Trump and Netanyahu ready united assault against Iran nuclear deal

The two are bound by their mutual loathing of Obama’s foreign policy deal, even as it sets them apart from other world leaders at the UN general assembly

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Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu will meet in New York on Monday, at the start of a week in which they intend to launch a concerted assault at the United Nations against the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

The US and Israeli leaders are expected to use their speeches to the UN general assembly on Tuesday to highlight the threat to Middle East stability and security represented by Tehran.

While anxiety about Iran’s expansive role in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon is widely shared, Trump and Netanyahu’s antipathy to the multilateral deal agreed in Vienna two years ago binds them together, even as it sets them apart from the overwhelming majority of other world leaders attending the annual UN summit.

Western allies in Europe – most notably the UK, France and Germany, co-signatories of the 2015 deal – remain committed to the agreement and have signalled they are willing to disagree sharply and openly with Trump on the issue.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN who made herself the principal channel for the president’s critique of the deal, has been a lonely voice against it on the security council.

The stance taken by Netanyahu and Trump has also set them apart from their most senior national security advisers.

On a visit to Buenos Aires on Tuesday, the Israeli prime minister declared: “Our position is straightforward. This is a bad deal. Either fix it – or cancel it.” Netanyahu is supported in that position by his defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and the US ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer. But he is reportedly not backed by the Israeli defence and intelligence establishment, which believes Iran is abiding by the agreement and its strict limits on nuclear activities and stockpiles of fissile material.

“The nuclear agreement is a good example of the kind of solutions to which I aspired,” Carmi Gillon, a former chief of the internal security service Shin Bet, wrote in July. “It has neutralized a major threat to the world, while ensuring that the United States and its allies have the tools, the information and the leverage that they need to confront the Iranian danger and make the region, and the world, a safer place.”

Netanyahu’s view of Israeli security interests are markedly different, said Daniel Levy, head of the US Middle East Project.

“In line with Netanyahu’s perception of what serves Israel, his interest is in maintaining a strong American presence in the region including militarily and in a maximally adversarial US-Iran relationship,” Levy said. “Getting Trump to do his bidding on Iran also helps Netanyahu to present a domestic political image of being a winner.”

Trump has signalled his intention to withdraw certification of the Iran deal in a report the state department is due to submit to Congress by 15 October. Although that would not lead directly to the end of the agreement, it would open the door to new US sanctions which would represent a violation of the deal and trigger its unravelling.

Such a move is known to be opposed by both the secretaries of defense and state, James Mattis and Rex Tillerson. Both are generally hawkish on Iran but argue that the US should not provoke a new crisis – and possibly a nuclear arms race – in the Middle East in the midst of a tense nuclear and missile stand-off with North Korea.

The regional and global threat represented by Pyongyang’s rapidly accelerating nuclear weapons programme will be another theme of Trump’s first address to the UN. His administration has repeatedly threatened that it is ready to resort to military action if UN sanctions do not curb Iran’s missile and nuclear tests.

Global action to combat climate change will be a priority for many of the world leaders Trump will meet this week, including France’s Emmanuel Macron, who will have a bilateral meeting with the US president on Monday afternoon, after Netanyahu’s lunchtime session.

Trump – a climate sceptic – may not put much emphasis on the issue in his UN speech but Tillerson signalled on Sunday that the US may stay in the Paris climate change agreement if the right conditions can be negotiated.

Trump and Netanyahu in Jerusalem ... ‘The desire to obliterate Obama’s mark on history may be something else that Trump and Netanyahu share.’
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 Trump and Netanyahu in Jerusalem … ‘The desire to obliterate Obama’s mark on history may be something else that Trump and Netanyahu share.’ Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

If Trump’s vow to bail out of the Paris agreement is dropped it could redouble his resolve to dump the Iran nuclear deal, another Obama legacy. One of his avenues of attack, already outlined by Haley, will be to argue that the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is not being assertive enough in inspections of suspect military sites in Iran.

Netanyahu is likely to supply ammunition for that approach. Israeli officials told Haaretz the IAEA had been prevented by Tehran from visiting one site and had not asked to inspect others where suspected nuclear weapons research was going on, according to intelligence handed to the agency (presumably by Israel, though the report does not say that specifically).

The push for military base inspections, with its echoes of contentious UN meetings in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, is likely to meet stiff resistance in the security council. Even those capitals which might agree that the IAEA could be more assertive, point to the certain and tangible benefits of the Vienna deal, which has reduced the Iranian stockpile of low-enriched uranium by nearly 99%.

Mattis, Tillerson and European US allies are reported to have suggested ways the US could take a tougher line with Iran in other arenas, like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, while staying in the nuclear deal.

However, Trita Parsi, the head of the National Iranian American Council, which advocates diplomacy and engagement with Tehran, says Trump is swayed by Netanyahu and the Saudi leadership, who oppose the nuclear deal, not primarily for nuclear-related reasons but because of the recognition it gives Iran’s role as a regional power-broker.

Barack Obama had an acrimonious relationship with the Israeli leader during his time in the White House.
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 Barack Obama had an acrimonious relationship with the Israeli leader during his time in the White House. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

“The perspective of those who didn’t like this deal, is that, at the end of the day, this deal is not just about the Iranian nuclear issue,” Parsi, the author of a book on the deal, Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy. “The most important thing is that beyond that, it ended three decades of American policy of containing Iran. It accepted than Iran is a major power in the region.”

Since making Riyadh the destination of his first foreign trip as president, Trump has stuck closely to Saudi side on its disputes with Iran and Qatar, to a degree that has frequently baffled some of his own advisers.

The president’s circle also includes several prominent US lobbyists for a violent Iranian opposition group, Mujahideen e-Khalq (MeK), including Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and Elaine Chao, Trump’s transportation secretary.

Another driving motive appears to be a desire to undo as much of Obama’s presidential legacy as possible, at home and abroad.

“President Trump himself appears motivated to oppose reflexively nearly all of President Obama’s major agreements,” Nicholas Burns, a former undersecretary of state for political affairs. “That is a major mistake in judgement on his part.”

The desire to obliterate Obama’s mark on history may be something else that Trump and Netanyahu share. The Israeli leader had an acrimonious relationship with Obama, who successfully fended off Netanyahu’s bid to derail the Iran deal in the US Congress two years ago.

“What Netanyahu and Trump have in common, among other things, is their inability to accept criticism, their tendency to turn critics into enemies and their fervent wish to wipe the smile off what they see as Obama’s condescending face,” Israeli commentator Chemi Shalev, wrote in Haaretz on Sunday.

“This is the backdrop to the meeting in New York on Monday between Trump and Netanyahu, the two senior members of the Obama Victims Club, who are both seeking payback by trying to erase his signature foreign policy achievement.” (Click to Site)

THE STATE DEPARTMENT’S STRANGE OBSESSION

The decision to follow through with sending Iraqi Jewish archives back to Iraq is part of a disturbing pattern.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

The law of Occam’s Razor, refined to common parlance, is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

If we apply Occam’s Razor to recently reported positions of the US State Department, then we can conclude that the people making decisions at Foggy Bottom have “issues” with Jews and with Israel.

Last Friday, JTA reported that the State Department intends to abide by an agreement it reached in 2014 with the Iraqi government and return the Iraqi Jewish archives to Iraq next year.

The Iraqi Jewish archives were rescued in Baghdad by US forces in 2003 from a flooded basement of the Iraqi secret services headquarters. The tens of thousands of documents include everything from sacred texts from as early as the 16th century to Jewish school records.

The books and documents were looted from the Iraqi Jewish community by successive Iraqi regimes. They were restored by the National Archives in Washington, DC.

The Iraqi Jewish community was one of the oldest exilic Jewish communities.

