Feb 13

Today’s News 13th February 2018

  • It's Officially Now Illegal To Accuse Poland Of Complicity In Nazi War Crimes

    Authored by Geneviève Zubrzycki via TheConversation.com,

    On Jan. 26, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Polish parliament voted in favor of a bill making it illegal to accuse Poland of complicity in Nazi crimes.

    ‘Anti-Semitism is treatable’ – a banner at a Warsaw demonstration.

    This caused immediate outrage around the world and nowhere more so than in a country that has been, until now, a close ally of Poland: Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the bill as “distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust.

    And yet, 10 days later, Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, signed the bill into law retorting that “the historic truth is that there was no systematic institutionalized participation among Poles [in the Holocaust].”

    What is happening? Why, over 70 years since the end of the Second World War, is this argument taking place?

    I am a sociologist who has studied controversies around the memory of the Holocaust in Poland. For me, this dispute is more than a crisis in Polish-Jewish relations. It is, above all, a crisis in Poland’s national identity.

    The memory of World War II in Poland

    This is not the first time the Poles have legislated against what they see as defamation of Poland’s record in World War II, but it is certainly the most wide-reaching. Under this new law, the punishment for people claiming that “the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich” carries a possible prison sentence of up to three years.

    The timing of the vote was no accident. The government used the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day as a platform to denounce the misnomer “Polish death camps” that some – including former President Barack Obama – have used to refer to Nazi concentration camps in occupied Poland.

    The Polish government, along with other Polish organizations, has been fighting the use of that expression in foreign media for several years, and with considerable success. Most American newspapers and other major media outlets have updated their stylebooks to stop those words being used.

    Nevertheless, given the growing controversy, the German minister of foreign affairs took it upon himself to declare that the Germans bore the entire responsibility for the extermination camps. But then he added that “the actions of individual collaborators do not alter that fact.”

    And therein lies the rub.

    Many Poles find it difficult to accept they could have played a role in the Holocaust. That is because, unlike many other nations, the Polish state did not collaborate with the Nazis. Considered an inferior race by the Nazis, Poles were targeted for cultural extermination to facilitate German expansion to the East. Polish elites were systematically murdered. Tens of thousands of Poles were imprisoned in concentration camps or were forced into slave labor.

    The Old Town burns during the Warsaw Uprising, August 1944. Museum of Warsaw

    Poland’s losses in World War II were enormous: Approximately 6 million Polish citizens were killed in the war, over half of whom were Jewish. Warsaw was left in ruins, and its 1944 uprising alone cost the lives of about 150,000 citizens.

    The dominant Polish narrative of World War II is, therefore, about victimhood, which fits squarely into its broader national mythology of martyrdom.

    Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855) Unknown

    Repeatedly invaded by its powerful neighbors, the Polish state disappeared from the European map for over a century – from 1795 to 1918. Poland’s national bard, the 19th century poet Adam Mickiewicz, described his country as a “Christ among nations.” In this telling Poles are a chosen people, innocent sufferers at the hands of evil oppressors.

    “Revelations” of crimes committed against Jews by Poles tarnish this narrative and shake Polish national identity to its core.

    Narrative shock

    The fact is, however, as historians have shown, crimes committed against Jews by Poles were much more prevalent and widespread than most people realized.

    Perhaps the most controversial and impactful research is that of the Polish-born Princeton University professor, Jan T. Gross.

    In his 2000 book “Neighbors,” Gross recounts in painful detail the violent murders of Jews by their ethnically Polish neighbors in the small town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941.

    The book marked a watershed in the public debate about Polish-Jewish relations.

    On July 10, 2001, roughly a year after the publication of Gross’ book, the Polish government acknowledged the murders and erected a monument at the site where several hundred Jews were forcibly brought to a barn and burned alive. Although the monument’s inscription fails to explicitly indicate that it was ethnic Poles and not Germans who committed the crime, the official apology by then-President Aleksander Kwaśniewski was unequivocal. “Here in Jedwabne,” he said, “citizens of the Republic of Poland died at the hands of other citizens of the Republic of Poland.”

    The Jedwabne memorial. Genevieve Zubrzycki, Author provided

    Such was the shock the story of Jedwabne caused that it is possible to distinguish between Poland “before and after” the appearance of Gross’ book. As leading Catholic journalist Agnieszka Magdziak Miszewska put it: “Facing up to the painful truth of Jedwabne is … the most serious test that we Poles have had to confront in the last decade.”

    Law and Justice’s politics of history

    It is that test, arguably, that the ruling Law and Justice party is failing.

    In the battle over Polish collective memory, the party has been promoting the stories of the Poles who rescued Jews – and who are honored by Israel as the “Righteous Among Nations” – by creating museums and monuments in their name.

