Vatican Seeks Control Over Jerusalem Holy Sites

Vatican Seeks Control Over Jerusalem Holy Sites

Trumpet photo

Roman Catholic support of the Palestinian cause isn’t what it seems.

In an article in Arutz Sheva last month, Italian journalist Giulio Meotti explained how Catholic authorities in recent months have “increased their political initiatives for Catholic control over some sites in Jerusalem.”

In December, for example, the head of the Vatican’s Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, said that “peace negotiations in the Middle East must tackle the issue of the status of the holy sites of Jerusalem.” According to Tauran, it’s time that some of Jerusalem’s holy places, including the City of David, were put under Vatican charge.

After all, “it’s practically just the Holy See who is concerned about [Jerusalem],” Tauran stated.

One especially intriguing development has been the Catholic Church’s emergence as a seemingly ardent supporter of Palestinian statehood, including Arab control of Jerusalem. Last fall, the Vatican sided with most of the international community in supporting the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations. In a statement last September, retired Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, together with representatives from various Christian communities in Israel, pledged “support for the diplomatic efforts being deployed to win international recognition for the State of Palestine.”

In his sermon on Christmas Day, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem reiterated Catholic support of Palestinian statehood. “We want a just and comprehensive peace to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We adhere to the position taken by the Holy See, clearly acknowledging the two-state solution with security and internationally recognized borders,” he stated.

In December 2009, Twal and other high-ranking Catholic officials released an overtly anti-Israel, anti-Jewish document detailing the “injustices” against Palestinians by Israel. In it, the Catholic officials implored the international community to “stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades.” There was no recognition of the multiple suicide attacks on innocent Jews, or the thousands of missiles launched at Israeli schools, homes and hospitals. The document also included a lengthy section reconciling Palestinian “resistance,” a polite term for violence or terrorism, with the biblical instruction to abstain from violence and war. “The aggression against the Palestinian people which is the Israeli occupation, is an evil that must be resisted,” the officials claimed. “It is an evil and a sin that must be resisted and removed.”

In other words, no measure of Arab “resistance” is too extreme, or morally or spiritually wrong.

In another instance, Twal and his counterparts, who operate under the direction of the Vatican, stated explicitly that they endorse the “establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds [Arabic for Jerusalem] as its capital.”

If you know your history, such effusing support of the Palestinian cause—to the point of ceding Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian nation—is more than a little odd.

After all, can you name a moment in history when the Vatican sincerely endorsed Muslim control of Jerusalem? In fact, history is full of examples of the Vatican opposing, often violently, Muslim control of the Holy Land. Remember Pope Urban ii, the man who set off the crusades in the Middle Ages? “The continued occupation of the holy places—and above all Jerusalem itself—by the infidel was, [Pope Urban ii] declared, an affront to Christendom,” wrote historian John Julius Norwich.

Pope Urban ii delivered his fateful speech November 27, 1095 in the countryside just outside the French city of Clermont-Ferrand. “This royal city [Jerusalem] … situated at the center of the world, is now held captive by His enemies,” he lamented. “It is in subjection to those who do not know God, to the worship of the heathens. She seeks therefore and desires to be liberated, and does not cease to implore you to come to her aid.”

Inspired by Urban’s call to arms and intent on earning “salvation,” tens of thousands of Europeans set out for Jerusalem. In the first crusade alone, Catholic crusaders slaughtered some 70,000 Jews and Arabs, all in pursuit of their goal to pry Jerusalem from the “infidel.” The first crusade was followed a few decades later by another, then another, then another—each an attempt to purge the Holy Land of Muslims. History is clear. The Vatican has never supported Muslim control of Jerusalem!

So why is it doing so now?

It is not! There are two reasons the Catholic Church for now is making it appear that it supports a Palestinian state, and greater Muslim influence over Jerusalem. First, the Vatican supports Palestinian statehood because this effort undermines Israel’s control over the city. When it comes to diminishing Israel’s grip on Jerusalem and its holy sites, Catholic officials are happy to let the Palestinians do the dirty work.

Second, the Vatican’s endorsement of Palestinian statehood provides ideal cover for its own ambition to wrest control of Jerusalem. Don’t forget, Jerusalem is as important to the Vatican as it is to Jews and Muslims. For Catholics, Jerusalem is the birthplace of Christianity and the setting of many important biblical events. The Holy City, as Catholic dogma states, is its universal headquarters. Does anyone really think the Vatican is genuinely interested in ceding control of these sites to Muslims?

At the very least, the Vatican’s endorsement of Palestinian statehood is political chicanery. More than likely, it’s a calculated ruse, and part of a Trojan horse strategy by which the Vatican gains the trust of the Palestinians and international community before more actively staking its claim to Jerusalem and its holy sites. Whatever happens, don’t expect the Vatican to stand by and cheer as Muslims assume control of Christianity’s holy sites. That’s never going to happen.

