Germany Considers Military Draft
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 5:
“Germany’s ruling CDU party has launched a debate on reinstating military conscription…
“… representatives of Angela Merkel’s CDU party started a nation-wide discussion on the return of mandatory military service. The general conscription was scrapped in 2011 after Berlin decided to professionalize its troops. Prior to this decision, all young males were obligated to either serve in the nation’s military, the Bundeswehr, or perform an alternative service in civilian areas such as emergency management or medical care for a limited period of time.
“Currently, the Bundeswehr consists only of career soldiers and long-term contract troopers, although the army still offers an option of short-term paid military service to young volunteers. In a surprising move on Friday, however, the CDU Secretary General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer pledged to ‘very intensively’ discuss military service and mandatory conscription…
“Other ranking CDU members were quick to back Kramp-Karrenbauer’s initiative, but kept equally vague on the details. The party’s youth wing leader Paul Ziemak spoke of a ‘community year’ which would see young students take part in some sort of a mandatory service program… CDU lawmaker Oswin Veith commented that youths could serve with the Bundeswehr, but also with first responders or medical institutions. ‘It should last for 12 months and apply to young men and women over the age of 18,’ he said. Several other CDU politicians also stressed the program would apply to both men and women…
“Some politicians from the SPD, the CDU’s junior partner in the grand coalition, said the idea was worth considering. Others, including the Parliamentary Commissioner for Defense, Hans-Peter Bartels, insisted that mandatory service would clash with Germany’s ban on forced labor… The business-friendly FDP called the proposal ‘absurd’… Other opposition parties in the parliament, the Left and the Green party, also oppose the idea.
“At the same time, right-wing AFD came out in favor of reviving conscription… On Twitter, AFD’s parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel said… the Bundeswehr needed to become ‘an attractive employer again’ in order to be able to fulfill its defense duties.”
Breitbart and The Associated Press reported on August 6:
“Merkel Party Mulls Bringing Back Draft to Heal Social Divisions… Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party is debating the merits of reintroducing some kind of civilian or military national service for young people…
“The idea has drawn a mixed response. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the ex-defense minister who scrapped conscription, told Monday’s Bild daily that it would be costly and the constitution ‘doesn’t foresee such compulsory, or forced, work assignments.’”
The Local wrote on August 6:
“On Monday, the federal government said that it had no intention of re-introducing compulsory military service at this stage… The CDU will debate the issue at their party conference in December and will decide what steps to take following their discussions.”
Handelsblatt Global added on August 6:
“Advocates argue that national service, whether it be military or civilian in nature, improves social cohesion, teaches unruly youths a thing or two and instils a sense of pride and community. In Germany, many also think it can help to fill the ranks of the military… ‘A community year gives the opportunity to give something back and, at the same time, to strengthen the country’s unity,’ Paul Ziemak, the CDU’s youth wing leader, told the Bild newspaper…
“Opponents say that national service is unnecessary, expensive and damaging to the careers of young people, with some likening it to slave labor…
“Several countries in Europe maintain national service, including Greece, Austria and Norway. President Emmanuel Macron has proposed reintroducing it in France but has met with stiff resistance from unions and business.”
Focus and HuffPost reported on August 4, 2018, that some politicians in Merkel’s party (CDU) and the coalition party, SPD, advocate reinstating the military draft for men and introducing it for women. Seven years ago, on July 1, 2011, the draft was abolished. It is now claimed that in light of the uncertain world situation, compulsory military service is “inalienable.” Die Welt reported on August 5 that a majority of Germans support the military draft. 55.6 % are in favor, while only 39.6 % are against or “probably” against it. More than 60 percent of the right-wing AdF Party are in favor.
Sadly, these propagandistic viewpoints in support of the draft are only all too common. It is amazing how sinful conduct can be justified with nice-sounding platitudes. The German attitude towards military service and war has shockingly, but predictably, changed in recent months. Germany was once proud of its “pacifistic” viewpoints, but this is no longer the case. The Bible shows that Germany will become VERY militaristic again and it will, together with many other continental European countries, ultimately start a NUCLEAR WAR against the USA and the UK.
Coming–A Nuclear-Armed Germany?
Politico wrote on August 26:
“Imagine a nuclear-armed Germany. No, this isn’t a fantasy… but a real debate, happening in present-day Berlin. As Germany’s foreign policy establishment becomes increasingly convinced that Donald Trump’s aggressive rhetoric toward Berlin and NATO represents a seminal shift in transatlantic relations, some are daring to think the unthinkable.