    Through the new “Holocaust Law,” the government is, in effect, trying to repress knowledge of crimes committed against Jews by Poles. The defense of the law, however, goes one step further. In a remarkable case of what I would describe as manipulating the message, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki issued a video statement claiming that it is the Poles who are the guardians of historical truth and fighters against hatred.

    And yet, the same politicians remain silent when their supporters express anti-Semitic and anti-refugee views. On Feb. 5, for example, demonstrators impatient for President Duda to sign the Holocaust law gathered in front of the Presidential Palace chanting anti-Semitic slogans and demanding that he “remove [his] yarmulke and sign the law!”

    The president did sign the law, but he also sent it to the country’s constitutional court for examination.

    Those Poles opposed to the law – and there are many, judging by the number of organizations and public figures denouncing it and the number of petitions circulating – hope that it will be deemed unconstitutional because it represses freedom of speech and could significantly curtail academic research.

    Regardless of the ultimate outcome, however, the government’s politics of history will continue to be waged on many other fronts. What is at stake, in my view, is nothing less than the definition of Polish national identity. This is why, for all the international outrage, the controversy about the Holocaust law is hottest inside Poland, among Poles who are now debating what it means to be Polish and where Poland is going.

  • Dutch Finance Minister Admits He Lied About Putin's Plans For A "Greater Russia"

    In a shocking admission, Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra said he lied when he claimed to have heard President Vladimir Putin describing an ambition to unify Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states and Kazakhstan into a single super-state to rival the influence of the former Soviet Union.

    Zijlstra claimed at a party conference in 2016 that he had overheard Putin outlining the grand plan for a “Greater Russia” in 2006 during a gathering of businessmen. At the time, Zijlstra was working at Shell, RT reports.

    Dutch

    In the original retelling of the story, Zijlstra said he had been in a back room of a dacha (country house) when he heard Putin define “Great Russia” as “Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states,” adding that “Kazakhstan was nice to have.”

    The story was questioned by the newspaper Volkskrant, however, which quickly discovered that Zijlstra had not even attended the 2006 business meeting in Russia, despite being part of the Shell delegation. When confronted about this, the minister acknowledged that he had lied, and said he was simply trying to protect a source.

    “I made the decision that this is an important geopolitical story with serious implications,” he said.

    I put myself in the story to make sure that the revelations weren’t about the person who was actually there. Because that could have had implications for him or his company.”

    Zijlstra insisted he was told as much from a source whom he refused to name. The newspaper itself says the source was Jeroen van der Veer, who was the CEO of Shell at the time.

    The revelation comes at an awkward time for the foreign minister. Zijlstra, who took office in October 2017, is set to visit Moscow this week to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Geert Wilders’ opposition right-wing Party for Freedom has called for a parliamentary debate about Zijlstra’s integrity before he leaves. Zijlstra told Volkskrant that he informed Prime Minister Mark Rutte about his conduct several weeks ago.

    “Greater Russia” is an amorphous term usually used to describe the historic core of the Russian state, roughly corresponding to the territory of medieval Russia in the 16th century – the beginning of the reign of Ivan the Terrible, who was the first of Russia’s great expansionist rulers. The word “greater” is meant as a description of spiritual significance rather than physical size. The same term was applied to the core territories of some other countries, like Greater Armenia, Greater Walachia or Greater Poland.

  • Free Speech And Social Engineering In The "Land Of The Free"

    Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

    A disturbing trend has been going on for quite some time now, and that’s the destruction of free speech.  Many college campuses even have safe spaces now, where certain speech is banned so college students can snuggle blankets.

    Free speech is now the topic of several debates and they all revolve around social engineering/social tyranny. Take this article from The Week, for example.

    On many college campuses, groups of left-leaning students insist that free speech should be conditional on speakers adhering to explicit standards of diversity and avoiding the infliction of emotional harm on the members of marginalized groups through the spreading of “hate.”

    From the opposite ideological direction, President Trump believes that the government should “take a strong look” at libel laws to keep news organizations from subjecting his own administration to negative coverage.

    Finally, from the center-left come calls to use anti-discrimination law to punish organizations that oppose the legitimacy of same-sex marriage and accommodations for transgender people. If that happens — either by passing new laws that explicitly add to existing anti-discrimination statutes or by courts treating the members of these groups as protected classes covered by existing law — the result will almost certainly be a significant constriction of speech, as those holding more conservative views will face sanction for expressing them in public. –The Week

    The article asks the question: Is America Having Second Thoughts About Free Speech?  But Joe Joseph with The Daily Sheeple answers the question perfectly.

    “NO! America’s NOT having second thoughts about free speech. But the social engineers are cramming it down our throat like this is what we want.  But really, nobody wants it! It’s unfreakin’ believeable!”

