Alleged Russian Bounties Used to Attack President Trump
“Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.” That was the headline of a New York Times story published in June. Authors Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schwirtz claimed that not only did the Russian government pay cash for killing Americans but that President Donald Trump knew about it and refused to confront Russia.
It was an attempt to revive the accusation that President Trump colluded with Russia, an accusation these same authors stridently made before it was discredited.
A few days later, the New York Times published “Why Does Trump Put Russia First?” by Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser. Her accusation was that the president has a “strange propensity to serve Russian interests above America’s.”
In response, sources proved on the record that neither President Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence were briefed on the intelligence (although many Democratic leaders were among those who were). The White House stated that the president was not briefed because some intelligence agents, particularly from the National Security Agency, emphasized that the claims about Russia were unverified.
The media quickly shifted to a new accusation: President Trump was so pro-Russia that his advisers were intimidated. Rice broadened her accusation with: “If Mr. Trump was told about Russian actions, why did he not respond? If he was not told, why not? Are his top advisers utterly incompetent? Are they too scared to deliver bad news to Mr. Trump, particularly about Russia?”
This latest political attack comes as President Trump seeks to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan prior to the presidential election in November. One of its goals might be to characterize any withdrawal as a capitulation to Russia.
In May 2018, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote, “Something diabolical was going on until Mr. Trump was elected—and it is still going on behind the scenes during his presidency. … The more stories that come out, the clearer this ugly reality becomes.” The fundamental motivation behind it, however, remains largely hidden. To learn what powers this movement, request Gerald Flurry’s free booklet Great Again.
Mysterious Explosions in Tehran
Beginning in late June, mysterious explosions occurred near the Iranian capital of Tehran, leading many to believe that Israel conducted covert strikes.
In the early morning of June 26 an explosion and fire occurred in Khojir, about 12 miles east of Tehran. Satellite data of the area indicates the site damaged is a facility linked to the production of solid-propellant rockets.
On July 2, a fire broke out at the Natanz nuclear complex at a building for developing advanced centrifuges. Under the January 2016 nuclear agreement, Iran was required to stop working on these centrifuges at Natanz, but work there has continued over the past two years.
Nuclear experts say the Natanz fire could delay Iran’s construction of a nuclear weapon by months or longer, which benefits perhaps the main target of those weapons: Israel.
If Israel struck these targets, it indicates that Iran was and is dangerously close to producing nuclear weapons, and that the Israelis are serious and perhaps desperate about stopping or at least delaying the Iranians. It also could embolden Iran, the world’s most powerful terrorist force, to lash back using terror and other asymmetrical warfare and, ultimately, weapons of mass destruction.
Syrian regime could fall to U.S. sanctions
In June, the United States enacted the most powerful financial sanctions yet against the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad. The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act defines the regime as criminal and empowers the U.S. to sanction any nation or individual doing business with sectors critical to the survival of the Assad regime. Anyone doing business with Syria outside of humanitarian support could face secondary sanctions. These measures are similar to those enacted against Syria’s sponsor.
The sanctions come while Assad’s economy is already facing its worst downturn in history. In May, the Syrian currency lost half its value, doubling the price of staples for Syrians, at least 85 percent of whom already live in poverty. The World Food Program reported in May that Syria is at risk of falling into mass famine.
When President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, the Trumpet emphasized that Bible prophecy indicated Iran would likely lose power inside Syria. The Caesar Act striking Assad at his most vulnerable moment could bring down his regime and oust Iranian influence from Syria. This would fulfill a landmark forecast made by Gerald Flurry just after the Syrian civil war began nine years ago.
Please read “How the Syrian Crisis Will End,” by Gerald Flurry.
Coronavirus Bailout For German Military
German defense companies will receive $11 billion in stimulus payments to make up for any shortfall caused by the coronavirus, Defense News reported on June 10.
“Now that we want to revive the economy, it makes no sense to cut the defense budget as a source of public spending,” Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told Defense News.
Germany spent $49.3 billion on its military in 2019, the seventh-highest amount in the world. If it chooses to spend the full nato-mandated 2 percent on defense, it will jump to third, spending more than Russia. Counting the stimulus money, Germany will spend $66 billion on its military in 2020, exceeding Russia’s 2019 expenditure by roughly $1 billion.
Defense News wrote, “The fact that a defense earmark is included in the package as an explicit instrument for helping industry sets something of a new tone in a country where defense sector dealings are traditionally treated as a necessary evil in the business of geopolitics.”
Is Germany’s attitude toward its military shifting?
U.S. To Withdraw Troops From Germany
As relations between Germany and the United States continue to deteriorate, President Donald Trump approved plans to redeploy 9,500 of the 34,500 U.S. troops currently stationed in Germany, the Pentagon reported July 1.
The former U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, said last year that a withdrawal was likely if Germany did not increase its defense spending to the nato mandate (2 percent of gross domestic product). But German leaders are saying that their government was not informed of the plans in advance, and some characterize them as a provocation.
Rolf Mützenich, the parliamentary group leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, told Funke media group that a large withdrawal of U.S. troops would mark “a turning point” and could serve as a catalyst to shift German security policy away from nato and toward Europe.
For decades, the Trumpet has predicted that tension between Germany and the U.S. would intensify and that Europe would establish a unified army. The late Herbert W. Armstrong proclaimed in May 1953 that “10 powerful European nations will combine their forces.” This forecast, based on Bible prophecies like Daniel 2 and Revelation 17, should alarm the world.
