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          Shamima Begum 'was member of feared Isis morality police' in Syria      Comment   Translate Page      
Prime minister reportedly briefed on claims teenager sewed bombers into suicide vets
          25 jesidier sendt hjem fra Syria      Comment   Translate Page      
Syriske kurdere har sendt hjem til Irak 25 jesidi-kvinner og -barn som ble befridd fra IS under offensiven mot IS i Baghouz i Syria.
          Battle for Aleppo: How Syria Became the New Global War      Comment   Translate Page      
As the noose around Aleppo tightens -- and the Assad regime and its Russian allies continue to bomb the city -- the extremely dangerous nature of this proxy war is becoming more apparent than ever. Could escalation between Moscow and Washington be on the horizon? By SPIEGEL Staff
          Islamic State's Child Soldiers: First Come the Sweets, Then the Beheadings      Comment   Translate Page      
The Islamic State is holding thousands of young boys captive in Syria and Iraq, where it is teaching them the Koran and how to become deadly child soldiers. By Katrin Kuntz
          'We'll Be Back': Islamic State Losses Could Fuel Sectarian Warfare      Comment   Translate Page      
Islamic State has been losing significant swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in recent months. When it goes, though, the group leaves behind deadly booby traps -- and the makings of sectarian warfare.
          Russophobia, A WMD (Weapon Of Mass Deception)      Comment   Translate Page      

Authored by Jean Ranc via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Russophobia, as psycho-social-political pathology, is diagnosed as a disorder in The West since before the 1000-year-old Roman-Orthodox religious schism and most recently manifested with a vengeance in the course of the 2013-14 with Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance by the US and its covert activities leading to the Ukraine coup with Russophobia used thereafter as a weapon of mass deception to inflame this latent pathology in the public.

After more than a year since we first heard the BBC “breaking news” about the “Russians Poisoning the Skipals”, all we have are allegations, but there is still no real evidence to present before a judge and jury for a just trial, only media propaganda which has provoked even more fear and hysteria meant to distract people from the government’s bungling and high level of anxiety over Brexit by once again blaming Russia. Never-the-less, it prompted politicians to administer instant sanctions against Russia as punishment. That first day, the "evidence", presented in the usual clipped, "authoritative" British accents, included interviews with a conservative British MP, then the former US Ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow (2001-05), now with the notoriously hawkish US-based think tank, the Atlantic Council. Thus, the three of them: the BBC “journalist” and the two “experts”, colluded to transform false allegations into "facts"... fueled, as always, by their perpetual prejudice, RUSSOPHOBIA, in the course of their propaganda war to force Russia to surrender to American-led Western Domination or else: have their economy destroyed & their people suffer. Indeed, it is a threat to the whole world played to the discord of rattling nuclear swords with a chorus of vindictive Russian oligarchs, whom Putin expelled for robbing the Russian people. So, now living in London as expats, they would seem to be the more likely culprits. All the while elsewhere in London, thanks to our “special US-UK relationship”, Julian Assange has been excommunicated and imprisoned in a tiny “cell” at the Ecuador embassy for revealing embarrassing American secrets via Wikileaks.

There we have it: the poisoning of our minds by the media and politicians which are owned and controlled by the US-UK-EU 1%, who benefit from Western Hegemony. So, these deluded few are now desperately defending it from the rising powers led by Russia and China with India not far behind demanding a multi-polar, democratic world order.

My search for the roots of this particularly vicious and extremely dangerous hate campaign began in a Dartmouth College Russian Foreign Policy course, which led me to the book, “Russophobia: Anti-Russian Lobby and American Foreign Policy” by San Francisco State University Professor Andrei P. Tsygankov (2009). And there, the detoxification of my mind began as I studied his deft, well-documented deconstruction of the political propaganda disseminated “by various think tanks, congressional testimonials, activities of NGOs and the media” (preface p. XIII)

Then in Italy the following winter, I discovered the work of the Swiss journalist, Guy Mettan, in the Italian geopolitical journal, LiMes: an excerpt from his book, “Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria” (2017). There, Mettan informs us that this psycho-social pathology in Western Civilization” goes back more than 1000 years: to the division of Christendom between the Orthodox and Roman churches. Indeed, his research into the depths of history confirms the diagnosis by our renowned American psychiatrist, Robert Jay Lifton, in his 2003 book, “Superpower Syndrome: America’s Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World”. Therein, Lifton states: “More than merely dominate, the American superpower now seeks to control history. Such cosmic ambition is accompanied by an equally vast sense of entitlement, of special dispensation to pursue its aims.” (p.3) And Mettan’s analysis of Russophobia also underscores the work of University of Chicago Professor John J. Mearsheimer, our leading international relations “realist” in his three Henry L. Stimson lectures at Yale University November 2017: “The Roots of Liberal Hegemony”, “The False Promises of Liberal Hegemony” and “The Case for Restraint”: with his book, “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams, International Realities” published in 2018.

But what about “Russian Aggression” in Ukraine & Crimea?

In the first place, it was the astute Mearsheimer, who, in the Sept-Oct 2014 Foreign Affairs, informed us “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault: The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin” (pp 77-89), but the American foreign policy establishment, together with ambitious politicians and the me-too media, paid no heed and continues to repeat its fabricated “facts”.

Never-the-less, Mearsheimer is backed up by Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent. In Sakwa’s book, “Russia Against the Rest: The Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order”, 2017, we turn to the section on “Reality Wars and American Power” on p. 217 to read: “It does indeed seem that Russia and Western elites live in totally different worlds, divided by different epistemological understandings of the nature of contemporary reality. The Ukraine crisis crystallized the profound differences between Russian and Atlanticist understandings of the breakdown and its causes.” And he continues on p. 218: “Elite and policy-maker perceptions and attitudes forged in the Cold War years sustain these legacies and frame the discussions of such crucial issues as NATO enlargement, democracy promotion in the post-Soviet area, and strategic arms talks.” Adding that these “are no longer so much legacies as self-regenerating narratives and modes of discourse that preclude a more open-ended understanding of the dynamics and concerns of Russia today.”

Karl Rove: “We’re an empire now; we create our own reality.”

[In 2004, journalist Ron Suskind wrote in The New York Times magazine that a top White House strategist for President George W. Bush—identified later as Karl Rove, Bush’s Deputy White House Chief of Staff—told him, “We’re an empire now, we create our own reality.”]

Thus, we’ve become trapped in a contrived “reality” promulgated by neo-conservative warriors under cover of neo-liberal “democracy-spreading-humanitarian-interventionists” to justify an American Empire promoting itself as the indispensable “Liberal World Order”. However, under that global order, as Sakwa points out on p. 219: “If a foreign power is considered to have violated ‘international order’, then it can be overthrown” as a rationale for American “regime change” anywhere around the world: whether to control the supply of copper in Chile or oil in Iran. And, with its eye on Russia’s vast oil, gas and other natural resources, America claims the right to threaten Russia by ringing it with weapons which we would not abide were the Russians to place missiles in Mexico…as the Soviets did in Cuba to defend it after our “Bay of Pigs” invasion that brought humanity to the brink of nuclear war. Thus, Russia was defending itself in Ukraine against further NATO expansion while Crimean citizens, by majority vote in a democratic referendum, chose to rejoin Russia as they had been one country ever since Catherine the Great…except for an interval in the '50s when Crimea was” gifted” to Ukraine while they were all members of the Soviet Union.

“Ditching Solzhenitsyn, Defender of Russia”

And not to forget that in 1974, after being expelled from the Soviet Union, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn and his family fled first to Zurich then to Vermont in 1976 and lived on a farm near Cavendish, where he continued to write and publish his work. Meanwhile, Mettan, as a journalist covering events related to Russia, became quite distressed over "the widespread prejudices, cartloads of clichés and systematic anti-Russian biases of most western media." And he went on to say that “the more I traveled, discussed and read, the wider I perceived, the more the gap of incomprehension and ignorance between Western Europe and Russia became evident. 

"That was why, during the 1990s, I was shocked by the way the West treated Solzhenitsyn. For decades, we had published, celebrated, and acclaimed the great writer as bearing the torch of anti-Soviet dissidence. We had praised Solzhenitsyn to the skies as long as he criticized his native country, communist Russia. But as soon as he emigrated, realizing that he preferred to isolate himself in his Vermont retreat to work rather than attending anticommunist conferences, western media and academics began to distance themselves from the great writer.

"The idol no longer matched the image they had built and was becoming a hindrance to their academic and journalistic career plans. And once Solzhenitsyn had left the United States to go back to Russia and defend his humiliated, demoralized motherland that was being sold at auction, raising his voice against the Russian 'Westernizers' and pluralist liberals who denied the interests of Russia to better revel in the troughs of capitalism, he became a marked man, an outdated, senile writer, even though he himself had not changed in the least, denouncing with the same vigor the defects of market totalitarianism as those of communist totalitarianism.

"He was booed, despised, his name was dragged through the mud for his choices, often by the very people who had praised his first fights. Despite that, against all odds, against the most powerful powers that were trying to dissuade him, Solzhenitsyn defended his one and only cause, that of Russia. He was not forgiven for having turned his pen against that West that had welcomed him and felt it was owed eternal gratitude. A dissident today, a dissident wherever truth compelled, such was his motto. This deserves to be remembered." Mettan, pp. 15-16 in “Creating Russophobia”.

Russophobia: akin to Racism

From another perspective: Mettan’s chapter on "German Russophobia" set me thinking that this "Western Supremacy" political-cultural pathology known as Russophobia is like the racism which I knew growing up in totally segregated Oklahoma. Until in high school, I became so perplexed and appalled by the curtain of hate and “justifications” in which we were smothered: the Negro schools on the other side of town? and why were there separate waiting rooms, drinking fountains & restrooms in bus and train stations?...that I began poking holes in the curtain to see what was outside...and found a book in the library: "South of Freedom" by Carl Rowan, an African-American Minneapolis Star Tribune journalist, describing his journey from South to North. So, thanks to what I learned from Rowan, I began to tear the whole damned curtain down...at least in my mind.

Whom the Gods would destroy, they first drive mad?

So, here’s a Swiss journalist punching a hole in this wall of Russophobic Western Supremacy… and through that gaping hole, we are reminded that the Russians are Europe’s neighbors who sacrificed more than 26 million of their own lives to save Europe, America and Russia from the Nazis. These are not poor "niggers" from the Eurasian ghetto we've been trying to club into submission as second-class citizens of “The Liberal World Order” dominated by US; they're nuclear-armed and no longer willing to sit at a separate, inferior table with no vote and no voice over who makes the rules...nor are China, India and Brazil. And last year, while the wave of Russophobic hysteria over alleged “Russian poisoning” was rolling out of the UK and engulfing the Western world in the latest siege of mass madness…with only Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labor party, having the courage to stand up in Parliament on the Ides of March and demand Evidence! only to be pilloried by the mindless politicians and media…led by the once esteemed BBC. And the week following the August 7, 2018 Trump-Putin Helsinki summit, will surely go down in psychiatric circles as another case of mass media-political delusions led by cheer-leader-in-chief, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.

Meanwhile, not to forget that it was Hearst newspaper propaganda that whipped the American public into a war frenzy to support our first step in empire-building: our 1898 intervention in Cuba’s war for independence from the Spanish Empire which had dominated all of Latin America for 500 years. As the former NYTimes journalist/bureau chief in Istanbul, Berlin & Central America, Stephen Kinzer reminds us in his latest book "The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire", Twain, Booker T. Washington and even Andrew Carnegie leading a handful of other anti-imperialists...were not able to prevail against Roosevelt with his Rough Riders and the Hearst newspapers’ war propaganda.

Regime Change Comes Home

Never-the-less, after a very long run of American “regime change” abroad leaving a bloody trail of destruction, dictatorships and chaos from Iran in 1953, when we joined with the British to overthrow the democratically-elected President Mohammad Mossadegh to maintain the Brit-US control of its oil…on through Guatemala, Vietnam and Chile…to name a few of our interventions…we were back for a second round with “coalitions of the willing” or not? in the Middle East where our regime-change machine managed to plow its way through Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya…before breaking down in Syria. Until now it’s been brought home again, renovated and renamed “RussiaGate” for another attempt at removing a President for trying to mend US relations with Russia. Though even after more than a year of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigations accompanied by such cinematic support as the movie, “Felt”, another “Watergate” re-run. Did anyone else notice the resemblance between “Felt” and Mueller? And despite the media’s commemoration of its 44-year-old “moment of courage” with the movie “The Post” to promote Trump’s ouster, our democratically-elected President, as of this writing, remains in power. However, in this rush to “regime change”, didn’t the our “ruling elite” read Jane Mayer’s “The Danger of President Pence” in the 10/23/17 New Yorker? At least the 70s' “ruling class” was smart enough to remove an unqualified Vice President Spiro (who?) Agnew…before “regime changing” Nixon and replacing him with the more or less benign Gerald Ford.

A Florentine Epiphany

But back to last January in Florence, Italy, when I was hiking in the hills beyond the Piazzale Michelangelo, with its spectacular view of that Renaissance city and its centerpiece, the Duomo, I came across the Villa Galileo, which had been his last home after his trial as a “heretic”, during which to save himself from torture and execution, he was forced to deny his helio-centric vision and henceforth lived under “villa arrest”, from 1631 until his natural death in 1642. While pondering his fate, I continued walking along the gently rising, ever-narrowing road between ancient stone walls overlooking villas and olive groves until I reached the peak, where I felt as if I were standing on top of the world as I contemplated both the Arno and Ema river valleys far below and where I swear I heard Galileo declare: “The world does not turn on an American axis!”

The 21st Century Inquisition

So how is it that we now have contemporary Inquisitors persecuting so many truth tellers…such as Edward Snowden, our electronic age “Solzhenitsyn?” in Russian exile; Chelsea Manning, imprisoned some 7 years for revealing US brutality in Iraq; Julian Assange confined to his Ecuadorian Embassy exile in London since August 2012; Katharine Gun, a whistleblower attempting to stop the Iraq invasion, who faced 2 years of British imprisonment before her case was dropped; James Risen, former New York Times journalist who was persecuted by our “justice” system for revealing our government’s surveillance of US!

Any Good Sense Left?

So, do we the people have enough good sense & independent thinking left to follow the advice of Henry David Thoreau?

“Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality.”   

“Walden” 1854

If not, the Doctor prescribes Shock Therapy:

For a week, a month, or however long it takes to cleanse and open the mind, one must adhere to strict abstinence from Mainstream Media propaganda, junk news, pseudo analysis, fake photos, TV & videos including absolutely NO phony “for, by & of the people” NPR, PBS, BBC or other Government-funded Neo or LibCon Imperial tranquilizer.


          Su-57 poráží F-35, Afghánští veteráni naléhají na Putina, strategický most mezi Ruskem a Čínou… Zprávy EA24      Comment   Translate Page      
Su-57 poráží F-35, Afghánští veteráni naléhají na Putina, strategický most mezi Ruskem a Čínou… Zprávy EA24

Spojené státy se ocitají v naprosto bezprecedentní pozici: Turci namísto toho, aby se podvolili americkému nátlaku v souvislosti s nákupem protivzdušných systémů S-400, vyrazili Američanům z rukou jejich nejsilnější a nejdražší prostředek vydírání…

Ruští veteráni války v Afghánistánu se obrátili na prezidenta Putina s žádostí, aby zabránil promítání filmu Bratrstvo v Den vítězství 9. května. Snímek ruského režiséra Lungina podle nich očerňuje oběti a hrdinství sovětských vojáků a v současné vypjaté době nebezpečně škodí. „Vhledem k tomu, že se nyní odehrává nejaktivnější informační válka proti naší zemi, kdy kolektivní Západ pod vedením USA neustále vytváří nejrůznější fejky s cílem diskreditovat naši vlast v očích světové veřejnosti, tento film představuje nejsilnější ideologickou diverzi, namířenou proti naší zemi, proti její armádě a jejímu lidu. Ideologickou bombu, která má být položena do vědomí naší mládeže.“ Bývalí specnazovci jsou obzvlášť rozčarováni faktem, že film spolufinancoval sám ruský stát.

Po více než pěti letech se blíží do finále stavba železničního mostu mezi ruským Nižněleninským a čínskou provincií Chej-lung-ťiang. Více než dva kilometry dlouhý most, stavěný v drsných klimatických podmínkách Dálného východu, má být v provozu na začátku příštího roku a jeho dokončení nejenže „vynese čínsko-ruský obchod do nových výšin“, ale bude také znamenat průlomový milník pro budování přepravního koridoru mezi Čínou a Evropou v rámci nové Hedvábné stezky.

Spojené státy se ocitají v naprosto bezprecedentní pozici: Turci namísto toho, aby se podvolili americkému nátlaku v souvislosti s nákupem protivzdušných systémů S-400, vyrazili Američanům z rukou jejich nejsilnější a nejdražší prostředek vydírání, letouny páté generace F-35. USA se tak dostaly do situace, kdy se jim buďto celý tento program řádně prodraží, nebo bude hrozit, že mimořádně zajímavé informace získá Rusko skrze komplex S-400. Turci teď na oplátku vyhrožují, že si namísto F-35 pořídí ruské Su-57... Objevují se také spekulace, že Rusové budou mnohem ochotnější podělit se o některé technologie, které by se Turecku náramně hodily v rámci vývoje jejich vlastní stealth stíhačky TF-X. A Suchoj už má v tureckých médiích neoficiální reklamu, když ve srovnání agentury Anadolu zcela jasně poráží americký stroj v rychlosti, vytrvalosti, nosnosti i celkové hmotnosti...

Rusko nasadilo do bojů v Sýrii vlastní bezpilotní útočný letoun Orion, který představuje ruský analog amerických dronů Predator či Reaper. Stroj zničil opěrný bod radikálů na severu provincie Hamá. Orion má rozpětí 16 metrů, je dlouhý 8 metrů a ve vzduchu vydrží až 24 hodin.

Zatímco v našich končinách neutuchají představy o KLDR jako o zemi neustále hladovějících ubožáků odkudsi z asijského středověku, Severokorejci se vytáhli s další technologicky vyspělou novinkou. Jmenuje se Pchjongjang 2425 a představuje smartphone se vším všudy – včetně možnosti bezdrátového nabíjení či odemykání obličejem…

Saúdská Arábie dostala z Ruska první reaktivní plamenomety TOS-1A Solncepjok. Na dodávkách těchto zbraní s mimořádnou ničivou silou se obě strany dohodly v roce 2017. Saúdská Arábie mezi tím pokračuje v úderech na Jemen.

Český stát loni prostřednictvím takzvaných „investičních pobídek“ daroval vesměs zahraničním byznysmenům 10,3 miliardy korun z bohatství země. Většina těchto peněz posloužila k výstavbě montoven, „vysávání“ levné tuzemské pracovní síly a udržení zlomkově nízké mzdové úrovně u nás ve srovnání se zeměmi původu „investorů“. Také příští, přespříští i ten další rok zas a znovu uslyšíme, že „je třeba podporovat podniky z vyšší přidanou hodnotou na úkor montoven“…

Geo, Eurasia24.cz

Foto: YouTube.com/CGTN

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          Paralympics Australia, Syria, BBC Music, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 13, 2019      Comment   Translate Page      
Expect a Sunday afternoon Buzz tomorrow. There’s so much going on… NEW RESOURCES Paralympics Australia: Paralympics Australia celebrates its history with launch of ‘Paralympic Stories’. “Paralympic Stories combines materials from a wide […]
          NIMBYs By Any Other Name Are Still Progressives      Comment   Translate Page      

I am hereby awarding my 2019 Award for the “Best Use of Alinsky’s Rule #4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules" to President Trump. I know it’s still early but the President’s plan to resettle “refugees” in sanctuary cities cannot be topped.

In one short tweet he’s exposed every progressive twit in America, along with all their talking points, for the pack of hypocritical NIMBYs they are.

Because every Progressive Democrat worth their salt has gone on record praising the virtues of “undocumented” immigrants, who they refuse to call “illegal.” How many times have they told us that all immigration is good and more immigration is even better? How many times have they told us that there is no such thing as an illegal human, that there is no distinction between legal and illegal immigration? And if you disagree you are worse than Hitler.

“Everyone is welcome in California”- Gavin Newsome

“We offer a home to immigrants, that’s who we are”- Elizabeth Warren

“Bring these people out of the shadows” –  Kamala Harris

“Immigration is not a security issue…there is no such thing as an illegal human.” – Kirsten Gillibrand

Yet offer to give them what they claim they want and they will accuse you of “dumping” - their word, not the President’s – refugees in their back yard, of using immigrant/refugees as “props” to “punish political enemies.”  Be careful now progs, your slip is showing. I mean, refugees never used to be considered “props used to punish political enemies,” not when Obama targeted small towns to resettle Syrian refugees.

Image result for ann corcoran immigrants

Rural folks in Montana are pushing back against plans by urban elites to plant hundreds of Muslims from the Third World into Helena and Missoula. They plan a protest rally at 10 a.m. Monday in front of the county courthouse in Missoula.

So how, I ask you, can salt of the earth immigrants possibly be used as props? How can sending these cities, run by enlightened progressives, more of the very people they say they welcome with open arms be considered a punishment? Unless, as Obama said, you mean they’re being punished with a baby - or babies as the case may be.

Otherwise I don’t see how you can possible object to President Trump’s offer to resettle these human beings in some of the finest cities in America. It sure seems better than holding them in cages like Obama did, before eventually transferring them to what Progressives consider “hell holes” in flyover America like Podunk Iowa, South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska.

Instead Trump’s refugees will get to enjoy all the privileges of living in  LA, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston. There they will be able to avail themselves of all the finest medical care public money can buy in their overburdened emergency rooms, enjoy the finest education in their overloaded schools and overwhelm their overtaxed social services system.

I would have to say, well played Mr. President. Even Mr. Alinsky would have to commend your gamesmanship.

“The American people have resoundingly rejected this Administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies, and Democrats will continue to advance immigration policies that keep us safe and honor our values.”

Checkmate

Have they, Nancy?

Image result for "game, set, match"

Would anyone like to seriously discuss immigration reform now? Maybe, now that MSM even acknowledges we might have a slight problem at the border: 'Breaking point': Mainstream media outlets change their tune on border crisis amid illegal immigration surge.


          Inside the Lebanese campaign to stop a World Bank-funded dam project      Comment   Translate Page      
The dam poses numerous threats and protesters won't be silenced Armed forces enter the Bisri valley to counter protesters on March 24, 2019. Photo by “Save the Bisri Valley”. Used with permission. A group of activists and protestors calling themselves the Save the Bisri Valley campaign have been organizing and standing against the construction of … Continua la lettura di Inside the Lebanese campaign to stop a World Bank-funded dam project
          Gotabaya Rajapaksa Brother of Sri Lankan ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sued in a US Court Over Alleged Torture and killing During the Period he Served as Defence Secretary -The Guardian.      Comment   Translate Page      
The brother of the former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa is being sued in a US court over alleged extrajudicial killing and torture, by the same lawyers who successfully brought a civil suit against the Syrian government for the killing of the Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was Sri Lanka’s defence secretary during ...