    Joseph’s take reflects all those who are individual minded.  Even offensive speech is only offensive to the emotionally weak. “I can’t believe that we’re even having this conversation in the land of the FREE!!!! What the heck is going on…. are we in the “Twilight Zone”? When did we go from a nation of bad ass mo fo’s to a nation of pansies?” says the caption on Joseph’s latest news shot video.

    “How about we do this…how about these media organizations actually follow through with what their code of ethics say. How about they actually do what they say they’re gonna do! How about you practice the rules you’re taught day one in journalism school!” says Joseph about the media.

    He goes on to say laws dictating what speech is acceptable, and what type of speech is not acceptable, are not designed to fix the problem.  They are designed to divide the people and amplify the problems.

    There should never be a question of whether or not humans have free speech. It’s a natural right to think and say whatever you want.  Words don’t do physical damage, and until someone is hurt or their property is damaged, no crime has been committed.

  • Pentagon Sending Heavily Armed Marine Units To East Asia To "Counter China Threat"

    According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon is considering plans to transfer heavily armed, versatile Marine Corps Expeditionary Units (MEU) to East-Asia, citing the rapidly expanding Chinese influence in the region.

    After 16-years of military embarrassments in the Middle East, the Pentagon appears to have realized that its misfortunes in the area have transformed into nothing more than Vietnam 2.0; alternatively it is merely provoking Asian superpowers into a new race for military dominance in the region.

    Washington’s drive for regional militarization (and constant wars feeding the MIC) appears is shifting away from the Middle East and onto China and Russia’s playground. President Trump’s newly issued National Defense Strategy report highlights “our [Pentagon] competitive military advantage has been eroding” throughout the world, as it has now become a national security threat. Further, the report labels, the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula, as areas of an “increasingly complex security environments,” which the Pentagon will start transferring military assets to the region, to combat the threat because it is jeopardizing the American empire.

    “Today, we are emerging from a period of strategic atrophy, aware that our competitive military advantage has been eroding. We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order—creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”

    “China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea. Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors. As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions.”

    The Wall Street Journal says the Pentagon intends to boost its military appearance in the East Pacific with the deployment of Marine Expeditionary Units. A Marine expeditionary unit (MEU, pronounced “Mew”), is a group of 2,200 marines who are part of the quick reaction force and are usually deployed to a region for an upcoming or immediate crisis. A unit deploys about 2,200 marines who operate amphibious assault ships, aircraft, helicopters, tanks, heavy weapons, and other military assets. Each MEU is equipped with:

    Officials said these shifts are “major muscle movements,” as the Pentagon transfers military equipment and personnel redeployments, and are aimed at “a global resetting of forces” rather than a “buildup for war.”

    “We have enduring interests here, and we have an enduring commitment and we have an enduring presence here,” Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, who spoke about America’s reshuffling of armed forces during an eight-day visit through Asia last week.

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    MEUs deploy in seven-month rotations on Tarawa-class amphibious assault ships operated by the United States Navy; they may stay offshore for the entire time of deployment or come ashore for small periods of time to conduct training exercises. General Robert Neller said MEUs sent to Asia would jump right into military patrols and joint activities with allies.

    “We have to be present and engaged to compete,” Gen. Neller said. The new defense strategy “will shape our future naval presence, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”

    WSJ says MEUs have recently been deployed to various theaters in the Middle East but will be soon departing from their native ports on the West Coast of the United States to Asia.

    MEUs based on the West Coast have traveled from the U.S. to the Middle East for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently, Syria, all in the area of responsibility of U.S. Central Command. MEUs, designed to be a quick reaction force, were among the first units to arrive near northern Iraq in 2016 to set up for a campaign to free the city of Mosul from Islamic State.

    Pentagon officials said they hope their new strategy on East Asia will persuade Pacific nations to stand with the U.S. “I believe the [National Defense Strategy] and other guidance requires us to adopt a more global posture and this will shape our future naval presence, especially in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Gen. Neller.

    Kelly Magsamen, a former Pentagon and State Department policy official, said the new military strategy, when more fully implemented, will require careful diplomacy and a robust economic approach: “Follow through on strategy is essential, but so is close communication and coordination with our allies and friends,” said Ms. Magsamen, now vice president national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress.

    In keeping with the Pentagon’s party line, the WSJ warns that depleting military resources in the Middle East could enable Russia and China to “bolster their presence” in the region.

    Some officials argue that withdrawing resources from the Middle East could allow Russia and China to bolster their presence there. Russia backs Syria’s ruler and both countries are seeking to expand their influence elsewhere in the region.

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    Take Guam, an American territory in Micronesia in the Western Pacific, which has about 3,831 American soldiers on the island stationed at Anderson air force base. Last month, we reported, the B-1B Lancer bombers, the B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, and the B-52H Stratofortress bombers are now ‘temporarily’ stationed at Andersen Air Force Base. Nevertheless, the show of force wound down this month, when the B-1Bs return to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

    Curiously, the Pentagon’s military build-up in Asia comes as Pyongyang and Seoul are making some progress towards engaging in dialogue over North Korea’s reckless nuclear and rocket programs. Further, the United States is becoming increasingly worried about Beijing’s drive to militarize the heavily disputed artificially-created islands it controls in the South China Sea.

