Lift Up Your Heads A prophecy newsletter by Pastor Mark Luke 21:28 – “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because May 2007 your redemption draws near” Well, What Do You Know? Scientists Reconsider Warming Fears From The Omeg a Letter by Jack Ki nsella A new report published by the uber-liberal German magazine, Der Speigel, has joined a growing list of med ia publicat ions who are beginning to realize that somebody has been playing fast and loose with the facts when it co mes to global warming. It begins by saying, "Avante Arrhenius, the father of the greenhouse effect, would be called a heretic today. Far fro m issuing the sort of dire p redictions about climate change which are co mmon nowadays, the Swedish physicist dared to predict a paradise on earth for humans when he announced, in April 1896, that temperatures were rising - - and that it would be a b lessing for all." A blessing? Not a curse? How so? (I'm g lad you asked) Arrhenius, who later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, argued, "by the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the at mosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates," potentially making poor harve sts and famine a thing of the past. Heresy! I must stop up my ears! How dare Der Speigel write such lunacy! There is a global CONSENSUS, you know! A l Go re said that no further debate is necessary. But Der Speigel noted that previous cold periods (like the little Ice Age that followed the Mediaeval Warming Period in the 14th century) were, "too low for grain crops to mature. Famines and epidemics raged, and average life expectancy dropped by 10 years. In Germany, thousands of villages were abandoned and entire stretches of land depopulated." (I've got my fingers in my ears! La-la-la-la-la-la! I can't hear you!) "The shock produced by the cold was as deep-seated it was long-lasting. When temperatures plunged unexpectedly once again in the 1960s, many meteorologists were quick to warn people about the coming of a new ice age -- supposedly triggered by man-made air pollution. Hardly anyone at the time believed a warming trend could pose a threat." Oh sure. But in the 1960's they didn't know what they were talking about. Now they've advanced computer models that can predict the weather, somet imes five days in advance, and sometimes, they are almost right. Besides, what about the catastrophic flooding fro m all that melting ice? "According to an American study published last week, the Arctic could be melting even faster than previously assumed. But because the Arctic sea ice already floats in the water, its melting will have virtually no effect on sea levels," the magazine reported. Drat! And I was planning to buy oceanfront property outside of Phoenix! German biolog ist Josef Reichholf told Der Spiegel that, "It's nothing but fear-mongering, for which there is no concrete evidence. On the contrary, there is much to be said for the argument that warming temperatures promote biod iversity." Wait just a darn minute! Is he arguing that warmer temperatures are good for biodiversity? Well, yeah . . . "There is a clear relationship between biodiversity and temperature. The nu mber of species increases exponentially fro m the reg ions near the poles across the moderate latitudes and to the equator. To put it succinctly, the warmer a region is, the more diverse are its species." But this is just one magazine, (a German one, at that!) and just one scientist. There is a global scientific CONSENSUS, no? No. Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards including the Go ldschmidt Medal fro m the Geochemical Society of the Un ited States, converted fro m climate alarmist to skeptic in 2006. He was among the first to sound global warming alarms 20 years ago. But, having examined the evidence, he now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and accused the “prophets of doom of global warming” of being mot ivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!" Ummm, money? Let's look at the eco-credits Al Go re bought to offset his huge carbon footprint. 'Carbon offset credits' work like this. Since Al Gore uses 20 times the energy of a typical A merican family, he buys "carbon offsets" based on the fact that an Ubangi tribesman who doesn't own a car isn't using his, anyway. So Al Go re 'buys' them by "purchasing verifiab le reductions in CO2 elsewhere." He pays for his ext ra -large carbon footprint through Generation Investment Management, a London -based company with offices in Washington, D.C. In fact, the idea is SUCH a good one that Al Gore bought a piece of the company (and its profits). Generation Investment Management's U.S. branch is headed by a former Gore staffer and fund -raiser, Peter S. Knight. In other words, Gore buys "carbon offsets" from himself, in essence, by buying stocks. Getting back to the scientists, Dr. Allegre now calls fears of a climate disaster "simp listic and obscuring the true dangers” mocks "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamat ions consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." And generating investment profits. Geologist Bruno Wiskel of the University of Alberta was once such a big believer in man-made global warming that he set out to build a “Kyoto house” in honor of the UN sanctioned Kyoto Protocol which was signed in 1997. But after examining the science more closely, he wrote a book entit led, “The Emperor's New Climate: Debunking the Myth of Global Warming.” Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv gave an interview to the Canada National Post on the subject. In it, he said: Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more comp licated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media." Then he let loose with his bo mbshell observation. Global warming isn't caused by human activity, (Al Go re's hot air being the exception that proves the rule). Instead, as an astrophysicist, he reached the startling conclusion that global warming is caused by the sun. By the SUN! Who would have thought it? "Solar activ ity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming" and "it is unlikely that [the solar climate lin k] does not exist,” Shaviv noted pointing to the impact cosmic - rays have on the atmosphere. So, the sun warms the earth and not mankind! Is there a consensus on that? The next thing you know, somebody will be telling us that the earth revolves around the sun, and not the other way around. Heresy! (Well, it WAS heresy when Galileo said it in 1633 and was sentenced to life imp risonment by the Ro man Catholic Church's Grand Inquisitor. Where's a Grand Inquisitor when