Saturday, July 31, 2010

Abraham Lincoln on the Jesuits

On June 8th 1864, President Lincoln told Charles Chiniquy his views on the Jesuits & their involvement in the Civil War: (As Recorded in Father Charles Chiniquy who was a Roman Catholic priest for 25yrs. in his book, "FIFTY YEARS IN THE CHURCH OF ROME." 1886 edition p.699-700)


Anglican Panel Rejects Proposal to Cut Episcopal Church

WorldTue, Jul. 27 2010 10:49 AM EDT

By Lillian KwonChristian Post Reporter

A 15-member committee that includes the Archbishop of Canterbury recently rejected a proposal that The Episcopal Church be separated from the rest of the global Anglican Communion.

During closed sessions on Saturday, members of the Standing Committee acknowledged the anxieties felt in parts of the global body about sexuality issues but agreed that separation would inhibit dialogue on the issue and would therefore be unhelpful, according to the church body's news service.

The proposal was brought by Dato' Stanley Isaacs from the Province of South East Asia. It came months after The Episcopal Church – the U.S. body of Anglicanism – ordained its second openly homosexual bishop. The Rev. Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, was consecrated as bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in May.

The move was seen as another act of defiance of Scripture and the 77 million-member communion. Anglican leaders had agreed to a moratorium on the consecration of bishops living in same-sex relationships a number of times since 2004. The Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003.

While rejecting the proposal, Standing Committee members agreed to defer further discussion on the matter until progress on a listening project had been considered. Currently, Anglicans worldwide are participating in "The Continuing Indaba and Mutual Listening Project," which is intended to open the ears of Anglicans to the experiences of homosexual persons.

During the five-day Standing Committee meeting, which concluded Tuesday, in London, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, acknowledged that the credibility of some of the executive structures was being openly questioned and that criticisms were being directed at the committee itself.

Earlier this year, a number of conservative Anglican leaders resigned from the Standing Committee after expressing their discontentment. Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda wrote in a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury that he disapproved of the participation of leaders from The Episcopal Church in the committee, noting that they are "the very ones who have pushed the Anglican Communion into this sustained crisis."

He also opposed the "enhanced responsibility" of the Standing Committee and the "diminished responsibility" of the primates – the chief bishops of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces. Only five primates are represented in the committee. Bishop Mouneer Anis of the Middle East had resigned in February saying his presence had no value and that his voice was "like a useless cry in the wilderness."

The Standing Committee meets at least once a year and oversees day-to-day operations of the Anglican Communion Office.


Southeastern Iran struck by magnitude 5.8 quake

August 1, 2010

Tehran Times Social Desk

TEHRAN – An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale struck the southeastern Iranian city of Kerman on Saturday.

The epicenter of the earthquake was the town of Negar. The quake happened at 11:22 a.m. local time, the Tehran Seismological Center said.

There have been no reports of casualties but many homes have been damaged.

Rescue teams have been dispatched to the stricken region from the neighboring cities, an official from Kerman’s Red Crescent said.

20 percent of buildings have sustained 15 to 40 percent damages, the local official added.

“Due to the town’s ancient structure, today’s earthquake damaged about 700 houses,” Ali Reza Kazemi, the mayor of Negar, told the IRNA news agency.

Saturday’s earthquake comes only a day after a 5.7-magnitude quake hit the northeast city of Torbat-e Heydariyeh at 6:20 p.m. local time injuring at least 270 people.

A powerful earthquake devastated the historic city of Bam in Kerman Province in 2003, killing about 27,000 people.

Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, with several major fault lines covering vast areas of the country.


The Ecumenical Movement

The Ecumenical Movement has arrived. This movement was inspired by Satan to gather all of the world's religions together under the umbrella of the Pope and Roman Catholicism. Those who doubted the Book of Revelation have, once again, been proven wrong. Even some so-called Fundamental or Fundamentalist Baptists have decided to join in with this movement.

Perhaps you are wondering what this "Ecumenical Movement" is? The Apostle John was quite amazed when he saw a vision of the Great Whore in Chapter 17 of Revelation. John was told that this Whore was a city, the city of Seven Mountains. Those who know geography, quickly recognize that this is the city of Rome. Rome is where the Vatican is. Rome is the seat of the Great Whore of Revelation.

Many these days hope for change, and seek to join up with the Great Whore and commit spiritual fornication with this Great Roman Catholic Whore. In today's apostasy, it is often thought to be "cool" or "in" for preachers to fornicate with this woman of ill-repute. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), Bill Gaither, and others are on the forefront of this Ecumenical Movement, leading the drum beat back to Rome.

Bapticatholics and Pseudo-fundamentalists like the late Jerry Falwell are also leading the way back to Rome. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham are strongly pushing for Christians to join in spiritual fornication with this Great Whore.

Even movies such as the anti-Semitic Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ" are helping Satan to promote the Whore. Yes, it does seem like most of Christendom is moving back toward Rome. Do indeed "All Roads Lead to Rome"?

In Revelation, Jesus commanded Christians to "come out" from the Ecumenical Movement. If you are a Christian, then you must obey Jesus and the Bible and "come out" from the Great Roman Catholic Whore. To disobey and refuse to come out from her is to disobey a direct command of Christ Himself.

If you are lost and have fallen into the Ecumenical Movement Sin, then you need to repent from committing fornication with the Great Whore, and trust Jesus to save you from your sin. Jesus can save you from any sin. The blood of Jesus covers sin!

Resist Evil. Say no to such sin. Trust Jesus. Do it today. Then get into a good Fundamentalist Baptist church. Don't put it off. Get ready for Eternity. Live for Jesus. Jesus is coming back again very soon. Get ready! .

In opposition to the last statements in the above (otherwise Biblically-sound) article; I don't recommend joining any church that worships on Sunday!

Rethinking Romans 13

Posted: April 14, 2001
1:00 am Eastern

By Greg A. Dixon
© 2010

In recent years, Christians have interpreted Romans 13 as a command for unlimited submission to government by God. Many proponents of this belief have sat passively by, in the soft pews of their place of worship, while evil has triumphed in most areas of family and church life. In our pacifistic smugness, many have allowed government to become god without even knowing.

Yet, when confronted with the true meaning of Romans 13, absurd accusations are shouted in religious rhetoric toward those who would dare to break an unjust law or even to question the almighty government. The opponents of unlimited submission to government are deemed as rebellious, anarchist and disobedient. However, there is no practical, historical or biblical consistency in the shallow agreements of these simpletons.

First, unlimited submission to government is not practical. For a philosophy to be a valid philosophy, it must be consistent. As a result, it does not make practical sense to blindly obey a tyrant like Adolph Hitler or deem a law such as abortion-on-demand a legitimate law just because one's government says it is public policy. However, if Romans 13 teaches unlimited submission to government, then we must obey and acknowledge all laws, good and bad, as the will of God. If all governments are of God, then all laws are of God. This in not practical from any point of view.

