"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Over 80 Killed, Children Burnt to Death in Boko Haram Attack in Nigeria

I thought the new government in Nigeria was making good progress
 against these diabolical lunatics, but apparently not so. 
More Christian martyrs were made today.

Boko Haram militants killed 86 people, including children, in their recent attack on villages in northeastern Nigeria on Saturday. Horrifying details of the attacks emerged on Sunday.

The Saturday night assault on the outskirts of the Nigerian city of Maiduguri – the birthplace of Boko Haram – lasted for hours, targeting villages and camps housing some 25,000 refugees, AP has reported, citing survivors and soldiers at the scene. By Sunday afternoon, 86 bodies had collected, officials said, adding that another 62 victims were being treated for burns.

The Islamic extremists launched the attack on the village of Dalori, where scores of charred corpses and bodies with bullet wounds could be seen lying in the streets, AP reported. “During the incident, lives were lost while some people sustained injuries,” army spokesman Colonel Mustapha Anka confirmed, according to AFP.

Citing an eyewitness surviving the attack, AP reported that Boko Haram extremists firebombed huts. The survivor said that he had heard the screams of children burning to death from a hiding place in a tree.

he had heard the screams of children burning to death

The shooting and burning attack was carried out by three suicide bombers and continued for nearly four hours, eyewitness who lost several family members told AP.

How can that be? Maiduguri is the capitol city of Borno State; were there no soldiers in the capitol city? If there were, why would it take 4 hours to respond if they responded at all? If there weren't, that's just insane, why weren't there?

After scores of villagers had been murdered in Dalori, Boko Haram attackers targeted the neighboring village of Gamori, where three female suicide bombers blew themselves up among people who had managed to escape the first wave of violence, a soldier at the scene told AP.

Survivors complained that it had taken too long for military help to arrive at the scene of the massacre from nearby Maiduguri, AP reported. The first troops to arrive in Dalori were unable to overcome the attackers, as the terrorists were better armed, soldiers told AP on condition of anonymity. The extremist aggressors retreated only after reinforcements with heavier weapons arrived. 

The attack came just a day after Boko Haram carried out a twin bombing that claimed the lives of 15 people in Adamawa state, which is also in the northeast of Nigeria.

The Boko Haram terrorist group, whose name is literally translated “Western education is forbidden,” is believed to be even more deadly than Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). Its extremists in Africa are said to have killed more people than IS, to which they pledged allegiance in 2015.

There is a real bias against media coverage of terrorist attacks in Africa, and especially in Nigeria,” Max Abrahms, assistant professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston, told RT. “I think many people would be surprised to know how much killing power the main terrorist group Boko Haram has,” he said, adding that if such attacks were carried out against people in European or North American countries, “there would be much more media coverage.”

About 20,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million driven from their homes since the Nigeria-based terror group launched a military campaign in 2009, with the goal of establishing Islamist rule. The military managed to drive most of the extremists out of the towns and villages of northeastern Nigeria last year, and since then Boko Haram has been attacking soft targets, increasingly with suicide bombers.

“It’s still mostly a local operation, although, over social media in particular, Boko Haram likes to pretend as if it’s a very international group, highly connected to Islamic State,” Abrahms told RT.

“But the truth is that different affiliates have stronger or weaker relations with IS central, [and] the Boko Haram affiliation is relatively detached, unlike the one in Libya, which is actually directed by the IS leadership in Syria,” he said.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Germany Accused of ‘Paying’ African Countries to Take Back ‘Foreign’ Asylum Seekers

Germany is quietly expelling asylum seekers

© Michaela Rehle / Reuters
Germany has been giving “financial incentives” to the embassies of some African countries to accept asylum seekers from third states who have been rejected by Germany without the consent of the migrants, a refugee aid organization claims.

Berlin has been adding specific “Readmission Agreements” to development aid accords with African countries in order to deport asylum seekers to these countries – regardless of their actual country of origin, “Pro Azyl” (For Asylum), a German refugee rights organization, alleges.

“These agreements commit the African countries to readmitting their own citizens who have had asylum turned down by Germany, but it also allows them to readmit rejected asylum seekers from other countries, who travelled through these transit states,” Max Pichl, a member of Pro Azyl, told The Local.

According to the relief organization’s data, if German authorities are unable to deport a rejected asylum seeker because they lack sufficient information and documents to determine or confirm their country of origin, they address a third nation’s embassy and pay for documentation to be issued “confirming” such a person’s nationality as their citizen so that the migrant can eventually be deported to that country.

“It is difficult to say how many people it affects. The cases only come to light on an individual basis when someone who has been sent back to Africa reports it,” Pichl told The Local, adding that there is “a very long list of countries with whom Germany has such agreements,” according to which “countries are obliged to take back migrants, but nothing more is specified.”

At the same time, the data provided by the German Federal Office for Migration (BAMF), which is specifically responsible for deporting rejected asylum seekers, suggests that Germany has 13 such agreements, with only two countries from the list – Morocco and Algeria – actually being African.

Apart from Morocco and Algeria, the BAMF’s list includes Albania, Syria, Kosovo, Serbia, and Macedonia.

BAMF has not revealed how many people have been deported under these agreements, stating only that “these arrangements make it possible for foreigners to return or be returned via the contracting Member State without the need of a transit visa.”

Additional payments for 'successful identification'
Similar issues were reported by German weekly Der Freitag on Tuesday, claiming that the rejected refugees whose country of origin cannot be determined are sent to meetings with the employees of some of the countries they could be potentially legally be sent back to.

In 2014, German federal authorities ordered 720 “stateless” asylum seekers to attend 50 such meetings with representatives from 18 different African countries, the weekly claims, adding that “an indefinite number of such meetings organized by the regional authorities” had taken place during the same period.

Germany allegedly pays the embassies for these “refugee hearings.” According to Der Freitag, Berlin also gives them additional money if they subsequently issue relevant documentation for the rejected asylum seekers – so-called emergency travel certificates – which allow German authorities to deport a person “within days.”

The meetings with the embassy employees take “several minutes,” and are therefore insufficient to determine a person’s actual country of origin, Der Freitag claims, implying that they are only a formality used by Germany to deport unwanted asylum seekers.

At the same time, some countries are said to be rewarded more generously for their efforts than the others. Benin, which issues identification documents for “stateless” refugees in three quarters of the cases, receives €300 for every such “identification,” while Nigeria, which “accepts” only one in two, gets €250, according to Der Freitag.

The weekly wonders whether giving asylum seekers identification documents without their consent and against their will is a regular practice, citing an example of a man who claimed he was from Sierra Leone, but was eventually given Nigerian identification documents.

In the meantime, payments to the Nigerian embassy have been suspended “to extract a bit of the smell of corruption,” the paper adds, citing Ulla Jelpke, a member of the German Die Linke (the Left Party).

Good luck with that - we are talking about Nigeria!

In view of the unending refugee inflow, German public opinion, as well as the sentiments of the country’s political establishment, has gradually turned against the German government’s open arms refugee policy.

According to one recent poll, 40% of Germans want German Chancellor Angela Merkel to resign over her refugee policy, while small arms sales in the country skyrocketed after a wave of New Year’s Eve assaults in the German city of Cologne.

At the same time, the German Chancellor’s Bavarian allies are threatening her with a lawsuit over her migration policy, and a member of the European Parliament from Alternative for Germany (AfD), a German anti-immigration Eurosceptic party, has even suggested that she should flee to South America in exile to escape retribution for allowing over a million immigrants to enter Germany.