It began with the Babylonian exile following the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem 2,600 years ago. Until the early 20th century, it was one of the most accomplished Jewish communities in the world. Some of the most important yeshivas in Jewish history were in present-day Iraq. The Babylonian Talmud was written in Iraq. The Jewish community in Iraq predated the current people of Iraq by nearly a thousand years.

It was a huge community. In 1948, Jews were the largest minority in Baghdad.

Jews comprised a third of the population of Basra. The status of the community was imperiled during World War II, when the pro-Nazi junta of generals that seized control of the government in 1940 instigated the Farhud, a weeklong pogrom. 900 Jews were murdered.

Thousands of Jewish homes, schools and businesses were burned to the ground.

With Israel’s establishment, and later with the Baathist seizure of power in Iraq in the 1960s, the once great Jewish community was systematically destroyed.

Between 1948 and 1951, 130,000 Iraqi Jews, three quarters of the community, were forced to flee the country. Those who remained faced massive persecution, imprisonment, torture, execution and expulsion in the succeeding decades.

When US forces overthrew the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, only a dozen or so remained in the country.

Today, there are none left.

As for the current Iraqi government that the State Department wishes to support by implementing its 2014 agreement, it is an Iranian satrapy. Its leadership and military receive operational orders from Iran.

The Iraqi Jewish archive was not created by the Iraqi government. It is comprised of property looted from persecuted and fleeing Jews. In light of this, it ought to be clear to the State Department that the Iraqi government’s claim to ownership is no stronger than the German government’s claim to ownership of looted Jewish property seized by the Nazis would be.

On the other hand, members of the former Jewish community and their descendants have an incontrovertible claim to them. And they have made this claim, repeatedly.

To no avail. As far as the State Department is concerned, they have no claim to sacred books and documents illegally seized from them.

When asked how the US could guarantee that the archive would be properly cared for in Iraq, all State Department spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said was, “When the IJA [Iraqi Jewish archive] is returned, the State Department will urge the Iraqi government to take the proper steps necessary to preserve the archive, and make it available to members of the public to enjoy.”

It is hard not to be taken aback by the callousness of Rodriguez’s statement.

Again, the “members of the public” who wish to “enjoy” the archive are not living in Iraq. They are not living in Iraq because they were forced to run for their lives – after surrendering their communal archives to their persecutors. And still today, as Jews, they will be unable to visit the archives in Iraq without risking their lives because today, at a minimum, the Iraqi regime kowtows to forces that openly seek the annihilation of the Jewish People.

And the State Department knows this.

Then there is the second story that came out this week, whose implications are no less dismal.

Friday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is leading an effort by State Department officials to convince President Donald Trump to force Israel to return $75 million in congressionally authorized supplementary aid.

On the face of it, the demand is part of a turf war that the State Department has long fought with Congress regarding the scope of Congress’s power to engage in foreign policy. In the final year of the Obama administration, Obama forced Israel to agree not to accept supplementary appropriations in defense aid from Congress beyond what was agreed upon in the memorandum of understanding he concluded. Obama’s position was rightly viewed as a means to undermine Israel’s relations with members of Congress.

But it was equally a means to undermine Congress’s ability to assert its constitutional power to appropriate funding.

As negotiations between Israel and the Obama administration progressed last year, Senator Lindsay Graham implored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to accede to Obama’s demand.

But in the empty hope of averting a last-minute move by the Obama administration to enable an anti-Israel resolution to pass at the UN Security Council, and concerned that a Hillary Clinton administration would offer Israel less assistance than Obama had offered, Netanyahu signed the deal.

Graham reacted to the MOU’s conclusion by stating that it is unconstitutional and therefore Congress would disregard it.

After Trump was elected, his advisers assured Israel that they would not enforce the MOU’s restrictions on supplementary funding. And yet, now, the State Department is seeking to do just that.

While in many ways this is an internal American fight, the unmistakable fact is that the State Department always seems to fight its turf war with Congress over issues relating to Israel. Moreover, the fight always involves bearing down on some of the dumbest aspects of traditional US Middle East policy.

Over the past 20 years, the State Department has fought and won two major battles against Congress relating to Israel. First, the State Department has continuously blocked the 1996 Embassy Act that requires the State Department to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Second, the State Department fought and won a Supreme Court battle to block implementation of the law requiring it to permit US citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their country of birth on their passports.

In both cases, the State Department’s actions reflected a longstanding policy of mollycoddling antisemitic Arab regimes and terrorist groups at Israel’s expense. No US interest has been advanced by these efforts. To the contrary, as Senator Tom Cotton argues in relation to the State Department’s current efforts to force Israel to return the $75m. supplemental appropriation for missile defense projects, the US harms itself by undermining its key ally in fighting the enemies it shares with Israel.

Moreover, the $75m. supplemental assistance for development of missile defense technologies is not a gift to Israel. As the current standoff between the US and North Korea makes clear, the US itself is in dire need of just the sort of anti-missile technologies that Israel is developing. Indeed, the US stands to lose if Israel cuts back its missile defense programs due to lack of funding.

So again, we return to Occam’s Razor.

The State Department’s determination to return the purloined Iraqi Jewish archive to the Iraqi government, like its efforts to convince Trump to demand that Israel return the supplemental aid, doesn’t appear to be guided by any underlying concern for US interests.

Why would Egypt or Saudi Arabia object to Israel developing new means to intercept Hamas, Hezbollah or Iranian missiles? So like its fights against congressional efforts to recognize Israel’s capital city, and indeed like the State Department’s insistence that the US has no option other than recertifying Iranian compliance with Obama’s nuclear deal with the ayatollahs despite overwhelming evidence of Iranian noncompliance, there is an undercurrent of obsessive vindictiveness to the State Department’s current efforts.

In issue after issue, the same officials engage in behavior that appears to reflect a compulsive habit of always demanding that the US adopt positions that weaken US-Israel ties and undermine Jewish rights in Israel, and throughout the Middle East.

Perhaps there is another explanation for this consistent pattern of behavior.

But the simplest explanation is that the State Department suffers from an unhealthy obsession with regard to Jewish rights and the Jewish state. (Click to Site)

‘Be Ready’: Famed Evangelist Warns of ‘Biblical Signs Before Christ’s Return’ Amid Wildfires, Violent Hurricanes and Earthquakes

La Tuna Canyon Fire Prompts Evacuations in Burbank

With natural disasters raging across America, Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, is warning Christians to “be ready” for Jesus’ return, as the CEO of Samaritan’s Purse shared a plethora of Bible verses about the biblical end times.

“Wildfires raging on the West Coast. Violent hurricanes, one after the other, ravaging everything in their paths, with one of the worst — Irma — bearing down on Florida,” Graham wrote in a recent Facebook post. “A magnitude 8.1 earthquake shook the southern parts of Mexico this week, and we even recently experienced a rare solar eclipse.”

He then appealed to various Bible verses to detail scripture that references a number of signs humanity will experience before the end times kicks into high gear. Graham started with Luke 21:25, which reads, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves.”

The evangelist also referenced Matthew 24:7, which proclaims, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”

While Graham said that all of these verses detail “some of the Biblical signs before Christ’s return,” he was careful to also mention another important biblical tidbit: that no one knows the day or hour. Still, he said that recent events serve as an essential reminder.

