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Demonization expert: Oppression is real

Art Moore

SEATTLE – When the sensational claims of a haunted house, demonic possession and exorcism in Gary Ind., reported by the Indianapolis Star began to spread, a self-described news-monitoring site for “skeptics” rebuked the paper and other news outlets for giving the story credence.

Doubtful News blogger Sharon Hill charged that “putting out these stories as ‘REAL’ accounts perpetuates a dangerous and backwards belief in the supernatural, distracting from actual problems that can be occurring.”

“I’m not buying it. Show me proof. Your story is NOT enough to make me believe in demons,” Hill wrote.

What made accounts of a 12-year-old girl levitating over her bed, a 9-year-old boy walking backward on a hospital ceiling and a host of other manifestations compelling to news outlets such as the Star and the New York Daily News was that some of the claims were affirmed by credible witnesses, including medical personnel and the Gary chief of police.

Karl Payne, a Seattle-area evangelical pastor who says he has ministered for more than three decades to people oppressed by demons, told WND he is in no position to evaluate whether or not the reported claims of Latoya Ammons are valid.

The author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization, and Deliverance,” Payne said he has never witnessed levitation or wall-walking, but he has no doubt that demons exist and that “they can oppress humans and haunt houses.”

It’s also no surprise to him that “people or groups sharing different worldviews come to different conclusions.”

“That there are things I do and do not understand regarding demonic conflict is not a surprise, because there is so much to learn,” said Payne, who has a doctorate in ministry from Western Seminary in Portland, Ore.

Payne, the pastor of discipleship at Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., which was founded by the late Ken Hutcherson, is the chaplain for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. He’s with the team in New York City as it prepares for the Super Bowl this Sunday.

“If somebody asks me, have I dealt with people who were living in houses where demonic activity was going on … and demons were made to leave, the answer is yes. There is nothing spooky or spectacular about that,” he said.

Payne emphasized he has no way of knowing whether or not the claims that the daughter levitated and the boy walked up the wall are true.

“But the suggestion that it must have been faked isn’t necessarily true,” he said.

The Department of Child Services case manager assigned to the Ammons children noted in a report – which was corroborated to police by a registered nurse – that a “weird grin” crossed the 9-year-old’s face and he “glided backward on the floor, wall and ceiling” and then flipped over onto his feet, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Payne said that in his ministry, he typically doesn’t see spectacular manifestations.

“I lay it down in such a way that if there are demons involved, they’re told to shut up, be still and obey. And they do,” he said.

He said that, by and large, people who “allow the circus to go on” do it by choice or ignorance.

“I have certainly seen people whose eyes roll up in their head,” he told WND. “I have certainly seen people with saliva and bodies contorting. I’ve seen where people say, I can’t breathe; they feel like they are being choked. I have had numerous times where people will say there are things in my room.”

He added: “I’ve been aware of things in my room – that I know are real. I couldn’t explain it, and it was evil.”

Ammons said that when her children began showing signs of demonic possession, their eyes bulged, evil grins crossed their faces and their voices deepened.

The Bible describes demons as evil spirits under the authority of Satan. The Gospels provide numerous accounts of Jesus encountering demons and casting them out of oppressed people. Jesus gave authority to his disciples to do the same, the Bible says, though Christian traditions differ widely in their approach to demonization.

Worldview matters

Payne said that while he can’t specifically assess the validity of the Gary, Ind., claims, he acknowledged that the worldview of officials, health professionals, investigators and others involved in such cases impacts the way they are handled.

In Gary, psychiatrists reportedly concluded the manifestations in Latoya Ammons’ three children were a result of religiously influenced fears that she planted in them. The psychiatrists urged her to stop talking about demons and develop an approach to helping them that was not based on religion.

The family’s physician, the first contact for help in April 2012 when the manifestations began, said in medical reports that he believed the children suffered from delusions of ghosts and hallucinations.

A Department of Child Services case worker, arguing in January 2013 for return of the children to the mother, wrote that the family “is no longer fixated solely on religion to explain or cope with the children’s behavior issues.”

However, Ammons, the Indianapolis paper reported, remained convinced that God helped her overcome her problems, not psychologists.

“When you hear something like this, don’t assume it’s not real because I’ve lived it,” she said. “I know it’s real.”

The Star reported a Roman Catholic priest performed exorcism rituals on Ammons at his church as police officers watched.

The priest told the paper Ammons convulsed as the evil spirits left her body. She said it felt like something inside of her was trying to hold on and also inflict pain as intense as childbearing.

The Star noted Gary Police Chief Charles Austin, a 36-year-old veteran of the department, said he initially thought Ammons was making up stories in a scheme to make money.

