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TBR News May 14, 2016

May 14 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 14, 2016:  “Both the United States and Japan view the expansionist activities of China with considerable concern. The US does not want to force a confrontation with China because many American businesses are operating in that country and the Chinese hold vast amounts of US Treasury notes. However, both countries are worried about nothing because China is on the verge of imploding. She is heavily over-populated, running out of fresh water, suffering from crippling atmospheric problems and very short on natural resources. Given all of these factors, the day is soon coming when civil unrest will erupt and the ageing dictators in Beijing will be unable to stop it. Massive police actions will only exacerbate the situation and soon China will either try to seize parts of Siberia and run the certainty of Russian military action or revert to the old provincial system and shrink in upon herself. Both Malthus and Calhoun address these issues but very few people ever bother to read either one of them.”




The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.

. Tuesday, 17 May 1948

Back at work again after a really wonderful rest. No newspapers, no radio and nothing to do but to observe this enormous country. And of course the mountains.

The service on the trains is excellent, as good as Mitropa, and the rooms were good. I took two staff members along but they were of no problem and enjoyed the trip as much as I did.

The country is immense and sparsely populated in many places with a number of small towns interspersed between large cities. A wait in Chicago that is neither as large nor impressive as New York. My train west stopped in Denver and then I got off and there was time to stay at the Brown Hotel there before taking a car up over the mountains which rise up like a great wall to the west of town. I could have gotten off along the way but I was interested in seeing Denver and to stretch my legs a bit.

Colorado is beautiful but compared with Germany and Switzerland, almost raw and unfinished in places. We can expect that from a new country.

Maxl was overjoyed to see me again. Horst tells me he whined and made a terrible fuss when I was gone. I find this very flattering. On the other hand, Irmgard wondered what sort of a gift I brought her (none) and made noises about a new spring wardrobe. She takes good dictation so I am not eager to lose her services just yet.

Much paperwork has piled up in my absence and a number of calls which I will take care of tomorrow.

While I was gone, the blockade of Berlin ended…finally. The Germans can thank God that Truman was President and not Roosevelt. He would have given the city to his dear friend Josef just like he and that fat pervert Churchill gave away Poland.

It was costly and there was a loss of life, especially among the pilots, but Stalin lost and now the de facto war is on in earnest.

Now we will have to tolerate that stupid Adenauer who is nothing but an American puppet and watch his trained rats pretend to be a sovereign state. Better that, I suppose, than a Germany occupied by Stalin.

Now it will be back into the fight again and I am told that summer here is intolerable. Well, perhaps I can go back to Colorado again sometime soon.

A vacation is good once in a while.

Sunday, 22 May 1949

Went to Mass early before breakfast and when I got back, much of great interest greeted me.

It seems that Forrestal got involved in some kind of a gravity experiment and like the high-flying Duggan, went out of the window on the 16th floor of the Navy hospital (Bethesda, ed.) early this morning. Landed on the roof below with a rope around his neck! Such a lack of finesse after all!

Well, I have had two visitors today who tell different stories about the descent but it is generally agreed that like Duggan and (Jan, ed.) Masaryk (Czech politician, ed.) who suffered the second Defenstration of Prague only last year (the Russians threw him out his window and a source told me he shit all over them before he went), Forrestal was undoubtedly assisted in his downward journey.

One wonders who did this? Possibly Pash or some asshole like him. I know that Truman was very upset about F. and his threats to expose certain matters but from what I have come to know about T., I doubt strongly that he had anything to do with it. Unless someone confesses, I doubt if we will ever know.

Of course Truman might have done what Henry II did and ask who would rid him of this cursed priest but I have heard nothing like that. Only that the President was deeply concerned about the business.

I have no idea at all why they don’t adopt the heart attack method that I perfected years ago. No trace and no brains or inner organs splattered all over the street. There ought to be some delicacy about murdering prominent people.

If another one, Wallace for example, does the same thing, people will begin to ask ugly questions.

I suppose they will put F. back together again and have a grand state funeral for him. We did that so well that perhaps I can make a suggestion or two.

It is not that people want to talk about this ugly business. On the contrary, they most especially do not want to talk about it. A man from the CIA who came by, made the most contorted efforts to avoid the issue. I finally brought it up and he at once began to try to change the subject.

Those people on E Street (the early CIA headquarters, ed.) are capable of any kind of filthy business and someone from there might well have done the deed. Hoover is too proper to get into such business. He would listen to telephone conversations and arrest someone for having a red kerchief in their clothes press but murder is not his forte.

It would be marvelous if (Clark, ed.) Clifford were the guilty party. That man is such a boring, self-inflated ass as to make me want to throw up on his lap. Truman likes him but no one else does. I do not trust people like that and it wouldn’t surprise me if he kept a bitch dog in his cellar for sexual reasons or stole money out of the offering plate at church on Sunday.

A row with Irmgard about her clothes allowance. She gets more money from me than I lived on for a whole year when I was her age. One has to be sharp once in a while or they will wear your testicles for ear decorations. I met this Colonel last month who is so controlled by his wife that he won’t defecate unless she tells him where and when.

To me, allowing any kind of a woman to dominate you is without redemption. Sophie (Müller’s wife, ed.) was not easy to live with but I made do. My God, I recall when I brought her to Berlin. I had been living there by myself quite comfortably when Himmler started gobbling that the Führer liked to see family men around him. Think of Goebbels and his endless array of opportunistic tarts. So I had to bring the lot up from Munich. S. of course, had no idea about how to conduct herself in the rarified atmosphere of the upper circles of the SS and I had to keep her at home.

Reinhard (Müller’s son, ed.) became a pleasure to me after a time but the rest of them were a nuisance. S. made such a fuss about leaving Berlin at the last. I got special seats on the train for her and Elizabeth (Müller’s daughter, ed.) and she kept coming back. We finally got her out but what a problem for me!

Poor Anni S. (Anni Schmidt was Müller’s favorite mistress, ed.) was far more upset about my disappearing act than Sophie but then I cared far more about A. than Sophie. Women cannot be dispensed with and it is almost impossible to live with most of them.

