Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Evening Update: Middle East

Ahmadinejad Threatens - or Bluffs - To Halt Oil Exports

Whether bluff or bluster, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a total halt to cure oil exports, a move that could be economic suicide but also could cause a worldwide depression. Iran relies on oil for approximately 80 percent of its foreign income, which Ahmadinejad needs to continue his race for nuclear capability.


Iranian media, controlled by the government, reported Tuesday that he accused world powers of manipulating the oil industry and that halting exports of crude oil would put pressure on oil producers. ”The real price of oil should have been very much higher in the market than what it is presently,” he said.


For all of his threats, Ahmadinejad’s comments may reflect both a growing concern that the sanctions are working and the need to win over doubters at home, where the economy is suffering from sanctions despite his mocking the United States and its allies.




Maybe we should take this one with a grain of salt, as it hasn't been verified anywhere else, but its worth a glance:


Russian intelligence has information that U.S. troops are in Turkey near the country’s border with Syria, a senior Syrian official told WND today.

The official said the Russians observed American forces taking part in Turkish military measures to secure the Syria-Turkey borders.

The official said the information about a U.S. military presence in Turkey has led to a debate within the Syrian leadership about whether to move the Syrian military to its highest alert level.

Currently, the Syrian army is on its second highest alert.

The U.S. repeatedly has denied directly arming the rebels, stating it is only providing non-lethal aid.

Any aid to the rebels is highly controversial.


There are now widespread reports of al-Qaida fighters among the ranks of the opposition, with some jihadist branches reportedly officially joining the U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army.

The opposition is currently intensifying the fight against Assad’s forces in the key city of Aleppo amid claims, denied by the rebels, that the Syrian military has retaken the city.

The official, speaking to WND on condition of anonymity, said Assad ordered his military to rid the Damascus region, including Aleppo, of rebels by the end of Ramadan on Aug. 18. He said Assad believes he can clear the opposition from the region of Homs by Sept. 10 and end the insurgency by October.

The official admitted the coming weeks will be “bloody.” He affirmed Russia stands squarely in the Syrian camp.


Another "take with a grain of salt" article - as mentioned so many times before - with the "news" these days we have to take it all in, look for the same story from different sources, seek guidance from the Holy Spirit and be discerning with the news. That reminder is always worthwhile.


Was America's Economic Collapse Planned?


In his endorsement of Kevin Freeman’s eye-opening book, “Secret Weapon: How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the U.S. Stock Market and Why It Can Happen Again,” former Congressman Fred Grandy mentions the “steady progress of jihad against America and its allies.”

That’s a very interesting phrase, and I think provides a key plank in understanding Freeman’s thesis that finance is as much tied to terror as bombs. “Secret Weapon” is breaking new ground in research, and I was impressed with it.

From 2007, he writes: “I sensed that world markets were becoming unstable, an inkling that was confirmed by the collapse of Bear Stearns in early 2008; one of America’s oldest investment banks fell victim to a short-selling blitzkrieg in just a few days. It was very rare for something of that size to disappear overnight. When I dug deeper, the story became even more unnerving – most of the selling appeared to be an illegal manipulation. Worse, no one seemed to care.”

He also makes a fascinating point in Chapter 4: “America’s enemies can be grouped into three categories: terrorist groups, state terror sponsors and individuals who want to see America’s capitalist economy replaced with a more redistributive one.”

Elsewhere, Freeman also points out that we still face an uphill battle in finding a solution to these problems, these attacks. Here I appreciate his realistic bent. He points out that a huge problem for our economic recovery is that when it comes to true oil price manipulation, “the OPEC nations are still kings of the hill.”

How baffling that our nation’s leaders have placed our fate in our enemies’ hands.

Freeman points out that a well-orchestrated, global effort is in place to hijack more than planes. Spain’s intelligence services believe foreign speculation is designed to bring down the nation’s economy, and Greece’s intelligence services has investigated both U.S. and U.K.-based firms “for allegedly launching financial attacks on their money markets.”