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa Brother of Sri Lankan ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sued in a US Court Over Alleged Torture and killing During the Period he Served as Defence Secretary -The Guardian.’ »

          Serbian vulture flown home after Turkey misadventure      Comment   Translate Page      
The one-year-old female griffon vulture named Dobrila was found near the Syrian border.
          THANKS, W!:      Comment   Translate Page      
Algeria in revolt: "We woke up and you will pay!": The abdication of President Bouteflika is a historic victory for the Algerian people -- but the struggle for a true democratic transition is far from over. (Hamza Hamouchene, 12 April 2019, Open Democracy)

Nine years ago, Algeria seemed to be immune to this revolutionary fever and was viewed as the exception to the rule, despite harboring the same set of conditions for revolt. At the time, the government suggested that Algeria already had its "spring" over two decades earlier, referring to the short-lived democratic transition following weeks of demonstrations in October 1988 that forced the regime to give way to political pluralism and an independent press. However, these gains in civil liberties and the "democratic transition" were aborted by the military coup and the civil war of the 1990s.

In addition to ongoing forms of repression, collective memories of hundreds of thousands of deaths and brutal state violence underpinning the eradication of the Islamist opposition may help explain the failure of an uprising to take root in Algeria during the 2010-2011 period. The spectre of the civil war and the fear of bloody violence have been further exacerbated by the intervention in Libya, the counter-revolution in Egypt and the carnage and foreign interference in Syria.

Additionally, oil and gas revenues -- which prices peaked in the late 2000s -- were used to purchase social peace domestically and to secure international acquiescence. Domestically, the hydrocarbon bonanza was used to pacify the population and prevent the intensification of popular anger. Externally, by virtue of being the third largest provider of natural gas to Europe after Russia and Norway, and given the dwindling production in the North Sea and the Ukrainian crisis, Algeria hoped it could leverage this position to play an even more important role in securing Europe's energy supplies, and by extension Western collusion and approval.

These factors do no longer constitute a brake on people's desire for meaningful change as popular discontent from below converged with a deep crisis within the ruling classes leading to the indignation of the oppressed to burst forth and find its expression in the streets.

Algeria has been undergoing an acute multi-dimensional crisis for some time now. The country has been experiencing a political crisis for decades -- in particular since the 1992 military coup and the ensuing brutal civil war. The origins of this crisis date back to the colonial era, though its most recent manifestations are the direct result of the politics of a parasitic accumulation and entrenched corruption: a militaro-oligarchic nexus that denies the Algerian people their right to self-determination and dispenses with popular legitimacy for the benefit of domestic and international capital.

This crisis has been exacerbated by several factors, not in the least by the ailing Bouteflika's general absence from the political stage. The crisis has been compounded by intra-elite power struggles, culminating in the fall of Algeria's long-term king maker, the Military Intelligence Agency (DRS) Chief in 2015 and the cocaine scandal of 2018, which led to the sacking of the head of police, a few generals and other high functionaries in the Ministry of Defense.

In a context of the failure of the institutionalized opposition and social movements to articulate and carry out a viable alternative, we predicted in 2016 that the slump in oil prices may just hammer the final nail in the coffin of a rentier, non-productive and de-industrialized economy that is highly dependent on oil and gas exports, the main source of foreign currency.....With the oil prices plummeting and with foreign currency reserves (estimated at $179 billion at the end of 2014) deemed to not last beyond 2016-2017, the 1988 experience could easily be replicated and the crisis has the potential to escalate into a full explosion that will threaten the country's national security and possibly its territorial integrity.

The recent events come at a time of an acute economic crisis characterized by crippling austerity measures following the decline of oil and gas export revenues, coupled with an intensification of infighting and divisions within the ruling elites after the imposition of the candidacy of Bouteflika for a fifth term at the helm of the state.

The triad of power consisting of the presidency, military intelligence (DRS) and the armed forces' high command showed its first signs of weakness in 2008 when the DRS started clashing with the two other centers of power. In 2019 the split was complete, when the decisive entrance of the people unto the political stage effectively forced the armed forces' high command to distance itself from the presidency. The military clearly intervened to put an end to Bouteflika's reign in order to safeguard the regime in place.

Such public displays of rivalry and dispute are symptomatic of the deep-seated contradictions and instability of the current ruling block and the crisis of hegemony within it, which has opened up new spaces for resistance.

This is a significant moment in the popular dynamic that started in February 2019 as this is only one victory in the long struggle for radical change that must include the overthrow of Major General Gaid Salah too; a key loyal figure in Bouteflika's regime and a supporter of his fifth term before backtracking under the pressure of the growing popular movement. The army leadership is definitely not to be trusted, as was made clear by Major General Salah's initial threats towards movement before adopting a more conciliatory tone. The Algerian people need to be more vigilant and determined than ever in order to halt the counter-revolutionary forces from hijacking this historic uprising.

Now that Bouteflika resigned, it is absolutely necessary to implement a truly democratic transition, and the people should not yield to calls for applying article 102 of the constitution, which would allow the leader of the upper house to take over and to organize elections in 90 days after the presidency has been declared vacant by the constitutional council (as the incumbent is too ill to exercise his functions).

Basically, if applied to the letter, this will keep the current system in place and will not guarantee free and transparent elections. The people are asking for popular sovereignty which cannot be curtailed by rigid legalistic and constitutionalist arguments. This is a unique moment in Algeria's history to impose a new revolutionary paradigm, which go beyond legal and constitutional frameworks in order to radically challenge the status quo and create a fundamental break with the oppressive system in place.

There are already several proposals to resolve the crisis and to initiate a kind of a transition that will satisfy peoples' demands and give them back their stifled sovereignty. The army command must not interfere with this process and must stick to its constitutional role of guaranteeing national security. Algerians did not revolt to replace some oppressors with others.

For this reason, the balance of forces must be shifted significantly towards the masses by maintaining the resistance (marches, occupations of public spaces, general strikes, etc) to force the army command to yield to people's demand for system change entailing the removal of the entire old political guard.

Converting the most brutal dictatorship in the region into a multi-confessional democracy demonstrated that no regime is immune.

          THE DISCIPLINE OF DEMOCRACY:      Comment   Translate Page      
What is next for Turkey after the local elections? (Fahrettin Altun, 4/13/19, Al Jazeera)

The People's Alliance - between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) - received over 53 percent of the national vote and maintained its popularity. Meanwhile, opposition candidates made some gains, notably in the capital Ankara. The mayorship in Istanbul is still contested and the Supreme Electoral Council, an independent legal body, is handling challenges as per Turkish law in a transparent fashion.

After Turkey wrapped up the municipal vote, for the first time in many years, it is entering a long election-free period that will last until 2023. In these four-and-a-half years, the Turkish presidency will focus on three main issues: the economy, the crisis in Syria and its defence capabilities.

On the home front, getting the Turkish economy back on track will be the administration's top priority. In recent months, Turkey experienced an unprecedented and potentially devastating economic assault that it managed to survive.

The lesson learned from that episode was that the Turkish government needed to take necessary steps to make the nation's economy more resilient to external shocks. By 2023, Turkey hopes to have strengthened its economy through export-driven growth, investment in technology and job creation.

Last week, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak unveiled the administration's plan for structural transformation, which places emphasis on strengthening Turkey's free market economy, implementing tax reforms and promoting a more just distribution of wealth.

Reiterating the country's commitment to fiscal discipline, Albayrak pledged to deliver debt securities worth $4.92bn to capitalise state banks and help private banks to raise their capital levels to address short-term issues. In the long run, the administration plans to introduce a new individual pension system based on income level. The Turkish government will unveil a plan to combat inflation on food prices next month.

Once you secure a revolution you have to deliver on its promises.

          ASSIMILATION HAS NEVER BEEN QUICKER:      Comment   Translate Page      
How migrants' values change after moving to Sweden (The Local, Apr. 12th, 2019)

A majority of those questioned (57 percent) in the survey, which was carried out on the request of the Swedish government, reported feeling 'very at home' in Sweden. A further 32 percent felt 'quite at home' and only six percent didn't feel at home at all. Almost as many (55 percent) felt at home in the specific municipality they were living in. 

When these responses were broken down by nationality, people from Somalia felt most at home, followed by those in Eritrea and Turkey (only seven countries had enough respondents to be included individually: Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia, Iran and Turkey). The majority of respondents came from Middle Eastern and North African countries, while around one fifth were from Sub-Saharan Africa, and others came from South Asia, South East Asia and East Asia, and from Central and Eastern Europe. [...]

Puranen explained that in the World Values Survey and two other major surveys (the European Values Study and the European Social Survey) carried out since 1981, only a tiny proportion of interviewees in Western countries have been Muslims who have moved to those countries (including Western European countries, North America, Australia and New Zealand) from overseas. 

"It's a democratic issue that we should have a better representation of these groups," said Puranen, explaining the motivation for the study, which focused primarily on Muslim migrants.

Around 6,500 non-EU migrants living in 54 municipalities, from Piteå in the north to Vellinge at the southern tip of Sweden, answered questions about their personal values and how they felt in Sweden. The survey included people who had moved to Sweden for a variety of reasons: more than half or 52 percent had arrived as refugees, while 37 percent moved to join a partner in Sweden and eight percent moved for work.

Most of those questioned felt equally proud of Sweden and their home countries, with 72 percent saying they were proud to be Swedish and 77 percent proud to be from their country of origin. [...]

One interesting finding was that respondents were typically closer to Sweden on the cultural map than their home countries, which could be due to people being more likely to move to a country where their values were similar, or could be a marker of integration of these groups.

"The relatively fast switch to some parts of the emancipated values also surprised, like acceptance of equality (but not segregated choices), acceptance of women's work, democracy, (making your voice heard, et cetera)," the researcher said.



          Belgium-Brussels: ENI - Water and Environment Support Mechanism (WES)      Comment   Translate Page      
BE-Brussels: ENI - Water and Environment Support Mechanism (WES) Location — ENI Southern region: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel(1), Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine(2), Tunisia and Syria(3) Service Prior Information Notice 1. Publication reference EuropeAid/140231/DH/SER/MULTI 2. Procedure Restricted 3. Programme title EU for Green MED III and sustainable transport 4. Financing European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) 5. Contracting Authority European Union , represented by the European Commission, on behalf of and for the account of the partner countries Brussels , BELGIUM 6. Nature of contract Fee-based 7. Contract description In the framework of transport cooperation within the Union for the Mediterranean and the implementation of the related Regional Transport Action Plan this project will support activities in the area of Logistics of Motorways of the Sea connections. It will as such follow-up on the LogisMed Training Activities project and previous EuroMed Motorways of the Sea projects (MedaMOS). Activities will include, amongst others, technical assistance, capacity building, awareness rising and support to demonstration projects. 8. Indicative budget 3 000 000 EUR 9. Intended timing of publication of the contract notice 30.4.2019 10. Additional information N/a 11. Legal basis(4) Regulation (EU) No 236/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11.3.2014 laying down common rules and procedures for the implementation of the Union's instruments for financing external action and Regulation (EU) No 232/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11.3.2014 establishing a European Neighborhood Instrument. Please be aware that after the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU, the rules of access to EU procurement procedures of economic operators established in third countries will apply to candidates or tenderers from the United Kingdom depending on the outcome of negotiations. In case such access is not provided by legal provisions in force at the time of contract award, candidates or tenderers from the United Kingdom could be rejected from the procurement procedure. Remarks: There must be a minimum period of 30 calendar days between the publication of this prior information notice and the publication of the corresponding Contract Notice. No applications or requests for information should be sent at this stage. (1) See Guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards on: http://eurlex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2013.205.01.0009.01.ENG (2) This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a state of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue. (3) Cooperation with Syria is temporary suspended until notice from the European Commission. (4) Please state any specificity that might have an impact on rules on participation (such as geographic or thematic or long/short term).
          A Lenten Prayer      Comment   Translate Page      
The prayer of the St Ephrem, Syriac Christian deacon, prolific Syriac-language hymnographer, theologian and a fourth century Doctor of the Church, summarises the spirit of Lent. “O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.” Can we start our day by praying it?  
          Comment on How Very Shakespearean by John LEON      Comment   Translate Page      
The only thing Assange did was jump bail, not a very serious offence, especially as at the time of the alledged offense, the prosecution service of the U.K. persuaded the Swedish prosecution authorities to drop the trumped up charges against him becase there was no evidence of any wrong doing. Under Internetional law supported by the U.N.,once asylum has been given it is permanent. What the recently elected Equadorian President has done by rescinding Assange’s asylum is not only illegal but sets a very dark precedent for anyone else who publishes information about illegal acts of war and crimes against humanity against civilians by any state, especially those who consider thenselves as the good guys. No one commenting here has privvy to what went on inside the London Equadorian embassy, it is all hearsay. The same with Assange’s behaviour and character. Now I understand from the Skripal case, the missile launch on Syria and many other illegal moves against due process and the presumption of Innocence, that the U.K. is a banana state when it comes to obeying international law. However if it is to try to live up to it’s now badly tarnished reputation as a country where Justice must be seen to be done, it should be trying to protect him from a very vengeful, corrupted foreign legal system politically motivated for revenge. I’d quote Martin Niemoller but I think he’s a bit too profound for most people commenting here.
          MacGyver S03E19 Friends + Enemies + Border      Comment   Translate Page      

MacGyver and Desi help a group of Syrian refugees who are being pursued by human traffickers. Also, in Los Angeles, Bozer is trapped in Oversight’s car, which is rigged to explode. Watch online full episode 19 (S03E19) of MacGyver.Just take a Premium Pro subscription on Keep2Share and get full access. We monitor the air dates...

The post MacGyver S03E19 Friends + Enemies + Border appeared first on 720.zone.


          Over 3,500 Refugees Return to Syria From Turkey Since Start of 2019 – Reports      Comment   Translate Page      
DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - More than 3,500 Syrian refugees have returned home from Turkey through the Kessab checkpoint since the beginning of this year, media reported citing the Syrian migration authorities.
          Syria, Iran, Iraq Mull Linking Railway Network – Reports      Comment   Translate Page      
DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Syria, Iran and Iraq plan to hold a trilateral meeting on the connection of their railway systems into one, media reported citing a source in the Syrian Ministry of Transport.
          Militants Violate Ceasefire in 3 Syrian Provinces – Russian MoD      Comment   Translate Page      
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Ceasefire violations by militant groups were registered over the past 24 hours in the Syrian provinces of Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo, head of the Russian Defence Ministry's Centre for Syrian Reconciliation Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin said on Saturday.
          Stealth Saga #46      Comment   Translate Page      
Sixth Generation Fighters:

The USAF NGAD/PCA has a proposed FY20 budget of $1B.  It had been predicted to be $1.2B.  The AETP engine often associated with the NGAD also received a budget of $870M.  The F-22 and F-35 both funded their engines internally, unlike the NGAD/PCA.  However, Jane's takes the stance the NGAD is being rethought.

The US Navy's Next Generation Fighter program is shifting from $5M in FY19 to a proposed $20M in FY20.

The US Navy will finish its AOA this summer for its 6th gen fighter.

Leonardo wants a role in Britain Tempest.

International interest in the British Tempest is growing.

The Franco-German FCAS may be a bad idea, or so goes one opinion.


FGFA (Pakistan):

Pakistan is outlining its plans for developing a 5th gen fighter.

Su-57:

Putin - goodness me - considers the Su-57 the best plane in the world.

The Russians have already created an export version of the Su-57.  They may be trying to export it to Turkey and China.

?!?!  The Russians are stating the first batch of Su-57s will be delivered to a frontline unit in 2019.

The Russians are refuting the Su-57 has been redeployed to Syria.

YF-23:

Why did the YF-23 lose to the YF-22 in the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition?  The only man to have flown both the F-22 and the YF-23 talks explains.

Model 401:

Scaled Composites' Model 401 is on the east coast at a Navy flight test facility.  Why?

F-117:

The F-117 has been out flying about (with a plexiglass canopy, btw).

The Drive noted the interesting bit of the choice of emblem on the F-117.

B-2: 

Listen to a B-2 test drop nuclear weapons.

B-21:

The USAF has selected which airbases will be hosting the B-21.

F-22:

Rapid Raptor: the program to allow the F-22 to deploy anywhere, well, rapidly.

24 Raptors conducted an elephant walk in Alaska.

Will Langley AFB be the center of F-22 training?

F-35:

General Fick is the new head of the F-35 program.

The Pentagon is considering selling the F-35 to Poland, Greece and Romania.

A continuous software upgrade program would speed capabilities to the F-35, but delay the purchase of aircraft.

The F-35 is expected to hit an 80% availability rate in Sept 2019.

The F-35 has the capability to deploy towed decoys from under its stealthy skin.

Some are strongly arguing to buy the F-35 instead of the F-15X.

48 F-35As, 10 F-35Bs and 20 F-35Cs are in the FY20 proposal.

The USAF wants 12 more F-35As than the budget provided for.

The USAF has conducted the first fast/hot crew swap exercise for the F-35A.

The IG is slamming the F-35 program office for allowing contractors to manage government assets.

The F-35 will take a starring role in an exercise in Greece.

China claims it is not the reason countries are buying the F-35.  Actually, about that...

The USS Wasp carried at least 10 F-35Bs into the South China Sea.  The USS Wasp has been operating near the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

The USMC may deploy F-35Bs off the deck of the Korean amphibious ships.

The US Navy F-35Cs that achieved IOC are only ready 5% of the time...

The readiness of the F-35C is improving, supposedly.

The British are monitoring the situation about the Japanese F-35 crash.

Italy's Deputy PM  defended the F-35 purchases.

The Italian F-35As in Sardinia get close ups.

Italian F-35As participated in the 'Lightning Thunder over Europe' exercise.

How did Italian F-35 pilots feel about their participation in Red Flag exercise?

Japan just purchased the JSM antiship missile for its F-35s.

Japan declared IOC for its first F-35A unit.

Japan had its first F-35 crash.  The wreckage has been located, but salvage and investigation will be dauntingEfforts are still underway to try to find the pilot.  Japan has grounded its F-35As. The aircraft that crashed was the first F-35A assembled by Japan.  Here's an update.

Poland is considering the F-35 for its Harpia program.  In fact, they want to outright buy 32 of them.


The first two F-35As for South Korea have arrived in country.

Switzerland will evaluate the F-35 for its new fighter requirement this summer.

Turkey's F-35 deliveries may get pausedStrike that: the deliveries have stopped of parts.  The US has stated buying the F-35 and the S-400 missile system are not compatible.  In the mean time, the US military continues to train Turkish F-35 pilots. Congress again has warned Turkey they cannot have the F-35 and the S-400 missile.

If Turkey gets cut, the F-35 program can progress just fine. Or will it?  How problematic is it for Lockheed?  What next?

BAE has begun Meteor and Spear integration on the F-35.

Lockheed received a $264M contract to support South Korea's F-35s.

META:

What aircraft does the USAF need to defeat Russia and China?

          Real Estate Supervisor - Al Burj Holding - Dubai      Comment   Translate Page      
Qualification : > Arab nationality. Preferably ( Syrian / Jordan / Palestinian / Yemeni / Sudan ) > Possess strong character and personality. > must have... AED6,000 - AED8,000 a month
From Indeed - Sun, 07 Apr 2019 13:00:04 GMT - View all Dubai jobs
           Kommentarer till Agendadrivet av weasel       Comment   Translate Page      
Men...vänta nu...? Om de här barnen är födda i Syrien och har spenderat hela eller större delen av sitt liv där så...är dom väl syrianer ? Särskilt om det skulle visa sig att dom har åkt buss i Damaskus ? Jag menar, vem är egentligen svensk ? Som världsmedborgare tycker jag inte att man ska prioritera "svenska" barn framför andra barn. Eller gäller inte det resonemanget längre...? :( Och om jag ska resonera utifrån min egen hjärna och inte utifrån en miljöpartistisk hjärna ; Visst, man kan låta sådana som "väger mindre än 3 kg" få komma till Sverige. Sådana barn utgör inget hot- vare sig nu eller i framtiden. Så om ett villkor uppfylls anser jag att det inte är helt orimligt att låta ett sådant spädbarn få ...eeh...återvända....till...ett land det aldrig varit i : Att spädbarnets föräldrar (i de fallen då dom sorgligt nog fortfarande lever ) aldrig någonsin mer får komma närmare än 500 mil ifrån det barnet som dom har valt att låta födas/växa upp i en islamistisk krigszon. När det gäller de som inte är spädbarn utan barn så har jag ett visst medlidande med åtminstone en del av dom. Men, verkligheten är så att föräldrars handlande tyvärr får konsekvenser för barnen och den humanitära stormakten Sverige varken kan eller bör rädda medborgare i den islamiska staten, utan bör lägga de begränsade resurserna på att istället försöka hjälpa barn som är medborgare i den svenska staten. Därför anser jag att dom bör få stanna där dom är. Men om Liljestrand, Wallström, Ernman & co har lust att adoptera några av de barnen som "drar med fingret längs halsen mot andra" och ta på sig samtliga kostnader för dessa barn så är jag däremot beredd att ompröva min ståndpunkt. Med tanke på hur många det är som skriver "Jag gråter! Ta hem barnen" på facebook så bör det ju i alla fall inte vara några som helst problem att hitta villiga adoptivföräldrar.
          Hieromartyr Artemon, presbyter of Laodicea in Syria (303)      Comment   Translate Page      
At the time of Diocletian's persecutions, he was a very old man, having served as a reader for sixteen years, then a deacon for twenty-eight years, and finally as a priest for thirty years, for a total of seventy-four years. The pagan judge put him in the Temple of Aesculapius, where large snakes were kept and worshiped as gods. Though the judge meant for Artemon to be attacked by the snakes, the holy priest immobilized them with the sign of the Cross, brought them out of the temple and, in front of the pagan priests, breathed on the snakes, which died instantly. The chief priest, Vitalis, fell to his knees and cried 'Great is the Christian God!' Artemon baptised him along with several of his friends.   The unrepentant judge then condemned Artemon to be thrown into burning pitch, but the judge himself was thrown off his horse into the pitch and died. After this, Artemon went free for a time and spent his time teaching the Faith to his people ("accompanied always by two tame deer," says St Nikolia Velimirovic!). But he was arrested again and beheaded in the year 303.

          April 13: Deuteronomy 31–32; Psalm 95; Acts 19       Comment   Translate Page      

Old Testament: Deuteronomy 31–32

Deuteronomy 31–32 (Listen)

Joshua to Succeed Moses

31 So Moses continued to speak these words to all Israel. And he said to them, “I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in. The LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not go over this Jordan.’ The LORD your God himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, so that you shall dispossess them, and Joshua will go over at your head, as the LORD has spoken. And the LORD will do to them as he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when he destroyed them. And the LORD will give them over to you, and you shall do to them according to the whole commandment that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

The Reading of the Law

Then Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 And Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

Joshua Commissioned to Lead Israel

14 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, the days approach when you must die. Call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.” And Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tent of meeting. 15 And the LORD appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud. And the pillar of cloud stood over the entrance of the tent.

16 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods.

19 “Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel. 20 For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant. 21 And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give.” 22 So Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the people of Israel.

23 And the LORD1 commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.”

24 When Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a book to the very end, 25 Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, 26 “Take this Book of the Law and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are. Behold, even today while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD. How much more after my death! 28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly and turn aside from the way that I have commanded you. And in the days to come evil will befall you, because you will do what is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger through the work of your hands.”