Now, he says, however, “I am a believer.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6003

CHRIST CALLED ME OFF THE MINARET

“Electric, the words leapt off the page and jump-started my heart. I could not put the Bible down. I began reading fervently …I found Jesus. To follow Him is worth giving up everything.” -Nabeel Qureshi

Christianity Today has published the gripping testimony of Nabeel Qureshi, descendent of the Quresh, or Muhammad’s tribe; a tribe expected to carry on the tradition of calling Muslims to prayer. (Photo by Howard Korn/via Christianity Today)

“My grandfather and great-grandfather were Muslim missionaries, spending their lives preaching to unbelievers in Indonesia and Uganda,” said Qureshi. “My genes carried their zeal. By middle school, I had learned how to challenge Christians—[and] bolstered by every conversation I had with Christians, I felt confident in the truth of Islam.”

“And it was there,” he added, “atop the minaret of Islamic life, that Jesus called to me.”

Qureshi goes on to describe his years at Old Dominion University in Virginia and a man named David who “didn’t react like other Christians I had challenged.”

“He did not waver in his witness,” said Qureshi, “nor did he waver in his friendship with me. Far from it—he became even more engaged, answering the questions he could respond to, investigating the questions he couldn’t respond to, and spending time with me through it all.”

Three years later, Qureshi said he concluded that “the Bible could be trusted and that Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead and claimed to be God.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6001

Dirty-bomb fears soar at Olympics

 

WASHINGTON – National security experts are expressing increasing alarm over the possibility Islamic militants could use a “dirty” bomb at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and spark mass panic at the seaside location where potential escape routes could become choked.Despite the 1,500 mile “ring of steel” that Russian President Vladimir Putin said surrounds Sochi to prevent the infiltration of North Caucasus militants, who have vowed to disrupt the Olympics with violence, experts say that a dirty bomb not only would be difficult to stop but could cause a major disruption.

A dirty bomb, known as a radiological dispersal device, or RDD, is a weapon combining radioactive material with conventional explosives. Essentially, it would have nuclear materials attached to something as simple as plastic explosives.

Experts say materials suitable to make a radiological weapon include nine reactor-produced isotopes such as americium-241, californium-252, cesium-137, cobalt-60, iridium-192, plutonium-238, polonium-210, radium-226 and strontium-90.

The “ring of steel” of some 50,000 Russian security personnel includes the Olympic village and the 30-mile road and rail transport to the mountain village where the Olympics will take place. Sources say that the mountainous road network wasn’t designed to handle large numbers of vehicles, making chokepoints along the way ideal for attacks.

In addition, the lack of interconnectedness of the 1,400 miles of roads will make detours and avenues of escape almost impossible.

There already have been three recent explosions by North Caucasus militants in the Russian city of Volgograd. The perpetrators posted a video before the attacks vowing there would be “surprises” at the Olympics.

In addition, an all-points bulletin has gone out for three “black widows,” or widows of dead militants. They are Jhannet Tskhaeva from Dagestan, Oksana Aslanova from Turkmenistan in Central Asia and Ruzana Ibragimova.

Further, there now are two men, identified as Ruslan Saufutdino and Murad Musaev, also being shown on wanted posters, which sources say suggests there may be holes in Sochi’s security. The concern is that the jihadists may already be within the “ring of steel.”

The threat of Islamic militant attacks has prompted a recent travel advisory by the U.S. State Department. The U.S. has placed military aircraft in Germany on alert and deployed two warships to the Black Sea to be on standby at the seaside city of Sochi.

Some countries such as Canada are considering whether even to allow their athletes to participate. Even the National Hockey League is considering keeping its athletes at home.

Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who recently returned from Sochi, said that the security threats “to this particular Olympics are the greatest I think I’ve ever seen.”

He said consideration should be given to canceling the Olympics.

However, he said that the U.S. team will be the largest and should not allow the terrorists “to win.”

The reason McCaul is concerned was underscored by a call by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for a global jihad against the Olympics.

Zawahiri’s threat is only the latest from Islamic militants. Last week, the Sunni terrorist group Ansar al-Sunna released a video threatening attacks against the Olympics.

In addition, the leader of the North Caucasus militant fighters, Dokku Umarov, has issued a call for his Islamic militants to “do their utmost to derail” the “satanic” games.

Umarov, who has led the fighting for years against Moscow, wants to establish a Caucasus Emirates subject to strict Islamic law, or Shariah, in the North Caucasus region that includes the predominantly Muslim Russian provinces of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria.