“It is a reminder to all of us to be ready — to repent and confess our sins, and ask for God’s forgiveness. In the meantime, we can find comfort, peace, and hope in Him,” Graham continued. “As we pray for all those affected by the current disasters, we should also remember God’s promise to us in John 16:33, ‘I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’”

As Faithwire previously reported, Bible prophecy has been getting a slew of attention in recent weeks, with the Great American Solar Eclipse, a Sept. 23 prediction and natural disasters sparking plenty of discussion and debate about topics like the rapture, the second coming and Earth’s future. Read more about that here. (Click to Site)

SABOTEURS PART 13: How The Ancient Plot By Mystical Order “Rosae Crucis” Lives In Washington DC Today

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At the start of our overview on the faith of the founding fathers, the point was made that people too often begin their research into the subject from the American Revolution and forward, inadvertently missing the paganism that had long been established on our soil before the United States of America was conceived. The same can be said of the research into Masonry and Freemasonry. So many books, articles, and documentaries (as well as Internet sites dedicated to the subject) begin the dig around the apron of George Washington or the geographical pentagram of DC, since the purposes of those works are to address the occultism that pervades our young America. This paves way for the errant concept that if Freemasonry has any kind of religious slant—Christian, pagan, satanic, etc.—it would have been born around the late 1700s. Therefore, when Freemasonic religions in the US are considered, the religions of our US founding fathers are immediately married to the conclusions (which is faulty). For instance, one might say, “Freemasonry could not have been built upon [this or that] religion, because that’s not the religion Washington and his men belonged to. By process of elimination then, we can safely assume that at worst, the Freemasonic rituals were harmless, creative, Deistic simulations.”

Though such reasoning seems logical, it limits the conclusion to the timeline of the men (and women) who supervised America’s birth, and not to the origins (and influences therein) of the Freemasonic Order—which isancient. It is surprising to observe how few people are aware how far back the rabbit hole of Masonry and Freemasonry travels.

First, it is important to refute a popular assumption that there were only a few Freemasonic leaders active at the time of the American Revolution, and that the importance of this is trivial to our nation’s formation. Although a few sources claim the United States of America was only marginally connected to Masonic influence, they are becoming a minority.

Nancy Pelosi, at the first session of the 110th Congress on January 5, 2007, delivered House Resolution 33, which was a commemoration of the past “thousands of Freemasons in every State in the Nation and honoring them for their many contributions to the Nation throughout its history.” Two items on the agenda read, “Freemasons, whose long lineage extends back to before the Nation’s founding” and “the Founding Fathers of this great Nation and signers of the Constitution, most of whom were Freemasons.[i] Perhaps she was referring to the well-known early brethren of the Craft: Washington, Monroe, Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, A. Johnson, Garfield, McKinley, T. Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, F. Roosevelt, Truman, L. B. Johnson, Ford, Franklin, Revere, Burke, and Hancock. Perhaps she was referring to John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and numerous others who were accounted friends of the brotherhood. Regardless of who she may have had in mind at the time of her address, it is the result of much public display just like this that the issue has mostly been dropped and acknowledgment of significant Masonic sway at the nation’s onset has been accepted.

Occult expert Manly P. Hall of Freemasonic infamy wrote: “Was Francis Bacon’s vision of the ‘New Atlantis’ a prophetic dream of the great civilization, which was so soon to rise upon the soil of the New World? It cannot be doubted that the secret societies…conspired to establish [such] upon the American continent.” Hall continued that historical incidents in the early development of the United States clearly bore “the influence of that secret body, which has so long guided the destinies of peoples and religions. By them nations are created as vehicles for the promulgation of ideals, and while nations are true to these ideals they survive; when they vary from them, they vanish like the Atlantis of old which had ceased to ‘know the gods.’”[ii]

To the few remaining sources that postulate Masonry was a Christian endeavor until it was sullied by occultists like Albert Pike, consider what Pelosi said about Masonry “extend[ing] back to before the Nation’s founding.”

Prior to Washington, the first Grand Master of the American Masonic Order is largely considered to be Sir Francis Bacon of the Baconian “New Atlantis” dream (which we will discuss shortly) circa 1620. And his primary influence according to most historians? Rosicrucianism: a seventh-century European cultural movement syncretizing Kabbalism, Christianity, and Hermeticism toward the goal of spiritual reformation among man.

Kabbalism—although the meaning of the word kabbalah translates “tradition” (of the Hebrews)—can in no way be compared to orthodox Judaism. The precise meaning of its practice varies from each adherent to the next, depending on their own cultural application of its teachings (kind of how Christianity’s convictions and teachings vary from one denomination to the other, all based on the Cross of Calvary, yet rendering religious practices that at times can be polar opposites of each other). Origins trace to orally passed traditions from the ancient rabbis of Moses’ time and evolves into differentiating convictions as later generations made modifications. However, as it relates to Rosicrucianism in the seventeenth century just prior to the Deistic Age of Reason, the core doctrine is that of a Western esoteric and occultic nature drawing its insights from none other than theosophical mysticism. Many have summarized Kabbalism as the early Jews’ own Mystery Religion.

Hermeticism (also called Hermetism) is both philosophical and religious, stemming primarily from the sacred Egyptian-Greek Hermetic Corpus wisdom texts, frequently dated to approximately AD 100–300 (although almost just as often, they are dated to Pharaonic Egypt by others, though these dating methods are highly scrutinized). These texts were written as a conversation between a teacher by the name of Hermes Trismegistus (literally, “thrice-greatest Hermes”) and a disciple seeking enlightenment. Discussions between these two characters falls deeply into reflections on the cosmos, divinity, unlocking spiritual rebirth through the power of the mind, alchemical achievements (cloaked in metaphor), and vehement defense of pagan rituals and veneration of sacred imagery. Although, like Kabbalism, Hermeticism has evolved greatly over time—both due to divergent applications of the doctrine as well as significant mistranslations of the original writings—it almost always insists throughout all its variations that it is the supreme Prisca theologia (Latin “old theology”; the belief in one single and infinitely true theology found in all religions of the world as bestowed upon mankind by God [or “the gods” in some cases] from the beginning). By the fourteenth century (heading into the Renaissance), Hermeticism proved to be a profoundly dominating authority on alchemy and magic, inspiring countless authors in subsequent centuries (Sir Thomas Browne, Giordano Bruno, and Pico della Mirandola, to name a few) who rose to stardom with their own canons of enlightenment and spiritual human transcendence via these methods.

But if the seventeenth-century Rosicrucianism is the forerunner of American Masonry through personalities like the credited first Grand Master Sir Francis Bacon, then what is the forerunner of Rosicrucianism? Let’s trace this back even farther to the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (represented today by AMORC, the organization claiming to be the highest authority of the ancient Order; Rosae Crucis translates “Rose Cross”). The cross symbol is contemporarily associated to the death of Christ, but the Order Rosae Crucis predates Christianity, so according to the official AMORC organization today, at the time the earliest symbols were drawn, the cross was a representation of the shape of the human body (consider da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”). The rose, according to the same source, “represents the individual’s unfolding consciousness.”[iii] Their site goes on to say quite openly:

The Rosicrucian movement, of which the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC, is the most prominent modern representative, has its roots in the mystery traditions, philosophy, and myths of ancient Egypt dating back to approximately 1500 BCE. In antiquity the word “mystery” referred to a special gnosis, a secret wisdom. Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt select bodies or schools were formed to explore the mysteries of life and learn the secrets of this hidden wisdom. Only sincere students, displaying a desire for knowledge and meeting certain tests were considered worthy of being inducted into these mysteries. Over the course of centuries these mystery schools added an initiatory dimension to the knowledge they transmitted.[iv]

Now, if this source is true, we’re finally getting somewhere. It appears that the earliest forms of today’s Freemasonic fraternities, albeit by a different name, were established in ancient Egyptian and pagan mysticism. The site goes on to share some interestingly familiar details regarding the Order’s ceremonious operations:

