Focus On Jerusalem

World News header




The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible

July 4….(David Barton/Wallbuilders)

John Adams


The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost. There is no authority, civil or religious, there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell. The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity. Suppose a nation insome distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be! I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.

John Quincy Adams


My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ and I cannot cavil or quibble away evade or object to the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively asserted and at others countenances [permits] His disciples in asserting that He was God. The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” [Isaiah 52:10]. In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.

Samuel Adams


I rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins. The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe [Proverbs 18:10]. Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better. I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace. He also called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that, the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole family of mankind, we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid. [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory. with true contrition of heart to confess their sins to God and implore forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Josiah Bartlett


Called on the people of New Hampshire to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, that the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord.

Elias Boudinot


Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned. Let us earnestly call and beseech Him, for Christ’s sake, to preside in our councils. We can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, Whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning, in order to open the meeting with prayer. A letter to his daughter:
You have been instructed from your childhood in the knowledge of your lost state by nature, the absolute necessity of a change of heart and an entire renovation of soul to the image of Jesus Christ, of salvation through His meritorious righteousness only, and the indispensable necessity of personal holiness without which no man shall see the Lord [Hebrews 12:14]. You are well acquainted that the most perfect and consummate doctrinal knowledge is of no avail without it operates on and sincerely affects the heart, changes the practice, and totally influences the will, and that without the almighty power of the Spirit of God enlightening your mind, subduing your will, and continually drawing you to Himself, you can do nothing. And may the God of your parents (for many generations past) seal instruction to your soul and lead you to Himself through the blood of His too greatly despised Son, Who notwithstanding, is still reclaiming the world to God through that blood, not imputing to them their sins. To Him be glory forever! For nearly half a century have I anxiously and critically studied that invaluable treasure [the Bible]; and I still scarcely ever take it up that I do not find something new, that I do not receive some valuable addition to my stock of knowledge or perceive some instructive fact never observed before. In short, were you to ask me to recommend the most valuable book in the world, I should fix on the Bible as the most instructive both to the wise and ignorant. Were you to ask me for one affording the most rational and pleasing entertainment to the inquiring mind, I should repeat, it is the Bible; and should you renew the inquiry for the best philosophy or the most interesting history, I should still urge you to look into your Bible. I would make it, in short, the Alpha and Omega of knowledge.

John Dickinson


Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity. Governments could not give the rights essential to happiness. We claim them from a higher source: from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth.

Gabriel Duvall


I resign my soul into the hands of the Almighty Who gave it, in humble hopes of His mercy through our Savior Jesus Christ.

Benjamin Franklin


As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see. The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and guilding, lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author. (FRANKLIN’S EULOGY THAT HE WROTE FOR HIMSELF)
that we are still permitted to enjoy the first of Heaven’s blessings: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

John Hancock


Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement. He called on the entire state to pray “that universal happiness may be established in the world [and] that all may bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory.” He also called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory,
that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory. to confess their sins and to implore forgiveness of God through the merits of the Savior of the World. to cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth. to confess their sins before God and implore His forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. that He would finally overrule all events to the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom and the establishment of universal peace and good will among men. that the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be established in peace and righteousness among all the nations of the earth. that with true contrition of heart we may confess our sins, resolve to forsake them, and implore the Divine forgiveness, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Savior. And finally to overrule all the commotions in the world to the spreading the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ in its purity and power among all the people of the earth.

Patrick Henry


Being a Christian… is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast. The Bible… is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed. Righteousness alone can exalt America as a nation. Whoever thou art, remember this; and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others. The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible. This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed.

John Jay


Condescend, merciful Father! to grant as far as proper these imperfect petitions, to accept these inadequate thanksgivings, and to pardon whatever of sin hath mingled in them for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Savior; unto Whom, with Thee, and the blessed Spirit, ever one God, be rendered all honor and glory, now and forever. Unto Him who is the author and giver of all good, I render sincere and humble thanks for His manifold and unmerited blessings, and especially for our redemption and salvation by His beloved Son. Blessed be His holy name. Mercy and grace and favor did come by Jesus Christ, and also that truth which verified the promises and predictions concerning Him and which exposed and corrected the various errors which had been imbibed respecting the Supreme Being, His attributes, laws, and dispensations. By conveying the Bible to people, we certainly do them a most interesting act of kindness. We thereby enable them to learn that man was originally created and placed in a state of happiness, but, becoming disobedient, was subjected to the degradation and evils which he and his posterity have since experienced. The Bible will also inform them that our gracious Creator has provided for us a Redeemer in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed, that this Redeemer has made atonement “for the sins of the whole world,” and thereby reconciling the Divine justice with the Divine mercy, has opened a way for our redemption and salvation; and that these inestimable benefits are of the free gift and grace of God, not of our deserving, nor in our power to deserve. The Bible will also [encourage] them with many explicit and consoling assurances of the Divine mercy to our fallen race, and with repeated invitations to accept the offers of pardon and reconciliation. They, therefore, who enlist in His service, have the highest encouragement to fulfill the duties assigned to their respective stations; for most certain it is, that those of His followers who [participate in] His conquests will also participate in the transcendent glories and blessings of His Triumph. I recommend a general and public return of praise and thanksgiving to Him from whose goodness these blessings descend. The most effectual means of securing the continuance of our civil and religious liberties is always to remember with reverence and gratitude the source from which they flow. The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts. The evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds... they who undertake that task will derive advantages. Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

Thomas Jefferson


The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man. The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses. I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others. I am a real Christian.

Peres Finally Gets It: Peace Impossible with Palestinian Authority

July 4....(Israel Today) Israeli President Shimon Peres, the primary proponent of Israel's land-for-peace process with the Palestinian Authority, very pragmatically announced at a dinner party last weekend that he no longer believes a genuine peace can be achieved. Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper reported that Peres made the assessment during a dinner party at Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Tel Aviv home last Saturday. According to the newspaper, as the meal came to an end, Jordanian Ambassador to Israel Ali Ayed got into an argument with another Israeli guest after the latter stated that Israel could not reach a final status peace agreement with the regime of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. As the debate grew more heated, Peres jumped in and, to everyone's surprise, agreed that Abbas' weakness and inability to implement any of his security commitments made reaching a peace deal leading to the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian Arab state impossible.
Pointing to the situation in Gaza, Peres reminded those gathered that the last time Israel fully surrendered territory to Abbas, his Hamas rivals quickly took over and turned the area into a base for increased violence against the Jewish state.



Who Among You Is A True Patriot?

By Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst

WASH—Jul 4—KIN-- The Founding Fathers knew that the acts of tyranny by the British in the American colonies were ungodly and unrighteous. The colonists had watched as the British moved massive amounts of troops into America. The British commandeered private homes to house troops and officers. They didn't allow people to gather on the streets to talk. They suppressed free speech. They discouraged worship apart from the government religion. And they taxed the colonists without representation. The Founding Fathers set apart this new nation from the British rule knowing that only the moral and Christ-like could govern righteously.

Perhaps our second President, John Adams, said it best: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other."

The Constitution is the covenant with the people that guarantees the nation we have to be a moral nation. Not only did our Founding Fathers risk life and fortune for it, many of our forefathers have died that we may enjoy its liberties.

Throughout history until now, any invasive threat to the Constitution was met with decisive force--the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War II, even the Afghanistan war against terror. If an entity were to invade America and threaten its Constitutional liberties, Americans would fight to the death to preserve the Republic. So today, why is it that we are not called to arms when the immoral, unjust and unrighteous threaten our very existence as a nation? Putting it plainly, we are faced now with an invasion of illegal immigrants, Muslims, homosexuals, baby killers, and ungodly socialists and communists who seek to destroy the way of life guaranteed by the Constitution, inked by the blood of our forefathers.

Yet we are allowing them to colonize, to take over and twist the meaning and intent of the Constitution, "unbridled", as John Adams would say. Proverbs 14:34 says, "Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." It is time to stand, as did our forefathers and fight the fight for this nation against the unlawful, the immoral, and the godless. Have we as a nation been so saturated with an imbalance of Biblical grace that we cannot stand against sin and unrighteousness as commanded by the Bible? Wake up Americans. Who among you is a true patriot?



Presbyterian Assembly Votes to Drop Gay Clergy Ban

July 3….(WND) The Presbyterian Church (USA), bitterly divided over sexuality and the Bible, set up another confrontation Friday over its ban on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians. The denomination's General Assembly, meeting in San Jose, Calif., voted 54 percent to 46 percent Friday to drop the requirement that would-be ministers, deacons and elders live in "fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."
The proposed change to the church constitution requires approval from a majority the nation's 173 presbyteries, or regional church bodies, a yearlong process that has proven to be a barrier to similar efforts in the past. Of equal importance to advocates on both side of the debate, the assembly also voted to allow gay and lesbian candidates for ordination to conscientiously object to the existing standard. The vote was an "an authoritative interpretation" of the church constitution rather than a change to it, so it goes into effect immediately.



Jews Inch Towards Their Temple

July 2….(Stan Goodenough/JNEWSWIRE) Another step on the long road towards the restoration of Temple Worship in Jerusalem was reportedly taken Monday with the opening of a new workshop in which robes will be manufactured for practicing priests. According to a report in The Jerusalem Post Wednesday, a number of Kohanim, (Jews in the Cohen family line who trace their ancestry back to Aaron, the first High Priest) have already had measurements taken for the biblically-described vestments. One of them is the well-known chief rabbi of Efrat Shlomo Riskin. For the new garments, special flaxen thread is being imported from India, and worms from which just the right color crimson dye is obtained are being brought in from Istanbul, according to the report. The new workshop was inaugurated by the Temple Institute which is situated in Jerusalem's old City, just a stone's throw from the Temple Mount, the site of the first and second temples and the place where, according to the Bible, the Third Temple will be built to welcome the Messiah. Over the years the institute has worked to create, in strict accordance with the biblical pattern, many of the implements required for Temple worship, including the golden seven-branched Menorah, the Table for the Show Bread, and the Breast-Plate, Crown and Robe for the High Priest. Fully one-third of all the commandments handed down to the Jews through Moses cannot be kept without a functioning Temple, said the Post. Many Jews (and a growing number of Christians) believe that just as God is keeping His millennia-old promise to reconstitute the scattered people of Israel in their ancient homeland, He will follow through on His pledge to restore the Temple they have been without since Rome razed it to the ground nearly 2000 years ago. This divine design will not be thwarted despite the fact that Islamic control extends over the Temple Mount to this day, and while Muslims the world over threaten violence and mayhem if the Jews try to build on the site.



Tractor Terror: Bulldozer Crushes 3 People

imageJuly 2….(Israel Insider) Four people were killed and 44 were wounded, one seriously, one moderately and 42 lightly Wednesday after a bulldozer driver, an Arab resident of Jerusalem, went on a murderous rampage in the main street of the Israeli capital. An off-duty soldier took the gun from an elite policeman at the scene and shot the terrorist dead. In a bizarre coincidence, the soldier, Moshe Klessner, 18, is the brother-in-law of IDF officer David Shapira, who killed the terrorist in the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva attack, Channel 2 reported. Klessner was assisted in neutralizing the attacker by another elite policeman. Another elite policeman was lightly wounded, apparently by gunfire, suggesting that the tractor-driving terrorist was armed, although the possibility that he was hit by crossfire has not been ruled out. Zion Shetreet, who witnessed the attack, told Ynet that the "tractor turned into the road very suddenly and started trampling over the cars standing in the stoplight. I started yelling for people to shoot him. I saw a security officer running out of a nearby building and aiming an Uzi at him. Police stressed that the incident was definitely a terror attack by Jabr Duwait, a 32-year-old father of two from Jebl Mukaber, the same neighborhood that the Mercaz Harav attacker came from. However, friends of the family identified the attacker as Hussam Dwikat. They said the 29-year-old was a devout Muslim. Three Palestinian militant groups took responsibility for the attack, but the claims could not be independently verified. Israeli police referred to the attacker as a "terrorist" acting on his own and said he was a bulldozer operator who worked in the area for a local construction firm.



Ex-Intelligence official: World Expects Israel to Bomb Iran

(West assumes Israel will hit Iran, Jewish State to be blamed in case of global flare-up, ex-intel officer Yossi Kuperwasser says; Tehran believes likelihood of strike on its nuke facilities very low)

imageJuly 2….(YNET)  The West believes that Israel is aware of the magnitude of the Iranian nuclear threat and assumes that the Jewish state will bomb Iran, ex-IDF intelligence officer Yossi Kuperwasser told Ynet Tuesday. Kuperwasser, the former head of the IDF's Research and Assessment Division, believes that the Pentagon source's assessment that Israel will likely strike in Iran by the end of the year shows that the West assumes Israel will do the dirty work for it. "That way, in case of a global flare-up, Israel could be blamed," Kuperwasser says. The former senior officer, who for many years dealt with Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, told Ynet the most problematic issue was Tehran's ability to produce industrial quantities of high-grade uranium. "Within a year to a year and a half, the Iranians will have enough uranium for a nuclear bomb," Kuperwasser says. "This is also the American intelligence estimate, which at the time was harshly criticized, and rightfully so. As far as we know, the Iranians have not yet reached this capability…at the same time, they continue their research uninterrupted." Turning his attention to the SA-20 aerial defense system purchased by Iran from Russia, Kuperwasser admits that the missile system could make an aerial strike considerably more difficult to carry out. "This is a missile system that can to protect against missiles and airplanes. The Iranians have another aerial system today, but they view it as inadequate. Clearly, every addition to the aerial defense system may minimize the effectiveness of an aerial strike," he says.

'West is sensitive to pain, money'

While the West has increasingly internalized the Iranian nuclear threat, the process has been too slow and insufficient, the former military officer says. "The West realizes that this is an Iranian challenge to the existing world order, aiming for Islam to enjoy a different status," Kuperwasser says. "Finally people have woken up, but the question is whether officials in the US and Europe realize the gravity at this time. It looks as though everyone is trying to shift the responsibility to someone else, and they believe that ultimately, if nothing changes, Israel will do the job for the West." "Iran realizes that the West is sensitive to pain and money, and won't embark on an operation that would significantly boost oil prices," he says. "Every time the possibility of a military strike is raised, the Revolutionary Guard's commander speaks out and warns against the chaos. They believe that the likelihood of a strike is very low." "In this poker game, the Iranians are leading at this time," Kuperwasser says. "The pressure should be boosted considerably, and it should be made clear that a military move will be carried out if needed…if the Iranians believe that the West is serious, they will think twice about whether it is worthwhile for them to continue."



Oil Prices Close at Another New Record near $141

(Concerns about tighter supply and mounting tensions in the Middle East)

July 2….(MSN) Oil closed at a new record near $141 a barrel Tuesday on worries about tight supply and mounting tensions in the Middle East. In the US, prices at the gas pump edged to their highest point yet. Crude prices resumed their advance as the head of the International Energy Agency said the world is experiencing its “third oil price shock,” comparing the effects of today’s prices with the oil crises that began with the 1973 Arab oil embargo and the 1979 revolution in Iran. IEA chief Nobuo Tanaka added that OPEC is pumping oil at record levels and other producers “are working at full throttle.” His comments reinforced the IEA’s latest prediction that global supplies will remain pinched despite record prices and falling demand in the US and Europe. Ongoing tension in the Middle East, a concern that has helped fuel oil’s recent rise, continued to weigh on traders’ minds Tuesday. ABC News quoted an unnamed senior Pentagon official as saying there is an “increasing likelihood” that Israel will strike Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of the year. Such an attack could prompt Iran to retaliate, potentially disrupting oil supplies in the strategically vital Persian Gulf. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he had “absolutely no information that would substantiate” the ABC report when asked about it at a briefing. Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Ill., called the news report “more of the same” but acknowledged it was having an effect on energy market psychology. “The market’s forced to insert some type of risk premium on geopolitical developments,” he said. Iran is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and OPEC’s second-largest exporter. About 40 percent of export tanker traffic passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow choke-point bordered by Iran at the mouth of the Gulf.



Experts: Israel Must Stop Iran Nukes Within Year, Sooner if Obama Elected

(Israel must destroy Iran's nuclear program within the next 12 months or risk being attacked with an atomic bomb)

July 2….(Israel Insider) "As an intelligence officer working with the worst-case scenario, I can tell you we should be prepared," said Shabtai Shavit, Mossad chief from 1989 to 1996. "We should do whatever necessary on the defensive side, on the offensive side, on the public opinion side for the West, in case sanctions don't work. What's left is a military action." "The time that is left to be ready is getting shorter all the time," Shavit told the Telegraph. Shavit added that a victory by Democratic nominee Barack Obama in the November presidential election would significantly lower the chances that the US would approve of military action against Iran. "If Republican candidate John McCain gets elected, he could really easily make a decision to go for it," Shavit told the paper. "If it's Obama: no. My prediction is that he won't go for it, at least not in his first term in the White House." The assessment echoed the assessment of former UN Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who said that an Israeli strike could occur as early as November, since Israel was unlikely to take such a dramatic action before the US election. "I don't think they will do anything before our election because they don't want to affect it. And they'd have to make a judgment whether to go during the remainder of President Bush's term in office or wait for his successor." Bolton said he has given up on the Bush administration's efforts to stop Iran from developing an atomic bomb. "I don't think it's serious any more," he said. "If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don't think it's in the cards." Bolton said that if Senator Obama is elected in November, Israel could not afford to wait until he takes office on January 20, before taking action. "An Obama victory would rule out military action by the Israelis because they would fear the consequences given the approach Obama has taken to foreign policy," according to Bolton, who served as ambassador to the UN for less than two years until 2006. "I think if they are to do anything, the most likely period is after our elections and before the inauguration of the next President," Bolton said. In an interview with the British 'Daily Telegraph,' Bolton said he believed the Arab world would actually be "pleased" by an Israeli strike. Their reaction, he told the paper, "will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action." Bolton believes that Israel may consider postponing the attack if Senator John McCain emerges as the victor in the race, and said apprehension of Obama's foreign policy in Jerusalem would likely be the motivating factor behind an early strike. Shavit also told the Telegraph that Israel would go it alone if necessary. "When it comes to decisions that have to do with our national security and our own survival, at best we may update the Americans that we are intending or planning or going to do something," Shavit told the paper. "It's not a precondition, getting an American agreement," he said. Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday he did not believe Israel was in a position to attack the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program. They know full well what the consequences of such an act would be," Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki told reporters. "We do not see the Zionist regime in a situation in which they would want to engage in such an adventurism," he said when asked about the possibility of an Israeli attack. The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards was more specific. He warned that if his country is attacked, Tehran would strike back by barraging Israel with missiles and taking over a key oil passageway in the Persian Gulf, according to Jam-e-Jam, not a hiphop artist but an Iranian state newspaper report published Saturday. Teheran is reported jittery after disclosure of last month's massive Israeli military exercise over the Mediterranean Sea, a drill seen as "sending a message" to Iran. Jafari warned that if attacked, Iran would strike back, and not just at Israel but at US and western interests, including choking off the Straits of Hormuz, passage for much of the oil from the region. "Should a confrontation erupt between us and the enemy, the scope will definitely reach the oil issue. Oil prices will dramatically increase. This is one of the factors deterring the enemy from taking military action against the Islamic Republic of Iran," Jafari was quoted as saying. Meanwhile, it is being reported that US congressional leaders agreed late last year to President George W. Bush's funding request for a major escalation of covert operations against Iran aimed at destabilizing its leadership. The article by reporter Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker magazine, published online Sunday, reveals a highly classified Presidential Finding signed by Bush "focused on undermining Iran's nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change," the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved "working with opposition groups and passing money." Funding for the covert escalation of up to $400 million was approved by congressional leaders, according to the article, citing current and former military, intelligence and congressional sources.



Obama Denies Christ in His Own Words

July 1….(Christian Anti-Defamation News) Cathleen Falsani, the author of The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, interviewed Barack Obama about his faith March 27, 2004, a few days after he clinched the Democratic nomination for the US Senate seat that he eventually won. Because of the intense interest in Obama's faith, she has made the entire interview available uncut and in its entirety. What emerges is a man who is not comfortable discussing spiritual matters, and is a spiritually confused theological eclectic. He is clearly not a Christian by any biblical, historic measure. He repeatedly affirms then denies Christ, says he believes but is filled with doubt. Obama's faith reflects the Universalistic beliefs of his grandparents. The fact that he felt comfortable in Trinity United Church of Christ, one of the most radical churches in one of the most liberal denominations, is entirely understandable. When Falsini asks, "What do you believe?" Obama effectively calls himself a Buddhist, agnostic, Muslim, Jewish, Christian. If you read the whole interview you will see a person who seems to be trying very hard to not take a stand on the Christian faith, yet at the same time tries to identify as a Christian. It is only fair to take Obama at his word and in context. Please take the time to read the following lengthy article, after all, he might be the next President and leader of the free world.

GG: What do you believe?

OBAMA: I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith. I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.

GG: Have you always been a Christian?

OBAMA: I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. This was at a time when I think the Methodists felt slightly superior to the Baptists. And by the time I was born, they were, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church. I had a structured religious education. But my mother was deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world's religions, and talk to me about them. And I think always, her view always was that underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself but also for the greater good.

(Obama has accepted the Oprah Winfrey definition of what constitutes being "spiritual." Any one who discusses religion is spiritual. The Bible distinguishes between the carnal person who is unregenerated and who does not know anything about spiritual matters, and the spiritual person who is alive spiritually, having been born again by the Holy Spirit. All mankind is born spiritually dead in sin. Only faith in Christ can make you alive).

I probably didn't get started getting active in church activities until I moved to Chicago. The way I came to Chicago in 1985 was that I was interested in community organizing and I was inspired by the Civil Rights movement. And the idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things. And there was a group of churches out on the South Side of Chicago that had come together to form an organization to try to deal with the devastation of steel plants that had closed. And didn't have much money, but felt that if they formed an organization and hired somebody to organize them to work on issues that affected their community, that it would strengthen the church and also strengthen the community. So they hired me, for $13,000 a year. And I drove out here and I didn't know anybody and started working with both the ministers and the lay people in these churches on issues like creating job training programs, or afterschool programs for youth, or making sure that city services were fairly allocated to underserved communites. This would be in Roseland, West Pullman, Altgeld Gardens, far South Side working class and lower income communities. And it was in those places where I think what had been more of an intellectual view of religion deepened because I'd be spending an enormous amount of time with church ladies, sort of surrogate mothers and fathers and everybody I was working with was 50 or 55 or 60, and here I was a 23-year-old kid running around. I became much more familiar with the ongoing tradition of the historic black church and it's importance in the community. And the power of that culture to give people strength in very difficult circumstances, and the power of that church to give people courage against great odds. And it moved me deeply. So that, one of the churches I met, or one of the churches that I became involved in was Trinity United Church of Christ. And the pastor there, Jeremiah Wright, became a good friend. So I joined that church and committed myself to Christ in that church.

(This is clearly not a Christian conversion. A true Christian comes to Christ acknowledging he is a sinner and deserving of God's just wrath. One flees to Christ in order to be saved from sin and its just consequences. One must humbly admit they cannot be saved by pleasing God by any amount of "good works." By grace you are saved through faith… not of works, lest any man should boast.)

GG: Did you actually go up for an altar call?

OBAMA: Yes. Absolutely. It was a daytime service, during a daytime service. And it was a powerful moment. Because, it was powerful for me because it not only confirmed my faith, it not only gave shape to my faith, but I think, also, allowed me to connect the work I had been pursuing with my faith.

(Walking to the front of a church, baptism or any other rite, does not make anyone a Christian. You must be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit and confess faith in Christ to be saved.)

GG: How long ago?

OBAMA: 16, 17 years ago 1987 or 88.

(Every Christian that has been born again as an adult can look to a very specific time. Not a two year time span.)

GG: So you got yourself born again?

OBAMA: Yeah, although I don't, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.

(So Obama says he is born again but he immediately wants to make it clear that he is suspicious of theological truth that under girds his need to be born again. No true Christian says I am born again, but I don't take it seriously.)

I'm a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it's best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding. I think that, particularly as somebody who's now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart, there's an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.

(Obama admits it is because of his public image he is not willing to affirm the exclusive claims of Christ. Jesus said, "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father in heaven.")

(For Obama, worship at Trinity is largely about race. Trinity boasts that it is an African Centered Church. The New Testament teaches that we are to be Christ centered and there is no racial distinctions between those who are Christians.)

