Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dear Father,

By Heidi

I really don’t need to write to you because you already know me and my thoughts anyway and you hear me. But today, I am writing you because I would like for the people to read it. I want to bring them along in my relationship with you.

We have Christmas. It is possible that the birth of Your Beloved Son wasn’t at this time of the year. A few scientists believe they have figured it out. I also must admit that until now I haven’t been a real fan of Christmas. This commerce bothers me. I feel like it is also bad that the people are all wound up, chasing after gifts, and therefore don’t even think about the greatest gift that You have prepared for them. You Yourself came in order to save us from sin and guilt, to restore our relationship with You through Your Son. They don’t see You, they don’t hear You; Your soft voice that wants to tell them how much You love them. If they could only know how important they are to You. They wouldn’t just walk up to You, they would run. If only they could know how good You are. Yes, You are “the loving God.” Our parents and grandparents always knew that. If only they could see, if only they would listen…

Ever since I know that certain powers in our country that You have given us would like to see this holiday disappear, since then I have wanted to keep Christmas. It reminds me about You, or at least it should. How beautiful it was as a child. My parents prepared everything so secretly and with love. There was rustling and baking like in the song with the Christmas bakery. Mom had for months already been buying gifts and hiding them, which I would look for for the longest because of pure curiosity until I had found them. It wasn’t easy for her to do this. She didn’t have a lot of money so she could buy everything she wanted to. Christmas was full of love. We went once a year to the church, which was often cold, simply not heated. And thus, only there did we hear about You and then afterward enjoyed the gifts. It was a beautiful time.

Hardly anymore is a “beautiful” or much less “blessed Christmas” wished by anyone. Christmas is called Xmas, in Kindergarten everything else possible is told so that the Muslims are insulted. Where then do we really live? Today we’re told that Islam belongs in Germany. Christmas no longer, You neither, rather the godless Islam. You know, they’re disowning You. You are not the Lord they worship. Church leaders claim that Moslems and all the others worship the same God. But that can’t at all be because they reject Jesus Christ as God’s Son. It’s the exact opposite. You describe them as antichrists in the Bible because they have come to deny Christ as a man. They don’t worship you! How then can it be said that Islam belongs in Germany? Father, You know what Islam is. You know who people suffer in other countries where Islam has taken over. Please, Father, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, keep us and our descendants from this diabolical reign of terror. Please Lord, let the people in Germany wake up, at best BEFORE the first bombs begin to fly. And then … they call us “stupid potato-heads.” Imagine that. We, as an educated nation, are only stupid potato-heads in their eyes. Potatoes have no brain; they have to know that. They also call Your people Israel “apes” and us Christians “pigs.” If they have such names for us, I has myself, of whose spirit are they the children?

I believe it was Heinrich Heine that said: At night of Germany I ponder and soon I’m brought to slumber. Dear Father, I still sleep well, but when I awaken I see that our beautiful land is in danger. You also see it. This land where many people in the past centuries have lived that love You. This land where there is so much valuable water: rivers, lakes, two seas, and sometimes lots of rain that doesn’t always fit our fancy. We have forests and beautiful meadows and so much more. Thank You for giving me a love for my country and my people. I know that both are from You.

Father, we are now also among the next groups that want to destroy Germany. We have Red and Green, Left and Right. We really don’t need all of this. They want to hold the power in the country, to possess influence, and then oppress others. We’ve had that already twice, as You know. I think that’s enough! We don’t need any right-wingers or any left-wingers, we don’t need this godlessness. The people are open-minded and have faith for so much nonsense, but they don’t want to trust in You. They think You don’t exist. What idiocy. If they would at least inquire about it. But today, they don’t even know what came first: the hen or the egg. They think themselves wise in being able to act scientifically, etc., but they can’t handle the simple things in life because they don’t want Your help. When Jesus Christ came upon the Earth, He said that we people were like sheep without a shepherd. Today, we would say like a car without GPS or the like. Don’t let our government act just against the Right, but against the Left as well.

Christmas, though, is not beautiful for everyone. You see the lonely old people at home and in the elder care homes. It makes me sad when I think about them, and I know you also understand me… They are also part of my people! How unloving, though, we have become. We seem to have everything but really have nothing at all. And what is it with the divorced ones; what has become of families? Various groups would like to force their laws through and be placed on an equality with marriages and families. But how did I play as a child: father, mother, child. That is the Godly order, which You have shown us, the most natural in the world. In the last century, the men and, therefore, the fathers were drawn off into wars. The families were mostly without the father and husband. Then this chaos of the 60s liberals whose effects we can still see today in those who have “stayed young.” But what kind of situation are we now in? Things truly are going well for us, no war, no real lack, even though some say that there are so many below the poverty line in Germany. Surely they have never been in Asia or Africa where people starve in the street. How can they speak of poverty in our wealth? Yes, we have poverty, a different kind, poverty in relationships, in the families, etc. But we nonetheless have warm dwelling places, something to eat, even the homeless.

Father, save our country and my people.

Bless the people who bless us and take care of those who have evil in mind.

Forgive us for forgetting You, that we haven’t sought You out in prayer.

Forgive us for using Your Name in vain because what does “Christian” or “Christian democratic,” etc. mean if it doesn’t have anything more to do with You? It is a breach against one of Your commandments when we speak your name in vain.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7 esv)

Forgive us for distorting Your Word and that the Word of God is no longer preached.

Forgive us for our godlessness and pride.

Forgive us for killing our babies before they even come into the world and make creams and more out of them.

Forgive our hard-heartedness toward the elderly.

As You have said in Your Word, the Bible:

And because lawlessness [the law/Word of God is meant here] will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12 esv)

Yes, it has gotten cold in Germany.

Dear Father, help us so that all of the coming generations may be able to live here in peace.

Help us to speak boldly about You, to spread further the love of Your Son Jesus Christ that our world so desperately needs.

Thank You that You came to us in Your Son as Immanuel – God with us.

