The Obama Regime’s Criminal Syndicate

Posted on: May 24, 2016

CRIME SYNDICATE

Nick Short |Politically Short

Nearly a decade after the crash of the U.S. Housing market, the Obama administration continues to pursue claims against large financial institutions accused of contributing to the crash. For instance, in the past three years the Department of Justice (DOJ) settled with JPMorgan Chase & CO. in November 2013, Citigroup Inc. in July 2014, and Bank of America in August in 2014. These settlements concerned allegations related to the issuance of residential mortgage backed securities, and collectively these three settlements alone have totaled $36.65 billion in payments from the banks to various federal, state, non-governmental organizations, and direct consumer relief.

In a report released on Thursday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee detailing how the DOJ has essentially become a massive crime syndicate in the business of shaking down financial institutions, the report noted that the DOJ’s Housing settlements removed millions of dollars of third party payments from the Congressional appropriations process as well as judicial review. Of the settlement funds set aside for consumer relief, at least $640 million was set aside for third party payments to be disbursed by the banks according to the the settlement terms. By routing funds away fro the U.S. Treasury, the settlements have been able to circumvent congress’s spending authority as well as oversight.

Meaning, the DOJ unilaterally controlled the allocation of billions of dollars absent congressional and judicial involvement by forcing banks, under the terms of the settlement agreements, to distribute hundreds of millions of funds to third party organizations pre-approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Moreover, the DOJ did not require third party disbursements to go to homeowners actually aggrieved by the alleged wrong doing. Of the $36.65 billion in total settlements reached by the DOJ with these three financial institutions alone, the DOJ earmarked $13.5 billion for “consumer relief,” of which hundreds of millions are to be dispersed to selected third party groups approved by the adminstration. Naturally, the third party organizations are all politically active radical leftists groups.

To understand how the shake-down works, the DOJ, as the federal government’s representative in Criminal and Civil suits affecting the interests of the United States, has the ability to enter into settlements with other parties. This isn’t the issue in question. What is in question is how the DOJ is using this power in order to execute settlement agreements requiring banks to disburse money to third party groups, rather than collecting fines that are appropriately subject to the Congressional appropriations process. The reason the DOJ is going this route, rather than imposing fines that would collect more money from the banks, is because under these settlement agreements the DOJ is allowed to act without any congressional oversight completely outside the purview of Congress itself.

For an example of how this works, in August 2014, Bank of America settled with the DOJ for $16.5 billion based on a settlement agreement that was premised on the DOJ’s inquiry into “the packaging, origination, marketing, sale, structuring, arrangement, and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debit obligations.” The settlement agreement required Bank of America to pay more than $8.2 billion in civil monetary penalties to federal entities and individual states. Furthermore, the agreement also stipulates that Bank of America must pay more than $7 billion in “direct consumer relief.”

In order to fulfill it’s $7 billion consumer relief obligation, Bank of America is required to provide, “a minimum of $2.15 billion in first lien principal forgiveness, $50 million in donations to community development financial institutions, $30 million in state-based Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account organizations, and $20 million in donations to HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.” In addition, Bank of America is also required to take a $100 million loss in support of affordable rental housing. Which means, the DOJ has required Bank of America to make a $100 million donation to selected third party organizations, $20 million of which is also required to go to HUD approved “housing counseling agencies.” This example with Bank of America alone follows virtually the same exact requirement stipulated in the settlement agreement that the DOJ reached with Citigroup Inc., a pattern which the DOJ has followed against major financial institutions.

Following this pattern the DOJ has required these banks to distribute portions of their settlement payments to certain third-party groups which the DOJ directly influenced which groups would receive disbursements. Specifically, the DOJ narrowed the list of entities eligible to receive funds by selecting “HUD-approved housing counseling agencies” as the only entities to which the banks could make disbursements for credit. As the Wall Street Journal outlined in a piece highlighting the DOJ’s liberal slush fund, “the department is in the process of funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups.”

Among the radical leftist groups pre-approved by the settlement agreements to directly receive funds from the banks is none other than The National Council of La Raza, which bills itself as “the nation’s largest Hispanic activist organization.” Yet, a brief history lesson on the reality of La Raza, which literally translates to “the race,” shows us that the group has been connected to the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan (MEChA), an extremist Mexican race hate group which firmly believes in exploiting illegal immigration to bring about ‘La Reconquista’, a violent overthrow of the southern U.S. states that would be absorbed into Greater Mexico. It should come as no surprise that La Raza is favored under these settlement agreements given that the racist organization supports the Democratic cause of open borders while Cecilia Munoz, a La Raza senior vice president, also serves on the White House Domestic Policy Council.

According to a February 2016 independent monitor report, there are 147 “HUD-approved counseling agencies” that make up these third party groups like La Raza that are currently receiving hundreds of millions of dollars directly from the banks under the DOJ settlement agreements. You can read the monitor report in full by clicking here.

Moving on, the shake down continues as the DOJ, like every criminal enterprise, wants its cut of the funds agreed to under these settlements and under federal law they get it as the DOJ collects a three percent fee on each settlement agreement. Using the authorization granted to them by Congress in 1993 under the creation of the Three Percent Fund, the DOJ has been able to collect more than $1.5 billion through their Three Percent Fund from 2009-2015. According to the DOJ, “[t]he settlement funds subject to the Three Percent Fund are the federal payments in each settlement.” The DOJ may therefore collect three percent of every federal civil monetary penalty or settlement payment to a federal agency to settle claims before the funds make their way into the Treasury’s General Fund. Thus, these funds are never actually in the Treasury, and so they are not literally ―drawn from the Treasury, allowing the DOJ to circumvent congressional authority under the Appropriations Clause.

Further elaborating on this issue, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, explained on Thursday in a hearing before the the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services, “If the banks had paid this money to the United States—which is, after all, the plaintiff in these cases—then the money would have gone into the Treasury. And if, subsequently, the President or the Attorney General favored using this money to subsidize various ‘community development organizations,’ they would have had to request an appropriation from Congress.” But, “by providing for direct payment from the banks to [third party] organizations these settlement provisions evade the Appropriations Clause and cut Congress out of the loop.”