you need him? ) According to the National Post, Shaviv believes that even a doubling of CO2 in the at mosphere by 2100 "will not dramat ically increase the global temperature." Australian mathematician and engineer Dav id Evans, (who earned six university degrees in 10 years) noted that believing in global warming pays well. " By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. Many of them were bureaucratic, but there were a lot of science jobs created too. I was on that gravy train, making a h igh wage in a science job that would not have existed if we d idn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming," he said, adding; "And so were lots of people around me; and there were international conferences full of such peo ple. And we had polit ical support, the ear of government, b ig budgets, and we felt fairly impo rtant and useful." "But starting in about 2000, the last three of the four pieces of evidence outlined above fell away or reversed,” Evans wrote. “The pre-2000 ice core data was the central evidence for believing that atmospheric carbon caused temperature increases. The new ice core data shows that past warmings were NOT init ially caused by rises in atmospheric carbon," he said. Oh, really, Doctor? What caused them? The sun? Well. . . yeah. Carbon levels increased as a RESULT of global warming. It doesn't cause it. The ice data shows global warming comes first, then Co 2 levels begin to rise some 800 years later. Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, another former global warming alarmist, also reviewed the 'science' of Al Gore, wh ich he terms, "poppycock." (Those British guys have a way with words -- especially English words.) According to a May 15, 2005 article in the UK Sunday Times, Bellamy said “global warming is largely a natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix so mething that can’t be fixed.” Bellamy doesn't understand how things work in the Co lonies. If something ain 't broken, you have to keep fixing it until it is. “The climate-change people have no proof for their claims. They have computer models wh ich do not prove anything,” Bellamy added. University of Auckland climate scientist Dr. Chris de Freitas conceded; "At first, I accepted that increases in human caused additions of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere would trigger changes in water vapor etc. and lead to dangerous global warming." But then, that pesky research stuff keep popping up. "But with time and with the results of research," he wrote, "I fo rmed the view that, although it makes for a good story, it is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation.” Meteorologist Dr Reid Bryson was on the UN's Global 500 Ro ll of Honor for his work in climatology. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, t wo million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” Bryson told the May 2007 issue of Energy Cooperative News. “All this argu ment is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd. Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re co ming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dio xide into the air,” Bryson said. Global warming author Hans Labohm switched his view after conducting climate research. Laboh m wrote on August 19, 2006, “I started as a anthropogenic global warming believer, then I read the [UN’s IPCC] Summary for Policy makers and the research of prominent skeptics.” “After that, I changed my mind,” Labohn explained. Labohm was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime min ister Stephen Harper which stated in part, “’Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is loo ming and human ity is the cause." Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, of Carlton University in Ottawa also changed his view after reviewing the scientific 'ev idence'. “I taught my students that CO2 was the prime driver of climate change,” Patterson wrote on April 30, 2007. Patterson changed his mind as a result of his research on “the nature of paleo - commercial fish populations in the NE Pacific." He wrote, “As the proxy results began to come in, we were astounded to find that paleoclimat ic and paleoproductivity records were full of cycles that corresponded to various sun -spot cycles." The SUN again! Why does everybody keep blaming the SUN for warming the earth? Paleoclimatolog ist Dr. Ian D. Clark, pro fessor of the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa, said in a docu mentary about climate change, "However, a few years ago, I decided to look mo re closely at the science and it astonished me. In fact there is no evidence of hu mans being the cause. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of natural causes such as changes in the output of the sun." And, finally, we have The Nat ional Geographic Magazine's conclusions to consider. In an article fro m February, 2007 entitled, "Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Hu man, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says", "Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun." "The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,’ Abdussamatov said." If there is so much evidence that the global warming phenomenon is being driven by solar activity, why is everybody so eager to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol? In Al Go re's case, global warming is not only profitable, it is his ticket back to the White House. ("I'm A l Go re, and I used to be the next President of the United States.") For decades, an elite cadre of globalists (including Al Gore) have been trying to figure out a way to force A merica into a UN-sponsored global government. These aren't bad guys. They're elitists who sincerely believe that only the UN can save the world fro m destruction by an ignorant and greedy American population. Even if it kills you. It's a small p rice to pay, after all. Sacrifices MUST be made. They've tried accomp lishing their goals by polit ical manipulat ion. They've tried through their control of the global money trust, through the World Bank, IMF and the World Trade Organizat ion. The Kyoto Treaty would empower the UN to levy a sliding -scale 'energy tax' on rich nations (like America). It was Baron Rothschild who observed that, "he who has the gold, makes the rules." "Give me control of a nation's currency," the Baron once said, "And I care not who makes its laws." New Age guru and UN advisor Maurice Strong is the architect of the UN's Kyoto Protocol. Strong organized the UN first - world environ mental summit in Stockholm in 1972 and has never stopped pressing for a world where UN resolutions would be enforced