“‘Do We Need the Bomb?’ reads the front page headline in Welt am Sonntag, one of the country’s largest Sunday newspapers. ‘For the first time since 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany is no longer under the U.S.’s nuclear umbrella,’ Christian Hacke, a prominent German political scientist, wrote in an essay in the paper…
“It would be easier to dismiss the article as the ramblings of an eccentric academic were Hacke not a fixture of Germany’s foreign policy establishment and a respected university professor. That the debate is happening at all speaks to how unnerved Germany’s security community has become in the face of Trump’s threats…
“This isn’t the first time Germany has considered its nuclear options. In the early 1960s, then-Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who had his own doubts about the reliability of the U.S. as an ally, approached Charles de Gaulle to see if he might include Germany in the Force de frappe, France’s nuclear strike force. He was politely rejected.
“A few years after Adenauer left office, Germany ratified the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which bars it from developing atomic weapons. Under the so-called Two Plus Four Agreement, a 1990 treaty between the two Germanys and World War II allies that paved the way to German reunification, the country also committed to eschew nuclear weapons…
“Nonetheless, even some who oppose Germany going nuclear are grateful for the debate… Germany’s membership of NATO and the EU already put it under France and the U.K.’s nuclear protection… almost any scenario that would justify Germany employing nuclear weapons against an aggressor would prompt France to take the same step…”
The Business Insider added on August 4:
“This is not the first round of this debate. Not long after Trump’s election, European officials — including a German lawmaker who was foreign-policy spokesman for the governing party — suggested French and British nuclear arsenals could be repurposed to defend the rest of the continent under a joint command with common funding or defense doctrine.
“In mid-2017, a review commissioned by Germany’s parliament found Berlin could legally finance another European country’s nuclear weapons in return for protection… French President Emmanuel Macron has advocated closer defense cooperation between France and Germany, but Paris has in the past expressed reservations about ceding control of its nuclear weapons…”
The Bible shows that a unified European power bloc consisting of ten nations or groups of nations will possess and use nuclear weapons. Germany and France will be part of that configuration (but not the UK), so it is somewhat academic to speculate whether Germany, all by itself, will be nuclear-armed or whether it will “only” have access to the bomb as part of a combined nuclear core Europe. After all, it will be Germany which will lead that future power bloc, and it will be a charismatic political and military leader of German or Austrian descent, called the “beast,” who will receive unchecked power and authority from those ten nations.
German National Debt At Lowest Level for Many Years
The Local wrote on August 2:
“The German public debt has dropped below €2 trillion for the first time in years thanks to robust economic growth. Public debt in Germany sank to €1.967 trillion in 2017, marking a drop of 2.1 percent in comparison with 2016… The €42.1 billion drop in public debt levels is a result of high tax intakes from a booming economy and historically low interest rates…
“Reductions in public debt were seen from the level of local government all the way up to the federal administration. The federal government was able to bring down its debts by 1.2 percent to €1.242 trillion by the end of 2017. The federal states performed even more strongly, reducing their debt by 3.7 percent. Saxony was the state with the most prudent monetary policy, cutting debt by 16 percent and thus beating the famously penny-pinching state of Baden-Württemberg – where public liabilities were cut by 13 percent. On the level of local government, the Gemeinden in Saxony were also able to boast of a 9.5 percent reduction in debts, higher than in any of the other 15 states.”
What is worrisome, however, is the fact that the debt was reduced as a result of high taxes. And a debt of roughly two trillion euros is still an astronomical figure. Of course, there is no comparison with the irresponsible and appalling figure of over 21 trillion dollars of US debt, which amount, despite campaign promises to the contrary, is still consistently growing!
USA Perceived to Be Most Threatening in the World
On June 4, Axios wrote:
“Russian aggression and the rise of China are among the biggest foreign policy concerns Americans face. In many countries, though, the world power seen as most threatening is the United States.
“According to a 2017 Pew survey, 39% of respondents across 38 countries consider U.S. influence and power a major threat to their countries, compared to 31% for both Russia and China. That’s up from 25% in 2013, when the survey was conducted previously. Approval of U.S. global leadership fell to 30% worldwide, per a January Gallup poll. That’s narrowly behind China (31%) and ahead of Russia (27%). It’s also the lowest score in the 10 years the survey has been conducted, and down from 48% in Barack Obama’s last year. America’s favorability around the world has fallen sharply, particularly among key allies like Mexico, Canada and Germany. And that was before Trump’s trade war and Iran deal withdrawal…
“Partnerships with South Korea and Japan are crucial to containing both the North Korean threat and the rise of China. Unsurprisingly, both countries list China as among the top threats they face. Startlingly, though, the U.S. is right behind — with 70% in South Korea and 62% in Japan viewing the U.S. as a major threat. Meanwhile, some NATO allies like Germany apparently see the threat to the west as larger than the one to the east. 35% of Germans view the U.S. as a major threat, compared to 33% for Russia…
“Global views of the U.S. have slumped before — during the Iraq War, for example — and cracks in U.S. alliances have been repaired in the past. But as the mistrust grows, it could get harder and harder to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”
Cyberattack—Biggest Threat to the USA
Axios wrote on August 4:
“Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this week that the U.S. is in ‘crisis mode,’ comparing the danger of a massive [cyber] attack to a Category 5 hurricane looming on the horizon. Intelligence chiefs from the last three administrations agree, and told Axios there is no graver threat to the United States. A well-executed cyberattack could knock out the electrical grid and shut off power to a huge swath of the country, or compromise vital government or financial data and leave us unsure what is real…
“Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are the top U.S. adversaries in the cyber realm, but the threat extends to non-state actors and criminal groups… The fact that so many intelligence experts have reached the same conclusion — and feel so strongly about it — shows how much the dangers to the United States have changed since 9/11.”