Facing intense public pressure, the German government announced another package of tougher asylum regulations on Friday that included expedited deportations and a delay in family reunifications.

German authorities have previously had to defend their questionable policy of requesting foreign embassies to “conduct nationality checks.” According to an official reply to a parliamentary question from Die Linke (the Left party) in 2011, the government regarded such procedures as “often the only possibility to establish the nationality of the person to be deported.”

This may be shocking to some people but I happen to agree with the policy. Germany has to have somewhere to send the undesirables, and the receiving country has to have a reason to take them. And maybe a little of that money will make its way past corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to help the economies of these 3rd world countries. I know that's pretty unlikely, but we can always hope.

Masked Marchers Beat Immigrants in Stockholm - Societal Entropy

There's a law in physics called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the state of entropy of the entire universe, as an isolated system, will always increase over time. The second law also states that the changes in the entropy in the universe can never be negative.

This is a confusing definition unless you understand what 'entropy' is. It is a lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder. 

One more explanation: 'an isolated system' means a system with no influence from 'outside' of itself.

Christians often use this law as proof that life evolving from nothing is impossible and defies a known and accepted law. They say that without God, the Earth, the solar system, etc, are isolated systems and can only tend to disorder. 

Whether this law can be applied as such outside of thermodynamics is for philosophers and physicists to discuss, but the principal seems to work elsewhere. 

Society, for instance, without strong controls on behaviour from governments or police, will degenerate into chaos and violence. That is obvious in many countries like Somalia, Tunisia, several African countries in fact. It is also true in Central America where cities are run by street gangs and or drug cartels and where murder rates are extraordinary. 

One might also argue that America is an example of societal entropy, and for many reasons. For instance, the Supreme Court decided to strike down the law that protected the lives of babies while in their mother's womb. That is a withdrawal of influence on that segment of society, and the result was the abortion of approximately 50 million babies since 1973.

There is also the issue of rapidly deteriorating morality in America as laws loosen or disappear governing sexual perversion, pornography, etc. Just yesterday a friend reported a Facebook image of bestiality that appeared despite his best efforts to prevent such things. Facebook informed him that the image was not beyond community standards and they would not block it.

But on the other side we are also seeing the government become impotent with regard to gun control. They are stymied at every turn in just trying to ensure that anyone buying a gun has a criminal background check. The result is mass shootings almost daily making America one of the most dangerous countries in the world to live in or visit. Of course, this is all done in the name of 2nd Amendment Rights, but that is a red herring. It's about money! It's about gun sales! When Americans wake up and realize that they have been duped by gun manufacturers and sellers, and that they are enabling the insane, the criminals, and jihadists to murder and terrorize their children, they will have a lot to answer for.

We are seeing societal entropy modeled in Europe where an influx of migrants, not just last year but for several years, has brought the social standards of Muslim societies into Europe. The consequence? A deterioration of societal standards and behaviour across the UK and the continent.

Just look at the devastation of Rotherham, England, where some 1400 girls in their very early teens were sexually abused and exploited, many of them raped and gang-raped hundreds of times, almost entirely by Pakistani immigrants. 

In Europe, border controls were virtually eliminated by the Schengen agreement for most EU countries. That elimination of controls resulted in the free and easy movement of jihadists and other lunatics around Europe as they organized horrific attacks on Paris.

Now we are seeing another aspect of societal entropy in Germany and Sweden. Gangs of Germans and Swedes are now roaming around looking for lone migrants for the purpose of beating the crap out of them. This is, at least in part, thanks to the New years Eve behaviour of Muslim men unable or unwilling to control themselves, and molesting German and Swedish women. It also may have to do with the astonishing rise in the rape of white girls and women at the hands of Muslim immigrants. 

The point is that good, orderly societies are becoming almost anarchic as a consequence of their government's unwillingness to adequately protect young, white women from immoral, Muslim men. That was true in Rotherham, it is true in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Holland, and many other EU states. Weak, impotent, or unwilling governments lead to rapid deterioration of societies. Societal Entropy!

The masked mob moving through an underpass near Stockholm Central Station. Photo: Screen Grab
A gang of up to a hundred black-clad masked men marched in central Stockholm on Friday evening, singling out and beating up immigrants, and handing out leaflets threatening further violent attacks against unaccompanied refugee youth.

The march, the most extreme reaction seen so far to the murder on Monday of social worker Alexandra Mezher, has been linked to football gangs and far-right groups. 

It was followed on Saturday morning by a demonstration at the nearby Norrmalms Torg  organised by the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party, which called for the government to resign over its handling of the refugee crisis.

According to Aftonbladet newspaper, men were distributing leaflets on Friday evening with the slogan “It’s enough now!” which threatened to give “the North African street children who are roaming around” the “punishment they deserve.” 

“They were scattering leaflets which had the intention to incite people to carry out crimes,” Stockholm police confirmed on its website.

By 9pm, three people had been arrested, one for punching a plain-clothes policeman, and another for carrying brass knuckledusters, although all three had been released by Saturday morning. 

“We have been able to link them to hooligan gangs for Stockholm football teams,” Fredrik Nylén from the Stockholm Police told Aftonbladet newspaper.

A witness told the newspaper that he had seen a group of the men beating people who appeared to have a foreign background in the middle of Stockholm’s busy central Sergels torg square.

“They came from Drottninggatan [Stockholm's main shopping street] and walked down toward the square and began to turn on immigrants,” a witness told Aftonbladet. “I saw maybe three people who got beaten. I was quite scared so I left.”

Police on Saturday morning would not confirm whether any of the marchers had assaulted immigrants.

After the attack the Swedish Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group, issued a statement claiming that the groups had “cleaned up criminal immigrants from North Africa that are housed in the area around the central station”. 

“These criminal immigrants,” the post continued,”have robbed and molested Swedes for a long time.” 

“Police have clearly shown that they lack the means to stave off their rampage, and we now see no other alternative than to ourselves hand out the punishments they deserve,” the text of the leaflet, published on the group’s website, read.

“Swedish men and women deserve security in their daily lives and we therefore urge all others who see problems to follow in our footsteps, both in Stockholm and in other locations around the country.” 

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Islamization of Europe Will Cost Israel Bigtime

France to recognize Palestinian statehood if peace efforts fail – FM Fabius

Palestinian flags © Mohamad Torokman / Reuters
Paris will recognize the Palestinian state if France fails to break a deadlock between the Israelis and Palestinians in the coming weeks, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has announced.

“If this attempt to achieve a negotiated solution reaches a dead end, we will take responsibility and recognize the Palestinian state,” Fabius said Friday.

Excusez-moi Monsieur, but what is the likelihood that a solution will be reached if you are offering the jack-pot to Hamas if they fail? Es-tu stupide?

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, France has a duty to maintain efforts to find a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, he explained during a media-conference in Paris.

“France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states,” the French FM is cited as saying by Reuters.

Ummm, any Israelis?

Fabius expressed hope that the international peace summit will be attended by Israelis and Palestinians, who haven’t been talking since 2014, as well as other key international players, including the US, EU states and Arab nations.

“Unfortunately, [Israeli] settlement construction continues. We must not let the two-state solution unravel,” he said.

An unnamed Israeli official has already told a journalist for the Haaretz newspaper that the French peace initiative will be rejected, as recognizing it would only encourage Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations with Tel-Aviv.

Less than a month ago, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki visited Paris to discuss the possibility of proposing a UN Security Council resolution declaring that the illegal Israeli settlements in the West bank are an obstacle to a peaceful solution of the conflict.