as law all over the Earth. Strong went on to chair the 1992 UN Conference on Environ ment and Development in Rio. Strong sits on boards with the Rockefellers and Mikhail Gorbachev and chairs private meetings of CEOs, including Bill Gates. He told Maclean's magazine way back in 1976 that he was "a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology." He warned that if we don't heed his environmentalist warnings, the Earth will collapse into chaos. In interview with his own Earth Charter Co mmission, Strong said "the real goal of the Earth Charter is it will in fact beco me like the Ten Co mmand ments. It will become a symbol of the aspirations and commit ments of people everywhere." In 1990, Strong told a BBC reporter of his fantasy scenario for the World Economic Foru m meet ing in Davos, Switzerland - where 1,000 dip lo mats, CEOs and politicians gather "to address global issues." Strong, naturally, is on the board of the World Econo mic Foru m. "What if a s mall group of these world leaders were to conclude the principal risk to the earth co mes fro m the actions of the rich countries?..." He told the startled Beeb reporter, "In order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civ ilizat ions collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring this about?" He later told the reporter he was just kidding, telling him, "I probably shouldn't be saying things like this." Probably not. Especially since he meant every word. In 1972, as Strong organized the first environ mental conference for the UN, he granted an interview to the BBC. "I am convinced the prophets of doom have to be taken seriously," he said. The only way to avoid doomsday, said Strong, was if " man, in light of this evidence, is going to be wise enough and enlightened enough to subject himself to this kind of discipline and control." "Wise enough and enlightened enough to accept this kind of discipline and control." That's the ultimate goal of Kyoto. It's the reason that mankind MUST u ltimately be responsible for global warming. Or a coming Ice Age. Or whatever it takes. "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring. . . " Distressed yet? A bit perplexed? Or maybe a b it scared? "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are co ming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." (Lu ke 21:26-27) The Coming Era of Russia's Dark Rider From Stratfor Geopolical Intelligence Report By Peter Zeihan. Russian opposition members rallied in Moscow's Pushkin Square on April 14. The so-called Dissenters' March was organized by Other Russia, an umbrella group that includes everyone from unrepentant communists and free -market reformers to far-right ultranationalists whose only uniting characteristic is their common opposition to the centralization of power under President Vladimir Putin's administration. Minutes after the march began, the 2,000 or so protesters found themselves outnumbered more than four to one by security forces. They quickly dispersed the activists, beating and briefly detaining those who sought to break through the riot -control lines. Among those arrested were chess-champion-turned-political- activist Garry Kasparov and Maria Gaidar, the daughter of Russia's first post -Soviet reformist prime minister. Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov only avoided arrest because his bodyguard s helped him to escape. A Reuters crew was permitted to capture the events and disseminate them to the West. A day later, another protest, albeit far smaller, was broken up in a similar way in St. Petersburg, though Kasparov was detained before the protest even began. What gives? The protests were insignificant in both numerical and political terms. Moreover, wit h all that is going on in the world right now, the last thing the Putin government needs is to attract negative attention to itself. The answer becomes apparent when one considers Russia's point in its historical cycle and the mounting pressures on Putin personally that have nothing whatsoever to do with "democracy." The Russian Cycle At the risk of sounding like a high school social studies teacher (or even George Friedman), history really does run in cycles. Take Europe for example. European history is a chronicle of the rise and fall of its geographic center. As Germany rises, the powers on it s periphery buckle under its strength and are forced to pool resources in order to beat back Berlin. As Germany falters, the power vacuum at the middle of the Continent allows the countries on Germany's borders to rise in strength and become major powers themselves. Since the formation of the first "Germany" in 800, this cycle has set the tempo and tenor of European affairs. A strong Germany means consolidation followed by a catastrophic war; a weak Germany creates a multilateral concert of powers and mult i-state competition (often involving war, but not on nearly as large a scale). For Europe this cycle of German rise and fall has run its course three times -- the Holy Roman Empire, Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany -- and is only now entering its fourth iteration with the reunified Germany. Russia's cycle, however, is far less clin ical than Europe's. It begins with a national catastrophe. Sometimes it manifests as a result of disastrous internal planning; sometimes it follows a foreign invasion. But always it rips up the existing social order and threatens Russia with chaos and dissolution. The most recent such catastrophe was the Soviet collapse followed by the 1998 financial crisis. Previous disasters include the crushing of Russian forces in World War I and the imposition of the Treaty of Brest -Litovsk; the "Time of Troubles," whose period of internal warfare and conspiracy-laden politics are a testament to the Russian predilection for understatement; and near annihilation under the Mongol occupation. Out of the horrors of defeat, the Russians search desperately for the second phase of the cycle -- the arrival of a white rider -- and invariably they find one. The white rider rarely encapsulates what Westerns conceive of as a savior -- someone who will bring wealth and freedom. Russian concerns after such c alamities are far more basic: they want stability. But by Russian standards, the whit e rider is a rather optimistic fellow. He truly believes that Russia can recover from its time of trial, once a level of order is restored. So the Russian whit e rider sets about imposing a sense of consistency and strength, ending the free fall of Russian life. Putin is the current incarnation of Russia's white rider, which puts him in the same category as past leaders