echo(ing) Russian propaganda.” Meanwhile, Foreign Policy Research Institute is a US think-tank with a very clear agenda of “advanc[ing] U.S. national interests,” funded by massive corporations, such as Boeing, who profit from east-west tension through increased military spending and still mired in the Cold War-era worldview.

With every day and every new wave of hysterical publications, it becomes difficult to deny that the real point of the current media campaign is to brand everything that runs counter to the establishment narrative as “fake news” and “Russian propaganda.”

Perhaps in the hope that once criticism and adversarial journalism is removed, the general public will no longer lash out at the tight little club that has ruled the roost for so long.

Arson suspects arrested as Israel battles wildfires

Israeli police said they arrested 12 people on suspicion of arson after massive wildfires in the center and north of the country. Tens of thousands of people had to flee the flames in the coastal city of Haifa.

November 25, 2016


The arrests announced Friday came as firefighters were bringing the flames in hills around Jerusalem and northern parts of Israel under control. Israelis were supported by Palestinian firefighters as well as emergency teams from Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Italy, Russia, France and Turkey.

“We have arrested 12 suspects who have been involved directly or indirectly with the fires,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

According to the Reuters news agency, police said one man in southern Israel had been arrested for incitement after allegedly posting a message on Facebook calling for others to start fires.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said some of the fires appeared to have been deliberately lit.

“Every fire that was caused by arson, or incitement to arson, is terrorism by all accounts. And we will treat it as such,” Netanyahu told reporters gathered in Haifa on Thursday. In Israel, the word “terror” is often used to refer to militant acts committed by Arabs or Palestinians.

Statements by several Israeli politicians have implicated Arabs, however others including Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog urged restraint.

“I really advise that we be careful not to add to the flames,” he is quoted as saying on Israeli public radio.

Precarious situation

Though no serious injuries have been reported, dozens of people needed hospital treatment for smoke inhalation.

City officials in Haifa said firefighters were working to douse remaining hotspots. At least 700 homes had been destroyed or badly damaged and up to 80,000 people had to flee. There was concern that dry, windy weather could whip up the flames again. Many firefighters had been working constantly since Tuesday when blazes began near Jerusalem.

The string of fires was the worst in Israel since 2010, when an out-of-control blaze burned for four days and killed 44 people. This year a long, dry summer and autumn had brought about ideal conditions for fires to spread across Israel and parts of the West Bank – no matter how they were started.

Don’t go any further’: Erdogan accuses EU of betrayal, threatens to open borders for migrants

November 25, 2016


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that his government will open its border gates to allow migrants to flow into Europe if it is pushed any further by the EU. It comes after lawmakers in the bloc voted to halt membership talks with Ankara.

“We are the ones who feed 3-3.5 million refugees in this country. You have betrayed your promises,” Erdogan told the EU, as quoted by AP. “If you go any further those border gates will be opened.”

He also accused the EU of not treating people fairly, claiming it “never treated humanity honestly” and “did not pick up babies when they washed ashore on the Mediterranean…,” Hurriyet reported.

Conversely, Germany believes that the EU has not broken any of its promises given to Turkey and “threats on either side” are “not helping” when handling the current situation, said Ulrike Demmer, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman, according to Bild newspaper.

“We see the EU-Turkey agreement as a success for both sides,” Demmer said, adding that it is in the interests of both parties for the agreement to hold.

“Threats on either side are not helping. Where there are difficulties, we need to deal with them.”

Erdogan’s warning to open the border gates refers to a deal struck between the EU and Ankara in March, in which Turkey agreed to help stop the flow of refugees across its border and take back migrants rejected for asylum in Europe.

In response to Ankara’s threat, the German Foreign ministry said it is in the interests of both the EU and Turkey to stick to the agreement on migrants, Reuters reported.

“If one looks at the facts, then it is the case that both sides are sticking to the agreement and we hope that remains the case, as it is in the interests of both sides,” ministry spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli said during a government news conference on Friday.