Second, it is not historical. Our founding fathers recognized and understood tyranny and despotism. They perceived the ultimate end of the king's actions. Thus, they besought George III to relent in his persecutions and implored him to uphold his covenant agreement.

In July of 1774, our forefathers met in Fairfax County, Va., and considered ways of forcing Great Britain to redress American grievances. George Washington and George Mason were the instrumental agents in drafting what has come to be known as the "Fairfax Resolves."

Ponder for a moment Resolves five and six:

"Resolved that the claim lately assumed and exercised by the British Parliament, of making all such Laws as they think fit, to govern the people of these colonies, contrary to the first Principles of the Constitution, and the original Compacts by which we are dependent upon the British Crown and Government; but is totally incompatible with the privileges of a free people, and the natural Rights of Mankind; will render our own Legislatures merely nominal and nugatory, and is calculated to reduce us from a state of freedom and happiness to slavery and misery."

"Resolved that Taxation and Representation are in their nature inseparable; that the right of withholding, or of giving and granting their own money is the only effectual security to a free people, against the encroachments of Despotism and Tyranny; and that whenever they yield to one they fall prey to the other."

All of the Resolves are loaded with bullets that explode against a tyrannical and despotic government. The "shot that was heard around the world on Lexington green was loaded in the "Fairfax Resolves." How can one make that statement? After pleading with George III to uphold his covenant agreement and after seeking for a redress of grievances, the "coup de grace" is plainly stated in the 23rd Resolve:

"Resolved that it be recommended to the Deputies of the general Congress to draw up and transmit an humble and dutiful petition and remonstrance to his Majesty, asserting with decent firmness our just and constitutional Rights and Privileges, lamenting the fatal necessity of being compelled to enter into measures disgusting to his Majesty and his Parliament, or injurious to our fellow subjects in Great Britain; declaring the strongest terms of duty and affection to his Majesty's person, family and government, and our desire to continue our dependence upon Great Britain; and must humbly beseeching his Majesty, not to reduce his faithful subjects of America to a state of desperation, and to reflect, that from our Sovereign there can be but one appeal."

In simple terms, the Resolves offered George III two obvious choices. One was to fulfill his covenant obligations and be the king and ruler to the American Colonies that he had agreed to be or, second, to prepare for war. George III was asked to reflect upon the fact, that if he did not keep his end of the covenant, there could "be but one appeal."

Last --and most important -- it is not biblical. Daniel disobeyed Darius and went to the lions den. The three Hebrew children broke the law for not bowing. The parents hid baby Moses from Pharaoh. Rahab lied to protect the Hebrew spies. The Apostles went to prison for preaching Christ in the authority of Heaven. Paul and his followers in Acts 17 did contrary to all the decrees of Caesar in order to make Jesus the King. Even Jesus lived in direct opposition of the political religious leaders of his day and went to the cross for us.

Romans 13 is a treatise by Paul and the Apostles on the institution of model government. As we rightly divide the word of truth and take this passage in its total context, we will discover seven truths:
  1. Good government is ordained by God.

  2. Government officials are to be good ministers who represent God.

  3. We the people must obey good and godly laws.

  4. As we relate Romans 13 to America, our Constitution is the higher power -- not the IRS tax code.

  5. Good government is not to be feared.

  6. In America, we are to pay honor and custom and constitutional taxes to whom it is due.

  7. Government is to protect the righteous and punish the wicked.

As a result, we have a practical, historical and biblical mandate to fervently disobey any unconstitutional laws and all government officials who cease to be good ministers of Jesus Christ. God almighty is the only power that deserves unlimited obedience.

Greg A. Dixon is the senior pastor of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple and has written several columns about the plight of his congregation.

Render therefore to all their dues

Romans 13

1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

7Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. .
9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

12The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

13Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Shadow Secrets 2010 cut (part 1 of 10)


PrentissMcCabe March 08, 2010

Compiled and edited by The Dossier, this film looks at the origins and history of the Afghan Mujahedin & al-Qaeda, and their associations with various intelligence agencies including the CIA, FBI, MI6 and those of Saudi Arabia & Pakistan.

"9/11 was not an intelligence failure; 9/11 was an intelligence success - it was supposed to happen. The US govt could have prevented the attacks, but instead, held the door open and allowed them to happen"

An Order of Seven Global Cyber-Guardians Now Hold Keys to the Internet

Posted 07.27.2010 at 4:36 pm

The Keys to the Internet Each smart card contains a portions of the DNSSEC root key, which would be necessary to reboot the Internet as we know it if connections were severed to stem a cyber attack.

You may have heard the rumor that swirled briefly last month about an Internet “kill switch” that could power down the Web in the case of a critical cyber attack. Those rumors turned out to be largely overblown, but it turns out there are now seven individuals out there holding keys to the Internet. In the aftermath of a cataclysmic cyber attack, these members of a “chain of trust” will be responsible for rebooting the Web.

The seven members of this holy order of cyber security hail from around the world and recently received their keys while locked deep in a U.S. bunker. But the team isn’t military in nature. The Internet safety program is overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit watchdog group that has access to a security system designed to protect users from cyber fraud and cyber attacks.

Part of ICANN’s security scheme is the Domain Name System Security, a security protocol that ensures Web sites are registered and “signed” (this is the security measure built into the Web that ensures when you go to a URL you arrive at a real site and not an identical pirate site). Most major servers are a part of DNSSEC, as it's known, and during a major international attack, the system might sever connections between important servers to contain the damage.

A minimum of five of the seven keyholders – one each from Britain, the U.S., Burkina Faso, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, China, and the Czech Republic – would have to converge at a U.S. base with their keys to restart the system and connect eveything once again. We’re imagining a large medieval chamber filled with techno-religious imagery where these knights cyber must simultaneously turn hybrid thumb drive/skeleton keys in a massive router, filling the room with the blinking light of connectivity.

In reality, it’s not so dramatic. The keys are actually smartcards that each contain parts of the DNSSEC root key, which could be thought of as the master key to the whole scheme. But it is interesting to know that there is a group of individuals out there that hold actual, physical keys that would reboot the Internet as we know it. Find out more about these cryptographic keys and how/why they’re made here.


The Early and the Latter Rain

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. Joel 2:23.

There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of their heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their expectations and ideal, they will oppose the work. "Why," they say, "should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years?" Because they did not respond to the warnings, the entreaties, of the messages of God, but persistently said, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing."

Talent, long experience, will not make men channels of light unless they place themselves under the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and are called, and chosen, and prepared by the endowment of the Holy Spirit. When men who handle sacred things will humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, the Lord will lift them up. He will make them men of discernment--men rich in the grace of His Spirit. Their strong, selfish traits of character and their stubbornness will be seen in the light shining from the Light of the world. "I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." If you seek the Lord with all your heart, He will be found of you.

There must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.

Maranatha, E. G. White, P.220.


A Clarion Call for Patriots?

