TBR News August 24, 2016

Aug 24 2016

The Voice of the White House 

Washington, D.C. August 24, 2016: “America has always been promoted as the land of economic opportunity. We can see this in the recent massive DEA raids on sellers of medical marijuana in states which have legalized its growth and sales. Federal agents, realizing how much money was involved, ordered banks not to accept deposits from growers or sellers of medical marijuana and then, when the safes were stuffed with cash, raided them and stuffed the cash in their pockets. They justified the raids by stating that while the states indeed had legalized pot growing and selling, the Federal government had not and Federal law always superseded state law. Ergo, another source of usable cash was being developed. The 9th Circuit Court then ruled that the DEA could not further enrich their employees and ordered the seizures halted in the nine states they covered. It is also noted that equally eager highway patrol officers were engaged in similar thefts but the courts are taking a dim view of this entrepreneurism.”

Court: Out-of-state license plates don’t justify search

August 23

by Roxana Hegeman


WICHITA, Kan. — Law enforcement officials in Kansas cannot stop and search motorists just for having out-of-state license plates from states that have legalized marijuana, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit filed by a Colorado motorist, Peter Vasquez, against two Kansas Highway Patrol officers who pulled him over and searched his vehicle as he was driving alone at night through Kansas on his way to Maryland.

The KHP officers, Richard Jimerson and Dax Lewis, stopped Vasquez when they could not read the temporary tag taped to the inside of the car’s tinted rear window. The officers contended they were justified in searching the vehicle because Vasquez was a citizen of Colorado driving on I-70, a “known drug corridor,” in a recently purchased, older-model car. They said he also seemed nervous.

A divided panel found the officers violated Vasquez’s Fourth Amendment rights in searching his car without his consent. Nothing illegal was found.

Twenty-five states permit marijuana use for medicinal purposes, with Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, D.C., permitting some recreational use under state law, the court noted.

The officers’ reasoning would justify the search and seizure of citizens of half of the states in the country, the court said, adding it is “wholly improper” to assume someone is more likely to commit a crime because of his state of residence.

“Accordingly, it is time to abandon the pretense that state citizenship is a permissible basis upon which to justify the detention and search of out-of-state motorists, and time to stop the practice of detention of motorists for nothing more than an out-of-state license plate,” the ruling states.

A lower court had ruled the officers were entitled to qualified immunity when it threw out the case, but the appeals court disagreed and sent it back for further proceedings.

Death toll in Italian earthquake rises to 73: official

August 24, 2016

by Gavin Jones


At least 73 people have died in an earthquake which devastated a string of small towns in central Italy in the early hours of Wednesday, the civil protection department said.

The quake struck when most residents were asleep, razing homes and buckling roads in a cluster of communities some 140 km (85 miles) east of Rome.

(Writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

Germany mulls bringing back compulsory national service

Berlin has said it’s considering changing its position on conscription. The country is mulling new strategies to deal with possible security threats.

August 23, 2016


Germany’s interior ministry is considering taking steps toward bringing back conscription, including compulsory service to support the military. This is according to a report by German news agency DPA, which had access to a confidential copy of a government draft proposal.

The proposal, which the government is set to be vote on Wednesday, comes as the government seeks to push forward a new concept for civilian defense, titled “Support of the Armed Forces.”

Germany has been mulling new security strategies in light of recent terror attacks, as well as tensions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The new proposals are meant in part to prepare the country for the possibility of NATO actions to defend its borders.

Conscription was suspended across Germany five years ago.

All bases covered

The draft proposal also takes into account the infrastructure and accommodations that will be required if compulsory service were to be reintroduced, including the building of lodgings such as barracks.

Military conscription was abolished in 2011 after 55 years, because the government at the time said there was no longer a need for it. However, compulsory military service is still a part of Germany’s Basic Law, or constitution. Therefore, it can be easily reintroduced by the government.

Following a series of attacks in Germany in late July, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said the country should also consider deploying the army, or Bundeswehr, within Germany.


The parliamentary representative in charge of the German military, Hans-Peter Bartels, said the unfolding debate was, however, merely hypothetical in nature and not part of an actual agenda.

“Conscription would only be considered if there was a grave, long-lasting situation of danger, such as was the case with the Cold War,” he told the daily regional newspaper “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.”

The parliamentary head of the leftwing “Die Linke” Party Jan Korte meanwhile criticized the government’s rekindled debate on the issue, saying it wasn’t interior minister Thomas de Maiziere’s job to cause panic among the population with talk of conscription, referring to de Maiziere’s draft proposal.

German Cabinet approves new civil defense plan

The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has given the green light to the first civil defense strategy in 21 years. The plan is aimed at combating new security threats in the 21st century.

August 24, 2016


The German Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new strategy that is meant to provide better protection for citizens during catastrophes and crises.

The plan, which replaces a previous strategy laid out in 1995, is aimed at taking account of new threats facing society in the 21st century, including terrorism, cyberwarfare and infrastructure attacks.

The document warned that “the security policy environment has changed again,” saying that Germany should be “sufficiently prepared in case of an existence-threatening development in the future, which cannot be ruled out.”

Details of the plan have not yet been officially made public, but according to information leaked to the media, the concept raises the possibility of bringing back military conscription, which was phased out in 2011 after 55 years. The proposal met with considerable opposition within Merkel’s coalition government.

Another proposed measure that would require civilians to stockpile food and water for use in emergency situations has drawn critcism from opposition parties, with critics dismissing it as fearmongering by the government.

New spectrum of threats

The new strategy lists attacks by conventional, biological and chemical weapons as among the possible threats facing the country, as well as attacks targeting critical infrastructure such as water, electricity and gas supplies.

According to government sources, the measures are not a direct result of the recent terror attacks in Germany. A speaker for the Interior Ministry also said that no new laws were planned as yet on the basis of the crisis plan.

The plan was to be officially presented in the capital, Berlin, later on Wednesday by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. The presentation is scheduled take place at a water supply facility.

Special Report: Massacre reports show U.S. inability to curb Iraq militias

August 23, 2016

by Ned Parker and Jonathan Landay


WASHINGTON-Shi’ite militias in Iraq detained, tortured and abused far more Sunni civilians during the American-backed capture of the town of Falluja in June than U.S. officials have publicly acknowledged, Reuters has found.