America is facing many different threats, massive cyberattacks being just one of them.
American Sanctions Against Russia
The New York Times wrote on August 9:
“Russia’s currency fell on Thursday to its lowest dollar value in nearly two years, jarred by new American sanctions imposed in response to a nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain…
“As the ruble slumped through the day, officials in Moscow expressed dismay that the new restrictions came so soon after what they saw as a positive summit meeting between President Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, in Helsinki, Finland last month.”
EU Condemns American Sanctions Against Iran
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 7:
“The European Union’s top foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini and three EU foreign ministers, Jeremy Hunt from the UK, Jean-Yves Le Drian from France and Heiko Maas from Germany, have jointly condemned American sanctions against Iran… The EU Commission considers the ‘secondary sanctions’ imposed by the US on European companies illegal. The Americans are seeking to ban European carmakers, banks and energy companies from doing business with Iran. If they violate the ban, their assets in the US may be seized. Even American companies dealing with European companies, which in turn are engaged in Iran, face penalties.
“For this reason, the EU has adopted a so-called ‘blocking statute’ in order to ward off the effects of American sanctions… With the new rules European companies are granted the right to challenge US sanctions in European courts and seek compensation from the US government or American companies. In practice, this path promises to be cumbersome and costly…
“The EU Commission is unable to quantify the amount of economic damage for companies that are subject to America’s secondary sanctions. But many companies and banks have already announced their intention to withdraw from Iran, especially ones that have corporate assets or real estate in America which the US government could get their hands on…
“The blocking statute prohibits European companies from abiding by American sanctions. However, a company can always say that it is pulling out of Iran for business reasons and not because of US sanctions…
“The EU now wants to check whether the member states’ central banks are able to maintain further transactions with Iran’s state bank. However, many banks, including Deutsche Bank, have put Iran on the back burner. For them, unhindered access to the US financial market is much more important. Even the European Investment Bank (EIB) is extremely cautious…”
EU to Firms: Ignore Trump
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 7:
“European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini directly called on EU companies to defy US President Donald Trump.
“Mogherini was responding to Trump’s early-morning tweet threatening companies that did not adhere to renewed US sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran. In it, Trump warned: ‘Anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with the United States.’
“In her response, Mogherini said it was up to European companies to decide who they trade with. She voiced support for trade as an integral part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, in which Iran pledged to stop its nuclear program in return for the relaxation of sanctions and increased trade relations. The JCPOA was signed by Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the EU and the United States in October 2015. Trump, who has called the JCPOA, ‘the worst deal in history,’ withdrew the US from it in May of this year. He reinstated harsh sanctions on Iran on Monday…
“Mogherini emphasized: ‘We are encouraging small and medium enterprises in particular to increase business with and in Iran as part of something [that] for us is a security priority.’ Though the EU, which said it ‘deeply regretted’ the US move, issued a ‘blocking statute’ on Monday in an effort to protect European companies, several, such as Germany’s Daimler, announced they would comply with Trump’s wishes rather than put their US investments at risk.”
China’s and Germany’s Growing Anger towards USA
The Algemeiner wrote on August 8:
“China and Germany defended their business ties with Iran on Wednesday in the face of President Donald Trump‘s warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States. The comments from Beijing and Berlin signaled growing anger from partners of the United States, which reimposed strict sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, over its threat to penalize businesses from third countries that continue to operate there…
“European countries, hoping to persuade Tehran to continue to respect the deal, have promised to try to lessen the blow of sanctions and to urge their firms not to pull out. But that has proved difficult: European companies have quit Iran, arguing that they cannot risk their US business. Among those that have suspended plans to invest in Iran are France’s oil major Total, its big carmakers PSA and Renault, and their German rival Daimler.
“Danish engineering company Haldor Topsoe, one of the world’s leading industrial catalyst producers, said on Wednesday it would cut around 200 jobs from its workforce of 2,700 due to the new US sanctions on Iran, which made it very hard for its customers there to finance new projects… Turkey, however, said it would continue to buy natural gas from Iran…”
The controversy and antagonism between the USA and the EU intensifies, but the EU realizes grudgingly that they cannot oppose Trump successfully at this point. And so, they are most anxious to figure out as to how to change the status quo.