If I find another one, better than Irmgard, I will have to see what can be done. I., after all, is a good secretary (if too demanding) and she knows a great deal. Well, there are always solutions. I. wanted to type up these notes but I think not.

A check for $9,683 for the sale of some of the paintings. Always welcome, money is.


Tuesday, 24 May 1949

Germany is now a new state with old (Konrad, ed.) Adenauer in charge of the shop. Not much left of the country now and last year was a disaster as far as partial famine was concerned. Thank God Truman did something about that. He does not hate Germans the way Eisenhower does but then Truman is not Jewish. If it weren’t for Truman, Eisenhower would have let all our prisoners of war starve to death and as it is, nearly a hundred thousand were either murdered in cold blood or allowed to starve.

Eisenhower did exactly what he accused us of. Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

The bringing of democratic culture to the benighted Germans certainly cost America a great deal. There were over three hundred American Negro soldiers hung for murder and rape, a figure no one wants to talk about. At least the Americans took time out from their looting to revert to type. I wonder if the execution party wore white sheets?

By the way, Truman dislikes Eisenhower very much and as Truman has this attitude, I gave him a photocopy of my file on E., suitably embellished and translated for his reading. I am told he was very entertained.

I have nothing at all on Truman which would cover more than three pages and none of that bad. I heard a very decent story about T. In 1945, when he was Vice President, his old patron, Mr. Pendergast, died. P. was a typical American political “boss” who had offended the wrong people and was put in prison. The man died alone and in poverty and the only one who went to his funeral was T. Much criticism at the time but that does show the man’s character. I doubt if I will mention it to him the next time I see him. Character is the most important thing, after all.

Forrestal will be buried at the Arlington cemetery tomorrow and I have been asked to attend as a mourner. I detest public shows but my general friends would like me along to meet others. The Swiss clock maker triumphant at last!

Up early in the morning, take Maxl for his walk and then into fancy clothes for the services. Car will be by for me no later than nine.

Wednesday, 25 May 1949

A great and solemn ceremony at Arlington, the Invaliden Cemetery of the Americans. (The Invaliden Cemetery in Berlin was where all the notable German military figures were buried. ed.)

There were two loges, a green marquee, all manner of important people including former President Hoover, Truman, his Vice President (Alben Barkley, ed.) and a number of Generals including Bradley, the Army Chief of Staff and Vandenberg, the Air Force Chief of Staff.

I sat in the box with the military because of my honorary rank and had the interesting experience of watching the President and his cabinet during the entire service.

A full artillery salute about an hour later and at about fifteen minutes to noon it was all over. Forrestal’s grave had a simple temporary marker identifying him not as the Secretary of Defense but only as a naval lieutenant.

The cemetery is quite beautiful in the spring and I ought to take the time to come back and look at the mansion which once belonged to General Lee, the Southern leader and, from my readings at least, one of the very best men the history of this country has yet produced. Given the American lust for vengeance, I am surprised that he wasn’t hanged after their Civil War.

Truman, it is said, is very upset about F’s death and has been telling everyone that he had no choice but to dismiss him because he was becoming dangerously insane. No one blames T. but the rumors about F’s purported suicide being murder are very strong and can be heard everywhere.


Thursday, 2 June 1949

(Whittaker, ed.) Chambers will be testifying today. The left wing hates him because they view him as an apostate and a man who has exposed one of Stalin’s top agents in this country. I have personally read over the evidence against Hiss and I have no doubt at all that the man was a spy. I have much material in my own files concerning Soviet spies in America and both Hiss and his brother are mentioned…and all this from strictly Soviet sources.

  1. made a direct contact between H. and Bykov, one of their top controllers in this country. This in 1937. Hiss reported directly to B. and was, as I understand it, given a top Soviet award by Stalin but of course, in secret. We cannot prove this but I believe it to be quite true. (See Charles Higham, Trading with the Enemy, New York, 1983, pps 162-165.)



Declassified documents detail 9/11 commission’s inquiry into Saudi Arabia

Newly released files may show connections between low-level Saudi officials and a terrorist support network in southern California led to the 9/11 attacks

May 13, 2016

by Philip Shenon

The Guardian

Investigators for the 9/11 commission would later describe the scene in Saudi Arabia as chilling.

They took seats in front of a former Saudi diplomat who, many on the commission’s staff believed, had been a ringleader of a Saudi government spy network inside the US that gave support to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers in California in the year before the 2001 attacks.

At first, the witness, 32-year-old Fahad al-Thumairy, dressed in traditional white robes and headdress, answered the questions calmly, his hands folded in front of him. But when the interrogation became confrontational, he began to squirm, literally, pushing himself back and forth in the chair, folding and unfolding his arms, as he was pressed about his ties to two Saudi hijackers who had lived in southern California before 9/11.

Even as he continued to deny any link to terrorists, Thumairy became angry and began to sputter when confronted with evidence of his 21 phone calls with another Saudi in the hijackers’ support network – a man Thumairy had once claimed to be a stranger. “It was so clear Thumairy was lying,” a commission staffer said later. “It was also so clear he was dangerous.”

An interrogation report prepared after the questioning of the Saudi diplomat in February 2004 is among the most tantalizing of a sheaf of newly declassified documents from the files of the staff of the 9/11 commission. The files, which were quietly released by the National Archives over the last 18 months and have drawn little public scrutiny until now, offer a detailed chronology of how the commission’s staff investigated allegations of Saudi government involvement in 9/11, including how the panel’s investigators flew to Saudi Arabia to go face-to-face with some of the Saudis believed to have been part of the hijackers’ support network on American soil.

The newly declassified documents may also help resolve the lingering mystery about what is hidden in a long-classified congressional report about ties between Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 attacks.