The DOJ has used this windfall in an unprecedented manner to operate outside of Congressional review. For instance, according to statistics compiled from a 2016 GAO report, the Three Percent Fund in 2009 had collected over $83 million, while in 2014 that number had increased six-fold to over $525 million. Moreover, the DOJ’s current intake of $575 million from only three settlements exceeds expectations from the funds 1993 inception by a factor of fifty. The GAO report concludes that the DOJ is depositing larger sums of money each year into its discretionary fund, distributing larger amounts each year to DOJ components, and continues to carry over a large balance not dedicated to any particular needs.

In short, the DOJ, leveraging the settlement process under threat of prosecution, has bypassed Congress and the Courts to secure settlement agreements to provide consumer relief funds to third-party radical leftist groups. Moreover, the DOJ has used a portion of the funds agreed to under the settlements to finance the administrations housing policy goals as the DOJ inserted its own spending priorities to pick certain groups, such as La Raza, to receive funds without any requirement that the funds be disbursed to aggrieved homeowners. Officials within the DOJ have also effectively skimmed off three percent from mortgage-related bank settlements and thus have been able to create a $500 million dollar slush fund allowing them to spend the money in whichever way they best see fit.

Like a criminal syndicate, the Obama administration shakes down banks, funds radical leftist organizations and makes themselves wealthy all the while using the power of the federal government under the guise of the DOJ acting with false pretenses to the law with purely political motivations.

SOURCE: POLITICALLY SHORT

Why Do So Many Preachers In America Refuse To Talk About Hell?

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Hell Bridge - Public DomainWhen was the last time you heard a sermon about hell?  Just think about that for a moment.

Once upon a time in America, preachers all across the land regularly unleashed fiery sermons that directly confronted people with the reality of heaven and hell.  But today, that has completely changed.

In fact, there are some very well-known ministers in this country that purposely avoid ever using the word “hell” because it might offend someone.  It turns out that “happy church” can be a very lucrative business model, and many people seem to love the “me first” prosperity gospel that has infected virtually all of the major denominations at this point.  So there are countless messages about “blessing”, “breakthrough” and how God can make your life better, and very, very little preaching about sin, judgment, the cross and the urgency that we should feel to reach lost souls with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote about a time when lukewarm believers would surround themselves with preachers that would tell them exactly what their itching ears want to hear.  This is what 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says in the Modern English Version

For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.

Is this not precisely what is happening in the western world today?

We have put the gospel on the back burner, and we have exalted preachers that endlessly fill our ears with messages that make us feel better.

Meanwhile, Americans are starting to turn away from the church altogether in alarming numbers.

To celebrate it’s 200th anniversary, the American Bible Society recently released a new report entitled “The Bible in America”.  What this report had to say about the state of Christianity in the United States was not good news

The research found the reasons included a decline in the number of Americans who believe the Bible is sacred literature from 86% in 2011 to 80% in 2016. Plus there’s a drop in the number of people who say the Bible is sufficient as a guide for meaningful living from 77% in 2011 to 67% in 2016.

In 2015, CBN’s Paul Strand reported how faith is losing its foothold in America.

Millennials in particular are driving these declines as the age group with the most respondents saying there were no books they considered sacred. Sixty-two percent said they have never read the Bible.

Our youngest adults, the Millennials, are far more likely to reject the Christian faith than any generation that has preceded them.  Just consider the following information that comes directly out of a Pew Research Center report

Millennials – especially the youngest Millennials, who have entered adulthood since the first Landscape Study was conducted – are far less religious than their elders. For example, only 27% of Millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis, compared with 51% of adults in the Silent generation. Four-in-ten of the youngest Millennials say they pray every day, compared with six-in-ten Baby Boomers and two-thirds of members of the Silent generation. Only about half of Millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty, compared with seven-in-ten Americans in the Silent and Baby Boom cohorts. And only about four-in-ten Millennials say religion is very important in their lives, compared with more than half in the older generational cohorts.

We are steadily becoming less religious as a nation.

But even though that is the case, another Pew survey did find that 72 percent of Americans still believe in heaven and 58 percent of Americans still believe in hell.

So even though our society is moving away from God at a frightening pace, most people still acknowledge the reality of heaven and hell.

Most people still understand that God is going to hold them accountable for their actions, and that they are going to go somewhere when they die.

So why are so many preachers afraid to talk about these things in our day?

Where are the men like Charles Finney, D.L. Moody and Charles Spurgeon that won multitudes of souls for their Savior and literally changed the course of history with their fiery preaching?

Sadly, most churches in the United States have already gone apostate.  You may not want to hear this, but it is true.

The good news, however, is that God is still moving.  In a previous article, I discussed how a 40-year-old prophecy from David Wilkerson is literally coming true right in front of our eyes.  He saw the rise of a “supernatural invisible church” that would include believers of all types and that would shake the world in the last days…

I see the rise of a super church, a supernatural invisible church, a union of deeply spiritual followers of Jesus Christ, bound together through the Holy Spirit and mutual confidence in Christ and in his word.

This supernatural church of true believers will become a kind of underground church. It will include Catholics and Protestants of all denominations, young and old, black and white, and people of all nations. While this visible super church gains political power this invisible body of believers will grow tremendously in spiritual power.

This power will come from persecution. The persecution madness that is coming upon this earth will drive these Christians closer together and closer to Jesus Christ. They will be less concerned about denominational ties and more concerned and emphasis on the coming of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will bring together as one people in all walks of life.

My wife and I talked about this “Remnant” that is arising during one of our recent television shows and I also discuss it in my new book entitled “The Rapture Verdict“.  God is raising up an army, and there is no church, denomination or individual that is in charge of it.  Instead, it is an organic move of God that is happening largely outside of the institutional church.  In fact, if the institutional church does not wake up, it is in danger of being completely left behind by what is happening.

And I am completely convinced that we are going to see the greatest harvest of souls in the history of the church in these last days.  God is raising up men and women of God that are going to preach passionately about the reality of sin, judgment, hell and the cross.  They aren’t going to be afraid to offend people, because they are going to be consumed with a passion to help people find eternal life through Jesus Christ.

I want you to imagine something for a moment.

Imagine a line that stretches from one side of your computer screen to the other.

That is your life.  Whether it is 20 years long or 120 years long, it had a beginning and it is going to have an end.

Now imagine that line continuing past the end of your computer screen and traveling out of your house and across the street.  From there, imagine it traveling at a very high rate of speed from city to city, country to country, until it encircles our planet literally millions upon millions of times without ever stopping.

