This Week in the News

September 11 Conspiracies Alive and Well

 A highly controversial and speculative piece about the alleged “inside job” of the September 11 attack was published in the respected scientific magazine, “Europhysics News,” Volume 47, Number 4, July-August 2016, which was authored by four writers. The Editors noted the following:  “This feature is somewhat different from our usual purely scientific articles, in that it contains some speculation. However, given the timing and the importance of the issue, we consider that this feature is sufficiently technical and interesting to merit publication for our readers. Obviously, the content of this article is the responsibility of the authors.”

These authors included Steven Jones, a “former full professor of physics at Brigham Young University.” (According to Der Stern, dated September 9, 2016, this Mormon university dismissed him in 2006 when he began to propagate the 9-11 conspiracy theory). Another author was (retired) Robert Korol, “a professor emeritus of civil engineering at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada”; Anthony Szamboti, “a mechanical design engineer,” and Ted Walter “who holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley” (compare Europhysics News’ annotation.)

The article caught attention in obscure pseudo-scientific and occult publications, but also in the German magazine “Der Stern” (as mentioned above). However, that magazine made it clear that the article presented nothing new and that it was just a repetition of the old conspiracy concepts (especially the so-called “False Flag Theory,” according to which the attack was “instigated” to justify military intervention in the Middle East.)

 On the other hand, the idea of an “inside job” continues to be believed in by many people, including by at least more than 30% of Germans.

 Die Welt ran an article on September 9, discussing the many aspects of the conspiracy theory  and concluded that  “doubts in the official explanation are groundless.”

On September 7, Esquire published a convincing article with the headline, “Disproving 9 of the Biggest 9/11 Conspiracy Theories.” In the article, it was stated:

“There are still plenty of 9/11 conspiracy theorists, and no matter what you tell them, they will tell you the attacks on September 11, 2001 did not happen the way our government or our media claim. Conspiracy theorists will tell you it was an inside job. They will tell you the government let it happen. They will tell you the buildings couldn’t have fallen that way, or the Air Force could have stopped the whole thing if they wanted to.

“There are an untold number of theories about what really happened that day. They are the subject of a well-known documentary film, and they have spawned countless websites. Most of them are weird, and some are almost comical. But exploring these theories involves venturing into the darkest corners of our imagination, where confusion and despair bleed into reactionary paranoia, and the enduring sacrifice of the innocent people who died that day is almost cheapened by slander and suspicion.”

How “dark” these theories are can be seen by an article of Bild Online, stating that one “unexplained” occurrence was the observance of “ghosts” right after the attack, “helping with searching for survivors.”

We are bringing you excerpts from the Esquire article, focusing on the two most common “beliefs” in a conspiracy:

“The theory: The fuel from the planes that hit the World Trade Center could not have caused the buildings’ structural failures, because no kerosene fire burns hot enough—2,750 degrees Fahrenheit—to melt their steel frames. The debunk: Jet fuel burns at 800 to 1,500 degrees, Popular Mechanics notes—not hot enough to melt the steel frames. But the frames did not even need to fully melt for the buildings to collapse; they just had to weaken significantly. Steel loses about half its strength at 1,100 degrees, and moreover, the fuel wasn’t the only source of fire. The combustible material inside the buildings (rugs, curtains, furniture, paper) brought the temperature up to 1,832 degrees in some places…

“The theory: An addendum to the previous theory, many theorists believe that controlled explosions, not the planes, brought down the towers. Among the evidence cited: Puffs of dust shot out horizontally as the buildings fell, and the initial damage was too widespread (particularly to lower floors) to have been caused by the jets. The debunk: A spring 2005 report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that plane debris ‘sliced through the utility shafts at the North Tower’s core,’ Popular Mechanics reports, ‘creating a conduit for burning jet fuel—and fiery destruction throughout the building.’ The blaze exploded down the elevator shafts, disabling them and causing damage (and killing people) all the way to the lobby below, long before the towers collapsed. The puffs of dust were the result of each floor bearing down on the one below ‘with pulverizing force’ as the buildings fell, in what is known as ‘pancaking.’ That force caused the air between floors to shoot out with formidable speed and power, creating the bursting clouds of dust…”

From all the evidence available, the Church of the Eternal God and its international affiliates have concluded a long time ago that 9/11 was NOT an “inside job,” but that it was a terrorist attack of 19 hijackers. Ideas to the contrary have been convincingly debunked.