A former commission staff member said in an interview last week that the material in the newly released files largely duplicates information from “the 28 pages”, as they are commonly known in Washington, and then goes well beyond it.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of angering his former colleagues, he said he was annoyed that so much attention has been focused on “the 28 pages” when, in fact, the commission had full access to the congressional report and used it as a roadmap to gather new evidence and witness accounts that demonstrated sinister connections between low-level Saudi government officials and a terrorist support network in southern California.

“We had lots of new material,” the former staffer said. Another, earlier memo from the commission’s files, unearthed last month by the website 28pages.org, which is pressing for release of the congressional report, lists the names of dozens of Saudis and others who had come under suspicion for possible involvement with the hijackers, including at least two Saudi naval officers. The memo, dated June 2003, noted the concern of the staff that earlier US investigations of the Saudi ties to terrorism had been hindered by “political, economic or other considerations”.

Barack Obama has said he is nearing a decision on whether to declassify the 28 pages, a move that has led to the first serious public split among the 9/11 commissioners since they issued a final report in 2004. The commission’s former chairman and vice chairman have urged caution in releasing the congressional report, suggesting it could do damage to US-Saudi relations and smear innocent people, while several of the other commissions have called for the 28 pages to be made public, saying the report could reveal leads about the Saudis that still need to be pursued.

Earlier this week, a Republican commissioner, former navy secretary John F Lehman, said there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers – an allegation, congressional officials have confirmed, that is addressed in detail in the 28 pages.

In an interview Thursday, Lehman said that while he had not meant to his comments to suggest any deep disagreements among the 10 commissioners about their investigation, he stood by his view – directly contradicting the commission’s chairman and vice-chairman – that “there was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government”.

“The 9/11 investigation was terminated before all the relevant leads were able to be investigated,” he said on Thursday. “I believe these leads should be vigorously pursued. I further believe that the relevant 28 pages from the congressional report should be released, redacting only the names of individuals and certain leads that have been proven false.”

For some of the families of 9/11 victims and others who have been harshly critical of the investigation conducted by the 9/11 commission, the newly declassified paperwork from the commission’s files and the renewed debate over the 28 pages are likely to raise the question of why the blue-ribbon, 10-member panel effectively overruled the recommendations of some its staff and produced a final report that was widely seen as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 hijackers and the source of much of al-Qaida’s funding before 9/11.

The files show that the commission’s investigators, which included veterans of the FBI, justice department, CIA and state department, confronted the Saudi witnesses in 2003 and 2004 with evidence and witness accounts that appeared to confirm their involvement with a network of other Saudi expatriates in southern California who provided shelter, food and other support to two of the 9/11 hijackers – Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar – in the year before the attacks. The two hijackers, both Saudis, were aboard American Airlines flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon.

According to the newly declassified interrogation reports, another key Saudi witness who appeared before the commission, Osama Basnan, a man described as “the informal mayor” of the Islamic community in San Diego before 9/11, was repeatedly caught in lies when asked about his relationship to Saudis in the support network. Basnan, who returned home to Saudi Arabia after coming under investigation after 9/11, had an “utter lack of credibility on virtually every material subject” in denying any role in a terrorist support network, the report said.

Basnan came under scrutiny, in part, because of tens of thousands of dollars in cashiers’ checks that his ailing wife received before 9/11 from a charitable fund controlled by the wife of the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Princess Haifa al-Faisal. Congressional investigators determined that much of that money, which totaled as much as $70,000, had been turned over to the family of another Saudi man in San Diego, Omar al-Bayoumi, who was at the center of efforts to assist the two hijackers, including moving them from Los Angeles to San Diego and helping them find an apartment and enter flight school. Telephone records would show that Bayoumi had been in close contact throughout the period with Thumairy, the Saudi diplomat in Los Angeles who was eventually detained and deported from the US on terrorism charges.

Although the 9/11 commission’s report drew no final conclusion about the roles of Basnan and Bayoumi, former US senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who led the joint House-Senate intelligence committee that wrote the 28 pages, has said repeatedly over the years that he is convinced that both men were low-level Saudi government intelligence officers and that money from the embassy charity fund may well have ended up with the two hijackers. Graham has said he believes both Basnan and Bayoumi were Saudi government “spies” who had been dispatched to southern California to keep watch on dissidents in the area’s relatively large community of Saudi expatriates.

The newly declassified files from the commission show that questions about Princess Haifa, her charity fund and the two hijackers were considered so serious that they were raised directly in an October 2003 meeting in Saudi Arabia between the commission’s investigators and the then-deputy Saudi foreign minister Nizar Madani. “Nizar expressed disbelief about the allegations regarding Princess Haifa, noting it was preposterous that she was involved in terrorism,” according to the commission’s summary of the meeting. The Saudi government has insisted that the princess, a daughter of the late King Faisal, had no reason to believe that the money would be used for anything other than to pay medical bills for Basnan’s wife, who suffered from thyroid problems, and to cover the family’s household expenses.

The report prepared after the interrogation of Bayoumi, who was paid a salary in San Diego by a Saudi aviation contractor but was unable to prove that he actually did any work for the company, documents his tense confrontation with the commission’s investigators during their visit to Saudi Arabia in October 2003, especially when he was presented with evidence of the “damning appearance of the circumstances surrounding” his ties to the two hijackers.

Bayoumi said he was innocent of any connection to terrorism and said “the description of him as a ‘Saudi spy’ hurt him very much”, the newly-released report said. He said it was coincidence that led him to an Arab-food restaurant in Los Angeles where he first met the two hijackers, who spoke almost no English, in January 2000. According to the report, “he professed his feelings for the victims of the 9/11 attacks, citing his daughter’s US citizenship and the many friends he has in the US”.

The commission’s newly declassified files suggest that the commission staff considered the questioning of Thumairy to be the most important of the interrogations conducted in Saudi Arabia, since the young Saudi was not only an accredited diplomat and an imam of a large Saudi government-built mosque in southern California. He had also been posted to the US at the request of the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, long considered by American intelligence agencies to be supportive of Islamic extremist groups outside Saudi Arabia. In Los Angeles, he was known among fellow Saudis to hold fundamentalist views on Islam.

