Monday, December 28, 2015

Empty Threats Or The Next Conflict? - ISIS Threatens Israel

Empty Threats Or The Next Conflict? - ISIS Threatens Israel
December 28, 2015  
By Kade Hawkins
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After 7 months of silence, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS's secretive leader has released an audio recording on social media to bolster his followers following several weeks of setbacks.

ISIS is on the defensive, and even in a state of withdrawal in many areas. The group has lost as much as 40% of it's territory in Iraq and Syria, including the important Iraqi city of Ramadi just this week.

The speech is clearly an attempt to boost spirits by focusing on the one country that seems to ignite deep passion in the spirits of every Muslim - Israel.

Baghdadi pledged the Islamic state would soon be in Palestine to establish Islamic rule, saying “The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it. Not at all, Jews. We did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it… The pioneers of the jihadist fighters will surround you on a day that you think is distant and we know is close. We are getting closer every day.”

Using Israel as part of a rallying cry is a shift in strategy that may be due to criticism al-Baghadi has received in the Arab world for focusing too much on fellow Muslims and not enough on the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

In 2014 ISIS responded to questions online about why it was not fighting Israel instead of Muslims by saying the following,

“We haven’t given orders to kill the Israelis and the Jews. The war against the nearer enemy, those who rebel against the faith, is more important. Allah commands us in the Koran to fight the hypocrites, because they are much more dangerous than those who are fundamentally heretics.”

As proof, the organization cited the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who began by fighting those who rebelled against the faith, as well as Saladin, who fought the Shi’ites in Egypt before conquering Jerusalem.

Directly in the crosshairs of those it considers to be apostates are the Saudi and Jordanian Kings. Saudi Arabia was directly mentioned in the recording with al-Baghadi encouraging citizens to, “rise up against the apostate tyrants, and avenge your people in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.”

He also mocked the new 34 nation anti-ISIS coalition that Saudi Arabia recently announced and accused Saudi rulers of launching an air campaign against Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen only to please the West.

“They announced lately a coalition… falsely called ‘Islamic,’ and announced its goal is to fight the caliphate. If this coalition were Islamic, it would have announced victory and aid to the people of Syria,” he said.

After Saudi Arabia and Jordan, ISIS has scores to settle with the Prime Minister of Iraq, the President of Egypt and even the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood before it finally gets to Israel.

However make no mistake - Israel is viewed as the ultimate prize and will always be in the crosshairs of any Islamic leader looking to establish creditably in the Muslim world.

Israel's military however, poses a significant military threat to ISIS. According to Jürgen Todenhöfer, a former member of the German Parliament and the only Western journalist whom the terror group has allowed to be embedded into it's camps, “The only country ISIS fears is Israel. They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.”

ISIS has fought a back and forth battle with other rebel groups to maintain a presence near Israel's Golan Heights. Such a presence gives it more credibility when it makes threats regarding Israel as it could easily launch missiles, set landmines or even infiltrate Israeli territory from this area.

However, ISIS also knows that if it crosses Israel's red lines then Israel would respond with overwhelming force in an effort to maintain a rigorous deterrent to any future attacks.

Israel is taking no chances in waiting for ISIS to act on such threats and according to Debka Intelligence has sped up it's timetable of deploying a new Commando Brigade by two months.

Debka Intelligence details the 89th Commando Brigade as composed of four elite battalions that specialize in hitting the enemy in his back yard or at home:

Duvdevan - specializes in operating amidst an Arab population under deep cover for locating and arresting terror suspects.

Egoz - is a special kind of infantry battalion, whose commandos operate solo or in very small teams behind enemy lines, especially across the Syrian and Lebanese borders.

Maglan - is skilled in the use of weaponry designed for precision operations against high quality enemy targets. These elite fighters go deep inside enemy territory to gather intelligence and use their specialized technology, exclusive for the use of this unit, for devastating assaults.

Rimon - members are desert fighters who gained their experience in the terrain of the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Their experience as back-up for operations against drug smugglers is invaluable for urban combat in civilian environments.

Time will tell if the latest propaganda from ISIS means they are willing to take on Israel anytime soon, however the last thing ISIS needs right now is such a formidable foe added to it's growing list of nations prepared to engage the terrorist group.

Terror analyst: ISIS jihadis could 'cripple America'