    America’s legacy of failed wars in the Middle East is quietly being swept under the carpet. The Pentagon is now vocally repositioning itself for the next boogeyman being Russia, China, and North Korea, as highlighted in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. It is likely that the Trump administration with the Pentagon will condition the American people through psychological operations, about how America’s competitive military advantage is eroding, and the need to transfer military assets to the Asia Pacific is critical for America’s survival. This alarming trend will continue for at least President Trump’s first term, and if he gets elected again, it will definitely persist until the next World War starts.

    Meanwhile, Beijing is preparing for the next global conflict with a new era of modernization of the country’s armed forces, the largest in the world, including AI-Enabled Nuclear Submarines, fifth-generation fighters, and hypersonic weapons.

  • A President Held Hostage?

    Authored by Justin Raimondo via Antiwar.com,

    They’ve got him surrounded…

    As Vice President Mike Pence made a fool both of himself, and the country he is supposed to be representing, at the Olympic Games by refusing to stand for the athletes of any nation other than the US, back at home the Washington Post was reporting on a President Trump who appears to have nothing in common either with Pence or with the White House staff. The piece, entitled “Trump’s favorite general: Can Mattis check an impulsive president and still retain his trust?” tells a story that pits a President inclined to challenge the War Party against a Praetorian Guard determined to nullify his electoral mandate to keep out of foreign wars and put “America first”:

    “Although Trump has given the military broad latitude on the battlefield, he also has raised pointed questions about the wisdom of the wars being fought by the United States. Last year, after a delegation of Iraqi leaders visited him in the Oval Office, Trump jokingly referred to them as ‘the most accomplished group of thieves he’d ever met,’ according to one former U.S. official.”

    Truer words were never spoken, but of course this leak is designed to embarrass Trump and put him at odds with those very thieves. Mattis was presumably horrified by this truism, since the General is an even bigger thief, having successfully manipulated Congress into appropriating 15.5 percent more money for the military than Trump asked. The Post piece goes on to detail the President’s many heresies:

    He has repeatedly pressed Mattis and McMaster in stark terms to explain why US troops are in Somalia. ‘Can’t we just pull out?’ he has asked, according to US officials.

    “Last summer, Trump was weighing plans to send more soldiers to Afghanistan and was contemplating the military’s request for more-aggressive measures to target Islamic State affiliates in North Africa. In a meeting with his top national security aides, the president grew frustrated. ‘You guys want me to send troops everywhere,’ Trump said, according to officials in the Situation Room meeting. ‘What’s the justification?’”

    Oh, the shocked silence in that room must have lasted for what seemed like forever. Then Mattis came up with the same old bullshit:

    “‘Sir, we’re doing it to prevent a bomb from going off in Times Square,’ Mattis replied.”

    Trump didn’t fall for it: “The response angered Trump, who insisted that Mattis could make the same argument about almost any country on the planet.” And the President wasn’t alone in his skepticism: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions echoed Trump’s concerns, asking whether winning was even possible in a place such as Afghanistan or Somalia.”

    Here’s the scary part, which concludes the piece:

    “It was Mattis who made the argument that would, for the moment at least, sway Trump to embrace the status quo – which has held for the past two presidents.

    “‘Unfortunately, sir, you have no choice,’ Mattis told Trump, according to officials. ‘You will be a wartime president.’”

    Really? Why is that? And which war is Mattis specifically referring to? Afghanistan? We’re largely out of Iraq. Syria – the latest addition to our interventionist folly? We aren’t told, but in my view it’s not any foreign war Mattis is referring to, but – perhaps unconsciously – he’s referencing the war at home, i.e. the one being conducted by his own government against the President of the United States.

    We read about it every day in the media: the Russia-gate hoax is still being flogged, despite growing evidence of its utter falsity. Robert Mueller is still on the prowl, looking for a pretext to take Trump down. The media, a longtime adjunct of the national security bureaucracy, is openly working in tandem with the intelligence services to take out Trump – and if you want to know why, just re-read the reporting on Trump’s reluctance to go along with the War Party’s murderous agenda.

    So once they take him down, who will be Trump’s replacement? It’ll be Mike Pence, of course, the same person doing everything in his power to destroy the possibility of peace on the Korean peninsula – quite against Trump’s expressed hope that “we can make a deal” with North Korea.

    The War Party cannot tolerate a President who questions the most basic premises of the American Empire: “You guys want me to send troops everywhere!” Of course they do. However, Trump was elected to carry out a very different mandate: to start putting America first. He railed against regime change. And now the regime-changers want to carry out a change of regime against him.