Keep an eye on Jerusalem, and especially on the Vatican’s dalliances in the city. Bible prophecy tells us Jerusalem is the nucleus of end-time events, and that the Catholic Church will make a play for the Holy City in the final days before Christ’s return. We’ve often pointed to Daniel 11:40, which describes a gigantic clash between Catholic Europe and Iran and its radical Islamic supporters. In verse 41, we read that after Europe’s army defeats the king of the south it is invited into the glorious land [Jerusalem in biblical terminology], and many countries shall be overthrown.”

According to this prophecy, the climactic events that precede the return of Christ revolve around Jerusalem. This city, as Gerald Flurry has explained, is a thermometer for measuring the imminence of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. The more the tension rises between Jews and Palestinians, and the more the Catholic Church interferes in Jerusalem, the closer we are to this awesome event!

WorldWatch

From the February 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

Europe

Vatican

Secret Nazi-Vatican post-WWII army plot exposed

The Vatican, ex-Nazis and Spanish leaders secretly plotted in the 1950s to build an army to counter Russia’s feared encroachment into West Germany, according to recently disclosed documents that went up for auction in December.

The explosive documents are the first ever to emerge detailing postwar plans by the Catholic Church, ex-Nazis and members of Franco’s Spain to form a secret army of ex-Nazis and Spanish soldiers that would be stationed in Spain and North Africa. The documents, uncovered by Alexander Historical Auctions, reveal that fears of Russian expansion into West Germany and all of Europe were so intense after the war that the plans to form the rogue army were very nearly brought to life.

The biggest bombshell is a 1952 letter to the Vatican official who would later become Pope Paul vi written by a priest and co-conspirator of former Nazi Lt. Col. Otto Skorzeny, a crony of Adolf Hitler. The letter, stamped with a church seal, teems with praise for its recipient (who was deputy of foreign affairs for the Vatican at the time) for the financial support he channeled to Nazi refugees living in Spain.

The seeds of the plot were first sown in September 1950 after Skorzeny fled a German prison and entered Spain, where he became an architect of a top-secret group designed to provide safe havens around the globe for leading Nazis on the lam. The Alexander Historical Auctions catalog offers this enticing synopsis of the collection: “Skorzeny entered Spain under an alias to begin a collaboration with Spain’s top military leaders, ex-SS generals and officers, and even the highest levels of the Vatican to plan the formation of a secret army of ex-Nazis and Spanish military in Spain or North Africa, prepared at any time to counter a Russian attack from East Germany. This grouping of documents, directly from Skorzeny’s estate, documents his efforts to form such an ‘army in exile,’ perhaps with even more sinister intent. Its contents have remained hidden for over 60 years, totally unknown to journalists and historians alike.”

Bill Panagopulos, president of the auction house, says Skorzeny’s desire to free political prisoners “strongly suggests” his motive to provide protection to many of Hitler’s most ruthless military leaders. Spain was a “well-known ‘resting place’ for ex-Nazis on the run while en route to South America and the Middle East,” he said. “[I]t is believed that a wide swath of coastline owned by Skorzeny near Majorca was used to smuggle his comrades in and out of Spain.”

It is well documented that the Vatican helped Nazi leaders escape justice via the postwar ratlines. These documents are further concrete proof that the Vatican—despite much public denial—did indeed closely collaborate with the Nazi regime during and after World War ii.

In May/June 2010, editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned, “The world has seen six heads of [the Holy Roman Empire], comprised mostly of Germany and the Vatican. Now the seventh and last head is on the scene. The Vatican-Nazi history is a horrendous prophetic insight into what is about to happen again! And very soon!”

Belgium 

A queer twist left

After a year and a half of wavering, where it effectively had no permanent leader in power, Belgium finally got a prime minister. December 6, Elio di Rupo took office. Of Italian parentage, the 60-year-old Socialist has a reputation as a flamboyant leftist. He is Europe’s first openly declared homosexual leader of an EU government. Di Rupo’s government will face an almost overwhelming task in seeking appropriate remedies to its current debt crisis. As the rest of Europe swings to the political right, this is a queer twist against the trend. This, after all, is the nation that has headquartered the European unification process from its inception, based on a strong right-wing Catholic foundation. Di Rupo may soon feel the heat from the predominant rightist Catholic elites and become yet another fall guy for an appointee more acceptable to Rome and Berlin’s Holy Roman agenda. If the Belgian economy collapses, watch for Berlin to apply another “Greek solution” in order to take control of yet another eurozone nation.

Germany 

Arms for sale!