He wants to split the republics from the rest of Russia, which some ethnic Russians support. But Russian President Vladimir Putin sees such action as a potential slippery slope that would prompt other ethnic entities throughout Russia to also seek independence.

Umarov’s threat is the realization of Moscow’s worst fear, since it sees security at the games as one of its highest priorities. It is estimated that Moscow will spend more than $51 billion to make a success of the games, which it sees as a showpiece for its economic and technological achievements.

Umarov has vowed to us “all means” to disrupt the Olympics.

Security experts say “all means” could include the use of dirty bombs, which are conventional explosives laced with radiological materials.

“Several factors make a radiological attack attractive to terrorists,” according to a report of the open intelligence Langley Intelligence Group Network, or Lignet.

Preparation for a dirty bomb attack would be low, requiring only a small amount of a radiological source material and conventional explosives.

“The technical requirements also are low,” the report said. “No specialized training is required beyond knowing how to detonate an explosive.

“The havoc caused by a successful attack would be substantial for competitors and spectators alike,” the report warned. “The prospect of being involved in an attack involving radioactivity could lead easily to panic. The ensuing disruption would result in enormous financial losses and raise questions about where and how future games should be held.”

Underscoring the concern over the use of a dirty bomb is the assessment that the North Caucasus fighters have access to radioactive materials and the capability to make dirty bombs.

In November 1995, Chechens planted a cesium-filled explosive package in Moscow’s Ismailovsky Park to show they had an ability to construct a radiological bomb. The rebels alerted the press of the buried cache in the park, where authorities found a partially buried container.

To this day, the source of the cesium remains unknown.

Then, in December 1998, the head of the Russian-backed Chechen Security Service at the time, Ibragim Khultygov, announced that his security team had found a container filled with radioactive materials attached to an explosive mine hidden near a railway line.

The security team defused the bomb in a suburban area of Argun 10 miles east of the Chechen capital of Grozny, where a Chechen rebel group was known at the time to have an explosives workshop.

In September 1999, thieves attempted to seal a container holding some 200 grams of radioactive materials from the Radon Special Combine chemical factory in Grozny, Chechnya.

Following exposure to the container, however, one of the suspects died and the other collapsed, even though they held the container for only a few minutes while carrying it out of the factory.

In December 2001, three woodcutters found two heat-emanating containers near their campsite in the remote Muslim Caucasus region of Abkhazia, Georgia. They intended to use the containers as a heat source but within hours began to fall ill and later went to a hospital for treatment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency was notified, and a team was sent to recover the containers at the campsite, discovering that they were Soviet-era radiothermal penetrators containing 40,000 curies of strontium. The amount of radiation was said to be equivalent to that released in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine.

U.S. officials at the time thought the generators had been stolen by Chechen rebels who were then operating in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge and transporting them to other rebel-occupied areas.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5993

MIRACLE SHAKES UP INDIANA TOWN: PARALYZED MAN WALKS AFTER CHILD PROPHESIES OVER HIM AND DREAM CONFIRMS IT

Joel Haler “one of the most prolific basketball placers in the city’s history,” when he was paralyzed from the waist down. Now he’s giving glory to God and thankful for the ordeal that brought him into a right relationship with Him.

(New Castle, IN)—When people in New Castle talk about “The Miracle” everyone knows exactly who experienced the miracle and why. (Photo via WTHR)

20-year-old Joel Haler, said to be “one of the most prolific basketball placers in the city’s history,” was reportedly one day in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, and the next day walking.

Numerous reports say Haler’s paralysis started when he woke up one morning in his dorm at Hope College last October and couldn’t move. After some of the “finest doctors in the country” could not help him, he started Robotic Walking Therapy. When that didn’t work, Haler was said to have accepted the fact that there were “no answers” and that he had to accept the inevitable.

“Before being paralyzed,” said Haler, I focused on being the guy everyone like… I was a people pleaser. [But then] I had all this time to just think.”

“All this time I thought I was a pretty good person,” he added. “I’m a pastor’s kid. I thought I was living the right way. But being alone with my thoughts, I realized there was a lot of work God had to do in me still. I wanted things to change on my time, but God’s timing was different.”

Joel became so despondent, he is quoted as saying he got “sick of hearing about their prayers.” (Photo via WTHR)

Then he had a dream. He saw a calendar that only said “J23.”

“I was thinking maybe it was a date,” said Joel. “Maybe J-23 meant June 23, or July. I quickly flipped to June to see if the 23rd fell on a Thursday, it didn’t. Then I went to July to see if it was on a Thursday, and it wasn’t either. I was a little discouraged. Doctors had told me that if I ever did regain feeling in my legs I would still have to relearn how to walk. So I didn’t even think about looking at January, it was just too soon. But then I decided I would try January anyway. I turned the calendar and right there I saw Jan. 23 was on a Thursday. I knew I had my sign.”

