Current Events

Egypt Does Not Know the Way to Peace

Newsmax reported on August 16:

“The National Salvation Front, a coalition of pro-democratic and secular parties in Egypt, set out its objections to remarks made by President Barack Obama Thursday on the escalating violence in Egypt. Led by Ahmed Said of the Free Egyptians Party, the group issued the following letter:

“‘Let us first inform you about who the Muslim brothers are: They’re an unlawful organization operating outside the realm of Egyptian law, receiving foreign funding and laundering money in a flagrant breech of international law. Their aim is to rule the world through a so-called Islamic Caliphate as they believe in their absolute supremacy. They pretend they are God’s emissaries and they will not rest until they have forced the whole world into submission. For them, Egypt is the launching pad to achieve their fascist dream. Their international reach spans the globe and they command the hearts and minds of many unsuspecting politicians. They have used deceit, soft speeches, international funds and whenever required, violence,  to impose their will…

“‘The rule of (deposed President Mohammed) Morsi showed how in less than a year they abused the people, reneged on their promises and overturned the rule of law by issuing constitutional diktats monopolizing the judiciary as well as the legislative arms of the state. This was enough to impeach any president in a democratic nation. Unfortunately, Egyptians couldn’t refer to their Supreme Court as it was besieged by thugs for over 60 days back in November of 2012. So finally, Egyptians took to the streets and this century’s second Egyptian ‘peaceful unarmed’ revolution took place in June 2013 to recall the president and reject the rule of the Brotherhood. Egyptians deposed their president not because he was not inclusive, as you so kindly represented, but because he broke his constitutional oath and became another dictator reminiscent of the previous dictator this same great people of Egypt removed in January 2011. This was the will of the people that the West is now trying to bend pretending they are doing so in the name of democracy with no intention of interfering in Egyptian affairs!…

“Since July 3, 2013, the day deposed President Morsi was ousted by popular demand of millions of Egyptians, the Western media and prominent emissaries from the U.S. and Europe have consistently described the sit-ins that paralyzed a large part of Cairo as ‘peaceful demonstrations.’ They chose to ignore what was happening across Egypt from torching churches and killing randomly and destroying private and public properties… Peaceful demonstrators do not attack a police station with RPG and kill the police chief and his deputies, strip them of their clothes and drag their naked bodies down the street. Peaceful demonstrators do not threaten Christians with genocide as many of the Muslim Brotherhood declared in hate speeches from the sit-in stage. Peaceful demonstrators do not raise the black flags of al-Qaida while marching with pictures of bin Laden and al Zawahri on their chests…”

This may all be very true, but still, the military coup with ITS mass murders is equally deplorable. Both sides in Egypt are terribly wrong, and the bloodshed of innocent people is bound to continue. Egypt does not know the way to peace, nor does man in general. Man’s ways do not bring peace. Man will never achieve peace through propaganda, selective news “reporting” and violence, including the possession and use of weapons and the means of strife and war, rebellion, revolution, uprisings, military coups, or the mass murders of opponents. ONLY the return of Jesus Christ will establish true and lasting peace for this sick, violent, war-stricken and deceived world.

Israel Supports Egypt’s Military

On August 19, the New York Times wrote the following:

“The Israeli government is pressing its efforts to convince the United States and the European Union to support the military-backed government in Egypt. The New York Times reported late Sunday that Israeli ambassadors in Washington and the European capitals will lobby foreign ministers, and that Israeli leaders will urge diplomats to see the Israeli viewpoint that the Egyptian military will prevent a further deterioration of the situation in Cairo.

“The newspaper cited an unnamed ‘senior Israeli official involved in the effort.’ ‘If you insist on big principles, then you will miss the essential — the essential being putting Egypt back on track at whatever cost,’ the official told the Times. ‘First, save what you can, and then deal with democracy and freedom and so on. At this point it’s army or anarchy.’

“Israel reportedly has been lobbying American officials hard to sustain the annual $1.5 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt… Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led the military coup that ousted Morsi, developed close ties with Israel when he headed Egypt’s military intelligence, according to the Times, and has remained in close contact with Israel throughout the recent violence and bloodshed.”