The European Union should think twice about halting membership talks with Turkey, Croatian Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier said while on a visit to Slovenia, according to Reuters.

“It is not in the interest of the European Union, Croatia or Slovenia to suspend talks with Turkey… We need a balanced standpoint towards Ankara,” Stier told a news conference on Friday.

Turkey agreed to the deal in exchange for billions in refugee assistance from the EU and accelerated talks on becoming a member of the bloc. It also rallied for visa-free travel to Europe’s Schengen zone as part of the deal, but was told by the EU that a list of 72 conditions must first be met – a key sticking point of which is Turkey’s strict anti-terrorism laws, which Europe has said must be loosened for the agreement to go ahead.

The deal has been tumultuous from the start, and tensions worsened on Thursday when EU Parliament members voted for a temporary halt to membership talks with Turkey, citing Ankara’s “disproportionate” reaction to July’s failed coup.

The coup attempt was followed by a mass crackdown on Turkish opposition figures, including teachers, journalists, and civil servants deemed sympathetic to Kurdish separatism and self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey says was the mastermind behind the unrest.

Erdogan has also said he may reinstate capital punishment to deal with those who took part in the attempted coup – a notion which was strongly condemned by EU lawmakers.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim lashed out against the EU’s vote one day before Erdogan, noting that Turkey is “one of the factors protecting Europe.”

“If refugees go through, they will flood into Europe and take it over, and Turkey prevents this,” he said, as quoted by Turkish Minute.

Yildirim also stressed that a cessation of ties between the two sides would hurt the EU far more than it would hurt Turkey.

“I accept that cutting off ties with Europe would harm Turkey, but it would damage Europe five to six times more,” he said.

Reports: Germany considering alternative locations to Incirlik airbase

The German military is exploring locations outside Turkey that could serve as a key airbase for the Middle East region, a report has said. An official delegation is reportedly scheduled to travel to Jordan on Saturday.

November 25, 2016


Amid strained relations with Ankara, Germany is considering moving its Tornado fighter jets, currently deployed in international missions against the so-called “Islamic State” (IS), out of the Turkish NATO airbase in Incirlik.

According to the forthcoming Saturday edition of the German newspaper “Bild,” the German military is exploring alternatives in Cyprus, Jordan and Kuwait, at the request of parliament. Reports also suggest that military officials are scheduled to travel to Amman on Saturday to hold talks on the subject.

Reports suggest that concrete plans to relocate have yet to be drawn up, while a defense ministry spokesman said Saturday’s visit was designed to explore alternative arrangements in the event of an emergency.

“It is too early to say whether it will become necessary to withdraw our forces from Incirlik,” the spokesman told “Bild.” Any relocation, however, would likely take “several weeks,” in which time the Tornado jets would be out of action.

German tornado reconnaissance jets are currently deployed in reconnaissance missions in the fight against IS in Syria and Iraq, alongside the maximum number of German soldiers permitted to be deployed overseas, some 1,200.

Incirlik is a key location for the German military, as it sits on Turkey’s border with Syria. Reports in September suggested that Germany was planning to invest millions into the base after Merkel and Erdogan held what were at the time perecived to be positive talks. Relations between the two states have since become increasingly frosty.

Fraught relations played out in Incirlik

However, German officials have voiced concern with Turkey’s handling of the Incirlik site. This year, the Turkish government repeatedly denied German lawmakers from visiting the base after Berlin passed a resolution that labeled the killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a century ago as genocide.

Berlin has also accused Ankara of using reconnaissance data gathered on the site in its own conflict against Syrian Kurds – factions that are allied with United States in the fight against IS.

Head to head with Erdogan

Leading German officials have voiced their concern at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s purge against opposition parties, civil servants, academics and journalists since the failed military coup attempt in July. During a state visit to Turkey earlier this month, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier described Erdogan’s actions as a threat to democracy, while Germany’s Europe Minister Michael Roth said: “What is happening in Turkey goes against our understanding of European values, rule of law, democracy and media freedom.”