NBC San Diego wrote on August 3:
“China said Friday it is poised to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals… after the U.S. proposed increasing duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods in the second round of a dispute over technology…
“Washington imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Beijing retaliated by imposing similar charges on the same amount of U.S. products…
“There’s no end in sight, and the dispute could chill global trade and economic growth. China’s new threat targeting a smaller amount of U.S. goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out of products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States. China’s imports from the United States last year totaled $153.9 billion. After the earlier tariffs $34 billion of U.S. goods, about $120 billion is available for retaliation…
“The United States and China have the world’s biggest trading relationship but official ties are increasingly strained over complaints that Beijing’s technology development tactics hurt American companies… the U.S. Commerce Department reported Friday that the American trade deficit climbed to $46.3 billion in June from $43.2 billion in May. The deficit in goods trade with China also rose. So far this year, the trade gap is up more than 7 percent from January-June 2017.”
Fortune wrote on August 6:
“China will survive its escalating trade conflict with the United States, the Chinese authorities have warned through state media… ‘China has to defend its right to development, and we don’t fear sacrificing short-term interests,’ The Global Times wrote in an editorial. ‘… China is prepared for a protracted war… In future, the U.S. economy will depend more on the Chinese market than the other way around.’…
“The list of almost 6,000 items that China unveiled Friday may be meant more to save face than as a direct tit-for-tat, as 500 of the listed items aren’t traded in the first place and another 2,000 see less than $1 million a year in imports…”
This is one side of the story. Here is another one:
On August 1, Project Syndicate published the following article by Harold James (Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation [as well as a] specialist on German economic history and on globalization):
“US President Donald Trump’s attempts to flex America’s muscles with the use of tariffs harks back to one of the darkest periods of modern history. During the Great Depression, the governments of Britain and France pursued a similar policy, unwittingly alienating would-be allies and strengthening Nazi Germany…
“There is nothing new in Trump’s assertion that, ‘Trade wars are good, and easy to win.’… When Neville Chamberlain was serving as Britain’s Chancellor… in 1932, he reversed his country’s century-old position as a champion of free trade. Worried about Britain’s longstanding trade deficit, he announced a new ‘system of Protection,’ which he hoped to use ‘for negotiations with foreign countries which have not hitherto paid very much attention to our suggestions.’
“Chamberlain… was paving the road to World War II. His trade policy weakened Britain and strengthened Germany. And in a mere six years, his appeasement policy toward the Nazi Germany regime would reach its pinnacle with the 1938 Munich Agreement, which Hitler discarded six months later by destroying… Czechoslovakia and bringing it under the control of the Third Reich…
“[The] Great Depression [was] owing primarily to France and Britain’s own protectionist policies. Both countries shifted abruptly to a policy of high tariffs and import quotas that gave preference to products from their overseas empires. The result was that Czechoslovakia’s industrial producers and Romanian and Yugoslav agricultural exporters could no longer sell to Western Europe. Instead, they became increasingly dependent – economically as well as politically – on Nazi Germany. Likewise, Poland, after fighting a customs war with Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s, entered into a non-aggression pact with the Nazi regime in 1934…
“The lesson of the Great Depression is clear: trade wars intended to strengthen national security actually undermine it. This is especially true in the case of defensive alliances, because trade barriers force allies to forge closer ties with the very revisionist power that was supposed to be contained.
“Precisely this scenario is playing out today. Trump’s protectionist rhetoric is a response to the dramatic rise of China. But by launching a tariff war that also affects the European Union and Canada, Trump is making China look like a more attractive partner than the US… Like Germany’s neighbors in the 1930s, Europe and Canada may feel as though they have no other choice than to seek out a more open – or at least more stable – partner.
“Trump’s trip to Europe last month went a long way toward destroying the alliances that have maintained global stability since the end of WWII. And his… press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin had more than a whiff of Chamberlain-style appeasement. If Trump actually wanted to make China more attractive to the world, then he could do no worse than to continue his war on free trade and the multilateral institutions that arose from the ruins of 1945.”
Trump the Last President of the USA?
CNS News reported on August 9:
“There is a real insurgency taking place” – and it’s coming from an extremely surprising source, [filmmaker Michael] Moore said: ‘The revolution is happening in the most unlikely of places. The resistance ― the true resistance ― is not coming from the Democratic Party or from the liberal establishment. I can’t reveal too much right now, but there is a real insurgency taking place.