The Song of Moses

30 Then Moses spoke the words of this song until they were finished, in the ears of all the assembly of Israel:

32   “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,
    and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
  May my teaching drop as the rain,
    my speech distill as the dew,
  like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
    and like showers upon the herb.
  For I will proclaim the name of the LORD;
    ascribe greatness to our God!
  “The Rock, his work is perfect,
    for all his ways are justice.
  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
    just and upright is he.
  They have dealt corruptly with him;
    they are no longer his children because they are blemished;
    they are a crooked and twisted generation.
  Do you thus repay the LORD,
    you foolish and senseless people?
  Is not he your father, who created you,
    who made you and established you?
  Remember the days of old;
    consider the years of many generations;
  ask your father, and he will show you,
    your elders, and they will tell you.
  When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
    when he divided mankind,
  he fixed the borders2 of the peoples
    according to the number of the sons of God.3
  But the LORD's portion is his people,
    Jacob his allotted heritage.
10   “He found him in a desert land,
    and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
  he encircled him, he cared for him,
    he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11   Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
    that flutters over its young,
  spreading out its wings, catching them,
    bearing them on its pinions,
12   the LORD alone guided him,
    no foreign god was with him.
13   He made him ride on the high places of the land,
    and he ate the produce of the field,
  and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,
    and oil out of the flinty rock.
14   Curds from the herd, and milk from the flock,
    with fat4 of lambs,
  rams of Bashan and goats,
    with the very finest5 of the wheat—
    and you drank foaming wine made from the blood of the grape.
15   “But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked;
    you grew fat, stout, and sleek;
  then he forsook God who made him
    and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
16   They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods;
    with abominations they provoked him to anger.
17   They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,
    to gods they had never known,
  to new gods that had come recently,
    whom your fathers had never dreaded.
18   You were unmindful of the Rock that bore6 you,
    and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
19   “The LORD saw it and spurned them,
    because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.
20   And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them;
    I will see what their end will be,
  for they are a perverse generation,
    children in whom is no faithfulness.
21   They have made me jealous with what is no god;
    they have provoked me to anger with their idols.
  So I will make them jealous with those who are no people;
    I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
22   For a fire is kindled by my anger,
    and it burns to the depths of Sheol,
  devours the earth and its increase,
    and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23   “‘And I will heap disasters upon them;
    I will spend my arrows on them;
24   they shall be wasted with hunger,
    and devoured by plague
    and poisonous pestilence;
  I will send the teeth of beasts against them,
    with the venom of things that crawl in the dust.
25   Outdoors the sword shall bereave,
    and indoors terror,
  for young man and woman alike,
    the nursing child with the man of gray hairs.
26   I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces;
    I will wipe them from human memory,”
27   had I not feared provocation by the enemy,
    lest their adversaries should misunderstand,
  lest they should say, “Our hand is triumphant,
    it was not the LORD who did all this.”’
28   “For they are a nation void of counsel,
    and there is no understanding in them.
29   If they were wise, they would understand this;
    they would discern their latter end!
30   How could one have chased a thousand,
    and two have put ten thousand to flight,
  unless their Rock had sold them,
    and the LORD had given them up?
31   For their rock is not as our Rock;
    our enemies are by themselves.
32   For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
    and from the fields of Gomorrah;
  their grapes are grapes of poison;
    their clusters are bitter;
33   their wine is the poison of serpents
    and the cruel venom of asps.
34   “‘Is not this laid up in store with me,
    sealed up in my treasuries?
35   Vengeance is mine, and recompense,7
    for the time when their foot shall slip;
  for the day of their calamity is at hand,
    and their doom comes swiftly.’
36   For the LORD will vindicate8 his people
    and have compassion on his servants,
  when he sees that their power is gone
    and there is none remaining, bond or free.
37   Then he will say, ‘Where are their gods,
    the rock in which they took refuge,
38   who ate the fat of their sacrifices
    and drank the wine of their drink offering?
  Let them rise up and help you;
    let them be your protection!
39   “‘See now that I, even I, am he,
    and there is no god beside me;
  I kill and I make alive;
    I wound and I heal;
    and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
40   For I lift up my hand to heaven
    and swear, As I live forever,
41   if I sharpen my flashing sword9
    and my hand takes hold on judgment,
  I will take vengeance on my adversaries
    and will repay those who hate me.
42   I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
    and my sword shall devour flesh—
  with the blood of the slain and the captives,
    from the long-haired heads of the enemy.’
43   “Rejoice with him, O heavens;10
    bow down to him, all gods,11
  for he avenges the blood of his children12
    and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
  He repays those who hate him13
    and cleanses14 his people's land.”15

44 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua16 the son of Nun. 45 And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

Moses' Death Foretold

48 That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, 49 “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. 50 And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51 because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. 52 For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”

Footnotes

[1] 31:23 Hebrew he
[2] 32:8 Or territories
[3] 32:8 Compare Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text sons of Israel
[4] 32:14 That is, with the best
[5] 32:14 Hebrew with the kidney fat
[6] 32:18 Or fathered
[7] 32:35 Septuagint and I will repay
[8] 32:36 Septuagint judge
[9] 32:41 Hebrew the lightning of my sword
[10] 32:43 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text Rejoice his people, O nations
[11] 32:43 Masoretic Text lacks bow down to him, all gods
[12] 32:43 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text servants
[13] 32:43 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text lacks He repays those who hate him
[14] 32:43 Or atones for
[15] 32:43 Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew his land his people
[16] 32:44 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew Hoshea

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 95

Psalm 95 (Listen)

Let Us Sing Songs of Praise

95   Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
  For the LORD is a great God,
    and a great King above all gods.
  In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also.
  The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.
  Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
  For he is our God,
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
  Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
    as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
  when your fathers put me to the test
    and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10   For forty years I loathed that generation
    and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
    and they have not known my ways.”
11   Therefore I swore in my wrath,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

(ESV)

New Testament: Acts 19

Acts 19 (Listen)

Paul in Ephesus

19 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland1 country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in2 the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.3 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

The Sons of Sceva

11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all4 of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

A Riot at Ephesus

21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”

28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. 30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31 And even some of the Asiarchs,5 who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky?6 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further,7 it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

Footnotes

[1] 19:1 Greek upper (that is, highland)
[2] 19:5 Or into
[3] 19:9 Some manuscripts add from the fifth hour to the tenth (that is, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
[4] 19:16 Or both
[5] 19:31 That is, high-ranking officers of the province of Asia
[6] 19:35 The meaning of the Greek is uncertain
[7] 19:39 Some manuscripts seek about other matters

(ESV)


          Guia Glamour: 10 restaurantes deliciosos comandados por imigrantes e refugiados      Comment   Translate Page      
Quem resiste a um bowl de lámen? (Foto: Getty Images)

 

Comida é sinônimo de afeto, cuidado e conforto em qualquer canto do mundo. Talvez por isso, tantos refugiados e imigrantes se dediquem à gastronomia quando chegam a países estrangeiros. No Brasil, venezuelanos, camaronenses, sírios e peruanos estão entre os que mostram que a cozinha é uma forma de manter a conexão com seu país de origem e apresentar suas raízes para mais pessoas. Conheça as histórias dos sabores de 10 restaurantes das principais capitais do Brasil que oferecem o que a culinária mundial tem de melhor!

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São Paulo

Congolinária
Antes de chegar a São Paulo, o advogado e ativista Pitchou Luambo trabalhava em defesa de vítimas de violações de direitos humanos em seu país, a República Democrática do Congo. Politicamente perseguido e obrigado a deixar sua terra, ele exilou-se no Brasil em 2010 e, desde 2016, prepara receitas tipicamente congolesas – e 100% veganas – no Congolinária. Entre os hits do restaurante estão pratos como a sambusa (um tipo de salgado frito), o ngombe (nhoque de banana com shimeji), a pomme sautèe (batata temperada frita inteira) e a omomba (doce de biomassa de banana da terra com amendoim). Luambo se dedica também à integração de refugiados e imigrantes de diferentes nacionalidades na capital paulista.
Congolinária: Av. Prof. Alfonso Bovero, 382, Sumaré, tel. (11) 2615–8184

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Biyou'Z 
No centro de São Paulo, o Biyou'Z reúne receitas tradicionais de países do continente africano, como Nigéria, Camarões, Senegal e Angola. Quem comanda a cozinha é a chef camaronesa Melanito Biyouha, que teve a ideia de reunir imigrantes africanos de diferentes regiões em um só lugar. O clima caseiro do endereço tem sintonia perfeita com pratos como o ndole (carne em pedaços com molho de pasta de amendoim e folhas de boldo), o Attiéké, prato típico da Costa do Marfim com cuscuz de mandioca, ovo cozido, refogado de tomate, vinagrete e peixe frito, e o mayemba, repolho refogado com tomate, fufu (tipo de polenta feita com farinha de mandioca fina e farinha de milho) e salada.
Biyou'Z: Alameda Barão de Limeira, 19–A, Campos Elíseos, tel. (11) 3221–6806

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Curitiba

QCeviche! 
O chef peruano Isidoro Troyes passou pelas cozinhas de hotéis e restaurantes em Cusco, Lima e Paracas até desembarcar em Curitiba para comandar o QCeviche! – hoje com unidades também em São Paulo. O clássico ceviche, claro, é o carro–chefe da casa, com versões vegetarianas e até doces. Vale provar também os pratos típicos da costa peruana, como o arroz aji panca com frutos do mar e a sopa criolla, feita com carne bovina, cebola, tomate e pimenta dos andes. Os drinques com pisco (aguardente de uva) são outra boa pedida.
Curitiba: R. Dr. Pedrosa, 288, Batel, tel. (41) 3197–2755
São Paulo: Rua Tavares Cabral, 61, Pinheiros, tel. (11) 3093–7200 / Av. Marquês de São Vicente, 1619, Barra Funda, tel. (11) 3576–5517

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Al Zaeim 
Quase escondido em meio ao agitado bairro Batel, em Curitiba, o pequenino Al Zaeim é encabeçado pelos irmãos Bassel e Wael Al Zaeim, refugiados do conflito sírio. A dupla, que chegou ao Brasil em 2014, prepara clássicos da cozinha de seu país, como shawarma (tradicional sanduíche árabe), mjadra (arroz com lentilha), falafel e quibe cru ou frito. Para provar um pouco de tudo, há também opções de combos a partir de R$ 70.
Al Zaeim: Rua Alferes Ângelo Sampaio, 1764, Batel, tel. (41) 99696–2480

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+ 8 bistrôs e restaurantes para comer tortas salgadas em São Paulo
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Belo Horizonte

Indian Gourmet 
Virendra Singh veio ao Brasil pela primeira vez em 2014, a convite da embaixada da Índia, para participar de um festival gastronômico que passava por Fortaleza, São Paulo, Brasília e Belo Horizonte. A capital mineira foi para ele paixão à primeira vista. Resolveu ficar. Em 2016, após trazer de seu país natal o também chef Sunil Bhandari, abriu com ele o Indian Gourmet, que serve pratos como o jhinga narial, camarão com molho de curry e leite de coco; o mutton roganjosh, cordeiro cozido com temperos típicos; e o vegetariano chana masala, feito à base de grão de bico e especiarias picantes. "Seguimos à risca as receitas da Índia. A única adaptação que fazemos para o paladar brasileiro é perguntar aos clientes o grau de pimenta que preferem entre suave, moderado ou apimentado", conta Virendra
Indian Gourmet: R. Alvarenga Peixoto, 585, Lourdes, tel. (31) 2555–9005.

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Rio de Janeiro

Casa Urich 
A casa centenária do centro do Rio de Janeiro, fundada em 1913 pelo alemão Edmund Urich, está entre os endereços imperdíveis da cidade para os fãs da gastronomia germânica. As receitas tradicionais do país estão todas lá – caso do kassler (tipo de lombo) defumado com salada de batata, do schnitzel (fatia de lombo à milanesa) e do apfelstrudel (folhado de maçã com canela e passas) servido com creme de chantilly. Outro destaque do restaurante é a carta de cervejas, recheada de opções alemãs, belgas e brasileiras.
Casa Urich: Rua São José, 50, loja A, Centro, tel. (21) 2220–2224

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Fortaleza

Toston 
Em 2016, a contadora Nathalie Torrelas e o engenheiro de produção Cristian Salavar decidiram deixar a Venezuela – em meio à grave crise política e econômica do país, o casal enfrentava dificuldades para ter acesso a serviços básicos, como água e gás. "Os alimentos estavam ficando cada vez mais caros – ou simplesmente desaparecendo do mercado. Em 2015, minha mãe resolveu passar uma temporada em Fortaleza e conseguiu um bom emprego. Isso nos incentivou a seguir o mesmo caminho", conta Nathalie. Assim que chegou, a dupla começou a vender petiscos venezuelanos na cidade. A ideia deu tão certo que virou negócio mais sério: um food truck no qual servem tequenhos (espécie de croquete frito) e arepas (uma massa de milho que ganha todo o tipo de recheio). "A arepa é muito versátil e combina com tudo", diz a venezuelana.
Toston: Av. Desembargador Moreira, 2355, Dionísio Torres (Imprensa Food Square)

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Salvador

La Taperia 
Assim que chegaram a Salvador, o chef espanhol José Morchón e a publicitária e estilista brasileira Juli Holler perceberam que não havia por lá nenhuma casa especializada em tapas – típicos petiscos espanhóis. Assim surgia a La Taperia, restaurante que se destaca também pela saborosa paella de frutos do mar. Entre os favoritos dos clientes estão os pirulitos de camarão com bifum e aioli de wasabi, o arroz caldoso de polvo e a mousse de queijo com frutos do bosque. Para abrir o apetite, o casal serve inusitados e gostosos shots de caldo de camarão ou de abóbora.
La Taperia: R. da Paciência, 251, Rio Vermelho, tel. (71) 98716–1077

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Brasília

Damascus 
A conexão Damasco–Brasília trouxe o casal Ammar e Yasmin Abou Nabout ao país em 2015. Desde então, comandam o Damascus, uma mistura de bar, restaurante e empório onde é possível encontrar clássicos da gastronomia síria, como shawarmas, quibes, esfihas, pastas, tabule e shanklish (tipo de queijo árabe). O menu é enxuto, mas da cozinha saem pratos caprichados e autênticos – Yasmin, que a lidera, garante que o tempero e as receitas são os mesmos que aprendeu com a mãe em sua terra natal.
Damascus: 413 Sul, Bloco B, Asa Sul, tel. (61) 98346–3702

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Goiânia

Hetien 
O Hetien fica nos fundos da casa dos irmãos taiwaneses Hao e Zun Yang, que chegaram há oito anos a Goiânia. No cardápio, uma verdadeira mistura do Brasil com Taiwan: de um lado, receitas tipicamente asiáticas, como yakisoba, yakimeshi, lámen e bifum, além de chás com frutas; do outro, opções inusitadas de açaí, como o servido na casca de laranja e decorado com biscoitos da sorte. O restaurante, decorado com materiais reciclados por Zun, é célebre nas redes sociais pela comunicação interativa com os clientes.
Hetien: Rua C–199, Jardim América, tel. (62) 3251–3001

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          رسانه‌های دولتی سوریه ادعا کردند اسرائیل مواضع ارتش در استان حما را هدف حمله قرار داده است      Comment   Translate Page      
رسانه‌های دولتی سوریه روز شنبه ۲۴ فروردین از حمله جنگده‌های اسرائیلی به مواضع ارتش سوریه در نزدیکی استان حما خبر دادند. خبرگزاری رسمی سوریه از قول منابع نظامی گزارش داد، پدافند ارتش توانست برخی از راکت‌های شلیک شده را رهگیری و ساقط کند. در این حمله، که در اوایل بامداد انجام شد، برخی ساختمان‌های یک پایگاه نظامی در منطقه مصیاف آسیب دید و سه سرباز زخمی شدند. منابع نظامی تاکید کرده‌اند که جنگنده‌های اسرائیلی وارد حریم هوایی سوریه نشدند و در آسمان لبنان اقدام به شلیک راکت کردند. از...
          Nga, Mỹ đối thoại về chống khủng bố, Afghanistan và Triều Tiên      Comment   Translate Page      

Sputniknews đưa tin, ngày 13/4, Ngoại trưởng Nga Sergei Lavrov cho biết, nước này và Mỹ đã nối lại đối thoại về vấn đề chống khủng bố cũng như liên lạc để thảo luận về vấn đề Afghanistan và bán đảo Triều Tiên.

Phát biểu tại hội nghị của Hội đồng Chính sách Quốc phòng và Đối ngoại gần thủ đô Moskva, ông Lavrov nêu rõ: "Chúng ta đang phối hợp với Mỹ trong các lĩnh vực mà hai bên cùng quan tâm.

Cuộc đối thoại về cuộc chiến chống khủng bố đã được tái khởi động sau khi nhiều lời nhắc nhở được gửi tới.

Cơ chế giảm xung đột ở Syria giữa quân đội hai nước đang hoạt động tích cực và hiệu quả. Còn có đối thoại để thảo luận về giải pháp chính trị ở Syria.

Các cuộc tiếp xúc được duy trì theo sáng kiến của Mỹ về vấn đề Afghanistan và Bán đảo Triều Tiên và dĩ nhiên chúng ta cũng đang hợp tác trong lĩnh vực không gian."

Cũng tại hội nghị, ông Lavorv cảnh báo, sự đổ vỡ của Hiệp ước Các Lực lượng Hạt nhân Tầm trung (INF) đã phủ bóng đen lên việc gia hạn hiệp ước cắt giảm vũ khí hạt nhân (START Mới).

Ngoài ra, Ngoại trưởng Lavrov nhấn mạnh, Nga hy vọng xây dựng quan hệ đối tác Á-Âu như Tổng thống Vladimir Putin đề xuất tại hội nghị thượng đỉnh Nga-ASEAN ở Sochi hồi năm 2016./.


          World Bank grant for Colombia to help deal with Venezuelan refugees      Comment   Translate Page      

Resources “will help finance the significant fiscal effort Colombia is making to host and help the Venezuelan migrants,” Colombia's Minister Alberto Carrasquilla said Colombia will receive a US$ 31.5 million grant to help deal with the flood of refugees from neighbouring Venezuela, the World Bank announced on Friday Colombia has received about a third of 3.7 million refugees who have fled the worsening crisis in Venezuela in recent years - the most dramatic and fastest exodus in the world after war-torn Syria, according to the United Nations.


          Iran, Iraq and Syria Negotiating Transnational Railway Project: Report      Comment   Translate Page      
Iraq announced negotiations are underway with Iran and Syria to develop a transnational railway line linking the three countries. Iraqi Republic Railways Company chief Salib al-Hussaini said a summit will be held between the countries to further discuss the matter, the Arabic-language al-Sumeria news website reported on Friday. The comments made on the sidelines of ...
          Syria's war, ISIS' long arm and a decade of turmoil devastated the Mideast. But Assad hangs on      Comment   Translate Page      
Bashar Assad is the last man standing among a crop of Middle Eastern despots, and he now faces a multitude of challenges
          US warns citizens to ‘reconsider travelling to Nigeria’      Comment   Translate Page      

The US department of state has cautioned its citizens to “reconsider travel to Nigeria because violent crime, such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, rape and piracy, is common throughout the country.”

In a travel advisory recently released on its website, which contains information on the safety and security of US travellers, Nigeria was listed among 35 countries with a “K” indicator that indicates where its citizens could be at risk of getting kidnapped or taken hostage.

“The new “K” indicator is part of our ongoing commitment to provide clear and comprehensive travel safety information to U.S. citizens so they can make informed travel decisions,” the department said.



“The Travel Advisories for 35 countries have been updated to include a “K” indicator for the risk of kidnapping and/or hostage taking: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine (in Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine), Venezuela, and Yemen.”

While Nigeria was placed on level 3, the US department of state issued a level 4 travel alert for Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

“The security situation in northeast Nigeria is fluid and unpredictable, particularly in Borno and Yobe States and northern Adamawa State,” the department said.

“Terrorist groups based in the Northeast target churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues. Approximately two million of Nigerians have been displaced as a result of the violence in northeast Nigeria.”