According to various sources, that “sign” was confirmed shortly later when Braxton Farmer, a little four-year-old boy at his church, came up to him and said, “You will walk on a Thursday.”

Which is exactly what happened.

On Wednesday night, January 22, Joel woke up to tingling in his toes that turned into extreme pain running up his legs. After an hour-and-a-half suddenly he had an “unusual feeling. (Photo via WTHR)

“I wiggled my toes,” he said, “and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Then I walked into my parents’ room. ‘Mom and dad, look!'”

Haler’s father Eric, pastor of New Covenant Worship Center, said, “I burst into tears. It’s hard seeing your son not be able to walk… but he was walking.”

“This is all God,” said Joel. “I’m just being used.”

Recently, he gave his testimony at church. “I am glad I went through that fight,” he said. “I needed this to know who I am and what I’m supposed to do with my life. I hated every second of it, but I needed it.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5991

FEMA Preparing For “Motor Coach Evacuation of the General Population”

 

Federal agency asks companies for operational support in event of national emergency

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
January 28, 2014

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is soliciting companies to provide operational support for a “motor coach evacuation of the general population” of the United States in response to a declared emergency or a natural disaster.

The solicitation originally appeared on the FedBizOpps website back in October but was recently revised after businesses began asking FEMA questions about the contract.

“This is a synopsis for a single indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract to obtain evacuation planning and operational support to facilitate a motor coach evacuation of the general population in response to Presidential-Declared Emergencies and Major Disasters within the continental United States,” states the solicitation.

Attachments to the solicitation provide more details, including of how FEMA requires companies to provide security at “a staging and operational area in the event of a no-notice, life threatening event that requires the contractor’s immediate or rapid deployment.”

One scenario outlined in the documents is a massive hurricane striking Florida and the Louisiana-Texas-coast which would mandate the evacuation of thousands of citizens in the affected areas.

The document notes that even in the event of a presidential declaration of emergency and an official evacuation order, “Many people (would) refuse to evacuate.”

Last week we reported on how FEMA was preparing for a pandemic by seeking, “vendors that can potentially provide either dumpster service and/or bio-medical waste collection and removal services during emergency response events within the Continental United States.”

Although FEMA would argue that its job is to prepare for every kind of national emergency that could possibly be envisaged, such actions routinely prompt concerns from some that such crises could be exploited to justify unconstitutional actions.

During Hurricane Katrina, law enforcement disarmed residents even in the high and dry areas, with police telling citizens, “No one will be able to be armed. We will take all weapons. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.”

As we have documented, networks of emergency detention camps have been constructed across the United States, despite the fact that the media treats such claims as baseless conspiracy theories.

In 2006, Halliburton subsidiary KBR was awarded a contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention centers designed to deal with “an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S.,” or the rapid development of unspecified “new programs” that would require large numbers of people to be interned.

In December 2011, we received a document from a state government employee confirming that KBR was seeking sub-contractors to staff and outfit “emergency environment” camps located in five regions of the United States.

During the Iran-Contra hearings it was revealed that the U.S. government had secret plans to detain large numbers of American citizens considered to be “national security threats” under Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984.

In 2006 we revealed how a FEMA program was training pastors to teach their congregations to “obey the government” in preparation for a declaration of martial law, property and firearm seizures, and forced relocation

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5989

REAL OMEN? A ‘SUPER BLOOD MOON ECLIPSE’

Strange things have been happening amid this winter’s especially cold weather, and this week an Arctic snowy owl was spotted sitting on a green awning in downtown Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post reported the birds, which mostly live in the treeless tundra of the Arctic, recently been seen in Revere Beach, Mass., near Jacksonville, Fla., in the Great Lakes region, in Arkansas and in the Dakotas.

The paper said some are wondering whether the unusual occurrence in the nation’s capital was some kind of omen.

Regardless, a pastor told WND that if people are seeking an omen, or sign, they should just check out the timing of the highly unusual four blood moons over the next two years, including a “super blood moon eclipse.”

The last time the same sequence happened was in 1967 and 1968, when Israel recaptured Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. Before that, it was in the 1940s, when Israel was born.

It didn’t happen the 1800s, not in the 1700s. Not even in the 1600s.

It did take place in the 1400s, in 1493 and 1494, when the Jews were expelled from Spain.

“Four total lunar eclipses happening the next two years herald possible war in the Middle East as well as global economic collapse,” Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries told WND in an email.

He that historically, these types of solar eclipses have been signs, foretelling important events such as the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.