On Friday, one day after the European Parliament voted in favor of freezing EU membership talks with Turkey, Erdogan said Turkey could open its borders and allow migrants to leave for Europe.

What are the End Days? A study in deception

November 25, 2016

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

‘Armageddon’ is actually purported to be a battle. According to Pentecostal interpretations, the Bible states that Armageddon will be a battle where God finally comes in and takes over the world and rules it the way it should have been ruled all along. After this vaguely-defined battle of Armageddon, Pentecostals firmly believe that there will follow 1000 years of peace and plenty which, according to their lore and legend, will be the sole lot of their sect and no other religion.

The actual scene of the fictional battle is referred to by Pentecostals as being clearly set forth in Revelation 16:14-16. It is not. The specific citation reads, in full:

“14. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

“15. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

“16. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

This sparse mention of Armageddon has given rise to the elaborate but entirely fictional legend of the Final Battle between the forces of good and evil. There is no mention in Revelations 16: 14-15 whatsoever of Parusia or the second coming of Jesus, the apocryphal Anti-Christ, the Rapture or the many other delightful inventions designed to bolster the Pentecostal elect and daunt their adversaries. These adversaries consist of all other branches of the Christian religion with especial emphasis placed on Jews and Catholics. The Pentecostals also loathe Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, and an endless list of anyone and everyone whose views clash with theirs such as scientists and any academic who views the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel as anything but tissues of lies.

The Antichrist

The Antichrist is described by Pentecostals as the “son of perdition” and the “beast”!

They claim that this interesting creature will have great charisma & speaking ability, “a mouth speaking great things”.

The Antichrist, they allege, will rise to power on a wave of world euphoria, as he temporarily saves the world from its desperate economic, military & political problems with a brilliant seven year plan for world peace, economic stability and religious freedom.

The prophet Ezekiel names him as the ruler of “Magog”, a name that Biblical scholars agree denotes a country or region of peoples to the north of Israel. Many have interpreted this to mean modern day Russia. It could also be Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, perhaps one of the Baltic States or even the lewd and dissolute Socialist Sweden.

His power base will include the leading nations of Europe, whose leaders, the Bible says, will “give their power & strength unto the beast.”

The Bible even gives some clues about his personal characteristics. The prophet Daniel wrote that the Antichrist “does not regard the desire of women.” This could imply that he is either celibate or a homosexual. Daniel also tells us that he will have a “fierce countenance” or stern look, and will be “more stout than his fellows”–more proud and boastful.

Unfortunately, the so-called Book of Daniel was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, not many decades earlier as its proponents claim, and has been extensively modified by early Christian writers to predict the arrival of their personal Messiah, or Christ, on the Judean scene. The so-called “wonderful” prophetic statements put into the mouth of Daniel are absolutely and wondrously accurate…up to the reign of Nero and then fall as flat as a shaken soufflé afterwards

It is well known that Pentecostals loathe homosexuals, among many other groups not pleasing to them, and would like nothing better than to shove them into a bottomless pit filled with Catholics, rock and roll fans, teenaged mothers, Communists, gun control advocates, Tarot card readers, Christian Scientists, abortionists, Wayne Newton fans, Asians, Jews, African-Americans and Latino Surnamed Hispanics.

The seven year peace-pact (or covenant) that is engineered by the Antichrist is spoken of a number of times in the Bible, and may even have already been signed in secret. The historic peace agreement signed between Israel and the PLO at the White House on September 13, 1993, vividly illustrates how dramatically events in the Middle East are presently moving in this direction eager Pentecostals, awaiting their Celestial Omnibus, will inform anyone who is interested and a greater legion of those who are not.

Under the final terms of the fictional Covenant, Jerusalem will likely be declared an international city to which Judaism, Islam and Christianity will have equal rights. Scripture indicates that the Jews will be permitted to rebuild their Temple on Mt. Moriah, where they revive their ancient rituals of animal sacrifice.