In October of 2014, Sweden became the first EU nation to recognize Palestinian statehood, followed shortly by the UK. The first Palestinian embassy opened in Stockholm in January 2015.

Last September, the Palestinian flag was hoisted at UN headquarters for the first time as a symbolic gesture in the territory’s quest for statehood.

I have been harping on this for some time, that as the Muslim population of EU countries increases and their political clout increases, Europe will turn more and more against Israel. It has already happened in the UN, UK, and Sweden. It is happening in France and it's just a matter of time before Germany, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Poland, Norway, Spain, Italy, Austria and Switzerland follow suit.

Israel will be relentlessly condemned and if liberal governments persist in Canada and the US, we will join the condemnation and abandon our ally, the only real democracy in the middle east. Israel is the only country in the middle east where there is any reasonable level of human rights. It is also the only country in that area that I, as a Christian, would ever consider living in.

There is no solution to this problem; it's going to happen! Western countries are playing into the hands of Islam and all Islam wants is the complete annihilation of every Jew on the planet. The spirit of Hitler lives! Only this time it will take an extraordinary act of God to prevent evil from destroying His chosen people.

Finland to Decline Asylum to & Deport 20,000 Migrants

With Sweden's 80,000, that totals 100,000 migrants 
to be deported from Europe

Migrants enter a registration centre under police supervision in Tornio, Finland © Attila Cser / Reuters
Over 60 percent of the migrants who arrived in Finland last year are likely to fail in their asylum pleas, meaning that around 20,000 of them will be deported, the Finnish Interior Ministry said.

Paivi Nerg, the Interior Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, told Reuters, “20,000 is the estimate we are working with at the moment, but the number of asylum seekers who decide to return voluntarily could change it.”

In an interview with AFP, Nerg said that 65 percent of the 32,000 migrants who arrived in the country last year “will get a negative decision.”

It’s a normal percentage of refusals, she explained, adding that it’s only the overall number of asylum seekers that has grown.

In 2014, for example, just 3,651 people applied for asylum in Finland, of which 56 percent were declined.

Last year, the Finnish government tightened the process for granting asylum to refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, citing the improved security situation in some parts of those countries.

Iraqis make up nearly two-thirds of all the migrants seeking asylum in Finland, and two flights have been chartered to transport deportees back to Iraq in the following months, she said.

Nerg said that some 4,000 asylum seekers have already withdrawn their applications voluntarily and the authorities are hoping more people will do the same. 

Another 2015 law envisaged a voluntary return model, in which Finland pays up to €1,000 for every migrant’s ticket home.

The legislation has been criticized by many in Finland, but Nerg said that it’s more cost-efficient than deportation. 

“If one is expelled by force, it’s up to the Finnish state to pay for the flight and police officers guarding it. It’s a lot more expensive,” she told the Helsingin Sanomat paper.

According to the Permanent Secretary, separate transit centers will be established for those leaving Finland voluntarily and for those being deported.

All of last year’s asylum applications will be processed by the end of August, she said.

Earlier this week, Finland’s neighbor, Sweden, said that according to its estimates, it will reject up to 80,000 of the 163,000 asylum applications it received in 2015.

“The Swedish news comes as no surprise. We have the same situation here (in Finland),” Nerg said.

The official said she expects more rejections across Europe, wondering, “How many there’ll be in Germany, for example?”

Europe is going through its biggest ever refugee crisis since it accepted over a million refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East in 2015.

Ban Ki Moon's Remarkably Israeliphobic UN Speech

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
pictured, this week addressed the Security Council "
on the situation in the Middle East."
Photo: World Economic Forum
Yes, it is outrageous that Ban Ki Moon essentially called terror attacks a natural result of “occupation,” and Netanyahu was right in slamming him for it.

But that wasn’t the strangest part of the speech.

The title of Ban Ki-Moon’s talk was “Secretary-General’s remarks to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East.”

There were 52 paragraphs in the speech according to the official UN record.

Of those 52, three were about Lebanon. Two referred to Syria – one about refugees and one about the Golan.

The entire rest of the speech was about Israel and the Palestinians.

The Secretary General of the UN gives an overview of the Middle East without mentioning Syrian atrocities, without mentioning Iraqi instability, without even mentioning ISIS.

Nothing about Iran. Nothing about Saudi Arabia, which is killing more civilians in Yemen than Israel did in Gaza. Nothing about Egypt or Libya. Not a word about Kurds.

On the contrary – Ban Ki Moon implied that if only Israel would just give some more concessions, then the rest of the region would be inspired to make peace. “As the wider Middle East continues to be gripped by a relentless wave of extremist terror, Israelis and Palestinians have an opportunity to restore hope to a region torn apart by intolerance and cruelty.”

The word “obsession” hardly does justice to the single-minded Israel fetish at the UN.

But, yes, we must also be angry at the Secretary General’s justification for terror.

US - Only Developed Country on List of 50 Most Murderous Cities, with 4

4 US cities among world’s most violent in 2015

Congratulations America! I don't know if this falls under 
'American exceptionalism', but you are certainly unique 
among 1st world nations.

Clouds of smoke and crowd control agents rise shortly after the deadline for a city-wide curfew passed in Baltimore, Maryland April 28, 2015, as crowds protest the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody © Jim Bourg / Reuters
Four American cities are among the 50 with highest murder rates worldwide in 2015, a new study revealed. St. Louis, with 188 homicides per 317,000 residents is the highest among them, made it to the 15th place on the list.

The study conducted by the Mexico-based group Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice focused on cities with population of at least 300,000. Excluded from the survey were the cities with no reliable crime statistic available as well as those in war zones.

America is the only developed nation on the list. Baltimore, Detroit and New Orleans, all of which have systematic violence problems, made the grade. Baltimore in 2015 attracted nationwide attention during the mass riots in April, triggered by the death of black man Freddie Gray in police custody. His death was one of 434 homicides that happened in the city of 624,000 residents in 2015.

Is it safe to assume the only Saints in New Orleans are on the football team?

The world’s most violent city last year was the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, the study said. An astounding 3,946 people died violently there, or 119.87 people per 100,000 inhabitants. Cape Town, South Africa, had the second-highest number of homicides – 2,451 – but was placed ninth in the list because with its population of 3,740,000 the number corresponds to a death rate of 65.52, less than San Pedro Sula in Honduras, San Salvador in El Salvador, and five Mexican cities, including Acapulco.

Brazilian cities feature most often on the list, but Venezuela has a higher level of urban violence in general, the study said, attributing this to the deteriorating economic situation in the country. Overall Latin America accounts for an overwhelming majority of the cities on the list, with Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala all featuring. Gang wars, drug violence and corruption contribute to the high murder rates, the study said.

Only nine cities are from other parts of the world – the four in the US, four in South Africa and Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

Obviously, St Louis, Baltimore, Detroit and New Orleans need more guns in order to make them safer! Huh?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sweden To Expel up to 80,000 Failed Asylum-Seekers

60% of migrants are economic migrants not war refugees
From BBC Europe
A group of migrants, coming off an incoming train, are seen next to police on the platform at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark, in Hyllie district, Malmo November 12, 2015. Image copyright Reuters

Sweden had the highest per capita number of asylum applications of any European country in 2015

Sweden expects to expel up to 80,000 asylum-seekers whose applications have been rejected, its interior minister was quoted as saying.

Anders Ygeman said that charter aircraft would be used to deport the migrants over several years.

"We are talking about 60,000 people but the number could climb to 80,000," Swedish media quoted him as saying.

Some 163,000 migrants applied for asylum in Sweden in 2015, the highest per capita number in Europe.

