This Week in the News

“The FBI Investigation of EmailGate Was a Sham”

On September 25, The Observer published the following article by John Schindler, “a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor”:

“From the moment the EmailGate scandal went public more than a year ago, it was obvious that the Federal Bureau of Investigation never had much enthusiasm for prosecuting Hillary Clinton or her friends. Under President Obama, the FBI grew so politicized that it became impossible for the Bureau to do its job – at least where high-ranking Democrats are concerned…

“Redacted FBI documents from that investigation… revealed that Hillary Clinton either willfully lied to the Bureau, repeatedly, about her email habits as secretary of state, or she is far too dumb to be our commander-in-chief. Worse, the FBI completely ignored the appearance of highly classified signals intelligence in Hillary’s email, including information lifted verbatim from above-Top Secret NSA reports back in 2011. This crime, representing the worst compromise of classified information in EmailGate – that the public knows of, at least – was somehow deemed so uninteresting that nobody at the FBI bothered to ask anybody on Team Clinton about it.

“This stunning omission appears highly curious to anybody versed in counterintelligence matters, not least since during Obama’s presidency, the FBI has prosecuted Americans for compromising information far less classified than what Clinton and her staff exposed on Hillary ‘unclassified’ email server of bathroom infamy.

“This week, however, we learned that there is actually no mystery at all here. The FBI was never able to get enough traction in its investigation of EmailGate to prosecute anybody since the Bureau had already granted immunity to key players in that scandal. Granting immunity is a standard practice in investigations, and is sometimes unavoidable. Giving a pass to Bryan Pagliano, Hillary’s IT guru who set up her email and server, made some sense since he understands what happened here, technically speaking, and otherwise is a small fish. The wisdom of giving him a pass now seems debatable, though, since Pagliano has twice refused to testify before Congress about his part in EmailGate, blowing off subpoenas. Just this week the House Oversight Committee recommended that Pagliano be cited for contempt of Congress for his repeated no-shows. That vote was on strictly partisan lines, with not a single Democrat on the committee finding Pagliano’s ignoring of Congressional subpoenas to be worthy of censure.

“Now it turns out the FBI granted immunity to much bigger fish in the Clinton political tank. Three more people got a pass from the Bureau in exchange for their cooperation: Hillary lawyer Heather Samuelson, State Department IT boss John Bental, and – by far the most consequential – Cheryl Mills…  Mills served as the State Department’s Chief of Staff and Counselor throughout Hillary’s tenure as our nation’s top diplomat. Granting her immunity in EmailGate, given her deep involvement in that scandal – including the destruction of tens of thousands of emails so they could not be handed over to the FBI – now seems curious, to say the least, particularly because Mills sat in on Hillary’s chat with the Bureau regarding EmailGate.

“This was in fact so highly irregular that Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, pronounced himself ‘absolutely stunned’ by the FBI’s granting of immunity to Cheryl Mills – which he learned of only on Friday… Not to mention that Mills has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation in Washington for helping the Clintons dodge investigation after investigation… ‘The whole thing stinks,’ explained a retired FBI senior official who professed dismay about the state of his former employer. ‘This was impossible in my time, unthinkable,’ he rued…

“How exactly Cheryl Mills got immunity, and what its terms were, is the long-awaited ‘smoking gun’ in EmailGate, the clear indication that, despite countless man-hours expended on the year-long investigation, James Comey and his FBI never had any intention of prosecuting Hillary Clinton – or anyone – for her mishandling of classified information as secretary of state. Why Comey decided to give Mills a get-out-of-jail-free card is something that needs proper investigation. This is raw, naked politics in all its ugly and cynical glory. Corruption is the tamest word to describe this sort of dirty backroom deal which makes average Americans despise politics and politicians altogether…

“Most intriguing… is the revelation that Hillary was communicating with President Obama via personal email, and he was using an alias. The alias he used with Hillary, and apparently others, was withheld by the FBI… What is odd… is the fact that Obama previously told the media that he only learned of Hillary’s irregular email and server arrangements from ‘news reports.’ How the president failed to notice that he was emailing his top diplomat at her personal, address, not a account, particularly when they were discussing official business, is something Congress may want to find out – since certainly the FBI won’t…

“For Hillary Clinton, winning that election may be a legal necessity to protect her from prosecution. Congress, animated by these latest revelations of illegality and corruption, will now pursue her with vigor, while an FBI in the hands of Donald Trump seems likely to show an interest in EmailGate which the Bureau never possessed under President Obama…”

The following sentence demands repetition: “Corruption is the tamest word to describe this sort of dirty backroom deal which makes average Americans despise politics and politicians altogether.” And they have every right to do so.