That is eternity.

If the Bible is correct, you have a choice to make.

You can choose Jesus and spend forever with Him, or you can choose to reject Him and be forever separated from your Creator.

Heaven and hell are both very real, and the Son of the Living God came to this planet and died an incredibly brutal death on a Roman cross so that eternal life could be offered to you as a free gift.

If you want to have a relationship with Him, it is very easy.  Just repent of your sins and invite Jesus Christ to come into your life.  He will forgive every evil thing that you have ever done, and He will give you a life that is never going to have an ending.

I pray that you will make that decision today.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Source: End of the American Dream

Explanatory Memorandum: Muslim Brotherhood’s Blueprint to Take Over the United States from Within

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Explanatory Memorandum

This has been out for awhile, but we must continue to publish it so Americans don’t become dull.

An Explanatory Memorandum: From the Archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in America

Center for Security Policy
We at the Center for Security Policy feel it is important for Americans to better understand– and, then, be able to successfully contend with– those that attempt to destroy or subvert our way of life. As making our nation’s enemies’ threat doctrines available is a key part of our educational efforts, we are pleased to present the blueprint for the Muslim Brotherhood in America, known as An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America or, in America’s largest terrorist prosecution in US federal court, Government Exhibit 003-0085 3:04-CR-240-G in U.S. v Holy Land Foundation, et al.

[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PDF]

In August of 2004, an alert Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer observed a woman wearing traditional Islamic garb videotaping the support structures of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and conducted a traffic stop.

The driver was Ismail Elbarasse and detained on an outstanding material witness warrant issued in Chicago in connection with fundraising for Hamas.The FBI’s Washington Field Office subsequently executed a search warrant on Elbarasse’s residence in Annandale, Virginia.

In the basement of his home, a hidden sub-basement was found; it revealed over 80 banker boxes of the archives of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America.

One of the most important of these documents made public to date was entered into evidence during the Holy Land Foundation trial. It amounted to the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic plan for the United States and was entitled,

“An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.”

The Explanatory Memorandum was written in 1991 by a member of the Board of Directors for the Muslim Brotherhood in North America and senior Hamas leader named Mohammed Akram. It had been approved by the Brotherhood’s Shura Council and Organizational Conference and was meant for internal review by the Brothers’ leadership in Egypt. It was certainly not intended for public consumption, particularly in the targeted society: the United States. For these reasons, the memo constitutes a Rosetta stone for the Muslim Brotherhood, its goals, modus operandi and infrastructure in America. It is arguably the single most important vehicle for understanding a secretive organization and should, therefore, be considered required reading for policy-makers and the public, alike.

Another extraordinarily important element of the Memorandum is its attachment. Under the heading “ A List of Our Organizations and Organizations of Our Friends,” Akram helpfully identified 29 groups as Muslim Brotherhood fronts. Many of them are even now, some twenty-two years later, still among the most prominent Muslim- American organizations in the United States.

Worryingly, the senior representatives of these groups are routinely identified by U.S. officials as “leaders” of the Muslim community in this country, to be treated as “partners” in “countering violent extremism” and other outreach initiatives. Obviously, this list suggests such treatment translates into vehicles for deep penetration of the American government and civil society.

We urge the readers of this pamphlet to share it with others— family members, friends, business associates and most especially those in a position to help adopt policies that will secure our country against the threat posed by shariah and its most effective and aggressive promoters, the Muslim Brotherhood.

More about the Explanatory Memorandum (from Shariah: The Threat to America):

The following Muslim Brotherhood document was entered into evidence in the U.S. v Holy Land Foundation trial, and is a primary source threat document that provides new insights into global jihad organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. These documents (covered extensively in chapter four) define the structure and outline of domestic jihad threat entities, associated non-governmental organizations and potential terrorist or insurgent support systems. The Memorandum also describes aspects of the global jihad’s strategic information warfare campaign and indications of its structure, reach and activities. It met evidentiary standards to be admissible as evidence in a Federal Court of law .

In the original document, the first 16 pages are in the original Arabic and the second are English translations of the same. It is dated May 22, 1991 and titled “ An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” (Memorandum). The document includes an Attachment 1 that contains “a list of our organizations and the organizations of our friends.”

The Memorandum expressly recognizes the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) as the controlling element of these organizations and expressly identifies the Muslim Brotherhood as the leadership element in implementing the strategic goals. The Memorandum is reproduced here in its official Federal Court translation, as Government Exhibit 003-0085 3:04-CR-240-G in U.S. v Holy Land Foundation, et al. with punctuation, line spacing and spelling intact.

From the Explanatory Memorandum— the Muslim Brotherhood in America in its own words:

“The process of settlement is a ‘Civilization-Jihadist Process’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

Buy it at Amazon.com

Russia and Turkey Escalate: Russia’s Threat to NATO Goes Beyond Eastern Europe

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PKKCobraShootdown

ISW: By Genevieve Casagrande, Christopher Kozak, and Franklin Holcomb with Kimberly Kagan, Nataliya Bugayova, and Jennifer Cafarella

Key Takeaway: Russia is waging a multi-front campaign against Turkey in order to weaken NATO in line with its strategic objectives.

The use of a high-end Soviet-era MANPADS  against a Turkish helicopter in southeastern Turkey on May 13, 2016 could indicate that Russia is providing meaningful military support to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) insurgency. The incident, if indeed a Russian escalation, is yet another Russian infringement of a sovereign NATO partner. Russia targeted the same pressure point by overflying Turkey with combat aircraft in November 2015, leading Turkish President Recep Erdogan to authorize the shoot down of a Russian plane. The U.S. rushed to de-escalate rather than backing Turkey in November, a signal that Erdogan does not have unequivocal NATO support. The provision of military support to the PKK thus offers Russia a surgical option to escalate against Turkey without provoking a response from the U.S. and NATO, especially because U.S. strategy against ISIS relies upon the Syrian Kurdish YPG, which has strong links to the PKK. It is a dangerous possibility that Russia will cultivate its relationship with the PKK in ways that undermine the U.S. and Turkey, even if the recent MANPADS event does not represent this inflection.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) crossed a phase line in its insurgency against Turkey on May 13 by using Russian SA-18 Igla MANPADS to shoot down a Turkish AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter in southeastern Turkey. The Turkish General Chief of Staff confirmed the crash and the death of both pilots on May 13 but initially attributed the incident to a “technical failure.” The PKK claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted to its website and uploaded a high-quality video to YouTube clearly showing the shoot down on May 14. The appearance of such a sophisticated weapons system in the hands of a U.S. designated terrorist group within a NATO partner is alarming. The attack is the first evidence of the use of a MANPADS by the PKK in Turkey, reflecting a dangerous escalation in the group’s military capabilities and intent to wage a sustained insurgency. The last documented use of MANPADS by the PKK reportedly occurred in northern Iraq in 1997, although several unverified allegations of their use have surfaced in the intervening years.