Germany’s revenue from exporting weapons and defense products jumped sharply in 2010 to its highest level ever, according to the government’s annual Defense and Exports Report. Arms exports generated €2 billion (us$2.66 billion), up from €1.34 billion in 2009 and €0.3 billion in 2002. Though two thirds of the weapons exports are to EU or nato members, United Press International reported that the Germans “are battling hard for military contracts in the Middle East” (Nov. 29, 2011). Last year, Germany agreed to sell 200 Leopard tanks to Saudi Arabia. This rise in arms exports reflects the new Germany, a nation unashamed of its history. The exports to the Middle East also points to a new alliance—one the Trumpet has forecast for years—between Germany and the enemies of Iran.

Asia

China 

Ramping up rhetoric

Chinese President Hu Jintao urged the Chinese Navy on Dec. 5, 2011, to “accelerate its transformation and modernization in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat.” His statement came just two days after China’s influential Rear Adm. Zhang Zhaozhong threatened to start World War iii in order to protect Iran from Western powers. This threat came two weeks after Beijing accused President Obama of escalating military friction in Asia by announcing plans to deploy 2,500 marines to Australia. China’s state-run Global Times said Australia should not let the U.S. use its bases to “harm China” and said Australia risked getting “caught in the crossfire.” As Beijing’s power intensifies, it will become increasingly belligerent toward Western powers.

India 

More muscle in the East

India’s military buildup topped Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the 10 most overlooked trends that will shape geopolitics in the future, published in its December issue. Quoting think tanks and weapons watchdogs, the article highlighted India’s massive defense budgets and increasing naval might, which is designed to dominate the Indian Ocean and extend India’s power into the South China Sea. FP says these changes reveal India’s shift to an offensive posture toward China. Much of the burgeoning military spending throughout Asia is the result of disputes among Asian states, but all that power will soon be pooled and channeled against a colossal European enemy.

China

Hu has the fastest supercomputer?

China now runs neck and neck with the U.S. in supercomputer technology. For decades, America’s supercomputers soared above any competition, but China is changing that. In November, Beijing unveiled the world’s most powerful supercomputer. Some analysts called it a “Sputnik moment,” as China trounced the U.S. in one of the most crucial sectors of national security. “[I]f the U.S. falls behind in supercomputing it could quickly lose its edge in all areas of science, in industries like oil and gas exploration and pharmaceutical research, and in security and military fields,” Newsweek wrote on Nov. 27, 2011.

Russia 

Protests don’t worry Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke out on Dec. 14, 2011, about public demonstrations against him. Putin said his plans to return to the presidency in March are unchanged and accused organizers of the protests of striving to weaken Russia with help from Western powers. He said billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who plans to run against him for the presidential seat, would be a “worthy, strong competitor.” But Prokhorov’s presidential bid is only a design by the Kremlin to give Russia’s elections a veneer of legitimacy without actually threatening Putin’s victory. Despite the uprisings, and despite the Western media’s desire to portray Putin as a weakening figure, the prime minister remains Russia’s most popular politician and is on track to comfortably win the upcoming presidential election.

China 

Next man on the moon

Since its genesis in 1992, China’s manned space program has grown with breathtaking speed. On Nov. 22, 2011, analyst Kate Lanau said, “If all goes according to plan, the next astronaut on the moon will be Chinese.” In 2003, China launched its first astronaut into space, becoming one of only three nations capable of human space flight capabilities. 2007 saw China shoot down one of its satellites in a demonstration of its powerful anti-satellite technology. In 2010, Beijing launched more satellites than the U.S. for the first time. Then, in September 2011, China crossed another milestone by launching the Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace,” space module into the night sky. Beijing says its space program is peaceful, but because it is operated by the Chinese military, many analysts are skeptical. China’s space program is rapidly rising as nasa trudges through a period of inactivity and transition. The contrast will hasten the decision of smaller Asian nations to abandon the sinking U.S. ship and begin looking to Beijing.

Middle East

Iraq

So long, farewell, fiimaan illaah

The last convoy of U.S. troops left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011, concluding nearly nine years of war. In a revealing testimony of the condition America left the country in, U.S. forces paid tribal sheikhs $100,000 a month to secure stretches of highway leading south into Kuwait in order to reduce the threat of roadside bombings and attacks on convoys as they departed. America leaves the fledgling democracy with an unstable government under the heavy influence of neighboring Iran, as insurgency attacks continue.

nato also ended its mission in Iraq in December. For seven years, by Iraq’s own invitation, nato supported Iraq’s efforts to train cohesive military and police forces. But despite nato’s willingness to continue the mission, the Iraqi government unceremoniously denied nato that opportunity. As the nato press release stated, “Agreement on the extension of this successful program did not prove possible despite robust negotiations conducted over several weeks” (Dec. 12, 2011). This nato withdrawal is but one more step toward emboldening the increasingly aggressive push from the biblical king of the south, Iran, against the rising king of the north in Europe.