The Associated Press reported on August 19 that Israel is quietly maintaining close contacts with the Egyptian military, hoping that their rule and fight against Islamists will maintain Israel’s historic 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. As so often during its history, Israel is betting on the wrong horse. Its attempt to buy allies is condemned by God, and the Bible prophecies that Europe and Egypt will become allies to fight against Israel.

Egypt Key Partner to Europe– the Conscience of the World

The EUObserver wrote on August 19:

“The EU’s envoy to north Africa, Bernardino Leon, has said events in Egypt are ‘more complex’ than a simple story of the army killing Muslim protesters… [He said:] ‘There are two sides. There is violence coming from all sides … We have seen attacks on Coptic churches and on public buildings. We’ve been saying very clearly that violence from both sides, from all sides, has to stop.’…

“Leon underlined the importance of Egypt in terms of regional stability. ‘Egypt is a key partner [for the EU], probably the most important partner in the Mediterranean,’ he said… Egypt’s ambassador to the UK, Ashraf ElKholy, told The Telegraph newspaper that: ‘Europe is the conscience of the world.” He added: ‘I think we are beginning to see recognition that the Muslim Brotherhood is involved in the violence from Europe’s governments.'”

It is remarkable that Europe—not the USA—is perceived as being the conscience and therefore the leader of the world. The revelations of the terrible spying activities of the NSA and the witch-hunt like prosecutions of whistleblowers (see below) did little to establish America as having a conscience which others should follow.

Further Egyptian Complications—Mubarak to Be Released…

The New York Times reported on August 19:

“A court in Egypt has ordered that former President Hosni Mubarak, who has been detained on a variety of charges since his ouster in 2011, should be set free [The court acquitted Mubarak on a charge of corruption]…

“The development threatened to inject a volatile new element into the standoff between the country’s military and the Islamist supporters of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi… It was unclear how Egyptians… would respond to the release of a despised autocrat whose downfall united Mr. Mubarak’s secular and Islamist foes. News of the legal maneuvers came at a time of sustained bloodletting.”

The New York Times added on August 21:

“An Egyptian court on Wednesday ordered former President Hosni Mubarak released from prison, saying all appeals by prosecutors to keep him behind bars had been exhausted… The juxtaposition of freedom for Mr. Mubarak while Mr. Morsi remains in custody would dramatically test the level of support for the military-led government among the many anti-Mubarak people who later sided with the decision to depose Mr. Morsi and crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood…

“His ouster, and the disgrace of public trial in courtrooms full of opponents and television cameras, was deeply unpopular among some of Egypt’s allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, which helped put together a $12 billion aid package for Egypt after Mr. Morsi was deposed last month. The money will help offset threats of aid cutoffs from the United States and European countries over the huge numbers of deaths in pro-Morsi protests.”

Obama’s Half-Brother Overseer of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?

WorldNetDaily wrote on August 21 (this article was also posted by the Drudge Report on August 21):

“President Obama’s half-brother in Kenya could cause the White House more headaches over new evidence linking him to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and establishing that controversial IRS supervisor Lois Lerner signed his tax-exempt approval letter.

“Malik Obama’s oversight of the Muslim Brotherhood’s international investments is one reason for the Obama administration’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to an Egyptian report citing the vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, Tehani al-Gebali. In a news report on Egyptian television of a Gebali speech… said she would like ‘to inform the American people that their president’s brother Obama is one of the architects of the major investments of the Muslim Brotherhood.’”

Rand Paul Slams Congress

The wrote on August 15:

“Sen. Rand Paul is hammering his fellow senators for keeping billions in financial aid flowing to Egypt’s military — even as Cairo’s security forces massacre anti-government activists. ‘This is something that those who voted in Congress are going to have to live with,’ Paul told The Cable on Thursday. ‘The question is: How does their conscience feel now as they see photographs of tanks rolling over Egyptian civilians?’