Thank You that Jesus is the greatest example that has ever lived for us.

Thank You for all your patience and that you love people and even the animals.

Dear Father, thank You that every person has the chance to find their way to You, not just because the birth of Jesus but also because his death on the cross and the Resurrection.

Thank You dear Lord Jesus for dying for our sins and guilt so that we may be able to stand blameless before God.

Thank You for coming to us.

There is hope. You are our hope.

Your Heidi

Monday, December 24, 2012

What does the Bible say about the three wise men?


We assume that there were three wise men because of the three gifts that were given: gold, incense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). However, the Bible does not say there were only three wise men. There could have been many more. Tradition says that there were three and that their names were Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, but since the Bible does not say, we have no way of knowing whether the tradition is accurate.

It is a common misconception that the wise men visited Jesus at the stable on the night of His birth. In fact, the wise men came days, months, or possibly even years later. That is why Matthew 2:11 says the wise men visited and worshiped Jesus in a house, not at the stable.

We know that the magi were wise men from "the East," most likely Persia, or modern-day Iran. This means the wise men traveled 800 to 900 miles to see the Christ child. Most likely, the magi knew of the writings of the prophet Daniel, who in time past had been the chief of the court seers in Persia. Daniel 9:24-27 includes a prophecy which gives a timeline for the birth of the Messiah. Also, the magi may have been aware of the prophecy of Balaam (who was from the town of Pethor on the Euphrates River near Persia) in Numbers 24:17. Balaam's prophecy specifically mentions a “star coming out of Jacob.”

The wise men were guided to look for the King of the Jews by a miraculous stellar event, the "Star of Bethlehem," which they called "His star" (Matthew 2:2). They consulted with King Herod in Jerusalem concerning the birth of Christ and were so directed to Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4-8). They followed God's guidance joyfully (Matthew 2:10). Their gifts for Jesus were costly, and they worshiped Him. God warned them in a dream against returning to Herod, so, in defiance of the king, they left Judea by another route (Matthew 2:12).

So, the magi were men who 1) read and believed God's Word, 2) sought Jesus, 3) recognized the worth of Christ, 4) humbled themselves to worship Jesus, and 5) obeyed God rather than man. They were truly wise men!

Magic Mushrooms May Explain Santa & His 'Flying' Reindeer

By Douglas Main

This Christmas, like many before it and many yet to come, the story of Santa and his flying reindeer will be told, including how the "jolly old elf" flies on his sleigh throughout the entire world in one night, giving gifts to all the good children.

But according to one theory, the story of Santa and his flying reindeer can be traced to an unlikely source: hallucinogenic or "magic" mushrooms.

"Santa is a modern counterpart of a shaman, who consumed mind-altering plants and fungi to commune with the spirit world," said John Rush, an anthropologist and instructor at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif.

According to the theory, the legend of Santa derives from shamans in the Siberian and Arctic regions who dropped into locals' teepeelike homes with a bag full of hallucinatory mushrooms as presents in late December, Rush said.

"As the story goes, up until a few hundred years ago these practicing shamans or priests connected to the older traditions would collect Amanita muscaria (the Holy Mushroom), dry them, and then give them as gifts on the winter solstice," Rush told LiveScience. "Because snow is usually blocking doors, there was an opening in the roof through which people entered and exited, thus the chimney story."

But that's just the beginning of the symbolic connections between the Amanita muscaria mushroom and the iconography of Christmas, according to several historians and ethnomycologists, or people who study the influence fungi has had on human societies. Of course, not all scientists agree that the Santa story is tied to a hallucinogen. [Tales of Magic Mushrooms & Other Hallucinogens]

Presents under the tree

In his book "Mushrooms and Mankind" (The Book Tree, 2003) the late author James Arthur points out that Amanita muscaria, also known as fly agaric, lives throughout the Northern Hemisphere under conifers and birch trees, with which the fungi —which is deep red with white flecks — has a symbiotic relationship. This partially explains the practice of the Christmas tree, and the placement of bright red-and-white presents underneath, which look like Amanita mushrooms, he wrote.

"Why do people bring pine trees into their houses at the Winter Solstice, placing brightly colored (red and white) packages under their boughs, as gifts to show their love for each other … ?" he wrote. "It is because, underneath the pine bough is the exact location where one would find this 'Most Sacred' substance, the Amanita muscaria, in the wild."

Reindeer are common in Siberia, and seek out these hallucinogenic fungi, as the area's human inhabitants have been known to do. Donald Pfister, a biologist who studies fungi at Harvard University, suggests that Siberian tribesmen who ingested fly agaric may have hallucinated into thinking that reindeer were flying.

"Flying" reindeer

"At first glance, one thinks it's ridiculous, but it's not," said Carl Ruck, a professor of classics at Boston University. "Whoever heard of reindeer flying? I think it's becoming general knowledge that Santa is taking a 'trip' with his reindeer," Ruck said. [6 Surprising Facts About Reindeer]

"Amongst the Siberian shamans, you have an animal spirit you can journey with in your vision quest," Ruck continued. " And reindeer are common and familiar to people in eastern Siberia. They also have a tradition of dressing up like the [mushroom] … they dress up in red suits with white spots."

Ornaments shaped like Amanita mushrooms and other depictions of the fungi are also prevalent in Christmas decorations throughout the world, particularly in Scandinavia and northern Europe, Pfister points out. That said, Pfister made it clear that the connection between modern-day Christmas and the ancestral practice of eating mushrooms is a coincidence, and he doesn't know about any direct link.

Many of these traditions were merged or projected upon Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century saint who was known for his generosity, as the story goes.

The Santa connection

There is little debate about the consumption of mushrooms by Arctic and Siberian tribes' people and shamans, but the connection to Christmas traditions is more tenuous, or "mysterious," as Ruck put it.

Many of the modern details of the modern-day American Santa Claus come from "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (which later became famous as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"), an 1823 poem credited to Clement Clarke Moore, an aristocratic academic who lived in New York City.