“‘Ladies and gentlemen: the last president of the United States’ [is] the trailer for Moore’s film…”
Anarchy Breaks Out in Portland, Oregon
The Wall Street Journal wrote on August 3:
“A vicious mob targeted the ICE office and even a food cart. The police followed orders to do nothing…
“Along the trolley tracks behind the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office, a biohazard cleanup crew works under police protection. It finds used needles and buckets of human waste simmering in nearly 100-degree heat… For more than five weeks, as many as 200 people had occupied the site to demand ICE’s immediate abolition…
“A mob surrounded ICE’s office in Southwest Portland June 19. They barricaded the exits and blocked the driveway. They sent ‘guards’ to patrol the doors, trapping workers inside. At night they laid on the street, stopping traffic at a critical junction near a hospital. Police stayed away. ‘At this time I am denying your request for additional resources,’ the Portland Police Bureau’s deputy chief, Robert Day, wrote to federal officers pleading for help. Hours later, the remaining ICE workers were finally evacuated by a small federal police team. The facility shut down for more than a week.
“Signs called ICE employees ‘Nazis’ and ‘white supremacists.’ Others accused them of running a ‘concentration camp,’ and demanded open borders and prosecution of ICE agents. Along a wall, vandals wrote the names of ICE staff, encouraging others to publish their private information online. Federal workers were defenseless… Every American flag was defaced. Anarchist and communist flags were unsoiled… the occupiers have been evicted but taxpayers will have to foot the costly cleanup bill…”
Largest Fire in California History
The Week wrote on August 7:
“The Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California has grown to more than 290,000 acres as of Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles Times reports. By Monday, the fire spanned more than 283,800 acres, making it the largest blaze in the state’s history. Fire officials said 130 structures have been destroyed, including 75 homes, and thousands more are threatened; the fire is only 34 percent contained.
“The Mendocino Complex fire is actually two fires that have burned for several days: the Ranch fire, north of Clear Lake, and the River fire, which has swept through an area west of Clear Lake. Thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate their homes. California’s previously largest fire was the Thomas Fire, which burned 281,000 acres just last December.”
The Hysteria of “Anti-Laundering” Measures Leading to Total Governmental Control
Reuters wrote on August 3:
“Deutsche Bank has uncovered shortcomings in its ability to fully identify clients and the source of their wealth, internal documents seen by Reuters show, more than a year after it was fined nearly $700 million for allowing money laundering… reviews found gaps in Deutsche’s screening process, which aims to meet so-called ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) requirements that are a cornerstone of global anti-money laundering controls… Regulators around the world require banks to vet customers so that criminals cannot mask their identity through complex company and ownership structures to launder money or sidestep international sanctions… Banks have been fined billions of dollars for lax oversight, including the failure to identify customers.
“In January 2017, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay U.S. and UK regulators $630 million in fines over artificial trades between Moscow, London and New York that authorities said were used to launder $10 billion out of Russia. The U.S. Federal Reserve fined the bank an additional $41 million for failing to ensure its systems would detect money laundering in May 2017. Deutsche Bank is under pressure after three consecutive years of losses, and it agreed to pay a $7.2 billion settlement with U.S. authorities last year over its sale of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis…”
Sounds good, BUT these procedures, which are also implemented by US banks and which are apparently instigated by the US government, lead to appalling violations of the rights and privileges of harmless and innocent customers who find themselves to be the targets of ridiculous governmental “oversight”… without any court approval or other legal justification whatsoever. It is a sad occurrence in the history of the relationship between even democratic governments and their citizens that legitimate governmental concerns are being used far too often to engage in illegitimate and terribly autocratic conduct.
Newsmax ran an article on August 6 with the following headline: “Banks Get the Go-ahead to Seize Your Accounts Including IRA and 401K,” continuing, “The Federal Government via the Dodd Frank Act, allows ‘Too Big To Fail’ banks and financial institutions to seize your Deposits and bail out themselves. This means your cash becomes their assets, and your deposit loses its FDIC insurance. You are defenseless against this law. Therefore protecting your assets outside of banks now, is crucial for your hard earned money to be immune from any form of confiscation.”
In addition, as the Local reported on August 5 in connection with US sanctions on Iran, “Germany’s big banks, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, stayed clear of Iran after the US fined them hugely in 2015 for violating previous sanctions.” One must wonder how long Germany and Europe will tolerate this kind of American behavior. Not for too much longer; that should be clear.
Bundesbank Restricts Withdrawals of Its Customers
Handelsblatt Global wrote on August 3:
“Germany’s central bank changed its terms and conditions so that it can more tightly control withdrawals. The move is seen as bowing to US pressure over trade with Iran… In the future, Germany’s central bank plans to impose new controls on cash withdrawals from accounts it holds, with any large withdrawals subject to thorough checks and possible refusal…
“It seems the Bundesbank is now running scared of those sanctions and the dangers of breaking them. Among possible reasons for refusing a large withdrawal, its new terms and conditions list anything which might ‘substantially threaten’ the Bundesbank’s role in transfer payments and currency reserve management. Specifically, it mentions possible ‘jeopardizing of important relationships with central banks and financial institutions of third countries.’…
“Clearly, the Bundesbank, like many German commercial banks, is worried about the… possible exclusion from US capital markets. Other reasons given by the Bundesbank for refusing withdrawals include money laundering and terrorism… the European Union suggested that European central banks could handle some foreign exchange payments on behalf of the Iranian government. The change to the Bundesbank’s terms and conditions can be regarded as an emphatic refusal of these EU proposals.”
