Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami and global jihad

Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami and global jihad


Taj Hashmi
JEWS and Christians ... should be forced to pay Jizya [poll tax] in order to put an end to their independence and supremacy so that they should not remain rulers and sovereigns in the land. These powers should be wrested from them by the followers of the true Faith [Islam], who should assume the sovereignty and lead others towards the Right Way. That is why the Islamic state offers them [non-Muslims] protection, if they agree to live as Zimmis by paying Jizya, …. it is the duty of the true Muslims to exert their utmost to bring an end to their wicked rule and bring them under a righteous order. Abul A'la Maududi, Founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami
The Muslim Brotherhood has not changed; only Western opinion of it has. As it was since its founding in 1928, the group is committed to empowering and spreading Sharia law -- a law that preaches hate for non-Muslim “infidels,” especially Islam's historic nemesis, Christianity, and allows anything, from lying to cheating, to make Islam supreme.Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, June 25, 2012
Overview: Muslim quest for alternative orders
American presidents from Eisenhower to Obama have been responsible for the phenomenal rise of Islamist forces throughout the Muslim World. Hillary Clinton and some top American diplomats and politicians have publicly admitted that the Cold War exigencies had led their country to support Islamist forces, including the Afghan Mujahedeen and those who later founded al-Qaeda. We also know that in 1953, while Eisenhower flirted with the ayatollahs on the eve of the CIA-led military coup that toppled a democratically elected government in Iran, both Carter and Reagan legitimised General Zia ul-Haq's pro-Jamaat-e-Islami Islamist military dictatorship in Pakistan (1977-1988). American leadership during Eisenhower and Nixon years preferred the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to Nasser, for the latter's avowedly anti-Western and anti-Israeli stand, and his close ties with the Soviet Union. America continued to support the soft-on-Islam President Anwar Sadat and the MB till the killing of Sadat by Islamist radicals in 1981. Some critics of American foreign policy also portray the MB as an offshoot of the CIA. MB founder Hassan al-Banna's son-in-law Said Ramadan (father of Tariq Ramadan) is said to have been a CIA agent in the 1950s.i  Many analysts believe that the Cold War understanding between America and Islamists -- the MB, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Afghan Mujahedeen -- did not end with the end of the Cold War. They believe that MB leaders in Egypt and Syria, including Dr. Morsi, are pro-American.ii  As a Western analyst puts in plain words, America and its allies are “funding, arming, while simultaneously fighting al-Qaeda from Mali to Syria” to serve their long-term geo-political interests in the Muslim World.iii  In view of the controversial role America, Nato and its allies have been playing in the various conflict zones of “jihad” and “counter-jihad” in northwest and east Africa, Middle East and Afghanistan, one has reasons to believe that the West has been playing a dubious role. As for example, on the one hand we find top US leaders, Nato and ISAF commanders telling the world that they are fighting terrorists/insurgents in Afghanistan, and on the other, we find them acquiescing in to the public cultivation of poppy and narcotic trade in and beyond Afghanistan, which benefit drug lords, Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Irrespective of whether Mohamed Morsi and top MB leaders have had ties with America or not, the ground reality is that the average Egyptian Muslims do not favour either America or Israel. And thanks to decades of civil and military dictatorship (1952-2011), the Egyptians never had the exposure to liberal democracy and human rights. Thus, for the bulk of Egyptian Muslims, Islamism or political Islam has emerged as the main alternative to military dictatorship, and as the most powerful ideology to ensure civil liberty and human rights. However, as we know from people's experience of living under Shiite and Sunni theocracies in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan and to some extent, in Pakistan, Islamism never ensures civil liberty, human rights and democracy. In view of this, I am briefly introducing the MB,  JI, al-Qaeda, Khomeinism/ Iranian Islamism, Taliban, Wahhabism and some minor Islamist outfits in the Muslim World to facilitate the understanding of the impending threat of militant Islam and “Muslim Democracies” in the Muslim World. Ominously, Muslim majority countries -- from West Africa to North Africa, and the Middle East to South and Southeast Asia -- have been going through turbulent phase of their history and on the threshold of big transitions towards modernism and good governance (if not democracy) in the post-Cold War era of Globalization and the promised “New World Order.”
The level of support for Islamism varies from country to country. Islamist organisations and movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism flourish better in countries lacking in political freedom and democratic institutions than in free and democratic countries. Islamist organisations-cum-movements, such as the MB and Wahhabism, fill in the political and cultural space in countries without political parties and secular socio-cultural associations and institutions. Thus Islamist organisations are well entrenched throughout North Africa and Middle East. Although relative political and cultural freedom in Pakistan (even under military dictators) have allowed the proliferation of non-Islamic (if not totally secular) political parties and cultural organisations, yet Islam being the raison d'ĂȘtre for the creation of the state has special political importance in the country. Islamism has lesser space in the political arena of Bangladesh as the country emerged out of Pakistan in the name of secular Bengali nationalism, which was a departure from Islam-based state ideology of Pakistan.
Far from being united under a common banner, the Muslim militants are least capable of challenging Western hegemony. Again, they have more intra-Muslim conflicts to sort out before they can pose any substantial threat to Western civilisation. As there are “flashpoints” so are there “dormant volcanoes” in the Muslim World. Most importantly, Islamists proliferate under autocratic regimes, which by default or design promote Islamism. Examples abound. While Saudi Arabia promotes Wahhabi Islam as the state ideology to legitimise Saudi autocracy, military dictators in Pakistan and Bangladesh legitimised Islamism (although not the militant version of it) in league with “Islam-loving” politicians and clerics to legitimise military rule. Islamism flourished by default in countries like Egypt and Iran, where disgruntled Muslims and the relatively free (and influential) clerics clung to Islamism for an alternative order. This explains the rise of the MB and Khomeini.
Muslim Brotherhood (MB)
The understanding of Islamist “flashpoints” of “global jihad” requires an understanding of major Islamist movements, their brief history, ideologies and strategies. We may begin with the MB or Ikhwanul Muslemeen, the most prominent Islamist party in the world, which may be considered as “the mother of al-Qaeda.” It had a humble beginning. Hassan al-Banna (1906-1949), son of an imam and mosque teacher in Cairo, used to repair watches, and having interest in Islamic traditions wrote books on Islam. In March 1928, the 22-year-old Banna founded the Society for Muslim Brothers and within ten years it drew 500,000 Egyptians as active members. By 1945 the figure rose to two million. Thanks to 9/11 al-Qaeda seems to have stolen the thunder, while the MB remains the most organised and largest transnational Islamist organisation in the world.


