by PERRY STONE
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21, KJV).
The return of Christ is contingent upon “the times of restitution of all things.” The word times is in the plural form, meaning “a series of events” linked to restitution. The word restitution is similar to the word restoration. The Greek word for restitution (apokatastasis) was used to describe the Jews’ return to Israel from Egypt with Moses and their return to Israel after the Babylonian captivity.
In both cases the Hebrew nation was released from bondage, returned to their land and brought restoration to the land through agriculture and farming (Jer. 27:22; Joel 2:25). Christ will return after an order of restoration occurs.
The biblical prophets also predicted a series of restorations that will unfold prior to the return of the Messiah. When these predictions begin to come to pass, it is a major witness that the closing out of the end of the age is at hand and the kingdom of the Messiah is over the horizon.
The first major event would be the reestablishing of Israel as a nation. Over 100 years before Israel was reborn on May 14-15, 1948, Bible scholars who accepted the literal interpretation of the restoration prophecies began writing and teaching that the Jews must return to a restored nation called Israel prior to the Lord’s return.
One such man was Professor S.W. Watson, who in 1888 taught that three things must occur before Christ could return. First, Israel would again be a nation. Second, Jerusalem must be in the hands and control of the Jews, and, finally, the Jews would be returning from all nations back to the Promised Land.
In 1912, A.B. Simpson wrote a book titled The Coming One, in which he stated: “Then there is the promise of their [Israel’s] restoration. This is to be in two stages: first, national and then spiritual. The two stages are represented by Ezekiel in the vision of the valley of dry bones.”
In 1940 Harry Rimmer wrote a prophetic book titled The Coming War and the Rise of Russia. In it he mentions 14 things that must occur prior to the coming of Christ. He stated that the Jews would be back in Palestine and will have Jerusalem back. He predicted that there would be a great war that would drive the Jews back to Palestine. He also spoke of Hitler dividing Germany and how Germany would later be united again.
In the 1930s and 1940s, a great Bible scholar, Finis Dake, author of the Dake’s Annotated Bible, spent thousands of hours researching the Scriptures and writing personal notes and commentaries on each verse. In Isaiah 35, the prophet Isaiah predicted a time when the barren deserts of Israel would blossom as a rose and fill the world with fruit (Is. 35:1; see also Is. 27:6). At the time of Mr. Dake’s research, most of Palestine was either a swamp or a desolate, dry wilderness with little or no vegetation. In this setting, Dake commented on the 2,500-year-old prediction by Isaiah that Israel’s deserts would blossom and fill the world with fruit: “A complete restoration or reestablishment. It refers to the Millennium when Christ will reign 1,000 years. No prophecy about the coming of the Lord can be fulfilled until the Jews are back in their land.”
In the 1930s and early 1940s, Dake understood two facts: that no prophecy about the coming of the Lord could be fulfilled until the Jews were back in their land (Israel), and that the blossoming of the desert was to be taken literally and not as some spiritual allegory. In other words, the dry land would one day become fruitful. He only missed one part of his interpretation. He placed the timing of this fulfillment during the thousand-year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:4), not during the time of the end. When his Bible notes were written, the Jews were still scattered among the nations and were being persecuted by the Nazis. The nation of Israel was nonexistent, and the land was called Palestine and was under British mandate.
When examining prophetic Scripture, these men and others like them took the prophecies about Israel’s restoration literally and not spiritually or allegorically. They predicted a day when the Jews would return and rebuild the places of old.
by SAMUEL SMITH
The Islamic State terrorist organization now has at least 12 known military allies, operating in nine countries outside of Iraq and Syria, that have publicly pledged their allegiances to the caliphate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
As Islamic State leadership continues to call on extremists worldwide to wreak havoc on the West, NYMag.com’s Daily Intelligencer reports that the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) has identified 12 international militia organizations that are now affiliating their efforts with the Islamic State’s jihad and could help expand the group’s caliphate.
Militia allies in Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, Jordan and Gaza/Israel have all announced some sort of cooperation with the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi. Many of these organizations were recently affiliated with Al Qaeda and have since switched to ISIS allegiances over the summer and into the fall.