“State Department Aided and Abetted Clinton Email Cover-Up”

Newsmax wrote on September 25:

“There was a cover-up when it came to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and the State Department ‘aided and abetted that cover-up,’ Rep. Trey Gowdy, who chairs the House’s Select Committee on Benghazi, said Sunday. Gowdy said that arrangement went on to allow Clinton to keep her emails for two more years after she left office… ‘The Department of Justice gives out any immunity. The FBI doesn’t immunize anyone… Someone in the Department of Justice had to decide to pass out these immunity agreements…’

“Political commentator Charles Krauthammer… said he thinks Gowdy is ‘absolutely right’ with his claims… ‘All you had to do was issue a subpoena and since it came from the Department of Justice . . . it was understood from the beginning by the Department of Justice and the White House, the legacy of the president was going to hang on her winning reelection and that there was no way they were going to prosecute her.’”

President Obama Supports Saudi Arabia and Vetoes Bill

The Associated Press reported on September 23:

“President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill that would have allowed the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. The move sets Obama up for a possible first veto override by Congress. Both chambers passed the bill by voice vote. The House sent Obama the bill just before the 15th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Obama says the bill would ‘upset longstanding international principles regarding sovereign immunity.’ The bill would have given 9/11 families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the attacks. Fifteen of the 19 men who carried out the attacks were Saudi nationals.”

Congress Overrides President Obama’s Veto

Newsmax reported on September 28:

“Republicans Wednesday cheered the congressional override of President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over the attacks — with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani congratulating legislators for ‘righting that terrible wrong.’ ‘President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act was an insult to the families of those we lost on 9/11,’ Giuliani said… ‘The failure of Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, who was obviously afraid to show up to work today and stand with these Americans, is a disgrace… ‘I will never forget that tragic day, nor the thousands who were lost… ,’ said Giuliani, who governed the city during the attacks…

“Both the House and the Senate voted decisively to reverse Obama’s decision to scuttle the legislation, handing him the first override of his presidency. Democrats in both chambers abandoned President Obama and joined Republicans in large numbers despite warnings from the president and top national security officials that flaws in the bill could put U.S. interests, troops, and intelligence personnel at risk.

“The Senate vote was 97-1. The House vote a few hours later was 348-77. Lawmakers said their priority was the 9/11 victims and their families, not Saudi Arabia…”

Obama’s Legacy–Populism

The National wrote on September 22:

“In his final address to the United Nations, United States president Barack Obama warned the assembled leaders that the liberal world order was under threat from what he called ‘crude populism’. In words which could apply equally to Donald Trump, the Republican candidate to succeed him as president, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Mr Obama said that some were arguing that the future favours the strong man. ‘History shows that strong men are then left with two paths: permanent crackdown, which sparks strife at home, or scapegoating enemies abroad, which can lead to war.’

“In some ways Mr Obama is ending his two terms in the White House in the same way he began. He set out to open a new page in the Middle East, reversing the Bush era’s imperial expansion, and with a view to make peace with Iran and reset relations with Russia. So joyous was the mood in Europe at that time that the president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of his fine words. He would be shocked to learn that the legacy of his administration may turn out to be something quite other than what he set out to do – the rise of populism around the world…

“In a forthcoming book, What Is Populism?, politics professor Jan-Werner Muller argues that not all attackers of the status quo are populists. Real populists are [those] who claim that they, and only they, represent the people… while their opponents are dupes or traitors, and the country is better off without them… This is not to say their arguments are without merit. The American political landscape is manipulated by huge corporations and wealthy individuals with vast lobbying power.

“Abroad, the ‘strong men’ denounced by Mr Obama are not doing too badly. Mr Putin has perfected what the Russians call the “political technologies” to stay in power and manage the challenges of low oil prices and sanctions far better than predicted. Hungary, where prime minister Victor Orban’s ‘Christian-national’ state is denounced in Brussels as a violation of European values, is the darling of the bond dealers.

“Populism stole up on the world during Obama’s presidency. It is not what he wanted… but that may be the legacy of his time in office.”

Trump Greatly Honored

Breitbart wrote on September 23:

“Donald Trump responded late Friday afternoon to the announcement that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he would be voting for him. ‘I am greatly honored by the endorsement of Senator Cruz. We have fought the battle and he was a tough and brilliant opponent,’ Trump responded in a press release Friday afternoon. ‘I look forward to working with him for many years to come in order to make America great again.’

