Archive | December 2016

India Takes Drastic Move Toward Cashless Society

By Brandon Turbeville/Activist Post

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In 2012, India launched a nationwide program involving the allocation of a Unique Identification Number (UID) to every single one of its 1.2 billion residents.
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Each of the numbers will be tied to the biometric data of the recipient using three different forms of information – fingerprints, iris scans, and pictures of the face. All ten digits of the hand will be recorded, and both eyes will be scanned.
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The project will be directed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) under the premise of preventing identity theft and social welfare fraud.
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India has rather extensive social welfare and safety net programs, ranging from medical support and heating assistance to others aimed at helping the poor.
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Fraud is a rampant problem in India, especially in relation to these programs due to a preponderance of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who often stuff welfare rolls with fake names and take the money for themselves.
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Yet, although the justification for the billion person database is the increased ability to accurately disperse social welfare benefits, it will not be just the Indian government’s social welfare programs that have access to and utilize the UIDAI.
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Indeed, even before the program has been completed, major banks, state/local governments, and other institutions are planning to use the UIDAI for identification verification purposes and, of course, payment and accessibility.
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As Aaron Saenz of the Singularity Hub writes:
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Yet the UID is going to be used for much more than social welfare programs. The UIDAI is in discussion with many institutions (banks, local/state governments, etc.) to allow them to use the UID as a means of identity verification.
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These institutions will pay the UIDAI some fee to cover costs and generate revenue. There seems to be little doubt that once it is established, the UID will become a preferred method (if not the preferred method) of identification in India.
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Saenz also sees the eventuality of the UIDAI program becoming a means of payment and accessibility. He continues:
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Ultimately, I wouldn’t be surprised if the UID, with its biometric data, could be used as a means of payment (when linked to a bank account), or as an access key to homes and cars.
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Purchase a meal with your fingerprint and unlock your door with the twinkle in your eye. Similar results could be expected in other nations that adopted biometric identification systems.
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Saenz, and other proponents of the UID (UIDAI), have been diligent in pointing out that the program “is just a number, not an ID card.” However, this claim is debatable.
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Saenz himself admits that State issued driver’s licenses and identification cards will reference the UID information.
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Recently, however, India has made even greater strides toward a cashless society, this time openly saying as much.
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Having made a decision to ban 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes, Prime Minister Modi is openly stating his goal of moving India towards becoming a “cashless society.”
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This is despite the economic result of his decision, i.e. bringing commerce to a virtual standstill as a result of removing nearly eighty percent of India’s currency from circulation.
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While Modi has received much criticism for his decision, he is refusing to back down, stating in a public speech that “We can gradually move from a less-cash society to a cashless society.”
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According to a translation by Reuters, Modi also stated, “I want to tell my small merchant brothers and sisters, this is the chance for you to enter the digital world.”
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Modi admitted that, right now, a “100 percent cashless society” is not possible but that he wanted to set the wheels in motion to get there eventually.
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“It’s correct that a 100 percent cashless society is not possible. But why don’t we make a beginning for a less-cash society in India?” Modi said. “We can gradually move from a less-cash society to a cashless society.”
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While citing the “black market” as one justification for the elimination of hard physical currency, the truth is that power and control are the real reasons national governments have for pursuing a cashless society.
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When all financial transactions eventually become digital, it is only a matter of time before banks, corporations, and governments begin to force citizens to bend to their will with the threat of cutting off accounts as punishment for resistance or refusal.

