New Law Allows U.S. Military to Quell ‘Civil Disturbances’ Without Presidential Authorization

New Law Allows U.S. Military to Quell ‘Civil Disturbances’ Without Presidential Authorization

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

As media outlets focus on how the Internal Revenue Service is targeting conservative political groups and how the Justice Department is phone tapping the press, yet another game-changing story has slipped past almost unnoticed.

The Department of Defense issued a directive on February 27, replacing several older directives and changing the rules regarding federal military involvement in civilian law enforcement. In a major power grab, this rule change overturns a 200-year-old system that strictly limits the military from becoming involved in civilian law enforcement.

Whereas the Insurrection Act of 1807 explicitly states the military cannot be used in civilian law enforcement except by presidential authorization in the advent of an insurrection or foreign invasion, this new law change states that federal military commanders can use force to put down unexpected civil disturbances in cases where prior authorization by the president is deemed impossible.

While such a change may at first seem minor, the new rule’s chief danger lies in its vagueness. Reference page 16 of the new directive (emphasis added):

When permitted under emergency authority in accordance with Reference (c.), federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the president is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances ….

The rule defines none of its key terms. Which of the thousands of “military commanders” are authorized to unilaterally intervene in a civil disturbance, or must such decisions be made by a higher-ranking military commander? What kind of “emergency circumstances” qualify as extraordinary? When is it “impossible” to contact the president? What qualifies as a “large-scale” civil disturbance? Do violent riots have to be under way while the president is being held hostage for this law to apply? Or can the rule be invoked against a rowdy group of protestors when the president is occupied elsewhere?

It may seem unlikely that the military would target specific groups based on their political, or other beliefs—but it also seemed just as preposterous to think that the irs would target specific groups prior to its recent scandal.

The Constitution, in Article IV, bars the military from intervening in any state unless the state requests help because domestic violence threatens its “republican” government. This new memo allows any military commander to take action against a civil disturbance without authorization from the president as long as it is deemed an “emergency circumstance.”

The Department of Defense seems to think that this rule change makes Americans safer by allowing the military to intervene in extenuating circumstances.

The American Constitution is being attacked and the rule of law is quickly disintegrating into a moral morass where everyone does what is right in his own eyes. To see where all this is leading, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s new booklet, America Under Attack.

Egypt’s Diesel Shortage Creates Combustible Situation

Egypt’s fuel situation is heading toward a crisis. Egypt heavily depends on diesel for production across all its industries. However, Egyptians have experienced severe diesel shortages since 2012, which have caused long lines at fuel stations, increased food costs and electricity blackouts.

Meanwhile, the government has announced that it is canceling its fuel subsidies for heavy industry. Over the next few years, it will phase out subsidies for cars and electricity. Egyptian analysts are saying this could save the government at least $15 billion, but it will also cause fuel prices to shoot up. Prices on everyday expenditures will rise significantly, which could lead to civil unrest.

Egypt produces 22,000 tons of diesel every day, but demand is 40,000 tons. Egyptian business analyst Ahmed Al Asar says this creates two problems. First, Egypt has to borrow $10 billion every year to buy fuel. Second, because of security problems, a large amount of diesel is smuggled out of Egypt or sold on the black market.

Cairo has sought extra supplies from Arab oil and gas producers like Qatar and Iraq. According to local media reports, however, those negotiations have stalled due to payment-related disagreements.

Egypt still needs to import nearly half of its fuel. Who will it turn to next? Bible prophecy in Daniel 11 shows that Egypt will ally with Iran. Iran is one of the world’s largest oil producers. It also heavily influences Iraq and Libya, which are also major oil exporters.

Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood has strong ties in these Islamic nations. As time goes on, Egypt is sharing more and more of Iran’s Islamist ideology. To learn more about this developing Islamic alliance, read our free booklet The King of the South.

‘Our Daughter Needs Her Daddy’

‘Our Daughter Needs Her Daddy’

Stay Media Productions/iStockPhoto

There is great hope for this evil world.

Tim Bosma gave his wife a smile and told her he’d be right back. He had recently posted his truck for sale online, and two individuals had arranged to take the truck for a test drive on May 6. Tim decided to accompany them. He would never return.

As the days went by, concern for his whereabouts stimulated a massive public and social media response. And, at a press conference on May 10, Sharlene Bosma thanked the media and the public and made an emotional plea for the life of her husband. “[O]ur daughter needs her daddy back. So please, please let him come home. We need him to come home.”

Four days later the unrecognizable charred remains of Tim Bosma were found on a rural property.

The senseless murder has shocked the Hamilton suburb community of Ancaster, Ontario. It is still under criminal investigation, with one arrest made and more than one suspect still at large.