It is further traditionally related that the Order’s first member-students met in secluded chambers in magnificent old temples, where, as candidates, they were initiated into the great mysteries. [Sound familiar?] Their mystical studies then assumed a more closed character and were held exclusively in temples which had been built for that purpose [a “Grand Lodge” of its day]. Rosicrucian tradition relates that the great pyramids of Giza were most sacred in the eyes of initiates. Contrary to what historians affirm, our tradition relates that the Giza pyramids were not built to be the tombs of pharaohs, but were actually places of study and mystical initiation. The mystery schools, over centuries of time, gradually evolved into great centers of learning, attracting students from throughout the known world.[v]

According to AMORC, the first school of the Order was launched by Pharaoh Thutmose III. A short number of years later, Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (later Akhnaton) became a celebrated initiate and established worship of the sun (or solar disk, “Aton”). Following this, famous Greek and Roman philosophers (such as Thales, Pythagoras, and Plotinus), “journeyed to Egypt and were initiated into the mystery schools. They then brought their advanced learning and wisdom to the Western world. Their experiences are the first records of what eventually grew and blossomed into the Rosicrucian Order.”[vi]

As with any religions involving varying sects, denominations, orders, organizations, divisions, and so on, the Rosicrucian Order has always varied in its practices from discipleship group to discipleship group. Whereas there were certainly individuals drawn into the practice of the ancient Order Rosae Crucis and the latter Rosicrucian Order who sought only the “unfolding consciousness” enlightenment promised (approaching it from an intellectual-growth angle), a great number of leaders took it well beyond that and into spiritually perverse acts of regularly communing with demons and Satan. According to standard Christian theology, this is always the natural result of clandestine fellowships that concentrate upon enlightenment through exhortation to pagan deities, spiritism, clairvoyance, ESP, and so on via communication with the spiritual realm—that which is unsanctioned and unprotected by the blood of Christ—whether the worshiper intended it or not. It remains to be an invitation for demonic influences to mimic the pursued entities, and once they respond (as history has shown they do), the worshipper believes contact with the deity has been made and “enlightenment” was achieved.

Sir Francis Bacon, whom we have already expressed herein to be the accredited first American Freemason and “New Atlantis” dreamer, was close associate to John Dee. Dee was Queen Elizabeth I’s personal advisor. As a celebrated mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occult philosopher, Hermetic philosopher, divinest, alchemist, sorcerer, and crystal-gazer, Dee’s authority of the relationship between science and magic was strong in an age when the rest of the surrounding world could not reasonably deny supernatural activity, but was excited to find explanation of the supernatural through newfound, Age-of-Reason methodologies. Dee stood as one of the most educated and scholarly men of his day. (In fact, the European “Age of Discovery/Exploration” is in part attributed to Dee’s work in space navigation; he would go on to instruct some of England’s most intense early “voyages of discovery.” One of the many links between Dee and the Rosicrucian Order is his famous illustration of the Monas Hieroglyphica—a glyph showing the relationship between the moon, sun, elements, and fire—which was said to have been a partial inspiration to the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz pamphlet.)

Though Dee is a name well remembered for his contributions to the space and science communities of his era, it’s not a secret that he religiously communed with demons—as well as with what he believed to be “angels”—as a means of uncovering the Prisca theologia. He believed that one universal language unlocked the secrets of creation, and that mankind had, at one point, been at perfect peace amidst his human brothers and sisters. Who better to ask for these secrets than angels and demons?

Ian Taylor, author of In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order, said during an interview:

[This is why] the Rosicrucians had to be a secret society. Their object was to discover God’s truths after Him. But some of their methodologies were bordering on witchcraft.… They claimed that they could communicate with angels and demons. Well, in the first place, the Scripture tells you not to do it. But their idea was that if you could do that, surely those creatures, the angels and the demons, they know a lot of things that we don’t know. After all, they’ve been around since time immemorial, and they are familiar with Heaven itself, so surely they can tell us many secrets. Well the Church…would take a dim view of that and [the Rosicrucians] could be put to death for that sort of thing.[vii]

Chris Pinto’s documentary Secret Mysteries goes on to say:

Dee was imprisoned under suspicion of sorcery: an accusation that would follow him throughout his life—and one that seems not unfounded, considering his system of magic is still practiced by many occultists to this day.… In his quest for knowledge, Dee tapped into the powers of the beyond, hoping to learn secrets from the spirit realm…but not everyone saw Dee’s dabbling as communicating with angels of God. Dee once wrote that he was looked upon as a “companion of hellhounds,” a “caller” and a “conjurer” of “wicked and damned spirits.” Yet, like Bacon, he practiced much of his craft in secret as an active member of the Rosicrucians in England. Some even credit Dee as founder of the Rosicrucian movement. As such, communing with angelic beings that provide scientific knowledge was a familiar practice.… The secret societies of the Elizabethan era were in danger, not for the knowledge they possessed, but [for] how they obtained it through occult practices of summoning spirits and conjuring demons. They were nevertheless determined to continue for the cause of science and learning.… In a diary entry of June eighth, 1584, Dee records a startling account, [saying] Jesus was not God, and that no prayers ought to be made to Him. [The diary entries] further claimed that sin does not exist, and that man’s soul simply moves from one body to another…in reincarnation.[viii]

As the Rosicrucians ebbed each day farther toward a universalized ideology of reincarnation (a concept that became paramount in American Freemasonry), Dee continued to meld science, mathematics, magic, and alchemy as he conducted magic ceremonies, gazed into his obsidian scrying mirror, and prayed for the “angels” to give him the answers to the world’s most sought-after questions. His reputation as a sorcerer has remained so prominent throughout history that he became the infamous inspiration behind J. K. Rowling’s mighty chief wizard Dumbledore of “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” in the Harry Potter book series—the character described to look exactly how Dee appeared while in service to Mary I of England (known as “Bloody Mary” for her persecution of Christians).

Sir Bacon prized Dee’s achievements and followed in his footsteps. (Bacon had communed and worshiped a demonic presence [he called her a “muse”] by the name of Pallas Athena, based upon an extremely powerful Greek goddess who “shook her spear” from anger in the presence of ignorance—which is pertinent to the Hiram Abiff legend, as we will discuss shortly.) Thus, that ancient Egyptian Order Rosae Crucis became, through the complicated relationship and resulting influences of Bacon and Dee, the newly established form of the secret Masonic/Freemasonic society.

Take the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (itself proven to be modified throughout the ages by pharaohs and ancient philosphers) and add the syncretism inaugurated by Rosicrucianism (Kabbalism, Christianity, and Hermeticism) along with the crystal-gazing, demon-worship, and angel-prayers of the Bacon/Dee era. If we’re not already drowning in a pool of esoteric mystery, then add the Deistic, Age-of-Reason enlightenment slant (birthed by some of the same personalities that participated in Hellfire Club, “Do-what-thou-wilt” orgies/drunkenness/mock rituals), and we arrive at the onset of United States Freemasonry.

It’s no wonder that so many find the beliefs and rituals of the Freemasons confusing and ambiguous. But, perhaps this is an appropriate time to remind the reader what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:20: “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.”

Was America dedicated to such a thing? More than most know… and we’ll continue exposing these Saboteurs in the next entry. (Click to Site)

[i] “House Resolution 33: Recognizing and Honoring Freemasons,” Information Liberation, January 16, 2007, last accessed April 20, 2017, http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=19540; emphasis added.

[ii] Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages (Perennial Press: Kindle edition), locations 13114–13116.

[iii] “The Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis,” AMORC, last accessed April 20, 2017, https://www.rosicrucian.org/history.

[iv] Ibid., emphasis added.

[v] Ibid., emphasis added.

[vi] Ibid., emphasis added.

[vii] Ian Taylor, during his interview for Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings: Volume 1: The New Atlantis, DVD series, distributed by Total-Content LLC, executive producer David E. Bay, written and directed by Christian J. Pinto, 1:39:38–1:40:24.