In the latest edition of ISIS’ English language online magazine, Dabiq, the group details its plans for its expansion into North Africa and the Arabian Peninsuala.
“On the 17th of Muharram 1436 (Muslim year), the world heard announcements from the mujāhidīn of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, Sinai, Libya, and Algeria, pronouncing their [allegiances] to the Khalīfah of the Muslims, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” the Dabiq article states. “All of them announced uniformly: We call the Muslims everywhere to give bay’ah to the Khalīfah and support him, in obedience to Allah and actualization of the unheeded obligation of the era.”
In the North African country of Libya, a new group founded at the beginning of 2014, Islamic Youth Shura Council, has already made significant headway for the Islamic State by seizing control of the Mediterranean coastal town of Derna in April. Although the group initially pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda when it was first established, the group formally switched its allegiance to ISIS in June. In October, the group announced Derna as an official ISIS outpost, making it a rare ISIS-controlled town outside of Iraq and Syria.
“It is incumbent on us to support this oppressed Islamic State that is taken as an enemy by those near and those far, among the infidels or the hypocrites, or those with dead souls alike,” a statement issued by Islamic Youth Shura Council states.
TRAC Editorial Director Veryan Khan told Daily Intellegencer that she believes the Islamic Youth Shura Council could have a huge impact on luring Libya’s inland extremists considering the nature of the country’s volatile political climate.
In Algeria, a group that once held close ties to Al Qaeda leadership called Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), issued their pledge of allegiance to ISIS in September. This particular militia group held personal ties to Osama Bin Laden and current Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The group’s leader, Gouri Abdelmalek, issued a statement claiming Al Qaeda “has deviated from the true path.”
No more than two weeks after Jund al-Khilafa publicized its ISIS affiliation, the group beheaded a French man in the name of the Islamic State to avenge for France’s participation in U.S.-Coalition airstrikes against ISIS.
“The Caliphate soldiers have actually beheaded on the Islamic State’s behalf,” Khan said.
As was reported earlier in November, the Sinai-based Ansar Beit al-Maqdis in Egypt has pledged its support to ISIS and currently contains about 1,000 fighters. Since Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, was kicked out of power in July of 2013, the leadership of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis felt that it was in their best interest to pledge loyalty to ISIS in hopes that the Islamic State’s leaders would provide more supplies to help the group defeat Cairo’s military leadership. After the group pledged its allegiance, it was renamed to Wilayat Sinai, which means the governance of Sinai.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis also has a branch that operates in Gaza, which has previously conducted attacks against Israel. According to TRAC, the group claimed responsibility for launching rockets into Israel in July. Since pledging its allegiance to ISIS, the Gaza branch of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has changed its name to al-Dawla al-Islamiyya, which in English simply means “the Islamic State.”
Exanding into Asia via affiliates in Pakistan, a country that consists of 97 percent muslims and has a low tolerance for blaspheming against Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, multiple militia organizations have expressed their ISIS allegiance.
Last Monday, a former Pakistani Taliban splinter group called Jundallah pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State. Jundallah joins other Pakistani Taliban militia’s such as Tehreek-e-Khilafat and Jamaat al-Ahrar, who pledged allegiance over the summer. All three of the former Taliban groups had close ties with Al Qaeda leadership and as the Intelligencer points out, Al Qaeda is starting to lose much of its affiliated support due to the emergence of ISIS.
“[ISIS] is our brothers, whatever plan they have we will support them,” a Jundallah spokesperson said.
In the Philippines, the group Abu Sayyat pledged allegiance to the Islamic State over the summer and has been attempting to create its Islamic governance within the archipelago. The group successfully received a $5 million ransom payment after they kidnapped and threatened to behead two German captives.
In mid July, Ashorut Tauhid, an Indonesian militia group based in Java, issued its allegiance to ISIS when the group’s arrested leader pledged from inside his jail cell. However, the decision to pledge allegiance to ISIS was to the dismay of many of the group’s top members, who have since left the group.
In Lebanon, the group that took credit for the 2013 bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Free Sunnis of Baalbek Brigade, issued its allegiance to ISIS through a Twitter post in June.