GG: Do you pray often?

OBAMA: Uh, yeah, I guess I do. Its’ not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why am I doing it. One of the interesting things about being in public life is there are constantly these pressures being placed on you from different sides. To be effective, you have to be able to listen to a variety of points of view, synthesize viewpoints. You also have to know when to be just a strong advocate, and push back against certain people or views that you think aren’t right or don’t serve your constituents. And so, the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I’m having internally. I’m measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me at least is audible, is active, it tells me where I think I’m on track and where I think I’m off track.

(Because man is fallen, our conscience is fallible. It can be weak or ill informed. Obama does not appeal to scripture for moral reasoning, but to inward feelings. This is not Christian.)

GG: Who’s Jesus to you?

(He laughs nervously) (Christians do not get nervous when asked about their Lord and Savior, they unflinchingly bear witness to his saving power and grace.) OBAMA: Right. Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he’s also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he’s also a wonderful teacher. I think it’s important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.

GG: Is Jesus someone who you feel you have a regular connection with now, a personal connection with in your life?

OBAMA: Yeah. Yes. I think some of the things I talked about earlier are addressed through, are channeled through my Christian faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

(Obama is apparently referring to the other religions he mentioned earlier, his eastern, Muslim and Jewish beliefs. So it sounds like he runs these other beliefs through his Jesus filter. Unfortunately, he has let these other beliefs control his view of Jesus, not vise versa.)

GG: Do you have people in your life that you look to for guidance?

OBAMA: Well, my pastor is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for. I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close friend and colleague of mine in the state Senate. Father Michael Pfleger is a dear friend, and somebody I interact with closely. (Obama has been shaped theologically by one of the most radical ministers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in one of the most liberal denominations, the United Church of Christ.) I think they can help me, they can appreciate certain specific challenges that I go through as a public figure. Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I’m a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country.

As I said before, in my own public policy, I’m very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics. I think it’s perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.

GG: The conversation stopper, when you say you’re a Christian and leave it at that.

OBAMA: Where do you move forward with that? This is something that I’m sure I’d have serious debates with my fellow Christians about. I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and prostelytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they're going to hell.

GG You don’t believe that?

OBAMA: I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That’s just not part of my religious makeup.
Part of the reason I think it’s always difficult for public figures to talk about this is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you. Oftentimes that’s by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest common denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.

(Obama just invalidated Christ’s death and resurrection, the Great Commission and 2000 years of Christian evangelism and missions. Believing on Christ is dangerous, being an open minded cynic like Obama is the best public position.)

GG: Do you believe in heaven?

OBAMA: What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing. When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I’ve been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they’re kind people and that they’re honest people, and they’re curious people, that’s a little piece of heaven.

(Obama denies certainty about things that the scriptures make very clear, it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment. Heaven awaits all those whose name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. Eternal judgment in hell awaits all others.

GG: What is sin and do you believe in sin?

OBAMA: Yes. Sin is being out of alignment with my values.

GG: What happens if you have sin in your life?

OBAMA: I think it’s the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I’m true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I’m not true to it, it’s its own punishment. (Obama denies objective, transcendent, unchanging moral standards that come from God, only his own inward sense of right and wrong. Note Obama denies eternal consequences for sin, therefore Jesus died for nothing.)
GG: Can we go back to that morning service in 1987 or 88 — when you have a moment that you can go back to that as an epiphany...

OBAMA: It wasn’t an epiphany. It was much more of a gradual process for me. I know there are some people who fall out. Which is wonderful. God bless them. For me it was probably because there is a certain self-consciousness that I possess as somebody with probably too much book learning, and also a very polyglot background.. I think it was just a moment to certify or publicly affirm a growing faith in me. (True Born again Christians do not describe conversion as a symbolic act of a growing faith. It is a moment in which God’s grace is realized and one is brought out of spiritual darkness into the light.)



Next Israeli Prime Minister will Determine its War Options on Iran

 (Moscow has temporarily frozen SA-20B air defense system sales to Iran and Syria)

July 1….(DEBKA) According to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, the overriding considerations that will determine if and when Israel attacks Iran are these: whether to strike before George W. Bush’s exit, whether Iran’s strategic ties with Syria and the Palestinian Hamas can be severed in advance and what prime minister is chosen to manage the war. These are the determinants, rather than “the red lines” cited by senior Pentagon officials to ABC News Monday as triggers for an Israeli offensive, namely when Natanz nuclear facility produces enough weapons-grade uranium, some time in 2009 or this year, and when Iran acquires SA-20 air defense systems from Russia. DEBKAfile quotes intelligence sources as negating those triggers:

1. Contrary to most reports, including those put out by Teheran, Iran is lagging behind its target date for producing a sufficiency of weapons-grade uranium. It is held up by the technical hitches dogging the smooth, continuous activation of its high-grade centrifuges.

2. Moscow has suspended all sales of sophisticated air defense systems to Iran and Syria alike, so that Israel has no cause for haste on that score.

3. That Iran is heading for a nuclear weapon is no longer in doubt. What Israel must decide very soon is whether to strike Iran’s production facilities before Bush leaves the White or wait for his successor to move in, in 2009.

There is a preference in Jerusalem for a date straight after the America’s November 4 presidential election, except that military experts warn that weather and lunar conditions at that time of the year are unfavorable. If Israel does opt for an attack, August and September would be better, they say - or else hold off until March-April 2009. Israel’s political volatility is another major factor in the uncertainty surrounding an attack. Towards the end of September, the ruling Kadima party is committed to a leadership primary. The party’s choice of prime minister and the factors that determine how he (or she) reaches a decision on attacking Iran can only be guessed at.

4. A final consideration must be Israel’s ability to prevent Syria and Hamas opening war fronts at the time of Israel’s attack on Iran. In other words, the IDF needs to know it must contend with two fronts, Iran and the Lebanese Hizballah, not four. Notwithstanding these major deterrents, the weight of opinion in Israel’s decision-making community at this time is in favor of an early military strike. There is an international consensus that Iran cannot be allowed to attain a nuclear bomb, but no sanctions or incentives are proving effective as preventatives. Therefore, it is felt, the sooner Israel pre-empts a nuclear-armed Iran, the better, because the longer it delays, the more dangerous the Islamic Republic’s retaliatory capabilities will become.



Dick Morris: Obama Wants a European Style Socialist State in US

July 1….(Newsmax) In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, Morris discusses the perils of an Obama administration, especially when bolstered by a Congress tightly controlled by the liberal Democrats. Morris also was critical of John McCain’s present style of campaigning. Newsmax: In your book you talk about the things that Obama would do if he won the White House in November. How would you describe an Obama administration? Morris: I believe that Obama represents a fundamental departure in the underlying goal of the presidency. I think that for 50 years American presidents have emphasized growth. I think Obama, however, would be the first president perhaps since the 30s who emphasizes redistribution, or what he would call “fairness,” over growth. And I think his tax policies represent a deliberate sacrifice of economic growth in order to achieve greater redistribution of income. They mimic or parallel the policies of European Socialists in doing so. Where essentially Europe has said we're not going to grow quickly but instead we’re going to redistribute income and try to help people who are further down. Of course in the United States, we do redistribute income dramatically.



Preparing the Battlefield

(The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran)

July 1….(WND) Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program. Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature. Under federal law, a Presidential Finding, which is highly classified, must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets under way and, at a minimum, must be made known to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate and to the ranking members of their respective intelligence committees, the so-called Gang of Eight. Money for the operation can then be reprogrammed from previous appropriations, as needed, by the relevant congressional committees, which also can be briefed. “The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.” The Finding provided for a whole new range of activities in southern Iran and in the areas, in the east, where Baluchi political opposition is strong, he said. Although some legislators were troubled by aspects of the Finding, and “there was a significant amount of high-level discussion” about it, according to the source familiar with it, the funding for the escalation was approved. In other words, some members of the Democratic leadership, Congress has been under Democratic control since the 2006 elections, were willing, in secret, to go along with the Administration in expanding covert activities directed at Iran, while the Party’s presumptive candidate for President, Barack Obama, has said that he favors direct talks and diplomacy. The request for funding came in the same period in which the Administration was coming to terms with a National Intelligence Estimate, released in December, that concluded that Iran had halted its work on nuclear weapons in 2003. The Administration downplayed the significance of the NIE, and, while saying that it was committed to diplomacy, continued to emphasize that urgent action was essential to counter the Iranian nuclear threat. President Bush questioned the NIE’s conclusions, and senior national-security officials, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, made similar statements. (So did Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee.) Meanwhile, the Administration also revived charges that the Iranian leadership has been involved in the killing of American soldiers in Iraq: both directly, by dispatching commando units into Iraq, and indirectly, by supplying materials used for roadside bombs and other lethal goods. (There have been questions about the accuracy of the claims; the Times, among others, has reported that “significant uncertainties remain about the extent of that involvement.”) Military and civilian leaders in the Pentagon share the White House’s concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but there is disagreement about whether a military strike is the right solution. Some Pentagon officials believe, as they have let Congress and the media know, that bombing Iran is not a viable response to the nuclear-proliferation issue, and that more diplomacy is necessary. A Democratic senator told me that, late last year, in an off-the-record lunch meeting, Secretary of Defense Gates met with the Democratic caucus in the Senate. Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a pre-ëmptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.” Gates’s comments stunned the Democrats at the lunch, and another senator asked whether Gates was speaking for Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Gates’s answer, the senator told me, was “Let’s just say that I’m here speaking for myself.” The Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman is Admiral Mike Mullen, were “pushing back very hard” against White House pressure to undertake a military strike against Iran, the person familiar with the Finding told me. Similarly, a Pentagon consultant who is involved in the war on terror said that “at least ten senior flag and general officers, including combatant commanders,” the four-star officers who direct military operations around the world, “have weighed in on that issue.” The most outspoken of those officers is Admiral William Fallon, who until recently was the head of US Central Command, and thus in charge of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March, Fallon resigned under pressure, after giving a series of interviews stating his reservations about an armed attack on Iran. For example, late last year he told the Financial Times that the “real objective” of US policy was to change the Iranians’ behavior, and that “attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice.”



Michelle Obama Confirms Husband's Support for Homosexual Causes

July 1….(Election News) Michelle Obama told the Democratic Party's Gay and Lesbian leadership Council Thursday night that her husband will repeal federal policies that she says limit the rights of homosexuals. An ABC News report on the event says Mrs. Obama stated that "Barack believes that we must fight for a world as it should be." She said that world would be a place where, what she called, " discriminatory laws" like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will be repealed. DOMA gives states the right to reject homosexual "marriages," even when such unions are performed in states like Massachusetts and California where they have been legalized. According to the ABC report, Michelle Obama went on to quote her husband as saying "the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide for themselves how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples, whether that means a domestic partnershp, a civil union, or a civil marriage."



US Escalating covert Operations Against Iran

June 30….(AP) US congressional leaders agreed late last year to President George W. Bush's funding request for a major escalation of covert operations against Iran aimed at destabilizing its leadership, according to a report in The New Yorker magazine published online on Sunday. The article by reporter Seymour Hersh, from the magazine's July 7 and 14 issue, centers on a highly classified Presidential Finding signed by Bush which by US law must be made known to Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders and ranking members of the intelligence committees. "The Finding was focused on undermining Iran's nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change," the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved "working with opposition groups and passing money." Hersh has written previously about possible administration plans to go to war to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, including an April 2006 article in the New Yorker that suggested regime change in Iran, whether by diplomatic or military means, was Bush's ultimate goal. Funding for the covert escalation, for which Bush requested up to $400 million, was approved by congressional leaders, according to the article, citing current and former military, intelligence and congressional sources. Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. US Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq since last year, the article said. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of "high-value targets" in Bush's war on terrorism, who may be captured or killed, according to the article. The US ambassador in Iraq, Ryan Crocker, told CNN's "Late Edition" he had not read the article, but denied the allegations of cross-border operations. "I'll tell you flatly that US forces are not operating across the Iraqi border into Iran, in the south or anywhere else," he said in an interview from Baghdad on Sunday. The scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which include the Central Intelligence Agency, have now been significantly expanded, the New Yorker article said, citing current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature, it said. Among groups inside Iran benefiting from US support is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People's Resistance Movement, according to former CIA officer Robert Baer. Council on Foreign Relations analyst Vali Nasr described it to Hersh as a vicious organization suspected of links to al Qaeda. The article said US support for the dissident groups could prompt a violent crackdown by Iran, which could give the Bush administration a reason to intervene. None of the Democratic leaders in Congress would comment on the finding, the article said. The White House, which has repeatedly denied preparing for military action against Iran, and the CIA also declined comment. The United States is leading international efforts to rein in Iran's suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, although Washington concedes Iran has the right to develop nuclear power for civilian uses.



Iran Preparing to Fire Missiles at Dimona

(British Times quotes defense sources as saying Tehran has moved ballistic missiles into launch positions following reported large-scale IAF exercise. Former Mossad chief says Israel has only one year to stop Iran from developing nuclear bomb)

June 30….(YNET) Iran has moved ballistic missiles into launch positions, with Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant among the possible targets, the London-based Times newspaper reported Sunday, quoting defense sources. According to the report, the movement of Shahab-3B missiles, which have an estimated range of more than 1,250 miles, followed a reported large scale exercise earlier this month in which the Israel Air Force flew en masse over the Mediterranean in an apparent rehearsal for a threatened attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. The sources said Iran was preparing to retaliate for any onslaught by firing missiles at Dimona, where Israel's nuclear reactor is located. General Mohammad Ali Jafari, chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, has issued a new warning against Israel not to attack it, saying the country is well within range of its missiles, the Iranian Jam-e Jam newspaper reported on Saturday. "This country (Israel) is completely within the range of the Islamic republic's missiles. Our missile power and capability are such that the Zionist regime, despite all its abilities, cannot confront it," he said. "There is the possibility that by attacking Iranian nuclear sites the enemy wants to delay our nuclear activities, but any interruption would be very short since Iranian scientific ability is different from that of Syria and Iraq."

Shavit: Israel won't be afraid to attack alone

Meanwhile, former Mossad Director Shabtai Shavit has warned that Israel has only one year to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. In an interview with the British Telegraph newspaper published Sunday, Shavit said that the "worst-case scenario" is that Iran may have a nuclear weapon within "somewhere around a year". "As an intelligence officer working with the worst-case scenario, I can tell you we should be prepared," he added. "We should do whatever necessary on the defensive side, on the offensive side, on the public opinion side for the West, in case sanctions don't work. What's left is a military action. Shavit went on to say that "the time that is left to be ready is getting shorter all the time." The former Mossad chief also addressed the possibility that an attack on Iran would be thwarted if Democratic candidate Barack Obama is elected US president. "If (Republican candidate John) McCain gets elected, he could really easily make a decision to go for it. If it's Obama: no. My prediction is that he won't go for it, at least not in his first term in the White House," Shavit said. He added that while it would be preferable to have American support and participation in a strike on the Islamic republic, Israel would not be afraid to do it alone. "When it comes to decisions that have to do with our national security and our own survival, at best we may update the Americans that we are intending or planning or going to do something. It's not a precondition, (getting) an American agreement," he said.



Iran Threatens to Shut Down Persian Gulf Oil Lanes

imageJune 30….(AP) Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, center, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, in September. Jafari told a newspaper, “Iran will definitely act to impose control” on the Gulf. The commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said the government might shut down vital oil lanes through the Persian Gulf if the country were attacked by the United States or Israel, according to a newspaper report Saturday. Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari warned that if there were any confrontation over Iran's nuclear program, Tehran would try to damage Western economies by targeting oil. "Iran will definitely act to impose control on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz," through which 17 million barrels of oil passes each day. "After this action, the oil price will rise very considerably and this is among the factors deterring the enemies," he said. Iran abuts the strategic strait, and Iranian and Western analysts have frequently said that the country could try to blockade or mine it in the event of a war, a move that would send oil prices skyrocketing. But some military analysts say Iran might not be able to hold the waterway, which is 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, in a confrontation with US warships and aircraft. The West and Iran remain locked in a standoff over uranium enrichment, which Tehran insists is meant to produce fuel for energy production, but which the US and its allies allege is the cornerstone of an eventual weapons program. The West has threatened a fourth round of United Nations sanctions as well as a tightening of other economic restrictions if the program is not suspended. US lawmakers are considering resolutions that would require President Bush to increase pressure on Tehran by preventing the export of refined petroleum products and inspecting "all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran." US officials this month also leaked word of a large Israeli military exercise that they described as a prelude to a possible attack on Iran. Tehran has reacted angrily to the pressure, which comes as it considers a package of US and European-backed incentives meant to entice the government to halt enrichment activities. An escalating war of words has rattled nerves and contributed to rising oil prices. Jafari also warned of possible reprisals against countries that allow the US or Israel to use their territory or airspace to launch attacks against Iran. "If enemies from outside the region use the soil of regional countries against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the governments of those countries will be responsible, and it is our obvious right to act in the same way against their military capabilities and abilities of enemies everywhere," Jafari said.



US Commander Briefed on IDF’s Four-Front Strategy in Potential Iran War

June 30….(DEBKA) The visiting Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, carried out a guided tour of Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip over the weekend. It was led by the IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and OCs Northern and Southern Commands, Maj. Gens. Eisenkott and Galant. He was briefed on IDF tactics in a war on all these potential flashpoints in the context of a comprehensive conflict with Iran and then held long conversations with defense minister Ehud Barak and Ashkenazi. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that it is very unusual for the top American commander to carry out a close, on-the-spot study of Israel’s potential war fronts. It was prompted on the one hand by skepticism in parts of the US high command of Israel’s ability to simultaneously strike Iran’s nuclear installations and fight off attacks from three borders while, at the same time, Adm. Mullen showed he was open to persuasion that the IDF’s prospective tactics and war plans were workable. Military circles in Washington, commenting on the large-scale air maneuver Israel carried out with Greece earlier in June, have opined that 100 warplanes are not enough for the Israel Air Force to destroy all of Iran’s secret nuclear sites; more than 1,000 would be needed. Israel military tacticians in contact with US commanders have countered that, while Iran’s secret nuclear locations are scattered and buried deep, still, every chain has weak links and is therefore vulnerable. The tough threats issued by Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Mohamed Ali Jafari on Saturday, June 28, were prompted by the Adm. Mullen’s Israeli border tour, word of which was flashed to Tehran by Syrian-Iranian observation posts inside Syrian and Lebanese borders. (The Sunday Times added that Iran moved its ballistic Shihab-3 missiles into launch positions, with Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant among its possible targets.) The IRGC chief, Mohammad Ali Jafari issued Tehran’s toughest and most explicit threats yet in response to recent reports of Israeli preparations to strike Iran’s nuclear installations. Hinting at an American attack, he said: “If there is a confrontation between us and the enemy from outside the region, definitely the scope will reach the oil issue.” After this action (of imposing controls on the Gulf waterway), the oil price will rise very considerably,” he said. Speaking to the Iranian newspaper Jam-e Jam, Jafari differentiated between Iran’s responses to possible American and Israeli attacks. The oil weapon would be applied in reprisal for the former, “and this is among the factors deterring enemies”, he said, while “Israelis know if they take military action against Iran, the abilities of the Islamic and Shiite world, especially in the region, will deliver fatal blows.” Jafari noted that Israel was in range of Iranian missiles. He said Iran’s “allies in the region” could also retaliate, referring to those living in “Lebanon’s heartland of South Lebanon,” without naming Hizballah. US forces were “more vulnerable than the Israelis” because of their troops in the region. “Iran can in different ways harm American interests, even far away,” Jafar warned Iran’s neighbors not to let their territory be used.







IRG Chief Threatens to Hit US, Israel, Block Persian Gulf if Attacked

June 28….(DEBKA) The Iranian Republican Guards commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari issued Tehran’s toughest and most explicit threats yet in response to recent reports of Israeli preparations to strike Iran’s nuclear installations. This week the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullent and Chief Naval Operations chief, Adm. Gary Roughead were in Israel to discuss coordination on the Iran front. Hinting at an American attack, Jafari said: “If there is a confrontation between us and the enemy from outside the region, definitely the scope will reach the oil issue,” said the IRGC commander to the Iranian Jam-e Jam newspaper. After this action (of imposing controls on the Gulf waterway), the oil price will rise very considerably,” he said. The Iranian general’s words may push rocketing oil prices even past the current $143 record per barrel, energy experts calculate. Jafari clearly differentiated between Iran’s responses to possible American and Israeli attacks. The oil weapon would be applied against the former, “and this is among the factors deterring enemies,” he said. “Israelis know if they take military action against Iran, the abilities of the Islamic and Shiite world, especially in the region, will deliver fatal blows.” He noted that Israel was in range of Iranian missiles. He said Iran’s “allies in the region” could also retaliate, referring to those living in “Lebanon’s heartland of South Lebanon,” without naming Hizballah. US forces were “more vulnerable than the Israelis” because of their troops in the region. “Iran can in different ways harm American interests, even far away.” Jafari warned Iran’s neighbors not to let their territory be used. “If the attack takes place from the soil of another country, the country attacked has the right to respond to the enemy's military action from where the operation started," he said.



Heresy Among Evangelicals Who Have Abandoned Christ Leads Others Astray

June 27….(Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst) Beware of those who claim they are Christians and believe there are other ways to eternal life. If one says he is a Christian and yet he also says that there are other ways to eternal life, he is not a Christian, even though he thinks he is. Thanks to many preachers, presidents, presidential candidates and other public figures that say there are many ways to eternal life and also claim Christianity; the American public is seemingly confused and deceived. A Pew Research Poll of some 35,000 people indicated that 57 percent of American evangelicals believe many religions can lead to eternal life. President George Bush, for example, won two elections with heavy favor from evangelical Christians. Bush, who claims to be a Christian, has said that Christians and Muslims worship the same god and that there are other ways to heaven. Presidential candidate B. Hussein Obama raised a Muslim, now claims he is a Christian. Obama also believes in a universal approach to heaven. Recently, the India Times reported that Obama supporters were sending him a temple-sanctified gold-plated two-foot tall Lord Hanuman monkey idol. His spokesman said she would present the idol to Obama, who, the paper says, "is reported to be a Lord Hanuman devotee and carries with him a locket of the monkey god along with other good luck charms." The Democratic Party has revamped its approach toward Christianity after being defeated in two presidential elections by Christian evangelical votes. The Democrats have distorted the Bible in order to say that God's love and compassion toward society, poverty and the environment is cause to overlook sins like homosexuality and abortion. The Republican Party has virtually run away from God's tenants. These watered-down versions of Christianity seem to be taking root in America as poll numbers show that Americans no longer see the Bible as the in-errant infallible Word of God, but rather a book where scripture can be taken and used out of context depending on the situation. Let there be no mistake, however. If one says he is a Christian, then he must believe in Christ and what He said and did. Jesus Christ said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me." This verse alone means that there are no other ways to eternal life except through Christ. Those who believe otherwise are either very confused or are not Christians. And for Christians to follow those deceivers as if they are Christians, these Christians have been deceived. Jesus also said in Matthew 24:11, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." His warning, "Take heed that no man deceive you."



Erekat: Six Months to Peace Deal

(Top negotiator for Palestinian Authority says solutions at hand for all core issues, now is time for decision-making. Speaking at conference organized by Peres Center for Peace, Erekat says 'Israeli and Palestinian leaders who reach an agreement will be more important to region's history than Jesus')

 June 27….(YNET) "If we want a peace agreement, there are only six months left. This is the time to make decisions," Saeb Erekat said on Thursday evening. Speaking at a conference organized by the 'Peres Center for Peace' at Tel Aviv University, the top negotiator for the Palestinian Authority was joined for a discussion on the recent renewal of Israeli negotiations with Syria by MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz) and former director-general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Dr. Alon Liel. "Our goal is to reach an agreement. Regarding the core issues: Jerusalem, the refugees and the borders, all these have solutions. This is the time for decisiveness. We will not go back to talks over temporary arrangements or temporary border, we intend to reach an agreement and this is possible for all the core issues. We need to make decisions, and (Prime Minister) Olmert and (Palestinian President) Abbas are capable of making them. "The 'Israeli and Palestinian leaders who reach an agreement will be more important to region's history than Jesus," said Erekat. (FOJ: This person will also be the Antichrist) "Ultimately the only solution possible is that of two states in the 1967 borders. Like it or not, you have three options: two states, a bi-national state, and the current situation," said Erekat, alluding to an 'apartheid state.' The senior Palestinian diplomat also addressed the situation in the Gaza Strip: "We want the truce in Gaza to hold. It is good to give a chance for peace, and the calm is necessary for us." As for the indirect negotiations with Syria, Erekat said: "I hope the Israeli-Syrian channel is successful. We want Syria to be involved in the peace process because we would like to see a final arrangement for the entire region."