July 30, 2010

Calling All Patriot Business Owners

Accordingly, today I am extending a clarion call to all patriot business owners across America to stand and be counted! In just a matter of days, we will post a brand new PATRIOT BUSINESSES page to our web site. As with the Black Regiment page, we will list patriot business owners State by State, so fellow patriots across the country can locate and support those businesses that are friendly to the cause of freedom. Frankly, I am sick and tired of supporting businesses (many of them big businesses) that have absolutely no fidelity whatsoever to the cause of liberty or independence.........

by Pastor Chuck Baldwin


Thursday, July 29, 2010

BELARUS: Another massive fine, right to worship on own property denied

This article was published by F18News on: 29 July 2010

By Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service

New Life Pentecostal Church in Belarus' capital Minsk has had a massive fine imposed on it today (29 July), for alleged "environmental damage", Forum 18 News Service has learned. Added to an earlier fine, the two fines and "compensation" total 265,750,000 Belarusian Roubles (542,850 Norwegian Kroner, 68,250 Euros, or 89,300 US Dollars). Sergei Lukanin, the church's lawyer, told Forum 18 that the Church will pay neither fine, arguing that if there is any pollution at the site it dates from the time before the church owned the property. He insisted that the church has kept the building and site in good order, a contention which Forum 18's own observations on visits support. A city environmental official claimed in an official report on the Church before the fines that grass growing for a children's playground damaged the environment. Meanwhile, two small Pentecostal churches in villages near Minsk have been fined for using the properties they own for worship. Officials claim the properties are registered for domestic use and therefore worship is illegal. The small congregations will struggle to pay these fines, a church member said. "The fear is that officials could do this again – the mechanism is there," Forum 18 was told.

After a court decision today (29 July) against New Life Church in the Belarusian capital Minsk, the Pentecostal church now faces two massive fines for alleged "environmental damage" to the church's car park. Sergei Lukanin, the church's lawyer, told Forum 18 News Service that the church will pay neither fine, arguing that if there is any pollution at the site it dates from the time before the church owned the property. He insisted that the church has kept the building and site in good order. Forum 18's own observations during visits to the church support Lukanin's contention.

Meanwhile, two small Pentecostal churches in villages near Minsk have been fined for using the properties they own for worship services. Officials claim the properties are registered for domestic use and that use of the land they stand on to facilitate worship in the properties is illegal. A member of the Pentecostal Union handling these two cases says that the small congregations – each has 20 to 30 members – will struggle to pay these fines. "Raising such sums is difficult for such a small community," the Union member told Forum 18 from Minsk on 28 July. "The fear is that officials could do this again – the mechanism is there."

Protestant communities in particular have long faced great difficulties in rebuilding properties they own for worship, and have found that it is nearly impossible to get property officially re-designated so that it can be legally used for worship buildings. This problem mainly affects Protestant communities, as unlike the other major communities in the country - Orthodox and Catholic - they are much less likely to own their own worship buildings (see F18News 30 May 2007

Communities who do not own their own property have long found that the state places great obstacles in the way of them renting premises to meet in (see F18News 29 May 2007

Massive "environmental damage" fine imposed

Officials have long sought to oust the New Life church from its building – a former cowshed which the church bought in 2002 and converted for worship – on the edge of Minsk. The latest case against New Life began at Minsk City Economic Court on 12 May, seeking compensation for alleged oil pollution on church land. The case was suspended as an earlier pollution case was considered separately, but resumed later.

At the final hearing on 29 July, Judge Oleg Klyuko found the church guilty and fined it 249,000,000 Belarusian Roubles to pay for what the state claims would be the cost of cleaning the alleged damage. In addition, 8,000,000 Roubles were imposed in costs, in "compensation" for the state's costs in bringing the case – bringing the total to 257,000,000 Roubles (524,850 Norwegian Kroner, 66,000 Euros, or 86,400 US Dollars).

New Life argues that officials are using environmental claims as part of their long-running campaign against the church. The head of Minsk's City Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Committee has claimed that grass being grown for a children's playground at the church might also cause environmental damage, and was uninterested when Forum 18 raised concerns about accumulated rubbish - including rotting vehicles and old washing machines - dumped within 500 metres of the church (see F18News 1 June 2010

The congregation has adopted a policy of civil disobedience, refusing to allow state officials into the building.

"No one ordered us to do this"

However, Aleksandr Borovikov, head of Minsk City Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Committee which brought the case, defended the massive fine. "The court established that the church is guilty – they took the decision," he told Forum 18 from Minsk in the wake of the hearing. He brushed aside any comparison between the size of the penalty in New Life compared to those in Brest Region.

Borovikov once again vigorously rejected the church's claims that environmental measures are deliberately being used to target the church. "No one ordered us to do this – we are an independent agency."

Church lawyer Lukanin told Forum 18 that the church will appeal against the fine to the Appeals Section of the Economic Court. The Church has 15 days to do so from receipt of the verdict in writing, though it must pay 4,000,000 Belarusian Roubles (8,100 Norwegian Kroner, 1,000 Euros, or 1,300 US Dollars) in costs to lodge the appeal.

Lukanin added that officials are now alleging that the track that leads from the nearest road to the church car park was built illegally. He insisted that the track was already there when the church building was a cowshed long before New Life bought it.

Borovikov of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Committee told Forum 18 that the track is still being investigated and no conclusion has yet been reached. "The report from the experts has not yet reached my desk for signature."

Earlier "environmental damage" fine

In the earlier case, on 12 July New Life received in writing the decision of the Supreme Court upholding a fine handed down on the church for "environmental damage" to its car park, the church told Forum 18. The decision was signed by one of the Court's deputy chairs, Valeri Kalinkovich.

Minsk District Court had fined the church 8,750,000 Belarusian Roubles (18,000 Norwegian Kroner, 2,250 Euros, or 2,900 US Dollars) on 26 February for damage environmental officers claimed had been caused to the land in the car park. An appeal against the fine was rejected on 26 March by Minsk City Court, after which the Church took its case to the Supreme Court (see F18News 9 April 2010

The two fines and "compensation" total 265,750,000 Belarusian Roubles (542,850 Norwegian Kroner, 68,250 Euros, or 89,300 US Dollars). Church lawyer Lukanin contrasts the fines imposed on New Life with the situation in Brest Region. According to a 24 July Belapan article citing the Regional Prosecutor Sergei Khmaruk, penalties totalling 88,000,000 Belarusian Roubles – just under one third of the total imposed on New Life - were imposed in 281 separate cases involving environmental damage in the entire Brest Region in the first six months of 2010.

Churches can't use own property for worship

On 8 June, Soligorsk [Salihorsk] District Court in Minsk Region found two Pentecostal churches guilty of using their plots of land not for their true purpose. The church in the village of Gavrilchitsy and the church in the village of Krasnaya Sloboda each use a private home they have bought and remodelled for worship. In each case, the registered congregations have certificates from the Village Executive Committees certifying their "permanent use" of the properties.

Each congregation was fined 700,000 Belarusian Roubles (1,449 Norwegian Kroner, 181 Euros or 235 US Dollars) under Article 15.10, Part 3 of the Administrative Violations Code ("violation of the procedure for using a land plot"). The fine was the minimum laid down for legal entities found guilty of this offence.

