The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for March, 2013


Sunday, March 31st, 2013

by Chana Ya’ar (Arutz Sheva News)

Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised his defense minister in the wee hours of Thursday morning last week with an order for surprise military drills to test battle readiness in the Black Sea. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was awakened at 4:00 a.m. local time with sealed orders to activate 7,000 troops, 36 ships, up to 20 fighter jets and helicopters and 50 pieces of artillery.

Aviation, paratroopers and special forces are involved in the exercises, which were launched immediately according to Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said “We are talking about major exercises, intended as a check,” according to Russian news agencies.

“According to international practice, exercises involving up to 7,000 people do not require us to inform our partners in advance,” Peskov noted. He added that the drills would take place on three military test ranges on Russian territory and are expected to last about a week.

Russia has been heavily involved in protecting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad from international ire at the United Nations Security Council, but as Assad’s grip on power has increasingly weakened, and fragmented rebel forces gain control over more territory in the country, Moscow has begun to quietly evacuate its citizens from Damascus and surrounds. Likewise Putin has joined discussions over what may become of Syria’s lethal arsenal of chemical weapons of mass destruction, a rising concern in the international community.

The Black Sea is a strategic waterway bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus, and connects to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and two straits known as the Turkish Straits – the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. The Bosphorus Strait, which flows through the middle of Turkey, connects it to the Sea of Marmara. The Strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean, which separate eastern Europe and western Asia. Countries with shoreline along the Black Sea include Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania, in addition to Russia.

Late last year Turkey requested — and received — authorization to deploy a number of batteries of Patriot missile defense systems along its border with Syria. The batteries, contributed by NATO allies that included the United States, were installed in January 2013.


Saturday, March 30th, 2013

by Dr. Albert Mohler, President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The next few days are destined to stand among the most significant days in our nation’s constitutional history, but the issues at stake reach far beyond the U.S. Constitution. Nothing less than marriage is in the dock, with the nation’s highest court set to consider two cases that deal with the question of the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The first time the issue of same-sex marriage came before the Court, back in 1972, the Court dismissed the question succinctly: “The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.”

But now the Supreme Court is faced with two cases that demand a more substantial response. One case deals with a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the other addresses Proposition 8, the amendment to the California constitution defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Both cases are significant. Together they represent a monumental set of issues for the justices. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by huge majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate back in 1996. It was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA requires the federal government to define marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman, and it makes clear that no state is obligated to recognize a same-sex union conducted in any other state. President Obama, whose constitutional responsibility requires him to defend the laws of the United States, has ordered his Attorney General not to defend DOMA in court. It will be defended by attorneys representing the House of Representatives.

Proposition 8 was adopted by voters in California in 2008, effectively reversing a decision by that state’s Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage. A federal district court in San Francisco later found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional and a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained that decision. It will now be up to the Supreme Court to decide.

Taken together, these cases threaten nothing less than the redefinition of the most basic and essential institution of human society — any society. Marriage stands at the center of human culture and life, forming the necessary network of relationships upon which society depends. Every society in human history has found its way to the establishment of marriage as the centering institution of all social order. Its exclusively heterosexual character has been challenged only in very recent years and only in a few nations. Now, this institution that has preserved the context for intimacy, procreation, and the raising of children is threatened with a redefinition that would render the state’s conception of marriage at odds with millennia of human wisdom, putting human flourishing at risk.

The very fact that the Supreme Court is considering the question reveals just how far the proponents of same-sex marriage have advanced their cause. The major question now appears to be whether the Court will rule broadly or narrowly on the issues at stake. A finding that DOMA is unconstitutional would lead immediately to a realignment of laws dealing with marriage at the national level and to an avalanche of litigation in the states. Just as urgently, such a decision would put a host of threats to religious liberty into action, threatening the rights of churches, religious institutions, and citizens who are opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

In the Proposition 8 case, the justices could decide not to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage at all. They could rule that no party has legal standing to appeal the case before the Court, effectively allowing the previous rulings to stand. Such a ruling would limit the scope of the Court’s decision to California. If, however, the Court decides to rule whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, its decision would be sweeping — in either direction. In this case, the Court would decide if same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry and if homosexual persons represent a protected class that deserve the status that triggers heightened scrutiny of any laws that might stigmatize them.