New Legislation Aims to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Foreign Terrorist Organization

New Legislation Aims to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Foreign Terrorist Organization


ell, it's about time. The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE and is beinginvestigated by David Cameron's government in Great Britain.
Now, finally, a move is underway to outlaw the Brotherhood--the grandaddy of all modern Islamic terrorist groups--right here in the United States. Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann has introduced a bill in the House that would designate the MB as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, or FTO.
The legislation, which is co-sponsored by seven other Republican House members and is surely frowned upon by the MB-friendly Obama administration and timid House GOP leadership, would impose sanctions on the Brotherhood's "Brother-ship" branch in Egypt as well as the movement's affiliates in Europe and the United States.
You can read the legislation here. I applaud Rep. Bachmann and her team for meticulously outlining the Brotherhood's long history of violence and support for terrorism around the world. 

As I described in detail in my 2013 book, The Brotherhood: America's Next Great Enemy, since its founding in Egypt in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood, or Ikhwan, has provided the ideological inspiration for al Qaeda and the entire modern jihadist movement. Terrorist kingpins like Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Anwar al-Awalaki, and current al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri all passed through the Brotherhood's ranks as young men.
Likewise, the blood-soaked, genocidal terror group Hamas, which is currently raining rockets on Israeli cities and towns and plotting wholesale massacres of Jewish communities along the Gaza border, is the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian branch. In other words, Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood.
The House bill also points out that the Brotherhood has been behind much of the violence and chaos in Egypt these past few years, including the destruction of dozens of Christian churches last summer. The Brotherhood has been weakened considerably in Egypt since Mohammed Morsi's ouster last year but the MB and its surrogates continue to thrive here in the United States, due in no small part to their cozy relationship with the Obama administration.
To that end, Bachmann's legislation also seeks to crack down on anyone here in the United States that provides material support or funding to the Brotherhood while at the same time denying visas to any MB members that wish to come to America.
Even if this bill passes through Congress, President Obama has the executive power to veto it. Which means, sadly, you shouldn't expect any action against the Muslim Brotherhood in America until the current president is out of office.
But again, many kudos to Bachmann and Co. for bringing the issue to the table and I encourage them wholeheartedly to keep up the pressure and continue sounding the alarm.