The 35 countries were placed in four levels of travel with respect to their safety and security risk.
          Taliban claims it shot down US B-52 bomber in Afghanistan      Comment   Translate Page      
The alleged attack comes days after the Taliban targeted a US convoy in north-eastern Afghanistan, killing three soldiers. Taliban* militants have claimed they shot down a US B-52 heavy bomber, Syrian news site Muraselon reports. The incident purportedly took place when the aircraft was departing from the Shawrab Airbase in southern Afghanistan in the early hours of Wednesday morning. "Mujaheddin (a militia fighter) of the Islamic Emirate targeted a US B-52 bomber with heavy weapons today early morning in Lar area in the Washir district of Helmand Province," a spokesman for the Taliban was quoted as saying.
          Zarif lambastes US' IRGC 'terrorist' label: Without it, Daesh 'would have held two Arab capitals'      Comment   Translate Page      
Washington can't salvage its raison d'etre for Middle East intervention - the continued existence of Daesh - by scapegoating Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has been on the front lines of the fight against Daesh since that group was created, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday. "Losers of our region's War on Terror cannot rescind history. Targeting #IRGC won't revive ISIS and Nusra - their clients and very creations," Zarif tweeted on Thursday. "Game over, ladies and gentlemen: time to face the fact that you've exhausted every wrong choice and scapegoating won't be your panacea." "When @realdonaldtrump insisted that 'Iran is killing ISIS', exactly who did he think was doing the fighting & making the sacrifice?" the diplomat continued, noting that "ISIS would've held two Arab capitals & fielded a Terrorist Army on Europe's doorstep had #IRGC not fought alongside brave peoples of Iraq & Syria."
          Hama province Syria: Israeli rocket attack leaves three people injured      Comment   Translate Page      
Syria has shot down several missiles launched by Israel and targeting the city of Masyaf in northwestern Syria, Syrian state media reported. Three people have been wounded and several buildings destroyed in the attack. The rockets were launched by Israeli warplanes from Lebanese airspace at about 2.30am on Saturday, SANA reported. In response, Syria activated its air defenses and intercepted several missiles, the agency said. The alleged Israeli raid hit a military post in the city and destroyed several buildings. Three people have been reported wounded. Lebanese Al-Masdar News reported, citing a military source on the ground, that Israeli rockets damaged a number of sites near the Masyaf National Hospital. While Israel has not commented on the reported attack, it is presumed that Tel Aviv has made another incursion into Syrian territory to take on alleged Iranian elements there.
          Comment on Refugee advocates express shock over changes in asylum law by L Y Luciuk      Comment   Translate Page      
from the Vancouver Sun, 8 April 2019, by L Y Luciuk This is a tale of two tales, siphoned from the Immigration and Refugee Board’s vaults. The claimants’ names are changed to protect the innocent (meaning me). And, despite what you may think, these are not particularly unique cases – if Board Members could speak freely they’d admit it. Ladies first, so let’s lead with Lori. She sobbed how Roma are so persecuted in eastern Europe that she was forced to bundle up her offspring and escape. Who wouldn’t be moved by a weeping mother protecting her brood? Thankfully, some Members are chosen for vigilance. Lori’s English was so perfect she declined an interpreter fluent in the language of her putative patria. She had kept airline boarding passes but not one document from the ‘old country.’ No geographer could locate the town Lori said she grew up in. Inquiring minds finally uncovered she had actually been living for years in western Europe, where all her little ones were born, far from the Hungarian Plains or Wallachia or wherever she claimed she decamped from. Obligingly, the constabulary of her country submitted a helpful document – Lori’s lengthy list of criminal convictions. Bon voyage Lori! And there was Raoul. Born in Damascus but outside Syria when civil war erupted in 2011, Raoul renewed his passport in 2017 at a Syrian consulate. Valid travel document in hand, he visited Brazil, Switzerland, and Japan, signatories to the UN Convention on Refugees. Yet he never made any (known) claim about being a refugee in those countries. Because a family member holidayed in the Middle East in 2017 Raoul even delayed his departure for the USA until February 2018. Deplaning in Florida, he moved north leisurely, sightseeing in Orlando and New York. Eventually presenting himself at our border, Raoul claimed a “well founded fear of persecution” should he return to Syria. Asked why he hadn’t declared that upon arriving in a safe third country like America Raoul said the refugee determination process there is “too tedious.” I recommended a hearing to allow for questions about Raoul’s perambulations, failure to claim refugee status until early 2018, and why he feared a government that helpfully renewed his passport. Perhaps he had reasonable explanations. Regardless, he would be given the benefit of the doubt. We never return anyone where they might be in harm’s way. Fair enough. I never got the chance. The Board booted me before I could. But don’t fret. Members are ‘encouraged’ to expedite Syrian claims, often after only the most cursory review. So Raoul is surely amongst us. Naturally, this prejudice cheers refugee lobbyists and brings tears of joy to claimants’ eyes. As for the IRB line about how every claim must be considered carefully and decided on its own merits – that’s a fib. A backlog of some 73,000 claims exists, with wait times hovering around two years. All claimants receive mandated social benefits, costing Canadians aplenty. Meanwhile, the Trudeau government just dropped another $208 million into the Board’s begging bowl, on top of millions doled out last year. Those funds provide the board chairman Richard Wex with a private chauffeur and rented SUV, costing $78,562 a year on top of his $265,300 salary. How this perk helps clear the Board’s backlog I’ll let them explain. The strangers wanting to get inside our gates often say the lands they left were “shitholes.” Canada isn’t. So this raconteur won’t mean-mouth anyone who tries. But no reasonable person would conclude Lori or Raoul were really refugees. If I had just kept my mouth shut about that I’d still be working for the Board. Silly me.
           Comment on Muslims are oppressed around the world but the Salafis refuse to protest in the streets and boycott goods. Why?! Question 5 in the Manhaj by Arif Hon       Comment   Translate Page      
http://store.mpubs.org/questions-answers-on-a-few-doubts-surrounding-the-salafi-dawah-part-2-by-abu-khadeejah-abdulwahid/ The final questioner has asked the following: Muslims are oppressed all over the world in places like Palestine by the Jews, Kashmir and India by the Hindus and in Syria and places of the like in the Muslim world. We find that the Salafis never support the call to protest against this oppression or call for the boycott of certain products from these countries. Please can you explain why the Salafis never stand up for justice against these oppressions. [21:33] http://mpubs.org/files/AKAW_TL_20180610_QA_on_doubts_around_salafi_dawah_pt02.mp3
          April 14: Deuteronomy 33–34; Psalm 96; Acts 20       Comment   Translate Page      

Old Testament: Deuteronomy 33–34

Deuteronomy 33–34 (Listen)

Moses' Final Blessing on Israel

33 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death. He said,

  “The LORD came from Sinai
    and dawned from Seir upon us;1
    he shone forth from Mount Paran;
  he came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
    with flaming fire2 at his right hand.
  Yes, he loved his people,3
    all his holy ones were in his4 hand;
  so they followed5 in your steps,
    receiving direction from you,
  when Moses commanded us a law,
    as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
  Thus the LORD6 became king in Jeshurun,
    when the heads of the people were gathered,
    all the tribes of Israel together.
  “Let Reuben live, and not die,
    but let his men be few.”

And this he said of Judah:

  “Hear, O LORD, the voice of Judah,
    and bring him in to his people.
  With your hands contend7 for him,
    and be a help against his adversaries.”

And of Levi he said,

  “Give to Levi8 your Thummim,
    and your Urim to your godly one,
  whom you tested at Massah,
    with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
  who said of his father and mother,
    ‘I regard them not’;
  he disowned his brothers
    and ignored his children.
  For they observed your word
    and kept your covenant.
10   They shall teach Jacob your rules
    and Israel your law;
  they shall put incense before you
    and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11   Bless, O LORD, his substance,
    and accept the work of his hands;
  crush the loins of his adversaries,
    of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

12 Of Benjamin he said,

  “The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety.
  The High God9 surrounds him all day long,
    and dwells between his shoulders.”

13 And of Joseph he said,

  “Blessed by the LORD be his land,
    with the choicest gifts of heaven above,10
    and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14   with the choicest fruits of the sun
    and the rich yield of the months,
15   with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
    and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16   with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
    and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.
  May these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17   A firstborn bull11—he has majesty,
    and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
  with them he shall gore the peoples,
    all of them, to the ends of the earth;
  they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
    and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

18 And of Zebulun he said,

  “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
    and Issachar, in your tents.
19   They shall call peoples to their mountain;
    there they offer right sacrifices;
  for they draw from the abundance of the seas
    and the hidden treasures of the sand.”

20 And of Gad he said,

  “Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
    Gad crouches like a lion;
    he tears off arm and scalp.
21   He chose the best of the land for himself,
    for there a commander's portion was reserved;
  and he came with the heads of the people,
    with Israel he executed the justice of the LORD,
    and his judgments for Israel.”

22 And of Dan he said,

  “Dan is a lion's cub
    that leaps from Bashan.”

23 And of Naphtali he said,

  “O Naphtali, sated with favor,
    and full of the blessing of the LORD,
    possess the lake12 and the south.”

24 And of Asher he said,

  “Most blessed of sons be Asher;
    let him be the favorite of his brothers,
    and let him dip his foot in oil.
25   Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
    and as your days, so shall your strength be.
26   “There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
    who rides through the heavens to your help,
    through the skies in his majesty.
27   The eternal God is your dwelling place,13
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.14
  And he thrust out the enemy before you
    and said, ‘Destroy.’
28   So Israel lived in safety,
    Jacob lived alone,15
  in a land of grain and wine,
    whose heavens drop down dew.
29   Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
    a people saved by the LORD,
  the shield of your help,
    and the sword of your triumph!
  Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
    and you shall tread upon their backs.”

The Death of Moses

34 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. 10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12 and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Footnotes

[1] 33:2 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew them
[2] 33:2 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
[3] 33:3 Septuagint; Hebrew peoples
[4] 33:3 Hebrew your
[5] 33:3 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
[6] 33:5 Hebrew Thus he
[7] 33:7 Probable reading; Hebrew With his hands he contended
[8] 33:8 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text lacks Give to Levi
[9] 33:12 Septuagint; Hebrew dwells in safety by him. He
[10] 33:13 Two Hebrew manuscripts and Targum; Hebrew with the dew
[11] 33:17 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Samaritan; Masoretic Text His firstborn bull
[12] 33:23 Or west
[13] 33:27 Or a dwelling place
[14] 33:27 Revocalization of verse 27 yields He subdues the ancient gods, and shatters the forces of old
[15] 33:28 Hebrew the abode of Jacob was alone

(ESV)

Psalm: Psalm 96

Psalm 96 (Listen)

Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

96   Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
    sing to the LORD, all the earth!
  Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
  Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
  For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the LORD made the heavens.
  Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
  Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts!
  Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;1
    tremble before him, all the earth!
10   Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
    Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11   Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it!
  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     before the LORD, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
  He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Footnotes

[1] 96:9 Or in holy attire

(ESV)

New Testament: Acts 20

Acts 20 (Listen)

Paul in Macedonia and Greece

20 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews1 as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

Eutychus Raised from the Dead

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.

13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and2 the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders

17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18 And when they came to him, he said to them:

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.3 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by4 the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,5 which he obtained with his own blood.6 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.

Footnotes

[1] 20:3 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verse 19
[2] 20:15 Some manuscripts add after remaining at Trogyllium
[3] 20:21 Some manuscripts omit Christ
[4] 20:22 Or bound in
[5] 20:28 Some manuscripts of the Lord
[6] 20:28 Or with the blood of his Own

(ESV)


          April 14: Leviticus 18; Psalm 22; Ecclesiastes 1; 1 Timothy 3       Comment   Translate Page      

With family: Leviticus 18; Psalm 22

Leviticus 18 (Listen)

Unlawful Sexual Relations

18 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. You shall follow my rules1 and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

“None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the LORD. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife; it is your father's nakedness. You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. 10 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son's daughter or of your daughter's daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness. 11 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's wife's daughter, brought up in your father's family, since she is your sister. 12 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's sister; she is your father's relative. 13 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, for she is your mother's relative. 14 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father's brother, that is, you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. 15 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son's wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 16 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; it is your brother's nakedness. 17 You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity. 18 And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

19 “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. 20 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor's wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them2 to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you 27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”

Footnotes

[1] 18:4 Or my just decrees; also verse 5
[2] 18:21 Hebrew to make them pass through [the fire]

(ESV)

Psalm 22 (Listen)

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

22   My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.
  Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises1 of Israel.
  In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
  To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
  But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
  All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
  “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
  Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
10   On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11   Be not far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and there is none to help.
12   Many bulls encompass me;
    strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13   they open wide their mouths at me,
    like a ravening and roaring lion.
14   I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint;
  my heart is like wax;
    it is melted within my breast;
15   my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
    you lay me in the dust of death.
16   For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles me;
  they have pierced my hands and feet2
17   I can count all my bones—
  they stare and gloat over me;
18   they divide my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.
19   But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
    O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20   Deliver my soul from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dog!
21     Save me from the mouth of the lion!
  You have rescued3 me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22   I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23   You who fear the LORD, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24   For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
  and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.
25   From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26   The afflicted4 shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
    May your hearts live forever!
27   All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the LORD,
  and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.
28   For kingship belongs to the LORD,
    and he rules over the nations.
29   All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30   Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31   they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it.

Footnotes

[1] 22:3 Or dwelling in the praises
[2] 22:16 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts like a lion [they are at] my hands and feet
[3] 22:21 Hebrew answered
[4] 22:26 Or The meek

(ESV)

In private: Ecclesiastes 1; 1 Timothy 3

Ecclesiastes 1 (Listen)

All Is Vanity

The words of the Preacher,1 the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

  Vanity2 of vanities, says the Preacher,
    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
  What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
  A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
  The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens3 to the place where it rises.
  The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
  around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
  All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
  to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.
  All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
  the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
  What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.
10   Is there a thing of which it is said,
    “See, this is new”?
  It has been already
    in the ages before us.
11   There is no remembrance of former things,4
    nor will there be any remembrance
  of later things5 yet to be
    among those who come after.

The Vanity of Wisdom

12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart6 to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity7 and a striving after wind.8

15   What is crooked cannot be made straight,
    and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

18   For in much wisdom is much vexation,
    and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Footnotes

[1] 1:1 Or Convener, or Collector; Hebrew Qoheleth (so throughout Ecclesiastes)
[2] 1:2 The Hebrew term hebel, translated vanity or vain, refers concretely to a “mist,” “vapor,” or “mere breath,” and metaphorically to something that is fleeting or elusive (with different nuances depending on the context). It appears five times in this verse and in 29 other verses in Ecclesiastes
[3] 1:5 Or and returns panting
[4] 1:11 Or former people
[5] 1:11 Or later people
[6] 1:13 The Hebrew term denotes the center of one's inner life, including mind, will, and emotions
[7] 1:14 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)
[8] 1:14 Or a feeding on wind; compare Hosea 12:1 (also in Ecclesiastes 1:17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 6:9)

(ESV)

1 Timothy 3 (Listen)

Qualifications for Overseers

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer1 must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,2 sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Qualifications for Deacons

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,3 not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise4 must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Godliness

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

  He5 was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated6 by the Spirit,7
      seen by angels,
  proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
      taken up in glory.

Footnotes

[1] 3:2 Or bishop; Greek episkopos; a similar term occurs in verse 1
[2] 3:2 Or a man of one woman; also verse 12
[3] 3:8 Or devious in speech
[4] 3:11 Or Wives likewise, or Women likewise
[5] 3:16 Greek Who; some manuscripts God; others Which
[6] 3:16 Or justified
[7] 3:16 Or vindicated in spirit

(ESV)


          Keith Allen fronts Saving Syria’s Children documentary crowdfunder      Comment   Translate Page      
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          Real Estate Supervisor - Al Burj Holding - Dubai      Comment   Translate Page      
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          Syrian Air Defenses Intercept Israeli Missiles in Hama      Comment   Translate Page      
13 April، 2019 Hama, SANA The air defenses at the Syrian Arab Army intercepted an Israeli aerial attack that targeted one of the military positions towards Massyaf City in Hama northern countryside. A military source said that at about 02:30 am on Saturday, warplanes of the Israeli enemy conducted an airstrike from the Lebanese airspace...
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          Transnational Railroad to Link Iran, Iraq, Syria      Comment   Translate Page      
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          Washington’s Long War on Syria is Not Over      Comment   Translate Page      
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          Northwestern University in Qatar Dean & CEO Everette E. Dennis to conclude his service in 2020      Comment   Translate Page      

Northwestern University in Qatar Dean and CEO Everette E. Dennis will step down as the head of NU-Q in 2020 after serving nearly a decade leading Northwestern’s 12th school to new academic achievements and greater global influence, Provost Jonathan Holloway announced.

Dennis took on the role at the helm of Northwestern’s newest school in June 2011, and he has led NU-Q into a new era of growth, with record enrollments and an expanding base of research that has impacted Qatar, the region and the wider world. “Dean Dennis has sharpened the focus on educating students in a rapidly changing global media environment and helped NU-Q foster research in the Arab media world with far-reaching effects,” said President Morton Schapiro. “We are grateful for his leadership, which has helped NU-Q grow impressively and substantially in reach and impact. We wish him well on the road ahead.”

While Dennis will complete his service as dean in summer 2020, he will be on leave during the 2020-21 academic year and then return to the faculty at Northwestern through his tenured faculty appointment at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Holloway said. “President Schapiro and I are pleased that Dean Dennis will remain a part of the Northwestern family,” Holloway said. “He has done incomparable work building an institution on our Doha campus that has championed modern approaches to media, communication, the humanities and free expression.”

The Office of the Provost will appoint a search committee in the near future to find a successor to succeed Dennis. Dennis managed to lead NU-Q with a steady hand through some turbulent times in the Middle East that included wars in Iraq and Syria, a blockade of Qatar by its Arabian Gulf neighbors and a transforming media landscape upended by new reforms in Arab societies and disruptive change driven by digital and social media.

“Representing Northwestern at the confluence of higher education and geopolitics has been the privilege of a lifetime,” Dennis said. “I have always been bullish on this whole enterprise and am proud to have guided NU-Q into a stunning new building, expand our research and lead this unique, one-of-a-kind school at a time when we are preparing our students to enter the 21st-century media economy. With our close partners in the Qatar Foundation and the royal family, I believe we have made a real difference in shaping the influence of Education City, the changes in Arab society and the lives of Qataris and international students alike.”

In addition to his tenured professorship at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern’s home campus in Evanston, he holds an appointment by courtesy in the School of Communication. He is a widely known institution builder, educator and author, having led several organizations over a distinguished career in higher education, foundations and advanced study centers. Dennis was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. At NU-Q, Dennis has led major outreach efforts that put the school on the map regionally and globally. In addition, he oversaw the move and transition of the school into a new 515,000-square-foot building that is one of the largest and most advanced media and communication school facilities in the world. This facility includes a digital museum called the Media Majlis, which will open in May. In Spring 2019, he inaugurated an executive education program to be joined by graduate studies in the fall. 

Prior to his appointment at NU-Q, Dennis was the Felix E. Larkin Distinguished Professor of Communication and Media Management at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business in New York City, where he served as departmental chair and head of the Center for Communication. Previously he was founding director of the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University — and served as senior vice president of the parent foundation, as well as head of its international consortium on media studies. Concurrent with his Fordham appointment, he was founding president of the American Academy in Berlin, working with Richard Holbrooke and Henry Kissinger. He also has served as executive director of the International Longevity Center. Early in his career, he served as dean of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication and taught for a decade at the University of Minnesota.

Dean Dennis earned his Ph.D. from the University at the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University and bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon. He held three advanced study fellowships at Harvard. He is the author, co-author or editor of more than 45 books on media industries, media law and related topics — as well as more than 200 refereed journal articles. His global media studies include monographs on Eastern and Central Europe, Latin America and East Asia, as well as a longitudinal study of Middle East media use, now in its sixth year.

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          04/13 Links: Trump says Netanyahu election win means a ‘better chance for peace’; The Implosion of Jeremy Corbyn; Ilhan Omar, Con Artist; Elan Carr: Boycotting Israel is Anti-Semitic; EU's Collusion with Iran      Comment   Translate Page      
From Ian:

The Implosion of Jeremy Corbyn
According to polling by The Jewish Chronicle, 85 percent of British Jews now think that Corbyn is anti-Semitic. And that was before this week’s bombshell: documents obtained by The Sunday Times showing that Labour failed to investigate hundreds of anti-Semitism complaints, and let hundreds more slide. The documents show not only that Labour’s procedures for investigating anti-Semitic incidents were—despite public assurances to the contrary—dismally subpar, but also that members of Corbyn’s office directly intervened in more than one in 10 investigations, despite having claimed that they were impartial.

A council candidate who said that Jewish members of Parliament were “Zionist infiltrators” was allowed to continue his campaign. Out of 863 alleged incidents detailed in the files, only 29 resulted in a party member being expelled; 145 resulted in a “formal warning”—which is largely meaningless—and 191 cases were resolved as requiring no action. The rest, the Times reports, are unresolved, including 249 that haven’t even been opened.

A Labour spokesperson said that the report “does not reflect the full details … and is not up to date,” a non-denial that did nothing to stem the bleeding. That evening, the Jewish Labour Movement—one of the party’s oldest affiliates, linked to Labour since 1903—passed a vote of no confidence in Corbyn.

A year earlier, in March 2018, the story broke that Corbyn had been a member of three secret Facebook groups in which virulent anti-Semitic memes were sometimes shared. Understandable, perhaps, in radical campaign circles. My enemy’s enemy is my friend, right? We’re protesting an occupation, not forming a government. There’s nothing anti-Semitic about deploring Israel Defense Forces violence in Gaza, but if Palestine is your cause, sometimes you’re going to meet people who really just hate Jews—just like if Israel is your cause, sometimes you’re going to meet people who really just hate Muslims.

In one of the groups, Corbyn wrote supportively to the artist of a mural in London. It wouldn’t have been so bad—just a throwaway comment—except the mural depicted anti-Semitic tropes so blatant you could see them from space, hook noses and all. Corbyn trying to apologize was an agonizing sight. “I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on,” he said. “I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused.” It was as if, in a lifetime of fighting for causes—framing the world as good versus evil—he never really learned how to say sorry.

Abe Greenwald: Ilhan Omar, Con Artist
You see? She’s just an all-loving, rage-filled, anti-Semitic victim of prejudice.

If you set aside the canned baby talk of her speeches and articles, her actions don’t reveal much in the way of understanding and compassion. Or was she “showing up with love” when she claimed that Americans who support Israel are guilty of “allegiance to a foreign country” and that pro-Israel American leaders are somehow being paid off to support the Jewish state, and that—lest we forget—“Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel?” Are all these examples of what she sees as a “mission as humans to love one another”?

Whenever Omar gets called out for her anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism, she makes a steady retreat back to the faux-compassion and understanding, simultaneously vowing to “learn” from her actions and claiming innocent victimhood. It’s then that her liberal supporters seize on her sunny rhetoric and denounce all the criticism that’s come her way. That’s precisely what’s been happening since she was caught describing 9/11 as a null event.

The con artist will thrive as long her marks are willing to be conned. Which is to say, Ilhan Omar has a bright future in the Democratic Party.
Seeking Israel From the Left
Israel has always been a Rorschach test for the left, Susie Linfield argues in her new book about intellectuals' writings on the first decades of the Jewish home state. And she's right, if not quite in the way she may have intended the metaphor.

Yes, Israel is like a Rorschach test, in the sense that many people over the 70 years of the country's existence have seen in its abstract representation some strange specificity wrought by their own fervid imagination. But Israel is like a Rorschach test in another and more important way. Something disturbing is revealed when the symmetrical inkblots of a Rorschach test provoke descriptions of violence and hatred. And something just as disturbing is revealed when the image of Israel provokes ferocious anger and unrelenting hostility.

Which it does, for a large percentage of the left these days. In her introduction and conclusion, Linfield points out that Israel was created by people who were often socialists, and it enjoyed considerable support among leftists in the West into the 1960s. But somehow, these days, Israel faces a violent antipathy from the left. An important task for historians lies in exploring how that reversal came about.

Linfield, a journalism professor at NYU, is a self-proclaimed leftist worried about the ways in which anti-Zionism has led to a surge of anti-Semitism. And yet, despite her interest in the question of why the left has rejected Israel, she attempts something different in The Lions' Den. In essence, she attacks the premise. Examining the work of prior generations of prominent intellectuals and journalists, The Lions' Den suggests that Israel has always provoked strange notions in intellectuals.

The figures Linfield takes up are a gallery of prominent Jewish left-leaning thinkers from the 1940s on—especially in her chapters on Hannah Arendt, Arthur Koestler, Isaac Deutscher, Maxime Rodinson, I.F. Stone, and Noam Chomsky. She focuses as well on two further figures: Fred Halliday (the only gentile writer she takes up) and Albert Memmi (the Tunisian writer and only non-Westerner in the book). All of them were sometime Zionists, and all of them indulged anti-Zionism. By describing their intellectual journeys—and their intellectual peculiarities—Linfield hopes to illuminate the left's odd
relation to Israel.



Pompeo says PM’s West Bank sovereignty vow won’t hurt Trump peace plan
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said he did not believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talk of extending Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements would hurt the Trump administration’s long-gestating peace plan.

His comments would appear to indicate that the US plan does not provide for Palestinian statehood, or even for Palestinian control of substantive contiguous territory in the West Bank.

Asked during a CNN interview by anchor Jake Tapper whether he thought Netanyahu “vowing to annex the West Bank” could hurt the US proposal, Pompeo answered “I don’t.”

“I think that the vision that we’ll lay out is going to represent a significant change from the model that’s been used,” he added.

“We’ve had a lot of ideas for 40 years. They did not deliver peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” he said. “Our idea is to put forward a vision that has ideas that are new, that are different, that are unique, that tries to reframe and reshape what’s been an intractable problem.”

He said the Trump administration wanted “a better life” for both Israelis and Palestinians.

In interviews days before the elections, Netanyahu said he intended to gradually apply Israeli law to all settlements, and that he hoped he could do so with the agreement of the United States.
Trump says Netanyahu election win means a ‘better chance for peace’
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his win in the Israeli election, and said it would improve the chances of success for his administration’s much-anticipated peace plan.