    Just look at the reporting by James Risen in The Intercept: the FBI/CIA/NSA cabal paid a Russian operative $100,000 as a down payment on a total of a million to get compromising material on Trump. Isn’t this kind of thing only supposed to happen in places like Tadjikistan? Oh, it was all done under the pretext of getting back our stolen cyber-war tools, but really – how valuable are they if the Russians already have them? Sure, we could find out what was stolen – we still don’t know – but the long involved process described by Risen is really about getting rid of Trump. That’s all they really care about right now, and they’ll stop at nothing – including, I believe, assassination – to pull it off.

    There’s too much money riding on the continued existence and expansion of our worldwide empire to let Trump ruin their scam. Too many careers are based on it, too much prestige is at stake, too many “allies” are dependent on the largesse it affords them. They’re boxing him in, despite his noninterventionist instincts, and they’re compiling “dossiers,” and they’re mobilizing all their forces for the final assault on the Oval Office. In an important sense, Trump is being held hostage: they have limited his policy options in every important sphere of the national security/foreign policy realm, The “swamp” Trump talks about is an international miasma, and swamp creatures of diverse nationalities are crawling out of the muck, their claws aimed straight for the presidential throat.

    The War Party plays for keeps. The question is: does Donald Trump? We shall see.

  • Prison Chaplain Fired By Muslim Boss, Says Inmates Converting To Islam For Protection

    A London prison chaplain claims he was fired from his job of 20 years by his Muslim boss, Mohammed Yusuf Ahmed, after he was accused of “extreme” Christian views that were deemed “too radical.”

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    Paul Song (left), Mohammed Yusuf Ahmed

    Paul Song, 48, now says that the “Christian faith is not equal” in South London’s Brixton prison, and that “some people have been forced to convert with violence,” adding “How do I know? Because three or four people came up to me to tell me. This is a very sensitive issue.” 

    One inmate who served time in Brixton in 2015 has come even come forward and offered a signed a statement declaring that prisoners were forced to convert to Islam.

    “There seems to be a very troubling lack of transparency and due process around the decision to expel this chaplaincy volunteer,” says Ian Acheson, who led an independent review of Islamist extremism within prisons which found significant concerns over “the operation of some prison chaplaincies in the London area and the risks of radicalization.”

    “That sort of arbitrary action is only defensible in the case of very serious allegations. So it is baffling why he has been told that he is free to operate in any other prison, just not Brixton.”

    Acheson added: “I made a number of recommendations after repeated concerns were raised about bullying and favoritism from imams in the field. In the light of these revelations, I would urge the new ministerial team to assure itself that the dismissal of this chaplain was fair and proportionate.”

     

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    Song, a former police officer in his native South Korea, says that his firing last August came on the heels of a false accusation from a Muslim inmate, who claims the chaplain referred to him as a “terrorist.” 

    Mr Song said his position at HMP Brixton came under scrutiny after Mohammed Yusuf Ahmed became managing chaplain in 2015. 

    He told the Sunday Express: ‘I never said those things. I would never make those comments. I have worked in the prisons for many years with many faiths and there were no complaints.  –Daily Mail

    Song claims his boss, Mr. Ahmed, said that he was set on changing the “Christian domination” within HMP Brixton, according to the Sunday Times. The Ministry of Justice said there was “no evidence or intelligence to support this.”

     

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    HMP Brixton

    We find this strange, as a 2016 report by the UK’s Ministry of Justice shows that while Muslims make up just one in 20 Britons, the religion accounts for one in seven inmates. One of those, the Daily Mail reports, is the case of Levi Bellfield, a convicted child rapist and murderer who converted to Islam for protection while in prison:

    At least that’s what Rahim — a man who will be familiar to most by his real name, Levi Bellfield — hoped would happen when he converted to the Muslim faith not long after being sentenced to life for the murder and rape of schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

    ‘He found out a paedophile had been slashed in Wakefield and thought he would be next: he was a marked man after he was convicted,’ revealed his sister Ann-Marie Bellfield. ‘He said they were good boys and would look after him … he got friendly with Islamic guys and didn’t have a problem.

    “These gangs use their faith as a cover for violence and intimidation, threatening non-Muslims and pressuring them to convert to Islam,” said Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association. “I have got many prisoners who are so fearful of Muslims that they feel they need to form alliances with them for protection,’ one prison governor recently revealed.

    Former prison officer Joe Chapman who is now a prison law consultant thinks that so-called “convenience conversions” are on the rise. 

    ‘This job takes me to 40 or 50 prisons over the year, throughout the country,’ he said. ‘It has become obvious to me that it’s a growing problem.

    About half a dozen of my clients have directly reported problems with being forced to convert — those who weren’t Muslim when they came in, and those who were and have been forced to look at more radical ideas about their faith.’