“Two happened right in a row at the time of destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. and on feast days,” he said.

“Around eight months before the Temple was destroyed we find on 10/18/69 there was a partial lunar eclipse on the Feast of Sukkot. A total solar eclipse followed this on Nisan 1-3/30/70, the beginning of the religious year. Two weeks later there was a penumbral lunar eclipse on Passover on 4/14/70. An annular solar eclipse followed this on Rosh Hashanah on 9/23/70. Then another penumbral lunar eclipse on Sukkot on 10/8/70,” he explained.

Biltz said that what makes the coming events startling is the fact they will happen on the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in consecutive years.

“This has happened only eight times over the last 2,000 years!” Biltz said. “And the last two times these occurred on the Jewish holidays there was a war in the Middle East regarding the nation of Israel. These are patterns and historical facts that cannot be disregarded. The Jewish Talmud records that total lunar eclipses are indicators or omens for the nation of Israel.”

Pastor John Hagee agrees that something is looming.

He was invited by Fox News to discuss the significance of four eclipses on the Jewish Passovers, on April 4 and April 15, and the Feasts of Tabernacles, on Oct. 8 and on Sept. 28, 2015.

In his new book, “Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change,” he confirms how significant events relating to the Jewish nation have happened each time the events line up.

“This is something that just is beyond coincidental,” Hagee told Fox News.

He explained that the prophecies in the Bible say that when the sun refuses to shine – a solar eclipse is expected in the 2014-2015 time frame – and the moon turns to blood, man’s redemption is near.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Joel states: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” (Joel 2:31)

In the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as saying: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. … And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:29-30)

Acts 2 states: “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”

The pastor of El-Shaddai Ministries went into great detail about the significant events that have occurred on these dates in history and in Scripture.

“According to Judaism this is the day Adam was created and crowned God as King. This is also begins a shemittah year 7th for the land to rest. The last two shemittah years on Rosh Hashanah, there was global economic catastrophe. In 2001, the Dow fell 7 percent. In 2008, the Dow fell 7 percent. In 2015, could this be our third strike and a major collapse of the global economy?” Biltz asked.

The story began in 2008 when Biltz made an astounding discovery – a story broken first by WND.

Biltz had been studying prophecies that focus on the sun and moon, even going back to the book of Genesis, which states the lights in the sky would be “be for signs, and for seasons.”

“It means a signal, kind of like ‘one if by land, two if by sea.’ It’s like God wants to signal us,” he said. “The Hebrew word implies … not only is it a signal, but it’s a signal for coming or His appearing.”

Biltz counts 6,000 years since the creation of Adam.

“So we are at of the end of the six days ready to enter the seventh day, or the beginning of the 1,000 year millennium rest spoken of in Hebrews and Revelation.”

He affirmed that future events cannot be predicted exactly, but he believes there is a clear link between important historical events and the lunar eclipses.

The message, Biltz believes, is that the messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfilled 2,000 years ago, when He came the first time, happened to the very day.

Biltz explains he believes the events surrounding the Second Coming also will happen to the very day of the Fall Feasts.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5986

Is a Major Gold Scandal Going Mainstream?

 

Washington’s Blog
January 27, 2014

We noted in 2012 that there are serious questions as to whether the Fed and other central banks really have the gold holdings which they claim.

This story is starting to go mainstream.

The Financial Times writes today (h/t Zero Hedge):

A year ago the Bundesbank announced that it intended to repatriate 700 tons of Germany’s gold from Paris and New York. Although a couple of jumbo jets could have managed the transatlantic removal, it made security sense to ship the load in smaller consignments. Just how small, and over how long, has only just become apparent.

Last month Jens Weidmann, Bundesbank president, admitted that just 37 tons had arrived in Frankfurt. The original timescale, to complete the transfer by 2020, was leisurely enough, but at this rate it would take 20 years for a simple operation. Well, perhaps not so simple. While he awaits delivery, Herr Weidmann is welcome to come and look through the bars in the Federal Reserve’s vaults, but the question is: whose bars are they?

In the “armchair farmer” fraud you are told: “Look, this is your pig, in the sty.” It works until everyone wants physical delivery of their pig, which is why Buba’s move last year caused such a stir. After all nobody knows whether there are really 260m ounces of gold in Fort Knox, because the US government won’t let auditors inside.

The delivery problem for the Fed is a different breed of pig. The gold market is far more than exchanging paper money for precious metal. Indeed the metal seems something of a sideshow. In June last year the average volume of gold cleared in London hit 29m ounces per day. The world’s mines are producing 90m ounces per year. The traded volume was many times the cleared volume.

