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4/25/18

EU Economic Review - Future Shape of Europe: Macron Vs. the Germans? - by Holger Schmieding

French president Emmanuel Macron travelled to Berlin for serious negotiations about the future shape of Europe. Will he achieve much?

Almost everybody would like to support him, partly to strengthen his hand against his anti-European adversaries at home. But hardly anybody in Berlin seems ready to breach “red lines“ drawn in the past.

Macron probably knows by now that he will have to settle for some modest changes for the time being, with only baby steps to be agreed by the time of the next EU summit on June 28-29, 2018.

Money isn’t the key issue. Germany is ready to spend more and put more of it at risk. But it would come with three key strings attached.

1. Berlin will insist that commitments involving serious amounts of money will remain subject to approval by the German parliament, as is currently the case for support programs of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). For those who love unwieldy German words, get used to “Parlamentsvorbehalt.“
2. Upon gradually completing the banking union, Germany will insist that each step to share risks comes after a step to reduce risks.
3. Partly because the Eurozone economy is doing fine at the moment and Germany is reluctant to endorse a major change in the governance of the Eurozone, Germany puts significant emphasis on changes for the EU rather than just the Eurozone level. For instance, this means improving controls of external borders (including significantly increasing the funding for FRONTEX), controlling migration and beefing up joint defense projects.

Read more: Macron Vs. the Germans? - The Globalist

Christianity: are some Christian NGO's on the payroll of the US Government?

A Christian Church Service in Vietnam
In March 1996 the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) adopted a resolution at its convention condemning collaboration between missionaries and intelligence agency employees.

In 1977, the CIA was prohibited from the recruitment of journalists, academics, clergy, and missionaries. However, speaking before a Senate intelligence committee, John Deutch, who was the CIA director during that time  testified that the spy agency could waive the ban in cases of "unique and special threats to national security."

The NAE has requested that Congress "correct this intolerable situation" of soliciting religious workers for covert activity. "For intelligence agencies to seek any relationship whatsoever with our religious workers must be unequivocally prohibited," says the  NAE.

Allowing such a loophole, endangers missionaries as well as church, relief, community development, and refugee workers in politically sensitive areas abroad.

The NAE has also urged missions organizations, not to provide information to any intelligence agency, although many already have such restrictions in place.

"Any foreigner living in a foreign culture already comes under a natural suspicion," says the Southern Baptist Convention Foreign Mission Board. "If this policy is reversed, it would totally erode the ministry of missionaries."

Regardless, however, statements by the Baptists or the NAE , a Christian non-governmental organization funded by the Pentagon was used to smuggle spy equipment into North Korea.

Investigative journalist Matthew Cole of the The Intercept has done lots of work in
ferreting out the details, of what must surely be one of the most ill-conceived military intelligence operations of all time, and that is saying quite a lot.

And Congress was reportedly fully briefed on North Korea , though that has been denied by at least one member of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, who accuses the Pentagon of never pausing to consider the potential blowback that it might produce.

NGOs are fair game for infiltration and cover by intelligence organizations, but their exploitation in that fashion is extremely uncommon. That is because it is impossible to control all the unwitting players in an NGO and any such operation would be susceptible to eventual exposure, with the damage derived from potential blowback far exceeding any possible gain. 


The United States government does in fact impose a ban on recruiting certain categories of individuals as spies. Clergymen are off limits partly for ethical reasons, but more because the exposure of such a relationship would be devastating both to the religious organization itself and to the United States government. Use of the U.S. taxpayer-funded Peace Corps is also banned because exploiting it would potentially turn its volunteers into targets for terrorists.

Recruitment of journalists whose reporting potentially might appear in the U.S. media is also forbidden because the distribution of intelligence agency-produced stories could be construed as an attempt to covertly influence opinion and policies inside the United States. Ironically, the federal government officially opposes spy agency disinformation even though it does the same thing through the judicious leaking of information from the White House and Pentagon.

Bottom-line: whatever way you want to look at it, NGO's, including religious ones, which operate overseas still remain one of the best resources for Government intelligence services as a collection point for intelligence information. From the ground level right up to the top political hierarchy.

In order to avoid this from happening, all Christian NGO's, wherever their global headquarters are, should make sure that they include in the preamble of their statement of purpose the wording "to bring the Gospel without any external , political, or foreign interference.