More than 700 Sunni men and boys are still missing more than two months after the Islamic State stronghold fell. The abuses occurred despite U.S. efforts to restrict the militias’ role in the operation, including threatening to withdraw American air support, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The U.S. efforts had little effect. Shi’ite militias did not pull back from Falluja, participated in looting there and now vow to defy any American effort to limit their role in coming operations against Islamic State.

All told, militia fighters killed at least 66 Sunni males and abused at least 1,500 others fleeing the Falluja area, according to interviews with more than 20 survivors, tribal leaders, Iraqi politicians and Western diplomats.

They said men were shot, beaten with rubber hoses and in several cases beheaded. Their accounts were supported by a Reuters review of an investigation by local Iraqi authorities and video testimony and photographs of survivors taken immediately after their release.

The battle against Islamic State is the latest chapter in the conflict between Iraq’s Shi’ite majority and Sunni minority, which was unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The war ended decades of Sunni rule under Saddam Hussein and brought to power a series of governments dominated by Shi’ite Islamist parties patronized by Iran.

Washington’s inability to restrain the sectarian violence is now a central concern for Obama administration officials as they move ahead with plans to help Iraqi forces retake the much larger city of Mosul, Islamic State’s Iraqi capital. Preliminary operations to clear areas outside the strategic city have been under way for months. Sunni leaders in Iraq and Western diplomats fear the Shi’ite militias might commit worse excesses in Mosul, the country’s second-largest city. Islamic State, the Sunni extremist group, seized the majority-Sunni city in June 2014.


U.S. officials say they fear a repeat of the militia abuses in Mosul could erase any chances of reconciling Iraq’s Sunni and Shia communities. “Virtually every conversation that we have had internally with respect to planning for Mosul – and virtually every conversation that we’ve had with the Iraqis – has this as a central topic,” said a senior Obama Administration official.

In public, as reports of the abuses in Falluja emerged from survivors, Iraqi officials and human rights groups, U.S. officials in Washington initially played down the scope of the problem and did not disclose the failed American effort to rein in the militias.

Brett McGurk, the special U.S. envoy for the American-led campaign against Islamic State, expressed concern to reporters at a June 10th White House briefing for reporters about what he called “reports of isolated atrocities” against fleeing Sunnis.

Three days before the briefing, Gov. Sohaib al-Rawi of Anbar Province informed the U.S. ambassador that hundreds of people detained by Shi’ite militias had gone missing around Falluja, the governor told Reuters. By the time of the White House briefing, Iraqi officials, human rights investigators and the United Nations had collected evidence of scores of executions, the torture of hundreds of men and teenagers, and the disappearance of more than 700 others.

Nearly three weeks later, on June 28, McGurk struck a measured tone during testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said reports of abuses had been received in the early days of the operation, “many of which have turned out not to be credible but some of which appear to be credible.”

McGurk declined a request for an interview. Mark Toner, the State Department’s deputy spokesperson, said American officials had expressed “concern both publicly and privately” about reported atrocities. “We find any abuse totally unacceptable,” Toner said, and “any violation of human rights should be investigated with those responsible held accountable.”

Militia leaders deny that their groups mistreated civilians. They say the missing men were Islamic State militants killed in battle.


Iraqi government officials also challenged the reports of widespread violence against civilians. In an interview, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi’s deputy national security adviser, Safa al-Sheikh, said there were a few incidents, but added: “There are a lot of exaggerations, and some of the reports didn’t have any basis.”

Iraq’s main Shi’ite militias, trained and armed by Tehran, emerged during the 2003-2011 U.S. occupation and have grown in power and stature. After helping the government defend Baghdad when Islamic State seized Mosul in 2014, the militias became arms of the Iraqi government. Islamic State has slaughtered thousands of Iraqis, of all faiths.

There now are more than 30 Shi’ite militias whose members receive government salaries. The major groups have government posts and parliament seats.

Their might has also been enhanced by some of the more than $20 billion in military hardware the United States has sold or given to Iraq since 2005. Their weaponry includes armored personnel carriers, trucks, Humvees, artillery and even tanks, according to U.S. officials, independent experts and pictures and videos militia members have posted on the internet.

Collectively, the Shi’ite militias are known as the Hashid Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The militias officially answer to Abadi. In reality, the main groups answer only to themselves, display their own flags and emblems, and are advised by the Quds Force – Iran’s elite foreign paramilitary and intelligence service.

The Falluja offensive began on May 22. For more than a year, American officials had warned Iraqi officials repeatedly that the United States would suspend air support in areas where militias were operating outside the Iraqi military’s formal chain of command. The policy was designed to prevent American planes from inadvertently bombing Iraqi forces and to restrain militias from entering areas considered sensitive to Sunnis, according to U.S. officials.

In the first two days of the Falluja offensive, reports emerged of militiamen separating males from fleeing families. American, Western and U.N. diplomats pressured Abadi, other top Iraqi officials and militia leaders to stop the abuses.

Abadi and other political leaders publicly called for protection of civilians.


The Americans’ influence was hindered by the fact they had no forces in Falluja and couldn’t observe specific abuses, according to the Western diplomat who tracked the campaign.

On May 26, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s leading Shi’ite cleric, pleaded with combatants to protect civilians. Aid agencies estimated at the time that as many as 100,000 people remained inside Falluja.

“Don’t be extreme … don’t be treacherous. Don’t kill an old man, nor a boy, nor a woman. Don’t cut a tree unless you have to,” Sistani said, citing sayings of the Prophet Mohammed.

Sistani’s pleas and the American threats fell on deaf ears.

The first known instance of systematic abuse by the militias in the Falluja offensive occurred May 27 northeast of the city, in the farming region of Sejar. Militiamen and security forces stopped a group of fleeing Sunnis, pulled aside somewhere between 73 and 95 males aged 15 and older and took them away, according to Gov. al-Rawi of Anbar Province and a Western diplomat who monitored the offensive. Women and children were freed.

“We are still in contact with women and children who were handed to government people,” said the Western diplomat. “They still don’t know where the men are.”