House Passes Saudi 9/11 Bill

Newsmax wrote on September 9:

“Rep. Pete King took a victory lap Friday as the House passed a bill allowing 9/11 victims and their families to sue the Saudi Arabian government. The House passed the measure by overwhelming margin on a voice vote, confirming a similar Senate vote in May… ‘The Saudi government employs many former government officials and they tried to stop [the bill] at every turn,’ he said.

“The bill goes to President Obama’s desk for signature. The Obama administration has vigorously opposed the bill and already has signaled a veto is coming. But some question whether the president will veto a bill that will likely be overridden by Congress. It took nearly 15 years after the worst assault on U.S. soil by a foreign aggressor.

“Since then 9/11 families and other groups have complained of Saudi involvement in the attacks — 15 of the 19 perpetrators were Saudi nationals – and have argued for the right to sue and legally explore the involvement of this foreign power. The bill amends a 1976 law that grants foreign states immunity from lawsuits in the U.S.

“The new law provides that Americans can sue if any nation was directly involved in terror attacks against U.S. nationals…

“The September 11, 2001, attacks killed 2,966 people, and injured more than 6,000. Of those killed, the majority — 2,606 — died in New York’s World Trade Center and the surrounding area…”

North Korea’s Latest Nuclear Test

The Washington Post wrote on September 9:

“North Korea defiantly celebrated its fifth nuclear test Friday, claiming that it can now make warheads small enough to fit onto a missile and warning its ‘enemies’ — specifically the United States — that it has the ability to counter any attack… the test appeared to mark another step toward North Korea’s goal of putting a nuclear warhead on a weapon capable of reaching the mainland United States…

“The U.S. Geological Survey detected an artificial 5.3-magnitude earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site at 9 a.m. local time on Friday, a national holiday marking the 68th anniversary of the formation of the communist regime by Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather. ‘This is clearly a nuclear test,’ said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif. He estimated the size at between 10 and 20 kilotons. The North’s last nuclear test, carried out in January, was about six kilotons…

“In a White House statement Friday, Obama called the test ‘a grave threat’ to regional and international security and noted Pyongyang’s claims to be developing nuclear warheads capable of hitting the United States and its allies…”

North Korean Test Leaves U.S. With a List of Bad Options

The New York Times wrote on September 9:

“North Korea’s latest test of an atomic weapon leaves the United States with an uncomfortable choice: Stick with a policy of incremental sanctions that has clearly failed to stop the country’s nuclear advances, or pick among alternatives that range from the highly risky to the repugnant.

“A hard embargo, in which Washington and its allies block all shipping into and out of North Korea and seek to paralyze its finances, risks confrontations that allies in Asia fear could quickly escalate into war. But restarting talks on the North’s terms would reward the defiance of its young leader, Kim Jong-un, with no guarantee that he will dismantle the nuclear program irrevocably…

“For more than seven years, President Obama has adopted a policy of gradually escalating sanctions that the White House once called ‘strategic patience.’ But the test on Friday — the North’s fifth and most powerful blast yet, perhaps with nearly twice the strength of its last one — eliminates any doubt that that approach has failed and that the North has mastered the basics of detonating a nuclear weapon… American experts warn that it is speeding toward a day when it will be able to threaten the West Coast of the United States and perhaps the entire country.