“…  the legislation the Kentucky libertarian is referring to was an amendment to suspend aid to Egypt until the country holds free and fair elections. Two weeks ago, Republicans and Democrats rejected it by an overwhelming 86-13 vote — and top lawmakers in both parties protested it loudly… ‘It would be a terrific mistake for the United States to send a message to Egypt: you’re on your own,’ Republican Senator John McCain added back then. ‘I urge my colleagues to vote to table the Paul amendment.’

“The vote has already come back to haunt some lawmakers, such as McCain, who is now advocating a cancellation of aid to Egypt and criticizing White House policies as a ‘colossal failure.’… ‘For those who think more weapons is engaging us with the Egyptian people, ask an Egyptian,’ [Paul] continued.  “When you’re protesting in the streets and you’re run over by an American tank, you’re not going to be appreciative of American engagement.’”

How the Political Tides Turn

Newsmax reported on August 18:

“Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison joined the call to suspend aid to Egypt on Sunday following the crackdown by the military last week that left hundreds dead… ‘I would cut off aid,’ Ellison said… ‘In my mind, there’s no way to say that this was not a coup. It is. We should say so. And then we should follow our own law, which says we cannot fund the coup leaders.’

“Ellison said the administration needs to engage in ‘intense diplomacy’ with Egypt, and Congress needs to ‘suspend aid’ to the country until its leaders establish a set of Democratic protocols and stop the violence. Ellison and Ayottte joined with the call being made by influential Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to end the aid to Egypt… [John] McCain renewed his call on Sunday to stop the aid. ‘For us to sit by and watch this happen is a violation of everything that we stood for,’ said McCain… ‘We’re not sticking with our values.’

“Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said… that U.S. aid to Egypt was more likely to ‘buy a chateau in Paris’ for an Egyptian military leader than ‘bread in Cairo’ for the poor. ‘I don’t think we’re buying any friendship with the Egyptian people,’ Paul said, especially when people see tanks supplied by the U.S. to the Egyptian military on the streets of Cairo….”

Rand Paul was one of the very few senators who asked for the aid to stop right after the military coup in Egypt. Most politicians, INCLUDING John McCain, rejected Paul’s plea and insisted that aid had to continue, and that in clear violation of American law. Now, suddenly, the political tides are turning, and some senators, INCLUDING McCain, advocate to stop the aid, but the question is, what is the underlying and true motivation? No wonder that the Bible says, Don’t put your trust in ANY political leader and ANY of the rulers of this world, but strictly in God. Please view our recent StandingWatch program, “We Told You So—America’s Sickness and Egypt’s Turmoil.”

Lebanon the New Battle Ground?

The Washington Post wrote on August 16:

“Hezbollah’s leader said Friday that he is prepared to go to Syria personally to fight extremist Sunni Muslims whom he blamed for the deadliest bombing in Beirut in at least eight years, an attack that analysts said could herald a new ‘dark era’ of sectarian bombings targeting Lebanese civilians. The car bomb, which killed at least 21 people, was the second in a little more than a month to hit the militant Shiite movement’s staunch support base in the Lebanese capital’s southern suburbs. But unlike the first, which caused no deaths, the explosives-packed car that detonated Thursday evening outside a shoe store and a pastry shop appeared intended to cause maximum civilian casualties.

“While Lebanon is no stranger to explosions, since the country’s 15-year civil war ended in 1990 they have largely taken the form of targeted assassinations, with the civilian lives lost as tragic collateral. But since Hezbollah has begun sending fighters to Syria to help President Bashar al-Assad battle a largely Sunni opposition, the civil war there has taken an increasingly sectarian turn and reprisal attacks on the Shiite movement in Lebanon have multiplied. Analysts cited Thursday’s bombing as evidence that Iraq-style sectarian bombings have now reached Lebanon as Sunni-Shiite divisions widen. ‘This is no longer targeted assassinations of political and militant figures with clear political ends. It’s actually targeting the civilian population,’ said Imad Salamey, an associate professor of political science at Lebanese American University. ‘We are seeing the Iraqization of Lebanon, a spillover from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. This is massive, a potentially dark era, and God knows how it can be limited.’”