EU-Digest

4/24/18

Germany - Islam: German Muslim leader says anti-Semitism is a sin | News | DW | 24.04.2018

The head of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims has said anti-Semitism is sinful and must be tackled. His comments came after Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced concern about a "new phenomenon" of anti-Jewish sentiment.

Hatred and abuse of Jewish people are against the tenets of Islam, the president of Germany's Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek (pictured above), said, adding that the Muslim community had work to do in tackling the problem.

"Anti-Semitism, racism and hatred are great sins in Islam, therefore we will also never tolerate that," Mazyek told the Tuesday edition of the regional newspaper Rheinische Post.

The Muslim leader made his comments in response to remarks by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to an Israeli broadcaster at the weekend. Merkel told Channel 10 News that "refugees and other people of Arab origin are bringing a different form of anti-Semitism into the country."

Read more: German Muslim leader says anti-Semitism is a sin | News | DW | 24.04.2018

Turkey-German Relations: German lawmakers slam Turkish foreign minister′s Solingen trip

Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu is planning to join the commemoration ceremony for a racially-motivated attack 25 years ago in Solingen. German politicians warn the appearance could be used as a campaign event.

No other foreign official has had German politicians across party lines rushing to find a microphone like Mevlut Cavusoglu. The Turkish foreign minister caused a stir this week after he announced plans to travel to Solingen next month to commemorate the five Turkish victims of a 1993 racially-motivated firebomb attack in the western German town.

"Solingen has a dignified, reflective commemoration planned for May 29," said Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesman for the conservative faction of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), along with their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). "It would be very unfortunate if the event were overshadowed and the peace disturbed by Turkish domestic disputes."

He warned that Cavusoglu's planned attendance could be viewed as promotion for Turkey's upcoming snap elections. Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced he was bringing forward a presidential vote by a year-and-a-half, from November 2019 to June 24, 2018.

"There is no room for Turkey's election campaign in Solingen on May 29," Hardt said.
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) said that Turkey and Germany can work side-by-side to combat racism and commemorate events like the Solingen attack, but that cooperation stopped at election promotion. "The German government needs to take a clear stance," he told DW. "There can be no Turkish election campaign on German territory."

Read more: German lawmakers slam Turkish foreign minister′s Solingen trip | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 24.04.2018

Iran Nuclear Deal: Trump's oft-told tale of US payout to Iran not factual at all

President Donald Trump likes to tell a story about the U.S. paying out billions of dollars to Iran as part of the multinational deal freezing its nuclear program and easing sanctions against it. What he doesn't say is that most of that money was Iran's to begin with. The rest relates to an old debt the U.S. had with Iran.

The numbers and some details change in his retelling — dating back to the 2016 campaign — but his bottom line is always the same: The Obama administration was hoodwinked into giving Iran all that money, some of it in a huge and hidden bundle of cash.

The latest iteration of his claim Tuesday and the reality behind it:

TRUMP said : "The Iran deal is a terrible deal. We paid $150 billion. We gave $1.8 billion in cash. That's actual cash, barrels of cash. It's insane. It's ridiculous. It should have never been made. But we will be talking about it." — remarks before a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. At a news conference Tuesday, he spoke about "giving them, Iran, $150 billion at one point."

THE FACTS: There was no $150 billion payout from the U.S. treasury. The money he refers to represents Iranian assets held abroad that were frozen until the deal was reached and Tehran was allowed to access its funds.

The payout of about $1.8 billion is a separate matter. That dates to the 1970s, when Iran paid the U.S. $400 million for military equipment that was never delivered because the government was overthrown and diplomatic relations ruptured.

That left people, businesses and governments in each country indebted to partners in the other, and these complex claims took decades to sort out in tribunals and arbitration. For its part, Iran paid settlements of more than $2.5 billion to U.S. citizens and businesses.

The day after the nuclear deal was implemented, the U.S. and Iran announced they had settled the claim over the 1970s military equipment order, with the U.S. agreeing to pay the $400 million principal along with about $1.3 billion in interest.

The $400 million was paid in cash and flown to Tehran on a cargo plane, which gave rise to Trump's dramatic accounts of money stuffed in barrels or boxes and delivered in the dead of night. The arrangement provided for the interest to be paid later, not crammed into containers.