“I think we have a better chance now that Bibi has won,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn before heading to Texas, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “The fact that Bibi has won, I think we’ll see some pretty good actions in terms of peace.”

“Everybody said you can’t have peace in the Middle East with Israel and Palestinians. I think we have a chance and I think we now have a better chance,” the US president added.

The White House has said it would release its peace proposal following the elections in Israel, though a report on Israeli television earlier this week said the exact timing would be dependent on the outcome of the vote.

With over 97 percent of ballots counted, and his Likud party and fellow right-wing and religious parties poised to secure a clear majority of Knesset seats, Netanyahu emerged from Tuesday’s elections in the best position to muster a coalition.

“I’d like to congratulate Bibi Netanyahu. It looks like that race has been won by him. It may be a little early but I’m hearing he’s won it and won it in good fashion,” Trump said.
Algemeiner Editor-in-Chief: Trump Peace Plan Likely to Be Very Different From Previous Initiatives
President Donald Trump’s upcoming peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will likely be very different from previous such attempts, said Algemeiner editor-in-chief Dovid Efune on Thursday.

Speaking to i24 News, Efune said of the Trump plan, “We’ve suspected for a long time that it’s going to be quite different from what people are expecting. When we’ve spoken about peace plans in the past, typically there’s this land-for-peace equation, there’s a two-state solution, there is a framework which we’ve come to expect over decades. I’d be very surprised if its going to be along those lines.”

“I think we’re going to see a regional initiative,” he added. “We’ve had assurances time and time again from different members of the Trump administration that they would not be looking to predetermine the outcome. They won’t be coming to the table and saying, ‘Here’s what the results should be.’”

“It’s about creating a framework,” said Efune. “It’s about empowering, creating incentives, and trying to broaden the issue to regional peace and not just the Israeli-Palestinian discussion.”


Bill Clinton: Netanyahu ‘knows how to hit people where they’re tender’
Former US President Bill Clinton hailed the political prowess of newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the “highly intelligent” Israeli leader should never be underestimated, but adding a back-handed compliment.

“You should never underestimate him, he’s highly intelligent, he understands his electorate,” Clinton said on stage Thursday at an event in New York City, as final vote counts in Israel confirmed that Netanyahu is heading for a fifth term as prime minister.

Then Clinton added: “He’s smart and able and he knows how to hit people where they’re tender.”

Clinton was speaking at an event at the Beacon Theater alongside his wife, former US secretary of state and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“There’s lots of minority parties in Israel, and more of them are aligned with the settler movement or religious fundamentalism than secularism or wanting peace,” he said. “Israel is a vital democracy, and they are having these debates and they will work it out.”

“There has to be some approach to reconciling the security needs of the Israelis with the need for greater autonomy and governance by the Palestinians,” Clinton said.


Boycotting Israel is Anti-Semitic, Says Newly-Sworn In Envoy Elan Carr
The United States swore in Elan Carr as the new Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism on Thursday after the position had been left vacant since January 20, 2017.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo administered the oath of office. The secretary remarked that Carr, a Jewish-American Army veteran and the grandson of Holocaust survivors, was chosen for the “fierceness and vigor that he’ll bring to combating anti-Semitism.”

The envoy’s position was established by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. On his first day in the congressionally mandated post, Carr vowed to fight the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign and described the organized boycott of Israel as anti-Semitic.

“An individual has a right to buy or not buy what they please. However, if there is an organized movement to economically strangle the state of Israel, that is anti-Semitic,” Carr said. “We are going to focus relentlessly on eradicating this false distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.”




Pete Buttigieg calls Mike Pence a ‘Pharisee.’ Here’s why that angers Jews
Pete Buttigieg has a word he likes to use to describe Vice President Mike Pence: “Pharisee.”

Jewish scholars would like him to stop doing that.

Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who is running a dark horse campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has advanced the idea of liberal candidates using religious language to express their values.

The flip side of that, Buttigieg says, is that Republican leaders don’t practice the religious values they preach. He takes particular aim at Pence, who often speaks of his own conservative Christian values while serving under President Donald Trump. Buttigieg has criticized Trump for paying off an adult film actress with whom he allegedly had an affair.

Buttigieg believes that reeks of hypocrisy, so he uses an age-old Christian metaphor for hypocrites: the Pharisees.

“There’s an awful lot about Pharisees in there,” Buttigieg told The Washington Post this week, referring to the New Testament while discussing Pence. “And when you see someone, especially somebody who has such a dogmatic take on faith that they bring it into public life, being willing to attach themselves to this administration for the purposes of gaining power, it is alarmingly resonant with some New Testament themes, and not in a good way.”

The Pharisees were one of several Jewish sects during the first century, the time of Jesus. They also included the rabbis of the Talmud and the creators of Rabbinic Judaism, the ideological ancestor of mainstream Jewish practice today.

But in Christian discourse, the Pharisees have taken on the role of “hypocrites, fools and a brood of vipers, full of extortion, greed, and iniquity,” wrote Amy-Jill Levine, a professor at the Vanderbilt University Divinity School, in an article in Sojourners magazine. That’s because the New Testament Gospels say Pharisee leaders criticized Jesus and lambaste them for hypocrisy.
Rivlin rebukes Bolsonaro: ‘No one will order forgiveness of the Jewish people’
President Reuven Rivlin on Saturday rebuked his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro for saying this week that the crimes of the Holocaust can be forgiven, though not forgotten.

“No one will order the forgiveness of the Jewish people, and it can never be bought in the name of interests,” he said.

“What [the Nazis] did to us is etched into our memory, the memory of an ancient people,” Rivlin wrote on Twitter.

“We will never cooperate with those who deny the truth or try to erase it from memory — not by individuals and groups, not by party leaders and not by heads of state,” he wrote, the last being in apparent reference to Bolsonaro.

“We will never forgive and never forget. No one will order the forgiveness of the Jewish people, and it can never be bought in the name of interests.”

Rivlin said the Jewish people would “always fight against anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” while calling on politicians not to wade into historically fraught matters. “Political leaders are responsible for shaping the future. Historians describe the past and research what happened. Neither should stray into the territory of the other,” he said.
Yad Vashem slams Bolsonaro after Holocaust comments
President Reuven Rivlin and Yad Vashem took Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to task on Saturday for saying the crimes of the Holocaust can be forgiven, though not forgotten.

“We can forgive, but we cannot forget,” said Bolsonaro – a strong supporter of Israel who has reversed his country’s previously negative positions regarding Israel – at a meeting with Evangelical pastors in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
“Those that forget their past are sentenced not to have a future. We need to act so that the Holocaust will not repeat itself,” the Brazilian leader said.
Iranian forces said killed in reported Israel airstrike on Syria missile factory
A number of Iranian forces were reportedly killed in an airstrike on a Syrian military position near the city of Masyaf in western Hama province overnight Friday-Saturday. Syrian state media said Israeli jets carried out the raid in the middle of the night, firing missiles while flying in Lebanese airspace.

Syria’s official state news agency SANA said Israel targeted a military site in the area, but that Syrian air defenses intercepted the attack, downing some of the missiles fired. The regime mouthpiece said the interception resulted in the destruction of several buildings and the wounding of three “fighters.” The area is known to house Iranian forces and their Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.

According to a report by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Arabic, Iranian “elements” and pro-Iranian militants were killed in the alleged attack, and 17 people were injured.

Israel does not regularly comment on alleged strikes in Syria, though it has acknowledged some operations.

The Observatory said Saturday that the strike targeted a Syrian military college in the town and two buildings used by Iranian forces in nearby villages — a development center for medium-range missiles in Zawi and a training camp in Sheikh Ghadban.
Abbas swears in new PA government led by his Fatah ally, Mohammad Shtayyeh
A new Palestinian Authority government was sworn in by PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, a month after he tapped longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of his Fatah party, as the next premier.

The 61-year-old Shtayyeh is replacing Rami Hamdallah, who served as prime minister of the Palestinian government since 2013. He is seen as being critical of the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers, as well as a proponent of continuing peace talks with Israel.

The new 21-member cabinet includes some fresh faces, but senior officials, such as Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki and Finance Minister Shukri Bishara, are keeping their positions.

Novelist Atef Abu Seif of Gaza, who was recently badly beaten during Hamas’s crackdown on protesters in the Strip, will become culture minister.

Shtayyeh’s government replaces a technocratic administration, which had the nominal backing of Hamas and all other Palestinian factions.
Thousands protest along Gaza border, 15-year-old shot dead - report
A 15-year-old boy was shot in the stomach during clashes with IDF forces east of the Jabaliya refugee camp, according to the Hamas Health Ministry on Friday.

According to the report, two other people were injured by gunfire in clashes with IDF forces east of Gaza City, when 9,000 demonstrators protested in five locations along the Gaza border.

A Palestinian was arrested after cutting the fence into Israel, waving a Palestinian flag.

The border protests began on March 30th and has seen over half a million people violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel demanding an end to the 12-year long blockade, congregating at points along the border range between several thousand to 45,000 each day.

The one year anniversary of the border riots last week saw some 40,000 Palestinians demonstrate along the border fence and saw three Palestinians killed by IDF fire.

The cross-border violence immediately played into Israel's election campaign, which concluded earlier this week with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heading toward a record fifth term in office.

But Egyptian mediators intervened to avoid further escalation by persuading Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza and expand the breadth of Mediterranean waters where Gazans can fish.
EU's Collusion with Iran
The main purpose of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) is to ensure that Europe -- and potentially third countries -- can continue doing business with the mullahs in Iran without risking US penalties for contravening US sanctions.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini seems strongly committed to ensuring that Iran -- and Europe -- continue receiving economic benefits from the illegal, unsigned, and unratified Iran nuclear deal. Mogherini insisted that Iran is complying with the JCPOA. It is not. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, referring to documents seized by Israel, stated that the nuclear deal was "built on lies" .

No amount of human rights abuses, however atrocious -- or terrorism, even against its own citizens; or cheating to acquire deliverable nuclear capability to unleash on Israel, the US and eventually threaten the entire West -- will, it seems, deter the EU from its criminal collusion with Iran. Europe seems determined to wade into its own destruction with its eyes wide open.
The IAEA’s Blind Spots on Iran’s Nuclear Program
On April 9, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted that “today and throughout the past year, we have launched 114 new technologies via the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. This is the message to the world: You have not succeeded, and you will not succeed in preventing the progress and development of the Iranian people and their nuclear program. If yesterday you feared our IR-1 centrifuges, well, here you go!”

He has reason to boast. The 2015 Iranian nuclear deal brokered by former President Barack Obama was extremely weak, but yet, given its weaknesses, the agency that was expected to monitor Iran’s compliance has been exceedingly lax.

On April 4, The Wall Street Journal reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected a warehouse in Tehran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year said housed nuclear equipment and materials.

When negotiating the Iranian nuclear deal, President Obama promised “anytime, anywhere inspections.” Yet six months elapsed from Netanyahu’s speech until the inspection. The question is what took the IAEA so long?


WaPo Rushes to Defend Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 Remarks, Fails Spectacularly
The Washington Post, in full white knight mode, rushed to Omar’s defense in publishing a piece in which they claimed context was needed.

After quoting several lines from her speech (which did not change what she said), “fact checker” Glenn Kessler wrote:

We will leave it to readers to determine whether Omar should have referred to “terrorists” or if the context for “some people” is clear from the speech.

When we listened to the whole speech, we were reminded of President George W. Bush’s phrasing in two famous moments after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” – Bullhorn address to Ground Zero rescue workers, Sept. 14, 2001


The other one was an Islamic Center speech in which President Bush defended Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11.

Kessler suggests that Bush’s bullhorn comments and the ones he made defending Muslims were no different than Omar’s speech.

In reality, the context surrounding Bush’s speeches meant everything after the terrorist attacks. He was by no means downplaying what happened. In the coming weeks and months, his administration would respond forcefully to the attacks.

On the other hand, the context the Post provided for Omar’s speech didn’t do her any justice. In fact, the context provided by the full video made her “some people did something” quote even worse.

Making things worse still is Omar’s widely-known reputation for repeating anti-Semitic tropes, which is a significant context for drawing conclusions about what Omar says all on its own.
Group Planning NY Rally Urging Schumer To Get Ilhan Omar Off Foreign Affairs Committee
A group called The Coalition to Get Ilhan Omar off the Foreign Affairs Committee is holding a rally on May 19 titled “Operation: Schumer’s Doorstep.”

The group states: “The Coalition seeks to mobilize Americans of all political, ethnic and religious backgrounds who are concerned about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s continuing presence on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Coalition’s first goal is to enlist (through all reasonable means of persuasion granted by the Constitution) Senator Schumer in the cause. The event will be part peaceful protest, prayer vigil, and press conference.”

The rally will be held outside Schumer’s building by Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

The group counsels, “We’d like people of faith to lead a prayer calling for Schumer to gain the courage of his convictions so that from this moment on, the senator will fight with every fiber of his being to drive Omar off the committee. We pray for him to become the Shomer he has always said he is.”



Dems to Redefine Hate Crime as ‘Disagreeing with Ilhan Omar About Anything’ (satire)

Claiming that existing language did not go far enough to protect victims of racism and Islamophobia, House Democrats have passed a bill redefining the term “hate crime” to include “any criticism of, or disagreement with, Representative Ilhan Omar.”

The bill comes after Omar’s description of the September 11 attacks as “some people did something” sparked outrage and led to criticism that she showed a lack of sensitivity towards victims of the attacks. Her defenders, however, said these criticisms led to death threats against the Congresswoman.

“Clearly, there could only be one reason that someone would criticize an elected member of Congress, and that is sheer bigotry,” Representative Ro Khanna said on the House floor. “No criticism of Congresswoman Omar’s religious beliefs, her actions, or her political views will be tolerated.”

After initially resisting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to bring the bill to the floor after several progressive party members threatened to lock themselves in their rooms until she agreed to do so. For some freshman lawmakers, however, the bill does not go far enough.
University of North Carolina Condemns ‘Disturbing, Hateful Language’ After Palestinian Rapper Performs Self-Described ‘Antisemitic Song’
The interim chancellor of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has rebuked a recent campus performance by a Palestinian rapper who sang a self-described “antisemitic song” and asked audience members to invoke Mel Gibson when participating.

Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar of the hip hop group DAM performed at UNC on the evening of March 22, as part of a 3-day academic conference on the Gaza Strip. The conference was sponsored by the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, and co-sponsored by multiple departments.

“This is my antisemitic song,” Nafar was recorded saying in a clip shared by filmmaker Ami Horowitz.

“Let’s try it together,” the rapper said while encouraging audience members to join him. “I need your help, I cannot be antisemitic alone.”


New York Times Suggests “Terrorist” Label for Israel
These contorted paragraphs are a prime example of how the newspaper’s preoccupation with casting Israel in a negative light comes at the expense of a well-informed public. Straightforward coverage of the U.S. decision about the Revolutionary Guard would leave readers with a clear understanding of the American criteria for designating Foreign Terrorist Organizations, would forthrightly describe the U.S. justification for applying the designation to Iran, and would not mislead about the State Department’s policy direction.

CAMERA’s billboard outside the New York Times building calls out the newspaper’s biased and inflammatory coverage.

What’s the actual criteria for designating a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), if not use of violence by intelligence services? The Foundation for Defense of Democracies explains that
U.S. law defines “terrorism” as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” To be designated as an FTO under U.S. law, a foreign organization must engage in terrorism or terrorist activities that “threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States.”

That’s easy enough. And easy enough for a Times reporter to research. The passages in quotes come directly from the US Code. Similar language appears on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations web page, which notes that in order to be listed, an organization must engage in “terrorist activity or terrorism” and “must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security … of the United States.”

That’s why use of violence by, for example, a French intelligence agency doesn’t put that agency at risk for being designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The U.S. didn’t view their use of force as terrorism, and doesn’t regard their ally’s actions as threatening American security. The same goes for Israeli intelligence — which works closely with American intelligence agencies.
Jewish Canadian mayor: ban on wearing religious symbols 'ethnic cleansing'
The Jewish mayor of a Canadian town compared a proposed bill that would bar religious symbols on some public workers to “ethnic cleansing.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked William Steinberg, mayor since 2005 of the affluent town of Hampstead in Montreal’s west end, to apologize for the remark.

“We shouldn’t use words like that,” Trudeau, who opposes the bill, told reporters in Ottawa last Friday. “We don’t need to go to extremes.”

Steinberg instead defended using the term, saying he meant “ethnic cleansing” only in a “non-violent” sense.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, B’nai Brith and human rights groups have denounced the proposed law as discriminatory and contrary to Canadian human rights charters, but polls consistently show most Quebecers supporting it by a healthy majority.
SpaceIL chief: ‘Beresheet 2 starts tomorrow, we’ll put our flag on the moon’
Following the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet’s failure to land safely on the moon this week, SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn on Saturday announced he was launching project Beresheet 2, effective immediately, adding: “We started something and we need to finish it. We’ll put our flag on the moon.”

The small spacecraft, the world’s first privately funded moon lander, crashed into the lunar surface Thursday night during an attempted landing, apparently due to a technical glitch that caused its main engine to stop mid-landing.

Appearing on Channel 12’s “Meet the Press,” South African-born billionaire Kahn said work on the successor to Beresheet would start Sunday.

“The response we’ve gotten has been amazing. The amount of thank yous and letters is amazing,” he said. “Over the weekend I’ve had time to think about what happened, and the truth is seeing all the encouragement and support from people all over the world is amazing.

“It gave me time to think and I thought it would be a shame to leave things like that. I’ve come to announce a new project: Beresheet 2. We started something and we need to finish it. We’ll put our flag on the moon.”

He added that “Project Beresheet 2 begins tomorrow… A mission team will be meeting tomorrow to start work.”


Space Industry Leaders Praise Israel’s SpaceIL for Beresheet Moon Mission
Astronauts and scientists at the US space agency NASA commended the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL for its efforts after its spacecraft “Beresheet” failed to land safely on the moon on Thursday.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit.”

“Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress,” he added. “I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements.”

Famed Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, wrote in a Twitter message to SpaceIL, “Never lose hope – your hard work, teamwork, and innovation is inspiring to all!” European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake expressed disappointment over Beresheet’s failed moon landing but said SpaceIL has “much to be proud of.”

Beresheet lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Feb. 22 and succeeded in entering the moon’s orbit, a feat only seven countries have accomplished. It is assumed that the aircraft crashed into the surface of the moon.
The forgotten female WWII-era spy who stayed silent under gruesome Nazi torture
Despite unimaginable torture by the Nazis, imprisonment in concentration camps and uncertainty over the fate of her lover and fellow spy, Allied agent Odette Sansom never betrayed the clandestine ring she was part of in occupied France during World War II.

While operating under the code name “Lise,” the French-born, British-residing Sansom helped aid the resistance in her homeland. Her actual name — which changed after the war during her several marriages — would be honored in the annals of espionage when she received the George Cross after the war. She was the first woman who had faced enemy fire to receive the honor, the second-highest award in the UK.

A posthumous UK postage stamp honoring her for her wartime service lists her as Odette Hallowes, the surname of her third husband.

While her exploits made her a celebrity in ensuing years, Sansom has become largely forgotten. A recently published book, “Code Name Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy,” by Larry Loftis, aims to set the record straight.

“It’s a story of a particular heroine whom 99 percent of people — 99 percent of WWII historians — probably don’t know who she is,” Loftis told The Times of Israel. “Her family is thrilled I wrote about her life.”
Scottish Rescuer of Jewish Children From Holocaust to Be Honored in Budapest
A church missionary from Scotland who traveled to Hungary to help Jewish schoolchildren during the Second World War will be commemorated this weekend at a special ceremony in Budapest.

Jane Haining, a native of Dumfriesshire, was captured by the Nazi authorities, who deported her to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland where she later perished.

Haining was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 for harboring more than 400 children, the majority Jewish orphans, at the Scottish Mission School in Budapest.

When WWII began, Haining refused to return home to Scotland, choosing to stay with the children. She wrote: “If these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness?”

In 2010, she was posthumously awarded a Hero of the Holocaust medal by the British government. Photographs, a video, letters, a copy of her handwritten last will and testament and her Hero of the Holocaust Medal are on display at the church in her hometown of Dunscore.

Haining is also the only Scot to be honored as “righteous among the nations” – the term used for non-Jews who risked their lives to protect Jews from extermination – by Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem.



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          John Pilger: Assange Arrest A Warning From History       Comment   Translate Page      

via John Pilger,

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi-fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilization.” The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, The Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years.” The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

Revealing Homicidal Colonial Wars

When Assange was still trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy, Harding joined police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.” The Guardian then published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published …. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.”

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the exposé of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It is all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive. On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what The Guardian calls truthful “things,” what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?

What is to stop the editors of The New York Times and The Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of The New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Journalism: a Major Threat

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defense in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake — if there are others — are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia …. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did. The rest, she might have added, is history.

*  *  *

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist and filmmaker based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. In 2017, the British Library announced a John Pilger Archive of all his written and filmed work. The British Film Institute includes his 1979 film, “Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia,” among the 10 most important documentaries of the 20thcentury. Some of his previous contributions to Consortium News can be found here


          Trump Painting Himself Into A Corner With Israel      Comment   Translate Page      

On Monday, President Donald Trump designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, the first time the United States has designated part of another nation’s government as such a threat. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist group. With 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria, […]

The post Trump Painting Himself Into A Corner With Israel appeared first on Liberty News Now.


          Tell Congress: The Golan Heights does not belong to Israel!      Comment   Translate Page      

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pressuring the U.S. to support Israel's illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights. Accordingly, President Trump has announced that the U.S. will now recognize this as Israeli territory, and some Republican Congressmen have introduced legislation that would make it law.

Please contact your representatives by filling out the form below. Tell them to oppose House of Representatives bill H.R. 1372 and Senate bill S.567


          Syria reports Israeli airstrike on military position      Comment   Translate Page      
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Syrian media report air defenses activated outside Hama; Syrian opposition claims strikes hit missile development center; Iranians killed, multiple wounded.
          Shamima Begum was cruel enforcer in Isil's morality police, say Syrian eyewitnesses      Comment   Translate Page      
From the Telegraph and the Mail on SundayShamima Begum, the Bethnal Green schoolgirl, served in the Islamic State s morality police and also tried to recruit other young women to join the jihadist group, well placed sources have told the Telegraph. She was allowed to carry a Kalashnikov rifle and earned a reputation as a strict enforcer of Isil s laws, such as dress codes for women, sources claimed. The claims are at odds with Miss Begum s own account of her four years with the group, which she joined at the age of just 15. Miss Begum, now aged 19, has insisted she was never involved in Isil s brutality but spent her time in Syria as a devoted housewife to a jihadist fighter.Details of Miss Begum s alleged role in Isil have come from two separate sources, including an anti Isil activist group Sound and Picture, whose members lived under the jihadists rule and closely followed its members. Some of the information has been confirmed by Western intelligence, which is understood to be...
          4/13/19      Comment   Translate Page      
WATCH: After Netanyahu’s victory, will Israel annex towns in Judea and Samaria? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to annex Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria if he won reelection, but with the elections over, will he be able to fulfill this campaign promise?

Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election may doom the two-state solution Analysis: "Israeli sovereignty over all the Israeli settlements would make it impossible to create a Palestinian state," one expert said.