Egypt

A rocket-building safe haven

The terrorist group Hamas has built rocket production facilities in the Sinai Peninsula because it believes Israel will not attack it in Egypt, Israel’s Jerusalem Post reported Dec. 11, 2011. Israel thwarted an attack by Hamas from the Sinai on December 8 by bombing several senior terrorists in Gaza. At the same time, Hamas is cementing its connections with its parent terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt. A senior Hamas source said the group has added “a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood–Palestine” to its official name, according to the London-based al-Hayat newspaper.

Egypt

The big winners

Egypt’s two largest Islamist parties won big in recent elections. In the country’s first two rounds of multi-stage legislative elections, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won with 37 percent of the vote in the first round, and 36 percent in the second. The ultraconservative Salafis came second, with 24 percent and 28 percent in each round, respectively. The results indicate that about two thirds of Egyptians want Islam to play a greater role in the nation’s government. The strong showing by the hard-line Islamist Salifis took many by surprise. Their success will only strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood, which will appear to be the “moderate” alternative. However, though the two parties disagree on tactics, they differ little in foreign policy, hostility to the West, and strategic objectives for Egypt. Though the military will officially remain in charge until presidential elections are held, it will find it difficult to resist the popular mandate that the new Islamist parliament will have.

Pakistan

Push coming to shove

A nato air strike on Nov. 26, 2011, that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers has further damaged the already shaky U.S.-Pakistan relationship. A top Pakistani army general called the strike “a deliberate act of aggression.” Pakistan’s Defense Committee of the Cabinet gave the U.S. two weeks to vacate Shamsi airbase, jeopardizing American drone operations. It also immediately closed the two crossings on Pakistan’s western border to trucks carrying fuel, food and vehicles to nato troops. Pakistan is now within a hair’s breadth of ending its cooperation with the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. This provides strategic openings for both Russia and China.

Iran 

Déjà vu: Embassy attack

Britain closed its embassy in Tehran and expelled all Iranian diplomats from London after the British Embassy and residential compound in Iran was stormed and ransacked on Nov. 29, 2011. The attackers included members of the paramilitary Basij militia and carried banners naming the commander of the Quds Force, which runs the overseas operations of the Revolutionary Guard. This operation, wrote the Guardian, “was an official one, with three conservative institutions, the parliament, the judiciary and the supreme leader, behind it” (Nov. 29, 2011). Two days earlier, Iran’s parliament had approved a bill to reduce diplomatic and economic ties with Britain, including forcing out the British ambassador within two weeks, in retaliation to new sanctions imposed by London. This strongly suggests the ensuing attack had official complicity.

Syria 

A new Sunni bloc?

As violence escalates in Syria, the Arab League has turned against the ruling Assad regime, suspending Syria’s membership and adopting sanctions. Saudi Arabia and Qatar—which fear Iran’s growing power in the region and its alliance with Syria—are leading the Arab League efforts against Syria. “Saudi’s problem is Iran. Going after Syria today ensures you remove Iran from the picture. There is an attempt to create a new Sunni bloc in the region,” said analyst Safwat Zayaat (msnbc.com, Nov. 23, 2011). We can expect Saudi Arabia’s efforts to split Syria’s alliance with Iran to be successful in the end, as Bible prophecy indicates that Syria is destined to join an Arab coalition.

Iran 

The ayatollah’s push

Iran has ratcheted up its defiance toward the West as it cements its role as head of the increasingly Islamist Middle East.

On Dec. 5, 2011, Iran announced it had shot down an unpiloted U.S. spy drone that was in Iran’s airspace. American officials say the craft crashed on its own due to a malfunction, but no one disputes the fact that the U.S.’s sophisticated surveillance technology is in Iran’s possession. Iran said it would not return the drone to the U.S. and called America’s drone mission an “act of war.”

On December 12, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security Committee said Iran’s military will practice shutting down the strategic waterway that transports one third of the world’s seaborne oil shipments. “Soon we will hold a military maneuver on how to close the Strait of Hormuz,” said Parviz Sarvari. “If the world wants to make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure.”

In a December 11 statement channeling Iran’s defiance toward Europe, an Iranian official said the EU “definitely” would not impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports because such a move would harm the global crude market. But Iran underestimates Europe. Soon, Bible prophecy foretells, Europe will violently stop Iran’s defiance.

Israel

Not good news for Jews

Hamas and Fatah hailed a new era of cooperation as their leaders met in Cairo on Nov. 24, 2011. “We want to assure our people and the Arab and Islamic world that we have turned a major new and real page in partnership on everything to do with the Palestinian nation,” said Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed, saying: “There are no more differences between us now. We have agreed to work as partners with joint responsibility.” Their meeting was their first since the two leaders signed an accord on reconciliation in May.