Magnitude-3.0 Earthquake Strikes in Santa Monica Bay

A magnitude 3.0 earthquake struck in Santa Monica Bay 12:23 p.m. Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The quake struck west of the beach cities. (Credit: USGS)
The quake struck west of the beach cities. (Credit: USGS)
The temblor hit at a depth of 5.7 miles about 6 miles west of Manhattan Beach, USGS said.
The epicenter was in the Pacific Ocean, west of the beach cities and the South Bay (map).
It appeared to strike near the northern tip of the Palos Verdes Fault Zone, which generally runs from near the center of the bay southwest toward and through the Palos Verdes Peninsula and then perpendicular with the Orange County coastline, according to a map from Caltech’s Southern California Earthquake Data Center.
The quake was felt widely along the Santa Monica Bay coastline, but only as a “light” or “weak” shaking, according to the USGS ShakeMap.
“We have just experienced what felt like a small earthquake,” the Hawthorne Police Department tweeted. “No reports of damage or injuries at this time.”

Now Four African Nations Battle Ebola

The number of people killed by the virus in West Africa has now reached 672, according to new UN figures.
The US humanitarian organisation Peace Corps said it was withdrawing 340 volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea because of the spread of the virus.
Dr Stephan Monroe from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the outbreak was unusual and logistically challenging to break the chains of transmission.

Does Your Preaching Heal & Destroy?


Matthew 11

4...“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”


Mark 16

14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and isbaptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
Luke 9

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

...The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

The Nations Hear the Good News

ACTS 10

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 

37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him onthe third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

M6.3 - VERACRUZ, MEXICO


Preliminary Earthquake ReportMagnitude6.3Date-Time29 Jul 2014 10:46:15 UTC29 Jul 2014 05:46:15 near epicenter29 Jul 2014 05:46:15 standard time in your timezone

Location17.842N 95.524WDepth95 kmDistances19 km (11 mi) SW of Juan Rodriguez Clara, Mexico60 km (37 mi) W of Sayula de Aleman, Mexico62 km (38 mi) SSE of Carlos A. Carrillo, Mexico65 km (40 mi) W of Acayucan, Mexico418 km (259 mi) ESE of Mexico City, Mexico

Location UncertaintyHorizontal: 0.0 km; Vertical 5.9 kmParametersNph = 149; Dmin = 324.3 km; Rmss = 1.12 seconds; Gp = 46°
Version =Event IDus b000ry8m

For updates, maps, and technical information, see: Event Page or USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
National Earthquake Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/neic/

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Judgement of the Mistress of Kingdoms

Isaiah 47 English Standard

Come down and sit in the dust,
    O virgin daughter of Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
    O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called
    tender and delicate.

2 Take the millstones and grind flour,
    put off your veil,
strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
    pass through the rivers.

3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
    and your disgrace shall be seen.
I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one.

4 Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—
    is the Holy One of Israel.

5 Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
    O daughter of the Chaldeans;
for you shall no more be called
    the mistress of kingdoms.

6 I was angry with my people;
    I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand;
    you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.

7 You said, “I shall be mistress forever,”
    so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end.

8 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,who sit securely, who say in your heart,
    “I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
    or know the loss of children”:

9 These two things shall come to you
    in a moment, in one day;
the loss of children and widowhood
    shall come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
    and the great power of your enchantments.

10 You felt secure in your wickedness,
    you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me.”

11 But evil shall come upon you,
    which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you,
    for which you will not be able to atone;
and ruin shall come upon you suddenly,
    of which you know nothing.

12 Stand fast in your enchantments
    and your many sorceries,
    with which you have labored from your youth;
perhaps you may be able to succeed;
    perhaps you may inspire terror.

13 You are wearied with your many counsels;
    let them stand forth and save you,
those who divide the heavens,
    who gaze at the stars,
who at the new moons make known
    what shall come upon you.