Iran And The Mahdi's "Special Forces"

This first article points out what lurks behind Iran's aggression in the Middle East:


The Quds Forces, a special Iranian unit of thousands of operatives tasked with exporting Iran’s Islamic revolution, are being told to step up preparations for terrorism for the coming of the last Islamic messiah and the destruction of the West.

Ali Saeedi, the Iranian supreme leader’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards, emphasized during a Friday sermon in Tehran that the Islamic republic must directly confront America so that the necessary environment is created for the reappearance of Mahdi, the Shiite’s 12th imam, who will kill all infidels and raise the flag of Islam in all corners of the world.

“In three points of history, God directly confronts the will of unruly humans in which, of course, the Right will overcome the False,” Saeedi said, according to the Sepah News, the Guards’ official publication. “The first point in history was during the era of pharaoh, the second era was Bani Abbas, and the third is our current era in which it seems that God has willed us to enlighten the world with the coming of Imam Mahdi.”

This is the first time a high-ranking Iranian official has stated on the record that the Quds Forces are not only involved in the region, but also internationally for a final confrontation with the West.

“The Revolutionary Guards are one vehicle for preparation for the coming, and in the current Islamic Awakening [the Arab Spring] in the region and on international arena, the Quds Forces play a major role in preparing the readiness of the human force needed for such an event,” Saeedi said. “The chief commander of the Guards and the supreme leader’s representative are tasked for preparing the individual readiness, regional readiness as well as international readiness for the coming.”

As of the last report in May by the IAEA, Iran had enough enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs, and despite all negotiations and recent sanctions, the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced days ago that there will be no turning back from the nuclear path.
Reza Kahlili translated this Iranian video about Islamic prophecies of a coming messiah and the destruction of Israel:


Historically, a financial crisis has been more likely to happen in the fall than during any other time, and this fall is shaping up to be a doozy. Much of the focus of the financial world is on whether or not the euro is going to break up, but even if the authorities in Europe are able to keep the euro together we are still facing massive problems. Countries such as Greece and Spain are already experiencing depression-like conditions, and much of the rest of the globe is sliding into recession. Unemployment has already risen to record levels in some parts of Europe, major banks all over Europe are teetering on the brink of insolvency, and the flow of credit is freezing up all over the planet. If things take a really bad turn, this crisis could become much worse than the financial crisis of 2008 very quickly

All over the world people are starting to write about the possibility of a major economic crisis starting this fall.

For example, a recent article in the International Business Times discussed how some economists around the globe are fearing the worst for the coming months....

The consensus? The world economy has entered a final countdown with three months left, and investors should pencil in a collapse in either August or September.

European leaders have tried short-term solution after short-term solution and none of them have worked.

Now countries all over Europe are sliding into depression and the authorities in Europe seem to be all out of answers. The following is what one eurozone diplomat said recently....

"For two years we've been pumping up the life raft, taking decisions that fill it with just enough air to keep it afloat even though it has a leak," the diplomat said. "But now the leak has got so big that we can't pump air into the raft quickly enough to keep it afloat."

Our economy has been in decline for a long time, and now we are rapidly approaching another major downturn.

You better buckle up, because this downturn is not going to be pleasant at all.



The four-year-long drought that affected western Canada and the U.S. at the turn of the century was the worst to hit the region in 800 years, say scientists who warn that dry spell was nothing compared to the “megadroughts” still to come.

"Areas that are already dry in the West are expected to get drier," Law said.

"We expect more extremes. And it's these extreme periods that can really cause ecosystem damage, lead to climate-induced mortality of forests, and may cause some areas to convert from forest into shrublands or grassland."



Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker has said there is "no time to lose," as the world talks about a eurozone breakup, with joint action by the European Central Bank and the eurozone bailout funds expected in the coming days.

ECB chief Mario Draghi last week said the bank was ready to do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro" and hinted at more government bonds being bought up, a move which would help Italy and Spain bring down their record-high borrowing costs.