On May 29, militiamen just west of the farming areas of Sejar, separated 20 men from a group of fleeing Sunnis and “started killing them,” said the Western diplomat. “The police arrived when there were three left alive. The police took the three and dumped them” in a camp east of Falluja for people displaced by the civil war.

Terrified that the militias would storm the camp and kill them, the trio arranged protection for themselves in Baghdad, the diplomat said. Gov. al-Rawi confirmed this account.

A Sunni academic said he spoke to three survivors of the alleged massacre, two brothers and their cousin. The men said the killings occurred during fighting between Iraqi federal police forces and Islamic State, according to the academic.


The three survivors told the academic that they were among some 50 people who had sought shelter in a house when they saw federal police raise the Iraqi flag at a nearby school. The group waved white cloths and was directed to leave the house by the police.

When the group emerged, the three said, the police separated the men from their families. One officer then opened fire and killed 17 men, the academic quoted the survivors as saying, adding that the three were spared when another officer intervened. The shooter was arrested, according to the Anbar governor.

Worse was to come. Shi’ite militiamen seeking vengeance against Islamic State rounded up Sunnis on June 3 from the town of Saqlawiya, according to witnesses interviewed by Reuters, U.N. workers, Iraqi officials and Human Rights Watch.

According to these accounts, more than 5,000 Sunnis, mostly members of the al-Mohamda tribe, left Saqlawiya, a farming community five miles northwest of Falluja. The Sunnis made their way toward what they thought was the safety of government lines marked by Iraqi flags. A gray-haired man described the scene in a video recorded by local officials after he and 604 other men were freed two days later.

“When we arrived there, we discovered they were the Hashid,” the Shi’ite militias, the witness said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein, two senior Iraqi officials, and a 69-year-old survivor interviewed by Reuters identified the militiamen as members of Kataib Hezbollah. One of the most powerful Shi’ite paramilitaries, Kataib Hezbollah was organized by and retains close ties to Iran’s Quds Force. Both are deemed to be terrorist groups by the United States.

Kataib Hezbollah denied being involved in abuses in Falluja. “They make these claims based on accusations from politicians that ISIS is depending on,” said Kataib spokesman Jaafar al-Husseini. “They are trying to keep us far from the operations of Anbar and Mosul.”

The militiamen separated out an estimated 1,500 males aged 15 and older and moved them in groups to different locations, including warehouses and an Iraqi base called Camp Tariq, according to survivors, U.N. investigators and Human Rights Watch.


The survivors described being crammed into small rooms and halls and denied food and water, straining to breathe in the stifling heat. Militiamen using sticks, pipes and hoses beat the detainees and declared that they were taking revenge for Camp Speicher – a June 2014 massacre by Islamic State of 1,566 Shi’ite and other non-Sunni air force cadets.

.A 32-year-old man, one of six survivors Reuters interviewed, said he was packed into a room with dozens of other captives, his hands tied behind his back

They started hitting us with their fists, knives and cables,” he said. “When people fainted, we yelled they were going to die, and the guards told us that’s what they wanted.”

The guards, the survivor said, told the captives they were avenging the deaths of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers killed in fighting around Falluja since 2014.

In a video recorded by local officials, another survivor told how men craving water were given bottles in which to urinate and told to drink their own waste.

A 47-year-old survivor described how he watched militiamen repeatedly beat his 17-year-old son and carry off the corpses of 15 men who appeared to have been beaten to death. The man was one of the 605 survivors released on June 5. His son was not among them, he said; the boy hasn’t been seen since.

“We want to know the destiny of our sons,” the man told Reuters. “We consider the Americans responsible for everything that has happened.”


In all, militiamen killed at least 49 men who were detained in Saqlawiya, four of whom were beheaded, according to the U.N.’s Zeid.

The brutality ended without explanation for some 800 detainees after two days. But 643 Saqlawiya detainees remain unaccounted for. Their names are recorded on a list circulated by local officials to the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and government investigators and reviewed by Reuters.

On June 7, Sheikh Ali Hamad, a leader of the Mohamda, a Sunni tribe, decried on television what he called “a genocidal crime” and the deaths of “tens of our sons.”

The same day, the Anbar governor informed U.S. Ambassador Jones that hundreds of Sunni men were missing. U.N. envoy Zeid issued a statement citing “extremely distressing, credible reports” of abuse, including summary executions of men and boys by militiamen.

On June 9, the day before McGurk’s White House briefing, Human Rights Watch issued a report on the alleged atrocities in Sejar and Saqlawiya.

The regular Iraqi security forces, including the U.S.-trained Counter-Terrorism Service, eventually established safe corridors and guided civilians out of the city. Some 100,000 civilians escaped as a result.


Today, the Shi’ite militias are clamoring to join the Mosul offensive, fired by zeal, a desire for revenge and hopes of burnishing their political standing within their sect.

“They will want a piece of the climactic battle,” said Kenneth Pollock, a former CIA analyst now with the Brookings Institution, a Washington policy institute.

Ryan Crocker, a career diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, said the Obama administration has downplayed abuses by both militia and Iraqi forces. “This administration is so determined to be able to declare victory over ISIL (that) they don’t really care about any of the rest of it,” said Crocker.

Over the disapproval of the Mosul provincial government, Abadi and militia leaders have said that militias will participate in the campaign to liberate the city.

The chief PMF administrator is Jamal Ibrahimi. Known by the nom de guerre Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, he is on the U.S. international terrorist list.

U.S. officials say Ibrahimi is the leader of Kataib Hezbollah, the militia that Iraqi officials, Western diplomats and others hold primarily responsible for the atrocities committed in the Falluja offensive.

Ibrahimi and the militia deny that he heads Kataib Hezbollah.

Abadi’s office has announced that a committee will investigate allegations of rights abuses in Falluja. It is uncertain if the inquiry will find anyone responsible beyond a handful of low-level suspects whose arrests Abadi reported on June 13.