The entire Middle East is a powder keg, ready to explode. Very soon, Europe will intervene militarily to try to restore “peace,” but that attempt is doomed to fail as well.

Iran—A Problem of US Making

The Huffington Post wrote on August 20:

“Sixty years ago this week, on Aug. 19, 1953, the United States, in collaboration with Britain, successfully staged a coup in Iran to overthrow democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh that a newly declassified CIA document reveals was designed to preserve the control of Western companies over Iran’s rich oil fields. The U.S. government at the time of the coup easily had manipulated Western media into denigrating Mossadegh as intemperate, unstable and an otherwise unreliable ally in the Cold War, but the real motivation for hijacking Iran’s history was Mossadegh’s move to nationalize Western-controlled oil assets in Iran…

“Tragically, the coup that overthrew Mossadegh also crushed Iran’s brief experiment in democracy and ushered in six decades of brutal dictatorship followed by religious oppression and regional instability. If Iran is a problem, as the United States persistently and loudly insists, it is a problem of our making…”

Fear of Terror Attacks in Coming Weeks—Israelis Ordered to Avoid Certain Countries or Leave Them

The Times of Israel reported on August 19:

“Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world are likely to be sought out by terrorist organizations in the coming weeks, the Israeli government’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned in strikingly strident tones on Monday, listing dozens of countries where it said it had ‘concrete’ indications of a terrorist threat.

“It cited concerns about terrorist acts timed to coincide with the forthcoming Rosh Hashana (New Year), Yom Kippur and Succot festivals, and also said that the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US was likely to be ‘a favored period’ for al-Qaeda and other global jihadist groups to attempt to carry out acts of terrorism…

“Israelis are barred altogether from travel to Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, where the ‘concrete’ terror threat was ‘very high.’ In addition, [the Israeli government] ordered Israelis not to travel to Sudan, Somalia, Algeria, Djibouti, Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia, and to leave these countries immediately if they were there, because of a similarly ‘very high’ terror threat…

“The unusually shrill and widespread alert included an order to Israelis not to travel to the Sinai Peninsula, because of the chaotic situation in Egypt. The Sinai’s Red Sea resorts are a traditionally popular holiday destination for Israelis, especially at this time of year…

“Using only slightly less urgent language, the bureau… ordered Israelis to ‘avoid visiting’ the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt and Qatar, where it cited what it called a ‘basic’ terrorist threat… The bureau also told Israelis to postpone nonessential visits to Turkey, Oman and Morocco, because of ‘ongoing potential threats.’

“Slightly further afield, it cited ‘very high’ terror threats in Afghanistan, parts of southern Thailand, parts of the southern Philippines, east Senegal, India’s Kashmir province, northern Nigeria, parts of Kenya, and Chechnya. Israel[is] were not to travel to any of those areas, and to leave immediately if they were there, it ordered.

“The advisory also specified a ‘high’ terror threat in Indonesia, Burkina-Faso, Ivory Coast, Togo, Mali, Malaysia and Pakistan, telling Israelis not to go there and urging them to leave as soon as possible if they were there now…”

That terror attacks are feared to strike during the upcoming annual Holy Days of God—the Feast of Trumpets (“Rosh Hashana”), the Days of Atonement (“Yom Kippur”) and the Feast of Tabernacles (“Sukkoth”)—is ample evidence for the fact as to who would be behind such violence—obviously none other than Satan the devil, the god of this world and the prince of darkness, whose declared goal it is to fight against God and everything that He stands for.

Germany’s Sad Leadership in Europe

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 16:

“The option of selecting ‘blank’, in addition to the standard choices of ‘male’ or ‘female’ on birth certificates will become available in Germany from November 1. The legislative change allows parents to opt out of determining their baby’s gender, thereby allowing those born with characteristics of both sexes to choose whether to become male or female in later life. Under the new law, individuals can also opt to remain outside the gender binary altogether.

“Germany is the first country in Europe to introduce this option — Munich-based newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung is referring to the change as a ‘legal revolution’. It remains unclear, however, how the change will affect gender assignment in other personal documents, such as passports, which still require people to choose between two categories – ‘F’ for female and ‘M’ for male. German family law publication FamRZ has called for the introduction of a third category, designated by the letter ‘X’.