The Sons of the Call for Tawhid and Jihad, a Jordan-based youth militia, that is believed to have thousands of members, denounced Al Qaeda leadership in July and offered their support to ISIS.
Although TRAC’s analysis identified just 12 international militia organizations, TRAC holds that there could possibly be more groups that have pledge allegiance to ISIS but have not done so publicly.
by Michael Snyder
If the United States and Russia fought a nuclear war, who would win? You might be surprised by the answer. Under the Obama administration, the rapidly aging U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal has been shrinking.
Meanwhile, the Russians have been developing an entirely new generation of bombers, submarines and missiles that have the capability of delivering an absolutely crippling first strike. At this point, most Americans consider a full-scale nuclear war to be inconceivable. But in Russia attitudes are completely different.
To the Russians, the United States is enemy number one these days and the Russians are feverishly preparing for a potential military showdown.
Of course the Russians don’t actually want to have to resort to nuclear war. Such an event would be an unspeakable horror for the entire globe. But if one does happen, the Russians want to make sure that they are the ones that come out on top.
A lot of Americans are still operating under the faulty assumption that the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” still applies. The thinking was that both sides had so many nuclear missiles that a launch by one side would guarantee the destruction of both parties.
But since that time, so much has changed.
For one, the U.S. nuclear arsenal is far, far smaller than it was back then. Back in 1967, the U.S. military possessed more than 31,000 strategic nuclear warheads. Now, we only have 1,642 deployed, and that number is scheduled to be further reduced to about 1,500.
Sadly, reducing the size of our nuclear arsenal by close to 95 percent is not enough for anti-nuke crusader Barack Obama. He has spoken of unilaterally reducing the size of our strategic nuclear arsenal down to just 300 warheads.
During this same time period, the Russians have been developing some very impressive stealth delivery systems which have the capability of hitting targets inside the United States within just minutes of an order being issued. This is particularly true of their submarine-launched missiles. The newest Russian subs have the ability to approach our coastlines without us even knowing that they are there. If the Russians came to the conclusion that war with the United States was unavoidable, an overwhelming first strike using submarine-based missiles could potentially take out nearly our entire arsenal before we even knew what hit us. And if the Russians have an anti-ballistic missile system that can intercept the limited number of rockets that we can launch in return, they may be able to escape relatively unscathed.
In order for “mutually assured destruction” to work, we have to see the Russian missiles coming and have enough time to order a launch of our own. Thank to emerging technologies, the balance of power has fundamentally shifted. The old way of thinking simply does not apply anymore and the Russians understand this.
The following are 10 signs that Russia is preparing to fight (and win) a nuclear war with the United States…
#1 Russia is spending an enormous amount of money to develop the PAK DA Strategic Bomber. Not a lot is known about this stealth bomber at this time. The following summary of what we do know comes from an Australian news source…
Russia’s answer to the B-2 “Spirit”, this next-generation strategic bomber is intended to be almost invisible to radar and capable of carrying a huge array of conventional and nuclear missiles. Little else is known other than its expected service date: 2025.
#2 Russian nuclear bombers have been regularly buzzing areas in northern Europe and along the coast of Alaska. The Russians appear to be brazenly testing NATO defenses. Here is just one recent example…
Russian strategic nuclear bombers carried out air defense zone incursions near Alaska and across Northern Europe this week in the latest nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.
Six Russian aircraft, including two Bear H nuclear bombers, two MiG-31 fighter jets and two IL-78 refueling tankers were intercepted by F-22 fighters on Wednesday west and north of Alaska in air defense identification zones, said Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Two other Bears were intercepted by Canadian jets on Thursday.
#3 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says that Russian nuclear bombers will now conduct regular patrols “in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico“.
#4 Russia is constructing an anti-ballistic missile system which will supposedly be superior to anything that the U.S. currently has…
Currently under development, the S-500 missile is intended to be capable of intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles when combined with radar input from the likes of the new A-100 AWACS aircraft. It is supposed to be able to track and shoot at up to 10 supersonic targets at any one time at heights of up to 40km.