According to modern prophecy the Antichrist will not only be a master of political intrigue, but also a military genius. Daniel describes several major wars that he fights during his 7-year reign, apparently against the U.S. and Israel, who will oppose him during the second half of his reign.

For awhile, most of the world is going to think the Antichrist is wonderful, as he will seem to have solved so many of the world’s problems. But, three-and-a-half years into his seven year reign he will break the covenant and invade Israel from the North.

At this time he will make Jerusalem his world capitol and outlaw all religions, except the worship of himself and his image. The Bible, according to the Pentecostals, says that the Antichrist will sit in the Jewish Temple exalting himself as God and demanding to be worshipped. If this passage, and many others of its kind, actually appears in the King James Version of the Bible, no one has ever been able to find it

It is at this time that the Antichrist imposes his infamous “666” one-world credit system.

It must be said that the Antichrist does, in point of fact exist. He can be seen on a daily basis on the walls of the Cathedral at Orvieto, Italy in the marvelous frescos of Lucca Signorelli. He looks somewhat like a Byzantine depiction of Christ with either a vicious wife or inflamed hemorrhoids .

Pentecostals strongly believe that U.S. public schools “departed from the faith” when in 1963 the Bible and prayer were officially banned. Now, Pentecostals believe with horror, thousands of these same schools are teaching credited courses in “the doctrines of devils”–the occult and Satanism.

Even a cursory check of curriculum of a number of American public school districts does not support this claim but then the Pentecostals have stated repeatedly that they represent 45% of all Protestants in America. The actual number, excluding the Baptists, is more like 4%.

What they lack in actual numbers they more than compensate for by their loud and irrational views so that at times it sounds like the roar of a great multitude when in truth, it is only a small dwarf wearing stained underwear and armed with a bullhorn, trumpeting in the underbrush

Frantic Pentecostals estimated that according to their private Census for Christ there are over 200,000 practicing witches in the United States and allege there are literally millions of Americans who dabble in some form of the occult, psychic phenomena, spiritualism, demonology and black magic. Their statistics claim that occult book sales have doubled in the last four years.

What is seen by terrified Pentecostals as The Occult today is no longer the stuff of small underground cults. They believe that many rock videos are an open worship of Satan and hell that comes complete with the symbols, liturgies, and  rituals of Satanism, and the Pentecostals firmly and loudly proclaim to anyone interested in listening, that “millions of young people” have been caught in their evil sway.

Popular music is termed “sounds of horror and torment” that Pentecostals firmly believe is literally “driving young people insane and seducing them into a life of drugs, suicide, perversion and hell.” It is forgotten now but the same thing was once said about ragtime and later, jazz. If this had been true, perhaps the real reason behind the First World War, the 1929 market crash, the rise of Franklin Roosevelt and the lewd hula hoop can be attributed to Scott Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald.

It is also to be noted that the immensely popular Harry Potter series of children’s books are loudly proclaimed as Satanic books designed to lure unsuspecting children into the clutches of the Evil One. Any sane person who has read these delightful fantasy books will certainly not agree with these hysterical strictures. In point of fact, it would be exceedingly difficult to locate any person possessing even a modicum of sanity who would believe any of the weird fulminations of the Pentecostals.

Outraged Pentecostals now firmly state that in the beginning years of the Twenty First Century, “even the most shameless acts of blasphemy and desecration are socially acceptable.”

“Acts of blasphemy and desecration” sound like human sacrifices carried out on nuns at bus stops during the noontime rush hour or lewd acts with crucifixes performed by drug-maddened transvestites on commercial airlines.

In his weird Book of Revelation the lunatic John of Patmos claimed he foresaw that in the last days the world would turn away from God in order to worship and follow Satan.