In a world captivated by advancing technologies and evolutionary concepts suggesting overall human progress, the rise in violence and terror is oftentimes disregarded as happenstance. From school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, to small-scale terrorism at the Boston Marathon in Massachusets. From the rape, torture and enslavement of three women in Cleveland, Ohio, to the heartbreaking murder of abortion-botched babies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The reality is that the violence and horror in this evil world is becoming worse.

Sharlene Bosma is broken. She will not do just as well being a single parent as she would have having her husband there with her. Her daughter’s life will not be as bountiful without the love of her father.

Violent acts are escalating in North America. But the real causes are not being addressed. Hope for solutions to stop the onslaught of violence is fading.

Thirty-two-year-old father Tim Bosma was the source of a father’s love for this little girl. And, as is the case with every child, this little girl needs family and she “needs her daddy.”

Although violence is prophesied to increase in the short term (Ezekiel 7:23), the dawn of peace is on the horizon for all humanity. Jesus Christ’s return is imminent and is the only true hope for Sharlene Bosma and her daughter and for all those suffering today. Although broken today, they will receive the healing and comfort of God’s power and wonderful master plan in the future (Isaiah 35). For an introduction to this tremendous hope, request our booklets Isaiah’s End-Time Vision and The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like.

Dutch Paratroopers Integrated Into German Army

Dutch Paratroopers Integrated Into German Army

Ministerie van Defensie

Germany and the Netherlands form a joint task force.

A brigade of Dutch paratroopers will be integrated into a new German division of rapid reaction forces, German newspaper Rheinische Post reported on May 22. The 11th Airmobile Brigade—a mobile force of 4,500 troops that is equipped with light vehicles, mortars and anti-aircraft systems—will join 8,600 German soldiers to form the new division under German command.

With paratroopers and special forces, as well as combat and transport helicopters, the group is designed to respond quickly to new threats and help evacuate endangered German and Dutch citizens. Until now, only Britain and America had a similar type of military structure.

The Dutch brigade could be deployed anywhere in the world within 20 days. The new force will presumably have a similar sort of response time.

The Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper revealed that drastic cuts to the Dutch military budget were partially responsible for the merger. The Dutch forces won’t leave their bases in the Netherlands, but the joint procurement and training with Germany will save money.

The merger is seen as a major step for the Netherlands. However, the Netherlands has only one Airmobile Brigade. If it needs to deploy troops in a hurry, it will only be able to do so with German cooperation.

This is not the first Dutch-German initiative. The I. German/Dutch Corps is made up of one Dutch and one German division. The corps is a high-readiness land force designed to be able to deploy within 20 to 30 days.

Many nations, particularly Britain, have been reluctant to pool their military resources. But with Britain shifting toward the fringes of the EU, military cooperation among the other states is becoming more feasible.

The new merger shows how Europe’s economic troubles could revolutionize its military. All across Europe, nations are under heavy pressure to cut budgets. Politically, it is easier to cut military budgets than many other areas of state spending. Cut the defense budget, and people grumble. Cut social spending, and they riot.

At the same time, European nations are keenly aware of the need for military spending. They see the spread of radical Islam in northern Africa, and the retreat of America. French President François Hollande committed to keeping France’s defense budget at €30 billion (us$39 billion) a year, despite calls to cut it. That’s not too surprising, since the nation just spent an estimated €205 million (us$265 million) in Mali.

The pressure on leaders like Hollande will get stronger. In a way, military pooling is a win-win scenario. All the nations involved get to cut their costs, while the resulting army is stronger than the sum of its parts. Ten battalions, 1,000 strong, from 10 different countries cannot be as effective as one division, 10,000 strong, provided the division is well-integrated. Not only can the larger division work better together, but all the support staff can be organized much more efficiently.

As the economic crisis bites, we will probably see more EU countries “go Dutch,” heading toward forming a common European army.

The big downside is the loss in sovereignty. But the Netherlands’ decision to place its rapid reaction forces under German command proves that EU nations will, under some circumstances, accept this. The new brigade could even be a proof-of-concept—a baby step toward much closer cooperation.

Watch for the EU, or a group of EU nations, to work toward a common European army.

Europe Moves to Label Hezbollah as Terrorist Group

Europe Moves to Label Hezbollah as Terrorist Group

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Germany and France now agree that Hezbollah must be recognized as a terrorist organization.

Germany and France have joined the movement to brand Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organization. The decision may signal a more direct step by Europe to influence the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Hezbollah, meaning “Party of God,” has built a reputation of violence, participating in bombings, kidnappings and other terrorist activities targeting Westerners and Israelis. It has been blamed for terrorist attacks from Argentina in 1992, to Bulgaria in 2012. The organization has taken the lives of hundreds of civilians and has perpetuated the spread of terrorism around the world.