[viii] Ibid., 1:43:26–1:50:00.

Duck and Cover 2.0: Fearful Californians Prepare for Nuclear Attack

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If North Korea is to launch a nuclear missile at US soil, it is likely to target California, claimed a former US military analyst now contracted by the DHS.

Long Beach, California, is likely to be a target for North Korean nukes, said Hal Kempfer, an ex-US military member and a head of Knowledge and Intelligence Program Professionals (KIPP), a consultancy that specializes in terrorism, intelligence and US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) training.

“If you want to mess up southern California, if you want to mess up the west coast, if you want to mess up our country — where do you attack?” Kempfer said during a meeting with public health officials and emergency responders, according to a report by the Guardian.

“If I’m sitting in North Korea and looking at possible targets, I’m going to be looking at Long Beach very closely,” asserted Kempfer.

The analyst considers Long Beach a priority target due to its status as one of the busiest trading hubs in the US and an important component of the global trading system.

But, he stated, Pyongyang is not now capable of a Cold War-era apocalyptic annihilation nuclear strike. As of today, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is only capable of delivering a much smaller, somewhat Hiroshima-sized charge, that would not destroy the entire city of Los Angeles, but would still trigger a major catastrophe.

“A lot of people [would] be killed,” he said, estimating the number of casualties in the “tens of thousands.”

“But a large percentage of the population will survive. They will be at risk and they will need help,” he added.

According to Kempfer, a DPRK nuclear blast would barely reach Long Beach airport, about 5 miles from the beach. Everything within this radius, though, will be pretty much be “toast,” he said. The airport, however, is somewhat protected by the terrain, which makes it a viable option for setting up a headquarters for emergency responders.

A nuclear explosion in downtown Los Angeles would cause other effects, he noted, including an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would kill all electronics nearby, including basic electric appliances, car engines and phone lines. A call for help and even handling most basic needs could become very complicated, if not impossible.

Those drivers who can start their cars will find themselves stuck in a gigantic traffic jam as panicking people flee the city in fear of “follow-up” attacks, he noted.

Earlier this year, authorities in northern California issued an evacuation order over a possible dam failure in in Oroville. Evacuating drivers, however, found themselves in what the Sacramento Bee described as “the scariest traffic jam they will ever know,” as outbound roads could not handle the flow.

In the event of a nuclear attack on Los Angeles, however, those who remain, will have to deal with radioactive fallout, known to be most deadly in the initial hours after a detonation.

According to Kempfer, authorities need to create a well-coordinated emergency response plan to keep society from plunging into chaos, with riots and gunfights over food and supplies. Kempfer envisioned such social deterioration in a 2006 report that speculated on al-Qaeda smuggling a small nuclear device in a shipping container.

However, the analyst underscored that, compared to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, US authorities have since improved emergency response performance, which will contribute to maintaining order and preventing a supply shortage.

According to Kempfer, people must be educated as to what they can do to protect themselves from the effects of nuclear strike using basic commodities, like plastic sheeting to keep radiation from getting into houses through broken windows.

In the meantime, the DHS has posted an online guide to prepare for a nuclear attack, and how to survive it.

According to the defense contractor and security analyst, the best thing to do dso as to survive an attack is to avoid being “blown up.”

“That helps,” he said. (Click to Site)

U.S. Senate Betrays Constitution, Fails To Stop Perpetual War Policy

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By Aaron Kesel

The U.S. Senate voted 61-36 to kill an amendment proposed by Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) which would repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

View image on Twitter

Here are the 61 Senators who voted to give Trump the power to start new wars without consulting Congress and the 36 who opposed. 

The two bills have heavy scrutiny; the 2001 AUMF was approved in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, while the 2002 AUMF authorized the Iraq War.

Senators opposed the amendment stating that “It would mean that we would immediately need to start winding down” U.S. forces abroad, said Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), who opposed Paul’s amendment.

The Senate can’t repeal the AUMF without replacing it with a new authorization, said war porn posterboy and head of the Congressional Armed Service Committee (SASC) Senator John McCain (R-Arizona).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Paul’s move would “leave nothing but uncertainty” for the military and be “simply irresponsible.”

Paul previously threatened to delay the passage of the $700-billion dollar National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if his amendment to repeal AUMF he sought to add to the NDAA bill didn’t pass.

“We have been there for 16 years. It is time for the wars to end. It is time for Congress to vote on whether or not they should end,” Paul said on Monday.

While the repeal has had strong opposition supporters of the bill included Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mike Lee(R-Utah) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

“It’s been 16 yrs since Congress passed the existing AUMF after 9/11, but yr after yr, Congress refuses to re-examine this outdated policy. It’s long past time for Congress to do right by our troops & the American people,” Warren said on Twitter, announcing her support.

Earlier this year Paul spoke out during a congressional hearing on adding Montenegro to NATO proclaiming “they want to rubber stamp, they want no debates, and they want to send your kids to war with no debate,” when speaking about his fellow constituents.

He added, “Congress voted after 911 to go to war they voted to go after the people who planned and plotted the attacks on the Trade Center. That vote from 15 years ago is used to justify all war everywhere on the planet there has been no meaningful debate about the wars we are currently involved in, in the Middle East. We currently fight illegally and unconstitutionally in the Middle East because your representatives are afraid to have a public debate.”

Paul then took to Twitter to put out the most important pieces of his speech tweeting, “For decades NATO has been an organization where the U.S. disproportionately spends our blood and our treasure,” adding “Nobody wanted to have this debate. They want to rubber stamp. They want no debates and they want to send your kids to war.”

Watch Senator Paul’s speech from the floor:

(Click to Site)

The Great Abandoning: These Alarming Faith Stats Should Rock Every Pastor, Church and Christian to Their Core

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Much has been said about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated here in America, but over in England it seems the situation is much more dire than it is here in the states.

In fact, more than half — 53 percent — of Brits now report that they are not at all religious, up five percentage points since 2015, the Independent reported.

And, perhaps more stunningly, this year’s proportion is up 19 percentage points when compared to 1983 when just 32 percent of the public said the same, according to statistics collected by the National Centre for Social Research, a social research group.

Overall, just over four-in-10 British citizens said that they are Christian, with the declines coming in hardest among Church of England members, with just 15 percent of the population claiming allegiance to the Anglican church.

Perhaps most concerning, though, is the fact that just 3 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 consider themselves Anglican, with 71 percent of people in this age cohort saying that they have no religion, up from 62 percent in 2015. Read more about these shocking statistics here.

In the U.S., these demographics look quite different, with 71 percent of citizens calling themselves Christian of some sort. That said, that proportion is down from 78 percent in 2007, with 23 percent of the public now calling itself religiously unaffiliated.

As Faithwire previously reported, much has been said about the “statistical crisis” facing Christianity, particularly when it comes to young people. It’s no secret that Millennials here in the U.S. have been fleeing faith, as they’re much more likely than past generations to shun religious affiliation.

In fact, nearly four-in-1o Americans born in 1981 or after count themselves as being unaffiliated with a particular faith or denomination. It’s a statistical crisis that has churches and pastors wondering what can be done to bring young people back into the pews. Find out more about what some experts believe can be done to curb the problem.

(Click to Site)

Every childhood vaccine may go into a single jab

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A technology that could eventually see every childhood vaccine delivered in a single injection has been developed by US researchers.

Their one-shot solution stores the vaccine in microscopic capsules that release the initial dose and then boosters at specific times.

The approach has been shown to work in mouse studies, described in the journal Science.

The researchers say the technology could help patients around the world.

Childhood immunisations come with tears and screams. And there are a lot of them.