The origins of Moore's vision are unclear, although Arthur, Rush and Ruck all think he probably drew from northern Europe motifs that derive from Siberian or Arctic shamanic traditions. At the very least, Arthur wrote, Santa's sleigh and reindeer are references back to various related Northern European mythology. For example, the Norse god Thor (known in German as "Donner") flew in a chariot drawn by two goats, which have been replaced in the modern retelling by Santa's reindeer, Arthur wrote.

Ruck points to Rudolf as another example of the mushroom imagery resurfacing: his nose looks exactly like a red mushroom, he said. "It's amazing that a reindeer with a red-mushroom nose is at the head, leading the others."

Some doubt

Other historians were unaware of a connection between Santa and shamans or magic mushrooms, including Stephen Nissenbaum, who wrote a book about the origins of Christmas traditions, and Penne Restad, at the University of Texas.

One historian, Ronald Hutton, told NPR that the theory of a mushroom-Santa connection is off-base. "If you look at the evidence of Siberian shamanism, which I've done," Hutton said, "you find that shamans didn't travel by sleigh, didn't usually deal with reindeer spirits, very rarely took the mushrooms to get trances, didn't have red-and-white clothes." But Rush and Ruck say these statements are incorrect; shamans did deal with reindeer spirits, and the depiction of their clothes' coloring has more to do with the colors of the mushroom than the shamans' actual garb. As for sleighs, the point isn't the exact mode of travel, but that the "trip" involves transportation to a different, celestial realm, Rush said.

"People who know about shamanism accept this story," Ruck said. "Is there any other reason that Santa lives in the North Pole? It is a tradition that can be traced back to Siberia."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Obama and Terror, a Four-Year Scandal