Turkey escalated its counter-insurgency campaign against the PKK in the months prior to the use of the MANPADS. The Turkish Armed Forces began conducting major clearing operations in the majority-Kurdish regions of southeastern Turkey in August-September 2015 after the PKK resumed its local insurgency and seized several urban centers. These operations have expanded over time. Most recently, Turkey deployed 20,000 soldiers and police officers to Mardin and Hakkari Provinces in March 2016 as part of a new wave of operations to expel the PKK from several district capitals. Turkish Gendarmerie and Special Operations Forces also continue to conduct operations against the PKK throughout the surrounding countryside. This mounting pressure has provoked intensifying retaliation from the PKK. The PKK conducted at least four successful VBIED attacks targeting Turkish security forces in Istanbul, Diyarbakir, and Mardin Provinces in the past two weeks, an escalation of its operational tempo from previous months.

It is possible the MANPADS used on May 13 originated in Syria or Iraq. Syrian Arab Army and the Iraqi Army maintained Igla-class MANPADS in their inventories, and the systems have been photographed in the possession of both ISIS and opposition groups fighting in the Syrian Civil War. The Syrian Kurdish People’s Defense Forces (YPG) could have acquired this weaponry as spoils of war and transferred the weapon to the PKK given the close operational and ideological links between the two groups. The MANPADS available in Iraq and Syria are often relatively old or nonfunctional, however, and it has been rare to see a system used by the combatants on the ground, let alone successfully.

It is more likely that the PKK acquired the weapon from an external actor. The careful manner in which the PKK used and claimed credit for the MANPADS indicate that it was an intentional escalation of the PKK’s insurgency rather than an unplanned use of an available system. The PKK’s video was shot at a perfect angle, in the manner of a training video, and posted in a way that suggests that the MANPADS usage was intentionally recorded for dissemination. The shooter also demonstrated precise training – he waits for the helicopter to finish suppressing fire, turns on the battery, gets missile lock on the aircraft, and launches the weapon within the required 90 seconds as his companion counts time. The PKK previously upgraded its video equipment and capabilities in March 2016, as indicated by the videos on its YouTube site. The overall increase in capabilities the PKK has demonstrated since March 2016 indicate that the group is intentionally escalating its insurgency with the purpose of reaching a wider audience. The entrance of an external benefactor is one possible explanation for this phase change.

Russia is a likely candidate to have provided such a game changing capability to the PKK. Russia seeks to undermine NATO through a global campaign against the alliance and a multi-pronged effort against Turkey. It already supports the Syrian Kurdish YPG, which Erdogan views as an extension of the PKK and an existential threat to the long-term unity of the Turkish state. Russia’s support to the YPG is not critical for the success of pro-regime military operations in Syria. Russia is therefore likely supporting the YPG primarily to provoke Turkey on a strategic level. It is possible that Russia expanded its support to the YPG to include covert military support to the PKK. Russia may have chosen to do so in response to perceived escalations by Turkey in Syria over the past several weeks, or to deter Turkey from undertaking future escalation. Support to Kurdish elements is also a direct way to weaken NATO’s southern flank, independent of the conflict in Syria. The following sections explore the Russo-Turkish competition and Russia’s global campaign against NATO in more detail.

Limited Russian media coverage of the MANPADS incident has emphasized Erdogan’s responsibility for provoking the situation. Anna Glazova, Deputy Director of the sate-sponsored Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, highlighted Erdogan’s role in oppressing the Kurds after the MANPADS use. Glazova even called for an evaluation of Turkey’s “treatment of its citizens at the international level” in reference to the UN.[1] This framing is consistent with Russia’s attempt to isolate Erdogan diplomatically and cast Turkey as the aggressor. Russian media such as Sputnik News previously distributed stories claiming that Saudi Arabia and Turkey have already delivered surface to air missiles to rebels in Syria, justifying Russian retaliation.

The Russo-Turkish Competition in Syria

Russia has waged a concerted campaign against Turkey from Syria as part of its wider strategic objective to weaken NATO. The Russian Armed Forces repeatedly violated Turkish airspace violations among other provocations since the start of its air campaign on September 30, 2015. The conflict dramatically escalated on November 24, 2015 after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet that had violated its airspace along the Syrian-Turkish Border. Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to this act of defiance with a multifaceted campaign of punitive measures. Russia imposed sanctions and travel bans that sharply limited its economic ties with Turkey. The Russian Armed Forces deployed an advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system to its base at the Bassel al-Assad International Airport in Syria, contesting the airspace over large parts of southern Turkey. In Syria, Russia shifted its air operations to target opposition ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in northern Syria that provided free access to arms, supplies, and reinforcements from Turkey. These strikes also targeted frontline positions held by Turkish-backed opposition groups, facilitating the loss of terrain at the hands of both the YPG and ISIS. Russia also dispatched military personnel to scout the Qamishli International Airport and Kuweires Airbase in northern Syria in a clear threat of future military deployments along the Syrian-Turkish Border.

Russia expanded its political and military outreach to the Syrian Kurds in late 2015, weeks after the downing of the Russian jet. The Russian Armed Forces began providing support to YPG-led operations against opposition groups in northern Aleppo Province in early December 2015. Russia reportedly also began deploying small numbers of ground forces to support the Kurds in Aleppo Province by February 2016, possibly to serve as forward air controllers for the YPG. These outreach efforts bore fruit in mid-February 2016 when Russia facilitated significant YPG advances against Turkish-backed opposition groups in northern Aleppo Province. The Russian operation was designed to buffer a simultaneous advance by pro-regime forces attempting to encircle and besiege Aleppo City. Meanwhile, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) – the political body that directs the YPG – also established its first foreign office in Moscow on February 10 with at least tacit support from the Kremlin.