“After not endorsing Trump during his speech at the Republican National Convention, Cruz decided to announce he would be voting for the Republican nominee via Facebook on Friday. ‘After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,’ Cruz wrote. ‘I’ve made this decision for two reasons,’ he continued. ‘First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word. Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable…'”

Kirk Douglas Compares Donald Trump with Hitler

JTA wrote on September 21:

“Actor Kirk Douglas suggested he sees similarities between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler, in an op-ed published months before his 100th birthday. ‘I have always been deeply proud to be an American. In the time I have left, I pray that will never change,’ Douglas wrote in the article… While not mentioning the Republican nominee by name, the Jewish actor quoted directly from a recent speech by Trump, in which he argued for ideological screening tests for potential immigrants. ‘These are not the American values that we fought in World War II to protect,’ Douglas wrote.

“The 99-year-old actor, who starred in countless Hollywood hits beginning in the 1940s, compared Trump’s policy proposals to those of Hitler, saying the Republican nominee’s words ‘could also have been spoken in 1933,’ the year the Nazi leader became Chancellor of Germany. ‘I’ve also lived through the horrors of a Great Depression and two World Wars, the second of which was started by a man who promised that he would restore his country… to its former greatness,’ Douglas wrote, drawing links to Trump’s slogan, ‘Make America Great Again.’

“In the op-ed, Douglas recalled the challenges his parents faced, when moving to the U.S. from Russia, as certain groups, including Jews, ‘felt the stigma of being treated as aliens, as foreigners who would never become “real Americans.”’”

Flashback – Donald Trump of German Descent?

Bustle wrote on February 29, 2016:

“… the Trump surname has actually quite a few branches throughout central and southern Germany…

“In fact, one such Drumpf named Hanns was a lawyer back in 1608… he lived in the village of Kallstadt during the Thirty Years’ War. The village was burned down about five times and 40 percent of the villagers were killed. One of his surviving descendants was a winegrower named John Philip Trump…

“Donald Trump’s own grandfather, Friedrich, had regained the last name Drumpf… altering it upon his relocation to the U.S. He entered in 1885 during the height of German-to-U.S. migration… He… eventually returned to Germany to get married. Though he later attempted to repatriate with his wife, Germany… accused him of dodging the draft, sending him back to the U.S. from whence he came…”

The First American Presidential Debate—Trump Lost, and Clinton Won

On September 28, Piers Morgan wrote the following for MailOnline:

“Hillary Clinton won. No ifs, no buts, she had the better of Donald Trump in last night’s eagerly awaited first presidential TV debate. Yes, I know most online polls had Trump winning, but to believe that is to look at a black sky and say the sun’s out. Clinton stayed cool, calm, collected and rode Trump’s aggression and bombast with skill and good humour… It was the best I’ve seen Clinton perform in any debate and a reminder that she remains a formidable candidate.

“By contrast I thought Trump, by his own debate standards, was disappointing…  For a man who has displayed a rare marketing genius in this race for hammering home simple, powerful messages, Trump’s rhetoric was oddly lacking in clarity. He let her off the hook about her biggest vulnerability – the email scandal. ‘I made a mistake,’ she said, trying to head it off at the get go. To which I expected Trump to reply, ‘No, you did it deliberately to conceal classified material from the American people’ and then go hard after her about the FBI’s damning verdict that she was ‘extremely careless.’ Instead, he rambled for a bit until the debate moved on…

“Incredibly, Trump never even mentioned Hillary’s recent disgraceful ‘basket of deplorables’ slur, the controversy-mired Clinton Foundation, the Benghazi terror attack or her lucrative ties to Wall Street. All of which have been hugely popular themes at his stump rallies and would have been easy home runs for him both with the audience in the room and the tens of millions watching at home.

“It wasn’t all bad for Trump by any means. He was strong in the first half hour, especially on the economy where he won the argument with Clinton.

“… overall Trump did a perfectly competent if not compelling job. He got through the 90 minutes without making a serious gaffe. He demonstrably wasn’t the hideous Hitler-like monster as many in the media have absurdly been trying to caricature him in recent weeks. Clinton, for all her artful jabbing and ducking, never landed a killer KO punch that might have depth-charged his whole campaign. There was no smoking factual gun, no ferociously sweaty Nixon-esque face, no ‘You’re no Jack Kennedy’ zinger to change the whole complexion of the race. Trump can therefore dust himself down, comforted by the knowledge that he got beaten on points not had his lights turned out.

