February 22, 2009

The Top 25 Censored Press Stories of 2008

Project Censored covers the year's top news stories that were either ignored or downplayed by the mainstream media. Their research team is composed of more than 200 university faculty, students, and community experts who annually review between 700 and 1,000 news story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources, and national significance. The top 25 stories selected are submitted to a distinguished panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance. Each year they publish a book compiling these stories. By revealing these examples of media censorship, they hope to stop the excessive secrecy and work together to build a brighter future.

The top 25 stories are summarized at WantToKnow.Info.

1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by U.S. Occupation? (for full story, click here)

2. Security and Prosperity Partnership: Militarized NAFTA (for full story, click here)

3. InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business (for full story, click here)

4. ILEA: Is the U.S. Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America? (for full story, click here)

5. Seizing War Protesters' Assets (for full story, click here)

6. The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act (for full story, click here)

7. Guest Workers Inc.: Fraud and Human Trafficking (for full story, click here)

8. Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly (for full story, click here)

9. Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify (for full story, click here)

10. American Psychological Association Complicit in CIA Torture (for full story, click here)

11. El Salvador's Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror (for full story, click here)

12. Bush Profiteers Collect Billions from 'No Child Left Behind' (for full story, click here)

13. Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq (for full story, click here)

14. Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste (for full story, click here)

15. Worldwide Slavery (for full story, click here)

16. Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights (for full story, click here)

17. UN's Empty Declaration of Indigenous Rights (for full story, click here)

18. Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers (for full story, click here)

19. Indigenous Herders & Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction (for full story, click here)

20. Marijuana Arrests Set New Record (for full story, click here)

21. NATO Considers "First Strike" Nuclear Option (for full story, click here)

22. CARE Rejects U.S. Food Aid (for full story, click here)

23. FDA Complicit in Pushing Pharmaceutical Drugs (for full story, click here)

24. Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror (for full story, click here)

25. Bush's Real Problem with Eliot Spitzer (for full story, click here)

Pentagon Spending Billions on PR to Sway World Opinion
The Pentagon Propaganda Machine
'A Bankrupt Media Company Is Better Than a Government Funded One'
Finland Passes Unlimited Internet Surveillance Law
A FEMA for the Internet, "Internet 2" & the Loss of Internet Freedom

February 19, 2009

Predictions for 2009

Another Year of Shock and Awe

Financial Sense
February 13, 2009

In their annual forecast edition, the editors of BIG GOLD asked Casey Research Chairman and contrarian investor Doug Casey to provide his predictions and thoughts on issues everyone’s thinking about these days. Here is an excerpt of what he said (full article at Financial Sense):

The $1.1 Trillion Budget Deficit

Over several generations, huge distortions and misallocations of capital have been cranked into the economy, inviting levels of consumption that are unsustainable. In fact, Americans refer to themselves as consumers. That’s degrading and ridiculous. You should be first and foremost a producer, and a consumer only as a consequence.

In any event, the government is going to destroy the currency, which will be a mega-disaster. And they’re making the depression worse by holding interest rates at artificially low levels, which discourages savings – the exact opposite of what’s needed. They’re trying to prop up a bankrupt system. And, at this point, it’s not just economically bankrupt, but morally and intellectually bankrupt. What they should be doing is recognize that they’re bankrupt and then start rebuilding. But they’re not, so it’s going to be a disaster.

The U.S. Economy in 2009

My patented answer, when asked what it will be like, is that this is going to be so bad, it will be worse than even I think it’s going to be. I think all the surprises are going to be on the downside; don’t expect friendly aliens to land on the roof of the White House and present the government with a magic solution. We’re still very early in this thing. It’s not going to just blow away like other post-war recessions. One reason that it’s going to get worse is that the biggest shoe has yet to drop... interest rates are now at all-time lows, and the bond market is much, much bigger than the stock market. What’s inevitable is much higher interest rates. And when they go up, that will be the final nail in the coffins of the stock and real estate markets, and it will wipe out a huge amount of capital in the bond market. And higher interest rates will bring on more bankruptcies.

The bankruptcies will be painful, but a good thing, incidentally. We can’t hope to see the bottom until interest rates go high enough to encourage people to save. The way you become wealthy is by producing more than you consume, not consuming more than you produce.

Deflation vs. Inflation

First of all, deflation is a good thing. Its bad reputation is just one of the serious misunderstandings that most people have. In deflation, your money becomes worth more every year. It’s a good thing because it encourages people to save, it encourages thrift. I’m all for deflation. The current episode of necessary and beneficial deflation will, however, be cut short because Bernanke, as he’s so eloquently pointed out, has a printing press and will use it to create as many dollars as needed.

So at this point I would start preparing for inflation, and I wouldn’t worry too much about deflation. The only question is the timing.

It’s too early to buy real estate right now, although a fixed-rate mortgage could go a long way toward offsetting bad timing. It would let you make your money on the depreciation of the mortgage, as opposed to the appreciation of the asset. Still, I wouldn’t touch housing with a 10-foot pole – there’s been immense overbuilding, immense inventory. And people forget: a house isn’t an investment, it’s a consumer good. It’s like a toothbrush, suit of clothes, or a car; it just lasts a little bit longer. An investment – say, a factory – can create new wealth. Houses are strictly expense items. Forget about buying the things for the unpaid mortgage; before this is over, you’ll buy them for back taxes. But then you’ll have to figure out how to pay the utilities and maintenance. The housing bear market has a long way to run.

The U.S. Dollar and the Day of Reckoning

It’s very hard to predict the timing on these things. The financial markets and the economy itself are going up and down like an elevator with a lunatic at the controls. My feeling is that the fate of the dollar is sealed. People forget that there are 6 or 8 trillion dollars – who knows how many – outside of the United States, and they’re hot potatoes. Foreigners are going to recognize that the dollar is an unbacked smiley-face token of a bankrupt government. My advice is to get out of dollars. In fact, take advantage of the ultra-low interest rates; borrow as many dollars as you can long-term and at a fixed rate and put the money into something tangible, because the dollar is going to reach its intrinsic value.

The Recession

This isn’t a recession, it’s a depression. A depression is a period when most people’s standard of living falls significantly. It can also be defined as a time when distortions and misallocations of capital are liquidated, as well as a time when the business cycle climaxes. We don’t have time here, unfortunately, to explore all that in detail. But this is the real thing. And it’s going to drag on much longer than most people think. It will be called the Greater Depression, and it’s likely the most serious thing to happen to the country since its founding. And not just from an economic point of view, but political, sociological, and military.

For a number of reasons, wars usually occur in tough economic times. Governments always like to find foreigners to blame for their problems, and that includes other countries blaming the U.S. In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised to see violence, tax revolt, or even parts of the country trying to secede. I don’t think I can adequately emphasize how serious this thing is likely to get. Nothing is certain, but it seems to me the odds are very, very high for an absolutely world-class disaster...