Russia continued to provoke Turkey despite a nationwide ‘cessation of hostilities’ in Syria that began in February 2016 and resulted in a notable decrease in combat operations on the ground. Russia used the start of UN-backed negotiations to end the Syrian Civil War as a platform to apply political pressure on Turkey on the international stage. Russia repeatedly pressed for the inclusion of the Syrian Kurds in the Geneva Talks while calling for the exclusion of Salafi-Jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham and other opposition groups backed by Turkey from the political process. Russia also attempted to target Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam – another major Salafi-Jihadist group backed by Saudi Arabia – by submitting an unsuccessful proposal to designate both organizations as ‘terrorist organizations’ before the UN Security Council, thereby criminalizing external support to the groups. Britain, France, and the U.S. blocked the proposal. Russia simultaneously provided continued military support – albeit at a lesser threshold – to pro-regime forces as they carried out numerous attempts to complete the encirclement of the opposition in Aleppo City, which remain Turkey’s primary source of leverage in the Syrian Civil War. These operations include a recent attack against the vulnerable opposition-held Handarat District of Aleppo City on May 12.

Turkey appears be providing increased support to its allies in Aleppo to counter Russian- and Iranian-backed regime operations. Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham launched a counter-offensive that recaptured the town of Khan Touman southwest of Aleppo City on February 5. The attack inflicted major casualties on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and marked a notable setback for the Syrian-Russian-Iranian coalition fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Russia may have interpreted this loss as a new escalation by Turkey. Turkey likely provided military and financial support to Ahrar al-Sham and other opposition groups that seized Khan Touman, coordinating through the reconstituted Jaysh al-Fatah Operations Room. Turkey also conducted a cross-border raid using Special Operations Forces into Northern Aleppo Province on October 7 as part of efforts to clear ISIS from the Syrian-Turkish Border. These incidents may have created an incentive for Russia to pursue other options in order to retaliate against Turkey.

External supporters of the Syrian armed opposition have threatened to deliver MANPADS into Syria as a “Plan B” if the Geneva negotiations to end the Syrian Civil War fail. Saudi Arabia has been the most vocal proponent of MANPAD deliveries, but Turkey is likely also considering the option. Turkey and Saudi Arabia already coordinate to deliver aid to Syrian armed opposition groups, and have discussed how to escalate their involvement in the past. Images from the battlefield reveal that a variety of opposition groups remain in possession of these anti-aircraft systems, although it is unclear how many remain functional. Opposition forces were able to down a regime fighter jet over the town of Kafr Naboudah in northern Hama province in March 12 with alleged MANPADS. Some of the MANPADS displayed by opposition forces are models not carried by the Syrian military, suggesting that the opposition obtained the weapon from external benefactors. A prominent opposition group that operates north of Damascus also uploaded a video of MANPADS training on April 19, stating that it expected to receive shipments soon. It is possible that Saudi Arabia and/or Turkey provided initial shipments of MANPADS in order to gauge Russia’s response.

The timing of the use of a MANPADS in Turkey is therefore significant in the Syrian context. It occurred three days before a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna to discuss the political process. The ISSG meeting was a success for Russia. The ISSG members states did not agree to resume the talks, but neither did they abandon the process. The ISSG instead reaffirmed the August 1, 2016 target date to “reach agreement on a framework for a genuine political transition”. This outcome – a protraction of diplomatic stalemate – is ideal for Russia because it sustains the diplomatic track despite growing American unease with the situation on the ground. The ISSG member states also committed to conducting air bridges and air drops of humanitarian aid if the UN is not granted access to any designated besieged area by June 1. This agreement is a concession from Russia, but it does not challenge Russia’s freedom of action or its priorities in Syria. Instead, it commits ISSG member states to a course of action that remains on a humanitarian plane.

It is possible that Russia provided  small  numbers  of  MANPADS  to  the  PKK and  trained personnel to fire and record them in order  to  send  a  warning  to  Turkish  President  Recep  Erdogan  and  deter  Turkey  from  further action  in  Syria.  Russia may have intended to divert the  attention  of  Turkey  away  from northern Syria  by  providing  the  PKK  with  sufficient  capabilities  to  escalate  their  local  insurgency  and force  the  Turkish  Armed  Forces  to  deploy  additional  assets  towards  the  threat. Forcing Turkey to confront the risk of an escalated PKK insurgency could encourage Turkey to withdraw its support from possible Saudi plans to escalate in Syria, as intimated on May 17 after the ISSG meeting.

Russian Escalation with Turkey and NATO beyond Syria

Armenia-Azerbaijan

The Kremlin is finely tuning where, when, and how it escalates against Turkey. The deliberateness of Russian escalation in southern Turkey contrasts with a more nuanced policy in other regions. Russia has intensified its military support to the neighboring state of Armenia amidst rising tensions with Azerbaijan – a close Turkish ally – in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. Russia signed an agreement with Armenia to establish a regional joint air defense system on December 23, 2015.[2] Azerbaijan and Armenia later resumed large-scale military operations along the border of Nagorno-Karabakh on April 1, breaking an uneasy ceasefire that has largely held since 1994. On February 18, the Russian government announced that it had supplied Armenia with a $200 million loan with payment deferred until 2018.[3] Russia is a major arms supplier to both sides in the conflict, but its support heavily favors the Armenians. Russian military forces stationed in Armenia regularly conduct training exercises, including exercises with the Armenian military. Russia most recently began joint flight exercises with the Armenian military on May 12 that included more than 200 personnel and over 20 aircraft and helicopters.[4] The exercises caused concern in neighboring Turkey.

Russia has meanwhile portrayed Turkey as an aggressor amidst the hostilities, stating that Turkish support for Azerbaijan constituted “not appeals for peace but for war.” The combination of rhetoric incriminating Turkey and simultaneous Russian military investment is standard Russian methodology for exploiting sub-state conflict.

Russia purposefully took steps to de-escalate the conflict. . The co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, met with the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Vienna on May 16 in order to discuss the escalation in the Nagorno-Karabakh beginning on April 1. The leaders agreed to increase the strength of the OSCE monitoring mission along the frontline of Nagorno-Karabakh and pursue further peace talks in June. Meanwhile, the Armenian government approved a bill for discussion in parliament that would officially recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence from Azerbaijan on May 5. The Armenian government rejected[5] further consideration of the bill on May 16, but they maintain the ability to reconsider the vote at any time. The Kremlin did not publically support the bill, signaling its intent to support de-escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia’s decision to deescalate likely represents a calculation that the costs of increased hostilities in the region are too high at this time.