At the first of two sessions “Thumairy initially sat at the table with his hands folded in front of him”, the interrogation report said. “Over the course of the interview, his posture changed noticeably when the questions became more confrontational. During such instances, al-Thumairy would cross his arms, sit back in his chair and rely more heavily on the interpreter.”

The questions became especially difficult for Thumairy as he kept insisting that he did not know many of the others Saudis in southern California who had been linked to the two hijackers, including Bayoumi, despite phone logs and other records showing he had been in contact with Bayoumi dozens of times. He was presented with a statement from a witness, another Saudi cleric in Los Angeles, who recalled often seeing Thumairy and Bayoumi meeting at the southern California mosque. Presented with the evidence, Thumairy became agitated. “Thumairy initially said he may have been mistaken for somebody else,” the interrogation report said. “He then said there are some people who may say things that are false out of mere spite or jealousy.”

Pressed on whether he had led conversations about “jihad” at the mosque among Saudi worshippers, Thumairy confirmed there were discussions “but that it was only about ‘good’ jihad, not ‘bad’ jihad. He said this discussion was not only necessary, but that it was his responsibility to teach the Islamic community the difference between good and bad jihad, especially after 9/11”.


German police chief concerned at growing anti-refugee violence

Germany’s federal police chief says there have been 45 arson attacks on refugee shelters so far this year. He warned of the potential threat posed by organized right-wing extremist crime.

May 14, 2016


The head of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Holger Münch, has warned of a new dimension to violent attacks on asylum-seekers in the country in an interview published on Saturday.

Speaking to newspapers of the Funke media group, Münch said the “increasing level of violence was especially of concern,” adding that 45 arson attacks had been carried out on refugee shelters so far this year.

“The perpetrators are predominantly male, and nearly 80 percent come from the place where the offense was committed,” he said.

Although Münch said there was no sign that the attacks were being organized at a national level by right-wing extremist groups, there was a danger of such organization occurring at some stage.

He said there was a possible risk that “criminal or even terrorist structures” could arise on the basis of anti-refugee sentiment and that German police were taking this threat “very seriously.”

In recent months, Germany has seen opposition to the government’s liberal policy on refugees become more vocal and take on a more organized form in the guise of the political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the “anti-Islamization” movement PEGIDA. In 2015, Germany took in some 1.1 million people seeking asylum, many of them fleeing conflict, poverty or persecution in the Middle East and Africa.

‘Imams must do more’

In the interview, Münch also called on the Muslim community in Germany to do more to help combat radical Islamism.

“We do not sense any objections to the work of the police,” he said. “But some communities have a problem recognizing that their faith is being abused by radicals.

“We need more commitment here – from imams as well,” Münch added.

The police chief also said he saw a risk that radical Salafists could exploit the difficult situation asylum-seekers to Germany often found themselves in. He said young, male Muslim refugees wanted to find friends and practice their religion, which could lead to their coming under the influence of a Salafist preacher at a mosque who might radicalize them.

“Radical activities in mosques certainly worry us,” he said.


How the High Cost of Justice Pushes the Poor into Prison

May 13 2016,

by Alice Speri

The Intercept

In the American justice system, there’s often an assumption that if you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you. But thousands of Americans arriving in court each year over family disputes, domestic violence, eviction, foreclosure, denied wages, discrimination on the job, and an array of other civil issues have no right to counsel. If they can’t afford a lawyer, they’re on their own to face a system that is often confusing and riddled with fees. For poorer citizens, the cost of seeking justice often becomes so prohibitive they just give up.

Even as criminal justice reform and the reduction of mass incarceration gain support across party lines, civil rights advocates warn that the inaccessibility of the civil justice system tends to channel people into the criminal system. Those with no access to the courts are more likely to take justice in their own hands, lose homes, or face incarceration over failure to pay child support or fines they can’t afford. For some, denials of justice in civil cases can lead to crimes of survival.

A national survey published by the National Center for Access to Justice this week found that people in poverty have virtually no access to civil aid attorneys — only .64 are available per 10,000, as opposed to an average of 40 lawyers per 10,000 people in the general population. “I don’t think most people appreciate how high the stakes are in our civil justice system,” said David Udell, executive director of the group. “The justice system on the civil side has to work in order to reduce conflict. If the civil justice system doesn’t work, there is a slope that leads into the criminal justice system.”

Civil legal aid attorneys — only 6,953 out of some 1.3 million lawyers nationwide — are funded by a combination of federal, local, and private money, but with some 21 million new civil cases filed every year, a majority of poor people seeking civil legal aid are turned down.

In its 2011 decision Turner v. Rogers the Supreme Court reiterated the longstanding principle that government has no obligation to provide free legal counsel in civil matters and ruled out a publicly appointed defense for a man facing jail time over his failure to make child support payments. Yet the court also declared that states must ensure court procedures are fair to those who can’t afford representation.

That shifted the burden to the courts, tasking them with making the legal system more accessible, for example by incorporating technology to help those representing themselves and using “plain English” in legal procedures and documents, and calling on judges to explain expectations to people without a lawyer.

So far, only a handful of states have moved to eliminate barriers to civil justice: among them, California and New York have introduced computer-assisted programs for court papers that help people fill out documents by asking them questions. But for the most part, major obstacles remain for the poor. Only 12 states, for instance, require courts to inform people that they don’t have to pay court fees if they can’t afford them — fearing daunting costs, many just give up on their claims.

Unaffordable justice is not only an issue in civil matters, of course. Poor — and minority —Americans are disproportionately represented across the entire justice system. In criminal cases, the disproportion grows between jail and prison populations, as poor people jailed while they await trial are regularly unable to meet bail.

A report published earlier this week by the Prison Policy Initiative singled out high bail as the largest factor driving pretrial incarceration, noting that 37 percent of those held in jail made less, annually, than the median bail amount of $10,000. For the average jail detainee, that’s about eight months of income.