    Meanwhile, Song’s treatment comes as the latest HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report on Brixton, published in March last year, stated that some Christian classes had been dropped because the prison had been “unable to recruit a full-time Anglican chaplain since 2015,” reports The Times

    The report said that there were eight Christian leaders, including a full time Catholic with the rest part time – as well as four Muslims, two of whom were full time. 

    Several prisoners wrote affidavits on Song’s behalf, describing how he helped them turn away from a life of crime. 

    To call this Christian who has served without a blemish for almost 20 years an extremist defies belief,” says Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Center which has been advising for Song. 

    Perhaps Song can look to London’s Mayor, Sadiq Kahn for help – or maybe Song is just living in the wrong country to be a Christian prison chaplain these days. 

  • The Dollar – From Bohemia To Bust

    Authored by Egon von Greyerz via Gold Switzerland,

    Virtually no investor studies history and the few who do always think it is different today. The most important lesson is that people never learn. If they did, they wouldn’t be invested in a stock market that on any criteria is now at a bubble extreme. And they wouldn’t be invested in a global debt market which has grown exponentially in recent decades and which will become worthless in the next few years as debtors default. Nor would anyone hold paper money which is down 97-99% in the last 100 years and which is guaranteed to soon fall the final bit to take the value to zero.

    The history of money clearly illustrates that “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” (the more it changes, the more it is the same thing). The most constant factor in the history of money is the cycle of boom and bust or euphoria and despair. Cycles are part of nature just like the change of seasons.

    But throughout history, mankind has always believed that they know better than previous generations and can eliminate the cycle of boom and bust. This is what the British prime minister Gordon Brown proudly declared before the economy collapsed in 2007. And the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Paul Krugman, also believes that eternal prosperity can be generated by creating endless debt and printing unlimited money.

    But history has time and time again turned hubristic know-it-alls into humbled has-beens.

    FOR 6,000 YEARS GOLD HAS OUTLIVED ALL CURRENCIES

    Whenever mankind has deviated from sound money, the consequences have without fail been catastrophic. The only money which has survived since it first came into use around 6,000 years ago is gold. All other money has been destroyed by greed and economic mismanagement. I believe I have quoted Voltaire for over 20 years and will continue to do so: “Paper Money Eventually Returns to its Intrinsic Value – ZERO”. Whether we go back 100 years, 300 years or 2,000 years, those superb 9 words is the most exact and scientific definition of economic history. This is the most important lesson that any student of Economics should learn. Armed with that knowledge, anyone can forecast the likely outcome of an economic cycle and especially the current one.

    TULIP BULBS AND BITCOINS WILL NEVER PRESERVE WEALTH

    So why are investors not taking heed and protecting themselves against risks that on a global scale have never been greater. The first reason is greed. Whether it is stocks, tulip bulbs or bitcoins, people never learn. Greed takes over and numbs any rational thinking. And that is why most investors will ride the bubble markets until they are virtually worthless.

    Experience and a long professional life is a great advantage when it comes to understanding risk. Nothing beats personally experiencing major market crashes of 50% or more like in 1973, 1987, 2000 and 2007. This certainly makes you more aware of risk and therefore also the necessity to preserve wealth.

    STOCKS ALWAYS GO UP!

    Looking back at say the Dow since 1971, it is up 29x or 2,800 percent. So why worry because “stocks always go up”. Yes, it is absolutely true that in the last 47 odd years since Nixon took away the gold backing of the dollar, asset markets have boomed. But most of these gains have been illusory and due to credit expansion, money printing and currency debasement.

    So investors are still certain that stocks will continue to grow over time. But they don’t realise what will happen to their investments when the punchbowl is taken away and interest rates increase substantially. Because that is what we will see in the next few years. Stocks have been going up only because of credit expansion and artificially low interest rates. These two factors are unlikely to be in play in coming years. Yes, central banks will panic and print unlimited amounts of money but the market will soon realise that this money is worthless and therefore will have no effect.

    What investors don’t realise is that it can take a very long time for stocks to climb back up that high wall of worry after a big fall. In 1929 the Dow peaked at 481 and then fell 90% over less than three years to bottom at 40 in 1932. But what few investors realise is that it took 26 years before the Dow was back to the 1929 high.

    THE DOW TOOK 26 YEARS TO GET BACK TO 1929 PEAK

    The almost 1,000 points drop in the Dow last Monday was a foretaste of things to come. We might not see the end of the multi decade bull market quite yet but risk is today colossal. Once the bear market starts, the Dow will experience days of several thousand points decline.

    The 1929 crash was 90% but since the current bubble is so much greater by any measure, the coming fall of US stock markets is likely to be at least 95%.