Watch for this new cooperation to work in Hamas’s favor. As Courcy’s Intelligence Brief pointed out, with the Muslim Brotherhood on the rise—MB-affiliated parties winning elections in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt—MB-linked Hamas is primed to gain strength in the Palestinian territories, “increasing its influence in the West Bank to go with its dominance of the Gaza Strip” (Nov. 30, 2011). This is something the Trumpet has been expecting to develop for some time.

Kuwait 

‘Deteriorating conditions’

Tensions have escalated in Kuwait. Allegations of corruption and greater calls for reform have gripped the oil-rich Gulf state in the wake of the uprisings throughout the region. In November, protesters stormed the parliament building, infuriated by allegations of financial corruption by the government. In early December, Kuwait’s ruling emir dissolved parliament, citing “deteriorating conditions,” and giving two months for new elections to be held. This came shortly after he named a new prime minister, Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah, who formed a new cabinet. As a result of the ongoing political turmoil, it is the eighth cabinet since February 2006. The U.S. will be watching the political instability in Kuwait closely. Kuwait is a stationing area for U.S. troops that have withdrawn from Iraq. Pressured by the prospect of Iran filling the vacuum in neighboring Iraq, watch for Kuwait to become increasingly dependent on Saudi Arabia, a key nation of the biblically prophesied Psalm 83 alliance, for its security.

Latin America, Africa

Argentina 

Falklands battle brewing

Friction between Britain and Argentina is increasing. Argentine patrol ships boarded 12 Spanish fishing boats during late November and early December, saying their fishing licenses were not valid. They said the boats were operating “illegally” in disputed waters.

Argentina’s National Congress is considering a proposal that would make the country’s Olympic logo the image of the Falkland Islands with the words “The Falklands are Argentine.” Britain’s plans to create a 1 million-square-kilometer protective zone around South Georgia—an island in the region of the Falklands also claimed by Argentina—are not likely to make the waters any calmer.

Britain’s Telegraph newspaper wrote that Britain would not be capable of saving the Falkland Islands if Argentina took them over, as it did in 1982. “[I]t is highly unlikely that Britain could repeat the mission,” it wrote, “particularly since we no longer have an aircraft carrier available. Nor, given France’s ambivalence over the issue, would there be any realistic prospect of borrowing a French carrier, as stipulated under the recent Anglo-French defense pact” (Dec. 6, 2011).

Rockhopper Oil is drilling in the seabed around the islands to determine if there are commercially viable fields of oil or gas. This could give the islands more than a geographical significance, which would heat up competition for the islands even more. This is a competition that Britain has neither the capability nor the will to win.

Shrinking the Atlantic

European and Latin American leaders met in Brussels in November and agreed that the two continents should continue to strengthen links in spite of ongoing financial trouble. “We must work jointly for economic growth in both continents,” said Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission. Tajani reminded Latin American officials of just how important EU investments are to their countries and then dogmatically stated that Europe would emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. “Currently in the midst of the crisis some countries look upon us with certain arrogance, thinking the European Union is over. I disagree profoundly. Europe will emerge differently but stronger, with greater cohesion, and even more competitive,” he said. Tajani is right in this regard. Europe will emerge stronger from this crisis, and Latin America will stand at its side in the new world order. Herbert Armstrong long prophesied that the alliance between Europe and South America would grow strong.

Sudan 

South Sudan

Oil rights and fights

China sent a special envoy to Juba on Dec. 7, 2011, to try to break a deadlock between Sudan and its former territory South Sudan, which appear to be on the brink of a renewed conflict over oil rights. The economies of the two Sudans remain intertwined due to the fact that South Sudan has the majority of the region’s oil fields and Sudan has the majority of the region’s pipeline infrastructure. As a major buyer of Sudanese oil, China has a vested interest in ensuring that oil from the south keeps flowing northward to ports on the Red Sea. French oil company Total is also trying to get at South Sudan’s oil by proposing a new pipeline to run through Uganda to the Kenyan coast. Expect competition between Europe and China over Africa’s natural resources to increase in the near future.

Congo

Not the ‘capital of the world’ you want to be

Millions cast their votes for president and parliament on Nov. 28, 2011, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s second-ever federal election. Sporadic violence resulted in the deaths of at least five people at two polling locations as political tensions ran high. Ethnic prejudices and widespread government corruption have made the Democratic Republic of the Congo one of the most violent nations on Earth. The eastern part of the country has been called the “rape capital of the world” by UN Special Representative Margot Wallstrom; reports indicate that 48 women are raped every hour. This is one nation that desperately needs the return of Jesus Christ to restore peace and happiness.