If the Court rules on these questions, the impact cannot be limited to the issue of same-sex marriage. The same “heightened scrutiny” and recognition of protected status would extend to virtually every legal corner of American life.

Just four years ago, even most proponents of same-sex marriage thought an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court would be too dangerous — running the risk of a devastating loss. Now, the movement to legalize same-sex marriage is emboldened by a sense of momentum. Some even claim inevitability for their cause. They have reason for some level of confidence.

A central issue is how the justices of the Supreme Court see their role. In a striking statement, Robert Barnes of The Washington Post wrote of the Court’s “official responsibility as arbiter of the Constitution,” but then went on to describe “it’s unofficial role as interpreter of the nation’s readiness for social change.”

That “unofficial role” is not to be found in the Constitution, but generations of activist judges have asserted this role for the Court. Even some of the justices seem troubled by this kind of judicial supremacy. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the Court’s liberal jurists, has warned that the Court harmed its credibility in 1973 when it handed down the Roe v. Wade decision mandating the legalization of abortion in all fifty states. Ginsburg is an ardent defender of abortion rights, but she felt that the Court terminated a political process that would have led to her desired result. Columbia Law School professor Jamal Greene told The New Yorker that Ginsburg “fundamentally does not believe that large-scale social change should come from the courts.” We shall see.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, widely thought to be a crucial swing vote on this question recently told a group in Sacramento: “A democracy should not be dependent for its major decisions on what nine unelected people from a narrow legal background have to say.” Nevertheless, it was Kennedy who wrote the sweeping decision for gay rights in the 2003 case, Lawrence v. Texas.

From the Court’s conservative wing, Justice Antonin Scalia has commented: “It is one of the unhappy incidents of the federal system that a self-righteous Supreme Court, acting on its Members’ personal view of what would make a ‘more perfect union’ … can impose its own favored social and economic dispositions nationwide.”

No one knows yet how the Court will decide these cases. But this much is clear — the future of marriage in our society is very much at stake. We can hope and pray that the justices will protect marriage and honor its historic reality, but there is reason to believe that huge challenges will face us in the aftermath of the Court’s rulings.

For Christians, the issue of marriage is not merely a legal or constitutional issue. The Bible reveals marriage to be the sacred union of a man and a woman for a lifetime. The goods of marriage are revealed to be intimacy, union, companionship, friendship, procreation, children, and a host of related gifts. Christians must see marriage as essential for human flourishing and not open for human negotiation.

The very fact that the march for same-sex marriage has reached this point is telling. It reveals a fundamental confusion at the very heart of our society. The ideological support for same-sex marriage is deeply embedded in a host of ideas that are driving our society to the point of moral breakdown.

The U.S. Supreme Court may well decide the future of marriage as a legal institution, but the church must hold to marriage as far more, but not less than, a legal reality. Marriage is one of God’s most gracious gifts to humanity. It will be the Church’s responsibility to honor marriage, no matter what the Court may decide.


Saturday, March 30th, 2013

by Steven Plaut (IsraelNationalNews)

Dear Mister Prime Minister:

On behalf of all of the people of Israel, I would like to apologize to you as well, but for the behavior of the Prime Minister of Israel. As you know, just last weekend Benjamin Netanyahu sent you an “apology” for Israel having defended itself against the genocidal terrorists who attacked Israeli soldiers who were armed only with paintguns when they boarded the terrorist “flotilla” ship that you sent out to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas enclave in Gaza.