“I suspect he will be very different at the second debate in ten days-time. More direct, more brutal, more effective… There’s plenty of time for him to sort himself out and work out a new game plan to take Hillary down in the next two match ups… But this will have been a big wake-up call for him. Trump doesn’t like losing. Which is why even when he loses, like last night, he defiantly pretends he hasn’t.

“Hillary and Bill are two of the most experienced political bruisers in America and for them both, this presidential race is the final ride at the biggest of all rodeos. I doubt Trump will lose any support after this debate, but I doubt he’ll gain much from the large group of undecideds either…

‘What we didn’t see last night is how Hillary would react to proper punches landing about issues where she has real vulnerability – delivered with surgical precision by a candidate who has spent the past 16 months knocking opponents over like Mike Tyson in a sparring session. As you always told me on Celebrity Apprentice, Mr Trump: ‘Go hard, or go home.’”

One of the most embarrassing moments for Trump was when he rambled regarding the highly controversial wording of the moderator’s question pertaining to the “birther movement” and his support of the “lie” that Mr. Obama was not born in the USA. He gave NO plausible answer for his “sudden change of heart,” and that was such a pitiful performance.

German Press: Trump Lost

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 27:

“The first Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate attracted major attention in the German media. And commentators were nearly unanimous in concluding that the Democrat came out on top. The headline in the news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ could hardly have been less ambiguous. ‘Hillary Clinton gives Donald Trump a clinic,’ wrote the editors…

“The headline in the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ newspaper was equally sarcastic: ‘The bar was set low, but Trump knocked it down…  the Republican definitely had his worst debate performance of the entire election season while the Democrat had perhaps the best one of her entire career.’…

“‘At times, Trump seemed liked a badly raised child,’ wrote the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ (FAZ) newspaper…

“The vast majority of Germans and German journalists would prefer to see a Clinton rather than a Trump presidency, and there was an unmistakable note of schadenfreude at Trump’s perceived poor performance… the FAZ wrote [:] ‘After this encounter, the Clinton campaign should pick up speed. All the way to the White House? The United States’ allies and partners around the world surely would have no complaints, if that were the case.’”

How Trump Became “the Winner”

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 27:

“Trump has said he won the first presidential debate after a number of online polls determined him the winner. But, as DW’s Social Media team found out, most voters were strident Trump supporters. After a record 80 million people tuned in to watch the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the general verdict was that Clinton came out on top. A CNN/ORC snap poll showed that 62 percent of respondents declared Clinton the winner, against 27 percent for Trump. This was the only poll that gathered a sample of respondents that was representative of the American public…

“Meanwhile, in numerous polls conducted on social media by news organizations, including Deutsche Welle, Trump came out the outright victor. Other news organizations, such as CNBC, Time magazine and ABC News, also saw similar results on their social media polls. Deutsche Welle’s Social Media team investigated who was voting in the polls and found that an overwhelming number were stringent Trump supporters. Such online polls are completely open to anyone and, unlike scientifically conducted polls, do not seek a representative sample of respondents.

“As it turned out, Trump supporters jumped on to these online polls and voted in droves after pro-Trump groups on online community websites such as Reddit and 4chan posted links to around 70 different online polls… Trump shared the results across his social media feeds. The former real estate mogul also told Fox News on Tuesday morning, ‘I won every single poll other than CNN, and not many people are watching CNN.’…

“DW’s Carl Nasman told DW News that these results matter, ‘because the average social media user doesn’t know that these polls are not scientific and might confuse them for something that is conducted in a scientific manner.’”

Trump Is Right on China

Forbes wrote on September 27:

“Everyone knows the U.S. has lost jobs to China. Everyone knows China has become the world’s manufacturer. But not everyone knows how they did it… China’s biggest and most effective tool is and always has been its currency. China ascended to the second largest economy in the world over the past two decades by massively devaluing its currency… China trashed its currency for economic advantage—and it worked, big time. And it worked because the rest of the world stood by and let it happen.

“For the next decade, the Chinese pegged its currency against the dollar at 8.29 yuan per dollar (a dollar buys 8.29 yuan). With the massive devaluation of the 1980s into the early 1990s, and then the peg through 2005, the Chinese economy exploded in size. It enabled China to corner the world’s export market, and suck jobs and foreign currency out of the developed world. This is precisely what Donald Trump is alluding to when he says ‘China is stealing from us.’