New World Order Will Emerge in 2009 with U.S. Plunging

By Paul Kennedy, Salt Lake Tribune
January 13, 2009

Every so often in the history of international affairs, a great transnational turbulence shakes the foundations of the world and brings many of its older structures tumbling to the ground, as we witnessed in 1919, 1945 and 1989. In the confusion and babble that follow, it's difficult to see through the dust and recognize the shape of the altered strategic landscape.

Peering through the wreckage of the past year's financial crisis, it seems clear that every nation was a loser in 2008. The world's developed economies have taken a heavy beating, whether measured by their collapsing industrial production, tumbling exports, surging unemployment, frozen credit markets, or the near-paralysis of maritime trade.

Yet we also hear cries of distress across the globe. Vladimir Putin's proud Russia is reeling toward internal collapse. China is sending factory workers home to the countryside. The International Monetary Fund is trying to rescue Iceland and Ukraine from economic oblivion. Brazil's currency is plummeting against the U.S. dollar. And the brief honeymoon for commodity-exporting African countries is over. Which national economy didn't take a blow to the head in this annus horribilus?

When the dust settles, will we see all countries equally battered, like the streets of Dresden after the Allied bombings in February 1945? Will every power simply have taken several steps backwards, so that the "order of things" that existed in January 2008 will be the same in December 2009? I doubt it.

In the midst of general turmoil, there are always relative winners and losers. Those who are likely to lose most in the coming year will include Russia, Venezuela and Iran (too dependent on oil), most of Africa and Latin America (too tied to commodities), and Japan, Taiwan and South Korea (too wedded to exports, shipping, electronics).

By contrast, and unless it falls into the trap of a Pakistan war, India will advance; none of its banks (so far) are on the Bear Stearns Cos. track. China will take hits, but that probably means an increase in economic growth of 5 percent or 6 percent, deriving more from domestic development and less from cheap exports.

Europe's prospects for 2009 are mixed, which is simply another way of saying that here, too, there will be relative winners and losers. Norway will ride the storm on its still-massive currency reserve, and the rest of Scandinavia has strength in depth - unlike the less competitive economies of East and Central Europe. Germany's combination of ultra-high-quality production, superb infrastructure, and financial caution (few Germans use credit cards: Americans, take note!) give it strengths that are lacking in the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Greece and other European countries that fell for easy credit and large government deficits. Prussian fiscal rectitude will keep the euro high and compound the dollar's weaknesses.

The biggest question concerns the United States. My instinct tells me it will lose ground in 2009. I simply don't see how the Treasury can print $1 trillion to cover deficit spending, offer those bills at very low interest rates, and expect foreigners (not Americans, because we don't have the savings) to buy them, persuading the world to keep afloat its greatest debtor since Phillip II of Spain. Why should sensible Chinese investors do that when they can buy Swiss bonds, gold, or Scottish real estate? Yet if Asians decline to buy tens of billions of Treasuries each month in 2009, U.S. interest rates will have to go up again.

So: India up, China up, Germany up (all relatively). The developing world down, Russia down, most of Europe and Japan down, and President Barack Obama's America down and down. I'd like to believe I am very wrong. I worry that I'm not.

Paul Kennedy is professor of history and director of International Security Studies at Yale University. He is the author/editor of 19 books, including The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. He wrote this column for Bloomberg News.

Gloomy Predictions for 2009

By Stanislav Mishin, Mat Rodina
January 9, 2009

The new year is going to bring major suffering to the U.S. economy and society. On the one hand, the Bank Panic of 2008, started in and by America, will continue to ravage the recessional economy. On the other hand, large swaths of the American demographic who voted for Obama are expecting miracles that the U.S. government simply cannot provide.

As industry after industry lines up for government handouts, and as large scale money printing to meet those demands escalates, the depressionary bought will, by mid year, turn into a raging inflationary bonfire. Savings will disappear over night. Add to this continued mass layoffs that will reach another 2 to 3 million people, an unofficial unemployment rate of 15%+ (official U.S. statistics are so doctored as to make them worthless), and a series of wars that will continue to drain lives and treasures and the dashed hopes of tens of millions, and the U.S. is in for a very hot and horrid summer.

Demonstrations, riots and looting will break out in various sections of the country hardest hit by the collapsing economy. The government in the U.S. has a history of using draconian tactics once violence starts (or as in the case of Seattle in 1998, there was no need for violence for the police to unleash hell on peaceful demonstrators), which will lead to casualties and an escalation of tensions. The U.S. army's North American Command will be called in to affect areas, forcing martial law and gun confiscations.

By late summer, early fall, the foundations of the Civilian Defense Corp will be laid down. Echos of the Waffen SS anyone?

On the international front, the U.S. will continue its imperial hubris, though maybe with a little more of a kinder face, but do not bet on it. Europe's disappointment will come fast.

The economic collapse in the UK will continue a foot with the U.S. Rights of the citizens will continue to be usurped by the state and all pretenses of civil rights will disappear after the Islamics in the city center start to agitate and push out through direct violence all remaining British nationals. England will start to look a lot like Sweden with the cities owned by the immigrant Islamics and the refugee locals forced to pay the Islamics' welfare.

Once the majority starts leaning to the hard right and violence starts to break out between the military Islamics and the ultra nationalists, the UK government will drop all pretenses of the citizens rights and clamp down with martial law. Welcome to the Police State. If the public does not rise up at this point, the UK is lost.

To keep the audience nice and fearful, look for the British powers to escalate a Cold War with Russia at any cost.

The article (full article here) has been reprinted with the kind permission from Stanislav Mishin and originally appears on his blog, Mat Rodina.

A Tax Revolt Hits The United States in 2009?

By John Paul Mitchell, Freedom Arizona
February 9, 2009

In 2008, I wrote a book entitled No More Taxes, which gave concerned Americans and foreigners the historical and spiritual perspective on taxation. I revealed how Jesus actually felt about tax collectors and the cunning Jewish Temple which sold out his small nation to the heavy-hand of the Roman oppressors. No More Taxes clearly depicts Jesus the Christ being murdered, by crucifixion, for his wildly public commentary against Caesar’s orders to collect a Poll Tax from all Jews living in Judaea and abroad.

Unfortunately, our country and our world doesn’t have a revolutionist like Jesus any longer. He stood firmly against everything big government sought to take away from the individual. He insisted on love than hate, giving up one’s accumulated riches than hoarding, turning the other cheek than striking back, and so on.

If Jesus walked the earth in our present age, the Illumunati, our world leaders, and co-conspirators would have much to fear! Certainly, they would conspire to kill a rebel with such an outspoken stance against taxes and government.

Since we no longer have Jesus to stand up for us, what if we lived like he did and revolted against the fraudalent system that has become the United States federal government? What if all citizens throughout the world, no matter their nationality or ethnicity, stood against their governments and refused to pay taxes?