#5 Russia recently successfully test launched a new submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missile…
A Russian Northern Fleet nuclear submarine on Wednesday fired a test intercontinental missile from the Barents Sea to the country’s far eastern Kura Range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
“Within the frameworks of testing the reliability of marine strategic nuclear forces, the Tula [nuclear submarine] launched a Sineva intercontinental ballistic missile from the Barents Sea to the Kura Range [in Kamchatka],” the statement says.
The RSM-54 intercontinental ballistic missile Sineva (NATO code name SS-N-23 Skiff) is part of the D-9RM launch system.
The D-9RM launch system equipped with RSM-54 missiles was put into service in 1986. The production of the RSM-54 was halted in 1996 but after three years, the Russian government resumed the production of a modernized version of the missile.
#6 Russia already possesses super silent nuclear attack submarines that are virtually undetectable when submerged. In a previous article, I discussed how the U.S. Navy refers to these virtually undetectable subs as “black holes“…
Did you know that Russia is building submarines that are so quiet that the U.S. military cannot detect them? These “black hole” submarines can freely approach the coastlines of the United States without fear of being detected whenever they want. In fact, a “nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles” sailed around in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks without being detected back in 2012. And now Russia is launching a new class of subs that have “advanced stealth technology”. The U.S. Navy openly acknowledges that they cannot track these subs when they are submerged. That means that the Russians are able to sail right up to our coastlines and launch nukes whenever they want.
#7 Russian media outlets are reporting that 60 percent of all Russian nuclear missiles will have radar-evading capability by 2016…
Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to complete the rearmament of Strategic Missile Forces within six years. “By 2016, the share of new missile systems will reach nearly 60%, and by 2021 their share will increase to 98%. At the same time the troop and weapon command systems, combat equipment will be qualitatively improved, first of all — their capabilities for the suppression of antimissile defense will be built up,” Defense Ministry’s RVSN spokesman Colonel Igor Yegorov told ITAR-TASS on Friday.
#8 For the first time ever, Russia has more strategic nuclear warheads deployed than the United States does…
For the first time, Russia, which is in the midst of a major strategic nuclear modernization, has more deployed nuclear warheads than the United States, according to the latest numbers released by the State Department.
Russia now has 1,643 warheads deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers. The United States has 1,642, said the fact sheet released Wednesday.
The warhead count for the Russians, based the Sept. 1 report required under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), shows an increase of 131 warheads since the last declaration on March 1. The U.S. reported a warhead increase of 57 during the same period. It is not clear why the warhead numbers increased.
#9 Russia has a massive advantage over the United States and NATO when it comes to tactical nuclear weapons…
As for tactical nuclear weapons, the superiority of modern-day Russia over NATO is even stronger.
The Americans are well aware of this. They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again. Now it’s too late.
To date, NATO countries have only 260 tactical nuclear weapons in the ETO. The United States has 200 bombs with a total capacity of 18 megatons. They are located on six air bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. France has 60 more atomic bombs. That is pretty much it. Russia, according to conservative estimates, has 5,000 pieces of different classes of TNW – from Iskander warheads to torpedo, aerial and artillery warheads! The US has 300 tactical B-61 bombs on its own territory, but this does not change the situation against the backdrop of such imbalance.
#10 Russian President Vladimir Putin has initiated a huge “weapons modernization program” that is projected to cost the equivalent of 540 billion dollars…
Putin said Russia’s weapons modernization program for 2016-2025 should focus on building a new array of offensive weapons to provide a “guaranteed nuclear deterrent;” re-arming strategic and long-range aviation; creating an aerospace defense system and developing high-precision conventional weapons.
He would not elaborate on prospective weapons, but he and other officials have repeatedly boasted about new Russian nuclear missiles’ capability to penetrate any prospective missile shield.
The Kremlin has bolstered defense spending in the past few years under an ambitious weapons modernization program that runs through 2020 and costs the equivalent of $540 billion.
Meanwhile, the Chinese have been investing heavily in this kind of technology as well.
In fact, just the other day the Chinese successfully tested a new submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile…
China’s JL-2 second-generation intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missile, which has the ability to reach the continental USA, is already believed to be deployable by the People’s Liberation Army, reports Huanqiu, the Chinese-language website of the nationalistic Global Times tabloid.