Turkey sent a convoy of about 20 vehicles carrying troops, missile batteries and armoured vehicles to the border with Syria on Monday amid growing concern in Turkey about security on its southern frontier, news reports and witnesses said.

The convoy left a base in Gaziantep province to head south to Kilis province, where the troops will stay, the state-run Anatolian news agency said.

Witnesses said the troops and vehicles had left a major highway and were now stationed along a fenced-off section on the frontier with Syria.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, a former Assad ally, is now among his most vocal critics, calling for him to step down from power amid the 16-month uprising that has killed thousands of Syrian civilians.

Tensions between the neighbours hit a peak on June 22, when Syrian forces shot down a Turkish military reconnaissance aircraft, killing two pilots.



The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking riot gear for the presidential conventions and inauguration, according to a federal government website.

The agency wants to buy about 150 sets of riot helmets and protective gear for the upper body, forearm, shin, thigh and groin, according to a solicitation posted Wednesday on a federal government website. No cost estimate was provided for the gear, which includes carry bags and gloves.

The successful bidder must be able to deliver the equipment within 15 days from the award of the contract, according to the online notice. The department said it wanted products similar to those made by companies such as Costa Mesa, California-based Ceradyne Inc. and Safariland LLC, which has headquarters in Ontario, California, and Jacksonville, Florida.

The gear is being purchased for the Federal Protective Service, which provides protection for special events in addition to its mission of guarding federal property. Matt Chandler, a department spokesman, didn’t respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

Separately, Democrats will receive a $50 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security to defray police costs for their Sept. 4-6 convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Republicans will get the same amount for their four-day convention in Tampa, Florida, that begins Aug. 27.



A Logan Square neighborhood pastor used the controversy over a proposal to build a new Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Chicago as part of his sermon Sunday, asking those opposed to the new franchise to reverse course.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, the Rev. Charles Lyons of the Armitage Baptist Church, 2451 N. Kedzie Blvd. was animated as he read a letter to his diverse congregation that he intends to send to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“Their money, their business, their taxes are not wanted? Not needed?” he said.

As to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s comments that “Chick-Fil-A’s values are not Chicago values,” Lyons said, “This could easily be seen as anti-religious, agenda-driven bullying.”

Lyons calls Chick-Fil-A a poster child for practicing respect for its employees and customers, and spoke of the day when what he calls the “thought police” would come to his own church.

“We will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly holding a copy of the sacred scriptures in one hand and a copy of the U.S. Constitution in the other,” Lyons said.

The article notes that some have opposed Chick-Fil-A’s “support for the traditional family,” and goes on to quote Cathy as saying, “Guilty as charged.”

Moreno has received kudos from many supporters for his stance against Chick-Fil-A, but opponents claim he is violating the company’s First Amendment rights. On Thursday, Ald. Danny Solis (25th) who chairs the City Council Zoning Committee, said Thursday if Moreno’s only objection to Chick-Fil-A is its opposition to same-sex marriage, he’d have to override Moreno’s “aldermanic privilege” regarding zoning for the restaurant.

Chick-Fil-A currently operates only one location within the Chicago city limits, at 30 E. Chicago Ave.



Monday, July 30, 2012

Persecution Update:

As we know, persecution is a sign of our times and the article below gives an update of various extreme forms of persecution from around the world:




U.S.-backed rebels are committing Christian genocide in Syria, where they are sacking churches and issuing threats that all Christians will be cleansed from rebel-held territory. A mass exodus of thousands of Christians is taking place, even as mainstream Western reporters like Robert Fisk demonize those same Christians for being supportive of the secular regime.

The bloody jihad waged against Nigeria’s Christians, which has seen hundreds killed this year alone, now includes plans to kill Christians with poisoned food, as part of the Islamic organization Boko Haram’s stated goal of purging Nigeria of all Christian presence.