“The law was passed back in May, but has only now been reported on, following an article this month in FamRZ — just six weeks after Australia became the first country in the world to introduce legal guidelines on gender recognition. Under the Australian system, which applies to all personal documents, individuals can select the third category irrespective of whether or not they have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy…

“Finland is the only EU member state aside from Germany to have made significant progress in the area of third gender recognition. Despite its efforts, bureaucratic hurdles in the Nordic country have meant that there is still no concrete legislative change in sight.”

The Local added on August 16:

“The new law will apply to intersexuals, or hermaphrodites – people born with gender-indeterminate bodies, rather than transsexuals, who are born with a specific sex but feel they are members of the other gender. Brussels-based lawyer Wolf Sieberich told the FamRZ transsexuals should also get the right to determine their own legally recognized gender.

“Marriage law may also have to be altered as a result he said. Currently a marriage in Germany is only allowed between a man and a woman and a legally recognized life partnership is allowed for members of the same gender. Sieberich questioned what that would mean for someone whose gender is not specified.”

This is the opening of a Pandora’s box. Where will it end? Our world is drifting further and further away from God’s standards.

Christie vs. the Bible

Newsmax reported on August 19:

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has opposed same-sex marriage, said that gay people are born that way and it is not a sin.  The statement was released as he signed a bill banning therapy that tries to change a minor’s sexual orientation. Christie said such efforts pose ‘critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.’

“Christie, who is seeking re-election for governor in November and appears to be positioning himself to run for president in 2016, has walked a fine line on issues surrounding homosexuality as polls show a majority of Republicans oppose gay marriage amid broader acceptance of the practice… Christie told CNN’s Piers Morgan in 2011 that while he is Catholic and his church believes homosexuality is a sin, he doesn’t share the view…

“New Jersey becomes the second state, after California, to ban gay-conversion therapy. The law… prohibits licensed professional counselors — including psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and social workers — from engaging in practices designed to change the sexual orientation of anyone under age 18.”

Such appalling laws and opinions of high-ranking and influential politicians, which are in total contradiction to the godly revelation of the Holy Bible, help to explain WHY America is in such a terrible mess.

Former Marijuana Enthusiast Barack Obama’s Ongoing War on Medical Marijuana

The Huffington Post wrote on August 20:

“The White House declined to weigh in Tuesday on whether President Barack Obama has changed his position on medical marijuana use after the president’s onetime choice for surgeon general, Sanjay Gupta, reversed his stance and apologized for misleading the public on the drug’s effects.

“During the daily press briefing, CQ-Roll Call reporter Steve Dennis asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest if the administration had any reaction to Gupta’s Aug. 9 column, ‘Why I changed my mind on weed,’ in which Gupta explores the discrepancy between the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug and scientific research demonstrating its benefits. Gupta, who serves as CNN’s chief medical expert, not only apologized for dismissing the evidence from medical marijuana patients, but said he had concluded that marijuana has a low potential for abuse and ‘very legitimate medical applications.’

“Dennis also asked if Obama had personally been looking at the issue, given that national polls show rising support for marijuana legalization since he took office. Earnest ducked the question, responding, ‘I have to confess I did not see the Sanjay Gupta column you’re referring to, so it’s hard for me to comment at this point.’

“The Obama administration has cracked down hard on medical marijuana, even in states that have legalized its use. A recent report found that this administration spent nearly $300 million on medical marijuana intervention through lawsuits, indictments and asset forfeiture attempts by the Justice Department. Over the past few years, the Internal Revenue Service has also targeted medical marijuana dispensaries, forcing many of them to the brink of closure, and largely ignoring the fact that many such businesses were in compliance with state laws.

“But as the White House continues to wage war on pot, public opinion has shifted in the opposite direction. A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in April found that 51 percent of Americans said marijuana should be ‘legalized, taxed and regulated like alcohol.’ An earlier Pew Research Center survey also found majority support among Americans for marijuana legalization.