The Julang-2 — literally “Giant Wave 2″ — has reached a preliminary level of proficiency, according to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in its report to US Congress on Nov. 20.
Most Americans do not believe that any of this is a concern whatsoever.
Most Americans just assume that a full-scale nuclear war is virtually impossible.
But the truth is that a successful first strike against the United States is more possible today than it ever has been before.
Hopefully the American people will wake up to this reality before it is too late.
by Mimmi Nilsson
Sweden has a global reputation as a leader in developing innovative technologies. But will a trend for inserting microchips in the human body catch on? The Local spoke to one of the first Swedes to choose an implant to unlock her office door.
Emilott Lantz, 25, from Umeå in northern Sweden, got a microchip inserted into her hand last week.
She became a guinea pig during Sime 2014 in Stockholm – a conference about digitalism, the internet, and the future. In line with the goals of the event, participants were offered to get a microchip fitted for free – an opportunity Lantz jumped at.
“I don’t feel as though this is the future – this is the present. To me, it’s weird that we haven’t seen this sooner,” she tells The Local.
There is evidence that the number of chip-wearers in Sweden is growing rapidly.
“This has very much been an underground phenomenon up until now, but there are perhaps a 100 people with the chip in Sweden,” says Hannes Sjöblad from the Swedish biohackers group BioNyfiken.
In the last month alone 50 people from the group underwent the procedure.
The technology has previously been used for key tags or chips in our pets’ necks to let them through cat flaps. What is relatively new is inserting the chip in human hands.
The idea is that instead of carrying keys or remembering pins or passwords for our phones or doors, people fitted with microchips can use them to unlock rooms or lockers, by placing their hand against a machine that reads the information stored in the chip.
It was the appeal of minimizing the number of keys she needed to carry around that was the deciding factor for Lantz.
But her decision to go through with the procedure has brought mixed reactions from her friends and family, some saying she’s been foolish while others argue it’s a cool idea.
“The technology isn’t new but the subject becomes sensitive just because it’s in the human body,” she says.
The chip, which is the size of a grain of rice, has been designed to stay in Lantz’s hand for the rest of her life.
“I’m not surprised that people think it’s a big deal – it’s not that common yet, but I think it will be. We’re already modifying our bodies, why should this be different?”
Lantz first came in contact with the idea while attending the conference Geek Girl Meetups last year, where she heard speaker Carin Ism talk about transhumanism.
Transhumanism is a movement that explores science and technology innovations and their relationship to humanity. Its goal is to challenge humanity by using emerging technologies that enable humans to go beyond their current limitations.
“I’m super stoked to have had this done – I can’t wait for the property agent to get back to me about letting me into the system so that I can use my chip instead of my keys to get into the office,” says Lantz.
BioNyfiken’s Hannes Sjöblad says it makes sense that Sweden is starting to embrace the technology.
“There’s a reason that this is happening in Sweden first and not anywhere else. Swedes have a proven track record of being very early adapters of new technologies and the current mood is very conductive to this type of experimenting,” he says.
Lantz adds: “besides having a chip in my hand, I’m a pretty normal person.
by Debbie Smith
“Join us, let’s wipe the entire nation off the face of the earth so no one will remember Israel’s name.” While this sentence could be an excerpt from a recent speech by any one of a number of heads of state or Muslim leaders, it is actually taken from the Psalms, written thousands of years ago, but meant for our day.(Psalm 83:4 VOICE)
It seems that daily, a new threat, from another of her enemies, surfaces and endangers the existence of Israel and the safety of her people.
In a recent Twitter post, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, who represents the latest in a long line of Iranian officials who have advocated her annihilation, called for the destruction of the State of Israel.
Khamenei proposes a here to fore “unspecified plan” and referendum that would establish a government in Palestine responsible for deciding whether Jewish immigrants to the State of Israel can rightfully stay in Israel, or will be deported back to “their home countries.”
Khamenei states that his plan will be presented to the ‘international community”, and apparently, he is confident that the plan will be approved.
Perhaps, revealing his true intent, Khamenei insists that until this “government “can be formed,” a powerful confrontation and resolute armed resistance “is needed and proposes that those “interested in the destiny of Palestine” should arm the Palestinians’ in the West Bank.