“… an agreement between the United States and South Korea to deploy an advanced missile defense system in the South, has inflamed China…  In both South Korea and Japan, a small but increasingly vocal minority has begun to advocate developing nuclear weapons to counter the North instead of relying on the United States…”

Serious Concerns about Hillary Clinton’s Health

Newsmax wrote on September 9:

“Hillary Clinton has been struck by coughing attacks, leading to a resurfacing of speculation about her health…

“Concerns about Hillary Clinton’s health are ‘serious—could be disqualifying for the position of President of the U.S.,’ say nearly 71 percent of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). About 20 percent said concerns were ‘likely overblown, but should be addressed as by full release of medical records.’ Only 2.7 percent responded that they were ‘just a political attack: I have confidence in the letter from her physician and see no cause for concern.’”

Breitbart wrote on September 14:

“Doctors are raising concerns about Hillary Clinton’s recent pneumonia diagnosis and treatment, suggesting a case of the disease that causes a patient to collapse should be treated more seriously… Clinton’s campaign initially left the press in the dark about what occurred at the 9-11 ceremony, but nearly two hours later, the campaign blamed Clinton’s health episode on the former first lady being overheated. Later in the evening, Clinton’s doctor Lisa Bardack issued an official statement, explaining that Clinton had been overheated and dehydrated. The statement revealed Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday…”

Why Hillary Clinton Might Have Avoided the Hospital

The New York Post wrote on September 12:

“Hillary Clinton was headed to an emergency room following her frightening collapse at the Sept. 11 memorial ceremony – but detoured to daughter Chelsea Clinton’s apartment to keep details of her medical treatment under wraps, The Post has learned.

“Secret Service protocol called for the Democratic presidential nominee to be rushed to a state-designated Level I Trauma Center in the wake of her Sunday morning health crisis, sources said. In Manhattan, that would be Bellevue Hospital. But a campaign operative decided to change course to avoid having Clinton seen by doctors, nurses and other medical workers who could leak details to reporters, according to a source.”

Hillary Clinton’s Fishy E-Mail Story

On September 8, The Denver Post Editorial Board published the following article:

“Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used Denver-based Platte River Networks to host private her e-mail when she was secretary of state. The latest controversy involving Hillary Clinton’s decision to run her State Department e-mail through private servers contains a hard-to-believe shocker that ought to give reasonable people pause.

“Her supporters will join her campaign in decrying a ‘conspiracy’ to spoil her presidential aspirations. But really, how can an objective observer not find problems with this latest story, which suggests a dark conspiracy indeed: An errant engineer decides on his own volition to delete e-mails from her private account after a congressional committee orders them preserved?…

“The FBI said that in December 2014 a top Clinton aide told Denver-based Platte River Networks to destroy an archive of e-mails from her private server, but the company failed to do so. Then, after The New York Times reported in early March 2015 details of then-Secretary Clinton’s use of a private server, the House committee investigating the deadly attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, ordered that her e-mails be preserved, and subpoenaed those related to the attack. Three weeks later, the story goes, the engineer responsible for deleting Clinton’s archive suddenly remembered the failed duty, and acted on it by deleting the e-mails with a program (wonderfully named BleachBit) that apparently rendered most of them unreadable.

“Around the time of the engineer’s sudden remembrance, the FBI said, Platte River officials joined a conference call with a longtime Clinton aide and personal lawyer. But when the FBI tried to look into this call, they met with frustration. Platte River’s attorney told the engineer who did the deed to claim attorney-client privilege.

“That just looks awful. So little wonder the Republican chairman of the House committee investigating Clinton’s e-mail arrangement – Utah’s Jason Chaffetz- has asked federal prosecutors to investigate whether she or others were involved in the decision to destroy those e-mails following the preservation order.

“Given that FBI director James Comey’s decision to clear Clinton of wrongdoing in the e-mail scandal came with his unusual denunciation of her actions as ‘extremely careless,’ the information from the bureau’s summary of its investigation doesn’t sit well. It’s reasonable to ask why the FBI didn’t look deeper. It’s reasonable to ask why the engineer would act if, as the logic of the cover story must argue, the e-mails were simply personal notes about yoga appointments and being a grandmother.