Of the approximately 58,800 cases processed last year, 55% were accepted.

Earlier on Wednesday, Greece's government responded to allegations in a draft European Commission report that it had "seriously neglected" its obligations to control the external frontier of Europe's passport-free Schengen zone.

Greek government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili accused the Commission of "blame games" and said it had failed to act on a programme agreed last year to relocate tens of thousands of migrants and refugees stranded in Greece.

Europe is struggling to deal with a crisis that has seen tens of thousands more migrants arrive on Greek beaches, undeterred by cold wintry conditions.

The UN says more than 46,000 people have arrived in Greece so far this year, with more than 170 people killed making the dangerous crossing.

Which countries are in the Schengen zone?

Mr Ygeman was quoted as giving the figure of 80,000 by Swedish Public TV and Dagens Industri business newspaper (in Swedish).

He later tweeted to say he had not taken a position on how many migrants had grounds for asylum, it being a matter for the authorities and the courts.

Sweden recently introduced temporary border checks in a bid to control the influx of people. Along with Germany, the Scandinavian country is a prime destination for refugees and other migrants entering the EU illegally.

Where Europe is failing on migrants

The 28 member states have not agreed on an EU-wide mechanism for relocating migrants, meant to ease the burden on Greece and Italy. Only small groups have been relocated so far - and several states in Central and Eastern Europe refuse to accept migrants

The Schengen agreement on freedom of movement is in jeopardy - Hungary fenced off its borders with Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia; meanwhile Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and France also reimposed border controls

The Dublin regulation, under which refugees are required to claim asylum in the member state in which they first arrive, is not working effectively. Countries are no longer sending back migrants to their first point of entry to the EU

Thousands of migrants - many of them Syrian war refugees - still arrive daily from Turkey

Processing of asylum applications is slow and there is a big backlog - so reception centres are overcrowded

Germany - the main destination for migrants - is rethinking its open-door policy, partly because of outrage over assaults on women in Cologne at New Year

In other words, Angela woke up and realized what she has done to her country. It may have to do with this: Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies have sent her a letter threatening to take the German chancellor to the Constitutional Court if the federal government fails to secure the country’s borders and reduce the influx of asylum seekers.

Sweden earlier this week became the latest of a number of European nations to see tensions over migrants heightened by violence. A 15-year-old asylum seeker was arrested in Molndal, near Gothenburg, after a 22-year-old asylum centre employee was stabbed to death.

Migration officials say 35,400 unaccompanied minors sought asylum in Sweden in 2015, five times the number in 2014.

In neighbouring Denmark, meanwhile, the government this week approved legislation to seize the valuables of refugees in the hope of limiting the influx of migrants.

Some have likened the Danish proposals to the confiscation of gold and other valuables from Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

60% of refugees heading to Europe are economic migrants – top EU official

© Ognen Teofilovski / Reuters

A majority of people coming to Europe from the Middle East and Africa are economic migrants using asylum-seeker status as a cover, according to a top EU official. The EU may reinstate internal border controls if the crisis isn’t resolved in two months.

“More than half of the people now coming to Europe come from countries where you can assume they have no reason whatsoever to ask for refugee status… more than half, 60 percent,” said Frans Timmerman, vice-president of the European Commission, citing what he said were new, unpublished figures from the EU border agency Frontex.

Speaking on Tuesday with Dutch national broadcaster NOS, he added that these false refugees are mostly aspiring settlers from Morocco and Tunisia and are infiltrating Europe through porous Turkish borders in pursuit of better economic prospects.

Timmerman urged EU countries to accelerate the deportation procedure for those who pretend to be fleeing war or persecution. In this way, Europe would be able to provide support for those who need protection, he said.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Denmark Approves Confiscation of Refugees’ Valuables, Delay of Family Reunifications

Migrants, mainly from Syria, prepare to board a train headed for Sweden, at Padborg station in southern Denmark
© Claus Fisker / Reuters
The Danish parliament has passed measures aimed at deterring refugees from seeking asylum, including the confiscation of their valuables and a delay in family reunifications. The move has received widespread condemnation from human rights organizations.

Asylum seekers arriving in Denmark will now have to hand over cash exceeding 10,000 kroner (US$1,450) and any personal items valued at more than that amount. This is more than three times the 3,000 kroner ($435) that was originally proposed.

However, wedding rings and other sentimental items will be exempt from confiscation.

Integration Minister Inger Stojberg said the goal of the new legislation is for Denmark to become “significantly less attractive for asylum-seekers,” AFP reported.

The center-right Danish government says the measures are aimed at covering the cost of each asylum seeker’s support from the state, and is similar to requirements for Danish citizens receiving welfare benefits. However, Danes are not subject to the kinds of searches proposed in the new refugee law.

Some have compared the new measures to the confiscation of gold and other valuables from Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

But Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen of the right-wing Venstre party has shrugged off the criticism, calling it the “most misunderstood bill in Denmark’s history.”

The new legislation will also prevent refugees from applying to be reunited with their family for three years, and will only give Syrian war refugees one year’s protection.

“I’m afraid that it will lead to an incentive structure where refugees bring their children with them,” parliament member Mette Gjerskov told Berlingske newspaper. Berlingske said ahead of the vote that she was one of three Social Democrats planning to vote against their own party.

I doubt it! It will more than likely cause migrants to head to another country, which is the whole idea.

“We have seen plenty of children in rubber boats on the Mediterranean,” the lawmaker added.

International human rights organizations have also condemned the three-year delay for reunification applications.

Amnesty International called the move “cruel,” stating that it could have a “devastating impact on families.” Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said the law violates several conventions on rights and refugees.

That sentiment echoed a January 15 letter to Stojberg from the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, who said the reunification waiting period raises “issues of compatibility” with the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen defended the law to the UN Human Rights Council last week, saying “the Danish welfare state is based upon the very simple principle that the state will provide and pay for those unable to take care of themselves, not for those who are able.”

Jensen and Stojberg responded with similar answers when questioned by European MPs during a meeting of the civil liberties committee on Monday.

The bill will be signed into law by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe within a few days.

Passage of the new legislation comes less than one week after Danish lawmakers passed a resolution urging the government to look into the consequences of building temporary housing complexes for refugees outside of Danish cities. The move is backed by the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, which wants to prevent refugees from integrating into Danish society.

Yikes! While this looks good at first glance in terms of safety for Danish girls, I can see some pretty awful possibilities as a consequence of such a move. Such camps would quickly become breeding grounds for discontent and recruiting grounds for ISIS. 

But the first question to be answered is whether or not real integration of such large numbers is even possible.

The influx of asylum seekers has led to tension with locals in some areas, with Danish women reporting sexual harassment at the hands of refugees in at least three towns. Several nightclubs have imposed strict admission rules, requiring patrons to prove their ability to speak Danish, German, or English. 

Denmark registered 21,000 asylum applications in 2015, making it one of the top EU destinations for refugees per capita, after Finland, Austria, Germany, and Sweden.

Europe continues to face its biggest migrant crisis since 1945, with the number of asylum seekers expected to increase this year. More than one million refugees entered Europe in 2015, most of them from Syria, where a civil war has taken the lives of 250,000 people and displaced 12 million since 2011, according to UN figures.

Monday, January 25, 2016

‘Pure Fiction’: Kremlin Comments on BBC’s Probe About ‘Putin’s Money’

FYI, I fully understand that my source here, (RT), is Russian and is heavily influenced by the Russian government as a propaganda tool. Consequently, their denials of any wrong-doing are to be taken with a large grain of salt, if not outright mirth. Nevertheless, there are issues here that are rather disturbing as you will read below.