December 26, 2015
Greg Corombos
Posted with permission from WND
New York City (Photo:
New York City (Photo:
President Obama is coming under fire from a respected terrorism expert after Obama said the public needs to keep in mind that while ISIS can kill Americans, it cannot bring down the nation.
In an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep conducted before Obama left for his vacation in Hawaii, Obama said the U.S. needs to remain vigilant to stop ISIS-inspired attacks on its own soil, but he also urged people to take a larger view.
"It's also important for us to keep things in perspective. This is not an organization that can destroy the United States. This is not a huge industrial power that can pose great risks to us institutionally or in a systematic way. But they can hurt us, and they can hurt our people and our families, so I understand why people are worried," said Obama, who says the most important thing we can do is not change "who we are."
Erick Stakelbeck is a terrorism analyst for the Christian Broadcasting Network and author of "ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery and the Hellish Reality of Radical Islam." He said Obama's implication is troubling.
"He fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the threat. He does not understand terrorism, especially of the Islamic variety. He doesn't get it," Stakelbeck said. "The Islamic terror threat has already changed our way of life. If you don't believe me, just go to an airport."
And while Obama may be right that ISIS cannot topple the U.S. government, Stakelbeck said it could do a whole lot of damage.
"If ISIS or another Islamic terror group gets their hands on a weapon of mass destruction, which they are working diligently to acquire, they might not be able to take down the whole country, but they can take out New York, Washington, Chicago (or) L.A. That's not alarmism. That's not fear tactics. That's a fact," Stakelbeck said.
In the same NPR interview, Obama also chided the media for what he suggested was excessive coverage of ISIS in the wake of the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.
"ISIL combines viciousness with very savvy media operations," Obama said in the interview. "As a consequence, if you've been watching television for the past month, all you've been seeing, all you've been hearing about, is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you."
Stakelbeck said the concern among Americans is not stemming from too much reporting but from what Obama's own subordinates are admitting.
"The FBI director is saying that ISIS has a network of supporters and sympathizers in every state in the union," said Stakelbeck, noting FBI Director James Comey admitted the government is watching some 1,000 possible threats throughout all 50 states.
"Then you have the House Homeland Security Committee that back in September released a report saying 250 U.S. citizens have left their comfortable homes here, traveled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS, and dozens of them have already returned," Stakelbeck said. "These are government officials saying it. It's not just cable news saying it."
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Erick Stakelbeck: 
One of the great frustrations for Obama and politicians of all stripes is the absence of a strategy to identify individuals or small groups who wish to kill Americans, much like Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino.
Stakelbeck said winning this fight starts with knowing who America's enemy.
"Let's identify the ideology," he said. "Terrorism is only a tactic. It is driven by an ideology. It is Islamic jihadist ideology. President Obama refuses to admit or acknowledge that ideology exists. But if you name it and start to battle back against that ideology, at least you have a fighting chance."
Obama and others reluctant to name the enemy as radical Islamists say such rhetoric does more harm than good because it paints all of Islam with the terrorist brush and could alienate the people most likely to help root out the enemy. Stakelbeck said Obama is way off base.
"It's intellectually dishonest, in my view," he said. "He knows when people say radical Islam jihadist, they aren't talking about all Muslims. Obviously, every Muslim isn't a terrorist. We know that, and he knows that. It's a straw man when he says it to quiet his critics."
Moreover, Stakelbeck said there should be no controversy over the terminology among peaceful Muslims.
"If you are truly a moderate, peace-loving Muslim who wants no part of jihad and wants no part of Shariah, you should have no problem at all with the term 'radical Islam,'" he said. "If that does not apply to you, why would you have a problem with it? If you are a truly moderate Muslim, you should be outraged by what ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaida and all the rest are doing."
He said that's an especially important point, given the rise in sympathy for radical Islam.
"We have to acknowledge there is a significant and growing strain of the Muslim world that, yes, does support ISIS and subscribe to that worldview," said Stakelbeck, who added the approach to defeating Soviet communism ought to be dusted off for this fight.
"Think back to the Cold War. Think to the Solidarity Movement in Poland, Radio Free Europe, where we had a concerted effort by the U.S. government to battle against communist ideology and prove that it's bankrupt. We need the same kind of all-hands-on-deck effort today against Islamist ideology, a full-court press to discredit it and neutralize it," said Stakelbeck, who noted that discrediting can also take on a military dimension.
"Another thing that would help to discredit is to destroy this mini-caliphate that ISIS has declared in Iraq and Syria," he said. "If you do that, you hopefully demoralize the global movement and put a dent in that ideology."
Beyond properly identifying the threat, Stakelbeck said there are some other dimensions to reducing the threat here at home, starting with knowing who might be whipping up jihadist motivations on American soil.
"Many mosques in the United States have ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood movement and subscribe to that ideology," he said. "That's a dangerous thing. If we have mosques in our country where there's radical preaching and they're turning out young jihadis, we should shut those radical mosques down without a doubt, just as France did last month."
Finally, he would also temporarily pull up the drawbridge to the United States and halt immigration from nations infested with radicals.
"I believe right now we need a timeout on immigration from countries like Yemen, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq," he said. "I think that's just common sense until we can get this thing under some kind of handle."

Shale's Running Out of Survival Tricks as OPEC Ramps Up Pressure

Updated on
Oil's Assault on S&P 500 Earnings
  • U.S. oil production set to fall by record in 2016, EIA says
  • 'Limited scope' for further output cost reductions: SocGen
In 2015, the fracking outfits that dot America’s oil-rich plains threw everything they had at $50-a-barrel crude. To cope with the 50 percent price plunge, they laid off thousands of roughnecks, focused their rigs on the biggest gushers only and used cutting-edge technology to squeeze all the oil they could out of every well.
QuickTake Fracking in Europe
Those efforts, to the surprise of many observers, largely succeeded. As of this month, U.S. oil output remained within 4 percent of a 43-year high.
The problem? Oil’s no longer at $50. It now trades near $35.
For an industry that already was pushing its cost-cutting efforts to the limits, the new declines are a devastating blow. These drillers are “not set up to survive oil in the $30s,” said R.T. Dukes, a senior upstream analyst for Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in Houston.
The Energy Information Administration now predicts that companies operating in U.S. shale formations will cut production by a record 570,000 barrels a day in 2016. That’s precisely the kind of capitulation that OPEC is seeking as it floods the world with oil, depressing prices and pressuring the world’s high-cost producers. It’s a high-risk strategy, one whose success will ultimately hinge on whether shale drillers drop out before the financial pain within OPEC nations themselves becomes too great.
Drillers including Samson Resources Corp. and Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. have already filed for bankruptcy. About $99 billion in face value of high-yield energy bonds are trading at distressed prices, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Spencer Cutter. The BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Energy Index has given up almost all of its outperformance since 2001, with the yield reaching its highest level relative to the broader market in at least 10 years.
“You are going to see a pickup in bankruptcy filings, a pickup in distressed asset sales and a pickup in distressed debt exchanges,” said Jeff Jones, managing director at Blackhill Partners, a Dallas-based investment banking firm. “And $35 oil will clearly accelerate the distress.”

Shale Rock

To understand why production is about to collapse, we have to go back to how it came about. Geologists have long known about shale. It’s what they called the source rock: Oil and gas leached out of the shale into the porous dirt around it that drillers could easily pump from. The shale itself was so impermeable that wells would go dry almost immediately.
A wildcatter named George Mitchell solved the problem by using directional bores to carve a long horizontal hole through the shale layer, and then blasting that tunnel with high-pressure bursts of water, chemicals and sand to create millions of tiny fissures through which oil and gas could escape. It worked, but was too expensive to implement on a wide scale.
Oil prices rose as rapid global economic growth in the early 2000s boosted energy demand, making shale profitable to drill. Output leaped more than 60 percent from the end of 2010.
The production burst came just as growth slowed from its breakneck pace. As supply overwhelmed demand, prices fell from the $100s to the $70s and then, after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to keep pumping at near-record levels, into the $30s.
“Shale is disruptive,” said Dukes. “It brought on big volumes in a short period and eclipsed demand growth, and the oil market began to look worse and worse.”