'Assad – driving force behind talks'

Alon Liel said that success with the Syrian channel would have a positive effect on the Palestinian one. "If we reach an agreement with Syria before we do with the Palestinians, there will be several elements aiding the Palestinian channel, like the issue of the refugees for instance. Syria will apparently agree to grant the refugees citizenship," he said. "I know that there's a lot of panic in Lebanon about this issue, as they fear that the Palestinian refugees will be settled there as well and alter the country's demographics. What's more, the Syrians will no longer allow Khaled Mashaal (Hamas' exiled politburo chief) to remain in Damascus. If we reach a stage where Syria stops aiding Hamas and Hizbullah, the balance of power will shift in Fatah's favor and this will help the peace process." The former director-general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry said noted that the "driving force" behind the renewed talks with Syria was none other than Syrian President Bashar Assad himself. Olmert, said Liel, would not have initiated the negotiations. "I believe the reason for this is that Assad is afraid of Iran. The Syrians know exactly who the Iranians are, just as we do. They also know how dependent they've become in fields like military strength and their economy. I believe they came to the conclusion that they were under a 'friendly takeover' by Iran, and that Iran may yet do to them what they did in Lebanon." Liel said that only the United States would be able to broker a regional agreement with Syria that would block its "Iranization. "After that, with the help of the Syrians, we will be able to come to the public and ask them something very simple: 'What do you prefer, having Israel surrounded by an Iranian belt in Lebanon, Syria and the Gaza Strip, or a friendly belt that will normalize relations with us and agree to end the conflict?"



IMF to Investigate the US Federal Reserve

imageJune 27….(Der Spiegel) No Fed chief in US history has been forced to submit to the kind of humiliation that Ben Bernanke is facing. This is partly down to circumstances. Inflation is going up and up, and this year's average will likely top 4 percent. But this time Mr. Dollar is also Mr. Powerless. He can raise interest rates in the fall, or he can pray, which would probably be the better choice. At least prayer would not prevent the US economy from growing, a highly likely outcome if interest rates go up. After years of growth, the United States is now on the brink of a recession, one that is more likely to be deepened than softened by a tight money policy. Investments will automatically become more expensive, consumer spending will be curbed and economic growth will slow down, immediately affecting unemployment figures and wages. The textbook conclusion is that this will stabilize the value of money, because no one will dare demand higher wages or higher prices. But the macroeconomics textbooks are no longer worth much in the age of globalization. Modern inflation is driven by the global scarcity of resources. Nowadays purchasing power exceeds purchasing opportunity. Most of all, there is not enough oil, and too few raw materials and food products. These increasingly scarce resources are becoming the focus of disputes among many people and billions of dollars are at stake. This is why the price of a barrel of crude oil (159 liters) has increased from $25 (€16) in 2002 to $135 (€87) in 2008. And it is also why the price of corn has tripled in the same time period, while that of copper has almost quintupled. If the inflation introduced in the United States is excluded, a small miracle is revealed, namely something approaching price stability. Adjusted for inflation, prices are in fact rising by only 2.3 percent. If this were the extent of it, the Fed chief could simply blink like an old watchdog and go back to sleep. Instead, he is barking loudly, which is his job. But he has lost his bite, because the Fed's interest rate policy can do nothing about the scarcity of goods. US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The entire US financial system is to come under the scrutiny of the IMF. Some of Bernanke's personal adversaries are also contributing significantly to his current humiliation. In the past, the chairman of the Federal Reserve was a pope among the priests of the financial elite. But unlike his predecessor Alan Greenspan, Bernanke is finding that his policies are not universally accepted, even within the Fed. The last seven decisions reached by the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy, were accompanied by a growing number of dissenting votes. Bernanke's critics say that with his policy of cheap money, in other words, recurring rate reductions, he in fact helped fuel the inflation problem he is now trying to combat. Another problem for Mr. Dollar is that it will be several months before his actions take effect. Officials with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have informed Bernanke about a plan that would have been unheard-of in the past: a general examination of the US financial system. The IMF's board of directors has ruled that a so-called Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) is to be carried out in the United States. It is nothing less than an X-ray of the entire US financial system. As part of the assessment, the Fed, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the major investment banks, mortgage banks and hedge funds will be asked to hand over confidential documents to the IMF team. They will be required to answer the questions they are asked during interviews. Their databases will be subjected to so-called stress tests, worst-case scenarios designed to simulate the broader effects of failures of other major financial institutions or a continuing decline of the dollar. Under its bylaws, the IMF is charged with the supervision of the international monetary system. Roughly two-thirds of IMF members, but never the United States, have already endured this painful procedure. For seven years, US President George W. Bush refused to allow the IMF to conduct its assessment. Even now, he has only given the IMF board his consent under one important condition. The review can begin in Bush's last year in office, but it may not be completed until he has left the White House. This is bad news for the Fed chairman. When the final report on the risks of the US financial system is released in 2010, and it is likely to cause a stir internationally, only one of the people in positions of responsibility today will still be in office: Ben Bernanke.



Muslim Terrorists Trying To Sink the Dollar

June 27….( Mujahedeen Muslim terrorists may be behind the sinking American dollar as part of a campaign to cripple the American economy, the Middle East Media Research Institute reported. The media watch group, which also tracks Arabic language websites, said that postings on websites the past two years reflects a move towards waging an economic war against the United States. Mujahedeen terrorist groups that operate in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries "have come to the conclusion that it is financial, rather than military, losses that will prompt the US to change its policies in the Middle East and elsewhere," according to MEMRI. An article recently posted in Sada Al-Jihad (Echo of Jihad) magazine and posted on several Muslim websites, discusses the September 11 attacks on the US as having influenced the decline in the dollar. It also cited the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as draining the American economy. Another recent posting stated, "The dollar can expect two additional blows that will break its back, namely the announcement of the return of the religious rule of the Caliphate..." and the reinstatement of the gold standard in international monetary trade. It urged Mujahedeen "to get rid of American dollars" before an "imminent" terrorist attack that "will put an end to the so-called United States of America and destroy its economy completely." MEMRI concluded, "Given that it is highly atypical for Al-Qaeda to give prior of its attacks, the message is probably an attempt to pressure Muslims to sell dollars, in order to generate pessimism in the dollar market and thus accelerate the drop in its value."



Bush: US Lifts Key North Korea Sanctions

June 27….(MSN) President Bush said Thursday he will lift key trade sanctions against North Korea and remove it from the US terrorism blacklist, a remarkable turnaround in policy toward a regime he once branded as part of an “axis of evil.” The announcement came after North Korea handed over a long-awaited accounting of its nuclear work to Chinese officials on Thursday, fulfilling a key step in the denuclearization process. Bush said the move was “a step closer in the right direction” although he made clear the United States remains suspicious about the regime in Pyongyang. “The United States has no illusions about the regime,” Bush said in a statement that he read to reporters in the Rose Garden. Specifically, Bush said the United States would erase trade sanctions under the Trading With the Enemy Act, and notify Congress that, in 45 days, it intends to take North Korea off the State Department list of nations that sponsor terrorism. North Korea’s declaration falls short of what the administration once sought, and the White House already has come under criticism from some conservatives. Bush said there was still a long way to go. Bush: ‘I’m under no illusions’ Bush said the US message to North Korea was, “We will trust you only to the extent you fulfill your promises. I’m pleased with the progress. I’m under no illusions. If North Korea continues to make the right choices it can repair its relationship with the international community ... If North Korea makes the wrong choices, the United States and its partners in the Six-Party Talks will act accordingly.” While welcoming North Korea’s declaration, Bush repeatedly said it was just a first step. The president said the US action would have little impact on North Korea’s financial and diplomatic isolation. “It will remain one of the most heavily sanctioned nations in the world,” Bush said. All UN sanctions, for example, will remain in place. Bush said the United States would monitor North Korea closely and “if they don’t fulfill their promises, more restrictions will be placed on them.” He formally notified Congress of his intention to remove North Korea from the terrorism blacklist within 45 days, and said the United States will monitor the North’s activities during that period to make sure it is living up to its promises and is serious about cooperating in the process of denuclearization. Bush said that to end its isolation, North Korea must, for instance, dismantle all of its nuclear facilities and resolve outstanding questions on its highly enriched uranium and proliferation activities “and end these activities in a way that we can fully verify.”



US Builds 4 Missile Launch Base Pads on Iraq-Iran Border

June 27….(Mathaba News) The US military has constructed four advanced bases 20 miles from Iraq's border with Iran, a senior Iraqi police officer has announced. The bases, equipped with missile launch pads, have been set up over the past four months on the Iraq-Iran border; Iraqi al-Noor newspaper quoted the official as saying. He added that one of the bases has been located 30 km (20 miles) from the first border town with Iran and houses remote-controlled launching pads as well as radar systems similar to ones used in Kuwait during the first Persian Gulf war. "The bases do not serve military intentions and its staff would not be military personnel." According to the official, the bases are only precautionary measures in case of a military strike against Israel by Iran. A team consisting of high-profile US marines, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) alongside Pentagon experts oversee the bases.



Syrians and UN Nuclear Inspectors play Hide and Seek

June 26….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that the three-man International Atomic Energy Agency team which inspected the El Kibar site bombed by Israel last September, returned to Vienna Wednesday, June 25, with soil and building materials samples gathered secretly without Syrian knowledge. From the Syrians they received different samples said to have been collected at a site which they insisted was a military facility under construction. During their four days in the country, Olli Heinonen, IAEA deputy director and leading negotiator with the Iranian authorities, and his team interviewed Syrian army officers and men presented by Damascus as having been employed at the facility. They denied it was a nuclear reactor and possessing nuclear credentials themselves. But, according to DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources, the inspectors countered with their own list of officers, scientists and technicians, not only Syrians, but also Iranians and North Koreans employed in building the facility. The Syrian side denied this and refused the inspectors permission to interview people on their list. Last week, British, German and Israeli publications released new information from Israeli intelligence sources according to which the El Kibar reactor was intended to be a component of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s use of plutonium in its weapons projects was to be concealed by having it produced in Syria. Wednesday, June 25, the London daily, the Guardian, quoted an adviser to Israel's national security council as saying: "The Iranians were involved in the Syrian programme. The idea was that the Syrians produce plutonium and the Iranians get their share. Syria had no reprocessing facility for the spent fuel. It's not deduction alone that brings almost everyone to think that the link exists," implying that Israel had evidence. War tensions between Israel and Iran have shot up in the last few days on the strength of reported Israeli preparations for an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. By linking Syria’s destroyed reactor to Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli officials were saying in effect that the attack on an Iranian nuclear installation had already taken place …in Syria.



Arabs Seeking to Infiltrate Temple Mount

('Muslim countries vying for influence, expecting Israel to give up holy site')

June 26….(WND) A number of Arab states quietly have sent intelligence agents to infiltrate the Temple Mount to determine how they can obtain more influence over Judaism's holiest site, informed security sources told WND. "It's possible in the coming two years a deal will be made that transfers the Temple Mount out from Israeli hands," said a security source. "The Arab countries are vying for influence, since they think controlling the site means big prestige in the Muslim world." The security sources said the Arab agents mostly are attempting to infiltrate the Waqf, the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount, securing all sorts of positions from Waqf garden workers through religious clerics inside the Mount's many mosques. The Waqf is largely controlled by Jordan, which took over top positions from the Palestinian Authority in recent years. The sources said the agents' primary job is to collect information on how to gain more influence on the site. The agents also are to report on which Waqf officials are paid by Jordan, through which clerics can be suspected of having good relations with Israel. The Arab countries want to work their way in so Jordan doesn't get the most control once Israel gives up the Mount," said a security source. Saudi Arabia sent the most agents to the Mount, but other countries, including Egypt, also sent agents, security sources said. "Don't be surprised if in the near future even Somalia sends some people over to study how to have influence on the Mount," said a security source. In line with Israeli-Palestinian negotiations started at last November's US-backed Annapolis conference, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is working to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year. Olmert is widely expected to announce Israeli evacuations from most of the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is located in eastern Jerusalem, although Israel is not expected to immediately give up the holy site during the initial attempted creation of a Palestinian state. The Arab countries are "near certain" Israel will eventually evacuate the Temple Mount and likely hand it over to the PA together with a coalition of Muslim states, said an informed security source.



American Churches Have Accepted More Paths to Salvation Than Just Jesus

June 25….(In The Days) Americans of every religious stripe are considerably more tolerant of the beliefs of others than most of us might have assumed, according to a new poll released Monday. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last year surveyed 35,000 Americans, and found that 70% of respondents agreed with the statement “Many religions can lead to eternal life.” Even more remarkable was the fact that 57% of Evangelical Christians were willing to accept that theirs might not be the only path to salvation, since most Christians historically have embraced the words of Jesus, in the Gospel of John, that “no one comes to the Father except through me.” Even as mainline churches had become more tolerant, the exclusivity of Christianity’s path to heaven has long been one of the Evangelicals’ fundamental tenets. The new poll suggests a major shift, at least in the pews, and that shift suggests a Falling Away!

 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (II Thessalonians 2:3)

Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.” (Isaiah 59:15)

The Religious Landscape Survey’s findings appear to signal that religion may actually be a less divisive factor in American political life than had been suggested by the national conversation over the last few decades. Peter Berger, University Professor of Sociology and Theology at Boston University, said that the poll confirms that “the so-called culture war, in its more aggressive form, is mainly waged between rather small groups of people.” The combination of such tolerance with high levels of religious participation and intensity in the U.S., says Berger, “is distinctively American, and rather cheering.” Less so, perhaps, to Christian conservatives, for whom Rice University sociologist D. Michael Lindsay suggests the survey results have a “devastating effect on theological purity.” An acceptance of the notion of other paths to salvation dilutes the impact of the doctrine that Christ died to remove sin and thus opened the pathway to eternal life for those who accept him as their personal savior. It could also reduce the impulse to evangelize, which is based on the premise that those who are not Christian are denied salvation. The problem, says Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is that “the cultural context and the reality of pluralism has pulled many away from historic Christianity.” Quizzed on the breadth of the poll’s definition of “Evangelical,” Pew pollster John Green said the 296-page survey made use of self-identification by the respondents’ churches, denominations or fellowships, whose variety is the report’s overriding theme. However, he said, if one isolates the most “traditionalist” members of the white Evangelical group, 50% still agreed that other faiths might offer a path to eternal life. In fact, of the dozens of denominations covered by the Pew survey, it was only Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses who answered in the majority that their own faith was the only way to eternal life. Analysts expressed some surprise at how far the tolerance needle has swung, but said the trend itself was foreseeable because of American Christians’ increasing proximity to other faiths since immigration quotas were loosened in the 1960s. Says Rice’s Lindsay, the author of Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite: “If you have a colleague who is Buddhist or your kid plays with a little boy who is Hindu, it changes your appreciation of the religious ‘other.’” While the combination of Americans’ religiosity, more than half those polled said was “very important in their lives,” and their tolerance for the beliefs of others may suggest creedal confusion, this appears not to trouble good-hearted US pew-sitters. Says Lindsay, “The problem is not that Americans don’t believe in anything, but that they believe in everything, and the two things don’t always fit together.” But he adds, the views are consistent with tolerant views expressed by Evangelicals he met in various cities as he toured while promoting his book. Mohler agrees: “We’ve seen this coming,” adding that the query about whether others can make it to heaven “has been the question I get asked by more college students and on my radio program.” More so than Christ’s divinity or Resurrection, he says, “the exclusivity of the Gospel is the most vulnerable doctrine in the face of the modern world.” Liberals and conservatives will interpret the numbers in different ways, says Pew’s Green. “The liberal interpretation is that Americans are becoming more universalistic, religiously. The conservative one is that Americans are losing faith and becoming more accommodationist.” But he says the truth may lie elsewhere. “Just because they don’t want to believe that there’s only one way to salvation doesn’t meant that they don’t take their religion very seriously.” The political implications of the Pew findings are more difficult to gauge. Green says that while Americans’ unexpectedly high tolerance for one others creeds might seem to blunt the sharp religious edge of some of today’s campaign-trail discourse, it could also lead to larger religious coalitions around certain issues as pious believers overcome their inhibitions about working with others. The survey’s biggest challenge is to the theologians and pastors who will have to reconcile their flocks’ acceptance of a new, polyglot heaven with the strict admission criteria to the gated community that preceded it.



Americans Dropping Dogma for Spirituality

June 24….(USA Today) Religion today in the USA is a salad bar where people heap on upbeat beliefs they like and often leave the veggies, like strict doctrines, behind. There are so many ways of seeing God, public policy expert Barry Kosmin says that "the highest authority is now the lowest common denominator." And the wide-ranging ways people construct their spiritual lives could make the so-called religious vote unpredictable in the 2008 elections. Such are the key findings in latest data from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's US Religious Landscape Survey of 35,000 Americans. The survey finds US adults believe overwhelmingly (92%) in God, and 58% say they pray at least once a day. But the study's authors say there's a "stunning" lack of alignment between people's beliefs or practices and their professed faiths. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.6 percentage points for overall findings. The margin is a bit larger for subgroups such as "evangelicals" (26.3% of adults, who share strict ideas on salvation and common historic origins), mainline Protestants (18.1%, who share "a less exclusionary view of salvation and a strong emphasis on social reform") and historically black churches (6.9%, "shaped by experiences of slavery and segregation"). Among the highlights:

• 78% overall say there are "absolute standards of right and wrong," but only 29% rely on their religion to delineate these standards. The majority (52%) turn to "practical experience and common sense," with 9% relying on philosophy and reason, and 5% on scientific information.

• 74% say "there is a heaven, where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded," but far fewer (59%) say there's a "hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished."

• 70%, including a majority of all major Christian and non-Christian religious groups except Mormons, say "many religions can lead to eternal life."

• 68% say "there's more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion."

• 44% want to preserve their religion's traditional beliefs and practices. But most Catholics (67%), Jews (65%), mainline Christians (56%) and Muslims (51%) say their religion should either "adjust to new circumstances" or "adopt modern beliefs and practices."

Green observes, "Americans are deeply suspicious of institutional religion. Some see religion as about money, rules and power. That's not a positive connotation for everyone."

• 50% say "homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society," but the most consistently traditional religious groups say society should discourage it, 76% of Jehovah's Witnesses, 68% of Mormons, 61% of Muslims and 64% of evangelicals.

• 51% have a certain belief in a personal God, but 27% are less certain of this, 14% call God "an impersonal force," and 5% reject any kind of God. "People say 'God,' and no one knows who they mean," says Kosmin, director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

• 14% of all surveyed, including 28% of evangelicals, say religion is the "main influence in their political thinking."

    Americans believe in everything. It's a spiritual salad bar," says Rice University sociologist Michael Lindsay. Rather than religious leaders setting the cultural agenda, today, it's Oprah Winfrey, he says. "After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the national memorial service was at Washington's National Cathedral, conducted by Episcopal clergy. After the 9/11 attack, Oprah organized the official memorial service at Yankee Stadium, and while clergy participated, she was the master of ceremonies. "The impact of Oprah is seen throughout this survey. She uses the language of Bible and Christian traditions and yet includes other traditions to create a hodgepodge personalized faith. Exclusivism (one religion has the absolute and exclusive truth) has gotten a bad name in America today," he says. Political science professor Alan Wolfe, director of the Boise Center for American and Public Life at Boston University, says many people, despite their religious claims, "have no command of theology, doctrine or history, so it's an empty religiosity." Still, he finds "a very forgiving quality" to this non-sectarian, no-mention-of-sin view. The Rev. Frank Page of Taylors, SC, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, is not surprised by the Pew findings. "The number of churches that teach a clear doctrinal Christianity are a minority today. How would people know it when they never hear about how to be saved?" Still, Page is undaunted. "Jesus predicted all this," he says, quoting from the Bible (Matthew 15:8): "People honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me." "We still work as hard as we can to share the good news," he says, "even though we know most will reject the way."



John Bolton: Israel 'Will Attack Iran' Before new US President Sworn In

June 24….(Telegraph) The Arab world would be "pleased" by Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "It [the reaction] will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action," he said. Mr. Bolton, an unflinching hawk who proposes military action to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons, bemoaned what he sees as a lack of will by the Bush administration to itself contemplate military strikes. It's clear that the administration has essentially given up that possibility," he said. "I don't think it's serious any more. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don't think it's in the cards." Israel, however, still had a determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, he argued. The "optimal window" for strikes would be between the November 4 election and the inauguration on January 20, 2009. "The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defenses by buying new Russian anti-aircraft systems and further harden the nuclear installations. "They're also obviously looking at the American election calendar. My judgement is they would not want to do anything before our election because there's no telling what impact it could have on the election." But waiting for either Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, or his Republican opponent John McCain to be installed in the White House could preclude military action happening for the next four years or at least delay it. "An Obama victory would rule out military action by the Israelis because they would fear the consequences given the approach Obama has taken to foreign policy," said Mr. Bolton, who was Mr. Bush's ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006. "With McCain they might still be looking at a delay. Given that time is on Iran's side, I think the argument for military action is sooner rather than later absent some other development." The Iran policy of McCain, whom Bolton supports, was "much more realistic than the Bush administration's stance".  Obama has said he will open high-level talks with Iran "without preconditions" while McCain views attacking Iran as a lesser evil than allowing Iran to become a nuclear power. William Kristol, a prominent neo-conservative, told Fox News on Sunday that an Obama victory could prompt Mr Bush to launch attacks against Iran. "If the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out," he said. Last week, Israeli jets carried out a long-range exercise over the Mediterranean that American intelligence officials concluded was practice for air strikes against Iran. Mohammad Ali Hosseini, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said this was an act of "psychological warfare" that would be futile. "They do not have the capacity to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran. Israel have a number of domestic crises and they want to extrapolate it to cover others. Sometimes they come up with these empty slogans." He added that Tehran would deliver a "devastating" response to any attack. On Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, said military action against Iran would turn the Middle East into a "fireball" and accelerate Iran's nuclear program. Mr. Bolton, however, dismissed such sentiments as scaremongering. "The key point would be for the Israelis to break Iran's control over the nuclear fuel cycle and that could be accomplished for example by destroying the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan or the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. "That doesn't end the problem but it buys time during which a more permanent solution might be found.... How long? That would be hard to say. Depends on the extent of the destruction."



Sarkozy: "Move Jews Out of Judea and Samaria"

June 23….( French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked the Knesset on Monday to recognize that "France will always be Israel's friend," and promptly called for the division of Jerusalem and for the expulsion of the Jews from Judea and Samaria. Speaking in French from the Knesset podium at a special session held in his honor, Sarkozy said, "Israel will always be every Jewish person's sanctuary. It is the only place where Jews will always be safe." He also called on the Palestinians to stop terrorism against Israel. Having received a red-carpet welcome from the Israeli government, Sarkozy vowed, "France will always be Israel's friend and will always stand in the way of those calling to destroy it."


(FOJ) French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) is greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R) and President Shimon Peres (C) before his speech upon his arrival to Israel at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. Sarkozy proclaimed his friendship for Israel at the start of a three-day visit on Sunday but also said Israeli security depended on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Stop Construction, Deport Jews, Divide Jerusalem

He emphasized, however, that there will never be peace in the Middle East until Israel stops building in Judea and Samaria, and said that the Knesset should pass a law to compensate and deport all the Jews currently living there. Sarkozy further said that Jerusalem must be divided into two capitals, including one for a future Palestinian state. The speech was the first by a French president in the Knesset since Francois Mitterrand addressed the plenum in 1982. In response, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik warned that terror has no boundaries, and that both Iranian nuclear power and Islamist terrorism "will reach Paris after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in his greetings to the French president, said, "We thank you for your courage, for your principles and for your friendship. On behalf of the Israeli people and the State of Israel, I salute you… Israel is now hoping for just one more miracle – the miracle of peace. We believe it will come." Opposition leader and Likud party chairman MK Binyamin Netanyahu said, in his address at the session, that Israel would never agree to cede the Golan Heights or divide Jerusalem. Calling Sarkozy a "true friend of Israel," Netanyahu said, nevertheless that "Jerusalem will never be divided, just as no person would ever think of dividing any European state. We will never return to the 1967 borders and we will never withdraw from the Golan Heights."