Pompeo denies Netanyahu's promise to annex West Bank will hurt ‘peace plan’ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he doesn’t think Benjamin Netanyahu's election vow to annex the West Bank will have a negative impact on a two-state peace plan, despite the removal of a large part of one state.

For Palestinians the two-state solution was dead long before Netanyahu win Analysts say the prospect of establishing an independent Palestinian state was consistently frustrated by Israel while the solution failed to address key grievances.

Trump warns Putin of US umbrella over Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria Tehran had no reason to expect Russian Pantsir, S-300 or S-400 air defense missiles to begin knocking out the Israeli aircraft targeting Iranian military sites in Syria.

'Death to Israel' shouted as Iranians protest IRGC blacklist Thousands chant “death to America” and “death to Israel” as they protest US decision to blacklist Revolutionary Guards.

An Arab NATO in the making Saudi Arabia plays host to high-level officials from US, Gulf states and Jordan as it prepares to launch Middle East Strategic Alliance - a new body designed to counter Iran's influence in the region.

What is next for Turkey after the local elections? The economy, the Syrian crisis and air defence will be among the top priorities of the Erdogan administration.

Shame, sadness in UK as Brexit reveals Parliament's flaws The hidden flaws in Britain's political system have been laid bare and even televised worldwide since voters chose to leave the European Union three years ago.

How Iran can solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Iran has openly stated its goal of eliminating Israel.


          THANKS, W!:      Comment   Translate Page      
Algeria in revolt: "We woke up and you will pay!": The abdication of President Bouteflika is a historic victory for the Algerian people -- but the struggle for a true democratic transition is far from over. (Hamza Hamouchene, 12 April 2019, Open Democracy)

Nine years ago, Algeria seemed to be immune to this revolutionary fever and was viewed as the exception to the rule, despite harboring the same set of conditions for revolt. At the time, the government suggested that Algeria already had its "spring" over two decades earlier, referring to the short-lived democratic transition following weeks of demonstrations in October 1988 that forced the regime to give way to political pluralism and an independent press. However, these gains in civil liberties and the "democratic transition" were aborted by the military coup and the civil war of the 1990s.

In addition to ongoing forms of repression, collective memories of hundreds of thousands of deaths and brutal state violence underpinning the eradication of the Islamist opposition may help explain the failure of an uprising to take root in Algeria during the 2010-2011 period. The spectre of the civil war and the fear of bloody violence have been further exacerbated by the intervention in Libya, the counter-revolution in Egypt and the carnage and foreign interference in Syria.

Additionally, oil and gas revenues -- which prices peaked in the late 2000s -- were used to purchase social peace domestically and to secure international acquiescence. Domestically, the hydrocarbon bonanza was used to pacify the population and prevent the intensification of popular anger. Externally, by virtue of being the third largest provider of natural gas to Europe after Russia and Norway, and given the dwindling production in the North Sea and the Ukrainian crisis, Algeria hoped it could leverage this position to play an even more important role in securing Europe's energy supplies, and by extension Western collusion and approval.

These factors do no longer constitute a brake on people's desire for meaningful change as popular discontent from below converged with a deep crisis within the ruling classes leading to the indignation of the oppressed to burst forth and find its expression in the streets.

Algeria has been undergoing an acute multi-dimensional crisis for some time now. The country has been experiencing a political crisis for decades -- in particular since the 1992 military coup and the ensuing brutal civil war. The origins of this crisis date back to the colonial era, though its most recent manifestations are the direct result of the politics of a parasitic accumulation and entrenched corruption: a militaro-oligarchic nexus that denies the Algerian people their right to self-determination and dispenses with popular legitimacy for the benefit of domestic and international capital.

This crisis has been exacerbated by several factors, not in the least by the ailing Bouteflika's general absence from the political stage. The crisis has been compounded by intra-elite power struggles, culminating in the fall of Algeria's long-term king maker, the Military Intelligence Agency (DRS) Chief in 2015 and the cocaine scandal of 2018, which led to the sacking of the head of police, a few generals and other high functionaries in the Ministry of Defense.

In a context of the failure of the institutionalized opposition and social movements to articulate and carry out a viable alternative, we predicted in 2016 that the slump in oil prices may just hammer the final nail in the coffin of a rentier, non-productive and de-industrialized economy that is highly dependent on oil and gas exports, the main source of foreign currency.....With the oil prices plummeting and with foreign currency reserves (estimated at $179 billion at the end of 2014) deemed to not last beyond 2016-2017, the 1988 experience could easily be replicated and the crisis has the potential to escalate into a full explosion that will threaten the country's national security and possibly its territorial integrity.

The recent events come at a time of an acute economic crisis characterized by crippling austerity measures following the decline of oil and gas export revenues, coupled with an intensification of infighting and divisions within the ruling elites after the imposition of the candidacy of Bouteflika for a fifth term at the helm of the state.

The triad of power consisting of the presidency, military intelligence (DRS) and the armed forces' high command showed its first signs of weakness in 2008 when the DRS started clashing with the two other centers of power. In 2019 the split was complete, when the decisive entrance of the people unto the political stage effectively forced the armed forces' high command to distance itself from the presidency. The military clearly intervened to put an end to Bouteflika's reign in order to safeguard the regime in place.

Such public displays of rivalry and dispute are symptomatic of the deep-seated contradictions and instability of the current ruling block and the crisis of hegemony within it, which has opened up new spaces for resistance.

This is a significant moment in the popular dynamic that started in February 2019 as this is only one victory in the long struggle for radical change that must include the overthrow of Major General Gaid Salah too; a key loyal figure in Bouteflika's regime and a supporter of his fifth term before backtracking under the pressure of the growing popular movement. The army leadership is definitely not to be trusted, as was made clear by Major General Salah's initial threats towards movement before adopting a more conciliatory tone. The Algerian people need to be more vigilant and determined than ever in order to halt the counter-revolutionary forces from hijacking this historic uprising.

Now that Bouteflika resigned, it is absolutely necessary to implement a truly democratic transition, and the people should not yield to calls for applying article 102 of the constitution, which would allow the leader of the upper house to take over and to organize elections in 90 days after the presidency has been declared vacant by the constitutional council (as the incumbent is too ill to exercise his functions).

Basically, if applied to the letter, this will keep the current system in place and will not guarantee free and transparent elections. The people are asking for popular sovereignty which cannot be curtailed by rigid legalistic and constitutionalist arguments. This is a unique moment in Algeria's history to impose a new revolutionary paradigm, which go beyond legal and constitutional frameworks in order to radically challenge the status quo and create a fundamental break with the oppressive system in place.

There are already several proposals to resolve the crisis and to initiate a kind of a transition that will satisfy peoples' demands and give them back their stifled sovereignty. The army command must not interfere with this process and must stick to its constitutional role of guaranteeing national security. Algerians did not revolt to replace some oppressors with others.

For this reason, the balance of forces must be shifted significantly towards the masses by maintaining the resistance (marches, occupations of public spaces, general strikes, etc) to force the army command to yield to people's demand for system change entailing the removal of the entire old political guard.

Converting the most brutal dictatorship in the region into a multi-confessional democracy demonstrated that no regime is immune.

          THE DISCIPLINE OF DEMOCRACY:      Comment   Translate Page      
What is next for Turkey after the local elections? (Fahrettin Altun, 4/13/19, Al Jazeera)

The People's Alliance - between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) - received over 53 percent of the national vote and maintained its popularity. Meanwhile, opposition candidates made some gains, notably in the capital Ankara. The mayorship in Istanbul is still contested and the Supreme Electoral Council, an independent legal body, is handling challenges as per Turkish law in a transparent fashion.

After Turkey wrapped up the municipal vote, for the first time in many years, it is entering a long election-free period that will last until 2023. In these four-and-a-half years, the Turkish presidency will focus on three main issues: the economy, the crisis in Syria and its defence capabilities.

On the home front, getting the Turkish economy back on track will be the administration's top priority. In recent months, Turkey experienced an unprecedented and potentially devastating economic assault that it managed to survive.

The lesson learned from that episode was that the Turkish government needed to take necessary steps to make the nation's economy more resilient to external shocks. By 2023, Turkey hopes to have strengthened its economy through export-driven growth, investment in technology and job creation.

Last week, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak unveiled the administration's plan for structural transformation, which places emphasis on strengthening Turkey's free market economy, implementing tax reforms and promoting a more just distribution of wealth.

Reiterating the country's commitment to fiscal discipline, Albayrak pledged to deliver debt securities worth $4.92bn to capitalise state banks and help private banks to raise their capital levels to address short-term issues. In the long run, the administration plans to introduce a new individual pension system based on income level. The Turkish government will unveil a plan to combat inflation on food prices next month.

Once you secure a revolution you have to deliver on its promises.

          Syria, Iran, Iraq mull linking railway network reports      Comment   Translate Page      
(MENAFN - Trend News Agency) Syria, Iran and Iraq plan to hold a trilateral meeting on the connection of their railway systems into one, a source in the Syrian Ministry of Transpor...
          Turkish attack on northern Syria: 10 people killed, 25 wounded      Comment   Translate Page      
(MENAFN) Ten people of which mostly were civilians were killed on Saturday following a Turkish attack in the Afrin region of northern Syria, according to a spokesman for the Kurdis...
          Dozen refugees freeze to death in Lebanon      Comment   Translate Page      
(MENAFN) Lebanese Civil Defense sources have said that due to a snowstorm in eastern Lebanon, the death toll of Syrian refugees who froze to death has risen to reach 12 people.The...
          Three injured in Israeli airstrike in Hama      Comment   Translate Page      
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) An Israeli airstrike on a military base in Syria's Hama province early Saturday injured three people, Syrian state media reported. State news agency SANA, ci...
           Comment on Wanna Buy a Newspaper? Turn Key Cornwall Regional Eyeballs – CFN FOR SALE by jules       Comment   Translate Page      
Hugger you have insulted me a great many times and I don't get all upset like what you do but instead I laugh it all off because I know where it comes from. LOL LOL ROLF! I have been very much abused as a child and I just read a column a while ago about a little Syrian refugee girl who committed suicide over bullying in Calgary AB and I went through that as a child and I cried to hubby.
          John Pilger: Assange Arrest A Warning From History       Comment   Translate Page      

via John Pilger,

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi-fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilization.” The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, The Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years.” The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

Revealing Homicidal Colonial Wars

When Assange was still trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy, Harding joined police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.” The Guardian then published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published …. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.”

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the exposé of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It is all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive. On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what The Guardian calls truthful “things,” what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?

What is to stop the editors of The New York Times and The Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of The New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Journalism: a Major Threat

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defense in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake — if there are others — are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia …. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did. The rest, she might have added, is history.

*  *  *

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist and filmmaker based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. In 2017, the British Library announced a John Pilger Archive of all his written and filmed work. The British Film Institute includes his 1979 film, “Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia,” among the 10 most important documentaries of the 20thcentury. Some of his previous contributions to Consortium News can be found here


          Rep. Omar Virtue Signals With "No Ban Act" - Except Obama's Travel Bans Were 16x That Of Trump's      Comment   Translate Page      

Via SaraCarter.com,

As Democrats prepare to introduce ‘No Ban Act’ legislation to end what they say is President Donald Trump’s racist Muslim ban they should take a moment to read the new Government Accountability Office report issued Thursday. It shows that under President Obama the travel ban rate for security reasons in 2015 was 16 times higher than under Trump in 2017 based on the one year data that was available to GAO.

It also indicates a very significant finding: that the Trump administration’s executive orders not only did not increase its refusal rate -for terrorism and security related reasons- but it was lower for the respective years studied.

GAO’s analysis indicates that, out of the nearly 2.8 million NIV applications refused in fiscal year 2017, 1,338 applications were refused specifically due to visa entry restrictions implemented per the executive actions,” stated the report.

In fact, the nonimmigrant visa refusal rate rose under Obama’s tenure from about “14 percent in fiscal year 2012 to about 22 percent in fiscal year 2016, and remained about the same in fiscal year 2017; averaging about 18 percent over the time period,” according to the report. “The total number of NIVs issued peaked in fiscal year 2015 at about 10.89 million, before falling in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 to 10.38 million and 9.68 million, respectively.”

For example, in 2015, “CBP data showed that it identified and interdicted over 22,000 high-risk air travelers through these programs” according to the most recent data available at the time of GAO’s report it stated.

ONLY 1,338 VISA APPLICATIONS WERE REFUSED BECAUSE OF THE PRESIDENT TRUMP’S VISA ENTRY RESTRICTIONS FOR PEOPLE FROM CERTAIN COUNTRIES IN 2017 – THESE REFUSALS WERE TERRORISM OR SECURITY RELATED CONCERNS.

Nonimmigrant visa’s are those issued to foreign nationals seeking admission into the United States. Some examples are visas issued to tourists, students and businessmen seeking temporary status.

According to the GAO, “the number of adjudications peaked at about 13.4 million in fiscal year 2016, and decreased by about 880,000 adjudications in fiscal year 2017.”

State Department Stats

From the time period above, the State Department denied roughly 18 percent of adjudicated applications “of which more than 90 percent were because the applicant did not qualify for the visa sought” and only “0.05 percent were due to terrorism and security-related concerns.”

The report noted that previous successful and attempted terrorist attacks against the United States raised questions about the U.S. vetting system. One example listed in the report was the December 2015, terrorist attack in  San Bernardino, California, which led to the deaths of 14 people with dozens more injured. One of the attackers was admitted into the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, stated the report.

Lack of Vetting 

President Trump issued his executive travel ban in 2017 based on the apparent lack of vetting and what some security analysts described as an “open gateway” for applicants from nations affiliated with terrorist organizations.

“Trump’s ban was not targeting Muslims it was using common sense to keep dangerous persons from entering the country through the visa system based on factual evidence of past attempted attacks and ones that we couldn’t stop,” said a DHS official, who was not authorized to speak to the media.

“The failure was that system tied the hands of adjudicators in many cases – they just didn’t have all the information necessary to appropriately vet those entering the United States,” the DHS official added. “For nations like Syria, Libya and Yemen it’s almost impossible to know the intentions of those being vetted because those nations are not stable or have well functioning governments.”

The report noted that an August 2018, analysis of State data “indicates that relatively few applicants— approximately 0.05 percent—were refused for terrorism and other security-related reasons from fiscal years 2012 through 2017.”

It also shows that in 2017, under President Trump there was not a significant increase in refusals because State Department “data indicate that 1,256 refusals (or 0.05 percent) were based on terrorism and other security-related concerns, of which 357 refusals were specifically for terrorism-related reasons.”

From 2012 To 2017 Most NIVS Were Denied For Reasons Other Than Security or Terrorism

State data indicate that more than 90 percent of NIVs refused each year from fiscal years 2012 through 2017 were based on the consular officers’ determination that the applicants were ineligible nonimmigrants—in other words, the consular officers believed that the applicant was an intending immigrant seeking to stay permanently in the United States, which would generally violate NIV conditions, or that the applicant otherwise failed to demonstrate eligibility for the particular visa he or she was seeking. For example, an applicant applying for a student visa could be refused as an ineligible nonimmigrant for failure to demonstrate possession of sufficient funds to cover his or her educational expenses, as required.

Under former President Obama the numbers were much higher. For example, “in fiscal year 2015 DHS’s predeparture programs stopped 22,000 high-risk travelers from entering the country.”

The Numbers and and Ilhan Omar’s “No Ban Act”

The numbers are important. Why? Because some Democrats, led by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, have introduced “The No Ban Act,”  which directly targets the Trump administration’s travel ban policy. The policy prevents persons from nations such as Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia from entering the country. The reason being, is that the majority of these nations do not have a functioning government capable of documenting or clearing those traveling to the United States and concern that some of these countries are safe-havens for terrorist organizations, as listed by the State Department. 

Last year, Trump’s third executive travel ban order was upheld in a 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the majority opinion, noted that the president was within his authority to impose the ban. Trump based the ban on extensive national security concerns regarding travelers from these nations.

Roberts opinion noted it was not the court’s place to pass judgment on Trump’s previous comments during the campaign regarding immigrants.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, wrote the dissenting opinion, and said Trump’s comments targeting Muslims should have been the reason to strike down his travel ban.

Omar’s bill, however, will face a steep battle in Congress and the Senate. It would effectively end Trump’s policies to limit entry from these unstable and mostly ungoverned nations. It would also limit the government ability to conduct extreme vetting of immigrants who attempt to comet to the U.S. from countries designated as a threat because of ties to terrorism.

Here’s what Omar had to say: 

“The Muslim ban is a moral stain on our country’s history,” Omar said.

“Proud to have joined my colleagues in introducing the #NoBanAct yesterday to put an end to this discriminatory ban,” Omar said on Twitter.

Omar could not be immediately reached for comment.

*  *  *

GAO FOUND

  • About 2.8 million nonimmigrant visa applications were refused in fiscal year 2017—over 90% of which were because the applicant di 0.05% of applications were refused for security-related concerns

  • 1,338 visa applications were refused because of the President’s visa entry restrictions for people from certain countries.

  • In fiscal year 2015 DHS’s predeparture programs stopped 22,000 high-risk travelers from entering the country

FROM THE GAO

In August 2018, GAO reported that the total number of nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applications that Department of State (State) consular officers adjudicated annually increased from fiscal years 2012 through 2016, but decreased in fiscal year 2017 (the most recent data available at the time of GAO’s report).

GAO’S ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT, OUT OF THE NEARLY 2.8 MILLION NIV APPLICATIONS REFUSED IN FISCAL YEAR 2017, 1,338 APPLICATIONS WERE REFUSED SPECIFICALLY DUE TO VISA ENTRY RESTRICTIONS IMPLEMENTED PER THE EXECUTIVE ACTIONS.

NIVs are issued to foreign nationals, such as tourists, business visitors, and students, seeking temporary admission into the United States. The number of adjudications peaked at about 13.4 million in fiscal year 2016, and decreased by about 880,000 adjudications in fiscal year 2017. State refused about 18 percent of adjudicated applications during this time period, of which more than 90 percent were because the applicant did not qualify for the visa sought and 0.05 percent were due to terrorism and security-related concerns. In 2017, two executive orders and a proclamation issued by the President required, among other actions, visa entry restrictions for nationals of certain listed countries of concern. GAO’s analysis indicates that, out of the nearly 2.8 million NIV applications refused in fiscal year 2017, 1,338 applications were refused specifically due to visa entry restrictions implemented per the executive actions.

Nonimmigrant Visa Adjudications, Fiscal Years 2012 through 2017

In January 2017, GAO reported that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operates predeparture programs to help identify and interdict high-risk travelers before they board U.S.- bound flights. CBP officers inspect all U.S.-bound travelers on those flights that are precleared at the 15 Preclearance locations at foreign airports—which serve as U.S. ports of entry—and, if deemed inadmissible, a traveler will not be permitted to board the aircraft. CBP also operates nine Immigration Advisory Program and two Joint Security Program locations, as well as three Regional Carrier Liaison Groups, through which CBP may recommend that air carriers not permit identified high-risk travelers to board U.S.-bound flights.

CBP Data High Risk

CBP data showed that it identified and interdicted over 22,000 high-risk air travelers through these programs in fiscal year 2015 (the most recent data available at the time of GAO’s report). While CBP tracked some data, such as the number of travelers deemed inadmissible, it had not fully evaluated the overall effectiveness of these programs. GAO recommended that CBP develop a system of performance measures and baselines to better position CBP to assess program performance. As of December 2018, CBP set preliminary performance targets for fiscal year 2019, and plans to set targets for future fiscal years by October 31, 2019. GAO will continue to review CBP’s actions to address this recommendation.

Why GAO Did This Study

Previous attempted and successful terrorist attacks against the United States have raised questions about the security of the U.S. government’s screening and vetting processes for NIVs. State manages the visa adjudication process. DHS seeks to identify and interdict travelers who are potential security threats to the United States, such as foreign fighters and potential terrorists, human traffickers, drug smugglers and otherwise inadmissible persons, at the earliest possible point in time. DHS also has certain responsibilities for strengthening the security of the visa process. In 2017, the President issued executive actions directing agencies to improve visa screening and vetting, and establishing nationality-based visa entry restrictions, which the Supreme Court upheld in June 2018.

This statement addresses (1) data and information on NIV adjudications and (2) CBP programs aimed at preventing high-risk travelers from boarding U.S.-bound flights. This statement is based on prior products GAO issued in January 2017 and August 2018, along with selected updates conducted in December 2018 to obtain information from DHS on actions it has taken to address a prior GAO recommendation.

What GAO Recommends

GAO previously recommended that CBP evaluate the effectiveness of its predeparture programs. DHS agreed with GAO’s recommendation and CBP has actions under way to address it.

Click here for GAO Report...