Spending Cuts

A return to cheaper oil was thought to be disastrous for shale, but companies figured out how to increase productivity and lower costs.
Producers slashed spending, idling more than 60 percent of the rigs in the U.S. They drilled and fracked faster, meaning fewer rigs and workers could make the same number of wells. They focused on their best areas and used more sand and water in the fracking process so each well gushed with more crude. By April, when the rig count had fallen in half, output was still rising.
All that effort did was push prices lower and expectations for a price recovery further out into the future. Now shale companies face a grim future, having played most of their best cards.
“There is limited scope for further production cost reductions,” Mike Wittner, head of oil-market research for Societe Generale, said in a note to clients. “While technological and efficiency improvements may continue gradually, oil company renegotiations with contractors are essentially done, and so is the rapid shift to focus only on core areas.”
Shale drillers aren’t the only ones hurting. OPEC’s strategy is causing pain for its members. Saudi Arabia is said to be considering selling stakes in state-owned companies to help stem a budget deficit that reached 20 percent of its economy. Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino said the industry is “at the door of a catastrophe” if crude production outstrips storage capacity.

Supply Glut

Even a plunge in U.S. output may not be enough to drain a global supply glut that has almost 3 billion barrels of oil and products like gasoline in developed countries’ storage tanks, according to the International Energy Agency. The world will likely be oversupplied by about 1 million barrels a day through the first half of next year before balancing, Jefferies LLC analysts including Jason Gammel said in a Dec. 18 research note.
“Most companies have gone into shrinkage mode, saying their goal is to stay flat and make it through this market,” Raoul LeBlanc, an analyst with IHS Inc. in Houston, said. “The current price is unsustainable. Unfortunately, we have to sustain it for a while longer.”

Michelle Obama Announces That ‘White Folks’ are what’s Wrong with America

Michelle Obama Announces That ‘White Folks’ are what’s Wrong with America

In a speech at Tuskegee University, an institute of higher learning in which white people are “not allowed on the bus,” First Domestic Partner Michelle Obama gave the school’s commencement address with instructions to the future agitators of America to – what else? Go forth and agitate.
According to JewsNews her mission is an extension of that of Hussein Obama, to foment unrest and destabilize America.
Her message was clear, “whatever is wrong in your life is whitey’s fault, and whitey owes you.”
She described the daily persecution inflicted upon her fellow victims at the hands of the plantation owner class as including police discrimination, the “nagging worries that you’re going to get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason.”
The report showed that vilifying the police is a job for the whole family at the Obama house. Simply because they’re not her type of Americans. They’re much too productive, too committed to the Constitution and of too strong a moral character for the Mooch and company. Give her some foul-mouthed parasitic anarchist street rats any day.
Never one to be accused of unifying the American people with a message of common purpose and shared ideals, the divisive Ms. Obama said, “I want to be very clear that those feelings are not an excuse to just throw up our hands and give up. Not an excuse. They are not an excuse to lose hope. To succumb to feelings of despair and anger only means that in the end, we lose.”
She didn’t mean the American people or our nation lose. She’s talking exclusively to black Americans and choosing sides, aligning herself with them in the conflict that she, her husband and their operatives are orchestrating against

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Last-Minute Budget Bill Allows New Privacy-Invading Surveillance in the Name of Cybersecurity

Last-Minute Budget Bill Allows New Privacy-Invading Surveillance in the Name of Cybersecurity

Dec. 18 2015, 9:20 p.m.
In the wake of a series of humiliating cyberattacks, the imperative in Congress and the White House to do something — anything — in the name of improving cybersecurity was powerful.
But only the most cynical observers thought the results would be this bad.
The legislation the House passed on Friday morning is a thinly disguised surveillance bill that would give companies pathways they don’t need to share user data related to cyberthreats with the government — while allowing the government to use that information for any purpose, with almost no privacy protections.
Because Speaker of the House Paul Ryan slipped the provision into the massive government omnibus spending bill that had to pass — or else the entire government would have shut down — it was doomed to become law. (This post has been updated to reflect the vote, which was 316 to 113.)
The text of the bill — now known as the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, formerly known as CISA — wasn’t released until shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, giving members of Congress essentially no time to do anything about it.
The bill removes a restriction on direct information sharing with the National Security Agency and the Pentagon; eliminates a restriction on the government’s use of that information for surveillance activities; allows law enforcement to use the information to prosecute any and all crimes; and leaves it up to the individual agencies to scrub personally identifying information when they feel like it.
“If someone hacks a health insurance company like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and they get scared and hand over all the medical records that were exposed in the hack, the NSA could share those records with the DEA, who could use them in ongoing investigations that have nothing to do with cybersecurity or terrorism,” wrote Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, a digital rights advocacy group.
The House Homeland Security Committee chaired by Rep. McCaul, R-Texas, had proposed a series of privacy protections from a previous House version of the cyber bill, but they were stricken from the new version that emerged from the Speaker’s office.
“The bill is all the worst parts” of the different cybersecurity bills negotiated in recent months, Nathan White, senior legislative manager for Access Now, told The Intercept. “It was negotiated in secret. … It’s a sneaky process they’ve used.”
Because of the last-minute timing, members of Congress “are not even going to know what they’re passing,” White said. “We don’t have time to get an informed vote, they’re pulling a fast one on the Senate.”
And the White House is reportedly on board. According to a leaked document published by Dustin Volz of Reuters, titled “Summary administration priorities for CISA”, the White House’s priorities line up with the new version of the bill — despite the fact that the administration threatened a veto over very similar legislation in 2013.
According to several technologists, information sharing isn’t a real solution to preventing cyberattacks. The best defense is better cyber hygiene. “When you’ve got an epidemic, the answer is you should be washing your hands every time you use the bathroom. It’s just not a sexy thing to say,” Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Intercept last January following President Obama’s State of the Union address, which focused heavily on cybersecurity.
Some opposition to the new bill has emerged among digital rights-supporting lawmakers and organizations, both Democratic and Republican. But they face off against the immensely powerful intelligence committees in the House and the Senate, congressional leadership, and the White House.
“Members of Congress are intentionally kept in dark so we don’t have time to rally opposition to particular measures,” Libertarian-leaning Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., wrote on Twitter.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., warned that the bill would “accomplish little more than increased unwarranted surveillance of U.S. persons, sharing private information with prosecutors and feeding the NSA dragnet.”
“This ‘cybersecurity’ bill was a bad bill when it passed the Senate and it is an even worse bill today,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “Americans deserve policies that protect both their security and their liberty. This bill fails on both counts. Cybersecurity experts say CISA will do little to prevent major hacks and privacy advocates know that this bill lacks real, meaningful privacy protections,” Wyden wrote in a press release.
Overall, there was never much hope among the conservative groups. “We certainly would have liked more time to bring this issue to the attention of libertarians and conservatives. Unfortunately, the way the final bill was conferenced — keeping Chairman McCaul out of any substantive discussions and disregarding many of his concerns around the reconciliation process — moved it quicker than we anticipated,” wrote Ryan Hagemann of the Niskanen Center in an email to The Intercept.