Saudis Willing to Increase Oil Production

June 23….(Fox News) Facing strong US pressure and global dismay over oil prices, Saudi Arabia said Sunday it will produce more crude this year if the market needs it. But the vague pledge fell far short of US hopes for a specific increase and may do little to lower prices immediately. For now, the current "oil shock" leaves Western countries with little choice but to move toward nuclear power and change their energy-consumption habits, Britain's prime minister warned at a rare meeting of oil-producing and consuming nations. Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, called the gathering Sunday to send a message that it, too, is concerned by high oil prices inflicting economic pain worldwide. Instead, the meeting highlighted the sharp disagreement between producers like Saudi Arabia and consuming countries like Britain and the United States over the core factors driving steep price hikes. Oil closed near $135 a barrel on Friday, almost double the price a year ago. The US and other nations argue that oil production has not kept up with increasing demand, especially from China, India and the Middle East. But Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries say there is no shortage of oil and instead blame financial speculation and the falling US dollar. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom is willing to produce more than the 9.7 million barrels of oil a day it had already planned to produce in July, if the market requires it. But the Saudi oil minister also blamed speculators and asserted supply is not the problem. "In today's environment, I am convinced that supply and demand balances and crude oil production levels are not the primary drivers of the current market situation," al-Naimi said. Officials and energy executives from more than 35 countries thronged a large hall where he spoke. King Abdullah also said Saudi Arabia is not the culprit. The king cited several factors driving "the unjustified, swift rise in oil prices" including "speculators who play the market out of selfish interests," plus higher consumption by developing countries and higher taxes in some countries.



Syrian Nuke Site Aided Iran Program

June 23….(Israel Today) The suspected Syrian nuclear facility that Israel bombed last September had in fact been built by Syria with North Korean assistance in order to facilitate Iran's nuclear program, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel. The magazine cited intelligence reports that confirmed the site was a clandestine nuclear reactor, where North Korean engineers were aiding Iran in producing plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. Iran has managed to enrich a significant amount of uranium, but had no experience with plutonium, and could not risk having the North Koreans come to Iran to teach them there. Syria maintains that the site bombed by Israel was a military installation, but not a nuclear facility. The site was quickly razed by Syria following the bombing, further solidifying suspicions and something illegal was taking place there. International Atomic Energy Ageny (IAEA) representatives were scheduled to being investigating the site on Sunday, though it is believed the Syrians have done a thorough job in cleaning up any evidence.


UN atomic experts are set to begin a three-day visit to Syria, to inspect a mysterious site that was bombed by Israel in Sept. 2007


Taking aim at Israeli earlier this month, IAEA Mohammed ElBaradei said that he had reviewed evidence provided to him by Damascus, and had concluded that Syria had neither the technical know-how or the nuclear fuel needed to construct and run a reactor. However, if North Korea was involved, and if the reactor was only a support facility for Iran's nuclear program, that would explain the holes ElBaradai believes he found in the Israeli intelligence.



Jews Became Refugees From Arab Lands Too

June 23….(JPOST) A conference highlighting the plight of the Jews who left, or fled, Arab countries will take place in London this week, along with the first ever hearing in Parliament on Jewish refugees from Arab lands. The Jews of Fez, 1900. The first congress of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries will run from Monday to Wednesday in central London, with the parliamentary briefing on Tuesday in the House of Lords. "When the issue of refugees is raised within the context of the Middle East, people invariably refer to Palestinian refugees," Justice for Jews said in a statement. "There is almost no awareness of the fact that 850,000 Jews living in Arab countries were forced out of their homes during the period surrounding Israel's creation." The congress aims to highlight the human rights violations and the individual and communal losses suffered by members of Jewish communities that had lived for centuries in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf and who "were stripped of their jobs, businesses, homes, passports and ancient heritage by most Arab governments," according to the organizers of the two-day conference. The conference's aims include conducting public education programs on the heritage and rights of former Jewish refugees from Arab countries, registering family history narratives, and cataloging communal and individual losses. "Jews are one of the indigenous peoples of the Middle East and there have been ancient Jewish communities in countries such as Iraq for over 2,500 years, more than a millennium before the rise of Islam," organizers said. "Today these historic Jewish communities have been effectively destroyed, with almost no recognition from the international community or the Arab countries themselves. From a Jewish population in the Arab Middle East of 886,000 in the year 1948 in places like Algeria, Morocco and Yemen, now there are less than 8,000 Jews living in Arab countries."



Obama: America is' no Longer Christian' Only

(Democrat says nation also for Muslims and nonbelievers)

imageJune 23….(WND) Some have been taking issue with largely unnoticed comments made last year by Sen. Barack Obama declaring the US is "no longer a Christian nation" but is also a nation of others, including Muslims and nonbelievers. "Whatever we once were, we're no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers," Obama said during a recent speech. At the speech, Obama also seemingly blasted the "Christian Right" for hijacking religion and using it to divide the nation: "Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it's because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who've been all too eager to exploit what divides us," he said. Asked last year to clarify his remarks, Obama repeatedthem to the Christian Broadcast Network: "I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of sectarianism. Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers," Obama wrote in an e-mail to CBN News senior national correspondent David Brody. "We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community," wrote Obama. Obama did clarify his statement about the "Christian Right." "My intention was to contrast the heated partisan rhetoric of a distinct minority of Christian leaders with the vast majority of Evangelical Christians, conservatives included, who believe that hate has no place in our politics. "When you have pastors and television pundits who appear to explicitly coordinate with one political party; when you're implying that your fellow Americans are traitors, terrorist sympathizers or akin to the devil himself; then I think you're attempting to hijack the faith of those who follow you for your own personal or political ends," wrote Obama. The Illinois senator's speech declaring the US "no longer Christian" was met with little fanfare. The candidate's Christianity and his former membership in the controversial Trinity United Church of Christ have been much scrutinized. His comment about the "Christian Right" is sure to be controversial.







US 'Plans to Neutralize Russian Nuclear Weapons by 2012-2015'

June 21….(Novosti) The US-proposed European missile shield will eventually spread along Russia's borders and may neutralize Russia's nuclear potential by 2012-2015, a Russian political analyst said on Wednesday. Commenting on reports that the United States and Lithuania were formally discussing deploying elements of the US missile shield in the ex-Soviet Baltic state should Warsaw reject Washington's plans to station 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, Leonid Ivashov, the head of the Moscow-based Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said: "We should expect that elements of a US missile shield will be placed not only in Lithuania, but also in all territories bordering Russia and controlled by NATO." So far, the Czech Republic has agreed to host an early-warning radar on its territory. Poland has taken a tough stance in missile talks with the US, demanding that Washington upgrade its air defense systems in return. Ivashov said the main purpose of the US global missile shield was to neutralize Russia's nuclear potential by 2012-2015 and that NATO eastward expansion was part of this plan. He said Ukraine's and Georgia's possible accession to NATO would have dire consequences for Russia's defense capability. "There is no doubt that elements of the US missile shield will be placed in Georgia and Ukraine immediately after they join NATO," the analyst said, adding that Ukraine already had radars [in Mukachevo and Sevastopol] that may be used against Russia. "The US wants to create an impenetrable shield capable of intercepting and destroying Russian nuclear missiles on launch pads, in the initial trajectory, in orbit and on the final trajectory," he said. Ivashov criticized the Russian leadership for "wasting time in empty rhetoric with the West," rather than taking concrete steps to counter the looming threat. He suggested that Russia should threaten to sever all relations with NATO if the US missile shield is eventually placed in Europe. "Russia must also warn the European countries case of a potential military confrontation...capitals, large cities, industrial and communications centers of the countries hosting elements of the US missile shield will inevitably become the primary targets of Russian nuclear strikes."



Iran: We'll Hit Back with 'Strong Blow'

June 21….(Jerusalem Post) Iran on Friday warned Israel it would retaliate to an attack with a "strong blow," after the New York Times reported that the IAF had conducted a drill, apparently for a strike against the Islamic republic. "If enemies, especially Israelis and their supporters in the United States, would want to use a language of force, they should rest assured that they will receive a strong blow in the mouth," senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami was quoted by AFP as saying during a Friday prayers sermon, which was also broadcast live on state radio. Khatami stressed that the Iranian nation's mentality was "to fight foreigners." "Given this mentality, if you make a hostile look at the Islamic Iran, you will witness such a united roar by our nation that it will definitely make you regret any vicious move forever," he added. On Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "the nuclear issue has ended from our point of view, and we have won the campaign against the West."  "Recently they have started a new game, by testing us, but this will result in no achievement for them except humiliation," he said without elaborating.



UN Atomic Agency Chief Threatens to Quit if Iran is Attacked

IAEA Chief ElBaradei: Military strike on Iran's nuke sites would turn region into a 'fireball'

June 21….(DEBKA) The chief of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said in remarks aired on Friday that he would resign if there was a military strike on Iran, warning that any such attack would turn the region into a "fireball". "What I see in Iran today is a current, grave and urgent danger. If a military strike is carried out against Iran at this time, it would make me unable to continue my work," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamad ElBaradei told al-Arabiya television in an interview. Earlier Friday, the New York Times reported that US officials said Israel carried out a large military exercise this month that appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack would not comment Friday on whether the United States supports or opposes any future Israeli air strikes against Iran. "We are seeking a peaceful, diplomatic resolution" to the threat the West sees from Iran's nuclear program, McCormack said. "We have made that clear to the Israeli government; we have made that clear to the Iranian government; we have made that clear to anybody who will listen and who asked about it." More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters took part in the maneuvers over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, reports of the Israeli exercise spurred another oil price surge of 5 percent to $135.92.



Judge Blasts State Ban on Distributing Bibles to Students

June 21….(WND) A federal court has declared a Florida law banning representatives of the Gideons from handing out Bibles within 500 feet of any school in the state unconstitutional because it is vague and actually "encourages arbitrary enforcement." The ruling in a case brought by the Alliance Defense Fund comes from US District Court Judge K. Michael Moore and addresses an incident that developed Jan. 19, 2007, at Key Largo School, run by Principal Annette Martinson. The law actually prohibits anyone without "legitimate business" from being within 500 feet of schools in the state and specifies "each principal or designee of each public or private school in this state shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency to prohibit any person from loitering in the school safety zone who does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone or any other authorization, or license to enter or remain in the school safety zone or does not otherwise have invitee status in the designated safety zone." The issue arose because of a team of Gideons, known for paying all of their own expenses out of pocket while raising all of their own funds and giving away Bibles, had been distributing the Scriptures at Key Largo School. The Gideons' procedure is to notify local police departments two weeks before their distribution date, give school administrators notice and have participants stand on a public bike path or sidewalk and avoid stepping on school grounds. Ernest Simpson and Anthony Mirto had been taken into custody by a sheriff's deputy and charged with trespassing after the principal complained they were handing out Bibles. The initial counts were dismissed at the request of the ADF shortly after the law firm got involved, but then authorities filed a second round of counts, under a different law, this state law that prohibits anyone from being within 500 feet of any school property, including on public sidewalks and streets, without having either "legitimate business" or permission. The lawsuit at hand then was filed on behalf of Gideon Thomas Gray, who was not arrested with Simpson and Mirto but arrived when they called to report trouble with a particular deputy sheriff. The ADF reported the two Gideons who were arrested were "placed in a Monroe County patrol car. A police officer mocked the two men, saying they could 'pray to Jesus all the way to jail.'" The federal judge found that the state definition of a school safety zone, in the Key Largo School location, would include a public bike path and walkway abutting US Highway 1, the highway itself and businesses including a pet motel, a gas station, a restaurant and a plumbing business. "Given the wide range of non-exempt persons and the various types of areas within the school safety zone, such as sidewalks, residential houses and streets, businesses, parking lots, etc., construing 'legitimate purpose' to mean any purpose which is connected with the operation of the school would result in an application so broad that it would likely infringe of First and Fourteenth Amendment rights," the judge said. He ordered the state never again enforce that particular law. "Christians shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. "Arresting or threatening to arrest Christians simply because they choose to exercise their First Amendment rights in a public place is unconstitutional. The court was right in its assessment that the particular law used against these members of the Gideons does not pass constitutional muster." The Gideons, a group founded in the late 1800s, has as its "sole purpose" the goal "to win men, women, boys and girls to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through association for service, personal testimony, and distributing the Bible in the human traffic lanes and streams of everyday life." Gideons have placed the Bible in 181 nations in 82 different languages over the years. The organization focuses on hotels and motels, hospitals and nursing homes, schools, colleges and universities, the military and law enforcement and prisons and jails. "The demand for Scriptures in these areas far exceeds our supplies that we are able to purchase through our donations. Much more could be done, if funds were available. However, we are placing and distributing more than one million copies of the Word of God, at no cost, every seven days in these areas…" the group said. The Gideons serve as an extended missionary arm of the Christian church and are the oldest Christian business and professional men's association in the United States.



Scientist: 'Global warming' scheme to push global tax

(Blames UN for using scare reports, 'mob rule,' to bully through Global agenda)

June 20….(WND) A scientist whose reservations about "global warming" have been officially endorsed by tens of thousands of scientists is accusing the UN of using "mob rule" to generate fear-mongering climate change reports intended to scare national leaders into submitting to its worldwide taxation schemes. "Science has always progressed on the basis of observations, experiments, and thoughts published by individual scientists and sometimes pairs or small groups of scientific coworkers," Art Robinson, a research professor of chemistry and co-founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, said in a recent column in Human Events. Except at the UN, he said. Robinson's concern over the political manipulation of science earlier led him to launch the Petition Project a compilation of more than 31,000 scientists, with more names arriving daily, who have voluntarily signed their names to the following statement: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth." He said the scientific process begins with the results of individuals' work and their distribution of their ideas. "A few of these published articles are especially valuable; a greater number, while not remarkable, provide relative mundane studies that add to the infrastructure of science; many are not useful at all; and some are completely wrong. As individual scientists read these articles, they use their own wisdom, knowledge, and judgment to separate new information that they find valuable from information that they find of no use," Robinson said. Eventually, the good, accurate and valuable information is advanced. Always, scientific progress is a result of a large number of individual decisions that trend in a specific direction," he said. Not so, however, at the United Nations. Especially with the organization's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which has generated many of the claims of catastrophic results of man's use of hydrocarbon fuels, including submerged coastlines and a deadly, massive expansion of African deserts. The IPCC website boasts of sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore Jr. for "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change." It also notes its goals are to eradicate poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve mothers' health, combat HIV/AIDS, ensure environmental sustainability and others. "The IPCC provides its reports at regular intervals and they immediately become standard works of reference, widely used by policymakers, experts and students," the organization itself says; The IPCC conferences do, in fact, feature "a few hundred" people, including some with formal educations in science, some actively engaged in scientific work, some retired, holding discussions on "the entirely unsolved problem of climate prediction for time periods decades and even centuries in the future," said Robinson, who also publishes the Access to Energy newsletter. In 1973, Robinson co-founded the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine with Linus Pauling. "The primary requirement for selection is a willingness to participate in the United Nations' new 'process' and the agenda behind it," Robinson said. "These people study and discuss the current and past research literature concerning climate and climate prediction. These emanations are closely observed by a very select small group of United Nations operatives." At the end of the meetings, "this small group of observers combines the products of the meeting into a large important-looking report, carefully editing the report so that it supports United Nations political objectives," Robinson said. "At no time is this report submitted to the 600-plus 'scientists.'" The results then are distributed as "settled science," he said, "regardless of the fact that the scientists involved do not agree upon the text. The elite few who oversaw the meeting and interpreted its results are special. They are the UN's anointed messengers of the truth." A spokeswoman for the United Nation's Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon declined to respond to WND questions about the process, referring those questions to the IPCC office in Geneva. There a spokeswoman confirmed for WND the process that has a small number of specially appointed UN operatives write reports following "scientific" meetings. But Robinson said the UN operatives have fallen victim to "a peculiar and dangerous virus" infecting American public discourse. Victims of that disease, which robs words of their meaning, also believe that "democracy" means "republic," "gambling" becomes "investment" and "vice" becomes the "virtue of diversity," Robinson said. Also, "science" has become devalued. "And nowhere is it more abused than in the United Nations, where institutionalized mob rule is called 'science,'" he said. "In its headlong drive to gain the power to tax and ration world energy (and thereby control world technology, sharing taxation authority with other governments in return for their support) the United Nations has created a 'process,' which it calls 'science,'" he said. In real science, however, "truths are never determined through such meetings; unsolved scientific questions are never resolved by such meetings; and scientific articles are never published unless every putative or listed author has personally approved every word of the publication," Robinson said. "Scientific truth is never decided by meetings organized to decide which ideas are true and which are false. "If the mob rule process of the United Nations worked, many great unsolved scientific questions could be quickly solved. United Nations observers could attend scientific meetings of cancer scientists and determined the causes and cures of cancer. With the 'science settled,' this scourge could be eliminated. Likewise Alzheimer's disease, human aging, the origin of the universe, and other great unsolved problems could be solved," Robinson wrote. "In the present case in which United Nations apparatchiks have proclaimed that human activity is catastrophically warming the planet, the human cost of error is so great than many other scientists have become motivated to individually examine the evidence. Now, a total of more than 9,000 Americans with Ph.D.s in science and therefore professional educational credentials that, on average, equal or surpass the United Nations 600, and a total of more than 31,000 Americans with at least BS degrees in science have signed a petition to the U.S. government specifically rejecting the United Nations claim that human use of hydrocarbon energy is injuring the climate," Robinson said. "In fact, the 31,000 scientists state that carbon dioxide released by energy production is actually beneficial to the environment," he said. "It is time to kill this counterproductive virus that has sickened American science and engineering, and get on with the job of expanding the American hydrocarbon and nuclear energy industries. To do less poses a terrible risk to America's prosperity and to her future," he said. A surge of names was submitted to Robinson's petition project following the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" by Gore. The film was widely distributed and preached about the "settled science" of UN global warming prognosticators, Robinson said. "Unfortunately, Mr. Gore's movie contains many very serious incorrect claims which no informed, honest scientist could endorse," Robinson said at the time.



Israel carries out large-scale rehearsal over Greece of possible air strike against Iran

June 20….(DEBKA) US Pentagon sources report that more than 100 Air Force F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June. The maneuver included helicopters used for rescuing downed pilots and refueling tankers. They flew 1,440 km, roughly the distance between Israel and the Iranian uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Israel officials declined to comment on the exercise, the IDF saying only that the air force trains regularly for various missions in order to meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel. But the US sources said the scope of the Israeli exercise guaranteed it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies, primarily to send a signal to the US, Europe and Iran that Israel was prepared and able to act militarily if diplomatic efforts failed to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons advances. One Pentagon official said: “They rehearse it, rehearse it and rehearse it, so that if they actually have to do it, they’re ready. They’re not taking any options off the table.” DEBKAfile’s military sources add that only on Tuesday, June 17, the chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazy commented to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee: "Beside the actions and sanctions against Iran, it is important we remain ready for any options." Those sources interpreted the Ashkenazy’s typically understated remark as a hint that Israel must be ready for a possible war with Iran in the near future. This conflict could erupt on three additional fronts, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas. Those sources suggest that the scenario he hinted at would silence the many domestic critics of the ceasefire with Hamas and the Israeli military’s passivity in the face of Hizballah’s massive rocket buildup and Hamas’ escalating aggression. Of interest too is the probable motive behind the US defense department’s leak to the world media of the Israel Air Force maneuver and its presentation as an exercise to simulate an attack on Iran. According to DEBKAfile’s informants, US defense secretary Robert Gates is adamantly opposed to American military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities and even more so to Israel going it alone, which this publicity was intended to pre-empt.



Russia's Lavrov Warns Against Attack on Iran

June 20….(AP) Russia's foreign minister on Friday warned against the use of force on Iran, saying there is no proof it is trying to build nuclear weapons. Sergey Lavrov said Iran should be engaged in dialogue and encouraged to cooperate with the UN nuclear monitoring agency. Lavrov made the statement when asked to comment on an Israeli Cabinet member's statement earlier this month that Israel could attack Iran if it does not halt its nuclear program. "I hope the actual actions would be based on international law," Lavrov said. "And international law clearly protects Iran's and anyone else's territorial integrity." Israel's military refused to confirm or deny a report Friday that its warplanes staged a major rehearsal this month for a possible attack on Iran. The New York Times report quoted US officials as saying more than 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s staged the maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June. It said the aircraft flew more than 900 miles (1,450 kilometers), roughly the distance from Israel to Iran's Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, and that the exercise included refueling tankers and helicopters capable of rescuing downed pilots. Lavrov said Russia had asked both the United States and Israel to provide factual information to back their claims that Iran was working to build atomic weapons. "So far we have seen none, and the same conclusion was made by the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said. "It's absolutely not right to speak matter-of-factly that Iran continues building nuclear weapons," Lavrov added. Iran insists its enrichment program is meant only to generate electricity. But because of its past clandestine activities, including some that could have applications for weapons research, the international community is concerned that Tehran wants to enrich uranium to a purity suitable for use in atomic bombs. The IAEA suggested in a report to the UN Security Council last month that Iran was stonewalling investigators and possibly withholding information crucial to determining whether it conducted research on nuclear weapons. Lavrov insisted that Iran must be encouraged to continue its cooperation with the UN monitoring agency. "As long as the IAEA reports to us progress in its relations with Iran, as long as Iran closes the issues which were of concern to the IAEA and this process continues, we should avoid any steps which could undermine this very important process," he said, speaking in English. Russia has maintained close ties with Iran and is building its first nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr, which is expected to go on line later this year. It has backed limited UN sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, but has opposed the US push for harsher measures. "The key to resolving the Iranian issue is involvement," Lavrov said. "We must involve Iran, engage Iran in resolving the Iranian nuclear program, but also engage Iran in constructive, respectful, serious dialogue on Iraq and Afghanistan, on the Middle East in general."



Report: Israeli Military Rehearses Attack on Iran

June 20….(Fox News) American military officials say Israel launched a major military exercise aimed in part at demonstrating its ability to stage an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. The military refuses to confirm or deny whether the exercise was a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack. But two officials said Israel sent dozens of aircraft on the large-scale mission in the eastern Mediterranean in early June. One defense official said the exercise could be taken as a demonstration to Iran and the international community that Israel is serious about the need to challenge the country's nuclear program, and could be prepared to do so militarily. The New York Times first reported Friday that more than 100 Israeli fighter jets took part in the maneuvers over the eastern Mediterranean and. Citing undisclosed American officials, it said the exercise appeared to be an effort to focus on long-range strikes. The aircraft used in the drill flew a distance of about 900 miles, similar to the distance between Israel and uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz, the officials said. "They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know," the Pentagon official said to the Times. "There's a lot of signaling going on at different levels." US officials, however, did not believe Israel had decided to attack Iran or think such a strike was imminent. The newspaper said Israeli officials would not discuss the apparent rehearsal, but a spokesman said that the military "regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel." Israeli military analyst Martin Van Creveld of Hebrew University said military preparations for a possible attack are indeed under way. "Israel has been talking about this possibility for a long time, that it would not take an Iranian nuclear weapon lying down. And it has been practicing the operation or operations for a long time," he said. But though an Israeli strike would likely be able to "paralyze the most important Iranian nuclear installations," it probably won't be able to destroy the program entirely, Van Creveld said. "I would be very surprised if Israel can really knock out every part of this program, which by all accounts appears to be large and well concealed and well dispersed," he said. spokesman Mark Regev offered no comment beyond the military's statement. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he prefers that Iran's nuclear ambitions be halted by diplomatic means, but has pointedly declined to rule out military action. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel published on Wednesday, Olmert said the current international sanctions against Iran would probably not succeed alone, saying there were "many things that can be done economically, politically, diplomatically and militarily." Asked if Israel was capable of taking military action against Iran, Olmert said, "Israel always has to be in a position to defend itself against any adversary and against any threat of any kind." Russia's foreign minister is warning against the use of force on Iran, saying there is no proof it is trying to build nuclear weapons with the program Tehran said is for generating power. There are precedents for unilateral Israeli action in such cases. In 1981, Israeli jets bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility to end dictator Saddam Hussein's nuclear program. And last September Israel bombed a facility in Syria that US officials have said was a nuclear reactor being constructed with North Korean assistance. A US intelligence report released late last year concluded that Iran has suspended its nuclear weapons program, but Israeli intelligence believes that assessment is incorrect and that work is continuing.