14 Behold, they are like stubble;
    the fire consumes them;
they cannot deliver themselves
    from the power of the flame.
No coal for warming oneself is this,
    no fire to sit before!

15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored,
    who have done business with you from your youth;
they wander about, each in his own direction; there is no one to save you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Israel’s War with the Muslim Brotherhood

Israel’s War with the Muslim Brotherhood

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.

Despite the cries of furious hipsters waving cardboard signs stained with fake blood, there is no ethnic cleansing going on in Gaza. No more than there was when the US began bombing the Taliban.

The last act of ethnic cleansing took place in the summer of 2005 when the Israeli government gave in to international pressure by forcibly evicting all the Jews from the Gaza Strip. Even the graves were dug up.

The media, which had been up in arms when Israel had evicted 400 Hamas terrorists, had nothing but applause for the forced ethnic cleansing of thousands of Jewish families. The synagogues they left behind were also torched to the applause of the same media now filling the airwaves with fake outrage.

CNN described one synagogue as “very controversial because it is the Jewish synagogue.” The Los Angeles Times wrote of Muslims venting “their fury over the occupation by laying waste to the synagogues.” “Youths set fire to synagogues and other symbols of the hated occupation,” the London Times scribbled. The Age tried for the poetic with “Burning synagogue lights Gaza dawn”.

The Nazi Minister of Propaganda had written under similar circumstances, “I wish to return to my hotel and see a glow as red as blood. The synagogue is burning.” The mainstream media had erased any distinction between themselves and the Kristallnacht propaganda of Joseph Goebbels

The ethnic cleansing of Jews from Gaza made the Hamas takeover possible. The current conflict is rooted in that tragic act of appeasement.

And it wasn’t only the Jews who suffered.

Under Muslim Brotherhood rule, the Christian population of Gaza was cut in half. The Baptists nearly disappeared after a Christian bookstore was bombed twice and its manager was clubbed and shot.

What happened to the Christians of Gaza was the same thing that had been happening to Christians across the Middle East under Islamic rule. While the media is focusing on Gaza, ISIS has just finished ethnically cleansing the Christians of Mosul by demanding that the non-Muslim residents of this Iraqi city convert to Islam, pay Jizya or die.

ISIS is a cousin of Hamas. Both organizations are outgrowths of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its current leader came out of the Muslim Brotherhood and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man originally behind Al Qaeda in Iraq, was released from a Jordanian prison to win favor with the local Muslim Brotherhood.

When Zarqawi was finally killed, Hamas issued a statement mourning him as “a martyr of the nation.” Protesters in Gaza demanded revenge for his death. The Islamic Action Front, the Brotherhood’s political arm in Jordan, openly expressed its admiration for the mass murderer.

ISIS, Hamas and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have all driven out Christians in areas under the control of their Jihadists. Hamas’ attacks on Israel are motivated by that same xenophobic impulse.

Hamas is doing to Gaza what ISIS is doing to Mosul, slowly transforming it into a terrorist slum at war with the rest of the world, until it becomes a Qaeda, a base, the Muslim equivalent of a Liberation Theology base community.

Christians, Jews and other minorities cannot survive this process. Their only choices are to flee or fight.

When Israel pulls back after this latest round of fighting, Gaza will be as Muslim as ever. But under Hamas rule, it will not be very long until it is as empty of Christians as it already is of Jews.

And that is real ethnic cleansing.

Genocide isn’t the empty theater played out by Hamas and its media and social media allies. It isn’t terrorist groups launching rockets using human shields and then palming off scenes from Final Destination 4 as Israeli atrocities.

It’s the eradication of an entire minority population. It’s what happens when synagogues and churches vanish and are replaced by mosques.

The ultimate goal of Hamas is envisioned in Article Seven of its charter which looks forward to the genocide of the Jews when “The Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!’”

Or as the Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood had already proclaimed long ago, “The Zionist question is but a Jewish question with all that the word entails.”

Unlike Israel’s surgical strikes at Hamas assets, this is genocide and it is the regional endgame of the Arab Muslim conquerors and colonists.

Hamas is not a persecuted minority lashing out as its oppressors. It is one outpost of a supremacist Sunni Muslim majoritarian organization that is terrorizing minorities across the region. Its mission is to continue the thousand year project of Islamic colonialism to destroy indigenous cultures and religions.