Both churches appealed against the decisions, but Judge Lyudmila Astreiko of Minsk Regional Court upheld the fines in separate hearings on 6 July, according to the almost identical verdicts seen by Forum 18. The court ruled that both buildings were private homes and that the land on which they stood could only serve to support domestic use of the home.

"They can't use them as places of worship"

Leonila Belitskaya, head of Soligorsk District Land Use Geodesic Department, who testified against both churches in the District Court, told Forum 18 on 28 July from Soligorsk that "these are recorded as private houses – they can't use them as places of worship." She said they had to change their official use before they could use them as churches. She defended the fines, insisting that they were handed down in accordance with the law, not to punish people for religious practice.

Belitskaya added that the Pentecostals can gather as friends in the houses and pray. Asked how that differed from what they have been doing, she responded: "They've been using them as places of worship when they are not."

"Legal vacuum"

The deputy head of the Pentecostal Union, Sergei Tsvor, expressed concern over the rulings. He pointed out that for many small congregations, buying anything other than a private home to use as a church is beyond their means. He insisted that congregations abide by the law and all sanitary and fire requirements. He complained of a "legal vacuum" which made it all but impossible to transfer such properties from domestic use to use as places of worship. "Earlier the stress was on the alleged misuse of the building," he complained, "while now it is on the use of the land that they stand on."

Tsvor said the Union is preparing a set of documents to present to the Supreme Court in a bid to clarify and resolve the issue.

It has long been nearly impossible to get property officially re-designated so that it can be legally used for worship buildings (see F18News 30 May 2007 (END)

For a personal commentary by Antoni Bokun, Pastor of a Pentecostal Church in Minsk, on Belarusian citizens' struggle to reclaim their history as a land of religious freedom, see F18News 22 May 2008

For more background information see Forum 18's Belarus religious freedom survey at

Full reports on freedom of thought, conscience and belief in Belarus can be found at

A compilation of Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) freedom of religion or belief commitments can be found at



Double Dip?

In the media there's been a large amount of use of the words "double-dip"; However, some may think they might be talking about double dip caramel apples. They are referring to the possibility that the economy may take a steep decline, and the current recession may become a full-fledged depression.

The double-dip the financial experts are talking about are not double-dip ice cream cones.
What they mean is that the drop that the economy has experienced may be repeated once more; therefore, doubling the extent of damage to the livelihood of American citizens. Double-Dip...


Mayhem Raises Fears of Wider Mexican Violence

Updated: 20 hours 32 minutes ago
Scott Martelle Contributor
(July 28) -- The call came earlier this month to the Mexican federal police in Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, that a fellow officer was lying wounded on a street. When the police and a medical crew arrived, someone used a cell phone to detonate a car bomb, killing three of the rescuers -- including a doctor -- and wounding several others.
The next day in Torreon a few hundred miles south, a group of armed men opened fire on a wedding celebration, killing at least 17 people and wounding even more. The hit squad, Mexican federal officials reported earlier this week, were prisoners who had been routinely let out by their guards, provided with murder weapons and cars -- and then accepted back into the prison after the killings. The prisoners have been linked to at least two other shooting sprees.
As horrendous as those crimes might be by themselves, some experts fear they could presage a new level of violence in the already brutal war among drug cartels and the Mexican government -- one that could be cutting into foreign business investment and tourism, two staples of the nation's legal economy.

Bernardino Hernandez, AP

The grandmother of police officer Jose Ramirez grieves over his body after he was shot dead while on patrol July 17 in Acapulco, Mexico. Some observers worry that drug-related violence is pushing Mexico toward chaos.

And it raises significant questions about the effectiveness of President Felipe Calderon's U.S.-backed war against the cartels, which could be a factor in the spreading of the cartels' influence deeper into Central America.

At least 22,000 people have been killed since Calderon launched his war against the cartels in 2006, though no one has a clear count of the dead. Experts say the violence remains primarily score settling among the cartels and attacks between the federal police and the drug kingpins' troops, but the wedding massacre victims also involved civilians. And the car bombing, which so far has not been repeated, could easily have killed innocent bystanders.

Some experts are beginning to wonder if Mexico might be sliding toward the kind of chaos that once enveloped Colombia.

"We were already living with fear, but the kind of fear you have when living in a city that has a volcano or earthquake [risk], the kind of fear that is in the back of your mind," Jessica Pena, a sociology professor at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez, recently told The Christian Science Monitor. "But this is an extreme situation. I think this will change people's fears to the worst. ... This is something we thought just happened in societies like Iran or Iraq.

"How the violence will resonate -- and what path it might take from here -- is a matter of conjecture, though experts doubt it will improve in the near future.

"The situation is likely to deteriorate further before it improves, with a high possibility that increasing use of terrorist-style tactics and indiscriminate killings will raise the threat level to civilians and business investors not involved in the drug trade," said Robert Munks, Americas editor for Jane's Country Risk in London.

He warned against overreaction, pointing out that Mexico's drug violence is mostly confined to five northern states. But the detonation of the car bomb and the growing use of hand grenades (many of them leftover U.S.-provided materiel from the Central American insurgencies in the 1980s) are raising concerns that the cartels might be ratcheting up the violence.

"The fear has always been that cartels will resort to terrorist-style tactics against civilians as well as security forces if they feel the need to increase pressure on the authorities," Munks told AOL News. "There have been sporadic attacks targeting civilians since a grenade attack in Morelia [Michoacan state] in September 2008, but in general, intra- and inter-cartel violence and conflict with security forces has been the norm. The Juarez car bomb is certainly a worrying development that underlines how the threat to civilians may rise further, but I doubt that there will be a widening of the use of car bombs across the country.

"Eric L. Olson, a senior associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Mexico Institute, pointed out that the car bomb, while "unusual," was not aimed at terrorizing the population but targeted a perceived enemy: the federal police.

"They didn't set it off in the middle of the central park, or a market," he said. "Clearly they were going after some police officers. Still, it's a worrisome escalation, as they have not used this method before. It's a problem, but not a trend of targeting civilians directly.

"Prison corruption has long been a fact of life in Mexico, he said, though such overt complicity in drug violence is new. And it illustrates the different levels of corruption between local and state governments, and the federal government.

"There's a real strong difference in Mexico between the level of penetration at the state level by organized crime and the federal level," Olson said. "It's much higher at the state and local level. That's not to say there aren't corrupt federal officials, but it's a much bigger problem at the local.

"Whether the new tactics in violence will force changes in Calderon's strategy is uncertain in a nation where trust in government is already low. They are more likely to be viewed "as further confirmation" that skepticism of the government is well founded, Olson said.

"Overall, people believe President Calderon is basically honest and trying to do the right thing," he said. "But in general, people believe he's failing."