“No wonder Chaffetz would seek to dig in. He’s asking the Justice Department ‘to investigate and determine whether Secretary Clinton or her employees and contractors violated statutes that prohibit destruction of records, obstruction of congressional inquiries and concealment of cover-up of evidence material to a congressional committee.’…

“We worry that Chaffetz is right on this one. Something about this story feels whitewashed – or maybe bleached out is the better term for it now.”

There seems to be little doubt about this; and the FBI’s and the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton is really unbelievable. Note the next two articles.

Immunity for the Perpetrators

The New York Times wrote on September 8:

“A computer specialist who deleted Hillary Clinton’s emails despite orders from Congress to preserve them was given immunity by the Justice Department during its investigation into her personal email account… Mr. Combetta is one of at least two people who were given immunity by the Justice Department as part of the investigation. The other was Bryan Pagliano, a former campaign staff member for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, who was granted immunity in exchange for answering questions about how he set up a server in Mrs. Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y., around the time she became secretary of state in 2009.

“The F.B.I. described the deletions by Mr. Combetta in a summary of its investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s account that was released last Friday. The documents blacked out the specialist’s name, but the law enforcement official and others familiar with the case identified the employee as Mr. Combetta. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing matters that were supposed to remain confidential.

“Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, said that the deletions by the specialist, who worked for a Colorado company called Platte River Networks, had already been ‘thoroughly examined by the F.B.I. prior to its decision to close out this case. As the F.B.I.’s report notes… neither Hillary Clinton nor her attorneys had knowledge of the Platte River Network employee’s actions. It appears he acted on his own and against guidance given by both Clinton’s and Platte River’s attorneys to retain all data in compliance with a congressional preservation request.’… According to the F.B.I. documents, Mr. Combetta told the bureau in February that he did not recall deleting the emails. But in May, he told a different story… [He had] said [he] realized that he had not followed a December 2014 order from Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers to have the emails deleted. Mr. Combetta then used a program called BleachBit to delete the messages, the bureau said.

“In Mr. Combetta’s first interview with the F.B.I. in February, he said he did not recall seeing the preservation order from the Benghazi committee, which Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer, Cheryl D. Mills, had sent to Platte River. But in his May interview, he said that at the time he made the deletions ‘he was aware of the existence of the preservation request and the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton’s email data’ on the Platte River server.”

Newsmax added on September 14:

“House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz was clearly frustrated on Wednesday after a former Hillary Clinton aide was a no-show at a hearing on Tuesday, even though he had been served with a subpoena… Bryan Pagliano, who had helped maintain Clinton’s private email server, has been granted immunity by the Justice Department and already invoked his Fifth Amendment rights not to incriminate himself twice on the matter… Just one of the five witnesses called, Justin Cooper, a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton, testified and answered questions for nearly two hours. The other three invoked their Fifth Amendment rights [not to discriminate themselves.].”

Combetta and Pagliano got immunity; others refuse to testify; and so, Hillary Clinton is still not being prosecuted.

Trump Gives Interview to Russia’s Controversial RT Network

The Washington Post wrote on September 9:

“In an interview Thursday, Donald Trump was asked what surprised him most about the American press. ‘Well, I think the dishonesty of the media,’ the Republican presidential hopeful responded, with little hesitation. ‘The media has been unbelievably dishonest.’ That Trump has an unfavorable view of American journalism will surprise few…

“But his outlet for venting this frustration may have been more surprising. Trump’s comments came during an interview with Larry King that was aired on RT America — part of a state-owned Russian media organization that critics accuse of propagandistic aims and poor journalistic standards… Originally known as Russia Today, the organization was founded in December 2005 as an English-language television network… To get a sense of this style of programming, consider this: Julian Assange was given his own show on RT for a few months in 2012. His first guest was Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah.