Read more: AP FACT CHECK: Trump's oft-told tale of US payout to Iran

France-US Relations:Trump touts ‘wonderful friendship’ with Macron at ceremony "as he brushes Macron's dandruff from his jacket" - by Yaron Steinbuch

Donald Trump inspect Emmanuel Macron for dandruff
Hosting his first state visit, President Trump on Tuesday morning welcomed his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to the White House during a formal arrival ceremony on the South Lawn.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump greeted Macron and his wife, Brigitte, amid heavy pomp as almost 500 service members from all five branches of the military stood at attention for a “Review of the Troops.”

Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Chief of Staff John Kelly were among those in attendance to shake hands with the two leaders and their spouses.

Trump and Macron both sent their condolences to the families of the victims of the deadly van attack Monday in Toronto, as well as to the Bush family after the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush.
Former President George H.W. Bush has since been hospitalized with a blood infection.

Speaking in French, Macron said he wished to “express our deepest sympathy to President Bush and his family,” adding that at this time, “We stand together.”

In his remarks, Trump hailed France for its role in helping to respond to a chemical attack on civilians in the Damascus enclave of Douma in Syria.

“Along with our British friends, the United States and France recently took decisive action in response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons,” Trump said.

The two leaders are meeting on a number of issues, including the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the crisis in Syria.

On Tuesday evening, Macron will be honored with Trump’s first state dinner, where about 150 guests will dine on rack of lamb and nectarine tart before enjoying a performance by the Washington National Opera

Note EU-Digest: Even though the US President tried to be on his best behavior during the Macron welcoming ceremony, he was not able to contain himself to show his "macho side",  when, while speaking about his good relationship with Macron, he leaned over to him and brushed away some imaginary dandruff, and said: I like him a lot, so much so, that I even brushed off the dandruff he had on his jacket.

As Herbert Read, a famous British art historian, poet, literary critic and philosopher wrote: "The worth of a civilization or a culture is not valued in the terms of its material wealth or military power, but by the quality and achievements of its representative individuals - its philosophers, its poets and its artists. Unfortunately the President of the US, Donald Trump possesses none of these qualities. 

EU-Digest

4/23/18

USA: Lack of Gun Control And NRA Opposition Results In More Deaths at Waffle House slaying - suspect arrested after massive manhunt

The AR-15 Also Known As The NRA Special Killing Machine
The mentally unstable gunman suspected of killing four people in a late-night shooting at a Waffle House restaurant was arrested near his apartment Monday after hiding from police for more than a day, authorities said.

Police and federal agents had mounted a massive manhunt in Nashville for 29-year-old Travis Reinking after the Sunday morning attack, in which a gunman clad only in a jacket opened fire with an assault rifle on a diverse crowd at the restaurant before a customer disarmed him.

Reinking was formally charged late Monday with four counts of criminal homicide and held on a $2 million bond, court records show.

Construction workers told officers earlier Monday that a person matching Reinking's description walked into the woods near a construction site, Metro Nashville Police Department Lt. Carlos Lara told reporters. A detective spotted Reinking, who lay down on the ground to be handcuffed when confronted, Lara said

Reinking carried a black backpack with a silver semi-automatic weapon and .45-caliber ammunition, Lara said. Detectives cut the backpack off him while he was cuffed.

It's not clear why Reinking attacked shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, though he may have "mental issues," Nashville police Chief Steve Anderson said earlier.

Police said Reinking opened fire in the restaurant parking lot before storming the restaurant, which had about 20 people inside. Four people — three of them black and one Hispanic — were killed and four others injured before a customer wrestled the weapon away and Reinking, who is white, ran out, police said.

Police said Reinking stole a BMW days before the attack. The car was quickly recovered, but authorities did not immediately link the theft to Reinking.

Meanwhile, authorities in Illinois shared past reports suggesting multiple red flags about a disturbed young man with paranoid delusions.

Another sheriff's report said Reinking barged into a community pool in Tremont, Illinois, last June, and jumped into the water wearing a pink woman's coat over his underwear. Investigators believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his car trunk, but it was never displayed. No charges were filed.

Last July, Reinking was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service after he entered a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. Reinking was not armed, but at the FBI's request, Illinois police revoked his state firearms card and seized four guns from him, authorities said.