Contact the author:

Jenna McLaughlinjenna.mclaughlin@​

Winter Vomiting Virus Explodes in California

Winter Vomiting Virus Explodes in California

California health officials announced this week an excessive uptick in the number of “winter vomiting disease” or norovirus cases from prior years.

The California Department of Public Health confirmed that 32 outbreaks of the virus in the past three months have lead to likely hundreds of sicknesses across the state. The volume of outbreaks “far exceed the number reported at this time in 2014.”
The CDPH describes norovirus as, “a highly contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis, an illness that usually involves vomiting and diarrhea.” The sickness is credited as the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S. Yearly cases result in between 570 and 800 deaths in the country according to the health agency. The average number of cases per year sits around 20 million.
Spread of the virus occurs rapidly with crowded environments most vulnerable. Examples to watch out for included, “hospitals, nursing homes, daycare centers, schools, cruise ships and food service settings like restaurants.”
Those that have been sick can still spread the virus two weeks after recovering.
“One of the most important things you can do to avoid norovirus and other illnesses this holiday season is to wash your hands frequently with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds,” Dr. Smith said. “This is especially important after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. Hand sanitizers are not effective against norovirus.”
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana

Obama just said EIGHT WORDS that will give every republic-loving American CHILLS

Obama just said EIGHT WORDS that will give every republic-loving American CHILLS
As we move into 2016 and the last year of the disastrous Obama presidency, many of us have taken some comfort in three words. One. More. Year.
That said, we have wary eyes watching to see how much additional damage the president will inflict in his waning months. And as the president prepares for his final state of the union (the word “final” does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) his message — summed up in eight words — is chilling, if not exactly surprising.
‘I’ll squeeze every ounce of change I can’…
As The Weekly Standard reports:
Barack Obama is preparing for his final State of the Union Address, which he’ll deliver January 12. And the president is not looking to slow down as the end of his presidency nears.
“I’ve got 12 months left to squeeze every ounce of change I can while I’m still in office. And that’s what I intend to do,” Obama writes in an email to supporters.
We’ve done a lot of remarkable things together this year, and it’s because of committed citizens like you that this country keeps moving forward. You keep proving the cynics wrong.
On January 12, I’ll be giving my last State of the Union address. I want you to watch, and say you’re ready to keep up the fight in 2016 — because your voice matters just as much as mine does.
OFA is one of the groups getting people fired up to take action in 2016. Say you’ll watch the State of the Union, and commit to taking action next year.
As we’ve noted time and again on these pages, President Obama has indeed made good on his promise to fundamentally transform America. Who can remember when we’ve been more divided amongst ourselves, less respected in the world — and our fundamental constitutional freedoms more under attack from within? I’m sure I don’t need to list all of this president’s many accomplishments to remind anyone here of the damage that’s been done in just seven years.
Americans are angry after seven years of this presidency. So, naturally, what is someone like President Obama to do? Double down on his own ideological agenda, of course. That’s the way this emperor rolls.
What is even more distressing is seeing the GOP Congress failing to play its role in stopping this overreaching president. Yes, it’s no wonder Americans are angry with both Obama and the Republican establishment.
It feels sometimes like all we can do is hold on tight and repeat our mantra: One. More. Year. And be dang sure each and every one of us does all that we can to ensure we don’t end up with a third term of this fundamental transformation — in the form of the wrong person succeeding Obama in the White House. Each and every one of us.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]

Friday, December 25, 2015

Anti-Christ UNVEILED: The Sun Rising in the West

NATO Expansion: Lessons Not Learned

NATO Expansion: Lessons Not Learned

December 16, 2015
Natoflag, cc Flickr Nicolas Raymond, modified,
Failure to Communicate
Recently, NATO extended an offer of membership to Montenegro. The announcement was couched in the usual tagline of offering “assurance” to Western Balkan states concerned with possible security issues (Russian assertiveness) and “reassurance” to current NATO members in the neighborhood. With the utmost respect to Montenegrins and other newer NATO entrants, it seems that they are not expected to reciprocate and offer assurance or reassurance to NATO in turn, which really means the United States. Yet, reciprocity is one of the hallmarks of any successful alliance. The idea that the U.S. considers Montenegro an ally worth risking further deterioration of US-Russian relations in the wake of Ukraine, Syria, the Sinai air disaster, the Paris bombings, and recent Turkish actions is quite idiotic.
Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 should have taught NATO the possible dangers of over-extension. The latter episode in particular should have been quite instructive (to NATO as well as the EU) as to the need for dialogue between major powers before actions to be taken which might be perceived as infringing upon the security interests of other involved parties. Relentless expansion of one’s own sphere of influence while denying a corresponding sphere of influence and concomitant security interests to one’s counterpart reeks of hubris, stupidity, and miscalculation, the usual tragic precursors to war in the past.

Security Architecture and Infrastructure Crumbling
Two hundred years ago at the Congress of Vienna, the major powers of the day agreed to form an equilibrium of sorts which was intended to reduce the chance of a major European war re-occurring. In the wake of the Napoleonic Wars, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Great Britain, and France came to an understanding which in essence stated that if any one of the powers took actions which infringed upon the security interests of another state, it would potentially face consequences from the remaining powers as well. With the exception of the Crimean War, this model served as the basis for peace on the European continent for almost a hundred years, until the outbreak of World War I. Following the Treaty of Versailles, there were attempts to replicate the Congress of Vienna model with the formation of the League of Nations. The League ultimately proved unsustainable because of the non-participation of the United States.
The model was replicated once more in the wake of World War II with the creation of the United Nations’ Security Council, whose permanent members also numbered five, akin to the original Congress. In his infamous New York Times op-ed piece, President Putin warned explicitly that the Security Council was in danger of becoming obsolete if certain members, namely the U.S., kept taking actions which violated its norms. Members of the Security Council have the not unrealistic expectation that their interests will be taken into account. If not, the entire international security architecture becomes imminently more unstable.