“‘It’s baffling that the White House still seems so afraid to embrace this issue, particularly for an administration headed by a former marijuana enthusiast who repeatedly pledged during the 2008 campaign to put a stop to federal raids on state-legal providers,’ Tom Angell, co-founder of the pro-legalization website Marijuana Majority, told The Huffington Post in a statement. ‘Polls show that legalizing marijuana is a mainstream issue and that a super-majority of voters wants the feds to let states implement their own marijuana laws without harassment. There’s almost no one clamoring for a continued federal crackdown, so I can’t imagine why the president hasn’t put a stop to it yet.’

“Obama has previously shown significant confidence in Gupta’s medical expertise: As many observers recalled, the president reportedly offered him the post of surgeon general in 2009. Gupta then withdrew his name from consideration, citing his reluctance to give up his medical practice and be away from his family.”

Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

The Washington Post wrote on August 21:

“A military judge on Wednesday morning sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks… [The prosecution had asked for 60 years in prison, while the maximum sentence would have been 90 years in prison.] Manning is required to serve one-third of the sentence, minus three and half years of time served, before he is eligible for parole. That will be in eight years when he is 33… Manning was dishonorably discharged. He was also reduced in rank and forfeits all pay…

“The decision was immediately condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system,’ said Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project…

“Manning’s lawyers said he had become disillusioned by what he was seeing in Iraq and hoped that the public release of the secret material would prompt greater public understanding of the wars…”

Deutsche Welle added on August 21:

“Activist groups Amnesty International and the Bradley Manning Support Network have announced an online petition asking President Barack Obama to pardon Manning. He has also been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize and a number of other awards.”

The Huffington Post wrote on August 21:

“Yochai Benkler, a Harvard professor who has studied WikiLeaks and testified in Manning’s defense [said:] ‘Basically the decision has done more damage to the American Constitutional order than all of the disclosures put together did to any other kind of American interest.’…

“‘Bradley Manning acted on the belief that he could spark a meaningful public debate on the costs of war, and specifically on the conduct of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ Widney Brown, senior director of international law and policy at Amnesty International, said in a statement. ‘The US government should turn its attention to investigating and delivering justice for the serious human rights abuses committed by its officials in the name of countering terror.’

“The sentencing phase of Manning’s trial revealed that contrary to the claims of pundits and politicians, Manning had no blood on his hands —  the Departments of Defense and State were unable to tie his releases to the deaths of any U.S. informants… [The judge] acquitted Manning of aiding the enemy but gave little explanation as to why…

“UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez found after a 14-month investigation that Manning’s treatment at Quantico was cruel, inhuman, and degrading. [The Judge] said the conditions had been ‘excessive’ in relation to the government’s legitimate interest in holding Manning. She granted the soldier an additional 112 days credit for enduring those conditions, which will also be applied to shorten his sentence…

“Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel and advocate in Human Rights Watch’s U.S. Program, told HuffPost that the massive investigation involving hundreds of State and Defense Department employees into Manning’s leaks stood in stark contrast to the government’s unwillingness to prosecute those involved in torture and abuse at places like Abu Ghraib. ‘It’s hard to look at the aggressive prosecution of someone so young, who is clearly troubled, and probably did have a fair bit of concern about the public interest … and compare that to people who authorized a regime of torture and abuse and will remain free,’ Prasow said.”

The Incredible Scope of US Government Spying Activities on Its Citizens

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 16:

“Spy on US citizens? We don’t do that, the American government claimed. But new NSA documents published by the Washington Post show that the intelligence service violates the law in thousands of instances. Analysts with the agency are free to pick targets as they choose. With each new publication of documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the scope of the United States’ spying system becomes ever clearer. And each piece of the puzzle reveals yet more lies and half-truths that those who are supposed to be providing oversight for the NSA have used to defend the practices…”

CNet added on August 16:

“The National Security Agency exceeded its legal authority and broke agency rules thousands of times since it was granted broader powers in 2008… Most violations involved unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the U.S…. infractions ranging from serious legal violations to typographical errors that resulted in unintended data collection…”

America’s reputation as a country of freedom and liberty is suffering tremendously because of the appalling revelations of improper spying conduct and the government’s disproportionate prosecution of whistleblowers, while refusing to prosecute those guilty of torture and abuse.