“China’s economy went from $350 billion to $3.5 trillion through 2005… And because they’ve undercut the world on price, they’ve become the world’s Wal-Mart (sellers to everyone) and have accumulated a mountain for foreign currency as a result. China is the holder of the largest foreign currency reserves in the world, at more than $3 trillion dollars (mostly U.S. dollars). What do they do with those dollars? They buy U.S. Treasuries, keeping rates low, so that U.S. consumers can borrow cheap and buy more of their goods—adding to their mountain of currency reserves, adding to their wealth and depleting the U.S. of wealth (and the cycle continues).

“… the Chinese economy has ascended to the second largest economy in the world now—on pace to the biggest soon… China’s currency is a bigger threat, at this stage, than just the emergence of China as an economic power… The current global imbalances are the underlying cause of the global financial crisis, and China’s currency is at the heart of it… Historically that’s a recipe for disaster, economically and geopolitically.”

Exorcism and Paganism in the USA

The Telegraph wrote on September 26:

“Pope Francis… appears to have no problem reminding Catholics that ‘Satan is real’… In the US, over the last decade, television shows depicting reported paranormal events and possession as well as books and films about exorcism and the supernatural have proliferated in the cultural mainstream… ‘Reliance on pagan activities can create a situation in which evil is invited in,’ observes [a Catholic “exorcist”].  In his experience, the most common occult activity is using a Ouija board to summon the dead… ‘evil can be invited in directly or indirectly. A lot of people have contacted me and said something like, “We were playing with a Ouija board and all of a sudden our friend starting speaking in this crazy language that we didn’t understand. And strange things started happening – things moving in the house.”’

“Other pagan activities could include séances, and mediums; reading Tarot cards; casting spells and curses through witches and warlocks, and worshipping Satan and other demons. [Some believe] that such activities are in full force in the US.”

However, the “exorcisms” practiced by the Roman Catholic Church must be rejected. Some of the reasons for this rejection are stated in the article:

“In [a Catholic exorcist’s experience], a possessed person always has a tribe of demons, not just one. And sometimes not just demons but the disembodied spirits of dead human souls are attached to the afflicted person as well. Dead souls will always reveal their names when asked and that is one way to differentiate them from demons… the reaction of a disembodied spirit and the reaction of a demon are very different most of the time… ‘Most of the time a demon’s goal is to take the person to Hell that they are attached to. The demon wants the person to commit suicide. In the case of demonic possession, a suicide would be viewed as a state of diminished capacity under Church doctrine.’ The Rite is conducted in Latin, the most hated language to demons… the exorcism process takes a minimum of six months… One of [this particular exorcist’s] most difficult cases was a man who had been the subject of multiple curses and occult activity while he was still in the womb. According to Church doctrine, until a person reaches the age of seven, he cannot exercise free will.”

All of this [including the false concept of “dead souls”; “hell”; the length of time for “exorcisms”; demon possession in the mother’s womb; no free will by a person under seven, etc. etc.] is totally contradicted by the Bible. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World” and “The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”

Fox 12 Oregon reported on September 27:

“… a local satanic group just got the go-ahead to hold an after-school program at Sacramento Elementary School in the Parkrose School District. Organizers say their goal isn’t to encourage devil worship, but to offer children an alternative to a Christian group that also meets there.”

Divorce and Mixed Marriages Highly Responsible for Lack of Religion

The Washington Post wrote on September 27:

“Two widely recognized trends in American society might have something to do with each other. Divorce rates climbed to the highest levels ever in the 1980s, when about half of all marriages ended in divorce. And in the present day, Americans are rapidly becoming less religious. Since 1972, the share of Americans who say they do not adhere to any particular religion has increased from 5 percent of the population to 25 percent.

“Could those two trends be related? A new study from the Public Religion Research Institute says yes. The children of divorced parents have grown up to be adults of no religion. People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up not to be religious as adults, the study found. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents told pollsters they are now nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children…

“Andrew Root, a professor at Luther Seminary… was not surprised to hear about the study’s findings… Root said churches are not doing enough to speak directly to the concerns of children in those situations, so the kids lose faith in the ability of the church to help them. He said that when the divorce rate climbed in the 1980s, many members of the clergy, especially mainline Protestant pastors, stopped speaking out against divorce so as not to alienate struggling congregants…

“The new study, which asked many questions about nonreligious Americans’ beliefs about faith, touched on other consequences of parents’ marriages as well. It showed, as other research has demonstrated, that children raised by parents who have two different religions, grow up more likely to have no religion at all.”