During Egypt’s presidential elections, Al Ahram reported that "theMuslim Brotherhood blockaded entire streets, prevented Copts from voting at gunpoint, and threatened Christian families not to let their children go out and vote” for the secular candidate.


Categorized by theme, June’s assemblage of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity.




Church Attacks

Egypt: Because many visitors were in attendance, Muslims surrounded a Coptic church during Divine Liturgy "demanding that the visiting Copts leave the church before the completion of prayers, andthreatening to burn down the church if their demand was not met.” The priest contacted police asking for aid only to be told to comply with their demands, "and do not let buses with visitors to come to the church anymore.” Christian worshippers exited halfway through liturgy to jeers outside. As they drove away, Muslims hurled stones at their buses. Also, repairs to a Coptic church that was torched and gutted a year ago by rioting Muslims were woefully inadequate, leaving the congregation with a staggering debt from further necessary repairs.

Indonesia: A Muslim mob of 300 wrecked a store that was being used for a Sunday church service on the pretext that it had not obtained "permission to hold Mass.” The mob wrecked the first floor of the store, breaking windows and damaging furniture. Police stopped them before reaching the third floor, where some 60 Christians had congregated. None of the Muslims were arrested, although 12 Christians were taken into custody for questioning. Separately, in compliance to calls by Islamic clerics, authoritiesordered 20 churches to be torn down, following the closure of 16 smaller Christian places of worship in the same district last month. The congregations continue to hold services inside their sealed-off buildings as other members stand guard outside.

Iran: Authorities ordered the closure of yet another church in the capital, Tehran, "amid a government campaign to crack down on the few recognized churches offering Farsi-speaking services,” according to a human rights group. The church originally served Assyrian background Christian members; however, "due to an increasing number of Farsi-speaking believers—mostly MBBs [Muslim Background Believers]—it [the church] has become a cause of concern for the authorities and they now ordered it to shut down.”

Kashmir: A 119-year-old church was torched by Muslims. The local bishop "said that the Muslim fundamentalists want Christians to leave the state… He said that the church had filed a case with the police but had been advised not to ‘play up’ such incidents.” Christian minorities "are coming under growing threat from Kashmir’s Muslim majority. A Christian human rights group in India said that over 400 Christians have been displaced as a result.”

Kazakhstan: Land use regulations are being exploited "as a means to prevent religious communities and their members exercising freedom of religion or belief.” Most recently, authorities "forced a Methodist church to ‘voluntarily’ close and fined the wife of the Church’s Pastor, who further paid for an announcement in newspapers saying the church was ‘liquidating itself,’” simply because "We do not want more punishment from the authorities.”

Nigeria: Islamic militants attacked several churches during every Sunday of the month with bombs and guns killing dozens of Christian worshippers, and critically wounding hundreds, including many children. Growing numbers of Christians "dare not” attend church services anymore, even as reports suggest that some police are intentionally abandoning their watch prior to such attacks.

Sudan: Authorities bulldozed two church buildings to the ground and confiscated three Catholic schools, as a response to the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, saying that such buildings are associated with now unwelcome, largely Christian South Sudanese in the Islamic-ruled country. Another church building belonging to the Full Gospel Church was destroyed in the same area two months ago, also on the claim that it belonged to South Sudanese.

Turkmenistan: An Evangelical church in the Muslim-majority nation was raided by authorities: "All adult believers at the meeting were questioned about their faith and all of their Christian literature was confiscated.” Their literature was returned two weeks later.

Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism

Egypt: A Christian student handing out Christian literature in Assuit University "raised the ire of Muslim students,” resulting in clashes on campus, "amid shouts of sectarian chants,” leading to many injuries. Likewise, a Salafi leader declared on Egyptian TV that Muslims have no right "to convert to Christianity.”