Iran hails Gaza ceasefire for tightening noose around Israel

(Iran's leaders celebrate Gaza truce as a victory)

June 20….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report that Iran’s top leaders held a special meeting in Tehran Thursday, June 19, hours after the Gaza ceasefire went into force. They congratulated themselves for achieving their second base on a Mediterranean shore after winning control of Lebanon through Hizballah’s takeover of Beirut and its government. Hamas was acclaimed for having tightened its grip on the Gaza Strip and using the Egyptian-brokered six-month truce accord with Israel for its next leap to power on the West Bank. Iran has tightened its noose around Israel as well as Egypt. The meeting, our sources report, was attended by supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defense minister Mostafa Najar, Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Qassam Solemeini, and the Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, the supreme ruler’s senior strategic adviser. Iran’s ambassador in Damascus, Ahmed Moussawi, was called home for urgent consultations after he tossed out his bombshell offer to share Iran’s “nuclear experience” with Syria Tuesday, June 17. The nuclear transfer will begin as soon as July 7 when officials of the two countries hold their first meeting. DEBKAfile’s sources report that the three-hour long, top-level Iranian conference went on to discuss Tehran’s next steps in the region in the light of deepening ties with the Damascus-based Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal and the Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi’s comment Tuesday to the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee. Ashkenazi said: "Beside the actions and sanctions against Iran, it is important we remain ready for any options." Iran regards his words as a clear threat that an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities is close at hand.



Western Oil Giants Set to Sign Iraq Deals

(Exxon and Total expected to be among firms returning after 36-year gap)

June 19….(MSN) Four Western oil companies are close to signing oil contracts with the Iraqi government that will return them to the country for the first time in 36 years, the New York Times reported on Thursday. Exxon Mobil, BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, which had partnerships with the Iraq Petroleum Co. before the industry was nationalized by Saddam Hussein, as well as Chevron and a number of smaller oil producers, have been in talks with the oil ministry, it said. The deals are expected to be announced on June 30 and will be awarded on a no-bid basis. They will be an extension of current agreements in which the companies are providing free advice and training to the Iraqis. A total of 46 companies, including those from China, India and Russia have memorandums of understanding to provide that assistance to Iraq but were not awarded contracts. The deals for the four companies will be service contracts, in which they are paid for their work rather than offered a license for Iraq's oil deposits.



Arab Editor: 'Obama's Support for Israel Is Only Lip Service'

June 19….( If Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were running for President of the United States, he "would promise to support Israel and guarantee its security, and would move the United States embassy to Jerusalem," wrote Abdul Rahman Al Rashed, General Manager of the Al Arabiya news network. He stated that Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama's enthusiastic support for Israel is standard operating procedure for every American candidate. "Even the Israelis cannot believe the promises," wrote Al Rashed. Writing in the London-based A-sharq Al-Awsat, newspaper on Tuesday under the headline "Is Obama a Political Fraud," he noted that Labor Knesset Member Ofir Pines-Paz said of Senator Obama, "I respect him but suspect him." Al Rashed reminded readers that every American president must commit himself to Israel's security because Israel was the most loyal Middle East country to the U.S. during the Cold war with the Soviet Union. "The United States considers Israel as its big stick, which it uses when needed, a service that none of the friendly Arab countries can do," he wrote. "The price is relatively inexpensive because the United States spent funds in Iraq in five years, to no avail, more than it has spent on Israel in 60 years. This viewpoint does not seem clear to Arabs. The United States considers Israel as its big stick. He concluded with a parting shot for Arabs, who he said do not understand that Senator Obama had to state support for Israel in order to bolster his chances of becoming the next president. Al Rashed maintained that the candidate was not worried about satisfying Arabs. The writer explained, "What for? The Arabs themselves are unable to satisfy one another, and are ashamed to sit at the negotiating table with Israel if not in secret."



Tehran Offers to Share its “Nuclear Experience” with Syria

June 19….(DEBKA) The offer came from Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Sayyed Ahmed Moussavi, who stressed in an interview that to boost Iranian-Syrian relations Iran will pass on its “experiences with nuclear power” to Syria. He cited July 7 as the date for their officials to meet. DEBKAfile’s military sources say Iran’s willingness to defy its obligations under the non-proliferation treaty by offering a nuclear capability to Syria across the border from Israel brings Tehran’s threat to wipe Israel off the map much closer to home. It is a mark of contempt for Washington and the US-led Western sanctions which failed to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment and nuclear missile warhead projects. DEBKAfile’s military sources describe this as an extremely menacing security development for Israel and a painful body blow for America’s policies and standing. The menace posed to Israel by Iran’s nuclear weapons project and its leaders’ threats has increased manifold. Tehran’s offer would integrate Israel’s hostile neighbor in its uranium enrichment and nuclear missile warhead projects. Moussavi said: As part of boosting our bilateral relations, Iran will pass on its experiences with nuclear power to Syria. “Islam has taught us to pass on our knowledge and we can pass our experience to Syria if it wants it,” he said. Our Middle East sources report that Syrian president Bashar Assad was forewarned of the ambassador’s earthshaking statement before he set off Tuesday for a five-day visit to India. They attribute Iran’s nuclear generosity to two causes:

1. The weekend discussions between Presidents George W. Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on ways of detaching Assad from his ties with Tehran.

2. Syria’s indirect peace talks with Israel via Turkey and he prospect of Israeli concessions. Seeing what was going on, Tehran decided enough was enough and it was time to tighten the leash on the Syrian president in case he was tempted to start thinking about quitting the Iranian orbit.



China Supplying Iraq Insurgents Body Armor

June 19….(WND) When you think of China, inexpensive and inferior goods might come to mind. But that's hardly the case with the Chinese body armor found on Iraqi insurgents. It is superior to anything available to US troops and resists penetration from M16s, M4s, M80s, M60s and M240 machine guns. In fact, say US military sources, the only thing it won't defeat is a direct shot from a .50 caliber. The Chinese-supplied body armor also will resist multiple hits, something the US military-grade protective vests won't do. Analysis of the plates does reveal some manufacturing defects. Some tiles are misaligned. However, before those flaws can be exploited, they are likely to be fixed. The captured body armor is from 2006 or earlier. In what could be a related development, the Iranians have made a knockoff of the Steyr HS50 .50-caliber "anti-material" rifle, a .50 caliber sniper rifle. China is now supplying these to Muqtada al-Sadr's al-Mahdi army. The US military is aware of at least three .50-caliber attacks since April, two on up-armored vehicles. In those cases, the shots penetrated the vehicle and armor, the analysis pictures showed a gaping hole in the back of a Kevlar helmet. It is not clear whether the weapon was produced in Iran or with the help of China or some other manufacturer. Chinese military supplies are thought to be entering Iraq through Iran, with whom Beijing maintains good relations. But, according to Bill Gertz's book, "Treachery: How America's Friends and Foes Are Secretly Arming Our Enemies," China long has provided at least some military support to al-Qaida and the Taliban, as well as Shiite militia forces.



US to Guarantee Israel's Capital to Palestinians?

(Rice pledges to 'seriously' study proposal to cede east Jerusalem neighborhoods)

imageJune 18….(WND) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday pledged to study a Palestinian proposal for the US to guarantee eastern sections of Jerusalem will become part of a future Palestinian state, WND has learned. "[Rice] was in total solidarity with us on the issue of stopping Israeli building in (eastern) Jerusalem," a senior Palestinian Authority official who met with Rice yesterday told WND. The official said Rice promised to "seriously" look into the offering of a formal US letter guaranteeing that new Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem would be disregarded and that the areas of construction would be included in the final borders of a Palestinian state. While Rice met with Israeli and Palestinian officials, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski announced yesterday the approval of 40,000 new residential units in various Jewish neighborhoods, including about 1,300 new units in eastern Jerusalem. Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, during the 1967 Six Day War. The Palestinians have claimed eastern Jerusalem as a future capital; the area has large Arab neighborhoods, a significant Jewish population and sites holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. About 231,000 Arabs live in Jerusalem, mostly in eastern neighborhoods. Many reside in illegally constructed complexes on property owned by the Jewish National Fund, a Jewish nonprofit that purchases land for the purported goal of Jewish settlement. Jerusalem has an estimated total population of 724,000. Rice yesterday strongly lashed out against the new Israeli construction projects planned for eastern Jerusalem. "We should be in a position of encouraging confidence, not undermining it. No party should be taking steps at this point that could prejudice the outcome of the negotiation," Rice said following meetings with Palestinian officials. She said Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem is having a "negative effect." Speaking later to US reporters in Jerusalem, Rice pointed to Israeli construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as a "problem." "I think the key is to work with the Israelis and make clear to the Israelis that this is a problem," she said. "The problem is that since Annapolis, there has been a certain level of activity that raises questions, and they need to address that." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev, though, said Israel has the right to build anywhere in its capital city. "It is clear that the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem will remain part of Israel," he said. "It is not realistic that we freeze the lives of people in Jerusalem." As a sign of planned future Palestinian control over eastern sections of the city, Israel allowed the PA to hold an official meeting in Jerusalem to discuss dealing with expected Palestinian sovereignty over key sections of the city



Terrorists 'Actively' Seeking Nukes

imageJune 18….(Newsmax) Extremist groups continue to actively seek nuclear weapons, a senior US official said Tuesday during a meeting in Spain of a US-Russian initiative to fight nuclear terrorism. "Combating nuclear terrorism is especially important today," US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Rood told a news conference. "Regretably we continue to see indications in the United States from information we collect of the very terrorist groups we are most concerned about making concerted efforts to acquire nuclear capabilities with the express intent to use them against our peoples," he added. Over 200 delegates from 56 nations, as well as the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency, are taking part in the three-day gathering which got underway in Madrid on Monday. The meeting is the fourth of its kind since the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism was founded in 2006 by US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin to reinforce control of nuclear facilities and materials in order to prevent such groups from accessing them. It was formed amid heightened global concern over nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran. The closed-door gathering in Madrid is aimed at "developing and consolidating an international work plan of a technical nature to improve the fight against nuclear terrorism," Spain's foreign ministry said in a statement. The world's five leading nuclear powers,the United States, Russia, China, Britian and France, form the core of the initiative which now includes 73 member states.



The Power That Drives Ahmadinejad?

(Iranian president wants to set stage for appearance of Shiite messiak)

June 17….(YNET) Shiite Iran is striving to attain the position of regional superpower en route to becoming a significant nuclear power on the international stage. Iran openly challenges the West in its attempt to eject the Americans and British from Iraq and attain hegemony in the Persian Gulf region, supported among other, by its military program, massively built up in recent years. The Iranian leadership talks of a “New Middle East” in response to the West, which would be an Islamic Middle East in the mold of the Iranian inspired Islamic revolution. Iran's political aspirations are driven by a deep religious zeal. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly pledges "the imminent and evident liquidation of Israel," as a code word for the messianic fervor he shares with his spiritual mentor, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, one of the more radical ayatollahs, who subscribes to diplomatic and military activism to advance the global Islamic revolution spearheaded by Iran. Former President Khatami, an Iranian reformist, once referred to Yazdi as "the theoretician of violence." In 2006, Yazdi's leading disciple, Mohsen Gharavian, released a ruling or fatwa sanctioning the use of nuclear weapons against other nations. This is in distinction to Iranian diplomats in the West who repeatedly say that nuclear weapons are opposed by Islam and thus will not be sought. In language reminiscent of Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie, Ahmadinejad's mentor also ruled that "If anyone insults the Islamic sanctity, Islam has permitted for his blood to be spilled, with no legal proceedings necessary." Addressing senior religious scholars in mid November 2005, Ahmadinejad did not attempt to hold back his true motives and intentions. Our basic goal, he noted, is to set the stage for the Mahdi, the Shiite messiah, or the “vanished Imam.” He went on to state that in order to bring this about, Iran must set an Islamic example, develop a strong society and forge government policy in various fields, endeavoring to realize the goal of the end of time vision whereupon the Mahdi will appear. As mayor of Tehran, for example, Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to have in 2004 secretly instructed the city council to build a grand avenue to prepare for the Mahdi. A year later, as president, he allocated $17 million for a blue-tiled mosque closely associated with mahdaviat in Jamkaran, south of the capital in the city of Qum. He has also instigated the building of a direct Tehran-Jamkaran railroad line. Such is the religious fervor associated with the mosque, every Tuesday night, the predicted evening of the Mahdi's arrival, thousands of Iranians gather at the shrine of Jamkaran. They write wishes on pieces of paper and throw them in a well where the imam is supposed to have appeared. Ahmadinejad had a list of his proposed cabinet members dropped into a well adjacent to the Jamkaran Mosque, it is said, to benefit from its purported divine connection. Most worryingly, Ahmadinejad openly espouses the belief that his rule is the harbinger of the Mahdi. In a speech at the UN in 2006 in the presence of many world leaders, Ahmadinejad closed his speech with a prayer: "O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace." What drives Ahmadinejad? A book published In Lebanon last year focuses on Ahmadinejad's Shiite vision of the Mahdi, titled "Ahmadinejad and the next global revolution." The author, Shadi Fakiya, establishes a direct linkage between Ahmadinejad and the Mahdi. Fakiya claims that the current Iranian president fits the description of the commander of the Mahdi forces which liberated Jerusalem according to Shiite belief. Ahmadinejad is depicted as being determined and guided directly by Allah, and believing that the "army of the liberation of Jerusalem" will pass through Iraq, similar to Ayatollah Khomeini, who claimed that "the road to Jerusalem passes through Karbala" (a holy Shiite town in Iraq.) Ahmadinejad's determination to acquire nuclear weapons is also construed as being part of the signs of messianic redemption, as he and his associates view the showdown with the international community to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear technology as one of the ways to prepare the ground for the appearance of the Mahdi.



Olmert willing to Cede Shebaa Farms to UN Custody Ahead of Golan

(Bashar Assad playing hard ball)

imageJune 17….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile’s sources reveal that prime minister Ehud Olmert told US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice when they met in Jerusalem Sunday, June 15, that he was willing to evacuate Israeli troops and hand this strategic enclave on the Hermon slopes to United Nations custody as early as July. He has not brought the issue either before the full government or the security cabinet. Defense minister Ehud Barak and the IDF high command are against this step, just one more topic at sharp issue between Olmert and Barak. Rice took the news to Beirut Monday at the end of her talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. She informed Lebanese president Michel Sleiman and prime minister-designate Fouad Siniora: “The United States hopes for an early settlement to the Shebaa Farms issue.” Israel’s withdrawal from the Shebaa Farms would expose its vital military positions on the northwestern slopes of Hermon to the Syrian 10th and 14th Divisions, elements of which are deployed in Lebanon close to the three-way border junction. Israeli military sources warn that handing it to the UN, namely the South Lebanese peacekeeping force, will extend the force’s lackadaisical control over South Lebanon to this strategic sector as well, granting Hizballah freedom of action in a fresh arena. Our Middle East sources disclose that the Shebaa Farms tactic was initiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy; and he sold it to President George W. Bush when they met in Paris Saturday.

Sarkozy’s plan consists of five steps:

 1. In the first week of July, Israel will announce it is ready to cede the enclave. The United States will then join France and Israel in issuing a statement indicating that Israel’s willingness to evacuate the Shebaa Farms is part of an evolving understanding intended to lead to its withdrawal from the Golan.

 2. But first, two French emissaries, the president’s diplomatic adviser Jean-David Levit and his chef de bureau Claude Gueant, traveled to Damascus Sunday, June 15. They presented Israel’s offer to the Syrian president Bashar Assad as the first fruit of the indirect Syrian-Israeli peace talks mediated by Turkey. The link between the Turkish and French initiatives surfaced Monday when Olmert’s two representatives to these talks flew to Paris from Istanbul to brief the president’s office on the just-ended session and plot the next moves.

 3. Paris is keen on some sort of climax for the opening of the Conference of Mediterranean States in Paris on July 13. Sarkozy views the event as the crowning diplomatic achievement of his first year at the Elysee. He has invited Assad as his guest of honor at the Bastille Day parade the next day.

 4. Sarkozy hopes that the signal honor he has conferred on Assad plus the Israeli concession will bring him and Olmert under the same roof for the conference opening. A brief encounter might even develop.

 5. But Assad is playing hard ball. He was noncommittal on the Mediterranean conference much less a meeting with Olmert. He says Israel’s promise to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms is not enough. He wants a fixed date in July or early August at latest before taking up Sarkozy’s invitation to the conference. The 12-square mile Shebaa Farms enclave lies just north of the Golan on the northwestern slope of the strategic Hermon range. It was captured by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967 from Syria as part of the Golan and as such was later recognized by the UN. Syria later said the Shebaa Farms were part of Lebanon, in order to provide the Lebanese Hizballah with a pretext to carry on attacking Israel and refusing to obey UN Security Council resolutions demanding the dismantling of its armed militia.



Rice: Building up Jerusalem Impedes Peace


(FOJ) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice  meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah and lambasts Israel for building in Jerusalem.


June 16….(By Stan Goodenough) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Israel Sunday ready to rebuke Israel for approving construction of 1,300 housing units in its capital city. During her flight to the Middle East late Saturday, Rice told reporters, "We've said before that this is a time to try and build confidence, and this [government decision to build homes for Jews in Jerusalem] is simply not helpful to building confidence." United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came to Jerusalem Sunday to tell Israel's government it needs to stop construction in its ancient capital because it makes the Arabs angry. "Ongoing Israeli construction in areas the Palestinians want for their future state 'has the potential to harm the negotiations,'" Rice said according to The Jerusalem Post. In a meeting with her Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Rice said she is "very concerned that at a time when we need to build confidence between the parties, the continued building and the settlement activity has the potential to harm the negotiations going forward." The Post said Rice "appeared more exasperated with the Israeli construction than she has in the past." "Look, it's a problem, and it's a problem that we're going to address with the Israelis. "This is obviously a road map obligation that is not being met," she reportedly told journalists on her plane. Both Rice and Livni were dressed in black as they stood in front of the press before going into their meeting. It is Rice's sixth visit to Israel this year - pushing up her drop-in average to once-a-month, after making 11 stops in the previous year-and-a-half. The Bush administration is understood to be increasingly desperate to secure some sort of Israeli-"Palestinian" agreement before the end of its term next January. Creating a Palestinian state in the heart of the Jews' historical homeland is the ultimate aim of the US-sponsored "peace" process. The Islamic-Arab world insists that Jerusalem, with its holiest parts, be the capital of that state. Apart from the Jews, no other nation has ever had Jerusalem as its capital, and there has never been a State of Palestine. According to the Jewish-Christian Bible, Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people as the capital of their exclusive homeland, which includes all the territory the international community accuses Israel of "occupying" and wishes to see turned into a Palestinian state. Since being miraculously restored to Jewish sovereignty in 1961, after more than 2000 years of gentile control, Jerusalem has been modernized, massively expanded and beautified. Psalm 102 states: Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come. For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in his glory.



Rice in Beirut, Says US Supports New Government

June 16….(AP) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put an American stamp of approval Monday on plans for a new government in Lebanon that would increase the power of Hezbollah militants. Rice made an unannounced visit to Lebanon's capital to meet with Western-backed leaders of an emerging coalition government, which the country's factions are still negotiating over. The US regards Iranian-and Syrian-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist group and has no dealings with it. "Congratulations," Rice said as she shook hands with Michel Suleiman, the army chief elected last month as president. "We are all just very supportive of your presidency and your government." She introduced members of the US delegation to him as they sat down for their meeting at the presidential palace. On the flight from Israel, Rice told reporters her message would be one of US support for Lebanese democracy and that they would discuss "how the United States can support the institutions of a free Lebanon." Hezbollah, which is both a militia and a political party, gained veto power over the Beirut government in a compromise brokered last month. The deal ended 18 months of political paralysis, and followed bloody street clashes. The US would have preferred that Hezbollah not gain greater power, but has called the deal a necessary step for stability. The breakthrough deal, reached with the help of Arab mediators, allowed Lebanon's parliament to elect a new president. Suleiman's election brought palpable relief to Lebanese who feared their country was in danger of another civil war. It also ushered in a shift in the balance of power in favor of Iranian-backed Hezbollah. Rice's visit came as US-backed Prime Minister Fuad Saniora was facing difficulties in forming a national unity government. For nearly three weeks, Saniora has been trying, so far without success, to form a Cabinet lineup acceptable to both the Western-backed parliamentary majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition. Hezbollah's ascendancy is a setback for the US, which had strongly backed the Lebanese government for three years and is concerned that Iran's influence is spreading in the Middle East. Nevertheless, the US welcomed the developments in Lebanon and its diplomats and visiting congressmen attended Suleiman's election. Asked by reporters why the power-sharing agreement was not a defeat for the United States, Rice said that while it's true that Hezbollah has gained political clout, it is also true that democratic figures endured. "Obviously in any compromise there are compromises," she said. "But this was an agreement that I think served the interests of the Lebanese people. And since it served the interests of the Lebanese people, it serves the interests of the United States. We support the democratically elected government of Lebanon," she said



US Backs Israeli Withdrawal from Shebaa Farms

(Al-Hayat quotes Lebanese sources as saying Washington may pressure Israel to pull out of disputed area it captured by Israel during Six Day War)

June 16….(YNET) Lebanese officials reported of a significant turnaround in the United State's position regarding the Shebaa Farms and said that the Bush administration is now in favor of Israel’s withdrawal from the eight square mile disputed area in the Golan Heights in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat said Monday. Sources in Lebanon were quoted by Al-Hayat as saying that Israel's possible withdrawal from the Shebaa Farms area, which was captured by Israel from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967, was one of the focal points during the recent meetings US President George W. Bush held with German, Italian, British and French leaders while touring Europe. The sources said Washington was more understanding of Lebanon's position on the issue, which is supported by the Arab League, the European Union and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, and did not rule out the possibility that the US would press Israel to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms. Al-Hayat quoted other Lebanese officials as saying that they were pleased with the recent diplomatic developments on the issue, which, according to them, indicated the possibility that the disputed region would be transferred to the supervision of UNIFIL forces in south Lebanon. Recent reports said that British Foreign Minister David Miliband and French President Nicolas Sarkozy estimated that the Shebaa Farms dispute would soon be resolved. Last week the Lebanese government issued a statement saying it would not negotiate with Israel until the Jewish state withdraws from the Shebaa Farms.



Rice Shamefully Rubber-stamps Lebanon's Hizballah Government

June 16….(Israel Today) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Beirut on Monday in support of a new coalition government deal that has brought stability to the country following a difficult 18-month period. The only problem is that the new government is almost entirely beholden to the Iranian-backed Hizballah terrorist militia. The coalition deal brokered in Doha, Qatar last month that brought an end to 18 months of political instability grants Hizballah, which is one of the leading parliamentary opposition factions, veto power over any and all government decisions. It also paved the way for the election of former army chief Michel Suleiman, a Hizballah ally, as Lebanon's president. Brushing aside Suleiman's Hizballah ties, the Associated Press quoted Rice as telling the new Lebanese president "we are all just very supportive of your presidency and your government." Hizballah forced the government to accept its coalition conditions after military seizing control of most of Beirut in a mini-military coup last month. Suleiman's forces stood by and refused to intervene as Hizballah gunmen imposed curfews and blockaded Beirut's international airport. The Doha agreement is seen in the region as a major victory for Hizballah and its Iranian sponsors.