Queen Boadicea from East Anglia started a revolution attributed to the corrupt tax collectors in the British Isles. In 60 ADE, the revolt she led killed all Roman soldiers within a 100 mile radius. Her No More Taxes revolutionary resistance movement was able to seize London. It is reported 80,000 Roman soldiers were massacred during her revolt. Those 80,000 soldiers faced an unexpected army of 230,000 armed tax resisters.

Maybe it is time for people everywhere to stand up against their governments and revolt.

In fact, the United States might be the last of the nations to stand up. Other people in different countries are already rioting, insisting their governments bow down to their will and desire. A lot of Americans, all throughout the country, seem to enjoy the financial rape that has been forced upon us and our future generations. When will we finally stick up for ourselves and our children’s children?

Gerald Celente predicts a rebellion will hit the United States with widespread food riots and a tax revolt by the year 2012. Celente, the man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash, said in a recent interview:
“There will be a revolution in this country,” he said. “It’s not going to come yet, but it’s going to come down the line and we’re going to see a third party and this was the catalyst for it: the takeover of Washington, D. C. in broad daylight by Wall Street in this bloodless coup. And it will happen as conditions continue to worsen.”

“The first thing to do is organize with tax revolts. That’s going to be the big one because people can’t afford to pay more school tax, property tax, any kind of tax. You’re going to start seeing those kinds of protests start to develop.”
Will a tax revolt hit the United States in 2009? According to Gerald Celente, it’s the first stage in overthrowing the corrupt goverment leaders and forcing them to listen to the People.

February 11, 2009

Endless Propaganda: The War on Terror is a Hoax

"What we in America call terrorists are really groups of people that reject the international system..." - Henry Kissinger, May 31, 2007, AKbank Conference, Istanbul, Turkey (Just Prior to the Scheduled Bilderberg Meeting)

By Paul Craig Roberts, Infowars
February 4, 2009

According to U.S. government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.

If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the U.S. government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harassments when they fly.

The most obvious indication that there are no terrorist cells is that not a single neocon has been assassinated.

I do not approve of assassinations, and am ashamed of my country’s government for engaging in political assassination. The U.S. and Israel have set a very bad example for al Qaeda to follow.

The U.S. deals with al Qaeda and Taliban by assassinating their leaders, and Israel deals with Hamas by assassinating its leaders. It is reasonable to assume that al Qaeda would deal with the instigators and leaders of America’s wars in the Middle East in the same way.

Today every al Qaeda member is aware of the complicity of neoconservatives in the death and devastation inflicted on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Gaza. Moreover, neocons are highly visible and are soft targets compared to Hamas and Hezbollah leaders. Neocons have been identified in the media for years, and as everyone knows, multiple listings of their names are available online.

Neocons do not have Secret Service protection. Dreadful to contemplate, but it would be child’s play for al Qaeda to assassinate any and every neocon. Yet, neocons move around freely, a good indication that the U.S. does not have a terrorist problem.

If, as neocons constantly allege, terrorists can smuggle nuclear weapons or dirty bombs into the U.S. with which to wreak havoc upon our cities, terrorists can acquire weapons with which to assassinate any neocon or former government official.

Yet, the neocons, who are the Americans most hated by Muslims, remain unscathed.

The “war on terror” is a hoax that fronts for American control of oil pipelines, the profits of the military-security complex, the assault on civil liberty by fomenters of a police state, and Israel’s territorial expansion.

There were no al Qaeda in Iraq until the Americans brought them there by invading and overthrowing Saddam Hussein, who kept al Qaeda out of Iraq. The Taliban is not a terrorist organization, but a movement attempting to unify Afghanistan under Muslim law. The only Americans threatened by the Taliban are the Americans Bush sent to Afghanistan to kill Taliban and to impose a puppet state on the Afghan people.

Hamas is the democratically elected government of Palestine, or what little remains of Palestine after Israel’s illegal annexations. Hamas is a terrorist organization in the same sense that the Israeli government and the U.S. government are terrorist organizations. In an effort to bring Hamas under Israeli hegemony, Israel employs terror bombing and assassinations against Palestinians. Hamas replies to the Israeli terror with homemade and ineffectual rockets.

Hezbollah represents the Shi’ites of southern Lebanon, another area in the Middle East that Israel seeks for its territorial expansion.

The U.S. brands Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorist organizations” for no other reason than the U.S. is on Israel’s side of the conflict. There is no objective basis for the U.S. Department of State’s “finding” that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. It is merely a propagandistic declaration.

Americans and Israelis do not call their bombings of civilians terror. What Americans and Israelis call terror is the response of oppressed people who are stateless because their countries are ruled by puppets loyal to the oppressors. These people, dispossessed of their own countries, have no State Departments, Defense Departments, seats in the United Nations, or voices in the mainstream media. They can submit to foreign hegemony or resist by the limited means available to them.

The fact that Israel and the United States carry on endless propaganda to prevent this fundamental truth from being realized indicates that it is Israel and the U.S. that are in the wrong and the Palestinians, Lebanese, Iraqis, and Afghans who are being wronged.

The retired American generals who serve as war propagandists for Fox “News” are forever claiming that Iran arms the Iraqi and Afghan insurgents and Hamas. But where are the arms? To deal with American tanks, insurgents have to construct homemade explosive devices out of artillery shells. After six years of conflict the insurgents still have no weapon against the American helicopter gunships. Contrast this “arming” with the weaponry the U.S. supplied to the Afghans three decades ago when they were fighting to drive out the Soviets.

The films of Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza show large numbers of Gazans fleeing from Israeli bombs or digging out the dead and maimed, and none of these people is armed. A person would think that by now every Palestinian would be armed, every man, woman, and child. Yet, all the films of the Israeli attack show an unarmed population. Hamas has to construct homemade rockets that are little more than a sign of defiance. If Hamas were armed by Iran, Israel’s assault on Gaza would have cost Israel its helicopter gunships, its tanks, and hundreds of lives of its soldiers.

Hamas is a small organization armed with small caliber rifles incapable of penetrating body armor. Hamas is unable to stop small bands of Israeli settlers from descending on West Bank Palestinian villages, driving out the Palestinians, and appropriating their land.

The great mystery is: why after 60 years of oppression are the Palestinians still an unarmed people? Clearly, the Muslim countries are complicit with Israel and the U.S. in keeping the Palestinians unarmed.

The unsupported assertion that Iran supplies sophisticated arms to the Palestinians is like the unsupported assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. These assertions are propagandistic justifications for killing Arab civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in order to secure U.S. and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

Neocons Admit that “War On Terror” Is a Hoax
Israel Born Out of Jewish Terrorism: British Parliamentarian
The War on Terrorism
The War Against Muslim Extremists is Wholly Unnecessary for Our National Security

February 8, 2009

One World Religion: Worshiping the Creation Not the Creator

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation: Setting Up the World for the Harlot Woman on the Beast

By Don Koenig, The Prophetic Years
June 2, 2009

I was not going to write about Tony Blair’s kick off speech to his new Faith Foundation because I did not want to rain on this social effort [but to] just look at the end-time implications.