Wisdom and Alternatives Needed

In addition to hurting US-Russia relations and ultimately undermining the US position in the international community vis-a-vis the United Nations, constant NATO expansion lends credence to the argument for alternative security structures. One such structure is China’s Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Among CICA’s tenets is the belief that alliances reflect a Cold War mentality, evident in the expansion to Montenegro and the populace’s subsequent division as result of common Orthodox ties with Russia. Another more fundamental CICA platform is that ultimate, “perfect” security for one party cannot be obtained without inevitably diminishing the security concerns of other parties.

Summarily, two post-World War II events are worthy of discussion here. However militarily feasible (if at all), it was considered politically infeasible to attack our ally, the Former Soviet Union, following the defeat of Nazi Germany. This suggestion by General Patton, in addition to other decisions taken, led to his eventual dismissal by General Eisenhower. Shortly afterwards, during the Korean War, General MacArthur talked about expanding the war to include China and actually advanced to the Sino-Korean border, which provoked a response from China, pushing the General’s troops toward the sea. MacArthur was eventually relieved by President Truman. The combined suggestion from the two popular generals was that there could be no ultimate security for the United States while both the Former Soviet Union and Communist China continued to exist. More wisdom and forethought in the likes of Truman and Eisenhower is desperately needed now.

Earth May Spin Faster as Glaciers Melt

Signs pointing to the end-times

Earth May Spin Faster as Glaciers Melt

12/16/2015 09:32
West Antarctic Ice Sheet
 Melting ice triggered by global warming may make Earth whirl faster than before and could shift the axis on which the planet spins, researchers say.
This could also affect sunset times, as the length of Earth's day depends on the speed at which the planet rotates on its axis. Prior research found the rate at which Earth spins has changed over time.
For instance, ancient Babylonian, Chinese, Arab and Greek astronomers often recorded when eclipses occurred and where these phenomena were seen. This knowledge, in combination with astronomical models that calculate what the positions of the Earth, sun and moon were on any given date and time, can help reveal how fast Earth must have been spinning. To do so, researchers calculate the speed necessary for the planet to face the sun and moon in ways that allowed those astronomers to observe the eclipses. [50 Amazing Facts About Earth]
In general, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun on Earth is relentlessly slowing the planet's rate of spin. However, in the short term, a variety of different factors can also speed up and slow down how fast Earth whirls.
Previous research has found that melting glaciers triggered by global warming helped cause a significant amount of global sea-level rise in the 20th century. In theory, rising sea levels — once estimated to be climbing at a rate of about 0.06 to 0.08 inches (1.5 to 2 millimeters) per year — should also have slightly shifted Earth's axis and increased the rate at which the planet spins.
When polar ice caps melt, they remove weight off underlying rock, which then rebounds upward. This makes the poles less flat and the planet more round overall. This should in turn cause Earth to tilt a bit and spin more quickly.
However, previous research mysteriously could not find evidence that melting glaciers were triggering a shift in either Earth's rotation or axis that was as great as predicted. This problem is known as "Munk's enigma," after oceanographer Walter Munk at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, who first noted the mystery, in 2002.
Now, in a new study, researchers may have solved this enigma and shown that rising sea levels are indeed affecting Earth's spin and axis.
"The rise of sea level and the melting of glaciers during the 20th century is confirmed not only by some of the most dramatic changes in the Earth system — for example, catastrophic flooding events, droughts [and] heat waves — but also in some of the most subtle — incredibly small changes in Earth's rotation rate," said study lead author Jerry X. Mitrovica, a geophysicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
First, the scientists noted that recent studies suggested 20th-century glacial melting was about 30 percent less severe than Munk assumed. This should significantly reduce the predicted amount of shift in Earth's spin and axis.
Moreover, the research team's mathematical calculations and computer simulations found that prior research relied on erroneous models of Earth's internal structure. This meant previous studies did not correctly account for how much glaciers would deform underlying rock and influence Earth's spin.
Furthermore, interactions between Earth's rocky mantle and the planet's molten metal outer core should have helped slow the planet's spin more than was previously thought.
Altogether, these adjustments helped the scientists find that ongoing glacial melting and the resulting sea-level rise are affecting the Earth in ways that match theoretical predictions, astronomical observations, and geodetic or land-survey data.
"What we believe in regard to melting of glaciers in the 20th century is completely consistent with changes in Earth's rotation [as] measured by satellites and astronomical methods," Mitrovica told Live Science. "This consistency was elusive for a few years, but now the enigma is resolved.
"Human-induced climate change is of such pressing importance to society that the responsibility on scientists to get things right is enormous," Mitrovica said. "By resolving Munk's enigma, we further strengthen the already-strong argument that we are impacting climate."
The scientists detailed their findings online today (Dec. 11) in the journal Science Advances. LiveScience

Will the 'Mark of the Beast' Play Music in Your Head?

Signs pointing to the end-times

Will the 'Mark of the Beast' Play Music in Your Head?

12/16/2015 09:15
Dutch entrepreneur Martijn Wismeijer has computer chips implanted under his skin.
By 2040, author Stephen Witt envisions a world where people listen to music via implanted SmartChips "invoked via spoken-word commands," the Wall Street Journal reports in its article, "Is the Future of Music a Chip in Your Brain?"
While the article by Witt, author of How Music Got Free, is fictional, technologies to bring Witt's vision to fruition are now in the works.
A recent article in The Washington Post revealed that scientists at Caltech have developed an implantable chip that gave a tetraplegic man the power to drink a beverage with a robot arm.
"This is just the beginning," Arianna Eunjung Cha wrote in the article titled "Future potential of brain chip is limitless after man controls robot arm with his thoughts."
"Researchers are working on all manner of silicon-based devices that go inside the body and manipulate the body's signals to create motion. They believe these chips will not only be able to help those with paralysis one day—but also usher in a new era of robot adjuncts controlled by someone's thoughts that will be able to perform all manner of jobs from lifting dangerous objects to filing papers."
Last year, doctors performed an operation on a 22-year-old man to insert a chip into his brain connected to a port and computer programmed to decode messages from his brain.
This follows the increasing use of short-range radio frequency identification (RFID) chips.
"You can inject one under your skin, and no one will ever notice," wrote John Brandon in his article titled "Is there a microchip implant in your future?" "Using short-range radio frequency identification (RFID) signals, it can transmit your identity as you pass through a security checkpoint or walk into a football stadium. It can help you buy groceries at Wal-Mart. In a worst-case scenario—if you are kidnapped in a foreign country, for example—it could save your life."
As these new technologies emerge, Bible prophecy experts are asking whether these or others could one day transform into what the book of Revelation calls the "Mark of the Beast"— a mark on the right hand or forehead without which people won't be able to work, earn money or even buy the necessities of life.
Evangelist Perry Stone, the best-selling author of many Bible prophecy books, believes in a possible government plan of implanting microchips into Americans' bodies for identification purposes by 2017-18.
TruNews' Rick Wiles says the REAL ID Act passed in 2005 could be the initial step to use these new technologies. Jim Bakker, host of The Jim Bakker Show, agrees, saying the identification laws are only in their nascent stages.
"They can literally put an edict on it that you cannot buy food, you cannot buy anything," Bakker says. Charisma