The Catholic Church's War on Borders

The Catholic Church's War on Borders
By David Simcox

Volume 5, Number 3 (Spring 1995)
Issue theme: "Religious lobbies and the immigration debate"

View original PDF format

The Catholic Church has developed an elaborate theology of immigration since World War II, and along with this an abundance of moral-political prescriptions it promotes to secular governments for dealing with immigration. These norms have been enunciated by the Vatican, and even more energetically by The Catholic Bishops' Conference (NCCB) here in the United States.

The Church has virtually sacralized immigration, proclaiming it as a 'sacrament of unity,' a process through which the Holy Spirit moves the world toward greater brotherhood. Migration, the Church preaches, witnesses to God's goodness, promotes the unity of the human family, and offers Christians a ministry of love and service to the stranger among us.

Human dignity, as the Church defines it, becomes a critical litmus test of the moral legitimacy of national responses to immigration pressures, just as it has been in Church judgments of other population and reproductive policies. The innate dignity of human beings entitles them to seek work in other lands and to be joined by their families there. This prerogative has in recent decades come to take precedence in Church teaching over the rights of nation-states to protect their borders.

The Church's concept of migrants' rights has moved closer to the absolute since Vatican II. Papal statements in the 1950s at least recognized the need to reconcile the right to migrate with national concern for the common good, as expressed in the regulation of immigration. That prudent approach is heard less now, Since Vatican II, and particularly in the thinking of John Paul II and the U.S. Bishops, any conditions on the right of migrants to cross national borders in search of work or to join family members have all but vanished. In the words of Los Angeles' Cardinal Roger Mahony Catholic social teaching takes what many view to be a counter-cultural position on this matter and insists that the right to immigrate is more fundamental than that of nations to control their borders.1

Oddly, a statement of the Catholic Bishops in late 1994 claimed that 'the Catholic Church has long recognized the right and obligation of nations to control their borders and create systems regulating immigration.' The statement, particularly in asserting states' 'obligation' to control borders, suggest a departure from existing doctrine. But the statement cited no authority for this uncharacteristic position, nor has the concept figured in more recent angry Church discourse on proposition 187 or legal immigration reform.2

The Church's cosmic image of migration as a celestially sanctioned human right, not surprisingly, crimps the debate on immigration regulation for many policy makers, conservationists, advocates of a sound environment and high labor standards, and among millions of ordinary Catholics of good faith. Disputing the Holy Spirit and the Magisterium of a 2000-year old institution is, for many, an intimidating venture.

Moral Imperatives and Institutional Interests

The Church's stress on immigration as a moral imperative has practical as well as mystical roots. Organizational politics, institutional self-interest, and the desire to maximize utility are hard at work. Migration is central to the Church's history of recovery and growth following its losses from the Reformation and the secession of the Church of England. The catholization by Spain, France and Portugal of much of the Western Hemisphere in the 16th and 17th centuries was essentially a work of colonization and migration.

The current immigration mentality of the Church has been deeply influenced by its experiences in the 19th century. In that epoch of mass migration, Catholic-sending nations such as Ireland, Italy and Central Europe populated regions in the Western Hemisphere that were either sparsely populated or heavily Protestant. The most important country of settlement, the United States, was neither heavily Catholic nor culturally congenial to Catholicism.

Catholic immigrants of that era were thus religious pioneers who, though beleaguered and isolated in the host nations, were creating bridgeheads for the spread of the faith in the New World. The Church views itself as having accompanied its sons and daughters in their wanderings. The growth of large Catholic communities in nations where the Church's presence had been weak or non-existent has, for the Church, imbued immigration with a providential character, seemingly a manifestation of God's plan working itself out in the world.

Spiritual and institutional interests have prospered together. Through immigration and high fertility, the Church acquired an important new treasure a community of nearly 60 million souls and contributors in the United States, the World's richest nation. Such temporal power and financial strength counts for a great deal, even in a belief system valuing humility and self-abnegation.

'Since the late 1950s ... the 'common good' of receiving states has been increasingly soft pedaled and in some instances rejected outright.'

But during the 19th century the papacy's outlook on world immigration policy differed from what it is today. The Church's priority mission was to serve spiritually the Catholic immigrants in their new homelands, protect them to the extent possible from discrimination and anti-Catholic hostility, and - in the U.S. - ensure their cultural survival in an overwhelmingly Protestant milieu.3 The U.S. parochial school system is a response to early Catholic feelings that the public schools were expressions of Protestant culture.

Absent then were papal policies asserting the human right of free immigration for all the moral obligation of states to acquiesce in the individual immigration choices of millions. The open immigration policies of the United States and some other major host nations in the 19th century made such special claims unnecessary.

In the 1910s and 1920s Catholic groups, such as the Knights of Columbus and ethnic brotherhoods, fought the mounting restrictionist sentiment. But there is no record of papal opposition to the Johnson-Reed act of 1921 or other major restrictive actions, nor any high-level intimations that such immigration policies contravened God's will.

Radicalization Since World War II

Circumstances in Europe after World War II had much to do with the radicalization of the Catholic Church's teaching on the primacy of immigrants' rights. Major migrations were taking place from the heavily Catholic, labor-surplus countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal and Yugoslavia) to nations such as Germany, Switzerland, France, and the Scandinavian countries, which perceived themselves as labor deficient. Europe was still awash with displaced persons scattered by the war.

It is in this setting that Pius XII issued 'Exsul Familia.' This 1952 document explicitly identified emigration, immigration and family reunification as basic human rights. Worth noting is that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in that same period also enshrined the freedom to travel and the right of emigration as fundamental.4 But a series of diplomatic objections by the U.S. and other Western countries in the negotiations had blocked the treaty from asserting a comparable right to immigrate.

Since the late 1950s, in subsequent teaching documents of the Vatican and other magisterial bodies within the Church, the 'common good' of receiving states has been increasingly soft-pedaled and in some instances rejected outright. The depreciation of the sovereignty of nation-states in migration matters has several different roots, some old, some recent. Three Theses

First, the Church, in the very catholicity of its name and in its outlook and mission is universalist. It has never been philosophically comfortable with the modern nation-state with its connotation of exclusion and its claims to be the ultimate community. For the Church, a main reason for the existence of states is to promote the human rights of individuals. Borders are often incompatible with human needs. Suffering this outlook is the biblical and early historical view of the Church as a cosmopolitan, multi-class, multi-cultural community for all. In the words of Paul 'there is no Greek or Jew here, circumcised or uncircumcised, foreigner, Scythian, slave or freeman. Rather, Christ is everything in all of you.' (Colossians 3 11).

'In current discourse [the church] draws on writers like Julian Simon to argue that nations must welcome immigration in their own best interest...'