Europe Divided Over EU Army After Trump And Brexit

By PNW Staff

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Debate has begun to heat up in Europe over the proposal to create a united European army separate from NATO. Isolationist sentiment has carried the day this year, as indicated by both the British exit from the European Union and Trump’s presidential win.
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The growing threat from Russia has provided further impetus to the need for independent European defensive capabilities.
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The winds of change are growing strong and the EU is on course to increase its defensive capabilities, whether through the more dramatic proposal to create a wholly independent EU army is realized or if the EU simply decides it needs to supplement the defensive capabilities of NATO.
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Arguing in favor of European military independence, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, cited President-elect Trump’s pledge to demand other NATO allies to pay their fair share and his isolationist policies as a reason to rebuild Europe’s defensive capabilities.
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The EU’s diplomacy head carried the argument further as he called for Europe to transform itself into what he called a “superpower” that could act as a “global security power”.
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Mr. Juncker, who plans to push for an independent EU army capable of competing as a world power, went on to say, “the Americans, to whom we owe much … will not ensure the security of the Europeans in the long term.
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We have to do this ourselves.” Just this summer, the EU representative in global politics, Federica Mogherini, released detailed plans describing the establishment of an EU army.
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She had waited until Britain’s referendum to exit the EU had been decided and now has she has stated that the EU must grow its military might in response to Trump’s election win.
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German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has also presented a plan to build a EU army. In mid-November, she published a piece in the German media in which she laid out her arguments for forming a European army in response to the new course that she believes both Brexit and the US election have set.
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Britain has been a long-time opponent of plans for a European army, and its exit from the EU has confirmed its rejection of plans for a shared military force separate from NATO.
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In September, it became known that France and Germany had already been engaged in high-level talks to create a common military force. The current proposal to create an EU command center and bring back joint EU battlegrounds may still fall short of a fully independent army, but it is an important first step.
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Also on the table is the idea of a European investment fund for defense. Possibly managed by European banks, this fund could begin small and grow in size as member nations contribute. Backed by the European Investment Bank, the new force would gain both financial and strategic independence from NATO.
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Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, has criticized the proposal to create a separate European army. Mr. Farage was quoted as saying, “You’ve got Jean-Claude Juncker using the election of President Trump as a means of trying to destroy NATO by pushing his ridiculous dream of a European army.”
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Mr. Farage, the first British politician to speak with Trump after he had secured the presidency, went on to agree with the new Republican president, “I have to say when Trump says America should not continue to pick up such a big bill for NATO – I think he’s right. The other members do need to pull their weight, and frankly there has been no proper reassessment of what NATO is ever since the Berlin wall came down over 25 years ago.”
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He added that he would like to see a meeting between NATO member nations in which they discuss their commitment and the future of the alliance.
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Jens Stoltenberg, former prime minister of Norway and current secretary general of NATO, has also roundly criticized the proposed EU army by calling it “a ghost of the past” and declaring that it had been put to rest.
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He dismissed calls for creating a new military structure and stated that after he attended the European Defense Ministers meeting in Bratislava, “It was clearly stated that there is no intention to create a European Army; or establish a military headquarters similar to that of NATO’s shape.
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And it was also made clear that NATO remains the foundation for the collective defense of those countries that are part of the Alliance.”
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While the debate continues as to whether Europe, through the leadership of France and Germany, will create an independent EU army, what is clear is that EU member nations will increase their investment in defense.
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Perhaps all it took was the push from Britain and some hard talk from Trump about allies pulling their weight, but the message has been received and all sides seem to agree that NATO allies in Europe need to contribute more for their common defense in an increasingly dangerous world.

Jimmy Carter Urges Obama To Divide The Land Of Israel Before January 20th

By Michael Snyder/Economic Collapse Blog

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In an absolutely stunning editorial for the New York Times, former president Jimmy Carter has publicly called for Barack Obama to divide the land of Israel at the United Nations before Inauguration Day.
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While he was president, Carter negotiated peace between Israel and Egypt, and ever since that time he has been a very strong advocate for a Palestinian state.
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Carter is completely convinced that a “two-state solution” will bring lasting peace to the Middle East, but now that Donald Trump has been elected Carter knows that his dream of seeing a Palestinian state while he is still alive is rapidly slipping away.
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In a desperate attempt to salvage the situation, Carter is urging Barack Obama to take bold action while he still has the power to do so.
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In his New York Times editorial, one of the steps that Carter says that Obama should take is to give formal U.S. diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state…
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I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short.  The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.
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Of course such a move would largely just be window dressing. The new Trump administration could very quickly revoke diplomatic recognition, and so if Barack Obama really wanted to “leave a legacy” in the Middle East he would have to do something that Donald Trump would not be able to undo.
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Later on in his editorial, Carter suggested just such a thing. He urged Obama to support a UN Security Council resolution that would set forth firm parameters for resolving the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians…
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The Security Council should pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict. It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications. Security guarantees for both Israel and Palestine are imperative, and the resolution must acknowledge the right of both the states of Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security. Further measures should include the demilitarization of the Palestinian state, and a possible peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations.
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In a previous article, I discussed what the three main pillars of such a resolution would probably look like…
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1. It would give formal UN Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state for the very first time.
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2. It would grant East Jerusalem to the Palestinians as the capital of their new state.
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3. It would establish the 1967 ceasefire lines as the basis for final negotiations for borders between the two states.
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Such a UN Security Council resolution would be considered legally binding on the Israelis and the Palestinians. And the Trump administration would not be able to undo such a resolution because it would take another vote of the UN Security Council to revoke the resolution once it had been passed and that would not happen.
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Right now the rest of the UN Security Council is ready to support this kind of resolution.
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The only thing that has been standing in the way has been the U.S. Security Council veto power, and there have already been rumblings that Obama may not exercise that veto power if a “parameters resolution” is put up for a vote before he leaves office.
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And if Obama was going to make such a move, a really good way to drum up some public support for it would be to have a highly respected former president publish an editorial supporting the move in a highly visible newspaper such as the New York Times.
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Over in Israel, the government has been ignoring Carter’s anti-Israel rants for years, and they have also responded to this latest editorial by Carter with silence…
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As Carter’s criticism of Israel over the years has become increasingly scathing and one-sided, Jerusalem’s policy has been to largely ignore him. In line with this approach, neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the Foreign Ministry had any response on Tuesday to his op-ed.
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But without a doubt the Israelis are very concerned about what may happen next. They know the kind of damage that Barack Obama could do before we get to January 20th, and they are desperately hoping that Obama does not decide to do something exceedingly foolish. The following comes from the Jerusalem Post…
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A number of European governments, as well as various think tanks, are talking with Obama administration officials, urging them to take some kind of action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the waning days of the current presidency.
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Among the suggestions are a new UN resolution laying down parameters for a peace deal; US support for the recognition of “Palestine” in the UN; or – at the very least – backing or abstaining on an anti-settlement resolution in the Security Council.
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Israeli officials consistently maintain that they do not know what – if anything – Obama has planned. However, the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continuously says – as he did on Sunday – that he expects Obama not to divert from traditional US policy on the matter, is an indication that there remains concern over the matter in Jerusalem.
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From a Bible prophecy perspective, the division of the land of Israel is the number one event that we are watching for right now, and this is one of the reasons why I have labeled the period of time leading up to January 20th as “the danger zone”.
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Even though the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have both been running stories about a potential UN Security Council resolution that would divide the land of Israel, and even though experienced politicians such as Jimmy Carter and John Bolton are making lots of noise about it, most people don’t seem to understand how immensely important this really is in the greater scheme of things.
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But if Barack Obama does decide to make a move to divide the land of Israel at the United Nations at some point during the next several weeks, the consequences for this nation will be more severe than most people would dare to imagine.