Iran Has Technology for a Nuclear Warhead to Fit Shehab-3 Missile

June 16….(DEBKA) Some Western military and intelligence were shocked to learn that Iran had the blueprints for making a nuclear warhead that could fit onto its Shehab-3 missiles. The discovery was released by the former UN weapons inspector, David Albright, Sunday, June 16, ahead of the report on his investigation of the nuclear smuggling ring run by the father of the Pakistan nuclear bomb Abdul Qadeer Khan. He alleged that the nuclear blueprints passed to Libya, Iran and North Korea included “previously undisclosed designs for a compact warhead that could fit on Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles.” On May 22, Swiss President Pascal Couchepin, disclosed that, last December, the destruction had been ordered of a batch of 30,000 documents detailing construction plans for nuclear weapons, gas ultra-centrifuges to enrich weapons-grade uranium and guided missile delivery systems, evidence in a criminal case of a Swiss family of three engineers involved in the Khan ring. These nuclear blueprints were sold in underhand deals to those countries, and possibly also to al Qaeda, in the second half of the 1990s. Tehran has therefore had those designs for between 10 and 13 years. This discovery makes nonsense of the supposedly definitive judgment in Western and Israel intelligence that Iran lacks the technology for building a nuclear missile delivery system. Because of these estimates, Western governments have been able to keep their sanctions-cum-diplomatic track with Iran rolling as though tomorrow would never come. It is now evident that not only North Korea and Iran have known for some time how to build and deliver a nuclear warhead, but unknown recipients of AQ Khan’s merchandise, including terrorist organizations, may also command hazardous nuclear knowledge. The three Swiss engineers, members of the Tinner family, are the father, Friedrich, whose ties with Khan went back decades, and his sons, Urs and Marco. The Khan ring set up marketing headquarters in Dubai and Malaysia. The brothers have awaited trial for four years in a Swiss jail. Their father is out on bail and confined to Switzerland. The evidence against Urs Tinner, the hard disk he stole containing the incriminating nuclear documents, has now been destroyed by the Swiss authorities under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military experts reported on May 30: If Urs Tinner, a small cog in the Khan network, was able to steal a hard drive containing a mass of the network’s nuclear secrets, three conclusions are inescapable:

1. That Khan did not retain an efficient security system for the data he was selling. Therefore, his system was full of holes and his confederates and agents, whether employed on the technical or marketing side of the business, were able to help themselves to documents, diagrams and other illicit nuclear materials that were put on sale and, perhaps, go into business on their own.

2. It is an open secret among the American and Western intelligence services involved in uncovering the Khan ring that large sections are still going strong out in Pakistan, the Far East and the Middle East through channels still unexposed. They are bound to assume that the documents destroyed by the Swiss government may exist in copies still in circulation.

3. Some of their holders may have hung onto them for the last four or five years and then destroyed them when the Khan ring was exposed, for fear of being linked to the trafficker. On the other hand, it is possible that some of A. Q. Khan’s agents and accomplices sold his nuclear plans and secrets to terrorists linked to al Qaeda.



Saudi King Abdullah’s Oil Meeting Signals Prophetic Crossroad For Islam

June 16….(Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst) The Islamic nations represented in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, are at a prophetic crossroads. The powerful Saudi Arabian King has said his country will increase oil production and has called an emergency meeting of OPEC nations to discuss oil prices. King Abdullah is about to play a very strategic card in claiming the world for Islam. Islamic nations have run up oil prices to the point of causing food riots across the world. Now Islam is at the brink of whether it throws the world into complete anarchy without the military forces to subdue it, or whether it exercises patience for a more appropriate time to launch a takeover. Abdullah claims that market factors other than speculation are not the cause of the oil price run up. He says that there is enough supply in the market. But oil prices have brought the entire world to the breaking point. People are facing famine and starvation, runaway inflation, and economic recession because of oil prices. The Islamists have reaped huge windfall profits that have enabled them to buy heavily into the financial trade, securing large stakes in global banking and credit institutions. Islam has caused the world's breadbasket, America, to divert its reliable production of foodstuffs into products that feed petroleum demand rather than people. Islam's artificial price run up in oil has outpaced its strategic ability to quickly colonize, radicalize, and subdue with force the nations of the world. Now Islam is faced with dramatic choices. If it continues to press oil prices higher, the world comes closer to anarchy, economies will substantially weaken, and Islam risks losing its own investments. If Islam backs off and reduces oil prices, it stages a public relations coup, essentially buying good will among the nations, and can accelerate its colonization of the developed nations. At the appropriate time, Islam will have the forces in place to subdue the nations as the price of oil is then allowed to rise unimpeded. The world is now at the place where it is submitting to Islam. King Abdullah knows it. The Islamic world knows it. And unless the West understands these implications of Biblical proportions, the world will soon find itself in the crucible of prophecy. An angel of the Lord prophesied of Ishmael in Genesis 16:12, saying "And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." Ezekiel 38 prophesies of a colossal end time battle where the Islamic world with Russia leads an attack on Israel. And Revelation 13:7 speaks of the antichrist making war with the saints and overcoming them and taking control of the world. Islam may well be laying that groundwork.



Bush: Iran Has Replaced Palestinians as Key Mideast Focus

June 16….(In The Days) We need more sanctions. The next step is for the Europeans and the United States and Russia and China to understand that diplomacy only works if there are consequences. It is the international issue that faces us all. If the people in the Middle East do not think that the United States and Europe, for example, are going to work to provide security, they will find ways to secure themselves. And what the Middle East does not need is a nuclear arms race. It does not need the instability that comes from an innate fear that the West is not strong enough or willing enough to take on the problem. (“…upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…” Luke 21:25) When you go to the Middle East and you sit in my seat and listen, yes, there’s concern about the Palestinian State. But the dialogue has shifted dramatically from ’solve the Palestinian state and you’ve solved the problems in the Middle East’ to, now, ’solve the Iranian issue and you solve the problems in the Middle East’. I have made it clear that it’s difficult for the United States to resolve an issue in a one-on-one situation with people like Ahmadinejad. The only way to achieve consequences through diplomacy is for there to be a universal application, in this case, of sanctions.”







Analysis: Bush is Reconciled to a Nuclear-Armed Iran

June 14….(DEBKA) In an interview with the London Times , June 11, US president George W. Bush said his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran. Regarding the Israeli minister Shaul Mofaz’s recent assertion that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations was “unavoidable”, the US president commented that this “really should be viewed as the need to keep pressuring” Iran. On a farewell trip to Europe, Bush added: “We ought to work together, keep focused” regarding Iran’s nuclear program. DEBKAfile’s informed sources report that President Bush was also clearly bidding farewell to the option of an American strike against Iran’s nuclear program. With six months left of his presidency, his message to the Iranians was: They can either face isolation or they can have better relations with us all.” No third option, of a punishing military strike, was mentioned. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shot back by saying: “I tell him, your era has come to an end. With the grace of God, you won’t be able to harm even one centimeter of the sacred land of Iran.” DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report that Tehran is driving hard to attain a weapons capability by September or October this year, before Bush leaves the White House. Nonetheless, the US president has shown no sign of departing from the current course of diplomacy and international sanctions against Iran, although it has in no way inhibited Iran’s race for enriched uranium which advances unchecked. This was implied by his reference to a possible successor: Bush voiced concern that the Democratic nominee Barack Obama might “open cracks in the West’s united front towards Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.” But, he hoped that after his successor assesses “what will work or what won’t work in dealing with Iran,” he would stick with the current policy.”



Syria Warns Golan ‘Can be Freed Via Means Other than Peace’

June 14….(YNET) Deputy foreign affairs minister says all option on table for Damascus if Israel refuses to cede Golan Heights. ‘The settlers should not be raising their children in the Golan, since this is not their place. They should bear in mind that we will defend our land at any time.’ Syrian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Faisal al-Miqdad said on Saturday that Damascus retains several options to reclaim the Golan Heights, including options of a less-than diplomatic nature, the Jordanian daily ‘al-Dustour’ reports. Al-Miqdad went on to address Israeli residents of the Golan, saying “the settlers should bear in mind that we will defend our land at any time. They should know that the Golan Heights belong to us and that they should not be raising their children in the Golan, since this is not their place. They will not enjoy their lives there. “Syria has several courses of action if Israel refuses to return the Golan, however we still support peace and are not afraid of entering peace negotiations with Israel,” said al-Miqdad. “Syria was surprised to find that the commitments that Israel made in the past regarding the Syrian channel, were not binding,” he said. The deputy minister also addressed the indirect negotiations between Jerusalem and Damascus through Turkish mediation, saying that Syria saw the talks as being based on the principle of the so-called ‘Rabin Deposit.’ “We are not striving for peace from a position of weakness. The victory achieved by the Lebanese resistance (Hizbullah) in July 2006 changed everything in the region,” said al-Miqdad. Meanwhile Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa is sounding notably pessimistic regarding the talks with Israel. In an interview with the Jordanian paper, al-Sharaa said the negotiations in Turkey are conducted in separate rooms, with the Turkish mediator shuttling between the delegations.



Egypt finds weapons, explosives in Sinai

imageJune 12....(AP) EL-ARISH, Egypt (AFP) - Egyptian authorities on Thursday found weapons and explosives in the Sinai desert they believe were destined for the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, a security official said. Authorities found "three automatic weapons, two hand grenades, and three boxes full of ammunition in a warehouse in central Sinai," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The warehouse was discovered after a tip-off from local residents, he said, adding that no arrests had been made. Israel and the United States have repeatedly accused Egypt of not doing enough to secure its border with the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Islamist group Hamas for a year. The charges have been vehemently denied by Cairo. The find comes as Israeli defense official Amos Gilad was in Cairo to discuss an Egyptian-mediated truce deal between Hamas and the Jewish state. Israel has demanded an end to arms smuggling from Egypt's Sinai peninsula as part of the deal.



Blast flattens house of Hamas commander, killing 4

imageJune 12....(AP) BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip - A blast flattened the house of a militant commander in the Gaza Strip Thursday, killing four people, wounding 40 and burying an unknown number of others, Palestinian officials said. Israel, which routinely accepts responsibility for attacks on military targets, denied involvement. But Hamas said the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike and responded with a heavy barrage of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel, wounding an Israeli woman. The spiraling violence threatened to undermine last-ditch efforts to secure a truce between Israel and Hamas and stave off an Israeli invasion of Gaza. Israel's denial raised the possibility that the blast was caused by explosives meant for use against Israel that went off prematurely. Ambulances rushed to the scene and residents of nearby homes brought shovels and bulldozers to help dig people from the rubble. Three people covered in blood were carried out on stretchers and hurried into ambulances that sped them away to the local hospital. It was not clear whether the Hamas commander, Ahmed Hamouda, was inside the two-story house at the time of the explosion. Cars parked nearby were destroyed and covered with dust, and windows of neighboring houses and shops were shattered by the impact of the blast. Electricians were on the scene trying to disable live wires in the house, which had been reduced to a pile of debris. Hamas security officials pushed back a screaming mob of hundreds to keep them from disrupting the rescue efforts." It was a huge explosion," said Majid Abu Samra, a local resident. "The house was destroyed, and there are people still buried under the rubble. I evacuated two women who were covered in dust and blood."



Olmert Set to Endorse Kadima Primary

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
at the weekly cabinet meeting
in Jerusalem, Tuesday.

June 11...(Jerusalem Post) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is likely to initiate the end of his political career on Wednesday when he is expected to give the authorization necessary for a primary in Kadima to replace him. Olmert had intended to defy political pressure and continue to try to stall the process of ending his premiership, but sources close to him said Tuesday that he now had no choice but to cooperate. The prime minister will reveal his decision Wednesday afternoon in a meeting with the head of Kadima's steering committee, MK Tzahi Hanegbi, and coalition chairman Eli Aflalo.  Officials in the Prime Minister's Office tried to downplay Olmert's decision, saying that they "don't expect him to say anything dramatic." Some Kadima MKs said they thought Olmert would still try to delay setting a date for the primary until after the July 17 cross-examination of American financier Morris Talansky and that the cancellation of a steering committee meeting set for Wednesday had "bought him time." But others said the prime minister realized there was no chance of waiting an entire month anymore.  "Olmert cannot and will not go against everyone," an MK who is a close confidant of the prime minister said. "If there is a consensus for initiating a primary, he won't stand in the way. He can't put on the brakes any more when there are enough forces in the party who want it to happen."

The apparent change of heart for Olmert happened after Public Security Minister Avi Dichter released a statement clarifying his opinion in favor of initiating a primary. His associates said Hanegbi had misinterpreted him when he told the press last week that he was against starting the primary process before Talansky's cross-examination. "The primary should be no later than the beginning of September," Dichter told Hanegbi on Tuesday. "The date for the primary should be decided by July." Until Tuesday it appeared that three Kadima candidates opposed initiating primaries and only Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in favor. But now Livni and Dichter are in favor, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit remains opposed and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz has decided not to take a stand on the issue. "There will be primaries in Kadima," Mofaz said in a carefully-worded statement. "I want the party to decide when to begin the primary process." Livni's loyalists welcomed the change in the candidates' viewpoints but said that she realized all along that her view had more support than she was being given credit for in the media. Her associates said that Kadima had to take a major step or risk being made irrelevant.

"Kadima has to decide for itself where it is heading in order to restore the public's trust in politics in general and in Kadima specifically," a Livni associate said. "Kadima must begin to prepare and make big decisions." Olmert's opinion was also expected to be affected by the growing support in the Knesset for Likud MK Silvan Shalom's bill to disperse the Knesset and initiate an election in November. Meretz endorsed the bill on Tuesday, giving it the support of 74 MKs. Labor officials said the only way they would vote against the bill was if Olmert agreed to initiate a primary. Labor's 19 MKs could prevent the bill from passing when it comes to a preliminary reading in the Knesset next Wednesday. A high-ranking Shas official said the bill would be delayed by a week "for a hundred different reasons" and only voted on June 25. Shalom has expressed a willingness to delay the vote by a week to obtain Shas's support. Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra endorsed Livni in the Kadima leadership race on Tuesday, becoming the first Kadima minister or high-ranking party official to openly take sides in the race.



Security cabinet rules out Gaza operation for time being

imageJune 11...(Jerusalem Post) The long-delayed decision whether to accept an Egyptian-brokered cease fire with Hamas or step up military operations against the Gaza Strip came before the security cabinet on Wednesday, and despite reports that a majority of ministers favored tough military action, the decision was to give the cease fire talks more time. The meeting was preceded by a Tuesday discussion between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in which the various scenarios were reportedly discussed.  IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin also took part in that meeting, from which no details were provided.  One government source said that while Olmert and Livni favor stepped-up military action before agreeing to a cease fire, Barak wants to send his top adviser Amos Gilad back to Egypt one more time for additional clarifications before taking action

Although technically Olmert, Barak and Livni could take action on their own without seeking approval from the security cabinet, the source said that in the current political climate, where whatever decision Olmert takes would be criticized as having been influenced by his legal and political problems, he wanted the decision to have the backing of the security cabinet.  A number of cabinet ministers came out in favor of a widespread action before Tuesday's weekly cabinet meeting, with Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim, a close Olmert ally, saying "Israel must launch an operation against Hamas," adding that the country could not risk letting the Islamic group rearm itself "before the next round."  Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann advised the ministers at the cabinet meeting (held on Tuesday rather than Sunday because of the Shavuot holiday) against talking publicly about whether or not there would be an operation, saying that the constant discussion on the matter reminded him of how Hassidim "wait for the messiah." Barak also advocated taking a much lower public profile on the matter. "When the moment comes, we will act," he said. "The defense establishment is dealing with it, and the ministers should listen to what is being said about what can, and cannot, be accomplished through the various actions.



Iran warns of "painful" response if Israel attacks

June 10....(Reuters) - Iran's defense minister was quoted on Tuesday as warning Israel of a "very painful" response if it launched a military strike over the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program. On Friday, Israeli Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz told an Israeli newspaper an attack on Iran looked "unavoidable" given the apparent failure of United Nations sanctions to deny Tehran technology with bomb-making potential. "Our armed forces are at the height of their readiness and if anyone should want to undertake such a foolish job the response would be very painful," the state Iran daily quoted Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying. Israel, widely believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, has described Iran's nuclear program as a threat to its existence. Olmert last week said it must be stopped by "all possible means." Iran does not recognize Israel and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is regularly predicting its demise.


Palestinians: IDF air strike kills three Hamas operatives.

A Palestinian terrorist fires a mortar shell at Israeli tank positions east of Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

June 10....(Jerusalem Post) With a decision on a military operation in the Gaza Strip potentially only hours away, the violence in southern Israel showed no signs of relief, with the IDF reportedly killing three Hamas operatives in air strike which followed an intense mortar shell barrage on Tuesday. Shortly after noontime, at least 18 mortar shells fired by Palestinian gunmen pounding the western Negev. The projectiles landed in open areas throughout the Gaza periphery, and no wounded was reported. Shortly after the barrage, the IDF launched an air strike against the Palestinian cell responsible. The army confirmed hitting members of the cell, but could not confirm Palestinian reports that three of the men were killed. According to the Palestinians, both men killed in the air strike were members of special Hamas military unit. In addition to the fatalities, seven other people were wounded, Palestinian officials said. Earlier on Tuesday, four Kassam rockets struck open areas throughout the western Negev, from southern Asheklon to the Eshkol region. Nobody was wounded in those attacks, and no damage was reported. Four mortar shells were also fired without incident earlier in the day.


McCain: US Embassy Should be in Jerusalem

June 9….(Jerusalem Post) US Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain used the status of Jerusalem to attack his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama on Friday, accusing his opponent of flip-flopping on the issue while affirming his own commitment to an "undivided Jerusalem." "I can't react to every comment that Senator Obama makes, because it probably will change," McCain told a crowd of supporters while campaigning in Florida. "The point is Jerusalem is undivided. Jerusalem is the capital," he continued, and, in an effort to offer a practical demonstration of his stance, suggested moving the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. However, McCain qualified his comments by emphasizing that regardless of his position, the status of the city is still subject to negotiation. "The subject of Jerusalem itself will be addressed in negotiations by the Israeli government and people," he said. The Arizona senator's remarks were published in The New York Times on Saturday. On Thursday, the Obama campaign told The Jerusalem Post that the Democratic presidential nominee did not rule out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem when he called for Israel's capital to remain "undivided." Obama had declared on Wednesday that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," to rousing applause from the 7,000-plus attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference. But a campaign adviser clarified Thursday that Obama believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with." "Two principles should apply to any outcome," which the adviser gave as: "Jerusalem remains Israel's capital and it's not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967."



Jerusalem Issue Likely to Prevent Accord This Year, Again

June 9….(World Tribune) An Israeli government official has acknowledged that the crucial issue of the future status of Jerusalem is unlikely to be resolved in negotiations with Palestinians this year, reflecting the abiding gaps between the sides. Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said Saturday that Israel was still committed to the goal set at the American-sponsored peace conference at Annapolis, Maryland, last fall: to try to reach an agreement outlining Palestinian statehood and dealing with "all the core issues" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the end of this year. But Regev said he did not think Jerusalem's future could be resolved so quickly. "We will outline a methodology for an agreed framework on how to deal with Jerusalem in the future," he said. He spoke after a senior Palestinian negotiator, Ahmed Qurei, said the two sides had agreed recently to start drafting a paper defining their respective positions on the various topics under discussion. But Qurei, responding to Regev's remarks, made it clear in a telephone interview Saturday that a mere framework would be unacceptable. "If there is no Jerusalem," he said, "there will be no agreement." The Jerusalem issue is highly emotional and symbolic for both sides and has frustrated negotiators in previous talks for decades.



Iran Controlling Islamic Masses Through Cleric Icons


Protesters shout slogans as they hold a poster showing on left the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and on right the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, during a rally in Kufa, 100 miles)south of Baghdad, Iraq. Tens of thousands of Shiite faithful streamed out of mosques to join protests against a security agreement with the United States, following a call by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who opposes the deal which could lead to a long-term US troop presence in Iraq.







Obama Backtracks on Status of Jerusalem

June 6….(JWR) Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama did not rule out Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem when he called for Israel's capital to remain "undivided," his campaign told The Jerusalem Post Thursday. "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama declared Wednesday, to rousing applause from the 7,000-plus attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference. But a campaign adviser clarified Thursday that Obama believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with." "Two principles should apply to any outcome," which the adviser gave as: "Jerusalem remains Israel's capital and it's not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967. Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Barak Obama stood before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee parley Wednesday morning and declared his complete, unqualified support for a Jewish Jerusalem. The Holy City, he said, "will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided." The move was an attempt to score points with many in the Jewish and evangelical communities who, given Obama's past political relationships with terrorist sympathizers, racists, and other undesirables, have been weary of how, as president, he would treat the Jewish State. The rousing applause from the audience, including some of the most powerful politicians in America, was immediate. Almost as immediate, though, was Hamas' condemnation. Leaders of the terrorist group had previously endorsed Obama as their choice for America's Commander in Chief. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said he "totally rejected" Obama's Jerusalem pronouncement. "The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and we will not accept a Palestinian state without having Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state," he added. What a difference a day makes. On Thursday, when queried by CNN, Obama said he was misunderstood. "Well," Obama explained, "obviously, it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations." Despite telling the AIPCAC conference what it wanted to hear and believe, an undivided Jerusalem was, in fact, never his campaign's position. Obama's adviser for the Middle East, former Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer, in May told the Israeli mass circulation daily, Haaretz, that his campaign considers it "impossible to make progress on serious peace talks without putting the future of Jerusalem on the table."



Arab Anger Forces Obama to Backtrack on Jerusalem

June 6….( Within 24 hours of expressing his firm support for a united Jerusalem in a speech to a pro-Israel lobby organization, US Senator Barack Obama found himself forced to backtrack in the face of Arab anger on Thursday. Obama had managed to enrage Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) with his first foreign policy speech since garnering enough delegates to win the nomination at the Democratic convention in Denver this summer. "Let me be clear," said Obama from the podium at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington on Wednesday, "Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive and that allows them to prosper. But any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish State, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided," he declared. Responding to Obama's remarks, a livid Abbas told reporters, "This statement is totally rejected. The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and we will not accept a Palestinian state without having Jerusalem as the capital."  By Thursday Obama was quickly backpedaling, telling reporters "Well, obviously it's going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations… As a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute [a policy of the capital remaining undivided.]" Obama went on to expressed the view that there must be a way in which "everyone has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem, but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city." Israel has provided Christians and Muslims with free and complete access control of holy sites in Jerusalem since the Holy City was restored to the Jewish State in the 1967 Six-Day War. During the time the city was occupied by Jordan, from 1948 to 1967, Christians and Jews were prohibited from holy sites.



John Quincy Adams: Genesis 16 Prophesied Islam’s War Against America

June 6….(Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst) Iran is threatening to sue the United States for damaging Iran's international reputation by accusing it of trying to make a nuclear bomb. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan over cartoons published by a Danish newspaper that made fun of the "prophet" Mohammed. And the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel recently issued a report that Islamic attacks against Christians in Gaza were noticeably increasing. But an American president predicted Islam’s radical behavior against the West in 1827. The Barbary pirates were Islamic terrorists from modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. They were attacking American ships and holding Christian Americans as slaves. In 1786, future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, ambassadors to France and Britain, respectively, met with the Libyan ambassador to Britain Sidi Adja to discuss peace. Adja told them, "that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Muslim who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise." Adam's son, President John Quincy Adams wrote of Mohammed in the 1827 American Annual Register: "...combining the powers of transcendent genius with the preternatural energy of a fanatic and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth...He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war as part of his religion against all the rest of mankind. The essence of his doctrine was violence and lust; to exalt the brutal over the spiritual part of human nature." Adams spoke of the 1,200-year war between Christianity and Islam: "That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinctive of that impostor, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute are encouraged to furnish motives to human action, there never can be peace on earth and good will toward men." Then Adams waxed prophetic by quoting from Genesis 16:11, 12, "Behold, thou art with child, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael; and he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him." This is a far cry from today's presidents and presidential wannabes, who claim Islam, is peaceful.



Olmert Hints US Action on Iran Nukes is Near

June 5….( Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted after his meeting with US President George W. Bush Wednesday that US action against Iran is imminent. While he avoided saying anything clear and specific on the matter, Olmert did mention a "timetable" and said action would take place before Bush leaves the White House. "We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat," Olmert said after the meeting. "I left with a lot less question marks [than I had entered with] regarding the means, the timetable restrictions and America's resoluteness to deal with the problem." "George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on the matter before the end of his term in the White House," Olmert reportedly said after his 90 minute long one-on-one meeting with the American Commander in Chief. "With every day that goes by we get closer to stopping the Iranian nuclear plan," Olmert said. He said that meaningful steps were being taken to handle Iran "more effectively" and told reporters: "The Iranian problem requires urgent attention, and I see no reason to delay this just because there will be a new President in the White House seven and a half months from now." "The US is a leading element in dealing with Iran," Olmert said. "These are serious matters; I am not just saying this, It is not good to publicize everything."



Next President will Shape the Future of the Middle East

June 5….(JPOST) It is hard to imagine that had Al Gore been elected president, the US would have invaded Iraq. Similarly, the policy of Republican John McCain, if elected president, will in almost all certainty be different from the policy of Democrat Barack Obama should he enter the White House. These candidates' views about American foreign policy are significantly divergent, reflecting the difference between their respective parties.