Another transforming factor has been demographics. In the United States and some other Western nations, falling fertility in the 1960s among long-established Catholic populations dimmed the prospects for further Church growth. Predominantly Catholic immigration from Latin America and Vietnam provided both a new ministry and a new opportunity for expansion of the flock. Immigrants, in the words of Reverend Richard Ryscavage of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, are the 'growing edge' of the Church, as they were in the 19th century, and the 'assurance of the Church's health in the 21st century.5

A final tenet in the Church's open border vision is its faith in cornucopian economics as a response to issues of population growth and resource depletion. In current discourse it draws on writers like Julian Simon to argue that nations must welcome immigra-tion in their own best interest, as it enriches economically as well as culturally and spiritually. Church doctrine in the past has recognized that population in excess of resources can justify emigration. But it overlooks the corollary that excessive immigration can bring a similar imbalance to the receiving countries. Cornucopian economics, it seems, really applies only in Western industrial nations.

Changing priorities in Catholic social doctrine have also reinforced the view of immigration as a supra-national prerogative. The Church's heightened interest in social action to promote human rights to combat dehumanizing structures was both articulated in, and intensified by, the Vatican Councils of the 1960s. The U.S. Church's close exposure to Latin America conditioned its commitment to the 'prefer-ential option for the poor' proclaimed in the literature of liberation theology. Pope John Paul II has made the rights of migrants a major theme of his papacy.

This outlook readily fused with the Church's vision of its area of future growth as the Third World and its increasing identification with the anti-capitalist, anti-colonialist liberation movements in those nations. Also present is an unfolding sense of mission to address the unequal distribution of the world's wealth highlighted in the U.N.'s North-South dialogue. Open immigration into major industrial nations becomes a way of sharing wealth and balancing out past exploitation. For the U.S. 'Sanctuary' movement in the 1980s, acceptance of heavy flows of immigrants and asylum seekers was a form of national atonement for real or imagined U.S. foreign policy misdeeds and economic exploitation in Latin America.

Current Battles of the American Church Against Restriction

The Church's theology of immigration takes operational form in the continuing tactical struggles of the Church against immigration restriction. Here are some of the leading skirmishes in the American hierarchy's ongoing battle

* The Catholic Bishops opposed employer sanctions in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. In scattered areas and diverse ways Catholic religious groups have litigated unsuccessfully against sanctions as an interference with their freedom of religion. In a few cases, they have simply flouted the law. Church leaders backed a coalition of interest groups supporting the Kennedy-Hatch bill to repeal sanctions altogether. It is unclear whether that legislation will reappear in the Republican-controlled 104th Congress.

* Church leaders and organizations were major actors in the coalition of human rights, ethnic, legal and labor groups that in 1989 and 1990 designed and pushed through the 1990 law expanding legal immi-gration 35 percent and creating a new category for easier humanitarian admission 'Temporary protected status.' Failing to get a universal amnesty for illegal aliens in the 1986 law, Church forces and other human rights groups won a special provision for otherwise ineligible immediate relatives of legalized aliens to remain here. High on the Church's agenda now is a new amnesty for those entering since the 1982 cutoff date in the 1986 act who do not otherwise qualify.

* The Catholic Bishops' Conference consistently condemned Proposition 187. California's Catholic dioceses worked assiduously but unsuccessfully in the fall of 1994 to defeat the proposition with special mailings, appeals from the pulpit, media outreach and voter registration drives. Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles once characterized support for the resolution as 'Grave social sin.' The Church remains a major actor among the groups fighting to block implemen-tation of Proposition 187 in the courts.

* At the Cairo Conference on Population and Development, Vatican representatives worked with migrant-sending states in an attempt to establish family reunification as a basic right in the final document of the conference. They were unsuccessful in overcoming the resistance of the U.S. and other migrant-receiving nations.

* Generally, the American Church is well represented in the ad hoc coalitions that have formed to fight the current wave of what they call 'anti-immigrant hysteria' and the drive for tighter controls of legal immigration, and for an end to abuse of asylum and of immigrant access to public assistance.

Recalcitrance among Lay Catholics

A 'Shepherd/Flock' Gap

Polls consistently show that individual Catholic views on immigration are only modestly more supportive of generous immigration policies than those of non-Catholics. Some of the difference stems from the higher proportion of foreign born and Latinos among Catholics. But a solid majority of Catholic respondents in polls believe that immigration should go no higher or be reduced. This deviation from official Church doctrine resembles the profile of Catholic public opinion on birth control.

The vote on Proposition 187 indicated wide-spread resistance among the rank-and-file parishioners to the hierarchy's expansionist instincts on immigration. Overall, California Catholics, more than a third of them Hispanic, opposed 187 by 51% to 49%. But non-Hispanic white Catholics - two-thirds of all Catholic voters - favored it by 58% to 42%, roughly the measure's margin of victory statewide. The Los Angeles diocesan newspaper, The Tidings, saw in the results 'a Catholic electorate which increasingly seems to view the statements of its pastoral and moral leaders as having little credibility and urgency.'6

Many Catholic legislators necessarily share the pro-immigration instincts of the powerful ethnic constituencies in which they are rooted. Senator Edward Kennedy, tireless advocate of immigration expansion, particularly from Ireland, is an example. But there has been no shortage of Catholic legislators who have led or supported sound restrictionist efforts.

'The Los Angeles diocesan newspaper saw in the results [of the vote on Proposition 187] 'a Catholic electorate which increasingly seems to view the statements of its pastoral and moral leaders as having little credibility and urgency.''

Well-known was Senator Pat McCarran, a leading Catholic layman, who co-authored the 1952 McCarran-Walter act that preserved national origins quotas and restrictions on Asian immigration. Another, Peter Rodino of New Jersey, originated employer sanctions legislation in the early 1970s, and Ron Mazzoli of Kentucky, a devout Catholic, saw that concept through to enactment in 1986. Mazzoli also favored a far more limited amnesty than Church leaders sought.
Senator Pat Moynihan, as a White House staffer, orchestrated the 1970 Rockefeller Commission on Population Growth, which recommended, among other measures, a freeze on immigration. Currently Moynihan plays a more passive role on immigration issues, although he supports a counterfeit-resistant social security card.

Perhaps most representative within the Church of pluralist views on immigration and the importance of separating the secular and the sacred, was the performance of Father Theodore Hesburgh as chair of the 1979 Special Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policies. Under his leadership, the commission recommended employer sanctions and an immigration ceiling more than a third lower than the present one.

Outlook Continued Confusion Between God and Caesar

The attitudes of lay Catholics in the U.S. on population, environmental and reproductive issues have shifted inexorably away from those of the Vatican and the American hierarchy, shrugging off warnings from the pulpit against what the Church characterized as immoral or inhumane options on these issues. An insecure, impoverished and ethnic-based immigrant population at the turn of the century, American Catholics have achieved the wealth, education and self-confidence, in an increasingly crowded and environmentally threatened world, to define values for themselves.

Yet the Church's governing structure remains hierarchical, highly centralized and enduring. Changing attitudes in the pews are unlikely to profoundly influence the top leadership. The Church's name and organization clout are likely to remain indefinitely at the service of pro-natalism and immigration expansionism, with or without the assent of its millions of loyal contributors. This points up a fundamental irony in the Church's confusion of the realms of God and Caesar the Church hierarchy has power without responsibility - Caesar, not Rome, will be accountable and responsible for the social and environmental costs of disruptions flowing from mass immigration and rapid population growth. ;


1 Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1993.