The Kremlin has dismissed as “pure fiction” allegations that Russia’s President is “corrupt” and has been “masking” his actual wealth. Both claims came from a US Treasury official quoted in a BBC documentary.

The US Treasury’s Acting Under Secretary for terrorism and financial crimes, Adam Szubin, was picked by BBC as an expert for the channel’s unprompted investigation into Putin’s income.

“He supposedly draws a state salary of something like $110,000 a year. That is not an accurate statement of the man’s wealth, and he has long time training and practices in terms of how to mask his actual wealth,” Szubin told BBC’s Richard Bilton.

When asked by Bilton “If Putin is corrupt,” Szubin simply said: “In our view, yes.”

In fact, Szubin continued, the US government has known for “many, many years” that Putin has been “enriching his friends, his close allies, and marginalizing those who he doesn’t view as friends using state assets.”

“Whether that’s Russia’s energy wealth, whether it’s other state contracts, he directs those to whom he believes will serve him and excludes those who don’t. To me, that is a picture of corruption,” Szubin said, though avoiding any specifics that would support his statement. 

Therein lies the problem, politicians and bureaucrats making statements they can't or won't substantiate, as with the Litvinenko assertions. Is this a new phenomenon? I don't remember governments making unsubstantiated assertions about other government leaders. 

Is this the American way of doing politics infecting the rest of the civilized world? If it is, it's dreadfully hypocritical, or have you forgotten the former Speaker of Congress passing out checks on the floor of Congress to Representatives who faithfully represented commercial interests at the expense of the American people?

Of course Putin has squirreled away money that came about as 'presents' from friends. Do you  think he would have lasted all these years if he were not cooperating with the oligarchs? Does anyone think the oligarchs are honest, upstanding citizens with unquestionable integrity? There may be the odd one but he would be very odd as oligarch corruption is as old as Russia itself.

But is there any country in the world where there is no corruption? I seriously doubt it. One thing to be said for Putin, he has not impoverished his people for his own gain. If you remember Goodluck Jonathon who was president of Nigeria when $6 billion worth of oil simply disappeared, and there was no inquiry, nor any attempt to find the oil or the money that came from its sale.

So while government officials, military brass and some business moguls socked away fortunes illegally, Nigeria's military was so poorly equipped and its men were so poorly treated financially that they would not and could not take on Boko Haram until there was a change in government.

How many thousands of lives were lost, often quite horribly; how many girls were abducted and used as sex slaves and suicide bombers under Jonathon's watch? And that was all he ever did was to watch, from a distance; he never went near northern Nigeria. 

How dramatic were the condemnations from the US and the UK over the Nigerian corruption? Did you hear any? Any at all? I didn't, and I watched the horror quite closely. Should I point out that most of the victims of Boko Haram were Christians? Shouldn't that warrant some interest from the west? Or was their being Christians nullified by their being black?

The Russian government has dismissed the allegations. When reached for a comment, President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC that “none of these questions or issues needs to be answered, as they are pure fiction.”

The comments were taken by Bilton while travelling to conduct interviews for a BBC Panorama documentary on Putin’s “wallet” dubbed “Putin’s Secret Riches.”

This is not the first time US officials have commented on Putin’s wealth. However, this might be the first time the President has been directly accused by a US government body.

In 2014, the US Treasury peered into Putin’s finances, alleging that “Putin has investments in Gunvor and may have access to Gunvor funds,” though it did not provide any evidence to back up its claims. Swiss-based Gunvor is the world’s fourth-largest oil trader. 

The Kremlin has previously noted a general trend in Western media to use unsubstantiated allegations of corruption in an attempt to demonize the Russian government and president. Speaking to RT in May of 2015, the head of the presidential administration, Sergey Ivanov, referred to it as to a “sort of blacklisting process... mostly in the American and British papers.

“I often read articles saying that President Putin and his ‘cronies’ – the language is not mine, but the papers’ – are fully corrupted, connected with criminality, they have huge profits which they successfully hide, and things like that,” Ivanov said at the time.

Holding himself up as an example contradicting those allegations, Ivanov wrote off the reports as “rubbish” that “can’t be respected by those who are serious enough to analyze the information.”

President Putin has been in the UK media spotlight since a public British inquiry into the death of Aleksandr Litvinenko, who died from radioactive poisoning in 2006, recently alleged that the Russian leader had “probably approved” the killing of the former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agent.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied those findings, saying that the inquiry had been “neither transparent nor public” and resembled a “shadow play… conducted mostly behind doors, with classified documents and unnamed witnesses contributing to the result.”

Death Toll Rises Across East Asia After Freak Cold Snap

If you think 'snowzilla' was bad in the eastern US last weekend, east Asia had it worse. They may not have gotten as much snow as Washington or New York, but for countries with sub-tropical climates, the results were tragic.

BTW, I want to congratulate NOAA on the excellent forecasting of the 'snowstorm of the century'. You nailed it! And in so doing, probably kept the death toll down considerably. Kudos.

© Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters
Dozens of fatalities have been reported across Taiwan, Japan, and China due to relatively severe weather conditions that suddenly hit the region over the weekend.

At least 57 people are believed to have died in Taiwan since Saturday as a result of a rare cold snap sweeping through East Asia.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency reports fatalities may have already reached 85.

The majority of those deaths were reported in the capital Taipei, as well as New Taipei city and Taoyuan in northern Taiwan.

Temperatures in Taiwan's capital of Taipei plunged to a 16-year low of 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit), killing 57...
Posted by ‎משה זאב‎ on Monday, January 25, 2016

Temperatures have fallen dramatically, to a 16-year low of 4 °C (39° F). While such temperatures may seem relatively mild to those from colder climes, it’s a sharp fall from Taiwan’s average January temperature of 16° C.

Taiwan has a subtropical climate so most homes don’t have central heating.

“In our experience, it’s not the actual temperature, but the sudden drop that’s too sudden for people’s circulatory systems,’’ said a city official quoted by AP news agency.

Many of those who died were elderly people suffering from heart trouble and shortness of breath.

The New Taipei City Police Department found one man dead on the street on Sunday, but most of the big freeze’s victims were discovered indoors, according to the Taipei Times.

Temperatures in Taipei are forecast to rise again in the coming days, even to as high as 17°C (63° F) on Tuesday.

For some, it was their first time seeing snow in person, and many flocked to the mountains to view the spectacle in all its glory.

Japanese selfie sweetie


Meanwhile, at least seven people died and more than 600 were injured in Japan as record levels of snow fell across the country, according to Kyodo News service.

Transport was disrupted and weather warnings have been issued for avalanches and icy roads.

Mainland China

The cold spell in China has been blamed for the deaths of four strawberry farmers, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning when they turned up the heat in a greenhouse in Anhui province in the east, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

One woman fell to her death in the southwest of China when the railing of her 24th-floor balcony broke as she leaned over to look at the first snow in Chongqing in 20 years.

On Sunday, the southern city of Guangzhou experienced its first snow since 1967.

Hong Kong

Temperatures in Hong Kong dropped to 3°C (37° F) Sunday – the lowest in almost 60 years. One hundred and thirty people were trapped by the inclement weather, and a snow day was called in schools across the city on Monday.

South Korea

I suspect they don't have a lot of snow-clearing equipment here
Over 86,000 people were left stranded on South Korea’s Jeju Island after heavy snowfall prompted the closure of the island’s airport on Saturday. Operations resumed only three days later.