Iran: Five months after five Christian converts were arrested, their condition and fate remain unknown. They are accused of "attending house church services, promoting Christianity, propagating against the regime and disturbing national security.” Being imprisoned for 130 days without word "is an obvious example of physical and mental abuse of the detainees…. one of the prison guards openly told one of these Christian detainees that all these pressures and uncertainties are intended to make them flee the country after they are released.” Also, a young Iranian woman, who recently converted to Christianity and was an outspoken activist against the Islamic regime, was found dead, slumped over her car’s steering wheel, with a single gunshot wound to her head.




Daily Headlines: Monday

Civil Unrest Coming To America?

The conditions are certainly ripe for civil unrest in this country. A multitude of recent polls and surveys have shown that Americans are angrier and more frustrated than ever. Sadly, we are taking a lot of that anger and frustration out on each other. America is more divided today than at any other time since the Civil War era. The left absolutely hatesMitt Romney the Republicans, and the right absolutely hatesBarack Obama and the Democrats. If you doubt this, just surf political blogs for a few hours and read the comments that people leave. This country is a boiling cauldron of hatred and anger and all it is going to take is just the right "spark" to cause all of this hatred and anger to absolutely explode. This upcoming election season is likely to be one of the most heated and divisive election seasons in U.S. history, and if there is not a clear winner on election night there is the potential that chaos could be unleashed that would be far, far worse than anything we saw during the Bush/Gore debacle of 2000.

One thing that set off alarm bells for me is when various news stories starting discussing the "legion of lawyers" that Barack Obama was recruiting for this election. The following is from a recent article in the Huffington Post....

President Barack Obama's campaign has recruited a legion of lawyers to be on standby for this year's election as legal disputes surrounding the voting process escalate. Thousands of attorneys and support staffers have agreed to aid in the effort, providing a mass of legal support that appears to be unrivaled by Republicans or precedent.

Obama's "unprecedented" legion of lawyers is definitely getting prepared for something.


There is also the possibility that Barack Obama could use his executive powers to influence the outcome of the election.

This year, Obama has issued a whole series of very strange executive orders.

Many have been wondering what the true purpose of these executive orders really is.

For example, EO 13603 enables Barack Obama to take total control over all food, all energy, all health resources and all transportation resources with the stroke of a pen.

The following is from an article about this executive order by Jim Garrison in the Huffington Post....


President Obama's National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order of March 16 does to the country as a whole what the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act did to the Constitution in particular -- completely eviscerates any due process or judicial oversight for any action by the Government deemed in the interest of "national security." Like the NDAA, the new Executive Order puts the government completely above the law, which, in a democracy, is never supposed to happen.

• The Secretary of Defense has power over all water resources;
• The Secretary of Commerce has power over all material services and facilities, including construction materials;
• The Secretary of Transportation has power over all forms of civilian transportation;
• The Secretary of Agriculture has power over food resources and facilities, livestock plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment;
• The Secretary of Health and Human Services has power over all health resources;
• The Secretary of Energy has power over all forms of energy.


According to this executive order, a "national emergency" is not even required to activate these powers. If Barack Obama decides that there is a threat to "national security" (or to his job security) he could activate these powers at any time.

Another executive order, EO 13618, would potentially give Obama power over all communication resources in the United States.


In addition, it appears that the Department of Homeland Security is gearing up for something.

An article posted on RT the other day entitled "DHS gears up for civil unrest prior to presidential elections" detailed some of the purchases that the Department of Homeland Security is looking to make

The conditions are definitely right for America to be absolutely torn apart if the "perfect controversy" comes rolling along.






Some military analysts and human rights groups say that the Syrian civil war may soon be over – but that reassurance isn’t enough to prevent the country’s Christians from fleeing from the violence.

Dutch journalist and human rights analyst Martin Janssen reports from Jordan that Christians are fleeing Syria in record numbers. Janssen says the Christian refugees first fled because of an ultimatum.

“An exodus of Christians is taking place in Western Syria,” Janssen said. “The Christian population has fled the city of Qusayr, near Homs, following an ultimatum issued by the military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba.