Despite the obvious ties that Hezbollah has to attacks in the Middle East and abroad, many have refused to label it as a terrorist organization. To date, the European Union has refused to label Hezbollah as such. However, two nations within the EU have recently flip-flopped on this policy: Germany and France. While now supporting the idea of branding Hezbollah as terrorists, both have expressed their reasons as to why they have not supported the move in the past.

One key reason voiced by both nations was the threat of retaliation against French and German forces in the Middle East. German ships patrol the coast of Lebanon, preventing illegal arms shipments from arriving on Lebanese soil; France has 900 troops stationed within Lebanon as part of the UN’s peacekeeping operations, many of whom are in southern Lebanon where Hezbollah maintains a strong presence. Both France and Germany have a vested interest in protecting their troops and peacekeepers abroad that are stationed in and around terrorist hotspots such as southern Lebanon. It is interesting to note that both France and Germany are now apparently willing to take the risk of exposing their troops to attack in order to limit the power and influence of Hezbollah.

There are other factors at play behind this recent shift in policy. Europe has in the past stressed that it does not want to incite instability within Lebanon by labeling Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Since Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned in March, the country has seen more and more sectarian clashes. The ongoing conflict in Syria has also spilled over to affect its coastal neighbor, Lebanon. The Lebanese city of Tripoli has already seen gun battles erupt between Sunni rebels and pro-Assad forces.

If Germany was holding off on branding Hezbollah a terrorist group because of fear of causing instability, it stands to reason that this excuse is no longer valid. Lebanon is feeling the effects of the ongoing turmoil in Syria and will likely become more involved as Hezbollah starts to take on a more direct role in fighting the rebels, who have already started directing more attacks against Lebanese targets. Branding Hezbollah as a terrorist organization won’t make Lebanon any less stable, it will just attach a proper title to the actions that Hezbollah has already been carrying out.

Another reason for the change in policy may actually have less to do with the current situation in Lebanon and Syria as it does the security of Europe.

Europe has recently witnessed two incidents of terrorism perpetrated by Hezbollah. In Cyprus on July 7, 2012, a Hezbollah operative was captured plotting terrorist attacks on holidaying Jews.

On July 18, 2012, a bomb exploded on a bus in Bulgaria, killing five Israelis and the bus driver. The findings by Bulgarian officials suggest the attack was orchestrated by Hezbollah forces. Today, German and French officials are saying that in light of these events, they are now going to promote the labeling of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

However, they are not seeking to label Hezbollah as a whole as a terrorist organization. They want to only brand the military wing as such. The political wing of Hezbollah would continue to operate free of any labeling. By seeking only to target the military wing, Europe would ensure it hinders Hezbollah’s international capabilities while not having to get directly involved in politics within Lebanon. It would mean certain sanctions would be brought against it such as travel bans, assets of group members being frozen, and other measures that would hamstring its operations.

The timing of France and Germany’s announcement—a complete flip-flop on their previous stance on Hezbollah—is not coincidental. It comes right at a time when Hezbollah has started taking on a more crucial role in the civil war in Syria. Syrian and Hezbollah forces mounted an assault on the town of Qusayr on May 19. The town is close to the Lebanese border and is a key city in the province of Homs. With support from Hezbollah, Syrian government forces are demonstrating how they can make headway into areas previously thought to be strong rebel positions. If such a trend continues, Assad’s forces might yet retake territory long held by rebels and drag out the conflict that has already cost 80,000 lives.

The EU is no friend of President Assad, and recent victories by Hezbollah in Syria may have Europeans wondering if the rebels face defeat. Such thoughts would be enough to prompt Europe to take a more direct role in aiding the rebels, such as crippling Hezbollah through sanctions. Taking more responsibility in Syria is already on the minds of many European powers, with talk of ending an arms embargo on the rebels.

So far, the U.S. has said it is unwilling to provide any military aid to the rebel forces. Europe—primarily Germany and France—are now stepping up their own involvement to ensure that Assad’s government forces do not overcome the rebels.

Labeling Hezbollah as a terrorist organization would not just be a political statement; it would have practical implications. It would help protect Europe from terrorist attacks by preventing members of Hezbollah from traveling, hindering their ability to operate. It would also mean a freeze on assets, cutting much of the funding that would go to the terrorists that are currently fighting in Syria.

The Bible tells us exactly where the situation in the Middle East and Europe is leading. Daniel 11:40 speaks of a king of the north and a king of the south clashing with each other. We know the king of the north is a European power, as explained in our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. The king of the south is a group of Islamic nations led by Iran, as shown in the booklet The King of the South.