More Governmental Control in Florida
Education Week wrote on July 26:
“As part of their efforts to prevent school shootings, Florida lawmakers mandated the creation of a centralized database that will combine individual-level records from the state’s law-enforcement and social-services agencies with information from people’s personal social media accounts. The provision… marks a potentially dramatic increase in the state’s collection and sharing of data on individuals. While the new database could have big consequences for individual privacy and civil liberties, proponents described it as necessary to ensure public safety…
“To date, the far-reaching legislation… has garnered attention primarily for imposing new restrictions on access to guns, establishing a voluntary program to train and arm some school employees, providing $400 million for school mental health services and security measures, and establishing a new Office of Safe Schools within the Florida Department of Education. But a mostly overlooked provision of the legislation also directs that new office to ‘coordinate with the Department of Law Enforcement to provide a centralized integrated data repository and data analytics resource to improve access to timely, complete, and accurate information.’
“… According to the law, data sources must include, at a minimum, the state’s departments of Children and Families, Law Enforcement, and Juvenile Justice; local law enforcement agencies; and ‘social media.’ Privacy experts, civil-liberties advocates, and researchers who specialize in ‘integrated data systems’ around the country criticized the law as vaguely written and lacking in adequate safeguards.
“Faiza Patel, the co-director of the Liberty & National Security Center at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University… said, the actual legislation’s imprecise language seems to allow for open-ended vacuuming up of any and all social-media information, not just reported threats. And even just the latter could allow for a great deal of unvetted, low-quality, and biased information to flood into the system, she said. Just look at the rash of recent incidents in which white people reported black people to law enforcement for ‘suspicious’ activities such as sitting in a Starbucks, napping in a college dorm, and grilling in a park.
“In addition, said Patel and other experts, it’s unclear exactly who will have access to the information in the new Florida database, what specific purposes the data can (and can’t) be used for, how it will be secured, how long it will be retained, or what rights individuals may have to review and contest the information that is held about them.”
Another step towards the “Big Brother” governmentally controlled society.
Facebook and the Banks
The Verge wrote on August 6:
“Facebook is asking large banks in the US to share their customers’ card transactions, shopping habits, and checking account balances to offer new financial services, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
“In an emailed response to the report, Facebook denies that it’s ‘actively asking financial services companies for financial transaction data.’ It says that it’s simply looking to partner with banks and credit card companies to offer customer service through a chatbot in Messenger or help users manage their accounts within the app. Similar features already exist on Messenger with American Express, Mastercard, and PayPal integrations, but Facebook is looking to expand its partnerships with more traditional banks…
“The tech giant has talked to banks including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and US Bancorp about what sorts of banking services Facebook Messenger could provide for customers…Facebook’s reputation is marred by its recent data privacy scandal where Cambridge Analytica misused the data of 87 million Facebook users. Sources told the WSJ that the banks are concerned about how Facebook would handle data privacy when it comes to financial information…
“Other tech companies like Google and Amazon are also asking banks to share customer data so that they can add banking services on their voice assistants…”
Actually, customers should also be VERY concerned about how their banks are handling data privacy.
Global Technology Companies Remove InfoWars because of “Hate Speech”
Deutsche Welle reported on August 6:
“Spotify, Facebook and Apple have all taken down content by Alex Jones, whose InfoWars site has a mass following. While he’s previously taken heat for fake news, it was hate speech that landed him in hot water now… The news came one day after media news website BuzzFeed reported that Apple had removed the majority of Jones’ podcasts from its platforms…
“Jones is a controversial radio and internet host who is accused of promoting fake news and conspiracy theories, such as disputing the mass school shooting in 2012 at Sandy Hook elementary school in the US. Facebook said it had removed four of Alex Jones’ video pages… ‘ for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants,’ the statement read. The company also said that it had also suspended Jones’ personal profile for 30 days for his having posted the offensive content…
“Jones founded Infowars in 1999, building a massive following. Among the many conspiracy theories he has put forward is that the US government was involved in the September 11 attacks.”
Whether one agrees or disagrees with Jones’ concepts and (at times far-fetched) speculations, to remove him because of alleged hate-speech violations [who defines what constitutes hate speech, “dehumanizing language” or “glorifying violence”?] does set an extremely dangerous precedent for suppressing free speech.
Farrakhan’s Video Against Interracial Marriage Removed from Facebook
Breitbart wrote on August 8:
“Facebook has removed a video from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in which he advocates against interracial marriage… in the video, Farrakhan stated that black people had been ‘mongrelized’ by interracial marriage, something which Farrakhan blamed on ‘the enemy’ in Hollywood.