such as Vladimir Lenin and, of course, Russia's "Greats": Catherine and Peter. Contrary to portrayals of him by many in the Western media, Putin is not a hard -nosed autocrat set upon militarization and war. He is from St. Petersburg, Russia's "window on the West," and during the Cold War one of his chief responsibilities was snagging bits of Western technology to send home. He was (and remains) fully cognizant of Russia's weaknesses and ult imately wanted to see Russia integrated as a full- fledged member of the Western family of nations. He also is pragmatic enough to have realized that his ideal for Russia's future and Russia's actual path are two lines that will not converge. So, since November 2005, Putin has been training two potential replacements: First Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Medvedev and Sergei Ivanov. At this point, nearly a year before Russia's next presidential election, determining which one will take over is a matter of pure guesswork. Also unclear is what role, if any, Putin will grab for himself -- up to and including a continuation of his presidency. The question of who takes over in March 2008 is generating much interest and debate among Kremlinologists. It clearly matters a great deal both politically and economically, though geopolitically the discussion misses the point. The real takeaway is that Russia's current whit e horse period is coming to an end. Putin's efforts to stabilize Russia have succeeded, but his dreams of Westernizing Russia are dead. The darkness is about to set in. The Dark Rider In the third phase of the Russian cycle, the white rider realizes that the challenges ahead are more formidable than he first believed and that his (relative) idealism is more a hindrance than an asset. At this point the white rider gives way to a dark one, someone not burdened by the white rider's goals and predilections, and willing to do what he feels must be done regardless of moral implications. The most famous Russian dark rider in modern times is Josef Stalin, of course, while perhaps the most consuming were the "Vasilys" of the Vasily Period, which led to the greatest civil war in Russian medieval history. In particularly gloomy periods in Russia's past (which is saying something) the white rider himself actually has shed his idealism and become the dark rider. For example, Ivan the IV began his rule by diligently regenerating Russia's fortunes, before degenerating into the psychotic madman better known to history as Ivan the Terrible. Under the rule of the dark rider, Russia descends into an extremely strict period of internal control and external aggression, which is largely dictated by Russia's geographic weaknesses. Unlike the United States, with its deep hinterland, extensive coasts and lengthy and navigable river networks, Russia's expansive barren landscape and lack of maritime transport options make trade, development and all-around life a constant struggle. Russia also lacks any meaningful barriers to hide behind, leaving it consistently vulnerable to outside attack. Understanding that this geographic reality leaves Russia extremely insecure is critical to understanding Russia's dark periods. Once the dark rider takes the state's reins, he acts by any means necessary to achieve Russian security. Internal opposition is ruthlessly quashed, economic life is fully subjugated to the state's needs and Russia's armies are built furiously with the intent of securing unsecurable borders. That typically means war: As Catherine the Great famously put it: "I have no way to defend my borders except to extend them." After a period of unification and expansion under the dark rider, Russia inevitably suffers from overextension. No land power can endlessly expand: the farther its troops are from core territories, the more expensive they are to maintain and the more vulnerable they are to counterattack by foreign forces. Similarly, the more non-Russians who are brought under the aegis of the Russian state, the less able the state is to impose its will on its populat ion -- at least without Stalin-style brute force. This overextension just as inevitably leads to stagnation as the post -dark rider leadership attempts to come to grips with Russia's new reality, but lacks the resources to do so. Attempts at reform transform stagnation into decline. Stalin gives way to a miscalculating Nikita Khrushchev, a barely conscious Leonid Brezhnev, an outmatched Mikhail Gorbachev and a very drunk Boris Yeltsin. A new disaster eventually man ifests and the cycle begins anew. Why the Crackdown? The April 14-15 protests occurred at an inflection point between the second and third parts of the cycle -- as the white rider is giving way to a dark rider. Past Russian protests that involved 2,500 total people at most would have been allowed simply because they did not matter. The Putin government has a majority in the rubber-stamp Duma sufficient to pass any law or constitutional change in a short afternoon of parliamentary fury. All meaningful political parties have been disbanded, criminalized or marginalized; the political system is fully under Kremlin control. The Kasparov/Kasyanov protests did not threaten Putin in any meaningful way -- yet in both Moscow and St. Petersburg a few dozen people were blocked, beaten and hauled off to court. This development was no accident. Roughly 9,000 riot police do not spontaneously materialize anywhere, and certainly not as the result of an overenthusiastic or less-than-sober local commander. A crackdown in one city could be a misunderstanding; a crackdown in two is state policy. And one does not send hundreds of batons swinging but allow Reuters to keep filming unless the objective is to allow the world to see. Putin chose to make these protests an issue. Putin, then, is considering various groups and rationalizing his actions in the context of Russia's historical cycle: The West: Putin certainly does not want any Western capital to think he will take exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky's recent threats of forcible revolution lying down. Berezovsky says violence is a possibility -- a probability even -- in the future of regime change in Russia? Fine. Putin can and did quite easily demonstrate that, when it comes to the application of force in internal politics, the Russian government remains without peer. The people: Putin knows that governance is not so much about ruling as it is about managing expectations. Russians crave stability, and Putin's ability to grant that stability has earned him significant gravitas throughout Russia as well as a grudging respect from even his