As you can see, I changed my mind. While I was out cutting grass half the day, I got an email asking for me to do a radio interview on the one-world church implications of this (from a very well known conservative Christian organization). When I came back in and answered the email, it probably was too late for the show anyway. I am not a great one for doing interviews because I like to think about what I am saying before I say it. When I talk, my mouth does not usually allow my brain to do that. My brain still runs on a single processor. When I combine talking and thinking it never comes out the way I would have wished. I also highly suspected that they were really trying to get a radio interview with Bill Koenig, since he does the speaking circuits. This mix up has happened before since there are two Koenigs in the Bible-prophecy field.

The other reason I decided to write this article is that after thinking about it, this foundation could be the most significant political creation in history, [and one] that will move the world toward a pluralist-tolerant-all-faiths mentality. In other words, this may be the actual start of putting together the harlot woman who rides the end-time Beast Antichrist world system into power (Revelation 17:17).

With that in mind, let’s looks at Tony Blair’s speech. Also be mindful that Tony Blair has just converted to Roman Catholicism, and although his faith in the Roman Church may be real, he is going to use this Catholic platform to bring in globalism through religion.

The foundation will concern itself with six leading faiths: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jewish, which are the major religious influences in the world today. Tony thinks as globalism goes forward and national boundaries are broken down, the glue that will hold mankind together to solve the global problems will be religion. He equates religion with faith, but it is not.

He says religion provides a common basis of values and beliefs for people to get along together. Obviously he is not talking about religions as they are today. He is talking about some idealist unified religion that only exists in his thoughts of what religion could become if everyone would just agree that everyone is right.

He says his foundation wants to show faith in action. That sounds wonderful, but faith in action is different things to different people. Is faith in action doing social good works or is it proclaiming the gospel with those social good works? In Blair’s faith-in-action scheme, preaching Christianity would not be allowed.

Tony also wants everyone to know what other religions believe, and he thinks this will make them comfortable with other religions. Obviously he thinks we all really just have a different way to the same God, and we just have to learn that so we can get along.

I fully know about the beliefs of some of these other religions, and it just makes me more uncomfortable because their way to God is not the way that Jesus said was the only way to God. I would have to give up my Christian beliefs to think that these others religions are on a path to God. My faith says that without Jesus Christ they are doomed.

No greater understanding of their man-made religions with their man-made gods is going to make me accept religions where man is justified by his own good works. How does fully understanding Islam change the lies in Islam? Or how does fully understanding the Hindu worship of millions of gods change my view of that damnable pagan practice, etc.

The course Tony Blair wants designed in universities is called “Faith and Globalisation.” Well, we know that globalisation is what Tony Blair wants, but most people in the world do not want globalisation. Elitists like Blair want it so that they can totally manage our lives, and it’s prophetic that he intends to do it through a unification of the religions.

Another avenue they plan to take is education through the mass media. You might call this mass brainwashing because that is what it will really be. Pretty soon “Faith and Globalisation” will be played side by side with Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” to continue the brainwashing of everyone in the world.

Tony Blair, in his speech, equates religious differences with race and gender differences as if education about skin color or sex is no different than education about religion. I have news - race problems are not usually about skin color at all - it is mostly about cultural differences. Do you see the world's ethnic groups becoming closer because they are now educated in race relations? That is ridiculous.

There is more ethnic hatred now than there was before the education programs. It will be worse with religion. Learning about someone else’s religion is not going to bridge the gap between the huge differences - it will just make more people aware of the reasons why they hate those in other religions.

I think the social works they are planning to do are commendable, but social works are not going to save the world. If they can use religion to help people socially, fine, but this is what humans should be doing regardless.

Blair wants to expand the Abraham house in London to include those of other beliefs. I am not sure what the point of this is. Mixing God’s word with doctrines of demons is not going to produce a hybrid unless it looks like the devil.

The most troubling part of Blair’s speech is his stand against all extremism. Well Mr. Blair, true Christianity is an extreme religion. It claims that the only way to God is through His Son Jesus Christ. So this form of Christianity is sure to go on the interfaith chopping block.

I am sure Blair would love everyone to keep their rituals so they can pretend that they are doing something spiritual and holy, like many Catholics. He also says that extremists in Islam are a perversion of that faith. In fact, the extremists are the only ones that are keeping the true teachings of Islam.

So in other words, Blair wants to modify all religions to appease all other religions - he does not call that watering it down. Call it what you want, Mr. Blair, but it is really taking out from your religion what offends me, and [if you take out from your religion what offends me] then I will take out [from my religion] what offends you. I can see it now, a long on-going summit of religions to bargain away their passages.

Jesus did not say that Christiantiy would unify faiths; he said:
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword... For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:24, 35-36).
Christianity is a radical religion, which is why millions have given up their lives to get out the message of salvation to the world. Now they want modern Christians to just forget about that divine commission and instead promote a gospel of "can’t we all get along?"

Faith in Christ is supposed to pull people apart: believers are leaving the world and becoming new creations. Blair says that this is destructive and dangerous. Well maybe from the world’s point of view it is, but we are not of this world, and this is why people who want to build their own utopia right here and now, without the Lordship of Jesus on earth, really hate our message.

Well, guess who is on the advisory counsel of Blair’s foundation? None other than Rick and Kay Warren, who show up in all the CFR worldly places. I guess that should not surprise anyone these days.

Sayyid Syeed, a veteran of interfaith outreach, said it is possible to find common ground without watering down religious teachings if the work is based on sound scholarship about each faith. I guess Sayyid really means scholarship from liberals who do not take the text literally anyway.

So that is the Blair Witch Project. So where is this all heading?

I think this will continue to grow among the liberals and the postmodern emerging Christians who want a pluralistc soft dominionism, but I do not think it will catch fire until after the world religious wars. This is just setting the foundation for the real interfaith program that will become a mandatory worldwide program after those wars. At that point, everyone will be brainwashed into believing that a interfaith solution is the only answer for world peace.

After the religious wars, governments will be so afraid of new religious wars that they will outlaw all speech that is offensive to any other religion. As a Christian, this will mean that you cannot say that Jesus is the only way to God. You will also not be able to talk about a coming judgment or a physical second coming of Jesus. Saying these things will be breaking the law; and if you do [say these things], they will either send you to a brainwashing camp or you will be put in prison as a danger to world peace.

The Roman Church will speak for the interfaith religion. By the way, she already has a seat at the UN and has embassies in many countries. This interfaith harlot will be the woman that rides the Beast of Revelation. She will help bring the Beast world system into power; but when the Antichrist figure arrives on the scene, he will turn on this harlot and burn her with fire. And that is the fate of Rick Warren’s Global Peace Plan. The Antichrist that arises will claim to be above anything called God, and he will demand that everyone in the world worship him.