By Michael B. Mukasey

From the outset, the Obama administration’s handling of the most sensitive secrets of the war on terror has been worrisome. In April 2009, the Justice Department released previously classified memoranda that described the standards of the CIA’s interrogation program, thereby making known to our enemies the limits of what they might face if captured. The release also demoralized those within the intelligence agency who were told they could no longer rely on the memoranda—and would, therefore, be judged by a standard different from the one in place when they acted.
Two years later, following the killing of Osama bin Laden, revelations about the intelligence recovered in the raid on his Pakistan compound rendered much of that intelligence useless, because terrorists found out what we had learned. A few months after that, administration officials confirmed to the media that the United States had been involved along with Israel in implanting a computer virus in Iranian nuclear-enrichment centrifuges that caused physical damage, thereby justifying by our own professed standards any retaliation Iran might undertake. And, most recently, newspaper reports have disclosed planning for retaliatory operations against the terrorists who murdered our ambassador to Libya and military and other personnel present in our consulate in Benghazi.
The recklessness with which the Obama administration has allowed these precious and deadly secrets to be revealed in the light of day—and in all cases for political reasons, to buff the president’s image—is a little-covered national scandal. And it is on display throughout the text of Daniel Klaidman’s Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 304 pages). There are several details in this book that Klaidman, a veteran Newsweek correspondent, could only have uncovered from leaks of classified information at the highest levels. At least two revelations have the potential to do real damage. Some of the details Klaidman reveals about the nature of the evidence gathered at Guantanamo Bay—gleaned from what was, until this book was published, secret surveillance of detainees—are bound to complicate prosecution of suspected terrorists who were held there, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who also personally beheaded (“with my sacred right hand”) the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.
The other revelation involves foreign policy. We are told that a plan to release Yemeni prisoners from Guantanamo to the Saudis so that they could be put into the intermittently effective Saudi deprogramming regimen for al-Qaeda associates came undone when the Yemeni president affronted the Saudi king by suggesting Yemen was doing the monarch a favor in allowing the kingdom to take those Yemenis. This mildly titillating story may well make it more difficult for the United States to conduct diplomacy in a part of the world where it is not helpful to be the source of gossip that embarrasses those in power.
But leaving aside the sloppy handling of such sensitive information, the public has reason to be disturbed by Klaidman’s account of the way the administration made its decisions in the war on terror. For example, Klaidman reports that President Obama is unwilling to use conventional law-of-war detention, which could take terrorist combatants off the battlefield for the duration of the conflict. Because this is not a conventional war, we can’t predict when or how it will end and therefore detention could be indefinite—indeed, even perpetual. The possibility that a system of ongoing review might be put in place to assure at least that no prisoner is held beyond a time when he presents any realistic danger seems either not to have occurred to anyone, or to have been rejected as too similar to what was in place under George W. Bush.
Harsh political reality thus far has prevented Obama from releasing prisoners at Guantanamo, notwithstanding his pledge to close that facility, indeed his order that it be closed—because they are simply too dangerous to release. He has determined that henceforth no new prisoners will be brought to Guantanamo and the only prisoners who remain there will be the legacy of his predecessor. Klaidman portrays the president as far more concerned with the imagined excesses of the war on terror than with the consequences of another attack. And he fears his possible successors as well. Discussing the possible use of detention power, Obama has supposedly said: “You never know who is going to be president four years from now. I have to think about how Mitt Romney would use that power.”
The options now in place for dealing with terrorists who obey no laws of war is that they will be either killed by remotely piloted drones or captured and tried and thereby treated better than lawful combatants who obey the laws of war. So the administration that wears its concern for human rights on the sleeve of its military has defaulted to kill rather than capture. The introduction of drone technology was the achievement of then Defense Secretary Robert Gates, initially motivated in part by budgetary constraints; however, the technology was not as developed nor its use as widespread during the Bush administration as it has become during Obama’s tenure. Thus, drones do not bear the dreaded Bush trademark. An administration that seeks at all costs to avoid being identified with its predecessor—even to the point of substituting the terms “unlawful enemy combatant,” used in legal literature for about a century, for “unprivileged enemy belligerent” and “foreign contingency operation” for “war”—feels comfortable, unlike its predecessor, having lethal force as its default enforcement method.
The president’s take on Islamism emerges as a fabric of platitudes: Obama’s “cosmopolitan background…gave him a more visceral feel [than his predecessor had] for how much of the world lived—and how they viewed America.” He had traveled abroad to visit his relatives and spent three weeks in Karachi, “a sprawling, congested city throbbing with sectarian strife.” “These experiences helped shape Obama’s belief that what most people around the world desired was adequate food, shelter, and security—lives of dignity, free of the daily humiliations of poverty and ignorance. They were the basis for a coherent set of views about the roots of Islamic rage and the underlying conditions that breed Islamic extremism—the economic despair, the social and political dysfunction that lead young men to become terrorists.” As portrayed here, the president does not seem to have factored into his “coherent set of views” that Osama bin Laden was a millionaire many times over; or that Mohammed Atta, the lead operative in the September 11 attacks, was an upper-middle-class university student, as were other participants in that atrocity; or that those who plotted in 2007 to blow up the Glasgow airport were physicians, as is Bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri; or that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate himself and his fellow passengers aboard an airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, was the son of a Nigerian cabinet minister; or that those implicated in plots in the UK are principally those born there who had no connection to a city “throbbing with sectarian strife.”
Nor does the book contain any hint that the president may have considered the possibility that “Islamic rage” and “Islamic extremism” may have some connection to Islam.
President Obama is not the only actor in Klaidman’s book. There was, it seems, a struggle for the soul of his presidency between what Klaidman calls the “Tammany Hall” element, led principally by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and representing the forces of political expediency, and “the Aspen Institute” element, led by State Department legal adviser and former Yale Law School dean Harold Koh, representing the forces of high-minded idealism.
Koh is shown wielding influence that far outstrips his rank because President Obama values his academic heft in pushing the debate leftward. He is described as having “an enormous intellect” and a background congenial to the president, a “former constitutional law professor himself.”
Koh’s lofty disdain, moreover, for settled notions of process—he tried to get the deputy attorney general to take away from Solicitor General Elena Kagan the authority inherent in her office to determine the government’s litigation position in certain detainee cases because he disagreed with her views—appears to resonate with the president’s own approach to governance. Thus, in the summer of 2009, the president convened a meeting at the White House in which Koh was invited to brief him and certain others in the administration on issues relating to detention. This was a meeting to which others with a stake in that issue, including the CIA and the Defense Department, were not invited, apparently so that Koh could try to influence the president without the inconvenience of contrary views.
Koh’s presentation as described here was less an intellectually disciplined briefing than a locker room pep talk, ending with, “Don’t let the past control the future.” Klaidman summons the characteristic eloquence of Vice President Joe Biden, in memorable prose uttered after the president left the room, to establish that the pep talk seemed to have worked: “‘You f—king did it,’ the vice president said, jabbing Koh in the chest. ‘You f—king connected with him, and that’s not easy.’”
Although Klaidman blandly describes this episode as “a departure from protocol that ruffled some feathers,” it was actually a fundamental departure from basic rules of the road that normally define how decisions are taken on matters of national concern. Such rules—prosaically referred to as the “inter-agency process”—are designed to assure that those with a stake in any such decision participate in a way that assures both that the president will get the benefit of their advice, and that they will be able to go forward at least with an understanding of how and why a result they may oppose was reached. Disdain for that process results in not only sloppy execution, but also bad decisions, and it raises serious questions about the competence of those who are supposed to be in charge.
Such disdain, and such results, are on gaudy display here. A case in point is the decision made in November 2009 to abort the military-commission trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and transfer him to a civilian Article III court in Manhattan—this, when KSM already had announced his intention to plead guilty and proceed to sentencing and, presumably, martyrdom. Attorney General Eric Holder sought and received the authority to decide where the Guantanamo detainees would be tried once the prison was closed. This was true even in those cases in which military-commission proceedings had already commenced—notwithstanding that all detainees were in the formal legal custody of the Department of Defense, not the Department of Justice. Holder first made his leaning toward a civilian court known to Obama while the two were watching the fireworks on July 4, 2009, from a terrace at the White House. “It’s your call, you’re the attorney general,” the president responded.