Such a prophecy would have seemed believable to previous generations, but not so in our more enlightened and secular humanist day. Hard-core Satanism has been called by rabid Pentecostals noise-makers as: “the fastest-growing subculture among America’s teens”, and the revival of witchcraft and the occult is “one of the World’s fastest growing religions!”

The Marriage of Evil

by  Brian Harring

Humbolt House Publishing

A planned new route into Europe for Turkish heroin has been discovered as the result of investigations by European law enforcement agencies, to include Interpol and Europol and the American FBI. An Albanian-based group of professional drug smugglers, operating out of two Albanian ports on the Adriatic and are now planning to off-load the heroin at the small Italian seaports of Marano Lagunare or Ausa Como and move it into the mountains of southern Austria.

This group is part of the so-called “Balkan connection,” the Istanbul-to-Belgrade heroin route. The heroin originates as opium, grown in Afghanistan. As a result of a weak American military presence there, opium growing is now exceeding its pre-American occupation levels.

The new state of Kosovo is considered by European enforcement agencies as the crossroads of global drug smuggling routes. Kosovo is primarily a state of ethnic Albanians and for hundreds of years, Kosovar Albanian smugglers have been among the world’s most accomplished dealers in contraband, aided by a propitious geography of isolated ports and mountainous villages. Virtually every stage of the Balkan heroin business, from refining to end-point distribution, is directed by a loosely knit hierarchy known as “The 15 Families,” who answer to the regional clans that run every aspect of Albanian life.

The Kosovar Albanian traffickers are so successful, says a senior U.S. State Department official, “because Albanians are organized in very close-knit groups, linked by their ethnicity and extended family connections.”

The Italilan ROS agency has been conducting an intense investigation of Albanian drug smuggling and one of their official reports reads: “Albanians from Kosovo …are among the most dangerous traffickers in drugs and in arms. They are determined men, violent and prepared to go to any lengths. They are capable of coming up with men and arms in a matter of hours. They have deep roots in civil society.”

Italian investigators have reported that Italy is the most important base for these organizations and it is precisely in Milan that negotiations between the Kosovar bosses and those of the Tirana – based Albanian gangs take place. And Milan, again, is the theater in which exchanges with our own domestic crime bosses take place.

According to detectives, the “Ndrangheta receives and parcels out some 50 kilograms of heroin every day. And it is precisely by following this drug trail that the detectives have succeeded in discovering a fully fledged organization with ramifications throughout Europe: Groups have been identified that operate in France, in Switzerland, in Spain, in Germany, and in Norway. But the Albanians have a particularly aggressive attitude. On the basis of phone calls that we have intercepted, we have discovered that the drugs are not only a source of wealth but also a tool in the struggle to weaken Christendom.”

The new route, which has been uncovered by a joint international investigative effort, is from Albanian Adriatic ports, up the Adriatic to the Italian ports of Marano Lagunare or Ausa Como through Italy via the A 23, over the Nassfeld Pass into Austria and from there, through Hermagor, to the scenic lake, Weissensee in Carinthia. This lake, which has a number of small hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, is perfect for a drug distribution point because it is very private and had only one road, Number 87, which leads from Highway E66 and a direct route to Italy.

The Kosovo smugglers have recently established a connection with elements of Scientology now in the Austrian province of Kärnten. The Scientology group is reported to be FLEXIM Austria GmbH, which through its head, Christian Halper, a German citizen, have targeted the scenic lake as a headquarters. These people have been secretly purchasing property in the Weissensee area and this includes:

  • Hotel Alpenhof, Obernaggl (total about 70 hectares) – about 35 rooms – Hans Zoehrer – 5.5 M Euros:
  • Hotel Fergius, Neusach (only a few square meters of land) – 38 rooms – no price available: http://www.hotelweissensee.at/
  • Hotel Sonnenstrahl, Oberdorf, holiday apartment house (no land) – about 15 apartments – no price available:
  • Private house, Gatschach, near the post office (with over 2,000m² of land) – 1.5 M Euros:
  • Private house, Neusach (with over 2,000m² of land) – 1,8 M Euros:

The Weissensee area is very secluded and peaceful. There is only one road into the lake to the western end and no exit to the east. The lake is the summer destination of more afflunent visitors and in winter, the frozen lake is used for winter sports and the southern slopes, for skiing. The new plan is to buy up as much property as possible so as to be able to fill up the area with German Scientologists who can vote their members into local offices for better control.