(This version of the story has been refiled to remove word “new” from headline)

(Edited by David Rohde and Michael Williams)

 Turkey’s migrant deal with Europe may collapse under post-coup attempt crackdown

August 23, 2016

by Michael Birnbaum and Erin Cunningham

The Washington Post

BRUSSELS — The landmark agreement that halted a torrent of migrants flowing from Turkey into Europe is nearing collapse in the wake of the failed Turkish coup and the subsequent nationwide crackdown.

Turkish and European leaders are threatening to abandon the deal — the Europeans because they say they are worried about widespread human rights abuses, the Turks because of European reluctance to fulfill a promise to drop visa restrictions for Turkish nationals.

Now, even as it detains tens of thousands of people in response to the coup attempt, Turkey has given the European Union an October deadline over the visa pledge — or it will walk away from its commitment to stem the flow.

An end to the agreement, which came after more than a million migrants and refugees entered in Europe in 2015, would mark another blow to the contentious relationship between the E.U. and Turkey, which is petitioning to join the bloc. It could also result in a fresh surge of asylum seekers traveling from Turkey, which would confront E.U. leaders with a new humanitarian and political dilemma after a relatively quiet spring and summer.

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said this month that Turkey was headed toward dictatorship, and that Europe should reset talks with the Turkish government.

“I do not know if the deal with Turkey will be officially terminated,” Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said in an interview with a German publication last week. But “what we are experiencing now are threats and the attempt by Turkey to give us an ultimatum for visa liberalization.”

On Monday, in a blunt acknowledgment of the rising tension, Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Vienna, for what Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called “consultations.”

For months, Europe has demanded changes to Turkey’s harsh anti-terrorism legislation before it loosens its visa rules. But Turkey has fired back, pointing to the terrorist attacks that have hit the country in recent years.

Now, as Turkish authorities clamp down on dissent, the dispute is more heated than ever. Where E.U. leaders see rights violations, Turkish officials see measures necessary to head off another coup attempt.

“It cannot be that everything that is good for the E.U. is implemented by our side, but Turkey gets nothing in return,” Cavusoglu told Germany’s Bild newspaper.

“I don’t want to talk about the worst-case scenario,” he said, referring to the potential for another swell of migrants. “But it’s clear that we either apply all treaties at the same time or we put them all aside.”

Migration agencies and analysts say the consequences of the deal’s breakdown are difficult to predict. At stake is Europe’s fragile migration system, more than $6 billion in aid for refugees, and Turkey’s broader relationship with the West.

For thousands of migrants and refugees, their futures may be at risk.

Under the agreement, the E.U. can send back migrants who have arrived from Turkey in exchange for aid and visa-free travel for Turks. Before it went into effect in March, an average of 1,740 asylum seekers, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, were arriving in Greece every day, according to E.U. figures.

But by May, the average number had plummeted to just 47 a day. And aid agencies say that it was clear Turkish security forces were working to block the stream of people leaving for Greece, which is just across the Aegean Sea.

Although the number of arrivals is down, Greek authorities say they have returned only 482 of more than 10,000 people who have arrived on their shores from Turkey since March. The implementation of the agreement was slow, but deportations were delayed even further when Turkish liaison officers posted to Greece were recalled after the coup attempt, aid officials say.

As part of the wide-scale purge that has followed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to consolidate control over the security services. In addition to detaining 18,000 military personnel, Erdogan shook up command structures and placed the Turkish coast guard under the control of the Interior Ministry.

The purge “will kill the bureaucracy’s ability to think,” said Aaron Stein, an expert in Turkish politics and a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center. “So things slow down and grind to a halt.”

The chaos may have also led to a rise in the number of arrivals in Greece over the past month, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). More than 2,700 asylum seekers landed in Greece from Turkey from July 15 to Aug. 15, or about 90 a day. And although that is a fraction of last year’s influx, it’s still nearly double the late-spring average.

“We need to be prepared. Contingency, it’s important — it’s something we are doing with Greece and with other countries, telling them you need to be prepared in case this happens,” said William Spindler, a spokesman for the UNHCR.

More than 800,000 men, women and children arrived in Greece last year, overwhelming the nation’s weak response system. Any new spike in arrivals could crowd the camps Greece has established to house migrants and refugees, which are over capacity.

But the greater pressure on Europe may have abated, even if Turkey refuses to patrol its coastline for asylum seekers.

Because western Balkan nations sealed their borders this year, the migrants who make it to Greece are marooned there, unable to press northward. Germany and Sweden, once generous to new refugees, have become less so as their respective governments face domestic backlash for the influx.

“People in Turkey who had been thinking about migrating to Greece know that there they will get stuck, and Greece is not their final destination,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, the director of the E.U., Norway and Switzerland office of the International Organization for Migration, which is involved in providing aid to asylum seekers in Greece and Turkey.

“There are a series of constraints that now exist,” he said, “regardless of the deal.”

Still, a full pullback from the agreement could affect broader cooperation between Europe and Turkey — and also make life tougher for refugees.

The E.U. pledged $3.4 billion in aid for refugees in Turkey, plus up to another $3.4 billion by 2018. This funding could help ease living conditions for the 2.7 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey.

But what happens to that money if the deal falls apart is unclear. And advocacy groups have warned of the human consequences should the two sides walk away from each other.

“Canceling this agreement would inevitably risk a return to smuggling of human beings, illegal trafficking, illegal trade and a massive undermining of human rights,” said Daniel Holtgen, a spokesman for the Council of Europe, a human rights group.

But the post-coup attempt crackdown suggests to some critics that Turkey won’t be able fulfill its human rights obligations under the agreement.

“It’s another nail in the coffin of the deal,” Elizabeth Collett, director of the Brussels-based Migration Policy Institute Europe, said of the crackdown. “It’s another reason to be skeptical.”

Cunningham reported from Istanbul.

What’s Next for Turkey’s Exiled Cleric Fethullah Gülen?

August 23 2016

by Tolga Tanis

The Intercept

Nearly 20 years ago, while Turkey was in the midst of a military coup, I was asked to interview a member of a secretive religious organization whose membership — and even its aims — was little understood.

I was a young reporter for a television news program, Teke Tek, and Mr. X, as we referred to him, was a member of a group led by Fethullah Gülen, known to his followers as Hocaefendi.