“A Facebook spokesperson initially stated that the video was allowed to stay on the platform as it was reportedly ‘unclear’ how Farrakhan was using the term ‘mongrelized.’ A second review, however, determined that the word was being used to attack people and the video was removed from the platform. This is reminiscent of how Facebook initially supported Infowars staying on the platform, then suddenly removed both Alex Jones and Infowars from the platform as part of a larger purge by Big Tech.
“According to Facebook, the guideline that Farrakhan violated was tier 1 of Facebook’s hate speech policy which prohibits: ‘dehumanizing speech or imagery including … reference or comparison to animals that are culturally perceived as intellectually or physically inferior.’”
Innocent Defendants Pleading Guilty
Forbes wrote on July 31:
“Defendants in federal cases face life changing choices once they have been charged, plead guilty and take a less severe penalty, or exercise their right to a trial and risk years (decades) in prison. It is no wonder that some have pondered whether innocent people are pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit.
“A new paper [was] published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), [stating that] going to trial can be a gamble with one’s life. One conclusion reached by the NACDL was that ‘There is ample evidence that federal criminal defendants are being coerced to plead guilty because the penalty for exercising their constitutional rights is simply too high to risk.’…
“Another case NACDL cited was that of… Christian Allmendinger [who] was involved in a complex case of purchasing life insurance policies. He was partners with another guy, Brent Oncale. Onacle pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Allmendinger went to trial where Onacle testified against him … he was found guilty and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Onacle had his sentence reduced to 5 years after testifying. It is disparities like this that are just a few of the reasons we have a growing issue with our criminal justice system.”
This is another reason (among MANY MORE reasons) why a true Christian should NOT be participating in jury duty services.
Israel’s LGBTQ Parades
JTA wrote on August 2:
“A record crowd estimated at 30,000 or more marched Thursday in support of the LGBTQ community at the [17th annual] Pride Parade in Jerusalem… The march comes a week after more than 60,000 demonstrators in Tel Aviv protested the Knesset’s passage of a new surrogacy law that excludes gay couples as well as single men. That demonstration capped off a day of strikes and protests in support of gay surrogacy and the LGBTQ community.
“The Pride Parade marchers called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over the surrogacy law and also carried signs against the nation-state law passed last month…”
Time Magazine wrote on August 3:
“Jerusalem holds a modest parade annually in contrast to festivities in nearby liberal Tel Aviv, which drew over 250,000 people to its parade this year… Israel has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations in recent years, in sharp contrast to the rest of the Middle East where gays are persecuted and even killed. In Israel, homosexuals serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament, and many popular artists and entertainers are homosexual. However, leaders of the gay community say Israel still has far to go in promoting equality.”
God calls this promotion of equality “abominable.”
South African White Farmers Under Attack
Express wrote on August 5:
“South Africa’s white farmers have hit out in anger at the government’s decision to agree to constitutional changes to seize land from them. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced plans to allow white people’s land to be taken without compensation, which will then be distributed to black people in a move that he believes will be good for the economy…
“The farmers have claimed that the government’s plan will be ‘catastrophic and could lead to anarchy and food shortages like Venezuela or Zimbabwe’. The economy of Zimbabwe collapsed after their own land reform was carried out.
“More than 20 years after the end of apartheid in South Africa, white farmers still own the majority of South Africa’s land… In the 1990s black South Africans received grants and subsidies to buy land plots, which resulted in overcrowding and poor land use…”
North Korea Preparing a Super Army of Human Clones?
The Daily Star wrote on August 5:
“Dictator Kim Jong-Un wants to create an army of super soldiers who will obey his every command. Genetic scientists have spent billions on a secret cloning programme started by Kim’s grandfather more than 30 years ago… MI6 believes the secretive Communist state has already cloned cats, dogs and horses – and has been experimenting on human embryos for at least 10 years. Senior spooks working alongside the US intelligence agency [and] the CIA have uncovered information suggesting human cloning has taken place at two secret laboratories…
“A senior intelligence official told the Daily Star Sunday… ‘Prisoners have been used in cloning and other terrible experiments for years. Kim is obsessed with human cloning. He has been attempting to grow human tissue, organs and clone embryos. He believes he can live forever by making clones of himself. Human cloning is very advanced on the Korean peninsular. Both the North and the South have been experimenting for decades. What we don’t know is whether they have had any success.’…
“In theory, human cloning could produce an identical copy of a living person whose body parts could be used to replace organs such as heart, liver and kidneys. There is no worldwide ban on human cloning although in at least 70 countries around the world, including the UK, it is illegal.
“Both South and North Korea have a controversial history with cloning. Laboratories in South Korea will clone family pets, such as dogs and cats for around £80,000. A spokesman for the North Korean embassy refused to comment.”