The paper gold in the London Bullion Market takes the familiar forms that bankers have turned into profit machines: futures, options, leveraged trades, collateralised obligations, ETFs . . . a storm of exotic instruments, each of which is carefully logged, cross-checked and audited.

Or perhaps not. High-flying traders find such backroom work tedious, and prefer to let some drone do it, just as they did with those money-market instruments that fuelled the banking crisis. The drones will have full control of the paper trail, won’t they? There’s surely no chance that the Fed’s little delivery difficulty has anything to do with the cat’s-cradle of pledges based on the gold in its vaults?

John Hathaway suspects there is. He worries about all the paper (and pixels) linked to gold. He runs the Tocqueville gold fund (the clue is in the name) and doesn’t share the near-universal gloom of London’s gold analysts, who a year ago forecast an average $1700 for 2013. It is currently $1,260.

As has been remarked here before, forecasting the price is for mugs and bugs. But one day the ties that bind this pixelated gold may break, with potentially catastrophic results. So if you fancy gold at today’s depressed price, learn from Buba and demand delivery.

And last week, Glenn Beck – hate him or love him, he’s got the 594th most popular website in the world and many viewers on Dish network and various cable providers – did an entire 20-minute episode on the issue:

This story hasn’t yet made it to the New York Times, the Washington Post or network television … but it is gaining momentum.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5983

Nazareth: Islamic Billboard Warns Christians Against Believing In The Trinity And The Divinity Of Christ

1 John 2:22-23, 28, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also… abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

Do you believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Do you believe that Jesus is God in the flesh? One of the reasons why Islamists hate Christianity is because this belief associates Jesus with God, making Jesus a co-equal partner with the Almighty. According to Islam, this is called “shirk” and is an unpardonable sin that “Allah” will never forgive. The truth of the matter, however, is that Islam itself also associates the “prophet” Mohammed — whom Muslims claim to be the most “perfect man” to ever walk the face of the earth — with “Allah” himself. On one hand, Islam teaches that “Allah” has no partners, but then contradicts itself by teaching that someone cannot become a Muslim unless they acknowledge that “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messengerper the Shahada. Unless one acknowledges Mohammed they cannot become a Muslim. In Islam, a Muslim’s “salvation” is therefore entirely determined by their obedience and devotion to Mohammed, effectively elevating the “prophet” of Islam to the same co-equal status of Islam’s own deity. To acknowledge “Allah” is not enough. You MUST acknowledge the “perfect man” Mohammed, too …

Qur’an Sura 4:136a, “O you who have believed, believe in Allah AND His Messenger [Mohammed] and the Book that He sent down …”

Hadith Bukhari 2996, “… [Mohammed] said, ‘Become Muslim and you will be safe. Know that the earth belongs to Allah AND His Messenger. I want to expel you from this land. Whoever of you has some property should sell it. However, the earth belongs to Allah AND His Messenger.’” (Source).

Qur’an Sura 3:31, “… If you should love Allah, THEN FOLLOW ME [Mohammed], so Allah will love you and forgive you your sins …”

                        Israel Today – “As Christians of every stripe in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth begin to again take a real stand for their faith, local Muslims are warning them not to overstep the boundaries of their traditional place in the Middle East (hint: they must remain dhimmis, or second-class).

A large billboard hanging at a central point in Nazareth features a picture of an Israeli stop sign, along with the English translation of a verse from the Koran cautioning Christians (and Jews) to speak only the ‘truth’ regarding Allah.

The poster (and Koran 4:171) reads:

“O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits of your religion. Say nothing but the truth about Allah (The One True God). The Christ Jesus, Son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God and His word conveyed to Mary and a spirit created by Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not say: ‘Three gods (trinity)’. Cease! It will be better for you. Indeed, Allah is the One and the Only God. His Holiness is far above having a son.”

Evangelical Christians from Nazareth have become a growing and integral part of the overall Messianic body in the land, while traditional Christians (Catholics, Greek Orthodox, etc) have been waking up to their historical and religious connection to the Jews and are joining the Israeli army in ever greater numbers.” Source – Israel Today. Hat tip to Jihad Watch.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5981

Christians called to ‘martyrdom’ says Welby

 

Modern Christians are “called” to suffer and even die for the faith in a new era of ‘martyrdom’, says Archbishop of Canterbury

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor

7:33PM GMT 14 Jan 2014

Christians are facing a new age of “martyrdom” across much of the world, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Speaking in Istanbul, Turkey, the Most Rev Justin Welby singled out the persecution of believers across the Middle East and said Christians are still “called” to suffer and even die for the faith in the 21st Century.