Britain’s Newest Scandal

The Huffington Post wrote on August 20:

“British prime minister David Cameron was placed at the center of the controversy surrounding his government’s actions towards the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, as it was revealed that he was informed about the imminent detention of David Miranda… and that he approved the decision to try to force the paper to hand over materials given to it by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

“Downing Street told the media that Cameron was personally ‘kept abreast in the usual way’ about Miranda’s detention at Heathrow airport. Miranda, who was traveling from Berlin to Brazil, was held for nine hours and quizzed aggressively about Greenwald’s work. His electronic equipment was confiscated. On Tuesday, lawyers for Miranda said they were set to take legal action against the British government over the detention.”

Reuters wrote on August 21:

“Two of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s most senior aides pressed the Guardian newspaper to hand over or destroy intelligence secrets leaked by Edward Snowden, political sources said on Wednesday. News that Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood and National Security Adviser Kim Darroch were involved drags Cameron into a storm over Britain’s response to coverage of leaks from the fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor – a response that left even its U.S. ally talking of the importance of media freedom.”

The Guardian wrote on August 20:

“The Metropolitan police had no legal basis to detain David Miranda under the Terrorism Act 2000, Tony Blair’s former lord chancellor has claimed. Lord Falconer of Thoroton, who helped introduce the bill in the House of Lords, said that the act makes clear that police can only detain someone to assess whether they are involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism… The peer, who served as solicitor general from 1997-98 and as lord chancellor from 2003-07, was highly critical of the home secretary, Theresa May, who praised the police action at Heathrow on the grounds that the partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald possessed sensitive documents which could help terrorists and ‘lead to a loss of lives’. May also said that police had acted within the law…”

In an accompanying article of August 20, the Guardian wrote:

“Two great forces are now in fierce but unresolved contention. The material revealed by Edward Snowden through the Guardian and the Washington Post… indicates not just that the modern state is gathering, storing and processing for its own ends electronic communication from around the world; far more serious, it reveals that this power has so corrupted those wielding it as to put them beyond effective democratic control. It was not the scope of NSA surveillance that led to Snowden’s defection. It was hearing his boss lie to Congress about it for hours on end…

“But it remains worrying that many otherwise liberal-minded Britons seem reluctant to take seriously the abuses revealed in the nature and growth of state surveillance. The arrogance of this abuse is now widespread…

“I hesitate to draw parallels with history, but I wonder how those now running the surveillance state – and their appeasers – would have behaved under the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. We hear today so many phrases we have heard before. The innocent have nothing to fear. Our critics merely comfort the enemy. You cannot be too safe. Loyalty is all. As one official said in wielding his legal stick over the Guardian: ‘You have had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.’”

Germany Condemns British Action

The Local wrote on August 21:

“Markus Löning, the human rights chief at Germany’s foreign ministry, said on Wednesday the British government had crossed ‘the red line’ and had their actions… left him ‘truly appalled’. He expressed ‘great concern’ about media freedom in Britain after the Guardian said it was forced to destroy files linked to US surveillance practices or face a court battle.

“Löning also slammed the detention and questioning at a London airport on Sunday of the partner of US journalist Glenn Greenwald who has written extensively about Snowden’s revelations for the Guardian. ‘The United Kingdom has a long and proud tradition of freedom but the way the authorities detained David Miranda at Heathrow airport I see as unacceptable,’ he told the newspaper Berliner Zeitung. ‘That took place on the basis of an anti-terror law but I cannot see any connection to terrorism…’

“The detention of Miranda and treatment of the Guardian by the British government has also been met with horror by the German press with newspapers running editorials expressing their dismay at the action. And Sigmar Gabriel, chairman of Germany’s biggest opposition party, the SPD, said that the European Union could intervene. He told newspaper Kölner Stadt Anzeiger that Britain should think about the consequences of its action… Gabriel added: ‘Eroding freedom and fundamental rights under the guise of fighting terrorism can’t be allowed to happen in Europe.’”