Seeing the foundation for globalism and interfaith religion is being set up now, you can be fairly certain that the rest will follow shortly.

Tony Blair and Yale's 'Faith and Globalization Initiative'

Globalisation is a force that pulls people together; and if religion is a force that pulls people apart, then it’s a threat to the 21st century.” - Tony Blair, September 20, 2008

By Chris Perver, Prophecy in the News
September 20, 2008

On September 20, 2008, Tony Blair addressed Yale students on the issues of faith and globalization today, as part of a new initiative organized by Yale's School of Divinity and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation project

The first class was chaired by the former British Prime Minister and the Yale President Richard Levin, and marks the launch of the three year 'Faith and Globalization Initiative', which aims to promote understanding between world religions and aid the process of globalization. Blair, who recently converted from Protestantism to his wife's religion of Catholicism, remarked that religion was a double-edged sword which could be used to cause either harm or healing. He said that proper spiritual faith could enhance the process of globalization, but religious division could equally tear it apart.

Blair, 55, who recently became a Catholic, told the students that those without faith are not lesser people in his eyes:
"Many great leaders have led without faith," he said. But it is important to realize that religion matters to people in this world... And understanding people's faith can make globalization work — and help bring about peace and end such long-standing clashes as those between the Israelis and the Palestinians."
Blair is currently working in the Middle East as a representative of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and Russia, helping the Palestinians prepare for statehood as part of the world's efforts to secure peace in that region:
I am convinced that the majority of Israelis and the majority of Palestinians want a two-state solution. It's just that they've given up hope of getting it. But they want it and that's important, so it means that there is a desire there for peace."
As I have commented before, there are three things that stand in the way of the process of globalization: politics, economics and religion.

As we have seen this past week, the world is largely unified when it comes to the issue of economics. With our global stock markets, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other such organizations, it is easy to see how we are quickly becoming interdependent. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently called for a complete shake-up of the world economic order, which would help prevent a repeat of the financial crises that we have witnessed this past number of weeks. Many regional blocs, such as the ASEAN and GCC, are also considering adopting a single currency similar to that of the European Union.

When it comes to politics, it is also easy to see how the world is becoming more unified in this regard. This past year we have witnessed the birth of the Union for the Mediterranean. Other regional blocs, such as the European Union, the North American Union, the African Union, the Asia Pacific Union, the ASEAN Economic Community, the Gulf Cooperation Council, are still in the process of increasing their powers.

The world is becoming more and more politically unified, so that leaves just one main obstacle to the globalization process - religion. And the world could not be more religiously divided. There is only one force that can unify people of different languages, cultures and traditions, and that is religion.

Throughout the history of the world, politicians have tried to unify people through religion. Whether it was the Roman Emperors, who demanded that their citizens worship them as God, the Catholic Church (which murdered believers throughout the centuries), the Church of England (which once imprisoned those who preached the gospel), or the Communists (who set themselves above every god), religion is unifying force. And Tony Blair's Faith Foundation is the realization of this.

The Bible states that the three obstacles to the process of globalization will be removed sooner or later:
  1. In Revelation 13:16-18, we have a one world monetary system called the "Mark of the Beast," and those who refuse to take the "mark" in their right hand or forehead will be unable to buy or sell.
  2. In Revelation 13:2-4, we have a one world government, headed by a man to whom Satan will give great power and authority.
  3. And in Revelation 13:11-15, we have a one-world false religious system, headed by a man that Satan will enable to perform all manner of lying wonders to deceive the people of earth into worshipping a false Christ.

As you can see, there is time of great deception ahead. Christians are called to be subject to governments, for their power is ordained of God (Romans 13). And it's not that we are against the process of globalization either. As in the days of the Roman Empire, globalization can be used for the proclamation of the gospel. But we are against the one who is behind this whole world system, which is Satan himself (2nd Corinthians 4:4).

Will you end up becoming part of this one world religious system? Though it appears to have a morality about it, it has been condemned by God. For the Bible states that all our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), and that the only way to God is through faith in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

Will you end up becoming part of this one world economic system? Jesus Christ said, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:20-21).

Will you end up becoming part of this one world political system? The Bible states, "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end", Isaiah 9:7.

True peace can only come through the Prince of Peace, which is Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for your sins so that you might know peace with God (Colossians 1:20). Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today.

Tony Blair: Whose ‘Poodle’ Is He Now?

By Cecil Andrews, Take Heed Industries

While no serving British Prime Minister has ever been a Catholic, the nearest thing was Blair's attendance with his Catholic wife and children.

On 8th December 2007 the Irish Times carried an article titled "The Converter" and it began with these words: "If Tony Blair becomes a Catholic this month, he will be the latest high-profile convert to have Father Michael Seed as his spiritual adviser."

"We call him the Scarlet Pimpernel" chuckles one of the nuns who helps to run the beating heart of British Catholicism, Westminster Cathedral... Father Seed's "string of celebrity scalps"… is impressive. The Conservative MPs John Gummer and Ann Widdecombe are among those he prepared to become Catholics, and he is reported to have converted the former MP, Alan Clark [he of the infamous "Diaries"] on his deathbed… the list of famous names who have contributed to his books… includes Hillary Clinton, the Duchess of Kent [a Royal convert to Roman Catholicism] Jilly Cooper, Sean Connery, John le Carre and the Dalai Lama…

Unsurprisingly Father Seed remains tight-lipped on the subject of Blair… Clearly this Roman Catholic priest has been spectacularly successful in sowing "the seeds" of Roman Catholicism in the corridors of political power at Westminster.

The predicted conversion of Tony Blair to Roman Catholicism officially occurred on Friday evening, December 21, 2007.

Catholic Church has Long Embodied the Attributes of Globalization That Now Engage Blair
Tony Blair "Didn't Do God" in Downey Street
Obama to Expand Bush Faith Program
Obama Greets ‘Good Friend’ Blair
Obama Stresses Unity Among Religions, Prepares Faith Office
Try the Spirits, Whether They Are of God
The Vacant Seat Number 666 in the European Parliament
Is the European Union the New Babylon?
Asking 'Is the EU Anti-Christian?' Is the Same as Asking 'Is the Pope Catholic?'
Mystery Babylon: The Revival of the Roman Empire
The EU and The New World Order
NATO: The Sleeping Giant
Jewish Groups Prepare for Rare Blessing of the Sun
Babylon the Great is About to Rise
Prince of Wales Calls for ‘Bridges’ to be Built Between Faiths
UK “Green Advsior” Says Population Must Fall to 30 Million
Judge Rules Activist’s Beliefs on Climate Change Akin to Religion
A judge found Nicholson’s views on the environment were so deeply held that they were entitled to the same protection as religious convictions

Updated 11/5/09

February 7, 2009

Germany and Vatican Behind Greek Riots?