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib and hepatitis B at eight, 12 and 16 weeks.
  • Pneumococcal jab at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year
  • Men B vaccine at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year
  • Hib/Men C vaccine at one year
  • Measles, mumps and rubella at one year and three years and four months

Source: NHS Choices

A team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has designed a new type of micro-particle that could combine everything into a single jab.

The particles look like miniature coffee cups that are filled with vaccine and then sealed with a lid.

Crucially, the design of the cups can be altered so they break down and spill their contents at just the right time.

One set of tests showed the contents could be released at exactly nine, 20 and 41 days after they were injected into mice.

Other particles that last for hundreds of days have also been developed, the researchers say.

The approach has not yet been tested on patients.

‘Significant impact’

Prof Robert Langer, from MIT, said: “We are very excited about this work.

“For the first time, we can create a library of tiny, encased vaccine particles, each programmed to release at a precise, predictable time, so that people could potentially receive a single injection that, in effect, would have multiple boosters already built into it.

“This could have a significant impact on patients everywhere, especially in the developing world.”

The work differs from previous attempts, which slowly released medicines over a long period of time.

The idea is the short, sharp bursts of vaccine more closely mimic routine immunisation programmes.

Fellow researcher Dr Kevin McHugh said: “In the developing world, that might be the difference between not getting vaccinated and receiving all of your vaccines in one shot.”

(Click to Site)

Uncle Sam Wants You … to Fight Alongside a Killer Robot

A Q&A with newly departed Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work on Kim’s nukes, Putin’s paranoia and bigger problems over the horizon.

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Running for president last year, Republican Senator Ted Cruz was widely ridiculed for telling a young girl that “the world’s on fire.” That may not have been the most politically astute way to talk to a three-year-old, but you have to admit Cruz has a few facts on his side: North Korea’s nuclear bombast; a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan; last-gasper Islamic State forces hanging on in Syria and Iraq; Iran arming to the teeth its proxy forces in Lebanon and Yemen; China’s fake-island building; Russia’s positioning hundreds of thousands of troops on the borders of NATO allies; and increasing terrorist activity in north and sub-Saharan Africa.

You’d think the U.S. military would have its hands full just managing these crises. But as perilous as they may be, the Defense Department has an equal responsibility to look far, far ahead — defining long-term threats, developing strategies to counter them, and buying the best new weaponry to deter enemies’ and rivals’ aggressive tendencies. And from 2014 to this year, the man with the burden of the future on his shoulders was Robert O. Work, who served as the deputy secretary of defense to three different bosses, Chuck Hagel, Ashton Carter and James Mattis.

In some ways, Work had a typical background for the job: Twenty-seven years in the Marines during which he reached the rank of full colonel, front-line roles including commanding an artillery battery, management experience as undersecretary of the Navy. But his resume is also quirky for a career Leatherneck: He studied biology as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois and has three master’s degrees — in systems management from the University of Southern California, in space-systems operations from the Naval Postgraduate School, and in international public policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. This week he returned as a senior fellow to the Center for a New American Security, an influential centrist think tank in Washington where he served as chief executive in 2013 and 2014.

Work put his stamp on the Pentagon in many ways, most prominently with his efforts to adapt the military to the age of modern technological marvels, a long-term project known as “the third offset,” which is discussed in more detail below. He and I had a conversation this week about the challenges the Pentagon faces, both immediate and well over the horizon. Here is a lightly edited transcript:

Tobin Harshaw: Amid all the debate over how to handle North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, one point seems to be universally accepted: A military strike isn’t feasible, at least not now. Do you agree? If so, what can be done to rein in Kim and reassure South Korea and Japan?

Robert Work: I agree absolutely. North Korea is an established nuclear power. This is totally different than Libya, where we convinced Muammar Qaddafi not to go after a nuclear arsenal, and Iran, which we have now persuaded to set aside its programs. Kim Jong Un has demonstrated capability on both the warhead and missile sides. There is no way you could confidently say that a U.S. military strike would reduce the nuclear risk to zero.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the other day that Kim is “begging for war.” I couldn’t disagree more. He is looking for the survival of his regime. He thinks nuclear weapons are the surest way to guarantee his survival. Thinking about war with a nuclear power should give even the strongest military pause, so we have to watch out that our overheated rhetoric might actually increase the likelihood he uses his weapons.

Ultimately where we will wind up is relying on our strength to deter Kim’s use of nuclear weapons. You want to make sure he understands that if he uses them, he is done, his regime is history. In the meantime, the combination of diplomatic pressure, military pressure and trying to get China to assist us are the right things to do. I believe that Kim’s reckless actions are really starting to give China second thoughts on their calculations about his leadership.

TH: While North Korea may the terror du jour, most military analysts think Putin’s resurgent Russia is still America’s most serious long-term threat. Do you agree? And do you feel the U.S. and NATO are doing enough to counter Putin’s aggressiveness in Eastern Europe and elsewhere?

RW: For the last 25 years or so, the U.S. hasn’t had to worry about great-power competition — which is a large state that can take on the dominant power conventionally (that would be us), and has a survival nuclear deterrent force. As a result, America has enjoyed extraordinary strategic freedom of action, doing things in all regions of the world with no worry about what another great power would do in response. Now, Russia is a resurgent great power — although some believe it is declining over time in terms of geopolitical influence. And there is a true rising great power in China.

I like to think of these two great powers as geostrategic rivals, not adversaries. They are acting as great powers act: extremely touchy in their near-abroads, and wanting to establish a sphere of influence. Totally understandable.

As NATO has expanded eastward, the Russians really think that the U.S. and NATO are serious threats. They have ramped up their response in a serious way, essentially pushing back against further expansion into their near abroad, especially in Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia. As paranoid as the Russians are, and as reckless as Putin seems, I am firmly in the school that discussion and dialogue among great powers is the best way to avoid confrontation. Of course, discussion must be backed up by credible power, and what we are doing — enhancing NATO and stepping up military commitments in Eastern Europe — are the right things to do. But there remain opportunities even as we push back and forth. We could be working with Russia, as we are cooperating in Syria, in more ways: in terms of counterproliferation and counterterrorism. Bottom line: Russia is a power we must take seriously. Whether they become a long-term military threat depends on whether we can get past this low point in our relationship and get more constructive in the long term.

TH: President Barack Obama went into office promising a great “pivot” to Asia. Eight years later, many commentators still don’t know what that means, at least in terms of specifics. What did you accomplish in terms of maintaining America’s dominance of the Pacific and countering Chinese ambitions?

RW: “Pivot” was a bad word. It is really a “rebalance to Asia.” We needed to shift our attention from constant warfighting in the Middle East and toward Asia to continue the peace in the region

China’s a rising power, and the 21st century is likely to revolve around the relationship between it and the U.S. And the rebalance has had many successes. One is the revitalization of our alliances — our relationship with Japan is as strong as or stronger than ever; that with South Korea is quite strong; also with Australia and New Zealand. We have started reaching out to India. The one thing that set us back was the Philippines; we now have a rocky relationship that was not expected.

We also wanted to make our military posture more capable, operationally resilient and politically sustainable. We are doing that. Moving the preponderance of our military power to Asia is ongoing. We’ll have 60 percent of naval and air power in Pacific by 2020. Most of our advanced military capabilities go to that region first. We are dispersing our forces, such as moving Marines from Okinawa to Guam, Australia and Hawaii. These moves will make us more resilient in the face of attacks and more likely to retain the goodwill of our host countries.

However, where it went off the rails was the Donald Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That was a strategic blunder of enormous proportions, a grievous mistake. Overall, I would grade the rebalance as a C-plus or B-minus — with the withdrawal from TPP bringing the grade down more than otherwise expected.