Germany Sues Turkey

The Washington Post wrote on September 26:

“German state-funded broadcaster Deutsche Welle has filed a lawsuit against the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports in a development that could have wider implications for relations between the two countries. DW announced Monday that it had taken the decision after a videotaped interview it conducted with Turkish Sports Minister Akif Cagatay Kilic on Sept. 5 was allegedly confiscated by Turkish authorities the same day. Turkey first denied those allegations. But DW stuck to its claims and gave the ministry repeated deadlines to hand over the material before it took legal steps Monday.

“According to DW, its host discussed issues, such as the recent coup attempt, ‘press freedom and the status of women.’ Turkish officials insisted that the footage should not be aired, before confiscating the tapes, the German channel said…

“The German government has backed the efforts undertaken by its international broadcaster to get back its footage… Relations among Turkey and European countries, including Germany, are increasingly strained. Turkey complains that Europe has not made a significant effort to condemn the July coup attempt, and has protested being tasked with absorbing Syrian refugees without being granted the concessions it had hoped for from the European Union…

“Germany is a particular case, nonetheless: About 3 million Turkish immigrants live in the country. Half hold Turkish citizenship and are allowed to vote in Turkish elections. Turkish citizens living in Germany voted overwhelmingly for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development (AKP) party in elections last year. The importance of Erdogan’s AKP to Turkish immigrants living in Germany has worried politicians in Europe’s economic powerhouse. German authorities have noticed a rise in violent clashes between Turkish AKP supporters living in Germany and Kurdish immigrants or members of the Gulen movement — tensions that have mainly spilled over from Turkey, officials said. Erdogan has publicly accused the Gulen movement (named after self-exiled, U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen) of organizing the July coup attempt and has arrested thousands of its alleged members in Turkey.

“Turkish citizens started arriving in Germany as “guest workers” at the beginning of the 1960s. Originally invited with the goal of filling job vacancies, many of them never returned to their country of origin. Tensions became particularly apparent in June, when the German Parliament recognized the Armenian ‘genocide’ — a decision that resulted in Turkey’s withdrawing its ambassador to Germany. Other nations have also described the massacre of 1 million to 1.5 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as a genocide, but none of them are home to such a significant Turkish minority as Germany…”

Even though Turkey will collaborate with the EU over issues pertaining to the future rejection of the USA and the state of Israel, it is highly unlikely that Turkey will ever become a member of the EU.

“Italy Lays out ‘Vision’ of EU Army”

The EUObserver wrote on September 26:

Italy has laid out plans for the creation of a ‘European force’ that goes beyond Franco-German proposals on defence integration.  It said in an informal paper… that the EU should create a ‘powerful and usable European Force that can also be employed in support to Nato or UN operations’”.

Russia’s Growing Influence Across Asia

Express wrote on September 26:

“Russia has sent a chilling warning to the West that its influence is spreading across Asia with the announcement of a two-week military drill with Pakistan. For the first time in modern history the two Cold War enemies will be conducting training exercises together… The exercise will take place in a mountainous area in the eastern Punjab province of Pakistan, intended to demonstrate to the world the shifting alliances in South Asia and the resurgence of Russian influence in the region. The exercise also sends a message of defiance to America, which has also seen relations with Pakistan cool over recent years… last year Pakistan bought four Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia in the first military deal of its kind between them…

“The military exercise comes as troops in Russia’s far east performed a test launch of the Iskander-M missile system. The weapon, a mobile ballistic missile system, is designed to hit targets on the ground targets at from more than 300 miles away… [it] could hit targets as far away as eastern Germany, the entire Baltic region and Poland, as well as parts of Sweden. But experts say the targets it will cover can be struck by longer-range Russian missiles anyway.

“Relations between Russia and the West have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War in recent months. Both sides have ramped up their defence spending, missile programmes and defensive shields as Europe enters what many observers believe is a new Cold War.”

Philippines Wants Closer Ties with Russia and China wrote on September 25:

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that he’s interested in offering trade alliances and long-term land leases to China and Russia. Duterte said he realized he’d be ‘crossing the Rubicon’ with the U.S., his country’s close ally and former colonial ruler. ‘I am not really going to break ties’ with the U.S., Duterte said, but he indicated he’d be willing to forge closer economic relationships with the other side of ‘the ideological barrier.’