Netanyahu spoke only for himself when he apologized to you for Israel’s defending itself and its people, this two generations after the Holocaust. He does not represent almost anyone at all in the country when it comes to this “apology.” No one except for some anti-Israel radical leftists with tenure at the universities agrees that Israel owes you an apology for defending its people.

Actually, on behalf of the majority of my fellow Israelis, I would like to apologize for the fact that Israeli did not just torpedo and sink the terrorist ships trying to break the blockade and bring in aid to the Hamas Nazis. I would like to apologize for the fact that Israel has a Prime Minister who is divorced enough from the reality of Jewish history and could consider buying a few moments of diplomatic calm with a Moslem aggressor by shaming his entire country with an “apology” to Turkey, and all this just hours before the Jewish holiday of national liberation, Passover.

Netanyahu spoke only for himself when he apologized to you for Israel’s defending itself and its people, this two generations after the Holocaust.
Beyond that, I really do think that Israel owes an apology for not having done much more to draw the world’s attention to the illegal occupation and destruction by Turkey of the jewel of Cyprus, the city of Famagusta. Israel sat by while Turkey conquered 40% of Cyprus and transferred tens of thousands of its own people as illegal settlers to the island. And for that I apologize.

And since you have spent so much time in recent years denouncing Israel as an occupier, I think Israel owes an apology to the world for not helping to end the illegal Turkish occupation of the great ancient Greek capital of Constantinople, now under an illegal Saracen occupation that has continued for far too long. It is high time that Constantinople be returned to its true heritage and its legal owners, the Greek people. It is less than a hundred years since the city, along with Smyrna and other Greek homelands, was almost liberated by the Greeks, who were only to be blocked by the Turkish military aggressors, the mass murderers of the Armenians.

So Mister Prime Minister, as you see, I am afraid that Israelis owe the world several apologies.

On behalf of the stalwart and self-respecting citizens of Israel, I remain

Most sincerely yours,
Prof. Steven Plaut

Not only did Isael’s prime minister “apologize” for Israel using force against the genocidal Islamofascist terrorists who attacked Israeli troops, not only did he apologize for using armed force to protect the people of Israel, Netanyahu also agreed to pay reparations to the Turkish families of terrorists killed in the ship deck fighting when the flotilla ship was boarded. The terrorists there attacked the IDF troops who boarded the ship. The Turkish terrorists were killed while attempting to murder Israeli soldiers. That is the basis for Netanyahu offering to pay reparations!

Maybe Bibi will next offer to pay the Palestinian Arabs compensation for the damages to the Qassam rockets that they shoot into Israel when these are shot down by the Iron Dome!

However, Bibi’s problem is that he needs the Minister of Finance to sign any checks for any reparations payments to the Turkish families of the dead terrorists. So I want to suggest, dear reader, that you drop a line to Yair Lapid, the still-untested, proud ZIonist with a sense of Jewish self-respect. Urge him to refuse to make any reparations payments to the families of the terrorists.


Friday, March 29th, 2013

By Reuters

Kim Jong-un: Time has come to settle accounts with US imperialists; N. Korea on high alert following US bomber display.

SEOUL/WASHINGTON – North Korea put its missile units on standby on Friday to attack US military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a midnight meeting of top generals and “judged the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists in view of the prevailing situation”, the official KCNA news agency said.

As world slams N. Korea, Iran urges disarmament

Israel, UNSC condemn North Korea nuclear test

KCNA said North Korea and the United States could only settle their differences by “physical means”. The North has an arsenal of Soviet-era short-range Scud missiles that can hit South Korea but its longer-range Nodong and Musudan missiles, which could in theory hit US Pacific bases, are untested.

China, the North’s sole major ally, repeated its calls for restraint on the Korean peninsula at a regular foreign ministry briefing on Friday and made no criticism of the US flights.