          [Once-great Britain / Burden of Damascus: Exploding muslims get stitched up] May told ’ISIS bride Shamima Begum stitched Jihadis into suicide vests'      Comment   Translate Page      
May told ’ISIS bride Shamima Begum stitched Jihadis into suicide vests'

By Anders Anglesey / Published 14th April 2019
... An intelligence source told the publication: “She was involved and her former comrades have grassed her. She was literally stitching the vests, stitching them into the vests.” ...
More on the snitched-on sitcher at Daily Star

# Sharia Begum?

Shamima Begum was cruel enforcer in Isil's morality police, say Syrian witnesses

Josie Ensor and Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter
13 April 2019
... She was allowed to carry a Kalashnikov rifle and earned a reputation as a strict “enforcer” of Isil’s laws, such as dress codes for women, sources claimed. ...
More enforcement allegations at The Telegraph
          I’m Jumping Off the Trump Train: Assange Was the Last Straw      Comment   Translate Page      


I’m Jumping Off the Trump Train: Assange Was the Last Straw

I’m Jumping Off the Trump Train: Assange Was the Last Straw


On March 6, 2016, this Deplorable issued a statement formally endorsing Donald J. Trump for the presidency of the United State.
I now hereby withdraw that endorsement.
No doubt this declaration from your Working Boy will be greeted with the same deafening indifference as my earlier less than earth-shattering announcement of support.
Keep calm. The planet will continue to spin on its axis at a 23.44 degree tilt.
As I tweeted on April 4, when it appeared that Ecuadorian President Lenín [sic] Moreno was going to cough up Julian Assange:
“If this comes to pass & #JulianAssange is brought to #US in chains like a Gaulish chieftain in a Roman triumph can we definitively declare that any possible #Trump revolution is over & the #DeepState won?”
A quick perusal of social media since Assange’s arrest shows that many others have reached a similar conclusion.
But why? To be sure, there have been other betrayals. The two strikes on Syria on phony chemical warfare accusations come immediately to mind. Or Trump’s failure to build the Mexican wall, coupled with repeated humiliating defeats in Congress with the predictability of Charlie Brown’s getting suckered by Lucy into trying to kick the football.
At the same time there were excuses. On Syria, maybe the President was fed false intelligence. Or maybe Ivanka was upsetDaaaddyyy, you have to dooo something! Or maybe Trump knew the CW accusations against Damascus were fake but felt he had to act (an ominous sign in itself) to deflect charges of being Putin’s puppet, hence what could be deemed deliberately pinprick pro forma strikes. On the wall, well you can’t trust lawyers’ advice, he just doesn’t understand his legal authority well enough, or maybe he…
But the Assange arrest and his upcoming renditi– – oops! – extradition to the United States are different.  There’s no nuance. No excuse. No false intel report. No poor legal advice.
It’s plain and simple. The same entities (Deep State, permanent government, the oligarchy, the Borg, whatever term you like) that targeted Trump with the phony Russia collusion narrative  want Assange’s scalp nailed to the wall. It’s one thing for favored outlets like the Washington Post and CNN to disseminate classified information that favors the Deep State, quite another to reveal information contrary to its interests. As the premier dispenser of embarrassing secrets that facilitates online dissidence from the established narrative (also under attack by governments and their tech giant accomplices) an example must be made of Assange pour encourager les autres. He can count on being sentenced to rotting for decades in a nasty Office Space federal prison (the US will gladly waive the death penalty to spare the Brits’ prissy Euro-consciences) but may very well die soon enough of natural causes, perhaps like Slobodan Milošević.
An essential role in Assange’s betrayal by Moreno was played by Trump’s Veep Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Former President Rafael Correa says a direct condition of Moreno’s getting a $4.2 billion IMF loan was Assange’s head on a platter. That’s a lot more plausible than establishment media reports that Assange was ejected for transgressing the Ecuadorians’ fastidious hygiene standards, which (whether based in fact or not) are just cynical defamations to justify his upcoming lynching.
It’s irrelevant whether Trump – who theoretically is the boss of all US agency operatives working with their Brit colleagues to get their mitts on Assange – let the nab go forward because he was unwilling to order his minions to stand down or was powerless to do so. In that regard, it’s similar to pointlessly asking why he has the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad national security team he does. Is it because of “Javanka”? Is it because he’s beholden to a gaggle of oligarchs? (Supposedly his being a self-financed billionaire made him immune from such influences.)  Is it areflection of a personality disorder?
In the end it doesn’t matter why, all that matters is what is. With Assange’s arrest Trump is now exposed as the wholly owned subsidiary of the Swamp he ran against.  He’s now just a wheel fixed to an axle. All he can do now is it spin.
In my 2016 endorsement I asked the questions – only questions, not predictions – of what Trump might hopefully accomplish:
‘Can we trust Trump? Will he build his wall and secure our borders? Renovate our deteriorating infrastructure? Restore our manufacturing base? Audit the Federal Reserve and defenestrate the banksters? Restore the GOP’s long-lost reputation (now hardly remembered by anyone) as the “Peace Party” that got us out of wars the Democrats started? Sign a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, as long as they continue to perform abortions (which they will)? Exclude actual or potential Islamic terroristsDump our freeloading so-called “allies”? Cease the PC trashing of every tradition in which Americans once took pride? Reunite a nation sundered by Barack Obama and the GOP mandarins, with their divide et impera Punch and Judy show of class and racial discord?
‘Can Trump really “Make America Great Again”? Or at least slow our decline and give our country another chance?
‘I don’t know.  But I do know that none of the more mannerly politicians served up by the oligarchy will.
“Trust not in princes…” (Ps. 146:3) Neither Trump nor any other politician should be accepted on blind faith. Who really can say if Trump can win or if he does how he would govern. Who can say what’s really in his mind and heart or if, in God’s eyes, he’s a good man or a bad one. But given the dire warning from the likes of Mitt Romney, I like the odds with Trump better than with any of the available alternatives. When the character of his enemies is considered – particularly Warfare State neoconservatives (some of whom at least have the honesty to defect openly to Hillary) – my willingness to gamble on him only increases.’
Even in retrospect it was then a gamble worth taking, indeed the only responsible choice given the horrifying alternative. More, given what Trump promised that departed from the usual nonsense served up by the GOP, the fact that Trump got the nomination instead of the NPCs on the shelf was itself perhaps a sign of that the historic American nation still had a fighting chance.
As for what we hoped he might deliver to “Make America Great Again,” we can see now that the answers to all of the above questions are and will remain an emphatic No. Sure, we got a marginally better tax bill passed, something that any Republican White House and Congress would have done. He may have made minor progress on trade.  If we are really lucky, he’ll get another Supreme Court pick and Roe v. Wade will be overturned – marvelous to be sure, but it won’t same this country.
Trump has utterly failed to control the border, much less deal with related issues like remittances, birthright citizenship, and aliens illegally voting. As retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor observes: “Surely, Trump should have concluded by now that without an Executive Order that commits the U.S. Army to the defense of the southern border and limits cross-border traffic to legitimate commercial activity, mass illegal immigration will not stop… In a word, Trump refuses to take command and match rhetoric with action, then he will join the pantheon of failed presidents that promised the world only, this time, the American Republic’s existence hangs in the balance.”
Unfortunately, Trump’s appointees – uniformly neoconservatives, Bush-era warmongers, and GOP apparatchiki – have better things for our military to do than defending our own country, to which they are at best indifferent. We can be thankful that Trump hasn’t started any new wars, yet, but his underlings’ dogged commitment to regime change in Venezuela and Iran may change that. His outreach to North Korea hangs by a thread in the face of blatant attempts to sabotage it.
One hopes that at least some animal-level gut instinct will preclude Trump’s crossing that dark river and ruining what’s left of his presidency as George W. Bush did in Iraq. If his lunatics are reckless enough to stumble us into a war with Russia, Trump’s reelection will be the least of anyone’s concerns.
Even without a war his remaining time in office will not be the revival of America that he promised. Let’s keep in mind that for many decades now transformative Democratic presidents have not left this country the same way they found it: FDR, LBJ, Clinton, Obama. By contrast, Republican presidents’ tenures have been at best plateaus along our decline (Eisenhower, Reagan) or positively contributed (Nixon, the two Bushes) to the march of what the Left regards as “Progress” toward their abolition of the historic America and birth of a dystopian Cultural Marxist dictatorship of victims: a borderless, multiethnic, multilingual, multireligious, multisexual, ahistorical, fake country.
Perhaps the saddest thing is that even if he survives in office until the 2020 vote (and he might not) Trump still will almost certainly be the lesser of two evils, in the manner to which we have become accustomed. Despite his no longer representing a threat to the Swamp, the critters will continue to hate him anyway as an avatar of the America they seek to destroy: European ethnicity, Christian (culturally if not spiritually or morally), English-speaking, toxically masculine. He might even win, given the Wall Street and Democratic Socialist Democrats’ ripping each others’ guts out and the solid 35 to 40 percent of the folks who think from Trump’s tweets and stump speeches he’s actually delivering on his promises.
Either way, though, the outcome will be the same. The man who had what is almost certainly to have been the last peaceful, political chance save what’s left of the American republic will thrash around for a few more years, having become little more than a catalyst for our nation’s demise and perhaps its dissolution.
This is not to say that there is no hope. Maybe tomorrow Trump will pardon Assange. Maybe he’ll decide to militarize the Mexican border. Maybe he’ll fire his whole national security team and, for good measure, pull us out of Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq – and NATO. Maybe Barr really will hold the FISA miscreants to account. Maybe…
…maybe there will be an outpouring of miracles that match the one that occurred when Trump improbably was elected in the first place. But as is the case with miracles, the odds are not good.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

          In Iraq, as US Influence Ebbs, Iran's Flows      Comment   Translate Page      
March 31, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson – NEO) – In the dead of Christmas night last year, to evade possibly being shot down, US President Donald Trump made a surprise, whirlwind visit to US troops in Iraq.
He visited Al Asad Air Base about 100 miles west of Baghdad in Al Anbar province, or about halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border where US forces are also operating. Between Al Asad and Baghdad are the notorious cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, hotbeds of resistance after the 2003 US invasion, and since then, hotbeds of extremism fueling the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.
The base is home to about 5,000 US service members.
As in Syria, America’s presence in Iraq seems to be clinging to areas where extremism and separatism are greatest. In many instances, it is the US openly and deliberately encouraging both, especially in Kurdish territory stretching over both nations, but also in areas dominated by Sunni Muslims where extremist fronts like Al Qaeda and IS believe they can find support.
The fact that President Trump visited American forces in the dead of night, meeting no one from the actual Iraqi military or government, helps illustrate the increasingly isolated position the US holds in Iraq.
While the US claims it is fighting extremists from Syria to Iraq and beyond, with Syrian, Russian, Iranian and Iraqi forces clearing these extremists out of virtually all corners of Syria and Iraq except where US forces occupy, it seems the US isn’t fighting extremism, it is cultivating it.
Enter Iran
Several months later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made his first official visit to Iraq. His trip brought him to the center of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. There he met with top representatives of the Iraqi government including Iraqi President Barham Salih. He also travelled through the city to visit Al-Kadhimiya Mosque, a particularly important pilgrimage site for Shia’a Muslims.
President Rouhani had previously commented on Trump’s swooping in at night and his failure to meet with any actual Iraqis in an open and official capacity. The Washington Post would quote President Rouhani as also stating:
“You have to walk in the streets of Baghdad … to find out how people will welcome you.”
In addition to meeting Iraqi representatives and leaders, and travelling through Baghdad, President Rouhani also signed agreements involving “oil and gas, land transport, railways, agriculture, industry, health and regarding the central bank,” the Washington Post would report.
French news portal France24 would note in their article, “Iraq attempts balancing act as Iran’s Rouhani arrives for first official visit,” that:
Last year, Iran’s exports to Iraq amounted to nearly $9 billion. Tehran hopes to increase the roughly $13 billion volume in trade between the two neighbouring countries to $20 billion. Also, some 5 million religious tourists bring in nearly $5 billion a year as Iraqis and Iranians visit Shiite holy sites in the two countries.
The article would note the growing ties between the two nations and the growing influence Iran has over Iraq in contrast to America’s ebbing presence there.
Iraq-Iran Ties are Built on Mutual Interests – US Ties are Built on Fabricated Threats 
The Trump-Rouhani visits and the stark contrast between the two illustrates another very important point.
President Trump would openly admit the US was in Iraq to “to watch Iran,” the New York Times would report.
The New York Times would also report:
Mr. Trump’s comments come as the United States has quietly been negotiating with Iraq for weeks to allow perhaps hundreds of American commandos and support troops now operating in Syria to shift to bases in Iraq and strike the Islamic State from there. Military leaders are seeking to maintain pressure on the militant group as the president fundamentally reorders policy toward Syria and toward Afghanistan, where peace talks with the Taliban are underway.
Yet there are serious problems with this claim. President Rouhani’s visit highlights Iran as a key ally for Iraq.
In terms of security, Iranian-backed militias helped rid Iraq as well as neighboring Syria of Al Qaeda, its affiliates and IS.
And as just pointed out, Iran is also a key economic partner for Iraq.
The US on the other hand has little to offer in terms of security or economics. Its presence in Iraq to allegedly fight extremists it and its regional allies themselves helped fund and arm in the first place, only adds to Iraq’s many security challenges.
In terms of economics, while the US provides Iraq a large export market, it is a market still dwarfed by China and India. It is also smaller than the combined export market of Iraq’s major European trade partners. The geographical proximity of Iraq and Iran to one another means deeper and more practical economic ties can be developed than anything on offer by the US, if economic partnership was actually one of Washington’s goals.
By President Trump’s own admission, the US is in Iraq not to assist it in any way, but to use it for Washington’s own self-serving agenda regarding neighboring Iran. Since the United States and its Persian Gulf allies have nothing of significant value to offer Iraq in terms of real security or economics, it is instead playing a diplomatic balancing act where it associates with and radicalizes Sunni communities, then poses as combating the terrorism that predictably results.
It is a balancing act that is hardly sustainable, especially opposite the significant security and economic benefits Iran can counter-offer Baghdad.
It is not hard to see why Iran’s influence in the Middle East continues to flow, despite being targeted by the US through an array of subversive measures, while US influence in the region ebbs despite having a clear advantage in terms of resources and military might.
It is also not hard to see the significance of remaining US bases in Iraq being in Kurdish areas or regions where extremism still persists. The US presence in Al Anbar, as pointed out as far back as 2017, along with supposed reconstruction aid offered by Washington’s Persian Gulf allies, all seems to point toward a strategy of growing an extremist threat to serve as a counterweight or spoiler against Iran’s constructive contributions to Iraq’s security situation and economic growth.
It is a strategy that will only further exhaust US credibility and resources, as well as those of its regional partners, all while forcing it opponents to expand further and dig in deeper, as Iran has been doing.
Despite claims that the biggest threats to US interests and national security are extremists in the Middle East, or even revisionist states like Russia and China, in truth, the United States’ biggest enemy is its own unsustainable foreign policy and the exhausting aggression that underpins it. Its ebbing influence in Iraq despite the trillions in dollars and many years invested there, serves as “exhibit A.”
Gunnar UIson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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          دروس في ذكرى الحرب اللبنانية      Comment   Translate Page      

أبريل 13, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– قبل أربعة وأربعين عاماً انطلقت الشرارة التي أشعلت حرباً امتدت لخمسة عشر عاماً في لبنان، قبل أن تنتهي باتفاق الطائف الذي أعاد ترسيم حدود التوازنات المحلية والإقليمية التي ستحكم لبنان الخارج من الحرب، والأكيد أن هذا الحدث اللبناني والعربي والإقليمي الكبير وما استدرجه من سياسات وتطوّرات كان الاجتياح الإسرائيلي عام 1982 أبرزها، وكان اتفاق السابع عشر من أيار لإنهاء علاقة لبنان بالصراع مع «إسرائيل»، برعاية أميركية مباشرة وحضور عسكري أميركي مباشر أحد أهم ملامحها الدولية والإقليمية، تحتاج إلى الكثير من الدراسة والبحث لفهم أسبابها العميقة، الأعمق والأبعد من فهم أطراف الحرب لسياق انخراطهم أو تورطهم فيها.

– الدرس الأهم الذي تقوله الحرب اللبنانية خصوصاً للجيل الذي انخرط في غمارها تحت شعارات اعتقد أن الحرب سبيله لتحقيقها، أن الحماسة والصدق لا يعوّضان عدم دقة الحسابات، وأن النيات الطيبة كثيراً ما تخدم في ساحات حساسة وفي لحظات حرجة مشاريع شريرة، فقد ثبت سوء الخيار وعقم الرهان، بعد سنوات من الحرب تكفلت بإحراق الأخضر واليابس وإيقاظ العصبيات والغرائز وتدمير العمران في الحجر والبشر، واستخلاف أجيال ولدت وترعرعت في ثقافة التعصب والقتل والجهل والعصبية على مصير وطن، تقاتل حول هويته ومستقبله قادة الحركة الطالبية والمثقفون والحالمون بالتغيير، كل على هواه ووفق رؤيته. وصار وقف الحرب أغلى من أي هدف يبرر استمرارها، وصار الثابت الوحيد أن الخط الأحمر الذي يجب أن يحكم كل مشروع سياسي حالم يميناً أو يساراً، هو عدم المجازفة بالسلم الأهلي، الذي صار كما المقاومة التي أدارت ظهرها للحرب الداخلية ومقتضيات الانخراط فيها، ثمرتان ذهبيتان يكفي الحفاظ عليهما إطاراً لأي مشروع سياسي جدي، يرى تحسين الأداء السياسي والإصلاح السياسي والتقدّم في بناء الدولة ومهماتها، أهدافاً نبيلة يقتضي الخوض فيها والسعي إليها مع الحذر من الوقوع في محظور المساس بإحدى هاتين الثمرتين أو إحداهما.

– تحتاج الحركات الاحتجاجية الناشئة في العالم العربي، سواء تلك التي اكتوت بخماسين الربيع العربي، أو تلك التي تختبر مشاريعها التغييرية الآن، إلى هذا الدرس ومثله درس ثانٍ حول كون الدولة، كهياكل لإدارة الشأن العام، بمعزل عن درجة صواب خياراتها السياسية الداخلية والخارجية، منجزاً حضارياً وإنسانياً يشكّل التفريط به تحت شعار الثورية والتغيير، عملاً أحمق وقفزة في المجهول ومخاطرة بالذهاب إلى الفوضى وشريعة الغاب واستيلاد أشكال من التوحش السياسي والاجتماعي، تستجلب معها كائنات تناسب استمرارها وتناسلها ثقافة وسلوكاً، تتكفل بخلق سياقها وتناسلها، وتحويل الأوطان ساحات تعبث بها كل أشكال التدخلات الخارجية، وتستثمر فيها كل أجهزة المخابرات، وتستنهض كل العصبيات والغرائز، بحيث يمكن القول بمسؤولية إن الدولة السيئة تبقى أفضل ألف مرة من اللادولة، وإن السعي لتغيير سياسات وأداء الدولة يجب أن يلتزم الحذر من الوقوع في فخ تدمير هياكل الدولة، والذهاب نحو تشريع الفوضى. وهذا لا يجوز أن يعني دعوة للتكلّس والذعر من كل دعوة للتغيير، بل الحذر من التسرّع في إجراء الحسابات واستسهال القفز إلى المجهول.

– أسئلة لا بد من الجواب عليها بتأنٍ حول الحرب اللبنانية ومثلها حروب أخرى، تتصل بالنظرة الغربية لكيانات المنطقة، التي رسمت حدودها بأقلام القناصل وخرائط وزراء الخارجية، وأبرز ما فيها ذلك التلازم بين اتفاق سايكس بيكو ووعد بلفور، والحاجة الوظيفية لترسيم الحدود في تمرير نشوء كيان الاحتلال الاستيطاني في فلسطين، والحاجة لامتصاص الفائض السكاني الناتج عن تهجير الفلسطينيين دون امتلاك فائض قوة يتيح التفكير بالحرب، وتركيب معادلات للديمغرافيا السكانية داخل حدود كيانات الجغرافيا السياسية للكيانات، تتيح تفجيرها من الداخل عند فشلها في تحقيق الهدف، كما حدث مع لبنان، أو عند امتلاكها فائض قوة يهدد أمن «إسرائيل»، كما يحدث اليوم مع لبنان، وكما قالت الحرب على سورية أمس، وكما هو الحال منذ عقد ونيّف في العراق.

– هل بلغ اللبنانيون رشداً سياسياً كافياً لسلوكهم طريق بناء دولة عصيّة على اللعب بتوازنات الديمغرافيا، وعصيّة على الحرب بقوة إدراك قواعد الجغرافيا، وعصيّة على الكسر بالتهديد، وعصيّة على العصر بالإغراءات؟

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          How King Solomon Became the Original 'Lawless One'—and Model for the Antichrist      Comment   Translate Page      

When it comes to truly decoding the Antichrist, we need to realize that the discovery of who or what the Antichrist will be is not nearly as important as understanding why—the motivating purpose behind why he has come. The Bible speaks of how the children of Israel knew God's acts, but Moses knew God's ways, meaning he understood why God does what He does.

There are many types or shadows of Messiah in the Old Testament—Adam, Isaac, Moses, David and Jonah come to mind. Most Christians consider King Solomon another type of Messiah. Surely someone like him would unite both Christians and Jews. Typically, our understanding of Solomon includes how wise, wealthy and famous he was and how he was able to transport Israel to the pinnacle of its existence. The whole world came to Solomon, admiring him and bringing him gifts. Israel was at the top of its game during his reign.

While many consider Solomon a type of Messiah, if we look closer at the details within Scripture, we might find we have been deceived. But wait, didn't he bring peace to the Middle East? Yes. This peace enabled him to accomplish great things, such as the building of the temple. The daunting question that must be asked is, why has it gone downhill for Israel ever since? I believe it is because Solomon compromised the Word of God for peace.

The Antichrist will be equally deceptive. The world will cry out for a messiah like King Solomon to solve the problems in the Middle East. Peace in our time! How could he not be admired? But will we find out we too have been deceived?

This may come as a shock to many, but what would you say if I told you the Antichrist, or lawless one, is going to appear similar to King Solomon in many ways? Pick your chin up off the floor and follow me on an eye-opening adventure of discovering why so many people will be deceived in the last days. My prayer is that the great deception descending upon the world today will not catch you unaware.

Solomon's Sins

God never intended for the children of Israel to be ruled by a human king. He was to be their King, but not as we have come to understand kingship. The Hebrew term translated as "king" is melech. A melech is a king whose subjects voluntarily choose to serve him out of a loving relationship. God is the great Melech of the entire universe, and He was upset and hurt that Israel rejected Him as their Melech and wanted to have a king like all the other nations (1 Sam. 8:5).

The tragic story of Israel's rejection of God as their Melech/King is truly heartbreaking, as you see the Creator of the universe humbling Himself. While God told Samuel to listen to the voice of the people, He told him to first warn them about how a worldly king would rule over them and what he would do: "This will be the judgment concerning the king who will reign over you: Your sons he will take in order to place them for himself in his chariots and as his horsemen, and they will run before his chariot" (1 Sam. 8:11). Samuel warned them that they would have to plow the king's ground and "gather in his harvest, and to make his weapons of war and the equipment of his chariots" (v. 12b).

The first two kings of Israel, Saul and David, did not fulfill these prophetic warnings, but note the similarities between what God had warned in 1 Samuel 8 and what Solomon did. In 1 Kings 9:22b we find that Solomon used the Israelites "as men of war, as his servants, his leaders, his captains, rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen." Sound familiar?

In 1 Kings 12:4a, we find the details of Solomon's rule directly from his former subjects. They are pleading with Solomon's son Rehoboam for a lighter rule than Solomon had subjected them to, saying, "Your father made our yoke unbearable."

Later, Rehoboam responds, "My father made your yoke heavy and ... chastised you with scorpions" (v. 14b).

When I first grasped this, I was shocked! This was not the Solomon I had grown up hearing about. Yes, King Solomon was full of both wisdom and power, but we also know wisdom and power inevitably go to one's head.

In Deuteronomy 17:20, any future king of Israel is specifically instructed not to allow his heart to be lifted up above others or to think he doesn't need to keep God's law. Solomon was given much wisdom, but he forgot who gave it to him. He allowed his heart to be lifted up after he obtained riches for himself through his wisdom.

Leviticus 4:22–23 mentions that if a king sinned through ignorance and was guilty of violating any of the commandments of the Lord, when he realized his mistake, he was mandated to bring a sin offering. According to verse 24, he was even required to lay his very own hand on the head of the goat as he slaughtered it. Even though he was a king, he couldn't simply pass this duty off to a servant. The Torah required him to perform this sacrifice personally.

And that's not all; the king's sin offering was to be completed at the brazen altar where everyone else fulfilled his sacrificial duties. God, in all His wisdom, didn't allow a king to have a private altar of his own in his private courtyard. He was required to complete his sacrifice to the Lord publicly, thereby informing virtually every one of his subjects that he had sinned through ignorance, so that his heart would not be lifted up above his people or above the Word of God.

In light of this, let's see how well Solomon obeyed. We will take a look at a few more of the Torah's unique requirements for the king and see how well Solomon followed God's Word. Surely Solomon wouldn't think he was above the Law, would he?

Solomon multiplied horses and was an international arms trader.

According to the Torah in Deuteronomy 17:16, God demanded that the king was not to increase the number of horses he possessed or make the people return to Egypt to increase his horses. Yet we find in 1 Kings 4:26 that "Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots and twelve thousand horsemen." It goes on to say in 1 Kings 10:26 that Solomon had 1,400 chariots.