That result was in full accord with the preference of Harold Koh, expressed in terms not of rigorous jurisprudence, but of pop psychology. To try KSM in Manhattan, according to Koh, would “‘show confidence in our system,’ it would be a ‘redemptive act’ precisely because it is what the terrorists don’t want us to do.” Yet, whatever Koh’s “enormous intellect” may have revealed about what terrorists might want, actual events demonstrate that real terrorists often show a decided preference for making a hash out of legal processes by turning them into political theater. That was what we learned from the year-long circus that was the sentencing proceeding in a civilian court of Zacarias Moussaoui following his guilty plea as the so-called 20th hijacker. Tossing terrorists into the civilian legal system because they are purportedly afraid of it is rather like tossing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch because he purportedly was afraid of it—and it’s likely to yield the same success.
By the time Holder announced that KSM would be tried in New York, he had not discussed the decision with anyone who would face its consequences, notably local authorities in New York, who turned against it when they came to realize the chaos such a proceeding would bring to lower Manhattan. Klaidman describes some of the episodes that marked the course from the announcement of that decision in November 2009 to the announcement in April 2011 that it had been reversed. Along the way, Holder provided the curious assurance to the Senate that, the niceties of due process notwithstanding, a conviction in the KSM trial was assured. There was also the near acquittal of a defendant brought to New York from Guantanamo and charged in the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a proceeding that was supposed to illustrate the near certainty of convictions in civilian terrorism trials but wound up so rattling Congress that it passed a statute barring the use of any funds to bring defendants from Guantanamo to trial in the United States. That is what necessitated Holder’s retreat.
These episodes included a squabble among Holder, Koh, and Emanuel at a White House meeting that ended with what Klaidman describes as the president’s attempt “to lead his team to higher ground,” but winds up in the telling as a descent into bathos. The president read aloud from the oration of the judge who sentenced would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid; the judge told Reid he was “not a soldier” and “no big deal” and then reached through fractured paraphrase for the eloquence of John F. Kennedy (“we will bear any burden, pay any price, to preserve our freedoms”) and Abraham Lincoln (“the world is not going to long remember what you or I say here”), only to achieve principally the grandiloquence of Douglas MacArthur (“See that flag, Mr. Reid?…That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten”). As Klaidman describes it:
Obama put down the speech and looked around the room. He didn’t fix his gaze on anyone in particular; he just stared for several moments. Then he spoke. “Why can’t I give that speech?” Without another word, he rose and walked out of the room.
No less disconcerting is Klaidman’s account of how the attorney general decided to open—or reopen—an investigation into whether CIA agents had committed crimes when they questioned some high-value detainees using “enhanced interrogation techniques.” That dreadfully inartistic term falsely suggested the concealment of unspeakable criminality, but in fact, the techniques were analyzed in detailed legal memos by Justice Department lawyers that, although revised at least once, concluded uniformly that they violated no standards applicable when the memos were written. Even more notably, these techniques had not been used since 2003. Holder, over the objection of every living former CIA director and the then incumbent director, Leon Panetta, released those memos.
When the public outrage Holder expected failed to materialize, he pressed on with investigations of the intelligence officers who carried out the interrogations. Career prosecutors in the eastern district of Virginia had investigated each instance of claimed unlawfulness and had concluded that none merited prosecution, drafting detailed memoranda describing their conclusions and the reasons for closing each of the investigations. Holder, by his own account in testimony, and by the account in this book, never read those memoranda. Moreover, he was well aware that such an investigation could damage morale within the agency, not to mention the damage it could cause to the careers of those under investigation regardless of the outcome—which came years later when the reopened investigations were closed again for lack of evidence of illegality.
What motivated him to press the issue? By Klaidman’s account, Holder was influenced strongly by an article in Vanity Fair by Christopher Hitchens, who had volunteered to be waterboarded and videotaped his experience of the procedure. Waterboarding was the most celebrated and severe of the CIA techniques and had been imposed on precisely three senior al-Qaeda terrorists. After his own experiment, Hitchens wrote an article pronouncing the technique torture.
The word torture, in addition to being a handy epithet, is defined in the applicable statute that criminalizes torture as acting under color of law with the specific intent to cause “severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” “Severe mental pain or suffering” is defined as “prolonged mental harm” resulting from any of several causes, including “severe physical pain or suffering” or the threat thereof, or the threat of imminent death; “severe physical pain or suffering” is not defined. Hitchens, a talented journalist and critic whose renown as a drinker matched his renown as an atheist, never claimed to have consulted the applicable law or to have experienced any prolonged effects from his ordeal; he simply announced that what he had experienced was torture. According to Klaidman, Holder watched the video of Hitchens’s experience, which showed that Hitchens had “lasted for fewer than 10 seconds before asking for mercy” and was “both mesmerized and repulsed.”
Klaidman says Holder was so dogged because he carried a lingering sense of guilt from the time of his service as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration when he had helped bring about the pardon of Marc Rich, a financier charged with tax evasion whose wife had contributed huge sums to the Clinton campaign and library. (Notably, although unmentioned in this book, Holder failed on that occasion as well to consult with prosecutors in his own department who had brought the Rich prosecution.)
So there you have it. The chief law-enforcement officer of the United States knowingly damaged morale in the nation’s principal intelligence agency by reopening investigations previously closed by career prosecutors within his own department without bothering to read why they did so. Holder acted on the strength of a fewer-than-10-second simulation of waterboarding performed on a writer devoid of any acquaintance with the law, and on his own guilty conscience over a previous lifting of tax-evasion charges in a case in which he also did not bother to determine why career prosecutors in his own department had acted. In so doing, he moved with exquisite efficiency to undermine faith simultaneously in law enforcement and national security.
Klaidman does not disclose his sources for the account he presents, although the book is preceded by two pages entitled “A Note on Sources,” in which he outlines the steps he took to assure accuracy. The only source he appears to deny using directly, and it is a fairly casual denial, is the president himself:
Occasionally I write about the emotional state and interior thoughts of President Obama and his top aides. In doing so, I am not taking literary license. Those accounts are based on reporting—either from specific comments the president has made that directly express his state of mind, or from reasonable inferences from sources I have interviewed who have observed and spoken to him.
The president is portrayed often as maddeningly detached and above the fray, but it is impossible to believe that the accounts of private conversations between him and members of his administration were not cleared with him.
One obvious source is Holder. This emerges not only from such apparent accounts as his one-on-one discussion with Obama about bringing KSM to trial in the United States—a story that could have had only two authoritative sources—but also from less obvious data points. For example, the account of Holder’s friction with Rahm Emanuel consistently portrays Emanuel as unprincipled and narrowly political and Holder as idealistic and thoughtful—always a telling indicator in a behind-the-scenes account.
Consider as well how Klaidman accounts for Holder’s absence from the famous photo of the president, an open-mouthed Hillary Clinton, and others gathered in the White House Situation Room watching in real time the operation that killed Bin Laden:
The operational planning surrounding Bin Laden was known to only a tiny circle of national security officials, on a need-to-know basis. One person who was not brought into the loop was the attorney general. He was Obama’s closest friend on the cabinet and the proposed raid raised important legal questions. But Obama determined that the mission would be a “Title 50 operation,” conducted under the auspices of the CIA. As a covert action, there had already been a legal finding prepared, so additional Justice Department approval was not required.
This excuse makes no sense. Title 50 is that part of the U.S. Code that sets forth, among other things, the authorities of the CIA. It authorizes the agency to enlist the military in the conduct of covert actions when finding that such an action is appropriate has been signed by the president. In this case, that put Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, in command, directing the operation carried out by Navy SEALs overseen by Admiral William McRaven.
But the Bin Laden operation bristled with legal questions, or at least questions that lent themselves to the kind of analysis that lawyers bring to bear, beyond those answered simply by finding that such an operation could be authorized. These included questions relating to mounting such an operation in a country that was a nominal ally of the United States, and ones related to risks, if any, of collateral damage.
Indeed, a memorandum from Panetta that surfaced after the operation disclosed that McRaven’s forces were authorized to do only what had been briefed to the president—without specifying what that was—and that if anything not included in that briefing was encountered, they were required to seek further guidance. The possible need for additional guidance that could have engaged legal questions was and is apparent. That the naked finding necessary to authorize the operation had been made simply does not suffice to explain the attorney general’s absence.
Here’s what does make sense, even though Klaidman does not connect these dots. Holder, he tells us, was regarded by many in the White House as a loose cannon. And his legal pursuit of intelligence officers made certain that his fellow cabinet members at the State Department and the CIA would have every reason to distrust him. That is a far more plausible explanation for Holder’s absence than the suggestion he was kept out of the loop because the he did not have a need to know. That notion simply does not hold water.
In the end, like all insider accounts written with the cooperation of insiders, what we have in Kill or Capture is a portrait the Obama administration wants available as he seeks reelection. This is how Obama and his men wish to be perceived. So beyond the question of whether everything really happened as Klaidman describes lies the key question: Does this portrait of the people close to Obama and the process by which they managed the war on terror recommend four more years of stewardship?

