On Monday, June 27, just before the break of day, figures approached the sleepy border village of al-Qaa, a predominantly Christian community in northeast Lebanon.
The streets were slowly beginning their morning bustle as residents shook off a lazy weekend and resumed their business. Not far from a group of homes, a blast suddenly shook the town awake. Three more blasts followed shortly after the first. The intruders had detonated themselves, killing five and injuring 15 others.
On the evening of the same day, as family members and neighbors gathered outside a historic church to mourn the victims of the morning’s attack, two assailants riding a motorcycle threw a grenade at the crowd and then detonated their own suicide vests. Another 13 were wounded.
In all there were eight suicide bombings that day alone.
While no particular organization has claimed responsibility for the attack, nearly all experts believe it was carried out by ISIS fighters who infiltrated al-Qaa from nearby Syria. It is also a commonly known fact that in Lebanon’s sprawling refugee camps some ISIS fighters have found refuge for their families. Their jihad -- in effect -- subsidized by the disorganization of the international community.
Make no mistake, the targeted village for one reason: it is Christian.
This brazen attack demonstrates that ISIS remains particularly attracted to Christian blood. Of all the places they could have targeted, they chose this Christian village. It was as high a priority target to them as the airports in Brussels or Istanbul.
This incident is a sober reminder that ISIS, though having lost control of Fallujah in Iraq last Sunday, is still determined to carry on its ‘holy war’ against Christians. And while ISIS has accrued a horde of enemies along its path of destruction, Christians remain at the top of the terrorist group’s hit list.
The persecution Christians are facing under ISIS is, simply put, unprecedented, but it also goes far beyond the so-called Islamic State.
The largely unreported attacks of the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria have almost always targeted Christian communities. Boko Haram killed more people than even ISIS in 2014 even as the Islamic State marched victoriously across Iraq and Syria, capturing a contiguous piece of land larger than the United Kingdom.
It is becoming impossible for Christians to live without fear in almost all of the Middle East, and now even in the historic, Christian enclave of Lebanon. They now face similar concerns in much of Africa.
There is no doubt that Obama is striving for a goal. He is seeking to bring in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees by September. There is also no doubt that this goal will be reached and possibly surpassed.
The U.S. accepted more than 2,300 Syrian refugees in June alone, sending the fiscal year total soaring past the 5,000 mark and putting the government on track to surpass President Obama’s goal of 10,000 by the end of September, but raising questions about screening out potential terrorists.
June’s numbers set a monthly record for the Homeland Security and State departments, which committed resources received earlier this year to streamline the process — in what critics say amounted to corner-cutting — to get back on track toward Mr. Obama’s political goal.
Of those accepted in June, more than 99 percent are Sunni Muslims. Just eight identified themselves as Christian, eight identified as a non-Sunni form of Islam, and one reported having no religious affiliation.
With this disproportionate amount of refugees to population, it should cause us to wonder if this pattern is accidental of purposeful. Also, with the huge danger that Christians face in European refugee camps, one should wonder why they are not being given more consideration.
Bangladesh Terror Nightmare. What Is The Truth Behind It And Why This Is So Dangerous? - Freedom Outpost
So what is the scoop in South Asia and who was behind these gunmen who stormed a restaurant popular with expatriates in the diplomatic quarter of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka today? Security officials in Bangladesh denied a report by ISIS that 24 people were dead in the assault.
The media is telling us that ISIS is behind the attack. After all, ISIS English-language magazine Dabiq carried an interview earlier this month with their purported leader in Bangladesh, Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, who claimed that the country had become its base of operations in South Asia.
In 2013 alone, 84 bloggers in Bangladesh have been serially hacked to death in their homes by Islamists with no links to ISIS. Now they are telling us the terrorists are ISIS. So what is the truth?
This propaganda supports U.S. government agenda in the Middle East to ratchet up its struggle with the other superpower, Russia. The truth is that what sprouted the Islamist agenda is the struggle between the U.S. and Russia over Afghanistan. All that the U.S. had to do was to let Russia have Afghanistan and we would not see all these problems today.
Nothing ever changed, and, in fact, politics love ISIS. When it comes to the Orlando massacre, it's brownie points for the LGBT. When it comes to Erdogan, it's because of the need to combat ISIS that NATO has to comply with Turkey’s demands. When it comes to Japan, ISIS serves Shinzo Abe’s agenda to militarize Japan. When it comes to the Kurds, their state needs to be established, since they are persecuted by ISIS.
ISIS, as it turns out, is the best thing for agenda-driven policies since sliced bread.