The Jews of Jerusalem, like the Christians of Mosul, happen to be in the way. Hamas’s charter makes its genocidal mission clear. But every Islamist group whose mission is to impose the absolute rule of Islam is equally committed to the ethnic cleansing of non-Muslim and even Muslim populations.

The real genocide in Gaza and throughout the Middle East is being committed by Muslims against non-Muslims with the complicity of Western media and governments. There were no UN resolutions when Jews were ethnically cleansed from Kfar Darom in Gaza and parts of Jerusalem in 1948 by Muslims.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s battalion attacked the village of Kfar Darom and forty-five Israeli militia members protected 400 men, women and children. The Brotherhood’s attacks were beaten back with determined resistance until its Jihadists were forced to retreat leaving behind seventy of their dead.

After the village came under attack from Egyptian armor and air power, it had to be abandoned for decades until Israel liberated the territory on which it had stood. Then the diplomats and reporters  who hadn’t cared about the tiny village before, suddenly declared that Kfar Darom was a settlement and the Jews who lived there were occupiers for resettling the land that Muslims had conquered in 1948.

When Kfar Darom was ethnically cleansed again in 2005, the media and the diplomats cheered. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar entered the Kfar Darom synagogue and laid claim to it in the name of Islam.

There were no resolutions or boycotts when the Jews were forced out of East Jerusalem in 1948 and the Jewish Quarter was blown up by a Muslim commander who said, “For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter.” But when Israel liberated and reunited Jerusalem in 1967, the Jews moving into their own city and one of the oldest cities in the world were denounced as “settlers.”

The international principle that has been adopted universally is that when Muslims conquer a place, it belongs to them permanently, even if they only conquered it a few decades ago. Muslims always have superior rights to Christians, Jews or any other non-Muslim group in their own countries or any country.

This principle acknowledges that that the ethnic cleansing carried out by ISIS or Hamas is legitimate. It enshrines Muslim privilege up to and including the point of genocide. While the media wails over Gaza, Muslim campaigns of ethnic cleansing continue in Syria, Nigeria and Iraq and a dozen other places.

Israel has become a flashpoint in the region because it is the only place where an armed non-Muslim minority has been able to make a stand against Muslim genocide.  Israel has been fighting the forces of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza since right after the Holocaust. Its soldiers are fighting so that the same forces that have been ethnically cleansing the Christians and Jews of the Middle East do not reach Israel.

The dollar's 70-year dominance is coming to an end

The advantages this system bestows on the US are enormous. “Reserve currency status” generates huge demand for dollars from governments and companies around the world, as they’re needed for reserves and trade. This has allowed successive American administrations to spend far more, year-in year-out, than is raised in tax and export revenue.

By the early Seventies, US economic dominance was so assured that even after President Nixon reneged on the dollar’s previously unshakeable convertibility into gold, amounting to a massive default, dollar demand kept growing.

So America doesn’t worry about balance of payments crises, as it can pay for imports in dollars the Federal Reserve can just print. And Washington keeps spending willy-nilly, as the world buys ever more Treasuries on the strength of regulatory imperative and the vast liquidity and size of the market for US sovereign debt.

 It is this “exorbitant privilege” – as French statesman Valéry Giscard d’Estaing once sourly observed – that has been the bedrock of America’s post-war hegemony. It is the status of the dollar, above all, that’s allowed Washington to get its way, putting the financial squeeze on recalcitrant countries via the IMF while funding foreign wars. To understand politics and power it pays to follow the money. And for the past 70 years, the dollar has ruled the roost.

 This won’t change anytime soon. Something just took place, though, which illustrates that dollar reserve currency status won’t last forever and could be seriously diluted. Last week, seven decades on from Bretton Woods, the governments of Brazil, Russia, India and China led a conference in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza to mark the establishment of a new development bank that, whatever diplomatic niceties are put on it, is intent on competing with the IMF and World Bank.

 It’s long been obvious the BRICs are coming. The total annual output of these four economies has spiralled in recent years, to an astonishing $29.6  trillion (£17.3 trillion) last year on a PPP-basis adjusted for living costs. That’s within spitting distance of the $34.2 trillion generated by the US and European Union combined.