Anglo-America

Nothing to look forward to but looting some shops

A lack of hopes and dreams in English youth contributed to the riots last summer, the independent inquiry set up by the government said in its interim report published Nov. 28, 2011. “We were shocked by the number of young people we spoke to who had no hopes or dreams for their future,” wrote the chairman of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel, Darra Singh, in the report’s foreword. There is a “collective pessimism about the future,” he wrote. “The absence of hopes and dreams amongst many we spoke to is a danger for society,” the report says. The book of Proverbs concurs, saying, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Trim the budget? Not this year

Officials from the congressional super committee charged with finding ways to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade announced on Nov. 21, 2011, that they would not be able to make any proposals before their Thanksgiving deadline. Democratic officials were unwilling to cut entitlements in the run-up to 2012 federal elections and Republican officials were unwilling to raise taxes. As a result, the Dow Jones industrial average lost almost 250 points as investors worried about debt problems both at home and abroad. This failure may expose the U.S. sovereign rating to more downgrades. “It is just a matter of time before the government’s rating is cut,” Steve Ricchiuto, Mizuho Securities’ chief economist, said in a report. America lacks the political will to make the budget cuts necessary. Expect the United States to soon enter a time of unprecedented economic turmoil.

We demand crippling debt!

One and a half million public sector workers went on strike Nov. 30, 2011, closing six out of every ten schools in England and disrupting services at hospitals, courts and various government agencies. The strikes were called in response to the government’s attempt to deal with its out-of-control finances by reforming public sector pensions—trying to bring public workers’ extremely generous pension provisions closer to what could be expected in the private sector. Such disruptions will only get worse as nations struggle to deal with their deficits.

I’d kill for that $2 waffle maker

Black Friday sales across the United States were marred by violence as crazed shoppers literally fought over the best deals. Several incidents occurred at Wal-Mart stores as millions of Americans loaded up on holiday purchases. One female shopper at a Los Angeles, California, Wal-Mart—desperate to get her hands on some discounted electronics—actually pepper-sprayed a crowd of people in an attempt to keep them away from the merchandise she wanted. Chaos erupted at a Wal-Mart in Rome, New York, when several fights broke out in the electronics department. Two shoppers ended up in hospital for minor injuries. A discount-seeking shopper in San Leandro, California, was shot and critically wounded during a robbery outside a Wal-Mart. Similar shootings occurred in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Des Moines, Iowa. It is astonishing how violent and self-centered human beings can be when a materialistic craze comes over them. If people will explode like this over discounted plasma tvs, imagine what will happen when America starts to experience food shortages.

U.S. doesn’t want our oil? We’ll sell it to Asia

Since the Obama administration postponed making a decision on Canada’s Keystone oil pipeline to Texas, Canadian politicians and energy executives are ratcheting up support for several big infrastructure projects aimed at redirecting the country’s growing oil output to thirsty Asian markets. “We favor the construction of infrastructure that will move resources to markets that want them,” in particular China and Asia, Canadian Energy Minister Joe Oliver said in an interview in November. Two proposed projects envision pumping crude from landlocked Alberta to the Pacific Ocean, where the oil could be shipped to Asia by sea. Canada is currently America’s largest oil provider. The fact that it is now seeking alternative energy markets does not bode well for America, especially since oil is already near $100 per barrel.

Britain’s last four bullets

The British Frigate hms Westminster had only four missiles when it was sent to patrol the area close to Benghazi last March, according to Royal Navy officers. The ship, they say, was “dangerously under-defended.” It had just two rounds of Seawolf missiles—missile interceptors that are fired in sets of two. Britain’s budget cuts continue to leave the nation at risk.

EU Report Slams Israel

EU Report Slams Israel

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The European Union reveals its unilateral intentions in the West Bank.

The European Union has issued an internal report highly critical of Israeli policies in the West Bank.

Authors of the report, titled “Area C and Palestinian State Building,” were criticized by Israeli diplomatic sources for not getting any input from the Israeli government, according to the Jerusalem Post. “At a certain point, the Europeans are going to have to engage Israel, and not only the Palestinians, when they write these reports,” one Israeli source said. “It’s as if Israel does not exist, does not have its own version of events, reality, reasons, policy, or policymaking process.”

The EU has decided to pursue a series of steps that may undermine Israel’s control over “Area C” in the West Bank, according to Ynet, which has obtained a copy of the internal report. Area C makes up 62 percent of the West Bank and is the portion that, under the Oslo Accords, is fully controlled by Israel. Just 6 percent of the Palestinian population resides in this part of the West Bank. The report says that Europe will support building, infrastructure, educational and other projects in this region in order to “support the Palestinian people and help maintain their presence” there.