Also, the large Alpenhof Hotel has been gutted and is going to be torn down. Its replacement, according to investigative reports, will have large, concealed cellars where the Albanians can repackage the Turkish heroin for transhipment to Vienna and Munich. Other smaller hotels and apartment houses have been selected to house personnel and a computer system designed to break into computers of drug enforcement agencies worldwide and have also been shut down in order to install bunks, armoured doors, electronic surveillance equipment and other unobtrusive security materials. It is interesting to note that the Scientologists hate both the Germans and the Russians who, like the Germans, have basically booted them out of their countries. While one smuggler’s route leads northeast towards Vienna, the other goes north to Munich.

From an already established distribution point located on the Hohenzollern Strasse, the heroin moves north to the German Baltic Sea port of Sassnitz. Once there, it is put onto the MV Translubeca, owned by Finnlines-Deutschland GmbH of Lübeck. Two Scientologists are crew members on this large cargo-passenger vessel, which leaves Sassnitz, DE on Sundays at 8 AM and docks at St. Petersburg, Russia, on the following Tuesday at 8 AM, where the cargo is offloaded and channelled into Russian mob hands.

Hotel Alpenhof

An Overview of Halper-controlled business:

FLEXIM Austria GmbH, is a German-based firm and  part of a an organization consisting of  FLEXIM Instrumentation BV in Holland, formed in 2000 and FLEXIM Instrumentation SARL in France , formed in 2003

FLEXIM Austria is designed to handle Austrian, Slovenian and Hungarian “business”

FLEXIM was created from Medon Measuring Systems. The managing director, Christian Halper is supported by Mr. T. Sommer  a sales engineer and Mrs. W. Neubauer for order processing. Their headquarters are located at Olbenau, in Burgenland, between Vienna and Graz.

These organizations are under the fiscal and legal umbrella of Monaco-based Quadriga Asset Management, a so-called hedge fund controlled by a former Austrian policeman named Baha

Baha claims to manage assets totaling $1.3 billion from 40,000 clients and is attempting  to expand this hedge fund which is alleged to be worth  $5 billion and is claimed to have 100,000 investors to a world-wide presence. Quadriga now has nine offices from Hong Kong to New York, run by 12 directors.

Arpad Deak is  the managing director for Quadriga in the United States and deals mainly in financial futures: currency, bonds, and stock indexes as well as commodities such as livestock, metals and grains.

In the U.S. Quadriga claims it has $50 million under management. Baha says he has to educate the market in order to get wider acceptance. Baha intends to open an investment center in New York.

List of European Scientology-Identified Connections

* AllGrund Immobilien ,Heusenstamm, Germany

* AG zur Entlastung von Führungskräft Arni, Switzerland

* Business Success Verkaufs- und Managementtraining GmbH Munich,. Austria,Slovakia and Hungary

* H. Benneck & Partner GmbH Düsseldorf, Germany

* FLEXIM Austria GmbH, Olbenau, in Burgenland, between Vienna and Graz. Hungary, Slowenia

* Kempe Immobilien Börse GmbH and KEMPE Grundbesitz & Anlagen AG Düsseldorf

* Knusperstube Bäckerei GmbH St. Gertraud (Kärnten), Austria

* Krebs Immobilien Fichtenwalde, Germany

* Lidl Dachbewirtschaftung,Gelting, Germany

* Marvan Installateur Vienna, Austria

* Perfect Nails Klagenfurt, Austria

* Gerhard Spannbauer Erfolgsvorträge Planegg, Germany

* Tock Autoscheibenservice Vienna, Austria


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