But he insisted that religion is often just a “pretext” for violence and not the real cause.

He made his remarks at the end of a two-day visit with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholemew I, the most senior cleric in the eastern Orthodox church.

His comments in a city which has in the past been the capital of both the Christian and Muslim worlds underline the significance he attaches to the threat to Christians in the region, an issue the Prince of Wales also singled out last month.

Referring to the original Greek meaning of the word martyr, as a “witness”, he said: “Your history is more and more important in the increasing confrontations of the world in which religion is used as a pretext for violence that in reality comes from greed and the pride of human beings.

“You have demonstrated over the centuries the martyrdom to which we are called in scripture, the call to witness in word and life, a call more important than life itself.

“The cost of that martyrdom is seen in so many places today.

“Closest to here we remember and seek the mercy of Christ and intercession of the Blessed Mother on Syria.” He then singled out the orthodox leaders in Aleppo and Antioch.

The Archbishop also spoke about the effects of the banking crisis and the troubles of the eurozone, which he said had spread “terrible suffering” in Europe.

“During the last years we have seen the world changing in a diversity of ways,” he said.

“We have had an economic crisis through a banking system which had lost its way, seeking its own good at the expense of nations and their peoples.

“There is conflict in many regions of the world, acute poverty, unemployment and an influx of oppressed people driven away from their own countries and seeking refuge elsewhere.

“In Southern Europe terrible suffering has seized the people, most especially the poor for whom we weep and cry to God.”

And in a warning to politicians, he added: “Economic crises tempt governments and people to look to the short term and forget the needs of the generation to come.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5976

Meet al-Qaeda’s new poster boy for the Middle East

 

The fall of the Iraqi city of Fallujah back into the hands of al-Qaeda has shown the power of the movement’s new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

By Colin Freeman

7:09PM GMT 11 Jan 2014

The FBI “most wanted” mugshot shows a tough, swarthy figure, his hair in a jailbird crew-cut. The $10 million price on his head, meanwhile, suggests that whoever released him from US custody four years ago may now be regretting it.

Taken during his years as a detainee at the US-run Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, this is the only known photograph of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. But while he may lack the photogenic qualities of his hero, Osama bin Laden, he is fast becoming the new poster-boy for the global jihadist movement.

Well-organised and utterly ruthless, the ex-preacher is the driving force behind al-Qaeda’s resurgence throughout Syria and Iraq, putting it at the forefront of the war to topple President Bashar al-Assad and starting a fresh campaign of mayhem against the Western-backed government in Baghdad.

Last week, his forces fought open clashes with Iraqi army troops around the city of Fallujah – once known as the graveyard of the Americans – after brazenly attempting to seize control there the weekend before.

“They turned up in convoys waving their black flags and saying that Fallujah belongs to al-Qaeda again,” said Ayad Dulaimi, a local resident. “With God’s help, the army will destroy them.”

For Washington, the fact that it is now Iraqi troops who are confronting Baghdadi’s fanatics rather than American ones is of limited comfort. For just like bin Laden, whose death he has vowed to avenge, his ambitions go well beyond the Middle East.

“You will see the mujahideen (holy warriors) at the heart of your country,” he warned the US in an audio-taped statement. “Our war with you has only started now.”

His attempted take-over of Fallujah and neighbouring Ramadi has also sparked bitter exchanges in Washington over the legacy of the Iraq war. As President Barack Obama flew back from his Christmas break in Hawaii last week, he faced accusations that he had squandered US sacrifices in Iraq through his decision to withdraw troops two years ago.

The charge was led by Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, who pointed out that hundreds of US troops had died during operations to keep Fallujah free of al-Qaeda. “Now we see people driving around Fallujah with black flags,” Senator McCain said. “It’s a disgrace.”

So who is exactly is the man who now so worries America, and why has he become so effective?

As with many of al-Qaeda’s leaders, precise details are sketchy. His FBI rap sheet offers little beyond the fact that he is aged around 42, and was born as Ibrahim Ali al-Badri in the city of Samarrah, which lies on a palm-lined bend in the Tigris north of Baghdad. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a nom de guerre, as is his other name, Abu Duaa, which translates roughly as “Father of the Summons”.

Some describe him as a farmer who was arrested by US forces during a mass sweep in 2005, who then became radicalised at Camp Bucca, where many al-Qaeda commanders were held. Others, though, believe he was a radical even during the largely secular era of Saddam Hussein, and became a prominent al-Qaeda player very shortly after the US invasion.

“This guy was a Salafi (a follower of a fundamentalist brand of Islam), and Saddam’s regime would have kept a close eye on him,” said Dr Michael Knights, an Iraq expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“He was also in Camp Bucca for several years, which suggests he was already considered a serious threat when he went in there.”