Not interested in mediation by the UN or any “peace” agreement, Khamenei believes that Israel would sabotage any attempts at peace, and only use them to take advantage of the Palestinians.
Khamenei, characteristically, accused the Israeli government of crimes against its Arab citizens including; homicide and infanticide, the destruction of homes and farms, and the murder of Yasar Arafat, who Khamenei states was most “cooperative with the Zionists.”
Elsewhere in the region, the call for armed aggression against Israel spreads like a virus. The Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS, plans to establish a caliphate in Egypt, a nation still reeling from last year’s military coup which ousted Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Mohamed Morsi.
Reportedly, the Egyptian security forces have been under attack from jihadists answering the call of the Islamic State which views establishing a caliphate in Egypt as “the first step toward the invasion of Jerusalem.”
Additionally, an insurgency appears to be operating from bases in Gaza on the border with Egypt, as the Ansar al-Maqdis, and other jihadist groups, team up with ISIS, providing intelligence.
The bases are believed to be staffed by Gazans and Syrians who have returned from the fighting in Syria and Iraq.” In other words, Sinai is no longer a dangerous region subject to periodic terrorist attacks.
This is now a full-fledged insurgency,” according to Abdallah Schleifer a veteran American journalist and professor emeritus at the American University in Cairo.
Meanwhile in Jerusalem, the past several weeks have seen an upsurge in the violence as clashes over the Temple Mount continue.
In response, in Jordan, Israel’s neighbor to the right, with whom Israel has enjoyed a diplomatic relationship since 1994, violent protests escalated this week as Jordanians demanded their government sever ties with Israel and close the Israeli embassy in Amman. Some of these demands are coming from leadership in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Perhaps the gravity of these developments can best be seen in the Jordanian government’s suggestion that the crisis in Jerusalem could endanger the peace treaty between the two countries, something not previously proposed, despite much bloodier conflicts occurring in the city’s history.
And to the northeast, Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist organization, is also threatening Israel with an estimated” 100,000 rockets — 10 times as many as were in the Hamas arsenal — and that it’s 5,000 long-range missiles, located in Beirut and other areas deep inside Lebanon, are capable of carrying large warheads (of up to 1 ton and more), with precision guidance systems, covering all of Israel,” according to some estimates. Some IDF sources have estimated the number at more like 150,000 rockets.
It appears that war with Hezbollah is inevitable, although the timing is uncertain, but will certainly be more costly than the Gaza conflict of late summer.
As a result of the violent protests and deadly rioting in Israel over the past few days, the terror alert level was raised to the second highest on November, 9, and this in a country accustomed to violent terrorists acts and frequent rocket attacks.
Truly, Israel lives in a “dangerous neighborhood”, full of enemies, plotting her destruction and seeking to remove any remembrance of her from people’s minds. May we all continue to” pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 122:6)
by Tom Olago
If you thought that perhaps only the company that owns your cell-phone brand or your mobile network/telecom operator has any potential access to personal data on your phone, think again. Surveillance technology is quite literally now soaring to dizzying heights and pushing current privacy boundaries to new levels. According to recent reports, the Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of cellphones through fake communications towers deployed on airplanes that are flown regularly. Although this operational process is intended to hunt down criminal suspects and terrorists, it also reportedly captures information from the cellphones of a large number of innocent Americans in a “minimally invasive” way.
The operation, which is said to be within the ambit of the U.S. Marshals Service program, uses airplanes equipped with devices which mimic cell towers of large telecommunications firms, and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information. Cellphones are programmed to connect automatically to the strongest cell tower signal, and the mimicking devices are intended to produce that strongest signal.
According to other sources, information that can be collected also includes the cell phone holder’s general location. The devices can also jam signals and retrieve data from a target phone such as texts or photos. By taking the program airborne, the government can sift through a greater volume of information and with greater precision: technology can pinpoint location within about three meters, down to a specific room in a building.
These devices are also known as “dirtboxes” to law-enforcement officials. The name “dirtbox” is said to have come from the acronym of the company making the device, DRT (Digital Recovery Technology Inc.), now a subsidiary of Boeing.