“RT America began airing Larry King’s interview show, ‘Politicking,’ after CNN dropped him in 2010… Last July, it hired Ed Schultz after MSNBC canceled his low-rated program, ‘The Ed Show,’ after six years… The network also airs a weekly debate and interview show hosted by Jesse Ventura, the former professional wrestler and governor of Minnesota… It also has a deeply conspiratorial side, providing airtime to the notion that the 9/11 attacks were engineered by the government…

“Trump’s interview with RT comes at a time of heightened concerns about Russia’s alleged interference in the upcoming U.S. election. Russia is suspected of involvement in a hack of the Democratic National Committee email system and subsequent leak. (Mr. Trump stated that he does not believe so and that this was probably made up by the Democrats.) The United States is investigating what it thinks could be a wider Russian plan to disrupt the November elections. To complicate matters further, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have made a number of seemingly admiring comments about each other. During an NBC presidential forum Wednesday evening, Trump said the Russian president had been more of a leader than President Obama. In other comments, he has jokingly suggested that Russia should hack the email of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.”

Donald Trump’s granting of an interview to a media outlet which is controlled by the Russian government raises more than just an eyebrow.

“Why Did a Christian Bishop Give Donald Trump a Jewish Prayer Shawl?”

The Times of Israel wrote on September 9:

“When images of Donald Trump sporting a Jewish prayer shawl during his September 3 visit to a Detroit black church hit the web, the reactions on social media ranged from amusement to shock, and, in some cases, outrage.  ‘You guys, a Jewish prayer shawl – a tallit – is a ritual garment. Meant to be worn only by Jews. This is the worst kind of appropriation,’ declared Conservative Rabbi Danya Rutenberg on Twitter.  ‘Wait, did Donald Trump get bar mitzvahed?’ asked The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs, while The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg observed that the anti-Semitic alt-right movement supporting the real estate mogul must be ‘paralyzed by this photograph.’

“But for the pastor [Wayne Jackson] who presented Trump with the tallit, wearing the traditional Jewish garment is standard practice at the congregation he leads, the Great Faith Ministries International… In fact, there are other Jewish traditions the congregation observes. It was no accident Trump visited for a ceremony on a Saturday rather than the normal Sunday church service. ‘We do worship on the sabbath, because I do recognize the holy days,’ Jackson said…

“Great Faith Ministries, which Jackson leads, follows a Pentecostal tradition in which it is common for clergy and worshippers to wear the religious garment with fringes hanging from each of its four corners… Jackson is known to be a proponent of ‘prosperity theology,’ which entails the belief among certain sects of Christianity that an individual’s financial standing and physical condition come from the will of God, and that proper faith will tip the scales in their favor…

“At the service, Jackson not only gave Trump the tallit, but also a Jewish Heritage Study Bible, which the bishop said talks about the foundation of the Christian faith. ‘You know, a lot of Christians who sit in church don’t even know that the foundation of the Christian faith goes back to God’s covenant with Abraham,’ Jackson said…

“John Hagee, the televangelist Christian leader and pastor of a mega-church in San Antonio, Texas, has worn [the tallit] on multiple occasions, and a number of evangelical churches throughout the country sell them in their gift shops. Jackson also stressed: ‘This was nothing to be offensive. I love Israel. I support Israel. I love the people of God. The prayer shawl was meant to do nothing but to show the power of the holy spirit.’… The Christian leader said that bestowing the candidate with the garment was also intended to shore up his feeling for the Jewish state. ‘You know, this man may carry the government on his shoulders. Who knows? He may be the most powerful man in the world, if he becomes the president. And we want him to love the nation of Israel… It was all about the love that was displayed in that service. it was the love there in that room that had Donald Trump leave feeling the love of Yeshua [Jesus].’”