“We hope that relevant parties will work together in pushing for a turnaround of the tense situation,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

On Thursday, the United States flew two radar-evading B-2 Spirit bombers on practice runs over South Korea, responding to a series of North Korean threats. They flew from the United States and back in what appeared to be the first exercise of its kind, designed to show America’s ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes “quickly and at will”, the US military said.

The news of Kim’s response was unusually swift.

“He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA (Korean People’s Army), ordering them to be on standby for fire so that they may strike any time the US mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea,” KCNA said.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported there had been additional troop and vehicle movements at the North’s mid- and long-range missile sites, indicating they may be ready to fire.

It was impossible to verify the report which did not specify a time frame, although South Korea’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that it was watching shorter-range Scud missile sites closely as well as Nodong and Musudan missile batteries.

The North has launched a daily barrage of threats since early this month when the United States and the South, allies in the 1950-53 Korean War, began routine military drills.

The South and the United States have said the drills are purely defensive in nature and that no incident has taken place in the decades they have been conducted in various forms.

The United States also flew B-52 bombers over South Korea earlier this week.

The North has put its military on highest readiness to fight what it says are hostile forces conducting war drills. Its young leader has previously given “final orders” for its military to wage revolutionary war with the South.

North Korea conducted a third nuclear weapons test in February in breach of U.N. sanctions and despite warnings from China, its one major diplomatic ally.


Thursday, March 28th, 2013

(Israel Today Staff)

It’s no longer only Israel that is concerned that the Syrian civil war could cross borders. Now UN officials, too, are warning that the bloody conflict might spill into the Jewish state sooner rather than later.

“The members of the UN Security Council expressed grave concern at all violations of the “Disengagement of Forces Agreement” that created the demilitarized buffer zone between Israel and Syria following the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

The council further noted that both Syrian army forces and rebel fighters have been entering the buffer zone with no regard for signed agreements.

Finally, the council took both sides in the Syrian conflict to task for endangering the lives of the 1,000 UN peace keepers stationed in the buffer zone to monitor the disengagement.

Already cross-border fire from Syria has forced Israel to retaliate. Until now such incidents have remained contained. But all feel it is only a matter of time before an explosion occurs.

It should also be noted that both sides in the Syrian civil war are enemies of the Jewish state, and would presumably have no problem bloodying Israel’s nose as part of their conflict with one another.

The regime of embattled dictator Bashar Assad is still officially at war with Israel, and has for decades sheltered and aided anti-Israel terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah.

The Syrian rebels are composed largely of Islamist groups, many affiliated or allied with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, both of which ultimately seek the destruction of the “Zionist regime.”

As the fighting inches ever closer to the border, the situation is understandably very tense, and a cause for great concern in Israel.


Thursday, March 28th, 2013

by Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)

At Arab summit, PA president says “occupation is systematically and continuously working toward Judaizing East Jerusalem.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused Israel of carrying out a “destructive” plan against Jerusalem and urged the Arab and Islamic countries to work toward preventing it from implementing its scheme.

Abbas’s accusation came during a speech he delivered at the Arab summit in Doha, Qatar.

“The Israeli occupation is systematically and continuously working toward judaizing east Jerusalem,” Abbas told the Arab heads of state.

He said that Israel was also seeking to change the character of the city, expel its Arab residents and assault Islamic and Christian holy sites.

Abbas urged the Arabs and Muslims to go to the United Nations and other international organizations to stop Israel from pursuing its “destructive scheme.”

He also sought their help in putting pressure on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, whom he described as “brave.”

The prisoners were being subjected to “grave violations,” he said.

Abbas hailed Qatar’s announcement that it would establish a special fund for Jerusalem with a $1 billion budget to support the Arab residents of the city and foil Israel’s attempts to “judaize” east Jerusalem.

He told the summit that during his recent meeting with US President Barack Obama in Ramallah, they discussed all the final-status issues.

Abbas quoted Obama as stressing that the US was resolved to achieve a two-state solution through negotiations.