South Korea received 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) of the white stuff – its heaviest snowfall in over 30 years, according to The Washington Times.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Two Young Heroes of the Holocaust

A loser at the Olympics, he struck gold in Jewish hearts forever

The actions of Knud and Karen Christiansens in 1943 helped hundreds of Jews evade the Nazis and find safe passage to Sweden

by Mark Walker 

Not all heroes get the recognition they deserve during their lifetime. But the extraordinary efforts of a Danish couple, who risked their lives to save dozens of Jews during the Second World War, did not go unnoticed, thanks to one of the men they rescued.

Max Rawitscher, a Holocaust survivor, came out of hiding after the war and told how he and many other Jews evaded the Nazis thanks to the efforts of Knud Marstrand Christiansen and his wife, Karen. 

This is their story.

Karen’s letters to Knud
Karen Christiansen, the daughter of Denmark’s chief naval physician, Dr Holger Rasmussen, went to Berlin to study at a prestigious cooking school in the 1930s.

1936 Olympics, Berlin
There, she lived with a Jewish family where she came face-to-face with the horrors of Nazis´ brutality. She documented the rise to power in letters to her fiancé, Knud Marstrand Christiansen, a member of the Danish rowing team at the 1936 Olympics.

Due to the turmoil in the region, Karen left her studies midway through and returned home – she would go on to join the Danish resistance movement. Meanwhile Knud, then 21, travelled to Berlin for the Olympics and closely witnessed the Nazi-led horrors that Karen had mentioned in her letters.

On his return, he joined an anti-fascist group that was quickly becoming popular among his fellow Danes. And there began the heroic saga of a couple who would go on to endanger their lives to rescue Jews from certain death.

Engaged, married, occupied
Karen and Knud got married in Copenhagen in 1938, just two years before the Germans occupied Denmark, and by 1943 they had become a family of five. Their house, which would become a secret Jewish meeting place later, was on the Havnegade, overlooking the canal – an ideal spot for Knud to keep watch of the high-ranking Nazi officers.

In many ways, Knud was the ideal candidate for the task of sheltering Jews from the Nazis. Knud himself was a member of the Danish Freedom Fighters (the Danish resistance movement); through his flourishing business as a manufacturer of ski poles and leather goods (industries mostly dominated by Jews), he had made many Jewish friends; his widowed mother’s chocolate shop at Bredgade 13 was a resistance safehouse, where members left messages and delivered weapons; and Karen, his wife, for five years published an underground newsletter, ‘Die Warheit’ (The Truth), translated BBC newscasts from Dutch into German to update Wehrmacht soldiers of the atrocities being committed by the Third Reich and provided updates of the Allied advance.

It was no surprise, therefore, that Knud and Karen were being closely monitored by the Nazis – which makes their activities in 1943 all the more profound and heroic.

The man who spotted the plan
Thanks to his situation, Knud was the man in the right place at the right time, and was able to join the dots and work out what the Nazis had planned for 1 October 1943: the mass arrest and relocation of Denmark’s Jews, to either the Eastern Front or the death camps.

Knud Marstrand Christensen
Through his contacts, Knud heard about a list of Jewish names and addresses that was the only item stolen during a burglary at a synagogue, and then, a few days later, spotted the arrival of two German freighters from his apartment window.

“I called my colleagues in the resistance and told them that I feared the Jews were going to be picked up,” he later recalled in an interview with the New York-based newspaper, The Jewish Post. More digging revealed the details of the mass arrest, which Karen quickly printed on hundreds of leaflets that were distributed across the country, instructing Jews to seek refuge away from their homes.

Bested by the doctor
In September of the same year, Knud went to a weekly bridge game with his Jewish friends, the Philipson brothers, and advised them to go into hiding. But the brothers ignored his warning and went home regardless. At home, they were met by a group of Nazis who took them immediately to the Horserød internment camp.

As soon as Knud learnt about their arrest, he went to the camp to explain that the Philipsons were only partly Jewish, hoping it would convince the guard to release the brothers. But the Nazis sent him away, threatening him with dire consequences should he return.

Changing tack, Knud went to Dr Werner Best, the German Reich’s plenipotentiary in Denmark. Knud promised Best he would produce a propaganda film in which the Germans would be portrayed as the friends of Denmark.

Best, notoriously nicknamed ‘the Bloodhound of Paris’ for mercilessly deporting thousands of French Jews to the death camps, was impressed by Knud’s Aryan appearance and connections to the Danish royal family (Karen’s father was the personal physician of King Christian X). The Philipsons were released a few days later, but the film was never made.

40  house guests – all Jewish
After securing the safety of the Philipson brothers, Knud became extremely proactive. With the help of Karen, his younger brother and Dr Rasmussen, he escorted Jews to farmhouses, churches and city apartments, using everything in his power to protect them from immediate arrest.

More than 40 ended up at his own Havnegade apartment. They filled the living room, dining room and spare rooms at the back. One of them was the president of the Central Bank.

Meanwhile, more than 1,800 new Gestapo agents arrived in the city to implement anti-Jewish measures. The Nazi raid was planned for Rosh Hashanah, a holiday which marks the beginning of the Jewish calendar, when Denmark’s 7,000 Jews were expected to be at home.

As Rosh Hashanah neared, the universities closed to help students take part in the numerous rescue operations. Ministers asked congregants to help their Jewish neighbours in every possible way, and Danish diplomats negotiated with their Swedish counterparts for a secure passage for the refugees.

An Olympic rower second, an Øresund oarsman first
Sweden, which remained neutral during the war, agreed to provide asylum to all of the Danish Jews on 2 October 1943. Dr Rasmussen’s villa in Espergaerde, a coastal village north of Copenhagen, was used as a drop-off point for Jews escaping from Copenhagen.

A bit like Moses, who parted the Red Sea to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Knud too guided the Jews to safety, escorting them one at a time, using his Olympic racing boat.

Knud made 17 more trips on his rowing boat before the rescuers began to use larger fishing boats that could carry more people. In total some 7,200 Jews and about 700 of their non-Jewish relatives were ferried to Sweden over a period of three weeks.

Even though Knud and others were successful in smuggling Jews out of Denmark, two of the boats were not so lucky, and were sunk by Nazi patrols. Never the less, official records show that only 102 Danish Jews had lost their lives by the end of the war.

A kindness never forgotten
Knud and Karen continued to battle Nazi tyranny until the end of the war, after which several Danish Jews who had survived the Holocaust returned home. They, and many others, paid regular visits to Knud’s mother’s shop, not to buy chocolate, but to leave flowers as a token of appreciation for Knud and his family.

The Christiansens migrated to New York in 1970, where they led a life of anonymity. Knud worked in a store and repaired clocks and barometers. Karen devoted her life to her family until her death in 1992.

On the same list as Schindler
In 2003, Knud and Karen Christiansen’s names were enshrined, alongside 20 other Danes and the likes of Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler, on the ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ list at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem.

This remains the highest honour that the State of Israel can bestow on non-Jews. Knud maintained close ties with Jewish communities until his death last February.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense

One of the best articles I have ever read on abortion


Ultrasound of baby in Mother's womb
At the time of the Roe v. Wade decision, I was a college student — an anti-war, mother-earth, feminist, hippie college student. That particular January I was taking a semester off, living in the D.C. area and volunteering at the feminist “underground newspaper” Off Our Backs. As you’d guess, I was strongly in favor of legalizing abortion. The bumper sticker on my car read, “Don’t labor under a misconception; legalize abortion.”