PCG Contends Germany & Vatican Behind Greek Riots

By Bob Thiel, COGWriter
February 1, 2009

In the lead article in the February 2009 edition of the Philadelphia Church of God’s (PCG) Philadelphia Trumpet magazine, Gerald Flurry wrote the following:

Did the Holy Roman Empire Plan the Greek Crisis?

Greece is in trouble. Thousands of rioters rampaged through Athens. Angry youths attacked the Athens courthouse with petrol bombs. Broken glass and burned-out wreckage lay in the streets.

These riots are a sign of a far greater upheaval that is threatening to engulf much of Europe…

Many of the people rioting are angry about the government’s handling of the economic crisis…

The Greek government can do little to fix the nation’s economy though. Greece’s fate was, in many ways, sealed seven years ago.

In 2001, Greece adopted the euro as a member of the European Union. At that point, Greece’s succeeding economic boom and following bust became inevitable…

When the current European economic union was formalized, it became inevitable that countries like Greece would eventually face economic crises. Through the inclusion of Germany, the economic union allowed for European-wide interest rates that were much lower in countries like Greece than would normally have been possible. Low interest rates encouraged massive borrowing and artificially stimulated a boom. But as with all bubbles, eventually it popped. What Greece and other countries in southern Europe in particular are dealing with now is the aftermath.

The Holy Roman Empire

Romano Prodi was recently prime minister of Italy. He was eventually pushed from power by the Roman Catholic Church because he disagreed with the church on several issues. That illustrates the kind of power the Vatican exercises in EU politics. (The Catholic Church in Europe is very different than it is in the U.S.)

So the Vatican obviously approved of the EU plan to take more power for itself. The real power of the EU revolves around Germany and the Vatican—as it has throughout the history of the Holy Roman Empire…

Europe’s Financial Crisis

“Germany entered the euro with an overvalued exchange rate,” wrote Bernard Connolly…

The United States is currently trying to solve its debt-related problems by lowering its interest rates and making borrowing easier. This is treating the symptom: it may reduce the pain temporarily, but won’t fix anything in the long term. Nations like Greece, though, do not have even this option. They cannot change the interest rate to a level that suits them—they are stuck with whatever the European Central Bank (ECB) decides. And the ECB is most heavily influenced by Germany.

Greece isn’t the only nation caught in this trap. Spain’s economy has gone through a similar process to what Connolly described, and now the International Monetary Fund is predicting that its unemployment will reach 15 percent. Ireland and Denmark are also paying the price of overheating their economies.

Does this mean that it is over for a single European currency? Not at all.

As both the Trumpet and men like Connolly have been warning, Berlin has been planning for this crisis before it even adopted the euro. European elites knew it would eventually come. And they will soon present a solution…

However it happens, Germany is prophesied to come out on top in this financial crisis. Social unrest and riots will eventually force Europeans to succumb to a strong united government of Europe, led ultimately not from Brussels, but from Berlin.

Greece is just one of the first places to have trouble. But national economies across Europe are deteriorating, and soon, if trends continue, much of the continent will be in trouble…

Watch Germany. Watch for Germany to be at the helm in a restructuring not only of EU member nations’ economies, but of the entire European Union itself! That union will be united and then guided by the Vatican.

So who is now the real super economic power in this world? Germany.

That too was carefully planned. The Germany-Vatican combine is gaining power that this world can’t even imagine!
And while Germany and the Vatican are interested in control, I do not have enough factual information to completely conclude that “Berlin has been planning for this crisis before it even adopted the euro.”

Gerald Flurry may himself wish to re-read Isaiah 10:5-7 as part of verse 7 states:

Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so…
Isaiah 10:7 indicates that not everything that Germany will do (referred to as Assyria in certain biblical prophecies) will be because it PLANNED all of it.

But PCG is correct with its overall view that an economic superpower supported by the Vatican is rising up in Europe. And there is little doubt that Germany wants dominance as it has sought it repeatedly in the past.

Perhaps I should also remind readers that there are a variety of Catholic private prophecies that predict there will be civil unrest in Europe that will lead to one many Catholics refer to as the Great Monarch (see Civil Unrest in Europe)–an individual who seems to be described in the Bible as “the Beast.”

The events in the world are lining up to fulfill biblical prophecies and the rioting in Greece may be part of that alignment.

Vatican Says Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Compatible with Christian Faith
Not Just American Creationists Take On Darwin
Gordon Brown Meets the Pope to Discuss Global Financial Crisis
Catholic Knights of Malta to Honor Radical Anti-Life, Anti-Family Former DC Mayor Williams

The Club of Rome

Ervin Laszlo, a member of the infamous New World Order non-governmental think tank, Club of Rome, came up with the idea of humans being the cause of global warming. In 1991, the Club of Rome published "The First Global Revolution," authored by Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider; on pages 104-105 is found the following statement:
The Common Enemy of Humanity is Man
In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we suggested that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. In their totality and in their interactions, these phenomena constitute a common threat which demands the solidarity of all peoples. But in designating them as the enemy, we fall into the trap about which we have already warned, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human internvention and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.
The Club of Rome was formed at the Rockefeller's private estate in Bellagio, Italy in 1968. The club had significant influence in the birth of the modern environmental movement. Headed by Anglo-American elites and European nobility, the Club of Rome is an elite 'think tank' specializing in crisis creation via the Hegelian dialectic: Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis.

The main purpose of the club is to formulate crisis through which the world can be "united" under a world socialist government.

On September 17, 1973, the Club of Rome released a report called the "Regionalized and Adaptive Model of the Global World System," which was prepared as part of the "Strategy for Survival - A Club of Rome Project in the Predicament of Mankind Study." This revealed the Club's goal of dividing the world into ten political/economic regions... which would unite the entire world under a single form of government. These regions are: North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, Rest of Developed World, Latin America, Middle East, Rest of Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and China.

A few notable past and present members of the club include:
  • Al Gore - Former U.S. Vice President
  • Mikhail Gorbachev - Former President of the Soviet Union; co-author of the Earth Charter
  • Ted Turner - media mogul, founder of CNN
  • Maurice Strong - head of the U.N. Environment Programme; co-author of the Earth Charter
  • David Rockefeller - donated the land where the UN stands in NY
  • Henry Kissinger - Former U.S. Secretary of State
  • Javier Solana - Secretary-General of the EU
  • Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands

European Union: Model for World Government - an excellent resource
Financial Meltdown Good News for European Leaders
EU Leaders Vow to Overhaul The Global Financial System
Europe Stuns With €1.5 Trillion Bank Rescue, as France Plays Role of Saviour
Canada, EU Working Towards ‘Historic’ Economic Integration
France Responds to Economic Downturn with a General Strike
Civil Protest Breaking Out In Russia, China and Beyond
Hundreds Protest in Russia
Britain: the New Iceland
Iceland to Become EU Member by 2011?
Iceland to be Fast-tracked into European Union to Stop Economic Meltdown
Is Ireland the Next Iceland?