Michael B. Mukasey, a lawyer in private practice in New York and former federal judge, was the attorney general of the United States from November 2007 to January 2009.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How old was Jesus when He went to the Cross?

By Ellis Skolfield

Most theologians teach that Jesus was 33 when he went to the cross, and most of us believe it, but what do we know from the Bible?
  1. Qurinius was pro-Counsel in Syria when Jesus was born. (Luke 2:2)
  2. A census sent Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. (Luke 2:3)
  3. Herod ordered babies killed two years old and under. (Mat 2:16)
What We Know from Recorded History:
  1. Herod died in June of 4 B.C.
  2. Quirinius was pro-council in Syria, 7-8 B.C. Stone inscription indicates Quirinius was twice in Syria.
  3. The Romans took a census every 14 years.
  4. Archaeological support for the Roman census of 6A.D., however, all authorities agree, 6 A.D. is too late for birth of Jesus.
  5. Archaeological support for the Roman census of 8 B.C.
  6. No archaeological support for a Roman census in between those two dates.
Biblical Forties, Why so Many?
  1. Rained 40 days and 40 nights during the flood, Gen 7:4
  2. Noah remained in the ark 40 days after dry land appears, Gen 8:6
  3. Moses was in the wilderness 40 years, Act 7:30
  4. Moses was on the Mountain 40 days, Exo 24:18, Deu 9:18
  5. Malefactors were scourged with 40 stripes, Deu 25:3
  6. Israelites were fed manna in the wilderness 40 years, Exo 16:35
  7. Tabernacle had 40 silver sockets, Exo 26:19
  8. There were 40 year periods of peace, Judges 3:11, 5:31, 8:28
  9. Eli (a high priest) judged Israel 40 years, 1Sam 4:18
  10. Elijah was on the mountain 40 days, 1Ki 19:8
  11. David ruled Israel 40 years, 1Ki 2:11
  12. Solomon ruled Israel 40 years, 1Ki 11:42
  13. Temple nave 40 cubits, 1Ki 7:35
  14. Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days, Mat 4:2
  15. Jesus appeared to the disciples for 40 days, Act 1:3
Two Reasons This is Important:
  1. Knowing the correct length of Jesus’ earthly life is key to understanding two prophecies in Ezekiel.
  2. Proves a traditional view long taught in the Church to be incorrect, making other traditions suspect.
Incidentally, according to Jewish tradition, a man had to be 40 years old to become a ruling member in the Sanhedrin. Until Jesus was 40, He was thought to be just another rebel in Israel. But when Jesus entered Jerusalem that final time, He was greeted by the people as a king. If He was 40, He could have seized control and the Pharisees knew it. That’s why they said such things as . . .

John 11:48 “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

At 40, Rabbi Jesus could have become their ruler, so the Pharisees believed they had to kill Him to stay in power.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Innocent Prophet

By Imran Firasat

Two months ago a movie “The Innocence of Muslims” was uploaded on internet from USA, which showed how Muhammad falsely created his religion, Islam, How he used to kill people in the name of his made-up God, and how he lusted for women and sex.

Muslims as usual couldn´t bear the truth and responded with violence, killing innocent people and vandalizing American and other western embassies and desecrated the flags of those countries.

Now my question is: Should we stop speaking truth about Islam because of the fear of unjustified and violent consequences from the blind Muslims? And should we lose our right of freedom of expression just because a group of people do not have capacity to bear the truth? No, we are not going to accept any of these choices. We shall never stop calling wrong to something what is indeed wrong. We shall never let anyone to snatch our fundamental right of liberty of expression.

On one hand Muslims say that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion but on the other hand they do all what is against humanity. Which is the real face of Islam? What is actually Islam?

If we want to know the truth of Islam, first we must go deep into the life of Muhammad to find out whether he was a genuine prophet sent by God or was he simply a child molester, assassin and a self acclaimed prophet?

I am pretty sure, if we find out the truth of Muhammad, we´ll also find out what Islam truly is. It is time to clear all the doubts and to accept the reality. For that purpose I have brought a movie to you on Muhammad´s life which will help you to recognize the truth (expressed from the point of view of an ex Muslim).