McCain is convinced that an Iran with nuclear weapons constitutes an unacceptable risk. He believes it is a country that supports terror and interferes with American efforts in Iraq by arming and training Shi'ite militias. He has claimed that the US is facing "an evil man and a very dangerous regime," and that if Iran obtains nuclear weapons it will assume that since no country will want to confront it, it therefore has unlimited power. In such a situation, it will be perceived as a threat to other countries in the Middle East that may in turn want to develop nuclear capacities of their own. McCain is among the senators behind the decision to define the Revolutionary Guards, the military arm of the Iranian regime, as a terror organization. He has criticized Ahmadinejad's declarations about the destruction of Israel and denial of the Holocaust, and argued that they expose the danger posed by a nuclear empowered Iran. Nonetheless, McCain prefers a diplomatic solution to the problem, emphasizes the use of "aggressive" diplomacy, and supports the imposition of significant political and economic sanctions. If the Security Council does not impose substantial sanctions on Iran, as president he will likely try to muster the support of leading countries that will put this into effect, and will also aim to delegitimize the Iranian government. McCain does not explicitly mention replacing the Iranian government, but he talks about generating internal discussion in the country to demonstrate that the government does not represent public opinion, rather the aspirations of an extreme elite. He does not rule out the use of military force. The US National Intelligence Estimate of December 2007, which determined that Iran apparently suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, did not substantially change McCain's approach. He claims that Teheran still constitutes a threat due to its involvement in international terror and its support of "Hamas and Hizbullah, terror organizations bent on the destruction of Israel." However, he identifies less urgency in the matter, and hopes that it may be possible to hold talks between the countries, but only after Iran suspends its nuclear activity, and without the US providing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a propaganda opportunity, especially if it does not receive anything in return. Obama is more moderate on Iran than McCain, emphasizes the use of diplomacy, and is even planning direct talks with Iran (initially at low government level) without preconditions. On the other hand, he, too, does not rule out the military option, which would enjoy more extensive support if adopted only after the US has already proven that it has made every diplomatic effort. Obama defines Iran as "a genuine threat to the United States and Israel," and Ahmadinejad's administration as "a threat to all of us." He, too, recognizes the dangerous implications of nuclear weapons in Iran's possession for regional stability. Obama initiated a law designed to help US states withdraw investments by companies that trade with Iran. On the other hand, he did not support the decision that called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to be defined as a terror organization, as he saw this as an overly belligerent approach that might provide the Bush administration with the basis for launching an attack on Iran.


McCain supported launching the war in Iraq and subsequent US efforts to stabilize the country, despite criticizing the strategy as too weak until a decision was made in early 2007 to reinforce the troops. He believes that exiting Iraq now and even setting a timetable for the withdrawal would be tantamount to admitting defeat. It would be "a mistake of colossal historical proportions" that would lead to catastrophic results for the Middle East: civil war in Iraq, a strengthening of Iran's standing, unsettlement of regional equilibrium, a strengthening of the Taliban and al-Qaida, and a greater threat to Israel. On the other hand, a US victory in Iraq means a functional country (even if with a flawed democracy) that cooperates with the United States in a long struggle against terror. Obama has opposed the war in Iraq since it began (even before he was elected senator), and he mentions this record regularly. Obama believes that the US's security situation has deteriorated since 2003, as the invasion and occupation of Iraq have led to the strengthening of international terror, Iran, al-Qaida, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Taliban.

He blasts the financial price of the war as too high, damaging the US economy, increasing the US's monetary dependence on foreign capital, and in turn damaging national security. Obama promised that as president, he would start to withdraw American troops from Iraq immediately and continue over the following year and a half. At the end of the process a very small force would remain there to protect Americans in Iraq, train Iraqi security forces and carry out operations against al-Qaida.

Israel and the Palestinians

McCain is a veteran supporter of Israel. He believes that Israel is America's "natural ally in what is a titanic struggle against Islamic extremists," and that the "bond between the United States and Israel is not only strategic, but also moral." McCain has promised that as president he will work to strengthen America's commitment to Israel's security, and will continue to provide it with arms and technology that will maintain its military supremacy in the region. He sees Hamas as a terror organization and an ally of Iran with which, until it recognizes Israel's existence, the US and Israel should not negotiate. He asserts that no sovereign state can accept repeated terror attacks on its territory and citizens, and thus he supports the action Israel takes against Hamas and other terror organizations in the Gaza Strip. McCain has even said that Israel should not be pressed into any negotiations as long as terror exists. He favors talks with Abu Mazen, but cautions that the Palestinian Authority president's control is limited. Regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, McCain declared that he does not believe Israel should return to the 1967 borders. Since Obama was elected to the Senate and through his presidential campaign, he has also expressed his support for Israel in its struggle against terror. He defines Israel as "the US's strongest ally in the region, and the only democracy there"; he is committed to Israel's security, including by maintaining its military superiority; he sees Hamas as "a terror organization devoted to the idea of destroying the State of Israel," and therefore does not comprise a legitimate partner to negotiations until it changes its attitude. Obama supports a two-state solution and is "committed to making every effort to help Israel achieve peace," but will not force a settlement on it; he opposes a Palestinian right of return. Obama is the only candidate who has not expressed support for the security fence, which he described as "another example of the neglect of this administration in brokering peace." Who, then, is "good for Israel"? That depends on the beholder. McCain would maintain Bush's line, probably without the religious, emotional and personal elements that made his strong support of Israel exaggerated among portions of American public opinion. Obama, on the other hand, would likely inject a sense of urgency to the political process, and would display less patience over what is viewed as foot-dragging by Israel in implementing its commitments according to the road map (significant removal of army roadblocks, evacuation of outposts, freeze of settlement construction). Those who believe that Israel requires a US administration that does not pressure it into following a path that it does not want to take, and is committed to stopping the Iranian danger through military means, if necessary, will prefer McCain over Obama. Those who feel that Israel needs a US administration that will impose a direction on it that it might otherwise not pursue, and that the danger of a nuclear empowered Iran does not necessitate the use of military force will prefer Obama over McCain. Nevertheless, there is a word of caution for members of the latter group. While Obama allows himself to express relatively balanced positions already at the election campaign stage, it is possible that after he is elected, his policy will reflect his original critical positions. The future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depends more on what happens between the sides than the extent and nature of the involvement of any US administration. On the other hand, the continued presence of the US in Iraq almost entirely depends on the next US administration. Indeed, a decision on the withdrawal of the American army is an individual decision by the president; Bush's success in withstanding the pressure of the Democratic majority in Congress proves this. The way in which the United States deals with the Iranian danger, through more effective diplomacy and/or implementing the military option, mainly depends on Washington. The president can also decide on his own to launch an aerial attack on Iran, as opposed to a land-based invasion. It seems, then, perhaps more than in other elections, that the particular Democrat or Republican who will enter the White House will to a large extent shape the future of the Middle East



Iran Can't Be Deterred With Negotiations

June 5….(Ken Timmerman) Israel can no longer deter Iran, because Iran’s leaders “don’t care about their own citizens,” former Israel Defense Minister Dr. Ephraim Sneh told a gathering of pro-Israel supporters in Washington on Tuesday. Drawing an analogy from the second Lebanon war in the summer of 2006, Sneh reminded his audience that “half the civilian Israeli casualties were Arabs, Israeli Arabs.” And yet, the fact that Hezbollah rocket attacks were killing fellow Muslims, whom Hezbollah had vowed to defend, meant little to the Iranian-backed militia. “What Hezbollah said was, they declared them shahids, as martyrs,” Sneh said. “By doing so, they solved for themselves the moral problem. They killed Arabs, Muslims mainly, and they said, they are an acceptable price for hitting Israel. So take your logic, and put it aside when you are talking about irrational leadership.” Brig. Gen. Sneh was just one of several current and former Israeli leaders who came to Washington this week, to warn about the growing threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is facing moves within his own Kadima party to remove him from office in the wake of yet another corruption scandal back home, also traveled to Washington to deliver a public warning. Efforts by Iran to mislead the international community, including IAEA inspectors, about the status of its nuclear research and its refusal to back down despite three United Nations Security Council resolutions, made it clear that the world community must take “more robust measures” against Iran. Failing that, “Israel will not tolerate the possibility of a nuclear Iran, and neither should any country in the free world,” Olmert said. Sneh called Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons capability “the only red line that counts” and warned that Israel “will be compelled to take action” against Iran to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons. He also warned against the belief, currently championed by former president Jimmy Carter, and his former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, now a foreign policy adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, that the United States can “negotiate” with Iran’s leaders. Carter urged the Bush administration on Tuesday to rapidly open negotiations with Iran to impress upon them the consequences of a possible US military attack on their country, because Iran’s leaders are “reasonable people” and “are not suicidal” and could be expected to back down. Sneh swept aside negotiations as naïve and dangerously misinformed. “If the Ayatollahs believe that the price for their aggression is 5 million Iranians dead, they will think that it is worth doing,” he said. “You have to understand, this leadership [in Iran] is living according to a very extremist, fanatic, messianic Shiite mythology of bringing back the 12th imam. They are not thinking in the way you and I think. And for them, the destruction of the Jewish State is a target, an objective, that is worth a big sacrifice.” Sneh is a member of the Labor Party, Olmert’s coalition party in the current government. His remarks and those of Likud Party Benjamin Netanyahu recently demonstrate strongly the consensus within the Israeli political establishment as to danger of a nuclear-armed Iran. Appearing together with Sneh at an international conference in Herzliya, Israel last month, Netanyahu said that Iran had no fear of an Israeli counter-strike and that “nothing” would stop the Tehran regime from attacking Israel except a pre-emptive strike. “Iran will be the first nuclear state in history against which deterrence won't work, even if the deterrent is nuclear,” Netanyahu said. Because of the Iranian regime’s messianic policies, Israel and its allies should help the Iranian people to change the regime, Sneh told the AIPAC conference. “The problem is not the nuclear project,” Sneh said. “The problem is the regime, the regime that is based on Islamic fascism.” He added: “It’s the regime that should be eliminated. Who should do it? The Iranian people.”



Bush to Olmert: Iran Existential Threat to Peace

imageJune 5….(YNET) President Bush tells Prime Minister Olmert world must take Iranian threat seriously, 'which the United States does'; PM Olmert says Tehran is main threat faced by Israel at this time Iranian threat tops agenda: US President George W. Bush told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday that Iran was an "existential threat to peace" and said the world must take that threat seriously. "It is very important for the world to take the Iranian threat seriously, which the United States does," Bush said as he began White House talks with Olmert, visiting amid a corruption scandal at home that could drive him from office. President Bush is trying to reassure Israelis worried about the US commitment to keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The two leaders met in the Oval Office. At this time there is no official confirmation from Prime Minister Olmert's associates that he will ask Bush to order a military strike on Iran before the end of his tenure. However, a senior diplomatic source involved in contacts with the Americans in recent years said that on several occasions Israel asked for more decisive US action against the Iranians, based on the assumption that diplomatic activity is insufficient to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions. The two leaders were also expected to discuss Israel's request to acquire one or two squadrons of the F-35 stealth aircraft, and possibly also F-22 jets. Both models are considered the most advanced in the world.

    In a press statement following the meeting, Olmert said that the discussions about the Iranian threat "derive from the need for a profound mutual understanding as to the need for handling the threat, to prevent Iran from acquiring unconventional powers." "I came out with fewer question marks about the ways, means, time constraints, and determination necessary for handling the issue," he continued. Olmert also commented on the Syrian peace process, saying that "Israel and the US are cooperating strategically, so clearly the Americans were aware of our efforts with Syria." He refused to comment on a schedule for the talks however, remarking, "I don't want to create momentary excitement over a subject that is extremely sensitive, which could cause disruption and harm." The prime minister did say that a meeting with the Syrians was not scheduled for the next 24 hours. Commenting on newly elected Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's speech, during which he promised Jerusalem would remain Israel's undivided capital, Olmert said, "Obama's appearance was impressive, and what he said about Jerusalem was touching."



Obama Says He Supports Israel, Angers Fatah and Hamas

imageJune 5….( US Presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaking at the AIPAC convention in Washington Wednesday, said that Jerusalem must remain undivided. "Jerusalem must remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama said, to the rousing applause of the AIPAC audience. He also said that any agreement Israel makes with the "Palestinian Authority" must retain Israel's character as a Jewish state, thus appearing to side with the Israeli position on not allowing Arab refugees from 1948 into Israel. Obama said that he would never compromise on Israel's security. He noted that the Bush policy in Iraq, which he characterized as "war at the expense of diplomacy," has weakened the security of both Israel and the US, because in the past two years Iran has increased its threats against Israel and its nuclear capabilities. "I will do everything in my power, everything to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon," Obama said. Fatah-PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas was quick to react to Obama's statements. In a televised speech, he said that he rejected Obama's statement completely. PRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT= "The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was captured in 1967 and we will not agree to a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital." Saeb Erikat, advisor to Abbas, said Wednesday that Barack Obama had "shut all of the doors on achieving peace." He said the Arabs would continue to demand eastern Jerusalem in the negotiations with Israel. "We are very disappointed," Erikat said. "Obama failed to understand that without east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, no peace will be achieved with Israel."

Hamas: Obama, McCain are the same

Hamas's leadership in Gaza also voiced anger with Obama's statements. "Obama's statement proved once and for all that there will be no change in the United States' policy about the Israeli-Arab conflict," spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhari said. "Hamas does not differentiate between the two candidates for presidency, Obama and John McCain, because their policies are no different," he said.



Saudi King Abdullah Opens Conference on Interfaith Dialogue


(FOJ) King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia attends the opening ceremony of the three day conference of interfaith dialogue with Christianity and Islam at the Muslims holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 4, 2008. Saudi King Abdullah said Islam must do away with the dangers of extremism to present the religion's 'good message' to the world as he opened a conference of Muslim figures Wednesday, aimed at launching an interfaith dialogue with Christianity and Islam.

June 5….(Associated Press) Saudi Arabia's king urged a gathering of Muslim scholars Wednesday to open religious dialogue with Christians and Jews. But politics intruded as a senior Iranian figure said the Islamic world should stand up to the US and its "international arrogance." King Abdullah spoke at the start of a three-day conference of Islamic scholars, clerics and other figures in the holy city of Mecca called to get Muslims on the same page before the kingdom launches a landmark initiative for talks with adherents of other monotheistic faiths. The tone was one of reconciliation between Islam's two main branches, Sunni and Shiite. Abdullah, one of Sunni Islam's most prominent figures, entered the hall with Shiite Iranian politician Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who later sat at the king's left in a gesture of unity. But while Rafsanjani spoke warmly of his host, he also highlighted the political divide between their nations by delivering pointed criticism of America, a Saudi ally. He accused the US of greedily trying to control the region's oil and said Muslims should resist it. Saudi Arabia has presented its dialogue proposal as a strictly religious initiative, an opportunity to ease tensions within Islam and between it and Christianity and Judaism. Still, the initiative has political implications, coming from a Mideast heavyweight that does not have diplomatic ties with Israel. Jewish leaders have generally praised Abdullah's proposal, though it is not clear if Israeli Jewish leaders will be invited to take part. Participants say they hope the gathering will culminate in an agreement on a global Islamic charter on dialogue with Christians and Jews. They expect Saudi Arabia to make a formal call for an interfaith dialogue at the conference's close or soon after. The initiative also represents a move by Abdullah to present oil-rich Saudi Arabia as a force for moderation in the region, despite the kingdom's adherence to the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Sunni Islam and its religious restrictions at home, including a ban on non-Muslim religious services and symbols.In his opening speech, Abdullah told the 500 delegates from around 50 Muslim nations that Muslims must do away with the dangers of extremism to present Islam's "good message" to the world. "You have gathered today to tell the whole world that we are a voice of justice and values and humanity, that we are a voice of coexistence and a just and rational dialogue," he said. He said the Islamic world faces difficult challenges from the extremism of some Muslims, whose aggressions "target the magnanimity, fairness and lofty aims of Islam." The Saudi outreach to Iran and Shiites was significant. Relations between Saudi Arabia and mainly Shiite Iran are uneasy as the two rivals for influence in the Middle East stand on opposite sides of political divides in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. Wahhabi ideology also considers Shiites to be infidels, and days before the conference hard-line Saudi clerics issued a statement harshly denouncing Shiites. Several senior Shiite figures were invited to the conference, including Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah of Lebanon and Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, head of Lebanon's Hezbollah, which was strongly criticized by Saudi Arabia for overrunning mostly Sunnis areas in Beirut last month. The three leaders did not show up, but Fadlallah, who is recovering from a minor operation, sent his son, Sayyed Ali Fadlallah. In addition, two prominent sheiks from Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority attended. By inviting Rafsanjani, a former Iranian president who now heads two powerful clerical governing bodies, Saudi Arabia signaled it doesn't have a problem with Shiites it sees as moderates. Rafsanjani is believed to be on good terms with Abdullah, and the two men worked to repair relations between their countries in the 1990s. Acknowledging his closeness to Abdullah, Rafsanjani referred to the Saudi monarch as "a very dear personality" in his speech. He also spoke of the growing Sunni-Shiite split, saying that before Muslims speak with adherents of other religions, they must patch up their differences. "It's a sin to have conflicts," he said. But Rafsanjani also underlined Iran's differences with Saudi Arabia, saying Muslims should stand up to the United States and not let it gain control of the natural resources of Muslim countries, a pointed comment in oil giant Saudi Arabia, a key ally of Washington. "Why should this tremendous group (Muslims) be weak before the International Arrogance?" Rafsanjani said, using a common term among Iranian leaders for the US "We do not want to use force or to be unjust, but we don't want to hand over our rights to others." The US is "greedy, and (wants) to control our countries and to pressure us and plunder our wealth and resources," he said.



Assad Now Demands Golan Plus Sea of Galilee Shore

June 4….(DEBKA) In his interview in Dubai on June 2, president Bashar Assad raised his price for a peace deal with Israel, DEBKAfile’s political source note. The Golan, which Syria’s invading army lost to Israel in the 1967 war, is not enough; Assad is also demanding a strip of the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which Damascus considers demilitarized territory held by Israel against international law. The last round of peace talks eight years ago broke down over this very demand. The Syrian ruler told the Gulf newspaper al-Khaleej: “But if the question of water is intended for us to give up the 1967 borders that stretch to Tiberias (Sea of Galilee), then there will never be a compromise on the 1967 borders.”  The strip Assad referred to is crowded with the Israeli kibbutzim, Ha’on, Tel Katzir, Shear Hagolan and Massada, which in the 1950s and 1960s lived under constant Syrian shelling from the Golan plateau overhead. These attacks often blew up into major Israel-Syria clashes and aerial dogfights. DEBKAfile’s sources comment that Assad published his expanded demands on the day Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert arrived in Washington for talks with the US president and top officials. The message he was broadcasting from Dubai was addressed to George W. Bush’s successor in the White House in the hope that the next president opts for diplomatic talks with Tehran and Damascus. The Syrian ruler therefore made a point of mentioning that serious peace talks with Israel would not start before next year and Washington would need to take a hand in the process. Jockeying for position ahead of these talks, Assad made it clear that he was also challenging Israel’s control of the Sea of Galilee, the main source of its national water supply. “As for water,” he said. “There are international rules that govern these matters and are usually referred to.” Damascus has always claimed that the sources feeding the lake are Syrian and Lebanese and Israel therefore does not have exclusive ownership



Israel Celebrates Jerusalem 41

June 4….(JNEWSWIRE) Tens of thousands of visitors came up to Jerusalem Sunday and Monday to participate in celebrations marking 41 years since the capital was reunified and restored to Jewish sovereignty millennia after it was lost to them. Parades, concerts, flag dances and fireworks shows are among the numerous events taking place around the city through this week as "Jerusalem 40" the special year of commemorations since the age-old daily Amidah prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem to the Jews was finally answered - draws to a close. The 40th Anniversary of Jerusalem's Reunification coincides with the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Jewish State, celebrations of which have been underway for weeks, bringing thousands of well-wishers to the land. Sunday also saw massive rallies in celebration of the 60 years taking place in New York and Washington DC as Americans joined their hearts with Israelis for this special occasion. The resurrection of the Jewish nation in their homeland, and their return to rule in Jerusalem, was all foretold in the Bible, in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. Millions of Bible-believing Christians therefore rejoiced when Jerusalem was returned to Jewish rule, remembering the words of Jesus Christ, who about 30 years before the Romans destroyed the city and its Temple in AD70 said that one day, after being trodden underfoot by gentile powers for a long period of time, during which the Jewish people would suffer unending persecution, Jerusalem would finally be restored to its rightful owners. When it happened, in 1967, this restoration was seen as a miracle in and of itself as in just six days Israel demolished Arab armies amassed to destroy the Jewish state. Forty-one years later, as the song "Jerusalem of Gold" made famous after that victory echoes up from the Sultan's Pool down below the Old City walls, an unrelenting international effort continues to wrest the holiest parts of this sacred city away from the Jews once more. Most sought after is Israel's holiest site, the Temple Mount, which is earmarked to become part of the Arab State of Palestine, when it is created. An exclusive report at the top of the WorldNetDaily website Monday was headlined, "Temple Mount '100 percent Islamic' and quoted PLO chief and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' chief of staff as warning that "any Israeli action that 'offends' the Mount will be answered by 1.5 billion Muslims."



McCain at AIPAC: Mocks Obama's Desire to Meet Ahmedinejad  

(McCain at AIPAC 2008)

June 4….(Israel Insider) Over 7,000 people roared their approval of Senator John McCain yesterday as he delivered a foreign policy address to the annual conference of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). The Republican presidential nominee told the crowd that the "surge" had helped turn the tide in Iraq, and he reminded them that Barack Obama voted to cut off funds to American troops. McCain told the conference that the American-Israel alliance must be strengthened. He rejected talks with Iranian leader Ahmadinejad, who yesterday promised his supporters that Israel and the US would soon disappear. The Republican standard-bearer mocked Obama's position that we should immediately negotiate with Ahmadinejad without any pre-conditions. "We hear talk of a meeting with the Iranian leadership offered up as if it were some sudden inspiration, a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before. Yet it's hard to see what such a summit with President Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants, and a worldwide audience for a man who denies the Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another. Such a spectacle would harm Iranian moderates and dissidents, as the radicals and hardliners strengthen their position and suddenly acquire the appearance of respectability." "Rather than sit down unconditionally with the Iranian president or supreme leader in the hope that we can talk sense into them, we must create the real-world pressures that will peacefully but decisively change the path they are on."



At AIPAC, Rice Call for Palestinian State Greeted with Silence

June 4….(Israel Insider) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington Tuesday, stressed the urgency of establishing a Palestinian state, saying that increasing violence in the Middle East makes the establishment of a "peaceful" Palestinian state especially urgent. Her remark, however, was received with stony silence, although the secretary had been warmly greeted by the conference at the outset of her speech. After she noted that this would be her last AIPAC conference as Secretary of State, she jokingly thanked the audience for not treating that remark as an applause line. AIPAC has been skeptical regarding the Palestinian leadership's ability to control terrorism. Rice said that while the present opportunity is far from perfect, it is better than any alternative and should not be missed. "Israelis have waited too long for the security they desire and deserve," she said, "and Palestinians have waited too long, amid daily humiliations, for the dignity of a Palestinian state." Regarding Iran, Rice said "We would be willing to meet with them, but not while they continue to inch closer to a nuclear weapon under the cover of talk." "Our partners in Europe and beyond need to exploit Iran's vulnerabilities more vigorously and impose greater costs on the regime - economically, financially, politically and diplomatically," she added. Rice also said the Palestinian track should take precedence over recently started Israel-Syria talks, although she expressed appreciation for Turkey's mediation efforts. Rice, who was to have come to Israel next week on yet another visit, has decided to cancel her trip, apparently in response to the political crisis in Israel. Sources in Washington said Rice is increasingly concerned that the parties will not be able to reach an agreement before the end of the year, and doubts that there will be a possibility of creating negotiations with the next American administration.



Ahmadinejad: Europe Suffering Because of Zionists

(Iranian president drops by Rome for UN summit, tells EU Israel a political, economical burden to it. Italian government, seemingly embarrassed by outspoken guest, drops him from summit's gala closing event.)