“The Associated Press reports that Duterte would be offering countries in China and Russia the ability to lease land in the Philippines for more than a century. Duterte told reporters that he would be traveling to China soon and would meet with President Xi Jinping. He also said he’d already opened up a conversation with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking with him during a summit in Laos earlier this month…

“Asked by a reporter what he meant by crossing the Rubicon, he said it was ‘a point of no return.’ He said the problem was that the Philippines’ mutual defense treaty with the U.S. does not guarantee that Washington will come to the Philippines’ defense if it is attacked because the U.S. president would need the approval of Congress…

“The U.S. and its former colony have a long and complicated relationship. The U.S. recognized the Philippines’ independence and established diplomatic ties in 1946, and both nations signed a mutual defense treaty in 1951. The U.S. has traditionally been the Philippines’ largest foreign investor. For decades, the U.S. maintained large military bases there, but amid growing anti-American sentiment, the Philippines voted to push the U.S. bases out in the early ’90s.

“More recently, the U.S. military presence in the Philippines has grown again — although permanent bases have not returned — as some Filipino leaders have grown increasingly wary about the conflict over the South China Sea. But since Duterte took office this summer, he has called for the withdrawal of U.S. military advisers and said the Philippines will no longer conduct joint patrols with the U.S. Navy. He has also insulted President Obama and the U.S. ambassador in Manila.

“Duterte has prompted international criticism for pursuing a harsh crackdown on the drug trade in the Philippines, one that has left thousands of people dead. Some of Duterte’s headline-grabbing insults have been defiant reactions to criticism — real or hypothetical — over an initiative that many say violates human rights. But as Michael Sullivan recently reported for NPR, the president and his bloody war on drugs remain popular within the Philippines.”

Violence at Joseph’s Tomb

JTA wrote on September 22:

“Rioting Palestinians attacked Israeli soldiers and worshippers visiting Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus in the West Bank… The Palestinians threw rocks and firebombs at the soldiers guarding the [700] worshippers, as well as at the tomb… No damage or injuries were reported…

“The tomb is located in an area of the West Bank that is under the exclusive military and civilian control of the Palestinian Authority. On Sept. 1, an Israeli soldier was shot by live fire that came from the nearby Balata refugee camp while protecting worshippers at the site.

“Joseph’s Tomb is also holy to Muslims and Christians. Israeli Jews must receive permission to visit the purported burial place of the Jewish patriarch; the visits must be coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the site was to remain under Israeli control, but the Israeli army evacuated the premises in October 2000 during the second intifada and the tomb was burnt down by Palestinians. It was renovated and restored, but then torched and vandalized again last October. Jewish worshippers… make monthly nocturnal pilgrimages to the refurbished site.”

“Former Israeli President Shimon Peres Dies”

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 28:

“World leaders are paying tribute to the former Israeli president and prime minister, who has died at the age of 93 after suffering a stroke two weeks ago. He was the last surviving founding father of the state of Israel… Peres’ body will lie in state at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, on Thursday before a state funeral in Jerusalem on Friday. Pope Francis, US President Barack Obama, and Prince Charles are among the dozens of foreign dignitaries expected to attend…

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed ‘deep personal sadness,’ calling Peres a ‘man of vision.’ German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid tribute to Peres as an architect of the ‘unique friendship between Israel and Germany’ after World War II…

“Born in Poland in 1923, Peres emigrated to what was then British-mandated Palestine when he was 11. He served as prime minister for eight months after the assassination of Premier Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and also for a brief term between 1984 and 1986… He later was elected Israel’s ninth president, serving between 2007 and 2014.

“Together with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 ‘for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East’ after signing the 1993 interim Oslo peace accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.”

New Discoveries About Petra

Haaretz reported on September 25:

“Recent excavations at Petra have revealed a startlingly advanced irrigation system and water storage system that enabled the desert city’s people to survive – and to maintain a magnificent garden featuring fountains, ponds and a huge swimming pool…

“Petra is perhaps best known for its sandstone canyon that leads directly to Al Khazneh, The Treasury, seen in the climax to ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ where the hero archaeologists, played by Harrison Ford and Sean Connery, ride out of the canyon and into the Treasury in their quest for the Holy Grail.

“However, 2,000 years ago, Petra was renowned for completely different reasons. It was one of the most famous water stops in the Middle East, where camel caravan routes linked distant cities. Now archaeologists are discovering the Nabataean capital, situated in the southwestern deserts of Jordan, once was adorned with an exquisite, artificially irrigated garden. It featured paths likely shaded by vines, trees and date palms, and grasses, which were cultivated next to a huge, 44-meter wide swimming pool…

“The intricate system of channels, ceramic pipelines, underground cisterns and water tanks, which also filtered the water, allowed the people of Petra to cultivate crops, harvest fruit, produce wine and olive oil as well as build a lavish garden with a monumental open air pool in the middle of the desert…