The current de-escalation may actually favor Russia by enabling the Kremlin to choose the timing of future escalation. Russia is using its involvement in the talks to present itself as a global peacekeeper and an effective partner for the West, despite being a primary enabler of the conflict, a pattern that it has exploited in Ukraine as both a belligerent and a guarantor of the ceasefire. Russia is meanwhile increasing its capability to act against Turkish interests through the Nogorno-Karabkh by training with the Armenian military.

Crimea and Ukraine

Turkey is responding to Russian aggression by cultivating other partners who are hostile to Moscow, and particularly, Ukraine. Part of this is defensive. Turkey is attempting to respond to increasing Russian military capabilities on the Black Sea that threaten its northern flank. Turkish President Erdogan called for increase NATO presence in the Black Sea, warning that NATO’s “absence” had almost turned the Black sea into a “Russian lake” and claimed that “if we don’t act now, history will not forgive us.” This rhetoric comes as NATO considers forming a Black Sea Fleet, comprised of Turkish, Romanian, and Bulgarian vessels and potentially supplemented by Ukrainian and Georgian ships in order to counter Russian military presence in the Black Sea.

Turkey and Ukraine conducted joint naval drills on April 6 in the Black Sea. The two countries signed a military cooperation agreement on May 16 designed to expand military education and troop training efforts and mutual defense planning.  On May 13Turkish DefenseMinister Ismet Yilmaz, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak, and new Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman met in Kyiv on May 13 to discuss plans to enhance security in the Black Sea region and improve military cooperation.  The Azeri Minister of Defense also announced at a meeting with his Turkish and Georgian counterparts on May 16 that a military cooperation agreement between the three countries was being discussed that would take military cooperation “to a new level.” Turkey, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Georgia may be laying the groundwork to establish a regional military alliance to fill the existing regional power vacuum and prevent Russian expansion if NATO decides against creating a Black Sea Fleet at its July 8 – 9 summit in Warsaw. Action to counter Russia in the Black Sea outside the NATO construct risks escalation with Russia that the U.S. cannot control.

Turkey is also cultivating Ukrainian support in other ways that are less directly tied to defending the Black Sea.  The Turkish government gave Ukraine five mobile military hospitals during President Poroshenko’s visit to the Ukrainian Flagship Hetman Sahaidachniy on March 10 as it concluded exercises with the Turkish Navy. Ukraine and Turkey are also in talks to expand economic ties.

Ukraine has an ethnically Turkish minority population, the Crimean Tatars, that is both a cause and a pretext for support. The Crimean Tatars, a Turkic people, are a largely pro-Ukrainian population with an inherent cultural distrust of Moscow after centuries of war and the 1944 mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars by the Soviet Union. Russia stepped up its repression of the Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea in early February in an effort to consolidate control of the peninsula. Russian authorities in Crimea banned the Mejlis, the representative bodies of the Crimean Tatars, on April 26 after previously labeling them as “extremist” organizations. Turkey immediately condemned the decision and pledged to support the “just struggle” of the Turkic Crimean Tatars against Russian oppression. Turkey has historically prioritized supporting Turkic people outside the Turkish state. Russia continued to target the Crimean Tatars, including a large-scale detention of roughly 100 Tatars on May 06. The European Union adopted a resolution in support of the Crimean Tatars on 12 May as Russian security forces conducted a series of raids and arrested at least five Tatars including the Vice Chairman of the National Mejilis. Erdogan later stated that Turkey refused to recognize the annexation of Crimea and “our main priority in the conditions of the Ukrainian crisis is to secure the peace, safety, and well-being of our brothers the Crimean Tatars” on May 15.[6] Turkey’s rhetorical support to Crimean Tatars is incentive for Russia to punish Turkey on other fronts.

Turkey and the Baltics

The PKK use of a MANPADS against a Turkish helicopter in its own airspace came simultaneously with a wider set of aggressive Russian signals sent to NATO. Russian forces in the Baltic region also continue their aggressive maneuvers against NATO member states. Russia forced British fighters based in Estonia to scramble to intercept three unresponsive Russian aircraft approaching Baltic airspace on May 13. Russian intelligence collection ship also patrolled Latvia’s exclusive economic zone the same day. These particular signals were also timed as the United States activated in Romania on May 12 the first land-based facility in its European missile defense system designed to protect Europe from missile strikes from the Middle East and began construction of a second facility in Poland on May 13. Russia has consistently opposed the missile shield and claimed that it is targeted toward Russia and not the Middle East. In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia would take measures to neutralize “emerging threats” to Russia.

Russia is setting conditions for further offensive action against NATO by establishing a legal framework to take action anywhere Russian populations are under threat from “extremists.” The Russian lower house of parliament, the Duma, passed a series of anti-terrorism laws on May 13 that would expand Russia’s ability to control its population and lay the groundwork for increased Russian global activity in the name of the war on terror. The laws would allow the Russian government to stop its civilians from travelling internationally if they are suspected of “extremism,” lowers the age of responsibility for acts of terror from 16 to 14, punish Russian citizens who do not inform the government if they were aware of planned “extremist” activity, and expand Russia’s legal definition of terrorism to encompass any act that affects Russians abroad. By expanding its definition of terrorism in this way, Russia will be able to claim legal grounds for pursuing terrorists that target Russians anywhere in the world.[7]  In addition, Russia is building up its military forces.  Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu announced that Russia would form three new divisions along its western border with Europe in response to alleged NATO aggression on May 3.

Conclusion

Russia has demonstrated its ability to undertake precise escalatory and deterrent actions based on a strategy to achieve intended effects on a global scale. American responses do not match Russian aggression in either scale or sophistication. The U.S. and NATO must stop visualizing the individual provocations by Russia in a vacuum, but rather recognize these converging threats as a global strategy to weaken NATO. Russia has identified the seam between Turkey and its fellow NATO members, and is using a series of escalatory steps to weaken the alliance. The synchronization of Russian escalatory actions against NATO allies in various theaters from May 13 – 16 indicates a concerted effort to exploit seams in different theaters in an effort to establish itself as a global hegemon. The willingness of NATO to defend Turkey and its other partners in the region is once again in question.