 America’s GDP, incidentally, was $16.8 trillion on World Bank numbers, and China’s was $16.2 trillion – within a whisker of knocking the US off its perch. The balance of global economic power is on a knife-edge. Tomorrow is almost today.

 …The dollar’s status is a big question. Judging the outcome is more akin to star-gazing than scientific economics. But the establishment of this BRIC Development bank, timed to coincide with the anniversary of Bretton Woods, is an audacious and significant move. The world’s emerging giants now have thumbscrews on the West.

End of Times Indicators: Japan’s Mount Fuji in ‘Critical State’ to Erupt


By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 21, 2014 4:13 PM EST

Japan's highest peak Mount Fuji has been placed by a team of researchers in a "critical state" to erupt, spurred by the pressure built underneath it by the 2011 magnitude-9 Tohoku-Oki earthquake.

Villagers affected by the Mount Sinabung eruption earlier this year head to a polling station in Medan, Sumatra July 9, 2014. Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo looked to be heading for a narrow victory in Indonesia's presidential election on Wednesday, early quick counts showed, in what would be a triumph for a new breed of politician that has emerged in the fledgling democracy. After polls closed across the vast archipelago at 1 p.m. (0600 GMT), a tally of about 60 percent of the votes showed Jokowi was ahead of former general Prabowo Subianto, who is seen as a representative of the old guard that flourished under decades of autocratic rule. REUTERS/Y T Haryono (INDONESIA - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

If this happens, at least 1.2 million people will be affected in the prefectural governments of Shizuoka, Yamanashi and Kanagawa.

However, the research team composed of scientists at the Institute of Earth Sciences in Grenoble, France, with their Japanese counterparts cannot categorically say yet when the eruption will take place or if it is imminent.

The scientists used records from 800 seismic sensors that recorded data after the 2011 magnitude-9 Tohoku-Oki earthquake took place to map geological disturbances in fluid in the earth's crust, caused by seismic waves.

They saw that earthquakes of such magnitude can impact volcanoes and influence just how massive a volcanic eruption can be at a single time.

Using seismic noise, the research team tried to measure the perturbations of the mechanical properties of Earth's crust. Seismic noise is associated with seismic waves caused by ocean swell.

Dr Florent Brenguier, lead author of the publication, told The Guardian that seismic waves travelled a long way around the world several times.

"Their movement makes the earth's crust vibrate and, rather like a shock wave, this produces breaks or cracks in the rock."

After the tsunami occurred in March 2011, a magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck four days after it. And then it was followed by many smaller aftershocks, indicating Mount Fuji was under high pressure.

Scientists saw that the perturbations of the Earth's crust were the greatest under volcanic regions, some 400 kilometres away from the quake's epicentre, especially under Mount Fuji.

"We cannot establish a direct relation of cause and effect between quakes and volcanic eruptions, even if statistically the former lead to an increase in the latter," Brenguier said.

"All we can say is that Mount Fuji is now in a state of pressure, which means it displays a high potential for eruption. The risk is clearly higher."

Such findings, and its lack of clear eruption forecast, has prompted the prefectural governments of Shizuoka, Yamanashi and Kanagawa to adopt a comprehensive evacuation plan should the inevitable eruption of Mount Fuji does occur.

The evacuation plan states

750,000 people must leave their homes in 14 municipalities in Shizuoka and Yamanashi owing to lava and pyroclastic flows
470,000 people, mainly in Kanagawa, would need to evacuate because of volcanic ash in the air
The plan, Japan Times reported, said 406,000 people are currently in Kanagawa, 62,000 in Shizuoka and 1,000 in Yamanashi.

The health of up to 8.85 million people in the three prefectures will be affected by the expected 2 cm or more volcanic ash fall.

Mount Fuji last erupted in 1707, several weeks after a magnitude 8.7 quake rocked the region.