Earth's Magnetic Field Is Weakening 10 Times Faster Now

Signs pointing to the end-times

Earth's Magnetic Field Is Weakening 10 Times Faster Now

12/16/2015 08:50
 Changes measured by the Swarm satellite over the past 6 months shows that Earth's magnetic field is weakening
Earth's magnetic field, which protects the planet from huge blasts of deadly solar radiation, has been weakening over the past six months, according to data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm.
The biggest weak spots in the magnetic field — which extends 370,000 miles (600,000 kilometers) above the planet's surface — have sprung up over the Western Hemisphere, while the field has strengthened over areas like the southern Indian Ocean, according to the magnetometers onboard the Swarm satellites — three separate satellites floating in tandem.
The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is that Earth's magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA's Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia.
"Such a flip is not instantaneous, but would take many hundred if not a few thousand years," Floberghagen told Live Science. "They have happened many times in the past."[50 Amazing Facts About Planet Earth]
Scientists already know that magnetic north shifts. Once every few hundred thousand years the magnetic poles flip so that a compass would point south instead of north. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Previously, researchers estimated the field was weakening about 5 percent per century, but the new data revealed the field is actually weakening at 5 percent per decade, or 10 times faster than thought. As such, rather than the full flip occurring in about 2,000 years, as was predicted, the new data suggest it could happen sooner.
Floberghagen hopes that more data from Swarm will shed light on why the field is weakening faster now.
Still, there is no evidence that a weakened magnetic field would result in a doomsday for Earth. During past polarity flips there were no mass extinctions or evidence of radiation damage. Researchers think power grids and communication systems would be most at risk.
Earth's magnetic field acts like a giant invisible bubble that shields the planet from the dangerous cosmic radiation spewing from the sun in the form of solar winds. The field exists because Earth has a giant ball of iron at its core surrounded by an outer layer of molten metal. Changes in the core's temperature and Earth's rotation boil and swirl the liquid metal around in the outer core, creating magnetic field lines.
The movement of the molten metal is why some areas of the magnetic field strengthen while others weaken, Florberghagen said. When the boiling in one area of the outer core slows down, fewer currents of charged particles are released, and the magnetic field over the surface weakens.
"The flow of the liquid outer core almost pulls the magnetic field around with it," Floberghagen said. "So, a field weakening over the American continent would mean that the flow in the outer core below America is slowing down."
The Swarm satellites not only pick up signals coming from the Earth's magnetic field, but also from its core, mantle, crust and oceans. Scientists at the ESA hope to use the data to make navigation systems that rely on the magnetic field, such as aircraft instruments, more accurate, improve earthquake predictions and pinpoint areas below the planet's surface that are rich in natural resources. Scientists think fluctuations in the magnetic field could help identify where continental plates are shifting and help predict earthquakes.
These first results from Swarm were presented at the Third Swarm Science Meeting in Denmark on June 19.LiveScience


Bethlehem Rejects ‘Merry Christmas’ Sign

Signs pointing to the end-times

Bethlehem Rejects ‘Merry Christmas’ Sign

12/22/2015 21:57
The little town of Bethlehem, New York, has decided that there’s no room at the intersection this Christmas season for a “Merry Christmas” sign.
The town traditionally has Christmas and Hanukkah displays at an intersection known as “Four Corners,” including a menorah and Christmas tree.
But this year, officials rejected a sign that says “Merry Christmas” — as well as a “Happy Hanukkah” sign — out of fear of violating the First Amendment, according to Albany’s Times Union newspaper.
A local resident offered to contribute a “Merry Christmas” sign, as she had done in the past, but a lawyer for the town told her that such a sign would violate the separation of church and state.
Lawyers with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that represents religious liberty cases, wrote a letter to the town that such signs would not violate the Constitution.
“The irony is not lost on us that your Town’s name is Bethlehem,” ADF Legal Counsel Joseph La Rue wrote.
“No one should fear that saying ‘Merry Christmas’ on a sign like this will violate the Constitution. It does not,” La Rue continued. “The courts, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, have been clear that the government can erect Christmas signs and displays, including even Nativity scenes, without having to fear a constitutional violation.”
The local resident, Elena Marcelle, and ADF have asked the town to reconsider allowing the signs. Blaze

Homeland Defense: The Pentagon Declares War on America

Homeland Defense: The Pentagon Declares War on America
By Frank Morales
Global Research, December 25, 2015
Global Research 1 December 2003
Url of this article:
Global Editor’s Note
The Department of Defense now authorizes the domestic deployment of US troops  in “the conduct of operations other than war”  including law enforcement activities and the quelling of “civil disturbances”: “Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances…
These developments –which are currently the object of heated debate– are the result of  more than ten years of “repressive legislation” which increasingly points to the “fusion of the police and military functions both within the US and abroad”.
In a path breaking article published by Global Research in 2003,  award winning author Frank Morales shows how the post 911 “Patriot Act” which he describes as a “repressive coordination” had set the stage for the militarization of America, namely “a form of state terrorism directed against the American people and democracy itself.”
The “domestic war on terrorism” hinges upon the Pentagon’s doctrine of homeland defense. Mountains of repressive legislation are being enacted in the name of internal security. So called “homeland security”, originally set within the Pentagon’s “operations other than war”, is actually a case in which the Pentagon has declared war on America.
Shaping up as the new battleground, this proliferating military “doctrine” seeks to justify new roles and missions for the Pentagon within America. Vast “legal” authority and funds to spy on the dissenting public, reconfigured as terrorist threats, is being lavished upon the defense, intelligence and law enforcement “community.”
We bring to the attention of our readers this path-breaking analysis by Frank Morales
Michel Chossudovsky, December 25, 2015