The first issue of Off Our Backs after the Roe decision included one of my movie reviews, and also an essay by another member of the collective criticizing the decision. It didn’t go far enough, she said, because it allowed states to restrict abortion in the third trimester. The Supreme Court should not meddle in what should be decided between the woman and her doctor. She should be able to choose abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. But, at the time, we didn’t have much understanding of what abortion was. We knew nothing of fetal development. We consistently termed the fetus “a blob of tissue,” and that’s just how we pictured it — an undifferentiated mucous-like blob, not recognizable as human or even as alive. It would be another 15 years of so before pregnant couples could show off sonograms of their unborn babies, shocking us with the obvious humanity of the unborn.

We also thought, back then, that few abortions would ever be done. It’s a grim experience, going through an abortion, and we assumed a woman would choose one only as a last resort. We were fighting for that “last resort.” We had no idea how common the procedure would become; today, one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion. Nor could we have imagined how high abortion numbers would climb. In the 43 years since Roe v. Wade, there have been 59 million abortions. It’s hard even to grasp a number that big. Twenty years ago, someone told me that, if the names of all those lost babies were inscribed on a wall, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the wall would have to stretch for 50 miles. It’s 20 years later now, and that wall would have to stretch twice as far. But no names could be written on it; those babies had no names.

We expected that abortion would be rare. What we didn’t realize was that, once abortion becomes available, it becomes the most attractive option for everyone around the pregnant woman. If she has an abortion, it’s like the pregnancy never existed. No one is inconvenienced. It doesn’t cause trouble for the father of the baby, or her boss, or the person in charge of her college scholarship. It won’t embarrass her mom and dad.

Abortion is like a funnel; it promises to solve all the problems at once. So there is significant pressure on a woman to choose abortion, rather than adoption or parenting. A woman who had had an abortion told me, “Everyone around me was saying they would ‘be there for me’ if I had the abortion, but no one said they’d ‘be there for me’ if I had the baby.”

For everyone around the pregnant woman, abortion looks like the sensible choice. A woman who determines instead to continue an unplanned pregnancy looks like she’s being foolishly stubborn. It’s like she’s taken up some unreasonable hobby. People think: If she would only go off and do this one thing, everything would be fine. But that’s an illusion. Abortion can’t really turn back the clock. It can’t push the rewind button on life and make it so that she was never pregnant. It can make it easy for everyone around the woman to forget the pregnancy, but the woman herself may struggle.

When she first sees the positive pregnancy test she may feel, in a panicky way, that she has to get rid of it as fast as possible. But life stretches on after abortion, for months and years — for many long nights — and all her life long she may ponder the irreversible choice she made.

This issue gets presented as if it’s a tug of war between the woman and the baby. We see them as mortal enemies, locked in a fight to the death. But that’s a strange idea, isn’t it? It must be the first time in history when mothers and their own children have been assumed to be at war. We’re supposed to picture the child attacking her, trying to destroy her hopes and plans, and picture the woman grateful for the abortion, since it rescued her from the clutches of her child.

If you were in charge of a nature preserve and you noticed that the pregnant female mammals were trying to miscarry their pregnancies, eating poisonous plants or injuring themselves, what would you do? Would you think of it as a battle between the pregnant female and her unborn and find ways to help those pregnant animals miscarry? No, of course not. You would immediately think, “Something must be really wrong in this environment.” Something is creating intolerable stress, so much so that animals would rather destroy their own offspring than bring them into the world. You would strive to identify and correct whatever factors were causing this stress in the animals. The same thing goes for the human animal.

Abortion gets presented to us as if it’s something women want; both pro-choice and pro-life rhetoric can reinforce that idea. But women do this only if all their other options look worse. It’s supposed to be “her choice,” yet so many women say, “I really didn’t have a choice.”

I changed my opinion on abortion after I read an article in Esquire magazine, way back in 1976. I was home from grad school, flipping through my dad’s copy, and came across an article titled “What I Saw at the Abortion.” The author, Richard Selzer, was a surgeon, and he was in favor of abortion, but he’d never seen one. So he asked a colleague whether, next time, he could go along. Selzer described seeing the patient, 19 weeks pregnant, lying on her back on the table. (That is unusually late; most abortions are done by the tenth or twelfth week.)

The doctor performing the procedure inserted a syringe into the woman’s abdomen and injected her womb with a prostaglandin solution, which would bring on contractions and cause a miscarriage. (This method isn’t used anymore, because too often the baby survived the procedure — chemically burned and disfigured, but clinging to life. Newer methods, including those called “partial birth abortion” and “dismemberment abortion,” more reliably ensure death.)

After injecting the hormone into the patient’s womb, the doctor left the syringe standing upright on her belly. Then, Selzer wrote, “I see something other than what I expected here. . . . It is the hub of the needle that is in the woman’s belly that has jerked. First to one side. Then to the other side. Once more it wobbles, is tugged, like a fishing line nibbled by a sunfish.” He realized he was seeing the fetus’s desperate fight for life. And as he watched, he saw the movement of the syringe slow down and then stop. The child was dead. Whatever else an unborn child does not have, he has one thing: a will to live. He will fight to defend his life. 

The last words in Selzer’s essay are, “Whatever else is said in abortion’s defense, the vision of that other defense [i.e., of the child defending its life] will not vanish from my eyes. And it has happened that you cannot reason with me now. For what can language do against the truth of what I saw?”

The truth of what he saw disturbed me deeply. There I was, anti-war, anti–capital punishment, even vegetarian, and a firm believer that social justice cannot be won at the cost of violence. Well, this sure looked like violence. How had I agreed to make this hideous act the centerpiece of my feminism? How could I think it was wrong to execute homicidal criminals, wrong to shoot enemies in wartime, but all right to kill our own sons and daughters?

 For that was another disturbing thought: Abortion means killing not strangers but our own children, our own flesh and blood. No matter who the father, every child aborted is that woman’s own son or daughter, just as much as any child she will ever bear.

We had somehow bought the idea that abortion was necessary if women were going to rise in their professions and compete in the marketplace with men. But how had we come to agree that we will sacrifice our children, as the price of getting ahead? When does a man ever have to choose between his career and the life of his child?

Once I recognized the inherent violence of abortion, none of the feminist arguments made sense. Like the claim that a fetus is not really a person because it is so small. Well, I’m only 5 foot 1. Women, in general, are smaller than men. Do we really want to advance a principle that big people have more value than small people? That if you catch them before they’ve reached a certain size, it’s all right to kill them?

What about the child who is “unwanted”? It was a basic premise of early feminism that women should not base their sense of worth on whether or not a man “wants” them. We are valuable simply because we are members of the human race, regardless of any other person’s approval. Do we really want to say that “unwanted” people might as well be dead? What about a woman who is “wanted” when she’s young and sexy but less so as she gets older? At what point is it all right to terminate her?

The usual justification for abortion is that the unborn is not a “person.” It’s said that “Nobody knows when life begins.” But that’s not true; everybody knows when life — a new individual human life — gets started. It’s when the sperm dissolves in the egg. That new single cell has a brand-new DNA, never before seen in the world. If you examined through a microscope three cells lined up — the newly fertilized ovum, a cell from the father, and a cell from the mother — you would say that, judging from the DNA, the cells came from three different people.

When people say the unborn is “not a person” or “not a life” they mean that it has not yet grown or gained abilities that arrive later in life. But there’s no agreement about which abilities should be determinative. Pro-choice people don’t even agree with each other. Obviously, law cannot be based on such subjective criteria. If it’s a case where the question is “Can I kill this?” the answer must be based on objective medical and scientific data.