NATO is erroneously parsing Russian escalations in Northern Europe as different from those in Southern Europe. Russian aircraft have repeatedly performed dangerous and provocative maneuvers against U.S. military forces in the Baltic region as it continues its campaign of military intimidation and hybrid warfare against the Baltic States. The Russian campaign against Turkey is linked to this aggression on the northern European front. Russia’s intervention in Syria is a direct challenge to Turkish interests. Russia is repeating this method by overflying Turkish airspace. It may have introduced MANPADs to the PKK, the Kurdish group waging a war against Turkey. Russia has waged a sophisticated information campaign against Turkey, portraying Turkey as a regional aggressor to deter decisive NATO action while Russia targets Turkish strategic priorities in Syria. This information operation may be contributing to U.S. inaction. Continued NATO inaction in response to Russian aggression against Turkey risks sacrificing the ability to shape future Turkish responses.

In any scenario, the potential provision of MANPADS and other advanced systems to insurgents inside of Turkey should present a red line for the U.S. and NATO. Hopefully, this line has not yet been crossed. The sophisticated Russian information campaign to implicate Turkey as a regional aggressor has nonetheless begun to take hold, raising concerns that NATO would be unwilling to respond to a Turkish invocation of Article Five. Russia is incentivized to press its advantage. The failure to respond to these provocations will only further motivate an already-emboldened Russia to reshape the current world order in its own favor. The U.S. and NATO risk losing the ability to shape Turkey’s response to Russian aggression by failing to act. It is both likely and dangerous that a unilateral Turkish response will fragment NATO and jeopardize American strategic interests over the long term.

[1] [“The case of the shot-down “Cobra”: The Kurds are changing the fate of Turkey and Syria”], Ekonomika Segodnya, May 14, 2016, http://rueconomics(.)ru/173392-delo-o-sbitoi-kobre-kurdy-izmenyat-sudby-turcii-i-sirii ; “Kurdish Militants Claim Responsibility for Downing Turkey Army Helicopter,” Sputnik, May 14, 2016, http://sputniknews(.)com/asia/20160514/1039611578/kurds-downing-turkish-helicopter.html

[2] “Putin Instructs Gov’t to Sign Agreement With Armenia on Joint Air Defense,” Sputnik, November 11, 2015, http://sputniknews(.)com/military/20151111/1029906462/putin-russia-armenia-air-defense.html ; [“Expert: Russia and Armenia’s common system of air defense “covers” the Middle East”], RIA Novosti, November 11, 2015, http://ria(.)ru/radio_brief/20151111/1318816393(.)html ; [“The creation of a united air defense system with Russia will strengthen Armenia’s security-Minister of Defense of the Republic”], Interfax Azerbaijan, November 12, 2015, http://interfax(.)az/view/656195

[3] “Russia grans $200 million loan to Armenia for purchasing weapons,” Russia Beyond the Headlines, February 19, 2016, http://rbth(.)com/defence/2016/02/19/russia-grants-200-million-loan-to-armenia-for-purchasing-weapons_569219

[4] [“On the Russian air base in Armenia began joint flight and tactical exercises of fighters and army aviation”], Russian Ministry of Defense, May 12 , 2016, http://function(.)mil(.)ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12085131@egNews

[5] “Armenian parliament turns down initiative to consider Karabakh recognition”, TASS, May 16, 2016, http://tass.ru/en/world/876004

[6] [“Genocide Continues: Erdogan has accused Russia of new oppressions of the Crimean Tatars”], Obozrevatel’, May 15, 2016, http://obozrevatel(.)com/abroad/51372-genotsid-prodolzhaetsya-erdogan-obvinil-rossiyu-v-novyih-ugneteniyah-kryimskih-tatar.htm

[7] “Russia’s State Duma passes anti-terrorism package”, TASS, May 13, 2016, http://tass(.)ru/en/politics/875568

SOURCE: ISW

Elon Musk’s Name Is Mud in the Foreign Worker Field

Posted on:
telsa motors

By Maurizio Pesce from Milan, Italia – Elon Musk, Tesla Factory, Fremont (CA, USA), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38354348

 

David North | Center for Immigration Studies

Silicon Valley’s highly regarded innovator Elon Musk — he of Tesla fame — turns out to be just another exploitative user of what I regard as illegal alien workers, according to a detailed expose by the San Jose Mercury News.

In this case, the workers are from Eastern Europe and they have been allowed by our lackadaisical State Department to use B-1 (business) visas to enter the United States to do manual labor building Tesla’s factory to make electric cars. Such visas may be used for commercial activities such as signing agreements and training people in the use of foreign-produced machinery, but not for day-to-day construction work.

This is not an isolated incident; we have previously reported on the similar misuse of B-1 workers by Infosys and Boeing.

Tesla uses the familiar the-dog-ate-my-homework excuse — it was a contractor, not Tesla itself, that hired the workers. That’s exactly the rhetoric used for generations by agri-business; the man in the big mansion on the hill overlooking the fields explains that he did not exploit those ill-paid migrant workers, it was that nasty crew leader.

If Tesla is smart enough to build electric cars, is it not smart enough to know what’s going on within its own factory? Apparently not.

Reporter Louis Hansen spins a long tale about Gregor Lesnik, a Slovenian electrician who was recruited by Tesla’s agents overseas, ISM Vuzem, a small Slovenian company. Vuzem essentially played the crew leader in this story, recruiting some 140 workers from the sagging economies of Slovenia and adjacent Croatia, both formerly parts of Yugoslavia, for construction jobs in the United States.

Lesnik and his compatriots worked 10-hour days and 60-hour weeks for about $5 an hour, a fraction of the pay for legal workers in Silicon Valley. There was no overtime pay and barely time for a day off, much less a vacation. They did manual construction work on the expanding factory.

The visa that got Lesnik in the country was issued so that he could come to a BMW factory in South Carolina to be a supervisor of “electrical and mechanical installation”. He never saw South Carolina, never supervised anyone, and would have difficulty doing so with U.S. workers as his English is extremely limited. He had to return to Slovenia every few months to renew his visa, and the U.S. embassy apparently never asked the right questions or never asked any questions at all.