To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail: e.misa@ibtimes..com.au

Monday, July 21, 2014

M6.9 - FIJI QUAKE

REGION

Preliminary Earthquake ReportMagnitude6.9Date-Time21 Jul 2014 14:54:40 UTC21 Jul 2014 02:54:41 near epicenter21 Jul 2014 09:54:40 standard time in your timezoneLocation19.780S 178.441WDepth616 kmDistances100 km (62 mi) NNE of Ndoi Island, Fiji437 km (270 mi) SSE of Lambasa, Fiji488 km (302 mi) ESE of Nadi, FijiLocation UncertaintyHorizontal: 0.0 km; Vertical 4.5 kmParametersNph = 176; Dmin = 432.9 km; Rmss = 0.96 seconds; Gp = 18°
Version = 1Event IDus b000ruzk

For updates, maps, and technical information, see: Event Page or USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
National Earthquake Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Christians Given Ultimatum in Mosul: Convert, Leave or Die

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Christians Given Ultimatum in Mosul: Convert, Leave or Die

Islamic State sets new rules, raising possibility of martyrdom.

Team Aleteia

Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Saad Sirop of Baghdad has confirmed a troubling report from Mosul that the Islamic State is now presenting Christians in that city with a final ultimatum of conversion, subservience or death.

According to sources known to Aleteia, but kept anonymous due to security concerns, a number of mosques in the city of Mosul, and through loudspeakers, called on Christians Friday to leave the city. They said they were doing so because bishops had refused to attend a meeting this week with members of the Islamic State in which the new rulers would dictate terms to the Christians: pay a special tax or convert to Islam.

Christians have until  tomorrow to leave, or face execution.

Bishop Sirop has confirmed the report to Aleteia partner Aid to the Church in Need.

"We are speechless because what happened is really shocking. We are really worried about the future of Christians in this country," the bishop said Friday. "In the last hours, the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have forced the few remaining Christians in Iraq's second city to leave their homes. Desperate, Christians immediately fled but were stopped at checkpoints by militias who have looted cars and all their belongings and then summoned them to continue on foot. Most of the families are headed to the North, in the city of Dahuk."

The bishop said Christians in Mosul, whose history goes back to the early centuries of Christianity, have never been driven from their homes as if they had no rights—until now.

Since yesterday, he said, the militia has asked Christians to convert to Islam or leave.

"Our worst fears are coming true, and we do not know how to react," he said. He pleaded with the international community to exert pressure on the Iraqi government to find practical solutions.

A request from the United States Department of State for comment has not yet been answered.

A spokesman for Congrssman Frank Wolf (R-VA), who helped establish the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 1998, said his office was "very concerned and very engaged," but would not comment further.

"With a greater internal stability, there will be no place for these groups of fanatics who claim to govern our country," said Bishop Sirop. "And then you have to help these poor people without a home and robbed of all that he had. It's really a tragedy."

After bishops did not attend the meeting called by leaders of the caliphate this week, the Islamic State issued a communique to let them know that Christians would be given the chance to convert to  Islam or pay special taxes. If they refused, "their destiny is the sword," the communique said.

Referring to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the letter said, "The prince of the faithful, Caliph Ibrahim, is allowing them however, to leave on their own, outside the limits of the Caliphate. They have until 12 noon (Saturday), and after that, there is nothing between us and them except of the sword!"

The ultimatum may actually be working for the Islamic State. Fides News Agency reported today that the  last Christian families still present in Mosul are leaving  and are heading towards Erbil, Dohuk and other areas of Iraqi Kurdistan which are considered safer.

"This is confirmed by sources of the local Chaldean community to Fides Agency," the report said. "The new exodus has accelerated in the past two days, after Sunni insurgents and militants of the Islamic Caliphate began to mark with letters of recognition the homes of Christians and Shiites. As reported by the website www.Ankawa.com, the evacuation of the last Christians is also due to the intensification of the bombing carried out by the military government on many areas of the city, especially at night. In many villages of the Nineveh Plain, the main emergency is currently represented by the suspension of water supply, made even more unbearable due to high temperatures."

It may be the end game Christians have feared for some time, especially since ISIS took over Mosul in early June. Since then, things have gotten progressively worse for Christians. The Associated Press has also reported that the Islamic State has begun seizing the houses of Christian and Shiite families who fled Mosul and giving some of them to Sunni families uprooted from areas like Tikrit and Diyala. "They mark these houses with signs reading Islamic State Properties," AP reported today. "A resident of a north Mosul neighborhood said three masked gunmen knocked on his door Wednesday, asking whether he knew of any Christian or Shiite homes in the area. The resident spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Western aid helping territory held by Isis militants

Syria conflict exclusive: Western aid going to help territory held by Isis militants