Janssen says the city’s mosques have reissued the ultimatum for the Christians to leave.

“Some of the city’s mosques have issued the message again, announcing from the minarets: ‘Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, ending Friday,’” Janssen said. “The ultimatum therefore expired on June 8 and spread fear among the Christian population.

“Who is going to welcome the Syrian Christians?” Dykstra asked. “One Syrian source says that the churches in Syria know very well what happened to the Iraqi Christians.



Sharia Law is coming to Egypt, you can bet on it:

An alliance of pro-democracy advocates criticized Egypt’s newly-elected Islamist president over the weekend for unilaterally choosing a prime minister with no track record, while leading without transparency and alienating political groups with liberal leanings.

The National Front alliance — an umbrella group of democracy advocates, secularists and moderate Islamists behind the uprising that drove longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak from power last year — said Mohammed Morsi has reneged on campaign promises to form a national unity government.

The Los Angeles Times has more on the “moral vigilantism” that is reportedly on the rise:

An engineering student [was] killed for walking with his fiancee by men reportedly linked to a group called the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Women are harassed for not wearing veils, owners of liquor stores say they’re being threatened, and fundamentalists are calling for sex segregation on buses and in workplaces.

The L.A. Times adds that the “crucial” upcoming battle in Egypt will now be how deeply shariah law influences the constitution.

This new atmosphere has elevated piety — and public expressions of it — to an important social barometer. Egyptian men have been distinguished by the callused brown spots on their foreheads that come from years of prostrating themselves. Police officers and Egypt Air flight attendants are now demanding the right to grow beards, which was forbidden under Mubarak.



An Iranian news agency is reporting the country has begun to stockpile a three-month supply of foodstuffs for its population.

The Friday report by semi-official Mehr quotes deputy industry minister Hasan Radmard as saying the country has been buying wheat, cooking oil, sugar and rice for the food reserve.

Radmard said the decision came based on a decree by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in recent weeks. Part of the purchased foodstuffs has already been imported, he added.





Iran is rapidly gaining new capabilities to strike at U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, amassing an arsenal of sophisticated anti-ship missiles while expanding its fleet of fast-attack boats and submarines, U.S. and Middle Eastern analysts say.

The new systems, many of them developed with foreign assistance, are giving Iran’s commanders new confidence that they could quickly damage or destroy U.S. ships if hostilities erupt, the officials say.




Russia warned on Saturday that it would not cooperate with European Union sanctions requiring EU governments to search vessels suspected of carrying weapons into Syria, a defiant stance that is likely to spark anger in the West.

Russia, which has blocked efforts to threaten the government with U.N. Security Council sanctions and has criticised Western embargoes, said it does "not intend to take any part in the measures to implement the EU decisions aimed against Syria."

"We ... will not consider appeals and give consent to searches of vessels sailing under the Russian flag, nor to the application of other restrictive measures to them," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

Russia has faced sharp Western criticism over arms deliveries to the Syrian government. President Vladimir Putin said last month that Moscow was not supplying any weapons that could be used in a civil conflict.




Syria has expanded its chemical weapons arsenal in recent years with help from Iran and by using front organizations to buy sophisticated equipment it claimed was for civilian programs, according to documents and interviews.

The buildup has taken place despite attempts by the United States and other Western countries to block the sale of precursor chemicals and so-called dual-use technology to Damascus, according to the documents.

Concerns about Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal took on new significance this week when a top Syrian official warned that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would use them “in the event of external aggression.”

The portrait of Syria’s efforts to develop a larger chemical weapons program emerged from E.U. documents, a handful of little-noticed State Department cables released by WikiLeaks and interviews with outside experts.

Arms experts say Syria has pursued a two-pronged strategy to build and grow its chemical weapons stockpile: overt assistance and procurement of chemical precursors and expertise from Iran, coupled with the acquisition of equipment and chemicals from seemingly unwitting businesses in other countries, in many cases through a network of front organizations.