2 Welcoming the Stranger A Reflection on the Current Immigration Debate. Statement of William Cardinal Keebler, President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, November 17, 1994.

3 See 'The Scalabrinian Fathers Catholic Apostles to the World's Immigrants' by James S. Robb, in The Social Contract, Vol. V, No. 3, Spring 1995, p. 185-190.

4 'UN Declaration of Human Rights,' Articles 13 and 14, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

5 Catholic Standard and Times, October 22, 1992.

6 Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1994.

N.B. - Bolds and Highlights added for emphasis.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Arizona: the horse is not Trojan; It's Roman!

Jesuit Relief Services:

Showing you the way!

Come on, up!

We need the numbers...

'The Kids' are not all right

Last Updated: 6:10 AM, July 15, 2010
Posted: 1:55 AM, July 15, 2010

Andrea Peyser

Shh! Hollywood is having a teaching moment -- this time in the bedroom, where, if you're straight, chances are you've been doing it wrong.

In the first frames of the new flick "The Kids Are All Right," two boys snort coke. Next, a dad tackles his teenage son so ferociously, the child can't breathe.

That boy soon tries to relieve himself on a dog. Gross. And a man with exceptional appetites proves that Cialis, not to mention heterosexual relations, is for losers.

That is how the most self-righteously moralistic movie to hit the big screen since "Forrest Gump" preaches an undeniable Hollywood truth: Men, and boys who will be men, are not just bad. They're corrupt, amoral horndogs.

These are the life choices presented in Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids," sort of a cross between "Leave it to Beaver" and "Kittens With Whips." Choose your lifestyle wisely, moviegoers. For this film is set to go down in history as the first major motion picture to make a family led by gay women -- A-lister Annette Bening, as the control-freak doctor Nic, "wed" to A-lister Julianne Moore, as the weepy, infantilized Jules -- seem not just normal, but close to godly.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010



Members of God’s remnant church, God is telling us as we come to the end of time, “Go Forward.” Go Forward in lifting up Christ and proclaiming God’s grace; Go forward in presenting the three angels’ messages; Go forward in pleading for revival and reformation; Go forward in following the Bible as it reads; Go forward in reading and adhering to the counsel of the SOP; Go forward in proclaiming to the world the good news of salvation and the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ.

(Excerpt of Sermon)

Read more @

Dennis Meier, gives the devotional message Sabbath evening , June 26.

Dennis Meier, German pastor, gives the devotional message on grace during the Sabbath evening GC Session in the Georgia Dome, Saturday, June 26. [Photo: Josef Kissinger]

Chris Oberg, speaks Sunday morning June 27, 2010

Christy Oberg, senior pastor of the La Sierra University church speaks Sunday morning at the General Conference Session in Atlanta. [Photo: Gerry Chudleigh]

When is a Spill, a Leak?

When is a Spill, a Leak?

  1. Deep Water Horizon rig incident.

  2. Wiki Leaks of Afghanistan war intelligence.

  3. New Oil Leak In The Gulf After Boat Hits Oil Platform...


Privacy Lawsuit Targets Net Giants Over ‘Zombie’ Cookies

By Ryan Singel
July 27, 2010
4:06 pm

A wide swath of the net’s top websites, including MTV, ESPN, MySpace, Hulu, ABC, NBC and Scribd, were sued in federal court Friday on the grounds they violated federal computer intrusion law by secretly using storage in Adobe’s Flash player to re-create cookies deleted by users.

At issue is technology from Quantcast, also targeted in the lawsuit. Quantcast created Flash cookies that track users across the web, and used them to re-create traditional browser cookies that users deleted from their computers. These “zombie” cookies came to light last year, after researchers at UC Berkeley documented deleted browser cookies returning to life. Quantcast quickly fixed the issue, calling it an unintended consequence of trying to measure web traffic accurately.

Flash cookies are used by many of the net’s top websites for a variety of purposes, from setting default volume levels on video players to assigning a unique ID to users that tracks them no matter what browser they use. (Disclosure: The last time we reported on this issue, we found that used one to set video preferences.)

The lawsuit (.pdf), filed in U.S. district court in San Francisco, asks the court to find that the practice violated eavesdropping and hacking laws, and that the practice of secretly tracking users also violated state and federal fair trade laws. The lawsuit alleges a “pattern of covert online surveillance” and seeks status as a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by Joseph Malley, a privacy activist lawyer who also played key roles in other high profile privacy lawsuits, including a $9.5 million settlement earlier this year from Facebook over its ill-fated Beacon program and a settlement with Netflix after the company gave imperfectly anonymized data to contestants in a movie recommendation contest.

“The objective of this scheme was the online harvesting of consumers’ personal information for Defendants’ use in online marketing activities,” wrote Malley, who called the technique “as simple as it was deceptive and devious.”

Unlike traditional browser cookies, Flash cookies are relatively unknown to web users, and they are not controlled through the cookie privacy controls in a browser. That means even if a user thinks they have cleared their computer of tracking objects, they most likely have not.
Adobe’s Flash software is installed on an estimated 98 percent of personal computers, and has been a key component in the explosion of online video, powering video players for sites such as YouTube and Hulu.

Websites can store up to 100 kilobytes of information in the plug-in, 25 times what a browser cookie can hold. Sites like also use Flash’s storage capability to pre-load portions of songs or videos to ensure smooth playback.

QuantCast was using the same user ID in its HTML and Flash cookies, and when a user got rid of the former, Quantcast would reach into the Flash storage bin, retrieve the user’s old number and reapply it so the customer’s browsing history around the net would not be cut off.
Quantcast’s behavior stopped last August, after reported on the research from then-grad student Ashkan Soltani.

Quantcast is used by thousands of sites to measure the number of unique visitors and to get information on the kinds of people visiting their site — athletic, older, interested in food, etc.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a court order requiring the companies to delete data collected, stop the practice in the future and provide an easy way to opt out.

All modern browsers now include fine-grained controls to let users decide what cookies to accept and which to get rid of, but Flash cookies are handled differently. These are fixed through a web page on Adobe’s site, and the controls are not easily understood (There is a panel for Global Privacy Settings and another for Website Privacy Settings — the difference is unclear). In fact, the controls are so odd, the page has to tell you that it actually is the control for your computer, not just a tutorial on how to use the control.

Firefox users can prevent or delete Flash cookies using a free add-on called BetterPrivacy.
Scribd, Hulu, and ESPN both declined to comment, saying they had not yet been served with the lawsuit.

Quantcast and MTV’s parent company, Viacom, did not respond to requests for comment.
The case number is 10-CV-5484, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.