We spent days together, starting in the morning and sometimes talking until midnight. What he said was astonishing. Mr. X, a shy, well-behaved young man, told me about the movement’s clandestine methods to sneak into the military schools.

First, we determine the talented, brilliant, but at the same time loyal 11- to 12-year-old students to prepare them for the military school examinations. Then we separate them from the others. And we start to meet with them secretly. We never talk in public area. We don’t want to be seen with them. Because if the military knows that these students are taught by us, they don’t have a chance to get in. And once they’ve been elected, we keep communicating again carefully. Precaution is essential for us. This is Hocaefendi’s order. And if we suspect that the relationship might be uncovered, we cease to see the student. Sometimes this non-communication takes years. But one day, we remind the student ourselves. And he always responds positively. That is why we pick the most loyal ones. And that is why they obey their hierarchal level. Everyone talks to his own big brother. No one can break the hierarchy.

According to Mr. X, the mostly highly prized of the recruits were the military pilots, and particularly pilots who could fly the American-made F-16 fighters. “Without exception, Hocaefendi wants to see every F-16 pilot by himself to bless him, even though it is very rare to see him if you are not a high-level imam,” Mr. X said (senior leaders in the organization are called “imams”). Mr. X said he was tired of the secrecy and was leaving the movement and wanted people to know about its operations.

At the time, I was shocked by this description of a massive organization. The Gülenists were, according to Mr. X, recruiting in the police, the judicial system, and other government agencies. Gülen’s followers were creating a playbook for religious adherents to survive in a government dominated by a rigid secular ideology promulgated by the Kemalists.

But after the February 28 military coup of 1997 and the resignation of the Islamist prime minister, circumstances changed. Fethullah Gülen left Turkey for the U.S. in 1999. Three years later, AKP, an Islamist political party, came to power in Turkey with the support of Gülenists, and being religious was no longer a reason to be excluded from the government.

I didn’t see Mr. X again. I had finished my interview with him and gave the notes to the anchorman, who was planning to write a book. Nothing was ever published or broadcast, however. Mr. X was never exposed, and he started a new life after leaving the movement.

Much has changed in the intervening years, most notably a break between Gülen and the AKP’s charismatic leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now president of Turkey. Clashes between the two fronts erupted in 2012, and Erdogan accused the Gülen movement of creating a “parallel structure” within the state. When followers of the Gülen movement in the police and the judiciary initiated a graft probe against the Erdogan government on December 17, 2013, the hostility between Gülen and Erdogan boiled over into the public.

Then, last month, when the military initiated a thwarted coup, Erdogan pinned the blame on Gülen.

It’s unclear whether Gülen and his movement were really behind the coup, but a source I spoke to recently said the structure that Mr. X outlined for me years ago had changed. The Gülen movement was still powerful, and Gülen was now communicating directly with the middle-level imams. “Before, Hocaefendi was very strict about the rules that he set,” he told me. “A mid-level imam could never talk to him directly without his own big brother. But five to six years ago, Hocaefendi started to welcome the imam of the military, for example, without his superior. He was talking to them privately.”

The people Gülen was talking to were ambitious young men in their 30s, and older members — the “big brothers” — were upset about being excluded and concerned about what the younger members were telling Gülen. “I am sure that if these big brothers were involved with these conversations, they would raise their concerns about some of the ideas that mid-level imams suggested to Hocaefendi.”

Even though there’s no public evidence that last month’s coup attempt is linked to Gülen, Erdogan’s government responded by dismissing or detaining over 100,000 people — a reflection of how deeply Erdogan believes Gülen’s followers have penetrated official institutions. Erdogan has also requested that the U.S. extradite Gülen back to Turkey.

The U.S. government said Turkey must first present evidence of alleged complicity for action to be taken against Gülen, who has been living in Pennsylvania for the past 17 years. President Obama personally denied press reports that the U.S. either knew or assisted with the attempted coup.

“America’s governed by rules of law, and those are not ones that the president of the United States or anybody else can just set aside for the sake of expediency,” Obama said of Ankara’s extradition request during a press conference. “We’ve got to go through a legal process.”

Recently, the Turkish government has raised a new concern regarding Gülen. The Turkish justice minister, Bekir Bozdag, warned that Gülen could flee the U.S. to seek political asylum in Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Egypt, or Canada.

Of these countries, only Canada is considered a serious option by those inside Gülen’s movement. Canada, unlike the United States, does not have an extradition treaty with Turkey.

“Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship never confirms or denies whether a person has made an asylum claim,” Nancy Caron, the agency’s spokesperson, said. She said that Canada offers refugee protection to people in Canada who fear persecution and are unwilling or unable to return to their home country.

Is that a serious option for Mr. Gülen? Is he packing for Canada?

His spokesperson Alpaslan Dogan denied these rumors. “No such plans,” he told The Intercept.

Graham E. Fuller, a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, and one of the prominent figures who helped Gülen obtain his green card eight years ago, said he doubted the U.S. would extradite Gülen or force him to leave, unless Turkey provided concrete evidence of his involvement in the attempted coup.

“I suppose if the U.S. said he should leave if he didn’t want to get extradited, I suppose he would have to consider it,” wrote Graham, who lives in Canada and is currently an adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University, in an email exchange.

“Would Canada accept him?” Graham asked. “Possibly, but it depends on how much Canada’s relations with Turkey matter.”

So what about Mr. X, the young man I interviewed nearly two decades ago? I was told that he had returned to the Gülen movement and had moved to Canada.

“It has been years,” I said, when Mr. X picked up the phone. “Hope you are doing well.”

He didn’t say anything for a few seconds. And then he replied, “I was waiting your call.”

“Did you rejoin the movement?” I asked.

He didn’t want to answer.

I explained to him that these many years later, I wanted to use the notes from our interviews.

“Can we talk?” I asked.

“I don’t want to talk,” he said, and hung up the phone.

Christ the Essene

by Harry von Johnston. PhD

It is near; it is at hand. Maybe tomorrow but probably never

A compendium of endless predictions of the Second Coming based on period documents

An untold number of people have tried to predict the return of Jesus by using elaborate timetables. Most date setters do not realize that mankind has not kept an unwavering record of time. Anyone wanting to chart, for example, 100 BCE to 2000 CE, would have to contend with the fact that 46 BCE was 445 days long, there was no year 0 BCE, and in 1582 we switched from Julian Years (360 days) to Gregorian (365 days). Because most prognosticators are not aware of all of these changes, their math is immediately off by at least several years if not decades.