The “PATRIOT Act” is a repressive “coordination” of the entities of force and deception, the police, intelligence and the military. It broadens, centralizes and combines the surveillance, arrest and harassment capabilities of the police and intelligence apparatus. Homeland defense is, in essence, a form of state terrorism directed against the American people and democracy itself. It is the Pentagon Inc. declaring war on America.
The “domestic war on terrorism” hinges upon the Pentagon’s doctrine of homeland defense. Mountains of repressive legislation are being enacted in the name of internal security. So called “homeland security”, originally set within the Pentagon’s “operations other than war”, is actually a case in which the Pentagon has declared war on America. Shaping up as the new battleground, this proliferating military “doctrine” seeks to justify new roles and missions for the Pentagon within America. Vast “legal” authority and funds to spy on the dissenting public, reconfigured as terrorist threats, is being lavished upon the defense, intelligence and law enforcement “community.”
All this is taking place amidst an increasingly perfected “fusion” of the police and military functions both within the US and abroad, where the phenomena is referred to as “peacekeeping”, or the “policization of the military”. Here in America, all distinction between the military and police functions is about to be forever expunged with the looming repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act. The latter, was passed after the Civil War to rein in the military. It bars federal troops from doing police work within United States borders, although strictly speaking, the Act refers only to the Army and the Air Force, not to the Marines or the National Guard in “state status.” According to the New York Times:
“the Bush administration has directed lawyers in the Department of Justice and Defense to review the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 and any other laws that sharply restrict the military’s ability to participate in domestic law enforcement.”
The Washington Post (7/21/02) put it a bit more starkly, stating that the Bush administration:
“has called on Congress to thoroughly review the law that bans the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines from participating in arrests, searches, seizure of evidence and other police-type activity on US soil.”
In other words, the “New World Law and Order” based on the repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act, requires a system of domestic and global counterinsurgency led by the Pentagon.
The first requirement of this counterinsurgency, which is directed at all forms of social dissent is the “collection”, “retention” and “dissemination” of information, information on anyone who resists, whether through violent means or otherwise. Recall, that the protests in Seattle and numerous other cities in recent years were more often than not classified within official DoD and FEMA documents as “terrorist events”. The objective is to centralize all intelligence gathering under one roof, the Department of Homeland Security and to widely cast the net over all of us, making certain that we all fall in line with the Pentagon Inc. agenda.
To this end the myriad modes of intelligence gathering or “collection” have been beefed up: From CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) to Carnivore (e-mail spying), from the NSA’s Echelon (global listening device), to spy satellite imagery, from FBI “roving wiretaps”, to CIA access to grand juries and secret FISA “foreign intelligence” courts, the means, legal sanctions and technology of social control proliferate, are sanctioned, are demanded by a paranoid public. Homeland security requires manufactured insecurity. A bit of anthrax to keep em on their toes and minding their p’s and q’s…
Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS)
Typical of the need for “tactical (on the ground) intelligence” is the creation of TIPS or the Terrorism Information and Prevention System. Set up in January 2002 by Ashcroft’s Justice Department, TIPS is described as a “national system for concerned workers to report suspicious activity”. In fact, TIPS is a hotline to the National White Collar Crime Center, a Justice Department organization that deals with “economic crime” and cyberattack. For a little under a million bucks they plan to register all “suspicious, publicly observable activity that could be related to terrorism” and forward it to law enforcement and other agencies “opting to receive TIPS information.” These agencies “would be responsible for determining how to respond to the tips they receive.”
The “workers” that TIPS is willing to offer its hotline service are those in the transportation, trucking, shipping, maritime, and mass transit industries. The truckers, for their part, are jumping in with both feet. The trucker magazine FleetOwner recently noted (6/1/02) that:
“attempting to stay ahead of Federal regulators charged with securing US transportation networks from terrorist attacks, the American Trucking Assns. has readied a ‘Neighborhood Watch’ program for the nation’s highways.”
The ATA’s “Anti-Terrorism Action Plan”, geared to keeping the “wheels of commerce” rolling, envision a plan in which “a potential 3 million professional truck drivers will be trained to spot and report any suspicious activities that might have terrorism or national security implications.” As if truckers don’t have enough on their minds, although it might be wise for them to keep their eyes wide open.
It seems that the Bush administration concern for workers knows no bounds. According to the New York Times (8/!4/02) President Bush wants to exempt all homeland security coordinated agencies “from collective bargaining requirements if (he) were to determine that our national security demands it.” Little known to the public, the president is seeking not only to “exempt agency employees from federal labor relations rules and prohibit them from joining unions”, but he’s also prepared to force them to work, under the conditions he chooses, if “national security demands it”. The “flexibility” that Bush is calling for, a “fast moving homeland security department unfettered by work rules and red tape” is sure to result in a lot less “flexibility” on the part of workers who may soon be confronted with a form of involuntary employment during “times of war”, all set out in Department of Defense directives.
Financing Homeland Defense
TIPS, which is an integral part of the CitizenCorps/ FreedomCorps/ AmeriCorps axis of patriotic, police loving do-gooders, is buttressed with funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). In the wake of 9/11, CNCS was fully integrated into “homeland defense efforts”. In March 2002, the Corporation issued a “notice of availability of funds to strengthen communities and organizations in using service and volunteers to support homeland security.” With an emphasis on “public safety” and “freeing up police time”, the grants offered under the announcement “are to assist communities in getting involved in the war against terrorism on the home front.” In the area of “public safety” the grants “will help provide members to support police departments…in tasks and other functions that can be performed by non-sworn officers.” Now mind you, the volunteers “are not armed, nor can they make arrests, but they carry out vital tasks including organizing neighborhood watch groups…” They also “organize communities to identify and respond to crime and disorder problems…”
In July 2002, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge announced, while sitting in a Washington DC police station, the first round of CNCS homeland security grants totaling $10.3 million, an “initiative” that is to involve some 37,000 volunteers nationwide. One recipient of a $484,000 Corporation grant, based in NYC, is the Center for Court Innovation. Linked to the NYC Public Safety Corps, the grant “will enhance homeland security by assisting criminal justice officials (police, probation officers, judges) as they perform their duties…(while) 40 full time AmeriCorps members will…free up police…to address conditions of disorder that if left unchecked create a climate where crime would flourish.”