TH: This will be a long one: Perhaps the biggest legacy of your tenure as deputy defense secretary was the initiation of the so-called “third offset.” Can you explain briefly what the first two offsets of the Cold War were; why we have reached the point where our entire military strategy needs such dramatic switch; and what the third offset really is (i.e., not just a bunch of sci-fi fantasies about killer robots).

RW: Up until World War II, you could describe warfare broadly as unguided munitions warfare. Almost every spear or arrow or bullet or bomb or torpedo missed its target. This led to an inherent bias toward massing your forces to ensure you achieved target hits or target effects. During the war, two alternatives arose: atomic weapons and guided conventional weapons. Atomic weapons made miss distances less of a problem; guided munitions reliably hit their targets regardless of range. What linked them is an attacker no longer necessarily had to mass forces to achieve effects.

After the war, America’s first “offset” took advantage of U.S. nuclear superiority by using battlefield nukes to offset the numerical conventional advantage of the Soviet army; we elected not to match them tank for tank or soldier for soldier. We instead adopted battlefield, or tactical, atomic weapons to deter a Soviet conventional invasion of Western Europe.

The second offset came when the Soviets achieved strategic nuclear parity. The threat of tactical nuclear weapons was no longer credible because no side would risk going up the escalatory ladder. So we turned to guided munitions and sophisticated, integrated defensive “battle networks” to employ them. This allowed us to “look deep and shoot deep.” If you came up against such capabilities and couldn’t match them, your army became nothing more than a collection of targets, as the Iraqis found out in Desert Storm.

Now our great-power competitors are achieving parity in guided munitions-battle network warfare. We talk about this as anti-access/area-denial techniques, or A2/AD: an adversary’s ability to “look deep and shoot deep” challenges our ability to get close enough to use our superior weaponry. And once in range, combat is so much more lethal. The question became, how could we restore our conventional overmatch so deterrence is strengthened? We want our rivals to still think that they cannot take us on … that they would surely lose a conventional fight. The third offset is finding a way to rebuild our overmatch and maintain that advantage

Of all recent technological gains, the things that would improve our operations most in the near term are aggressive use of big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. This combination will allow a whole bunch of things to happen. First, human-machine collaboration — that is, machines allowing humans to make better and faster decisions, combining our intuitive abilities with a machine’s ability to process massive amounts of data. Then, with machine learning, we will have new kinds of unmanned systems. Consider network-enabled missiles: You fire a missile at a target 1,000 miles away, but by the time the missile is within 500 miles, the target is no longer there. You give the missile that information and change its mission.

Then there are assisted-human operations: broadly speaking, providing every individual with the power of the whole battle network, so that they can all pull down the information they need to accomplish their missions. This includes things like carrying around sensors on bodies, using batteries re-powered by human movement, and new combat “apps” to call in needed support.

But an important difference with the third offset is it assumes we can generate an advantage only in the relatively near term. Remember, we had the first offset from the 1950s to mid-’70s, a significant period of time. During the second offset, because the Soviets went away, we had a 25-year advantage, and only now are Russia and China starting to catch up. But all the third offset technologies are being driven by the Amazons and Googles, and are commercially available. As a result, we can’t think the third offset will give us another 25 years ahead of the competition. We need to be thinking in terms of a time-based competition, a rolling offset, in which we are always looking for a new advantage –right now.

TH: Donald Trump came into office promising a vast military buildup, with a 350-ship navy and a reversal of the Army’s big troop drawdown. Yet the mild spending increases in his first budget weren’t much different than what we might have expected from the Obama administration. Was that disheartening for the Pentagon? What do the generals really want?

RW: Right now, the Pentagon is going through a major defense-strategy review led by Secretary James Mattis. I firmly believe that one of the questions that needs to be asked is, do you have a bias toward capability or toward capacity? Right now there is a bias toward capacity — toward a 350-ship navy, an active Army of 540,000, and an Air Force with 1,200 combat aircraft. But I would argue very, very strongly that we need a bias toward capability — modernizing the force and focusing on readiness.

Right now what has happened is you look at the ground modernization programs of Army and see we don’t have a new tank in development. All those systems are from the Ronald Reagan buildup or the ’90s, and we are just extending their lives or upgrading them slightly. Meanwhile, China is spending a lot on things like hypersonic weapons, something we are not giving much money to. When you are talking about needing a tech overmatch to keep up our deterrent, the most important thing is improving capability.

TH: Trump also said on the campaign trail that he would resolve the war in Afghanistan. Yet his latest plan to add a few thousand more special-ops and training troops is a minor tweak. Is there any resolution visible for America’s longest war? What would “victory” look like?

RW: What we need is a platform in South Asia, because there are an awful lot of very bad terrorist groups in the region. And Pakistan has a lot of nuclear weapons, which we do not want falling into the hands of these very bad people. Our vital interest is to have a position in South Asia where we can keep an eye on these groups and on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Victory, in my view, looks like an Afghanistan that is stable enough so that our platform there can be sustained at a reasonable strategic price, we are able to keep disrupting the terrorist groups in that area, and we keep Pakistani nukes out of their hands. Ultimately, if you could get a deal between the Taliban and the government in Kabul that would be outstanding, it would make it more likely to have a stable Afghanistan that would be a good partner for the U.S. in the area. But we have to have modest expectations. We are not, as Trump said, going to establish a Jeffersonian democracy.

TH: The proposed merger this week between United Technologies and Rockwell Collins is the latest example of consolidation in the so-called defense industrial base. Many people feel the shrinking number of major contractors is dangerous, both in terms of contracting costs and broader national security. Do you agree? Also, Congress re-shaped the Pentagon’s acquisitions process in the last policy and funding round, even eliminating the top weapon-buyer job held by Frank Kendall. Do you think that the massive cost overruns and delays we’ve seen with projects like the F-35?

RW: Secretary Mattis has brought in a pretty extraordinary team, and there is a lot of experience from outside, from industry. His choice for deputy secretary, Patrick Shanahan, is from Boeing; Ellen Lord, who will be the equivalent of the next Frank Kendall, is from Textron Systems; Jay Gibson, who will be in charge of management, is from industry. Mattis will have a team that has a good fingertip feel for industrial base, and I will look to them to answer that question.

Right now I am not alarmed by UTX-Rockwell deal, but I am concerned about the viability of the industrial base, which is vital to third-offset thinking. It’s fair to say we have less bench depth. I can’t speak for Secretary Mattis, but I think his plan was to get people from the base into the Pentagon to help us think through this.

TH: Last, the exit-interview question: What do you think was the greatest accomplishment of the department during your time there? What successes did you have that slipped under the radar of the public and press?

RW: I don’t think in terms of greatest accomplishments. But I am proud of the steady progress of the department in an enormously chaotic environment. Since the Budget Control Act of 2011, reduced defense resources and congressional budget chaos has been the norm. What slipped under the radar is that very few businesses would have been able to survive under the conditions the Pentagon has operated under for the last six years. The fact that we still have the best forces and are building equipment, and can sustain such a high pace of global operations, is a testament to the very high quality of our people — which is our military’s best secret weapon. I don’t think the public understands what a trying time it has been, how hard it is to plan a military program and figure out how you will buy, organize and train it — with constantly changing budgets and rules and constraints — yet the Pentagon has continued to do this, and it isn’t reported on.

People say the department isn’t efficient, which sometimes is true, but we are biggest business on the planet, with 3 million people. We have our own FedEx, our own Wal-Mart, our own health care agency — the broadest portfolio of any business on planet. Remember that since 2009, we’ve spent 30 percent of the time working under continuing budget resolutions from Congress, which keep you from planning ahead; we’ve had successive two-year budget horizons when we like to plan five years ahead; the department’s annual authorization bill from Congress is now 1,600 pages long. Under these conditions, any corporation would be hard-pressed to do its fundamental business, and yet the Pentagon has consistently done its fundamental business, and done it well. I’m extremely proud of that.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners. (Click to Site)

State Department Waging “Open War” on White House

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  • “It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.” — Foreign policy operative, quoted in the Washington Free Beacon.
  • Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Rex Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict President Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.
  • “Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.” — Veteran foreign policy analyst, quoted in the Free Beacon.