    NIKKEI STILL 40% BELOW 1989 PEAK

    A more recent example of a stock market not recovering is the Nikkei which topped at 39,000 in 1989. Today, 29 years later the Nikkei is still 40% below that level after having been down as much as 80% from the high. In spite of massive money printing with debt well over Yen 1 quadrillion and zero or negative interest rates for most of the last 29 years, the Japanese stock market is still in the doldrums. The most likely outcome for Japan is that the economy will collapse with stocks going down 95% or more with the value of debt going to zero followed by the Yen which will also go to zero.

    THE DOLLAR HAS BEEN FALLING FOR HALF A CENTURY

    Looking at the dollar since 1971, it has lost 78% against the Swiss franc and 56% against the DMark/Euro.

    If we measure against real money – gold – the dollar has lost 98% in the last 100 years. Most of that fall took place after Nixon’s fatal decision in 1971.

    PAPER MONEY – FROM 100 TO ZERO IN ONE CENTURY

    It is clear that the dollar will lose the additional 3% against gold to make it reach ZERO intrinsic value. But we must remember that this means the dollar will fall 100% from current level. And that fall is virtually guaranteed. It is only a question of how long it will take. The biggest part of the dollar decline could happen very rapidly, within 3 to 7 years. At the same time US debt will go to zero and interest rates will reach infinity.

    THE DOLLAR – FROM BOHEMIA TO OBSCURITY

    Interestingly, the word dollar came from the Czech Kingdom of Bohemia where silver coins were minted in the early 1500s.

    The area was called Joachimsthal (Joachim’s valley) and the money Joachimsthaler shortened to Thaler or Daler (Dollar). This word for money was used in many countries in the world. It came to America as the Spanish American Peso which became the Spanish dollar. In 1785 it was adopted in the US as the official currency – the American dollar. When the US dollar collapses in coming years, it will be interesting to see how long it will take for the dollar to totally disappear just as the Denarius did when the Roman Empire collapsed.

    THE DENARIUS – FROM SILVER TO DUST

    The silver coin Denarius was first minted in 211 BC.

    As the finances of the Roman Empire deteriorated, the Denarius was gradually debased. During the 100 year period, 180 to 280 AD the silver content of the Denarius went from 87% to 0%. This is exactly what is happening to the currency system today with all major currencies down 97-99% measured in nature’s money – Gold. But we still have the final 1-3% to come which will be extremely painful for the world.

    WORLD ECONOMY – FROM EUPHORIA TO DYSPHORIA

    We are now in the final phase of manic euphoria. Within the next 6 to 18 months the euphoria will turn into dysphoria as 100 years of economic mismanagement and manipulation come to an end. It will not only severely affect financial markets and the world economy but also the fabric of society in most countries. I have talked about this many times and it certainly is a depressing scenario. The world is likely to experience very high unemployment, no or little money for most people, disease, famine, no social security, no pension, little medical care, social unrest, wars etc.

    No one, absolutely no one, can prepare fully for this or avoid it. We will all suffer. As I have stressed many times, the circle of family and friends is the best protection and more important than anything else. For the few who are privileged to have savings, it is still not too late to acquire some physical gold and silver. As the financial system crashes, precious metals will resume their role as money. Not only will gold and silver become extremely valuable and desired, but more importantly, it will maintain purchasing power as it has for 6,000 years.

    Investors must not be influenced by short term fluctuations in the gold and silver price. Without warning gold will one day start moving up 100s of dollars and silver 10s of dollars over a very short period. Gold and silver must be acquired today at current low prices. When the real move starts, it will be impossible to get hold of physical gold and silver at any price.

  • Comey: FBI Agents (Including Peter Strzok) Didn't Think Flynn Lied

    FBI investigators who interviewed Michael Flynn last January – one of which was anti-Trumper Peter Strzokthought Flynn was telling the truth about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and that any inaccuracies in his answers were unintentional – according to accounts of a closed-door March 2017 briefing given to lawmakers by former FBI Director James Comey.

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    According to two sources familiar with the meetings, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional. As a result, some of those in attendance came away with the impression that Flynn would not be charged with a crime pertaining to the January 24 interview. –Washington Examiner

    This new revelation from the closed-door briefing held nearly a year ago (apparently leaks which benefit conservatives take much longer), complicates an already murky case considering that Flynn pleaded guilty nine months later to one count of making a false statement to the FBI.

    To briefly review; Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had a phone conversation in late December, 2016. On its face, there was absolutely nothing wrong with an incoming National Security Advisor having a conversation with a Russian government official. Following the conversation, which was surveilled by the Obama administration and then leaked to the press

    The first thing to remember is that it appears Flynn did nothing wrong in having those talks. As the incoming national security adviser, it was entirely reasonable that he discuss policy with representatives of other governments and Flynn was getting calls from all around the world. –Washington Examiner

    What happened next is strange; on January 12, WaPo columnist and deep-state news conduit David Ignatius reported that Flynn and Kislyak had talked – implying some type of malfeasance. Days later, on January 15, Vice President-elect Mike Pence denied that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. The on January 24, Obama holdover and acting Attorney General Sally Yates sent two FBI agents to interview Flynn without a lawyer present.  