What we are seeing play out in Lebanon and Syria is just a small part of the giant clash that is about to take place between these two powers. Prophecy also shows that ultimately Syria and Lebanon will ally with the king of the north. This indicates they will not be allied with Iran for much longer.

Watch as Europe continues to monitor and influence activity in Lebanon and Syria, because soon it will be taking a much more direct approach to the Middle East (Daniel 11:40).

Emperor Hirohito Awarded Herbert W. Armstrong Order of the Sacred Treasure

Emperor Hirohito Awarded Herbert W. Armstrong Order of the Sacred Treasure

Government praised his promotion of U.S.-Japan relations.

On behalf of Japanese Emperor Hirohito, the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Second Class, was conferred on Herbert W. Armstrong in a ceremony at the Foreign Office in Hong Kong. Chief of protocol, Ambassador Kenjiro Chikaraishi, made the official presentation of this high accolade the country gives to notable foreigners.

The award was established in 1888 by Emperor Meiji and takes the form of a star featuring colors of white, gold, red and blue. As with his predecessors, Mr. Armstrong’s award Patent of Decoration would have read as follows: “The Second Class of the Order of the Sacred Treasure is hereby conferred upon Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, U.S. citizen, by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. In witness thereof the seal of state has been affirmed to those present at the Imperial Palace.” Prior to presentation, the decoration document was signed by the prime minister and his secretariat and confirmed by their respective seals of office.

Recounting the event to Plain Truth readers in the July-August 1973 edition, Mr. Armstrong noted, “A number of prominent Japanese are on the list, announced in today’s Daily Yomiuri, to be decorated today.”

He went on to explain that seven specific classes of the Order of the Sacred Treasure exist. The First Class is awarded only to citizens. That year, it was given to a former minister of health and welfare, as well as a former director general of the Economic Planning Agency. The Second Class encompassed prior university presidents. “My decoration was in this class, the highest ever given private aliens,” he related to subscribers of the international magazine. That year, the Third Class was awarded to a member of the Olympic Committee, an official of the Imperial Household Agency and a school president. Then the honored recipients expanded to many more individuals, with the Fourth Class conferred on 482 people; Fifth Class, 1,212; Sixth Class, 935; and Seventh Class, 445.

In addition to Ambassador College officials, present at the ceremony was Vice Minister of Transportation Bunsei Sato, who was well acquainted with Mr. Armstrong and had previously visited Ambassador College. Also present was Kazuo Shionoya, a high-ranking Diet member, whose son was an Ambassador College graduate.

In the same Plain Truth article Mr. Armstrong recalled,

Leaving the Foreign Office building, we were driven to the official residence of the prime minister. There, we paid our respects briefly to Mr. Nikaido, secretary general of the cabinet. I received his congratulations on the decoration. He arranged for a brief meeting with Prime Minister Tanaka, to pay our respects. This was the third time I have seen Mr. Tanaka, once was before he became prime minister and twice since.He remembered our first meeting in a conference room in the Diet building (Japan’s Capitol building), when he insisted jokingly that I sit in the prime minister’s chair. We had a good laugh over the incident. He congratulated me warmly for the decoration. He, along with the emperor, had signed the diploma that was presented with it.The prime minister explained that the decoration conferred on me was very high and was granted to [the] Japanese only after 20 years of Diet membership plus holding a cabinet post, or equivalent. He laughingly said he had only an “Eighth Class” order, this, evidently, facetiously.

With the emperor’s imprimatur, officials stated the commendation was specifically in recognition of “the outstanding contribution you have rendered to the cause of friendship and promotion of mutual understanding between the United States and Japan” (Plain Truth, December 1980). So prestigious is the award that even today, this internationally-recognized ambassador for world peace is noted as one of only 17 who have received the Second Class award.

The Japanese government’s praise for the promotion of U.S.-Japan relations underscores the very message delivered by and through the man it so revered and honored: the good news of the assured coming of Jesus Christ to usher in His government of peace (Matthew 24:14; Isaiah 9:6-7).

The message of that inheritance was declared to the leaders of all nations in the time of Herbert Armstrong’s ministry, clear across to the leaders of the East. Japan is the only nation on Earth to have felt the consuming fire of nuclear war, and no other nation in modern times has had its leadership so personally impacted by the witness of the gospel message declared to the extent that the Land of the Rising Sun did.

Are there still minds in Japan that yet remember that witness? Will some recall that white-haired patriarch who came among them preaching of the coming Kingdom of God when troubles impact their nation in their increasingly destabilized hemisphere?

Today, that same message is daily declared by our editor in chief, this publication and its associated enterprises that are supported by those who remember. Do you remember?