Barge collision causes gas, oil leak in Louisiana Bay

Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:12pm GMT

* Coast Guard says slick from well seen in bay

* Coast Guard sets up safety zone

(Updates with slick seen, owner's name)

HOUSTON, July 27 (Reuters) - A barge collided with an underwater wellhead in south Louisiana's Barataria Bay on Tuesday, triggering a spray of natural gas and crude oil, the
U.S. Coast Guard said. A slick 50 yards (46 meters) by 1 mile (1.6 km) was seen by late Tuesday, the Coast Guard said, which identified the well's owner as Cedyco. Natural gas from the ruptured wellhead was spraying into the air. The Coast Guard had set up a safety zone around the slick to prevent ships from becoming contaminated and spreading the oil. Oil released from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill has also moved into Barataria Bay. A Cedyco representative was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)


The Next Big Privacy Concern: RFID “Spychips”

RFID, we are closer to cradle-to-grave surveillance than most people realize.

By Ms. Smith on Tue, 07/27/10 - 9:11am.

Radio-frequency I.D. (RFID) tags are a convenient way to track items and cut costs for companies. But this technology is increasingly being used to track other things, like security badges — or even people — giving it the potential to cause a horrific erosion of privacy. Tracking people with smart tags, their shopping preferences, their activities, and their personal belongings sounds like something from a sci-fi thriller. But If you got your panties in a twist over Walmart's decision to track your undies via RFID smart tags, then you'll be doublely concerned at how close we are to cradle-to-grave surveillance.

RFID tags reached a tipping point with Walmart's announcement that, starting next month, the retailer will place removable "smart tags" on consumer goods. The RFID tags can be read by hand-held scanners to track inventory levels and keep a better eye on loss prevention. Recent drops in the cost per RFID tags have encouraged adoption of this technology. With Wal-Mart publicly embracing RFID, you'll see other retailers quickly fall in line.

If your trash is filled with RFID tags, your trash could be exploited by cybercriminals (driving by with a RFID reader). Perhaps consumers should be advised to trash the offending tag before they leave Walmart parking lot? I’m honestly less concerned that cybercriminals will be cataloging an individual’s purchases via their trash than I am about RFID becoming "spychips" — using the RFID technology to track the whereabouts of citizens who have no idea they are being tracked. RFID chips are already embedded into passports and other everyday items. These potential-privacy-decimating spychips can be the size of a dust speck.

I’m not railing against all creative uses for RFID tracking. There are uses for it that aren’t intended to be violations of your privacy (though in the wrong hands, who knows?) A project called "RememberMe" was started earlier this year as a way of recording memories by tracking clothes and other objects by tagging them with an RFID tag and Quick Response (QR) codes. When the owners of the objects donate them to the shop, a research assistant would record brief stories about the donated objects into a microphone: where they acquired it, the memories attached and any associated stories. Everyone that participates volunteers to do so — so no one’s privacy is violated in this case.

Food is tracked with RFID for freshness and any possible contamination. A company came out with the world's smartest coffee mug that was embedded with RFID to store the owner's account information, purchase habits, and preferences. Perhaps your business has utilized RFID tracking with products such as Microsoft's BizTalk RFID Mobile? Many companies now use RFID tracking, be it in employee badges or for product tracing.

When it comes to using RFID to track humans and our whereabouts, that's when my hackles get raised. Not that this is new either. In 2007, after newspapers reported on a controversial program designed to compile massive dossiers of data on most every American, the website for Total Information Awareness was taken down. People naturally freaked out at the privacy invasion.

But the idea is far from dead. How about if governments started using RFID to issue automated ticket violations? As part of a project called ASSET-Road, VTT Technical Research Center in Finland, has developed RFID license plate tracking. The project began in 2008 and will wrap in June, 2011. VTT attempts to detect traffic congestion but it also achieved the goal of “traffic violations detected in a flash.” And then Arizona-based camera vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) expanded upon that RFID technology by developing automated tailgating tickets as a feature that can soon be added to existing speed camera programs. Now add in this bit of info: There are also drivers licenses that "come equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that can be read right through a wallet, pocket or purse from as far away as 30 feet."

Along similar lines is a company using RFID to track employees. An Indian company, Unity Infraprojects, uses RFID employee tags to keep track of so-called "ghost workers." The only way an employee gets paid is by a combination of RFID evidence and physical presence to collect daily payment.

And there are those taking this idea of tracking people a step further. RFID transponders can be embedded as a subdermal implant, similar to a microchip. Microchips for tracking our beloved pets are now common. Microsoft has HealthVault and Google has Google Health for e-health record management services and both are pushing for RFID medical bracelets. Between 2007 and 2009, RFID in the guise of VeriChip implants were given to hundreds of Alzheimer’s patients to help identify them and notify caregivers in case of an emergency. Since 2008, RFID infant protection systems have been placed on some infants at birth to prevent them from being abducted from the hospital or from being given to the wrong mother. A new RFID product, "guarantees that RFID will follow you straight to your grave." The palm-size stone tablet has an RFID tag that talks with mobile phones to direct users to an Internet memorial archive. And such uses for RFID are only the tip of the iceberg. Thing Magic, a company that builds embedded RFID readers, recently launched 100 Uses of RFID.

In themselves, most of these are "valid uses" of RFID technology. Indeed RFID chips are often an embraced technology due to the good they could do for loss prevention. Then again, RFID technology can be the cause of security vulnerabilities. For instance, security badges with RFID chips can broadcast to the criminals where those badges are located. In an article about Fort Gordon stolen military IDs, embedded with RFID, Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity released a report stating, “The mere possession of a stolen card could, in fact, pose a security risk.”

Former NSA employee James Atkinson, still immersed in the world of intelligence and counterintelligence, said his business and government clients, "often fail to recognize security holes that to him seem big enough to steer a tank through." In regards to the missing RFID enabled military badges, Atkinson stated, “If a spy can get within 300 feet of where classified material is handled, he owns it. I mean, he owns it big time.”

At this year's HOPE hacker conference, the hackers showed both the good and the bad that comes when a person is attached to an RFID badge. “This badge knows what talks you go to. It knows who you talk to. It knows what places in the conference you go. It knows when you were there,” says Rob Zinkov, of the HOPE badge team. If you use that data to enhance your own conference experience, RFID is good. If someone else uses that data, unbeknownst to you, not good.

Extreme-range RFID tracking (hundreds of meters) will be explored and exploited during DEFCON. Also this year's DEFCON Badge was described as "a full-fledged, active electronic system. Pushing fabrication techniques to the limit and using some components that are so new they barely exist, the design of this year's badge took some serious risks." At last year's DEFCON, some hackers were able to temporarily steal other hackers' and a fed's identity. According to ThreatLevel, when a RFID "reader caught an RFID chip in its sights — embedded in a company or government agency access card, for example — it grabbed data from the card, and the camera snapped the card holder’s picture."

Location-aware apps are scary enough, based on GPS with the broad range they offer. But for the most part you still have to sign up for those. RFID is being implemented all around you. It has slowly been moving to mainstream. It can track infants to senior citizens with Alzheimer’s. In between it can track your clothes, your purchases, your car — even you. RFID is on the verge of tracking us all, cradle to the grave.