    Two days later, on January 26, Yates and a colleague visited the White House to tell White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn may have violated the obscure logan act, and in fact discussed sanctions with Kislyak – possibly subjecting Flynn to blackmail.

    Yates then explained to McGahn her theory that Flynn might be vulnerable to blackmail. The idea was that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak, which of course the Russians knew. And then if Flynn lied to Pence, and Pence made a public statement based on what Flynn had told him, then the Russians might be able to blackmail Flynn because they, the Russians, knew Flynn had not told the vice president the truth. –Washington Examiner

    Meanwhile, on January 23, the Washington Post reported that they had “not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government,” after having reviewed the leaked conversation

    Even stranger is the fact that Flynn’s sentencing has been delayed at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, with an agreement to revisit the matter no later than May 1, 2018. 

    Due to the status of the Special Counsel s investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time, the document, signed by Mueller and Flynn attorneys Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony, said. 

    Some have speculated that Mueller’s request indicates Flynn is cooperating with his investigation. Others, such as former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova, think that “It may very well be that the guilty plea cannot stand” after D.C. Judge Rudolph Contreras – who also sits on the FISA court – recused himself days after he was assigned Flynn’s case.

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    Judge Rudolph Contreras

    Others yet have speculated that the FBI conducted an illegal interview of Flynn by not announcing that he was actually under investigation, and did not have an attorney present (which Byron York notes Flynn should have known to do). 

    On January 27, 2017, Flynn resigned. 

    So – if FBI agent Peter Strzok didn’t think Flynn had lied, and the Washington Post – which reviewed a conversation (leaked by the Obama administration) concluded that Flynn did nothing wrong, then why did Flynn apparently lie to Mike Pence? 

    Is it possible that Flynn told Pence the truth and Pence lied due to the optics of the ongoing Trump-Russia “witch hunt” that was kicking into high gear? 

    Whatever the case, the Flynn story is now murkier than ever…

  • Ron Paul Warns 'E-Verify' Threatens Us All

    Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

    In addition to funding for a border wall and other border security measures, immigration hardliners are sure to push to include mandatory E-Verify in any immigration legislation considered by Congress.

    E-Verify is a (currently) voluntary program where businesses check job applicants’ Social Security numbers and other Information — potentially including “biometric” identifiers like fingerprints — against information stored in a federal database to determine if the job applicants are legally in the United States.

    Imagine how much time would be diverted from serving consumers and growing the economy if every US business had to comply with E-Verify. Also, collecting the relevant information and operating the mandatory E-Verify system will prove costly to taxpayers.

    Millions of Americans could be denied jobs because E-Verify mistakenly identifies them as illegal immigrants. These Americans would be forced to go through a costly and time-consuming process to force the government to correct its mistake. It is doubtful employers could afford to keep jobs open while potential hires went through this process.

    A federal database with Social Security numbers and other identifying information is an identify thief’s dream. Given the federal government’s poor track record for protecting personal information, is there any doubt mandatory E-Verify would put millions of Americans at risk for identity theft?

    Some supporters of E-Verify deny the program poses any threat to civil liberties, as it will only be used to verify citizenship or legal residency. They even claim a system forcing individuals to have their identities certified by the government is not a national ID system. These individuals are ignoring the history of government programs sold as only affecting a particular group or being used for a limited purpose being expanded beyond initial targets. For example, Americans were promised that only the wealthiest Americans would ever pay income taxes. And some of the PATRIOT Act’s worst provisions that we were told would only be used against terrorists are routinely used to investigate drug crimes.

    E-Verify almost certainly will be used for purposes unrelated to immigration. One potential use of E-Verify is to limit the job prospects of anyone whose lifestyle displeases the government. This could include those accused of failing to pay their fair share in taxes, those who homeschool or do not vaccinate their children, or those who own firearms.

    Unscrupulous government officials could use E-Verify against those who practice antiwar, anti-tax, anti-surveillance, and anti-Federal Reserve activism. Those who consider this unlikely should remember the long history of the IRS targeting the political enemies of those in power and the use of anti-terrorism laws to harass antiwar activists. They should also consider the current moves to outlaw certain types of “politically incorrect” speech, such as disputing the alleged “consensus” regarding climate change.

    Claiming that mandatory E-Verify is necessary to stop illegal immigration does not make it constitutional. Furthermore, having to ask the federal government for permission before obtaining a job is a characteristic of authoritarian societies, not free ones. History shows that mandatory E-Verify’s use will expand beyond immigration enforcement and could be used as a tool of political repression. All those who value liberty should oppose mandatory E-Verify.

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