That theory seems backed by US intelligence reports from 2005, which describe him as al-Qaeda’s point man in Qaim, a fly-blown town in Iraq’s western desert.

“Abu Duaa was connected to the intimidation, torture and murder of local civilians in Qaim”, says a Pentagon document. “He would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them.”

Why such a ferocious individual was deemed fit for release in 2009 is not known. One possible explanation is that he was one of thousands of suspected insurgents granted amnesty as the US began its draw down in Iraq. Another, though, is that rather like Keyser Söze, the enigmatic crimelord in the film The Usual Suspects, he may actually be several different people.

“We either arrested or killed a man of that name about half a dozen times, he is like a wraith who keeps reappearing, and I am not sure where fact and fiction meet,” said Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb, a former British special forces commander who helped US efforts against al-Qaeda in Iraq. “There are those who want to promote the idea that this man is invincible, when it may actually be several people using the same nom de guerre.”

What does seem clear, however, is that al-Qaeda now has its most formidable leadership since Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian who kidnapped the British hostage, Ken Bigley, and who died in a missile strike in 2006.

When al-Baghdadi was announced as a new leader in 2010 – following the killing of two other top commanders – al-Qaeda was seriously on the back foot, not just in Iraq but regionwide. In former strongholds like Fallujah, its fighters had been routed after their brutality sparked a rebellion by local tribes. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, drone strikes were destroying the cream of its senior leadership. And the following year, the onset of the Arab Spring revolutions, with their emphasis on democracy and human rights, made it look simply irrelevant.

Indeed, when bin Laden himself was killed in May 2011, Baghdadi’s pledge to revenge his death with 100 terrorist attacks across Iraq looked like little more than bluster.

Today, he is already well past that target, thanks to a devastating campaign of car bombings and Mumbai-style killing sprees that has pushed Iraq’s death toll back up to around 1,000 per month.

“Baghdadi is actually more capable than the man he took over from,” said Dr Knights. “It’s one of those unfortunate situations where taking out the previous leadership has made things worse, not better.”

Quietly-spoken and publicity-shy, Baghdadi is said to be fond of turning up on frontline operations himself. Mindful, though, of the price on his head — second only to the $25m reward for al-Qaeda’s No 1, Ayman al Zawahari – he takes extensive precautions.

Fighters who have met him speak of a shadowy figure who can mimic a number of regional accents to blend in. In the company of all but the closest devotees, he wears a mask to prevent anyone getting a close look at him.

He has, however, won respect for being less gung-ho than other al-Qaeda leaders: while suicide bombers are a key part of his arsenal, he is said often to veto operations that put his other fighters at too much risk.

In the same spirit, his greatest coup so far was to free some of his most loyal supporters during a spectacular jail break at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, supposedly the most-heavily guarded facility in the country. Last July, a combined assault involving suicide bombers and 50 crack militiamen saw around 1,000 prisoners freed, half of them al-Qaeda members.

Many are believed to have headed to neighbouring Syria, where they have proved decisive in turning al-Qaeda into the pre-eminent rebel movement in the fight against President Assad.

Al-Baghdadi himself is also believed to have relocated there, and last year renamed his group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which sees both countries as a single al-Qaeda caliphate. Already the group has about 7,000 fighters in northern Syria, including volunteers from Britain and Europe who may one day start terror campaigns at home.

Yet Baghdadi’s call for “all Muslims” to join him does not extend to Shias, whom al-Qaeda sees as apostates. Instead, his aim is to destroy President Assad’s minority Shia government in Syria, and then wrest control of Sunni-dominated western Iraq from the Shia-majority government in Baghdad.

“One sheikh who knew Baghdadi said he was very sectarian, even more so than other al-Qaeda leaders,” said Sterling Jensen, an interpreter tasked by the US military to liaise with Fallujah’s sheikhs during the rebellion against al-Qaeda in 2007.

Some, though, believe that events of the past week suggest Bagdadi has already made the mistake of many of his predecessors, by over-flexing his muscles.

In northern Syria, nearly 200 of his men are reported to have died last week in fighting with more moderate rebel groups. One Aleppo-based activist said that “90 per cent of people” in rebel-held areas have now swung against the group’s Taliban-style regime. In the continuing Fallujah stand-off, meanwhile, Baghdadi may have bitten off more than he can chew by taking on the Iraqi army in open combat.

“Al-Qaeda may be better organised under Baghdadi,” said Dr Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at the London School of Economics. “But as soon they hold territory, their popularity tends to disappear.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5970