That means that while in theory justice applies equally to all Americans, in practice, the cost of liberty is far higher for the poor — leading to unnecessary detention in often overcrowded jails, causing poor defendants to miss and lose work, burdening them with “pay to stay” costs as they are charged for their own incarceration, and ultimately trapping them in a crippling cycle of debt and detention.

That’s not only senseless — it is also illegal. After the United States banned debtors’ prisons at the federal level in 1833, most states also banned the practice, yet imprisonment for nonpayment of child support, alimony, fines, traffic tickets, and other state-mandated forms of debt remains widespread. As the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, dramatically exposed, local governments across the country have often relied on tickets and fines to fund their budgets, a practice so common that the DOJ’s civil rights division recently issued a memo reminding courts of the basic constitutional principles of due process and equal protection. The memo also reminded “court leaders” that profiting off indigent defendants is illegal, and that funding government on the backs of poor citizens has a deeply damaging impact on public trust in its institutions.

Restoring trust in those institutions might start with making sure that they are truly accessible to all, and that justice, civil or criminal, is equal in practice as well as in principle.


Power struggle in Turkey’s nationalist opposition in legal limbo

May 13, 2016

by Ercan Gurces and Humeyra Pamuk


Ankara/Istanbul-The main challenger for the leadership of Turkey’s nationalist opposition vowed on Friday a party congress would go ahead this weekend despite the threat of police action, amid an internal party power struggle that could be crucial for President Tayyip Erdogan.

Several hundred members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have launched a bid to challenge Devlet Bahceli, its leader for much of the last two decades, hoping to change party rules at a special congress on Sunday in order to oust him.

Bahceli’s removal could lead to a surge in support for the MHP, weakening the chances of Erdogan’s ruling AK Party securing the stronger majority in parliament he wants for it to change the constitution and hand him greater powers.

Rallying around their veteran leader, MHP members loyal to Bahceli have challenged the legal basis for the special congress in several courts. A top appeals court decision is still pending, leaving the power struggle in legal limbo.

“The Ankara governor’s office and the security forces have taken the necessary security measures, in line with written instructions from the relevant court, and will continue to do so,” Yucel Bulut, an MHP lawyer, told a news conference, vowing any efforts to hold the congress would be blocked.

Bahceli’s main challenger, Meral Aksener, a female 59-year-old former interior minister who polls suggest could double support for the MHP, vowed on Twitter to press ahead with the meeting, calling on party members to converge on an Ankara hotel congress hall on Sunday morning.

“I call on all our delegates. Our party congress this Sunday will go ahead,” Sinan Ogan, another leadership challenger, told Haberturk TV, after a ruling by one of the courts involved paved the way for the meeting to go ahead.

But minutes later, state broadcaster TRT reported fresh verdicts from two other local courts ordering the meeting halted.

The AKP has increased its influence over the judiciary in recent years, and its opponents say the legal chaos surrounding the nationalists’ congress is the result of clandestine efforts to keep Bahceli in power.

The AKP, founded by Erdogan, is seeking support from the MHP to hand him greater powers, something party members loyal to Bahceli are seen as potentially willing to do. Aksener has vowed to defend Turkey’s current parliamentary system and has expressed her opposition to Erdogan taking more power.

AKP officials reject any suggestions that the government or ruling party is influencing the courts, or that the MHP’s leadership battle and AKP efforts to win its support on constitutional change are in any way linked.

(Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun in Ankara; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Andrew Roche)


‘Smog is our best advertising’: pollution has an upside for some

For companies who bottle pure mountain air, like one in Canada, plummeting air quality is a business opportunity. For the rest of us, it’s a killer

May 14, 2016

by Oliver Milman

The Guardian

For one company, at least, the world’s escalating air pollution crisis has an upside. While billions of people live amid a fog of harmful airborne particles each day, Vitality Air, which sells bottled Canadian mountain air, is reporting a brisk trade.

“Our Chinese website keeps crashing. We are getting orders from all over the country, not just the wealthier cities,” said Harrison Wang, China representative for Vitality Air. “When the air is bad, we see spikes in sales. The smog is definitely our best advertising”.

While the company has sold 12,000 bottles of air from Canada’s pristine national parks to Chinese people sick of the pall of pollution that chokes many of the country’s cities, plenty of other nations are increasingly gasping for clean air.

More than half of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, according to a new World Health Organisation database, with places across Europe and the US also choked by outdoor air that causes an estimated 3 million deaths a year.

The past week has also identified the culprit for this smoggy malaise. The torching of fossil fuels has grown so quickly that the world is hurtling to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide beyond 400 parts per million – a level unseen in human history. Particles and chemicals released from power plants and vehicles are killing us as the CO2 dissolves the Great Barrier Reef and helps rob Alaska of a winter.

The world is in the grip of a pollution emergency engineered on an industrial scale. Not content with befouling the skies, we’ve ensured that trillions of tiny pieces plastic are strangling the web of life found in the oceans.

Indeed, if humans vanished tomorrow, our great contributions as evidenced in epochs to come will not be mass-marketed angst at infidelity or non-hovering hover boards, but our pollution. Recent research concludes that on vast geological timescales, humans will leave behind just a layer of plastic and a blanket of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

While there are repeated assurances that we can turn things around (and the Paris climate agreement certainly offers political, if not scientific, weight behind that optimism), humans are failing to show the same ruthless efficiency in cutting pollution as we have in creating it over the past 150 years.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, although renewable energy will encouragingly grow faster than fossil fuels over the coming decades, coal, gas and oil will still make up 75% of global energy consumption by 2040.

Cities, where most pollution dwells, are perhaps ahead of national governments in realizing the crisis we all now face. In the US, the Clean Air Act has lifted the smog from many large American metropolises and have banded with other urban areas from around the world to do more to tackle climate change. Paris has placed a monthly ban upon cars along the Champs-Elysee, while Santiago in Chile last year temporarily hauled 40% of its 1.7m vehicles off the road.