These are very alarming developments. Many of the “Messianic Jewish” concepts, as displayed in the article and claimed to be of Pentecostal origin, are not biblical and do much more harm than good. We address many aspects of false “Messianic Jewish” teachings and practices in our free booklet, “Old Testament Laws—Still Valid Today.” In regard to the use of the word “Yeshua,” please also note our recent Q&A, titled, “Should We Use Hebrew Expressions in Our Worship of God?”

Unbiblical Transgender Policy Affects Churches

WorldNetDaily wrote on September 10, 2016:

“President Obama’s transgender agenda has taken huge leaps forward in the last year or so. There have been orders for public building managers, for colleges and even for public schools to allow a male who says he’s female to use locker rooms and restrooms set aside for women… Now a second state has decided that churches, too, are bound by the agenda.

“The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination this month released a ‘Gender Identity Guidance’ that imposes its demands on society… ‘Under [the law] places of public accommodation may not discriminate against, or restrict a person from services because of that person’s gender identity. For example, a hotel or motel may not refuse to book a room for a person because of the person’s gender identity,’ the state threatens. It continues, ‘Even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.’

“The demands include having church officials, and even members, use whatever pronouns a person would demand, irrespective of their actual gender…

“[In Iowa], a church sued the state in federal court, demanding that officials withdraw their threats of prosecution because of the content of the church’s sermons, specifically what is said about homosexuality, same-sex ‘marriage,’ transgenderism and other related topics… That case erupted when the state’s Civil Rights Commission first claimed the authority to control the content of sermons and then to define what’s religious. At issue is the state’s nondiscrimination requirements that specify any ‘public accommodation’ can be ordered not to say anything that might make a homosexual or a transgender feel ‘unwelcome,’ such as even reading from the Bible a condemnation of such behavior…

“The Iowa Civil Rights Act bans places of ‘public accommodation’ from expressing their views on human sexuality if they would ‘directly or indirectly’ make ‘persons of any particular … gender identity’ feel ‘unwelcome.’ The state claims churches are a ‘public accommodation.’”

PJ Media wrote on September 9:

“Contrary to many scientific studies (pediatricians have even called youth transgenderism ‘child abuse’), [transgender ideology] argues that people who identify with the gender opposite their biological sex should be encouraged to do so, even to the extent of undergoing ‘gender re-affirming surgery.’ This is a fancy name for bodily mutilation which causes even more confusion than before.”

This dangerous set of law manifests the anti-biblical approach of the liberal agenda.

Germany’s “Clear and Present Danger”

Reuters wrote on September 10:

“Germany’s interior minister has warned that the country is home to more than 500 Islamic militants who could be capable of carrying out assaults on their own or as members of ‘hit teams.’… He said another 360 ‘relevant’ people were known to police because of their close proximity to the potential attackers…

“‘The hit teams are secretly smuggled into Europe and prepare their actions without being noticed, as we saw with the attacks in Paris and Brussels,’ he added. ‘But it’s even more difficult to uncover the fanatical lone wolves. Unfortunately, there is a real and present danger from both threats.’”

German Military Sends 650 Soldiers to the Mediterranean Sea

Deutsche Welle reported on September 13:

“A new NATO initiative hopes to stop jihadi militants in the Mediterranean Sea. The German military is pitching in to help via major troop commitments to the yearlong mission… [It will] have powers to search vessels suspected of harboring terrorists… Operation Sea Guardian also hopes to curb human trafficking and arms smuggling while assisting the European Union’s border agency, Frontex.

“Germany is expected to join the NATO operation, and could contribute up to 650 soldiers to the international mission in Mediterranean waters… The deployment is regarded as part of a broader shift in Germany to expand its military role in Europe and NATO…”

“France and Germany to Beef Up EU Defence”

The Local wrote on September 10:

“France and Germany are preparing joint proposals for a ‘more active and more useful’ European defence policy, the French defence ministry told AFP on Friday… The Franco-German document proposes the establishment of a European defence headquarters, a common satellite surveillance system and the sharing of logistics and military medical resources… There would be a tighter circle of EU members for some defence projects where it proves impossible to gain agreement from all…

“There is also a suggestion for better use of Eurocorps, an intergovernmental military body that has France and Germany at its centre. Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg are members of the Strasbourg-based Eurocorps, set up for rapid deployment to hotspots. The EU has already been involved in the training of foreign armies, as part of conflict resolution, and might become involved in financing their equipment.