And if you think the situation in Iraq and Syria is being resolved soon, think again: it is spreading to South Asia. Today, 98% of Pakistanis support Jihad, and they have no problems with all the blood and gore that ISIS spills.
But the one trillion dollar question is will the world leaders secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of Jihadis? It doesn’t look like it, and the prospects of ISIS gaining nuclear bombs are very likely, as the news from Pakistan reveals. To ensure that no nuclear weapons falls into the hands of Jihadis, there is only one option: the US must take control of Pakistan’s nukes and disarms Pakistan, as the West should have disarmed Muslim nations from Islam. But is this scenario even feasible? Hardly. Only Christ will do this.
Iranians staged anti-Israel rallies across the country Friday for the annual al-Quds Day events established by the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, with protesters condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and chanting “death to Israel.”
Tens of thousands of people marched in the capital Tehran for the rallies held each year on the last Friday of Ramadan. Some protesters trampled the Israeli flag, and also chanted “down with the USA.”
Iranian state media reports that similar rallies were taking place throughout the country.
Iran, which does not recognize Israel and has called for its destruction, has marked al-Quds Day since the start of its 1979 Islamic revolution. Al-Quds is the historic Arabic name for Jerusalem, and Iran says the day is an occasion to express support for the Palestinians and emphasize the importance of Jerusalem for Muslims.
A hostage situation has developed at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A group of heavily-armed gunmen has taken about twenty hostages, after killing at least one police officer in a battle fought with guns and grenades.
CNN notes that a 52-year-old Hindu priest was hacked to death with machetes while gathering flowers this morning, the latest in a series of gruesome murders perpetrated by Muslim extremists.
It is not yet certain if the cafe assault is directly related to that murder, but eyewitnesses quoted by the New York Times reported hearing the attackers shouting “Allahu akbar!” (which the Times, of course, gingerly translates to “God is great!”) as they detonated crude explosive devices inside the cafe.
Both the Islamic State and Al Qaeda have been floated as potential culprits. The U.S. State Department just yesterday announced the designation of Al Qaeda’s regional wing, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), its own terrorist organization. The State Department notes the group’s involvement in numerous secular blogger murders:
Update, 3:45 PM Eastern: The Amaq News Agency, the media organization linked to ISIS, has claimed the Bangladesh attacks as “ISIS fighters.”
Update, 5:00 PM: Amaq is also claiming that the murder of the Hindu priest on Friday morning was the work of ISIS fighters.
Bangladeshi forces stormed an upscale Dhaka restaurant to end a hostage-taking by heavily armed militants early Saturday, killing six of the attackers and rescuing 13 captives including foreigners. The military said 20 hostages were killed during the 10-hour standoff, and a survivor's father said the attackers spared people who could recite verses from the Quran.
The attack marks an escalation in militant violence that has hit the traditionally moderate Muslim-majority nation with increasing frequency in recent months. Previous attacks involved machete-wielding men singling out individual activists, foreigners and religious minorities.
About 35 people were taken hostage Friday night when gunmen stormed the popular Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka's Gulshan area, a diplomatic zone, during the Ramadan holy month. Two police officers were killed at the start of the attack.
Paramilitary troops who mounted the rescue operations in the morning killed six attackers and recovered explosive devices and sharp weapons from the scene, Brig. Gen. Nayeem Ashfaq Chowdhury said. He did not identify the hostages.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemned the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group, and she said security officials arrested one of the militants.
"Because of the effort of the joint force, the terrorists could not flee," Hasina said in a nationally televised speech, vowing to fight militant attacks in the country and urged people to come forward.
Most people like to think of themselves as rational human beings. Not many people like to admit they having biases, idiosyncrasies and prejudices. Fewer still believe that our brains are deceptive.
For instance, we rely on memory and believe we can recall events. Yet, neurologists know that we do not ‘recall’ memories. Instead, we recreate them each time we supposedly ‘remember’. We fill in more gaps every time we remember an event. This is why eye witness testimony is so unreliable. Ten witnesses see the same event ten different ways and the more often they retell the event, the more it changes.
I am about to burst another one of your bubbles. You already know there’s no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy. Well, there’s also no such thing as a rational human being except perhaps the TV character Data on Star Trek: the Next Generation, and he’s an android; not a human.
Our brains are incredible and remarkable organs. There’s still no computer capable of matching the human brain. However, that doesn’t mean we are free of biases. Many of our biases are useful in everyday situations by providing us with short-cuts and assisting our decision-making process.
Unfortunately, these helpful biases can also be dangerous when used in the wrong situation. Addressing and confronting our biases and fears is the most important factor for survival and the first step in doing so is recognizing them. Survival isn’t some weird cult-thing. Almost every day we hear about one disaster or another: hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, floods, terrorist attacks, economic collapse, etc. We think it won’t happen to us … until it does.