most stalwart foes. He is portraying groups such as the Other Russia as troublemakers and disturbers of the peace. Such explanations make quit e attractive packaging to the average Russian. The opposition: It is one thing to oppose a wildly powerful and popular government. It is another thing when that government beats you while the people nod approvingly and the international communit y barely murmurs its protest. Putin has driven home the message that the opposition is not just isolated and out of touch, but that it is abandoned. The Kremlin: Just because Putin is disappointed that his dreams are unattainable, that does not mean he wants to be tossed out the proverbial airlock. Showing any weakness during a transition period in Russian culture is tantamount to surrender -- particularly when Russia's siloviki (nationalists) are always seeking to rise to the top of the heap. Putin knows he has to be firm if he is to play any role in shaping Russia during and after the transition. After all, should Medvedev and Ivanov fail to make the grade, someone will need to rule Russia -- and the only man alive with more experience than Putin has a blood-alcohol level that precludes sound decision-making. Editor's Note: At some point in the not -to-distant future, Ezekiel 38-39 warns of an invasion of Israel by a leader named "Gog", the ruler of Magog. Most Bible scholars agree that this refers to a Russian ruler. What's the Buzz -- Or Lack of It? From The Omega Letter by Jack Kinsella. A mystery malady known as 'colony collapse disorder' has destroyed from fifty to ninety percent of honeybee colonies in the United States and Europe. In Great Britain, London beekeepers said this week that up to three-quarters of their bees have either died or simply 'vanished'. John Chapple, head of the London Beekeepers’ Association, said that when he opened his 40 hives after the winter, only 10 were unaffected by a mystery plague. Twenty-three of the hives were empty and seven contained dead bees. In North America, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been reported in Canada, and in at least 24 US states. In a legislative hearing before the House Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture in March, Gene Brandi, a Merced County (California) beekeeper and chairman of the California State Beekeepers Association, told lawmakers that while bee losses are not uncommon, the current ailment plaguing bee colonies is much more serious. He says about 40 percent of his colonies died over the winter, his greatest loss in 30 years of business. That equates to a loss of nearly $60,000 in pollination income and another $20,000 in bulk bee sales, plus a cost of $48,000 to restock the 800 dead hives. "Even though my loss is substantial, other beekeepers throughout the country have suffered much great losses," he says. "Beekeepers who lost over 50 percent of their colonies will have difficulty making up their losses from their own colonies as I plan to do." The cause of colony collapse disorder is unknown, although poor nutrition, mites, diseases and pesticides have all been suspect. There is also concern that some genetically modified crops may be responsible. But nobody knows for sure. The only thing that is seems certain is that, as Speigel Online reported last month, "the phenomenon is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions." This is a much more important story than the mainstream media yet realizes. CCD is not simply a case of entire colonies of bees just dying in the hive. If that were the case, then the cause could be determined and dealt with. There are lots of diseases and parasitic mites than can wipe out a bee colony. But Colony Collapse Disorder refers to the total disappearance of whole bee colonies -- the BBC calls it VBS, or "Vanishing Bee Syndrome". According to Wikipedia, "a colony which has collapsed from CCD is generally characterized by all of these conditions occurring simultaneously: Complete absence of adult bees in colonies, with no or little build-up of dead bees in or in front of the colonies. Presence of capped brood in colonies. Bees normally will not abandon a hive until the capp ed brood have all hatched. Presence of food stores, both honey and bee pollen: i. which is not immediately robbed by other bees ii. when attacked by hive pests such as wax moth and small hive beetle, the attack is noticeably delayed." Normally, a weakened bee colony would be immediately overrun by bees from other colonies or by pests going after the hive's honey. That's not the case with the stricken colonies, which might not be touched for at least two weeks, said Diana Cox-Foster, a Penn State entomology professor investigating the problem. To summarize, for reasons unknown, millions of bees just pack up and abandon their hive, leaving everything behind. Nobody knows where they go. They just disappear. Sounds like the kind of story one tells to kids over a campfire, but it's true. How important are honeybees? According to Greg Hunt, assistant professor of entomology at Purdue University, a common refrain throughout the beekeeping industry is that we can thank these busy pollinators for "one out of every three bites of food we eat." Crops in the United States that rely on these pollinators include 300 different nectar-producing plants and trees, including all vine crops, such as cucumbers, squash, melons and pumpkins, and also all fruits. Honeybees pollinate the alfalfa that feeds the cattle that make the milk our children drink. They're responsible for one-third of human nutrition. Bees are not only needed to make honey, they are critical in the pollination of almonds, apples, grapes, cherries and cauliflower. Honey production in the U.S. generates more than $150 million annually, while crop pollination is valued at $14 billion a year, according to a Cornell study. A complete collapse of the US honeybee population would be catastrophic to America's food supply, which would wreak even greater catastrophe world-wide. (America isn't going to export food if there isn't enough for its own population). Famine is a central theme of Bible prophecy for the last days. "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be FAMINES, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." (Matthew 24:7) "And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and FAMINES, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Luke 21:11) "Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and FAMINE; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." (Revelation 18:8) " And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see." "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with