In NYC, ground zero for the attack, homeland defense equates to the same old thing, cracking down on “disorder” (protest) and “quality of life crimes”, which is a racist police code for arresting and jailing more poor people.
The euphemism of “homeland defense”, codified within the halls of the Pentagon as early as the mid-1990′s, long before 9/11, buttressed with various Presidential Decision Directives and Executive Orders, includes, within the doctrinal rubric of “operations other than war”, continual training to suppress dissent, or as it is conveniently phrased, to put down “civil disturbance.” The decades old “Garden Plot” operation, which is the Pentagon’s stand alone “civil disturbance” plan, has become generalized in the “homeland defense” concept and it’s focus on the “asymmetric threat”. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Defense, Homeland Security Council etc. the Bush administration is seeking to institutionalize it’s “permanent war” against “terrorism”, dovetailed with it’s ongoing war against dissent.
So while Garden Plot directives, geared for domestic use, are exported to “peacekeeping” troops abroad, “homeland defense” tightens the grip at home. The recent appointment of General Ralph E. Eberhart and the creation of a Northern Command within the Pentagon reflect the depth of commitment the elite have to maintaining “full spectrum dominance” at home.
With “the PATRIOT Act” and other legal monstrosities foisted upon the people, what emerges is a repressive “coordination” (as the Nazis used to call it) of the entities of force and deception, the police, intelligence and the military, in the interests of a “permanent” counterinsurgency, by way of the centralization and broadening of surveillance capabilities, arrest capabilities, and harassment capabilities, which target anyone corporate America doesn’t like. Homeland defense is, in essence, a form of state terrorism directed against the American people and democracy itself. It is the Pentagon Inc. declaring war on America.
Global Counterinsurgency
The “war on terrorism” is a global counterinsurgency whose aim is to wipe out any and all resistance to US global hegemony and corporate domination. Utilizing “operations other than war” (OOTW), corporate America and it’s military are taking a more direct, hands on approach to the needs and requirements of corporate globalization. OOTW, with its host of new missions (e.g. peacekeeping and civil disturbance operations), is based on a pre-emptive doctrine. In this new war, which relies on both standard means of killing along with so-called non-lethal weapons, so-called ” non-combatants” (i.e. civilians) become the primary target. And in so doing, the military, via its OOTW doctrine, is violating one of the sacred tenets of the so-called “laws of war”, namely, that militaries not target civilian populations. But after all, as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld noted in a (12/12/01) statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the “enemy” “hides in caves abroad”, and more importantly, “among us here at home.”
Now, despite the fact that both the Presidential and military directives target “non-United States citizens” (as if that’s not bad enough), in June 2002, the Bush administration jailed a New York City man of Puerto Rican descent, Jose Padilla – or as he now calls himself – Abdullah al Muhajir, and is holding him in a military brig in South Carolina. He has yet to be charged with any crime. Like the hundreds of Muslim immigrants still being held in detention since September 11, he is considered a “material witness” to the investigation of the attack. And yet, rather than have him subject to the discretion of Federal courts, he was handed over to the military as an “enemy combatant” after Ashcroft and the Pentagon talked it over. At that moment, Padilla was taken out of his New York prison cell and transferred to a US Navy brig in South Carolina. His attorney, Donna Newman of NYC was not informed of his transfer and has been denied access to her client. Even the Washington Post, which has backed virtually all of the repressive measures of the Bush administration since September 11, wrote at the time of Padilla’s jailing that:
 ”the governments actions in this latest case cut against basic elements of life under the rule of law” and that “if its positions are correct, nothing would prevent the president – even in the absence of a formal declaration of war – from designating any American as an enemy combatant…If that’s the case, nobody’s constitutional rights are safe.”
This “chilling legal precedent” is but the tip of the iceberg of the complete subsuming of normal judicial processes to the growing militarization of law enforcement and jurisprudence.
“Homeland defense”, as we experience it today, has been percolating in the bowels of the Pentagon and corporate think tanks like the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations, along with their Congressional counterparts, for nearly a decade. What it required was an emergency situation. The “homeland security” apparatus presently being constructed is modeled roughly after the military’s “combatant command structure” and is –in the wake of 9/11– set within the context of the “laws and customs of war”, hence the introduction of military courts and the shifting of jurisdictions for so-called “crimes associated with terrorism”. The Northern Command, based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, whose job as of October 1st is to patrol America, will head up this homeland defense “command structure”.
Concurrent with the round-up of over a thousand people following the September 11 attack, many of whom have been held in solitary confinement, with no charges being filed, President Bush signed in November 2991 order, establishing military “tribunals” for those non-citizens accused, anywhere, of “terrorist related crimes”. According to the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the order violates the constitutional separation of powers:
 ”[It] has not been authorized by the Congress and is outside the President’s constitutional powers”… the order strips away a variety of checks and balances on governmental power and the reliability and integrity of criminal judgments… [T]he order undermines the rule of law worldwide, and invites reciprocal treatment of US nationals by hostile nations utilizing secret trials, a single entity as prosecutor, judge and jury, no judicial review and summary executions.”
Department of Defense Military Commission Order No.1, issued March 21, 2002, is concerned with “procedures for trials by military commissions of certain non-United States citizens in the War Against Terrorism.” The “commissions”, according to the order, “shall have jurisdiction over violations of the laws of war and all other offenses triable by military commission.” Overseen by a “military officer” who will “admit or exclude evidence at trial”, the “prosecutor” would be a “special trial counsel of the Department of Justice.” On the defense side, well, one could opt to go with the DoD’s version of the public defender, namely another “military officer”, or one could secure an attorney.
Although “the Accused may also retain the services of a civilian attorney of the Accused’s own choosing…at no expense to the United States Government”, this would only be possible once it “has been determined” that the civilian attorney is “eligible for access to information classified at the level of SECRET or higher…”
In other words, to get any kind of impartial and efficient legal representation in Mr.Rumsfeld’s court, your attorney has to be cleared by the Pentagon.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.