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It never ceases to amaze me how supposedly Bible believing Christians like Carter can hold such un-biblical views concerning God’s will for Israel, and the land He gave to that nation.
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I understand Churchill once stated that he ‘didn’t become the queen’s first minister to preside over the demise of the British Empire’. But he was responsible for the division of Israel’s God given land when his government approved the creation of Jordan. And the demise of the British Empire quickly followed.
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I don’t think there is any stopping Obama from within America. But the present British government has a power of veto on the UNSC, and if Britain’s current first minister is true to her Christian faith, she will use it!

Why Are Palestinian Refugees Different From All Others?

By Aron White/JNS.org

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Over the past few years, the resettlement of refugees has been one of the key issues in international politics.
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The horrendous conflict in Syria has forced more than half the country’s citizens to flee from their homes, with 4.8 million refugees rushing to neighboring countries, and one million having applied for asylum in Europe.
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The United Nations has taken the resettlement of refugees very seriously, trying to persuade countries around the world to make commitments to take in and resettle these people.
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At the end of an international conference on the refugee crisis in March, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grani, said:
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Today has been an important event… we have heard pledges that increase the number of resettlement and humanitarian places to 185,000……but this is only the start.
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We heard offers to significantly increase global resettlement programs in the coming few years. And we hope that there will be several opportunities to do so in the coming months.
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With this in mind, the following fact may come as a surprise: forty years ago, on November 23, 1976,  the United Nations condemned a country for resettling refugees. The next fact may be less surprising: the country was Israel.
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When Israel came to govern the West Bank and Gaza after the Six-Day War in 1967, it found Palestinian refugees still in the camps that they had been in since 1948. Israel developed a plan to begin moving the Palestinians out of the squalid and cramped refugee camps, and into permanent residences.
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The Israeli government gave participants in the program a plot of land to build on, and services such as water, electricity and sanitation. Approximately 10,000 families left the refugee camps to move to these newer, better accommodations.
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But on November 23, 1976, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling on Israel to return the refugees to the refugee camps from which they had come. In fact, on the same day three years later, the General Assembly passed another similar resolution, in which it “called upon Israel to desist from the removal and resettlement of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip.”
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What could possibly explain this position? How could the United Nations possibly condemn a country for the crime of resettling refugees who had been abandoned in squalid camps for two decades?
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The answer lies in the 1979 Resolution itself. The Resolution states that “measures to resettle Palestinian refugees away from their homes and property from which they were displaced constitute a violation of their inalienable right of return.”
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The “right of return” is the Palestinians’ claim that they have the right to return to their pre-1948 abodes. It is a highly debatable “right” — not least because it is based on a UN resolution that the Arabs rejected.
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And why did everyone criticize Israel 40 years ago? Because if the Palestinian refugees would settle in comfortable living quarters, then they may not want to return to their original villages.
In the eyes of the “supporters” of the Palestinians at the UN, the Palestinians have the right of return to their original homes, but are forbidden to move anywhere else.
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This absurd resolution cuts to the heart of how Palestinian refugees are different from all other refugees in the world. In the case of the latter, the focus of international organizations is humanitarian and social; the statute of the UNHCR, the UN body that deals with all refugees, explicitly states that its goals are not political.
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But with the Palestinians, the social and humanitarian needs of refugees and their children are of secondary importance, with the political goals being more important. If helping improve Palestinians’ lives harms the claim of a “right of return” and weakens the Palestinians’ claims against Israel — then the political goals win, and Palestinians must stay in camps for decades.
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It is their goal for there to be more and more Palestinian refugees each year. For other refugees, wealthy Arab countries can offer generous amounts of money to alleviate the situation.
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And because the Palestinians’ refugee status has become politicized, there is no incentive for countries to do the very simple task of building permanent homes for them.
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To this day, Western media will report on the squalid conditions of the Palestinian refugee camps — and indeed the conditions that many Palestinians experience in these camps are terrible.
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But November 23 is the time to remember why their situation has not improved.
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Arab leaders have always treated Palestinian refugees as a political, rather than a humanitarian issue, and have placed political attacks against Israel above the welfare of the Palestinian people.