The U.S. State Department has backed away from a demand that Israel return $75 million in military aid which was allocated to it by the U.S. Congress.

The repayment demand, championed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was described as an underhanded attempt by the State Department to derail a campaign pledge by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to improve relations with the Jewish state.

The dispute is the just the latest example of what appears to be a growing power struggle between the State Department and the White House over the future direction of American foreign policy.

The controversy goes back to the Obama administration’s September 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel, which pledged $38 billion in military assistance to Jerusalem over the next decade. The MOU expressly prohibits Israel from requesting additional financial aid from Congress.

Congressional leaders, who said the MOU violates the constitutional right of lawmakers to allocate U.S. aid, awarded Israel an additional $75 million in assistance in the final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017.

Tillerson had argued that Israel should return the $75 million in order to stay within the limits established by the Obama administration. The effort provoked a strong reaction from Congress, which apparently prompted Tillerson to back down.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) “strongly warned the State Department that such action would be unwise and invite unwanted conflict with Israel,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) added:

“As Iran works to surround Israel on every border, and Hezbollah and Hamas rearm, we must work to strengthen our alliance with Israel, not strain it. Congress has the right to allocate money as it deems necessary, and security assistance to Israel is a top priority. Congress is ready to ensure Israel receives the assistance it needs to defend its citizens.”

A veteran congressional advisor told the Free Beacon:

“This is a transparent attempt by career staffers in the State Department to f*ck with the Israelis and derail the efforts of Congressional Republicans and President Trump to rebuild the US-Israel relationship. There’s no reason to push for the Israelis to return the money, unless you’re trying to drive a wedge between Israel and Congress, which is exactly what this is. It won’t work.”

Another foreign policy operative said: “It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.”

Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.

August 10. The State Department hosted representatives of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella group established by the Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of mainstreaming political Islam in the United States. Behind closed doors, they reportedly discussed what they said was Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the removal of all Israeli control of the Temple Mount and holy areas of Jerusalem. Observers said the meeting was part of larger effort by anti-Israel organizations to drive a wedge between the Trump administration and Israel. The USCMO includes a number of organizations, including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which promote “extreme anti-Israel views” and “anti-Zionist” propaganda, and which support boycotts of the Jewish state.

July 19. The State Department’s new “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016” blamed Israel for Palestinian Arab terrorism against Jews. It attributed Palestinian violence to: “lack of hope in achieving statehood;” “Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank;” “settler violence;” and “the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount.” The report also characterized Palestinian Authority payments to the families of so-called martyrs as “financial packages to Palestinian security prisoners…to reintegrate them into society.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) called on the State Department to hold the PA accountable in State Department Country reports: “The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism…. At the highest level, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership incites, rewards, and, in some cases, carries out terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis. In order to effectively combat terrorism, it is imperative that the United States accurately characterize its root cause — PA leadership.”

June 14. Tillerson voiced opposition to designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, saying that such a classification would complicate Washington’s relations in the Middle East. During his confirmation hearings on January 11, by contrast, Tillerson lumped the Brotherhood with al-Qaeda when talking about militant threats in the region. He said:

“Eliminating ISIS would be the first step in disrupting the capabilities of other groups and individuals committed to striking our homeland and our allies. The demise of ISIS would also allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran.”

June 13. During testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson said he had received reassurances from President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority would end the practice of paying a monthly stipend to the families of suicide bombers and other attackers, commonly referred to by Palestinians as martyrs. One day later, Palestinian officials contradicted Tillerson, saying that there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis.

May 22. Tillerson sidestepped questions on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, while telling reporters aboard Air Force One they were heading to “Tel Aviv, home of Judaism.” Asked directly whether he considers the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty, Tillerson replied: “The wall is part of Jerusalem.”

May 15. In an interview with Meet the Press, Tillerson appeared publicly to renege on Trump’s campaign promise to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding what such a move, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have.”

Tillerson also appeared to equate the State of Israel and the Palestinians:

“As you know, the president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine. And so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”

Critics of this stance have argued that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would, instead, advance the peace process by “shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”

March 8. The State Department confirmed that the Obama administration’s $221 million payment to the Palestinian Authority, approved just hours before Trump’s inauguration, had reached its destination. The Trump administration initially had vowed to freeze the payment.

In July 2017, the Free Beacon reported that Tillerson’s State Department was waging an “open political war” with the White House on a range of key issues, including the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Iran portfolio, and other matters:

“The tensions have fueled an outstanding power battle between the West Wing and State Department that has handicapped the administration and resulted in scores of open positions failing to be filled with Trump confidantes. This has allowed former Obama administration appointees still at the State Department to continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda.”

A veteran foreign policy analyst interviewed by the Free Beacon laid the blame squarely on Tillerson:

“Foggy Bottom [a metonym for the State Department] is still run by the same people who designed and implemented Obama’s Middle East agenda. Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.”

Notable holdovers from the Obama administration are now driving the State Department’s Iran policy:

Michael Ratney, a top advisor to former Secretary of State John Kerry on Syria policy. Under the Trump administration, Ratney’s role at the State Department has been expanded to include Israel and Palestine issues. Ratney, who was the U.S. Consul in Jerusalem between 2012 and 2015, oversaw $465,000 in U.S. grants to wage a smear to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office in 2015 parliamentary elections, according to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Ratney admitted to Senate investigators that he deleted emails containing information about the Obama administration’s relationship with the group.

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., a career foreign service officer who serves as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Shannon, the State Department’s fourth-ranking official, has warnedthat scrapping the Iran deal would lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. “Any effort to step away from the deal would reopen a Pandora’s box in that region that would be hard to close again,” he said. His statement indicates that Shannon could be expected to lead efforts to resist any attempts to renege or renegotiate the deal; critics of the deal say that Iran’s continued missile testing has given Trump one more reason to tear up his predecessor’s deal with the Islamist regime.

Chris Backemeyer is now the highest-ranking official at the State Department for Iran policy. During the Obama administration, Backemeyer made his career by selling the Iran deal by persuading multinational corporations to do business with Iran as part of an effort to conclude the Iran nuclear deal.

Ratney, Shannon and Backemeyer, along with Tillerson, reportedly prevailed upon Trump twice to recertify the Iran nuclear deal. The Jerusalem Post explained:

Washington was briefly abuzz on the afternoon of July 17 when rumors began to circulate that President Trump was eager to declare that Iran was in breach of the conditions laid out in the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA).

Those receptive antennas were further heightened given the previous signals sent. After all, the State Department already released talking points to reporters on the decision to recertify Iran. The Treasury Department also had a package of fresh sanctions on over a dozen Iranian individuals and entities ready to announce to appease the hawks who were eager to cut loose from the deal.

But Trump didn’t want to recertify Iran, nor did he want to the last time around in April. That evening, a longtime Middle East analyst close to senior White House officials involved in the discussions described the scene to me: “Tillerson essentially told the president, ‘we just aren’t ready with our allies to decertify.’ The president retorted, ‘Isn’t it your job to get our allies ready?’ to which Tillerson said, ‘Sorry sir, we’re just not ready.'” According to this source, Secretary Tillerson pulled the same maneuver when it came to recertification in April by waiting until the last minute before finally admitting the State Department wasn’t ready. On both occasions he simply offered something to the effect of, “We’ll get ’em next time.” (Click to Site)