“We reiterated to Obama our commitment to the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002,” Abbas said. “We also emphasized that halting settlement construction and releasing Palestinian prisoners were not Palestinian preconditions, but Israeli obligations in accordance with signed agreements and the road map.”

A government official responded to Abbas’s statements by saying Israel was working very hard with the US, especially with Secretary of State John Kerry, to try to find a way to resume direct talks with the Palestinians.

“That is our goal,” the official said. “Obviously a more constructive approach from the Palestinians would be conducive to those goals.”


Thursday, March 28th, 2013

by Chana Ya’ar (Arutz Sheva News)

While the European Union drags its feet on the issue, the Bahraini parliament voted Tuesday to label the Lebanon-based Hizbullah group a terrorist organization.

Hizbullah was accused by Bahrain of seeking to overthrow its government in 2011. In a report submitted to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the ruling Khalifa family maintained Hizbullah trained special agents in both Lebanon and Iran to topple its regime, according to a report published this week in Ya Libnan.

Last November, the official Bahrain News Agency quoted the country’s Information Minister, Samira Ibrahim bin Rajab, as saying a bombing that killed two people in the country bore the hallmarks of Hizbullah. Rajab added that 19 pro-Iran satellite media channels were also inciting their supporters in Bahrain to “subvert the government.”

Earlier this month, Arab interior ministers gathered for a security meeting in Riyadh accused Iran of supplying “logistic help to terrorist operations” in Bahrain and Yemen, AFP reported. In a statement, the ministers “strongly denounced logistic aid supplied by Iran to terrorist operations in Bahrain and Yemen,” and congratulated security services in both countries for “dismantling cells and uncovering dangerous terror plots.”

In February, Sunni-ruled Bahrain, whose population is nevertheless comprised of a Shi’ite majority, accused the Islamic Republic across the Gulf of training, arming and financing a “terrorist cell” which the authorities had arrested, an accusation Tehran denied.

Last week, a member of Hizbullah was convicted in a Cyprus court room on charges of plotting to murder Israeli tourists on the island.

Barely a month ago, Bulgaria’s interior ministry issued a report documenting that two Hizbullah operatives had participated in the attack on an Israeli tour bus at the Black Sea resort town airport in Burgas.

Five Israelis died in the bombing, along with their Bulgarian bus driver, and 32 others were wounded in the attack.


Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

by Aaron Klein (World Net Daily)

Report confirms what well-placed sources have been saying

Aaron Klein is WND’s senior staff reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief. He also hosts “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.

TEL AVIV – Has the White House been misleading the public by repeatedly denying it was coordinating arms shipments to the rebels in Syria, insurgents known to consist in large part of al-Qaida and other jihadist groups?

Other top U.S. officials and former officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have implied in congressional testimony that they didn’t know about any U.S. involvement in procuring weapons for the rebels.

Now, a starkly different picture is emerging, one that threatens the longstanding White House narrative that claims the Obama Administration has only supplied nonlethal aid to the rebels.

Confirming WND’s exclusive reporting for over a year, the New York Times two days ago reported that since early 2012, the CIA has been aiding Arab governments and Turkey in obtaining and shipping weapons to the Syrian rebels.

While the Times report claims most of the weapons shipments facilitated by the CIA began after the latest presidential election, Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND have said U.S.-aided weapons shipments go back more than a year, escalating before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.

Aaron Klein’s New York Times bestseller, “Fool Me Twice,” is more relevant than ever.

In fact, the Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND since last year describe the U.S. mission in Benghazi and nearby CIA annex attacked last September as an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels in the Middle East, particularly those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The aid, the sources stated, included weapons shipments and was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Days after the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, WND broke the story that Stevens himself played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian and other Middle Eastern security officials.

Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials.

The officials said Stevens also worked with the Saudis to send names of potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found to be directly involved in previous attacks against the U.S., including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials.