But with more people dying from air pollution each year than malaria and HIV/Aids, it’s clear far more needs to be done to clean up our cities, stem the flow of plastic into the environment and help rapidly growing economies exploit the sun and the wind, rather than coal, for their energy needs. Otherwise we will run out of places to bottle clean air from.


The U.S. Army’s War Over Russia

Top brass profess to be really worried about Putin. But a growing group of dissenters say they’re overreacting to get a bigger share of the defense budget.

May 12, 2016

by Mark Perry


During the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, a unit of Robert E. Lee’s army rolled up some artillery pieces and began shelling the headquarters of Union commander Ulysses S. Grant. When one of his officers pleaded that Grant move, insisting that he knew exactly what Lee was going to do, Grant, normally a taciturn man, lost his temper: “Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do,” he said. “Some of you always seem to think he is going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.”

The story was recalled to me a few weeks ago by a senior Pentagon officer in citing the April 5 testimony of Army leaders before a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee. The panel delivered a grim warning about the future of the U.S. armed forces: Unless the Army budget was increased, allowing both for more men and more materiel, members of the panel said, the United States was in danger of being “outranged and outgunned” in the next war and, in particular, in a confrontation with Russia. Vladimir Putin’s military, the panel averred, had outstripped the U.S. in modern weapons capabilities. And the Army’s shrinking size meant that “the Army of the future will be too small to secure the nation.” It was a sobering assessment delivered by four of the most respected officers in the Army—including Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his service’s leading intellectual. The claim is the prevailing view among senior Army officers, who fear that Army readiness and modernization programs are being weakened by successive cuts to the U.S. defense budget.

But not everyone was buying it.

“This is the ‘Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling’ set in the Army,” the senior Pentagon officer said. “These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There’s a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock.”

The Army panel’s assessment of the Russian danger was reinforced by an article that appeared in these pages two days later. The article reported on an expansive study that McMaster has ordered to collect the lessons of Ukraine. It paraphrased Army leaders and military experts who warn the Russian-backed rebel army has been using “surprisingly lethal tanks” and artillery as well as “swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles” to run roughshod over Ukrainian nationalists. While the reporting about the Army study made headlines in the major media, a large number in the military’s influential retired community, including former senior Army officers, rolled their eyes.

“That’s news to me,” one of these highly respected officers told me. “Swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles? Surprisingly lethal tanks? How come this this is the first we’ve heard of it?”

The fight over the Army panel’s testimony is the latest example of a deepening feud in the military community over how to respond to shrinking budget numbers. At issue is the military’s strategic future: Facing cuts, will the Army opt to modernize its weapons’ arsenal, or defer modernization in favor of increased numbers of soldiers? On April 5, the Army’s top brass made its choice clear: It wants to do both, and Russia’s the reason. But a growing chorus of military voices says that demand is both backward and dangerously close-minded—that those same senior military officers have not only failed to understand the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq and embrace service reform, they are inflating foreign threats to win a bigger slice of the defense budget.

Indeed, the numbers seem to be on the sign of the reformers. Recent estimates show the Russian military is overmatched. The United States spends seven times the amount of money on defense as Russia ($598 billion vs. $84 billion), has nearly twice the number of active duty personnel (1.4 million vs. 766,000), just under six times as many helicopters (approximately 6,000 vs. 1,200), three times the number of fighters (2,300 vs. 751) and four times the total number of aircraft. We have 10 aircraft carriers, the Russians have one.

And while it’s true that the Russians field nearly twice the number of tanks as the U.S. (15,000 vs. 8,800), their most recent version, the T-14 Armata, broke down during the 2015 Moscow May Day Parade. America’s M1A1 Tank, on the other hand, has never been defeated in battle. Ever. The idea that you can look at these numbers and think that the U.S. military is in serious trouble is ridiculous, the reformers say.

The most outspoken critic of the Army panel’s testimony has been retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, head of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “It’s time to stop waving the bloody red shirt,” he wrote to me. “Calling for more resources because you’re taking casualties is a wake-up call for a new approach—not for throwing more folks into the meat grinder. We really need to think in a deliberate goal-oriented way to secure national interests, not just parochial Army interests.”

To underscore this point, Deptula and Doug Birkey published an article singling out McMaster’s testimony that the U.S. military would be “outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries in the future.” The statement was true, Deptula and Birkey pointed out, so long as you don’t count the Air Force. “What was troubling about General McMaster’s testimony is that he advocated a single service approach,” Deptula and Birkey wrote. (McMaster declined to comment for this article.) “Contrary to his testimony, it is exceedingly unlikely the U.S. Army will ever be ‘outranged and outgunned’ because when the U.S. goes to war it does so with components from all the services—not just the U.S. Army.”

What Deptula and Birkey were saying is what senior Air Force officers have been quietly saying since the end of World War II, and the sentiment has been echoed by many across the services in the wake of the Army panel’s Armed Service Subcommittee hearing. In the words of a senior Air Force commander, “the Army would like to pretend that they’re the only ones who fight America’s wars.”

It didn’t help the Army’s position that the panel’s testimony was reinforced by retired Army General Wesley Clark, who told Politico that the Russians had developed tanks that are “largely invulnerable to anti-tank missiles.” According to the senior Pentagon officer with whom I spoke, the Clark statement sparked a near-chorus of derisive hoots, even among those who agree that the Army needs to upgrade its capabilities. “What nonsense. If the Russians have developed tanks that can’t be destroyed that would be the first time that’s happened in the history of warfare,” the officer noted. “Amazing.”

(Clark defended his statement in a telephone conversation with this reporter. “I never said that Russian tanks are invulnerable,” he argues. “What I said is that the Russians have developed a technology that makes their tanks difficult to defeat and we have to acknowledge that. That’s a military assessment that I’ll stand behind.”)