“The gardens were practically a miracle. Petra only gets 10 to 15 centimeters of rain a year (now in the era of climate change, it may get even less). That’s just 4 to 6 inches. Without developing techniques to channel, purify and even pressurize and store water, Petra could not have existed. As was done in Jerusalem too, for instance, the people of Petra carved out channels, reservoirs, and cisterns from the solid rock, even ‘tanks’ that purified water. Practically every drop of rain that fell around Petra was collected and conserved, and springs were channeled to pipes that emptied into literally hundreds of cisterns carved underground, ensuring a reliable supply of drinking and bathing water in the heart of the desert, regardless of the season…

“The citizens of Petra not only knew how to work with water, they were also masters at masonry. The very name Petra, which means ‘Mass of Rock,’ summons up visions of stone. And Petra was indeed a city of stone, unlike any other in the Roman world. The Nabataeans painstakingly carved their houses, tombs, and temples out of the solid rock. The red sandstone mountains in which Petra was nestled were perfectly suited for this, and by the first century C.E., a monumental city had arisen in the middle of the desert.

“Perhaps the most visually stunning testimony of the Nabatean mastery over stone is the Treasury, an imposing structure carved out of a massive cliff. The structure was named after the huge stone urn that crowns the building and that supposedly stored gold and precious stones. The urn is actually made out of solid stone. However, whatever Steven Spielberg imagined, the structure does not lead into a deep labyrinth that hides the Holy Grail. Instead the Treasury holds a relatively small hall once used as a royal tomb…”

Do Animals Mourn Their Dead?

On September 21, Deutsche Welle published an article with the following introduction:

“Whales, chimps, dogs – animals seem to suffer when they lose a beloved companion or offspring. Do animals understand death, and do they grieve like humans? Or are we just projecting our understanding on their behavior?”

Deutsche Welle continued by publishing an interview with “Frans de Waal, a Dutch primatologist and ethologist. He is professor of Primate Behavior in the Emory University psychology department in Atlanta, US, and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He works mostly with chimpanzees and bonobos and is author of several books including ‘Chimpanzee Politics’ and ‘Our Inner Ape.’”

We are bringing you the following excerpts from Professor de Waal’s statements:

“Typical grieving happens with mothers and offspring in mammals. Usually, you find grieving with animals who have individual attachments… All mammals have these bonds to some degree, all birds as well, as birds are very often pair-bonded. If the partner dies, they are very affected by it… There was the dog Hachiko in Tokyo in Japan. After his boss died, the dog came to the train with which he normally arrived – for about 10 years. Whenever you have attachments, be it between a dog and a human or a cat and a human, you can have grieving…

“‘Mourn like humans do’ is a big statement. They are distressed. With primates like chimpanzees, it is not unusual that if one of the primates in a group dies the others stop eating for a couple of days. They become completely silent, they stare at the body for a long time, they try to revive the body… If it is a very important partner like your best friend or your offspring then it can last much longer, it may last for years. I knew a female who lost an offspring and for months was sort of crying about it. It has a very long-term effect…

“With primates we often have the impression that they specifically remember the individual… The one thing about death that primates certainly understand is the permanency. That once an individual is dead, they don’t move anymore, they’re dead…

“Some bonobos found a very dangerous snake in the forest and were very scared of it, poking it with sticks. At some point, the alpha female, which is dominant over the male, took the snake by the tail, hit it against the ground and killed it. From that moment on, the young bonobos picked up the snake, hung it around their necks, walked around with [it] and started to play with it. That indicates that they know that it’s a dangerous animal that you should be very careful of – but once it is dead, you can play with it…

“Some birds who mate for life sometimes even stop eating and die if their partner dies. This is true for geese but also for many songbirds, they have long-term bonds… I would say [the same about] elephants, because they go back to the bones of the ones that they have lost. If an elephant dies… the other elephants inspect the bones of the dead elephant if they can find them. I’m not sure, though, if anyone has done research on whether the elephants return just to any bones or bones of specific individuals that they have known… They go back to the bones, a bit like us going to a graveyard.

When asked, “Do some animals also bury their dead by digging a grave?”, he answered:

“No, they don’t dig a grave. It is possible that they throw stuff over their dead in order to cover the body. That appears to be like an anti-predator defense, in a sense that a smelling body would attract predators and scavengers. But I don’t know if they do that systematically.”

When asked, “Digging a grave is a typically human thing then?,” he answered:

“Yes, that’s for sure.”

These statements are in agreement with our teaching in our free booklet, “Heavens and Earth… Before and After the First Man!

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