Even though the concept of cloning humans for the military or engaging in other military endeavors (such as constructing man-like robotic soldiers) may sound far-fetched, an interesting prophecy in the book of Revelation should be considered, which speaks of a huge Far-Eastern army of about 200 million “horsemen” (Revelation 9:16). These “horsemen” could arguably include human beings, cloned humans, and even robots.
Chaos in Venezuela
AFP wrote on August 5:
“The United States on Sunday denied involvement as Nicolas Maduro blamed the opposition and Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos for an alleged ‘assassination’ attempt on the Venezuela president. Venezuela’s far-left government said seven soldiers were wounded by the alleged attack using explosive-laden drones during a military parade in Caracas on Saturday. Maduro pointed the finger at outgoing Colombian President Santos and ‘the ultra-right wing,’ a term he uses to describe domestic opposition, as a mysterious rebel group claimed responsibility.
“US national security advisor John Bolton insisted there was ‘no US government involvement’ and even suggested that the incident could have been ‘a pretext set up by the regime itself.’ Venezuela has already reacted to Saturday’s events with a series of arrests as Attorney General Tarek William Saab, who was also present at the parade, warning: ‘There will be a ruthless punishment.’…
“Maduro has remained in power in oil-rich Venezuela despite a collapsing economy and a long-running political crisis. Hundreds of thousands have fled due to food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation that could reach one million percent this year… Maduro, a 55-year-old former bus driver, has effectively sidelined the fractured opposition through control of the courts and the electoral body — and unstinting support from the military, which holds key posts in his government…
“Maduro often accuses the opposition and the United States of working together to foment a ‘coup’ to topple him. This year he brought forward to May presidential elections — boycotted by the opposition — which handed him a new six-year term.”
The idea that the incident in Venezuela might have been caused by the regime itself is worth considering, as the parallels to the alleged recent “coup” in Turkey are striking, which helped Erdogan to become the absolute dictator in that autocratic country who is ruling it with an iron fist.
Deadly Earthquake in Indonesia
The Telegraph wrote on August 6:
“Indonesian security forces and emergency workers were racing on Monday to aid victims of a magnitude 7 earthquake on Lombok that killed at least 98 people [142 as of Monday morning, August 6], while tourists were being evacuated from the worst-hit areas. The tremor, which came just a week after another quake killed 17 people on the island, was also felt on the neighbouring resort island of Bali, where frightened tourists ran onto the streets.
“The earthquake struck just 10km underground, according to the US Geological Survey, and was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, prompting many to spend the night outside. ‘The search and rescue team is still scouring the scene and evacuating (people),’ national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. ‘We estimate the number of victims will rise.’ He described the damage as ‘massive’ in the north of Lombok, citing an example of a collapsed mosque where worshippers are believed to have been buried during evening prayers… Some areas still hadn’t been reached, with rescuers hampered by collapsed bridges, electricity blackouts and damaged roads blocked with debris…
“A nearby volcano was evacuated after the earthquake struck. Indonesia straddles the so-called Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, where tectonic plates collide, making the nation one of the most disaster prone in the world. Some 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes happen in this region. Other countries including Bolivia, Chile, Japan, and the US west coast also sit on the ‘Ring of Fire.’
“In 2004 a tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in western Indonesia killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia…”
Christ warned of ever increasing earthquakes as a sign of the times, prior to His return. He also stated that earthquakes will strike “here and there,” indicating that they would also happen in unusual places and locations.
Christian Persecution in India
World Watch Monitor wrote on August 6:
“Christian villagers in a rural district of India’s Maharashtra state have been told that one church will be closed down every week because they have been ‘destroying’ local tradition and culture by ‘luring’ others to convert to Christianity. Since June, over a dozen houses belonging to Christians have been attacked by local extremist groups… Christians… have also been told that if they pursue with Christianity, they will be cut off from local water supplies and will no longer have access to government-subsidised groceries.
“The latest incident took place on Sunday, 5 August, in Kospundi, when a local Christian, Gallu Kowasi, was badly beaten by locals demanding he renounce his faith… the extremists are being ‘propelled’ by the government in the name of a law on self-governing in tribal areas…
“Several Christians have received death threats or have been threatened with expulsion from their village, while new converts to Christianity face being ostracised from both their family and local community. ‘If one person in the family is converted to Christianity, the rest of the family unites with the village and all of them immediately socially boycott that person,’ World Watch Monitor’s source explained. ‘The new Christian convert will be given no job in the village and no-one will come to help him with his work. The social boycott is just the start. Thereafter the new convert is threatened constantly to leave his faith; he can be easily attacked and his house attacked.’
“The Christians of Bharagad village filed a complaint with police, but the authorities took no action. Instead, the Christians later received letters warning them against making any further complaints. After three Christian families in Koskundi village went to the police, a mob of around 100 people gathered round the police station, demanding the Christians be thrown out of the village.”
This is just a small foretaste as to what will happen to Christians who refuse to accept the mark of the beast.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.