But Clark is hardly a disinterested observer. The retired general and former presidential candidate led NATO in its 1999 war against Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, whose Serb-backed forces were murdering Muslim Albanians in Kosovo. When the conflict ended, Clark famously ordered British Lt. Gen. Sir Mike Jackson to send British paratroopers to confront Russian peacekeepers occupying Kosovo’s airport at Pristina. Jackson was stunned, and refused: “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you,” he told Clark. (“This incident is a little more complicated than you think,” Clark told me. “General Jackson was exhausted and overwrought. I was stunned by his statement. The last thing I wanted was a confrontation with the Russians.”)

But Clark’s public statements certainly make him sound like he’s pushing for a confrontation with the Russians. During a series of speeches in early 2015, he warned that Russian-backed forces would invade the Ukraine in a “renewed offensive from the east” before VE day, on May 8, which the U.S. should respond to by providing lethal aid to the Ukrainian military. The invasion never happened. And during an appearance at Northwestern University, Clark, who was accompanied by political aides to Ukrainian President and Russia adversary Petro Poroshenko, compared Russia to Nazi Germany.

Clark also recently suggested that the real reason Russia withdrew some of its forces from Syria was so they could reinforce their troops on the Ukraine’s border—which, unless the U.S. responded with more troops of its own, could

mean “the practical end of the European Union.”

But it’s not just the Army that is issuing a “sky is falling” assessment of the Russian threat. A number of currently serving senior Pentagon officers of all branches told me they have been concerned with a series of inflammatory statements issued by Air Force General Philip Breedlove who, until just last week, was America’s NATO commander in Europe. While Breedlove’s replacement, Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, is known for taking a more measured approach to the U.S. buildup in Europe, Breedlove’s warnings rankled America’s European allies.

Six weeks ago, in early March, Breedlove, who declined to comment for this article, told a group of Washington reporters that Russia had “upped the ante” in Ukraine with “well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense [units and] battalions of artillery.” The situation, Breedlove said, “is not getting better. It is getting worse every day.”

The problem with the Breedlove report, according to a senior civilian Pentagon adviser, was that it wasn’t true. “I have no idea what the hell he’s talking about,” he told me. That comment echoed statements coming from Berlin, where advisers to German Chancellor Angela Merkel characterized Breedlove’s comments as “dangerous propaganda.” It sounded to Merkel’s advisers like Breedlove was purposely undermining Germany’s efforts to mediate the Ukraine dispute—what one American diplomat disparagingly described as “Merkel’s Moscow stuff.” It wasn’t the first time Merkel had been undermined, according to German officials. An article that appeared in Der Spiegel in the wake of Breedlove’s statement catalogued a series of Breedlove claims that played “directly into the hands of [anti-Russian] hard-liners in the U.S. Congress and in NATO.”

Ironically, given Breedlove’s Air Force background, the warnings also played into the hands of the Army—specifically those officers like McMaster who are arguing that Russia’s growing military strength requires that the U.S. send more troops to Europe—which would demand a larger Army budget. In late March, just a few weeks after Breedlove released his assessment, the Pentagon announced that it would send an additional Brigade Combat Team to Europe to “reassure” America’s NATO allies “in the wake of an aggressive Russia in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.”

But retired Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a prominent Army critic whose high profile 2013 article in the Armed Forces Journal called for Pentagon reform, including a “purge” of the Army’s leadership, doubts the Europeans will be reassured—or the Russians intimidated. “You think Putin is scared of a brigade combat team?” Davis asks. “This doesn’t scare anybody. In fact, it does just the opposite—it plays right into Putin’s narrative, gives him an excuse to spend more money on his own military and pushes the Russian public into his hands. This is all very predictable: He’ll up the ante and the Army will say ‘See, we don’t have enough troops.’ So here we go again.”

Indeed, the escalating spiral Davis warns about seems to be in motion. The March announcement that an additional U.S. brigade would be sent to Europe reinforced the Army’s warnings that increasing threats would stretch the Army’s existing capabilities—buttressing McMaster’s April 5 warning that the Army would now have a “harder and harder time for the small force to keep pace with the demand” and would have to sacrifice modernization programs to keep up with the new requirements.

A growing group of dissenters both in and out of uniform think that McMaster’s grim warnings about Army capabilities dodges the real issue—of whether the Army is willing to change the way it fights wars. “We’ve always been outnumbered,” Deptula notes. “We’ve been outnumbered since 1945. That’s the whole point of developing an offset—we’re offsetting their numbers with our capabilities. But the Army has always resisted that by arguing for more soldiers.” He adds: “The Army is just dead wrong on this. We need to fight smarter instead of just blowing the whistle and sending our boys over the top.”

Retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor, a longtime outspoken Army critic renowned for his leadership of armored combat troops in Desert Storm (and McMaster’s former commander), agrees. He slammed the April 5 testimony, and the budget ask. “If you read the statement you’ll realize that McMaster and his fellow officers aren’t asking for more money for enhanced combat capabilities—they want a bigger Army,” he said. “But bigger isn’t necessarily better.”

Macgregor also took on former Army Chief of Staff Gordon Sullivan, the influential head of the Association of the U.S. Army, the service’s powerful advocacy arm. In an April 14 article, Sullivan defended McMaster’s statements by painting his appeal for more money as a defense of the common soldier. A “broken budget process,” Sullivan warned, would cost American lives. “It’s soldiers we are thinking of when worrying about the undermanned, under-ready and underfunded Army we’ve created,” Sullivan wrote.

“The statement is sickeningly false,” Macgregor wrote to me. “If the generals actually gave a damn about the soldiers the last 15 years would have been totally different. What happened to the thousands of lives and trillions of dollars squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan? What happened to the billions lost in a series of failed modernization programs since 1991?”

As entrenched as the views of McMaster and his colleagues seem in the upper echelons of the Army there are signs of cracks. Even Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley appears to have doubt.

While Milley supported the statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, on April 6, just one day after McMaster issued his warning, his defense was tepid—at best. “I love [H.R.] like a brother,” he said, but then squirmed through the rest of the answer. “To say ‘many’ is probably an overstatement. … In terms of size of force, yes, I agree with his comment on size of force. But outranged, outgunned on the ground, I think it is a mixed bag.”