Hansen’s report, though it is not explicit on this point, reveals a labor market where there are apparently no effective controls of obvious abuses, and this in the state of California just south of San Francisco, the nation’s most left-leaning city. Here are some of the things that did not happen, over and above the ridiculous visa issuances and re-issuances:

  • Neither federal nor state wage-hour agencies knew anything about the matter until Hansen told the federal agency about it (Congress has a hand here, preventing the Wage and Hour Administration from having more than 1,000 enforcement officials nationwide, a disgracefully low number);
  • No union noticed and raised hell with the federal authorities;
  • No poverty agency or other liberal activists noticed or lifted a finger; and
  • Of course, the Department of Homeland Security did nothing.

The workers, being paid better than in Europe, did not raise their voices, and so in this cacophony of silence Tesla and its crew leader (Vuzem) prospered.

DHS agents should raid the place tomorrow, send the workers home on the next plane, and work with the Labor Department to see to it that the departed workers get large, retroactive paychecks. And then revisit the place in a few weeks to make sure that another bunch of B-1 workers have not arrived. All of this can be done under current laws and, sadly, none of it is likely to happen.

The story came to light after Lesnik fell from the roof of the factory while hauling heavy pipes; he broke both legs and some ribs and was hospitalized in California, and then shipped home by his employer. The Mercury News strangely does not touch on the question of workers’ compensation, which should have (and may have) paid his medical bills and should have given him the approximation of unemployment insurance benefits while he was too injured to work, and other benefits should he prove to be partially and permanently disabled by his injury.

I have asked the reporter about this aspect of the case.

Hansen reports that neither Tesla nor Vuzem will admit that there was anything wrong with the situation. Let’s hope that some California lawyer gloms onto the case and sues the pants off both corporations.

 

Source: Center for Immigration Studies

The One World Religion Cometh: Pope Francis Warmly Welcomes Top Islamic Cleric To The Vatican

Posted on:

world religionMichael Snyder
When Pope Francis met with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb on Monday, he told him that “our meeting is the message“.  So precisely what kind of “message” was Pope Francis attempting to convey?  Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb is the Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque, and some have described him as “the highest figure in Sunni Islam“.

The Daily Mail said that the meeting between these two men was a “historic bid to reopen dialogue between the two churches”, and as you will see below this is yet another in a long series of attempts by Pope Francis to build bridges between Catholicism and various other faiths.

In the end, what are we to make of all of this?  Could it be possible that Pope Francis is laying the groundwork for the “super world church” and the coming one world religion that David Wilkerson and so many others have warned about?

Pope Francis made sure that when he embraced Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb there would be plenty of reporters there to document the moment.  The following is an excerpt from a Daily Mail article entitled “Pope embraces grand imam at historic Vatican meeting in a bid to bring the Catholic and Muslim churches together“…

Pope Francis today embraced the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the prestigious Sunni Muslim center of learning, in an historic bid to reopen dialogue between the two churches.

At a time of increased Islamic extremist attacks on Christians, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayyib was photographed hugging Francis during a visit to the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican.

This meeting comes in the context of some very curious statements that the Pope have been making about Islam and Christianity lately.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, here is one example…

“Today, I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam,” he told French newspaper La Croix. “It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam, however, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”

The Pope also said he “dreaded” hearing about the “Christian roots of Europe” because, to him, they take on “colonialist overtones” and he called on European nations to “integrate” Muslim migrants into the continent.

“This integration is all the more necessary today since, as a result of a selfish search for well-being, Europe is experiencing the grave problem of a declining birth rate,” he stated. “A demographic emptiness is developing.”

On another occasion, the Pope declared that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters“.  Pope Francis seems to have a strong desire to paint Christianity and Islam as two sides of the same coin, and he has taken steps to reach out to Muslims that no other Pope in history has done.  To illustrate this point, I want to share an extended excerpt from one of my previous articles

—–

Very early in his papacy, he authorized “Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran” at the Vatican for the first time ever. And as I documented in a previous article entitled “In New York, Pope Francis Embraced Chrislam And Laid A Foundation For A One World Religion“, during his visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan he made it very clear that he believes that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The following is how he began his address

I would like to express two sentiments for my Muslim brothers and sisters: Firstly, my greetings as they celebrate the feast of sacrifice. I would have wished my greeting to be warmer. My sentiments of closeness, my sentiments of closeness in the face of tragedy. The tragedy that they suffered in Mecca.

In this moment, I give assurances of my prayers. I unite myself with you all. A prayer to almighty god, all merciful.

In Islam, one of Allah’s primary titles is “the all-merciful one”. If you doubt this, just do a Google search. And this certainly was not the first time that Pope Francis has used such language. For example, check out the following excerpt from remarks that he made during his very first ecumenical meeting as Pope…

I then greet and cordially thank you all, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; first of all the Muslims, who worship the one God, living and merciful, and call upon Him in prayer, and all of you. I really appreciate your presence: in it I see a tangible sign of the will to grow in mutual esteem and cooperation for the common good of humanity.

The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – I wish to repeat this: promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – it also attests the valuable work that the Pontifical Council for interreligious dialogue performs.

—–

Are you starting to see what I am talking about?

There is a very clear pattern developing here.  Pope Francis believes that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and he wants us to know that he considers Islam to be a perfectly acceptable way to seek God.

If you doubt this in any way, I want you to watch this video which was released by the Vatican in January 2016…

[embedded content]

In this video, Pope Francis explains that people all over the world are “seeking God or meeting God in different ways” and that “there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God”.  At about the 20 second mark, leaders from various major religions are shown declaring what they believe.  First, a female Buddhist announces “I have confidence in the Buddha“.  Secondly, a Jewish rabbi declares “I believe in God“.  Thirdly, a Catholic priest tells us that “I believe in Jesus Christ“, and lastly an Islamic leader is shown saying “I believe in God, Allah“.

If you have not see this video, it is one of the creepiest things that I have ever seen on YouTube.  It has become exceedingly clear that Pope Francis believes that all major religions are completely valid paths to the same God, and there is virtually no uproar over this.

This just shows how late in the game we really are.  The one world religion that was prophesied nearly 2000 years ago in the Book of Revelation is starting to come to life, and we are witnessing the events of the last days begin to unfold right in front of our eyes.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Source: End of the American Dream