Food aid and medicines sent by governments, NGOs and the UN are arriving in towns such as Raqqa, Manbij and Jarablus, which have witnessed beheadings and crucifixions since the terrorist group took over early this year




Muslims Turn away from Islamism

Muslims Turn away from Islamism


The Pew Research Center, a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, has the means to sample opinion with unique frequency and on a major scale. It has used its funds to track Muslim attitudes toward Islamism in general, toward specific terrorist groups in particular, and also suicide bombing over the past decade . The most recent study, "Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Middle East," released on July 1, conducted among 14,244 respondents in 14 countries between April 10 to May 25, 2014, holds much interest. Pew summarized the overall results:
As well-publicized bouts of violence, from civil war to suicide bombings, plague the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, concern about Islamic extremism is high among countries with substantial Muslim populations. … And in the Middle East, concern is growing. Lebanese, Tunisians, Egyptians, Jordanians and Turks are all more worried about the extremist threat than they were a year ago. Meanwhile, publics hold very negative opinions of well-known extremist groups, such as al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.
In my reading, the survey makes two major points and also offers some lesser tidbits of interest: :
(1) The better Muslims know Islamism, the more they reject it. This theme pervades the poll numbers when compared over time. As Islamism has surged over the past decade, Muslim support for it has decreased nearly across the board, with the last year showing a particularly dramatic reduction.
Graph 1, "Increasing Concerns about Extremism in the Middle East" shows an average increase of 9.4 percent in anti-Islamist feeling in a single year between 2013 and 2014:
Graph 2, excluding Lebanon, the outlier, "Unfavorable Views of Hezbollah on the Rise in the Middle East; Steady in Lebanon" finds an average 34 percent increase in disapproval of Hezbollah in the four countries surveyed since 2007.
Graph 3, "Palestinian Opinion of Hamas Declines" records a near-reversal from 2007 to the present, from 62 percent favorable and 33 percent unfavorable to 35 and 53 percent respectively.
Graph 4, "Levels of Support for Suicide Bombing over Time" shows uneven but clear decline in support for this hideous tactic.
Comment: Whether the issue be Islamism in general, views on Hezbollah, Hamas, or on suicide bombings, Muslim support is substantially reduced, confirming my thesis, first offered a year ago, that Islamism has peaked and is in decline.
(2) The three Palestinian populations of the West Bank, Gaza, and Israeli Arabs differ in many ways:
Of all Muslim groups polled, West Bankers and Gazans have the most favorable view of Al-Qaeda, at 26 percent; extrapolating from the incomplete data Pew offers, it appears that only about 6 percent of Israeli Arabs favor Al-Qaeda, a substantial difference.
Similarly,, Palestinians support suicide bombing more than any other group in the Middle East, with Gazans oddly much higher (62 percent) than West Bankers (36 percent). Israeli Arabs again favor this tactic in much lower numbers (16 percent).
West Bankers and Gazans favor Hamas equally; but Gazans, who have experienced its rule first-hand, are far more negative toward the organization. Asked about Islamism in general, Gazans are again much more negative (79 percent) than are West Bankers (57 percent).
Comments: The Pew poll confirms that Palestinians are the most radicalized people of the Middle East, if not the world, ready to throw everything over and try any wild-eyed experiment. They have tried four over the past century: pan-Syrian nationalism, pan-Arab nationalism, Palestinian nationalism, or Islamism. One shudders to think what will come next. That said, Israeli Arabs differ substantially from their non-Israeli counterparts.
Other revealing tidbits:
Boko Haram's persistent targeting of fellow Muslims in Nigeria leads to the anomalous finding that Muslims in that country outnumber Christians (76 to 69 percent) in expressing high levels of concern about Islamism.
Even more aberrant, 31 percent of Christians in Lebanon favor Hezbollah, compared to only 9 percent of Sunni Muslims. (Shi'i Muslims favor it by an overwhelming 86 percent.)
Comment: In a twist that may be a harbinger of thing to come, Muslims are sometimes more anti-Islamist than Christians.
Finally, few surveys find 100 percent agreement on anything, but Jewish Israelis unanimously oppose both Hezbollah and Hamas. That even a polling sample reveals total agreement on any topic comes as a mild surprise to anyone who knows the Jews of Israel. (July 14, 2014)