Now the New York Times has bolstered WND’s reporting, citing air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders describing how the CIA has been working with Arab governments and Turkey to sharply increase arms shipments to Syrian rebels in recent months.

The Times reported that the weapons airlifts began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanding into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows.

The Times further revealed that from offices at “secret locations,” American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia. They have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.

The CIA declined to comment to the Times on the shipments or its role in them.

The Times quoted a former American official as saying that David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director until November, had been instrumental in helping set up an aviation network to fly in the weapons. The paper said Petraeus had prodded various countries to work together on the plan.

Petraeus did not return multiple emails from the Times asking for comment.

Both WND’s reporting, which first revealed the U.S.-coordinated arms shipments, and the Times reporting starkly contrast with statements from top U.S. officials who have denied aiding the supply of weapons to the rebels.

Last month, the White House flatly denied involvement in arming the Syrian rebels, going so far as to say the Obama Administration rejected a plan by former Secretary of State Clinton and then-CIA Director Petraeus to help arm the rebels.

‘Nobody has ever raised that with me’

Further, in testimony during the Benghazi hearings, Clinton claimed she did not know whether the U.S. was aiding Turkey and other Arab countries in procuring weapons.

The exchange on the subject took place with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Paul asked Clinton: “Is the U. S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?”

“To Turkey?” Clinton asked. “I will have to take that question for the record. Nobody has ever raised that with me.”

Continued Paul: “It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and may have weapons, and what I’d like to know is the annex that was close by, were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons, and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries, any countries, Turkey included?”

Clinton replied, “Well, Senator, you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex. I will see what information is available.”

“You’re saying you don’t know?” asked Paul.

“I do not know,” Clinton said. “I don’t have any information on that.”

In testimony last month, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asked then-Defense Secretary John Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whether they had supported a plan “that we provide weapons to the resistance in Syria.”

“We do,” Panetta replied.

“You did support that?” McCain asked again.

“We did,” added Dempsey, who was sitting next to Panetta.

Neither Dempsey nor Panetta elaborated on their positions or commented on any actual arms shipments.

This is not the first time WND’s original investigative reporting on U.S. support for the Syrian rebels was later confirmed by reporting in major media outlets. Other WND reporting indicates support for the Syrian rebels that goes beyond supplying arms, painting a larger picture of U.S. involvement in the Middle East revolutions.

A story generating worldwide attention by the German weekly Der Spiegel earlier this month reporting the U.S. is training Syrian rebels in Jordan was exclusively exposed by WND 13 months ago.

Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms.

The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.

The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the past three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.

Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the Der Spiegel report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.

While Der Spiegel quoted sources discussing training of the rebels in Jordan over the last three months, WND was first to report the training as far back as February 2012.

At the time, WND quoted knowledgeable Egyptian and Arab security officials claimed the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.

Any training or arming of the Syrian rebels would be considered highly controversial. A major issue is the inclusion of jihadists, including al-Qaida, among the ranks of the Free Syrian Army and other Syrian opposition groups.


Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

By JPost.Com Staff

US president, family, friends celebrate Passover dinner with Seder plate given to the First Lady by Sara Netanyahu.

US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle celebrated their fifth Passover eve Seder dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House on Monday with family, staff and friends, the White House said.

Celebrating the Seder dinner at the White House has been a personal tradition Obama began during his 2008 presidential campaign, a spokesman said.

Obama, Pope wish Jews a ‘happy Passover’

“It was an opportunity for him to spend some time with staff on the campaign and with friends, and it was a very meaningful moment on the campaign for him,” spokesman Josh Earnest said.

“They will participate in the traditional Seder activities, and I know that there are some secret family recipes that are involved in the whole thing as well.”

A Seder includes the reading of the Haggadah, which contains the story of the exodus from Egypt and blessings, as well as ritual wine drinking and special foods. A piece of unleavened bread, or matzoh, from the table is hidden for children to find.