The Return of Jesus the Christ is easily the most important event in Pentecostal fictive history but long before the Pentecostal sect evolved in 1900, empty-headed religious zealots, banging on their empty drums, have been predicting the Second Coming.

Herewith we present a brief compendium of the more entertaining prophesies for the entertainment of the reader.

53 AD

Even before all the books of the New Testament were invented, and at about the time of the abortive Essene revolt in Jerusalem, there was talk that Jesus’ Return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the event..


A Roman priest living in the second century predicted Jesus would return in 500 CE, based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark. Someone must have used a bad ruler because Jesus did not appear in 500 CE


All credulous members of what passed for normal society seemed affected by the prediction that Jesus was coming back at the start of the new millennium. The magic of the number 1000 was the sole reason for the expectation. During concluding months of 999 CE, everyone was on his best behavior; worldly goods were sold and given to the poor; swarms of pilgrims headed east to meet the Lord at Jerusalem; buildings went unrepaired; crops were left unplanted; and criminals were set free from jails. When the year 999 CE turned into 1000 CE, nothing happened. Many citizens of the world who had given their property away, but certainly not those who accepted it, were stunned but eventually hopeful that the event would be postponed until 1001. Nothing happened then, either.


This year was cited as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1,000 years since Jesus’ alleged crucifixion.


The “Letter of Toledo” warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world was reportedly to be destroyed with only a few spared, including the letter writer. It was not.


The Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city in the known world would be annihilated by fire. Only the five mountain strongholds they occupied would be saved from the Celestial Barbeque. This did not happen


Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Jesus was near. After Muntzer and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would supposedly return. This belief led to an uneven battle against government troops. Muntzer was strategically outnumbered. Muntzer claimed to have had a vision from God in which the Lord promised that He would catch the cannonballs of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The prediction within the vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire. If one believes their stories, the disintegrated had the pleasure of going to heaven in a number of pieces which God Himself would lovingly sort out just like pious Jewish religious ambulance workers reassembling those fragmented in a modern Jerusalem bus bomb attack.


A repeat of the Muntzer affair occurred a few years later. This time, one greatly deluded by apparently very forceful, Jan Matthys took over the city of Münster in Germany. The city was to be the only one spared from Divine destruction. The inhabitants of Münster, evicted by Matthys and his men, regrouped and laid siege to the city. Within a year, every one of the strange occupiers in the city was dead. They also had an express ticket to Heaven.


In an England beset by religious fanatics, the Fifth Monarchy Men beseeched Jesus to establish a theocracy. They took up arms and tried to seize England by force. The movement, and most of the senior leaders of it, died when the British monarchy was restored in 1660. Jesus apparently was not listening or was otherwise engaged. Heads rolled, quite literally, as England finally escaped from the unwanted attention of dim-witted fanatics.


Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end-time messages on them. One message said that Jesus was coming. The uproar she created ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into the hen’s oviduct. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client. History does not record whether the offended and sodomized chicken attended the hanging.


Spiritualist Joanna Southcott made the startling claim that she, by virgin birth, would produce the second Jesus the Christ. Her abdomen began to swell and so did the crowds of people around her. This gathering is similar to certain primitive ethnic groups who see visions of the Virgin Mary on refrigerator doors or reflected on rooming house walls. The time for the birth came and passed with no Jesus appearing. As for the miraculous Southcott, she died soon after and an autopsy revealed she had experienced a false pregnancy. Her followers blamed the Antichrist for this.


John Wesley wrote that “the time, times and half a time” of Revelation 12:14 were 1058-1836, “when Christ should come” John Wesley was wrong in this matter as well as a number of other items of religious thought he preached.


William Miller was the founder of an end-times movement that was so prominent it received its own name, Millerism. From his studies of the Bible, Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement excellent momentum. The buildup of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller’s one-year timetable ran out. Some followers set another date–Oct 22, 1844. This too failed, collapsing the movement. One follower described the days after the failed predictions: “The world made merry over the old Prophet’s predicament. The taunts and jeers of the ‘scoffers’ were well-nigh unbearable.”  People in general do not suffer fools gladly.


Rev. Thomas Parker, a Massachusetts minister, looked for the millennium to start about 1859. It did not. Parker subsequently was placed in a lunatic asylum when discovered running, buck naked, down the street in Bainbridge, screeching that Jesus was right behind him. What was behind the Reverend Parker were local bailiffs with nets.


The revisit of Halley’s Comet to the earth’s bemused vision was, for many, an indication of Jesus’ Second Coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One enterprising man sold comet pills to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases. Toxic gasses, mostly vocal methane, from frantic Fundamentalists did not need pills. It might have been better if the predictors had used Prozac tranquilizer pills but as they had not yet been invented, this is a moot point.


Charles Russell, after being exposed to the lunatic babblings of William Miller, founded his own organization that evolved into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1914, Russell predicted the return of Jesus the Christ. Jesus the Christ was not listening and did not appear in 1914.


In 1918, new studies assisted Russell from extending his predictions to that year. Jesus the Christ, or His travel agent, did not oblige.


The Witnesses had no better luck in 1925. They already possessed the title of “Most Wrong Predictions.” They would expand upon it with great zeal and no sense whatsoever in the years to come.


When the city of Jerusalem was captured from the Arab inhabitants by the Jews in 1967, prophecy watchers declared that the “Time of the Gentiles” had come to an end.


The ‘True Light Church of Christ’ made its claim to fame by incorrectly forecasting the return of Jesus. A number of church members had quit their livelihoods ahead of the promised advent. In earlier time, such deluded creatures gave their property away to their gleeful, non-believing neighbors, donned white nightgowns and stood up on hilltops, waiting for the Celestial Elevator. It never came for them but pneumonia and the rubber bags did.


A comet that turned out to be a visual disappointment nonetheless compelled at least one preacher to announce that it was a sign of the Lord’s return. It was not.