June 3….(YNET) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Rome on Tuesday to attend the United Nations summit on global food security.  Ahmadinejad was quick to attack Israel upon his arrival, saying Europe was bearing the economic and political costs of the "false Zionist regime." "I do not believe that my declarations create problems," Ahmadinejad told summit goers via an interpreter. "People like my comments, because this way the public can save themselves from the imposition of the Zionists. "European peoples have suffered the greatest damage from Zionists and today the costs of this false regime, be they political or economic costs, are on Europe's shoulders," he said. Italian public television, RAI, reported that the Iranian president's name was dropped from the summit's closing gala event guest list, which will be hosted by Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.Ahmadinejad's participation in the summit has been the source of much embarrassment to the Italian government. Both Berlusconi and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini have made it clear that they would not meet with him, since Iran does not recognize Israel's right to exist. Ahmadinejad had also reportedly asked for a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI but was turned away. The Vatican issued a statement saying all similar requests to see the pope during the summit were declined as well and added that media interpretations that the pope was snubbing anyone were wrong.



McCain, Obama Exchange Barbs On Iran

June3….( Republican Presidential nominee John McCain and lead Democratic candidate Barack Obama attacked each other's stands regarding the Iranian danger Monday, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made it clear Tuesday that force was still an option for dealing with Iran. Speaking before American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention in Washington, DC, McCain said: "The Iranians have spent years working toward a nuclear program. And the idea that they now seek nuclear weapons because we refuse to engage in presidential-level talks is a serious misreading of history. In reality, a series of administrations have tried to talk to Iran, and none tried harder than the Clinton administration." "Even so, we hear talk of a meeting with the Iranian leadership offered up as if it were some sudden inspiration, a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before," McCain said, in a reference to Obama's statements on the matter. "Yet it's hard to see what such a summit with President Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants, and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another. Such a spectacle would harm Iranian moderates and dissidents, as the radicals and hardliners strengthen their position and suddenly acquire the appearance of respectability. It's hard to see what a summit with Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants. Rather than sitting down unconditionally with the Iranian president or supreme leader in the hope that we can talk sense into them," McCain explained, "we must create the real-world pressures that will peacefully but decisively change the path they are on. Essential to this strategy is the UN Security Council, which should impose progressively tougher political and economic sanctions. Should the Security Council continue to delay in this responsibility, the United States must lead like-minded countries in imposing multilateral sanctions outside the UN framework. A severe limit on Iranian imports of gasoline would create immediate pressure on Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to change course, and to cease in the pursuit of nuclear weapons." McCain noted that he was one of the senators who authored an amendment calling for the designation of the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. "Over three quarters of the Senate supported this obvious step, but not Senator Obama," he said. He opposed this resolution because its support for countering Iranian influence in Iraq was, he said, a 'wrong message not only to the world, but also to the region.' But here, too, he is mistaken. Holding Iran's influence in check, and holding a terrorist organization accountable, sends exactly the right message to Iran, to the region and to the world."

McCain policy 'failed and dangerous'

Sen. Obama was quick to respond to McCain's criticism: "John McCain stubbornly insists on continuing a dangerous and failed foreign policy that has clearly made the United States and Israel less secure," he contended. "Here are the results of the policies that John McCain has supported, and would continue. During the Bush Administration, Iran has dramatically expanded its nuclear program, going from zero centrifuges to more than 3000 centrifuges. During the Bush Administration, Iran has expanded its influence throughout a vitally important region, plying Hamas and Hezbollah with money and arms. During the Bush Administration, Hamas took over.
"John McCain continues to run on a platform of doubling down on George Bush's failed policies.Most importantly, the war in Iraq that John McCain supported and promises to continue indefinitely has done more to dramatically strengthen and embolden Iran than anything in a generation." "Confronted with that reality, John McCain promises four more years of the same policies that have strengthened Iran, making the United States and Israel less safe," Obama continued. "He promises to continue a war in Iraq that has emboldened Iran and strengthened its hand. He promises sanctions that the Bush Administration has been unable to persuade the Security Council to deliver. He promises a divestment campaign, even though he refused to sign on to Barack Obama's bipartisan divestment bill, refused to get his colleagues to lift an anonymous hold on the bill, and willfully ignores the fact that trade and investment between Iran and Iraq continue to expand. He stubbornly refuses to engage in aggressive diplomacy, ruling it out unconditionally as a tool of American power. "Instead of recognizing reality," the Democratic contender added, "John McCain continues to run on a platform of doubling down on George Bush's failed policies, while carrying on his divisive brand of politics. The United States and Israel cannot afford four more years of an unwillingness to change course."

'The day is right now'

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke at length about the Iranian threat in the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday. "Iran must understand that the threat of a military move exists and is not off the table," she said. "The clearer that becomes, the need for [a military strike] in practice may become smaller. The dialogue with Iran is not just a question of conditions but of all of the influences this could have on the moderate camp in the region." Weakness can be interpreted as a sort of acceptance of fate," Livni explained. "We must understand that in this region you either oppose the neighborhood bully or you join him. Dialogue with Iran is not a matter of conditions, they must stop enriching uranium and then we will begin a dialogue." Livni said that some Arab countries are still sitting on the fence and discussing whether or not one can live with a nuclear Iran. "These countries await the international operation which will take the steps, and therefore we make it clear to the international community that the decisive day is not the day of the bomb but right now. Any ineptitude and hesitation create weakness," she explained. "The dialogue with Iran is not just a question of conditions but of all of the influences this could have on the moderate camp in the region. It will see dialogue with Iran as fear, so keeping the military option on the table is relevant and important," she said



First Iran-made Multiple Launch Rocket fired from Gaza

(Iran-made 107mm Multiple Launcher Rocket - now in Gaza)

imageJune 3….(DEBKA) The new weapon, of the type used by the Lebanese Hizballah against northern Israel, was fired for the first time by Palestinians from Gaza Tuesday, June 3. It landed on open ground in Shaar Henegev. The newly smuggled weapon carries a 8 kg payload, bigger than the Qassam missile with about the same 9 km range, drastically escalates the Hamas-led war against the southwestern Israeli population. For the first time, the Palestinian terrorists have acquired a weapon launched from a vehicle. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that weapons consignments, including increasingly advanced systems, continue to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip from Iran and Sudan for Hamas and its terrorist allies. The consignments are dropped from freighters into smugglers’ boats in the Suez Canal and unloaded on the Sinai coast. The Egyptian police are performing better now in intercepting illicit weapons deliveries, but their work is seriously impeded by the fact that some of the officers are bribed by the smugglers for their collaboration.



Muslims Warn Temple Mount '100% Islamic'

(Warning: 'Any action that offends holy site will be answered by 1.5 billion Muslims')

imageJune 2 ….(WND) Jerusalem and the Temple Mount belong to the Muslims and any Israeli action that "offends" the Mount will be answered by 1.5 billion Muslims, declared the chief of staff for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. "Jerusalem is Muslim. The blessed Al Aqsa mosque and Harem Al Sharif (Temple Mount) is 100 percent Muslim. The Israelis are playing with fire when they threaten Al Aqsa with digging that is taking place," said Abbas' chief of staff Rafiq Al Husseini.

Husseini was referring to Israeli plans to construct a new bridge from the Western Wall area to the Temple Mount. The old bridge was damaged two years ago. When Israeli workers tried to repair it, Palestinian leaders claimed the work was threatening the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the mosque is located hundreds of feet away, the work did not tunnel under any Mount foundation or touch any structure connected to the mosque, and the repair work, which had been pre-approved by Jordan and the Mount's Muslim custodians, was conducted under the scrutiny of an accessible 24/7 webcam. "Any hurting of Jerusalem will explode the whole negotiations between us and the Israelis, we must work to strengthen Palestinian ties to Jerusalem," al-Husseini said. Israel has been negotiating with Abbas in line with talks started at last November's U.S.-backed Annapolis Summit, which seeks to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is widely expected to offer the Palestinians most of the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is located in eastern Jerusalem. Mainstream Palestinian leaders claim the Temple Mount is Muslim in spite of overwhelming archaeological evidence documenting the first and second Jewish temples. Taysir Tamimi, chief Palestinian Justice and one of the most influential Muslim leaders in Israel, argued the Jewish Temples never existed, the Western Wall really was a tying post for Muhammad's horse, the Al Aqsa Mosque was built by angels, and Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets for Islam. Tamimi is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. "Israel started since 1967 making archeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s," said Tamimi. "About these so-called two Temples, they never existed, certainly not at the [Temple Mount]," Tamimi said during a sit-down interview in his eastern Jerusalem office. The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples throughout Jerusalem, including on the Temple Mount itself; excavations revealing Jewish homes and a synagogue in a site in Jerusalem called the City of David; or even the recent discovery of a Second Temple Jewish city in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Tamimi said descriptions of the Jewish Temples in the Hebrew Tanach, in the Talmud and in Byzantine and Roman writings from the Temple periods were forged, and that the Torah was falsified to claim biblical patriarchs and matriarchs were Jewish when indeed they were prophets for Islam. "All this is not real. We don't believe in all your versions. Your Torah was falsified. The text as given to the Muslim prophet Moses never mentions Jerusalem. Maybe Jerusalem was mentioned in the rest of the Torah, which was falsified by the Jews," said Tamimi. He said Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus were "prophets for the Israelites sent by Allah as to usher in Islam." Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad's horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the Wall predates the mosque by over 1,000 years. "The Western wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It's where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah." The Kotel, or Western Wall, is an outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple and still stands today in Jerusalem. Tamimi went on to claim to WND the Al Aqsa Mosque, which has sprung multiple leaks and has had to be repainted several times, was built by angels. "Al Aqsa was build by the angels forty years after the building of Al-Haram in Mecca. This we have no doubt is true," he said. The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century BC It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515BC after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in AD70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries. The Temple was the center of religious worship for ancient Israelites. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's presence dwelt. All biblical holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Temples served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place for Israelites. According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It's believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times. Muslims worldwide pray with their backs away from the Temple Mount and toward Mecca. According to research by Israeli Author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically disregarded Jerusalem. Berkovits points out in his new book, "How dreadful is this place!" that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship, and sanctifying only one place, the Kaaba in Mecca, to signify the unity of God. As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula, and that "in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred.



Ahmadinejad says US & Israel will 'Disappear'

(Criminal and terrorist Zionist regime has reached the end of its work, Iranian president tells foreign guests marking 19th anniversary of death of country's late revolutionary leader. 'Satanic power' of United States faces destruction, he adds)

June 2….(YNET) Iran's president said on Monday Israel would soon disappear off the map and that the "satanic power" of the United States faced destruction, in his latest verbal attack on the Islamic Republic's arch-foes. Ahmadinejad spoke at a gathering of foreign guests marking this week's 19th anniversary of the death of Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. "You should know that the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene," he said. Turning to the United States, he said the era of decline and destruction of its "satanic power" had begun and added: "The bell on the countdown of the destruction of the empire of power and wealth has begun to ring." The United States, which severed ties with Iran shortly after its 1979 Islamic revolution, is leading efforts to isolate Tehran over its disputed nuclear program. Some analysts have speculated that Israel might attack Iran to stop its nuclear activities, which the West fears are a front for weapons development. Iran, which does not recognize Israel, insists it wants nuclear technology only for electricity. Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, says it has developed ballistic missiles able to hit Israel and US bases in the region.



Jerusalem Day Celebrations Begin

June 2….( Lovers of Jerusalem around the world are celebrating the 41st anniversary of the reunification of the holy city during the Six Day War. The central event in the capital will be the traditional Rikudgalim, Flag Dance March, towards the Old City. Girls begin at Independence Park, between Ben Yehuda and Agron Streets, and boys will set out from Sacher Park, a bit further to the west. Thousands of youths are expected to take part, marching and singing with flags of Israel. The day commemorates the miraculous liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem, just days after several Arab armies threatened to wipe the State of Israel off the map. Weeks of trepidation and tension suddenly gave way to celebration and thanksgiving. When the borders of the State of Israel were drawn by the UN Partition Plan of 1947, and were later revamped in 1949 following the War of Independence, the joy of Jews around the world at the establishment of the first Jewish state in the Land of Israel in nearly 1,900 years was dampened by the fact that the holy sites of Jerusalem, particularly the Temple Mount, were left out. The continued longing for Jerusalem was expressed, for instance, by Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, the head of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav. Speaking to his students on Independence Day of 1967, just weeks before the Six Day War, he seemed to be gripped by prophecy when he cried out, "Where is our Hevron? Have we forgotten it? And where is our Shechem (Nablus)? Have we forgotten it? And where is our Jericho? Have we forgotten it? And where is all the rest of the Land of Israel? Where are all the pieces of G-d's Land? Do we have the right to give up even one millimeter? Heaven forbid. Three weeks and two days after the rabbi's emotional cry, Hevron, Jericho, Shechem and Jerusalem were once again in Jewish hands. The continued longing for Jerusalem before 1967 was expressed on another level by Naomi Shemer, in her famous song "Jerusalem of Gold" The original lyrics read, "The city that sits solitary, and in its midst, a wall... How the cisterns have dried, the market-place is empty, and no one frequents the Temple Mount, in the Old City... Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light, Behold I am a violin for all your songs..." Just a few months later, she was able to add these lyrics as the final stanza: "We have returned to the cisterns, To the market and to the market-place, A ram's horn (shofar) calls out (i.e. is being heard) on the Temple Mount, In the Old City." The song Jerusalem of Gold became Israel's unofficial national anthem, sung in joy at every opportunity.



Iran Achieves a Four-Front Missile Command Against Israel

June 1….(DEBKA) DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps have created a separate missile command, in which Syria’s missile force is to be integrated. The joint command was formalized in a new mutual defense treaty signed by the Syrian defense minister, Gen. Hassan Turkmani in Tehran last week. Israeli military sources judge the operational merger of Iranian and Syrian missile corps to be a major strategic hazard to the Jewish State. Western and Israeli military experts connect it with other indications that Iran’s program for developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads has gone into high gear and reached an advanced stage. They believe the Iranians have beaten most of the technical difficulties holding it up. On May 26, the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, which often goes easy on Iran, released a harsh report confirming Iran’s progress in “missile warhead design.” The new missile command was cautiously announced last week by the IRGC commander, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari. He said: “An independent command might be created in Sepah (IRGC) in order to fortify the structure and activities of the missile section.” DEBKAfile’s Iranians sources explain Jafar’s cautious language on three grounds:

1. He was preparing Iran’s population and the Arab world for a pretty portentous development.

2. He was at pains not to put off figures in the West who argue strongly in favor of unconditional talks with Tehran over its nuclear misdeeds. He counted on those advocates shouting down the Western strategists who would appreciate the startling significance of the separate command.

3. Tehran also views Syria’s co-option and the new mutual defense treaty as a sort of guarantee that Assad’s “peace talks” with Israel will in no way detract from his military and other commitments to Iran.

   DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources disclose that the details of the combined command were worked out ahead of the Syrian defense minister’s talks in Tehran: It was agreed that Syria’s missile units would come under the new independent Iranian missile section and their operations would be fully coordinated with Tehran. Iranian officers are to be attached to Syrian units and Syrian officers posted to the Iranian command. In the interim, Hizballah’s rise to power in Beirut has brought Lebanon into the shared Syrian-Iranian orbit. This development has enabled Tehran to line up a row of missiles deployments of varying strengths from Iran, Syria and Lebanon and up to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, a missile array never before seen in the Middle East and a strategic menace most of Israel’s security leaders rate unacceptable. Military experts comment that Tehran’s centralized control of four hostile missile fronts will virtually neutralize the American and Israeli anti-missile defense systems in the region; the Arrow and the Patriot missile interceptors could handle incoming missiles from one or maybe two directions, but not four. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Israel’s armed forces have been working overtime, against repeated holdups, to get the third Arrow battery installed. It is to be deployed in northern Israel as a shield against Syrian ballistic missiles and Iranian missiles stationed in Syria. The formation of the joint Iranian-Syrian missile command has slowed the project down. It calls for modifications in the Arrow’s deployment to meet the fresh challenge and a time-consuming study by US and Israeli intelligence specialists of how the new command structure functions. Western military sources doubt the Arrow system will be up and running by this summer, a period considered critical by military observers. They discount as over-optimistic recent claims by Israeli officials that the new Iron Dome will be ready for operational testing against short-range missiles in the next year or two. In a related development, DEBKAfile’s Gulf sources report that next week, Iran’s supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Syrian president Bashar Assad launch a major campaign to further isolate American influence and bludgeon moderate Arab governments into alignment with their extreme anti-US, anti-Israel line. Assad sets out Sunday, June 1, for the United Arab Emirates for talks with Sheikh KHalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan in Abu Dhabi. Tuesday, he spends two days in Kuwait. The visits were set up by the Qatar ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who spent Friday, May 30, in Assad’s palace, gathering compliments for the Doha accord he mediated which solved Lebanon’s political crisis by installing a national unity government in Beirut dominated by Hizballah. The Qatari ruler, Assad and Khamenei have joined forces to use the Lebanon accord as an object lesson to teach Arab governments that they do not need the United States or Saudi Arabia to help them manage their problems. This message was relayed in Iran foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki’s arrogant statement in Stockholm Friday. He said: “The United States of America needs a serious review of its foreign policy towards the Middle East. These policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and generally speaking in the Middle East are mistaken policies.” DEBKAfile’s political sources point out that these reverses are piling up against the United States and Israel at the worst time possible: both governments are hobbled, Washington in the dying days of the Bush administration, and Israel, by the grave corruption allegations against prime minister Ehud Olmert which have placed him and the other two senior policy-makers, the defense and foreign ministers, at loggerheads.



Obama Finally Leaves Controversial Church

(After defending, denouncing controversial sermons, 'deeply disappointed' candidate departs)

June 1….(WND) The Barack Obama campaign announced today the Democrat presidential candidate has resigned his 20-year membership in his controversial Chicago church. The decision follows nearly two months of the campaign being battered by showings of videotaped sermons from the former head pastor, Jeremiah Wright, that injected themes of anti-Americanism and racism into the campaign, as well as a controversial sermon preached last Sunday by a visiting Catholic priest that attacked Hillary Clinton. WND broke the story of Chicago Catholic priest Michael Pfleger's sermon Sunday at Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ, in which he implied Clinton was a white supremacist who believed she would win the nomination because of "white entitlement." Pfleger, during his sermon, mocked Hillary Clinton for crying prior to the New Hampshire primary, implying to congregants the reason for her tears was that she was a white supremacist who believed she would win the nomination because of "white entitlement." Pfleger told the Trinity congregation, "We must be honest enough to expose white entitlement and supremacy wherever it raises its head." He continued: "Reverand Moss, when Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on, I really don't believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought, 'This is mine. I'm Bill's wife. I'm white. And this is mine. I just got to get up and step into the plate.' "And then out of nowhere came, hey, I'm Barack Obama. And she said, 'Oh damn, where did you come from? I'm white. I'm entitled. There's a black man stealing my show.'" Pfleger then mimicked Clinton crying as the audience erupted into applause and gave Pfleger's remarks a standing ovation. Clinton has become emotional during several interviews this year, and some media commentators have questioned her sincerity. In his only public appearance yesterday, Obama did not mention Pfleger during a speech in Great Falls, Mont. A statement from his campaign Thursday said Obama was "deeply disappointed" by the priest's "divisive, backward-looking rhetoric." Thursday, the Obama campaign removed a testimonial by Pfleger from its campaign website. Pflegler, like Wright is a long-time close associate and spiritual adviser to the Democrat candidate. Obama campaign communications director Robert Gibbs said Obama had submitted his letter of resignation to the church in advance of meeting with reporters. At a Saturday afternoon news conference, Obama told reporters he and his wife, Michele, had not made the decision to leave Trinity Church lightly because of their long history at the church. After discussion, prayer and consultation with friends and family at the church, the decision was made with "some sadness," he said. As candidate for president, Obama said, he realized he was going to have to answer every comment made from the pulpit by the current pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, or visiting pastors. Further, the campaign was adversely affecting the church. Obama said reporters had harassed members at their homes and workplaces, even using the church bulletin to contact sick members for comments. When asked by a reporter how he would avoid the problem when he joined another church, Obama said he had not answered the question for himself yet. He noted that he does not expect to always agree with the pastor but that if he heard statements from the pulpit against homosexuality, he would strongly disagree. Pfleger, an early supporter of Obama who leads a mostly black Chicago parish, has hosted Farrakhan a number of times. The June/July 2007 issue of Wright's Trumpet magazine describes Pfleger as "Afrocentric to the core." Obama identified Pfleger in a 2004 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times as a key source of spiritual guidance. The Sun-Times piece, which was among the first in which Obama outlined his faith, includes quotes from Pfleger praising Obama.



Obama Throws Church under Campaign Bus

June 1….(Israel Insider) Taking advantage of a weekend media dead-zone, Sen. Barack Obama said Saturday that "with some sadness" he has quit the Trinity Church where he belonged some twenty years, where controversial sermons by his former pastor and now other ministers has proved politically embarrassing for his campaign. "We don't want to have to answer for everything that's stated in the church," the Democratic front-runner said. "We also don't want the church subjected to the scrutiny that a presidential campaign legitimately undergoes, adding that "This is not a decision I come to lightly." The resignation comes days after the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a visiting Catholic priest, mocked Obama's Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, during a sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois. Obama said the Pfleger controversy made it clear that, as long as he remained a member of the Trinity congregation, remarks from the pulpit would be "imputed" to him, even if they conflicted with his personal views. Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, began discussing a departure from the church after Wright spoke at the National Press Club on April 28. During the appearance, Wright said that Obama had "distanced" himself the fiery pastor for political reasons. Now, it appears, Obama has distanced himself from the Church where he and his family sat under Pastor Wright for some twenty years. Obama said he and his wife had discussed and prayed on the issue with Trinity's senior pastor, the Rev. Otis Moss, and hoped that the decision would withdraw Trinity from the spotlight. "



Obama's Goal? 'Jeopardize US Battlefield Superiority'

(Candidate would cut nation's vital defense dollars)

June 1….(WorldNetDaily)  An organization dedicated to the mission of protecting and defending individual freedoms and rights under the US Constitution is criticizing presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama for promising to cut, and possibly gut, US military defense spending. The Center for Individual Freedom a non-partisan, non-profit, has posted one version of a YouTube video of Obama "inexplicably" pledging" to "unilaterally jeopardize American military superiority." The organization said the Obama video, which originally was posted online by BarackObamadotcom in late 2007 but has been reproduced in other versions too, he tells an audience at a group called Caucus4Priorities he would cut "tens of billions of dollars" in spending. This would come at a time "when our armed forces are already stretched and in need of new weapon technologies and armor," said CFIF. He also guarantees he will "cut investments in unproven missile defense systems," and he "will not weaponize space," and that "unnecessary" spending will be eliminated. "Most alarmingly, however, Sen. Obama literally promises to 'slow development of future combat systems,'" CFIF said. "Think about the frightening implications of this pledge for a moment. "Future combat systems are the cornerstone of American military modernization and superiority. As America fights the war on terror and deters potential military aggression by rogue nations cross the world, advanced combat systems provide us with better equipment, unmatched situational awareness and communication systems that result in American battlefield domination. Other ascendant nations such as China and Russia seek to match our prowess, but we continue to outpace them," CFIF said. It cited new satellite technology that "allows us to pinpoint and eliminate the enemy, unmanned drones that promise amazing advances in battlefield safety and effectiveness, bunker-buster weapons that penetrate deep into the caves in which remote terrorists hide and communications systems that allow lightning-quick troop deployment and rescue missions." "They ultimately protect the lives and health of our troops, just as they protect us," CFIF said. "Despite this, Sen. Obama bizarrely pledges to jeopardize our battlefield superiority." The group cited the nation's stealth aircraft, which penetrated Saddam Hussein's air defenses, precision-guided weaponry that has reduced harm to non-combatants and the Strategic Defense Initiative, "which forced Mikhail Gorbachev's negotiating hand and helped end the Cold War." Obama uses the speech to emphasize that he is "the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning." He says:

Thanks so much for the Caucus4Priorities, for the great work you've been doing. As president, I will end misguided defense policies and stand with Caucus4Priorities in fighting special interests in Washington. First, I'll stop spending $9 billion a month in Iraq. I'm the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning. And as president I will end it. Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems.
And I will institute an independent "Defense Priorities Board" to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary spending. Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals. It seems that Obama would return America to the Jimmy Carter agenda of undermining our military forces."




newsroom archives header

Home Email Library

Links Study Grace Room

Map Room Introduction Articles

Subscribe Webmaster Book Room

About this Ministry


Site Meter