According to the senior Pentagon officer with whom I spoke, Milley’s statement was evidence that many in the Army were uncomfortable with McMaster’s claim—and the firestorm of comment it sparked. In this case, the officer said, McMaster’s well-earned reputation for bluntness would cause Milley problems with the other service chiefs, who have purposely refrained from any public criticism of the Army’s budget views. That restraint, Milley apparently fears, may be at an end—with the other services now debating whether to issue public criticisms that the Army is looking out for its own interests, at their expense.

“When your commander says he ‘loves you like a brother’ watch out,” this officer said, “because it is usually followed by the phrase ‘you dumb son-of-a-bitch.’” The Pentagon officer explained that, prior to his testimony, Milley had given a private, informal, briefing to an Army War College class that focused on capabilities—and underplayed the question of whether the Army actually needs more soldiers. “It was very impressive,” he said, “because it advocated interservice cooperation and modernization. This might be the best chief of staff we’ve had in a long time, because he’s telling his commanders to stop whining about budget numbers and figure out how to fight. There was absolutely no ssense of panic. It struck just the right tone.”

In fact, Milley’s Army War College remarks seemed to imply that the Army’s problem is not that it doesn’t have enough soldiers, but that it has them in the wrong places. Milley reinforced this view in his April 6 Senate testimony. “We need to pare down our headquarters,” he said, adding that the Army’s top-heavy brigade structure provides a potential enemy with “nothing but a big target”—a point the Army’s critics have been making for the past 10 years. For Army reform partisans, Milley’s views provided a stark shift from those of previous Army leaders, who’d focused on leadership, courage—and numbers—instead of capabilities. “They don’t get it,” this officer noted. “If I can shoot my armored piercing shell further than you can shoot yours, I live and you die. It’s that simple.”

The argument over numbers and capabilities might strike some Americans as exotic, but the debate is much more fundamental—with enormous political implications. “You know, which would you rather have—a high-speed rail system, or another brigade in Poland? Because that’s what this is really all about. The debate is about money, and there simply isn’t enough to go around,” the Pentagon officer told me. “Which is not to mention the other question, which is even more important: How many British soldiers do you think want to die for Estonia? And if they don’t want to, why should we?”

Which means that the debate over whether, in fact, the U.S. is “outranged and outgunned,” is unlikely to end anytime soon. As Milley, McMaster, Deptula, Davis and Macgregor surely know, the claim of American military weakness provides ready political fodder, particularly during an election season, where talk of U.S. military weakness is a red flag for voters who see a terrorist on every corner—and a Russian soldier on every flank.


The Second Coming Babble and Consequences

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

The Second Coming has as one of its primary requirements that a Jewish nation must be reestablished in Palestine (which it was in 1948) and, even more important, that the great Jewish temple of Solomon must be rebuilt before Christ can return to earth and elevate his elect.

The first temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians and the more elegant second, by the Romans when they crushed the Jewish revolt in the first century.

Unfortunately for the Pentecostals, the former site of this temple is now occupied by the much-revered Muslim Dome of the Rock mosque.

The Jewish temple cannot be rebuilt, therefore, as long as the Muslim mosque occupies its space and therefore, it would be necessary to destroy this very holy building and replace it with a new edifice of another religion.

However, if this lunatic act were consummated , there would be an immediate and  terrible rising in the Muslim world and a savage religious war would burst forth on an already-ravaged Middle East.

The Pentecostals are, by their very nature, uncaring and fierce fanatics and such a war would, to them, be a fulfillment of the spurious prophecy of the manic Revelation’s non-existent Battle of Armageddon.

Already we can hear comments from prominent Pentecostals that the Muslims are the forces of the anti-Christ and must therefore be engaged by the forces of Jesus in a final hecatomb of blood and destruction. This pending bloodbath means nothing to Pentecostals because, according to their beliefs, they will be safe in Paradise and those left behind are of no consequence

These God-intoxicated fanatics once managed to capture the White House and placed their people in high official positions within the former Bush administration.

In the face of all reason and logic, they pushed a suicidal, hidden agenda that wouldl have had terrible consequences for everyone concerned.

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

They claim that this interesting creature will have great charisma and 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 and political problems with a brilliant seven year plan for world peace, economic stability and religious freedom.

The Antichrist could well rise out of the current chaos in the Middle East. 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 and 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, African-Americans and Latino Surnamed Hispanics.

The 7-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 & the PLO at the White House on September 13, 1993, vividly illustrates how dramatically events in the Middle East were moving in this direction.

Under the final terms of the Covenant, Jerusalem will likely be declared an international city to which Judaism, Islam & 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 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 & his image. The Bible says that the Antichrist will sit in the Jewish Temple exalting himself as God and demanding to be worshipped.


Burning cars, tear gas: Rennes, France hit by violent anti-labor reform rallies

May 14, 2016


Rennes has been engulfed by violent protests over labor reform that will see longer working hours for less money. The rallies have been happening since March 31, with hundreds of thousands taking to streets all over France.

In the latest protest, demonstrators set cars on fire, attacked a bank, vandalized buildings, threw objects at the City Hall and drew slogans on its walls.

In response, police in riot gear attempted to disperse the rally with tear gas.

Footage from the scene shows plumes of orange tear gas smoke, and hooded protesters.

At first, they just wander around, but then things turn violent: police are shown in full riot gear, objects such as suitcases are chucked at CCTV cameras.

Hooded protesters scrawl “War to the Palace” in graffiti, set cars on fire, play drums, and break windows.

The reform will allow employers to negotiate longer working hours and lower overtime pay – a measure that has angered French labor unions.

It has only been a couple of months since the movement against the labor reforms was launched, but some of the rallies have been violent. In April, over 20 demonstrators were injured in Rennes, and police used have tear gas to disperse protests all over the country.

Fresh protests in April drew comparison with the Occupy movement in the US. The rallies have taken place all over France: in Paris, Marseille, Rouen, Rennes, Toulouse, and other cities.

The movement’s Facebook page now has more than 140,000 followers.

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