The Jehovah’s Witnesses were back at it again with commendable zeal in 1975. The failure of the latest forecast did not affect the growth of the movement. The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, had over 13 million subscribers. Many of them actually are able to read, albeit very slowly, but the majority loved the large pictures. However, over 40 millions have read the Left Behind books or, as they have irreverently been termed, the My Left Behind books.


One author boldly declared that the Rapture would occur before December 31, 1981, based on Christian prophecy, astronomy, and a dash of ecological fatalism. He pegged the date to Jesus’ promised return to earth a generation after Israel’s rebirth. He also made references to the “Jupiter Effect,” a planetary alignment occurring every 179 years that supposedly could lead to earthquakes and nuclear plant meltdowns. Also, there were saintly rumors of the Lost Continent of Atlantis suddenly emerging from the depths of Lake Baikal in Russia, or according to other enlightened cretins, Lake Michigan, New York Harbor, the Mississippi River just off of New Orleans or the main public reservoir of Phoenix, Arizona. There was no Rapture and Atlantis never surfaced.


The lunatic fringe was at it again in 1982 when they loudly proclaimed that the world as we all knew it was going to end in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring “Armageddon” to the earth. Astrologers and religious predictors joined forces here and when nothing happened, all of them went back to the Ouija boards. Armageddon is, of course, pure fiction and is not found in the Bible, even in the weird rantings of the lunatic John of Patmos.


A group called the Tara Centers placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing: “The Christ is Now Here!” They predicted that He was to make himself known “within the next two months.” After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the “consciousness of the human race was not quite right…”  Obviously, this same statement can easily apply to the mental stability of the Tara Center people. Unfounded rumor had it that Jesus in fact did arrive but was arrested by New York City Vice Squad for unmentionable acts in a public lavatory in Central Park.


The Jehovah’s Witnesses made sure, in 1984, that no one else would be able to top their record of most wrong doomsday predictions. The Witnesses’ record currently holds at nine. The years are: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984. Tired of loud public scorn and derision, the Witnesses have modestly retired from the field and now spend their time banging on doors and hawking their magazines, T-shirts and Second Coming bath mats and ashtrays.


The book, ‘88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988’, came out only a few months before the event was to take place. What little time the book had left to it and its feeble minded readers, it used effectively. By the time the predicted dates, September 11-13, rolled around, whole churches were caught up in the excitement the book generated. Not unnaturally, nothing happened. The writer and publisher, however, benefited greatly from the sales.


After the passing of the deadline in 88 Reasons, the author, Edgar Whisenant, came out with a new book called ‘89 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1989’. This book sold only a fraction of the number of copies his prior release had sold.


A group in Australia predicted Jesus would return through the Sydney Harbor at 9 a.m., March 31, 1991. Rumors are that He was doing the breast stroke in the Harbor but was run over by a car ferry and drowned.


Menachem Schneerson, a mystic Russian-born rabbi, called for the Messiah to come by September 9, 1991, the start of the Jewish New Year. Apparently, Jesus was not listening and failed to appear. The good rabbi passed away and his followers eagerly anticipated his own return. He did not do so.


A Korean group, called Mission for the Coming Days, had the Korea Church in a state of frenzied excitement in the fall of 1992. They foresaw October 28, 1992 as the date for the Glorious Rapture and arrival of the Celestial Omnibus.  Numerology was the basis for the date. Several camera shots that left ghostly images on pictures were thought to be a supernatural confirmation of the date. Careless photography was a more likely suspect.


If the year 2000 is the end of the 6,000-year cycle, then the Rapture must take place in 1993, because you would need seven years of the Tribulation. This was the murky thinking of a number of prophecy writers. They were all wrong.


In the book, 1994: The Year of Destiny , F. M. Riley foretold of God’s plan to rapture His people. The name of his ministry is “The Last Call,” and he operated out of a Missouri that has produced both John Ashcroft and Jesse James.


Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of apocalyptic event on June 9, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, “On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world.” From a proper reading of Bible prophecy, the only thing that God could possibly rip from the earth would be the Christian Church. Some people tried to interpret Hinkle’s unscriptural vision to mean that God would the rip evil out of our hearts when He Raptured us. As usual the date came and went with no heart surgery or Rapture.


Harold Camping, in his book Are You Ready?, predicted the Lord would return in September 1994. The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. The numbers did not crunch and Camping joined a long list of failed prophets, seers and other mountebanks in blessed oblivion.


After promising they would not make any more end time predictions, the Jehovah’s Witnesses fell off the wagon and proclaimed 1994 as the conclusion of an 80-year generation; the year 1914 was the starting point. Their magazine sales are up but the ashtrays were not doing as well as expected. This group of lovelies then sold Rapture Travel Suits, matching Rapture luggage and Dramamine pills for the trip.


A self-proclaimed California psychic, Sheldon Nidle, predicted the end would come with the convergence of 16 million space ships and a host of angels upon the earth on December 17, 1996. Nidle explained the passing of the date by claiming the angels placed us in a holographic projection to preserve us and give us a second chance. His doctors will not let him write any more and even took away his crayons.


When Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, some saw the events as the beginning of tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement, Daniel’s 1,260-day countdown was underway. By adding 1,260 days to September 1993, you arrive at February 24, 1997. Jesus, on the other hand, did not arrive nor were the Elect of the Pentecostal cults shot up into the stratosphere like so many ballistic missiles.


Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club saw a “90 percent” chance that the Tribulation would start September 12, 1997. He based his conclusion on several end-time signs: that would be Jesus’ 2,000th birthday and it would also be the Day of Atonement, although it wouldn’t be what is currently the Jewish Day of Atonement. Further supporting evidence came from Romanian pastor Dumitru Duduman. In several heavenly visions, caused by the imbibing of too much plum wine, Dumitru claimed to have seen the Book of Life. In one of his earlier visions, there were several pages yet to be completed. In his last vision, he noticed the Book of Life only had one page left. Doing some rough calculating, Johnson and friends figured the latest time frame for the completion of the book would have to be September 1997. There were, quite naturally, more bitter disappointments as the time came and passed without a sight of Jerusalem Slim.