It is natural to gain comfort and security from that which is familiar and predictable. We are creatures of habit. Conversely, when we’re faced with the abnormal or unfamiliar, our stress levels can increase to the point where our ‘fight, flight or freeze’ instincts kick in.
This desire for the status quo is called the ‘Normalcy Bias’ and although it can be a natural defense mechanism, normalcy bias is one of the most dangerous biases we have. It goes by many names. It is also called the normality bias, analysis paralysis, incredulity response or the ostrich effect.
With a normalcy bias, we project current conditions into the future. Normalcy bias is a form of denial where we underestimate the possibility and extent of a looming disaster even when we have incontrovertible evidence that it will happen. We assume that since a disaster never has occurred, then it never will occur. Consequently, we fail to prepare for a disaster and, when it does occur, we may be unable to deal with it.
indoctrination education system encourages conformity. Contemporary society subverts personal responsibility and self-reliance. The ass media filters the propagandanews and politicians lie like rugs so most people are clued-out to what is really happening. Plus, evolution favors paralysis because running triggers a predator’s chase instinct. These reasons plus the insidious effect of normalcy bias explains why so many people are attached to inaction and delusion (“it may happen but not to me”) and thus refuse to accept disaster even when it’s staring them in the face.
Normalcy bias causes people to act as if life is going on as normal while the world is falling apart around them. They’ll say everything will pass as the disaster worsens.
There are many examples of such denial throughout history. Here are several such examples of normalcy bias:
A) Although a few fled, many people in the Roman City of Pompeii in 79 AD watched for hours as Mount Vesuvius erupted without evacuating until it was too late. Then, when the volcano violently erupted, it buried the city and countryside in 4 to 6 meters of pumice and ash killing many of Pompeii’s 20,000 inhabitants.
B) The Nazi Holocaust provides another horrific example. Normalcy Bias explains why so many Jews ignored and underestimated the obvious signs of danger even after they were required to wear yellow stars, possess a ‘J’ stamp ID card and discriminatory laws targeted them and their businesses. Many Jews could afford to have moved but stayed and perished because of their Normalcy Bias.
C) When Mount St. Helens volcano began rumbling in Washington State in 1980, Park Rangers issued warnings for resident to leave and blocked access to keep people out. Some residents ignored evacuation warnings and other campers and sightseers walked or drove around the barricades to get into the park. They’d always camped there and since there had never been a disaster before; their normalcy bias prevented them from understanding the possibility of one happening. Then the volcano violently erupted and 57 people were killed.
D) Before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, inadequate preparation by both governments and citizens as well as constant denials that the levees could fail are an example of normalcy bias as were the thousands of people who refused to evacuate. After the hurricane, many of the Louisiana Super dome refugees were unable to cope with the disaster. Many people couldn’t understand that a hurricane could devastate their city and, unable to help themselves, they waited in vain for government help that never came as murders and rapes escalated, sewers backed up, and food and water ran out. Normalcy bias left them unable to deal with the disaster.
F) It’s possible for an entire nation to exhibit normalcy bias. Almost 50% of Amerikans say they are “worse off” financially than four years ago. They see from the news that the Middle East is in chaos, that the U.S. is embroiled in half a dozen unwinnable wars, untold millions of Amerikans are unemployed, 50 million Amerikans are on food stamps and almost HALF of all Amerikans receive government assistance of one sort or another. Yet that “worse off” group believes that President Obama’s handling of economic issues and National Defense as “favorable” and, according to Lisa Schneider, “they defend his positions, agendas, and actions wholeheartedly, while at the same time, the Middle East is more chaotic/unstable than ever, and our financial collapse is imminent here at home.”
The Pareto Principle (“80/20 rule”) which applies to so much human activity probably also applies to the Normalcy bias. In 2007, I emailed my first of many “doom & gloom missives” to everyone on my email distribution list. Not wanting to overload peoples’ inboxes with unwanted emails, I asked how many people wanted such future articles sent to them. 20% said yes. I suspect the remaining 80% are probably more susceptible to normalcy bias than the 20% who said ‘yes’.
In other words, some people will never take preventive action even when disaster is staring them in the face. Just as some Pompeii residents watched the volcanic eruption for hours, many people succumb to negative inertia and do not act until it is too late.
Another contributor to the normalcy bias is peer pressure and the fear of being labeled as a nut. Even when someone believes that a disaster is imminent, people can be uncomfortable with the possibility of being scorned by their friends or co-workers.
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