Revealing their interest in the area, the EU diplomats state that “The window for the two-state solution is rapidly closing … and Area C is the only contiguous area in the western Negev surrounding Area A and B. Area C comprises crucial natural resources and land for the future demographic and economic growth of a viable Palestinian state. State building efforts in Area C … are therefore of utmost importance in order to support the creation of a Palestinian state.”

“The diplomats underscore throughout the brief the need for EU support of private and public sector projects and infrastructure, but make no mention of involving Israel, or obtaining its cooperation in such projects,” Ynetnews reported January 12.

A Western diplomat, commenting on the document, said the EU had simply decided to ignore Israeli regulations: “What Europe is essentially saying here is that because Area C is vital for sustaining a viable Palestinian state, we will support whatever needs to be done for the sale of Palestinian development in the area regardless of Israel’s planning policy.” He said the EU’s purpose was to reduce the need for Palestinian building permits in the area by intervening directly, confirming: “European funding of vital projects like water infrastructure will be independent of Israeli authorities’ approval.”

The EU report is just the latest of ongoing criticism Israel has received from Europe regarding its policies. The EU has consistently sided with the Palestinians, yet Israel continues to reach out to Europe for support. Read “The Counterfeit Peacemaker” to see where this will end.

The Moral Outrage of Urinating Soldiers

The Moral Outrage of Urinating Soldiers

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The Taliban in Afghanistan is dictating our ethical standards.

Why does it seem that the only time the American government expresses shock, dismay and horror, it is over the conduct of its soldiers on the battlefield?

Through the Prophet Isaiah, God calls America a “hypocritical nation.” It’s at times like these that it becomes clear why.

Surely you’ve heard by now of the crude homemade video that emerged last week apparently depicting a Marine sniper team in Afghanistan urinating on the corpses of some Taliban fighters. The press jumped on the incident like it was Abu Ghraib all over again, and the highest leaders in the land came out in fire-breathing condemnation.

“Deplorable … reprehensible,” President Obama said through his spokesman. “I condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” said Leon Panetta, the defense secretary. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “total dismay.” Civilian and military leaders promised the guilty soldiers would be found out and punished to the full.

Why is everyone so upset? Let’s be honest: The biggest reason is that they are deathly afraid of offending Muslims. U.S. leaders continue to hope, against all evidence, that avoiding offense will solve problems.

Their man in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai, called the soldiers’ act “simply inhuman.” Is Karzai an authority on moral and ethical conduct? He said he was “deeply disturbed” and that the incident was “condemnable in the strongest possible terms.” But where is his condemnation for Talibani atrocities far worse than this?

That means he either sympathizes with the Taliban’s extremism or feels he must pander to it.

Clearly the ones in the driver’s seat—dictating to both Afghan and U.S. leaders about what is an appropriate response—are radical Muslims.

For their part, Taliban leaders in Pakistan called the Marines’ conduct “barbaric” and claimed, “No religion that follows a holy text would accept such conduct. This inhuman act reveals their real face to the world.”

Behold: a sermon from the Taliban about what is barbaric and inhuman. They have never condemned the torture, beheading or murder of a single non-Muslim. They have murdered thousands of civilians with roadside bombs. They execute people without trial for crimes like laughing at soldiers. They hang the dead bodies of defectors from lampposts to serve as a public warning. And we are supposed to listen to them condemn these Marines?

Are Hamid Karzai or American leaders “deeply disturbed” by the Taliban’s sanction of polygamous “marriage” that allows old men to rape young girls? What about the Taliban commander ordering that an 18-year-old girl who fled her abusive in-laws be punished by having her nose and ears cut off? Who is condemning these acts “in the strongest possible terms”?

America’s media zealously publicize anytime a U.S. soldier breaches the Geneva Conventions. Why then are they silent over the Taliban operating entirely outside of those laws? Taliban soldiers don’t wear uniforms, a law intended to protect civilians from getting killed. They purposefully use civilian structures like homes and mosques for military purposes—another illegal practice that imperils non-combatants. They exploit children not just as soldiers but as suicide bombers, strapping explosives to them and sending them to their deaths. Why no indignation over those “deplorable” and “reprehensible” practices?

The Taliban deliberately assassinate civilians by the hundreds. They consider anyone who is actively trying to rebuild Afghanistan—doctors, teachers, construction workers—worthy of death. The New York Times has reported that insurgents in Afghanistan kill twice as many civilians as they do uniformed government or coalition forces. Where is the outrage against that? Is that an “atrocity”?

No one is defending what those soldiers did. But to single them out for such damnation is to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

America’s leaders have allowed their moral standard to be skewed out of all proportion by extremists whose goal is to use every ounce of leverage possible to cripple America.

It is political correctness run amok: dismissing Muslim evils as irrelevant—after all, who are we to judge them?—while viewing Western actions through a distorted but harshly exacting moral lens.