HUNGER, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:6 -8) Most Christians in the Western developed world have always looked at the Biblical prophecies concerning famine the way they USED to look at prophecies of pestilences, or deadly infectious diseases -- as Third World afflictions. By the mid 1960's , Western medicine had all but eliminated all the ancient killers -- only to see the rise of new killer diseases and the resurgence of new antibiotic resistant strains of the old ones. By the 1990's it became painfully obvious that the developed West had become as susceptible as the underdeveloped Third World. Like pestilence, the idea of widespread famine across the developed world used to seem impossible. But a headline in today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel summed up the threat from CCD this way: "Without Bees to Pollinate Crops, We Won't Have Food". It doesn't seem so impossible anymore. Why America Must Deal with Iran Soon By: Perry Stone, Jr. Iran is a West Asian country located in the Middle East, and is one of the oldest continuous major civilizations in the world. Its history covers over 4,000 years. Because of its strategic location, it has always played a key role in the affairs of the nations around it. Iran today, however, has turned into a fanatical nation. Contemporary Iran traces its beginning to the Revolution of 1979. The last Iranian monarch, the Shah of Iran, was trying, in many people’s eyes, to modernize the country too fast. He called for a revolution against unlawful acts and injustice, but his preference for many of the customs of the West made him unpopular with many of the people. When the Revolution started, Ayatollah Khomeini, an exiled Islamic religious leader living in Paris, quickly took advantage of the situation and began to stir things up. He publicly called for the overthrow of th e pro- Western Shah, fomenting trouble from a distance. Taking advantage of economic difficulties and political unrest at the time, Islamic fanatics took charge of the government and brought Khomeini back to the country. Militant university students seized the American Embassy in Tehran and held approximately 70 Americans hostage more than a year. Then-President Jimmy Carter tried to rescue the hostages, resulting in complete failure. When Ronald Reagan was elected President, the hostages were released, and things moved into a kind of detente. With the release of the hostages in sight, Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi armed forces invaded Iran. This war continued for eight years. Both Iran and Iraq purchased arms from the U.S., but when Iraq began using chemical weapons on the battlefield in April and May of 1988, the U.S. began having second thoughts. Iran and al-Qaeda When al’Qaeda formally declared war on the U.S. and the West in 1996 and 1998, it also declared jihad on Arab governments it did not like. With the response of the West in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, al’Qaeda moved toward accommodation with Iran, even though al-Qaeda is mostly Sunni-believing and Iran is mostly Shiite. The positions politicians take in the world of conflicting ideologies and cha nging mores will impact greatly the kind of world our children and our grandchildren grow up in. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, said in July: [This campaign of terror] is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until [our] religion prevails. . . . The entire world is an open b attlefield for us. We will attack everywhere until Islam reigns. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, threatened the world with nuclear weapons. In a brazen challenge to America, he said: If you want to have good relations with the Iranian people in the future, you should acknowledge the right and the might of the Iranian people, and you should bow and surrender to the might of the Iranian people. If you do not accept this, the Iranian people will force you to bow and surrender. The battle going on in Palestine today is the front line of the conflict b etween the Islamic world and the Oppressor World [the West]. It is a b attle of destiny that will determine the fate of hundreds of years of conflict in Palestine. Israel must b e wiped off the map. We [Muslims] must prepare ourselves to rule the world and the only way to do that is to put forth views on the b asis of the Expectation of the Return [of the 12th Imam, whose arrival will b e preceded b y the Apocalypse]. If we work on that basis, all the affairs of our nation will be streamlined. With the support and power of God, we will soon experience a world without the United States. In a speech on February 2, 2007, Ahmadinejad encouraged his own people: For 27 years, the vanquished enemy has been attempting to harm us. Now it is not looking for new excuses, rather it is not capab le of harming us. Today, the U.S. government is engulfed in serious crises b oth in the region and in its own country. Its prob lems are so deep that it has lost its way in foreign policy. By relying on propaganda tools it is trying to shift its internal crisis overseas. Today the Islamic Republic [of Iran] has b een transformed into a cultural superpower and is influencing the depths of the hearts and spirits of peoples. Bullying powers fear this reality and know that they cannot harm us. All they can do is to resort to some distractions, and such moves will have no major effect on the nation’s forward march. Al-Qaeda’s 7 Phases Der Spiegel, a German news source, published a book review of Fouad Hussein’s latest book, al-Zarqawi - al-Qaida’s Second Generation. This Jordanian journalist is a reliable source of information on the terrorist organization, al’Qaeda. He says of his sources for the book: I interviewed a whole range of al-Qaida members with different ideologies to get an idea of how the war b etween the terrorists and Washington would develop in the future. In the review, Der Spiegel quotes extensively from the book, which is published only in Arabic. According to the article, Al Qaeda’s strategy can be broken down into seven “phases” which span from 2000 until 2020. Here is al-Qaeda’s projected plan: Phase 1 is called “The Awakening.”The purpose of this period was to awaken the consciousness of Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, worldwide. A few months after 9/11, bin Laden made a statement on a videotape that few in the West understood. “The awakening has started,” he b oasted. Phase 2 is called “Opening Eyes.” This was the period through 2006. Hussein says the terrorists’ goal was to make the “Western