After long confusion and a hard fight between my heart and mind, I have decided the title of my movie to be “The Innocent Prophet”. I know it is very similar to the recently released movie “The Innocence of Muslims”. But believe me, I have no intentions to copy that title. I decided to go for the title “The Innocent Prophet”, because I wanted to use it as a taunt on Muhammad. Calling him innocent is like slapping him. It is simply a taunt on Muhammad that how innocent he was that he used to kill people, abuse minors, create false religion, but still he was very innocent. Here I present you the trailers of the movie “The Innocent Prophet” which is coming soon and being made in several languages like: English, Spanish, Hindi, Urdu and Indonesian. I hope that after watching this movie the non Muslims will be compelled to think whether they should allow Islam to be existed in their modern societies or not. And Muslims will also give a serious thought to their future with Islam, without committing any violence, as the purpose behind making this movie is not to offend any human being but is only to express my point of view on the life of the innocent prophet of Islam which I think is completely true.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thinking Like an American Jihadi

Islamist Counter Insurgency in America

By Alan Kornman

Our American Jihadi adversaries believe that Allah's divinely ordained Islamic governance is best for all mankind and our man made laws, Constitution and Bill of Rights, are corrupted.

The Jihadi Muslim Brotherhood are winning the hearts and minds of the American people in a very patient and methodical stratagem of war they call the "Civilization-Jihadist Process" as outlined in "An Explanatory Memorandum, On the Strategic Goal For The Group in North America."

Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America:
The process of settlement is a "Civilization-JihadistProcess" with all the word means. The Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim's destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack.
Allah's Law 3 - U.S. Freedom O

The failed COIN or CounterInsurgency operations are known around military circles as the Petraeus Doctrine.  The Petraeus Doctrine's primary focus is winning the hearts and minds of our Islamist adversaries.  Yes, I use the world adversaries because if the Islamists were not adversaries we wouldn't have to win either their hearts or their minds.

America may have won the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but never won the hearts and minds of the Iraqi and Afghani people.  The result of those failures resulted in Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq becoming a proxy state for Iran.  In 2014-15, after U.S. forces leave the Afghanistan theatre, I predict, the Taliban will topple the Karzai government and instill Shariah Islamiyya or Islamic law across that nation. 

President Obama was successful in his vision of removing the colonialist dictator Hosni Mubarak from his 30 year rule in Egypt.  The Egyptian people voted in Mohamed Morsi of The Muslim Brotherhood whose stated goal is to destroy "western civilization from within."

Recent Successes for Team Jihadi in America

4/24/12 - "The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to ensure it doesn't contain anti-Islamic content. The order came after the Pentagon suspended a course for senior officers that was found to contain derogatory material about Islam." (Wired Magazine).

June 2, 2009 - DHS designated the shooting at a military recruiting center in Arkansas by, Abdulhakim Muhammed as a "drive by shooting" not a terrorist attack on a military facility.

December 2011 -  Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were mystified that the  Fort Hood shooting was classified as "work place violence" by the Dept. Of Homeland Security(DHS).

The FBI training manual changed. Nearly 900 pages of training that was considered offensive to Islam were deleted.  Rep. Gohmert discusses that the FBI training manual can no longer mention the terms: Islam, Muslim, jihad, enemy, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, caliphate, Shariah law. (Source)

9/25/2012 - President Obama said at the UN, ""The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam..."

These are examples of American Jihadis winning the hearts and minds of our policy makers at the highest levels of law enforcement, military, and government.  The Jihadis have a strong incentive to influence how the United States Government labels terrorists.  The Jihadis know that if we (Americans) can not identify the enemy by name we will not be able to defeat them. 

The result of these American Jihadi influence operations is that many of those most knowledgeable on the Islamic Terrorist Threat Doctrine have been purged from our government.

The little known U.S. Muslim Engagement Project is the driving force that brought our Jihadi enemies inside the gate.

U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project

The main goal of this engagement project is to "elevate diplomacy as the primary tool for resolving key conflicts involving Muslim countries" and Muslim groups in the United States. 

Inside the beltway policy  heavyweights like Madeline Albright, Richard Armitage, and Dennis Ross have made this engagement project the de facto policy guideline for whomever the government deals with involving Islamist issues domestically.

The result of this ‘engagement project' is that our government officials are desperately looking for established Muslim groups in the United States to partner with.  The objectives of the, U.S. Government / Muslim group, partnerships is to shrink the base of Islamic extremism through conflict resolution and dialogue in the U.S.  It's also reported they found unicorns in North Korea.

Sounds good on the surface until you find out known American Jihadis like Ingrid Mattson (ISNA), Dalia Mogahed, and Ground Zero Mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf are the wolves our government is consulting with on important foreign and domestic policy matters.

ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) is the number one listed Muslim Brotherhood affiliate operating in the United States.  This is the same Muslim Brotherhood who wrote the Civilization-Jihadist Process whose self professed goal is to destroy Western civilization from within, by our own hands.

American Jihadis Huddle At Justice Department

On 10/21/2011 Neil Munro of the Daily Caller reported, "Top Justice Department officials convened a meeting Wednesday where invited Islamist advocates lobbied them for cutbacks in anti-terror funding, changes in agents' training manuals, additional curbs on investigators and a legal declaration that U.S. citizens' criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination."

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez was at the meeting huddling with American Jihadis.   Absent were any dissenting voices like devout Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and experts in the Islamic Threat Doctrine, Frank Gaffney, Tom Trento, Clare Lopez, and Stephen Coughlin. 

The American Jihadis have succeeded in getting cutbacks in anti-terror funding, purging of FBI training manuals, and targeting FBI trainers they deem offensive.  It appears  Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez was listening very closely to his American Jihadi allies and then doing their bidding.

The Next American Jihadi Military Objective

The one objective the American Jihadis have not successfully implemented is, any criticism of Islam is labeled racial discrimination and hate speech, requiring enforcement of Title VI anti-discrimination laws against anyone who "offends" followers of Shariah compliant political Islamic doctrine and theology.

If you value your freedom of speech pay close attention to what these American Jihadis want.  If making public criticism of anything illegal, does not get you mad at the government, ISNA, CAIR, MPAC, etc.... your silence is what our adversaries are counting on. 