“The bloc could also become engaged in research and development, to strengthen the European defence industry. The discussions are in part due to the June vote by Britain to leave the EU. According to [German defence minister] von der Leyen, London had long ‘paralysed’ European efforts to have a more closely integrated security policy.”

“Europe Needs a Military Headquarters”

BBC News wrote on September 14:

“The European Union needs a military headquarters to work towards a common military force, the Commission president [Jean-Claude Juncker] has told MEPs in Strasbourg… Mr Juncker said a common military force ‘should be in complement to Nato’… A European Defence Fund would stimulate military research and development, he said…

“All EU members have military forces; most are also members of Nato; and several have extensive experience of operations abroad, from peace-keeping to war-fighting. The real question is how to organise these component parts to get greater security. Mr Juncker insists that the EU must have a role here. He wants to improve EU command and control facilities and appears to be suggesting that EU civil and military aspects of a given mission should be run out of the same headquarters…

“Since 2003 the EU has launched some 30 civilian and military operations in Europe, Africa and Asia – under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Sixteen are still going on, including six military operations…

“[Juncker] urged a renewed focus on the EU as a ‘driving force that can bring about unification, for instance in Cyprus’…

“Anti-EU MEPs lined up to criticise Mr Juncker’s rallying cry: UKIP leader Nigel Farage said it was ‘the usual recipe: more Europe, in this particular case, more military Europe’.”

Austria’s Presidential Election Pushed Back

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 12:

“Austria’s presidential election, originally set for October 2, will be pushed back, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said on Monday. The decision came after a number of voters planning to vote by mail complained the seals for the ballot forms were faulty… The new round of voting is set to take place on December 4.

“This was the latest problem to beset the race for Austria’s head of state… the election became the subject of intense international interest when it was first contested last spring, as Austria came without 31,000 votes of being the first country in western Europe to elect a far-right leader since World War II.

“Austria holds presidential elections every six years, and goes to a second-round run off vote if no candidate garners more than 50 percent in the first ballot. Norbert Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) came in less than a percentage point behind Green-party affiliated candidate Alexander Van der Bellen in May’s run-off. However, Austria’s highest court annulled that vote in June and called for a new election after it emerged that thousands of absentee ballots had been counted incorrectly.

“The FPÖ is one of a number of parties in western Europe using anti-immigrant rhetoric to gain steam during the continent’s refugee crisis. It is part of a European parliamentary group chaired by Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front as well as members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and Britain’s right-wing populist UKIP.”

Ireland to Appeal EU Commission’s Controversial Decision on Apple

Reuters reported on September 8:

“Ireland’s government won strong backing from parliament for its appeal against a 13-billion-euro back tax bill the European Commission ordered it to collect from Apple, following 12 hours of debate on Wednesday. Ireland’s fragile coalition overcame initial misgivings from independent members of cabinet to join Apple last week in fighting the ruling that Ireland granted state aid to the company through undue and selective tax benefit.

“The government says Ireland did not give favorable tax treatment to Apple and that no state aid was provided, and it won a motion to endorse its position in parliament by 93 votes to 36. ‘The picture of Ireland painted by the Commission in its decision, as a country prepared to play fast and loose with the law to gain unfair advantage, could not be more damaging or further from the truth,’ Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told lawmakers. ‘This is not a Commission finding that stands by a small country that has played by the rules. It cannot be allowed to stand.’”

This will make the EU not too happy. The EU Commission has been under constant criticism for its sometimes highly controversial political decisions.

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