Not only did Solomon disregard God's Word about not increasing the number of his horses, but he also purchased them from Egypt, which God specifically said not to do. Furthermore, the chariots imported from Egypt cost 600 shekels of silver, and a horse cost 150 shekels. Here's the most incredible part: they exported these horses and chariots to the kings of the Hittites and Syria (1 Kings 10:28-29).

Did you catch the significance of the last sentence? In Deuteronomy 7:1-2, the Lord specifically commanded that after He brought the Israelites into the land, they were not to make any covenants with the indigenous Canaanites. The Hittites were No. 1 on the list of seven nations He specified in particular. Yet Solomon was acting as an arms merchant selling weapons directly to Israel's enemies. Despite all of Solomon's wisdom, there aren't many actions the leader of any free country could take that are dumber than that.

Solomon had multiple wives and also married foreign wives.

Deuteronomy 17:17 says the king was not to multiply wives for himself, as his heart might turn away from serving God. And in Deuteronomy 7, God stated that they were not to marry any foreigners because they would turn their sons away from following Him to serve other gods. Yet we find in 1 Kings 11:3 that Solomon "had seven hundred wives who were princesses and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away."

Completely disregarding God's instructions, King Solomon loved many foreign women—the daughter of Pharaoh and women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites—all the nations with which the Lord had told the children of Israel not to intermarry (see 1 Kings 11). Even if it was Solomon's way of securing peace with neighboring countries, it was still a direct affront to God's commands. He achieved peace but at a very expensive cost.

Solomon multiplied gold and silver.

In His warning in Deuteronomy 17, God also told the Israelites that their king must not "greatly multiply to himself silver and gold." However, 1 Kings 10:21 tells us, "All of King Solomon's drinking cups were made of gold." He had a fleet of ships, and every three years they brought in gold and silver, plus ivory, apes and peacocks (v. 22).

Guess what the rate of gold was that came to Solomon every year? It was 666 talents (1 Kings 10:14). The number 666 is found only twice in the Bible—once with reference to Solomon's gold trade and wisdom and once with reference to the Antichrist (Rev. 13:18).

Solomon was to write his own personal copy of the Torah.

In Deuteronomy 17, God declared that when the king sits on the throne of his kingdom, he is required to write for himself a copy of the Law in a book, from the one that is before the priests, the Levites. He does not only read it but also writes it, so he will be more likely to ingest God's Word and to incorporate God's Law into his heart.

The king could not have someone else write it for him. Since the priesthood was separate from the kingship, the Levitical priests served as a check to the king. They were supposed to hold the king's feet to the fire. Someone would be looking over his shoulder as he wrote his own copy from the original, ensuring he would not make errors or try to alter it. They would also be there to answer any questions the king might have.

There is a fascinating story in ancient Jewish literature from over 2,000 years ago that states that when Solomon wrote his own personal copy of the Law, he decided he was wise enough to be God's editor and make some editorial changes to God's Word.

Furthermore, when Jesus said in Matthew 5:18 that not one jot or tittle would ever pass from the law, it was a direct assault on King Solomon! The jot refers to the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, known as the letter yud, which is equivalent to our letter y. The story goes that when Solomon was writing his Torah scroll and came across the words in Deuteronomy 17:17 (KJV), "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away," he skipped the first letter of the word, the letter yud. That changes the phrase from "He shall not multiply" to "He did not multiply."

Solomon changed the tense of the verb! By changing the tense, it was no longer an imperative not to multiply wives, but rather a statement implying that his multiplication of wives would not lead his heart astray because he was so wise.

Of that change, a famous ancient midrash says, "At that time the letter ... went up to heaven and prostrated itself before God and said, 'Master of the universe! Didn't you say that no letter should ever be abolished from the Torah? Behold Solomon has now arisen and abolished one. Who knows? Today he has abolished one letter, tomorrow he will abolish another until the whole Torah will be nullified!' God replied, 'Solomon and a thousand like him will pass away, but the smallest tittle will not be erased from you.'"

This historical writing about Solomon existed long before Jesus spoke about not having one jot or tittle passing from the Law, so it is probable that His comment was a reference to this story, and His audience was aware of it.

Solomon built pagan altars rather than destroying them.

In Deuteronomy 7:5, God tells the Israelites they must destroy the idolatrous nations' altars, break down their sacred pillars, cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. Yet in 1 Kings 11:7 (MEV), we find that Solomon built a "high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is close to Jerusalem, and for Molek, the abomination of the children of Ammon."

Solomon's actions affected many future generations. Not only did his own sons turn from God as the Scriptures said would happen, but his future generations also followed Grandpa Solomon's folly.

It's sobering to put ourselves in King Solomon's shoes and consider that sometimes when everything seems to be going well in our lives, it may not be the result of God's blessing but His abandonment.

In Jeremiah 12:1b, the prophet claims the Lord is righteous but still questions God's judgments by begging the question "Why does the way of the wicked prosper?" King David also addressed this issue in Psalm 73:3 when he stated the ungodly are the ones who prosper in the world and increase in riches.

I am not saying this is true of all people who prosper. It's just that when we are prospering, it doesn't necessarily mean God is favoring us. We could be in a slippery place, and we had better be giving God the glory for "our" successes. Solomon, though, took the credit for his own success.

The Lawless One

So let's summarize what we have learned about Solomon. In spite of being beloved by God, blessed by God, and given abundant wisdom, fame, fortune, power and authority, Solomon thanked God by doing the following:

Multiplying his number of wives

Marrying foreign wives

Building more than a thousand pagan altars in and around Jerusalem, including within the temple precincts

Instituting human sacrifice on those very altars, murdering his firstborn children to pagan gods

Multiplying silver, gold and horses to himself

Selling arms to enemies and terrorists

Making covenants with forbidden foreign nations

Exalting himself above his brethren

Thumbing his nose at God and thinking he was above God's Law

This is the type of king the world is seeking to bring peace to the Middle East? No wonder many will be deceived.

Instead of trying to figure out who the Antichrist will be, we need to study what he will be like. Solomon was a total narcissist, and the Antichrist will be as well. Solomon had it all—power, wealth and fame—yet he was completely miserable.

Prophetically, I see all this unfolding again. Remember that prophetic patterns repeat themselves over and over in history. Haman was an Amalekite. His ancestry even showed he was from the royal line of Agag, the king of Amalek.

In Exodus 17:16, after the initial battle with Amalek, God states that from generation to generation He will have war with Amalek. This means that in every generation, there will be a nation wanting to destroy Israel or the Jewish people. Hitler was the Amalek of his day, and today we have the Amalek leaders of Iran proudly boasting of their desire to destroy Israel.

I believe historical patterns will be repeated in other aspects as well. Someone who will seem to be wiser than everyone else will try to achieve a false peace by entering into ungodly covenants with all the foreign nations. He will try to achieve a land-for-peace agreement in Israel, thinking it wiser to cut the baby in half and create two nations as two people groups are claiming the land of Israel as their own. This will only result in killing the baby that is alive!

This ungodly leader will have no regard for God's covenants with Israel, believing the covenants have been done away with, have been replaced or have already been fulfilled, and it is now time for a new era.

Hopefully by now, you have a different perspective on Solomon and can see how deceptively godly someone can appear if you do not have an accurate biblical perspective.


Mark Biltz is an author, commentator and the founder of El Shaddai Ministries.

CHARISMA is the only magazine dedicated to reporting on what the Holy Spirit is doing in the lives of believers around the world. If you are thirsty for more of God's presence and His Holy Spirit, subscribe to CHARISMA and join a family of believers that choose to live life in the Spirit. CLICK HERE for a special offer.


          Israel’s General Election – The Death of the Zionist Left      Comment   Translate Page      

The Israeli Labour Party Slumps to a Record Low and the Arabs Save Meretz from Oblivion!


Cast your mind back, if you can, to 1949, when the State of Israel held its first elections. A mere year after the Nakba, when ¾ million Palestinians had been expelled thus allowing Israel the ability to call itself both democratic and Jewish.
How a Labour Kibbutz shifted its votes since the 2015 general election
In that election Mapai, the Israeli Labour Party, gained 46 out of 120 seats in the Knesset. In second place was Mapam, the United Workers Party, then in an alliance with Ahdut Ha’avodah, a militaristic left-Zionist party with 19 seats giving the parties of Labour Zionism an absolute majority.  20 years later the leadership of Ahdut, Israel Galili, Yitzhak Tabenkin and Yigal Allon, would form the basis of the Greater Israel movement Gush Emunim and abandon Labour Zionism for messianic colonisalism.
However the leader of Mapai, David Ben Gurion preferred to form a coalition with the religious parties since the definition of Jewish could not be a secular one and had to be in the hands of the Orthodox.
Avi Gabbay of Israel's Labor Party and Yair Lapid of the 'centrist' Yesh Atid
In the 1951 elections Mapai and Mapam lost 5 seats but they still had exactly half the seats in the Knesset and in practice, with client Arab parties, an overall majority. In 1955, after Ahdut had split with Mapam, the parties of Labour Zionism had lost a further seat. In 1959 the Labour Zionist parties gained 63 seats giving them an overall majority again.  In 1961 the Labour Zionist parties achieved 59 seats and in 1965 the three Labour Zionist parties, which now included Rafi, Ben Gurion’s right-wing breakaway from Mapai, totalled 63 seats. In 1969 the Israeli Labour Alignment, a merger of all the Labour Zionist parties gained 56 seats, the highest number any party has ever achieved in an Israeli election.
In 1973 the Labour Alignment gained 51 seats to Likud’s 39 seats but in 1977, in the wake of the Yom Kippur war, when Israel was taken by surprise by the joint attack of Egypt and Syria, Likud gained 43 seats to Labour’s 32 and Menachem Begin formed the first Likud government. Since then the Israeli Labour Party has only twice formed a government on its own.
The first such time was in 1992 when Yitzhak Rabin became Prime Minister. The Israeli Labour Party gained 44 seats and Meretz (which included Mapam and other parties) gained 12 seats. The government rested on the tacit backing of the Arab parties.
Contrast this with the recent election. The Israeli Labour Party gained just 6 seats in the recent elections in comparison to the 24 seats it held as the Zionist Union (with Tzipi Livini’s Hatnuah) in the 2015 Knesset. Meretz declined from 5 to four seats. 
The morning after - shell shocked Israeli Labor Party leaders gather
So from a high point of 65 seats in 1949, the parties of Labour Zionism have now slumped to just 10 seats between them. What makes this even worse is that although Meretz is a Zionist party, it relied heavily on Arab votes, about a quarter of its total, in order to retain any seats in the Knesset. Meretz lost significant support to Benjamin Gantz’s Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) Party. A Zionist party that relies on Arab votes does not have a healthy or promising future
If it had not been for a very significant increase in votes from Israel’s Druze population in particular, which previously voted for Likud and parties of the Zionist Right, Meretz would not have gained any seats. This switch to Meretz was a consequence of Netanyahu’s decision to introduce the Jewish Nation State Law last summer. In Kafr Qasem, the site of a famous massacrein 1956, Meretz gained 39% of the vote.
It wasn't  Herut/Likud militias who perpetrated this massacre but those of the Labour Zionist militias
Even members of the Kibbutzim, the last reservoir of support for Labour Zionism in Israel voted predominantly for Kahol Lavan on the basis of wanting to see Netanyahu removed. Ideologically there is little or nothing now to distinguish Labour Zionism from its centrist rivals.
What is the explanation for this collapse in support for Labour Zionist parties? I suggest it is a culmination of a series of factors. The Labour Zionist parties were never socialist or even left-wing in the sense that is understood in the West.  Meretz is, at best, a party of civil liberties but it doesn’t challenge the Zionist basis of the Israeli state. It doesn’t like its more overt racist character but it signs up to Israel as a Jewish state.
The Israeli Labour Party today has no social base. Where once the major organisation of Labour Zionism, Histadrut, a trade union which was also Israel’s second largest employer, provided a comprehensive series of services such as a national health service, today it is merely a conglomeration of individual unions.  It’s industry has long been privatised.
The lack of any socialist or left-wing ideology and any economic or social base has left it rudderless, without a purpose. The ILP is not seen to stand for anything.  This was one reason that in 2017 it elected as its new leader, Avi Gabbay, the ex-CEO of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecommunications firm and a former Minister in Netanyahu’s government! Gabbay had only joined the ILP three months before.
Gabbay’s strategy was simple.  To move the ILP further to the right in order to compete with Likud.  He even took advice on this from Tony Blair! Gabbay announced that he was opposedto dismantling any settlements in the Occupied Territories and he supportedNetanyahu’s attempts to deport Israel’s 40,000 Black African refugees because they constituted a ‘threat’to Israel’s national identity, not being Jewish.
This strategy has failed dismally. Netanyahu has demonstrated that when it comes to staking out a position on the Right no one can beat him.  Netanyahu was even responsiblefor the election merger of Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit, an openly racist party of the late Meir Kahane, into the United Right party. This gave secular Israelis even less reason to vote for the ILP, especially since Gabbay had toldhis own party that the Left had forgotten what it is to be Jewish!
Gantz’s Blue and White Party, led by former generals and Yair Lapid, leader of the ‘centrist’ Yesh Atid (in practice firmly on the right), was held together by only one thing – opposition to Netanyahu.  I predict that it will not be long before this wholly artificial and unprincipled alliance will haemorrhage members.
Avi Gabbay will no doubt be despatched back to Bezeq but for the Israeli Labour Party the problem still remain. What exactly does the Israeli Labour Party stand for? As Israel moves further to the nationalist Right with a pluralityof Israeli Jews wanting to see Israel’s Arab citizens expelled, a sentiment shared by Likud’s partners, Yisrael Beteinu and the United Right Party of Bezalel Smotrich and Rafi Peretz, the old Labour Zionist ideals, which represented collective colonialism, are now only of interest to historians.
Meretz also faces a dilemma.  A Zionist party relying on the support of Israel’s Palestinians is a living contradiction!  Meretz has never been a party of left activism and it has never, for example supported Israel’s teenage refuseniks who refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories. Merertz should consider the votes it received in this election as being on loan only.
What Meretz, which is committed to a two state solution will not face up to is that Israel is now one state, from the Jordan to the sea. With nearly 5 million Palestinians living under occupation it is an apartheid state. In these elections we had the obscenity of 400 settlers in Hebron having the right to vote whilst the 200,000 Palestinians in Hebron had no vote.  Meretz has no answer to this or the fact that two legal systems operate in the same area of land.
Meretz’s problem stems from its desire to see a non-racist Zionism. A democratic Jewish state.  These are impossible contradictions.
As Israel races to the nationalist right its defenders in the West, from Donald Trump in the United States to Theresa May and Tom Watson in Britain’s Labour Party have only one answer – to accuse Israel’s critics of ‘anti-Semitism’.
Tony Greenstein


           Israel Launches Overnight Airstrikes on Syria mere days after Netanyahu "managed" to hold on to power in a close "election"       Comment   Translate Page      

Earlier this morning, the Israeli Air Force launched several airstrikes on the key Syrian city of Masyaf in the Hama Governorate. According to a military source near the scene of the airstrikes, the Israeli warplanes hit a number of sites near the Masyaf National Hospital.


          Shamima Begum was cruel enforcer in Isil's morality police, say Syrian witnesses - Telegraph.co.uk      Comment   Translate Page      
  1. Shamima Begum was cruel enforcer in Isil's morality police, say Syrian witnesses  Telegraph.co.uk
  2. Jihadi bride Shamima Begum's vital ISIS role revealed  Daily Mail
  3. Shamima Begum 'was member of feared Isis morality police'  The Independent
  4. Don't be naive about Shamima Begum  Telegraph.co.uk
  5. Shamima Begum – Brit ISIS bride ‘stitched explosive vests onto suicide bombers during her time in Syria’, spy  The Sun
  6. View full coverage on Google News

           Comment on Trump Thinks the US and Israel should be allowed to commit War Crimes and not be charged!!! by friendsofsyria       Comment   Translate Page      
What if a member of the public says they do not recognise the courts of the land, will they not be charged? It is the same for the courts of the planet, of course all war criminals will say they don't recognise the court. The ICC was put into place to stop war crimes and the two most criminal countries think it is ok to commit war crimes and start wars all around the world purely for money. It has to stop and it is about time George W Bush, Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama, Tony Blair and John Howard are arrested.
          Serbian vulture flown home after Turkey misadventure      Comment   Translate Page      
The one-year-old female griffon vulture named Dobrila was found near the Syrian border.
          4/13/2019: OPINION: Refugee policy hurts Canadians      Comment   Translate Page      
Another whistleblower, this time former Immigration and Refugee Board member Lubomyr Luciuk, exposes Justin Trudeau’s hypocrisy. The prime minister’s policy to open up Canada to anyone who whispers “refugee” — especially from Syria, by the sounds of...
          41 Swedish Municipalities Being Forced to Take Back ISIS Members - Breitbart News Network      Comment   Translate Page      
To read the entire item, kindly click on this link:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2019/04/12/41-swedish-municipalities-being-forced-take-back-isis-members/

41 Swedish Municipalities Being Forced to Take Back ISIS Members

12 Apr 2019, Chris Tomlinson

A list from the Centre for Violent Extremism (CVE) has revealed that 41 out of 290 Swedish municipalities are expected to be forced to accommodate returning Islamic State members.

The CVE invited representatives from the 41 areas to an event to teach them more about the returning terror group members in order to “provide support to the municipalities that have or may be able to receive returning children and adults from areas previously controlled by the Islamic state,” SVT reports.

The areas are being forced to take the returnees because, under Swedish law, they have Swedish passports and cannot be turned away. The returnees have the right to settle where they like and even claim social benefits, Breitbart London understands.
Around half of the 300 Swedes who went to Syria and Iraq to join the terror group have returned since 2012. Some left-wing politicians have suggested the returning fighters should be integrated back into Swedish society and even be given certain benefits to help them.
The areas are being forced to take the returnees because, under Swedish law, they have Swedish passports and cannot be turned away. The returnees have the right to settle where they like and even claim social benefits, Breitbart London understands.
...

          4/14/2019: Health: Can a satnav cause permanent damage to your memory?      Comment   Translate Page      

MOST of us will have at least one satnav horror story, after placing all trust in the technology only for it to lead us down a road to nowhere. Many such tales are so unbelievable they are comical. There was the Syrian truck driver who took his 32-ton...
           Comment on Steven Nekhaila running for Libertarian Party of Florida chair by Root's Teeth Are Awesome       Comment   Translate Page      
dl: <i>Europe has a war refugee problem, not an immigration one. Given Nato’s role in destabilizing Northern Africa and Western Asia, Europe is hardly blameless in the matter. Accepting refugees would be a form of restitution as a complicit actor in causing the war refugees flows in the first place.</i> Europe is "hardly blameless"? Europe owes "restitution"? Israel is the biggest destabalizer in the Mideast. A week rarely goes by that Israel doesn't bomb Syria. Israel also funds the ISIS groups fighting Assad. Destabalizing the Arab/Muslim world has been a decades long policy of Israel's. Israel funded Hamas in the 1980s, so it would act as a counterweight to the PLO, and thus create a split among Palestinians. Israel funds guerilla groups fighting Assad to keep Syria weak, and thus ensure Israel's hold on the Golan Heights. Israel also pressures the U.S. (which in turn pressures NATO), to further destabilize the Mideast and North Africa. Israel, more than any other Western nation, is responsible for any flow of war refugees. Of course, Israel is off the hook in taking them in. As Netanyahu said, Israel lacks the "demographic depth" and geographic depth to absorb refugees: https://www.ibtimes.com/israel-lacks-demographic-geographic-depth-absorb-syrian-refugees-netanyahu-2085168 Israel is also constructing a border fence: <i>Also on Sunday, Netanyahu announced the start of the construction of a fence along Israel’s border with Jordan. The proposed fence will connect existing ones along the Egyptian and Golan Heights borders. “To the extent that it is possible, we will encompass Israel’s borders with a security fence and barriers that will allow us to control our borders,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow Israel to be flooded with illegal migrants and terrorists.”</i> You can't expect Israel to take the problem it created. So Israel passed the buck (yet again) to the West, which has been subsidizing Israel in so many ways, for so long. And while the media and political establishments demonize attempts by the U.S. or Europe to control their borders, Israel receives only praise from the establishment, all critics being demonized as "extreme."
          Apostles Aristarchus, Pudens and Trophimus of the Seventy      Comment   Translate Page      
All three are mentioned by name by the Apostle Paul.   Aristarchus is mentioned in Acts 19:29, Colossians 4:10 and Philemon 24. He was bishop of Apamea in Syria; St Paul calls him 'my fellow-prisoner' and 'my fellow-laborer'.   Pudens is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21. He was a prominent Roman citizen who gave refuge to Christians; his house was first a place of refuge for the Apostles, then one of the first churches in Rome.   Trophimus is mentioned with Pudens in 2 Timothy 4:21, and in Acts 21:29, where we learn that he was from Ephesus. He accompanied the Apostle Paul on some of his missions.   All three, like St Paul, were beheaded during Nero's persecutions.

          April 14: Psalm 24; Psalm 29; Psalm 103; Zechariah 9:9–12; Zechariah 12:9–11; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 13:7–9; 1 Timothy 6:12–16; Matthew 21:12–17       Comment   Translate Page      

Holy Week (Palm Sunday)

First Psalm: Psalm 24; Psalm 29

Psalm 24 (Listen)

The King of Glory

A Psalm of David.

24   The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,1
    the world and those who dwell therein,
  for he has founded it upon the seas
    and established it upon the rivers.
  Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
    And who shall stand in his holy place?
  He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not lift up his soul to what is false
    and does not swear deceitfully.
  He will receive blessing from the LORD
    and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
  Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek the face of the God of Jacob.2 Selah
  Lift up your heads, O gates!
    And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
  Who is this King of glory?
    The LORD, strong and mighty,
    the LORD, mighty in battle!
  Lift up your heads, O gates!
    And lift them up, O ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10   Who is this King of glory?
    The LORD of hosts,
    he is the King of glory! Selah

Footnotes

[1] 24:1 Or and all that fills it
[2] 24:6 Septuagint, Syriac, and two Hebrew manuscripts; Masoretic Text who seek your face, Jacob

(ESV)

Psalm 29 (Listen)

Ascribe to the Lord Glory

A Psalm of David.

29   Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,1
    ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
    worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.2
  The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the LORD, over many waters.
  The voice of the LORD is powerful;
    the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
  The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
    the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
  He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
    and Sirion like a young wild ox.
  The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
  The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
    the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
  The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth3
    and strips the forests bare,
    and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10   The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
    the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
11   May the LORD give strength to his people!
    May the LORD bless4 his people with peace!

Footnotes

[1] 29:1 Hebrew sons of God, or sons of might
[2] 29:2 Or in holy attire
[3] 29:9 Revocalization yields makes the oaks to shake
[4] 29:11 Or The Lord will give . . . The Lord will bless

(ESV)

Second Psalm: Psalm 103

Psalm 103 (Listen)

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Of David.

103   Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
  Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
  who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
  who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
  who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
  The LORD works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
  He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
  The LORD is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
  He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10   He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11   For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12   as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13   As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14   For he knows our frame;1
    he remembers that we are dust.
15   As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16   for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17   But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children's children,
18   to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19   The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20   Bless the LORD, O you his angels,