The American Jihadi's Have Been Busy

On September 25, 2012  Patrick Poole wrote an article titled, "57 Top U.S. Muslim Groups Demanded Government-Wide ‘Islamophobia purge' in a Letter to the White House."

Below are the American Jihadi's 2009 demands to John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.  As of December 2012 our American Jihadi adversaries have successfully gotten the demands below implemented by our Federal Law Enforcement Agencies at both the Federal and State levels.

1.     Purge all federal government training materials of biased materials.
2.     Mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, Army Officers, all Law Enforcement
3.     Anyone who promoted biased trainers should be disciplined.
4.     Ensure that bigoted trainers and biased materials...are not utilized in the future.

Naturally it will be the 57 American Jihadi groups listed in the "letter" that will determine
What gets Purged

Who gets re-Educated

Who gets re-trained

Who gets fired

What Books Get Banned


We 57 American Muslim Groups Will Determine What Is Best For You

Patrick Poole summed it up nicely by stating, "Purges, blacklists, re-education, and book banning.  Sounds like a recipe for the a Muslim Khmer Rouge."

These are the actions of a coordinated Jihadi political/criminal enterprise whose objective is to weaken our government's ability to train this generations and the next generations law enforcement and military tasked with protecting our countries national security interests.

These 57 American Jihadi Organizations are following The Muslim Brotherhood's orders as written in the Civilization Jihadist Process at the beginning of this article. 

CAIR and ISNA are listed as co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation Trial which was the largest terrorist funding trial in U.S. history.  Phase 2 of the trial was derailed by Eric Holder's Department of Justice which attended the meeting with the 57 Jihadi Organizations. 

In January of 2009 the FBI severed its ties with CAIR because of its associations with terrorist funding operations.  Yet the Obama Department of Justice had no conflict of interest when these known American Jihadis were trying to control important aspects of Islamic terrorist training classes throughout our federal and state governments.

The 57 American Jihadi groups conducting their overt influence operation are:

AlMaghrib Institute

American Coalition for Good Government

American Muslim Association of Lawyers

American Muslim Voice

American Pakistan Foundation

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Arab American Association of New York 

Arab American Institute (AAI)

Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)

Arab Muslim American Federation (AMAF)

Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers (BAAML)

Capitol Area Muslim Bar Association

Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC)

Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM)

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

DRUM - Desis Rising Up and Moving


Florida Muslim Bar Association

Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers

Houston Shifa Services Foundation

Indian Muslim Relief & Charities (IMRC)

Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)

Islamic Information Center 

Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA)

Islamic Networks Group (ING)

Islamic Relief USA

Islamic Shura Council of Southern California

Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH)

Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights

Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan NY

Michigan Muslim Bar Association

Muslim Advocates

Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC)

Muslim American Society (MAS)

Muslim Bar Association of Chicago

Muslim Bar Association of New York 

Muslim Bar Association of Southern California

Muslim Congress/Justice360

Muslim Consultative Network (MCN)

Muslim Lawyers Association of Houston

Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA)

Muslim Peace Coalition USA

Muslim Progressive Traditionalist Alliance

Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)

National Muslim Law Students Association

National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC)

New England Muslim Bar Association

Northern California Islamic Council

Ohio Muslim Bar Association

Pakistani American Bar Association (PABA)

Pakistani American Leadership Center (PAL-C)

Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee

Somali Action Alliance

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

South Asian Network (SAN)

Women in Islam, Inc.

Tactical Error by our Islamist Adversaries

The signatories on the above letter to John Brennan made a  huge tactical error by identifying themselves as Political Subversive Groups operating inside the United States. 

These American Jihadis are working to promote an Islamist political ideology that is inconsistent with the principles outlined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

If these Jihadis achieve their goal of making any speech that is deemed offensive to Political Islam a criminal offense, then our first amendment rights will be illegally taken away from us.

Some have argued that the far reaching goals of these Islamist attacks on our Constitutional rights of free speech is sedition. 

A Republic If We Can Keep It

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 Benjamin Franklin was asked, "Well, Doctor, what have we got - a Republic or a Monarchy?"  Franklin replied, "A Republic, if you can keep it."

The Council On American Islamic Relations (CAIR) founder Omar Ahmad is no friend of the United States when he was quoted saying,
"Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.  The Qur'an should be the highest authority in America."  [San Ramon Valley Herald, July 4, 1998]
Nihad Awad the current head of CAIR has not publicly condemned the statements of Omar Ahmad.  Yet Nihad Awad, whom the FBI severed ties with, is meeting with Nancy Pelosi.

Conclusion: Symbiotic Relationship

It is very important for American's to understand the relationships between, Al-Qaeda, The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, Taliban, Ansar al-Shariah, are symbiotic. 

Each side benefits and is strengthened by their interlocking ideological relationships.  Their ideologies and politics are similar and the only thing separating them are tactics.

The only side that does not benefit, is the United States of America as we fight to preserve our man made laws. The American JIhadi's believe they are doing divinely inspired work by forcing us to accept that Allah's Laws are meant for all mankind.  If the Jihadis must resort to violence, they believe, it is our fault for forcing them to take hostile action.

The next prize our Islamist adversaries are working hard to achieve is making it a hate crime for anyone in America to talk negatively about Islam, Allah, or Muhammad.   What the American Jihadis hate is when non-Muslims or infidels tell the truth about what is in Islamic doctrine and theology.  At their core, the American Jihadis are insecure because their Shariah Islamiyya will not stand up to critical analysis. 

Solution: Without A Single Shot Being Fired

The State Department must declare The Muslim Brotherhood a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

Once FTO status is declared,  the Treasury Department and FBI can shut down all The Muslim Brotherhood affiliate groups operating in America and seizing their financial and real estate assets.

As a result, billions of Dollars in asset forfeitures will be returned to the U.S. Treasury and the established American Jihadi operations in the United States will be pushed back 20 years --  without a single shot being fired.
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