conspiracy” aware of the Islamic community.” For the first time, Islam was the everyday subject and conversation of people, groups and nations around the world. In the meantime, the plan said al-Qaeda would continue to train its secret battalions and get them ready for battle. Many think that Hezb ollah’s attack on Israel last fall was connected to Phase 2. Phase 3 is “Arising and Standing Up.” Al-Qaeda will continue its war of nerves with the West, and especially with the United States. According to the Jordanian author’s interviews, this phase should last from 2007 to 2010. It would b e marked with increasingly frequent attacks against secular Turkey and arch -enemy Israel. Phase 4. No exotic name or lab el was given to Phases 4 and 5. Between 2010 and 2013, the primary ob jective will b e to b ring ab out the downfall of Arab regimes they don’t like, particularly Saudi Arabia and Jordan. At the same time attacks will b e carried out against oil supplie rs and the US economy will b e targeted using cyb er-terrorism. Recent events seem to have altered (to their advantage, they believe) the focus of Phases 3 and 4. Iranian leaders, as well as al-Qaeda spokesmen, talk openly of the spread of jihad (holy war) and instability. With Iraq a country in chaos, this sets the stage and provides a base for instability in other Mideast countries, making them ripe for overthrow by the Islamists. For example, Al Qaeda has announced on one of its official web sites that it has established a military wing in the Gaza Strip. The message said that the “Jihad Brigades in the Promised Land” had already carried out mortar and rocket attacks from the Palestinian refugee camp of Khan Younis, aimed at the Jewish settlements of Neveh Dekalim and Ganei Tal in the Gaza Strip. Phase 5. This will be the point at which the terrorists plan to declare an Islamic state, or Caliphate. The plan is that b y this time, b etween 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduc ed and Israel so weakened that resistance will not b e feared and will not b e a major factor. Al -Qaida hopes that b y then the Islamic state will b e ab le to b ring about a new world order. Phase 6 – “Total Confrontation.” The author of this b ook said the jihadists believe that from 2016 onwards will be a period of “total confrontation.” As soon as the Caliphate has b een declared, the “Islamic army” will instigate the “fight between the believers and the non-believers.” This is the fight Osama b in Laden has often predicted. Phase 7 – “Definitive Victor y.” This final stage is described as “definitive victory.” The Jordanian author writes that the terrorists b elieve the rest of the world will b e so beaten down b y the “one -and-a-half million Muslims,” that the Caliphate will, without doub t, succeed. This phase should b e completed b y 2020, although the war shouldn’t last longer than two years. The United States cannot afford to allow another Islamic state to fall to al Qaeda’s ideologues. The lesson of September 11 serves as a reminder of what happened when Afghanistan became a sanctuary and a “de facto” al’Qaeda state. Many observers believe that if the United States loses its political will and pursues a policy of isolation from the Muslim world, a showdown with al’Qaeda is inevitable. An open confrontation with the West, as well as a nuclear armed Caliphate, would bring about the call -up of the full military might of the Western world. Basically, the West has two options: 21st-century style b litzkrieg, similar to the German blitzkrieg just b efore World War II, with a full mobilization of the military and a sweep of the Islamic crescent, or nuclear war. Both options are frightening. America must decide, however, whether it wants to stop the enemy “over there,” or wait until the enemy comes to us and forces our hand. In June, Time magazine excerpted Ron Suskind’s book, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 . Suskind says that according to U.S. intelligence, al-Qaeda plotted a hydrogen-cyanide gas attack on New York City subways in 2003, but the attack was called off by al-Qaeda’s No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The attack was aborted, the book says, because the attack would not have been “dramatically” larger and more devastating than the 9/11 attacks. Administration officials were, and are, alarmed! If the terrorists called off an attack that would have left tens of thousands dead but was not “big enough,” what might they be planning for us in the future? What can believers who are busy in the harvest do? First of all, we cannot let up in our work to reap the final harvest. God has called us and we have responded to His call. Second, we can continue to live in confidence, going about our daily duties knowing that God controls the future. We rely on His precious promises: When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not b e afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from b eing caught (Proverbs 3:24-26). You shall not b e afraid of the terror b y night, nor of the arrow that flies b y day (Psalm 91:5). The Mecca Accord From The Omeg a Letter by Jack Ki nsella. A bit over five years ago, the Saudi govern ment floated its own plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan offers Israel peace and recognition of its right to exist in the region in return for Israeli withdrawal fro m lands it captured in the 1967 M ideast War, including the West Bank, Go lan Heights and East Jerusalem. It also demands that Israel recognize the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees fro m the 1948 war and their descendants. It was that final demand that made the Saudi plan a non-starter in 2002. The "Right of Return" requires Israel to absorb those Arabs (and their descendants) who fled what would become Israel just before the comb ined Arab forces launched a war aimed at destroying Israel at birth. As Israel made p lans for her Declarat ion of Independence, the Jews invited the Arabs liv ing among them to join them as full citizens in the new state of Israel. They didn't have to fight for Israel, they just had to promise not to fight against them. At the same t ime, Arab governments promised that those wh o fled would be allo wed to return and claim what the Jews left behind. Since the Arabs outnumbered the Jewish defenders by more than 650 to 1, the majority of the Arab population fled to Jordan or Lebanon to await Israel's destruction. A relative handful of Arabs decided to stay behind. Almost sixty years later, Israeli Arabs enjoy full citizenship in Israel, including the right to vote and run for office. The Arabs who fled in 1948 were