The device data collection process resembles the NSA (National Security Agency) program in that it scoops up large volumes of data in order to find a single person or a handful of people. These developments were recently carried in the Denver Post after its original publication in the Wall Street Journal.
Issues identified and highlighted relating to this program include the following aspects extracted from the report:
• The device being used by the U.S. Marshals Service identifies itself as having the closest, strongest signal, even though it doesn’t, and forces all the phones that can detect its signal to send in their unique registration information. Even having encryption on one’s phone, such as Apple Co.’s iPhone 6 now includes, doesn’t prevent this process.
- The program cuts out phone companies as an intermediary in searching for suspects. Rather than asking a company for cell-tower information to help locate a suspect, which law enforcement has criticized as slow and inaccurate, the government can now get that information itself. People familiar with the program say they do get court orders to search for phones, but it isn’t clear if those orders describe the methods used because the orders are sealed.
- Also unknown are the steps taken to ensure data collected on innocent people isn’t kept for future examination by investigators. A federal appeals court ruled earlier this year that over-collection of data by investigators, and stockpiling of such data, was a violation of the Constitution.
- Within the Marshals Service, some have questioned the legality of such operations and the internal safeguards, saying that scooping up of large volumes of information, even for a short period, may not be properly understood by judges who approve requests for the government to locate a suspect’s phone.
- Some within the agency also question whether people scanning cell phone signals are doing enough to minimize intrusions into the phone system of other citizens, and if there are effective procedures in place to safeguard the handling of that data. It is unclear how closely the Justice Department oversees the program.
- The existence of the cell phone program could escalate tensions between Washington and technology companies, including the telecom firms whose devices are being redirected by the program. This is essentially because the program bypasses or overrides mobile network operators’ signals while misleading their cell phone users.
The U.S. Marshals Service program seems to be taking Stingray surveillance technology to the next level. In the words of the sanfrancisocbslocal.com or KPIX 5: “Stingray is a cell phone surveillance device so top secret, law enforcement agencies don’t even like to admit they have it. But KPIX 5 has confirmed Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose police are using Stingrays to track suspects. Now, Fremont Police and the Alameda County District Attorney’s office are applying for federal grants to get a new version of Stingray, called Hailstorm. The use of the devices is increasing, potentially at the expense of your privacy.You may think you are private when you’re talking on your cell phone, think again. From an undercover car or even strapped to a detective’s chest walking down the street, police are using a device called a Stingray to gather the serial numbers of surrounding phones. They’re chasing a target, but sweeping up your identity, activity and location as well.”
Stingray is said to monitor “Any communication that you initiate, a voice call, an SMS or an internet communication” according to Andrew Becherer, a security expert with ISEC partners. As could be expected, the Stingray has raised a number of serious issues related to its usage, much in the same way as its flying partner, the “dirtbox”. Some of the issues highlighted in relation to its usage include the following:
• Oakland police reportedly denying public access to related records, citing exemption from disclosure for security reasons. Similarly, according to San Jose police: “disclosure of technical information regarding the technology would enable law violators to escape detection.” • According to Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties Policy Director for the ACLU of Northern California, law enforcement is using the devices without a warrant, making the practice hard to track, and violating state privacy laws.
KPIX 5 also stated that the Alameda County’s DA’s office along with Oakland and Fremont police applied this year for a $500,000 federal grant to upgrade Stingray to something called Hailstorm, which could be even more powerful, and equally secretive.
As usual, the arguments being made in favor of surveillance (and at the expense of privacy) tend to major on the benefits which are suggested to be so important that they are easily worth sacrificing individual privacy rights for.
The Alameda County DA’s office reportedly sent KPIX 5 the following statement on the benefits: “The electronic surveillance technology we are seeking to acquire is an important tool to use for the safety and protection of the public. This technology can be used to prevent or respond to a terrorist attack. It can be used to track and apprehend serious and violent criminals and fugitives from justice. It can help to locate and recover missing persons and kidnapping victims. It may also be used in search and rescue operations to help locate missing or trapped victims of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. The use of this technology would speed the ability of rescue workers to locate injured victims quickly and to speed up the administration of life-saving medical intervention. The technology allows Law Enforcement and Public Safety Officers to use up-to-date technology to promote public safety and law enforcement well into the future. It is important to remember that this technology would not be used without court authorization.”