And the fact is, an unborn child, from the very first moment, is a new human individual. It has the three essential characteristics that make it “a human life”: It’s alive and growing, it is composed entirely of human cells, and it has unique DNA. It’s a person, just like the rest of us.

Abortion indisputably ends a human life. But this loss is usually set against the woman’s need to have an abortion in order to freely direct her own life. It is a particular cruelty to present abortion as something women want, something they demand, they find liberating. Because nobody wants this. The procedure itself is painful, humiliating, expensive — no woman “wants” to go through it. But once it’s available, it appears to be the logical, reasonable choice. All the complexities can be shoved down that funnel. Yes, abortion solves all the problems; but it solves them inside the woman’s body. And she is expected to keep that pain inside for a lifetime, and be grateful for the gift of abortion.

Many years ago I wrote something in an essay about abortion, and I was surprised that the line got picked up and frequently quoted. I’ve seen it in both pro-life and pro-choice contexts, so it appears to be something both sides agree on. I wrote, “No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

Strange, isn’t it, that both pro-choice and pro-life people agree that is true? Abortion is a horrible and harrowing experience. That women choose it so frequently shows how much worse continuing a pregnancy can be. Essentially, we’ve agreed to surgically alter women so that they can get along in a man’s world. And then expect them to be grateful for it.

Nobody wants to have an abortion. And if nobody wants to have an abortion, why are women doing it, 2,800 times a day? If women doing something 2,800 times daily that they don’t want to do, this is not liberation we’ve won. We are colluding in a strange new form of oppression. 

*     *     * And so we come around to one more March for Life, like the one last year, like the one next year. Protesters understandably focus on the unborn child, because the danger it faces is the most galvanizing aspect of this struggle. If there are different degrees of injustice, surely violence is the worst manifestation, and killing worst of all. If there are different categories of innocent victim, surely the small and helpless have a higher claim to protection, and tiny babies the highest of all. The minimum purpose of government is to shield the weak from abuse by the strong, and there is no one weaker or more voiceless than unborn children. And so we keep saying that they should be protected, for all the same reasons that newborn babies are protected.

Pro-lifers have been doing this for 43 years now, and will continue holding a candle in the darkness for as many more years as it takes. I understand all the reasons why the movement’s prime attention is focused on the unborn. But we can also say that abortion is no bargain for women, either. It’s destructive and tragic. We shouldn’t listen unthinkingly to the other side of the time-worn script, the one that tells us that women want abortions, that abortion liberates them. Many a post-abortion woman could tell you a different story.

The pro-life cause is perennially unpopular, and pro-lifers get used to being misrepresented and wrongly accused. There are only a limited number of people who are going to be brave enough to stand up on the side of an unpopular cause. But sometimes a cause is so urgent, is so dramatically clear, that it’s worth it.

What cause could be more outrageous than violence — fatal violence — against the most helpless members of our human community? If that doesn’t move us, how hard are our hearts? If that doesn’t move us, what will ever move us?

In time, it’s going to be impossible to deny that abortion is violence against children. Future generations, as they look back, are not necessarily going to go easy on ours. Our bland acceptance of abortion is not going to look like an understandable goof. In fact, the kind of hatred that people now level at Nazis and slave-owners may well fall upon our era.

Future generations can accurately say, “It’s not like they didn’t know.” They can say, “After all, they had sonograms.” They may consider this bloodshed to be a form of genocide. They might judge our generation to be monsters.

One day, the tide is going to turn. With that Supreme Court decision 43 years ago, one of the sides in the abortion debate won the day. But sooner or later, that day will end. No generation can rule from the grave.

The time is coming when a younger generation will sit in judgment of ours. And they are not obligated to be kind. 

Frederica Mathewes-Green is the author of Real Choices: Listening to Women; Looking for Alternatives to Abortion.

Christian Refugees Claim ISIS Militants Living Among Them in Germany

Christian refugees from Syria claim they saw a former Islamic State member living in Frankfurt, and that this is not an isolated case. Police investigated but refused to file charges because the alleged terrorist has done nothing criminal in Germany.

Apparently, there is no law in Germany against belonging to a terrorist organization.

On his last visit to the Saarland region of Germany, on the border with France, RT’s Peter Oliver met with a group of Assyrian Christians who had been held hostage by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

They recalled that while being held in IS captivity, the only thing they prayed for was to be shot instead of being beheaded.

The same community, now living in the city of Saarlouis, say the horrors of that experience have followed them all the way to Germany, after they found out that a man they say had ties to Islamic State is living among them.

A refugee, who only agreed to speak to RT on condition of anonymity, said he is positive the man living in his town is the same member of IS he encountered in Syria.
“He stopped me many times at the checkpoint near our village; we were even able to find him on Facebook, I go to the web page and there's this guy again,” the refugee said.

When the man first saw the jihadist in Germany, his reaction was that of panic.

“I was very scared that this terrorist is in a democratic state like Germany just living here,” the refugee told RT, adding that he does not understand how those who kept whole families hostage now have Syrian refugee status in Germany.

The Assyrian community now feels very insecure as “this was not the first case” a former IS member had been recognized, the man said. He added that some people are even considering leaving Germany, but do not know where to run to.

Community leaders say that once they were convinced the ‘refugee’ was in fact a former jihadist, they went straight to the police.

“The police have taken this very seriously, but we worry that the law cannot back this up with a strong case. They have to wait until this person does something criminal here,” Charlie Kanoun, the chairman of the Assyrian Culture Association, told RT.

Astonishing! He gets one opportunity to murder people or create a massacre before German police can do anything. That must be so comforting to German citizens.

But those people were killers in Syria and fly the ISIS flag here even. Such people should have no place in Germany,” Kanoun said.

No! No! Germany embraces all people in need! Their Nazi guilt complex prevents them from offending anyone except themselves.

Police confirmed that an investigation is underway, but no charges relating to terrorism or any other crime have been brought.

As the investigation continues, and with the influx of refugees showing no signs of slowing, the question is being asked as to who exactly is coming to Europe.

“This is a very difficult point for our community here. Those victims of kidnapping were brought here for safety and security, and then these terrorists are here,” Kanoun said, adding that the German authorities “are being very gentle with them,” reiterating that his compatriots might have to flee again.

“This is tragic that we will again be forced to be refugees, this time in a Christian state that cannot protect us,” Kanoun said.

Last February, Islamic State kidnapped around 250 Assyrian Christians and demanded ransoms of $100,000 per person. Some have since been released but many remain in captivity.

“ISIS came to our village, they devastated our fields, burnt our churches, tore apart our lives. They kidnapped us, murdered us. We have an unbearable feeling of loss,” a former hostage told RT.

He recalled that while in captivity, he overheard a conversation between his captors, saying that 
“the West will belong to us and we will conquer it through Islamization.”

One of the IS militants holding Assyrian Christians captive was a German who had converted to radical Islam, the former hostage said.

The German security services are currently preparing findings on more than 790 German Islamists who have traveled to Syria, the National Police Bureau of Saarland reported.

Germany has seen increasing tensions over the migrant issue. Recently scuffles broke out between police and a group of protesters who were attempting to disrupt a right-wing rally near Berlin.

The Alternative for Germany Party was demonstrating in the city of Potsdam in support of women's rights, following the mass sex attacks in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

They were confronted by a counter-protest claiming the assaults are being used to incite hatred towards migrants.

Liberals can be a confused, if not idiotic bunch. Rallying against a demonstration in support of women's rights to not be molested is nearly insane. Do they think we should embrace the Islamist way of treating women? Stupidity has no limits!