pro mpt ly interned in concentration camps by their Arab 'brothers'. Almost sixty years later, those Palestinian refugee camps are still in operat ion. It is the Arabs who fled -- and their descendants, to whom the Arab side demands be granted the "Right of Return." The "Right of Return" demands Israel grant the same status to the returning 'refugees' as is extended to Israeli Arabs. It is estimated that there are more than six million Arabs, including their descendants, who would be elig ible to claim the "Right of Return." Which is the reason that Israel has so far refused to discuss it. If Israel were to grant fu ll cit izenship to six million Arab 'refugees' then Israel, as a Jewish state, would be voted out of existence at the very next general election. To assume anything less would be laughably naive. The millions of Arabs seething after six decades of intern ment in concentration camps would get their revenge at the ballot box. Israel would beco me an Arab state overnight. And, if history is any judge, a failed Arab state within weeks. In 1993, after sixteen years of Israel rule, but prior to the creation of the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank was virtually indistinguishable fro m cit ies in Israel. West Bank cities like Jericho were clean, safe and a haven for foreign tourists. Until the Palestinians took over and turned it into a poverty-stricken war zone. So, when Prime Min ister Ehud Olmert extended an invitation to the Arab side on Sunday to discuss the Saudi peace plan, dubbed, "The Mecca Accord" -- it gives one pause to wonder. What is he thinking? The Israelis are looking to the Saudis, Jordan, Egypt and, increasingly, Europe, for guarantees of peace. But the rockets flying into Israel aren't co ming fro m Saudi A rabia, Jordan, Egypt or Eu rope. They are co ming fro m the Palestinians. Every single land concession made by Israel has been used by the Palestinians to stage new attacks against Jewish targets. Without exception. In Iraq, the violence is largely concentrated in the center of the country. In the Kurdish north, there are real signs of peace. There is no part of the Palestinian territory that is relat ively peaceful and prosperous. A Near East Consulting Group opinion poll taken in February found that 75% of those polled do not believe Israel has a right to exist. 70% support a 'one-state solution' (a Palestinian state INSTEA D of Israel) and, curiously, 63% say Hamas should 'use all its effo rts to reach a peace agreement'. A broad reading of the poll results puts one in mind of A rafat's infamous metaphor comparing peace with Israel to the Quriyash Agreement -- the first "Mecca Accord." (In brief, it was a false peace agreement designed by Mohammed to lull his enemy into a false sense of security until he could consolidate his forces to defeat the Quriyash tribe who, at the time, occupied Mecca. Once he was st rong he enough, he broke the agreement, attacked his enemy, slaughtered them to the last man and declared Mecca Islam's holiest site.) Hamas was created for the exp ress purpose of annihilat ing Israel as a matter of Islamic duty. As recently as last week, it reiterated its refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist. Another opinion poll was conducted in January by Miftah, (the Palestinian Init iative for the Pro motion of Global Dialogue and Democracy), headed by Hanan Ashrawi. It found that 56.6% of Palestinians -- more than half -- favored the continued 'armed struggle' (suicide bo mbings of Israeli schools, markets, buses and cafes) within Israel. 64.2% of respondents supported concentrating armed operations within the borders of the 1967 'occupied' territories (ie Jerusalem). One Palestinian in four (27.2%) of respondents said "the form o f struggle that best serves the Palestinian cause is the armed cause" -- a reject ion of any form of peace with Israel. 77.6% of respondents supported the reformat ion of the PLO so that it would include all non member Palestinian factions (including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc.) And 72% of Palestinians view US efforts to promote peace in the reg ion negatively. I mentioned Iraq earlier. Iraqi opin ion polls regarding the US are pretty dismal; 57% want US forces to leave. But that is still only slightly over half the population. And fewer than half agree that "the killing of US troops is justified under some cases". But those numbers are dis mal enough for the majority of both Houses of Congress to declare Iraq a lost cause. Contrast that with the 75% of Palestinians who reject Israel's right to exist outright and the two -thirds who support continued 'armed struggle' (suicide bomb ings) against Israeli civ ilian targets in East Jerusalem. "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of tremb ling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in p ieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." (Zechariah 12:2-3) The Quartet, the United States, Un ited Nations, Russia and the EU, continue to insist that Israel continue to negotiate, under fire, with an enemy sworn to its destruction. However, there's been a subtle shift in the formula. Since Oslo, the negotiations have been based on the formula of land for peace. That fo rmula has morphed considerably, until it has come full circle. Under the land for peace formula, Israel was to surrender land to the Palestinians, and in exchange, the Palestinians were to recognize Israel's right to exist as a first step towards peace. The next step was to stop attacking Israeli targets in exchange for land concessions. It seemed simple and straightforward enough. Over time, the Palestinians adjusted the formu la, using newly acquired territory to stage fresh attacks on Israel, then demanding more land in exchange for a cessation of attacks -- fro m 'land fo r peace' to 'land for truce'. In 1993, the PLO was obligated, by virtue of an agreement signed by Yasser Arafat, to modify the PLO charter to recognize Israel's right to exist as a first step towards land for peace. The PLO Charter was never modified. The Palestinian Authority has never officially recognized Israel's right to exist. Hamas, now the majority government of the Palestinian people, openly refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist. The Mecca Accord, with the enthusiastic support of the world co mmunity, reverts the formu la back to what gave birth to the Oslo Agreement in the first place: 'land for recognition'. And the price demanded for recognition remains unchanged since 1993. The surrender of Jerusalem and the demographic suicide of the Jewish state. What is Olmert thinking?