Look Out, Ireland. Here Comes Sarko
Ireland's Gov't Debt Now Rated Riskiest in Europe
Irish Economy Afloat Because of Euro, Says Sutherland
Irish Bank Shares Plunge to Lowest Since 1993 on Nationalisation Fears
Help Ireland or It Will Exit Euro, Economist Warns
Anglo Fiasco is Ireland’s Enron
Ireland Is In Trouble
Iceland, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Jordan and Countries with Banks Too Big to Bail Out
Global Financial Crisis May Force Scandanavians to Adopt the Euro
Crunched - for Iceland Read Ireland?
Neo-Nazis Plotting ‘Fourth Reich’ in Germany

February 6, 2009

Electronic Run on Banks: $550 Billion Disappeared

February 6, 2009

At 2 minutes, 20 seconds into the C-Span video clip above, Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania explains how the Federal Reserve told Congress about a “tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the United States, an amount totalling $550 billion dollars.” According to Kanjorski, this electronic transfer occured over the period of an hour or two.

Here is a transcript of what Kanjorski says in the video:
On Thursday at about 11 o’clock in the morning the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States, to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help. It pumped $105 billion in the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide; we were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn’t be further panic out there.

If they had not done that, their estimation was that by two o’clock that afternoon, $5.5 trillion dollars would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it...

If you don't have a banking sytem, you don't have an economy.
Kanjorski does not provide further details...

We’re really no better off today than we were three months ago because we’ve had a decrease in the equity positions of banks because other assets are going sour by the moment...

Paulson Abandons Plan to Purchase Bad Mortgages and Will Invest $700bn Bailout in Banks
Bank Bailout: Money-Spinning Operation for the Financial Giants
International Bankers Set Their Sites on the Globe
Economy Almost Died, and the Real New World Order
Now As The Much Greater Depression Progresses

February 2, 2009

Why the Gaza Conflict Continues

Israeli Aircraft Strike Gaza As Rockets Fall

Associated Press
March 8, 2009

Gaza Strip - Hamas security officials say Israeli aircraft targeted a Gaza City warehouse in a nighttime airstrike. The officials say the warehouse was empty and no one was injured.

The Israeli military confirms the strike, saying the target was used by militants as a weapons warehouse. The military says aircraft also struck two smuggling tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border.

Palestinian militants launched a rocket and a mortar shell into Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries.

Rocket fire by Gaza militants and Israeli retaliatory airstrikes have become nearly daily occurrences. Israel halted a military offensive aimed at ending the rocket fire on Jan. 18, but sporadic violence persists as Egypt-mediated talks on a long-term truce have failed to yield results.

The Facts About Israel's War on Gaza

In order to be successful, any agreement must call for:
  1. Israel to drastically reduce its military blockade of Gaza.
  2. Israel to halt all military incursions into Gaza.
  3. Hamas to halt all rocket attacks into Israel.

A BBC survey gave respondents a list of 12 countries and asked whether they had a “mostly positive or mostly negative influence in the world.” The country with the highest number of mostly negative responses overall is Israel (56% negative, 17% positive), followed by Iran (54% negative 18% positive), the United States (51% negative, 30% positive), and North Korea (48% negative, 19% positive).

Turkish PM Admonishes Israel President Over Gaza

By Trudy Rubin, Opinion Columnist, The Philadelphia Inquirer
February 2, 2009

DAVOS, Switzerland - In the 12 years I've been attending Davos, I've never seen anything like it. An extraordinary, emotional debate over Gaza took place between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum on Thursday. It ended with Erdogan storming off stage and saying he would never return to Davos, after the moderator refused him more time to respond.

What made the exchange even more astounding was that Turkey has deep relations with Israel - it is her closest Muslim ally. Moreover, Peres is known for his efforts at peacemaking and Erdogan had been mediating talks between Israel and Syria.

The drama between these two peacemakers laid bare the white-hot tensions unleashed by Israel's invasion of Gaza. Their confrontation also showed how difficult it will be for the Obama administration to renew any peace process.

It was clear that the Turkish leader took the December 27 Gaza invasion very personally. On December 23, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had visited Ankara for the fifth round of indirect talks with Syria.

"The goal was to see if we could move to the next phase, direct talks," Erdogan told the audience. He said he had called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the Olmert visit. He had also suggested that Turkey try to mediate with Hamas for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

"He [Olmert] said he would respond the next day, but we got no answer. Four days later, Israel was in Gaza," Erdogan said. The Turkish leader was humiliated. Members of his party accused him of collusion with Israel, assuming Olmert had warned him of the coming invasion.

Erdogan blames the continuing violence in Gaza on the fact that the strip is still effectively occupied by Israel, which controls airspace, sea space and territorial borders. And he was furious about Israel's "disproportionate response" to Hamas rocket attacks that left hundreds of innocent Palestinian women and children dead and Gaza's infrastructure shattered.

"Hamas are not the only people in Gaza," Erdogan shouted, his voice rising, as he decried the difficulty of getting humanitarian aid through Israeli checkpoints into Gaza. "We should not be judging anyone by race or religion if they are in distress."

But Peres was equally furious at Erdogan's inference that his, and Israel's, reputations were sullied by the Gaza carnage. He said Hamas had fired 5,500 rockets and 4,000 mortars toward Israel over the last five years. Peres feels the world fails to understand the psychological and economic trauma of Hamas rocket fire on cities, which kill only a few, but totally disrupt normal life. "One million people slept in shelters. What would you do?" he demanded, blaming Iran for supplying the rockets. "People who never demonstrated against thousands of missiles [fired against Israeli civilians] are demonstrating now."

Peres also resents the fact that past Israeli peace efforts have been forgotten, including, in his view, the 2005 pullout from Gaza. His own prime ministership was destroyed in 1996 when Palestinian bus bombs murdered dozens of civilians and undercut Israeli faith in the peace process. As a consequence, the dovish Peres was defeated by the hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli president insists the Gaza invasion was forced on Israel by Hamas. "For us, victory is peace, not war," he said. But Peres was not apologetic about striking back at those who rocket Israel. "Hezbollah has learned a lesson," he said, a reference to Israel's 2006 bombing of Lebanon; Hezbollah hasn't fired rockets at Israel since then. "We hope Hamas will learn a lesson."

So what exactly is the lesson of this Davos psychodrama for the future of peace talks?

Obama's new peace emissary, former Sen. George Mitchell, will find an Israeli public that believes that Hamas deserved to be punished, never mind the staggering cost to innocent Palestinians. Most Israelis are convinced that if they give back more land they will get more missiles on their heads, so they will probably return Netanyahu to power in this month's elections.

Mitchell will also find an Arab, and Turkish, world that shares Erdogan's anger and was horrified by TV scenes of dying Palestinian children, which decimated any remaining belief in the peace process.