It is also interesting how these arguments are essentially the same used by those advocating for the use of human micro-chipping and the gamut of biometric and related RFID technologies. It would seem that eventually, these enhanced surveillance systems will be the perfect complement to the biometric control systems that will ultimately destroy the freedom of every man, woman, boy and girl alive on planet earth (Revelation 13:16, 17).
by Ruth Odia
The Russian Army’s reform began in 2008 and was the largest in post-Soviet history. The military’s command and control was significantly changed, the size of the Army and number of conscripts reduced, and the number of contractors increased. The salaries of officers were significantly increased and their housing problems were solved. It also became began undergoing a rearmament program, unprecedented by volume, which will continue until 2020.
Russia is also currently developing an array of new nuclear and conventional weapons to counter recent moves by the US and NATO, President Vladimir Putin said recently as the military successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile launched from a nuclear submarine.
Putin’s comments came as Russia’s relations with the West have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War due to Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine. They appear to show that the Russian leader is determined to pursue a tough course in the face of more Western sanctions.
Putin said Russia’s 2016-2025 weapons modernization program should focus on building a new array of offensive weapons to provide a “guaranteed nuclear deterrent”; re-arming strategic and long-range aviation; creating an aerospace defense system, and developing high-precision conventional weapons.
Putin also added that potential threats must be thoroughly analyzed to avoid overburdening the economy with excessive military spending. He would not elaborate on prospective weapons, but he and other officials have repeatedly boasted about new Russian nuclear missiles’ capability to penetrate any prospective missile shield.
Putin’s emphasis on high-precision conventional weapons reflected government concerns about the US and other NATO countries enjoying a significant edge in that area. Talking about potential threats, the Russian president specifically pointed at the US missile defense program and Washington’s plans to develop new conventional weapons that could strike targets anywhere in the world in as little as an hour with deadly precision.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin also recently announced that Russia is set to renew the country’s strategic nuclear forces by 100 percent, not 70 percent as previously announced. The deputy premier, who is responsible for the Russian defense industry, also declared that in 2015 the army and the navy are to switch 30 percent of their weapons to “cutting edge” technology, and by 70 percent in 2020. Among other developments, the Russian military-industrial complex will replace all the Ukrainian supplies in two-and-a-half years.
The US, on the other hand, plans to invest $1 trillion in nuclear weapons arsenal over the next three decades to significantly upgrade its nuclear weapons capability as The New York Times reported last month. The article serves a definite political purpose. It is a warning to Russia, China and any other country that may try to stand in the way of the American ruling class that the US military is also preparing for nuclear war.
The newspaper quotes Harvard Professor Gary Samore, Obama’s former chief nuclear weapons advisor and a stand-in for the administration itself: “The most fundamental game changer is Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That has made any measure to reduce the stockpile unilaterally politically impossible,” he told the Times. These confrontations, as well as other possible conflicts with European powers, pose the danger of nuclear war.
Nuclear energy is growing around the world. About 70 new reactors are under construction worldwide (NEI), with more than 600 others planned by mid-century. Five reactors are under construction in the United States.
The exact number of nuclear weapons in global arsenals is not known. With little exception, each of the nine countries with nuclear weapons guards these numbers as closely held national secrets. What is known, however, is that more than a decade and a half after the Cold War ended, the world’s combined stockpile of nuclear warheads remain at unacceptably high levels, according to the World Nuclear Stockpile Report.
Presently, there are nine nuclear weapons states with about 10,000 weapons, down dramatically from the 100,000 at the height of the Cold War, with Russia leading and followed, in order, by the United States, France, China, United Kingdom, Pakistan, India and North Korea.
The only new nuclear weapons states in the last 25 years are Pakistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the DPRK, formerly known as North Korea). South Africa, Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Ukraine dropped their nuclear weapons programs when the Soviet Union dissolved, and the old Soviet satellites gave all their nuclear weapons back to Russia.
All through the Bible’s historical accounts, we see God sovereignly guiding the affairs of nations on earth to fulfill His plans and purposes, even through those who do not acknowledge Him.
Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.