Germany Holds EU Presidencies
On July 1, Germany began its six-month presidency of the European Council for the first time in 13 years. Chancellor Angela Merkel now leads the council at the same time that another German, former Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, leads the European Commission. Germany, which has the largest economy, the largest population and the most representatives in the European Union, has an unprecedented opportunity to shape the EU for years to come.
Moreover, these twin German EU presidencies occur as issues of unprecedented magnitude are in play: especially immigration, environmentalism, negotiations with Britain, realignment regarding the United States, setting policy toward China, economic recovery from coronavirus restrictions, and setting the EU budget through 2027.
“The United States is determined, now, to let nothing stand in the way of building up a rearmed, independent Germany,” Plain Truth editor in chief Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in June 1952. “This will be the heart and core of the united Europe that will revive the Roman Empire.” Germany, crushed after World War II, now leads Europe economically, politically and constitutionally: Closely watch how it uses that power in 2020.
Three U.S. Aircraft Carriers Deploy to South China Sea
The United States Navy reported on June 12 that it had moved three aircraft carriers into the contested South China Sea for the first time in three years. The vessels include the uss Theodore Roosevelt, the uss Nimitz in the Western Pacific and the uss Ronald Reagan in the Philippine Sea, each supported by a number of other warships, support ships, submarines and at least 60 aircraft. This marks the most forceful deployment of U.S. carrier strike groups in the Pacific theater since tensions with North Korea peaked in 2017.
The deployment is a signal to China that the U.S. recognizes its aggressive takeover in the South China Sea and intends to at least partially block it. This is at least a temporary reversal of the ongoing trend of reduced U.S. involvement and influence in the area.
Over the past century, the U.S. has dominated the South China Sea and other maritime choke points around the world. But more and more, these strategic assets are being lost by America—to be used against it. This situation was prophesied by God (Deuteronomy 28:52) and is explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong. Get your free copy.
Putin clinches 16 more years
Vladimir Putin now has constitutional authority to remain in power until 2036. This latest power grab is perhaps his most manipulated and least legal since he first became president in 2000.
Reports from July 1 said 78 percent of Russian voters approved a constitutional amendment that lets him essentially remain president for life. But in reality, Putin’s popularity is plummeting, and Russians understand that he is now dropping the pretense that he is retaining his power through lawful means. The process of passing this constitutional amendment had such egregious irregularities that it is obvious Putin used his power to misrepresent and overrule his people and their representatives.
“Even by Russia’s own very lax standards, the vote didn’t remotely resemble a procedure that reflected the will of the people,” journalist Leonid Ragozin wrote on July 7. “It’s far from clear today whether a majority of Russians truly supported Putin’s amendments. And more importantly, most Russians genuinely don’t know where the majority stands.”
The legal legitimacy of Putin’s presidency is weak, but his actual power is not. In fact, if many Russians desire something and someone more lawful than Putin, this may cause him to wield his increasing power with more dictatorial authority.
Whether the Russian people like it or not, Putin will continue in power. Editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains why in his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’: “His track record, his nationality and his ideology show that he is fulfilling a linchpin Bible prophecy. The time frame of his rule also shows that nobody else could be fulfilling the Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecy. … I believe he is almost certain to be the ‘prince of Rosh’ whom God inspired Ezekiel to write about 2,500 years ago!”
A fearful quiet in Hong Kong
Almost overnight, Hong Kong became a different city. Seas of protesters teeming through its streets, multitudes of Union Jacks, Star-Spangled Banners, and colonial-era Hong Kong flags, clashes with police—these are now gone. Business owners have torn down their pro-democracy posters. Pro-democracy leaders have resigned or disbanded their groups; many have fled the country. Thousands of pro-democracy accounts and posts online have been deleted.
This fearful change occurred after the Chinese Communist Party imposed sweeping new security laws on Hong Kong on June 30. The 66 articles criminalize subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign entities to endanger Chinese security. The Chinese regime can classify almost any criticism of the Communist Party as one of these crimes, and punish accordingly. The laws also establish a force of Chinese security agents similar to the Communist Party’s paramilitary force on the mainland. They are immune to many laws and are tasked with imposing the party’s power over the people of Hong Kong.
Perhaps most worrying is the “extraterritoriality” provision of the new laws. The law claims that it applies not only to anyone in Hong Kong, regardless of nationality or residency, but also actions committed “outside the region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the region.”
Hong Kong began as an essentially unpopulated island and became a paragon of freedom and prosperity. How? Through the influence, the principles and the freedoms established there by the British Empire. British power—and British principles—have now left Hong Kong. The territory provides a perfect look at Bible prophecy concerning Britain and America being fulfilled in real time.
Read “The Climax of Man’s Rule Over Man,” by Gerald Flurry.
Japan rejects made-in-U.S.A. missile defense
Japan announced on June 25 that it has canceled plans to buy American-made Aegis Ashore missile defense systems. Instead the Japanese government will likely develop and field long-range cruise missiles for use in preemptive strikes.
Japan’s most recent preemptive military strikes occurred during World War ii, most famously at U.S. targets in Pearl Harbor. During that war, Japanese soldiers committed some of history’s worst brutality. This violent fanaticism caused victorious U.S. forces to occupy the country and write a clause into its new constitution outlawing war. The subsequent Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security codified Japan’s dependence on the U.S. for defense, stipulating that the U.S. would defend Japan by stationing American soldiers near potential conflict zones in the region.
For decades, Japan has been edging away from pacifism and reliance on U.S. protection, mostly in a discreet manner. If the Japanese government continues to decline U.S. involvement and begins pursuing the weaponry and legal authority to launch preemptive strikes, it will be bringing into the open its strategy to resolve disputes with other nations through war.