We need a reality check. And that can only come from looking at the one true absolute standard of morality, the one supplied by the Being who defines good and evil.

God sees plenty of acts in America that are deplorable and reprehensible, that He views with total dismay and condemns in the strongest possible terms, and that He promises to punish to the full. But guess what? The action of these soldiers hardly registers on His radar screen.

Does it matter to you what God finds abominable? Instead of concocting our own standards of righteousness and appointing ourselves as judge and jury, how about aligning our thoughts with those of the Author of righteousness?

Forget the Geneva Conventions: God is outraged over our breaking the Ten Commandments. Blacklisting Him and worshiping idols. Urinating on His holy Sabbaths. Enslaving ourselves in greed, materialism, covetousness and debt, such that it sabotages the nation’s future. Glorifying violence. Desecrating the family. Turning our children out to pasture. Mass promoting and celebrating rank sexual immorality. Embracing fornication, cohabitation, adultery, divorce, homosexuality and other perversion.

God is “deeply disturbed” by such things. The fact that 40 percent of pregnancies in New York are aborted. That is an “atrocity.” The existence of an abortion butcher like Dr. Kermit Gosnell. That is “barbaric.” The support he received from state abortion lobbyists and clinic inspectors—and the pass he got from an appallingly liberal national media. That “inhuman act reveals their real face to the world.”

Why aren’t monsters such as that “urgently investigated” and given “the most severe punishment”?

Yes, this is a “hypocritical nation”—smug and self-righteous, praising, pardoning and punishing according to whatever standards it chooses. “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,” Proverbs 30:12 says, “and yet is not washed from their filthiness.”

America wallows in rivers of moral sewage. It’s a little hard to stomach the sanctimonious moralizing about where a few soldiers chose to pee.

France’s Credit Rating Down, Greece Nearly Out

France’s Credit Rating Down, Greece Nearly Out

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

The euro crisis keeps getting worse.

Nine eurozone nations had their credit rating downgraded by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) on January 13, causing the euro to fall to its lowest level against the dollar since 2010. France and Austria lost their flawless aaa ratings and are now rated AA+. Portugal’s and Cyprus’s ratings were cut to “junk.”

The market reaction to these downgrades was relatively weak, mainly because investors were expecting them. “A one-notch downgrade for France was completely priced in, so no negative surprise here, and quite logical after the United States got downgraded,” said Global Equities’ David Thebault.

Greece posed a potentially bigger threat to the European Union after a breakdown in talks over its debt threatened to deny Greece the next stage of bailout cash.

As a condition for receiving the money, Greece has to negotiate a “haircut” from its creditors—a voluntary agreement for them to forgive a large chunk of its debts.

Naturally, the creditors aren’t keen to do this. But forcing them to accept losses could, according to the New York Times, “unleash violent market reactions that could conceivably produce another market cataclysm like the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and throw the world into another recession.”

During negotiations last Friday, one body representing the creditors announced a “pause for reflection”—stoking fears that Greece was having trouble forming an agreement.

But even if it does manage to, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are not sure they want to give Greece the loan. The New York Times says they “have come to believe that the country has neither the ability nor the will to carry out the broad economic reforms it has promised in exchange for aid” and that “they are even prepared to withhold the next installment of aid in March,” citing people familiar with the talks.

But Greece needs money by March 20—when it must pay €14.4 billion of debt. It has a lot of hoops to jump through before then to get the cash. Matina Stevis writes in the Wall Street Journal: “It’s difficult to estimate how long each of the above steps will take, but it’s clear that there are several things that could go wrong between today and March 19.”

Downgrades and troublesome Greek debt show that the eurozone hasn’t come close to solving its financial problems. Expect things to get worse, until Europe is forced to accept all of Germany’s conditions in return for a financial lifeline.

German Dairy Giant Buys UK’s Biggest Milk Supplier

German Dairy Giant Buys UK’s Biggest Milk Supplier

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German dairy company Müller Group bought Robert Wiseman Dairies, Britain’s largest supplier of fresh milk, for almost €338 million (us$428 million), the two firms announced on Monday.

“The boards of Müller and Robert Wiseman Dairies plc are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer to be made by Müller Dairy UK Limited for the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Wiseman,” the two sides said in an official statement.

The Glasgow-based Robert Wiseman Dairies operates seven separate dairies across Britain and employs 5,000 Britons. In 2010, it supplied around one third of the UK’s fresh milk, and had a turnover of more than €1 billion (us$1.27 billion). More than half of the company’s shareholders have already accepted the offer from Germany’s 116-year-old Müller Group.

Two of the primary end-time trends Bible prophecy foretells are the decline of Anglo-America and the rise of a German-led European empire. Müller Group’s acquisition of the UK’s largest milk supplier advances the fulfillment of both of these foundational prophecies. To understand more, read He Was Right.