The AR-15 used in the shootings was among those seized.

"There's certainly evidence that there's some sort of mental health issues involved," Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston said. But he said deputies returned the guns to Reinking's father on the promise he would "keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis."

Reinking's father "has now acknowledged giving them back" to his son, Aaron said.


Read more: Waffle House slaying suspect arrested after massive manhunt

Canada - terrorism: Toronto collision leaves 9 dead, 16 injured; suspect in custody

Nine people are dead and 16 are injured after the driver of a van plowed into multiple pedestrians in Toronto on Monday, Acting Police Chief Peter Yuen said.

The driver, who authorities said hit pedestrians on a busy street north of downtown Toronto, was in custody after leaving a trail of destruction stretching up to a mile, officials said. The van has been located, Toronto Police media representative Gary Long said.

Authorities have not said publicly if the vehicle collisions were intentional. But a law enforcement official briefed on the situation in Toronto told CNN the incident is believed to be deliberate.

The incident happened in the North York area at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, police said.

The suspect covered between a half-mile and a mile in the vehicle, said Stephen Powell, district chief for Toronto Fire.

Read more: Toronto collision leaves 9 dead, 16 injured; suspect in custody

EU ASYLUM LAW: EU granted 500,000 people asylum protection in 2017

EU member states as well as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland granted protection status to 538,000 asylum seekers in 2017, according to new data released by Eurostat recently.

Another 24,000 refugees were resettled in the region last year.

Last year's asylum seeker figures represent a 25% drop from 2016, when 710,000 asylum seekers qualified for international protection in the bloc.

Two forms of protection are offered under EU law: refugee status — for people fleeing persecution, and subsidiary protection — for those who face serious harm if they return to their country of origin, and who don’t qualify as refugees. But protection may also be given for humanitarian reasons, such as on grounds of ill health or if the person is an unaccompanied minor.

Around a third of such asylum seekers in Europe came from Syria last year, followed by Afghan citizens (19%) and Iraqis (12%).

Note EU-Digest:The Eurostat figures in this report are not very clear. 

According to the data listed in this re, a third (33.%) of asylum seekers come from Syria, followed by Afghanistan with 19% and Iraq with 12%. Added together 64%. 

Where do the rest of the asylum seekers (36%) come from? 

Probably a large number of them from Africa, who come to Libya by illegal means to make the crossing to Europe. In our  opinion, these are mainly "economic migrants" and not asylum seekers, just as most of them from Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also striking that many of the asylum seekers are young and able men . The EU and the governments of the Member States must, as far as their migrants and asylum policies are concerned do a far better job, Right now it can only be qualified as being barely functional.

READ MORE: EU granted 500,000 people asylum protection in 2017 | Euronews

Global Conflict: throughout the ages has been caused by Nationalism, Religion, Revenge, Economic and Territorial gain and will eventually destroy this planet if we don't do something about it

Mankind is digging it's own grave
Wars have been a part of human history for thousands of years, becoming increasingly destructive with industrialization and the subsequent advances in technology.

Typically a war is fought by a country, or group of countries, against an opposing country with the aim of achieving an objective through the use of force.

Wars can also be fought as Proxy Wars, or within a country, however, in the form of a civil war, or in a revolutionary war.

Of course, the causes of a war beginning are often numerous and several reasons for war can be intertwined in a complicated way, rather than there being just one single, clear cause. The ego's of some world leaders can also play an important part.

Many theories have been put forward over the years for why wars happen and some of the greatest minds have offered their ideas.

The main reasons why wars usually start were given as being the result of:  Nationalism, Religion, Revenge, Economic and Territorial gain

This phenomena unfortunately begins already at a very basic local level, were most people in the world still show to have a very nationalistic, tribal, territorial viewpoint, specially when it comes to how they identify themselves.

When a Dutchman visit another country, he or she will usually identify herself or himself as " I am Peter/Anna and I am from Holland".

This goes for just about any nationality visiting another country.

Maybe it would be better, if we all  would adhere to what one wise man once said: "the world is mine and wherever I can live in peace and harmony I will call home.

Yes indeed aren't we all citizens of this planet we call earth, regardless of were we were born or what religion we profess?.

At least if we could all agree on that, it would be far easier to deal with all those other causes of war

EU-Digest