Numerology: Because 666 times three equals 1998, some people pointed to this year as being prophetically significant. This incredible information was posted on the Internet where it stunned dozens of true believers.


A Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland, Texas predicted Jesus would return on March 31 of 1998. The group’s leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO at group excursion rates, no meals served.

The group abandoned their prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult’s leader had said that God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world. Maybe God realized at the last minute, the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and He didn’t want to have Christians watching a porn channel. He felt that mass viewing of the X-Hamster site was more than enough to bear.


Marilyn Agee, in her book, The End of the Age, had her sights set on May 31, 1998. for the Glorious Arrival. This date was to conclude the 6,000-year cycle from the time of Adam. Agee looked for the Rapture to take place on Pentecost, which is also known as “the Feast of Weeks.” Another indicator of this date was the fact that the Holy Spirit did not descend upon the apostles until 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection. Israel was born in 1948; add the 50 days as years and you come up with whatever figure you like.

After her May 31 rapture date failed, Agee, unable to face up to her error, continued her date-setting by using various Scripture references to point to June 7, 14, 21 and about ten other dates. Marilyn then set a new date for the rapture: May 21 or 22 of the same year, Again, she and the dozens of believers who read her works were doomed to disappointment. Eventually, later rather than sooner, Agee joined the ranks of the Disproven and passed into blessed oblivion.


TV newscaster-turned-psychic Charles Criswell King had said in 1968 that the world as we know it would cease to exist on August 18, 1999. It did not.

Philip Berg, a rabbi at the Kabbalah Learning Center in New York, proclaimed that the end might arrive on September 11, 1999, when “a ball of fire will descend . . . destroying almost all of mankind, all vegetation, all forms of life.” Nothing happened on that date of note except that the Devil was arrested at a sex arcade in Times Square using counterfeit coins in a porn film viewer.


The names of the people and organizations that called for the return of Jesus at the turn of the century is too long to be listed here. If there were a day on which Jesus could not return, it must have been January 1, 2000. This day came and passed and the waiting multitude did not see Jesus descending on Dallas, arrayed like Solomon in all his splendor. Many had hangovers and the only visions they had on that day were of the double variety.

On May 5, 2000, all of the planets were supposed to have been in alignment. This was said to cause the earth to suffer earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and various other nasty stuff. A similar alignment occurred in 1982 and nothing happened. People failed to realize that the other nine planets only exert a very tiny gravitational pull on the earth. If you were to add up the gravitational force from the rest of the planets, the total would only amount to a fraction of the tug the moon has on the earth.

According to Michael Rood, the end times have a prophetically complicated connection to Israel’s spring barley harvest. The Day of the Lord began on May 5, 2000. Rood’s fall feast calendar called for the Russian Gog-Magog invasion of Israel to take place at sundown on October 28, 2000. It did not. Perhaps Prophet Rood might have considered the annual Harvest of the Floating Condoms from the waters of New York City as an alternative event.


Dr. Dale SumburËru looked for March 22, 1997 to be “the date when all the dramatic events leading through the tribulation to the return of Christ should begin” The actual date of Jesus’ return could be somewhere between July 2000 and March 2001. Dr. SumburËru is more general about the timing of Jesus’ second coming than most writers. He states, “The day the Lord returns is currently unknown because He said [Jesus] these days are cut short and it is not yet clear by how much and in what manner they are cut short. If the above assumptions are not correct, my margin of error would be in weeks, or perhaps months.”



September 3, 2003

A Little Rock woman was killed yesterday after leaping through her moving car’s sun roof during an incident best described as “a mistaken rapture” by dozens of eye- witnesses. Thirteen other people were injured after a twenty-car pile up resulted from people trying to avoid hitting the woman who was apparently convinced that the rapture was occurring when she saw twelve people floating up into the air, and then passed a man on the side of the road who she claimed was Jesus.

“She started screaming ‘He’s back!, He’s back!’ and climbed right out of the sunroof and jumped off the roof of the car,” said Everet Williams, husband of 28-year-old Georgann Williams who was pronounced dead at the scene. She had been run over by several vehicles, including a long-distance truck.

“I was slowing down but she wouldn’t wait till I stopped,” Williams said. “She thought the rapture was happening and was convinced that Jesus was gonna lift her up into the sky,” he went on to say.

“This is the strangest thing I’ve seen since I’ve been on the force,” said Paul Madison, first officer on the scene. Madison questioned the man who looked like Jesus and discovered that he was dressed up as Jesus and was on his way to a toga costume party when the tarp covering the bed of his pickup truck came loose and released twelve blowup dolls filled with helium which floated up into the air.

Ernie Jenkins, 32, of Fort Smith, who’s been told by several of his friends that he looks like Jesus, pulled over and lifted his arms into the air in frustration, and said “Come back here,” just as the Williams’ car passed him.

Mrs. Williams was sure that it was Jesus lifting people up into the sky as they passed by him, according to her husband, who says his wife loved Jesus more than anything else. When asked for comments about the twelve dolls, Jenkins replied “This is all just too weird for me. I never expected anything like this to happen.”

This event is probably the most illustrative of all the great compendiums of Celestial Return Prophesy.


For the past several decades, Jack Van Impe has hinted at nearly every year as being the time for the Rapture. Normally, he has only gone out one or two years from the current calendar year. However, Jack’s latest projection for the rapture goes out several years. His new math uses 51 years as the length of a generation. If you add 51 years to 1967, the year Israel seized Jerusalem from its Arab inhabitants, you get 2018. Once you subtract the seven-year tribulation period, you arrive at 2011. Dozens would be energized and sell off their bicycle training wheels but again, sad to say, nothing happened.


New Age writers cited Mayan and Aztec calendars that predicted the end of the age on December 21, 2012. Many were frantic with anticipation.  On that date, nothing happened.


Sir Isaac Newton, Britain’s greatest scientist, spent 50 years and wrote 4,500 pages trying to predict when the end of the world was coming. The most definitive date he set for the apocalypse, which he scribbled on a scrap of paper, was 2060.

The original scrap is now in the archives of Brother Pat Robertson. It appears to have been written with a ball point pen which was not invented until 1948.

The Anna Frank Diary was also written with a ball point pen.

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