Der Spiegel Online commented on August 20:

“The abuses against The Guardian prove that the British government has lost all restraint in its fight against terrorism… It’s astonishing to see how many Britons blindly and uncritically trust the work of their intelligence service.”

Indeed, Ephraim—partially describing the modern UK—is like a cake unturned and a silly dove, without sense… and it does not even know it (Hosea 7:8-11).

Pope Benedict Explains Why He Resigned

The Guardian wrote on August 21:

“The former pope Benedict has claimed that his resignation in February was prompted by God, who told him to do it during a ‘mystical experience’. Breaking his silence for the first time since he became the first pope to step down in 600 years, the 86-year-old reportedly said: ‘God told me to’ when asked what had pushed him to retire to a secluded residence in the Vatican gardens.

“Benedict denied he had been visited by an apparition or had heard God’s voice, but said he had undergone a ‘mystical experience’ during which God had inspired in him an ‘absolute desire’ to dedicate his life to prayer rather than push on as pope… Benedict said his mystical experience had lasted months, building his desire to create a direct and exclusive relationship with God. Now, after witnessing the ‘charisma’ of his successor, Pope Francis, Benedict said he understood to a greater extent how his stepping aside was the ‘will of God’.

“Benedict’s reported remarks contrast with the explanation he gave to cardinals when he announced his resignation on 11 February. ‘My strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,’ he said then… Speculation also grew that he was depressed after his trusted butler, Paolo Gabriele, was caught leaking his personal correspondence. Italian press reports have recently claimed he was frustrated by a network of influence built up at the Vatican by a pro-gay lobby of prelates.”

Radioactive Water Leaks at Nuclear Plant in Fukushima

AFP wrote on August 21:

“Japan’s nuclear regulator on Wednesday upgraded its evaluation of a radioactive water leak at the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima to a level three ‘serious incident.’ The assessment, on an international scale of zero to seven with seven being the worst, came after operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said some 300 tonnes of radioactive water was believed to have leaked from a tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the worst such leak since the crisis began.”

BBC News added to explain:

“Events are classified at seven levels: Levels 1-3 are ‘incidents’ and Levels 4-7 ‘accidents’. In order, the levels are classified as: anomaly; incident; serious incident; accident with local consequences; accident with wider consequences; serious accident; major accident. To date, two incidents have been classified as level 7 – Chernobyl and Fukushima. The severity of an event is about 10 times greater for each increase in level on the scale.”

Terrible Flooding in China, Russia and the Philippines

Deutsche Welle reported on August 19:

“Flooding is continuing to cause death and destruction in parts of China, Russia and the Philippines. Thousands of people have been forced to flee or have been evacuated by rescue workers. More than 70 people have been killed and 100 others are missing after China was hit by the worst flooding in more than a decade, the government said on Monday. The Ministry of Civil Affairs reported that around 360,000 people had been evacuated over the weekend.

“In the far east of Russia, more than 17,000 people have been evacuated and the authorities have declared a state of disaster in the hardest-hit regions of Amur and Khabarovsk… In the Philippines, torrential rains brought the capital, Manila, to a standstill on Monday, with flooding forcing schools, offices and the stock exchange to close.”

Dolphins Die in Alarming Numbers

The website of npr wrote on August 17:

“Dead dolphins have been washing up in alarming numbers on mid-Atlantic beaches since July as scientists struggle to find a cause for the largest such die-off in a quarter-century. More than 160 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have turned up dead from New York to Virginia, says Charley Potter, a marine mammal collection manager…

“While no definitive cause for the dolphin deaths has been determined, Potter says one possibility is the morbillivirus, a member of the same family of virus that causes measles and canine distemper. Morbillivirus was pinpointed as a cause in a 1987 dolphin die-off that killed some 2,500 animals… Scientists must now determine ‘whether or not the [morbillivirus] infection is something that’s always been there and that we’re picking it up because of increased surveillance, or in fact it’s the smoking gun,’ he says…”

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