The good news is that moderate Arab leaders want to give peace talks one last shot. And Erdogan told journalists that, although Turkish mediation is now "shelved," Turkey would be willing to resume it if it was requested by the parties. But Mitchell, who visits the Middle East this week, will have to overcome a boiling anger that runs deep in Israel, Turkey and Arab countries. That rage was in full view on stage in Davos last week.

Contact Trudy Rubin at trubin@phillynews.com. To read her blog from Davos, visit http://go.philly.com/trudyrubinblog.

Why the Massacre in Gaza Continues

By Patrick Seale, Agence Global
January 12, 2009

Neither Israel nor Hamas is ready to quit. Meanwhile, the Arab world, the United States, and the United Nations show no sign of taking the lead to obtain a truce. As Israel’s barbaric war in Gaza enters its third week, there are four main reasons why its wholesale slaughter of Palestinian civilians continues unchecked.

The first is the terrible weakness of the UN Security Council in carrying out its declared task of maintaining international peace and security. Its inability to halt Israel’s aggression is largely due to the overly-intimate (some would say unhealthy) U.S.-Israeli relationship.

The second reason is that Hamas, the only Palestinian movement putting up armed resistance to Israel, is the only remaining obstacle to Israel’s mastery of the whole of historic Palestine. Israel knows that if it fails to secure Hamas’ unconditional surrender, it will, in due course, have to enter into peace talks and cede territory to an eventual Palestinian state, which is something it has long sought to avoid. At this decisive moment in the 100-year old Israeli-Palestinian struggle, there is, therefore, much at stake for both sides.

The third reason is the debilitating divisions in the Arab and Muslim world, which have robbed it of any effective leverage on events. These divisions are myriad: between so-called ‘moderate’ Arab states and their ‘radical’ rivals; between those who have made peace with Israel and those who have not; between those who rely on American aid and protection and those who do not; between those who loathe and fear Iran and those who rely on it for support; between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. This is by no means an exhaustive list. In the Palestinian camp, there is nothing more tragic than the vicious war between Fatah and Hamas, which makes them both an easy prey for Israel.

The fourth reason why the carnage in Gaza continues unchecked is that neither Israel nor Hamas is ready for a ceasefire because neither has yet achieved its war aims.

Israel’s aims can be listed as follows, in reverse order of importance:
  • Stopping the rockets Hamas has been firing at the Negev;
  • Destroying the tunnels into Gaza from Egypt in order to prevent Hamas from rearming;
  • Restoring Israel’s ‘deterrence’ by means of an overwhelming display of force - with the ‘lesson’ directed as much at Hizbullah, Syria and Iran, as at Hamas itself;
  • Crushing the Palestinians’ aspirations for independent statehood by inflicting a decisive defeat on them; and,
  • Pre-empting, by a hoped-for sweeping victory, any attempt by the incoming Obama administration to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
As might be expected, Hamas’s war aims are the exact opposite of Israel’s. They are to:
  • Survive the current battering and continue to govern Gaza;
  • Continue armed resistance until Israel lifts its crippling siege of Gaza, reopens the crossing points, and withdraws its troops;
  • Overshadow and eventually displace Fatah and the ineffective Palestinian Authority as the main representative of the Palestinian people;
  • Win recognition of its own legitimacy from the international community; and,
  • Force the European Union, and eventually the United States and Israel, to end their boycott and to engage in dialogue with it.
Hamas rejected, last Thursday, a UN Security Council Resolution which appealed for a ceasefire because, although it is a party to the conflict, it was not consulted on the Resolution’s terms. In addition, the Resolution made no provision for the immediate lifting of Israel’s siege of Gaza and the withdrawal of its forces.

Hamas has, nevertheless, been making good headway in international public opinion, with demonstrations in its support in many parts of the globe. Israel’s image, on the contrary, has taken a hammering because of the terrible suffering it has inflicted on a defenseless population.

In Europe, there is much anger and shame that, under American and Israeli pressure, the EU demonized Hamas as a ‘terrorist organisation,’ refused to recognize its victory in the 2006 democratic elections, and has been unable to protect the civilians of Gaza from an unimaginable fate. Across France alone, there were on 10 January no fewer than 80 demonstrations to protest Israel’s carnage.

Only the United States can restore some semblance of sanity to the troubled Middle East. Urgently required is a vigorous and sustained effort aimed at bringing about a comprehensive peace. Can President-elect Barack Obama deliver? Some of his recent appointments, and those of Hilary Clinton at the State Department, do not signal a radical change of policy.

Nevertheless, Obama knows that George W. Bush’s illegal war in Iraq was profoundly misconceived, as was his ‘Global War on Terror’. Unduly influenced by pro-Israeli neo-conservatives, they were the wrong American response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and have done America an enormous amount of harm. The time has surely come to resolve the major conflicts of the Middle East, not to exacerbate them.

Once Barack Obama takes office on 20 January, the question the world will be asking is this: weighed down as he will be by a thousand problems, and held in check by strong pro-Israeli forces both inside and outside his administration, will he be ready to use up some of his precious political capital to put things right? No one should expect miracles from him.

In the meantime, Gaza continues to bleed.

Patrick Seale is a leading British writer on the Middle East, and the author of The Struggle for Syria; also, Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East; and Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire.

Why We Should Be Concerned About Christian Zionism

Living Conditions in the Gaza Strip

January 14, 2009

Life was harsh in the Gaza Strip even before Israel's assault on its Hamas Islamist rulers, in which at least 984 Palestinians have been killed and 4,300 wounded.

Here are some facts about living conditions for Gazans, who face an uncertain future when the offensive, which Israel says aims to stop Hamas rocket attacks, is over.
  • 1.5 million Palestinians live in the 360 square km (139 square mile) Gaza Strip. More than three-quarters of them are refugees whose families fled or were driven from their land in what is now Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
  • Egypt captured the strip during that conflict, but lost it to Israel in the 1967 war. Israel withdrew unilaterally in 2005, but kept control of access to and from the coastal enclave.
  • Gaza has one of the world's youngest and fastest-growing populations. About 45 percent are children aged below 15. The median age is 17.2 years. At the present growth rate of 3.42 percent, the population would double in 20 years.
  • An Israeli blockade and international sanctions since Hamas won a Palestinian election in 2006 have crippled Gaza's economy, especially after Hamas seized control of the territory from President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority in 2007.
  • Most Gazans live on less than $2 a day and up to 80 percent are dependent on food aid, according to aid groups.
  • Israel's ban on exports and on all but humanitarian imports has forced 98 percent of Gaza's industry to close. The World Bank estimates unemployment at 35 percent.
  • The war has put more pressure on already stressed services. Casualties have overwhelmed hospitals and rescue teams. Food, cooking gas, fuel, electricity and running water are scarce. Last week the World Bank said nearly all sewage and water pumps had stopped working due to fuel and power shortages.

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