Earnest said the Obamas’ ceremony would include a Seder plate given to first lady Michelle Obama by Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Prior to the Seder dinner on Monday, Obama and the First Lady sent “warmest wishes to all those celebrating Passover here in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world.”

“Passover is a celebration of the freedom our ancestors dreamed of, fought for, and ultimately won,” Obama said in a statement.

Following his first visit to Israel as President, Obama reminded the world that “responsibility does not end when we reach the promised land, it only begins.”

The American President stated that on his trip, he had the chance to speak with young Israelis who saw “how the dream of true freedom found its full expression in those words of hope from Hatikvah,” Obama continued in Hebrew, “To be a free people in our land.”

“As my family and I prepare to once again take part in this ancient and powerful tradition, I am hopeful that we can draw upon the best in ourselves to find the promise in the days that lie ahead, meet the challenges that will come, and continuing the hard work of repairing the world,” he said.

The Hebrew parts of his speech rallied great enthusiasm in Israel during his visit, and in his statement on Passover, Obama sought to maintain this support, wishing “all those celebrating Passover here in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world” a Chag sameach.

On Monday evening, Pope Francis also sent holiday greetings to the Jews of Rome.

“May the Almighty, who freed his people from slavery in Egypt to guide them to the Promised Land, continue to free you from every evil and accompany you with his blessing,” the pope said in a message.


Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

by Heather Clark

Topeka, Kansas – Members of the Kansas House of Representatives have overwhelmingly passed a sweeping abortion bill that, among other regulations, declares that life begins at fertilization. It now moves to the Senate for deliberation.

“The legislature hereby finds and declares the following: (1) The life of each human being begins at fertilization; (2) unborn children have interests in life, health and well-being that should be protected; and (3) the parents of unborn children have protectable interests in the life, health and well-being of the unborn children of such parents,” the bill declares.

HR2253 sailed through the House on Wednesday with a vote of 92 to 31, and in addition to making a direct assertion on when life begins, restrains the abortion industry in a number of ways. One of the restrictions prohibits abortionists from receiving tax breaks. Another bars doctors-in-training at the state medical school from performing abortions on state time. A third requires that all abortionists notify women of the risks associated with having an abortion, including the increased chances of developing breast cancer.

Furthermore, the bill also prohibits organizations that perform abortions from teaching in sexual education classes.

“No school district shall permit any person or entity to offer, sponsor or otherwise furnish in any manner any course materials or instruction relating to human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases if such person or entity is an abortion services provider, or an employee, agent or volunteer of an abortion services provider,” it outlines.

On Tuesday, the House struck down an amendment to the state’s existing late-term abortion ban, which would have created exceptions in the instances of rape and incest.

During deliberations over the bills, and following the vote for each, both pro-life and pro-abortion legislators spoke their mind about the matter.

“I’m so disappointed in you all who have not gone to medical school, who have not gone to nursing school and think you know better,” Representative Barbara Boiler scolded the House. “It’s shameful.”

According to reports, Boiler argued on the House floor that unborn children do not feel pain or experience a stress reaction during the abortion process.

“When it comes to stress reactions, I imagine an unborn child does indeed experience stress when being dismembered and having arms and legs torn off,” argued Lance Kinzer, the sponsor of HB2253. Kinser serves as the House Judiciary Committee Chairman.

“I come here to confirm one fact that’s indisputable, at least in my case having studied medicine, that is that life does start at conception,” declared Representative Shanti Ghandi. “If we believe that, I think this bill is too long. All it needs is one paragraph that says life begins at conception.”

The bill will make its way through the Senate in the near future, and is expected to pass.

“We’ll get it done,” Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook told reporters.

If the legislation does indeed pass in the Senate, it will move to the desk of Governor Sam Brownback for signing. Brownback, a Roman Catholic, has remarked in the past that he will sign any pro-life bill that makes it to his desk.

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